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Title: Museum of Antiquity - A Description of Ancient Life
Author: Yaggy, L. W. (Levi W.), Haines, T. L. (Thomas Louis), 1844-
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.

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   [Illustration: Painted by J.M.W. Turner, R.A.
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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1880 by
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D.C.


Egypt, Greece and Italy were the fountain heads of our civilization
and the source of our knowledge; to them we can trace, link by link,
the origin of all that is ornamental, graceful and beautiful. It is
therefore a matter of greatest interest to get an intimate knowledge
of the original state, and former perfection, the grandeur,
magnificence and high civilization of these countries, as well as of
the homes, the private and domestic life, the schools, churches,
rites, ceremonies, &c.

The many recent excavations in Troy, Nineveh, Babylon and the
uncovering of the City of Pompeii, with its innumerable treasures, the
unfolding of the long-hoarded secrets, have revealed information for
volumes of matter. But works that treat on the various subjects of
antiquity are, for the most part, not only costly and hard to procure,
but also far too voluminous. The object of this work is to condense
into the smallest possible compass the essence of information which
usually runs through many volumes, and place it into a practical form
for the common reader. We hope, however, that this work will give the
reader a greater longing to extend his inquiries into these most
interesting subjects, so rich in everything that can refine the taste,
enlarge the understanding and improve the heart. It has been our
object, so far as possible, to avoid every expression of opinion,
whether our own or that of any school of thinkers, and to supply
first, facts, and secondly, careful references by which the citations
of those facts, may be verified, and the inferences from them traced
by the reader himself, to their legitimate result.

Before we close, we would tender our greatest obligations to the
English and German authors, from whom we have drawn abundantly in
preparing this work; also to the Directors of the British Museum of
London, and the Society of Antiquarians of Berlin, and especially to
the authorities of the excavated City of Pompeii and its treasures in
the Museum of Naples, where we were furnished with an intelligent
guide and permitted to spend days in our researches. To each and all
of these, who have so kindly promoted our labor, our heartfelt thanks
are cordially returned.

Many of the engravings are from drawings made on the spot, but a
greater number are from photographs, and executed with the greatest
fidelity by German and French artists.

Steel Plate Engravings.


_The Palace of the Cæsars_,                                          1

_House of the Tragic Poet--Sallust_,                               112

_Egyptian Feast_,                                                  270

_Approach to Karnac_,                                              384

_Temple of Karnac_,                                                470

_The Philae Islands_,                                              656

_School of the Vestal Virgins_,                                    832




  The Glory of the City--Destruction--Excavation--_Entering
  Pompeii_ (_Page 21-25_)--The Streets of the City--The Theatres
  of Pompeii--Villa of Julia Felix--Pavements and Sidewalks--
  _Arrangement of Private Houses_ (_Page 26-53_)--Elegance of
  Domestic Architecture--Ground Plan of Roman House--Exterior
  Apartments--Interior Apartments--Dining Halls--The
  Triclinium--Materials and Construction--The Salve Lucru--
  Paintings and Decorations--The Drunken Hercules--Wall
  Decoration--The Peristyle--The House of Siricus--Political
  Inscriptions--Electioneering Advertisements--The Graffiti--
  Street of the Lupanar--Eighty Loaves of Bread Found--The
  House of the Balcony--Human Bodies Preserved--Discovered
  Bodies--_House of Diomedes_ (_Page 54-74_)--Location of the
  Villa--Ground Plan of the Villa--Detail of Ground Plan--The
  Caldarium--Galleries and Halls--Porticoes and Terraces--Tomb
  and Family Sepulchre--The Villa Destroyed--Conclusive Evidence--
  Jewels and Ornaments--Pliny's Account of a Roman Garden--_Stores
  and Eating Houses_ (_Page 75-81_)--Restaurant--Pompeian Bill of
  Fare--Circe, Daughter of the Sun--_Houses of Pansa and Sallust_
  (_Page 82-102_)--Curious Religious Painting--General View of
  House--Worship of the Lares--Domesticated Serpents--Discoveries
  Confirm Ancient Authors--Ornamentation and Draperies--Remarkable
  Mansions--House of the Vestals--Surgical and other Instruments--
  Shop of an Apothecary--_House of Holconius_ (_Page 103-112_)--
  Decorations of the Bed-Chambers--Perseus and Andromeda--Epigraphs
  and Inscriptions--Ariadne Discovered by Bacchus--_General Survey
  of the City_ (_Page 113-118_)--Wine Merchant's Sign--Sculptor's
  Laboratory-- House of Emperor Joseph II                       17-119


  The Amphitheatre--Coliseum--84,000 Seats--The Bloody
  Entertainments--Examining the Wounded--Theatres--_Roman Baths_
  (_Page 147-156_)--Description of the Baths--Cold Baths--Warm
  Chambers--The Vapor Baths--Hot-Air Baths--_Social Games and
  Sports_ (_Page 157-162_)--Domestic Games--Jugglers--Game of
  Cities--Gymnastic Arts--_Social Entertainments_ (_Page
  163-180_)--Characteristics of the Dance--Grace and Dress of the
  Dancers--Position at the Table--Vases and Ornaments--Food and
  Vegetables--Mode of Eating--Reminders of Mortality--_Egyptian
  Music and Entertainments_ (_Page 181-188_)--Musical
  Instruments--Jewish Music--Beer, Palm Wine, Etc--_Games and
  Sports of the Egyptians_ (_Page 189-202_)--Games with
  Dice--Games of Ball--Wrestling--Intellectual
  Capabilities--Hunting                                        120-202


  Occupation of Women--Bathing--Wedding Ceremonies--Children's
  Toys--Writing Materials--Families, Schools and Marriages--Duties
  of Children--_Dress, Toilet and Jewelry_ (_Page 219-232_)--The
  Chiton--Dress Materials--Styles of Wearing Hair--Head-Dress of
  Women--Hair-Pins--Sunshades--_Crimes and Punishments; Contracts,
  Deeds, Etc._ (_Page 233-252_)--Punishments--Laws Respecting
  Debt--Contracts--Superstition--Cure of Diseases--_Houses,
  Villas, Farmyards, Orchards, Gardens, Etc._ (_Page 253-270_)--
  Character of the People--Construction of Houses--Plans of Villas--
  Irrigation--Gardens--_Egyptian Wealth_ (_Page 271-280_)--Gold and
  Silver--Worth of Gold--Treasures--Total Value of Gold        203-280


  Writing Materials--Literature--Curious Lamps--The Candelabrum--
  Candelabra--Oil-Lamps--The Steelyard--Drinking Vessels--Colored
  Glass--Glass--Glass Vessels--Articles of Jewelry--Toilet-Boxes,
  Etc.--_Furniture_ (_Page 309-322_)--Chairs and Stools--Bed-Room
  Furniture--Tables, Etc.--Pottery--Drawings on Vases--_Vases_
  (_Page 323-342_)--Greek Vases--Inscriptions on Vases--Historical
  Subjects on Vases--Uses of Vases--Vases Found in Tombs--Silver
  Vessels--Decorated Vases                                     281-342


  Colored Glass Vessels--Imitation Jewels--Potters--Carpenter's
  Tools--Professions--Husbandry--Rise of the Nile--Agricultural
  Implements--Agriculture--_Baking, Dyeing and Painting_ (_Page
  363-384_)--Flour Mills--Bread-Baking--Dyeing--Scouring and
  Dyeing--Coloring Substances--Mineral Used for Dyeing--Cost of
  Dyeing--Cloth Manufacture--Persian Costumes                  343-384


  Ruins at Hissarlik--Settlement of Troy--First Settlers--Scæan
  Gate--Call of Menelaus--Houses at Troy--Objects Found in Houses--
  Silver Vases--Taking out the Treasure--Shield of the Treasure--
  Contents of the Treasure--Ear-Rings and Chains--Gold Buttons,
  Studs, Etc.--Silver Goblet and Vases--Weapons of Troy--Terra
  Cotta Mugs--Condition of the Roads--Lack of Inscriptions     385-422


  Explorations of Niebuhr and Rich--Excavations at Kouyunjik
  Palace--Sennacherib's Conquests--Highly-Finished Sculptures--
  North Palace, Kouyunjik--Temple of Solomon--The Oracle--
  Description of the Palace--Modern Houses of Persia--Chambers
  in the Palace--The Walls--Grandeur of Babylon--Building
  Materials--History of Babylon--_Karnac and Baalbec_
  (_Page 461-473_)--Stupendous Remains--Temple of Luxor--
  Chambers of the Great Pyramid--The Great Temple--The Pantheon
  at Rome--Egyptian Obelisks--Obelisks                         423-484


  Mythology--Mythological Characters--The Pythian Apollo--Phœbus
  Apollo--Niobe and Leto--Daphne--Kyrene--Hermes--The Sorrow of
  Demeter--The Sleep of Endymion--Phaethon--Briareos--Dionysos--
  Pentheus--Asklepios--Ixion--Tantalos--The Toils of Herakles--
  Admetos--Epimetheus and Pandora--Io and Prometheus--Deukalion--
  Poseidon and Athene--Medusa--Danae--Perseus--Andromeda--
  Akrisios--Kephalos and Prokris--Skylla--Phrixos and Helle--
  Medeia--Theseus--Ariadne--Arethusa--Tyro--Narkissos--Orpheus and
  Eurydike--Kadmos and Europa--Bellerophon--Althaia and the Burning
  Brand--Iamos                                                 485-642


  Egyptian Sculpture--Etruscan Painting--Renowned Painters--
  Parrhasius--Colors Used--Sculpture Painting--Fresco Painting--
  _Sculpturing_ (_Page 667-694_)--Sculpture in Greece and Egypt--
  Sculptures of Ancient Kings--Animal Sculpture--Modeling of the
  Human Figure--"The Sculptor of the Gods"--Grandeur of Style--
  Statues--Description of Statues--Work of Lysippus--The Macedonian
  Age--Roman Art--Copies of Ancient Gods--_Mosaic_ (_Page
  695-702_)--Mosaic Subjects--Battle Represented in Mosaics--
  Grandeur of Style                                            643-702


  Homer--Paris--Achilles--The Vengeance of Odysseus--Sophocles--
  Herodotus--The Crocodile--Artabanus Dissuades Xerxes--Socrates--
  Socrates and Aristodemus--Aristophanes--Plato--The Perfect
  Beauty--Last Hours of Socrates--Demosthenes--Philip and the
  Athenians--Measures to Resist Philip--Former Athenians Described--
  Oration on the Crown--Invective against Catiline--Expulsion of
  Catiline from Rome--The Tyrant Prætor Denounced--Immortality of
  the Soul--Julius Cæsar--The Germans--Battle of Pharsalia--Virgil--
  Employment of the Bee--Punishments in Hell--Horace--To Licinius--
  Happiness Founded on Wisdom--The Equality of Man--Plutarch--
  Proscription of Sylla--Demosthenes and Cicero Compared       703-832


  Extent of the Tombs--An Acre and a quarter in a Tomb--
  Sculpturings--Painting--Burying According to Rank--Mummies--
  Mummy Cases and Sarcophagi--Roman Tombs--Inscriptions--_The
  Catacombs_ (_Page 873-910_)--Inscriptions--Catacombs--Christian
  Inscriptions--Early Inscriptions--Catacombs, nearly 900 miles
  long--Utensils from the Catacombs--Paintings--S. Calixtus--Lord's
  Supper                                                       833-910


  The Assyrian and Babylonian Discoveries--1100 Christian
  Inscriptions--The use of the Bible for Excavators--Accordance
  with Ancient Writings--Frieze from the Arch of Titus--No Book
  produced by Chance--God the Author--Its Great Antiquity--The
  Pentateuch--Preservation of the Scripture--Its Important
  Discoveries--Its Peculiar Style--Its Harmony--Its Impartiality--
  Its Prophecies--Its Important Doctrines--Its Holy Tendency--Its
  Aims--Its Effects--Its General Reception--Persecuted but not
  Persecuting                                                  911-944

    [Page Decoration]

    [Page Decoration]



DESTRUCTION OF POMPEII                                              17

VIEW OF POMPEII. (_From a Photograph_)                              23

PLAN OF A ROMAN HOUSE                                               28

VESTIBULE OF A POMPEIAN HOUSE                                       30

TRICLINIUM OR DINING-ROOM                                           33

HERCULES DRUNK. (_From Pompeii_)                                    37

DISCOVERED BODY AT POMPEII                                          51


WALL PAINTING AT POMPEII                                            69

HOUSEHOLD UTENSILS                                                  72

RESTAURANT. (_From Wall Painting_)                                  77

BED AND TABLE AT POMPEII. (_From Wall Painting_)                    78

PLAN OF A TRICLINIUM                                                79

HEAD OF CIRCE                                                       81

KITCHEN FURNITURE AT POMPEII                                        84

BROOCHES OF GOLD FOUND AT POMPEII                                   98

SCALES FOUND AT POMPEII                                            100

WALL PAINTING FOUND AT POMPEII                                     105

GOLD BREASTPINS FOUND AT POMPEII                                   114

A LABORATORY, AS FOUND IN POMPEII                                  117

FIRST WALLS DISCOVERED IN POMPEII                                  118

VIEW OF THE AMPHITHEATRE AT POMPEII                                121

COLISEUM OF ROME                                                   128

EXAMINING THE WOUNDED                                              133

ASKING PARDON                                                      135

NOT GRANTED                                                        135

COMBATS WITH BEASTS                                                137

VIEW OF THE TEPIDARIUM                                             151

ANCIENT BATH ROOM. (_As Discovered_)                               155

EGYPTIAN VASES                                                     173

SOCIAL ENJOYMENT OF WOMEN. (_From an Ancient Painting_)            205

GOLD PINS                                                          220

SHAWL OR TOGA PIN                                                  220

PEARL SET PINS                                                     221

STONE SET BROOCHES                                                 224

HAIR DRESS. (_From Pompeii_)                                       227

TOILET ARTICLES FOUND AT POMPEII                                   231

WREATH OF OAK. (_Life Saving_)                                     247

TABULÆ, CALAMUS, AND PAPYRUS                                       283

TABULÆ, STYLUS, AND PAPYRUS                                        283

TABULÆ AND INK STAND                                               284

LIBRARIES AND MONEY                                                284

GOLD LAMP. (_Found at Pompeii_)                                    287

CANDELABRUM, OR LAMP STAND                                         289

CANDELABRA, OR LAMP STANDS                                         290

STANDING LAMP                                                      293

ANCIENT LAMPS                                                      293

SCALES AND WEIGHTS                                                 295

VESSELS. (_From Pompeii_)                                          296

DRINKING VESSEL                                                    297

GLASS VESSELS. (_From Pompeii_)                                    302

CUPS AND METALS                                                    304

GOLD JEWELRY. (_From Pompeii_)                                     305

HEAVY GOLD PINS                                                    306

BROOCHES INSET WITH STONE                                          307

SAFETY TOGA PINS                                                   308

PLUNDERING CORINTH                                                 317

GREEK VASE                                                         321

ETRUSCAN VASE                                                      324

ROMAN VASES                                                        325

VASE REPRESENTING A MARRIAGE. (_Found at Pompeii_)                 328

VASE REPRESENTING TROJAN WAR. (_Found at Pompeii_)                 333

VASE. (_Found at Pompeii_)                                         334

VASE REPRESENTING GREEK SACRIFICE                                  336

VASE 2,000 YEARS OLD                                               337

SILVER PLATTER                                                     339

SILVER CUP. (_Found at Hildesheim_)                                340

VASE OF THE FIRST CENTURY                                          341

DISH OF THE FIRST CENTURY                                          341

ANCIENT GLASS VESSELS                                              346

GLASS BROOCH                                                       347

IMITATION OF REAL STONE                                            348

ANCIENT EGYPTIAN POTTERY                                           350

MILL AND BAKERY AT POMPEII                                         365

BREAD DISCOVERED IN POMPEII                                        371

METALS AND BEADS                                                   389

TERRA-COTTA LAMPS                                                  394

BRONZE LAMPS                                                       394

GOLDEN CUPS OF PRIAM. (_Found at Troy_)                            396


FROM PALACE OF PRIAM                                               400

LIDS AND METALS OF PRIAM                                           401

TREASURES OF PRIAM. (_Found at Troy_)                              404

PART OF MACHINE OF PRIAM                                           406

JEWELRY OF GOLD AND STONES                                         406

VESSEL FOUND IN THE PALACE OF PRIAM                                407

SHIELD OF THE PALACE OF PRIAM                                      408

GOLD NECKLACE OF TROY                                              409

GOLD TASSELS OF TROY                                               409

LAMPS FOUND AT TROY                                                409

STUDS AND BRACELETS OF PRIAM                                       411

GOLD PINS WITH SET GEMS                                            411

GOLD EAR-RINGS OF TROY                                             412

SPEARS, LANCES, AX AND CHAIN                                       415

SHEARS, KNIVES AND SPEARS                                          415

LANCES FOUND AT PALACE OF PRIAM, TROY                              416

COINS OR METALS                                                    418

ELEGANT BROOCH OF TROY                                             421

LAMP FOUND AT TROY                                                 422

PALACE OF SENNACHERIB                                              427

DISCOVERED IN THE PALACE                                           435

VIEW OF A HALL                                                     445

COLUMNS OF KARNAC                                                  463

THE GREAT PYRAMIDS AND SPHINX                                      469

RUINS OF BAALBEC                                                   473

VIEW OF THE PANTHEON AT ROME                                       475

PANTHEON AT ROME                                                   477

HALF SECTION OF THE PANTHEON                                       478

OBELISK OF HELIOPOLIS                                              481

JUPITER. (_or Zeus_)                                               491

APOLLO. (_From an Ancient Sculpture_)                              495

PLUTO AND HIS WIFE                                                 503

CERES. (_or Demeter. From Pompeii Wall Painting_)                  512

JUNO. (_or Here_)                                                  516

DIANA. (_or Artemis_)                                              520

VULCAN. (_or Hephaistos_)                                          526

MINERVA. (_or Pallas Athene. Found at Pompeii_)                    530

ANCIENT SCULPTURING ON TANTALOS                                    537

URANIA. (_Muse of Astronomy_)                                      538

JUPITER. (_or Zeus with his Thunderbolt_)                          544

THALIA, THE MUSE                                                   550

LAOCOON, THE FALSE PRIEST                                          555

GRECIAN ALTAR. (_3000 years old_)                                  563

THEMIS. (_Goddess of Law_)                                         565

EUTERPE. (_Muse of Pleasure_)                                      577

THALIA. (_Muse of Comedy_)                                         584

NUMA POMPILIUS VISITING THE NYMPH EGERIA                           591

POLYHYMNIA. (_Muse of Rhetoric_)                                   603

SPHINX OF EGYPT                                                    607

CALLIOPE. (_Muse of Heroic Verse_)                                 614

THE ORIGIN OF MAN                                                  617

ERATE. (_Muse of the Lute_)                                        623

TERPSICHORE. (_Muse of Dancing_)                                   625

ANCIENT SACRIFICE. (_From Wall Painting of Pompeii_)               631

MELPOMENE. (_Muse of Tragedy_)                                     639

CLIO. (_Muse of History_)                                          642

ANCIENT ART AND LITERATURE                                         645

PAINTING. (_2600 years old_)                                       655

DYING GLADIATOR                                                    689

MOSAIC FLOOR                                                       696

MOSAIC DOVES                                                       697

APOLLO CHARMING NATURE                                             701

ANCIENT AUTHORS                                                    709

LIBRARY OF HERCULANEUM                                             723

TROJAN HEROES                                                      735

ANCIENT METAL ENGRAVING                                            745

SOCRATES DRINKING THE POISON                                       762

FROM ANCIENT SCULPTURING                                           775

KING PHILIP. (_of Macedon_)                                        784

AUGUSTUS CÆSAR. (_Found at Pompeii_)                               795

JULIUS CÆSAR. (_From an Ancient Sculpturing_)                      805

VIRGIL AND HORACE                                                  813

EUCLID                                                             824

ALEXANDER SEVERUS                                                  831

EGYPTIAN TOMB                                                      835

SARCOPHAGUS, OR COFFIN. (_With Noah's Ark Cut in Relief
  on the Outside_)                                                 841

COFFIN OF ALABASTER. (_Features of the Deceased Sculptured_)       843

DISCOVERED TOMB WITH ITS TREASURES. (_At Pompeii_)                 847

ARTICLES FOUND IN A TOMB                                           852

HIEROGLYPHICS                                            857, 858, 859

EGYPTIAN PILLAR                                                    862

EGYPTIAN COLUMN                                                    867

SECTIONS OF THE CATACOMBS WITH CHAMBERS                            874

PLAN OF THE CATACOMBS AT ROME                                      875

STONE COFFIN                                                       878

STONE COFFIN WITH OPEN SIDE                                        879

INSIDE VIEW OF THE CATACOMBS                                       881

LAMPS FOUND IN THE CATACOMBS                                       884

TOMB INSCRIPTION                                                   896

PAINTED CEILING                                                    906

CHAMBER OF A CATACOMB                                              909

FRIEZE FROM THE ARCH OF TITUS                                      916

PENTATEUCH, WRITTEN 3200 YEARS AGO                                 921


PORTRAIT OF REHOBOAM                                               936

    [Page Decoration]

    [Page Decoration]


    "And thou hast walked about, (how strange a story!)
    In Thebes' streets three thousand years ago,
    When the Memnonium was in all its glory,
    And time had not begun to overthrow
    Those temples, palaces and piles stupendous,
    Of which the very ruins are tremendous.

    "Perhaps that very hand now pinioned flat,
    Has hob-a-nobbed with Pharaoh, glass to glass;
    Or dropped a half-penny in Homer's hat;
    Or doffed thine own to let Queen Dido pass;
    Or held, by Solomon's own invitation,
    A torch at the great Temple's dedication.

    "Thou couldst develop--if that withered tongue
    Could tell us what those sightless orbs have seen--
    How the world looked when it was fresh and young
    And the great deluge still had left it green;
    Or was it then so old that history's pages
    Contained no record of its early ages?

    "Since first thy form was in this box extended
    We have, above ground, seen some strange mutations;
    The Roman Empire has begun and ended,
    New worlds have risen--we have lost old nations;
    And countless kings have into dust been humbled,
    While not a fragment of thy flesh has crumbled.

    "If the tomb's secrets may not be confessed,
    The nature of thy private life unfold:
    A heart has throbbed beneath that leathern breast,
    And tears adown that dusty cheek have rolled;
    Have children climbed those knees and kissed that face?
    What was thy name and station, age and race?"


    "Child of the later days! thy words have broken
    A spell that long has bound these lungs of clay,
    For since this smoke-dried tongue of mine hath spoken,
    Three thousand tedious years have rolled away.
    Unswathed at length, I 'stand at ease' before ye.
    List, then. O list, while I unfold my story."
       *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

    [Page Decoration]

    [Page Decoration]


    [Illustration: DESTRUCTION OF POMPEII.]

Pompeii was in its full glory at the commencement of the Christian
era. It was a city of wealth and refinement, with about 35,000
inhabitants, and beautifully located at the foot of Mount Vesuvius; it
possessed all local advantages that the most refined taste could
desire. Upon the verge of the sea, at the entrance of a fertile plain,
on the bank of a navigable river, it united the conveniences of a
commercial town with the security of a military station, and the
romantic beauty of a spot celebrated in all ages for its pre-eminent
loveliness. Its environs, even to the heights of Vesuvius, were
covered with villas, and the coast, all the way to Naples, was so
ornamented with gardens and villages, that the shores of the whole
gulf appeared as one city.

What an enchanting picture must have presented itself to one
approaching Pompeii by sea! He beheld the bright, cheerful Grecian
temples spreading out on the slopes before him; the pillared Forum;
the rounded marble Theatres. He saw the grand Palaces descending to
the very edge of the blue waves by noble flights of steps, surrounded
with green pines, laurels and cypresses, from amidst whose dark
foliage marble statues of gods gleamed whitely.

The skillful architect, the sculptors, the painters, and the casters
of bronze were all employed to make Pompeii an asylum of arts; all
trades and callings endeavored to grace and beautify the city. The
prodigious concourse of strangers who came here in search of health
and recreation added new charms and life to the scene.

But behind all this, and encased as it were in a frame, the landscape
rose in a gentle slope to the summit of the thundering mountain. But
indications were not wanting of the peril with which the city was
threatened. The whole district is volcanic; and a few years before the
final catastrophe, an earthquake had shaken Pompeii to its
foundations; some of the buildings were much injured. On August 24,
A.D. 79, the inhabitants were busily engaged in repairing the damage
thus wrought, when suddenly and without any previous warning a vast
column of black smoke burst from the overhanging mountain. Rising to a
prodigious height in the cloudless summer sky, it then gradually
spread out like the head of some mighty Italian pine, hiding the sun,
and overshadowing the earth for miles in distance.

The darkness grew into profound night, only broken by the blue and
sulphurous flashes which darted from the pitchy cloud. Soon the thick
rain of thin, light ashes, almost imperceptible to the touch, fell
upon the land. Then quickly succeeded shower of small pumice stones
and heavier ashes, and emitting stifling eruptic fumes. After a time
the sounds of approaching torrent were heard, and soon streaming
rivers of dense black mud poured slowly but irresistibly down the
mountain sides, and circled through the streets, insidiously creeping
into such recesses as even the subtle ashes had failed to penetrate.
There was now no place of shelter left. No man could defend himself
against this double enemy. It was too late for flight for such as had
remained behind. Those who had taken refuge in the innermost parts of
the houses, or in the subterranean passages, were closed up forever.
Those who sought to flee through the streets were clogged by the
small, loose pumice stones, which lay many feet deep, or were
entangled and overwhelmed in the mud-streams, or were struck down by
the rocks which fell from the heavens. If they escaped these dangers,
blinded by the drifting ashes and groping in the dark, not knowing
which way to go, they were overcome by the sulphurous vapors, and
sinking on the highway were soon buried beneath the volcanic matter.
Even many who had gained the open country, at the beginning of the
eruption, were overtaken by the darkness and falling cinders, and
perished miserably in the field or on the sea-shore, where they had
vainly sought the means of flight.

In three days the doomed city had disappeared. It lay buried beneath a
vast mass of ashes, pumice stone and hardened mud, from twenty to
seventy feet deep. Those of its terror-stricken inhabitants who
escaped destruction, abandoned forever its desolate site. Years,
generations, centuries went by, and the existence of Pompeii--yea,
even its very name--had ceased to be remembered. The rich volcanic
soil became covered with a profusion of vegetation. Vineyards
flourished and houses were built on the site of the buried city.

Nearly eighteen hundred years had elapsed since the thunderer Vesuvius
had thrown the black mantle of ashes over the fair city before the
resuscitation arrived. Some antique bronzes and utensils, discovered
by a peasant, excited universal attention. Excavations were begun,
and Pompeii, shaking off as it were her musty grave clothes, stared
from the classic and poetical age of the first into the prosaic modern
world of the nineteenth century. The world was startled, and looked
with wondering interest to see this ancient stranger arising from her
tomb--to behold the awakening of the remote past from the womb of the
earth which had so long hoarded it.

The excavation has been assiduously prosecuted, until to-day three
hundred and sixty houses, temples, theatres, schools, stores,
factories, etc., have been thrown open before us with their treasured
contents. It is often, but erroneously, supposed that Pompeii, like
Herculaneum, was overwhelmed by a flood of lava. Had this been the
case, the work of excavation would have been immensely more difficult,
and the result would have been far less important. The marbles must
have been calcined, the bronzes melted, the frescoes effaced, and
smaller articles destroyed by the fiery flood. The ruin was effected
by showers of dust and scoriæ, and by torrents of liquid mud, which
formed a mould, encasing the objects, thus preserving them from injury
or decay. We thus gain a perfect picture of what a Roman city was
eighteen hundred years ago, as everything is laid bare to us in almost
a perfect state.

What wealth of splendid vessels and utensils was contained in the
chests and closets! Gold and gilded ivory, pearls and precious stones
were used to decorate tables, chairs and vessels for eating and
drinking. Elegant lamps hung from the ceiling, and candelabra and
little lamps of most exquisite shapes illuminated the apartments at
night. To-day, looking at the walls, the eyes may feast on beautiful
fresco paintings, with colors so vivid and fresh as if painted but
yesterday; while gleaming everywhere on ceiling, wall and floor, are
marbles of rarest hue, sculptured into every conceivable form of grace
and beauty, and inlaid in most artistic designs.


We will now proceed to describe the general aspect of the city, and
for this purpose it will be convenient to suppose that we have entered
it by the gate of Herculaneum, though in other respects the Porta
della Marina is the more usual and, perhaps, the best entrance.

On entering, the visitor finds himself in a street, running a little
east of south, which leads to the Forum. To the right, stands a house
formerly owned by a musician; to the left, a thermopolium or shop for
hot drinks; beyond is the house of the Vestals; beyond this the
custom-house; and a little further on, where another street runs into
this one from the north at a very acute angle, stands a public
fountain. In the last-named street is a surgeon's house; at least one
so named from the quantity of surgical instruments found in it, all
made of bronze. On the right or western side of the street, by which
we entered, the houses, as we have said, are built on the declivity of
a rock, and are several stories high.

The fountain is about one hundred and fifty yards from the city gate.
About the same distance, further on, the street divides into two; the
right-hand turning seems a by-street, the left-hand turning conducts
you to the Forum. The most important feature in this space is a house
called the house of Sallust or of Actæon, from a painting in it
representing that hunter's death. It stands on an area about forty
yards square, and is encompassed on three sides by streets; by that
namely which we have been describing, by another nearly parallel to
it, and by a third, perpendicular to these two. The whole quarter at
present excavated, as far as the Street of the Baths, continued by the
Street of Fortune, is divided, by six longitudinal and one transverse
street, into what the Romans called islands, or insulated masses of
houses. Two of these are entirely occupied by the houses of Pansa and
of the Faun, which, with their courts and gardens, are about one
hundred yards long by forty wide.

From the Street of the Baths and that of Fortune, which bound these
islands on the south, two streets lead to the two corners of the
Forum; between them are baths, occupying nearly the whole island.
Among other buildings are a milk-shop and gladiatorial school. At the
northeast corner of the Forum was a triumphal arch. At the end of the
Street of the Baths and beginning of that of Fortune, another
triumphal arch is still to be made out, spanning the street of
Mercury, so that this was plainly the way of state into the city. The
Forum is distant from the gate of Herculaneum about four hundred
yards. Of it we shall give a full description in its place. Near the
south-eastern corner two streets enter it, one running to the south,
the other to the east. We will follow the former for about eighty
yards, when it turns eastward for two hundred yards, and conducts us
to the quarter of the theatres. The other street, which runs eastward
from the Forum, is of more importance, and is called the Street of the
Silversmiths;[1] at the end of which a short street turns southwards,
and meets the other route to the theatres. On both these routes the
houses immediately bordering on the streets are cleared; but between
them is a large rectangular plot of unexplored ground. Two very
elegant houses at the southwest corner of the Forum were uncovered by
the French general Championnet, while in command at Naples, and are
known by his name. On the western side of the Forum two streets led
down towards the sea; the excavations here consist almost entirely of
public buildings, which will be described hereafter.

    [Illustration: VIEW OF POMPEII. (_From a photograph._)]

The quarter of the theatres comprises a large temple, called the
Temple of Neptune or Hercules, a temple of Isis, a temple of
Æsculapius, two theatres, the Triangular Forum, and the quarters of
the soldiers or gladiators. On the north and east it is bounded by
streets; to the south and west it seems to have been enclosed partly
by the town walls, partly by its own. Here the continuous excavation
ends, and we must cross vineyards to the amphitheatre, about five
hundred and fifty yards distant from the theatre, in the southeast
corner of the city, close to the walls, and in an angle formed by
them. Close to the amphitheatre are traces of walls supposed to have
belonged to a Forum Boarium, or cattle market. Near at hand, a
considerable building, called the villa of Julia Felix, has been
excavated and filled up again. On the walls of it was discovered the
following inscription, which may serve to convey an idea of the wealth
of some of the Pompeian proprietors:

                   S. Q. D. L. E. N. C.

That is: "On the estate of Julia Felix, daughter of Spurius, are to be
let a bath, a venereum, nine hundred shops, with booths and garrets,
for a term of five continuous years, from the first to the sixth of
the Ides of August." The formula, S. Q. D. L. E. N. C., with which the
advertisement concludes, is thought to stand for--si quis domi
lenocinium exerceat ne conducito: "let no one apply who keeps a

A little to the south of the smaller theatre was discovered, in 1851,
the Gate of Stabiæ. Hence a long straight street, which has been
called the Street of Stabiæ, traversed the whole breadth of the city,
till it issued out on the northern side at the gate of Vesuvius. It
has been cleared to the point where it intersects the Streets of
Fortune and of Nola, which, with the Street of the Baths, traverse the
city in its length. The Street of Stabiæ forms the boundary of the
excavations; all that part of Pompeii which lies to the east of it,
with the exception of the amphitheatre, and the line forming the
Street of Nola, being still occupied by vineyards and cultivated
fields. On the other hand, that part of the city lying to the west of
it has been for the most part disinterred; though there are still some
portions lying to the south and west of the Street of Abundance and
the Forum, and to the east of the Vico Storto, which remain to be

The streets of Pompeii are paved with large irregular pieces of lava
joined neatly together, in which the chariot wheels have worn ruts,
still discernible; in some places they are an inch and a half deep,
and in the narrow streets follow one track; where the streets are
wider, the ruts are more numerous and irregular. The width of the
streets varies from eight or nine feet to about twenty-two, including
the footpaths or trottoirs. In many places they are so narrow that
they may be crossed at one stride; where they are wider, a raised
stepping-stone, and sometimes two or three, have been placed in the
centre of the crossing. These stones, though in the middle of the
carriage way, did not much inconvenience those who drove about in the
biga, or two-horsed chariot, as the wheels passed freely in the spaces
left, while the horses, being loosely harnessed, might either have
stepped over the stones or passed by the sides. The curb-stones are
elevated from one foot to eighteen inches, and separate the
foot-pavement from the road. Throughout the city there is hardly a
street unfurnished with this convenience. Where there is width to
admit of a broad foot-path, the interval between the curb and the line
of building is filled up with earth, which has then been covered over
with stucco, and sometimes with a coarse mosaic of brickwork. Here and
there traces of this sort of pavement still remain, especially in
those streets which were protected by porticoes.

    [Page Decoration]

    [Page Decoration]


We will now give an account of some of the most remarkable private
houses which have been disinterred; of the paintings, domestic
utensils, and other articles found in them; and such information upon
the domestic manners of the ancient Italians as may seem requisite to
the illustration of these remains. This branch of our subject is not
less interesting, nor less extensive than the other. Temples and
theatres, in equal preservation, and of greater splendor than those at
Pompeii, may be seen in many places; but towards acquainting us with
the habitations, the private luxuries and elegancies of ancient life,
not all the scattered fragments of domestic architecture which exist
elsewhere have done so much as this city, with its fellow-sufferer,

Towards the last years of the republic, the Romans naturalized the
arts of Greece among themselves; and Grecian architecture came into
fashion at Rome, as we may learn, among other sources, from the
letters of Cicero to Atticus, which bear constant testimony to the
strong interest which he took in ornamenting his several houses, and
mention Cyrus, his Greek architect. At this time immense fortunes were
easily made from the spoils of new conquests, or by peculation and
maladministration of subject provinces, and the money thus ill and
easily acquired was squandered in the most lavish luxury. One favorite
mode of indulgence was in splendor of building. Lucius Cassius was the
first who ornamented his house with columns of foreign marble; they
were only six in number, and twelve feet high. He was soon surpassed
by Scaurus, who placed in his house columns of the black marble called
Lucullian, thirty-eight feet high, and of such vast and unusual weight
that the superintendent of sewers, as we are told by Pliny,[2] took
security for any injury which might happen to the works under his
charge, before they were suffered to be conveyed along the streets.
Another prodigal, by name Mamurra, set the example of lining his rooms
with slabs of marble. The best estimate, however, of the growth of
architectural luxury about this time may be found in what we are told
by Pliny, that, in the year of Rome 676, the house of Lepidus was the
finest in the city, and thirty-five years later it was not the
hundredth.[3] We may mention, as an example of the lavish expenditure
of the Romans, that Domitius Ahenobarbus offered for the house of
Crassus a sum amounting to near $242,500, which was refused by the
owner.[4] Nor were they less extravagant in their country houses. We
may again quote Cicero, whose attachment to his Tusculan and Formian
villas, and interest in ornamenting them, even in the most perilous
times, is well known. Still more celebrated are the villas of Lucullus
and Pollio; of the latter some remains are still to be seen near

Augustus endeavored by his example to check this extravagant passion,
but he produced little effect. And in the palaces of the emperors, and
especially the Aurea Domus, the Golden House of Nero, the domestic
architecture of Rome, or, we might probably say, of the world, reached
its extreme.

The arrangement of the houses, though varied, of course, by local
circumstances, and according to the rank and circumstances of the
master, was pretty generally the same in all. The principal rooms,
differing only in size and ornament, recur everywhere; those
supplemental ones, which were invented only for convenience or luxury,
vary according to the tastes and circumstances of the master.

    [Illustration: GROUND PLAN OF A ROMAN HOUSE.]

The private part comprised the peristyle, bed-chambers, triclinium,
œci, picture-gallery, library, baths, exedra, xystus, etc. We proceed
to explain the meaning of these terms.

Before great mansions there was generally a court or area, upon which
the portico opened, either surrounding three sides of the area, or
merely running along the front of the house. In smaller houses the
portico ranged even with the street. Within the portico, or if there
was no portico, opening directly to the street, was the vestibule,
consisting of one or more spacious apartments. It was considered to be
without the house, and was always open for the reception of those who
came to wait there until the doors should be opened. The prothyrum, in
Greek architecture, was the same as the vestibule. In Roman
architecture, it was a passage-room, between the outer or house-door
which opened to the vestibule, and an inner door which closed the
entrance of the atrium. In the vestibule, or in an apartment opening
upon it, the porter, _ostiarius_, usually had his seat.

The atrium, or cavædium, for they appear to have signified the same
thing, was the most important, and usually the most splendid apartment
of the house. Here the owner received his crowd of morning visitors,
who were not admitted to the inner apartments. The term is thus
explained by Varro: "The hollow of the house (cavum ædium) is a
covered place within the walls, left open to the common use of all. It
is called Tuscan, from the Tuscans, after the Romans began to imitate
their cavædium. The word atrium is derived from the Atriates, a
people of Tuscany, from whom the pattern of it was taken." Originally,
then, the atrium was the common room of resort for the whole family,
the place of their domestic occupations; and such it probably
continued in the humbler ranks of life. A general description of it
may easily be given. It was a large apartment, roofed over, but with
an opening in the centre, called _compluvium_, towards which the roof
sloped, so as to throw the rain-water into a cistern in the floor
called _impluvium_.

The roof around the compluvium was edged with a row of highly
ornamented tiles, called antefixes, on which a mask or some other
figure was moulded. At the corners there were usually spouts, in the
form of lions' or dogs' heads, or any fantastical device which the
architect might fancy, which carried the rain-water clear out into the
impluvium, whence it passed into cisterns; from which again it was
drawn for household purposes. For drinking, river-water, and still
more, well-water, was preferred. Often the atrium was adorned with
fountains, supplied through leaden or earthenware pipes, from
aqueducts or other raised heads of water; for the Romans knew the
property of fluids, which causes them to stand at the same height in
communicating vessels. This is distinctly recognized by Pliny,[5]
though their common use of aqueducts, in preference to pipes, has led
to a supposition that this great hydrostatical principle was unknown
to them. The breadth of the impluvium, according to Vitruvius, was not
less than a quarter, nor greater than a third, of the whole breadth of
the atrium; its length was regulated by the same standard. The opening
above it was often shaded by a colored veil, which diffused a softened
light, and moderated the intense heat of an Italian sun.[6] The
splendid columns of the house of Scaurus, at Rome, were placed, as we
learn from Pliny,[7] in the atrium of his house. The walls were
painted with landscapes or arabesques--a practice introduced about the
time of Augustus--or lined with slabs of foreign and costly marbles,
of which the Romans were passionately fond. The pavement was composed
of the same precious material, or of still more valuable mosaics.


The tablinum was an appendage of the atrium, and usually entirely open
to it. It contained, as its name imports,[8] the family archives, the
statues, pictures, genealogical tables, and other relics of a long
line of ancestors.

Alæ, wings, were similar but smaller apartments, or rather recesses,
on each side of the further part of the atrium. Fauces, jaws, were
passages, more especially those which passed to the interior of the
house from the atrium.

In houses of small extent, strangers were lodged in chambers which
surrounded and opened into the atrium. The great, whose connections
spread into the provinces, and who were visited by numbers who, on
coming to Rome, expected to profit by their hospitality, had usually a
_hospitium_, or place of reception for strangers, either separate, or
among the dependencies of their palaces.

Of the private apartments the first to be mentioned is the peristyle,
which usually lay behind the atrium, and communicated with it both
through the tablinum and by fauces. In its general plan it resembled
the atrium, being in fact a court, open to the sky in the middle, and
surrounded by a colonnade, but it was larger in its dimensions, and
the centre court was often decorated with shrubs and flowers and
fountains, and was then called _xystus_. It should be greater in
extent when measured transversely than in length,[9] and the
intercolumniations should not exceed four, nor fall short of three
diameters of the columns.

Of the arrangement of the bed-chambers we know little. They seem to
have been small and inconvenient. When there was room they had usually
a procœton, or ante-chamber. Vitruvius recommends that they should
face the east, for the benefit of the early sun. One of the most
important apartments in the whole house was the triclinium, or
dining-room, so named from the three beds, which encompassed the table
on three sides, leaving the fourth open to the attendants. The
prodigality of the Romans in matters of eating is well known, and it
extended to all matters connected with the pleasures of the table. In
their rooms, their couches, and all the furniture of their
entertainments, magnificence and extravagance were carried to their
highest point. The rich had several of these apartments, to be used at
different seasons, or on various occasions. Lucullus, celebrated for
his wealth and profuse expenditure, had a certain standard of
expenditure for each triclinium, so that when his servants were told
which hall he was to sup in, they knew exactly the style of
entertainment to be prepared; and there is a well-known story of the
way in which he deceived Pompey and Cicero, when they insisted on
going home with him to see his family supper, by merely sending word
home that he would sup in the Apollo, one of the most splendid of his
halls, in which he never gave an entertainment for less than 50,000
denarii, about $8,000. Sometimes the ceiling was contrived to open and
let down a second course of meats, with showers of flowers and
perfumed waters, while rope-dancers performed their evolutions over
the heads of the company. The performances of these _funambuli_ are
frequently represented in paintings at Pompeii. Mazois, in his work
entitled "Le Palais de Scaurus," has given a fancy picture of the
habitation of a Roman noble of the highest class, in which he has
embodied all the scattered notices of domestic life, which a diligent
perusal of the Latin writers has enabled him to collect. His
description of the triclinium of Scaurus will give the reader the best
notion of the style in which such an apartment was furnished and
ornamented. For each particular in the description he quotes some
authority. We shall not, however, encumber our pages with references
to a long list of books not likely to be in the possession of most

"Bronze lamps,[10] dependent from chains of the same metal, or raised
on richly-wrought candelabra, threw around the room a brilliant light.
Slaves set apart for this service watched them, trimmed the wicks, and
from time to time supplied them with oil.

"The triclinium is twice as long as it is broad, and divided, as it
were, into two parts--the upper occupied by the table and the couches,
the lower left empty for the convenience of the attendants and
spectators. Around the former the walls, up to a certain height, are
ornamented with valuable hangings. The decorations of the rest of the
room are noble, and yet appropriate to its destination; garlands,
entwined with ivy and vine-branches, divide the walls into
compartments bordered with fanciful ornaments; in the centre of each
of which are painted with admirable elegance young Fauns, or
half-naked Bacchantes, carrying thyrsi, vases and all the furniture of
festive meetings. Above the columns is a large frieze, divided into
twelve compartments; each of these is surmounted by one of the signs
of the Zodiac, and contains paintings of the meats which are in
highest season in each month; so that under Sagittary (December), we
see shrimps, shell-fish, and birds of passage; under Capricorn
(January), lobsters, sea-fish, wild-boar and game; under Aquarius
(February), ducks, plovers, pigeons, water-rails, etc.

    [Illustration: TRICLINIUM.]

"The table, made of citron wood[11] from the extremity of Mauritania,
more precious than gold, rested upon ivory feet, and was covered by a
plateau of massive silver, chased and carved, weighing five hundred
pounds. The couches, which would contain thirty persons, were made of
bronze overlaid with ornaments in silver, gold and tortoise-shell; the
mattresses of Gallic wool, dyed purple; the valuable cushions,
stuffed with feathers, were covered with stuffs woven and embroidered
with silk mixed with threads of gold. Chrysippus told us that they
were made at Babylon, and had cost four millions of sesterces.[12]

"The mosaic pavement, by a singular caprice of the architect,
represented all the fragments of a feast, as if they had fallen in
common course on the floor; so that at the first glance the room
seemed not to have been swept since the last meal, and it was called
from hence, _asarotos oikos_, the unswept saloon. At the bottom of the
hall were set out vases of Corinthian brass. This triclinium, the
largest of four in the palace of Scaurus, would easily contain a table
of sixty covers;[13] but he seldom brings together so large a number
of guests, and when on great occasions he entertains four or five
hundred persons, it is usually in the atrium. This eating-room is
reserved for summer; he has others for spring, autumn, and winter, for
the Romans turn the change of season into a source of luxury. His
establishment is so appointed that for each triclinium he has a great
number of tables of different sorts, and each table has its own
service and its particular attendants.

"While waiting for their masters, young slaves strewed over the
pavement saw-dust dyed with saffron and vermilion, mixed with a
brilliant powder made from the lapis specularis, or talc."

Pinacotheca, the picture-gallery, and Bibliotheca, the library, need
no explanation. The latter was usually small, as a large number of
rolls (_volumina_) could be contained within a narrow space.

Exedra bore a double signification. It is either a seat, intended to
contain a number of persons, like those before the Gate of
Herculaneum, or a spacious hall for conversation and the general
purposes of society. In the public baths, the word is especially
applied to those apartments which were frequented by the philosophers.

Such was the arrangement, such the chief apartments of a Roman house;
they were on the ground-floor, the upper stories being for the most
part left to the occupation of slaves, freedmen, and the lower
branches of the family. We must except, however, the terrace upon the
top of all (solarium), a favorite place of resort, often adorned with
rare flowers and shrubs, planted in huge cases of earth, and with
fountains and trellises, under which the evening meal might at
pleasure be taken.

The reader will not, of course, suppose that in all houses all these
apartments were to be found, and in the same order. From the confined
dwelling of the tradesman to the palace of the patrician, all degrees
of accommodation and elegance were to be found. The only object of
this long catalogue is to familiarize the reader with the general type
of those objects which we are about to present to him, and to explain
at once, and collectively, those terms of art which will be of most
frequent occurrence.

The reader will gain a clear idea of a Roman house from the
ground-plan of that of Diomedes, given a little further on, which is
one of the largest and most regularly constructed at Pompeii.

We may here add a few observations, derived, as well as much of the
preceding matter, from the valuable work of Mazois, relative to the
materials and method of construction of the Pompeian houses. Every
species of masonry described by Vitruvius, it is said, may here be met
with; but the cheapest and most durable sorts have been generally

Copper, iron, lead, have been found employed for the same purposes as
those for which we now use them. Iron is more plentiful than copper,
contrary to what is generally observed in ancient works. It is
evident from articles of furniture, etc., found in the ruins, that the
Italians were highly skilled in the art of working metals, yet they
seem to have excelled in ornamental work, rather than in the solid and
neat construction of useful articles. For instance, their lock-work is
coarse, hardly equal to that which is now executed in the same
country; while the external ornaments of doors, bolts, handles, etc.,
are elegantly wrought.

The first private house that we will describe is found by passing down
a street from the Street of Abundance. The visitor finds on the right,
just beyond the back wall of the Thermæ Stabianæ, the entrance of a
handsome dwelling. An inscription in red letters on the outside wall
containing the name of Siricus has occasioned the conjecture that this
was the name of the owner of the house; while a mosaic inscription on
the floor of the prothyrum, having the words SALVE LUCRU, has given
rise to a second appellation for the dwelling.

On the left of the prothyrum is an apartment with two doors, one
opening on a wooden staircase leading to an upper floor, the other
forming the entry to a room next the street, with a window like that
described in the other room next the prothyrum. The walls of this
chamber are white, divided by red and yellow zones into compartments,
in which are depicted the symbols of the principal deities--as the
eagle and globe of Jove, the peacock of Juno, the lance, helmet and
shield of Minerva, the panther of Bacchus, a Sphinx, having near it
the mystical chest and sistrum of Isis, who was the Venus Physica of
the Pompeians, the caduceus and other emblems of Mercury, etc. There
are also two small landscapes.

Next to this is a large and handsome exedra, decorated with good
pictures, a third of the size of life. That on the left represents
Neptune and Apollo presiding at the building of Troy; the former,
armed with his trident, is seated; the latter, crowned with laurel,
is on foot, and leans with his right arm on a lyre. On the wall
opposite to this is a picture of Vulcan presenting the arms of
Achilles to Thetis. The celebrated shield is supported by Vulcan on
the anvil, and displayed to Thetis, who is seated, whilst a winged
female figure standing at her side points out to her with a rod the
marvels of its workmanship. Agreeably to the Homeric description the
shield is encircled with the signs of the zodiac, and in the middle
are the bear, the dragon, etc. On the ground are the breast-plate, the
greaves and the helmet.

    [Illustration: HERCULES DRUNK. (_From Pompeii._)]

In the third picture is seen Hercules crowned with ivy, inebriated,
and lying on the ground at the foot of a cypress tree. He is clothed
in a _sandyx_, or short transparent tunic, and has on his feet a sort
of shoes, one of which he has kicked off. He supports himself on his
left arm, while the right is raised in drunken ecstasy. A little Cupid
plucks at his garland of ivy, another tries to drag away his ample
goblet. In the middle of the picture is an altar with festoons. On the
top of it three Cupids, assisted by another who has climbed up the
tree, endeavor to bear on their shoulders the hero's quiver; while on
the ground, to the left of the altar, four other Cupids are sporting
with his club. A votive tablet with an image of Bacchus rests at the
foot of the altar, and indicates the god to whom Hercules has been

On the left of the picture, on a little eminence, is a group of three
females round a column having on its top a vase. The chief and central
figure, which is naked to the waist, has in her hand a fan; she seems
to look with interest on the drunken hero, but whom she represents it
is difficult to say. On the right, half way up a mountain, sits
Bacchus, looking on the scene with a complacency not unmixed with
surprise. He is surrounded by his usual rout of attendants, one of
whom bears a thyrsus. The annexed engraving will convey a clearer idea
of the picture, which for grace, grandeur of composition, and delicacy
and freshness of coloring, is among the best discovered at Pompeii.
The exedra is also adorned with many other paintings and ornaments
which it would be too long to describe.

On the same side of the atrium, beyond a passage leading to a kitchen
with an oven, is an elegant _triclinium fenestratum_ looking upon an
adjacent garden. The walls are black, divided by red and yellow zones,
with candelabra and architectural members intermixed with quadrupeds,
birds, dolphins, Tritons, masks, etc., and in the middle of each
compartment is a Bacchante. In each wall are three small paintings
executed with greater care. The first, which has been removed,
represented Æneas in his tent, who, accompanied by Mnestheus, Achates,
and young Ascanius, presents his thigh to the surgeon, Iapis, in order
to extract from it the barb of an arrow. Æneas supports himself with
the lance in his right hand, and leans with the other on the shoulder
of his son, who, overcome by his father's misfortune, wipes the tears
from his eyes with the hem of his robe; while Iapis, kneeling on one
leg before the hero, is intent on extracting the barb with his
forceps. But the wound is not to be healed without divine
interposition. In the background of the picture Venus is hastening to
her son's relief, bearing in her hand the branch of dictamnus, which
is to restore him to his pristine vigor.

The subject of the second picture, which is much damaged, is not easy
to be explained. It represents a naked hero, armed with sword and
spear, to whom a woman crowned with laurel and clothed in an ample
_peplum_ is pointing out another female figure. The latter expresses
by her gestures her grief and indignation at the warrior's departure,
the imminence of which is signified by the chariot that awaits him.
Signor Fiorelli thinks he recognizes in this picture Turnus, Lavinia,
and Amata, when the queen supplicates Turnus not to fight with the

The third painting represents Hermaphroditus surrounded by six nymphs,
variously employed.

From the atrium a narrow _fauces_ or corridor led into the garden.
Three steps on the left connected this part of the house with the
other and more magnificent portion having its entrance from the Strada
Stabiana. The garden was surrounded on two sides with a portico, on
the right of which are some apartments which do not require particular

The house entered at a higher level, by the three steps just
mentioned, was at first considered as a separate house, and by
Fiorelli has been called the House of the Russian Princes, from some
excavations made here in 1851 in presence of the sons of the Emperor
of Russia. The peculiarities observable in this house are that the
atrium and peristyle are broader than they are deep, and that they are
not separated by a tablinum and other rooms, but simply by a wall. In
the centre of the Tuscan atrium, entered from the Street of Stabiæ, is
a handsome marble impluvium. At the top of it is a square cippus,
coated with marble, and having a leaden pipe which flung the water
into a square vase or basin supported by a little base of white
marble, ornamented with acanthus leaves. Beside the fountain is a
table of the same material, supported by two legs beautifully
sculptured, of a chimæra and a griffin. On this table was a little
bronze group of Hercules armed with his club, and a young Phrygian
kneeling before him.

From the atrium the peristyle is entered by a large door. It is about
forty-six feet broad and thirty-six deep, and has ten columns, one of
which still sustains a fragment of the entablature. The walls were
painted in red and yellow panels alternately, with figures of Latona,
Diana, Bacchantes, etc. At the bottom of the peristyle, on the right,
is a triclinium. In the middle is a small _œcus_, with two pillars
richly ornamented with arabesques. A little apartment on the left has
several pictures.

In this house, at a height of seventeen Neapolitan palms (nearly
fifteen feet) from the level of the ground, were discovered four
skeletons together in an almost vertical position. Twelve palms lower
was another skeleton, with a hatchet near it. This man appears to have
pierced the wall of one of the small chambers of the prothyrum, and
was about to enter it, when he was smothered, either by the falling in
of the earth or by the mephitic exhalations. It has been thought that
these persons perished while engaged in searching for valuables after
the catastrophe.

In the back room of a thermopolium not far from this spot was
discovered a _graffito_ of part of the first line of the Æneid, in
which the _r_s were turned into _l_s:

                    Alma vilumque cano Tlo.

We will now return to the house of Siricus. Contiguous to it in the
Via del Lupanare is a building having two doors separated with
pilasters. By way of sign, an elephant was painted on the wall,
enveloped by a large serpent and tended by a pigmy. Above was the
inscription: Sittius restituit elephantum; and beneath the following:

    Hospitium hic locatur
    Triclinium cum tribus lectis
    Et comm.

Both the painting and the inscription have now disappeared. The
discovery is curious, as proving that the ancients used signs for
their taverns. Orelli has given in his _Inscriptions_ in Gaul, one of
a Cock (a Gallo Gallinacio). In that at Pompeii the last word stands
for "commodis." "Here is a triclinium with three beds and other

Just opposite the gate of Siricus was another house also supposed to
be a _caupona_, or tavern, from some chequers painted on the door
posts. On the wall are depicted two large serpents, the emblem so
frequently met with. They were the symbols of the Lares viales, or
compitales, and, as we have said, rendered the place sacred against
the commission of any nuisance. The cross, which is sometimes seen on
the walls of houses in a modern Italian city, serves the same purpose.
Above the serpents is the following inscription, in tolerably large
white characters: Otiosis locus hic non est, discede morator.
"Lingerer, depart; this is no place for idlers." An injunction by the
way which seems rather to militate against the idea of the house
having been a tavern.

The inscription just mentioned suggests an opportunity for giving a
short account of similar ones; we speak not of inscriptions cut in
stone, and affixed to temples and other public buildings, but such as
were either painted, scrawled in charcoal and other substances, or
scratched with a sharp point, such as a nail or knife, on the stucco
of walls and pillars. Such inscriptions afford us a peep both into the
public and the domestic life of the Pompeians. Advertisements of a
political character were commonly painted on the exterior walls in
large letters in black and red paint; poetical effusions or
pasquinades, etc., with coal or chalk (Martial, _Epig._ xii. 61, 9);
while notices of a domestic kind are more usually found in the
interior of the houses, scratched, as we have said, on the stucco,
whence they have been called _graffiti_.

The numerous political inscriptions bear testimony to the activity of
public life in Pompeii. These advertisements, which for the most part
turn on the election of ædiles, duumvirs, and other magistrates, show
that the Pompeians, at the time when their city was destroyed, were in
all the excitement of the approaching comitia for the election of such
magistrates. We shall here select a few of the more interesting
inscriptions, both relating to public and domestic matters.

It seems to have been customary to paint over old advertisements with
a coat of white, and so to obtain a fresh surface for new ones, just
as the bill-sticker remorselessly pastes his bill over that of some
brother of the brush. In some cases this new coating has been
detached, or has fallen off, thus revealing an older notice, belonging
sometimes to a period antecedent to the Social War. Inscriptions of
this kind are found only on the solid stone pillars of the more
ancient buildings, and not on the stucco, with which at a later period
almost everything was plastered. Their antiquity is further certified
by some of them being in the Oscan dialect; while those in Latin are
distinguished from more recent ones in the same language by the forms
of the letters, by the names which appear in them, and by archaisms in
grammar and orthography. Inscriptions in the Greek tongue are rare,
though the letters of the Greek alphabet, scratched on walls at a
little height from the ground, and thus evidently the work of
school-boys, show that Greek must have been extensively taught at

The normal form of electioneering advertisements contains the name of
the person recommended, the office for which he is a candidate, and
the name of the person, or persons, who recommended him, accompanied
in general with the formula O. V. F. From examples written in full,
recently discovered, it appears that these letters mean _orat_ (or
_orant_) _vos faciatis_: "beseech you to create" (ædile and so forth).
The letters in question were, before this discovery, very often
thought to stand for _orat ut faveat_, "begs him to favor;" and thus
the meaning of the inscription was entirely reversed, and the person
recommending converted into the person recommended. In the following
example for instance--_M. Holconium Priscum duumvirum juri dicundo O.
V. F. Philippus_; the meaning, according to the older interpretation,
will be: "Philippus beseeches M. Holconius Priscus, duumvir of
justice, to favor or patronize him;" whereas the true sense is:
"Philippus beseeches you to create M. Holconius Priscus a duumvir of
justice." From this misinterpretation wrong names have frequently been
given to houses; as is probably the case, for instance, with the house
of Pansa, which, from the tenor of the inscription, more probably
belonged to Paratus, who posted on his own walls a request to
passers-by to make his friend Pansa ædile. Had it been the house of
Pansa, when a candidate for the ædileship, and if it was the custom
for such candidates to post recommendatory notices on their doors, it
may be supposed that Pansa would have exhibited more than this single
one from a solitary friend. This is a more probable meaning than that
Paratus solicited in this way the patronage of Pansa; for it would
have been a bad method to gain it by disfiguring his walls in so
impertinent a manner. We do not indeed mean to deny that adulatory
inscriptions were sometimes written on the houses or doors of powerful
or popular men or pretty women. A verse of Plautus bears testimony to
such a custom (Impleantur meæ foreis elogiorum carbonibus. _Mercator_,
act ii. sc. 3). But first, the inscription on the so-called house of
Pansa was evidently not of an adulatory, but of a recommendatory
character; and secondly, those of the former kind, as we learn from
this same verse, seem to have been written by passing admirers, with
some material ready to the hand, such as charcoal or the like, and not
painted on the walls with care, and time, and expense; a proceeding
which we can hardly think the owner of the house, if he was a modest
and sensible man, would have tolerated.

Recommendations of candidates were often accompanied with a word or two
in their praise; as _dignus_, or _dignissimus est_, _probissimus_,
_juvenis integer_, _frugi_, _omni bono meritus_, and the like. Such
recommendations are sometimes subscribed by guilds or corporations, as
well as by private persons, and show that there were a great many such
trade unions at Pompeii. Thus we find mentioned the _offectores_
(dyers), _pistores_ (bakers), _aurifices_ (goldsmiths), _pomarii_
(fruiterers), _cæparii_ (green-grocers), _lignarii_ (wood merchants),
_plostrarii_ (cart-wrights), _piscicapi_ (fishermen), _agricolæ_
(husbandmen), _muliones_ (muleteers), _culinarii_ (cooks), _fullones_
(fullers), and others. Advertisements of this sort appear to have been
laid hold of as a vehicle for street wit, just as electioneering squibs
are perpetrated among ourselves. Thus we find mentioned, as if among
the companies, the _pilicrepi_ (ball-players), the _seribibi_ (late
topers), the _dormientes universi_ (all the worshipful company of
sleepers), and as a climax, _Pompeiani universi_ (all the Pompeians, to
a man, vote for so and so). One of these recommendations, purporting to
emanate from a "teacher" or "professor," runs, _Valentius cum discentes
suos_ (Valentius with his disciples); the bad grammar being probably
intended as a gibe upon one of the poor man's weak points.

The inscriptions in chalk and coal, the _graffiti_, and occasionally
painted inscriptions, contain sometimes well-known verses from poets
still extant. Some of these exhibit variations from the modern text,
but being written by not very highly educated persons, they seldom or
never present any various readings that it would be desirable to
adopt, and indeed contain now and then prosodical errors. Other
verses, some of them by no means contemptible, are either taken from
pieces now lost, or are the invention of the writer himself. Many of
these inscriptions are of course of an amatory character; some convey
intelligence of not much importance to anybody but the writer--as,
that he is troubled with a cold--or was seventeen centuries ago--or
that he considers somebody who does not invite him to supper as no
better than a brute and barbarian, or invokes blessings on the man
that does. Some are capped by another hand with a biting sarcasm on
the first writer, and many, as might be expected, are scurrilous and
indecent. Some of the _graffiti_ on the interior walls and pillars of
houses are memoranda of domestic transactions; as, how much lard was
bought, how many tunics sent to the wash, when a child or a donkey was
born, and the like. One of this kind, scratched on the wall of the
peristyle of the corner house in the _Strada della Fortuna_ and
_Vicolo degli Scienziati_, appears to be an account of the
_dispensator_ or overseer of the tasks in spinning allotted to the
female slaves of the establishment, and is interesting as furnishing
us with their names, which are Vitalis, Florentina, Amarullis,
Januaria, Heracla, Maria (M_a_ria, feminine of Marius, not Mar_i_a),
Lalagia (reminding us of Horace's Lalage), Damalis, and Doris. The
_pensum_, or weight of wool delivered to each to be spun, is spelled
_pesu_, the _n_ and final _m_ being omitted, just as we find _salve
lucru_, for _lucrum_, written on the threshold of the house of
Siricus. In this form, _pesu_ is very close to the Italian word

We have already alluded now and then to the rude etchings and
caricatures of these wall-artists, but to enter fully into the
subject of the Pompeian inscriptions and _graffiti_ would almost
demand a separate volume, and we must therefore resume the thread of
our description.

A little beyond the house of Siricus, a small street, running down at
right angles from the direction of the Forum, enters the Via del
Lupanare. Just at their junction, and having an entrance into both,
stands the Lupanar, from which the latter street derives its name. We
can not venture upon a description of this resort of Pagan immorality.
It is kept locked up, but the guide will procure the key for those who
may wish to see it. Next to it is the House of the Fuller, in which
was found the elegant little bronze statuette of Narcissus, now in the
Museum. The house contained nothing else of interest.

The Via del Lupanare terminates in the Street of the Augustals, or of
the Dried Fruits. In this latter street, nearly opposite the end of
the Via del Lupanare, but a little to the left, is the House of
Narcissus, or of the Mosaic Fountain. This house is one of recent
excavation. At the threshold is a Mosaic of a bear, with the word
_Have_. The prothyrum is painted with figures on a yellow ground. On
the left is a medallion of a satyr and nymph; the opposite medallion
is destroyed.

The atrium is paved with mosaic. The first room on the right-hand side
of it has a picture of Narcissus admiring himself in the water. The
opposite picture has a female figure seated, with a child in her arms,
and a large chest open before her. The tablinum is handsomely paved
with mosaic and marble. Behind this, in place of a peristyle, is a
court or garden, the wall of which is painted with a figure bearing a
basin. At the bottom is a handsome mosaic fountain, from which the
house derives one of its names, with a figure of Neptune surrounded by
fishes and sea-fowl; above are depicted large wild boars.

On the opposite side of the way, at the eastern angle of the Street of
the Lupanar, is the House of the Rudder and Trident, also called the
House of Mars and Venus. The first of these names is derived from the
mosaic pavement in the prothyrum, in which the objects mentioned are
represented; while a medallion picture in the atrium, with heads of
Mars and Venus, gave rise to the second appellation. The colors of
this picture are still quite fresh, a result which Signor Fiorelli
attributes to his having caused a varnish of wax to be laid over the
painting at the time of its discovery. Without some such protection
the colors of these pictures soon decay; the cinnabar, or vermilion,
especially, turns black after a few days' exposure to the light.

The atrium, as usual, is surrounded with bed-chambers. A peculiarity
not yet found in any other house is a niche or closet on the left of
the atrium, having on one side an opening only large enough to
introduce the hand, whence it has been conjectured that it served as a
receptacle for some valuable objects. It is painted inside with a wall
of quadrangular pieces of marble of various colors, terminated at top
with a cornice. In each of the squares is a fish, bird, or quadruped.

This closet or niche stands at a door of the room in which is an
entrance to a subterranean passage, having its exit in the Via del
Lupanare. There is nothing very remarkable in the other apartments of
this house. Behind is a peristyle with twelve columns, in the garden
of which shrubs are said to have been discovered in a carbonized

Further down the same Street of the Augustals, at the angle which it
forms with the Street of Stabiæ, is the house of a baker, having on
the external wall the name Modestum in red letters. For a tradesman it
seems to have been a comfortable house, having an atrium and fountain,
and some painted chambers. Beyond the atrium is a spacious court with
mills and an oven. The oven was charged with more than eighty loaves,
the forms of which are still perfect, though they are reduced to a
carbonaceous state. They are preserved in the Museum.

The narrow street to which we have alluded, as entering the Via del
Lupanare nearly opposite to the house of Siricus, has been called the
Via del Balcone, from a small house with a projecting balcony or
mænianum. Indications of balconies have been found elsewhere, and
indeed there were evidently some in the Via del Lupanare; but this is
the only instance of one restored to its pristine state, through the
care of Signor Fiorelli in substituting fresh timbers for those which
had become carbonized. The visitor may ascend to the first floor of
this house, from which the balcony projects several feet into the
narrow lane. In the atrium of this house is a very pretty fountain.

The house next to that of the Balcony, facing the entrance of a small
street leading from the Via dell Abbondanza, and numbered 7 on the
door post, has a few pictures in a tolerable state of preservation. In
a painting in the furthest room on the left of the atrium Theseus is
seen departing in his ship; Ariadne, roused from sleep, gazes on him
with despair, while a little weeping Cupid stands by her side. In the
same apartment are two other well-preserved pictures, the subjects of
which it is not easy to explain. In one is a female displaying to a
man two little figures in a nest, representing apparently the birth of
the Dioscuri. The other is sometimes called the Rape of Helen. There
are also several medallion heads around.

In the small street which runs parallel with the eastern side of the
Forum, called the Vico di Eumachia, is a house named the _Casa nuova
della Caccia_, to distinguish it from one of the same name previously
discovered. As in the former instance, its appellation is derived from
a large painting on the wall of the peristyle, of bears, lions, and
other animals. On the right-hand wall of the tablinum is a picture of
Bacchus discovering Ariadne. A satyr lifts her vest, while Silenus and
other figures look on in admiration. The painting on the left-hand
wall is destroyed. On entering the peristyle a door on the right leads
down some steps into a garden, on one side of which is a small altar
before a wall, on which is a painting of shrubs.

Proceeding from this street into the Vico Storto, which forms a
continuation of it on the north, we find on the right a recently
excavated house, which, from several slabs of variously colored
marbles found in it, has been called the House of the Dealer in
Marbles. Under a large court in the interior, surrounded with Doric
columns, are some subterranean apartments, in one of which was
discovered a well more than eighty feet deep and still supplied with
fresh water; almost the only instance of the kind at Pompeii. The
beautiful statuette of Silenus, already described, was found in this
house. Here also was made the rare discovery of the skeletons of two
horses, with the remains of a _biga_.

This description might be extended, but it would be tedious to repeat
details of smaller and less interesting houses, the features of which
present in general much uniformity; and we shall therefore conclude
this account of the more recent discoveries with a notice of a group
of bodies found in this neighborhood, the forms of which have been
preserved to us through the ingenuity of Signor Fiorelli.

It has already been remarked that the showers of _lapillo_, or pumice
stone, by which Pompeii was overwhelmed and buried, were followed by
streams of a thick, tenacious mud, which flowing over the deposit of
_lapillo_, and filling up all the crannies and interstices into which
that substance had not been able to penetrate, completed the
destruction of the city. The objects over which this mud flowed were
enveloped in it as in a plaster mould, and where these objects
happened to be human bodies, their decay left a cavity in which their
forms were as accurately preserved and rendered as in the mould
prepared for the casting of a bronze statue. Such cavities had often
been observed. In some of them remnants of charred wood, accompanied
with bronze or other ornaments, showed that the object inclosed had
been a piece of furniture; while in others, the remains of bones and
of articles of apparel evinced but too plainly that the hollow had
been the living grave which had swallowed up some unfortunate human
being. In a happy moment the idea occurred to Signor Fiorelli of
filling up these cavities with liquid plaster, and thus obtaining a
cast of the objects which had been inclosed in them. The experiment
was first made in a small street leading from the Via del Balcone
Pensile towards the Forum. The bodies here found were on the _lapillo_
at a height of about fifteen feet from the level of the ground.

"Among the first casts thus obtained were those of four human beings.
They are now preserved in a room at Pompeii, and more ghastly and
painful, yet deeply interesting and touching objects, it is difficult
to conceive. We have death itself moulded and cast--the very last
struggle and final agony brought before us. They tell their story with
a horrible dramatic truth that no sculptor could ever reach. They
would have furnished a thrilling episode to the accomplished author of
the 'Last Days of Pompeii.'

"These four persons had perished in a street. They had remained within
the shelter of their homes until the thick black mud began to creep
through every cranny and chink. Driven from their retreat they began
to flee when it was too late. The streets were already buried deep in
the loose pumice stones which had been falling for many hours in
unremitting showers, and which reached almost to the windows of the
first floor. These victims of the eruption were not found together,
and they do not appear to have belonged to the same family or
household. The most interesting of the casts is that of two women,
probably mother and daughter, lying feet to feet. They appear from
their garb to have been people of poor condition. The elder seems to
lie tranquilly on her side. Overcome by the noxious gases, she
probably fell and died without a struggle. Her limbs are extended, and
her left arm drops loosely. On one finger is still seen her coarse
iron ring. Her child was a girl of fifteen; she seems, poor thing, to
have struggled hard for life. Her legs are drawn up convulsively; her
little hands are clenched in agony. In one she holds her veil, or a
part of her dress, with which she had covered her head, burying her
face in her arm, to shield herself from the falling ashes and from the
foul sulphurous smoke. The form of her head is perfectly preserved.
The texture of her coarse linen garments may be traced, and even the
fashion of her dress, with its long sleeves reaching to her wrists;
here and there it is torn, and the smooth young skin appears in the
plaster like polished marble. On her tiny feet may still be seen her
embroidered sandals.


"At some distance from this group lay a third woman. She appears to
have been about twenty-five years of age, and to have belonged to a
better class than the other two. On one of her fingers were two silver
rings, and her garments were of a finer texture. Her linen head-dress,
falling over her shoulders like that of a matron in a Roman statue,
can still be distinguished. She had fallen on her side, overcome by
the heat and gases, but a terrible struggle seems to have preceded her
last agony. One arm is raised in despair; the hands are clenched
convulsively; her garments are gathered up on one side, leaving
exposed a limb of beautiful shape. So perfect a mould of it has been
formed by the soft and yielding mud, that the cast would seem to be
taken from an exquisite work of Greek art. She had fled with her
little treasure, which lay scattered around her--two silver cups, a
few jewels, and some dozen silver coins; nor had she, like a good
housewife, forgotten her keys, after having probably locked up her
stores before seeking to escape. They were found by her side.

"The fourth cast is that of a man of the people, perhaps a common
soldier. As may be seen in the cut, he is of almost colossal size; he
lies on his left arm extended by his side, and his head rests on his
right hand, and his legs drawn up as if, finding escape impossible,
he had laid himself down to meet death like a brave man. His dress
consists of a short coat or jerkin and tight-fitting breeches of some
coarse stuff, perhaps leather. On one finger is seen his iron ring.
His features are strongly marked the mouth open, as in death. Some of
the teeth still remain, and even part of the moustache adheres to the

"The importance of Signor Fiorelli's discovery may be understood from
the results we have described. It may furnish us with many curious
particulars as to the dress and domestic habits of the Romans, and
with many an interesting episode of the last day of Pompeii. Had it
been made at an earlier period we might perhaps have possessed the
perfect cast of the Diomedes, as they clung together in their last
struggle, and of other victims whose remains are now mingled together
in the bone-house."

    [Page Decoration]

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This house, the most interesting, and by far the most extensive of the
private buildings yet discovered, is the Suburban Villa, as it is
called, from its position a little way without the gates, in the
Street of the Tombs, which led to, or formed part of, the suburb
called Augustus Felix. It is worthy of remark that the plan of this
edifice is in close accord with the descriptions of country houses
given us by Vitruvius and others--a circumstance which tends strongly
to confirm the belief already expressed, that the houses of the city
are built upon the Roman system of arrangement, although the Greek
taste may predominate in their decoration. We will commence by
extracting the most important passages in Pliny the Younger's
description of his Laurentine villa, that the reader may have some
general notion of the subject, some standard with which to compare
that which we are about to describe.

"My villa is large enough for convenience, though not splendid. The
first apartment which presents itself is a plain, yet not mean,
atrium; then comes a portico, in shape like the letter O, which
surrounds a small, but pleasant area. This is an excellent retreat in
bad weather, being sheltered by glazed windows, and still more
effectually by an overhanging roof. Opposite the centre of this
portico is a pleasant cavædium, after which comes a handsome
triclinium, which projects upon the beach, so that when the southwest
wind urges the sea, the last broken waves just dash against its
walls. On every side of this room are folding doors, or windows
equally large, so that from the three sides there is a view, as it
were, of three seas at once, while backwards the eye wanders through
the apartments already described, the cavædium, portico, and atrium,
to woods and distant mountains. To the left are several apartments,
including a bed-chamber, and room fitted up as a library, which jets
out in an elliptic form, and, by its several windows, admits the sun
during its whole course. These apartments I make my winter abode. The
rest of this side of the house is allotted to my slaves and freedmen,
yet it is for the most part neat enough to receive my friends. To the
right of the triclinium is a very elegant chamber, and another, which
you may call either a very large chamber (_cubiculum_), or
moderate-sized eating-room (_cœnatio_), which commands a full prospect
both of the sun and sea. Passing hence, through three or four other
chambers, you enter the _cella frigidaria_ of the baths, in which
there are two basins projecting from opposite walls, abundantly large
enough to swim in, if you feel inclined to do so in the first
instance. Then come the anointing-room, the hypocaust, or furnace, and
two small rooms; next the warm bath, which commands an admirable view
of the sea. Not far off is the _sphæristerium_, a room devoted to
in-door exercises and games, exposed to the hottest sun of the
declining day. Beside it is a triclinium, where the noise of the sea
is never heard but in a storm, and then faintly, looking out upon the
garden and the _gestatio_, or place for taking the air in a carriage
or litter, which encompasses it. The gestatio is hedged with box, and
with rosemary where the box is wanting; for box grows well where it is
sheltered by buildings, but withers when exposed in an open situation
to the wind, and especially within reach of spray from the sea. To the
inner circle of the gestatio is joined a shady walk of vines, soft and
tender even to the naked feet. The garden is full of mulberries and
figs, the soil being especially suited to the former. Within the
circuit of the gestatio there is also a cryptoportico, for extent
comparable to public buildings, having windows on one side looking to
the sea, on the other to the garden. In front of it is a xystus,
fragrant with violets, where the sun's heat is increased by reflection
from the cryptoportico, which, at the same time, breaks the northeast
wind. At either end of it is a suite of apartments, in which, in
truth, I place my chief delight."[14] Such was one of several villas
described by Pliny. The directions given by Vitruvius for building
country houses are very short. "The same principles," he says, "are to
be observed in country houses as in town houses, except that in the
latter the atrium lies next to the door, but in pseudo-urban houses
the peristyles come first, then atria surrounded by paved porticoes,
looking upon courts for gymnastic exercises and walking" (_palæstras
et ambulationes_).[15] It will appear that the distribution of the
Suburban Villa was entirely in accordance with these rules.

The house is built upon the side of the hill, in such a manner that
the ground falls away, not only in the line of the street, across the
breadth of the house, but also from the front to the back, so that the
doorway itself being elevated from five to six feet above the roadway,
there is room at the back of the house for an extensive and
magnificent suite of rooms between the level of the peristyle and the
surface of the earth. These two levels are represented on the same
plan, being distinguished by a difference in the shading. The darker
parts show the walls of the upper floor, the lighter ones indicate the
distribution of the lower. A further distinction is made in the
references, which are by figures to the upper floor, and by letters to
the lower. There are besides subterraneous vaults and galleries not
expressed in the plan.


1. Broad foot pavement raised nine inches or a foot above the carriage
way, running along the whole length of the Street of Tombs. 2.
Inclined planes, leading up to the porch on each side. 3. Entrance. 4.
Peristyle. This arrangement corresponds exactly with the directions of
Vitruvius for the building of country houses just quoted. The order
of the peristyle is extremely elegant. The columns, their capitals,
and entablatures, and the paintings on the walls are still in good
preservation. The architectural decorations are worked in stucco; and
it is observed by Mazois that both here and in other instances the
artist has taken liberties, which he would not have indulged in had he
been working in more valuable materials. On this ground that eminent
architect hazards a conjecture that the plasterer had a distinct style
of ornamenting, different from that of architects, or of the masons in
their employ. The lower third of the columns, which is not fluted, is
painted red. The pavement was formed of _opus Signinum_. 5. Uncovered
court with an impluvium, which collected the rain water and fed a
cistern, whence the common household wants were supplied. 6.
Descending staircase, which led to a court and building on a lower
level, appropriated to the offices, as the kitchen, bakehouse, etc.,
and to the use of slaves. It will be recollected that the ground
slopes with a rapid descent away from the city gate. This lower story,
therefore, was not under ground, though near eight feet below the
level of the peristyle. It communicates with the road by a back door.
From the bottom of the stair there runs a long corridor, A, somewhat
indistinct in our small plan, owing to its being crossed several times
by the lines of the upper floor, which leads down by a gentle slope to
the portico surrounding the garden. This was the back stair, as we
should call it, by which the servants communicated with that part of
the house. There was another staircase, B, on the opposite side of the
house, for the use of the family. 7. Door and passage to the upper
garden, marked 17, on the same level as the court. 8. Open hall,
corresponding in position with a tablinum. Being thus placed between
the court and the gallery, 28, it must have been closed with folding
doors of wood, which perhaps were glazed. 9, 10, 11, 12. Various rooms
containing nothing remarkable. 13. Two rooms situated in the most
agreeable manner at the two ends of a long gallery, 28, and looking
out upon the upper terraces of the garden, from which the eye took in
the whole gulf of Naples to the point of Sorrento, and the island of
Capreæ. 14. Procæton, or antechamber. 15. Lodge of the cubicular
slave, or attendant upon the bed-room. 16. Bed-room, probably that of
the master, or else the state-chamber. _b._ Alcove. Several rings were
found here which had evidently belonged to a curtain to draw across
the front of it. _c._ Hollow stand or counter of masonry, probably
coated with stucco or marble, which served for a toilet-table. Several
vases were found there, which must have contained perfumes or cosmetic
oils. The form of this bed-room is very remarkable, and will not fail
to strike the reader from its exact correspondence with the elliptic
chamber or library described by Pliny in his Laurentine villa. The
windows in the semi-circular end are so placed that they receive the
rising, noontide, and setting sun. Bull's eyes, placed above the
windows, permitted them to be altogether closed without darkening the
room entirely. These windows opened on a garden, where, in Mazois'
time, the care of the guardian had planted roses, which almost
beguiled him into the belief that he had found the genuine produce of
a Pompeian garden. This must have been a delightful room, from its
ample size, elegance of ornament, and the quiet cheerful retirement of
its situation.

17. Upper garden upon the level of the court.

18. Entrance to the baths, which, though originally rare in private
houses, had become so common, long before the destruction of Pompeii,
that few wealthy persons were without them. The word _balneum_ was
peculiarly applied to domestic, _thermæ_ to public baths. This
specimen, which fortunately was almost perfect, small as it is,
suffices to give an idea of the arrangement of private baths among the
Romans. 19. Portico upon two sides of a small triangular court. There
is as much skill in the disposition, as taste in the decoration, of
this court, which presents a symmetrical plan, notwithstanding the
irregular form of the space allotted to it. Its situation is
conformable to the advice of Vitruvius; and as it could not front the
west, it has been placed to the south. The columns of the portico are
octagonal. At the extremity of the gallery, on the left of the
entrance, there is a small furnace where was prepared some warm
beverage or restorative for the use of the bathers, who were
accustomed to take wine or cordials before they went away. Here a
gridiron and two frying pans were found, still blackened with smoke.
In the centre of the base, or third side of the court, is placed a
bath, 20, about six feet square, lined with stucco, the edge of which
is faced with marble. It was covered with a roof, the mark of which is
still visible on the walls, supported by two pillars placed on the
projecting angles. The holes in the walls to admit the three principal
beams are so contrived that each side is lined with a single brick.
Under this covering the whole wall was painted to represent water,
with fish and other aquatic animals swimming about. The water was
blue, and rather deep in color: the fish were represented in the most
vivid and varied tints. Some years ago this painting recovered, on
being wetted, the original freshness and brilliancy of its coloring;
but exposure to the weather has done its work, and now scarce a trace
of it remains. In the middle of it there is a circular broken space to
which a mask was formerly attached, through which a stream gushed into
the basin below. Two or three steps led down to this _baptisterium_,
where the cold bath was taken in the open air. This court and portico
were paved in mosaic. 21. Apodyterium. 22. Frigidarium. 23.
Tepidarium. These two rooms, in neither of which was there a bathing
vessel, show that frequently rooms thus named were not intended for
bathing, but simply to preserve two intermediate gradations of
temperature, between the burning heat of the caldarium or laconicum
and the open air. In fact, no trace of any contrivance for the
introduction or reception of water has been found in No. 22. It was
simply a cold chamber, cella frigidaria. Nor was the little chamber,
23, large enough to receive conveniently a bathing vessel; but seats
of wood were found there for the convenience of those who had quitted
the bath, and who came there to undergo the discipline of the strigil,
and a minute process of purification and anointing. This room is not
above twelve feet by six: the bath, therefore, could not have been
calculated for the reception of more than one, or, at most, of two
persons at once. Here the great question relative to the use of glass
windows by the ancients was finally settled. This apartment was
lighted by a window closed by a movable frame of wood, which, though
converted into charcoal, still held, when it was found, four panes of
glass about six inches square. A more elaborate and curious glass
window was found at a later period in the public baths. 24. Caldarium.
It might, however, be employed at pleasure as a tepid or cold bath,
when the weather was too cold for bathing in the open air. The
suspensura caldariorum, as Vitruvius calls the hollow walls and floors
raised upon pillars, are in remarkably good preservation. By means of
these the whole apartment was entirely enveloped in flame, and might
be easily raised to a most stifling temperature.

We will, however, add that Vitruvius directs a bed of clay mixed with
hair to be laid between the pillars and the pavement; and some
tradition of this custom may be imagined to subsist, for the potters
of the country, in some cases, work up wool with their clay, a
practice unknown elsewhere, as we believe, in the art of pottery. The
burning vapor passed out above the ceiling, gaining no entrance into
the apartment. Air and light were admitted by two windows, one higher
than the other. In one of these Mazois found a fragment of glass. The
bathing-vessel, _e_, lined with stucco, and coated on the outside with
marble, was fed by two cocks, which must have been very small, to
judge from the space which they occupied. Hence, hot and cold water
were supplied at pleasure; and it was only to fill the vessel with
boiling water, and the whole apartment would be converted into one
great vapor bath.

As it would have been difficult or impossible to have kept alive a
lamp or torch in so dense a steam, there is near the door a circular
hole, closed formerly by a glass, which served to admit the light of a
lamp placed in the adjoining chamber. The hypocaust, or furnace and
apparatus, 25, for heating the water, are so placed that they can not
be seen from the triangular court. They are small, but correspond with
the small quantity of boiling water which they were required to
furnish. _f._ Stone table. _g._ Cistern. _h._ Mouth of hypocaust. _i._
A furnace, probably for boiling water when merely a tepid bath was
required, without heating the suspensura caldariorum. By the side of
the hypocaust were placed the vases for hot and cold water, as
described in the chapter on Baths; their pedestals were observable
between the mouth of the furnace and the letter _k._ _l._ Wooden
staircase, no longer in existence, which led to the apartments above.
26. Reservoir.

Such was the distribution of this bath. Some paintings and mosaics,
which are ordinary enough, formed its only decorations; yet, from the
little that remains, we can discover that the good taste which reigned
everywhere, and the freshness of the colors, must have rendered the
effect of the whole most agreeable.

27. This chamber seems to have been used as a wardrobe, where the
numerous garments of the opulent masters of this dwelling were kept
under presses, to give them a lustre. This conjecture is founded upon
the remains of calcined stuffs, and the fragments of wardrobes and
carbonized plank found in the course of excavation.

28. Great gallery, lighted by windows which looked upon the two
terraces, 34, separated by the large hall, 33. This gallery furnished
an agreeable promenade, when the weather did not permit the enjoyment
of the external porticoes or terraces.

29, 29. These two small apartments, which were open to the gallery,
and probably were closed by glass, may very well have been, one a
library, the other a reading-room, since the place in which books were
kept was not usually the place in which they were read; being small
and confined, suitable to the comparatively small number of volumes
which an ancient library generally contained, and also to the limited
space within which a considerable number of rolls of papyrus might be

A bust, painted on the wall of one of them, confirms this supposition,
for it is known that the ancients were fond of keeping the portraits
of eminent men before their eyes, and especially of placing those of
literary men in their libraries.

30. The form of this hall is suitable to a triclinium, and its
situation, protected from the immediate action of the sun's rays,
would seem to mark it as a summer triclinium. Still the guests enjoyed
the view of the country and of the sea, by means of a door opening
upon the terrace. In front of the little chamber, 31, is a square
opening for the staircase, which descends to the point B upon the
floor below. It is to be remarked, that at the entrance of each
division of the building there is a lodge for a slave. No doubt each
suite of rooms had its peculiar keeper. The chamber, 10, seems to have
been reserved for the keeper of the peristyle; the apartment, 15,
belonged to the slave of the bed-chamber, who watched the apartment of
his master; a recess under the staircase, 35, was, without doubt, the
place of the atriensis, or attendant on the atrium, when the hall, 8,
was open, to give admission to the interior of the house; and when
this hall was closed, he attended in the chamber, 12, which commanded
the entrance through the passage, or fauces.

Lastly, the small lodge, 31, is so placed as to keep watch over all
communication between the upper floor, where is the peristyle, and
the lower floor, in which the apartments of the family seem to have
been chiefly situated.

32. Apartment, entirely ruined, to which it is difficult to assign a

33. Large cyzicene œcus, about thirty-six feet by twenty-six. All the
windows of this apartment opened almost to the level of the floor, and
gave a view of the garden, the terraces and trellises which ornamented
them, as well as of the vast and beautiful prospect towards the sea
and Vesuvius.

34. Large terraces, perhaps formerly covered with trellises, which
communicate with the terraces over the gallery by which the garden is

35. Staircase leading to the upper floor, on which may have been the
gynæceum, or suite of apartments belonging to the women. So retired a
situation, however, did not always suit the taste of the Roman ladies.

Cornelius Nepos says that "they occupy for the most part the first
floor in the front of the house." Mazois was long impressed with the
idea that there must have been an upper story here, but for a long
time he could not find the staircase.

At last he discovered in this place marks in the plaster, which left
no doubt in his mind but that it had existed here, though being of
wood it disappeared with the other woodwork. He recognized the
inclination and the height of the steps, and found that they were high
and narrow, like those stone stairs which exist still in the same

36. A sort of vestibule at the entrance of the building, appropriated
to the offices. This lower court probably contained the kitchen.

37. Bake-house, apartments of the inferior slaves, stables, and other
accessories. These are separated from the main building by means of a
mesaulon, or small internal court, to diminish the danger in case of a
fire happening in the kitchen or bake-house. There were two ways of
communication from the level of the street to the level of the garden;
on one side by the corridor, A, A, principally reserved for the
servants, on the other by the staircase, B, C, C, C, Portico round the

The side beneath the house and that at the right of the plan are
perfectly preserved, but it has been found necessary to support the
terrace on this side by inserting a modern pillar between each of the
old ones, and to build two massive piers beneath the terrace on which
the great cyzicene hall is situated. This portico was elegantly
ornamented. If we may judge of the whole from a part, which is given
by Mazois, the interior entablature was ornamented with light
mouldings and running patterns, while there was a little picture over
each pillar. That in his plate represents a swan flying away with a
serpent. The pillars were square, the lower part painted with flowers
springing from trellises, apparently of very delicate execution. The
same style of painting occurs in the court of the baths. The ceiling
of the portico beneath the terrace is, in respect of its construction,
one of the most curious specimens of ancient building which have
reached our time. It is a plane surface of masonry, hung in the air,
supported neither on the principle of the arch, nor by iron cramps,
but owing its existence entirely to the adherence of the mortar by
which it is cemented. It is divided into compartments by false beams
(caissons) of the same construction. The whole is of remarkable
solidity. D. Open hall at the end of the western portico. E. Fountain,
supplied perhaps by the water of the cistern. There was formerly a
well upon the terrace, 34, by which water might be drawn from the
reservoir of this fountain, but it was effaced when the area of the
terrace was restored. F, F, F. Different chambers, halls, triclinium,
in which the remains of a carpet were found on the floor, and other
rooms, to which it is difficult to assign any particular destination.
They are all decorated in the most elegant and refined manner, but
their paintings are hastening to decay with a rapidity which is
grievous to behold. Fortunately, the Academy of Naples has published a
volume of details, in which the greater part of the frescos of this
villa are engraved. G. Passage, leading by the staircase B to the
upper floor, and by the staircase H to the subterranean galleries.
There is a similar staircase, H, on the other side of the portico.

These galleries form a crypt beneath the portico, lighted and aired by
loop-holes on the level of the ground. Amphoræ, placed in sand against
the wall, are still to be seen there, and for this reason it has been
conjectured that the crypt served the purposes of a cellar; but even
this crypt was coarsely painted. I. Mesaulon, or court, which
separates the offices from the house. K. Small room at the extremity
of the garden. L. An oratory; the niche served to receive a little
statue. M. Xystus, or garden. N. Piscina, with a _jet d'eau_. O.
Enclosure covered with a trellis. P. Door to the country and towards
the sea. Q. This enclosure, about fifteen feet wide, appears to have
been covered with a trellis, and must have been much frequented, since
there is a noble flight of steps leading down to it from the upper
garden. It fronted the south, and must have been a delightful winter

The arch to the left is the end of the open hall, D, above the
portico; on each side are the terraces, 34, 34, and in the centre are
the remains of the cyzicene hall. Beneath on the level of the portico,
are the several rooms marked F, probably the chief summer abode of the
family, being well adapted to that purpose by their refreshing
coolness. Their ceilings for the most part are semicircular vaults,
richly painted, and the more valuable because few ceilings have been
found in existence. We should attempt in vain to describe the
complicated subjects, the intricate and varied patterns with which the
fertile fancy of the arabesque painter has clothed the walls and
ceilings, without the aid of drawings, which we are unable to give;
and, indeed, colored plates would be requisite to convey an adequate
notion of their effect. In the splendid work which Mr. Donaldson has
published upon Pompeii, several subjects taken from these rooms will
be found, some of them colored, together with eight mosaics, some of
very complicated, all of elegant design; and to this and similar works
we must refer the further gratification of the reader's curiosity.

Such was this mansion, in which no doubt the owner took pride and
pleasure, to judge from the expense lavished with unsparing hand on
its decoration; and if he could be supposed to have any cognizance of
what is now passing on earth, his vanity might find some consolation
for having been prematurely deprived of it, in the posthumous
celebrity which it has obtained. But his taste and wealth have done
nothing to perpetuate his name, for not a trace remains that can
indicate to what person or to what family it belonged. It is indeed
usually called the Villa of Marcus Arius Diomedes, on the strength of
a tomb discovered about the same period immediately opposite to it,
bearing that name. No other tomb had then been discovered so near it,
and on this coincidence of situation a conclusion was drawn that this
must have been a family sepulchre, attached to the house, and, by
consequence, that the house itself belonged to Diomedes. The
conjecture at the outset rested but on a sandy foundation, which has
since been entirely sapped by the discovery of numerous other tombs
almost equally near. All that we know of the owner or his family may
be comprised in one sentence, which, short as it is, speaks forcibly
to our feelings. Their life was one of elegant luxury and enjoyment,
in the midst of which death came on them by surprise, a death of
singular and lingering agony.

When Vesuvius first showed signs of the coming storm the air was
still, as we learn from the description of Pliny, and the smoke of the
mountain rose up straight, until the atmosphere would bear it no
higher, and then spread on all sides into a canopy, suggesting to him
the idea of an enormous pine tree. After this a wind sprung up from
the west, which was favorable to carry Pliny from Misenum to Stabiæ,
but prevented his return. The next morning probably it veered
something to the north, when, in the younger Pliny's words, a cloud
seemed to descend upon the earth, to cover the sea, and hide the Isle
of Capreæ from his view. The ashes are said by Dion Cassius to have
reached Egypt, and in fact a line drawn southeast from Vesuvius would
pass very near Pompeii, and cut Egypt. It was probably at this moment
that the hail of fire fell thickest at Pompeii, at daybreak on the
second morning, and if any had thus long survived the stifling air and
torrid earth which surrounded them, their misery probably was at this
moment brought to a close. The villa of which we speak lay exactly
between the city and the mountain, and must have felt the first, and,
if there were degrees of misery, where all perished alike, the worst
effects of this fearful visitation. Fearful is such a visitation in
the present day, even to those who crowd to see an eruption of
Vesuvius as they would to a picture-gallery or an opera; how much more
terrible, accompanied by the certainty of impending death, to those
whom neither history nor experience had familiarized with the most
awful phenomenon presented by nature. At this, or possibly an earlier
moment, the love of life proved too strong for the social affections
of the owner of the house. He fled, abandoning to their fate a
numerous family, and a young and beautiful daughter, and bent his way,
with his most precious movables, accompanied only by a single slave,
to the sea, which he never reached alive. His daughter, two children,
and other members of his family and household sought protection in the
subterranean vaults, which, by the help of the wine-jars already
stored there, and the provisions which they brought down with them,
they probably considered as sufficient refuge against an evil of which
they could not guess the whole extent. It was a vain hope; the same
fate awaited them all by different ways. The strong vaults and
narrow openings to the day protected them, indeed, from the falling
cinders; but the heat, sufficient to char wood, and volatilize the
more subtle part of the ashes, could not be kept out by such means.
The vital air was changed into a sulphurous vapor, charged with
burning dust. In their despair, longing for the pure breath of heaven,
they rushed to the door, already choked with scoriæ and ruins, and
perished in agonies on which the imagination does not willingly dwell.

    [Illustration: WALL PAINTING AT POMPEII.]

This the reader will probably be inclined to think might do very well
for the conclusion of a romance, but why invent such sentimental
stories to figure in a grave historical account? It is a remarkable
instance, perhaps the strongest which has yet occurred, of the
peculiar interest which the discoveries at Pompeii possess, as
introducing us to the homes, nay, to the very persons of a
long-forgotten age, that every circumstance of this tale can be
verified by evidence little less than conclusive. Beside the garden
gate, marked P, two skeletons were found; one presumed to be the
master, had in his hand the key of that gate, and near him were about
a hundred gold and silver coins; the other, stretched beside some
silver vases, was probably a slave charged with the transport of them.
When the vaults beneath the room, D, were discovered, at the foot of
the staircase, H, the skeletons of eighteen adult persons, a boy and
an infant were found huddled up together, unmoved during seventeen
centuries since they sank in death. They were covered by several feet
of ashes of extreme fineness, evidently slowly borne in through the
vent-holes, and afterwards consolidated by damp. The substance thus
formed resembles the sand used by metal founders for castings, but is
yet more delicate, and took perfect impressions of everything on which
it lay. Unfortunately this property was not observed until almost too
late, and little was preserved except the neck and breast of a girl,
which are said to display extraordinary beauty of form. So exact is
the impression, that the very texture of the dress in which she was
clothed is apparent, which by its extraordinary fineness evidently
shows that she had not been a slave, and may be taken for the fine
gauze which Seneca calls woven wind. On other fragments the impression
of jewels worn on the neck and arms is distinct, and marks that
several members of the family here perished. The jewels themselves
were found beside them, comprising, in gold, two necklaces, one set
with blue stones, and four rings, containing engraved gems. Two of the
skeletons belonged to children, and some of their blonde hair was
still existent; most of them are said to have been recognized as
female. Each sex probably acted in conformity to its character, the
men trusting to their own strength to escape, the women waiting with
patience the issue of a danger from which their own exertions could
not save them.

In the same vault bronze candelabra and other articles, jewels and
coins were found. Amphoræ were also found ranged against the wall, in
some of which the contents, dried and hardened by time, were still
preserved. Archæologists, it is said, pretend to recognize in this
substance the flavor of the rich strong wine for which the
neighborhood of Vesuvius is celebrated.

Besides the interior garden within the portico, there must have been
another garden extending along the southern side of the house. The
passage from the peristyle, 7, the position of the elliptic chamber,
16, and the trellis work, Q, with its spacious steps, leave no doubt
on this subject. It has been stated in a German periodical that traces
of the plowshare have been distinguished in the fields adjoining this
villa. This is the only authority we have for supposing that the
process of excavation has been extended at all beyond the house
itself. The garden to the south is still, to the best of our
information, uncleared, nor is it likely that it contains objects of
sufficient interest to recompense the labor which would be consumed in
laying it open. Our limited knowledge of ancient horticulture is not
therefore likely to be increased by means of Pompeii; for such small
flower-pots as are attached to houses within the town can not contain
anything worth notice beyond a fountain or a summer triclinium.

    [Illustration: HOUSEHOLD UTENSILS.]

We will do our best, however, to complete the reader's notion of an
Italian villa, and show what might have been, since we can not show
what has been here, by borrowing Pliny's account of the garden
attached to his Tuscan villa, the only account of a Roman garden which
has come down to us.

"In front of the house lies a spacious hippodrome, entirely open in
the middle, by which means the eye, upon your first entrance, takes in
its whole extent at one view. It is encompassed on every side with
plane trees covered with ivy, so that while their heads flourish with
their own green, their bodies enjoy a borrowed verdure; and thus the
ivy twining round the trunk and branches, spreads from tree to tree
and connects them together. Between each plane tree are placed box
trees, and behind these, bay trees, which blend their shade with that
of the planes. This plantation, forming a straight boundary on both
sides of the hippodrome, bends at the further end into a semi-circle,
which, being set round and sheltered with cypresses, casts a deeper
and more gloomy shade; while the inward circular walks (for there are
several) enjoying an open exposure, are full of roses, and correct the
coolness of the shade by the warmth of the sun.

"Having passed through these several winding alleys, you enter a
straight walk, which breaks out into a variety of others, divided by
box edges. In one place you have a little meadow; in another the box
is cut into a thousand different forms, sometimes into letters; here
expressing the name of the master, there that of the artificer; while
here and there little obelisks rise, intermixed with fruit trees; when
on a sudden, in the midst of this elegant regularity, you are
surprised with an imitation of the negligent beauties of rural nature,
in the centre of which lies a spot surrounded with a knot of dwarf
plane trees. Beyond this is a walk, interspersed with the smooth and
twining acanthus, where the trees are also cut into a variety of names
and shapes. At the upper end is an alcove of white marble, shaded with
vines, supported by four small columns of Carystian marble. Here is a
triclinium, out of which the water, gushing through several little
pipes, as if it were pressed out by the weight of the persons who
repose upon it, falls into a stone cistern underneath, from whence it
is received into a fine polished marble basin, so artfully contrived
that it is always full without ever overflowing. When I sup here,
this basin serves for a table, the larger sort of dishes being placed
round the margin, while the smaller swim about in the form of little
vessels and water-fowl.

"Corresponding to this is a fountain, which is incessantly emptying
and filling; for the water, which it throws up to a great height,
falling back again into it, is returned as fast as it is received, by
means of two openings.

"Fronting the alcove stands a summer-house of exquisite marble, whose
doors project and open into a green enclosure, while from its upper
and lower windows also the eye is presented with a variety of
different verdures. Next to this is a little private closet, which,
though it seems distinct, may be laid into the same room, furnished
with a couch; and notwithstanding it has windows on every side, yet it
enjoys a very agreeable gloominess, by means of a spreading vine,
which climbs to the top and entirely overshades it. Here you may lie
and fancy yourself in a wood, with this difference only, that you are
not exposed to the weather. In this place a fountain also rises, and
instantly disappears. In different quarters are disposed several
marble seats, which serve, as well as the summer-house, as so many
reliefs after one is tired of walking. Near each seat is a little
fountain, and throughout the whole hippodrome several small rills run
murmuring along, wheresoever the hand of art thought proper to conduct
them, watering here and there different spots of verdure, and in their
progress refreshing the whole."

    [Page Decoration]

    [Page Decoration]


To notice all the houses excavated at Pompeii, would be wearisome in
the extreme. We intend therefore merely to select some of the most
important, to be described at length, the arrangement of which may
serve, with variations according to place and circumstances, as a type
of the whole. Some, which offer no particularity in their
construction, are remarkable for the beauty of their paintings or
other decorations; and, indeed, it is from the paintings on the walls
that many of the houses have derived their names. Some again are
designated from mosaics or inscriptions on the threshold, from the
trade or profession evidently exercised by the proprietors, or from
some accident, as the presence of distinguished persons at their
excavation--as, for instance, those called the House of the Emperor
Joseph II., del Gran Duca, degli Scienziati, etc. As it is the object
of this work to convey a general notion of the remains of Pompeii, and
to exhibit, as far as our materials will permit, the private life of
the first century in all its degrees, we shall begin with one or two
of the stores. These present great similarity in their arrangements,
and indicate that the tribe of storekeepers was very inferior in
wealth and comfort to that of our own time and country. They are for
the most part very small, and sometimes without any interior apartment
on the ground floor. The upper floor must have comprised one or two
sleeping-rooms; but there is, as we believe, only one house in which
the upper floor is in existence.

It is rare at Pompeii to see a whole house set apart for purposes of
trade, a part being occupied by the store itself, the rest furnishing
a comfortable dwelling for the owner. The houses of the richer
classes, instead of presenting a handsome elevation to the street,
were usually surrounded with stores. They furnished considerable

Cicero, in a letter to Atticus, speaks of the ruinous state into which
some of his stores had fallen, "insomuch that not only the men, but
the mice had quitted them," and hints at the gain which he hoped to
derive from this seemingly untoward circumstance. One Julia Felix
possessed nine hundred stores, as we learn from an inscription in

At night the whole front was closed with shutters, sliding in grooves
cut in the lintel and basement wall before the counter, and by the
door, which is thrown far back, so as to be hardly visible.

There is an oven at the end of the counter furthest from the street,
and three steps have been presumed to support different sorts of
vessels or measures for liquids. From these indications it is supposed
to have been a cook's shop; for the sale, perhaps, both of undressed
and dressed provisions, as is indicated in the view. The oven probably
served to prepare, and keep constantly hot, some popular dishes for
the service of any chance customer; the jars might hold oil, olives,
or the fish-pickle called _garum_, an article of the highest
importance in a Roman kitchen, for the manufacture of which Pompeii
was celebrated.[16]

Fixed vessels appear inconvenient for such uses on account of the
difficulty of cleaning them out; but the practice, it is said,
continues to this day at Rome, where the small shopkeepers keep their
oil in similar jars, fixed in a counter of masonry. All the ornaments
in the view are copied from Pompeii. In front of the store, which
stands opposite the passage leading behind the small theatre to the
Soldiers' Quarters, are three stepping-stones, to enable persons to
cross the road without wetting their feet in bad weather.

In conjunction with a street view, we give the view of another shop,
which has also a counter containing jars for the reception of some
liquid commodity. By some it is called a Thermopolium, or store for
the sale of hot drinks, while others call it an oil store. In front is
a fountain. It is situated at the angle of the street immediately
adjoining the House of Pansa. The left-hand street leads to the Gate
of Herculaneum; the right, skirting Pansa's house, is terminated by
the city walls.

    [Illustration: RESTAURANT. (_From Wall Painting._)]

Tracks of wheels are very visible on the pavement. The interior was
gaily painted in blue panels and red borders, as we learn from the
colored view in Mr. Donaldson's Pompeii, from which this is taken. The
counter is faced and covered with marble. Numerous thermopolia have
been discovered in Pompeii, many of them identified, or supposed to
be identified, by the stains left upon the counters by wet glasses.

    [Illustration: BED AND TABLE AT POMPEII. (_From Wall

In the centre is a small altar, placed before a niche, ornamented with
the painting of some goddess holding a cornucopia. She is reposing on
a couch, closely resembling a modern French bed. The mattress is
white, striped with violet, and spotted with gold; the cushion is
violet. The tunic of the goddess is blue, the bed, the table, and the
cornucopia, gold. This house stands just by the gate of Herculaneum,
adjoining the broad flight of steps which leads up to the ramparts.
Bonucci supposes that it belonged to the officer appointed to take
charge of the gate and walls.

We may take this opportunity to describe the nature and arrangement of
the triclinium, of which such frequent mention has been made. In the
earlier times of Rome, men sat at table--the habit of reclining was
introduced from Carthage after the Punic wars. At first these beds
were clumsy in form, and covered with mattresses stuffed with rushes
or straw. Hair and wool mattresses were introduced from Gaul at a
later period, and were soon followed by cushions stuffed with
feathers. At first these tricliniary beds were small, low, and round,
and made of wood; afterwards, in the time of Augustus, square and
highly ornamented couches came into fashion. In the reign of Tiberius
they began to be veneered with costly woods or tortoiseshell, and were
covered with valuable embroideries, the richest of which came from
Babylon, and cost incredible sums.

Each couch contained three persons, and, properly, the whole
arrangement consisted of three couches, so that the number at table
did not exceed the number of the Muses, and each person had his seat
according to his rank and dignity. The places were thus appropriated:
1. The host. 2. His wife. 3. Guest. 4. Consular place, or place of
honor. This was the most convenient situation at table, because he who
occupied it, resting on his left arm, could easily with his right
reach any part of the table without inconvenience to his neighbors. It
was, therefore, set apart for the person of highest rank. 5, 6, 7, 8,
9. Other guests.

    [Illustration: PLAN OF A TRICLINIUM.]

The entertainment itself usually comprised three services; the first
consisting of fresh eggs, olives, oysters, salad, and other light
delicacies; the second of made dishes, fish, and roast meats; the
third of pastry, confectionery, and fruits. A remarkable painting,
discovered at Pompeii, gives a curious idea of a complete feast. It
represents a table set out with every requisite for a grand dinner. In
the centre is a large dish, in which four peacocks are placed, one at
each corner, forming a magnificent dome with their tails. All round
are lobsters--one holding in his claws a blue egg, a second an oyster,
a third a stuffed rat, a fourth a little basket full of grasshoppers.
Four dishes of fish decorate the bottom, above which are several
partridges, and hares, and squirrels, each holding its head between
its paws. The whole is surrounded by something resembling a German
sausage; then comes a row of yolks of eggs; then a row of peaches,
small melons, and cherries; and lastly, a row of vegetables of
different sorts. The whole is covered with a sort of green-colored

Another house, also of the minor class, yet superior to any hitherto
described, is recommended to our notice by the beauty of the
paintings found. That the proprietor was not rich is evident from its
limited extent and accommodation; yet he had some small property, as
we may infer from the shop communicating with the house, in which were
sold such articles of agricultural produce as were not required for
the use of the family.

This house was formerly decorated with paintings taken from the
Odyssey, and from the elegant fictions of Grecian mythology. When
Mazois visited it in 1812, two paintings in the atrium were still in
existence, though in a very perishing state. Shortly after he had
copied them they fell, owing to the plaster detaching itself from the
wall. One of them is taken from the Odyssey, and represents Ulysses
and Circe, at the moment when the hero, having drunk the charmed cup
with impunity, by virtue of the antidote given him by Mercury, draws
his sword and advances to avenge his companions.[17] The goddess,
terrified, makes her submission at once, as described by Homer, while
her two attendants fly in alarm; yet one of them, with a natural
curiosity, can not resist the temptation to look back, and observe the
termination of so unexpected a scene. Circe uses the very gesture of
supplication so constantly described by Homer and the tragedians, as
she sinks on her knees, extending one hand to clasp the knees of
Ulysses, with the other endeavoring to touch his beard.[18] This
picture is remarkable, as teaching us the origin of that ugly and
unmeaning glory with which the heads of saints are often surrounded.
The Italians borrowed it from the Greek artists of the lower empire,
in whose paintings it generally has the appearance, as we believe, of
a solid plate of gold. The glory round Circe's head has the same
character, the outer limb or circle being strongly defined, not shaded
off and divining into rays, as we usually see it in the Italian
school. This glory was called nimbus, or aureola, and is defined by
Servius to be "the luminous fluid which encircles the heads of the
gods." It belongs with peculiar propriety to Circe, as the daughter of
the sun. The emperors, with their usual modesty, assumed it as the
mark of their divinity; and, under this respectable patronage, it
passed, like many other Pagan superstitions and customs, in the use of
the church.

The other picture represents Achilles at Scyros, where Thetis had
hidden him among the daughters of Lycomedes, to prevent his engaging
in the Trojan war. Ulysses discovered him by bringing for sale arms
mixed with female trinkets, in the character of a merchant. The story
is well known. The painting represents the moment when the young hero
is seizing the arms. Deidamia seems not to know what to make of the
matter, and tries to hold him back, while Ulysses is seen behind with
his finger on his lips, closely observing all that passes.

    [Illustration: HEAD OF CIRCE.]

    [Page Decoration]


The two compartments marked 30 are houses of a very mean class, having
formerly an upper story. Behind the last of them is a court, which
gives light to one of the chambers of Pansa's house. On the other side
of the island or block are three houses (32), small, but of much more
respectable extent and accommodation, which probably were also meant
to be let. In that nearest the garden were found the skeletons of four
women, with gold ear and finger rings having engraved stones, besides
other valuables; showing that such _inquilini_ or lodgers, were not
always of the lowest class.

The best view of this house is from the front of the doorway. It
offers to the eye, successively, the doorway, the prothyrum, the
atrium, with its impluvium, the Ionic peristyle, and the garden wall,
with Vesuvius in the distance. The entrance is decorated with two
pilasters of the Corinthian order. Besides the outer door, there was
another at the end of the prothyrum, to secure the atrium against too
early intrusion. The latter apartment was paved with marble, with a
gentle inclination towards the impluvium. Through the tablinum the
peristyle is seen, with two of its Ionic capitals still remaining. The
columns are sixteen in number, fluted, except for about one-third of
their height from the bottom. They are made of a volcanic stone, and,
with their capitals, are of good execution. But at some period
subsequent to the erection of the house, probably after the
earthquake, A.D. 63, they have been covered with hard stucco, and
large leaves of the same material set under the volutes, so as to
transform them into a sort of pseudo-Corinthian, or Composite order.
It is not impossible that the exclusively Italian order, which we call
Composite, may have originated in a similar caprice. Of the
disposition of the garden, which occupied the open part of the
peristyle, we have little to say. Probably it was planted with choice
flowers. Slabs of marble were placed at the angles to receive the
drippings of the roof, which were conducted by metal conduits into the
central basin, which is about six feet in depth, and was painted
green. In the centre of it there stood a jet d'eau, as there are
indications enough to prove. This apartment, if such it may be called,
was unusually spacious, measuring about sixty-five feet by fifty. The
height of the columns was equal to the width of the colonnade, about
sixteen feet. Their unfluted part is painted yellow, the rest is
coated with white stucco. The floor is elevated two steps above the
level of the tablinum.

A curious religious painting, now almost effaced, was found in the
kitchen, representing the worship offered to the Lares, under whose
protection and custody the provisions and all the cooking utensils
were placed. In the centre is a sacrifice in honor of those deities,
who are represented below in the usual form of two huge serpents
brooding over an altar. There is something remarkable in the upper
figures. The female figure in the centre holds a cornucopia, and each
of the male figures holds a small vase in the hand nearer to the
altar, and a horn in the other. All the faces are quite black, and the
heads of the male figures are surrounded with something resembling a
glory. Their dress in general, and especially their boots, which are
just like the Hungarian boots now worn on the stage, appear different
from anything which is to be met with elsewhere. Are these figures
meant for the Lares themselves? On each side are represented different
sorts of eatables. On the left a bunch of small birds, a string of
fish, a boar with a girth about his body, and a magnificently curling
tail, and a few loaves, or rather cakes, of the precise pattern of
some which have been found in Pompeii: on the right, an eel spitted on
a wire, a ham, a boar's head, and a joint of meat, which, as pig-meat
seems to have been in request here, we may conjecture to be a loin of
pork; at least it is as like that as anything else. It is suspended by
a reed, as is still done at Rome. The execution of this painting is
coarse and careless in the extreme, yet there is a spirit and freedom
of touch which has hit off the character of the objects represented,
and forbids us to impute the negligence which is displayed to
incapacity. Another object of interest in the kitchen is a stove for
stews and similar preparations, very much like those charcoal stoves
which are seen in extensive kitchens at the present day. Before it lie
a knife, strainers, and a strange-looking sort of a frying-pan, with
four spherical cavities, as if it were meant to cook eggs. A similar
one, containing twenty-nine egg-holes, has been found, which is
circular, about fifteen inches in diameter, and without a handle.
Another article of kitchen furniture is a sort of flat ladle pierced
with holes, said to belong to the class called _trua_. It was meant
apparently to stir up vegetables, etc., while boiling, and to strain
the water from them.


This house has been long excavated, and perhaps that is the reason
that, considering its extent and splendor, the notices of it are
particularly meagre. Of the decorations we have been able to procure
no detailed accounts, though several paintings are said to have been
found in it, and among them, one of Danae amid the golden shower,
deserving of notice. Of the garden little can be said, for little is
known. According to the best indications which Mazois could observe,
it consisted of a number of straight parallel beds, divided by narrow
paths, which gave access to them for horticultural purposes, but with
no walk for air and exercise except the portico which adjoins the

Inferior to the House of Pansa, and to some others in size, but second
to none in elegance of decoration and in the interest which it
excites, is a house in the street leading from the Gate of Herculaneum
to the Forum, called by some the House of Actæon, from a painting
found in it; by others the House of Caius Sallustius. It occupies the
southernmost portion of an insula extending backwards to the city

It is remarkable that the architects of Pompeii seem to have been
careless for the most part whether they built on a regular or an
irregular area. The practice of surrounding the owner's abode with
shops, enabled them to turn to advantage the sides and corners of any
piece of ground, however misshapen. Thus in another plan the
apartments of the dwelling-houses are almost all well shaped and
rectangular, though not one of the four angles of the area is a right

The general view of this house is taken from the street in front, and
runs completely through to the garden wall. One of the pilasters which
flank the doorway has its capital still in good preservation. It is
cut out of gray lava, and represents a Silenus and Faun side by side,
each holding one end of an empty leather bottle, thrown over their
shoulders. Ornaments of this character, which can be comprehended
under none of the orders of architecture, are common in Pompeii, and
far from unpleasing in their effect, however contrary to established
principles. On the right is the large opening into the vestibule. In
the centre of the view is the atrium, easily recognized by the
impluvium, and beyond it through the tablinum are seen the pillars of
the portico. Beyond the impluvium is the place of a small altar for
the worship of the Lares. A bronze hind, through the mouth of which a
stream of water flowed, formerly stood in the centre of the basin. It
bore a figure of Hercules upon its back.

The walls of the atrium and tablinum are curiously stuccoed in large
raised panels, with deep channels between them, the panels being
painted of different colors, strongly contrasted with each other.

We find among them different shades of the same color, several reds,
for instance, as sinopis, cinnabar, and others. This sort of
decoration has caused some persons to call this the house of a
color-seller--a conjecture entirely at variance with the luxury and
elegance which reign in it. The floor was of red cement, with bits of
white marble imbedded in it.

The altar in the atrium and the little oratory in the left-hand ala
belong to the worship of the Lares _domestici_ or _familiares_, as is
indicated by the paintings found in the false doorway, but now
removed. They consisted of a serpent below and a group of four figures
above, employed in celebrating a sacrifice to these gods.

In the centre is a tripod, into which a priest, his head covered, is
pouring the contents of a patera. On each side are two young men,
dressed alike, apparently in the prætexta; at least their robes are
white, and there is a double red stripe down the front of their
tunics, and a red drapery is thrown over the shoulders of each. In one
hand each holds a patera; in the other each holds aloft a cow's horn
perforated at the small end, through which a stream is spouting into
the patera at a considerable distance. This, though an inconvenient,
seems to have been a common drinking-vessel. The method of using it
has already been described. In the background is a man playing on the
double flute.

The worship of the Lares was thus publicly represented, and their
images were exposed to view, that all persons might have an
opportunity of saluting them and invoking prosperity on the house.
Noble families had also a place of domestic worship (_adytum_ or
_penetrale_) in the most retired part of their mansions, where their
most valuable records and hereditary memorials were preserved.

The worship of these little deities (_Dii minuti_, or _patellarii_)
was universally popular, partly perhaps on account of its economical
nature, for they seem to have been satisfied with anything that came
to hand, partly perhaps from a sort of feeling of good fellowship in
them and towards them, like that connected with the Brownies and
Cluricaunes, and other household goblins of northern extraction.

Like those goblins they were represented sometimes under very
grotesque forms. There is a bronze figure of one found at Herculaneum,
and figured in the Antiquites d'Herculanum, plate xvii. vol. viii.,
which represents a little old man sitting on the ground with his knees
up to his chin, a huge head, ass's ears, a long beard, and a roguish
face, which would agree well with our notion of a Brownie. Their
statues were often placed behind the door, as having power to keep out
all things hurtful, especially evil genii. Respected as they were,
they sometimes met with rough treatment, and were kicked or cuffed, or
thrown out of window without ceremony, if any unlucky accident had
chanced through their neglect. Sometimes they were imaged under the
form of dogs, the emblems of fidelity and watchfulness, sometimes,
like their brethren of the highways (Lares compitales), in the shape
of serpents.

The tutelary genii of men or places, a class of beings closely allied
to Lares, were supposed to manifest themselves in the same shape: as,
for example, a sacred serpent was believed at Athens to keep watch in
the temple of Athene in the Acropolis. Hence paintings of these
animals became in some sort the guardians of the spot in which they
were set up, like images of saints in Roman Catholic countries, and
not unfrequently were employed when it was wished to secure any place
from irreverent treatment.

From these associations the presence of serpents came to be considered
of good omen, and by a natural consequence they were kept (a harmless
sort of course) in the houses, where they nestled about the altars,
and came out like dogs or cats to be patted by the visitors, and beg
for something to eat. Nay, at table, if we may build upon insulated
passages, they crept about the cups of the guests; and in hot weather
ladies would use them as live boas, and twist them round their necks
for the sake of coolness.

Martial, however, our authority for this, seems to consider it as an
odd taste. Virgil, therefore, in a fine passage, in which he has
availed himself of the divine nature attributed to serpents, is only
describing a scene which he may often have witnessed:

    Scarce had he finished, when with speckled pride,
    A serpent from the tomb began to glide;
    His hugy bulk on seven high volumes rolled;
    Blue was his breadth of back, but streaked with scaly gold;
    Thus, riding on his curls, he seemed to pass
    A rolling fire along, and singe the grass.
    More various colors through his body run,
    Than Iris, when her bow imbibes the sun.
    Betwixt the rising altars, and around,
    The rolling monster shot along the ground.
    With harmless play amidst the bowls he passed,
    And with his lolling tongue assayed the taste;
    Thus fed with holy food, the wondrous guest
    Within the hollow tomb retired to rest.
    The pious prince, surprised at what he viewed,
    The funeral honors with more zeal renewed;
    Doubtful if this the place's genius were,
    Or guardian of his father's sepulchre.

We may conjecture from the paintings, which bear a marked resemblance
to one another, that these snakes were of considerable size, and of
the same species, probably that called Æsculapius, which was brought
from Epidaurus to Rome with the worship of the god, and, as we are
told by Pliny, was commonly fed in the houses of Rome. These sacred
animals made war on the rats and mice, and thus kept down one species
of vermin; but as they bore a charmed life, and no one laid violent
hands on them, they multiplied so fast, that, like the monkeys of
Benares, they became an intolerable nuisance. The frequent fires at
Rome were the only things that kept them under.

Passing through the tablinum, we enter the portico of the xystus, or
garden, a spot small in extent, but full of ornament and of beauty,
though not that sort of beauty which the notion of a garden suggests
to us. It is not larger than a city garden, the object of our
continual ridicule; yet while the latter is ornamented only with one
or two scraggy poplars, and a few gooseberry-bushes with many more
thorns than leaves, the former is elegantly decorated by the hand of
art, and set apart as the favorite retreat of festive pleasure. True
it is that the climate of Italy suits out-of-door amusements better
than our own, and that Pompeii was not exposed to that plague of soot
which soon turns marble goddesses into chimney-sweepers. The portico
is composed of columns, fluted and corded, the lower portion of them
painted blue, without pedestals, yet approaching to the Roman rather
than to the Grecian Doric. The entablature is gone. From the portico
we ascend by three steps to the xystus. Its small extent, not
exceeding in its greatest dimensions seventy feet by twenty, did not
permit trees, hardly even shrubs, to be planted in it. The centre,
therefore, was occupied by a pavement, and on each side boxes filled
with earth were ranged for flowers; while, to make amends for the want
of real verdure, the whole wall opposite the portico is painted with
trellises and fountains, and birds drinking from them; and above, with
thickets enriched and ornamented with numerous tribes of their winged

The most interesting discoveries at Pompeii are those which throw
light on, or confirm passages of ancient authors. Exactly the same
style of ornament is described by Pliny the Younger as existing in his
Tuscan villa. "Another cubiculum is adorned with sculptured marble for
the height of the podium; above which is a painting of trees, and
birds sitting on them, not inferior in elegance to the marble itself.
Under it is a small fountain, and in the fountain a cup, round which
the playing of several small water-pipes makes a most agreeable
murmur." At the end of this branch of the garden, which is shaped like
an L, we see an interesting monument of the customs of private life.
It is a summer triclinium, in plan like that which has been mentioned
in the preceding chapter, but much more elegantly decorated. The
couches are of masonry, intended to be covered with mattresses and
rich tapestry when the feast was to be held here: the round table in
the centre was of marble. Above it was a trellis, as is shown by the
square pillars in front and the holes in the walls which enclose two
sides of the triclinium. These walls are elegantly painted in panels,
in the prevailing taste; but above the panelling there is a whimsical
frieze, appropriate to the purpose of this little pavilion, consisting
of all sorts of eatables which can be introduced at a feast. When
Mazois first saw it the colors were fresh and beautiful; but when he
wrote, after a lapse of ten years, it was already in decay, and ere
now it has probably disappeared, so perishable are all those beauties
which can not be protected from the inclemency of the weather by
removal. In front a stream of water pours into a basin from the wall,
on which, half painted, half raised in relief, is a mimic fountain
surmounted by a stag. Between the fountain and triclinium, in a line
between the two pilasters which supported the trellis, was a small
altar, on which the due libations might be poured by the festive
party. In the other limb of the garden is a small furnace, probably
intended to keep water constantly hot for the use of those who
preferred warm potations. Usually the Romans drank their wine mixed
with snow, and clarified through a strainer, of which there are many
in the Museum of Naples, curiously pierced in intricate patterns; but
those who were under medical care were not always suffered to enjoy
this luxury. Martial laments his being condemned by his physician to
drink no cold wine, and concludes with wishing that his enviers may
have nothing but warm water. At the other end of the garden, opposite
the front of the triclinium, was a cistern which collected the rain
waters, whence they were drawn for the use of the garden and of the
house. There was also a cistern at the end of the portico, next the

The several rooms to the left of the atrium offer nothing remarkable.
On the right, however, as will be evident upon inspecting the plan, a
suite of apartments existed, carefully detached from the remainder of
the house, and communicating only with the atrium by a single passage.
The disposition and the ornaments of this portion of the house prove
that it was a private _venereum_, a place, if not consecrated to the
goddess from whom it derives its name, at least especially devoted to
her service. The strictest privacy has been studied in its
arrangements; no building overlooks it; the only entrance is closed by
two doors, both of which we may conjecture, were never suffered to be
open at once; and beside them was the apartment of a slave, whose duty
was to act as porter and prevent intrusion. Passing the second door,
the visitor found himself under a portico supported by octagonal
columns, with a court or open area in the centre, and in the middle of
it a small basin. At each end of the portico is a small cabinet, with
appropriate paintings: in one of them a painting of Venus, Mars, and
Cupid is conspicuous.

The apartments were paved with marble, and the walls lined breast-high
with the same material. A niche in the cabinet nearest the triclinium
contained a small image, a gold vase, a gold coin, and twelve bronze
medals of the reign of Vespasian; and near this spot were found eight
small bronze columns, which appear to have formed part of a bed.

In the adjoining lane four skeletons were found, apparently a female
attended by three slaves; the tenant perhaps of this elegant
apartment. Beside her was a round plate of silver, which probably was
a mirror, together with several golden rings set with engraved stones,
two ear-rings, and five bracelets of the same metal.

Both cabinets had glazed windows, which commanded a view of the court
and of each other; it is conjectured that they were provided with
curtains. The court itself presents no trace of pavement, and,
therefore, probably served as a garden.

The ground of the wall is black, a color well calculated to set off
doubtful complexions to the best advantage, while its sombre aspect is
redeemed by a profusion of gold-colored ornament, in the most elegant
taste. The columns were painted with the color called _sinopis
Ponticum_, a species of red ochre of brilliant tint. Nearly all the
wall of the court between the cabinets is occupied by a large painting
of Actæon, from which the house derives one of its names; on either
side it is flanked by the representation of a statue on a high
pedestal. The centre piece comprises a double action. In one part we
see a rocky grotto, in which Diana was bathing when the unwary hunter
made his appearance above: in the other he is torn by his own dogs, a
severe punishment for an unintentional intrusion. The background
represents a wild and mountainous landscape. A painted frieze, and
other paintings on the walls, complete the decorations of the portico.

The large apartment was a triclinium for the use of this portion of
the house, where the place of the table, and of the beds which
surrounded it on three sides, was marked by a mosaic pavement. Over
the left-hand portico there was a terrace. The space marked 36
contained the stair which gave access to it, a stove connected
probably with the service of the triclinium and other conveniences.

In the centre room is the opening into the tablinum, which probably
was only separated from the atrium by curtains (_parapetasmata_),
which might be drawn or undrawn at pleasure. Through the tablinum the
pillars of the peristyle and the fountain painted on the garden wall
are seen. To the right of the tablinum is the fauces, and on each side
of the atrium the alæ are seen, partly shut off, like the tablinum, by
handsome draperies. The nearer doors belong to chambers which open
into the atrium. Above the colored courses of stucco blocks the walls
are painted in the light, almost Chinese style of architecture, which
is so common, and a row of scenic masks fills the place of a cornice.
The ceiling is richly fretted.

The compluvium also was ornamented with a row of triangular tiles
called antefixes, on which a mask or some other object was moulded in
relief. Below, lions' heads are placed along the cornice at intervals,
forming spouts through which the water was discharged into the
impluvium beneath. Part of this cornice, found in the house of which
we speak, is well deserving our notice, because it contains, within
itself, specimens of three different epochs of art, at which we must
suppose the house was first built, and subsequently repaired.

It is made of fine clay, with a lion's head moulded upon it, well
designed, and carefully finished. It is plain, therefore, that it was
not meant to be stuccoed, or the labor bestowed in its execution would
have been in great part wasted. At a later period it has been coated
over with the finest stucco, and additional enrichments and mouldings
have been introduced, yet without injury to the design or inferiority
in the workmanship; indicating that at the time of its execution the
original simplicity of art had given way to a more enriched and
elaborate style of ornament, yet without any perceptible decay,
either in the taste of the designer or the skill of the workman.

Still later this elegant stucco cornice had been covered with a third
coating of the coarsest materials, and of design and execution most
barbarous, when it is considered how fine a model the artists had
before their eyes.

In the restoration, the impluvium is surrounded with a mosaic border.
This has disappeared, if ever there was one; but mosaics are
frequently found in this situation, and it is, therefore, at all
events, an allowable liberty to place one here, in a house so
distinguished for the richness and elegance of its decorations.

Beside the impluvium stood a machine, now in the National Museum, for
heating water, and at the same time warming the room if requisite. The
high circular part, with the lid open, is a reservoir, communicating
with the semi-circular piece, which is hollow, and had a spout to
discharge the heated water. The three eagles placed on it are meant to
support a kettle. The charcoal was contained in the square base.

In the preceding pages we have taken indiscriminately, from all
quarters of the town, houses of all classes, from the smallest to the
most splendid, in the belief that such would be the best way of
showing the gradations of wealth and comfort, the different styles of
dwelling adopted by different classes of citizens, in proportion to
their means. It would, however, be manifestly impossible so to
classify all the houses which contain something worthy of description,
and we shall, therefore, adopt a topographical arrangement as the
simplest one, commencing at the Gate of Herculaneum, and proceeding in
as regular order as circumstances will permit through the excavated
part of the town.

Most of the houses immediately about the gate appear to have been
small inns or eating-houses, probably used chiefly by country people,
who came into market, or by the lower order of travelers. Immediately
to the right of it, however, at the beginning of the street called
the Via Consularis, or Domitiana, there is a dwelling of a better
class, called the House of the Musician, from paintings of musical
instruments which ornamented the walls. Among these were the sistrum,
trumpet, double flute, and others. Upon the right side of the street,
however, the buildings soon improve, and in that quarter are situated
some of the most remarkable mansions, in respect of extent and
construction, which Pompeii affords. They stand in part upon the site
of the walls which have been demolished upon this, the side next the
port, for what purpose it is not very easy to say; not to make room
for the growth of the city, for these houses stand at the very limit
of the available ground, being partly built upon a steep rock. Hence,
besides the upper floors, which have perished, they consist each of
two or three stories, one below another, so that the apartments next
the street are always on the highest level. Those who are familiar
with the metropolis of Scotland will readily call to mind a similar
mode of construction very observable on the north side of the High
Street, where the ground-floor is sometimes situated about the middle
of the house.

One of the most remarkable of these houses contains three stories; the
first, level with the street, contains the public part of the house,
the vestibule, atrium, and tablinum, which opens upon a spacious
terrace. Beside these is the peristyle and other private apartments,
at the back of which the terrace of which we have just spoken offers
an agreeable walk for the whole breadth of the house, and forms the
roof of a spacious set of apartments at a lower level, which are
accessible either by a sloping passage from the street, running under
the atrium, or by a staircase communicating with the peristyle. This
floor contains baths, a triclinium, a spacious saloon, and other rooms
necessary for the private use of a family. Behind these rooms is
another terrace, which overlooks a spacious court surrounded by
porticoes, and containing a piscina or reservoir in the centre. The
pillars on the side next the house are somewhat higher than on the
other three sides, so as to give the terrace there a greater
elevation. Below this second story there is yet a third, in part under
ground, which contains another set of baths, and, besides apartments
for other purposes, the lodging of the slaves. This was divided into
little cells, scarcely the length of a man, dark and damp; and we can
not enter into it without a lively feeling of the wretched state to
which these beings were reduced.

A few steps further on the same side, is another house somewhat of the
same description, which evidently belonged to some man of importance,
probably to Julius Polybius, whose name has been found in several
inscriptions. Fragments of richly-gilt stucco-work enable us to
estimate the richness of its decoration and the probable wealth of its
owner. It will be readily distinguished by its immense Corinthian
atrium, or rather peristyle. It has the further peculiarity of having
two vestibules each communicating with the street and with the atrium.
The portico of the atrium is formed by arcades and piers, ornamented
with attached columns, the centre being occupied by a court and
fountain. These arcades appear to be enclosed by windows. Square
holes, worked in the marble coping of a dwarf wall which surrounds the
little court, were perfectly distinguishable, and it is concluded that
they were meant to receive the window-frames.

Pliny the Younger describes a similar glazed portico at his Laurentine
villa; and an antique painting, representing the baths of Faustina,
gives the view of a portico, the apertures of which are entirely
glazed, as we suppose them to have been here. The portico, and three
apartments which communicate with it, were paved in mosaic. Attached
to one of the corner piers there is a fountain. The kitchen and other
apartments were below this floor. There was also an upper story, as is
clear from the remains of stair-cases. This house extends to the point
at which a by-street turns away from the main road to the Forum. We
will now return to the gate, to describe the triangular island of
houses which bounds the main street on the eastern side.

That close to the gate, called the House of the Triclinium, derives
its name from a large triclinium in the centre of the peristyle, which
is spacious and handsome, and bounded by the city walls. The House of
the Vestals is a little further on. What claim it has to this title,
except by the rule of contraries, we are at a loss to guess; seeing
that the style of its decorations is very far from corresponding with
that purity of thought and manners which we are accustomed to
associate with the title of vestal. The paintings are numerous and
beautiful, and the mosaics remarkably fine. Upon the threshold here,
as in several other houses, we find the word "Salve" (Welcome), worked
in mosaic. One may be seen in cut on page 30.

We enter by a vestibule, divided into three compartments, and
ornamented with four attached columns, which introduces us to an
atrium, fitted up in the usual manner, and surrounded by the usual
apartments. The most remarkable of these is a triclinium, which
formerly was richly paved with glass mosaics. Hence we pass into the
private apartments, which are thus described by Bonucci:--"This house
seems to have been originally two separate houses, afterwards,
probably, bought by some rich man, and thrown into one. After
traversing a little court, around which are the sleeping chambers, and
that destined to business, we hastened to render our visit to the
Penates. We entered the pantry, and rendered back to the proprietors
the greeting that, from the threshold of this mansion, they still
direct to strangers. We next passed through the kitchen and its
dependencies. The corn-mills seemed waiting for the accustomed hands
to grind with them, after so many years of repose. Oil standing in
glass vessels, chestnuts, dates, raisins, and figs, in the next
chamber, announce the provision for the approaching winter, and large
amphoræ of wine recall to us the consulates of Cæsar and of Cicero.


"We entered the private apartment. Magnificent porticoes are to be
seen around it. Numerous beautiful columns covered with stucco, and
with very fresh colors, surrounded a very agreeable garden, a pond,
and a bath. Elegant paintings, delicate ornaments, stags, sphinxes,
wild and fanciful flowers everywhere cover the walls. The cabinets of
young girls, and their toilets, with appropriate paintings, are
disposed along the sides. In this last were found a great quantity of
female ornaments, such as seen in the cut, and others, and the
skeleton of a little dog. At the extremity is seen a semicircular room
adorned with niches, and formerly with statues, mosaics, and marbles.
An altar, on which the sacred fire burned perpetually, rose in the
centre. This is the _sacrarium_. In this secret and sacred place the
most solemn and memorable days of the family were spent in rejoicing;
and here, on birthdays, sacrifices were offered to Juno, or the
Genius, the protector of the new-born child."

The next house is called the House of a Surgeon, because a variety of
surgical instruments were found in it. In number they amounted to
forty; some resembled instruments still in use, others are different
from anything employed by modern surgeons. In many the description of
Celsus is realized, as, for instance, in the specillum, or probe,
which is concave on one side and flat on the other; the scalper
excisorius, in the shape of a lancet-point on one side and of a mallet
on the other; a hook and forceps, used in obstetrical practice. The
latter are said to equal in the convenience and ingenuity of their
construction the best efforts of modern cutlers. Needles, cutting
compasses (circini excisorii), and other instruments were found, all
of the purest brass with bronze handles, and usually enclosed in brass
or boxwood cases.

There is nothing remarkable in the house itself, which contains the
usual apartments, atrium, peristyle, etc., except the paintings. These
consist chiefly of architectural designs, combinations of golden and
bronze-colored columns placed in perspective, surmounted by rich
architraves, elaborate friezes, and decorated cornices, one order
above another. Intermixed are arabesque ornaments, grotesque
paintings, and compartments with figures, all apparently employed in
domestic occupations.

One of them represents a female figure carrying rolls of papyrus to a
man who is seated and intently reading. The method of reading these
rolls or volumes, which were written in transverse columns across the
breadth of the papyrus, is clearly shown here. Behind him a young
woman is seated, playing on the harp. All these figures are placed
under the light architectural designs above described, which seem
intended to surmount a terrace. It is a common practice at the present
day in Italy, especially near Naples, to construct light treillages on
the tops of the houses, where the inhabitants enjoy the evening
breeze, _al fresco_, in the same way as is represented in these

The peristyle is small, but in good preservation. Its
inter-columniations are filled up by a dwarf wall painted red, the
lower part of the columns being painted blue. This house runs through
the island from one street to the other. Adjoining it, on the south,
is the custom-house, _telonium_. Here a wide entrance admits us into
an ample chamber, where many scales were found, and among them a
steelyard, _statera_, much resembling those now in use, but more
richly and tastefully ornamented.

    [Illustration: SCALES FOUND AT POMPEII.]

Many weights of lead and marble were found here; one with the
inscription, "Eme et habebis" (Buy and you shall have), also scales.
Near the custom-house is a soap manufactory. In the first room were
heaps of lime, the admirable quality of which has excited the wonder
of modern plasterers. In an inner room are the soap-vats, placed on a
level with the ground.

Besides these, the block contains three houses which have been
distinguished by names, the House of Isis and Osiris, the House of
Narcissus, and the House of the Female Dancers. Of these the latter is
remarkable for the beauty of the paintings which adorn its Tuscan

Among them are four very elegant figures of female dancers, from which
the name given to the house is taken. Another represents a figure
reposing on the border of a clear lake, surrounded by villas and
palaces, on the bosom of which a flock of ducks and wild-fowl are
swimming. The house of Narcissus is distinguished by the elegance of
its peristyle; the inter-columniations are filled up by a dwarf wall,
which is hollowed at the top, probably to receive earth for the
cultivation of select flowers. Our materials do not admit of a fuller
description of the houses in this quarter.

Passing onwards from the House of Sallust, the next island to the
south, separated from it by a narrow lane, affords nothing remarkable,
except the shop of a baker, to the details of which, in conjunction
with the art of dyeing, we purpose to devote a separate chapter. It is
terminated in a sharp point by the fountain before mentioned. The
disposition of the streets and houses everywhere is most
unsymmetrical, but here it is remarkably so, even for Pompeii. Just by
the house with the double vestibule the main street divides into two,
inclined to each other at a very acute angle, which form, together
with a third cross street of more importance, called the Strada delle
Terme, or Street of the Baths, another small triangular island.

The house of the apex was an apothecary's shop. A great many drugs,
glasses, and vials of the most singular forms, were found here; in
some of the latter fluids were yet remaining. In particular one large
glass vase is to be mentioned, capable of holding two gallons, in
which was a gallon and a half of a reddish liquid, said to be balsam.
On being opened, the contents began to evaporate very fast, and it
was, therefore, closed hermetically. About an inch in depth of the
contents has been thus lost, leaving on the sides of the vessel a
sediment, reaching up to the level to which it was formerly filled.
The right-hand street leads to buildings entirely in ruins, the
left-hand one, which is a continuation of the Via Consularis, or
Domitiana, conducts us towards the Forum.

Immediately to the eastward of the district just described is the
House of Pansa, which occupies a whole block. The block between it and
the city walls, on the north, offers nothing remarkable. Beyond, still
to the east, is a block separated from it by a narrow street, called
the Via della Fullonica, and bounded on the other side by the Street
of Mercury, which runs in a straight line from the walls nearly to the
Forum. This block contains, besides several private houses of great
beauty, the Fullonica, or establishment for the fulling and dyeing of
woolen cloths. This, together with the bake-house above mentioned,
will be described further on.

    [Page Decoration]

    [Page Decoration]


Passing on the insula or block, bounded on the north by the Street of
Holconius, on the south by the Street of Isis, on the west by the
Street of the Theatres, and on the east by that of Stabiæ, we find two
remarkable houses excavated within the last few years. That at the
northern corner of the street of the Theatres, numbered 4 on the
entrance, is sometimes called the House of Holconius. The two stores
which precede it, numbered 2 and 3, seem to have been the property of
the master of the house, and communicate with each other. A third
shop, numbered 1, at the angle of the street, appears to have been
occupied by a dyer, and is called Taberna Offectoris. On the front of
the house were some inscriptions for electioneering purposes.

The pilasters on either side of the main entrance are painted red to
about the height of a man, beyond which they are of white plaster. On
entering the prothyrum may be observed a large hole in the wall,
destined for the reception of the _repagulum_, or strong wooden bar
with which the door was secured. The door appears, from the places for
bolts on the threshold, to have been composed of two pieces (bifora).
The walls of the prothyrum are painted black, with a red podium,
divided into three compartments by green and yellow lines, in the
middle of which are an aquatic bird, perhaps an _ibis_, a swan with
spread wings, and an ornament that can not be made out. Towards the
top the walls are painted with fantastic pieces of architecture on a
white ground; amidst which, on one side, is a nymph descending
apparently from heaven. She has a golden-colored vest, on her
shoulders is a veil agitated by the breeze, and she bears in her hand
a large dish filled with fruits and herbs. On the other side was a
similar figure, playing on the lyre, with a sky-blue vest and
rose-colored veil that fluttered about her. The remaining
architectural paintings contained little winged Cupids, one holding a
cornucopia, another a drum, and two with baskets of fruits and
flowers. These were the good geniuses, which, by being depicted at the
entrance of a house, repelled all evil influences and rendered it a
joyful abode.

The pavement of the Tuscan atrium is variegated with small pieces of
white marble placed in rows. The impluvium in the middle appears to
have been under repair, as it is stripped of its marble lining. The
walls of the atrium are painted red, with vertical black zones like
pilasters, or _antæ_, besides lines and ornaments of various colors.
On the wall to the left of the entrance is painted a recumbent
Silenus, crowned with ivy, and pressing in his arms the little
Bacchus, who in alarm is endeavoring to escape from his embraces. Near
it, on a yellow ground, is the bearded head of a man, with two claws
projecting from his temples like horns, and a beard floating as if it
was in the water. It may probably be a mask of Oceanus, who is
represented on coins of Agrigentum in a somewhat similar manner. Under
the head is the figure of a hippocampus.

Many objects were found in this atrium, some at the height of four or
five yards from the floor, which must consequently have fallen in from
the upper stories; and others on the pavement itself. But one of the
most important discoveries was the skeleton of a woman, near the
entrance of the tablinum. She appears to have been in the act of
flight, and had with her a small box containing her valuables and
nick-nacks. Among the most curious of these was a necklace composed of
amulets, or charms, which, it will be observed, are all attributes of
Isis and her attendant, Anubis, or of her husband Osiris, here
considered as Bacchus. The mystic articles kept in the Isiac coffer
were, says Eusebius, a ball, dice, (_turbo_) wheel, mirror, lock of

The first bed-chamber on the right of the atrium communicated with the
store No. 3, and was probably occupied by the slave who conducted the
business of it. The first bed-chamber on the left had a similar
communication with the store outside.


There are few houses in Pompeii in which the paintings are more
numerous or better preserved than in that which we are examining. The
second bed-chamber on the right has several. In this room may be
observed a space hollowed in the wall to receive the foot of a bed or
coutch. The walls are white, with a red podium, and are surmounted by
a cornice from which springs the vault. The upper part is painted with
lines, between which are depicted griffins in repose, baskets with
thyrsi, branches of herbs, and other objects.

The lower part of the walls is divided into larger compartments by
candelabra supporting little globes. In each compartment are eight
small pictures, representing the heads and busts of Bacchic
personages, in a very good state of preservation. On the left is
Bacchus, crowned with ivy, his head covered with the _mitra_, a sort
of veil of fine texture which descends upon his left shoulder. This
ornament, as well as the cast of his features, reveals the half
feminine nature of the deity. Opposite to him is the picture of
Ariadne, also crowned with ivy, clothed in a green _chiton_ and a
violet _himation_. She presses to her bosom the infant Iacchus,
crowned with the eternal ivy, and bearing in his hand the thyrsus.
Then follow Bacchic or Panic figures, some conversing, some drinking
together, some moving apparently in the mazes of the dance. Paris,
with the Phrygian cap and crook, seems to preside over this voluptuous
scene, and to listen to a little Cupid seated on his shoulder.

In the chamber on the opposite side of the atrium, fronting that just
described, were also four pictures, two of which are destroyed, the
walls having apparently been broken through, not long after the
destruction of Pompeii, by persons in search of their buried property.
Of the other two, which are almost effaced, one represents an aged
Faun, holding in his hands a thyrsus and a vase; the other a young
woman conversing with an African slave. A wooden chest seems to have
stood close to the left-hand wall.

The left _ala_, or wing, has its walls painted in yellow and red
compartments, with a black podium. In the middle of each was a
valuable painting, but these, with the exception of the greater part
of one fronting the entrance, have been almost destroyed. The one
saved represents Apollo, who has overtaken Daphne, and is clasping her
in his arms, while the nymph, who has fallen on her knees, repels the
embraces of the deity. A malicious little Cupid, standing on tiptoes,
draws aside the golden-tissued veil which covered the nymph, and
displays her naked form. On the left of the same apartment is a
picture, almost effaced, of Perseus and Andromeda; and on the right
another with three male figures, of which only the lower part remains.

The right _ala_, which, however, from its capability of being closed
with a door, does not properly come under that denomination, seems,
from various culinary utensils of metal and earthenware found in it,
to have served as a kitchen, or rather perhaps as a store-closet.

The tablinum, opposite the entrance, and, as usual, without any
enclosure on the side of the atrium, has a small marble threshold, and
on its floor little squares of colored marbles surrounded with a
mosaic border. The yellow walls, divided into compartments by vertical
stripes of red, white, and black, were beautifully ornamented with the
usual architectural designs and flying figures. On each side were two
larger pictures, of which only that on the left of the spectator
remains. It represents Leda showing to Tyndareus a nest containing the
two boys produced from the egg. A stucco cornice runs round the wall,
above which a flying nymph is painted on a white ground, between two
balconies, from which a man and woman are looking down. There are also
figures of sphinxes, goats, etc.

A wooden staircase on the left of the tablinum, the first step being
of stone, led to the floor above. On the right is the passage called
_fauces_, leading to the peristyle. On its left-hand side, near the
ground, was a rudely traced figure of a gladiator, with an inscription
above, of which only the first letters, PRIMI, remain. On the left
wall of the fauces, near the extremity, and level with the eye, is
another inscription, or _graffito_, in small characters, difficult to
be deciphered from the unusual _nexus_ of the letters, but which the
learned have supposed to express the design of an invalid to get rid
of the pains in his limbs by bathing them in water.

At the extremity of the _fauces_, on the right, there is an entrance
to a room which has also another door leading into the portico of the
peristyle. The walls are painted black and red, and in the
compartments are depicted birds, animals, fruits, etc. Two skeletons
were found in this room. In the apartment to the left, or east of the
tablinum, of which the destination can not be certainly determined,
the walls are also painted black, with architectural designs in the
middle, and figures of winged Cupids variously employed. On the larger
walls are two paintings, of which that on the right represents the
often-repeated subject of Ariadne, who, just awakened from sleep, and
supported by a female figure with wings, supposed to be Nemesis, views
with an attitude of grief and stupor the departing ship of Theseus,
already far from Naxos. On the left side is a picture of Phryxus,
crossing the sea on the ram and stretching out his arms to Helle, who
has fallen over and appears on the point of drowning. The form of this
chamber, twice as long as it is broad, its vicinity to the kitchen,
and the window, through which the slaves might easily convey the
viands, appear to show that it was a triclinium, or dining-room.

The floor, which is lower by a step than the peristyle, is paved with
_opus Signinum_, and ornamented only at one end with a mosaic. On one
of the walls, about ten feet from the floor, is the _graffito_,
_Sodales Avete_ (Welcome Comrades), which could have been inscribed
there only by a person, probably a slave, mounted on a bench or a

The viridarium, or xystus, surrounded with spacious porticoes, was
once filled with the choicest flowers, and refreshed by the grateful
murmur of two fountains. One of these in the middle of the peristyle
is square, having in its centre a sort of round table from which the
water gushed forth. The other fountain, which faces the tablinum, is
composed of a little marble staircase, surmounted by the statue of a
boy having in his right hand a vase from which the water spirted, and
under his left arm a goose. The statue is rather damaged.

Many objects were found in the peristyle, mostly of the kind usually
discovered in Pompeian houses. Among them was an amphora, having the
following epigraph in black paint:


which has been interpreted to mean that it contained Coan wine
flavored with pomegranate, and that it came from Rome, from the stores
of Aterius Felix.

The portico is surrounded by strong columns, and seems to have had a
second order resting on the first, as may be inferred from some
indications to the right of him who enters from the _fauces_. The
walls are painted red and black, with architectural designs,
candelabra, meanders, birds, winged Cupids, etc. There are also
fourteen small pictures enclosed in red lines, eight of which
represent landscapes and sea-shores, with fishermen, and the other six
fruits and eatables. On the wall on the right side is the following
_graffito_, or inscription, scratched with some sharp instrument:


That is: "On the 25th July, hog's lard, two hundred pounds, Garlic,
two hundred bunches." It seems, therefore, to be a domestic memorandum
of articles either bought or sold.

Around the portico are several rooms, all having marble thresholds,
and closed by doors turning on bronze hinges. On the right hand of
the peristyle, near the entrance, is a private door, or _posticum_,
leading into the Street of the Theatres, by which the master of the
house might escape his importunate clients.

The rooms at the sides of the peristyle offer nothing remarkable, but
the three chambers opposite to the tablinum are of considerable size,
and contain some good pictures. The first on the right has two figures
of Nereids traversing the sea, one on a sea-bull the other on a
hippocampus. Both the monsters are guided by a Cupid with reins and
whip, and followed by dolphins. Another painting opposite the entrance
is too much effaced to be made out. The same wall has a feature not
observed in any other Pompeian house, namely, a square aperture of
rather more than a foot reaching down to the floor, and opening upon
an enclosed place with a canal or drain for carrying off the water of
the adjoining houses. It seems also to have been a receptacle for
lamps, several of which were found there.

Adjoining this room is a large _exedra_ with a little _impluvium_ in
the middle, which seems to indicate an aperture in the roof, a
construction hitherto found only in _atria_. The absence of any
channels in the floor for conducting water seems to show that it could
not have been a fountain. This exedra is remarkable for its paintings.
In the wall in front is depicted Narcissus with a javelin in his hand,
leaning over a rock and admiring himself in the water, in which his
image is reflected; but great part of the painting is destroyed. A
little Cupid is extinguishing his torch in the stream. In the
background is a building with an image of the bearded Bacchus; and
near it a terminal figure of Priapus Ithyphallicus, with grapes and
other fruits. This picture was much damaged in the process of

On the left wall is a painting of a naked Hermaphroditus. In his right
hand is a little torch reversed; his left arm rests on the shoulders
of Silenus, who appears to accompany his songs on the lyre, whilst a
winged Cupid sounds the double flute. On the other side is a
Bacchante with a thyrsus and tambourine, and near her a little Satyr,
who also holds a torch reversed.

But the best picture in this apartment is that representing Ariadne
discovered by Bacchus. A youthful figure with wings, supposed to
represent Sleep, stands at Ariadne's head, and seems to indicate that
she is under his influence. Meanwhile a little Faun lifts the veil
that covers her, and with an attitude indicating surprise at her
beauty, turns to Bacchus and seems to invite him to contemplate her
charms. The deity himself, crowned with ivy and berries, clothed in a
short tunic and a pallium agitated by the breeze, holds in his right
hand the thyrsus, and lifts his left in token of admiration. In the
background a Bacchante sounds her tympanum, and invites the followers
of the god to descend from the mountains. These, preceded by Silenus,
obey the summons; one is playing the double flute, another sounding
the cymbals, a third bears on her head a basket of fruit. A Faun and a
Bacchante, planted on a mountain on the left, survey the scene from a

The adjoining triclinium, entered by a door from the exedra, had also
three paintings, one of which however is almost destroyed. Of the
remaining two, that on the left represents Achilles discovered by
Ulysses among the damsels of Lycomedes. The subject of that on the
right is the Judgment of Paris. It is more remarkable for its spirit
and coloring than for the accuracy of its drawing. This apartment has
also six medallions with heads of Bacchic personages.

In the same block as the house just described, and having its entrance
in the same street, stands the house of Cornelius Rufus. It is a
handsome dwelling, but as its plan and decorations have nothing to
distinguish them from other Pompeian houses, we forbear to describe
them. The only remarkable feature in this excavation was the discovery
of a Hermes at the bottom of the atrium on the left, on which was a
marble bust of the owner, as large as life and well executed, having
his name inscribed beneath.

Not far from the houses just described, in the Street of Stabiæ, at
the angle formed by the street leading to the amphitheatre, stands the
House of Apollo Citharœdus, excavated in 1864. It derives its name
from a fine bronze statue, as large as life, of Apollo sounding the
lyre, which was found there, but has now been placed in the Museum at
Naples. In this house the tablinum and a peristyle beyond are on a
higher level than the atrium; consequently the _fauces_, or passage
leading to the latter, ascends. In the peristyle is a semicircular
fountain, on the margin of which were disposed several animals in
bronze, representing a hunting scene. In the centre was a wild boar in
flight attacked by two dogs; at the sides were placed a lion, a stag,
and a serpent. These animals, arranged in the same way in which they
were found, are now preserved in the Museum.

Adjoining the House of Lucretius are several stores. That next door
but one appears to have belonged to a chemist or color-maker. On the
right of the atrium is a triple furnace, constructed for the reception
of three large cauldrons at different levels, which were reached by
steps. The house contained a great quantity of carbonized drugs. At
the sides of the entrance were two stores for the sale of the
manufactured articles. In one of these stores was discovered, some
yards below the old level of the soil, the skeleton of a woman with
two bracelets of gold, two of silver, four ear-rings, five rings,
forty-seven gold, and one hundred and ninety-seven silver coins, in a
purse of netted gold.

    [Page Decoration]

    [Illustration: Painted by J. Coomans
    Engraved & Printed by Illman Brothers.

    [Page Decoration]


Proceeding southward along the Street of Mercury, we pass under the
triumphal arch of Nero, and crossing the transverse street which leads
towards the Gate of Nola, enter the Street of the Forum, a
continuation of the Street of Mercury, leading straight to the
triumphal arch at the north end of the Forum, and bounding the island
of the Baths on the eastern side. This street is one of the most
spacious in Pompeii. A long list of articles was found here in the
course of excavation. One of the houses about the centre of the street
nearly opposite the entrance to the Thermæ, is of more consequence
than the rest, and has been named the House of Bacchus, from a large
painting of that god on a door opposite to the entry. Channels for the
introduction of water were found in the atrium, which has been
surrounded by a small trough, formed to contain flowers, the outer
side of which is painted blue, to imitate water, with boats floating
upon it. The wall behind this is painted with pillars, between which
are balustrades of various forms. Cranes and other birds perch upon
these, and there is a back ground of reeds and other vegetables, above
which the sky is visible. The greater portion of the eastern side of
the street is occupied by a row of shops with a portico in front of
them. It is flanked on either side by footpaths, and must have
presented a noble appearance when terminated by triumphal arches at
either end, and overlooked by the splendid Temple of Jupiter and that
of Fortune elevated on its lofty basis.

It is to be noticed that the last-named edifice does not stand
symmetrically either with the Street of the Forum or with the Street
of the Baths running past the House of the Pansa. "The portico," we
quote again from Gell, "is turned a little towards the Forum, and the
front of the temple is so contrived that a part of it might be seen
also from the other street. It is highly probable that these
circumstances are the result of design rather than of chance. The
Greeks seem to have preferred the view of a magnificent building from
a corner, and there is scarcely a right-angled plan to be found either
in ancient or modern Italy." In the Street of the Forum has been
established a temporary museum of articles found in Pompeii. Adjoining
it is a library containing all the best works that have been written
on the city.


The street running westward between the baths and the Forum presents
nothing remarkable, except that in it are the signs of the milk-shop
and school of gladiators. There is also an altar, probably dedicated
to Jupiter, placed against the wall of a house; above it is a
bass-relief in stucco, with an eagle in the tympanum. Eastward of the
Forum this street assumes the name of the Street of Dried Fruits, from
an inscription showing that dried fruits were sold in it; and, indeed,
a considerable quantity of figs, raisins, chestnuts, plums, hempseed,
and similar articles were found. It is now, however, usually called
the Street of the Augustals.

Near the point at which this street is intersected by that of
Eumachia, running at the back of the east side of the Forum, there is
a remarkably graceful painting of a youthful Bacchus pressing the
juice of the grape into a vase placed upon a pillar, at the foot of
which is a rampant animal expecting the liquor, apparently meant for a
tiger or panther, but of very diminutive size. This picture is one
foot five inches high and one foot two inches wide. It probably served
for the sign of a wine-merchant. Corresponding with it, on the other
side of the shop, is a painting of Mercury, to render that knavish god
propitious to the owner's trade.

We will now proceed to the Street of Abundance, or of the Merchants,
formerly called the Street of the Silversmiths. This is about
twenty-eight feet wide, and bordered on each side by foot-paths about
six feet wide, which are described as made in several places of a hard
plaster, probably analogous to _opus Signinum_. At the end next the
Forum it is blocked up by two steps, which deny access to wheel
carriages, and is in other parts so much encumbered by large
stepping-stones that the passage of such vehicles, if not prohibited,
must have been difficult and inconvenient.

We may here take notice of a peculiarity in this street. It slopes
with a very gentle descent away from the Forum, and the courses of
masonry, instead of being laid horizontally, run parallel to the
slope of the ground, a unique instance, as we believe, of such a

The doors of several shops in this street have left perfect
impressions on the volcanic deposit, by which it appears that the
planks of which they were made lapped one over the other, like the
planks of a boat.

Although the houses that line this street have now been cleared, there
still remains a large unexcavated space on its southern side. The only
house requiring notice is that called the Casa del Cinghiale, or House
of the Wild Boar, a little way down on the right-hand side in going
from the Forum. Its name is derived from the mosaic pavement of the
prothyrum, representing a boar attacked by two dogs. The house is
remarkable for its well-preserved peristyle of fourteen Ionic columns,
with their capitals. On the right is a brick staircase leading to a
large garden. The atrium is bordered with a mosaic representing the
walls of a city with towers and battlements, supposed by some to be
the walls of Pompeii.

Just beyond this house is a small street or lane, turning down to the
right, called the _Vicolo dei Dodici Dei_, from a painting on the
outside wall of the corner house, in the manner of a frieze,
representing the twelve greater divinities. Below is the usual
painting of serpents. At the corner of the quadrivium is the
apothecary's shop, in which was a large collection of surgical
instruments, mortars, drugs, and pills. The house is not otherwise

Of the early excavations at the southern extremity of the town few
records are preserved. In the Quarter of the Theatres, besides the
public buildings, there are but two houses of any interest. These
occupy the space between the Temple of Æsculapius and the small
theatre. The easternmost of them is one of the most interesting yet
discovered in Pompeii, not for the beauty or curiosity of the building
itself, but for its contents, which prove it to have been the abode
of a sculptor. Here were found statues, some half finished, others
just begun, with blocks of marble, and all the tools required by the
artist. Among these were thirty-two mallets, many compasses, curved
and straight, a great quantity of chisels, three or four levers, jacks
for raising blocks, saws, etc., etc. The house has the usual
arrangement of atrium, tablinum, and peristyle, but, owing to the
inclination of the ground, the peristyle is on a higher level than the
public part of the house, and communicates with it by a flight of
steps. A large reservoir for water extended under the peristyle, which
was in good preservation when first found, but has been much injured
by the failure of the vault beneath.


Returning by the southernmost of the two roads which lead to the
Forum, we find, beside the wall of the triangular Forum as it is
called, one of the most remarkable houses in Pompeii, if not for its
size, at least for its construction.

The excavations here made were begun in April, 1769, in the presence
of the Emperor Joseph II., after whom this house has been named; but
after curiosity was satisfied, they were filled up again with rubbish,
as was then usual, and vines and poplars covered them almost entirely
at the time when Mazois examined the place, insomuch that the
underground stories were all that he could personally observe. The
emperor was accompanied in his visit by his celebrated minister, Count
Kaunitz, the King and Queen of Naples, and one or two distinguished
antiquaries. This was one of the first private dwellings excavated at
Pompeii. It appears to have been a mansion of considerable
magnificence, and, from its elevated position, must have commanded a
fine view over the Bay of Naples towards Sorrento. The "find" was so
good on the occasion of the emperor's visit, as to excite his
suspicion of some deceit. The numerous articles turned up afforded Sir
W. Hamilton an opportunity to display his antiquarian knowledge.
Joseph appears to have been rather disgusted on hearing that only
thirty men were employed on the excavations, and insisted that three
thousand were necessary. We give a cut of the house, page 119.

    [Page Decoration]


[1] Now the Street of Abundance.

[2] Nat. Hist. xxxvi. 2.

[3] Ib. xxxvi. 15.

[4] Sexagies sestertium.

[5] Nat. Hist. xxxi. 6, S. 31: Aqua in plumbo subit altitudinem
exortus sui.

[6] Rubent (vela scil.) in cavis ædium, et museum a sole defendunt. We
may conclude, then, that the impluvium was sometimes ornamented with
moss or flowers, unless the words cavis ædium may be extended to the
court of the peristyle, which was commonly laid out as a garden. [The
latter seems more likely.]

[7] xxxvi. 1.

[8] From tabula, or tabella, a picture. Another derivation is, "quasi
e tabulis compactum," because the large openings into it might be
closed by shutters.

[9] This rule, however, is seldom observed in the Pompeian houses.

[10] The best of these were made at Ægina. The more common ones cost
from $100 to $125; some sold for as much as $2000. Plin. Hist. Nat.
xxxiv. 3.

[11] These citreæ mensæ have given rise to considerable discussion.
Pliny says that they were made of the roots or knots of the wood, and
esteemed on account of their veins and markings, which were like a
tiger's skin, or peacock's tail (xiii. 91. sqq.) Some copies read
_cedri_ for citri; and it has been suggested that the cypress is
really meant, the roots and knots of which are large and veined;
whereas the citron is never used for cabinet work, and is neither
veined nor knotted.

[12] About $161,000.

[13] The common furniture of a triclinium was three couches, placed on
three sides of a square table, each containing three persons, in
accordance with the favorite maxim, that a party should not consist of
more than the Muses nor of fewer than the Graces, not more than nine
nor less than three. Where such numbers were entertained, couches must
have been placed along the sides of long tables.

[14] Plin. Ep. lib. ii. 17. We have very much shortened the original,
leaving out the description of, at least, one upper floor, and other
particulars which did not appear necessary to the illustration of our

[15] Vitruvius, vi. 8.

[16] It was made of the entrails of fish macerated in brine. That made
from the fish called scomber was the best. This word is sometimes
translated a herring, but the best authorities render it a mackerel.
It was caught, according to Pliny, in the Straits of Gibraltar,
entering from the ocean, and was used for no purpose but to make
garum. The best was called garum sociorum, a term of which we have
seen no satisfactory explanation, and sold for 1,000 sesterces for two
congii, about $20 a gallon. An inferior kind, made from the anchovy
(aphya), was called alec, a name also given to the dregs of garum. "No
liquid, except unguents," Pliny says, "fetched a higher price."--Hist.
Nat. xxxi. 43.


    "Hence, seek the sty--there wallow with thy friends."
      She spake. I drawing from beside my thigh
    My faulchion keen, with death-denouncing looks
    Rushed on her; she with a shrill scream of fear
    Ran under my raised arm, seized fast my knees,
    And in winged accents plaintive thus began:
      "Say, who art thou," etc.--Cowper's Odyss. x. 320.


    She sat before him, clasped with her left hand
    His knees; her right beneath his chin she placed,
    And thus the king, Saturnian Jove, implored.--Il. i. 500.


    [Page Decoration]


The amphitheatre stands some hundred yards from the theatres, in the
south-eastern angle of the walls of the town. Although, perhaps, of
Etruscan origin, the exhibitions of the amphitheatre are so peculiarly
Roman, and Pompeii contains so many mementos of them, that a detailed
account of them will not perhaps be misplaced. At an early period,
B.C. 263, the practice of compelling human beings to fight for the
amusement of spectators was introduced; and twelve years later the
capture of several elephants in the first Punic war proved the means
of introducing the chase, or rather the slaughter, of wild beasts into
the Roman circus. The taste for these spectacles increased of course
with its indulgence, and their magnificence with the wealth of the
city and the increasing facility and inducement to practice bribery
which was offered by the increased extent of provinces subject to
Rome. It was not, however, until the last period of the republic, or
rather until the domination of the emperors had collected into one
channel the tributary wealth which previously was divided among a
numerous aristocracy, that buildings were erected solely for the
accommodation of gladiatorial shows; buildings entirely beyond the
compass of a subject's wealth, and in which perhaps the magnificence
of imperial Rome is most amply displayed. Numerous examples scattered
throughout her empire, in a more or less advanced state of decay,
still attest the luxury and solidity of their construction; while at
Rome the Coliseum (see frontispiece) asserts the pre-eminent splendor
of the metropolis--a monument surpassed in magnitude by the Pyramids
alone, and as superior to them in skill and varied contrivance of
design as to other buildings in its gigantic magnitude.


The Greek word, which by a slight alteration of its termination we
render amphitheatre, signifies a theatre, or place of spectacles,
forming a continuous inclosure, in opposition to the simple theatre,
which, as we have said, was semicircular, but with the seats usually
continued somewhat in advance of the diameter of the semicircle. The
first amphitheatre seems to have been that of Curio, consisting of two
movable theatres, which could be placed face to face or back to back,
according to the species of amusement for which they were required.

Usually, gladiatorial shows were given in the Forum, and the chase
and combats of wild beasts exhibited in the Circus, where once, when
Pompey was celebrating games, some enraged elephants broke through the
barrier which separated them from the spectators. This circumstance,
together with the unsuitableness of the Circus for such sports, from
its being divided into two compartments by the spina, a low wall
surmounted by pillars, obelisks, and other ornamental erections, as
well as from its disproportionate length, which rendered it ill
adapted to afford a general view to all the spectators, determined
Julius Cæsar, in his dictatorship, to construct a wooden theatre in
the Campus Martius, built especially for hunting, "which was called
amphitheatre (apparently the first use of the word) because it was
encompassed by circular seats without a scene."

The first permanent amphitheatre was built partly of stone and partly
of wood, by Statilius Taurus, at the instigation of Augustus, who was
passionately fond of these sports, especially of the hunting of rare
beasts. This was burnt during the reign of Nero, and though restored,
fell short of the wishes of Vespasian, who commenced the vast
structure completed by his son Titus--called the Flavian Amphitheatre,
and subsequently the Coliseum. The expense of this building it is said
would have sufficed to erect a capital city, and, if we may credit
Dion, 9,000 wild beasts were destroyed in its dedication. Eutropius
restricts the number to 5,000. When the hunting was over the arena was
filled with water, and a sea-fight ensued.

The construction of these buildings so much resembles the construction
of theatres, that it will not be necessary to describe them at any
great length. Without, they usually presented to the view an oval
wall, composed of two or more stories of arcades, supported by piers
of different orders of architecture adorned with pilasters or attached
pillars. Within, an equal number of stories of galleries gave access
to the spectators at different elevations, and the inclined plane of
the seats was also supported upon piers and vaults, so that the
ground plan presented a number of circular rows of piers, arranged in
radii converging to the centre of the arena. A suitable number of
doors opened upon the ground floor, and passages from thence,
intersecting the circular passages between the piers, gave an easy
access to every part of the building. Sometimes a gallery encompassed
the whole, and served as a common access to all the stairs which led
to the upper stories. This was the case in the amphitheatre at Nismes.
Sometimes each staircase had its distinct communication from without:
this was the case at Verona.

The arrangement of the seats was the same as in theatres; they were
divided horizontally by præcinctiones, and vertically into cunei by
staircases. The scene and apparatus of the stage was of course
wanting, and its place occupied by an oval area, called arena, from
the sand with which it was sprinkled, to absorb the blood shed, and
give a firmer footing than that afforded by a stone pavement. It was
sunk twelve or fifteen feet below the lowest range of seats, to secure
the spectators from injury, and was besides fenced with round wooden
rollers turning in their sockets, placed horizontally against the
wall, such as the reader may have observed placed on low gates to
prevent dogs from climbing over, and with strong nets. In the time of
Nero these nets were knotted with amber, and the Emperor Carinus
caused them to be made of golden cord or wire. Sometimes, for more
complete security, ditches, called _euripi_, surrounded the arena.
This was first done by Cæsar, as a protection to the people against
the elephants which he exhibited, that animal being supposed to be
particularly afraid of water. The arena was sometimes spread with
pounded stone. Caligula, in a fit of extravagance, used chrysocolla;
and Nero, to surpass him, caused the brilliant red of cinnabar to be
mixed with it.

In the centre of the arena was an altar dedicated sometimes to Diana
or Pluto, more commonly to Jupiter Latiaris, the protector of Latium,
in honor of whom human sacrifices were offered. Passages are to be
found in ancient writers, from which it is inferred that the games of
the amphitheatre were usually opened by sacrificing a _bestiarius_,
one of those gladiators whose profession was to combat wild beasts, in
honor of this bloodthirsty deity. Beneath the arena dens are supposed
to have been constructed to contain wild beasts.

At the Coliseum numerous underground buildings are said by Fulvius to
have existed, which he supposed to be sewers constructed to drain and
cleanse the building. Others with more probability have supposed them
to be the dens of wild beasts. Immense accommodation was requisite to
contain the thousands of animals which were slaughtered upon solemn
occasions, but no great provision need have been made to carry off the
rain-water which fell upon the six acres comprised within the walls of
the building. Others again have supposed them formed to introduce the
vast bodies of water by which the arena was suddenly transformed into
a lake when imitations of naval battles were exhibited. Doors pierced
in the wall which supported the podium communicated with these, or
with other places of confinement beneath the part allotted to the
audience, which being thrown open, vast numbers of animals could be
introduced at once. Vopiscus tells us that a thousand ostriches, a
thousand stags, and a thousand boars were thrown into the arena at
once by the Emperor Probus. Sometimes, to astonish, and attract by
novelty, the arena was converted into a wood. "Probus," says the same
author, "exhibited a splendid hunting match, after the following
manner: Large trees torn up by the roots were firmly connected by
beams, and fixed upright; then earth was spread over the roots, so
that the whole circus was planted to resemble a wood, and offered us
the gratification of a green scene."

The same order of precedence was observed as at the theatre--senators,
knights, and commons having each their appropriate place. To the
former was set apart the podium, a broad precinction or platform which
ran immediately round the arena. Hither they brought the curule seats
or bisellia, described in speaking of the theatres of Pompeii; and
here was the suggestus, a covered seat appropriated to the Emperor. It
is supposed that in this part of the building there were also seats of
honor for the exhibitor of the games and the vestal virgins. If the
podium was insufficient for the accommodation of the senators, some of
the adjoining seats were taken for their use. Next to the senators sat
the knights, who seem here, as in the theatre, to have had fourteen
rows set apart for them; and with them sat the civil and military
tribunes. Behind were the popularia, or seats of the plebeians.
Different tribes had particular cunei allotted to them. There were
also some further internal arrangements, for Augustus separated
married from unmarried men, and assigned a separate cuneus to youths,
near whom their tutors were stationed. Women were stationed in a
gallery, and attendants and servants in the highest gallery. The
general direction of the amphitheatre was under the care of an officer
named _villicus amphitheatri_. Officers called _locarii_ attended to
the distribution of the people, and removed any person from a seat
which he was not entitled to hold. We may notice, as a refinement of
luxury, that concealed conduits were carried throughout these
buildings, from which scented liquids were scattered over the
audience. Sometimes the statues which ornamented them were applied to
this purpose, and seemed to sweat perfume through minute holes, with
which the pipes that traversed them were pierced. It is this to which
Lucan alludes in the following lines:--

    ---- As when mighty Rome's spectators meet
    In the full theatre's capacious seat,
    At once, by secret pipes and channels fed,
    Rich tinctures gush from every antique head;
    At once ten thousand saffron currents flow,
    And rain their odors on the crowd below.

                  Rowe's _Lucan_, book ix.

Saffron was the material usually employed for these refreshing
showers. The dried herb was infused in wine, more especially in sweet
wine. Balsams and the more costly unguents were sometimes employed for
the same purpose.

Another contrivance, too remarkable to be omitted in a general account
of amphitheatres, is the awning by which spectators were protected
from the overpowering heat of an Italian sun. This was called Velum,
or Velarium; and it has afforded matter for a good deal of
controversy, how a temporary covering could be extended over the vast
areas of these buildings. Something of the kind was absolutely
necessary, for the spectacle often lasted for many hours, and when
anything extraordinary was expected the people went in crowds before
daylight to obtain places, and some even at midnight.

The Campanians first invented the means of stretching awnings over
their theatres, by means of cords stretched across the cavea and
attached to masts which passed through perforated blocks of stone
deeply bedded in the wall. Quintus Catulus introduced them at Rome
when he celebrated games at the dedication of the Capitol, B.C. 69.
Lentulus Spinther, a contemporary of Cicero, first erected fine linen
awnings (carbasina vela). Julius Cæsar covered over the whole Forum
Romanum, and the Via Sacra, from his own house to the Capitol, which
was esteemed even more wonderful than his gladiatorial exhibition. Dio
mentions a report that these awnings were of silk, but he speaks
doubtfully; and it is scarcely probable that even Cæsar's extravagance
would have carried him so far. Silk at that time was not manufactured
at Rome; and we learn from Vopiscus, that even in the time of Aurelian
the raw material was worth its weight in gold. Lucretius, speaking of
the effect of colored bodies upon transmitted light, has a fine
passage illustrative of the magnificence displayed in this branch of
theatrical decoration.

          This the crowd surveys
    Oft in the theatre, whose awnings broad,
    Bedecked with crimson, yellow, or the tint
    Of steel cerulean, from their fluted heights
    Wave tremulous; and o'er the scene beneath,
    Each marble statue, and the rising rows
    Of rank and beauty, fling their tint superb,
    While as the walls with ampler shade repel
    The garish noonbeam, every object round
    Laughs with a deeper dye, and wears profuse
    A lovelier lustre, ravished from the day.

Wool, however, was the most common material, and the velaria made in
Apulia were most esteemed, on account of the whiteness of the wool.

Those who are not acquainted by experience with the difficulty of
giving stability to tents of large dimensions, and the greater
difficulty of erecting awnings, when, on account of the purpose for
which they are intended, no support can be applied in the centre, may
not fully estimate the difficulty of erecting and managing these
velaria. Strength was necessary, both for the cloth itself and for the
cords which strained and supported it, or the whole would have been
shivered by the first gust of wind, and strength could not be obtained
without great weight. Many of our readers probably are not aware, that
however short and light a string may be, no amount of tension applied
horizontally will stretch it into a line perfectly and mathematically
straight. Practically the deviation is imperceptible where the power
applied is very large in proportion to the weight and length of the
string. Still it exists; and to take a common example, the reader
probably never saw a clothes-line stretched out, though neither the
weight nor length of the string are considerable, without the middle
being visibly lower than the ends. When the line is at once long and
heavy, an enormous power is required to suspend it even in a curve
between two points; and the amount of tension, and difficulty of
finding materials able to withstand it, are the only obstacles to
constructing chain bridges which should be thousands, instead of
hundreds of feet in length.

In these erections the piers are raised to a considerable height, that
a sufficient depth may be allowed for the curve of the chains without
depressing the roadway. Ten times--a hundred times the power which was
applied to strain them into that shape would not suffice to bring them
even so near to a horizontal line but that the most inaccurate and
unobservant eye should at once detect the inequality in their level;
and the chains themselves would probably give way before such a force
as this could be applied to them. The least diameter of the Coliseum
is nearly equal in length to the Menai bridge; and if the labor of
stretching cords over the one seems small in comparison with that of
raising the ponderous chains of the other, we may take into
consideration the weight of cloth which those cords supported, and the
increase of difficulties arising from the action of the wind on so
extensive a surface.

In boisterous weather, as we learn from Martial and other authors,
these difficulties were so great that the velum could not be spread.
When this was the case the Romans used broad hats, or a sort of
parasol, which was called _umbella_ or _umbraculum_, from _umbra_,
shade. We may add, in conclusion, that Suctonius mentions as one of
Caligula's tyrannical extravagances, that sometimes at a show of
gladiators, when the sun's heat was most intense, he would cause the
awning to be drawn back, and, at the same time, forbid any person to
leave the place.

The difficulty of the undertaking has given rise to considerable
discussion as to the means by which the Romans contrived to extend the
velum at such a height over so great a surface, and to manage it at
pleasure. Sailors were employed in the service, for the Emperor
Commodus, who piqued himself on his gladiatorial skill, and used to
fight in the arena, believing himself mocked by the servile crowd of
spectators, when once they hailed him with divine honors, gave
order for their slaughter by the sailors who were managing the veils.

    [Illustration: COLISEUM OF ROME.]

Concerning the method of working them no information has been handed
down. It is evident, however, that they were supported by masts which
rose above the summit of the walls. Near the top of the outer wall of
the Coliseum there are 240 consoles, or projecting blocks of stone, in
which holes are cut to receive the ends of spars, which ran up through
holes cut in the cornice to some height above the greatest elevation
of the building. A sufficient number of firm points of support at
equal intervals was thus procured; and, this difficulty being
overcome, the next was to stretch as tight as possible the larger
ropes, upon which the whole covering depended for its stability.

The games to which these buildings were especially devoted were, as we
have already hinted, two-fold--those in which wild beasts were
introduced, to combat either with each other or with men, and those in
which men fought with men. Under the general term of gladiators are
comprised all who fought in the arena, though those who pitted their
skill against the strength and ferocity of savage animals were
peculiarly distinguished by the name of _bestiarii_. In general these
unhappy persons were slaves or condemned criminals, who, by adopting
this profession, purchased an uncertain prolongation of existence, but
freemen sometimes gained a desperate subsistence by thus hazarding
their lives; and in the decline of Rome, knights, senators, and even
the emperors sometimes appeared in the arena, at the instigation of a
vulgar and degrading thirst for popular applause.

The origin of these bloody entertainments may be found in the earliest
records of profane history and the earliest stages of society. Among
half-civilized or savage nations, both ancient and modern, we find it
customary after a battle to sacrifice prisoners of war in honor of
those chiefs who have been slain. Thus Achilles offers up twelve young
Trojans to the ghost of Patroclus. In course of time it became usual
to sacrifice slaves at the funeral of all persons of condition; and
either for the amusement of the spectators, or because it appeared
barbarous to massacre defenceless men, arms were placed in their
hands, and they were incited to save their own lives by the death of
those who were opposed to them.

In later times, the furnishing these unhappy men became matter of
speculation, and they were carefully trained to the profession of
arms, to increase the reputation and popularity of the contractor who
provided them. This person was called _lanista_ by the Romans. At
first these sports were performed about the funeral pile of the
deceased, or near his sepulchre, in consonance with the idea of
sacrifice in which they originated; but as they became more splendid,
and ceased to be peculiarly appropriated to such occasions, they were
removed, originally to the Forum, and afterwards to the Circus and

Gladiators were first exhibited at Rome, B.C. 265, by M. and D.
Brutus, on occasion of the death of their father. This show consisted
only of three pairs. B.C. 216, the three sons of M. Æmilius Lepidus,
the augur, entertained the people in the Forum with eleven pair, and
the show lasted three days. B.C. 201, the three sons of M. Valerius
Lævinus exhibited twenty-five pairs. And thus these shows increased in
number and frequency, and the taste for them strengthened with its
gratification, until not only the heir of any rich or eminent person
lately deceased, but all the principal magistrates, and the candidates
for magistracies, presented the people with shows of this nature to
gain their favor and support.

This taste was not without its inconveniences and dangers. Men of rank
and political importance kept _families_, as they were called, of
gladiators--desperadoes ready to execute any command of their master;
and towards the fall of the republic, when party rage scrupled not to
have recourse to open violence, questions of the highest import were
debated in the streets of the city by the most despised of its slaves.
In the conspiracy of Catiline so much danger was apprehended from
them, that particular measures were taken to prevent their joining the
disaffected party; an event the more to be feared because of the
desperate war in which they had engaged the republic a few years
before, under the command of the celebrated Spartacus. At a much later
period, at the triumph of Probus, A.D. 281, about fourscore gladiators
exhibited a similar courage. Disdaining to shed their blood for the
amusement of a cruel people, they killed their keepers, broke out from
the place of their confinement, and filled the streets of Rome with
blood and confusion. After an obstinate resistance they were cut to
pieces by the regular troops.

The oath which they took upon entering the service is preserved by
Petronius, and is couched in these terms: "We swear, after the
dictation of Eumolpus, to suffer death by fire, bonds, stripes, and
the sword; and whatever else Eumolpus may command, as true gladiators
we bind ourselves body and mind to our master's service."

From slaves and freedmen the inhuman sport at length spread to persons
of rank and fortune, insomuch that Augustus was obliged to issue an
edict, that none of senatorial rank should become gladiators; and soon
after he laid a similar restraint on the knights.

Succeeding emperors, according to their characters, encouraged or
endeavored to suppress this degrading taste. Nero is related to have
brought upwards of four hundred senators and six hundred knights upon
the arena; and in some of his exhibitions even women of quality
contended publicly. The excellent Marcus Aurelius not only retrenched
the enormous expenses of these amusements, but ordered that gladiators
should contend only with blunt weapons. But they were not abolished
until some time after the introduction of Christianity. Constantine
published the first edict which condemned the shedding of human blood,
and ordered that criminals condemned to death should rather be sent to
the mines than reserved for the service of the amphitheatre. In the
reign of Honorius, when he was celebrating with magnificent games the
retreat of the Goths and the deliverance of Rome, an Asiatic monk, by
name Telemachus, had the boldness to descend into the arena to part
the combatants. "The Romans were provoked by this interruption of
their pleasures, and the rash monk was overwhelmed under a shower of
stones. But the madness of the people soon subsided; they respected
the memory of Telemachus, who had deserved the honors of martyrdom,
and they submitted without a murmur to the laws of Honorius, which
abolished forever the human sacrifices of the amphitheatre." This
occurred A.D. 404. It was not, however, until the year 500 that the
practice was finally and completely abolished by Theodoric.

Some time before the day appointed for the spectacle, he who gave it
(_editor_) published bills containing the name and ensigns of the
gladiators, for each of them had his own distinctive badge, and
stating also how many were to fight, and how long the show would last.
It appears that like our itinerant showmen they sometimes exhibited
paintings of what the sports were to contain. On the appointed day the
gladiators marched in procession with much ceremony into the
amphitheatre. They then separated into pairs, as they had been
previously matched. An engraving on the wall of the amphitheatre at
Pompeii seems to represent the beginning of a combat. In the middle
stands the arbiter of the fight, marking out with a long stick the
space for the combatants. On his right stands a gladiator only half
armed, to whom two others are bringing a sword and helmet. On the left
another gladiator, also only partly armed, sounds the trumpet for the
commencement of the fight; whilst behind him two companions, at the
foot of one of the Victories which enclose the scene, are preparing
his helmet and shield.

    [Illustration: EXAMINING THE WOUNDED.]

At first, however, they contended only with staves, called _rudes_, or
with blunted weapons; but when warmed and inspirited by the pretense
of battle, they changed their weapons, and advanced at the sound of
trumpets to the real strife. The conquered looked to the people or to
the emperor for life; his antagonist had no power to grant or to
refuse it; but if the spectators were dissatisfied and gave the signal
of death, he was obliged to become the executioner of their will. This
signal was the turning down the thumbs; as is well known. If any
showed signs of fear, their death was certain; if on the other hand
they waited the fatal stroke with intrepidity, the people generally
relented. But fear and want of spirit were of very rare occurrence,
insomuch that Cicero more than once proposed the principle of honor
which actuated gladiators as an admirable model of constancy and
courage, by which he intended to animate himself and others to suffer
everything in defence of the commonwealth.

The bodies of the slain were dragged with a hook or on a cart through
a gate called Libitinensis, the Gate of Death. The victor was rewarded
with a sum of money, contributed by the spectators or bestowed from
the treasury, or a palm-branch, or a garland of palm ornamented with
colored ribbons--ensigns of frequent occurrence in ancient monuments.
Those who survived three years were released from this service, and
sometimes one who had given great satisfaction was enfranchised on the
spot. This was done by presenting the staff (_rudis_) which was used
in preluding to the combat; on receiving which, the gladiator, if a
freeman, recovered his liberty; if a slave, he was not made free, but
was released from the obligation of venturing his life any further in
the arena.

Gladiators were divided, according to the fashion of their armor and
offensive weapons, into classes, known by the names of Thrax, Samnis,
Myrmillo, and many others, of which a mere catalogue would be tedious,
and it would be the work of a treatise to ascertain and describe their
distinctive marks.

Another group consists of four figures. Two are _secutores_,
followers, the other two, _retiarii_, net men, armed only with a
trident and net, with which they endeavored to entangle their
adversary, and then dispatch him. These classes, like the Thrax and
Myrmillo, were usual antagonists, and had their name from the secutor
following the retiarius, who eluded the pursuit until he found an
opportunity to throw his net to advantage. Nepimus, one of the latter,
five times victorious, has fought against one of the former, whose
name is lost, but who had triumphed six times in different combats. He
has been less fortunate in this battle. Nepimus has struck him in the
leg, the thigh, and the left arm; his blood runs, and in vain he
implores mercy from the spectators. As the trident with which Nepimus
is armed is not a weapon calculated to inflict speedy and certain
death, the secutor Hyppolitus performs this last office to his
comrade. The condemned wretch bends the knee, presents his throat to
the sword, and throws himself forward to meet the blow, while Nepimus,
his conqueror, pushes him, and seems to insult the last moments of his
victim. In the distance is the retiarius, who must fight Hyppolitus in
his turn. The secutores have a very plain helmet, that their adversary
may have little or no opportunity of pulling it off with the net or
trident; the right arm is clothed in armor, the left bore a _clypeus_,
or large round shield; a sandal tied with narrow bands forms the
covering for their feet. They wear no body armor, no covering but a
cloth round the waist, for by their lightness and activity alone could
they hope to avoid death and gain the victory. The retiarii have the
head bare, except a fillet bound round the hair; they have no shield,
but the left side is covered with a demi-cuiarass, and the left arm
protected in the usual manner, except that the shoulder-piece is very
high. They wear the caliga, or low boot common to the Roman soldiery,
and bear the trident; but the net with which they endeavored to
envelop their adversaries is nowhere visible. This bas-relief is
terminated by the combat between a light-armed gladiator and a
Samnite. This last beseeches the spectators to save him, but it
appears from the action of the principal figure that this is not
granted. The conqueror looks towards the steps of the amphitheatre; he
has seen the fatal signal, and in reply prepares himself to strike.

    [Illustration: ASKING PARDON.]

    [Illustration: NOT GRANTED.]

Between the pilasters of the door the frieze is continued. Two combats
are represented. In the first a Samnite has been conquered by a
Myrmillo. This last wishes to become his comrade's executioner without
waiting the answer from the people, to whom the vanquished has
appealed; but the _lanista_ checks his arm, from which it would seem
that the Samnite obtained pardon.

Another pair exhibits a similar combat, in which the Myrmillo falls
stabbed to death. The wounds, the blood, and the inside of the
bucklers are painted of a very bright red color. The swords, with the
exception of that of Hyppolitus, are omitted; it is possible that it
was intended to make them of metal.

The bas-reliefs constituting the lower frieze are devoted to the chase
and to combats between men and animals. In the upper part are hares
pursued by a dog; beyond is a wounded stag pursued by dogs, to whom he
is about to become the prey; below, a wild boar is seized by an
enormous dog, which has already caused his blood to flow.

In the middle of the composition a _bestiarius_ has transfixed a bear
with a stroke of his lance. This person wears a kind of short hunting
boot, and is clothed as well as his comrade in a light tunic without
sleeves, bound round the hips, and called _subucula_. It was the dress
of the common people, as we learn from the sculptures on Trajan's
column. The companion of this man has transfixed a bull, which flies,
carrying with him the heavy lance with which he is wounded. He turns
his head toward his assailant, and seems to wish to return to the
attack; the man by his gestures appears astonished, beholding himself
disarmed and at the mercy of the animal, whom he thought mortally
stricken. Pliny (lib. viii. cap. 45) speaks of the ferocity shown by
bulls in these combats, and of having seen them, when stretched for
dead on the arena, lift themselves up and renew the combat.

    [Illustration: COMBATS WITH BEASTS.]

Another sort of amphitheatrical amusements consisted in witnessing the
death of persons under sentence of the law, either by the hands of the
executioner, or by being exposed to the fury of savage animals. The
early Christians were especially subjected to this species of cruelty.
Nero availed himself of the prejudice against them to turn aside
popular indignation after the great conflagration of Rome, which is
commonly ascribed to his own wanton love of mischief; and we learn
from Tertullian, that, after great public misfortunes, the cry of the
populace was, "To the lions with the Christians."

The Coliseum now owes its preservation to the Christian blood so
profusely shed within its walls. After serving during ages as a quarry
of hewn stone for the use of all whose station and power entitled them
to a share in public plunder, it was at last secured from further
injury by Pope Benedict XIV., who consecrated the building about the
middle of the last century, and placed it under the protection of the
martyrs, who had there borne testimony with their blood to the
sincerity of their belief.

There is nothing in the amphitheatre of Pompeii at variance with the
general description of this class of buildings, and our notice of it
will therefore necessarily be short. (See page 121.) Its form, as
usual, is oval: the extreme length, from outside to outside of the
exterior arcade, is 430 feet, its greatest breadth is 335 feet. The
spectators gained admission by tickets, which had numbers or marks on
them, corresponding with similar signs on the arches through which
they entered. Those who were entitled to occupy the lower ranges of
seats passed through the perforated arcades of the lower order; those
whose place was in the upper portion of the cavea ascended by
staircases between the seats and the outer wall of the building. From
hence the women again ascended to the upper tier, which was divided
into boxes, and appropriated to them.

The construction consists for the most part of the rough masonry
called _opus incertum_, with quoins of squared stone, and some
trifling restorations of rubble. This rude mass was probably once
covered with a more sumptuous facing of hewn stone: but there are now
no other traces of it than a few of the key-stones, on one of which a
chariot and two horses is sculptured, on another a head; besides which
there are a few stars on the wedge-stones.

At each end of the ellipse were entrances into the arena for the
combatants, through which the dead bodies were dragged out into the
spoliarium. These were also the principal approaches to the lower
ranges of seats, occupied by the senators, magistrates, and knights,
by means of corridors to the right and left which ran round the arena.
The ends of these passages were secured by metal gratings against the
intrusion of wild beasts. In the northern one are nine places for
pedestals to form a line of separation, dividing the entrance into two
parts of unequal breadth. The seats are elevated above the arena upon
a high podium or parapet, upon which, when the building was first
opened, there remained several inscriptions, containing the names of
duumvirs who had presided upon different occasions. There were also
paintings in fresco, one representing a tigress fighting with a wild
boar; another, a stag chased by a lioness; another, a battle between a
bull and bear. Other subjects comprised candelabra, a distribution of
palms among the gladiators, winged genii, minstrels, and musicians;
but all disappeared soon after their exposure to the atmosphere. The
amphitheatre comprises twenty-four rows of seats, and about 20,000
feet of sitting-room.

It may be observed that the arena of the amphitheatre of Pompeii
appears to be formed of the natural surface of the earth, and has none
of those vast substructions observable at Pozzuoli and Capua. It does
not, therefore, appear capable of being turned into a Naumachia, nor
indeed would it have been easy to find there water enough for such a

In the Roman theatre the construction of the orchestra and stage was
different from that of the Greeks. By the construction peculiar to the
Roman theatre, the stage was brought nearer to the audience (the arc
not exceeding a semi-circle), and made considerably deeper than in the
Greek theatre. The length of the stage was twice the diameter of the
orchestra. The Roman orchestra contained no thymele. The back of the
stage, or proscenium, was adorned with niches, and columns, and
friezes of great richness, as may be seen in some of the theatres of
Asia Minor, and in the larger theatre at Pompeii, which belong to the
Roman period.

On the whole, however, the construction of a Roman theatre resembled
that of a Greek one. The Senate, and other distinguished persons,
occupied circular ranges of seats within the orchestra; the prætor had
a somewhat higher seat. The space between the orchestra and the first
præcinctio, usually consisting of fourteen seats, was reserved for the
equestrian order, tribunes, etc. Above them were the seats of the
plebeians. Soldiers were separated from the citizens. Women were
appointed by Augustus to sit in the portico, which encompassed the
whole. Behind the scenes were the postscenium, or retiring-room, and
porticoes, to which, in case of sudden showers, the people retreated
from the theatre.

The earliest theatres at Rome were temporary buildings of wood. A
magnificent wooden theatre, built by M. Æmilius Scaurus, in his
edileship, B.C. 58, is described by Pliny. In 55 B.C., Cn. Pompey
built the first stone theatre at Rome, near the Campus Martius. A
temple of Venus Victrix, to whom he dedicated the whole building, was
erected at the highest part of the cavea.

The next permanent theatre was built by Augustus, and named after his
favorite, the young Marcellus, son of his sister Octavia. Vitruvius is
generally reported to have been the architect of this building, which
would contain 30,000 persons. The audience part was a semi-circle 410
feet in diameter. Twelve arches of its external wall still remain.
From marks still visible in the large theatre at Pompeii, the place
reserved for each spectator was about 13 inches. This theatre
contained 5,000. The theatre of Pompeii, at Rome, contained 40,000.
The theatre of Scaurus is said to have contained 80,000. The Romans
surpassed the Greeks in the grandeur and magnificence of these
buildings. They built them in almost all their towns. Remains of them
are found in almost every country where the Romans carried their rule.
One of the most striking Roman provincial theatres is that of Orange,
in the south of France.

Odeum was a building intended for the recitations of rhapsodists and
the performances of citharædists, before the theatre was in existence.
In its general form and arrangements the odeum was very similar to the
theatre. There were, however, some characteristic differences. The
odeum was much smaller than the theatre, and it was roofed over. The
ancient and original Odeum of Athens in the Agora was probably
erected in the time of Hipparchus, who, according to Plato, first
introduced at Athens the poems of Homer, and caused rhapsodists to
recite them during the Panathenæa. There were two others in
Athens--the Odeum of Pericles, and that of Herodes Atticus. The Odeum
of Pericles was built in imitation of the tent of Xerxes. It was burnt
by Sylla, but was restored in exact imitation of the original
building. It lay at the east side of the theatre of Dionysus. The
Odeum of Herodes Atticus was built by him in memory of his departed
wife Regilla, whose name it commonly bore. It lies under the southwest
angle of the Acropolis. Its greatest diameter within the walls was 240
feet, and it is calculated to have held about 8,000 persons. There
were odea in several of the towns of Greece, in Corinth, Patræ, and at
Smyrna, Ephesus and other places of Asia Minor. There were odea also
in Rome; one was built by Domitian, and a second by Trajan. There are
ruins of an Odeum in the villa of Adrian, at Tivoli and at Pompeii.

Remains of amphitheatres are found in several cities of Etruria. The
amphitheatre of Sutri is considered to be peculiarly Etruscan in its
mode of construction. It is cut out of the tufa rock, and was no doubt
used by that people for festal representations long before Rome
attempted anything of the kind. The Romans copied these edifices from
the Etruscans. We have historical evidence, also, that gladiatorial
combats had an Etruscan origin, and were borrowed by the Romans.

Amphitheatres were peculiar to the Romans. The gladiatorial shows, and
the chase and combats of wild beasts with which the amphitheatre is
always connected, were at first given in the circus. Its
unsuitableness for such sports determined Julius Cæsar, in his
dictatorship, to construct a wooden theatre in the Campus Martius,
built especially for hunting. Caius Scribonius Curio built the first
amphitheatre, for the celebration of his father's funeral games. It
was composed of two theatres of wood, placed on pivots, so that they
could be turned round, spectators and all, and placed face to face,
thus forming a double theatre, or amphitheatre, which ending suggested
its elliptical shape. Statilius Taurus, the friend of Augustus, B.C.
30, erected a more durable amphitheatre, partly of stone and partly of
wood, in the Campus Martius. Others were afterwards built by Caligula
and Nero. The amphitheatre of Nero was of wood, and in the Campus

The assembled people in a crowded theatre must have been an imposing
spectacle, in which the gorgeous colors of the dresses were blended
with the azure of a southern sky. No antique rendering of this subject
remains. The spectators began to assemble at early dawn, for each
wished to secure a good seat, after paying his entrance fee. This, not
exceeding two oboloi, was payable to the builder or manager of the
theatre. After the erection of stone theatres at Athens, this entrance
fee was paid for the poorer classes by Government, and formed, indeed,
one of the heaviest items of the budget. For not only at the Dionysian
ceremonies, but on many other festive occasions, the people clamored
for free admission, confirmed in their demands by the demagogues.
Frequently the money reserved for the emergency of a war had to be
spent for this purpose. The seats in a theatre were, of course, not
all equally good, and their prices varied accordingly. The police of
the theatre had to take care that everybody took his seat in the row
marked on his ticket. Most of the spectators were men. In older times
women were allowed only to attend at tragedies, the coarse jokes of
the comedy being deemed unfit for the ears of Athenian ladies. Only
hetairai made an exception to this rule. It is almost certain that the
seats of men and women were separate. Boys were allowed to witness
both tragedies and comedies. Whether slaves were admitted amongst the
spectators seems doubtful. As pedagogues were not allowed to enter
the schoolroom, it seems likely that they had also to leave the
theatre after having shown their young masters to their seats. Neither
were the slaves carrying the cushions for their masters' seats
admitted amongst the spectators. It is, however, possible that when
the seats became to be for sale, certain classes of slaves were
allowed to visit the theatre. Favorite poets and actors were rewarded
with applause and flowers; while bad performers had to submit to
whistling, and, possibly, other worse signs of public indignation.
Greek audiences resembled those of southern Europe at the present day
in the vivacity of their demonstrations, which were even extended to
public characters amongst the spectators on their clearing the

Vitruvius has given some minute directions, strongly illustrative of
the importance of the subject, for choosing a proper situation for a
theatre. "When the Forum is finished, a healthy situation must be
sought for, wherein the theatre may be erected to exhibit sports on
the festival days of the immortal gods. For the spectators are
detained in their seats by the entertainment of the games, and
remaining quiet for a long time, their pores are opened, and imbibe
the draughts of air, which, if they come from marshy or otherwise
unhealthy places, will pour injurious humors into the body. Neither
must it front the south; for when the sun fills the concavity, the
inclosed air, unable to escape or circulate, is heated, and then
extracts and dries up the juices of the body. It is also to be
carefully observed that the place be not unfitted to transmit sound,
but one in which the voice may expand as clearly as possible."

The ancient scene was not, like that of the modern stage, capable of
being shifted. It consisted of a solid building (_scena stabilis_),
representing the facade of a royal palace, and adorned with the
richest architectural ornaments. It was built of stone, or brick cased
with marble, and had three doors, of which the middle one, called
_porta regia_, larger and handsomer than the others, was supposed to
form the entrance to the palace. This was used only in the
representation of tragedies, and then only by the principal personages
of the drama. The door in the right wing was appropriated to inferior
personages, and that on the left to foreigners or persons coming from
abroad. In our plan, the five angles of the triangles not yet disposed
of determine the disposition of the scene. Opposite the centre one are
the regal doors; on each side are those by which the secondary
characters entered. Behind the scene, as in the Greek theatre, there
were apartments for the actors to retire into; and under it were
vaults or cellars, which, as in the modern stage, served for the
entrance of ghosts, or the appliance of any needful machinery. The
_proscenium_, or space between the orchestra and the scene, answering
to our stage, though deeper than the Greek, was of no great depth,
which was not required for the performance of ancient dramas, in which
only a few personages appeared on the stage at once. Besides, in the
absence of any roof, the voice of the performers would have been lost
if the stage had been too deep. That of Pompeii is only about
twenty-one feet broad, though its length is one hundred and nine.

Along the front of the stage, and between it and the orchestra, runs a
tolerably deep linear opening, the receptacle for the _aulæum_, or
curtain, the fashion of which was just the reverse of ours, as it had
to be depressed instead of elevated when the play began. This
operation, performed by machinery of which we have no clear account,
was called _aulæum premere_, as in the well-known line of Horace:[19]

    Quatuor aut plures aulæa premuntur in horas.

It should, however, be mentioned that the ancients seem also to have
had movable scenery (_scena ductilis_), to alter the appearance of
the permanent scene when required. This must have consisted of painted
board or canvas.

Another method of illusion was by the use of masks. These were
rendered necessary by the vastness of the ancient theatres, and the
custom of performing in the open air.

In the eastern portico of the Triangular Forum are four entrances to
different parts of the greater theatre. The first two, as you enter,
lead into a large circular corridor surrounding the whole cavea; the
third opens on an area behind the scene, from which there is a
communication with the orchestra and privileged seats; the fourth led
down a long flight of steps, at the bottom of which you turn, on the
right, into the soldiers' quarter, on the left, into the area already
mentioned. The corridor is arched over. It has two other entrances,
one by a large passage from the east side, another from a smaller
passage on the north. Six inner doors, called vomitoria, opened on an
equal number of stair-cases which ran down to the first præcinctio.
The theatre is formed upon the slope of a hill, the corridor being the
highest part, so that the audience upon entering descended at once to
their seats, and the vast staircases, which conducted to the upper
seats of the theatres and amphitheatres at Rome, were saved. By the
side of the first entrance is a staircase which led up to the women's
gallery above the corridor; here the seats were partitioned into
compartments, like our boxes. The benches were about one foot three
inches high and two feet four inches wide. One foot three inches and a
half was allowed to each spectator, as may be ascertained in one part,
where the divisions are marked off and numbered. There is space to
contain about five thousand persons. Here the middle classes sat,
usually upon cushions which they brought with them; the men of rank
sat in the orchestra below, on chairs of state carried thither by
their slaves. Flanking the orchestra, and elevated considerably above
it, are observable two divisions, appropriated, one perhaps to the
pro-consul, or duumvirs and their officers, the other to the vestal
virgins, or to the use of the person who gave the entertainments. This
is the more likely, because in the smaller theatre, where these boxes,
if we may call them so, are also found, they have a communication with
the stage.

This theatre appears to have been entirely covered with marble; the
benches of the cavea were of marble, the orchestra was of marble, the
scene with all its ornaments was also of marble; and yet of this
profusion of marble only a few fragments remain.

It appears, from an inscription found in it, to have been erected, or
much improved, by one Holconius Rufus. Upon the first step of the
orchestra was another inscription, composed of bronze letters let into
the marble. The metal has been carried away, but the cavities in the
marble still remain. They were placed so as partly to encompass a
statue, and run thus:


signifying, that the colony dedicated this to its patron, M. Holconius
Rufus, son of Marcus: then follow his titles. In the middle of this
inscription is a vacant space, where probably stood the statue of
Holconius, as the cramps, by which something was fastened, still
remain. Or possibly it may have been an altar, as it was the custom
among the ancients to sacrifice to Bacchus in the theatre.

    [Page Decoration]

    [Page Decoration]


After the excavations at Pompeii had been carried on to a considerable
extent, it was matter of surprise that no public baths were
discovered, particularly as they were sure almost to be placed in the
most frequented situation, and therefore probably somewhere close to
the Forum. The wonder was increased by the small number of baths found
in private houses. That public baths existed, was long ago ascertained
from an inscription discovered in 1749, purporting that one Januarius,
an enfranchised slave, supplied the baths of Marcus Crassus Frugi with
water, both fresh and salt. At length an excavation in the vicinity of
the Forum brought to light a suite of public baths, admirably
arranged, spacious, highly decorated, and superior to any even in the
most considerable of our modern cities. They are fortunately in good
preservation, and throw much light on what the ancients, and
especially Vitruvius, have written on the subject.

     Inscription in the Court of the Baths.


     "On occasion of the dedication of the baths, at the expense of
     Cnæus Alleius Nigidius Maius, there will be the chase of wild
     beasts, athletic contests, sprinkling of perfumes, and an
     awning. Prosperity to Maius, chief of the colony."

This announcement of a public entertainment is written on a wall of
the court of the baths, to the right hand on entering.

The provincial towns, imitating the example of Rome, and equally fond
of all sorts of theatrical and gladiatorial exhibitions, of which we
have spoken at length in describing the various theatres of Pompeii,
usually solemnized the completion of any edifices or monuments erected
for the public service by dedicating them. This ceremony was nothing
more than opening or exhibiting the building to the people in a solemn
manner, gratifying them at the same time with largesses and various
spectacles. When a private man had erected the building, he himself
was usually the person who dedicated it. When undertaken by the public
order and at the public cost, the citizens deputed some magistrate or
rich and popular person to perform the ceremony. In the capital vast
sums were expended in this manner; and a man who aspired to become a
popular leader could scarcely lay out his money to better interest
than in courting favor by the prodigality of his expenses on these or
similar occasions. It appears, then, that upon the completion of the
baths, the Pompeians committed the dedication to Cnæus Alleius
Nigidius Maius, who entertained them with a sumptuous spectacle.

There were combats (_venatio_) between wild beasts, or between beasts
and men, a cruel sport, to which the Romans were passionately
addicted; athletic games (_athletæ_), sprinkling of perfumes
(_sparsiones_), and it was further engaged that an awning should be
raised over the amphitheatre. The convenience of such a covering will
be evident, no less as a protection against sun than rain under an
Italian sky: the merit of the promise, which may seem but a trifle,
will be understood by considering the difficulty of stretching a
covering over the immense area of an ancient amphitheatre. We may
observe, by the way, that representations of hunting and of combats
between wild beasts are common subjects of the paintings of Pompeii. A
combat between a lion and a horse, and another, between a bear and a
bull, have been found depicted in the amphitheatre. The velarium, or
awning, is advertised in all the inscriptions yet found which give
notice of public games. Athletæ and sparsiones appear in no other. We
learn from Seneca that the perfumes were disseminated by being mixed
with boiling water, and then placed in the centre of the amphitheatre,
so that the scents rose with the steam, and soon became diffused
throughout the building.

There is some reason to suppose that the completion and dedication of
the baths preceded the destruction of the city but a short time, from
the inscription being found perfect on the wall of the baths, for it
was the custom to write these notices in the most public places, and
after a very short season they were covered over by others, as one
billsticker defaces the labors of his predecessors. This is abundantly
evident even in the present ruined state of the town, especially at
the corners of the principal streets, where it is easy to discover one
inscription painted over another.

But to return to the Baths. They occupy almost an entire block,
forming an irregular quadrangle; the northern front, facing to the
Street of the Baths, being about 162 feet in length, the southern
front about 93 feet, and the average depth about 174 feet. They are
divided into three separate and distinct compartments, one of which
was appropriated to the fireplaces and to the servants of the
establishment; the other two were occupied each by a set of baths,
contiguous to each other, similar and adapted to the same purposes,
and supplied with heat and water from the same furnace and from the
same reservoir. It is conjectured that the most spacious of them was
for the use of the men, the lesser for that of the women. The
apartments and passages are paved with white marble in mosaic. It
appears, from Varro and Vitruvius, that baths for men and women were
originally united, as well for convenience as economy of fuel, but
were separated afterwards for the preservation of morals, and had no
communication except that from the furnaces. We shall call these the
_old_ Baths by way of distinction, and because they were first
discovered; but in reality, the more recently discovered Stabian Baths
may probably be the more ancient.

It should be observed here that the old Pompeian _thermæ_ are adapted
solely to the original purposes of a bath, namely, a place for bathing
and washing. They can not therefore for a moment be compared to the
baths constructed at Rome during the period of the empire, of which
such magnificent remains may still be seen at the baths of Diocletian,
and especially at those of Caracalla. In these vast establishments the
bath formed only a part of the entertainment provided. There were also
spacious porticoes for walking and conversing, halls and courts for
athletic games and gladiatorial combats, apartments for the lectures
and recitations of philosophers, rhetoricians and poets. In short,
they formed a sort of vast public club, in which almost every species
of amusement was provided. In the more recently discovered baths,
called the Thermæ Stabianæ, there is indeed a large quadrangular
court, or palæstra, which may have served for gymnastic exercises, and
among others for the game of ball, as appears from some large balls of
stone having been found in it. Yet even this larger establishment
makes but a very slight approach to the magnificence and luxury of a
Roman bath.

The tepidarium, or warm chamber, was so called from a warm, but soft
and mild temperature, which prepared the bodies of the bathers for the
more intense heat which they were to undergo in the vapor and hot
baths; and, _vice versa_, softened the transition from the hot bath to
the external air. The wall is divided into a number of niches or
compartments by Telamones, two feet high, in high relief, and
supporting a rich cornice. These are male, as Caryatides are female
statues placed to perform the office of pillars. By the Greeks they
were named Atlantes, from the well-known fable of Atlas supporting the
heavens. Here they are made of terra-cotta, or baked clay, incrusted
with the finest marble stucco. Their only covering is a girdle round
the loins; they have been painted flesh-color, with black hair and
beards; the moulding of the pedestal and the baskets on their heads
were in imitation of gold; and the pedestal itself, as well as the
wall behind them and the niches for the reception of the clothes of
the bathers, were colored to resemble red porphyry. Six of these
niches are closed up without any apparent reason.

    [Illustration: RECEPTION TO THE BATHS (_at Pompeii_).]

The ceiling is worked in stucco, in low relief, with scattered figures
and ornaments of little flying genii, delicately relieved on
medallions, with foliage carved round them. The ground is painted,
sometimes red and sometimes blue. The room is lighted by a window two
feet six inches high and three feet wide, in the bronze frame of which
were found set four very beautiful panes of glass fastened by small
nuts and screws, very ingeniously contrived, with a view to remove the
glass at pleasure. In this room was found a brazier, seven feet long
and two feet six inches broad, made entirely of bronze, with the
exception of an iron lining. The two front legs are winged sphinxes,
terminating in lions' paws, the two other legs are plain, being
intended to stand against the wall. The bottom is formed with bronze
bars, on which are laid bricks supporting pumice-stones for the
reception of charcoal. There is a sort of false battlement worked on
the rim, and in the middle a cow is to be seen in high relief. Three
bronze benches also were found, alike in form and pattern. They are
one foot four inches high, one foot in width, and about six feet long,
supported by four legs, terminating in the cloven hoofs of a cow, and
ornamented at the upper ends with the heads of the same animal. Upon
the seat is inscribed, M. NIGIDIUS, VACCULA. P.S.

Varro, in his book upon rural affairs, tells us that many of the
surnames of the Roman families had their origin in pastoral life, and
especially are derived from the animals to whose breeding they paid
most attention. As, for instance, the Porcii took their name from
their occupation as swine-herds; the Ovini from their care of sheep;
the Caprilli, of goats; the Equarii, of horses; the Tauri, of bulls,
etc. We may conclude, therefore, that the family of this Marcus
Vaccula were originally cow-keepers, and that the figures of cows so
plentifully impressed on all the articles which he presented to the
baths are a sort of _canting arms_, to borrow an expression from
heraldry, as in Rome the family Toria caused a bull to be stamped on
their money.

A doorway led from the tepidarium into the caldarium, or vapor-bath.
It had on one side the laconicum, containing the vase called labrum.
On the opposite side of the room was the hot bath called lavacrum.
Here it is necessary to refer to the words of Vitruvius as explanatory
of the structure of the apartments (cap. xi. lib. v.): "Here should be
placed the vaulted sweating-room, twice the length of its width, which
should have at each extremity, on one end the _laconicum_, made as
described above, on the other end the hot bath." This apartment is
exactly as described, twice the length of its width, exclusively of
the laconicum at one end and the hot bath at the other. The pavement
and walls of the whole were hollowed to admit the heat.

The labrum was a great basin or round vase of white marble, rather
more than five feet in diameter, into which the hot water bubbled up
through a pipe in its centre, and served for the partial ablutions of
those who took the vapor-bath. It was raised about three feet six
inches above the level of the pavement, on a round base built of small
pieces of stone or lava, stuccoed and colored red, five feet six
inches in diameter, and has within it a bronze inscription, which runs


Relating that "Cnæus Melissæus Aper, son of Cnæus Aper. Marcus Staius
Rufus, son of M. Rufus, duumvirs of justice for the second time,
caused the labrum to be made at the public expense, by order of the
Decurions. It cost 5,250 sesterces" (about $200). There is in the
Vatican a magnificent porphyry labrum found in one of the imperial
baths; and Baccius, a great modern authority on baths, speaks of labra
made of glass.

This apartment, like the others, is well stuccoed and painted yellow;
a cornice, highly enriched with stucco ornaments, is supported by
fluted pilasters placed at irregular intervals. These are red, as is
also the cornice and ceiling of the laconicum, which is worked in
stucco with little figures of boys and animals.

The women's bath resembles very much that of the men, and differs only
in being smaller and less ornamented. It is heated, as we have already
mentioned, by the same fire, and supplied with water from the same
boilers. Near the entrance is an inscription painted in red letters.
All the rooms yet retain in perfection their vaulted roofs. In the
vestibule are seats similar to those which have been described in the
men's baths as appropriated to slaves or servants of the
establishment. The robing-room contains a cold bath; it is painted
with red and yellow pilasters alternating with one another on a blue
or black ground, and has a light cornice of white stucco and a white
mosaic pavement with a narrow black border. There are accommodations
for ten persons to undress at the same time. The cold bath is much
damaged, the wall only remaining of the alveus, which is square, the
whole incrustation of marble being destroyed. From this room we pass
into the tepidarium, about twenty feet square, painted yellow with red
pilasters, lighted by a small window far from the ground. This
apartment communicates with the warm bath, which, like the men's, is
heated by flues formed in the floors and walls.

There are in this room paintings of grotesque design upon a yellow
ground, but they are much damaged and scarcely visible. The pavement
is of white marble laid in mosaic. The room in its general arrangement
resembles the hot bath of the men; it has a labrum in the laconicum,
and a hot bath contiguous to the furnace. The hollow pavement and the
flues in the walls are almost entirely destroyed; and of the labrum,
the foot, in the middle of which was a piece of the leaden conduit
that introduced the water, alone remains. On the right of the entrance
into these women's baths is a wall of stone of great thickness and in
a good style of masonry.

These baths are so well arranged, with so prudent an economy of room
and convenient distribution of their parts, and are adorned with such
appropriate elegance, as to show clearly the intellect and resources
of an excellent architect. At the same time some errors of the
grossest kind have been committed, such as would be inexcusable in the
most ignorant workman; as, for instance, the symmetry of parts has
been neglected where the parts correspond; a pilaster is cut off by a
door which passes through the middle of it; and other mistakes occur
which might have been avoided without difficulty. This strange mixture
of good and bad taste, of skill and carelessness, is not very easily
accounted for, but it is of constant recurrence in Pompeii.

    [Illustration: ANCIENT BATH-ROOM. (_As discovered_).]

Vitruvius recommends the selecting a situation for baths defended from
the north and northwest winds, and forming windows opposite the south,
or if the nature of the ground would not permit this, at least towards
the south, because the hours of bathing used by the ancients being
from after mid-day till evening, those who bathed could, by those
windows, have the advantage of the rays and of the heat of the
declining sun.

For this reason the Pompeian baths hitherto described have the greater
part of their windows turned to the south, and are constructed in a
low part of the city, where the adjoining buildings served as a
protection to them from the inconvenience of the northwest winds.

Before concluding this account of the Stabian baths, we should mention
that under the portico, near the entrance to the men's baths, was
found a sun-dial, consisting as usual of a half circle inscribed in a
rectangle, and with the gnomon in perfect preservation. It was
supported by lion's feet and elegantly ornamented. On its base was an
Oscan inscription, which has been interpreted as follows by Minervini:
Marius. Atinius, Marii filius, quæstor, ex multatitia pecunia
conventus decreto fieri mandavit. That is: the Quæstor M. Atinius, in
accordance with a decree of the assembly, caused it to be made out of
money levied by fines. The title of "Quæstor" seems to show that this
inscription must have been written after the occupation of Pompeii by
the Romans, but at the same time at a period when the Oscan tongue
continued to be generally spoken. The fines alluded to were probably
levied for breaches of the rules to be observed in the palæstra.

    [Page Decoration]


Jugglers of both sexes, either single or in gangs, were common all
over Greece putting up their booths, as Xenophon says, wherever money
and silly people could be found. These frequently amused the guests at
drinking feasts with their tricks. The reputation of this class of
people was anything but above suspicion, as is proved by the verse of
Manetho ("Apotheles," IV., 276), in which they are described as the
"birds of the country, the foulest brood of the city." Their tricks
were innumerable, and outvied in boldness and ingenuity those of our
conjurors, barring, of course such as are founded on the modern
discoveries of natural science. Male and female jugglers jumped
forwards and backwards over swords or tables; girls threw up and
caught again a number of balls or hoops to the accompaniment of a
musical instrument; others displayed an astounding skill with their
feet and toes while standing on their hands. Rope-dancers performed
the most dangerous dances and _salti-mortali_. In Rome even elephants
were trained to mount the rope. Flying-machines of a construction
unknown to us are also mentioned, on which bold aeronauts traversed
the air. Alkiphron tells a story about a peasant who, on seeing a
juggler pulling little bullets from the noses, ears, and heads of the
spectators, exclaimed: "Let such a beast never enter my yard, or else
everything would soon disappear." Descriptions of these tricks are
frequent in ancient writers, particularly in the indignant invectives
of the early fathers of the Church. Amongst the pictures of female
jugglers in all kinds of impossible postures, can be seen a girl
performing the dangerous sword-dance, described by Plato. It consists
in her turning somersaults forwards and backwards across the points of
three swords stuck in the ground. A similar picture we see on a vase
of the Berlin Museum. Another vase shows a female juggler dressed in
long drawers standing on her hands, and filling with her feet a
kantharos from a krater placed in front of her. She holds the handle
of the kantharos with the toes of her left foot, while the toes of her
other foot cling round the stem of the kyathos used for drawing the
liquor. A woman sitting in front of her performs a game with three
balls, in which the other artiste also seems to take a part. In
another, a girl in a rather awkward position is shooting an arrow from
a bow.

Of social games played by the topers we mention, besides the
complicated kottabos, the games played on a board or with dice. Homer
already mentions a game of the former class, and names Palamedes as
its inventor; of the exact nature of this game we know little or
nothing. Neither are we informed of the details of another kind of
petteia played with five little stones on a board divided by five

The so-called "game of cities" seems to have resembled our chess or
draughts. The board was divided into five parts. Each player tried to
checkmate the other by the skillful use of his men. Games of hazard
with dice and astragaloi were most likely greater favorites with the
topers than the intellectual ones hitherto described. The number of
dice was at first three, afterwards two; the figures on the parallel
sides being 1 and 6, 2 and 5, 3 and 4. In order to prevent cheating,
they were cast from conical beakers, the interior of which was formed
into different steps. Each cast had its name, sixty-four of which have
been transmitted to us by the grammarians. The luckiest cast, each of
the dice showing the figure 6, was called Aphrodite; the unluckiest,
the three dice showing the figure 1, had the names of "dog" or "wine"
applied to it.

Another game of a similar nature was played with the so-called
astragaloi, dice of a lengthy shape made of the knuckles of animals.
Two of the surfaces were flat, the third being raised, and the fourth
indented slightly. The last-mentioned side was marked 1, and had,
amongst many other names, that of "dog;" the opposite surface, marked
6. The Latin names of the two other sides marked 3 and 4 were _suppus_
and _planus_ respectively. The figures 2 and 5 were wanting on the
astragaloi, the narrow end-surfaces not being counted. The number of
astragaloi used was always four, being the same as in the game of
dice. Here also the luckiest cast was called Aphrodite, with which at
the same time the honor of king-of-the-feast was connected.

Young girls liked to play at a game with five astragaloi, or little
stones, which were thrown into the air and caught on the upper surface
of the hand. This game is still in use in many countries. We possess
many antique representations of these various games.

Two vase paintings show soldiers playing at draughts. Astragaloi and
dice of different sizes, some with the figures as above described on
them, others evidently counterfeited, are preserved in several
museums. Of larger representations we mention the marble statue of a
girl playing with astragaloi in the Berlin Museum, and a Pompeian
wall-painting in which the children of Jason play the same game, while
Medea threatens their lives with a drawn sword. The celebrated
masterpiece of Polykletes, representing two boys playing with
astragaloi, formerly in the palace of Titus in Rome, has unfortunately
been lost. Another wall-painting shows in the foreground Aglaia and
Hileaira, daughters of Niobe, kneeling and playing the same game.

In connection with these social games we mention a few other favorite
amusements of the Greeks. The existence of cock-fights is proved by
vase-paintings, gems, and written evidence. It was a favorite pastime
with both old and young. Themistokles, after his victory over the
Persians, is said to have founded an annual entertainment of
cock-fights, which made both these and the fights of quails popular
among the Greeks. The breeding of fighting-cocks was a matter of great
importance, Rhodes, Chalkis, and Media being particularly celebrated
for their strong and large cocks. In order to increase their fury, the
animals were fed with garlic previous to the fight. Sharp metal spurs
were attached to their legs, after which they were placed on a table
with a raised border. Very large sums were frequently staked on them
by owners and spectators.

Here, again, we see antique customs reproduced by various modern
nations. The Italian game of _morra_ (_il giuco alla morra_ or _fare
alla morra_) was also known to the ancients. In it both players open
their clenched right hands simultaneously with the speed of lightning,
whereat each has to call out the number of fingers extended by the
other. It is the same game which figured among Egyptian amusements.
Mimetic dances were another favorite amusement at symposia. They
mostly represented mythological scenes. A few words about Greek
dancing ought to be added.

Homer mentions dancing as one of the chief delights of the feast; he
also praises the artistic dances of the Phaiakian youths. This proves
the esteem in which this art was held even at that early period. In
the dances of the Phaiakai, all the young men performed a circular
movement round a singer standing in the centre, or else two skilled
dancers executed a _pas de deux_. Homer's words seem to indicate that
the rhythmical motion was not limited to the legs, as in our modern
dances, but extended to the upper part of the body and the arms.
Perhaps the germs of mimetic art may be looked for in this dance.

According to Lucian, the aim of the dance was to express sentiment,
passion, and action by means of gestures. It soon developed into
highest artistic beauty, combined with the rhythmic grace peculiar to
the Greeks. Like the gymnastic and agonistic arts, the dance retained
its original purity as long as public morality prevailed in Greece:
its connection with religious worship preserved it from neglect.
Gradually, however, here also mechanical virtuosity began to supplant
true artistic principles.

The division of dances according to their warlike or religious
character seems objectionable, because all of them were originally
connected with religious worship. The distinction between warlike and
peaceful dances is more appropriate. Among the warlike dances
particularly adapted to the Doric character, was the oldest and that
most in favor. It dates from mythical times. Pyrrhichos, either a
Kretan or Spartan by birth, the Dioskuroi, also Pyrrhos, the son of
Achilles, are mentioned as its originators. The Pyrrhic dance,
performed by several men in armor, imitated the movements of attack and
defence. The various positions were defined by rule; hands and arms
played an important part in the mimetic action. It formed the chief
feature of the Doric gymnopaidia and of the greater and lesser
Panathenaia at Athens. The value attached to it in the latter city is
proved by the fact of the Athenians making Phrynichos commander-in-chief
owing to the skill displayed by him in the Pyrrhic dance.

Later a Bacchic element was introduced into this dance, which
henceforth illustrated the deeds of Dionysos. A fragment of a marble
frieze shows a satyr with a thyrsos and laurel crown performing a wild
Bacchic dance between two soldiers, also executing a dancing movement;
it most likely illustrates the Pyrrhic dance of a later epoch.

Of other warlike dances we mention the _karpeia_, which rendered the
surprise of a warrior plowing a field by robbers, and the scuffle
between them. It was accompanied on the flute.

More numerous, although less complicated, were the peaceful choral
dances performed at the feasts of different gods, according to their
individualities. With the exception of the Bacchic dances, they
consisted of measured movements round the altar. More lively in
character were the gymnopaidic dances performed by men and boys. They
were, like most Spartan choral dances, renowned for their graceful
rhythms. They consisted of an imitation of gymnastic exercises,
particularly of the wrestling-match and the Pankration; in later times
it was generally succeeded by the warlike Pyrrhic dance.

    [Page Decoration]

    [Page Decoration]


We will now give some of the more domestic entertainments, such as
parties or dinners, given by the Egyptians. In their entertainments
they appear to have omitted nothing which could promote festivity and
the amusement of the guests. Music, songs, dancing, buffoonery, feats
of agility, or games of chance, were generally introduced; and they
welcomed them with all the luxuries which the cellar and the table
could afford.

The party, when invited to dinner, met about midday, and they arrived
successively in their chariots, in palanquins borne by their servants,
or on foot. Sometimes their attendants screened them from the sun by
holding up a shield (as is still done in Southern Africa), or by some
other contrivance; but the chariot of the king or of a princess, was
often furnished with a large parasol; and the flabella borne behind
the king, which belonged exclusively to royalty, answered the same
purpose. They were composed of feathers, and were not very unlike
those carried on state occasions behind the Pope in modern Rome.
Parasols or umbrellas were also used in Assyria, Persia, and other
Eastern countries.

When a visitor came in his car, he was attended by a number of
servants, some of whom carried a stool, to enable him to alight, and
others his writing tablet, or whatever he might want during his stay
at the house. The guests are assembled in a sitting room within, and
are entertained with music during the interval preceding the
announcement of dinner; for, like the Greeks, they considered it a
want of good breeding to sit down to table immediately on arriving,
and, as Bdelycleon, in Aristophanes, recommended his father Philocleon
to do, they praised the beauty of the rooms and the furniture, taking
care to show particular interest in those objects which were intended
for admiration. As usual in all countries, some of the party arrived
earlier than others; and the consequence, or affectation of fashion,
in the person who now drives up in his curricle, is shown by his
coming some time after the rest of the company; one of his footmen
runs forward to knock at the door, others, close behind the chariot,
are ready to take the reins, and to perform their accustomed duties;
and the one holding his sandals in his hand, that he may run with
greater ease, illustrates a custom, still common in Egypt, among the
Arabs and peasants of the country, who find the power of the foot
greater when freed from the encumbrance of a shoe.

To those who arrived from a journey, or who desired it, water was
brought for their feet, previous to entering the festive chamber. They
also washed their hands before dinner, the water being brought in the
same manner as at the present day; and ewers, not unlike those used by
the modern Egyptians, are represented, with the basins belonging to
them, in the paintings of a Theban tomb. In the houses of the rich
they were of gold, or other costly materials. Herodotus mentions the
golden foot-pan, in which Amasis and his guests used to wash their

The Greeks had the same custom of bringing water to the guests,
numerous instances of which we find in Homer; as when Telemachus and
the son of Nestor were received at the house of Menelaus, and when
Asphalion poured it upon the hands of his master, and the same guests,
on another occasion. Virgil also describes the servants bringing water
for this purpose when Æneas was entertained by Dido. Nor was the
ceremony thought superfluous, or declined, even though they had
previously bathed and been anointed with oil.

It is also probable that, like the Greeks, the Egyptians anointed
themselves before they left home; but still it was customary for a
servant to attend every guest, as he seated himself, and to anoint his
head; which was one of the principal tokens of welcome. The ointment
was sweet-scented, and was contained in an alabaster, or in an elegant
glass or porcelain vase, some of which have been found in the tombs of
Thebes. Servants took the sandals of the guests as they arrived, and
either put them by in a convenient place in the house, or held them on
their arm while they waited upon them.

After the ceremony of anointing was over, and in some cases at the
time of entering the saloon, a lotus flower was presented to each
guest, who held it in his hand during the entertainment. Servants then
brought necklaces of flowers, composed chiefly of the lotus; a garland
was also put round the head, and a single lotus bud, or a full-blown
flower, was so attached as to hang over the forehead. Many of them,
made up into wreaths and other devices, were suspended upon stands in
the room ready for immediate use; and servants were constantly
employed to bring other fresh flowers from the garden, in order to
supply the guests as their bouquets faded.

The Greeks and Romans had the same custom of presenting guests with
flowers or garlands, which were brought in at the beginning of their
entertainments, or before the second course. They not only adorned
their _heads_, _necks_, and _breasts_, like the Egyptians, but often
bestrewed the couches on which they lay, and all parts of the room,
with flowers; though the head was chiefly regarded, as appears from
Horace, Anacreon, Ovid, and other ancient authors. The wine-bowl, too,
was crowned with flowers, as at an Egyptian banquet. They also
perfumed the apartment with myrrh, frankincense and other choice
odors, which they obtained from Syria; and if the sculptures do not
give any direct representation of this practice among the Egyptians,
we know it to have been adopted and deemed indispensable among them;
and a striking instance is recorded by Plutarch, at the reception of
Agesilaus by Tachos. A sumptuous dinner was prepared for the Spartan
prince, consisting, as usual, of beef, goose, and other Egyptian
dishes; he was crowned with garlands of papyrus, and received with
every token of welcome; but when he refused "the sweatmeats,
confections, and perfumes," the Egyptians held him in great contempt,
as a person unaccustomed to, and unworthy of, the manners of civilized

The Greeks, and other ancient people, usually put on a particular
garment at festive meetings, generally of a white color; but it does
not appear to have been customary with the Egyptians to make any great
alteration in their attire, though they evidently abstained from
dresses of a gloomy hue.

The guests being seated, and having received these tokens of welcome,
wine was offered them by the servants. To the ladies it was generally
brought in a small vase, which, when emptied into the drinking-cup,
was handed to an under servant, or slave, who followed; but to the men
it was frequently presented in a one-handled goblet, without being
poured into any cup, and sometimes in a larger or small vase of gold,
silver, or other materials.

Herodotus and Hellanicus both say that they drank wine out of brass or
bronze goblets; and, indeed, the former affirms that this was the only
kind of drinking-cup known to the Egyptians; but Joseph had one of
silver, and the sculptures represent them of glass and porcelain, as
well as of gold, silver and bronze. Those who could not afford the
more costly kind were satisfied with a cheaper quality, and many were
contented with cups of common earthenware; but the wealthy Egyptians
used vases of glass, porcelain, and the precious metals, for numerous
purposes, both in their houses and in the temples of the gods.

The practice of introducing wine at the commencement of an
entertainment, or before dinner had been served up, was not peculiar
to this people; and the Chinese, to the present day, offer it at their
parties to all the guests, as they arrive, in the same manner as the
ancient Egyptians. They also drank wine during the repast, perhaps to
the health of one another or of an absent friend, like the Romans; and
no doubt the master of the house, or "the ruler of the feast,"
recommended a choice wine, and pledged them to the cup.

While dinner was preparing the party was enlivened by the sound of
music; and a band, consisting of the harp, lyre, _guitar_, tambourine,
double and single pipe, flute and other instruments, played the
favorite airs and songs of the country. Nor was it deemed unbecoming
the gravity and dignity of a priest to admit musicians into his house,
or to take pleasure in witnessing the dance; and seated with their
wives and family in the midst of their friends, the highest
functionaries of the sacerdotal order enjoyed the lively scene. In the
same manner, at a Greek entertainment, diversions of all kinds were
introduced; and Xenophon and Plato inform us that Socrates, the wisest
of men, amused his friends with music, jugglers, mimics, buffoons, and
whatever could be desired for exciting cheerfulness and mirth.

The dance consisted mostly of a succession of figures, in which the
performers endeavored to exhibit a great variety of gesture; men and
women danced at the same time, or in separate parties, but the latter
were generally preferred, from their superior grace and elegance. Some
danced to slow airs, adapted to the style of their movement; the
attitudes they assumed frequently partook of a grace not unworthy of
the Greeks; and others preferred a lively step, regulated by an
appropriate tune. Men sometimes danced with great spirit, bounding
from the ground more in the manner of Europeans than of an Eastern
people; on which occasions the music was not always composed of many
instruments, but consisted only of _crotala_ or maces, a man clapping
his hand, and a woman snapping her fingers to the time.

Graceful attitudes and gesticulation were the general style of their
dance; but, as in other countries, the taste of the performance varied
according to the rank of the person by whom they were employed, or
their own skill; and the dance at the house of a priest differed from
that among the uncouth peasantry, or the lower classes of townsmen.

It was not customary for the upper orders of Egyptians to indulge in
this amusement, either in public or private assemblies, and none
appear to have practiced it but the lower ranks of society, and those
who gained their livelihood by attending festive meetings. The Greeks,
however, though they employed women who professed music and dancing,
to entertain the guests, looked upon the dance as a recreation in
which all classes might indulge, and an accomplishment becoming a
gentleman; and it was also a Jewish custom for young ladies to dance
at private entertainments, as it still is at Damascus and other
Eastern towns.

The Romans, on the contrary, were far from considering it worthy of a
man of rank, or of a sensible person; and Cicero says: "No man who is
sober dances, unless he is out of his mind, either _when alone_, or in
any decent society; for dancing is the companion of wanton
conviviality, dissoluteness, and luxury."

Nor did the Greeks indulge in it to excess; and effeminate dances, or
extraordinary gesticulation, were deemed indecent in men of character
and wisdom. Indeed, Herodotus tells a story of Hippoclides, the
Athenian, who had been preferred before all the nobles of Greece, as a
husband for the daughter of Clisthenes, king of Argos, having been
rejected on account of his extravagant gestures in the dance.

Of all the Greeks, the Ionians were most noted for their fondness of
this art; and, from the wanton and indecent tendency of their songs
and gestures, dances of a voluptuous character (like those of the
modern Almehs of the East) were styled by the Romans "Ionic
movements." Moderate dancing was even deemed worthy of the gods
themselves. Jupiter, "the father of gods and men," is represented
dancing in the midst of the other deities; and Apollo is not only
introduced by Homer thus engaged, but received the title of "the
dancer," from his supposed excellence in the art.

Grace in posture and movement was the chief object of those employed
at the assemblies of the rich Egyptians; and the ridiculous gestures
of the buffoon were permitted there, so long as they did not
transgress the rules of decency and moderation. Music was always
indispensable, whether at the festive meetings of the rich or poor;
and they danced to the sound of the harp, lyre, guitar, pipe,
tambourine, and other instruments, and, in the streets, even to the

Many of their postures resembled those of the modern ballet, and the
_pirouette_ delighted an Egyptian party four thousand years ago.

The dresses of the female dancers were light, and of the finest
texture, showing, by their transparent quality, the forms and movement
of the limbs; they generally consisted of a loose flowing robe,
reaching to the ankles, occasionally fastened tight at the waist; and
round the hips was a small narrow girdle, adorned with beads, or
ornaments of various colors. Sometimes the dancing figures appear to
have been perfectly naked; but this is from the outline of the
transparent robe having been effaced; and, like the Greeks, they
represented the contour of the figure as if seen through the dress.

Slaves were taught dancing as well as music; and in the houses of the
rich, besides their other occupations, that of dancing to entertain
the family, or a party of friends, was required of them; and free
Egyptians also gained a livelihood by their performances.

While the party was amused with music and dancing, and the late
arrivals were successively announced, refreshments continued to be
handed round, and every attention was shown to the assembled guests.
Wine was offered to each new comer, and chaplets of flowers were
brought by men servants to the gentlemen, and by women or white slaves
to the ladies, as they took their seats. An upper servant, or slave,
had the office of handing the wine, and a black woman sometimes
followed, in an inferior capacity, to receive an empty cup when the
wine had been poured into the goblet. The same black slave also
carried the fruits and other refreshments; and the peculiar mode of
holding a plate with the hand reversed, so generally adopted by women
from Africa, is characteristically shown in the Theban paintings.

To each person after drinking a napkin was presented for wiping the
mouth, answering to the _mahrama_ of the modern Egyptians; and the
bearer of it uttered a complimentary sentiment, when she offered it
and received back the goblet: as, "May it benefit you!" and no
oriental at the present day drinks water without receiving a similar
wish. But it was not considered rude to refuse wine when offered, even
though it had been poured out; and a teetotaller might continue
smelling a lotus without any affront.

Men and women either sat together, or separately, in a different part
of the room; but no rigid mistrust prevented strangers, as well as
members of the family, being received into the same society; which
shows how greatly the Egyptians were advanced in the habits of social
life. In this they, like the Romans, differed widely from the Greeks,
and might say with Cornelius Nepos, "Which of us is ashamed to bring
his wife to an entertainment? and what mistress of a family can be
shown who does not inhabit the chief and most frequented part of the
house? Whereas in Greece she never appears at any entertainments,
except those to which relations alone are invited, and constantly
lives in the women's apartments at the upper part of the house, into
which no man has admission, unless he be a near relation." Nor were
married people afraid of sitting together, and no idea of their having
had too much of each other's company made it necessary to divide them.
In short, they were the most Darby and Joan people possible, and they
shared the same chair at home, at a party, and even in their tomb,
where sculpture grouped them together.

The master and mistress of the house accordingly sat side by side on a
large fauteuil, and each guest as he arrived walked up to receive
their welcome. The musicians and dancers hired for the occasion also
did obeisance to them, before they began their part. To the leg of the
fauteuil was tied a favorite monkey, a dog, a gazelle, or some other
pet; and a young child was permitted to sit on the ground at the side
of its mother, or on its father's knee.

In the meantime the conversation became animated, especially in those
parts of the room where the ladies sat together, and the numerous
subjects that occurred to them were fluently discussed. Among these
the question of dress was not forgotten, and the patterns, or the
value of trinkets, were examined with proportionate interest. The
maker of an ear-ring, and the store where it was purchased, were
anxiously inquired; each compared the workmanship, the style, and the
materials of those she wore, coveted her neighbor's, or preferred her
own; and women of every class vied with each other in the display of
"jewels of silver and jewels of gold," in the texture of their
"raiment," the neatness of their sandals, and the arrangement or
beauty of their plaited hair.

It was considered a pretty compliment to offer each other a flower
from their own bouquet, and all the vivacity of the Egyptians was
called forth as they sat together. The hosts omitted nothing that
could make their party pass off pleasantly, and keep up agreeable
conversation, which was with them the great charm of accomplished
society, as with the Greeks, who thought it "more requisite and
becoming to gratify the company by cheerful conversation, than with
variety of dishes." The guests, too, neglected no opportunity of
showing how much they enjoyed themselves; and as they drew each
other's attention to the many nick-nacks that adorned the rooms, paid
a well-turned compliment to the taste of the owner of the house. They
admired the vases, the carved boxes of wood or ivory, and the light
tables on which many a curious trinket was displayed; and commended
the elegance and comfort of the luxurious fauteuils, the rich cushions
and coverings of the couches and ottomans, the carpets and the other
furniture. Some, who were invited to see the sleeping apartments,
found in the ornaments on the toilet-tables, and in the general
arrangements, fresh subjects for admiration; and their return to the
guest-chamber gave an opportunity of declaring that good taste
prevailed throughout the whole house. On one occasion, while some of
the delighted guests were in these raptures of admiration, and others
were busied with the chitchat, perhaps the politics, or the scandal of
the day, an awkward youth, either from inadvertence, or a little too
much wine, reclined against a wooden column placed in the centre of
the room to support some temporary ornament, and threw it down upon
those who sat beneath it.[20] The confusion was great: the women
screamed; and some, with uplifted hands, endeavored to protect their
heads and escape its fall. No one, however, seems to have been hurt;
and the harmony of the party being restored, the incident afforded
fresh matter for conversation; to be related in full detail to their
friends, when they returned home.

The vases were very numerous, and varied in shape, size, and
materials; being of hard stone, alabaster, glass, ivory, bone,
porcelain, bronze, brass, silver, or gold; and those of the poorer
classes were of glazed pottery, or common earthenware. Many of their
ornamental vases, as well as those in ordinary use, were of the most
elegant shape, which would do honor to the Greeks, the Egyptians
frequently displaying in these objects of private _luxe_ the taste of
a highly refined people; and so strong a resemblance did they bear to
the productions of the best epochs of ancient Greece, both in their
shape and in the fancy devices upon them, that some might even suppose
them borrowed from Greek patterns. But they were purely Egyptian, and
had been universally adopted in the valley of the Nile, long before
the graceful forms we admire were known in Greece; a fact invariably
acknowledged by those who are acquainted with the remote age of
Egyptian monuments, and of the paintings that represent them.

    [Illustration: EGYPTIAN VASES.]

For some of the most elegant date in the early age of the third
Thothmes, who lived between 3,300 and 3,400 years before our time; and
we not only admire their forms, but the richness of the materials of
which they were made, their color, as well as the hieroglyphics,
showing them to have been of gold and silver, or of this last, inlaid
with the more precious metal.

Those of bronze, alabaster, glass, porcelain, and even of ordinary
pottery, were also deserving of admiration, from the beauty of their
shapes, the designs which ornamented them, and the superior quality of
the material; and gold and silver cups were often beautifully
engraved, and studded with precious stones. Among these we readily
distinguish the green emerald, the purple amethyst, and other gems;
and when an animal's head adorned their handles, the eyes were
frequently composed of them, except when enamel, or some colored
composition, was employed as a substitute.

While the guests were entertained with music and the dance dinner was
prepared; but as it consisted of a considerable number of dishes, and
the meat was killed for the occasion, as at the present day in Eastern
and tropical climates, some time elapsed before it was put upon table.
An ox, kid, wild goat, gazelle or an oryx, and a quantity of geese,
ducks, teal, quails and other birds, were generally selected; but
mutton was excluded from a Theban table. Plutarch even states that "no
Egyptians would eat the flesh of sheep, except the Lycopolites," who
did so out of compliment to the wolves they venerated; and Strabo
confines the sacrifice of them to the Nome of Nitriotis. But though
sheep were not killed for the altar or the table, they abounded in
Egypt and even at Thebes; and large flocks were kept for their wool,
particularly in the neighborhood of Memphis. Sometimes a flock
consisted of more than 2,000; and in a tomb below the Pyramids, dating
upwards of 4,000 years ago, 974 rams are brought to be registered by
his scribes, as part of the stock of the deceased; implying an equal
number of ewes, independent of lambs.

A considerable quantity of meat was served up at those repasts, to
which strangers were invited, as among people of the East at the
present day; whose _azooma_, or feast, prides itself in the quantity
and variety of dishes, in the unsparing profusion of viands, and,
whenever wine is permitted, in the freedom of the bowl. An endless
succession of vegetables was also required on all occasions; and, when
dining in private, dishes composed chiefly of them were in greater
request than joints, even at the tables of the rich, and consequently
the Israelites, who, by their long residence there, had acquired
similar habits, regretted them equally with the meat and fish of

Their mode of dining was very similar to that now adopted in Cairo and
throughout the East; each person sitting round a table, and dipping
his bread into a dish placed in the centre, removed on a sign made by
the host, and succeeded by others, whose rotation depends on
established rule, and whose number is predetermined according to the
size of the party, or the quality of the guests.

Among the lower orders, vegetables constituted a very great part of
their ordinary food, and they gladly availed themselves of the variety
and abundance of esculent roots growing spontaneously, in the lands
irrigated by the rising Nile, as soon as its waters had subsided; some
of which were eaten in a crude state, and others roasted in the ashes,
boiled or stewed: their chief aliment, and that of their children,
consisting of milk and cheese, roots, leguminous, cucurbitaceous and
other plants, and the ordinary fruits of the country. Herodotus
describes the food of the workmen who built the Pyramids, to have been
the "_raphanus_, onions and garlic;" the first of which, now called
_figl_, is like a turnip-radish in flavor; but he has omitted one more
vegetable, lentils, which were always, as at the present day, the
chief article of their diet; and which Strabo very properly adds to
the number.

The nummulite rock, in the vicinity of those monuments, frequently
presents a conglomerate of testacea imbedded in it, which, in some
positions, resemble small seeds; and Strabo imagines they were the
petrified residue of the lentils brought there by the workmen, from
their having been the ordinary food of the laboring classes, and of
all the lower orders of Egyptians.

Much attention was bestowed on the culture of this useful pulse, and
certain varieties became remarkable for their excellence, the lentils
of Pelusium being esteemed both in Egypt and in foreign countries.

That dinner was served up at mid-day, may be inferred from the
invitation given by Joseph to his brethren; but it is probable that,
like the Romans, they also ate supper in the evening, as is still the
custom in the East. The table was much the same as that of the present
day in Egypt: a small stool, supporting a round tray, on which the
dishes are placed; but it differed from this in having its circular
summit fixed on a pillar, or leg, which was often in the form of a
man, generally a captive, who supported the slab upon his head; the
whole being of stone, or some hard wood. On this the dishes were
placed, together with loaves of bread, some of which were not unlike
those of the present day in Egypt, flat and round as our crumpets.
Others had the form of rolls or cakes, sprinkled with seeds.

It was not generally covered with any linen, but, like the Greek
table, was washed with a sponge, or napkin, after the dishes were
removed, and polished by the servants, when the company had retired;
though an instance sometimes occurs of a napkin spread on it, at least
on those which bore offerings in honor of the dead.

One or two guests generally sat at a table, though from the mention of
persons seated in rows according to rank, it has been supposed the
tables were occasionally of a long shape, as may have been the case
when the brethren of Joseph "sat before him, the first born according
to his birth-right, and the youngest according to his youth," Joseph
eating alone at another table where "they set on for him by himself."
But even if round, they might still sit according to rank; one place
being always the post of honor, even at the present day, at the round
table of Egypt.

In the houses of the rich, bread was made of wheat; the poorer classes
being contented with bakes of barley, or of _doora_ (holcus sorghum),
which last is still so commonly used by them; for Herodotus is as
wrong in saying that they thought it "the greatest disgrace to live
on wheat and barley," as that "no one drank out of any but bronze (or
brazen) cups." The drinking cups of the Egyptians not only varied in
their materials, but also in their forms. Some were plain and
unornamented; others, though of small dimensions, were made after the
models of larger vases; many were like our own cups without handles;
and others may come under the denomination of beakers, and saucers. Of
these the former were frequently made of alabaster, with a round base,
so that they could not stand when filled, and were held in the hand,
or, when empty, were turned downwards upon their rim: and the saucers,
which were of glazed pottery, had sometimes lotus blossoms, or fish,
represented on their concave surface.

The tables, as at a Roman repast, were occasionally brought in, and
removed, with the dishes on them; sometimes each joint was served up
separately, and the fruit, deposited in a plate or trencher, succeeded
the meat at the close of the dinner; but in less fashionable circles,
particularly of the olden time, fruit was brought in baskets, which
stood beside the table. The dishes consisted of fish; meat boiled,
roasted, and dressed in various ways; game, poultry, and a profusion
of vegetables and fruit, particularly figs and grapes, during the
season; and a soup, or "pottage of lentils," as with the modern
Egyptians, was not an unusual dish.

Of figs and grapes they were particularly fond, which is shown by
their constant introduction, even among the choice offerings presented
to the gods; and figs of the sycamore must have been highly esteemed,
since they were selected as the heavenly fruit, given by the goddess
Netpe to those who were judged worthy of admission to the regions of
eternal happiness. Fresh dates during the season, and in a dried state
at other periods of the year, were also brought to table, as well as a
preserve of the fruit, made into a cake of the same form as the
tamarinds now brought from the interior of Africa, and sold in the
Cairo market.

The guests sat on the ground, or on stools and chairs, and, having
neither knives and forks, nor any substitute for them answering to the
chop-sticks of the Chinese, they ate with their fingers, like the
modern Asiatics, and invariably with the right hand; nor did the Jews
and Etruscans, though they had forks for other purposes, use any at

Spoons were introduced when required for soup, or other liquids; and,
perhaps, even a knife was employed on some occasions, to facilitate
the carving of a large joint, which is sometimes done in the East at
the present day.

The Egyptians washed after, as well as before, dinner; an invariable
custom throughout the East, as among the Greeks, Romans, Hebrews, and
others; and Herodotus speaks of a golden basin, belonging to Amasis,
which was used by the King, and "the guests who were in the habit of
eating at his table."

An absorbent seems also to have been adopted for scouring the hands;
and a powder of ground lupins, the _doqaq_ of modern Egypt, is no
doubt an old invention, handed down to the present inhabitants.

Soap was not unknown to the ancients, and a small quantity has been
found at Pompeii. Pliny, who mentions it as an invention of the Gauls,
says it was made of fat and ashes; and Aretæus, the physician of
Cappadocia, tells us that the Greeks borrowed their knowledge of its
medicinal properties from the Romans. But there is no evidence of soap
having been used by the Egyptians; and if by accident they discovered
something of the kind, while engaged with mixtures of natron or
potash, and other ingredients, it is probable that it was only an
absorbent, without oil or grease, and on a par with steatite, or the
argillaceous earths, with which, no doubt, they were long acquainted.

The Egyptians, a scrupulously religious people, were never remiss in
expressing their gratitude for the blessings they enjoyed, and in
returning thanks to the gods for that peculiar protection they were
thought to extend to them and to their country, above all the nations
of the earth.

They, therefore, never sat down to meals without saying grace; and
Josephus says that when the seventy-two elders were invited by Ptolemy
Philadelphus to sup at the palace, Nicanor requested Eleazer to say
grace for his countrymen, instead of those Egyptians to whom that duty
was committed on other occasions.

It was also a custom of the Egyptians, during or after their repasts,
to introduce a wooden image of Osiris, from one foot and a half to
three feet in height, in the form of a human mummy, standing erect, or
lying on a bier, and to show it to each of the guests, warning him of
his mortality, and the transitory nature of human pleasures. He was
reminded that some day he would be like that figure; that men ought
"to love one another, and avoid those evils which tend to make them
consider life too long, when in reality it is too short;" and while
enjoying the blessings of this world, to bear in mind that their
existence was precarious, and that death, which all ought to be
prepared to meet, must eventually close their earthly career.

Thus, while the guests were permitted, and even encouraged, to indulge
in conviviality, the pleasures of the table, and the mirth so
congenial to their lively disposition, they were exhorted to put a
certain degree of restraint upon their conduct; and though this
sentiment was perverted by other people, and used as an incentive to
present excesses, it was perfectly consistent with the ideas of the
Egyptians to be reminded that this life was only a lodging, or "inn"
on their way, and that their existence here was the preparation for a
future state.

"The ungodly," too, of Solomon's time, thus expressed themselves: "Our
life is short and tedious, and in the death of a man there is no
remedy; neither was there any man known to have returned from the
grave. For we are born at all adventure, and we shall be hereafter as
though we had never been, ... come on, therefore, let us enjoy the
good things that are present, ... let us fill ourselves with costly
wine and ointments; and let no flower of the spring pass by us; let us
crown ourselves with rosebuds, before they be withered; let none of us
go without his part of our voluptuousness; let us leave tokens of our
joyfulness in every place."

But even if the Egyptians, like other men, neglected a good warning,
the original object of it was praiseworthy; and Plutarch expressly
states that it was intended to convey a moral lesson. The idea of
death had nothing revolting to them; and so little did the Egyptians
object to have it brought before them, that they even introduced the
mummy of a deceased relative at their parties, and placed it at table,
as one of the guests; a fact which is recorded by Lucian, in his
"Essay on Grief," and of which he declares himself to have been an

After dinner, music and singing were resumed; hired men and women
displayed feats of agility; swinging each other round by the hand;
throwing up and catching the ball; or flinging themselves round
backwards head-over-heels, in imitation of a wheel; which was usually
a performance of women. They also stood on each other's backs, and
made a somersault from that position; and a necklace, or other reward,
was given to the most successful tumbler.

    [Page Decoration]

    [Page Decoration]


Though impossible for us now to form any notion of the character or
style of Egyptian music, we may be allowed to conjecture that it was
studied on scientific principles; and, whatever defects existed in the
skill of ordinary performers, who gained their livelihood by playing
in public, or for the entertainment of a private party, music was
looked upon as an important science, and diligently studied by the
priests themselves. According to Diodorus it was not customary to make
music part of their education, being deemed useless and even
injurious, as tending to render the minds of men effeminate; but this
remark can only apply to the custom of studying it as an amusement.
Plato, who was well acquainted with the usages of the Egyptians, says
that they considered music of the greatest consequence, from its
beneficial effects upon the mind of youth; and according to Strabo,
the children of the Egyptians were taught letters, the songs appointed
by law, and a certain kind of music, established by government.

That the Egyptians were particularly fond of music is abundantly
proved by the paintings in their tombs of the earliest times; and we
even find they introduced figures performing on the favorite
instruments of the country, among the devices with which they adorned
fancy boxes or trinkets. The skill of the Egyptians in the use of
musical instruments is also noticed by Athenæus, who says that both
the Greeks and barbarians were taught by refugees from Egypt, and
that the Alexandrians were the most scientific and skillful players on
pipes and other instruments.

It is sufficiently evident, from the sculptures of the ancient
Egyptians, that their hired musicians were acquainted with the triple
symphony: the harmony of instruments; of voices; and of voices and
instruments. Their band was variously composed, consisting either of
two harps, with the single pipe and flute; of the harp and double pipe,
frequently with the addition of the guitar; of a fourteen-stringed
harp, a guitar, lyre, double pipe, and tambourine; of two harps,
sometimes of different sizes, one of seven, the other of four, strings;
of two harps of eight chords, and a seven-stringed lyre; of the guitar
and the square or oblong tambourine; of the lyre, harp, guitar, double
pipe, and a sort of harp with four strings, which was held upon the
shoulder; of the harp, guitar, double pipe, lyre, and square
tambourine; of the harp, two guitars, and the double pipe; of the harp,
two flutes, and a guitar; of two harps and a flute; of a
seventeen-stringed lyre, the double pipe, and a harp of fourteen
chords; of the harp and two guitars; or of two seven-stringed harps and
an instrument held in the hand, not unlike an eastern fan, to which
were probably attached small bells, or pieces of metal that emitted a
jingling sound when shaken, like the crescent-crowned _bells_ of our
modern bands. There were many other combinations of these various
instruments; and in the Bacchic festival of Ptolemy Philadelphus,
described by Athenæus, more than 600 musicians were employed in the
chorus, among whom were 300 performers on the _cithara_.

Sometimes the harp was played alone, or as an accompaniment to the
voice; and a band of seven or more choristers frequently sang to it a
favorite air, beating time with their hands between each stanza. They
also sang to other instruments, as the lyre, guitar or double pipe; or
to several of them played together, as the flute and one or more
harps; or to these last with a lyre or a guitar. It was not unusual
for one man or one woman to perform a solo; and a chorus of many
persons occasionally sang at a private assembly without any
instrument, two or three beating time at intervals with the hand.
Sometimes the band of choristers consisted of more than twenty
persons, only two of whom responded by clapping their hands; and in
one instance we have seen a female represented holding what was
perhaps another kind of jingling instrument.

The custom of beating time by clapping the hands between the stanzas
is still usual in Egypt.

On some occasions women beat the tambourine and _darabooka_ drum,
without the addition of any other instrument; dancing or singing to
the sound; and bearing palm branches or green twigs in their hands,
they proceeded to the tomb of a deceased friend, accompanied by this
species of music. The same custom may still be traced in the Friday
visit to the cemetery, and in some other funeral ceremonies among the
Moslem peasants of modern Egypt.

If it was not customary for the higher classes of Egyptians to learn
music for the purpose of playing in society, and if few amateur
performers could be found among persons of rank, still some general
knowledge of the art must have been acquired by a people so alive to
its charms; and the attention paid to it by the priests regulated the
taste, and prevented the introduction of a vitiated style.

Those who played at the houses of the rich, as well as the ambulant
musicians of the streets, were of the lower classes, and made this
employment the means of obtaining their livelihood; and in many
instances both the minstrels and the choristers were blind.

It was not so necessary an accomplishment for the higher classes of
Egyptians as of the Greeks, who, as Cicero says, "considered the arts
of singing and playing upon musical instruments a very principal part
of learning; whence it is related of Epaminondas, who, in my judgment,
was the first of all the Greeks, that he played very well upon the
flute. And, some time before, Themistocles, upon refusing the harp at
an entertainment, passed for an uninstructed and ill-bred person.
Hence, Greece became celebrated for skillful musicians; and as all
persons there learned music, those who attained to no proficiency in
it were thought uneducated and unaccomplished."

Cornelius Nepos also states that Epaminondas "played the harp and
flute, and perfectly understood the art of dancing, with other liberal
sciences," which, "though trivial things in the opinion of the Romans,
were reckoned highly commendable in Greece."

The Israelites also delighted in music and the dance; and persons of
rank deemed them a necessary part of their education. Like the
Egyptians with whom they had so long resided, the Jews carefully
distinguished sacred from profane music. They introduced it at public
and private rejoicings, at funerals, and in religious services; but
the character of the airs, like the words of their songs, varied
according to the occasion; and they had canticles of mirth, of praise,
of thanksgiving, and of lamentation. Some were _epithalamia_, or songs
composed to celebrate marriages; others to commemorate a victory, or
the accession of a prince; to return thanks to the Deity, or to
celebrate his praises; to lament a general calamity, or a private
affliction; and others, again, were peculiar to their festive
meetings. On these occasions they introduced the harp, lute, tabret,
and various instruments, together with songs and dancing, and the
guests were entertained nearly in the same manner as at an Egyptian
feast. In the temple, and in the religious ceremonies, the Jews had
female as well as male performers, who were generally daughters of the
Levites, as the Pallaces of Thebes were either of the royal family, or
the daughters of priests; and these musicians were attached
exclusively to the service of religion.

David was not only remarkable for his taste and skill in music, but
took a delight in introducing it on every occasion. "And seeing that
the Levites were numerous, and no longer employed as formerly in
carrying the boards, veils, and vessels of the tabernacle, its abode
being fixed at Jerusalem, he appointed a great part of them to sing
and play on instruments, at the religious festivals."

Solomon, again, at the dedication of the temple, employed "120
priests, to sound with trumpets;" and Josephus pretends that no less
than 200,000 musicians were present at that ceremony, besides the same
number of singers, who were Levites.

When hired to attend at a private entertainment, the musicians either
stood in the centre, or at one side, of the festive chamber, and some
sat cross-legged on the ground, like the Turks and other Eastern
people of the present day. They were usually accompanied on these
occasions by dancers, either men or women, sometimes both; whose art
consisted in assuming all the graceful or ludicrous gestures, which
could obtain the applause, or tend to the amusement, of the assembled
guests. For music and dancing were considered as essential at their
entertainments, as among the Greeks; but it is by no means certain
that these diversions counteracted the effect of wine, as Plutarch
imagines; a sprightly air is more likely to have invited another
glass; and sobriety at a feast was not one of the objects of the
lively Egyptians.

They indulged freely in whatever tended to increase their enjoyment,
and wine flowed freely at their entertainments.

Private individuals were under no particular restrictions with regard
to its use, and it was not forbidden to women. In this they differed
widely from the Romans; for in early times no female at Rome enjoyed
the privilege, and it was unlawful for women, or, indeed, for young
men below the age of thirty, to drink wine, except at sacrifices.

Even at a later time the Romans considered it disgraceful for a woman
to drink wine; and they sometimes saluted a female relation, whom they
suspected, in order to discover if she had secretly indulged in its
use. It was afterwards allowed them on the plea of health.

That Egyptian women were not forbidden the use of wine, is evident
from the frescoes which represent their feasts; and the painters, in
illustrating this fact, have sometimes sacrificed their gallantry to a
love of caricature. Some call the servants to support them as they
sit, others with difficulty prevent themselves from falling on those
behind them; a basin is brought too late by a reluctant servant, and
the faded flower, which is ready to drop from their heated hands, is
intended to be characteristic of their own sensations.

That the consumption of wine in Egypt was very great is evident from
the sculptures, and from the accounts of ancient authors, some of whom
have censured the Egyptians for their excesses; and so much did the
quantity used exceed that made in the country, that, in the time of
Herodotus, twice every year a large importation was received from
Phœnicia and Greece.

Notwithstanding all the injunctions or exhortations of the priests in
favor of temperance, the Egyptians of both sexes appear from the
sculptures to have committed occasional excesses, and men were
sometimes unable to walk from a feast, and were carried home by
servants. These scenes, however, do not appear to refer to members of
the higher, but of the lower, classes, some of whom indulged in
extravagant buffoonery, dancing in a ludicrous manner, or standing on
their heads, and frequently in amusements which terminated in a fight.

At the tables of the rich, stimulants were sometimes introduced, to
excite the palate before drinking, and Athenæus mentions cabbages as
one of the vegetables used by the Egyptians for this purpose.

Besides beer, the Egyptians had what Pliny calls factitious, or
artificial, wine, extracted from various fruits, as figs, _myxas_,
pomegranates, as well as herbs, some of which were selected for their
medicinal properties. The Greeks and Latins comprehended every kind of
beverage made by the process of fermentation under the same general
name, and beer was designated as barley-_wine_; but, by the use of the
name zythos, they show that the Egyptians distinguished it by its own
peculiar appellation. Palm-wine was also made in Egypt, and used in
the process of embalming.

The palm-wine now made in Egypt and the Oases is simply from an
incision in the heart of the tree, immediately below the base of the
upper branches, and a jar is attached to the part to catch the juice
which exudes from it. But a palm thus tapped is rendered perfectly
useless as a fruit-bearing tree, and generally dies in consequence;
and it is reasonable to suppose that so great a sacrifice is seldom
made except when date-trees are to be felled, or when they grow in
great abundance.

The modern name of this beverage in Egypt is _lowbgeh_; in flavor it
resembles a very new light wine, and may be drunk in great quantity
when taken from the tree; but, as soon as the fermentation has
commenced, its intoxicating qualities have a powerful and speedy

Among the various fruit-trees cultivated by the ancient Egyptians,
palms, of course, held the first rank, as well from their abundance as
from their great utility. The fruit constituted a principal part of
their food, both in the month of August, when it was gathered fresh
from the trees, and at other seasons of the year, when it was used in
a preserved state.

They had two different modes of keeping the dates; one was by the
simple process of drying them, the other was by making them into a
conserve, like the _agweh_ of the present day; and of this, which was
eaten either cooked or as a simple sweetmeat, there have been found
some cakes, as well as the dried dates, in the sepulchres of Thebes.

Pliny makes a just remark respecting the localities where the palm
prospers, and the constant irrigation it requires; and though every
one in the East knows the tree will not grow except where water is
abundant, we still read of "palm-trees of the desert," as if it
delighted in an arid district. Wherever it is found it is a sure
indication of water; and if it may be said to flourish in a sandy
soil, this is only in situations where its roots can obtain a certain
quantity of moisture. The numerous purposes for which its branches and
other parts might be applied rendered the cultivation of this valuable
and productive tree a matter of primary importance, for no portion of
it is without its peculiar use.

The trunk serves for beams, either entire, or split in half; of the
_gereet_, or branches, are made wicker baskets, bedsteads, coops, and
ceilings of rooms, answering every purpose for which laths or any thin
woodwork are required; the leaves are converted into mats, brooms, and
baskets; of the fibrous tegument as the base of the branches, strong
ropes and mats are made, and even the thick ends of the _gereet_ are
beaten flat and formed into brooms.

Besides the _lowbgeh_ of the tree, brandy, wine, and vinegar are made
from the fruit; and the quantity of saccharine matter in the dates
might be used in default of sugar or honey.

In Upper Egypt another tree called the _Dom_, or Theban palm, was also
much cultivated, and its wood, more solid and compact than the
date-tree, is found to answer as well for rafts, and other purposes
connected with water, as for beams and rafters.

    [Page Decoration]


The game of _morra_ was common in ancient as well as modern Italy, and
was played by two persons, who each simultaneously threw out the
fingers of one hand, while one party guessed the sum of both. They
were said in Latin, "micare digitis," and this game, still so common
among the lower order of Indians, existed in Egypt, about four
thousand years ago, in the reigns of the Osirtasens.

The same, or even a greater, antiquity may be claimed for the game of
draughts, or, as it has been called, chess. As in the two former, the
players sat on the ground, or on chairs, and the pieces, or men, being
ranged in line at either end of the tables, moved on a chequered
board, as in our own chess.

The pieces were all of the same size and form, though they varied on
different boards, some being small, others large with round summits:
some were surmounted by human heads; and many were of a lighter and
neater shape, like small nine-pins, probably the most fashionable
kind, since they were used in the palace of king Remeses. These last
seem to have been about one inch and a half high, standing on a
circular base of half an inch in diameter; but some are only one inch
and a quarter in height, and little more than half an inch broad at
the lower end. Others have been found, of ivory, one inch and six
eighths high, and one and an eighth in diameter, with a small knob at
the top, exactly like those represented at Beni Hassan, and the tombs
near the Pyramids.

They were about equal in size upon the same board, one set black, the
other white or red; or one with round, the other with flat heads,
standing on opposite sides; and each player, raising it with the
finger and thumb, advanced his piece towards those of his opponent;
but though we are unable to say if this was done in a direct or a
diagonal line, there is reason to believe they could not take
backwards as in the Polish game of chess, the men being mixed together
on the board.

It was an amusement common in the houses of the lower classes, as in
the mansions of the rich; and king Remeses is himself portrayed on the
walls of his palace at Thebes, engaged in the game of chess with the
ladies of his household.

The modern Egyptians have a game of chess, very similar, in the
appearance of the men, to that of their ancestors, which they call
_dameh_, and play much in the same manner as our own.

Analogous to the game of odd and even was one, in which two of the
players held a number of shells, or dice, in their closed hands, over
a third person who knelt between them, with his face towards the
ground, and who was obliged to guess the combined number ere he could
be released from this position.

Another game consisted in endeavoring to snatch from each other a
small hoop, by means of hooked rods, probably of metal; and the
success of a player seems to have depended on extricating his own from
an adversary's rod, and then snatching up the hoop, before he had time
to stop it.

There were also two games, of which the boards, with the men, are in
the possession of Dr. Abbott. One is eleven inches long by three and a
half, and has ten spaces or squares in three rows; the other twelve
squares at the upper end (or four squares in three rows) and a long
line of eight squares below, forming an approach to the upper part,
like the arrangement of German tactics. The men in the drawer of the
board are of two shapes, one set ten, the other nine in number.

Other games are represented in the paintings, but not in a manner to
render them intelligible; and many, which were doubtless common in
Egypt, are omitted both in the tombs, and in the writings of ancient

The dice discovered at Thebes and other places, may not be of a
Pharaonic period, but, from the simplicity of their form, we may
suppose them similar to those of the earliest age, in which, too, the
conventional number of six sides had probably always been adopted.
They were marked with small circles, representing units, generally
with a dot in the centre; and were of bone or ivory, varying slightly
in size.

Plutarch shows that dice were a very early invention in Egypt, and
acknowledged to be so by the Egyptians themselves, since they were
introduced into one of their oldest mythological fables; Mercury being
represented playing at dice with the Moon, previous to the birth of
Osiris, and winning from her the five days of the epact, which were
added to complete the 365 days of the year.

It is probable that several games of chance were known to the
Egyptians, besides dice and _morra_, and, as with the Romans, that
many a doubtful mind sought relief in the promise of success, by
having recourse to fortuitous combinations of various kinds; and the
custom of drawing, or casting lots, was common, at least as early as
the period of the Hebrew Exodus.

The games and amusements of children were such as tended to promote
health by the exercise of the body, and to divert the mind by
laughable entertainments. Throwing and catching the ball, running,
leaping, and similar feats, were encouraged, as soon as their age
enabled them to indulge in them; and a young child was amused with
painted dolls, whose hands and legs, moving on pins, were made to
assume various positions by means of strings. Some of these were of
rude form, without legs, or with an imperfect representation of a
single arm on one side. Some had numerous beads, in imitation of
hair, hanging from the doubtful place of the head; others exhibited a
nearer approach to the form of a man; and some, made with considerable
attention to proportion, were small models of the human figure. They
were colored according to fancy; and the most shapeless had usually
the most gaudy appearance, being intended to catch the eye of an
infant. Sometimes a man was figured washing, or kneading dough, who
was made to work by pulling a string; and a typhonian monster, or a
crocodile, amused a child by its grimaces, or the motion of its
opening mouth. In the toy of the crocodile, we have sufficient
evidence that the notion of this animal "not moving its lower jaw, and
being the only creature which brings the upper one down to the lower,"
is erroneous. Like other animals, it moves the lower jaw _only_; but
when seizing its prey, it throws up its head, which gives an
appearance of motion in the upper jaw, and has led to the mistake.

The game of ball was of course generally played out of doors. It was
not confined to children, nor to one sex, though the mere amusement of
throwing and catching it appears to have been considered more
particularly adapted to women. They had different modes of playing.
Sometimes a person unsuccessful in catching the ball was obliged to
suffer another to ride on her back, who continued to enjoy this post
until she also missed it; the ball being thrown by an opposite player,
mounted in the same manner, and placed at a certain distance,
according to the space previously agreed upon; and, from the
beast-of-burden office of the person who had failed, the same name was
probably applied to her as to those in the Greek game, "who were
called asses, and were obliged to submit to the commands of the

Sometimes they caught three or more balls in succession, the hands
occasionally crossed over the breast; they also threw it up to a
height and caught it, like our "sky-ball;" and the game described by
Homer to have been played by Halius and Laodamus, in the presence of
Alcinous, was known to them; in which one party threw the ball as high
as he could, and the other, leaping up, caught it on its fall, before
his feet again touched the ground.

When mounted on the backs of the losing party, the Egyptian women sat
sidewise. Their dress consisted merely of a short petticoat, without a
body, the loose upper robe being laid aside on these occasions; it was
bound at the waist with a girdle, supported by a strap over the
shoulder, and was nearly the same as the undress garb of mourners,
worn during the funeral lamentation on the death of a friend.

The balls were made of leather or skin, sewed with string, crosswise,
in the same manner as our own, and stuffed with bran, or husks of
corn; and those which have been found at Thebes are about three inches
in diameter. Others were made of string, or of the stalks of rushes,
platted together so as to form a circular mass, and covered, like the
former, with leather. They appear also to have had a smaller kind of
ball probably of the same materials, and covered, like many of our
own, with slips of leather of a rhomboidal shape, sewed together
longitudinally, and meeting in a common point at both ends, each
alternate slip being of a different color; but these have only been
met with in pottery.

In one of their performances of strength and dexterity, two men stood
together side by side, and, placing one arm forward and the other
behind them, held the hands of two women, who reclined backwards, in
opposite directions, with their whole weight pressed against each
other's feet, and in this position were whirled round; the hands of
the men who held them being occasionally crossed, in order more
effectually to guarantee the steadiness of the centre, on which they

Sometimes two men, seated back to back on the ground, at a given
signal tried who should rise first from that position, without
touching the ground with the hand. And in this, too, there was
probably the trial who should first make good his seat upon the
ground, from a standing position.

Another game consisted in throwing a knife, or pointed weapon, into a
block of wood, in which each player was required to strike his
adversary's, or more probably to fix his own in the centre, or at the
circumference, of a ring painted on the wood; and his success depended
on being able to ring his weapon most frequently, or approach most
closely to the line.

Conjuring appears also to have been known to them, at least
thimble-rig, or the game of cups, under which a ball was put, while
the opposite party guessed under which of four it was concealed.

The Egyptian grandees frequently admitted dwarfs, and deformed persons,
into their household; originally, perhaps, from a humane motive, or
from some superstitious regard for men who bore the external character
of one of their principal gods, Pthah-Sokari-Osiris, the misshapen
Deity of Memphis; but, whatever may have given rise to the custom, it
is a singular fact, that already as early as the age of Osirtasen, or
about 4,000 years ago, the same fancy of attaching these persons to
their suite existed among the Egyptians, as at Rome, and even in modern
Europe, till a late period.

The games of the lower orders, and of those who sought to invigorate
the body by active exercises, consisted of feats of agility and
strength. Wrestling was a favorite amusement; and the paintings at
Beni Hassan present all the varied attitudes and modes of attack and
defence of which it is susceptible. And, in order to enable the
spectator more readily to perceive the position of the limbs of each
combatant, the artist has availed himself of a dark and light color,
and even ventured to introduce alternately a black and red figure. The
subject covers a whole wall.

It is probable that, like the Greeks, they anointed the body with
oil, when preparing for these exercises, and they were entirely naked,
with the exception of a girdle, apparently of leathern thongs.

The two combatants generally approached each other, holding their arms
in an inclined position before the body; and each endeavored to seize
his adversary in the manner best suited to his mode of attack. It was
allowable to take hold of any part of the body, the head, neck, or
legs; and the struggle was frequently continued on the ground, after
one or both had fallen; a mode of wrestling common also to the Greeks.

They also fought with the single stick, the hand being apparently
protected by a basket, or guard projecting over the knuckles; and on
the left arm they wore a straight piece of wood, bound on with straps,
serving as a shield to ward off their adversary's blow. They do not,
however, appear to have used the _cestus_, nor to have known the art
of boxing; though in one group, at Beni Hassan, the combatants appear
to strike each other. Nor is there an instance, in any of these
contests, of the Greek sign of acknowledging defeat, which was by
holding up a finger in token of submission; and it was probably done
by the Egyptians with a word. It is also doubtful if throwing the
discus, or quoit, was an Egyptian game; but there appears to be one
instance of it, in a king's tomb of the 19th dynasty.

One of their feats of strength, or dexterity, was lifting weights; and
bags full of sand were raised with one hand from the ground and
carried with a straight arm over the head, and held in that position.

Mock fights were also an amusement, particularly among those of the
military class, who were trained to the fatigues of war, by these
manly recreations. One party attacked a temporary fort, and brought up
the battering ram, under cover of the testudo; another defended the
walls and endeavored to repel the enemy; others, in two parties of
equal numbers, engaged in single stick, or the more usual _neboot_, a
pole wielded with both hands; and the pugnacious spirit of the people
is frequently alluded to in the scenes portrayed by their artists.

The use of the _neboot_ seems to have been as common among the
ancient, as among the modern, Egyptians; and the quarrels of villages
were often decided or increased, as at present, by this efficient

Crews of boats are also represented attacking each other with the
earnestness of real strife. Some are desperately wounded, and, being
felled by their more skillful opponents, are thrown headlong into the
water; and the truth of Herodotus' assertion, that the heads of the
Egyptians were harder than those of other people, seems fully
justified by the scenes described by their own draughtsmen.

It is fortunate that their successors have inherited this peculiarity,
in order to bear the violence of the Turks, and their own combats.

Many singular encounters with sticks are mentioned by ancient authors;
among which may be noticed one at Papremis, the city of Mars,
described by Herodotus. When the votaries of the deity presented
themselves at the gates of the temple, their entrance was obstructed
by an opposing party; and all being armed with sticks, they commenced
a rude combat, which ended, not merely in the infliction of a few
severe wounds, but even, as the historian affirms, in the death of
many persons on either side.

Bull-fights were also among their sports; which were sometimes
exhibited in the _dromos_, or avenue, leading to the temples, as at
Memphis before the temple of Vulcan; and prizes were awarded to the
owner of the victorious combatant. Great care was taken in training
them for this purpose; Strabo says as much as is usually bestowed on
horses; and herdsmen were not loth to allow, or encourage, an
occasional fight for the love of the exciting and popular amusement.

They did not, however, condemn culprits, or captives taken in war, to
fight with wild beasts, for the amusement of an unfeeling assembly;
nor did they compel gladiators to kill each other, and gratify a
depraved taste by exhibitions revolting to humanity. Their great
delight was in amusements of a lively character, as music, dancing,
buffoonery, and feats of agility; and those who excelled in gymnastic
exercises were rewarded with prizes of various kinds; which in the
country towns consisted, among other things, of cattle, dresses, and
skins, as in the games celebrated in Chemmis.

The lively amusements of the Egyptians show that they had not the
gloomy character so often attributed to them; and it is satisfactory
to have these evidences by which to judge of it, in default of their
physiognomy, so unbecomingly altered by death, bitumen, and bandages.

The intellectual capabilities, however, of individuals may yet be
subject to the decision of the phrenologist; and if they have escaped
the ordeal of the _supposed_ spontaneous rotation of a pendulum under
a glass bell, their handwriting is still open to the criticisms of the
wise, who discover by it the most minute secrets of character; and
some of the old scribes may even now be amenable to this kind of
scrutiny. But they are fortunately out of reach of the surprise, that
some in modern days exhibit, at the exact likeness of themselves,
believed to be presented to them from their own handwriting by a few
clever generalities; forgetting that the sick man, in each malady he
reads of in a book of medicine, discovers his own symptoms, and
fancies they correspond with his own particular case. For though a
certain neatness, or precision, carelessness, or other habit, may be
discovered by handwriting, to describe from it all the minutiæ of
character is only feeding the love of the marvelous, so much on the
increase in these days, when a reaction of credulity bids fair to make
nothing too extravagant for our modern _gobe-mouches_.

Among the various pastimes of the Egyptians, none was more popular
than the chase; and the wealthy aristocracy omitted nothing that could
promote their favorite amusement. They hunted the numerous wild
animals in the desert; they had them caught with nets, to be turned
out on some future day; and some very keen sportsmen took long
journeys to spots noted for abundance of game.

When a grand chase or hunt took place in the domain of some grandee,
or in the extensive tracts of the desert, a retinue of huntsmen,
beaters and others in his service, attended to manage the hounds, to
carry the game baskets and hunting poles, to set the nets, and to make
other preparations for a good day's sport. Some took a fresh supply of
arrows, a spare bow, and various requisites for remedying accidents;
some were merely beaters, others were to assist in securing the large
animals caught by the _lasso_, others had to mark or turn the game,
and some carried a stock of provisions for the chasseur and his
friends. These last were borne upon the usual wooden yoke, across the
shoulders, and consisted of a skin of water, and jars of good wine
placed in wicker baskets, with bread, meats, and other eatables.

Sometimes a portion of the desert of considerable extent, was enclosed
by nets, into which the animals were driven by beaters; and the place
chosen for fixing them was, if possible, across narrow valleys, or
torrent beds, lying between some rocky hills. Here a sportsman on
horseback, or in a chariot, could waylay them, or get within reach
with a bow; for many animals, particularly gazelles, when closely
pressed by dogs, fear to take a steep ascent, and are easily
overtaken, or shot as they double back.

The spots thus enclosed were usually in the vicinity of the water
brooks, to which they were in the habit of repairing in the morning
and evening; and having awaited the time when they went to drink, and
ascertained it by their recent tracks on the accustomed path, the
hunters disposed the nets, occupied proper positions for observing
them unseen, and gradually closed in upon them.

Such are the scenes partially portrayed in the Egyptian paintings,
where long nets are represented surrounding the space they hunted in;
and the hyænas, jackals, and various wild beasts unconnected with the
sport, are intended to show that they have been accidentally enclosed
within the same line of nets with the antelopes and other animals.

In the same way Æneas and Dido repaired to a wood at break of day,
after the attendants had surrounded it with a temporary fence, to
enclose the game.

The long net was furnished with several ropes, and was supported on
forked poles, varying in length, to correspond with the inequalities
of the ground, and was so contrived as to enclose any space, by
crossing hills, valleys or streams, and encircling woods, or whatever
might present itself; smaller nets for stopping gaps were also used;
and a circular snare, set round with wooden or metal nails, and
attached by a rope to a log of wood, which was used for catching deer,
resembled one still made by the Arabs.

The dresses of the attendants and huntsmen were generally of a
suppressed color, "lest they should be seen at a distance by the
animals," tight fitting, and reaching only a short way down the thigh;
and the horses of the chariots were divested of the feathers and showy
ornaments used on other occasions.

Besides the portions of the open desert and the valleys, which were
enclosed for hunting, the parks and covers on their own domains in the
valley of the Nile, though of comparatively limited dimensions,
offered ample space and opportunity for indulging in the chase; and a
quantity of game was kept there, principally the wild goat, oryx, and

They had also fish-ponds, and spacious poultry-yards, set apart for
keeping geese and other wild fowl, which they fattened for the table.

It was the duty of the huntsmen, or the gamekeepers, to superintend
the preserves; and at proper periods of the year wild fawns were
obtained, to increase the herds of gazelles and other animals, which
always formed part of the stock of a wealthy Egyptian.

The Egyptians frequently coursed with dogs in the open plains, the
chasseur following in his chariot, and the huntsmen on foot. Sometimes
he only drove to cover in his car, and having alighted, shared in the
toil of searching for the game, his attendants keeping the dogs in
slips, ready to start them as soon as it appeared. The more usual
custom when the dogs threw off in a level plain of great extent, was
for him to remain in his chariot, and, urging his horses to their full
speed, endeavor to turn or intercept them as they doubled, discharging
a well-directed arrow whenever they came within its range.

The dogs were taken to the ground by persons expressly employed for
that purpose, and for all the duties connected with the kennel; and
were either started one by one or in pairs, in the narrow valleys or
open plains; and when coursing on foot, the chasseur and his attendant
huntsmen, acquainted with the direction and sinuosities of the torrent
beds, shortened the road as they followed across the intervening
hills, and sought a favorable opportunity for using the bow; or
enjoyed the course in the level space before them.

Having pursued on foot, and arrived at the spot where the dogs had
caught their prey, the huntsman, if alone, took up the game, tied its
legs together, and hanging it over his shoulders, once more led by his
hand the coupled dogs, precisely in the same manner as the Arabs do at
the present day. But this was generally the office of persons who
carried the cages and baskets on the usual wooden yoke, and who took
charge of the game as soon as it was caught; the supply of these
substitutes for our game cart being in proportion to the proposed
range of the chase, and the number of head they expected to kill.

Sometimes an ibex, oryx, or wild ox, being closely pressed by the
hounds, faced round and kept them at bay, with its formidable horns,
and the spear of the huntsman as he came up, was required to decide
the success of the chase.

It frequently happened, when the chasseur had many attendants and the
district to be hunted was extensive, that they divided into parties,
each taking one or more dogs, and starting them on whatever animal
broke cover; sometimes they went without hounds, merely having a small
dog for searching the bushes, or laid in wait for the larger and more
formidable animals, and attacked them with the lance.

The noose, or _lasso_, was also employed to catch the wild ox, the
antelope and other animals; but this could only be thrown by lying in
ambush for the purpose, and was principally adopted when they wished
to secure them alive.

Besides the bow, the hounds and the noose, they hunted with lions,
which were trained expressly for the chase, like the _cheeta_, or
hunting leopard of India, being brought up from cubs in a tame state;
and many Egyptian monarchs were accompanied in battle by a favorite
lion. But there is no instance of hawking.

The bow used for the chase was very similar to that employed in war;
the arrows were generally the same, with metal heads, though some were
only tipped with stone. The mode of drawing the bow was also the same;
and if the chasseurs sometimes pulled the string only to the breast,
the more usual method was to raise it, and bring the arrow to the ear;
and occasionally, one or more spare arrows were held in the hand, to
give greater facility in discharging them with rapidity on the
antelopes and oxen.

The animals they chiefly hunted were the gazelle, wild goat or _ibex_,
the oryx, wild ox, stag, _kebsh_ or wild sheep, hare and porcupine; of
all of which the meat was highly esteemed among the delicacies of the
table; the fox, jackal, wolf, hyæna, and leopard, and others, being
chased as an amusement, for the sake of their skins, or as enemies of
the farm-yard. For though the fact of the hyæna being sometimes bought
with the ibex and gazelle might seem to justify the belief that it was
also eaten, there is no instance of its being slaughtered for the
table. The ostrich held out a great temptation to the hunter from the
value of its plumes. These were in great request among the Egyptians
for ornamental purposes; they were also the sacred symbol of truth;
and the members of the court on grand occasions decked themselves with
the feathers of the ostrich. The labor endured during the chase of
this swift-footed bird was amply repaid; even its eggs were required
for some ornamental or for some religious use (as with the modern
Copts); and, with the plumes, formed part of the tribute imposed by
the Egyptians on the conquered countries where it abounded. Lion
hunting was a favorite amusement of the kings, and the deserts of
Ethiopia always afforded good sport, abounding as they did with lions;
their success on those occasions was a triumph they often recorded;
and Amunoph III. boasted having brought down in one _battue_ no less
than one hundred and two head, either with the bow or spear. For the
chase of elephants they went still further south; and, in after times,
the Ptolemies had hunting places in Abyssinia.

    [Page Decoration]


[19] Epp. ii. 1, 189.

[20] We regret having lost the copy of this amusing subject. It was in
a tomb at Thebes.

    [Page Decoration]


The life of married women, maidens, children while in the care of
women, and of female slaves, passed in the gynaikonitis, from which
they issued only on rare occasions. The family life of Greek women
widely differed from our Christian idea; neither did it resemble the
life in an Oriental harem, to which it was far superior. The idea of
the family was held up by both law and custom, and although
concubinage and the intercourse with hetairai was suffered, nay
favored, by the state, still such impure elements never intruded on
domestic relations.

Our following remarks refer, of course, only to the better classes,
the struggle for existence by the poor being nearly the same in all
ages. In the seclusion of the gynaikonitis the maiden grew up in
comparative ignorance. The care bestowed on domestic duties and on her
dress was the only interest of her monotonous existence. Intellectual
intercourse with the other sex was wanting entirely. Even where
maidens appeared in public at religious ceremonies, they acted
separately from the youths. An intercourse of this kind, at any rate,
could not have a lasting influence on their culture. Even marriage did
not change this state of things. The maiden only passed from the
gynaikonitis of her father into that of her husband. In the latter,
however, she was the absolute ruler. She did not share the
intellectual life of her husband--one of the fundamental conditions of
our family life. It is true that the husband watched over her honor
with jealousy, assisted by the gynaikonomoi, sometimes even by means
of lock and key. It is also true that common custom protected a
well-behaved woman against offence; still her position was only that
of the mother of the family. Indeed, her duties and achievements were
hardly considered by the husband, in a much higher light than those of
a faithful domestic slave.

In prehistoric times the position of women seems to have been, upon
the whole, a more dignified one. Still, even then, their duties were
essentially limited to the house, as is proved, for instance, by the
words in which Telemachus bids his mother mind her spindle and loom,
instead of interfering with the debates of men. As the state became
more developed, it took up the whole attention of the man, and still
more separated him from his wife. Happy marriages, of course, were by
no means impossible; still, as a rule, the opinion prevailed of the
woman being by nature inferior to the man, and holding a position of a
minor with regard to civic rights. This principle has, indeed, been
repeatedly pronounced by ancient philosophers and lawgivers. Our
remarks hitherto referred chiefly to the Ionic-Attic tribe, renowned
for the modesty of its women and maidens. The Doric principle,
expressed in the constitution of Sparta, gave, on the contrary, full
liberty to maidens to show themselves in public, and to steel their
strength by bodily exercise. This liberty, however, was not the result
of a philosophic idea of the equality of the two sexes, but was
founded on the desire of producing strong children by means of
strengthening the body of the female.

The chief occupation of women, beyond the preparing of the meals,
consisted in spinning and weaving. In Homer we see the wives of the
nobles occupied in this way; and the custom of the women making the
necessary articles of dress continued to prevail even when the luxury
of later times, together with the degeneracy of the women themselves,
had made the establishment of workshops and places of manufacture for
this purpose necessary. Antique art has frequently treated these
domestic occupations. The Attic divinities, Athene Ergane and
Aphrodite Urania, as well as the Argive Here, Ilithyia, the protecting
goddess of child-bearing, Persephone, and Artemis, all these plastic
art represents as goddesses of fate, weaving the thread of life, and,
at the same time, protecting female endeavors; in which two-fold
quality they have the emblem of domestic activity, the distaff, as
their attribute. Only a few representations of spinning goddesses now
remain; but many are the pictures of mortal spinning-maidens painted
on walls, chiefly for female use. For the spinning, a spindle was
used, as is still the case in places where the northern
spinning-wheel has not supplanted the antique custom. Homer describes
noble ladies handling the distaff with the spindle belonging to it.
Helen received a present of a golden spindle, with a silver basket to
keep the thread in. The distaff, with a bundle of wool or flax
fastened to its point, was held under the left arm, while the thumb
and first finger of the right hand, slightly wetted, spun the thread
at the end of which hung the spindle, made of metal. The web was, from
the spindle, wound round a reel, to be further prepared on the loom.

    [Illustration: SOCIAL ENJOYMENT OF WOMEN (_From an ancient

Akin to spinning are the arts of weaving and embroidering. We
frequently see in vase-paintings women with embroidering-frames in
their laps. The skill of Greek ladies in embroidery is sufficiently
proved by the tasteful embroidered patterns and borders on Greek
dresses, both of men and women. The vase-paintings supply many

Our remarks about female duties in preparing the meal must be short.
The heavy parts of the duty, like grinding the corn in hand-mills,
were performed by servants. In the palace of Odysseus twelve female
slaves were employed all day in grinding wheat and barley in an equal
number of hand-mills, to supply the numerous guests. The hand-mill
consisted (like those still used in some Greek islands) of two stones,
each about two feet in diameter, the upper one of which was made to
rotate by means of a crooked handle, so as to crush the corn poured
through an opening in it.

Baking and roasting meat on the spit were among the duties of female
slaves. In every house of even moderate wealth, several of these were
kept as cooks, chambermaids, and companions of the ladies on their
walks, it being deemed improper for them to leave the house
unaccompanied by several slaves. How far ladies took immediate part in
the preparing of dainty dishes we can not say. In later times it
became customary to buy or hire male slaves as cooks.

Antique representations of women bathing, adorning themselves,
playing, and dancing, are numerous. The Athenian maiden, unlike her
Spartan sister, did not think it proper to publicly exhibit her bodily
skill and beauty in a short chiton, but taking a bath seems to have
been among her every-day habits as is shown by the numerous bathing
scenes on vases. In one of them, a slave pours the contents of a
hydria over her nude mistress. Cowering on the floor in another we see
an undressed woman catching in her hand the water-spout issuing from a
mask of Pan in the wall into a bath. An alabastron and comb are lying
on the floor. A picture on an amphora in the museum of Berlin offers a
most interesting view of the interior of a Greek bath-chamber. We see
a bathing establishment built in the Doric style. By a row of columns
the inner space is divided into two bath-chambers, each for two women.
The water is most likely carried by pressure to the tops of the hollow
columns, the communication among which is effected by means of pipes
about six feet from the ground. The openings of the taps are formed
into neatly modeled heads of boars, lions, and panthers, from the
mouths of which a fine rain spray is thrown on the bathers. Their hair
has been tightly arranged into plaits. The above-mentioned pipes were
evidently used for hanging up the towels; perhaps they were even
filled with hot water to warm the bathing linen. Whether our picture
represents a public or private bath seems doubtful. The dressing after
the bath has also been frequently depicted.

We need not enter upon the subject here. We will mention the chief
utensils, as the comb, ointment-bottle, mirror, etc., on a following
page. The scenes thus depicted are undoubtedly borrowed from daily
life, although Aphrodite, with her attendance of Cupids and Graces,
has taken the place of mortal women.

For music, games, and dances, we mention only a game at ball, which
was played in a dancing measure, and, therefore, considered as a
practice of graceful movements. Homer mentions Nausikaa as a skilled
player of this game. It is remarkable that wherever women playing at
ball appear in pictures they are represented in a sitting posture.
(See cut, page 205.)

The swing was essentially a female amusement. In commemoration of the
fate of Erigone, daughter of Ikarios, a festival had been ordained at
Athens at which the maidens indulged in the joys of the swing.
Illustrations of this pastime occur frequently on vases, free from any
mythological symbolism, even in cases where Eros is made to move the

We now come to the point in the maiden's life when she is to preside
over her own household as the legitimate mate of her husband. In most
cases Greek marriage was a matter of convenience, a man considering it
his duty to provide for the legitimate continuation of his family. The
Doric tribe did not attempt to disguise this principle in its
plain-spoken laws; the rest of Greece acknowledged it but in silence,
owing to a more refined conception of the moral significance of

The seclusion of female life, indeed, made the question of personal
charms appear of secondary importance. Equity of birth and wealth were
the chief considerations. The choice of the Athenian citizen was
limited to Athenian maidens; only in that case were the children
entitled to full birthright, the issue of a marriage of an Athenian
man or maiden with a stranger being considered illegitimate by the
law. Such a marriage was, indeed, nothing but a form of concubinage.
The laws referring to this point were, however, frequently evaded. At
the solemn betrothal, always preceding the actual marriage, the dowry
of the bride was settled; her position as a married woman greatly
depended upon its value. Frequently the daughter of poor, deserving
citizens were presented with a dowry by the state or by a number of

In Homer's time the bridegroom wooed the bride with rich gifts;
Iphidamas, for instance, offers a hundred heifers and a thousand goats
as a nuptial present. But afterwards this was entirely reversed, the
father of the bride having to provide the dowry, consisting partly in
cash, partly in clothes, jewelry, and slaves. In cases of separation
the dowry had, in most cases, to be returned to the wife's parents.
The most appropriate age for contracting a marriage, Plato in his
Republic fixes, for girls, at twenty, for men, at thirty. There was,
however, no rule to this effect. Parents were naturally anxious to
dispose of their daughters as early as possible, without taking
objection to the advanced years of the wooer, as is tersely pointed
out by Aristophanes.

The actual marriage ceremony, or leading home, was preceded by
offerings to Zeus Teleios, Hera Teleia, Artemis Eukleia and other
deities protecting marriage. The bridal bath was the second ceremony,
which both bride and bridegroom had to go through previous to their

On the wedding day, towards dark, after the meal at her parental home
was over,[21] the bride left the festively adorned house, and was
conducted by the bridegroom in a chariot to his dwelling. She sat
between the bridegroom and the best man chosen from among his
relatives or intimate friends. Accompanied by the sounds of the
hymenæos, and the festive sounds of flutes and friendly acclamations
from all passers-by, the procession moved slowly towards the
bridegroom's house, also adorned with wreaths of foliage. The mother
of the bride walked behind the chariot, with the wedding torches,
kindled at the parental hearth, according to custom immemorial. At the
door of the bridegroom his mother was awaiting the young couple with
burning torches in her hand. In case no wedding meal had been served
at the bride's house, the company now sat down to it. To prognosticate
the desired fertility of the union, cakes of sesame were distributed.
The same symbolic meaning attached to the quince, which, according to
Solon's law, the bride had to eat. After the meal the couple retired
to the thalamos, where for the first time the bride unveiled herself
to her husband. Before the door of the bridal chamber epithalamia were
sung, a charming specimen of which we possess in the bridal hymn of
Helena by Theokritos. On the two first days after the wedding,
wedding-presents were received by the pair. Not till after these days
did the bride appear without her veil.

Very different from the social position of chaste women was that of
the hetairai. We are not speaking of the lowest class of unfortunates,
worshiping Aphrodite Pandemos, but of those women who, owing to their
beauty and grace of conversation, exerted great influence even over
superior men. We only remind the reader of Aspasia. In the graces of
society the hetairai were naturally superior to respectable women,
owing to their free intercourse with men. For the hetairai did not
shun the light of day, and were not restrained by the law. Only the
house of the married man was closed to them.

Before passing from private to public life, we must cast a glance at
the early education of the child by the mother. We begin with the
earliest days of infancy. After the first bath the new-born child was
put into swaddling-clothes, a custom not permitted by the rougher
habits of Sparta. On the fifth or seventh day the infant had to go
through the ceremony of purification; the midwife, holding him in her
arms, walked several times round the burning altar. A festive meal on
this day was given to the family, the doors being decorated with an
olive crown for a boy, with wool for a girl. On the tenth day after
its birth, when the child was named, another feast took place. This
ceremony implied the acknowledgment, on the part of the father, of the
child's legitimacy. The name of the child was chosen by both parents,
generally after the name of either of the grandparents, sometimes,
also, after the name or attributes of a deity, under whose particular
protection the child was thus placed. A sacrifice, offered chiefly to
the goddess of child-bearing, Here Ilithyia, and a meal, concluded the
ceremony. At the latter, friends and relatives presented the infant
with toys of metal or clay, while the mother received painted vases.
The antique cradle consisted of a flat swing of basket work, such as
appears in a terra-cotta relief in the British Museum, of the infant
Bacchus being carried by a satyr brandishing a thyrsus, and a
torch-bearing bacchante. Another kind of cradle, in the form of a
shoe, is shown containing the infant Hermes, recognizable by his
petasos. It also is made of basket-work. The advantage of this cradle
consists in its having handles, and, therefore, being easily portable.
It also might be suspended on ropes, and rocked without difficulty.
Other cradles, similar to our modern ones, belong to a later period.
The singing of lullabies, and the rocking of children to sleep, were
common amongst the ancients. Wet-nurses were commonly employed amongst
Ionian tribes; wealthy Athenians chose Spartan nurses in preference,
as being generally strong and healthy. After the child had been weaned
it was fed by the dry nurse and the mother with pap, made chiefly of

The rattle, said to be invented by Archytas, was the first toy of the
infant. Other toys of various kinds were partly bought, partly made by
the children themselves on growing older. We mention painted clay
puppets, representing human beings or animals, such as tortoises,
hares, ducks, and mother apes with their offspring. Small stones were
put inside, so as to produce a rattling noise; which circumstance,
together with the fact of small figures of this kind being frequently
found on children's graves, proves their being toys. Small wooden
carts, houses and ships made of leather, and many other toys, made by
the children themselves, might be instanced. Up to their sixth year
boys and girls were brought up together under their mother's care;
from that point their education became separate. The education proper
of the boy became a more public one, while the girl was brought up by
the mother at home, in a most simple way, according to their notions.
From amongst the domestic slaves a trustworthy companion was chosen
for the boy. He was, however, not a tutor in our sense, but rather a
faithful servant, who had to take care of the boy in his walks,
particularly on his way to and from school. He also had to instruct
his pupil in certain rules of good behavior. The boy had, for
instance, to walk in the street with his head bent, as a sign of
modesty, and to make room for his elders meeting him. In the presence
of the latter he had to preserve a respectful silence. Proper behavior
at table, a graceful way of wearing his garments, etc., might be
mentioned as kindred subjects of education. Boys were accompanied by
pedagogues up to their sixteenth year. The latter appear frequently in
vase-paintings, and are easily recognizable by their dress, consisting
of chiton and cloak, with high-laced boots; they also carry sticks
with crooked handles, and their hair and beards give them a venerable
aspect; while their pupils, according to Athenian custom, are clad
more lightly and gracefully. The pedagogue of the group of the
Niobides is well known.

Education was, at Athens, a matter of private enterprise. Schools were
kept by private teachers, the government supervision extending only to
the moral not to the scientific qualification of the schoolmaster.
Grammar, music and gymnastics, to which Aristotle adds drawing, as a
means of æsthetic cultivation, were the common subjects of education
at schools and gymnasia; also reading, writing and arithmetic. The
method of teaching how to write consisted in the master's forming the
letters, which the pupils had to imitate on their tablets, sometimes
with the master's assistance. The writing materials were small tablets
covered with wax, into which the letters were scratched by means of a
pencil made of metal or ivory. It was pointed at one end, and
flattened or bent at the other, so as to extinguish the writing, if
required, and, at the same time, to smooth the surface again for other
letters. A young girl, in a charming Pompeian wall-painting, has in
her hand a double tablet, while with her other hand she holds a pencil
to her chin, as if pondering over a letter. Her nurse looking over her
shoulder tries to decipher the contents of the love-letter. Besides
these tablets, Herodotus mentions the use of paper made of the bark of
the Egyptian papyrus-plant. The stalk (three or four feet in length)
was cut longitudinally, after which the outer bark was first taken
off; the remaining layers of bark, about twenty in number, were
carefully severed with a pin; and, afterwards, the single stripes
plaited crosswise; by means of pressing and perforating the whole with
lime-water, the necessary consistency of the material was obtained.
The lower layers of bark yielded the best writing-paper, while the
outer layers were made into packing-paper (_emporetica_); the
uppermost bark was used for making ropes. A case of this kind full of
parchment rolls, with a cover to it, stands by the side of Klio in a
wall-painting of Herculaneum. In her left hand the muse holds a
half-opened roll on which are inscribed the words "Klio teaches
history." The ink was made of a black coloring substance; it was kept
in an inkstand made of metal, with a cover to it. Double inkstands,
frequently seen on monuments, were most likely destined for the
keeping of black and red inks, the latter of which was frequently
used. To write on paper or parchment, the ancients used the Memphic,
Gnidic, or Anaitic reeds, pointed and split like our pens. As we
mentioned before, it was the custom of adults to write either
reclining on the kline, with the leaf resting on the bent leg, or
sitting in a low arm-chair, in which case the writing apparatus was
supported by the knee of the writer. The latter posture is exemplified
by a reading ephebos in a vase-painting; it was, undoubtedly, also
that of the boys sitting on the rising steps used as forms at the
schools. After his elementary education was completed, the boy was
made acquainted with the works of national poetry, particularly with
the poems of Homer, the learning by heart and reciting of which
inspired him with patriotic pride.

Of the marriage contracts of the Egyptians we are entirely ignorant,
nor do we even find the ceremony represented in the paintings of their
tombs. We may, however, conclude that they were regulated by the
customs usual among civilized nations; and, if the authority of
Diodorus can be credited, women were indulged with greater privileges
in Egypt than in any other country. He even affirms that part of the
agreement entered into at the time of marriage was, that the wife
should have control over her husband, and that no objection should be
made to her _commands_, whatever they might be; but, though we have
sufficient to convince us of the superior treatment of women among the
Egyptians, as well from ancient authors as from the sculptures that
remain, it may fairly be doubted if those indulgences were carried to
the extent mentioned by the historian, or that command extended beyond
the management of the house, and the regulation of domestic affairs.

It is, however, remarkable that the royal authority and supreme
direction of affairs were entrusted without reserve to women, as in
those states of modern Europe where the Salic law has not been
introduced; and we not only find examples in Egyptian history of
queens succeeding to the throne, but Manetho informs us that the law,
according this important privilege to the other sex, dated as early as
the reign of Binothris, the third monarch of the second dynasty.

In primitive ages the duties of women were very different from those
of later and more civilized periods, and varied of course according to
the habits of each people. Among pastoral tribes they drew water, kept
the sheep, and superintended the herds as well as flocks. As with the
Arabs of the present day, they prepared both the furniture and the
woolen stuffs of which the tents themselves were made, ground the
corn, and performed other menial offices. They were also engaged, as
in ancient Greece, in weaving, spinning, needlework, embroidery, and
other sedentary occupations within doors.

The Egyptian ladies in like manner employed much of their time with
the needle; and the sculptures represent many females weaving and
using the spindle. But they were not kept in the same secluded manner
as those of ancient Greece, who, besides being confined to certain
apartments in the house, most remote from the hall of entrance, and
generally in the uppermost part of the building, were not even allowed
to go out of doors without a veil, as in many Oriental countries at
the present day.

The Egyptians treated their women very differently, as the accounts of
ancient authors and the sculptures sufficiently prove. At some of the
public festivals women were expected to attend--not alone, like the
Moslem women at a mosque, but in company with their husbands or
relations; and Josephus states that on an occasion of this kind, "when
it was the custom for women to go to the public solemnity, the wife of
Potiphar, having pleaded ill health in order to be allowed to stay at
home, was excused from attending," and availed herself of the absence
of her husband to talk with Joseph.

That it was the custom of the Egyptians to have only one wife, is
shown by Herodotus and the monuments, which present so many scenes
illustrative of their domestic life; and Diodorus is wrong in
supposing that the laity were allowed to marry any number, while the
priests were limited to one.

But a very objectionable custom, which is not only noticed by
Diodorus, but is fully authenticated by the sculptures both of Upper
and Lower Egypt, existed among them from the earliest times, the
origin and policy of which it is not easy to explain--the marriage of
brother and sister--which Diodorus supposes to have been owing to, and
sanctioned by, that of Isis and Osiris; but as this was purely an
allegorical fable, and these ideal personages never lived on earth,
his conjecture is of little weight; nor does any ancient writer offer
a satisfactory explanation of so strange a custom.

Though the Egyptians confined themselves to one wife, they, like the
Jews and other Eastern nations, both of ancient and modern times,
scrupled not to admit other inmates to their _hareem_, most of whom
appear to have been foreigners, either taken in war, or brought to
Egypt to be sold as slaves. They became members of the family, like
those in Moslem countries at the present day, and not only ranked next
to the wives and children of their lord, but probably enjoyed a share
of the property at his death.

These women were white or black slaves, according to the countries
from which they were brought; but, generally speaking, the latter were
employed merely as domestics, who were required to wait upon their
mistress and her female friends. The former, likewise, officiated as
servants, though they of course held a rank above the black slaves.

The same custom prevailed among the Egyptians regarding children, as
with the Moslems and other Eastern people; no distinction being made
between their offspring by a wife or any other woman, and all equally
enjoying the rights of inheritance; for, since they considered a child
indebted to the father for its existence, it seemed unjust to deny
equal rights to all his progeny.

In speaking of the duties of children in Egypt, Herodotus declares,
that if a son was unwilling to maintain his parents he was at liberty
to refuse, but that a daughter, on the contrary, was compelled to
assist them, and, on refusal, was amenable to law. But we may question
the truth of this statement; and, drawing an inference from the
marked severity of filial duties among the Egyptians, some of which we
find distinctly alluded to in the sculptures of Thebes, we may
conclude that in Egypt much more was expected from a son than in any
civilized nation of the present day; and this was not confined to the
lower orders, but extended to those of the highest ranks of society.
And if the office of fan-bearer was an honorable post, and the sons of
the monarch were preferred to fulfill it, no ordinary show of humility
was required on their part; and they walked on foot behind his
chariot, bearing certain insignia over their father during the
triumphal processions which took place in commemoration of his
victories, and in the religious ceremonies over which he presided.

It was equally a custom in the early times of European history, that a
son should pay a marked deference to his parent; and no prince was
allowed to sit at table with his father, unless through his valor,
having been invested with arms by a foreign sovereign, he had obtained
that privilege; as was the case with Alboin, before he succeeded his
father on the throne of the Lombards. The European nations were not
long in altering their early habits, and this custom soon became
disregarded; but a respect for ancient institutions, and those ideas,
so prevalent in the East, which reject all love of change, prevented
the Egyptians from discarding the usages of their ancestors; and we
find this and many other primitive customs retained, even at the
period when they were most highly civilized.

In the education of youth they were particularly strict; and "they
knew," says Plato, "that children ought to be early accustomed to such
gestures, looks, and motions as are decent and proper, and not to be
suffered either to hear or learn any verses and songs, than those
which are calculated to inspire them with virtue; and they
consequently took care that every dance and ode introduced at their
feasts or sacrifices should be subject to certain regulations."

They particularly inculcated respect for old age; and the fact of this
being required even towards strangers, argues a great regard for the
person of a parent; for we are informed that, like the Israelites and
the Lacedæmonians, they required every young man to give place to his
superiors in years, and even, if seated, to rise on their approach.

Nor were these honors limited to their lifetime; the memory of parents
and ancestors was revered through succeeding generations; their tombs
were maintained with the greatest respect; liturgies were performed by
their children, or by priests at their expense; and we have previously
seen what advantage was taken of this feeling, in the laws concerning

"For of all people" says Diodorus, "the Egyptians retain the highest
sense of a favor conferred upon them, deeming it the greatest charm of
life to make a suitable return for benefits they have received;" and
from the high estimation in which the feeling of gratitude was held
among them, even strangers felt a reverence for the character of the

Through this impulse, they were induced to solemnize the funeral
obsequies of their kings with the enthusiasm described by the
historian; and to this he partly attributes the unexampled duration of
the Egyptian monarchy.

It is only doing justice to the modern Egyptians to say that gratitude
is still a distinguishing trait of their character; and this is one of
the many qualities inherited by them, for which their predecessors
were remarkable; confirming what we have before stated, that the
general peculiarities of a people are retained, though a country may
be conquered, and nominally peopled by a foreign race.

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We now come to the dress of the Ancients. We shall have to consider
those articles of dress used as a protection against the weather, and
those prescribed by decency or fashion, also the coverings of the head
and the feet, the arrangement of the hair and the ornaments.
Unfortunately, the terminology is, in many cases, uncertain. Many
points, therefore, must remain undecided. Before entering upon
details, we must remark that the dress of the Greeks, compared with
modern fashion, was extremely simple and natural. Owing to the warmth
of the climate and the taste of the inhabitants, both superfluous and
tight articles of dress were dispensed with. Moreover, the body was
allowed to develop its natural beauty in vigorous exercise; and in
this harmony and beauty of the limbs the Greeks prided themselves,
which, of course, reacted favorably on the character of the dress.

Identical with this in form is the chiton worn by Doric women. It was
simple, short-skirted, and with a slit in the upper part at both
sides. It was fastened with clasps over both shoulders, and shortened
as far as the knees by means of pulling it through the girdle. In this
form it is worn by two maidens in the Louvre, destined for the service
of the Lakonian Artemis at Karyæ. They carry kinds of baskets on their
heads, and are performing the festive dance in honor of the goddess.
The exomis is worn by the female statue in the Vatican known as the
"Springing Amazon," and also by statues of Artemis, and
representations of that goddess on gems and coins. The long chiton for
women reaching down to the feet, and only a little pulled up at the
girdle, we see in a vase painting, representing dancing youths and
maidens, the former wearing the short, the latter the long, chiton. A
development of the long chiton is the double-chiton. It was a very
large, oblong piece of woven cloth, left open on one side, like the
Doric chiton for men. It was equal to about one and a half lengths of
the body. The overhanging part of the cloth was folded round the chest
and back, from the neck downwards, the upper edge being arranged round
the neck, and the two open corners clasped together on one shoulder.
On this open side, therefore, the naked body was visible. Over the
other shoulder the upper edge of the chiton was also fastened with a
clasp--these clasps, as seen in annexed cuts, were elaborate
ornaments, some being richly bejeweled, others being made of wrought
gold--the arm being put through the opening left between this clasp
and the corresponding corner of the cloth.

    [Illustration: GOLD PINS.]

    [Illustration: SHAWL OR TOGA PIN.]

In the same way was arranged the half-open chiton, the open side of
which, from the girdle to the lower hem, was sewed up. A bronze
statuette illustrates this way of putting it on. A young girl is about
to join together on her left shoulder the chiton, which is fastened
over the right shoulder by means of an agraffe. It appears clearly
that the whole chiton consists of one piece. Together with the open
and half-open kinds of the chiton, we also find the closed
double-chiton flowing down to the feet. It was a piece of cloth
considerably longer than the human body, and closed on both sides,
inside of which the person putting it on stood as in a cylinder. As
in the chiton of the second form, the overhanging part of the cloth
was turned outward, and the folded rim pulled up as far as the
shoulders, across which (first on the right, and after it on the left
side) the front and back parts were fastened together by means of
clasps, the arms being put through the two openings affected in this
manner. Round the hips the chiton was fastened by means of a girdle,
through which the bottom part of the dress trailing along the ground
was pulled up just far enough to let the toes be visible. Above the
girdle the chiton was arranged in shorter or longer picturesque folds.
The chief alterations of varying fashion applied to the arrangement of
the diploidion which reached either to the part under the bosom or was
prolonged as far as the hips; its front and back parts might either be
clasped together across the shoulders, or the two rims might be pulled
across the upper arm as far as the elbow, and fastened in several
places by means of buttons or agraffes, so that the naked arm became
visible in the intervals, by means of which the sleeveless chiton
received the appearance of one with sleeves. Where the diploidion was
detached from the chiton, it formed a kind of handsome cape, which,
however, in its shape, strictly resembled the Diploidion proper. Its
shape was considerably modified by fashion, taking sometimes the form
of a close-fitting jacket, at others (when the sides remained open)
that of a kind of shawl, the ends of which sometimes equaled in length
the chiton itself. In the latter case, the ampechonion was naturally
at least three times as long as it was wide. In antique pictures women
sometimes wear a second shorter chiton over the other. A great many
varieties of dress, more distinguishable in the vase-paintings,
representing realistic scenes, than in the ideal costumes of
sculptural types, we must omit, particularly as, in most cases, they
may be reduced to the described general principles.

    [Illustration: PEARL SET PINS.]

From the chiton we now pass to the articles of dress of the nature of
cloaks. They also show throughout an oblong form, differing in this
essentially from the Roman toga. It, belonging to this class, was
arranged so that the one corner was thrown over the left shoulder in
front, so as to be attached to the body by means of the left arm. On
the back the dress was pulled toward the right side so as to cover it
completely up to the right shoulder, or, at least, to the armpit, in
which latter case the right shoulder remained uncovered. Finally, the
himation was again thrown over the left shoulder, so that the ends
fell over the back.

Concerning the materials of the described garments, we have mentioned
before that linen was used principally by the Ionians, wool by the
Dorians; the latter material in the course of time became the rule for
male garments all over Greece. The change of seasons naturally
required a corresponding modification in the thickness of these woolen
garments; accordingly we notice the difference between summer and
winter dresses. For women's dresses, besides sheep's wool and linen,
byssos, most likely a kind of cotton, was commonly used. Something
like the byssos, but much finer, was the material of which the
celebrated transparent dresses were woven in the Isle of Amorgos; they
consisted of the fibre of a fine sort of flax, undoubtedly resembling
our muslins and cambrics. The introduction of silk into Greece is of
later date, while in Asia it was known at a very early period. From
the interior of Asia the silk was imported into Greece, partly in its
raw state, partly worked into dresses. Ready made dresses of this kind
differed greatly from the dresses made in Greece of the imported raw
silk. The Isle of Kos was the first seat of silk manufacture, where
silk dresses were produced rivaling in transparency the
above-mentioned. These diaphanous dresses, clinging close to the body,
and allowing the color of the skin and the veins to be seen, have been
frequently imitated with astonishing skill by Greek sculptors and
painters. We only remind the reader of the beautifully modeled folds
of the chiton covering the upper part of the body of Niobe's youngest
daughter, in a kneeling position, who seeks shelter in the lap of her
mother; in painting, several wall-pictures of Pompeii may be cited.

The antiquated notion of white having been the universal color of
Greek garments, a colored dress being considered immodest, has been
refuted by Becker. It is, however, likely that, with the cloak-like
epiblememata, white was the usual color, as is still the case amongst
Oriental nations much exposed to the sun. Brown cloaks are, however,
by no means unusual; neither were they amongst Greek men.
Party-colored Oriental garments were also used, at least by the
wealthy Greek classes, both for male and female dresses, while white
still remained the favorite color with modest Greek women. This is
proved, not to mention written evidence, by a number of small painted
statuettes of burnt clay, as also by several pictures on lekythoi from
Attic graves. The original colors of the dresses, although
(particularly the reds) slightly altered from the burning process, may
still be distinctly recognized.

The dresses were frequently adorned with interwoven patterns, or
attached borders and embroideries. From Babylon and Phrygia, the
ancient seats of the weaving and embroidering arts, these crafts
spread over the occidental world, the name "Phrygiones," used in Rome
at a later period for artists of this kind, reminding one of this
origin. As we learn from the monuments, the simplest border either
woven or sewed to the dresses, consisted of one or more dark stripes,
either parallel with the seams of the chiton, himation, and
ampechonion, or running down to the hem of the chiton from the girdle
at the sides or from the throat in front. The vertical ornaments
correspond to the Roman _clavus_. Besides these ornaments in stripes,
we also meet with others broader and more complicated; whether woven
into, or sewed on, the dress seems doubtful. They cover the chiton
from the hem upwards to the knee, and above the girdle up to the neck,
as is seen in the chiton worn by the spring goddess Opora, in a
vase-painting. The whole chiton is sometimes covered with star or dice
patterns, particularly on vases of the archaic style. The
vase-painters of the decaying period chiefly represent Phrygian
dresses with gold fringes and sumptuous embroideries of palmetto and
"meandering" patterns, such as were worn by the luxurious
South-Italian Greeks. Such a sumptuous dress is worn by Medea in a
picture of the death of Talos on an Apulian amphora in the Jatta
collection at Ruvo. In the same picture the chitones of Kastor and
Polydeukes, and those of the Argonautai, are covered with palmetto
embroideries, the edges at the bottom showing mythological scenes on
the dark ground.

    [Illustration: STONE SET BROOCHES.]

In the cities Greeks walked mostly bareheaded, owing most likely to
the more plentiful hair of southern nations, which, moreover, was
cultivated by the Greeks with particular care. Travelers, hunters, and
such artificers as were particularly exposed to the sun, used light
coverings for their heads. The different forms of these may be
classified. They were made of the skins of dogs, weasels, or cows.

The hair is considered in Homer as one of the greatest signs of male
beauty among the long-haired Achaioi; no less were the well-arranged
locks of maidens and women praised by the tragic poets. Among the
Spartans it became a sacred custom, derived from the laws of Lykurgos,
to let the hair of the boy grow as soon as he reached the age of the
ephebos, while up to that time it was cut short. This custom prevailed
among the Spartans up to their being overpowered by the Achaic
federation. Altogether the Dorian character did not admit of much
attention being paid to the arrangement of the hair. Only on solemn
occasions, for instance on the eve of the battle of Thermopylæ, the
Spartans arranged their hair with particular care.

At Athens, about the time of the Persian wars, men used to wear their
hair long, tied on to the top of the head in a knot, which was
fastened by a hair-pin in the form of a cicada. Of this custom,
however, the monuments offer no example. Only in the pictures of two
Pankratiastai, on a monument dating most likely from Roman times, we
discover an analogy to this old Attic custom. After the Persian war,
when the dress and manners of the Ionians had undergone a change, it
became the custom to cut off the long hair of the boys on their
attaining the age of epheboi, and devote it as an offering to a god,
for instance, to the Delphic Apollo or some local river-god. Attic
citizens, however, by no means wore their hair cropped short, like
their slaves, but used to let it grow according to their own taste or
the common fashion. Only dandies, as, for instance, Alkibiades, let
their hair fall down to their shoulders in long locks. Philosophers
also occasionally attempted to revive old customs by wearing their
hair long.

The beard was carefully attended to by the Greeks. The barber's shop,
with its talkative inmate, was not only frequented by those requiring
the services of the barber in cutting the hair, shaving, cutting the
nails and corns, and tearing out small hairs, but it was also, as
Plutarch says, a symposion without wine, where political and local
news were discussed. Alkiphron depicts a Greek barber in the following
words: "You see how the d----d barber in yon street has treated me;
the talker, who puts up the Brundisian looking-glass, and makes his
knives to clash harmoniously. I went to him to be shaved; he received
me politely, put me in a high chair, enveloped me in a clean towel,
and stroked the razor gently down my cheek, so as to remove the thick
hair. But this was a malicious trick of his. He did it partly, not all
over the chin; some places he left rough, others he made smooth
without my noticing it." After the time of Alexander the Great, a
barber's business became lucrative, owing to the custom of wearing a
full beard being abandoned, notwithstanding the remonstrances of
several states.[22] In works of art, particularly in portrait statues,
the beard is always treated as an individual characteristic. It is
mostly arranged in graceful locks, and covers the chin, lips and
cheeks, without a separation being made between whiskers and
moustache. Only in archaic renderings the wedge-like beard is combed
in long wavy lines, and the whiskers are strictly parted from the
moustache. As an example we quote the nobly formed head of Zeus
crowned with the stephane in the Talleyrand collection. The usual
color of the hair being dark, fair hair was considered a great beauty.
Homer gives yellow locks to Menelaos, Achilles, and Meleagros; and
Euripides describes Menelaos and Dionysos as fair-haired.

The head-dress of women was in simple taste. Hats were not worn, as a
rule, because, at least in Athens, the appearance of women in the
public street was considered improper, and therefore happened only on
exceptional occasions. On journeys women wore a light broad-brimmed
petasos as a protection from the sun. With a Thessalian hat of this
kind Ismene appears in "[Œ]dipus in Kolonos." The head-dress of
Athenian ladies at home and in the street consisted, beyond the
customary veil, chiefly of different contrivances for holding together
their plentiful hair. We mentioned before, that the himation was
sometimes pulled over the back of the head like a veil. But at a very
early period Greek women wore much shorter or longer veils, which
covered the face up to the eyes, and fell over the neck and back in
large folds, so as to cover, if necessary, the whole upper part of the
body. The care bestowed on the hair was naturally still greater
amongst women than amongst men. Cut shows a number of heads of
Athenian women, taken from an old painting of Pompeii. These, and the
numerous heads represented in sculptures and gems, give an idea of the
exquisite taste of these head-dresses. At the same time, it must be
confessed that most modern fashions, even the ugly ones, have their
models, if not in Greek, at least in Roman antiquity. The combing of
the hair over the back in wavy lines was undoubtedly much in favor. A
simple ribbon tied round the head, in that case, connected the front
with the back hair. This arrangement we meet with in the maidens of
the Parthenon frieze and in a bust of Niobe. On older monuments, for
instance, in the group of the Graces on the triangular altar in the
Louvre, the front hair is arranged in small ringlets, while the back
hair partly falls smoothly over the neck, and partly is made into long
curls hanging down to the shoulders. It was also not unusual to comb
back the front hair over the temples and ears, and tie it, together
with the back hair, into a graceful knot. Here, also, the
above-mentioned ribbon was used. It consisted of a stripe of cloth or
leather, frequently adorned, where it rested on the forehead, with a
plaque of metal formed like a frontal. This stephane appears on
monuments mostly in the hair of goddesses; the ribbon belonging to it,
in that case, takes the form of a broad metal circle destined no more
to hold together, but to decorate the hair. This is the case in a bust
of Here in the Villa Ludovisi, in the statue of the same goddess in
the Vatican, and in a statue of Aphrodite found at Capua. Besides this
another ornamented tie of cloth or leather was used by the Greeks,
broad in the centre and growing narrower towards both ends. Its shape
had great similarity to the sling. It was either put with its broader
side on the front of the head, the ends, with ribbons tied to them,
being covered by the thick black hair, or _vice versa_; in which
latter case the ends were tied on the forehead in an elaborate knot.
The net, and after it the kerchief, were developed from the simple
ribbon, in the same manner as straps on the feet gradually became

    [Illustration: HAIR-DRESS. (_From Pompeii._)]

The kekryphalos proper consists of a net-like combination of ribbon
and gold thread, thrown over the back hair to prevent it from
dropping. The large tetradrachmai of Syrakuse, bearing the signature
of the engraver, Kimon, show a beautiful head of Arethusa adorned
with the kekryphalos. More frequent is the coif-like kekryphalos
covering the whole hair, or only the back hair, and tied into a knot
at the top.

The modifications of the sakkos, and the way of its being tied, are
chiefly illustrated by vase-paintings. At the present day the Greek
women of Thessaly and the Isle of Chios wear a head-dress exactly
resembling the antique sakkos. The acquaintance of the Greeks with the
curling-iron and cosmetic mysteries, such as oil and pomatum, can be
proved both by written evidence and pictures. It quite tallied with
the æsthetical notions of the Greeks to shorten the forehead by
dropping the hair over it, many examples of which, in pictures of both
men and women, are preserved to us.

We conclude our remarks about dress with the description of some
ornaments, the specimens of which in Greek graves and in sculptural
imitations are numerous. In Homer the wooers try to gain the favor of
Penelope with golden breastpins, agraffes, ear-rings, and chains.
Hephaistos is, in the same work, mentioned as the artificer of
beautiful rings and hair-pins. The same ornaments we meet with again
at a later period as important articles of female dress.

Many preserved specimens show the great skill of Greek goldsmiths'
breastpins. Hair-pins, in our sense, and combs for parting and holding
up the hair were unknown to the Greeks. The double or simple comb of
Greek ladies, made of box-wood, ivory, or metal, was used only for
combing the hair. The back hair was prevented from dropping by means
of long hair-pins, the heads of which frequently consisted of a
graceful piece of sculpture. Well known are the hair-pins adorned with
a golden cicada which, in Solon's time, were used by both Athenian men
and women for the fastening of the krobylos.

It was the custom of the Greeks to adorn their heads on festive
occasions with wreaths and garlands. Thus adorned the bridegroom led
home the bride. Flowers full of symbolic meaning were offered on the
altars of the gods, and the topers at carousals were crowned with
wreaths of myrtle, roses, and violets, the latter being the favorite
flower with the Athenians. The flower-market of Athens was always
supplied with garlands to twine round the head and the upper part of
the body; for the latter also was adorned with garlands. Crowns
consisting of other flowers, and leaves of the ivy and silver-poplar,
are frequently mentioned. Wreaths also found a place in the serious
business of life. They were awarded to the victors in the games; the
archon wore a myrtle-wreath as the sign of his dignity, as did also
the orator while speaking to the people from the tribune.

The crowning with flowers was a high honor to Athenian
citizens--awarded, for instance, to Perikles, but refused to
Miltiades. The head and bier of the dead were also crowned with fresh
wreaths of myrtle and ivy.

The luxury of later times changed the wreaths of flowers for golden
ones, with regard to the dead of the richer classes. Wreaths made of
thin gold have repeatedly been found in graves. The barrows of the old
Pantikapaion have yielded several beautiful wreaths of ivy and ears of
corn; a gold imitation of a crown of myrtle has been found in a grave
in Ithaka. Other specimens from Greek and Roman graves are preserved
in our museums. A golden crown of Greek workmanship, found at Armento,
a village of the Basilicata (at present in Munich), is particularly
remarkable. A twig of oak forms the ground, from among the thin golden
leaves of which spring forth asters with chalices of blue enamel,
convolvulus, narcissus, ivy, roses, and myrtle, gracefully
intertwined. On the upper bend of the crown is the image of a winged
goddess, from the head of which, among pieces of grass, rises the
slender stalk of a rose. Four naked male genii and two draped female
ones, floating over the flowers, point towards the goddess, who stands
on a pedestal bearing an inscription.

Greek, particularly Athenian, women carried a sunshade, or employed
slaves to hold it over them. In the Panathenaic procession even the
daughters of metoikoi had to perform this service. Such sunshades,
which, like our own, could be shut by means of wires, we often see
depicted on vases and Etruscan mirrors. This form was undoubtedly the
most common one. The cap-like sunshade painted on a skyphos, which a
Silenus, instead of a servant, holds over a dignified lady walking in
front of him, is undoubtedly intended as a parody, perhaps copied from
the scene of a comedy. In vase paintings we also see frequently the
leaf-like painted fan in the hands of women.


The above articles were in good preservation when found. _a_, _l_,
_n_, are hand-mirrors; _m_, is a wall-mirror; _c_, toilet-box, made of
ivory and beautifully carved; _d_ and _k_, bronze combs; _i_, fine
comb; _b_, ear and tooth-pick; _f_, pin-box, with glass and steel
pins; _h_, salve-box; _g_, hair-pins made of ivory and gold; _e_, is a
powder or paint-box.

Of the secrets of Greek _toilette_ we will only disclose the fact that
ladies knew the use of paint. The white they used consisted of
white-lead; their reds were made either of red minium or of a root.
This unwholesome fashion of painting was even extended to the
eyebrows, for which black color was used, made either of pulverized
antimony or of fine soot.

The mirrors of the Greeks consisted of circular pieces of polished
bronze, either without a handle or with one richly adorned. Frequently
a cover, for the reflecting surface, was added. The Etruscan custom of
engraving figures on the back of the mirror or the cover seems to have
been rare among the Greeks, to judge, at least, from the numerous
specimens of mirrors found in Greek graves. Characteristic of these
are, on the other hand, the tasteful handles, representing mostly
Aphrodite, as in a manner the ideal of a beautifully adorned woman.
These hand-mirrors frequently occur in vase paintings, particularly in
those containing bathing utensils.

The carrying of a stick seems to have been a common custom. It is
mostly of great length, with a crutched handle; young Athenian dandies
may have used shorter walking-sticks. The first-mentioned sticks seem
to have been used principally for leaning upon in standing still, as
is indicated by frequent representations in pictures.

    [Page Decoration]

    [Page Decoration]


Truth or justice was thought to be the main cardinal virtue among the
Egyptians, inasmuch as it relates more particularly to others;
prudence, temperance, and fortitude being relative qualities, and
tending chiefly to the immediate benefit of the individual who
possesses them. It was, therefore, with great earnestness that they
inculcated the necessity of fully appreciating it; and falsehood was
not only considered disgraceful, but when it entailed an injury on any
other person was punishable by law.

A calumniator of the dead was condemned to a severe punishment; and a
false accuser was doomed to the same sentence which would have been
awarded to the accused, if the offense had been proved against him;
but to maintain a falsehood by an oath was deemed the blackest crime,
and one which, from its complicated nature, could be punished by
nothing short of death. For they considered that it involved two
distinct crimes--a contempt for the gods, and a violation of faith
towards man; the former the direct promoter of every sin, the latter
destructive of all those ties which are most essential for the welfare
of society.

The willful murder of a freeman, or even of a _slave_, was punished
with death, from the conviction that men ought to be restrained from
the commission of sin, not on account of any distinction of station in
life, but from the light in which they viewed the crime itself; while
at the same time it had the effect of showing that if the murder of a
slave was deemed an offense deserving of so severe a punishment, they
ought still more to shrink from the murder of one who was a compatriot
and a free-born citizen.

In this law we observe a scrupulous regard to justice and humanity,
and have an unquestionable proof of the great advancement made by the
Egyptians in the most essential points of civilization. Indeed, the
Egyptians considered it so heinous a crime to deprive a man of life,
that to be the accidental witness of an attempt to murder, without
endeavoring to prevent it, was a capital offense, which could only be
palliated by bringing proofs of inability to act.

With the same spirit they decided that to be present when any one
inflicted a personal injury on another, without interfering, was
tantamount to being a party, and was punishable according to the
extent of the assault; and every one who witnessed a robbery was bound
either to arrest, or, if that was out of his power, to lay an
information, and to prosecute the offenders; and any neglect on this
score being proved against him, the delinquent was condemned to
receive a stated number of stripes, and to be kept without food for
three whole days.

Although, in the case of murder, the Egyptian law was inexorable and
severe, the royal prerogative might be exerted in favor of a culprit,
and the punishment was sometimes commuted by a mandate from the king.

Sabaco, indeed, during the fifty years of his reign, "made it a rule
not to punish his subjects with death," whether guilty of murder or
any other capital offence, but, "according to the magnitude of their
crimes, he condemned the culprits to raise the ground about the town
to which they belonged. By these means the situation of the different
cities became greatly elevated above the reach of the inundation, even
more than in the time of Sesostris;" and either on account of a
greater proportion of criminals, or from some other cause, the mounds
of Bubastis were raised considerably higher than those of any other

The same laws that forbade a master to punish a slave with death took
from a father every right over the life of his offspring; and the
Egyptians deemed the murder of a child an odious crime, that called
for the direct interposition of justice. They did not, however, punish
it as a capital offence, since it appeared inconsistent to take away
life from one who had given it to the child, but preferred inflicting
such a punishment as would induce grief and repentance. With this view
they ordained that the corpse of the deceased should be fastened to
the neck of its parent, and that he should be obliged to pass three
whole days and nights in its embrace, under the surveillance of a
public guard.

But parricide was visited with the most cruel of chastisements; and
conceiving, as they did, that the murder of a parent was the most
unnatural of crimes, they endeavored to prevent its occurrence by the
marked severity with which it was avenged. The criminal was,
therefore, sentenced to be lacerated with sharpened reeds, and, after
being thrown on thorns, he was burned to death.

When a woman was guilty of a capital offence, and judgment had been
passed upon her, they were particularly careful to ascertain if the
condemned was in a state of pregnancy; in which case her punishment
was deferred till after the birth of the child, in order that the
innocent might not suffer with the guilty, and thus the father be
deprived of that child to which he had at least an equal right.

But some of their laws regarding the female sex were cruel and
unjustifiable; and even if, which is highly improbable, they succeeded
by their severity in enforcing chastity, and in putting an effectual
stop to crime, yet the punishment rather reminds us of the laws of a
barbarous people than of a wise and civilized state. A woman who had
committed adultery was sentenced to lose her nose, upon the principle
that, being the most conspicuous feature, and the chief, or, at least,
an indispensable, ornament of the face, its loss would be most
severely felt, and be the greatest detriment to her personal charms;
and the man was condemned to receive a bastinado of one thousand
blows. But if it was proved that force had been used against a free
woman, he was doomed to a cruel mutilation.

The object of the Egyptian laws was to preserve life, and to reclaim
an offender. Death took away every chance of repentance, it deprived
the country of his services, and he was hurried out of the world when
least prepared to meet the ordeal of a future state. They, therefore,
preferred severe punishments, and, except in the case of murder, and
some crimes which appeared highly injurious to the community, it was
deemed unnecessary to sacrifice the life of an offender.

In military as well as civil cases, minor offences were generally
punished with the stick; a mode of chastisement still greatly in vogue
among the modern inhabitants of the valley of the Nile, and held in
such esteem by them, that convinced of (or perhaps by) its efficacy,
they relate "its descent from heaven as a blessing to mankind."

If an Egyptian of the present day has a government debt or tax to pay,
he stoutly persists in his inability to obtain the money, till he has
withstood a certain number of blows, and considers himself compelled
to produce it; and the ancient inhabitants, if not under the rule of
their native princes, at least in the time of the Roman emperors,
gloried equally in the obstinacy they evinced, and the difficulty the
governors of the country experienced in extorting from them what they
were bound to pay; whence Ammianus Marcellinus tells us, "an Egyptian
blushes if he can not show numerous marks on his body that evince his
endeavors to evade the duties."

The bastinado was inflicted on both sexes, as with the Jews. Men and
boys were laid prostrate on the ground, and frequently held by the
hands and feet while the chastisement was administered; but women, as
they sat, received the stripes on their back, which was also inflicted
by the hand of a man. Nor was it unusual for the superintendents to
stimulate laborers to their work by the persuasive powers of the
stick, whether engaged in the field or in handicraft employments; and
boys were sometimes beaten without the ceremony of prostration, the
hands being tied behind their back while the punishment was applied.

The character of some of the Egyptian laws was quite consonant with
the notions of a primitive age. The punishment was directed more
particularly against the offending member; and adulterators of money,
falsifiers of weights and measures, forgers of seals or signatures,
and scribes who altered any signed document by erasures or additions,
without the authority of the parties, were condemned to lose both
their hands.

But their laws do not seem to have sanctioned the gibbet, or the
exposure of the body of an offender; for the conduct of Rhampsinitus,
in the case of the robbery of his treasure, is mentioned by Herodotus
as a singular mode of discovering an accomplice, and not as an
ordinary punishment; if, indeed, the whole story be not the invention
of a Greek _cicerone_.

Thefts, breach of trust, and petty frauds were punished with the
bastinado; but robbery and house-breaking were sometimes considered
capital crimes, and deserving of death; as is evident from the conduct
of the thief when caught by the trap in the treasury of Rhampsinitus,
and from what Diodorus states respecting Actisanes.

This monarch, instead of putting robbers to death, instituted a novel
mode of punishing them, by cutting off their noses and banishing them
to the confines of the desert, where a town was built, called
Rhinocolura, from the peculiar nature of their punishment; and thus,
by removing the bad, and preventing their corrupting the good, he
benefited society, without depriving the criminals of life; at the
same time that he punished them severely for their crimes, by
obliging them to live by their labors, and derive a precarious
sustenance from quails, or whatever they could catch, in that barren
region. Commutation of punishment was the foundation of this part of
the convict system of Egypt, and Rhinocolura was their Norfolk Island,
where a sea of sand separated the worst felons from those guilty of
smaller crimes; who were transported to the mines in the desert, and
condemned to work for various terms, according to their offence.

The Egyptians had a singular custom respecting theft and burglary.
Those who followed the _profession_ of thief gave in their names to
the chief of the robbers; and agreed that he should be informed of
every thing they might thenceforward steal, the moment it was in their
possession. In consequence of this the owner of the lost goods always
applied by letter to the chief for their recovery; and having stated
their quality and quantity, the day and hour when they were stolen,
and other requisite particulars, the goods were identified, and, on
payment of one quarter of their value, they were restored to the
applicant in the same state as when taken from his house.

For being fully persuaded of the impracticability of putting an entire
check to robbery, either by the dread of punishment, or by any method
that could be adopted by the most vigilant police, they considered it
more for the advantage of the community that a certain sacrifice
should be made in order to secure the restitution of the remainder,
than that the law, by taking on itself to protect the citizen, and
discover the offender, should be the indirect cause of greater loss.

And that the Egyptians, like the Indians, and we may say the modern
inhabitants of the Nile, were very expert in the art of stealing, we
have abundant testimony from ancient authors.

It may be asked, what redress could be obtained, if goods were stolen
by thieves who failed to enter their names on the books of the chief;
but it is evident that there could be few of those private
speculators, since by their interfering with the interests of all the
_profession_, the detection of such egotistical persons would have
been certain; and thus all others were effectually prevented from
robbing, save those of the privileged class.

The salary of the chief was not merely derived from his own demands
upon the goods stolen, or from any voluntary contribution of the
robbers themselves, but was probably a fixed remuneration granted by
the government, as one of the chiefs of the police; nor is it to be
supposed that he was any other than a respectable citizen, and a man
of integrity and honor. The same may be said of the modern "_shekh_ of
the thieves," at Cairo, where this very ancient office is still

The great confidence reposed in the public weighers rendered it
necessary to enact suitable laws in order to bind them to their duty;
and considering how much public property was at their mercy, and how
easily bribes might be taken from a dishonest tradesman, the Egyptians
inflicted a severe punishment as well on the weighers as on the
shopkeepers, who were found to have false weights and measures, or to
have defrauded the customer in any other way; and these, as well as
the scribes who kept false accounts, were punished (as before stated)
with the loss of both their hands; on the principle, says Diodorus,
that the offending member should suffer; while the culprit was
severely punished, that others might be deterred from the commission
of a similar offence.

As in other countries, their laws respecting debt and usury underwent
some changes, according as society advanced, and as pecuniary
transactions became more complicated.

Bocchoris (who reigned in Egypt about the year 800 B.C., and who, from
his learning, obtained the surname of Wise), finding that in cases of
debt many causes of dispute had arisen, and instances of great
oppression were of frequent occurrence, enacted, that no agreement
should be binding unless it were acknowledged by a written contract;
and if any one took oath that the money had not been lent him, that no
debt should be recognized, and the claims of the suing party should
immediately cease. This was done, that great regard might always be
had for the name and nature of an oath, at the same time that, by
substituting the unquestionable proof of a written document, the
necessity of having frequent recourse to an oath was avoided, and its
sanctity was not diminished by constant repetition.

Usury was in all cases condemned by the Egyptian legislature; and when
money was borrowed, even with a written agreement, it was forbidden to
allow the interest to increase to more than double the original sum.
Nor could the creditors seize the debtor's person: their claims and
right were confined to the goods in his possession, and such as were
really his own; which were comprehended under the produce of his
labor, or what he had received from another individual to whom they
lawfully belonged. For the person of every citizen was looked upon as
the property of the state, and might be required for some public
service, connected either with war or peace; and, independent of the
injustice of subjecting any one to the momentary caprice of his
creditor, the safety of the country might be endangered through the
avarice of a few interested individuals.

This law, which was borrowed by Solon from the Egyptian code, existed
also at Athens; and was, as Diodorus observes, much more consistent
with justice and common sense than that which allowed the creditor to
seize the person, while it forbade him to take the plows and other
implements of industry. For if, continues the historian, it is unjust
thus to deprive men of the means of obtaining subsistence, and of
providing for their families, how much more unreasonable must it be to
imprison those by whom the implements were used!

To prevent the accumulation of debt, and to protect the interests of
the creditor, another remarkable law was enacted by Asychis, which,
while it shows how greatly they endeavored to check the increasing
evil, proves the high respect paid by the Egyptians to the memory of
their parents, and to the sanctity of their religious ceremonies. By
this it was pronounced illegal for any one to borrow money without
giving in pledge the body of his father, or the tomb of his ancestors;
and, if he failed to redeem so sacred a deposit, he was considered
infamous; and, at his death, the celebration of the accustomed funeral
obsequies was denied him, and he could not enjoy the right of burial
either in that tomb or in any other place of sepulture; nor could he
inter his children, or any of his family, as long as the debt was
unpaid, the creditor being put in actual possession of the family

In the large cities of Egypt, a fondness for display, and the usual
allurements of luxury, were rapidly introduced; and considerable sums
were expended in furnishing houses, and in many artificial caprices.
Rich jewels and costly works of art were in great request, as well
among the inhabitants of the provincial capitals, as at Thebes and
Memphis; they delighted in splendid equipages, elegant and commodious
boats, numerous attendants, horses, dogs, and other requisites for the
chase; and, besides, their houses, their villas and their gardens,
were laid out with no ordinary expense. But while the funds arising
from extensive farms, and the abundant produce of a fertile soil,
enabled the rich to indulge extravagant habits, many of the less
wealthy envied the enjoyment of those luxuries which fortune had
denied to them; and, prompted by vanity, and a silly desire of
imitation, so common in civilized communities, they pursued a career
which speedily led to the accumulation of debt, and demanded the
interference of the legislature; and it is probable that a law, so
severe as this must have appeared to the Egyptians, was only adopted
as a measure of absolute necessity, in order to put a check to the
increasing evil.

The necessary expenses of the Egyptians were remarkably small, less,
indeed, than of any people; and the food of the poorer classes was of
the cheapest and most simple kind. Owing to the warmth of the climate,
they required few clothes, and young children were in the habit of
going without shoes, and with little or no covering to their bodies.
It was, therefore, luxury, and the increasing wants of an artificial
kind, which corrupted the manners of the Egyptians, and rendered such
a law necessary for their restraint; and we may conclude that it was
mainly directed against those who contracted debts for the
gratification of pleasure, or with the premeditated intent of
defrauding an unsuspecting creditor.

In the mode of executing deeds, conveyances, and other civil
contracts, the Egyptians were peculiarly circumstantial and minute;
and the great number of witnesses is a singular feature in those
documents. In the time of the Ptolemies, sales of property commenced
with a preamble, containing the date of the king in whose reign they
were executed; the name of the president of the court, and of the
clerk by whom they were written, being also specified. The body of the
contract then followed.

It stated the name of the individual who sold the land, the
description of his person, an account of his parentage, profession,
and place of abode, the extent and nature of the land, its situation
and boundaries, and concluded with the name of the purchaser, whose
parentage and description were also added, and the sum for which it
was bought. The seller then vouched for his undisturbed possession of
it; and, becoming security against any attempt to dispute his title,
the name of the other party was inserted as having accepted it, and
acknowledged the purchase. The names of witnesses were then affixed;
and, the president of the court having added his signature, the deed
was valid. Sometimes the seller formally recognized the sale in the
following manner:

"All these things have I sold thee: they are thine, I have received
their price from thee, and will make no demand upon thee for them from
this day; and if any person disturb thee in the possession of them, I
will withstand the attempt; and, if I do not otherwise repel it, I
will use compulsory means, or, I will indemnify thee."

But, in order to give a more accurate notion of the form of these
contracts, we shall introduce a copy of the whole of one of them, as
given by Dr. Young, and refer the reader to others occurring in the
same work. "Translation of the enchorial papyrus of Paris, containing
the original deed relating to the mummies:--'This writing dated in the
year 36, Athyr 20, in the reign of our sovereigns Ptolemy and
Cleopatra his sister, the children of Ptolemy and Cleopatra the
divine, the gods Illustrious: and the priest of Alexander, and of the
Saviour gods, of the Brother gods, of the Beneficent gods, of the
Father-loving gods, of the Illustrious gods, of the Paternal god, and
of the Mother-loving gods, being (as by law appointed): and the
prize-bearer of Berenice the Beneficent, and the basket-bearer of
Arsinoe the Brother-loving, and the priestess of Arsinoe the
Father-loving, being as appointed in the metropolis (of Alexandria);
and in (Ptolemais) the royal city of the Thebaid? the guardian priest
for the year? of Ptolemy Soter, and the priest of king Ptolemy the
Father-loving, and the priest of Ptolemy the Brother-loving, and the
priest of Ptolemy the Beneficent, and the priest of Ptolemy the
Mother-loving; and the priestess of queen Cleopatra, and the priestess
of the princess Cleopatra, and the priestess of Cleopatra, the (queen)
mother, deceased, the Illustrious; and the basket-bearer of Arsinoe
the Brother-loving (being as appointed): declares: The Dresser? in the
temple of the Goddess Onnophris, the son of Horus, and of Senpoeris,
daughter of Spotus? ("aged about forty, lively,") tall ("of a sallow
complexion, hollow-eyed, and bald"); in the temple of the goddess to
(Horus) his brother? the son of Horus and of Senpoeris, has sold, for
a price in money, half of one-third of the collections for the dead
"priests of Osiris?" lying in Thynabunum ... in the Libyan suburbs of
Thebes, in the Memnonia ... likewise half of one-third of the
liturgies: their names being, Muthes, the son of Spotus, with his
children and his household; Chapocrates, the son of Nechthmonthes,
with his children and his household; Arsiesis, the son of
Nechthmonthes, with his children and his household; Petemestus, the
son of Nechthmonthes; Arsiesis, the son of Zminis, with his children
and his household; Osoroeris, the son of Horus, with his children and
his household; Spotus, the son of Chapochonsis, surnamed? Zoglyphus
(the sculptor), with his children and his household; while there
belonged also to Asos, the son of Horus and of Senpoeris, daughter of
Spotus? in the same manner one-half of a third of the collections for
the dead, and of the fruits and so forth ... he sold it on the 20th of
Athyr, in the reign of the King ever-living, to (complete) the third
part: likewise the half of one-third of the collections relating to
Peteutemis, with his household, and ... likewise the half of
one-third? of the collections and fruits for Petechonsis, the bearer
of milk, and of the ... place on the Asian side, called Phrecages, and
... the dead bodies in it: there having belonged to Asos, the son of
Horus, one-half of the same: he has sold to him in the month of ...
the half of one-third of the collections for the priests of Osiris?
lying in Thynabunum, with their children and their households:
likewise the half of one-third of the collections for Peteutemis, and
also for Petechonsis, the bearer of milk, in the place Phrecages on
the Asian side: I have received for them their price in silver ... and
gold; and I make no further demand on thee for them from the present
day ... before the authorities ... (and if any one shall disturb thee
in the possession of them, I will resist him, and, if I do not
succeed, I will indemnify thee?).... Executed and confirmed. Written
by Horus, the son of Phabis, clerk to the chief priests of
Amonrasonther, and of the contemplar? Gods, of the Beneficent gods, of
the Father-loving gods, of the Paternal god, and of the Mother-loving
gods. Amen.

"'Names of the witnesses present:
        ERIEUS, the son of Phanres Erieus.
        PETEARTRES, the son of Peteutemis.
        PETEARPOCRATES, the son of Horus.
        SNACHOMNEUS, the son of Peteuris.
        SNACHOMES, the son of Psenchonsis.
        TOTOES, the son of Phibis.
        PORTIS, the son of Appollonius.
        ZMINIS, the son of Petemestus.
        PETEUTEMIS, the son of Arsiesis.
        AMONORYTIUS, the son of Pacemis.
        HORUS, the son of Chimnaraus.
        ARMENIS (rather Arbais), the son of Zthenaetis.
        MAESIS, the son of Mirsis.
        ANTIMACHUS, the son of Antigenes.
        PETOPHOIS, the son of Phibis.
        PANAS, the son of Petosiris.'"

In this, as in many other documents, the testimony required is very
remarkable, sixteen witnesses being thought necessary for the sale of
a moiety of the sums collected on account of a few tombs, and for
services performed to the dead, the total value of which was only 400
pieces of brass; and the name of each person is introduced, in the
true Oriental style, with that of his father. Nor is it unreasonable
to suppose that the same precautions and minute formulas were observed
in similar transactions during the reigns of the Pharaonic kings,
however great may have been the change introduced by the Ptolemies and
Romans into the laws and local government of Egypt.

The Egyptians paid great attention to health, and "so wisely," says
Herodotus, "was medicine managed by them, that no doctor was permitted
to practice any but his own peculiar branch. Some were oculists, who
only studied diseases of the eye; others attended solely to
complaints of the head; others to those of the teeth; some again
confined themselves to complaints of the intestines; and others to
secret and internal maladies; accoucheurs being usually, if not
always, women." And it is a singular fact, that their dentists adopted
a method, not very long practiced in Europe, of stopping teeth with
gold, proofs of which have been obtained from some mummies of Thebes.

They received certain salaries from the public treasury; and after
they had studied those precepts which had been laid down from the
experience of their predecessors, they were permitted to practice;
and, in order to prevent dangerous experiments being made upon
patients, they might be punished if their treatment was contrary to
the established system; and the death of a person entrusted to their
care, under such circumstances, was adjudged to them as a capital

If, however, every remedy had been administered according to the
sanitary law, they were absolved from blame; and if the patient was
not better, the physician was allowed to alter the treatment after the
third day, or even before, if he took upon himself the responsibility.

Though paid by Government as a body, it was not illegal to receive
fees for their advice and attendance; and demands could be made in
every instance except on a foreign journey, and on military service;
when patients were visited free of expense.

The principal mode adopted by the Egyptians for preventing illness was
attention to regimen and diet; "being persuaded that the majority of
diseases proceed from indigestion and excess of eating;" and they had
frequent recourse to abstinence, emetics, slight doses of medicine,
and other simple means of relieving the system, which some persons
were in the habit of repeating every two or three days.

    [Illustration: WREATH OF OAK. (_Life Saving._)]

"Those who lived in the corn country," as Herodotus terms it, were
particular for their attention to health. "During three successive
days, every month, they submitted to a regular course of treatment;
from the conviction that illness was wont to proceed from some
irregularity in diet;" and if preventives were ineffectual they had
recourse to suitable remedies, adopting a mode of treatment very
similar to that mentioned by Diodorus.

The employment of numerous drugs in Egypt has been mentioned by sacred
and profane writers; and the medicinal properties of many herbs which
grow in the deserts, particularly between the Nile and Red Sea, are
still known to the Arabs; though their application has been but
imperfectly recorded and preserved.

"O virgin, daughter of Egypt," says Jeremiah, "in vain shalt thou use
many medicines, for thou shalt not be cured;" and Homer, in the
Odyssey, describes the many valuable medicines given by Polydamna, the
wife of Thonis, to Helen while in Egypt, "a country whose fertile soil
produces an infinity of drugs, some salutary and some pernicious;
where each physician possesses knowledge above all other men."

Pliny makes frequent mention of the productions of that country, and
their use in medicine; he also notices the physicians of Egypt; and as
if their number were indicative of the many maladies to which the
inhabitants were subject, he observes, that it was a country
productive of numerous diseases. In this, however, he does not agree
with Herodotus, who affirms that, "after the Libyans, there are no
people so healthy as the Egyptians, which may be attributed to the
invariable nature of the seasons in their country."

Pliny even says that the Egyptians examined the bodies after death, to
ascertain the nature of the diseases of which they had died; and we
can readily believe that a people so far advanced in civilization and
the principles of medicine as to assign to each physician his peculiar
branch, would have resorted to this effectual method of acquiring
knowledge and experience.

It is evident that the medical science of the Egyptians was sought and
appreciated even in foreign countries; and we learn from Herodotus,
that Cyrus and Darius both sent to Egypt for medical men. In later
times, too, they continued to be celebrated for their skill; Ammianus
says it was enough for a doctor to say he had studied in Egypt to
recommend him; and Pliny mentions medical men going from Egypt to
Rome. But though their physicians are often noticed by ancient
writers, the only indication of medical attendance appears to be in
the paintings of Beni Hassan; and even there it is uncertain whether a
doctor, or a barber, be represented.

Their doctors probably felt the pulse; as Plutarch shows they did at
Rome, from this saying of Tiberius, "a man after he has passed his
thirtieth year, who _puts forth his hand_ to a physician, is
ridiculous;" whence our proverb of "a fool or a physician after

Diodorus tells us, that dreams were regarded in Egypt with religious
reverence, and the prayers of the devout were often rewarded by the
gods, with an indication of the remedy their sufferings required; and
magic, charms, and various supernatural agencies, were often resorted
to by the credulous; who "sought to the idols, and to the charmers,
and to them that had familiar spirits, and to the wizards."

Origen also says, that when any part of the body was afflicted with
disease, they invoked the demon to whom it was supposed to belong, in
order to obtain a cure.

In cases of great moment oracles were consulted; and a Greek papyrus
found in Egypt mentions divination "through a boy with a lamp, a bowl,
and a pit;" which resembles the pretended power of the modern
magicians of Egypt. The same also notices the mode of discovering
theft, and obtaining any wish; and though it is supposed to be of the
2d century, the practices it alludes to are doubtless from an old
Egyptian source; and other similar papyri contain recipes for
obtaining good fortune and various benefits, or for causing
misfortunes to an enemy.

Some suppose the Egyptians had even recourse to animal magnetism, and
that dreams indicating cures were the result of this influence; and
(though the subjects erroneously supposed to represent it apply to a
very different act) it is not impossible that they may have discovered
the mode of exercising this art, and that it may have been connected
with the strange scenes recorded at the initiation into the mysteries.
If really known, such a power would scarcely have been neglected; and
it would have been easy to obtain thereby an ascendency over the minds
of a superstitious people.

Indeed, the readiness of man at all times to astonish on the one hand,
and to court the marvelous on the other, is abundantly proved by
present and past experience. That the nervous system may be worked
upon by it to such a degree that a state either of extreme
irritability, or of sleep and coma, may be induced, in the latter case
paralyzing the senses so as to become deadened to pain, is certain;
and a highly sensitive temperament may exhibit phenomena beyond the
reach of explanation; but it requires very little experience to know
that we are wonderfully affected by far more ordinary causes; for the
nerves may be acted upon to such an extent by having as we commonly
term it "our teeth set on edge," that the mere filing a saw would
suffice to drive any one mad, if unable to escape from its unceasing
discord. What is this but an effect upon the nerves? and what more
could be desired to prove the power of any agency? And the world would
owe a debt of gratitude to the professors of animal magnetism, if,
instead of making it, as some do, a mere exhibition to display a
power, and astonish the beholders, they would continue the efforts
already begun, for discovering all the beneficial uses to which it is
capable of being applied.

We might then rejoice that, as astrology led to the more useful
knowledge of astronomy, this influence enabled us to comprehend our
nervous system, on which so many conditions of health depend, and with
which we are so imperfectly acquainted.

The cure of diseases was also attributed by the Egyptians to _Exvotos_
offered in the temples. They consisted of various kinds. Some persons
promised a certain sum for the maintenance of the sacred animals; or
whatever might propitiate the deity; and after the cure had been
effected, they frequently suspended a model of the restored part in
the temple; and ears, eyes, distorted arms, and other members, were
dedicated as memorials of their gratitude and superstition.

Sometimes travelers, who happened to pass by a temple, inscribed a
votive sentence on the walls, to indicate their respect for the deity,
and solicit his protection during their journey; the complete formula
of which contained the adoration of the writer, with the assurance
that he had been mindful of his wife, his family, and friends; and the
reader of the inscription was sometimes included in a share of the
blessings it solicited. The date of the king's reign and the day of
the month were also added, with the profession and parentage of the
writer. The complete formula of one adoration was as follows:

"The adoration of Caius Capitolinus, son of Flavius Julius, of the
fifth troop of Theban horse, to the goddess Isis, with ten thousand
names. And I have been mindful of (or have made an adoration for) all
those who love me, and my consort, and children, and all my household,
and for him who reads this. In the year 12 of the emperor Tiberius
Cæsar, the 15 of Pauni."

The Egyptians, according to Pliny, claimed the honor of having
invented the art of curing diseases. Indeed, the study of medicine and
surgery appears to have commenced at a very early period in Egypt,
since Athothes, the second king of the country, is stated to have
written upon the subject of anatomy; and the schools of Alexandria
continued till a late period to enjoy the reputation, and display the
skill, they had inherited from their predecessors. Hermes was said to
have written six books on medicine, the first of which related to
anatomy; and the various recipes, known to have been beneficial, were
recorded, with their peculiar cases, in the memoirs of physic
inscribed among the laws deposited in the principal temples.

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The monumental records and various works of art, and, above all, the
writings, of the Greeks and Romans, have made us acquainted with their
customs and their very thoughts; and though the literature of the
Egyptians is almost unknown, their monuments, especially the paintings
in the tombs, have afforded us an insight into their mode of life
scarcely to be obtained from those of any other people. The influence
that Egypt had in early times on Greece gives to every inquiry
respecting it an additional interest; and the frequent mention of the
Egyptians in the Bible connects them with the Hebrew Records, of which
many satisfactory illustrations occur in the sculptures of Pharaonic
times. Their great antiquity also enables us to understand the
condition of the world long before the era of written history; all
existing monuments left by other people are comparatively modern; and
the paintings in Egypt are the earliest descriptive illustrations of
the manners and customs of any nation.

It is from these that we are enabled to form an opinion of the
character of the Egyptians. They have been pronounced a serious,
gloomy people, saddened by the habit of abstruse speculation; but how
far this conclusion agrees with fact will be seen in the sequel. They
were, no doubt, less lively than the Greeks; but if a comparatively
late writer, Ammianus Marcellinus, may have remarked a "rather sad"
expression, after they had been for ages under successive foreign
yokes, this can scarcely be admitted as a testimony of their character
in the early times of their prosperity; and though a sadness of
expression might be observed in the present oppressed population, they
can not be considered a grave or melancholy people. Much, indeed, may
be learned from the character of the modern Egyptians; and
notwithstanding the infusion of foreign blood, particularly of the
Arab invaders, every one must perceive the strong resemblance they
bear to their ancient predecessors. It is a common error to suppose
that the conquest of a country gives an entirely new character to the
inhabitants. The immigration of a whole nation taking possession of a
thinly-peopled country, will have this effect, when the original
inhabitants are nearly all driven out by the new-comers; but
immigration has not always, and conquest never has, for its object the
destruction or expulsion of the native population; they are found
useful to the victors, and as necessary for them as the cattle or the
productions of the soil. Invaders are always numerically inferior to
the conquered nation--even to the male population; and, when the women
are added to the number, the majority is greatly in favor of the
original race, and they must exercise immense influence on the
character of the rising generation. The customs, too, of the old
inhabitants are very readily adopted by the new-comers, especially
when they are found to suit the climate and the peculiarities of the
country they have been formed in; and the habits of a small mass of
settlers living in contact with them fade away more and more with each
successive generation. So it has been in Egypt; and, as usual, the
conquered people bear the stamp of the ancient inhabitants rather than
that of the Arab conquerors.

Of the various institutions of the ancient Egyptians, none are more
interesting than those which relate to their social life; and when we
consider the condition of other countries in the early ages when they
flourished, from the 10th to the 20th century before our era, we may
look with respect on the advancement they had then made in
civilization, and acknowledge the benefits they conferred upon mankind
during their career. For like other people, they have had their part
in the great scheme of the world's development, and their share of
usefulness in the destined progress of the human race; for countries,
like individuals, have certain qualities given them, which, differing
from those of their predecessors and contemporaries are intended in
due season to perform their requisite duties. The interest felt in the
Egyptians is from their having led the way, or having been the first
people we know of who made any great progress, in the arts and manners
of civilization; which, for the period when they lived, was very
creditable, and far beyond that of other kingdoms of the world. Nor
can we fail to remark the difference between them and their Asiatic
rivals, the Assyrians, who, even at a much later period, had the great
defects of Asiatic cruelty--flaying alive, impaling, and torturing
their prisoners, as the Persians, Turks, and other Orientals have done
to the present century, the reproach of which can not be extended to
the ancient Egyptians. Being the dominant race of that age, they
necessarily had an influence on others with whom they came in contact;
and it is by these means that civilization is advanced through its
various stages; each people striving to improve on the lessons derived
from a neighbor whose institutions they appreciate, or consider
beneficial to themselves. It was thus that the active mind of the
talented Greeks sought and improved on the lessons derived from other
countries, especially from Egypt; and though the latter, at the late
period of the 7th century B.C., had lost its greatness and the
prestige of superiority among the nations of the world, it was still
the seat of learning and the resort of studious philosophers; and the
abuses consequent on the fall of an empire had not yet brought about
the demoralization of after times.

The early part of Egyptian monumental history is coeval with the
arrivals of Abraham and of Joseph, and the Exodus of the Israelites;
and we know from the Bible what was the state of the world at that
time. But then, and apparently long before, the habits of social life
in Egypt were already what we find them to have been during the most
glorious period of their career; and as the people had already laid
aside their arms, and military men only carried them when on service,
some notion may be had of the very remote date of Egyptian
civilization. In the treatment of women they seem to have been very
far advanced beyond other wealthy communities of the same era, having
usages very similar to those of the modern world; and such was the
respect shown to women that precedence was given to them over men, and
the wives and daughters of kings succeeded to the throne like the male
branches of the royal family. Nor was this privilege rescinded, even
though it had more than once entailed upon them the trouble of a
contested succession; foreign kings often having claimed a right to
the throne through marriage with an Egyptian princess. It was not a
mere influence that they possessed, which women often acquire in the
most arbitrary Eastern communities; nor a political importance
accorded to a particular individual, like that of the Sultana Valideh,
the Queen Mother, at Constantinople; it was a right acknowledged by
law, both in private and public life. They knew that unless women were
treated with respect, and made to exercise an influence over society,
the standard of public opinion would soon be lowered, and the manners
and morals of men would suffer; and in acknowledging this, they
pointed out to women the very responsible duties they had to perform
to the community.

From their private life great insight is obtained into their character
and customs: and their household arrangements, the style of their
dwellings, their amusements and their occupations, explain their
habits; as their institutions, mode of government, arts and military
knowledge illustrate their history, and their relative positions among
the nations of antiquity. In their form and arrangement, the houses
were made to suit the climate, modified according to their advancement
in civilization; and we are often enabled to trace in their abodes
some of the primitive habits of a people, long after they have been
settled in towns, and have adopted the manners of wealthy communities;
as the tent may still be traced in the houses of the Turks, and the
small original wooden chamber in the mansions and temples of ancient

As in all warm climates, the poorer classes of Egyptians lived much in
the open air; and the houses of the rich were constructed to be cool
throughout the summer; currents of refreshing air being made to
circulate freely through them by the judicious arrangement of the
passages and courts. Corridors, supported on columns, gave access to
the different apartments through a succession of shady avenues and
areas, with one side open to the air, as in cloisters; and even small
detached houses had an open court in the centre, planted as a garden
with palms and other trees. _Mulkufs_, or wooden wind-sails, were also
fixed over the terraces of the upper story, facing the prevalent and
cool N.W. wind, which was conducted down their sloping boards into the
interior of the house. They were exactly similar to those in the
modern houses of Cairo; and some few were double, facing in opposite

The houses were built of crude brick, stuccoed and painted, with all
the combinations of bright color in which the Egyptians delighted; and
a highly decorated mansion had numerous courts, and architectural
details derived from the temples. Over the door was sometimes a
sentence, as "the good house;" or the name of a king, under whom the
owner probably held some office; many other symbols of good omen were
also put up, as at the entrances of modern Egyptian houses; and a
visit to some temple gave as good a claim to a record as the
pilgrimage to Mecca, at the present day. Poor people were satisfied
with very simple tenements; their wants being easily supplied, both as
to lodging and food; and their house consisted of four walls, with a
flat roof of palm-branches laid across a split date-tree as a beam,
and covered with mats plastered over with a thick coating of mud. It
had one door and a few small windows closed by wooden shutters. As it
scarcely ever rained, the mud roof was not washed into the sitting
room; and this cottage rather answered as a shelter from the sun, and
as a closet for their goods, than for the ordinary purpose of a house
in other countries. Indeed at night the owners slept on the roof,
during the greater part of the year; and as most of their work was
done out of doors, they might easily be persuaded that a house was far
less necessary for them than a tomb. To convince the rich of this
ultra-philosophical sentiment was not so easy; at least the practice
differed from the theory; and though it was promulgated among all the
Egyptians, it did not prevent the priests and other grandees from
living in very luxurious abodes, or enjoying the good things of this
world; and a display of wealth was found to be useful in maintaining
their power, and in securing the obedience of a credulous people. The
worldly possessions of the priests were therefore very extensive, and
if they imposed on themselves occasional habits of abstemiousness,
avoided certain kinds of unwholesome food, and performed many
mysterious observances, they were amply repaid by the improvement of
their health, and by the influence they thereby acquired. Superior
intelligence enabled them to put their own construction on regulations
emanating from their sacred body, with the convenient persuasion that
what suited them did not suit others; and the profane vulgar were
expected to do, not as the priests did, but as they taught them to do.

In their plans the houses of towns, like the villas in the country,
varied according to the caprice of the builders. The ground-plan, in
some of the former, consisted of a number of chambers on three sides
of a court, which was often planted with trees. Others consisted of
two rows of rooms on either side of a long passage, with an
entrance-court from the street; and others were laid out in chambers
round a central area, similar to the Roman _Impluvium_, and paved with
stone, or containing a few trees, a tank or a fountain in its centre.
Sometimes, though rarely, a flight of steps led to the front door from
the street.

Houses of small size were often connected together and formed the
continuous sides of streets; and a court-yard was common to several
dwellings. Others of a humbler kind consisted merely of rooms opening
on a narrow passage, or directly on the street. These had only a
basement story, or ground-floor; and few houses exceeded two stories
above it. They mostly consisted of one upper floor; and though
Diodorus speaks of the lofty houses in Thebes four and five stories
high, the paintings show that few had three, and the largest seldom
four, including, as he does, the basement-story. Even the greater
portion of the house was confined to a first floor, with an additional
story in one part, on which was a terrace covered by an awning, or a
light roof supported on columns. This served for the ladies of the
family to sit at work in during the day, and here the master of the
house often slept at night during the summer, or took his _siesta_ in
the afternoon. Some had a tower which rose even above the terrace.

The first-floor was what the Italians call the "_piano nobile_;" the
ground rooms being chiefly used for stores, or as offices, of which
one was set apart for the porter, and another for visitors coming on
business. Sometimes besides the parlor were receiving apartments on
the basement-story, but guests were generally entertained on the
first-floor; and on this were the sleeping-rooms also, except where
the house was of two or three stories. The houses of wealthy citizens
often covered a considerable space, and either stood directly upon the
street, or a short way back, within an open court; and some large
mansions were detached, and had several entrances on two or three
sides. Before the door was a porch supported on two columns, decked
with banners or ribbons, and larger porticoes had a double row of
columns, with statues between them.

In the distribution of the apartments numerous and different modes
were adopted, according to circumstances; in general, however, the
large mansions seem to have consisted of a court and several
corridors, with rooms leading from them, not unlike many of those now
built in Oriental and tropical countries. The houses in most of the
Egyptian towns are quite destroyed, leaving few traces of their plans,
or even of their sites; but sufficient remains of some at Thebes, at
Tel el Amarna, and other places, to enable us, with the help of the
sculptures, to ascertain their form and appearance.

Granaries were also laid out in a very regular manner, and varied of
course in plan as much as the houses, to which there is reason to
believe they were frequently attached, even in the towns; and they
were sometimes only separated from the house by an avenue of trees.

Some small houses consisted merely of a court, and three or four
store-rooms on the ground-floor, with a single chamber above, to which
a flight of steps led from the court; but they were probably only met
with in the country, and resembled some still found in the _fellah_
villages of modern Egypt. Very similar to these was the model of a
house now in the British Museum, which solely consisted of a
court-yard and three small store-rooms on the ground-floor, with a
staircase leading to a room belonging to the storekeeper, which was
furnished with a narrow window or aperture opposite the door, rather
intended for the purposes of ventilation than to admit the light. In
the court a woman was represented making bread, as is sometimes done
at the present day in Egypt, in the open air; and the store-rooms were
full of grain.

Other small houses in towns consisted of two or three stories above
the ground-floor. They had no court, and stood close together,
covering a small space, and high in proportion to their base, like
many of those at Karnak. The lower part had merely the door of
entrance and some store-rooms, over which were a first and second
floor, each with three windows on the front and side, and above these
an attic without windows, and a staircase leading to a terrace on the
flat roof. The floors were laid on rafters, the end of which projected
slightly from the walls like dentils; and the courses of brick were in
waving or concave lines, as in the walls of an enclosure at Dayr el
Medeeneh in Thebes. The windows of the first-floor had a sort of
mullion dividing them into two lights each, with a transom above; and
the upper windows were filled with trellis-work, or cross bars of
wood, as in many Turkish harems. A model of a house of this kind is
also in the British Museum. But the generality of Egyptian houses were
far less regular in their plan and elevation; and the usual disregard
for symmetry is generally observable in the houses even of towns.

The doors, both of the entrances and of the inner apartments, were
frequently stained to imitate foreign and rare woods. They were either
of one or two valves, turning on pins of metal, and were secured
within by a bar or bolts. Some of these bronze pins have been
discovered in the tombs of Thebes. They were fastened to the wood with
nails of the same metal, whose round heads served also as an ornament,
and the upper one had a projection at the back, in order to prevent
the door striking against the wall. We also find in the stone lintels
and floor, behind the thresholds of the tombs and temples, the holes
in which they turned, as well as those of the bolts and bars, and the
recess for receiving the opened valves. The folding doors had bolts in
the centre, sometimes above as well as below; a bar was placed across
from one wall to the other; and in many instances wooden locks
secured them by passing over the centre, at the junction of the two
folds. For greater security they were occasionally sealed with a mass
of clay, as is proved by some tombs found closed at Thebes, by the
sculptures, and in the account given by Herodotus of Rhampsinitus'

Keys were made of bronze or iron, and consisted of a long straight
shank, about five inches in length, with three or more projecting
teeth; others had a nearer resemblance to the wards of modern keys,
with a short shank about an inch long; and some resembled a common
ring with the wards at its back. These are probably of Roman date. The
earliest mention of a key is in Judges (iii. 23-25), when Ehud having
gone "through the porch, and shut the doors of the parlor upon him and
locked them," Eglon's "servants took a key and opened them."

The doorways, like those in the temples, were often surmounted by the
Egyptian cornice; others were variously decorated, and some,
represented in the tombs, were surrounded with a variety of ornaments,
as usual richly painted. These last, though sometimes found at Thebes,
were more general about Memphis and the Delta; and two good instances
of them are preserved at the British Museum, brought from a tomb near
the Pyramids.

Even at the early period when the Pyramids were built, the doors were
of one or two valves: and both those of the rooms and the entrance
doors opened inwards, contrary to the custom of the Greeks, who were
consequently obliged to strike on the inside of the street door before
they opened it, in order to warn persons passing by; and the Romans
were forbidden to make it open outward without a special permission.

The floors were of stone, or a composition made of lime or other
materials; but in humbler abodes they were formed of split date-tree
beams, arranged close together or at intervals, with planks or
transverse layers of palm branches over them, covered with mats and a
coating of mud. Many roofs were vaulted, and built like the rest of
the house of crude brick; and not only have arches been found of that
material dating in the 16th century before our era, but vaulted
granaries appear to be represented of much earlier date. Bricks,
indeed, led to the invention of the arch; the want of timber in Egypt
having pointed out the necessity of some substitute for it.

Wood was imported in great quantities; deal and cedar were brought
from Syria; and rare woods were part of the tribute imposed on foreign
nations conquered by the Pharaohs. And so highly were these
appreciated for ornamental purposes, that painted imitations were made
for poorer persons who could not afford them; and the panels, windows,
doors, boxes, and various kinds of woodwork, were frequently of cheap
deal or sycamore, stained to resemble the rarest foreign woods. And
the remnants of them found at Thebes show that these imitations were
clever substitutes for the reality. Even coffins were sometimes made
of foreign wood; and many are found of cedar of Lebanon. The value of
foreign woods also suggested to the Egyptians the process of
veneering; and this was one of the arts of their skillful cabinet

The ceilings were of stucco, richly painted with various devices,
tasteful both in their form and the arrangement of the colors; among
the oldest of which is the Guilloche, often miscalled the Tuscan or
Greek border.

Both in the interior and exterior of their houses the walls were
sometimes portioned out into large panels of one uniform color, flush
with the surface, or recessed, not very unlike those at Pompeii; and
they were red, yellow, or stained to resemble stone or wood. It seems
to have been the introduction of this mode of ornament into Roman
houses that excited the indignation of Vitruvius; who says that in old
times they used red paint sparingly, like physic, though now whole
walls are covered over with it.

Figures were also introduced on the blank walls in the sitting-rooms,
or scenes from domestic life, surrounded by ornamental borders, and
surmounted by deep cornices of flowers and various devices richly
painted; and no people appear to have been more fond of using flowers
on every occasion. In their domestic architecture they formed the
chief ornament of the mouldings; and every visitor received a bouquet
of real flowers, as a token of welcome on entering a house. It was the
pipe and coffee of the modern Egyptians; and a guest at a party was
not only presented with a lotus, or some other flower, but had a
chaplet placed round his head, and another round his neck; which led
the Roman poet to remark the "many chaplets on the foreheads" of the
Egyptians at their banquets. Everywhere flowers abounded; they were
formed into wreaths and festoons, they decked the stands that
supported the vases in the convivial chamber, and crowned the
wine-bowl as well as the servants who bore the cup from it to the
assembled guests.

The villas of the Egyptians were of great extent, and contained
spacious gardens, watered by canals communicating with the Nile. They
had large tanks of water in different parts of the garden, which
served for ornament, as well as for irrigation, when the Nile was low;
and on these the master of the house occasionally amused himself and
his friends by an excursion in a pleasure-boat towed by his servants.
They also enjoyed the diversion of angling and spearing fish in the
ponds within their grounds, and on these occasions they were generally
accompanied by a friend, or one or more members of their family.
Particular care was always bestowed upon the garden, and their great
fondness for flowers is shown by the number they always cultivated, as
well as by the women of the family or the attendants presenting
bouquets to the master of the house and his friends when they walked

The house itself was sometimes ornamented with propylæ and obelisks,
like the temples themselves; it is even possible that part of the
building may have been consecrated to religious purposes, as the
chapels of other countries, since we find a priest engaged in
presenting offerings at the door of the inner chambers; and, indeed,
were it not for the presence of the women, the form of the garden, and
the style of the porch, we should feel disposed to consider it a
temple rather than a place of abode. The entrances of large villas
were generally through folding gates, standing between lofty towers,
as at the courts of temples, with a small door at each side; and
others had merely folding-gates, with the jambs surmounted by a
cornice. One general wall of circuit extended round the premises, but
the courts of the house, the garden, the offices, and all the other
parts of the villa had each their separate enclosure. The walls were
usually built of crude brick, and, in damp places, or when within
reach of the inundation, the lower part was strengthened by a basement
of stone. They were sometimes ornamented with panels and grooved
lines, generally stuccoed, and the summit was crowned either with
Egyptian battlements, the usual cornice, a row of spikes in imitation
of spear-heads, or with some fancy ornament.

The plans of the villas varied according to circumstances, but their
general arrangement is sufficiently explained by the paintings. They
were surrounded by a high wall, about the middle of which was the main
or front entrance, with one central and two side gates, leading to an
open walk shaded by rows of trees. Here were spacious tanks of water,
facing the doors of the right and left wings of the house, between
which an avenue led from the main entrance to what may be called the
centre of the mansion. After passing the outer door of the right wing,
you entered an open court with trees, extending quite round a nucleus
of inner apartments, and having a back entrance communicating with the
garden. On the right and left of this court were six or more
store-rooms, a small receiving or waiting room at two of the corners,
and at the other end the staircases which led to the upper stories.
Both of the inner facades were furnished with a corridor, supported on
columns, with similar towers and gateways. The interior of this wing
consisted of twelve rooms, two outer and one center court,
communicating by folding gates; and on either side of this last was
the main entrance to the rooms on the ground-floor, and to the
staircases leading to the upper story. At the back were three long
rooms, and a gateway opening on the garden, which, besides flowers,
contained a variety of trees, a summer-house, and a large tank of

The arrangement of the left wing was different. The front gate led to
an open court, extending the whole breadth of the facade of the
building, and backed by the wall of the inner part. Central and
lateral doors thence communicated with another court, surrounded on
three sides by a set of rooms, and behind it was a corridor, upon
which several other chambers opened.

This wing had no back entrance, and standing isolated, the outer court
extended entirely around it; and a succession of doorways communicated
from the court with different sections of the centre of the house,
where the rooms, disposed like those already described, around
passages and corridors, served partly as sitting apartments, and
partly as store-rooms.

The stables for the horses and the coach-houses for the traveling
chariots and carts, were in the centre, or inner part of the building;
but the farm-yard where the cattle were kept stood at some distance
from the house, and corresponded to the department known by the Romans
under the name of _rustica_. Though enclosed separately, it was within
the general wall of circuit, which surrounded the land attached to the
villa; and a canal, bringing water from the river, skirted it, and
extended along the back of the grounds. It consisted of two parts; the
sheds for housing the cattle, which stood at the upper end, and the
yard, where rows of rings were fixed, in order to tie them while
feeding in the day-time; and men always attended, and frequently fed
them with the hand.

The granaries were also apart from the house, and were enclosed within
a separate wall; and some of the rooms in which they housed the grain
appear to have had vaulted roofs. These were filled through an
aperture near the top, to which the men ascended by steps, and the
grain when wanted was taken out from a door at the base.

The superintendence of the house and grounds was intrusted to
stewards, who regulated the tillage of the land, received whatever was
derived from the sale of the produce, overlooked the returns of the
quantity of cattle or stock upon the estate, settled all the accounts,
and condemned the delinquent peasants to the bastinado, or any
punishment they might deserve. To one were intrusted the affairs of
the house, answering to "the ruler," "overseer," or "steward of
Joseph's house;" others "superintended the granaries," the vineyard,
or the culture of the fields; and the extent of their duties, or the
number of those employed, depended on the quantity of land, or the
will of its owner.

The mode of laying out their gardens was as varied as that of the
houses; but in all cases they appear to have taken particular care to
command a plentiful supply of water, by means of reservoirs and
canals. Indeed, in no country is artificial irrigation more required
than in the valley of the Nile; and, from the circumstance of the
water of the inundation not being admitted into the gardens, they
depend throughout the year on the supply obtained from wells and
tanks, or a neighboring canal.

The mode of irrigation adopted by the ancient Egyptians was
exceedingly simple, being merely the _shadoof_, or pole and bucket of
the present day; and, in many instances, men were employed to carry
the water in pails, suspended by a wooden yoke they bore upon their
shoulders. The same yoke was employed for carrying other things, as
boxes, baskets containing game and poultry, or whatever was taken to
market; and every trade seems to have used it for this purpose, from
the potter and the brick-maker, to the carpenter and the shipwright.

Part of the garden was laid out in walks shaded with trees, usually
planted in rows, and surrounded, at the base of the stem, with a
circular ridge of earth, which, being lower at the centre than at the
circumference, retained the water, and directed it more immediately
towards the roots. It is difficult to say if trees were trimmed into
any particular shape, or if their formal appearance in the sculpture
is merely owing to a conventional mode of representing them; but,
since the pomegranate, and some other fruit trees, are drawn with
spreading and irregular branches, it is possible that sycamores, and
others, which presented large masses of foliage, were really trained
in that formal manner, though, from the hieroglyphic signifying
"_tree_" having the same shape, we may conclude it was only a general
character for all trees.

Some, as the pomegranates, date-trees, and _dom_-palms, are easily
recognized in the sculptures, but the rest are doubtful, as are the
flowering plants, with the exception of the lotus and a few others.

To the garden department belonged the care of the bees, which were
kept in hives very like our own. In Egypt they required great
attention; and so few are its plants at the present day, that the
owners of hives often take the bees in boats to various spots upon the
Nile, in quest of flowers. They are a smaller kind than our own; and
though found wild in the country, they are far less numerous than
wasps, hornets, and ichneumons. The wild bees live mostly under
stones, or in clefts of the rock, as in many other countries; and the
expression of Moses, as of the Psalmist, "honey out of the rock,"
shows that in Palestine their habits were the same. Honey was thought
of great importance in Egypt, both for household purposes, and for an
offering to the gods; that of Benha (thence surnamed _El assal_), or
Athribis, in the Delta, retained its reputation to a late time; and a
jar of honey from that place was one of the four presents sent by John
Mekaukes, the governor of Egypt, to Mohammed.

Large gardens were usually divided into different parts; the principal
sections being appropriated to the date and sycamore trees, and to the
vineyard. The former may be called the orchard. The flower and kitchen
gardens also occupied a considerable space, laid out in beds; and
dwarf trees, herbs, and flowers, were grown in red earthen pots,
exactly like our own, arranged in long rows by the walks and borders.

Besides the orchard and gardens, some of the large villas had a park
or paradise, with its fish-ponds and preserves for game, as well as
poultry-yards for keeping hens and geese, stalls for fattening cattle,
wild goats, gazelles, and other animals originally from the desert,
whose meat was reckoned among the dainties of the table.

It was in these extensive preserves that the rich amused themselves
with the chase; and they also enclosed a considerable space in the
desert itself with net-fences, into which the animals were driven, and
shot with arrows, or hunted with dogs.

Gardens are frequently represented in the tombs of Thebes and other
parts of Egypt, many of which are remarkable for their extent. The one
here introduced is shown to have been surrounded by an embattled wall,
with a canal of water passing in front of it, connected with the
river. Between the canal and the wall, and parallel to them both, was
a shady avenue of various trees; and about the centre was the
entrance, through a lofty door, whose lintel and jambs were decorated
with hieroglyphic inscriptions, containing the name of the owner of
the grounds, who in this instance was the king himself. In the gateway
were rooms for the porter, and other persons employed about the
garden, and, probably, the receiving room for visitors, whose abrupt
admission might be unwelcome; and at the back a gate opened into the
vineyard. The vines were trained on a trellis-work, supported by
transverse rafters resting on pillars; and a wall, extending round it,
separated this part from the rest of the garden. At the upper end were
suites of rooms on three different stories, looking upon green trees,
and affording a pleasant retreat in the heat of summer. On the outside
of the vineyard wall were placed rows of palms, which occurred again
with the _dom_ and other trees, along the whole length of the exterior
wall; four tanks of water, bordered by a grass plot, where geese were
kept, and the delicate flower of the lotus was encouraged to grow,
served for the irrigation of the grounds; and small _kiosks_ or
summer-houses, shaded with trees, stood near the water, and overlooked
beds of flowers. The spaces containing the tanks, and the adjoining
portions of the garden, were each enclosed by their respective walls,
and a small subdivision on either side, between the large and small
tanks, seems to have been reserved for the growth of particular trees,
which either required peculiar care, or bore a fruit of superior

    [Page Decoration]

    [Illustration: Painted by Edwin Long, A.R.A.
    Engraved & Printed by Illman Brothers

    [Page Decoration]


That the riches of the country were immense is proved by the
appearance of the furniture and domestic utensils, and by the great
quantity of jewels of gold and silver, precious stones, and other
objects of luxury in use among them in the earliest times; their
treasures became proverbial throughout the neighboring states, and a
love of pomp and splendor continued to be the ruling passion of the
Egyptians till the latest period of their existence as an independent

The wealth of Egypt was principally derived from taxes, foreign
tribute, monopolies, commerce, mines, and above all from the
productions of a fruitful soil. The wants of the poorer classes were
easily satisfied; the abundance of grain, herbs and esculent plants,
afforded an ample supply to the inhabitants of the valley of the Nile,
at a trifling expense, and with little labor; and so much corn was
produced in this fertile country, that after sufficing for the
consumption of a very extensive population, it offered a great surplus
for the foreign market; and afforded considerable profit to the
government, being exported to other countries, or sold to the traders
who visited Egypt for commercial purposes.

The gold mines of the Bisharee desert were in those times very
productive; and, though we have no positive notice of their first
discovery, there is reason to believe they were worked at the earliest
periods of the Egyptian monarchy. The total of the annual produce of
the gold and silver mines (which Diodorus, on the authority of
Hecatæus, says, was recorded in the tomb of Osymandyas at Thebes,
apparently a king of the 19th dynasty) is stated to have been 3,200
myriads, or 32 millions of _minæ_--a weight of that country, called by
the Egyptians _mn_ or _mna_, 60 of which were equal to one talent. The
whole sum amounted to 665 millions of our money; but it was evidently

The position of the silver mines is unknown; but the gold mines of
Allaga, and other quartz "diggings," have been discovered, as well as
those of copper, lead, iron and emeralds, all of which are in the
desert near the Red Sea; and the sulphur, which abounds in the same
districts, was not neglected by the ancient Egyptians.

The abundance of gold and silver in Egypt and other ancient countries,
and the sums reported to have been spent, accord well with the reputed
productiveness of the mines in those days; and, as the subject has
become one of peculiar interest, it may be well to inquire respecting
the quantity and the use of the precious metals in ancient times. They
were then mostly confined to the treasures of princes, and of some
rich individuals; the proportion employed for commercial purposes was
small, copper sufficing for most purchases in the home market; and
nearly all the gold and silver money (as yet uncoined) was in the
hands of the wealthy few. The manufacture of jewelry, and other
ornamental objects took up a small portion of the great mass; but it
required the wealth and privilege of royalty to indulge in a grand
display of gold and silver vases, or similar objects of size and

The mines of those days, from which was derived the wealth of Egypt,
Lydia, Persia, and other countries, afforded a large supply of the
precious metals; and if most of them are now exhausted or barely
retain evidences of the treasures they once gave forth, there can be
no doubt of their former productiveness; and it is reasonable to
suppose that gold and silver abounded in early times in those parts
of the world which were first inhabited, as they did in countries more
recently peopled. They may never have afforded at any period the
immense riches of a California or an Australia, yet there is evidence
of their having been sufficiently distributed over various parts of
the old world.

For though Herodotus (iii., 106) says that the extremities of the
earth possess the greatest treasures; these extremities may approach
or become the centre, _i.e._, of civilization, when they arrive at
that eminence which all great countries in their turn seem to have a
chance of reaching; and Britain, the country of the greatly coveted
tin, once looked upon as separated from the rest of mankind, is now
one of the commercial centres of the world. The day, too, has come
when Australia and California are rivals for a similar distinction;
and England, the rendezvous of America in her contests with Europe,
has yielded its turn to younger competitors.

The greatest quantity of gold and silver in early times was derived
from the East; and Asia and Egypt possessed abundance of those metals.
The trade of Colchis, and the treasures of the Arimaspes and
Massagetæ, coming from the Ural (or from the Altai) mountains,
supplied much gold at a very early period, and Indian commerce sent a
large supply to western Asia. Spain, the Isle of Thasos, and other
places, were resorted to by the Phœnicians, particularly for silver;
and Spain, for its mines, became the "El Dorado" of those adventurous

The mines of the Eastern desert, the tributes from Ethiopia and
Central Africa, as well as from Asia, enriched Egypt with gold and
silver; but it was long before Greece (where in heroic times the
precious metals were scarcely known) obtained a moderate supply of
silver from her own mines; and gold only became abundant there after
the Persian war.

Thrace and Macedonia produced gold, as well as other countries, but
confined it to their own use, as Ireland employed the produce of its
mines; and as early Italy did, when its various small states were
still free from the Roman yoke; and though the localities from which
silver was obtained in more ancient times are less known, it is
certain that it was used at a very remote period; and (as before
stated) it was commonly employed in Abraham's time for mercantile

Gold is mentioned on the Egyptian monuments of the 4th dynasty, and
silver was probably of the same early time; but gold was evidently
known in Egypt before silver, which is consistent with reason, gold
being more easily obtained than silver, and frequently near the
surface or in streams.

The relative value and quantity of the precious metals in the earliest
times, in Egypt and Western Asia, are not known; and even if a greater
amount of gold were found mentioned in a tribute, this could be no
proof of the silver being more rare, as it might merely be intended to
show the richness of the gifts. In the tribute brought to Thothmes
III. by the Southern Ethiopians and three Asiatic people, the former
present scarcely any silver, but great quantities of gold in rings,
ingots, and dust. The Asiatic people of Pount bring two baskets of
gold rings, and one of gold dust in bags, a much smaller amount of
gold than the Ethiopians, and no silver; those of Kufa, or Kaf, more
silver than gold, and a considerable quantity of both made into vases
of handsome and varied shapes; and the Rot-n̄-n (apparently living
on the Euphrates) present rather more gold than silver, a large basket
of gold and a smaller one of silver rings, two small silver and
several large gold vases, which are of the most elegant shape, as well
as colored glass or porcelain cups, and much incense and bitumen. The
great Asiatic tribute to the same king at Karnak, speaks in one place
of 100 ingots (or pounds weight?) of gold and silver, and afterwards
of 401 of silver; but the imperfect preservation of that record
prevents our ascertaining how much gold was brought, or the relative
proportions of the two metals.

M. Leon Faucher, indeed, suggested that the value of silver in some
countries originally equaled, if it did not exceed, that of gold ...
and the laws of Menes state that gold was worth two and a half times
more than silver.... Everywhere, except in India, between the fifth
and sixth century B.C., the relative value of gold and silver was 6 or
8 to 1, as it was in China and Japan at the end of the last century.
In Greece it was, according to Herodotus, as 13 to 1; afterwards, in
Plato's and Xenophon's time, and more than 100 years after the death
of Alexander, as 10 to 1, owing to the quantity of gold brought in
through the Persian war; when the value of both fell so much, that in
the time of Demosthenes it was five times less than at the death of

Though it may not be possible to arrive at any satisfactory conclusion
respecting the quantity of gold and silver taken from the mines,
employed in objects of art and luxury, or in circulation as money in
Egypt and other countries, we shall introduce a few facts derived from
the accounts of ancient authors, relating to the amount of wealth
amassed, and the purposes to which those precious metals were applied.
We shall also show some of the fluctuations that have taken place in
the supply of them at various periods; and shall endeavor to establish
a comparison between the quantity said to have been in use in ancient
and modern times.

When we read of the enormous wealth amassed by the Egyptian and
Asiatic kings, or the plunder by Alexander and the Romans, we wonder
how so much could have been obtained; for, even allowing for
considerable exaggeration in the accounts of early times, there is no
reason to disbelieve the private fortunes of individuals at Rome, and
the sums squandered by them, or even the amount of some of the
tributes levied in the East. Of ancient cities, Babylon is
particularly cited by Herodotus and others for its immense wealth.
Diodorus (ii. 9) mentions a golden statue of Jupiter at Babylon 40
feet high, weighing 1,000 Babylonian talents; another of Rhea, of
equal weight, having two lions on its knees, and near it silver
serpents of 300 talents each; a standing statue of Juno weighing 800
talents, holding a snake, and a sceptre set with gems; as well as a
golden table of 500 talents weight on which were two cups weighing 300
talents, and two censers each of 300 talents weight, with three golden
bowls, one of which, belonging to Jupiter, weighed 1,200 talents, the
others each 600; making a total of at least 6,900 talents, reckoned
equal to $55,000,000. And the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar, 60
cubits, or 90 feet high, at the same ratio would weigh 2,250 talents,
or $17,934,820.

David, who had not the Indian and Arabian trade afterwards obtained by
Solomon, left for the building of the temple 100,000 talents of gold
and 1,000,000 of silver; and the sum given by him of his "own proper
good," "over and above all prepared for the holy house," was "3,000
talents of gold" and "7,000 of refined silver;" besides the chief
men's contributions of 500 talents and 10,000 drachms of gold, 10,000
talents of silver, and an abundance of brass, iron, and precious

The annual tribute of Solomon was 666 talents of gold, besides that
brought by the merchants, and the present from the Queen of Sheba of
120 talents; and the quantity of gold and silver used in the temple
and his house was extraordinary. Mr. Jacob, in his valuable work on
the precious metals, has noticed many of these immense sums, collected
in old times. Among them are the tribute of Darius, amounting to 9,880
talents of silver and 4,680 of gold, making a total of 14,560,
estimated at about $37,250,000; the sums taken by Xerxes to Greece;
the wealth of Crœsus; the riches of Pytheus, king of a small territory
in Phrygia, possessing gold and silver mines, who entertained the army
of Xerxes, and gave him 2,000 talents of silver and 4,093,000 staters
of gold (equal to 23,850,000 dollars of our money); the treasures
acquired by Alexander, in Susa and Persia, exclusive of that found in
the Persian camp and in Babylon, said to have amounted to 40,000 or
50,000 talents; the treasure of Persepolis rated at 120,000 talents;
that of Pasagarda at 6,000; and the 180,000 talents collected at the
capture of Ecbatana; besides 6,000 which Darius had with him, and were
taken by his murderers. "Ptolemy Philadelphus is stated by Appian to
have possessed treasure to the enormous amount of 740,000 talents;"
either "890 million dollars, or at least a quarter of that sum;" and
fortunes of private individuals at Rome show the enormous wealth they
possessed. "Crassus had in lands $8,072,915, besides as much more in
money, furniture, and slaves; Seneca, $12,109,375; Pallas, the
freedman of Claudius, an equal sum; Lentulus, the augur, $16,145,805;
Cæc. Cl. Isidorus, though he had lost a great part of his fortune in
the civil war, left by his will 4,116 slaves, 3,600 yoke of oxen,
257,000 other cattle, and in ready money $2,421,875. Augustus received
by the testaments of his friends $161,458,330. Tiberius left at his
death $108,984,375, which Caligula lavished away in less than one
year; and Vespasian, at his succession, said that to support the state
he required _quadrigenties millies_, or $1,614,083,330. The debts of
Milo amounted to $2,825,520. J. Cæsar, before he held any office, owed
1,300 talents, $1,279,375; and when he set out for Spain after his
prætorship, he is reported to have said, that 'Bis millies et
quingenties sibi deesse, ut nihil haberet,' or 'that he was
$10,091,145 worse than nothing.' When he first entered Rome, in the
beginning of the civil war, he took out of the treasury $5,479,895,
and brought into it at the end of it $24,218,750; he purchased the
friendship of Curio, at the commencement of the civil war, by a bribe
of $2,421,856, and that of the consul, L. Paulus, by 1,500 talents,
about $1,397,500; Apicius wasted on luxurious living $2,421,875;
Caligula laid out on a supper $403,625; and the ordinary expense of
Lucullus for a supper in the Hall of Apollo was 50,000 drachms, or
$8,070. The house of Marius, bought of Cornelia for $12,105, was sold
to Lucullus for $80,760; the burning of his villa was a loss to M.
Scaurus of $4,036,455; and Nero's golden house must have cost an
immense sum, since Otho laid out in furnishing a part of it
$2,017,225." But though Rome was greatly enriched by conquest, she
never obtained possession of the chief wealth of Asia; and the largest
quantity of the precious metals was always excluded from the
calculations of ancient writers.

The whole revenue of the Roman Empire under Augustus is "supposed to
have been equal to 200 millions of our money;" and at the time of his
death (A.D. 14) the gold and silver in circulation throughout the
empire is supposed to have amounted to $1,790,000,000; which at a
reduction of 1 grain in 360 every year for wear, would have been
reduced by the year A.D. 482 to $435,165,495; and when the mines of
Hungary and Germany began to be worked, during the seventh and ninth
centuries, the entire amount of coined money was not more than about
42 at the former, and 165 or 170 million dollars at the latter,
period; so that if no other supply had been obtained, the quantity
then circulating would long since have been exhausted.

"The loss by wear on silver" is shown by Mr. Jacob "to be four times
that of gold;" that on our money is estimated at more than one part in
a hundred annually; and "the smaller the pieces, the greater loss do
they suffer by abrasion." "The maximum of durability of gold coins
seems to be fixed at 22 parts, in 24, of pure gold with the
appropriate alloys. When the fineness ascends or descends from that
point, the consumption by abrasion is increased."

It is from its ductility that gold wears so much less than silver; and
many ancient gold coins (as those of Alexander and others), though
evidently worn by use, nearly retain their true weight, from the
surface being partly transferred into the adjacent hollows, and not
entirely rubbed off as in silver.

The quantity of the precious metals, formerly used for the purposes of
luxury, greatly diminished after the decline of the Roman empire, and
in the middle ages they were sparingly employed except for coinage;
ornamental work in gold and silver, mostly executed by first-rate
artists, being confined to men of rank, till the opening of new mines
added to the supply; which was afterwards increased by the abundant
treasures of America; and the quantity applied to ornamental purposes
then began to vie with that of olden times.

M. Leon Faucher even calculates the annual abstraction of the precious
metals from circulation by use for luxury, disasters at sea, and
export, at 25 million dollars, in Europe and the United States.

The silver from the American mines exported to Europe in 100 years, to
1630, gave an addition to the currency of 5 million dollars annually,
besides that used for other purposes, or re-exported; and from 1630 to
1830 from 7-1/2 to 10 millions annually; an increase in the quantity
used for currency having taken place, as well as in that exported to
India, and employed for purposes of luxury.

Humboldt states the whole quantity of gold from the American mines, up
to 1803, to be 162 millions of pounds in weight, and of silver 7,178
millions, or 44 of silver to 1 of gold.

Again, the total value of gold produced during three centuries to
1848, including that from Russia, has been estimated at
$2,825,000,000; and the total annual quantity of gold, before the
discovery of the Californian fields, has been reckoned at about
$50,000,000. That from California and Australia already amounts yearly
to $170,000,000 (or 3-2/5 times as much as previously obtained), and
is still increasing; but though far beyond the supply afforded by the
discovery of America, the demand made upon it by the modern industry
of man, together with the effect of rapid communication, and of the
extension of trade, as well as by the great deficiency of gold in the
world, will prevent its action being felt in the same way as when the
American supply was first obtained; and still less will be the effect
now, than it would have been in ancient times, if so large and sudden
a discovery had then been made. For, as Chevalier says, "Vast as is
the whole amount of gold in the world, it sinks into insignificance
when contrasted with the aggregate product of other branches of human
industry. If they increase as fast as the gold, little or no
alteration will take place in its value; which depends on the relation
between it and the annual production of other wealth."

According to another calculation, all the gold now in the world is
supposed to be equal to about $3,410,000,000; but the whole amount of
either of the two precious metals in old times is not easily
ascertained, nor can any definite comparison be established between
their former and present value. And still less in Egypt, than in
Greece and Rome, no standard of calculation being obtainable from the
prices of commodities there, or from any other means of determining,
the value of gold and silver.

    [Page Decoration]


[21] At this meal, contrary to the usual custom, women were present.

[22] According to tradition, many Makedonians were killed by the
Persians taking hold of their long beards, and pulling them to the
ground. Alexander, in consequence, had his troops shaved during the

    [Page Decoration]


The immense number and variety of statues, lamps, urns, articles of
domestic use, in metal or earthenware, etc., discovered at Herculaneum
and Pompeii, have rendered the Museum at Naples an inexhaustible
treasury of information relative to the private life of the ancients.
To give an adequate description of the richness and variety of its
contents would far exceed the whole extent of this work, much more the
small space which it can have; but that space can not be better
occupied than in describing some few articles which possess an
interest from the ingenuity of their construction, the beauty of their
workmanship, or their power to illustrate ancient usages or ancient

Writing implements are among the most important of the latter class,
on account of the constant mention of them, as well as of the
influence which the comparative ease or difficulty of producing copies
of writing is always found to exert over society. On this head there
is no want of information. The implements used are frequently
mentioned, especially in familiar writings, as the letters of Cicero,
and their forms have been tolerably ascertained from various fragments
of ancient paintings.

It is hardly necessary to state that for manuscripts of any length,
and such as were meant to be preserved, parchment or vellum, and a
vegetable tissue manufactured from the rush _papyrus_, were in use.
The stalk of this plant consists of a number of thin concentric coats,
which, being carefully detached, were pasted crossways one over the
other, like the warp and woof in woven manufactures, so that the
fibres ran longitudinally in each direction, and opposed in each an
equal resistance to violence. The surface was then polished with a
shell, or some hard smooth substance. The ink used was a simple black
liquid, containing no mordant to give it durability, so that the
writing was easily effaced by the application of a sponge. The length
of the Greek papyri is said to vary from eight to twelve inches; the
Latin often reach sixteen; the writing is in columns, placed at right
angles to the length of the roll.

To each of them is appended a sort of ticket, which served as a title.
Hence the end of the roll, or volume, was called _frons_, a term of
frequent recurrence in Ovid and Martial, and not always rightly
understood. Hence, also, when we meet with the expression, _gemina
frons_, we must understand that the volume had a ticket at each end.
These books were also composed of two tables or pages, and served for
memoranda, letters, and other writings, not intended to be preserved.
They were composed of leaves of wood or metal coated over with wax,
upon which the ancients wrote with a _stylus_, or iron pen, or point
rather, for it was a solid sharp-pointed instrument, some 6 to 8
inches in length, like a lady's stiletto upon a large scale. In the
middle of each leaf there appears to have been a button, called
_umbilicus_, intended to prevent the pages touching when closed, and
obliterating the letters traced on the yielding wax.

The tablets here represented would be called twofold, as consisting
only of two leaves; in the following cut may be seen another sort,
consisting of several leaves, united at the back with hinges or rings.
In Latin they were called _tabulæ_, or _tabellæ_, and the epithets,
duplices, triplices, quintuplices, served to mark the number of the

Beside them stands a double inkstand, intended probably to contain
both black and red ink. The former was made either of lampblack or
some other sort of charcoal, or from the cuttlefish, and was called
atramentum. As it contained no mordant, and was readily obliterated by
moisture, it could be used for writing upon ivory tablets; and it has
been conjectured that some sorts of paper were covered with a wash, or
varnish, to facilitate the discharge of the old writing, and render
the paper serviceable a second time. Red ink was prepared from
cinnabar. The reed, cut to a point, which lies beside the inkstand, is
the instrument used in writing with ink before the application of
quills. It was called _calamus_. The open papyrus explains how
manuscripts were read, rolled up at each end, so as to show only the
column of writing upon which the student was intent. At the other side
is a purse, or bag, to hold the reed, penknife, and other writing

    [Illustration: TABULÆ, CALAMUS, AND PAPYRUS.]

The next cut represents, besides a set of tablets bound up, a single
one hanging from a nail. Such, probably, were those suspended at
Epidaurus, containing remedies by which the sick had been cured, by
the perusal of which Hippocrates is said to have profited in the
compilation of his medical works. It also contains, besides a papyrus
similar to those described, a hexagonal inkstand, with a ring to pass
the finger through, upon which there lies an instrument resembling a
reed, but the absence of the knots, or joints, marks it to be a
stylus. Another of these instruments leans against the open book.

    [Illustration: TABULÆ, STYLUS, AND PAPYRUS.]

These were made of every sort of material; sometimes with the precious
metals, but usually of iron, and on occasion might be turned into
formidable weapons. It was with his stylus that Cæsar stabbed Casca in
the arm, when attacked in the senate by his murderers; and Caligula
employed some person to put to death a senator with the same

In the reign of Claudius women and boys were searched to ascertain
whether there were styluses in their pen-cases. Stabbing with the pen,
therefore, is not merely a metaphorical expression. Tablets such as
those here represented, were the day-books, or account-books. When
they were full, or when the writing on them was no longer useful, the
wax was smoothed, and they were ready again for other service.

    [Illustration: TABULÆ AND INK STAND.]

The cut above, besides an inkstand, represents an open book. The
thinness and yellowish color of the leaves, which are tied together
with ribbon, denotes that it was made of parchment or vellum.

    [Illustration: LIBRARIES AND MONEY.]

Below is a cylindrical box, called _scrinium_ and _capsa_, or
_capsula_, in which the manuscripts were placed vertically, the titles
at the top. Catullus excuses himself to Manlius for not having sent
him the required verses, because he had with him only one box of his
books. It is evident that a great number of volumes might be comprised
in this way within a small space; and this may tend to explain the
smallness of the ancient libraries--at least of the rooms which are
considered to have been such. Beside the box are two tablets, which,
from the money-bag and coins scattered about, had probably been used
in reckoning accounts.

No perfect papyri, but only fragments, have been found at Pompeii. At
Herculaneum, up to the year 1825, 1,756 had been obtained, besides
many others destroyed by the workmen, who imagined them to be mere
sticks of charcoal. Most of them were found in a suburban villa, in a
room of small dimensions, ranged in presses round the sides of the
room, in the centre of which stood a sort of rectangular book-case.

Sir Humphry Davy, after investigating their chemical nature, arrived
at the conclusion that they had not been carbonized by heat, but
changed by the long action of air and moisture; and he visited Naples
in hopes of rendering the resources of chemistry available towards
deciphering these long-lost literary treasures. His expectations,
however, were not fully crowned with success, although the partial
efficacy of his methods was established; and he relinquished the
pursuit at the end of six months, partly from disappointment, partly
from a belief that vexatious obstacles were thrown in his way by the
jealousy of the persons to whom the task of unrolling had been
intrusted. About five hundred volumes have been well and neatly
unrolled. It is rather remarkable that, as far as we are acquainted,
no manuscript of any known standard work has been found, nor, indeed,
any production of any of the great luminaries of the ancient world.

The most celebrated person, of whom any work has been found, is
Epicurus, whose treatise, _De Natura_, has been successfully unrolled.
This and a few other treatises have been published. The library in
which this was found appears to have been rich in treatises on the
Epicurean philosophy. The only Latin work which it contained was a
poem, attributed to Rabirius, on the war of Cæsar and Antony.

A curious literary monument has been found in the shape of a
calendar. It is cut on a square block of marble, upon each side of
which three months are registered in perpendicular columns, each
headed by the proper sign of the zodiac. The information given may be
classed under three heads, astronomical, agricultural, and religious.
The first begins with the name of the month; then follows the number
of days; then the nones, which in eight months of the year fall on the
fifth day, and were thence called quintanæ--in the others on the
seventh, and were, therefore, called septimanæ. The ides are not
mentioned, because seven days always elapsed between them and the
nones. The number of hours in the day and night is also given, the
integral part being given by the usual numerals, the fractional by an
S for semissis, the half, and by small horizontal lines for the
quarters. Lastly, the sign of the zodiac in which the sun is to be
found is named, and the days of the equinoxes and of the summer
solstice are determined; for the winter solstice we read, _Hiemis
initium_, the beginning of winter. Next the calendar proceeds to the
agricultural portion, in which the farmer is reminded of the principal
operations which are to be done within the month. It concludes with
the religious part, in which, besides indicating the god under whose
guardianship the month is placed, it notes the religious festivals
which fall within it, and warns the cultivator against neglecting the
worship of those deities upon whose favor and protection the success
of his labors is supposed mainly to depend.

    [Illustration: GOLD LAMP. (_Found at Pompeii._)]

No articles of ancient manufacture are more common than lamps. They
are found in every variety of form and size, in clay and in metal,
from the cheapest to the most costly description. A large and handsome
gold lamp found at Pompeii in 1863 may be seen in the Pompeian room at
the museum in Naples. We have the testimony of the celebrated
antiquary, Winkleman, to the interest of this subject. "I place among
the most curious utensils found at Herculaneum, the lamps, in which
the ancients sought to display elegance and even magnificence. Lamps
of every sort will be found in the museum at Portici, both in clay
and bronze, but especially the latter; and as the ornaments of the
ancients have generally some reference to some particular things, we
often meet with rather remarkable subjects. A considerable number of
these articles will be found in the British Museum, but they are
chiefly of the commoner sort. All the works, however, descriptive of
Herculaneum and Pompeii, present us with specimens of the richer and
more remarkable class which attract admiration both by the beauty of
the workmanship and the whimsical variety of their designs. We may
enumerate a few which occur in a work now before us, 'Antiquites
d'Herculanum,' in which we find a Silenus, with the usual
peculiarities of figure ascribed to the jolly god rather exaggerated,
and an owl sitting on his head between two huge horns, which support
stands for lamps. Another represents a flower-stalk growing out of a
circular plinth, with snail-shells hanging from it by small chains,
which held the oil and wick; the trunk of a tree, with lamps suspended
from the branches; another, a naked boy, beautifully wrought, with a
lamp hanging from one hand, and an instrument for trimming it from the
other, the lamp itself representing a theatrical mask. Beside him is a
twisted column surmounted by the head of a Faun or Bacchanal, which
has a lid in its crown, and seems intended as a reservoir of oil. The
boy and pillar are both placed on a square plateau raised upon lions'
claws. But beautiful as these lamps are, the light which they gave
must have been weak and unsteady, and little superior to that of the
old-fashioned common lamps, with which they are identical in
principle. The wick was merely a few twisted threads drawn through a
hole in the upper surface of the oil vessel, and there was no glass to
steady the light and prevent its varying with every breeze that blew.

"Still, though the Romans had not advanced so far in art as to apply
glass chimneys and hollow circular wicks to their lamps, they had
experienced the inconvenience of going home at night through a city
poorly paved, watched and lighted, and accordingly soon invented
lanterns to meet the want. These, we learn from Martial, who has
several epigrams upon this subject, were made of horn or bladder: no
mention, we believe, occurs of glass being thus employed. The rich
were preceded by a slave bearing their lantern. This Cicero mentions
as being the habit of Catiline upon his midnight expeditions; and when
M. Antony was accused of a disgraceful intrigue, his lantern-bearer
was tortured to extort a confession whither he had conducted his
master. One of these machines, of considerable ingenuity and beauty of
workmanship, was found in Herculaneum, and another almost exactly the
same, at Pompeii a few years after. In form it is cylindrical, with a
hemispherical top, and it is made of sheet-copper, except the two main
pieces, which are cast. The bottom consists of a flat, circular copper
plate, supported by three balls, and turned up all around the rim,
from which rise the rectangular supports, which support the upper part
of the frame. The top and bottom were further connected by the
interior uprights, between which the laminæ of horn or glass were
placed, and secured at the top and bottom by the doublings of the
copper. Horn was the most common substance used to transmit the light,
but bladder and other membranes were also employed. In the centre of
the lantern is seen the small lamp. The cover is hemispherical, and
lifts up and down: it is pierced with holes for the admission of air,
and has besides the characters NBVRTI-CATIS pricked upon it. These
have been interpreted, Tiburti Cati Sum, or Tiburti Cati S. (ervus),
indicating, the one that it belonged to Catus, or that it was to be
carried by his slave."

    [Illustration: CANDELABRUM, OR LAMP STAND.]

One of the most elegant articles of furniture in ancient use was the
candelabrum, by which we mean those tall and slender stands which
served to support a lamp, but were independent of, and unconnected
with, it. These, in their original and simple form, were mere reeds or
straight sticks, fixed upon a foot by peasants to raise their light to
a convenient height; at least such a theory of their origin is
agreeable to what we are told of the rustic manners of the early
Romans, and it is in some degree countenanced by the fashion in which
many of the ancient candelabra are made. Sometimes the stem is
represented as throwing out buds; sometimes it is a stick, the side
branches of which have been roughly lopped, leaving projections where
they grew; sometimes it is in the likeness of a reed or cane, the
stalk being divided into joints. Most of those which have been found
in the buried cities are of bronze, some few of iron. In their general
plan and appearance there is a great resemblance, though the details
of the ornaments admit of infinite variety. All stand on three feet,
usually griffins' or lions' claws, which support a light shaft, plain
or fluted according to the fancy of the maker. The whole supports
either a plinth large enough for a lamp to stand on, or a socket to
receive a wax candle, which the Romans used sometimes instead of oil
in lighting their rooms. Some of them have a sliding shaft, like that
of a music stand, by which the light might be raised or lowered at

    [Illustration: CANDELABRA, OR LAMP STANDS.]

One of those elegant table lamps, by the praise of which the present
discussion was introduced, is represented in the accompanying plate.
Including the stand it is three feet high. On a rectangular plinth
rises a rectangular pillar, crowned by a capricious capital. On the
front of the pillar is a mask of a Bacchante, with fine features and
long flowing hair; and on the opposite side, the head of a bull, with
the Greek word Bucranion. From the extreme points of the abacus, four
ornamental branches, beautifully chased, project; the lamps which now
hang from them, though ancient, also, are not those which belong to
the stand, and were not found with it. They are nearly alike in
figure, but differ in size. Three of them are ornamented with various
animals, the fourth is plain. One of them has each of its ends wrought
into the form of a shell. Above are two eagles in high relief, with
the thunderbolt of Jupiter in their talons. Another has two bulls'
heads, a third two elephants' heads projecting from the sides. The
latter is suspended by two dolphins, instead of the chains generally
in use, whose tails are united, and attached to a small ball and ring.
The pillar is not placed in the center, but at one end of the plinth,
which is the case in almost every lamp of this description yet found.
The space thus obtained may have served as a stand for the oil vase
used in trimming the lamps. The plinth is beautifully damasked, or
inlaid, in imitation of a vine, the leaves of which are of silver, the
stem and fruit of bright brass. On one side is an altar with wood and
fire upon it; on the other a Bacchus, naked, with his thick hair
plaited and bound with ivy. He rides a tiger, and has his left hand in
the attitude of holding reins, which time probably has destroyed; with
the right he raises a drinking-horn. The workmanship of this lamp is
exquisitely delicate in all its parts.

Before we quit this subject we have still one candelabrum to notice,
which for simplicity of design and delicacy of execution is hardly to
be surpassed by any in the Neapolitan collection. The stem is formed
of a liliaceous plant, divided into two branches, each of which
supports a flat disc, which may represent the flower, upon which a
lamp was placed. At the base is a mass of bronze which gives stability
to the whole, upon which a Silenus is seated, earnestly engaged in
trying to pour wine from a skin which he holds in his left hand into a
cup in his right. In this figure all the distinctive marks of the
companion and tutor of Bacchus are expressed with great skill; the
pointed ears, the goat's tail, the shaggy skin, the flat nose, and the
ample rotundity of body, leave no doubt on our minds as to the person
intended to be represented. The head, especially, is admirable, both
in respect of workmanship and expression.

Amongst Greek domestic utensils we also count articles made of
basket-work, which frequently occur in antique pictures. The
kalathos, the basket for keeping wool (used for weaving and
embroidering), and also flowers and fruit, is frequently met with in
vase paintings illustrating the life of Greek women. As early as
Homer's time baskets, probably round or oval, were used at meals, to
keep bread and pastry in. They had a low rim and handles. The kaneon
was also used at offerings, where it is filled with pomegranates,
holly boughs and ribbons. At the Panathenaia noble Athenian maidens
carried such baskets, filled with holy cakes, incense, and knives on
their heads. These graceful figures were a favorite subject of antique
sculpture. Both Polyklete and Skopas had done a celebrated
kanephore--the former in bronze, the latter in marble. There was also
a flat basket, chiefly used for carrying fish, similar to that used at
the present day by fishermen in the south. Other baskets used by
peasants appear frequently in antique pictures, in the original
carried by a peasant on a stick over his shoulder, together with
another basket of the same pear-like shape, taken from a bas-relief
representing a vintage, in which the former appears filled with
grapes, while the latter is being filled with must by a boy. This
proves, at the same time, the knowledge amongst the Greeks of the art
of making the basket-work dense enough to hold fluids. The same fact
is shown by a passage in Homer, in which Polyphemos lets the milk
coagulate to cheese in baskets, which cheese was afterwards placed on
a hurdle through which the whey trickled slowly. Of plaited rushes, or
twigs, consisted also a peculiar kind of net, a specimen of which is
seen on the reverse of a medal coined under the Emperor Macrinus, as
the emblem of the maritime city of Byzantium.

To light and heat the room, in Homer's time, fire-baskets, or
fire-basins were used, standing on high poles, and fed with dry logs
of wood or splinters. The cinders were, at intervals, removed by
serving-maids, and the flames replenished. Such fire-baskets on poles
are still used by night-travelers in Southern Russia, and at nightly
ceremonies in India. The use of pine-torches is of equal antiquity.
They consisted of long, thin sticks of pine-wood, tied together with
bark, rushes or papyrus. The bark of the vine was also used for
torches, called lophis. The golden statues on pedestals, in the hall
of Alkinoos, undoubtedly held such torches in their hands. In vase
paintings we also see a different form of the torch, carried chiefly
by Demeter and Persephone, which consists of two pieces of wood
fastened crosswise to a staff. An imitation of this wooden torch was
undoubtedly the torch-case made of clay or metal in the shape of a
salpinx. Its surface was either smooth or formed in imitation of the
bundles of sticks and the bark of the wooden torch, the inside being
filled with resinous substances.

    [Illustration: STANDING LAMP.]

    [Illustration: ANCIENT LAMPS.]

The date of oil-lamps in Greece can not be stated with accuracy; they
were known at the time of Aristophanes. They were made of terra-cotta
or metal, and their construction resembles those used by the Romans.
They are mostly closed semi-globes with two openings, one, in the
centre, to pour the oil in, the other in the nose-shaped prolongation
destined to receive the wick. Amongst the small numbers of Greek lamps
preserved to us we have chosen a few of the most graceful specimens,
one of them showing the ordinary form of the lamp. Some are made of
clay, the latter being painted in various colors. The Athenians also
used lanterns made of transparent horn, and lit up with oil-lamps.
They were carried at night in the streets like the torches. Sparks,
carefully preserved under the ashes, served both Greeks and Romans to
light the fire. The ancients had, however, a lighting apparatus
consisting of two pieces of wood, of which the one was driven into the
other, like a gimlet, the friction effecting a flame. According to
Theophrast, the wood of nut or chestnut trees was generally used for
the purpose.

The street running from the Temple of Fortune to the Forum, called the
Street of the Forum, in Pompeii, and forming a continuation of that of
Mercury, has furnished an unusually rich harvest of various utensils.
A long list of these is given by Sir W. Gell, according to which there
were found no less than two hundred and fifty small bottles of
inferior glass, with numerous other articles of the same material,
which it would be tedious to particularize.

A marble statue of a laughing faun, two bronze figures of Mercury, the
one three inches and the other four inches high, and a statue of a
female nine inches high, were also found, together with many bronze
lamps and stands. We may add vases, basins with handles, pateræ,
bells, elastic springs, hinges, buckles for harness, a lock, an
inkstand, and a strigil; gold ear-rings and a silver spoon; an oval
cauldron, a saucepan, a mould for pastry, and a weight of alabaster
used in spinning, with its ivory axis remaining. The catalogue
finishes with a leaden weight, forty-nine lamps of common clay
ornamented with masks and animals, forty-five lamps for two wicks,
three boxes with a slit to keep money in, in one of which were found
thirteen coins of Titus, Vespasian, and Domitian. Among the most
curious things discovered, were seven glazed plates found packed in
straw. There were also seventeen unvarnished vases of terra-cotta and
seven clay dishes, and a large pestle and mortar. The scales and
steelyard which we have given are said to have been found at the same
time. On the beam of the steelyard are Roman numerals from X. to
XXXX.; a V was placed for division between each X.; smaller divisions
are also marked. The inscription is

    T. IMP. AVG. F. VI. C.

which is translated thus: "In the eighth consulate of Vespasian
Emperor Augustus, and in the sixth of Titus, Emperor and son of
Augustus. Proved in the Capitol." This shows the great care taken to
enforce a strict uniformity in the weights and measures used
throughout the empire; the date corresponds with the year 77 of our
era, only two years previous to the great eruption. The steelyard
found was also furnished with chains and hooks, and with numbers up to
XXX. Another pair of scales had two cups, with a weight on the side
opposite to the material weighed, to mark more accurately the
fractional weight; this weight was called by the ancients ligula, and

    [Illustration: SCALES AND WEIGHTS.]

Gell tells us that the skeleton of a Pompeian was found here, "who
apparently, for the sake of sixty coins, a small plate and a saucepan
of silver, had remained in his house till the street was already half
filled with volcanic matter." He was found as if in the act of
escaping from his window. Two others were found in the same street.

The shops in the street on the north side of the Temple of Augustus
most probably supplied those who feasted with dainties; and it has
been called the Street of Dried Fruits, from the quantity of raisins,
figs, plums, and chestnuts, fruit of several sorts preserved in vases
of glass, hempseed, and lentils. It is now, however, more generally
known as the Street of the Augustals. Scales, money, moulds for pastry
and bread, were discovered in the shops; and a bronze statue of Fame,
small, and delicately executed, having golden bracelets round the

In the northern entrance to the building the name CELSVM was written
on a pilaster; near it was found in a box a gold ring with an engraved
stone set in it, forty-one silver, and a thousand and thirty-six brass

The next group of vessels, though nearly destitute of ornament, and
probably of a very ordinary class, will serve to give us some idea of
the cooking vessels of the Romans. One of the most celebrated vases in
the Neapolitan collection was found with a bronze simpulum in it; and
upon the vase itself there was a sacrificial painting, representing a
priest in the act of pouring out a libation from a vase with the

Pottery in ancient times was usually much more ornamental than at
present, although it was often the case that their ornaments were
rather an inconvenience, and would simply encumber the vessels; in our
practical age more importance is placed in the convenience and utility
than in beauty. Even their common vessels are not without a certain
degree of elegance, both in form and workmanship.

    [Illustration: VESSELS. (_From Pompeii._)]

Great numbers of clay vases have been found, of which the following is
a very beautiful specimen. The lip and base have the favorite ovolo
moulding; the body has two rows of fluting separated by a transverse
band, charged with leaves, and with a swan in the centre. The neck of
the vase is painted, and the same subject is given on each side. It
represents a chariot, drawn by four animals at full gallop, which
appear to be intermediate between tigers and panthers. A winged genius
directs them with his left hand, while with his right he goads them
with a javelin.

Another winged figure preceding the quadriga, with a thyrsus in his
left hand, is in the act of seizing the bridle of one of the animals.
The whole is painted in white on a black ground, except some few of
the details, which are yellow, and the car and mantle of the genius,
which are red. The handles represent knotted cords, or flexible
branches interlaced, which terminate in the heads of animals. This
vase is much cracked, probably in consequence of the violence of the

Some drinking vessels of peculiar construction have been found, which
merit a particular description. These were in the shape of a horn, the
primitive drinking-vessel, and had commonly a hole at the point, to be
closed with the finger, until the drinker, raising it above his mouth,
suffered the liquor to flow in a stream from the orifice.

    [Illustration: DRINKING VESSEL.]

This method of drinking, which is still practiced in some parts of the
Mediterranean, must require great skill in order to hit the mark
exactly. Sometimes the hole at the tip was closed, and one or two
handles fitted to the side, and then the base formed the mouth; and
sometimes the whimsical fancy of the potter fashioned it into the head
of a pig, a stag, or any other animal. One in the Neapolitan Museum
has the head of an eagle with the ears of a man.

These vases are usually of clay, but cheap as is the material, it is
evident by their good workmanship that they were not made by the
lowest artists.

The learned seem to have been generally mistaken on the subject of
glass-making among the ancients, who appear to have been far more
skillful than had been imagined. The vast collection of bottles,
vases, glasses, and other utensils, discovered at Pompeii, is
sufficient to show that the ancients were well acquainted with the art
of glass-blowing.

There is no doubt but that the Romans possessed glass in sufficient
plenty to apply it to purposes of household ornament. The raw material
appears from Pliny's account to have undergone two fusions; the first
converted it into a rough mass called ammonitrum, which was melted
again and became pure glass. We are also told of a dark-colored glass
resembling obsidian, plentiful enough to be cast into solid statues.

Pliny mentions having seen images of Augustus cast in this substance.
It probably was some coarse kind of glass resembling the ammonitrum,
or such as that in which the scoriæ of our iron furnaces abound. Glass
was worked either by blowing it with a pipe, as is now practiced, by
turning in a lathe, by engraving and carving it, or, as we have
noticed, by casting it in a mould.

The ancients had certainly acquired great skill in the manufacture, as
appears both from the accounts which have been preserved by ancient
authors, and by the specimens which still exist--among which we may
notice, as pre-eminently beautiful, that torment of antiquaries, the
Portland vase, preserved in the British Museum. We have already
adverted to another vase of the same kind, and of almost equal beauty,
found in one of the tombs near the Gate of Herculaneum.

A remarkable story is told by Dion Cassius, of a man who, in the time
of the Emperor Tiberius, brought a glass cup into the imperial
presence and dashed it on the ground. To the wonder of the spectators,
the vessel bent under the blow without breaking, and the ingenious
artist immediately hammered out the bruise, and restored it whole and
sound to its original form; in return for which display of his skill,
Tiberius, it is said, ordered him to be immediately put to death.

The story is a strange one, yet it is confirmed by Pliny, who both
mentions the discovery itself, and gives a clue to the motives which
may have urged the emperor to a cruelty apparently so unprovoked. He
speaks of an artificer who had invented a method of making flexible
glass, and adds that Tiberius banished him, lest this new fashion
should injure the workers in metal, of whose trade the manufacture of
gold, silver, and other drinking-cups, and furniture for the table,
formed an extensive and important branch.

The Romans were also well acquainted with the art of coloring glass,
as appears, among other proofs, from the glass mosaics, of which
mention has been made. Pliny speaks of a blood-red sort, called
hæmatinum, from blood, of white glass, blue glass, etc. The most
valuable sort, however, was the colorless crystal glass, for two cups
of which, with handles on each side, Nero gave 6,000 sesterces, about

Under this head we may speak of the vases called _murrhina_, since one
theory respecting them is, that they were made of variegated glass.
Their nature, however, is doubtful; not so their value. Pliny speaks
of 70 talents being given for one holding three sextarii, about four
and a half pints. Titus Petronius on his death-bed defrauded the
avarice of Nero, who had compelled him, by a common piece of tyranny,
to appoint the crown his heir by breaking a murrhine trulla, or flat
bowl, worth 300 talents. Nero himself, as became a prince, outdid all
by giving 100 talents for a single capis, or drinking-cup, "a
memorable circumstance, that an emperor, and father of his country,
should have drunk at so dear a rate." Pliny's description of this
substance runs thus:

"It is to be noticed that we have these rich cassidoin vessels (called
in Latin murrhina) from the East, and that from places otherwise not
greatly renowned, but most within the kingdom of Parthia; howbeit the
principal come from Carmania. The stone whereof these vessels are made
is thought to be a certain humor, thickened as it were in the earth by
heat. In no place are these stones found larger than small tablements
of pillars or the like, and seldom were they so thick as to serve for
such a drinking-cup as I have spoken of already. Resplendent are they
in some sort, but it may rather be termed a gloss than a radiant and
transparent clearness; but that which maketh them so much esteemed is
the variety of colors, for in these stones a man shall perceive
certain veins or spots, which, as they be turned about, resemble
divers colors, inclining partly to purple and partly to white: he
shall see them also of a third color composed of them both, resembling
the flame of fire. Thus they pass from one to another as a man holdeth
them, insomuch as their purple seemeth near akin to white, and their
milky white to bear as much on the purple. Some esteem those cassidoin
or murrhine stones, the richest, which present as it were certain
reverberations of certain colors meeting altogether about their edges
and extremities, such as we observe in rainbows; others are delighted
with certain fatty spots appearing in them; and no account is made of
them which show either pale or transparent in any part of them, for
these be reckoned great faults and blemishes; in like manner if there
be seen in the cassidoin any spots like corns of salts or warts, for
then are they considered apt to split. Finally, the cassidoin stones
are commended in some sort also for the smell that they do yield."

On these words of Pliny a great dispute has arisen. Some think that
onyx is the material described, a conjecture founded on the variety of
colors which that stone presents. To this it is objected, that onyx
and murrha, onyx vases and murrhine vases are alike mentioned by Latin
writers, and never with any hint as to their identity; nay, there is a
passage in which Heliogabalus is said to have onyx and murrhine vases
in constant use. Others, as we have said, think that they were
variegated glass; others that they were the true Chinese porcelain, a
conjecture in some degree strengthened by a line of Propertius:

      "Murrheaq. in Parthis pocula cocta focis."

At the same time this quotation is not so conclusive as it might have
been, since Pliny speaks of murrha as "hardened in the earth by heat,"
and the poet may only have meant the same thing, though the expression
in that case would be somewhat strained. To us, Pliny's description
appears to clearly point to some opaline substance; the precious opal
has never in modern times been found in masses approaching to the size
necessary to make vessels such as we have spoken of. The question is
not likely to be settled, and it is not improbable that the material
of these murrhine vases is entirely unknown to us, as the quarries of
many marbles used by the ancients have hitherto eluded our research,
and the marbles themselves are only known by their recurrence among
ancient buildings.

We may here notice one or two facts connected with glass, which show
that the ancients were on the verge of making one or two very
important discoveries in physical science. They were acquainted with
the power of transparent spherical bodies to produce heat by the
transmission of light, though not with the manner in which that heat
was generated by the concentration of the solar rays. Pliny mentions
the fact that hollow glass balls filled with water would, when held
opposite to the sun, grow hot enough to burn any cloth they touched;
but the turn of his expression evidently leads to the conclusion that
he believed the heat to become accumulated in the glass itself, not
merely to be transmitted through it. Seneca speaks of similar glass
balls, which magnified minute objects to the view. Nay, he had nearly
stumbled on a more remarkable discovery, the composition of light, for
he mentions the possibility of producing an artificial rainbow by the
use of an angular glass rod. At a far earlier period Aristophanes
speaks of "a transparent substance used to light fires with," usually
translated glass. The passage is curious, as it shows a perfect
acquaintance with the use of the burning glass.

With the laws of reflection the ancients, as we know from the
performances ascribed to Archimedes, were well acquainted. It is
singular that being in possession of such remarkable facts connected
with refraction, they should never have proceeded to investigate the
laws by which it is governed.

    [Illustration: GLASS VESSELS (_of Pompeii_).]

The first object figured _h_, in the annexed block, is a glass funnel,
_infundibulum_; _g_, is described as a wine-strainer, but the method
of its use is not altogether clear. The bottom is slightly concave,
and pierced with holes. It is supposed to have been used as a sort of
tap, the larger part being placed within the barrel, and the wine
drawn off through the neck or spout, which is broken. Fig. _n_, is a
wine-taster, something on the principle of a siphon. It is hollow, and
the air being exhausted by the mouth at the small end, the liquid to
be tasted was drawn up into the cavity. _a_ and _b_, wine-jars; _c_,
two small wine-jars in a glass casket; _d_, _e_, _f_ and _q_, goblets
or drinking-glasses of toned and beautiful colored glass; _i_ and _m_,
glass dishes, the first with a saucer.

Another sort of glass strainer, of which there are several in the
Neapolitan Museum, is made of bronze, pierced in elegant and intricate
patterns as seen on page 84. The Romans used strainers filled with
snow to cool their wines, and such may have been the destination of
the one here represented. These were called _cola vinaria_, or
_nivaria_. The poor used a linen cloth for the same purpose.

With respect to the details of dress, the excavations, whether at
Pompeii or Herculaneum, enable us to clear up no difficulties, and to
add little to that which is already known on this subject. Still a
short notice of the principal articles of dress, and explanation of
their Latin names, may be expedient for the full understanding of some
parts of our subject. The male costume will detain us a very short

The proper Roman dress, for it would be tiresome and unprofitable to
enter upon the variety of garments introduced in later times from
foreign nations, consisted merely of the toga and tunica, the latter
being itself an innovation on the simple and hardy habit of ancient
times. It was a woolen vest, for it was late before the use of linen
was introduced, reaching to the knees, and at first made without
sleeves, which were considered effeminate; but, as luxury crept in,
not only were sleeves used, but the number of tunics was increased to
three or four. The toga was an ample semi-circular garment, also
without sleeves. It is described as having an opening large enough to
admit the head and the right arm and shoulder, which were left
exposed, having a sort of lappet, or flap (lacinia), which was brought
under the right arm and thrown over the left shoulder, forming the
_sinus_, or bosom, the deep folds of which served as a sort of pocket.
This is the common description, which, we confess, conveys no very
clear notion of the construction or appearance of the dress. The left
arm was entirely covered, or if exposed, it was by gathering up the
lower edge of the ample garment.

The female dress consisted of one or more tunics, with an upper
garment, called _stola_, which superseded the toga, originally worn by
women as well as men. The stola is said to have been a more ample and
ornamented sort of tunic. The tunic worn by women does not seem to
have differed from that worn by men, except that it reached to the
feet. Above the stola, women wore a mantle called palla or pallium.
This is said to have been thrown across the shoulders, the right end
being gathered up and thrown over the left shoulder, leaving nothing
but the right hand visible.

    [Illustration: CUPS AND METALS.]

Some minute speculations relative to one article in female dress have
been based on a statue from Herculaneum, in which a Neapolitan
antiquary thinks that he has discovered the nature and construction of
that compound garment called the tunico-pallium, in which the
appearance and uses of the tunic and mantle were united. It is the
statue of a woman employed in buckling her dress over the right
shoulder, having already fastened it on the left, in such a manner as
to leave the arm bare.

Numerous articles of female ornament have been found, of which we have
collected a few into one block. They are drawn of the same size as the
originals. The lower corners of the cut represent ear-rings, seen in
front and sideways. It is a portion of a plain gold spheroid, very
thick, with a metal hook at the back to pass through the ear. The next
is of simpler construction, having pearl pendants. Both these patterns
seem to have been very common. The upper right-hand corner of the cut
represents a breast-pin, attached to a Bacchanalian figure, with a
patera in one hand and a glass in the other. He is provided with bat's
wings, and two belts, or bands of grapes, pass across his body. The
bat's wings symbolize the drowsiness consequent upon hard drinking.
There are also represented gold rings with serpent's heads, the eyes
of which are inlaid with beautiful stones and diamonds; also bracelets
of this pattern were very common.

    [Illustration: GOLD JEWELRY (_From Pompeii_)]

A beautiful gold necklace was also found, of which a cut is
represented in the above plate. It was very elaborate and exquisite.
Ornamental safety-pins were also found, as shown in following cuts.
Lockets were also found, indicating religious subjects of later date.

Small toilet-boxes, made of wood or ivory, were also numerous; and,
like the vases, of many different forms; and some, which contained
cosmetics of divers kinds, served to deck the dressing table, or a
lady's boudoir. They were carved in various ways, and loaded with
ornamental devices in relief; sometimes representing the favorite
lotus flower, with its buds and stalks, a goose, gazelle, fox, or
other animal. Many were of considerable length, terminating in a
hollow shell, not unlike a spoon in shape and depth, covered with a
lid turning on a pin; and to this, which may properly be styled the
box, the remaining part was merely an accessory, intended for
ornament, or serving as a handle.

    [Illustration: HEAVY GOLD PINS.]

They were generally of sycamore wood, sometimes of tamarisk, or of
acacia; and occasionally ivory, and inlaid work, were substituted for
wood. To many, a handle of less disproportionate length was attached,
representing the usual lotus flower, a figure, a Typhonian monster, an
animal, a bird, a fish, or a reptile; and the box itself, whether
covered with a lid or open, was in character with the remaining part.
Some shallow ones were probably intended to contain small portions of
ointment, taken from a large vase at the time it was wanted, or for
other purposes connected with the toilet, where greater depth was not
required; and in many instances they rather resembled spoons than

    [Illustration: BROOCHES INSET WITH STONE.]

Many were made in the form of a royal oval, with and without a handle;
and the body of a wooden fish was scooped out, and closed with a cover
imitating the scales, to deceive the eye by the appearance of a solid
mass. Sometimes a goose was represented, ready for table, or swimming
on the water, and pluming itself; the head being the handle of a box
formed of its hollow body; some consisted of an open part or cup,
attached to a covered box; others of different shapes offered the
usual variety of fancy devices, and some were without covers, which
may come under the denomination of saucers. Others bore the precise
form and character of a box, being deeper and more capacious; and
these were probably used for holding trinkets, or occasionally as
repositories for the small pots of ointment, or scented oils, and
bottles containing the collyrium, which women applied to their eyes.

Some were divided into separate compartments, covered by a common lid,
either sliding in a groove, or turning on a pin at one end; and many
of still larger dimensions sufficed to contain a mirror, combs, and,
perhaps, even some articles of dress.

These boxes were frequently of costly materials, veneered with rare
woods, or made of ebony, inlaid with ivory, painted with various
devices, or stained to imitate materials of a valuable nature; and the
mode of fastening the lid, and the curious substitute for a hinge
given to some of them, show the former was entirely removed, and that
the box remained open, while used.

Knobs of ebony, or other hard wood, were very common. They were
covered with great care, and inlaid with ivory and silver.

    [Illustration: SAFETY TOGA PINS.]

Some boxes were made with a pointed summit, divided into two parts,
one of which alone opened, turning on small pivots at the base, and
the two ends of the box resembled in form the gable ends, as the top,
the shelving roof, of a house. The sides were, as usual, secured by
glue and nails, generally of wood, and dove-tailed, a method of
joining adopted in Egypt at the most remote period; but the
description of these belongs more properly to cabinet work, as those
employed for holding the combs, and similar objects, to the toilet.

Some vases have been found in boxes, made of wicker-work, closed with
stoppers of wood, reed, or other materials, supposed to belong either
to a lady's toilet or to a medical man; one of which, now in the
Berlin Museum, has been already noticed.

    [Page Decoration]


In the furniture of the houses the Egyptians displayed considerable
taste; and there, as elsewhere, they studiously avoided too much
regularity, justly considering that its monotonous effect fatigued the
eye. They preferred variety both in the arrangement of the rooms and
in the character of their furniture, and neither the windows, doors,
nor wings of the house, exactly corresponded with each other. An
Egyptian would, therefore, have been more pleased with the form of our
Elizabethan, than of the box-shaped rooms of later times.

In their mode of sitting on chairs they resembled the modern Europeans
rather than Asiatics, neither using, like the latter, soft _divans_,
nor sitting cross-legged on carpets. Nor did they recline at meals, as
the Romans, on a _triclinium_, though couches and ottomans formed part
of the furniture of an Egyptian. When Joseph entertained his brethren,
he ordered them to _sit_ according to their ages. Egyptians sometimes
sat cross-legged on the ground, on mats and carpets, or knelt on one
or both knees; these were rather the customs for certain occasions,
and of the poorer classes. To sit on their heels was also customary as
a token of respect in the presence of a superior, as in modern Egypt;
and when a priest bore a shrine before the deity he assumed this
position of humility; a still greater respect being shown by
prostration, or by kneeling and kissing the ground. But the house of a
wealthy person was always furnished with chairs and couches. Stools
and low seats were also used, the seat being only from 8 to 14 inches
high, and of wood, or interlaced with thongs; these, however, may be
considered equivalent to our rush-bottomed chairs, and probably
belonged to persons of humbler means. They varied in their quality,
and some were inlaid with ivory and various woods.

Those most common in the houses of the rich were the single and double
chair (answering to the Greek _thronos_ and _diphros_), the latter
sometimes kept as a family seat, and occupied by the master and
mistress of the house, or a married couple. It was not, however,
always reserved exclusively for them, nor did they invariably occupy
the same seat; they sometimes sat like their guests on separate
chairs, and a _diphros_ was occasionally offered to visitors, both men
and women.

Many of the fauteuils were of the most elegant form. They were made of
ebony and other rare woods, inlaid with ivory, and very similar to
some now used in Europe. The legs were mostly in imitation of those of
an animal; and lions' heads, or the entire body, formed the arms of
large fauteuils, as in the throne of Solomon (I Kings, x. 19). Some,
again, had folding legs, like our camp-stools; the seat was often
slightly concave; and those in the royal palace were ornamented with
the figures of captives, or emblems of dominion over Egypt and other
countries. The back was light and strong, and consisted of a single
set of upright and cross bars, or of a frame receding gradually and
terminating at its summit in a graceful curve, supported from without
by perpendicular bars; and over this was thrown a handsome pillow of
colored cotton, painted leather, or gold and silver tissue, like the
beds at the feast of Abasuerus, mentioned in Esther, or like the
feathered cushions covered with stuffs and embroidered with silk and
threads of gold in the palace of Scaurus.

Seats on the principle of our camp-stools seem to have been much in
vogue. They were furnished with a cushion, or were covered with the
skin of a leopard, or some other animal, which was removed when the
seat was folded up; and it was not unusual to make even head-stools,
or wooden pillows on the same principle. They were also adorned in
various ways, bound with metal plates, and inlaid with ivory, or
foreign woods; and the wood of common chairs was often painted to
resemble that of a rarer and more valuable kind.

The seats of chairs were frequently of leather, painted with flowers
and fancy devices; of interlaced work made of string or thongs,
carefully and neatly arranged, which, like our Indian cane chairs,
were particularly adapted for a hot climate; but over this they
occasionally placed a leather cushion, painted in the manner already

The forms of the chairs varied very much; the larger ones generally
had light backs, and some few had arms. They were mostly about the
height of those now used in Europe, the seat nearly in a line with the
bend of the knee; but some were very low, and others offered that
variety of position which we seek in the kangaroo chairs of our own
drawing-room. The ordinary fashion of the legs was in imitation of
those of some wild animal, as the lion or the goat, but more usually
the former, the foot raised and supported on a short pin; and, what is
remarkable, the skill of their cabinet-makers, even before the time of
Joseph, had already done away with the necessity of uniting the legs
with bars. Stools, however, and more rarely chairs, were occasionally
made with these strengthening members, as is still the case in our own
country; but the drawing-room fauteuil and couch were not disfigured
by so unseemly and so unskillful a support.

The stools used in the saloon were of the same style and elegance as
the chairs, frequently differing from them only in the absence of a
back; and those of more delicate workmanship were made of ebony, and
inlaid, as already stated, with ivory or rare woods. Some of an
ordinary kind had solid sides, and were generally very low; and
others, with three legs, belonged to persons of inferior rank.

The ottomans were simple square sofas, without backs, raised from the
ground nearly to the same level as the chairs. The upper part was of
leather, or a cotton stuff, richly colored, like the cushions of the
fauteuils; the base was of wood painted with various devices; and
those in the royal palace were ornamented with the figures of
captives, the conquest of whose country was designated by their having
this humiliating position. The same idea gave them a place on the
soles of sandals, on the footstools of a royal throne, and on the
walls of the palace at Medeenet Haboo, in Thebes, where their heads
support some of the ornamental details of the building.

Footstools also constituted part of the furniture of the sitting-room;
they were made with solid or open sides, covered at the top with
leather or interlaced work, and varied in height according to
circumstances, some being of the usual size now adopted by us, others
of inconsiderable thickness, and rather resembling a small rug.
Carpets, indeed, were a very early invention, and they are often
represented sitting upon them, as well as on mats, which are commonly
used in their sitting-rooms, as at the present day, and remnants of
them have been found in the Theban tombs.

Their couches evinced no less taste than the fauteuils. They were of
wood, with one end raised, and receding in a graceful curve; and the
feet, as in many of the chairs, already described, were fashioned to
resemble those of some wild animal.

Egyptian tables were round, square, or oblong; the former were
generally used during their repasts, and consisted of a circular flat
summit, supported like the _monopodium_ of the Romans, on a single
shaft, or leg, in the centre, or by the figure of a man, intended to
represent a captive. Large tables had usually three or four legs, but
some were made with solid sides; and though generally of wood, many
were of metal or stone; and they varied in size, according to the
purposes for which they were intended.

Of the furniture of their bed-rooms we know little or nothing; but
that they universally employed the wooden pillow above alluded to is
evident, though Porphyry would lead us to suppose its use was confined
to the priests, when, in noticing their mode of life, he mentions a
half cylinder of well polished wood "sufficing to support their head,"
as an instance of their simplicity and self-denial. For the rich they
were made of Oriental alabaster, with an elegant grooved or fluted
shaft, ornamented with hieroglyphics, carved in intaglio, of sycamore,
tamarisk, and other woods of the country; the poor classes being
contented with a cheaper sort, of pottery or stone. Porphyry mentions
a kind of wicker bedstead of _palm branches_, hence called _bais_,
evidently the species of framework called _kaffass_, still employed by
the modern Egyptians as a support to the _divans_ of sitting rooms,
and to their beds. Wooden, and perhaps also bronze, bedsteads (like
the iron one of Og, King of Bashan), were used by the wealthier
classes of the ancient Egyptians; and it is at least probable that the
couches they slept upon were as elegant as those on which their bodies
reposed after death; and the more so, as these last, in their general
style, are very similar to the furniture of the sitting-room.

The oldest specimen of a bedstead is that mentioned by Homer as joined
together by Odysseus in his own house. He had cut off the stem of an
olive-tree a few feet from the ground, and joined to it the boards of
the bed, so that the trunk supported the bed at the head. It therefore
was immovable. The antique bed must be considered as the prolongation
of the diphros. The cross-legged diphros prolonged became the folding
bed; that with perpendicular legs the couch. The former could easily
be moved and replaced; they are perhaps identical with the beds
frequently mentioned in the "Odyssey," which were put into the outer
hall for guests. One of them is shown as the notorious bed of
Prokrustes in a picture on a vase. The diphros corresponds to the
couch resting on four legs, at first without head and foot-board,
which were afterwards added at both ends. By the further addition of a
back on one of the long sides, it became what we now call a _chaise
longue_ or sofa. This sleeping kline was no doubt essentially the same
as that used at meals. The materials were, besides the ordinary woods,
maple or box, either massive or veneered. The legs and backs, and
other parts not covered by the bed clothes, were carefully worked.
Sometimes the legs are neatly carved or turned, sometimes the frames
are inlaid with gold, silver, and ivory, as is testified in the
"Odyssey," and elsewhere.

The bedding mentioned in Homer did not consist of sumptuous bolsters
and cushions, as in later times. It consisted, even amongst the richer
classes, first of all of the blankets of a long-haired woolen
material, or perhaps a kind of mattress. Hides, as spread by the poor
on the hard floor, were sometimes put under the blankets, and other
additional blankets, so as to soften the couch. The whole was covered
with linen sheets. The light blankets served to cover the sleeper, who
sometimes used his own dress for this purpose; sometimes they
consisted of woolen blankets woven for the purpose. After Homer's
time, when Asiatic luxury had been introduced into Greece, a mattress
was placed immediately on the bed-straps. It was stuffed with plucked
wool or feathers, and covered with some linen or woolen material.
Pillows, like the mattresses stuffed with wool or feathers, were added
to complete the bedding, at least in more luxurious times. (The cut on
page 78 gives a good idea of the looks of an ancient Roman and Grecian
bed.) Of a similar kind were the klinai placed in the sitting-rooms,
lying on which, in a half-reclining position, people used to read,
write and take their meals. They were covered with soft blankets of
gorgeous colors, while one or more cushions served to support the body
in its half-sitting position, or to prop the left arm.

Tables were used by the ancients chiefly at meals, not for reading and
writing. The antique tables, either square with four legs, or circular
or oval with three connected legs, afterwards with one leg, resemble
our modern ones, but for their being lower. Mostly their slabs did not
reach higher than the kline; higher tables would have been
inconvenient for the reclining person. In Homeric and even in later
times, a small table stood before each thronos. The use of separate
dishes for each guest is comparatively new. Originally the meats were
brought in on large platters, divided by the steward, and each portion
put on the bare table. In want of knives and forks the fingers were
used. The pastry was put in baskets by the tables. Whether the Homeric
tables were as low as the later ones, when lying instead of sitting
had become the custom, we must leave undecided, in want of sculptural
evidence. The legs of the tables were carefully finished, particularly
those of the tripods, which frequently imitated the legs of animals,
or at least had claws at their ends. The four-legged tables were more
simple in design. The material was wood, particularly maple; later on,
bronze, precious metals, and ivory were introduced.

For the keeping of articles of dress, valuable utensils, ornaments,
bottles of ointment, and documents, larger or smaller drawers and
boxes were used. Chests of drawers and upright cupboards with doors
seem to have been unknown in earlier times; only in few monuments of
later date (for instance in the wall-painting of a shoemaker's
workshop at Herculaneum) we see something resembling our wardrobe. The
wardrobes mentioned by Homer doubtless resembled our old-fashioned
trunks. The surfaces showed ornaments of various kinds, either cut
from the wood in relief or inlaid with precious metal and ivory. Some
smaller boxes with inlaid figures or painted arabesques are shown from
pictures on vases. The ornamentation with polished nails seem to have
been very much in favor--a fashion re-introduced in modern times. The
most celebrated example of such ornamentation was the box of Kypselos,
in the opisthodomos of the temple of Hera at Olympia. It dates
probably from the time when the counting by Olympiads was introduced,
and served, according to Botticher, for the keeping of votive tapestry
and the like. According to Pausanias, it was made of cedar-wood, and
elliptic in shape. It was adorned with mythological representations,
partly carved in wood, partly inlaid with gold and ivory, encircling
the whole box in five stripes, one over the other.

Locks, keys and bolts, known at an early period for the closing of
doors, were later applied to boxes, as is sufficiently proved by the
still-existing small keys fastened to finger-rings, which, although
all of Roman make, were most likely not unknown to the Greeks. For
doors these would have been too small.

The furniture of Greek houses was simple, but full of artistic beauty.
This was particularly displayed in vessels for the keeping of both dry
and fluid stores, as were found in temples, dwellings and even graves.
Only the last-mentioned have been preserved to us. Earthen vessels are
the most numerous. The invention of the potter's wheel is of great
antiquity, and was ascribed by the Greeks in different places to
different mythical persons. The Corinthians named Hyperbion as its
inventor. In the Kerameikos, the potters' quarter of Athens, Keramos,
the son of Dionysos and Ariadne, was worshiped as such. The name of
the locality itself was derived from this "heros eponymos." Next to
Corinth and Athens (which latter became celebrated for earthen
manufactures, owing to the excellent clay of the promontory of
Kolias), Ægina, Lakedæmon, Aulis, Tenedos, Samos and Knidos were
famous for their earthenware. In these places the manufacture of
painted earthenware was concentrated; thence they were exported to the
ports of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea for the markets of the
adjoining countries. Owing to the beautiful custom of the ancients of
leaving in the graves of the dead the utensils of their daily life, a
great many beautiful vessels have been preserved which otherwise would
have shared the destruction of the dwellings with much less fragile
implements. From the pictures on these vases we derive, moreover,
valuable information as to the public and private habits of the
Greeks. The greatest number of graves in their original condition, and
filled with vessels, are found in Italy.

    [Illustration: PLUNDERING CORINTH.]

Good, particularly red, clay was in demand for superior goods, and of
this the promontory of Kolias, near Athens, furnished an unlimited
supply. The potter's wheel was in use at a very early period. On it
were formed both large and small vessels, with the difference,
however, that of the former the foot, neck, and handles were formed
separately, and afterwards attached, as was also the case in small
vessels with widely curved handles.

In order to intensify the red color the vessel was frequently glazed
and afterwards dried and burnt on the oven. The outlines of the
figures to be painted on the vase were either cut into the red clay
and filled up with a brilliant black varnish, or the surface itself
was covered with the black varnish up to the contours, in which case
these stood out in the natural red color of the clay.

The first mentioned process was the older of the two, and greater
antiquity is, therefore, to be assigned to vessels with black figures
on a red ground. In both kinds of paintings draperies or the muscles
of nude figures were further indicated by the incision of additional
lines of the color of the surface into the figures. Other colors,
like dark red, violet, or white, which on close investigation have
been recognized as dissolvable, were put on after the second burning
of the vessel.

About the historic development of pottery we know nothing beyond what
may be guessed from the differences of style. As we said before,
figures of a black or dark-brown color painted on the natural pale red
or yellowish color of the clay indicate greater antiquity. The black
figures were occasionally painted over in white or violet. These
vessels are mostly small and somewhat compressed in form; they are
surrounded with parallel stripes of pictures of animals, plants,
fabulous beings, or arabesques. The drawings show an antiquated stiff
type, similar to those on the vessels recently discovered at Nineveh
and Babylon, whence the influence of Oriental on Greek art may be
inferred. This archaic style, like the strictly hieratic style in
sculpture, was retained together with a freer treatment at a more
advanced period. As a first step of development we notice the
combination of animals and arabesques, at first with half-human,
half-animal figures, soon followed by compositions belonging mostly to
a certain limited circle of myths. The treatment of figures shows
rigidity in the calm, and violence in the active, positions. The Doric
forms of letters and words on many vases of this style, whether found
in Greece or Italy, no less than the uniformity of their _technique_,
indicate _one_ place of manufacture, most likely the Doric Corinth,
celebrated for her potteries; on the other hand, the inscriptions in
Ionian characters and written in the Ionian dialect on vessels prove
their origin in the manufactures of the Ionian Eubœa and her colonies.
The pictures on these vases, also painted in stripes, extend the
mythological subject-matter beyond the Trojan cycle to the oldest
epical myths, each story being represented in its consecutive phases.

The latter vases form the transition to the second period. The shapes
now become more varied, graceful, and slender. The figures are
painted in black, and covered with a brilliant varnish; the
_technique_ of the painting, however, does not differ from that of the
first period. The outlines have been neatly incised and covered up
with black paint; the details also of draperies and single parts of
the body are done by incision, and sometimes painted over in white or
dark red. The principle seems to be that of polychrome painting, also
applied in sculpture. Single parts of the armor, embroideries, and
patterns of dresses, hair, and beards of men, the manes of animals,
etc., are indicated by means of dark red lines. This variety of color
was required particularly for the draperies, which are stiff and
clumsily attached to the body. The same stiffness is shown in the
treatment of faces and other nude parts of the body, as also in the
rendering of movements. The faces are always in profile, the nose and
chin pointed and protruding, and the lips of the compressed mouth
indicated only by a line. Shoulders, hips, thighs, and calves bulge
out, the body being singularly pinched. The grouping is equally
imperfect. The single figures of compositions are loosely connected by
the general idea of the story. They have, as it were, a narrative
character; an attempt at truth to nature is, however, undeniable.

The subjects are taken partly from the twelve-gods cycle (like the
frequently-occurring birth of Athene, Dionysian processions, etc.), or
from Trojan and Theban myths; partly also from daily life, such as
chases, wrestlings, sacrifices, symposia and the like. To this class
belong most of those large Panathenaic prize-vases, which are of such
importance for our knowledge of gymnastic competitions.

In our third class the figures appear in the natural color of the
surface, which itself has been painted black. The character of the
figures in consequence appears gay and lively. Both styles seem at one
time to have existed together, for we find them used severally on two
sides of one and the same vessel, till at last the painting of black
figures was disused entirely. The drawings now become more individual,
and are freed from the fetters of conventional tradition--a proof of
the free development of both political and artistic feelings, even
among the lower classes of artificers. The specimens of the third
class show the different stages of this process of liberation. At
first the figures are somewhat hard, and the drapery, although
following the lines of the body more freely than previously, shows
still traces of archaic severity of treatment; the details, indicated
by black lines, are still carefully worked out. For smaller folds and
muscles, a darker shade of the red color is used; wreaths and flowers
appear dark; red white is used only in few cases--for instance, for
the hair of an old man. The composition shows greater concentration
and symmetry in the grouping, according to the conditions of the space
at disposal. The figures show a solemn dignity, with signs, however,
of an attempted freer treatment.

    [Illustration: GREEK VASE.]

Kramer justly calls this period that of the "severe style," and
compares it with the well-known "Æginetic" style in sculpture. The
further development of the "severe style" is what Kramer calls the
"beautiful style," in which grace and beauty of motion and drapery,
verging on the soft, have taken the place of severe dignity. In high
art this transition might be compared to that from Perugino's school
to that of Raphael, or, if we may believe the ancient writers, from
the school of Polygnotos to that of Zeuxis and Parrhasios.

The form of the vessels themselves next calls for our attention. The
vases, two-handled amphorai and krateres, found most frequently during
this period, are slender and graceful. Together with them we meet with
beautifully modeled drinking-horns, and heads or whole figures, used
to put vessels upon. The variety of forms, and the largeness of some
vessels, overloaded as they were with figures, soon led to want of
care in the composition. The moderation characteristic of the
"beautiful style" was soon relinquished for exaggerated ornamentation,
combined with a preference for representing sumptuous dresses and the
immoderate use of white, yellow, and other colors. This led gradually
to the decadence of pottery.

In some Etruscan cities earthenware was manufactured by local artists
working after Greek patterns. The figures are distinguished from
genuine Greek work by the contours being incised very deeply and
filled up with red color. The clay also is coarser. The compositions
show an admixture of local myths and usages, not to mention Etruscan

    [Page Decoration]

    [Page Decoration]


Painted vases may be considered as the most curious, the most
graceful, and the most instructive remains that have come down to us
from ancient times. The beauty of the forms, the fineness of the
material, the perfection of the varnish, the variety of the subjects,
and their interest in an historical point of view give painted vases a
very important place among the productions of the arts of the
ancients. Painted vases have been collected with great eagerness ever
since they have been known, and the most remarkable have been engraved
by celebrated artists, and explained by profound archæologists. Modern
art and archæology have obtained from them beautiful models and
important information. They were known for the first time in the
seventeenth century.

Painted vases were, to a considerable extent, objects of traffic and
of export from one country to another. They may be generally traced to
Athens as the original place of exportation. Corinth also exported
vases, for the products of Corinthian potters have been found in
Sicily and Italy, and there can be no doubt that Corinth had
established an active trade in works of art with the Greek colonies
all over the Mediterranean. Athenian vases were carried by the
Phœnicians, the commercial traders of the ancient world, as objects of
traffic to the remotest parts of the then known world. In the Periplus
of Scylax, the Phœnicians are mentioned as exchanging the pottery of
Athens for the ivory of Africa. They were, in fact, the ornamental
china of the ancient world.

    [Illustration: ETRUSCAN VASE.]

_Etruscan._--The potter's art was introduced into Etruria by Demaratus
of Corinth, who, flying from that city, took up his abode at
Tarquinii, the modern Corneto, where vases in the most archaic style,
resembling those of Corinth, or those called Doric, have been found.
Vases, the Etruscan origin of which can not be disputed, have been
found at Volterra, Tarquinii (Corneto), Perugia, Orvieto, Viterbo,
Aquapendente, and other towns of ancient Etruria. The clay of which
they are made is of a pale or reddish yellow, the varnish is dull, the
workmanship rather rude, the ornaments are devoid of taste and
elegance, and the style of the figures possesses all those
characteristics already assigned to that of the Etruscans. The figures
are drawn in black on the natural color of the clay; sometimes a
little red is introduced on the black ground of the drapery. It is by
the subject chiefly that the Etruscan vases are distinguished from the
Greek vases. On the former, the figures are in the costume peculiar to
ancient Italy; the men and the heroes are represented with their
beards and hair very thick; the gods and genii have large wings;
monstrous combinations not capable of explanation by Hellenic myths;
we may also observe divinities, religious customs, attributes,
manners, arms, and symbols, different from those of Greece. Etruscan
deities, such as Charun with his mace, denote their Etruscan origin;
the subjects of the vases are, however, generally derived from Greek
mythology, treated in a manner consonant to the Etruscan taste, and to
their local religion, while their drawing is of the coarsest kind. If
an inscription in Etruscan characters, traced invariably from right to
left, accompanies the painting, certainty with regard to their origin
may be considered as complete. It is true that the greater number of
the letters of the ancient Greek alphabet are of the same form as
those of the Etruscan alphabet; but there are in the latter some
particular characters which will prevent any confusion. The names of
the personages on the vases are spelt differently from those on the
Greek, as Ainas for Ajax, Atreste for Adrastus, Akle for Achilles,
Alesti for Alcestis, etc. We must also observe, that Etruscan painted
vases are very rare, and are but few in number, compared with those
for which we are indebted to the arts of Greece.

    [Illustration: ROMAN VASES.]

_Greek._--The paste of these vases is tender, easily scratched or cut
with a knife, remarkably fine and homogeneous, but of loose texture.
When broken, it exhibits a dull opaque color, more or less yellow, red
or grey. It is composed of silica, alumina, carbonate of lime,
magnesia and oxide of iron. The color depends on the proportions in
which these elements are mixed; the paler parts containing more lime,
the red more iron. The exterior coating is composed of a particular
kind of clay, which seems to be a kind of yellow or red ochre, reduced
to a very fine paste, mixed with some glutinous or oily substance, and
laid on with a brush; great difference is observable in the pastes of
vases coming from widely separated localities, owing either to their
composition or baking. The paste of the early vases of Athens and
Melos is of a very pale red; that of vases of the Doric or Corinthian
style is of a pale lemon color. At the best period of the art, the
paste is of a warm orange red; but Lucanian and Apulian vases are of a
paler tone. The Etruscan painted vases of all ages are of a pale red
tone, with a much greater proportion of white, which appears to be
owing to the greater proportion of chalk used in preparing the paste.

The earliest vases were made with the hand, while those of a later
period were made with the wheel; the wheel, however, is a very early
invention. Among the Egyptians and Greeks it was a low, circular
table, turned with the foot. Representations of a potter turning the
wheel with his foot, occur on painted vases of an early date. With
this simple wheel the Greeks effected wonders, producing shapes still
unrivalled in beauty.

After the vases had been made on the wheel, Dr. Birch writes, they
were duly dried in the sun, and then painted; for it is evident that
they could not have been painted while wet. The simplest and probably
the most common, process was to color the entire vase black. The under
part of the foot was left plain. When a pattern was added, the
outline, faintly traced with a round point on the moist clay, was
carefully followed by the painter. It was necessary for the artist to
follow his sketch with great rapidity, since the clay rapidly absorbed
the coloring matter, and the outline was required to be bold and
continuous, each time that it was joined detracting from its merit. A
finely-ground slip was next laid upon a brush, and the figures and
ornaments were painted in. The whole was then covered with a very fine
siliceous glaze, probably formed of soda and well-levigated sand. The
vase was next sent to the furnace, and carefully baked. It was then
returned to the workshop, where a workman or painter scratched in all
the details with a pointed tool. The faces of female figures were
colored white, with a thick coat of lime or chalk, and the eyes red.
Parts of the drapery, the crests of helmets, and the _antyges_, or
borders of shields, were colored with a crimson coat, consisting of an
oxide of iron and lime, like a body color.

In the second style of vases the figures are painted in a dark brown
or black, of an unequal tone, on yellow ground, formed of a siliceous
coating over the pale red clay of the vase. An improvement upon this
style was the changing of the color of the figures by painting, or
stopping out, all the ground of the vase in black, thus leaving the
figures of the natural red of the clay, and the marking of the muscles
and finer portions, as an outline, of bright brown. After the paint
had dried, the slip, or the siliceous glaze, was laid over the vase,
except the under part of the foot and the inside. The colors used were
few and simple, and were evidently ground excessively fine, and made
into a kind of slip. Of these colors the black was the most important
and the most extensively used. Great difference has always existed as
to the nature of this color. Vauquelin takes it to be a carbonaceous
matter, such as plumbagine or black lead. The Duc de Luynes asserts it
to be an oxide of iron. Of opaque colors, the most important and
extensively used is the white, said by Brongniart to be a carbonate of
lime or fine clay. Red and yellow are sparingly used. Blue and green
are rarely found, and only on vases of the latest styles. The liquid
employed for mixing the colors is supposed to have been water.

The glaze with which these vases were covered is described by M.
Brongniart as lustrous (_lustre_), and only one kind was used, the
recipe for making which is now lost. It appears to have been composed
of one of the principal alkalies, either potash or soda. The vases of
Nola and Vulci are remarkable for the beauty and brilliancy of their

According to d'Hancarville the vases were baked in a naked furnace.
Representations of ancient furnaces occur on painted vases. The
furnaces were of simple construction, in shape like tall ovens, fed by
fires from beneath, into which the vases were placed with a long
shovel resembling the baker's peel.

    [Illustration: VASE REPRESENTING A MARRIAGE. (_Found at

The colors being laid on in a different manner in the earlier and
later vases has caused them to be distinguished into two general
classes. In the earlier the ground is yellow or red, and the figures
are traced on it in black, so as to form kinds of silhouettes. These
are called the black or archaic vases; they are generally in an
ancient style; their subjects belong to the most ancient mythological
traditions, and their inscriptions to the most ancient forms of the
Greek alphabet, written from right to left, or in boustrophedon. The
draperies, the accessories, the harness of the horses, and the wheels
of the chariots, are touched with white. At a later period, the whole
vase was painted black, with the exception of the figures, which were
then of the color of the clay of the vase; the contours of the
figures, the hair, drapery, etc., being previously traced in black.
There are then two general classes of Greek vases, distinguished by
the figures, which are black or yellow. They are in general remarkable
for the beauty and elegance of their forms. There is a great variety
in their sizes; some being several feet high, and broad in proportion;
others being not higher than an inch. The subject is on one side of
the vase; sometimes it occupies the entire circumference, but more
generally it is on one side alone, and then there is on the reverse
some insignificant subject, generally two or three old men leaning on
a stick, instructing a young man, or presenting him with some
instrument or utensil; a bacchanalian scene is sometimes represented
on the reverse. Some vases have been found with two subjects on the
sides of the vase. On some of the finest vases, the subject goes round
the entire circumference of the vase. On the foot, neck and other
parts are the usual Greek ornaments, the Vitruvian scroll, the
Meander, Palmetto, the honeysuckle. A garland sometimes adorns the
neck, or, in its stead, a woman's head issuing from a flower. These
ornaments are in general treated with the greatest taste and elegance.
Besides the obvious difference in the style of the vases, there is a
remarkable difference in the execution of the paintings. They are not
all of the highest merit, but the boldness of the outlines is
generally remarkable on them. They could be executed only with the
greatest rapidity, the clay absorbing the colors very quickly, so that
if a line was interrupted the joining would be perceptible. Some
thought that the figures were executed by the means of patterns cut
out, which being laid on the vase, preserved on the black ground the
principal masses in yellow, which were finished afterwards with a
brush. But this opinion of Sir William Hamilton has been abandoned by
himself, particularly since the traces of a point have been
recognized, with which the artist had at first sketched on the soft
clay the principal outlines, which he afterwards finished with a brush
dipped in the black pigment, without, however, strictly following the
lines traced by the point. The traces of the point are rarely
observed; all depended on the skill and talent of the artists. They
must have been very numerous, as these vases are found in such
numbers, and the greater number may be considered as models for the
excellence of their design and the taste of their composition. Not
unfrequently, the artists by whom the designs have been painted, have
placed their names on them; the principal names known are those of
Clitias, Doris who painted the celebrated Francois vase, Asteas, and
Epictetos. Clitias is the most ancient; his designs evince the infancy
of art, those of the other artists display greater progress in the
art; the name can be recognized from the word _painted_, which follows
it immediately. Some vases have the potter's name inscribed on them.

One of the earliest makers was Taleides. Nearly fifty names of potters
have been found, but they only occur on choice specimens of art. On
many vases the name of the artist appears along with that of the
potter, which much enhances the value of the vase. On the celebrated
Francois vase appear the name of the artist Clitias, and the name of
the potter Ergotimos. Some potters, such as Amasis and Euphronius,
painted as well as made vases. Other inscriptions are sometimes found
on vases which enhance their value greatly. They are generally the
names of gods, heroes, and other mythological personages, which are
represented in the paintings.

These inscriptions are of great interest for two reasons: in the first
place, from the form of the letters and the order according to which
they are traced, the greater or lesser antiquity of the vase can be
recognized, these inscriptions necessarily following all the changes
of the Greek alphabet; care must be taken to examine whether the
inscription goes from right to left, whether the long vowels, the
double letters are replaced by the silent vowels, or single letters;
these are in general signs of relative antiquity which prove that of
the vase itself; secondly, because the names invariably explain the
subject of the painting, and even indicate by a name hitherto unknown,
either some personage who sometimes bore another name, or a person
whose real name was unknown, in fine, some mythic being of whom
ancient writers give us no information.

The information derived from vases is of great importance for the
study of Greek mythology viewed in its different epochs, and for the
interpretation and understanding of ancient tragic or lyric poets.
Moral or historical inscriptions, in prose and in verse, have also
been found on vases. The letters of these inscriptions are capital or
cursive; they are very delicately traced, and often require a great
deal of attention to perceive. They are traced in black or white with
a brush, sometimes they are incised with a very sharp point.

On some which had been gifts to some "beautiful youths," we find the
inscription, "the handsome boy," and also the form, "the handsome
Onetorides," "the handsome Stroibos." One youth is called "the most
handsome Hippocritus." The names of females, whether brides, beauties,
or hetairæ, are found accompanied with the expression, "the lovely
Œnanthe," "the fair Rodon." On others, salutatory expressions are
sometimes found, such as "Hail to thee;" "Happy as possible."

The subjects represented on painted vases, although of infinite
variety, may be reduced to three classes, which include them all: 1.
Mythological subjects; 2. Heroic subjects; 3. Historical subjects. The
_Mythological_ subjects relate to the history of all the gods, and
their adventures in human form are reproduced on them in a thousand
shapes. It requires a deep and intimate knowledge of Greek mythology,
in order to explain the different subjects. One of the oldest and most
popular subjects in Greece was the Gigantomachia, which is found
represented as a whole upon many vases, while others contain
individual incidents from it.

Among the Olympic deities represented, Zeus takes a prominent part.
The father of the gods, the great thunderer, seldom appears alone, but
is chiefly seen in scenes from the Heracleid and the Trojan war. On
the black vases, and on those of the finest style with red figures,
his amorous adventures are also frequently depicted. The goddess Hera
rarely appears.

Athene, the great female deity of the Ionic race, plays an important
part in many scenes. As Pallas Athene she frequently appears;
generally on foot, but sometimes in her quadriga. Poseidon, the sea
god, appears as a subordinate in many scenes, and as a protagonist in
others. Apollo, Artemis, Hephæstos, Ares, Aphrodite, and Hermes,
frequently appear in various scenes in the vases. The greater part of
the paintings of the vases are relative to Dionysus, his festivals and
mysteries. On them we see depicted his birth, childhood, education,
all his exploits, his banquets, and his games; his habitual
companions, his religious ceremonies, the lampadephori brandishing the
long torches, the dendrophori raising branches of trees, adorned with
garlands and tablets; the initiated preparing for the mysteries;
lastly, the ceremonies peculiar to those great institutions, and the
circumstances relative to their dogmas and their aim. The inferior
deities also appear on the vases.

The _Historical_ subjects begin with the war of Troy. Painters, as
well as poets, found in this event a vast field to exercise their
talents and their imagination. The principal actors in this memorable
drama appear on the vases. The principal scenes of the Trojan war are
depicted; but we must remark, that the historical subjects do not
extend to a later period than that of the Heracleidæ.

Among the incidents represented are the opening scenes of the Iliad,
the quarrel of Agamemnon and Achilles, Briseis led away by the
heralds, Paris and Helen, the death of Patroclus, the grief of
Achilles, the arming of Achilles, the death of Hector, Priam
entreating for the corpse of Hector, the terrible scene of the last
night of Troy. Many subjects from the Odyssey also occur. Incidents
from the Greek drama are of common occurrence, such as the death of
Agamemnon, Orestes and Pylades meeting Electra, the death of
Clytemnestra, the Furies pursuing Orestes.

    [Illustration: VASE REPRESENTING TROJAN WAR (_Found at

We may consider, as belonging to the class of historical vases, those
with paintings relative to public and private customs; those
representing games, repasts, scenic representations of combats of
animals, hunting and funeral subjects.

Millingen remarks that the subjects of the paintings vary according to
the period and the places in which they have been executed; on the
most ancient vases Dionysiac scenes are frequently seen. As,
originally, the greater number were destined to contain wine, they
were adorned with analogous subjects. Those of the beautiful period of
the art, especially of the manufacture of Nola, a town in which Greek
institutions were observed with extreme care, present the ancient
traditions of mythological episodes in all their purity. Those of a
later period represent subjects taken from the tragic writers. Lastly,
on those of the decline, we see depicted the new ceremonies and
superstitions which were mingled with the ancient and simple religion
of the Greek. Painted vases are, therefore, of the greatest interest
for the study of the manners and customs of ancient Greece, and of
those which the Romans adopted from her in imitation.

    [Illustration: VASE. (_Found at Pompeii._)]

As to the uses of these vases, there have been a variety of opinions;
but a careful examination of a great number of vases would lead us to
suppose that many were, doubtless, articles of household furniture,
for use and adornment, such as the larger vases, destined, by their
size, weight, and form, to remain in the same place, while others, of
different sizes and shapes, were made to hold wine and other liquids,
unguents, and perfumes. It is evident that they were more for ornament
than use, and that they were considered as objects of art, for the
paintings seem to have been executed by the best artists of the
period. They were chiefly employed for entertainments, and the
banquets of the wealthy. They are seen in use in scenes painted on the
vases themselves. Many, especially those of the later style, were
solely used for decorative purposes, as is evident from the fact of
one side only being executed with care, while the other has been
neglected, both in the drawing and in the subject. Those with
Panathenaic subjects were probably given full of oil, as prizes at the
national games. These were called _Athla_. Certain vases bearing the
inscription, "From Athens," or "Prize from Athens," seem to have been
given to the victors in the pentathlon, or courses of athletic
exercises in the Panathenæa. Others may have been given at the
palæstric festivals, or as nuptial presents, or as pledges of love and
friendship; and these are marked by some appropriate inscription.

We find that they were also used in the ceremonies of the Mysteries,
for we see their forms represented on the vases themselves: Bacchus
frequently holds a cantharus, Satyrs carry a diota. A few seem to have
been expressly for sepulchral purposes. Some have supposed that these
vases were intended to hold the ashes of the dead; but this could not
have been their use, for they are only found in tombs in which the
bodies have been buried without being burnt. The piety of the
relations adorned the tomb of the deceased with those vases, together
with his armor and jewelry, which they had prized most in life, which
were associated with their habits, or recalled circumstances the
memory of which they cherished.

We could not but feel astonished at the perfect preservation of such
fragile objects, did we not know that they were found in tombs. Those
in which they are found, are placed near the walls, but outside the
town, at a slight depth, except those of Nola, where the eruptions of
Vesuvius have considerably raised the soil since the period when the
tombs were made, so that some of the tombs of Nola are about
twenty-one feet under ground.

In Greece, the graves are generally small, being designed for single
corpses, which accounts for the comparatively small size of the vases
discovered in that country. At Athens the earlier graves are sunk
deepest in the soil, and those at Corinth, especially such as contain
the early Corinthian vases, are found by boring to a depth of several
feet beneath the surface.

    [Illustration: A GREEK SACRIFICE.]

The early tombs of Civita Vecchia, and Cære, or Cervetri, in Italy,
are tunneled in the earth; and those at Vulci, and in the Etruscan
territory, from which the finest and largest vases have been
extracted, are chambers hewn in the rocks. In southern Italy,
especially in Campania, the common tombs are constructed of rude
stones or tiles, and are exactly of sufficient size to contain a
corpse and five or six vases; a small one is placed near the head, and
the others between the legs of the body, or they are ranged on each
side, frequently on the left side alone.

The number and beauty of the vases vary, probably, according to the
rank and fortune of the owner of the tomb. The tombs of the first
class are larger, and have been built with large cut stones, and
rarely connected with cement; the walls inside are coated with stucco,
and adorned with paintings; these tombs resemble a small chamber; the
corpse is laid out in the middle, the vases are placed round it,
frequently some others are hung up to the walls on nails of bronze.
The number of vases is always greater in these tombs; they are also of
a more elegant form.

Several other articles are sometimes found in the tombs, such as gold
and silver fibulæ, swords, spears, armor, and several ornaments. The
objects buried with the corpse generally bespeak the tastes and
occupation of the deceased. Warriors are found with their armor, women
with ornaments for the toilet, priests with their sacerdotal
ornaments, as in the tomb at Cervetri. When the vases are taken out of
the excavations, they are covered with a coating of whitish earth,
something like tartar, and of a calcareous nature; it disappears on
the application of aqua fortis. This operation ought to be done with
great caution; for though the aqua fortis does not injure the black
varnish, it might destroy some of the other colors.

    [Illustration: 2000 YEARS OLD.]

Some of these vases are as well preserved as if they had just been
issued from the hands of the potter; others have been greatly injured
by the earthy salts with which they have come in contact; many are
found broken--these have been put together and restored with great
skill. But this work of restoration, especially if the artist adds any
details which are not visible on the original, might alter or
metamorphose a subject, and the archæologist ought to set little value
on these modern additions, in the study of a painted vase.

Several collections have been formed of these vases. The British
Museum contains the finest collections, purchased by government from
Sir William Hamilton and others. The Museum at Naples, and the
Gregorian Museum in the Vatican, also contain many beautiful specimens
from Magna Græcia and Etruria. The British Museum has about 2,600
vases of all kinds. The Museum at Naples contains about 2,100, and the
Gregorian Museum at Rome about 1,000. Several amateurs have also
formed collections in England, France, and Italy. We may mention those
of Roger, Hope, Sir Harry Englefield, in England; those of the Duc de
Blacas, the Comte Pourtales, in France; and that of the Marquis
Campana, in Rome. The total number of vases in public and private
collections probably amounts to 15,000 of all kinds. Some of these
collections have been published, such as the first collection of Sir
William Hamilton, explained by d'Hancarville; the second by Tischbein.
Several works have also been published, giving detailed accounts of
painted vases in general.

    [Illustration: FOUND AT HILDESHEIM.]

We have mentioned before the luxurious custom, common amongst the
Romans after the conquest of Greece and Asia, of having their utensils
of the table, and even of the kitchen, made of solid silver. Valuable
plate was of common occurrence in the houses of the rich. According to
Pliny, common soldiers had the handles of their swords and their belts
studded with silver; the baths of women were covered with the same
valuable material, which was even used for the common implements of
kitchen and scullery. Large manufactories of silver utensils were
started, in which each part of the work was assigned to a special
artificer; here the orders of the silver-merchants were executed.
Amongst the special workmen of these manufactories were the modelers,
founders, turners or polishers, chiselers, the workmen who attached
the bas-reliefs to the surface of the vessel, and the gilders. Many
valuable vessels have been recovered in the present century; others
(for instance, several hundred silver vessels found near the old
Falerii) have tracelessly disappeared. Amongst the discoveries which
happily have escaped the hands of the melter, we mention the treasure
of more than one hundred silver vessels, weighing together about 50
pounds, found by Berney in Normandy (1830). According to their
inscriptions, these vessels belonged to the treasury of a temple of
Mercury; they are at present in the late imperial library at Paris. In
the south of Russia the excavations carried on in 1831, 1862, and
1863, amongst the graves of the kings of the Bosphoric empire, have
yielded an astonishing number of gold and silver vessels and ornaments
belonging to the third century of our era. At Pompeii fourteen silver
vases were discovered in 1835; at Cære (1836) a number of silver vases
(now in the Museo Gregoriano) were found in a grave. One of the most
interesting discoveries was made near Hildesheim, 7th October, 1868,
consisting of seventy-four eating and drinking vessels, mostly well
preserved; not to speak of numerous fragments which seem to prove that
only part of the original treasure has been recovered; the weight of
all the vessels (now in the Antiquarium of the Royal Museum, Berlin)
amounts to 107,144 lbs., some over 53 tons, of silver. The style and
technical finish of the vases prove them to have been manufactured in
Rome; the form of the letters of the inscriptions found on
twenty-four vessels indicates the first half of the first century
after Christ. The surfaces of many of them are covered with
alto-relievos of beaten silver--a circumstance which traces back their
origin to imperial times, distinguishing them, at the same time, from
the bas-relief ornamentations of the acme of Greek art. The gilding of
the draperies and weapons, and the silver color of the naked parts, in
imitation, as it were, of the gold-and-ivory statues of Greek art,
also indicate Roman workmanship. The annexed cuts show some of the
finest pieces of this treasure. The composition of the figures on the
surface of the vase in cut on page 340 shows true artistic genius;
naked children are balancing themselves on water-plants growing in
winding curves from a pair of griffins; some of the children attack
crabs and eels with harpoons, while others drag the killed animals
from the water. The graceful groups on the drinking-vessels in the
above cuts are mostly taken from the Bacchic cycle of myths.

    [Illustration: FOUND AT HILDESHEIM. (_Of the first century_)]

    [Illustration: VASE OF THE FIRST CENTURY.]

    [Illustration: VASE OF THE FIRST CENTURY.]

Besides vessels of precious metals and stones, those of glass were in
favorite use among the Romans. The manufactory of glass, originating
in Sidon, had reached its climax of perfection, both with regard to
color and form, in Alexandria about the time of the Ptolemies. Many
of these Alexandrine glasses have been preserved to us, and their
beauty fully explains their superiority in the opinion of the ancients
to those manufactured in Italy. Here also, after the discovery of
excellent sand at Cumæ and Linternum, glass works had been
established. Most of our museums possess some specimens of antique
glass manufacture, in the shape of balsam or medicine bottles of white
or colored glass. We also possess goblets and drinking-bottles of
various shapes and sizes, made of white or common green glass; they
generally taper toward the bottom, and frequently show grooves or
raised points on their outer surfaces, so as to prevent the glass from
slipping from the hand; urns, oinochoai, and dishes of various sizes
made of glass, are of frequent occurrence. Some of these are dark blue
or green, others party-colored with stripes winding round them in
zigzag or in spiral lines, reminding one of mosaic patterns. Pieces of
glittering glass, being most likely fragments of so-called
_allassontes versicolores_ (not to be mistaken for originally white
glass which has been discolored by exposure to the weather), are not
unfrequently found. We propose to name in the following pages a few of
the more important specimens of antique glass-fabrication. One of the
first amongst these is the vessel known as the Barberini or Portland
Vase, which was found in the sixteenth century in the sarcophagus of
the so-called tomb of Severus Alexander and of his mother Julia
Mammæa. It was kept in the Barberini Palace for several centuries,
till it was purchased by the Duke of Portland, after whose death it
was placed in the British Museum. After having been broken by the hand
of a barbarian, it has fortunately been restored satisfactorily. Many
reproductions of this vase in china and terra-cotta have made it known
in wide circles. The mythological bas-reliefs have not as yet been
sufficiently explained. Similar glass vases with bas-relief
ornamentation occur occasionally either whole or in fragments.

    [Page Decoration]


Many arts and inventions were in common use in Egypt for centuries
before they are generally supposed to have been known; and we are now
and then as much surprised to find that certain things were old 3,000
years ago, as the Egyptians would be if they could hear us talk of
them as late discoveries. One of them is the use of glass, with which
they were acquainted at least as early as the reign of the first
Osirtasen, more than 3,800 years ago; and the process of glass-blowing
is represented during his reign, in the paintings of Beni Hassan, in
the same manner as it is on later monuments, in different parts of
Egypt, to the time of the Persian conquest.

The form of the bottle and the use of the blow-pipe are unequivocally
indicated in those subjects; and the green hue of the fused material,
taken from the fire at the point of the pipe, sufficiently proves the
intention of the artist. But, even if we had not this evidence of the
use of glass, it would be shown by those well-known images of glazed
pottery, which were common at the same period; the vitrified substance
that covers them being of the same quality as glass, and containing
the same ingredients fused in the same manner. And besides the many
glass ornaments known to be of an earlier period is a bead, found at
Thebes, bearing the name of a Pharaoh who lived about 1450 B.C., the
specific gravity of which, 25° 23', is precisely the same as of crown
glass, now manufactured in England.

Glass bottles are even met with on monuments of the 4th dynasty,
dating long before the Osirtasens, or more than 4,000 years ago; the
transparent substance shows the red wine they contained; and this kind
of bottle is represented in the same manner among the offerings to the
gods, and at the fetes of individuals, wherever wine was introduced,
from the earliest to the latest times. Bottles, and other objects of
glass, are commonly found in the tombs; and though they have no kings'
names or dates inscribed upon them (glass being seldom used for such a
purpose), no doubt exists of their great antiquity; and we may
consider it a fortunate chance that has preserved _one_ bead with the
name of a sovereign of the 18th dynasty. Nor is it necessary to point
out how illogical is the inference that, because other kinds of glass
have not been found bearing a king's name, they were not made in
Egypt, at, or even before, the same early period.

Pliny ascribes the discovery of glass to some Phœnician sailors
accidently lighting a fire on the sea-shore; but if an effect of
chance, the secret is more likely to have been arrived at in Egypt,
where natron (or subcarbonate of soda) abounded, than by the sea side;
and if the Phœnicians really were the first to discover it on the
_Syrian_ coast, this would prove their migration from the Persian Gulf
to have happened at a very remote period. Glass was certainly one of
the great exports of the Phœnicians; who traded in beads, bottles, and
other objects of that material, as well as various manufactures, made
either in their own or in other countries: but Egypt was always famed
for its manufacture; a peculiar kind of earth was found near
Alexandria, without which, Strabo says, "it was impossible to make
certain kinds of glass of many colors, and of a brilliant quality,"
and some vases, presented by an Egyptian priest to the Emperor
Hadrian, were considered so curious and valuable that they were only
used on grand occasions.

Glass bottles, of various colors, were eagerly bought from Egypt, and
exported into other countries; and the manufacture as well as the
patterns of many of those found in Greece, Etruria, and Rome, show
that they were of Egyptian work; and though imitated in Italy and
Greece, the original art was borrowed from the workmen of the Nile.

Such, too, was their skill in making glass, and in the mode of
staining it of various hues, that they counterfeited with success the
emerald, the amethyst, and other precious stones; and even arrived at
an excellence in the art of introducing numerous colors into the same
vase, to which our European workmen, in spite of their improvements in
many branches of this manufacture, are still unable to attain. A few
years ago the glass-makers of Venice made several attempts to imitate
the variety of colors found in antique cups; but as the component
parts were of different densities, they did not all cool, or set, at
the same rapidity, and the vase was unsound. And it is only by making
an inner foundation of one color, to which those of the outer surface
are afterwards added, that they have been able to produce their
many-colored vases; some of which were sent to the Great Exhibition of

Not so the Egyptians, who combined all the colors they required in the
same cup, without the interior lining: those which had it being of
inferior and cheaper quality. They had even the secret of introducing
gold between two surfaces of glass; and in their bottles, a gold band
alternates within a set of blue, green, and other colors. Another
curious process was also common in Egypt in early times, more than
3,000 years ago, which has only just been attempted at Venice; whereby
the pattern on the surface was made to pass in right lines directly
through the substance; so that if any number of horizontal sections
were made through it, each one would have the same device on its upper
and under surface. It is in fact a Mosaic in glass; made by fusing
together as many delicate rods of an opaque glass of the color
required for the picture, in the same manner as the woods in
Tunbridge-ware are glued together, to form a larger and coarser
pattern. The skill required in this exquisite work is not only shown
by the art itself, but the fineness of the design; for some of the
feathers of birds, and other details, are only to be made out with a
lens; which means of magnifying was evidently used in Egypt, when this
Mosaic glass was manufactured. Indeed, the discovery of a lens of
crystal by Mr. Layard, at Nimroud, satisfactorily proves its use at an
early period in Assyria; and we may conclude that it was neither a
recent discovery there, nor confined to that country.

    [Illustration: ANCIENT GLASS VESSELS.]

Winkleman is of opinion that "the ancients carried the art of
glass-making to a higher degree of perfection than ourselves, though
it may appear a paradox to those who have not seen their works in this
material;" and we may even add that they used it for more purposes,
excepting of course windows, the inconvenience of which in the hot sun
of Egypt would have been unbearable, or even in Italy, and only one
pane of glass has been found at Pompeii, in a place not exposed to the
outer light.

    [Illustration: GLASS BROACH.]

That the Egyptians, more than 3,000 years ago, were well acquainted
not only with the manufacture of common glass, for beads and bottles
of ordinary quality, but with the art of staining it with divers
colors, is sufficiently proved by the fragments found in the tombs of
Thebes; and so skillful were they in this complicated process, that
they imitated the most fanciful devices, and succeeded in
counterfeiting the rich hues, and brilliancy, of precious stones. The
green emerald, the purple amethyst, and other expensive gems, were
successfully imitated; a necklace of false stones could be purchased
at an Egyptian jeweler's, to please the wearer, or deceive a stranger,
by the appearance of reality; and some mock pearls (found lately at
Thebes) have been so well counterfeited, that even now it is difficult
with a strong lens to detect the imposition.

Pliny says the emerald was more easily counterfeited than any other
gem, and considers the art of imitating precious stones a far more
lucrative piece of deceit than any devised by the ingenuity of man;
Egypt was, as usual, the country most noted for this manufacture; and
we can readily believe that in Pliny's time they succeeded so
completely in the imitation as to render it difficult to distinguish
false from real stones.

Many, in the form of beads, have been met with in different parts of
Egypt, particularly at Thebes; and so far did the Egyptians carry this
spirit of imitation, that even small figures, scarabæi, and objects
made of ordinary porcelain, were counterfeited, being composed of
still cheaper materials. A figure, which was entirely of earthenware,
with a glazed exterior, underwent a somewhat more complicated process
than when cut out of stone and simply covered with a vitrified
coating; this last could, therefore, be sold at a low price; it
offered all the brilliancy of the former, and its weight alone
betrayed its inferiority; by which means, whatever was novel, or
pleasing from its external appearance, was placed within reach of all
classes, or, at least, the possessor had the satisfaction of seeming
to partake in each fashionable novelty.

    [Illustration: IMITATION OF REAL STONES.]

Such inventions, and successful endeavors to imitate costly ornaments
by humbler materials, not only show the progress of art among the
Egyptians, but strongly argue the great advancement they had made in
the customs of civilized life; since it is certain, that until society
has arrived at a high degree of luxury and refinement, artificial
wants of this nature are not created, and the poorer classes do not
yet feel the desire of imitating the rich, in the adoption of objects
dependent on taste or accidental caprice.

Glass bugles and beads were much used by the Egyptians for necklaces,
and for a sort of network, with which they covered the wrappers and
cartonage of mummies. They were arranged so as to form, by their
varied hues, numerous devices or figures, in the manner of our bead
purses; and women sometimes amused themselves by stringing them for
ornamental purposes, as at the present day.

A far more numerous class were the potters; and all the processes of
mixing the clay, and of turning, baking and polishing the vases are
represented in the tombs of Thebes and Beni Hassan, of which we have
already spoken.

They frequently kneaded the clay with their feet, and after it had
been properly worked up, they formed it into a mass of convenient size
with the hand, and placed it on the wheel, which was of very simple
construction, and generally turned with the hand. The various forms of
the vases were made out by the finger during the revolution; the
handles, if they had any, were afterwards affixed to them; and the
devices and other ornamental parts were traced with a wooden or metal
instrument, previous to their being baked. They were then suffered to
dry, and for this purpose were placed on planks of wood; they were
afterwards arranged with great care in trays, and carried, by means of
the usual yoke, borne on men's shoulders, to the oven.

The Egyptians displayed much taste in their gold, silver, porcelain,
and glass vases, but when made of earthenware, for ordinary purposes,
they were frequently devoid of elegance, and scarcely superior to
those of England before the taste of Wedgewood substituted the
graceful forms of Greek models, for some of the unseemly productions
of our old potteries. Though the clay of Upper Egypt was particularly
suited to porous bottles, it could be obtained of a sufficiently fine
quality for the manufacture of vases like those of Greece and Italy;
in Egypt, too, good taste did not extend to all classes, as in Greece;
and vases used for fetching water from a well, or from the Nile, were
of a very ordinary kind, far inferior to those carried by the Athenian
women to the fountain of Kallirhoe.

The Greeks, it is true, were indebted to Egypt for much useful
knowledge, and for many early hints in art, but they speedily
surpassed their instructors; and in nothing, perhaps, is this more
strikingly manifested than in the productions of the potter. Samples
of the more common are seen below.

Carpenters and cabinet-makers were a very numerous class of workmen;
and their occupations form one of the most important subjects in the
paintings which represent the Egyptian trades.


For ornamental purposes, and sometimes even for coffins, doors and
boxes, foreign woods were employed; deal and cedar were imported from
Syria; and part of the contributions, exacted from the conquered
tribes of Ethiopia, and Asia, consisted in ebony and other rare woods,
which were annually brought by the chiefs, deputed to present their
country's tribute to the Egyptian Pharaohs.

Boxes, chairs, tables, sofas, and other pieces of furniture were
frequently made of ebony, inlaid with ivory, sycamore and acacia, were
veneered with thin layers, or ornamented with carved devices of rare
wood, applied or let into them; and a fondness for this display
suggested to the Egyptians the art of painting common boards, to
imitate foreign varieties, so generally adopted in other countries at
the present day.

The colors were usually applied on a thin coating of stucco, laid
smoothly upon the previously prepared wood, and the various knots and
grains painted upon this ground indicated the quality of the wood they
intended to counterfeit.

The usual tools of the carpenter were the ax, adze, handsaw, chisels
of various kinds (which were struck with a wooden mallet), the drill,
and two sorts of planes (one resembling a chisel, the other apparently
of stone, acting as a rasp on the surface of the wood, which was
afterwards polished by a smooth body, probably also of stone); and
these, with the ruler, plummet, and right angle, a leather bag
containing nails, the hone, and the horn of oil, constituted the
principal, and perhaps the only, implements he used.

Many adzes, saws and chisels, have been found at Thebes. The blades
are all of bronze, the handles of the acacia or the tamarisk; and the
general mode of fastening the blade to the handle appears to have been
by thongs of hide. It is probable that some of those discovered in the
tombs are only models, or unfinished specimens, and it may have been
thought sufficient to show their external appearance, without the
necessity of nailing them, beneath the thongs, for those they worked
with were bound in the same manner, though we believe them to have
been also secured with nails. Some, however, evidently belonged to the
individuals in whose tombs they were buried, and appear to have been
used; and the chisels often bear signs of having been beaten with the

The drill is frequently represented in the sculptures. Like all the
other tools, it was of the earliest date, and precisely similar to
that of modern Egypt, even to the nut of the _dom_ in which it turned,
and the form of its bow with a leathern thong.

The chisel was employed for the same purposes, and in the same manner,
as at the present day, and was struck with a wooden mallet, sometimes
flat at the two ends, sometimes of circular or oval form; several of
which last have been found at Thebes, and are in European museums. The
handles of the chisel were of acacia, tamarisk, or other compact wood,
the blades of bronze, and the form of the points varied in breadth,
according to the work for which they were intended.

The hatchet was principally used by boat-builders, and those who made
large pieces of frame-work; and trees were felled with the same

With the carpenters may be mentioned the wheelwrights, the makers of
coffins, and the coopers, and this sub-division of one class of
artisans shows that they had systematically adopted the partition of

The makers of chariots and traveling carriages were of the same class;
but both carpenters and workers of leather were employed in their
manufacture; and chariots either passed through the hands of both, or,
which is more probable, chariot makers constituted a distinct trade.

The tanning and preparation of leather was also a branch of art in
which the Egyptians evinced considerable skill; the leather cutters
constituted one of the principal sub-divisions of the fourth-class,
and a district of the city was exclusively appropriated to them, in
the Libyan part of Thebes, where they were known as "the
leather-cutters of the Memnonia."

Many of the occupations of their trade are portrayed on the painted
walls of the tombs at Thebes. They made shoes, sandals, the coverings
and seats of chairs or sofas, bow-cases, and most of the ornamental
furniture of the chariot; harps were also adorned with colored
leather, and shields and numerous other things were covered with skin
prepared in various ways. They also make skins for carrying water,
wine, and other liquids, coated within with a resinous substance, as
is still the custom in Egypt.

The stores of an Egyptian town were probably similar to those of Cairo
and other Eastern cities, which consist of a square room, open in
front, with falling or sliding shutters to close it at night, and the
goods, ranged on shelves or suspended against the walls, are exposed
to the view of those who pass. In front is generally a raised seat,
where the owner of the shop and his customers sit during the long
process of concluding a bargain previous to the sale and purchase of
the smallest article, and here an idle lounger frequently passes whole
hours, less intent on benefiting the merchant than in amusing himself
with the busy scene of the passing crowd.

It is probable that, as at the present day, they ate in the open front
of their shops, exposed to the view of every one who passed, and to
this custom Herodotus may allude, when he says, "the Egyptians eat in
the street."

There is no direct evidence that the ancient Egyptians affixed the
name and trade of the owner of the shop, though the presence of
hieroglyphics, denoting this last, together with the emblem which
indicated it, may seem to argue in favor of the question; and the
absence of many individuals' names in the sculpture is readily
accounted for by the fact that these scenes refer to the occupation of
the whole trade, and not to any particular person.

The high estimation in which the priestly and military professions
were held in Egypt placed them far above the rest of the community;
but the other classes had also their degrees of consequence, and
individuals enjoyed a position and importance in proportion to their
respectability, their talents, or their wealth.

According to Herodotus, the whole Egyptian community was divided into
seven tribes, one of which was the sacerdotal, another of the
soldiers, and the remaining five of the herdsmen, swineherds,
merchants, interpreters, and boatmen. Diodorus states that, like the
Athenians, they were distributed into three classes--the priests, the
peasants, or husbandmen, from whom the soldiers were levied, and the
artisans, who were employed in handicraft and other similar
occupations, and in common offices among the people--but in another
place he extends the number to five, and reckons the pastors,
husbandmen, and artificers independent of the soldiers and priests.
Strabo limits them to three, the military, husbandmen, and priests;
and Plato divides them into six bodies, the priests, artificers,
shepherds, huntsmen, husbandmen, and soldiers; each peculiar art or
occupation he observes being confined to a certain sub-division of the
caste, and every one being engaged in his own branch without
interfering with the occupation of another. Hence it appears that the
first class consisted of the priests, the second of the soldiers, the
third of the husbandmen, gardeners, huntsmen, boatmen of the Nile, and
others; the fourth of artificers, tradesmen and merchants, carpenters,
boat-builders, masons, and probably potters, public weighers, and
notaries; and in the fifth may be reckoned pastors, poulterers,
fowlers, fishermen, laborers, and, generally speaking, the common
people. Many of these were again sub-divided, as the artificers and
tradesmen, according to their peculiar trade or occupation; and as the
pastors, into oxherds, shepherds, goatherds, and swineherds, which
last were, according to Herodotus, the lowest grade, not only of the
class, but of the whole community, since no one would either marry
their daughters or establish any family connection with them. So
degrading was the occupation of tending swine, that they were looked
upon as impure, and were even forbidden to enter a temple without
previously undergoing a purification; and the prejudices of the
Indians against this class of persons almost justify our belief in the
statement of the historian.

Without stopping to inquire into the relative rank of the different
sub-divisions of the third class, the importance of agriculture in a
country like Egypt, where the richness and productiveness of the soil
have always been proverbial, suffices to claim the first place for the

The abundant supply of grain and other produce gave to Egypt
advantages which no other country possessed. Not only was her dense
population supplied with a profusion of the necessaries of life, but
the sale of the surplus conferred considerable benefits on the
peasant in addition to the profits which thence accrued to the state,
for Egypt was a granary, where, from the earliest times, all people
felt sure of finding a plenteous store of corn, and some idea may be
formed of the immense quantity produced there from the circumstance of
"seven plenteous years" affording, from the superabundance of the
crops, a sufficiency of corn to supply the whole population during
seven years of dearth, as well as "all countries" which sent to Egypt
"to buy" it, when Pharaoh, by the advice of Joseph, laid up the annual
surplus for that purpose.

The right of exportation, and the sale of superfluous produce to
foreigners, belonged exclusively to the government, as is distinctly
shown by the sale of corn to the Israelites from the royal stores, and
the collection having been made by Pharaoh only; and it is probable
that even the rich landowners were in the habit of selling to
government whatever quantity remained on hand at the approach of each
successive harvest, while the agricultural laborers, from their frugal
mode of living, required very little wheat and barley, and were
generally contented, as at the present day, with bread made of the
_Doora_ flour; children and even grown persons, according to Diodorus,
often living on roots and esculent herbs, as the papyrus, lotus, and
others, either raw, toasted, or boiled.

The government did not interfere directly with the peasants respecting
the nature of the produce they intended to cultivate; and the
vexations of later times were unknown under the Pharaohs. They were
thought to have the best opportunities of obtaining, from actual
observation, an accurate knowledge on all subjects connected with
husbandry, and, as Diodorus observes, "being from their infancy
brought up to agricultural pursuits, they far excelled the husbandmen
of other countries, and had become acquainted with the capabilities of
the land, the mode of irrigation, the exact season for sowing and
reaping, as well as all the most useful secrets connected with the
harvest, which they had derived from their ancestors, and had improved
by their own experience." "They rented," says the same historian, "the
arable lands belonging to the kings, the priests, and the military
class, for a small sum, and employed their whole time in the tillage
of their farms," and the laborers who cultivated land for the rich
peasant, or other landed proprietors, were superintended by the
steward or owner of the estate, who had authority over them, and the
power of condemning delinquents to the bastinado. This is shown by the
paintings of the tombs, which frequently represent a person of
consequence inspecting the tillage of the field, either seated in a
chariot, walking, or leaning on his staff, accompanied by a favorite

Their mode of irrigation was the same in the field of the peasant as
in the garden of the villa; and the principal difference in the mode
of tilling the former consisted in the use of the plow.

The usual contrivance for raising water from the Nile for watering the
crops was the _shadoof_, or pole and bucket, so common still in Egypt,
and even the water-wheel appears to have been employed in more recent

The sculptures of the tombs frequently represent canals conveying the
water of the inundation into the fields, and the proprietor of the
estate is seen, as described by Virgil, plying in a light painted
skiff or papyrus punt, and superintending the maintenance of the
dykes, or other important matters connected with the land. Boats carry
the grain to the granary, or remove the flocks from the lowlands; as
the water subsides the husbandman plows the soft earth with a pair of
oxen, and the same subjects introduce the offering of first-fruits of
the gods in acknowledgment of the benefits conferred by "a favorable
Nile." The main canal was usually carried to the upper or southern
side of the land, and small branches, leading from it at intervals,
traversed the fields in straight or curving lines, according to the
nature or elevation of the soil.

Guards were placed to watch the dykes which protected the lowlands,
and the utmost care was taken to prevent any sudden influx of water
which might endanger the produce still growing there, the cattle, or
the villages. And of such importance was the preservation of the dykes
that a strong guard of cavalry and infantry was always in attendance
for their protection; certain officers of responsibility were
appointed to superintend them, being furnished with large sums of
money for their maintenance and repairs, and in the time of Romans any
person found destroying a dyke was condemned to hard labor in the
public works or in the mines, or was branded and transported to the
Oasis. According to Strabo, the system was so admirably managed, "that
art contrived sometimes to supply what nature denied, and, by means of
canals and embankments, there was little difference in the quantity of
land irrigated, whether the inundation was deficient or abundant."
"If," continues the geographer, "it rose only to the height of eight
cubits, the usual idea was that a famine would ensue, fourteen being
required for a plentiful harvest; but when Petronius was præfect of
Egypt twelve cubits gave the same abundance, nor did they suffer from
want even at eight;" and it may be supposed that long experience had
taught the ancient Egyptians to obtain similar results from the same
means, which, neglected at a subsequent period, were revived, rather
than, as Strabo thinks, first introduced, by the Romans.

In some parts of Egypt the villages were liable to be overflowed when
the Nile rose to more than an ordinary height, by which the lives and
property of the inhabitants were endangered, and when their crude
brick houses had been long exposed to the damp the foundations gave
way, and the fallen walls, saturated with water, were once more mixed
with the mud from which they had been extracted. On these occasions
the blessings of the Nile entailed heavy losses on the inhabitants,
for, according to Pliny, "if the rise of water exceeded sixteen
cubits famine was the result, as when it only reached the height of
twelve." In another place he says, "a proper inundation is of sixteen
cubits * * * * in twelve cubits the country suffers from famine, and
feels a deficiency even in thirteen; fourteen cause joy, fifteen
security, sixteen delight; the greatest rise of the river to this
period being of eighteen cubits, in the reign of Claudius; the least
during the Pharsalic war."

The land being cleared of the water, and presenting in some places a
surface of liquid mud, in others nearly dried by the sun and the
strong northwest winds (that continue at intervals to the end of
Autumn and commencement of Winter), the husbandman prepared the ground
to receive the seed, which was either done by the plow and hoe, or by
more simple means, according to the nature of the soil, the quality of
the produce they intended to cultivate, or the time the land had
remained under water.

When the levels were low and the water had continued long upon the
land they often dispensed with the plow, and, like their successors,
broke up the ground with hoes, or simply dragged the moist mud with
bushes after the seed had been thrown upon the surface, and then
merely drove a number of cattle, asses, pigs, sheep, or goats into the
field to tread in the grain. "In no country," says Herodotus, "do they
gather their seed with so little labor. They are not obliged to trace
deep furrows with the plow and break the clods, nor to partition out
their fields into numerous forms as other people do, but when the
river of itself overflows the land, and the water retires again, they
sow their fields, driving the pigs over them to tread in the seed, and
this being done every one patiently awaits the harvest." On other
occasions they used to plow, but were contented, as we are told by
Diodorus and Columella, with "tracing slight furrows with light plows
on the surface of the land," and others followed with wooden hoes to
break the clods of the rich and tenacious soil.

The modern Egyptians sometimes substitute for the hoe a machine called
_khonfud_, "hedgehog," which consists of a cylinder studded with
projecting iron pins, to break the clods after the land has been
plowed, but this is only used when great care is required in the
tillage of the land, and they frequently dispense with the hoe,
contenting themselves, also, with the same slight furrows as their
predecessors, which do not exceed the depth of a few inches, measuring
from the lowest part to the summit of the ridge. It is difficult to
say if the modern Egyptians derived the hint of the "_hedgehog_" from
their predecessors, but it is a curious fact that a clod-crushing
machine, not very unlike that of Egypt, has only lately been invented
in England, which was shown at the Great Exhibition.

The ancient plow was entirely of wood, and of as simple a form as that
of modern Egypt. It consisted of a share, two handles, and the pole or
beam, which last was inserted into the lower end of the stilt, or the
base of the handles, and was strengthened by a rope connecting it with
the heel. It had no coulter, nor were wheels applied to any Egyptian
plow, but it is probable that the point was shod with a metal sock,
either of bronze or iron. It was drawn by two oxen, and the plowman
guided and drove them with a long goad, without the assistance of
reins, which are used by modern Egyptians. He was sometimes
accompanied by another man, who drove the animals, while he managed
the two handles of the plow, and sometimes the whip was substituted
for the more usual goad.

Cows were occasionally put to the plow, and it may not have been
unknown to them that the cow plows quicker than the ox.

The mode of yoking the beasts was exceedingly simple. Across the
extremity of the pole, a wooden yoke or cross-bar, about fifty-five
inches, or five feet, in length was fastened by a strap lashed
backwards and forwards over a prominence projecting from the centre of
the yoke, which corresponded to a similar peg, or knob, at the end of
the pole, and, occasionally, in addition to these, was a ring passing
over them as in some Greek chariots. At either end of the yoke was a
flat or slightly concave projection, of semi-circular form, which
rested on a pad placed upon the withers of the animal, and through a
hole on either side of it passed a thong for suspending the
shoulder-pieces which formed the collar. These were two wooden bars,
forked at about half their length, padded so as to protect the
shoulder from friction, and connected at the lower end by a strong
broad band passing under the throat.

Sometimes the draught, instead of being from the withers, was from the
head, the yoke being tied to the base of the horns, and in religious
ceremonies oxen frequently drew the bier, or the sacred shrine, by a
rope fastened to the upper part of the horns, without either yoke or

From a passage in Deuteronomy, "Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an
ass together," it might be inferred that the custom of yoking two
different animals to the plow was common in Egypt; but it was
evidently not so, and the Hebrew lawgiver had probably in view a
practice adopted by some of the people of Syria, whose country the
Israelites were about to occupy.

The hoe was of wood, like the fork, and many other implements of
husbandry, and in form was not unlike the letter A, with one limb
shorter than the other, and curving inwards. The longer limb, or
handle, was of uniform thickness, round and smooth, sometimes with a
knob at the end, and the lower extremity of the blade was of increased
breadth, and either terminated in a sharp point, or was rounded at the
end. The blade was frequently inserted into the handle, and they were
bound together, about the centre, with twisted rope. Being the most
common tool, answering for hoe, spade, and pick, it is frequently
represented in the sculptures, and several, which were found in the
tombs of Thebes, are preserved in the museums of Europe.

The hoe in hieroglyphics stands for the letter M, though the name of
this instrument was in Egyptian, as in Arabic, _Tore_. It forms the
commencement of the word _Mai_, "_beloved_," and enters into numerous
other combinations.

There are no instances of hoes with metal blades, except of very late
time, nor is there any proof of the plowshare having been sheathed
with metal.

The ax had a metal blade, either bronze or iron, and the peasants are
sometimes represented felling trees with this implement, while others
are employed in hoeing the field preparatory to its being
sown--confirming what we have observed, that the ancient, as well as
the modern, Egyptians frequently dispensed with the use of the plow.

The admission of swine into the fields, mentioned by Herodotus, should
rather have been before than after they had sown the land, since their
habits would do little good to the farmer, and other animals would
answer as well for "treading in the grain;" but they may have been
used before for clearing the fields of the roots and weeds encouraged
by the inundation; and this seems to be confirmed by the herd of pigs
with water plants represented in the tombs.

They sometimes used a top dressing of nitrous soil, which was spread
over the surface; a custom continued to the present day; but this was
confined to certain crops, and principally to those reared late in the
year, the fertilizing properties of the alluvial deposit answering all
the purposes of the richest manure.

Besides the admixture of nitrous earth the Egyptians made use of other
kinds of dressing, and sought for different productions the soils best
suited to them. They even took advantage of the edge of the desert for
growing the vine and some other plants, which, being composed of clay
and sand, was peculiarly adapted to such as required a light soil, and
the cultivation of this additional tract, which only stood in need of
proper irrigation to become highly productive, had the advantage of
increasing considerably the extent of the arable land of Egypt. In
many places we still find evidence of its having been tilled by the
ancient inhabitants, even to the late time of the Roman empire; and in
some parts of the Fyoom the vestiges of beds and channels for
irrigation, as well as the roots of vines, are found in sites lying
far above the level of the rest of the country.

The occupation of the husbandman depended much on the produce he had
determined on rearing. Those who solely cultivated corn had little
more to do than to await the time of harvest, but many crops required
constant attention, and some stood in need of frequent artificial

    [Page Decoration]

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The fame of an actor has been justly said to be of all fame the most
perishable, because he leaves no memorial of his powers, except in the
fading memories of the generation which has beheld him. An analogous
proposition might be made with respect to the mechanical arts: of all
sorts of knowledge they are the most perishable, because the knowledge
of them can not be transmitted by mere description. Let any great
convulsion of nature put an end to their practice for a generation or
two, and though the scientific part of them may be preserved in books,
the skill in manipulation, acquired by a long series of improvements,
is lost. If the United States be destined to relapse into such a state
of barbarism as Italy passed through in the period which divides
ancient and modern history, its inhabitants a thousand years hence
will know little more of the manual process of printing, dyeing, and
the other arts which minister to our daily comfort, in spite of all
the books which have been and shall be written, than we know of the
manual processes of ancient Italy. We reckon, therefore, among the
most interesting discoveries of Pompeii, those which relate to the
manner of conducting handicrafts, of which it is not too much to say
that we know nothing except through this medium. It is to be
regretted, that as far as our information goes, there are but two
trades on which any light has yet been thrown, those, namely, of the
baker and the dyer. We shall devote this chapter to collecting what is
known upon these subjects, and probably also speak some on painting.

Several bakers' shops have been found, all in a tolerable state of
preservation. The mills, the oven, the kneading-troughs, the vessels
for containing flour, water, leaven, have all been discovered, and
seem to leave nothing wanting to our knowledge; in some of the vessels
the very flour remained, still capable of being identified, though
reduced almost to a cinder. But in the centre some lumps of whitish
matter resembling chalk remained, which, when wetted and placed on a
red-hot iron, gave out the peculiar color which flour thus treated
emits. Even the very bread, in a perfect though carbonized form, has
in some instances been found in the oven. One of these bakers' shops
was attached to the House of Sallust, another to the House of Pansa:
probably they were worth a handsome rent. A third, which we select for
description, for one will serve perfectly as a type for the whole,
seems to have belonged to a man of higher class, a sort of capitalist;
for, instead of renting a mere dependency of another man's house, he
lived in a tolerably good house of his own, of which the bakery forms
a part. It stands next to the House of Sallust, on the south side,
being divided from it only by a narrow street. Its front is in the
main street or Via Consularis, leading from the gate of Herculaneum to
the Forum. Entering by a small vestibule, the visitor finds himself in
a tetrastyle atrium (a thing not common at Pompeii), of ample
dimensions, considering the character of the house, being about
thirty-six feet by thirty. The pillars which supported the ceiling are
square and solid, and their size, combined with indications observed
in a fragment of the entablature, led Mazois to suppose that, instead
of a roof, they had been surmounted by a terrace. The impluvium is
marble. At the end of the atrium is what would be called a tablinum in
the house of a man of family, through which we enter the bake-house,
which is at the back of the house, and opens into the smaller street,
which, diverging from the main street at the fountain by Pansa's
house, runs up straight to the city walls. The atrium is surrounded
by different apartments, offering abundant accommodation, but such as
we need not stop to describe.

    [Illustration: MILL AND BAKERY AT POMPEII.]

The work-room is about thirty-three feet long by twenty-six. The
centre is occupied by four stone mills, exactly like those found in
the other two stores, for all the bakers ground their own flour. To
give more room they are placed diagonally, so as to form, not a
square, but a lozenge. Mazois was present at the excavation of this
house, and saw the mills at the moment of their discovery, when the
iron-work, though entirely rust-eaten, was yet perfect enough to
explain satisfactorily the method of construction. This will be best
understood from the following representation, one half of which is an
elevation, the other half a section. The cut on page 365 gives some
idea of them.

The base is a cylindrical stone, about five feet in diameter and two
feet high. Upon this, forming part of the same block, or else firmly
fixed into it, is a conical projection about two feet high, the sides
slightly curving inwards. Upon this there rests another block,
externally resembling a dice-box, internally an hour-glass, being
shaped into two hollow cones with their vertices towards each other,
the lower one fitting the conical surface on which it rests, though
not with any degree of accuracy. To diminish friction, however, a
strong iron pivot was inserted in the top of the solid cone, and a
corresponding socket let into the narrow part of the hour-glass. Four
holes were cut through the stone parallel to this pivot. The narrow
part was hooped on the outside with iron, into which wooden bars were
inserted, by means of which the upper stone was turned upon its pivot,
by the labor of men or asses. The upper hollow cone served as a
hopper, and was filled with corn, which fell by degrees through the
four holes upon the solid cone, and was reduced to powder by friction
between the two rough surfaces. Of course it worked its way to the
bottom by degrees, and fell out on the cylindrical base, round which a
channel was cut to facilitate the collection. These machines are
about six feet high in the whole, made of a rough gray volcanic stone,
full of large crystals of leucite. Thus rude, in a period of high
refinement and luxury, was one of the commonest and most necessary
machines--thus careless were the Romans of the amount of labor wasted
in preparing an article of daily and universal consumption. This,
probably, arose in chief from the employment of slaves, the hardness
of whose task was little cared for; while the profit and encouragement
to enterprise on the part of the professional baker was
proportionately diminished, since every family of wealth probably
prepared its bread at home. But the same inattention to the useful
arts runs through everything that they did. Their skill in working
metals was equal to ours; nothing can be more beautiful than the
execution of tripods, lamps, and vases, nothing coarser than their
locks; while at the same time the door-handles, bolts, etc., which
were seen, are often exquisitely wrought. To what cause can this
sluggishness be referred? At present we see that a material
improvement in any article, though so trifling as a corkscrew or
pencil-case, is pretty sure to make the fortune of some man, though
unfortunately that man is very often not the inventor. Had the
encouragement to industry been the same, the result would have been
the same. Articles of luxury were in high request, and of them the
supply was first-rate. But the demands of a luxurious nobility would
never have repaid any man for devoting his attention to the
improvement of mills or perfecting smith's work, and there was little
general commerce to set ingenuity at work. Italy imported largely both
agricultural produce and manufactures in the shape of tribute from a
conquered world, and probably exported part of her peculiar
productions; but we are not aware that there is any ground for
supposing that she manufactured goods for exportation to any extent.

Originally mills were turned by hand, (many establishments may still
be seen in the streets of Naples for grinding corn by means of a
hand-mill, turned by a man. Such flour-shops have always a picture of
the Madonna inside,) and this severe labor seems, in all half-savage
times, to have been conducted by women. It was so in Egypt; it was so
in Greece in the time of Homer, who employs fifty females in the house
of Alcinous upon this service. It was so in Palestine in the time of
the Evangelists, and in England in the fourteenth and sixteenth
centuries. We find a passage of St. Matthew thus rendered by Wicliffe:
"Two wymmen schulen (shall) be grinding in one querne," or hand-mill;
and Harrison the historian, two centuries later, says that his wife
ground her malt at home upon her quern. Among the Romans poor freemen
used sometimes to hire themselves out to the service of the mill when
all other resources failed; and Plautus is said to have done so, being
reduced to the extreme of poverty, and to have composed his comedies
while thus employed. This labor, however, fell chiefly upon slaves,
and is represented as being the severest drudgery which they had to
undergo. Those who had been guilty of any offense were sent to the
mill as a punishment, and sometimes forced to work in chains. Asses,
however, were used by those who could afford it. That useful animal
seems to have been employed in the establishment we are describing,
for the fragment of a jaw-bone, with several teeth in it, was found in
a room which seems to have been the stable; and the floor about the
mill is paved with rough pieces of stone, while in the rest of the
rooms it is made of stucco or compost. The use of water-mills,
however, was not unknown to the Romans. Vitruvius describes their
construction in terms not inapplicable to the mechanism of a common
mill of the present day, and other ancient authors refer to them. "Set
not your hands to the mill, O women that turn the millstone! sleep
sound though the cock's crow announce the dawn, for Ceres has charged
the nymphs with the labors which employed your arms. These, dashing
from the summit of a wheel, make its axle revolve, which, by the help
of moving radii, sets in action the weight of four hollow mills. We
taste anew the life of the first men, since we have learnt to enjoy,
without fatigue, the produce of Ceres."

In the centre of the pier, at the back, is the aperture to the cistern
by which the water used in making bread was supplied. On each side are
vessels to hold the water. On the pier above is a painting, divided
horizontally into two compartments. The figures in the upper ones are
said to represent the worship of the goddess Fornax, the goddess of
the oven, which seems to have been deified solely for the advantages
which it possessed over the old method of baking on the hearth. Below,
two guardian serpents roll towards an altar crowned with a fruit very
much like a pine-apple; while above, two little birds are in chase of
large flies. These birds, thus placed in a symbolical picture, may be
considered, in perfect accordance with the spirit of ancient
mythology, as emblems of the genii of the place, employed in driving
those troublesome insects from the bread.

The oven is on the left. It is made with considerable attention to
economy of heat. The real oven is enclosed in a sort of ante-oven,
which had an aperture in the top for the smoke to escape. The hole in
the side is for the introduction of dough, which was prepared in the
adjoining room, and deposited through that hole upon the shovel with
which the man in front placed it in the oven. The bread, when baked,
was conveyed to cool in a room the other side of the oven, by a
similar aperture. Beneath the oven is an ash-pit. To the right is a
large room which is conjectured to have been a stable. The jaw-bone
above mentioned and some other fragments of a skeleton were found in
it. There is a reservoir for water at the further end, which passes
through the wall, and is common both to this room and the next, so
that it could be filled without going into the stable. The further
room is fitted up with stone basins, which seem to have been the
kneading-troughs. It contains also a narrow and inconvenient

Though corn-bread formed the principal article of nourishment among
the Italians, the use of bread itself was not of early date. For a
long time the Romans used their corn sodden into pap, and there were
no bakers in Rome antecedent to the war against Perseus, king of
Macedonia, about B.C. 580. Before this every house made its own bread,
and this was the task of the women, except in great houses, where
there were men-cooks. And even after the invention of bread it was
long before the use of mills was known, but the grain was bruised in
mortars. Hence the names _pistor_ and _pistrinum_, a baker and baker's
shop, which are derived from _pinsere_, to pound. The oven also was of
late introduction, as we have hinted in speaking of the goddess
Fornax, nor did it ever come into exclusive use. We hear of bread
baked under the ashes; baked in the bread-pan, which was probably of
the nature of a Dutch oven; and other sorts, named either from the
nature of their preparation or the purpose to which they were to be
applied. The finest sort was called _siligineus_, and was prepared
from the best and whitest sort of wheaten flour. A bushel of the best
wheat of Campania, which was of the first quality, containing sixteen
sextarii, yielded four sextarii of siligo, here seemingly used for the
finest flour; half a bushel of _flos_, bolted flour; four sextarii of
_cibarium_, seconds; and four sextarii of bran; thus giving an excess
of four sextarii. Their loaves appear to have been very often baked in
moulds, several of which have been found; these may possibly be
artoptæ, and the loaves thus baked, artopticii. Several of these
loaves have been found entire. They are flat, and about eight inches
in diameter. One in the Neapolitan Museum has a stamp on the top:--

        E . CICER

This has been interpreted to mean that cicer (vetch) was mixed with
the flour. We know from Pliny that the Romans used several sorts of
grain. The cut below gives an idea of their form.


In front of the house, one on each side the doorway, there are two
shops. Neither of these has any communication with the house; it is
inferred, therefore, that they were let out to others, like the shops
belonging to more distinguished persons. This supposition is the more
probable because none of the bakeries found have shops attached to
them, and there is a painting in the grand work on Herculaneum, Le
Pitture d'Ercolano, which represents a bread-seller established in the
Forum, with his goods on a little table in the open air.

There is only one trade, so far as we are aware, with respect to the
practices of which any knowledge has been gained from the excavations
at Pompeii--that of fulling and scouring cloth. This art, owing to the
difference of ancient and modern habits, was of much greater
importance formerly than it now is. Wool was almost the only material
used for dresses in the earlier times of Rome, silk being unknown till
a late period, and linen garments being very little used. Woolen
dresses, however, especially in the hot climate of Italy, must often
have required a thorough purification, and on the manner in which this
was done of course their beauty very much depended. And since the
toga, the chief article of Roman costume, was woven in one piece, and
was of course expensive, to make it look and wear as well as possible
was very necessary to persons of small fortune. The method pursued has
been described by Pliny and others, and is well illustrated in some
paintings found upon the wall of a building, which evidently was a
_fullonica_, or scouring-house. The building in question is entered
from the Street of Mercury, and is situated in the same island as the
House of the Tragic Poet.

The first operation was that of washing, which was done with water
mixed with some detergent clay, or fuller's earth; soap does not
appear to have been used. This was done in vats, where the clothes
were trodden and well worked by the feet of the scourer. The painting
on the walls of the Fullonica represents four persons thus employed.
Their dress is tucked up, leaving their legs bare; it consists of two
tunics, the under one being yellow and the upper green. Three of them
seem to have done their work, and to be wringing the articles on which
they have been employed; the other, his hands resting on the wall on
each side, is jumping, and busily working about the contents of his
vat. When dry, the cloth was brushed and carded, to raise the nap--at
first with metal cards, afterwards with thistles. A plant called
teazle is now largely cultivated in England for the same purpose. The
cloth was then fumigated with sulphur, and bleached in the sun by
throwing water repeatedly upon it while spread out on gratings. In the
painting the workman is represented as brushing or carding a tunic
suspended over a rope. Another man carries a frame and pot, meant
probably for fumigation and bleaching; the pot containing live coals
and sulphur, and being placed under the frame, so that the cloths
spread upon the latter would be fully exposed to the action of the
pent-up vapor. The person who carries these things wears something on
his head, which is said to be an olive garland. If so, that, and the
owl sitting upon the frame, probably indicate that the establishment
was under the patronage of Minerva, the tutelary goddess of the loom.
Another is a female examining the work which a young girl has done
upon a piece of yellow cloth. A golden net upon her head, and a
necklace and bracelets, denote a person of higher rank than one of the
mere workpeople of the establishment; it probably is either the
mistress herself, or a customer inquiring into the quality of the work
which has been done for her.

These pictures, with others illustrative of the various processes of
the art, were found upon a pier in the peristyle of the Fullonica.
Among them we may mention one that represents a press, similar in
construction to those now in use, except that there is an unusual
distance between the threads of the screw. The ancients, therefore,
were acquainted with the practical application of this mechanical
power. In another is to be seen a youth delivering some pieces of
cloth to a female, to whom, perhaps, the task of ticketing, and
preserving distinct the different property of different persons, was
allotted. It is rather a curious proof of the importance attached to
this trade, that the due regulation of it was a subject thought not
unworthy of legislative enactments. B.C. 354, the censors laid down
rules for regulating the manner of washing dresses, and we learn from
the digests of the Roman law that scourers were compelled to use the
greatest care not to lose or to confound property. Another female,
seated on a stool, seems occupied in cleaning one of the cards. Both
of the figures last described wear green tunics; the first of them has
a yellow under-tunic, the latter a white one. The resemblance in
colors between these dresses and those of the male fullers above
described may perhaps warrant a conjecture that there was some kind of
livery or described dress belonging to the establishment, or else the
contents of the painter's color-box must have been very limited.

The whole pier on which these paintings were found has been removed to
the museum at Naples. In the peristyle was a large earthenware jar,
which had been broken across the middle and the pieces then sewed
carefully and laboriously together with wire. The value of these
vessels, therefore, can not have been very small, though they were
made of the most common clay. At the eastern end of the peristyle
there was a pretty fountain, with a jet d'eau. The western end is
occupied by four large vats in masonry, lined with stucco, about seven
feet deep, which seem to have received the water in succession, one
from another.

Dyeing and painting in ancient times was rather more perfect than at
present, at least the colors were stronger and more durable. The
Egyptians had the most durable colors. The Henna is a plant which is
abundant in Egypt, Arabia, and Palestine, and was used by the
ancients, as it is by the moderns, for dyeing. The leaves were dried
and pulverized, and then made into a paste. It is a powerful
astringent dye, and is applied to desiccate and dye the palms of the
hands and soles of the feet and nails of both, and gives a sort of dun
or rust color to animal tissues, which is very permanent.

It is stated that when sal-ammoniac and lime were put upon the colored
parts they changed to a dark greenish-blue color, and passed on to
black, probably from the sal-ammoniac containing iron which would give
this result.

The Tyrian ladies dyed rings and stars upon their persons. Men gave a
black dye to the hair of their heads and beards. The dyeing of the
nails with henna is a very ancient custom. Some of the old Egyptian
mummies are so dyed. It is supposed that the Jewish women also
followed this custom. Reference is made to it in Deuteronomy, where
the newly-married wife is desired to stain her nails. Also, in the
Song of Solomon, _Camphire_, in the authorized version, is said to
mean henna, which has finely-scented flowers growing in bunches, and
the leaves of the plant are used by women to impart a reddish stain to
their nails.

Speaking of the Arabian women at the present day, Dr. Thomson, in "The
Land and the Book," says: "They paint their cheeks, putting tahl
around their eyes, arching their eyebrows with the same, and stain
their hands and feet with henna thus to deck themselves, and should an
unmarried woman do so, an impression is conveyed highly injurious to
the girl's character."

GALLS are named among the substances known to the ancients, but we can
not find whether they were used as a dyeing agent. Wilkinson says that
tanning was in Egypt a subdivision of dyeing, and it is mentioned that
copperas with galls dyed leather black; and there can be little doubt
that galls were used for a similar purpose in ordinary dyeing. The
_Myrobollans_ and several sorts of barks and pods of the _Acacia
nilotica_ were also used for tanning, from their astringent
properties, and may have been similarly used for dyeing.

These are a few of the principal coloring matters used by dyers in
ancient times. There is a little confusion with respect to some of the
salts mentioned as having been used by them, especially the alkaline
salts--a circumstance, however, not to be wondered at. In more modern
times there is a similar confusion on this same head.

When nitre, for instance, is burned with carbonaceous matter, the
product is carbonate of potash. The ashes left by burning wood contain
the same salt. The ashes left by burning sea-weed produce carbonate of
soda. When nitre is burned with sulphur, the product is sulphate of
potash, etc. These have all been called generically, even in modern
times, nitre, having each a certain prefix well understood by the
adept, or chemist, of the day.

We think it probable that all these processes for making the different
salts were practiced in ancient times, but now having only the generic
name _nitre_ given us by historians, we can not understand exactly
when nitre is mentioned which of the nitres is meant.

When Solomon speaks of the action of vinegar upon nitre, the chemist
understands that the salt referred to is a carbonate, but when the
nature of the action or application is not given, we have no idea what
particular salt is meant. There is no doubt, however, that the
ancients were well acquainted with the alkaline salts of potash and
soda, and applied them in the arts. The metallic salts of iron,
copper, and alumina were well known, and their application to dyeing
was generally the same as at the present day. That they were used both
as mordants and alterants is evident from several references.

A very suggestive statement is made by Pliny about the ancient
Egyptians. "They began," says he, "by painting or drawing on white
cloths with certain drugs, which in themselves possessed no color, but
had the property of attracting or absorbing coloring matter, after
which these cloths were immersed in a heated dyeing liquor; and
although they were colorless before, and although this dyeing liquor
was of one equable and uniform color, yet when taken out of it soon
afterwards, the cloth was found to be wonderfully tinged of different
colors according to the peculiar nature of the several drugs which had
been applied to their respective parts, and these colors could not be
afterwards discharged by washing."

Herodotus states that certain people who lived near the Caspian Sea
could, by means of leaves of trees which they bruised and steeped in
water, form on cloth the figures of animals, flowers, etc., which were
as lasting as the cloth itself. This statement is more suggestive than

Persia was much famed for dyeing at a very early period, and dyeing is
still held in great esteem in that country. Persian dyers have chosen
Christ as their patron; and Bischoff says that they at present call a
dye-house Christ's workshop, from a tradition they have that He was of
that profession. They have a legend, probably founded upon what Pliny
tells of the Egyptian dyers, "that Christ being put apprentice to a
dyer, His master desired Him to dye some pieces of cloth of different
colors; He put them all into a boiler, and when the dyer took them out
he was terribly frightened on finding that each had its proper color."

This or a similar legend occurs in the apocryphal book entitled "The
First Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ." The following is the

     "On a certain day also, when the Lord Jesus was playing with
     the boys, and running about, He passed by a dyer's shop whose
     name was Salem, and there were in his shop many pieces of
     cloth belonging to the people of that city, which they
     designed to dye of several colors. Then the Lord Jesus, going
     into the dyer's shop, took all the cloths and threw them into
     the furnace. When Salem came home and saw the cloth spoiled,
     he began to make a great noise and to chide the Lord Jesus,
     saying: "What hast Thou done unto me, O thou son of Mary? Thou
     hast injured both me and my neighbors; they all desired their
     cloths of a proper color, but Thou hast come and spoiled them
     all." The Lord Jesus replied: "I will change the color of
     every cloth to what color thou desirest," and then He
     presently began to take the cloths out of the furnace; and
     they were all dyed of those same colors which the dyer
     desired. And when the Jews saw this surprising miracle they
     praised God."

TIN.--We have no positive evidence as to whether the ancients used
oxide, or the salts of tin, in their dyeing operations. A modern dyer
could hardly produce permanent tints with some of the dye drugs named
without tin salts. We know that the ancients used the oxides of tin
for glazing pottery and painting; they may therefore have used salts
of tin in their dyeing operations. However, they had another
salt--sulphate of alumina--which produces similar results, although
the moderns in most cases prefer tin, as it makes a more brilliant and
permanent tint.

ALUM.--This is what is termed a double salt, and is composed of
sulphate of alumina and sulphate of potash. The process of
manufacturing it in this country is by subjecting clay slate
containing iron pyrites to a calcination, when the sulphur with the
iron is oxidized, becoming sulphuric acid, which, combining with the
alumina of the clay, and also with the iron, becomes sulphate of
alumina and iron; to this is added a salt of potash, which, combining
with the sulphate of alumina, forms the double salt alum. Soda or
ammonia may be substituted for potash with similar results; the alum
is crystallized from the solution. That the ancients were acquainted
with this double salt has been disputed, but we think there can be no
doubt of its existence and use at a very early period. A very pure
alum is produced in volcanic districts by the action of sulphurous
acid and oxygen on felspathic rocks, and used by the ancients for
different purposes. Pliny mentions _Alumine_, which he describes as
white, and used for whitening wool, also for dyeing wool of bright
colors. Occasionally he confounds this salt with a mixture of sulphate
of alumina and iron, which, in all probability, was alum containing
iron, the process of separation not being perfect; and he mentions
that this kind of alumen blackens on the application of nut-galls,
showing that iron was in it. Pliny says of alumen, that it is
"understood to be a sort of brine which exudes from the earth; of
this, too, there are several kinds. In Cyprus there is a white alumen,
and another kind of a darker color; the uses of these are very
dissimilar, the white liquid alumen being employed for dyeing a whole
bright color, and the darker, on the other hand, for giving wool a
tawny or sombre tint." This is very characteristic of a pure aluminous
mordant, and of one containing iron. He also mentions that this dark
alumen was used for purifying gold. He must be referring here to its
quality of giving gold a rich color. The liquid of this iron alumen,
if put upon light-colored gold, and heated over a fire, gives it a
very rich tint; a process practiced still for the same purpose. So
far, however, as the application to dyeing is concerned, it is
unnecessary to prove that the ancients used our double salt alum.
Probably the alumen referred to by Pliny, as exuding from the earth,
was sulphate of alumina, without potash or soda, a salt not easily
crystallized, but as effective, in many cases more effective, in the
operations of dyeing, as alum, which is attested by the preference
given to this salt over alum for many purposes at the present day.
Pliny says that alumen was a product of Spain, Egypt, Armenia,
Macedonia, Pontus, Africa, and the Islands of Sardinia, Melos, Lipara,
and Strangyle, and that the most esteemed is that of Egypt. And
Herodotus mentions that King Amasis of Egypt sent the people of Delphi
a thousand talents of this substance, as his contribution toward the
rebuilding of their temple. Notwithstanding considerable confusion in
Pliny's account of this substance, our belief is, that it refers to
different salts of alumina, and whether or not they were all used in
the processes of dyeing, they were used for manufacturing purposes,
and thus gives us some insight to the advanced state of the arts in
those times.

Respecting the cost and durability of the Tyrian purple, it is related
that Alexander the Great found in the treasury of the Persian monarch
5,000 quintals of Hermione purple of great beauty, and 180 years old,
and that it was worth $125 of our money per pound weight. The price of
dyeing a pound of wool in the time of Augustus is given by Pliny, and
this price is equal to about $160 of our money. It is probable that
his remarks refer to some particular tint or quality of color easily
distinguished, although not at all clearly defined by Pliny. He
mentions a sort of purple, or hyacinth, which was worth, in the time
of Julius Cæsar, 100 denarii (about $15 of our money) per pound.

Since, according to our modern researches into this dye, one fish, the
common _Purpura lapillus_, produces only about one drop of the liquor,
then it would take about 10,000 fish to dye 1 lb. of wool, so that
$160 is not extravagant.

Spinning and weaving in ancient times were principally performed by
women; indeed, the words _woof_, _weaving_, and _web_ are allied to
the word _wife_. However, in ancient Egypt and in India men also
wrought at the loom. Probably nothing could be simpler or ruder than
the looms used by ancient weavers. Were we to compare these with the
looms and other weaving apparatus of the present day, and reason
therefrom that as the loom so must have been the cloth produced
thereon, we would make a very great mistake. There are few arts which
illustrate with equal force our argument in favor of the perfection of
ancient art so well as this of weaving. It would appear that our
advancement is not so much in the direction of quality as in that of
quantity. There are few things we can do which were not done by the
ancients equally perfect. Rude as were their looms in ancient Egypt,
they produced the far-famed linen so often mentioned in Scripture and
the writings of other nations. In order to show that this is not to be
regarded as a merely comparative term applicable to a former age, we
will here quote from G. Wilkinson respecting some mummy-cloths
examined by the late Mr. Thomson, of Clithero:--"My first impression
on seeing these cloths was, that the first kinds were muslins, and of
Indian manufacture; but this suspicion of their being cotton was soon
removed by the microscope. Some were thin and transparent, and of
delicate texture, and the finest had 140 threads to the inch in the
warp." Some cloth Mr. Wilkinson found in Thebes had 152 threads to the
inch in the warp, but this is coarse when compared with a piece of
linen cloth found in Memphis, which had 540 threads to the inch of the
warp. How fine must these threads have been! In quoting this extract
from Wilkinson to an old weaver, he flatly said it was impossible, as
no reed could be made so fine. However, there would be more threads
than one in the split, and by adopting this we can make cloth in our
day having between 400 and 500 in the inch. However, the ancient
cloths are much finer in the warp than woof, probably from want of
appliance for driving the threads of the weft close enough, as they do
not appear to have _lays_ as we have for this purpose. Pliny refers to
the remains of a linen corselet, presented by Amasis, king of Egypt,
to the Rhodians, each thread of which was composed of 365 fibres:
"Herodotus mentions this corselet, and another presented by Amasis to
the Lacedæmonians, which had been carried off by the Samians. It was
of linen, ornamented with numerous figures of animals worked in gold
and cotton. Each thread of the corselet was worthy of admiration, for
though very fine, every one was composed of 360 other threads all
distinct." No doubt this kind of thread was symbolical. It was
probably something of this sort that Moses refers to when he mentions
the material of which the corselet or girdle of the high priest was
made--the fine twined linen. Jewish women are represented in the Old
Testament as being expert in the art of spinning.

Ancient Babylon was also celebrated for her cloth manufacture and
embroidery work, and to be the possessor of one of these costly
garments was no ordinary ambition. It is not to be wondered at that
when Achan saw amongst the spoils of Jericho a goodly Babylonish
garment he "coveted it and took it." The figure represented on the
ancient seal of Urukh has, says Rawlinson, fringed garments delicately
striped, indicating an advanced condition of this kind of manufacture
five or six centuries before Joshua. It may be mentioned, however,
that such manufactures were in ancient times, especially in Egypt,
national. Time was of little importance, labor was plentiful, and no
craftsman was allowed to scheme, or plan, or introduce any change, but
was expected to aim at the perfection of the operation he was engaged
in, and this led to perfection every branch. Every trade had its own
quarters in the city or nation, and the locality was named after the
trade, such as goldsmiths' quarters, weavers' quarters, etc. This same
rule seems to have been practised by the Hebrews after their
settlement in Palestine, for we find such names in Scripture as the
Valley of Craftsmen. We also find that certain trades continued in
families; passages such as the following are frequent--"The father of
those who were craftsmen," and "The father of Mereshah, a city, and of
the house of those who wrought fine linen;" and again, "The men of
Chozeba, and Joash, and Saraph, who had the dominion of Moab and
Jashubalahem, these were potters, and those that dwelt among plants
and hedges, and did the king's work." In ancient Egypt every son was
obliged to follow the same trade as his father. Thus caste was formed.
Whether this same was carried out in Babylon, Persia, and Greece, we
do not know; but certainly, in these nations there were in all cases
officers directing the operations, and overseers, to whom these again
were responsible, so that every manufacturing art was carried on under
strict surveillance, and to the highest state of perfection. As the
possession of artistic work was an object of ambition amongst the
wealthy or favored portion of the community, it led to emulation among
the workers. Professor Rawlinson, in his "Five Ancient Monarchies,"
speaks of the Persians emulating with each other in the show they
could make of their riches and variety of artistic products. This
emulation led both to private and public exhibitions. One of those
exhibitions, which lasted over a period of six months, is referred to
in the Old Testament; so when we opened our Great Exhibition in 1876
we were only resuscitating a system common in ancient times, the event
recorded in the Book of Esther having happened at least 2,200 years

     "In those days, when the King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of
     his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace, in the third
     year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and
     his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and
     princes of the provinces, being before him: when he showed the
     riches of his glorious kingdom, and the honor of his excellent
     majesty, many days, even an hundred and fourscore days. And
     when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all
     the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto
     great and unto small, seven days, in the court of the garden
     of the king's palace; where were white green and blue
     hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to
     silver rings and pillars of marble; the beds were of gold and
     silver, upon a pavement of red, and blue, and white, and black
     marble. And they gave them drink in vessels of gold (the
     vessels being diverse one from another), and royal wine in
     abundance, according to the state of the king."

This must have been a magnificent exhibition. The number attending
this feast is not ascertainable; but, if the princes and nobles of the
provinces (the provinces were 127 in number), and all the officers and
great men of Persia and Media, and the servants of the palace, great
and small, were there, it must have formed an immense company. Now, as
every one drank out of a golden cup of a different pattern, we obtain
an idea of profusion in art of which we can form but a very limited
conception. This fact indicates that variety of pattern was an object
sought after--a fashion fostering and favoring the development of art
and design, and worthy of being emulated in the present day.

Speaking of the Persians, Professor Rawlinson says that the richer
classes seem to have followed the court in their practices. In their
costume they wore long purple or flowered robes, with loose-hanging
sleeves, flowered tunics reaching to the knee, also sleeved,
embroidered trowsers, tiaras, and shoes of a more elegant shape than
the ordinary Persian. Under their trowsers they wore drawers, and
under their tunics shirts, and under their shoes stockings or socks.
In their houses their couches were spread with gorgeous coverlets, and
their floors with rich carpets--habits that must have necessitated an
immense labor and skill, and indicate great knowledge in the
manufacture of textile fabrics.

Among the great historic nations of antiquity, the chief consumption
of copper and tin was in the manufacture of bronze; and the quantities
of these metals necessary for the purpose must have been very great,
for bronze seems to have been the principal metallic substance of
which articles both of utility and art were formed. Wilkinson, Layard,
and others, found bronze articles in abundance amongst the _debris_ of
all the ancient civilizations to which their researches extend,
proving that the manufacture of this alloy was widely known at a very
early period; and strange to say, when we consider the applications of
some of the tools found, we are forced to the conclusion that the
bronze of which they were made must originally have been in certain
important particulars superior to any which we can produce at the
present day. In these researches were found carpenters' and masons'
tools, such as saws, chisels, hammers, etc., and also knives, daggers,
swords, and other instruments which require both a fine hard edge and
elasticity. Were we to make such tools now, they would be useless for
the purpose to which the ancients applied them. Wilkinson says: "No
one who has tried to perforate or cut a block of Egyptian granite will
scruple to acknowledge that our best steel tools are turned in a very
short time, and require to be re-tempered; and the labor experienced
by the French engineers who removed the obelisk of Luxor from Thebes,
in cutting a space less than two feet deep along the face of its
partially decomposed pedestal, suffices to show that, even with our
excellent modern implements, we find considerable difficulty in doing
what to the Egyptians would have been one of the least arduous tasks."

But Wilkinson believes that bronze chisels were used for cutting
granite, as he found one at Thebes, of which he says, "Its point is
instantly turned by striking it against the very stone it was used to
cut; and yet, when found, the summit was turned over by blows it had
received from the mallet, while the point was intact, as if it had
recently left the hands of the smith who made it."

"Another remarkable feature in their bronze," says the same author,
"is the resistance it offers to the effects of the atmosphere--some
continuing smooth and bright though buried for ages, and since exposed
to the damp European climate. They had also the secret of covering the
surface with a rich patina of dark or light green, or other color, by
applying acids to it."

    [Illustration: Engraved & Printed by Illman Brothers

    [Page Decoration]



No words can describe the interest which belongs to such a
contribution to the history of the world as the discovery of Troy by
Dr. Schliemann. The belief of a large part of the classic world for
centuries has been embodied in a saying quite common among the Greeks:
"I know of but one Ilion, and that is the Ilion as sung by Homer,
which is not to be found except among the muses who dwell on Olympus."
To-day is given to the world a description of the fire-scathed ruins
of that city whose fate inspired the immortal first-fruits of Greek
poetry, and from these remains are brought to light thousands of facts
bearing upon the origin and history of the inhabitants, and
illustrating their religion and language, their wealth and
civilization. He has supplied the missing link, long testified by
tradition as well as poetry, between the famous Greeks and their
kindred in the East.

The satisfaction which the discovery of Troy gives to the Greeks
especially is, perhaps, nearly commensurate with the joy that a
discovery would bring to the Christian which would so confirm the
truth of the Bible as to forever silence its critics and the
skepticism of the day. The Iliad was the Greek Bible, and every page
of it was full of accounts of Troy, its people and its heroes. It was
the ultimate standard of appeal on all matters of religious doctrine
and early history. It was learned by the boys at school. It was the
study of men in their riper years, and even in the time of Socrates
there were Athenian gentlemen who could repeat both the Iliad and
Odyssey by heart. In whatever part of the ancient world a Greek
settled he carried with him a love for the great poet, just as much as
the Christian family takes the Bible to its new frontier home. No work
of profane literature has exercised so wide and long-continued an

The site of Troy is upon a plateau on the eastern shore of the Ægean
Sea, about 4 miles from the coast and 4-1/2 miles southeast from the
port of Sigeum. The plateau lies on an average about 80 feet above the
plain, and descending very abruptly on the north side. Its
northwestern corner is formed by a hill about 26 feet higher still,
which is about 705 feet in breadth and 984 in length, and from its
imposing situation and natural fortifications this hill of _Hissarlik_
seems specially suited to be the Acropolis of the town.

Like the other great Oriental capitals of the Old World, the present
condition of Troy is that of a mound, such as those in the plain of
the Tigris and Euphrates, offering for ages the invitation to
research, which has only been accepted and rewarded in our own day.
The resemblance is so striking as to raise a strong presumption that,
as the mounds of Nimrud and Hillah have been found to contain the
palaces of the Assyrian and Babylonian kings, so we may accept the
ruins found in the mound of Hissarlik as those of the capital of that
primeval empire in Asia Minor.

As the mounds opened by Layard and his fellow laborers contained only
the "royal quarters," which towered above the rude buildings of
cities, the magnitude of which is attested by abundant proofs, so it
is reasonable to believe that the ruins at Hissarlik are those of the
royal quarter, the only really _permanent_ part of the city built on
the hill capping the lower plateau which lifted the huts of the common
people above the marshes and inundations of the Scamander and the
Simois. In both cases the fragile dwellings of the multitude have
perished, and the pottery and other remains, which were left in the
surface of the plateau of Ilium, would naturally be cleared away by
the succeeding settlers. Homer's poetical exaggeration exalted the
mean dwellings that clustered about the acropolis into the "well-built
city" with her "wide streets."

The erroneous theory which assigns Troy to the heights of Bunarbashi
could, in fact, never have gained ground, had its advocates employed
the few hours which they spent on the heights, and in Bunarbashi
itself, in making small holes, with the aid of even a single workman.
No one can conceive how it is possible that the solution of the great
problem, "ubi Troja fait"--which is surely one of the greatest
interest to the whole civilized world--should have been treated so
superficially that, after a few hours' visit to the Plain of Troy, men
have sat down at home and written voluminous works to defend a theory,
the worthlessness of which they would have perceived had they but made
excavations for a single hour.

The view from the hill of Hissarlik is extremely magnificent. Before
it lies the glorious Plain of Troy, which is covered with grass and
yellow buttercups; on the north northwest, at about an hour's
distance, it is bounded by the Hellespont. The peninsula of Gallipoli
here runs out to a point, upon which stands a lighthouse. To the left
of it is the island of Imbros, above which rises Mount Ida of the
island of Samothrace, at present covered with snow; a little more to
the west, on the Macedonian peninsula, lies the celebrated Mount
Athos, or Monte Santo, with its monasteries, at the northwestern side
of which there are still to be seen traces of that great canal, which,
according to Herodotus (vii. 22, 23), was made by Xerxes, in order to
avoid sailing round the stormy Cape Athos.

Returning to the Plain of Troy we see to the right of it, upon a spur
of the promontory of Rhœteum, the sepulchral mound of Ajax, at the
foot of the opposite Cape of Sigeum that of Patroclus, and upon a spur
of the same cape the sepulchre of Achilles; to the left of the latter,
on the promontory itself, is the Village of Yenishehr. The Plain,
which is about two hours' journey in breadth, is thence bounded on the
west by the shores of the Ægean, which are, on an average, about 131
feet high, and upon which we see first the sepulchral mound of Festus,
the confidential friend of Caracalla, whom the Emperor (according to
Herodian IV.) caused to be poisoned on his visit to Ilium, that he
might be able to imitate the funeral rites which Achilles celebrated
in honor of his friend Patroclus, as described by Homer. Then upon the
same coast there is another sepulchral mound, called _Udjek-Tepe_,
rather more than 78-1/2 feet in height, which most archæologists
consider to be that of the old man Æsyetes, from which Polites,
trusting to the swiftness of his feet, watched to see when the Greek
army would set forth from the ships.

    "Swift Iris stood amidst them, and the voice
    Assuming of Polites, Priam's son,
    The Trojan scout, who, trusting to his speed,
    Was posted on the summit of the mound
    Of ancient Æsyetes, there to watch
    Till from their ships the Grecian troops should march--"

Between the last-named mounds we see projecting above the high shores
of the Ægean Sea the island of Tenedos, to which the crafty Greeks
withdrew their fleet when they pretended to abandon the siege. To the
south we see the Plain of Troy, extending again to a distance of two
hours, as far as the heights of Bunarbashi, above which rises
majestically the snow-capped Gargarus of Mt. Ida, from which Jupiter
witnessed the battles between the Trojans and the Greeks.

One of the greatest difficulties has been to make the enormous
accumulation of _debris_ at Troy agree with chronology; and in this
Dr. Schliemann only partially succeeded. According to Herodotus (vii.
43): "Xerxes in his march through the Troad, before invading Greece
(B.C. 480) arrived at the Scamander and went up to Priam's Pergamus,
as he wished to see that citadel; and, after having seen it, and
inquired into its past fortunes, he sacrificed 1,000 oxen to the Ilian
Athena, and the Magi poured libations to the manes of the heroes."

    [Illustration: METALS AND BEADS.]

This passage tacitly implies that at that time a Greek colony had long
since held possession of the town, and according to Strabo's testimony
(XIII. i. 42), such a colony built Ilium during the dominion of the
Lydians. Now, as the commencement of the Lydian dominion dates from
the year 797 B.C., and as the Ilians seem to have been completely
established there long before the arrival of Xerxes in 480 B.C., we
may fairly assume that their first settlement in Troy took place about
700 B.C. Now, there are found no inscriptions later than those
belonging to the second century after Christ, and no coins of later
date than Constantine II., but very many belonging to Constantine the
Great, who, as is well known, intended to build Constantinople on that
site, but it remained an uninhabited place till about the end of the
reign of Constans II., that is till about A.D. 361. Since the
accumulation of _debris_ during this long period of 1061 years amounts
only to six and one-half feet, whereas we have still to dig to a depth
of forty feet, and in places to forty-six and one-half below this,
before reaching the native soil, how many years did it require to form
a layer of forty to forty-six and one-half feet? The formation of the
uppermost one, the Greek layer of six and one-half feet required 1061.
The time required to cover the foundations of Troy to a depth of
forty-six and one-half feet of _debris_ must have been very long. The
first layer of from thirteen to twenty feet on this hill of Hissarlik
belonged to the Aryan race, of whom very little can be said. The
second layer was formed by the Trojans of Homer, and are supposed, by
Dr. Schliemann and others to have flourished here about 1400 years
before Christ. We have only the general supposition of antiquity that
the Trojan war occurred about B.C. 1200, and Homer's statement that
Dardanus, the first Trojan King, founded Dardania, which town Virgil
and Euripides consider identical with Ilium, and that after him it was
governed by his son Erichthonius, and then by his grandson Tros, by
his great-grandson Ilus, and then by his son Laomedon, and by his
grandson Priam. Even if we allow every one of these six kings a long
reign of thirty-three years, we nevertheless scarcely carry the
foundation of the town beyond 1400 B.C., that is 700 years before the
Greek colony.

During Dr. Schliemann's three-year excavations in the depths of Troy,
he has had daily and hourly opportunities of convincing himself that,
from the standard of our own or of the ancient Greek mode of life, we
can form no idea of the life and doings of the four nations which
successively inhabited this hill before the time of the Greek
settlement. They must have had a terrible time of it, otherwise we
should not find the walls of one house upon the ruined remains of
another, in continuous but _irregular_ succession; and it is just
because we can form no idea of the way in which these nations lived
and what calamities they had to endure, that it is impossible to
calculate the duration of their existence, even approximately, from
the thickness of their ruins. It is extremely remarkable, but
perfectly intelligible from the continual calamities which befel the
town, that the civilization of all the four nations constantly
declined; the terra-cottas, which show continuous _decadence_, leave
no doubt of this.

The first settlement on this hill of _Hissarlik_ seems to have been of
the longest duration, for its ruins cover the rock to a height of from
thirteen to twenty feet. Its houses and walls of fortification were
built of stones, large and small, joined with earth, and manifold
remains of these may be seen in the excavations. It was supposed that
these settlers were identical with the Trojans of whom Homer sang,
which is not the case.

All that can be said of the first settlers is that they belonged to
the Aryan race, as is sufficiently proved by the Aryan religious
symbols met with in the strata of their ruins, both upon the pieces of
pottery and upon the small curious terra-cottas with a hole in the
centre, which have the form of the crater of a volcano or of a
_carrousel_, _i.e._, a top.

The excavations made have sufficiently proved that the second nation
which built a town on this hill, upon the _debris_ of the first
settlers (which is from 13 to 20 feet deep), are the Trojans of whom
Homer sings. Their _debris_ lies from 23 to 33 feet below the surface.
This Trojan stratum, which, without exception, bears marks of great
heat, consists mainly of red ashes of wood, which rise from 5 to 10
feet above the Great Tower of Ilium, the double Scæan Gate, and the
great enclosing Wall, the construction of which Homer ascribes to
Poseidon and Apollo, and they show that the town was destroyed by a
fearful conflagration. How great the heat must have been is clear also
from the large slabs of stone upon the road leading from the double
Scæan Gate down to the Plain; for when the road was laid open all the
slabs appeared as uninjured as if they had been put down quite
recently; but after they had been exposed to the air for a few days,
the slabs of the upper part of the road, to the extent of some 10
feet, which had been exposed to the heat, began to crumble away, and
they have now almost disappeared, while those of the lower portion of
the road, which had not been touched by the fire, have remained
uninjured, and seem to be indestructible. A further proof of the
terrible catastrophe is furnished by a stratum of scoriæ of melted
lead and copper, from one fifth to one and one fifth of an inch thick,
which extends nearly through the whole hill at a depth of from 28 to
29-1/2 feet. That Troy was destroyed by enemies after a bloody war is
further attested by the many human bones which were found in these
heaps of _debris_, and above all the skeletons with helmets, found in
the depths of the Temple of Athena, for, as we know from Homer, all
corpses were burned and the ashes were preserved in urns. Of such urns
were found an immense number in all the pre-Hellenic strata on the
hill. Lastly, the Treasure, which some member of the royal family had
probably endeavored to save during the destruction of the city, but
was forced to abandon, leaves no doubt that the city was destroyed by
the hands of enemies. This Treasure was found on the large enclosing
wall by the side of the royal palace, at a depth of 27-1/2 feet, and
covered with red Trojan ashes from 5 to 6-1/2 feet in depth, above
which was a post-Trojan wall of fortification 19-1/2 feet high.

As Homer is so well informed about the topography and the climatic
conditions of the Troad, there can surely be no doubt that he had
himself visited Troy. But, as he was there long after its destruction,
and its site had moreover been buried deep in the _debris_ of the
ruined town, and had for centuries been built over by a new town,
Homer could neither have seen the Great Tower of Ilium nor the Scæan
Gate, nor the great enclosing Wall, nor the palace of Priam; for, as
every visitor to the Troad may convince himself by the excavations,
the ruins and red ashes of Troy alone--forming a layer of from five to
ten feet thick--covered all these remains of immortal fame, and this
accumulation of _debris_ must have been much more considerable at the
time of Homer's visit. Homer made no excavations so as to bring those
remains to light, but he knew of them from tradition; for the tragic
fate of Troy had for centuries been in the mouths of all minstrels,
and the interest attached to it was so great that tradition itself
gave the exact truth in many details.

    "Say now, ye Nine, who on Olympus dwell,
    Muses--for ye are Goddesses, and ye
    Were _present_ and know all things; _we ourselves_
    _But hear from Rumor's voice_, and nothing know--
    Who were the chiefs and mighty lords of Greece."

Such, for instance, is the memory of the Scæan Gate in the Great Tower
of Ilium, and the constant use of the name Scæan Gate in the plural,
because it had to be described as double, and in fact it has been
proved to be a double gate. According to the lines of the Iliad, it
now seems extremely probable that, at the time of Homer's visit, the
King of Troy declared that his race was descended in a direct line
from Æneas.

    "But o'er the Trojans shall Æneas reign,
    And his sons' sons, through ages yet unborn."

Now, as Homer never saw Ilium's Great Tower, nor the Scæan Gate, and
could not imagine that these buildings lay buried deep beneath his
feet, and as he probably imagined Troy to have been very
large--according to the then existing poetical legends--and perhaps
wished to describe it as still larger, we can not be surprised that he
makes Hector descend from the palace in the Pergamus and hurry through
the town in order to arrive at the Scæan Gate; whereas that gate and
Ilium's Great Tower, in which it stands, are in reality directly in
front of the royal house. That this house is really the king's palace
seems evident from its size, from the thickness of its stone walls, in
contrast to those of the other houses of the town, which are built
almost exclusively of unburned bricks, and from its imposing
situation upon an artificial hill directly in front of or beside the
Scæan Gate, the Great Tower, and the great surrounding Wall. This is
confirmed by the many splendid objects found in its ruins, especially
the enormous royally ornamented vase with the picture of the
owl-headed goddess Athena, the tutelary divinity of Ilium; and lastly,
above all other things, the rich Treasure found close by it. It can
not, of course, be proved that the name of this king, the owner of
this Treasure, was really PRIAM; but he is so called by Homer and in
all the traditions. All that can be proved is, that the palace of the
owner of this Treasure, this last Trojan king, perished in the great
catastrophe, which destroyed the Scæan Gate, the great surrounding
Wall, and the Great Tower, and which desolated the whole city. It can
be proved, by the enormous quantities of red and yellow calcined
Trojan ruins, from five to ten feet in height, which covered and
enveloped these edifices, and by the many post-Trojan buildings, which
were again erected upon these calcined heaps of ruins, that neither
the palace of the owner of the Treasure, nor the Scæan Gate, nor the
great surrounding Wall, nor Ilium's Great Tower, were ever again
brought to light. A city, whose king possessed such a Treasure, was
immensely wealthy, considering the circumstances of these times; and
because Troy was rich it was powerful, had many subjects, and obtained
auxiliaries from all quarters.

    [Illustration: TERRA-COTTA LAMPS.]

    [Illustration: BRONZE LAMPS.]

This Treasure of the supposed mythical king Priam, of the mythical
heroic age, is, at all events, a discovery which stands alone in
archæology, revealing great wealth, great civilization and great taste
for art, in an age preceding the discovery of bronze, when weapons and
implements of pure copper were employed contemporaneously with
enormous quantities of stone weapons and implements. This Treasure
further leaves no doubt that Homer must have actually seen gold and
silver articles, such as he continually describes; it is, in every
respect, of inestimable value to science, and will for centuries
remain the object of careful investigation.

While the Trojan war was the last it was also the greatest of all the
achievements of the heroic age, and was immortalized by the genius of
Homer. Paris, son of Priam, king of Ilium or Troy, abused the
hospitality of Menelaus, king of Sparta, by carrying off his wife
Helen, the most beautiful woman of the age. All the Grecian princes
looked upon the outrage as committed upon themselves. Responding to
the call of Menelaus, they assemble in arms, elect his brother
Agamemnon, king of Mycenæ, leader of the expedition, and sail across
the Ægean in nearly 1,200 ships to recover the faithless fair one.
Some, however, excelled Agamemnon in fame. Among them Achilles stands
pre-eminent in strength, beauty and value, while Ulysses surpasses all
the rest in the mental qualities of counsel, subtility and eloquence.
Thus, by the opposite endowments, these two heroes form the centre of
the group.

Among the Trojans, Hector, one of the sons of Priam, is most
distinguished for heroic qualities, and forms a striking contrast to
his handsome, but effeminate brother, Paris. It is said that even the
gods took part in the contest, encouraging their favorite heroes, and
sometimes fighting by their side or in their stead. It was not until
the tenth year that Troy yielded to the inevitable fate. It was
delivered over to the sword and its glory sank in ashes.

The houses of Troy were all very high, and had several stories, as is
obvious from the thickness of the walls, the construction and colossal
heaps of _debris_. The city was immensely rich, and as it was wealthy,
so was it powerful and its buildings large. The ruins are found in a
badly decayed state, because of the great fires that occurred there,
and the neighboring towns were largely built with stone from the ruins
of Troy; Archæanax is said to have built a long wall around Sigeum
with its stones.

    [Illustration: GOLDEN CUPS OF PRIAM.]

A portion of a large building was laid bare, the walls of which are
6-1/4 feet thick, and consist for the most part of hewn blocks of
limestone joined with clay. None of the stones seem to be more than 1
foot 9 inches long, and they are so skillfully put together, that the
walls form a smooth surface. This house is built upon a layer of
yellow and brown ashes and ruins, at a depth of 20 feet, and the
portion of the walls preserved reaches up to within 10 feet below the
surface of the hill. In the house, as far as has been excavated, only
one vase, with two breasts in front and one breast at the side, has
been found.

This is the first house that Dr. Schliemann excavated, which is quite
evident by what he writes about it: "It is with a feeling of great
interest that, from this great platform, that is, at a perpendicular
height of from thirty-three to forty-two feet, I see this very
ancient building (which may have been erected 1000 years before
Christ) standing as it were in mid air."

A room was excavated which is ten feet high and eleven and one-fourth
wide; it was at one time much higher; its length has not been

One of the compartments of the uppermost houses, below the Temple of
Athena and belonging to the pre-Hellenic period, appears to have been
used as a wine-merchant's cellar or as a magazine, for in it there are
nine enormous earthen jars of various forms, about five and
three-fourths feet high and four and three-fourths feet across, their
mouths being from twenty-nine and one-half to thirty-five and
one-fourth inches broad. Each of these earthen jars has four handles,
three and three-fourths inches broad, and the clay of which they are
made has the enormous thickness of two and one-fourth inches.

A house of eight rooms was also brought to light at a depth of
twenty-six feet. It stands upon the great Tower, directly below the
Greek Temple of Athena. Its walls consist of small stones cemented
with earth, and they appear to belong to different epochs; for, while
some of them rest directly upon the stones of the Tower, others were
not built till the Tower was covered with eight inches, and in several
cases even with three and one-fourth feet, of _debris_. These walls
also show differences in thickness; one of them is four and one-half
feet, others are only twenty-five and one-half inches, and others
again not more than nineteen and two-thirds inches thick. Several of
these walls are ten feet high, and on some of them may be seen large
remnants of the coatings of clay, painted yellow or white. Black
marks, the result of fire, upon the lower portion of the walls of the
other rooms which have been excavated, leave no doubt that their
floors were of wood, and were destroyed by fire. In one room there is
a wall in the form of a semicircle, which has been burnt as black as
coal. All the rooms as yet laid open, and not resting directly upon
the Tower, have been excavated down to the same level; and, without
exception, the _debris_ below them consists of red or yellow ashes and
burnt ruins. Above these, even in the rooms themselves, were found
nothing but either red or yellow wood-ashes, mixed with bricks that
had been dried in the sun and subsequently burnt by the conflagration,
or black _debris_, the remains of furniture, mixed with masses of
small shells: in proof of this there are the many remains which are
still hanging on the walls.

A very large ancient building was found standing upon the wall or
buttress. At this place the wall appears to be about seventy-nine feet
wide, or thick. The site of this building, upon an elevation, together
with its solid structure, leave no doubt that it was the grandest
building in Troy; nay, that it must have been the Palace of Priam.
This edifice, now first laid open from beneath the ashes which covered
it in the burning of the city, was found by Dr. Schliemann in the very
state to which, in Homer, Agamemnon threatens to reduce it: "The house
of Priam _blackened with fire_."

Upon this house, by the side of the double gate, upon Ilium's Great
Tower, at the edge of the western slope of the Acropolis, sat Priam,
the seven elders of the city, and Helen; and this is the scene of the
most splendid passage in the Iliad:

    "Attending there on aged Priam, sat
    The Elders of the city; ...
    All these were gathered at the Scæan Gates.
    ... so on Ilion's Tower
    Sat the sage chiefs and counselors of Troy.
    Helen they saw, as to the Tower she came."

From this spot the company surveyed the whole plain, and saw at the
foot of the Acropolis the Trojan and the Achæan armies face to face,
about to settle their agreement to let the war be decided by a single
combat between Paris and Menelaus.

    "Upon _Seamander's flowery mead_ they stood
    Unnumbered as _the vernal leaves and flowers_."

The description which Homer gives of the Tower of Ilium, and the
incidents connected with it, corresponds so closely to the tower which
Dr. Schliemann found that it leaves no doubt that the two are

    [Illustration: WONDERFUL VASES OF TERRA-COTTA. (_From the
    Palace of Priam, at 24-1/4 feet._)]

"Now, with regard to the objects found in these houses, I must first
of all mention having discovered, at a depth of twenty-six feet, in
the Palace of Priam, a splendid and brilliant brown vase, twenty-four
and one-fourth inches high, with a figure of the tutelar goddess of
Troy, that is, with her owl's head, two breasts, a splendid necklace,
indicated by an engraved pattern, a very broad and beautifully
engraved girdle, and other very artistic decorations; there are no
arms, nor are there any indications of them. Unfortunately this
exquisite vase has suffered from the weight of stones which lay upon
it. No. 4 resembles an owl's beak, and especially as this is seen
between the ear-shaped ornaments, it was doubtless intended to
represent the image of the owl with upraised wings on each side of the
vases, which image received a noble appearance from the splendid lid
with a coronet. I give a drawing of the largest vase of this type,
which was found a few days ago in the royal palace at a depth of from
twenty-eight to twenty-nine and one-half feet; on the top of it I have
placed the bell-shaped lid with a coronet, which was discovered close
by and appears to have belonged to it.

    [Illustration: FROM PALACE OF PRIAM.]

"I also found in the Treasure three great silver vases, the largest of
which is above eight and one-fourth inches high and nearly eight
inches in diameter, and has a handle five and one-half inches in
length and three and one-half in breadth. (No. 23.) The second vase is
6.9 inches high and nearly six inches in diameter; another silver vase
is welded to the upper part of it (No. 22), of which, however, only
portions have been preserved. No. 19 is a splendid Terra-cotta vase
from the Palace of Priam. It is the largest vase of the type frequent
in the ruins, with two small handles and two great upright wings. The
cover was found near it.

    [Illustration: LIDS AND METALS OF PRIAM.]

"On the south side of the hill, where, on account of the slight
natural slope, I had to make my great trench with an inclination of
fourteen degrees, I discovered, at a distance of 197 feet from the
declivity, a Tower, forty feet thick, which I have uncovered on the
north and south sides along the whole breadth of my trench, and have
convinced myself that it is built on the rock at a depth of forty-six
and a half feet.

"The Tower is at present only twenty feet high, but the nature of its
surface, and the masses of stones lying on both sides, seem to prove
that it was at one time much higher. For the preservation of what
remains we have only to thank the ruins of Troy, which entirely
covered the Tower as it now stands. It is probable that after the
destruction of Troy much more of it remained standing, and that the
part which rose above the ruins of the town was destroyed by the
successors of the Trojans, who possessed neither walls nor
fortifications. The western part of the Tower, so far as it is yet
uncovered, is only from 121 to 124 feet distant from the steep western
slope of the hill; and, considering the enormous accumulation of
_debris_, I believe that the Tower once stood on the western edge of
the Acropolis, where its situation would be most interesting and
imposing, for its top would have commanded, not only a view of the
whole Plain of Troy, but of the sea with the Islands of Tenedos,
Imbros and Samothrace. There is not a more sublime situation in the
area of Troy than this, and I therefore presume that it is the 'Great
Tower of Ilium' which Andromache ascended because 'she had heard that
the Trojans were hard pressed and that the power of the Achæans was

    "'But to the height of Ilion's topmost tower
    Andromache is gone; since tidings came
    The Trojan force was overmatched, and great
    The Grecian strength.'

"After having been buried for thirty-one centuries, and after
successive nations have built their houses and palaces high above its
summit during thousands of years, this Tower has now again been
brought to light, and commands a view, if not of the whole Plain, at
least of the northern part and of the Hellespont. May this sacred and
sublime monument of Greek heroism forever attract the eyes of those
who sail through the Hellespont! May it become a place to which the
inquiring youth of all future generations shall make pilgrimage to fan
their enthusiasms for knowledge, and above all for the noble language
and literature of Greece!

"Directly by the side of the Palace of King Priam I came upon a large
copper article of the most remarkable form, which attracted my
attention all the more as I thought I saw gold behind it. On the top
of this copper article lay a stratum of red and calcined ruins, from
four and three-quarters to five and one-quarter feet thick, as hard as
stone, and above this again lay a wall of fortification (six feet
broad and twenty feet high) which was built of large stones and earth,
and must have belonged to an early date after the destruction of Troy.
In order to withdraw the Treasure from the greed of my workmen, and to
save it for archæology, I had to be most expeditious, and although it
was not yet time for breakfast, I immediately had breakfast called.
While the men were eating and resting I cut out the Treasure with a
large knife, which it was impossible to do without the very greatest
exertion and the most fearful risk of my life, for the great
fortification wall, beneath which I had to dig, threatened every
moment to fall down upon me. But the sight of so many objects, every
one of which is of inestimable value to archæology, made me foolhardy,
and I never thought of any danger. It would, however, have been
impossible for me to have removed the Treasure without the help of my
dear wife, who stood by me ready to pack the things which I cut out in
her shawl and to carry them away.

    [Illustration: TREASURES OF PRIAM.]

"The first thing I found was a large copper shield, in the form of an
oval salver, in the middle of which is a knob or boss encircled by a
small furrow. It is a little less than twenty inches in length, is
quite flat, and surrounded by a rim one and one-half inches high; the
boss is two and one-third inches high and four and one-third inches
in diameter; the furrow encircling it is seven inches in diameter and
two-fifths of an inch deep. This round shield of copper (or bronze?)
with its central boss, and the furrow and rim so suitable for holding
together a covering of ox-hides, reminds one irresistibly of the
seven-fold shield of Ajax (_Iliad_ vii. 219-223):

    "'Ajax approached; before him, as a tower,
    His mighty shield he bore, seven-fold, brass-bound,
    The work of Tychius, best artificer
    That wrought in leather; he in Hyla dwelt.
    Of seven-fold hides the ponderous shield was wrought
    Of lusty bulls; the eighth was glittering brass.'

"It is equally striking to compare the shield of the Treasure with the
description of Sarpedon's shield, with its round plate of hammered
copper (or bronze), and its covering of ox-hides, fastened to the
inner edge of the rim by gold wires or rivets (_Iliad_ xii. 294-297):

    "'His shield's broad _orb_ before his breast he bore,
    Well wrought, _of beaten brass_, which the armorer's hand
    Had beaten out, and lined with stout bull's hide
    With golden rods, continuous, all around.'

"The second object which I got out was a copper caldron with two
horizontal handles. It is sixteen and one-half inches in diameter and
five and one-half inches high; the bottom is flat, and is nearly eight
inches in diameter. In the Iliad this vessel is used almost always as
a caldron, and is often given as a prize at games; in the Odyssey it
is always used for washing the hands or feet. This one shows the marks
of a fearful conflagration, and near the left handle are seen two
fragments of copper weapons (a lance and a battle-ax) firmly molten
on. (See No. 25.)

"The third object was a copper plate two-fifths of an inch thick, six
and one-third inches broad, and seventeen and one-third inches long;
it has a rim about one-twelfth of an inch high; at one end of it there
are two immovable wheels with an axle-tree. This plate is very much
bent in two places, but I believe that these curvatures have been
produced by the heat to which the article was exposed in the
conflagration; a silver vase four and three-fourths inches high and
broad has been fused to it; I suppose, however, that this also
happened by accident in the heat of the fire. (See No. 14.)

"This remarkable object lay at the top of the whole mass, and I
suppose it to have formed a hasp to the lid of the wooden chest in
which the Treasure was packed. The fourth article I brought out was a
copper vase five and one-half inches high and four and one-third
inches in diameter. Thereupon followed a globular bottle of the purest
gold, weighing 6,220 grains, or above one pound troy; it is nearly six
inches high and five and one-half inches in diameter, and has the
commencement of a zigzag decoration on the neck, which, however, is
not continued all round. Then came a cup, likewise of the purest gold,
weighing seven and one-fourth oz. troy; it is three and one-half
inches high and three inches broad. (See Nos. 4 and 12.)

    [Illustration: PART OF MACHINE OF PRIAM.]

    [Illustration: JEWELRY OF GOLD AND STONES.]

"Next came another cup of purest gold, weighing about one pound and
six oz. troy; it is three and one-half inches high, seven and
one-fourth inches long, and seven and one-fifth inches broad; it is in
the form of a ship, with two large handles; on one side there is a
mouth one and one-fifth inches broad, for drinking out of, and another
at the other side two and three-fourths inches broad. Prof. Stephanos
Kumanudes, of Athens, remarks, the person who presented the filled cup
may have first drank from the small mouth as a mark of respect, to let
the guest drink from the larger mouth. (See No. 10.)

    [Illustration: FOUND IN THE PALACE OF PRIAM.]

"The Treasure further contained a small cup of gold weighing two and
one-fourth oz. troy; also six pieces of the purest silver in the form
of large knife blades; they have all been wrought with a hammer.

"I also found in the Treasure three great silver vases, the largest
of which is above eight and one-fourth inches high and nearly eight
inches in diameter, and has a handle five and one-half inches in
length and three and one-half in breadth; I found besides a number of
silver goblets and cups. Upon and beside the gold and silver articles
I found thirteen copper lances; also fourteen copper weapons, which
are frequently met with here, and seven large double-edged copper

"As I found all these articles together, forming a rectangular mass,
or packed into one another, it seems to be certain that they were
placed on the city wall in a wooden chest, such as those mentioned by
Homer as being in the Palace of King Priam. This appears to be the
more certain, as close by the side of these articles I found a copper
key above four inches long, the head of which (about two inches long
and broad) greatly resembles a large safe-key of a bank. Curiously
enough this key has had a wooden handle.


"That the Treasure was packed together at terrible risk of life, and
in the greatest anxiety, is proved among other things also by the
contents of a large silver vase, at the bottom of which I found two
gold diadems, a fillet and four beautiful ear-rings of most exquisite
workmanship; upon these lay fifty-six gold ear-rings of exceedingly
curious form, and 8,750 small gold rings, perforated prisms and dice,
gold buttons and similar jewels; then followed six gold bracelets,
and, on the top of all, the two small gold goblets. Some of these are
mentioned by Homer:

    "'Far off were flung the adornments of her head;
    The net, the fillet, and the woven band,
    The nuptial-veil by golden Venus given.'

    [Illustration: GOLD NECKLACE OF TROY.]

    [Illustration: GOLD TASSELS OF TROY.]

    [Illustration: LAMPS FOUND AT TROY.]

"The one diadem consists of a gold fillet, twenty-one and two-thirds
inches long and nearly half an inch broad, from which there hang on
either side seven little chains to cover the temples, each of which
has eleven square leaves with a groove; these chains are joined to one
another by four little cross chains, at the end of which hangs a
glittering golden idol of the tutelar goddess of Troy, nearly an inch
long. The entire length of each of these chains, with the idols,
amounts to ten and one-quarter inches. Almost all these idols have
something of the human form, but the owl's head with the two large
eyes can not be mistaken; their breadth at the lower end is about
nine-tenths of an inch. Between these ornaments for the temples there
are forty-seven little pendant chains adorned with square leaves; at
the end of each little chain is an idol of the tutelar goddess of
Ilium, about three-quarters of an inch long; the length of these
little chains with the idols is not quite four inches. The fillet is
above eighteen inches long and two-fifths of an inch broad, and has
three perforations at each end. Eight quadruple rows of dots divide it
into nine compartments, in each of which there are two large dots, and
an uninterrupted row of dots adorns the whole edge. (See Fig. 1.) Of
the four ear-rings only two are exactly alike; from the upper part,
which is almost in the shape of a basket, and is ornamented with two
rows of decorations in the form of beads, there hang six small chains
on which are three little cylinders; attached to the end of the chains
are small idols of the tutelar goddess of Troy. The length of each
ear-ring is three and one-half inches. The upper part of the other two
ear-rings is larger and thicker, but likewise almost in the shape of a
basket; from it are suspended five little chains entirely covered with
small round leaves, on which are likewise fastened small but more
imposing idols of the Ilian tutelar divinity; the length of one of
these pendants is three and one-half inches, that of the other a
little over three inches. (See Fig. 17.)

"Homer, in the Iliad, sings of 'beautifully twined tassels of solid
gold' which adorned Athene:

                    "'All around
    A hundred tassels hung, rare works of art,
    All gold, each one a hundred oxen's price.'

"Again, when Hera adorns herself to captivate Jove, her zone is
fringed with a hundred tassels, and her ear-rings are described in
terms corresponding exactly to the triple leaves above described:

    "'Her zone, from which a hundred tassels hung,
    She girt above her; and, in three bright drops,
    Her glittering gems suspended from her ears,
    And all around her grace and beauty shone.'

"Of the six gold bracelets two are quite simple, and closed, but
consist of an ornamented band one-twenty-fifth of an inch thick and
one-fourth of an inch broad. The other three are double, and the ends
are turned round and furnished with a head. The princess who wore
these bracelets must have had unusually small hands, for they are so
small that a girl of ten would have difficulty in putting them on.

"The fifty-six other gold ear-rings are of various sizes, and three
of them appear to have also been used by the princesses of the royal
family as finger-rings. Also gold buttons were found, or studs,
one-sixth of an inch high, in the cavity of which is a ring above
one-tenth of an inch broad for sewing them on; gold double buttons,
exactly like our shirt studs, three-tenths of an inch long, which,
however, are not soldered, but simply stuck together, for from the
cavity of the button there projects a tube, nearly one-fourth of an
inch long, and from the other a pin of the same length, and the pin is
merely stuck into the tube to form a double stud. (See Fig. No. 16.)
These double buttons or studs can only have been used, probably, as
ornament upon leather articles, for instance upon the handle-straps of
swords, shields, or knives. I found in the vase also two gold
cylinders above one-tenth of an inch long; also a small peg above
four-fifths of an inch in length, and from six one-hundreths to eight
one-hundreths of an inch thick; it has at one end a perforated hole
for hanging it up, and on the other side six encircling incisions,
which give the article the appearance of a screw; it is only by means
of a magnifying glass that it is found not to be really a screw. I
also found in the same vase two pieces of gold, one of which is
one-seventh of an inch, the other above two inches long; each of them
has twenty-one perforations.


    [Illustration: GOLD PINS WITH SET GEMS.]

"The persons who endeavored to save the Treasure had fortunately the
presence of mind to stand the silver vase, containing the valuable
articles described above, upright in the chest, so that not so much as
a bead could fall out, and everything has been preserved uninjured.

"M. Landerer, of Athens, a chemist well known through his discoveries
and writings, who has most carefully examined all the copper articles
of the Treasure, and analyzed the fragments, finds that all of them
consist of pure copper without any admixture of tin or zinc, and that,
in order to make them more durable, they have been wrought with the

    [Illustration: GOLD EAR-RINGS OF TROY.]

"As I hoped to find other treasures here, and also wished to bring to
light the wall surrounding Troy, the erection of which Homer ascribes
to Poseidon and Apollo, as far as the Scæan Gate, I have entirely cut
away the upper wall, which rested partly upon the gate, to an extent
of fifty-six feet. Visitors to the Troad can, however, still see part
of it in the northwest earth-wall opposite the Scæan Gate. I have also
broken down the enormous block of earth which separated my western and
northwestern cutting from the Great Tower. The result of this new
excavation is very important to archæology, for I have been able to
uncover several walls, and also a room of the Royal Palace, twenty
feet in length and breadth, upon which no buildings of a later period

"Of the objects discovered there I have only to mention an excellently
engraved inscription found upon a square piece of red slate, which has
two holes not bored through it and an encircling incision, but neither
can my learned friend Emile Burnouf nor I tell in what language the
inscription is written. Further, there were some interesting
terra-cottas, among which is a vessel, quite the form of a modern
cask, and with a tube in the centre for pouring in and drawing off the
liquid. There were also found upon the walls of Troy, one and
three-fourths feet below the place where the Treasure was discovered,
three silver dishes, two of which were broken to pieces in digging
down the _debris_, they can, however, be repaired, as I have all the
pieces. These dishes seem to have belonged to the Treasure, and the
fact of the latter having otherwise escaped our pickaxes is due to the
above mentioned large copper vessels which projected, so that I could
cut everything out of the hard _debris_ with a knife.

"I found, further, a silver goblet above three and one-third inches
high, the mouth of which is nearly four inches in diameter; also a
silver flat cup or dish five and one-half inches in diameter, and two
beautiful small silver vases of most exquisite workmanship. The larger
one, which has two rings on either side for hanging up by strings, is
nearly eight inches high with its hat-shaped lid, and three and
one-half inches in diameter across the bulge. The smaller silver vase,
with a ring on either side for suspension by a string, is about six
and three-fourths inches high, with its lid, and above three inches

"I now perceive that the cutting which I made in April was exactly at
the proper point, and that if I had only continued it I should in a
few weeks have uncovered the most remarkable buildings in Troy,
namely, the Palace of King Priam, the Scæan Gate, the Great
Surrounding Wall, and the Great Tower of Ilium; whereas, in
consequence of abandoning this cutting, I had to make colossal
excavations from east to west and from north to south through the
entire hill in order to find those most interesting buildings.

"In the upper strata of the north western and western excavations we
came upon another great quantity of heads of beautiful terra-cotta
figures of the best Hellenic period, and at a depth of twenty-three
feet upon some idols, as well as the upper portion of a vase with the
owl's face and a lid in the form of a helmet. Lids of this kind, upon
the edge of which female hair is indicated by incisions, are
frequently found in all the strata between thirteen and thirty-three
feet deep, and as they belong to vases with owls' faces, the number of
lids gives us an idea of the number of the vases with the figure of
the owl-headed Athene, which existed here in Troy.

"Homer rarely mentions temples, and, although he speaks of the Temple
of Athene, yet, considering the smallness of the city, it is very
doubtful whether it actually existed. It is probable that the tutelar
goddess at that time possessed only the sacrificial altar which I
discovered, and the crescent form of which greatly resembles the upper
portion of the ivory idol found in the lowest strata as well as the
one end of the six talents contained among the Treasure.

"Valuable stones, such as those large flags which cover the road
leading from the Scæan Gate to the Plain, as well as the stones of the
enclosing wall and of the Great Tower, have been left untouched, and
not a single stone of the Scæan Gate is wanting. Nay, with the
exception of the houses which I myself destroyed, it would be quite
possible to uncover the 'carcasses' of all the houses, as in the case
of Pompeii. The houses must have been very high, and a great deal of
wood must have been used in their construction, for otherwise the
conflagration could not have produced such an enormous quantity of
ashes and rubbish.

"Upon and beside the gold and silver articles, I found thirteen copper
lances, from nearly seven to above twelve and one-half inches in
length, and from above one and one-half to two and one-third inches
broad at the broadest point; at the lower end of each is a hole, in
which, in most cases, the nail or peg which fastened the lance to the
wooden handle is still sticking. The pin-hole is clearly visible in a
lance-head which the conflagration has welded to a battle-ax. The
Trojan lances were therefore quite different from those of the Greeks
and Romans.

    [Illustration: SPEARS, LANCES, AX AND CHAIN.]

    [Illustration: SHEARS, KNIVES AND SPEARS.]

"I also found fourteen of those copper weapons, which are frequently
met with here, but which have never been discovered elsewhere; at one
end they are pointed but blunt, and at the other they end in a broad
edge. I formerly considered them to be a species of lance, but now,
after mature consideration, I am convinced that they could have been
used only as battle-axes. They are from above six to above twelve
inches in length, from nearly one-half to above three-fourths of an
inch thick, and from above one to nearly three inches broad; the
largest of them weighs about three pounds avoirdupois.


"There were also seven large double-edged copper daggers, with a
handle from about two to two and three-fourths inches long, the end of
which is bent round at a right angle. These handles must at one time
have been encased in wood, for if the cases had been made of bone they
would still have been wholly or partially preserved. The pointed
handle was inserted into a piece of wood, so that the end projected
about half an inch beyond it, and this end was simply bent round. The
largest of these daggers is ten and two-thirds inches in length and
above two inches broad at the broadest part; a second dagger, which is
above one and three-fourths inches broad, has the point broken off,
and is now less than nine inches long, but appears to have been eleven
inches; a third dagger is eight and two-thirds inches long, and
measures above one and one-fourth inches at the broadest point.

"On the north side of the hill I have now also uncovered several
house-walls at a depth of forty-two and one-half feet, and also the
beginning of a remarkable wall of fortification, the continuation of
which may be seen in the labyrinth of the house-walls in the depths of
the Temple of Athene. On the north side, above the primary soil, I
have also brought to light a portion of the pavement already
mentioned, composed of small, round, white sea-pebbles, below which
are the calcined ruins of a building which formerly stood there.

"Among some very remarkable terra-cottas discovered since my last
report I must mention two jugs found on the north side, at a depth of
from twenty-three to twenty-six feet, each of which has two upright
necks standing side by side, but their handles are united. One of them
has also beside the mouths two small elevations, which may probably
indicate eyes. Of a third jug of this kind I only found the upper
portion. I must also mention an exceedingly curious cup, discovered at
a depth of thirteen feet, which consists of a tube resting upon three
feet and ending in one large and two small goblets; the larger goblet
is connected with the opposite side of the tube by a handle. At the
same depth I met with a large vase, from which projects a separate
small vase; it is ornamented with incisions, and has three feet and
two very pretty handles and rings for hanging it up. I found likewise,
at the depth of thirteen feet, a vase with two female breasts, two
large handles and engravings resembling letters. Among other extremely
curious terra-cottas I must also mention three pots with three rows of
perforations; they have the usual handle on one side and three feet on
the other; also three large vases with perforations right round, on
all sides, from the bottom to the top; their use is a riddle to me;
can they have served as bee-hives? Also a vessel in the form of a pig,
with four feet, which are, however, shorter than the belly, so that
the vessel can not stand upon them; the neck of the vessel, which is
attached to the back of the pig, is connected with the hinder part by
a handle. I further found a pot in the form of a basket with a handle
crossing the mouth, and a tube in the bulge for drawing off the
liquid. Also two terra-cotta funnels, at a depth of ten feet, with a
letter which I have repeatedly met with on some of the terra-cottas.
At a depth of five feet I found one of those round twice-perforated
terra-cottas with a stamp, in which there are Egyptian hieroglyphics;
also a dozen of the same articles in the stamps of which are a crowned
head, a bird, a dog's head, a flying man or an eagle and a stag. At a
depth of sixteen and one-half feet I found the handle of a cup with
the beautifully modeled head of a bull.

"Neither can I prove that the terra-cottas here frequently met with,
in the form of horses' heads, represent the mother of Hera, Cybele or
Rhea, but it is very likely, for, as it is well known, in Phrygia she
was represented with a horse's head. Terra-cotta idols of the Ilian
Athene are rarely met with, but we daily find marble idols of this
goddess, most of which have almost a human form. We also frequently
come upon oblong flat pieces of rough marble upon which the owl's face
of the goddess is more or less deeply engraved. It is often so finely
scratched that the aid of a magnifying glass is required to convince
one that it actually exists; we found several such pieces of marble
where the owl's head was painted in a black color. Since I have come
to the conclusion that they are idols of the tutelar divinity of Troy
I have carefully collected them.

    [Illustration: COINS OR METALS.]

"In excavating the ground upon which my wooden house had stood we
found, at a depth of from nine to nineteen inches, eighteen copper and
two silver medals; one of the latter is of Marcus Aurelius. The other
is a tetra-drachm of the island of Tenedos; on the obverse, to the
right, is the head of Jupiter, to the left that of Juno, both having
one neck in common, like the heads of Janus. The head of Jupiter is
crowned with laurels, that of Juno has a wreath or crown. Upon the
reverse of the coin there is a laurel wreath round the edge, and in
the centre a large double ax, above which stands the word Teneelion,
below and to the right of the handle of the double ax there is a
winged Eros, who is holding up an object which it is difficult to
distinguish, to the left is a bunch of grapes and a monogram, which
looks like the letter A.

"Of the copper coins five are of Alexandria Troas, two of Ophrynium,
one of Tenedos, two of Abydos, and one of Dardania.

"When I uncovered the road paved with large flags of stone, which
leads from the Scæan Gate to the Plain, the stones looked as new as if
they had just been hewn. But since then, under the influence of the
burning sun, the flags of the upper portion of the road, which have
specially suffered from the conflagration that destroyed the city, are
rapidly crumbling away, and will probably have quite disappeared in a
few years. However, the flags of stone on the northwestern half of the
road, which have been less exposed to the heat, may still last many

"In this day, closing the excavations at Ilium forever, I can not but
fervently thank God for His great mercy, in that, notwithstanding the
terrible danger to which we have been exposed owing to the continual
hurricanes, during the last three years' gigantic excavations, no
misfortune has happened, no one has been killed, and no one has been
seriously hurt.

"In my last report I did not state the exact number of springs in
front of the Ilium. I have now visited all the springs myself, and
measured their distance from my excavations, and I can give the
following account of them. The first spring, which is situated
directly below the ruins of the ancient town-wall, is exactly 399
yards from my excavations; its water has a temperature of 60.8°
Fahrenheit. It is enclosed to a height of six and-one-half feet by a
wall of large stones joined with cement, nine and one-quarter feet in
breadth, and in front of it there are two stone troughs for watering
cattle. The second spring, which is likewise still below the ruins of
the ancient town-wall, is exactly 793 yards distant from my
excavations. It has a similar enclosure of large stones, seven feet
high and five feet broad, and has the same temperature. But it is out
of repair, and the water no longer runs through the stone pipe in the
enclosure, but along the ground before it reaches the pipe. The double
spring spoken of in my last report is exactly 1,033 yards from my
excavations. It consists of two distinct springs, which run out
through two stone pipes lying beside each other in the enclosure
composed of large stones joined with earth, which rises to a height of
seven feet and is twenty-three feet broad; its temperature is 62.6°
Fahrenheit. In front of these two springs there are six stone troughs,
which are placed in such a manner that the superfluous water always
runs from the first trough through all the others. It is extremely
probable that these are the two springs mentioned by Homer, beside
which Hector was killed.

    "'They (Hector and Achilles) in flight and pursuit,
    They by the watch-tower, and beneath the wall
    Where stood the wind-beat fig-tree, raced amain
    Along the public road, until they reached
    The fairly-flowing founts, whence issued forth,
    From double source, Scamander's eddying streams.
    One with hot current flows, and from beneath,
    As from a furnace, clouds of steam arise;
    'Mid Summer's heat the other rises cold
    As hail, or snow, or water crystallized;
    Beside the fountains stood the washing-troughs
    Of well-wrought stone, where erst the wives of Troy
    And daughters fair their choicest garments washed,
    In peaceful times, ere came the sons of Greece.'

"In this new excavation I find four earthen pipes, from eighteen and
three-quarters to twenty-two and one-quarter inches long, and from
six and one-half to eleven and three-quarters inches thick, laid
together for conducting water, which was brought from a distance of
about seven miles from the upper Thymbrius. This river is now called
the Kemar, from the Greek word kamara (vault), because an aqueduct of
the Roman period crosses its lower course by a large arch. This
aqueduct formerly supplied Ilium with drinking water from the upper
portion of the river. But the Pergamus required special aqueducts, for
it lies higher than the city.

    [Illustration: ELEGANT BROOCH OF TROY.]

"Unfortunately upon none of the articles of the Treasure of Priam are
there found any inscriptions or any religious symbols except 100 idols
of the Homeric 'owl-faced goddess Athene.' (Thea glaukopis Athene)
which glitter upon the two diadems and the four ear-rings. These are,
however, an undeniable proof that the Treasure belongs to the city and
to the age of which Homer sings."

The question asked is: Has Schliemann found any inscriptions which
throw the certain light of written testimony on the language, the
history and social condition, the religion, science and literature of
the old inhabitants of the hill, whose records form as yet no part of
ancient history? Upon this point very little satisfaction can be
given, yet the people of ancient Troy did have a written language. At
a depth of twenty-six feet, in the royal palace, a vase with an
inscription was found. One of the letters resembles the Greek P. This
same letter occurs on a seal found at a depth of twenty-three feet;
two other letters of this inscription occurred on one other
terra-cotta, likewise found at a depth of twenty-three feet.

To Dr. Martin Haug belongs the honor of first deciphering the Trojan
inscriptions on the above-mentioned vase. He, not without much
research, interpreted it as a dedication "To the divine Sigo," a deity
whose name was found in Sigeum. The transmutation, however, seemed
forced; and, while Haug was right in his method, his results were
pronounced at best,

    "Fragments of broken words and thoughts,
    Yet glimpses of the true."

Prof. T. Gomperz, of Vienna, after making one correction in Haug's
reading, still found it unsatisfactory, till the thought struck him of
reading it from right to left round the vase, instead of from left to
right, when the confused syllables flashed, as by sudden
crystallization, into the pure Greek, and read: "To the divine

Another inscription was found which Prof. Max Muller read as the very
name of ILION. Others were found which are not as yet interpreted.

    [Illustration: LAMP FOUND AT TROY.]

    [Page Decoration]


Far away from the highways of modern commerce and the tracks of
ordinary travel lay a city buried in the sandy earth of a half-desert
Turkish province, with no trace of its place of sepulture. Vague
tradition said it was hidden somewhere near the river Tigris; but for
a long series of ages its existence in the world was a mere name--a
word. That name suggested the idea of an ancient capital of fabulous
splendor and magnitude; a congregation of palaces and temples,
encompassed by vast walls and ramparts--of "the rejoicing city that
dwelt carelessly; that said in her heart, I am, and there is none
beside me," and which was to become "a desolation and dry like a

More than two thousand years had it lain in its unknown grave, when a
French _savant_ and a wandering scholar sought the seat of the once
powerful empire, and searching till they found the dead city, threw
off its shroud of sand and ruin, and revealed once more to an
astonished and curious world the temples, the palaces, and the idols;
the representations of war and the chase, of the cruelties and
luxuries of the ancient Assyrians. The Nineveh of Scripture, the
Nineveh of the oldest historians; the Nineveh--twin sister of
Babylon--glorying in pomp and power, all traces of which were believed
to be gone; the Nineveh in which the captive tribes of Israel had
labored and wept, and against which the words of prophecy had gone
forth, was, after a sleep of twenty centuries, again brought to
light. The proofs of ancient splendor were again beheld by living
eyes, and by the skill of draftsmen and the pen of antiquarian
travelers made known and preserved to the world.

In the history of Jonah's visit, Nineveh is twice described as "that
great city," and again as an "exceedingly great city of three days'

The measurement assigned to Nineveh by the sacred writer applies,
without doubt, to its circuit, and gives a circumference of about
sixty miles.

None of the historical books of the Old Testament give any details
respecting Nineveh. The prophets, however, make frequent incidental
allusion to its magnificence, to the "fenced place," the "stronghold,"
the "valiant men and chariots," the "silver and gold," the "pleasant
furniture," "carved lintels and cedar work." Zephaniah, who wrote
about twenty-four years before the fall of Nineveh, says of it:

    "This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly;
    That said in her heart, 'I am, and there is none beside me.'"

The ruins of Nineveh were virtually unknown to the ancient classical
writers, though we gather from all of them that it was one of the
oldest, most powerful and most splendid cities in the world; that it
perished utterly many hundred years before the Christian Era; and that
after its fall Babylon became the capital of the Assyrian empire,
which finally grew still greater and mightier. On examining their
details, we find names confounded, incidents transposed, and
chronology by turns confused, extended or inverted. Difficulties of
another and more peculiar kind beset this path of inquiry, of which it
will suffice to instance one illustration--proper names, those fixed
points in history around which the achievements or sufferings of its
heroes cluster, are constantly shifting in the Assyrian nomenclature;
both men and gods being designated, not by a word composed of certain
fixed sounds or signs, but by all the various expressions equivalent
to it in meaning, whether consisting of a synonym or a phrase. Hence
we find that the names furnished by classic authors generally have
little or no analogy with the Assyrian, as the Greeks generally
construed the proper names of other countries according to the genius
of their own language, and not unfrequently translated the original
name into it. Herodotus, however, though he mentions but one Assyrian
king, gives his true name, Sennacherib.

The immense mounds of brick and rubbish which marked the presumed
sites of Babylon and Nineveh had been used as quarries by the
inhabitants of the surrounding country, from time immemorial, without
disclosing to other eyes than those of the wild occupier of the soil
the monuments they must have served to support or cover. Though
carefully explored by Niebuhr and Claudius James Rich, no other traces
of buildings than a few portions of walls, of which they could not
understand the plan, had been presented; if, however, the
investigations of these travelers produced few immediate results, the
first-named certainly has the merit of being the first to break the
ground, and by his intelligence, to have awakened the enterprise of
others. Rich, who was the East India Company's resident at Baghdad,
employed his leisure in the investigation of the antiquities of
Assyria. He gave his first attention to Babylon, on which he wrote a
paper, originally published in Germany--his countrymen apparently
taking less interest in such matters than did the scholars of Vienna.
In a note to a second memoir on Babylon, printed in London in 1818, we
find Nineveh thus alluded to by Rich. He says: "Opposite the town of
Mosul is an enclosure of rectangular form, corresponding with the
cardinal points of the compass; the eastern and western sides being
the longest, the latter facing the river. The area, which is now
cultivated, and offers no vestiges of building, is too small to have
contained a town larger than Mosul, but it may be supposed to answer
to the palace of Nineveh. The boundary, which may be perfectly traced
all round, now looks like an embankment of earth or rubbish, of small
elevation; and has attached to it, and in its line, at several places,
mounds of greater size and solidity. The first of these forms the
southwest angle, and on it is built the village of Nebbi Younis, the
prophet's tomb (described and delineated by Niebuhr as Nurica), where
they show the tomb of the prophet Jonah, much revered by the
Mohammedans. The next, and largest of all, is the one which may be
supposed to be the monument of Ninus. It is situated near the centre
of the western face of the enclosure, and is joined like the others by
the boundary wall;--the natives call it Kouyunjik Tepe. Its form is
that of a truncated pyramid, with regular steep sides and a flat top;
it is composed, as I ascertained from some excavations, of stones and
earth, the latter predominating sufficiently to admit of the summit
being cultivated by the inhabitants of the village of Kouyunjik, which
is built on it at the northeast extremity. The only means I had, at
the time I visited it, of ascertaining its dimensions, was by a cord
which I procured from Mosul. This gave 178 feet for the greatest
height, 1,850 feet for the length of the summit east and west, and
1,147 for its breadth north and south.

This mound has revealed the grandest and most stupendous remains of
ancient Neneveh. Within the boundaries of ancient walls there are many
mounds and elevations. All of them are artificial and are caused by
the remains of the ancient structures. Mound Nimroud is about four
miles in circumference at its base, on the top of which is a great
pyramid mound 777 feet in circumference and 144-1/2 feet high.

M. Botta distinctly traced the walls of an enclosure forming nearly a
perfect square, two sides of which are 5,750 feet, the other 5,400, or
rather more than a mile each way, all the four angles being right
angles, which face the cardinal points. M. Botta commenced researches
in the mound of Kouyunjik in 1842, and, meeting with little success,
he abandoned his excavations in the following year.

    [Illustration: PALACE OF SENNACHERIB.
    _Discovered in a mound 1850 feet long, 1145 feet wide, and 178
    feet high._]

Layard, in 1846, opened some trenches in the southern face of the
mound, but, at that time, without any important results. At a
subsequent period he made some inquiries respecting the bas-relief
described by Rich, and the spot where it was discovered having been
pointed out to him in the northern group of ruins, he opened trenches,
but, not finding any traces of sculptures, discontinued his

Upon completing his labors at Nimroud, in 1847, Layard determined on
making some farther researches at Kouyunjik. He commenced at the
southwestern corner, and not only discovered the remains of a palace,
which had been destroyed by fire, but, within the short space of a
month, had explored nine of its chambers. All the chambers were long
and narrow, and the walls lined with bas-reliefs of larger size than
most of those he had found at Nimroud. The slabs were not divided by
bands of inscription, but were covered with figures scattered
promiscuously over the entire surface, all the details being carefully
and delicately executed. The winged human-headed bulls at the
entrances resembled those found at Khorsabad and Persepolis in the
forms of the head-dress, and feathered cap; and the costumes of the
figures in general were also like those found at Khorsabad. The period
of the palace was conjectured to be between those of Khorsabad and
Nimroud. After Mr. Layard had left Mosul, Mr. Ross continued the
excavations, and discovered several additional bas-reliefs--an
entrance, which had been formed of four sphinxes, and a very large
square slab, which he conjectured to be a dais or altar, like that
found at Nimroud.

Here he found a chamber lined with sculptured slabs, divided, like
those of Khorsabad and Nimroud, by bands of inscription. He also
found, at the foot of the mound, a monument about three feet high, and
rounded at the top, containing a figure with a long cuneiform
inscription, and above it various sacred emblems. When discovered it
was supported by brickwork, and near it was a sarcophagus in baked

On the departure of Mr. Ross from Mosul the excavations were placed
under the charge of Mr. Rassam, the English consul, with power to
employ a small body of men, so as not to entirely abandon possession
of the spot.

Layard says: "During a short period several discoveries of the
greatest interest and importance were made, both at Kouyunjik and
Nimroud. I will first describe the results of the excavations in the
ruins opposite Mosul.

"Shortly before my departure for Europe, in 1848, the forepart of a
human-headed bull of colossal dimensions had been uncovered on the
east side of the Kouyunjik Palace. This sculpture then appeared to
form one side of an entrance or doorway. The excavations had, however,
been abandoned before any attempt could be made to ascertain the fact.
On my return a tunnel, nearly 100 feet in length, was opened at right
angles to the winged bull, but without coming upon any other remains
but a pavement of square limestone slabs, which continued as far as
the excavation was carried.

"On uncovering the bull, which was still partly buried in the rubbish,
it was found that adjoining it were other sculptures, and that it
formed part of an exterior facade. The upper half of the slab had been
destroyed; upon the lower was part of the figure of the Assyrian
Hercules strangling the lion, similar to that discovered between the
bulls in the propylæa of Khorsabad, and now in the Louvre. The hinder
part of the lion was still preserved. The legs, feet, and drapery of
the god were in the boldest relief, and designed with great truth and
vigor. Beyond this figure, in the same line, was a second bull. Then
came a wide portal, guarded by a pair of winged bulls twenty feet
long, and probably, when entire, more than twenty feet high, and two
gigantic winged figures in low relief. Flanking them were two smaller
figures, one above the other. Beyond this entrance the facade was
continued by a group similar to that on the opposite side by a smaller
entrance into the palace and by a wall of sculptured slabs; then all
traces of building and sculpture ceased near the edge of a water-worn

"Thus, part of the facade of the southeast side of the palace, forming
apparently the grand entrance to the edifice, had been discovered. Ten
colossal bulls, with six human figures of gigantic proportions,
altogether 180 feet in length, were here grouped together. Although
the bas-reliefs to the right of the entrance had apparently been
purposely destroyed with a sharp instrument, enough remained to allow
me to trace their subject. They had represented the conquest of a
district, probably part of Babylonia, watered by a broad river and
wooded with palms, spearmen on foot in combat with Assyrian horsemen,
castles besieged, long lines of prisoners, and beasts of burden
carrying away the spoil. Amongst various animals brought as tribute to
the conquerors could be distinguished a lion led by a chain. There
were no remains whatever of the superstructure which once rose above
the colossi, guarding this magnificent entrance.

"Although the upper part of the winged bulls was destroyed,
fortunately the lower part, and, consequently, the inscriptions, had
been more or less preserved. To this fact we owe the recovery of some
of the most precious records of the ancient world.

"On the two great bulls forming the center entrance was one continuous
inscription, injured in parts, but still so far preserved as to be
legible almost throughout. It contained 152 lines. On the four bulls
of the facade were two inscriptions, one inscription being carried
over each pair, and the two being precisely of the same import. These
two different inscriptions complete the annals of six years of the
reign of Sennacherib, and contain numerous particulars connected with
the religion of the Assyrians, their gods, their temples, and the
erection of their palaces. We gather from them that, in the third year
of his reign, Sennacherib turned his arms against Merodach-Baladan,
king of Babylon, whom he entirely defeated, capturing his cities and a
large amount of spoil. The fourth year appears to have been chiefly
taken up with expeditions against the inhabitants of the mountainous
regions to the north and east of Assyria. In the fifth he crossed the
Euphrates into Syria, the inhabitants of which country are called by
their familiar Biblical name of Hittites. He first took possession of
Phœnicia, which was abandoned by its King Luliya (the Eululæus of the
Greeks). He then restored to his throne Padiya, or Padi, king of
Ekron, and a tributary of Assyria, who had been deposed by his
subjects and given over to Hezekiah, king of Jerusalem. The king of
Ethiopia and Egypt sent a powerful army to the assistance of the
people of Ekron, but it was entirely defeated by Sennacherib, who
afterwards marched against Hezekiah, probably to punish him for having
imprisoned Padiya. The inscriptions record this expedition, according
to the translation of the late Dr. Hincks, in the following
term:--'Hezekiah, king of Judah, who had not submitted to my
authority, forty-six of his principal cities, and fortresses and
villages depending upon them, of which I took no account, I captured
and carried away their spoil. I _shut up_ (?) himself within
Jerusalem, his capital city. The fortified towns, and the rest of his
towns, which I spoiled, I severed from his country, and gave to the
kings of Ascalon, Ekron, and Gaza, so as to make his country small. In
addition to the former tribute imposed upon their countries, I added a
tribute, the nature of which I fixed.' The next passage is somewhat
illegible, but the substance of it appears to be, that he took from
Hezekiah the treasure he had collected in Jerusalem, thirty talents of
gold and eight hundred talents of silver, the treasures of his
palace, besides his sons and his daughters, and his male and female
servants or slaves, and brought them all to Nineveh. This city itself,
however, he does not pretend to have taken.

"The translation of this passage by Sir H. Rawlinson varies in some
particulars from that given in the text. It is as follows: 'Because
Hezekiah, king of Judah, would not submit to my yoke I came up against
him, and by force of arms, and by the might of my power I took
forty-six of his fenced cities; and of the smaller towns which were
scattered about I took and plundered a countless number. And from
these places I captured and carried off, as spoil, 200,150 people, old
and young, male and female, together with horses and mares, asses and
camels, oxen and sheep, a countless multitude. And Hezekiah himself I
shut up in Jerusalem, his capital city, like a bird in a cage,
building towers around the city to hem him in, and raising banks of
earth against the gates, so as to prevent escape. * * * * Then upon
this Hezekiah there fell the fear of the power of my arms, and he sent
out to me the chiefs and the elders of Jerusalem with thirty talents
of gold and eight hundred talents of silver, and divers treasures, a
rich and immense booty. * * * * All these things were brought to me at
Nineveh, the seat of my government, Hezekiah having sent them by way
of tribute, and as a token of his submission to my power.'

"There can be no doubt that the campaign against the cities of
Palestine, recorded in the inscriptions of Sennacherib in this palace,
is that described in the Old Testament; and it is of great interest,
therefore, to compare the two accounts, which will be found to agree
in the principal incidents mentioned to a very remarkable extent. In
the Second Book of Kings it is said--'Now, in the fourteenth year of
king Hezekiah did Sennacherib, king of Assyria, come up against all
the fenced cities of Judah, and took them. And Hezekiah, king of
Judah, sent to the king of Assyria, to Lachish, saying, I have
offended; return from me; that which thou puttest on me will I bear.
And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah three hundred talents
of silver and thirty talents of gold. And Hezekiah gave him all the
silver that was found in the house of the Lord and in the treasures of
the king's house. At that time did Hezekiah cut off [_the gold from_]
the doors of the temple of the Lord, and [_from_] the pillars which
Hezekiah, king of Judah, had overlaid, and gave it to the king of

When Mr. Layard revisited Kouyunjik in 1849, there were no vestiges of
the sculptured walls discovered two years previously. The more recent
trenches, however, dug under the superintendence of Mr. Ross, were
still open; and the workmen employed by direction of the British
Museum had run tunnels along the walls within the mound, to save the
trouble of clearing away the soil, which had accumulated to a depth of
thirty feet above the ruins. Under the direction of Layard, the
excavations were resumed with great spirit, and before the lapse of
many weeks, several chambers had been entered, and numerous
bas-reliefs discovered. One hall, 124 feet by 90 feet, appears, says
Layard, "to have formed a center, around which the principal chambers
in this part of the palace were grouped. Its walls had been completely
covered with the most elaborate and highly-finished sculptures.
Unfortunately, all the bas-reliefs, as well as the gigantic monsters
at the entrances, had suffered more or less from the fire which had
destroyed the edifice; but enough of them still remained to show the
subject, and even to enable him, in many places, to restore it

Continuing his discoveries in the mound, Layard "opened no less than
seventy-one halls and chambers, also passages, whose walls, almost
without an exception, had been paneled with slabs of sculptured
alabaster, recording the wars, the triumphs, and the great deeds of
the Assyrian king. By a rough calculation, about 9,880 feet, or
nearly two miles of bas-reliefs, with twenty-seven portals formed by
colossal winged bulls and lion sphinxes, were uncovered in that part
alone of the building explored during his researches. The cut on page
435 shows some of them. The greatest length of the excavations was
about 720 feet, the greatest breadth about 600 feet. The pavement of
the chambers was from twenty to thirty-five feet below the surface of
the mound. The measurements merely include that part of the palace
actually excavated."

    [Illustration: DISCOVERED IN THE PALACE.

     1.} Figures from the portal of the palace of Sennacherib, having
     2.} the forms of winged bulls with human heads, bearing crowns.
     3.  King Sennacherib on his throne. A sculpture found at Nimroud,
         dating from the 7th century Before Christ.
     4.  A king on the hunt.
     5.  The storming of a fortress. In the foreground are two
         warriors clad in armor, helmeted and heavily armed with
         swords and spears.
     6.} Vases of glass and alabaster engraved with the word Sargon.
     7.} From Nimroud.
     8.  Vessel of glazed earthenware--, found at Babel.
     9.  Bronze drinking cup ornamented with the head of an animal.
    10.  Lamp of earthenware.
    11.  Stuff woven in patterns of Assyrian style. From relief at
    12.  Table formed of fragments of sculptures found at Nimroud.
    14.} Swords.
    16.  Bent sword.
    17.  Double edged ax.
    18.  Spear.
    19.  Quiver filled with arrows and elaborately sculptured.
    20.  Bow.
    22.} Daggers and knife in one case.
    24.  Helmet.
    25.  Round shield such as was borne by foot soldiers.
    26.  Breastplate of a knight of high degree.
    27.  Parasol found at Nimroud. (Now in British Museum.)
    28.  Ear-ring of gold.
    31.} Bracelets of gold.
    34.{ Diadems.
    35.  Wall painting representing lions.]

Most of the sculptures discovered in this hall and group of chambers
have been deposited in the British Museum.

For the more recent collection of sculptures which have been brought
to light, we are indebted to Mr. Hormuzd Rassam, a native of Mosul,
and a friend and colleague of Layard; and to Mr. William Kennet
Loftus, the agent of the Assyrian excavation fund. In 1852, Mr. Rassam
was appointed by the Trustees of the British Museum to take charge of
the excavations at Nineveh. For more than a year his researches were
nearly fruitless, when, at length, just as his appointment was about
to terminate, he turned again to a previously-abandoned trench in the
north side of the mound, and was almost immediately rewarded by the
discovery of numerous chambers and passages, covered with a variety of
bas-reliefs in an excellent state of preservation, having suffered
less injury from fire than those of the other palaces. In one room was
a lion hunt, in a continuous series of twenty-three slabs, with but
one interval. The other slabs represented exteriors of palaces,
gardens, battles, sieges, processions, etc., the whole forming the
decorations of what must have been a splendid palace.

Subsequently, in 1854, at the instance of Sir Henry Rawlinson, Mr.
Loftus and his coadjutor, Mr. Boutcher, transferred their operations
from South Babylonia to Nineveh. At first Mr. Loftus' excavations were
unsuccessful, but about the beginning of August he discovered the
remains of a building on a level twenty feet lower than the palace
that Mr. Rassam was exploring, and which proved to be a lower terrace
of the same building, even more highly elaborated and in better
preservation than those previously discovered in the ruins. At the
entrance of an ascending passage there was also found a "mass of
solid masonry--apparently the pier of an arch--the springing of which
is formed by projecting horizontal layers of limestone."

Mr. Loftus, in his Report of the 9th of October, observes: "The
excavations carried on at the western angle of the North Palace,
Kouyunjik, continue to reveal many interesting and important facts,
and to determine several points which were previously doubtful.

"1. The existence of an outer basement wall of roughly cut stone
blocks, supporting a mud wall, upon which white plaster still remains,
and from which painted bricks have fallen. 2. At the corner of the
palace, and at a considerable distance from the principal chambers, is
an entrance hall, with column bases, precisely as we see them
represented in the sculptures. 3. Above this entrance hall and its
adjoining chambers, there was formerly another story, the first upper
rooms yet discovered in Assyria. This, with its sculptured slabs, has
fallen into the rooms below. 4. The various sculptures here
disinterred are the works of four, if not five, different artists,
whose styles are distinctly visible. It is evident that this portion
of the edifice has been willfully destroyed, the woodwork burned, and
the slabs broken to pieces. The faces of all the principal figures are
slightly injured by blows of the ax."

This highly interesting series of bas-reliefs, which has now been
placed in a lower chamber in the British Museum, consequently
represents the siege and capture of Lachish, as described in the
Second Book of Kings, and in the inscriptions on the human-headed
bulls. Sennacherib himself is seen seated on his throne, and receiving
the submission of the inhabitants of the city, whilst he had sent his
generals to demand the tribute of payment from Hezekiah. The defenders
of the castle walls and the prisoners tortured and crouching at the
conqueror's feet are Jews, and the sculptor has evidently endeavored
to indicate the peculiar physiognomy of the race, and the dress of the

The value of this discovery can scarcely be overrated. Whilst we have
thus the representations of an event recorded in the Old Testament, of
which consequently these bas-reliefs furnish a most interesting and
important illustration, they serve to a certain extent to test the
accuracy of the interpretation of the cuneiform inscriptions, and to
remove any doubt that might still exist as to the identification of
the King who built the palace on the mound of Kouyunjik with the
Sennacherib of Scripture. Had these bas-reliefs been the only remains
dug up from the ruins of Nineveh, the labor of the explorer would have
been amply rewarded, and the sum expended by the nation on the
excavations more than justified. They furnish, together with the
inscriptions which they illustrate, and which are also now deposited
in the national collection, the most valuable cotemporary historical
record possessed by any museum in the world. They may be said to be
the actual manuscript, caused to be written or carved by the principal
actor in the events which it relates. Who would have believed it
probable or possible, before these discoveries were made, that beneath
the heap of earth and rubbish which marked the site of Nineveh, there
would be found the history of the wars between Hezekiah and
Sennacherib, written at the very time when they took place by
Sennacherib himself and confirming even in minute details the Biblical
record? He who would have ventured to predict such a discovery would
have been treated as a dreamer or an impostor. Had it been known that
such a monument really existed, what sum would have been considered
too great for the precious record?

A few remarks are necessary on the architecture and architectural
decorations, external and internal of the Assyrian palaces. The
inscriptions on their walls, especially on those of Kouyunjik and
Khorsabad, appear to contain important and even minute details not
only as to their general plan and mode of construction, but even as to
the materials employed for their different parts, and for the objects
of sculpture and ornaments placed in them. (Capt. Jones calculated
that the mound of Kouyunjik contains 14,500,000 tons of earth, and
that its construction would have taken 10,000 men for twelve years.)
This fact furnishes another remarkable analogy between the records of
the Jewish and Assyrian kings. To the history of their monarchs and of
their nation, the Hebrew chroniclers have added a full account of the
building and ornaments of the temple and palaces of Solomon. In both
cases, from the use of technical words, we can scarcely hope to
understand, with any degree of certainty, all the details. It is
impossible to comprehend, by the help of the description alone, the
plan or appearance of the temple of Solomon. This arises not only from
our being unacquainted with the exact meaning of various Hebrew
architectural terms, but also from the difficulty experienced even in
ordinary cases, of restoring from mere description an edifice of any
kind. In the Assyrian inscriptions we labor, of course, under still
greater disadvantages. The language in which they were written is as
yet but very imperfectly known, and although we may be able to explain
with some confidence the general meaning of the historical paragraphs,
yet when we come to technical words relating to architecture, even
with a very intimate acquaintance with the Assyrian tongue, we could
scarcely hope to ascertain their precise signification. On the other
hand, the materials, and the general plan of the Assyrian palaces are
still preserved, whilst of the great edifices of the Jews, not a
fragment of masonry, nor the smallest traces, are probably left to
guide us. But, as Mr. Fergusson has shown, the architecture of the one
people may be illustrated by that of the other. With the help of the
sacred books, and of the ruins of the palaces of Nineveh, together
with those of cotemporary and after remains, as well as from customs
still existing in the East, we may, to a certain extent, ascertain the
principal architectural features of the buildings of both nations.

Before suggesting a general restoration of the royal edifices of
Nineveh, we shall endeavor to point out the analogies which appear to
exist between their actual remains and what is recorded of the temple
and palaces of Solomon. In the first place, as Sennacherib in his
inscriptions declares himself to have done, the Jewish king sent the
bearers of burdens and the hewers into the mountains to bring great
stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, to lay the foundations, which
were probably artificial platforms, resembling the Assyrian mounds,
though constructed of more solid materials. We have the remains of
such a terrace or stage of stone masonry, perhaps built by King
Solomon himself, at Baalbec. The enormous size of some of the hewn
stones in that structure, and of those still remaining in the
quarries, some of which are more than sixty feet long, has excited the
wonder of modern travelers. The dimensions of the temple of Jerusalem,
threescore cubits long, twenty broad, and thirty high, were much
smaller than those of the great edifices explored in Assyria.
Solomon's own palace, however, appears to have been considerably
larger, and to have more nearly approached in its proportions those of
the kings of Nineveh, for it was one hundred cubits long, fifty broad
and thirty high. "The porch before the temple," twenty cubits by ten,
may have been a propylæum, such as was discovered at Khorsabad in
front of the palace. The chambers, with the exception of the oracle,
were exceedingly small, the largest being only seven cubits broad,
"for without, _in the wall_ of the house, he made numerous rests round
about, that _the beams_ should not be fastened in the walls of the
house." The words in italics are inserted in our version to make good
the sense, and may consequently not convey the exact meaning, which
may be, that these apartments were thus narrow in order that the beams
might be supported without the use of pillars, a reason already
suggested for the narrowness of the greater number of chambers in the
Assyrian palaces. These smaller rooms appear to have been built round
a large central hall called the oracle, the whole arrangement thus
corresponding with the courts, halls, and surrounding rooms at
Nimroud, Khorsabad, and Kouyunjik. The oracle was twenty cubits
square, smaller far in dimensions than the Nineveh halls; but it was
twenty cubits _high_--an important fact, illustrative of Assyrian
architecture, for as the building itself was thirty cubits in height
the oracle must not only have been much loftier than the adjoining
chambers, but must have had an upper structure of ten cubits. Within
it were the two cherubim of olive wood ten cubits high, with wings
each five cubits long--"and he carved all the house around with carved
figures of cherubim and palm trees, and open flowers, within and
without." The cherubim have been described by Biblical commentators as
mythic figures, uniting the human head with the body of a lion, or an
ox, and the wings of an eagle. If for the palm trees we substitute the
sacred trees of the Nineveh sculptures, and for the open flowers the
Assyrian tulip-shaped ornament--objects most probably very nearly
resembling each other--we find that the oracle of the temple was
almost identical, in the general form of its ornaments, with some of
the chambers of Nimroud and Khorsabad. In the Assyrian halls, too, the
winged human-headed bulls were on the side of the wall, and their
wings, like those of the cherubim, "touched one another in the midst
of the house." The dimensions of these figures were in some cases
nearly the same in the Jewish and Assyrian temples, namely, fifteen
feet square. The doors were also carved with cherubim and palm trees,
and open flowers; and thus, with the other parts of the building,
corresponded with those of the Assyrian palaces. On the walls at
Nineveh the only addition appears to have been the introduction of the
human form and the image of the king, which were an abomination to the
Jews. The pomegranates and lilies of Solomon's temple must have been
nearly identical with the usual Assyrian ornament, in which, and
particularly at Khorsabad, the promegranate frequently takes the place
of the tulip and the cune.

But the description given by Josephus of the interior of one of
Solomon's houses still more completely corresponds with and
illustrates the chambers in the palaces of Nineveh. "Solomon built
some of these (houses) with stones of ten cubits, and wainscoted the
walls with other stones that were sawed, and were of great value, such
as were dug out of the bowels of the earth, for ornaments of temples,"
etc. The arrangement of the curious workmanship of these stones was in
three rows; but the fourth was pre-eminent for the beauty of its
sculpture, for on it were represented trees and all sorts of plants,
with the shadows caused by their branches and the leaves that hung
down from them. These trees and plants covered the stone that was
beneath them, and their leaves were wrought so wonderfully thin and
subtle that they appeared almost in motion; but the rest of the wall,
up to the roof, was plastered over, and, as it were, wrought over with
various colors and pictures.

To complete the analogy between the two edifices, it would appear that
Solomon was seven years building his temple, and Sennacherib about the
same time in erecting his great palace at Kouyunjik.

The ceiling, roof, and beams of the Jewish temple were of cedar wood.
The discoveries of the ruins at Nimroud show that the same precious
wood was used in Assyrian edifices; and the king of Nineveh, as we
learn from the inscriptions, sent men, precisely as Solomon had done,
to cut it in Mount Lebanon. Fir was also employed in the Jewish
buildings, and probably in those of Assyria.

In order to understand the proposed restoration of the palace at
Kouyunjik from the existing remains, the reader must refer to the cut,
on page 427, of the excavated ruins. It will be remembered that the
building does not face the cardinal points of the compass. We will,
however, assume, for convenience sake that it stands due north and
south. To the south, therefore, it immediately overlooked the Tigris;
and on that side rose one of the principal facades. The edifice must
have stood on the very edge of the platform, the foot of which was at
that time washed by the river, which had five massive staircases
leading to the river. Although from the fact of there having been a
grand entrance to the palace on the east side, it is highly probable
that some such approach once existed on the west side, yet no remains
whatever of it have been discovered. The northern facade, like the
southern, was formed by five pairs of human-headed bulls, and numerous
colossal figures, forming three distinct gateways.

The principal approach to the palace appears, however, to have been on
the eastern side, where the great bulls bearing the annals of
Sennacherib were discovered. In the cut we have been able, by the
assistance of Mr. Fergusson, to give a restoration of this magnificent
palace and entrances. Inclined ways, or broad flights of steps, appear
to have led up to it from the foot of the platform, and the remains of
them, consisting of huge squared stones, are still in the ravines,
which are but ancient ascents, deepened by the winter rains of
centuries. From this grand entrance direct access could be had to all
the principal halls and chambers in the palace; that on the western
face, as appears from the ruins, only opened into a set of eight

The chambers hitherto explored appear to have been grouped round three
great courts or halls. It must be borne in mind, however, that the
palace extends considerably to the northeast of the grand entrance,
and that there may have been another hall, and similar dependent
chambers in that part of the edifice. Only a part of the palace has
been hitherto excavated, and we are not, consequently, in possession
of a perfect ground-plan of it.

The general arrangement of the chambers at Kouyunjik is similar to
that at Khorsabad, though the extent of the building is very much
greater. The Khorsabad mound falls gradually to the level of the
plain, and there are the remains of a succession of broad terraces or
stages. Parts of the palace, such as the propylæa, were actually
beneath the platform, and stood at some distance from it in the midst
of the walled enclosure. At Kouyunjik, however, the whole of the royal
edifice, with its dependent buildings, appears to have stood on the
summit of the artificial mound, whose lofty perpendicular sides could
only have been accessible by steps, or inclined ways. No propylæa, or
other edifices connected with the palace, have as yet been discovered
below the platform.

The inscriptions, it is said, refer to four distinct parts of the
palace, three of which, inhabited by the women, seem subsequently to
have been reduced to one. It is not clear whether they were all on the
ground-floor, or whether they formed different stories. Mr. Fergusson,
in his ingenious work on the restoration of the palaces of Nineveh, in
which he has, with great learning and research, fully examined the
subject of the architecture of the Assyrians and ancient Persians,
endeavors to divide the Khorsabad palace, after the manner of modern
Mussulman houses, into the Salamlik or apartments of the men, and the
Harem, or those of the women. The division he suggests must, of
course, depend upon analogy and conjecture; but it may, we think, be
accepted as highly probable, until fuller and more accurate
translations of the inscriptions than can yet be made may furnish us
with some positive data on the subject. In the ruins of Kouyunjik
there is nothing, as far as we are aware, to mark the distinction
between the male and female apartments. Of a temple no remains have as
yet been found at Kouyunjik, nor is there any high conical mound as at
Nimroud and Khorsabad.

    [Illustration: VIEW OF A HALL.
    (_Of which 71 were discovered in the Palace._)]

In all the Assyrian edifices hitherto explored we find the same
general plan. On the four sides of the great courts or halls are two
or three narrow parallel chambers opening one into the other. Most of
them have doorways at each end leading into smaller rooms, which have
no other outlet. It seems highly probable that this uniform plan was
adopted with reference to the peculiar architectural arrangements
required by the building, and we agree with Mr. Fergusson in
attributing it to the mode resorted to for lighting the apartments.

Early excavators expressed a belief that the chambers received light
from the top. Although this may have been the case in some instances,
yet recent discoveries now prove that the Assyrian palaces had more
than one story. Such being the case, it is evident that other means
must have been adopted to admit light to the inner rooms on the
ground-floor. Mr. Fergusson's suggestion, that the upper part of the
halls and principal chambers was formed by a row of pillars supporting
the ceiling and admitting a free circulation of light and air, appears
to us to meet, to a certain extent, the difficulty. It has, moreover,
been borne out by subsequent discoveries, and by the representation of
a large building, apparently a palace, on one side of the bas-reliefs
from Kouyunjik.

Although the larger halls may have been lighted in this manner, yet
the inner chambers must have remained in almost entire darkness. And
it is not improbable that such was the case, to judge from modern
Eastern houses, in which the rooms are purposely kept dark to mitigate
the great heat. The sculptures and decorations in them could then only
be properly seen by torchlight. The great courts were probably open to
the sky, like the courts of the modern houses of Mosul, whose walls
are also adorned with sculptured alabaster. The roofs of the large
halls must have been supported by pillars of wood or brick work. It
may be conjectured that there were two or three stories of chambers
opening into them, either by columns or by windows. Such appears to
have been the case in Solomon's temple; for Josephus tells us that the
great inner sanctuary was surrounded by small rooms, "over these rooms
were other rooms, and others above them, equal both in their measure
and numbers, and these reached to a height equal to the _lower part_
of the house, for the upper had no buildings about it." We have also a
similar arrangement of chambers in the modern houses of Persia, in
which a lofty central hall, called the Iwan, of the entire height of
the building, has small rooms in two or three separate stories opening
by windows into it, whilst the inner chambers have no windows at all,
and only receive light through the door. Sometimes these side chambers
open into a center court, as we have suggested may have been the case
in the Nineveh palaces, and then a projecting roof of woodwork
protects the carved and painted walls from injury by the weather.
Curtains and awnings were no doubt suspended above the windows and
entrances in the Assyrian palaces to ward off the rays of the sun.

Although the remains of pillars have hitherto been discovered in the
Assyrian ruins, we now think it highly probable, as suggested by Mr.
Fergusson, that they were used to support the roof. The modern Yezidi
house, in the Sinjar, is a good illustration not only of this mode of
supporting the ceiling, but of the manner in which light may have been
admitted into the side chambers. It is curious, however, that no stone
pedestals, upon which wooden columns may have rested, have been found
in the ruins; nor have marks of them been found on the pavement. We
can scarcely account for the entire absence of all such traces.
However, unless some support of this kind were resorted to, it is
impossible that the larger halls at Kouyunjik could have been covered
in. The great hall, or house, as it is rendered in the Bible, of the
forest of Lebanon was thirty cubits high, upon four rows of cedar
pillars with cedar beams upon the pillars. The Assyrian kings, as we
have seen, cut wood in the same forests as King Solomon; and probably
used it for the same purpose, namely, for pillars, beams and ceilings.
The dimensions of this hall, 100 cubits (about 150 feet) by 50 cubits
(75 feet), very much resemble those of the center halls of the palaces
of Nineveh. "The porch of pillars" was fifty cubits in length; equal,
therefore, to the breadth of the hall, of which, we presume, it was a
kind of inclosed space at the upper end, whilst "the porch for the
throne where he might judge, even the porch of judgment * * * *
covered with cedar wood from one side of the floor to the other," was
probably a raised place within it, corresponding with a similar
platform where the host and guests of honor are seated in a modern
Eastern house. Supposing the three parts of the building to have been
arranged as we have suggested, we should have an exact counterpart of
them in the hall of audience of the Persian palaces. The upper part of
the magnificent hall in which we have frequently seen the governor of
Isfahan, was divided from the lower part by columns, and his throne
was a raised place of carved headwork adorned with rich stuffs, ivory,
and other precious materials. Suppliants and attendants stood outside
the line of pillars, and the officers of the court within. Such also
may have been the interior arrangements of the great halls in the
Assyrian edifices.

We have already described the interior decorations of the Assyrian
palaces, and have little more to add upon the subject. The walls of
Kouyunjik were more elaborately decorated than those of Nimroud and
Khorsabad. Almost every chamber explored there, and they amounted to
about seventy, was paneled with alabaster slabs carved with numerous
figures and with the minutest details. Each room appears to have been
dedicated to some particular event, and in each, apparently, was the
image of the king himself. In fact, the walls recorded in sculpture
what the inscriptions did in writing--the great deeds of Sennacherib
in peace as well as in war. It will be remarked that, whilst in other
Assyrian edifices the king is frequently represented taking an active
part in war, slaying his enemies, and fighting beneath a besieged
city, Sennacherib is never represented at Kouyunjik otherwise than in
an attitude of triumph, in his chariot or on his throne, receiving the
captives and the spoil. Nor is he ever seen torturing his prisoners,
or putting them to death with his own hand.

There were chambers, however, in the palace of Sennacherib, as well as
in those at Nimroud and Khorsabad, whose walls were simply coated with
plaster, like the walls of Belshazzar's palace at Babylon. Some were
probably richly ornamented in color with figures of men and animals,
as well as with elegant designs; or others may have been paneled with
cedar wainscoting, as the chambers in the temple and palaces of
Solomon, and in the royal edifices of Babylon. Gilding, too, appears
to have been extensively used in decoration, and some of the great
sphinxes may have been overlaid with gold, like the cherubim in
Solomon's temple. The cut on page 445 gives a beautiful representation
of the interior of the palaces. It is taken from the halls of the
palace of Sennacherib.

At Kouyunjik, the pavement slabs were not inscribed as at Nimroud; but
those between the winged bulls, at some of the entrances, were carved
with an elaborate and very elegant pattern. The doors were probably of
wood, gilt, and adorned with precious materials, like the gates of the
temple of Jerusalem, and their hinges appear to have turned in stone
sockets, some of which were found in the ruins. To ward off the glare
of an Eastern sun, hangings or curtains, of gay colors and of rich
materials, were probably suspended to the pillars supporting the
ceiling, or to wooden poles raised for the purpose, as in the palaces
of Babylon and Shushan.

Layard's researches have satisfied him that a very considerable
period elapsed between the earliest and latest buildings discovered
among the mounds of Nimroud. We incline to this opinion, but differ
from the surmise that the ruins of Nimroud and the site of Nineveh
itself are identical. The dimensions of Nineveh, as given by Diodorus
Siculus, were 150 stadia on the two longest sides of the quadrangle,
and 90 on the opposite; the square being 480 stadia, 60 miles; or,
according to some, 74 miles. Layard thinks, that by taking the four
great mounds of Nimroud, Kouyunjik, Khorsabad and Karamles, as the
corners of a square, the four sides will correspond pretty accurately
with the 60 miles of the geographer, and the three days' journey of
the prophet Jonah.

The parallelogram, or line of boundary, being thus completed, we have
now to ascertain how far it accords with the localities of the
researches; and we find that it not only comprehends the principal
mounds which have already been examined, but many others, in which
ruins are either actually, or almost certainly, known to exist.
Another important object of remark connected with this subject, is the
thickness of the wall surrounding the palace of Khorsabad, which Botta
states to be fifteen metres, _i.e._, forty-eight feet, nine inches, a
very close approximation to the width of the wall of the city itself,
which was "so broad as that three chariots might be driven upon it
abreast." This is about half the thickness of the wall of Babylon,
upon which "six chariots could be driven together," and which
Herodotus tells were eighty-seven feet broad, or nearly double that of
Khorsabad. The extraordinary dimensions of the walls of cities is
supported by these remains at Khorsabad. The Median wall, still
existing, in part nearly entire, and which crosses obliquely the plain
of Mesopotamia from the Tigris to the banks of the Euphrates, a
distance of forty miles, is another example. The great wall of China,
also, of like antiquity, we are told, "traverses high mountains, deep
valleys, and, by means of arches, wide rivers, extending from the
province of Shen Si to Wanghay, or the Yellow Sea, a distance of 1,500
miles. In some places, to protect exposed passages, it is double and
treble. The foundation and corner stones are of granite, but the
principal part is of blue bricks, cemented with pure white mortar. At
distances of about 200 paces are distributed square towers or strong
bulwarks." In less ancient times, the Roman walls in our own country
supply additional proof of the universality of this mode of enclosing
a district or guarding a boundary before society was established on a
firm basis. It may be objected against the foregoing speculations on
the boundary of Nineveh, that the river runs within the walls instead
of on the outside. In reply, we submit that when the walls were
destroyed, as described by the historian, the flooded river would
force for itself another channel, which in process of time would
become more and more devious from the obstructions offered by the
accumulated ruins, until it eventually took the channel in which it
now flows.

Babylon was the most beautiful and the richest city in the world. Even
to our age, it stands as a marvel. It was built about 3,000 years ago,
but did not reach the summit of its magnificence until about 570 years
Before Christ, when Nebuchadnezzar lavished almost an endless amount
of wealth upon it.

Its magnitude was 480 furlongs, or sixty miles, in compass. It was
built in an exact square of fifteen miles on each side, and was
surrounded by a brick wall eighty-seven feet thick and 350 feet high,
on which were 250 towers, or, according to some writers, 316. The top
of the wall was wide enough to allow six chariots to drive abreast.
The materials for building the wall were dug from a vast ditch or
moat, which was also walled up with brickwork and then filled with
water from the River Euphrates. This moat was just outside of the
walls, and surrounded the city as another strong defence.

The city had 100 brass gates, one at the end of each of its fifty
streets. The streets were 150 feet wide and ran at right angles
through the city, thus forming 676 great squares. Herodotus says
besides this there was yet another wall which ran around within, not
much inferior to the other, yet narrower, and the city was divided
into two equal parts by the River Euphrates, over which was a bridge,
and at each end of the bridge was a palace. These palaces had
communication with each other by a subterranean passage.

To prevent the city from suffering from an overflow of the river
during the summer months, immense embankments were raised on either
side, with canals to turn the flood waters of the Tigris. On the
western side of the city an artificial lake was excavated forty miles
square, or 160 miles in circumference, and dug out, according to
Megasthenes, seventy-five feet deep, into which the river was turned
when any repairs were to be made, or for a surplus of water, in case
the river should be cut off from them.

Near to the old palace stood the Tower of Babel. This prodigious pile
consisted of eight towers, each seventy-five feet high, rising one
upon another, with an outside winding staircase to its summit, which,
with its chapel on the top, reached a height of 660 feet. On this
summit is where the chapel of Belus was erected, which contained
probably the most expensive furniture of any in the world. One golden
image forty feet high was valued at $17,500,000, and the whole of the
sacred utensils were reckoned to be worth $200,000,000. There are
still other wonderful things mentioned. One, the subterraneous
banqueting rooms, which were made under the River Euphrates and were
constructed entirely of brass; and then, as one of the seven wonders
of the world, were the famous hanging gardens; they were 400 feet
square and were raised 350 feet high, one terrace above the other, and
were ascended by a staircase ten feet wide. The terraces were
supported by large vaultings resting upon curb-shaped pillars and
were hollow and filled with earth, to allow trees of the largest size
to be planted, the whole being constructed of baked bricks and
asphalt. The entire structure was strengthened and bound together by a
wall twenty-two feet in thickness. The level of the terrace was
covered with large stones, over which was a bed of rushes, then a
thick layer of asphalt, next two courses of bricks likewise cemented
with asphalt, and finally plates of lead to prevent leakage, the earth
being heaped on the platform and terrace and large trees planted. The
whole had the appearance from a distance of woods overhanging

The great work is affirmed to have been effected by Nebuchadnezzar to
gratify his wife, Anytis, daughter of Astyages, who retained strong
predilection for the hills and groves which abounded in her native

Babylon flourished for nearly 200 years in this scale of grandeur,
during which idolatry, pride, cruelty, and every abomination prevailed
among all ranks of the people, when God, by His prophet, pronounced
its utter ruin, which was accordingly accomplished, commencing with
Cyrus taking the city, after a siege of two years, in the year 588
Before Christ, to emancipate the Jews, as foretold by the prophets. By
successive overthrows this once "Glory of the Chaldees' Excellency,"
this "Lady of Kingdoms," has become a "desolation" without an
inhabitant, and its temple a vast heap of rubbish.

The ancient Tower of Babel is now a mound of oblong form, the total
circumference of which is 2,286 feet. At the eastern side it is cloven
by a deep furrow and is not more than fifty or sixty feet high, but on
the western side it rises in a conical figure to the elevation of 198
feet, and on its summit is a solid pile of brick thirty-seven feet in
height and twenty-eight in breadth, diminishing in thickness to the
top, which is broken and irregular and rent by large fissures
extending through a third of its height; it is perforated with small

The fire-burnt bricks of which it is built have inscriptions on them,
and so excellent is the cement, which appears to be lime mortar, that
it is nearly impossible to extract one whole. The other parts of the
summit of this hill are occupied by immense fragments of brickwork of
no determinate figure, tumbled together and converted into solid
vitrified masses, as if they had undergone the action of the fiercest
fire, or had been blown up by gunpowder, the layers of brick being
perfectly discernible. These ruins surely proclaim the divinity of the
Scriptures. Layard says the discoveries amongst the ruins of ancient
Babylon were far less numerous and important than could have been
anticipated. No sculptures or inscribed slabs, the paneling of the
walls of palaces, appear to exist beneath them, as in those of
Nineveh. Scarcely a detached figure in stone, or a solitary tablet,
has been dug out of the vast heaps of rubbish. "Babylon is fallen, is
fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the
ground." (Isaiah xxi. 9.)

The complete absence of such remains is to be explained by the nature
of the materials used in the erection of even the most costly edifices
of Babylon. In the vicinity there were no quarries of alabaster, or of
limestone, such as existed near Nineveh. The city was built in the
midst of an alluvial country, far removed from the hills. The deposits
of the mighty rivers which have gradually formed the Mesopotamian
plains consist of a rich clay. Consequently stone for building
purposes could only be obtained from a distance. The black basalt, a
favorite material amongst the Babylonians for carving detached
figures, and for architectural ornaments, as appears from fragments
found amongst the ruins, came from the Kurdish Mountains, or from the
north of Mesopotamia.

The Babylonians were content to avail themselves of the building
materials which they found on the spot. With the tenacious mud of
their alluvial plains, mixed with chopped straw, they made bricks,
whilst bitumen and other substances collected from the immediate
neighborhood furnished them with an excellent cement. A knowledge of
the art of manufacturing glaze, and colors, enabled them to cover
their bricks with a rich enamel, thereby rendering them equally
ornamental for the exterior and interior of their edifices. The walls
of their palaces and temples were also coated, as we learn from
several passages in the Bible, with mortar and plaster, which, judging
from their cement, must have been of very fine quality. The fingers of
a man's hand wrote the words of condemnation of the Babylonian empire
"upon the plaster of the king's palace." Upon those walls were painted
historical and religious subjects, and various ornaments, and,
according to Diodorus Siculus, the bricks were enameled with the
figures of men and animals. Images of stone were no doubt introduced
into the buildings. We learn from the Bible that figures of the gods
in this material, as well as in metal, were kept in the Babylonian
temples. But such sculptures were not common, otherwise more remains
of them must have been discovered in the ruins. The great inscription
of Nebuchadnezzar, engraved on a black stone, and divided into ten
columns, in the museum formed by the East India Company, appears to
contain some interesting details as to the mode of construction and
architecture of the Babylonian palaces and temples.

It may be conjectured that, in their general plan, the Babylonian
palaces and temples resembled those of Assyria. We know that the arts,
the religion, the customs, and the laws of the two kindred people were
nearly identical. They spoke, also, the same language, and used, very
nearly, the same written characters. One appears to have borrowed from
the other; and, without attempting to decide the question of the
priority of the independent existence as a nation and of the
civilization of either people, it can be admitted that they had a
certain extent of common origin, and that they maintained for many
centuries an intimate connection. We find no remains of columns at
Babylon, as none have been found at Nineveh. If such architectural
ornaments were used, they must have been either of wood or of brick.

Although the building materials used in the great edifices of Babylon
may seem extremely mean when compared with those employed in the
stupendous palace-temples of Egypt, and even in the less massive
edifices of Assyria, yet the Babylonians appear to have raised, with
them alone, structures which excited the wonder and admiration of the
most famous travelers of antiquity. The profuse use of color, and the
taste displayed in its combination, and in the ornamental designs,
together with the solidity and vastness of the immense structure upon
which the buildings proudly stood, may have chiefly contributed to
produce this effect upon the minds of strangers. The palaces and
temples, like those of Nineveh, were erected upon lofty platforms of
brickwork. The bricks, as in Assyria, were either simply baked in the
sun, or were burned in the kiln. The latter are of more than one shape
and quality. Some are square, others are oblong. Those from the Birs
Nimroud are generally of a dark red color, while those from the
Mujelibe are mostly of a light yellow. A large number of them have
inscriptions in a complex cuneiform character peculiar to Babylon.
These superscriptions have been impressed upon them by a stamp, on
which the whole inscription was cut in relief. Each character was not
made singly, as on the Assyrian bricks, and this is the distinction
between them. Almost all the bricks brought from the ruins of Babylon
bear the same inscription, with the exception of one or two
unimportant words, and record the building of the city by
Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabubaluchun. We owe the interpretation of
these names to the late Dr. Hincks.

It may not be out of place to add a few remarks upon the history of
Babylon. The time of the foundation of this celebrated city is still a
question which does not admit of a satisfactory determination, and
into which we will not enter. Some believe it to have taken place at a
comparatively recent date; but if, as the Egyptian scholars assert,
the name of Babylon is found on monuments of the eighteenth Egyptian
dynasty, we have positive evidence of its existence at least in the
fifteenth century Before Christ. After the rise of the Assyrian
empire, it appears to have been sometimes under the direct rule of the
kings of Nineveh, and at other times to have been governed by its own
independent chiefs. Expeditions against Babylon are recorded in the
earliest inscriptions yet discovered in Assyria; and as it has been
seen, even in the time of Sennacherib and his immediate predecessors,
large armies were still frequently sent against its rebellious
inhabitants. The Babylonian kingdom was, however, almost absorbed in
that of Assyria, the dominant power of the East. When this great
empire began to decline Babylon rose for the last time. Media and
Persia were equally ready to throw off the Assyrian yoke, and at
length the allied armies of Cyaxares and the father of Nebuchadnezzar
captured and destroyed the capital of the Eastern world.

Babylon now rapidly succeeded to that proud position so long held by
Nineveh. Under Nebuchadnezzar she acquired the power forfeited by her
rival. The bounds of the city were extended; buildings of
extraordinary size and magnificence were erected; her victorious
armies conquered Syria and Palestine, and penetrated into Egypt. Her
commerce, too, had now spread far and wide, from the east to the west,
and she became "a land of traffic and a city of merchants."

But her greatness as an independent nation was short-lived. The
neighboring kingdoms of Media and Persia, united under one monarch,
had profited no less than Babylon, by the ruin of the Assyrian empire,
and were ready to dispute with her the dominion of Asia. Scarcely
half a century had elapsed from the fall of Nineveh, when "Belshazzar,
the king of the Chaldæans, was slain, and Darius, the Median, took the
kingdom." From that time Babylonia sank into a mere province of
Persia. It still, however, retained much of its former power and
trade, and as we learn from the inscriptions of Bisutun, as well as
from ancient authors, struggled more than once to regain its ancient

After the defeat of Darius and the overthrow of the Persian supremacy,
Babylon opened its gates to Alexander, who deemed the city not
unworthy to become the capital of his mighty empire. On his return
from India, he wished to rebuild the temple of Belus, which had fallen
into ruins, and in that great work he had intended to employ his army,
now no longer needed for war. The priests, however, who had
appropriated the revenues of this sacred shrine, and feared lest they
would have again to apply them to their rightful purposes, appear to
have prevented him from carrying out his design.

This last blow to the prosperity and even existence of Babylon was
given by Seleucus when he laid the foundation of his new capital on
the banks of the Tigris (B.C. 322). Already Patrocles, his general,
had compelled a large number of the inhabitants to abandon their
homes, and to take refuge in the desert, and in the province of
Susiana. The city, exhausted by the neighborhood of Seleucia, returned
to its ancient solitude. According to some authors, neither the walls
nor the temple of Belus existed any longer, and only a few of the
Chaldæans continued to dwell around the ruins of their sacred

Still, however, a part of the population appear to have returned to
their former seats, for, in the early part of the second century of
the Christian era, we find the Parthian king, Evemerus, sending
numerous families from Babylon into Media to be sold as slaves, and
burning many great and beautiful edifices still standing in the city.

In the time of Augustus, the city is said to have been entirely
deserted, except by a few Jews who still lingered amongst the ruins.
St. Cyril, of Alexandria, declares, that in his day, about the
beginning of the fifth century, in consequence of the choking up of
the great canals derived from the Euphrates, Babylon had become a vast
marsh; and fifty years later the river is described as having changed
its course, leaving only a small channel to mark its ancient bed. Then
were verified the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah, that the mighty
Babylon should be but "pools of water," that the sea should come upon
her, and that she should be covered with the multitude of the waves

In the beginning of the seventh century, at the time of the Arab
invasion, the ancient cities of Babylonia were "a desolation, a dry
land and a wilderness." Amidst the heaps that alone marked the site of
Babylon there rose the small town of Hillah.

Long before Babylon had overcome her rival Nineveh, she was famous for
the extent and importance of her commerce. No position could have been
more favorable than hers for carrying on a trade with all the regions
of the known world. She stood upon a navigable stream that brought to
her quays the produce of the temperate highlands of Armenia,
approached in one part of its course within almost one hundred miles
of the Mediterranean Sea, and emptied its waters into a gulf of the
Indian Ocean. Parallel with this great river was one scarcely inferior
in size and importance. The Tigris, too, came from the Armenian hills,
flowed through the fertile districts of Assyria, and carried the
varied produce to the Babylonian cities. Moderate skill and enterprise
could scarcely fail to make Babylon, not only the emporium of the
Eastern world, but the main link of commercial intercourse between the
East and the West.

The inhabitants did not neglect the advantages bestowed upon them by
nature. A system of navigable canals that may excite the admiration
of even the modern engineer, connected together the Euphrates and
Tigris, those great arteries of her commerce.

The vast trade that rendered Babylon the gathering-place of men from
all parts of the known world, and supplied her with luxuries from the
remotest clime, had the effect of corrupting the manners of her
people, and producing that general profligacy and those effiminate
customs which mainly contributed to her fall. The description given by
Herodotus of the state of the population of the city when under the
dominion of the Persian kings, is sufficient to explain the cause of
her speedy decay and ultimate ruin. The account of the Greek historian
fully tallies with the denunciation of the Hebrew prophets against the
sin and wickedness of Babylon. Her inhabitants had gradually lost
their warlike character. When the Persian broke into their city they
were reveling in debauchery and lust; and when the Macedonian
conqueror appeared at their gates, they received with indifference the
yoke of a new master.

Such were the causes of the fall of Babylon. Her career was equally
short and splendid; and although she has thus perished from the face
of the earth, her ruins are still classic, indeed sacred, ground. The
traveler visits, with no common emotion, those shapeless heaps, the
scene of so many great and solemn events. In this plain, according to
tradition, the primitive families of our race first found a resting
place. Here Nebuchadnezzar boasted of the glories of his city, and was
punished for his pride. To these deserted halls were brought the
captives of Judæa. In them Daniel, undazzled by the glories around
him, remained steadfast to his faith, rose to be a governor amongst
his rulers, and prophesied the downfall of the kingdom. There was held
Belshazzar's feast, and was seen the writing on the wall. Between
those crumbling mounds Cyrus entered the neglected gates. Those
massive ruins cover the spot where Alexander died.

    [Page Decoration]


The city of Thebes is, perhaps, the most astonishing work executed by
the hand of man. Its ruins are the most unequivocal proof of the
ancient civilization of Egypt, and of the high degree of power which
the Egyptians had reached by the extent of their knowledge. Its origin
is lost in the obscurity of time, it being coeval with the nation
which first took possession of Egypt; and it is sufficient to give a
proper idea of its antiquity to say that the building of Memphis was
the first attempt made to rival the prosperity of Thebes.

Its extent was immense; it filled the whole valley which was permeated
by the Nile. D'Anville and Denon state its circumference to have been
thirty-six miles; its diameter not less than ten and a half. The
number of its inhabitants was in proportion to these vast dimensions.
Diodorus says that the houses were four and five stories high.
Although Thebes had greatly fallen off from its ancient splendor at
the time of Cambyses, yet it was the fury of this merciless conqueror
that gave the last blow to its grandeur. This prince pillaged the
temples, carried away all the ornaments of gold, silver, and ivory,
which decorated its magnificent buildings, and ruined both its temples
and its buildings. Before this unfortunate epoch, no city in the world
could be compared with it in extent, splendor, and riches; and,
according to the expression of Diodorus, the sun had never seen so
magnificent a city.

Previous to the establishment of the monarchical government, Thebes
was the residence of the principal college of the priesthood, who
ruled over the country. It is to this epoch that all writers refer the
elevation of its most ancient edifices. The enumeration of them all
would require more time than we have.

Here was the temple, or palace of Karnac, of Luxor; the Memnonium; and
the Medineh-Tabou, or, as some other travelers spell it,

The temple, or the palace of Karnac was, without doubt, the most
considerable monument of ancient Thebes. It was not less than a mile
and a half in circumference, and enclosed about ten acres. M. Denon
employed nearly twenty minutes on horseback in going round it, at full
gallop. The principal entrance of the grand temple is on the northwest
side, or that facing the river. From a raised platform commences an
avenue of Crio-sphinxes leading to the front propyla, before which
stood two granite statues of a Pharaoh. One of these towers retains a
great part of its original height, but has lost its summit and
cornice. Passing through the pylon of these towers you arrive at a
large open court, or area, 275 feet by 329 feet, with a covered
corridor on either side, and a double line of columns down the centre.
Other propylæa terminate this area, with a small vestibule before the
pylon, and form the front of the grand hall of assembly, the lintel
stones of whose doorway were forty feet ten inches in length. The
grand hall, or hypostyle hall, measures 170 feet by 329 feet,
supported by a central avenue of twelve massive columns, 62 feet high
(without the plinth or abacus), and 36 feet in circumference; besides
122 of smaller, or, rather less gigantic dimensions, 42 feet 5 inches
in height, and 28 feet in circumference, distributed in seven lines,
on either side of the former. It had in front two immense courts,
adorned by ranges of columns, some of which were sixty feet high, and
others eighty; and at their respective entrances there were two
colossal statues on the same scale. In the middle of the second
court there were four obelisks of granite of a finished workmanship,
three of which are still standing. They stood before the sanctuary,
built all of granite, and covered with sculptures representing
symbolical attributes of the god to whom the temple was consecrated.
This was the Maker of the universe, the Creator of all things, the
Zeus of the Greeks, the Jupiter of the Latins, but the Ammon of the
Egyptians. By the side of the sanctuary there were smaller buildings,
probably the apartments of those attached to the service of the
temple; and behind it other habitations, adorned with columns and
porticos, which led into another immense court, having on each side
closed passages, or corridors, and at the top a covered portico, or
gallery, supported by a great number of columns and pilasters. In this
way the sanctuary was entirety surrounded by these vast and splendid
buildings, and the whole was enclosed by a wall, covered internally
and externally with symbols and hieroglyphics, which went round the
magnificent edifice.

    [Illustration: COLUMNS OF KARNAC.]

Beyond this wall there were other buildings, and other courts, filled
with colossal statues of grey and white marble. These buildings, or
temples, communicated with each other by means of galleries and
passages, adorned with columns and statues. The most striking
circumstance, however, is, that attached to this palace are the
remains of a much more considerable edifice, of higher antiquity,
which had been introduced into the general plan when this magnificent
building was restored by the Pharaoh Amenophis, the third king of the
eighteenth dynasty, nearly 4,000 years ago. This more ancient edifice,
or rather its ruins, are considered to be more than 4,000 years old,
or 2,272 years Before Christ. A second wall enclosed the whole mass of
these immense and splendid buildings, the approach to which was by
means of avenues, having on their right and left colossal figures of
sphinxes. In one avenue they had the head of a bull; in another they
were represented with a human head; in a third with a ram's head. This
last was a mile and a half in length, began at the southern gate, and
led to the temple of Luxor.

Dr. Manning says: "We now enter the most stupendous pile of remains
(we can hardly call them ruins) in the world. Every writer who has
attempted to describe them avows his inability to convey any adequate
idea of their extent and grandeur. The long covered avenues of
sphinxes, the sculptured corridors, the columned aisles, the gates and
obelisks, and colossal statues, all silent in their desolation, fill
the beholder with awe." (See cut on page 463.)

There is no exaggeration in Champollion's words: "The imagination,
which, in Europe, rises far above our porticos, sinks abashed at the
foot of the 140 columns of the hypostyle hall at Karnac. The area of
this hall is 70,629 feet; the central columns are thirty-six feet in
circumference and sixty-two feet high, without reckoning the plinth
and abacus. They are covered with paintings and sculptures, the colors
of which are wonderfully fresh and vivid. If, as seems probable, the
great design of Egyptian architecture was to impress man with a
feeling of his own littleness, to inspire a sense of overwhelming awe
in the presence of the Deity, and at the same time to show that the
monarch was a being of superhuman greatness, these edifices were well
adapted to accomplish their purpose. The Egyptian beholder and
worshiper was not to be attracted and charmed, but overwhelmed. His
own nothingness and the terribleness of the power and the will of God
was what he was to feel. But, if the awfulness of Deity was thus
inculcated, the divine power of the Pharaoh was not less strikingly
set forth. He is seen seated amongst them, nourished from their
breasts, folded in their arms, admitted to familiar intercourse with
them. He is represented on the walls of the temple as of colossal
stature, while the noblest of his subjects are but pigmies in his
presence; with one hand he crushes hosts of his enemies, with the
other he grasps that of his patron deity.

"The Pharaoh was the earthly manifestation and avatar of the unseen
and mysterious power which oppressed the souls of man with terror. 'I
am Pharaoh,' 'By the life of Pharaoh,' 'Say unto Pharaoh whom art thou
like in thy greatness.' These familiar phrases of Scripture gain a new
emphasis of meaning as we remember them amongst these temple palaces."

Speaking of this magnificent temple, and of the avenue of sphinxes we
have just mentioned, Belzoni exclaims, that "on approaching it the
visitor is inspired with devotion and piety; their enormous size
strikes him with wonder and respect to the gods to whom they were
dedicated. The immense colossal statues, which are seated at each side
of the gate, seems guarding the entrance to the holy ground; still
farther on was the majestic temple, dedicated to the great God of the
creation." And a little after, "I was lost," says he, "in a mass of
colossal objects, every one of which was more than sufficient of
itself alone to attract my whole attention. I seemed alone in the
midst of all that is most sacred in the world; a forest of enormous
columns, adorned all round with beautiful figures and various
ornaments from top to bottom. The graceful shape of the lotus, which
forms their capitals, and is so well-proportioned to the columns, that
it gives to the view the most pleasing effect; the gates, the walls,
the pedestals, and the architraves also adorned in every part with
symbolical figures in _basso relievo_ and _intaglio_, representing
battles, processions, triumphs, feasts, offerings, and sacrifices, all
relating to the ancient history of the country; the sanctuary, wholly
formed of fine red granite, with the various obelisks standing before
it, proclaiming to the distant passenger, 'Here is the seat of
holiness;' the high portals, seen at a distance from the openings of
the vast labyrinth of edifices; the various groups of ruins of the
other temples within sight; these altogether had such an effect upon
my soul as to separate me, in imagination, from the rest of mortals,
exalt me on high over all, and cause me to forget entirely the trifles
and follies of life. I was happy for a whole day, which escaped like a
flash of lightning."

Such is the language of Belzoni in describing these majestic ruins,
and the effect they had upon him. Strong and enthusiastic as his
expressions may, perhaps, appear, they are perfectly similar, we
assure you, to those of other travelers. They all seem to have lost
the power of expressing their wonder and astonishment, and frequently
borrow the words and phrases of foreign nations to describe their
feelings at the sight of these venerable and gigantic efforts of the
old Egyptians.

We have said that this avenue of sphinxes led to the temple of Luxor.

This second temple, though not equal to that of Karnac in regard to
its colossal proportions, was its equal in magnificence, and much
superior to it in beauty and style of execution.

At its entrance there still stand two obelisks 100 feet high, and of
one single block covered with hieroglyphics executed in a masterly
style. It is at the feet of these obelisks that one may judge of the
high degree of perfection to which the Egyptians had carried their
knowledge in mechanics. We have seen that it costs fortunes to move
them from their place. They were followed by two colossal statues
forty feet high. After passing through three different large courts,
filled with columns of great dimensions, the traveler reached the
sanctuary, surrounded by spacious halls supported by columns, and
exhibiting the most beautiful mass of sculpture in the best style of

"It is absolutely impossible," again exclaims Belzoni, "to imagine the
scene displayed, without seeing it. The most sublime ideas that can
be formed from the most magnificent specimens of our present
architecture, would give a very incorrect picture of these ruins. It
appeared to me like entering a city of giants, who, after a long
conflict, were all destroyed, leaving ruins of their various temples,
as the only proofs of their former existence. The temple of Luxor," he
adds, "presents to the traveler at once one of the most splendid
groups of Egyptian grandeur. The extensive propylæon, with the two
obelisks, and colossal statues in the front; the thick groups of
enormous columns, the variety of apartments, and the sanctuary it
contains. The beautiful ornaments which adorn every part of the walls
and columns, cause in the astonished traveler an oblivion of all that
he has seen before."

So far Belzoni; and in this he is borne out by Champollion, who speaks
of Thebes in terms of equal admiration. "All that I had seen, all that
I had admired on the left bank," says this learned Frenchman,
"appeared miserable in comparison with the gigantic conceptions by
which I was surrounded at Karnac. I shall take care not to attempt to
describe any thing; for either my description would not express the
thousandth part of what ought to be said, or, if I drew a faint
sketch, I should be taken for an enthusiast, or, perhaps, for a
madman. It will suffice to add, that no people, either ancient or
modern, ever conceived the art of architecture on so sublime and so
grand a scale as the ancient Egyptians."

The Great Pyramid, which is yet an enigma, stands for our
astonishment. Herodotus tells us, when speaking of the Labyrinth of
Egypt, that it had 3,000 chambers, half of them above and half below
ground. He says, "The upper chambers I myself passed through and saw,
and what I say concerning them is from my own observation. Of the
underground chambers I can only speak from the report, for the keepers
of the building could not be got to show them, since they contained,
as they said, the sepulchres of the kings who built the labyrinth,
and also those of the sacred crocodiles; thus it is from hearsay only
that I can speak of the lower chambers. The upper chambers, however, I
saw with my own eyes, and found them to excel all other human
productions. The passage through the houses, and the various windings
of the path across the courts, excited in me infinite admiration, as I
passed from the courts into the chambers, and from chambers into
colonnades, and from colonnades into fresh houses, and again from
these into courts unseen before. The roof was throughout of stone like
the walls, and the walls were carved all over with figures. Every
court was surrounded with a colonnade, which was built of white stone
exquisitely fitted together. At the corner of the labyrinth stands a
pyramid forty fathoms high, with large figures engraved on it, which
is entered by a subterranean passage." No one who has read an account
of the Great Pyramid of Egypt, the building of Solomon's Temple, and
of the ruins of ancient stone buildings still remaining, will doubt
the ability of the ancients in the art of building with stones.
Baalbec has probably the largest stones ever used.


Baalbec is situated on a plain now called Bukaa, at the northern end
of a low range of black hills, about one mile from the base of

It is unknown just how old it is, or by whom it was built. Dr. Kitto,
in his "History of the Bible," ascribes the building of it to Solomon.
But the present remains are mostly of a later period, probably about
3,000 years old. Some of the material and some of the original
foundations were used again for the second structures.

Baalbec has justly received a world-wide celebrity, owing to the
magnificence of its ruins, which have excited the wonder and
admiration of travelers who have enjoyed the privilege of seeing them.
Its temples are among the most magnificent of Grecian architecture.
The temples of Athens no doubt excel them in taste and purity of
style, but they are vastly inferior in dimensions.

While the edifices of Thebes exceed them in magnitude, they bear no
comparison with the symmetry of the columns, with the richness of the
doorways, and the friezes, which abound at Baalbec. The foundations of
the great temple are themselves entitled to rank with the pyramids
among the wonders of the world, being raised twenty feet above the
level of the ground, and have in them stones of one solid mass ninety
feet long, eighteen feet wide, and thirteen feet thick.

The main attractions, however, are the three temples or main chambers.
The first, which may be called the great temple, consists of a
peristyle, of which only six columns remain, two courts and a portico
are standing on an artificial platform, nearly thirty feet high, and
having vaults underneath. Beneath the whole platform is an immense
court of two hundred feet across; it is a hexagon or nearly round
shape. It is accessible by a vaulted passage, which leads to a triplet
gateway, with deep mouldings, which opens into the first court.

The great court is 440 feet long by 370 feet wide, and has on each of
its sides niches and columns, which, even in their ruins, are

The two sides exactly correspond with each other, but the south is in
better condition than the other. These niches have columns in front of
them in the style of the hexagon, with chambers at the angles of the
great court or square. The visitor entering through the portico,
and passing into the great court, has before him on the opposite side
(the west) of the court, the Great Temple originally dedicated to
Baal. This was a magnificent peristyle measuring 290 feet by 160 feet,
with nineteen huge columns on each side, and ten on each end, making
fifty-eight in all. The circumference of these columns at the base is
twenty-three feet and two inches, and at the top twenty feet; and
their height, including base and capital, was seventy-five feet, while
over this was the entablature fourteen feet more. In the walls of the
foundation are seen those enormous stones, some ninety feet in length;
others, sixty-four, sixty-three, sixty-two, etc., and all from
thirteen to eighteen feet wide, and very frequently thirteen feet
thick. These stones mark the extent of a platform of unknown
antiquity, but far older than the peristyle temple, and it is from
this that the temple took its early date and name. It is probable that
the great stones lying in the adjoining quarry were intended for it,
as the temple at that date seems to have been left unfinished.

    [Illustration: Engraved & Printed by Illman Brothers

The second temple has not quite the dimensions that the first has, but
it is one of the grandest monuments of the ancient art in Syria. It is
227 feet by 117. Its peristyle is composed of forty-two columns,
fifteen on each side and eight on each end. At the portico was an
immense row of six fluted columns, and within these, and opposite to
the ends of the antæ, were two others. The height of these columns is
sixty-five feet, and their circumference nineteen feet and two inches,
while the entablature, richly ornamented above the columns, was about
twelve feet high.

The portico is destroyed, only a few pieces of the shafts remaining,
and the steps by which it was approached are also destroyed. The
columns of the peristyle have mostly fallen; but four remain with
their entablatures on the south side near the portico; on the west end
there are six remaining, and on the north there are nine. The cut on
page 473 gives somewhat of an idea of this temple.

In 1759 an earthquake threw down three columns of the great temple and
nine of the peristyle of the Temple of the Sun. It would appear as
though nothing but an earthquake could destroy these remains, and they
even seem to withstand this with wonderful resistance. At the western
end is the _cella_, or innermost sacred part of the edifice, it is 160
feet by 85. A modern wall was built across the vestibule and the only
entrance is through a low hole broken in the wall. Entering through
this aperture the spectator has before him the gem of the structure,
the _great portal_. It was twenty-one feet high and forty-two feet
long and gorgeously ornamented. The sides are each of a single stone,
and the lintels are composed of three huge blocks. Borders of fruit,
flowers and leaves are profuse on the architrave, and on the soffit of
the door is the celebrated figure of the eagle with a caduceus in his
talons, and in his beak strings of long twisted garlands, which are
extended on each side and have the opposite ends borne by flying

In 1751 the portal was perfect. When Wood sketched it, but eight years
afterwards, the shock of an earthquake rent the wall and permitted the
central stone to sink about two feet. Yet, even in this state, it is
one of the most striking and beautiful gateways in the world. The
first compartment measures ninety-eight feet by sixty-seven, having
fluted columns on each side, and the sanctum, or place for the altar
and statue, occupies a space of twenty-nine feet deep at the western
end and considerably raised above the floor of the nave. Such were the
arrangements of this vast magnificent edifice.

It may be well to mention here another building although not so old
nor large, but we wish to speak of it because it is so remarkable in
withstanding time.

    [Illustration: RUINS OF BAALBEC.]

We are speaking of the Pantheon, the splendid building erected by M.
Agrippa, the friend of Augustus, in immediate connection with the
Thermæ, built and dedicated to Jupiter Ultor by him. This building,
which embodied, as it were, the highest aspirations of Roman national
pride and power, was completed, according to the original inscription
preserved on it, B.C. 25, in which year Agrippa was consul for the
third time. According to the statement of Pliny ("His. Nat.," 36, 24,
I), which however, has been disputed, it was originally dedicated to
Jupiter Ultor, whose statue, therefore, undoubtedly stood in the chief
niche opposite the entrance. The other six niches contained the
statues of as many gods; those of the chief deities of the Julian
family, Mars and Venus, and of the greatest son of that family, the
divine Cæsar, being the only ones amongst the number of which we have
certain knowledge. Was it that the statues of Mars and Venus showed
the attributes of the other principal gods, or that the statues of the
latter stood in the small chapels (_ædiculæ_) between the niches, or
that the unequaled enormous cupola was supposed to represent heaven,
that is, the house of all the gods? Certain it is that, together with
the old appellation the new name of the Pantheon, _i.e._, temple of
all the gods, was soon applied to the building. The latter name has
been unanimously adopted by posterity, and has even originated the
Christian destination of the edifice as church of all the martyrs (S.
Maria ad Martyres). Without entering into the consecutive changes the
building has undergone in the course of time, we will now attempt a
description of its principal features. The temple consists of two
parts, the round edifice and the portico. The former was 132 feet in
diameter, exclusive of the thickness of the wall, which amounts to 19
feet. The wall is perfectly circular, and contains eight apertures,
one of which serves as entrance, while the others form, in a certain
order, either semicircular or quadrangular niches; the former are
covered by semi-cupolas, the latter by barrel-vaults. Only the niche
opposite the entrance is, at the present time, uninterrupted, and
open up to its full height, thus corresponding with the formation of
the entrance section; in front of each of the others, two columns have
been erected, the beams of which close the opening of the semicircular
vault. To this chief portion of the building is attached the splendid
portico which, in the manner of the above-mentioned temples, projects
by three columns, besides a massive wall-structure. The frontage
shows eight columns. As a rule, the whole space of the pronaos was
without columns; contrary to the rule we here see it divided into
three naves by means of two pairs of columns. The center nave, which
was also the widest, led to the entrance-door, each of the two others
being terminated by an enormous niche. Not to mention æsthetical
considerations, these columns were required as props of the roof
covering the vast space (the portico is about 100 feet long).

    [Illustration: INSIDE VIEW OF PANTHEON.]

The columns of the portico carried beams, on the frieze of which the
following inscription in large letters has been placed:
M·AGRIPPA·L·F·COS·TERTIUM·FECIT. Another inscription below this one,
in smaller characters, states the building to have been restored by
Septimius Severus and Caracalla. The beams carry a large pediment,
originally adorned with groups of statues representing Jupiter's
victories over the Gigantes. Behind and above this gable rises a
second one of the same proportions, serving as an ornament of the
projecting wall which connects the round building with the portico.
The roof of the portico was supported by beams made of brass.
According to the drawing of Serlio, these beams were not massive, but
consisted of brass plates riveted together into square pipes--a
principle frequently applied by modern engineers on a larger scale in
building bridges, etc. Unfortunately, the material of the roof,
barring some of the large rivets, has been used by Pope Urban VIII.
for guns and various ornaments of doubtful taste in St. Peter's
Cathedral. The large columns carrying the ugly tabernacle on the grave
of St. Peter are one of the results of this barbarous spoliation. The
old door, also made of brass, which leads from the portico into the
interior has, on the contrary, been preserved. The outer appearance of
the round building is simple and dignified. It most likely was
originally covered with stucco and terra-cotta ornaments, of which,
however, little remains at present; but the simple bricks,
particularly in the upper stripes, where the insertion of the vault
becomes visible, look, perhaps, quite as beautiful as the original
coating. The whole cylinder of masonry is divided into three stripes
by means of cornices, which break the heaviness of the outline, the
divisions of the inner space corresponding to those of the outer
surface. The first of these stripes is about forty feet high, and
rests on a base of Travertine freestone. It consists of simple
horizontal slabs of stone, broken only by doors which lead to chambers
built in the thickness of the wall between the niches. It corresponds
to the columns forming the first story of the interior, the two
cornices, in and outside, being on a level. The second stripe, about
thirty feet in height, answers to the second story of the interior,
where the semicircular arches of the niches are situated. The
horizontal stone layers outside are accordingly broken by large double
arches, destined to balance the vaults in the interior. They alternate
with smaller arches, thus forming a decoration of the exterior at once
dignified and in harmony with the general design of the building. The
two cornices in and outside are again on a level. The third stripe
corresponds to the cupola, the tension of which is equal to 140 feet.
The outer masonry reaches up to about a third of its height, from
which point the cupola proper begins to rise in seven mighty steps.

    [Illustration: THE PANTHEON AT ROME.]


The height of the dome is equal to the diameter of the cylindrical
building, 132 feet, which adds to the sober and harmonious impression
of the whole building. The lower of the above-mentioned interior
stories is adorned with columns and pilasters, the latter of which
enclosed the niches. Eight of these columns, over thirty-two feet in
height, are monoliths of _giallo antico_--a yellow kind of marble
beautifully veined, and belonging to the most valuable materials used
by ancient architects. Six other columns are made of a kind of marble
known as _pavonazzetto_; by an ingenious mode of coloring these
columns are made to harmonize with those consisting of the rarer
material. Above the first lies a second lower story, the architectural
arrangements of which may be recognized from Adler's ingenious attempt
at reconstruction. Its original decoration consisted of tablets of
colored marble, the effect being similar to that of a sequence of
narrow pilasters. This original decoration has later been changed for
another. Above the chief cornice which crowns this story, and at the
same time terminates the circular walls, rises the cupola, divided
into five stripes, each of which contains twenty-five "caskets"
beautifully worked and in excellent perspective. In the center at the
top is an opening, forty feet in diameter, through which the light
enters the building. Near this opening a fragment has been preserved
of the bronze ornamentation which once seems to have covered the whole
cupola. Even without these elegant decorations the building still
excites the spectator's admiration, as one of the masterpieces of
Roman genius.

Obelisks were in Egypt commemorative pillars recording the style and
the title of the king who erected them, his piety, and the proof he
gave of it in dedicating those monoliths to the deity whom he
especially wished to honor. They are made of a single block of stone,
cut into a quadrilateral form, the width diminishing gradually from
the base to the top of the shaft, which terminates in a small pyramid
(pyramidion). They were placed on a plain square pedestal, but larger
than the obelisk itself. Obelisks are of Egyptian origin. The Romans
and the moderns have imitated them, but they never equaled their

Egyptian obelisks are generally made of red granite of Syene. There
are some, however, of smaller dimensions made of sandstone and basalt.
They were generally placed in pairs at the entrances of temples, on
each side of the propyla. The shaft was commonly ten diameters in
height, and a fourth narrower at the top than at the base. Of the two
which were before the palace of Luxor at Thebes, one is seventy-two
feet high, and six feet, two inches wide at the base; the other is
seventy-seven feet high, and seven feet, eight inches wide. Each face
is adorned with hieroglyphical inscriptions in _intaglio_, and the
summit is terminated by a pyramid, the four sides of which represent
religious scenes, also accompanied by inscriptions. The corners of the
obelisks are sharp and well cut, but their faces are not perfectly
plane, and their slight convexity is a proof of the attention the
Egyptians paid to the construction of their monuments. If their faces
were plane they would appear concave to the eye; the convexity
compensates for this optical illusion. The hieroglyphical inscriptions
are in a perpendicular line, sometimes there is but one in the middle
of the breadth of the face, and often there are three. The inscription
was a commemoration by the king who had the temple or palace built
before which the obelisk was placed. It contained a record stating the
houses and titles which the king who erected, enlarged, or gave rich
presents to a temple, had received in return from the priesthood, and
setting forth, for instance, that Rameses was the lord of an obedient
people, and the beloved of Ammon. Such is the subject of the
inscription which is in the middle of each face of the obelisks; and
though the name of the same king and the same events are repeated on
the four sides, there exists in the four texts, when compared, some
difference, either in the invocation to the particular divinities or
in the titles of the king. Every obelisk had, in its original form,
but a single inscription on each face, and of the same period of the
king who had erected it; but a king who came after him, adding a
court, a portico, or colonnade to the temple or palace, had another
inscription relative to his addition, with his name engraved on the
original obelisk; thus, every obelisk adorned with many inscriptions
is of several periods. The pyramidion which terminates them generally
represents in its sculptures the king who erected the obelisk making
different offerings to the principal deity of the temple, and to other
divinities. Sometimes also the offering is of the obelisk itself. The
short inscriptions of the pyramidion bear the oval of the king and the
name of the divinity. By these ovals can be known the names of the
kings who erected the obelisks still existing, whether in Egypt or
elsewhere. The largest obelisk known is that of St. John Lateran,
Rome. It was brought from Heliopolis to Alexandria by the emperor
Constantine, and was conveyed to Rome by Constantius, who erected it
in the Circus Maximus. The height of the shaft is 105 feet, 7 inches.
The sides are of unequal breadth at the base, two measure nine feet,
eight and one-half inches, the other two only nine feet. It bears the
name of Thohtmes III. in the central, and that of Thohtmes IV. in the
lateral lines, kings of the eighteenth dynasty, in the fifteenth
century B.C. The two obelisks at Luxor were erected by the king
Rameses II., of the nineteenth dynasty, 1311 B.C. (Wilkinson). One of
these has been taken to Paris. The obelisk of Heliopolis bears the
name of Osirtasen I., 2020 B.C. (Wilkinson), and is consequently the
most ancient. It is about sixty-seven feet high. The obelisks at
Alexandria were brought from Heliopolis about 2,000 years ago. The one
that was lying in the sand, and the smaller of the two, was removed to
London some years ago, and the other, which was still standing, was
presented to the United States by Ismail Pasha, father of the present
Khedive. This monument of antiquity is an inestimable treasure to our
country. It bears the name of Thohtmes III. In the lateral lines are
the ovals of Rameses the Great. It is of red granite of Syene. It
bears the name of Cleopatra's Needle, is about seventy feet high, with
a diameter at its base of seven feet, seven inches. We can hardly
appreciate that we should have standing in New York a relic so
ancient--a column upon which Moses and Aaron looked, and doubtless
read its hieroglyphic inscription; that Rameses the Great (Sesostris)
had his knightly banner carved upon it; that Darius, Cambyses,
Alexander the Great, the Ptolemies, Julius Cæsar, Cleopatra, Mark
Antony and Augustus knew it; that it was equally known and beheld of
Pythagoras, Herodotus and Strabo; that a long procession of the most
illustrious characters of the middle ages have passed before it, from
the days of Clement and Anastasius to those of Don John of Austria;
and, finally, that it was the first herald of Egypt to Napoleon and
Mohammed Ali. A monument like this will truly be cherished by every
citizen. The obelisk of the Piazza del Popolo claims great interest,
as it also stood before the Temple of the Sun at Heliopolis. Lepsius
attributes it to Meneptha. It was removed to Rome by Augustus, B.C.
19, to ornament the Circus Maximus. The obelisk in front of St.
Peter's was brought to Rome by Caligula, and placed on the Vatican in
the Circus of Caligula. It is about eighty-three feet high. There are
several other Egyptian obelisks in Rome. Nothing can afford a greater
idea of the skill of the Egyptians, and of their wonderful knowledge
of mechanism, than the erection of these monoliths.

    [Illustration: OBELISK OF HELIOPOLIS. (_Over 4000 years old_).
    The following is a translation of the hieroglyphic writing
    which is set into it: "The Horus; the living from his birth;
    the king of Upper and Lower Egypt; Ra Kheper Ka; Lord of the
    two diadems; Son of the sun; Osirtasen; the loved of the God of
    Heliopolis from his birth; Ever-living; The golden Horus; the
    Good God; Ra Kheper Ka to the first celebration of the
    panegyry. He (has) made (this obelisk) the eternal generator."]

The Greeks never made obelisks outside of Egypt. The Macedonian kings,
or Ptolemies, who reigned in that country, from Alexander to Augustus,
erected, terminated, or enlarged many monuments, but always according
to Egyptian rules. Egyptian artists executed obelisks for their Greek
princes, but they did not depart, any more than in the other
monuments, from their ancient customs. The Egyptian style and
proportions are always to be recognized, and the inscriptions are also
traced in hieroglyphics. The obelisk found at Philæ was erected in
honor of Ptolemy Evergetes II. and of Cleopatra, his sister, or
Cleopatra, his wife, and placed on a base bearing a Greek inscription
relating the reason and occasion of this monument. It was removed from
Philæ by Belzoni, and has been now erected at Kingston Hall, Dorset,
by Mr. Bankes. It is very far from equaling the Pharaonic obelisks in
dimensions, it being only twenty-two feet high.

After the Romans had made Egypt a Roman province they carried away
some of its obelisks. Augustus was the first who conceived the idea of
transporting these immense blocks to Rome; he was imitated by
Caligula, Constantine, and others. They were generally erected in some
circus. Thirteen remain at the present day at Rome, some of which are
of the time of the Roman domination in Egypt. The Romans had obelisks
made in honor of their princes, but the material and the workmanship
of the inscriptions cause them to be easily distinguished from the
more ancient obelisks. The Barberini obelisk, on the Monte Pincio, is
of this number; it bears the names of Adrian, of Sabina, his wife, and
of Antinous, his favorite. The obelisk of the Piazza Navona, from the
style of its hieroglyphics, is supposed to be a Roman work of the time
of Domitian. The name of Santus Rufus can be read on the Albani
obelisk, now at Munich, and as there are two Roman prefects of Egypt
known of that name, it was, therefore, one of those magistrates who
had executed in that country these monuments in honor of the reigning
emperors, and then had them sent to Rome. The Romans also attempted to
make obelisks at Rome; such is the obelisk of the Trinita de' Monti,
which formerly stood in the Circus of Sallust. It is a bad copy of
that of the Porta del Popolo. The Roman emperors in the east had also
some Egyptian obelisks transported to Constantinople. Fragments of two
of these monuments have been found in Sicily, at Catania; one of them
has eight sides, but it is probably not a genuine Egyptian work. The
use of the obelisk as a gnomon, and the erection of it on a high base
in the center of an open space, were only introduced on the removal of
single obelisks to Rome.

    [Page Decoration]

    [Page Decoration]


Mythology is from the word myth, meaning fable, it is therefore a
system of fabulous opinions and doctrines respecting the deities which
the heathen nations have supposed to preside over the world or to
influence its affairs.

They had twelve gods, Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, Mercury, Mars, Vulcan,
Apollo, Diana, Minerva, Juno, Ceres and Vesta. Besides these there
were other lesser gods, Bacchus, Isis, Hebe, the Muses and the Fates,
etc.; also Sleep, Dreams and Death; and there were still others who
had free will and intelligence, and having mixed forms, such as the
Pegasus, or winged horse, the Centaur, half man and half horse, Hydra,

The Greek theory of the origin of things was that the beginning was
chaos laden with the seed of all nature, then came the Earth and the
Heavens, or Uranus; these two were married and from this union came a
numerous and powerful brood. First were the six Titans, all males, and
then the six females, and the Cyclops, three in number; these latter
were of gigantic size, having but one eye, and that in the center of
the forehead. They represented Thunder, Lightning and Fire, or the
rapid flame.

The Titans made war upon their father and wounded him, and from the
drops of blood which flowed from the wound and fell upon the earth
sprang the Furies, whose names signified "Unceasing," "Envier," and
"Blood-Avenger;" and the Giants and melian Nymphs, and from the blood
drops which fell into the sea sprang Venus, the goddess of love and

The youngest and bravest son, Saturn, who wounded and dethroned his
father, was, by the consent of his brethren, permitted to reign with
an understanding that his male children should all be destroyed. But
his wife, Rhea, hid from him three of her sons, Jupiter, Neptune and
Pluto, who, waging a ten-year war against their father, finally
dethroned him and divided the kingdom among themselves. The oldest,
Jupiter, had the heavens, and reigned over all gods, Neptune over the
sea, and Pluto the lower regions.

Jupiter then built his courts on Mount Olympos, reigned supreme god
over heaven and earth; he was called the father of man and gods, and
is placed at the head of the entire creation.

He is generally represented as majestic in appearance, seated on a
throne with a sceptre in one hand and thunderbolts in the other.
Jupiter had a number of wives; he also married his sister Juno, who
was the queen goddess. Besides Jupiter, Juno, Neptune and Pluto the
other eight gods were the children of Jupiter.

Neptune was second to Jupiter in power. He is represented as carrying
a trident or three-tined fork, with which he strikes the earth and
shakes it; he is therefore often called the "earth-shaker." He is
usually represented like Jupiter, of a serene and majestic aspect,
seated in a chariot made of shells and drawn by dolphins and
sea-horses, while the Tritons and the Nymphs gambol about him.

Pluto is represented as the grim, stern ruler over hell. He is also
called Hades and Orcus. He has a throne of sulphur, from beneath which
flows the Rivers Lethe, or "Oblivion," Phlegethon, Cocytus and
Acheron. In one hand he holds his fork and in the other the keys of
hell, and beside him is the dog with three heads. He is described as
being well qualified for his position, being inexorable and deaf to
supplications, and an object of aversion and hatred to both gods and
men. From his realms there is no return, and all mankind, sooner or
later, are sure to be gathered into his kingdom.

As none of the goddesses would marry the stern and gloomy god, he
seized Proserpine, the daughter of Ceres, while she was gathering
flowers, and opened the earth and carried her through into his

Mercury was the messenger and ambassador of the gods. He was
represented by wings on his hat, and sandals, and usually carrying a
wand, or staff, with two serpents twined around it. He himself was a
god of eloquence and the patron of orators, merchants, thieves,
robbers, travelers and shepherds.

Mars was the god of war. Sorrow and fear accompanied him, disorder and
discord in tattered garments go before him and anger and clamor
follow. He is of huge size and gigantic strength, and his voice was
louder than those of ten thousand mortals.

Vulcan was the forger, and is generally represented at an anvil in a
short tunic, with a hammer in his right hand. He was lame when he was
born, and his mother, Juno, was so shocked that she flung him headlong
from the Mt. Olympos.

Apollo was the god of archery, prophecy and music, and is usually seen
with a harp in his hand and of beautiful figure.

Diana was the goddess of chase, and appears with a bow in her hand and
a quiver of arrows at her back, and on her side is a hound. She
devoted herself to perpetual celibacy, and her chief joy was to speed
like a Dorian maid over the hills, followed by a train of nymphs in
pursuit of the flying game.

Minerva is the goddess of wisdom and skill, and the teacher in
warfare. She has a serious and thoughtful countenance, a spear in one
hand and a shield in the other, while a helmet covers her head. She is
said to have sprung from the brains of Jupiter.

Juno, the wife of Jupiter, was haughty, jealous and inexorable; a
goddess of dignified and matronly air, often found with a peacock at
her feet.

Ceres is the goddess of grain and harvest. She is represented riding
on a chariot drawn by dragons, and distributing grain to the different
regions of the earth. She holds in one hand corn and wheat, in the
other a lighted torch, and wears on her head a garland of wheat heads.

After Pluto stole her daughter, Proserpine, she searched for her
throughout the whole world.

Vesta, the goddess of the household and domestic hearths, is
represented in a long-flowing robe, with a veil on her head, a lamp in
one hand, and a spear or javelin in the other. In her temple at Rome,
the sacred fire was guarded by six priestesses, called the Vestal

Among the lesser gods there were many, but the most common was
Bacchus, who was the god of lust, wine, and the patron of drunkenness
and debauchery. He is represented as an effeminate young man, with
long flowing hair. In one hand he holds a goblet, in the other a bunch
of grapes and a short dagger.

The Muses were goddesses who presided over music and poetry, and all
the liberal arts and sciences. They were nine in number.

The Graces were three in number, and personified Splendor, Joy and
Pleasure. They were three beautiful sisters, standing with their arms

The Fates were also three goddesses, who presided over the destiny of
mortals. The first was the staff of life, the second spun the cord,
and the third cut it off.

This is a brief outline of the origin and nature of the gods and
goddesses: and the legends are numerous, and some of them are of
exceeding interest and beauty, while others shock and disgust us by
the gross impossibilities and hideous deformities which they reveal.
We have concluded to give a direct translation of them from the Greek,
so that the reader may have them in the pure original form, and
thereby have not only the beauty and interest retained, but at the
same time an idea of the style of the ancient writings; only a few
stories have been modified to bring them nearer to the level of the
rest. We will, however, be obliged to use the Greek names instead of
the Latin in this translation, as it is from the Greek, and will
therefore give the names translated below:

  _Greek._          _Latin._

  ZEUS,             JUPITER.
  HERE,             JUNO.
  PLOUTON,          PLUTO.
  DEMETER,          CERES.
  APOLLO,           APOLO.
  ARTEMIS,          DIANA.
  ATHENE,           MINERVA.
  ARES,             MARS.
  HERMES,           MERCURY.
  HESTIA,           VESTA.

The most of the Greek people appear to have believed that their
divinities were real persons, but their philosophers explained the
legends concerning them as allegorical representations of general
physical and moral truths. The Greeks, therefore, instead of favoring
nature, worshiped the powers of nature personified.


From land to land the lady Leto wandered in fear and sorrow, for no
city or country would give her a home where she might abide in peace.
From Crete to Athens, from Athens to Ægina, from Ægina to the heights
of Pelion and Athos, through all the islands of the wide Ægæan Sea,
Skyros and Imbros and Lemnos, and Chios the fairest of all, she
passed, seeking a home. But in vain she prayed each land to receive
her, until she came to the Island of Delos, and promised to raise it
to great glory if only there she might rest in peace. And she lifted
up her voice and said, "Listen to me, O island of the dark sea. If
thou wilt grant me a home, all nations shall come unto thee, and great
wealth shall flow in upon thee; for here shall Phœbus Apollo, the lord
of light and life, be born, and men shall come hither to know his will
and win his favor." Then answered Delos, and said, "Lady, thou
promisest great things; but they say that the power of Phœbus Apollo
will be such as nothing on the wide earth may withstand; and mine is
but a poor and stony soil, where there is little to please the eye of
those who look upon me. Wherefore I fear that he will despise my hard
and barren land, and go to some other country where he will build a
more glorious temple, and grant richer gifts to the people who come to
worship him." But Leto swore by the dark water of Styx, and the wide
heaven above, and the broad earth around her, that in Delos should be
the shrine of Phœbus, and that there should the rich offerings burn on
his altar the whole year round.

So Leto rested in the Island of Delos, and there was Phœbus Apollo
born. And there was joy among the undying gods who dwell in Olympos,
and the earth laughed beneath the smile of heaven. Then was his temple
built in Delos, and men came to it from all lands to learn his will
and offer rich sacrifices on his altar.


Long time Apollo abode in Delos; and every year all the children of
Ion were gathered to the feast which was held before his temple. But
at length it came to pass that Apollo went through many lands,
journeying towards Pytho. With harp in hand he drew nigh to the gates
of Olympos, where Zeus and the gods dwell in their glory; and
straightway all rejoiced for the sweetness of his harping. The Muses
sang the undying gifts of the gods, and the griefs and woes of mortal
men who can not flee from old age and death. The bright Horai joined
hands together with Hebe and Harmonia; and Ares stood by the side of
Aphrodite with Hermes the slayer of Argos, gazing on the face of
Phœbus Apollo, which glistened as with the light of the new-risen sun.
Then from Olympos he went down into the Pierian land, to Iolkos and
the Lelantian plain; but it pleased him not there to build himself a
home. Thence he wandered on to Mykalessos, and, traversing the grassy
plains of Teumessos, came to the sacred Thebes; but neither would he
dwell there, for no man had yet come hither, neither was there road
nor path, but only wild forests in all the land.

    [Illustration: JUPITER. (_Zeus_)]

Further and further he roamed, across the stream of Kephisos and
beyond Okalea and Haliartos, until he came to Telphusa. There he
thought to build himself a temple, for the land was rich and fair, so
he said, "Beautiful Telphusa, here would I rest in thy happy vale, and
here shall men come to ask my will and seek for aid in the hour of
fear; and great glory shall come to thee while I abide in thy land."
But Telphusa was moved with anger as she saw Phœbus marking out the
place for his shrine and laying its foundations; and she spake
craftily to him, and said, "Listen to me, Phœbus Apollo. Thou seekest
here to have a home, but here thou canst never rest in peace; for my
broad plain will tempt men to the strife of battle, and the tramp of
war-horses shall vex the stillness of thy holy temple. Nay, even in
the time of peace, the lowing cattle shall come in crowds to my
fountain, and the tumult will grieve thine heart. But go thou to
Krisa, and make for thyself a home in the hidden clefts of Parnassos,
and thither shall men hasten with their gifts from the utmost bounds
of the earth." So Apollo believed her words, and he went on through
the land of the Phlegyes until he came to Krisa. There he laid the
foundations of his shrine in the deep cleft of Parnassos; and
Trophonios and Agamedes, the children of Erginos, raised the wall.
There also he found the mighty dragon who nursed Typhaon, the child of
Here, and he smote him, and said, "Rot there upon the ground, and vex
not more the children of men. The clays of thy life are ended, neither
can Typhoeus himself aid thee now, nor Chimæra of the evil name. But
the earth and the burning sun shall consume and scorch thy body." So
the dragon died, and his body rotted on the ground; wherefore the name
of the place is called Pytho, and they worship Phœbus Apollo as the
great Pythian king.

But Phœbus knew now that Telphusa had deceived him, because she said
nothing of the great dragon of Krisa, or of the roughness of the land.
So he hastened back in his anger and said, "Thou hast beguiled me,
Telphusa, with thy crafty words; but no more shall thy fountain send
forth its sweet water, and the glory shall be mine alone." Then Apollo
hurled great crags down and choked the stream near the beautiful
fountain, and the glory departed from Telphusa.

Then he thought within himself what men he should choose to be his
priests at Pytho; and far away, as he stood on the high hill, he saw a
ship sailing on the wine-faced sea, and the men who were in it were
Cretans, sailing from the land of King Minos to barter their goods
with the men of Pylos. So Phœbus leaped into the sea, and changed his
form to the form of a dolphin, and hastened to meet the ship. None
knew whence the great fish came which smote the side of their vessel
with its mighty fins; but all marveled at the sight, as the dolphin
guided the ship through the dark waters, and they sat trembling with
fear, as they sped on without a sail by the force of the strong south
wind. From the headland of Malea and the land of the Lakonians they
passed to Helos and to Tænaron where Helios dwells, in whom the sons
of men take delight, and where his cattle feed in the rich pastures.
There the sailors would have ended their wanderings; but they sought
in vain to land, for the ship would not obey its helm. Onward it went
along the coast of the Island of Pelops, for the mighty dolphin guided
it. So from Arene and Arguphea it came to the sandy Pylos, by Chalkis
and Dyme to the land of the Epeians, to Pheræ and to Ithaka. There the
men saw spread out before them the waters which wash the shores of
Krisa; and the strong west wind came with its fierce breath, and drove
them off to the east and towards the sunrising until they came to

Then Phœbus Apollo came forth from the sea, like a star, and the
brightness of his glory reached up to the high heaven. Into his shrine
he hastened, and on the altar he kindled the undying fire, and his
bright arrows were hurled abroad, till all Krisa was filled with the
blaze of his lightnings, so that fear came upon all, and the cries of
the women rose shrill on the sultry air. Then, swift as a thought of
the heart, he hastened back to the ship; but his form was now the form
of a man in his beauty, and his golden locks flowed over his broad
shoulders. From the shore he called out to the men in the Cretan ship,
and said "Who are ye, strangers? and do ye come as thieves and
robbers, bringing terror and sorrow whithersoever ye may go? Why stay
ye thus, tarrying in your ships, and seek not to come out on the land?
Surely ye must know that all who sail on the wide sea rejoice when
their ship comes to the shore, that they may come forth and feast with
the people of the land?" So spake Phœbus Apollo; and the leader of the
Cretans took courage and said, "Stranger, sure I am that thou art no
mortal man, but one of the bright heroes or the undying gods.
Wherefore tell us now the name of this land and of the people who
dwell in it. Hither we never sought to come, for we were sailing from
the land of Minos to barter our wares at Pylos; but some one of the
gods hath brought us hither against our will."

Then spake the mighty Apollo, and said to them, "O, strangers, who
have dwelt in Knossos of the Cretan land, think not to return to your
ancient home, to your wives or to your children. Here ye must guard
and keep my shrine, and ye shall be honored of all the children of
men. For I am the son of Zeus, and my name is Phœbus Apollo. It was I
who brought you hither across the wide sea, not in guile or anger, but
that in all time to come ye may have great power and glory, that ye
may learn the counsel of the undying gods and make known their will to
men. Hasten then to do my bidding; let down your sails, and bring your
ship to the shore. Then bring out your goods, and build an altar on
the beach, and kindle a fire, and offer white barley as an offering;
and because I led you hither under the form of a dolphin, so worship
me as the Delphian god. Then eat bread and drink wine, as much as your
soul may lust after; and after that come with me to the holy place,
where ye shall guard my temple."

So they obeyed the words of Phœbus; and when they had offered the
white barley, and feasted richly on the sea-shore, they arose to go,
and Apollo led them on their way. His harp was in his hand, and he
made sweet music, such as no mortal ear had heard before; and they
raised the chant Io Pæan, for a new power was breathed into their
hearts, as they went along. They thought not now of toil or sorrow;
but with feet unwearied they went up the hill until they reached the
clefts of Parnassos, where Phœbus would have them dwell.

Then out spake the leader of the Cretans, and said, boldly, "O king,
thou hast brought us far away from our homes to a strange land; whence
are we to get food here? No harvest will grow on these bare rocks, no
meadows are spread out before our eyes. The whole land is bare and
desolate." But the son of Zeus smiled and said, "O foolish men, and
easy to be cast down, if ye had your wish ye would gain nothing but
care and toil. But listen to me and ponder well my words. Stretch
forth your hands and slay each day the rich offerings, for they shall
come to you without stint and sparing, seeing that the sons of men
shall hasten hither from all lands, to learn my will and ask for aid
in the hour of fear. Only guard ye my temple well, and keep your hands
clean and your hearts pure; for if ye deal rightly no man shall take
away your glory; but if ye speak lies and do iniquity, if ye hurt the
people who come to my altar, and make them to go astray, then shall
other men rise up in your place, and ye yourselves shall be thrust out
forever, because ye would not obey my words."

    [Illustration: APOLLO. (_From an ancient Sculpture._)]


In the little Island of Delos there lived a long time ago a lady who
was called Niobe. She had many sons and many daughters, and she was
very proud of them, for she thought that in all the Island of Delos,
and even in all the world, there were no children so beautiful as her
own. And as they walked, and leaped, and ran among the hills and
valleys of that rocky island, all the people looked at them, and said,
"Surely there are no other children like the children of the lady
Niobe." And Niobe was so pleased at hearing this, that she began to
boast to every one how strong and beautiful her sons and daughters

Now in this Island of Delos there lived also the lady named Leto. She
had only two children, and their names were Artemis and Phœbus Apollo;
but they were very strong and fair, indeed. And whenever the lady
Niobe saw them, she tried to think that her own children were still
more beautiful, although she could hardly help feeling that she had
never seen any so glorious as Artemis and Apollo. So one day the lady
Leto and the lady Niobe were together, and their children were playing
before them; and Phœbus Apollo played on his golden harp, and then he
shot from his golden bow the arrows which never missed their mark. But
Niobe never thought of Apollo's bow, and the arrows which he had in
his quiver; and she began to boast to the lady Leto of the beauty of
her children, and said, "See, Leto; look at my seven sons and my seven
daughters, and see how strong and fair they are. Apollo and Artemis
are beautiful, I know, but my children are fairer still; and you have
only two children while I have seven sons and seven daughters." So
Niobe went on boasting, and never thought whether she should make Leto
angry. But Leto said nothing until Niobe and her children were gone,
and then she called Apollo, and said to him, "I do not love the lady
Niobe. She is always boasting that her sons and daughters are more
beautiful than you and your sister; and I wish you to show her that no
one else is so strong as my children, or so beautiful." Then Phœbus
Apollo was angry, and a dark frown came upon his fair young face, and
his eyes were like the flaming fire. But he said nothing, and he took
his golden bow in his hand, and put his quiver with his terrible
arrows across his shoulder, and went away to the hills where he knew
that the lady Niobe and her children were. And when he saw them he
went and stood on a bare high rock, and stretched the string of his
golden bow, and took an arrow from his quiver. Then he held out the
bow, and drew the string to his breast, until the point of the arrow
touched the bow; and then he let the arrow fly. Straight to its mark
it went, and one of the lady Niobe's sons fell dead. Then another
arrow flew swiftly from the bow, and another, and another, and
another, till all the sons and all the daughters of Niobe lay dead on
the hillside. Then Apollo called out to Niobe, and said, "Go and boast
now of your beautiful children!"

It had all passed so quickly that Niobe scarcely knew whether it was
not a dream. She could not believe that her children were really
gone--all her sons and all her daughters, whom she had just now seen
so happy and strong around her. But there they lay, still and cold,
upon the ground. Their eyes were closed as if they were asleep, and
their faces had still a happy smile, which made them look more
beautiful than ever. And Niobe went to them all one by one, and
touched their cold hands, and kissed their pale cheeks; and then she
knew that the arrows of Phœbus Apollo had killed them. Then she sat
down on a stone which was close to them, and the tears flowed from her
eyes, and they streamed down her face, as she sat there as still as
her children who lay dead before her. She never raised her head to
look at the blue sky--she never moved hand or foot, but she sat
weeping on the cold rock until she became as cold as the rock itself.
And still her tears flowed on, and still her body grew colder and
colder, until her heart beat no more, and the lady Niobe was dead. But
there she still seemed to sit and weep, for her great grief had turned
her into a stone; and all the people, whenever they came near that
place, said, "See, there sits the lady Niobe, who was turned into
stone, when Phœbus Apollo killed all her children because she boasted
that no one was so beautiful as they were." And long after, when the
stone was grown old and covered with moss, the people still thought
they could see the form of the lady Niobe; for the stone, which did
not look much like the form of a woman when they came near to it,
seemed at a distance just as though Niobe still sat there, weeping for
her beautiful children whom Phœbus Apollo slew.


In the vale of Tempe, where the stream of Peneios flows beneath the
heights of Olympos towards the sea, the beautiful Daphne passed the
days of her happy childhood. Fresh as the earliest morning, she
climbed the crags to greet the first rays of the rising sun; and when
he had driven his fiery horses over the sky, she watched his chariot
sink behind the western mountains. Over hill and dale she roamed, free
and light as the breeze of spring. Other maidens round her spoke each
of her love, but Daphne cared not to listen to the voice of man,
though many a one sought her to be his wife.

One day as she stood on the slopes of Ossa in the glow of early
morning, she saw before her a glorious form. The light of the
new-risen sun fell on his face with a golden splendor, and she knew
that it was Phœbus Apollo. Hastily he ran towards her, and said, "I
have found thee, Child of the Morning. Others thou hast cast aside,
but from me thou canst not escape. I have sought thee long, and now
will I make thee mine." But the heart of Daphne was bold and strong;
and her cheek flushed and her eye sparkled with anger, as she said, "I
know neither love nor bondage. I live free among the streams and
hills; and to none will I yield my freedom." Then the face of Apollo
grew dark with anger, and he drew near to seize the maiden; but swift
as the wind she fled away. Over hill and dale, over crag and river,
the feet of Daphne fell lightly as falling leaves in autumn; but
nearer yet came Phœbus Apollo, till at last the strength of the maiden
began to fail. Then she stretched out her hands, and cried for help to
the lady Demeter; but she came not to her aid. Her head was dizzy, and
her limbs trembled in utter feebleness as she drew near the broad
river which gladdens the plains of Thessaly, till she almost felt the
breath of Phœbus, and her robe was almost in his grasp. Then, with a
wild cry, she said, "Father Peneios, receive thy child," and she
rushed into the stream, whose waters closed gently over her.

She was gone; Apollo mourned for his madness in chasing thus the free
maiden. And he said, "I have punished myself by my folly; the light of
the morning is taken out of the day. I must go on alone till my
journey shall draw towards its end." Then he spake the word, and a
laurel came up on the bank where Daphne had plunged into the stream;
and the green bush with its thick clustering leaves keeps her name


Among the valleys and hills of Thessaly, Kyrene, the fair-armed
daughter of Hypseus, wandered free as the deer upon the mountain side.
Of all the maidens of the land, there was none to vie her in beauty;
neither was there any that could be matched with her for strength of
arm and speed of foot. She touched not the loom or the spindle; she
cared not for banquets with those who revel under houses. Her feasts
were spread on the green grass, beneath the branching tree; and with
her spear and dagger she went fearless among the beasts of the field,
or sought them out in their dens.

One day she was roaming along the winding banks of Peneios, when a
lion sprang from a thicket across her path. Neither spear nor dagger
was in her hand, but the heart of Kyrene knew no fear, and she
grappled with him until the beast sank wearied at her feet. She had
conquered, but not unseen, for Phœbus Apollo had watched the maiden as
she battled with the angry lion; and straightway he called the wise
centaur Cheiron, who had taught him in the days of his youth. "Come
forth," he said, "from thy dark cave, and teach me once again, for I
have a question to ask thee. Look at yonder maiden, and the beast
which lies beaten at her feet; and tell me (for thou art wise) whence
she comes, and what name she bears. Who is she, that thus she wanders
in these lonely valleys without fear and without hurt? Tell me if she
may be wooed and won." Then Cheiron looked steadfastly at the face of
Phœbus, and a smile passed over his countenance as he answered, "There
are hidden keys to unlock the prison-house of love; but why askest
thou me of the maiden's name and race--thou who knowest the end of all
things, and all the paths along which the sons of men are journeying?
Thou hast counted the leaves which burst forth in the spring-time, and
the grains of sand which the wind tosses on the river bank, or by the
sea shore. But if I must needs match thee in suitable wisdom, then
listen to my words. The maiden is wooed and won already; and thou art
going to bear her as thy bride over the dark sea, and place her in
golden halls on the far-off Libyan land. There she shall have a home
rich in every fruit that may grow up from the earth; and there shall
thy son Aristaios be born, on whose lips the bright Horai shall shed
nectar and ambrosia, so that he may not come under the doom of mortal

Then Phœbus Apollo smiled as he answered, "Of a truth, Cheiron, thou
deservest thy fame, for there are none to match with thee for wisdom;
and now I go with Kyrene to the land which shall be called by her
name, and where, in time to come, her children shall build great and
mighty cities, and their name shall be spread abroad throughout all
the earth for strength and wisdom."

So the maiden Kyrene came to the Libyan land, and there Aristaios, her
child, was born. And Hermes carried the babe to the bright Horai, who
granted him an endless life; and he dwelt in the broad Libyan plains,
tending his flocks, and bringing forth rich harvests from the earth.
For him the bees wrought their sweetest honey; for him the sheep gave
their softest wool; for him the cornfields waved with their fullest
grain. No blight touched the grapes which his hand had tended; no
sickness vexed the herds which fed in his pastures. And they who dwelt
in the land said, "Strife and war bring no such gifts as these to the
sons of men; therefore let us live in peace."


Early in the morning, long ago, in a cave of the great Kyllenian hill,
lay the new-born Hermes, the son of Zeus and Maia. The cradle-clothes
were scarcely stirred by his soft breathing, while he slept as
peacefully as the children of mortal mothers. But the sun had not
driven his fiery chariot half over the heaven, when the babe arose
from his sacred cradle and stepped forth from the dark cavern. Before
the threshold a tortoise fed lazily on the grass; and when the child
saw it he laughed merrily. "Ah! this is luck, indeed," he said;
"whence hast thou come, pretty creature, with thy bright speckled
shell? Thou art mine now, and I must take thee into my cave. It is
better to be under shelter than out of doors; and though there may be
some use in thee while thou livest, it will comfort thee to think that
thou wilt sing sweetly when thou art dead." So the child Hermes took
up his treasure in both arms, and carried it into the cavern. There he
took an iron probe, and pierced out the life of the tortoise; and
quick as thought, he drilled holes in its shell, and fixed in them
reed-canes. Then across the shell he fastened a piece of ox-hide, and
with seven sheep-gut cords he finished the making of his lyre.
Presently he struck it with the bow, and a wave of sweet music swelled
out upon the air. Like the merry songs of youths and maidens, as they
sport in village feasts, rose the song of the child Hermes; and his
eyes laughed slyly as he sang of the loves of Zeus and Maia, and how
he himself was born of the mighty race of the gods. Still he sang on,
telling of all that he saw around him in the home of the nymph, his
mother, but all the while, as he sang, his mind was pondering on other
things; and when the song was ended, he went forth from the cave, like
a thief in the night, on his wily errand.

The sun was hastening down the slope of heaven, with his chariot and
horses to the slow-rolling stream of Ocean, as Hermes came to the
shadowy hills of Pieria, where the cattle of the gods fed in their
large pastures. There he took fifty from the herd, and made ready to
drive them to the Kyllenian hill. But before him lay vast plains of
sand; and, therefore, lest the track of the cattle should tell the
tale of his thieving, he drove the beasts round about by crooked
paths, until it seemed as though they had gone to the place from
whence he had stolen them. He had taken good care that his own
footsteps should not betray him, for with branches of tamarisk and
myrtle, well twisted with their leaves, he hastily made sandals, and
sped away from Pieria. One man alone saw him, a very old man, who was
working in his vineyard on the sunny plain of Onchestos. To him Hermes
went quickly, and said, "Old man, thou wilt have plenty of wine when
these roots come all into bearing trim. Meanwhile keep a wise head on
thy crumpled shoulders, and take heed not to remember more than may be

    [Illustration: PLUTO AND HIS WIFE.]

Onwards, over dark hills, and through sounding dells, and across
flowery plains, hastened the child Hermes, driving his flock before
him. The night waxed and waned, and the moon had climbed to her
watchtower in the heaven, when, in the flush of early morning, Hermes
reached the banks of the great Alpheian stream. Then he turned his
herd to feed on the grassy plain, while he gathered logs of wood, and,
rubbing two sticks together, kindled the first flame that burned upon
the earth where dwell the sons of men. The smoke went up to the
heaven, and the flame crackled fiercely beneath it, as Hermes brought
forth two of the herd, and, tumbling them on their back, pierced out
the life of both. Their hides he placed on the hard rock; their flesh
he cut up into twelve portions; and so Hermes hath the right of
ordering all sacrifices which the children of men offer to the undying
gods. But he ate not of the flesh or fat, although hunger sorely
pressed him; and he burnt the bones in the fire, and tossed his
tamarisk sandals into the swift stream of Alpheios. Then he quenched
the fire, and with all his might trampled down the ashes, until the
pale moon rose up again in the sky. So he sped on his way to Kyllene.
Neither god nor man saw him as he went, nor did the dogs bark. Early
in the morning he reached his mother's cave, and darted through the
keyhole of the door, softly as a summer breeze. Without a sound his
little feet paced the stony floor, till he reached his cradle and lay
down, playing like a babe among the clothes with his left hand, while
the right held the tortoise-lyre hidden underneath them.

But, wily as he was, he could not cheat his mother. To his cradle she
came, and said, "Whither hast thou wandered in the dark night? Crafty
rogue, mischief will be thy ruin. The son of Leto will soon be here,
and bear thee away bound in chains not easily shaken off. Out of my
sight, little wretch, born to worry the blessed gods and plague the
race of men!" "Mother," said Hermes, gently, "why talk thus to me, as
though I were like mortal babes, a poor cowering thing, to cry for a
little scolding? I know thy interest and mine: why should we stay here
in this wretched cave, with never a gift nor a feast to cheer our
hearts? I shall not stay. It is pleasanter to banquet with the gods
than to dwell in a cavern in draughts of whistling wind. I shall try
my luck against Apollo, for I mean to be his peer; and if he will not
suffer me, and if Zeus, my father, take not up my cause, I will see
what I can do for myself, by going to the shrine of Pytho and stealing
thence the tripods and caldrons, the iron vessels and glittering
robes. If I may not have honor in Olympos, I can at least be the
prince of thieves."

Meanwhile, as they talked together, Eos rose up from the deep ocean
stream, and her tender light flushed across the sky, while Apollo
hastened to Onchestos and the holy grove of Poseidon. There the old
man was at work in his vineyard, and to him Phœbus went quickly, and
said, "Friend hedger, I am come from Pieria looking for my cows. Fifty
of them have been driven away, and the bull has been left behind with
the four dogs who guarded them. Tell me, old man, hast thou seen any
one with these cows, on the road?" But the old man said that it would
be a hard matter to tell of all that he might chance to see. "Many
travelers journey on this road, some with evil thoughts, some with
good; I can not well remember all. This only I know, that yesterday,
from the rising of the sun to its setting, I was digging in my
vineyard, and I think, but I am not sure, that I saw a child with a
herd of cattle. A babe he was, and he held a staff in his hand, and,
as he went, he wandered strangely from the path on either side."

Then Phœbus stayed not to hear more, for now he knew of a surety that
the new-born son of Zeus had done him the mischief. Wrapped in a
purple mist, he hastened to beautiful Pylos, and came on the track of
the cattle. "O Zeus!" he cried, "this is indeed a marvel. I see the
footprints of cattle, but they are marked as though the cattle were
going to the asphodel meadow, not away from it. Of man or woman, of
wolf, bear, or lion, I spy not a single trace. Only here and there I
behold the footprints of some strange monster, who has left his mark
at random on either side of the road." So on he sped to the woody
heights of Kyllene, and stood on the doorstep of Maia's cave.
Straightway the child Hermes nestled under the cradle-clothes in fear,
like a new-born babe asleep. But, seeing through all his craft, Phœbus
looked steadily through all the cave and opened three secret places
full of the food and drink of the gods, and full also of gold and
silver and raiment; but not a cow was in any of them. At last he fixed
his eyes sternly on the child, and said, "Wily babe, where are my
cows? If thou wilt not tell me, there will be strife between us; and
then I will hurl thee down to the gloomy Tartaros, to the land of
darkness, whence neither thy father nor thy mother can bring thee
back, and where thy kingdom shall be only over the ghosts of men."
"Ah!" said Hermes, "these are dreadful words, indeed; but why dost
thou chide me thus, or come here to look for cows? I have not seen or
heard of them, nor has any one told me of them. I can not tell where
they are, or get the reward, if any were promised, for discovering
them. This is no work of mine; what do I care for but for sleeping and
sucking, and playing with my cradle-clothes, and being washed in warm
water? My friend, it will be much better that no one should hear of
such a silly quarrel. The undying gods would laugh at the very thought
of a little babe leaving its cradle to run after cows. I was born but
yesterday. My feet are soft, and the ground is hard. But if it be any
comfort to thee, I will swear by my father's head (and that is a very
great oath) that I have not done this deed, nor seen any one else
steal your cows, and that I do not know what cows are."

As he spoke he looked stealthily from one side to the other, while his
eyes winked slyly, and he made a long soft whistling sound, as if the
words of Phœbus had amused him mightily. "Well, friend," said Apollo,
with a smile, "thou wilt break into many a house, I see, and thy
followers after thee; and thy fancy for beef will set many a herdsman
grieving. But come down from the cradle, or this sleep will be thy
last. Only this honor can I promise thee, to be called the prince of
thieves forever." So without more ado Phœbus caught up the babe in his
arms; but Hermes gave so mighty a sneeze that he quickly let him fall,
and Phœbus said to him, gravely, "This is the sign that I shall find
my cows; show me, then, the way." In great fear Hermes started up and
pulled the cradle-clothes over his ears, as he said, "Cruel god, what
dost thou seek to do with me? Why worry me thus about cows? I would
there were not a cow in all the earth. I stole them not, nor have I
seen any one steal the cows, whatever things cows may be. I know
nothing but their name. But come; Zeus must decide the quarrel between

Thus each with his own purpose spake to the other, and their minds
grew all the darker, for Phœbus sought only to know where his cows
might be, while Hermes strove only to cheat him. So they went quickly
and sulkily on, the babe first, and Phœbus following after him, till
they came to the heights of Olympos and the home of the mighty Zeus.
There Zeus sat on the throne of judgment, and all the undying gods
stood around him. Before them in the midst stood Phœbus and the child
Hermes, and Zeus said, "Thou hast brought a fine booty after thy hunt
to-day, Phœbus--a child of a day old. A fine matter is this to put
before the gods."

"My father," said Apollo, quickly, "I have a tale to tell which will
show that I am not the only plunderer. After a weary search I found
this babe in the cave of Kyllene; and a thief he is such as I have
never seen whether among gods or men. Yester eve he stole my cattle
from the meadow, and drove them straight towards Pylos to the shore of
the sounding sea. The tracks left were such that gods and men might
well marvel at them. The footprints of the cows on the sand were as
though they were going to my meadows, and not away from them; his own
footmarks beggar all words, as if he had gone neither on his feet nor
on his hands, and as if the oak tops had suddenly taken to walking. So
was it on the sandy soil; and after this was passed, there remained no
marks at all. But an old man saw him driving them on the road to
Pylos. There he shut up the cattle at his leisure, and, going to his
mother's cave, lay down in his cradle like a spark in a mass of
cinders, which an eagle could scarcely spy out. When I taxed him with
the theft he boldly denied it, and told me that he had not seen the
cows or heard naught of them, and could not get the reward if one were
offered for restoring them."

So the words of Phœbus were ended, and the child Hermes made obeisance
to Zeus, the lord of all the gods, and said, "Father Zeus, I shall
tell thee the truth, for I am a very truthful being, and I know not
how to tell a lie. This morning, when the sun was but newly risen,
Phœbus came to my mother's cave, looking for cows. He brought no
witnesses; but urged me by force to confess; he threatened to hurl me
into the abyss of Tartaros. Yet he has all the strength of early
manhood, while I, as he knows, was born but yesterday, and am not in
the least like a cattle-reiver. Believe me (by thy love for me, thy
child) that I have not brought these cows home, or passed beyond my
mother's threshold. This is strict truth. Nay, by Helios and the other
gods, I swear that I love thee and have respect for Phœbus. Thou
knowest that I am guiltless, and, if thou wilt, I will also swear it.
But, spite of all his strength, I will avenge myself some day on
Phœbus for his unkindness; and then help thou the weaker."

So spake Hermes, winking his eyes and holding the clothes to his
shoulders; and Zeus laughed aloud at the wiliness of the babe, and
bade Phœbus and the child be friends. Then he bowed his head and
charged Hermes to show the spot where he had hidden the cattle, and
the child obeyed, for none may despise that sign and live. To Pylos
they hastened and to the broad stream of Alpheios, and from the fold
Hermes drove forth the cattle. But as he stood apart, Apollo beheld
the hides flung on the rock, and he asked Hermes, "How wast thou able,
cunning rogue, to flay two cows, thou a child but one day old? I fear
thy might in time to come, and I can not let thee live." Again he
seized the child, and bound him fast with willow bands; but the child
tore them from his body like flax, so that Phœbus marveled greatly. In
vain Hermes sought a place wherein to hide himself, and great fear
came upon him till he thought of his tortoise-lyre. With his bow he
touched the strings, and the wave of song swelled out upon the air
more full and sweet than ever. He sang of the undying gods and the
dark earth, how it was made at the first, and how to each of the gods
his own appointed portion was given, till the heart of Apollo was
filled with a mighty longing, and he spake to Hermes, and said,
"Cattle-reiver, wily rogue, thy song is worth fifty head of cattle.
We will settle our strife by and by. Meanwhile, tell me, was this
wondrous gift of song born with thee, or hast thou it as a gift from
any god or mortal man? Never on Olympos, from those who can not die,
have I heard such strains as these. They who hear thee may have what
they will, be it mirth, or love, or sleep. Great is thy power, and
great shall be thy renown, and by my cornel staff I swear that I will
not stand in the way of thy honor or deceive thee in anywise."

Then said Hermes, "I grudge thee not my skill, son of Leto, for I seek
but thy friendship. Yet thy gifts from Zeus are great. Thou knowest
his mind, thou canst declare his will, and reveal what is stored up in
time to come for undying gods or mortal men. This knowledge I fain
would have. But my power of song shall this day be thine. Take my
lyre, the soother of the wearied, the sweet companion in hours of
sorrow or of feasting. To those who come skilled in its language, it
can discourse sweetly of all things, and drive away all thoughts that
annoy and cares that vex the soul. To those who touch it, not knowing
how to draw forth its speech, it will babble strange nonsense, and
rave with uncertain moanings. But thy knowledge is born with thee, and
so my lyre is thine. Wherefore now let us feed the herds together, and
with our care they shall thrive and multiply. There is no more cause
for anger."

So saying the babe held out the lyre, and Phœbus Apollo took it. In
his turn he gave to the child Hermes a glittering scourge, with charge
over his flocks and herds. Then, touching the chords of the lyre, he
filled the air with sweet music, and they both took their way to
Olympos, and Zeus was glad at heart to see that the wrath of Apollo
had passed away. But Phœbus dreaded yet the wiles of Hermes, and said,
"I fear me much, child of Maia, that in time to come thou mayest steal
both my harp and my bow, and take away my honor among men. Come now,
and swear to me by the dark water of Styx that thou wilt never do me
wrong." Then Hermes bowed his head, and swore never to steal anything
from Apollo, and never to lay hands on his holy shrine; and Phœbus
swore that of all the undying gods there should be none so dear to him
as Hermes. "And of this love," he said, "I will give thee a pledge. My
golden rod shall guard thee, and teach thee all that Zeus may say to
me for the well or ill-doing of gods or men. But the higher knowledge
for which thou didst pray may not be thine; for that is hidden in the
mind of Zeus, and I have sworn a great oath that none shall learn it
from me. But the man who comes to me with true signs, I will never
deceive; and he who puts trust in false omens and then comes to
inquire at my shrine, shall be answered according to his folly, but
his offering shall go into my treasure-house. Yet further, son of
Maia, in the clefts of Parnassos far away dwell the winged Thriai, who
taught me long ago the secret things of times to come. Go thou, then,
to the three sisters, and thus shalt thou test them. If they have
eaten of the honeycomb before they speak, they will answer thee truly;
but if they lack the sweet food of the gods, they will seek to lead
astray those who come to them. These I give thee for thy counselors;
only follow them warily; and have thou dominion over all flocks and
herds, and over all living things that feed on the wide earth; and be
thou the guide to lead the souls of mortal men to the dark kingdom of

So was the love of Apollo for Hermes made sure; and Hermes hath his
place amongst all the deathless gods and dying men. Nevertheless, the
sons of men have from him no great gain, for all night long he vexes
them with his treacherous wiles.


In the fields of Enna, in the happy Island of Sicily, the beautiful
Persephone was playing with the girls who lived there with her. She
was the daughter of the lady Demeter, and every one loved them both,
for Demeter was good and kind to all, and no one could be more gentle
and merry than Persephone. She and her companions were gathering
flowers from the field, to make crowns for their long flowing hair.
They had picked many roses and lilies and hyacinths, which grew in
clusters around them, when Persephone thought she saw a splendid
flower far off; and away she ran, as fast as she could, to get it. It
was a beautiful narcissus, with a hundred heads springing from one
stem; and the perfume which came from its flowers gladdened the broad
heaven above, and the earth and sea around it. Eagerly Persephone
stretched out her hand to take this splendid prize, when the earth
opened, and a chariot stood before her, drawn by four coal-black
horses; and in the chariot there was a man with a dark and solemn
face, which looked as though he could never smile, and as though he
had never been happy. In a moment he got out of his chariot, seized
Persephone round the waist, and put her on the seat by his side. Then
he touched the horses with his whip, and they drew the chariot down
into the great gulf, and the earth closed over them again.

Presently the girls who had been playing with Persephone came up to
the place where the beautiful narcissus was growing; but they could
not see her anywhere. And they said, "Here is the very flower which
she ran to pick, and there is no place here where she can be hiding."
Still for a long time they searched through the fields of Enna; and
when the evening was come they went home to tell the lady Demeter that
they could not tell what had become of Persephone.

Very terrible was the sorrow of Demeter when she was told that her
child was lost. She put a dark robe on her shoulders, and took a
flaming torch in her hand, and went over land and sea to look for
Persephone. But no one could tell her where she was gone. When ten
days were passed she met Hekate, and asked her about her child; but
Hekate said, "I heard her voice, as she cried out when some one seized
her; but I did not see it with my eyes, and so I know not where she is
gone." Then she went to Helios, and said to him, "O Helios, tell me
about my child. Thou seest everything on the earth, sitting in the
bright sun." Then Helios said to Demeter, "I pity thee for thy great
sorrow, and I will tell thee the truth. It is Hades who has taken
away Persephone to be his wife in the dark and gloomy land which lies
beneath the earth."

    [Illustration: CERES. (_or Demeter, from Pompeii Wall

Then the rage of Demeter was more terrible than her sorrow had been;
and she would not stay in the palace of Zeus, on the great Thessalian
hill, because it was Zeus who had allowed Hades to take away
Persephone. So she went down from Olympos, and wandered on a long way
until she came to Eleusis, just as the sun was going down into his
golden cup behind the dark blue hills. There Demeter sat down close to
a fountain, where the water bubbled out from the green turf and fell
into a clear basin, over which some dark olive trees spread their
branches. Just then the daughters of Keleos, the king of Eleusis, came
to the fountain with pitchers on their heads to draw water; and when
they saw Demeter, they knew from her face that she must have some
great grief; and they spoke kindly to her, and asked if they could do
anything to help her. Then she told them how she had lost and was
searching for her child; and they said, "Come home and live with us;
and our father and mother will give you everything that you can want,
and do all that they can to soothe your sorrow." So Demeter went down
to the house of Keleos, and she stayed there for a whole year. And all
this time, although the daughters of Keleos were very gentle and kind
to her, she went on mourning and weeping for Persephone. She never
laughed or smiled, and scarcely ever did she speak to any one, because
of her great grief. And even the earth, and the things which grow on
the earth, mourned for the sorrow which had come upon Demeter. There
was no fruit upon the trees, no corn came up in the fields, and no
flowers blossomed in the gardens. And Zeus looked down from his high
Thessalian hill, and saw that everything must die unless he could
soothe the grief and anger of Demeter. So he sent Hermes down to
Hades, the dark and stern king, to bid him send Persephone to see her
mother, Demeter. But before Hades let her go he gave her a
pomegranate to eat, because he did not wish her to stay away from him
always, and he knew that she must come back if she tasted but one of
his pomegranate seeds. Then the great chariot was brought before the
door of the palace, and Hermes touched with his whip the coal-black
horses, and away they went as swiftly as the wind, until they came
close to Eleusis. Then Hermes left Persephone, and the coal-black
horses drew the chariot away again to the dark home of King Hades.

The sun was sinking down in the sky when Hermes left Persephone, and
as she came near to the fountain she saw some one sitting near it in a
long black robe, and she knew that it must be her mother who still
wept and mourned for her child. And as Demeter heard the rustling of
her dress, she lifted up her face, and Persephone stood before her.

Then the joy of Demeter was greater, as she clasped her daughter to
her breast, than her grief and her sorrow had been. Again and again
she held Persephone in her arms, and asked her about all that had
happened to her. And she said, "Now that you are come back to me, I
shall never let you go away again; Hades shall not have my child to
live with him in his dreary kingdom," But Persephone said, "It may not
be so, my mother; I can not stay with you always; for before Hermes
brought me away to see you, Hades gave me a pomegranate, and I have
eaten some of the seeds; and after tasting the seed I must go back to
him again when six months have passed by. And, indeed, I am not afraid
to go, for although Hades never smiles or laughs, and everything in
his palace is dark and gloomy, still he is very kind to me, and I
think that he feels almost happy since I have been his wife. But do
not be sorry, my mother, for he has promised to let me come up and
stay with you for six months in every year, and the other six months I
must spend with him in the land which lies beneath the earth."

So Demeter was comforted for her daughter Persephone, and the earth
and all the things that grew in it felt that her anger and sorrow had
passed away. Once more the trees bore their fruits, the flowers spread
out their sweet blossoms in the garden, and the golden corn waved like
the sea under the soft summer breeze. So the six months passed happily
away, and then Hermes came with his coal-black horses to take
Persephone to the dark land. And she said to her mother, "Do not weep
much; the gloomy king whose wife I am is so kind to me that I can not
be really unhappy, and in six months more he will let me come to you
again." But still, whenever the time came round for Persephone to go
back to Hades, Demeter thought of the happy days when her child was a
merry girl playing with her companions and gathering the bright
flowers in the beautiful plains of Enna.


One beautiful evening, when the sun was sinking down in the West,
Selene was wandering on the banks of the River Meander; and she
thought that of all the places which she had ever seen there was none
more lovely than the quiet valley through which that gentle river was
flowing. On her right hand rose a hill, whose sides were covered with
trees and flowers, where the vine clambered over the elm, and the
purple grapes shone out from amongst the dark leaves. Then Selene
asked some people who were passing by to tell her the name of the
hill, and they told her that it was called the hill of Latmos. On she
went, under the tall trees, whose branches waved over her in the clear
evening light, till at last she reached the top, and looked down on
the valley which lay beneath her. Then Selene was indeed astonished,
for she had never seen anything so beautiful before, even in a dream.
She had fancied that nothing could be more lovely than the vale of the
Meander, and now she saw something far more beautiful than the rocks
and stones and clear bright water of that winding river. It was a
small valley, at the bottom of which a lake shone like silver in the
light of the setting sun. All around it beautiful trees covered the
sloping banks; and their long branches drooped down over the water.
Not a breath of wind was stirring the dark leaves--not a bird was
flying in the air. Only the large green dragon-fly floated lazily on
the lake, while the swan lay half asleep on the silvery waters. On one
side, in the loveliest corner of the valley, there was a marble
temple, whose pillars shone like the white snow; and, leading down to
the lake, there were steps of marble, over which the palm trees spread
their branches, and everywhere were clusters of all beautiful flowers,
amongst which mosses, and ferns, and the green ivy were tangled. There
was the white narcissus and the purple tulip--the dark hyacinth and
the soft red rose. But more beautiful than all the trees and flowers,
a man lay sleeping on the marble steps of the temple. It was Endymion,
who lived in this quiet valley, where the storms never came, and where
the dark rain-clouds never covered the sides of the mountain. There he
lay in the still evening hour; and at first Selene thought that it
could scarcely be a living man whom she saw, for he lay as still as
if he were made of marble himself. And as she looked upon him, Selene
drew in her breath for wonder; and she went gently down the valley
till she came to the steps where Endymion lay asleep. Presently the
sun sank behind the hill, and the rich glow of the evening made the
silvery lake gleam like gold; and Endymion awoke and saw Selene
standing near him. Then Selene said, "I am wandering over the earth;
and I may not stay here. Come away, and I will show you larger lakes
and more glorious valleys than these." But Endymion said, "Lady, I can
not go. There may be lakes which are larger, and valleys more splendid
than this, but I love this still and quiet place, where the storms
never come, and the sky is never black with clouds. You must not ask
me to leave the cool shade of these sleeping trees, and the myrtles
and roses which twine under the tall elms, and these waters, where the
swans rest in the hot hours of the day and the dragon-fly spreads his
green and golden wings to the sun."

    [Illustration: JUNO (_or Here_).]

Many times did Selene ask him, but Endymion would not leave his
pleasant home; and at last she said, "I can stay no more, but if you
will not come with me, then you shall sleep on these marble steps and
never wake up again." So Selene left him, and presently a deep sleep
came over Endymion, and his hands dropped down by his side, and he lay
without moving on the steps of the temple, while the evening breeze
began to stir gently the broad leaves of the palm trees, and the
lilies which bowed their heads over the calm water. There he lay all
through the still and happy night; and there he lay when the sun rose
up from the sea, and mounted up with its fiery horses into the sky.
There was a charm now on this beautiful valley, which made the breeze
more gentle and the lake more still than ever. The green dragon-flies
came floating lazily in the air near Endymion, but he never opened his
eyes; and the swans looked up from the lake, to see if he was coming
to feed them; but he stirred not in his deep and dreamless sleep.
There he lay day and night, for weeks, and months, and years; and many
times, when the sun went down into the sea, Selene came and stood on
the Latmian hill, and watched Endymion as he lay asleep on the marble
steps beneath the drooping palm trees; and she said, "I have punished
him because he would not leave his home; and Endymion sleeps forever
in the land of Latmos."


In the golden house which Hephaistos had wrought for him with his
wondrous skill, Helios saw nothing fairer than his son Phaethon; and
he said to his mother, Klymene, that no mortal child might be matched
with him for beauty. And Phaethon heard the words, and his heart was
filled with an evil pride. So he stood before the throne of Helios,
and said, "O father, who dwellest in the dazzling light, they say that
I am thy child; but how shall I know it while I live in thy house
without name and glory? Give me a token, that men may know me to be
thy son." Then Helios bade him speak, and swear to grant his prayer;
and Phaethon said, "I will guide thy chariot for one day through the
high heaven; bid the Horai make ready the horses for me, when Eos
spreads her quivering light in the sky." But the heart of Helios was
filled with fear, and he besought his son with many tears to call back
his words. "O Phaethon, bright child of Klymene, for all thy beauty
thou art mortal still; and the horses of Helios obey no earthly
master." But Phaethon harkened not to his words, and hastened away to
the dwelling of the Horai, who guard the fiery horses. "Make ready for
me," he said, "the chariot of Helios, for this day I go through the
high heaven in the stead of my father."

The fair-haired Eos spread her faint light in the pale sky, and
Lampetie was driving the cattle of Helios to their bright pastures,
when the Horai brought forth his horses and harnessed them to the
fiery chariot. With eager hand Phaethon seized the reins, and the
horses sped upon their way up the heights of the blue heaven, until
the heart of Phaethon was full of fear and the reins quivered in his
grasp. Wildly and more madly sped the steeds, till at last they
hurried from the track which led to the Hesperian land. Down from
their path they plunged, and drew near to the broad plains of earth.
Fiercer and fiercer flashed the scorching flames; the trees bowed down
their withered heads; the green grass shriveled on the hillsides; the
rivers vanished from their slimy beds, and the black vapors rose with
smoke and fire from the hidden depths of the mighty hills. Then in
every land the sons of men lay dying on the scorched and gaping
ground. They looked up to the yellow sky, but the clouds came not;
they sought the rivers and fountains, but no water glistened on their
seething beds; and young and old, all lay down in madness of heart to
sleep the sleep of death.

So sped the horses of Helios on their fiery wanderings, and Zeus
looked down from his Thessalian hill and saw that all living things on
the earth must die unless Phaethon should be smitten down from his
father's chariot. Then the mighty thunders woke in the hot sky which
mourned for the clouds that were dead; and the streams of lightning
rushed forth upon Phaethon, and bore him from the blazing heaven far
down beneath the waters of the green sea.

But his sisters wept sore for the death of the bright Phaethon, and
the daughters of Hesperos built his tomb on the sea-shore, that all
men might remember the name of the son of Helios and say, "Phaethon
fell from his father's chariot, but he lost not his glory, for his
heart was set upon great things."


There was strife in the halls of Olympos, for Zeus had conquered the
ancient gods, and sat on the throne of his father Kronos. In his hand
he held the thunderbolts; the lightning slumbered at his feet, and
around him all the gods trembled for the greatness of his power. For
he laid hard tasks on all, and spoke hard words, and he thought to
rule harshly over the gods who dwell on the earth and in the broad
sea. All the day long Hermes toiled on weary errands to do his will;
for Zeus sought to crush all alike, and remembered not the time when
he, too, was weak and powerless.

    [Illustration: DIANA (_or Artemis_).]

Then were there secret whisperings, as the gods of earth and sea took
counsel together; and Poseidon, the lord of the dark waters, spoke in
fierce anger, and said, "Hearken to me, Here and Athene, and let us
rise up against Zeus, and teach him that he has not power over all.
See how he bears himself in his new majesty--how he thinks not of the
aid which we gave him in the war with his father Kronos--how he has
smitten down even the mightiest of his friends. For Prometheus, who
gave fire to mortal men and saved them from biting cold and gnawing
hunger, lies chained on the crags of Caucasus; and if he shrink not to
bind the Titan, see that he smite not thee also in his wrath, O lady
Here." And Athene said, "The wisdom of Zeus is departed from him, and
all his deeds are done now in craft and falsehood; let us bind him
fast, lest all the heaven and earth be filled with strife and war." So
they vowed a vow that they would no more bear the tyranny of Zeus; and
Hephaistos forged strong chains at their bidding to cast around him
when sleep lay heavy on his eyelids.

But Thetis heard the words of Poseidon and Athene, as she sat beneath
the waters in her coral cave, and she rose up like a white mist from
the sea, and knelt before the throne of Zeus. Then she clasped her
arms round his knees, and said, "O Zeus, the gods tremble at thy
might, but they love not thy hard words, and they say that thy wisdom
hath departed from thee, and that thou doest all things in craft and
falsehood. Hearken to me, O Zeus, for Hephaistos hath forged the chain
and the lady Here, and Poseidon, the lord of the sea, and the pure
Athene have vowed a vow to bind thee fast when sleep lies heavy on
thine eyes. Let me therefore go, that I may bring Briareos to aid thee
with his hundred hands, and when he sits by thy side, then shalt thou
need no more to fear the wrath of Here and Poseidon. And when the
peril is past, then, O Zeus, remember that thou must rule gently and
justly, for that power shall not stand which fights with truth and
love; and forget not those who aid thee, nor reward them as thou hast
rewarded Prometheus on the crags of Caucasus, for it may be that, in
time to come, I may ask a boon from thee for Achilleus, my child, who
dwells now in the house of his father, Peleus; and when that hour
shall come, then call to mind how in time past I saved thee from the
chains of Hephaistos."

Then Zeus spoke gently, and said, "Hasten, Thetis, and bring hither
the mighty Briareos, that he may guard me with his hundred hands, and
fear not for the words that thou hast spoken, for Zeus will not cast
aside good counsel, and the gods shall hate me no more for hard and
unkindly words."

So from the depths of the inmost earth Thetis summoned Briareos to the
aid of Zeus, and presently his giant form was seen in the hall of
Olympos; and the gods trembled as he sat down by the side of Zeus,
exulting in the greatness of his strength. And Zeus spoke, and said,
"Hearken to me, O lady Here, and Poseidon, and Athene. I know your
counsels, and how ye purposed to bind me for my evil deeds; but fear
not. Only do my bidding in time to come, and ye shall no more have
cause to say that Zeus is a hard and cruel master."


In the dark land beneath the earth, where wander the ghosts of men,
lay Semele, the daughter of Kadmos, while her child Dionysos grew up
full of strength and beauty on the flowery plain of Orchomenos. But
the wrath of the lady Here still burned alike against the mother and
the child. No pity felt she for the helpless maiden whom the fiery
lightning of Zeus had slain; and so in the prison-house of Hades
Semele mourned for the love which she had lost, waiting till her child
should lead her forth to the banquet of the gods. But for him the
wiles of Here boded long toil and grievous peril. On the land and on
the sea strange things befel him; but from all dangers his own strong
arm and the love of Zeus, his father, rescued him. Thus throughout the
land men spake of his beauty and his strength, and said that he was
worthy to be the child of the maiden who had dared to look on the
majesty of Zeus. At length the days of his youth were ended, and a
great yearning filled his heart to wander through the earth and
behold the cities and the ways of men. So from Orchomenos Dionysos
journeyed to the sea-shore, and he stood on a jutting rock to gaze on
the tumbling waters. The glad music of the waves fell upon his ear and
filled his soul with a wild joy. His dark locks streamed gloriously
over his shoulders, and his purple robe rustled in the soft summer
breeze. Before him on the blue waters the ships danced merrily in the
sparkling sunlight, as they hastened from shore to shore on the
errands of war and peace. Presently a ship drew near to the beach. Her
white sail was lowered hastily to the deck, and five of her crew
leaped out and plunged through the sea-foam to the shore, near the
rock on which stood Dionysos. "Come with us," they said, with rough
voices, as they seized him in their brawny arms; "it is not every day
that Tyrrhenian mariners fall in with youths like thee." With rude
jests they dragged him into the ship, and there made ready to bind
him. "A brave youth and fair he is," they said; "we shall not lack
bidders when we put forth our goods for sale." So round his limbs they
fastened stout withy bands, but they fell from off him as withered
leaves fall from off trees in autumn, and a careless smile played on
his face as he sat down and looked calmly on the robbers who stood
before him. Then on a sudden the voice of the helmsman was heard, as
he shouted, "Fools, what do ye? The wrath of Zeus is hurrying you to
your doom. This youth is not of mortal race; and who can tell which of
the undying gods has put on this beautiful form? Send him straightway
from the ship in peace, if ye fear not a deadly storm as we cross the
open sea." Loud laughed the crew, as their chief answered, jeeringly,
"Look out for the breeze, wise helmsman, and draw up the sail to the
wind. That is more thy task than to busy thyself with our doings. Fear
not for the boy. The withy bands were but weak; it is no great marvel
that he shook them off. He shall go with us, and before we reach Egypt
or Cyprus or the land of the Hyperboreans, doubtless he will tell us
his name and the name of his father and mother. Fear not, we have
found a godsend."

So the sail was drawn up to the mast, and it swelled proudly before
the breeze as the ship dashed through the crested waves. And still the
sun shone brightly down on the water, and the soft white clouds
floated lazily in the heavens, as the mighty Dionysos began to show
signs and wonders before the robbers who had seized him. Over the deck
ran a stream of purple wine, and a fragrance as of a heavenly banquet
filled the air. Over mast and sailyard clambered the clustering vine,
and dark masses of grapes hung from the branches. The ivy twined in
tangled masses round the tackling, and bright garlands shone, like
jeweled crowns, on every oar-pin. Then a great terror fell on all, as
they cried to the old helmsman, "Quick, turn the ship to the shore;
there is no hope for us here." But there followed a mightier wonder
still. A loud roar broke upon the air, and a tawny lion stood before
them, with a grim and grizzly bear by his side. Cowering like pitiful
slaves, the Tyrrhenians crowded to the stern, and crouched round the
good helmsman. Then the lion sprang and seized the chief, and the men
leaped in their agony over the ship's side. But the power of Dionysos
followed them still; and a change came over their bodies as they heard
a voice, which said, "In the form of dolphins shall ye wander through
the sea for many generations. No rest shall ye have by night or by
day, while ye fly from the ravenous sharks that shall chase you
through the seas."

But before the old helmsman again stood Dionysos, the young and fair,
in all the glory of undying beauty. Again his dark locks flowed gently
over his shoulders, and the purple robe rustled softly in the breeze.
"Fear not," he said, "good friend and true, because thou hast aided
one who is sprung from the deathless race of the gods. I am Dionysos,
the child of Zeus, the lord of the wine-cup and the revel. Thou hast
stood by me in the hour of peril; wherefore my power shall shield thee
from the violence of evil men and soothe thee in a green old age, till
thine eyes close in the sleep of death and thou goest forth to dwell
among brave heroes and good men in the asphodel meadows of Elysium."

Then at the bidding of Dionysos, the north wind came and wafted the
ship to the land of Egypt, where Proteus was King. And so began the
long wanderings of the son of Semele, through the regions of the
Ethiopians and the Indians, towards the rising of the sun.
Whithersoever he went, the women of the land gathered round him with
wild cries and songs, and he showed them of his secret things,
punishing grievously all who set at naught the laws which he ordained.
So, at his word, Lykurgos, the Edonian chieftain, was slain by his
people, and none dared any more to speak against Dionysos, until he
came back to the city where Semele, his mother, had been smitten by
the lightnings of Zeus.


For many years Dionysos wandered far away from the land of his birth;
and wherever he went he taught the people of the country to worship
him as a god, and showed them strange rites. Far away he roamed, to
the regions where the Ganges rolls his mighty stream into the Indian
Sea, and where the Nile brings every year rich gifts from the southern
mountains. And in all the lands to which he came he made the women
gather round him and honor him with wild cries and screams and
marvelous customs such as they had never known before. As he went
onwards the face of the land was changed. The women grouped themselves
in companies far away from the sight of men, and, high up on the
barren hills or down in the narrow valleys, with wild movements and
fierce shoutings, paid honor to Dionysos, the lord of the wine-cup and
the feast. At length, through the Thracian highlands and the soft
plains of Thessaly, Dionysos came back to Thebes, where he had been
born amid the roar of the thunder and the blaze of the fiery
lightning. Kadmos, the King, who had built the city, was now old and
weak, and he had made Pentheus, the child of his daughter Agave, King
in his stead. So Pentheus sought to rule the people well, as his
father Kadmos had done, and to train them in the old laws, that they
might be quiet in the days of peace, and orderly and brave in war.

    [Illustration: VULCAN (_or Hephaistos_).]

Thus it came to pass that when Dionysos came near to Thebes, and
commanded all the people to receive the new rites, which he sought to
teach them, it grieved Pentheus at the heart; and when he saw how the
women seemed smitten with madness, and that they wandered away in
groups to desert places, where they lurked for many days and nights,
far from the sight of men, he mourned for the evils which his kinsman,
Dionysos, was bringing upon the land. So King Pentheus made a law that
none should follow these new customs, and that the women should stay
quietly doing their own work in their homes. But when they heard this,
they were all full of fury, for Dionysos had deceived them by his
treacherous words, and even Kadmos himself, in his weakness and old
age, had been led astray by them. In crowds they thronged around the
house of Pentheus, raising loud shouts in honor of Dionysos, and
besought him to follow the new way, but he would not hearken to them.

Thus it was for many days; and when all the city was shaken by the
madness of the new worship, Pentheus thought that he would see with
his own eyes the strange rites by which the women, in their
lurking-places, did honor to Dionysos. So he went secretly to some
hidden dells, whither he knew that the women had gone; but Dionysos
saw him and laid his hands upon him, and straightway the mind of King
Pentheus himself was darkened, and the madness of the worshipers was
upon him, also. Then in his folly he climbed a tall pine-tree, to see
what the women did in their revelry; but on a sudden one of them saw
him, and they shrieked wildly and rooted up the tree in their fury.
With one accord they seized Pentheus and tore him in pieces; and his
own mother, Agave, was among the first to lay hands on her son. So
Dionysos, the wine god, triumphed; and this was the way in which the
new worship was set up in the Hellenic land.


On the shores of the Lake Boibeis, the golden-haired Apollo saw and
loved Koronis, the beautiful daughter of Phlegyas. Many a time they
wandered beneath the branching elms while the dew-drops glistened like
jewels on the leaves, or sat beneath the ivy bowers as the light of
evening faded from the sky and the blue veil of mist fell upon the
sleeping hills. But at length the day came when Apollo must journey to
the western land, and as he held Koronis in his arms, his voice fell
softly and sadly on her ear. "I go," he said, "to a land that is very
far off, but surely I will return. More precious to me than aught else
on the wide earth is thy love, Koronis. Let not its flower fade, but
keep it fresh and pure as now, till I come to thee again. The dancing
Horai trip quickly by, Koronis, and when they bring the day on which I
may clasp thee in mine arms once more, it may be that I shall find
thee watching proudly over the child of our love."

He was gone, and for Koronis it seemed as though the sun had ceased to
shine in the heaven. For many a day she cared not to wander by the
winding shore in the light of early morning, or to rest in the myrtle
bowers as the flush of evening faded from the sky. Her thoughts went
back to the days that were passed, when Apollo, the golden-haired,
made her glad with the music of his voice. But at length a stranger
came to the Boibean land, and dwelt in the house of Phlegyas, and the
spell of his glorious beauty fell upon Koronis, and dimmed the love
which she had borne for Apollo, who was far away. Again for her the
sun shone brightly in the heaven, and the birds filled the air with a
joyous music, but the tale went swiftly through the land, and Apollo
heard the evil tidings as he journeyed back with his sister, Artemis,
to the house of Phlegyas. A look of sorrow that may not be told passed
over his fair face; but Artemis stretched forth her hand towards the
flashing sun and swore that the maiden should rue her fickleness.
Soon, on the shore of the Lake Boibeis, Koronis lay smitten by the
spear which may never miss its mark, and her child, Asklepios, lay a
helpless babe by her side. Then the voice of Apollo was heard saying,
"Slay not the child with the mother, he is born to do great things,
but bear him to the wise centaur, Cheiron, and bid him train the boy
in all his wisdom, and teach him to do brave deeds, that men may
praise his name in the generations that shall be hereafter."

So in the deep glens of Pelion the child, Asklepios, grew up to
manhood under the teaching of Cheiron, the wise and good. In all the
land there was none that might vie with him in strength of body; but
the people marveled yet more at his wisdom, which passed the wisdom of
the sons of men, for he had learned the power of every herb and leaf
to stay the pangs of sickness and bring back health to the wasted
form. Day by day the fame of his doings was spread abroad more widely
through the land, so that all who were sick hastened to Asklepios and
besought his help. But soon there went forth a rumor that the strength
of death had been conquered by him, and that Athene, the mighty
daughter of Zeus, had taught Asklepios how to bring back the dead from
the dark kingdom of Hades. Then, as the number of those whom he
brought from the gloomy Stygian land increased more and more, Hades
went in hot anger to Olympos, and spoke bitter words against the son
of Koronis, so that the heart of Zeus was stirred with a great fear
lest the children of men should be delivered from death and defy the
power of the gods. Then Zeus bowed his head, and the lightnings
flashed from heaven, and Asklepios was smitten down by the scathing

Mighty and terrible was the grief that stirred the soul of the
golden-haired Apollo when his son was slain. The sun shone dimly from
the heaven; the birds were silent in the darkened groves; the trees
bowed down their heads in sorrow, and the hearts of all the sons of
men fainted within them, because the healer of their pains and
sickness lived no more upon the earth. But the wrath of Apollo was
mightier than his grief, and he smote the giant Cyclopes, who shaped
the fiery lightnings far down in the depths of the burning mountain.
Then the anger of Zeus was kindled against his own child, the
golden-haired Apollo, and he spake the word that he should be banished
from the home of the gods to the dark Stygian land. But the lady Leto
fell at his knees and besought him for her child, and the doom was
given that a whole year long he should serve as a bondsman in the
house of Admetos, who ruled in Pherai.


Fair as the blushing clouds which float in early morning across the
blue heaven, the beautiful Dia gladdened the hearts of all who dwelt
in the house of her father Hesioneus. There was no guile in her soft
clear eye, for the light of Eos was not more pure than the light of
the maiden's countenance. There was no craft in her smile, for on her
rested the love and the wisdom of Athene. Many a chieftain sought to
win her for his bride; but her heart beat with love only for Ixion the
beautiful and mighty, who came to the halls of Hesioneus with horses
which can not grow old or die. The golden hair flashed a glory from
his head dazzling as the rays which stream from Helios when he drives
his chariot up the heights of heaven, and his flowing robe glistened
as he moved like the vesture which the sun-god gave to the wise maiden
Medeia, who dwelt in Kolchis.

    [Illustration: MINERVA, OR PALLAS ATHENE. (_Found in

Long time Ixion abode in the house of Hesioneus, for Hesioneus was
loth to part with his child. But at the last Ixion sware to give for
her a ransom precious as the golden fruits which Helios wins from the
teeming earth. So the word was spoken, and Dia the fair became the
wife of the son of Amythaon, and the undying horses bare her away in
his gleaming chariot. Many a day and month and year the fiery steeds
of Helios sped on their burning path, and sank down hot and wearied in
the western sea; but no gifts came from Ixion, and Hesioneus waited in
vain for the wealth which had tempted him to barter away his child.
Messenger after messenger went and came, and always the tidings were
that Ixion had better things to do than to waste his wealth on the
mean and greedy. "Tell him," he said, "that every day I journey across
the wide earth, gladdening the hearts of the children of men, and that
his child has now a more glorious home than that of the mighty gods
who dwell on the high Olympos. What would he have more?" Then day by
day Hesioneus held converse with himself, and his people heard the
words which came sadly from his lips. "What would I more?" he said; "I
would have the love of my child. I let her depart, when not the wealth
of Phœbus himself could recompense me for her loss. I bartered her for
gifts, and Ixion withholds the wealth which he sware to give. Yet were
all the riches of his treasure-house lying now before me, one loving
glance from the eyes of Dia would be more than worth them all."

But when his messengers went yet again to plead with Ixion, and their
words were all spoken in vain, Hesioneus resolved to deal craftily,
and he sent his servants by night and stole the undying horses which
bare his gleaming chariot. Then the heart of Ixion was humbled within
him, for he said, "My people look for me daily throughout the wide
earth. If they see not my face their souls will faint with fear; they
will not care to sow their fields, and the golden harvests of Demeter
will wave no more in the summer breeze." So there came messengers
from Ixion, who said, "If thou wouldst have the wealth which thou
seekest, come to the house of Ixion, and the gifts shall be thine, and
thine eyes shall once more look upon thy child." In haste Hesioneus
went forth from his home, like a dark and lonely cloud stealing across
the broad heaven. All night long he sped upon his way, and, as the
light of Eos flushed the eastern sky he saw afar off the form of a
fair woman who beckoned to him with her long white arms. Then the
heart of the old man revived, and he said, "It is Dia, my child. It is
enough if I can but hear her voice and clasp her in mine arms and
die." But his limbs trembled for joy, and he waited until presently
his daughter came and stood beside him. On her face there rested a
softer beauty than in former days, and the sound of her voice was more
tender and loving, as she said, "My father, Zeus has made clear to me
many dark things, for he has given me power to search out the secret
treasures of the earth, and to learn from the wise beings who lurk in
its hidden places the things that shall be hereafter. And now I see
that thy life is well-nigh done, if thou seekest to look upon the
treasures of Ixion, for no man may gaze upon them and live. Go back,
then, to thy home if thou wouldst not die. I would that I might come
with thee, but so it may not be. Each day I must welcome Ixion when
his fiery horses come back from their long journey, and every morning
I must harness them to his gleaming chariot before he speeds upon his
way. Yet thou hast seen my face and thou knowest that I love thee now
even as in the days of my childhood." But the old greed filled again
the heart of Hesioneus, and he said, "The faith of Ixion is pledged.
If he withhold still the treasures which he sware to give, he shall
never more see the deathless horses. I will go myself into his
treasure-house, and see whether in very truth he has the wealth of
which he makes such proud boasting." Then Dia clasped her arms once
again around her father, and she kissed his face, and said, sadly,
"Farewell, then, my father; I go to my home, for even the eyes of Dia
may not gaze on the secret treasures of Ixion." So Dia left him, and
when the old man turned to look on her departing form it faded from
his sight as the clouds melt away before the sun at noon-day. Yet,
once again he toiled on his way, until before his glorious home he saw
Ixion, radiant as Phœbus Apollo in his beauty; but there was anger in
his kindling eye, for he was wroth for the theft of his undying
horses. Then the voice of Ixion smote the ear of Hesioneus, harsh as
the flapping of the wings of Erinys when she wanders through the air.
"So thou wilt see my secret treasures. Take heed that thy sight be
strong." But Hesioneus spake in haste, and said, "Thy faith is
pledged, not only to let me see them, but to bestow them on me as my
own, for therefore didst thou win Dia my child to be thy wife." Then
Ixion opened the door of his treasure-house and thrust in Hesioneus,
and the everlasting fire devoured him.

But far above, in the pure heaven, Zeus beheld the deed of Ixion, and
the tidings were sent abroad to all the gods of Olympos, and to all
the sons of men, that Ixion had slain Hesioneus by craft and guile. A
horror of great blackness fell on the heaven above and the earth
beneath for the sin of which Zeus alone can purge away the guilt. Once
more Dia made ready her husband's chariot, and once more he sped on
his fiery journey; but all men turned away their faces, and the trees
bowed their scorched and withered heads to the ground. The flowers
drooped sick on their stalks and died, the corn was kindled like dried
stubble on the earth, and Ixion said within himself, "My sin is great;
men will not look upon my face as in the old time, and the gods of
Olympos will not cleanse my hands from the guilt of my treacherous
deed." So he went straightway and fell down humbly before the throne
of Zeus, and said, "O thou that dwellest in the pure æther far above
the dark cloud, my hands are foul with blood, and thou alone canst
cleanse them; therefore purge mine iniquity, lest all living things
die throughout the wide earth."

Then the undying gods were summoned to the judgment seat of Zeus. By
the side of the son of Kronos stood Hermes, ever bright and fair, the
messenger who flies on his golden sandals more swiftly than a dream;
but fairer and more glorious than all who stood near his throne was
the lady Here, the queen of the blue heaven. On her brow rested the
majesty of Zeus and the glory of a boundless love which sheds gladness
on the teeming earth and the broad sea. And even as he stood before
the judgment-seat, the eyes of Ixion rested with a strange yearning on
her undying beauty, and he scarce heard the words which cleansed him
from blood-guiltiness.

So Ixion tarried in the house of Zeus, far above in the pure æther,
where only the light clouds weave a fairy net-work at the rising and
setting of the sun. Day by day his glance rested more warm and loving
on the countenance of the lady Here, and Zeus saw that her heart, too,
was kindled by a strange love, so that a fierce wrath was stirred
within him.

Presently he called Hermes, the messenger, and said, "Bring up from
among the children of Nephele one who shall wear the semblance of the
lady Here, and place her in the path of Ixion when he wanders forth on
the morrow." So Hermes sped away on his errand, and on that day Ixion
spake secretly with Here, and tempted her to fly from the house of
Zeus. "Come with me," he said; "the winds of heaven can not vie in
speed with my deathless horses, and the palace of Zeus is but as the
house of the dead by the side of my glorious home." Then the heart of
Ixion bounded with a mighty delight, as he heard the words of Here.
"To-morrow I will meet thee in the land of the children of Nephele."
So on the morrow when the light clouds had spread their fairy net-work
over the heaven, Ixion stole away from the house of Zeus to meet the
lady Here. As he went, the fairy web faded from the sky, and it seemed
to him that the lady Here stood before him in all her beauty. "Here,
great queen of the unstained heaven," he said, "come with me, for I am
worthy of thy love, and I quail not for all the majesty of Zeus." But
even as he stretched forth his arms, the bright form vanished away.
The crashing thunder rolled through the sky, and he heard the voice of
Zeus saying, "I cleansed thee from thy guilt, I sheltered thee in my
home, and thou hast dealt with me treacherously, as thou didst before
with Hesioneus. Thou hast sought the love of Here, but the maiden
which stood before thee was but a child of Nephele, whom Hermes
brought hither to cheat thee with the semblance of the wife of Zeus.
Wherefore hear thy doom. No more shall thy deathless horses speed with
thy glistening chariot over the earth, but high in the heaven a
blazing wheel shall bear thee through the rolling years, and the doom
shall be on thee for ever and ever."

So was Ixion bound on the fiery wheel, and the sons of men see the
flashing spokes day by day as it whirls in the high heaven.


Beneath the mighty rocks of Sipylos stood the palace of Tantalos, the
Phrygian King, gleaming with the blaze of gold and jewels. Its
burnished roofs glistened from afar like the rays which dance on
ruffled waters. Its marble columns flashed with hues rich as the hues
of purple clouds which gather round the sun as he sinks down in the
sky. And far and wide was known the name of the mighty chieftain, who
was wiser than all the sons of mortal men; for his wife, Euryanassa,
they said, came of the race of the undying gods, and to Tantalos Zeus
had given the power of Helios, that he might know his secret counsels
and see into the hidden things of earth and air and sea. Many a time,
so the people said, he held converse with Zeus himself in his home, on
the high Olympos, and day by day his wealth increased, his flocks and
herds multiplied exceedingly, and in his fields the golden corn waved
like a sunlit sea.

But, as the years rolled round, there were dark sayings spread abroad,
that the wisdom of Tantalos was turned to craft, and that his wealth
and power were used for evil ends. Men said that he had sinned like
Prometheus, the Titan, and had stolen from the banquet-hall of Zeus
the food and drink of the gods, and given them to mortal men. And
tales yet more strange were told, how that Panderos brought to him the
hound which Rhea placed in the cave of Dikte to guard the child, Zeus,
and how, when Hermes bade him yield up the dog, Tantalos laughed him
to scorn, and said, "Dost thou ask me for the hound which guarded Zeus
in the days of his childhood? It were as well to ask me for the unseen
breeze which sounds through the groves of Sipylos."

Then, last of all, men spake in whispers of a sin yet more fearful,
which Tantalos had sinned, and the tale was told that Zeus and all the
gods came down from Olympos to feast in his banquet-hall, and how,
when the red wine sparkled in the golden goblets, Tantalos placed
savory meat before Zeus, and bade him eat of a costly food, and, when
the feast was ended, told him that in the dish had lain the limbs of
the child Pelops, whose sunny smile had gladdened the hearts of mortal
men. Then came the day of vengeance, for Zeus bade Hermes bring back
Pelops again from the kingdom of Hades to the land of living men, and
on Tantalos was passed a doom which should torment him for ever and
ever. In the shadowy region where wander the ghosts of men, Tantalos,
they said, lay prisoned in a beautiful garden, gazing on bright
flowers and glistening fruits and laughing waters, but for all that
his tongue was parched, and his limbs were faint with hunger. No drop
of water might cool his lips, no luscious fruit might soothe his
agony. If he bowed his head to drink, the water fled away; if he
stretched forth his hand to pluck the golden apples, they would vanish
like mists before the face of the rising sun, and in place of ripe
fruits glistening among green leaves, a mighty rock beetled above his
head, as though it must fall and grind him to powder. Wherefore men
say, when the cup of pleasure is dashed from the lips of those who
would drink of it, that on them has fallen the doom of the Phrygian



By the doom of his father Zeus, Herakles served in Argos the false and
cruel Eurystheus. For so it was that Zeus spake of the birth of
Herakles to Here, the Queen, and said, "This day shall a child be born
of the race of Perseus, who shall be the mightiest of the sons of
men." Even so he spake, because Ate had deceived him by her evil
counsel. And Here asked whether this should be so in very deed, and
Zeus bowed his head, and the word went forth which could not be
recalled. Then Here went to the mighty Eileithyiai, and by their aid
she brought it about that Eurystheus was born before Herakles the son
of Zeus.

    [Illustration: URANIA (_Muse of Astronomy_).]

So the lot was fixed that all his life long Herakles should toil at
the will of a weak and crafty master. Brave in heart and stout of
body, so that no man might be matched with him for strength or beauty,
yet was he to have no profit of all his labor till he should come to
the land of the undying gods. But it grieved Zeus that the craft of
Here, the Queen, had brought grievous wrong on his child, and he cast
forth Ate from the halls of Olympos, that she might no more dwell
among the gods. Then he spake the word that Herakles should dwell with
the gods in Olympos, as soon as the days of his toil on earth should
be ended.

Thus the child grew in the house of Amphitryon, full of beauty and
might, so that men marveled at his great strength; for as he lay one
day sleeping, there came two serpents into the chamber, and twisted
their long coils round the cradle, and peered upon him with their
cold glassy eyes, till the sound of their hissing woke him from his
slumber. But Herakles trembled not for fear, but he stretched forth
his arms and placed his hands on the serpents' necks, and tightened
his grasp more and more till they fell dead on the ground. Then all
knew by this sign that Herakles must do great things and suffer many
sorrows, but that in the end he should win the victory. So the child
waxed great and strong, and none could be matched with him for
strength of arm and swiftness of foot and in taming of horses and in
wrestling. The best men in Argos were his teachers, and the wise
centaur Cheiron was his friend, and taught him ever to help the weak
and take their part against any who oppressed them. So, for all his
great strength, none were more gentle than Herakles, none more full of
pity for those who were bowed down by pain and labor.

But it was a sore grief to Herakles that all his life long he must
toil for Eurystheus, while others were full of joy and pleasure and
feasted at tables laden with good things. And so it came to pass that
one day, as he thought of these things, he sat down by the wayside,
where two paths met, in a lonely valley far away from the dwellings of
men. Suddenly, as he lifted up his eyes, he saw two women coming
towards him, each from a different road. They were both fair to look
upon; but the one had a soft and gentle face, and she was clad in a
seemly robe of pure white. The other looked boldly at Herakles, and
her face was more ruddy, and her eyes shone with a hot and restless
glare. From her shoulders streamed the long folds of her soft
embroidered robe, which scantily hid the beauty of her form beneath.
With a quick and eager step she hastened to Herakles, that she might
be the first to speak. And she said, "I know, O man of much toil and
sorrow, that thy heart is sad within thee, and that thou knowest not
which way thou shalt turn. Come then with me, and I will lead thee on
a soft and pleasant road, where no storms shall vex thee and no
sorrows shall trouble thee. Thou shalt never hear of wars and battles,
and sickness and pain shall not come nigh to thee; but all day long
shalt thou feast at rich banquets and listen to the songs of
minstrels. Thou shalt not want for sparkling wine, and soft robes, and
pleasant couches; thou shalt not lack the delights of love, for the
bright eyes of maidens shall look gently upon thee, and their songs
shall lull thee to sleep in the soft evening hour, when the stars come
out in the sky." And Herakles said, "Thou promisest to me pleasant
things, lady, and I am sorely pressed down by a hard master. What is
thy name?" "My friends," said she, "call me the happy and joyous one;
and they who look not upon me with love have given me an evil name,
but they speak falsely."

Then the other spake, and said, "O Herakles, I, too, know whence thou
art, and the doom which is laid upon thee, and how thou hast lived and
toiled even from the days of thy childhood; and therefore I think that
thou wilt give me thy love, and if thou dost, then men shall speak of
thy good deeds in time to come, and my name shall be yet more exalted.
But I have no fair words wherewith to cheat thee. Nothing good is ever
reached without labor; nothing great is ever won without toil. If thou
seek for fruit from the earth thou must tend and till it; if thou
wouldst have the favor of the undying gods thou must come before them
with prayers and offerings; if thou longest for the love of men thou
must do them good." Then the other brake in upon her words, and said,
"Thou seest, Herakles, that Arete seeks to lead thee on a long and
weary path, but my broad and easy road leads thee quickly to
happiness." Then Arete answered her (and her eye flashed with anger),
"O wretched one, what good thing hast thou to give, and what pleasure
canst thou feel, who knowest not what it is to toil? Thy lusts are
pampered, thy taste is dull. Thou quaffest the rich wine before thou
art thirsty, and fillest thyself with dainties before thou art
hungry. Though thou art numbered amongst the undying ones the gods
have cast thee forth out of heaven, and good men scorn thee. The
sweetest of all sounds, when a man's heart praises him, thou hast
never heard; the sweetest of all sights, when a man looks on his good
deeds, thou has never seen. They who bow down to thee are weak and
feeble in youth, and wretched and loathsome in old age. But I dwell
with the gods in heaven and with good men on earth; and without me
nothing good and pure may be thought and done. More than all others am
I honored by the gods, more than all others am I cherished by the men
who love me. In peace and in war, in health and in sickness, I am the
aid of all who seek me; and my help never fails. My children know the
purest of all pleasures, when the hour of rest comes after the toil of
day. In youth they are strong, and their limbs are quick with health;
in old age they look back upon a happy life; and when they lie down to
the sleep of death their name is cherished among men for their brave
and good deeds. Love me, therefore, Herakles, and obey my words, and
thou shalt dwell with me, when thy toil is ended, in the home of the
undying gods."

Then Herakles bowed down his head and sware to follow her counsels;
and when the two maidens passed away from his sight he went forth with
a good courage to his labor and suffering. In many a land he sojourned
and toiled to do the will of the false Eurystheus. Good deeds he did
for the sons of men; but he had no profit of all his labor, save the
love of the gentle Iole. Far away in Œchalia, where the sun rises from
the eastern sea, he saw the maiden in the halls of Eurytos, and sought
to win her love. But the word which Zeus spake to Here, the Queen,
gave him no rest; and Eurystheus sent him forth to other lands, and he
saw the maiden no more.

But Herakles toiled on with a good heart, and soon the glory of his
great deeds were spread abroad throughout all the earth. Minstrels
sang how he slew the monsters and savage beasts who vexed the sons of
men, how he smote the Hydra in the land of Lernai, and the wild boar,
which haunted the groves of Erymanthos, and the Harpies, who lurked in
the swamps of Stymphalos. They told how he wandered far away to the
land of the setting sun, when Eurystheus bade him pluck the golden
apples from the garden of the Hesperides--how, over hill and dale,
across marsh and river, through thicket and forest, he came to the
western sea, and crossed to the African land, where Atlas lifts up his
white head to the high heaven--how he smote the dragon which guarded
the brazen gates, and brought the apples to King Eurystheus. They sang
of his weary journey, when he roamed through the land of the
Ethiopians and came to the wild and desolate heights of Caucasus--how
he saw a giant form high on the naked rock, and the vulture which
gnawed the Titan's heart with its beak. They told how he slew the
bird, and smote off the cruel chains, and set Prometheus free. They
sang how Eurystheus laid on him a fruitless task, and sent him down to
the dark land of King Hades to bring up the monster, Kerberos; how,
upon the shore of the gloomy Acheron, he found the mighty hound who
guards the home of Hades and Persephone; how he seized him in his
strong right hand and bore him to King Eurystheus. They sang of the
days when he toiled in the land of Queen Omphale, beneath the Libyan
sun; how he destroyed the walls of Ilion when Laomedon was King, and
how he went to Kalydon and wooed and won Deianeira, the daughter of
the chieftain, Oineus.

Long time he abode in Kalydon, and the people of the land loved him
for his kindly deeds. But one day his spear smote the boy, Eunomos,
and his father was not angry, because he knew that Herakles sought not
to slay him. Yet Herakles would go forth from the land, for his heart
was grieved for the death of the child. So he journeyed to the banks
of the Evenos, where he smote the centaur, Nessos, because he sought
to lay hands on Deianeira. Swiftly the poison from the barb of the
spear ran through the centaur's veins; but Nessos knew how to avenge
himself on Herakles, and with a faint voice he besought Deianeira to
fill a shell with his blood, so that, if ever she lost the love of
Herakles, she might win it again by spreading it on a robe for him to

So Nessos died, and Herakles went to the land of Trachis, and there
Deianeira abode while he journeyed to the eastern sea. Many times the
moon waxed and waned in the heaven, and the corn sprang up from the
ground and gave its golden harvest, but Herakles came not back. At
last the tidings came how he had done great deeds in distant lands,
how Eurytos, the King of Œchalia, was slain, and how, among the
captives, was the daughter of the King, the fairest of all the maidens
of the land.

Then the words of Nessos came back to Deianeira, and she hastened to
anoint a broidered robe, for she thought only that the love of
Herakles had passed away from her, and that she must win it to herself
again. So with words of love and honor, she sent the gift for Herakles
to put on, and the messenger found him on the Keneian shore, where he
was offering rich sacrifice to Zeus, his father, and gave him the
broidered robe in token of the love of Deianeira. Then Herakles wrapt
it closely round him, and he stood by the altar while the dark smoke
went up in a thick cloud to the heaven. Presently the vengeance of
Nessos was accomplished. Through the veins of Herakles the poison
spread like devouring fire. Fiercer and fiercer grew the burning pain,
and Herakles vainly strove to tear the robe and cast it from him. It
ate into the flesh, and as he struggled in his agony, the dark blood
gushed from his body in streams. Then came the maiden Iole to his
side. With her gentle hands she sought to soothe his pain, and with
pitying words to cheer him in his woe. Then once more the face of
Herakles flushed with a deep joy, and his eye glanced with a pure
light, as in the days of his might and strength, and he said, "Ah,
Iole, brightest of maidens, thy voice shall cheer me as I sink down in
the sleep of death. I loved thee in the bright morning time, when my
hand was strong and my foot swift, but Zeus willed not that thou
shouldst be with me in my long wanderings. Yet I grieve not now, for
again thou hast come, fair as the soft clouds which gather round the
dying sun." Then Herakles bade them bear him to the high crest of Oita
and gather wood. So when all was ready, he lay down to rest, and they
kindled the great pile. The black mists were spreading over the sky,
but still Herakles sought to gaze on the fair face of Iole and to
comfort her in her sorrow. "Weep not, Iole," he said, "my toil is
done, and now is the time for rest. I shall see thee again in the
bright land which is never trodden by the feet of night."

    [Illustration: JUPITER (_or Zeus with his Thunderbolt_).]

Blacker and blacker grew the evening shades, and only the long line of
light broke the darkness which gathered round the blazing pile. Then
from the high heaven came down the thick cloud, and the din of its
thunder crashed through the air. So Zeus carried his child home, and
the halls of Olympos were opened to welcome the bright hero who rested
from his mighty toil. There the fair maiden, Arete, placed a crown
upon his head, and Hebe clothed him in a white robe for the banquet of
the gods.


There was high feasting in the halls of Pheres, because Admetos, his
son, had brought home Alkestis, the fairest of all the daughters of
Pelias, to be his bride. The minstrels sang of the glories of the
house of Pherai, and of the brave deeds of Admetos--how, by the aid of
the golden-haired Apollo, he had yoked the lion and the boar, and made
them drag his chariot to Iolkos, for Pelias had said that only to one
who came thus would he give his daughter, Alkestis, to be his wife. So
the sound of mirth and revelry echoed through the hall, and the red
wine was poured forth in honor of Zeus and all the gods, each by his
name, but the name of Artemis was forgotten, and her wrath burned sore
against the house of Admetos.

But one, mightier yet than Artemis, was nigh at hand to aid him, for
Apollo, the son of Leto, served as a bondman in the house of Pheres,
because he had slain the Cyclopes, who forged the thunderbolts of
Zeus. No mortal blood flowed in his veins, but, though he could
neither grow old nor die, nor could any of the sons of men do him
hurt, yet all loved him for his gentle dealing, for all things had
prospered in the land from the day when he came to the house of
Admetos. And so it came to pass that when the sacrifice of the
marriage feast was ended, he spake to Admetos, and said, "The anger of
Artemis, my sister, is kindled against thee, and it may be that she
will smite thee with her spear, which can never miss its mark. But
thou hast been to me a kind task-master, and though I am here as thy
bond-servant, yet have I power still with my father, Zeus, and I have
obtained for thee this boon, that, if thou art smitten by the spear of
Artemis, thou shalt not die, if thou canst find one who in thy stead
will go down to the dark kingdom of Hades."

Many a time the sun rose up into the heaven and sank down to sleep
beneath the western waters, and still the hours went by full of deep
joy to Admetos and his wife, Alkestis, for their hearts were knit
together in a pure love, and no cloud of strife spread its dark shadow
over their souls. Once only Admetos spake to her of the words of
Apollo, and Alkestis answered with a smile, "Where is the pain of
death, my husband, for those who love truly? Without thee I care not
to live; wherefore, to die for thee will be a boon."

Once again there was high feasting in the house of Admetos, for
Herakles, the mighty son of Alkmene, had come thither as he journeyed
through many lands, doing the will of the false Eurystheus. But, even
as the minstrels sang the praises of the chieftains of Pherai, the
flush of life faded from the face of Admetos, and he felt that the
hour of which Apollo had warned him was come. But soon the blood came
back tingling through his veins, when he thought of the sacrifice
which alone could save him from the sleep of death. Yet what will not
a man do for his life? and how shall he withstand when the voice of
love pleads on his side? So once again the fair Alkestis looked
lovingly upon him, as she said, "There is no darkness for me in the
land of Hades, if only I die for thee," and even as she spake the
spell passed from Admetos, and the strength of the daughter of Pelias
ebbed slowly away.

The sound of mirth and feasting was hushed. The harps of the minstrels
hung silent on the wall, and men spake in whispering voices, for the
awful Moirai were at hand to bear Alkestis to the shadowy kingdom. On
the couch lay her fair form, pale as the white lily which floats on
the blue water, and beautiful as Eos when her light dies out of the
sky in the evening. Yet a little while, and the strife was ended, and
Admetos mourned in bitterness and shame for the love which he had

Then the soul of the brave Herakles was stirred within him, and he
sware that the Moirai should not win the victory. So he departed in
haste, and far away in the unseen land he did battle with the powers
of death, and rescued Alkestis from Hades, the stern and rugged King.

So once more she stood before Admetos, more radiant in her beauty than
in former days, and once more in the halls of Pherai echoed the sound
of high rejoicing, and the minstrels sang of the mighty deeds of the
good and brave Herakles, as he went on his way from the home of
Admetos to do in other lands the bidding of the fair mean Eurystheus.


There was strife between Zeus and men, for Prometheus stood forth on
their side and taught them how they might withstand the new god who
sat on the throne of Kronos; and he said, "O men, Zeus is greedy of
riches and honor, and your flocks and herds will be wasted with
burnt-offerings if ye offer up to Zeus the whole victim. Come and let
us make a covenant with him, that there may be a fair portion for him
and for men." So Prometheus chose out a large ox, and slew him and
divided the body. Under the skin he placed the entrails and the
flesh, and under the fat he placed the bones. Then he said, "Choose
thy portion, O Zeus, and let that on which thou layest thine hands be
thy share forever." So Zeus stretched forth his hand in haste, and
placed it upon the fat, and fierce was his wrath when he found only
the bare bones underneath it. Wherefore men offer up to the undying
gods only the bones and fat of the victims that are slain.

Then in his anger Zeus sought how he might avenge himself on the race
of men, and he took away from them the gift of fire, so that they were
vexed by cold and darkness and hunger, until Prometheus brought them
down fire which he had stolen from heaven. Then was the rage of Zeus
still more cruel, and he smote Prometheus with his thunderbolts, and
at his bidding Hermes bare him to the crags of Caucasus, and bound him
with iron chains to the hard rock, where the vulture gnawed his heart
with its beak.

But the wrath of Zeus was not appeased, and he sought how he might yet
more vex the race of men; and he remembered how the Titan Prometheus
had warned them to accept no gift from the gods, and how he left his
brother Epimetheus to guard them against the wiles of the son of
Kronos. And he said within himself, "The race of men knows neither
sickness nor pain, strife or war, theft or falsehood; for all these
evil things are sealed up in the great cask which is guarded by
Epimetheus. I will let loose the evils, and the whole earth shall be
filled with woe and misery."

So he called Hephaistos, the lord of fire, and he said, "Make ready a
gift which all the undying gods shall give to the race of men. Take
the earth, and fashion it into the shape of woman. Very fair let it be
to look upon, but give her an evil nature, that the race of men may
suffer for all the deeds that they have done to me." Then Hephaistos
took the clay and moulded from it the image of a fair woman, and
Athene clothed her in a beautiful robe, and placed a crown upon her
head, from which a veil fell over her snowy shoulders. And Hermes, the
messenger of Zeus, gave her the power of words, and a greedy mind, to
cheat and deceive the race of men. Then Hephaistos brought her before
the assembly of the gods, and they marveled at the greatness of her
beauty; and Zeus took her by the hand and gave her to Epimetheus, and
said, "Ye toil hard, ye children of men; behold one who shall soothe
and cheer you when the hours of toil are ended. The undying gods have
taken pity on you, because ye have none to comfort you; and woman is
their gift to men, therefore is her name called Pandora."

Then Epimetheus forgot the warning of his brother, and the race of men
did obeisance to Zeus, and received Pandora at his hands, for the
greatness of her beauty enslaved the hearts of all who looked upon
her. But they rejoiced not long in the gift of the gods, for Pandora
saw a great cask on the threshold of the house of Epimetheus, and she
lifted the lid, and from it came strife and war, plague and sickness,
theft and violence, grief and sorrow. Then in her terror she set down
the lid again upon the cask, and Hope was shut up within it, so that
she could not comfort the race of men for the grievous evil which
Pandora had brought upon them.


In the halls of Inachos, King of Argos, Zeus beheld and loved the fair
maiden Io, but when Here, the Queen, knew it, she was very wroth, and
sought to slay her. Then Zeus changed the maiden into a heifer, to
save her from the anger of Here, but presently Here learned that the
heifer was the maiden whom she hated, and she went to Zeus, and said,
"Give me that which I shall desire," and Zeus answered, "Say on." Then
Here said, "Give me the beautiful heifer which I see feeding in the
pastures of King Inachos." So Zeus granted her prayer, for he liked
not to confess what he had done to Io to save her from the wrath of
Here, and Here took the heifer and bade Argos, with the hundred eyes,
watch over it by night and by day.

    [Illustration: THALIA.]

Long time Zeus sought how he might deliver the maiden from the
vengeance of Here, but he strove in vain, for Argos never slept, and
his hundred eyes saw everything around him, and none could approach
without being seen and slain. At the last Zeus sent Hermes, the bright
messenger of the gods, who stole gently towards Argos, playing soft
music on his lute. Soothingly the sweet sounds fell upon his ear, and
a deep sleep began to weigh down his eyelids, until Argos, with the
hundred eyes, lay powerless before Hermes. Then Hermes drew his sharp
sword, and with a single stroke he smote off his head, wherefore men
call him the slayer of Argos, with the hundred eyes. But the wrath of
Here was fiercer than ever when she learned that her watchman was
slain, and she sware that the heifer should have no rest, but wander
in terror and pain from land to land. So she sent a gad-fly to goad
the heifer with its fiery sting over hill and valley, across sea and
river, to torment her if she lay down to rest, and madden her with
pain when she sought to sleep. In grief and madness she fled from the
pastures of Inachos, past the city of Erechtheus into the land of
Kadmos, the Theban. On and on still she went, resting not by night or
day, through the Dorian and Thessalian plains, until at last she came
to the wild Thrakian land. Her feet bled on the sharp stones, her body
was torn by the thorns and brambles, and tortured by the stings of the
fearful gad-fly. Still she fled on and on, while the tears streamed
often down her cheeks, and her moaning showed the greatness of her
agony. "O Zeus," she said, "dost thou not see me in my misery? Thou
didst tell me once of thy love, and dost thou suffer me now to be
driven thus wildly from land to land, without hope of comfort or rest?
Slay me at once, I pray thee, or suffer me to sink into the deep sea,
that so I may put off the sore burden of my woe."

But Io knew not that, while she spake, one heard her who had suffered
even harder things from Zeus. Far above her head, towards the desolate
crags of Caucasus, the wild eagle soared shrieking in the sky, and the
vulture hovered near, as though waiting close to some dying man till
death should leave him for its prey. Dark snow-clouds brooded heavily
on the mountain, the icy wind crept lazily through the frozen air, and
Io thought that the hour of her death was come. Then, as she raised
her head, she saw far off a giant form, which seemed fastened by nails
to the naked rock, and a low groan reached her ear, as of one in
mortal pain, and she heard a voice which said, "Whence comest thou,
daughter of Inachos, into this savage wilderness? Hath the love of
Zeus driven thee thus to the icy corners of the earth?" Then Io gazed
at him in wonder and awe, and said, "How dost thou know my name and my
sorrows? and what is thine own wrong? Tell me (if it is given to thee
to know) what awaits thee and me in the time to come, for sure I am
that thou art no mortal man. Thy giant form is as the form of gods or
heroes, who come down sometimes to mingle with the sons of men, and
great must be the wrath of Zeus, that thou shouldst be thus tormented
here." Then he said, "Maiden, thou seest the Titan Prometheus, who
brought down fire for the children of men, and taught them how to
build themselves houses and till the earth, and how to win for
themselves food and clothing. I gave them wise thoughts and good laws
and prudent counsel, and raised them from the life of beasts to a life
which was fit for speaking men. But the son of Kronos was afraid at
my doings, lest, with the aid of men, I might hurl him from his place
and set up new gods upon his throne. So he forgot all my good deeds in
times past, how I had aided him when the earth-born giants sought to
destroy his power and heaped rock on rock and crag on crag to smite
him on his throne, and he caught me by craft, telling me in smooth
words how that he was my friend, and that my honor should not fail in
the halls of Olympos. So he took me unawares and bound me with iron
chains, and bade Hephaistos take and fasten me to this mountain-side,
where the frost and wind and heat scorch and torment me by day and
night, and the vulture gnaws my heart with its merciless beak. But my
spirit is not wholly cast down, for I know that I have done good to
the sons of men, and that they honor the Titan Prometheus, who has
saved them from cold and hunger and sickness. And well I know, also,
that the reign of Zeus shall one day come to an end, and that another
shall sit at length upon his throne, even as now he sits on the throne
of his father, Kronos. Hither come, also, those who seek to comfort
me, and thou seest before thee the daughters of Okeanos, who have but
now left the green halls of their father to talk with me. Listen,
then, to me, daughter of Inachos, and I will tell thee what shall
befall thee in time to come. Hence from the ice-bound chain of
Caucasus thou shalt roam into the Scythian land and the regions of
Chalybes. Thence thou shalt come to the dwelling-place of the Amazons,
on the banks of the river Thermodon; these shall guide thee on thy
way, until at length thou shalt come to a strait, which thou wilt
cross, and which shall tell by its name forever where the heifer
passed from Europe into Asia. But the end of thy wanderings is not

Then Io could no longer repress her grief, and her tears burst forth
afresh; and Prometheus said, "Daughter of Inachos, if thou sorrowest
thus at what I have told thee, how wilt thou bear to hear what beyond
these things there remains for thee to do?" But Io said, "Of what use
is it, O Titan, to tell me of these woeful wanderings? Better were it
now to die and be at rest from all this misery and sorrow." "Nay, not
so, O maiden of Argos," said Prometheus, "for if thou livest, the days
will come when Zeus shall be cast down from his throne, and the end of
his reign shall also be the end of my sufferings. For when thou hast
passed by the Thrakian Bosporos into the land of Asia, thou wilt
wander on through many regions, where the Gorgons dwell, and the
Arimaspians and Ethiopians, until at last thou shalt come to the
three-cornered land where the mighty Nile goes out by its many arms
into the sea. There shall be thy resting-place, and there shall
Epaphos, thy son, be born, from whom, in times yet far away, shall
spring the great Herakles, who shall break my chain and set me free
from my long torments. And if in this thou doubtest my words, I can
tell thee of every land through which thou hast passed on thy journey
hither; but it is enough if I tell thee how the speaking oaks of
Dodona hailed thee as one day to be the wife of Zeus and the mother of
the mighty Epaphos. Hasten, then, on thy way, daughter of Inachos.
Long years of pain and sorrow await thee still, but my griefs shall
endure for many generations. It avails not now to weep, but this
comfort thou hast, that thy lot is happier than mine, and for both of
us remains the surety that the right shall at last conquer, and the
power of Zeus shall be brought low, even as the power of Kronos, whom
he hurled from his ancient throne. Depart hence quickly, for I see
Hermes, the messenger, drawing nigh, and perchance he comes with fresh
torments for thee and me."

So Io went on her weary road, and Hermes drew nigh to Prometheus, and
bade him once again yield himself to the will of the mighty Zeus. But
Prometheus laughed him to scorn, and as Hermes turned to go away, the
icy wind came shrieking through the air, and the dark cloud sank
lower and lower down the hillside, until it covered the rock on which
the body of the Titan was nailed, and the great mountain heaved with
the earthquake, and the blazing thunderbolts darted fearfully through
the sky. Brighter and brighter flashed the lightning, and louder
pealed the thunder in the ears of Prometheus, but he quailed not for
all the fiery majesty of Zeus, and still, as the storm grew fiercer
and the curls of fire were wreathed around his form, his voice was
heard amid the din and roar, and it spake of the day when the good
shall triumph and unjust power shall be crushed and destroyed forever.


From his throne on the high Olympos, Zeus looked down on the children
of men, and saw that everywhere they followed only their lusts, and
cared nothing for right or for law. And ever, as their hearts waxed
grosser in their wickedness, they devised for themselves new rites to
appease the anger of the gods, till the whole earth was filled with
blood. Far away in the hidden glens of the Arcadian hills the sons of
Lykaon feasted and spake proud words against the majesty of Zeus, and
Zeus himself came down from his throne to see their way and their

The sun was sinking down in the sky when an old man drew nigh to the
gate of Lykosoura. His gray locks streamed in the breeze, and his
beard fell in tangled masses over his tattered mantle. With staff in
hand he plodded wearily on his way, listening to the sound of revelry
which struck upon his ear. At last he came to the Agora, and the sons
of Lykaon crowded round him. "So the wise seer is come," they said;
"what tale hast thou to tell us, old man? Canst thou sing of the days
when the earth came forth from Chaos? Thou art old enough to have been
there to see." Then with rude jeering they seized him and placed him
on the ground near the place where they were feasting. "We have done
a great sacrifice to Zeus this day, and thy coming is timely, for thou
shalt share the banquet." So they placed before him a dish, and the
food that was in it was the flesh of man, for with the blood of men
they thought to turn aside the anger of the gods. But the old man
thrust aside the dish, and, as he rose up, the weariness of age passed
away from his face, and the sons of Lykaon were scorched by the glory
of his countenance, for Zeus stood before them and scathed them all
with his lightnings, and their ashes cumbered the ground.

    [Illustration: LAOCOON, THE FALSE PRIEST. (_Sculptured 3000
    years ago._)]

Then Zeus returned to his home on Olympos, and he gave the word that a
flood of waters should be let loose upon the earth, that the sons of
men might die for their great wickedness. So the west wind rose in his
might, and the dark rain-clouds veiled the whole heaven, for the winds
of the north which drive away the mists and vapors were shut up in
their prison-house. On the hill and valley burst the merciless rain,
and the rivers, loosened from their courses, rushed over the wide
plains and up the mountain-side. From his home on the highlands of
Phthia, Deukalion looked forth on the angry sky, and, when he saw the
waters swelling in the valleys beneath, he called Pyrrha, his wife,
the daughter of Epimetheus, and said to her, "The time is come of
which my father, the wise Prometheus, forewarned me. Make ready,
therefore, the ark which I have built, and place in it all that we may
need for food while the flood of waters is out upon the earth. Far
away on the crags of Caucasus the iron nails rend the flesh of
Prometheus, and the vulture gnaws his heart, but the words which he
spake are being fulfilled, that for the wickedness of men the flood of
waters would come upon the earth, for Zeus himself is but the servant
of one that is mightier than he, and must do his bidding."

Then Pyrrha hastened to make all things ready, and they waited until
the waters rose up to the highlands of Phthia and floated away the ark
of Deukalion. The fishes swam amidst the old elm groves, and twined
amongst the gnarled boughs of the oaks, while on the face of the
waters were tossed the bodies of men, and Deukalion looked on the dead
faces of stalwart warriors, of maidens, and of babes, as they rose and
fell upon the heaving waves. Eight days the ark was borne on the
flood, while the waters covered the hills, and all the children of men
died save a few who found a place of shelter on the summit of the
mountains. On the ninth day the ark rested on the heights of
Parnassos, and Deukalion, with his wife Pyrrha, stepped forth upon the
desolate earth. Hour by hour the waters fled down the valleys, and
dead fishes and sea-monsters lay caught in the tangled branches of the
forest. But, far as the eye could reach, there was no sign of living
thing, save of the vultures who wheeled in circles through the heaven
to swoop upon their prey, and Deukalion looked on Pyrrha, and their
hearts were filled with a grief which can not be told. "We know not,"
he said, "whether there live any one of all the sons of men, or in
what hour the sleep of death may fall upon us. But the mighty being
who sent the flood has saved us from its waters; to him let us build
an altar and bring our thankoffering." So the altar was built and Zeus
had respect to the prayer of Deukalion, and presently Hermes, the
messenger, stood before him. "Ask what thou wilt," he said, "and it
shall be granted thee, for in thee alone of all the sons of men hath
Zeus found a clean hand and a pure heart." Then Deukalion bowed
himself before Hermes, and said, "The whole earth lies desolate; I
pray thee, let men be seen upon it once more." "Even so shall it come
to pass," said Hermes, "if ye will cover your faces with your mantles
and cast the bones of your mother behind you as ye go upon your way."

So Hermes departed to the home of Zeus, and Deukalion pondered his
words, till the wisdom of his father, Prometheus, showed him that his
mother was the earth, and that they were to cast the stones behind
them as they went down from Parnassos. Then they did each as they were
bidden, and the stones which Deukalion threw were turned into men, but
those which were thrown by Pyrrha became women, and the people which
knew neither father nor mother went forth to their toil throughout the
wide earth. The sun shone brightly in the heaven and dried up the
slime beneath them; yet was their toil but a weary labor, and so hath
it been until this day--a struggle hard as the stones from which they
have been taken.

But as the years passed on, there were children born to Pyrrha and
Deukalion, and the old race of men still lived on the heights of
Phthia. From Helen their son, sprang the mighty tribes of the
Hellenes, and from Protogeneia, their daughter, was born Aethlios, the
man of toil and suffering, the father of Endymion, the fair, who
sleeps on the hill of Latmos.


Near the banks of the stream Kephisos, Erechtheus had built a city in
a rocky and thin-soiled land. He was the father of a free and brave
people, and though his city was small and humble, yet Zeus, by his
wisdom, foresaw that one day it would become the noblest of all cities
throughout the wide earth. And there was a strife between Poseidon,
the lord of the sea, and Athene, the virgin child of Zeus, to see by
whose name the city of Erechtheus should be called. So Zeus appointed
a day in which he would judge between them in presence of the great
gods who dwell on high Olympos.

When the day was come, the gods sat each on his golden throne, on the
banks of the stream Kephisos. High above all was the throne of Zeus,
the great father of gods and men, and by his side sat Here, the
Queen. This day even the sons of men might gaze upon them, for Zeus
had laid aside his lightnings, and all the gods had come down in peace
to listen to his judgment between Poseidon and Athene. There sat
Phœbus Apollo with his golden harp in his hand. His face glistened for
the brightness of his beauty, but there was no anger in his gleaming
eye, and idle by his side lay the unerring spear, with which he smites
all who deal falsely and speak lies. There, beside him, sat Artemis,
his sister, whose days were spent in chasing the beasts of the earth
and in sporting with the nymphs on the reedy banks of Eurotas. There,
by the side of Zeus, sat Hermes, ever bright and youthful, the
spokesman of the gods, with staff in hand, to do the will of the great
father. There sat Hephaistos, the lord of fire, and Hestia, who guards
the hearth. There, too, was Ares, who delights in war, and Dionysos,
who loves the banquet and the wine-cup, and Aphrodite, who rose from
the sea-foam, to fill the earth with laughter and woe.

Before them all stood the great rivals, awaiting the judgment of Zeus.
High in her left hand, Athene held the invincible spear, and on her
ægis, hidden from mortal sight, was the face on which no man may gaze
and live. Close beside her, proud in the greatness of his power,
Poseidon waited the issue of the contest. In his right hand gleamed
the trident, with which he shakes the earth and cleaves the waters of
the sea.

Then, from his golden seat, rose the spokesman, Hermes, and his clear
voice sounded over all the great council. "Listen," he said, "to the
will of Zeus, who judges now between Poseidon and Athene. The city of
Erechtheus shall bear the name of that god who shall bring forth out
of the earth the best gift for the sons of men. If Poseidon do this,
the city shall be called Poseidonia, but if Athene brings the higher
gift it shall be called Athens."

Then King Poseidon rose up in the greatness of his majesty, and with
his trident he smote the earth where he stood. Straightway the hill
was shaken to its depths, and the earth clave asunder, and forth from
the chasm leaped a horse, such as never shall be seen again for
strength and beauty. His body shone white all over as the driven snow,
his mane streamed proudly in the wind as he stamped on the ground and
scoured in very wantonness over hill and valley. "Behold my gift,"
said Poseidon, "and call the city after my name. Who shall give aught
better than the horse to the sons of men?"

But Athene looked steadfastly at the gods with her keen gray eye, and
she stooped slowly down to the ground, and planted in it a little
seed, which she held in her right hand. She spoke no word, but still
gazed calmly on that great council. Presently they saw springing from
the earth a little germ, which grew up and threw out its boughs and
leaves. Higher and higher it rose, with all its thick green foliage,
and put forth fruit on its clustering branches. "My gift is better, O
Zeus," she said, "than that of King Poseidon. The horse which he has
given shall bring war and strife and anguish to the children of men;
my olive-tree is the sign of peace and plenty, of health and strength,
and the pledge of happiness and freedom. Shall not, then, the city of
Erechtheus be called after my name?"

Then with one accord rose the voices of the gods in the air, as they
cried out, "The gift of Athene is the best which may be given to the
sons of men; it is the token that the city of Erechtheus shall be
greater in peace than in war, and nobler in its freedom than its
power. Let the city be called Athens."

Then Zeus, the mighty son of Kronos, bowed his head in sign of
judgment that the city should be called by the name of Athene. From
his head the immortal locks streamed down, and the earth trembled
beneath his feet as he rose from his golden throne to return to the
halls of Olympos. But still Athene stood gazing over the land which
was now her own; and she stretched out her spear towards the city of
Erechtheus, and said: "I have won the victory, and here shall be my
home. Here shall my children grow up in happiness and freedom, and
hither shall the sons of men come to learn of law and order. Here
shall they see what great things may be done by mortal hands when
aided by the gods who dwell on Olympos, and when the torch of freedom
has gone out at Athens, its light shall be handed on to other lands,
and men shall learn that my gift is still the best, and they shall say
that reverence for law and freedom of thought and deed has come to
them from the city of Erechtheus, which bears the name of Athene."


In the far western land, where the Hesperides guard the golden apples
which Gaia gave to the lady Here, dwelt the maiden Medusa, with her
sisters Stheino and Euryale, in their lonely and dismal home. Between
them and the land of living men flowed the gentle stream of ocean, so
that only the name of the Gorgon sisters was known to the sons of men,
and the heart of Medusa yearned in vain to see some face which might
look on her with love and pity, for on her lay the doom of death, but
her sisters could neither grow old nor die. For them there was nothing
fearful in the stillness of their gloomy home, as they sat with stern,
unpitying faces, gazing on the silent land beyond the ocean stream.
But Medusa wandered to and fro, longing to see something new in a home
to which no change ever came, and her heart pined for lack of those
things which gladden the souls of mortal men. For where she dwelt
there was neither day nor night. She never saw the bright children of
Helios driving his flocks to their pastures in the morning. She never
beheld the stars as they look out from the sky, when the sun sinks
down into his golden cup in the evening. There no clouds ever passed
across the heaven, no breeze ever whispered in the air, but a pale
yellow light brooded on the land everlastingly. So there rested on the
face of Medusa a sadness such as the children of men may never feel;
and the look of hopeless pain was the more terrible because of the
greatness of her beauty. She spake not to any of her awful grief, for
her sisters knew not of any such thing as gentleness and love, and
there was no comfort for her from the fearful Graiai who were her
kinsfolk. Sometimes she sought them out in their dark caves, for it
was something to see even the faint glimmer of the light of day which
reached the dwelling of the Graiai, but they spake not to her a word
of hope when she told them of her misery, and she wandered back to the
land which the light of Helios might never enter. Her brow was knit
with pain, but no tear wetted her cheek, for her grief was too great
for weeping.

But harder things yet were in store for Medusa, for Athene, the
daughter of Zeus, came from the Libyan land to the dwelling of the
Gorgon sisters, and she charged Medusa to go with her to the gardens
where the children of Hesperos guard the golden apples of the lady
Here. Then Medusa bowed herself down at the feet of Athene, and
besought her to have pity on her changeless sorrow, and she said,
"Child of Zeus, thou dwellest with thy happy kinsfolk, where Helios
gladdens all with his light and the Horai lead the glad dance when
Phœbus touches the strings of his golden harp. Here there is neither
night nor day, nor cloud or breeze or storm. Let me go forth from this
horrible land and look on the face of mortal men, for I, too, must
die, and my heart yearns for the love which my sisters scorn." Then
Athene looked on her sternly, and said, "What hast thou to do with
love? and what is the love of men for one who is of kin to the beings
who may not die? Tarry here till thy doom is accomplished, and then it
may be that Zeus will grant thee a place among those who dwell in his
glorious home." But Medusa said, "Lady, let me go forth now. I can not
tell how many ages may pass before I die, and thou knowest not the
yearning which fills the heart of mortal things for tenderness and
love." Then a look of anger came over the fair face of Athene, and she
said, "Trouble me not. Thy prayer is vain, and the sons of men would
shrink from thee, if thou couldst go among them, for hardly could they
look on the woeful sorrow of thy countenance." But Medusa answered,
gently, "Lady, hope has a wondrous power to kill the deepest grief,
and in the pure light of Helios my face may be as fair as thine."

    [Illustration: GRECIAN ALTAR. (_3000 years old._)]

Then the anger of Athene became fiercer still, and she said, "Dost
thou dare to vie with me? I stand by the side of Zeus, to do his
will, and the splendor of his glory rests upon me, and what art thou,
that thou shouldst speak to me such words as these? Therefore, hear
thy doom. Henceforth, if mortal man ever look upon thee, one glance of
thy face shall turn him to stone. Thy beauty shall still remain, but
it shall be to thee the blackness of death. The hair which streams in
golden tresses over thy fair shoulders shall be changed into hissing
snakes, which shall curl and cluster round thy neck. On thy
countenance shall be seen only fear and dread, that so all mortal
things which look on thee may die." So Athene departed from her, and
the blackness of the great horror rested on the face of Medusa, and
the hiss of the snakes was heard as they twined around her head and
their coils were wreathed about her neck. Yet the will of Athene was
not wholly accomplished, for the heart of Medusa was not changed by
the doom which gave to her face its deadly power, and she said,
"Daughter of Zeus, there is hope yet, for thou hast left me mortal
still, and, one day, I shall die."


From the home of Phœbus Apollo, at Delphi, came words of warning to
Akrisios, the King of Argos, when he sent to ask what should befall
him in the after days, and the warning was that he should be slain by
the son of his daughter, Danae. So the love of Akrisios was changed
towards his child, who was growing up fair as the flowers of spring,
in her father's house, and he shut her up in a dungeon, caring nothing
for her wretchedness. But the power of Zeus was greater than the power
of Akrisios, and Danae became the mother of Perseus, and they called
her child the Son of the Bright Morning, because Zeus had scattered
the darkness of her prison-house. Then Akrisios feared exceedingly,
and he spake the word that Danae and her child should die.

The first streak of day was spreading its faint light in the eastern
sky when they led Danae to the sea-shore, and put her in a chest, with
a loaf of bread and a flask of water. Her child slept in her arms, and
the rocking of the waves, as they bore the chest over the heaving sea,
made him slumber yet more sweetly, and the tears of Danae fell on him
as she thought of the days that were past and the death which she must
die in the dark waters. And she prayed to Zeus, and said, "O Zeus, who
hast given me my child, canst thou hear me still and save me from this
terrible doom?" Then a deep sleep came over Danae, and, as she slept
with the babe in her arms, the winds carried the chest at the bidding
of Poseidon, and cast it forth on the shore of the island of Seriphos.

Now it so chanced that Diktys, the brother of Polydektes, the King of
the Island, was casting a net into the sea, when he saw something
thrown up by the waves on the dry land, and he went hastily and took
Danae with her child out of the chest, and said, "Fear not, lady, no
harm shall happen to thee here, and they who have dealt hardly with
thee shall not come nigh to hurt thee in this land." So he led her to
the house of King Polydektes, who welcomed her to his home, and Danae
had rest after all her troubles.

    [Illustration: THEMIS (_Goddess of Law_).]

Thus the time went on, and the child Perseus grew up brave and strong,
and all who saw him marveled at his beauty. The light of early morning
is not more pure than was the color on his fair cheeks, and the golden
locks streamed brightly over his shoulders, like the rays of the sun
when they rest on the hills at midday. And Danae said, "My child, in
the land where thou wast born, they called thee the Son of the Bright
Morning. Keep thy faith, and deal justly with all men; so shalt thou
deserve the name which they gave thee." Thus Perseus grew up, hating
all things that were mean and wrong, and all who looked on him knew
that his hands were clean and his heart pure.

But there were evil days in store for Danae--for King Polydektes
sought to win her love against her will. Long time he besought her to
hearken to his prayer, but her heart was far away in the land of
Argos, where her child was born, and she said, "O King, my life is sad
and weary; what is there in me that thou shouldst seek my love? There
are maidens in thy kingdom fairer far than I; leave me, then, to take
care of my child while we dwell in a strange land." Then Polydektes
said, hastily, "Think not, lady, to escape me thus. If thou wilt not
hearken to my words, thy child shall not remain with thee, but I will
send him forth far away into the western land, that he may bring me
the head of the Gorgon Medusa."

So Danae sat weeping when Polydektes had left her, and when Perseus
came he asked her why she mourned and wept, and he said, "Tell me, my
mother, if the people of this land have done thee wrong, and I will
take a sword in my hand and smite them." Then Danae answered, "Many
toils await thee in time to come, but here thou canst do nothing. Only
be of good courage, and deal truly, and one day thou shalt be able to
save me from my enemies."

Still, as the months went on, Polydektes sought to gain the love of
Danae, until at last he began to hate her because she would not listen
to his prayer. And he spake the word, that Perseus must go forth to
slay Medusa, and that Danae must be shut up in a dungeon until the boy
should return from the land of the Graiai and the Gorgons.

So once more Danae lay within a prison, and the boy Perseus came to
bid her farewell before he set out on his weary journey. Then Danae
folded her arms around him, and looked sadly into his eyes, and said,
"My child, whatever a mortal man can do for his mother, that, I know,
thou wilt do for me, but I can not tell whither thy long toils shall
lead thee, save that the land of the Gorgons lies beyond the
slow-rolling stream of Ocean. Nor can I tell how thou canst do the
bidding of Polydektes, for Medusa alone of the Gorgon sisters may grow
old and die, and the deadly snakes will slay those who come near, and
one glance of her woeful eye can turn all mortal things to stone.
Once, they say, she was fair to look upon, but the lady Athene has
laid on her a dark doom, so that all who see the Gorgon's face must
die. It may be, Perseus, that the heart of Medusa is full rather of
grief than hatred, and that not of her own will the woeful glare of
her eye changes all mortal things into stone, and, if so it be, then
the deed which thou art charged to do shall set her free from a
hateful life, and bring to her some of those good things for which now
she yearns in vain. Go, then, my child, and prosper. Thou hast a great
warfare before thee, and though I know not how thou canst win the
victory, yet I know that true and fair dealing gives a wondrous might
to the children of men, and Zeus will strengthen the arm of those who
hate treachery and lies."

Then Perseus bade his mother take courage, and vowed a vow that he
would not trust in craft and falsehood, and he said, "I know not, my
mother, the dangers and the foes which await me, but be sure that I
will not meet them with any weapons which thou wouldst scorn. Only, as
the days and months roll on, think not that evil has befallen me, for
there is hope within me that I shall be able to do the bidding of
Polydektes and to bear thee hence to our Argive land." So Perseus went
forth with a good courage to seek out the Gorgon Medusa.


The east wind crested with a silvery foam the waves of the sea of
Helle, when Perseus went into the ship which was to bear him away from
Seriphos. The white sail was spread to the breeze, and the ship sped
gaily over the heaving waters. Soon the blue hills rose before them,
and as the sun sank down in the west, Perseus trod once more the
Argive land.

But there was no rest for him now in his ancient home. On and on,
through Argos and other lands, he must wander in search of the Gorgon,
with nothing but his strong heart and his stout arm to help him. Yet
for himself he feared not, and if his eyes filled with tears, it was
only because he thought of his mother, Danae; and he said within
himself, "O, my mother, I would that thou wert here. I see the towers
of the fair city where Akrisios still is King. I see the home which
thou longest to behold, and which now I may not enter, but one day I
shall bring thee hither in triumph, when I come to win back my

Brightly before his mind rose the vision of the time to come, as he
lay down to rest beneath the blue sky, but when his eyes were closed
in sleep, there stood before him a vision yet more glorious, for the
lady Athene was come from the home of Zeus, to aid the young hero as
he set forth on his weary labor. Her face gleamed with a beauty such
as is not given to the daughters of men. But Perseus feared not
because of her majesty, for the soft spell of sleep lay on him, and he
heard her words as she said, "I am come down from Olympos, where
dwells my father, Zeus, to help thee in thy mighty toil. Thou art
brave of heart and strong of hand, but thou knowest not the way which
thou shouldst go, and thou hast no weapons with which to slay the
Gorgon Medusa. Many things thou needest, but only against the freezing
stare of the Gorgon's face can I guard thee now. On her countenance
thou canst not look and live, and even when she is dead, one glance of
that fearful face will still turn all mortal things to stone. So, when
thou drawest nigh to slay her, thine eye must not rest upon her. Take
good heed, then, to thyself, for while they are awake the Gorgon
sisters dread no danger, for the snakes which curl around their heads
warn them of every peril. Only while they sleep canst thou approach
them, and the face of Medusa, in life or in death, thou must never
see. Take, then, this mirror, into which thou canst look, and when
thou beholdest her image there, then nerve thy heart and take thine
aim, and carry away with thee the head of the mortal maiden. Linger
not in thy flight, for her sisters will pursue after thee, and they
can neither grow old nor die."

So Athene departed from him, and early in the morning he saw by his
side the mirror which she had given to him, and he said, "Now I know
that my toil is not in vain, and the help of Athene is a pledge of yet
more aid in time to come." So he journeyed on with a good heart over
hill and dale, across rivers and forests, towards the setting of the
sun. Manfully he toiled on, till sleep weighed heavy on his eyes, and
he lay down to rest on a broad stone in the evening. Once more before
him stood a glorious form. A burnished helmet glistened on his head, a
golden staff was in his hand, and on his feet were the golden sandals,
which bore him through the air with a flight more swift than the
eagle's. And Perseus heard a voice which said, "I am Hermes, the
messenger of Zeus, and I come to arm thee against thine enemies. Take
this sword, which slays all mortal things on which it may fall, and go
on thy way with a cheerful heart. A weary road yet lies before thee,
and for many a long day must thou wander on before thou canst have
other help in thy mighty toil. Far away, towards the setting of the
sun, lies the Tartessian land, whence thou shalt see the white-crested
mountains where Atlas holds up the pillars of the heaven. There must
thou cross the dark waters, and then thou wilt find thyself in the
land of the Graiai, who are of kin to the Gorgon sisters, and thou
wilt see no more the glory of Helios, who gladdens the homes of living
men. Only a faint light from the far-off sun comes dimly to the
desolate land where, hidden in the gloomy cave, lurk the hapless
Graiai. These thou must seek out, and when thou hast found them, fear
them not. Over their worn and wrinkled faces stream tangled masses of
long gray hair, their voice comes hollow from their toothless gums,
and a single eye is passed from one to the other when they wish to
look forth from their dismal dwelling. Seek them out, for these alone
can tell thee what more remaineth yet for thee to do."

When Perseus woke in the morning, the sword of Hermes lay beside him,
and he rose up with great joy, and said, "The help of Zeus fails me
not; if more is needed will he not grant it to me?" So onward he went
to the Tartessian land, and thence across the dark sea towards the
country of the Graiai, till he saw the pillars of Atlas rise afar off
into the sky. Then, as he drew nigh to the hills which lay beneath
them, he came to a dark cave, and as he stooped to look into it, he
fancied that he saw the gray hair which streamed over the shoulders of
the Graiai. Long time he rested on the rocks without the cave, till he
knew by their heavy breathing that the sisters were asleep. Then he
crept in stealthily, and took the eye which lay beside them, and
waited till they should wake. At last, as the faint light from the
far-off sun, who shines on mortal men, reached the cave, he saw them
groping for the eye which he had taken, and presently, from their
toothless jaws, came a hollow voice, which said, "There is some one
near us who is sprung from the children of men, for of old time we
have known that one should come and leave us blind until we did his
bidding." Then Perseus came forth boldly and stood before them, and
said, "Daughters of Phorkos and of Keto, I know that ye are of kin to
the Gorgon sisters, and to these ye must now guide me. Think not to
escape my craft or guile, for in my hands is the sword of Hermes, and
it slays all living things on which it may fall." And they answered,
quickly, "Slay us not, child of man, for we will deal truly by thee,
and will tell thee of the things which must be done before thou canst
reach the dwelling of the Gorgon sisters. Go hence along the plain
which stretches before thee, then over hill and vale, and forest and
desert, till thou comest to the slow-rolling Ocean stream; there call
on the nymphs who dwell beneath the waters, and they shall rise at thy
bidding and tell thee many things which it is not given to us to

Onwards again he went, across the plain, and over hill and vale till
he came to the Ocean which flows lazily round the world of living men.
No ray of the pure sunshine pierced the murky air, but the pale yellow
light, which broods on the land of the Gorgons, showed to him the dark
stream, as he stood on the banks and summoned the nymphs to do his
bidding. Presently they stood before him, and greeted him by his name,
and they said, "O Perseus, thou art the first of living men whose feet
have trodden this desolate shore. Long time have we known that the
will of Zeus would bring thee hither to accomplish the doom of the
mortal Medusa. We know the things of which thou art in need, and
without us thy toil would in very truth be vain. Thou hast to come
near to beings who can see all around them, for the snakes which twist
about their heads are their eyes, and here is the helmet of Hades,
which will enable thee to draw nigh to them unseen. Thou hast the
sword which never falls in vain; but without this bag which we give
thee, thou canst not bear away the head, the sight of which changes
all mortal things to stone. And when thy work of death is done on the
mortal maiden, thou must fly from her sisters who can not die, and who
will follow thee more swiftly than eagles, and here are the sandals
which shall waft thee through the air more quickly than a dream.
Hasten, then, child of Danae, for we are ready to bear thee in our
hands across the Ocean stream."

So they bare Perseus to the Gorgon land, and he journeyed on in the
pale yellow light which rests upon it everlastingly.

On that night, in the darkness of their lonesome dwelling, Medusa
spake to her sisters of the doom which should one day be accomplished,
and she said, "Sisters, ye care little for the grief whose image on my
face turns all mortal things to stone. Ye who know not old age or
death, know not the awful weight of my agony, and can not feel the
signs of the change that is coming. But I know them. The snakes which
twine around my head warn me not in vain; but they warn me against
perils which I care not now to shun. The wrath of Athene, who crushed
the faint hopes which lingered in my heart, left me mortal still, and
I am weary with the woe of the ages that are past. O sisters, ye know
not what it is to pity, but something more, ye know what it is to
love, for even in this living tomb we have dwelt together in peace,
and peace is of kin to love. But hearken to me now. Mine eyes are
heavy with sleep, and my heart tells me that the doom is coming, for I
am but a mortal maiden, and I care not if the slumber which is
stealing on me be the sleep of those whose life is done. Sisters, my
lot is happier at the least than yours, for he who slays me is my
friend. I am weary of my woe, and it may be that better things await
me when I am dead."

But even as Medusa spake, the faces of Stheino and Euryale remained
unchanged, and it seemed as though for them the words of Medusa were
but an empty sound. Presently the Gorgon sisters were all asleep. The
deadly snakes lay still and quiet, and only the breath which hissed
from their mouths was heard throughout the cave.

Then Perseus drew nigh, with the helmet of Hades on his head, and the
sandals of the nymphs on his feet. In his right hand was the sword of
Hermes, and in his left the mirror of Athene. Long time he gazed on
the image of Medusa's face, which still showed the wreck of her
ancient beauty, and he said within himself, "Mortal maiden, well may
it be that more than mortal woe should give to thy countenance its
deadly power. The hour of thy doom is come, but death to thee must be
a boon." Then the sword of Hermes fell, and the great agony of Medusa
was ended. So Perseus cast a veil over the dead face, and bare it away
from the cave in the bag which the nymphs gave him on the banks of the
slow-rolling Ocean.


Terrible was the rage of the Gorgon sisters when they woke up from
their sleep and saw that the doom of Medusa had been accomplished. The
snakes hissed as they rose in knotted clusters round their heads, and
the Gorgons gnashed their teeth in fury, not for any love of the
mortal maiden whose woes were ended, but because a child of weak and
toiling men had dared to approach the daughters of Phorkos and Keto.
Swifter than the eagles they sped from their gloomy cave, but they
sought in vain to find Perseus, for the helmet of Hades was on his
head, and the sandals of the nymphs were bearing him through the air
like a dream. Onwards he went, not knowing whither he was borne, for
he saw but dimly through the pale yellow light which brooded on the
Gorgon land everlastingly; but presently he heard a groan as from one
in mortal pain, and before him he beheld a giant form, on whose head
rested the pillars of the heaven, and he heard a voice, which said,
"Hast thou slain the Gorgon Medusa, child of man, and art thou come to
rid me of my long woe? Look on me, for I am Atlas, who rose up with
the Titans against the power of Zeus, when Prometheus fought on his
side; and of old time have I known that for me is no hope of rest till
a mortal man should bring hither the Gorgon head which can turn all
living things to stone. For so was it shown to me from Zeus, when he
made me bow down beneath the weight of the brazen heaven. Yet, if thou
hast slain Medusa, Zeus hath been more merciful to me than to
Prometheus who was his friend, for he lies nailed on the rugged crags
of Caucasus, and only thy child in the third generation shall scare
away the vulture which gnaws his heart, and set the Titan free. But
hasten now, Perseus, and let me look on the Gorgon's face, for the
agony of my labor is well nigh greater than I can bear." So Perseus
hearkened to the words of Atlas, and he unveiled before him the dead
face of Medusa. Eagerly he gazed for a moment on the changeless
countenance, as though beneath the blackness of great horror he could
yet see the wreck of her ancient beauty and pitied her for her
hopeless woe. But in an instant the straining eyes were closed, the
heaving breast was still, the limbs which trembled with the weight of
heaven were still and cold, and it seemed to Perseus, as he rose again
into the pale yellow air, that the gray hairs which streamed from the
giant's head were like the snow which rests on the peaks of the great
mountain, and that in place of the trembling limbs he saw only the
rents and clefts on a rough hill-side.

Onward yet and higher he sped, he knew not whither, on the golden
sandals, till from the murky glare of the Gorgon land he passed into a
soft and tender light, in which all things wore the colors of a dream.
It was not the light of sun or moon, for in that land was neither day
nor night. No breeze wafted the light clouds of morning through the
sky, or stirred the leaves of the forest trees where the golden fruits
glistened the whole year round, but from beneath rose the echoes of
sweet music, as he glided gently down to the earth. Then he took the
helmet of Hades from off his head, and asked the people whom he met
the name of this happy land, and they said, "We dwell where the icy
breath of Boreas can not chill the air or wither our fruits, therefore
is our land called the garden of the Hyperboreans." There, for a
while, Perseus rested from his toil, and all day long he saw the
dances of happy maidens fair as Hebe and Harmonia, and he shared the
rich banquets at which the people of the land feasted with wreaths of
laurel twined around their head. There he rested in a deep peace, for
no sound of strife or war can ever break it, and they know nothing of
malice and hatred, of sickness or old age.

But presently Perseus remembered his mother, Danae, as she lay in her
prison-house, at Seriphos, and he left the garden of the Hyperboreans
to return to the world of toiling men, but the people of the land knew
only that it lay beyond the slow-rolling Ocean stream, and Perseus saw
not whither he went as he rose on his golden sandals into the soft and
dreamy air. Onwards he flew, until far beneath he beheld the Ocean
river, and once more he saw the light of Helios, as he drove his fiery
chariot through the heaven. Far away stretched the mighty Libyan
plain, and further yet, beyond the hills which shut it in, he saw the
waters of the dark sea, and the white line of foam, where the breakers
were dashed upon the shore. As he came nearer, he saw the huge rocks
which rose out of the heaving waters, and on one of them he beheld a
maiden, whose limbs were fastened with chains to a stone. The folds of
her white robe fluttered in the breeze, and her fair face was worn and
wasted with the heat by day and the cold by night. Then Perseus
hastened to her, and stood a long time before her, but she saw him
not, for the helmet of Hades was on his head, and he watched her there
till the tears started to his eyes for pity. Her hands were clasped
upon her breast, and only the moving of her lips showed the greatness
of her misery. Higher and higher rose the foaming waters, till at last
the maiden said, "O Zeus, is there none whom thou canst send to help
me?" Then Perseus took the helmet in his hand, and stood before her in
all his glorious beauty, and the maiden knew that she had nothing to
fear when he said, "Lady, I see that thou art in great sorrow; tell me
who it is that has wronged thee, and I will avenge thee mightily." And
she answered, "Stranger, whoever thou art, I will trust thee, for thy
face tells me that thou art not one of those who deal falsely. My name
is Andromeda, and my father, Kepheus, is King of the rich Libyan land,
but there is strife between him and the old man, Nereus, who dwells
with his daughters in the coral caves, beneath the sea, for, as I grew
up in my father's house, my mother made a vain boast of my beauty, and
said that among all the children of Nereus there was none so fair as
I." So Nereus rose from his coral caves, and went to the King
Poseidon, and said, "King of the broad sea, Kassiopeia, hath done a
grievous wrong to me and to my children. I pray thee let not her
people escape for her evil words.

Then Poseidon let loose the waters of the sea, and they rushed in over
the Libyan plains till only the hills which shut it in remained above
them, and a mighty monster came forth and devoured all the fruits of
the land. In grief and terror the people fell down before my father,
Kepheus, and he sent to the home of Ammon to ask what he should do for
the plague of waters and for the savage beast who vexed them; and soon
the answer came that he must chain up his daughter on a rock, till the
beast came and took her for his prey. So they fastened me here to this
desolate crag, and each day the monster comes nearer as the waters
rise; and soon, I think, they will place me within his reach." Then
Perseus cheered her with kindly words, and said, "Maiden, I am
Perseus, to whom Zeus has given the power to do great things. I hold
in my hand the sword of Hermes, which has slain the Gorgon Medusa,
and I am bearing to Polydektes, who rules in Seriphos, the head which
turns all who look on it into stone. Fear not, then, Andromeda. I will
do battle with the monster, and, when thy foes are vanquished, I will
sue for the boon of thy love." A soft blush as of great gladness came
over the pale cheek of Andromeda, as she answered, "O Perseus, why
should I hide from thee my joy? Thou hast come to me like the light of
the morning when it breaks on a woeful night." But, even as she spake,
the rage of the waves waxed greater, and the waters rose higher and
higher, lashing the rocks in their fury, and the hollow roar of the
monster was heard as he hastened to seize his prey. Presently by the
maiden's side he saw a glorious form with the flashing sword in his
hand, and he lashed the waters in fiercer anger. Then Perseus went
forth to meet him, and he held aloft the sword which Hermes gave to
him, and said, "Sword of Phœbus, let thy stroke be sure, for thou
smitest the enemy of the helpless." So the sword fell, and the blood
of the mighty beast reddened the waters of the green sea.

    [Illustration: EUTERPE (_Muse of Pleasure_).]

In gladness of heart Perseus led the maiden to the halls of Kepheus,
and said,