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Title: Studies in Greek Scenery, Legend and History - Selected from his Commentary on Pausanias' 'Description of   Greece,'
Author: Frazer, James George
Language: English
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                         GREEK SCENERY, LEGEND
                              AND HISTORY


                          _BY THE SAME AUTHOR_

=Pausanias’ Description of Greece.= Translated by Sir J. G. FRAZER,
    D.C.L., Litt.D. With commentary, illustrations, and maps. Second
    Edition. 6 vols. 8vo. 126s. net.

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                    LONDON: MACMILLAN AND CO., LTD.




                         GREEK SCENERY, LEGEND
                              AND HISTORY



                        SIR JAMES GEORGE FRAZER

                      AUTHOR OF ‘THE GOLDEN BOUGH’

                       MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED
                      ST. MARTIN’S STREET, LONDON


 _First published under the title, “Pausanias and other Greek Sketches,”
                             _Reprinted 1917_



The Englishman in Greece who pays any heed to the remains of classical
antiquity is apt, if he be no scholar, to wonder who a certain Pausanias
was whose authority he finds often quoted on questions of ancient
buildings and sites. The first of the following sketches may do
something to satisfy his curiosity on this head. It has already served
as an introduction to a version of Pausanias’s _Description of Greece_
which I published with a commentary two years ago. The account of
Pericles was contributed to the ninth edition of the _Encyclopaedia
Britannica_. I desire to thank Messrs. A. and C. Black for their
courteous permission to republish it. The other sketches are reprinted,
with some small changes and adjustments of detail, from my commentary on
Pausanias. References to authorities have been omitted as needless in a
book which is not specially addressed to the learned. Any one who wishes
to pursue the subject further will find my authorities amply cited in
the original volumes. Among works from which I have borrowed both
outlines and colours for some of my sketches of Greek landscape I will
here mention only two—the _Erinnerungen und Eindrücke aus Griechenland_
of the Swiss scholar W. Vischer, and the _Peloponnes_ of the German
geologist Mr. A. Philippson. Slight and fragmentary as these sketches
are, I am not without hope that they may convey to readers who have
never seen Greece something of the eternal charm of its scenery. To such
as already know and love the country they will yet be welcome, if here
and there they revive some beautiful or historic scene on those tablets
of the mind from which even the brightest hues so quickly fade.

                                                            J. G. F.

CAMBRIDGE, _March 30, 1900_.


            2. OROPUS                                     160
            3. RHAMNUS                                    163
            4. MARATHON                                   165
            5. PRASIAE                                    174
            6. MOUNT HYMETTUS                             178
            7. MOUNT PENTELICUS                           182
            8. PHYLE                                      187
            9. THE PORT OF ATHENS                         191
           10. THE SACRED WAY                             209
           11. THE HALL OF INITIATION AT ELEUSIS          214
           12. ELEUTHERAE                                 216
           13. MEGARA                                     219
           14. THE SCIRONIAN ROAD                         220
           15. THE ISTHMUS OF CORINTH                     223
           16. THE BATH OF APHRODITE                      226
           17. THE PROSPECT FROM ACRO-CORINTH             227
           18. THE CAPTURE OF CORINTH BY ARATUS           228
           19. SICYON                                     232
           20. PHLIASIA                                   233
           21. NEMEA                                      237
           22. THE PASS OF THE TRETUS                     238
           23. MYCENAE                                    242
           24. THE END OF THE MYCENAEAN AGE               245
           25. MOUNT ARACHNAEUS                           248
           26. EPIDAURUS                                  249
           27. THE TEMPLE IN AEGINA                       251
           29. TROEZEN                                    253
           30. FROM TROEZEN TO EPIDAURUS                  255
           31. METHANA                                    260
           32. NAUPLIA                                    261
           33. THE SPRINGS OF THE ERASINUS                263
           34. THE LERNEAN MARSH                          266
           35. THE ANIGRAEAN ROAD                         269
           36. THE BATTLEFIELD OF SELLASIA                270
           37. SPARTA                                     271
           38. MISTRA                                     274
           39. ON THE ROAD FROM SPARTA TO ARCADIA         278
           40. CAPE MALEA                                 279
           41. MONEMVASIA                                 281
           42. MAINA                                      282
           43. PHARAE AND THE MESSENIAN PLAIN             284
           44. MESSENE                                    285
           45. ON THE ROAD TO OLYMPIA                     287
           46. OLYMPIA                                    290
           47. PHIDIAS’S IMAGE OF OLYMPIAN ZEUS           292
           48. THE HERMES OF PRAXITELES                   293
           49. LASION                                     296
           50. THE ERYMANTHUS                             299
           51. THE MONASTERY OF MEGASPELEUM               300
           52. THE GULF OF CORINTH                        301
           53. ON THE COAST OF ACHAIA                     303
           54. PELLENE                                    304
           55. THE ROAD FROM ARGOS TO ARCADIA             306
           56. MANTINEA                                   308
           57. THE ROAD TO STYMPHALUS                     310
           58. THE LAKE AND VALLEY OF STYMPHALUS          312
           59. THE LAKE OF PHENEUS                        315
           60. FROM PHENEUS TO NONACRIS                   320
           61. THE FALL OF THE STYX                       324
           62. THE VALLEY OF THE AROANIUS                 330
           63. THE SPRINGS OF THE LADON                   331
           64. THE GORGE OF THE LADON                     333
           65. ALIPHERA                                   336
           66. DIMITSANA                                  337
           67. GORTYS                                     338
           68. THE PLAIN OF MEGALOPOLIS                   342
           69. THE CAVE OF THE BLACK DEMETER              343
           70. THE TEMPLE OF APOLLO AT BASSAE             345
           71. THE TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS AT AULIS             346
           72. GLAUCUS’S LEAP                             347
           73. EVENING ON THE EURIPUS                     349
           74. THE COPAIC LAKE                            349
           75. THE GREAT KATAVOTHRA                       355
           76. THE VALE OF THE MUSES                      357
           77. HIPPOCRENE                                 358
           78. LEBADEA                                    359
           79. THE BOEOTIAN ORCHOMENUS                    361
           80. THE PLAIN OF CHAERONEA                     364
           81. PANOPEUS                                   364
           82. NEAR HYAMPOLIS                             365
           83. TITHOREA                                   366
           84. FROM AMPHISSA TO GRAVIA                    369
           85. DAULIS                                     371
           86. THE CLEFT WAY                              373
           87. DELPHI                                     374
           88. AESCHINES AT DELPHI                        378
           89. THE PYTHIAN TUNE                           379
           90. THE LACEDAEMONIAN TROPHY AT DELPHI         380
           91. THE GODS IN BATTLE                         382
           92. THE SIBYL’S WISH                           384
           93. ORPHEUS IN HELL                            386
           94. THE ACHERON                                387
           95. A RIDE ACROSS PARNASSUS                    389
           96. PERICLES                                   392


[Sidenote: Greece in
           the second

peculiar piece of good fortune that among the wreckage of classical
literature the _Description of Greece_ by Pausanias should have come
down to us entire. In this work we possess a plain, unvarnished account
by an eye-witness of the state of Greece in the second century of our
era. Of no other part of the ancient world has a description at once so
minute and so trustworthy survived, and if we had been free to single
out one country in one age of which we should wish a record to be
preserved, our choice might well have fallen on Greece in the age of the
Antonines. No other people has exerted so deep and abiding an influence
on the course of modern civilisation as the Greeks, and never could all
the monuments of their chequered but glorious history have been studied
so fully as in the second century of our era. The great age of the
nation, indeed, had long been over, but in the sunshine of peace and
imperial favour Greek art and literature had blossomed again. New
temples had sprung up; new images had been carved; new theatres and
baths and aqueducts ministered to the amusement and luxury of the
people. Among the new writers whose works the world will not willingly
let die, it is enough to mention the great names of Plutarch and Lucian.

It was in this mellow autumn—perhaps rather the Indian summer—of the
ancient world, when the last gleanings of the Greek genius were being
gathered in, that Pausanias, a contemporary of Hadrian, of the
Antonines, and of Lucian, wrote his description of Greece. He came in
time, but just in time. He was able to describe the stately buildings
with which in his own lifetime Hadrian had embellished Greece, and the
hardly less splendid edifices which, even while he wrote, another
munificent patron of art, Herodes Atticus, was rearing at some of the
great centres of Greek life and religion. Yet under all this brave show
the decline had set in. About a century earlier the emperor Nero, in the
speech in which he announced at Corinth the liberation of Greece,
lamented that it had not been given him to confer the boon in other and
happier days when there would have been more people to profit by it.
Some years after this imperial utterance Plutarch declared that the
world in general and Greece especially was depopulated by the civil
brawls and wars; the whole country, he said, could now hardly put three
thousand infantry in the field, the number that formerly Megara alone
had sent to face the Persians at Plataea; and in the daytime a solitary
shepherd feeding his flock was the only human being to be met with on
what had been the site of one of the most renowned oracles in Boeotia.
Dio Chrysostom tells us that in his time the greater part of the city of
Thebes lay deserted, and that only a single statue stood erect among the
ruins of the ancient market-place. The same picturesque writer has
sketched for us a provincial town of Euboea, where most of the space
within the walls was in pasture or rig and furrow, where the gymnasium
was a fruitful field in which the images of Hercules and the rest rose
here and there above the waving corn, and where sheep grazed peacefully
about the public offices in the grass-grown market-place. In one of his
_Dialogues of the Dead_, Lucian represents the soul of a rich man
bitterly reproaching himself for his rashness in having dared to cross
Cithaeron with only a couple of men-servants, for he had been set upon
and murdered by robbers on the highway at the point where the grey ruins
of Eleutherae still look down on the pass; in the time of Lucian the
district, laid waste, he tells us, by the old wars, seems to have been
even more lonely and deserted than it is now. Of this state of things
Pausanias himself is our best witness. Again and again he notices
shrunken or ruined cities, deserted villages, roofless temples, shrines
without images and pedestals without statues, faint vestiges of places
that once had a name and played a part in history. To the site of one
famous city he came and found it a vineyard. In one neglected fane he
saw a great ivy-tree clinging to the ruined walls and rending the stones
asunder. In others nothing but the tall columns standing up against the
sky marked the site of a temple. Nor were more sudden and violent forces
of destruction wanting to hasten the slow decay wrought by time, by
neglect, by political servitude, by all the subtle indefinable agencies
that sap a nation’s strength. In Pausanias’s lifetime a horde of
northern barbarians, the ominous precursor of many more, carried fire
and sword into the heart of Greece, and the Roman world was wasted by
that great pestilence which thinned its population, enfeebled its
energies, and precipitated the decline of art.

The little we know of the life of Pausanias is gathered entirely from
his writings. Antiquity, which barely mentions the writer, is silent as
to the man.

[Sidenote: Date of

Fortunately his date is certain. At the beginning of his description of
Elis he tells us that two hundred and seventeen years had elapsed since
the restoration of Corinth. As Corinth was restored in 44 B.C., we see
that Pausanias was writing his fifth book in 174 A.D. during the reign
of Marcus Aurelius. With this date all the other chronological
indications in his book harmonise. Thus he speaks of images which were
set up in 125 A.D. as specimens of the art of his day. Again, he gives
us to understand that he was a contemporary of Hadrian’s, and he tells
us that he never saw Hadrian’s favourite, Antinous, in life. Now Hadrian
died in 138 A.D., and the mysterious death of Antinous in Egypt appears
to have fallen in 130 A.D. It is natural to infer from Pausanias’s words
that though he never saw Antinous in life, he was old enough to have
seen him; from which we conclude that our author was born a good many
years before 130 A.D., the date of Antinous’s death. The latest
historical event mentioned by him is the incursion of the Costobocs into
Greece, which seems to have taken place some time between 166 A.D. and
180 A.D., perhaps in 176 A.D.

[Sidenote: Dates of
           the various

From these and a few more hints we may draw some conclusions as to the
dates when the various books that make up the _Description of Greece_
were written. In the seventh book Pausanias tells us that his
description of Athens was finished before Herodes Atticus built the
Music Hall in memory of his wife Regilla. As Regilla appears to have
died in 160 or 161 A.D. and the Music Hall was probably built soon
afterwards, we may suppose that Pausanias had finished his first book by
160 or 161 A.D. at latest. There is, indeed, some ground for holding
that both the first and the second book were composed much earlier. For
in the second book Pausanias mentions a number of buildings which had
been erected in his own lifetime by a Roman senator Antoninus in the
sanctuary of Aesculapius at Epidaurus. If, as seems not improbable, the
Roman senator was no other than the Antoninus who afterwards reigned as
Antoninus Pius, we should naturally infer that the second book was
published in the reign of Hadrian, that is, not later than 138 A.D., the
year when Hadrian died and Antoninus succeeded him on the throne. With
this it would agree that no emperor later than Hadrian is mentioned in
the first or second book, or indeed in any book before the eighth.
Little weight, however, can be attached to this circumstance, for in the
fifth book Hadrian is the last emperor mentioned although that book was
written, as we have seen, in the reign of Marcus Aurelius, thirty-six
years after Hadrian’s death. A much later date has been assigned to the
second book by Mr. W. Gurlitt in his valuable monograph on Pausanias. He
points out that when Pausanias wrote it the sanctuary of Aesculapius at
Smyrna had already been founded, and that if Masson’s chronology of the
life of the rhetorician Aristides is right the sanctuary was still
unfinished in 165 A.D. Hence Mr. Gurlitt concludes that the second book
of Pausanias was written after 165 A.D. Even the first book, according
to him, must be dated not earlier than 143 A.D. His reason is that when
Pausanias wrote this book the stadium at Athens had already been rebuilt
of white marble by Herodes Atticus, and that the reconstruction cannot,
if Professor C. Wachsmuth is right, have been begun before 143 A.D. or a
little earlier. With regard to the other books, the evidence, scanty as
it is, is less conflicting. The fifth book, as we have seen, was
composed in the year 174 A.D. The eighth book, in which mention is made
of the victory of Marcus Antoninus over the Germans, must have been
written after 166 A.D., the year when the German war broke out, and may
have been written in or after 176 A.D., the year in which the emperor
celebrated a triumph for his success. In the tenth book occurs the
reference to the inroad of the Costobocs; hence the book was written
between 166 and 180 A.D. Further, the references which Pausanias makes
both forwards and backwards to the several parts of his work show that
the books were written in the order in which they now stand. Hence books
six to ten cannot have been composed earlier, and may have been composed
a good deal later, than 174 A.D., the year in which our author was
engaged on his fifth book. Thus the composition of the work extended
over a period of at least fourteen years and probably of many more. That
Pausanias spent a long time over it might be inferred from a passage in
which he explains a change in his religious views. When he began his
work, so he tells us, he looked on some Greek myths as little better
than foolishness, but when he had got as far as his description of
Arcadia he had altered his opinion and had come to believe that they
contained a kernel of deep wisdom under a husk of extravagance. Such a
total change of attitude towards the religious traditions of his country
was more probably an affair of years than of weeks and months.

That the first book was not only written but published before the others
seems clear. [Sidenote: The first book written and published before the
rest.] Amongst the proofs of this the strongest is the writer’s
statement in the seventh book, that when he wrote his description of
Athens the Music Hall of Herodes Atticus had not yet been built. This
implies that when he wrote the seventh book the first was already
published; otherwise he could easily have incorporated a notice of the
Music Hall in its proper place in the manuscript. Again, in the eighth
book he expressly corrects a view which he had adopted in the first;
this also he might have done in the manuscript of the first book if he
still had it by him. In other places he tacitly adds to statements and
descriptions contained in the first book. Further, the narrative of the
Gallic invasion in the first book is superseded by the much fuller
narrative given in the tenth book, and would hardly have been allowed to
stand if it had been in the author’s power to cut it out. More
interesting are the passages in which we seem to discover references to
criticisms which had been passed on his first book. Thus in the third
book he repeats emphatically the plan of work which he had laid down for
himself in the first, adding that the plan had been adopted after mature
deliberation, and that he would not depart from it. This sounds like a
trumpet-blast of defiance to the critics who had picked holes in the
scheme of his first book. Elsewhere he seems conscious that some of
their strictures were not wholly undeserved. In speaking of the
descendants of Aristomenes he is sorely tempted to go into the family
history of the Diagorids, but pulls himself up sharply with the remark
that he passes over this interesting topic “lest it should appear an
impertinent digression.” Clearly the arrows of the reviewers had gone
home. The tedious historical dissertations with which he had sought to
spice the plain fare of Athenian topography were now felt by the poor
author himself to savour strongly of impertinent digressions. Again, old
habit getting the better of him, the sight of a ruined camp of King
Philip in a secluded Arcadian valley sets him off rambling on the divine
retribution that overtook that wicked monarch and his descendants and
the murderers of his descendants and _their_ descendants after them,
till, his conscience smiting him, he suddenly returns to business with
the half apology, “But this has been a digression.” That Pausanias had
the fear of the critics before his eyes is stated by himself in the
plainest language. He had made, he tells us, careful researches into the
vexed subject of the dates of Homer and Hesiod, but refrained from
stating the result of his labours, because he knew very well the carping
disposition of the professors of poetry of his own day. Little did he
foresee the disposition of certain other professors who were to sit in
judgment on him some seventeen hundred years later. Had he done so he
might well have been tempted to suppress the _Description of Greece_
altogether, and we might have had to lament the loss of one of the most
curious and valuable records bequeathed to us by antiquity.

[Sidenote: Birthplace

The birthplace of Pausanias is less certain than his date, but there are
good grounds for believing that he was a Lydian. For after saying that
in his country traces were still to be seen of the abode of Pelops and
Tantalus, he mentions some monuments and natural features associated
with the names of these ancient princes on and near Mount Sipylus. This
is nearly a direct affirmation that the region about Mount Sipylus in
Lydia was his native land. The same thing appears, though less directly,
from the minute acquaintance he displays with the district and from the
evident fondness with which he recurs again and again to its scenery and
legends. He had seen the white eagles wheeling above the lonely tarn of
Tantalus in the heart of the hills; he had beheld the stately tomb of
the same hero on Mount Sipylus, the ruined city at the bottom of the
clear lake, the rock-hewn throne of Pelops crowning the dizzy peak that
overhangs the cañon, and the dripping rock which popular fancy took for
the bereaved Niobe weeping for her children. He speaks of the clouds of
locusts which he had thrice seen vanish from Mount Sipylus, of the wild
dance of the peasantry, and of the shrine of Mother Plastene, whose rude
image, carved out of the native rock, may still be seen in its niche at
the foot of the mountain. From all this it is fair to surmise that
Pausanias was born and bred not far from the mountains which he seems to
have known and loved so well. Their inmost recesses he may have explored
on foot in boyhood and have drunk in their old romantic legends from the
lips of woodmen and hunters. Whether, as some conjecture, he was born at
Magnesia, the city at the northern foot of Mount Sipylus, we cannot say,
but the vicinity of the city to the mountain speaks in favour of the
conjecture. It is less probable, perhaps, that his birthplace was the
more distant Pergamus, although there is no lack of passages to prove
that he knew and interested himself in that city. As a native of Lydia
it was natural that Pausanias should be familiar with the western coast
of Asia Minor. There is indeed no part of the world outside of Greece to
which he refers so often. He seizes an opportunity to give us the
history of the colonisation of Ionia, and dwells with patriotic pride on
the glorious climate, the matchless temples, and the natural wonders of
that beautiful land.

[Sidenote: Other
           writers of
           the same

Some scholars have identified our author with a sophist of the same name
who was born at Caesarea in Cappadocia, studied under Herodes Atticus,
and died an old man at Rome, leaving behind him many declamations
composed in a style which displayed a certain vigour and some
acquaintance with classical models. But, quite apart from the evidence
that our author was a Lydian, there are strong reasons for not
identifying him with his Cappadocian namesake. Neither Suidas nor
Philostratus, who has left us a short life of the Cappadocian Pausanias,
mentions the _Description of Greece_ among his works; and on the other
hand our Pausanias, though he often mentions Herodes Atticus, nowhere
speaks of him as his master or of any personal relations that he had
with him. Further, the author of the _Description of Greece_ is probably
to be distinguished from a writer of the same name who composed a work
on Syria to which Stephanus of Byzantium repeatedly refers. It is true
that our Pausanias evidently knew and had travelled in Syria, but this
in itself is no reason for supposing that he was the author of a work to
which in his extant writings he makes no allusion. The name Pausanias
was far too common to justify us in identifying all the authors who bore
it, even when we have grounds for believing them to have been

That Pausanias had travelled widely beyond the limits of Greece and
Ionia is clear from the many allusions he lets fall to places and
objects of interest in foreign lands. Some of them he expressly says
that he saw; as to others we may infer that he saw them from the
particularity of his description. In Syria he had seen the Jordan
flowing through the Lake of Tiberias and falling into the Dead Sea, and
had gazed at the red pool near Joppa in which Perseus was said to have
washed his bloody sword after slaying the sea-monster. He describes a
tomb at Jerusalem, the door of which by an ingenious mechanical
contrivance opened of itself once a year at a certain hour, and he often
alludes to Antioch which for its vast size and wealth he ranked with
Alexandria. In Egypt he had seen the Pyramids, had beheld with wonder
the colossal statue of Memnon at Thebes, and had heard the musical note,
like the breaking of a lute-string, which the statue emitted at sunrise.
The statue still stands, and many inscriptions in Greek and Latin carved
by ancient visitors on its huge legs and base confirm the testimony of
Pausanias as to the mysterious sound. From Egypt our author seems to
have journeyed across the desert to the oasis of Ammon, for he tells us
that in his time the hymn which Pindar sent to Ammon was still to be
seen there carved on a triangular slab beside the altar. Nearer home he
admired the splendid fortifications of Rhodes and Byzantium. Though he
does not describe northern Greece, he had visited Thessaly, and had seen
the blue steaming rivulet rushing along at the foot of the rugged
forest-tufted mountains that hem in like a wall the pass of Thermopylae
on the south. He appears to have visited Macedonia, and perhaps, too,
Epirus; at least he speaks repeatedly of Dodona and its oracular oak,
and he mentions the sluggish melancholy rivers that wind through the
dreary Thesprotian plain and that gave their names to the rivers in
hell. He had crossed to Italy and seen something of the cities of
Campania and the wonders of Rome. The great forum of Trajan with its
bronze roof, the Circus Maximus—then probably the most magnificent
building in the world—and the strange beasts gathered from far foreign
lands, seem to have been the sights which most impressed him in the
capital of the world. In the Imperial Gardens he observed with curiosity
a tusk which the custodian assured him had belonged to the Calydonian
boar; and he noticed, doubtless with less pleasure, the great ivory
image of Athena Alea which Augustus had carried off from the stately
temple of the goddess at Tegea. In the neighbourhood of Rome the
bubbling milk-white water of Albula or Solfatara, as it is now called,
on the road to Tibur, attracted his attention, and beside the sylvan
lake of Aricia he appears to have seen the grim priest pacing sword in
hand, the warder of the Golden Bough. The absurd description he gives of
the beautiful and much-maligned Strait of Messina would suffice to prove
that he never sailed through it. Probably like most travellers coming
from the East he reached Italy by way of Brundisium. Of Sardinia he has
given a somewhat full description, but without implying that he had
visited it. Sicily, if we may judge by a grave blunder he makes in
speaking of it, he never saw.

[Sidenote: Aim of

The aim that Pausanias had in writing his _Description of Greece_ is
nowhere very fully or clearly stated by him. His book has neither head
nor tail, neither preface nor epilogue. At the beginning he plunges into
the description of Attica without a word of introduction, and at the end
he breaks off his account of Ozolian Locris with equal abruptness. There
is reason to believe that the work is unfinished, for he seems to have
intended to describe Opuntian Locris, but this intention was never
fulfilled. However, from occasional utterances as well as from the
general scope and plan of the book, we can gather a fairly accurate
notion of the writer’s purpose. Thus in the midst of his description of
the Acropolis of Athens he suddenly interposes the remark, “But I must
proceed, for I have to describe the whole of Greece,” as if the thought
of the wide field he had to traverse jogged him, as well it might, and
bade him hasten. Again, after bringing his description of Athens and
Attica to an end, he adds: “Such are, in my opinion, the most famous of
the Athenian traditions and sights: from the mass of materials I have
aimed from the outset at selecting the really notable.” Later on, before
addressing himself to the description of Sparta he explains his purpose
still more definitely and emphatically: “To prevent misconceptions, I
stated in my _Attica_ that I had not described everything, but only a
selection of the most memorable objects. This principle I will now
repeat before I proceed to describe Sparta. From the outset I aimed at
sifting the most valuable traditions from out of the mass of
insignificant stories which are current among every people. My plan was
adopted after mature deliberation, and I will not depart from it.”
Again, after briefly narrating the history of Phlius, he says: “I shall
now add a notice of the most remarkable sights,” and he concludes his
description of Delphi with the words: “Such were the notable objects
left at Delphi in my time.” In introducing his notice of the honorary
statues at Olympia he is careful to explain that he does not intend to
furnish a complete catalogue of them, but only to mention such as were
of special interest either for their artistic merit or for the fame of
the persons they portrayed.

[Sidenote: Method of
           the work.]

From these and a few more passages of the same sort it seems clear that
Pausanias intended to describe all the most notable objects and to
narrate all the most memorable traditions which he found existing or
current in the Greece of his own time. It was a vast undertaking, and we
need not wonder that at the outset he should have felt himself oppressed
by the magnitude of it, and that consequently in the first book, dealing
with Attica, his selection of notable objects should be scantier and his
description of them slighter than in the later books. It was not only
that he was bewildered by the multitude of things he had to say, but
that he had not quite made up his mind how to say them. He was groping
and fumbling after a method. As the work proceeded, he seems to have
felt himself more at ease; the arrangement of the matter becomes more
systematic, the range of his interests wider, the descriptions more
detailed, his touch surer. Even the second book shows in all these
respects a great advance on the first. To mention two conspicuous
improvements, he has now definitely adopted the topographical order of
description, and he prefaces his account of each considerable city with
a sketch of its history. In the first book, on the other hand, an
historical introduction is wholly wanting, and though Athens itself is
on the whole described in topographical order, the rest of Attica is
not. Only with the description of the Sacred Way which led from Athens
to Eleusis does Pausanias once for all grasp firmly the topographical
thread as the best clue to guide him and his readers through the
labyrinth. Throughout the rest of his work the general principle on
which he arranges his matter is this. After narrating in outline the
history of the district he is about to describe, he proceeds from the
frontier to the capital by the nearest road, noting anything of interest
that strikes him by the way. Arrived at the capital he goes straight to
the centre of it, generally to the market-place, describes the chief
buildings and monuments there, and then follows the streets, one after
the other, that radiate from the centre in all directions, recording the
most remarkable objects in each of them. Having finished his account of
the capital he describes the surrounding district on the same principle.
He follows the chief roads that lead from the capital to all parts of
the territory, noting methodically the chief natural features and the
most important towns, villages, and monuments that he meets with on the
way. Having followed the road up till it brings him to the frontier, he
retraces his steps to the capital, and sets off along another which he
treats in the same way, until in this manner he has exhausted all the
principal thoroughfares that branch from the city. On reaching the end
of the last of them he does not return on his footsteps, but crosses the
boundary into the next district, which he then proceeds to describe
after the same fashion. This, roughly speaking, is the way in which he
describes the cities and territories of Corinth, Argos, Sparta,
Mantinea, Megalopolis, Tegea, and Thebes.

[Sidenote: The work
           is a guide-book.]

A better and clearer method of arranging matter so complex and varied it
might be hard to devise. It possesses at least one obvious advantage—the
routes do not cross each other, and thus a fruitful source of confusion
is avoided. The reader, however, will easily perceive that the order of
description can hardly have been the one in which Pausanias travelled or
expected his readers to travel. The most patient and systematic of
topographers and sightseers would hardly submit to the irksome drudgery
of pursuing almost every road twice over, first in one direction and
then in the other. Manifestly the order has been adopted only for the
sake of lucidity, only because in no other way could the writer convey
to his reader so clear a notion of the relative positions of the places
and things described. Why was Pausanias at such pains to present
everything to his readers in its exact position? The only probable
answer is that he wished to help them to find their way from one object
of interest to another; in other words that he intended his _Description
of Greece_ to serve as a guide-book to travellers. If his aim had been
merely to amuse and entertain his readers at home, he could hardly have
lighted on a worse method of doing so; for the persons who find
topographical directions amusing and can extract entertainment from
reading that “This place is so many furlongs from that, and this other
so many more from that other,” must be few in number and of an unusually
cheerful disposition. The ordinary reader is more likely to yawn over
such statements and shut up the book. We may take it, then, that in
Pausanias’s work we possess the ancient equivalent of our modern
_Murrays_ and _Baedekers_. The need for such a guide-book would be felt
by the many travellers who visited Greece, and for whom the garrulous
but ignorant ciceroni did not, as we know, always provide the desired
information. Yet with the innocent ambition of an author Pausanias may
very well have hoped that his book might prove not wholly uninteresting
to others than travellers. The digressions on historical subjects, on
natural curiosities, on the strange creatures of different countries,
with which he so often breaks the thread of his description, may be
regarded as so many lures held out to the reader to beguile him on his
weary way. Indeed in one passage he plainly intimates his wish not to be
tedious to his readers.

[Sidenote: Antiquarian and
           bias of

When we come to examine the substance of his book we quickly perceive
that his interests were mainly antiquarian and religious, and that
though he professes to describe the whole of Greece or, more literally,
all things Greek, what he does describe is little more than the
antiquities of the country and the religious traditions and ritual of
the people. He interested himself neither in the natural beauties of
Greece nor in the ordinary life of his contemporaries. For all the
notice he takes of the one or the other, Greece might almost have been a
wilderness and its cities uninhabited or peopled only at rare intervals
by a motley throng who suddenly appeared as by magic, moved singing
through the streets in gay procession with flaring torches and waving
censers, dyed the marble pavements of the temples with the blood of
victims, filled the air with the smoke and savour of their burning
flesh, and then melted away as mysteriously as they had come, leaving
the deserted streets and temples to echo only to the footstep of some
solitary traveller who explored with awe and wonder the monuments of a
vanished race. Yet as his work proceeded Pausanias seems to have wakened
up now and then to a dim consciousness that men and women were still
living and toiling around him, that fields were still ploughed and
harvests reaped, that the vine and the olive still yielded their fruit,
though Theseus and Agamemnon, Cimon and Pericles, Philip and Alexander
were no more. To this awakening consciousness or, to speak more
correctly, to this gradual widening of his interests, we owe the few
peeps which in his later books Pausanias affords us at his
contemporaries in their daily life. Thus he lets us see the tall and
stalwart highlanders of Daulis; the handsome and industrious women of
Patrae weaving with deft fingers the fine flax of their native fields
into head-dresses and other feminine finery; the fishermen of Bulis
putting out to fish the purple shell in the Gulf of Corinth; the potters
of Aulis turning their wheels in the little seaside town from which
Agamemnon sailed for Troy; and the apothecaries of Chaeronea distilling
a fragrant and healing balm from roses and lilies, from irises and
narcissuses culled in peaceful gardens on the battlefield where Athens
and Thebes, side by side, had made the last stand for the freedom of

[Sidenote: His
           of religious

Contrast with these sketches, few and far between, the gallery of
pictures he has painted of the religious life of his contemporaries. To
mention only a few of them, we see sick people asleep and dreaming on
the reeking skins of slaughtered rams or dropping gold and silver coins
as a thank-offering for recovered health into a sacred spring; lepers
praying to the nymphs in a cave, then swimming the river and leaving,
like Naaman, their uncleanness behind them in the water; holy men
staggering along narrow paths under the burden of uprooted trees;
processions of priests and magistrates, of white-robed boys with
garlands of hyacinths in their hair, of children wreathed with corn and
ivy, of men holding aloft blazing torches and chanting as they march
their native hymns; women wailing for Achilles while the sun sinks low
in the west; Persians in tall caps droning their strange litany in an
unknown tongue; husbandmen sticking gold leaf on a bronze goat in a
market-place to protect their vines from blight, or running with the
bleeding pieces of a white cock round the vineyards while the black
squall comes crawling up across the bay. We see the priest making rain
by dipping an oak-branch in a spring on the holy mountain, or mumbling
his weird spells by night over four pits to soothe the fury of the winds
that blow from the four quarters of the world. We see men slaughtering
beasts at a grave and pouring the warm blood down a hole into the tomb
for the dead man to drink; others casting cakes of meal and honey into
the cleft down which the water of the Great Flood all ran away; others
trying their fortune by throwing dice in a cave, or flinging
barley-cakes into a pool and watching them sink or swim, or letting down
a mirror into a spring to know whether a sick friend will recover or
die. We see the bronze lamps lit at evening in front of the oracular
image, the smoke of incense curling up from the hearth, the enquirer
laying a copper coin on the altar, whispering his question into the ear
of the image, then stealing out with his hands on his ears, ready to
take as the divine answer the first words he may hear on quitting the
sanctuary. We see the nightly sky reddened by the fitful glow of the
great bonfire on the top of Mount Cithaeron where the many images of
oak-wood, arrayed as brides, are being consumed in the flames, after
having been dragged in lumbering creaking waggons to the top of the
mountain, each image with a bridesmaid standing by its side. These and
many more such scenes rise up before us in turning the pages of

[Sidenote: His
           account of
           and beliefs.]

Akin to his taste for religious ritual is his love of chronicling quaint
customs, observances, and superstitions of all sorts. Thus he tells us
how Troezenian maidens used to dedicate locks of their hair in the
temple of the bachelor Hippolytus before marriage; how on a like
occasion Megarian girls laid their shorn tresses on the grave of the
virgin Iphinoe; how lads at Phigalia cropped their hair in honour of the
river that flows in the deep glen below the town; how the boy priests of
Cranaean Athena bathed in tubs after the ancient fashion; and how the
priest and priestess of Artemis Hymnia must remain all their lives
unmarried, must wash and live differently from common folk, and must
never enter the house of a private person. Amongst the curious
observances which he notices at the various shrines are the rules that
no birth or death might take place within the sacred grove of
Aesculapius at Epidaurus, and that all sacrifices had to be consumed
within the bounds; that no broken bough might be removed from the grove
of Hyrnetho near Epidaurus, and no pomegranate brought into the precinct
of the Mistress at Lycosura; that at Pergamus the name of Eurypylus
might not be pronounced in the sanctuary of Aesculapius, and no one who
had sacrificed to Telephus might enter that sanctuary till he had
bathed; that at Olympia no man who had eaten of the victim offered to
Pelops might go into the temple of Zeus, that women might not ascend
above the first stage of the great altar, that the paste of ashes which
was smeared on the altar must be kneaded with the water of the Alpheus
and no other, and that the sacrifices offered to Zeus must be burnt with
no wood but that of the white poplar. Again, he loves to note, though he
does not always believe, the local superstitions he met with or had read
of, such as the belief that at the sacrifice to Zeus on Mount Lycaeus a
man was always turned into a wolf, but could regain his human shape if
as a wolf he abstained for nine years from preying on human flesh; that
within the precinct of the god on the same mountain neither men nor
animals cast shadows, and that whoever entered it would die within the
year; that the trout in the river Aroanius sang like thrushes; that
whoever caught a fish in a certain lake would be turned into a fish
himself; that Tegea could never be taken because it possessed a lock of
Medusa’s hair; that Hera recovered her virginity every year by bathing
in a spring at Nauplia; that the water of one spring was a cure for
hydrophobia, while the water of another drove mares mad; that no snakes
or wolves could live in Sardinia; that when the sun was in a certain
sign of the zodiac earth taken from the tomb of Amphion and Zethus at
Thebes and carried to Tithorea in Phocis would draw away the fertility
from the Theban land and transfer it to the Tithorean, whence at that
season the Thebans kept watch and ward over the tomb, lest the
Tithoreans should come and filch the precious earth; that at Marathon
every night the dead warriors rose from their graves and fought the
great battle over again, while belated wayfarers, hurrying by, heard
with a shudder the hoarse cries of the combatants, the trampling of
charging horses, and the clash of arms.

In carrying out his design of recording Greek traditions, Pausanias has
interwoven many narratives into his description of Greece. These are of
various sorts, and were doubtless derived from various sources. Some are
historical, and were taken avowedly or tacitly from books. Some are
legends with perhaps a foundation in fact; others are myths pure and
simple; others again are popular tales to which parallels may be found
in the folk-lore of many lands. Narratives of these sorts Pausanias need
not have learned from books. Some of them were doubtless commonplaces
with which he had been familiar from childhood. Others he may have
picked up on his travels. The spring of mythical fancy has not run dry
among the mountains and islands of Greece at the present day; it flowed,
we may be sure, still more copiously in the days of Pausanias. Amongst
the popular tales which he tells or alludes to may be mentioned the
story of the sleeper in the cave; of the cunning masons who robbed the
royal treasury they had built; of the youth who slew the lion and
[Sidenote: Myths.] married the princess; of the kind serpent that saved
a child from a wolf and was killed by the child’s father by mistake; of
the king whose life was in a purple lock on his head; of the witch who
offered to make an old man young again by cutting him up and boiling him
in a hellbroth, and who did in this way change a tough old tup into a
tender young lamb. It is characteristic of Greek popular tradition that
these stories are not left floating vaguely in the cloudy region of
fairyland; they are brought down to solid earth and given a local
habitation and a name. The sleeper was Epimenides the Cretan; the masons
were Trophonius and Agamedes, and the king for whom they built the
treasury was Hyrieus of Orchomenus; the youth who won the hand of the
princess was Alcathous of Megara; the king with the purple lock was
Nisus, also of Megara; the witch was Medea, and the old man whom she
mangled was Pelias; the place where the serpent saved the child from the
wolf was Amphiclea in Phocis. Amongst the myths which crowd the pages of
Pausanias we may note the strangely savage tale of Attis and Agdistis,
the hardly less barbarous story of the loves of Poseidon and Demeter as
horse and mare, and the picturesque narratives of the finding of the
forsaken babe Aesculapius by the goatherd, and the coming of Castor
[Sidenote: Legends.] and Pollux to Sparta in the guise of strangers from
Cyrene. Of the legends which he tells of the heroic age—that border-land
between fable and history—some are his own in the sense that we do not
find them recorded by any other ancient writer. Such are the stories how
Theseus even as a child evinced undaunted courage by attacking the
lion’s skin of Hercules which he mistook for a living lion; how the same
hero in his youth proved his superhuman strength to the masons who had
jeered at his girlish appearance; how the crazed Orestes, dogged by the
Furies of his murdered mother, bit off one of his fingers, and how on
his doing so the aspect of the Furies at once changed from black to
white, as if in token that they accepted the sacrifice as an atonement.
Such, too, is the graceful story of the parting of Penelope from her
father, and the tragic tale of the death of Hyrnetho; in the latter we
seem almost to catch the ring of a romantic ballad. Among the traditions
told of historical personages by Pausanias but not peculiar to him are
the legends of Pindar’s dream, of the escape of Aristomenes from the
pit, and of the wondrous cure of Leonymus, the Crotonian general, who,
attacking the Locrian army at the point where the soul of the dead hero
Ajax hovered in the van, received a hurt from a ghostly spear, but was
afterwards healed by the same hand in the White Isle, where Ajax dwelt
with other spirits of the famous dead. To the same class belong a couple
of anecdotes with which Pausanias has sought to enliven the dull
catalogue of athletes in the sixth book. One tells how the boxer
Euthymus thrashed the ghost of a tipsy sailor and won the hand of a fair
maiden, who was on the point of being delivered over to the tender
mercies of the deceased mariner. The other relates how another noted
boxer, by name Theagenes, departed this vale of tears after accumulating
a prodigious number of prizes; how when he was no more a spiteful foe
came and wreaked his spleen by whipping the bronze statue of the
illustrious dead, till the statue, losing patience, checked his
insolence by falling on him and crushing him to death; how the sons of
this amiable man prosecuted the statue for murder; how the court,
sitting in judgment, found the statue guilty and solemnly condemned it
to be sunk in the sea; how, the sentence being rigorously executed, the
land bore no fruit till the statue had been fished up again and set in
its place; and how the people sacrificed to the boxer as to a god ever

[Sidenote: His
           of the

The same antiquarian and religious tincture which appears in Pausanias’s
account of the Greek people colours his description of the country. The
mountains which he climbs, the plains which he traverses, the rivers
which he fords, the lakes and seas that he beholds shining in the
distance, the very flowers that spring beside his path hardly exist for
him but as they are sacred to some god or tenanted by some spirit of the
elements, or because they call up some memory of the past, some old
romantic story of unhappy love or death. Of one flower, white and tinged
with red, he tells us that it first grew in Salamis when Ajax died; of
another, that chaplets of it are worn in their hair by white-robed boys
when they walk in procession in honour of Demeter. He notes the mournful
letters on the hyacinth and tells the tale of the fair youth slain
unwittingly by Apollo. He points out the old plane-tree which Menelaus
planted before he went away to the wars; the great cedar with an image
of Artemis hanging among its boughs; the sacred cypresses called the
Maidens, tall and dark and stately, in the bleak upland valley of
Psophis; the myrtle-tree whose pierced leaves still bore the print of
hapless Phaedra’s bodkin on that fair islanded coast of Troezen, where
now the orange and the lemon bloom in winter; the pomegranate with its
blood-red fruit growing on the grave of the patriot Menoeceus who shed
his blood for his country. If he looks up at the mountains, it is not to
mark the snowy peaks glistering in the sunlight against the blue, or the
sombre pine-forests that fringe their crests and are mirrored in the
dark lake below; it is to tell you that Zeus or Apollo or the Sun-god is
worshipped on their tops, that the Thyiad women rave on them above the
clouds, or that Pan has been heard piping in their lonely coombs. The
gloomy caverns, where the sunbeams hardly penetrate, with their
fantastic stalactites and dripping roofs, are to him the haunts of Pan
and the nymphs. The awful precipices of the Aroanian mountains, in the
sunless crevices of which the snow-drifts never melt, would have been
passed by him in silence were it not that the water that trickles down
their dark glistening face is the water of Styx. If he describes the
smooth glassy pool which, bordered by reeds and tall grasses, still
sleeps under the shadow of the shivering poplars in the Lernean swamp,
it is because the way to hell goes down through its black unfathomed
water. If he stops by murmuring stream or brimming river, it is to
relate how from the banks of the Ilissus, where she was at play, the
North Wind carried off Orithyia to be his bride; how the Selemnus had
been of old a shepherd who loved a sea-nymph and died forlorn; how the
amorous Alpheus still flows across the wide and stormy Adriatic to join
his love at Syracuse. If in summer he crosses a parched river-bed, where
not a driblet of water is oozing, where the stones burn under foot and
dazzle the eye by their white glare, he will tell you that this is the
punishment the river suffers for having offended the sea-god. Distant
prospects, again, are hardly remarked by him except for the sake of some
historical or legendary association. The high knoll which juts out from
the rugged side of Mount Maenalus into the dead flat of the Mantinean
plain was called the Look, he tells us, because here the dying
Epaminondas, with his hand pressed hard on the wound from which his life
was ebbing fast, took his long last look at the fight. The view of the
sea from the Acropolis at Athens is noticed by him, not for its gleam of
molten sapphire, but because from this height the aged Aegeus scanned
the blue expanse for the white sails of his returning son, then cast
himself headlong from the rock when he descried the bark with sable
sails steering for the port of Athens.

The disinterested glimpses, as we may call them, of Greek scenery which
we catch in the pages of Pausanias are brief and few. He tells us that
there is no fairer river than the Ladon either in Greece or in foreign
land, and probably no one who has traversed the magnificent gorge
through which the river bursts its way from the highlands of northern
Arcadia to the lowlands on the borders of Elis will be inclined to
dispute his opinion. Widely different scenes he puts in for us with a
few touches—the Boeotian Asopus oozing sluggishly through its deep beds
of reeds; the sodden plain of Nestane with the rain-water pouring down
into it from the misty mountains; the road running through vineyards
with mountains rising on either hand; the spring gushing from the hollow
trunk of a venerable plane; the summer lounge in the shady walks of the
grove beside the sea; the sand and pine-trees of the low coast of Elis;
the oak-woods of Phelloe with stony soil where the deer ranged free and
wild boars had their lair; and the Boeotian forest with its giant oaks
in whose branches the crows built their nests.

[Sidenote: His notices
           of the
           of Greece.]

It is one of the marks of a widening intellectual horizon that as his
work goes on Pausanias takes more and more notice of the aspect and
natural products of the country which he describes. Such notices are
least frequent in the first book and commonest in the last three. Thus
he remarks the bareness of the Cirrhaean plain, the fertility of the
valley of the Phocian Cephisus, the vineyards of Ambrosus, the palms and
dates of Aulis, the olive-oil of Tithorea that was sent to the emperor,
the dykes that dammed off the water from the fields in the marshy flats
of Caphyae and Thisbe. He mentions the various kinds of oaks that grew
in the Arcadian woods, the wild-strawberry bushes of Mount Helicon on
which the goats browsed, the hellebore, both black and white, of
Anticyra, and the berry of Ambrosus which yielded the crimson dye. He
observed the flocks of bustards that haunted the banks of the Phocian
Cephisus, the huge tortoises that crawled in the forests of Arcadia, the
white blackbirds of Mount Cyllene, the two sorts of poultry at Tanagra,
the purple shell fished in the sea at Bulis, the trout of the Aroanius
river, and the eels of the Copaic Lake. All these instances are taken
from the last three books. In the earlier part of his work he
condescended to mention the honey of Hymettus, the old silver mines of
Laurium, the olives of Cynuria, the fine flax of Elis, the purple shell
of the Laconian coast, the marble of Pentelicus, the mussel-stone of
Megara, and the green porphyry of Croceae. But of the rich Messenian
plain, known in antiquity as the Happy Land, where nowadays the
traveller passes, almost as in a tropical region, between orange-groves
and vineyards fenced by hedges of huge fantastic cactuses and sword-like
aloes, Pausanias has nothing more to say than that “the Pamisus flows
through tilled land.”

[Sidenote: His
           account of
           the state of
           the roads.]

On the state of the roads he is still more reticent than on that of the
country. The dreadful Scironian road—the _Via Mala_ of Greece—which ran
along a perilous ledge of the Megarian sea-cliffs at a giddy height
above the breakers, had lately been widened by Hadrian. An excellent
carriage road, much frequented, led from Tegea to Argos. Another road,
traversable by vehicles, went over the pass of the Tretus, where the
railway from Corinth to Argos now runs; and we have the word of
Pausanias for it that a driving-road crossed Parnassus from Delphi to
Tithorea. On the other hand the road from Sicyon to Titane was
impassable for carriages; a rough hill-track led from Chaeronea to
Stiris; the path along the rugged mountainous coast between Lerna and
Thyrea was then, as it is now, narrow and difficult; and the pass of the
Ladder over Mount Artemisius from Argos to Mantinea was so steep that in
some places steps had to be cut in the rock to facilitate the descent.
Of the path up to the Corycian cave on Mount Parnassus our author truly
observes that it is easier for a man on foot than for mules and horses.
Greek mules and horses can, indeed, do wonders in the way of scrambling
up and down the most execrable mountain paths on slopes that resemble
the roof of a house; but it would sorely tax even their energies to
ascend to the Corycian cave.

The real interest of Pausanias, however, lay neither in the country nor
in the people of his [Sidenote: His descriptions of the monuments.] own
age, but in those monuments of the past, which, though too often injured
by time or defaced by violence, he still found scattered in profusion
over Greece. It is to a description of them that the greater part of his
work is devoted. He did not profess to catalogue, still less to
describe, them all. To do so might well have exceeded the powers of any
man, however great his patience and industry. All that a writer could
reasonably hope to accomplish was to make a choice of the most
interesting monuments, to describe them clearly, and to furnish such
comments as were needful to understanding them properly. This is what
Pausanias attempted to do and what, after every deduction has been made
for omissions and mistakes, he may fairly be said to have done well. The
choice of the monuments to be described necessarily rested with himself,
and if his choice was sometimes different from what ours might have
been, it would be unreasonable to blame him for it. He did not write for
us. No man in his sober senses ever did write for readers who were to be
born some seventeen hundred years after he was in his grave. In his
wildest dreams of fame Pausanias can hardly have hoped, perhaps under
all the circumstances we ought rather to say feared, that his book would
be read, long after the Roman empire had passed away, by the people whom
he calls the most numerous and warlike barbarians in Europe,[1] by the
Britons in their distant isle, and by the inhabitants of a new world
across the Atlantic.


Footnote 1:

  “Antoninus the Second,” he tells us (viii. 43. 6), “inflicted
  punishment on the Germans, the most numerous and warlike barbarians in


[Sidenote: His preference
           for the
           older over
           the later

When we examine Pausanias’s choice of monuments we find that, like his
account of the country and people, it was mainly determined by two
leading principles, his antiquarian tastes and his religious curiosity.
In the first place, the monuments described are generally ancient, not
modern; in the second place, they are for the most part religious, not
profane. His preference for old over modern art, for works of the fifth
and fourth centuries B.C. over those of the later period, was well
founded and has been shared by the best judges both in ancient and
modern times. Cicero, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Quintilian, and our
author’s own contemporary, Lucian, perhaps the most refined critic of
art in antiquity, mention no artist of later date than the fourth
century B.C. The truth is, the subjugation of Greece by Macedonia struck
a fatal blow at Greek art. No sculptor or painter of the first rank was
born after the conquest. It seemed as if art were a flower that could
only bloom in freedom; in the air of slavery it drooped and faded. Thus
if Pausanias chose to chronicle the masterpieces of the great age of art
rather than the feebler productions of the decadence, we can only
applaud his taste. Yet we may surmise that his taste was here reinforced
by his patriotism. For he was more than a mere antiquary and
connoisseur. He was a patriot who warmly sympathised with the ancient
glories of his country and deeply mourned its decline. He recognised
Athens as the representative of all that was best in Greek life, and he
can hardly find words strong enough to express his detestation of the
men who by weakening her in the Peloponnesian war directly prepared for
the conquest of Greece by Macedonia. The battle of Chaeronea he
describes repeatedly as a disaster for the whole of Greece, and of the
conqueror Philip himself he speaks in terms of the strongest
reprobation. The men who had repelled the Persians, put down the
military despotism of Sparta, fought against the Macedonians, and
delayed, if they could not avert, the final subjugation of Greece by
Rome were for him the benefactors of their country. He gives a list of
them, beginning with Miltiades and ending with Philopoemen, after whom,
he says, Greece ceased to be the mother of the brave. And as he mentions
with pride and gratitude the men who had served the cause of freedom, so
he expresses himself with disgust and abhorrence of the men who had
worked for the enslavement of Greece to Persia, to Macedonia, and to
Rome. His style, generally cold and colourless, grows warm and animated
when he tells of a struggle for freedom, whether waged by the Messenians
against the Spartans, or by the Greeks against the Gauls, or by the
Achaeans against the Romans. And when he has recorded the final
catastrophe, the conquest of Greece by Rome, he remarks as with a sigh
that the nation had now reached its lowest depth of weakness, and that
when Nero afterwards liberated it the boon came too late—the Greeks had
forgotten what it was to be free.

[Sidenote: His preference
           over profane

The preference which Pausanias exhibits for the art of the best period
is not more marked than his preference for sacred over profane or merely
decorative art, for buildings consecrated to religion over buildings
devoted to the purposes of civic or private life. Rarely does he offer
any general remarks on the aspect and architectural style of the cities
he describes. At Tanagra he praises the complete separation of the
houses of the people from the sanctuaries of the gods. Amphissa, he
tells us, was handsomely built, and Lebadea could compare with the most
flourishing cities of Greece in style and splendour. On the other hand
he viewed with unconcealed disdain the squalor and decay of the Phocian
city of Panopeus, “if city it can be called that has no government
offices, no gymnasium, no theatre, no market-place, no water conducted
to a fountain, and where the people live in hovels, just like highland
shanties, perched on the edge of a ravine.” In the cities he visited he
does indeed notice market-places, colonnades, courts of justice,
government offices, fountains, baths, and the houses and statues of
famous men, but the number of such buildings and monuments in his pages
is small compared to the number of temples and precincts, images and
votive offerings that he describes, and such notice as he takes of them
seldom amounts to more than a bare mention. The civic buildings that he
deigns to describe in any detail are very few. Amongst them we may note
the Painted Colonnade at Athens with its famous pictures, the spacious
and splendid Persian Colonnade at Sparta with its columns of white
marble carved in the shape of Persian captives, the market-place at
Elis, and the Phocian parliament-house with its double row of columns
running down the whole length of the hall and its seats rising in tiers
from the columns up to the walls behind.

[Sidenote: His
           descriptions of

It is when he comes to religious art and architecture that Pausanias
seems to have felt himself most at home. If in his notice of civic
buildings and monuments he is chary of details, he is lavish of them in
describing the temples and sanctuaries with their store of images,
altars, and offerings. The most elaborate of his descriptions are those
which he has given of the temple of Zeus at Olympia with the great image
of the god by Phidias, the scenes on the Chest of Cypselus in the
Heraeum at Olympia, the reliefs on the throne of Apollo at Amyclae, and
the paintings by Polygnotus in the Cnidian Lesche at Delphi. But, apart
from these conspicuous examples; almost every page of his work bears
witness to his interest in the monuments of religion, especially when
they were more than usually old and quaint. Among the queer images he
describes are the thirty square stones revered as gods at Pharae; the
rough stones worshipped as images of Love and Hercules and the Graces at
Thespiae, Hyettus, and Orchomenus; the pyramidal stone which represented
Apollo at Megara; the ancient wooden image of Zeus with three eyes on
the acropolis of Argos; the old idol of Demeter as a woman with a
horse’s head holding a dove in one hand and a dolphin in the other; the
figure of a mermaid bound fast with golden chains in a wild wood at the
meeting of two glens; the image of the War God at Sparta in fetters to
hinder him from running away; the bronze likeness of an unquiet ghost
clamped with iron to a rock to keep him still; an image of Athena with a
purple bandage on her wounded thigh; a pair of wooden idols of Dionysus
with shining gilt bodies and red faces; and tiny bronze images of Castor
and Pollux, a foot high, on a rocky islet over which the sea broke
foaming in winter, but could not wash them away. Some of the images he
describes as tricked out with offerings of devout worshippers. Such were
an image of Pasiphae covered with garlands; a figure of Hermes swathed
in myrtle boughs; a crimson-painted idol of Dionysus emerging from a
heap of laurel leaves and ivy; and a statue of Health almost hidden
under tresses of women’s hair and strips of Babylonish raiment in the
shade of ancient cypresses at Titane. Among the appointments of the
sanctuaries he mentions, for example, altars made of the ashes or blood
of the victims, perpetual fires, a golden lamp that burned day and night
in the Erechtheum, a gilt head of the Gorgon on the wall of the
Acropolis, a purple curtain in the temple of Zeus, a golden and jewelled
peacock dedicated by Hadrian to Hera, the iron stand of Alyattes’s bowl,
chains of liberated prisoners, hanging from the cypresses in the grove
of Hebe, and bronze railings round the shaft down which the enquirer,
clad in a peculiar costume, descended by a ladder to consult the oracle
of Trophonius.

[Sidenote: His
           interest in

Again, Pausanias loves to notice the things, whether worshipped or not,
which were treasured as relics of a mythical or legendary past. Such
were the remains of the clay out of which Prometheus had moulded the
first man and woman; the stone that Cronus had swallowed instead of his
infant son; the remains of the wild-strawberry tree under which Hermes
had been nourished; the egg which the lovely Leda had laid and out of
which Castor and Pollux had been hatched; the ruins of the bridal
chamber where Zeus had dallied with Semele; the mouldering hide of the
Calydonian boar; and the old wooden pillar, held together by bands and
protected from the weather by a shed, which had stood in the house of
Oenomaus. In the temple of Artemis at Aulis, now represented by a ruined
Byzantine chapel in a bare stony field, the traveller was shown the
remains of the plane-tree under which the Greeks had sacrificed before
setting sail for Troy, and on a neighbouring hill the guides pointed out
the bronze threshold of Agamemnon’s hut. But the most revered of all the
relics described by Pausanias seems to have been the sceptre which
Hephaestus was said to have made and Agamemnon to have wielded. It was
kept and worshipped at Chaeronea. A priest who held office for a year
guarded the precious relic in his house and offered sacrifices to it
daily, while a table covered with flesh and cakes stood constantly
beside it. A ruder conception of religion than is revealed by this
practice of adoring and feeding a staff it might be hard to discover
amongst the lowest fetish-worshippers of Western Africa. And this
practice was carried on in the native city and in the lifetime of the
enlightened Plutarch! Truly the extremes of human nature sometimes
jostle each other in the street.

[Sidenote: His notices
           of historic

But his religious bias by no means so warped the mind of Pausanias as to
render him indifferent to the historic ground which he trod, and to
those monuments of great men and memorable events on which his eye must
have fallen at almost every turn. As a scholar he was versed in, and as
a patriot he was proud of, the memories which these monuments were
destined to perpetuate, and which in the genius of the Greek people have
found a monument more lasting than any of bronze or marble. He visited
the battlefields of Marathon and Plataea and beheld the trophies of
victory and the graves of the victors. At Salamis he saw the trophy of
the great sea-fight, but he mentions no graves. Doubtless the bones of
many victors and vanquished lay together fathoms deep in the bay. At
Chaeronea he saw a sadder monument, the colossal stone lion on the grave
of the Thebans who had fallen in the cause of freedom. On the
battlefield of Mantinea he found the grave of Epaminondas, at Sparta the
grave of Leonidas, and among the pine-woods of the sacred isle that
looks across the blue Saronic gulf to Attica the grave of the banished
Demosthenes. At Thebes he saw the ruins of Pindar’s house, the shields
of the Lacedaemonian officers who fell at Leuctra, and the figures of
white marble which Thrasybulus and his comrades in exile and in arms had
dedicated out of gratitude for Theban hospitality. In the Grove of the
Muses on Helicon he beheld the statues of renowned poets and
musicians—Hesiod with his lute, Arion on his dolphin, blind Thamyris,
Orpheus holding the beasts spellbound as he sang. At Tanagra he observed
the portrait and the tomb of the poetess Corinna, the rival of Pindar;
and in several cities of Arcadia he remarked portraits of the Arcadian
historian Polybius.

Nowhere, however, did he find historical monuments crowded so closely
together as at Athens, Olympia, and Delphi. The great sanctuaries of
Olympia and Delphi served in a manner as the national museums and
record-offices of Greece. In them the various Greek cities not only of
the mother-country but of Italy, Sicily, Gaul, and the East set up the
trophies of their victories and deposited copies of treaties and other
important documents. [Sidenote: Historic monuments at Olympia.] They
offered a neutral ground where natives of jealous or hostile states
could meet in peace, and where they could survey, with hearts that
swelled with various emotions, the records of their country’s triumphs
and defeats. At Olympia our author mentions a tablet inscribed with a
treaty of alliance for a hundred years between Elis, Athens, Argos, and
Mantinea; another tablet recording a treaty of peace for thirty years
between Athens and Sparta; and the quoit of Iphitus inscribed with the
terms of the truce of God which was proclaimed at the Olympic festival.
Amongst the many trophies of war which he enumerates the most memorable
was the image of Zeus dedicated in common by the Greeks who had fought
at Plataea, and the most conspicuous, unless we except the figure of
Victory on the pillar dedicated by the Messenians of Naupactus, must
have been the colossal bronze statue of Zeus, no less than twenty-seven
feet high, which the Eleans set up for a victory over the Arcadians. A
golden shield, hung high on the eastern gable of the temple of Zeus,
proclaimed the triumph of the Lacedaemonian arms at Tanagra. The sight
of one-and-twenty gilded shields that glittered on the eastern and
southern sides of the temple must have cost Pausanias a pang, for they
had been dedicated by the Roman general Mummius to commemorate the
conquest of Greece. Another monument that doubtless vexed the patriotic
heart of Pausanias was an elegant rotunda with slim Ionic columns
resting on marble steps and supporting a marble roof; for the statues
which it enclosed, resplendent in gold and ivory, were those of Philip
and Alexander, and the building stood as a memorial of the battle of

[Sidenote: Historic

At Delphi the road which wound up the steep slope to the temple of
Apollo was lined on both sides with an unbroken succession of monuments
which illustrated some of the brightest triumphs and darkest tragedies
in Greek history. Here the proud trophy of the Lacedaemonian victory at
Aegospotami, with its rows of statues rising in tiers, confronted the
more modest trophy erected by the Athenians for the victory of Marathon.
Here were statues set up by the Argives for the share they had taken
with the Thebans in founding Messene. Here was a treasury dedicated by
the Athenians out of the spoils of Marathon, and another dedicated by
the Thebans out of the spoils of Leuctra. Here another treasury, built
by the Syracusans, commemorated the disastrous defeat of the Athenians
in Sicily. A bronze palm-tree and a gilded image of Athena stood here as
memorials of Athenian valour by sea and land at the Eurymedon. Here,
above all, were monuments of the victories achieved by the united Greeks
over the Persians at Artemisium, Salamis, and Plataea. The golden
tripod, indeed, which formed the trophy of Plataea, had disappeared long
before Pausanias passed up the Sacred Way, its empty place testifying
silently to the rapacity of the Phocian leaders; but the bronze serpent
which had supported it still stood erect, with the names of the states
that had taken part in the battle inscribed on its coils. A prodigious
image of Apollo, five-and-thirty ells high, towering above the other
monuments, proclaimed at once the enormity of the crime which the
Phocians had committed and the magnitude of the fine by which they had
expiated it. High and conspicuous too, on the architrave of the temple,
hung the shields which told of one of the latest triumphs of the Greek
arms, the repulse and defeat of the Gauls. All these and many more
historical monuments Pausanias saw and described at Delphi.

[Sidenote: Historic

At Athens among the portraits of famous men that attracted his attention
were statues of the statesmen Solon, Pericles, and Lycurgus, the
generals Conon, Timotheus, and Iphicrates, the orators Demosthenes and
Isocrates, the philosopher Chrysippus, and the poets Aeschylus,
Sophocles, Euripides, and Menander. In the Prytaneum were preserved
copies of the laws of Solon. The colonnades that flanked the
market-place were adorned with pictures of the battles of Marathon,
Oenoe, and Mantinea, and in one of them—the celebrated Painted
Colonnade—our author observed bronze shields, smeared with pitch to
preserve them from rust, which had been taken from the Spartans at
Sphacteria. On the Acropolis stood, as a trophy of the Persian wars, the
immense bronze statue of Athena, of which the blade of the spear and the
crest of the helmet could be seen far off at sea. Close at hand in the
Erechtheum the traveller was shown the sword of Mardonius and the
corselet of Masistius, who had fallen while leading the Persian cavalry
to the charge at Plataea. In Piraeus he saw the sanctuary of Aphrodite
which Conon had built after vanquishing the Lacedaemonian fleet off
Cnidus, and at the entrance to the great harbour, in view of the ships
sailing out and in, the grave of Themistocles who had won for Athens the
empire of the sea. But no place in Greece was richer in monuments of the
historic past, none seems to have stirred Pausanias more deeply than
that memorable spot outside the walls of Athens where, within the narrow
compass of a single graveyard, were gathered the mortal remains of so
much valour and genius. Here lay not a few of the illustrious men who by
their counsels, their swords, or their pens had made Athens great and
famous, and hither the ashes of humbler citizens, who had died for their
country, were brought from distant battlefields to rest in Attic earth.
His description of this the national burying-ground of Athens has not,
indeed, the pensive grace of Addison’s essay on the tombs in the Abbey.
It is little more than a bare list of the names he read on the
monuments, but there almost every name was a history as full of proud or
mournful memories as the names carved on the tombs in Westminster and
St. Paul’s or stitched on the tattered and blackened banners that droop
from the walls of our churches. The annals of Athens were written on
these stones—the story of her restless and aspiring activity, her
triumphs in art, in eloquence, in arms, her brief noon of glory, and her
long twilight of decrepitude and decay. No wonder that our traveller
paused amid monuments which seemed, in the gathering night of barbarism,
to catch and reflect some beams of the bright day that was over, like
the purple light that lingers on the slopes of Hymettus when the sun has
set on Athens.

[Sidenote: His digressions

To relieve the tedium of the topographical part of his work, Pausanias
has introduced digressions on the wonders of nature and of foreign
lands. Thus, for example, having mentioned the destruction of Helice by
an earthquake, he describes the ominous signs which herald the approach
of a great earthquake—the heavy rains or long droughts, in winter the
sultry weather, in summer the haze through which the sun’s disc looms
red and lurid, the sudden gusts, the springs of water drying up, the
rumbling noises underground. Further, he analyses the different kinds of
shocks, determines the nature of the one which destroyed Helice, and
describes the immense wave which simultaneously advanced on the doomed
city from the sea. He refers to the ebb and flow of the ocean, to the
ice-bound sea and frozen deserts of the north, to the southern land
where the sun casts no shadow at midsummer. He tells how the Chinese
rear the silkworm, and describes both silk and the silkworm more
correctly than any writer who preceded and than some who followed him.
It has been suggested that he derived his information, directly or
indirectly, from a member of the Roman embassy which appears from the
evidence of Chinese historians to have been sent by the emperor Marcus
Antoninus to the far East and to have reached the court of China in
October 166 A.D. Again, he describes the Sarmatians of northern Europe
leading a nomadic life in the depths of their virgin forests, subsisting
by their mares, ignorant of iron, clad in corselets made of horse-hoofs,
shooting arrows barbed with bone from bows of the cornel-tree, and
entangling their foes in the coils of their lassoes.

Among the curiosities which seem to have especially interested him were
the huge bones he met with in various places. Generally he took them to
be bones of giants, but one of them he described more happily as that of
a sea-monster. Probably they were all bones of mammoths or other large
extinct animals, such as have been found plentifully in modern times in
various parts of Greece, for example near Megalopolis, where he saw some
of them. Again, he is particularly fond of describing or alluding to
strange birds and beasts, whether native to Greece or imported from
distant countries. Thus he mentions a reported variety of white
blackbirds on Mount Cyllene which had attracted the attention of
Aristotle, and he describes almost with the exactitude of a naturalist a
small venomous viper of northern Arcadia which is still dreaded by the
inhabitants. He refers to the parrots and camels and huge serpents of
India, and he describes briefly but correctly the ostrich and the
rhinoceros. He gives a full and sober account of the method of capturing
the bison, and another of the mode of catching the elk which contrasts
very favourably with the absurd account of it given by Caesar. At
Tanagra he saw the stuffed or pickled Triton, or what passed for such,
of which the Tanagraeans were so proud that they put a figure of a
Triton on the coins which they minted in the lifetime of Pausanias. In
the island of Poroselene he enjoyed, he assures us, the spectacle of a
tame dolphin that came at a boy’s call and allowed him to ride on its

His report of this last spectacle, though it is confirmed by another
witness, may raise a doubt as to his credibility. Professor Alfred
Newton, whom I have consulted on the subject, kindly informs me that he
knows of no modern evidence to bear Pausanias out, but that considering
the widespread belief of the ancients in the familiarity of dolphins he
does not think it inconceivable that in those days the creatures lived
in little fear of mankind. We cannot judge, he says, by the behaviour of
animals at the present day of what they might or did do before
persecution began. “When the Russians,” he continues, “discovered
Bering’s Island in 1741, they found its shores thronged by a big
sea-beast (the _Rhytina gigas_ of naturalists), which, never having seen
men before, had no fear of them, and the Russians (shipwrecked as they
were) used to wade in the water and _milk_ the ‘cows.’ The confidence
was misplaced, and within thirty years or so every one of the animals
had been destroyed, and the species extirpated.” Thus it seems not
impossible that dolphins may have been tamer in antiquity than they are
now, and that Pausanias may really have seen what he tells us he saw.
But perhaps the exhibition at Poroselene was a hoax.

[Sidenote: Description
           Greece by
           the pseudo-Dicaearchus.]

So much for the contents of Pausanias’s book. Before we enquire into the
character of the writer and the sources from which he drew his materials
it may be instructive to compare his work with the fragments of another
ancient description of Greece which have come down to us. The comparison
will help us to understand better both what we have gained and what we
have lost by the idiosyncrasies of Pausanias. The fragments commonly
pass under the name of the eminent Messenian writer Dicaearchus, a pupil
of Aristotle; but from internal evidence we may conclude that the work
of which they formed part was written by a later author at some time
between 164 B.C. and 86 B.C. The nature of the work may be gathered from
the following free translation or paraphrase, which is also slightly

“ The road to Athens is a pleasant one, running between cultivated
fields the whole way. The city itself is dry and ill supplied with
water. The streets are nothing but miserable old lanes, the houses mean,
with a few better ones among them. On his first arrival a stranger could
hardly believe that this is the Athens of which he has heard so much.
Yet he will soon come to believe that it is Athens indeed. A Music Hall,
the most beautiful in the world, a large and stately theatre, a costly,
remarkable, and far-seen temple of Athena called the Parthenon rising
above the theatre, strike the beholder with admiration. A temple of
Olympian Zeus, unfinished but planned on an astonishing scale; three
gymnasiums, the Academy, Lyceum, and Cynosarges, shaded with trees that
spring from greensward; verdant gardens of philosophers; amusements and
recreations; many holidays and a constant succession of spectacles;—all
these the visitor will find in Athens.

“ The products of the country are priceless in quality but not too
plentiful. However, the frequency of the spectacles and holidays makes
up for the scarcity to the poorer sort, who forget the pangs of hunger
in gazing at the shows and pageants. Every artist is sure of being
welcomed with applause and of making a name; hence the city is crowded
with statues.

“ Of the inhabitants some are Attic and some are Athenian. The former
are gossiping, slanderous, given to prying into the business of
strangers, fair and false. The Athenians are high-minded,
straightforward, and staunch in friendship. The city is infested by a
set of scribblers who worry visitors and rich strangers. When the people
catches the rascals, it makes an example of them. The true-born
Athenians are keen and critical auditors, constant in their attendance
at plays and spectacles. In short, Athens as far surpasses all other
cities in the pleasures and conveniences of life as they surpass the
country. But a man must beware of the courtesans, lest they lure him to
ruin. The verses of Lysippus run thus:

     ‘If you have not seen Athens, you’re a stock;
     If you have seen it and are not taken with it, you’re an ass;
     If you are glad to leave it, you’re a pack-ass.’

“ Thence to Oropus by Psaphides and the sanctuary of Zeus Amphiaraus is
a day’s journey for a good walker. It is all up-hill,[2] but the
abundance and good cheer of the inns prevent the traveller from feeling
the fatigue. Oropus is a nest of hucksters. The greed of the
custom-house officers here is unsurpassed, their roguery inveterate and
bred in the bone. Most of the people are coarse and truculent in their
manners, for they have knocked the decent members of the community on
the head. They deny they are Boeotians, standing out for it that they
are Athenians living in Boeotia. To quote the poet Xeno:

            ‘All are custom-house officers, all are robbers.
            A plague on the Oropians!’


Footnote 2:

  This is an odd mistake. In point of fact half of the way is up hill
  and the other half is down hill. The road rises first gently and then
  steeply to the summit of the pass over Mount Parnes not far from the
  ancient Decelea; thence it descends, at first rapidly in sharp
  serpentine curves, then gradually through a rolling woodland country
  to the sea at Oropus.


“ Thence to Tanagra is a hundred and thirty furlongs. The road runs
through olive-groves and woodlands: fear of highwaymen there is none at
all. The city stands on high and rugged ground. Its aspect is white and
chalky; but the houses with their porches and encaustic paintings give
it a very pretty appearance. The corn of the district is not very
plentiful, but the wine is the best in Boeotia. The people are
well-to-do, but simple in their way of life. All are farmers, not
artisans. They practise justice, good faith, and hospitality. To needy
fellow-townsmen and to vagabonds they give freely of their substance,
for meanness and covetousness are unknown to them. It is the safest city
in all Boeotia for strangers to stay in; for the independent and
industrious habits of the people have bred a sturdy downright hatred of
knavery. In this city I observed as little as might be of those
unbridled impulses which are commonly the source of the greatest crimes.
For where people have enough to live on, they do not hanker after lucre,
so roguery can hardly show face among them.

“ Thence to Plataea is two hundred furlongs. The road is somewhat
desolate and stony, and it rises up the slopes of Cithaeron, but it is
not very unsafe. In the city, to quote the poet Posidippus,

  ‘Two temples there are, a colonnade and old renown,
  And the baths, and Sarabus’s famous inn.
  A desert most of the year, it is peopled at the time of the games.’

The inhabitants have nothing to say for themselves except that they are
Athenian colonists, and that the battle between the Greeks and the
Persians was fought in their country.

“ Thence to Thebes is eighty furlongs. The road is through a flat the
whole way. The city stands in the middle of Boeotia. Its circumference
is seventy furlongs, its shape circular. The soil is dark. In spite of
its antiquity the streets are new, because, as the histories tell us,
the city has been thrice razed to the ground on account of the morose
and overbearing character of the inhabitants. It is excellent for the
breeding of horses; it is all well-watered and green, and has more
gardens than any other city in Greece. For two rivers flow through it,
irrigating the plain below the city; and water is brought from the
Cadmea in underground conduits which were made of old, they say, by
Cadmus. So much for the city. The inhabitants are high-spirited and
wonderfully sanguine, but rash, insolent, and overbearing, ready to come
to blows with any man, be he citizen or stranger. As for justice they
set their face against it. Business disputes are settled not by reason
but by fisticuffs, and the methods of the prize-ring are transferred to
courts of justice. Hence lawsuits here last thirty years at the very
least. For if a man opens his lips in public on the law’s delay and does
not thereupon take hasty leave of Boeotia, he is waylaid by night and
murdered by the persons who have no wish that lawsuits should come to an
end. Murders are perpetrated on the most trifling pretexts. Such are the
men as a whole, though some worthy, high-minded, respectable persons are
also to be found among them. The women are the tallest, prettiest, and
most graceful in all Greece. Their faces are so muffled up that only the
eyes are seen. All of them dress in white and wear low purple shoes
laced so as to show the bare feet. Their yellow hair is tied up in a
knot on the top of the head. In society their manners are Sicyonian
rather than Boeotian. They have pleasing voices, while the voices of the
men are harsh and deep. The city is one of the best places to pass the
summer in, for it has gardens and plenty of cool water. Besides it is
breezy, its aspect is verdant, and fruit and flowers abound. But it
lacks timber, and is one of the worst places to winter in by reason of
the rivers and the winds; for snow falls and there is much mud. The poet
Laon writes in praise of the Boeotians, but he does not speak the truth,
the fact being that he was caught in adultery and let off lightly by the
injured husband. He says:

       ‘Love the Boeotian, and fly not Boeotia;
       For the man is a good fellow, and the land is delightful.’

“ Thence to Anthedon is one hundred and sixty furlongs. The road runs
aslant through fields. Carriages can drive on it. The city, which is not
large, stands on the shore of the Euboean sea. The market-place is all
planted with trees and flanked by colonnades. Wine and fish abound, but
corn is scarce, for the soil is poor. The inhabitants are almost all
fishermen living by their hooks, by the purple shell, and by sponges,
growing old on the beach among the seaweed and in their huts. They are
all of a ruddy countenance and a spare form; the tips of their nails are
worn away by reason of working constantly in the sea. Most of them are
ferrymen or boat-builders. Far from tilling the ground they do not even
own it, alleging that they are descendants of the marine Glaucus, who
was confessedly a fisherman.

“ So much for Boeotia. As for Thespiae, it contains ambition and fine
statues, nothing else. The Boeotians have a saying about their national
faults to the effect that greed lives in Oropus, envy in Tanagra,
quarrelsomeness in Thespiae, insolence in Thebes, covetousness in
Anthedon, curiosity in Coronea, braggery in Plataea, fever in Onchestus,
and stupidity in Haliartus. These are the faults that have drained down
into Boeotia as into a sink from the rest of Greece. To quote the verse
of Pherecrates:

                 ‘If you have any sense, shun Boeotia.’

So much for the land of the Boeotians.

“From Anthedon to Chalcis is seventy furlongs. As far as Salgoneus the
road is level and easy, running between the sea on the one hand and a
wooded and well-watered mountain of no great height on the other. The
city of Chalcis measures seventy furlongs in circumference. It is all
hilly and shaded with trees. Most of the springs are salt, but there is
one called Arethusa of which the water, though brackish, is wholesome,
cool, and so abundant that it suffices for the whole city. With public
buildings such as gymnasiums, colonnades, sanctuaries, and theatres,
besides paintings and statues, the city is excellently provided, and the
situation of the market-place for purposes of commerce is unsurpassed.
For the currents that meet in the Euripus flow past the very walls of
the harbour, and here there is a gate which leads straight into the
market-place, a spacious area enclosed by colonnades. This proximity of
the market-place to the harbour, and the ease with which cargoes can be
unloaded, attract many ships to the port. Indeed the Euripus itself,
with its double entrance, draws merchants to the city. The whole
district is planted with olives, and the fisheries are productive. The
people are Greek in speech as well as by birth. Devoted to learning,
with a taste for travel and books, they bear their country’s misfortunes
with a noble fortitude. A long course of political servitude has not
extinguished that inborn freedom of nature which has taught them to
submit to the inevitable. To quote a verse of Philiscus:

              'Chalcis is a city of most worthy Greeks.'”

These passages, which I have perhaps quoted at too great length, may
suffice. I will spare the reader a long description of Mount Pelion, its
pine-woods, its wild flowers, and its simples, which seems to be a
fragment of the same work. Two points only in the description of the
mountain may be mentioned. The writer tells us that the knowledge of
certain simples was hereditary in a single family, who kept it a
profound secret, though they refused to accept any money from the sick
people whom they tended, deeming it would be impious to do so. These
herbalists claimed to be descended from the centaur Chiron. Again, we
learn from the writer how in the greatest heat of summer, when the Dog
Star rose, a procession of men of good birth and in the prime of life,
all chosen by the priest and all clad in sheepskins, ascended through
the pine-woods to the cave of Chiron and a sanctuary of Zeus on the top
of the mountain. He mentions the sheepskins as a proof of the great
height of Mount Pelion, as if without them the men would have shivered
on the mountain even while the plains below were sweltering and baking
in the heat. But it is more probable that the sheepskins had some
religious significance.

[Sidenote: The

This account of the procession of skin-clad men to the cave and
sanctuary on the top of the high mountain reads not unlike a passage in
Pausanias. But how different is almost all the rest of this writer’s
description of Greece from that of Pausanias! Instead of a dull patient
enumeration of monuments, arranged in topographical order and seldom
enlivened even by a descriptive epithet, we have slight highly-coloured
sketches of the general appearance of the towns—the white city of
Tanagra on the hill with the pretty painted porches of the houses;
Chalcis with its handsome buildings, its shady trees, its flowing
springs, its spacious market beside the narrows where the tide runs fast
and the porters are busy unlading the ships in the harbour; Thebes in
summer with its fine new streets, its verdure, its fruit and flowers,
and the balmy freshness of the perfumed air blowing over gardens; Thebes
in winter, swept by bitter cutting winds, the streets deep in mud and
whitened by the falling snow; Athens with its old narrow lanes and mean
houses, and now and then a glimpse between them of the resplendent
Parthenon, like a sun-burst, high up against the sky. Then again as to
the people, what a contrast between the grave Pausanias, who hardly
allows us to see them except at their devotions, and the sparkling
writer who so often lifts the veil of the past and lets us catch a
glimpse of the bustling motley crowd and hear the hum of their
voices—the crowd that ceased to bustle and the voices that fell silent
so long ago. We see the hungry populace at Athens forgetting their empty
stomachs in the joys of the theatre and pageant; the frail beauties
ogling; the literary pests scribbling lampoons in their garrets or
wriggling in the grasp of the law. On the highways we behold the
travellers walking in fear of robbers or taking their ease at their inn.
At Oropus we watch the custom-house officers diving into the baggage of
exasperated travellers, who mutter curses. At Tanagra we shake hands
with the bluff well-to-do farmer, comfortable, kindly, and contented,
who has a hearty welcome for the stranger and a bit and a sup for the
beggar who knocks at his door. In the streets of Thebes we jostle with
your ruffling swaggering blades, your bullies and swashbucklers, who
will knock you down for a word and cut your throat in a dark lane if you
dare to whisper a word that reflects on the course of justice, or rather
of injustice, in their native city. And moving amongst these ruffians
are tall graceful women, muffled up to their eyes, their yellow hair
gathered in knots on the top of their heads, their purple shoes peeping
from under their white dresses, their soft voices contrasting with the
gruff deep bass of the men. Again the scene shifts. We are no longer
among the streets and gardens of Thebes, but on the beach at Anthedon
with the salt smell of the sea in our nostrils and the cool sea-breeze
fanning our brow. We see the fisher-folk, with their ruddy
weather-beaten faces and their finger-nails eaten away by the brine,
baiting their hooks among the sea-weed on the shore, or hammering away
at a new fishing-boat, or ferrying travellers across the beautiful
strait to Euboea.

These pictures of a vanished world are worth something. They have life,
warmth, and colour; but the colours, we can hardly doubt, are heightened
unduly. The lights are too high, the shadows too deep. We cannot believe
that the population of Oropus consisted exclusively of cut-throats and
custom-house officers; that the farmers of Tanagra were all bluff and
virtuous; that none but good men struggling nobly with adversity resided
at Chalcis; that no lawsuit at Thebes ever lasted less than thirty
years. The writer, it is plain, has exaggerated for the sake of literary
effect. And he has a strong leaning to gossip and scandal. He extenuates
the praise of Boeotia in the mouth of a poet on the ground of a painful
episode in the bard’s private history, and he retails with evident
relish the current tattle as to the characteristic vices of the various
Boeotian towns. On the whole this lively, superficial, gossipy work,
with its showy slap-dash sketches of life and scenery, cannot compare in
solid worth with the dry and colourless, but in general minute and
accurate description of Greece which Pausanias has given us. In the
writings of Pausanias we certainly miss the warmth and animation of the
other, the pictures of contemporary life and character, the little
touches that bring the past and the distant vividly before us. His book
is too much a mere catalogue of antiquities, the dry bones of knowledge
unquickened by the breath of imagination. Yet his very defects have
their compensating advantages. If he lacked imagination he was the less
likely to yield to that temptation of distorting and discolouring the
facts to which men of bright fancy are peculiarly exposed, of whom it
has been well said that they are like the angels who veil their faces
with their wings.

[Sidenote: Character
           of Pausanias.]

In truth Pausanias was a man made of common stuff and cast in a common
mould. His intelligence and abilities seem to have been little above the
average, his opinions not very different from those of his
contemporaries. [Sidenote: His political opinions.] While he looked back
with regret to the great age of Greek freedom, he appears to have
acquiesced in the Roman dominion as inevitable, acknowledging the
incapacity of the degenerate Greeks to govern themselves, the general
clemency of the Roman rule, and especially the wisdom and beneficence of
the good emperors under whom it was his happiness to live. Of democracy
he had no admiration. He thought the Athenians the only people who ever
throve under it, and on observing that the slaves who fought and died
for Athens were buried with their masters, he remarks with apparent
surprise that even a democracy can occasionally be just. With his turn
for study and for brooding over the past, it was natural that he should
prefer a life of privacy to the cares and turmoils of a public career.
Accordingly we find that he admired the prudence of Isocrates who lived
placidly to old age in the shade and tranquillity of retirement, and
that he censured implicitly the imprudence of Demosthenes, whose fiery
genius hurried him through the storm and sunshine of public life to
exile and a violent death.

Such a preference, implied rather than expressed, says much for the
decay of public spirit in Greece. Our author himself was conscious that
his lot had fallen on evil days. He speaks sorrowfully of the olden time
when the gods openly visited the good with honour, and the bad with
their displeasure; when the benefactors of mankind were raised to the
rank of divinities, and evil-doers were degraded into wild beasts and
stones. “But in the present age,” he adds mournfully, “when wickedness
is growing to such a height, and spreading over every land and 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.” We
cannot doubt that here he glances covertly at the practice of deifying
the Roman emperors, which seems to have stirred his honest indignation
as a mark of the supple servility and political degeneracy of the age.
Nor was he a stranger to those graver thoughts on the vaster issues of
life and history which the aspect of Greece in its decline was fitted to
awake. The sight of the great city of Megalopolis lying in ruins brings
to his mind the high hopes with which it had been founded, and that
again ushers in a train of melancholy reflexions on the instability of
human affairs. He thinks how from so many golden cities of the ancient
world—from Nineveh and Babylon, from Thebes and Mycenae—the glory had
passed away; how nature itself, which seems so stable, is subject to
great mutations; how transitory, then, is earthly glory, how brief and
frail the life of man!

[Sidenote: His ethical

On the passions which move men and make history he seems to have thought
much like other people. He knew that avarice is the cause of many
crimes, and that love is the source both of great happiness and of great
misery. Yet he appears to have held that the mischief wrought by the
passion of love outweighs the good it brings; for after telling how, by
washing in the river Selemnus, men and women were supposed to forget
their love, he adds that if there is any truth in this story great
riches are less precious to mankind than the water of the Selemnus.
Again, he has a sincere admiration for the heroic virtues, and a genuine
detestation of baseness and depravity of all sorts. Treason he
stigmatises as the foulest of crimes. He considers that the bold and
disinterested patriot Thrasybulus, who freed his country and healed her
dissensions, was the best of all the famous men of Athens, and that the
deed of Leonidas and his Spartans at Thermopylae was the most splendid
feat of arms in Grecian history. He praises his Spartan namesake for his
courteous treatment of the captive Coan lady and for rejecting the base
proposal of the wretch who would have had him mutilate the corpse of the
gallant Mardonius. He speaks with sympathy of the brave men worthy of a
happier fate who fell on the tyrant Lachares, of those who would have
wrested Piraeus from the Macedonians had they not been done by their
confederates to death, and of those others whom on the great day Cimon
led to victory by sea and land. He tells how in the last fight with the
Romans, before the day was lost, the Achaean general fled, leaving his
men to shift for themselves, and he contrasts his selfish cowardice with
the soldierly devotion of an Athenian cavalry officer who on the
disastrous retreat from Syracuse brought off his regiment safe, then
wheeled about and, riding back alone, found the death he sought in the
midst of the enemy.

[Sidenote: His
           Belief in
           the gods.]

In religion as in morals Pausanias seems to have occupied a position not
unlike that of his contemporaries. That it did not occur to him to doubt
the existence of the gods and heroes of Greek mythology is clear from
the tenour of his work as well as from many observations which he lets
fall. Thus for example, he tells us that to see the gods in bodily shape
was perilous; that Pan possessed, equally with the greatest of the gods,
the power of answering prayer and requiting the wicked; and that down to
his own time there was preserved at a city on the Euphrates the very
rope, plaited of vine and ivy branches, with which Dionysus had spanned
the river on his march to India. Even the criticisms which he sometimes
offers on myths and legends prove that in the act of rejecting them
wholly or in part he does not dream of questioning the reality of the
divine or heroic personages of whom they were told. Thus, to give
instances, while he examines and rejects the claims set up on behalf of
various objects to be works of Hephaestus, he admits the genuineness of
one of the objects, thereby clearly taking for granted the existence of
the smith-god himself. Again, observing an image of Aphrodite with
fetters on her feet he tells how, according to one tradition, Tyndareus
had put this indignity on the goddess to punish her for bringing his
daughters to shame. “This explanation,” declares Pausanias with
decision, “I cannot accept for a moment It would have been too silly to
imagine that by making a cedar-wood doll and dubbing it Aphrodite he
could punish the goddess.” Obviously our author, if he has small
reverence for the image and none at all for the tradition of its origin,
cherishes an unfaltering faith in the reality of the goddess. Again, he
denies that Semele was ever, as Greek tradition would have it, rescued
from hell by Dionysus, and the reason he gives for his incredulity is
that Semele was the wife of Zeus and therefore could not die. Yet again,
after telling the legend of Eurypylus and the wonderful chest in which
he kept a portable god, he mentions only to reject the tradition that
Eurypylus received the chest from Hercules. “Sure am I,” says he, “that
Hercules knew all about the chest, if it really was such a wonderful
chest, and I do not believe that knowing about it he would ever have
given it away to a comrade in arms.” Once more, Pausanias cannot bring
himself to believe that Hercules ever carried his anger at a friend’s
daughter so far as to condemn her to remain a spinster for the rest of
her days and to serve him in that capacity as his priestess. He opines
that while Hercules was still among men, “punishing other people for
presumption and especially for impiety, it is not likely that he would
have established a temple with a priestess all for himself, just as if
he were a god.”

[Sidenote: His
           as to hell.]

There is one side, however, of Greek religion as to which Pausanias
shows himself consistently sceptical, if not incredulous. He had serious
doubts as to the existence of a subterranean hell. “It is not easy,” he
says, “to believe that gods have an underground abode in which the souls
of the dead assemble.” He speaks of the “supposed subterranean realm” of
Pluto, and in the cave at Taenarum, which was thought to be one of the
mouths of hell, he looked in vain for any passage leading down to the
nether world. Cerberus in particular, the hound of hell, is roughly
handled by Pausanias, who ruthlessly strips him of his superfluous
heads, reduces him to a commonplace serpent, and seems to take a
malicious pleasure in enumerating all the places where the animal was
said to have been haled up by Hercules. But though Pausanias had his
doubts as to hell, he seems to have believed in the existence of the
soul after death; for in a passage which has been already quoted he
speaks of the punishment that awaits the wicked in another life. At the
same time his belief in the doctrine was apparently not very firm; at
least he refers to it somewhat hesitatingly in mentioning the Messenian
tradition that the soul of the dead hero Aristomenes had fought against
his old foes the Lacedaemonians at Leuctra. “The first people,” he there
tells us, “who asserted that the soul of man is immortal were the
Chaldeans and the Indian magicians; and some of the Greeks believed
them, especially Plato, the son of Aristo. If everybody accepts this
tenet, there can be no gainsaying the view that hatred of the
Lacedaemonians has rankled in the heart of Aristomenes through all the

[Sidenote: His
           attitude to

Amongst the gods Pausanias assigns the first place to Zeus. He alone is
superior to Destiny, to which all the other gods must submit; he is the
ruler and guide of the Fates, and knows all that they have in store for
man. Of the Fates themselves Fortune is, in our author’s opinion, the
most powerful; she it is whose resistless might sweeps all things along
at her will, determining the growth and decay of cities, the revolutions
of nature, and the destiny of man. Yet Pausanias’s own devotions seem to
have been paid rather to Demeter than to Zeus or the Fates. He visited
Phigalia chiefly for the sake of the Black Demeter to whom he sacrificed
at the mouth of the cave; he relates at length the history of her image;
and he describes in unusual detail the sanctuary and images of Demeter
and Proserpine at Lycosura. Again, he had been initiated into the
Eleusinian mysteries; he loves to trace their diffusion from Eleusis
over the rest of Greece; he speaks of the Andanian mysteries as second
in point of sanctity to the Eleusinian alone; he tells us that the
Greeks of an earlier age esteemed the latter as far above all other
religious exercises as the gods were above heroes; and he expresses his
own conviction that there was nothing on which the blessing of God
rested in so full a measure as on the rites of Eleusis and the Olympic
games. His religious awe of the mysteries, silencing his antiquarian
garrulity, forbade him to describe not only the rites but the sacred
precincts in which they were celebrated. Once more, on Mount
Panhellenius in Aegina he sacrificed to the images of the kindred
deities Damia and Auxesia according to the ritual observed in
sacrificing at Eleusis. Another deity in whom Pausanias seems to have
been especially interested was Aesculapius. He examines the legends of
the god’s parentage, discusses his nature, and traces the spread of his
worship from Epidaurus. Along with his belief in the gods and in the
resistless power of Fate our author apparently cherished a dim faith in
a divine providence which watches over the affairs of man. In speaking
of the exploits of Theseus in Crete he remarks that “nothing less than
the hand of Providence could reasonably be supposed to have brought him
and his comrades safe back, guiding him through all the mazy intricacies
of the labyrinth, and leading him unseen, when his work was done,
through the midst of his enemies.”

[Sidenote: His belief
           in the
           active interference
           the gods in

The gods, in the opinion of Pausanias, were neither cold abstractions
nor blessed beings who, lapped in the joys of heaven, took no thought
for the affairs of earth. They actively interfered in the course of
events, rewarding the virtuous and punishing the wicked. They were the
givers of good things to men; and if their rewards had been more open
and manifest in days of old, the prosperity of the pious Athenians was a
standing proof that even in later times the gods had not forgotten to
recompense their worshippers. Yet, like most people who lay themselves
out to justify the ways of God to man, Pausanias was readier to detect
the hand of the deity in the miseries and misfortunes of his
fellow-creatures than in their joys and blessings. The confidence with
which he lays his finger on the precise misdeed which drew down on a
malefactor the wrath of a justly offended god implies an astonishing
familiarity with the counsels of the Almighty. He knew that the Persians
were defeated at Marathon because they had angered Nemesis by bringing,
in the pride of their hearts, a block of marble which they proposed to
set up as a trophy of their expected victory; that the destruction of
Sparta and Helice by earthquakes was due to the wrath of Poseidon at the
violation of his sanctuaries; that the ruin and death of Mithridates had
been brought to pass by Apollo, whose sacred island had been sacked by
the king’s general; that Sulla’s miserable end was a direct consequence
of his guilt in tearing Aristion from the sanctuary of Athena; and that
the wrath of the Eleusinian goddesses abode on the Megarians for ever
because they had encroached on the sacred land and murdered a herald who
warned them to desist. Again, he shrewdly suspects that the long
misfortunes of the Messenians flowed directly from the anger of the
Dioscuri at the impious presumption of two Messenian youths; and he
surmises that gods and heroes combined to wreak their displeasure on the
devoted head of Cleomenes, who had tampered with the Delphic oracle,
ravaged the sacred Eleusinian land, and burned the grove of the hero
Argus. The Delphic Apollo was quick and powerful, according to
Pausanias, to defend his honour and to visit with vengeance the
sacrilegious persons who dared to assail his sanctuary or rifle his
treasures. King Archidamus, who had fingered the sacred moneys, fell in
battle in a foreign land and his corpse weltered unburied; the
Phlegyans, who made a raid on Delphi, perished by thunderbolts and
earthquakes; and it was in all the majesty of thunder, lightning, and
earthquake that at a later time the god stood forth to repel the Gauls.
Amongst the punishments with which the gods were thought to visit
unwarranted intrusions into their sanctuaries, blindness and madness had
a special place. King Aepytus, on forcing his way into the shrine of
Poseidon at Mantinea, which none might enter, was instantly struck blind
and died soon afterwards; some Persian soldiers who ventured into the
sanctuary of the Cabiri near Thebes became crazed and in that state put
an end to themselves; and it was believed that if any defiled or impious
person entered the sanctuary of the Eumenides at Cerynea he would go mad
on the spot.

[Sidenote: His belief
           in oracles.]

Believing in the gods, Pausanias naturally believed in their official
utterances, the oracles. The Delphic oracle, he thinks, foretold the
battle of Leuctra and various episodes in the Messenian wars; and he
appeals to one of its answers as conclusive evidence that the mother of
Aesculapius was Coronis. He relates how the accidental exposure of the
bones of Orpheus was followed by the destruction of the city of Libethra
in accordance with a prediction of Dionysus in Thrace, and he narrates
the fatal disasters which Epaminondas, Hannibal, and the Athenians
incurred by misunderstanding oracular answers sent them from Delphi,
Ammon, and Dodona. The history of Macedonia, its rise and its fall, had
been predicted by the Sibyl, if we may believe Pausanias, who quotes her
prophecy; and he assures us that the inroad of the Gauls into Asia had
been foretold by Phaennis a generation before the event took place. He
had himself consulted the oracle of Trophonius, and has left us a
curious account of the ceremonies observed by enquirers at the shrine.
In his day, he informs us, the most infallible oracle was that of
Amphilochus at Mallus in Cilicia.

[Sidenote: His
           criticism of

Yet while Pausanias accepted on the whole the religion of his country,
he was by no means blind to the discrepancies and improbabilities of
many Greek myths and legends, and he speaks somewhat disdainfully of the
unquestioning faith of the multitude in the stories they had heard from
childhood. “Falsehood in general,” he says, “passes current among the
multitude because they are ignorant of history and believe all that they
have heard from childhood in choirs and tragedies.” And again he
observes that “it is not easy to persuade the vulgar to change their
opinions.” From the former of these passages it appears that Pausanias
was little disposed to place implicit faith in the utterances of the
poets on matters of tradition. Elsewhere he intimates his doubts still
more plainly. Speaking of the hydra, which he maintains had not more
than one head, he says that the poet Pisander multiplied the creature’s
heads “to make the monster more terrific, and to add to the dignity of
his own verses.” Again, he mentions that the poets have declared certain
objects of art to be works of Hephaestus, and that obsequious public
opinion has chimed in with them, but he for his part rejects all such
relics as spurious save one. The only poet to whose authority he
inclined to bow was Homer, whose testimony he often appeals to with
respect. He held that many old stories were true enough in their origin,
but had fallen into discredit by reason of the distortions and
exaggerations to which they had been subjected by the narrators. The
particular story which suggests this remark is the legend that Lycaon
had been turned into a wolf on sacrificing a babe to Lycaean Zeus.
Pausanias believes the legend, but he rejects as incredible the
assertion that at every subsequent sacrifice to Zeus on Mount Lycaeus a
man had been turned into a wolf, and he does not stick to brand as
humbugs the persons who gave out that the Arcadian boxer Damarchus had
been so transformed. “Lovers of the marvellous,” he observes, “are too
prone to heighten the marvels they hear tell of by adding touches of
their own; and thus they debase truth by alloying it with fiction.”

[Sidenote: His disbelief

The attitude of incredulity which Pausanias maintained towards many of
the current legends is declared by him in the most unequivocal manner.
He speaks of “the many falsehoods believed by the Greeks,” and reminds
us that though he is bound to record Greek stories he is not bound to
believe them, and that as a matter of fact he does not believe them all.
The myths of the transformations of gods and men into animals and plants
seem especially to have stuck in his throat. He does not believe that
Zeus changed himself into a cuckoo to win the love of Hera, and as to
the story of the transformation of Cycnus into a swan, he says roundly:
“That a man should be turned into a bird is to me incredible.” Nor will
he hear of Narcissus’s love for his own reflexion in the glassy pool and
his wondrous change into the flower that bore his name. “It is sheer
folly,” he remarks, “to suppose that a person who has reached the age of
falling in love should be unable to distinguish between a man and his
reflexion,” and as for the flower in question he has chapter and verse
for it to prove that it grew before Narcissus was born. The companion
story of the transformation of Hyacinth into the flower he does not
treat quite so cavalierly. “It may not be literally true,” he tells us,
“but let it pass.” Further, he cannot believe that the beasts followed
Orpheus as he sang, and that the minstrel journeyed down to hell to win
back his lost Eurydice. Again, while he believes in giants, he rejects
as a silly story the notion that they had serpents instead of feet, and
he supports his scepticism by referring to the corpse of one of these
monstrous beings which had been found in the bed of the river Orontes
enclosed in a coffin eleven ells long. Often, without formally refusing
his assent to some tale of wonder, he quietly hints his incredulity by
indicating that he leaves his readers to believe it or not as they feel
inclined. Thus after telling how pigs thrown into the halls of Demeter
at Potniae were supposed to re-appear next year at Dodona, he adds,
almost sarcastically: “The tale may possibly find credence with some
people.” Other marvels which he dismisses with a sneer are the sowing of
the dragon’s teeth by Cadmus and the springing up of armed men; the
sprouting of Hercules’s club into a tree when he set it on the ground;
the wonderful vision of Lynceus who could see through the trunk of an
oak-tree; and the story that at a certain rock in Megara the sad Demeter
stood and called back her daughter from the darkling road down which she
had vanished.

[Sidenote: His rationalistic
           of some

It is not always, however, that Pausanias meets seemingly miraculous
stories with a blank negation. He had too much good sense to do that.
He knew that our experience does not exhaust the possibilities of
nature, and he endeavoured accordingly to trim the balance of his
judgment between hasty credulity on the one side and rash disbelief on
the other. Thus after pointing out that, if the descriptions of the
strange creatures of distant lands are false in some particulars, they
are true or at least not improbable in others, he concludes: “So
careful should we be to avoid hasty judgments on the one hand, and
incredulity in matters of rare occurrence on the other.” In his
endeavour to winnow the true from the false, to disentangle the
ravelled skein of tradition, he has often recourse to that convenient
and flexible instrument—rationalistic or allegorical interpretation.
We have seen with what ease he thus disencumbered himself of
Cerberus’s superfluous heads and reduced that animal from a very
extraordinary dog to a very ordinary serpent. The miraculous story of
the death of Actaeon, rent in pieces by his hounds at the instigation
of Artemis, gives him no trouble: it was a simple case of hydrophobia.
Medusa was a beautiful African queen who met Perseus at the head of
her troops. Titan was an early astronomer who resided near Sicyon and
passed for a brother of the sun for no other reason than that he made
observations on that luminary. The fable that Procne and Philomela
were turned into a nightingale and a swallow arose merely from a
comparison of their mournful cries to the plaintive notes of these
birds. In one passage, indeed, under the fierce light of criticism the
gods themselves seem on the point of melting away like mist before the
sun, leaving behind them nothing but the clear hard face of nature,
over which for a while the gorgeous pageantry of their shifting
iridescent shapes had floated in a golden haze. The passage occurs in
the description of Aegium, where our author fell in with a Phoenician
of Sidon with whom he discussed the philosophic basis of the belief in
Aesculapius, coming to the conclusion that the god was nothing but the
air and his father Apollo nothing but the sun. Had Pausanias followed
up this line of thought he might, like Schiller, have seen as in a
vision the bright procession of the gods winding up the long slope of
Olympus, sometimes pausing to look back sadly at a world where they
were needed no more. But the whole tenour of his work goes to show
that, if here he had a glimpse of a higher truth, it was only a
flash-light that went out leaving him in darkness.

[Sidenote: His change
           of view as
           to myths.]

In a later passage he makes a confession of his faith in matters of
mythology. After telling the barbarous tale how the cannibal Cronus,
intending to devour his infant son Poseidon, had been cozened by Rhea
into swallowing a foal, he goes on: “When I began this work I used to
look on these Greek stories as little better than foolishness; but now
that I have got as far as Arcadia my opinion about them is this: I
believe that the Greeks who were accounted wise spoke of old in riddles,
and not straight out; and, accordingly, I conjecture that this story
about Cronus is a bit of Greek philosophy. In matters of religion I will
follow tradition.” This seems to be practically a recantation of
earlier, perhaps youthful scepticism. The tales which he had once
ridiculed as absurd he now finds to be full of deep, if hidden, wisdom.
Meditation and perhaps still more the creeping paralysis of age, which
brings so many men to a dull acquiescence in beliefs and practices which
they had spurned in youth, appear to have wrought a mental revolution in
Pausanias. The scoffer had become devout.

[Sidenote: His treatment

Yet to a pious believer the discrepancy between Greek traditions must
have been a sore stumbling-block. Pausanias tripped over it again and
again. “Greek traditions,” says he, “are generally discrepant.” “The
legends of the Greeks differ from each other on most points, especially
in the genealogies.” “The old legends, being unencumbered by
genealogies, left free scope for fiction, especially in the pedigrees of
heroes.” “Most things in Greece are subjects of dispute.” In face of
such differences Pausanias, when he does not content himself with simply
enumerating the various traditions, chooses to follow either the most
generally received version or the one which on any ground appears to him
the most probable. With his sober unimaginative temperament and bias to
rationalism, it was natural that between conflicting versions of the
same tradition he should choose the one which clashed least with
experience. Thus he relates the two stories told of the way in which the
people of Tanagra acquired the Triton whose stuffed carcase was the
glory of the town. One story ran that the creature had been slain by
Dionysus himself in single combat; according to the other, a common
mortal had found the Triton lying drunk on the beach and had chopped off
his head with an axe. The latter version of the tale is described by
Pausanias as “less dignified but more probable.” Tritons, it is true,
whether drunk or sober, are not common objects of the sea-shore; but
there was no need to heighten the marvel by lugging in Dionysus. Again,
the death of Aristodemus, the ancestor of the two royal houses of
Sparta, was variously narrated. “Those who wish to invest him with a
halo of glory,” writes Pausanias, “say that he was shot by Apollo”; but
the truer story was that he had been knocked on the head by the children
of Pylades. Again, he regards with suspicion the claims of men and women
to be the husbands and wives, the sons and daughters of gods and
goddesses. “The Moon, they say, loved Endymion, and he had fifty
daughters by the goddess. Others, with more probability, say that
Endymion married a wife.” “Cadmus made a distinguished marriage if he
really married, as the Greeks say he did, a daughter of Aphrodite and
Ares.” Then as to reputed sons of gods. “That Corinthus was a son of
Zeus has never yet, so far as I know, been seriously asserted by anybody
except by a majority of the Corinthians themselves.” Oenomaus was a son
of Alexion, “though the poets have given out that he was a son of Ares.”
The father of Augeas was Eleus, “though those who magnify his history
give the name of Eleus a twist, and affirm that Augeas was a son of the
sun.” The crafty Autolycus “was reputed to be a son of Hermes, though in
truth his father was Daedalion.” The story that Orpheus had the Muse
Calliope for his mother is stigmatised by our author as a falsehood.
Rivers that appeared in the character of fathers were also viewed by
Pausanias with distrust. He held that the father of Eteocles was
Andreus, not the river Cephisus; and he believed that the father of
Plataea was not the river Asopus but a king of the same name. Other
instances of his hesitation to accept legends of divine parentage might
be cited.

[Sidenote: His
           of historical
           methods to

But in his criticism of Greek legends Pausanias did not confine himself
to the simple test of experience. He did not merely ask whether a story
agreed more or less with the laws of nature, and accept or reject it
accordingly. In historical enquiries the application of such a criterion
obviously cannot carry the enquirer beyond the first step. Pausanias
went much further. He introduced considerations drawn from general
probability, from chronology, from the monuments, from a comparison with
other traditions, from the relative weight to be attached to the
authorities by which each version of a legend was supported. In fact,
far from being hide-bound in the trammels of tradition, he moved freely
among the materials at his disposal, accepting this and rejecting that
in obedience to the dictates of a reasonable and fairly enlightened
criticism. Thus, he rejects the Sophoclean version of the death of
Oedipus because it conflicts with the Homeric. He will not allow that a
bronze image of Athena at Amphissa can have formed part of the Trojan
spoils, and that a bronze image of Poseidon at Pheneus can have been
dedicated by Ulysses, because at the time of the Trojan war and in the
lifetime of Ulysses the art of casting in bronze had not yet been
invented. He refuses to believe that the grave of Dejanira was at Argos,
because she was known to have died at Trachis and her grave to be not
far from Heraclea. Among the several places in Greece that set up claims
to be the Oechalia of Homer, our author decides in favour of Carnasium
in Messenia, because the bones of Eurytus were there. The tradition that
the mysteries at Celeae had been founded by a man of Eleusis named
Dysaules, who had been driven into exile after a battle between the
Eleusinians and Athenians, is rejected by Pausanias on the grounds that
no such battle took place and that no such person is mentioned by Homer.
The legend that Daedalus joined Aristaeus in colonising Sardinia is set
aside by him for the reason that Daedalus lived several generations
after Aristaeus, and therefore could not possibly have shared with him
in a colony or in anything else. Similarly he argues on chronological
grounds against the traditions that Achilles had been a suitor of Helen;
that Timalcus went to Aphidna with the Dioscuri; and that the Telamon
and Chalcodon who marched with Hercules against Elis were the well-known
Telamon of Aegina and Chalcodon of Euboea. The Spartan tradition as to
the image of Brauronian Artemis is preferred by Pausanias to the
Athenian, and that for a variety of reasons which he sets forth in

Thus Pausanias criticised Greek myths and legends according to his
lights, and if his lights did not shine very brilliantly the fault was
not his.

[Sidenote: His taste in art.]

Of his taste in painting and sculpture we are scarcely able to judge,
partly because he is chary of his praise, generally confining himself to
a simple mention or description of the work before him, partly because
so few of the works described by him have survived to our time.
[Sidenote: His taste in painting.] The paintings are all gone. A little
blue pigment on a ruined wall at Delphi is all that remains of those
frescoes of Polygnotus which excited the admiration of antiquity. That
Pausanias himself admired them is clear, both from the length of his
description and from the words with which he brings it to a close: “So
varied and beautiful is the painting of the Thasian artist.” Elsewhere
he seems to have lost no opportunity of describing extant pictures of
Polygnotus, though he does not always mention his name. A painting of
Drunkenness by Pausias apparently struck Pausanias especially, for he
tells us that “in the picture you can see the crystal goblet and the
woman’s face through it.” But the only pictures, besides those of
Polygnotus at Delphi, on which he deigns to bestow a dry word of
commendation are a couple of paintings on tombstones, one of them by
Nicias, as to whom Pausanias tells us elsewhere that he had been the
greatest painter of animals of his time.

[Sidenote: His taste in

In sculpture the taste of Pausanias was apparently austere. He decidedly
preferred the earlier to the later art. Of the archaic works attributed
to Daedalus he says that they “are somewhat uncouth to the eye, but
there is a touch of the divine in them for all that.” He praises
Bupalus, an artist of the sixth century B.C., as “a clever architect and
sculptor.” But on the whole it was for the sculptors of the fifth
century B.C. that he chiefly reserved his scanty praise, and amongst
them he seemingly preferred the masters of the older manner who
immediately preceded Phidias. [Sidenote: Predecessors of Phidias.] Thus,
with regard to Pythagoras of Rhegium, who flourished about 480 B.C., he
says that he was “a good sculptor, if ever there was one,” and in
speaking of the boxer Euthymus he remarks that “his statue is by
Pythagoras, and most well worth seeing it is.” Of Onatas, who was at
work about 467 B.C., he expresses a high opinion: “I am inclined to
regard Onatas, though he belongs to the Aeginetan school of sculpture,
as second to none of the successors of Daedalus and the Attic school.”
This criticism indicates that Pausanias preferred in general the Attic
school of sculpture to the Aeginetan, though he considered one master of
the latter school as the peer of the greatest Attic sculptors. At
Pergamus there was a bronze image of Apollo by this same Onatas which
Pausanias describes as “one of the greatest marvels both for size and
workmanship.” It is a proof of the independence of Pausanias’s judgment
in art that this early sculptor, whom he ranked with [Sidenote: Phidias]
Phidias and Praxiteles, is not even mentioned by any other ancient
writer except in a single epigram of the Anthology. Another old master
of the fifth century whose statues Pausanias often notices is Calamis;
on one of them he bestows a word of commendation. A statue by this
artist was much admired by Lucian. The great sculptor Myron, a
contemporary of Phidias, seems also to have found favour in the eyes of
Pausanias, for he mentions that the image of Dionysus on Mount Helicon
was the finest of all the artist’s works, next to the statue of
Erechtheus at Athens. That Pausanias appreciated the greatness of
Phidias is clear from the way in which he speaks of him and from the
detail in which he describes the sculptor’s two most famous works, the
image of the Virgin Athena at Athens and the image of Zeus at Olympia.
Of the latter he observes that the mere measurements of the image could
convey no idea of the impression which the image itself made on the
beholder. Yet he did not consider it the sculptor’s masterpiece, for as
to the image of the Lemnian Athena at Athens he remarks that it is “the
best worth seeing of all the works of Phidias.” The preference thus
given to this comparatively obscure statue over the image of Zeus which
the ancient world agreed in extolling as little less than divine is
another proof of the independence of Pausanias’s judgment in artistic
matters; and that his taste here was good is attested by the very high
place which his contemporary Lucian, one of the best critics of
antiquity, assigns to the same statue. Of Alcamenes our author observes
that as a sculptor he was second only to his contemporary Phidias, and
with regard to the statue of Aphrodite in the Gardens by this artist he
says that “few things at Athens are so well worth seeing as this.” Here,
again, our author’s judgment is confirmed by that of Lucian, who
describes this image as the most beautiful work of Alcamenes, and draws
from it not a few traits for his imaginary statue of ideal beauty which
was to combine all the most perfect features of the most celebrated
statues. Another sculptor whose style seems to have pleased Pausanias
was Naucydes, a brother of the famous Polyclitus, who worked at the end
of the fifth or at the beginning of the fourth century B.C. A bronze
image of Athena by Hypatodorus at Aliphera is declared by Pausanias to
be worth seeing both for its size and its workmanship; but the date of
this sculptor is somewhat uncertain. Strongylion, whom Pausanias
describes as unrivalled in his representations of oxen and horses, seems
to have flourished toward the end of the fifth century B.C. Among the
sculptors of the following century Pausanias praises Cephisodotus
[Sidenote: Sculptors of the fourth century B.C.] for the conception of
his statue representing the infant Wealth in the arms of Peace, and the
sculptors Xenophon and Callistratus for a similar allegorical work
representing Wealth in the arms of Fortune. Further, he commends some of
the sculptures of Damophon at Messene,[3] and he has a few words of
approbation for several works of Praxiteles, but not one for any work of
the other two great masters of the fourth century, Scopas[4] and
Lysippus, though he mentions many statues by them. A critic of a taste
so severe that he could pass by the works of Scopas and the Hermes of
Praxiteles without uttering a syllable of admiration was not likely to
take much pleasure in the productions of the decadence. Pausanias
notices few and praises none of the successors of Praxiteles. Of the
colossal image of Olympian Zeus at Athens, which must have been executed
in his own lifetime, he says condescendingly that it was good for its


Footnote 3:

  The date of Damophon is uncertain, but on the whole the evidence seems
  to point to his having been at work in the first half of the fourth
  century B.C. Pausanias’s appreciation of Damophon is one more proof of
  the independence of his judgment in matters of art; for Damophon is
  mentioned by no other writer of antiquity.

Footnote 4:

  However, he admired Scopas as an architect if not as a sculptor (viii.
  45. 5). The same may be said of Polyclitus (ii. 27. 5), though the
  building which Pausanias admired turns out to be by the younger and
  less distinguished artist of that name.


It may be noted as significant of Pausanias’s interest in the older
sculpture that the only artists with whose styles he shows himself so
familiar as to recognise them at sight are Calamis, Canachus, Endoeus,
and Laphaes, of whom Calamis and Canachus flourished in the early part
of the fifth century B.C., and Endoeus in the last part of the sixth
century B.C. The date of Laphaes is unknown, but as the two images by
this artist were both made of wood and are expressly declared by
Pausanias to be ancient, we can hardly suppose that the sculptor
flourished later than the sixth century B.C.

[Sidenote: His taste
           in architecture.]

Of Pausanias’s taste in architecture we are much better able to judge,
for many of the buildings described by him exist, and by a most
fortunate coincidence amongst them are some of which he expressed his
admiration in unusually strong language. [Sidenote: Walls of Tiryns.] To
begin with the relics of the prehistoric age, the walls of Tiryns and
the beehive tomb of Orchomenus, which he calls the Treasury of Minyas,
raised his wonder to such a pitch that he compares them to the Egyptian
pyramids and animadverts on the perversity of the Greeks, who admired
and described only the marvels they saw abroad, while they entirely
neglected the marvels no less great which they had at home. The walls of
Tiryns he describes with amazement as “made of unwrought stones, each
stone so large that a pair of mules could not even stir the smallest of
them.” No modern reader who has [Sidenote: Beehive tomb at Orchomenus.]
seen the walls of Tiryns as they still stand, built of enormous stones
and resembling a work of giants rather than of men, will be likely to
regard Pausanias’s admiration of them as misplaced, whatever may be
thought of the comparison of them to the pyramids. Amongst the
prehistoric remains of Greece they are certainly unmatched. The walls of
Mycenae and of the great prehistoric fortress of Gla or Goulas in
Boeotia surpass them, indeed, in extent, but fall far short of them in
the size of the blocks of which they are composed. As to the beehive
tomb at Orchomenus, of which Pausanias says that there was no greater
marvel either in Greece or elsewhere, it is now sadly ruinous, but we
can judge of its original effect by the great beehive tomb at Mycenae
known as the Treasury of Atreus, which agrees with the tomb at
Orchomenus very closely in dimensions and exists almost intact. To stand
within the great circular chamber and look up at the domed roof, with
its rings of regularly hewn stones diminishing one above the other till
they are lost in the darkness overhead, is an impressive experience.
Those who have enjoyed it will be disposed to think that Pausanias was
right in regarding the similar edifice at Orchomenus as a very wonderful

[Sidenote: The

To come down to buildings of the historical age, Pausanias admired the
Propylaea or grand [Sidenote: Theatre at Epidaurus.] portal of the
Acropolis at Athens, which “for the beauty and size of the blocks,” he
says, “has never yet been matched.” It is probably not too much to say
that even in its ruins this magnificent portal is still the highest
triumph of the mason’s craft. The exquisite fitting of the massive
cleanly-cut blocks of white marble is a pleasure to behold. Again, the
sight of the theatre in the sanctuary of Aesculapius at Epidaurus moves
the sober Pausanias to an extraordinary, almost unparalleled burst of
admiration. “In the Epidaurian sanctuary,” he says, “there is a theatre
which in my opinion is most especially worth seeing. It is true that in
size the theatre at Megalopolis in Arcadia surpasses it, and that in
splendour the Roman theatres far transcend all the theatres in the
world; but for symmetry and beauty what architect could vie with
Polyclitus? For it was Polyclitus who made this theatre.” Here again
modern taste confirms the judgment of Pausanias. Neither the Dionysiac
theatre at Athens, nor the great theatre at Megalopolis, nor the
well-preserved theatre at Delphi, nor any other existing Greek theatre,
so far at least as my experience goes, can vie for a moment in beauty
and symmetry with the exquisite theatre at Epidaurus.

[Sidenote: Temples at
           Bassae and

Again, in regard to the temple of Apollo at Bassae our author says that
“of all the temples in Peloponnese, next to the one at Tegea, this may
be placed first for the beauty of the stone and the symmetry of its
proportions,” and as to the temple of Athena Alea at Tegea, to which he
here refers, he says elsewhere, “The present temple far surpasses all
other temples in Peloponnese both in size and style.” So far as the size
of the temple at Tegea goes, Pausanias is wrong. The temple of Zeus at
Olympia was nearly twice as large. But in regard to style modern taste
merely echoes the opinion of Pausanias. The scanty remains of the temple
at Tegea are now mostly buried underground, but the admirable design and
workmanship of the architectural fragments, and the beauty of the
shattered sculptures, justify the praise which Pausanias bestows on it
as the finest temple in Peloponnese in respect of artistic style. No
person of taste but will set the pathetic force and beauty of the two
battered heads from this temple above all the coarse vigour of the
Phigalian frieze and the ungraceful, almost repulsive hardness of the
groups from the gables of the Olympian temple. And that in architectural
style the temple at Bassae came next to the one at Tegea is an opinion
that will hardly be disputed by any one who has seen the beautiful
temple at Bassae with its long rows of grey columns standing solitary
among the barren mountains. That Pausanias was right in preferring it to
the temple of Zeus at Olympia both for the beauty of the stone and the
symmetry of its proportions is hardly open to question. The temple of
Zeus must have been imposing from its size, but its proportions, so far
as we can judge from the ruins, do not strike an observer as especially
harmonious; and as to the materials, the rough conglomerate of Olympia
cannot be compared for beauty with the fine hard limestone of Bassae.

[Sidenote: Walls of

Further, Pausanias describes the walls of Messene with their towers and
battlements, and declares them to be stronger than the finest
fortifications he had seen elsewhere. The remains of these superb
fortifications bear him out. For the scale on which they are planned and
for the solidity and perfection of the masonry they are without a rival
in Greece. In other places, as at Asea in Arcadia, at Aegosthena in
Megaris, and at Lilaea and Drymaea in Phocis, circuits of walls with
their flanking towers exist in better preservation, but none of them can
vie in style and splendour with the fortifications of Messene. Here
again we must pronounce unhesitatingly that so far as our knowledge goes
Pausanias was in the right.

[Sidenote: Music Halls
           at Athens
           and Patrae.]

To come down to buildings of a later age, Pausanias tells us that the
Music Hall at Patrae was the grandest in Greece except the one built by
Herodes Atticus at Athens, which excelled it both in size and style.
Here we are in the fortunate position of being able to compare for
ourselves the two buildings which Pausanias ranks together as the finest
of their kind in Greece, for both of them exist in comparatively good
preservation to the present day. That the Music Hall of Herodes Atticus
excels in size the one at Patrae, as Pausanias says it did, is obvious
at a glance. The former is in fact a spacious theatre, the latter is a
tiny one. But both, as appears from the remains, were originally cased
with marble and probably presented a splendid appearance. The lions’
paws of white marble which adorn the seats in the Music Hall at Patrae,
together with the mosaic pavement of black and white in the adjoining
chamber, enable us to form some slight idea of the elegance of those
appointments which excited the admiration of Pausanias.

[Sidenote: Stadium
           at Athens.]

Lastly, our author observes that the stadium at Athens, built of white
marble by Herodes Atticus, was “wonderful to see, though not so
impressive to hear of,” and that the greater part of the Pentelic
quarries had been exhausted in its construction. The latter statement
is, of course, an exaggeration. Mount Pentelicus is made of white
marble, and there is a good deal of it left to this day, though the
great white blotches on its sides, visible even from the coast of
Epidaurus, tell plainly where the quarrymen have been at work. But we
may easily believe Pausanias that the stadium was a wonderful sight when
tiers of white marble benches, glistening in the strong sunshine, rose
steeply above each other all along both sides of the valley. For a
valley it is still, and a valley lined with white marble it must have
been in the days of Pausanias. Those who have seen the stadium since it
was partially refitted with white marble benches for the games of 1896
can better picture to themselves what its aspect must have been when the
benches were complete. Before the time of Herodes Atticus the spectators
may have sat either on the earthen slopes, as at Olympia, or on benches
of common stone, as at Epidaurus and Delphi.

On the whole, then, so far as we can judge from the existing monuments
and the testimony of ancient writers, especially of Lucian, the artistic
taste of Pausanias was sound and good, if somewhat austere.

[Sidenote: Intrinsic
           evidence of

The manner in which he has described the monuments is plain and
appropriate, entirely free from those vague rhetorical flourishes,
literary graces, and affected prettinesses with which, for example,
Philostratus tricks out his descriptions of pictures, and which have
consequently left it a matter of dispute to this day whether the
pictures he describes existed anywhere but in his own imagination. No
one is ever likely seriously to enquire whether the temples and
theatres, the statues and paintings described by Pausanias ever existed
or not. His descriptions carry the imprint of reality on them to every
mind that is capable of distinguishing between the true and the false;
and even if they did not, their truthfulness would still be vouched for
by their conformity with the remains of the monuments themselves. Proof
of this confirmity might be adduced in great abundance. Here, however,
we are concerned with that internal evidence of the author’s honesty and
candour which the writings themselves supply. Evidence of this sort can
never, indeed, amount to demonstration. Candour and honesty are not
qualities that can be brought to the test of the senses; they cannot be
weighed in a balance or seen under a microscope. A man who is neither
candid nor honest himself will probably never sincerely believe in the
existence of these qualities in others, and there is no means of
convincing him. It is always open to him to find a sinister motive for
the simplest act, a covert meaning under the plainest words. In the case
of Pausanias the internal evidence of good faith seems amply sufficient
to convince a fair-minded enquirer. It consists in the whole cast and
tenour of his writings; in the naturalness and credibility of all that
he affirms of his own knowledge, with the exception of two or three
cases in which he seems to have been duped by mercenary or priestly
trickery; it consists in the plainness and directness of the
descriptions; in their freedom from any tinge of rhetoric or sophistry;
in the modesty with which the author generally keeps himself in the
background; and finally in occasional confessions of ignorance which
only malignity could interpret as artifices resorted to for the purpose
of supporting an assumed air of ingenuous simplicity. This last feature
of the work it is desirable to illustrate by instances. The others,
pervading as they do the whole book, hardly admit of exemplification.

[Sidenote: His confessions

Repeatedly, then, Pausanias owns that he had not been present at certain
festivals, and consequently had not seen certain images which were only
exhibited on these occasions. Thus with regard to the very curious image
of Eurynome, which would have especially interested him as an antiquary,
he tells us that the sanctuary in which it stood was opened only on one
day in the year, and that as he did not happen to arrive on that day he
had not seen the image, and therefore could only describe it from
hearsay. Similarly he says that he cannot describe the image of Artemis
at Hyampolis because it was the custom to open the sanctuary only twice
a year. He tells at second hand of a festival of Dionysus at Elis, in
which empty kettles were said to be found miraculously filled with wine;
but he informs us that he was not himself at Elis at the time of the
festival, and from expressions which he uses in regard to the marvel we
may infer that he had his doubts about it. No one presumably will
dispute these statements of Pausanias and maintain that he arrived in
time for those festivals and saw those images although he assures us
that he did not. We are bound, therefore, in fairness to believe him
when he tells us with regard to the sanctuary of Mother Dindymene at
Thebes that “it is the custom to open the sanctuary on a single day each
year, not more. I was fortunate enough to arrive on that very day, and I
saw the image.” As other instances of his candour may be cited his
acknowledgment that he had not witnessed the ceremonies performed at the
tombs of Eteocles and Polynices at Thebes, nor beheld the secret object
revered in the worship of Demeter at Hermion; that he could describe the
sanctuary of Poseidon at Mantinea only from hearsay; that he had neither
seen the walls of Babylon and Susa nor conversed with any one who had;
that he never saw Antinous in life, though he had seen statues and
paintings of him; and that he had not heard the trout sing like thrushes
in the river Aroanius, though he tarried by the river until sunset, when
they were said to sing loudest. These are the confessions of an honest
man, inclined perhaps to credulity, but yet who will not deceive others
by professing to have seen sights, whether marvellous or otherwise,
which he has not seen. Again, when he quotes a book at second hand he is
careful to tell us so. Thus, after citing some lines from the _Atthis_
of Hegesinus, he goes on: “This poem of Hegesinus I have not read: it
was lost before my time; but the verses are quoted as evidence by
Callippus of Corinth in his history of Orchomenus, and I have profited
by his information to do the same.” Again, after quoting a couple of
verses of an Orchomenian poet Chersias, he adds. “The poetry of Chersias
is now lost, but these verses also are quoted by Callippus in the same
work of his on Orchomenus.” These statements, like the foregoing, will
hardly be disputed even by the most sceptical. No one will be likely to
insist that Pausanias read books which he tells us he did not. Therefore
in fairness we are bound to believe him when he says that he did read
certain other works, such as the memoirs of some obscure historians, a
treatise on rhetoric purporting to be by Pittheus, the epics _Eoeae_ and
_Naupactia_, a poem attributed to Linus, verses of Erato, a poem on
soothsaying which passed under the name of Hesiod, and the oracles of
Euclus, Musaeus, and Bacis. If we take the word of Pausanias for what he
tells us he did not see and did not read, we must take it also for what
he tells us he did see and did read. At least if we are to accept as
true all those statements of an author which tell against himself and to
reject as false all those which tell in his favour, there is an end of
even the pretence of fair and rational criticism.

[Sidenote: Literary
           style of

The literary style of Pausanias is no exception to the rule that the
style of a writer reflects the character of the man. Pausanias was
neither a great man nor a great writer. He was an honest, laborious,
plodding man of plain good sense, without either genius or imagination,
and his style is a faithful mirror of his character. It is plain and
unadorned, yet heavy and laboured, as if the writer had had to cast
about for the proper words and then fit them painfully together like the
pieces in a Chinese puzzle. There is a sense of strain and effort about
it. The sentences are devoid of rhythm and harmony. They do not march,
but hobble and shamble and shuffle along. At the end of one of them the
reader is not let down easily by a graceful cadence, a dying fall; he is
tripped up suddenly and left sprawling, till he can pull himself
together, take breath, and grapple with the next. It is a loose, clumsy,
ill-jointed, ill-compacted, rickety, ramshackle style, without ease or
grace or elegance of any sort. Yet Pausanias had studied good models. He
knew Thucydides and his writings abound with echoes of Herodotus. But a
style that has less of the unruffled flow, the limpid clearness, the
exquisite grace, the sweet simplicity of the Herodotean prose it might
be hard to discover. The sound of the one is like the chiming of a
silver bell; that of the other like the creaking of a corn-crake. With
all its defects, however, the style of Pausanias is not careless and
slovenly. The author bestrides his high horse; he bobs up and down and
clumps about on it with great solemnity; it is not his fault if his
Pegasus is a wooden hobby-horse instead of a winged charger.

[Sidenote: He perhaps
           his style on
           that of

This union of seemingly opposite faults, this plainness without
simplicity, this elaboration without richness, may perhaps be best
explained by Boeckh’s hypothesis, that he modelled his style on that of
his countryman Hegesias of Magnesia, a leader of the Asiatic school of
rhetoric, who, aping the unadorned simplicity of Lysias’s manner, fell
into an abrupt and jerky, yet affected and mincing style, laboriously
chopping and dislocating his sentences so that they never ran smooth,
never by any chance slid into a rounded period with an easy cadence.
Dionysius of Halicarnassus declares peevishly that in all the voluminous
works of Hegesias there was not a single well-written page, and that the
man must have gone wrong not from stupidity but of set purpose and
malice prepense, otherwise he could not have helped writing a good
sentence now and then by accident. Frigid conceits and a puerile play
upon words were mistaken by this perverse writer for literary beauties,
and in the effort to stud his pages with these false jewels he
sacrificed both pathos and truth. In this respect, indeed, Pausanias
happily did not follow the bad example of his predecessor. His writings
are entirely free from paltry conceits and verbal quibbles. The thought
is always manly and direct, however tortuous may be the sentence in
which he seeks to express it. If he imitated Hegesias, it was apparently
in the arrangement of the words and sentences alone.

Whatever may be thought of this theory, the attention which Pausanias
obviously bestowed on literary style is in itself wholly laudable. Such
attention is a simple duty which every author owes to his readers.
Pausanias cannot be blamed for trying to write well; the pity is that
with all his pains he did not write better. He was anxious not to be
needlessly tedious, not to inflict on the reader mere bald lists of
monuments strung together on a topographical thread. He aimed at varying
the phraseology, at shunning the eternal repetition of the same words in
the same order. Yet he steered clear of one shoal only to run aground on
another. If to some extent he avoided monotony and attained variety of
expression, it was too often at the cost of simplicity and clearness.
The natural order of the words was sacrificed and a crabbed contorted
one substituted for it merely in order to vary the run of the sentences.
For the same reason a direct statement was often discarded in favour of
an indirect one, with the result that a reader who happens to be
unfamiliar with the author’s manner is sometimes at a loss as to his
meaning. For example, it has been questioned whether he means that there
was a statue of Aeschylus in the theatre at Athens and one of Oenobius
on the Acropolis. Yet any person conversant with his style must feel
sure that in both these cases Pausanias intends to intimate the
existence of the statue, and that if he does not affirm it in so many
words this is due to no other cause than a wish to turn the sentence in
another way. Similar instances could easily be multiplied. The ambiguity
which so often arises from this indirect mode of statement is one of the
many blots on the style of Pausanias. Such as it is, his style is seen
at its best in some of the longer historical passages, notably in the
spirited narratives of the Messenian wars and the Gallic invasion. Here
he occasionally rises to a fair level of literary merit, as for example
in describing the evil omens that preceded and hastened the death of the
patriot king Aristodemus, and again in relating the impious attack of
the Gauls on Delphi and their overwhelming repulse. Through the latter
narrative there runs, like a strain of solemn music, an undertone of
religious faith and fervour which greatly heightens the effect.

[Sidenote: Pausanias’s
           use of

In these and similar historical episodes we must allow something for the
influence on Pausanias’s style of the literary authorities whom he
followed. The warmer tinge of the descriptions, the easier flow of the
sentences may not be wholly due to the ardour of the writer’s piety, to
the swell of his patriotic feelings. Something of the movement, the
glow, the solemn strain, the martial fire may have been caught by him
from better models. This brings us to the enquiry, What books did
Pausanias use in writing his own? and how did he use them? Unfortunately
we are not and probably never shall be in a position to answer these
questions fully. Like most ancient writers Pausanias is sparing in the
citation of his authorities, and it is clear that he must have consulted
books of which he makes no mention. And when to this we add that the
works of most of the writers whom he does cite have perished or survive
only in a few disjointed fragments, it becomes clear that any hope of
acquiring a complete knowledge of his literary sources and mode of using
them must be abandoned. Many attempts have been made of late years to
identify the lost books consulted by Pausanias; but from the nature of
the case it is plain that such attempts must be fruitless. One of them
will be noticed presently. Meantime all that I propose to do is to
indicate some of the chief literary and documentary sources which
Pausanias expressly cites, and to illustrate by examples his method of
dealing with them.

[Sidenote: Distinction
           the historical
           parts of

Before doing so it is desirable to point out explicitly a distinction
which, though obvious in itself, has apparently been overlooked or
slurred over by some of Pausanias’s critics. The matter of his work is
of two sorts, historical and descriptive: the one deals with events in
the past, the other with things existing in the present. For his
knowledge of past events, except in so far as they fell within his own
lifetime and observation, Pausanias was necessarily dependent either on
written documents or on oral testimony, in short on the evidence of
others; no other source of information was open to him. For his
knowledge of things existing in the present, on the other hand, he need
not have been indebted to the evidence of others, he may have seen them
for himself. It does not, of course, follow that what he may have seen
he did actually see. His descriptions of places and things, like his
narratives of events that happened before his time, may all have been
taken from books or from the mouths of other people; only it is not, as
in the case of the historical narratives, absolutely necessary that they
should be so derived. This distinction is so elementary and obvious that
to call attention to it may be deemed superfluous. Yet some of the
critics appear to labour under an impression that, if they can show the
historical parts of Pausanias’s work to have been taken from books, they
have raised a presumption that the descriptive or topographical parts
were also so taken. They do not, indeed, put so crass a misapprehension
into words, but they seem to be influenced by it. To brush away these
mental cobwebs it is only needful to realise clearly that, though
Pausanias certainly could not have witnessed events which happened
before he was born, he was not therefore necessarily debarred from
seeing things which existed in his own lifetime. In investigating the
sources of his information it is desirable to keep the historical and
the descriptive parts of his work quite distinct from each other and to
enquire into each of them separately.

[Sidenote: Poets
           used by

To begin with the historical, in the widest sense of the word, we find
that Pausanias drew his accounts of the mythical and heroic ages in
large measure from the poets. Homer is his chief poetical authority, but
he also makes use of the later epics such as the _Cypria_, the _Eoeae_,
the _Little Iliad_, the _Minyad_, the _Naupactia_, the _Oedipodia_, the
_Returns_ (_Nostoi_), the _Sack of Ilium_ by Lesches, the _Thebaid_, and
the _Thesprotis_. Of these the _Thebaid_ was esteemed by him next to the
_Iliad_ and _Odyssey_. On questions of genealogy he often cites the
early poets Asius and Cinaethon. Among the works attributed to Hesiod he
frequently refers to the _Theogony_ and the _Catalogue of Women_, and he
once quotes the _Argonautica_ of Apollonius Rhodius. That he knew the
Alexandrian poet Euphorion of Chalcis is shown by two references to his
writings. The most ancient Greek hymns in his opinion were those of
Olen; he cites several of them. Again, the testimony of Pamphos, author
of the oldest Athenian hymns, is often appealed to by Pausanias. Among
the lyric poets whose works he knew, such as Alcaeus, Alcman,
Archilochus, Pindar, Sappho, and Stesichorus, he appears to have ranked
Pindar first; at least he refers to his poems far oftener than to those
of the others. Among the elegiac poets he quotes Tyrtaeus and Simonides.
With the great tragic and comic poets he shows but little acquaintance;
Aeschylus is the only one whose authority he appeals to repeatedly. He
refers once to the testimony of Sophocles, but only to reject it; once
to that of Aristophanes; never to that of Euripides. On the other hand,
he seems to have devoted a good deal of attention to the critical study
of the older poets. He had investigated the dates of Homer and Hesiod
and the question of Homer’s native country. Nor did he neglect to
enquire into the genuineness of many poems that passed under famous
names. He tells admiringly how a contemporary of his own, Arrhiphon of
Triconium, detected the spuriousness of certain verses attributed to an
old Argive poet Philammon, by pointing out that the verses were in the
Doric dialect which had not yet been introduced into Argolis in
Philammon’s time. Among the works ascribed to Musaeus he held that
nothing was genuine except the hymn to Demeter composed for the
Lycomids; some of the verses which passed under the name of Musaeus he
set down as forgeries of Onomacritus. The hymns of Orpheus were ranked
by him next to those of Homer for poetical beauty, but he saw that some
of the verses attributed to Orpheus were spurious. He had grave doubts
as to the _Theogony_ being a genuine work of Hesiod; and he informs us
that the reading of a poem fathered on Linus sufficed to convince him of
its spuriousness. Of the works which circulated under the name of the
early Corinthian poet Eumelus one only, he tells us, was held to be
genuine. He could not believe that Anaximenes had written a certain epic
on Alexander the Great. As to the epic called the _Thebaid_, which he
admired, he reports the view of Callinus that the author was Homer,
adding that “many respectable persons have shared his opinion.”

[Sidenote: Historians
           used by

The historian whom Pausanias seems to have studied most carefully and
whom he cites most frequently is Herodotus. Though he only once refers
to the history of Thucydides and once to that of Xenophon, it is
probable that he used both authors in several passages where he does not
mention their names. Other historians whom he refers to are Anaximenes,
Antiochus of Syracuse, Charon of Lampsacus, Ctesias, Hecataeus,
Hellanicus, Hieronymus of Cardia, Myron of Priene, Philistus, Polybius,
and Theopompus. Besides these he cites several local histories, such as
the histories of Attica by Androtion and Clitodemus, a history of
Corinth attributed to Eumelus, a history of Orchomenus by Callippus, and
what seems to have been a versified history of Argos by Lyceas. Further,
he had read the memoirs of certain obscure historians whose names he
does not mention. In his use of the historical materials at his disposal
Pausanias appears to have done his best to follow the same critical
principles which he applied to the mythical and legendary lore of
Greece. When the accounts conflicted he weighed them one against the
other and accepted that which on the whole seemed to him to be the more
probable or the better authenticated. Thus before proceeding to narrate
the history of the Messenian wars he mentions his two chief authorities,
namely a prose history of the first war by Myron of Priene and a
versified history of the second war by Rhianus of Bene; then he points
out a glaring discrepancy between the two in regard to the date of
Aristomenes—the William Tell or Sir William Wallace of Messenia—and
gives his reasons for accepting the testimony of Rhianus and rejecting
that of Myron, whose writings, according to him, revealed an
indifference to truth and probability of which he gives a striking
instance. Again, Pausanias was able to allow for the bias of prejudice
in an historian. Thus he points out that the history of Hieronymus the
Cardian was coloured by a partiality for Antigonus and a dislike of
Lysimachus, of whom the latter had destroyed the historian’s native
city; that the historian Philistus concealed the worst excesses of
Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse, because he hoped to be allowed by the
tyrant to return to that city; and that Androtion, the historian of
Attica, had apparently introduced a certain narrative for the sole
purpose of casting reproach on the Lacedaemonians.

[Sidenote: The Elean

An historical document of which Pausanias made much use was the Elean
register of Olympic victors. He often refers to it. We need not suppose
that he consulted the original documents in the archives at Elis. The
register had been published many centuries before by Hippias of Elis,
and copies may have been in common circulation. Wherever he may have
seen it, Pausanias appears to have studied it carefully, and sometimes
he turns the information thus acquired to good account. Thus he points
out that a statement of the Elean guides was at variance with an entry
in the register, and that the runner Oebotas could not possibly have
fought at the battle of Plataea in 479 B.C. since his Olympic victory
was won in Ol. 6 (756 B.C.).

[Sidenote: Inscriptions.]

Another trustworthy source from which Pausanias derived many of his
historical facts was inscriptions. What copious use he made of them may
be gathered from a slight inspection of his work, particularly his
description of Olympia, and that on the whole he read them correctly is
proved by inscriptions still extant of which he has given us either the
text or the general purport. Yet he did not accept their testimony
blindfold. In some of his references to them we can perceive the same
discrimination, the same desire to sift and weigh the evidence which we
have found to characterise his procedure in other enquiries. Thus in an
old gymnasium at Anticyra he saw the bronze statue of a native athlete
Xenodamus with an inscription setting forth that the man had won the
prize in the pancratium at Olympia. Pausanias accordingly consulted the
Olympic register and finding no such victor mentioned in it came to the
conclusion that, if the inscription were not lying, the victory of
Xenodamus must have fallen in Ol. 211 (65 A.D.), the only Olympiad which
had been struck out of the register. Again, at Olympia he saw a tablet
inscribed with the victories of Chionis, a Lacedaemonian runner, who
lived in the first half of the seventh century B.C. In the inscription
it was mentioned that the race in armour had not yet been instituted in
the time of Chionis; indeed we know from Pausanias that more than a
century elapsed after the time of Chionis before the race in armour was
introduced. Hence Pausanias concludes very sensibly that the inscription
could not, as some people supposed, have been set up by the runner
himself, for how could he have foreseen that the race in armour ever
would be instituted long after he was dead and buried? Again, he infers
that the Gelo who dedicated a chariot at Olympia cannot have been, as
was commonly assumed, the tyrant Gelo, because in the inscription on the
pedestal Gelo described himself as a citizen of Gela, whereas, according
to Pausanias, at the time when the chariot was dedicated Gelo had
already made himself master of Syracuse and would therefore have
described himself as a Syracusan, not as a native of Gela. The argument
falls to the ground because Pausanias mistook the date of Gelo’s
subjugation of Syracuse by several years; none the less his criticism of
the current view testifies to the attention he bestowed on inscriptions.

[Sidenote: Writers
           on art.]

The image of Zeus which the united Greeks dedicated at Olympia as a
trophy of the battle of Plataea was made, Pausanias tells us, by a
sculptor of Aegina named Anaxagoras, as to whom he remarks that “the
name of this sculptor is omitted by the historians of sculpture.” This
passage proves that Pausanias consulted, as might have been anticipated,
some of the many ancient works on the history of art, but what they were
he has not told us and it would be vain to guess. He alludes to them

[Sidenote: The local

Yet another source which furnished Pausanias with information, more or
less trustworthy, on matters of history and tradition was the discourse
of the local guides whom he encountered at many or all of the chief
places of interest. We know from other ancient writers that in
antiquity, as at the present day, towns of any note were infested by
persons of this class who lay in wait for and pounced on the stranger as
their natural prey, wrangled over his body, and having secured their
victim led him about from place to place, pointing out the chief sights
to him and pouring into his ear a stream of anecdotes and explanations,
indifferent to his anguish and deaf to his entreaties to stop, until
having exhausted their learning and his patience they pocketed their fee
and took their leave. An educated traveller could often have dispensed
with their explanations, but if he were good-natured he would sometimes
let them run on, while he listened with seeming deference to the
rigmarole by which the poor men earned their daily bread. A question
interposed in the torrent of their glib discourse was too apt to bring
them to a dead stand. Outside the beaten round of their narrow circle
they were helpless. That Pausanias should have fallen into their
clutches was inevitable. He seems to have submitted to his fate with a
good grace, was led about by them to see the usual sights, heard the
usual stories, argued with them about some, and posed them with
questions which they could not answer about others. Often no doubt their
services were useful and the information they gave both true and
interesting. Among the many traditions which Pausanias has embodied in
his work there may be not a few which he picked up from the guides. We
may conjecture, too, that the measurements of buildings and images which
he occasionally records were, at least in some cases, derived by him
from the same source.

So much for the sources of historical and traditionary lore on which
Pausanias drew. That he always used them correctly cannot be maintained.
We can show that he sometimes mistook the purport of inscriptions and
blundered as to historical events and personages, but these mistakes are
not more numerous than can be reasonably allowed for in a work embracing
so great and multifarious a collection of facts.

[Sidenote: Did
           from books
           or from

Coming now to the descriptive or topographical part, which forms the
staple of Pausanias’s work, we have to ask, Whence did he derive his
knowledge of the places and and monuments he describes? from
observation? or from books? or from both? To these questions Pausanias
himself gives no full and direct answer. He neither professes to have
seen everything that he describes nor does he acknowledge to have
borrowed any of his descriptions from previous writers, whom he barely
alludes to and never mentions by name. On the other hand he sometimes
affirms in the most unambiguous language that he saw the things which he
describes, and as there is no [Sidenote: He affirms that he saw many
things which he describes.] reason to doubt his word we may accept these
affirmations unconditionally, and believe that he describes some things
at least as an eye-witness. But such assertions of personal knowledge
are only incidental, and the total number of them is exceedingly small
in comparison with the number of places and things which he describes
without saying whether he saw them or not. Thus in regard to the vast
majority of Pausanias’s descriptions we have still to ask, Are they
based on personal observation or taken from books? In endeavouring to
answer this question we must first of all bear in mind that if Pausanias
saw all that he professes to have seen it is inevitable that he should
have seen a great deal more. For example, he could not have seen, as he
professes to have done, certain statues on the Acropolis of Athens
without also seeing the Parthenon, the Erechtheum, and the Propylaea,
which he does not expressly say that he saw. He could not have seen, as
he says he did, the statue of Anaximenes and the Sicyonian treasury at
Olympia without also seeing the temples of Zeus and Hera and a multitude
of buildings and statues besides. In short, in all the places which he
appears on his own showing to have visited, we may and must assume that
he saw much more than he claims in so many words to have seen. Further,
since he was not transported from one place to another by magic, he must
have travelled over the roads which joined the various places that he
visited. Thus by plotting out on the map the places which he saw and
joining them by the routes he describes, we can form some general notion
of the extent of Pausanias’s travels in Greece. Yet the notion thus
formed must necessarily be very rough and imperfect. For, in the first
place, we cannot always be sure of the route which he took from one town
or village to another. Thus, for example, he describes two roads from
Argos over Mount Artemisius to Mantinea; but there is nothing to show
which he took or even that he took either. He may, like most travellers,
have reached Mantinea from Argos by neither of the direct passes over
the mountains, but by the circuitous route that goes by Lerna and Tegea.
In the second place, it would be very rash to assume that he visited
only those places where he is proved by some incidental assertion of
personal knowledge to have been. Possibly or rather probably he visited
many more. If he did not think it worth while to assure us that he saw
the Parthenon and the Erechtheum at Athens, and the temples of Zeus and
Hera at Olympia, he need not have thought it worth while to depose to
having seen every insignificant shrine and image that he describes in
the petty towns and obscure villages through which he passed. Thus the
indications which he has given us are far too meagre to permit us to
make out his itinerary in Greece with any approach to certainty.

[Sidenote: Descriptions
           he may
           have taken

But if we cannot be sure that many of his descriptions are based on
personal knowledge, have we any grounds for supposing that they are
borrowed, without acknowledgment, from books? Such a supposition would
be, on the face of it, neither unreasonable nor improbable. In the
historical parts of his work Pausanias must have used many books which
he does not mention, and he may have done the same thing in the
topographical or descriptive parts. The grounds on which it could be
proved or made probable that he borrowed his descriptions from books are
various. The most obvious and certain would be the existence in an older
writer of a description agreeing in form as well as in substance so
closely with a description in Pausanias that no alternative would be
left us but to suppose, either that Pausanias copied from this older
writer, or that both of them copied from some common original. Or again
it might be that the descriptions of Pausanias contained information
which he could hardly have ascertained for himself, or mistakes into
which he could scarcely have fallen if he had seen the things for
himself. In regard to the first of these grounds it may be said at once
that in the extant literature of antiquity, so far as the present writer
is aware, there is no description of any place or monument agreeing in
form and substance so closely with a description in Pausanias as to make
it probable that he copied it. The slight and superficial resemblances
which have been traced between passages of Strabo and passages of
Pausanias are no more than such as may easily or necessarily arise when
two writers are describing independently the same places.

[Sidenote: Measurements
           and of

When we ask whether the descriptions of Pausanias contain matter which
he could not easily have ascertained for himself, we are reminded first
of his measurements of temples and images, and second of his estimates
of the exact distances in furlongs between one place and another. The
measurements of temples and images were probably derived either from the
local guides or from books. Some of them he may perhaps have taken for
himself; but that he should, for example, have measured for himself the
height of the temple of Zeus at Olympia is highly improbable. The
distances by land, estimated in furlongs, may have been drawn by
Pausanias from Roman milestones or from books or from a map like the
_Tabula Peutingeriana_. Distances by sea he can hardly have measured for
himself; if he did not borrow them from a book or a map, he may have had
them from the sailors with whom he voyaged. In all these cases it is
possible, perhaps probable, that Pausanias drew his information from
literary sources; but what particular books or maps he used, if he used
any, we do not know, and it would be vain to guess.

[Sidenote: Description
           of the
           coast of

When we next enquire whether the descriptions of Pausanias contain
errors into which he could scarcely have fallen if he had seen the
places and things which he describes, a student of Pausanias is at once
reminded of the author’s description of the coast of Hermionis, which it
is difficult or impossible to reconcile with the actual features of the
coast. That the description contains grave errors is almost certain. How
these errors are to be explained is much more doubtful. It is easy to
suggest, as has been done, that Pausanias did not himself sail along the
coast, but borrowed his description from one of those _Periploi_ or
_Coasting Voyages_, which enumerated the places on a coast in
topographical order and recorded the distances between them. Yet this
supposition by itself would hardly explain the confusion into which
Pausanias has fallen. Specimens of these _Coasting Voyages_ have come
down to us, and they are so exceedingly clear, concise, and
business-like, that it is difficult to understand how any one who simply
set himself to copy from them could have blundered so egregiously as
Pausanias appears to have done. More plausible is the suggestion that,
while Pausanias was obliged by the plan of his itinerary to describe the
coast in one direction, the _Coasting Voyage_ which lay before him
described it in the reverse direction, and that in his effort to throw
the information supplied by the _Voyage_ into the form that suited his
itinerary Pausanias made the jumble which has caused his critics so much
trouble. This may be the true explanation. It would have the further
advantage of helping us to understand how Pausanias obtained his
knowledge of the exact distances between places on various parts of the
coasts of Greece, notably on the coast of Achaia and on the wild
inhospitable coast of Laconia. The _Coasting Voyage_ which he used may,
like the extant _Coasting Voyage_ of Scylax, have comprised a
description of the whole coast of Greece, and from it Pausanias may have
borrowed his estimates of distances and perhaps other features of his
description as well. This is Mr. Heberdey’s theory, and it is a
perfectly tenable one, though in the absence of direct evidence it must
remain only a more or less probable hypothesis. Yet when we remember
that Pausanias’s topographical indications are nowhere more full and
exact than in Arcadia, where by the nature of the case he cannot have
used a _Coasting Voyage_, the hypothesis that he used one in other parts
of his work seems superfluous, if not improbable. It is quite possible
that he described the coast of Hermionis from notes he had made for
himself in sailing along it, and that either he failed at the time to
take in the natural features correctly or that afterwards in redacting
his notes at home he misunderstood what he had written on the spot.
Perhaps I may be allowed to say that having repeatedly sailed along the
coast in question I can testify from personal experience how difficult
it is to identify by sight the places from a ship, so bewildering is the
moving panorama of capes, islands, bays, and mountains. It would be no
great wonder if Pausanias’s head swam a little in this geographical

[Sidenote: Roads from

Another passage where error and confusion of some sort seem to have
crept in is the mention of the three roads that led from Lepreus to
Samicum, Olympia, and Elis. Here, again, Pausanias may have used and
misunderstood some literary source, or he may have blundered on the
spot, or his notes may have been lost, or his memory may have played him
false. Any of these explanations is possible. To attempt to decide
between them in the absence of any positive evidence would be fruitless.

[Sidenote: The Enneacrunus

More famous than either of these difficulties is one which occurs in
Pausanias’s account of Athens. Here in the middle of describing the
market-place, which lay to the north-west of the Acropolis, he suddenly
without a word of warning transports the reader to the Enneacrunus
fountain, which lay in the bed of the Ilissus, not far from the
Olympieum, at the opposite extremity of the city; then, having
despatched the fountain and some buildings in its neighbourhood, he
whirls the reader back to the market-place, and proceeds with his
description of it as if nothing had happened. Of the many attempts to
clear up this mystery, as by supposing either a dislocation of the text
or a confusion in the author’s notes or the existence of another
fountain near the market-place which may have been shown to him as the
Enneacrunus, none is free from serious difficulties. That he fell into
error through copying blindly and unintelligently from a book is
possible but very improbable. As it is practically certain that he
visited Athens and saw both the market-place and the Olympieum, the
chances that he should not have seen the Enneacrunus and should
therefore have been driven to borrow his description of it from a book
are so small that they may be neglected.

[Sidenote: Law-courts
           at Athens
           and altars
           at Olympia.]

Other passages which Pausanias may perhaps have taken either wholly or
in part from books are his account of the Athenian law-courts and his
list of the altars at Olympia. Neither of these passages, it is true, is
demonstrably infected by error or confusion, though there is some ground
for suspecting the existence of confusion in the enumeration of the
altars. But in both of them the author departs from the topographical
order of description, which is so characteristic of his method, and
arranges the monuments together simply on the ground of their belonging
to the same class. These departures from his usual principle of order
suggest that in both cases Pausanias may have borrowed from written
documents in which the monuments were grouped together according to kind
rather than in topographical order. Another set of monuments which
Pausanias links together by a chain other than the topographical are the
buildings erected by Hadrian in Athens. It is possible that he may have
taken his list of them from the inscription in the Athenian Pantheon
which recorded them all.

These are perhaps the most notable passages in Pausanias, which might be
thought to bear traces of having been derived either wholly or in part
from written documents rather than from personal observation. In none of
them are the indications so clear as to amount to a proof of borrowing.
At most they raise a probability of it, nothing more.

[Sidenote: Predecessors

It would be neither surprising nor unnatural if in writing his
_Description of Greece_ Pausanias not only consulted, as we know he did,
but borrowed from the works of previous writers on the same subject. Any
one who undertakes to write a guide-book to a country may legitimately
borrow from his predecessors, provided he has taken the trouble to
ascertain for himself that their descriptions are still applicable to
the country at the time he is writing. Pausanias in his character of the
Camden of ancient Greece had many predecessors whose writings he may and
indeed ought to have consulted. But of their works only the titles and a
few fragments have come down to us, and these contain nothing to show
that Pausanias copied or had even read them. The most considerable of
the fragments—those which pass under the name of Dicaearchus the
Messenian—have been already examined, and we have seen how different in
scope and style was the work to which they belonged from that which
Pausanias has left us. No one would dream of maintaining that Pausanias
copied his description of Greece from the pseudo-Dicaearchus. The most
famous of the antiquaries who preceded Pausanias seem to have been
Diodorus, Polemo, and Heliodorus, all of whom earned by their writings
the title of _The Periegete_ or _Cicerone_. [Sidenote: Diodorus.] Of
these the earliest was Diodorus, who is not to be confounded with the
Sicilian historian of that name. He published works on the tombs and
townships of Attica, of which a few fragments survive. [Sidenote:
Heliodorus.] They seem to have been composed before 308 B.C. Heliodorus
lived in the reign of Ptolemy Epiphanes and wrote a work on the
Acropolis of Athens in no less than fifteen books, of which only a few
brief fragments have come down to us. There is some reason to think that
Pausanias cannot have consulted it. [Sidenote: Polemo.] Polemo of Ilium
flourished in the first part of the second century B.C., and was the
author of many special treatises on the monuments of Greece. Amongst
them were works on the Acropolis of Athens, on the eponymous heroes of
the Attic townships and tribes, on the Sacred Way, on the Painted
Colonnade at Sicyon, on the votive offerings at Lacedaemon, on the
founding of the cities of Phocis, on the treasuries at Delphi, and many
more. More than a hundred extracts from or references to his works have
come down to us; and if we may judge from them, from the number and
variety of the treatises he published, and from the praise of Plutarch
we shall be inclined to pronounce Polemo the most learned of all Greek
antiquaries. His acquaintance both with the monuments and with the
literature seems to have been extensive and profound. The attention
which he bestowed on inscriptions earned for him the nickname of the
‘monument-tapper.’ His works were certainly extant later than the time
of Pausanias, since they are freely quoted by Athenaeus. It would,
therefore, be strange if Pausanias did not study them, dealing as many
of them did with the same subjects on which he touched in his
_Description of Greece_. Yet the existing fragments of Polemo hardly
justify us in supposing that Pausanias was acquainted with the writings
of his learned predecessor. Certainly they lend no countenance to the
view that he borrowed descriptions of places and monuments from them.
This will appear from an examination of those fragments of Polemo which
deal with subjects falling within the scope of Pausanias’s work. We
shall look, first, at the things mentioned by both writers, and, second,
at the things mentioned by Polemo alone. The fragments are numbered as
in the editions of L. Preller and Ch. Müller, to which the reader is
referred for the Greek text.

First, then, let us take the things mentioned by both Polemo and

[Sidenote: Polemo

Fragment ii. In his description of the Acropolis at Athens, Polemo
mentioned a sculptor Lycius, son of Myron. So does Pausanias in his
description of the Acropolis.

Fragment iii. In his description of the Acropolis, Polemo mentioned a
decree forbidding women of loose character to take the names of any of
the great quadriennial festivals. Pausanias mentions no such decree, but
among the paintings which he describes in the Propylaea is one of
Alcibiades “containing emblems of the victory won by his team at Nemea.”
Now we know from other writers that in this picture Alcibiades was
portrayed reclining in the lap of Nemea. The model who sat for the
personification of Nemea was probably a woman of the sort who were
forbidden by the decree to take the name of a quadriennial festival, and
the sight of the picture may have led Polemo to mention the decree. If
this was so—and the reasoning though a little circuitous is plausible—it
becomes probable that Polemo saw and described the picture of Alcibiades
to which Pausanias refers. The probability is strengthened, almost to
the point of certainty, by our knowledge that Polemo did describe the
paintings in the Propylaea, though no details of his description have

Fragment iv. In his description of the Acropolis, Polemo mentioned that
Thucydides was buried at the Melitian gate. So does Pausanias in his
description of the Acropolis.

Fragment vi. In his description of the pictures in the Propylaea, which
probably formed part of his treatise in four books on the Acropolis,
Polemo mentioned three Athenian festivals at which torch-races were
held, namely the Panathenian festival, the festival of Hephaestus, and
the festival of Prometheus. Pausanias in his description of the Academy
mentions that torch-races were run from an altar of Prometheus in the
Academy to the city.

Fragment x. Polemo told the story of the capture of Aphidna in Attica by
the Dioscuri, and mentioned that in the affair Castor was wounded by
king Aphidnus in the right thigh. Pausanias repeatedly refers to the
capture of Aphidna by the Dioscuri, but he expresses a belief that the
place was taken without fighting, and he gives reasons for thinking so.

Fragment xi. In one of his works which is cited as _The Greek History_
Polemo mentioned that Poseidon contended with Hera for the possession of
Argos and was worsted, and that the two deities did not exhibit tokens
in support of their claims as they did at Athens. Pausanias in his
description of Argolis twice mentions the defeat of Poseidon in his
dispute with Hera for the possession of the land, but he says nothing
about the absence of tokens.

Fragment xii. According to Polemo, the Argives related how the first
corn sown in Argolis had been fetched by Argus from Libya. According to
Pausanias, they asserted that they had received the first corn from

Fragment xviii. In his work on the votive offerings at Lacedaemon,
Polemo mentioned “a chapel of Cottina, close to Colone, where is the
sanctuary of Dionysus, a splendid edifice known to many in the city.”
Pausanias in his description of Sparta mentions “the place named Colona,
and a temple of Dionysus Colonatas.”

Fragment xxii. Polemo mentioned at Olympia the old temple of Hera, the
temple of the Metapontines, and the temple of the Byzantines. Pausanias
describes all three buildings, but he designates the two latter
correctly as treasuries, not temples.

Fragment xxiii. Polemo related that for a time a race had been run at
Olympia between carts drawn by mules, but that after thirteen victories
had been won the race was abolished in Ol. 84. He further said that the
name for a mule-cart (_apene_) was a Tegean word. Pausanias mentions
that the race between mule-carts at Olympia was instituted in Ol. 70 and
abolished in Ol. 84. He says nothing about the name for a mule-cart
being Tegean.

Fragment xxiv. Polemo said that Athena was wounded by Ornytus. Pausanias
says that she was wounded by Teuthis, but that some people called her
assailant Ornytus.

Fragment xxvii. In his work on the treasuries at Delphi, Polemo
mentioned the Sicyonian treasury. So does Pausanias in his description
of Delphi.

Fragment xxix. Polemo told how the Delphians honoured the wolf because a
wolf had discovered a sacred jewel of gold that had been stolen from
Delphi and buried on Mount Parnassus. Pausanias says that the Delphians
dedicated a bronze figure of a wolf in the sanctuary of Apollo, because
a man who had stolen some sacred treasures and hidden them in the forest
on Parnassus was killed by a wolf, which then went daily to the city and
howled, till people followed it and so found the stolen treasure.

Fragment xxxii. Polemo told how Palamedes invented dice to amuse the
Greek army before Troy when they were distressed by famine. Pausanias
says simply that dice were an invention of Palamedes.

Fragment xli. Polemo said that at Athens there were three images of the
Furies, two made by Scopas out of the stone called _luchneus_ (probably
Parian marble), and the middle one made by Calamis. Pausanias notices
the images of the Furies without mentioning their number, their
material, or the artists who made them.

Fragment xlii. In speaking of wineless libations Polemo remarked on the
scrupulousness of the Athenians in matters of ritual. Pausanias
observes, in different connexions, that the Athenians were more pious
and more zealous in religious matters than other people.

Fragment xliv. Polemo said that Lais was born at Hyccara in Sicily and
was murdered in Thessaly, whither she had gone for love of a Thessalian
named Pausanias; and he described her grave beside the Peneus with the
epitaph and the urn on the tombstone. Pausanias says that Lais was a
native of Hycara (_sic_) in Sicily and that her grave was at Corinth,
where it was surmounted by the figure of a lion holding a ram in its
paws. He adds that in Thessaly, whither she had gone for the love of a
certain Hippostratus, there was another tomb which claimed to be hers.

Fragment xlviii. Polemo said that copies of the laws of Solon were kept
in the Prytaneum engraved on square wooden tablets which revolved on
pivots in such a way that when the tablets were turned at an angle they
seemed to be triangular. Pausanias says briefly that the laws of Solon
were inscribed in the Prytaneum.

Fragment lv. Polemo said that wrestling was invented by Phorbas.
Pausanias says that it was invented by Theseus.

Fragment lxxviii. Polemo mentioned the sanctuary of Hercules at
Cynosarges. So does Pausanias.

Fragment lxxxiii. Polemo described two pools in Sicily, beside which the
Sicilians took their most solemn oaths, perjury being followed by death.
Pausanias describes how people threw offerings into the craters of Etna
and watched whether the offerings sank or were ejected by the volcanic
fires. Some modern writers have supposed that Pausanias meant to
describe the place and the oath described by Polemo, but that he mistook
the water for fire and the offering for an oath. The supposition is very

Fragment lxxxvi. Polemo mentioned the Tiasa, a river near Sparta. So
does Pausanias.

[Sidenote: No evidence

These are, I believe, all the existing fragments of Polemo in which he
mentions the same things as Pausanias. Not one of them supports the
theory that Pausanias copied from Polemo. In some of them the writer
mentions the same places, buildings, and works of art that are mentioned
by Pausanias. But this was almost inevitable. When two men describe the
same places correctly they can hardly help mentioning some of the same
things. In no case does the coincidence go beyond a bare mention. Again,
Polemo sometimes referred to the same myth or legend as Pausanias; but
this is no proof that Pausanias copied from Polemo. A multitude of myths
and legends were the commonplaces of every educated Greek, whether he
had read Polemo or not. The passage of Polemo as to the race between
mule-carts at Olympia agrees in substance, not in language, with the
corresponding passage of Pausanias. Both writers, it may be assumed,
derived their information from the best source, the Olympic register,
which, as we have seen, was published and accessible to all. The
Delphian story of the wolf that disclosed the stolen treasure may have
been narrated by both writers in the same way, though from the abridged
form in which Polemo’s version is reported by Aelian we cannot be sure
of this. No doubt the story was told in much the same way by the
Delphian guides to all visitors, who may have been surprised to find a
statue of a wolf dedicated to Apollo, the old mythical relationship of
the god with wolves having long fallen into the background. Again,
Polemo, like Pausanias, remarked on the scrupulous piety of the
Athenians. So, too, for that matter did St. Paul, but nobody suspects
him of having borrowed the remark from Polemo. The mention of the
sculptor Lycius, of the grave of Thucydides, and of the torch-race by
the two writers proves nothing as to the dependence of the one on the
other. Some of the fragments of Polemo show that he described in minute
detail things which Pausanias has merely mentioned. Finally, in a number
of the fragments Polemo makes statements which are explicitly or
implicitly contradicted by Pausanias. This proves that if Pausanias was
acquainted with the works of Polemo, he at least exercised complete
freedom of judgment in accepting or rejecting the opinions of his
predecessor. Another proof of his independence is furnished by his
speaking of the treasuries at Olympia as treasuries, whereas Polemo had
designated the same buildings less correctly as temples.

[Sidenote: Things
           by Polemo
           but not by

Second, let us take the things mentioned by Polemo, but not by
Pausanias. They include at Munychia the worship of the hero Acratopotes;
at Athens a picture of the marriage of Pirithous, an inscription
relating to the sacrifices offered to Hercules at Cynosarges, and cups
dedicated by a certain Neoptolemus, apparently on the Acropolis; in
Attica a township called Crius; at Sicyon the Painted Colonnade (to
which Polemo seems to have devoted a special treatise), pictures by the
painters Aristides, Pausanias, and Nicophanes, a portrait of the tyrant
Aristratus partly painted by Apelles, and an obscene worship of
Dionysus; at Phlius a colonnade called the Colonnade of the Polemarch
and containing a painting or paintings by Sillax of Rhegium; at Argos a
sanctuary of Libyan Demeter; at Sparta a chapel and bronze statue of
Cottina, a bronze ox dedicated by her, a sanctuary of Corythallian
Artemis, a festival called _kopis_ (described by Polemo in detail), and
the worship of two heroes Matton and Ceraon; at Olympia a hundred and
thirty-two silver cups, two silver wine-jugs, one silver sacrificial
vessel, and three gilt cups, all preserved in the treasury of the
Metapontines, a cedar-wood figure of a Triton holding a silver cup, a
silver siren, three silver cups of various shapes, a golden wine-jug,
and two drinking-horns, all preserved in the treasury of the Byzantines,
thirty-three silver cups of various shapes, a silver pot, a golden
sacrificial vessel, and a golden bowl, all preserved in the temple of
Hera, and a statue of a Lacedaemonian named Leon who won a victory in
the chariot-race; at Elis the worship of Gourmand Apollo; at Scolus in
Boeotia the worship of Big-loaf Demeter; at Thebes a temple of Aphrodite
Lamia, a statue of the bard Cleon (about which Polemo told an anecdote),
and games held in honour of Hercules; and finally at Delphi a golden
book of the poetess Aristomache in the Sicyonian treasury, a treasury of
the Spinatians containing two marble statues of boys, a sanctuary of
Demeter Hermuchus, and a curious custom of offering to Latona at the
festival of the Theoxenia the largest leek that was to be found.

All these are mentioned by Polemo as things existing or customs
practised within that portion of Greece which Pausanias has described.
When we remember that the mention of them occurs in a few brief
fragments, which are all that remain to us of the voluminous works of
Polemo, we can imagine what a multitude of things must have been
described by Polemo, which are passed over in total silence by

[Sidenote: Result of
           Polemo and

To sum up the result of this comparison of Polemo with Pausanias, we
find that both writers mention some of the same things and record some
of the same traditions, but that this agreement never amounts to a
verbal coincidence; that Polemo mentions many things which are not
noticed by Pausanias; and that Pausanias repeatedly adopts views which
differ from or contradict views expressed by Polemo. Thus there is
nothing in the remains of Polemo to show that Pausanias, treading as he
so often did in Polemo’s footsteps, copied the works of his predecessor;
on the contrary, the very frequent omission by Pausanias of things
mentioned by Polemo, and the not infrequent adoption by him of opinions
which contradict those of Polemo, go to prove either that he was
unacquainted with Polemo’s writings, or that he deliberately disregarded
and tacitly controverted them.

[Sidenote: Theory
           or from
           writers of

Yet in recent years it has been maintained that Pausanias slavishly
copied from Polemo the best part of his descriptions of Athens, Olympia,
and Delphi, and a good deal besides, and that he described these places
substantially not as they were in his own age but as they had been in
the time of Polemo, about three hundred years before; for it is a part
of the same theory that Pausanias had travelled and seen very little in
Greece, had compiled the bulk of his book from the works of earlier
writers, and had added only a few hasty jottings of his own to give the
book a modern air.

As to the proposition that Pausanias borrowed largely from Polemo it is
not needful to say any more. We have seen that it has no foundation in
the existing remains of Polemo. Whether it would be established or
refuted by the lost works of Polemo we cannot say. It will be time to
consider the question when these lost works are found, if that should
ever be.

[Sidenote: Theory that
           did not
           Greece as
           it was in
           his own

On the other hand, the proposition that Pausanias described Greece not
as it was in his own time, but as it had been in an earlier age, while
it is of wider scope than the former is also more susceptible of
verification. It could be established very simply by proving that he
spoke of things as existing which from other sources are known to have
ceased to exist before his time. It could not, of course, be established
merely by showing that he mentions little or nothing of later date than
say the age of Polemo, about 170 B.C., unless it could be further shown
that the things he mentions had ceased to exist between that age and his
own. For obviously all the things he notices might have existed in 170
B.C. and still be in existence when he wrote, and in describing them he
would be as truly describing the Greece of his own time as a writer of
the present day who, professing to record the most notable things in
Athens at the end of the nineteenth century A.D., should choose to
mention no building or statue later than the time of Pausanias, or even
of Polemo himself. Thus all the attempts that have been made to
invalidate the testimony of Pausanias as to the state of Greece in the
second century A.D. by demonstrating merely that the things he describes
were in existence in the second century B.C. must be dismissed as
irrelevant. Even if the premises be admitted, the conclusion which it is
sought to establish would not follow from them. It remains, therefore,
to examine the evidence which has been thought to prove that some of the
things mentioned by Pausanias as existing had ceased to exist before his
time. If this were indeed proved, then the proposition that he did not
describe Greece as it was in his own time would be proved also, and we
should be sure that his descriptions were borrowed either wholly or in
part from earlier writers, even if we could not hazard any guess as to
who these writers were.

[Sidenote: His description

In the first place, then, it has been maintained that the description
which Pausanias gives of the state of Piraeus did not apply to his own
time. His account of the ship-sheds, the two market-places, the
sanctuaries, the images, and so on, implies, it is said, that the port
was in a fairly thriving state when he wrote about the middle of the
second century A.D., and this cannot have been the case since Piraeus
was burnt by Sulla in 86 B.C., and still lay in a forlorn condition when
Strabo wrote in the age of Augustus. This remarkable criticism entirely
overlooks the fact that between the destruction of Piraeus by Sulla and
the time of Pausanias more than two hundred years had elapsed, during
the greater part of which Greece had enjoyed profound peace and had been
treated with special favour and indulgence by the Roman emperors. Is it
beyond the bounds of possibility that during these two centuries the
blackened ruins should have been cleared away? that new buildings should
have sprung up, and population should have gathered once more around the
harbour? Does the Palatinate, we may ask by analogy, remain to this day
the wilderness to which it was reduced by the armies of Louis XIV. two
centuries ago? But such questions need no answer. In the case of
Piraeus, fortunately, we are not left merely to balance probabilities or
improbabilities against each other. We have positive evidence of a great
revival of the port after its destruction by Sulla. A single inscription
of the first century B.C. or the second century A.D. testifies to the
existence of the dockyards, the colonnades, the Exchange, the government
buildings, the sanctuaries. Another, contemporary with Pausanias, proves
that Roman merchants were then settled in the port. A third deals with
the regulation of traffic in the market. Portraits of Roman emperors
found on the spot speak of gratitude for imperial favour, and remains of
Roman villas and Roman baths bear witness to the return not merely of
prosperity but of wealth and luxury. In short, if Pausanias had
described Piraeus as lying in ruins, as his critic thinks he should have
done, he might have described it as it was in the early part of the
first century B.C., but he certainly would not have described it as it
was in his own time two hundred years later.

[Sidenote: His description

Again, it has been argued that Pausanias copied his description of
Arcadia from much older writers because, it is said, he pictures the
country as in a flourishing state, whereas Strabo says that most of the
famous cities of Arcadia had either ceased to exist or had left hardly a
trace of themselves behind. How little the testimony of Strabo is worth
when he speaks of the interior of Greece is shown by his famous
statement that not a vestige of Mycenae remained. Contrast this
statement with the brief but accurate description which Pausanias gives
of the walls and the lion-gate of Mycenae as they were in his day and as
they remain down to this; then say whether the testimony of Strabo is to
outweigh that of Pausanias on questions of Greek topography. In fact it
is generally recognised that Strabo had visited very few parts of
Greece, perhaps none but Corinth. We may therefore well hesitate to
confide in his vague sweeping assertion as to the desolation of Arcadia.
A simple fact suffices to upset it. Coins of the Roman period prove that
seven out of the eleven cities, which he says had ceased to exist or had
left hardly a trace behind, were still inhabited and doing business long
after the agreeable, but not too scrupulously accurate, geographer had
been gathered to his fathers. Nor, again, is it true to say that
Pausanias describes Arcadia as if it were in a prosperous state. On the
contrary, the long array of ruined or shrunken cities, deserted
villages, and roofless shrines, which he has not failed to chronicle,
leave on the reader, as they left on the writer himself, a melancholy
impression of desolation and decay. The only two cities which from his
description we should gather to have been in a tolerably thriving
condition are Tegea and Mantinea. As to the former we have the precious
testimony of Strabo himself that “it kept pretty well together.” As to
Mantinea, if we cannot trust the evidence of Pausanias, we can surely
trust the architectural and inscriptional evidence which proves that in
the Roman period the theatre was rebuilt, and that not many years before
Pausanias was born Roman merchants resided in the city, great
reconstructions were carried out in the market-place, a marble colonnade
added to it, banqueting-halls and treasuries built, a bazaar surrounded
with workshops erected, and a semicircular hall reared which, in the
words of an inscription referring to it, “would by itself be an ornament
of the city.” The remains of these buildings, together with the ancient
walls and gates of the city almost in their entire extent though not to
their full height, were visible down to the year 1890 A.D. at least.[5]
All this in a city which, if we were to believe Strabo, had vanished
from the earth before his time leaving little or no traces of it behind.
So much for the comparative value of the testimony of Strabo and
Pausanias with regard to Arcadia.


Footnote 5:

  When I last visited Mantinea, in October 1895, most of the ruins about
  the market-place, which were excavated by the French some ten years
  ago, had again disappeared beneath the soil.


[Sidenote: Grove of
           Poseidon at

Again, in Boeotia our author is accused of describing things that were
not as if they were, and the witness for the prosecution is again
Strabo. Pausanias says that the grove of Poseidon at Onchestus existed
in his time. Strabo says that there were no trees in it. Where is the
inconsistency between these statements? Strabo wrote in the reign of
Augustus; Pausanias wrote in the reign of Marcus Aurelius. Did trees
cease to grow after the time of Strabo?

[Sidenote: Limnae
           Thuria in

Further, Pausanias has been reproached with not knowing that Limnae in
Messenia belonged to the Messenians in his time. This is a strange
reproach. He treats of Limnae under Messenia, and does not say that it
belonged to anybody but the Messenians. What more could he do? Was it
needful for him to say of every place in Messenia that it belonged to
the Messenians? of every town in Arcadia that it belonged to the
Arcadians? of every temple in Athens that it belonged to the Athenians?
The ground of the offence is Pausanias’s statement that the neighbouring
town of Thuria in Messenia had been bestowed by Augustus on the
Lacedaemonians. The truth of this statement is not disputed. It is
confirmed by coins which prove that in the reign of Septimius Severus,
long after the time of Pausanias, Thuria continued to belong to the
Lacedaemonians. But the critics have assumed quite gratuitously that
along with Thuria the emperor Augustus transferred Limnae also to the
Lacedaemonians, and that Pausanias believed Limnae to belong to them
still in his time, although we know from the evidence of Tacitus and of
boundary stones that in his time Limnae belonged to Messenia. Both these
assumptions are baseless. We have no reason to suppose that Augustus
gave Limnae to the Lacedaemonians, none to suppose that Pausanias
believed it to belong to them. On the contrary, we have, as I have just
pointed out, the best of grounds for supposing that he held it to belong
to Messenia. The truth is, the critics have confused two distinct,
though neighbouring districts, and have shifted the burden of this
confusion to the shoulders of the innocent Pausanias, in whose work not
a shadow of it can be detected.

[Sidenote: Temple of
           Apollo at

Lastly, it has been assumed that Pausanias’s account of the temple of
Apollo at Delphi is irreconcileable with the remains of the building and
with inscriptions relating to it which have recently been discovered by
the French at Delphi. The combined evidence of architecture and
inscriptions proves conclusively that the temple built by the
Alcmaeonids in the sixth century B.C. was afterwards destroyed, probably
by an earthquake, and that it was rebuilt in the fourth century B.C. Yet
Pausanias, it is said, describes the temple of the sixth century B.C. as
if it still existed in his time. Let us look at the facts in the light
of the French discoveries. Observe, then, that Pausanias mentions the
Gallic shields hanging on the architrave of the temple. These shields
were captured in 279 B.C. Hence the temple which he describes cannot
have been the old one built in the sixth century B.C., since that
temple, as we now know, was afterwards destroyed and rebuilt in the
fourth century B.C. But did Pausanias believe it to be the old one?
There is nothing to show that he did, but on the contrary there is a
good deal to show that he did not. In the first place, he does not say
that the temple was built by the Alcmaeonids. He says it was built for
the Amphictyons by the architect Spintharus. The date of Spintharus is
otherwise unknown, but we have no reason to suppose that he lived in the
sixth rather than in the fourth century B.C. In the second place,
Pausanias tells us that the first sculptures for the gables of the
temple were executed by Praxias, a pupil of Calamis, but that as the
building lasted some time, Praxias died before it was finished, and the
rest of the sculptures were executed by another artist. Now we have the
evidence of Pausanias himself that the sculptor Calamis was at work as
late as 427 B.C. His pupil Praxias may therefore easily, at least in the
opinion of Pausanias, have been at work at the end of the fifth century
B.C. or in the early part of the fourth century B.C., and this is
precisely the time when, if we may judge from the historical and
inscriptional evidence, the old temple was destroyed and preparations at
least for rebuilding it were being made. At all events, Pausanias cannot
possibly have supposed that the pupil of a man who was at work in 427
B.C. can have executed sculptures for a temple that was built in the
sixth century B.C. In short, neither was the temple which Pausanias
describes the temple of the sixth century B.C. nor can he possibly have
supposed it to be so. The temple he describes was in all probability the
temple of the fourth century B.C. His statement that the temple was long
in building is amply confirmed by the inscriptions, which prove that the
process of reconstruction dragged on over a period of many years.

Thus in every case an analysis of the evidence adduced to prove that
Pausanias described a state of things which had passed away before his
time, reveals only some oversight or misapprehension on the part of his
critics. We might take it, therefore, without further discussion that he
described Greece as it was in his own age. But if any reader is still
sceptical, still blinded by the phantom Polemo, let him turn to
Pausanias’s description of new Corinth [Sidenote: New Corinth.] and read
it with attention. Here was a city built in 44 B.C., more than a century
after the time of Polemo, upon whom Pausanias is supposed by some to
have been slavishly dependent. Yet he describes the city minutely and in
topographical order, following up each street as it led out of the
market-place. Amongst the many temples he mentions in it is one of
Octavia and another of Capitolian Jupiter; among the many waterworks is
the aqueduct by which Hadrian, the author’s contemporary, brought the
water of the Stymphalian Lake to Corinth. And his description of the
city with its temples, images, fountains, and portals is amply borne out
by coins of the Imperial age. In the face of this single instance it is
impossible to maintain that Pausanias must needs have borrowed most of
his descriptions from writers who lived before 170 B.C. If he could
describe Corinth so well without their aid, why should he not have
described Athens, Olympia, and Delphi for himself? Nor does his power of
description fail him when he comes down to works which were produced in
his own lifetime. Not to mention his many notices of the works of
Hadrian, such as the Olympieum at Athens with its colossal image of gold
and ivory, and the library with its columns of Phrygian marble, its
gilded roof, its alabaster ornaments, its statues and paintings, he has
given us a minute account of the images dedicated by his contemporary
Herodes Atticus in the temple of Poseidon at the Isthmus. [Sidenote:
Images dedicated by Herodes Atticus at the Isthmus.] He describes the
images of Amphitrite and Poseidon, made of gold and ivory, standing
erect in a car drawn by gilt horses with ivory hoofs; the image of
Palaemon, also made of gold and ivory, standing on a dolphin; the two
Tritons beside the horses, each of them made of gold from the waist
upward and of ivory from the waist downward; and the reliefs on the
pedestal of the images, comprising a figure of the Sea holding up the
infant Aphrodite, with Nereids and the Dioscuri on either side. If he
could describe in such detail the work of an obscure contemporary artist
whom he does not condescend to mention, what reason have we to think
that he could not describe for himself the famous images by the great
hand of Phidias, the image of the Virgin at Athens and the image of Zeus
at Olympia? In short, if Pausanias copied his descriptions from a book,
it must have been from a book written in his own lifetime, perhaps by
another man of the same name. The theory of the copyist Pausanias
reduces itself to an absurdity.

[Sidenote: Pausanias
           and the

The best proof that Pausanias has pictured for us Greece as it was in
his own day and not as it had ceased to be long before, is supplied by
the monuments. In all parts of the country the truthfulness of his
descriptions has been attested by remains of the buildings which he
describes, and wherever these remains are most numerous, as for example
at Olympia, Delphi, and Lycosura, we have most reason to admire his
minute and painstaking accuracy. That he was infallible has never been
maintained, and if it had been, the excavations would have refuted so
foolish a contention, for they have enabled us to detect some errors
into which he fell. For example, he mistook the figure of a girl for
that of a man in the eastern gable of the temple of Zeus at Olympia; he
misinterpreted the attitude of Hercules and Atlas in one of the metopes
of the same temple; he affirmed that the colossal images at Lycosura
were made of a single block of marble, whereas we know that they were
made of several blocks fitted together; and he described the temple of
Athena Alea at Tegea as the largest in Peloponnese, though in fact it
was much smaller than the temple of Zeus at Olympia. These and similar
mistakes, like the slips he sometimes made in reading inscriptions, do
not lend any colour to an imputation of bad faith. All they show is that
he shared the common weaknesses of humanity, that his eye sometimes
deceived him, that his attention sometimes flagged, that occasionally he
may have lent too ready an ear to the talk of the local guides. If these
are sins, they are surely not unpardonable. Those who have followed in
his footsteps in Greece and have formed from personal experience some
idea, necessarily slight, of the magnitude of the task he set himself
and of the difficulties he had to overcome in accomplishing it, will
probably be the readiest to make allowance for inevitable imperfections,
will be most grateful to him for what he has done, and least disposed to
censure him for what he has left undone. Without him the ruins of Greece
would for the most part be a labyrinth without a clue, a riddle without
an answer. His book furnishes the clue to the labyrinth, the answer to
many riddles. It will be read and studied so long as ancient Greece
shall continue to engage the attention and awaken the interest of
mankind; and if it is allowable to forecast the results of research in
the future from those of research in the past we may venture to predict
that, while they will correct the descriptions of Pausanias on some
minor points, they will confirm them on many more, and will bring to
light nothing to shake the confidence of reasonable and fair-minded men
in his honour and good faith.

II. OROPUS.—The plain of Oropus extends along the shore for about five
miles; inland it narrows to a point, two or three miles from the shore,
where the Asopus issues from a beautiful defile. At this inner angle of
the plain stand the modern villages of Oropo and Sykamino on opposite
sides of the river. But the territory of Oropus included some at least
of the low hills which environ the plain, for the hills of Oropus were
at one time divided between two Attic tribes. Moreover, the sanctuary of
Amphiaraus, which belonged to Oropus, stands in hilly ground to the east
of the plain. The whole of this district, lying between the Euripus and
the northern declivities of Mount Parnes, is of great natural beauty. It
is an undulating and richly wooded country, where the road runs between
soft green hills and knolls, with charming and varied prospects across
the winding waters of the Euripus to the blue mountains of Euboea, among
which the lofty Delph may be seen glistering white with snow even in the
hot days of summer. The traveller who comes direct from the monotonous
and sterile plain of Athens is struck, on emerging from the wooded pass
of Decelea, by the contrast between the scene which he has left behind
and that which is suddenly unrolled at his feet. In antiquity this road,
which went by Aphidna and could be traversed on foot in a day, was noted
for the number and excellence of its inns, a distinction which it
certainly does not enjoy now.

The country between Oropus and Rhamnus, through which Pausanias conducts
his readers, is of similar character. Parallel chains of hills run from
Mount Parnes to the high steep coast; and between them are fruitful
valleys watered by pleasant brooks and embowered in luxuriant
vegetation, with thickets where the song of the nightingale may be

The site of the city of Oropus is now occupied by Skala Oropou, that is,
‘the port of Oropo,’ a small hamlet prettily situated among gardens,
meadows, and springs, on the shore of a bay which is formed by two low
projecting points a couple of miles asunder. Across the water the white
houses of Eretria are clearly visible on the shore of Euboea; the
mountains above them, when seen at evening from Oropus, are of a deep
azure blue. In the sea are the remains of an ancient breakwater
extending parallel to the shore. Among the remains of antiquity which
have been found here is a beautiful marble relief of the best period of
Greek sculpture, representing Amphiaraus and his charioteer Baton
driving in a car drawn by four horses; the moment chosen by the sculptor
is that when the earth gaped to receive the prophet; the horses are
starting back in terror at the sight of the abyss which yawns at their

The sanctuary of Amphiaraus, described by Pausanias, lies in a pleasant
little glen, neither wide nor deep, among low hills partially wooded
with pine. The place, now called Mavrodhilisi, is distant about four
miles south-east of Skala Oropou; Pausanias has greatly understated the
distance. The path to it first goes through corn-fields near the sea,
then turns inland and ascends through woods. A brook flows through the
glen and finds its way between banks fringed by plane-trees and
oleanders to the sea, which is more than a mile off. The clumps of trees
and shrubs which tuft the sides of the glen and in which the nightingale
warbles, the stretch of green meadow at the bottom, the stillness and
seclusion of the place, and its sheltered and sunny aspect, all fitted
it to be the resort of invalids, who thronged thither to consult the
healing god. So sheltered indeed is the spot that even on a May morning
the heat in the airless glen, with the Greek sun beating down out of a
cloudless sky, is apt to be felt by a northerner as somewhat
overpowering. But to a Greek it was no doubt agreeable. The oracle, we
know, was open only in summer; and Livy speaks of “the ancient temple
delightfully situated among springs and brooks”. The ruins of the
sanctuary, excavated some years ago by the Greek Archaeological Society,
lie on the narrow strip of flat ground on the northern or left bank of
the stream.

III. RHAMNUS.—Rhamnus is one of the loneliest and most secluded, but at
the same time most picturesque and verdant spots in all Attica. It lies
on the north-east coast of Attica, about six and a half miles north of
Kato-Souli, the village which occupies the site of the ancient
Tricorythus. The distance agrees well with the sixty Greek furlongs
(nearly seven miles) at which Pausanias estimates it. The road from
Kato-Souli first goes north-east across the northern portion of the
Marathonian plain, which it quits by a pass leading northward through
the hills. The pass soon opens into an upland valley, three miles long
from south to north by one mile wide, enclosed on both sides by wild and
barren hills. The upper slopes of these hills are scantily wooded with
firs; their lower slopes are overgrown with myrtle, lentisk, and many
sorts of thorny shrubs, especially the one called rhamnus, which gave
the district its ancient name. The soil of the valley is partly under
cultivation, but most of it is covered with dense underwood and oaks of
the valanidia species. On a low flat ridge which runs across the valley
from east to west there are some ancient ruins, consisting of walls and
foundations of houses. There are now no permanent inhabitations in the
whole valley. A few dirty hamlets, tenanted from time to time by
peasants for the purpose of looking after their fields, lie at its
eastern edge. The general aspect of the country is lonesome and

Towards the northern end of the valley the ground gradually rises; and
where it terminates the scenery changes. Here, at the northern extremity
of the valley, a narrow woody glen, about half a mile long, descends
rapidly in a north-easterly direction to the sea-shore. At the head of
the glen, commanding a magnificent view down its wooded depths and
across the narrow channel of the Euripus to the lofty mountains of
Euboea, rises a stately terrace supported by exquisitely constructed
walls of white marble, which are embowered in a luxuriant growth of
dark-green shrubbery and fir-trees. In this superb situation, crowning
the terrace, stand side by side the ruins of two temples, the famous
temple of Nemesis and a smaller temple, probably of Themis. Below, where
the glen opens on the shore, an isolated rocky hill juts out into the
sea; and on its sides, half buried in thickly clustering masses of
evergreens, are the white marble walls and towers of Rhamnus.

IV. MARATHON.—The plain of Marathon, the scene of the memorable defeat
of the Persians by the Athenians in 490 B.C., is a crescent-shaped
stretch of flat land curving round the shore of a spacious bay and
bounded on the landward side by a semicircle of steep mountains, with
bare rocky sides, which rise abruptly from the plain. In its
north-eastern corner the plain is terminated by a narrow rocky
promontory running southward far into the sea and sheltering the bay on
the north-east; in antiquity this promontory was called Cynosura (‘dog’s
tail’), it is now called Cape Stomi or Cape Marathon. At its southern
end the plain is terminated by Mount Agrieliki, a spur of Mount
Pentelicus, which here advances so far eastward as to leave only a
narrow strip of flat land between it and the sea. Through this strip of
flat land at the foot of Mount Agrieliki runs the only carriage road
which connects Marathon with Athens. The length of the plain of Marathon
from north-east to south-west is about six miles; its breadth varies
from one and a half to two and a half miles. The shore is a shelving
sandy beach, free from rocks and shoals, and well suited for the
disembarkation of troops. A great swamp, covered with sharp reed-grass
and divided from the sea by a narrow strip of sandy beach overgrown with
pine-trees, occupies most of the northern end of the plain. It never
dries wholly up even in the heat of summer; two canals constructed by
General Sutzos have only partially drained it. Tamarisk bushes grow in
the drier parts of the marsh; their scarlet blossoms are conspicuous in
spring. The swamp is deepest at its western side, where it is separated
only by a narrow passage, hardly wide enough for two horses to pass each
other, from the steep rocky slope of Mount Stavrokoraki. The ancient
road which led northward from the plain of Marathon to Rhamnus ran along
this narrow passage, between the marsh on the one hand and the slope of
the mountain on the other. Leake noticed traces of ancient
chariot-wheels here; and till a few years ago a long line of stones, a
little farther to the south, marked the line of the ancient road. At the
northern end of this defile between the marsh and the mountain stands
the modern village of Kato-Souli. About a quarter of a mile to the south
of it, close to the road and to the foot of the mountain, are the
deepest pools of the swamp; they are easily distinguished by the
luxuriant vegetation that surrounds them, the tall reeds being
particularly noticeable. These pools, beside which cattle find green
pasture in summer when the plains are scorched and brown with heat, are
fed by powerful subterranean sources, the Macaria of the ancients, about
which Pausanias tells us the legend of Macaria, daughter of Hercules,
who gave her name to the spring. Strabo says that the head of Eurystheus
was cut off and buried by Iolaus beside the spring Macaria, under the
highroad, and that hence the place was called ‘the head of Eurystheus.’
At Kato-Souli, about half-way up the slope of the hill which rises above
the village, there are some shallow niche-like excavations in the rock,
not unlike mangers. It may have been these niches to which popular fancy
gave the name of ‘the mangers of the horses of Artaphernes.’ On its
opposite or eastern side the great swamp ends in a small salt-water
lake, now called Drakonera, that is ‘the dragon-water’ or ‘the enchanted
water.’ This lake discharges itself into the sea by a stream which flows
exactly at the point where the sandy beach of the bay ends and the rocks
of Cape Cynosura begin. Sea fish are caught in the lake, and eels in the
fresh-water pools of the marsh. The salt lake has perhaps been formed
since the time of Pausanias, for he describes only the marsh and a
stream flowing from it into the sea. At the southern end of the plain of
Marathon there is another, but much smaller, swamp called Vrexisa
between the sea and the foot of Mount Agrieliki. Its greatest breadth is
about half a mile. It is covered with reedy grass and shrubs, and is
separated from the sea by a strip of sand. The highroad to Athens runs
betwixt this marsh and the foot of the mountains.

Between these two marshes, the one on the north, the other on the south,
the plain of Marathon is now chiefly covered with corn-fields. But
towards its southern end there is a stretch of vineyards mixed with
olives and fruit-trees and dotted with a few pines and cypresses.
Farther north, an isolated oak-tree rising here and there, and a green
belt of currant-plantations stretching from the foot of the hills to the
shore of the bay, break the uniformity of the endless corn-fields. The
plain is uninhabited. The villages lie at the foot of the mountains or
in the neighbouring glens. On a still autumn day, under a lowering sky,
the wide expanse of the solitary plain presents a chilling and dreary
aspect. Not a living creature is to be seen, except perhaps a few
peasants in the distance ploughing with teams of slow-paced oxen.

In this vast sweep of level ground the eye is caught, at no great
distance, by a single solitary object rising inconspicuously above it.
This is the famous mound, now called Soros, which covers the remains of
the Athenians who fell in the battle. It rises from the plain a mile
from the foot of the hills, half a mile from the sea, and about
three-quarters of a mile north of the marsh of Vrexisa. It is a conical
mound of light, reddish mould, some thirty feet high and two hundred
paces in circumference. Its top has been somewhat flattened by
excavations; its sides are overgrown with low brushwood. A wild
pear-tree grows at its foot. In April-June 1890 the mound was excavated
under the superintendence of Mr. Staes for the Greek Government.
Trenches were cut into it, and at the depth of about nine feet below the
present surface of the plain there was found an artificial floor,
constructed of sand and other materials, about eighty-five feet long and
twenty feet broad. On this floor there rested a layer of ashes,
charcoal, and human bones, charred by fire and mouldering away with
damp. Mixed with this layer of ashes and bones were about thirty
earthenware vases, most of them broken in pieces. These vases are
painted in the common black-figured style; the subjects represented are
generally chariots, but in some cases horsemen and foot-soldiers.
Besides these vases there was found a long-necked amphora adorned with
friezes of beasts and monsters in the oriental style, and a winged
figure of the oriental Artemis; and another two-handled vase of
reddish-brown clay, with decorations somewhat in the Mycenaean style,
was found to contain charred bones, perhaps those of a general. Further
excavations made in the following year laid bare a sacrificial pit or
trench extending diagonally under the mound from north to south. This
trench is cased with burnt bricks, and contained ashes, charcoal, and
the bones of animals and birds, mixed with fragments of black-figured
vases. It had originally been roofed with bricks, which had fallen in.
The bones found in this trench are clearly those of the victims
sacrificed to the heroic dead before the mound was heaped over their
remains; and the broken vases discovered along with them may have been
those which were used at the funeral banquet. The Greek archaeologists
further detected some vestiges which led them to believe that, even
after the mound had been raised, sacrifices continued to be annually
offered at it. This confirms Pausanias’s statement that the men who fell
in the battle were worshipped as heroes by the people of Marathon. From
an inscription we learn that the Athenian lads went to the tomb, laid
wreaths on it, and sacrificed to the dead.

The excavations have finally disproved a theory, broached by E. Curtius
in 1853 and maintained by Professor Milchhöfer as late as 1889, that,
the mound was prehistoric and had nothing to do with the battle of
Marathon. For the black-figured vases found with the bones and ashes of
the dead belong to the period of the Persian wars; the human remains can
therefore be no other than those of the hundred and ninety-two Athenians
who fell at Marathon. Curtius’s erroneous theory was apparently
countenanced by some imperfect excavations made by Dr. Schliemann in
1884. Many bronze arrow-heads, about an inch long and pierced with a
round hole at the top for the reception of the shaft, have been picked
up at the mound; also a great number of black flints, rudely chipped
into shape. It has been conjectured that these flints are parts of the
stone-headed arrows discharged by the Ethiopian archers in the Persian
army. But against this opinion it has been urged that similar flints
have been found at other ancient sites in Attica and elsewhere,
especially in the oldest graves on many Greek islands, and have not been
found at Thermopylae and Plataea, where, if anywhere, the stone-headed
arrows may be supposed to have flown in showers.

There are two main routes from the plain of Marathon to Athens; one of
them goes by the south, the other by the north side of Mount Pentelicus.
The first route leaves the plain at its southern extremity, and passing
between the foot of Mount Agrieliki and the marsh of Vrexisa runs
parallel with the coast for some distance. It then turns westward, and
crossing the deep valley which divides Pentelicus on the north from
Hymettus on the south enters the plain of Athens. This is by far the
easiest road; it is the only one which vehicles can traverse. The
distance by this road from the great mound at Marathon to Athens is
about twenty-five or twenty-six miles. The other route, by the north
side of Mount Pentelicus, goes from Oenoe (the modern Ninoi) by a very
steep and toilsome path to Stamata, a village in a high situation,
surrounded by a few barren fields, among woods of pine. In many places
the path is so hemmed in between cliffs and precipices that there is
room only for a single horse. Trees are rare, but the stony slopes of
the mountain are overgrown with shrubs of many sorts, among which the
_Erica arborea_ is conspicuous. In spring its masses of white blossoms
perfume the whole air with their fragrance. About half an hour short of
Stamata, at a point where there is a spring shaded by fine plane-trees,
the path is joined on the left by another path, also steep and toilsome,
which comes up from Vrana. This latter path commands a magnificent view
backward down the deep ravine through which the traveller has ascended.
On either side of the ravine rise the mountains, their precipitous sides
covered with straggling pine-forest or evergreen copse, and terminating
in bold peaks; below is spread out the green expanse of the Marathonian
plain, backed by the sea and Cape Cynosura curving into the blue water
with the sweep of a scimitar. Farther off, bounding the prospect,
stretches the long line of the mountains of Euboea.

From Stamata the path skirts the north-western shoulder of Mount
Pentelicus and enters Kephisia, from which there is a good highroad
through the plain to Athens. The distance by this route from the mound
at Marathon to Athens is roughly about twenty-two miles.

A third route, intermediate between the two preceding routes and shorter
than either of them, goes from Vrana up the wild romantic ravine of
Rapentosa and crosses the southern shoulder of Mount Pentelicus, the
highest summit of which is left about a mile to the westward. It is a
rugged and precipitous path, hardly practicable even for heavy infantry.
Within a distance of little more than nine miles the route ascends and
descends a ridge which rises more than two thousand five hundred feet
above the plain below.

Clearly the first of these routes is the only road by which a large army
with cavalry and baggage-train could march. Therefore when the Persians
landed at Marathon, under the guidance of the banished Athenian tyrant
Hippias, who was of course familiar with the country, they must have
intended to advance on Athens by the southern road, and consequently the
Athenians must have marched to meet them by the same road; for had they
taken the northern route the enemy might have given them the slip, and
his cavalry might have been entering the streets of Athens at the time
when the Athenians were emerging from the defiles of Pentelicus on the
plain of Marathon. Thus the traveller who drives to Marathon by the
carriage road may feel sure that he is following very closely the route
by which the Athenian army advanced to the battle.

V. PRASIAE.—The township of Prasiae was situated on the spacious and
beautiful bay now called Porto Raphti, on the east coast of Attica,
about sixteen miles north-east of Sunium. From the fertile valley of
Cephale (now Keratea) a path leads north-eastward through a very deep
and narrow glen to the shore of the bay. In the depths of this romantic
glen there winds the bed of a stream which is sometimes nearly or wholly
dry. The sides of the glen, seamed with the beds of torrents and rifted
rocks, are so thickly wooded and overhung with pine-trees and bushes
that in many places it is hard to force a passage along it. Flocks of
sheep and goats browsing, and in spring the warbling of numerous
nightingales in the thickets, alone relieve the solitude. At the end of
the glen, which is about three miles long, the view of the wide bay,
enclosed by barren mountains, suddenly bursts on us. On the north Mount
Peratia, with its jagged ridge and bold beautiful outline, descends in
precipices almost sheer into the water, its sides bare except for here
and there a thin patch of pinewood. On the south rises, dark and
massive, the loftier Mavronori (‘the black mountain’). From its base the
rocky headland of Koroni runs far out into the sea, sheltering the bay
on the east and narrowing its entrance to about a mile and a quarter.
Right in the middle of the entrance, breaking the force of the waves
when the wind blows from the east, a rocky islet in the shape of a
sugar-loaf or pyramid rises abruptly from the sea to the height of about
three hundred feet. Its sides, clothed with lentisk bushes and dwarf
pines, are so steep that it can be scaled only on one side, the north.
On its summit, looking seaward, sits a colossal but headless and armless
statue of white marble on a high pedestal, the blocks of which were
falling to ruin at the time of Dodwell’s visit but are now held together
by iron clamps. This statue, which, to judge from its style, dates from
the time of the Roman empire, is popularly supposed to resemble a tailor
(_raphti_) seated at his work; hence it has given its present name of
Porto Raphti to the bay. It has been plausibly conjectured that this is
the monument described by Pausanias as the tomb of Erysichthon who died
at sea on his way home from Delos. The striking monument, looking out
from its high lonely isle across the blue sea, may have been erected on
the traditionary site of the hero’s grave by some wealthy patron of art
in Roman days, perhaps by Herodes Atticus himself.

The inner part of the bay is divided into two by a rocky spit jutting
out from the shore, to which it is attached by a low isthmus. The
promontory takes its name from a chapel of St. Nicholas which stands on
the isthmus; a small island off the promontory still bears the name of
Prasonisi or ‘Isle of Prasiae.’ The anchorage for fishing boats is on
the north side of the isthmus, and here are the few wretched hovels
which make up the hamlet of Porto Raphti. The hamlet is not permanently
inhabited. For the bay, though one of the finest harbours in Greece, is
desolate and hardly frequented except in summer. By day peasants may be
met at work in the fields or carting fish to the neighbouring villages.
But all through the colder seasons of the year and even on summer
evenings a profound stillness, broken only by the lapping of the waves
on the beach, reigns on the shores of this beautiful bay, one of the
fairest scenes in Attica.

On the northern shore of the bay there are a few scanty remains of
antiquity which seem to have belonged to the township of Stiria. Prasiae
lay on the southern shore, which still bears the ancient name. Here,
between the sandy and in part marshy beach and the hills, there
stretches a strip of level cornland interspersed with olives and stately
cork-oaks. Some vestiges of ancient wall may be traced at a garden not
far from the shore, where there is also an ancient well. But the sand is
gaining so fast here that a few years ago the ruins of a chapel with
some Christian graves were discovered buried in the downs. The citadel
of Prasiae occupied the rocky headland of Koroni (probably the ancient
Coronea), which, as we have seen, shelters the bay on the east. This
bold headland, joined to the mainland by a low sandy isthmus, has
obviously been at one time an island; indeed the whole of the southern
part of the bay is being gradually sanded up. The fortification walls,
six feet thick and built without mortar, may be followed all round the
summit of the headland, which is besides so well protected by its steep
cliffs that an attack from the side of the sea must have been nearly
impracticable. Another wall, eight to ten feet thick, which seems to
have been strengthened with towers or bastions, runs down in a
south-westerly direction from the ring-wall of the citadel. It probably
served as an outwork and may have reached as far as the shore, though
now it disappears some distance above the water. Within the ring-wall of
the citadel are the remains of a number of cross-walls extending at
right angles to it; but they are now so overgrown by dense underwood
that it is almost impossible to trace them. From the summit of the
headland there is a fine prospect, on the one side over the noble bay
with its rocky islets, on the other side across the sea to Euboea,
Andros, and Ceos. The white houses which are seen gleaming in Ceos are
those of the modern town which occupies the site of the ancient Julis.

VI. MOUNT HYMETTUS.—The outline of Hymettus, viewed from Athens, is even
and regular; but its sides are furrowed by winter torrents and its base
is broken into many small isolated hills of a conical form. Except
towards its base the range is almost destitute of soil. Wild olives,
myrtles, laurels, and oleanders are found only in some of the gullies at
the foot of the mountain. Its steep rocky slopes are composed of grey
marble seamed and cracked in all directions. Some stunted shrubs,
however, including the lentisk, terebinth, and juniper, and
sweet-smelling herbs, such as thyme, lavender, savory, and sage, grow in
the clefts of the rocks, and, with flowers such as hyacinths and purple
crocuses, furnish the bees with the food from which they still extract
the famous Hymettian honey. Hymettus seems to have been as bare and
treeless in classical antiquity as it is now; for Plato remarks that
some of the Attic mountains, which now only provided food for bees, had
at no very remote epoch furnished the timber with which some very large
buildings were still roofed at the time when he wrote. The honey of
Hymettus was renowned. It was said that when Plato was a babe the bees
on Hymettus filled his mouth with honey. The story went that bees were
first produced on the mountain. Poets spoke of the flowery and fragrant
Hymettus. The thyme and the creeping thyme (_serpyllum_) of Hymettus are
specially mentioned; the creeping thyme was transplanted to Athens and
grown there. When ancient writers speak of Attic honey in general, they
may have had Hymettian honey in view. Vitruvius compares Attic honey to
resin in colour, which aptly describes the colour of the modern
Hymettian honey. When Synesius visited Athens in the fifth century A.D.
he found that the glory of its philosophers had departed, but that the
glory of its bee-masters still remained. Opinions differ as to the
quality of the modern Hymettian honey. Leake pronounced it superior to
that of the rest of Attica and of the surrounding provinces of Greece.
Others think it inferior to the honey of other parts of Greece, such as
the Cyclades, Corinth, and Thebes, as well as to the heather honey of
Scotland and Ireland. Most of the honey sold as Hymettian comes from
Tourko Vouni, north of Athens, and from other parts of Attica.

Hymettus was also famous in antiquity for its marble, which seems to
have been especially prized by the Romans. This marble, which is still
quarried in large quantities on Hymettus, is a bluish-grey streaky
marble, of finer and closer grain than the white Pentelic marble, but
far inferior to it in beauty. The Greeks seem not to have used it
commonly till the third century B.C. From that time onward we find it
employed for tombstones, inscriptions, and the casing of buildings. The
principal quarries are on the western side of the mountain, on the
slopes which enclose the valley of St. George on the south and
south-east and which on the other side descend nearly sheer into ‘the
Devil’s Glen’ or ‘the Evil Glen,’ the deepest and wildest gorge in
Hymettus. Vestiges of the ancient road or slide by which the blocks were
brought down from the quarries may be seen about a hundred yards above
the chapel of St. George; the road seems to have been led in serpentine
curves down the slope, not in a straight line like the road from the
quarries on Pentelicus. A great part of the upper ridge of Hymettus is
composed of a white marble resembling the white marble of Pentelicus,
but inferior to it in crystalline structure and of a duller white. The
ancients apparently made little use of this white Hymettian marble.

Clouds on Hymettus were believed to prognosticate rain; if during a
storm a long bank of clouds was seen lowering on the mountain, it meant
that the storm would increase in fury. Hymettus is still as of old
remarkable for the wonderful purple glow which comes over it as seen
from Athens by evening light. When the sun is setting, a rosy flush
spreads over the whole mountain, which, as the daylight fades and the
shadows creep up the slope, passes by insensible transitions through all
intermediate shades of colour into the deepest violet. This purple tinge
is peculiar to Hymettus; none of the other mountains which encircle the
plain of Athens assumes it at any hour of the day. It was when the
sunset glow was on Hymettus that Socrates drained the poisoned cup.

VII. MOUNT PENTELICUS.—Pentelicus is the pyramid-like mountain, between
three and four thousand feet high, which closes the Athenian plain on
the north-east, at a distance of about ten miles from Athens. Its upper
slopes, as seen from the Acropolis at Athens, have been aptly compared
to the pediment or gable of a Greek temple. Through the clear air of
Attica the unaided eye, looking from the Acropolis, can distinguish the
white line of the ancient quarries descending, somewhat to the right of
the highest peak, straight down into the valley where the monastery of
Mendeli lies hidden by the intervening heights; to the left of the
summit, half-way up the slope, may be discerned the large white patches
which mark the site of the modern quarries.

But though the view of the pyramidal or gable-like summit is the one
which chiefly strikes the observer at Athens, Pentelicus is really a
range of mountains with a number of lesser summits, extending from
north-west to south-east for a distance of about four and a half miles.
The ancient quarries lie on the south-western side of the highest peak.
Five-and-twenty of them may be counted, one above the other; the highest
is situated not far beneath the highest ridge, at a height of over three
thousand three hundred feet above the sea. They are reached from the
monastery of Mendeli, the wealthiest monastic establishment in Attica,
which nestles in a well-watered and wooded glade at the southern foot of
the mountain, about twelve hundred feet above sea level. The ground in
front of the monastery is shaded by gigantic white poplars, under which
flows a spring of excellent water. The name Mendeli is the modern
equivalent of Pentele, the name of the ancient township, the site of
which is perhaps marked by some ancient blocks and traces of walls and
terraces at the chapel of the Trinity, a little to the north-east of the

The quarries are situated in the gullies above the monastery. An ancient
road, very steep and rugged, leads to them up the eastern side of the
principal gully. The road is roughly paved; the blocks of marble were
probably brought down it on wooden slides. Square holes may be seen at
intervals cut in the rock at the side of the road; the beams which
supported the wooden slides may have been fastened in these holes. The
road appears to end at the principal quarry, a spot now called Spilia,
two thousand three hundred feet above the sea. Here the rock has been
quarried away so as to leave a smooth perpendicular wall of marble, the
top of which is fringed with firs. The marks, delicate and regular, of
the ancient chisels may be seen in horizontal rows on the face of the
rock. At the foot of this wall of marble, overgrown with shrubs and
mantled with creepers, is the low entrance to a stalactite grotto, well
known to visitors, as the names cut and painted on the walls suffice to
prove. The entrance is partly built up with walls of the Byzantine age;
to the right, roofed by the rock, is a chapel of St. Nicholas. The
grotto is spacious, cool, and dark; its floor descends somewhat from the
mouth inwards. About sixty paces from the entrance there is a small
side-grotto with a rocky basin full of cold spring-water.

An examination of the marks on the rock shows that the ancients
regularly quarried the marble in rectangular blocks, first running a
groove round each block with the chisel and then forcing it out with
wedges. The effect of this has been to leave the quarries in the shape
of huge rectangular cuttings in the side of the mountain.

The stone extracted from these quarries is a white marble of a close
fine grain. It is readily distinguished from Parian marble—the other
white marble commonly used by Greek sculptors and architects—by its
finer grain and opaque milky whiteness; whereas the Parian marble is
composed of large transparent crystals, and is of a glistering snowy
whiteness. Parian marble resembles crystallised sugar; Pentelic marble
resembles solidified milk, though its surface is of course more
granular. Pentelic marble, alone among all Greek marbles, contains a
slight tincture of iron; hence its surface, when long exposed to the
weather, acquires that rich golden-brown patina which is so much admired
on the columns of the Parthenon and other buildings constructed of
Pentelic marble. The Parian marble, on the other hand, though it
weathers more easily than the Pentelic on account of its coarser grain,
always remains dazzlingly white. Pentelic marble is always clearly
stratified, and in places it is streaked with veins of silvery white,
green, and reddish-violet mica. Blocks so streaked were either thrown
aside by the ancients or used by them for buildings, not sculpture. But
even in architecture these veins of mica entailed this disadvantage that
the surfaces containing them, when long exposed to the weather, split
and pealed off in flakes, as we may see on the drums of the columns of
the Olympieum or Parthenon.

Besides the fine white marble already described, which is commonly known
simply as Pentelic marble, there occurs on Mount Pentelicus a grey,
bluish-grey, and grey-streaked marble identical in kind with the marble
known as Hymettian, because the ancients quarried it on Mount Hymettus.
This grey or bluish-grey marble is of more recent geological formation
than the white. It does not appear to have been quarried by the ancients
on Pentelicus; at least no ancient quarries of it have been discovered
on the mountain. But it is now obtained in great masses in the large
modern quarries to the east of Kephisia, and furnishes Athens with
building material for the better class of houses and public edifices;
even paving-stones are made of it.

An hour’s climb from the great quarry at Spilia takes us to the summit
of Pentelicus. The path ascends slopes which not many years ago were
thickly wooded, but are now bare and stony. The view from the top is the
clearest and most comprehensive that can be obtained of the Attic
peninsula. Conspicuous below us on the north is the sickle-shaped bay of
Marathon. The snowy peak of Parnassus closes the prospect on the west;
the mountains of Euboea bound it on the north; and to the south, in
clear weather, the island of Melos is faintly visible at a distance of
ninety to a hundred miles. On the ridge, a little below and to the
south-east of the summit of Pentelicus, there is a small platform, which
on three sides shows traces of having been hewn out of the rock. It is
exactly in the line of the ancient paved road, which, however, comes to
an end considerably lower down, at the great quarry. On this platform
probably stood the image of Athena mentioned by Pausanias.

VIII. PHYLE.—An expedition to the ruins of Phyle is a favourite
excursion of visitors to Athens. The distance by road is about fourteen
miles. Diodorus indeed estimates the distance at a hundred Greek
furlongs or eleven miles. But he is wrong. Demosthenes, more correctly,
says that it was over a hundred and twenty Greek furlongs. A carriage
road runs as far as Chasia, a large village on the southern slopes of
Mount Parnes, about ten miles from Athens. Beyond this point the way is
nothing but a steep and stony bridle-path. After ascending it for half
an hour we come to the meeting of two deep and savage glens. In the glen
to the right or east the little monastery of Our Lady of the Defile
stands romantically at the foot of sheer precipices. The path to Phyle
(which is at the same time the direct road to Thebes) winds rapidly up
the narrow western glen through a thin forest of firs. In places the
path is hewn in the rock, and the defile is so narrow that a handful of
men might make it good against an army. Phyle is reached in about an
hour and three-quarters from Chasia. The fortress with its massive walls
and towers crowns a high precipitous crag on the southern side of the
pass, which it completely dominates. A ridge connects the crag with the
higher mountains on the east; and along this ridge is the only approach
to the fortress. On the west and south the sides of the crag fall away
abruptly into a deep ravine, which is broken by tremendous precipices,
crested with firs and tufted with shrubs and underwood. The ruins of the
fortress encircle a little plateau, scarcely three hundred feet long
from east to west, on the summit of the crag. The walls and towers,
built of fine quadrangular blocks without mortar, are best preserved on
the north-east side, where they are still standing to a height of
seventeen courses. The tower at the north-east angle is round; the other
two remaining towers are square. The principal gate was on the east
side, approached from the ridge. There was further a postern, also
approached from the ridge, near the south-east corner. From the
fortress, which stands more than two thousand feet above the sea, the
view is magnificent, taking in the whole of the Athenian plain with
Athens itself and Hymettus, and the sea with Salamis, Aegina, and the
coast of Peloponnese.

The high peak, now named Mount Pagania, which towers immediately to the
north-east of Phyle in the form of a crescent-shaped wall of naked rock
is probably the ancient Harma, which the augurs at Athens watched till
they saw lightning flash about its summit, whereupon they sent the
sacrifice to Delphi. Strabo expressly says that Harma was near Phyle. On
its eastern side the peak descends in precipices into the deep glen,
already mentioned, at the entrance of which is the monastery of Our Lady
of the Defile.

Farther up this glen than the monastery, at a height of some hundreds of
feet above the torrent (the Potami) which traverses it, there is a
cavern which is sometimes visited. The direct distance of this cavern
from the monastery is only about a mile and a half. But in the glen the
stream, hemmed in by precipices advancing from the mountains on both
sides, has scooped out for itself between them a bed so profound and
rugged that to scramble along it is impossible, even when the water is
at its lowest. Hence in order to reach the cavern it is needful to make
a long detour round the western flanks of Mount Pagania and to come down
into the glen at a point a good deal higher up. Having done so we follow
the glen downward past the place where another glen opens into it,
bringing its tributary stream to swell the Potami. The cave is situated
high up on the eastern side of the main glen, a little below the meeting
of the waters. To clamber up the steep slope to it is far from easy. The
mouth of the cave is so narrow that only one person can enter it at a
time; it opens at the foot of a precipice darkened by overhanging trees
and flanked by two crags which project like wings on either side. In the
face of the rock to the right of the entrance into the cavern are some
votive niches with worn inscriptions under them. Within the cave, which
may be about a hundred paces deep, water dripping from the roof has
formed large stalactites and has hollowed out basins in the floor.
Broken lamps and potsherds have been found in it in considerable
quantities, which, with the votive niches outside, prove that this
secluded spot was an ancient sanctuary. It was most probably the
Nymphaeum or sanctuary of the Nymphs, which Menander mentioned as being
near Phyle. Here, too, the people of Phyle probably offered the
sacrifices to Pan to which Aelian refers. For one of the inscriptions on
the rock outside the cave sets forth that a certain Tychander caused
workmen to put up the image of Pan beside the Celadon, and that
sacrifices were offered by one Trophimianus. From this inscription we
learn that the Potami, which flows in the depth of the glen below the
cave, went in antiquity by the name of the Celadon or ‘Roaring Stream.’

IX. THE PORT OF ATHENS.—Piraeus, the port of Athens, is a rocky
peninsula which runs out into the sea in a south-westerly direction for
a distance of more than two miles. It is composed of two masses, each
over a mile wide, which are united to each other by a somewhat low and
narrow ridge or isthmus. The south-western mass, anciently known as the
Acte, rises gradually on all sides to a height of nearly two hundred
feet. The north-eastern mass attains a height of nearly three hundred
feet in the steep rocky hill of Munychia. The ancients believed that the
peninsula of Piraeus had formerly been an island, and that it had
received its name because it was the land across (_peran_) the water.
Modern observation confirms the belief that Piraeus was once an island.
The peninsula is joined to the mainland by a stretch of low swampy
ground, nowhere more than eight feet above the level of the sea. This
stretch of low land, which the ancients called Halipedon, appears to be
formed of alluvial soil brought down in the course of ages by the
Cephisus, which falls into the sea a little to the east, and which has
by its deposits gradually converted the rocky island into a peninsula.

Piraeus includes three distinct harbours, each opening to the sea by a
separate mouth. These are the great harbour, technically known as
Cantharus, on the north-west side of the peninsula, and the two smaller
and nearly circular harbours of Zea and Munychia on the south-eastern
side. The whole of the peninsula, with its three harbours, was strongly
fortified in antiquity. The line of the fortification wall may still be
traced almost all round it, and in most places the foundations are so
well preserved that it is possible to reconstruct the plan of the
fortress as a whole. The wall runs along the shore at such a distance as
to be out of reach of the waves, and yet near enough the sea to prevent
an enemy from bringing siege engines into play on the beach. It is from
ten to twelve feet thick, and is very carefully built of squared blocks
of the native limestone without mortar. The quarries in which the stones
were hewn may be observed at many points both behind and in front of the
wall. In places where the stones have been taken away from the wall to
furnish building material for the modern town, we can see the grooves or
channels cut in the rock in which the stones were originally bedded.
These grooves are each about two and a half feet wide and run parallel
to each other, showing that only the outer and inner faces of the wall
were of solid masonry, and that the core must have been, as in many
ancient Greek walls, filled up with rubble and earth. In the best
preserved portions the wall is still standing to a height of five
courses or more. It is flanked by towers which project from the curtain
at intervals of sixty or seventy yards.

In addition to this sea-wall which skirted the coast, the mouths of the
three harbours were contracted by moles of solid masonry that ran out to
meet each other on either side, leaving only a narrow entrance between
their extremities. The long moles which thus barred the mouth of the
great harbour still exist, though the southern of the two has been
washed away by the waves to a depth of some thirteen feet under the
surface of the water. They now support the red and green lights which at
night mark the entrance to the harbour. The haven of Zea is naturally
stronger than the great harbour, and therefore needed less elaborate
fortifications. It consists of a circular basin lying about two hundred
yards inland from the sea, and is approached by a channel a hundred
yards wide. Walls ran along this channel on either side, so that an
enemy’s ships endeavouring to enter the harbour would have had to run
the gauntlet of a cross fire. At its inner end the channel was flanked
on either side by a tower of solid masonry built out into the water, but
connected with the fortification walls. The third harbour, Munychia, the
smallest of the three, is farthest removed from the business and bustle
of the modern port town, and hence has, in some respects, best preserved
the relics of antiquity. Originally it was a mere open bay, and
therefore needed vast constructions of masonry to convert it into a war
harbour. The moles built for this purpose are described by Lieutenant
von Alten, who examined them with attention, as the most magnificent
specimens of ancient Greek fortification which have survived. In some
places on the outer edges of the moles the colossal blocks of which they
are composed have been piled up in wild confusion by the heavy surf, and
project like islets above the surface of the water. Each mole ended in a
tower; and the narrow entrance to the harbour was between the towers.
The tiny basin is commanded by the hill of Munychia which rises steeply
from the shore. In time of danger each of the harbour mouths could be
closed with a chain stretched between the two towers that flanked the
entrance. The chain seems to have been coated with tar to prevent it
from rusting in the water.

On the landward side the peninsula was defended by a wall, which started
from the harbour of Munychia, ascended the hill, and after following the
edge of the plateau for some distance gradually descended westward to
the shallow northern bight of the great harbour, across which it appears
to have been carried on a mole or dam. This landward wall, to judge from
its existing remains, seems to have been a masterpiece of military
engineering, every opportunity offered by the nature of the ground for
strengthening the fortifications having been unerringly seized upon and
turned to account. The naturally weakest spot in the whole circuit was
where the wall crossed the flat between the hill of Munychia and the
great harbour. Here accordingly we find the wall especially strong; it
is twenty-six feet thick, and is constructed of solid masonry in large
squared blocks without any core of rubble. Naturally the gates were
placed in this landward wall and opened northward. Remains of four of
them can be distinguished. The principal gate, flanked by two square
towers on oval bases, stood in the flat ground between the north-east
end of the great harbour and the heights of Munychia. Through it
doubtless ran the highway to Athens; and here at a little side portal
for foot-passengers probably stood the image of Hermes, which the nine
archons dedicated when they set about fortifying Piraeus. A little to
the east of this principal gate and on slightly higher ground is another
gate, through which the road to Athens went between the two Long Walls.
The gate is double, that is, it is composed of a court nearly square
with a gate at each end. The reason of this construction, which is
common in Greek fortifications, was that, if an enemy should force the
outer gate, he would still have a second gate in front of him, and would
in the meantime find himself pent in a narrow court, as in a trap, from
the walls of which he would be assailed on all sides by the missiles of
the defenders.

The docks at Piraeus were one of the glories of Athens. Demosthenes
mentions them along with the Parthenon and the Propylaea. When the
Athenian navy numbered about four hundred warships, we learn from
inscriptions that the number of docks was three hundred and seventy-two.
But this excess of ships over docks could scarcely have caused
inconvenience, as some vessels must always have been in commission. Very
considerable remains of the ancient docks are still to be seen in the
harbours of Zea and Munychia. The flat beach all round the basin of Zea
was enclosed by a wall of ashlar masonry, which ran round the harbour at
a distance of fifty or sixty feet from the water’s edge. This formed the
back wall of all the docks, which extended at right angles to it and
parallel to each other down into the water. The average breadth of each
dock or berth was about twenty feet. The docks were separated from each
other by rows of columns, the foundations of which, bedded on the
shelving rocky beach, descend in steps to the water, and are continued
under it for some distance. These columns supported the roofs, which
were probably wooden, for no remains of a stone roof have been found.
Between these partition rows of columns the rock has been hollowed out
and smoothed, so that it forms an inclined plane, descending gradually,
like the rows of columns, to the sea, and continued under water for some
way. Each of these inclined planes formed the floor of a dock. In the
middle of each floor is built a stone pier about ten feet wide and a
yard high; in some places the native rock, hewn out at the sides, has
been left standing in the centre so as to form a pier of similar
dimensions. On these piers, whether built or hewn out of the rock, the
ancient ships were hauled up and down. Remains of them may still be seen
all round the harbour of Zea running out under the clear water.

The only relics of ancient ships which have been found at Zea are some
plates of Parian marble representing great eyes. Clearly these were the
ship’s eyes which used to be fastened to the bows of ancient Greek
vessels. Pollux tells us that the ship’s name was painted beside its
eye. Philostratus describes the picture of an Etruscan pirate ship
painted blue, with fierce eyes at the prow to frighten the enemy. In a
list of missing or unserviceable ships’ furniture, preserved in an
inscription, mention is twice made of a broken ship’s eye. Some of the
eyes found at Zea show traces of red paint at the back; the paint
probably adhered to them from the ships’ sides; for ships’ bows were
often painted red. Modern Italian sailors sometimes still paint an eye
on the bow of their vessel. In the East, too, every craft owned by a
Chinaman, from a sampan up to an English-built screw-steamer, has a pair
of eyes painted on the bows, that it may see its way and spy out sunken
rocks and other dangers of the deep. Indeed, in all parts of eastern
Asia where many Chinese travel, the local steamers, whether owned by
Chinese or not, all have eyes; otherwise no Chinaman would travel in
them, or send his goods by them.

Another famous structure in Piraeus was the arsenal, which formed a
necessary adjunct to the docks of the navy. We know from ancient authors
that it was built from designs furnished by the architect Zeno, who
explained them to the people in a speech which won him a high reputation
for eloquence. The building was admired for its elegance, and the
Athenians were proud of it. However, it was finally burnt by the Romans
under Sulla, and no certain vestiges of it have been as yet discovered.
But by an extraordinary piece of good fortune the directions given to
the contractor for its construction have been preserved to us. They were
discovered in 1882 engraved on a slab of Hymettian marble at the foot of
the hill of Munychia, not far from the harbour of Zea. The directions
are so full, clear, and precise that we now know Philo’s arsenal from
roof to foundation better than any other building of ancient Greece,
though not a stone of it has been found. A brief description of the
edifice, derived from the inscription, may not be uninteresting.

The arsenal was to be built at Zea, the principal war-harbour, and was
to begin at the gateway which led from the market-place and to extend to
the back of the docks. It was to be constructed of the hard reddish-grey
Piraeic limestone, an excellent building material often mentioned in
inscriptions and still much in use. In shape it was to be a sort of
arcade, lit principally by rows of windows in the long sides, and
divided into three aisles by two rows of columns running down its whole
length. The central aisle, paved with flags, and entered by two
bronze-plated doors at each end, was to be kept clear as a passage for
the public; while the two side aisles were to serve for storing the
ships’ tackle. For this purpose each of the side aisles was divided into
two stories by a wooden flooring. On the ground floor the sails and
other canvas gear were stowed away in presses; and in the upper
galleries the ropes were coiled on open wooden shelves. Between the
columns which flanked the central aisle there ran a stone balustrade
with latticed gates opening into the side aisles between each pair of
columns. The roof of the building was to be constructed of strong wooden
rafters overlaid with boards, which were to be fastened on with iron
nails; and the whole was to be covered with close-fitting Corinthian
tiles. To secure that the building should be well aired, which was
especially necessary in a magazine of this sort, lest the tackle should
suffer from damp, slit-like openings were to be left in the walls
between the joints of the stones, the number and situation of these
air-holes being left to the discretion of the architect. Such was, in
outline, the great arsenal of the Piraeus. Thither on hot summer days,
we may suppose, crowds were glad to escape from the dust and glare of
the streets and to promenade in the cool, lofty, and dimly-lighted
arcade, often stopping to gaze with idle curiosity or patriotic pride at
the long array of well-ordered tackle which spoke of the naval supremacy
of Athens.

Before we quit the war-harbours we should note the Choma, as it was
called, a quay near the mouth of the harbour on which, when an armament
was fitting out for sea, the Council of the Five Hundred held their
sittings daily till the squadron sailed. When all was ready, every
captain was bound by law to lay his vessel alongside the quay to be
inspected by the Council. The inspection over, the fleet weighed anchor
and proceeded on its voyage. It must have been a heart-stirring sight to
witness the departure of a fleet for the seat of war, as gallant ship
after ship passed in long procession through the mouth of the harbour
and stood out to sea, followed by the gazing eyes and by the hopes and
fears and prayers of thousands assembled on the shore. When the last
ship had glided from the smooth water of the harbour, and begun to
breast the waves and shake out its sails to the freshening breeze,
multitudes would rush from the shore to the heights, there to watch the
galleys slowly lessening in the distance, till they could discern no
longer the flash and sparkle of the oars as they rose and fell at the
ships’ sides, and till even the white sails melted away like snow in the
blaze of the sun on the far southern horizon.

A long line of colonnades extending along the eastern shore of the great
harbour appears to have formed the public mart or emporium. One of the
most important buildings in this commercial part of the harbour was a
bazaar or exchange, where foreign merchants exhibited samples of their
wares, and where bankers sat at the receipt of custom. It must have been
close to the quays and the shipping, as we learn from the account of a
successful raid which Alexander of Pherae once made on the bankers’
counters. One day a squadron was seen standing into the harbour. The
loungers on the quays watched it with indolent curiosity till the ships
drew up alongside the wharfs, when a crowd of armed men leaped from the
ships’ sides, drew their swords, and with a flourish of trumpets made a
rush for the bazaar, where they swept the counters clean and then
returned with the booty to their vessels, without stopping to notice the
panic-stricken crowds who were fleeing in all directions. In another
‘cutting-out’ expedition which the Lacedaemonians made with twelve ships
into the harbour of Piraeus, a handful of daring men jumped ashore, laid
hold of some merchants and skippers in the bazaar, and hurried them on
board. It was in the bazaar that the Boastful Man in Theophrastus used
to stand talking with foreigners about the great sums he had at sea,
while he sent his page to the bank where he kept the sum of ten-pence.

Chief among the holy places of Piraeus was a sanctuary of Saviour Zeus.
Fine paintings by distinguished artists adorned the cloisters attached
to it, and statues stood in the open air. The festival of the god
included a regatta and a procession through the streets. The expenses of
the sanctuary were partly defrayed by a small tax levied on every vessel
which put into the port. Moreover, persons who had escaped from
danger—for example, seafaring men who had come safe to land—commonly
brought thank-offerings to the shrine. From a fragment of an ancient
comedy we learn that, among the long-shore sharks who lay in wait on the
quays for sailors fresh from a voyage, there were cooks with an eye to
business. For in the passage in question one of the fraternity tells us
how, whenever he spied a jolly tar just stepping ashore, ready for a
spree, with a bulging purse in his fist and an expansive smile on his
sunburnt face, he used to rush up to him, shake him warmly by the hand,
drop a delicate allusion to Saviour Zeus, and proffer his services at
the sacrifice. The bait took, and soon he was to be seen heading for the
sanctuary with the sailor man in tow.

Better known to English readers than the sanctuary of Saviour Zeus was
the altar of the Unknown God which St. Paul, and after him Pausanias,
saw at Phalerum, the old port of Athens. In a dialogue attributed to
Lucian, a certain Critias raps out a number of oaths by the old heathen
gods and goddesses, and for each of them he is gravely taken to task by
his comrade Triephon, who has just been initiated into the sublime
mysteries of the Christian theology by a person of a Hebrew cast of
countenance, whom he describes as a bald-pated long-nosed Galilean. At
last Critias swears by the Unknown God at Athens, and this oath is
allowed to pass unchallenged by Triephon, who winds up the dialogue with
this edifying advice: “Let us, having found out and worshipped the
Unknown God at Athens, raise our hands to heaven and give him thanks
that we have been found worthy to be subject unto so great a power; but
let us leave other folk to babble, satisfied ourselves with applying to
them the proverb 'Hippoclides doesn’t care.'”

A little way from the shore of the great harbour was the market-place
named after the Milesian architect Hippodamus, who laid out Piraeus on a
regular plan. It must have been a spacious open square, for we hear of
troops mustering in it. The distinguished general Timotheus had a house
on the market-place, and it was here that he lodged his two royal
visitors, Jason of Pherae and Alcetas king of Epirus, when they came to
give evidence at his trial. The general had impaired his private fortune
by his exertions in the public service, and when his illustrious
visitors arrived late one evening he had to send out his Caleb
Balderstone in haste to borrow some bedding and silver plate. From the
market-place a street led upwards to the sanctuary of Artemis on the
hill of Munychia. It must have been a wide street; for in the
street-fighting at the revolution which overturned the tyranny of the
Thirty and restored the democracy, the troops of the tyrants formed in
order of battle in the market-place and then marched up the street,
while the democratic party, led by Thrasybulus, charged down the street
in battle array and met them. At one time apparently the market-place
fell into disrepair, and enjoyed the dubious privilege of what is
popularly known in Scotland as a ‘free coup,’ the inhabitants of the
neighbouring streets using it unceremoniously as a convenient dust-hole
wherein to throw away their old rags and bones and other domestic
refuse. At last the authorities felt constrained to interfere and put a
stop to the nuisance. So they ordered that the market-place be levelled
and put in good repair, and that for the future nobody should be allowed
to shoot rubbish or dump down dung in it.

The broad straight streets of the new town of Piraeus must have formed a
striking contrast to the narrow and crooked streets, lined with mean
houses, which Athens itself seems always to have retained. Aristotle
perhaps had this contrast in his mind when he recommended for his ideal
city a mixture of the two modes of building, remarking that the new
straight streets in the style of Hippodamus were handsomer and more
convenient, but that the old crooked streets could be better defended
against an enemy. Another advantage of the older style of architecture,
at least in southern cities, is the shade and coolness of narrow lanes
from which, as from the bottom of a well, we look up at a narrow strip
of blue sky high overhead, instead of being exposed to the pitiless
glare of the sun as we pace, with blue spectacles on our eyes and a
white umbrella over our head, the broad open streets which, on the model
of the Parisian boulevards, are rapidly springing up in the towns of
southern Europe. Still, in spite of the ravages of municipal authorities
and the jerry-builder, we can even yet remark in modern Europe a
contrast between the towns that have grown up irregularly in the course
of ages, and those which have been created at once on a regular plan by
the will of a despot. The two most regularly built towns in Europe are
probably Turin and Mannheim. Turin still stands on the lines laid down
by Augustus, when he founded a Roman colony on the site; Mannheim was
built by the Elector Palatine, Frederick the Fourth, in 1606. Something
of the same difference may also be observed between Madrid, the new
capital of Spain, with its thoroughfares radiating like the spokes of a
wheel from the Puerta del Sol, and the old Spanish capital Toledo, with
its narrow lanes straggling up and down the rocky hill whence the white,
silent, seemingly half-deserted city looks down on the gorge of the
Tagus. But Madrid, a creation of Philip the Second, does not equal Turin
or Mannheim in mathematical regularity of construction.

There can be no doubt that the fortification of Piraeus and the
transference to it of the port of Athens from the open roadstead of
Phalerum constituted one of the most momentous steps in the history of
Athens. Coupled with the construction of a large permanent war-fleet it
made Athens the first naval power in Greece, and so determined her
subsequent history. All three measures originated in the far-seeing mind
of Themistocles, who thus in a sense created Athens, and proved himself
thereby one of the greatest of statesmen. He saw that Piraeus was more
important to the Athenians than Athens itself, and he often advised
them, if ever they were hard put to it by land, to evacuate Athens and
settle at Piraeus, where with their fleet they could defy the world. If
they had taken his advice, Athens might perhaps have played a still
greater part in history.

The man to whom Athens owed so much died an exile in a foreign land;
but, if tradition may be trusted, his bones were afterwards brought and
laid, with singular felicity, beside the sea at the foot of the frowning
walls of that great fortress which formed his noblest monument. The
exact spot has been described by an ancient writer. “At the great
harbour of Piraeus,” says Plutarch, quoting Diodorus the Periegete, “a
sort of elbow juts out from the headland of Alcimus; and when you have
rounded this elbow, on the inner side, where the sea is somewhat calm,
there is a large basement of masonry, and the altar-like structure on it
is the grave of Themistocles. And Diodorus imagines that the comic poet
Plato bears him out in the following passage:

             'Fair lies thy tomb
             For it will speak to merchants everywhere;
             It will behold the seamen sailing out and in,
             And mark the contests of the ships.'”

Tradition places the site of the tomb on the shore of the Acte
peninsula, near the modern lighthouse, some way to the south of the
entrance to the great harbour. Here a small square space has been
levelled in the rock; and its outer margin has been cut and smoothed as
if to form the bed of a wall. Within this area are three graves, and
just outside it, on the side away from the sea, is a large sepulchre
hewn in the rock. It has been suggested that when the square space was
enclosed by its wall, and the interior was filled up with rubble, it may
have been the “altar-like structure” described by Diodorus the
Periegete, and that the rock-hewn tomb behind it, and sheltered by it
from the surf and spray of the neighbouring sea, may have been what
antiquity was fain to regard as the grave of Themistocles.

X. THE SACRED WAY.—Having completed his description of the Attic
islands, Pausanias returns to Athens and sets out thence for Eleusis
along the Sacred Way. This was the road by which the initiated went from
Athens to Eleusis: the antiquary Polemo devoted a whole book to a
description of the route. The present highroad from Athens to Eleusis
follows very closely the line of the Sacred Way. This road, running in a
north-westerly direction, soon passes on the left the Botanic Garden,
conspicuous by its tall and stately poplars, and enters the broad belt
of olive-wood which still extends, as it doubtless extended in
antiquity, along both sides of the Cephisus for mile after mile. Through
this wood of ancient olives, with their massive gnarled trunks and pale
green foliage, the road runs for more than a mile, crossing several arms
of the Cephisus, which are generally dry and dusty, the water being
diverted in many petty rivulets to feed the olive-yards and gardens.
Beyond the olive-wood the road at first gradually ascends through a bare
stony tract where nothing grows but thistles; then it climbs more
steeply the arid and rocky slopes of Mount Aegaleus, which it crosses by
a narrow but easy pass, enclosed on both sides by low and desolate
heights. Near the summit of the pass a round isolated hill, crowned by a
church of St. Elias, rises conspicuously on the right. From this point
of the road there is a famous view backward over the Athenian plain. The
scene is especially striking at sunset, when the acropolis, rising high
above the olive-woods, with its temples lit up by the dying splendour of
the sun, stands out against a background of purple mountains. A little
farther on the road turns and begins to descend, and Athens is lost to

About a mile farther on we pass the deserted monastery of Daphni, which
probably occupies the site of the sanctuary of Apollo mentioned by
Pausanias. It stands on the left of the road enclosed by a high
battlemented wall above which rises the dome of its Byzantine church.
Beyond the monastery the road descends rapidly towards the shore. Here
the ancient road may be traced for a long way on the north side of the
pass, running parallel to the modern highway on the left bank of a dry
water-course which descends from the monastery. The road was partly cut
in the rock, partly supported by a wall of rough stones on the side of
the water-course. As the road descends the sea appears at the farther
end of it, framed between the stony slopes of the hills which enclose
the pass. Farther on, the pass opening out, we see stretched below us,
like a lake, the deep blue waters of the landlocked Gulf of Salamis,
shut in on the south by the bare but beautifully outlined hills of
Salamis, on the north by a graceful sweep of the Attic coast, and backed
by the distant heights of Cithaeron and the mountains of Megara on the
west. Through a dip between the hills of Salamis and the mainland may be
seen in clear weather the far conspicuous peak of Cyllene in Arcadia
with its crown of snow.

A mile or so after passing the monastery we see on the right of the road
some ancient masonry and large blocks of stone at the foot of a rugged
wall of rock, in the face of which many niches are cut. This is the
sanctuary of Aphrodite mentioned by Pausanias. Soon after this point the
hills retire on both sides and the pass ends in a little plain, barren
and waterless but partially planted with olives, beside the shore. Here
the road turns sharply to the right and, following the shore, runs
northward, hemmed in between the sea on the one side and the grey arid
slopes of Mount Aegaleus on the other. Soon, however, the hills trend
inland a little, leaving between the foot of their declivities and the
road a small lake or large pond of clear salt-water, fed by a number of
copious salt-springs, the ancient Rhiti. The pond is formed by damming
up the water of these springs by means of a stone dyke or embankment,
beside which the modern road runs on a narrow strip of sand between the
pond on the right and the sea on the left. Fiedler observed flying-fish
of the size of herrings rising from the surface of the pool: he says
their flesh is white and succulent, better than that of the sea fish in
the neighbouring bay. In antiquity, as Pausanias tells us, the right of
fishing here was strictly preserved by the priests of Eleusis. A strong
stream, turning a mill, flows out of the pool into the sea. At the
farther end of the pond Mount Aegaleus sends down its last spur close to
the road; after passing it the road skirts on the right another
salt-pool and enters the Thriasian plain. The stream which issues from
the second of the two salt-ponds turns, or rather used to turn, another
mill. Opinions have differed as to whether the ancient road ran, like
the modern highway, between the salt-pools and the sea, or skirted the
foot of the hills, making a circuit round the pools. In any case it
seems probable that in antiquity the water of the salt-springs was not
dammed up as at present so as to form pools, but was allowed to flow
directly into the sea in brooks which hence received the name of Rhiti

After entering the Thriasian plain the road continues to skirt the
shore. As the ground is here low and marshy, the road is raised on a
causeway, which consists of ancient materials mixed with those of later
ages. This causeway therefore marks the line of the Sacred Way. On the
right of it, about half a mile beyond the salt-pools, where the road to
Kalyvia branches off across the plain to the right, there are remains of
an ancient monument, which appears to have consisted originally of a
cubical mass of earth, cased with white marble and supporting a
tombstone. An inscription proves that the monument marked the tomb of
one Strato, his wife Polla (Paula) Munatia, and his son Isidotus. This
sepulchre, one of the many sepulchres which lined the Sacred Way in
antiquity, is not mentioned by Pausanias.

The Thriasian plain, through which the Sacred Way led to Eleusis, is
surrounded by mountains and hills except on the south, where it is
bounded by the Gulf of Salamis. It is about nine miles long from east to
west, and five miles wide at the broadest part, from north to south. The
northern and western parts of the plain are stony and barren. Nearer the
sea there is a tract of fertile cornland, but it does not extend much to
the north of Eleusis itself. The monotony of the otherwise treeless
expanse is broken here and there by some scattered olive-trees and oaks.
In spring and early summer the plain is gaily carpeted in places with
anemones, red, purple, and blue.

XI. THE HALL OF INITIATION AT ELEUSIS.—The great Hall of Initiation, to
which the paved road leads from the smaller portal, is a vast single
chamber about a hundred and seventy feet square, the sides of which face
north, south, east, and west. The whole of the west side, together with
the western parts of the northern and southern sides, are bounded by the
rock of the acropolis, which has been cut away perpendicularly to make
room for the hall. The roof was supported by six rows of columns, seven
columns in each row: the bases of all these columns except one are still
to be seen in their places. Eight tiers of steps, partly cut in the
rock, partly built, ran all round the chamber except at the entrances,
of which there were six, namely, two on the north, two on the east, and
two on the south. On these tiers of steps the initiated probably sat
watching the performance of the mysteries which took place in the body
of the hall. It is calculated that about three thousand people could
find room on them. The steps, originally narrow, were widened at a later
date by a casing of marble. That this marble casing of the steps is a
late work appears from the use of mortar to fasten it on.

There are passages of ancient writers which seem to imply that besides
the place to which the initiated had access there was an inner Holy of
Holies called the _anaktoron_ or _megaron_, which none but the
high-priest of the mysteries might enter, and which, being suddenly
thrown open, disclosed to the view of the awestruck beholders the most
sacred objects of their religious veneration lit up by a blaze of
dazzling light. But no trace of any inner chamber or enclosure has been
discovered in the great Hall of Initiation. It may therefore be
suggested that the _anaktoron_ or _megaron_ was perhaps nothing but the
body of the hall, which may have been screened by curtains from the
spectators sitting in darkness on the tiers of seats that ran all round
it, till suddenly the curtain rose and revealed the vast hall
brilliantly illuminated, with the gorgeously attired actors in the
sacred drama moving mazily in solemn procession or giddy dance out and
in amongst the forest of columns that rose from the floor of the hall,
while the strains of grave or voluptuous music filled the air. Then,
when all was over, the curtain would as suddenly descend, leaving the
spectators in darkness and silence, with nothing but the memory of the
splendid pageant that had burst upon them and vanished like a dream.

XII. ELEUTHERAE.—From Eleusis the road to Eleutherae, which is at the
same time the highway from Athens to Thebes, goes north-west across the
plain. The olive-trees begin to appear soon after we have left Eleusis,
and the road runs for three miles through thick groves of them to the
large village of Mandra situated on a small height at the entrance to a
valley; for here the mountains which bound the plain of Eleusis begin.
The native rock crops up among the houses and streets of the village.
The hills that rise on both sides of the valley are wooded with pine.
Beyond the village the valley contracts, and the road ascends for a long
time through the stillness and solitude of the pine-forest. A little
wayside inn (the khan of Palaio-Koundoura) is passed in a lonely dale;
and then, after a further ascent, the prospect opens up somewhat, and
the tops of Hymettus and Pentelicus are seen away to the east, appearing
above a nearer range of hills. Soon afterwards the road descends into a
cultivated and fertile little plain or valley watered by the chief arm
of the Eleusinian Cephisus, and bounded on the north by the principal
range of Cithaeron, on the south by the lower outlying chain which we
have just crossed. This no doubt is the plain in which stood the temple
of Dionysus mentioned by Pausanias. At the northern end of the valley or
plain there is now a police-barrack on the right of the road, and near
it a public-house, the khan of Kasa. Here the pass over Cithaeron, in
the strict sense, begins. It is a narrow rocky defile, up which the road
winds tortuously between high pine-clad slopes on either hand. In the
very mouth of the pass, immediately beyond the barrack, a steep,
conical, nearly isolated hill rises up as if to bar the road. Its summit
is crowned with the grey walls and towers of Eleutherae.

The ruins of Eleutherae, now called Gyphtokastro or ‘Gypsy-castle,’ form
one of the finest extant specimens of Greek fortification. The circuit
of the walls, which is but small, encloses the summit and part of the
southern slope of the hill. The north wall, strengthened with eight
square projecting towers, is nearly complete. It is about eight feet
thick, and is built of blocks laid in regular courses, with a core of
rubble. As the ground falls away to the north, the wall is higher on the
outside than on the inside. The towers are about thirty paces apart.
Most of them entered from the ramparts by two doors, one on each side of
the tower. These doors are still to be seen, though the floors of the
upper stories, having been of wood, have of course perished. Each tower
has three small windows or loopholes, one in each of the sides which
project outward beyond the curtain. Traces of the wall and towers on the
other and lower sides of the hill can still be seen, but they are far
less perfect than on the north side. The chief gate was on the south.
The whole place is now an utter solitude. When I first visited it, on a
day in May, the ground was carpeted with yellow flowers; goats were
balancing themselves on the grey ruins; and the goatherd was sleeping in
the shadow of one of the towers. On either hand the mountains, clothed
in their sombre mantle of dark pine-forests, towered into the bright

If from the ruins of Eleutherae we return to the highroad which winds
along the western foot of the hill, and follow it for a few miles to the
top of the pass, we obtain a commanding view over the wide plain of
Boeotia stretching away to the line of far blue mountains which bounds
it on all sides. Below us, but a little to the west, at the foot of the
long uniform slope of Cithaeron, the red village of Kokla marks the site
of Plataea. Thebes is hidden from view behind the dip of a low
intervening ridge. The sharp double-peaked mountain on the west, beyond
the nearer fir-clad declivities of Cithaeron, is Helicon. The grand
mountain mass which, capped with snow, looms on the north-west, is
Parnassus. The mountains on the north-east are in Euboea, but the strait
which divides them from Boeotia is not visible.

XIII. MEGARA.—From Eleusis to Megara by road or railway is about
fourteen miles. The road first passes along the northern side of the low
ridge which formed the acropolis of Eleusis; then it turns down to the
sea and follows the shore. The plain of Eleusis is divided from the
plain of Megara by a chain of wooded hills which advances southward from
Mount Cithaeron to the shore of the bay. The road skirts the foot of
these hills, ascending and descending, traversing olive-groves, and
winding round little bays and headlands, commanding views, ever shifting
but ever beautiful, of the coast of Salamis across the blue and
blue-green waters of the lake-like bay, which is here so narrow that the
white monastery of Phaneromene, with its clustered domes and turrets,
can be plainly seen standing among green fields on the opposite shore.
Then, when the last spur of the hills is rounded, the plain of Megara,
covered with olives and vines, and backed by high mountains, opens out
before us. In the distance can be distinguished the picturesque
oriental-looking town of Megara, with its white houses rising in
terraces, one above the other, on the sides of two isolated hills in the
far corner of the plain: the higher of the two hills used to be crowned
by a square mediaeval tower.

The modern town is chiefly confined to the western hill, the southern
slope of which it occupies to the summit. Its narrow steep streets, and
white-washed, flat-roofed, windowless houses, with low doorways opening
into courts shaded here and there by a fig-tree, have much the
appearance of an Arab village. The dazzlingly white walls make, in the
brilliant sunshine, an excellent background for the gay costumes of the
women, the bright colours of which (red, green, blue, violet) add to the
Eastern effect of the scene.

XIV. THE SCIRONIAN ROAD.—The famous pass along the sea-cliffs, known in
antiquity as the Scironian Road, is thus described by Strabo: “The
Scironian cliffs leave no passage between them and the sea. The road
from the Isthmus to Megara and Attica runs along the top of them; indeed
in many places it is compelled by the beetling mountain, which is high
and inaccessible, to skirt the brink of the precipices.” The dread of
robbers, who here lay in wait for travellers, enhanced the natural
horrors of the pass in ancient as well as in modern times. In recent
years these horrors have been dissipated by the construction of a
highroad and a railway along the coast; but down to the middle of the
present century, if we may trust the descriptions of travellers, the
cliff-path well deserved its modern name of Kake Skala or ‘the Evil
Staircase.’ For six miles it ran along a narrow crumbling ledge half-way
up the face of an almost sheer cliff, at a height of six to seven
hundred feet above the sea. On the right rose the rock like a wall; on
the left yawned the dizzy abyss, where, far below, the waves broke at
the foot of the precipices in a broad sheet of white curdling foam. So
narrow was the path that only a single sure-footed beast could make its
way with tolerable security along it. In stormy or gusty weather it was
dangerous; a single slip or stumble would have been fatal. When two
trains of mules met, the difficulty of passing each other was extreme.
Indeed at the beginning of the present century Colonel Leake pronounced
the path impassable for horses; and at a later time, when it had been
somewhat mended, another distinguished traveller, himself a Swiss,
declared that he knew of no such giddy track, used by horses, in all
Switzerland. In many places the narrow path had been narrowed still
further by its outer edge having given way and slid into the depths, so
that it was only by using the utmost caution that the traveller was able
to scramble along at all. At one point, where it crossed the mouth of a
gully, the road had completely disappeared, having either fallen into
the sea or, according to another account, been blown up in the War of
Independence. Here therefore the wayfarer was obliged to pick his steps
down a breakneck track which zigzagged down to the narrow strip of
beach, from which he had laboriously to clamber up by a similar track on
the opposite side of the gully. One traveller has graphically described
how his baggage-horses slid and slipped on their hind feet down one of
these tracks, while their drivers hung on to the tails of the animals to
check their too precipitate descent. Last century the path had ceased to
be used even by foot-passengers. Chandler took boat at Nisaea and
coasted along the foot of the cliffs, looking up with amazement at the
narrow path carried along the edge of perpendicular precipices above the
breakers and supported so slenderly beneath “that a spectator may
reasonably shudder with horror at the idea of crossing.”

Nothing was easier than to make such a path impassable. Accordingly when
word reached Peloponnese that Leonidas and his men had been annihilated
by the Persians at Thermopylae, the Peloponnesians hurried to the
Isthmus, blocked up the Scironian road, and built a fortification wall
across the Isthmus. In modern times, though the path had fallen into
decay, it still showed traces of having been used and cared for in
antiquity. In many places the marks of the chariot-wheels were visible
in the rock; in other places there were remains of massive substructions
of masonry which had once supported and widened the road; and here and
there pieces of ancient pavement were to be seen. These were probably
vestiges of the carriage road which, as Pausanias tells us, the emperor
Hadrian constructed along this wild and beautiful coast. At the present
day, as the traveller is whirled along it in the train, he is struck
chiefly by the blueness of the sea and the greenness of the thick
pine-woods which mantle the steep shelving sides of the mountains.

XV. THE ISTHMUS OF CORINTH.—The Isthmus of Corinth, which unites
Peloponnese on the south to the mountainous district of Megara and
Central Greece on the north, is a low flat neck of land about three and
a half miles wide at the narrowest part and about two hundred and sixty
feet high at the lowest point, stretching roughly in a direction from
south-west to north-east. The central part is a flat tableland, which
shelves away in steep terraces to the sea on the southern side. Its
surface is rugged, barren, and waterless; where it is not quite bare and
stony, it is mostly overgrown with stunted shrubs and dwarf pines, or
with thistles and other prickly plants of a grey arid aspect. There is
no underwood and no turf. In spring some grass and herbage sprout in
patches among the thistles and afford pasture to flocks. The niggard
soil, where soil exists, is cultivated in a rude imperfect way, and
yields some scanty crops, mostly of wheat and barley. But in the drought
of summer every green blade disappears, and the fields are little more
than a bare stony wilderness swept by whirling clouds of dust. This
rugged barren quality of the soil was equally characteristic of the
Isthmus in antiquity. It seems to have been customary to gather the
stones from the fields before sowing the seed.

In ancient times ships of small burden were regularly dragged on rollers
or waggons across the narrowest part of the Isthmus in order to avoid
the long voyage round Peloponnese; hence this part of the Isthmus was
known as the _Diolkos_ or Portage. The Portage began on the east at
Schoenus, near the modern Kalamaki; its western termination is not
mentioned by ancient writers, but was probably near the west end of the
modern canal. We read of fleets of warships being transported across the
Isthmus; for example after the battle of Actium the victorious Augustus
thus conveyed his ships across the Isthmus in pursuit of Antony and
Cleopatra, and in 883 A.D. the Greek admiral Nicetas Oriphas transported
a fleet across it to repel an attack of the Saracens. Some remains of
the ancient Portage, which seems to have been a sort of tramway, may
still be seen near a guard-house, at the point where the road from
Kalamaki to Corinth crosses the northern of the two ancient
fortification walls.

The lowest and narrowest part of the Isthmus, through which the Portage
went in antiquity and the modern canal now runs, is bounded on the south
by a line of low cliffs. Along the crest of these cliffs may be traced
the remains of an ancient fortification wall stretching right across the
Isthmus from sea to sea. It is built of large blocks laid in fairly
regular courses, and is flanked by square towers which project from the
curtain at regular intervals of about a hundred yards on the north side,
showing that the wall was meant to protect the Corinthian end of the
Isthmus against invasion from the north. The wall does not extend in a
straight line, but follows the crest of the cliffs, wherever this
natural advantage presented itself.

XVI. THE BATH OF APHRODITE.—The lower spring, which Pausanias took to be
Pirene, has sometimes been identified with the copious springs now known
as ‘the bath of Aphrodite.’ They issue just below the steep northern
edge of the broad terrace on which the old city of Corinth stood. Here
the rocks curve round in a semicircle and overhang so as to form
grottoes under their beetling brows. From these rocks, overgrown with
moss and rank creepers, the clear water bubbles and trickles in copious
rills, which nourish a rich vegetation in the open ground through which
they flow. The grotto, which is always fresh and cool, commands an
uninterrupted view over the Gulf to the mountains beyond. Here in the
days of the Turkish dominion the bey of Corinth had his gardens, where
he led a life of Asiatic luxury. A staircase still leads from the grotto
to the terrace above, on the edge of which stood his seraglio. All is
now ruin and desolation. A few pieces of ancient columns of green and
white streaked marble mark the site of the seraglio. The spring is
frequented only by washerwomen, and its streams water only vegetable
gardens and orchards. But the water is as sweet as in Pausanias’s time,
and the grottoes under the overhanging ledge of rock might pass for “the
chambers made like grottoes” of which he makes mention.[6]


Footnote 6:

  However, the true Pirene described by Pausanias has lately been
  discovered elsewhere by the American archaeologists who are now
  excavating the site of ancient Corinth.


XVII. THE PROSPECT FROM ACRO-CORINTH.—The view from the summit of
Acro-Corinth has been famous since the days of Strabo, who has
accurately described it. The brilliant foreground, indeed, on which he
looked down has vanished. The stately city with its temples, its
terraced gardens, its colonnades, its fountains, is no more. In its
place there is spread out at our feet the flat yellowish expanse of the
Isthmus, stretching like a bridge across the sea to the point where the
Geranian mountains, their slopes clothed with the sombre green of the
pine-forests, rise abruptly like a massive barrier at its farther end,
sending out on their western side a long promontory, which cuts far into
the blue waters of the Corinthian Gulf. Across the Gulf tower on the
north the bold sharp peaks of Cithaeron and Helicon in Boeotia. On the
north-west Parnassus lifts its mighty head, glistering with snow into
late spring, but grey and bare in summer. In the far west loom the
Locrian and Aetolian mountains, seeming to unite with the mountains of
Peloponnese on the south, and thus apparently converting the Gulf of
Corinth into an inland mountain-girdled lake. To the south-west, above
ranges of grey limestone hills dotted with dark pines, soar the snowy
peaks of Cyllene and Aroania in Arcadia. On the south the prospect is
shut in by the high tablelands and hills of Argolis, range beyond range,
the lower slopes of the valleys covered in spring with corn-fields,
their upper slopes with tracts of brushwood. Eastward Salamis and the
sharp-peaked Aegina are conspicuous. In this direction the view is
bounded by the hills of Attica—the long ridge of Hymettus and the more
pointed summits of Pentelicus and Parnes, while below them in clear
weather the Parthenon is distinctly visible on the Acropolis nearly
fifty miles away, the pinnacle of Lycabettus rising over it crowned with
its white far-gleaming chapel.

XVIII. THE CAPTURE OF CORINTH BY ARATUS.—The story of the capture of
Corinth by Aratus has been told by Plutarch with a wealth of picturesque
details which he doubtless took from the Memoirs written by Aratus
himself. The city, and especially the lofty and precipitous acropolis of
Corinth, was held for King Antigonus by a Macedonian garrison. Aratus
resolved to take the place by a night surprise. For this perilous
service he picked out four hundred men, and led them to one of the
city-gates. It was midsummer: a full moon rode in a cloudless sky, and
the assailants feared that its bright beams, reflected from so many
helmets and spears, might betray their approach to the sentinels on the
walls. But just as the head of the column neared the gate, a heavy bank
of clouds came scudding up from the sea and veiled the moon, blotting
out the line of walls and shrouding the storming-party in darkness.
Favoured by the gloom eight men, in the guise of travellers, crept up to
the gate and put the sentinels to the sword. Ordering the rest of his
men to follow him at the best speed they could make, Aratus now advanced
at the head of a forlorn hope of one hundred men, planted the ladders,
scaled the wall, and descended into the city. Not a soul was stirring in
the streets, and Aratus hurried along in the direction of the acropolis,
congratulating himself on escaping observation, when a patrol of four
men was seen coming down the street with flaring torches. The moon shone
full on them, but Aratus and his men were in shadow. Aratus whispered
his men to stand close in the shadow of the houses. The unsuspecting
patrol came on: in a minute three of them were cut down, and the fourth
escaped with a gash on his head, crying out that the enemy were within
the walls. A few minutes more and the trumpets rang out and the whole
city was up. The streets, lately silent and deserted, were thronged with
crowds hurrying to and fro; lights glanced at the windows; and high
above the city a line of twinkling points of fire marked the summit of
the acropolis. At the same time a confused hum of voices broke on the
ear from all sides. Undeterred by these symptoms of the gathering storm,
Aratus pressed up the winding path towards the acropolis as fast as the
steep and rugged nature of the ground allowed.

Meantime the three hundred men whom he had left behind, bewildered by
the sudden uproar, the flashing of multitudinous lights, and all the
tumult of the rudely awakened city, missed the path up the acropolis
and, knowing not whither to turn, halted under an overhanging crag at
the foot of the mountain. Here they remained in a state of the utmost
anxiety and alarm. For by this time Aratus was hotly engaged with the
garrison on the summit, and the noise of battle and of distant cheering
came floating down to them, but so faint with distance, so broken and
distorted by the reverberation of the cliffs, that the men below,
listening intently, could not tell from which direction the sounds
proceeded. While they were still crouching under the shadow of the
precipice, they were startled by a loud peal of trumpets close at hand,
and peering through the gloom they perceived a large body of men
marching past them up the slope. It was the king’s troops hastening to
the relief of the garrison on the acropolis. Instantly the three hundred
charged out from their lurking-place, and taking the enemy completely by
surprise, broke them and drove them in confusion towards the city. They
were still flushed with victory when a messenger came hurrying down at
breakneck speed from the citadel, telling them that Aratus was at it,
cut and thrust, with the garrison, who stood bravely to their arms, and
imploring them to hasten to his assistance. They bade him lead the way;
and as they toiled upwards they shouted to let their comrades know that
help was at hand. By this time the clouds had passed over and the sky
was again clear; and so all up the weary ascent they could see the
weapons of friend and foe glittering in the moonlight, as the fight
swayed this way and that, and could hear their hoarse cries, multiplied
apparently a thousandfold as they rolled down on the night air from crag
to crag. At last they reached the top, and charging side by side with
their friends, forced the enemy from the walls. Day was beginning to
break when Aratus and his men stood victorious on the summit.

XIX. SICYON.—Few ancient cities were more advantageously or beautifully
situated than Sicyon. Built on a spacious and level tableland, defended
on every side by cliffs, abundantly supplied with water, at a distance
both safe and convenient from the sea, which, lying beyond a strip of
fertile plain, sends its cool refreshing breezes to temper the summer
heat, the city possessed a site secure, wholesome, and adapted both for
agriculture and commerce. Nor are the natural beauties of the site less
remarkable than its more material advantages. Behind it rise wooded
mountains and in front of it, across the narrow plain, is stretched the
wonderful panorama of the Corinthian Gulf, with Helicon, Cithaeron, and
Parnassus towering beyond it to the north, and the mighty rock of
Acro-Corinth barring the prospect on the east. At sunrise and sunset
especially the scene is one of indescribable loveliness. The ancients
themselves were not insensible to the charms of Sicyon. “A lovely and
fruitful city, adapted to every recreation,” says a scholiast on Homer,
and Diodorus speaks of Sicyon as a place “for peaceful enjoyment.”

XX. PHLIASIA.—The valley of the Asopus above Sicyon is a deep and narrow
glen shut in on either hand by mountains, the steep sides of which are
thickly overgrown with bushes. In some places, where the road is hemmed
in between the roots of the mountain and the white, turbid, rushing
river, the bank is occasionally undermined and swept away by the stream,
and the path disappears altogether. In its upper reaches the glen widens
so as to admit of here and there a small riverside meadow, prettily
situated among oaks and shrubbery, with now and then a patch of ploughed
land. After we have followed the glen upwards from Sicyon for about four
hours, it opens out into a broad and fertile plain, encircled by steep
mountains, down which brooks flow on all sides to join the Asopus. This
upland plain, some four miles long and standing about a thousand feet
above the sea, is Phliasia, the district of which Phlius was the ancient
capital. On the west its level expanse is bounded by the picturesque,
rugged, woody mass of Mount Gavria (about five thousand feet high),
above which appears the snowy top of the lofty Cyllene in Arcadia. The
eastern side of the valley is bounded by the Tricaranian range, which
with its three flat summits divides the Phliasian valley from the vale
of Nemea. The Asopus rises among the southern hills and flows northward
through the valley in a deep grassy bed. It is here a clear and tranquil
stream, very different from the rapid and turbid river which it becomes
in the glen below, where it takes its colour from the soil which is
washed down into it by the numerous torrents from the white argillaceous
mountains through which it threads its way. About the middle of the
plain it is joined by a tributary, longer than the Asopus itself,
flowing from the mountains which enclose the south-western corner of the
plain. The soil of the Phliasian valley is excellent; the central part
of it is given up almost exclusively to vineyards which furnish now, as
they did in antiquity, a fine fiery wine like Burgundy. In autumn the
red and golden foliage of the fading vines lends a richer glow of colour
to the beautiful landscape.

Some light is thrown on the topography of Phlius by the events which
followed the battle of Leuctra. The Phliasians had been friends of
Sparta when Sparta was at the height of her power; and after the
disastrous day of Leuctra, when Sparta was deserted by allies and
subjects alike, the Phliasians stood loyally by their old friends. This
drew down on them the hostility of the victorious Thebans and their
allies. In 368 B.C. a body of Arcadians and Eleans, marching through the
pass of Nemea to join the Thebans, were induced by some Phliasian exiles
to make an attempt to surprise and capture Phlius. Six hundred men,
supplied with ladders, being sent in advance, concealed themselves by
night at the foot of the citadel walls. Next morning the sentinels on
Mount Tricaranum, to the east of the town, signalled the approach of the
enemy from the valley of Nemea. The eyes of the citizens were thus
turned to the hills, over which they momentarily expected to see the
enemy appearing. Taking advantage of their distraction the six hundred
men under the acropolis planted their ladders and were soon masters of
the almost deserted citadel. But the citizens rallied, and after a
fierce struggle drove the enemy with fire and sword over the ramparts.

Next year the allies made a more determined attempt to get possession of
Phlius. The Theban commander at Sicyon marched from that city against
Phlius at the head of his garrison and of a body of Sicyonian and
Pellenian troops. He was supported by Euphron, tyrant of Sicyon, with
two thousand mercenaries. The attack was again made from the hills on
the east of the town. On the neck of land which joins the citadel of
Phlius with the hills a detachment of Sicyonians and Pellenians was
posted, to prevent the Phliasians from ascending the hills and taking
their enemies in the rear. The rest of the army then descended from the
hills in the direction of a sanctuary of Hera, meaning to ravage the
corn-fields and vineyards in the valley. But the Phliasian cavalry and
infantry met them and prevented them from carrying out their intention.
Skirmishing went on most of the day with varying fortune. At one time
Euphron with his mercenaries drove the Phliasians over the broken
ground. But as soon as they reached open ground, where the Phliasian
cavalry could come into play, they were in turn driven back up the hills
as far as the sanctuary of Hera. At last the assailants abandoned the
attack and retreated up the hill, purposing to join the detachment of
Sicyonians and Pellenians, which they had left on the neck of ground
leading to the citadel. To reach them they had to make a long detour up
the hill, for a ravine lay between them and their friends, the ravine
namely along which the city walls were built. The Phliasians pursued
them up hill a little way, then perceiving the enemy’s intention of
forming a junction with the detachment on the neck they turned back, and
taking a short cut close under the town walls hastened to attack the
detachment of the enemy before the main body could come up to their
assistance. In this race the cavalry outstripped the infantry and
charged the Pellenians alone. The latter stood to their arms and
repelled the cavalry, till the Phliasian infantry came running up. Then,
attacked by horse and foot simultaneously, the Pellenians and Sicyonians
gave way. The victorious Phliasians erected a trophy and sang a loud
paean. The enemy watched the scene from the hills; then, drawing
together his beaten and scattered forces, fell sullenly back on Sicyon.

XXI. NEMEA.—Between the valley of Cleonae on the east and the valley of
Phlius or St. George on the west is interposed the valley of Nemea,
running like its sister valleys from south to north. It is a narrow
dale, some two or three miles long, and from half to three-quarters of a
mile broad. At its northern end it contracts to a mere gully. Through
the bottom of the valley, which is almost a dead flat, meanders like a
thread the brook Nemea, fed by the numerous rills which descend from the
neighbouring hills. When swollen by heavy rain, these tributaries,
having an insufficient outlet through the gully at the north end, keep
the bottom of the valley green, moist, and marshy. The dale is thus
better adapted for pasturage than tillage; indeed from the rich pastures
which clothe its bottom and the lower slopes of the hills it received
its name of Nemea, ‘the pastoral vale.’ But if the valley itself,
especially after rain, is green and smiling, the surrounding hills,
scarred and seamed with the beds of torrents, are of a dark and
melancholy hue, and, combined with the absolute solitude—not a human
habitation being visible through the length and breadth of the
dale—affect the mind with a sense of gloom and desolation.[7] The
solitude is only broken by the wandering herds of cattle, and from time
to time by a group of peasants, who come over from St. George to till
their fields in this secluded valley. A white track winds up the western
slope to the mouth of a glen which opens in the hill-side. Through this
glen is the way to St. George and Phlius.


Footnote 7:

  The valley has been less solitary since the village of Herakleia was
  founded near the ruined temple of Nemean Zeus.


XXII. THE PASS OF THE TRETUS.—At the southern end of the valley of
Cleonae there rises like a wall of rock the mountain of Tretus, which
forms the watershed between the Corinthian and the Argolic gulfs. A
straight toilsome path led from Cleonae in antiquity, and still leads
past the village of Hagios Vasilios, over the mountain, descending into
the Argolic plain at the ruins of Mycenae. But the more convenient way
from the valley of Cleonae to the plain of Argos bends round to the
west, where the mountain is not so high, and runs up a gradually
ascending gully. This was the pass of the Tretus, the chief line of
communication between Corinth and the south. In antiquity it was, as
Pausanias tells us, a driving road, and the ruts worn by the
chariot-wheels can still be seen in many places. The defile, though long
and narrow, shut in by high mountains on either hand, is nowhere steep,
and the rise is not considerable. The road runs by a deeply worn
watercourse, at the bottom of which a clear and shallow stream finds its
way amid luxuriant thickets of oleander, myrtle, and arbutus. The lower
slopes of the mountains are also green with shrubs, but their upper
slopes are grey and rocky.

The pass is easily defended. On both sides, towards Cleonae and towards
the plain of Argos, may be seen traces of ancient works built to defend
the defile. Near the highest point of the pass, where the road begins to
descend towards Argos, there are low Turkish watch-towers called Derweni
on both sides, and rough stone walls such as the Greeks threw up in many
passes during the War of Independence. In 1822 the Turkish army under
Dramali Pasha, retreating from the plain of Argos, was caught by the
Greeks in the pass of the Tretus and nearly annihilated; for years
afterwards the defile was strewed with skeletons and skulls of men and

“Every part of the Argolic plain,” says Leake, “is considered unhealthy
in summer, and the heat is excessive; that of the ravine of the Tretus,
in the mid-day hours, is said to be something beyond bearing, which I
can easily conceive, having passed through it in August, at an hour in
the morning when the heat was comparatively moderate. Not long since a
Tartar, after having drunk plentifully of wine and raki at Corinth, was
found to be dead when the suriji held his stirrup to dismount at the
khan of Kharvati (Mycenae), just beyond the exit of the Tretus.”

The name Tretus (‘perforated’) was supposed by the ancients to be
derived from a great cave in the mountain where the Nemean lion had his
lair. As to the ancient name of the pass, and the supposed wheel-marks
in it, W. G. Clark says: “This is the road known by the name of Tretos,
or ‘the perforated’; not, I conceive, in consequence of the caverns in
the neighbouring rocks, which are not more numerous hereabouts than
elsewhere, but because the glen is, as it were, _drilled_ through the
rock. And drilled it has been by the stream which flows at the bottom.
We saw, or fancied we saw, frequent wheel-marks in the rocks, and we
know that this was the direction of a carriage road. But from my
subsequent observations I learned to distrust these marks. The ordinary
mode of carrying wood in Greece is to tie the heavier ends of the poles
on each side to the back of the horse or donkey, and suffer the other
ends to trail along the ground, thus making two parallel ruts which in
course of time may attain the depth of and be mistaken for wheel-tracks.
When a depression is once made, it becomes a channel for the winter
rains, and so is smoothed and deepened.”

The modern name of the defile is Dervenaki. The railway from Corinth to
Argos runs through it. Towards the northern end of the pass the khan of
Dervenaki stands in a little glade overshadowed by tall poplars,
cypresses, and mulberry-trees, beside a murmuring spring. At the
southern outlet of the pass the whole plain of Argos, with the mountains
on either hand and the sea in the distance, bursts suddenly on the view.
On the left, nestling at the foot of the hills, are Mycenae and Tiryns,
with Nauplia and its towering acropolis rising from the sea and bounding
the plain on this side. On the right is Argos with its mountain citadel,
and beyond it the Lernaean lake glimmers faintly in the distance. In the
centre of the picture, beyond the long foreground of level plain,
stretches the blue line of the Argolic Gulf.

XXIII. MYCENAE.—Passing southwards through the pass of the Tretus, we
see the spacious plain of Argolis stretched out before us. Mycenae lies
to our left at the roots of the mountains which bound the eastern side
of the plain, not far from the point where the pass of the Tretus opens
out on it. The Argolic plain may be roughly described as a great
triangle, the base of which, on the south, is formed by the Argolic
Gulf, while the eastern and western sides are enclosed by the ranges of
mountains which converge northwards till they meet in Mount Tretus. The
length of the plain from north to south is about twelve miles, the
greatest breadth from east to west perhaps not much less. The mountains
which shut it in are barren and rocky, the highest being those on the
west which form the boundary between Argolis and Arcadia. The whole
expanse appears to have been once a bay of the sea, which has been
gradually filled up by the deposits brought down from the surrounding
mountains. The Gulf of Argolis, a broad and beautiful sheet of water
winding between mountains, must originally, before its upper waters were
expelled by the alluvial deposit, have resembled still more closely,
what it still recalls, a fine Scotch sea-loch or a Norwegian fiord.

This alluvial plain, situated at the head of a deep and sheltered frith
or arm of the sea, which opening on the Aegean gave ready access to the
islands of the Archipelago and the coasts of Asia, was naturally fitted
to become one of the earliest seats of civilisation in Greece. And in
point of fact legend and archaeology combine to show that in prehistoric
times Greek civilisation reached a very high pitch in the plain of
Argolis. It contained at least three fortified towns of great
importance, of which remains exist to this day, Tiryns, Argos, and
Mycenae (to mention them in the order in which they lie from south to
north). Tiryns and Mycenae stand on the eastern, Argos on the western
side of the plain. Of the three Tiryns is nearest to the sea, from which
it is distant not much more than a mile. It, or rather its citadel,
occupies a low rocky mound, not a hundred feet above the level of the
sea, and rising in perfect isolation from the flat. Farther inland Argos
lies at the foot of the last spur which projects into the western side
of the plain from the range of Artemisius. Its citadel, the Larisa, is a
fine bold peak nearly a thousand feet high.

Farther inland, nine miles from the nearest point of the sea, stands
Mycenae, near the northern extremity of the plain, but on its eastern
side. Its citadel, in respect of elevation and natural strength,
occupies an intermediate position between the low citadel of Tiryns and
the high mountainous one of Argos. It lies at the mouth of a wild and
narrow glen, which here opens on the eastern side of the Argolic plain,
between two lofty, steep, and rocky mountains. From the mouth of this
glen two deep ravines diverge, one running due west, the other running
south-west, and the triangular tableland which they enclose between them
is the citadel of Mycenae. The whole scene, viewed from the citadel, is
one of desolate grandeur. The ravines yawning to a great depth at our
feet, the rugged utterly barren mountains towering immediately across
them, the bleak highland glen winding away into the depth of these
gloomy and forbidding hills, make up a stern impressive picture, the
effect of which is heightened if one sees it, as the present writer
chanced to do, on a rainy day. Then with a lowering sky overhead and the
mist clinging to the slopes of the mountains, no sound heard but the
patter of the rain and the tinkling of sheep-bells from the glen, the
whole landscape seems to frown and assumes an aspect more in keeping
with the mist-wrapt stronghold of some old robber chief in Skye or
Lochaber, than with the conception which the traveller had formed of
Agamemnon’s “golden city.”

XXIV. THE END OF THE MYCENAEAN AGE.—The catastrophe which put an end to
the Mycenaean civilisation in Greece would seem to have been the Dorian
invasion, which, according to the traditional Greek chronology, befell
about the middle of the twelfth century B.C. That the end of Mycenae and
Tiryns was sudden and violent is proved by the conclusive evidence which
shows that the palaces were destroyed by fire and that, once destroyed,
they were never rebuilt. The date, too, of the Dorian invasion, so far
as we can determine it, harmonises well with this view; for the Egyptian
evidence of the existence of Mycenae comes down to about the time of the
Dorian invasion, and there significantly stops. The cessation also of
the characteristic Mycenaean pottery about the same date points to the
same conclusion. It is not indeed to be supposed that the Dorians swept
over Greece in one unbroken wave of conquest. The tide of invasion
probably ebbed and flowed; raids were met and repelled, but were
followed by incursions of fresh swarms of invaders, the new-comers
steadily gaining ground, encroaching on and enveloping the ancient
Mycenaean kingdoms till, the last barrier giving way before them, the
capitals themselves were stormed, their treasures plundered, and the
palaces given to the flames. The conflict between civilisation and
barbarism, the slow decline of the former and the gradual triumph of the
latter, may have lasted many years. It is thus that many, if not most,
permanent conquests have been effected. It was thus that the Saxons step
by step ousted the Britons, and the Danes obtained a footing in England;
it was thus that the Turks slowly strangled the Byzantine empire. Events
like the fall of Constantinople and the expulsion of the Moors from
Granada are only the last scenes in tragedies which have been acting for

To attribute, with some writers, the creation instead of the destruction
of the Mycenaean civilisation to the Dorians is preposterous, since the
Dorian immigration did not take place till the twelfth century B.C.,
while the Mycenaean civilisation is known from Egyptian evidence to have
existed from the middle of the fifteenth century B.C. at least. But this
attribution involves other than chronological difficulties. The typical
Dorians were the Spartans, and no greater contrast can well be conceived
than that between the luxurious semi-Oriental civilisation of Mycenae
and the stern simplicity of Sparta. On the one side we see imposing
fortifications, stately tombs, luxurious baths, magnificent palaces,
their walls gay with bright frescoes or glittering with burnished
bronze, their halls crowded with a profusion of precious objects of art
and luxury, wrought by native craftsmen or brought by merchants from the
bazaars of Egypt and Assyria; and in the midst of all a sultan, laden
with golden jewellery, listening to minstrels singing the tale of Troy
or the wanderings of Ulysses. On the other side we see an open
unfortified city with insignificant buildings, where art and poetry
never flourished, where gold and silver were banned, and where even the
kings prided themselves on the meanness of their attire. The Dorians, if
we may judge of them by the purest specimens of the breed, were just as
incapable of creating the art of Mycenae as the Turks were of building
the Parthenon and St. Sophia.

Of the Greeks who were rendered homeless by the Dorian invasion most
fled to Asia. There, on the beautiful island-studded coast, under the
soft Ionian sky, a new Greece arose which, in its splendid cities, its
busy marts, its solemn fanes, combined Greek subtlety and refinement
with much of Asiatic pomp and luxury. By this long and brilliant
after-glow of the Mycenaean civilisation in Asia we may judge, as it has
been well said, what its meridian splendour had been in Europe.

XXV. MOUNT ARACHNAEUS.—Mount Arachnaeus is the high naked range on the
left or northern side of the road as you go to the Epidaurian sanctuary
from Argos. The most remarkable peak is Mount Arna, the pointed rocky
summit which rises immediately above the village of Ligourio to a height
of over three thousand five hundred feet. The western summit, Mount St.
Elias, is somewhat higher. From the summit of Mount Arna the mountains
of Megara and Attica are visible. It might well have been on its top
that the beacon was lighted which flashed to Argos the news of the fall
of Troy. The name Arachnaea is said to have been still used by the
peasantry in the early part of this century. The altars of Zeus and Hera
upon which, according to Pausanias, the people sacrificed for rain,
appear to have stood in the hollow between the two peaks, for there is
here a square enclosure of Cyclopean masonry which would appear to have
been an ancient place of worship.

Mount Arachnaeus and the mountains of the Argolic peninsula in general
are little better than a stony waterless wilderness. The climate is very
dry, and the beds of all the streams are waterless except after heavy
rain. The hardy little holly-oak and a few dun-coloured shrubs are
almost the only representatives of plant life. The eye of the traveller
is wearied by the grey monotony of these arid mountains and desert
tablelands, and his feet are cut and bruised by the sharp stones over
which he has painfully to pick his steps. Nowhere else in Greece,
probably, is the scenery so desolate and forbidding.

XXVI. EPIDAURUS.—The city of Epidaurus was five Roman miles distant from
the sanctuary of Aesculapius. But it takes about two hours and a half to
ride the distance, for the road is very rough. The scenery on the way is
extremely beautiful—a great contrast to the dull road from Nauplia to
the sanctuary. The path leaves the open valley by a narrow glen at its
northern end, and leads down deeper and deeper through luxuriantly
wooded dells into the bottom of a wild romantic ravine. Here we follow
the rocky bed of the stream for some distance between lofty precipitous
banks. Farther on the path ascends the right bank of the stream, and we
ride along it, with the deep ravine below us on the left and a high wall
of rock on the right. The whole glen, as far as the eye can reach, is
densely wooded. Wild olives, pines, plane-trees, Agnus castus, laurel,
and ivy mantle its steep sides with a robe of green. In half an hour
from the sanctuary another valley opens on the left, down which comes
the road from Ligourio. After joining it we continue to follow the glen
along a path darkened by trees and the luxuriant foliage of the arbutus,
while beside us the stream flows through thickets of myrtle and
oleander. In about half an hour more the valley opens out, and we see
the sea, with the bold rocky headland of Methana stretching out into it
on the right, the islands of Salamis and Aegina in the distance, and
farther off the Attic coast lying blue but clear on the northern

Emerging at last from the valley we cross a little maritime plain,
covered with lemon-groves, and reach the site of the ancient Epidaurus.
Its position is very lovely. From the little maritime plain, backed by
high mountains with wooded sides, a rocky peninsula juts out into the
sea, united to the mainland only by a narrow neck of low marshy ground.
It divides two bays from each other: the northern bay is well sheltered
and probably formed the ancient harbour; the southern bay is an open
roadstead. The ancient city seems to have lain chiefly on the peninsula,
but to have extended also to the shores of the two bays. The rocky sides
of the peninsula fall steeply into the sea, and it rises in two peaks to
a height of about two hundred and fifty feet; the eastern peak is
somewhat the higher. On the edge of the cliffs may be seen in some
places, especially on the southern side of the peninsula, remains of the
strong walls which enclosed the city. They are built chiefly in the
polygonal style, of large blocks well cut and jointed.

The peninsula, now mostly overgrown with brushwood and shrubs, commands
fine views both seaward and landward. The coast southward in the
direction of Troezen is very bold and grand, the mountains rising here
abruptly to a great height from the sea. At the head of the bay, on the
other hand, the hills, wooded with pines, are lower, and between them
appears the mouth of the valley up which the path leads through thickly
wooded glens to the sacred grove of Aesculapius.

XXVII. THE TEMPLE IN AEGINA.—The temple stands on the top of a hill
towards the north-east corner of the island, commanding superb views
over the sea and the coasts of Attica and Peloponnese. It is distant
about two and a half hours from the town of Aegina. Travellers from
Athens who wish to visit the temple commonly land in the fine rocky bay
of Hagia Marina on the eastern side of the island. A steep declivity,
sparsely wooded with pine-trees, leads up from the shore of the bay to
the temple. I shall always remember how on a lovely day in spring we
landed here and lay under the pine-trees, looking down on the intensely
blue but crystalline waters of the bay. The air was full of the
fragrance of the pines, the yellow broom was in flower at our feet, and
visible across the sea was the coast of Attica. It was a scene such as
Theocritus might have immortalised.

very picturesquely on a saddle between the two highest peaks of the
island, both of which are covered with pine-woods. A walk of about an
hour brings us to it from Poros, the modern capital of the island. The
path at first skirts the southern shore of the island for a short way,
then turns and ascends in a north-westerly direction through the
pine-forest. From the sanctuary, which stands at a height of about six
hundred feet above the sea, beautiful and wide prospects open between
the wooded hills both to the north and the south. We look down on the
sea with its multitudinous bays, creeks, promontories, and islands
stretched out before us and framed as in a picture between the pine-clad
hills on either hand. A fitter home could hardly have been found for the
sea-god whose favourite tree—the pine—still mantles the greater part of
the island.

XXIX. TROEZEN.—The plain of Troezen lies between the sea and a range of
rough and rocky hills, wooded with dark evergreens and stunted trees,
which shut it in on the west and south. The northern part of the plain
is marshy in places, and the marshes breed fever among the sallow
inhabitants of Damala, the wretched hamlet which nestles among trees at
the foot of the hills in the inmost corner of the plain, close to the
ruins of Troezen. Stretches of pasture-land, however, and of vineyards
alternate with the swamps; and eastward, toward the island of Calauria,
the plain is well watered, cultivated like a garden, and verdant with
vines, olives, lemon-groves, and fig-trees. Seen from the water of the
beautiful almost landlocked bay the green of this rich vegetation, with
the tall dark cypresses towering conspicuously over all, is refreshing
to eyes accustomed to the arid plains and hills of Greece. At Damala
groves of oranges and lemons yield the villagers a considerable return.
On higher ground, to the north-west of the village, are the ruins of
Troezen. The glorious prospect over plain and mountain and sea is
unchanged; but of the city itself, which, if we may trust Pausanias, its
people regarded with such fond patriotic pride, nothing is left but some
insignificant ruins overgrown with weeds and dispersed amid a wilderness
of bushes. An isolated craggy mountain, rising steeply on the farther
side of a deep ravine, was the ancient acropolis. The ascent is
toilsome, especially if it be made at noon on an airless summer day with
the sun blazing pitilessly from a cloudless sky, the rocks so hot that
you cannot touch them without pain, the loose stones slipping at every
step, the dry withered shrubs and herbage crackling under foot and
blinding you with clouds of dust and down. The wonderful view from the
summit, however, makes amends for the labour of the ascent, ranging as
it does across the green fertile plain at our feet and away beyond a
bewildering maze of islands, capes, and bays to Sunium on the north-east
and the snowy peak of Parnassus on the north-west.

Another picturesque bit of scenery, of a different kind, may be seen by
following up the ravine to the point where at a great height it is
spanned by a single small arch of grey stone, which the peasants call
the Devil’s Bridge. It carries the path and a tiny aqueduct, hewn out of
one block of stone, across the narrow but profound abyss. High beetling
crags rise above the little bridge; ferns and ivy mantle thickly one of
the rocky sides of the lyn beneath it; and trees droop over the stream
that murmurs in the depths below. This is the stream which Pausanias
calls the Golden River. Luxuriant lemon-groves now line its banks where
it issues from the ravine on the plain of Troezen.

XXX. FROM TROEZEN TO EPIDAURUS.—We left the ruins of Troezen at
half-past twelve in the afternoon, and rode northward across the broad
flat neck of land which connects the mountainous peninsula of Methana
with the mainland. In fifty minutes we reached the shore of the lagoon
which is formed at the head of the Bay of Methana by the Potami river,
the Golden River of Pausanias. After making a detour round the lagoon we
came, at half-past one, to the beach at the point where the stream flows
out of the lagoon into the sea. Thence we rode for some way along the
beach, then over a rocky point, after which the path kept inland a
little from the sea. But all through our journey from Troezen to
Kato-Phanari the mountains rose at no great distance from us on the
left. By half-past two we were opposite Lesia, a hamlet at the foot of a
high rocky mountain, with a glen on its eastern side, down which comes a
stream. But the bed of the stream, when we crossed it, was dry. Below
the hamlet in the plain are olives. A little before four o’clock we came
to a ruined mediaeval or modern tower perched on an eminence to our
right, between us and the sea. Near it stands a small chapel beside a
fine carob-tree. The mountains now advanced to the water’s edge, and our
path led along their bushy and rocky slopes, winding round bays and
headlands at a considerable height above the sea. Here we enjoyed fine
views across the spacious bay to the high, mountainous, and rugged
peninsula of Methana, which wears a sombre aspect due perhaps to the
dark colour of its volcanic rocks. Farther on the path, though never far
from the sea, trended inland and we passed over a great deal of stony
ground mostly planted with olives. At many places along our route in the
course of the day the peasants were at work gathering the olives from
the trees. Another feature in the day’s ride was the great number of
carob-trees we passed, some of them very fine trees, with dark, smooth,
glossy leaves. Finally the path ascended a steep rocky slope and brought
us at half-past four to the village of Kato-Phanari, very picturesquely
situated high on the side of a mountain, which a short way above the
village rises up in rugged precipices of grey rock. Twilight was coming
on, but enough of daylight remained to allow me to appreciate the beauty
of the prospect from the loftily situated village across the sea to the
islands, the high conspicuous peninsula of Methana, and the long line of
headlands stretching away towards Epidaurus, all bathed in the warm
though fast fading light of a winter evening.

Next morning we left Kato-Phanari soon after eight o’clock. The path
rose steeply up the mountain-side in view of the sea. In a little less
than an hour we reached Ano-Phanari, a village overlooking the sea,
situated far up the side of a lofty rocky mountain which faces southward
to the still higher precipitous mountain on whose seaward face, below
the precipices, stands the lower village of Kato-Phanari. On this latter
mountain, or rather on the summit of the range to which it belongs,
called Mount Ortholithion, certain ceremonies are said to have been
performed, time out of mind, by the peasants in seasons of drought and

At Ano-Phanari I heard of remains of an ancient fortress in the
neighbourhood, and set off with a guide to visit them. A walk of a few
minutes in a north-easterly direction brought us to the top of the
mountain, where the remains are to be seen. The situation is a
remarkably fine one. Precipices descending towards the sea encircle the
summit on the north and north-east, and the views across the Saronic
Gulf to Aegina, Salamis, and Megara are magnificent. Some mediaeval
remains, comprising walls and two or more ruined chapels, are to be seen
on the summit, and on its southern side, towards the village, there is a
ruined fortification wall built of large irregular blocks. Thus the
ancient fortress which occupied this commanding situation appears to
have been repaired and inhabited in the Middle Ages. What the name of
the place was in antiquity we do not know.

The villagers called my attention to several holes in the rocks between
the fortress and the village from which streams of warm air issue. The
air from one of the holes was hot enough to warm me, though the morning
was cold. In this particular hole, too, I could hear a rumbling sound as
of water boiling or wind blowing underground.

We left Ano-Phanari about ten o’clock and descended westward, out of
sight of the sea, into a small trough-like plain or valley surrounded on
all sides by rocky and barren mountains. Passing some insignificant
ruins in the little plain, we ascended the mountains northward by a
steep rocky path that led into a narrow upland valley running north and
south and enclosed by hills, the sides of which were shaggy with bushes
of various sorts. This dale we traversed from end to end. Through a
narrow opening or gorge in the mountains on its eastern side we obtained
a striking glimpse of part of the promontory of Methana, mostly in
shadow, but with gleams of sunshine resting on it here and there. At the
northern end of the valley, ascending a ridge, we saw stretched out
below us at some depth a wide open valley of roughly circular shape. Our
path, which was again very rugged, did not descend into the valley, but
skirted its eastern side, keeping up on the mountain, till it turned
eastward through a gap in the hills. On passing through the gap a view
of the sea with all its coasts and islands shining in the sun (for after
a dull morning the day had brightened) suddenly burst upon us. Salamis
was conspicuous to the north, and to the east of it appeared Mount
Pentelicus with the marble quarries visible even at that distance as
white patches on its side. Far below us lay Epidaurus, its little
peninsula stretching out into the blue bay. We were at a great height
above the sea, but now gradually descended to it in the direction of
Epidaurus by a steep rugged path running obliquely down the bushy side
of the mountain. Thus we came at last into a little maritime plain,
traversed it from south to north, and passing some lemon-groves reached
the modern village of Palaea Epidauros or Old Epidaurus about half-past

The village stands on the shore at the head of a deep narrow sheltered
inlet formed by the peninsula of ancient Epidaurus on the south and a
higher promontory, wooded with low green pines, on the north. Beside the
village a little headland runs out into the water; it is crowned with a
white-washed chapel of St. Nicholas, which stands in a large walled
enclosure with two cypress-trees growing in front of it. The church
seems to occupy the site of the sanctuary of Hera mentioned by

XXXI. METHANA.—Methana is still the name of the mountainous peninsula
which runs far out into the sea from the coast of Troezen, forming a
very conspicuous landmark in the Saronic Gulf. The isthmus which joins
it to the mainland, about a thousand feet wide, was fortified in the
Peloponnesian war by the Athenians, who established a fortified post on
the peninsula, whence they ravaged the coasts of Troezen and Epidaurus.
Remains of the wall across the isthmus may still be seen with the two
castles on the opposite shores. These fortifications were renewed in the
Middle Ages; and the Greeks attempted to make use of them in the War of
Independence. The peninsula itself is a mountainous mass of grand and
picturesque outline. In the heart of it the chief peak, the conical
Mount Chelona, rises to a height of between two and three thousand feet.
Most of the peninsula is of volcanic origin, the prevailing rock being a
dark red or brown trachyte. The general character of the scenery is one
of barren desolation, the whole region, with the exception of a few
narrow strips on the coast, being occupied by the sharp mountain-ridges
which radiate from Mount Chelona. Narrow gullies divide these ridges
from each other. Water is scarce, and the air dry and hot. The
inhabitants, however, contrive to cultivate patches of ground, supported
by terraces, high up on the mountain sides. The contrast is great
between this desolate and arid mountain-mass, and the rich and
well-watered plain of Troezen which adjoins it on the south.

XXXII. NAUPLIA.—Nauplia, now a busy flourishing seaport, and one of the
chief towns of Greece, occupies the northern side of a rocky peninsula
which juts out westward into the Argolic Gulf, near the head of the gulf
and on its eastern side. The northern side of the peninsula is flat, and
here the narrow and not too savoury streets of Nauplia are crowded
together. Thus the town looks across the harbour to the Argolic plain
and has no sea-view. The southern side of the peninsula, at the back of
the town, is a long and lofty rock called Itsh-Kaleh, which seems to
have been the original citadel of Nauplia; for ancient walls, built in
the polygonal style, may be seen in places serving as foundations for
the mediaeval and modern fortifications. Other remains of antiquity
exist in the shape of rock-cuttings, staircases, cisterns, and so forth.
The steep southern slope of the rock is thickly overgrown with cactus.
On the northern side of the peninsula, between it and the shore of the
Argolic plain, stretches the harbour which gives Nauplia its commercial
importance. Though spacious, it is very shallow; large steamers have to
anchor far out.

An isthmus connects the peninsula with the mainland. Immediately on the
landward, that is, eastern side of the isthmus, the massive and imposing
rock of Palamidi, one of the strongest fortresses in Greece, towers up
abruptly to a height of over seven hundred feet. The fortifications
which crown its summit were built by the Venetians and Turks; they now
serve as a prison. In their walls, as well as in the walls of
Itsh-Kaleh, are built many Venetian inscriptions, some of them bearing
the lion of St. Mark. Three sides of the mighty rock are precipitous,
but on the south-eastern side it is accessible, being joined by a ridge
to the hills. The ascent from Nauplia is by a long staircase at the
north-western corner of the fortress; it begins close to the gate of the
town. The name Palamidi is derived from Palamedes, the son of Nauplius.
Palamedium was probably the ancient name of the fortress, though no
classical writer mentions it. The prospect from the summit over the gulf
and plain of Argos, with the background of mountains encircling the
plain, is very fine. Nor is the view from the quay of Nauplia across the
bay to the mountains of Argolis one to be easily forgotten, especially
if seen by moonlight, when the sea is calm, the stars are shining, and
the tall yard-arms of the lateen-rigged craft stand out like black wings
against the sky, now blotting out and now disclosing a star as the boats
heave on the gentle swell.

XXXIII. THE SPRINGS OF THE ERASINUS.—From Argos the road to Tegea goes
south-west. At first it skirts the foot of the steep Larisa, and then
runs through the southern part of the Argolic plain. On the right rise
the mountains, of no great height, which bound the plain on the west.
About three miles from Argos we quit the highway and strike westward
towards the hills through a beautiful avenue of fine silver poplars,
plane-trees, and oleanders. It soon brings us to the springs.

The spot is very picturesque. A rugged mountain here descends in
precipices of yellowish limestone to the plain, and at its foot a body
of clear sparkling water comes rushing impetuously in several streams
from the rocks, partly issuing from a low cavern, partly welling up from
the ground. Under the rocks the water forms a pellucid but shallow pool,
where water-plants of a vivid green grow thickly; then flowing through
the arches of a wall, which partially dams up the pool, it is diverted
into several channels shaded by tall poplars, willows, and mulberries,
and so turns in a short space a dozen mills—the Mills of Argos, as they
are called. After watering the rice-fields, the channels unite once more
into a river, which finds its way into the sea through swampy ground,
among thick tangled beds of reeds and sedge, some three miles only from
its source at the foot of the hills. This river, the modern Kephalari,
is the Erasinus (‘the lovely river’) of antiquity. It is the only river
of the Argolic plain which flows summer and winter alike; and the
opinion both of the ancient and the modern Greeks that it is an outlet
of the Stymphalian lake in Arcadia appears to be well founded.

In the face of the limestone cliff, a few feet above the springs of the
river, are the mouths of two caves. A staircase leads up to them.
Passing through the mouth of the larger we find ourselves in a lofty
dimly-lighted cavern with an arched roof, like a Gothic cathedral, which
extends into the mountain for a distance of two hundred feet or more.
Water drips from the roof, forming long stalactites. Some light
penetrates into the cave from its narrow mouth, but even at high noon it
is but a dim twilight. Bats, the natural inhabitants of the gloomy
cavern, whir past our heads, as if resenting the intrusion. Several
branches open off the main cave. The longest of them, opening to the
left, communicates at its inmost end with the upper air by means of a
windowlike aperture. In another branch, also to the left, there is a
low, narrow, pitch-dark opening, which, if explored with a light,
reveals at its far end a crevice descending apparently into the bowels
of the mountain. The smaller of the two caves, to the north, is walled
off and forms a chapel of the Panagia Kephalariotissa. The worship of
Pan, which Pausanias mentions, may have been held in this or the
neighbouring cavern; for Pan, the shepherd’s god, loved to haunt caves,
and in these two caves shepherds with their flocks still seek shelter
from rain and storm. The chapel of the Panagia, in which there are some
ancient blocks, may very well have succeeded to a shrine of Pan, or
perhaps of Dionysus, who was also worshipped here. A festival is still
held annually on the spot on the eighteenth of April; it may be nothing
but a continuation, in a changed form, of the festival of Dionysus
called Tyrbe, which Pausanias mentions.

In summer the place is now a favourite resort of holiday-makers from
Argos, who take their pleasure in a white-washed summer-house or covered
shed at the mouth of the cave. The whole scene—the rocky precipices, the
shady caverns, the crystal stream, the tranquil pool, the verdure and
shade of the trees—is at once so beautiful and agreeable, that if it had
been near Athens it would probably have been renowned in song and
legend. But Argos had no Sophocles to sing its praises in immortal

XXXIV. THE LERNEAN MARSH.—Mount Pontinus, which rises above the village
of Lerna, is a hill of no great height, but of broad massive outline. On
its crest are seen from below against the sky the walls and towers of a
mediaeval castle crowning the summit. The slope of the hill towards
Lerna is on the whole even and uniform and tufted with low plants, but
toward the south-east it is broken by some high lines of rocks. The
carriage road from Argos skirts the foot of the hill and traverses the
village. Beside the road rise the springs both of the Pontinus brook and
the Amymone; and between the road and the sea is the Lernean marsh. In
approaching Lerna from Argos and entering the pass between Mount
Pontinus and the sea we first come to the rush-fringed spring of the
Pontinus on the left side of the road. The stream is a mere brook of
clear water bordered by rushes and tall grasses and almost choked with
green water-plants. A great part of the water is diverted at the spring
to turn a mill which stands on the shore. The whole course of the brook
from its source to the sea is only a few hundred yards.

After passing the source of the Pontinus and traversing in a few minutes
the village of Lerna we come to the springs of the Amymone, which rise
beside the road at the southern end of the village, a few yards to the
north of a white-washed chapel of St. John. The springs are copious and
issue from under rocks, forming at once a shallow pool of beautifully
clear water, from which the stream flows towards the sea in a bed
fringed with reeds. Great beds of reeds, marking the site of the Lernean
marsh, grow also beside the pool and in the narrow stretch of flat
swampy ground between it and the sea. A fig-tree has rooted itself among
the rocks from which the springs flow, and a few yards farther off are a
mulberry-tree and a silver poplar.

Some eighty yards or so to the north-east of the springs but completely
hidden by a screen of trees is the Alcyonian Lake described by
Pausanias. It is a pool of still, dark, glassy water surrounded by great
reeds and grasses and tall white poplars with silvery stems. Though
distant only about thirty yards from the highroad and the village, the
spot is as wild and lonely as if it lay in the depths of some pathless
forest of the New World. I sought it for some time in vain, and when at
last I came upon it, in the waning light of a winter afternoon,
everything seemed to enhance the natural horror of the scene. The sky
was dark save for one gleam of sunlit cloud which was reflected in the
black water of the pool. The wind sighed among the reeds and rustled the
thin leaves of the poplars. Altogether I could well imagine that
superstitions might gather about this lonely pool in the marsh. Of such
a spot in England tales of unhappy love, of murder and suicide, would be
told. To the Greeks of old it seemed one of the ways to hell. The man
who drove me from Argos said, like Pausanias, that the pool had never
been fathomed and was bottomless.

XXXV. THE ANIGRAEAN ROAD.—South of Lerna the road skirts the shore for
some distance. Leaving the village of Kiveri the path runs along the
slope of Mount Zavitza, which falls steeply to the sea on the left. This
is the district called Anigraea by Pausanias. The road is still, as it
was in his days, very rugged and bad. Now and then we come to a little
cove with a beach at the mouth of a narrow glen which cleaves the
mountain-side; elsewhere the sea is bordered throughout by sheer cliffs,
above which the path scrambles up hill and down dale. The sides of the
mountains are chiefly clothed with lentisks and wild olives, with a
patch of corn-field here and there. In about two hours and a half from
Kiveri the path arrives opposite the Anavolo, the ancient Dine. It is an
abundant source of fresh water rising in the sea, about a quarter of a
mile from the narrow beach under the cliffs. The body of fresh water
appears to be fully fifty feet in diameter. In calm weather it may be
seen rising with such force as to form a convex surface, disturbing the
sea for several hundred feet around. It is clearly the exit of a
subterraneous river of some magnitude, and thus corresponds with the
Dine of Pausanias. After clambering along the Anigraea for nearly three
hours, we find that the mountain abruptly ceases, and the maritime plain
of Thyrea stretches out before us to the south. This is what Pausanias
describes as “a tract of country on the left, reaching down to the sea,
where trees, especially olives, thrive well.” The plain is about five
miles long, but nowhere more than half that in breadth; its soil is a
rich loam; corn-fields and olive-groves cover its surface.

XXXVI. THE BATTLEFIELD OF SELLASIA.—At the present day the track from
Arachova to Sparta follows the bed of the Kelephina river (the ancient
Oenus) for some seven or eight miles. Path there is none. You ride in
the stony bed of the river, crossing its scanty water backwards and
forwards again and again. The scenery is picturesque, the river winding
between high banks, which are generally green with shrubs and trees.
Indeed many trees grow in the very bed of the stream, and the traveller
in riding has sometimes to be careful not to be knocked off by their
boughs. In front of us, as the valley widens, we get glimpses of the
high, blue, snowy range of Taygetus. The point at which, quitting the
bed of the stream, we ascend its western bank, and the whole magnificent
range of Taygetus appears in full view across the valley of the Eurotas,
was the scene of the battle of Sellasia.

XXXVII. SPARTA.—Ancient Sparta stood upon a broad stretch of fairly
level ground, broken by a few low eminences, on the right bank of the
Eurotas, where the river makes a bend to the south-east. Thus the city
was bounded on the north and east by the wide gravelly bed of the river.
Approaching from the north by the highroad from Tegea you cross the
river by a new iron bridge, then traversing a flat strip of ground
ascend through a hollow between two of the low eminences or hills which
were included within the circuit of ancient Sparta. Leaving these
eminences on the right and left you emerge to the south upon a level
stretch of cornland, with olive-trees thickly dotted over it. When I saw
it the wheat was breast high, and its waving surface, dappled with the
shadows of multitudinous olive-trees, presented a rich and park-like
aspect. This plain is about half a mile across; on the south it is
terminated by the low broad-backed ridge, running east and west, on
which stands the town of New Sparta.

This new town, which has sprung up since the War of Independence, is
charming. The streets, crossing each other at right angles, are broad
and pleasant. Many of the houses are surrounded by gardens, and the soft
verdure of the trees peeping over the low walls is grateful and
refreshing to the eyes. The gardens abound with orange-trees, which,
when laden with fruit, remind one of the gardens of the Hesperides. In
spring the air, even in the streets, is heavy with rich perfumes. On the
south the town is bounded by the river of Magoula, which here flows from
west to east, to fall into the Eurotas a little below the town, opposite
the steep heights of Therapnae. Westward the plain extends three or four
miles to the foot of the magnificent range of Taygetus, which rises
abruptly with steep rocky sides to the height of nearly eight thousand
feet. A conspicuous landmark to the west, viewed from Sparta, is the
sharp conical hill of Mistra, leaning upon, but still sharply defined
against, the Taygetus range. Though really a mountain over two thousand
feet high, it is completely dwarfed by the immense wall of Taygetus
rising at its back.

The country between Sparta and Taygetus offers points of the most
picturesque beauty, especially if, instead of following the highroad,
which is rather tame, you strike straight across for Mistra from the
ruined theatre of Old Sparta. It was a bright evening in spring or early
summer (towards the end of April, but summer is earlier in Greece than
in England) when I took this walk, and the impression it made on me was
ineffaceable. The orange-groves, the gardens fresh and green on all
sides, men taking their ease in the warm evening air at a picturesque
tavern under a great spreading tree, children playing in the green
lanes, a group of Spartan maidens filling their pitchers at a spring
that gurgled from a grey time-worn wall, a river (the Magoula) spanned
by a quaint old bridge and winding through groves of orange-trees
spangled with golden fruit, and towering above all the stupendous
snow-clad range of Taygetus in the west, with the sunset sky above
it—all this made up a picture or rather a succession of pictures, of
which it is impossible to convey in words the effect. It was a dream of
Arcadia, the Arcadia of poets, and of painters like the Poussins.

In this union of luxuriant verdure with grand mountain scenery the
valley of Sparta recalls the more famed but not more beautiful Granada
with its green spreading Vega, its lilac-tinted mountains basking under
the bright sky of Spain, and the snowy range of the Sierra Nevada lying
like a great white cloud on the southern horizon. But Taygetus towers
above the spectator at Sparta as the Sierra Nevada certainly does not
over the spectator at Granada. To see it on a bright day with all its
superb outline—its sharp peaks and grand sweeping curves—clearly defined
in the pellucid air, its long line of snowy summits glistering in the
sun, and the deep purple shadows brooding on its lower slopes, is a
sight not to be forgotten. A recent explorer of Greece has observed that
of all Greek cities Sparta enjoys the most beautiful situation. So far
as my experience goes, the observation is just.

XXXVIII. MISTRA.—The scenery of the district at the eastern foot of
Mount Taygetus, to which Pausanias here conducts us, is well described
by Vischer as follows: “ While in Therapne, Amyclae, and the round
buildings of Vaphio and Marmalia we met with vestiges of a very ancient
civilisation which flourished in the plain of the Eurotas before the
Dorian invasion; on the other hand when we reach the first line of the
rocky heights of Taygetus, we find ourselves in the Middle Ages—in the
days of the Franks and the Byzantines. The first stage of Taygetus rises
abruptly from the plain in bold cliffs broken by many gullies, from
which the mountain torrents issue. Crowning with its picturesque ruins
the summit of one of these heights, an hour’s ride to the west of
Sparta, is the fortress of Mistra, built by William de Villehardouin in
the middle of the thirteenth century. Below the castle, on the
mountain-side, is spread the extensive town, once a place of much more
importance, now half in ruins, with its numerous churches and
monasteries falling into decay. Yet for the traveller, in spite of its
decay, Mistra must remain in virtue of its situation one of the most
enchanting spots which he can find in Greece or anywhere; and the
prospect from the castle height, on the one side over the whole plain,
on the other side up to the snowy peaks of Taygetus, across the fruitful
levels and wooded slopes of the first step in the mountain staircase,
needs only a view of the sea to be second to none.

“ The whole neighbourhood, too, is one of indescribable beauty. The way
from New Sparta by the village of Magoula, which lies scattered among
fruit-trees of every sort, is delightful enough. It passes through a
plain watered by fresh brooks, where the drooping branches of the
olive-trees and fig-trees often literally bar the way, and in riding one
has to take heed not to be hung by the head among the boughs. But all
this is almost forgotten when we ride from Mistra by Parori and
Hagiannis along the foot of the mountains to Sklavochori. On this ride
all the beauties of the Eurotas valley are crowded together; for here we
have wild magnificence combined with the luxuriant loveliness of a rich
southern vegetation. Parori, which lies close to Mistra and was formerly
a suburb of it, is at the mouth of a dark and deep gorge, from which a
stream comes brawling. This gorge is pointed out to travellers as the
Caeadas, the gully into which the Spartans used to throw prisoners of
war and afterwards malefactors; and certainly the Caeadas, as well as
the Apothetae, where weakly children were exposed, is to be sought in
one of the ravines of Mount Taygetus, of which hardly any appears so
stern and awful as the one at Parori. At the mouth of the gorge, just
above the village, there is a very lovely spot. From a Turkish fountain
there pours a copious stream of water, which trickles through creeping
plants of all sorts into a large basin, and before it stand some fine

“Farther on, the way winds through wood and thicket, where fruit-trees
alternate with tall oaks, elms, and plane-trees, to the village of
Hagiannis, hidden among groves of oranges, lemons, fig-trees, and
olives. Amongst the woods dark cypresses rise singly like columns; many
Judas-trees stood in full blossom, forming with their rosy red a
pleasant contrast to the various shades of green, while the oleanders,
growing as high as trees beside every rill, had not yet unfolded their
buds. Wild vines climb to the very topmost boughs, and many other
creepers, such as ivy, bindweed, and clematis, often weave trees and
shrubs into an impenetrable thicket. In wealth of vegetation this
district is unsurpassed in Greece, and no one who has set foot on Greek
soil should fail to visit it. Yet it often happens that travellers,
satisfied with having visited Sparta, turn back from it immediately, and
then, full of the impressions left on them by the plains of Tripolitza,
of Argolis, and of the neighbourhood of Athens, complain that there are
no trees in Greece.”

The present writer, though he was not farther south than Parori, can
confirm the general accuracy of this description. The view of the
beautiful valley of Sparta from the steep hill of Mistra, crowded with
monuments of the Middle Ages, and dominated by the towering mass of
Mount Taygetus, which rises like a wall behind it, combines almost every
element of natural beauty and historical association. Immediately below
the Frankish castle, which crowns the summit of the hill, are the ruins
of a spacious Byzantine palace, once the residence of the governor of
the Morea, who ranked next after the emperor. Its great hall opened on
the palace garden, from the terrace of which the wonderful view is to be
had over the valley. Again, the fountain, described by Vischer, at the
mouth of the tremendous gorge, is a scene not to be forgotten. The water
gushes from many mouths in the face of a wall built against the rock. A
stone seat encircles the trunk of the great spreading plane-tree which
fronts the fountain. All this, with the gloomy gorge behind, makes up a
picture such as is oftener seen in dreams than in reality. Once more,
the village of Trypi, situated a little to the north of Mistra, at the
entrance of the famed Langada pass over Mount Taygetus, is one of
idyllic beauty. It is embowered among woods and orchards on the
mountain-side; and entering it from the south you pass the mouth of a
narrow glen carpeted with ferns and overarched with trees.

XXXIX. ON THE ROAD FROM SPARTA TO ARCADIA.—Pausanias now returns from
Mount Taygetus to Sparta and sets off northward by the road which led to
Megalopolis in Arcadia. As far as the Arcadian frontier the track
follows the valley of the Eurotas, keeping on the right or west bank of
the river and generally running close to the stream, the banks of which
are fringed with oleanders, fig-trees, and planes. For the first three
miles the valley is open and possesses that combination of charms which
renders the vale of Sparta the most beautiful region of Greece. The
river flows on the whole at the foot of the somewhat bare hills which
rise on the eastern side of the valley, dipping their rocky declivities
in many places in its water. But on the other side low rolling hills,
covered with excellent soil and intersected by streams, stretch away to
where the long range of Taygetus stands up against the western sky, its
majestic snowy peaks contrasting finely with the dark woods of its lower
slopes and the luxuriant vegetation of the valley. In this open part of
the valley must have lain all the places and objects mentioned by
Pausanias between Sparta and the image of Modesty; but no one has yet
ventured to identify them. About three miles from Sparta the valley
contracts and the scenery changes. We are no longer in a great open
valley covered with luxuriant vegetation and enclosed by grand
mountains. It is a narrow dale through which we are passing, hemmed in
by low hills, at the foot of which the river flows between banks thickly
wooded with willows, poplars, oleanders, and plane-trees. Well-tilled
fields lie on the gentle lower slopes of the hills and occupy the
stretches of flat land where the hills retire from the river. The bare
upper declivities are dotted here and there with a few olives.

XL. CAPE MALEA.—The sides of Cape Malea, the south-eastern extremity of
the Greek mainland and of Europe, are formed by dizzy crags, about a
thousand feet high, of dark bare rock, seamed and scarred in places by
cracks and fissures. At the extreme end of the cape there is a great
natural recess in the cliff; and here in the face of the bluff, about
two hundred and fifty feet above the sea, there is a tiny terrace
sloping to the perpendicular edge of the precipice. Two chapels are
built on the terrace, and close by, partly hewn in the rock, is the cell
of a half-naked and nearly savage hermit. From the terrace you may
clamber down, at the risk of your neck, to a cave opening on the foam of
the great rollers which break here eternally. In the inmost corner of
the cave is a heap of human bones. The sense of utter solitude and
isolation from the world which the spot is fitted to evoke in the mind
is broken by the sight of passing vessels. In fair weather steamers of
all nations pass continually; and small Greek sailing-boats, with their
reddish-brown or white lateen sails, skim along close under the cliffs.
But the cape has a bad name for storms and heavy surf; at times even
large steamers are unable to weather it for a week together. There was
an ancient proverb, “When you have rounded Malea, forget your home.”

XLI. MONEMVASIA.—The ancient Minoa[8] is now Monemvasia, an island about
half a mile long, close to the shore, with which it is connected by a
long old stone bridge. The island is a lofty precipitous rock,
resembling Gibraltar, or the Bass Rock and Dumbarton Rock in Scotland.
The summit, crowned by the ruins of a mediaeval fortress and a mass of
tumble-down roofless churches and houses overgrown with weeds, is now
only a sheepwalk. From the summit the rock falls away in sheer and lofty
precipices, especially on the north. The modern town lies huddled up at
the foot of the cliffs on the southern side. Strong walls encircle it,
which are connected with the ruined fortress on the top of the rock.
Within the walls everything is fast falling to decay. Fine churches,
high archways, great private houses, all deserted and in ruins, testify
to the former prosperity and the present decline of the town. Trade has
quite deserted it; the coasting steamers call only at rare intervals.
From the town a zigzag path leads up the face of the rock to the old
citadel on the summit.


Footnote 8:

  The reference is to Minoa on the eastern coast of Laconia, not to the
  better known but less picturesque Minoa near Megara.


In the Middle Ages Monemvasia was one of the chief places of the
Levantine trade and one of the strongest fortresses in the Morea. It
gave its name to Malmsey wine, which was grown in the Cyclades,
especially Tenos, but was called after the port whence it was shipped to
the west.

XLII. MAINA.—The great central peninsula of southern Greece, which
Pausanias describes in detail, has been known since the Middle Ages by
the name of Maina or Mani. The backbone of the peninsula is the great
range of Taygetus, which runs south till it terminates in Taenarum, the
modern Cape Matapan, the southern extremity of Greece. The scenery of
the peninsula is wild and savage; the villages, hedged in by
impenetrable thickets of cactus, cling like eagles’ eyries to the faces
of apparently inaccessible cliffs, and are reached by stony and
exceedingly toilsome footpaths—the only semblance of roads in these
secluded highlands. Almost everywhere the surface is nothing but the
naked rock. Wood there is none, but a few bushes and here and there some
tufts of grass have rooted themselves in the crevices of the rocks, and
furnish a scanty pasture to the sheep and goats. The miserable stony
soil, wherever it exists, is carefully husbanded by means of terraces,
and under the soft southern sky of Laconia yields a tolerable return.
There are no springs or brooks; water is obtained only from cisterns,
which are kept closed by their owners, and leave to draw from them has
to be paid for.

The inhabitants, the Mainotes, Mainiotes, or Maniates, are a hardy and
warlike race of mountaineers, who claim to be descended from the ancient
Spartans. In the fastnesses of their rugged mountains they are said to
have retained their primitive heathenism till the latter half of the
ninth century; and the Turks never succeeded in subjugating them. As
pirates they were greatly dreaded. They are still notorious for the
relentless ferocity of their blood-feuds, which are so common that every
family of importance has a tower in which to take refuge from the
avengers of blood. In these towers persons implicated in a blood-feud
have been known to live for many years without ever coming out. To this
day many heads of families dare not quit their shelter except under a
strong guard of armed retainers. A village will contain twenty to thirty
of such strongholds. Each tower is surrounded by a few low huts, which
serve as workshops and as the lodgings of the subordinate members of the
household. Frequently tower and huts together are enclosed within a
fortification wall strengthened with turrets and loopholed. Bitter feuds
often rage between the towers of the same village.

XLIII. PHARAE AND THE MESSENIAN PLAIN.—The ancient Pharae, or Pherae,
probably occupied the site of the modern Kalamata, an industrial town
situated on the left bank of the broad stony bed of the Nedon, a mile
from the sea. Telemachus, in search of his father, lodged for the night
at Pharae on his way from Pylus to Sparta, and again on his return. It
is a long day’s ride from Sparta to Kalamata, by the magnificent Langada
pass over Mount Taygetus. Pausanias does not mention the name of the
river on which Pharae stood, but from Strabo we learn that it was the
Nedon. It is a torrent which issues from a rocky gorge in Mount
Taygetus, about a mile to the north-east of a steep hill that rises at
the back of the town. This hill is crowned with a mediaeval castle,
built or occupied successively by Franks, Venetians, and Turks. The
presence of ancient hewn stones in the walls, as well as the whole
arrangement of the fortress, seem to show that a castle stood here in
antiquity also. There are no other relics of antiquity in Kalamata.

The town, with its narrow winding streets and lively bazaar, lies in the
great Messenian plain, near its south-eastern extremity. This plain,
open to the south and sheltered from the north by mountains, is the
warmest part of Greece, and on account of its wonderful fertility was
known to the ancients as Makaria or the Happy Land. Its natural wealth
and delightful climate were celebrated by Euripides in a lost play, of
which some lines have been preserved by Strabo. Here at the present day
groves of oranges, lemons, fig-trees, olives, and vineyards succeed each
other, all fenced by gigantic hedges of prickly and fantastically-shaped
cactuses and sword-like aloes, which, with the hot air, remind a
traveller from northern Europe that he is in a sub-tropical climate.

XLIV. MESSENE.—From Kalamata, the probable site of the ancient Pharae,
the road to Messene runs north-west across the fertile Messenian plain
between hedges of huge fantastically-shaped cactuses and groves of
fig-trees, olives, and vines. In front of us loom nearer and nearer the
twin peaks of Ithome and Eva rising boldly and abruptly from a single
base on the western side of the plain, and forming the natural citadel,
as it were, of the whole country. As we near their base we quit the
dusty highway and strike westward up the mountain-side by devious and
rocky paths. This brings us in time to the monastery of Vourkano, where
visitors to Messene generally spend the night.

The monastery is beautifully situated on the eastern slope of the
mountain, about a quarter of an hour’s walk below the saddle which
unites the twin peaks. The buildings, arranged in the form of a
quadrangle round a little church, stand on a fine open terrace among
cypresses, oaks, and wild olives, commanding an unimpeded view over the
Messenian plain southward to the shining waters of the gulf and
northward to where the plain ends at the foot of the hills. Ithome and
its sister peak rise from the plain about midway between these northern
hills and the gulf. Mount Eva, the lower of the two peaks, lies to the
south or south-east of Ithome, with which it is connected by a ridge or
saddle about half-way up the two mountains. The eastern wall of Messene
stood and still stands in ruins on this saddle. The city itself lay on
the western side, in the cup formed by the converging slopes of the two
mountains. The site may be compared to an immense theatre, of which the
back is formed by the saddle in question and the wings by Mount Ithome
and Mount Eva. The wretched hamlet of Mavromati lies nearly in the
middle of this theatre-like hollow; there are many remains of antiquity
in its neighbourhood. But the site of the ancient city is now chiefly
occupied by corn-fields, vineyards, and olive-groves.

The view from the top of Ithome is magnificent. The whole of the rich
Messenian plain lies stretched out beneath us. To the south the full
sweep of the Messenian gulf is seen, with the glorious snow-capped range
of Taygetus bounding both plain and gulf on the east. High up on
Taygetus is visible the gap through which the Langada pass runs. Over
this pass, which forms the direct route between Sparta and Messenia, the
Spartans must have often marched to attack their ancient foes; and it
seems just possible that the gleam of their burnished arms in the
sunshine, as the army defiled over the pass, may have been visible to
the sentinels on Ithome. Farther to the north we see the mountains of
Arcadia, with the Lycaean group conspicuous on the north-east. Westward
the view is in general bounded by nearer and lower hills, but where they
dip on the north-west and again on the south-west we catch glimpses of
the Ionian or, as the ancients also called it, the Sicilian sea.

XLV. ON THE ROAD TO OLYMPIA.—The Erymanthus, descending from the lofty
mountains of north-western Arcadia, flows between hills into the broad
open valley of the Alpheus and joins that river on its northern bank. At
its junction with the Alpheus it flows over gravel between abrupt cliffs
of pudding-stone. Its water, seen at least from the southern side of the
wide valley on a sunny day, is of a bright blue colour. After fording
the river and climbing the farther bank, the path leads through open
pastures, and then, to avoid a great bend of the river, ascends a pass
or woody gorge, where fine oaks and pines, now singly now in clumps, are
scattered in wild variety. When we have reached the summit and begin to
descend again towards the Alpheus, a series of magnificent views of the
river winding between wooded hills opens up before us. For beyond the
meeting of its waters with the Erymanthus, the valley of the Alpheus
assumes a softer and gayer aspect. Moderate heights rise on the right
bank, their gentle slopes thickly wooded with trees and shrubs of the
most varied sorts. Pine-trees, maples, planes, and tall lentisk bushes
succeed each other, varied here and there by fields and green pastures.
Across the Alpheus lie the beautiful wooded hills of Triphylia, where
many a picturesque village is seen nestling among pine-woods, and many a
height, crowned by church or ruins, stands out abruptly and
precipitously above the river. The whole country, with its woods and
streams, and the broad river flowing majestically through the middle of
the landscape, is like a great park. The illusion, however, is broken by
the path, which scrambles up hill and down dale, struggles through
thickets, and splashes through streams and torrents, in a fashion which
resembles anything rather than the trim well-kept walks and avenues of
an English park. Such is the scenery and such the path by which
Pausanias is now moving westward towards Olympia.

Dio Chrysostom has described how he lost his way in this charming
country and fell in with an old dame of the Meg Merrilies type who
professed to have the gift of second sight. He says: “Going on foot from
Heraea to Pisa by the side of the Alpheus, I was able, up to a certain
point, to make out the path. But by and by I found myself in a forest
and on broken ground, with many tracks leading to sheepfolds and
cattle-pens. And meeting with no one of whom I could ask the way I
strayed from the path and wandered up and down. It was high noon; and
seeing on a height a clump of oaks, as it might be a grove, I betook
myself thither, in the hope that from thence I might spy some path or
house. Here then I found stones piled carelessly together, and skins of
sacrificed animals hanging up, with clubs and staves, the offerings, as
I supposed, of shepherds; and a little way off, seated on the ground,
was a tall and stalwart dame, somewhat advanced in years, in rustic
attire, with long grey hair. Of her I asked what these things might be.
She answered, very civilly, in a broad Doric accent, that the spot was
sacred to Hercules, and as for herself, she had a son a shepherd and
often minded the sheep herself; that by the grace of the Mother of the
Gods she had the gift of second sight, and all the herdsmen and farmers
of the neighbourhood came to ask her about their crops and cattle.”

XLVI. OLYMPIA.—Olympia lies on the right or north bank of the Alpheus,
where the river meanders westward through a spacious valley enclosed by
low wooded hills of soft and rounded forms, beyond which appear on the
eastern horizon the loftier mountains of Arcadia. The soil of the
valley, being alluvial, is fertile; corn-fields and vineyards stretch
away in all directions. The whole aspect of the scene, without being
grand or impressive, is rich, peaceful, and pleasing. The bed of the
Alpheus is wide; but in summer the water is scanty and is divided into
several streams running over a broad gravelly bed. The sacred precinct
or Altis of Olympia lies between the river on the south and a low but
steep hill, thickly wooded with pine-trees and shrubs, which rises on
the north. This wooded hill is the ancient Mount Cronius. Immediately to
the west of the precinct the Cladeus flows between steep sandy banks
into the Alpheus from the north.

In the close hot climate of Olympia the need of a good supply of
drinking water is especially felt. For months together rain hardly
falls; between May and October a shower is a rarity. The great festival
was always held in summer (July or August), when the weather at Olympia
is cloudless and the heat intense. Hence the multitudes who flocked to
witness the games must have been much distressed by the dust and the
burning sun, against which the spreading shade of the plane-trees in the
sacred precinct could have afforded only an imperfect protection. Indeed
Lucian, doubtless with a strong touch of exaggeration, speaks of the
spectators packed together and dying in swarms of thirst and of
distemper contracted from the excessive drought. The water of the
Alpheus is not good to drink, for even in the height of summer it holds
in solution a quantity of chalky matter. The water of the Cladeus, on
the other hand, is drinkable in its normal state; but even a little rain
swells it and makes it run turbid for a long time. Hence it was
necessary to sink wells and to bring water from a distance. This was
done even in Greek times. Nine wells, some square, some round, some
lined with the usual shell-limestone, others with plaques of
terra-cotta, have been found at Olympia; and water was brought in
aqueducts from the upper valley of the Cladeus. But in Roman times the
supply was immensely improved and extended by the munificence of the
wealthy sophist Herodes Atticus. Lucian tells us how the mountebank
Peregrinus denounced Herodes and his aqueduct for pandering to the
luxury and effeminacy of the day. It was the duty of the spectators, he
said, to endure their thirst, and if need be to die of it. This doctrine
proved unacceptable to his hearers, and the preacher had to run for his
life pursued by a volley of stones.

XLVII. PHIDIAS’S IMAGE OF OLYMPIAN ZEUS.—The testimony of antiquity to
the extraordinary beauty and majesty of the image is very strong. The
Roman general Paulus Aemilius was deeply moved by the sight of it; he
felt as if in the presence of the god himself, and declared that Phidias
alone had succeeded in embodying the Homeric conception of Zeus. Cicero
says that Phidias fashioned the image, not after any living model, but
after that ideal beauty which he saw with the inward eye alone.
Quintilian asserts that the beauty of the image served to strengthen
religion, the majesty of the image equalling the majesty of the god. A
poet declared that either the god must have come from heaven to earth to
show Phidias his image, or that Phidias must have gone to heaven to
behold it. The statue was reckoned one of the seven wonders of the
world, and to die without having seen it was deemed a misfortune. The
rhetorician Dio Chrysostom, a man of fine taste, extolled it in one of
his speeches. He calls it “the most beautiful image on earth, and the
dearest to the gods.” He represents Phidias speaking of his “peaceful
and gentle Zeus, the overseer, as it were, of united and harmonious
Greece, whom by the help of my art and of the wise and good city of Elis
I set up, mild and august in an unconstrained attitude, the giver of
life and breath and all good things, the common father and saviour of
mankind.” And again in a fine passage he says: “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.”

XLVIII. THE HERMES OF PRAXITELES.—Hermes is represented standing with
the infant Dionysus on his left arm, and the weight of his body resting
on his right foot. His form is the perfection of manly grace and vigour;
the features of his oval face, under the curly hair that encircles his
brow, are refined, strong, and beautiful; their expression is tender and
slightly pensive. The profile is of the straight Greek type, with “the
bar of Michael Angelo” over the eyebrows. The left arm of the god rests
upon the stump of a tree, over which his mantle hangs loosely in rich
folds, that contrast well with his nude body. His right arm is raised.
The child Dionysus lays his right hand confidingly on the shoulder of
Hermes; his gaze is fixed on the object, whatever it was, which Hermes
held in his right hand, and his missing left arm must have been
stretched out (as it appears in the restoration) towards the same
object. As most of Hermes’s right arm is wanting, we cannot know for
certain what he had in his right hand. Probably it was a bunch of
grapes. In a wall-painting at Pompeii a satyr is represented holding the
infant Dionysus on his left arm, while in his raised right hand he
dangles a bunch of grapes, after which the child reaches. It is highly
probable that this painting is an imitation, not necessarily at first
hand, of the work of Praxiteles; and if so, it affords a strong ground
for supposing that the missing right hand of the Hermes held a bunch of
grapes. The only objection of any weight to this view is that in the
statue Hermes is not looking at the child, as we should expect him to
be, but is gazing past him into the distance with what has been
described as a listening or dreamy look. Hence it has been suggested
that Hermes held a pair of cymbals or castanets in his hand, to the
sound of which both he and the child are listening; and a passage of
Calpurnius has been quoted in which Silenus is represented holding the
infant Dionysus on his arm and amusing him by shaking a rattle. This
certainly would well explain the attitude and look of Hermes; but on the
other hand cymbals or a rattle would not serve so well as a bunch of
grapes to characterise the infant Dionysus. The same may be said of the
suggestion that Hermes, as god of gain, held aloft a purse and was
listening to the chinking of the money in it. In his left hand Hermes
probably held his characteristic attribute, a herald’s staff; the round
hole for it in the hand is still visible.

On his head he seems to have worn a metal wreath; the deep groove for
fastening it on may be seen in the back part of the hair. Traces of dark
red paint were perceived on the hair and on the sandal of the foot when
the statue was found; the colour is supposed to have been laid on as
ground for gilding. The back of the statue, which would not be seen
well, is not carefully finished; it still shows the strokes of the
chisel. Otherwise the technical finish is exquisite. The differences of
texture between the delicate white skin of the god, the leather straps
of the sandals, the woollen stuff of the cloak, and the curly hair of
the head, are expressed in the most masterly way.

A late distinguished critic was of opinion that the Hermes is an early
work of Praxiteles, executed before he had attained a full mastery of
his art. Such a view, it would seem, can only be held by one who knows
the statue solely from photographs and casts. But no reproductions
afford an adequate idea of the beauty of the original. Engravings of it
are often no better than caricatures. Again, the dead white colour and
the mealy texture of casts give no conception of the soft, glossy,
flesh-like, seemingly elastic surface of the original, which appears to
glow with divine life. Looking at the original, it seems impossible to
conceive that Praxiteles or any man ever attained to a greater mastery
over stone than is exhibited in this astonishing work.

XLIX. LASION.—Pausanias has omitted to mention an ancient town that lay
in the wild upper valley of the Peneus, in the heart of the Elean
highlands, not far from the Arcadian frontier. This was Lasion, a place
which, from its proximity to the Arcadian boundary, was the subject of
border feuds, the Arcadians claiming possession of it, though in fact it
appears to have belonged properly to Elis. It changed hands several
times in the fifth, fourth, and third centuries B.C. The ruins of this
secluded little town were discovered by G. F. Welcker in 1842 near
Koumani, a village at the head waters of the Peneus. They may be visited
on the way from Olympia to Psophis, though the visit necessitates a
short detour to the west.

The route first follows the valley of the Cladeus through soft woodland
scenery of the richest and most charming kind, between low hills crowned
with clumps of pines. Then, still following the glen of the Cladeus, we
ascend through romantically beautiful forests of pines and ancient oaks,
and emerge on a wide breezy tableland, backed on the north by the high
mountains of northern Arcadia. In the middle of the plateau, which is
open and well cultivated, lies the scattered village of Lala. Crossing
the northern end of the tableland, which is here carpeted with ferns, we
again ascend a steep slope, and find ourselves on a still higher
tableland, covered with fine oak forests. After traversing the forest
for some time we quit the path to Psophis, which continues to run
northward, and take a path which strikes westward. The time from Lala to
the parting of the ways is about two hours. Another half-hour’s ride
through the forest, which grows denser as we advance, brings us to
Koumani, a trim well-to-do village, beautifully situated among
oak-woods. The time from Olympia is about six hours.

The ruins of Lasion, now called Kouti, are to the north of the village,
apparently on the same level with it, but a profound ravine divides them
from the village, and half an hour’s laborious descent and ascent of its
steep sides are needed to bring us to the ruins. The site is an
exceedingly strong one. Two tributaries of the Peneus, coming from the
higher mountains to the north-east, flow in deep ravines, which meet at
an acute angle. Between them stretches a long, comparatively narrow
ridge or tongue of land, which on three sides falls steeply down to the
glens; only on the east the ascent is gentle. The top of the ridge is
quite flat, and well adapted to be the site of a city. At one point it
narrows to a mere isthmus or neck which divides the level summit into
two parts, an eastern and a western. The western and smaller part was
doubtless the ancient citadel; a finely-built wall of ashlar masonry,
extending across the narrowest point of the neck, divides it from the
rest of the city. The eastern and larger part of the ridge is more or
less covered with ruins, and at its eastern end, where the ascent is
easiest, a very fine piece of the city wall is still standing. Square
towers, about seven feet broad, project from it at intervals. Walls and
towers are built of well and regularly cut blocks; the masonry resembles
that of Messene. There seem to be no traces of fortification walls on
any other side of the plateau; perhaps none existed, the inhabitants
thinking the deep ravines a sufficient defence.

The situation of Lasion is not only strong but beautiful. Tall
plane-trees overhang the streams in the deep glens far below the ruins.
To the north and north-east rises at no great distance the grand and
massive range of Mount Erymanthus; while westward the view extends,
between the heights that hem in the narrow valley of the Peneus, away
over the lowlands of Elis to the distant sea.

L. THE ERYMANTHUS.—The first sight I had of the Erymanthus, among the
mountains of northern Arcadia, is one of the scenes that dwell in the
memory. We had been travelling for hours through the thick oak-woods
which cover the outlying slopes and spurs of Mount Erymanthus on the
south, when suddenly, emerging from the forest, we looked down into a
long valley, through which flowed, between hills wooded to their
summits, a shining river, the Erymanthus. At the far end of the valley
high blue mountains closed the view. The scene, arched by the bright
Greek sky, was indeed Arcadian.

LI. THE MONASTERY OF MEGASPELEUM.—The ancient Buraicus is the stream now
called the Kalavryta river because it descends from the town of that
name. The valley, which is broad and open at Kalavryta, contracts to the
north of the town into a narrow defile flanked by huge rocks. In this
narrow valley is the great monastery of Megaspeleum, the largest and
wealthiest monastery in Greece, and indeed one of the largest and
richest monasteries of the Eastern Church. Formerly it had dependencies
even in Russia. The building and its situation are in the highest degree
picturesque. It is a huge whitewashed pile, with wooden balconies on the
outside, eight stories high, perched at a great height above the right
bank of the river, on the steep slope of a mountain and immediately
overhung by an enormous beetling crag which runs sheer up for some
hundreds of feet above the roof of the monastery. It is this overhanging
cliff which gives to the monastery its name of Megaspeleum (‘great
cave’). So completely does it overarch the lofty building that when in
the War of Independence the Egyptian soldiers of Ibrahim Pacha attempted
to destroy the monastery by letting fall masses of rock upon it from the
cliff above, the rocks fell clear of the monastery, leaving it unharmed.
The steep slope of the mountain below is occupied by the terraced
gardens of the monks, which with their rich vegetation, and the
cypresses rising here and there above them, add greatly to the charm of
the scene. A single zigzag path leads up this steep terraced slope to
the monastery. The bare precipices above, crowned with forests, the deep
wooded valley below, and the mountains rising steeply on the farther
side, make up a landscape of varied delight and grandeur, on which a
painter would love to dwell.

LII. THE GULF OF CORINTH.—After describing the view from the monastery
of Troupia on the hill of Bura, Leake makes the following remarks on the
scenery of the Gulf of Corinth, which are worth transcribing because
they convey the impression made by this wonderfully beautiful gulf on
one who in general was not given to dwell on the charms of nature. He
says: “I doubt whether there is anything in Greece, abounding as it is
in enchanting scenery and interesting recollections, that can rival the
Corinthiac Gulf. There is no lake scenery in Europe that can compete
with it. Its coasts, broken into an infinite variety of outline by the
ever-changing mixture of bold promontory, gentle slope, and cultivated
level, are crowned on every side by lofty mountains of the most pleasing
and majestic forms; the fine expanse of water inclosed in this noble
frame, though not so much frequented by ships as it ought to be by its
natural adaptation to commerce, is sufficiently enlivened by vessels of
every size and shape to present at all times an animated scene. Each
step in the Corinthiac Gulf presents to the traveller a new prospect,
not less delightful to the eye than interesting to the mind, by the
historical fame and illustrious names of the objects which surround him.
And if, in the latter peculiarity, the celebrated panorama of the
Saronic Gulf, described by Sulpicius, be preferable, that arm of the
Aegaean is in almost every part inferior to the Corinthian sea in
picturesque beauty; the surrounding mountains are less lofty and less
varied in their heights and outlines, and, unless where the beautiful
plain of Athens is sufficiently near to decorate the prospect, it is a
picture of almost unmitigated sterility and rocky wildness exhibited in
every possible form of mountain, promontory, and island. It must,
however, be admitted that it is only by comparison that such a scene can
be depreciated.” I can only confirm this estimate of the superior charms
of the Gulf of Corinth. Its waters seemed to me of an even deeper blue;
and the delicacy of the morning and evening tints—azure, lilac, and
rose—on the mountains is such that it is hard in looking at them to
believe they are of the solid earth; so unsubstantial, so fairy-like do
they seem, like the gorgeous phantasmagoria of cloudland or mountains
seen in dreams.

LIII. ON THE COAST OF ACHAIA.—Pausanias continues to move eastward along
the coast of Achaia. Beyond the Buraicus river, where it issues from its
romantic gorge, the strip of fertile plain which has skirted the coast
all the way from Aegium comes to an end. The mountains now advance to
the shore, and the road runs for a short distance along the summit of
cliffs that border the coast. Then the mountains again retreat from the
shore, leaving at their base a small maritime plain clothed with
olive-groves. A stream, the river of Diakopton, crosses the plain and
flows into the sea. It comes down from a wild and magnificent gorge,
thickly wooded with tall firs and shut in by stupendous precipices of
naked rock. Seen at nightfall under a lowering sky, with wreaths of
white mist drooping low on the black mountains, the entrance to this
gloomy gorge might pass for the mouth of hell; one could fancy Dante and
his guide wending their way into it in the darkness.

Eastward of this little plain the mountains, covered with pine forests,
again rise in precipices from the sea, hemming in the railway at their
foot. A line of fine crags runs along the face of the mountains for a
long way, their crests tufted with pine-woods, and the lower slopes at
their feet also clothed in the same mantle of sombre green.

LIV. PELLENE.—The scanty and insignificant ruins of Pellene are situated
on the summit of a mountain which rises on the western side of the river
of Trikala (the ancient Sythas), near the small hamlet of Zougra. It is
a ride of two hours and a half from Xylokastro, the little town at the
mouth of the river, to Zougra. We cross the river by a large stone
bridge not far from its mouth, and then ascend the valley on the western
bank of the stream. The bottom of the valley is fruitful; vineyards and
fine groves of olives occupy the greater part of it, and tall cypresses
rise here and there, like dark spires, above the greener foliage. The
hills which enclose the valley on the east and west are not very high,
but they are gashed and tortured by great scaurs and precipices of white
and whity-brown earth. On the western side of the valley in particular a
long line of high white precipices runs almost unbroken along the brow
of the hills. The white, probably argillaceous, earth, which is thus
cleft and gouged into precipices, is the same which forms the great
precipices on the eastern side of Sicyon. Indeed it prevails nearly all
the way along the southern coast of the Gulf of Corinth from Sicyon to
Derveni, near Aegira. This chalky earth forms a plateau of varying
height, separated from the shore by a stretch of level plain which
averages perhaps a mile in width. The seaward face of the plateau is
steep, high, and white; its edges are sharp as if cut with a knife, and
ragged like the edge of a saw. Every here and there it is rent by a
stream or torrent which has scooped a deep bed for itself out of the
friable soil. The valley of the Sythas, up which we go to Pellene, is
nothing but one of these water-worn rifts on a gigantic scale. As we
ascend it through vineyards and olive-groves, between the rugged broken
hills with their long lines of white precipices, the massive Cyllene,
with its high, bare, pointed summit, looms in front of us at no great
distance, blocking the southern end of the valley. After riding up the
valley for an hour or more along a road which, for Greece, is excellent,
we begin to climb a mountain on the western side of the river. A long,
toilsome, winding, dusty, or, in rainy weather, muddy ascent, impeded
rather than facilitated by a Turkish paved road of the usual execrable
description, brings us in time to the little hamlet of Zougra. As we
rise up the steep slope, our fatigue is to some extent compensated by
the fine prospect that opens up behind us to the Corinthian Gulf and the
mountains beyond it.

LV. THE ROAD FROM ARGOS TO ARCADIA.—From Argos two main passes lead
westward over the chain of Mount Artemisius to Mantinea. The southern
and more direct of the two is for the greater part of the way nothing
but a rough bridle-path; in places it crosses the deep beds of torrents,
which at the time of my journey were dry. The path turns round the
northern foot of the lofty acropolis of Argos, and skirting the wide
Argolic plain enters the valley of the Charadrus or Xerias, as it is now
called. This is a long narrow valley of somewhat monotonous aspect,
enclosed by barren and rocky hills, and barred at the farther end by a
steep mountain, on which, when I saw it far away on a bright April
morning, purple shadows rested. The bed of the river is broad and stony,
sometimes several hundred yards in width; it is generally dry, but after
heavy rains the spates that come roaring down it from the mountains are
much dreaded. Flocks of sheep and goats feed in the valley; the herdsmen
carry the usual long staves tipped with crooks, and sometimes a gun.
Trains of laden mules or asses, conducted by peasants, also met us. The
head of the valley, immediately under the mountain barrier, is very
picturesque. The bottom is partly covered with shrubs and trees, among
which (for the place was then in its spring beauty) I noticed the broom
and the hawthorn, both in flower, also wild roses, and a tree with a
lovely purple bloom, which I believe to have been the Judas-tree. Beyond
the small hamlet of Mazi, consisting of a few wretched stone cottages,
the path begins the long ascent and winds up the face of the
mountain-wall in a series of zigzags. The view backward from the summit
of the pass is magnificent, embracing a wilderness of mountains with the
sea and the islands of Hydra and Spetsa in the distance. From the top of
the pass the path drops down very steeply, almost precipitously, into
the flat sodden expanse of the Fallow Plain, across which we look to a
bleak chain of grey limestone hills. The village of Tsipiana stands at
the foot of the pass, its red-roofed houses, with a large church in
their midst, rising in tiers on the steep mountain-side. On a ledge high
above the village is a monastery among cypresses, and higher still there
shoots up a huge fantastic pinnacle of rock. The traveller who has
reached Tsipiana is in Arcadia, and if this is his first glimpse of that
poetical land, he may find the reality to answer to his expectations, if
not to his dreams.

From a low rocky hillock, which runs out like a promontory into the
flat, he looks northward over the Fallow Plain, fallow no longer, but
covered with a patchwork of maize-fields, and intersected by a stream
meandering through it in serpentine curves. Southward the eye ranges
away over the level expanse to where it terminates in low blue hills, at
the foot of which, dimly perceptible in the distance, lies the town of
Tripolitza. In the middle distance, on a projecting hill, appears a
ruined mediaeval castle. The rural solitude of the landscape with its
green spreading plain, its winding river, its lonely hills, and the
silence and peace brooding over all, is not unworthy of Arcadia.

LVI. MANTINEA.—The ruins of Mantinea are situated in a flat, marshy, and
treeless plain about nine miles north of the present town of Tripolitza.
The plain is about seven miles long from north to south, but in the
latter direction it melts into the plain of Tegea; the division between
the two is marked only by the protrusion of rocky hills on either side,
which here narrows the plain to about a mile in width. On the east the
plain is bounded by the chain of Mount Alesius, bare and high on the
north, low and bushy on the south; between the two sections of the chain
thus marked off from each other is the dip through which the path goes
to Nestane and so by the Prinus route to Argos. On the west of the plain
rises the high rugged range of Mount Maenalus, its lower slopes bare or
overgrown with bushes, its higher slopes belted with dark pine-woods.
Seen from the plain to the north of Mantinea on a bright autumn day,
this fine range, with its dark blue lights and purple shadows, presents
the appearance of a tossing sea of billows petrified by magic. Finally,
on the north the plain of Mantinea is divided from that of Orchomenus by
a low chain of reddish hills.

A great part of the plain, including almost all the southern part, is
covered with vineyards, the rich green foliage of which, when the vines
are in leaf, contrasts with the grey arid slopes of the surrounding
mountains. But the site of Mantinea itself is now mostly cornland. Not a
single house stands within the wide area, and hardly one is within
sight. In spring the swampy plain is traversed by sluggish streams,
little better than ditches, the haunts of countless frogs, which sun
themselves on the banks and squatter into the water with loud flops at
the approach of the wayfarer. The whole scene is one of melancholy and
desolation. As the plain stands about two thousand feet above the sea,
the climate is piercingly cold in winter as well as burning hot in
summer. The marshes now render the site unhealthy at all times, but in
antiquity it was doubtless better drained. Of the oak-forest, through
which the road ran from Mantinea to Tegea in the days of Pausanias,
nothing is left. Indeed the oak has long ago retreated from the plains
to the mountains of Arcadia.

LVII. THE ROAD TO STYMPHALUS.—The road to Stymphalus, after diverging
from the road to Pheneus, continues to skirt the foot of the mountains
in a north-easterly direction. Behind us we leave Mount Trachy, which
seen from the north is an imposing mountain, its steep sides rent by
parallel gullies. Gradually the hill and plain of Orchomenus disappear
behind us, and the path leads into a savage glen, hemmed in by wild
rocky mountains, bare and desolate, towering high on either side. Away
up in the face of a precipice on the right of the path is seen the
little monastery of Kandyla, hanging in what appears an almost
inaccessible position. In winter a torrent flows down the middle of the
glen to swell the marsh in the plain of Orchomenus. A mile or so beyond
the monastery we reach the village of Kandyla, straggling in the wide
gravelly bed of the torrent, shaded by plane-trees and mulberry-trees,
and shut in on all sides by high rocky mountains, their sides covered
with fir-woods and their summits tipped with snow for a good part of the
year. From the upper end of the village a pass leads eastward over the
mountains to Bougiati and the ancient Alea; the path, which is very
rough and steep, ascends a wild gully overhung on the south by a huge
beetling crag; the descent on the eastern side of the mountains, towards
Bougiati, is so steep as to be almost impassable for horses.

But at present we are following the path to Stymphalus, which, leaving
the village of Kandyla in a northerly direction, ascends the mountain by
zigzags along the edge of precipices. The snow sometimes lies deep here
as late as March, making the ascent difficult and dangerous. The pass
runs north-east between the lofty Mount Skipieza, nearly six thousand
feet high, on the left, and the sharp-peaked Mount St. Constantine,
crowned with a Frankish castle, on the right. From the first summit of
the pass a path branches off to the right, descending into the narrow
valley of Skotini which we see stretching eastward beneath us. Half an
hour more takes us to a second summit, whence we look down on the plain
and lake of Stymphalus and across to the majestic mass of Mount Cyllene
towering on the farther side of the valley. The way now goes down a
ravine shut in on both sides by lofty fir-clad mountains and known as
the Wolf’s Ravine from the wolves that are said to abound in it. Thus
descending we reach the valley of Stymphalus and the western end of the

LVIII. THE LAKE AND VALLEY OF STYMPHALUS.—The valley of Stymphalus lies
immediately to the east of the valley and lake of Pheneus, from which it
is divided only by the ridge of Mount Geronteum. The general features of
both valleys are alike. Both are shut in so closely on all sides by
mountains and hills that the water which accumulates in them has no
outlet except by underground chasms, and forms in the bottom of each
valley a lake which shrinks in summer. But the valley of Stymphalus is
smaller and narrower than the valley of Pheneus, and its lake is quite
different. Instead of a deep sea-like expanse of blue water, we have
here a small lake of the most limpid clearness, the shallowness of which
is proved to the eye by the patches of reeds and other water-plants that
emerge from the surface of the water even in the middle of the lake. The
palm of beauty is generally, I believe, awarded to the lake of Pheneus;
but the charms of Stymphalus are of a rarer and subtler sort. Blue lakes
encircled by steep pine-clad mountains may be found in many lands; but
where shall we look for the harmonious blending of grand mountains and
sombre pine-forests with a still, pellucid, shallow, but not marshy
lake, tufted with graceful water-plants, such as meets us in Stymphalus?

The lake of Stymphalus may be a mile and a half long by half a mile
wide. On the north it bathes the foot of a ridge or chain of low
heights, covered with rugged grey rocks and overgrown with prickly
shrubs, which reaches its highest point on the west and descends
gradually in terraces to the east, where its last rocks are elevated
above the plain and lake by only a few feet. On the crest of this rocky
ridge, towards its eastern end, are some remains of the citadel of
Stymphalus. At the back of the ridge a stretch of level ground divides
it from the steep slopes of the majestic Cyllene, which rises like a
wall on the northern side of the valley. The sides of this great
mountain are mostly bare and of a reddish-grey hue; but the grey
shoulder of its sister peak on the east, joined to it by a high ridge,
is mottled with black pines. The mountains on the southern side of the
lake are also steep and high; low bushes mantle their lower and dark
pine-forests their upper slopes. Conspicuous among them, between immense
pine-covered slopes, is the deep glen known as the Wolfs Ravine, through
which the road goes to Orchomenus.

Solitude and silence, broken by the strident cries of the water-fowl
that haunt the mere, reign in the valley. A few hamlets nestle in the
nooks and glens at the foot of the mountains; but in the wide strath and
on the banks of the lake not a human habitation is to be seen. The
impression left by the scenery on some minds is that of gloom and
desolation. Yet on a hot day, when all the landscape is flooded with the
intense sunlight of the south, it is pleasant to sit on the rocky ridge
of Stymphalus, looking down on the cool clear water of the lake and
listening to the cries of the water-fowl, the drowsy hum of bees, and
the tinkle of distant goat-bells. In such weather even the dark
pine-forests on the mountains, gloomy as they must be under a bleak
cloudy sky, suggest only ideas of coolness and shade; and we can well
imagine that the ancient Stymphalus, with its colonnades and terraces
rising from the lake, must have been a perfect place in which to lounge
away the languid hours of a Greek summer. For the high upland character
of the valley contributes with the expanse of water to temper the heat
of the summer sun. The traveller who passes, as he may do, in a single
day from the cool moist air of the valley to the sultry heat of the
plain of Argos is struck by the contrast between the climates. In the
morning he may have left the cherry-trees in blossom at Stymphalus; in
the evening he may see the reapers getting in the harvest in the plain
of Argos.

LIX. THE LAKE OF PHENEUS.—The lake of Pheneus (for what was a plain in
the time of Pausanias is now a lake) is a broad and beautiful sheet of
greenish-blue water encircled by lofty mountains which descend in rocky
declivities or sheer precipices to the water’s edge, their upper slopes
clothed with black pine-woods and their summits capped with snow for
many months of the year. Right above the lake on the north-east towers
the mighty cone of Cyllene, the loftiest mountain but one in
Peloponnese; while on the north-west Dourdouvana rears its long serrated
crest, culminating in a sharp bare peak of grey rock, at the foot of
which, embowered in trees and gardens, nestles the village of Phonia,
the representative of the ancient Pheneus. Here on the north, between
the village and the lake, is the only stretch of level ground that
breaks the mountain ring, and the luxuriant green of its vineyards and
maize-fields contrasts pleasingly with the sombre hue of the
pine-forests all around. The first sight of this blue lake embosomed
among forest-clad mountains takes the traveller by surprise, so unlike
is it to anything else in Greece; and he feels as if suddenly
transported from the arid hills and the parched plains of Greece to a
northern land—from the land of the olive, the vine, and the orange, to
the land of the pine, the mountain, and the lake.

So completely is the lake fenced in by mountains on all sides that no
stream can issue from it above ground, and the water escapes only by two
subterranean emissaries or _Katavothras_, as they are called by the
Greeks, at the south-eastern and south-western ends of the lake. Through
the latter emissary the water passes under the mountain, and issuing on
the other side, about six miles from the lake and eight hundred feet
below its level, forms the source of the Ladon. On the state of these
emissaries it depends whether the great mountain-basin of Pheneus is a
fertile plain or a broad lake. From antiquity down to the present
century the periods in which the basin has been completely drained have
alternated with periods in which it has been occupied by a lake. In the
time of Theophrastus (the fourth century B.C.) the bottom of the valley
seems to have been generally dry land, for he mentions that once, when
the emissaries had got choked up, the water rose and flooded the plain,
drowning the willows, firs, and pines, which, however, reappeared the
following year when the flood subsided. In the following century part of
the valley at least would seem to have been a lake, for the geographer
Eratosthenes, quoted by Strabo, informs us that the river Anias formed
in front of the city of Pheneus a lake which was drained by subterranean
passages, and that when these passages were closed the water rose over
the plain, but that when they were opened again it was discharged into
the Ladon and hence into the Alpheus in such volume that the sacred
precinct at Olympia was flooded, while the lake on the other hand
shrank. Strabo himself mentions that the flow of the Ladon was once
checked by the obstruction of the emissaries consequent upon an
earthquake. According to Pliny there had been down to his time five
changes in the condition of the valley from wet to dry and from dry to
wet, all of them caused by earthquakes. In Plutarch’s age the flood rose
so high that the whole valley was under water, which pious people
attributed to Apollo’s anger at Hercules, who was said to have stolen
the prophetic tripod at Delphi and carried it off to Pheneus about a
thousand years before. However, later on in the same century the waters
had again subsided, for Pausanias found the bottom of the valley to be
dry land, and knew of the former existence of the lake only from

From the days of Pausanias down to the beginning of the nineteenth
century we have no record of the condition of the valley. In 1806, when
Leake and Dodwell visited it, the great valley was still a swampy plain,
covered with fields of wheat or barley except at the south-western end,
where round the entrance to the emissary the water formed a small lake
which never dried up even in summer. But in 1821, doubtless through the
obstruction of the emissaries, the water began to rise over the plain,
and by 1829-1830, when the French surveyors mapped the district, the
whole basin was occupied by a deep lake five miles long by five miles
wide. On January 1, 1834, the emissaries suddenly opened again, the
Ladon became a deep and raging torrent, the valley was drained, and
fresh vegetation sprang up on the rich slimy soil. But when Welcker
visited Pheneus in 1842 the valley was once more occupied by a lake, and
had been so, if he was correctly informed, since 1838 at least. And a
lake it would seem to have been ever since. In 1853 the Swiss scholar
Vischer found a great lake, exactly as the French surveyors had
represented it on their map; the hill on the north-west side of the
valley, on which are the scanty remains of the ancient acropolis,
projected like a peninsula into the lake, and the site of the ancient
city was deep under water. W. G. Clark in 1856 describes with enthusiasm
the “wide expanse of still water deep among the hills, reflecting black
pine-woods and grey crags and sky now crimson with sunset”; according to
him the lake was seven miles long and as many wide. In June 1888 Mr.
Philippson found a broad clear lake of deep green colour; and in the
autumn of 1895 I viewed with pleasure the same beautiful scene, though I
would describe the colour of the water as greenish-blue rather than
green. The lake has shrunk, however, a good deal since the middle of the
century. A long stretch of level plain, covered with vineyards and
maize-fields, now divides the ancient acropolis of Pheneus from the
margin of the lake.

LX. FROM PHENEUS TO NONACRIS.—The route from Pheneus to the Styx, at
least so far as the modern village of Zarouchla, is one of the most
beautiful in all Greece. The grandeur of the mountains, the richness of
the vegetation, the fragrance and charm of the pine-forests, the distant
views of the blue lake of Pheneus, all contribute to render the
impression which the day’s journey leaves on the memory one of the most
agreeable that the traveller brings back with him from Greece.

From the lower village of Phonia we ascend through the luxuriant gardens
and lanes of the village to the ridge which bounds the plain of Pheneus
on the north-west. On reaching it, a grand view westward of the mighty
Mount Chelmos (the ancient Aroanius), with its bare summit and pine-clad
lower slopes, bursts upon us. The mountain is seen rising above a deep
basin-like valley, the bottom and sides of which are clothed with the
richest vegetation. High up on the slope of the mountain to the
north-west (Mount Crathis), among trees, is the delightfully-situated
monastery of St. George. Our path leads down into the valley; on the
slope grow white poplars and cypresses, and the ground is partly
carpeted with ferns. From the bottom of the valley, which is chiefly
occupied by a charming grove of plane-trees, we ascend through fine
woods, mostly of oak, to the monastery of St. George. Still ascending
after we have passed the monastery, we plunge again into a maze of
beautiful woods and dense tangled thickets, threaded by rills of
sparkling water. Vegetation of such rank luxuriance is rarely met with
in Greece. On emerging from these delightful woodlands we traverse,
always ascending, a stretch of bare bushy slopes which intervenes
between the verdant glades below and the sombre pine-forests higher up.
When these slopes are passed, we enter the pine-forest, through which
our way now goes for several hours.

Few things can be more delightful than this ride through the pine-woods.
It was a bright October day when I passed through them on my way to
Solos; in many places the forest was carpeted with ferns, now turned
yellow, and between the tree-trunks we could see across the valley the
great slopes of Mount Cyllene, of a glowing purple in the intense
sunlight. From time to time, too, we had views backward over the blue
waters of the lake of Pheneus embosomed in its dark pine-clad mountains.
Added to all this were the delicious odour of the pines and the
freshness and exhilaration of the air at a height of about six thousand
feet. But the culmination of beauty, so far as distant views go, is
reached on the summit of the ridge, before we begin to descend the
northern slope towards Zarouchla. On the one side, toward the
south-east, we look back to the lake of Pheneus and the great mountains
which encircle it, Mount Cyllene above all. On the other side, toward
the north-west, we gaze down into the long narrow valley of the river
Crathis, hemmed in on either hand by high mountains, above which soars
the bare sharp peak of Mount Chelmos on the south, while at the farther
end of the valley the view is closed by the blue Acarnanian mountains
across the Gulf of Corinth.

From the ridge we now descend through the forest by a steep, winding,
stony path, till we reach the bed of a stream flowing among romantic
rocks and woods to join or rather to form, with other streams, the
Crathis. In the bottom of the valley the richness of the vegetation even
increases. We rode through thickets of planes, growing as great bushes
or small trees, so dense that we had constantly to stoop to the horses’
necks to prevent our faces from being brushed by the branches. Other
trees and plants, of which I did not know the names, grew in profusion
around us. And above all this Eden-like verdure of woods and lanes and
thickets shot up the huge sharp peaks of Chelmos and its sister
mountains, blue and purple in the sunlight. In this paradise lies the
village of Zarouchla. Beyond it the path follows the valley of the
Crathis, keeping for the most part on the right bank of the stream. The
valley is very narrow, and is enclosed by immense steep mountains, the
sides of which, wherever it is practicable, are terraced for vines or
other cultivation. The Crathis, when I saw it, was a clear rushing
stream, easily fordable at any point. At first the path runs in the
bottom of the valley through tangled thickets. Here and there, where the
dale is wide enough to admit of it, a patch of maize is grown. But soon,
as we proceed, the valley contracts too much to allow even of this, and
so the path, often rough and difficult for horses, ascends and leads
along the barer mountain-side at some height above the stream.

Thus advancing we at last arrive opposite to the mouth of the deep glen
down which the Styx comes to join the Crathis on its western bank. Here
we cross the Crathis and strike up the glen of the Styx. The scenery of
the profound and narrow glen is almost oppressively grand. The mountains
are immense and exceedingly massive; above they are bare and rocky; but
their lower slopes are terraced so as to resemble gigantic staircases,
and on the terraces are perched several very picturesque villages, the
houses scattered at different levels and embowered among trees. At the
upper end of the glen soars the mighty cone of Mount Chelmos. The
grandeur of the scenery, which would otherwise be almost awful, is
softened by the wonderful luxuriance of the vegetation in the glen. The
horse-chestnut trees especially, with their enormous gnarled and knotted
trunks, are a sight to see. The nightingales are said to be very common
here and to sing from February to June. A long laborious ascent by a
winding path brings us to the prosperous village of Solos on the eastern
side of the glen. The villages on the opposite side of the glen,
dispersed over the terraced slopes, form, with Solos, almost a single
settlement. One of them probably occupies the site of the ancient

LXI. THE FALL OF THE STYX.—The village of Solos stands, as we have seen,
on the right bank of the Styx, near where that stream falls into the
Crathis. But the source of the stream is at the head of the glen, some
miles to the south, where the water tumbles or trickles, according to
the season, over the smooth face of an immense perpendicular cliff, the
top of which is not far below the conical summit of Mount Chelmos, a
mountain nearly eight thousand feet high. The walk from Solos to the
foot of the fall and back is exceedingly fatiguing, and very few
travellers accomplish it; most of them are content to view the fall from
a convenient distance through a telescope. For the first two miles or so
the path is practicable for horses, and travellers who are resolved to
make their way to the waterfall will do well to ride thus far and to
have the horses waiting for them here on their return. It is also
necessary to take a guide or guides. The path winds up the glen, keeping
at first high on the right bank. The bed of the stream is here prettily
wooded with poplars and other trees and is spanned by a bridge with a
single high arch. For a considerable distance above the village the
water of the Styx, as seen from above, appears to be of a clear
light-blue colour, with a tinge of green. This colour, however, is only
apparent, and is due to the slaty rocks, of a pale greenish-blue colour,
among which the river flows. In reality the water is quite clear and

In about twenty minutes from leaving the village we come in sight of the
cliff over which the water of the Styx descends. It is an immense cliff,
absolutely perpendicular, a little to the left or east of the high
conical summit of Mount Chelmos. The whole of this northern face of the
mountain is in fact nothing but a sheer and in places even overhanging
precipice of grey rock—by far the most awful line of precipices I have
ever seen. The cliffs of Delphi, grand and imposing as they are, sink
into insignificance compared with the prodigious wall of rock in which
Mount Chelmos descends on the north into the glen of the Styx. The cliff
down which the water comes is merely the eastern and lower end of this
huge wall of rock. Seen from a distance it appears to be streaked
perpendicularly with black and red. The black streak marks the line of
the waterfall, to which it has given the modern name of Mavro-nero, ‘the
Black Water.’ The colour is produced by a dark incrustation which
spreads over the smooth face of the rock wherever it is washed by the
falling water or by the spray into which the water dissolves before it
reaches the ground. In the crevices of the cliffs to the right and left
of the fall great patches of snow remain all the year through. I saw
them and passed close to the largest of them on a warm autumn day, after
the heat of summer and before the first snow of winter.

About twenty-five minutes after leaving Solos we cross the Styx by a
ford, and henceforward the route lies on the left or western bank of the
stream. Five minutes from the ford bring us to a mill picturesquely
situated among trees, where a brook comes purling down a little glen
wooded with willows and plane-trees. Just above the mill the Styx
tumbles over a fine rocky lyn in a roaring cascade. Beyond this point
the steep slopes of the hills on the opposite bank of the stream are
covered with ferns, which when I rode up the glen were tinged with the
gold of autumn. In front of us looms nearer and larger the cone of Mount
Chelmos with its long line of precipices.

Ten or twelve minutes beyond the mill the horses are left and the
traveller sets forward on foot. As we advance the glen grows wilder and
more desolate, but for the first half-mile or so it is fairly open, the
track keeps close to the bed of the stream, and there is no particular
difficulty. A deep glen now joins the glen of the Styx from the
south-east. Here we begin to ascend the slope and cross an artificial
channel which brings down water to the mill. All pretence of a path now
ceases, and henceforward till we reach the foot of the waterfall there
is nothing for it but to scramble over rocks and to creep along slopes
often so steep and precipitous that to find a foothold or handhold on
them is not easy, and stretching away into such depths below that it is
best not to look down them but to keep the eyes fixed on the ground at
one’s feet. A stone set rolling down one of these slopes will be heard
rumbling for a long time, and the sound is echoed and prolonged by the
cliffs with such startling distinctness that at first it sounds as if a
rock were coming thundering down upon the wayfarer from above. In the
worst places the guides point out to the traveller where to plant his
feet and hold him up if he begins to slip. Shrubs, tough grass, and here
and there a stunted pine-tree give a welcome hold, but on the steepest
slopes they are wanting. The last slope up to the foot of the cliff—a
very long and steep declivity of loose gravel which gives way at every
step—is most fatiguing. As I was struggling slowly up it with the
guides, we heard the furious barking of dogs away up the mountains on
the opposite side of the glen. The barking came nearer and nearer, and
being echoed by the cliffs had a weird impressive sound that suited well
with the scene, as if hell-hounds were baying at the strangers who dared
to approach the infernal water. However, the dogs came no nearer than
the foot of the slope up which we were clambering, and some shouts and
volleys of stones served to keep them at bay.

At the head of this long slope of loose gravel we reach the foot of the
waterfall. The water, as I have indicated, descends the smooth face of a
huge cliff, said to be over six hundred feet high. It comes largely from
the snow-fields on the summit of Mount Chelmos, and hence its volume
varies with the season. When I visited the fall early in October, after
the long drought of summer, the water merely trickled down the black
streak on the face of the cliff, its presence being shown only by the
glistening appearance which it communicated to the dark surface of the
rock. At the foot of the cliff it formed a small stream, flowing down a
very steep rocky bed into the bottom of the glen far below. The water
was clear and not excessively cold. Even when, through the melting of
the snows, the body of the water is considerable, it is said to be all
dissolved into spray by falling through such a height and to reach the
ground in the form of fine rain. Only the lower part of the cliff is
visible from the foot of the waterfall, probably because the cliff
overhangs somewhat. Certainly the cliffs a little to the right of the
waterfall overhang considerably. With these enormous beetling crags of
grey rock rising on three sides, the scene is one of sublime but wild
and desolate grandeur. I have seen nothing to equal it anywhere. On the
third side, looking down the glen and away over the nearer hills, we see
the blue mountains of Acarnania across the Gulf of Corinth; my guide
said these mountains were in Roumelia. In the face of the rock, a few
yards to the right of the waterfall, are carved the names or initials of
persons who have visited the spot, with the dates of their visits. Among
the names is that of King Otho, with the date 1847.

LXII. THE VALLEY OF THE AROANIUS.—After traversing the upland plain of
Soudena in a broad stony bed, which in autumn is dry, the river enters a
defile at the south-eastern corner of the plain. Through this defile,
formed on the east by the slopes of Mount Chelmos and on the west by the
hills that close the plain of Soudena on the south, the Aroanius and the
road to Clitor run side by side. At first the space between the hills is
broad and level, dotted here and there with trees. Soon, however, the
valley contracts and begins to descend, affording a beautiful prospect
of range behind range of mountains in the south, shading away according
to the distance from dark purple to pale blue. The path runs at first on
the east bank of the river-bed, which was dry when I saw it early in
October. But after being joined by a tributary, which comes down from
Mount Chelmos in a deeply-excavated bed between slopes of red earth, the
river attained the dimensions of a good-sized Scotch burn. Gradually as
the mountains close in on either side the valley becomes a glen, through
which the stream flows among plane-trees in a prettily-wooded bed. Here
the path crosses to the right or west bank, which it follows
henceforward. Farther on the glen contracts into a deep rocky gorge
between steep mountains, but only to expand again and allow the river to
flow, with a pleasing murmur, in its wooded bed through a stretch of
cultivated ground. Thus gradually the valley opens out into the plain of
Clitor. Vineyards and maize-fields occupy its lower reaches. It was the
time of the vintage when I traversed this beautiful valley. Bunches of
ripe grapes lay as offerings before the holy pictures in the little
wayside shrines; we met strings of donkeys laden with swelling
wine-skins or with panniers of grapes; and in the vineyards as we passed
the peasants were at work pressing the purple clusters, with which they
insisted on loading, for nothing, the aprons of our muleteers.

LXIII. THE SPRINGS OF THE LADON.—The Ladon of Arcadia, the greatest of
the tributaries of the Alpheus, rises in the middle of a valley on the
western side of Mount Saita, the ancient Oryxis. The valley is of some
breadth, and its bottom is furrowed on both sides by the dry beds of two
watercourses. Between the two watercourses there rises in the midst of
the valley a low hill of reddish rock, which ends on the south in a
precipitous face some hundred and fifty feet high. At the foot of this
red precipitous rock lies a large still pool of opaque dark-blue water,
fringed by sharp-pointed grasses and other water plants, while a few
stunted willows, holly-oaks, and plane-trees grow among the rocks beside
it. This pool is the source of the Ladon, which rushes from it in a
brawling impetuous stream of dark-blue water, its margin fringed with
willows. The water enters the pool, not from the rocks above, but from a
deep chasm in the earth which is only visible when, as sometimes
happens, the source dries up. A peasant, who was beside the pool when I
visited it in 1895, told my dragoman that three years before, after a
violent earthquake, the water ceased to flow for three hours, and the
chasm in the bottom of the pool was exposed, and fish were seen lying on
the dry ground. After three hours the spring began to flow a little, and
three days later there was a loud explosion and the water burst forth in
immense volume. Mr. Philippson was informed on the spot of a like event
which had taken place in 1880. Similar sudden eruptions of water at the
source of the Ladon have been reported earlier in the present century
and in antiquity. The stoppage of the water and its abrupt reappearance
are doubtless due to the alternate obstruction and clearance of the
subterranean passages by which the Lake of Pheneus is drained. For the
ancients were right in supposing that the water which rises at the
source of the Ladon comes directly underground from the Lake of Pheneus.
It has the same deep greenish-blue tinge as the water of the lake, and
is flat and tepid to the taste like standing water, not cold and fresh
like the water of a mountain spring. The source is distant only about
five miles from the lake, from which it is divided by the high range of
Mount Saita. The hills on the opposite or western side of the valley are
much lower; their slopes of reddish rock are partly covered with low
green bushes. Numbers of peasant women may be seen washing clothes
beside the pool in the usual Greek fashion; after soaking the clothes in
water they beat them with a sort of broad paddle in a wooden trough.

LXIV. THE GORGE OF THE LADON.—The path from the village of Stretzova
leads across bushy and rocky slopes, and then through bare stony fields
to the northern bank of the river. Indian corn is here grown in the
valley of the Ladon; wooded mountains rise from its southern bank, and
higher mountains of imposing contour close the view on the south-east.
At the point where we strike the river two springs gush from under rocks
and form a pool shaded by fine spreading plane-trees, whence a stream
flows into the Ladon after a course of a few yards. From this point to
the bridge of Spathari, a ride of about five hours, the scenery is
unsurpassed in Greece. The river here forces its way along the bottom of
a profound gorge hemmed in by high wooded mountains, which in places
descend in immense precipices, feathered with trees and bushes in their
crevices, to the brink of the rapid stream. The narrow path runs high up
on the right or northern side of the gorge, sometimes overhung by
beetling crags, and affording views, now grand now almost appalling,
down into the depths of the tremendous gorge, and across it to the high
wooded slopes or precipices on the farther side.

The gorge may be said to be divided in two at the village of Divritsa,
where the mountains recede a little from the river, and the scenery of
the two parts is somewhat different. In the first half, ending a little
above the village of Divritsa, the river sweeps round the base of high
steep mountains, which on the south side of the gorge are wooded to
their summits and broken every now and then by a profound glen, the
sides of which are also wooded from top to bottom. The mountains on the
north side are in general not wooded, but bare or overgrown with bushes.
This would detract from the beauty of the scenery if the path ran on the
south side of the gorge, from which the barer slopes of the mountains on
the north would be visible. As it is, the path runs along the steep
sides of the mountains on the north side, and the eye rests continually
on the mighty wall of verdure that rises on the other side of the river.
I had the good fortune to traverse this wonderful gorge on a bright
October day, when the beautiful woods were just touched here and there
with the first tints of autumn. Far below the river was seen and heard
rushing along, now as a smooth swirling stream of opaque green water
with a murmurous sound, now tumbling, with a mighty roar, down great
rocks and boulders in sheets of greenish-white foam.

Below Divritsa the grandeur of the gorge increases to the point of being
almost overpowering. Wooded mountains rising steeply from the river have
now given place to enormous perpendicular or beetling crags tufted with
trees and bushes in their crevices wherever a tree or a bush can find a
footing, and overhanging the ravine till there is hardly room to pass
under them, and they seem as if they would shut out the sky and meet
above the river. Add to this that the path is narrow and runs high above
the stream along the brink of precipices where a slip or a stumble of
the horse might precipitate his rider into the dreadful depths below. We
seem therefore to breathe more freely when, a little above the bridge of
Spathari, we at last issue from the gorge and see a great free expanse
of sky above us, lower hills, and the river winding between them through
woodland scenery of a pretty but commonplace type.

LXV. ALIPHERA.—From the citadel, and indeed from the whole summit of the
ridge, there is a glorious prospect over the valley of the Alpheus for
miles and miles. All the mountains of northern Arcadia are spread out
like a panorama; and through the broad valley that intervenes between
them and the height on which we stand, the Alpheus is seen winding far
away and far below. The air blows fresh and sweet on the height, and the
peacefulness, the stillness, the remoteness from the world of this
little mountain-citadel remind one irresistibly of Keats’s lines in the
“Ode on a Grecian Urn”:

             What little town by river or sea-shore,
               Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
                 Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?

LXVI. DIMITSANA.—The ancient Teuthis perhaps occupied the site of the
modern Dimitsana, a village which stands very picturesquely on a high
ridge on the left or eastern bank of the Gortynius river, surrounded on
all sides by steep and lofty mountains. The river sweeps in a semicircle
at the bottom of a deep gully round the western part of the town, which
thus stands on a high rocky promontory jutting into the ravine. The
steep and narrow streets, which are little better than rocky staircases,
are lined with shops and present a busy and animated scene. The air is
cool and healthy. To the south the eye ranges over the vine-clad hills
on both sides of the river, to the green plain of Megalopolis threaded
by the silver stream of the Alpheus, and bounded far away to the south
by the snowy range of Taygetus. A steep, rugged, and zigzag path leads
down through terraced vineyards to the bed of the river at the southern
foot of the hill. Here a bridge spans the stream, just below a point
where the river descends fifty feet in a space of as many yards,
tumbling over huge masses of rock between lofty precipices overhung with
shrubs. The hill on the opposite or western side of the ravine is even
steeper and higher than that of Dimitsana.

All round the crest of the ridge occupied by the town are the remains of
an ancient wall, parts of it being intermixed with the yards, walls, and
foundations of private houses. In some places there are several courses
of masonry standing. The style of masonry is rectangular at the east,
but polygonal at the west end of the ridge. The blocks at the latter end
are enormous. Here too are the foundations of an imposing edifice,
turned east and west, and built of fine squared blocks. It was doubtless
a temple. Some ancient foundations may also be seen among the terraced
vineyards on the southern slope of the hill.

LXVII. GORTYS.—On the right bank of the Gortynius, or river of
Dimitsana, about two and a half miles from its junction with the
Alpheus, are the ruins of Gortys. They occupy the fairly spacious summit
of a hill which falls away on the east in lofty precipices to the river.
A visit to them may be most conveniently paid from Karytaena. From this
picturesque town, perched high on the right or eastern bank of the
Alpheus, we descend northward by a very rugged and stony path into the
deep glen of the Alpheus. Steep arid mountains enclose the glen, and
behind us towers the imposing rock of Karytaena with its ruined
mediaeval castle. In about half an hour we reach the junction of the
Gortynius river with the Alpheus. We now quit the glen of the Alpheus
and follow that of the Gortynius river in a north-easterly direction,
keeping at first along the left bank of the stream. The glen, though
shut in by barren stony mountains, is rather less gloomy and forbidding
than the glen of the Alpheus which we have left. In less than half an
hour we descend into the bed of the Gortynius, a rushing stream of clear
bluish-green water, and cross it by a stone bridge which is carried on a
high pointed arch and paved, in the usual fashion of such bridges in
Greece, with cobbles of the most agonising shapes and sizes. Just above
the bridge the glen deepens and narrows into a ravine with steep rocky
sides, and the view looking up it, with the old high-arched bridge in
the foreground and the rushing stream of green water below, is highly
picturesque. I drank of the water here and found it by no means cold, in
spite of what Pausanias says as to the exceeding coldness of the water
of the Gortynius. But it was hot autumn weather when I passed this way.
Pausanias may have seen the river in winter or spring, when its current
was chilled by ice or melting snow. From the bridge a steep and rugged
path ascends the right or western side of the glen. We follow it and
continue to ride up hill and down dale along the side of the barren
mountains, with the river rolling along in the bottom of the deep ravine
on our right. Half-way up the precipices which rise on this side of the
ravine hangs a little red-roofed monastery. In about three-quarters of
an hour from crossing the bridge we reach the ruins of Gortys.

The ruins, as we have seen, occupy the summit of a hill which overhangs
the right or western bank of the Gortynius river. At its eastern
extremity the hill falls down in sheer precipices of great height into
the glen of the river. It is in looking down these immense precipices
that we appreciate the height of the hill. On the other hand, seen from
the south, as you approach it from Karytaena, the hill presents the
appearance merely of a gently-swelling down. The reason of this is that
from the bridge over the river we have been gradually rising, and that
the ground immediately to the south of Gortys is itself a hill as high
as the hill of Gortys, from which it is divided only by a slight hollow
now chiefly occupied with vineyards. But when we have ascended what
appears to be the gentle eminence occupied by the ruins of Gortys we see
that the hill descends in a long slope north-eastward to the glen of the
Gortynius river, which curves round the hill in a great bend on the
north-east and east. The summit of the hill extends in the form of a
rather narrow ridge from south-east to north-west, gradually rising to
its highest point on the north-west. Towards this end the hill is
naturally defended on the side of the south by masses of rugged rocks,
of which the ancient engineers took advantage, interposing pieces of
walls in the intervals between the rocks. In the crannies of the rocks
bushes have now rooted themselves.

The long slope of the hill down to the glen of the Gortynius on the
north-east is bare and stony. Stony and barren, too, are the mountains
that surround Gortys on all sides. In a grey cold light or under a
cloudy sky they would be exceedingly bleak and dreary; but under the
warm sunshine of Greece they are only bare and desolate. The most
pleasing view is down into the glen of the Gortynius on the north-east,
where the river emerges from a narrow defile between high precipices,
above which the mountains rise on both sides. At the mouth of the defile
there is a house or two among trees. In spite of its height above the
river, Gortys lies essentially in a basin shut in on all sides by
mountains. The summer heat here must consequently be very great. Even in
October, when I visited the place, though a fresh breeze was blowing, it
was drowsily hot among the ruins. The sweet smell of the thyme, the
tinkle of sheep-bells, the barking of dogs, and the cries of shepherds
in the distance seemed to enhance the feeling of summer and to invite to
slumber in the shade. But it was pleasant and almost cooling to hear the
roar of the river, and to see its blue-green water and greenish-white
foam away down in the glen.

LXVIII. THE PLAIN OF MEGALOPOLIS.—Megalopolis stood in the great western
plain of Arcadia, which, like the great eastern plain of Mantinea and
Tegea, extends in a direction from north to south. In natural beauty the
plain of Megalopolis is far superior to its eastern neighbour. The
latter is a bare monotonous flat, unrelieved by trees or rivers, and
enclosed by barren mountains, so that its general aspect is somewhat
dreary and depressing; only towards its northern end do the mountains
rise in grander masses and with more picturesque outlines. The plain of
Megalopolis, on the other hand, is surrounded by mountains of fine and
varied outlines, some of the slopes of which are clothed with wood, and
the surface of the plain itself is diversified with copses and
undulating downs and hillocks, refreshed by numerous streams shaded with
plane-trees, and watered by the broad though shallow stream of the
Alpheus winding through its midst. The scenery, in contrast to that of
the eastern plain, is eminently bright, smiling, and cheerful. It is,
perhaps, seen at its best after rain on a fine morning in early summer.
The vegetation is then green, the air pellucid, the outlines of the
environing mountains are sharp and clear, and their tints vary from deep
purple to lilac.

LXIX. THE CAVE OF THE BLACK DEMETER.—The cave of the Black Demeter has
been identified with a small cavern in the glen of the Neda, about an
hour’s walk to the west of Phigalia. The place is known in the
neighbourhood as the _stomion tes Panagias_ or Gully of the Virgin. To
reach the cavern it is necessary to descend into the ravine by a steep
and narrow path which affords very little foothold and overhangs depths
which might turn a weak head. At the awkward places, however, it is
generally possible to hold on to bushes or rocks with the hands. Thus we
descend to the bed of the river, which here rushes roaring along at the
bottom of the narrow wooded ravine, the precipitous sides of which tower
up on either hand to an immense height. The cave is situated in the face
of a prodigious cliff on the north side of the ravine, about a hundred
feet or so above the bed of the river, from which it is accessible only
by a narrow and difficult footpath. The ravine at this point sweeps
round in a sharp curve, and the cavern is placed just at the elbow of
the bend. On the opposite side of the lyn, some fifty feet or so away, a
great crag, its sides green with grass and trees wherever they can find
a footing, soars up to a height about as far above the cavern as the
cavern is above the stream. Hills close the view both up and down the
glen; those at the upper end are high, steep, and wooded.

The cavern itself, originally a mere shallow depression or hollow in the
side of the cliff, has been artificially closed by a rough wall of
masonry, apparently of recent date; the plaster seemed to me fresh. In
the cavern thus formed a rough floor of boards has been run across at a
height of about four feet above the ground. Thus the grotto is divided
into two compartments, the upper of which has been converted into a tiny
chapel with an altar at the end and two holy pictures of Christ and John
the Baptist. On one of the walls are some faded frescoes. Light enters
the little cave by a small window in the wall beside the altar. At least
half of the roof is artificial, being built of the same rough masonry as
the wall. Close beside this tiny cavern, to the east of it, may be seen
a still tinier grotto, separated from the former by a slight
protuberance in the rock. The same ledge of rock gives access to both

What is called the Gully of the Virgin is a tunnel, some hundred yards
long, formed of fallen rocks and earth, through which the Neda rushes in
the ravine below the cavern. In winter the swollen stream flows over the
roof of the tunnel, but in summer, when the river is low, you may walk
through the tunnel and admire the stalactites which hang from its roof.

LXX. THE TEMPLE OF APOLLO AT BASSAE.—This temple, by far the best
preserved of all ancient temples in Peloponnese, stands in a strikingly
wild and secluded situation at a height of nearly four thousand feet
above the sea, with a wide prospect southward to the distant mountains
of Messenia and Laconia. The ground on which the temple is built is a
narrow platform on the southern side of a hill, the Mount Cotilius of
the ancients. The rocky slopes of this hill, rising rapidly behind the
temple, shut out all distant views on the north and north-east. But to
the south the slope descends gradually towards the valley of the Neda.
Due south, through a dip in the hills, is seen the apparently
flat-topped summit of Ithome. To the south-east, through another gap,
appears the range of Taygetus, with its beautiful outlines and sharp
snowy peaks. In the nearer foreground, between Ithome and Taygetus,
rises Mount Ira, the last stronghold of the Messenian race in its
struggle for freedom with Sparta. To the east are bare rough hills,
dotted with oak-trees, the western spurs of Mount Lycaeus, while farther
to the south appears the high round-topped Tetrasi, perhaps the Nomian
mountains of the ancients. The sea is not visible, but it may be seen by
ascending the slope at the back of the temple. The bleak desolate
mountains form a striking background to the solitary temple which, built
of the same cold grey limestone which composes the surrounding rocks,
tends to deepen rather than relieve the melancholy of the scene, the
ruined fane witnessing silently to the transitoriness of human greatness
and the vanity of human faith.

LXXI. THE TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS AT AULIS.—From the head of the Bay of Aulis
a small valley, sloping gently upwards, runs inland between hills for
something over a mile. It is watered by a brook which falls into the
bay. About a mile up the valley from the shore is a ruined Byzantine
chapel of St. Nicholas, which is supposed to occupy the site of the
temple of Artemis, mentioned by Pausanias, where Iphigenia was led to
the altar to be sacrificed before the Greek fleet set sail for Troy. The
scene, if it indeed be so, of this famous event in Greek legend was
somewhat bleak and cheerless as I saw it under a leaden sky on a dull
November afternoon. The ruined chapel, with its fallen dome and roofless
walls, had a forlorn air, standing solitary in a bare, stony, ploughed
field on the slope of the low hills that enclose the little valley on
the south. Similar hills—low, stony, and treeless—with higher hills
rising above them on the north and west, shut in the valley on all sides
except the east, where appeared, of a pale blue-green colour under the
wintry sky, a bit of the Bay of Aulis, beyond it the open channel of the
Euripus, and still farther off, bathed in a gloomy purple, the coast and
mountains of Euboea. Bare ploughed fields, with a small tree dotted here
and there among them, occupied all the bottom of the valley, and formed
the foreground of the melancholy scene. Yet bare fields, stony hills,
leaden sky, cold steely sea, and purple mountains glooming in the
distance, seemed a fitting framework for the ruined shrine, with its
memories of departed glory.

LXXII. GLAUCUS’S LEAP.—Immediately beyond the flat-topped hillock which
probably marks the site of Salganeus, the plain comes abruptly to an end
and the path runs along the steep, bushy, but not precipitous slope of
Mount Messapius at some height above the sea, which on a bright sunshiny
day is of a beautiful green colour, clear as crystal and dappled with
patches of purple. Thus proceeding along the steep mountain-side for
about a mile we find ourselves opposite a pretty rocky island, wooded
with pines, which lies a little way off the shore. On the island is a
ruin which, so far as I could judge by the eye from the shore, seemed to
be mediaeval or modern. Hereabouts, too, a row of large stones may be
observed lying at the bottom of the clear water, but they appear to be
boulders rather than hewn stones. Farther on a high cliff, which seen
from the east reminds one of the Lorelei Rock on the Rhine, rises close
to the shore. The path here descends and runs along the narrow beach at
the foot of the cliff, from which a very copious spring of water rushes
into the sea. This high cliff is probably what the ancients called
Glaucus’s Leap. On the morning when I passed it, the clear, sunlit,
greenish-blue water at its foot looked very inviting; one could fancy
the sea-god taking his plunge into its cool delicious depths. Beyond the
cliff the path again runs along the foot of the long slope, covered with
lentisk and holly-oak bushes, which descends from the high, bold,
pointed summit of Mount Messapius in an unbroken sweep to the sea.

LXXIII. EVENING ON THE EURIPUS.—The views from Anthedon across the
beautiful Euripus are charming, especially at sunset when the opposite
mountains of Euboea glow with delicate pink and lilac hues, and flakes
of golden and rosy clouds are reflected in the mirror-like surface of
the strait, which, apparently landlocked on all sides, resembles a calm
lake. The effect is heightened if a fishing-boat, its russet sails aglow
in the warm evening light, chances to glide along at the time, and a
snatch of song comes wafted from it across the water.

LXXIV. THE COPAIC LAKE.—Like other lakes which are drained not by rivers
but by natural subterranean passages in the limestone mountains which
surround them, the level of the Copaic Lake varied greatly from time to
time. Such variations depend upon two different sets of causes, first
the varying capacity of the emissaries, and second the varying amount of
water poured into the lake.

In the first place, not only are the emissaries subject to a gradual and
regular process of change, their passages being slowly clogged and their
mouths choked up by the alluvial deposits which in the course of ages
raise the bed of the lake; but they are also exposed to sudden and
incalculable changes, wrought by earthquakes, landslips, floating logs,
and so on, which may in a few minutes either widen the passages or block
them up altogether. In the second place, while these changes, whether
gradual or sudden, affect the outflow of the water, others not less
marked influence its inflow. For the rainfall, on which the inflow
ultimately depends, varies not only with the year but with the season.
In the sub-tropical climate of the Mediterranean rain hardly falls in
summer, and as a consequence the streams in that season either flow with
diminished volume or dry up entirely.

All these various causes combine to produce secular and periodic as well
as irregular and unforeseen variations in the level of lakes like the
Copaic mere. In no lake, perhaps, have the annual changes been more
regular and marked than in the Copaic; for while in winter it was a
reedy mere, the haunt of thousands of wild fowl, in summer it was a more
or less marshy plain where cattle browsed and crops were sown and
reaped. So well recognised were these vicissitudes of the seasons that
places on the bank of the lake such as Orchomenus, Lebadea, and Copae
had summer roads and winter roads by which they communicated with each
other, the winter roads following the sides of the hills, while the
summer roads struck across the plain. With the setting in of the heavy
autumn rains in November the lake began to rise and reached its greatest
depth in February or March, by which time the mouths of the emissaries
were completely submerged and betrayed their existence only by swirls on
the surface of the mere. Yet even then the lake presented to the eye
anything but an unbroken sheet of water. Viewed from a height such as
the acropolis of Orchomenus it appeared as an immense fen, of a vivid
green colour, stretching away for miles and miles, overgrown with sedge,
reeds, and canes, through which the river Cephisus or Melas might be
seen sluggishly oozing, while here and there a gleam of sunlit water,
especially towards the north-east corner of the mere, directed the eye
to what looked like ponds in the vast green swamp. Bare grey mountains
rising on the north and east, and the beautiful wooded slopes of Helicon
on the south, bounded the fen. In spring the water began to sink.
Isolated brown patches, where no reeds grew, were the first to show as
islands in the mere; and as the season advanced they expanded more and
more till they met. By the middle of summer great stretches, especially
in the middle and at the edges, were bare. In the higher parts the fat
alluvial soil left by the retiring waters was sown by the peasants and
produced crops of corn, rice, and cotton; while the lower parts,
overgrown by rank grass and reeds, were grazed by herds of cattle and
swine. In the deepest places of all the water often stagnated the whole
summer, though there were years when it retreated even from these,
leaving behind it only a bog or perhaps a stretch of white clayey soil,
perfectly dry, which the summer heat seamed with a network of minute
cracks and fissures. By the end of August the greater part of the basin
was generally dry, though the water did not reach its lowest point till
October. At that time what had lately been a fen was only a great brown
expanse, broken here and there by a patch of green marsh, where reeds
and other water plants grew. In November the lake began to fill again

Such was the ordinary annual cycle of changes in the Copaic Lake in
modern times, and we have no reason to suppose that it was essentially
different in antiquity. But at all times the water of the lake has been
liable to be raised above or depressed below its customary level by
unusually heavy or scanty rainfall in winter or by the accidental
clogging or opening of the chasms. As we read in ancient authors of
drowned cities on the margin of the lake, so a modern traveller tells of
villagers forced to flee before the rising flood, and of vineyards and
corn-fields seen under water.

The plan of draining the Copaic Lake, which has been successfully
accomplished within the last few years, was conceived and apparently
executed at a very remote time in antiquity. Strabo reports a tradition
that the whole basin of the lake had at one time been drained and
cultivated by the people of Orchomenus, and this tradition has been
strikingly confirmed by the recent discovery of a complete and very
ancient system of drainage works in the bed of the lake. The discovery
was made by the engineers charged with the execution of the modern
drainage works. As described by them, the ancient works were composed of
an ingenious combination of dykes and canals, which completely encircled
the lake and, receiving the waters of the streams which flowed into it
on the west and south, conducted them to the chasms on the east and
north-east banks. Where the canal skirted closely the precipitous rocky
shore of the lake, a single dyke or embankment sufficed, the water being
led between the dyke and the shore. But where the canal had to cross a
bay, or where the bank of the lake was not high and steep enough to
serve as one side of the canal, two parallel dykes were constructed and
the water flowed between them. The remains of these ancient drainage
works in the bed of the lake are of two sorts. In the first place we see
them as low broad mounds, about five feet high and fifty to sixty yards
wide, stretching for long distances across the plain, either in an
unbroken line or with occasional gaps. Sometimes it is a single mound
that we see, sometimes two parallel mounds at a short distance from each
other. And between the two parallel mounds or beside the single one a
long shallow depression marks the line of the ancient canal. These long,
low, broad mounds are clearly the remains of the dykes which formerly
enclosed the canals, and which have been gradually reduced to their
present level by the ceaseless wash of the waters in the course of ages.
In the second place, the line of the ancient canals may be traced by the
walls built of great polygonal blocks which in many places support and
case the inner side of the dykes. In some places these walls are well
preserved, but in others nothing of them remains but a conspicuous line
of white stones running for miles through the otherwise stoneless plain.

When the system of drainage by canals which has just been described was
in full operation the basin of the Copaic Lake must have been nearly
dry. But as we have no ground to suppose that in the historical period
of antiquity the lake was ever drained, it would seem that we must refer
these ancient drainage works to the prehistoric ages. Now Strabo, as we
have seen, has preserved a tradition that the bed of the lake was at one
time drained and cultivated by the people of Orchomenus. We shall
therefore hardly err in ascribing to the Minyans of Orchomenus—the
Dutchmen of antiquity—the extensive system of dykes and canals by which
the vast plain was reclaimed from the waters and converted into waving
corn-fields and smiling vineyards, which poured wealth into the coffers
of the burghers. This was the golden age of Orchomenus, when its riches
vied with the treasures of Delphi and the wealth of Egyptian Thebes.

LXXV. THE GREAT KATAVOTHRA.—To reach Larymna from the sanctuary of
Apollo on Mount Ptous, we quit the trough or little mountain-girdled
valley in which the remains of the sanctuary are to be seen and ascend
the ridge that bounds it on the north-west, forming a saddle between
Mount Tsoukourieli and Mount Megalo Vouno. From the summit of the ridge
or saddle we take a last look backwards at the vale of Apollo with its
ruined sanctuary and the beautiful Lake Likeri, with its winding shores,
beyond and below it to the south; then turning northwards we descend
somewhat steeply a narrow glen with high bushy sides, which leads us
straight down to the north-eastern corner of the great Copaic plain.
Across this corner of the plain, which until a few years ago was a marsh
or even a lake for many months of the year, but is now under
cultivation, we ride to the Great Katavothra, the largest of the natural
chasms in the line of cliffs through which the water of the Copaic Lake
found its way to the sea. It is a great cave with a high-arched roof
opening in the face of a cliff of creamy white limestone. Unlike most of
the other chasms or emissaries, it is still in use; the river Melas (the
modern Mavropotamos or Black River), after traversing all the northern
edge of the Copaic plain in a canal-like bed, pours its water in a
steady stream into the cave and vanishes in the depths. A little way
inward from the mouth of the cave there is an opening in the roof. When
the sunshine streams down through this aperture, lighting up the back of
the gloomy cavern with its hanging rocky roof and hurrying river, the
effect is very picturesque; it is like a fairy grotto, and we could
almost fancy that we stood

                   Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
                   Through caverns measureless to man
                   Down to a sunless sea.

But alas! the women who may be seen any day washing their dirty linen at
the mouth of the cave break the spell.

LXXVI. THE VALE OF THE MUSES.—The grove of the Muses lay at the northern
foot of Mount Helicon in a valley which is traversed by a stream flowing
from west to east. Towards its western end the valley contracts, being
hemmed in between the steep, lofty, and wooded slopes of Helicon on the
south and another rugged but less lofty mountain on the north. The
saddle which joins the two mountains bounds the Vale of the Muses on the
west. A fine view of the valley is to be had from a ruined mediaeval
tower which surmounts a rocky hill of no great height on the northern
side of the vale, about midway between Ascra and the village of
Palaeo-Panagia. Across the valley to the south rise the steep slopes of
Helicon, rocky below and wooded with pines above. In a glen at the foot
of these great declivities are seen the trees that hide the secluded
monastery of St. Nicholas, below which dark myrtle-bushes extend far
down the slope. At the head of the valley in the west the serrated top
of Helicon appears foreshortened, and a little on this side of the
highest point the monastery of Zagara peeps out, delightfully situated
on a woody slope that falls away into the sequestered dale where stand
the two villages also called Zagara. To the left of the summit the snowy
top of Parnassus just shows itself in the distance. In the nearer
foreground, on the hither side of the valley, the conical hill of Ascra,
crowned with its ruined tower, stands out boldly. Vineyards cover the
gently-swelling hills on the northern side of the vale, and down the
middle of it the brook Archontitza (probably the ancient Termesus or
Permessus), fed by many springs, flows through fields of maize and corn.

LXXVII. HIPPOCRENE.—To reach the far-famed Hippocrene (‘the Horse’s
Fount’) from the sanctuary of the Muses we ascend the steep eastern side
of Helicon over moss-grown rocks, through a thick forest of tall firs.
After a toilsome ascent of about two hours we emerge from the wood upon
a tiny open glade of circular shape, covered with loose stones and
overgrown with grass and ferns. All around rises the dark fir-wood.
Here, in the glade, is Hippocrene, now called Kryopegadi, or ‘cold
spring.’ It is a well with a triangular opening, enclosed by ancient
masonry. The clear ice-cold water stands at a depth of about ten feet
below the coping of the well. But it is possible to climb down to the
water by means of foot-holes cut in the side, or by holding on to the
sturdy ivy, which, growing from a rock in the water, mantles the sides
of the well. The coldness and clearness of the water of this perennial
spring are famous in the neighbourhood, especially among the herdsmen,
who love to fill their skin bottles at it.

LXXVIII. LEBADEA.—The modern town of Livadia retains the ancient name of
Lebadea but slightly altered. It stands very picturesquely at the mouth
of a wild gorge in the mountains, facing northward across the plain. The
white houses with their red roofs and wooden balconies climb the
hill-sides on both banks of the Hercyna, a clear and copious stream,
which issues from the gorge and rushes noisily through the streets in a
rocky bed, turning some mills and spanned by several bridges. At the
back of the town a steep rocky hill, crowned with the ruins of a great
mediaeval castle, descends in sheer and lofty precipices into the gorge
on the left bank of the stream. The houses extend down into the plain,
scattered among gardens and clumps of trees which give the town, as seen
from below, an agreeable aspect. The mountains at the foot of which
Lebadea lies are the northern spurs of Mount Helicon; the high conical
summit to the east is the ancient Mount Laphystius, now the mountain of
Granitsa. The plain that lies spread out below the town on the north
melts eastward into the great Copaic plain; on the north it is divided
by a chain of low hills from the parallel plain of Chaeronea.

The greater part of the water of the Hercyna rises in the profound gorge
immediately behind the town. Here, at the foot of the great precipice
which is surmounted by the ruins of the castle, a cold spring called
Kryo (‘cold’) issues from the rocks and is conducted into a small
well-house. Some niches for holding votive offerings are cut in the face
of the cliff above it. The largest of these cuttings is a square chamber
hewn out of the rock, about six feet above the ground. Right and left,
in the sides of the chamber, are benches cut in the rock. In this cool
retreat the Turkish governor of Lebadea used to smoke his pipe in the
heat of the day. On the opposite side of the ravine, a few paces off,
near some plane-trees, several springs of clear but lukewarm water rush
turbulently from the ground, and, united with the water of the Kryo,
form the Hercyna. They turn a cotton-mill close to the spot where they
rise. That some of these springs are the waters of Memory and
Forgetfulness of which all who would consult Trophonius had to drink
before descending into the oracular pit, is highly probable; but we have
no means of identifying these mystic waters. An alteration in the flow
of one of the springs is known to have occurred within the nineteenth
century; and many such changes may have taken place since antiquity. The
general features of the spot, however, have probably changed but little,
and they are well fitted to impress the imagination. The many springs
gurgling strongly from the ground, the verdant plane-trees, the caverned
rocks, the great precipices soaring on three sides of us and overhung on
the west by the ruins of the mediaeval castle, make up a scene which
once seen is not easily forgotten. But the ravine of which this is after
all only the mouth does not end here. Its deep, narrow, stony bed,
sometimes dry, sometimes traversed by a raging torrent, winds far into
the heart of the mountains, shut in on either hand like a cañon by
tremendous crags. If you follow it upwards for some miles, the country
begins to open up and you find yourself in bleak and desolate highlands.
A profound silence reigns, broken only by the cry of a water-ouzel
beside the torrent or the screaming of hawks far up the cliffs.

LXXIX. THE BOEOTIAN ORCHOMENUS.—Orchomenus, one of the oldest and most
famous cities in Greece, occupied the eastern extremity of a
sharply-marked chain of hills—the Mount Acontium (‘javelin’) of the
ancients—which extends east and west for about six miles, bounding the
broad level plain of the Cephisus on the north. Beginning nearly
opposite to Chaeronea, which lies at the foot of the hills on the
southern side of the plain, the ridge rises gradually to a considerable
height, runs eastward at this level for some miles, and then slopes down
into the Copaic plain. From beginning to end it is the stoniest, barest,
barrenest, and most forbidding chain of hills that can well be
conceived; looking up at it you wonder if the foot of man has ever
trodden these rugged and pathless solitudes. Close to the southern base
of these desolate hills the Cephisus—a fairly broad and deep stream of
turbid whitish water—flows between low banks fringed with tall willows;
ducks disport themselves on its surface, and pigs wallow in the mire on
its banks. According as the weather has been dry or rainy, the current
is sluggish or rapid. Riding beside it under the willows on a grey
November day you might fancy yourself on the banks of an English Ouse or
Avon, if the cotton-fields by the river-side and the towering ridge of
naked rock beyond did not remind you that you are in a foreign land.

At its eastern end the ridge descends in a long and gentle slope,
expanding fan-like as it descends to the Copaic plain. This long slope
was the site of Orchomenus. The position is one of great natural
strength. On the south and north it is protected by the steep and rugged
sides of the ridge which form, as it were, a first line of defence. At
the foot of these declivities the waters of the Cephisus on the south
and of the Melas on the north constitute a second line of defence; while
on the east, where the descent to the plain is gradual, the site was
till lately rendered secure by the great Copaic swamp which advanced to
within a few hundred yards of the end of the slope. The ancient walls,
of which considerable remains exist, started from the broad eastern foot
of the hill, and followed its northern and southern brows upwards,
converging more and more as they rose till at the upper end of the slope
they were within about thirty yards of each other. Here at the head of
the slope the walls end at the foot of a cliff which rises like a wall
to a considerable height. Its small summit, reached by a long, steep,
and narrow staircase hewn out of the rock, was the ancient acropolis.
Yet this cliff, which presents such an imposing appearance on the east,
is separated on the west only by a shallow depression of a few feet from
the long rugged ridge of the hills. This, therefore, was the weak point
in the circuit; and art had to be called in to supply the want of a
natural defence. Accordingly the little citadel, protected by precipices
on the east and north, was fortified on the west and south by immense
walls of massive masonry, the remains of which are amongst the finest
specimens of ancient Greek fortification in existence. The fortress thus
formed is so small that it resembles a castle rather than an acropolis
of the ordinary Greek type. But the splendid style of the masonry leaves
no room to doubt that it is a Greek fortress of the very best period,
probably of the fourth century B.C.—the golden age of Greek military

LXXX. THE PLAIN OF CHAERONEA.—The plain of Chaeronea—one of the largest
plains in Greece—stretches in an unbroken sweep from the foot of Mount
Parnassus eastward to what used to be the Copaic Lake. Its length from
east to west is about twelve miles, and its breadth from north to south
about two. The plain is a dead flat, covered with fields of cotton and
maize, and enclosed by bare, stony, barren hills both on the north and
on the south. Seen on a bright summer day, with the mountains beyond the
Copaic plain appearing blue in the distance and Parnassus towering
grandly on the west, the scene is beautiful enough; but on a grey
November morning, with the mists down on the distant mountains, it wears
a cheerless aspect that well becomes a battlefield where a nation’s
freedom was lost.

LXXXI. PANOPEUS.—The space enclosed by the fortification walls and by
the rocky crests shows but few signs of habitation. On the highest point
of the hill, among some holly-oaks, are the scanty tumble-down ruins of
a mediaeval tower, built in the usual way of small stones with bricks
and mortar in the chinks. A little lower down, and farther to the east,
is a small chapel with remains of faded paintings on the walls.
Scattered about the hill, especially round the chapel, is a good deal of
broken pottery. A fine grove of beautiful holly-oaks now shades part of
the summit, growing on a grassy slope amid low plants and shrubs. It is
pleasant in the heat of the day to rest in the shade of these trees, to
smell the wild thyme which grows abundantly on the hill, and to enjoy
the distant prospects. To the north, across the broad Chaeronean plain,
we look straight into the defile through which the Cephisus flows from
Phocis into Boeotia; at the northern end of the defile the low hill is
visible on which are the scanty ruins of Parapotamii. To the west
Parnassus lifts his mighty head at no great distance from us, his middle
slopes darkened by pine-forests that look like the shadows of clouds
resting on the mountain-side.

LXXXII. NEAR HYAMPOLIS.—From the ledge of rocks which bounds the plateau
on the south, near a ruined chapel, a spring of beautifully clear water
gushes forth. Some ancient blocks lie tumbled about the spring, and a
tall poplar-tree grows opposite it. The day was very hot when I passed
it on my way to and from the ruins of Hyampolis; but the leaves of the
poplar rustled in the breeze, and the water flowed from under the rocks
with a soothing murmur. Parnassus loomed dim in the distance through a
haze of heat. On my return from the ruins I found a shepherd boy at the
spring who offered to share his bread with me. This picturesque spot, on
which a poet of the Anthology might have written an epigram, is perhaps
the site of the temple of Artemis mentioned by Pausanias.

LXXXIII. TITHOREA.—The site of Tithorea, first identified by Clarke in
1801, is occupied by the modern village of Velitsa, which stands very
picturesquely among trees on the north-eastern slopes of Parnassus,
overlooking the broad valley of the Cephisus. About two-thirds of the
village are enclosed within the ancient ivy-mantled walls, which rank
with those of Messene and Eleutherae as among the finest existing
specimens of Greek fortifications. At the back of the village to the
south rises a huge mountainous cliff of grey rock, its ledges tufted
with pines. Between the foot of this great cliff and the village there
intervenes a very steep slope, mostly overgrown with holly-oak bushes.
On the east the village as well as the site of the ancient city is
bounded by a very deep rocky ravine, which winds southward into the
heart of the mountains. At the bottom of the ravine a torrent flows from
Parnassus over a broad gravelly bed to join the Cephisus in the plain
below. This torrent, now called Kakorevma or Evil Stream, is the ancient
Cachales. In the time of Pausanias, the townspeople, he tells us, had to
fetch their water in buckets from the depths of the lyn. Nowadays a
portion of the water of the stream is diverted higher up the glen and
brought in a conduit to the village, where it turns two mills and waters
the gardens and orchards. As Tithorea was thus naturally defended on two
sides, namely by the great cliff on the south and by the deep ravine on
the east, it needed walls on two sides only, the west and the north.
These walls, starting from the foot of the cliff, first descend the
steep slope in a straight line above the village, then follow the
gentler slope within the village, still in a direction due north, till
they turn round at an obtuse angle and run eastward to the brink of the
ravine. Here they stop. Along the edge of the ravine a number of ancient
blocks may be observed, but whether they are the remains of an ancient
fortification wall is not clear. Perhaps the deep precipitous side of
the ravine may have been considered a sufficient defence by itself. The
walls so far as they exist are finely and solidly built of regular
ashlar masonry, and are flanked by massive square towers constructed in
the same style. Walls and towers are best preserved in the lower ground
among the houses and gardens of the village, but on the steep slope
above the village the remains are also considerable.

The investigation of the ruined fortifications on this slope, it may be
observed, is a matter of some difficulty, for the slope is not only very
steep but overgrown with prickly shrubs and cumbered with huge fallen
blocks. The antiquary who picks his way painfully among these obstacles
is mortified by the contrast between his own slow progress and that of
the village urchins who accompany him; for they climb and skip like
goats on the top of the walls, now appearing suddenly on the highest
pinnacles and then again leaping from stone to stone with wonderful
confidence and agility.

The remains of the walls in the village, on the other hand, can be
examined without discomfort, and they better repay study. Here on the
north and north-west the wall, flanked by square towers, is standing in
an unbroken line for a considerable distance. As a whole, the masonry of
the walls and towers is splendid, massive, and almost quite regular,
without being absolutely so. The beauty of these venerable walls is much
enhanced by the thick green veil of ivy and other creepers which clothes
their sides and droops in graceful festoons from their summits. Such a
mantle of clinging verdure is very rare in Greece, where the ancient
temples and fortresses, unlike the ivy-clad abbeys and castles of
England, remain for the most part to this day as bare as when they were
built, without even a patch of moss to soften their hard outlines and to
tell of the lapse of ages.

Distant views complete the charm of Tithorea. From its ivied walls,
rising among the gardens and houses of the village, we look up at the
huge grey crag that hides the higher slopes of Parnassus, or down the
long gradual declivity to the wide valley of the Cephisus and across it
to the hills, somewhat low and tame, at whose foot lie the scanty ruins
of Elatea.

LXXXIV. FROM AMPHISSA TO GRAVIA.—The smiling verdure of Amphissa and its
neighbourhood forms a striking contrast to the stern, arid, and rocky
scenery of Delphi, which is only ten miles off. At Amphissa, indeed, we
are on the borders of almost Swiss scenery. For the fir-clad and
torrent-rent mountains of Locris and Doris, which rise to the
north-west, are the loftiest in the present kingdom of Greece. Two of
the peaks exceed eight thousand feet in height. A fine specimen of this
Alpine scenery may be obtained by following the mule-path which leads
north from Amphissa over the mountains to the village of Gravia in the
ancient canton of Doris. With the exception of the village of Topolia,
which we leave on the right, and here and there a small farm far up on
the mountain-side, not a human dwelling is to be seen. At first the path
ascends the western declivities of Parnassus. Looking down to the left
we see below us a narrow dale, where in early summer the course of the
stream, now nearly dried up, is marked by the red oleander blossoms.
Beyond the dale Mount Kiano rears its snowy head, the loftiest mountain
in Greece; and behind it the long and almost equally lofty ridge of
Vardousia is seen stretching north and south. The finest point on the
route is at a clear spring which bubbles up at the top of the pass, just
where the road surmounts the ridge that joins Parnassus to the mountains
of Locris. Hitherto we have been ascending from the south; from this
point the road begins to descend to the north. The valley now contracts.
The snowy peaks in the west disappear, but their lower spurs form, with
the western declivities of Parnassus, a narrow pass, down which a brook
babbles over rocks and stones, its banks overhung with plane-trees.
Pines and oaks of various kinds contrast pleasantly with the steep
cliffs and bushy slopes; and now and then we come to a little grassy
glade or a patch of corn. “It is,” says the Swiss traveller Vischer,
whose description of the road I have borrowed, “almost a Swiss region,
and I might have fancied myself transported to my native land, if the
holly-oaks and oriental plane-trees had not reminded me that I was in
the south.” Thus descending by a steep and rugged path we reach the
village of Gravia at the northern end of the pass, in five or six hours
from Amphissa.

LXXXV. DAULIS.—The situation of ancient Daulis is exceedingly beautiful.
It occupied the broad but somewhat uneven summit of a fine massive hill,
which rises abruptly from the glens at the eastern foot of Parnassus.
Everywhere the sides of the hill—which in the grandeur of its outlines
deserves almost to rank as a mountain—are high and steep, except at a
single point on the west where a narrow ridge connects it with the main
mass of Parnassus. On the south the hill falls away in sheer and lofty
precipices of grey rock into a deep romantic glen, the sides of which,
where they are not precipitous, are mantled with dark green shrubbery.
Beyond the ridge to the west soar the immense grey precipitous slopes of
Parnassus, mottled here and there with dark pines. High up on its side
is seen a white monastery at the mouth of a dark gorge, through which a
path ascends to the summit. In the hollow between the hill of Daulis and
these great slopes, a mill nestles picturesquely among trees; the water
is led to it in a mill-race. Northward the ruined walls of Daulis, here
thickly overgrown with ivy and holly-oak, look across a deep dell to the
pretty village of Davlia, embowered among trees and gardens on the
opposite hill-side. The descent to the valley on this side is steep and
bushy, but not precipitous, except where a line of rocks runs obliquely
up it on the north-west. Here and there in the valley the last slopes of
the hill are terraced and planted with vines. At the eastern foot of the
hill begins the great plain—the scene of so many famous battles—which
stretches away for miles past the ruins of Panopeus and Chaeronea until
at Orchomenus it melts into the still vaster expanse of the Copaic
plain. To the south-east, beyond an intervening range of low hills,
appears the sharp outline of Helicon. In this direction, at the southern
end of the narrow valley which divides these low hills from the mighty
steeps of Parnassus, is the famous Cleft Way, where Oedipus is said to
have done the dark deed that was the beginning of all his woes.

Altogether few places in Greece surpass Daulis in romantic beauty of
situation and the wealth of historical and legendary memories which the
landscape, both near and far, is fitted to evoke. Standing on the brow
of its precipices we feel that this mountain fastness, frowning on the
rich champaign country below, was well fitted to be the hold of a wild
wicked lord like Tereus, of whose bad deeds the peasants might tell
tales of horror to their children’s children. But now all is very
peaceful and solitary in Daulis, for the tide of life has long rolled
away from it. Parnassus still looks down on it as of old; but ivy
mantles the ruins, the wild thyme smells sweet on the hill, and the
tinkle of goat-bells comes up musically from the glen. Only the shadow
of ancient crime and sorrow rests on the fair landscape.

LXXXVI. THE CLEFT WAY.—About five miles to the south-west of Daulis the
road, after skirting the eastern foot of the mighty mass of Mount
Parnassus, turns sharply to the west and begins to ascend through the
long, narrow, and profound valley which leads to Delphi. Just at the
point where the road turns westward and before it begins the long ascent
it is joined from the south-east by the direct road from Lebadea and
Thebes. The meeting of the three roads—the road from Daulis, the road
from Delphi, and the road from Thebes—is the Cleft Way or Triple Road,
the scene of the legendary murder of Laius by Oedipus. It is now known
as the Cross Road of Megas, after the gallant Johannes Megas, who met
his death here in July 1856, while exterminating a band of brigands with
a small troop of soldiers. His monument, on a rock at the meeting of the
roads, bears a few verses in modern Greek. Apart from any legendary
associations the scene is one of the wildest and grandest in Greece,
recalling in its general features, though on a vastly greater scale, the
mouth of Glencoe. On both sides of the valley the mountains tower
abruptly in huge precipices; the cliffs of Parnassus on the northern
side of the valley are truly sublime. Not a trace of human habitation is
to be seen. All is desolation and silence. A more fitting spot could
hardly be found for the scene of a memorable tragedy.

LXXXVII. DELPHI.—The site of Delphi, till lately occupied by the modern
village of Kastri, is in the highest degree striking and impressive. The
city lay at the southern foot of the tremendous cliffs of Parnassus,
which form a sheer wall of rock, about eight hundred feet high. Over
these frightful precipices Philomelus drove some of the defeated
Locrians. Just at the angle where this vast wall of rock bends round
towards the south it is rent from top to bottom by a deep and gloomy
gorge, some twenty feet wide, where there is a fine echo. Facing each
other across this narrow chasm rise two stupendous cliffs, whose peaked
summits tower considerably above the rest of the line of cliffs. They
are nearly perpendicular in front, and perfectly so where they fall
sheer down into the gorge. The eastern of the two cliffs was called
Hyampia in antiquity; from its top Aesop is said to have been hurled by
the Delphians. It has been suggested, though perhaps without sufficient
reason, that when the later writers of antiquity, especially the Roman
poets, speak of the two summits of Parnassus, they are really referring
to these two cliffs. In point of fact the cliffs are far indeed from
being near the summit of Parnassus; but seen from Delphi they completely
hide the higher slopes of the mountain. In winter or wet weather a
torrent comes foaming down the gorge in a cascade about two hundred feet
high, bringing down the water from the higher slopes of the mountain. At
the mouth of the gorge, under the eastern cliff, is the rock-cut basin
of the perennial Castalian spring, a few paces above the highway. The
water from the spring joins the stream from the gorge, which, after
passing over the road, plunges into a deep rocky lyn or glen, which it
has scooped out for itself in the steep side of the mountain. Down this
glen the stream descends to join the Plistus, which flows along the
bottom of the Delphic valley from east to west, at a great depth below
the town.

From the cliffs at the back of Delphi the ground slopes away so steeply
to the bed of the Plistus that it is only by means of a succession of
artificial terraces, rising in tiers above each other, that the soil can
be cultivated and made fit for habitation. There are about thirty of
these terraces, supported by stone walls, mostly of polygonal masonry.
The sanctuary of Apollo occupies only the five or six highest terraces
at the foot of the cliffs, on the western side of the Castalian gorge.
So high does it stand above the bottom of the valley that twenty minutes
are needed to descend the steep terraced slope to the bed of the
Plistus. Corn is grown on the terraces below the sanctuary; and the
slopes on the eastern side of the Castalian gorge are wooded with fine
olive and mulberry trees. Across the valley, on the southern side of the
Plistus, rise the bare precipitous cliffs of Mount Cirphis, capped with
fir-woods. From the western end of the precipices which rise at the back
of Delphi a high rocky ridge projects southward toward the bed of the
Plistus. This ridge closes the valley of Delphi on the west, shutting
out all view of the Crisaean plain and the gulf of Corinth, though a
glimpse of the waters of the gulf is obtained from the stadium, the
highest part of Delphi.

Thus, enclosed by a rocky ridge on the west, by tremendous precipices on
the north and east, and faced on the south, across the valley of the
Plistus, by the lower but still precipitous sides of Mount Cirphis,
Delphi lay in a secluded mountain valley; and rising on terraces in a
semicircular shape, it resembled an immense theatre, to which it has
justly been compared by ancient and modern writers. The whole scene is
one of stern and awful majesty, well fitted to be the seat of a great
religious capital. In respect of natural scenery no contrast could well
be more striking than that between the two great religious capitals of
ancient Greece, Delphi and Olympia—Delphi clinging to the rugged side of
barren mountains, with frowning precipices above and a profound glen
below; Olympia stretched out on the level margin of a river that winds
in stately curves among the corn-fields and vineyards of a smiling
valley set between soft wooded hills.

LXXXVIII. AESCHINES AT DELPHI.—That the place of assembly of the
Amphictyonic Council at Delphi must have been situated near the chapel
of St. Elias is shown by a passage of Aeschines, in which he says that
the Cirrhaean plain lay spread beneath and in full view of the
meeting-place of the Amphictyonic Council. The orator himself, he tells
us, was one of the Athenian representatives at a meeting of the Council.
Addressing it he pointed to the smiling and peaceful plain stretched at
their feet, with its olive-groves and corn-fields, its cottages and
potteries, and in the distance the shining waters of the gulf, with the
port-town visible beside it. “You see,” he cried, “yonder plain tilled
by the men of Amphissa and the potteries and cottages they have built.
You see with your eyes the fortifications of the cursed and execrated
port. You know for yourselves that these men levy tolls and take money
from the sacred harbour.” He then reminded his hearers of the oath sworn
by their ancestors that this fair plain should lie a wilderness for
ever. His words were received with a tumult of applause, and next day at
dawn the men of Delphi, armed with shovels and mattocks, marched down
into the plain, razed the fortifications of the port to the ground, and
gave the houses to the flames. It is refreshing to know that on their
way back they were hotly pursued by the Amphissaeans in arms and had to
run for their lives. This was the beginning of the chain of events which
in a few months more brought Philip at the head of a Macedonian army
into Greece and ended in the overthrow of Greek freedom at Chaeronea.

The view described by the orator, whose ill-omened eloquence brought all
these miseries and disasters in its train, is to be obtained, not from
the platform on which the chapel of St. Elias stands, but from a point a
little way to the south-west of it, where the traveller coming from
Delphi reaches the end of the high ridge that shuts in the valley of
Delphi on the west. Here as he turns the corner the whole Crisaean
plain, now covered with luxuriant olive-woods, comes suddenly into
sight. The scene is again as rich and peaceful as it was before
Aeschines raised his voice, like the scream of some foul bird snuffing
the carrion afar off, and turned it into a desert. We may suppose either
that in his time the Amphictyonic Council met at this point, or, what is
far likelier, that the orator’s description of that day’s doings is more
graphic than correct.

LXXXIX. THE PYTHIAN TUNE.—Sacadas was said to be the first who played
the Pythian air on the flute at Delphi. The tune has been described for
us by Pollux and Strabo. The melody, intended to represent musically
Apollo’s combat with the dragon, was played by a single flute, but now
and then the trumpets and fifes struck in. First Apollo was heard
preparing for the fight and choosing his ground. Then followed the
challenge to the dragon, then the battle, indicated by an iambic
measure. Here probably the music imitated the twanging of the silver bow
and the swish of the arrows as they sped to their mark. It is expressly
said that the gnashing of the monster’s teeth was heard, as he ground
them together in his agony. Here the trumpets came in, not in long-drawn
winding bouts, but in short single blasts, one perhaps for each
arrow-shot, every flourish marking a hit. The shrill wailing notes of
the fifes mimicked the dragon’s dying screams. Then the flute broke into
a light lilting air, beating time to the triumphal measure trodden by
the victorious god.

admirals, and generals which formed the proud trophy of the
Lacedaemonians at Delphi appear to have stood like soldiers in stiff
formal rows at different heights on the steps of the pedestal, scowling
at the Athenian trophy which probably faced them on the opposite side of
the road.

This Lacedaemonian trophy, commemorative of the great naval victory of
Aegospotami, is repeatedly referred to by Plutarch. He says that from
the spoils of the battle Lysander set up bronze statues of himself and
of all the admirals, together with golden stars of the Dioscuri; and
elsewhere he tells us that in his time these old bronze statues of the
admirals were covered with a beautiful blue patina, the growth of ages,
so that people spoke of them as being true blue salts. Cicero specially
mentions the statue of Lysander at Delphi. The reason for dedicating
golden stars of the Dioscuri would seem to have been that Castor and
Pollux were said to have appeared on the side of the Lacedaemonians at
the battle of Aegospotami, just as they appeared on the Roman side at
the battle of Lake Regillus. It is related that after the battle of
Leuctra, which gave the death-blow to Spartan prestige and power, the
golden stars disappeared from Delphi and were never seen again, as if in
token that the star of Sparta’s fortunes had set. The dedication of the
stars in memory of the appearance of the Dioscuri is an interesting
confirmation of the view that the twins Castor and Pollux were the
Morning and Evening Star, the equivalents of the Sanscrit Aśvins. It is
notable that in Roman history the appearances of the Dioscuri as
messengers of victory seem always to have taken place in the same season
of the year, namely at the summer solstice or the first full moon after
it. By a curious coincidence the old chronicler Holinshed reports that
on the eve of the battle of Bannockburn, which was also Midsummer Eve,
two men appeared at Glastonbury saying they were going to help the Scots
in a battle next day; and a single knight in bright armour rode into
Aberdeen on the afternoon of the battle and was seen to pass over into
the Orkneys in the evening.[9]


Footnote 9:

  For this modern instance I have to thank my friend Mr. R. A. Neil, of
  Pembroke College.


                    XCI. THE GODS IN BATTLE.—Apollo,

Artemis, and Athena are said to have appeared in person fighting for the
Greeks against the Gauls. The heroes Theseus and Echetlus were seen
combating on the Greek side at Marathon. In the great sea-fight of
Salamis phantoms of armed men were perceived stretching out their hands
from Aegina to protect the Greek ships; they were believed to be the
Aeacids, who had been prayed to for help before the battle. The spirit
of Aristomenes was said to have fought for the Thebans against his old
foes the Spartans at Leuctra. The Mantineans fancied they saw Poseidon
warring on their side against the Lacedaemonians. In a battle between
the people of Crotona and the people of Locri, two unknown youths, of
wondrous stature, in strange armour, clad in scarlet and riding white
horses, were seen fighting on the wings of the Locrian army; after the
battle they disappeared. These two youths were probably regarded as
Castor and Pollux, whose reported appearance at the battle of the Lake
Regillus, charging with lances in rest at the head of the Roman cavalry,
is well known. It is said that when Alaric approached Athens he beheld
Athena in full armour patrolling the walls, and Achilles guarding them
with the same fiery valour with which he had avenged the death of
Patroclus; terrified by the vision, the fierce barbarian gave up all
thought of attacking the city. Similarly in the battles between the
Spaniards and the Indians of Mexico it is affirmed by grave historians
that St. James, the patron Saint of Spain, was seen tilting on his
milk-white steed at the head of the Christian chivalry. In one of these
battles a lady robed in white, supposed to be the Virgin, was visible by
the side of St. James, throwing dust in the eyes of the infidels. The
stout old chronicler Bernal Diaz, who fought in these wars, confesses
that for his sins he was not found worthy to behold the glorious


Footnote 10:

  For these Spanish parallels I am indebted to my lamented friend the
  late W. Robertson Smith. Niebuhr had previously made exactly the same


XCII. THE SIBYL’S WISH.—The author of the _Exhortation to the Greeks_
was shown at Cumae a bronze bottle in which the remains of the Sibyl
were said to be preserved. Trimalchio in Petronius says: “At Cumae I saw
with my own eyes the Sibyl hanging in a jar, and when the children said
to her, ‘Sibyl, what do you wish?’ she used to answer, 'I wish to die.'”
Ampelius tells us that the Sibyl was said to be shut up in an iron cage
which hung from a pillar in an ancient temple of Hercules at Argyrus. It
has been pointed out by Dr. M. R. James that parallels to the story of
the Sibyl’s wish are to be found in German folk-tales. One of these
tales runs as follows: “Once upon a time there was a girl in London who
wished to live for ever, so they say:

                   ‘London, London is a fine town.
                   A maiden prayed to live for ever.’

And still she lives and hangs in a basket in a church, and every St.
John’s Day about noon she eats a roll of bread.” Another story tells of
a lady who resided at Danzig and was so rich and so blest with all that
life can give that she wished to live always. So when she came to her
latter end, she did not really die but only looked like dead, and very
soon they found her in a hollow of a pillar in the church, half standing
and half sitting, motionless. She stirred never a limb, but they saw
quite plainly that she was alive, and she sits there down to this
blessed day. Every New Year’s Day the sacristan comes and puts a morsel
of the holy bread in her mouth, and that is all she has to live on.
Long, long has she rued her fatal wish who set this transient life above
the eternal joys of heaven. A third story relates how a noble damsel
cherished the same foolish wish for immortality. So they put her in a
basket and hung her up in a church, and there she hangs and never dies,
though many, many a year has come and gone since they put her there. But
every year on a certain day they give her a roll and she eats it and
cries out “For ever! for ever! for ever!” And when she has so cried she
falls silent again till the same time next year, and so it will go on
for ever and for ever. A fourth story, taken down, near Oldenburg in
Holstein, tells of a jolly dame that ate and drank and lived right
merrily and had all that heart could desire, and she wished to live
always. For the first hundred years all went well, but after that she
began to shrink and shrivel up till at last she could neither walk nor
stand nor eat nor drink. But die she could not. At first they fed her as
if she were a little child, but when she grew smaller and smaller they
put her in a glass bottle and hung her up in the church. And there she
still hangs, in the church of St. Mary at Lübeck. She is as small as a
mouse, but once a year she stirs.

XCIII. ORPHEUS IN HELL.—Why in his picture of hell the painter
Polygnotus should have depicted Orpheus touching the branches of a
willow-tree is not clear. Pausanias has himself rightly pointed out that
willows grew in the grove of Proserpine, but that does not suffice to
explain the gesture of Orpheus in the picture. Mr. J. Six ingeniously
suggests that when Orpheus went to hell to fetch the soul of his lost
Eurydice he may have carried in his hand a willow-branch, just as Aeneas
carried the Golden Bough, to serve as a passport or ‘open Sesame’ to
unlock the gates of Death to a living man, and that in memory of this
former deed the painter may have depicted the bard touching the willow.
Virgil tells how at sight of the Golden Bough, “not seen for long,” the
surly Charon turned his crazy bark to shore and received Aeneas on
board. Mr. Six surmises that here the words “not seen for long” refer to
the time when Orpheus, like Aeneas, had passed the ferry with the Golden
Bough in his hand. If he is right, Polygnotus took a different view of
that mystic branch from Virgil, who certainly regarded it as a glorified
mistletoe. Professor C. Robert accepts Mr. Six’s explanation. Formerly
he held that Pausanias had misinterpreted the gesture of Orpheus. The
bard, on Professor Robert’s earlier view, was depicted merely holding
the lyre with one hand and playing on it with the other, and a branch of
the willow under which he sat drooped down and touched the hand that
swept the strings. This view, which Professor Robert has wisely
abandoned, is open to several objections. It substitutes a commonplace
gesture, which Pausanias could hardly have so grossly mistaken, for a
remarkable one which, however it is to be explained, had clearly struck
Pausanias as unusual and significant. Again, if Orpheus had been
depicted playing, would not some one have been represented listening?
But, so far as appears from Pausanias’s description, not a soul was
paying any heed to the magic strains of the great minstrel. It seems
better, therefore, to suppose that, like blind Thamyris, he sat sad and
silent, dreaming of life in the bright world, of love and music.

XCIV. THE ACHERON.—The Acheron is the river now known as the Suliotiko
or Phanariotiko which comes down from the mountains of the once famous
Suli and winds, a sluggish, turbid, and weedy stream, through the wide
plain of Phanari, traversing some swamps or meres before it reaches the
sea. These swamps, which extend nearly to the sea, and never dry up
though they shrink in summer, are the Acherusian lake. The plain, where
it is not too marshy, is covered with fields of maize and rice and
meadows where herds of buffaloes browse. A few plane-trees and low
tamarisks fringe the margin of the winding river. Otherwise the plain is
mostly treeless. On its eastern side rise, like a huge grey wall, the
wild and barren mountains of Suli.

Before entering the plain, on its passage from these rugged highlands,
the Acheron flows through a profound and gloomy gorge, one of the
darkest and deepest of the glens of Greece. On either side precipices
rise sheer from the water’s edge to a height of hundreds of feet, their
ledges and crannies tufted with dwarf oaks and shrubs. Higher up, where
the sides of the glen recede from the perpendicular, the mountains rise
to a height of over three thousand feet, the black pine-woods which
cling to their precipitous sides adding to the sombre magnificence of
the scene. A precarious footpath leads along a perilous ledge high up on
the mountain-side, from which the traveller gazes down into the depths
of the tremendous ravine, where the deep and rapid river may be seen
rushing and foaming along, often plunging in a cascade into a dark
abyss, but so far below him that even the roar of the waterfall is lost
in mid-air before it can reach his ear.

At the point where the river emerges from the defile into the plain,
there are a few cottages with some ruins of a church and fortress on the
right bank. The place is called Glyky. The church seems to have occupied
the site of an ancient temple; some fragments of granite columns and
pieces of a white marble cornice, adorned with a pattern of acanthus
leaves, may be seen lying about. Here, perhaps, was the seat of that
Oracle of the Dead where the envoys of Periander, tyrant of Corinth,
summoned up the ghost of his murdered wife Melissa, and where Orpheus
vainly sought to bring back his lost Eurydice from the world of shades.

XCV. A RIDE ACROSS PARNASSUS.—We left the new village of Delphi, which
stands a little to the south-west of the ancient sanctuary, shortly
after eight o’clock, and at once struck up the mountain-side at the back
of the village. The path for a good way is the same as that to the
Corycian cave. It climbs the bare rocky face of the mountain in a series
of zigzags, from which as we rose higher and higher a wide prospect
opened up behind us to the Gulf of Corinth and the distant mountains of
Peloponnese. On reaching the top of this long and steep declivity we
found ourselves on the edge of an expanse of comparatively level though
broken ground, sparsely wooded with pines, beyond which soared the upper
slopes of Parnassus, its summit lightly capped with snow. The high
plateau on which we now stood is bounded on the north by an outlying
spur of Parnassus, clothed with pine-forest, in the southern face of
which is the Corycian cave. Instead of crossing the tableland in the
direction of the cave, we skirted its south-western corner, keeping the
wooded mountain on our right. The path continued to wind for hours along
grey rocky slopes where pines grew more or less thickly. On either hand
rose sombre mountains of the same general character—grey and rocky with
patches of pine-forest on their sides. Now and then a little moss
relieved with its verdure the barrenness of the rocks, and a stony glade
through which we passed was speckled with pale purple crocuses. On these
heights the air felt chilly, for the season was late October, and a
little snow—the first of autumn—had fallen in the night, just touching
with white the peaks of Parnassus and the high Locrian mountains in the
west. The morning had been bright when we left Delphi, but as the day
wore on the sky became overcast, its cold and lowering aspect
harmonising well with the wild and desolate scenery through which we
rode. The jingling of the mule-bells and the cries of the muleteers were
almost the only sounds that broke the silence, though once in the forest
to the right we heard the clapper-like note of a pelican, and once in an
open glade we passed some woodmen hewing pine-logs. In time, the path
beginning to descend, the rocks gave place to earthy slopes; a little
pale thin grass and some withered ferns grew in the glades; the sun
shone out between the clouds, and as we descended into the warmer
lowlands it seemed as if we were pursuing the departing summer.

In about four hours from Delphi high purple mountains, sunlit and
flecked with cloud-shadows, appeared in the north through and above the
pine-forest. Farther down the forest grew thin and then disappeared from
the stony bottom of the valley, though the upper slopes of the mountains
on either side were still wrapped in their dark mantle of pines. It was
near one o’clock when we reached Ano-Agoriani, a village nestling among
trees in a hollow of the mountains and traversed by a murmuring brook.
After a halt of about an hour we quitted the village and descended into
the deep bed of the stream; then ascending steeply its western bank we
pursued our way along the rocky mountain-side high above the glen. In
three-quarters of an hour we came in sight of the broad valley of the
Cephisus lying stretched below us and backed by mountains on the north.
By steep, rocky, winding paths we now descended into the valley, and at
a quarter to four reached Kato-Agoriani. The village stands just at the
foot of Parnassus. About a mile to the east the grey ruined walls and
towers of Lilaea climb a steep and rugged hill-side—the last fall of
Parnassus to the plain. The situation of the place at the northern foot
of the mountain is such that it can receive very little sun at any time
of the year, which, though an advantage in the torrid heat of a Greek
summer, must render the winter climate severe. As we rode downwards to
Kato-Agoriani the sun set behind the mountains at our back soon after
three o’clock, but it was not till nearly two hours afterwards that his
light faded from the hills on the opposite or northern side of the
valley. This may illustrate the remarks of Pausanias as to the climate
of Lilaea.

XCVI. PERICLES.—Pericles, a great Athenian statesman, and one of the
most remarkable men of antiquity, was the son of Xanthippus, who
commanded the Greeks at the battle of Mycale. By his mother Agariste,
niece of Clisthenes, who reformed the democracy at Athens after the
expulsion of the Pisistratidae, he was connected both with the old
princely line of Sicyon and with the great but unfortunate house of the
Alcmaeonidae. The date of his birth is unknown, but his youth must have
fallen in the stirring times of the great Persian war. From his
friendship with the poet Anacreon, his father would seem to have been a
man of taste, and as he stood in relations of hospitality to the Spartan
kings his house was no doubt a political as well as literary centre.
Pericles received the best education which the age could supply. For
masters he had Pythoclides and the distinguished musician Damon, who
infused into his music lessons a tincture of philosophy, whereby he
incurred the suspicions of the vulgar, and received the honour of
ostracism. Pericles listened also to the subtle dialectics of the
Eleatic Zeno. But the man who swayed him most deeply and permanently was
the philosopher Anaxagoras. The influence of the speculative genius and
dignified and gentle character of the philosopher who resigned his
property that he might turn his thoughts more steadily to heaven, which
he called his home, and who begged as his last honour that the
school-children might have a holiday on the day he died, can be traced
alike in the intellectual breadth and the elevated moral tone of the
pupil, in his superiority to vulgar superstitions, and in the unruffled
serenity which he preserved throughout the storms of political life. It
was probably the grand manner of Pericles even more than his eloquence
that won him the surname of Olympian Zeus.[11]


Footnote 11:

  It is said that once, when Pericles was transacting business in
  public, a low fellow railed at him all day long, and at nightfall
  dogged him to his house, reviling him in the foulest language.
  Pericles took no notice of him till he reached his own door, when he
  bade one of the servants take a torch and light the man home.


In his youth he distinguished himself in the field, but eschewed
politics, fearing, it is said, the suspicions which might be excited in
the populace not only by his wealth, high birth, and powerful friends,
but by the striking resemblance to the tyrant Pisistratus which old men
traced in his personal appearance, musical voice, and flowing speech.
But when the banishment of Themistocles and the death of Aristides had
somewhat cleared the political stage, Pericles came forward as the
champion of the democratic or progressive party, in opposition to Cimon,
the leader of the aristocratic or conservative party. The two leaders
differed hardly less than their policies. Both indeed were men of
aristocratic birth and temper, honourable, brave, and generous, faithful
and laborious in the service of Athens. But Cimon was a true sailor,
blunt, jovial, free-handed, who sang a capital song, and was always
equally ready to drink or fight, to whose artless mind (he was innocent
of even a smattering of letters[12]) the barrack-room life of the
barbarous Spartans seemed the type of human perfectibility, and whose
simple programme was summed up in the maxim “fight the Persians.”
Naturally the new ideas of political progress and intellectual
development had no place in his honest head; naturally he was a sturdy
supporter of the good old times of which, to the popular mind, he was
the best embodiment. Pericles, grave, studious, reserved, was himself
penetrated by those ideas of progress and culture which he undertook to
convert into political and social realities; philosophy was his
recreation; during the whole course of his political career he never
accepted but once an invitation to dinner, and he was never to be seen
walking except between his house and the popular assembly and
senate-house. He husbanded his patrimony and regulated his domestic
affairs with rigid economy that he might escape both the temptation and
the suspicion of enriching himself at the public expense.


Footnote 12:

  It is amusing to read in Plutarch of this stout old salt sitting in
  judgment on the respective merits of Aeschylus and Sophocles.


The steps by which he rose to the commanding position which he occupied
in later life cannot be traced with certainty. According to Plutarch,
Pericles, whose fortune did not allow him to imitate the profuse
hospitality by which Cimon endeared himself to the people, sought to
outbid him by a lavish distribution of the public moneys among the
poorer classes; this device was suggested to him by Damonides, says
Plutarch on the authority of Aristotle. We may doubt the motive alleged
by Plutarch, but we cannot doubt the fact that Pericles did extend, if
not originate, the practice of distributing large sums among the
citizens either as gratuities or as payment for services rendered—a
practice which afterwards attained most mischievous proportions.
According to Plato, it was a common saying that Pericles, by the system
of payments which he introduced, had corrupted the Athenians, rendering
them idle, cowardly, talkative, and avaricious. It was Pericles who
introduced the payment of jurymen, and, as there were six thousand of
them told off annually for duty, of whom a great part sat daily, the
disbursement from the treasury was great, while the poor and idle were
encouraged to live at the public expense. But the payment for attendance
on the public assembly or parliament (of which all citizens of mature
age were members), though probably suggested by the payment of the
jurymen, was not introduced by Pericles, and indeed does not seem to
have existed during his lifetime. It was he who instituted the payment
of the citizens for military service—a measure but for which the
Athenians would probably not have prolonged the Peloponnesian War as
they did, and in particular would not have been so ready to embark on
the fatal Sicilian expedition.

There was more justification, perhaps, for the practice, originated by
Pericles, of supplying the poorer citizens from the public treasury with
the price of admission to the theatre. For in an age when the study of
the poets formed a chief element of education, and when the great dramas
of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides were being put on the stage in
all their freshness, such a measure might almost be regarded as a state
provision for the education of the citizens. It was part of the policy
of Pericles at once to educate and delight the people by numerous and
splendid festivals, processions, and shows. But the good was mixed with
seeds of evil, which took root and spread, till, in the days of
Demosthenes, the money which should have been spent in fighting the
enemies of Athens was squandered in spectacles and pageants. The
Spectacular Fund or _Theorikon_ has been called the cancer of Athens.
Vast sums were further spent by Pericles in adorning the city with those
buildings, which even in their ruins are the wonder of the world.
Amongst these were the Parthenon, or Temple of the Virgin, and the
Erechtheum, both on the acropolis, the former completed in 438 B.C., the
latter left unfinished at Pericles’s death; the magnificent Propylaea or
vestibule to the acropolis, built between 437 and 432; and the Odeum or
music-hall, on the south-eastern slope of the acropolis, completed
before 444. The musical contests instituted by Pericles, and for which
he himself laid down the rules and acted as judge, took place in the
Odeum. Many artists and architects were entrusted with the execution of
these great works, but under the direction of the mastermind of Phidias,
sculptor, architect, painter—the Michelangelo of antiquity.

But Pericles fortified as well as beautified Athens. It had been the
policy of Themistocles to make her primarily a naval and commercial
power, and to do so he strengthened the marine, and gave to the city as
far as possible the advantages of an insular situation by means of
fortifications, which rendered both it and its port impregnable on the
land side. By thus basing the Athenian state on commerce instead of,
like Solon, on agriculture, he at the same time transferred the
political predominance to the democratic or progressive party, which is
as naturally recruited from a commercial as a conservative or
aristocratic party is from an agricultural population. This policy was
fully accepted and carried out by Pericles. It was in his time and
probably by his advice that the Long Walls were built, which, connecting
Athens with Piraeus, converted the capital and its seaport into one vast
fortress. Further, in order to train the Athenians in seamanship, he
kept a fleet of sixty ships at sea eight months out of every year.

The expenses entailed by these great schemes were chiefly defrayed by
the annual tribute, which the confederates of Athens originally
furnished for the purpose of waging war against Persia, but which
Athens, as head of the league, subsequently applied to her own purposes.
If, as seems likely, the transference of the treasury of the league from
Delos to Athens, which sealed the conversion of the Athenian headship
into an empire, took place between 460 and 454, the step was probably
suggested or supported by Pericles, and at all events he managed the
fund after its transference. But, though the diversion of the fund from
its original purpose probably did not begin with Pericles, yet, once
established, he maintained it unwaveringly. The Athenians, he held,
fulfilled the trust committed to them by defending their allies against
all comers, and the tribute was their wages, which it was their right
and privilege to expend in works which by employing labour and
stimulating commerce were a present benefit, and by their beauty would
be “a joy for ever.” That Athens ruled by force, that her empire was in
fact a tyranny, he fully admitted, but he justified that tyranny by the
high and glorious ends which it subserved.

The rise of Pericles to power, though it cannot be followed step by
step, has an obvious and sufficient explanation in his combined wisdom
and eloquence. Plato traces his eloquence largely to the influence of
Anaxagoras; intercourse with that philosopher, he says, filled the mind
of Pericles with lofty speculations and a true conception of the nature
of intelligence, and hence his oratory possessed the intellectual
grandeur and artistic finish characteristic of the highest eloquence.
The range and compass of his rhetoric were wonderful, extending from the
most winning persuasion to the most overwhelming denunciation. The comic
poets of the day, in general very unfriendly to him, speak with
admiration of his oratory: “greatest of Grecian tongues,” says Cratinus;
“persuasion sat on his lips, such was his charm,” and “he alone of the
orators left his sting in his hearers,” says Eupolis; “he lightened, he
thundered,” says Aristophanes. His speeches were prepared with
conscientious care; before rising to speak he used to pray that no
inappropriate word might fall from his lips. He left no written
speeches, but the few sayings of his which have come down to us reveal a
passionate imagination such as breathes in the fragments of Sappho.
Thus, in speaking of those who had died in war, he said that the youth
had perished from the city like the spring from the year. He called the
hostile island of Aegina “the eyesore of the Piraeus,” and declared that
he saw war “lowering from Peloponnese.” Three of his speeches have been
reported by Thucydides, who may have heard them, but, though their
substance may be correctly recorded, in passing through the medium of
the historian’s dispassionate mind they have been shorn of the orator’s
imaginative glow, and in their cold iron logic are hardly to be
distinguished from the other speeches in Thucydides. An exception to
this is the speech which Thucydides reports as having been delivered by
Pericles over the slain in the first year of the Peloponnesian War. This
speech stands quite apart from the others; and as well in particular
touches (for example, in the saying that “the grave of great men is the
world”) as in its whole tenor we catch the ring of a great orator, such
as Thucydides with all his genius was not. It is probably a fairly close
report of the speech actually delivered by Pericles.

The first public appearance of Pericles of which we have record probably
fell about 463. When Cimon, on his return from the expedition to Thasos,
was tried on the utterly improbable charge of having been bribed by the
Macedonian king to betray the interests of Athens, Pericles was
appointed by the people to assist in conducting the prosecution; but,
more perhaps from a conviction of the innocence of the accused than, as
was said, in compliance with the entreaties of Cimon’s sister Elpinice,
he did not press the charge, and Cimon was acquitted. Not long
afterwards Pericles struck a blow at the conservative party by attacking
the Areopagus, a council composed of life-members who had worthily
discharged the duties of archon. The nature of the functions of the
Areopagus at this period is but little known; it seems to have had a
general supervision over the magistrates, the popular assembly, and the
citizens, and to have exercised this supervision in an eminently
conservative spirit. It sat also as a court for the trial of certain
crimes, especially murder. Pericles appears to have deprived it of
nearly all its functions, except its jurisdiction in cases of murder.
The poet Aeschylus composed his _Eumenides_ in vindication of the
ancient privileges of the Areopagus. Though Pericles was the real author
of the attack on the Areopagus, the measure was nominally carried by
Ephialtes. It was, indeed, part of Pericles’s policy to keep in the
background, and to act as far as possible through agents, reserving
himself for great occasions. Ephialtes, a friend of Pericles, and a
patriot of inflexible integrity, paid dearly for the distinction; he
fell by the hand of an assassin employed by the oligarchical party—an
event the more striking from the rarity of political assassinations in
Greek history. The popular party seems to have immediately followed up
its victory over the Areopagus by procuring the ostracism of Cimon,
which strengthened the hands of Pericles by removing his most
influential opponent. Pericles took part in the battle of Tanagra and
bore himself with desperate bravery. After the battle Cimon was recalled
from banishment, and it was Pericles who proposed and carried the decree
for his recall.

In 454 Pericles led an Athenian squadron from the port of Pegae on the
Corinthian Gulf, landed at Sicyon, and defeated the inhabitants who
ventured to oppose him; then, taking with him a body of Achaeans, he
crossed to Acarnania, and besieged the town of Oeniadae, but had to
return home without capturing it. Not long afterwards he conducted a
successful expedition to the Thracian Chersonese, where he not only
strengthened the Greek cities by the addition of a thousand Athenian
colonists, but also protected them against the incursions of the
barbarians by fortifying the isthmus from sea to sea. This was only one
of Pericles’s many measures for extending and strengthening the naval
empire of Athens. Colonies were established by him at various times in
Naxos, Andros, Oreus in Euboea, Brea in Macedonia, and Aegina. They
served the double purpose of establishing the Athenian power in distant
parts and of relieving the pressure of population at home by providing
the poorer citizens with lands. Somewhat different were the famous
colonies established under Pericles’s influence at Thurii in Italy, on
the site of the ancient Sybaris, and at Amphipolis on the Strymon, for,
though planted under the conduct of Athens, they were not exclusively
Athenian colonies, other Greeks being allowed, and even invited, to take
part in them. This was especially true of Thurii, which was in a manner
a national Greek colony, and never stood in a relation of subjection to
Athens. On one occasion Pericles sailed at the head of a splendid
armament to the Black Sea, where he helped and encouraged the Greek
cities and overawed the barbarians. At Sinope he left a force of ships
and men, under the gallant Lamachus, to co-operate with the inhabitants
against the tyrant Timesileus, and on the expulsion of the tyrant and
his party he carried a decree for the despatch of six hundred Athenian
colonists to Sinope, to occupy the lands vacated by the exiles. But,
with the sober wisdom which characterised him, Pericles never allowed
his plans to exceed the bounds of the possible; he was no political
dreamer like Alcibiades, to be dazzled with the vision of a universal
Athenian empire in Greece, Italy, and Africa, such as floated before the
minds of many in that and the following generations. The disastrous
expedition which the Athenians sent to Egypt, to support the rebel
Inarus against Persia, received no countenance from Pericles.

When Cimon died in 449 the aristocratical party sought to counterbalance
the power of Pericles by putting forward Thucydides, son of Melesias, as
the new head of the party. He seems to have been an honest patriot, but,
as the event proved, he was no match for Pericles. The Sacred War in 448
showed once more that Pericles knew how to defend the interests of
Athens. The Phocians, under the protection of Athens, had wrested the
control of the Delphic oracle from their enemies the Delphians. The
latter were friendly to Sparta, and accordingly the Spartans marched
into Phocis and restored the oracle to the Delphians. When they had
departed, Pericles, at the head of an Athenian force, placed the oracle
once more in the hands of the Phocians. As the seat of the great oracle,
Delphi was to ancient Greece much what Rome was to mediaeval Europe, and
the friendship of the god, or of his priests, was no small political

When the Athenians despatched a small force under Tolmides to crush a
rising in Boeotia, they did so in spite of the warnings of Pericles.
These warnings were soon justified by the unfortunate battle of Coronea,
which deprived Athens at a blow of the continental dominion she had
acquired a few years before by the battle of Oenophyta. The island of
Euboea now revolted from Athens, and hardly had Pericles crossed over
with an army to reduce it when word came that the Megarians had
massacred the Athenian garrison, and, in league with Corinth, Sicyon,
and Epidaurus, were up in arms, while a Peloponnesian army under King
Plistoanax was on the point of invading Attica. Pericles recrossed in
haste to Attica. The Peloponnesians returned home, having advanced no
farther than Eleusis and Thria. It was said that Pericles had bribed
Cleandridas; certain it is that both Cleandridas and Plistoanax were
charged at Sparta with having misconducted the expedition and were found
guilty. Having saved Attica, Pericles returned to Euboea, reduced it to
subjection, expelled the Histiaeans, and settled the Athenian colony of
Oreus on their lands.

The thirty years’ peace, concluded soon afterwards with Sparta, was
probably in large measure the work of Pericles. The Athenians had
evacuated Boeotia immediately after the battle of Coronea, and by the
terms of the peace they now renounced their other continental
possessions—Achaia, Troezen, Nisaea, and Pegae. The peace left Pericles
at liberty to develop his schemes for promoting the internal welfare of
Athens, and for making it the centre of the intellectual and artistic
life of Greece. But first he had to settle accounts with his political
rival Thucydides; the struggle was soon decided by the ostracism of the
latter in 444. Thenceforward to the end of his life Pericles guided the
destinies of Athens alone; in the words of the historian Thucydides, the
government was in name a democracy, but in fact it was the rule of the
first citizen. The unparalleled ascendency which he wielded so long over
the fickle people is one of the best proofs of his extraordinary genius.
He owed it entirely to his personal character, and he used it for the
wisest and purest purposes. He was neither a vulgar demagogue to truckle
to the passions and caprices of the mob, nor a vulgar despot to cow it
by a hireling soldiery; he was a citizen among citizens, who obeyed him
because they trusted him, because they knew that in his hands the honour
and interests of Athens were safe. The period during which he ruled
Athens was the happiest and greatest in her history, as it was one of
the greatest ages of the world. Other ages have had their bright
particular stars; the age of Pericles is the Milky Way of great men. In
his lifetime there lived and worked at Athens the poets Aeschylus,
Sophocles, Euripides, Cratinus, Crates, the philosophers Anaxagoras,
Zeno, Protagoras, Socrates, the astronomer Meton, the painter
Polygnotus, and the sculptors Myron and Phidias. Contemporary with
these, though not resident at Athens, were Herodotus, the father of
history; Hippocrates, the father of medicine; Pindar, “the Theban
eagle”; the sculptor Polyclitus; and the philosophers Empedocles and
Democritus, the latter joint author with Leucippus of the atomic theory.
When Pericles died, other stars were rising or soon to rise above the
horizon—the historians Thucydides and Xenophon, the poets Eupolis and
Aristophanes, the orators Lysias and Isocrates, and the gifted but
unscrupulous Alcibiades. Plato was born shortly before or after the
death of Pericles. Of this brilliant circle Pericles was the centre. His
generous and richly-endowed nature responded to all that was beautiful
and noble not only in literature and art but in life, and it is with
justice that the age of Pericles has received its name from the man in
whom, more than in any other, all the various lines of Greek culture met
and were harmonised. In this perfect harmony and completeness of nature,
and in the classic calm which was the fruit of it, Pericles is the type
of the ideal spirit, not of his own age only, but of antiquity.

It seems to have been shortly after the ostracism of Thucydides that
Pericles conceived the plan of summoning a general congress of all the
Greek states to be held at Athens. Its objects were the restoration of
the temples which the Persians had destroyed, the fulfilment of the vows
made during the war, and the establishment of a general peace and the
security of the sea. Invitations were sent to the Greeks of Asia, the
islands from Lesbos to Rhodes, the Hellespont, Thrace, Byzantium,
Boeotia, Phocis, Peloponnese, Locris, Acarnania, Ambrada, and Thessaly.
The aim of Pericles seems to have been to draw the bonds of union closer
between the Greeks and to form a national federation. The beneficent
project was defeated by the short-sighted opposition of the Spartans.
But if in this scheme Pericles rose above the petty jealousies of Greek
politics, another of his measures proves that he shared the Greek
prejudices as to birth. At an early period of his career he enacted, or
perhaps only revived, a law confining the rights of Athenian citizenship
to persons both of whose parents were Athenian citizens. In the year
444, on the occasion of a scrutiny of the list of citizens, nearly five
thousand persons claiming to be citizens were proved to be aliens under
this law, and were ruthlessly sold into slavery.

The period of the thirty years’ peace was not one of uninterrupted
tranquillity for Athens. In 440 a war broke out between the island of
Samos (a leading member of the Athenian confederacy) and Miletus. Athens
sided with Miletus; Pericles sailed to Samos with an Athenian squadron,
and established a democracy in place of the previous oligarchy. After
his departure, however, some of the exiled oligarchs, in league with
Pissuthnes, satrap of Sardes, collected troops and, crossing over to
Samos, overpowered the popular party and revolted from Athens. In this
revolt they were joined by Byzantium. The situation was critical; the
example set by Samos and Byzantium might be followed by the other
confederates. Pericles discerned the danger and met it promptly. He led
a squadron of sixty ships against Samos; and, after detaching some
vessels to summon reinforcements from Chios and Lesbos, and others to
look out for the Phoenician fleet which the Persians were expected to
send to the help of Samos, he gave battle with forty-four ships to the
Samian fleet of seventy sail and defeated it. Having received
reinforcements of sixty-five ships, he landed in Samos and laid siege to
the capital. But when he sailed with sixty ships to meet the Phoenician
vessels which were reported to be near, the Samians sallied out with
their vessels, defeated the besiegers, and remained masters of the sea
for fourteen days. On his return, however, they were again blockaded and
were compelled to surrender, nine months after the outbreak of the war.

Though Pericles enjoyed the confidence of the people as a whole, his
policy and opinions could not fail to rouse the dislike and suspicions
of many, and in the last years of his life his enemies combined to
assail him. Two points in particular were singled out for attack, his
administration of the public moneys and his religious opinions. With
regard to the former, there must always be a certain number of persons
who will not believe that others can resist and despise a temptation
which to themselves would be irresistible; with regard to the latter,
the suspicion that Pericles held heretical views on the national
religion was doubtless well grounded. At first, however, his enemies did
not venture to impeach himself, but struck at him in the persons of his
friends. In 432 Phidias was accused of having appropriated some of the
gold destined for the adornment of the statue of Athena in the
Parthenon. But by the prudent advice of Pericles the golden ornaments
had been so attached that they could be taken off and weighed, and when
Pericles challenged the accusers to have recourse to this test the
accusation fell to the ground. More dangerous, for more true, was the
charge against Phidias of having introduced portraits of himself and
Pericles into the battle of the Amazons, depicted on the shield of the
goddess: the sculptor appeared as a bald old man lifting a stone, while
Pericles was represented as fighting an Amazon, his face partly
concealed by his raised spear. To the pious Athenians this seemed a
desecration of the temple, and accordingly Phidias was clapped into
gaol. Whether he died there or at Elis is uncertain.

Even more deeply was Pericles wounded by the accusation levelled at the
woman he loved. This was the famous Aspasia, a native of Miletus, whose
talents won for her general admiration at Athens. Pericles divorced his
wife, a lady of good birth who had borne him two sons, Xanthippus and
Paralus, but with whom he was unhappy, and attached himself to Aspasia.
With her he lived on terms of devoted affection to the end of his life,
though, as she was a foreigner, their union was not a legal marriage.
She enjoyed a high reputation as a teacher of rhetoric, and seems to
have been the centre of a brilliant intellectual society, which included
Socrates and his friends. The comic poet, Hermippus, brought her to
trial on the double charge of impiety and of corrupting Athenian women
for the gratification of Pericles. A decree was further carried by a
religious fanatic named Diopithes, whereby all who denied the existence
of the gods or discussed the nature of the heavenly bodies were to be
tried as criminals. This blow was aimed directly at the aged philosopher
Anaxagoras, but indirectly at his pupil Pericles as well as at Aspasia.
When this decree was passed, and apparently while the trial of Aspasia
was still pending, Pericles himself was called upon by a decree of the
people to render an account of the money which had passed through his
hands. The result is not mentioned, but we cannot doubt that the matter
either was dropped or ended in an acquittal. The perfect integrity of
Pericles is proved by the unimpeachable evidence of his contemporary,
the historian Thucydides. Aspasia was acquitted, but not before Pericles
had exerted all his eloquence in her behalf. Anaxagoras, tried on the
charge of impiety, was obliged to quit the city.

It was in the same year (432) that the great contest between Athens and
Sparta, known as the Peloponnesian War, broke out. We may dismiss as a
vulgar calumny the statement, often repeated in antiquity, but quite
unsupported by Thucydides, that the war was brought about by Pericles
for the purpose of avoiding a prosecution. The war was in truth
inevitable; its real cause was Sparta’s jealousy of the growing power of
Athens; its immediate occasion was the help lent by Athens to Corcyra in
its war with Corinth. At first, with a hypocritical regard for religion,
the Spartans demanded as a condition of peace that the Athenians should
expel the race of the Alcmaeonidae (including, of course, Pericles),
whose ancestors had been guilty of sacrilege about two centuries before.
The Athenians retorted in kind, and, after a little more diplomatic
fencing, the Spartans were constrained to show their hand by demanding
bluntly that Athens should give back to the Greeks their independence—in
other words, renounce her empire and abandon herself to the tender
mercies of Sparta. Pericles encouraged the Athenians to reject the
demand. He pointed out that Athens possessed advantages over the
Peloponnesians in superior wealth and greater unity of counsels. He
advised the Athenians, in case of war, not to take the field against the
numerically superior forces of the Peloponnesians, but to allow the
enemy to ravage Attica at will, while they confined themselves to the
defence of the city. Through their fleet they would maintain
communication with their island empire, procure supplies, and harass the
enemy by sudden descents on his coasts. By pursuing this defensive
policy without attempting to extend their empire, he predicted that they
would be victorious. The people hearkened to him and replied to the
Spartan ultimatum by counter-demands, which they knew would not be
accepted. Pericles had not neglected in time of peace to prepare for
war, and Athens was now well equipped with men, money, and ships.

In June of the following summer a Peloponnesian army invaded Attica. By
the advice of Pericles the rural population, with their movables, had
taken refuge in the city, while the cattle had been sent for safety to
the neighbouring islands. The sight of their country ravaged under their
eyes excited in the Athenians a longing to march out and meet the enemy,
but in the teeth of popular clamour and obloquy Pericles steadily
adhered to his defensive policy, content to protect the suburbs of
Athens with cavalry. Meanwhile Athenian fleets retaliated upon the
enemy’s coasts. About the same time, as a punishment for the share that
they were supposed to have had in bringing on the war, the whole
population of Aegina was expelled from their island to make room for
Athenian colonists. This measure, directed by Pericles, relieved to some
extent the pressure in the overcrowded capital, and secured a strong
outpost on the side of Peloponnese. In the autumn, after the
Peloponnesian army had been obliged by want of provisions to quit Attica
and disband, Pericles conducted the whole available army of Athens into
the territory of Megara, and laid it waste.

It was a custom with the Athenians that at the end of a campaign the
bones of those who had fallen in battle should be buried with public
honours in the beautiful suburb of Ceramicus, the Westminster of Athens,
and the vast crowd of mourners and spectators gathered about the grave
was addressed by a citizen chosen for his character and abilities to pay
the last tribute of a grateful country to its departed brave. On the
present occasion the choice fell on Pericles. Once before, at the close
of the Samian War, it had been his lot to discharge a similar duty. The
speech which he now delivered, as reported to us by Thucydides, is one
of the noblest monuments of antiquity. It is indeed the creed of Athens
and of Greece. In its aristocratic republicanism—recognising at once the
equal legal rights and the unequal intrinsic merits of individuals—it
differs alike from the monarchical spirit of mediaeval and modern
Europe, with its artificial class distinctions, and from that
reactionary communism which preaches the natural as well as the legal
equality of men. In its frank admiration of art and letters and all the
social festivals which humanise and cheer life, it is as far from the
sullen asceticism and the wild debauchery of the East as the grave and
manly simplicity of its style is removed from the fanciful luxuriance of
Oriental rhetoric. Finally, in the words of comfort and exhortation
addressed to the bereaved, the speech—to adopt Thirlwall’s description
of another great effort of Athenian oratory—“ breathes the spirit of
that high philosophy which, whether learnt in the schools or from life,
has consoled the noblest of our kind in prisons, and on scaffolds, and
under every persecution of adverse fortune.”

The fortitude of the Athenians was put to a still severer test in the
following summer, when to the horrors of war (the Peloponnesians had
again invaded Attica) were added the horrors of the plague, which spread
havoc in the crowded city. Pericles himself escaped the scourge, but
many of his relations and best friends, amongst them his sister and his
two sons Xanthippus and Paralus, were struck down. With the elder of his
sons, Xanthippus, a worthless young man, the father had been on bad
terms, but the death of his surviving son, at an interval of a few days,
affected him deeply, and when he came to lay the wreath upon the corpse,
though he struggled hard to maintain his habitual calm, he broke down,
and for the first time in his public life burst into a passion of
weeping. But neither private grief nor public calamity shook for a
moment the lofty courage and resolution with which he continued to the
last to oppose a firm front alike to enemies without and to cravens
within. While refusing as before to risk a battle in Attica, which he
allowed the Peloponnesians to devastate at pleasure, he led in person a
powerful fleet against Peloponnese, ravaged the coast, and destroyed the
town of Prasiae in Laconia. But the Athenians were greatly disheartened;
they sued for peace, and when their suit was rejected by Sparta they
vented their ill-humour on Pericles, as the author of the war, by
subjecting him to a fine. However, they soon repented of this burst of
petulance, and atoned for it by re-electing him general and placing the
government once more in his hands. Further, they allowed him to
legitimate his son by Aspasia, that his house might not be without an
heir. He survived this reconciliation about a year, but his name is not
again mentioned in connexion with public affairs. In the autumn of 429
he died. We may well believe that the philosophy which had been the
recreation of his happier days supported and consoled him in the clouded
evening of his life. To his clement nature it was a peculiar consolation
to reflect that he had never carried political differences to the
shedding of blood. Indeed, his extraordinary, almost fatherly,
tenderness for the life of every Athenian citizen is attested by various
of his sayings. On his deathbed, when the friends about him were telling
his long roll of glory, rousing himself from a lethargy into which he
had fallen, he reminded them of his fairest title to honour: “No
Athenian,” he said, “ever put on black through me.”

He was buried amongst the illustrious dead in the Ceramicus, and in
after years Phormio, Thrasybulus, and Chabrias slept beside him. In
person he was graceful and well made, save for an unusual height of
head, which the comic poets were never weary of ridiculing. In the busts
of him which we possess, his regular features, with the straight Greek
nose and full lips, still preserve an expression of Olympian repose.


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


                           Transcriber’s Note

The hyphens used in compound words that span line or page breaks in the
original text are retained or removed based on the preponderance of
examples elsewhere. Several words (‘white-wash’, ‘river-side’,
‘sea-weed’, and ‘water-course’) appear midline both with and without
hyphenation, and are given here as printed.

Errors deemed most likely to be the printer’s have been corrected, and
are noted here. The references are to the page and line in the original.
The following issues should be noted, along with the resolutions.

  49.13    darkest tragedies in Greek history[.]          Added.

  64.15    bear their country’s misfortunes with a noble  Added.

  286.30   occupied by corn-fields, vineyards, and        Added.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Studies in Greek Scenery, Legend and History - Selected from his Commentary on Pausanias' 'Description of   Greece,'" ***

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