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Title: Greece - Painted by John Fulleylove; described by J.A. McClymont
Author: McClymont, J.A.
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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produced from images available at The Internet Archive)



                             THE HOLY LAND

                           MOSTLY IN COLOUR

                           PRICE =20s.= NET


                               IN COLOUR

                           PRICE =20s=. NET


                               IN COLOUR

                          PRICE =7s. 6d.= NET

                             PUBLISHED BY
                A. & C. BLACK, SOHO SQUARE, LONDON, W.


                  64 & 66 FIFTH AVENUE, NEW YORK

                  27 RICHMOND STREET WEST, TORONTO

                  309 BOW BAZAAR STREET, CALCUTTA


The pale golden light on the architraves within the Posticum is
reflected from the east side of the west front of the Temple. The
scarped rock to the right is the boundary of the precinct of Artemis
Brauronia. The drum of a column in the right-hand corner of the drawing
represents the southernmost column of the eastern portico of the
Propylæa. For obvious artistic reasons the whole column could not be
included in the drawing. The pedestal before the column is that of the
statue of Athene Hygieia by the sculptor Pyrrhos. Two or three paces in
front of it are the remains of a large free-standing altar.]

                    GREECE · PAINTED BY
                    JOHN FULLEYLOVE, R.I.
                    DESCRIBED BY THE REV.
                    J. A. M‘CLYMONT, M.A., D.D.
                    PUBLISHED BY A. AND C.
                    BLACK · LONDON ·MCMVI

                    [Illustration: colophon]

Author’s Note

Among the authorities consulted by the writer of the Text (who has had
the advantage of a recent visit to Greece) special acknowledgments are
due to Grote’s monumental _History of Greece_, and to J. G. Frazer’s
lucid and searching Commentary on _Pausanias’s Description of Greece_.

ABERDEEN, _April 1906_.



INTRODUCTORY                                                           1


THE IONIAN ISLANDS AND THE “ODYSSEY”                                   7


DELPHI AND ITS ORACLE                                                 18


OLYMPIA AND ITS GAMES                                                 34


ARCADIA AND ITS ABORIGINES                                            51


SPARTA AND ITS DISCIPLINE                                             71


ARGOLIS AND ITS ANTIQUITIES                                           94


CORINTH AND ITS CANAL                                                111


ATHENS AND ITS ACROPOLIS                                             124


ATHENS AND ITS GODDESS                                               146


ATHENS AND ELEUSIS                                                   167


ATHENS AND ITS DEMOCRACY                                             183


ATHENS--ITS DECAY AND ITS REVIVAL                                    206

INDEX                                                                229

List of Illustrations

1. The Parthenon from the Propylæa                         _Frontispiece_

                                                             FACING PAGE

2. The Acropolis from the Site of the Temple of Olympian Zeus          2

3. Corfu. The Old Fort from the West                                   8

4. Corfu. The Old Fort from the South                                 10

5. The Temple of Athena at Sunium                                     14

6. Sunset from the North-Eastern Corner of the Acropolis              16

7. Delphi from Itea                                                   20

8. Delphi. The Castalian Gorge and Spring                             24

9. Delphi. The Portico of the Athenians                               28

10. The Ancient Quarries on Mount Pentelikon                          32

11. Olympia. The base of the Kronos Hill with the remains
of the Temple of Hera and the Philippeion                             36

12. Olympia. The Palæstra and remains of the Temple of Zeus           40

13. The Temple of Hera at Olympia                                     44

14. The Bastion and Temple of Wingless Victory viewed
from the ascent to the Propylæa                                       48

15. Colossal Head of Despoina                                         52

16. The Temple of Apollo at Bassæ in Arcadia, with distant
view of Mount Ithome                                                  54

17. Site of Megalopolis in Arcadia                                    58

18. Megalopolis in Arcadia                                            62

19. Andritsæna. The resting-place for the Temple of Apollo
at Bassæ                                                              66

20. The Castle of Karytæna in Arcadia                                 70

21. Interior of the Temple of Apollo at Bassæ in Arcadia              72

22. The Laconian Gate of Messene                                      74

23. Kalamata on the Gulf of Messene                                   76

24. Mount Ithome from the Stadion of Messene                          80

25. Triple Bridge over the Mavrozoumenos River                        84

26. Sparta and Mount Taÿgetus                                         86

27. Mistra, near Sparta                                               90

28. Mistra and the Valley of the Eurotas                              92

29. Argos and Larissa                                                 96

30. The Acropolis of Mycenæ from South-West, with Mount Elias        100

31. Mycenæ, showing the site of the famous discoveries
of Schliemann                                                        104

32. Tiryns. The Gate of the Upper Castle                             106

33. Nauplia and Tiryns from the Road to Argos                        108

34. The Theatre of Epidaurus                                         110

35. The Temple at Corinth                                            114

36. The Temple of Athena at Sunium from the North                    118

37. Off Cape Matapan                                                 122

38. The Western End of the Acropolis seen from below the Pnyx        124

39. The Temple of Theseus from the South-West                        128

40. The Temple of Theseus from the North-West                        130

41. The Areopagus and the Theseum                                    132

42. The Battle-Field of Marathon from Mount Pentelikon               136

43. The Seaward End of the Plain of Attica looking towards Salamis   140

44. The Temple of Athena on the Island of Ægina                      144

45. Vista of the Northern Peristyle of the Parthenon looking
westward                                                             146

46. The Western Portico of the Parthenon from the South              148

47. The Acropolis and the Temple of Olympian Zeus from
the Hill Ardettos                                                    150

48. The Parthenon from the Northern End of the Eastern
Portico of the Propylæa                                              152

49. Mount Pentelikon and Lycabettos from the North-Eastern
Angle of the Parthenon                                               154

50. The Propylæa from the Northern Edge of the Platform
of the Parthenon                                                     156

51. The Southern side of the Erechtheum, with the foundations
of the earlier Temple of Athena Polias                               158

52. The Caryatid Portico of the Erechtheum from the West             160

53. The Northern Portico of the Erechtheum                           162

54. The Eastern Portico of the Erechtheum viewed from
the Northern Peristyle of the Parthenon                              164

55. The Dipylon at Athens                                            168

56. The Street of Tombs outside the Dipylon at Athens                172

57. Athens from the Road to Eleusis                                  174

58. Convent of Daphni                                                176

59. Sacred Way from Athens to Eleusis, looking towards Salamis       178

60. The Great Temple of the Mysteries, Eleusis                       180

61. The Hall of the Great Temple of the Mysteries, Eleusis           182

62. The Acropolis from the base of the Philopappus Hill              184

63. The lower part of the Auditorium of the Theatre of
Dionysos at Athens                                                   188

64. The Cavern Chapel on the South Side of the Acropolis             190

65. The Choragic Monument of Lysicrates                              194

66. The Pnyx; or Place of Assembly of the People                     198

67. The Acropolis with Kallirrhoè in the Foreground                  202

68. Athens.   The Monument of Agrippa and the Pinacotheca            206

69. The Tower of the Winds                                           208

70. The Portico of Athena Archegetis                                 210

71. The Stoa of Hadrian                                              212

72. The Arch of Hadrian                                              216

73. Columns of the Temple of Olympian Zeus from the North-West       220

74. The Square in front of the King’s Palace at Athens               222

75. The Stadion at Athens                                            226

_Sketch Map at end of Volume._

  _The Illustrations in this Volume have been engraved and printed in
            England by The Hentschel Colourtype, Limited._



More perhaps than any other country in Europe, Greece owes its charm to
the traditions of a remote past. It has no lack of fine scenery, and
there is much that is interesting in its modern life; but what chiefly
distinguishes it from other countries is the rich and beautiful
mythology which is reflected in its poetry, its art, and its philosophy,
and was to a large extent the inspiration of its glorious history.

It will not be expected that any attempt should be made in these pages
to give an adequate account of the artistic and architectural creations
which, even in their ruins, form the chief attraction of the country.
For detailed information on these matters, the reader must be left to
consult such guide-books as Baedeker and Murray, or works specially
devoted to archæology or art. The object of the present writer will be
attained if he succeed in providing a congenial intellectual atmosphere
for the scenes and objects to be presented by the artist. For this
purpose it will be necessary, among other things, to recall many of the
ancient legends, as well as the historical events associated with the
places referred to. The history cannot be understood apart from the
mythology, for the latter is a key to the religious faith as well as to
the patriotic sentiment of the nation.

Opinions may differ as to the right interpretation of many of the myths,
but whatever explanation we may be disposed to give of them, whether we
regard them as allegorical, semi-historical, or purely poetical, they
are generally full of human interest, and they were very dear to the
Greeks as the embodiment of their earliest thoughts and cherished
memories. Embalmed in their poetry, consecrated by their temples, and
signalised by many other monuments, the Greek mythology formed for
centuries the chief intellectual wealth of the nation. Even when history
and philosophy had begun to make their influence felt, the old stories,
dramatised by the tragic poets, still continued to fill the imagination
and to occupy the attention of all classes of the people. Though Plato
had a good deal to say against some of them from an ethical point of
view, he did not propose in his ideal Republic to do away with them
altogether, he only wished them to be so corrected and purified as to
promote the interests of a sound morality and a reasonable theology.

An important feature of Greek mythology was its close connection with
the received genealogies. These nearly always terminated, at the upper
end, in a god or a hero, after whom a family or a group of families was
named, with the curious result, to our modern


The two detached colossal columns belong to the west end of the southern
peristyle of the Temple. To the right is the Arch of Hadrian. The
striking form of the masses of rock, which constitute the natural
defence of the Acropolis on its eastern side, shows with great effect in
this drawing.]

mind, that the shorter the pedigree the more honour it conferred upon
its living representative. The public genealogies were thus an incentive
both to the piety and the pride of the more influential classes, and
they help to account for the reverence in which the ancient mythology
was so long held by such an enlightened nation as the Greeks.

With the exception of Palestine, there is probably no country that can
compare with Greece for the influence it has exerted on the life and
thought of the world, in proportion to its size and population. In area
it was never so large as Scotland, and its population, which is now
under two millions and a half, was probably never much greater.

How far the influence of ancient Greece was due to the racial
characteristics of its inhabitants, which they brought with them from
other parts of the world, and how far to the peculiarities of the
country itself, is a question which it is not easy to determine. To some
extent, no doubt, both causes operated. The inhabitants belonged to a
good stock, the Indo-Germanic, while their geographical position and
surroundings were well fitted to develop a high type of manhood. The
beauty of the scenery, the purity of the atmosphere, the geniality of
the climate, the fertility of the plains and valleys, the grandeur of
the mountains,--more numerous and widespread than in any other part of
Europe of similar extent except Montenegro,--the bracing influence of
the sea, and the commercial advantages afforded by its coasts, which are
more extensive than those of any other country in proportion to its
size, looking in the direction of Europe, Asia, and Africa--all these
things no doubt helped to make the ancient Greeks the great nation that
they were, though their comparative obscurity in modern times shows that
something more is needed to produce a similar effect.

If we would form an adequate conception of the nation’s influence, we
must take into account the numerous Greek colonies which were planted in
Asia Minor and on the southern shore of the Black Sea, on the coast of
Macedonia, along the Hellespont and Bosporus, and also in Sicily and
Italy, where a new Greek world sprang up, which received the name of
_Magna Græcia_. Hundreds of years before Athens reached the height of
its glory, there was a Greek city in Italy, Cumæ (founded by colonists
from Chalcis and Cymæ in Asia Minor), which held the first place in the
peninsula for wealth and civilisation; while another Greek settlement
was to be found as far west as Marseilles, which had been colonised from
Phocæa in Asia Minor about 600 B.C.

The inhabitants of Greece in this wider sense not only spoke the same
language (whose preservation was largely due to the influence of Homer),
but were also bound together by fellowship in blood, in religion, and in
manners. They were hardly more distinguishable from the rude and
ignorant tribes of Europe than from the more civilised Orientals who
practised human sacrifice, polygamy, and the mutilation of enemies. But
perhaps the most marked characteristic of the Greeks was their love of
local autonomy, and their rooted aversion to anything like imperial
rule, such as prevailed so widely in Asia. Their attachment to an
individual city, as the capital of a small district, was doubtless due
in great measure to the divided nature of the country, which is broken
up by mountains and rivers and arms of the sea into numberless plains
and valleys only a few miles in extent. While this had the effect of
fostering a spirit of independence, combined with a sense of civic
obligation, which helped to develop the energies and capacities of the
individual, the proximity to each other of so many rival states bred a
great amount of jealousy and strife, which frequently led to bloody and
destructive wars. Such disintegrating tendencies were too much even for
the consolidating force of a common language and literature, or of
voluntary confederations for the purpose of worship or amusement.
Occasionally a great national emergency, such as the Persian invasion,
might force the Greeks to join together for the resistance of a common
foe, but it was almost inevitable that sooner or later they should fall
into the hands of a great military power, such as Macedonia, and lose
the civic liberties of which they were so proud. The political decay of
Greece, however, only widened the scope of its influence. As the
dissolution of the Jewish polity was followed by the rapid spread of a
religion which had its roots in the Jewish Scriptures, so the national
degradation of the Greeks led to a still wider diffusion of their
language, their literature, and their civilisation.



The first place in Greece on which a traveller from the West usually
sets foot is Corfu, one of the Ionian Islands, which were given up by
Great Britain in 1864 to gratify the patriotic aspirations of the
Greeks. The sacrifice was not without its compensations, as it relieved
Britain from an annual outlay of £100,000, which had been the cost of

The principal Ionian Islands are five in number, namely, Corfu
(Corcyra), Santa Mauro (Leucas), Ithaca, Cephalonia (Cephallenia), and
Zanté (Zacynthus). They represent a territory of more than 1000 square
miles, with a population of about a quarter of a million, who are mainly
dependent on shipping and on the trade in oil, wine, and currants.

A romantic interest attaches to the promontory of Leucas, which
terminates in what is still known as Sappho’s Leap, in allusion to an
old tradition which tells how the famous poetess, who shares with Alcæus
the chief honours in Æolian lyric poetry, here put an end to her life to
escape from the pangs of unrequited affection. In Zacynthus we have an
illustration of the historical accuracy of Herodotus in the existence of
some curious springs on the south-west, from which the water comes out
mingled with pitch.

From an antiquarian point of view, however, still greater interest
attaches to Corcyra, Ithaca, and Cephallenia, as they have Homeric
associations which carry us back to a still earlier period.

Corfu or Corcyra, although not the largest, is the most populous of the
whole group. It is a beautiful island, with a beautiful situation,
looking out on the blue waters of the Southern Adriatic, with the snowy
mountains of Epirus in the distance. It has two commodious harbours, in
which the shipping of many nations may be seen. The streets of the city
are narrow and old-fashioned, but it has an interesting old fortress
with a handsome esplanade. Near the harbour is the former residence of
the British High Commissioner (an office once held by Mr. Gladstone),
with beautiful public gardens in front of it. The environs of the city
are charming, with orange-groves here and there glowing in the brilliant
sunshine, amid a profusion of roses, geraniums, and other blooms almost
growing wild, with miles on miles of olive-trees in the background.

From the earliest times the island was a place of importance to the
shipping world, as the ancients, in sailing, liked to keep near to land,
and generally put in to shore at night, unless they wished to take
advantage of some favourable breeze which did not


To the left the Albanian Mountains.]

rise till after sunset. In this way the island afforded convenient
shelter for those who were sailing from the Peloponnesus to Italy, and
facilitated Greek traffic with Epirus. It became the seat of a
Corinthian colony in 734 B.C., when Syracuse was also founded, but it
never showed much sympathy or affection for the mother-city. Indeed, the
first sea-battle we read of in authentic history took place between the
ships of Corinth and Corcyra (_c._ 665 B.C.), when the latter came off
victorious. Before the Peloponnesian war broke out there were great
complaints on the part of Corinth on account of due respect not being
shown to her representatives at the public festivals in the
daughter-city; and the subsequent action of the latter in putting
herself under the protection of Athens, when she became involved in
difficulties with Corinth and Epidamnus, was largely the cause of the
great war which proved so injurious to the prosperity and power of
Athens. In the course of its early history Corcyra was the scene of some
terrible conflicts and cruel slaughters, almost without a parallel in
any other part of Greece. Since that time it has passed through many
vicissitudes under Roman, Byzantine, Crusading, Venetian, French, and
British rule.

But the greatest interest of the place arises from the tradition which
identifies it with the Phæacian island _Scheria_, on which Odysseus was
cast after his stormy voyage from the island of Calypso. No remains have
been found of the palace of Alcinous, where Odysseus met with such
generous hospitality, but about two miles from the esplanade at
_Canone_ (One-Gun Battery), near the end of a promontory, we get a view
of the secluded bay or gulf (Lake of Kalikiopoulo) on which the weary
voyager is said to have been cast ashore, at the mouth of a brook
(Cressida), which falls into the lake, and where Nausicaa and her
maidens were amusing themselves after their great washing was over. At a
little distance from the shore lies the rocky islet of Ponticonisi
(“Mouse-Island”), which tradition identifies with the Phæacian ship that
was turned into stone by the wrath of Poseidon, as it was beginning its
homeward voyage to Ithaca with Odysseus on board.

All this local tradition, however, is rejected by a recent explorer, M.
Victor Bérard, who has taken enormous pains to investigate the matter.
He is convinced that the palace of Alcinous and the whole scene
described by Homer in connection with the visit of Odysseus lay on the
western side of the island, near the Convent of Palæocastrizza, and he
concludes from indications in the poem that the Phæacians had come from
the ancient city of Cumæ (Hypereia), driven out by the Œnotrians
(Cyclopes). But whatever view we may take on these points there can be
little doubt that Corfu, which lay as it were on the outskirts of the
ancient Greek world, and not far from Ithaca (to which Odysseus sailed
from it in a night), is the island which Homer had in view when he
described the home of the Phæacians.

Still more interesting, from a Homeric point of


view, is the small island of Ithaca (about 37 square miles in extent),
where the poet locates the home of his wandering hero and his wife
Penelope, the one the early Greek ideal of practical sagacity, as
Achilles is of martial impetuosity, and the other the model of conjugal
devotion, as Nausicaa is of maidenly grace. The identity of the island
has recently been called in question by an eminent archæologist
(Dörpfeld), who regards Leucas as the island referred to in the
_Odyssey_. But it would require strong evidence to overcome the
presumption in favour of the island which now bears the name of Ithaca,
and which corresponds to the poet’s description as well as we have any
right to expect, considering the want of maps and guide-books at the
time that he wrote. Perhaps its claim may yet receive fuller
confirmation as the result of excavations; but in the meantime it is
interesting to know that a terrace wall built of rough-hewn blocks has
been discovered on the west coast, in the neighbourhood of a port to
which the name Polis (City) is still applied, though there is no modern
town to justify the name.

In this connection some interest also attaches to Cephallenia, the
largest island of the group. There is a little village on its east
coast, called Samos, from which the boat sails to Ithaca, and as an
island called Samé is often mentioned in the _Odyssey_ in connection
with Ithaca, and the subjects of Odysseus are sometimes called
Cephallenians, we are evidently not far from the scenes depicted by the
great poet.

It would scarcely be possible to exaggerate the influence which the
Homeric poetry has exercised on the intellect and imagination of the
Greeks, and it is impossible for any one to enter into the spirit of
Greek history and literature without some acquaintance with it. Homer
has often been called the “Bible of the Greeks,” and there is truth in
the saying both from a religious and a literary point of view. Herodotus
was mistaken when he said that Homer and Hesiod had created the religion
of the Greeks, but they certainly did much to systematise it, and, by
giving Jupiter a place of supremacy among the gods, they paved the way
for the triumph of monotheism.

In course of time Homer came to be regarded by his countrymen as their
chief authority, not only on religious subjects but in almost all
matters of interest to a thoughtful and inquiring mind. The reading and
hearing of his poetry was the chief means of education. It was no
uncommon thing for a boy to be able to recite both the _Iliad_ and the
_Odyssey_ from memory. Classical writers speak of Homer in terms not
only of admiration but of reverence. Æschylus said that he had gathered
up the crumbs from Homer’s table; and Sophocles was so much in sympathy
with the _Odyssey_ that he was spoken of as “the tragic Homer.” There
was, therefore, nothing strange in the sentiment which led Alexander the
Great to carry about with him in his eastern campaigns a copy of Homer,
said to have been edited for him by his old tutor Aristotle, and kept in
a precious Persian casket. About a third of the recently discovered
Egyptian papyri are inscribed with passages from the _Iliad_ and the

While the oldest poetry of Greece, as of other countries, was probably
of a lyric character, called forth by the joys and sorrows of common
life or by the festive celebration of the seasons, the more stately
epic, dealing with grander themes, and chanted rather than sung, with
occasional accompaniment on the harp, found more favour with princes and
their nobles, and attracted the most gifted authors to its service, till
it reached the high stage of development which we find in the writings
of Homer. These poems may be described as the oldest literature in
existence, but they were doubtless the result of many previous efforts
of a more archaic character, traces of which may be found in the older
bards and legendary themes that are mentioned by Homer himself.

The _Iliad_ and _Odyssey_ show to what a high degree of civilisation and
culture the Hellenic race had attained not much later than 1000 B.C. In
the freeness of their spirit, combined with reverence for law, and in
their vivid portraiture of the different members of the Pantheon, seen
through the medium of a rich and sympathetic humanity, the poems present
a pleasing contrast to all other heathen pictures of things human and
divine. Their language is as admirable as the thought,--so rich and
flexible, entirely free from the crudities that might have been expected
in such primitive literature. Matthew Arnold sums up Homer’s
characteristics from a literary point of view, as rapidity, plainness
of thought, plainness of style, and nobleness. These qualities give the
poet as strong a hold on the sympathies of his readers as he assigns to
the minstrel in the _Odyssey_, when he makes Eumæus say of his old
master, now returned, but still in disguise: “Even as when a man gazes
on a minstrel whom the gods have taught to sing words of yearning joy to
mortals, and they have a ceaseless desire to hear him as long as he will
sing, even so he charmed me, sitting by me in the halls.”

The controversy which has been going on for more than a hundred years
regarding the authorship of the poems does not much affect their
interest for the general reader. Similar questions were raised more than
two thousand years ago. Even before Plato’s time there had been a
sifting process by which a number of hymns and minor poems formerly
attributed to Homer (as the whole book of Psalms used to be to David)
were found to be the work of unknown authors of a later date. A century
or two later there were Alexandrian critics who denied that the _Iliad_
and the _Odyssey_ could have come from the same author. But modern
critics have assailed the integrity of the two great poems themselves.
They have based their theories partly on the improbability of such long
poems being composed and transmitted before writing had come into
general use (an argument which has lost its force owing to recent
discoveries of early writing), and partly on the apparent repetitions,
interpolations, and discrepancies, which are supposed to have been


Distant view over the hills.]

due either to the accidents of compilation or to the need for adaptation
to suit the varying tastes of readers in different parts of the Greek
world. Perhaps the strongest proof of composite authorship is to be
found in the different stages of civilisation and religion which are
discernible in different parts of the poetry, and the marked
inconsistencies in certain of the leading characters. It is also very
significant that Mount Olympus, the dwelling of the gods, is at one time
the snow-clad mountain in the north which still bears that name, and in
other and later passages is a bright and gladsome region, free from rain
or snow or stormy wind. It is now generally agreed that the nucleus of
the _Iliad_ was a series of ancient lays concerning Achilles, derived
from Northern Greece, and moulded by Æolic art, while the remainder of
the poem and the bulk of the _Odyssey_ were of a considerably later
date, and came from an Ionic source. The poems as a whole were probably
touched up and put into their present form by some one living on the
coast of Asia Minor (perhaps at Smyrna, the meeting-place of Æolic and
Ionic traditions), who sang of the glories of a by-gone age with the
patriotic pride of a colonial. Whether his name was Homer is a different
question, for it is quite possible the word may have been, as some
maintain, a common term, meaning “compiler.” It is well to remember that
the “blind bard who dwelt in rocky Chios,” so often identified with
Homer since Thucydides set the example, is merely the description
applied to himself by the writer of the Hymn to the Delian Apollo, whom
no one now believes to have been the author of the _Iliad_ or the
_Odyssey_. We know that the Great Unknown, whoever he may have been, was
succeeded by the Homeridæ of Chios, and these again, by the Rhapsodes or
professional reciters, whom we come across in the pages of Plato and

Another subject of controversy has been as to whether the Homeric
narratives have a historic basis to rest upon. Some have gone so far as
to doubt whether the Trojan War ever took place; and it has been
suggested that many of the stories in the _Iliad_ are due to solar
myths. But the excavations of Schliemann at Ilium and Mycenæ have rather
discredited such scepticism; and the recent explorer already mentioned
(Bérard), who has sailed over the course which appears to have been
taken by Odysseus,--extending from Troy to Gibraltar,--has found the
topographical and maritime allusions so accurate as to come to the
conclusion that the poet must have had the benefit of some ancient book
of reference, corresponding to the _Pilot’s Guide_, and drawn up in all
probability by the Phœnicians, who were masters of the Mediterranean
before the Greeks. But while the main thread of the narrative in the
_Odyssey_ may be historical, the poet has worked into it many fanciful
legends, like those to be found in the literature of many nations.
Indeed the story of Odysseus’ adventures as a whole is perhaps no more
historical than the tale of Robinson Crusoe, created by Defoe out of the
experience of Alexander Selkirk on the island of Juan Fernandez.


To the left, a bit of the east front of the Parthenon; to the right, the
precipitous north side of the Acropolis; in the middle distance the
Erechtheum, showing all three of its porticoes; in shadow, between the
Parthenon and the Erechtheum, the upper part of the Propylæa].

No criticism, however, can alter the fact that we have in the _Odyssey_
some of the most charming pictures of social and domestic life that are
to be found in any literature, touched up with a colouring of the
strangest old-world romance, and deriving lustre from a religion which,
however defective from an ethical point of view, was wedded to an
imagination so rich and powerful as almost to efface in the mind of the
reader the distinction between the natural and the supernatural.



After entering the Gulf of Corinth the first port at which the steamers
touch is Patras, the largest city in the Peloponnesus, with about 40,000
inhabitants,--looking across to Missolonghi on the northern shore, where
Byron died and where his heart is buried. The only notable thing about
Patras in pre-Christian times was its inclusion in the Achæan League,
that last outburst of the Hellenic love of independence. In modern times
it has had the distinction to be the first city to raise the national
flag in the War of Liberation (1821). Its patron saint is St. Andrew,
who has a cathedral dedicated to him, with a crypt in which his bones
are said to have their resting-place. It is a prosperous and well-built
city, with a picturesque country behind it, rich in vines and olives,
and in front of it the inland sea which is the great highway of Greek
commerce. But its chief interest for the traveller is the fact that it
is the place at which arrangements can best be made for visiting Delphi
and Olympia, two of the most attractive spots in Greece.

Delphi is situated on the mainland. To reach it the traveller has to
sail across from Patras to Itea, a small port at the head of the famous
Crisæan Gulf. The drive from Itea to Delphi on a fine April day is one
of the finest in the world. For a few miles you hold northward along the
plain, passing through a long forest of olive trees, with gnarled and
twisted trunks, the fresh leaves glistening in the sun and changing
colour in the breeze, shafts of glowing light shooting through the
branches. In the distance rise hills on hills, crowned by the snowy
summit of Parnassus. But it is not till you leave the plain and turn to
the right, slowly ascending by a zigzag route to the village of Chryso,
the ancient Crisa, that you begin to realise the sublimity of the
surroundings. The solemn grandeur of the mountains is above you. Below
lies the fertile plain, which was dedicated to Apollo and became the
scene of the Pythian Games when they reached their full development. As
you look down, the olive wood presents a new appearance and seems to
wind, like a great river of oil, towards the sea, whose rock-bound
coast, in the opening made by the bay at which you landed, shows the
pink, white, and blue houses of Itea sparkling in the sun. The Gulf of
Corinth, of which you can only catch glimpses now and then, might pass
for a great lake, bordered by the hills of Achaia in the south, and
surmounted in the far distance by the glittering summits of Erymanthus
and Cyllene, which rise to a height of 7000 or 8000 feet. In the course
of the journey you may often come upon a mass of flowers, sometimes
covering the slope on the roadside, sometimes running into the field and
mingling with the ripe corn, which the rustics are reaping with the
old-fashioned hook. The most conspicuous and abundant of all the flowers
is the large scarlet poppy, which might be counted by the thousand, and
often spreads over a great extent of ground. After passing Crisa, almost
the only signs of life we saw on the way were flocks of black goats with
their tinkling bells, and a long string of heavy-laden camels, with
their young ones running by their side, moving along in solemn
procession from the east.

As we approached Delphi, the view presented sterner outlines and a wider
range, embracing the dales and gorges of the Pleistus valley, and the
rugged hills of Cirphis on the south, as well as the mighty range of
Parnassus, with its outlying spurs and precipices. Of these the most
remarkable and the most celebrated are the Phædriadæ or shining peaks,
overshadowing the ancient sanctuary of Apollo, which was for centuries
the religious centre of the Greek world, as the Vatican was to mediæval
Christendom. The world-wide influence exerted by the Delphian oracle is
one of the most interesting facts in all history. It was characteristic
of the Hellenic as compared with the Hebrew mind that the oracle should
hold such a prominent place in the national religion: for it was a
religion dominated by the imagination rather than the conscience. At the
same time it should not be forgotten that, until its decadence, the
oracle was more frequently consulted

[Illustration: DELPHI FROM ITEA

This drawing indicates in a general way the position of Delphi with
regard to the plain of Cirrha below and the snowclad summit of Parnassos
above. On the left is the opening of the gorge of the Pleistos. Just
above where it disappears from view, to the right, the new village
called Delphi is visible on the slope of the mountain in front of the
great precipices of the Castalian Gorge. Ancient Delphi lies out of
sight in the hollow immediately behind the new village, and between it
and the Castalian cliffs.]

for guidance in the practical affairs of life than merely to gratify
curiosity as to future events. The Delphian oracle originated, no doubt,
in the superstitious awe which the place inspired as the supposed centre
of the earth, possessed of mysterious cavities by which it was believed
possible to hold communication with the dead. In the earliest times it
was connected with the worship of the earth-goddess Gæa or Gē, who
sheltered the dead in her bosom. Later, the presiding deity was Themis,
the goddess of law and order in the natural world. But during the whole
historical period Apollo was the source of inspiration, the god of light
and the highest interpreter of the divine will. During the three winter
months Dionysus reigned, in the absence of Apollo.

The reverence in which the oracle was held, even in the most enlightened
times, was largely due to the wisdom and prudence of the priests--five
in number--who belonged to the noblest Delphian families and held office
for life. They were brought into contact with leading men who came to
consult the oracle from all parts of the Greek-speaking world,--men like
Lycurgus and Solon and Socrates and Xenophon and Alexander the
Great,--and they appear to have been on terms of intimacy with such
national poets as Hesiod and Pindar and Æschylus. Pindar’s iron chair
was carefully preserved in the sacred precincts, and the priest of
Apollo cried nightly as he closed the temple, “Let Pindar the poet go in
unto the supper of the gods.”

The priests put their own interpretations on the ecstatic utterances of
the prophetess, which she delivered in their hearing and in the presence
of the inquirer after she had drunk the holy water, chewed the
laurel-leaf, and mounted the tripod to inhale the narcotic vapour which
arose from the chasm beneath. These interpretations they embodied in
hexameter verses, generally disappointing from a poetical point of view,
considering the auspices under which they were delivered, and frequently
ambiguous in their terms, when it did not seem advisable for the oracle
to commit itself to a definite opinion. One of the best known and most
interesting cases of this sort was the answer given to Crœsus, King
of Sardis, when he was deliberating whether he ought to go to war with
Persia. Before inquiring on so important a point he resolved to test all
the chief oracles, six in number, by asking each of them through a
special messenger to say what he was doing on a specified day, on which
the question was to be put. The oracle that best stood the test was
Delphi, and Crœsus proceeded to ask advice on the momentous question
about which he was so anxious, bestowing on the temple of Apollo at the
same time magnificent gifts of solid gold and silver, and immense
offerings for sacrifice. The answer was that if he went to war with
Persia he would destroy a great empire, which he at once took in a
favourable sense. He was defeated, however, and Cyrus became master of
his city and kingdom, thus fulfilling the oracle in an unexpected sense.
He would have been put to death by his conqueror had it not been that
when he lay bound upon a funeral pile, which had been already kindled,
his exclamations led Cyrus to inquire what he was speaking of, and on
hearing of Solon’s warning as to the instability of human greatness,
which the fallen monarch had been calling to mind, Cyrus gave orders
that Crœsus should be at once released. The flames had taken such
hold of the wood, however, that he would still have perished if Apollo
had not heard his prayers and sent a heavy shower of rain, which
extinguished the fire. The disappointment of his hopes gave such a shock
to Crœsus’ faith that, by the leave of Cyrus, he sent to Delphi the
chains in which he had been bound to the pile, with a message asking if
that was the way in which Apollo treated his faithful votaries. In the
reply he was reminded that Apollo had saved his life, and was told that
he had not been careful enough in his interpretation of the oracle, and
that it had been impossible any longer to avert the doom which rested on
him as the fifth in descent from an ancestor who had incurred the divine
wrath by the murder of his master and the usurpation of his throne.

With one exception--the encouragement which it gave on certain rare
occasions to human sacrifice--the general influence of the oracle was
salutary, from a social and political as well as an ethical point of
view. On the walls of the temple were inscribed some of the sayings of
the wise men of Greece, such as “Know thyself,” “Nothing to excess.” The
oracle did much for the protection of rights where no legal sanction was
available. It checked blood-feuds, and gave its sanction to the
purification and pardon of those who had committed homicide under
extenuating circumstances. It could even dispense with ritual observance
altogether where there was no real guilt. For example, to a good man who
had slain his friend in defending him against robbers, and had fled to
the sanctuary in great distress of mind, its answer was: “Thou didst
slay thy friend striving to save his life; go hence, thou art purer than
thou wert before.” It confirmed the sanctity of oaths. Herodotus gives a
striking instance of its high standard of morality when, in answer to an
inquirer who asked whether by repudiating his oath he might claim a
large sum of money which had been deposited with him, the prophetess
declared that to tempt the god as he had done and to commit the crime
was the same thing, and that the divine judgment would descend on him
and on his house. For “there is a nameless son of Perjury, who has
neither hands nor feet; he pursues swiftly, until he seizes and destroys
the whole race and all the house.” It also rendered good service, as
many inscriptions show, in connection with the emancipation of slaves,
whose deposits it took care of, until a sufficient sum was available for
the purchase of their freedom from their masters, who were interdicted
from making any further claim upon their services. Besides the light and
leading which the oracle afforded to some of the early lawgivers of
Greece, and the wise counsels which it gave on questions of peace or
war, it was specially useful in advising cities on all projects of


The scarped vertical face of rock, which may be seen above the figure of
the shepherd, shows the recently excavated site of the Place for the
Lustration of Pilgrims, to which the water of the Castalian spring was
carried by an artificial channel in the rock. The masonry to the left of
the drawing is part of a modern reservoir.]

It seems to have been almost the invariable practice for Greeks to
consult the oracle before resolving to plant a colony, so much so that
Delphi is declared to have been “the best-informed agency for emigration
that any State has ever possessed.”

Its prestige declined owing to several causes. The priests were not
always proof against bribery; and when it became known at any time that
they had thus abused their office, it produced a deep feeling of
indignation and distrust. There are several well-attested cases of
corruption, chiefly on the part of Spartans. One of their kings,
Cleomenes, procured the deposition of his brother-king Demaratus by
bringing private influence to bear at Delphi. When the facts of the case
came to light, the prophetess was deposed from her office, and her chief
adviser at Delphi had to take to flight. Another Spartan king,
Pleistoanax, who had been exiled for accepting bribes from Pericles,
succeeded, after eighteen years’ residence in Arcadia (where, for
safety, half of his dwelling-house was within the enclosure of a
temple), in obtaining his recall to Sparta with great honour, owing to
the injunctions to this effect, which were repeatedly given by the
oracle as the result of bribes. Lysander, the great Spartan general,
after he was deprived of his command, concerted a scheme with the
authorities at Delphi for getting himself recognised as king through the
publication of fabricated records, alleged to be of great antiquity, and
only to be opened by a genuine son of Apollo. Such a pretender they
secured, but the scheme broke down owing to the timidity of one of the

Another drawback was that the growing power of rival states rendered it
increasingly difficult for the oracle to hold the balance with any
fairness between them, and at the same time maintain its old and
intimate relations with Sparta. Its dignity was also lowered when,
instead of being open for consultation for a month once a year, more
frequent opportunities were afforded and trivial questions entertained.
But perhaps the most serious difficulty they had to contend with was the
growing intercourse and correspondence of the different cities of
Greece, both with one another and with foreign cities, and the general
spread of knowledge, which tended to impair the reverence in which the
oracle had been held, and deprived its priests of the monopoly of
general information which they seem to have at one time virtually
enjoyed. By the time the Christian era began, the Greek oracles had been
practically superseded by the Chaldæan astrologers; and when Julian the
Apostate in the fourth century tried to revive the glory of Delphi, he
received the answer, “Tell the king the earth has fallen, the beautiful
mansion; no longer has Phœbus a home, nor a prophetic laurel, nor a
font that speaks: gone dry is the talking water.” It was finally
suppressed by the Emperor Theodosius towards the end of the fourth

Like the still older sanctuary of Dodona (where revelations were
supposed to be given through the rustling of a sacred oak), Delphi was,
alternately with Thermopylæ, the seat in historic times of an
Amphictyony or union of states, which existed for the worship of the
deity whose shrine they were pledged to defend, as well as for mutual
friendship and protection. Unfortunately the history of the oracle,
although a national institution, was marked at various times by deadly
strife among the different Hellenic tribes whose interests were
involved. At first the management of the oracle seems to have been in
the hands of the people of Crisa, who were Phocians, but after the
protracted war waged by the Amphictyony against the natives of Cirrha,
the adjacent sea-port, on account of the extortions they practised on
the pilgrims to the shrine and the outrages they sometimes perpetrated
on them, the trust was committed by the federation to the inhabitants of
Delphi, who were of Dorian extraction. Cirrha was laid waste, the whole
Crisæan plain was dedicated to Apollo, and the spoils of Cirrha were
used to establish the Pythian games on a more ambitious footing than had
been possible when they were held in the limited space available at

A second Sacred War, as it was called, broke out in 357 B.C., when the
Amphictyonic Council, after imposing a fine on the Phocians at the
instigation of their enemies the Thebans, which remained unpaid,
proceeded to confiscate their territory. The Phocians offered a long and
desperate resistance, asserting their old right to administer the
affairs of the sanctuary. In the course of the war their leaders had
recourse to the treasures of the temple again and again, melting and
coining the precious metals, and turning the brass and iron into arms.
Altogether they are said to have appropriated no less than £2,300,000,
which was required to keep up their large mercenary army.

The fabulous wealth of the place had often tempted the cupidity of
foreign foes, but on every occasion the god had been found able to
protect himself. When Xerxes sent a detachment of his huge army to
despoil the shrine, his soldiers were thrown into a panic and put
utterly to flight by great rocks tumbling down upon them from the cliffs
of Parnassus in the midst of a terrible thunderstorm. The rocks were
shown to Herodotus in the precincts of the temple of Athena,--perhaps
the same as are still to be seen in the low ground to the south of the
public road. A similar experience is said to have befallen the Gauls
under Brennus about two hundred years afterwards. At an intermediate
date (370 B.C.), when Jason of Pheræ, the powerful ruler of Thessaly,
set out for Delphi with, as it was believed, a hostile intent, under
colour of sacrificing to the god a thousand bulls and ten thousand
sheep, goats, and swine, he was suddenly cut off in the prime of life by
a treacherous band of assassins.

There was yet a third Sacred War, a few years afterwards. The objects of
Amphictyonic wrath on this occasion were not the Phocians but the
Locrians of Amphissa (now Salona), who had taken possession of Cirrha
and repeated the old offence of using part of the consecrated ground for
their own secular purposes.


The wall of polygonal masonry to the right is part of the _Heleniko_, or
terrace wall, of the Great Temple of Apollo. Three marble steps at the
back of the Athenian portico, with two Ionic columns in place, stand in
front of the wall. The “sacred way,” terminating at the east end of the
Great Temple above, passes in front of this portico, and the row of
marble seats along its farther side marks out its course. To the left of
the drawing is seen the mountain slope of Kirphis leading down to the
gorge of the river Pleistos.]

The sympathies of Greece were divided in this war, and the final outcome
of the struggle was that Philip of Macedonia, who had been called in to
finish the previous war, and had been admitted a member of the
Amphictyony in place of the dispossessed Phocian tribe, now became
master of Greece by reason of his victory over the combined forces of
Athens and Thebes at the fateful battle of Chæronea in 338 B.C.

Within the past few years French archæologists have done wonderful work
at Delphi. By the removal of the modern village of Castri, the
foundations of the temple and the remains of many of the surrounding
buildings and monuments have been brought to light. As you pass along
the “Sacred Way” you can identify many of the sites mentioned by
Pausanias, in the very order in which he describes them. In most places
the old pavement still remains, with grooves to keep the feet from
slipping. Some of the most precious relics have been removed to the
Museum, where there are also models of many of the most beautiful works
of art that have perished. Among the former is the famous _Omphalos_ or
“Navel-stone,” on which Apollo is often represented as sitting. It
marked the spot at which two eagles met, which had been sent out by
Jupiter from extreme east and west, of equal speed in flight, to
determine the exact centre of the earth. The marble stone which is now
shown, although apparently identical with that seen by Pausanias,--for
it was discovered on the same spot,--may be only an imitation of the
original, like another which has also been recently discovered; and the
golden eagles which stood beside the _Omphalos_ have also disappeared.
The chasm in the temple floor, from which the vapour ascended that was
supposed to inspire the prophetess, cannot now be found, having probably
been filled up somehow; but a little way off there is a rock with a rift
in it, on which the first Sibyl (mentioned by Plutarch) is supposed to
have sat and prophesied. The rift may have been the lurking-place of the
dragon which Apollo shot with his darts, when he came from Delos, the
land of his birth, to inaugurate the ministry of the Cretan travellers,
whom he had enlisted in the service of his new sanctuary. According to
the legend the skin of the dragon was left to rot, giving rise to the
ancient name Pytho, by which Delphi was known in the days of Homer. In
the hymn to the Delphian Apollo the scene of the combat is laid in the
gorge of the Phædriadæ, but the other conjecture is supported by the
proximity to the Sibyl’s rock of an enclosure like a threshing-floor,
which is supposed to be the place where the drama was enacted every
fourth year.

A little way above the temple is an open-air theatre--one of the best
preserved in Greece. It is in the usual horse-shoe form, with its
sloping back, enclosing the sitting accommodation for the spectators,
resting on a rising ground. The stadium is still higher, right under the
cliffs of Parnassus on the north, and shut in by rising grounds on
either side, but commanding a magnificent view to the south over valley
and mountain. It was the ancient scene of the Pythian games, and is
still recognisable as such in almost every feature. Apollo was regarded
as the leader of the Muses, and the Pythian festival was originally a
musical, not an athletic contest. The prize of laurel wreath was given
for the best song in honour of Apollo to the accompaniment of the lyre.
At the conclusion of the first Sacred War, nearly 600 B.C., the chariot
races (which are deprecated in the Homeric hymn) were inaugurated in the
plain beneath. But the higher form of competition still continued,
including even poetry and painting--a distinction of which no other
pagan cult can boast. Deeply interesting as the ruins are from an
archæological point of view, they bring home a sense of the
transitoriness of early glory when one thinks how little remains of the
thousand statues and trophies and votive offerings which once filled the
spot with “the glory that was Greece.” Time has robbed it of the
treasures of art which were to be seen in the days of Pliny, even after
the ravages of Sulla and of Nero. Happily, one of the most interesting
and beautiful of all the monuments has just been restored, namely the
Treasury of the Athenians, which was built of Parian marble in the form
of a small Doric temple, from the spoils taken on the field of Marathon.
It seems to have been overthrown by an earthquake, but almost all the
blocks of which it was constructed have been discovered among the ruins,
and have been fitted together with such skill and success as to
reproduce the old inscriptions engraved upon the walls, including
several hymns to Apollo, with their musical notation. The expense of
the restoration has been mainly borne by the city of Athens.

A few hundred yards to the east is the Castalian spring, in the cleft
between the lofty Phædriadæ. At one time it was believed to confer the
gift of prophecy on those who drank of it; but its rock-hewn basin is
now used by the village women for washing clothes. In ancient times its
water was used for sacred purposes by the prophetess and her attendants
and all who came to consult the oracle. That the purification sought was
not merely that of the body may be inferred from a prophetic utterance
which has been rendered as follows:--

    To the pure precincts of Apollo’s portal,
    Come, pure in heart, and touch the lustral wave:
    One drop sufficeth for the sinless mortal;
    All else e’en ocean’s billows cannot lave.

If the traveller pursue his journey a few hours farther to the east,
passing the picturesque little town of Arachova, about 2000 feet above
the sea, he will reach the ancient Cleft or Triple Way, in a scene of
desolate grandeur at the end of a long, deep, narrow valley. It was
there that Œdipus, seeking to escape the destiny which had just been
announced to him by the oracle, and unaware of his true parentage, met
his father Laius, King of Thebes, on his way to Delphi, and in a fit of
anger at the unceremonious way in which he was jostled aside by the
royal charioteer, slew the aged king and all his attendants save one,--a
crime which was the beginning of those many sorrows in his


Of extraordinary interest as the material source of the finest
architecture and sculpture of Ancient Greece.]

family history which were to be the theme of some of the greatest of the
Greek tragedies. Pausanias mentions that the tomb of the murdered men,
with unhewn stones heaped upon it, was to be seen at the middle of the
place where the three roads met: the modern traveller finds a monument
with an inscription which tells how Johannes Megas was killed on the
same spot in 1856, in an encounter with a band of brigands, which he was
seeking to extirpate.



Olympia has been described by an ancient writer as the fairest spot in
Greece. In so describing it, he must have had in view not only the
natural scenery but also the beautiful buildings and statuary with which
it was so richly adorned as the time-honoured seat of the Olympian
games. The scenery is pleasing without being grand, presenting in this
respect a striking contrast to the stern majesty of Delphi. It may be
described as a peaceful and fertile plain, traversed by the river
Alpheus, whose waters Heracles is said to have diverted from their
course to cleanse the Augean stables. On either side, and also at its
western end, the plain is shut in by hills, while far away to the east
the mountains of Arcadia, where the Alpheus has its rise, can be dimly
seen. In the immediate foreground, standing by itself, as if detached
from the low range behind, there is a small conical hill, about 400 feet
high, covered with pines and brushwood, and bearing a name (Cronius)
which calls to mind the primeval deity who was dethroned by his son
Zeus, the presiding god of Olympia. Close to this hill, on the south,
lies the Altis or sacred enclosure, originally a consecrated grove,
which, in course of time, was overspread with altars and temples and
other public buildings.

Thirty years ago there was scarcely any trace of this ancient glory to
be seen. But within the last generation a great work of excavation and
discovery has been carried on by German archæologists, at an expense of
£40,000, generously defrayed by the German Government, on the
understanding that all objects of interest brought to light should be
allowed to remain in Greece. One can form some idea of the labour
involved in the undertaking from the fact that the average depth of the
_débris_, composed of the clay washed down from the Cronius hill and the
alluvial deposits of the river Cladeus (which joins the Alpheus close to
the Altis on the west), was fully sixteen feet.

Although associated, more than any other spot in Greece, with the
worship of the “father of gods and men,” Olympia seems originally to
have been devoted to the honour of his consort Hera, or possibly of
both. The oldest architectural remains within the enclosure are those of
a temple of Hera, to which Pausanias assigned an earlier date than we
can give to any other sacred ruin in Greece, namely, about 1096 B.C. Its
great antiquity is proved by the resemblance which it bears in some
respects to the architecture of Mycenæ, and also by the fact that the
existing columns (of which thirty-four out of the original forty have
been more or less preserved) were evidently preceded by columns of
wood, one of which, made of oak, was still standing when Pausanias
visited the place in the second century A.D. Wood seems to have been the
material in which the Doric architecture was originally executed; and in
this instance it was only as the wood of each column decayed that it was
replaced with stone, the natural result being that the columns differ
greatly from one another in thickness and style and the nature of their
stone. Some of them must have been substituted for the wooden ones as
early as the seventh century B.C., for their capitals are among the
oldest specimens of Doric architecture that are anywhere to be found.
Pausanias tells us that this temple contained rude images of both Zeus
and Hera; and not far from the spot a head has been discovered, twice as
large as life, which is supposed with great probability to belong to the
latter. It is believed to date from the seventh or sixth century B.C.,
and is made of the same soft stone as the base still remaining, which
could not have lasted so long unless it had been under cover. The eyes
are large, the head is crowned, and the face wears a look of
complacency, without much dignity or refinement. Hera seems to have had
much the same prominence in Olympia as she had in Argolis, where the
family of Pelops was also in the ascendant.

It was only gradually that Zeus obtained general recognition as the
chief deity in the court of Olympus, becoming the centre of the
Pan-Hellenic religion reflected in Homer, which was as powerful a bond
of union among the ancient Greeks as Christianity has


At the foot of the hill, the columns of the north, south, and west sides
of the Heræon still _in situ_ are clearly shown, and also the cella wall
on the west and south. The remains of the Philippeion, a circular
building erected by Philip II. of Macedon (_circ._ 336 B.C.), are in the
foreground, to the west of the Heræon. The base of one of the Ionic
columns is in its place, and the marble steps which supported the
colonnade are connected by a slab of marble with the circular
sub-structure of the central mass of the building.]

proved to be in modern times in preserving the Greek nationality under
the Turkish Empire. The supremacy which was given to Zeus in theory in
other parts of the country was visibly realised at Olympia, where the
chief sanctuary was a temple dedicated to his worship, more than 200
feet long and about 90 feet wide, surrounded by 134 columns, each of
them about 34 feet high, dating probably from the fifth century B.C. It
was a magnificent edifice, as we may still judge from the appearance of
the columns and the decorations of the pediments and the
frieze--although built of native conglomerate. On the east pediment of
the gable there were twenty-one colossal and imposing figures,
representing those interested in the chariot-race from Pisa to the
isthmus of Corinth, by which Pelops gained the kingdom and the hand of
the king’s daughter; while on the west there was a representation, in a
similar style, of the legendary battle of the Lapiths and the Centaurs.
On the metopes of the frieze the Twelve Labours of Heracles were
depicted, and along the sides of the roof gargoyles projected in the
form of lions’ mouths. Many of these figures have been recovered, mostly
in fragments, and are exhibited in the local museum. In the same place
there is an exquisite statue of Hermes by Praxiteles, which was found
under a covering of clay in front of the very pedestal in the temple of
Hera where Pausanias mentions that he had seen it standing, and also a
Niké of Pæonius, representing the goddess of Victory flying through the
air to execute the behest of Zeus.

But the crowning glory of Olympia, the masterpiece of Pheidias and of
Greek art, is gone beyond recall. It was a colossal image of Jupiter,
made of gold and ivory and ebony, about 40 feet high, and standing on a
pedestal of bluish-black stone in the innermost part of the temple.
Cicero expressed his admiration of it by saying that Pheidias had
designed it not after a living model but after that ideal beauty which
he saw with the inward eye alone. Dīo Chrysostom bore still more
impressive testimony to its entrancing beauty when he said: “Methinks
that if one who is heavy-laden in mind, who has drained the cup of
misfortune and sorrow in life, and whom sweet sleep visits no more, were
to stand before this image, he would forget all the griefs and troubles
that are incident to the life of man.” It is uncertain whether the image
perished in the fire which destroyed the temple in the beginning of the
fifth century A.D., or was carried to Constantinople and consumed in a
conflagration which took place there in 475 A.D.

Near the centre of the Altis has been found the foundation of the great
altar of Zeus (which was made of ashes and rose to a height of 22 feet),
and not far off an ancient altar of Hera, where an immense quantity of
small bronzes and terra-cotta figures has been found. In the same
neighbourhood has been traced the _Pelopium_, a precinct sacred to the
memory of Pelops, where he was worshipped as a hero with a ritual of a
sad and gloomy nature, directed to a pit as an emblem of the grave, and
more akin to the primitive worship of the Chthonian or infernal gods
than to that of the deities who were enthroned on lofty Olympus.

The fame of Olympia may be said to have rested even more on its games
than on its religious associations, though the secular and sacred were
so bound up with one another, in ancient Greece, that it is scarcely
possible to form a true conception of the one without the other. The
Olympian games held the foremost place among those competitive
exhibitions, which were so illustrative of the spirit of emulation
characteristic of the Greeks, as well as of their ideal of a harmonious
development of body and soul. There were three other foundations of the
same kind: the Pythian, in honour of Apollo, likewise held every four
years; the Nemean (under the care of Argos), every second year, in
honour of Zeus; and the Isthmian (under Corinth), also held every second
year, in honour of Poseidon. The prizes were respectively a wreath of
bay, of pine, and of parsley, a palm-branch being also placed in the
hand of the victor. The prize at Olympia was a wreath of olive, cut with
a golden sickle by a boy, both of whose parents had to be alive--as
among the Gauls the priest had to cut the sacred mistletoe with the same
precious metal. At the three other places just mentioned the games dated
practically from the first quarter of the sixth century B.C. But the
register of victors in the Olympian games went back to 776 B.C., which
is the first definite and reliable date (called the First Olympiad) in
Greek chronology.

The origin of all these gatherings may probably be traced to the
funeral games mentioned in Homer and Hesiod, which were celebrated by a
chief in honour of a departed friend or relative. According to one
account the Olympian games were instituted by Heracles in honour of
Pelops, grandfather of Agamemnon and brother of the ill-fated Niobe, who
had come to Pisa from the Lydian kingdom of his father Tantalus--that
presumptuous guest at the table of the gods whose name is immortalised
for us in the English word which describes the nature of his penal
sufferings. The traditional connection of Olympia with Asia Minor is
borne out by the resemblance of the bronzes above mentioned to early
Phrygian art, as well as by other circumstances; and there is no reason
to doubt that Olympia was at one time in the hands of the Achæans.

The Dorian invasion of the Peloponnesus about 1100 B.C., eighty years
after the fall of Troy, marked a new era in the history of Olympia. The
Heracleids (whose shipbuilding for the voyage across the narrow straits
of the Gulf is still commemorated in the name of the port _Naupactus_,
on the northern side of the Gulf) are said to have rewarded the Ætolian
exile Oxylus, who acted as their guide (answering to the oracular
description of “a man with three eyes,” whom they were to find--being
one-eyed and riding on a horse with two eyes), by confirming him in the
possession of Elis, which in older times was known as Epeia, and is so
referred to by Homer. For a long time the Eleans and the Pisatans seem
to have superintended the games


This view is taken from the western side of the Palæstra, and the
standing columns in the foreground are part of the southern colonnade of
that building. The platform (Krepidoma) of the great Temple (which was
raised upon a mound and occupied the highest point of the _Altis_ or
sacred enclosure) is in the centre of the drawing. Many of the colossal
drums and other architectural members of the Temple lie scattered about
on the platform. Across the valley of the Alpheios are seen the Phellon
Mountains, topped by splendid masses of cloud. This drawing is a record
of a lovely spring day in the Western Peloponnesus.]

jointly, with the support of the Dorian settlement at Sparta, whose
great lawgiver, Lycurgus, was said to have put the institution on a new
footing in concert with Iphitus, the king of Pisatis, the names of both
being inscribed on a famous quoit of which Aristotle speaks. Pausanias
tells us that the towns of Elis and Pisatis appointed sixteen
women--eight from each state--to weave the festal robe (_peplos_) for
the image of the Olympian Hera. The Pisatans, however, were afterwards
displaced, and in 570 B.C. their city was destroyed, and Elis obtained
the whole right of administration.

The first historic game was a foot-race, and it was only by degrees that
other contests were at various times added. The _pentathlon_, during
which the Pythian air was played on the flutes in honour of Apollo,
consisted of running, jumping, throwing the disc or quoit, throwing the
javelin, and wrestling. Finally came chariot-racing (in a hippodrome
adjoining the Altis), which, though necessarily confined to men of
wealth, added much to the spectacular attractions of the games.

The competitors had to strip naked for the athletic contests, this being
a characteristic feature of the Greek games, obligatory on all without
distinction of rank. There were games for boys as well as for men, and
the celebrations, which at first were confined to a single day, extended
ultimately to five days. The women had a festival of their own, with
games for girls; but at the ordinary games married women were not
allowed to be present. At the same time there was very little
coarseness or cruelty about them, compared with a Roman gladiatorial
exhibition or a Spanish bull-fight--except in the _pancratium_, a
combination of wrestling and boxing, in which the combatants were
allowed to get the better of one another by any means in their power,
provided they did not make use of any weapon, which was forbidden in all
the contests. The conflict was sometimes attended with a fatal result.
Pausanias mentions a case of this kind in which a dead man was
proclaimed victor, and crowned with the olive wreath.

The stadium or race-course can be distinctly traced north-east of the
Altis. The two parallel grooves in the stone pavement at the
starting-point, the one a few inches in front of the other, were
evidently intended to give the runner a secure footing. The course was
600 feet long, which became a recognised measure of distance, as the
English furlong was derived from the length of a furrow. But the double
race was soon introduced, which accounts for there being similar grooves
at the other end, where the seats for the judges were, as the start
would then have to be made from that end. In the same place you can also
trace the sockets, about four feet apart, in which were fixed the wooden
posts that marked off the space for each of the runners, who could be
accommodated to the number of twenty.

There is a vaulted entrance to the stadium about a hundred feet high
(one of the oldest examples of such work in cut stone, 350-300 B.C.),
through which none could pass but the judges and heralds, and the
competitors, who must have gone through ten months’ training, and were
lodged during the games at the public expense. Close to this entrance
are still to be seen a large number of pedestals, on which stood at one
time certain brazen images, well fitted to warn competitors against any
infringement of the rules. They were called Zanēs in honour of Zeus, and
they had all been placed there at the expense of persons who had been
convicted of some violation of the rules. Giving or receiving bribes was
the most common offence at Olympia, as it was indeed with the Greeks
generally, even in the more serious game of politics. But there were
others of a different nature. For example, Pausanias tells of a man of
Alexandria who had come too late for the boxing match, and, finding that
another had been adjudged the prize without a contest and was already
wearing the olive wreath, put on the gloves as though for a fight and
rushed at the victor, for which he was sentenced to pay a fine. In
contrast to the penal erection of a statue to Zeus, the winner of a
prize was allowed to put up a statue in commemoration of his victory,
and the third time he thus distinguished himself he was at liberty to
erect an image of himself. In this way Olympia became in course of time
a great school of art as well as a gymnastic arena. In Homer there is no
mention of statues of the gods, not even of wood, and the development of
art in this line during the seventh and sixth centuries was very

Xerxes or one of his princes is said to have expressed his astonishment
that the Greeks should contend so earnestly for the sake of an olive
wreath. But in reality the wreath was only an emblem of the honour
conferred upon the victor. In the days of Solon, before the games had
reached the height of their popularity, a grant of 500 drachms was made
to an Athenian when he was successful at Olympia, and 100 drachms if he
carried off a prize at the Isthmian games. The reward offered by the
Spartans to any of their sons who thus distinguished themselves was the
privilege of fighting near their king. Success in the competitions was
attended with many other advantages. The victor in the foot-race gave
his name to the Olympiad which was then beginning; the name, parentage,
and country of every successful competitor was publicly proclaimed
before the whole assembly, which comprised deputies from the most
important cities of Greece, frequently very distinguished men, who had
been sent not only to do honour to Zeus but also to maintain the dignity
of the community which they represented. For example, Alcibiades headed
the deputation which Athens sent, after an interval of twelve years,
during the Peloponnesian war. On that occasion there was a remarkable
display of Athenian wealth and magnificence in connection with the
public processions and sacrifices. Alcibiades himself entered as a
competitor with seven chariots--each drawn by four horses--one of which
gained a first prize and another a second. He gave a splendid banquet to
signalise his triumph; and such was the impression made on the assembled
visitors by what they had seen of Athenian greatness that Alcibiades


A portion of the west front of the Temple, which stood upon a platform
with two steps, is shown. Two columns on the east side and six on the
north are seen _in situ_. These columns vary in size to a surprising
extent. One of the enormous capitals, tilted up and standing upon the
head of its abacus, should be noticed, behind the tall column in the
centre of the drawing. The hill at the back of the Temple is the one to
the west of the river Kladeos. In this Temple, said to be the most
ancient in Greece, was found the Hermes of Praxiteles, the only extant
work of sculpture of the finest period known to be from the chisel of a
great master.]

claimed, some years afterwards, to have done much on this occasion to
restore the prestige of the city. A man in the position of Alcibiades
could afford to give a banquet to celebrate his victory. But, in
general, the feasts and processions were provided for the winners by
their friends and admirers, and, on returning home, they received a
great ovation and frequently had substantial benefits conferred upon
them. We have an illustration of the interest taken in the contests even
by distant colonies in the fact that when (408 B.C.) a native of
Agrigentum in Sicily came off victorious, he was met, when he returned
home, by three hundred of his richest countrymen, each driving a chariot
drawn by two milk-white steeds. Sometimes a poem was written to
commemorate victory, and the odes of Pindar, written for this purpose,
have proved more imperishable than brass.[1]

From a physical point of view there can be no doubt that the games at
Olympia and elsewhere had a salutary influence on the nation, and helped
to develop that aptitude for military life which enabled them to repel
the Persian invaders and to distinguish themselves so often in the field
of war. But higher interests were also promoted. Although no prizes were
offered for intellectual distinction, the opportunity was often afforded
for the publication of literary works. Herodotus is said to have read
aloud his history at Olympia, and to have thereby stirred the ambition
of Thucydides. Dramatic performances were also sometimes given. It was
the great ambition of Dionysius, the Tyrant of Syracuse, who had risen
from a comparatively humble position to be the greatest potentate in the
Grecian world, to distinguish himself as a dramatic poet. With this view
he once sent to Olympia, along with a splendid embassy, a fully equipped
company of the best actors of the day, to represent some plays which he
had written. They met with a very bad reception, which was no doubt
partly owing to the personal unpopularity of their author; and it is
said that when Dionysius heard that his verses had been laughed at, and
that his representatives had been treated with contumely, he was so
chagrined that he almost went out of his mind. A still worse effect was
produced on him, however, some time afterwards by his success at the
Lenæan festival in Athens, for the rejoicing and conviviality to which
he abandoned himself when he heard that he had gained the first prize
were largely the cause of his death.

Literature was not the only interest which was promoted side by side
with gymnastic accomplishments. Such a gathering of Greeks from all
parts of the world could not fail to have an educative influence from
many points of view. Intellectually it afforded the most cultured men an
opportunity for discussing subjects of common interest and for an
exchange of views, while politically it tended to counteract the
tendency to isolation on the part of the several states, and to foster
unity of sentiment among the members of the great Hellenic race from
Trebizond to Marseilles, and from Amphipolis to Cyrene. Occasionally
great orations were heard at critical periods in the history of the
nation, as when Lysias and Isocrates strove to rouse their countrymen to
a sense of the dangers impending over them from the tyranny of Persia on
the east and that of Syracuse on the west. Even commerce shared in the
benefit, for it was a meeting-place of merchants from far and near. As
already indicated, the games had also a religious aspect. Many
sacrifices were offered during the celebrations, and solemn oaths were
taken. Near the entrance to the stadium there was an image of the god of
Oaths holding a thunderbolt in each hand, before which competitors had
to swear that they would conform to the rules laid down for them. For a
fortnight before and after the celebrations (which took place at the
first full moon after the summer solstice) a truce was proclaimed
throughout the whole of Greece, to enable competitors from all parts to
attend. So strictly was this enforced that the Spartans were excluded
from the games on the same occasion on which Alcibiades was present,
because they had despatched a thousand soldiers to the town of Lepreum
after the truce had been proclaimed, to help the inhabitants to maintain
their independence against the claims of the Eleans. In consequence of
this exclusion Lychas, a wealthy Lacedæmonian, had to enter for the
chariot-race in the name of the Bœotian federation. But he was so
elated by the success of his chariot that he stepped into the lists and
put a chaplet on the head of his driver, to show that the chariot was
his, whereupon the attendants, regardless of his rank, made use of their
staffs and drove him back to his proper place. On another occasion a
Spartan king, Agis, was refused permission to sacrifice to or consult
the oracle because he wished to pray for success in the war against

At the 104th Olympiad the peaceful solemnity of


The northern face of the great Bastion or outwork of squared masonry,
which guards the ascent to the Acropolis at its south-western point,
occupies the left-hand half of the drawing. This Bastion is capped by a
cornice of Pentelic marble, upon which formerly stood the famous parapet
adorned with figures of winged Victories sculptured in low relief. The
three steps of the exquisite little Temple would, therefore, originally
have been hidden from view. Just below are the steps, still _in situ_,
belonging to the stairs which ascended to the platform of the Temple.
The pedestal, above the _anta_ beside these stairs, supported a statue
of one of the leaders of the Athenian Cavalry. The long flight of the
steps, passing transversely across the drawing, is the modern ascent to
the Propylæa. Far below, near the foot of the Acropolis, some of the
upper arches of the massive façade of the theatre of Herodes Atticus
rise into view; and, to the right, the scathed surface of the Museion
Hill, with the monument of Philopappus on its top, slopes away from the
eye in subtle curves. Farther to the right is the Bay of Phaleron and
(closing the landscape above) the clearly seen ranges of the mountains
of Argolis.]

Olympia was rudely broken by a sanguinary struggle in the sacred
enclosure between the Eleans on the one hand and the Arcadians and their
allies from Argos, who had taken possession of the Altis and planted a
garrison on the adjoining hill. The Eleans fought bravely but were
overpowered, and had the mortification of seeing the games carried out
under the direction of the Pisatans, the original presidents of the
festival. The outrage was aggravated by the fact that the Arcadians were
not content with enriching themselves with the wealth of the Eleans, but
went so far as to rob the temples and the treasuries of their precious
contents. The ruins of some of these “treasuries,” as they were called,
built against the side of the hill, are still to be seen. They bore the
names of different Greek cities, chiefly colonies, and contained the
various utensils and votive offerings that would be needed by their
representatives in connection with the celebration of the games.

Even before this time (364 B.C.) the social standing of competitors in
the games had begun to deteriorate, and a class of professionals had
arisen who made it their sole object to develop their muscles so as to
succeed in athletic contests. But even after the glory of Greece began
to wane the Olympian games still held their ground. When Philip of
Macedonia became supreme he sought to conciliate Hellenic sentiment and
to prove himself a genuine Greek by dedicating a building in the Altis,
to which his name was given. And when his son, Alexander the Great,
issued a rescript, for political reasons of his own, ordaining that all
Greek cities should recall their exiled sons, it was at Olympia that the
proclamation was made by the herald who had gained the prize for the
loudest voice, in the hearing of 20,000 exiles who had gathered there
knowing what they had to expect, and of hundreds of the leading men of
Greece, among them the great Athenian orator, who had striven in vain to
preserve the liberties of his country.

Nearly four centuries later we find Nero contending successfully in the
games, and building a palace on the border of the Altis, the remains of
which have been recently discovered. The institution was finally
abolished by the Emperor Theodosius in 394 A.D., the last recorded
victor being an Armenian knight, who carried off the prize in the
previous year.



Arcadia held a unique place in the Peloponnesus, both as regards its
physical features and the character of its inhabitants. It occupied the
very centre of the peninsula, and was the only province that had no
direct access to the sea. Its area was greater than that of any other,
being about equal in extent to the county of Cumberland. The rural
charms with which it was credited by the Latin poets, and by Sir Philip
Sydney among ourselves, were largely the product of imagination, as the
scenery is generally of a bleak and stern character, and the people, in
consequence, are disposed to take life seriously. There are some smiling
plains in the south and west, but the most of the country consists of
rugged mountains and marshy valleys. A remarkable feature is the number
of basins enclosed on all sides by the hills, where the streams can find
no visible outlet, and either form a lake or take a subterranean course
through some chasm or crevices in the porous limestone, in many cases
never to reappear. The only river which forces its way through all
obstacles till it reaches the sea, and has a perennial supply of water,
is the Alpheus, which we have already met at Olympia. It was believed by
the ancient Greeks to hold on its course after it reached the sea, and
to mingle its waters with the fountain of Arethusa at Syracuse. In proof
of this it was said that a cup which had been thrown into the river had
afterwards been discovered in the fountain!

In classical times the Arcadians had been so long settled in the land
that they were generally believed to be indigenous, and their chief
city, Lycosoura, was regarded as the oldest city in Greece. On its site
some colossal heads have recently been discovered that are supposed to
represent Despoina (that is, Persephone), who had a temple here,
Demeter, Artemis, and Anytus the Titan. The city was close to Mount
Lycæus, the fabled birthplace of the Arcadian Zeus; and perhaps this
fact and the similarity of the names may account for the belief in its
antiquity. Here, as on Mount Ithome, Zeus seems to have been worshipped
in primitive fashion without temple or image. On Mount Lycæus Pelasgus
was also believed to have been born, the reputed ancestor of the
primitive race which was in possession of the country before the Achæans
or the Dorians made their appearance. A story is told of his son, King
Lycaon, which seems to reflect the memory of a time when human
sacrifices were sometimes offered. It was said that Zeus had come to
detect the royal family in their wickedness, and was received with
reverence by the rest of the community,

[Illustration: This illustration is from the colossal head of Despoina
from Lykósoura in Arcadia, now in the Central Museum, Athens.

The small figure is a Pan, also in the Museum.]

but Lycaon, being sceptical of his guest’s divinity and wishing to put
it to the test, caused his grandson Arcas to be cut up and served at his
table, whereupon the indignant deity at once destroyed him, his sons,
and his palace with a flash of lightning, and restored Arcas to life, to
take possession of the throne and give his name to the country. There
were other versions of the same story. According to Pausanias “Lycaon
brought a human babe to the altar of Lycæan Zeus and sacrificed it, and
poured out the blood on the altar; and they say that immediately after
the sacrifice he was turned into a wolf.” Pausanias’ comments on it are
interesting, as an illustration of the religious views of a
well-informed Greek in the second century of the Christian era. “For my
own part I believe the tale: it has been handed down among the Arcadians
from antiquity, and probability is in its favour. For the men of that
time, by reason of their righteousness and piety, were guests of the
gods, and sat with them at table; the gods openly visited the good with
honour and the bad with their displeasure. Indeed, men were raised to
the rank of gods in those days, and are worshipped down to the present
time.... So we may well believe that Lycaon was turned into a wild
beast, and Niobe, daughter of Tantalus, into a stone. But in the present
age, when wickedness is growing to such a height, and spreading over
every land and every city, men are changed into gods no more, save in
the hollow rhetoric which flattery addresses to power; and the wrath of
the gods at the wicked is reserved for a distant future, when they
shall have gone hence.” By far the greater part of the observations made
by this writer on Arcadia relate to its religious customs and
traditions; and from the vague nature of the information he obtained
regarding many of its deities and the peculiar rites with which they
were worshipped, it is evident that Arcadia contained more distinct
traces of the old Pelasgic religion, anterior to the theogony recognised
by Homer and Hesiod, than almost any other part of Greece. It was
difficult for a votary of the Hellenic religion like Pausanias to arrive
at a definite conception of the names, the functions, and the outward
symbols of not a few of the objects of Arcadian worship.

According to tradition Arcas had three sons, of whom the second,
Apheidas, was the founder of Tegea, an aggregate of nine villages, and
for a long time the most famous city in the district. He was the
ancestor of Atalanta, immortalised by Euripides in connection with the
Calydonian Hunt, which ranks with the Voyage of the Argonauts, the Siege
of Thebes, and the Trojan War, as one of the heroic legends of Greece.
It is the same Atalanta who is known to us by the story of her conquest
in the foot-race by one of her suitors, Melanion, through the seductive
influence of the golden apples of the Hesperides, which she stooped to
pick up when he threw them in her path. After the hunt she was said to
have brought home with her to Tegea the head and skin of the wild boar
which Artemis had sent to ravage the Calydonian kingdom


The front of the Temple faces the spectator, and looks to the north. The
reason for the unusual orientation is evident from the conformation of
the ground. The Temple is, in fact, built upon a ridge, and very
extensive sub-structures would have been necessary if the usual
orientation had been followed.]

on account of a slight offered to her in sacrifice. Whether genuine or
not, the relics of the boar, in the form of a great hide, and tusks
three feet long, were exhibited for centuries in the temple of Athena
Alea, and a sculptured head of the boar has recently been found among
the ruins, from the size of which it is calculated that the animal was
six and a half feet long. The tusks were carried off to Rome by the
Emperor Augustus, along with an ivory image of the goddess, but the
well-worn skin was shown to Pausanias when he visited Tegea. He also saw
a relief executed by the great sculptor Scopas, representing the famous
hunt, on the pediment of the temple, which was rebuilt of marble after a
fire, in 394 B.C., and was considered the most beautiful building of the
kind in the Peloponnesus.

Echemus was another illustrious Tegean of prehistoric times, married,
according to Hesiod, to a sister of Clytemnestra. He commanded the
contingent of troops raised by the city to join the allied forces,
Arcadian, Achæan, and Ionian, which came forth to repel the Heracleids
when they were crossing the Isthmus for the purpose of invading the
country. Instead of a general engagement it was agreed to settle the
question by a single combat between Echemus and Hyllus, the eldest son
of Heracles, from whom the challenge had come. In the encounter Hyllus
was overcome and put to death, whereupon the Dorian invaders retraced
their steps, and, in accordance with an agreement come to, did not again
attempt the conquest of the Peloponnesus for three generations. Even
when victorious they left Arcadia alone, and it continued to retain its
independence for many centuries afterwards.

The Arcadians, as known to us in history, have generally been
distinguished by the rude simplicity of their manners and the sturdy
vigour of their physique. Intensely conservative in their ways, they
were always ready to do their duty bravely when called upon to defend
their country; and, like the Swiss, whom they resembled in some other
points, they supplied many neighbouring states with mercenary soldiers,
who were always looked upon as a valuable force. It was one of the
ambitions of the Spartans to reduce them to subjection. With this view
they are said to have once consulted the Delphian oracle, which gave
them an unfavourable answer as regards Arcadia generally, telling them
that there were many acorn-eating men there, but appeared to encourage
them to try their strength against Tegea, foretelling that they would
dance there and measure out the plain with a rope. Taking this in a
favourable sense they advanced against Tegea, but were utterly defeated,
and many of them were taken prisoners and compelled to work in the
fields, wearing the very chains which, with undue confidence, they had
carried with them from Sparta for the purpose of securing their expected
captives. Both Herodotus and Pausanias mention having seen these chains
in the temple of Athena. In the same sanctuary there was also deposited
the horse’s manger, made of brass, which was found in the tent of the
Persian general Mardonius by the Tegean troops who took part in the
battle of Platæa, and who on that occasion claimed the place of honour
next to the Lacedæmonians, on account of the signal services which had
been rendered by their ancestor Echemus.

In his history (i. 67-8) Herodotus tells a curious story of the way in
which the Spartans succeeded at a later time in getting the better of
the Tegeans, with the help of the friendly oracle at Delphi. They were
directed to bring back to Sparta the bones of Orestes, the son of
Agamemnon, whose resting-place was enigmatically described. By the
combined sagacity and good luck of a Spartan, named Lichas, the body,
contained in a coffin measuring about seven cubits in length, was
discovered in a blacksmith’s premises at Tegea, and was brought back to
Sparta and buried there. The consequence was that the Spartans soon
proved the stronger, compelling the Tegeans to become their allies for
nearly two centuries, to which they were less averse than the rest of
the Arcadians, owing to their liking for an oligarchic form of
government. They still remained faithful to the general cause of Greek
independence and sent 500 men to fight at Thermopylæ. For centuries
after the loss of Greek liberty Tegea continued to be a place of
importance. Strabo, writing in the first century A.D., speaks of it as
the only city in Arcadia worth mentioning, and when Pausanias visited it
he found it in a flourishing condition. There is now little to mark its
site, save the scanty ruins of its famous temple and its theatre. The
foundations of the temple were discovered in 1879, buried deep
underground, to the west of the Church of St. Nicholas, where many
fragments of Doric columns of marble had long been lying exposed to
view. The inner columns were Ionic and Corinthian. The workmanship, so
far as any specimens of it exist, fully justifies the admiration
expressed by Pausanias.

Thirteen or fourteen miles north of Tegea, on a somewhat lower level of
the same great central plain, stood the city of Mantinea, long a rival
to Tegea, and possessing more of a commercial character, with a
consequent leaning to the democratic form of government. Originally
built on the top of a low conical hill (Gourtsouli, or Ptolis), rather
less than a mile to the north, it was constituted on its later site by
the union of five villages, which were amalgamated by the Argives (who
dwelt only a day’s journey to the east) for the purpose of counteracting
the Spartan sympathies of Tegea. It was the scene of two great
battles--the one fought and gained by the Spartans under King Agis, with
the help of Bœotian and Corinthian troops, the other by Epaminondas
at the head of the Theban confederacy. On the former occasion a striking
proof was given of the value of Spartan discipline. Though taken by
surprise when he found the enemy drawn up and ready for the conflict,
Agis succeeded in gaining such a victory as went far to restore the
prestige of his country, which had been tarnished by recent events in
the Peloponnesian war. About thirty years later


The west arm of the Theatre shows to the left, and the foreground is
occupied by the remains of the Thersilion or Town Hall. The river
Helisson sparkles in the distance, which is closed by the mountains of
Arcadia. Sunset.]

(386 B.C.) Mantinea again incurred the hostility of Sparta and
experienced its military skill. The river Ophis (so called from its
circuitous windings farther north), which at that time ran through the
city, was diverted from its course by the Spartan general Agesipolis,
and so dammed up that its waters overflowed the brick-built walls, which
soon gave way, compelling the inhabitants to surrender. The community
was then dissolved into the five villages of which it had been composed,
a high-handed act on the part of Sparta, which was characteristic of its
policy when it thought its ascendency to be in danger. One of the first
results of the great Theban victory achieved by Epaminondas at Leuctra
(371 B.C.) was the reunion of the scattered population. But though the
Mantineans were at first in sympathy with the policy of that great
soldier and statesman in seeking to create an Arcadian federation for
the defence of the country against Spartan aggression, the rise of a new
capital at Megalopolis excited their jealousy, and it was partly owing
to their defection that Epaminondas had to undertake his last campaign
in the Peloponnesus. It was in a great battle fought in the immediate
vicinity of Mantinea that he met his death. Never was there a more
striking proof of the influence that may be exerted by a master-mind
upon an army, than when Epaminondas was suddenly struck down while
fighting with heroic energy at the head of his men. As soon as they knew
that he had fallen, their victorious advance ceased, and the enemy were
allowed to retire without suffering the usual penalties of defeat. He
was carried out of the field with a lance sticking in his breast; and a
rising-ground is still pointed out (Scopas) from which he is said to
have watched the close of the battle. He named two men to succeed him in
the command of the forces; but, on learning that they had both fallen,
he advised that peace should be concluded with the enemy. Having
ascertained that his shield was safe, he ordered the javelin to be
extracted, and as the blood rushed out he breathed his last. He was
buried on the spot, and a monument was erected over his grave, of which
no trace has yet been found.

Even if there were no such names in Greek history as Hesiod, Pindar,
Pelopidas, and Plutarch, the memory of Epaminondas would be sufficient
to redeem Bœotia from the reproach so often cast upon it as a land of
dullards. He was not only a consummate general, whose name will always
be associated with the irresistible phalanx which anticipated that of
Macedonia,[2] but was in every respect a great man--the greatest of the
Greeks, according to Cicero. Distinguished in music and philosophy, he
was also a good speaker, and if he had had more opportunities for the
practice of eloquence, he would probably have been found a match for the
greatest orators of his day. We may judge of his readiness in debate
from the answer he gave to Callistratus, the renowned Athenian orator,
when the latter, pleading with the Arcadians to form an alliance with
Athens rather than with Thebes and Argos, sought to excite prejudice
against these states by asking, “Were not Orestes and Alcmæon, who were
both murderers of their mothers, natives of Argos? Was not Œdipus,
who slew his father and married his mother, a native of Thebes?” “Yes,
they were,” said Epaminondas, in his reply, “but Callistratus has
forgotten to tell you that these men, while they lived at home, were
innocent or were reputed to be so. As soon as their crimes became known
they were banished; and then it was that Athens received them, stained
with blood.” On another occasion, when he was accused by a demagogue of
trying to emulate the glories of Agamemnon at the risk of his country,
by sailing from Aulis to the Hellespont at the head of a great fleet, he
replied, “By the help of Thebes I have already done more than Agamemnon.
He with the forces of Sparta and all Greece besides, was ten years in
taking a single city; while I, with the single force of Thebes and on
the single day of Leuctra, have crushed the power of the Agamemnonian
Sparta.” This was answering a fool according to his folly; but, in
general, he was as remarkable for his modesty as for his great powers.
It was said of him by one who had been in early life a companion of
Socrates that he had never known any one who understood so much and
spoke so little; and when he was reduced in rank, even after the great
battle which deprived Sparta of its military supremacy, he did not
disdain to serve his country for a time in a comparatively humble
position. That the Spartans knew how formidable he was as an adversary
is evident from the honours which, as Plutarch tells us, they heaped on
the man who slew him, even ordaining that his descendants in all time
coming should be exempted from the payment of taxes. Like Aristides the
“Just” and Delyannis, the recently-assassinated Premier of Greece,
Epaminondas was so free from the love of money that he did not leave
enough even to pay his funeral expenses.

Very few remains of the ancient city of Mantinea are to be seen, but the
lower courses of the encircling walls, measuring more than two and a
half miles in circumference, are plainly visible, with eight different
gates and more than 120 towers, separated by intervals of fully 80 feet,
while the course of the Ophis can also be traced, which served
apparently as a moat, with its two arms running round the city. In 1887
three marble slabs were discovered in the floor of a Byzantine church
within the walls, with reliefs representing the musical contest between
Marsyas and Apollo, which have been identified with those mentioned by
Pausanias as adorning a pedestal supporting images of Latona and her
children, by Praxiteles. In the present aspect of the place, which is
very much of the nature of a swamp, there is little to justify its
ancient reputation as the “lovely city” mentioned in Homer.

Tegea and Mantinea and another ancient city in the neighbourhood
(Pallantion) are commemorated in the city of Tripoliza (or Tripolis, the
threefold city), which was founded by the Turks about two hundred years


The east ramp of the Theatre is in the foreground to the left, from
which we see remains of the proscenium and colonnade. Beyond are a few
drums of columns, probably belonging to the Thersilion or Town Hall. The
river Helisson shows in the distance. Sunset.]

Tripoliza is the only large town in Arcadia, having a population of more
than 10,000, with a thriving trade. It is also the seat of a bishopric,
and contains one of the handsomest modern churches in Greece, built of
marble, with a lofty tower recently added. The elevation of the city,
like that of the plain generally, is fully 2000 feet above the sea.

In the western plain of Arcadia, separated from that of Tegea and
Mantinea by the Mænalus range, stood the “great city,” Megalopolis,
which owed its existence to the genius and the determination of
Epaminondas. He saw that Arcadia would never be secure against Spartan
invasion until means could be found to unite its forces. The jealousy
between Tegea and Mantinea rendered it impossible for either of these
cities to be chosen as the capital, and another site was found by the
banks of the Helisson, a tributary of the Alpheus. No fewer than forty
small townships were merged in the new city, which was founded
immediately after the battle of Leuctra. Several refused to join, and
the inhabitants of one of them, called Trapezus, a very old settlement,
rather than give up their independence, preferred to be put to the
sword, those who escaped emigrating to their daughter-city of the same
name, on the southern shore of the Black Sea. The name Megalopolis was
not unsuitable, considering that the walls of the city were more than
five and a half miles in circumference, and that the territory attached
to it extended twenty-four miles on the north. Its stability was at
various times endangered by internal discord, and nothing but the
watchful eye and strong arm of Thebes could have saved the union from a
speedy dissolution.

Like most of the Greek cities, Megalopolis did not realise till too late
what the gradual advance of the Macedonian power was to mean for Greece.
In 347 B.C. the Athenian orator Æschines paid it a visit and spoke in
its national assembly, the “Ten Thousand,” urging them to combine with
other Powers against Philip; but without much effect, as might have been
expected, considering that Æschines himself was soon to prove a traitor.
Seventeen years later the city was delivered out of the hands of its
Peloponnesian enemies by Antipater, the lieutenant of Alexander the
Great; but it had to submit, like Argos and Athens, to the remodelling
of its constitution, in order that its new master might put some of his
own partisans into power to form an oligarchy. A hundred years later it
fell into the hands of the Spartans under Cleomenes, who took it by a
stratagem and levelled it to the ground. Most of the citizens escaped to
Messene under the leadership of the brave Philopœmen, and the city
was afterwards rebuilt, taking a leading part in the Achæan League,
until the supremacy of Roman arms could no longer be disputed. Among its
citizens at the beginning of the second century B.C., Megalopolis could
boast of two of the greatest Greeks of their time, the gallant soldier
just mentioned, who humbled the pride of Sparta and extorted the
admiration of his Roman adversaries, and his young friend Polybius, the
famous historian. The latter carried the urn containing the ashes of
the mighty dead in the imposing funeral procession described by
Plutarch--the precursor of still higher honours, amounting to divine
worship, that were afterwards to be paid to Philopœmen, whom
Pausanias describes as the last benefactor of the Greeks.

To the modern traveller Megalopolis still presents features of interest.
Its wide and open landscape embraces fertile plains and wooded hills and
refreshing streams, which present a pleasing contrast to the dreary
stretch of country on the eastern side of Arcadia. There are also some
interesting ruins (excavated by the British School of Archæology in
1890-93), the best preserved of which is the theatre, described by
Pausanias as the largest in Greece, and supposed to have been capable of
accommodating nearly 20,000 persons. There is a distance of about 500
feet between the stage and the top of the hill, in the hollow of which
the semicircular banks of stone benches are fixed; but such is the
clearness of the atmosphere and the form of the enclosure that words
spoken from the actor’s place can be distinctly heard by any one
listening above. Another ruin of great interest is the _Thersilium_, a
hall covering an area of 35,000 square yards, in which the Arcadian
assembly held their meetings and carried on their fierce debates. It is
connected with the theatre by a portico, which was at one time mistaken
for a stage, but is now regarded as of an earlier date and built for a
different purpose. If Dr. Dörpfeld’s theory be correct that until a
comparatively late period the Greek actors spoke from the floor of the
orchestra, the only purpose which the portico could have served, so far
as the theatre was concerned, was to form a background. Many old coins
and vases have been picked up on the site of the ancient city by the
inhabitants of the modern village of Sinanou, a little way to the
south-east, and are preserved in their houses. Large fragments of marble
are also to be seen scattered about.

The road from Megalopolis to Bassæ, by way of Andritsæna, takes the
traveller through some of the finest hill-scenery in Arcadia, along one
of those modern carriage-roads which are felt to be luxurious, compared
with the mule-tracks by which many journeys have still to be taken in
the Peloponnesus, as in the days of old, when there was comparatively
little communication between the different parts of Greece except by
sea. One of the most striking objects to be seen on the way is the
village of Karytæna, with its mediæval fortress on the top of a hill
nearly 2000 feet high. The castle is only approachable by a narrow
passage, and even the town, now reduced to a population of about 1400,
can only be reached from one side of the mountain, standing as it does
in a corner between the summit crowned with the fortress and the
neighbouring hill of St. Elias,[3] on which may be seen two Greek
churches of Byzantine-Frankish architecture. Karytæna was the home of
Kolokotronis, the highland chieftain who carried on guerilla operations
with so much success during the War of Liberation. His


A giant plane-tree stands in the space opposite the church door, and
supports the bells of the church.]

great achievement was the capture of Tripoliza in 1821, but his cruelty
in putting to death nearly the whole Turkish population, and his
self-seeking spirit generally, detracted greatly from his reputation.
After the independence of Greece had been secured he was found guilty of
conspiracy against the Government, and was sentenced to death; but the
penalty was remitted and he was allowed to end his days in his castle at
Karytæna. A prominent object in the neighbourhood, as the traveller’s
carriage winds round the hill, is a handsome bridge with six arches,
which recalls the wealth and importance of the place in former times.

Still more attractive, although less interesting from a historical point
of view, is the little town of Andritsæna, with upwards of 2000
inhabitants, which is reached after crossing Mount Lycæus. It is built
on the two sides of a mountain stream embroidered with trees; and in the
main street, beside the village fountain, there is a wide-spreading
plane-tree, under which the people gather for a friendly talk, giving
the place a most genial aspect. From the top of an adjoining hill a
magnificent view can be obtained, extending to Erymanthus on the north
and even including a glimpse of some of the Ionian Islands, under a
favourable evening light.

From Andritsæna to Olympia is a long day’s ride over a very bad road,
and is not a journey to be undertaken by any one who is deficient either
in nerve or physical endurance. But the rich and varied scenery through
which you pass, as you traverse mountain sides bordering on precipitous
gorges, and thread your way through umbrageous forests and flowery
though often thorny thickets, and ford rivers, and skirt vineyards and
cornfields, with an occasional view of far-away summits white with snow
glistening in the sun--makes the experience an interesting and vivid

The journey to Bassæ from Andritsæna is very similar, though too short
to be laborious. It conducts to a scene of the most impressive solitude,
at an elevation of nearly 4000 feet, commanding a magnificent view both
of land and sea, including Mt. Ithome and the great Messenian plain. In
the Temple of Bassæ, dedicated to Apollo in this secluded spot by the
people of Phigalia, which was six miles distant, the beauty of art seems
to vie with the grandeur of nature. The ruin is acknowledged by general
consent to be the finest in the Peloponnesus, though for centuries it
was known only to the shepherds in the neighbourhood. Designed by
Ictinus, one of the architects of the Parthenon, the structure has
weathered the storms of more than twenty-three centuries. Of the
thirty-eight Doric columns which surrounded the temple only three are
now wanting, and their architraves are almost intact. The frieze of the
_cella_ or inner chamber was discovered in 1812, and was purchased two
years afterwards by the British Government for £19,000--to be preserved
in the British Museum. On it are represented the battle between the
Greeks and the Amazons, and the fight between the Lapiths and the
Centaurs. The design is admirable, but the execution is so poor as to
suggest that the work was done by local sculptors. Though the frieze is
of marble, the temple generally was built of grey limestone quarried in
the neighbourhood. Unlike other Greek temples, which look to the east to
greet the rising sun, that of Bassæ faces the north. This is accounted
for by the fact that it was built over an older shrine, which, from the
nature of the rocky ledge on which it stood, could not be extended any
farther east and west. The old entrance, however, was still preserved,
and the image of the god still faced to the east. Pausanias tells us of
a bronze statue of Apollo, twelve feet high, which was removed from the
temple to Megalopolis and set up in the market-place, but it has long
since disappeared. The same writer conjectures that the temple was
erected in honour of Apollo Epicourios for having averted from Phigalia
the plague with which Athens was visited during the Peloponnesian War.
But it is considered more likely to have been a general tribute to the
god on account of the health-giving breezes which play over the spot,
and which no doubt made it a favourite resort for the invalids of the

According to the ancient traveller just mentioned, the civilisation of
Arcadia dates from the time of Arcas, who introduced cereal crops and
taught his subjects to spin wool and weave cloth. Here, as elsewhere in
Greece, it is no uncommon thing to see women spinning thread and herding
sheep or goats at the same time, while indoors you may find them busy at
the loom weaving cloth for family use, following the good example set of
old both by Helen and Penelope. Unfortunately, women are also much in
evidence in the fields and on the country roads, doing work which in
this country would be left to men--even such heavy work as breaking
stones. The men seem to be much fonder of taking their ease than the
other sex, and show more vanity in their dress. The Albanian costume,
which is the uniform worn by the eight battalions of Riflemen, called
Evzoni, who guard the frontier, is much affected by those who can afford
it in the country towns. Its most conspicuous features are the
fustanella kilt, made of a white linen of incredible length when
stretched out to its full extent, the embroidered vest, and the red
shoes with turned-up toes. The shepherds wear a sheepskin cloak without
any pretensions to elegance, but they trim their hair with great care,
ringlets frequently hanging over their brow. They wear a broad leathern
belt with innumerable receptacles, and one of the first things they will
show to a stranger who is curious to know what they carry about with
them is a small hand-mirror. They often amuse themselves and their
flocks by playing on the pipe, which they can make in a few minutes from
a bamboo cut in the field or plucked out of the roofing of their hut.


This is one of the most romantic scenes in the Peloponnesus, and is
aptly quoted by Curtius as no less characteristic of mediæval Greece
than Tiryns and Mycenæ are of the prehistoric age. The Castle covers the
summit of a free-standing mass of rock, rising up into the air (almost
like the central tower of a great English Cathedral) above a gorge with
precipitous red cliffs. To the right of the Castle lies the modern



For centuries Sparta was the first military power in Greece. This
position it owed partly to the Dorian vigour of its inhabitants, and
partly to the strict discipline introduced by Lycurgus at a time when
the other Greek states had not yet awakened to the importance of that
military drill which was to contribute so largely to their influence. Of
these two sources of Spartan greatness we seem to have a recognition in
the fact mentioned by Pausanias that at the two bridges, on either side
of the place where the youths were in the habit of engaging in their
athletic contests, there was an image of Heracles and a statue of
Lycurgus, the one being the emblem of bodily strength, the other of
authority and rule.

Besides Sparta there were two other states whose ruling families could
claim to be descended from Heracles, namely Argos and Messenia. For a
long time Argos would admit no superiority on the part of any other
Greek state, and at no time was it reduced to subjection to any; but
within two hundred years after the Lycurgean _régime_ had been
established at Sparta, Messenia had been virtually annexed to
Lacedæmonian territory, and the bulk of its inhabitants reduced to a
state of serfdom scarcely distinguishable from that of the helots who
had been subjugated at the time of the Dorian invasion. From the first
the Dorian conquerors of Messenia seem to have been on more friendly
terms with their subjects than was the case with their kindred who
settled in Argos and Laconia. Their racial characteristics were thus
impaired, while their moral fibre was relaxed by the wealth of the
country which fell to their lot; but it was not till after a number of
severe struggles that Sparta obtained the mastery.

The condition of the Messenians after the first war (743-724) is thus
described by Tyrtæus the poet, who took part in the second war

    Like asses galled with heavy loads
    To their masters bringing, by doleful necessity,
    Half of all the fruit that the tilled land yields,
    Themselves and their wives alike bewailing their masters
    Whene’er death’s baneful lot has fallen on any.

The reference in the last two lines is to the fact that when Spartan
kings or nobles died, men and women had to come from Messenia to attend
their funeral, dressed in black. Their greatest warrior was Aristomenes,
who is said to have twice offered to Zeus Ithomates the sacrifice called
_hekatomphonia_, which could only be offered by any one after slaying a
hundred of his enemies in battle. Rather than submit to the loss of
their liberty many of the Messenians abandoned


On the left of the picture are shown some of the columns of the eastern
side of the Temple, together with the attached columns of the _cella_, a
peculiar architectural feature of this Temple. The front (north) part of
the _cella_ was hypæthral, so the floor below the opening in the roof
was slightly hollowed out--as shown in the drawing--to collect the
rain-water. Mount Ithome appears between the columns of the southern end
of the Temple.]

their native land and settled at Naupactus, Cephallenia, and elsewhere,
with the sympathy and help of the Athenians. But even from these places
of refuge they were driven by the Spartans long afterwards, when the
latter had recovered their ascendency, and were forced to seek new homes
in Sicily and Italy (where they founded Messene and Rhegium) and in
North Africa. In 464 B.C. a general rising of the subject population
took place not only in Messenia but in the greater part of Laconia,
partly occasioned by a destructive earthquake, which was regarded as a
judgment of heaven on the Spartans for their sacrilegious cruelty to
some slaves who had taken refuge in a temple of Poseidon on the coast.
In this struggle, as at the close of the first war, the chief stronghold
and rallying-point of the oppressed nationality was Mount Ithome, which
rises to a height of 2600 feet, and was described at a later time as one
of the horns of the Peloponnesus, Acro-Corinthus being the other. Nearly
a hundred years afterwards the Messenians found a deliverer in
Epaminondas. The great Theban not only invited the exiles to return, but
also restored their enslaved countrymen at home to the enjoyment of
their political rights and liberties. In order to secure their unity and
independence he resolved to build a great city in the immediate vicinity
of Ithome, with the summit for an acropolis. After elaborate sacrifices
and solemn prayers, invoking the presence and protection of their
ancient heroes, especially the valiant Aristomenes, the city was laid
out and built with the help of some of the best architects and masons of
the day, the labourers being cheered in their work by the rival strains
of the Bœotian and Argive flutes. Fortifications were erected, so
strong, and planned on such scientific principles, that the remains of
them, in the form of walls and towers and gates, are still the
admiration and astonishment of military men. The territory which
Epaminondas annexed to the city was by far the most fertile part of
Greece, including the plain of Stenyclerus on the north and the still
richer and more extensive plain watered by the river Pamisus on the
south, to which the name of Macaria (“Blessed”) was given.

Notwithstanding these advantages, and although the returned exiles had
preserved unimpaired their Dorian speech and sentiment, the new city was
not destined to play any great part in the annals of Greece. The fear of
its old enemy made it too ready to submit to the subtle encroachments of
Philip, in spite of the warnings which Demosthenes, the great Athenian
orator, on one occasion addressed in person to its assembly. A few years
later the city fell into the hands of Alexander the Great and his
subordinates, who robbed it of its liberties and paved the way for the
dominion of Rome. The site is now almost uninhabited, and overgrown with
vineyards and corn-fields. Excavations have brought to light the
foundations of a theatre, a stadium, a market-place, and a fountain;
but, apart from the fortifications, there are few remains of any great
interest. The view from the top of the mountain is one of the finest in
the Peloponnesus, commanding the Taygetus range of mountains on the east
and the sea on the south


The roadway coming up from the monastery of Vourkano to the village of
Mavromati divides the foreground of the scene. In the middle distance we
have before us the luxuriant valley of the Pamisus, and, in the far
distance, the lofty upper ranges of Taÿgetus covered with snow. Under
the boughs of the graceful olive, which flanks the finely squared
masonry of the ruined gateway, we catch a glimpse of the gulf of
Messene. The freshness and purity of colour of an April day in Southern
Peloponnesus has here been happily caught.]

and west. Standing on the summit one has a sense of elevation and
aloofness; and one can understand how it should have been chosen as a
retreat by a wealthy citizen of Athens, who devoted himself to a life of
prayer and meditation, only descending once a fortnight for a supply of
necessary food--an illustration, in a new form, as Prof. Mahaffy
remarks, of the tendency to human sacrifice which was early associated
with the altar of Zeus Ithomates. There is a ruined chapel on the top,
also traces of very ancient foundations, some of them probably connected
with the defence of the fortress, others with the worship of Zeus.
Nearly half-way up the mountain the traveller passes a Greek convent
(Vourkano)--a quadrangle with an interesting little church in the
centre, where he will meet with a kind reception if he pay a visit to
the monks and partake of their simple hospitality.

The ascent of Mount Ithome is in some places rather difficult, and
requires careful riding. Before he start, perhaps the traveller may
witness a controversy between his dragoman and the natives who have been
engaged to bring horses or mules for the journey. An excited crowd will
gather, which will not be complete without the presence and peace-making
counsels of the parish priest--usually a very sociable person, in close
touch with the interests of his parishioners, and conspicuous for his
long black beard, his tall rimless hat, and his long loose coat, lined
with fur. Perhaps the traveller may have a servant told off to guide his
beast, who rejoices in the illustrious name of Leonidas, and is
entrusted with a big leather bottle containing the copious supply of
resinated wine intended not only for himself but for his
fellow-servants. To refresh himself in his long climb under the rays of
the sun pouring down upon him from a cloudless sky, Leonidas may help
himself so liberally as to get excited and break out into song and
story, imperilling the rider’s life, perhaps, by going off the main
track and having to turn where the horse has difficulty in keeping its
hind feet from slipping down the side of a precipice; or, perhaps, in
descending the mountain he may pull the rope attached to the animal’s
head with such force as to compel it to take a leap downwards, which
might easily project the rider down the hill if he were not on the watch
and determined to keep his seat under all circumstances. But Leonidas is
an exceptional man, and the animals are so sure-footed that accidents
very seldom occur.

About fifteen miles south-east of Messene, at the head of the gulf, is
the thriving little town of Kalamata, with some silk manufactories and a
large trade in currants and figs and other fruits. To the south-west, on
the coast, about twenty-five miles from Messene, lies the traditional
capital of Nestor’s kingdom, still retaining its old Homeric name of
(sandy) Pylos. Kalamata is supposed to be the ancient Pheræ at which
Telemachus and Nestor’s son, Peisistratus, halted for the night on their
way to Sparta to visit Menelaus. The distances suit well enough for a
two-days’ ride, but it has been pointed out by V. Bérard that there is
no road

[Illustration: KALAMATA, ON THE GULF OF MESSENE A well in the

across the Taygetus mountains by which travellers could have driven in a
chariot to Sparta, as Homer represents the two young men to have done;
and he concludes (as Strabo did) that the Pylos referred to must have
been the place of the same name much farther north, from which a journey
on wheels could be made all the way to Sparta. Even apart from the
interest attaching to it as the supposed city of Nestor, Pylos, with the
adjacent island of Sphacteria, has had an important place in Greek
history, both in ancient and in modern times. In the seventh year of the
Pelopennesian war it was the scene of one of the most memorable defeats
ever sustained by the Spartans at the hands of the Athenians. Twenty-two
centuries afterwards (1770 A.D.) its garrison of Greek insurgents was
massacred by the Turks, who, in turn, suffered a similar calamity in
1821 at the outbreak of the War of Liberation, as the Greeks again did
at the hands of the Egyptians in 1825; while in 1827 the naval battle of
Navarino took place in its bay, resulting in the destruction of the
Turkish fleet, with a loss of 6000 lives, in less than two hours, by the
combined British, French, and Russian forces.

Sparta was the only Greek state that retained the regal form of
government all through the period of Hellenic glory. Its government was
not, strictly speaking, a monarchy, however, as there were two royal
dynasties, descended from the twin sons of the Heracleid Aristodemus,
which had continued unbroken in the male line for 500 years, forming a
direct connection with the heroic age. The two kings served as a check
on one another’s ambition, preventing the growth of such tyranny as had
been found intolerable in other states, and had there led to the
adoption of an oligarchic or democratic form of government. The rights
of the community were further conserved by the modification of two
public bodies, dating from the heroic age, of which we often hear in
Homer, namely, the _Boulé_ or Senate and the _Ecclesia_ or General
Assembly. In Sparta the former received the name of _Gerousia_, and
consisted of twenty-eight members above sixty years of age, presided
over by the two kings; the latter was called _Apella_, and was
periodically convened to consider any proposals submitted to it, and had
the right to fill up vacancies in the Gerousia. But the most effectual
safeguard against tyranny was found in the annual election, by the
Apella, of five officials, named ephors, who came into existence about
750 B.C. and gradually acquired such control of public affairs both at
home and abroad that the royal prerogative was virtually reduced to the
command of the army in the field, the offering of public sacrifices, the
charge of communications with the Delphian oracle, and some other
matters of a ceremonial kind. Even in their capacity as
commanders-in-chief the kings became subject to the decision of the
Assembly as to the making of peace or war, and ultimately had even to
take their directions from the ephors in the conduct of a campaign.
Every month the kings and the ephors took an oath of fidelity, the
former promising to rule in accordance with the constitution, the
latter to be loyal in their obedience, on the condition just mentioned.
As in our own country, there was a continual tendency to make royalty a
position of honour rather than of power, which was the more remarkable
in Sparta, as the office was universally regarded as held by divine
right, and as lying at the foundation of the nation’s tide to its
territorial inheritance derived from Heracles.

The social system introduced by Lycurgus about the beginning of the
eighth century B.C., under the direction, as was believed, of the
Delphian oracle, was founded upon a species of communism to which only
those were admitted who were full citizens of Sparta, and had sufficient
property to contribute their appointed quota to the expenses of the
common mess. All the citizens without exception had to conform with the
utmost regularity to a rigorous code of discipline, which was fitted to
produce habits of courage, strength, endurance, self-denial, and
simplicity of life. The training of the boys for military service, to
which citizens were liable from their twentieth to their sixtieth year,
began when they were seven years old. They were not only trained to
athletic exercises and feats of strength, but they had also to content
themselves with the plainest food and the scantiest clothing. As they
approached manhood it was considered to be in the interests of religion,
and pleasing to the goddess Artemis Orthia in particular, that they
should be severely scourged, and it was no uncommon thing for young lads
to die under the operation without betraying any sign of suffering. To
be able to bear pain without flinching, and to become inured to the
severest hardships and privations, was looked on as the chief end of a
manly education.

The young women were also trained in gymnastic exercises, and enjoyed
more freedom than in any other part of Greece. They boxed and wrestled,
and ran races, sometimes even with the young men. The object of their
education was to train them to be mothers of brave men, and their
martial spirit comes out in some of the sayings addressed by Spartan
mothers to their sons--“Return with your shield or upon it,” “If your
sword is too short add a pace to it.” As a rule the women held a
position of honour in the community and were frequently possessed of
property, so much so that in the fourth century B.C. more than half the
land in Laconia belonged to them. They were trained to suppress all
emotions of tenderness and compassion, and to reserve their admiration
and affection for the brave and strong. Nothing could have been more
humiliating than the reception given to defeated soldiers who survived
their comrades and returned home. No one would speak to them or
associate with them in any way, and if they did not bear themselves with
the greatest humility they were liable to be struck and insulted by any
one who met them. Cowardice was the one sin for which there was no
forgiveness. It is told of one of the men serving under Leonidas, who
had allowed some complaint in his eyes to prevent him from joining his
comrades at Thermopylæ, that when he went home to Sparta he was treated
with the utmost scorn; no


At the base of the mountain, part of the village of Mavromati may be
seen. The architectural fragments in the foreground lie near the
entrance to the Stadion. Only the western side of the Stadion appears.
Its site is indicated by two figures seated under a tree.]

one would give him even a light for his fire. A year afterwards the same
man was foremost in the fight at the battle of Platæa, which completed
the discomfiture of Persia. He thought by his heroic defiance of danger
to wipe out the reproach which rested on him, and he perished nobly on
the field. But for all that he was not considered worthy of the funeral
honours that were bestowed upon his fallen comrades, who had been less
reckless in the fight but had always done their duty.

In harmony with this contempt for cowardice was the deportment of
soldiers’ relatives when news of battle reached them. The friends of
those who had fallen, instead of being cast down with grief, went about
with a proud and glad mien, as if they knew they were entitled to honour
and respect, while the relatives of those who had allowed themselves to
be taken prisoners or had made their escape were depressed and sad, as
if they had reason to be ashamed in the presence of their neighbours.
When tidings of the terrible disaster at Leuctra arrived at Sparta the
whole community were engaged in the celebration of the festival of
_gymnopædia_, and the chorus of grown men was at the moment performing
in the theatre. But no suspension or interruption of the proceedings
took place. The only thing done was to send information of their
bereavement to those whose friends were reported as killed, and to
enjoin the women to make no noise. Historians have contrasted this
self-control of the Spartans with the weeping and wailing of the
Athenians on the night on which the news arrived of the destruction of
their fleet at Ægospotami, which put an end for ever to their naval
empire. But they also relate an incident which shows that Athenian women
could be as fierce in their indignation as their Spartan sisters. In an
expedition against Ægina the whole of the Athenian citizens engaged in
it, except one, lost their lives. On his return the survivor was beset
by the widows of his slain comrades, each demanding to know what had
become of her husband; and before he could make his escape from the
infuriate crowd he was pricked to death with their brooch-pins.

In contrast to the wonderful calmness shown by the Spartans in time of
calamity was the demonstration of feeling which took place on one
occasion when they received unexpected news of a great victory over the
combined Arcadian and Argive forces, without the loss of a single
Lacedæmonian. For some time they had been so accustomed to defeat that
all who heard the news burst into tears, Agesilaus and the Ephors
setting the example--so much more difficult is it to repress violent
feelings of joy than of sorrow.

It was another peculiarity of Spartan training that to take advantage of
people in the matter of property was regarded as a merit, if the
dishonesty was not detected, and if it was not a breach of some special
law or custom. In Xenophon’s _Anabasis_ (iv. 6) there is a curious
allusion to this trait of the Spartan character. The Greek army had come
to a pass occupied by a hostile force. Instead of trying to carry it by
direct assault Xenophon suggested that soldiers should be sent up the
shoulder of the hill to turn the position. “But,” he said, addressing
his Spartan colleague Cheirisophus, “stealing a march upon the enemy is
more in your line than mine. For I understand that you, the full
citizens and peers of Sparta, practise stealing from your boyhood
upwards, and that it is held no way base, but even honourable, to steal
such things as the law does not distinctly forbid. And in order that you
may steal with the greatest effect and take pains to do it in secret,
the custom is to flog you if you are found out. Here, then, you have an
excellent opportunity of displaying your skill. Take good care that we
be not found out in stealing possession of the mountain now before us,
for if we are found out we shall be well beaten.” To this pleasantry
Cheirisophus rejoined: “Why, as for that, you Athenians also, as I
learn, are capital hands at stealing the public money, and that, too, in
spite of prodigious peril to the thief. Nay, your most powerful men
steal most of all--at least if it be the most powerful men among you
that are raised to official command. So that this is a time for you to
exhibit your training as well as for me to exhibit mine.”

There was no place where the love of money was more prevalent than in
Sparta, and that in spite of the fact that till a comparatively late
period the possession of gold and silver by private individuals was
forbidden. For a long time the only metal in circulation was iron, in
such heavy pieces that it was impossible for any one to carry much money
with him, or even to store it in his house. When Lysander brought home
what was left of the large amount of gold and silver he had received
from Cyrus for the prosecution of his schemes, strong objection was
taken to its admission by some of the Ephors, as being at variance with
the principles laid down by Lycurgus. It was only on the understanding
that the treasure was to be the property of the state, and not of any
private individual, that their objections were overruled, though their
scruples about accepting the money did not prevent them from withholding
from their allies any share of the spoil. The Lycurgean system was
doomed, owing to the change which had come over the views of the leading
men, as the result of foreign travel, and the bribery to which they had
become habituated, especially in their relations with Persia. The wealth
and magnificence of their famous general, Lysander, who was the first
Greek to receive divine honours in historic times, and who is the most
typical representative of imperial Sparta, present a striking contrast
to the severe simplicity of his forefathers. Even a greater evil than
the personal self-seeking which began to prevail was the collective
selfishness by which the Spartans had long been distinguished. As a
rule, they were comparatively indifferent to the general interests of
the Hellenic race, and on more than one occasion they showed that they
were ready to sacrifice these interests for their own immediate
advantage, currying favour with the Persians at the cost of the
liberties of the Asiatic Greeks, and envying and grieving at the naval
empire of Athens, while they failed to take advantage of their own


Near the village of Neochori, on the road from Ithome to Meligula.]

for building up an empire on land, in which they could have retained
their supremacy without trampling on the rights and liberties of other
Greek states. If Sparta had possessed a few more men of the type of
Brasidas--men of a generous and catholic spirit as well as of consummate
ability in war--its own life and the life of ancient Greece might have
been indefinitely prolonged.

It was one of the penalties of the narrow discipline of Sparta that it
produced so few really great men. The body was cultivated at the expense
of the mind, and little or no importance was attached to intellectual
pursuits. Music was almost the only form of art generally cultivated,
and that chiefly because of its connection with military drill. The
victory of Agis at Mantinea in 418 B.C., when he was taken by surprise,
was largely due to the inspiring and regulative influence of the fifes
and war-songs (which were as cheering and not so exciting as the
speeches delivered on the other side), as well as to the superior mode
of transmitting orders from the general, through the various gradations
of rank (down to the _enomotarch_ in charge of some twenty-five men), as
compared with the public proclamation by a herald, which was customary
elsewhere. Even for their music they are said to have been indebted to
foreign teachers--to Tyrtæus, whose stirring strains raised their
spirits at a most trying crisis in their history; to Terpander, who
added three strings to the lyre, completing the octave; and to Alcman,
the last to train a popular and voluntary chorus. Not only in their
military drill, but also in their public processions and choral dances,
music played a great part in their civilisation. People of all ranks and
classes (not excepting even the kings) and of all ages, were expected to
undergo training at the hands of the chorus-master and take their
allotted place in the public celebrations. To this day you may sometimes
see on festive occasions well-dressed men and women joining with the
children in a choral dance on the public road.

One great defect in the Spartan discipline was the want of a natural
home-life for the growth of family affection and social culture. Their
city was more like an armed camp in the midst of a hostile population
than the capital of a civilised state. The military distinction to which
they sacrificed everything else fostered a spirit of imperious pride,
which became their ruling passion, as it was indeed their chief reward
for their unsparing self-denial. For a long time they were regarded as
practically invincible, so much so that when nearly 300 of them
surrendered at Sphacteria to an immensely superior force of Athenians,
it created quite a sensation throughout Greece. The description of them
given by Demaratus to Xerxes, that Spartans must either conquer or die,
expressed the character which they not only claimed for themselves but
which was popularly attributed to them by the whole Hellenic race, and
it procured for them an honourable reception wherever they appeared in
time of peace. In war they had the support of the periœci, as they
were called, the inhabitants of the country towns and more mountainous
parts of Laconia, to whom they conceded


The lower ranges of Taÿgetus above Sparta, strangely suggesting both in
form and colour the front view of a line of gigantic elephants, afford a
fine contrast to the sharp angles of the snowy heights above. The point
of view is immediately in front of the new museum; and the houses at the
foot of the mountain belong to the east end of new Sparta. A Græco-Roman
sarcophagus of marble and architectural fragments are lying in the

freedom but no political rights. In general, their relations with these
people were friendly enough. It was owing to the need of providing an
outlet for the surplus rural population and meeting their aspirations
that the colony of Tarentum was founded in 707 B.C. The colonising of
Thera (Santorin--which became in turn the mother of the Greek colony of
Cyrene in North Africa), and the Dorian settlements in the south-west of
Asia Minor, took place much earlier.

The number of fully qualified Spartan citizens was never very great,
some 8000 or 9000, with a tendency to decrease owing to the subdivision
of family property rendering them unable to contribute their quota to
the public mess, debarred as they were from engaging in agriculture or
other industry. They had constantly to guard against a revolt on the
part of the helots or slave population, who were bound to the soil and
cultivated the lands of their Spartan masters. They availed themselves
of their services as light-armed troops, but so suspicious were they of
them that they never hung up their shields without detaching their
holding-rings from them, for fear they might be snatched up and used
against them. Their treatment of the helots was frequently cruel and
oppressive. They had a system of secret police, under which three
hundred of their strongest young men were charged with the duty of
detecting any signs of disloyalty among the serfs, and putting the
suspected to death without a trial. At the time of the Peloponnesian war
they were believed to have been guilty of an atrocity of this kind of a
peculiarly revolting character, when they were in great dread of a
native insurrection. They announced that liberty was to be conferred on
those who had distinguished themselves in the recent war, and invited
all such to apply for their reward. A great many did so, and about two
thousand of them were formally emancipated, and led in procession to the
temples with wreaths upon their heads. But immediately afterwards they
all disappeared, put to death in some mysterious way, which was never
made public. This we have from Thucydides, a contemporary historian.

Such things were little fitted to make Sparta a “Liberator of the
Greeks,” as she professed to be when seeking to crush the imperial power
of Athens; and, as soon as her military power began to decline, she
gradually lost her influence. Yet it should not be forgotten that after
the battle of Ægospotami (404 B.C.), when the Athenian empire was
shattered and its capital lay at the mercy of the Peloponnesian allies,
the Spartans refused to assent to the proposal of Corinth and Thebes
that Athens should be destroyed and its inhabitants sold into
slavery--declaring that they could never be a party to such treatment of
a city which had laid all Greece under obligations by its conduct at the
time of the Persian invasion. It is also to the credit of Sparta that as
late as 338 B.C. she, alone of all the Greek states, refused to submit
to Philip, who ravaged her territory, but failed to take the city, as
Epaminondas had also failed to do, when he occupied the country a
generation before. A hundred years later an earnest attempt was made by
two Spartan kings, Agis IV. and Cleomenes III., to revive the ancient
discipline and government; and some measure of immediate success was
attained. But it was only the last flicker of the expiring flame. The
battle of Sellasia in 221 B.C. put an end for ever to the Heracleid
kingdom, and in the next generation Philopœmen abolished what was
still left of the Lycurgean constitution. Thenceforth the greatness of
Sparta was a thing of the past.

“These are the walls of Lacedæmon,” said Agesilaus on one occasion, as
he pointed to the citizens in arms. The truth of his words was proved
more than once, as we have just seen. But he might also have pointed to
the mountain barriers by which the country was hemmed in on every side
except towards the sea, where invaders were confronted by a dangerous
and inhospitable coast. The city described by Thucydides lay on the
western side of the river Eurotas, in a plain four or five miles in
breadth and about eighteen miles in length. It presented the appearance
of a number of adjoining villages, built on low hills; and in this
respect it has been compared to ancient Rome. The situation is
beautiful, especially as one looks west upon the grand range of
Taÿgetus, its lower slopes and valleys clothed with the richest
vegetation, while its serried peaks, extending for miles towards Cape
Matapan on the south, rise into the region of perpetual snow. The site
of the ancient city is for the most part covered over with olive-groves
and corn-fields and other vegetation. Traces of a large theatre have
been found, and there is a massive stone structure which goes by the
name of Leonidas’ tomb. There are a few other remains, but none of any
great interest.

A short distance to the south-east of Sparta, where the river Magoula
joins the Eurotas, on the top of steep cliffs, reaching in some places a
height of more than 700 feet, and approaching close to the east bank of
the Eurotas, lies the site of the ancient Therapne, which is now
generally identified with the Homeric Sparta. If the supposition be
correct, these heights were once the scene of palatial state and
splendour, with which the historic Sparta even in its best days had
nothing to compare. The foundations of a temple sacred to Menelaus and
Helen have been traced, and a great many little figures of lead have
been discovered, which served no doubt as votive offerings, while
fragments of unglazed Mycenæan pottery have also been found in the
immediate neighbourhood. According to tradition, there was here also a
temple to the Dioscuri--Castor and Pollux, half-brother and brother of
Helen; and here they were said to lie buried every alternate day, Pollux
having declined the offer of immortality from his father Zeus, unless it
were shared by his brother.

Two or three miles south of Sparta, on the west side of the river, in
the midst of a country abounding in fine fruit trees and rich cereal
crops, lay the ancient city of Amyclæ, which remained in the hands of
the Achæans for centuries after the Dorian invasion. On the top of an
adjoining hill the foundations of the

[Illustration: MISTRA, NEAR SPARTA

The eastern portico of the Pantanassa Church, with view over the valley
of the Eurotas.]

famous precinct of Apollo have been excavated, where the Hyacinthian
festival was celebrated from an early period in memory of a beautiful
youth whom Apollo was said to have accidentally killed in a game of
quoits. His tomb is under the altar of Apollo, a fact to be explained
perhaps by the worship of the Dorian Apollo having superseded the
earlier rites, though the name of Hyacinthus still survived. This
festival (connected with the vegetation of spring) and the Carnean
celebration of Apollo, as the horned cattle god, are often mentioned in
history as the cause of delay in military expeditions, no people being
more punctilious than the Spartans in attending to religious ordinances,
and paying heed to natural omens, such as earthquakes. On one occasion
the attendance at the Hyacinthia of a few soldiers on service at Corinth
cost the Spartan army the loss of a battalion which had been sent to
convoy them part of the way home, and in returning was cut to pieces by
the Athenian Iphicrates and his famous peltasts or slingers. The
importance of the sanctuary at Amyclæ is seen in the fact that the
treaty between Athens and Sparta in 421 B.C. was to be inscribed on a
column there, and also in the temple of Athena on the Acropolis of

A walk or ride of a few miles to the west, through an exuberant country,
brings you to the foot of a mountain called Mistra, which springs like
an offshoot from the roots of Taÿgetus. It looks small compared with the
giant range behind, but it is 2000 feet high, and commands one of the
most charming views in Greece, across the valley of the Eurotas and
down towards the gorge opening on the sea. The mediæval buildings
scattered over the mountain-side, and the well-cultivated fields and
gardens and terraces all around and beneath it, present a pleasing
contrast to the wild passes above, which include the famous Langada
pass, leading into the plains of Messenia. On the top of the hill there
is a citadel in a wonderfully good state of preservation, erected by the
Frankish knight, William de Ville-hardouin, in the middle of the
thirteenth century. Beneath it are the remains of a palace, once the
residence of the Governor of the Morea (who ranked next to the Byzantine
emperor), surrounded by a city which deprived Sparta of its importance
until the present century. The city is now greatly decayed, and the
buildings still in use are chiefly chapels and monasteries belonging to
the Greek Church, which, here as elsewhere, has had to surrender to the
Government much of its wealth to meet the educational needs of the

On the way between Sparta and Mistra you pass the mouth of a cave
opening downwards into the side of the mountain, which is pointed out as
the place called Cæadas into which the Spartans were in the habit of
casting criminals and weak or deformed children. It was here that
Aristomenes, the Messenian hero, was believed to have made a miraculous
escape from death. Along with fifty other Messenians he had been hurled
into the yawning recess, but by good luck, or the favour of the gods as
his friends asserted,


This drawing was sketched at the residence of the Papa of the ancient
metropolis church. On the higher slope of the mountain to the right is
the Pantanassa Church; below, to the left, part of the mediæval defences
of the town.]

he reached the bottom unhurt. Seeing no outlet he had resigned himself
to his fate, when his attention was attracted by a fox crawling among
the dead. He succeeded in getting hold of its tail, and, defending
himself from its bites as he best could with his cloak, he found himself
at the opening by which the fox had entered, and, by enlarging it a
little, contrived to make an exit for himself, reappearing safe and
sound, to the amazement both of friends and foes.

Modern Sparta, which is now the recognised capital of Laconia under the
Greek monarchy, lies a little to the south of the ancient site. It is a
well-built town, embosomed in gardens and orchards, with wide and
regular streets. There is a museum in it containing some venerable
relics, though, as yet, Laconia has not received from the excavator the
attention it deserves. The scenery is so beautiful, and there are so
many historic and prehistoric associations connected with the district,
that a few days may be spent in Sparta with great satisfaction, provided
comfortable quarters can be secured.



A peculiar interest attaches to Argolis, whether we regard it from a
historical or an archæological point of view. Its legendary history
carries us back to a period long anterior to the Siege of
Troy--according to some chronologists to the year 1860 B.C.--while the
excavations at Mycenæ and Tiryns have brought to light innumerable
relics of the Homeric or, rather, of a pre-Homeric age, and have
confirmed the tradition of a pre-historic connection between Argolis and

In the Argolic peninsula, which was at one time the chief seat of
civilisation in Greece, there were a number of cities of great
antiquity. The oldest of these was Argos, which lay (like the modern
town of 10,000 inhabitants) in the south-west of the plain, about four
and a half miles from the coast. In its immediate neighbourhood is the
Larissa, or acropolis, a conical hill nearly 1000 feet high, which is
now crowned with a mediæval citadel.

The oldest name associated with the place is Inachus. It is still borne
by the chief river, and its application to a mythical personage is
probably due to the agency of the river in the formation of the land by
its alluvial deposits. A later tradition tells of the arrival of a
family of immigrants from Egypt, the daughters of one Danaus, who
exerted such an influence on the life of the community that their
descendants share with the Argives the honour of being frequently
mentioned in the pages of Homer as the chief representatives of Greece.
The story of the enforced marriage of the Danaids with their fifty
cousins, the sons of Ægyptus, whose heads they cut off on the bridal
night, seems to have had its origin in some new system of irrigation at
the expense of the mountain springs and torrents which flow into the
plain. For their crime the Danaids are said to have been condemned to
pour water, in Hades, into leaky vessels--to which we may see something
analogous at the present day in the labours of the women employed to
water the fields of “thirsty Argos.” The next great name that meets us
is that of Perseus, who gained immortal fame by bringing home the head
of Medusa, which turned all who looked upon it into stone. With the help
of the Lycian Cyclopes Perseus was believed to have built the
fortifications of Tiryns and Mycenæ, and his son of the same name was
credited by Herodotus with being the founder of the royal dynasty of

As we approach the historic age, the figure of Adrastus comes
prominently into view. His fame was chiefly derived from the famous
Siege of Thebes, which he undertook for the purpose of restoring his
son-in-law Polyneices to the throne of his father Œdipus. After his
death Adrastus became an object of worship in Argos and the cities which
owned its suzerainty. We have an illustration of the close connection
which then subsisted between religion and politics in the fact that when
Cleisthenes, the “Tyrant” of Sicyon, wished to assert his independence
of Argos, he applied to Thebes for an image of Melanippus, the ancient
and powerful foe of Adrastus, so that, being introduced into the citadel
of Sicyon, he might put the other hero-god to flight. The same ruler
also paid a tribute to the influence of poetry when he forbade Homer to
be recited in Sicyon, because the great bard said too much about the
glory of Argos.

The most noted ruler of Argos in historic times was Pheidon (_c._ 750
B.C.), whose dominion extended over Sicyon, Phlius, Trœzen,
Epidaurus, and Ægina. He left his mark on the Peloponnesus by
introducing coinage in electrum and silver, and a new system of weights
and measures, apparently borrowed from the Phœnicians, which received
the name of _Æginetan_ from its chief commercial centre, in the same way
as the system in vogue among the Ionian Greeks received the name of
_Eubœic_. According to Herodotus the Argolic territory at one time
included all the eastern coast, down to Cape Malea. But the Spartans
gradually encroached upon it, till their country became the premier
state of Greece, of which we have one of the earliest indications in the
fact that it was to Sparta Crœsus made his appeal for support in 547

[Illustration: ARGOS AND LARISSA

To the left the principal church of the modern town of Argos. Behind the
town rises the splendid mass of Larissa, the Acropolis of the ancient
city, with mediæval fortifications on its summit. Half-way up lies the
romantically situated convent of the Panagia.]

Argos played an ignoble part at the time of the Persian invasion. It
refused to make common cause with Sparta, unless a thirty years’ truce
were concluded between the two states, and the honour of commanding the
allied forces were shared equally between them--a demand to which Sparta
could not accede, though willing to admit the king of Argos to an
equality with her own two kings. In spite of the abstention of Argos the
two neighbouring cities of Mycenæ and Tiryns each sent a contingent to
Thermopylæ and Platæa, and it was partly in revenge for this that Argos
in 468 B.C. took possession of these cities and deprived them of their
liberties. The comparative insignificance of Mycenæ from this time
forward accounts for Argos being so often substituted for it by the
friendly dramatists of Athens, as the scene of the great tragedies in
the family of Agamemnon. With all its pride in its mythical glory, Argos
never produced any great man after Pheidon--unless we give it credit for
its remote connection with Alexander the Great, who claimed to be
descended from an Argive exile who settled in Macedonia. Argos had the
opportunity more than once of becoming the head of a league against
Sparta, and at one time it had a strong military force in its
“Thousand,” a highly trained and well-equipped regiment composed of
young men belonging to its best families; but it was weakened by
internal dissensions between the oligarchic and democratic parties, and
never enjoyed more than a very brief ascendency. At one time its
citizens made an attempt, with the help of Alcibiades and the
Athenians, to connect the city with the sea by means of long walls like
those of Athens, but the Spartans interfered and soon put a stop to the

In its wars with Sparta Argos sought more than once to take advantage of
the religious scruples of the enemy. This happened especially in
connection with the festival of Carnean Apollo (a deity worshipped by
them both), the date of which the Argives varied to suit their own
convenience, alleging the celebration of it as a reason why military
operations should be suspended. To guard against such strategy,
Agesipolis, the Spartan king, on one occasion obtained authority from
the oracles of Delphi and Olympia to disregard such a fictitious claim.
Having crossed the border he was challenged by two heralds wearing the
insignia of their office, on the ground that it was a time of holy
truce; to which Agesipolis replied that he had the warrant of the gods
to disobey their commands. The same evening there was a shock of
earthquake, whereupon the Spartans sang the pæan to Apollo and expected
an order to retreat; but the king declared that as the earthquake had
not happened till after he had crossed the frontier he regarded it as a
favourable omen. He proceeded to ravage the country, and had reached the
gates of Argos when a flash of lightning killed several of his men,
whereupon he at once beat a retreat.

In the previous century a great outrage upon religion had been committed
by a Spartan king, Cleomenes, who afterwards went mad and committed
suicide. Having driven 6000 Argive troops into the sacred grove of
Apollo, close to the city, he set fire to the grove and put the 6000 men
to death, inducing many of them to quit their place of refuge on the
understanding that their lives would be spared. He then went with a
thousand men to the temple of Hera, a few miles distant, and insisted on
sacrificing to the goddess in spite of the rule of the sanctuary, by
which it was forbidden to strangers; and when admission was refused he
caused the priest to be dragged from the altar and scourged. To the
great displeasure of his countrymen, however, he carried the war against
Argos no farther, alleging as his reason that the light on the altar had
flashed upon him from the bosom of the statue of the goddess, not from
her head.

Although the chief Dorian temple in the district was that on the summit
of Larissa in honour of Apollo, the Heræum, just referred to, was a much
more ancient sanctuary, and was probably the original seat of the
worship of Hera in Greece. Of this we have a token in the discovery
among its ruins of an Egyptian scarab with cartouche, supposed to be of
Thothmes III. (fifteenth century B.C.). Thucydides reckoned the date of
the Peloponnesian war by the priestly registers in this temple, which
seem to have been even older than the Olympian lists. The earliest
priestess is said to have been Io, identified with the moon, whom Zeus
transformed into a cow, and whose wanderings, imposed upon her by the
jealous goddess, extended to the crossing of the Thracian straits,
thence called Bosporus (Ox-ford or Cow-ford).

During the priesthood of Chryso, about a thousand years later (423
B.C.), the temple was destroyed by fire owing to the upsetting of a lamp
by the aged priestess while she was asleep. A splendid new temple was
soon erected on an adjacent site, but only the foundations of it can now
be traced, with some remains also of the older building at a still lower
level. Another priestess was Cydippe, whose two sons, Cleobis and
Beiton, in the absence of oxen, drew her in a cart all the way from
Argos to the Heræum, a distance of seven miles. In the joy and pride of
her heart the mother prayed the goddess to give her sons the best gift
that could fall to the lot of man. The consequence was that the young
men, having fallen asleep in the sanctuary after sacrificing and
feasting, awoke no more, the goddess thus signifying that death was
better than life. Pausanias tells us that the temple contained a wooden
image of Hera, which had been removed from the conquered city of Tiryns,
and also an image of the goddess in gold and ivory, the work of
Polycleitus. A good many fragments of the ancient sculpture have been
brought to light, and not a few of them are built into Christian
churches and other edifices in the neighbourhood, especially a church
dedicated to the Virgin, which is worth a visit on this account.

The Heræum will always have a charm for the classical scholar as the
spot where Agamemnon was solemnly acknowledged as their leader by the
assembled Greeks before setting out for Troy. It is significant that
Hera is represented as devoted to the Greeks all


The gorge to the right is the valley which served as a defence for the
Acropolis on the south side. The piece of road to the left is within a
few paces of the famous bee-hive tomb known as the Treasury of

through the Trojan war, and even before it; and perhaps the proximity of
her shrine to Mycenæ, which was only a few miles distant, may help to
account for the prominence of that city and its prince in the story of
the war.

After being depopulated by the Argives, Mycenæ seems to have been for a
long time comparatively deserted, and even now it presents very much the
same appearance as it did when seen by Pausanias nearly eighteen hundred
years ago. Nowhere has the spade achieved greater triumphs than in this
venerated spot. The story of Schliemann’s excavations, both here and at
Troy, is one of the romances of the nineteenth century. From his
childhood everything mysterious had a fascination for him, and he was
possessed with a passionate admiration for the heroes of the _Iliad_.
Though he was early thrown upon his own resources to earn a livelihood,
and had a hard struggle for many years, he found time for the study of
Greek and other languages, which he mastered chiefly by committing whole
books to memory. Having succeeded in amassing wealth he devoted the
remainder of his life to the interests of Greek archæology, cherishing
his faith in the Homeric legends in spite of much ridicule, poured upon
him sometimes by men of the greatest learning, until at length he was
rewarded by discoveries which surpassed his fondest expectations. His
conclusions may not all be sound. For example, it is the opinion of
Zountas, the eminent Greek archæologist, in view of all the facts which
have come to light, that the bodies found in the shaft-graves within
the citadel were not, as Schliemann supposed, the remains of Agamemnon
and other members of the house of Pelops, to whose graves Pausanias
alludes, but those of an earlier Perseid dynasty, and that the beehive
tombs found outside the citadel are those of Agamemnon and other
Atreidan kings, being similar to a considerable number of other tombs
found on the eastern side of Greece as far north as Thessaly. With this
agrees the fact that the famous lion-gate and the adjoining part of the
wall are not built in the same Cyclopean style as the rest of the wall,
the latter being composed of rough blocks piled one upon another without
order, and kept in position by means of small stones and clay inserted
between them, while the portions above referred to are composed of
carefully-hewn stones of a polygonal shape, fitting into one another.

A prodigious quantity of pottery and other productions of art in gold,
bronze, stone, and other materials, has been discovered in the graves
and elsewhere at Mycenæ. Such variety do the treasures now stored in the
Museum at Athens display that they are supposed to represent a period of
artistic development extending from about 1600 to 1100 B.C. Among other
things found were an ostrich egg, articles made of ivory, and a great
number of amber beads, proving a connection both with Africa and the
Baltic. Some of the artistic designs, too, such as those in which the
papyrus and the lotus appear, show traces of intercourse with Egypt,
which might also be inferred from the discovery of Mycenæan pottery at
Thebes in that country. It is at Hissarlik (Troy), however, and in
certain islands in the Ægean Sea, especially Crete, that the chief
evidence of a civilisation like that of Mycenæ has been discovered. It
is the opinion of experts that its origin may go as far back as 2500
B.C., and that its development in Crete may have been contemporaneous
with the maritime empire which was associated with the name of Minos,
whose influence extended as far as Sicily on the west, and which could
hardly fail to be in touch with Asia Minor, Phœnicia, and Egypt.
Whether the Mycenæan civilisation was due to the Achæan race of warriors
described in Homer, or to Pelasgians, or to the Phœnicians, has not
yet been fully determined. In some respects it does not tally with the
conditions of the heroic age, of which Homer sings. For example, very
few traces of iron have been found compared with what we might have
expected from the number of allusions to it in Homer. The same is the
case as regards the safety-pins for fastening the seamless garments
which the Achæans wore. Moreover, Homer represents burning, not burial,
as the usual mode of disposing of the dead. But it is possible that
these differences may have belonged to different stages in the history
of the Achæan civilisation, which was probably in a state of decadence
when Homer wrote. In any case the places to which he gives prominence
are generally found to have been centres of the civilisation in
question. With regard to Mycenæ in particular, the epithets applied to
it by the poet--“abounding in gold” and a “well-built city”--are
singularly appropriate. Apart from its legendary dignity as the capital
city of the “king of men,” there can be no doubt that Mycenæ was a place
of great wealth and importance, partly owing to its trade in pottery and
other works of art, but chiefly, perhaps, to its commanding position on
the highway of commerce between Nauplia and Corinth--in other words,
between the Argolic Gulf on the south and the Corinthian and Saronic
Gulfs on the north. The latter point is emphasised by a recent writer in
the _Edinburgh Review_, who says: “Mycenæ is on the flank of the hills,
and possesses good springs, that great treasure in the thirsty plains of
Argolis. Its fine military position is guarded by rocky defiles. Its
watch-towers command every vale from which a land force could attack,
and every space of sea-coast that might reveal a pirate’s raid. It is
the very gate of the pass that leads from the plain of Argos to the
beach of Corinth, and to this day the train takes travellers past its
portals from Nauplia to the north-western gulf. Such land passages as
this, from one sea to another, were of the highest importance to
merchant-shipping in the old days of small light vessels, and continued
to be so until comparatively recent times. The riches of the barons of
Mycenæ were solely due to the fact that they could levy toll on passing
caravans of merchandise without fear of an overlord. It was to guard the
fortune thus amassed that the ramparts were constructed, which the


The mass of so-called cyciopean masonry, on the right, buttresses the
upper part of the Acropolis of Mycenæ. The wall at right angles to it
contains the Lion Gate, and the large triangular stone above the lintel
is the back of the well-known relief of lions or lionesses _regardant_,
probably the most ancient piece of sculpture in Greece. In the
foreground is shown the singular double wall and gateway of the
enclosure, called by Schliemann the Agora, within which he found the
treasures of Mycenæan art now in the Central Museum in Athens.]

antiquarian (who could not see over them) describes as ‘built for the
love of building.’”

The modern traveller can hardly fail to be struck, as Thucydides was,
with the limited dimensions of a city which is said to have sent a
hundred ships to Troy, besides providing sixty for the Arcadians, while
Athens only sent fifty. But it is evident from the ruins that the city
was not confined within the walls; and, after all, the size of a city,
like that of a country, is not always a safe criterion of its wealth and
influence. According to Pausanias, the only genuine work of Hephæstus
that was to be seen in his day was the sceptre which that divine
artificer presented to Zeus, and which Zeus gave to Hermes, and Hermes
to Pelops, and Pelops to Atreus, and Atreus to his brother Thyestes, and
Thyestes to Agamemnon, that he might “have dominion over many islands
and over all Argos.”

A still older and better preserved specimen of the Homeric citadel and
palace is to be seen at Tiryns, the fabled residence of Heracles, which
lies about a mile from the sea, near the marshy land in which the famous
steeds of Argos probably found pasture. It is situated on a long rocky
hillock, less than 100 feet above the level of the sea, which was no
doubt once an island, before the alluvial deposits from the mountain
sides had encroached so far on the domain of Poseidon. Its walls, to
which Homer alludes, form one of the most striking monuments of the
heroic age. They are in some places considerably over fifty feet thick,
and the stones of which they are composed are of great size, from six
to ten feet long, and about three feet in height and in thickness. But
though the stones are larger than those of Mycenæ they show more signs
of hewing, and were originally held together by clay mortar. In the
palace at the southern end, of which the ground plan can be distinctly
traced, one can recognise a general similarity to the Homeric palace. In
the chief entrance, which is evidently the archetype of the propylæa at
Athens, one can see the hole in the door-post and the adjoining wall,
into which the great wooden bar was shot when the door was open. After
passing through a spacious circular court with an altar of Zeus in the
centre, you enter through a portico into the chief apartment or hall.
Round the hearth in the centre stood the four pillars which supported
the roof. It was against one of these pillars that Odysseus was told he
would find the queen Areté sitting in the palace of Alcinous, spinning
purple wool in the light of the fire. You can also identify the
bathroom, with its solid limestone floor, and can even see a terra-cotta
fragment of the well-polished tubs referred to by the great minstrel,
with receptacles in the wall, probably intended for the oil which was
considered indispensable after the bath. Wall-paintings have also been
discovered and specimens of a frieze of a bluish colour, supposed to be
the _kuanos_ referred to in Homer as adorning the walls of the Phæacian
palace. With the exception of the lower parts, a few feet high, the
walls were evidently built of wood or clay, and appear to have been


The gate post to the left (west) 10½ feet high, is complete, with the
rebate and the hole for the insertion of the strong bar to secure the
gate. Only half of the right (eastern) post remains. Over it we see the
massive outer rampart between the main gate and the gate of the Upper

by fire, of which the stone shows traces. At a lower level the
foundations of a still older building can be seen. Among other things
found among the ruins were many little figures of cows in terra-cotta,
supposed to have been connected with the worship of Hera, who is often
styled Cow-faced (_Bo-opis_) in Homer.

About two and a half miles from Tiryns, on a small peninsula which juts
out into the sea, there is now a thriving little town of 6000
inhabitants, called Nauplia. According to Pausanias its original
inhabitants came from Egypt, and its name would lead one to suppose that
they were known as seafaring people. In historic times they were driven
out by the Argives and took refuge in Mothone, which was granted to them
by the Spartans. Nauplia then became the general harbour for the people
of Argolis. Its military importance was recognised in later times by the
Byzantines, the Venetians, and the Turks, who have successively left
their mark upon its fortifications. The capture of Nauplia from the
Turks in 1822 was a great encouragement to the insurgent Greeks. It
became the capital of the country under the first Greek government, and
was also the scene of the assassination of its first president,
Capodistrias. It was at Nauplia that Otho made his entry into Greece in
1833 as the sovereign-elect, and it was among the soldiers of its
garrison that the revolt began which compelled him to resign his crown,
about thirty years later. The modern name of the city, Napoli de Romania
(Naples of Greece), betokens the beauty of its situation. There are few
more pleasing views in Greece than is seen in fine weather from the top
of the rocky hill which rises in the neighbourhood to a height of 700
feet, and which is supposed to owe its name (Palamidi) to the heroic
Palamedes, son of Nauplius, who is credited in the _Iliad_ with being
the author of so many inventions.

To the north-east of Nauplia lies one of the most attractive spots in
the Argolid, namely Epidaurus. The town of that name was close to the
coast, opposite to Ægina, which was once tributary to it. But the ruins
of the greatest interest are some five miles inland, in the precinct
sacred to Asclepios, the god of healing, who was said to have been born
in this neighbourhood as the child of Apollo and a nymph, and to have
been suckled by a goat on Mount Titthion. Epidaurus thus became the
headquarters of the healing art for all the votaries of Asclepios, both
in Greece and Asia Minor. The sacred precinct or _Hieron_ was of great
extent. Besides the temple, it contained almost everything that could be
desired in a health resort, such as a music-hall, a theatre (which is
still in a wonderful state of preservation and is the finest in Greece),
a hospital and baths, a gymnasium and a race-course. Part of the
sanctuary was set apart for the patients seeking the aid of the god, who
was generally supposed to communicate with them in their sleep. There
were many votive offerings and inscriptions telling of wonderful cures,
and when we take into account the influence of religious faith in such a
case, and the salutary air of a fine hill-country, we can


The great headland to the right, crowned by the fortress of Palamidi,
overlooks the town of Nauplia. The golden-brown hill to the left is the
ancient acropolis or fortress of Tiryns, the exploration of which by Dr.
Schliemann was an event of hardly less importance than his famous
discoveries at Mycenæ.]

hardly wonder at the great hygienic reputation of the place. The dog and
the serpent are almost always associated with Asclepios in pictorial
representations, the serpent entwined around his staff, and both animals
figure prominently in the stories of miraculous cure, the dog sometimes
licking the sores of the patient. How the serpent was so highly esteemed
is not very clear. But it became the great emblem of the healing art,
perhaps owing to the silence and subtlety of its movements and its
connection with the underground world. The Epidaurians always took it
with them when they went to found a colony; and on one occasion, when
ambassadors, in obedience to an oracle, came from Rome in a time of
pestilence, seeking the help of the god, the serpent was sent back with
them as his representative.

One of the most interesting ruins of the place is the _Tholos_, a kind
of rotunda, more than 100 feet in diameter, of which only the ground
parts are standing. These consist of six concentric walls, the three
innermost of which supported a circular floor or platform, paved with
black and white marble, with a hole in the centre, the purpose of which
is not very clear, whether for offering sacrifice, which is suggested by
the name of _Thumela_ applied to the building, or for drawing water from
beneath. The fourth of the circular walls just mentioned, counting from
the centre, supported fourteen Corinthian pillars of marble, the fifth a
wall above the ground, the sixth an exterior colonnade with twenty-six
columns. The three underground walls nearest the centre, forming a
vault, have doors in them by which you can pass from one to the other,
but so arranged as to form a labyrinth. An inscription shows that the
building was erected by contract and took twenty-one years to finish.
The contract was in the hands of two sets of commissioners, the one
having charge of giving it out, the other being entrusted with the duty
of seeing that the work was properly done. The list of contractors shows
that many different cities had an interest in the undertaking.


Presumably the work of the younger Polykleitos; the auditorium
(_koilon_) hollowed out of the side of the hill, as is usual in Greek
theatres. In the _diazoma_, or horizontal gangway, half-way up the side
of the auditorium, are thrones or seats of honour. The orchestra, marked
by a circle of white marble, is clearly shown, and also the foundations
of the stage buildings. By an act of barbarism, which has sadly ruined
the artistic interest of this, the most beautiful ancient Greek theatre,
the marble proscenium decorated with engaged Ionic columns has been
removed, as not being part of the original design of the building. One
of the great gateways opening into the passage (parados) leading to the
orchestra occupies the lower middle part of the drawing.]



By its geographical position Corinth seems to have been predestined to
commercial greatness. While it commanded the land route from the
Peloponnesus to continental Greece, its two harbours on either side of
the isthmus, opening, the one on the Corinthian, and the other on the
Saronic Gulf, made it a natural emporium for East and West. There was no
reason indeed why its military power should not have been as
distinguished as its opulence. Its great acropolis (Acro-Corinthus, as
it was called), a precipitous mountain nearly 1900 feet high, rising
abruptly out of the plain and commanding a view of nearly the half of
Greece, with a plateau on its summit large enough to accommodate
thousands of men, was marked out by nature as an impregnable fortress.
But, whether owing to the Phœnician element in the population or to
the peace-making tendencies of its commercial pursuits, Corinth was
never of very much account in war, though it was the first city in
Greece to build a navy.

One of the most famous of its early kings was Sisyphus, whose name is
supposed to have been a reduplication of the Greek word _sophos_. His
wisdom, however, seems to have been of a mean and sinister kind, better
described as cunning, if we may judge from some of the illustrations of
it which have come down to us. According to a well-known tradition he
was condemned by Zeus to the hopeless and never-ending task, in Hades,
of pushing a stone up the side of a mountain, from which it always
rolled back before he could place it securely on the summit--an
appropriate enough punishment for a man who had been guilty of murdering
travellers as they crossed the isthmus by rolling down great stones upon
them from the mountains.

His beautiful grandson, Bellerophon, was a man of a different type. His
incorruptible virtue, when tempted by the queen of Argos, and the divine
protection granted to him in all the perils to which, like Joseph in
Egypt, he was exposed--culminating in his marriage to the King of
Lycia’s daughter with half the kingdom for a dowry--formed a pleasing
theme for ancient poets and moralists. According to one tradition, it
was the hoof of his winged horse Pegasus that struck the first water
from the fountain Peirene, on the top of Acro-Corinthus. According to
another account the spring was a gift to Sisyphus from the river Asopus,
for having given information against Zeus in a matter affecting his
family welfare.

Another famous name was that of Creon, King of Corinth, whose daughter
Glauké came to such a tragic end. According to the common version of
the story, Jason had come to Corinth with his wife Medea, by whose aid
he had succeeded in bringing back the Golden Fleece from Colchis.
Forgetful of his vows, he fell in love with Glauké and was about to
marry her, when the enraged Medea, who was skilled in the magical arts
of the East, sent the bride a beautiful undergarment, which, as soon as
it was put on, set fire to the wearer. Pausanias mentions a fountain
into which Glauké threw herself in her agony, and within the last few
years the enclosed well referred to has been brought to light.

After a long line of kings the Bacchiadæ are said to have come into
power, ruling jointly, with one of their number as president, until the
government was usurped by Cypselus, one of those “tyrants” who figure so
prominently in Greek history during the seventh and sixth centuries B.C.
Among the finest votive offerings at Olympia was an elaborately-carved
chest dedicated by his descendants, the Cypselids, to commemorate the
preservation of his life while he was an infant. His birth had been
heralded by oracles which portended destruction to the ruling clan, from
which his mother was sprung, and messengers were sent to Petra, where
his parents lived, to take the child’s life. They had arranged that the
first of them who should receive the child in his arms should dash it to
the ground. But when the unsuspecting mother put it into the hands of
one of them, he was so touched by a smile on the face of the infant that
he passed it on to the second, and so on, till they had all failed to
carry out their cruel design. On leaving the house they began to
reproach one another for their weakness of purpose, and agreed to go in
again and all take a share in the deed. But the mother had overheard the
conversation, and succeeded in saving the child’s life by concealing it
in a chest, for which reason it was called Cypselus.

Cypselus was succeeded by his son Periander, who ruled with a rod of
iron, but brought the country to a still higher degree of prosperity
than it had ever attained before. According to Herodotus, his cruel
policy of destroying men of light and leading among his subjects had
been learned from Thrasybulus of Miletus, to whom he sent a deputy for
advice as to the best means of securing his position. Thrasybulus said
nothing, but took his visitor into a corn-field, and as they passed
along cut down all the high and heavy stalks which attracted his
attention. According to Aristotle, however, Periander was the teacher of
this lesson, not the learner. He was succeeded by a son, who was soon
driven from the throne. A democratic government was then established,
which continued, with the occasional rise of an oligarchy, for several
centuries. So deep was the impression made on the Corinthians by the
cruelty of their despots, that when a conference was held at Sparta some
time afterwards for the purpose of considering a proposal to restore the
Peisistratid dynasty to Athens, the Corinthian deputy made a strong and
eloquent protest against it, and the design had to be abandoned.


The five columns to the right belong to the Western Peristyle, and the
two columns in front of us to the Southern Peristyle. These columns are
all monolithic. The remains of the Temple at Corinth are amongst the
most ancient existing monuments of Doric architecture. Above the Temple
to the right is the lofty Acropolis of Corinth (the Acro-Corinthus),
with the mediæval fortifications on its summit. Careful observers will
notice that the capital of the near column has been turned round on its
shaft, no doubt owing to the action of earthquakes.]

The unhappy relations of Corinth to her colony Corcyra have already been
alluded to (p. 9). On the other hand, there are few brighter pages in
the annals of Greece than the story of the deliverance of Syracuse,
another of her colonies, from the tyranny of Dionysius by Timoleon, one
of the best and greatest of her sons. Timoleon had lived in retirement
for twenty years, owing to a crushing sorrow which had befallen him in
connection with the death of his brother Timophanes, who had sought to
make himself master of the city. Timoleon went up to the citadel with
one or two other patriotic men to remonstrate with the new despot, who
was bringing in a reign of terror. Timophanes was obdurate, and from
angry words the parties came to blows, with the result that the usurper
was slain. Timoleon himself took no part in the affray, his heart being
torn with conflicting emotions, owing to his love for his brother, whose
life he had once heroically saved in battle. His position excited
general sympathy, but in some quarters he was blamed for his brother’s
death, and his mother was inexorable in her bitter grief, refusing ever
to look upon his face again. After his long and sad seclusion he was now
called by the voice of the assembled people to take command of the
expedition to Sicily, the task having been declined by many of the
leading men. He accepted the commission; and with such signal success
did he execute it, with very limited means at his command, that his
achievements were universally attributed to the favour of the gods. He
was equally eminent for courage and sagacity. On one occasion, when he
was about to encounter a Carthaginian army many times greater than his
own, he met some mules carrying burdens of parsley, which was generally
used for putting on tombstones. The evil omen struck the imagination of
his soldiers and their hearts were beginning to sink, when Timoleon,
seizing some of the parsley, made a wreath of it and put it on his head,
exclaiming that it was their Corinthian emblem of victory which fortune
was now putting in their way. His officers followed his example, the
result being that the spirits of the army rose, and they went forward to
a glorious victory. As soon as he had restored freedom and order
throughout the island he invited the citizens of Syracuse to join with
him in pulling down the tyrant’s stronghold, setting up courts of
justice in its place. He then resigned his commission, refusing to
accept any official position in the state, of which he had been
virtually the restorer. But so deep was the impression made on the
community by his great and disinterested services that whenever there
was a serious difference of opinion on any public question he was called
in as umpire. He lost his eyesight towards the end of his life, and
Cornelius Nepos gives a touching picture of the acclamation with which
he would be greeted by the assembly when he was led into the hall seated
on his car, from which the mules had been unyoked, to hear some question
referred to him, and of the profound respect with which his judgment
would be received. One of the results of Timoleon’s mission to Sicily
was that the dethroned Dionysius was brought over to Corinth, and spent
the remainder of his life there in very humble circumstances. He made a
livelihood by teaching reading and singing, and for a while he was as
great an object of interest in the city as Napoleon the Great would have
been if he had been sent to London instead of St. Helena.

Owing to its geographical position Corinth was frequently the scene of
conference between different Greek states. In 337 B.C. a general
congress was summoned by Philip for the purpose of obtaining approval of
his scheme for the invasion of Persia in his new rôle as the head of
Greece. The desired assent was given (Sparta alone withholding it), but
the scheme was never carried out, owing to the assassination of Philip
by an aggrieved member of his bodyguard. In the midst of splendid
festivities to celebrate his daughter’s marriage to the King of Epirus
and the birth of a son to himself by his new wife, the exultant king,
clothed in white, was about to enter the crowded theatre at the end of a
solemn procession, in which statues of the twelve great divinities of
Olympus were followed by an image of himself--when, suddenly, the fatal
blow was struck that put an end for ever to his hope of further
conquest. Within two months after the death of his father, Alexander was
marching with an army through Greece, and at another congress held in
Corinth he had the same honours voted to him as his father had received.
The following year (335 B.C.) Alexander was again at Corinth, seeing
Greece for the last time, although he was only twenty-one years old. It
was on this occasion that he was so taken with the amazing
self-sufficiency of the cynical philosopher who had nothing better to
ask of the young potentate, when he was honoured with a visit, than to
request him to stand out of his sunshine. “If I were not Alexander,”
exclaimed the monarch, “I would be Diogenes.”

At a later time Corinth played a prominent part in connection with the
Achæan League. The story of the capture of Acro-Corinthus from the
Macedonians by Aratus on a moonlit night, so graphically told by
Plutarch, is one of the most interesting passages in any of his
biographies. A hundred years afterwards (146 B.C.) the forwardness of
Corinth in an attempt to throw off the Roman yoke led to its complete
destruction and depopulation by the Roman consul, L. Mummius. In the
next century, however, Julius Cæsar saw the vast capabilities of the
site, and planted on it a Roman colony, which led to such a development
of trade that in the first century of the Christian era it was again one
of the most flourishing cities of Greece.

Of its wealth and magnificence very slight traces now remain. The most
imposing ruin is that of a Dorian temple of Apollo, dating from the
sixth or seventh century B.C. Seven of its columns, with a portion of
the architrave, have braved the storm for 2600 years and escaped the
hand of the destroyer. These monoliths, about 23½ feet high and fully 5½
feet thick, tapering upwards, form a most impressive monument. Two other
columns have recently been discovered


An encampment on the site of the _cella_ of the Temple.]

below ground by the American School of Archæology, to which we are also
indebted for the identification of the fountain of Glauké, already
mentioned, and that of the lower Peirene, with the masonry surrounding
them. Marble propylæa, leading to the market-place, and a theatre have
also been uncovered. On the top of Acro-Corinthus there was a temple of
Aphrodité, with a ritual borrowed from that of the Phœnician Astarté,
but scarcely any trace of it has been discovered, the remains being
principally those of fortifications, including some of such a primitive
and massive construction that the name of Cyclopean may be applied to

Scarcely anywhere do we find any sign of the “Corinthian” column, though
the _acanthus_ or thistle, which is said to have suggested that style of
decoration to Callimachus, may frequently be seen in the bare and arid
plain which forms the southern part of the isthmus. According to
Vitruvius, the Latin writer on architecture, the idea occurred to
Callimachus on seeing the acanthus growing over a basket which had been
placed by her old nurse on the grave of a young lady who had died on the
eve of her marriage. In the basket were deposited a number of little
things which had been dear to the lady in her childhood, and on the top
the nurse had placed a square flat tile to keep out the rain. When the
spring came round, a hidden acanthus root put forth its leaves, which
crept up the sides of the basket and coiled round the corners of the
tile like volutes; and it was in imitation of the beautiful appearance
thus presented that Callimachus designed the style of capital which
afterwards became famous as the Corinthian order.

Northward from the propylæa the road leads to the harbour of Lechæum,
about a mile and a half distant, and alongside of it traces of the two
long walls can still be seen. The harbour is now a lagoon, and that on
the eastern side of the isthmus at Cenchreæ is also desolate--a state of
things which contrasts sadly with what might have been seen as early as
700 B.C., when Corinth was famous for its shipping, and had just built
four triremes (full-deckers, with triple banks of oars) for the people
of Samos, who had never possessed such ships before. To many minds,
however, Cenchreæ suggests other thoughts, for it was there that
Phœbe, the prototype of Christian deaconesses, dwelt, whom St. Paul
commended to the Christians at Rome as “our sister, which is a servant
of the church which is at Cenchreæ.” Another thing that reminds us of
St. Paul is a fragment of marble in the local museum bearing the letters
... αγωγη εβ ..., the original having evidently been συναγωγη εβραιων,
recalling the fact mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles that Paul spent
a year and a half in Corinth with Aquila and Priscilla, in a house
adjoining the synagogue. At the little railway station of New Corinth we
had a proof how much more lasting may be the influence of the pen than
of the sword when we were offered a copy of the New Testament in Greek,
issued by the British and Foreign Bible Society. New Corinth lies to the
north-west of the ancient city, not very far from the Lechæan harbour.
It is a well-built little town of about 4000 inhabitants, and was
founded fifty years ago, when the old town was destroyed by an
earthquake--the third time that such a calamity had happened to it
during the Christian era. At no great distance are the traces of the
walls by which the Peloponnesian states at various periods attempted to
secure themselves against invasion from the north. Some remains have
also been found of the _diolkos_ or tramway, running across the
narrowest and lowest part of the isthmus, by which it was customary to
transport not only the freight of vessels but the vessels themselves,
while the passengers frequently walked across to the port on the other

The idea of cutting a canal is said to date as far back as the reign of
Periander, already mentioned, who was accounted one of the Seven Wise
Men of Greece. It was entertained by Demetrius Poliorcetes and Julius
Cæsar, but Nero was the first to make any serious attempt to carry it
out. “A great multitude of soldiers and prisoners, including apparently
6000 Jews sent by Vespasian from Judæa, were assembled at the isthmus,
and operations were begun with much solemnity, apparently about the end
of 67 A.D. The emperor himself, after chanting hymns in honour of the
marine deities, set the example by giving a few strokes with a golden
pickaxe, which the governor of Greece formally handed to him. Then the
multitude fell to work in earnest, the soldiers turning up the earth,
and the prisoners hewing at the rocks. A beginning was made on the
western side of the isthmus, but excavations had been carried for a
distance of only about four furlongs when they were suddenly suspended
in consequence of evil tidings which Nero received of conspiracies at
Rome and disaffection among the armies of the West.”[4]

The modern canal, which was undertaken by a French Company in 1881, was
completed by a Greek Company in 1893. To one sailing through it has a
much more striking appearance than the Suez Canal, owing to the height
of its banks on either side, for the most part cut out of sandy or
alluvial soil, and rising like walls to a height of more than 100 feet.
At one point the railway passes over it at a height of about 170 feet
above the water. The canal is about three and a half miles long. It
reduces the voyage from the Ionian Islands to Athens to about half the
distance involved in sailing round Cape Matapan, but unfortunately it is
too narrow (only about 75 feet wide) to be of much use for the larger
ships. As a rule it is only the Greek coasting vessels that take
advantage of it, and there is little or no prospect of its ever becoming
one of the great highways to the East.

Not far from the eastern end of the canal is the precinct that was
sacred to Poseidon, where the Isthmian Games were held every second
year. The stadium can still be traced, memorable, among other things, as
the scene of the inauguration of Alexander the Great as the acknowledged
prince of Greece, and of the proclamation of liberty to the Greeks, one
hundred and forty years


Sketch from the Messageries steamer _Nerthe_.]

afterwards, by the Roman Consul Flamininus. A little way south, on a
plateau about 300 feet high, are extensive remains of a city built out
of the rock, which may have been the prehistoric city of the isthmus,
referred to by Homer as “wealthy Ephyra.” Some twenty miles to the
south-west, on the way to Mycenæ, lies the secluded vale of Nemea, where
games were also celebrated every second year, consecrated by the
erection of a temple of Zeus, of which a number of beautiful columns are
still standing, while others lie prostrate on the ground. It was in this
woody district that the lion which Heracles slew, as the first of the
Twelve Labours imposed upon him by Eurysthenes, was supposed to have had
his lair.



Nowhere in Greece, nowhere perhaps in the ancient world, were the
geographical conditions more favourable to the growth of a genial,
intelligent, and energetic community than in Athens. The sky was bright,
the air pure, and the climate temperate. The soil, while not so rich as
to demoralise the inhabitants or to offer much inducement to an invader,
yielded its cultivators the means of subsistence in the form of figs,
olives, corn, and wine. At the same time the city enjoyed the advantage
of easy communication with other countries both by land and sea, being
situated on a plain which formed part of the continent of Europe, and
having on its projecting coast three safe and commodious harbours, which
gave it facilities for traffic in many different directions. For the
purpose of defence, its Acropolis, facing the sea a few miles off, and
backed at a considerable distance by a well-defined mountain frontier,
provided it with a natural stronghold in case of attack.

The Acropolis is only one of a number of heights


The position of the Propylæa, the magnificent gatehouse of Pentelic
marble designed by the architect Mnesicles, is admirably shown in this
drawing. All the five doorways, which were closed by doors of bronze,
are seen against the sky. Immediately to the left is the north wing (the
Pinacotheca); to the right the bastion surmounted by the little Niké
Temple. High above all rises the Parthenon. Coming down to the
foreground, we may note, on the right, the great supporting wall of the
Theatre of Herodes Atticus with the blue Hymettos behind it; and, to the
left, the pinkish coloured rock of the Areopagus, with Lycabettos

rising out of the plain in the neighbourhood of Athens, including
Lycabettus, Areopagus, Pnyx, and Museum Hill. Though not nearly so high
as Lycabettus, the Acropolis was better fitted for defence, as it was
almost inaccessible from all sides except the west, and had a flat
summit of considerable extent. In itself it is not equal to the Castle
Rock of “modern Athens,” being only 150 feet high, 1150 long, and about
500 in breadth. But it is a far more striking object from many points of
view, partly owing to its position on a rising ground, partly because it
is crowned with the noble ruins of the Parthenon. Many traces still
remain of its original fortifications, which were of a Cyclopean
character, and were attributed to the Pelasgian race. This name, indeed,
survives in the Pelasgicon (otherwise called Pelargicon), an elaborate
outwork consisting of a series of terraced battlements with nine gates
(Enneapylon), of which some remains can still be made out. On the
eastern side there can also be seen the lower courses of a wall which
had been built to fill up a depression in the hill.

Although Attica is not much more than half the size of Cornwall, there
was a time when its inhabitants were divided into many different
communities, practically independent of each other. The city of Athens
was then confined to the Acropolis and a small extent of ground in its
immediate neighbourhood on the south-east. According to tradition it was
Theseus who welded together the various demes or townships into one
organised community under his single rule; and in commemoration of this
rare achievement in Greek history the festival of Synœcia long
continued to be celebrated. Theseus is mentioned both in the _Iliad_ and
the _Odyssey_, and his two sons fought in the Trojan war, yet it was not
he but his successor Menestheus who commanded the Athenian forces in the
war, owing to certain impieties committed by him which entailed upon him
the loss of his crown. No hero was credited with more wonderful
performances than Theseus both by land and sea, and even in the
underground world, though his efforts there were not so successful. His
most memorable exploit in the eyes of the Athenians was the destruction
of the Minotaur, a monster with the body of a man and the head of a
bull, which was kept at Knossus, the capital of the Cretan empire of
Minos, and to which Athens had to devote a sacrifice of seven youths and
seven maidens every nine years. When the time came round Theseus
volunteered to accompany the victims, in order to deliver them; and with
the help of Ariadne, the king’s daughter, who furnished him with a clue
to the labyrinth in which the monster was confined and a sword, he
succeeded in his perilous mission, and brought back his young companions
safe and sound. He had arranged with his father Ægeus that in that event
he would hoist a white sail instead of the usual black one; but
unfortunately he omitted to give the sign, and the aged king, who was
looking out from the Acropolis, where the temple of Niké now stands,
being overcome with grief at the apparent failure of his son’s heroic
undertaking, threw himself down among the rocks and perished. According
to another version of the story, he was waiting on the shore and threw
himself into the sea. To commemorate the event embodied in this
tradition the Athenians were in the habit of sending a ship to Delos
every year to offer to Apollo a sacrifice of a less distressing nature.
During the month in which this took place, no public act was permitted
that was considered to be out of keeping with it, such as the execution
of a criminal; and it was owing to this that Socrates was so long
confined in prison after sentence of death had been passed upon him.

Theseus was believed to have given the Athenians his countenance and aid
at the battle of Marathon, and a few years afterwards they were
commanded by the Delphian oracle to bring back his bones from the island
of Scyros, where he had met a violent death. The injunction was obeyed
in 469 B.C. by Cimon, the son of Miltiades, who discovered a gigantic
skeleton, and brought it to Athens amid great rejoicing. It was then
reinterred in a sanctuary devoted to Theseus’ memory, which is often
mentioned by subsequent Greek writers, and afforded a refuge within its
spacious precincts to the poor and oppressed, whether bond or free, who
felt themselves to be in danger. Unfortunately the historical references
to this sanctuary, as well as the fact that it was in honour of a hero,
not of a god, forbid us to identify it with the noble Doric temple
standing between the Areopagus and the Agora or Market-place, which is
now commonly known as the Theseum. The probability is that the latter
building was a temple in honour of Hephæstus or of Hephæstus and
Athena. It is built of white Pentelic marble, with thirty-four columns
in all, the sculptures on it being of Parian marble, and is second only
to the Parthenon in majestic beauty. Traces of the bright red and blue
colouring, which was used even in the decoration of marble, can be
distinctly seen; and part of the coffered roof is still in position,
adorned with painted stars. During the Middle Ages it was turned into a
church dedicated to St. George, and it is doubtless owing to this cause
that it still survives in such an excellent state of preservation.

For centuries before the time of Theseus the Acropolis had been the seat
of a civilisation not much inferior to that of Mycenæ. Homer speaks of a
“well-built house of Erectheus” to which Athena used to repair; and on
the Acropolis, under what is believed to have been the earliest temple
of Athena, part of the foundations of a palace, apparently similar in
plan to those of Mycenæ and Tiryns, has been discovered. The
fortifications, too, are very similar, and there is a long inner
staircase leading to a postern in the northern wall that corresponds to
those found in the ancient structures referred to. There is another
prehistoric name with which tradition connects the primitive history of
Athens, and on account of which it was sometimes called Cecropia.
According to some, Cecrops came from Egypt; according to others he was
autochthonous (as the Athenians claimed to be), and had the appearance
of being half man and half serpent.


The mountain dominating the Temple, to the right (east), is Lycabettos;
the distant mountain to the left is Pentelikon.]

Amid these conflicting mythical traditions it was generally agreed that
the last king of Athens was Codrus, who was said to be a descendant of
Ion, the head of the Ionic branch of the Hellenic race, the latter name
being derived from Hellen, the grandfather of Ion. When the Dorians
invaded Attica, after taking possession of the Peloponnesus, they were
informed by a Pythian oracle that if the life of Codrus were spared they
would gain possession of the country. Codrus became aware of this, and
in order to save his country he went out one day in disguise and
provoked a quarrel with some of the enemy, who put him to death. As soon
as this became known to the Dorians they abandoned the hope of conquest,
and contented themselves with annexing Megara. By a strange process of
reasoning the grateful subjects of the self-sacrificing king straightway
abolished the monarchy, on the ground that it would be impossible to
find any one worthy to sit on the throne of so noble a sovereign! The
name of Codrus was not the only name in the early history of Athens that
was associated with patriotic self-devotion. Long before, one of the
three daughters of Cecrops, Agraulos, was said to have leapt from the
Acropolis as a voluntary sacrifice, when it was declared by the oracle
that there was no other means of bringing a war which had been long
going on to a successful issue. Her name was given to a grotto on the
north, near the spot on which she met her death; and it was there that
the Athenian youth, when they reached manhood, offered sacrifice and
swore to be faithful to their country even unto death.

After the death of Codrus the office of archon was instituted as an
office for life, tenable by the leading member of the royal family. The
late king’s two sons, Medon and Neileus, quarrelled about the
succession, and the latter emigrated with a large portion of the
population to Asia Minor, where he founded the Ionic Amphictyony of
twelve cities, extending from Miletus to Phocæa. For about 300 years the
archonship continued to be held for life; but after that the tenure of
office was changed to ten years, and at a still later period it became
an annual appointment, and was thrown open to the eupatrids or nobles.
Ultimately it became a collegiate charge, being held by nine men
simultaneously, who divided the functions of government among them.

Towards the end of the seventh century B.C. a legislator came upon the
scene in the person of Draco, whose name has become a synonym for
severity, though it would seem that what he did was to codify existing
laws and customs rather than to introduce new regulations. Even at an
earlier period laws had been reduced to writing among the Epizephyrian
Locrians of Italy by Zaleucus at the bidding of the Delphian oracle, for
the purpose of restoring order in the state. The system adopted was of
the nature of the _lex talionis_. Severe measures were doubtless needed,
for it was these Locrians who got the better of the natives by taking a
mutual oath with them to the effect that the two peoples should be
allowed to enjoy the land in common, so long as they stood upon this
earth (such were the terms of the oath) and had heads on their


This drawing shows very well the seating of the Temple on its site,
Kolonos Agoraios--the Market Hill.]

shoulders. In order that they might be able to destroy the validity of
the covenant, they had put earth into their shoes and concealed heads of
garlic on their shoulders, believing that as soon as these things were
removed the oath would lose its binding force. In order to discourage
rash attempts at legislation the same people enacted that any one
proposing a new law should appear before the assembly with a rope round
his neck, which was to be immediately tightened if he failed to get his
proposal adopted!

About this time an attempt was made by Cylon, a wealthy and
distinguished citizen of Athens, to obtain supreme power, with the help
of his father-in-law, the ruler of Megara. He succeeded in taking
possession of the Acropolis, but the citizens rose against him and
compelled him to flee the country. His followers, who were left in the
citadel, took refuge in the temple of Athena, but they were induced to
quit the sanctuary by a promise that their lives would be spared. As an
additional security, however, they fastened a cord to the image of the
goddess and kept hold of it as they withdrew from the Acropolis.
Unfortunately the cord broke before they had gained a place of safety;
and the citizens, regarding this as a token that Athena had deserted the
fugitives, attacked and slew them. The outrage was aggravated by the
fact that some of them were put to death in the sanctuary of the
Eumenides at the side of the Areopagus. The archon who was chiefly
responsible for the perfidious and profane slaughter was Megacles, the
head of the Alcmæonid family, which was in consequence regarded as
polluted. A pestilence from which the city afterwards suffered was
popularly attributed to the displeasure of the gods on this account. In
order to remove the curse the members of the family who were still alive
were banished, and the bones of those who had since died were dug up and
transported beyond the frontier. Epimenides, the diviner, was also sent
for from Crete, and under his direction new sanctuaries were erected,
and new rites of purification introduced.

There was now a general feeling that means should be taken to put the
civil and political affairs of the country on a better footing.
Fortunately a man appeared who was eminently fitted to do the work of a
reformer. Although belonging to an illustrious house, Solon was at the
same time possessed of broad sympathies and democratic views, which he
is supposed to have derived from his experience as a traveller and his
interest in commercial pursuits. His patriotism was equal to his wisdom,
and the first thing that won for him the admiration and affection of his
fellow-citizens was the fearless enthusiasm with which he appealed to
them to make a fresh attempt to regain Salamis from the Megarians. The
island had been so completely abandoned by the Athenians that they had
decreed the penalty of death against any one who should attempt to
rekindle the war, which had proved disastrous. The success which
attended Solon in this movement doubtless added to his reputation, and
disposed the citizens to give a favourable reception to his


The craggy mass to the left is the Areopagus (Mars Hill), with the cleft
of the Eumenides. Behind the Temple of Theseus stretch the famous olive
groves of Athens, nourished by the water of the subterranean Kephissus.
The mountain range is that of Ægaleos, with the Pass of Daphni.]

proposals. Among other changes which he introduced was the abolition of
a cruel law by which insolvent debtors were liable to be enslaved along
with their families; and in the political sphere he laid the foundations
of the democratic constitution which was destined to contribute so
largely to the greatness of Athens. He resisted all temptations to take
power into his own hands--to the surprise of some, who thought he
“should have hauled up the net when he had the fish enmeshed in it.”
Unfortunately his self-denying spirit was not shared by all his
countrymen, and he had the mortification of seeing his work to a great
extent frustrated by one of his own friends, Peisistratus by name, whose
success as a usurper was as much due to guile as to force. Posing as a
friend of the people he presented himself one day in the market-place
bleeding from self-inflicted wounds, which he pretended he had received
at the hands of his political enemies, whereupon one of his partisans
appealed for a bodyguard of fifty men to protect him, which was granted.
With their assistance he soon made himself master of the Acropolis, and,
by a stratagem, deprived the citizens of their arms. Although his rule
was comparatively mild, and was signalised by some useful public
enterprises, he was twice driven from the country. After his second
restoration he held his position for about fourteen years. On his death
his three sons carried on the government for some years, but at length a
plot was formed for their assassination by two young men, partly on
public and partly on private grounds. The plot was not altogether
successful, two of the despots being untouched. One of the assassins,
Harmodius, was at once overpowered and put to death, and the other,
Aristogeiton, also forfeited his life after being subjected to torture
in the hope that he would betray the names of their accomplices. The
dynasty became more unpopular than ever, owing to its increasing
severity, and in a few years the surviving members of it were driven
into exile. So highly was the conduct of the two tyrannicides, Harmodius
and Aristogeiton, appreciated that their statues in bronze were erected
in a prominent place between the Agora and the Acropolis, and for a long
time it was forbidden to erect any others in the same place. The statues
were carried off by Xerxes in the next century, but they were soon
replaced by others of a similar kind; and after the earlier ones were
recovered, the two groups stood side by side. Another monument of the
conspiracy was to be seen in the Acropolis in the form of a tongueless
lioness, representing a woman named _Leæna_, who had been suspected of
being in the plot, and was put to the torture, without divulging any

Within a generation afterwards the Athenians’ love of liberty and their
readiness to die for it was demonstrated on a much grander scale, in
their resistance of the Persian invader. It is said that the first time
Darius heard of the Athenians was after the burning of Sardis, in which
they rendered assistance to the Asiatic Ionians. On their name being
mentioned to him Darius asked who they were, and, being told, he shot
an arrow to the sky, and exclaimed, “O Zeus, grant me to revenge myself
on these Athenians,” at the same time bidding an attendant to repeat in
his hearing every day at dinner the words, “Remember the Athenians.” His
generals, Datis and Artaphernes, now landed on the Attic shore with
about 100,000 men, under the guidance of Hippias, who had accompanied
his father Peisistratus by the same route to Athens nearly fifty years
before, when he was returning from exile the second time to take
possession of the city. But Athens was a very different community now
from what it was then. It had enjoyed more than twenty years of
self-government, and its citizens were now united as one man in the
determination to resist the eastern despot to the uttermost. Seldom has
a more heroic stand been taken by any nation in defence of its
liberties. The Persians had hitherto been regarded as invincible, and
their numerical superiority was overwhelming. But the Athenians did not
for a moment hesitate. They at once despatched a swift messenger to
Sparta appealing for assistance, who is said to have accomplished the
journey of 150 miles in forty-eight hours. But the Spartans were slow to
move, owing to their superstitious dependence on the full moon, for
which they had to wait five days. No other Greeks shared in the glory of
the occasion, except 1000 soldiers from Platæa, whose generous and
timely succour won the undying gratitude of the Athenians, and was
annually mentioned at the anniversary services which were regularly
held to celebrate the victory. Of the ten Athenian generals who were in
command of the forces it fell to Miltiades to act as chief. If his
advice had been taken by the Ionians who were left in charge of the
bridge which they had built over the Danube for Darius shortly before,
the invasion of Greece would have been averted. The sixty days during
which Darius had ordered them to preserve the bridge for his return had
expired, and Darius was beset with difficulties in Scythia, which would
soon have overwhelmed him; but the Ionian leaders refused to destroy the
bridge, as Miltiades advised--for the selfish reason that their tenure
of power in their respective cities depended on Persian support. Darius
was thus saved, and his cruel conquest of Eretria was the result--the
prelude, as it seemed, of a like fate for Athens and for all Greece.

The distance from Athens to Marathon is about 25 miles, by the road
taken by the troops, which was the same as is followed by the modern
traveller. The length of the plain is about six miles and its breadth a
mile and a half, with a marsh at each end. The Persians had disembarked
and were drawn up in the plain at a considerable distance from the
shore. The Greeks appear to have taken up a position a little in front
of the amphitheatre of rocky hills which encloses the plain on the north
and west. It was the first time the Athenians had ever met the dreaded
Medes in battle array; but throwing aside all fear they raised the
war-cry and set off at a run, which was facilitated by the slight
declivity of the ground, bearing down upon


The plain of Marathon and the long spit of Kynosura are well shown; but
the sickle shape of the famous bay is obscured by the intervening summit
of Mount Agrieliki. Across the blue gulf of Petali we see the splendid
chain of the Eubœan Mountains.]

the enemy with such force as to compel them to give way at both wings,
where their ranks were weakest and those of the Greeks strongest.
Instead of pursuing the fugitives the victorious wings supported their
own centre by attacking the enemy from the flanks and rear, putting them
into confusion and causing a panic. The whole Persian host was soon in
full flight to their ships, but in their ignorance of the country many
of them were caught in the marshes and never reached the shore.
According to Herodotus more than 6000 of them lost their lives.
Comparatively few prisoners were taken, as the attempts of the Greeks to
capture or burn the ships were attended with little success; but rich
spoils, in the form of tents and other equipments, fell into their
hands. As the fleet was sailing away towards Cape Sunium a flashing
shield was seen on a height above the plain, which was supposed to be a
traitorous signal given to the Persians to sail round to Athens and take
possession of the city in the absence of its defenders. Miltiades was
equal to the occasion. By dint of the most strenuous exertions he and
his troops reached Athens before the enemy could carry out his plan, and
the fleet soon set sail for the Cyclades. Next day the Athenians went
out again, to bury their dead comrades--192 in number--and erected a
tumulus over them, which may still be seen, along with a separate mound
for the Platæans, and one for the slaves who had served as unarmed or
half-armed attendants. Ten columns were afterwards set up, bearing the
names of the dead, according to their several tribes, with a special
monument to Miltiades; and Pausanias, who lived 600 years later,
mentions having read the names. It would scarcely be possible to
over-estimate the importance of the battle of Marathon in Greek history.
It virtually saved the country from being overrun by oriental barbarism,
and gave the world a signal proof for all time that the military
strength of a people depends more on their animating spirit than on
their numbers, and that it is possible for a comparatively small nation
to preserve its independence if its citizens be united and resolute in
devotion to the common cause. The event must have made an enormous
impression, when even such an illustrious poet as Æschylus regarded it
as the greatest honour of his life that he had fought at Marathon, and
left directions that that fact, and no other, should be recorded on his

Ten years later the same peril reappeared in a still more threatening
form, and again the men of Athens covered themselves with glory. It
might have been expected that when Xerxes and his immense host
approached the city they would have prepared for a siege. But the
numbers of the enemy were so immense that, if they had remained within
the walls, it would only have been a question of time when they would
have had to surrender. In their distress they appealed to the Delphian
oracle for advice, but the first response was of a most depressing
nature. They were told to quit their “wheel-shaped city” and flee to the
ends of the earth. A second appeal, which they made in the form of
suppliants, elicited the assurance that when everything else in the land
of Cecrops was taken, Zeus would grant to Athena the preservation of a
wooden wall to be a sure defence to the Athenians and their children.
Under the astute guidance of Themistocles they came to the conclusion
that it was their ships that were referred to. A few of them, however,
mostly too old or too poor to have much prospect of a welcome elsewhere,
put a different construction on the oracle, and took refuge in the
Acropolis, strengthening its defences by the erection of wooden
palisades. They succeeded in holding the fortress for a time, in spite
of the arrows with burning tow attached which the Persians poured in
upon them from their position on the Areopagus. The assailants found it
impossible to force their way up against the great stones which were
rolled down upon them from the western entrance, and it was not till
they discovered a secret ascent on the north side of the rock that they
got the better of the defenders by taking them unawares, and became
masters of the fortress. A remorseless work of destruction then ensued,
involving the temples and other buildings on the Acropolis in the same
fate as had befallen, or was soon to befall, the best of the houses in
the city, and its walls. It seemed to the Athenians a terrible calamity
at the time, but it proved to be a blessing in disguise, for it led to
the restoration of the city on a scale of grandeur unknown before, and
made the Acropolis one of the wonders of the world. The naval
operations, also, to which they were obliged to have recourse, crowned
as these were by the glorious victory at Salamis, opened their eyes to
the possibility of a great naval empire, and led them to turn to account
the advantages to be derived from their harbours at the Piræus, by not
only equipping them with docks but also fortifying them and connecting
them with Athens by means of the long walls, completed in the next
generation by Pericles.

Most of the Athenians had taken refuge in the adjoining island of
Salamis (the ancient home of Ajax), partly owing to an allusion to it in
the second Delphian oracle. “Divine Salamis,” it was said, “would
destroy many sons of women”; and this, Themistocles held, could only
refer to a slaughter of the enemy. Although almost all the powers in
southern Greece were acting in concert with Athens in resisting Xerxes,
the Peloponnesians were disposed to fall back on their line of defence
at the isthmus of Corinth; and it was with the greatest difficulty that
Themistocles prevailed on them to take part in the engagement at
Salamis. When it seemed that nothing else would serve his purpose he
sent a secret message to Xerxes, as if he were turning traitor to his
country, urging him to prevent the escape of the Greeks when he had them
at his mercy. The ruse succeeded. During the night the Persians
stationed ships at the two ends of the straits to prevent the egress of
the Greeks, and also landed a body of men on the small island of
Psyttaleia, at the south-eastern outlet, in case the enemy should


The view is bounded to the left by the foot of the Acropolis, with part
of Beulé’s gate; below, to the right of this, we overlook the whole of
the ancient Assembly Place of the Athenian people (the Pnyx), with its
retaining wall of colossal masonry below, and its scarped-rock boundary
and _bēma_ above. Farther away the famous olive groves, following the
course of the Kephissus, stretch along the plain.]

seek a refuge in what proved to be their own tomb. In the morning the
two fleets confronted each other, the Greek vessels lying under the
crescent-shaped coast of the island of Salamis, to the number of more
than 300, while the Persian ships, about three times as numerous, took
up their position along the Attic coast. Behind the latter their army
was drawn up near the shore to enjoy a sight of the expected victory,
while Xerxes himself, for the same purpose, occupied a rising ground,
which is still known as Xerxes’ Seat, sitting on a silver-footed throne,
which was captured by the enemy and afterwards exhibited on the
Acropolis. On this occasion the courage was not all on the part of the
Greeks, for they were very cautious for a while, and many of the
Persians and their Phœnician and Ionic allies fought bravely. But
partly owing to the want of concert among the invaders, and the
unwieldiness of their immense fleet in the narrow waters, which soon led
to confusion, and partly to the superior naval skill of the Greeks, the
great king had the mortification of beholding the destruction of about
200 of his ships of war and the capture or flight of many more, while
the Greeks escaped with the loss of forty ships. Xerxes was so
completely unmanned by the unexpected defeat, and so afraid that the
bridge over the Hellespont might be destroyed before he got across, that
he immediately took his departure. But in quitting Europe he sent back
his general Mardonius with 300,000 men to effect the conquest of Greece.
Attica was again ravaged, and the destruction of Athens was rendered
still more complete. Tempting overtures were made to the Athenians by
the Persian general for their submission, and great alarm was felt in
Sparta and elsewhere lest these overtures should be accepted. But the
Athenians did not for a moment entertain them. “Tell Mardonius,” was
their memorable answer, “that as long as the sun shall continue in his
present path, we will never contract alliance with Xerxes: we will
encounter him in our own defence, putting our trust in the aid of those
gods and heroes to whom he has shown no reverence, and whose houses and
statues he has burned.” Their faith was soon justified by the victory of
the allied forces at Platæa and the naval success which was achieved the
same day at Mycale. All fears of Persian conquest were dispelled; and
the Athenians returned from their temporary exile, to devote themselves
to the restoration of their city with a spirit and an energy which
betokened the great future in store for them.

Beyond Salamis, about twenty miles south from Piræus, lies the island of
Ægina, one of the many interesting features in the view from the
Acropolis. It was revered as the ancient seat of Æacus, the grandfather
of Achilles and Ajax, who was accounted in his day to be the most pious
of mankind. In historical times it was inhabited chiefly by a Dorian
colony from Epidaurus. Up to the time of the Persian invasion Corinth
was its only rival in Greece as a naval and commercial centre; but it
played an ignoble part in complying with Darius’ demands for earth and
water when Athens and Sparta received the insulting message with such
indignation as to put the Persian envoys to death. On the approach of
Xerxes the Æginetans had endeavoured to redeem their character by
joining in the preparations for resistance; and in the battle of Salamis
they had taken such a distinguished part as to be awarded the first
prize for valour, the second prize going to the Athenians. On that
occasion two prizes were also given for the greatest skill and wisdom;
and it illustrates the self-esteem and love of honour of which the
Greeks seem to have had more than an ordinary share, that when the votes
were examined it was found that each of the leaders had put down his own
name for the first prize, and that of Themistocles for the second!

Pericles described Ægina as the “eyesore of the Piræus,” and the history
of the relations between the two powers for many years after the battle
of Salamis, as well as for a few years before it, amply justifies the
observation. After many fierce struggles Ægina was reduced to
subjection, its fleets confiscated, and its fortifications destroyed. On
the outbreak of the Peloponnesian war the Athenians, in order to guard
against the possibility of the island being used by the enemy, expelled
its inhabitants, who found a refuge in Thyrea, which was placed at their
disposal by the Spartans. Even there, however, they were not left in
peace. For in the eighth year of the war the place was attacked and
captured by the Athenians, and the inhabitants were taken to Athens,
where they were put to death as prisoners of war. According to
Herodotus the sad reverses which thus befell the Æginetans were due to
an impiety of which they had been guilty many years before. The solitary
survivor of a band of conspirators had fled for refuge to the temple of
Demeter and succeeded in laying hold of the handle of the door before he
was overtaken. His pursuers did not dare to slay him while he was thus
in contact with the sanctuary, but in order to sever his connection with
it and deprive him of the protection of the goddess, they cut off his
arm at the wrist and then killed him, leaving the hand still grasping
the handle, where it long remained. With this we may compare the conduct
of the Spartans when Pausanias, the commander at Platæa, was called to
account for the treasonable designs into which, in his overweening
pride, he had entered with Persia. He took refuge in the temple of
Athena _Chalciœcus_, on learning that a confidential slave had
betrayed him. The ephors immediately built up the doors and took off the
roof, keeping watch over the refugee, and carrying him out at the last
moment, that the sacred precinct might not be polluted by his death.
Both cases are curious illustrations of the way in which men will try at
times to evade their religious obligations without giving up their form
of godliness. The divine anger in the case of the Spartans was only
appeased by the dedication of two bronze statues to Athena in obedience
to the Delphian oracle.

On the break-up of the Athenian empire, after the battle of Ægospotami,
a remnant of the former Dorian


The Temple, which is magnificently situated on the top of one of the
hills near Mount Elias, in the southern part of the island, looks
eastward towards Cape Colonna, over the blue waters of the Saronic Gulf.
The coast seen above the sea is part of the west coast of Attica running
down to Sunium. The drawing includes five out of the six columns of the
east front of the Temple, and five out of the twelve columns of the
north side, also two columns of the _pronaos_, together with the
architraves. These columns are of limestone, still partly covered with
their marble stucco.]

inhabitants of Ægina was brought back by the Spartans, and the Athenian
settlers were expelled. But in spite of the occasional success of their
naval strategy, by which they took the Piræus once or twice completely
by surprise, the Æginetans never recovered any considerable degree of
their former prosperity.

At the present day the chief attraction which Ægina has to offer to the
traveller, over and above the pleasant sail from the Piræus, with its
interesting points of view, is a Doric temple of the sixth century or
even earlier, standing in solitary grandeur, on the summit of a hill
which commands a beautiful view of the plain of Attica on the north and
the Argolic peninsula on the west. It was once thought to be the temple
of Zeus described by Pausanias, but latterly it has been identified as
the temple of Athena mentioned by Herodotus. Within the last few years,
however, a new theory has been put forth by Professor Fürtwangler, who
holds it to be the temple of Aphæa mentioned by Pausanias, a goddess
nearly related to Artemis as a protector of women. In any case the
twenty columns still standing form an imposing monument, and are well
worthy of a visit, though the sculptures on the pediments are no longer
to be seen, having been purchased by the King of Bavaria and deposited
in the museum at Munich.



Among the influences which contributed to the greatness and glory of
Athens the worship of the goddess Athena must be assigned a principal
place. In her fully developed character she represented the highest
ideal of the Greek mind, and formed the noblest figure in the Greek
pantheon. She may be described as the impersonation of wisdom, courage,
and energy--equally powerful as the patron goddess of the arts of peace
and of the exploits of war. The mythical account of her birth, which
represented her as sprung from the head of Zeus after he had swallowed
her mother _Metis_ (“Counsel”), betokened her affinity with the highest
faculties of the supreme Ruler; and in harmony with this is the etherial
nature which was commonly ascribed to her by Homer and other early
writers. Her home was supposed to be in the upper regions, the ether
being regarded as her proper element. Hence the clearness and brightness
which were commonly attributed to her, as well as the keen, rapid,
energetic character by which she was also distinguished.


Out of the seventeen columns of the northern peristyle the remains of
fourteen, more or less perfect, may be counted on the right. Six of
them, which have stood unmoved for more than twenty-two centuries, are
distinguished by their splendid colour, almost matching in this respect
the second column of the west front, which is also visible. The remains
of the north _cella_ wall are seen to the left. The two drums of columns
in shadow in the foreground reflect the pure blue of the early morning
sky. Over their tops may be seen part of the Propylæa, and the mountains
of Daphni and Megara.]

Athena appears to have been worshipped as a powerful and beneficent
deity in many places, but it was at Athens that the more intellectual
aspects of her nature were brought into the greatest prominence. How she
came to be so closely associated with Athens as to give her name to the
city (previously known as “Cecropia”) is a question that is not easily
answered. According to the Attic mythology it was the result of a
contest between her and Poseidon for local supremacy. In support of his
claim Poseidon is said to have struck with his trident the rocky summit
of the Acropolis, the result being that a salt-water spring appeared,
from which there emerged a horse (supposed to be sacred to Poseidon from
its resemblance to a rushing wave); and this gift the lord of the ocean
set before the assembled jury of the gods as a token of the benefits
which he had to confer. Athena then caused an olive-tree to spring up as
the symbol of her beneficence, which secured from Zeus _Polieus_ a
judgment in her favour. Perhaps the story may have had its origin in the
gradual retreat of the sea from the Attic plains; but there is evidently
a reference in it to the comparative value of land and water interests,
the former being represented by Athena, and the latter by Poseidon. In
their early days the Athenians had no idea of the importance of the sea
as the destined scene of their naval supremacy; and of all the products
of their country the olive was no doubt the most indispensable to them.
For its cultivation some knowledge was required, and perhaps also the
nature of its oil, with which the lamps were fed, may have helped to
make the olive an appropriate emblem of the brilliant goddess. The whole
history of Athens, from the rude beginnings of her civilisation till the
age of her imperial glory, may be seen reflected, after a symbolic
fashion, in the gradual transition of her worship from the wooden image
of Athena _Polias_, which was said to have fallen from heaven, to the
magnificent statue of gold and ivory which Pheidias made for the
Parthenon; and one of the most interesting studies in art is to be found
in tracing the successive stages through which the majestic
virgin-goddess was evolved.

As already mentioned, the earliest temple of Athena was connected with
the palace of Erechtheus. A little south of the present Erechtheum the
foundations of a temple have been discovered, made of Acropolis rock,
and corresponding in their length to the name _Hecatompedon_
(“Hundred-Foot”), which was afterwards applied to a portion of the
Parthenon. Traces have also been found of a peristyle, which
Peisistratus is supposed to have erected, consisting of six columns at
each end and ten at each side, made of Kara stone taken from the foot of
Hymettus. Various fragments have been unearthed, and in the north-west
wall of the Acropolis pieces of the architrave and cornice, with metopes
of white Parian marble, are still to be seen, having been built into it
by Cimon as a reminder of the destruction wrought by the Persians.
Whether the ancient temple of Athena _Polias_ (guardian of the _City_),
which is mentioned in inscriptions and elsewhere, is to be identified


The timber scaffolding, here shown, has been erected for the purpose of
examining the condition of the architrave supporting the western frieze.
The columns to the right are those of the inner row. The marvellous way
in which the marble of the Parthenon takes colour is in no way
exaggerated in this drawing. The second column of the northern peristyle
(the column across which one of the beams of the scaffolding passes
transversely) should be specially noticed. The time of day is towards

with this recently discovered building, or with the Erechtheum, which
(in the form in which it was restored after the Persian invasion) still
forms one of the chief ornaments of the Acropolis, is a question on
which there is a considerable difference of opinion; but the weight of
probability seems to be in favour of the latter supposition.

The age of Peisistratus was distinguished by wonderful advances both in
art and literature, largely owing to the encouragement which he gave to
sculptors, painters, architects, poets and dramatists, many of whom he
brought from other parts of Greece and from Asia Minor. The capitals and
drums of columns and the specimens of decorative sculpture which have
come to light on the Acropolis, show what progress had been made in this
direction since the beginning of the sixth century, when Athenian art
was still in its infancy. One of the most interesting discoveries in
this connection was that of a number of female figures in marble (in
1886) which were found buried in a grave on the Acropolis, the Athenians
having, apparently, felt that this was the most reverent way to dispose
of them, seeing they were so mutilated as to be no longer suitable as
votive offerings. They bore the name of “Maidens,” and were probably the
images of priestesses or other officials connected with the worship of
Athena. Most of them are represented as wearing the Ionic _chiton_
without brooches, the old Doric garment having been forbidden some time
previously on account of the tragic use which had been made of their
pins by the Athenian women on the occasion referred to at p. 82. There
are fourteen of these figures, called by the Germans “die Tanten,” and
their importance in connection with the study of sixth-century art can
hardly be overestimated. The effect of their varied colouring is
particularly interesting.

It was part of the policy of Peisistratus to harmonise the different
religious cults of the state, and for this purpose he erected temples to
Zeus, Apollo, Dionysus and other deities. The temple of Zeus, in
particular, seems to have been designed on a grand scale (though never
completed), for some of the drums of its columns, discovered among the
foundations of the temple afterwards erected by Hadrian on the same site
beside the Ilissus, have a diameter of seven feet ten inches, which
exceeds anything of the same period to be found in Greece. Peisistratus’
chief care, however, was bestowed upon the Acropolis, where he sought to
invest the worship of Athena with such splendour and beauty as to
maintain her ascendency. For this purpose he added greatly to the
magnificence of the Pan-Athenaic games, which he almost raised to a
Pan-Hellenic rank, and the celebration of which was chosen as the
occasion for the opening of the Parthenon. The beautifully embroidered
_peplos_, which was annually prepared as a covering for the wooden image
of the goddess, formed the chief ornament in the great procession to the
Acropolis, and the interest of the proceedings culminated in the solemn
dedication of the gift. It is also significant that it was under


The boundary wall of the enclosure (_temenos_) of the Temple is very
clearly marked. The clustered group of lofty columns is the remains of
the south-east corner of the Temple itself. North-west of them is the
Arch of Hadrian. The walls of the Acropolis make a splendid contrast to
the rugged bosses of the rocks which support them. The Parthenon above
is seen almost down to the stylobate, and masses finely from this point
of view. The mountains are those of Daphni.]

that coins were first struck with the head of Athena on one side, and on
the other the likeness of an owl--an emblem which is still worn in their
caps by the schoolboys of Greece, and in which there may be a reference
to the supposed power of the owl to see in the dark, a power associated,
in an intellectual sense, with _glaukopis_ Athena. It was to the goddess
that Peisistratus seems to have attributed his success in regaining
power on his return to Athens after his temporary exile. In order to
give the Athenians the impression that their guardian deity favoured his
return, he is said to have got a tall and stately woman to assume the
guise of Athena and sit by his side in the chariot which drew him up to
the Acropolis, his partisans at the same time crying out that Athena
bade the city welcome her _protégé_ to the seat of authority. The
supposed goddess was said to have been only a flower-seller, Phya by
name, who afterwards married one of Peisistratus’ sons.

Before the Persians quitted Athens they reduced to ruins or to ashes the
temples and most of the other buildings of any value, and many years
were required for the work of restoration. Fully a generation passed
before any of the three temples on the Acropolis which excite so much
admiration--the Parthenon, the Erechtheum, and the Niké--were ready for
dedication. This delay was partly owing to the more pressing need for
attending to the renewal of the city walls and other fortifications,
partly to the alteration which was made on Cimon’s plan for the erection
of the Parthenon. His name is associated not only with the massive wall
on the southern side of the Acropolis but also with an enormous
substructure intended to level up the sloping rock of the Acropolis and
fill up the vacant space within the wall. This substructure was
evidently intended to be the basis for a longer and narrower temple than
the existing Parthenon, as it projects about fifteen feet at the east
end, and bears traces of having had an addition of a few feet made to
its breadth.

It was not till 447 B.C., when Pericles was at the height of his power,
that the building of the temple was actually commenced; and it took
about ten years to finish. Pericles had previously made an appeal to
other Greek cities to unite with Athens in some such commemoration of
their victory over the Persians, but the response was disappointing.
Fortunately, however, other means were available, owing to many of the
states allied with Athens in the Delian League commuting into
money-payments the obligations they were under to contribute ships to
the defensive navy of which Athens was the head. It was this Delian fund
mainly which enabled Pericles to carry out his great project for
glorifying the Acropolis as the throne of Athena and the rallying-point
of Hellenic patriotism. Of all the architectural monuments of the
Periclean age the Parthenon is by far the grandest, producing a
wonderful impression of strength and dignity and grace. There is a charm
in the subtle harmony of its proportions quite apart from the rich
decoration of frieze and pediment. The perfect unity of plan which it


The local colour of the rocky surface of the Acropolis intensifies the
long blue shadows. The effect of the golden-brown weathering of the
surface of the marble on the west front of the Parthenon is faithfully

exhibits was no doubt due to the genius of Pheidias, assisted by the
architectural skill of Ictinus and Callicrates, while the mechanical
precision and careful finish in the execution prove the competency of
the sculptors and masons who were employed under their supervision. It
is surprising how much attention was paid to nice optical
considerations, which must have been very difficult to calculate, though
they enhance greatly the general effect. For example, there is scarcely
a straight line in the whole edifice, quadrangular as it is. There is a
slight convex curve on the line of the steps and of the substructure,
and the same is the case with the architrave. There is a gentle swelling
of the columns towards their centre, and the axes of the columns incline
slightly inwards.

Nowhere, perhaps, is the fineness of the workmanship more apparent than
in the joining of the drums composing each column, generally twelve in
number, and rising to a height of thirty-four feet. They fit so closely
and exactly that they almost look as if they had grown together. In this
respect there is a marked difference between the columns which have
never been disturbed and those which have been restored by the
collection of fallen drums. The smoothing of the flat surfaces of the
drum was mainly done in the quarry, the part near the centre being left
rough and slightly hollow. There was a hole in the centre for a wooden
plug, into which a cylindrical peg was inserted for the purpose of
securing an exact correspondence in the position of the drums. The
fluting--each column has twenty flutes--was done after the drums were
in position, with the exception of a beginning that was previously made
on the stones intended for the top and bottom of the column.

Of the outer colonnade, comprising eight columns at each end, and
fifteen others at each side, with an inner row of columns at each end,
the greater number are still in position, though in some cases in a
fragmentary form; the chief gaps are about the middle of the sides.
There is hardly any trace of the sculptures on the pediments. Part of
those which stood at the east end, representing the birth of Athena, are
to be found in the British Museum. Those of the west gable, representing
the contest between Athena and Poseidon, have entirely disappeared.
Great part of the outer Doric frieze still remains, including forty-one
of the original ninety-two metopes, on which were depicted various
mythical battle scenes. The best remaining, both as regards workmanship
and condition, are those on the south side, representing the struggles
of the Lapiths and Centaurs. The inner frieze, running round the top of
the temple walls, and surmounting the inner columns, represented the
great Pan-Athenaic festival, including figures, in low relief, of
knights and chariots, magistrates and maidens, priests and victims, and
terminating in an assembly of the gods at the east end. The most of this
frieze and fifteen of the metopes are preserved in the British Museum.
They had been carried off by Lord Elgin at the beginning of the
nineteenth century, with the consent of the


The drums of columns, and other fragments of the Parthenon lying in the
foreground, make of themselves a very fine subject, irrespective of the
delicate beauty of the distant outline of Pentelikon, which shows itself
here with special appropriateness as the mountain from the sides of
which the marble of the Parthenon was quarried.]

Turkish government, and were purchased from him at a cost of £35,000.

The almost total disappearance of the bright and varied colouring which
enhanced the beauty of certain parts of the building, and the loss of so
many of the wonderful sculptures, as well as the gaps in the walls and
colonnade, detract greatly from the ancient glory of the building. But
time has added a golden tinge to the Pentelic marble of which it is
composed, and the whole exterior wears a rich and mellow
aspect,--especially when seen under the light of the rising or the
setting sun,--which affords some compensation for the damage sustained
in other respects. Very beautiful, too, the temple seems in the light of
a full moon, when the soft radiance lends an etherial look to it,
standing as it does between heaven and earth, and harmonises well with
the virgin purity which the very name _Parthenon_ denotes.

The full length of the temple is about 230 feet, and its breadth about
100 feet. It consisted of a _pronaos_ or foretemple, for the reception
of votive offerings; the _cella_ proper, forming the new _hecatompedon_,
and divided into three long aisles by two rows of Doric columns; the
_parthenon_, a name afterwards extended to the whole building, but
originally applied to a chamber towards the west; and the
_opisthodomos_, enclosed (like the _pronaos_) with high railings between
the columns. The two last-mentioned chambers were used as treasuries,
but in the middle aisle of the _hecatompedon_ stood the most precious
thing of all, namely the chryselephantine image of the virgin-goddess,
facing the doorway in the east, so as to catch the rays of the rising
sun. The face, hands and feet were covered with ivory, the pupils of the
eyes were of precious stone, while the rest of the image was embossed or
inlaid with gold--amounting to upwards of forty talents (about
£150,000)--which could be taken off when required. The statue was about
thirty feet in height and stood on a pedestal about eight feet high, the
position of which can easily be recognised from the setting of dark
stone in the marble pavement. The line of the parapet in front is also
quite distinct. Several descriptions of the statue have come down to us,
and also some copies of it in miniature (especially the _Varvakeion_ and
_Lenormant_ models, both found in Athens), which, however, give us a
very inadequate conception of its beauty and grandeur. It was intended
to be an embodiment of the energy, freedom and dignity characteristic of
Athena as the representative of the genius of the young Athenian empire.
She stood upright, resting her weight upon her right foot, having on her
head a helmet with a triple crest, supported by a sphinx, and wearing on
her shoulders and breast her scaly ægis with the Gorgon’s head in the
centre. Her left hand held a spear, which she rested on the rim of her
embossed shield. On the inner side of the shield appeared the sacred
serpent, the symbol of Erichthonius, her adopted ward. In her extended
right hand she held a beautiful winged Victory. So lavish was the artist
of his skill and labour in the construction of the statue that even the
soles of Athena’s


The steps of the stylobate below run in perspective along the left-hand
side of the drawing. Over the drums of the fallen columns of the
Parthenon, which strew the ground to the right, we see the whole east
side of the Propylæa; above it are the olive groves of the Kephissus and
the mountains of Daphni, with a glimpse of the Bay of Salamis.]

sandals were embellished with carving. On the front of the pedestal also
there was a picture of the mythical creation of Pandora in the presence
of twenty divinities. The statue expressed the Hellenic aspirations of
Pheidias as an artist and of Pericles as a statesman; and, as if to
commemorate their harmonious influence, the great sculptor covertly
introduced into the relief on the outside of Athena’s shield his own
portrait and that of his friend--the former in the guise of a
bald-headed old man lifting up a stone with both hands, the latter as a
warrior fighting with an Amazon, his face partially concealed by his
raised hand holding a spear. On this account some of Pheidias’ enemies
brought against him a charge of impiety, founded upon an old law which
forbade the setting up in sacred places of the images of living men.
They had previously tried to ruin him by accusing him of embezzling part
of the gold entrusted to him, but the charge had been triumphantly
refuted by the actual weighing of the gold on the image, which was found
to correspond exactly to the amount assigned for this object.
Unfortunately the charge of impiety could not be so easily refuted, and,
in spite of Pericles’ advocacy, Pheidias was compelled to pay a heavy
fine and was thrown into prison, from which he does not appear to have
been ever set free.

No monument seems ever to have been erected in honour of Pheidias, but
for more than 2000 years the Parthenon, which will always be associated
with his memory, retained the beauty of its exterior unimpaired. On the
official abolition of the Greek religion by the Emperor Justinian in
the end of the sixth century A.D. it was converted into the church of
the “Virgin Mother of God,” which necessitated considerable changes on
its interior to fit it for Christian worship. At a later time it was
turned into a Turkish mosque, a minaret being added to it. In 1687 it
was used as a powder magazine by the Turks, in their endeavours to hold
the Acropolis against the Venetians under Morosini, who had already
taken the city. This use of it became known to the besiegers, and by a
well-directed shot a bomb was thrown into the magazine, causing a
terrific explosion which blew out the roof and the two sides of the
building--the combatants little realising what an irreparable loss had
thus been inflicted on the interests of civilisation and art. Morosini
would fain have carried off to Venice the chief figures on the west
pediment, but, owing to the awkwardness of the workers employed, the
precious sculptures fell to the ground and were broken to pieces.

There was on the Acropolis another colossal image of Athena--referred to
by Demosthenes as “the great bronze Athena”--which had been set up as a
memorial of Athenian valour in the Persian war from funds contributed by
the rest of the Greeks. The base of its pedestal is still shown on the
Acropolis between the Propylæa and the Erechtheum. Pausanias tells us
that the gleaming crest of the helmet and tip of the spear could be seen
by ships sailing from Cape Sunium to Athens. There is good reason for
identifying this Athena _Promachos_ (“Champion”), as it came to be


The Caryatid portico and south wall of the Erechtheum show very delicate
opalescent colours, due chiefly to reflected light from the large slabs
and drums of marble lying on the ground north of the Parthenon. The dark
Caryatid is a terra-cotta substitute for the original, one of the
greatest treasures of the British Museum. The sub-structures in the
foreground are the foundations of the archaic Temple; to the right, in
the background, Pentelikon, and, in front of it, Lycabettos brilliantly
illuminated by the setting sun.]

in later times, with an image of Athena which was destroyed in a riot at
Constantinople in 1203 A.D., and about which the Byzantine historian
Nicetas gives us the following particulars: “It was of bronze, thirty
feet high. The goddess was portrayed standing upright, clad in a tunic
which reached to her feet, and was drawn in by a girdle at the waist. On
her breast was a tight-fitting ægis with the Gorgon’s head. On her head
she wore a helmet with a nodding plume of horse-hair. Her tresses were
plaited and fastened at the back of her head, but some locks strayed
over her brow from beneath the rim of the helmet. With her left hand she
lifted the folds of her garment; her right hand was stretched out in
front of her, and her face was turned in the same direction, as if she
were beckoning to some one. There was a sweet look, as of love and
longing, in the eyes, and the lips seemed as if about to part in honeyed
speech. The ignorant and superstitious mob smashed the statue because,
after the first siege and capture of Constantinople by the Crusaders,
they fancied that the outstretched hand of the statue had summoned the
host of the invaders from out of the West.”[5]

There was on the Acropolis a third image of the goddess by the great
artist--known as the “Lemnian Athena”--in which she was represented in a
mild and peaceful aspect. Pausanias speaks of it as the best worth
seeing of the works of Pheidias; and with this harmonises a reference to
it in one of the Dialogues of Lucian, who is the only other ancient
writer that mentions it. Referring to a proposal that a perfect type of
feminine beauty should be formed by combining the best features of the
most famous statues, the Lemnian statue is mentioned as one that might
supply the outline of the face with soft cheeks and shapely nose.
Unfortunately no authentic copies of it have yet been discovered.
Pausanias also mentions a statue dedicated to Athena _Hygieia_
(“Health”) on the Acropolis, and Plutarch tells a story of its having
been set up by Pericles in gratitude for a revelation made to him by the
goddess in a dream regarding a medicinal herb which would cure a
favourite slave of his, who had been injured by a fall while engaged in
building operations. According to Pliny, the herb was known ever
afterwards by the name of _parthenium_, but he connects the story with a
statue of a slave. Another aspect in which Athena was worshipped was as
_Ergané_ the goddess of arts and industries; and no less than five
inscriptions have been found on the Acropolis in honour of Athena under
this title. Homer represents her as weaving her own robe, and according
to Pindar the ship _Argo_ was built under her direction. Close to the
Lemnian image there stood a statue of Pericles, the chief maker of
imperial Athens. It faced the Propylæa and was much admired, being
regarded as a proof how “art can add to the nobility of noble men.”

The two other temples which still adorn the Acropolis are of the Ionic
order. They are much smaller and less imposing than the Parthenon, but


On the extreme right show two columns of the north-east angle of the
Parthenon; in the distance is Mount Hymettos.]

in some respects they may be regarded as even more beautiful. With
regard to the Erechtheum, whatever may have been the case before the
destruction of the sacred buildings by the Persians, it was the temple
which now bears this name that was subsequently recognised by the state
as the official place of worship, in which were preserved the ancient
wooden image of Athena _Polias_ (carefully removed to Salamis on the
approach of the Persians) and the golden lamp which was never allowed to
go out. Its erection a few years after the dedication of the Parthenon
was probably due to the conservative tendencies in the state, of which
Nicias was the exponent, in opposition to the bolder and more
progressive policy of Pericles. There seems to have been considerable
delay in the process of building, owing to the Peloponnesian war, and it
was not till 408 B.C. that the work was complete. Nothing could be more
exquisitely beautiful than the Ionic columns of the porch at the eastern
end, and the _Caryatidæ_, or “Maidens,” supporting the architrave of the
portico on the southern side. Originally there were six of the former,
but one of them was removed by Lord Elgin, and is now in the British
Museum. The same fate befell one of the Caryatidæ, which has been
replaced with a terra-cotta cast, while another bears the marks of
modern reconstruction. On the northern side of the temple, projecting a
little beyond the west end, and at a considerably lower level than the
parts already mentioned (the difference of height amounting to nine
feet), there is a beautiful entrance, with four columns in front and
one on either side. The doorway is regarded as the finest thing of the
kind in existence. It leads into the Erechtheum proper. As already
indicated, Erechtheus is one of the oldest names in Attic mythology.
According to Hesiod, his daughter Creüsa married Xuthus, son of Hellen
and brother of Æolus and Dorus, the heads of the Æolian and Dorian
branches of the Hellenic race; and, through his grandsons, Achæus and
Ion, Erechtheus became the progenitor of the Achæans and Ionians. Homer
again tells us that Erechtheus was worshipped in the temple of Athena
(_Il._ ii. 549-551), and we learn from Pausanias that sacrifices were
offered to him on the altar of Poseidon, by command of the oracle. The
peculiar construction of the temple was doubtless due to the fact that
it was intended for the accommodation of more than one deity. Under the
lower chambers were shown (as they still are!) the marks of Poseidon’s
trident and the sea-spring (now a great covered cistern) through which
the noise of the waves could be heard when the wind was blowing from the

Immediately to the west of the temple was the _Pandroseum_, a precinct
sacred to Pandrosus, one of the daughters of Cecrops, who obeyed the
injunction of Athena when her two sisters gratified their curiosity by
opening the box entrusted to them, the result being that they went mad
when they saw disclosed the serpent-like Erichthonius whom Athena had
taken under her charge. Somewhere in this neighbourhood was the
Cecropium, probably a shrine over the tomb of Cecrops, and


Four out of the six pillars of the portico appear in this drawing, which
includes not only the great doorway so famous for its beauty and for the
interesting problems it has given rise to, but also the small doorway
leading to the Pandroseion. The rough masonry behind the two right-hand
columns is the great wall below the site of the archaic temple of Athena
Polias. To the right of the drawing we have the east portico and part of
the north wing of the Propylæa.]

here also may have been the den of the serpent which appears coiled
beside Athena’s shield. Within the Pandroseum there grew the sacred
olive-tree, of which we are told by Herodotus that, having been burnt
down when the Persians devastated the Acropolis, it put forth a fresh
shoot of a cubit’s length within two days--a presage of the speedy
recovery of Athens from her crushing adversity. Under the olive-tree was
the altar of Zeus _Herkëus_, which was, perhaps, originally included in
the court of the palace of Erechtheus. At no great distance may also be
seen the rocky elevation (a few feet in height) which is supposed to
have been the primitive altar on which sacrifices were first offered to
Athena. Like the Parthenon, the Erechtheum has passed through strange
vicissitudes, having been at one time used as a Christian church and at
another time as the residence for the wives of a Turkish governor of
Athens--considerable alterations being made upon it in both cases.

The temple of _Niké Apteros_ (“wingless victory”) stands on the edge of
the Acropolis to the south of the Propylæa. The term “wingless” has
reference to the fact that Victory was generally represented as a winged
woman, and Pausanias explains the want of wings on the statue of the
goddess in this temple as expressing the faith of the Athenians that
Victory would never desert their city. A more natural explanation is to
be found in the fact that Victory is here represented under the guise of
Athena, who was never depicted as having wings. The temple seems to
have been erected some years before the Erechtheum, and about the same
time as the Propylæa and the Parthenon. Its history is in some respects
even more remarkable than that of either of the other temples. It was
demolished by the Turks in 1687 in order to afford materials for the
construction of a bastion. In 1835, after the Greeks had regained their
independence, the bastion was taken down, the result being that nearly
all the fragments of marble were recovered and the temple restored very
much in its original form. When it is closely examined the joints and
patches betray its second-hand character (as do also some terra-cotta
figures in the frieze, the originals having been removed some time
before the restoration to the British Museum), but when it is seen from
a little distance it presents a charming appearance. It is a very small
temple, consisting of a _cella_ sixteen feet long, with four Ionic
columns in front and rear. Each of the column-shafts is made out of a
single block of Pentelic marble, and has twenty-four flutes. There is a
beautiful frieze with sculptures in high relief. On the eastern front is
a representation of various divinities, while the subjects depicted on
the three other sides are appropriate to the views seen in the several
directions. The northern side looks towards Marathon, the southern
towards Salamis, and on both these sides we see a representation of
battles between Greeks and Persians; but on the western side, which
looks towards Cithæron, there is a picture of a conflict between Greeks
and Greeks, the Thebans having allied themselves with the


The column to the right, with its strong golden-brown local colour,
warmed by the full morning summer sun, is the third column counting from
the north-east corner of the Parthenon. The blocks of marble which
conceal the lower part of the column form part of the _pronaos_ wall.
The east portico of the Erechtheum is seen below to the left; behind are
the mountains of Daphni.]

Persians at the battle of Platæa. Round three sides of the temple there
was a parapet, breast-high, made of upright marble slabs, some of which
have been recovered from the _débris_. They are adorned with female
figures representing Winged Victories, which display wonderful freedom
and ease in execution, especially as regards the drapery. There is a
beautiful view from the _Niké_, looking west and south, which has been
finely described by Byron in “The Corsair”:--

    Slow sinks, more lovely ere his race be run,
    Along Morea’s hills the setting sun:
    Not, as in Northern climes, obscurely bright,
    But one unclouded blaze of living light!
    O’er the hush’d deep the yellow beam he throws
    Gilds the green wave, that trembles as it glows.
    On old Ægina’s rock and Idra’s isle,
    The god of gladness sheds his parting smile;
    O’er his own regions lingering, loves to shine,
    Though there his altars are no more divine.
    Descending fast the mountain shadows kiss
    Thy glorious gulf, unconquer’d Salamis!
    Their azure arches through the long expanse
    More deeply purpled meet his mellowing glance,
    And tenderest tints, along their summits driven,
    Mark his gay course, and own the hues of heaven;
    Till, darkly shaded from the land and deep,
    Behind his Delphian cliff he sinks to sleep.

In keeping with the splendour of the temples on the summit of the
Acropolis was the Propylæa, or great entrance, already mentioned. The
magnificent marble staircase, 72 feet wide, which now leads up to it,
was of later construction, under the Romans. But the porticoes of
Pentelic marble at the top, with their rows of Doric and Ionic columns,
supporting a marble roof, adorned with golden stars, and the adjoining
chambers, one of which was used as a picture-gallery (_pinacotheca_),
were built in the time of Pericles at a cost of more than £400,000, and
were justly regarded as one of the chief glories of Athens, as their
ruins still are of the modern city.

Within a few hundred yards of the Acropolis lies the small rocky hill
called Areopagus. Although associated with the God of War in name and
story, it was also the traditional scene of one of Athena’s greatest
triumphs, when she held the scales of justice so wisely between the
grief-stricken matricide Orestes and the avenging _Erinyes_ or Furies
who had dogged his steps all the way from Argos to Delphi and from
Delphi to Athens. In the rocky cleft at the side of the hill was the
awful shrine in which the relentless pursuers, otherwise called the
_Eumenides_ (“Gracious Ones”), found their quietus--the Areopagus
becoming thenceforward the authorised tribunal for the trial of all
cases of homicide, and superseding the savage law of blood-feud. It was
on this same Mars’ Hill that the apostle of a higher faith pled with the
Athenians for the recognition of the risen Christ, whom he proclaimed as
the appointed representative of the “Unknown God,” whose altar he had
observed in the adjacent market-place.



From Athens to Eleusis is a journey of about twelve miles by a road
which follows very much the line of the Sacred Way, along which the
great procession went for the celebration of the Mysteries. The
starting-point was close to the Dipylon Gate, of which there are still
sufficient remains to enable us to understand its structure. It was the
most strongly fortified point in the city wall, being the part most
exposed to attack; and it was there that the city was taken by the Roman
general Sulla, who had recourse to the erection of a mound in the
neighbourhood. The gate was a double one, as its name implies, not
merely in the sense of being a divided gate with a pillar in the centre,
but as a combination of two separate gates with a walled court between
them, so that an enemy who forced his way through the outer gate would
find himself (as Philip V. of Macedonia once did) exposed to attack not
only in front but also from the sides, and would be glad to make good
his retreat from such an untenable position.

For miles from this point the Sacred Way was lined with tombs,
especially in the immediate neighbourhood of the gate. A number of the
ancient tombstones are still standing in their original place, but many
have sunk out of sight, and not a few were used as materials for
fortification after the Persian war, and again after the battle of
Chæronea. Indeed, some of them are still to be seen built into portions
of the wall. It was outside the Dipylon that the bones of those who had
died in battle were interred. One of the most sacred obligations of a
Greek army after an engagement was to recover the bodies of its dead,
and whenever a truce for this purpose was asked by the defeated side it
could not be refused without a breach both of honour and of religion. At
the interment it was customary for a funeral oration to be delivered in
praise of those who had given their lives for their country. On one of
these occasions, as Thucydides tells us, when Pericles was the speaker,
he gave such a noble address that the women mourners in their gratitude
and enthusiasm crowned him with wreaths, as if he had been a
conqueror.[6] Funeral honours paid to the brave dead were not a mere
expression of sentiment, for provision was at the same time made out of
the public funds for the support of their children till they came of

The existing tombstones, as a rule, depict scenes illustrative of the
life of the departed, or else they


The central block of the outer side of the gate is in the foreground; in
front of it the marble base of a statue with a low bench, also in
marble. In the distance is seen the Acropolis, with the Propylæa at the
right hand.]

represent in a simple and impressive way the last farewell, by the
mutual clasp of the hands, or by figuring the deceased as in the act of
going on a journey. It was different, however, with the earthenware
vases, called _lecythi_, which were placed within the tomb, for they had
usually depicted on them a funeral scene of some kind, either borrowed
from real life or having reference to the unseen world, Charon and his
boat being frequently introduced in this connection. In some few cases
the dead man is represented as partaking of a banquet, suggesting the
idea that he still survived to claim the ministrations of his friends as
a hero or demi-god. There was one form of large, two-handled vase in
particular, generally of marble, which when deposited on a tomb
indicated that the person interred there had died unmarried. As its
name, _loutrophoros_, signifies, it was the jar used for carrying water
from the spring Callirhoe for the bridal bath, and its presence on the
tomb symbolised the belief that a marriage with _Hades_ (Pluto) awaited
those who had died in their virginity.

The ground, both inside and outside of the Dipylon Gate, was called
_Cerameicus_ (“Inner” and “Outer”), its name being derived from the fine
red clay which for two or three thousand years has yielded material for
one of the chief branches of industrial art in Athens. The Dipylon vase
was well-known as early as the eighth or seventh century B.C. Its style
of decoration was geometrical, with varieties of the “key pattern.” The
men and horses depicted on it are conventional and angular; and from an
artistic point of view it is inferior to the earlier style. Towards the
end of the seventh century it gave way to the “Phalerum” vase, which was
smaller and more delicate, with some oriental features, borrowed
apparently from the woven fabrics of the east. In the sixth century
Attic pottery underwent great improvements, both as regards the
preparation of the clay and the decoration of its surface. It became
famous all over the western world, and thousands of specimens have been
found in the cemeteries of Etruria, as well as in the Cerameicus and
elsewhere. Instead of the figuring being in black on the red ground, the
terra-cotta began to be reserved for the figures, which were thus
rendered much more attractive. Though so largely used for funeral
purposes the fact that so many vases have been found on the Acropolis
among the ruins left by the Persian invasion shows that that was not
their only use--otherwise they would not have been suitable for
dedication to the gods. Many of them seem to have been placed on the
grave-mound, or near it, as useful and ornamental articles, which might
supply the wants of the departed. The _lecythi_, which, as already
mentioned, were specially intended for funeral purposes, were generally
decorated with black silhouette figures on a fine white ground. Some of
the vases placed on tombs had no bottom, so that when a libation was
poured into them it sank into the grave.

From an early period there was a tendency to extravagance in connection
with funerals. In Solon’s time it seems to have been excessive
demonstrations of grief that needed to be restrained; but before long a
law was passed that “no tomb should be built with more elaboration than
could be effected by ten men in three days.” In the beginning of the
fourth century Demetrius of Phalerum, who was then in power at Athens,
forbade the erection of anything more than a mound of earth with a
column not exceeding three cubits high, or a simple slab, or a
water-vessel. We can judge of the extravagance which occasioned such
regulations from the fact that Harpalus, to whose care Alexander the
Great confided his treasures before invading India, had recently erected
a tomb on the Eleusinian way in memory of his wife Pythionice, who was
originally a slave, at an expense of more than £6000, which, Pausanias
tells us, was the tomb best worth seeing in Greece. The same man built a
still grander memorial to his wife at Babylon, at a cost of about
£36,000. Even this was a trifle, however, compared with the two or three
millions of pounds expended by Alexander himself on the funeral
obsequies of his friend Hephæstion, shortly before his own death--which
was brought on by the fierce intemperance in which he sought to drown
his grief. A more precious tribute of affection was paid to the remains
of the statesman Phocion by his widow. As the Athenians in a frenzy of
excitement had found him guilty of treason, he could not be buried in
his own country, and his body was therefore carried into the adjoining
territory of Megara and burned there. His wife brought back the bones in
her bosom by night, and laid them near her own hearth, with the prayer:
“Beloved Hestia” (the Goddess of the Hearth), “I confide to thee these
relics of a good man. Restore them to his own family vault, as soon as
the Athenians shall come to their senses.” Before long the prayer was
fulfilled, for the Athenians ordained a public funeral in honour of the
condemned man, and erected a statue to his memory.

Besides the road westward to Eleusis, there were two other ways from the
Dipylon Gate, the one leading in a north-westerly direction to the
Academy, the other south-west to the Piræus. On the latter road were the
tombs of some famous men, including Socrates, Euripides, and Menander,
but the way to the Academy was the favourite place for monuments in
honour of those who had fallen in war or had otherwise distinguished
themselves in the service of their country. Cicero, who, like so many of
his countrymen, studied at Athens, speaks with admiration of these
monuments; and we can imagine that a walk in the neighbourhood must have
been as interesting and inspiring to an Athenian as a visit to
Westminster or St. Paul’s is to a modern Briton. Many of the monuments
were in honour of large bodies of men who had lost their lives in
battle; but, as Pausanias tells, there were also to be seen the tombs of
great statesmen like Solon, Cleisthenes, and Pericles; great warriors
like Chabrias, Phormio, and Conon; great benefactors like Thrasybulus
and Lycurgus; and great philosophers like Zeno and Plato.


One of the most remarkable tombs is that surmounted by a colossal bull
in the act of charging. This statue has undergone a good deal of
restoration, but it is a singularly effective piece of work when seen
relieved against the sky in such a climate as that of Athens. Between
this tomb and the tall shaft (stelé) surmounted by an acroterion we get
a view of the Parthenon, with a storm approaching from the East.]

The Academy was about three-quarters of a mile from the gate. No remains
of the ancient buildings have been found, but there are still trees to
remind us of--

                    the olive grove of Academe
    Plato’s retirement, where the Attic bird
    Trills her thick-warbl’d notes the summer long.

Its name had originally no flavour of learning, being derived from an
early owner, Academus, whose greatness was of a vague and mythical
character. The place was of considerable extent. It was first enclosed
by Hipparchus, the son of Peisistratus, and was afterwards planted and
laid out by Cimon. It was famous for its great plane-trees, and
Aristophanes speaks of “the plane-tree whispering to the elm.” But there
were twelve ancient olive-trees which were still more highly prized.
They were called _Moriai_, in allusion to some legend connected with
them, and were believed to be offshoots from the sacred olive in the
Acropolis. It was at one time a capital offence to injure these
olive-trees in any way; and the oil derived from them was preserved in
the Acropolis, and jars of it given to the victors in the Pan-Athenaic
games. In the neighbourhood there was an altar of Prometheus--that
much-enduring Titan, who suffered for his sin in stealing fire from
heaven for the material welfare of the human race. This altar, with its
sacred fire, was the starting-point for one of the most famous contests
in the Athenian games, namely, the torch race. It was a race that was
sometimes run by individual competitors, sometimes by companies. In the
former case the prize was won by the man who first reached the goal with
his torch still burning. When it was a contest of parties, the object
was to pass the lighted torch from one member of the party to another,
till at length it reached the man stationed farthest ahead, who carried
it forward to the goal, the prize being awarded not to the individual
who came in first but to the company to which he belonged. No doubt it
is this form of the game that has given rise to the popular metaphor
about handing on the torch of truth. Funeral games were also held in the
Academy in honour of the soldiers buried in the neighbourhood, and there
was a sacrificial pit, at which worship was offered to them as heroes.
There was also a gymnasium, and so much open ground that a cavalry
parade was occasionally held in it. Plato dedicated a shrine to the
Muses in it, and it was his favourite haunt for about forty years,
though he was advised to quit it on account of its low and unhealthy
situation; it also continued to be the headquarters of his school for
several generations. He was buried in it, or very near it, by the
Athenians with great pomp, and the following was said to be his epitaph:
“Apollo created the two--Asclepios and Plato: Asclepios, that he might
save the body; Plato, that he might save the soul.”

A few hundred yards off, rather more to the east, lies Colonus, a knoll
some fifty feet high. There is little about it to remind one of the
description of it


The hills running across the middle distance are a portion of the chain
which divides the Attic plain into its two main parts. To the left we
have the picturesque outline of Lycabettos, then the rolling hills above
the Ilissus, next the rectangular form of the Acropolis, and to the
right the Museion or Philopappus Hill. Behind this chain of hills and
rocky eminences arises the great mass of Mount Hymettos.]

given by Sophocles, which has been thus translated by Prof. Lewis

    Gleaming Colonus, where the nightingale
    In cool, green covert warbleth ever clear,
    True to the deep-flushed ivy and the dear
    Divine, impenetrable shade,
    From wildered boughs and myriad fruitage made,
    Sunless at noon, stormless in every gale.

But you have only to go a short distance to the west and you will find
the olive woods, rich in all their ancient charms. For the Greek scholar
Colonus will always have a strong attraction as the birthplace of
Sophocles, and as the scene of his _Œdipus Coloneus_; but the
ordinary traveller will perhaps find his best reward for the excursion
in the very beautiful view which it affords of Athens and the Acropolis.

Soon after leaving the Dipylon Gate, on the way to Eleusis, the road
passes through the olive grove already mentioned, which borders the
course of the Cephisus for several miles, though the bed of the river is
often dry owing to the water being diverted from its course for purposes
of irrigation. It was at this point that a strange play of abusive wit
usually took place between the returning celebrants of the Mysteries as
they crossed the bridge, and the crowd of spectators. A little farther
on the spot is passed where Demeter is said to have presented Phytalus
with the first fig-tree. About midway between Athens and Eleusis, at the
top of the pass over Mt. Ægaleos, from which you have a charming view of
the city as you look back, there is a deserted monastery dating from
the thirteenth century, the work of one of the Burgundian Dukes of
Athens. It is built on the site of an ancient temple of Apollo, and has
inherited the name of Daphni, Apollo’s favourite, while its walls are
also enriched with marbles from the ancient edifice, though it was
deprived of three fine Ionic columns, which were transferred by Lord
Elgin to the British Museum. About a mile farther, where a stone has
been discovered bearing the letters Ζ _ex asteos_ (_i.e._ Seven miles
from the City), there are some scanty remains of a temple of Aphrodité,
and behind it a rocky wall with niches for votive offerings, some of
which have been recovered, especially doves in marble and bronze. It is
about this point that the bay of Eleusis comes into view, looking like a
lake, with Salamis, of glorious memory, enclosing it on the south-west.
A mile or two farther on there are salt springs quite close to the road,
called Rhiti, whose waters have been dammed up so as to form pools in
which there is said to be good fishing, once the exclusive property of
the priests of Demeter. The Thriasian plain is now seen on the right,
and by and by Eleusis itself is reached, an unattractive and unhealthy
village with about 1200 (Albanian) inhabitants, which would have no
interest for the visitor except as the birthplace of Æschylus, if it
were not for the sacred and venerable ruins on the adjoining hill.

It is a remark of Pausanias that “there is nothing on which the blessing
of God rests in so full a measure

[Illustration: CONVENT OF DAPHNI

First mentioned in 1263, the site anciently occupied by a temple of

as the rites of Eleusis and the Olympian games.” These two institutions
may be said to have been in some respects the counterpart of one
another, the one being the celebration of what is commonly called life,
the other of what is known as death; the one sacred to the god who rules
in heaven, the other to the infernal or Chthonian deities.

Of the myth on which the Eleusinian rites were based the earliest
account is to be found in what is called the Homeric hymn to Demeter,
though it is known to be the work of a later writer. According to this
tale, Cora, the daughter of Zeus and Demeter (“Earth-Mother”)--otherwise
called Persephone or Proserpine--was carried off by Hades while she was
playing with her companions in a flowery meadow. Her mother sought her
for nine days and nights with the aid of torches, but without success.
Overcome with grief and deeply offended that Zeus should have permitted
such an outrage, she withdrew from the society of the gods of Olympus.
In her wanderings she came, in the guise of an old woman, to Eleusis,
where she was kindly received by the ruler Celeus and his family. For a
time she acted as nurse to his infant son Demophoon, and would have
conferred upon him immortality, had not his mother, Metaneira, been
terrified one night to see her plunging him in fire, as she was in the
habit of doing to purify him from the elements of corruption. The
goddess, incensed at the mother’s interference, revealed her divine
rank, and commanded the family to build a temple for her on the hill,
which they did; and there she dwelt for a year, during which the earth
was visited with barrenness. At length Zeus consented to restore Cora to
her mother, on condition that she should return to Hades every year and
remain with her husband in the underworld for four months while the seed
was in the ground. Before leaving Eleusis, Demeter revealed to Celeus
and three others, in whose families they were to remain, the secret
rites which she wished to be celebrated every year in her temple.

According to a later addition to the tale, the goddess also taught
Triptolemus how to grow corn, an art which had hitherto been unknown
among men, and was first practised in the Thriasian plain. This version
was current among the Athenians, who, although not mentioned in the
hymn, ultimately assumed the chief responsibility for the celebration of
the rites, and introduced various modifications, in which Dionysus and
Iacchus had a prominent place. For hundreds of years before, the
“Mysteries” were entirely in the hands of the people of Eleusis, which
was then as independent of Athens on the east as it was of Megara on the

The rites were of a mystical nature, and consisted largely of a dramatic
representation of the myth above referred to. They grew in popularity
and importance as faith in the traditional theology declined; and even
the philosopher found in them an aid to natural religion. So great,
indeed, was the importance attached to them that, at a later time, the
Christian apologists (to whom we are chiefly indebted for information


On the right are the remains of a temple of Aphrodité. The Island of
Salamis is on the left--middle distance--looking over the Bay of

regarding them) felt it necessary to combat the idea that they embodied
the essential truths of Christianity.

After Eleusis was incorporated with Attica the Mysteries were celebrated
with a pomp and splendour unknown in any other religious service in the
Hellenic world--music, painting, sculpture, architecture, and dancing
being all laid under tribute for the purpose of rendering them
attractive and imposing. To heighten the expectations and deepen the
impressions of the worshippers there was a preliminary initiation into
the Lesser Mysteries in February at Agræ, a suburb of Athens, before the
chief celebration in autumn at Eleusis; and a year had to elapse after
participation in the latter before one could be admitted to full
communion. On the first day there was a great assembly at Athens; next
day they bathed in the sea; the third day they offered sacrifice; the
fourth day they marched in procession along the Sacred Way to Eleusis,
which they reached at sunset. During the night they wandered about the
shore with torches, looking for the lost Persephone. At length they were
admitted in a state of excitement, intensified by their long fast, into
a brilliantly lighted hall called the Telesterium, which has been
recently excavated. In this hall the strange events which had for some
days absorbed their attention were dramatically exhibited before them on
two nights, amid profound silence, the divinities concerned being
personally represented in appropriate costume. Certain sacred relics
which Demeter had shown to the daughters of Celeus were produced, to be
handled and kissed by the worshippers, who repeated the solemn formula
of initiation. Everything was fitted to awaken feelings of reverence and
awe, and the whole celebration seems to have held a similar place in the
religion of the Greeks to what the Mass has among Roman Catholics, the
Communion among Protestants, and the Easter Eve ceremonial among the
members of the Greek Church. While the sorrows of bereavement, the pangs
of inevitable death, and the mysterious gloom of the underworld could
hardly fail to be impressed on the minds of the celebrants, the return
of Persephone to her mother in spring seems to have inspired a hope of
immortality, for we are told that the culminating point in the service
in the Telesterium was the mowing down of a ripe ear of corn. It
requires no stretch of imagination to believe that it conveyed to the
devout worshipper something of the thought which Jesus Christ expressed
on the eve of His death to certain Greeks who came desiring to see Him,
when He said, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it
abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” The same
thought is echoed by St. Paul in writing to the Corinthians on the
subject of the Resurrection, when he says, “Thou fool, that which thou
sowest is not quickened, except it die.” This view of the Mysteries is
confirmed by the statement made by Cicero, who had himself been
initiated, that they taught men “not only to live happily but also to
die with a fairer hope.”

Like all symbolic rites, however, they depended for


On the left, in the immediate foreground, is part of the early girdle
wall of the sacred precincts, above which is the edge of the Acropolis
rock, with a chapel of the Panagia, and belfry above. To the right are
bases of votive offerings. In the distance are the mountains of

their efficacy on the susceptibilities of the worshipper. Plutarch says
that it required a philosophical training and a religious frame of mind
to comprehend them, and Galen maintained that “the study of Nature, if
prosecuted with the concentrated attention given to the Mysteries, is
even more fitted than they are to reveal the power and wisdom of God, as
these truths are less clearly expressed in the Mysteries than in

There is no evidence that metempsychosis or transmigration of souls had
any place in the rites, and they appear to have been free from the
grossness of the Orphic and Phrygian Mysteries, as well as from the
superstition associated with Pythagoreanism. It has been suggested that
they may have been of Egyptian origin, and recently this theory has
derived some support from the discovery of three Egyptian scarabs in the
grave of a woman, who appears to have been a priestess, as more than
sixty vases of various kinds were found buried with her, besides a great
quantity of female jewellery, in gold and silver and bronze and iron.

The Eleusinian rites breathed quite a different spirit from the ordinary
religion of the Greek, and as soon as they were over he resumed his
enjoyment of the present world. There were games and theatrical
performances on the last day before leaving Eleusis, and on the way back
to Athens there were many ebullitions of mirth and wit, owing to the
reaction from the unwonted solemnity and gloom.

We have a token of the sacredness attaching to the rites in the fact
that one of the most solemn oaths which could be taken was in the name
of Demeter and her daughter. It was regarded as an extreme aggravation
of the guilt of Calippus, the Syracusan, who compassed the death of
Dion, Plato’s friend, that, when he was suspected of a hostile design
and challenged by Areté, Dion’s wife, he denied with an oath and went
into the sacred grove, touching the purple robe of the goddess, and
taking a lighted torch in his hand. To make the crime still worse, it
was perpetrated on the very day sacred to these goddesses when the
Coreia were celebrated, and it was through their initiation into the
Eleusinian Mysteries that the two men had become acquainted--showing how
little impression may be made on some minds by the most solemn rites of
religion. The Mysteries were open to women as well as to men, but not to
slaves or Persians, or infamous persons such as murderers whose guilt
had not been expiated.


In the distance is the island of Salamis, looking on the Bay of Eleusis.
In the foreground are remains of shafts of columns which supported an
upper story over the Great Hall.]



THE history of Athens is scarcely less interesting from a political than
from an artistic and architectural point of view. It affords the first
example of a thoroughly organised democracy, and as such it has much to
teach the nations of modern Europe, both in the way of encouragement and

Reference has already been made to what was done by Solon in the
beginning of the sixth century B.C. to establish a constitutional form
of government, in which all classes of the population, slaves only
excepted, should have some degree of representation. The form of
government which Solon introduced has been called a
_timocracy_--property, not birth or rank, being the standard of
political power. He divided the population into four classes, the
highest consisting of citizens who possessed 500 medimni of corn. It was
from this last class alone that the nine archons--Ministers of State in
a restricted sense--and the _strategoi_ or generals had to be chosen.
All other offices were open to the whole population--the lowest class or
_Thetes_ alone excepted, whose eligibility was confined to serving as
_dicasts_ or jurymen, and who were exempted from the graduated
income-tax imposed on the three higher classes. All citizens had a right
of membership in the _Ecclesia_ or popular assembly, to which the
_Boulé_ or Council of 400, selected by lot, had to submit any proposals
of a legislative character. A special benefit was at the same time
conferred upon the distressed agriculturists by a measure called
_Seisachtheia_, for relieving them more or less from the burdens which
their costly mortgages had entailed upon them.

Still more democratic measures were introduced, nearly a century later,
by Cleisthenes, a member of the Alcmæonid family. He abolished all class
distinctions, with the single exception that the office of archon was
still confined to the highest of the four classes recognised by Solon.
He also divided the community into ten tribes; increased the number of
the _Boulé_ to 500, 50 being chosen from each tribe; and gave to the
general Assembly, of which all citizens above eighteen years of age were
members, a more definite and secure place in the constitution. No one
was eligible for public office till he was thirty years of age. From
each of the ten tribes 600 _dicasts_ were annually appointed by lot,
5000 of the total number being required for service in the law courts,
and the remaining 1000 for revision of the laws. It was also with
Cleisthenes that the measure known as _Ostracism_ originated. It gave
the assembly power in any political emergency to banish from the country
for ten years (later the period was changed to five years)


Over the talus of the débris from the excavations on the south side of
the Acropolis we see the front of the Theatre of Herodes Atticus, with
the long portico connecting it with the Theatre of Dionysos. On the
Acropolis itself, if we proceed from left to right, are Beulé’s gate,
the Propylæa and neighbouring remains, the Erechtheum and the Parthenon.
Towering above the east end of the Acropolis is Lycabettos, with the
chapel on its summit catching the sunlight. This drawing is intended to
convey some idea of the glitter of sunlight upon the splendid series of
marble temples and monuments of the Athenian Acropolis.]

any one whose presence seemed to endanger the safety of the state. When
a vote of this nature was taken, each of the citizens could nominate for
banishment any one he chose; but unless 6000 votes were recorded the
whole proceedings fell to the ground. The measure seems a strange one,
but it provided a safety-valve for political feeling on critical
occasions before the institutions of the country had become firmly
established. In the course of the fifth century ten politicians were
ostracised, the first being Cleisthenes himself, and the last (417 B.C.)
Hyperbolus, who was made a scape-goat for Alcibiades and Nicias, the two
rival leaders of the day. By another singular enactment, directed
against movements of a factious or seditious character, it was
obligatory on every citizen, when civil commotions arose, to range
himself either on one side or the other--neutrality in such
circumstances being regarded as treason to the state.

The constitution established by Cleisthenes remained in force as long as
Athens continued to be a free state, with a few additional reforms,
which gave it a still more democratic character. The restriction of the
archonship to men of wealth was abolished, and the power of the
Areopagus, the oldest and most venerable body in Athens, embracing in
its membership all who had previously held the office of archon, was
reduced to little more than the right of adjudicating in cases of
alleged homicide. In the days of Pericles provision was made for the
payment of citizens officiating as _dicasts_ or jurymen, and a “Theoric
Fund” was also created for the purpose of defraying the expenses of
public festivals, and bestowing on each citizen the price of admission
to the theatre on such occasions. In course of time this was followed by
the payment of citizens for attendance at the meetings of the general

In the age of Pericles the greatness of Athens reached its culminating
point, and never before had democracy been so justified by its results.
In the funeral oration delivered by Pericles on one occasion (p. 168) we
have an attractive picture of the state whose fortunes he was guiding:--

     “From the magnitude of our city, the products of the whole earth
     are brought to us, so that our enjoyment of foreign luxuries is as
     much our own and assured as those which we grow at home.... We
     combine elegance of taste with simplicity of life, and we pursue
     knowledge without being enervated: we employ wealth not for talking
     and ostentation, but as a real help in the proper season. The
     magistrates who discharge public trusts fulfil their domestic
     duties also--the private citizen, while engaged in professional
     business, has competent knowledge on public affairs: for we stand
     alone in regarding the man who keeps aloof from these latter not as
     harmless but as useless. In fine, I affirm that our city,
     considered as a whole, is the schoolmistress of Greece.”--Thuc. ii.

The continuity of the Athenian democracy was rudely broken by the
Spartans the year after the fateful battle of Ægospotami. Having
demolished the walls of the city (which was starved into surrender) amid
the flute-playing and dancing of women crowned with wreaths, the
Spartans set up the tyranny of the “Thirty,” which gave the Athenians a
more bitter experience of injustice, oppression and cruelty than they
had experienced even in the closing years of the Peisistratid dynasty. A
remarkable proof of the intense hatred of political tyranny which
prevailed at Athens nearly half a century later was afforded by the
reception given to two young Thracian Greeks, who had at one time
studied under Plato, when they repaired to Athens after assassinating
Cotys, the tyrant of their country. Partly on general grounds, partly
because Cotys had been a dangerous enemy of Athens, they were received
with the greatest honour, being admitted to the freedom of the city and
presented with golden wreaths. So glowing were the eulogies passed upon
them in the Assembly that one of the two felt constrained to declare,
“It was a god who did the deed; we only lent our hands.” The feeling
against despotic power was scarcely less strong in Magna Græcia, where
the iron entered into the soul of many communities under the usurpation
of Dionysius of Syracuse, about the beginning of the fourth century B.C.
His request for a wife from the city of Rhegium, which was accompanied
with a promise of benefactions to the city, was rejected; and in the
public discussion of the subject one of the speakers remarked that the
daughter of the public executioner would be the only suitable wife for
him. Dionysius fared better at Locri, where he obtained the hand of a
lady named Doris, the daughter of an eminent citizen, but not till after
another citizen, a friend of Plato, had refused his daughter, saying
that he would rather see her dead than wedded to a despot. Doris, it is
interesting to learn, made her voyage to Syracuse in a magnificent new
ship with five banks of oars, and on landing was conveyed to the
tyrant’s house in a beautiful chariot drawn by four white horses. The
same day Dionysius also married one of his own subjects, and, strange to
say, the two ladies were treated with equal respect, and sat with
dignity at the same table.

At Athens the drama was one of the most powerful educative influences in
the community. The remains of what was no doubt in its time the chief
Dionysiac theatre may be seen in the neighbourhood of the
Acropolis--part of the southern face of the rock having been scarped to
form the back of the theatre. Plato speaks of it as accommodating 30,000
people, but this is probably an exaggeration, 20,000 being nearer the
mark. The front seats running round part of the orchestra are in the
form of marble thrones, adorned with reliefs on their fronts and sides,
and bearing the names of priests and other dignitaries for whom they
were intended. These seats probably formed part of the original stone
theatre, but the latest inscriptions date from the time of Hadrian. The
Emperor’s throne seems to have stood on an elevation (still to be seen)
in a central position behind the front row of seats, and images of him
were set up in various parts of the theatre--a departure from the
example of Lycurgus, who set up statues of the great dramatists, the
bases of some of which are still in


Beginning at the left hand below, we notice first the breast-wall
dividing the orchestra from the auditorium, and below it again the
partially covered channel for rain-water. In the foremost row of marble
seats or thrones, the third seat to the right is that of the Priest of
Dionysos, distinguished by the exquisite relief, on the arm of the
throne, of Eros engaged in cock-fighting. Higher up in the auditorium
are pedestals for honorary statues.]

existence. Immediately in front of the seats is a circular wall, which
appears to have been erected as a protection from wild beasts in the
time of the Roman gladiatorial exhibitions. On the other side of the
orchestra, facing the auditorium, are the remains of a stage with
figures in relief, representing the birth of Dionysus and other cognate
subjects, and a crouching Silenus supporting the stage. These were
probably not set up in their present form before the third century A.D.,
though the marbles themselves may date from the time of Nero. Farther
back there are the foundations of other stages of an earlier date, with
a _stoa_ or colonnade, intended as a shelter for the people in case of
rain. Traces have also been found, partly beneath the present orchestra,
of the primitive enclosure which served as an orchestra before the
construction of the theatre. It was probably here that the most famous
Greek tragedies were exhibited, though it appears to have been at a
different spot, in the _Agora_, that the first play of Æschylus was
enacted, when the scaffolding on which the people sat gave way,
rendering it necessary that some new arrangement should be provided. At
first a cart or table is said to have served as a stage for the actor, a
booth being provided at a later time as a background and dressing-room,
with some kind of platform for a stage, in the neighbourhood of a spot
suitable for dancing and overlooked by a rising ground from which the
spectators might be able to hear and see what was going on. It was
probably not till about 330 B.C., in the days of Lycurgus, that the
elaborately constructed theatre was erected, whose ruins still excite
so much interest and admiration. Immediately to the west of the theatre
are the remains of a colonnade--the _Stoa_ of Eumenes--which led from
the theatre to the Odeum of Herodes Atticus, one of the most munificent
of the Roman benefactors of Athens in the second century _A.D._ The
Odeum was built in memory of his wife Regilla, and though the
marble-covered seats and cedar roof are gone, its arches form an
imposing ruin.

Historically speaking, Greek tragedy, the flower and crown of Greek
poetry, had a very humble origin. It was developed from the dithyramb, a
lyric hymn in honour of Dionysus (Bacchus), which seems to have been
derived from Thrace, and was of a wild, impassioned, semi-oriental
character. Hence the theatre stood within the precincts sacred to
Dionysus: and the foundations of a shrine, as well as of a larger temple
in which the image of the god in gold and ivory was preserved, have been
discovered in the immediate neighbourhood of the theatre. About 600 B.C.
the dithyramb entered on a new phase in the hands of Arion of Methymna
in Lesbos, who found Corinth a congenial scene for such revelry. He
organised a chorus of fifty members in the form of satyrs[7] (whence the
name of


This is the site of the Choragic monument of Thrasyllus. The square
opening is cut in the scarped face of the Acropolis rock at the top of
the Theatre of Dionysos. Above stand two columns, which supported
tripods dedicated to the god.]

tragedy or “goat song”), who danced around the altar or image of the
wine-god. Half a century later this performance was introduced at
Athens, and became a feature of the greater Dionysia which were
instituted by the “Tyrant” Peisistratus. By and by, at one of these
celebrations, Thespis, in order to give a rest to the chorus, came
forward as a reciter of poetry, which he seems to have addressed not to
the chorus, but to a person who was described as _hypocritēs_
(“answerer”), which became the name for an actor. The dramatic element
thus introduced was strengthened a few years later by Æschylus, who
provided employment for two actors and gave dialogue a more important
place, though the entertainment was still largely of a lyrical
character. A farther step was taken by Sophocles (who gained a victory
over the great founder of Greek tragedy in 468 B.C.) by the addition of
a third actor and the adoption of scene-painting. Sophocles arranged his
plays in trilogies or sets of three, frequently choosing subjects that
had no connection with each other, instead of the tetralogy (set of
four), which had formerly been the fashion. As a result of this change
the number of the chorus was increased to fifteen instead of twelve,
which had been approximately the fourth part of Arion’s chorus of fifty.

What strikes a western mind as the most remarkable thing about Greek
tragedy is its high moral and religious character, notwithstanding its
association with the worship of Bacchus and the prominence assigned to
dancing. Its subjects were almost always of a heroic nature, drawn from
the national mythology, and the problems of human sin and suffering were
treated from a deeply religious point of view. As Prof. J. S. Blackie
says in his translation of Æschylus (vol. i. pp. xxxviii-xxxix):--

     “Our modern Puritans, who look upon the door of a theatre
     (according to the phrase of a famous Edinburgh preacher) as the
     gate of hell, might take any one of these seven plays which are
     here presented in an English dress, and, with the simple
     substitution of a few Bible designations for heathen ones, find, so
     far as moral and religious doctrine is concerned, that, with the
     smallest possible exercise of the pruning-knife, they might be
     exhibited in a Christian church, and be made to subserve the
     purposes of practical piety as usefully as many a sermon. The
     following passage from the _Agamemnon_ is not a solitary gem from a
     heap of rubbish, but the very soul and significance of the
     Æschylean drama:--

    For Jove doth teach men wisdom, sternly wins
    To virtue by the tutoring of their sins;
    Yea! drops of torturing recollection chill
    The sleeper’s heart; ’gainst man’s rebellious will
        Jove works the wise remorse:
    Dread Powers, on awful seats enthroned, compel
        Our hearts with gracious force.”

And again (p. xlviii):--

     “The lyrical tragedy of the Greeks presents, in a combination
     elsewhere unexampled, the best elements of our serious drama, our
     opera, our oratorio, our public worship, and our festal
     recreations. The people who prepared and enjoyed such an
     intellectual banquet were not base-minded. Had their stability been
     equal to their susceptibility, the world had never seen their

The religious element is not so prominent in the poetry of Sophocles,
who brought his compositions to the highest perfection of art; and the
rationalising element is still more apparent in Euripides, with whom
philosophy may be said to have gained the ascendency. In his hands the
Athenian drama lost to a large extent its ideal and heroic character,
becoming realistic in its mode of thought, and showing the same
speculative tendencies as the Sophists had begun to indulge in.
Euripides represents a period of decline; but for intellectual keenness
and subtlety, for humane sentiment and tender pathos, he is generally
regarded as the greatest of the three. It gives us some idea of the
marvellous intellectual wealth of Athens at this period in her history
when we remember that the great poets we have mentioned were sometimes
defeated by competitors, whose writings have unfortunately perished.

Side by side with the later developments of Greek tragedy, Attic comedy
reached its culminating point in the writings of Aristophanes, whose
plays, eleven in number (dating from 427 B.C. onwards), are all that
exist of the comic literature of this period. It originated in the droll
procession, with merry song and rude comments on public affairs, which
formed one of the features of the “Greater Dionysia”--borrowed no doubt
from the rustic celebrations at vintage and harvest which are usually
attributed to the Dorian genius. At first voluntary, the procession
afterwards became a recognised part of the Athenian festival, and was
subsidised by the state, the result being that it assumed a dramatic
character in the hands of the poet Cratinus. While fun and laughter were
the primary objects it was intended to serve, it found room for an
infusion of beautiful lyric poetry; and the chorus became the
mouth-piece of the poet for expressing his mind on the questions of the
day, and satirising the vices and follies of politicians and other
public men. Unfortunately Aristophanes did not spare even such a
salutary teacher as Socrates, whom we find caricatured in the _Clouds_.
Though the comic poets were generally conservative in their instincts
and bitterly opposed to philosophic radicalism, they owed their right of
criticism very largely to the free spirit of the Athenian democracy; and
they soon gave up their scathing personalities when power passed out of
the hands of the people. Moreover the revelry associated with the
worship of Dionysus seemed to justify the licence which they claimed;
and when the old religion lost its hold on the mind of the nation they
lost their courage and independence as public censors. In Menander and
others the “New Comedy” became little more than an amusing reflection of
the social life of the day.

The plays in the theatre were only part of the Dionysiac festival, which
was celebrated with great magnificence by a public procession and
sacrifices. During the fifth and fourth centuries B.C., when the Greek
drama was at its best, the responsibility of


Behind it rises the grand mass of the eastern end of the Acropolis rock;
along the southern front of the Acropolis walls are seen the two votive
columns which bore votive tripods, similar to the one for which the
“Monument of Lysicrates” served as a support.]

producing a play was generally undertaken by some rich man who was
called the _choregus_, it being his duty to provide the chorus and
furnish its members with suitable dresses. In the event of the play
being successful in the competition, the _choregus_ received a prize in
the form of a tripod, which it was customary for him to set up in the
precincts of Dionysus’ temple, or in an adjoining street. Fortunately
one such monument has been preserved, which had been erected (as the
inscription tells) by Lysicrates in 335 B.C.--surmounted by a bronze
tripod, which has disappeared. Apart from its historical interest the
monument has considerable value from an architectural point of view, as
it is one of the earliest and finest specimens of the Corinthian order.
It is in the form of a small circular temple of Pentelic marble, fully
20 feet high, standing on a high square pediment of Piræic limestone 13
feet high, with a cornice of Hymettus marble. It is beautifully
decorated in a chaste and delicate style, the roof consisting of a
single leaf-shaped block of marble, and the frieze being ornamented with
scenes in the mythological history of Dionysus. For many years it served
as the library of a Capuchin convent which was built round it. The
convent was a favourite residence for Englishmen at Athens, and Lord
Byron is said to have used the interior of the monument for a study.

The theatre was often used for public meetings. It was there that it was
proposed to honour Demosthenes with a golden wreath in acknowledgment of
the signal service he had rendered to his countrymen in reviving their
courage and persuading the Thebans to join with them in resisting the
victorious advance of Philip. It was a great contrast to the treatment
he had experienced in the same place many years before, when a wealthy
Hipparch named Meidias attacked him with his fists at the very time he
was acting as _choregus_ for his tribe Pandionis. In general, great
decorum was observed in the theatre. It was not even permitted to the
officials who were responsible for maintaining order to inflict a blow
on any disorderly person, though it might be their duty to remove him by
force. That same year Demosthenes and some other leading Athenians paid
a visit to the court of Philip at Pella. Among other entertainments
which the king provided for them, his son Alexander, then a boy of ten
years of age, recited a dialogue, along with a companion, from one of
the great tragic poets of Athens. The taste for this kind of literature
never left the great prince, though his interest in natural science was
also shown by a grant of 800 talents to his former tutor, Aristotle, for
the purpose of carrying on zoological researches. When he asked Harpalus
to send him something to read during his stay in Upper Asia, the works
of Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides were among the few books selected.
Again, when he returned from the conquest of Egypt to Phœnicia, after
he had been saluted as the son of Zeus by the priest of Jupiter-Ammon in
the Libyan desert, dramatic representations formed an important part of
the festivals which were got up in his honour; and the princes of Cyprus
were conspicuous for the zeal and liberality with which they acted the
part of _choregi_ in competitions modelled on those of Athens. Of the
popularity of the tragic poets with Greek soldiers we have a remarkable
evidence in the fact that when, a century before, the Athenian army
which had been sent for the invasion of Sicily was utterly destroyed, a
number of men who escaped capture and wandered about the country, and
also some of those who had been reduced to slavery, won the hearts of
their conquerors by reciting passages of Euripides which they happened
to know by heart. In this connection it may be mentioned that all
free-born children in Athens were taught to read and write, while the
recitation of selected passages from great authors, and the practice of
music on the lyre or flute, along with gymnastics for the training of
the body, were always included in a liberal education.

Another great educative influence in democratic Athens was the practice
and the love of oratory. In the beginning of the sixth century B.C. we
find Solon employing verses on political subjects for the persuasion of
his countrymen, while at the same time condemning the incipient drama of
Thespis, when he saw him acting, as tending to falsehood--emphasising
his opinion, we are told, by striking his stick on the ground. It was
not till nearly a century later that the cultivation of prose rhetoric
became common in Greece. The Ionic philosophers of Asia Minor, and their
successors in Magna Græcia, who had tried to grapple with the problems
of the universe, gave place to the sophists who abandoned the quest for
abstract truth and devoted themselves to studies which had a direct
bearing on the practical interests of life. They naturally gravitated to
Athens as the intellectual capital of Greece, and found many young men
who were eager to acquire the arts and accomplishments they professed to
impart. Socrates has been called the greatest of the sophists, but,
apart from deeper points of difference, he was distinguished from them
by the facts that he gave no instruction in public speaking (for which
he had no taste), and that he accepted no fee from his disciples. On the
latter point, however, the sophists do not seem to have been so
mercenary as is sometimes alleged, if we may judge from the example of
Protagoras, who is represented by Plato as stating that he made no
bargain with his pupils beforehand, and that if they thought on leaving
that he was asking too much he allowed them to name a smaller figure, on
condition that they went into a temple and declared on oath that they
considered it a more just remuneration.

The fact that every citizen who had a case in the law courts of Athens
was obliged to plead his cause in person before a court consisting of
about 500 jurors, gave a great impetus to the cultivation of oratory.
Not only was the preparation of the speeches often entrusted to
professional rhetoricians, but their services as teachers of elocution
were also called into requisition by those who were anxious to do
justice to their cause by means of an effective delivery. The general
Assembly offered a still larger field for the practice of


At the junction of the converging lines of scarped rock is the _bēma_,
or altar, of the Pnyx, with a platform in front, from which, it is
believed, the orators addressed the people. It will be seen that the
steps, at the side of the cubical mass of rock, which has been called an
altar, ascend right up to the top of it; and it seems probable that we
have here rather the basis of the altar than the altar itself. The
latter may very well have been movable. Above the _bēma_ will be seen
the remains of a semicircular row of seats, apparently the seats of the
Prytanes, facing the people. In the middle distance of the drawing the
Acropolis rises majestically, and is finely opposed by the long line of
Mount Hymettos.]

eloquence, on the part of those who were ambitious of a political
career, and it was open to all citizens who chose to attend. The result
was that the Athenians became as pre-eminent in their power of
expression in language as in the visible forms of art. One of the most
interesting spots in Athens is the Pnyx, where the Assembly usually
met--“that angry, waspish, intractable, little old man, Demos of
Pnyx”--to quote the words of Aristophanes. The place of meeting was a
semicircular space on the face of a low rocky hill, a quarter of a mile
west of the Acropolis. Where the diameter of the circle would be, but
forming an obtuse angle, is a wall of hewn rock, fifteen feet high at
its central part, but getting lower towards the sides. In front of this
wall, about where the centre of the circle would be, there is a block of
stone eleven feet long and as many broad, resting on a platform of three
steps about thirty feet wide at its front base, cut out of the natural
rock. This is believed to have been the _bēma_ (“stone in the Pnyx”)
from which the speakers in the Assembly sometimes addressed 6000 or 7000
citizens chiefly resident in Athens or the immediate neighbourhood and
belonging to the middle or lower classes. Round part of the semicircle,
retaining-walls can still be traced, which appear to have been
originally much higher, so that the enclosure would slope down towards
the _bema_ or platform, and thus bring the speaker within sight and
hearing of the whole Assembly.

It was in the Pnyx that the great debates took place which determined
the policy of Athens and influenced the destiny of all Greece. Here
might be heard the demagogue Cleon, who knew how to play on the passions
and prejudices of the mob. By the strange working of the Athenian
constitution, he found himself on two important occasions at the head of
the army, first at Sphacteria, when the forces under his command
inflicted on Sparta one of the greatest humiliations which it ever
suffered at the hands of Athens, and again at Amphipolis, when the
Spartan general Brasidas gained the victory, though at the cost of his
own life, Cleon also being slain by a spear-wound in the back when he
was fleeing from the field. Here too Phocion delivered his opinions, the
plain, blunt, warm-hearted soldier who studied brevity and candour in
all his utterances, never condescending to flatter or even to please his
audience. On one occasion, when some remark he had made was loudly
applauded, he turned round to a neighbour and inquired whether he had
said anything very much amiss! His wisdom was not always equal to his
honesty and courage, but his career was long and honourable, as he was
forty-five times elected general for a year, and on many occasions
rendered signal service to his country. The conduct of the citizens,
assembled in the theatre, in refusing him a hearing (an old man of
eighty-four years) before condemning him to death as a traitor, will
always be a blot on the history of the Athenian democracy.

In the Pnyx, as well as in the law courts, might be heard the consummate
orator, whose extant speeches are pronounced by general consent to be
the finest specimens of parliamentary and forensic eloquence in ancient
or in modern times. The power of Demosthenes in delivery seems to have
been equal to his skill in argument and his clearness and felicity of
expression--the result of marvellous patience and perseverance in the
face of difficulties which would have seemed to most men to be
insuperable, arising from defective articulation, a weak voice, short
breath and an awkward manner. His devotion to his country was equal to
his enthusiasm as an orator; and if it had been still possible to teach
the democracy wisdom and preserve the liberties of Athens, Demosthenes
would have been the man to do so. But his lot fell in evil times, and
fate was against him. His end, like that of many of the great men of
antiquity, was a very sad one. In 324 B.C., six years after delivering
his great speech _De Corona_, which has been fitly called “the funeral
oration of Greek liberty,” he was thrown into prison on a charge of
conspiring against the Macedonian authority. He made his escape and took
refuge in the Peloponnesus, where he was living at the time of the death
of Alexander the Great--an event which kindled in the breasts of
patriotic Greeks a fresh hope of regaining their liberties. Demosthenes
took the lead in the movement for liberation and secured for his
countrymen the help of Peloponnesian allies in a last effort to throw
off the Macedonian yoke. On landing at Piræus he received a magnificent
welcome from all classes of his fellow-citizens. But the rising was soon
suppressed. Antipater compelled the city to surrender at discretion;
and within a year Demosthenes was again a fugitive under sentence of
death, passed against him by the remnant of citizens who were still
permitted to abide at Athens. In his extremity he took refuge in a
temple of Poseidon at Calauria, which had been an inviolable asylum from
time immemorial. The Athenian who was at the head of the Thracian force
sent by Antipater to take him was afraid to desecrate the sanctuary, and
tried to entice him beyond its precincts by promising that his life
would be spared. But Demosthenes knew how little faith was to be put in
such a promise. He knew that even if his life were spared he might have
his tongue cut out, like other orators who had done what they could to
warn their countrymen against Macedonian aggression. Despairing of being
able to render any further service to his country he resolved to put an
end to his life by swallowing the poison which he had secreted about his
person to meet such an emergency. As soon as he felt the poison begin to
work he arose and walked slowly out of the sanctuary, calling for
support to his tottering steps, in order to save the temple from being
desecrated by his death.

A few words may be added regarding another aspect of Athenian greatness
during the period of the democracy, which has already been incidentally
mentioned. The latter half of the fifth century B.C., which was the
golden age of the sophists, also saw the rise of a new intellectual
movement, which was destined to secure for Athens a position of
supremacy in the department


The worn and polished bed of the Ilissus, down which trickles the water
of the fountain of Kallirrhoè, is richly coloured with blue and purple,
owing to reflected light from the blue sky of a brilliant early morning
in summer. The Acropolis, with the Parthenon (divided into two masses
from this point of view), is relieved against the sky. To the right are
some of the lofty columns of the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the little
café or refreshment house giving scale to them.]

of philosophy for hundreds of years after it had sunk into political
insignificance, and even after the sceptre in the realm of literature
had passed to Alexandria. The man to whom this new departure was chiefly
due was Socrates, a brave soldier, a genial friend, and an incorruptible
citizen, as well as an original thinker. Greatly to his own
astonishment, he was declared by the Delphian oracle to be the wisest of
men--a statement which he could only credit in the sense that he was
wiser than others inasmuch as he was aware of his own ignorance. He not
only imparted a higher moral tone to the teaching of Greek philosophy
than it ever had before, but also laid the foundation of the Logic of
Definition, and anticipated in the sphere of ethics the principle of
Induction on which Aristotle acted in the next century in various
departments of his encyclopædic studies, and which was to be fully
applied by Lord Bacon in the natural world nearly 2000 years afterwards.
Before the days of Socrates the greatest, or at least the most
ambitious, thinkers had made vain attempts to unveil the secrets of the
physical universe, and in doing so had either ignored the traditional
theology, or else explained it away, like Xenophanes, who held that the
gods were the creation of human imagination, and that if oxen or lions
were to become religious they would likewise make for themselves gods in
their own image. With such impiety Socrates could have no sympathy, as
we may judge from the fact that he even condemned the presumption of
Anaxagoras in treating _Helios_ and _Selené_ (sun and moon) as if they
were material bodies, whose motions and magnitudes could be ascertained
by the intellect of man.

In Plato, the disciple and exponent of Socrates, Greek speculation may
be said to have reached its culminating point. How greatly his thoughts
have influenced the course of philosophy in subsequent times, even to
our own day, may be judged from the following words of the late
Professor Jowett in his introduction to the _Republic_, which is
generally acknowledged to be the greatest and most suggestive of the
numerous works of Plato:--

     “He (Plato) was the greatest metaphysical genius whom the world has
     seen; and in him, more than in any other ancient thinker, the germs
     of future knowledge are contained. The sciences of logic and
     psychology, which have supplied so many instruments of thought to
     after-ages, are based on the analyses of Socrates and Plato. The
     principles of definition, the law of contradiction, the fallacy of
     arguing in a circle, the distinction between the essence and
     accidents of a thing or notion, between means and ends, between
     causes and conditions; also the division of the mind into the
     rational, concupiscent and irascible elements, or of pleasures and
     desires into necessary and unnecessary--these and other great forms
     of thought are all of them to be found in the _Republic_, and were
     probably first invented by Plato. The greatest of all logical
     truths, and the one of which writers on philosophy are most apt to
     lose sight, the difference between words and things, has been most
     strenuously insisted on by him.... In the _Republic_ is to be found
     the original of Cicero’s _De Republica_, of St. Augustine’s _City
     of God_, of the _Utopia_ of Sir Thomas More, and of the numerous
     other States which are framed upon the same model.... The
     _Republic_ of Plato is also the first treatise upon education, of
     which the writings of Milton and Locke, Rousseau, Jean Paul, and
     Goethe are the legitimate descendants. Like Dante or Bunyan, he has
     a revelation of another life; like Bacon, he is profoundly
     impressed with the unity of knowledge; in the early Church he
     exercised a real influence on theology, and at the revival of
     literature on politics.... He is the father of idealism in
     philosophy, in politics, in literature; and many of the latest
     conceptions of modern thinkers and statesmen, such as the unity of
     knowledge, the reign of law, and the equality of the sexes, have
     been anticipated in a dream by him.”



Within a few years after the death of Demosthenes a striking evidence
was afforded of the sad change which had come over the city of Athens.
The restoration of its political freedom for a brief period by Demetrius
Poliorcetes (307 B.C.) in the name of his father Antigonus, one of the
successors (_diadochoi_) of Alexander the Great, was the occasion for an
exhibition of servility and impiety which showed that the manly spirit
of those who fought at Marathon and Salamis had utterly forsaken their
descendants. Not only were Demetrius and his father acknowledged as
kings, but they were also exalted to the rank of divinities, orders
being given by the authorities that their pictures and achievements
should be wrought into the sacred robe which figured so prominently at
the Pan-Athenaic festival, along with those of Zeus and Athena. A few
years afterwards the shameful profanation was carried still further by
the admission of Demetrius to the Parthenon as the guest of the goddess,
and by the issue of a licentious decree that whatever he commanded was
to be regarded as holy and just. How


Behind the lofty pedestal of the monument of Agrippa is the temple of
Theseus; to the right the sub-structures and part of the north wing of
the Propylæa (the Pinacotheca). To the left we have the wall of the
terrace or bastion of the Temple of Wingless Victory. The distant view
gives the plain of the Kephissus and the mountains of Daphni.]

little sincerity there was in all this obsequious homage became evident
the following year, when fortune turned against Demetrius at the battle
of Ipsus. He set sail from Ephesus for Athens, but was refused

Various causes may be assigned for the decline and fall of the Athenian
state. From a political point of view the more immediate cause was its
overweening pride and unbridled ambition--typified by the character of
Alcibiades, who has been well described as the evil genius of his
country at a most critical period of its history. Hence arose the
terrible disasters which befell it in Sicily, and the subsequent
dissolution of its naval empire. If the imperial capital had paid more
respect to the claims of other Greek states associated with it in the
Delian confederacy, its fate might have been very different. But while
incurring the jealousy of Sparta and other rival powers it failed to
gain the confidence of the minor states allied to it. Its imperial
policy when at the height of its power may be contrasted with that of
Great Britain, regarding which it has been recently said by Sir Wilfred
Laurier, the Prime Minister of Canada: “The British Empire means
freedom, decentralisation, and autonomy. It will live and live for

But Athens suffered from other causes besides its own imperial pride and
the enmity of other Greek states. As Æschylus is said to have foreseen,
the virtual abolition in a political sense of the court of Areopagus,
the great representative of traditional authority, and the failure to
provide any other adequate safeguards against democratic excesses,
could not fail sooner or later to be attended with evil consequences.
That the appointment to public offices should have been made by lot, as
a general rule, and that no one, however eminent for ability and
experience, should have been eligible as a member of the Council more
than twice, shows how the public interests of the state were sacrificed
to the theory of personal equality among the citizens. Even the high
level of culture at Athens could not justify such a disregard for the
inevitable diversity of natural gifts and acquired habits in every
community. Moreover, the love of wealth and the taste for luxury, which
resulted from the increasing prosperity of the city, tended to the
deterioration of character both among the leading men, who were too open
to bribes from foreign powers, even those at war with their country, and
among the citizens at large, who were apt to become demoralised by their
wholesale payment as dicasts, and were not content with largess at the
Dionysiac festivals only. The self-denial which led the citizens in the
time of Themistocles to forgo their claim on the proceeds of the silver
mines of Laurium, amounting to ten drachms per head, in order that an
addition might be made to their naval armament, would not have been so
readily found at the close of the fourth century, when the “Theoric
Fund” had come to be spoken of as “the cement of the democracy.”

While there are scarcely any monuments of the Macedonian period now to
be seen in Athens, it is different as regards the age of Roman


To the left, part of the aqueduct which supplied the water-clock; in the
background, the north side of the Acropolis, surmounted by the wall of

One of the oldest of the tributes of respect then paid by foreigners to
the famous but decaying city, is the _stoa_ of Attalus, erected by the
second king of Pergamus of that name (159-138 B.C.). The Stoa, which
formed part of the eastern boundary of the Market-place (by that time
commonly called the Cerameicus), consisted of two stories, the lower
façade having a row of forty-five Doric columns in front, with an inner
row of twenty-two Ionic columns. The latter divided the enclosed space
into two aisles, where buying and selling went on, while farther in,
behind the inner aisle, there were rooms for storing goods. The upper
story did not extend so far back, and had only one row of Doric columns,
connected by a lattice balustrade of Pentelic marble--the material of
which the columns were also made.

In the same neighbourhood may be seen one of the best preserved
monuments in Athens. It is an octagonal marble building, called the
Tower of the Winds, standing fully 40 feet high, with a diameter of 26
feet. On each of its eight sides there is an emblematic figure,
representing the wind which blows in that direction. On the top of the
tower there was once a bronze Triton, which pointed to the picture of
the wind that was blowing at the time. Under each figure is a sun-dial,
and there was also an ingenious system of waterworks within the tower,
to show the time in any weather, by night or by day. The tower was
erected in the first century B.C. by a Syrian named Andronicus.

A little farther east stands a great gate or portico, consisting of four
Doric columns, 26 feet high, with a massive architrave and pediment. An
inscription on the architrave tells that it was erected in honour of
Athena _Archegetis_ (“Foundress Athena”) by the people of Athens, from
funds bestowed on them by Julius Cæsar and the Emperor Augustus. It was
once supposed to be part of a temple, but excavations have proved that
it led into a great market-place, which was surrounded by an Ionic
colonnade, and was chiefly used (judging from an inscription found in
the neighbourhood) for the sale of olive-oil, the great gift of Athena.
In the pediment of the gate there was originally a statue of Lucius, the
adopted son of Augustus. His son-in-law Agrippa was also held in honour
in Athens; and on the Acropolis a pedestal can still be seen, close to
the Propylæa, on which his statue rested, with an inscription in which
he is styled a benefactor of the city.

On the Museum or Observatory Hill there is a marble structure called the
Monument of Philopappus, erected in the beginning of the second century
A.D., in honour of a generous Athenian citizen of that name, who was the
last hereditary king of Commagene, in Asia Minor. Above the frieze are
three niches, two of which contain statues of Philopappus and his
grandfather Antiochus Epiphanes, while in the third, on the right, there
once stood the figure of Seleucus Nicator, the founder of the dynasty.
On the north-east side of the hill there are three rock-hewn chambers,
no doubt originally tombs, though they are now called (apparently
without any justification) the Prison of Socrates.

Among all the Roman emperors Hadrian was the


The entrance to the market-place, built in the time of Augustus. On the
side of the cliff of the Acropolis we see the caves of Pan and Apollo
beneath the north wing of the Propylæa.]

greatest admirer of Athens, and conferred most benefits on the city,
both in the way of architectural adornment and otherwise. He erected a
number of magnificent buildings in the heart of the city, one of which
(as Pausanias tells us) had a hundred columns of Phrygian marble,
another a hundred columns of Libyan marble, while a third, which was
used as a library, was adorned with a gilded roof and alabaster. Part of
a rich colonnade has been preserved, and is known as the Stoa of
Hadrian. But the emperor’s greatest monument was the Olympieum, or
temple of Olympian Zeus, situated to the south-east of the Acropolis, on
the right bank of the Ilissus. The foundation of the temple had been
laid by Peisistratus nearly 700 years before, and the work had been
considerably advanced by Antiochus Epiphanes nearly 400 years later; but
it was reserved to Hadrian to complete the great undertaking, which he
did in a munificent style. Unfortunately only fifteen of the hundred or
more Corinthian columns of Pentelic marble are now standing, occupying
but a small part of the vast platform (about 2200 feet in circumference)
on which the temple stood. But such is the grandeur of the columns,
rising to a height of nearly 57 feet and fully 5½ feet in diameter, that
they form one of the most imposing ruins in the world. Even before the
commencement of the temple of Peisistratus, the place was regarded with
peculiar veneration as the traditional site of a temple erected by
Deucalion, the survivor of the Flood; and in the days of Pausanias a
cleft was to be seen in the ground, into which the subsiding waters
were said to have sunk, and where, every year, the people cast in
wheaten meal kneaded with honey, probably in memory of those who
perished in the Deluge.

Somewhere in this neighbourhood--though the exact locality has not been
determined--was the Lyceum, a gymnasium named after an old temple of
Lycean Apollo, in the midst of spacious grounds, where military reviews
were sometimes held, but chiefly famous as the place where Aristotle and
his followers had their daily walk and conversation, on account of which
they received the name of _Peripatetics_.

Between the Acropolis and the Olympieum, probably in the line of the old
city wall, stands the Arch of Hadrian, a handsome structure of Pentelic
marble, almost 60 feet high, with an archway 20 feet wide. On one side
of the entablature, facing the city, are inscribed the words, “This is
Theseus’ Athens, the old city,” and on the other side, “This is the city
of Hadrian and not of Theseus.” The emperor’s hope of a new city of
Athens has been fulfilled in modern times, but the extension has not
taken place in the direction of Hadrianopolis, but rather to the north.

Few cities in the Old World have made such rapid progress as Athens has
done since the liberation of Greece three-quarters of a century ago. In
1834, when it became the capital of the new kingdom, it had only a
population of a few hundreds, while Piræus was scarcely inhabited at
all. The population of Athens is now approaching 150,000, and that of
Piræus is about 50,000. The wealth of both has kept pace with the


The remains visible are part of the western side of the Stoa (exterior),
including the one remaining pillar of the entrance porch. Above we have
part of the north side of the Acropolis.]

Piræus is a prosperous and well-built town, whose trade has outstripped
that of every other port in Greece, while Athens is incomparably the
finest city in the kingdom, containing many beautiful modern buildings,
both public and private, and some handsome streets, with shops that
would do credit to London or Paris.

The growth of Athens is chiefly due to its political importance as the
capital of the country and the residence of the king. Politics is the
chief occupation of its educated citizens--dust and politics, indeed,
are said to be its two plagues. The whole of Greece is remarkable for
its consuming interest in politics; and, next to the daily newspapers,
of which some thirteen are published in Athens, history is the favourite
reading of the people. Unfortunately for the welfare of the country, the
interest in politics does not arise so much from zeal for rival
principles as from party struggles for place and power. In these
struggles it is not merely the professional politicians whose personal
interests are affected, but also the public officials of the country,
most of whom are liable to dismissal or translation every time there is
a change of Government--an event of much more frequent occurrence in
Greece than in Great Britain. There is only one legislative chamber, the
_Boulé_ or Council, the number of whose members varies, but can never be
less than 150. They are elected on a basis of manhood suffrage, and
receive a salary of from £50 to £100 a year, according to the length of
the session. The Government consists of seven members, who receive each
£300 a year, with an additional £150 for the Prime Minister.[8]

Closely associated with the politicians are the barristers, of whom
there are about 800 in Athens, besides a great many others scattered
through the country. The highest court of appeal, both for civil and
criminal cases, bears the time-honoured name of _Areopagus_, and
consists of eighteen judges. Of inferior judges there are nearly 600 in
the whole country, most of whom are removable on a change of
Government--an evil in some degree mitigated by the fact that all
candidates for judicial posts must have passed a series of examinations
in law. The medical profession is said to be also overstocked, though
the legal fees chargeable for medical attendance would not be thought
tempting in this country. With regard to the clergy, comparatively few
of them receive their education in Athens or pass through the
University. Their average culture is very low--but not lower than their
remuneration--and the consequence is that any influence the Church
exerts on the life of the nation is of a superficial kind, and finds its
chief support in the festive celebration of the numerous Saints’ Days.
The services in the churches are of a ritualistic order, and sermons are
seldom heard except in Lent. The kissing of an _eikon_ or the lighting
of a taper appears to be with many worshippers a mere formality, while,
at the same time, there is a large amount of ignorance and superstition
in the country districts.

Of late there has been a considerable diminution in the number of
students at the University, notwithstanding the liberal subsidies which
have been granted to it by Government; and pursuits of an industrial
nature are attracting more attention. The opinion is gaining ground that
education of a literary character has been overdone, with the result
that a large proportion of those who have received an academic training
fail to find suitable employment and become idlers and hangers-on,
spending their time largely in talking politics in the neighbourhood of
the _Boulé_ or the cafés of Constitution Square. In a political sense
great importance is attached by many to the fact that about a third of
the students at the University (say 200 freshmen every year) come from
“Outer Greece,” and are expected on their return home to do much in the
way of fostering enthusiasm for the great hope of a reunited Greece, to
embrace Macedonia, Epirus, Crete, and the Levant. This hope has been
somewhat damped by the favour recently shown by Russia to Bulgaria, the
other likely claimant to Macedonia when the Turkish Empire is dissolved;
and it is to Great Britain and France that the Greeks now chiefly look
for countenance and support in their national aspirations. Their debt of
gratitude to this country finds visible acknowledgment in the fine
monument to Byron near the Arch of Hadrian, and in the statue of
Gladstone in front of the University.

There is abundance of patriotic sentiment in Greece, which shows itself
not only in eloquent speech but in voluntary contributions made in
school and through national lotteries for the purpose of providing a
more adequate navy. But what is most needed for the wellbeing of the
country is a more steady and efficient administration of its own
affairs, and greater energy and perseverance in developing its
commercial and agricultural resources. For many years emigration to the
United States of America has been going on at an alarming rate,
especially from the Peloponnesus, including some of its most fertile
provinces. The home-affection of the emigrants is shown by their
generous remittances to their friends in the old country; and one of the
most hopeful features in the life of modern Greece is to be found in the
frequency with which her sons who have succeeded abroad devote their
wealth to the founding of educational and philanthropic institutions at
Athens or elsewhere. They are rewarded with the proud name of “national
benefactors,” which is as much prized in democratic Greece as titles of
nobility in Great Britain. One of the most recent of such benefactions
is that of M. Averof (of Alexandria), who has restored the Stadium at a
cost of a million and a half of francs, fitting it up with seats of
marble from the quarries of Pentelicus (as Herodes Atticus did in the
second century A.D.), to accommodate upwards of 50,000 people.

In the Archæological Congress held at Athens in 1905, which was attended
by visitors and delegates from all parts of Europe, one of the most

[Illustration: THE ARCH OF HADRIAN

The side towards the town (north-western aspect). This arch divided the
ancient “City of Theseus” from the new quarter founded by Hadrian.]

events was a public representation of Sophocles’ _Antigoné_ in the
Stadium. It may be questioned how far its language would be understood
even in Athens by the less educated classes. Probably the proportion of
citizens who understood it thoroughly was not much greater than in
Oxford when similar plays were put on the stage in that city some years
ago. In the days of Sophocles the whole community virtually spoke the
same language, so that his plays would be understood by the masses as
well as the classes. It would seem that even the peculiarities of his
Ionic dialect did not prevent Herodotus from being understood by the
Greeks assembled at Olympia when he recited his History to them before
it was published as a book. Nowadays the style and vocabulary of the
ancient classical authors are foreign to a large section of the Greek
nation. Hence it has been found that when the plays of Aristophanes are
turned into the colloquial speech and so presented on the stage at
Athens, they are attended with far greater success than in their
original form.

In closing, a few words may be said on what may be described as one of
the burning questions of the day. For more than a century there has been
a tendency in high quarters to approximate as much as possible to
classical Greek. Especially during the last quarter of the nineteenth
century, there has been a strenuous attempt on the part of the educated
classes, backed by the authorities in Church and State, to mould the
written language according to classical forms, by restoring the old
orthography and grammatical inflexions and by expressing new ideas and
inventions in ancient terms, frequently compounded in a curious fashion.
The ideal cherished by many educated Greeks was expressed by the
Metropolitan Archbishop of Athens when he said that he hoped the time
was not far distant when they would be using the language of Xenophon,
and that if the newspapers would introduce but one new classical word a
day, they would add 70,000 words to the language in the course of twenty
years. The archaic style has been adopted by the Government in all
public documents and in the system of education; it dominates the
speeches delivered in Parliament, except when passion gets the better of
the speakers; it is approved by the Church, and is cultivated by the
newspapers and journals, and the vast majority of authors. Hence the
most of the Greek which one reads in current literature bears a strong
resemblance to that of the classical authors studied at school and
college, and a good Greek scholar has no great difficulty in reading an
Athenian newspaper, if he make himself acquainted with a few modern
particles of frequent occurrence, and have patience to make out the
meaning of the new combinations that have been devised to meet the
requirements of modern civilisation.

But side by side with this artificial language, which, though classical
upon the surface, is generally modern in style and construction, bearing
the stamp, especially, of French and English idioms--there is what may
be called the vernacular Greek, spoken more or less by all classes when
they are not on ceremony, and understood in all parts of Greece, and in
the Levant. The difference between the two does not lie merely in
pronunciation, or grammatical forms, or the occasional use of peculiar
words, such as are found in the local dialects of almost all languages;
it shows itself in the employment of different words to express the
commonest things in daily life, such as water, bread, wine. You may see
such things called by their classical names on the merchant’s signboard,
and yet if you wish to be understood when you go into the shop you must
use the popular equivalents.

The relation between the spoken and the written Greek is often compared
to that of Italian and mediæval Latin. Italian had to struggle for a
literary existence before it gained a secure position as the national
tongue in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. But unfortunately for
Greek as a living language, ever since the days of Dionysius of
Halicarnassus it has had to contend repeatedly against a persistent
effort to go back, as far as possible, to the golden age of Athenian
literature in the fifth century B.C. Its capacity for literary purposes
has never been properly recognised, although it has preserved more of
the original language than the Italian has of Latin. This fact is now
forcing itself on the attention of the nation; and just as the
descendants of the ancient Romans have practically given up the use of
Latin, so there is an increasing party in Greece, supported by
distinguished grammarians in other lands, who hold that the intellectual
and moral life of the nation will never get fair-play and have full
scope for its energies until the Atticising pedantry which has so long
been the fashion both in Athens and in Constantinople shall be given up,
and the popular speech be recognised as a suitable instrument for
literary purposes as well as for the intercourse of common life. But
those who are of this opinion will have a great battle to fight before
they can hope to see their views prevail. A few years ago (in 1901) the
world was startled by serious disturbances in Athens over a translation
of the New Testament into the vulgar tongue, which showed what strong
passions lie at the bottom of this linguistic controversy. A scholarly
Greek merchant resident in Liverpool (Mr. Alexander Pallis), who has
brought Homer within the reach of all classes of his countrymen by a
translation into the language of the common people, set about rendering
to them a similar service in the case of the New Testament. His version
of the Gospel according to Matthew appeared in the _Acropolis_, one of
the Athenian newspapers. It called forth a letter from the Patriarch of
Constantinople to the Holy Synod of Greece, lamenting the degradation to
which the sacred book was being subjected. Then followed a great
outburst of indignation on the part of the educated classes, especially
the “noble student youth” of the University. A demand was made for the
excommunication of the translator and the banning of his work. But the
ecclesiastical authorities were not in a position to proceed to this
extremity. For the question was complicated by the fact that a popular
version of


The delicate, rosy tint is characteristic of Hymettos at sunset. The
hill in front of Hymettos is Ardettos, above the Stadion. The time of
year is late in June.]

the New Testament, not quite so familiar perhaps in its style as that of
Mr. Pallis, had been prepared shortly before by a learned lady at the
instance of the Queen of Greece, who had found that many of the inmates
of the gaols and hospitals which she visited were almost destitute of
Christian knowledge, and were incapable of understanding the Greek of
the New Testament. This translation had been revised by a learned
Commission, and had been commended by the Metropolitan, Procopius. The
excitement rose to such a height that nothing but a general
excommunication of all modern Greek translations of the New Testament
would satisfy the public. This demand not being granted, an indignation
meeting, attended by more than 30,000 people, was held around the
columns of Olympian Jupiter, and the feeling of the crowd was voiced by
a student, who declared that during the centuries of Turkish oppression
no such deadly injury had been inflicted on the nation with the sword as
that which had now been perpetrated with the pen. The meeting was
followed by riots in the streets, in which a collision took place
between the crowd and the military, attended with serious and in some
cases fatal results. Before the night was over, the Chief of the Police
and the Commander of the Garrison had resigned their posts; a similar
step had to be taken even by the Archbishop, who was conducted to the
King’s palace in the middle of the night by the Prime Minister and the
Minister of Public Instruction; and within a few days the Ministry
itself had to relinquish office.

The whole occurrence was a striking proof of the passionate pride that
is latent in the Greek character in any matter that affects its
reputation and self-esteem. Although the question came to assume a
semi-religious, semi-political aspect, the real offence lay in the fact
that the language used in the translation was the vulgar tongue, which
the University authorities desired to suppress, so far as its use for
literary purposes was concerned. If the translation had been allowed to
get a footing at home or in school it would have acquired a place in the
affections of the people. To avoid this danger the ecclesiastical
authorities issued an edict forbidding the use of all translations or
any departure from the original text--and this notwithstanding the fact
that there were thousands of the members of their Church who could
derive little or no benefit from the New Testament without the help of a
translation. It is easy to understand, from the feelings with which many
devout people in this country received the changes made on the English
Revised Version about thirty years ago, that the Greeks would be very
sensitive to any alteration on the New Testament, which had been the
cherished symbol of their nationality under the dominion of the Turk.
But in this case there was no alteration of the sense; and no one was
compelled to use the translation unless he pleased, nor was there any
attempt to supersede the reading of the original text in church. No
doubt the language of Mr. Pallis’ translation was sometimes of a very
homely character. But to talk of its being a “profanation of the


Mount Hymettos behind and the dust-laden cypress trees in front of the
Palace, ruddy in the last rays of a June sunset.]

was quite a misrepresentation, and seems almost ridiculous in view of
the fact--which the discovery of Egyptian _papyri_ has been bringing
home to us of late--that the language of the New Testament was, at the
time it was written, the language in every-day use among the masses of
the people for whom it was intended, which the learned men of the day
would have disdained to employ for literary purposes. No such outcry was
raised in this country when a Scots translation of the Psalms was issued
by the late Dr. P. H. Waddell, though it might have been more reasonably
objected to as serving no practical purpose. But there was no jealousy
of the Scots dialect on the part of the Church or the educated
classes--hence it was simply regarded as a literary curiosity.

Equally groundless was the notion that the issue of translations was
part of a scheme to which the Queen (a Russian princess) was supposed to
be accessory, for the purpose of playing into the hands of the Russians
in Macedonia, by leading the Greek population to surrender their
birthright as the lawful heirs of the New Testament. To understand this
suspicion we must remember that the Greeks had long prided themselves on
the fact that they and they alone could read the very words of the New
Testament in their own tongue, and they were afraid that they would
forfeit this distinction and be reduced to a level with their Slavonic
neighbours, if the need for a translation were admitted.[9]

However inconsistent it may seem, this attachment to the Greek of the
New Testament is only another phase of the same pride of ancestry that
is seen in the straining after classical Greek.[10] The desire to pose
before the world as the descendants of the nation which produced Homer
and Æschylus and Pericles and Plato and Demosthenes has led them to
sacrifice in some measure the real interests of the nation to the
glamour of a remote and glorious past. Just as they have been ashamed of
some mediæval monuments which reminded them of humiliating epochs in
their history, so they have tried to get rid of words and forms which
bore the stamp of foreign ascendency. But such affectation cannot alter
facts, and is bad for the _morale_ of a nation. The pride of birth, when
carried to excess, may hurt the character of a people no less than of an
individual, and foster a theatrical and pretentious spirit. It is easy
to see that in the education of the young it cannot be favourable to
vigour or spontaneity of thought if the pupil is denied the use of the
words to which he has been accustomed from his earliest years. With such
a discord between experience and expression, it is no wonder that the
Greek people have produced so little native literature during the last
two thousand years, and that they are so largely dependent at the
present time on foreign authorship, especially Russian, English, and
French. The loss sustained in almost all the practical departments of
the national life, both sacred and secular, is alleged to be scarcely
less serious. It can hardly be otherwise, indeed, if the language
employed in public documents is only partially or with difficulty
understood by a large proportion of the people for whom it is intended.
Moreover, it cannot be good for the nation to be divided, intellectually
speaking, into two more or less antagonistic camps, corresponding
roughly to the educated and the uneducated.

Of recent years there have been signs of a strong reaction. Largely
owing to the ability and zeal of Professor Psichari, a son-in-law of the
late M. Renan, the Atticising tendency is not nearly so prevalent as it
was twenty years ago, and a considerable native literature is now making
its appearance not only in poetry (in which it has always been strong)
but also in novels, dramas, journals, newspapers, and even in the
publication of grammars. This literature is no longer confined, as it
used to be, with few exceptions, to the Ionian Islands (where Salomos of
Zanté and Valaoritis of Leucas sang) and Crete (where Cornaro, of
Venetian extraction, produced his great epic _Erotokritos_, which
procured for him the title of the “Homer of the People”). Even
Constantinople is beginning to breathe the new spirit; and there is
reason to hope that a compromise between the two extremes may yet be
effected, by which the nation may realise its essential unity amid
diversity, remaining true to its illustrious ancestry, without ignoring
or suppressing the other elements--Roman, Byzantine, Turkish--which have
contributed to its development. Its scholars are beginning to see that
the idea of classical Greek ever becoming a universal language for men
of culture is a vain dream, and that a nation’s speech, like its life,
must undergo continual modification. Such modification, though it may
appear to the pedant to be corruption, is evolution to the philosopher
and man of sense. The history of the Russian and Czech languages, which
have adapted themselves to literary purposes with such success during
the last two hundred years, encourages the hope that the language now
spoken by the common people of Greece may go through a similar process
of development, borrowing from the ancient Greek what it requires in
order to meet the needs of science and philosophy, while holding its
ground as the essential basis of the national speech.[11]

Akin to this controversy is the question as to the proper pronunciation
of Greek. So different is the pronunciation now current among the Greeks
from that which is in vogue in this country that, even without any
difference in vocabulary or grammar, a Western scholar trained in the
Erasmian system would find the greatest difficulty in understanding or
making himself


The line of sight is in the direction of the axis of the Stadion. The
hills sloping right and left show the line of the seats for spectators.
The stones projecting from the side of the hill to the left are part of
the masonry which faced the eastern limb of the Stadion on its southern
side. In the foreground is the modern bridge over the Ilissus leading to
the Stadion.]

understood by a modern Greek, who allows the accentuation to supersede
the vowel-quantity and reduces the diphthong to a simple sound. How
different, for example, Peloponnēsos sounds when it is pronounced
Pelopónnĭssos, or ta-nephē (τἁ νἑφη) when pronounced ta-néphī. The
difference is still more marked when you hear a modern Greek read Homer,
for he seems to do away with the metre altogether. Till lately the
Greeks were inclined to smile at our rendering of the quantities. But
recently they have been learning from one who is perhaps their highest
authority on such questions (G. Chatzidakis) that ancient inscriptions
and transcriptions show that their living language has not stood still
in the matter of pronunciation any more than in other respects. It does
not follow from this, however, that the Erasmian pronunciation, though
older and more correct as to quantity than is now current among the
Greeks, is in all respects the same as would have been heard in the
streets of Athens in the days of Socrates.


Academy, 172

Acanthus, 119

Achæan League, 18, 118

Achæans, 40, 52, 55, 103, 162

Achilles, 11, 142

Acro-Corinthus, 73, 111 _f._, 118

Acropolis, 124 _seq._, 152, 166, 170, 173, 188, 199

Adrastus, 95 _f._

Ægaleus (Mt.), 175

Ægeus, 126

Ægina, 82, 96, 108, 142 _seq._

Æginetans, 143 _ff._

Ægospotami, 82, 88, 144, 186

Æolian, 7, 15, 162

Æschines, 64

Æschylus, 21, 138, 176, 189, 191 _f._, 196, 207, 224

Africa, 73, 87, 102

Agamemnon, 40, 58, 61, 97, 100, 102, 105, 192

Agesilaus, 82, 89

Agesipolis, 59, 98

Agis, 58, 85, 89

Agraulos, 129

Agrippa, 210

Ajax, 140, 142

Alcæus, 7

Alcibiades, 48, 97, 185, 207

Alcinous, 9, 106

Alcmæon, 61

Alcmæonid, 131

Aleman, 85

Alexander the Great, 12, 21, 49, 64, 74, 97, 117, 122, 171, 196, 201

Alpheus, 34, 52, 63

Amazons, 68, 157

Amphictyony, 27, 130

Amyclæ, 90, 91

Anaxagoras, 203

Andritsæna, 67

Antipater, 64, 201 _f._

Aphæa, 145

Aphrodité, 119, 176

Apollo, 16, 20 _seq._, 41, 62, 68 _f._, 91, 98, 108, 118, 127, 174, 176

Aratus, 118

Arcadia, 51 _seq._, 82, 105

Archæology (schools of), 29, 35, 65, 119

Areopagus, 125, 127, 139, 166, 185, 207, 214

Areté, 106, 182

Arethusa, 52

Argive, 74, 82, 97

Argives, 58, 95, 98, 101, 107

Argolic, 104

Argolid, 108

Argolis, 36, 94 _seq._

Argonauts, 54

Argos, 49, 61, 64, 71, 94, 112

Ariadne, 125

Arion, 190 _f._

Aristides, 62

Aristodemus, 77

Aristogeiton, 134 _f._

Aristomenes, 72 _f._, 92

Aristophanes, 173, 193 _f._, 199, 217

Aristotle, 12, 41, 196, 203, 212

Art (development of), 43, 148 _f._

Artemis, 52, 54, 79, 145

Asclepios, 108 _f._, 174

Asia Minor, 40, 87, 103, 130, 134, 149, 197

Atalanta, 54

Athena, 28, 55, 91, 128, 131, 139, 144 _f._, 146 _seq._, 210

Athens, 9, 29, 32, 60, 61, 64, 75, 84, 88, 97,
   102, 105, 114, 122, 124 _seq._

Athens (modern), 212 _seq._

Attalus (stoa of), 209

Attica, 125

Atreus, 105

Autonomy (love of), 5. _Vide_ Tyranny

Bacchiadæ, 113

Bacchus (Dionysus), 192

Baltic, 102

Bassæ, 66, 68 _f._

Bellerophon, 112

Bérard (Victor), 10, 16, 76

Blackie (Prof. J. S.), 192

Bœotia, 48, 58, 60, 74

Bosporus, 99

Boulé (Council), 78, 184, 208

Brasidas, 85, 200

Brennus, 28

Bribery, 25, 43, 84

British and Foreign Bible Society, 120

British Museum, 68, 154, 161, 176

Burial, 102 _f._, 137, 168, 172

Byron, 18, 165, 195, 215

Byzantine, 62, 66, 68, 92, 107, 159, 226

Callicrates, 153

Callimachus, 119

Callirhoe, 169

Callistratus, 60 _f._

Calydonian Hunt, 54 _f._

Calypso, 9

Canal (Corinth), 121 _f._

Capodistrias, 107

Caryatidæ, 149, 161

Castalian Spring, 32

Cecropia, 128, 147

Cecrops, 128 _f._, 139, 162

Celeus, 177-179

Cenchreæ, 120

Centaur, 37, 68, 154, 190

Cephallenia (Cephalonia), 7, 73

Cephisus, 175

Cerameicus, 169 _f._, 209

Chæronea, 29, 168

Charon, 169

Chatzidakis (G.), 227

Choregus, 195 _ff._

Chrysostom (Dio), 38

Chthonian, 39, 177

Cicero, 38, 60, 172, 180

Cimon, 127, 145, 173

Cirphis, 20

Cirrha, 27

Cladeus, 35

Cleisthenes, 96, 172, 184 _f._

Cleomenes, 25, 64, 89, 98

Clergy (Greek), 75, 214

Climate, 3, 124

Clytemnestra, 55

Codrus, 129

Colchis, 113

Colonies (Greek), 4, 24 _f._, 47, 49

Colonus, 174 _f._

Comedy. _Vide_ Drama

Conon, 172

Constantinople, 38, 158, 220, 225

Cora, 177

Coreia, 182

Corfu (Corcyra), 7 _ff._, 114

Corinth, 9, 88, 104, 111 _seq._, 140, 142, 190

Cornaro, 225

Cornelius Nepos, 116

Cotys, 187

Cowardice (contempt for), 80 _ff._

Cratinus, 194

Creon, 112

Crete, 30, 103, 126, 132

Creüsa, 162

Crisa, 19

Crœsus, 22, 96

Cronius, 34

Crusaders, 86

Cumæ (Hypereia), 10

Cyclopean, 102, 119, 125

Cyclopes, 85

Cyllene, 19

Cylon, 131

Cypselus, 113

Cyrene, 87

Cyrus, 22, 84

Danaids, 95

Danaus, 95

Daphni, 176

Darius, 134 _ff._, 142

Delian League, 152, 207

Delos, 30, 127

Delphi, 18 _seq._

Delphian Oracle, 20 _seq._, 56 _f._, 78 _f._, 98, 127-130, 138, 140, 144

Delyannis, 62

Demaratus, 25, 86

Demeter, 52, 144, 175 _ff._

Demetrius of Phalerum, 117

Demetrius Poliorcetes, 121, 206 _f._

Democracy, 183 _seq._, 206 _ff._

Demosthenes, 74, 158, 195, 201 _ff._, 224

Despoina, 52

Deucalion, 211

Diogenes, 118

Dion, 182

Dionysia, 191, 193

Dionysius, 21, 46, 115, 117, 187 _f._

Dionysus (Bacchus), 189 _f._, 194, _f._

Dioscuri, 90

Dipylon, 168 _f._, 175

Dodona, 26

Dorian or Doric, 31, 40 _f._, 55, 68, 71, 74,
   87, 90, 99, 129, 142, 144, 193

Draco, 130

Drama, 46 _f._, 92, 188 _seq._, 217

Dress, 70, 103, 149

Ecclesia, 78, 184

Education, 197, 218

Egypt, 94, 102 _f._, 107, 128, 196

Egyptian, 99, 181

Eleusis, 167 _seq._

Elgin, Lord, 154, 161, 176

Elis, 40, 41

Emigration, 216

Empire (Athenian), 88, 207

Enneapylon, 125

Epaminondas, 58 _f._, 62, 73 _f._, 88

Epeia, 40

Ephors, 78, 82

Ephyra, 123

Epidamnus, 9

Epidaurus, 96, 108, 142

Epimenides, 132

Epizephyrian, 130

Erechtheum, 145, 160 _seq._

Erechtheus, 128, 145, 162

Erichthonius, 156

Erinyes, 166

Erymanthus, 19, 67

Eumæus, 14

Eumenes, 190

Eumenides, 131, 166

Euripides, 54, 172, 193, 196 _f._

Eurotas, 89 _f._, 92

Evzoni, 70

Flamininus, 123

Furies, 165

Fürtwangler, Prof., 145

Gæa or Gē, 21

Galen, 181

Geography, 3, 124

Gerousia, 78

Gladstone, 8, 215

Glauké, 112 _f._

Gorgon, 156, 159

Greece (characteristics of), 3 _ff._

Gymnopædia, 81

Hades, 95, 112, 169

Hadrian, 188, 211 _f._, 215

Harmodius, 134 _f._

Harpalus, 171, 196

Helen, 69, 90

Helisson, 63

Hellen, 129, 162

Hellenic, 20, 36, 47, 84, 86, 129, 152, 157, 162, 179

Hellespont, 61, 141

Helots, 87 _f._

Hephæstion, 171

Hephæstus, 105, 128

Hera, 35, 41, 99 _f._, 107

Heracleids, 40, 55, 77, 89

Heracles, 34, 37, 40, 55, 71, 79, 105, 123

Heræum, 99 _f._

Hermes, 37, 105

Herodes-Atticus, 190, 216

Herodotus, 24, 46, 56, 95 _f._, 113 _f._, 144, 163, 217

Hesiod, 21, 40, 54, 60, 162

Hesperides, 54

Hipparchus, 173

Hippias, 135

Hissarlik, 103

Homer, 4, 10 _seq._, 40, 43, 54, 62, 77 _f._,
   95 _f._, 103, 105 _f._, 123, 128, 148, 224, 227

Homeridæ of Chios, 16

Homicide, 24

Honour (love of), 143

Human sacrifice, 23, 75

Hyacinthia, 91

Hyllus, 55

Hymettus, 148

Hyperbolus, 185

Ictinus, 68, 153

_Iliad_, 12 _seq._, 101, 108, 126

Ilissus, 150

Ilium, 16

Io, 99

Ion, 129

Ionian Islands, 7 _seq._, 122

Ionian and Ionic, 58, 129, 134, 136, 176, 197

Iphicrates, 91

Iphitus, 41

Isocrates, 47

Isthmian games, 39, 122

Itea, 19

Ithaca, 7

Ithome (Mt.), 68, 73, 75

Jason of Pheræ, 28

Jesus Christ, 166, 180

Julian the Apostate, 26

Julius Cæsar, 118, 121, 210

Jupiter (_vide_ Zeus), 29, 38, 221

Justinian, 157

Kalamata, 76

Karytæna, 66

Knossus, 126

Kolokotronis, 66

Laconia, 72, 80, 86, 93

Laius, 32

Langada, 92

Language question, 217 _seq._

Lapiths, 37, 68, 154

Larissa, 94, 99

Latona, 62

Laurium, 208

Lawyers (modern Gr.), 214

Leæna, 134

Lechæum, 120

Lenæan festival, 47

Lenormant statue, 157

Leonidas, 75, 80, 90

Lepreum, 48

Leucas, 11

Leuctra, 59, 61, 81

Liberation (of Greece), 18, 66, 77, 212

Locrians, 28, 130

Lucian, 160

Lycabettus, 125

Lycæus, 52, 67

Lycaon, 52

Lyceum, 212

Lycia, 112

Lycosura, 52

Lycurgus, 21, 41, 71, 79, 84

Lycurgus (of Athens), 172, 188

Lysander, 25, 83 _f._

Lysias, 47

Lysicrates, 195

Macedonia, 64, 97, 118, 201, 205, 223

Mænalus (range), 63

Magna Græcia, 4, 187, 197

Mahaffy (Prof.), 75

Malea (Cape), 96

Mantinea, 58, 62, 85

Marathon, 31, 127, 136 _ff._, 164

Mardonius, 56, 141 _f._

Marsyas, 62

Matapan (Cape), 89, 122

Medea, 113

Medes, 136

Medical profession, 108 _f._, 214

Mediterranean, 16

Medusa, 95

Megacles, 131

Megalopolis, 59, 63 _ff._, 69

Megara, 129, 131 _f._, 171, 178

Melanippus, 96

Menander, 172, 194

Menelaus, 76, 90

Menestheus, 126

Messene, 64, 73 _ff._

Messenia, 71 _ff._, 92

Metaneira, 177

Miletus, 114, 130

Miltiades, 127, 136 _ff._

Minos, 103, 126

Minotaur, 126

Mistra, 91 _f._

Morea, 92

Morosini, 158

Mummius, 118

Music, 31, 46, 74, 85 _f._

Mycale, 142

Mycenæ, 16, 35, 94, 97, 101 _ff._, 105, 123, 128

Mysteries, 175, 177 _seq._

Mythology, 1 _ff._

Naupactus, 40, 53, 73

Nauplia, 103, 107

Nausicaa, 11

Navarino, 77

Navel-stone, 29

Nemea, 39, 123

Nero, 31, 50, 121, 189

Nestor, 76

New Testament, 120, 220 _seq._

Nicetas, 159

Nicias, 161, 185

Niké, 37, 126, 164

Niobe, 40

Oaths, 48, 130 _f._

Odysseus, 9 _f._, 14, 106

_Odyssey_, 12 _seq._, 126

Œdipus, 32, 61, 96

Olympia, 18, 34 _seq._, 98, 217

Olympiad, 39

Olympian Games, 34 _seq._, 177

Olympieum, 211, 221, _cf._ 150

Olympus (Mt.), 15, 39, 117, 177

Omens, 28, 98 _f._, 116

Omphalos, 29

Ophis (river), 59, 62

Oracle. _Vide_ Delphian

Oratory, 197 _seq._

Orestes, 57, 61, 166

Otho, 107

Oxylus, 40

Pæonius, 37

Palace (Homeric), 105

Palæocastrizza, 10

Palamidi, 108

Pallis (Alexander), 220 _seq._

Pan, 190

Pan-Athenaic (games), 150, 154, 173, 206

Pancratium, 42

Pandora, 157

Pandroseum, 162 _f._

Parnassus, 19 _seq._

Parthenon, 151 _seq._, 206

Patras, 18

Paul (St.), 120, 180

Pausanias, 53, _passim_

Pegasus, 112

Peirene, 112, 119

Peisistratus, 76, 133 _ff._, 149 _ff._, 173, 191, 211

Pelasgian, 54, 103, 125

Pelasgicon, 125

Pelasgus, 52

Pelopides, 60

Pelopium, 38

Peloponnesian war, 9, 58, 69, 77, 87, 99, 143

Peloponnesus (Heracleid invasion of), 40, 55

Pelops, 36, 38, 102, 105

Penelope, 11, 69

Pentathlon, 41

Pentelicus, 126, 216

Periander, 114, 121

Pericles, 25, 140, 143, 152, 157, 160, 166, 168, 172, 185 _f._, 224

Periœci, 86

Persephone, 52, 177, 179

Perseus, 95, 102

Persia, 22, 47, 81, 84, 95, 117

Phæacian Island, 9, 106

Phædriadæ, 20, 32

Phalerum, 170 _f._

Pheidias, 38, 145, 153, 157

Pheidon, 96, 97

Pheræ, 76

Phigalia, 68

Philip (of Macedonia), 27, 49, 60, 74, 88, 117, 167, 196

Philopappus, 210

Philopœmen, 65, 89

Philosophy, 197, 203 _ff._

Phlius, 96

Phocæa, 130

Phocians, 27

Phocion, 171, 200

Phœbe, 120

Phœnicia, 16, 52, 96, 103, 111, 141, 196

Phormio, 172

Phrygian art, 40

Phytalus, 175

Pindar, 41, 45, 60

Piræus, 140, 142 _f._, 145, 172, 201

Pisa (Pisatis), 37, 40 _f._

Platæa, 57, 81, 97, 135, 137, 142, 144, 164

Plato, 174, 187 _f._, 198, 203, 224

Pleistoanax, 25

Pleistus, 20

Pliny, 31, 160

Plutarch, 30, 60, 62, 118, 181

Pluto, 2, 16, 169, 174

Pnyx, 125, 199 _f._

Poetry (ancient), 13

Polis, 11

Politics (modern), 213 _ff._

Polycleitus, 100

Ponticonisi, 10

Poseidon, 10, 73, 105, 122, 145, 162, 202

Pottery, 103 _f._, 169 _f._

Praxiteles, 37, 62

Priscilla, 120

Prometheus, 173

Pronunciation (Greek), 226 _f._

Propylæa, 158, 160, 163, 165 _f._

Proserpine, 52, 177

Protagoras, 198

Psichari, 225

Psyttaleia, 140

Pylos, 76 _f._

Pythian (air), 41

Pythian games, 19, 27, 39

Pythian oracle. _Vide_ Delphi

Pytho, 30

Queen (of Greece), 221, 223

Ramsay (Prof. W. M.), 190 _f._

Reformers (political), 130, 132, 183 _seq._

Rhegium, 73

Roman (period), 55, 118, 121 _ff._, 208 _seq._

Sacred Wars, 27 _ff._

Sacred Ways, 29, 179

St. Elias, 66

St. George, 128

Salamis, 132, 140, 164, 176

Salomos, 225

Samos, 120

Sanctuary (desecration of), 49, 99, 131 _f._, 144

Santa Mauro, 7

Sappho’s Leap, 7

Satyr, 190

Scheria, 9

Schliemann, 16, 101 _f._

Scopas, 55

Sellasia, 89

Sibyl, 30

Sicily, 73, 115 _f._, 197

Sicyon, 96

Silenus, 189

Sisyphus, 112

Slaves, 24, 72, 73, 87 _f._

Socrates, 21, 61, 127, 172, 194, 198, 203, 210, 227

Solon, 21, 132 _f._, 172, 183 _f._, 196

Sophists, 193, 197 _f._, 202

Sophocles, 175, 191, 193, 196, 217

Sparta, 25, 56 _f._, 61, 71 _seq._, 97 _f._, 107, 114,
   117, 135, 142 _ff._, 186 _f._, 200

Sphacteria, 77, 86, 200

Stadium of Athens, 216 _f._

Stenyclerus, 74

Strabo, 77

Sulla, 31, 167

Sunium, 137, 158

Sydney (Sir Philip), 51

Synœcia, 125

Syracuse, 9, 46 _f._, 115 _f._, 188

Tantalus, 40

Tarentum, 87

Taygetus, 74, 77, 89, 91

Tegea, 54 _seq._, 62

Telemachus, 76

Terpander, 85

Thebes, 29, 54, 61, 64, 88, 95 _f._, 103

Themis, 21

Themistocles, 139 _seq._, 208

Theodosius, 26, 50

Theoric Fund, 185 _f._, 208

Thera, 89

Therapne, 90

Thermopylæ, 27, 57, 80, 97

Thersilium, 65

Theseum, 127 _f._

Theseus, 125 _seq._, 212

Thespis, 197

Thetes, 183

Thrasybulus, 114, 172

Thriasian (plain), 176, 178

Thothmes III., 99

Thucydides, 15, 46, 88 _f._, 99, 105, 168

Thyestes, 105

Thyrea, 142

Timoleon, 115 _f._

Tiryns, 94, 97, 100, 105 _ff._, 128

Titthion (Mt.), 108

Torch races, 173 _f._

Tower of the Winds, 209

Tragedy. _Vide_ Drama

Trapezus, 63

Treasuries, 49, 155

Treasury of the Athenians, 31

Tripoliza, 62, 66

Triptolemus, 177

Trœzen, 96

Troy, 16, 40, 94, 100 _f._, 105

Turks, 62, 77, 107

Tyranny (hatred of), 115, 133 _f._, 187 _f._

Tyrtæus, 72, 85

University (of Athens), 215, 220 _f._

Valaoritis, 225

Varvakeion, 156

Vases, 169 _f._

Venetians, 107, 158

Vespasian, 121

Ville-hardouin, 92

Vitruvius, 119

Vourkano, 75

Women, 11, 41, 69 _f._, 80 _f._, 149 _f._

Xenophanes, 203

Xenophon, 16, 21, 82

Xerxes, 43, 86, 134, 138 _seq._

Zaleucus, 130

Zanes, 43

Zanté (Zacynthus), 7

Zeno, 172

Zeus, 34, 38 _seq._, 52, 72, 75, 90, 99,
   105 _f._, 112, 123, 139, 146 _f._, 150, 163, 177, 196

Zountas, 101

                   THE END

  _Printed by_ R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, _Edinburgh_.


Sketch Map


       *       *       *       *       *


[1] It may interest the reader to have a specimen of these famous odes.
The translation is that of Ernest Myers.


     [This ode was to be sung, probably by a chorus of boys, at the
     winner’s city, Orchomenos, and most likely in the temple of the
     three _Charites_ or Graces--Aglaia, Euphrosyne, and Thalia--though
     sometimes the odes were sung at a banquet or at the door of the
     victor’s house. The date of the victory is 476 B.C.]

     O Ye who haunt the land of goodly steeds that drinketh of Kephisos’
     waters, lusty Orchomenos’ queens renowned in song; O Graces,
     guardians of the Minyai’s ancient race, hearken, for unto you I
     pray. For by your gift come unto men all pleasant things and sweet,
     and the wisdom of a man and his beauty, and the splendour of his
     fame. Yea even gods without the Graces’ aid rule never at feast or
     dance; but these have charge of all things done in heaven, and
     beside Pythian

     Apollo of the golden bow they have set their thrones, and worship
     the eternal majesty of the Olympian Father.

     O Lady Aglaia, and thou Euphrosyne, lover of song, children of the
     mightiest of the gods, listen and hear, and thou Thalia, delighting
     in sweet sounds, and look down upon this triumphal company, moving
     with high light step under happy fate. In Lydian{*} mood of melody,
     concerning Asopichos am I come hither to sing, for that through
     thee, Aglaia, in the Olympic games the Minyai’s home is winner.

     {* The Lydian “mood” was sung to the accompaniment of the flute,
     and was tender, sometimes even plaintive. The Dorian mode was
     stronger, the Æolian more bright and animated, generally
     accompanied with the lyre or the flute, sometimes both. The metres
     of the different odes exhibit great variety.}

     Fly, Echo, to Persephone’s dark-walled home, and to his father bear
     the noble tidings, that seeing him thou mayest speak to him of his
     son, saying that for his father’s honour in Pisa’s famous valley he
     hath crowned his boyish hair with garlands from the glorious games.

[2] Philip of Macedonia probably owed much of his success to the
education he received at Thebes from his fifteenth till his eighteenth

[3] A name borne by many other hills in Greece owing to their
resemblance to _Helios_, “the sun.”

[4] Frazer’s _Pausanias_, vol. iii. p. 7.

[5] Frazer’s _Pausanias_, vol. ii. p. 350.

[6] To this day speeches are often delivered in the cemetery, especially
at the funeral of a person of note. Before being taken to the place of
burial, the body, fully dressed, is carried in an open coffin to the
church, where a religious service is held, of which an address sometimes
forms part.

[7] “The conception of the _Satyr_, a half-human, half-bestial form,
belongs originally to Asia Minor, and was developed, first in Ionian,
and then in general Greek art. The more strictly Greek conceptions of
Thessalian Centaur and Arcadian Pan are fundamentally the same in
character. The Satyr-type varies between human mixed with horse and
human mixed with goat, while the Centaur is only of the first kind and
Pan only of the second. Silenus is a similar idea, of Anatolian origin
probably, but developed in art more on the human side. The idea in all
these figures is that of rude, free, natural life, untrained, unfettered
by conventions and ideas of merely human origin.”--Prof. W. M. Ramsay’s
“Religion of Greece” in Hastings’ _D. B._ (extra volume).

[8] A great amount of detailed information regarding the affairs of
modern Greece will be found in W. Miller’s _Greek Life in Town and
Country_ (Newnes, 1905).

[9] The following is Mr. Pallis’ translation of the Lord’s Prayer (Matt.
vi. 9-13):--Πατέρα μας ἐσὺ μεσ' στὰ οὐράνια, ἅγιο ἄς εἶναι τ' ὄνομά σου,
ἄς ἔρθει ἡ βασιλεία σου, ἃς γίνει τὸ θέλημά σου, ὄπως στὸν οὐρανὸ (ἔτσι)
καὶ στὴ γῆ· τὸ ψωμί μας ὅσο μᾶς πέφτει δῶσε μας σήμερα, καὶ χάρισέ μας
τὰ χρέη μας ὅπως κι' ἐμεῖς χαρίσαμε σ' ὅσους μᾶς χρωστοῦν· καὶ μὴ μᾶς
βάλεις σὲ πειρασμὸ, μόνε γλύτωσέ μας ἀπὸ τὸν κακό.

[10] We have a proof of this in the fact that a students’ riot took
place in 1903 when a modern Greek version of the _Oresteia_ of Æschylus
was put upon the stage, but had to be vetoed by the Government.

[11] The reader who wishes to go more fully into this subject will find
it ably treated by K. Krumbacher in his _Festrede_ on “Das Problem der
neugriechischen Schriftsprache” (München, 1903).

       *       *       *       *       *

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

source of the the finest =>source of the finest {pg 32}

he sought to concilate=> he sought to conciliate {pg 49}

range of Taygetu=> range of Taÿgetu {pg 89, 91}

good state of perservation=> good state of preservation {pg 92}

known ever aferwards=> known ever afterwards {pg 160}

over the the tomb=> over the tomb {pg 162}

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