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Title: The Glory That Was Greece - a survey of Hellenic culture and civilization
Author: Stobart, J.C.
Language: English
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                  [Illustration: LANDS OF THE AEGEAN]

                       UNIFORM WITH THIS VOLUME


                      THE GRANDEUR THAT WAS ROME:

A Survey of Roman Culture and Civilisation. By J. C. STOBART, M.A. With
 about 200 Illustrations in Colour, Gravure, Collotype, Half-tone and
                                 Line.

                       TO BE PUBLISHED IN 1912.

     _An Illustrated Prospectus will be published in due course._



                       THE GLORY THAT WAS GREECE

                  [Illustration: _Aphrodite of Melos_

                 Mansell & Co. Photo. Emory Walker Ph]



                          THE GLORY THAT WAS
                                GREECE

                     A Survey of Hellenic Culture
                          & Civilisation: by


                          J. C. Stobart, M.A.

                       LATE LECTURER IN HISTORY
                      TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE


                       [Illustration: colophon]


                                LONDON
                        SIDGWICK & JACKSON LTD.
                        3 Adam Street, Adelphi
                                 1911

                         _All rights reserved_


                              PRINTED BY
                       BALLANTYNE & COMPANY LTD
                        AT THE BALLANTYNE PRESS
                    TAVISTOCK STREET COVENT GARDEN
                                LONDON



PREFACE


With the progress of research, classical scholarship tends more and more
towards narrower fields of specialisation. Real students are now like
miners working underground each in his own shaft, buried far away from
sight or ear-shot of the public, so that they even begin to lose touch
with one another. This makes an occasional survey of the whole field of
operations not only necessary for interested onlookers, whether they
happen to be shareholders or not, but also serviceable to the scholars
themselves. The task of furnishing it, however, is not an easy one. No
man nowadays can be as fully equipped in archæology, history, and
literary criticism as were great writers of general history in the last
century like George Grote and Theodor Mommsen. We are driven, therefore,
to one of two courses: either to compile encyclopædic works by various
writers under slight editorial control, or else to sacrifice detail and
attempt in a much less ambitious spirit to present a panorama of the
whole territory from an individual point of view. The former plan is
constantly producing valuable storehouses of information to be used for
purposes of reference. But they tend to grow in bulk and compression,
until, like the monumental “Paully-Wissowa,” they are nothing but
colossal dictionaries.

The writer who attempts the second plan will, of course, be inviting
criticism at a thousand points. He is compelled to deal in large
generalisations, and to tread upon innumerable toes with every step he
takes. Every fact he chronicles is the subject of a monograph, every
opinion he hazards may run counter to somebody’s life-work. He will
often have to neglect the latest theory and sometimes he is unaware of
the latest discovery. The best that he can hope for is that his
archæology may satisfy the historians and his history the archæologists.
My only claim to the right of undertaking such a task is that
circumstances have so directed my studies that they have been almost
equally divided between the three main branches--archæology, history,
and literature. I have experienced the extraordinary sense of
illumination which one feels on turning from linguistic study to the
examination of objective antiquity on the actual soil of the classical
countries, and then the added interest with which realities are invested
by the literary records of history.

It is by another title that the writer of a book like this makes his
appeal to the general reading public. He must feel such a love of Greece
and of things Hellenic that he is led by it into missionary enthusiasm.
The Greek language has now, probably for ever, lost its place in the
curriculum of secondary education for the greater part of our people.
Whether this is to be deplored is beyond the question; it is, at any
rate, inevitable. But there has always been a genuinely cultivated
public to whom Greek was unknown, and it is undoubtedly very much larger
in this generation. To them, though Greek is unknown Greece need not be
wholly sealed. But their point of view will be different from that of
the professional philologist. They will not care for the details of the
siege of Platæa merely because Thucydides described it; they will be
much less likely to overrate the importance of that narrow strip of time
which scholars select out of Greek history as the “classical period.”
Greek art will make the strongest appeal to them, and Greek thought, so
far as it can be communicated by description. They will be interested in
social life and private antiquities rather than in diplomatic intrigues
and constitutional subtleties. My object is to present a general and
vivid picture of ancient Greek culture. I recognise that the brush and
camera will tell of the glory of Greece far more eloquently than I can.
My text is intended to explain the pictures by showing the sort of
people and the state of mind that produced them. Some history, some
politics, some religion and philosophy must be included for that
purpose. The result will be a history of Greece with statues and poems
taking the place of wars and treaties.

This volume is fortunate in the moment of its appearance, for it is now
possible for the first time to illustrate the prehistoric culture of
Greece in a worthy manner, and to attempt, at any rate, to link it up
historically with the classical periods. Both the Ashmolean Museum at
Oxford, and the British Museum have recently added to their collections
magnificent and faithful models of the artistic treasures of Crete and
Mycenæ. These I have been allowed to reproduce in colour (Plates 5 and
7) by kind permission of Sir A. J. Evans. I must also acknowledge my
obligation to the Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mass.,
U.S.A., for permission to reproduce photographs of the lately discovered
reliefs from the “Ludovisi Throne,” which have not as yet been
adequately reproduced anywhere (Plate 32); to the Committee of the
British School at Athens, through the kind offices of the Secretary, Mr.
John Penoyre, for permission to use many of the illustrations of Cretan
objects that have appeared in their _Annual_; to Mr. John Murray, for
the use of the block representing the “Cupbearer Fresco” (Plate 6) and
the illustration on p. 27 from Schliemann’s “Tiryns”; to the Cambridge
University Press for a similar accommodation in respect of the
illustration (p. 37) from Professor Ridgeway’s “Early Age of Greece”;
and to M. Ernest Leroux, of Paris, for courteously permitting a
reproduction to be made from a plate in MM. Reinach and Hamdy Bey’s
sumptuous work, “Une Nécropole Royale à Sidon.” The authorities of the
Greek and Roman and of the Coin and Medal Departments of the British
Museum have also allowed many subjects to be reproduced; while I have
gratefully to record the fact that the task of illustrating this book
has been materially lightened by the co-operation of Messrs. W. A.
Mansell & Co. I must thank Mr. Robert Whitelaw and his publishers,
Messrs. Longmans, for permission to quote from the former’s translation
of Sophocles, and finally I must acknowledge my debt to Mr. Arnold Gomme
for much assistance in the correction of the proofs of this book.

                                                               J. C. S.


[Illustration: Mycenæan Gems (_see_ p. 23)]



CONTENTS


                                                                    PAGE

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS                                               xiii


INTRODUCTION

HELLENISM : THE LAND AND ITS PEOPLE                                    1


CHAP.
I. ÆGEAN CIVILISATION

A NEW CHAPTER IN HISTORY : CRETE, THE
DOORSTEP OF EUROPE : PROGRESS OF ÆGEAN
CULTURE : THE MAINLAND PALACES, MYCENÆ
AND TIRYNS : THE MAKERS OF ÆGEAN ART                                  12


II. THE HEROIC AGE

THE NORTHERN INVADERS : HOMER AND THE
ACHÆANS : THE SHIELD OF ACHILLES : KINGS
AND GODS : ART OF THE EPIC PERIOD : THE
HERO’S HOME : HESIOD’S WORLD                                          35


III. THE AGES OF TRANSITION

THE COMING OF APOLLO : ATHLETICS :
SPARTA : PALLAS ATHENE : TYRANNY AND
CULTURE : IONIA : THE WEST                                            65


IV. THE GRAND CENTURY

THE RISE OF ATHENS : PHEIDIAS : ICTINUS
AND THE TEMPLE-BUILDERS : TRAGEDY AND
COMEDY : AIDŌS                                                       132


V. THE FOURTH CENTURY

ATHENS : SPARTA AND THEBES : FOURTH-CENTURY
CULTURE : SCULPTURE : THE
OTHER ARTS : LITERATURE AND PHILOSOPHY                               194


VI. THE MACEDONIAN WORLD

ALEXANDER AND HIS WORK : ALEXANDER IN
ART : ALEXANDRIA : ATHENS AND HER
PHILOSOPHERS                                                         237


VII. EPILOGUE                                                        260

GLOSSARY                                                             267

BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                         270

INDEX                                                                275


NOTE

_The cameo on the front cover of this volume is from a
jasper intaglio, at Vienna, of the bust of Athena
Parthenos, signed by Aspasios._



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


PHOTOGRAVURE PLATES

HEAD AND BUST OF THE APHRODITE OF MELOS                    _Frontispiece_

Engraved by Emery Walker from a photograph by Mansell & Co. of
the original in the Louvre, Paris. _See_ p. 251.

                                                                 TO FACE
                                                                    PAGE

BOY VICTOR. BRONZE, FIFTH CENTURY B.C.                               160

Engraved by Emery Walker from a photograph by Bruckmann of the
original in the Glyptothek, Munich. _See_ p. 160


VASE PLATE (IN COLOUR)                                               112

CORINTHIAN VASE (FIG. 1)
British Museum, Second Vase Room, Case 8, A 1375

RED-FIGURED VASE (FIG. 2)
British Museum, Third Vase Room, Case 17, E 453

BLACK-FIGURED VASE (FIG. 3)
British Museum, Second Vase Room, Case I, B 134

WHITE POLYCHROME VASE (FIG. 4)
British Museum, Third Vase Room, Case F, D 60


PLATE

1 THE ACROPOLIS OF ATHENS (FIG. 1)                                     6

From a photograph

THE CITADEL OF CORINTH (FIG. 2)

From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. In the foreground
are the columns of the oldest temple in Greece

2 OLYMPIA: VALLEY OF THE ALPHEUS                                       8

From a photograph by Alinari. A specimen of Greek scenery in one
of the few well-watered plains

3 THE VALE OF TEMPE                                                   10

From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. The famous
pass at which a vain attempt was made to repel the Persian invasion of
480 B.C.

4 ASSYRIAN RELIEF: KING ASSURNASIRPAL (NINTH CENTURY
B.C.)                                                                 18

From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of Slab 36 in the Nimroud
Gallery, British Museum. An example of stylistic Oriental art at its
highest. _See_ p. 19

5 FAIENCE FROM THE TEMPLE REPOSITORY OF THE SECOND
PALACE, CNOSSOS, CRETE                                                22

SNAKE GODDESS (FIG. 1). _See_ p. 34

WILD GOAT AND YOUNG (FIG. 2)

Painted from the facsimiles in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford,
by Diana R. Wilson, by special permission. _See_ p. 22. According to
Greek mythology Zeus was suckled by a she-goat in Crete

6 THE “CUPBEARER” FRESCO                                              24

From an article by Sir A. J. Evans in the _Monthly Review_, March,
1901; by kind permission of Mr. John Murray. _See_ pp. 25 and 32

7 BULL’S HEAD. LIFE-SIZE RELIEF IN PAINTED STUCCO.
CNOSSOS, CRETE                                                        26

Painted from the facsimile in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, by
Diana R. Wilson, by special permission. _See_ p. 25. The bull is a very
frequent subject of artistic representation at Cnossos, where bullfighting
seems to have been in vogue

8 THE LION GATE, MYCENÆ                                               30

From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. Showing the
sculpture and masonry of prehistoric Greece. _See_ p. 29

9 VAPHIO CUPS                                                         32

Collotype plate, from the facsimiles in the British Museum, First
Vase Room, Case B. Two gold cups found on Spartan territory. The
design is in relief beaten up from the back. One shows the trapping of
wild cattle, the other tame cattle going to pasture. The vessels are
about the size of the modern teacup. _See_ p. 30

10 INLAID DAGGER-BLADES                                               34

Collotype plate, from the electrotypes in the British Museum, as
Plate 9. They show the dress and weapons of Ægean folk. All but
the blade is a restoration. _See_ p. 30

11 WARRIOR VASE, BLACK STEATITE (FIG. 1)                              38

These vases were originally covered with gold-leaf. The subjects have
not yet been completely explained. Probably the whole vase deals
with athletic combats: running and leaping on the top zone, bullfighting
on the second, and boxing on the third and fourth

FRAGMENT OF SILVER VASE (FIG. 2)

Collotype plate, from the facsimiles in the British Museum, as Plate 9.
_See_ p. 38. The subject is the siege of a city. We observe that here, as in
the previous illustrations, the warriors are represented as almost naked.
They fight with slings and arrows and protect themselves with huge
shields of wicker

12 THE “FRANÇOIS” VASE                                                42

Collotype plate, from a photograph by Alinari. _See_ pp. 43 and 57. A
masterpiece of the earlier Attic school of vase-painting. It is signed by
Ergotimus and Klitias, sixth century B.C. The scenes are mythological

13 HERMES KRIOPHOROS (THE LAMB-CARRIER)                               66

From a terra-cotta relief, British Museum, Terra-cotta Room, Case C,
B 486. A fine example of archaic relief-work, showing Hermes as the
Arcadian shepherd’s god

14 PANORAMA OF DELPHI                                                 68

From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. _See_ p. 69

15 “APOLLO” FROM ORCHOMENUS                                           70

From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens, of the original
in the National Museum. _See_ pp. 69 and 70

16 “APOLLO” OF TENEA                                                  72

Collotype plate, from a photograph by Hanfstaengl of the original at
Munich

17 THE “STRANGFORD APOLLO”                                            74

From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the original in the Archaic
Room, British Museum. These three figures may indicate the progress
of early Greek sculpture in expressing the human figure. There is little
ground for calling these figures “Apollo.” They may equally well
be human athletes

18 HEAD OF APOLLO, FROM THE WESTERN PEDIMENT,
OLYMPIA                                                               76

Collotype plate, from a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens,
of the marble at Olympia. _See_ p. 70

19 THE “DISCOBOLUS” OF MYRON (FIG. 1)                                 80

From a photograph by Anderson of a cast from the original in a private
collection at Rome. The copy in the British Museum (drawn on p. 80)
has the head reversed. _See_ p. 81

THE “DIADUMENUS” OF POLYCLEITUS (FIG. 2)

From a photograph by Mansell & Co. He is binding the victor’s garland
round his forehead. This is, perhaps, the best of several copies made
from the famous original, but it is much restored and probably not a
very faithful copy

20 THE “DORYPHORUS” OF POLYCLEITUS (FIG. 1)                           82

From a photograph by Brogi

THE “APOXYOMENUS” (FIG. 2)

From a photograph by Alinari. _See_ p. 81. The recent discovery of the
Agias (Pl. 51) has proved that this is not, as was formerly supposed, a
true example of the work of Lysippus

21 CHARIOTEER: BRONZE                                                 84

From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of a cast from the original at
Delphi. _See_ p. 81

22 VIEW OF MODERN SPARTA, WITH MOUNT TAYGETUS                         86

From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. _See_ p. 87

23 RUNNING GIRL                                                       90

Collotype plate, from a photograph by Anderson. Represents a competitor
in the girls’ foot-race which took place at Olympia in honour
of Hera. The original must have been in bronze, but this marble copy
reproduces its archaic character. _See_ p. 83

24 ATHENA PROMACHOS, FROM A PANATHENAIC AMPHORA                       94

Drawn from Vase B 140 in the Second Vase Room, British Museum
(Case I). _See_ pp. 95 and 112

25 DEMETER, PERSEPHONE, AND TRIPTOLEMUS (ELEUSINIAN
RELIEF)                                                               98

From a photograph by the English Photo Co. of the original marble
relief at Athens. _See_ p. 98

26 ATHENA POLIAS                                                     102

From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens, of the original
bronze statuette in the Acropolis Museum. _See_ p. 102

27 CORINTHIAN VASES                                                  104

Collotype plate, from a photograph of the originals in the British
Museum, Second Vase Room, Case 8, A 1430, and Case 16, B 29.
The style of these vases may be distinguished by the purple tones of
the colouring and the Oriental character of the designs. _See_ Vase Plate,
Fig. 1, and p. 105

28 OLD TEMPLE AT CORINTH                                             108

From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. _See_ p. 107

29 STELE OF ARISTION (FIG. 1)                                        114

From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens, of the original
in the National Museum. _See_ p. 114

HARMODIUS (FIG. 2)

From a photograph by Alinari of the original in the Naples Museum.
_See_ p. 116

30 SCULPTURED COLUMN FROM THE OLD TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS
AT EPHESUS (FIG. 1)                                                  122

From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the original in the British
Museum. It was dedicated, as the inscription shows, by King Crœsus.
_See_ p. 123

30 RELIEF FROM THE HARPY TOMB: NORTH SIDE (FIG. 2)                   122

From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the original in the Archaic
Room, British Museum. In the centre, a warrior yielding up his armour
to Pluto. On the right and left, Fates (“Harpies”) carrying off the
souls of the dead. In the right corner, a woman mourning. _See_ p. 123

31 RELIEFS FROM THE “LUDOVISI THRONE”                                124

From photographs by Alinari of the originals at Rome.   _See_ p. 124

32 RELIEFS FROM THE “LUDOVISI THRONE”                                126

Collotype plate, from photographs of the originals in the Museum of
Fine Arts, Boston, Mass., U.S.A., by kind permission of the Director.
_See_ p. 125

33 THE TEMPLE OF POSEIDON AT PÆSTO                                   128

From a photograph. _See_ p. 128

34 METOPES FROM THE TEMPLE OF HERA AT SELINUS                        130

PERSEUS AND GORGON (FIG. 1)

HERA AND ZEUS (FIG. 2)

From photographs by Alinari of the originals, now in the Palermo
Museum. _See_ p. 130

35 EARLY COINS OF SICILY AND MAGNA GRÆCIA                            132

Photographed from casts in the British Museum. _See_ p. 131

CASE I, SECTION C.

1. SILVER DIDRACHM OF NAXOS, No. 31

_Obverse_: Head of Dionysus crowned with ivy. _Reverse_: Bunch of
grapes and inscription

2. SILVER DIDRACHM OF TARENTUM, No. 7

_Reverse_: Archaic head, ? Taras. _Obverse_: Taras (the city’s hero)
riding a dolphin, cockle-shell and inscription

3. SILVER TETRADRACHM OF CATANA, No. 25

_Reverse_: Winged Victory holding a wreath. _Obverse_: River-god as
a bull with man’s head, a fish below and a water-bird above

4. SILVER TETRADRACHM OF SYRACUSE, No. 35

_Reverse_: Head of Arethusa surrounded with dolphins. _Obverse_:
Four-horse chariot with Victory above

36 THE PLAIN OF MARATHON                                             134

From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. _See_ p. 134

37 THE BAY OF SALAMIS                                                138

From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. _See_ p. 138

38 PERICLES                                                          140

From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the original in the British
Museum, after Cresilas. _See_ p. 142

39 PEDIMENTAL FIGURES FROM THE TEMPLE OF APHAIA
AT ÆGINA                                                             142

From photographs by Bruckmann of the originals at Munich. _See_ p. 147

40 SCULPTURES OF THE EASTERN PEDIMENT OF THE PARTHENON               146

From photographs by Mansell & Co. of the originals in the Elgin
Room, British Museum. _See_ p. 151

41 PORTIONS OF THE EAST FRIEZE OF THE PARTHENON                      148

Figures referenced, 30-48 in the British Museum.   _See_ p. 154

42 PORTIONS OF THE WEST FRIEZE OF THE PARTHENON                      150

Figures referenced, 2-3, 16-19, and 28-30 in the British Museum.
From photographs by Mansell & Co. of the originals and casts in the
British Museum. (Some of the marbles are still _in situ_ at Athens.)
_See_ p. 155

43 THE “STRANGFORD” SHIELD (FIG. 1)                                  152

From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the marble copy in the British
Museum. The old Greek striking down an Amazon is said to be a
portrait of Pheidias by himself. _See_ p. 156

RECONSTRUCTION OF THE ACROPOLIS (FIG. 2)

From a drawing by R. Bohn in the British Museum. _See_ p. 163

44 THE LEMNIAN ATHENA                                                154

Collotype plate, from a photograph by Tamme of the marble at
Dresden, completed by Furtwängler from the head at Bologna. _See_
P. 157

45 HEAD OF THE LEMNIAN ATHENA                                        156

Collotype plate, from a photograph by Alinari of the marble at
Bologna. _See_ p. 158

46 STATUE OF MARSYAS, AFTER MYRON                                    158

From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the original bronze in the
British Museum, after Myron. _See_ p. 159

47 THE VICTORY OF PÆONIUS (FIG. 1)                                   162

From a photograph of the original at Olympia

THE “SPINARIO” (FIG. 2)

From a photograph of the original at Florence. _See_ p. 161

48 THE PARTHENON: MODERN VIEW FROM NORTH-WEST                        164

From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. _See_ p. 163

49 THE TEMPLE OF NIKÈ APTEROS (THE WINGLESS VICTORY)
(FIG. 1)                                                             166

From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. _See_ p. 164

49 THE CARYATID PORCH OF THE ERECHTHEUM (FIG. 2)                     166

From a photograph. _See_ p. 166

50 THE “THESEUM,” ATHENS                                             168

From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. Really a temple
of Hephæstus. _See_ p. 167

51 THE “AGIAS” OF LYSIPPUS                                           170

From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. A marble statue
recently discovered at Delphi. It can be identified as a contemporary
replica of a bronze by Lysippus, and is our only certain evidence of
his style. _See_ pp. 169 and 218

52 THE TEMPLE OF APOLLO AT PHIGALEIA [BASSÆ]                         172

From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. _See_ p. 169

53 PORTIONS OF THE PHIGALEIAN FRIEZE                                 174

From photographs by Mansell & Co. of the originals, now in the
British Museum (Phigaleian Room). _See_ p. 170

54 THEATRE AT EPIDAURUS                                              176

From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. The best extant
example of a Greek theatre. In the centre is the circular _orchestra_,
where the chorus danced and sang, and behind it are relics of the
stage-buildings. In the centre of the orchestra was an altar of Dionysus.
This theatre was built about the middle of the fourth century B.C. The
auditorium would hold about 15,000 spectators. _See_ p. 175

55 MONUMENT OF LYSICRATES AT ATHENS                                  182

From a photograph by Rhomaides. _See_ p. 182. The whole monument
would form a base for the prize tripod

56 RED-FIGURED VASE AND PYXIS                                        184

Collotype plate, from originals in the British Museum, Third Vase
Room: Vase E 155; Pyxis D 11 (_see_ illustration, p. 45). The vase
is a fine two-handled _kantharos_ of the late fifth century. The background
is painted black and the figures left red. _See_ p. 191

The Pyxis (lady’s jewel-box) shows a marriage procession, drawn in
colours on a light ground. The bride is being led to the family altar,
preceded by a flute-player. _See_ p. 191

57 WHITE POLYCHROME VASES (LECYTHI)                                  186

Collotype plate, from originals in the British Museum, Third Vase
Room, Vases D 54 and D 60 in Case F. Vessels, specially painted, to
contain the oil used in funerals and buried in the tomb. The youth
in the mourning robe is holding an oil-jar and gazing at the monument
of his deceased friend. Compare Vase Plate, Fig. 4, and _see_ p. 191

58 ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE [TOMBSTONE RELIEF]                           188

From a photograph by Alinari of the original at Rome. _See_ p. 192

59 THE MOURNING ATHENA                                               190

From a photograph by the English Photo Co. of the original in the
Athens Museum. _See_ p. 193

60 TWO TOMBSTONE RELIEFS, FROM THE CERAMEIKOS,
ATHENS                                                               192

From photographs of originals in the Athens Museum. _See_ p. 193

61 APOLLO SAUROCTONOS (THE LIZARD-SLAYER) (FIG. 1)                   194

Collotype plate, from a photograph by Anderson of the original in
the Vatican. _See_ p. 217

THE CNIDIAN APHRODITE (FIG. 2)

Collotype plate, from a photograph by Mansell & Co. _See_ p. 214. This
Vatican statue of Aphrodite has never been photographed in its original
nudity, but a cast was made and from it this photograph was taken

62 GIRL’S HEAD                                                       196

From a photograph by Bruckmann of the original at Munich. _See_ p. 214

63 THE MARBLE FAUN, AFTER PRAXITELES (FIG. 1)                        198

From a photograph by Anderson of a copy in the Capitoline Gallery,
Rome. _See_ p. 214

THE EROS OF CENTOCELLE (FIG. 2)

From a photograph by Anderson of a copy in the Vatican. _See_ p. 215

64 HEAD OF A YOUTH (FIG. 1)                                          202

From a photograph by Brogi of the bronze at Naples. _See_ p. 215

WINGED HEAD OF HYPNOS (SLEEP) (FIG. 2)

From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the original bronze in the
British Museum. _See_ p. 220

65 THE HERMES OF PRAXITELES                                          204

From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens, of the original
at Olympia. _See_ p. 215

66 THE HERMES OF PRAXITELES: HEAD                                    206

From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens, of the original at
Olympia. _See_ p. 215

67 APOLLO AND MARSYAS                                                208

From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens, of the relief
from Mantinea. _See_ p. 216

68 MELEAGER: HEAD, AFTER SCOPAS                                      210

From a photograph by Anderson of the marble at Rome. The head,
which does not belong to the body, has been recognised as representing
the style of Scopas (fourth century B.C.). _See_ p. 218

69 THE DEMETER OF CNIDOS                                             212

From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the marble in the British
Museum. _See_ p. 219

70 SCULPTURED COLUMN FROM THE TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS
AT EPHESUS                                                           214

From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the original in the British
Museum. This belonged to the new temple built after the fire of
356 B.C. _See_ p. 219

71 FIGURE OF A YOUTH. FROM CERIGO                                    216

From a photograph by the English Photo Co. of the bronze at Athens.
_See_ p. 220

72 THE “LUDOVISI” ARES                                               218

From a photograph by Anderson of the marble at Rome. The cupid
between the god’s feet is certainly a later addition. _See_ p. 220

73 THE “RONDANINI” MEDUSA (FIG. 1)                                   220

From a photograph by Bruckmann of the marble copy at Munich. The
original was in bronze. _See_ p. 220

RELIEF FROM THE MAUSOLEUM (FIG. 2)

From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the original in the British
Museum. Representing a combat between Greeks and Amazons. _See_
p. 222

74 STATUE OF MAUSOLUS, FROM THE MAUSOLEUM                            222

As the last. _See_ p. 222

75 A NIOBID                                                          224

From a photograph by Anderson of the recently discovered original
at Rome. _See_ p. 222

76 ATHLETES BOXING. FROM A PANATHENAIC AMPHORA                       226

Drawn from Vase B 607 in the Fourth Vase Room, British Museum.
It is inscribed with the name of the Archon Pythodelos, giving the
date 336 B.C. The figures are in black, but this is a survival from the
earlier style. _See_ p. 224

77 COINS OF THE FOURTH CENTURY                                       228

Photographed from casts in the British Museum. _See_ p. 225

CASE III.

1 GOLD STATER OF RHODES, A 37

_Obverse_: Head of the Sun-god. _Reverse_: A rose

2 ATHENIAN GOLD STATER, B 30

_Obverse_: Head of Athena. _Reverse_: Owl and olive-branch

3 GOLD STATER OF PANTICAPÆUM, B 2

_Obverse_: Head of Pan. _Reverse_: Gryphon and barley (the latter
typifying the corn trade)

4 SILVER TETRADRACHM OF TENEDOS, A 20

_Obverse_: Janiform head. _Reverse_: Double axe and bee in a
wreath

5 SICILIAN DECADRACHM, C 29

_Obverse_: Head of Arethusa or Persephone. _Reverse_: Four-horse
chariot with Victory above and armour below

78 GREEK GEMS                                                        230

From photographs by Mansell & Co. of gems in the British Museum.
_See_ p. 225

1 A QUOIT-THROWER OR HYACINTHUS; probably fourth century B.C.

2 A WOUNDED WARRIOR

3 HARPER (compare Pl. 32). Fine work of the fifth century, cornelian
intaglio

4 DRUNKEN SATYR, agate scarab

5 HOMERIC SCENE. ? fifth century

6 IDEAL HEAD IN THE GARB OF HERACLES; late work

79 CORINTHIAN CAPITAL                                                232

From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the originals in the British
Museum. _See_ p. 226

80 FIVE TANAGRA STATUETTES                                           234

From photographs by Mansell & Co. of originals in the British Museum.
_See_ p. 227

81 BUST OF “SOCRATES”                                                236

From a photograph by Mansell & Co. Not an authentic portrait but a
later attempt to express the rugged exterior of the sage which is often
a subject of humorous allusion in Plato and elsewhere. _See_ p. 231

82 ALEXANDER AT ISSUS.                                               242

Collotype plate, from a photograph by Brogi of the mosaic at Pompeii.
_See_ p. 245

83 “THE SARCOPHAGUS OF ALEXANDER” FROM SIDON: LION-HUNT              244

From a photograph by Seban and Joaillier of the original at Constantinople.
_See_ p. 246

84 PORTION OF THE EASTERN FRIEZE OF THE SARCOPHAGUS
OF ALEXANDER                                                         246

Reproduced in colour from Plate XXXV in “Une Nécropole Royale à
Sidon,” by MM. O. Hamdy Bey and Th. Reinach, by kind permission
of M. Ernest Leroux, of Paris. _See_ p. 246

85 ALEXANDER THE GREAT                                               248

From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the bust in the British Museum.
_See_ p. 246

86 RELIEF FROM PERGAMUM                                              250

Collotype plate, from a photograph by Titzenthaler of the original at
Berlin. This is a clever reconstruction of the great altar of Zeus erected
by the Attalids near the beginning of the second century B.C. The
subject is the combat between gods and giants. _See_ p. 251

87 APHRODITE OF MELOS (THE VENUS OF MILO)                            252

From a photograph by Alinari of the marble in the Louvre. _See_ p. 251

88 THE VICTORY OF SAMOTHRACE                                         254

From a photograph by Alinari of the marble in the Louvre. _See_ p. 252

89 STATUE OF ARISTOTLE                                               256

From a photograph by Anderson of the original in the Palazzo Spada,
Rome. An ideal conception of a philosopher rather than an authentic
portrait. _See_ p. 253

90 THE PORTLAND VASE                                                 262

From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the original in the British
Museum. No certain interpretation of the figures has been made. _See_
p. 263

91 THE FARNESE BULL                                                  264

From a photograph by Brogi of the original at Naples. Depicts how
Zethus and Amphion punished their stepmother, Dirce: a degenerate
work by two sculptors of the Rhodian school in the first or second
century B.C. _See_ p. 265

THE PRAYING BOY                                                      266

From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the cast in the British Museum.
Original bronze at Berlin. _See_ p. 220



ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE TEXT

                                                                    PAGE

TABLET OF CRETAN LINEAR SCRIPT, FROM CNOSSOS                          13

From the _Annual_ of the British School at Athens, vi. plate ii

BLACK VASE, FROM CYPRUS                                               18

British Museum, First Vase Room, Case 7, C 81

PLAN OF NEOLITHIC HOUSE                                               18

TERRA-COTTA FIGURE, FROM PETSOFÀ                                      20

From the _Annual_ of the B.S.A., ix. plate x

TERRA-COTTA IDOL, FROM TROY                                           20

British Museum, Terra-cotta Room, Case 1, A 38

VOTIVE TERRA-COTTA, FROM PETSOFÀ                                      21

From the _Annual_ of the B.S.A., ix. plate viii

KAMÁRES CUP                                                           22

From the _Annual_ of the B.S.A., ix. p. 305

KAMÁRES “HOLE-MOUTHED” JAR                                            22

From the _Annual_ of the B.S.A., ix. p. 306

CRETAN FILLER                                                         24

From the _Annual_ of the B.S.A., ix. p. 311

CUTTLE-FISH KYLIX                                                     25

British Museum, First Vase Room, Case 19

CLAY SEAL IMPRESSION: PUGILIST                                        25

From the _Annual_ of the B.S.A., ix. p. 56

CITADEL OF TIRYNS                                                     27

After Schliemann’s reconstruction; from his “Tiryns,” by kind permission
of Mr. John Murray

BEEHIVE TOMB: SECTION                                                 29

CRETAN CUP OF DEGENERATE STYLE                                        31

From the _Annual_ of the B.S.A., ix. p. 318

CLAY SEAL IMPRESSION, CRUCIFORM SYMBOL                                34

From the _Annual_ of the B.S.A., ix. p. 90

WARRIOR STÉLÉ FROM MYCENÆ                                             37

From Ridgeway’s “Early Age of Greece,” i. p. 314, by kind permission of
the Cambridge University Press. An early representation of the arms and
dress of the Northern Invaders

MARRIAGE PROCESSION                                                   45

From a pyxis in the British Museum, Third Vase Room, Case C, D 11
(_see_ Plate 56)

SEATED STATUE FROM BRANCHIDÆ                                          55

British Museum, Room of Archaic Sculpture, No. 9

GEOMETRIC VASE                                                        56

British Museum, First Vase Room, Case 34, No. 362

COIN OF CROTON, SHOWING TRIPOD                                        63

British Museum, Room of Greek and Roman Life, III. 19

SHIP OF ODYSSEUS                                                      64

From a vase in the British Museum, Third Vase Room, Case G, E 440

LYRE AND CITHARA                                                      68

From vases, &c.

THE “DISCOBOLUS” OF MYRON                                             80

Outline drawing of the statue in the British Museum

COIN OF CORINTH                                                      105

British Museum, Room of Greek and Roman Life, II. B 25. _Obverse_:
Head of Athena wearing a Corinthian helmet. _Reverse_: Pegasus

GREEK ARCHITECTURE                                                   107

Diagram illustrating Doric and Ionic styles

COIN OF PHANES                                                       123

British Museum, Room of Greek and Roman Life, I. A 7

OSTRAKON OF THEMISTOCLES                                             141

COIN OF ELIS: HEAD OF ZEUS                                           148

British Museum, Room of Greek and Roman Life, III. B 33

COIN OF PHILIP II. OF MACEDON: HEAD OF ZEUS                          148

British Museum, as above, III. B 18

THE ERECHTHEUM: MODERN RECONSTRUCTION                                166

THEATRICAL FIGURES, COMIC AND TRAGIC                                 175

From statuettes in the British Museum

COIN OF THRACE: ALEXANDER THE GREAT                                  246

British Museum, Room of Greek and Roman Life, IV. B 20. Showing
Alexander as a god with the horns of Ammon

THE LAOCOÖN GROUP                                                    264

Drawn from a photograph of the original at Rome

LATE GREEK VASE PAINTING                                             266

British Museum, Vase Room, IV. Case 52, F 308



INTRODUCTION

    αἰ δὲ τεαὶ ξώουσιν ἀηδόνες ᾖσιν ὁ πάντων
      ἁρπακτὴρ Ἀῒδης οὐκ ἐπὶ χεῖρα βαλεῖ
                       CALLIMACHUS.

    “Still are thy pleasant voices, thy nightingales, awake,
    For Death, he taketh all away, but them he cannot take.”


HELLENISM

“Greece” and “Greek” mean different things to different people. To the
man in the street, if he exists, they stand for something proverbially
remote and obscure, as dead as Queen Anne, as heavy as the British
Museum. To the average finished product of Higher Education in England
they recall those dog-eared text-books and grammars which he put away
with much relief when he left school; they waft back to him the
strangely close atmosphere of the classical form-room. The historian, of
course, will inform us that all Western civilisation has Greece for its
mother and nurse, and that unless we know something about her our
knowledge of the past must be built upon sand. That is true: only nobody
cares very much what historians say, for they deal with the past, and
the past is dead and disgusting. To some cultured folk who have read
Swinburne (but not Plato) the notion of the Greeks presents a world of
happy pagans, children of nature, without any tiresome ideas of morality
or self-control, sometimes making pretty poems and statues, but
generally basking in the sun without much on. There are also countless
earnest students of the Bible who remember what St. Paul said about
those Greeks who thought the Cross foolishness and those Athenians who
were always wanting to hear something new. St. Paul forgot that “the
Cross” was a typical Stoic paradox. Then there are a vast number of
people who do not distinguish between “Greek” and “classical.” By
“classics” they understand certain tyrannous conventions and stilted
affectations against which every free-minded soul longs to rebel. They
distinguish the classical element in Milton and Keats as responsible for
all that is dull and far-fetched and unnatural. Classicism repels many
people of excellent taste, and Greek art is apt to fall under the same
condemnation. It is only in the last generation that scholars have been
able to distinguish between the true Greek and the false mist of
classicism which surrounds it. Till then everybody had to look at the
Greeks through Roman and Renaissance spectacles, confounding Pallas with
Minerva and thinking of Greek art as represented by the Apollo Belvedere
and the Laocoön. We are now able, thanks to the labours of scholars and
archæologists, to see the Greeks as they were, perfectly direct, simple,
natural, and reasonable, quite as antagonistic to classicism as Manet
and Debussy themselves.

Lastly, there are a few elderly people who have survived the atmosphere
of “the classics,” and yet cherish the idea of Greece as something
almost holy in its tremendous power of inspiration. These are the people
who are actually pleased when a fragment of Menander is unearthed in an
Egyptian rubbish-heap, or a fisherman fishing for sponges off Cape
Matapan finds entangled in his net three-quarters of a bronze idol. And
they are not all schoolmasters either. Some of them spend their time and
money in digging the soil of Greece under a blazing Mediterranean sun.
Some of them haunt the auction-rooms and run up a fragment of pottery,
or a marble head without a nose, to figures that seem quite absurd when
you look at the shabby clothes of the bidders. They talk of Greece as
if it were in the same latitude as Heaven, not Naples. The strange thing
about them is that though they evidently feel the love of old Greece
burning like a flame in their hearts, they find their ideas on the
subject quite incommunicable. Let us hope they end their days peacefully
in retreats with classical façades, like the Bethlehem Hospital.

Admitting something of this weakness, it is my aim here to try and throw
some fresh light upon the secret of that people’s greatness, and to look
at the Greeks not as the defunct producers of antique curios, but, if I
can, as Keats looked at them, believing what he said of Beauty, that

                            “It will never
    Pass into nothingness, but still will keep
    A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
    Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.”

It cannot be done by studying their history only. Their history must be
full of battles, in which they were only moderately great, and petty
quarrels, to which they were immoderately prone. Their literature, which
presents the greatest bulk of varied excellence of any literature in the
world, must be considered. But as it can only reach us through the
watery medium of translation we must supplement it by studying also
their statues and temples, their coins, vases, and pictures. Even that
will not be sufficient for people who are not artists, because the
sensible Philistine part of the world knows, as the Greeks knew, that a
man may draw and fiddle and be a scoundrel. Therefore we must look also
at their laws and governments, their ceremonies and amusements, their
philosophy and religion, to see whether they knew how to live like
gentlemen and freemen. If we can keep our eyes open to all these sides
of their activity and watch them in the germ and bud, we ought to get
near to understanding their power as a living source of inspiration to
artists and thinkers. Lovers of the classics are very apt to remind us
of the Renaissance as testifying the power of Greek thought to awaken
and inspire men’s minds. Historically they are right, for it is a fact
which ought to be emphasised. But when they go on to argue that if we
forget the classics we ourselves shall need a fresh Renaissance they are
making a prophecy which seems to me to be very doubtful. I believe that
our art and literature has by this time absorbed and assimilated what
Greece had to teach, and that our roots are so entwined with the soil of
Greek culture that we can never lose the taste of it as long as books
are read and pictures painted. We are, in fact, living on the legacy of
Greece, and we may, if we please, forget the testatrix.

My claim for the study of Hellenism would not be founded on history. I
would urge the need of constant reference to some fixed canon in matters
of taste, some standard of the beautiful which shall be beyond question
or criticism; all the more because we are living in eager, restless
times of constant experiment and veering fashions. Whatever may be the
philosophical basis of æsthetics, it is undeniable that a large part of
our idea of beauty rests upon habit. Hellas provides a thousand objects
which seventy-five generations of people have agreed to call beautiful
and which no person outside a madhouse has ever thought ugly. The proper
use of true classics is not to regard them as fetishes which must be
slavishly worshipped, as the French dramatists worshipped the imaginary
unities of Aristotle, but to keep them for a compass in the
cross-currents of fashion. By them you may know what is permanent and
essential from what is showy and exciting.

That Greek work is peculiarly suited to this purpose is partly due, no
doubt, to the winnowing of centuries of time, but partly also to its own
intrinsic qualities. For one thing, all the best Greek work was done,
not to please private tastes, but in a serious spirit of religion to
honour the god of the city; that prevents it from being trivial or
meretricious. Secondly, it is not romantic; and that renders it a very
desirable antidote to modern extravagances. Thirdly, it is idealistic;
that gives it a force and permanence which things designed only for the
pleasure of the moment must generally lack. With all these high merits,
it might remain very dull, if it had not the charm and grace of youth
perfectly fearless, and serving a religion which largely consisted in
health and beauty.


THE LAND AND ITS PEOPLE

A glance at the physical map of Greece shows you the sort of country
which forms the setting of our picture. You see its long and complicated
coast-line, its intricate system of rugged hills, and the broken strings
of islands which they fling off into the sea in every direction. On the
map it recalls the features of Scotland or Norway. It hangs like a jewel
on a pendant from the south of Europe into the Mediterranean Sea. Like
its sister peninsulas of Italy and Spain it has high mountains to the
north of it; but the Balkans do not, as do the Alps and Pyrenees,
present the form of a sheer rampart against Northern invaders. On the
contrary, the main axis of the hills lies in the same direction as the
peninsula itself, with a north-west and south-east trend, so that on
both coasts there are ancient trade routes into the country; but on both
sides they have to traverse passes which offer a fair chance of easy
defence.

The historian, wise after the event, deduces that the history of such a
country must lie upon the sea. It is a sheltered, hospitable sea, with
chains of islands like stepping-stones inviting the timid mariner of
early times to venture across it. You can sail from Greece to Asia
without ever losing sight of land. On the west it is not so. Greece and
Italy turn their backs upon one another. Their neighbouring coasts are
the harbourless ones. So Greece looks east and Italy west, in history as
well as geography. The natural affinities of Greece are with Asia Minor
and Egypt.

A sea-going people will be an adventurous people in thought as well as
action. The Greeks themselves fully realised this. When Themistocles
was urging his fellow-Athenians to build a great fleet and take to the
sea in earnest, opposition came from the conservatives, who feared the
political influence of a “nautical mob” with radical and impious
tendencies. The type of solid conservative was the heavy-armed land
soldier. So in Greek history the inland city of Sparta stands for
tradition, discipline, and stability, while the mariners of Athens are
progressive, turbulent, inquiring idealists.

This sea will also invite commerce if the Greeks have anything to sell.
It does not look as if they will have much. A few valleys and small
plains are fertile enough to feed their own proprietors, but as regards
corn and food-stuffs Greece will have to be an importer, not an
exporter. In history we find great issues hanging on the sea-routes by
which corn came in from the Black Sea. Wine and olive oil are the only
things that Nature allowed Greece to export. As for minerals, Athens is
rich in her silver-mines, and gold is to be found in Thrace under Mount
Pangæus. But if Greece is to grow rich it will have to be through the
skill of her incomparable craftsmen and the shield and spear of her
hoplites.[1]

The map will help to explain another feature of her history. Although at
first sight the peninsula looks as if it possessed a geographical unity,
yet a second glance shows that Nature has split it up into numberless
small plains and valleys divided from one another by sea and mountain.
Such a country, as we see in Wales, Switzerland, and Scotland,
encourages a polity of clans and cantons, each jealous of its neighbour
over the hill, and each cherishing a fierce local patriotism. Nature,
moreover, has provided each plain with its natural citadel. Greece and
Italy are both rich in these self-made fortresses. The traveller in
Italy is familiar with the low hills or spurs of mountains, each crowned
with the white walls of some ancient city. If ever geography made

[Illustration: FIG. 1. THE ACROPOLIS OF ATHENS]

[Illustration: FIG. 2. THE CITADEL OF CORINTH

Plate I

_English Photo Co., Athens_]

history, it was where those flat-topped hills with precipitous sides,
such as the Acropolis of Athens and Acrocorinthus,[2] invited man to
build his fortress and his shrine upon their summit. Then, perched
safely on the hill-top and ringed with her wall, the city was able to
develop her peculiar civilisation even in troubled times while the rest
of the world was still immersed in warfare and barbarism. The farmer
spends the summer in the plain below for sowing and reaping, the mariner
puts out from harbour, the soldier marches out for a summer campaign,
but the city is their home, their refuge, and the centre of their
patriotism. We must not overrate the importance of this natural cause.
Even the plains of Greece, such as Thessaly and Bœotia, never developed
a unity. There too the citadel and the city-state prevailed. Geography
is seldom more than a contributory cause, shaping and assisting
historical tendencies, but in this case it is impossible to resist the
belief that in Italy and Greece the hill-top invited the wall and the
wall enabled the civilisation of the city-state to rise and flourish
long in advance of the rest of Europe.

Greece enjoys a wonderful climate. The summer sun is hot, but morning
and evening bring refreshing breezes from the sea. The rain average is
low and regular, snow is almost unknown in the valleys. Hence there is a
peculiar dry brightness in the atmosphere which seems to annihilate
distance. The traveller is struck with the small scale of Greek
geography. The Corinthian Gulf, for instance, which he remembers to have
been the scene of famous sea-battles in history, looks as if you could
throw a stone across it. From your hotel window in Athens you can see
hill-tops in the heart of the Peloponnese. Doubtless this clearness of
the atmosphere encouraged the use of colour and the plastic arts for
outdoor decoration. Even to-day the ruined buildings of the Athenian
citadel shine across to the eyes of the seafarers five miles away at the
Peiræus. Time has mellowed their marble columns to a rich amber, but in
old days they blazed with colour and gilding. In that radiant sea-air
the Greeks of old learnt to see things clearly. They could live, as the
Greeks still live, a simple, temperate life. Wine and bread, with a
relish of olives or pickled fish, satisfied the bodily needs of the
richest. The climate invited an open-air life, as it still does. To-day,
as of old, the Greek loves to meet his neighbours in the market square
and talk eternally over all things both in heaven and earth. Though the
blood of Greece has suffered many admixtures, and though Greece has had
to submit to centuries of conquest by many masters and oppressors, her
racial character is little changed in some respects. The Greek is still
restless, talkative, subtle and inquisitive, eager for liberty without
the sense of discipline which liberty requires, contemptuous of
strangers and jealous of his neighbour. In commerce, when he has the
chance, his quick and supple brain still makes him the prince of
traders. Honesty and stability have always been qualities which he is
quicker to admire than to practise. Courage, national pride,
intellectual self-restraint, and creative genius have undoubtedly
suffered under the Turkish domination. But the friends of modern Greece
believe that a few generations of liberty will restore these qualities
which were so eminent in her ancestors and that her future may rival her
past. Not in the field of action, perhaps. We must never forget, when we
praise the artistic and intellectual genius of Greece, that she alone
rolled back the tide of Persian conquest at Marathon and Salamis, or
that Greek troops under Alexander marched victoriously over half the
known world. But it is not in the field of action that her greatness
lies. She won battles by superior discipline, superior strategy, and
superior armour. As soon as she had to meet a race of born soldiers, in
the Romans, she easily succumbed. Her methods of fighting were always
defensive in the main. Historians have often gone astray in devoting too
much attention to her wars and battles.

[Illustration: PLATE II. OLYMPIA: VALLEY OF THE ALPHEUS

_Alinari_]

The great defect of the climate of modern Greece is the malaria which
haunts her plains and lowlands in early autumn. This is partly the
effect and partly the cause of undrained and sparsely populated
marsh-lands like those of Bœotia. It need not have been so in early
Greek history. There must have been more agriculture and more trees in
ancient than in modern Greece. An interesting and ingenious theory has
lately been advanced which would trace the beginning of malaria in
Greece to the fourth century. Its effect is seen in the loss of vigour
which begins in that period and the rapid shrinkage of population which
marks the beginning of the downfall in that and the succeeding century.
In Italy the same theory has even better attestation, for the Roman
Campagna which to-day lies desolate and fever-stricken was once the site
of populous cities and the scene of agricultural activity.

The scenery of Greece is singularly impressive. Folded away among the
hills there are, indeed, some lovely wooded valleys,[3] like Tempe, but
in general it is a treeless country, and the eye enjoys, in summer at
least, a pure harmony of brown hills with deep blue sea and sky. The sea
is indigo, almost purple, and the traveller quickly sees the justice of
Homer’s epithet of “wine-dark.” Those brown hills make a lovely
background for the play of light and shade. Dawn and sunset touch them
with warmer colours, and the plain of Attica is seen “violet-crowned” by
the famous heights of Hymettus, Pentelicus, and Parnes. The ancient
Greek talked little of scenery, but he saw a nereid in every pool, a
dryad under every oak, and heard the pipe of Pan in the caves of his
limestone hills. He placed the choir of Muses on Mount Helicon, and,
looking up to the snowy summit of Olympus, he peopled it with calm,
benignant deities.

In this beautiful land lived the happy and glorious people whose culture
we are now to study. Some modernists, indeed, smitten with the
megalomania of to-day, profess to despise a history written on so small
a scale. Truly Athens was a small state at the largest. Her little
empire had a yearly revenue of about £100,000. It is doubtful whether
Sparta ever had much more than ten thousand free citizens. In military
matters, it must be confessed, the importance attached by historians to
miniature fleets and pigmy armies, with a ridiculously small casualty
list, does strike the reader with a sense of disproportion. But for the
politician it is especially instructive to see his problems worked out
upon a small scale, with the issues comparatively simple and the results
plainly visible. The task of combining liberty with order is in
essentials the same for a state of ten thousand citizens as for one of
forty millions. And in the realms of philosophy and art considerations
of size do not affect us, except to make us marvel that these tiny
states could do so much.

To a great extent we may find the key to the Greek character in her
favourite proverb, “No excess,” in which are expressed her favourite
virtues of _Aidōs_ and _Sophrosune_, reverence and self-restraint. “Know
thyself” was the motto inscribed over her principal shrine. Know and
rely upon thine own powers, know and regard thine own limitations. It
was such a maxim as this which enabled the Greeks to reach their goal of
perfection even in the sphere of art, where perfection is proverbially
impossible. They were bold in prospecting and experimenting, until they
found what they deemed to be the right way, and when they had found it
they followed it through to its conclusion. Eccentricity they hated like
poison. Though they were such great originators, they cared nothing for
the modern fetish of originality.

In politics also they looked for a definite goal and travelled
courageously along to find it. Herein they met with disastrous failures
which are full of teaching for us. But they reached, it may be said, the
utmost possibility of the city-state. The city-state was, as we have
seen, probably evolved by natural survival from the physical conditions
of the country. Being established, it entailed certain definite
consequences. It involved a much closer bond of social union than any
modern

[Illustration: PLATE III. THE VALE OF TEMPE

_English Photo Co., Athens_]

territorial state. Its citizens felt the unity and exclusiveness of a
club or school. A much larger share of public rights and duties
naturally fell upon them. They looked upon their city as a company of
unlimited liability in which each individual citizen was a shareholder.
They expected their city to feed and amuse them. They expected to divide
the plunder when she made conquests, as they were certain to share the
consequences if she was defeated. Every full citizen of proper age was
naturally bound to fight personally in the ranks, and from that duty his
rights as a citizen followed logically. He must naturally be consulted
about peace and war, and must have a voice in foreign policy. Also, if
he was to be a competent soldier he must undergo proper education and
training for it. There will be little privacy inside the walls of a
city-state; the arts and crafts will be under public patronage.
Inequalities will become hatefully apparent.

But for us, an imperial people, who have inherited a vast and scattered
dominion which somehow or other has got to be managed and governed, the
chief interest will centre in the question of how these city-states
acquired and administered their empires. Above all it is to Athens and
perhaps Rome alone that we can look for historical answers to the great
riddle for which we cannot yet boast of having discovered a
solution--whether democracy can govern an empire.

In Greek history alone we have at least three examples of empires.
Athens and Sparta both proceeded to acquire empire by the road of
alliance and hegemony, Athens being naval and democratic, Sparta
aristocratic and military. Both were despotic, and both failed
disastrously for different reasons. Then we have the career of Alexander
the Great and his short-lived but important empire, a career providing a
type for Cæsar and Napoleon, an empire founded on mere conquest.

Lastly, on the same small canvas we have a momentous phase of the
eternal and still-continuing conflict between East and West and their
respective habits of civilisation. These pages will describe the
aggression and repulse of the East.



I

ÆGEAN CIVILISATION

    Vixere fortes ante Agamemnona.
                   HORACE.


A NEW CHAPTER OF HISTORY

It is the misfortune of historians to be liable to attacks at both
extremities. On the one hand time is continually adding postscripts to
their “Finis,” and on the other hand the archæologist is constantly
making them tear up and rewrite their first chapters. In Greek history
especially the spade has proved mightier than the pen. We are now only
certain that the first page of any Greek history written ten years ago
must be defective; we are not yet quite sure what to put in its place.
Any moment, it seems, the explorer may turn up something which will make
a difference of a thousand years or so in our earliest chronology. There
are in the Cretan museum scores of clay tablets inscribed with an
unknown writing which only await an interpreter to confound and
illuminate us all. Forty years ago eminent writers like Gladstone and
Freeman were still looking to Homer for their ideas of the primitive
European and his civilisation. Strange indeed were the results that
followed. In politics we were to believe that the earliest Greeks
settled their affairs at a public meeting where elders and princes made
persuasive speeches, and radicalism, though not unknown, was sternly
discouraged. A benevolent monarchy, hereditary in the male line, was
supposed by Sir Henry Maine to be the form of government common to
primitive Europe and modern England. Literature was believed to have
begun with elaborate epic poems written in hexameters of exquisite
variety and extreme subtlety. The primitive woman was believed to have
been the object of chivalrous and romantic esteem. Strangest of all,
religion in this primitive world was held to have included the cheerful
bantering of anthropomorphic gods and goddesses. We were to suppose that
the European began by laughing at his gods and ended by worshipping
them.

[Illustration: Tablet of Cretan Linear Script, from Cnossos]

Then in the seventies came the redoubtable Dr. Schliemann, most erudite
of sappers, and dug into the hill at Hissarlik to see if he could find
the bones of Hector and the ruins of Troy. Troy he found in abundance,
five Troys, at least, one on the top of another. He called the second
from the bottom the city of Priam, and then he crossed over with his
spades and picks to look for what might be left of Agamemnon at Mycenæ.
Sure enough, he presently startled the learned world by a telegram to
the King of Greece saying that he had found the tomb of Agamemnon. Quite
certainly he had found some very important things--things, as we shall
soon see, far more interesting and valuable to history than if they had
belonged, as Schliemann thought, to the King of all the Greeks. But the
point is that for many years to come all the excavators who worked on
Greek soil started with the false belief that Homer was the beginning of
all things and that their discoveries were illustrating Homer. We now
know that the excavations at Mycenæ and the poems of Homer represent two
entirely different civilisations, neither of them primitive. We are now
in a position to throw the beginnings of European culture in the
Mediterranean basin centuries--nay, whole millenniums--farther back than
our fathers’ wildest dreams could carry them. The history of European
civilisation is no longer a traceable progression from Homer to Tennyson
or from Odysseus to Captain Peary, but a long cycle of rising and
decaying cultures with periods of darkness intervening. For this
revolution in our ideas the responsible weapon is the humble but
veracious spade.


CRETE, THE DOORSTEP OF EUROPE

We are to picture the primitive tribes of the world as continually
moving under the double pressure of the wolf in their bellies and the
enemy at their backs--moving, in the main, north and west, as climatic
conditions relented before them. So long as they were in this nomadic
stage little progress could be made in civilisation; tents must form
their houses, and their goods could be only such trifles of necessary
pots and pans as they could carry. But when the moving tribe reached the
sea it was compelled to halt and settle. Thus it is that civilisation
begins in the oases of the desert, on the north coasts of Africa, and in
the isles of Greece. Settled by force, and to some degree protected by
nature, they could begin to accumulate possessions, and to improve them
with art. They could begin to build houses, and develop morals and
polities.

Thus geography has made it exceedingly probable that Crete will play a
momentous part in the earliest history of Europe. That island lies like
a doorstep at the threshold of Europe. If civilisation was to rise with
the sun in the East, out of the extremely ancient civilisations of Egypt
and Babylon, by way of those earliest carriers to the world’s markets,
the Phœnicians of Tyre and Sidon, clearly this island of Crete would be
their stepping-stone to Europe. Thus we reason, knowing it to be the
truth. But we should never have learnt the truth from literature. In
Homer, for example, Crete is of little importance. It was famous for its
“ninety cities” and its mixed nationalities, and it was known as the
former realm of Minos. There, too, the father of all craftsmen, Dædalus,
had fashioned a wondrous dancing-place. But we might almost gather from
the pages of Homer that it was a land whose glory had departed already.
And that is the truth. Outside Homer, Crete, though insignificant in
history, takes a much more important place in mythology and legend. For
religion Crete was the birthplace of Zeus, the king of the gods. In the
history of law-making it plays a very important part, for Minos of Crete
was said to be the first law-giver, and he was placed as the judge of
the dead by later mythology. In religion it produced Epimenides, the
early exorcist, and in music Thaletas. Then many ancient historians give
us a tradition of early naval empires in Greek waters. Thalassocracies
they were called, and that of Crete stands at the head of the list.
Finally, those fortunate Englishmen whose introduction to Greece has
come through the wonderful “Heroes” of Charles Kingsley know the story
of the Cretan labyrinth and that fearsome beast the Minotaur. They know
the story of Theseus: how the Athenians of the earliest times had to
send tribute every year of their fairest youths and maidens to King
Minos of Crete, until one year the prince Theseus besought old Ægeus,
his royal father, to let him go among the number in order to stop this
cruel sacrifice; how he went at last, and how the Cretan princess,
Ariadne, loved him and gave him a weapon and a clue to the labyrinth,
and how he slew the dreadful monster and deserted his princess and
returned home; but how he forgot also to hoist the signal of his safety,
so that the old king, seeing black sails to his ship, cast himself
headlong from the rock in his misery, and gave a name to the Ægean Sea.
In old days we read it as a beautiful Greek romance; now we think it
very likely that the Athenians in early days did have to pay tribute--

            septena quotannis
    corpora natorum

--to the empire of Minos. Sir Arthur Evans, the explorer of Cnossos,
thinks that he has discovered the labyrinth, and perhaps even the
Minotaur, in his excavations at Cnossos. Anyhow, he has discovered a
civilisation previously almost unknown to history. As these new
discoveries centre in Crete, the excavators have naturally taken Crete
as the fount and origin of it all, and call their new old world
“Minoan,” just as the followers of Dr. Schliemann called their
discoveries “Mycenæan.” The two cultures are not distinct; Mycenæan
objects mainly represent one or two of the later stages of Minoan
culture. But as similar objects have been found in many parts of the
Eastern Mediterranean, and as it is just possible (though not very
probable) that even more wonderful discoveries of a similar kind may be
made elsewhere, and as the relation of Minos to these earliest periods
is by no means established, we had better be cautious and adopt the most
general name of those which have been applied to this culture and call
it “Ægean,” or “Pre-Achæan,” or “Bronze Age.” We may quite fairly use
one name for all this world of prehistoric civilisation before Homer,
although it covers an enormous space of time and may be divided into
many distinct chapters or phases; because, after all, there is a clear
line of ancestry between the earliest of the art forms and the latest,
indicating that the artists were of the same blood, however many times
their cities might be destroyed and their works buried under the soil.
It is so distinct, so continuous, and so widely distributed that we are
safe in believing that it was the work of one people spread all over the
islands and coasts of the Mediterranean. Ægean civilisation has been
found in Crete, on the coasts of Asia Minor, on the mainland of Greece,
in Egyptian tombs, in Sicily, on the coast of Italy, at Torcello near
Venice, at Bologna, and in Spain. Etruscan art seems to be essentially
akin to it. Cyprus has long been known as a centre of Ægean
civilisation, and is at the present moment yielding fresh treasures to
the archæologist. But nowhere has it been discovered in such perfect
continuity and splendour as in Crete.

It is the custom among archæologists to divide early culture into
periods, according to the weapons in use. Accordingly we say that the
Ægean periods extend from the Neolithic to the Late Bronze Age, meaning
that the earliest of these Ægean potsherds are found in conjunction with
polished flint weapons and tools, while along with the latest we find a
few rare pieces of iron, but mostly bronze of a very high finish and
workmanship. Such finds are dated very roughly by the level at which
they lie, because it is a curious but certain fact that the level of
ground once built over is constantly rising through accretions of dust
and débris. Anyhow, it will be clear to every one that when, as at Troy
and Cnossos, we find a series of buildings each superimposed upon the
ruins of another, we can trace the history of such a site from early to
late with certainty. Sometimes it is possible also to get a date by
examining foreign objects found on the same site, such as gems bearing
the cartouche or sign-royal of Egyptian kings. Only we must bear in mind
that such little objects are easily displaced and often preserved for
many centuries, so that great care must be used in taking them as
evidence. Also, serious conflicts are still going on between the
Egyptologists, and their dates are by no means ascertained facts at
present.


PROGRESS OF ÆGEAN CULTURE

I have said that the prehistoric culture revealed by the excavations in
Crete and elsewhere forms a continuous and progressive history from the
Stone Age to the Iron Age. Sir Arthur Evans, indeed, has divided his
discoveries into nine periods, from “Early Minoan I.” to “Late Minoan
III.” Without being quite so precise, let us attempt to sketch a
history of “prehistoric” civilisation on Greek soil, taking Crete as the
centre of influence.

[Illustration: Black Vase from Cyprus]

“Neolithic man” in Crete, though his weapons and tools were but polished
stones, and far as he was behind his Neolithic brothers of Central
Europe, had already begun to design patterns upon his pottery. Like
Nature abhorring a vacuum, he traced zigzags, triangles, and chevrons
upon the plastic clay, scratching or pricking lines and dots with a
point of bone or stone, and sometimes filling the holes and scratches
with white gypsum to show up the pattern. The body of his vases was
generally black and shiny. Bucchero nero, as the Italian archæologists
call it, is found in the Neolithic strata all over Southern Europe.

[Illustration: Plan of Neolithic House]

His house was generally of mud and wattles, but there are some examples
of stone-built houses on a rectangular plan. In Thessaly, where
Neolithic culture survived right through the flourishing periods of art
in Crete and Mycenæ, they have even found Neolithic houses with three
rooms and the sockets for wooden pillars. Caves were still used as
dwellings, and there is also a round type of hut, derived, no doubt,
from the still more primitive tent of skin and wickerwork. Of the
religion of the Late Stone Age we know nothing, except that they buried
their dead with care in tombs resembling their

[Illustration: PLATE IV.--ASSYRIAN RELIEF: KING ASSUR-NASIR-PAL (9TH
CENTURY B.C.) _Mansell & Co._]

dwelling-places. Archæology has a rough method of assigning dates by
allowing about a thousand years for every three feet of deposited earth;
on this reckoning we may date the Neolithic period in Crete anywhere
before 4000 B.C.

Then gradually comes the beginning of the Bronze Age. All civilisation
may be regarded as a progress in tools and weapons. Nowhere is the
history of Europe traced with a clearer pen than in its armouries. As
the guns of Crécy foretold the passing of chivalry, so the discovery of
that alloy of copper and tin, which produced a metal soft enough to
mould and hard enough to work with, meant a step forward for
civilisation. At first, of course, bronze is rare and costly; it is
confined to short dagger-blades and spear-points. Along with the
earliest bronze we find an advance in the pottery, paint used to trace
the patterns, though the designs are still those of dot and line;
experiments are being made with colours and glazes. In experiment is the
germ of progress; the conventional artists of the East imitate and
sometimes improve their models, but they seldom make experiments. In
Assyria and Egypt they have produced wonderful and beautiful works of
art.[4] But with them art is ornament; there is no ideal, no striving to
get nearer to the truth of things. The Oriental sculptor soon loses
touch with Nature, and as his technique advances learns only the
language of convention.

So in the forms and designs of the pottery we watch a steady upward
march, the progress growing faster as the standard of achievement rises.
Curves and circles take the place of zigzags and triangles. The potter
plays tricks with the colour of his clay, daubs it with red, burns it in
patches. In these strata we begin to find imitations of the human form,
rude images or “idols,” possibly the votive offerings which represent
the worshipper in substitution for human sacrifice. These become
conventionalised, as everything connected with religion tends to do,
into queer fiddle-shaped, goggle-eyed figures. All the Cretan artists
insisted on the waist to a degree which would seem to the modern
shop-girl an exaggeration. Even in Egypt the small waist was regarded as
a characteristic of the Keftiu--the men from the Isles of the Sea. The
broad shoulders of the men no doubt are intended to symbolise strength.
Along with vases and “idols” are found seals whose emblems show traces
of the influence of Egypt under the Sixth Dynasty (? 2540 B.C.).

[Illustration: Terra-cotta Figure, from Petsofà]

Now we take a great upward leap into the “Middle Minoan” periods of Sir
Arthur Evans. Here we find the earliest writing of Europe, clay tablets
inscribed with a pictographic script. The clay figures are extremely
elaborate presentments of the costume of the day; and a highly elaborate
costume it is. Colour is freely employed on idols and pottery. The
patterns pass into spirals, and occasionally there is direct imitation
of Nature--goats, beetles, and (as the classical Greeks would say) other
birds.

[Illustration: Terra-cotta Idol, from Troy]

Now we are among the earlier palaces of Cnossos. Each period now seems
to have ended with a disaster, after which art rose again triumphantly
above the ruins, to begin where it had left off before the invader came
to destroy the palace and shrines of its patrons. Here we find the
“Kamáres” ware, a style of pottery to which we can perhaps for the first
time apply honest expressions of admiration. It is often as thin as
eggshell china. Its shapes are extremely varied and graceful; among them
the precise form of the modern tea-cup is common, and beautiful dishes
for

[Illustration: Votive Terra-cotta, from Petsofà. (Full size)]

offerings which resemble the modern épergne. A lustrous black glaze
generally forms the background; on it designs are painted in matt
colours, white, red, and sometimes yellow. The designs are still chiefly
conventional patterns of stripes and spirals. The potter’s wheel is by
now in common use, as we see from the greater symmetry and accuracy of
the lines. It is suggested that this ware in its thinness and its
patterns was inspired by metalwork. It must not be forgotten that the
archæologist only finds what the looting pirate has despised. The gold
and the bronze have been taken and only the humble potsherds left.

[Illustration: Kamáres Cup]

[Illustration: Kamáres “Hole-mouthed” Jar]

In the stage we have been describing the general colour effect of the
vase was the artist’s first consideration. Presently (after another
catastrophe) a new spirit begins to appear, the desire to imitate the
forms of Nature. With increasing naturalism the potter reverts to
simpler colours, despairing, it would seem, of the attempt to reproduce
the colours of his models. Neither greens nor blues could be managed in
earthenware. Fortunately, however, a new material is discovered which
serves the purpose. This is a kind of faience or porcelain. The idea was
imported from Egypt, but a native factory was set up in the palace of
Cnossos, and we even find the steatite moulds by which the patterns were
impressed. The naturalism is extremely skilful and effective. One of the
most beautiful examples is illustrated.[5] It is the favourite motive of
an animal suckling her young, constantly found as a heraldic type on
coins and seals. Here it is evidently drawn from a direct study of
Nature, so living is the pose, so faithful is the expression of

[Illustration: Fig. 1. Snake Goddess.]

[Illustration: Fig. 2. Wild Goat and Young.

Plate 5. FAÏENCE FROM THE TEMPLE REPOSITORY OF THE SECOND PALACE,
CNOSSOS, CRETE.]

the muscles. It is probably a failing of archæologists to see religion
everywhere they go. It is certain that the suckling motive was in after
times associated with the worship of maternal deities such as Hera. It
is certain also that the prehistoric Cretan did worship powers of
fecundity in human and animal form. But we need not transform this
she-goat into a goddess. I much prefer to be sure that this prehistoric
Cretan loved and studied the wild creatures of his native hills and his
native blue sea. Art and Nature are hand in hand now on vases and gems
also. We have seal types bearing wolves’ heads, owls and shells, scenes
from the boxing-ring and the bull-ring. The writing has progressed from
mere pictographs to a linear script. It is astonishing to find the
Cretan of 1911 B.C. writing, as we write to-day, with pen and ink.

We pass on to the “Late Minoan” periods, the ages of masterpiece. Here
Mycenæ enters the story, for though much earlier objects dating from the
Stone Ages have been found both at Mycenæ and Troy, the best Mycenæan
work is contemporary with the “Late Minoan” of Crete. The weapons now
are swords of bronze. As for the designs of pottery, whereas in the last
period they were generally drawn in white upon a dark ground, they are
now drawn in red or brown upon a light ground. They are still
naturalistic, and in the best specimens the artists have achieved the
highest triumph of vase-painting, namely, to apply the artistic forms of
Nature to serve their purpose, subordinating her as she ought (being a
female) to be subordinated. Observe how the murex shells are used along
with conventional patterns and how the light and shade are massed à la
Beardsley. It seems probable that the early painter selected those
natural forms, such as the octopus, the shell, and the star-fish, which
most nearly resembled the geometric patterns used by his predecessors.

The shapes are now extremely graceful. These pointed pitchers were used
as we see in the famous frieze of the Cupbearer, to serve the wine.
There is generally a hole in the base to strain it. Drinking vessels
were often of that fairest of Attic shapes known as the kylix. We
notice how marine objects predominate in the natural forms selected.
That alone might have given us a hint to look for an island as the
centre of this art.

[Illustration: Cretan Filler]

Now comes the great period of prehistoric architecture, of which we find
examples in the palaces of Cnossos, Mycenæ, and Tiryns. What cranes were
used to hoist these great masses into position we do not know. We cannot
guess what tools were used for cutting and boring the solid stone as it
was cut into the gigantic steatite wine-casks or the monolithic columns
or the limestone reliefs. We can only marvel at them as we marvel at the
Sphinx and the Pyramids. At Cnossos there were magnificent halls,
decorated with painted frescoes of wonderful craftsmanship or stone
carvings in high and low relief. There was a great hall of audience in
particular, shaped like a Roman basilica or an early Christian church, a
building so utterly out of its age that architects are amazed when it is
placed in the second millennium before Christ. There is a throne, of
what every one would have called Gothic design. Of the rest of the
architectural marvels of these “Minoan” palaces, their upper stories,
their light-wells, their double staircases, of the bull-ring and
wrestling-ring, with its royal box, of the water-gate, and the
engineering skill which overcame the slope down to the river, of the
magazines and store-rooms, with their Aladdin’s jars still standing
where King Minos’ storekeepers placed them, of the Queen’s Chamber and
the Hall of the Distaffs and of the Royal Villa--of these things let the
architects and Sir Arthur Evans relate. It would need pages of
ground-plans to exhibit them, for after

[Illustration: PLATE VI. THE “CUP-BEARER” FRESCO]

all the palaces of Crete are little more than ground-plans to the
layman, and ground-plans are dreary things. Sir Arthur Evans, indeed,
believes that it was the intricacy of these miles of ruined foundations
which provided the later Greeks with their legend of the Labyrinth. The
frescoes are truly marvellous, whether we consider the glorious youth
called the Cupbearer,[6] with his dark curly head and perfect Greek
profile, or the vividly natural bull’s head in stucco.[7] Among the
wonders is the veritable board on which King Minos played backgammon
according to the prehistoric rules of that respectable game. It is of
gold and silver, of ivory and crystal and “kuanos”--a board fit for a
thalassocrat.

[Illustration: Cuttle-fish Kylix]

[Illustration: Clay Seal Impression: Pugilist]

There is something here for every one. The sportsman will observe the
methods of pugilism indicated on the gems, admiring the muscular
development and the free action of the Cnossian prize-fighter. He seems
to have neglected his “guard,” but then he was separated by a barrier
from his opponent. Or we may study the laws of bull-baiting as practised
at Cnossos, noting the agility with which toreadors, male and female,
leap over the animal’s head. The milliner may study the latest modes of
to-day on the fashion-plates of the eighteenth century before Christ.
She will find the flounced petticoat of yesterday, the narrow waist,
the bodice cut extremely décolletée, the high coiffure of to-morrow, the
Medici collar, the zouave jacket. She will see hats which Mr. Myres
considers “unparalleled,” some flat like the mode of 1902, others with
turned-up brims and roses underneath like that of to-day.

The plumber too will find a paradise in Cnossos. There are lavatories,
sinks, sewers, and man-holes. Let me quote Professor Burrows: “The main
drain, which had its sides coated with cement, was over 3 feet high, and
nearly 2 feet broad, so that a man could easily move along it; and the
smaller stone shafts that discharged into it are still in position.
Farther north we have preserved to us some of the terra-cotta pipes that
served for connections. Each of them was about 2½ feet long, with a
diameter that was about 6 inches at the broad end, and narrowed to less
than 4 inches at the mouth, where it fitted into the broad end of the
next pipe. Jamming was carefully prevented by a stop-ridge that ran
round the outside of each narrow end a few inches from the mouth, while
the inside of the butt, or broader end, was provided with a raised
collar that enabled it to bear the pressure of the next pipe’s
stop-ridge, and gave an extra hold for the cement that bound the two
pipes together.” Let no cultivated reader despise these details. There
is no truer sign of civilisation and culture than good sanitation. It
goes with refined senses and orderly habits. A good drain implies as
much as a beautiful statue. And let it be remembered that the world did
not reach the Minoan standard of cleanliness again until the great
English sanitary movement of the late nineteenth century.


THE MAINLAND PALACES

Though there is so much to interest the architect in Cnossos, and though
the finest ashlar masonry is to be found there, the ordinary student of
ancient building will probably prefer to go for his examples, as of old,
to the contemporary

[Illustration: Plate 7. BULL’S HEAD: LIFE-SIZE RELIEF IN PAINTED STUCCO.
CNOSSOS, CRETE.]

[Illustration: Citadel of Tiryns]

palaces of Mycenæ and Tiryns. In Cnossos there was little or no
fortification--another proof that the Minoan empire rested safe behind
wooden walls. But on the mainland we have two magnificent fortresses and
citadels, so well preserved and so cleverly excavated by Schliemann and
Tsountas that the untrained eye can take in at a glance the essential
features of the architecture. At Tiryns the builder has taken the
fullest advantage of the natural strength of his position. The top of
the hill has been levelled and the summit encircled with a gigantic wall
seldom less than fifteen feet thick. In the wall there are galleries
opening internally upon a series of magazines. Along it at intervals
there are massive watch-towers. One such screens each of the gateways.
The main gate on the east side is approached by a long ascending ramp,
which is exposed all the way to attack from the wall that towers above.
To reach the postern-gate on the west you had also to climb a long
flight of steps. The hill-top, which is more than 900 feet long,
consists of a lower plateau to the north, on which no traces of building
have been found, possibly because there were only wooden erections there
for the soldiers, or possibly because it was left bare as a place of
refuge for the cattle. The higher plateau to the south contains the
palace, with its great pillared megaron, or hall. In this there is a
circular central hearth. Close behind is the hall of the women, with
sleeping-chambers at hand, and a strong treasury partly built into the
wall. There is an elaborate bathroom, with drain-pipes and water-supply,
hot and cold, a little to the west of the megaron. The three inner
courts are sumptuously paved with mosaic, and the walls were covered
with frescoes. It appears that the buildings on the summit of the hill
were all of a palatial description, and the conclusion is that the
commons lived in the plain below, governed and protected by their
citadel. Tiryns lies on the flank of the plain of Argos, and within a
few miles of the sea. As this one small plain included also the other
ancient fortresses of Mycenæ and Argos, the dominions of this king must
have been very small. It has been plausibly suggested that these
citadels principally existed to command the highways leading to the
Isthmus of Corinth.

At Mycenæ the fortification work is similar. Our view of the Lion
Gate[8] will give some idea of the massive, Cyclopean masonry. The great
relief itself is clearly a heraldic device; some such grouping of
animals is constantly seen upon seals and gems, and the lion (or
lioness?) has always been a royal beast. But, heraldic though it be,
this enormous group is far from lifeless conventionality. Some scholars
believe that the pillar between the animals is a proof of the
much-discussed pillar-worship of prehistoric Greece.

[Illustration: Beehive Tomb: Section]

But the most interesting of the Mycenæan remains are undoubtedly the
tombs. In the city itself there is a circular enclosure surrounded by a
double series of paving-stones set into the ground on edge, thus forming
a ring of shaft graves whose purpose was plainly shown by the objects
and bones found in them. Down in the plain below were found other
burying-places, also circular, but of a later date and much more
striking. These subterranean “beehive” tombs have been found elsewhere
in Greece, but nowhere of such splendour. It was one of these which
Schliemann proclaimed to be the tomb of Agamemnon. Like the pyramids in
Egypt, it contains an inner chamber, which forms the actual grave,
outside it a circular “tholos,” probably a shrine for the cult of the
departed, and a long “dromos,” or inclined approach. The tholos is of
great interest to architects as providing a forerunner of the dome. But
it is not built on the principle of the arch, with wedge-shaped masses
and a keystone. This dome is contrived by laying ever-narrowing circles
of masonry one upon the other concentrically, the interior being
smoothed, plastered, and richly decorated. It is thought that the
bee-hive shape reproduces the primitive bell-tent, for the tombs of the
dead are generally copied from the abodes of the living. Such splendour
in the tomb, such careful concealing of the dead underground in an inner
chamber, unquestionably proves ancestor-worship.

The sixth city at Troy was of much the same style and date as these;
larger, indeed, than all, and with its houses radiating from the centre
like the spokes of a wheel. On the Athenian Acropolis too there are
traces of a similar prehistoric settlement. We are probably to imagine
the face of the Greek world in the second millennium B.C. as dotted with
these citadel palaces.

Mycenæ has yielded many interesting treasures of a minor sort. It was
especially rich in gold, and we notice with great interest the masks of
thin gold laid upon the faces of the dead. Nor has Crete yet produced
any object in gold to rival the famous pair of cups[9] found at Vaphio,
in Laconia. These are of gold repoussé, and their designs of wild and
tame cattle are incomparably living and natural. But Sir Arthur Evans is
probably justified both on grounds of style and subject in claiming
these superb treasures as exports from Crete. The palm-tree betrays a
Southern origin. In Mycenæ, too, were found the finely inlaid
dagger-blades[10] which give us a picture of the men and weapons of the
Mycenæan or Late Minoan ages of Ægean culture. The men, we observe, are
armed with long spears and huge figure-of-eight shields composed of
wickerwork covered with bull’s hide and pinched in at the “waist” so as
to encircle the body and provide a hand-grip. The warriors wear no
clothing but

[Illustration: PLATE VIII. THE LION GATE, MYCENÆ

_English Photo Co., Athens_]

breeches or loin-cloths, and in this they resemble the men of the Cretan
frescoes and gems.

[Illustration: Cretan Cup of Degenerate Style.]

And what came of it all? Somewhere, it would seem, about 1400 B.C.
Cnossos underwent its final catastrophe. The palace was sacked and
burnt, the ateliers of its brilliant artists were destroyed, and the
artists themselves slain or scattered. So the centre of illumination was
darkened for the whole Ægean world. Elsewhere Ægean civilisation
continued perhaps for two centuries more, and in Cnossos itself there is
yet another period when the palace sites were partially reoccupied by a
few stragglers of the old artistic race. But with the fall of his patron
the inspiration of the craftsman vanishes, degeneration rapidly sets in.
Even in the designs of the vases the bold, naturalistic drawing
deteriorates into lazy formulæ, the brilliance of the glaze grows dull,
the colours are flat and muddy. A good deal of Mycenæan art is of this
decadent type, and a good deal more of it has been found in the
neighbouring sites of Crete.

Among the relics of this period are objects which betray the cause of
the downfall--weapons of iron. The Bronze Ages are passing away before
the superior metal, as the Stone Ages had yielded to the Bronze.


THE MAKERS OF ÆGEAN ART

It now becomes our duty to sum up this wonderful world of archæology and
to consider its bearings on the history and art of later Greece.
Unfortunately many problems arise at this point for which at present the
archæologists cannot agree to offer a solution. Who were these Ægean
folk? Were they of Indo-European stock and language? We have already
agreed, I think, that they represent a primitive stratum of population
which originally spread all over the south of Europe and the basin of
the Mediterranean. The Cupbearer may indicate their physique, black
curly hair, straight nose, long skull; and I, for one, decline to
believe that this fine fellow is a Semite or Phœnician, as has been
suggested. We know that these people were extraordinarily gifted,
especially in the sense of form, and that they were capable of very
rapid development. May we not believe that one and the same stock has
lain at the base of the peoples of the Eastern Mediterranean from
prehistoric times until to-day, much as it has been crossed and
conquered and oppressed? And was their language Greek? That is a
question that we cannot answer for certain, since no one has yet been
able to interpret their handwriting. I see no reason to dispute
Professor Ridgeway’s argument that as the stock prevailed through
several waves of conquest from the north, so the language survived
without material change, just as Italian prevailed through the Lombard
conquest of North Italy. Of course nationalities were more mixed in
Crete and Cyprus than on the mainland of Greece. It can but be an
opinion delivered in the consciousness of many counteracting arguments,
but I believe that the people whose culture we have been describing were
essentially the same as we know in historic times, and of course
Indo-Europeans.

From the historian’s point of view it is important to observe that
civilisation in Europe began, as in Asia, under the fostering care of
autocracy in palace workshops. It was bound

[Illustration: Plate 9.--Vaphio Cups.]

to be so. All the archæological indications point to a strong and
tyrannical form of monarchy of the Oriental type. Those Cyclopean walls
were built by slave labour. The common folk and soldiers are represented
as almost naked. It was a commercial empire too. Those rows and rows of
store-rooms, with their huge jars, formed the bank and treasury. Very
probably the clay tablets will be found to contain, not prehistoric
sonnets, but merely lists and inventories of stores and tribute.

We must not be carried too far by our wonder at this unexpected
revelation of prehistoric culture. The later Greeks never reached such a
standard as these people in writing or in engineering or in
fortification or in many of the handicrafts. They could never have
represented the forms of Nature with the same realism. That is true, but
there is something wanting in the prehistoric Ægean art which only
classical Greece could give to the world. There is little ἢθος in Ægean
art, little nobility, though much beauty, no ethical ideal. How that
missing something was supplied and whence it came we shall see in the
next chapter.

Another question arises: How far was this culture original? How much
does it owe to Assyria, Egypt, and Phœnicia? Much, but not everything.
The drainage system of the palace has its original in Assyria, and some
think that the laws of Minos were derived from the code of Khammurabi.
The faience comes from Egypt; so do many of the lotus and lily patterns
of the vases. Crete was bound to be greatly indebted to Egypt. As for
Phœnicians, they are carriers and traders, but no one has yet proved
that they could initiate in anything--except, perhaps, religion. But
what Crete borrowed it transformed, and, as I believe, Europeanised; it
rejected deliberately the Oriental tendencies to conventional stylistic
imitation.

A word remains to be said about religion. In classical Greece, as
everybody knows, there was a prevailing cult of state gods and
goddesses, an anthropomorphic Olympian family, Zeus, Hera, Athena,
Artemis, Apollo, and the rest of them. But recent students of religion
have pointed out that side by side with the public worship of celestial
deities there was a more mysterious but more real devotion to a quite
different form of religion, a cult of Nature goddesses, with mystical
rites whose origin was more than half forgotten. To this class belong
the Mysteries of Eleusis, to name the most famous example, and it is
seen in the many-breasted “Diana of the Ephesians.” Now Professor
Ridgeway has long taught that this naturalistic worship was probably a
survival from the prehistoric ages of Greece. It is at its strongest in
Arcadia, the untouched primitive part of Greece. He calls it the
religion of the Southern mother, retained in spite of the Northern
father who would have his Zeus-Odin worshipped in public. The
discoveries in Crete have confirmed this theory, and thrown some light
on the naturalistic worship of later times. The principal deity of Crete
was a Nature goddess, generally represented as adorned with snakes.[11]
She was worshipped with orgiastic rites, ecstatic dances, shaking of
rattles, ornately robed priests, and emblematical processions. Along
with this worship, and probably older, as the aniconic precedes the
iconic stage of religion, there are many signs of aniconic fetishes,
pillar-worship, axe-worship, tree-worship, and even cross-worship. The
monster forms of bull-men, dog-men, snake-men may be only heraldic
signs, or they may indicate a worship of monsters such as prevailed in
Egypt. Certainly there was worship of the entombed ancestor. We can see
that the artistic people of prehistoric Greece were very near to the
earth after all.

[Illustration: Clay Seal Impression with Cruciform Symbol, from Temple
Repository, Cnossos]

[Illustration: Plate 10.--Inlaid Dagger Blades.]



II

THE HEROIC AGE

    ἀνδρῶν ἡρώων θεῖον γένος, οἳ καλέονται
    ἡμίθεοι
                     HESIOD.


THE NORTHERN INVADERS

In stepping out of Crete into Homer we are leaving a material world of
artists for a literary world of heroes. Incidentally it may be mentioned
that we are stepping over three or four centuries without any history.
These have rightly been called the Dark Ages, for the analogy between
these prehistoric Dark Ages and those of history is singularly close.
The Cnossian empire fell before the barbarians, though in this case the
last scenes must have taken place at sea. Thus the stability and order
of life in the Ægean was broken up and the lamp of culture flickered
out. Some sparks of it struggled on, to burn up again with even greater
brilliance in the classical period. But some of the crafts perished
entirely, such as the faience and the gypsum or stucco reliefs. The
writing seems to have perished and been reinvented or reimported later
on. The use of weights and money perished for a time out of the Greek
world. These things were closely bound up with a flourishing commerce,
and now the sea became unsafe for commerce. Sculpture had to begin again
from the beginning, and though the shapes of pottery in some cases seem
to survive right through, yet the designs suffer an extraordinary
degradation and barbarisation before they begin again to be admirable.
The same cause operated here as after the fall of Rome. The world was
being remade, new peoples were coming upon the scene; there was a long
period of Wandering of the Nations, with no Christian missionaries to
mitigate their barbarism--or to chronicle their progress. It is a period
without any history, and not all the imaginative reconstructions of
poetical professors can really throw much light upon it. The Egyptians
of about 1200 B.C. observed that there was unrest among the Isles of the
Sea, and that is all, so far as we can read the stones.

The invaders are not to be thought of as a single tribe or a single
movement. More like our early Danish invaders, they began gradually and
continued slowly. The culture of the Ægean declined rather than ceased,
surviving longer in the hill-fortresses of the mainland than in
unfortified Cnossos. But sooner or later destruction came to Mycenæ and
Tiryns and Troy, so that people of alien civilisation came and built
inferior houses among the ruins of the palaces or sheltered themselves
like the jackals and owls of Isaiah among the Cyclopean masses. In one
case they plastered over an old Mycenæan gravestone and drew their own
clumsy picture upon it (see p. 37). No wonder that legends arose about
the magical race of Cyclopes who built so amazingly, and no wonder that
the Greeks of later time put their Golden Age into the past instead of
the future. The poet Hesiod, writing probably in the seventh century
B.C., divided the history of the world into five ages of deterioration.
First come the Golden and Silver Ages of virtue, both, of course, purely
ideal. Then comes the Bronze Age, mighty and strong. “Of bronze were
their vessels, of bronze their houses, with tools of bronze they worked:
dark iron was not yet.” At last they passed away, and then came a fourth
generation on the procreant earth, “a generation juster and better, the
divine race of Heroes, who are called demigods. Cruel war and the stern
cry of battle destroyed them, some as they strove for the flocks of
Œdipus at Thebes, and some when they had been led on shipboard over the
great gulf of the sea to Troy for the sake of Helen with her lovely
tresses.” Then these too went hence “to dwell in the Isles of the
Blessed by the deep-surging Ocean, like happy heroes, and the fertile
earth yields them honey-sweet harvest thrice a year.” But, alas for the
poet, _he_ is doomed to live among the fifth race, the Men of Iron.

[Illustration: Warrior Stelé from Mycenæ]

This is not all fancy: the Bronze Age is history, as we have seen; so is
the Iron Age. What then of the age between, the Age of Heroes? It comes
in awkwardly, for it disturbs the poet’s picture of degeneration. But it
has to be inserted in deference to the beliefs of Hesiod’s audience.
Hesiod is more or less consciously writing a Bible for the Greeks--that
is, putting their religious customs into literary form. This is his
concession to hero-worship or ancestor-worship. The Heroic Age of
Demigods, the milieu of Homeric poems and Attic tragedy, is not
historical, and it is vain to make it so.

The men of Iron came in from the North in wave after wave of conquest.
There were Achæans, Thessalians, and finally Dorians. The process began
in earnest, perhaps, with the fall of the Minoan empire, which Professor
Burrows assigns to a date between 1414 and 1380 B.C. The Dorians, who
were the last-comers, are generally supposed to have been coming in
between 1100 and 1000 B.C. Dr. Ridgeway has proved the Northern origin
of these various invaders by consideration of their remains, which he
has traced back to Central Europe. They were armed with long iron
swords, iron-pointed spears, they carried round shields with a central
boss, and were dressed in a full panoply of bronze armour, helmet with
crest and plume, hauberk of mail, greaves on their legs, and a studded
belt of bronze and leather. Underneath they wore a tunic or chiton,
which they fastened on the shoulder with a fibula, or safety-pin brooch.
They rode to battle in chariots. Thus they differ in every essential
from the people of the Ægean culture, whose warriors wore nothing but a
loin-cloth or short breeches, and had no armour but a huge
figure-of-eight or oblong shield made of wicker and leather, who fought
mainly with slings and arrows, who scarcely knew the horse, whose women
were dressed in petticoats with flounces and sometimes in tight-fitting
bodices narrow at the waist, needing no pin or brooch to fasten them.
The Ægean warriors are so depicted on their monuments.[12] Some hints as
to their religious beliefs we can gather from their different customs of
disposing of the dead. For whereas the Ægean race had preserved their
dead carefully underground in shafts and domes, pouring in libations of
wine or blood to feed their hungry ghosts in a dark lower world, crowded
with powerful

[Illustration: Fig. 1.--Warrior Vase in black steatite.

Fig. 2.--Fragment of Silver Vase.

Plate 11.]

spirits, these Northerners looked up to a heaven above, where a Zeus
very much like Odin ruled the skies with his thunderbolt amid a family
of warlike gods and goddesses, who delighted in the smoke of burnt
offerings. When their heroes died their bodies were burnt on the pyre
and their souls departed to the Isles of the Blessed, an earthly
Valhalla of feasting and fighting. The Ægean race had at the same time
worshipped the powers of reproductive Nature in female guise, and
inheritance went through females. The Northerners were brave and strong,
chaste and law-abiding. With them the father was unquestioned head of
the household, but the mother was free and honoured. The Northman was an
infantry soldier, free in his right as a warrior, the Southerner a
sailor with a quick intelligence, a gift for commerce, and a passion for
art and beauty. The Northman had one art only, the music of the harp.
The Southerner was more truly religious--that is to say, he felt the
mystery of the unseen and the thrills of devotion; the natural world
that appealed to him so strongly showed itself to his mind under the
forms of mysticism. The Northerner was far too much of a moralist and
theologian to be an ecstatic devotee. The Southerner had fire and
genius, the Northerner had caution and self-control. The Northman was
fair-haired, tall, and short-headed, the Southron dark-haired, short of
stature, and long in the skull.

In the fusion of these two streams, each of which had so much to give
and so much to receive, lies one secret of the Hellenic people. It would
seem that the Northmen came as invaders, not merely as immigrants, into
the desirable southern peninsulas. They came as warriors, and took wives
of the old race, so that the resulting mixture partook of the qualities
of both. But, as usual in such cases, climate and environment gradually
told, and the type reverted in long course of time to its original
characteristics. For a little while in the fifth century there was a
perfect amalgam, and we have a people bold in arms, clean in morality,
and skilful in high idealistic art. But soon the virile element decays,
vigour declines into indolence, idealism into mere sensuous grace and
charm, so that while the Greeks never ceased to be incomparable
craftsmen and subtle thinkers, the nobler elements which made them
artists and originators in all departments of intellect gradually failed
them.

These generalisations are supported by the history of their two foremost
peoples. The Athenians and Ionians always claimed to be sons of the
soil--that is, to have received but a slight intermixture of Northern
blood; hence they provide the artists, the traders, and the sailors of
Greece. The Spartans, on the other hand, belonged to the Dorian race,
the last-comers, and probably the farthest-comers, or the most
northerly, of all the invading peoples. They show us the power of
discipline, they are the land-warriors, they honour old age, and they do
not seclude their women. But as foreigners in an alien land they are the
first to decay, and their fall is far more sudden and complete. They
give us no art but music and lyric song. From this fact too we get light
upon the political conditions of Greece. We see why the prevailing
polity of Greece, except in Athens and the Ionian States, was
aristocracy or oligarchy. It explains the religion of Greece, the
strange mixture of celestial anthropomorphism with chthonic animism. In
a sense, too, some such fusion of races represents the whole history of
Europe. Again and again in history the vigorous races have descended
upon the cultured ones, and the fusion has generally produced great
results until the native element prevailed. Such was very probably the
secret of Roman greatness. We ourselves in our fusion of Celt and Saxon
have a similar ethnic history.


HOMER AND THE ACHÆANS

One of these Northern tribes, the Achæans, are the people commemorated
in the epics which go under the name of Homer. Although, as I have said,
they had an Olympian hierarchy of gods, their real devotion was given to
heroes--that is, to deified ancestors of the tribe, whose graves, real
or imaginary, were the scene of sacrifices and libations. One such hero
was Agamemnon, who was worshipped at Sparta and elsewhere. Another was
Achilles, who had the centre of his cult in Phthiotis. Their valorous
deeds were doubtless commemorated in ancient lays. But our Homer is not
a collection of ballads or folk-songs. It is a literary product of such
finish and perfection as to postulate centuries of experiment in the
literary art and the intervention of individual genius of the very
highest order. We are forced to believe in the existence of a real Homer
who set himself, as Hesiod did in a different sphere, to collect the
praises of the heroes and to fashion them into immortal verse, grouping
the various heroes into one Panhellenic army under the leadership of
Agamemnon in a great expedition, probably an echo of real history,
against the city of Troy. But it is equally certain that our Iliad and
Odyssey are not the untouched composition of a single brain. Not only is
the story of the Iliad far too incoherent--warriors killed in one book,
fighting cheerfully in the next, a huge wall and fosse round the Greek
camp appearing and disappearing unaccountably; not only is the original
plot of the Wrath of Achilles forgotten and obscured in later books; not
only is the Odyssey in style and diction visibly later than the main
part of the Iliad; but it is possible to trace a progressive variation
in customs and ideas, with subsequent interpolation and expurgation,
throughout. Both epics seem to have been translated out of an original
Æolic version into Ionic Greek. And it must not be forgotten that the
ancients applied the term “Homer” to a vast body of epic matter of which
our Iliad and Odyssey are only a part. We are forced to conclude that
many successive generations of bards had worked over the original
nucleus. These Homeridæ, or “sons of Homer,” must have included several
men of genius among their number, but they were all trained in a noble
school. They were, as has been said, hymning the praises of their
patrons’ heroic ancestors--that is, they were Æolians telling the story
of traditional Achæan heroes, for the Achæans when driven out of their
homes by the Dorian invaders bore the name of Æolians when they migrated
to the northern coasts of Asia Minor. Probably the earliest Homer was
writing in a consciously antiquarian spirit about heroes long ago;
certainly the later writers were deliberately archaising and submitting
to an epic convention. Thus the Dorians, except for a single oversight,
are studiously ignored; writing, coined money, and sculpture are
avoided. Habits of ancient barbarism like human sacrifice, poisoned
arrows, and the ill-treatment of the dead have been carefully expunged,
though the sharp eye of modern criticism can detect the traces of
expurgation. Although the heroes certainly belonged to the Iron Age,
they are conventionally represented as “smiting with the bronze,” though
iron is often mentioned also. All the named heroes, being somebody’s
tribal god and somebody’s ancestor, have to receive the title of king,
although in the Iliad they are but captains in Agamemnon’s army.
Possibly the earliest Homer lived under a patriarchal monarchy;
certainly, as we shall see, the authors of the later parts were familiar
with oligarchy or aristocracy. The tradition is probably true which says
that Homer was not edited in our “authorised” version until the tyranny
of Peisistratus at Athens in the sixth century.

It follows that we are not to take the epic story as representing a
chapter of the real history of the Achæans in Greece. If we attempted to
do so we should constantly be betrayed by the deliberate archaisms of
the epic convention. The utmost use to which historians can put their
Homer is to take the unconscious background of the poems as picturing
the sort of civilisation with which writers of the ninth, eighth, and
seventh centuries were familiar. It is almost our only evidence for that
period.


THE SHIELD OF ACHILLES

The description of the shield of Achilles in the eighteenth book of the
Iliad may be selected as a typical piece of

[Illustration: Plate 12.--The François Vase.

_Alinari._]

unconscious background. It gives us a picture of Greek life which must
be natural, since neither dramatic nor religious motives interfere to
distort it. The writer is clearly describing a round shield with
parallel bands of ornament such as we see in the “geometric” style of
art (cf. p. 56). The pictures are conceived as inlaid in various metals,
gold, tin, silver, and “kuanos,” or blue glass. For the style in which
the ornamentation is conceived we may compare the François Vase[13] or
the Chest of Kypselus as it is described by Pausanias. But obviously an
idealising poet in describing such objects of art permits his
imagination to excel anything that he has ever seen or heard of.
Besides, it was wrought by the lame god Hephæstus, and the gods do not
make armour such as you can buy at the shop.

     “First he made a shield great and mighty, decorating it in every
     part, and round it he threw a bright, threefold, gleaming rim, and
     a silver baldric therefrom. There were five folds of the shield,
     and on it he set many designs with skilful craftsmanship.

     “On it he wrought earth and sky and sea, and an unwearied sun and a
     waxing moon, and on it were all the signs wherewith heaven is
     crowned, the Pleiades and the Hyades and the might of Orion, and
     the Bear, which they surname the Wain, which revolves in the same
     place and watches Orion, and alone has no part in the baths of
     Ocean.

     “And on it he put two cities of mortal men, two fair cities. In one
     there were marriages and feasts. They were carrying the brides from
     their chambers through the city with gleaming torches, and loud
     rose the marriage-songs. The musicians were playing, and among them
     the flutes and lyres made their music. The women stood admiring,
     every one at her porch; and the people were crowded in the
     market-place. There a strife had arisen: two suitors were striving
     about the price of a man slain. One claimed to have paid in full,
     and he was appealing to the people, but the other refused to take
     anything. So both had hurried to have trial before an umpire.
     Crowds of backers stood around each to cheer them on, and there
     were the heralds keeping the crowd in order. The old men sat upon
     polished stones in a holy circle with staves of loud-voiced heralds
     in their hands. With these they would arise in turn to give their
     judgments. There in the midst lay two talents of gold to give to
     the man who should speak the most righteous sentence of them all.

     “But round the other city two armies of warriors bright in mail
     were set. And there was a division of counsel among them whether to
     destroy it utterly or to divide up into two shares all the store
     that the lovely citadel contained. The besieged would not yet
     yield, but were arming in secret for an ambush. Their dear wives
     and innocent children stood upon the wall to guard it, and in their
     company were the men of age. So the warriors were marching out, and
     there were their leaders, Ares and Pallas Athene, golden both with
     golden raiment, both fair and tall, armed like gods, a conspicuous
     pair, for the hosts about them were smaller. But when they came to
     the place where they had decided to make the ambush, in a riverbed,
     where there was a watering-place for every beast, they sat down
     there wrapped in their shiny bronze. Then some way off two scouts
     of the army were posted to watch when they might see sheep and oxen
     with curling horns. And there were beasts moving along, with two
     herdsmen following that took their pleasure with pan-pipes, for
     they suspected no guile. But their enemy who had watched them leapt
     upon them, and swiftly began to hew about the herds of kine and
     fair fleeces of white sheep, and they slew the shepherds also. But
     the besiegers, when they heard the din of battle rising among the
     kine, from their seats before the tribunes leapt upon high-stepping
     horses to pursue, and swiftly they approached. Taking rank there by
     the banks of the river, they fought and smote one another with
     bronze-tipped spears, and Strife mingled with them, and Kudoimos
     the lover of groaning, and ruinous Fate was there taking one man
     freshly wounded and another without a wound and another already
     dead and dragging them away by the feet in the noise of battle, and
     her robe about her shoulders was dappled with the blood of men. So
     living men also mingled and fought and dragged away the bodies of
     their dead comrades.

     “Also he wrought thereon a soft fallow, a fat ploughland, a broad
     field of three ploughings. Many ploughmen were driving their teams
     up and down in it. And whenever they came to the baulk of the field
     at the end of their turn a man came forward with a cup of
     honey-sweet wine in his hands and proffered it. So they kept
     wheeling among the ridges, anxious to reach the baulk of the deep
     fallow, which grew dark behind them, and, gold though it was,
     looked as if it had been ploughed, so very wondrous was the craft.

     [Illustration]

     [Illustration]

     “There too he put a princely demesne, wherein hired labourers were
     reaping with sharp sickles in their hands, some swathes were
     falling thick and fast to earth along the furrow, and the binders
     were tying others in bands. There stood the three binders close at
     hand, and behind ran the gleaner-boys carrying the corn in armfuls
     and busy in attendance. A king with his sceptre stood in silence
     among them on the furrow rejoicing in his heart. Some way off
     heralds were laying a feast under an oak-tree. They had sacrificed
     a great ox and were busy with it, while the women were scattering
     white barley meal in plenty for the harvesters’ supper.

     [Illustration: Marriage Procession. From a Pyxis in the British
     Museum]

     “On it also he wrought a vineyard heavy-laden with grapes,
     beautifully wrought in gold. Up above were the black bunches, and
     the vineyard was set with silver poles throughout; round it he
     drove a trench of _kuanos_ and a wall of tin; a single causeway led
     to it whereby the pickers walked when they gathered in the vintage.
     Maids and merry bachelors were carrying the honey-sweet fruit in
     woven baskets, and in the midst a boy played a lovely tune on a
     high-pitched lyre, singing thereto with his dainty voice a sweet
     dirge of Linus, while the rest kept time with stamping of feet and
     leaping and song and shrieking.

     “On it he made a herd of straight-horned oxen. The cows were
     fashioned of gold and tin; lowing they passed from the midden to
     the pasture by a plashing river by a shivering reed-bed. Four
     cowherds of gold marched along with the kine, and nine white-footed
     dogs followed them. But among the foremost kine two dreadful lions
     were holding a deep-voiced bull. He was being dragged away
     bellowing loudly, but the dogs and the hinds were after him. The
     two lions had torn the hide of the great bull, and were greedily
     devouring the entrails and the dark blood, while the cowherds
     vainly spurred on the swift hounds. But they, forsooth, instead of
     biting the lions, kept turning back; they would run up close to
     bark at them and then flee away.

     “On it the far-famed Cripple made a sheepfold in a fair valley, a
     big fold of white sheep, and steadings and huts and roofed-in pens.

     “On it the far-famed Cripple fashioned a dance like that which
     Dædalus of old wrought in broad Cnossos for Ariadne of the lovely
     tresses. Therein youths and maidens costly to woo were dancing,
     holding one another by the wrist. Some of the maids had fine linen
     veils, and some had well-woven tunics with faint gloss of oil. Yea,
     they had fair garlands on their heads, and the men had golden
     swords hanging from silver baldrics. Sometimes they would trip it
     lightly on tiptoes, as when a potter sits and tries the wheel that
     fits between his hands to see whether it will run. But sometimes
     they advanced in lines towards one another, and a great company
     stood round the lovely dance delighted, and among them a holy bard
     sang to his lyre, and among the dancers two tumblers led the
     measure, twirling in the midst.

     “And on it he put the great might of the River Ocean along the edge
     of the rim of the closely wrought shield.

     “So then when he had fashioned a great and mighty shield he
     fashioned also a hauberk brighter than the beam of fire, and he
     fashioned him a strong helmet, fitting the temples, richly dight,
     and on it put a crest, and he made him greaves of pliant tin.”

I trust that the reader may be able to catch some glimpse of the picture
even through the bald prose of translation. We are now in Europe for
certain. It might be in Dorsetshire or Bavaria or Auvergne or Tuscany
that these women come to their doors to watch the weddings go past,
these honest ploughmen drain their beakers, and these weary harvesters
look forward to the harvest supper. To this day you may see the peasants
of Greece dancing in rings and lines, with agile acrobats to lead them,
just as they danced on the shield of Achilles. History goes on its
pompous way, leaving the peasant unaltered and the ways of country life
unchanged.


KINGS AND GODS

The poet even here, not wholly oblivious of the courtly circles to whom
he was singing, has, indeed, brought in a “king.” But it is a poor sort
of Basileus who stands there among the clods rejoicing in his heart. He
and his ancestral sceptre cut rather a foolish figure among

      “The reapers, reaping early
    In among the bearded barley.”

The truth is, of course, that he’s a king in buckram. He is only a
country squire with a pedigree, dressed up as a Basileus to suit the
convention of the epic. Such too are the “kings” of the Odyssey. There
the story requires that Odysseus shall be King of Ithaca and that his
faithful wife shall be maintaining his throne in his absence. But the
poet or poets were so little accustomed to the ways of kings that they
constantly forget the political importance of Penelope and speak as if
it were only a question of the jointure of a comely widow. Eumæus the
swineherd extols the wealth of Odysseus by saying that no other in
Ithaca had so much. They were already in the habit of regarding the
market-place as the political focus of the State. So in the town of
Scheria “King” Alcinous goes forth daily to the council with the twelve
other “renowned kings.” Odysseus their visitor prays that this “king”
and his “queen” may be so blessed by the gods that they may leave to
their children “the substance in their halls, and whatever dues of
honour the people have rendered unto him.” And the “princess” goes out
in a mule-cart with the washing. On the stage of the epic the king is,
of course, a great and mighty ruler. We are often reminded how fearful
is the wrath of kings. The king says, according to a quotation of
Aristotle’s, that he has power of life and death. He gives away cities
that do not belong to him. He inherits “his sceptre and his dooms” from
Zeus and a long line of ancestors. But he cannot live up to these
exalted pretensions. He debates policy in the market-place with the
other kings (who are often called elders by mistake, though they are
young and lusty as an eagle), and matters are settled by the acclamation
of the masses. It is the orator who sways the crowds. By occasional
slips of the tongue these divine kings are spoken of as a greedy class,
just as they are in Hesiod. As for the “dooms” that they receive by
inspiration from Zeus, they make no practical use of them. Justice, as
we saw on our Shield, is really administered by the elders in the agora.
A careless line of the Odyssey tells of “the hour when a man rises from
the assembly and goes home to supper, a man who judges the many quarrels
of the young men that go to him for judgment.” There is no single
example of a king acting as judge in Homer, and though the king pretends
to give away cities he sometimes humbly accepts the gift of an acre or
two from the citizens for services rendered. There is, indeed, one
celebrated passage of the Iliad where monarchy is apparently extolled;
but the attentive reader will discern that it is in the language not of
primitive patriarchal conditions, but of a partisan of aristocracy or
tyranny rebuking the presumption of radical demagogy. It is in the
second book of the Iliad. Agamemnon had bidden the Greeks prepare for
flight from Troy. It was only a ruse to try their temper, but it
succeeded all too well, for the people hastily took him at his word. Now
Odysseus is bidden by the goddess Athena to hurry down and stop them.

     “He went to meet Agamemnon, son of Atreus, and took from him his
     ancestral sceptre, ever indestructible, wherewith he went down to
     the ships of the brazen-shirted Achæans. Whensoever he met a king
     or man of mark, him he would approach and check with soft words.
     ‘Sir, it befits not to terrify thee like a coward; nay, sit thee
     down, and make the rest of the host sit also, for thou knowest not
     yet the mind of the son of Atreus. Now he is but trying the sons of
     the Achæans; soon he will smite them, and mighty is the wrath of
     god-nurtured kings. Honour is his from Zeus, the Zeus of counsel
     loves him.’

     “But when he saw a man of the people shouting, him he would smite
     with his sceptre and chide with a word. ‘Sir, sit quiet and hear
     the speech of others, who are better than thou. Thou art unwarlike
     and cowardly, thou art of no account in war or in council. We
     cannot all be kings here, we Achæans; many-lordship is not good.
     Let one be lord, one king, to whomsoever the son of Kronos of
     crooked counsel has given the sceptre and the dooms that he may be
     king among them.’

     “Thus he went through the host, lording it; and they hurried back
     to the meeting-place from their ships and tents with a noise as
     when a wave of the thundering sea crasheth on the mighty shore and
     the deep resounds.

     “The others then sat down and took place on the benches, but
     Thersites alone still brawled with unmeasured words. He who was
     full of disorderly speech for idle and unseemly striving against
     kings.

     “He was the ugliest man that came to Troy. He was bandy-legged and
     lame, and his two shoulders were humped and cramped upon his
     breast. Above, his head was peaked, and a scanty stubble sprouted
     upon it. He was the bitterest foe to Achilles and to Odysseus, and
     ever they were chiding him. Then too he cried out shrill words of
     reproach against divine Agamemnon. But the Achæans were horribly
     wroth with him, and hated him in their hearts....

     “Thus he spake reviling Agamemnon, the shepherd of the people. But
     divine Odysseus quickly stood beside him, and scowling rebuked him
     with a grievous word. ‘Thersites, heedless of speech, shrill ranter
     that thou art, be still and dare not alone to strive with kings,
     for I say that there is no creature worse than thou, of all that
     came with the sons of Atreus to Ilium.’ ...

     “Thus he spake, and smote him with his sceptre on the midriff and
     the shoulders. But he hunched himself up and a big tear fell from
     him, and a blood-red weal rose up from his back under the golden
     sceptre. So he sat down and trembled, looked helpless, and wiped
     away a tear in his pain, and they, for all their anger, laughed
     sweetly at him. And thus a man would say, looking at his neighbour,
     ‘Lo, now! Verily Odysseus hath done a thousand good deeds both in
     discovering good counsel and in leading the battle, but now this is
     far his best deed among the Argives, in that he hath checked this
     word-spattering maker of mischief from his rantings. Never again, I
     ween, will his ambitious heart stir him up to revile kings with
     words of reproof.’”

Thersites is not a product of simple undeveloped monarchy; the poet who
drew this portrait had seen the mob-orator in his native agora.
Thersites, it has been said, is the only private in the army. He is the
only man who is named without a patronymic. And yet modern research has
shown that even Thersites had an ancient cultus as a demigod in Sparta.
So true is it that all the figures of the epic stage are figures of
tribal ancestor-worship.

That is why the real gods come so badly out of the epics. They are the
only immoral people in Homer; they cheat and lie, they smack and
squabble. Perhaps we do not expect much decency from Zeus or Aphrodite,
but even the stately Hera herself alternates between the crafty
courtesan and the scolding fish-wife. And yet Homer is the “Bible of the
Greeks”! Herodotus said, and said truly, that it was Hesiod and Homer
who assigned to the gods their names, distributed their honours and
functions, and settled their appearance and characteristics. In
after-times Homer was the universal primer of education. It is extremely
probable that Homer and Hesiod selected certain deities out of a vast
number for special honour as members of the Olympian family. Why in the
world, then, did not Homer honour them? Various explanations have been
given. The old explanation was that this is the naive expression of
primitive anthropomorphism, which makes gods in the likeness of men,
enlarging the human vices as well as the virtues. But no one who really
studies Homer can believe in a theory which makes him simple and
childlike. Homer’s ridicule of the gods is not the unsophisticated
laughter of a child or a savage. It is to be noticed that it is only
some of the gods who come badly out of the Homeric theology. No figure
could be lovelier than that of the sea-goddess, Thetis, or more
dignified than Pallas Athene, or more ethereal than Iris, the
ambassadress of heaven. Professor Ridgeway’s belief that Homer was
written by a bard of the old race honouring his Achæan masters might
explain the mordant raillery of Northern gods like Zeus and Hera. But
then Aphrodite, who is the worst treated of all, would seem to be
actually the Nature-goddess of Crete, ever accompanied with doves in
Cretan art. It is just the Ægean naturalism which is excluded from
Homeric religion. There is nothing to connect even Iris with the
rainbow. My own explanation would be that hero-worship is Homer’s main
concern. So many of his heroes claim descent from Zeus by so many
mothers that Zeus cannot be endowed with monogamic morality. The gods
can look after themselves; it is the heroes who require the assistance
of the bard. I believe, too, in Professor Gilbert Murray’s suggestion
that in these passages of impiety we have the intervention of the later
Ionic spirit of rationalism. As such passages are widely diffused over
the Iliad we should have to place the composition of a considerable part
of it so late as the eighth and seventh century before Christ. But as we
have seen that the political background of Homer is in the main a scene
of aristocracy, precisely such as we have in the seventh-century poet
Hesiod, there is no real objection to a late dating.

Once you abandon the absurd belief in Homer’s “primitive simplicity” and
admit, what is now certain, that the epic poets could consciously
archaise their story, omitting all reference to events and customs which
seemed to them too modern to fit in with the divine race of heroes, just
as Malory does with the Arthurian knights, there is no objection to
believing that large parts of Homer were written in the eighth century.
Of course, there are much older traditions and older fragments of epic
poetry embedded in our Iliad and Odyssey. No real violence is done to
ancient tradition by bringing these poems down to the verge of
historical times, for Homer and Hesiod were generally regarded as
contemporaries in antiquity. All the civilisation depicted in Homer is
far closer to that of historical Greece than to that of the Ægean
excavations. Take the armour for another example. Although, as has been
said, the heroes generally “smite with the bronze” and their shields are
sometimes “like a tower” and “reaching to the feet” and “girding the
body,” as on the monuments of Mycenæ and Crete, yet in the ordinary
thought of the poets the swords are undoubtedly of iron, since the cut
is commoner than the thrust and you do not cut with a sword of bronze,
and the shields are “circular,” “equal every way,” “bossed,” and “like
the moon.” Sometimes, as in the case of the shield of Achilles, or the
shield of Agamemnon, they are adorned with a blazon. In fact, the
Homeric warrior is dressed and equipped exactly like the hoplite of
Greek history. As regards his methods of fighting, the epic convention
naturally requires a series of duels in order to show the individual
prowess of the heroes; and, indeed, the various episodes of the Iliad
are labelled as “The Prowess of Diomede,” “The Prowess of Menelaus,” and
so forth. But at the back of the poet’s mind there constantly appears an
ordinary Greek combat between two lines of warriors. Agamemnon once
divides the host up into companies, tribe with tribe and brotherhood
with brotherhood. Finally, by placing Homer late, in the flourishing
culture of Æolis and Ionia, we avoid the absurdity of supposing that a
literary form so exquisite and elaborate as the epic should have sprung
out of nothing in times of violent unrest, of invasions, migrations, and
ceaseless strife. _A priori_ any one would say that lyric poetry must
precede epic, as it has done in England. Greek tradition places Orpheus,
the father of lyric song, before Homer. There would be nothing
surprising in placing the early elegiac poetry on the same chronological
level as the earliest hexameters. That the ordinary forms of lyric verse
already existed in Homeric times we can see, if we read the poems
attentively. The boy sings his vintage song of the death of Linus. At
the burial of Hector there are bards to sing dirges. There is reference
to the Hymenæus, or wedding-song. There were banquet songs too: in the
First Iliad they sing all day long over their cups. Bards like Demodocus
sing of the loves of the gods. Thus there is ample evidence that all the
common forms of Greek lyric poetry preceded the epic, and that Homer did
not spring into existence ready-made out of the void. Still less did the
Achæan invaders from the cold North import a finished literary form of
composition into the civilised peninsulas of the Mediterranean.


ART OF THE EPIC PERIOD

And now the question arises as to what sort of art we are to match with
the poetry of Homer. It was the desire to give some literary equivalent
for the glorious art of Mycenæ and Cnossos which led Schliemann and his
school to equate it with Homer. Doubtless prehistoric Crete had its
literature. But that has all perished, unless the undecipherable written
tablets should chance to yield us something. We must realise that great
literature can coexist with crude art. There is no great art in England
to correspond with Shakespeare, Milton, or Shelley. Language being the
easiest medium of artistic expression, literature commonly develops
earlier than the graphic or plastic arts. We must therefore be prepared
for the shock of finding that Homer belongs to the same period as a very
ugly and inartistic decorative style on the vases and most rudimentary
and primitive forms of statuary. The pages of Homer do not really lead
us to expect anything else. Sculpture is scarcely mentioned in Homer.
There is only one temple statue, and that is the statue of Athena at
Troy, of which we are told that the Trojan women used to lay a richly
embroidered robe upon its knees. We are probably, then, to conceive a
rude seated figure of wood or stone such as we find at the earliest
stages of Greek sculpture. Their roughness and rudeness might be
mitigated by coverings of embroidery. At Branchidæ, near Miletus, a
whole series of such figures was discovered, dedicated with writing of
about 550 B.C.; but we can easily believe that such a type might persist
for more than a century. It is believed that this type of statue has
been evolved from the throne, for it appears certain that empty thrones
were worshipped before iconic deities were carved. One can see also that
it is only lately derived from a technique of wood, so flat are the
planes of its surface. The goddess belongs to the chair rather than the
chair to the goddess.

Beyond this there are some obviously imaginary figures in Homer, such as
the golden torch-bearers in the fairyland of Phæacia, but nothing that
we can call sculpture. Also there are many minor “objects of virtue,”
such as the drinking-cup of Nestor and the brooch of Odysseus, some of
which may be matched by the relics of the Mycenæan tombs; but of course
cups and jewels of gold were still preserved from the older
civilisation, and notably enough such objects are always accounted for:
either Hephæstus has wrought them, or they have been handed down as
heirlooms, or brought by the Sidonians over the sea. Homer does not take
his art for granted. He uses the potter’s wheel in similes, but the
only

[Illustration: Seated Statue from Branchidæ]

art he really describes is that of tapestry-weaving, the domestic art
carried on by all his ladies. Thus Helen employs herself at Troy in
weaving figures of warriors into her web, and Andromache weaves flowers
into hers. What pattern Penelope wove into her everlasting shroud is
known only to those who know what song the sirens sang. Appropriate to
this prominence of the textile art is the style of ornamentation
described, as we have read, upon the shield of Achilles. For these
parallel bands of picture-writing

[Illustration: Geometric Vase]

which were in the poet’s mind when he depicted the shield are known to
us in the pottery of the seventh and sixth centuries. It is called by
modern archæologists the Geometric style, because the whole body of the
vase is divided into bands and panels by strips of zigzag ornament. An
early phase of the Geometric style is specially named after the Dipylon
Gate at Athens, because huge vases of a certain type were found in great
numbers in the ancient cemetery of Athens in that neighbourhood. The
subject of these vases is generally funereal. We see the body laid out
upon the bier and the mourners indicating their grief by laying their
hands upon their heads. The figures are rendered in conventional
diagrams. To my taste they are almost repulsive. Not only is the drawing
of the figures careless and clumsy, but the spirit of the whole thing is
ugly. The fidgety nerves of the artist trying to fill every corner with
some sort of scrawl, scraping meaningless emblems even between the legs
of his horses, wearies the eye of the spectator. His designs have no
sort of correspondence with the form of his material, any more than the
modern house-decorator’s friezes and dados properly belong to the four
flat surfaces of his walls. The vital qualities of good Greek art are
self-control, the subordination of the artist to his work, and the
perfect adaptation of the artistic form to the subject under treatment.
The Dipylon Style does violence to all these canons of good taste.
There must be an explanation.

It is easy to see that the ornamentation of a Dipylon vase is borrowed
from an alien technique. Pottery never required the artist to divide his
field up into parallel bands with borders and fringes. It is clearly
from needlework, embroidery, or tapestry that this style is borrowed.
You can see the stitches and the threads in many of the patterns.
Primitive tapestry is necessarily linear, geometrical, and rectangular.

Now the whole thing becomes clear. Greece is dominated by a masculine
race of warriors inartistic by ancestral tradition. Music they have
always loved. They are generous patrons to the bard who sings the
praises of their ancestors. They like a prettily designed brooch or
golden cup. But there are no patrons for the other arts. While their
lords are fighting hard and drinking deep the women are perpetually at
their looms. The only arts that flourish are the textile arts, and they
are largely modelled on Asiatic imported fabrics. The potter is a
wretched, despised slave, probably of the old race. He has lost all his
manhood and most of his taste, he gets no encouragement to make his
cheap pots beautiful, and he has no models for design except the
patterns of tapestry or metalwork. All the beautiful earthenware of
Cnossos and Kamàres is broken or buried under the ground.

Yet even the Dipylon style gradually improved. While still retaining its
Geometric character, vase-painting improves in drawing and colour, until
in early Attic work like the famous François vase[14] we reach designs
of considerable beauty. Here the horse becomes the favourite animal
type. When the potters advance far enough they begin to deal with scenes
of heroic legend and mythology, carefully labelling their heroes with
their names. The Gorgon, which often figures in Homer, as on the shield
of Agamemnon and the ægis of Athene, begins to be an art type in the
Dipylon period; so do the sphinx and griffin, which, curiously enough,
do not appear in our Homer.


THE HERO’S HOME

In Crete art dwelt in palaces; in classical Greece it haunted the
market-place and the temple. For the present art is confined to the
home. If we may judge by the charming “interior” pictures which Homer
most skilfully introduces as a counterfoil to the everlasting clash of
arms in the Iliad, domestic life was at its richest and best in the age
of the epics. Every one has been struck with the dignified and important
part played by women in Homer, contrasted with their seclusion and
neglect in historical Greece. No one but Shakespeare has given us so
charming a series of feminine portraits as Andromache, Helen, Penelope,
Nausicaa, Thetis, and Calypso. The ingenious Samuel Butler actually
attempted to prove that the Odyssey was written by a woman, so
sympathetic is the poet’s insight into the feminine point of view. But
the same is equally true of the Iliad; and, indeed, the respect for
women becomes part of the heroic tradition even in Attic tragedy, so
that the audience in the theatre of Athens must have seen the heroines
on their stage acting with a freedom and treated with a deference which
was quite alien to their own homes.

But even at this, its highest point, the domesticity of Greek life falls
far short of modern ideas, and the dignity of the heroes’ wives is
somewhat illusory. Possibly the inconsistencies are due once more to the
many hands and many successive generations which have had their part in
building up the epic. Certainly, for monogamists, the matrimonial ideas
of the heroes are far from exclusive. Agamemnon announces his intention
of taking Chryseis home, for he likes her better than his dear wife
Clytæmnestra, and makes no secret of the position she is to occupy. He
does actually take Cassandra home to his wife. In the Odyssey, too, we
get a hint of arrangements decidedly Oriental in what Penelope says
about her son and the fifty handmaidens. Again, there is a singular
contrast between the tender conjugal devotion of Hector and Andromache,
or Odysseus and Penelope, and the extraordinary callousness sometimes
indicated with regard to feminine charms. It is often remarked as an
instance of Homer’s subtlety that he nowhere describes the beauty of
Helen, whose face

            “Launched a thousand ships
    And shook the topmost towers of Ilium,”

only indicating it by making the old men of Troy look at her as she
walks past and say to one another, “No wonder that the Greeks and
Trojans should suffer pain so long for such a woman. Her countenance is
wondrous like the immortal goddesses.” These traditions of the power of
love and beauty must belong to the original epic story; for the whole
plot of the Iliad, so far as it has a plot, turns on the beauty of
Helen, as the whole plot of the Odyssey depends on the love of Odysseus
for his wife and the constancy of Penelope. Thus both epics have a basis
which might be the foundation of modern romantic fiction. Nevertheless,
the spirit of romance is as completely absent from Homer as it is from
all true Greek art and literature. Though Agamemnon is very angry at
losing Chryseis he has no love for her. Odysseus simply gets tired of
the lovely nymph Calypso, and parts from the charming Nausicaa without a
pang. Such shocks as these are constantly in store for the modern
reader, who is fed upon romance in the nursery.

If we look at the houses in which the domestic scenes of Homer are set
we shall find that they are of a simplicity in strong contrast with the
elaborate palaces of Crete or Tiryns; and this in spite of the obvious
intention of the bard to depict them on a scale of heroic magnificence.
They are mainly built of wood. The palace of Paris consists of three
parts--_thalamos_, _dōma_, and _aule_. The _thalamos_ is the private
part of the house, and contains the marriage-bed of the royal couple.
The _dōma_, or _megaron_, is the public hall for meals and receptions.
The _aule_ is the court with colonnades surrounding it. Priam had a
large family: fifty sons slept with their wives in fifty _thalamoi_ of
polished stone built outside his court, while his daughters slept with
their husbands in twelve _roofed_ chambers within the court. The palace
of Odysseus is more elaborate, and is so intended, for the disguised
wanderer says: “Verily, this is the fair house of Odysseus, and easily
may it be known and distinguished even among many. For there is building
beyond building, and the court of the house is cunningly wrought with a
wall and copings, and there are well-fitting double doors.” Standing
outside the front door he can perceive by the smell of roast meat that
there is a banquet going on. No great magnificence here. In front of the
“well-fitting doors” there is a heap of manure, with an aged hound
asleep upon it (a similar dung-heap, it may be remarked, graces the
court of the palace of Priam in Troy City). Inside the doors there is
the _megaron_, where the banquet is going on. Odysseus sits down on the
ashen threshold, leaning against a pillar of cypress wood, specially
commended for its straightness. Telemachus takes a lump of meat, “as
much as his two hands can grasp,” and a whole loaf out of the fair
basket, and Odysseus (who is disguised as a beggar) devours it on his
dirty wallet as he sits on the threshold. This threshold under the
portico of the hall is the regular meeting-place of beggars, and it is
there that strangers are put to sleep. Within the hall there is an upper
chamber where Penelope sleeps and lives with her maidens. The wooers set
up three braziers in the hall to give them light, and heap them with
wood and pine-brands; consequently the hall is so full of smoke that the
weapons have to be removed to a storeroom to keep them useful. Odysseus,
sleeping in the “prodomos” of the hall, can hear a remark made by one of
the twelve grinding-women who have their hand-mills in the house next
door. Under the same echoing colonnade where Odysseus sleeps goats and
cattle are tethered by day. The walls of the hall itself are of wood,
the ceiling is of wood, and the floor is of stamped earth, for it is
cleaned with a spade, and fires are raked out of the braziers on to the
floor. As for the bridal chamber, Odysseus had built it himself with
stone, and it contained a marvellous bed wrought by the hero out of a
living olive-tree. Finally, there was a rather obscure postern-gate set
high in the wall of the hall above a stone threshold, and opening on to
an open gallery. Thus the feature of the house of Odysseus is that it is
of two stories; otherwise it consists, as usual, of three parts--hall,
court, and chamber.

Our learned archæologists have been setting their intellects to the task
of making these Homeric houses fit in with the palaces of Mycenæ and
Tiryns, but they have found it hard work. They have had to admit that
the palace of Odysseus is a good deal simpler than the meanest of the
Ægean palaces. And yet our poet has deliberately advertised it as
something out of the common. Does not that betray singular poverty of
imagination? He could not even make his heroic domiciles as splendid as
the actual buildings in which he sang his lays. What should we think of
a novelist who professed to write about duchesses and described them as
sitting in sumptuous front parlours? Of course we know the explanation.
It is hopeless to attempt to synchronise the Homeric age with the ages
of Ægean palaces. Homer lived in an altogether lower civilisation as
regards wealth and comfort. Just as we saw that his “kings” were only
country squires, so his “palaces” are no more than farmhouses, with all
their picturesque squalor and simplicity. Dirt and magnificence may go
hand in hand, as in our own mediæval halls, but in the Homeric
civilisation the magnificence is only in the poet’s heart. His material
surroundings are fitly typified by the Dipylon vases.


HESIOD’S WORLD

Hesiod is the Cinderella of Greek poets, neglected alike by editors and
schoolboys. And yet once he stood on a level with Homer. He is in
reality the complement of Homer, and no picture of the Greek Middle Ages
can be complete without him. The Parian Marble sets Hesiod thirty years
earlier than Homer, Herodotus places them both about 850-800 B.C.
Hesiod’s principal works are two, the “Works and Days” and the
“Generations of Gods” or “Theogony.” The “Works and Days” is generally
supposed to be a treatise on husbandry, but it seems to be in origin a
letter of remonstrance to a wicked brother, Persis, who had ousted
Hesiod from his property. The letter is embroidered freely with morals,
maxims, and examples from mythology. Persis is exhorted to practise
industry and good farming, for which some proverbial hints are given.
But the main purport of this curious jumble is the reiteration of
complaints against the “bribe-devouring kings”--always in the
plural--who have given a corrupt judgment against the poet on his
brother’s lawsuit. No one pretends to see real monarchy or anything but
oligarchy in Hesiod, yet his rulers are called βασιλεῖς, just as are
Homer’s. The “Works and Days” contains also the earliest versions of two
most famous legends which together make up the Greek story of creation,
the story of how Prometheus stole fire from heaven and the story of
Pandora, the Eve of Greek mythology. The chief interest for modern
readers lies in a very quaint and curious list of taboos and some
personal reminiscences which form, I suppose, the oldest piece of
autobiography in existence. He has already described seafaring as a very
disagreeable business, to be avoided if possible; he now advises his
brother to “wait for a seasonable sailing day, and when it comes, then
drag down thy swift ship to the sea, and have a fit cargo stowed away on
it, that thou mayest return home with profit; even as my father and
thine, most witless Persis, used to make voyages for an honest living.
Once he came even to this country, after a long voyage in a black ship
from Cyme, in Æolis, turning not from rich resources and prosperity, but
from dire poverty, which Zeus gives to men. And he dwelt near Helicon in
this beggarly hamlet of Ascra--Ascra, vile in winter, uncomfortable in
summer, and good never at all. But do thou, my Persis, be seasonable in
all thy doings, but above all in seafaring praise a small ship, but put
thy cargo in a great one. The freight will be greater and the profit
greater if the winds keep off their dreadful storms. Whenever thou
turnest thy rash heart to trade, wishing to escape debt and joyless
famine, I will show thee the limits of the thundering main without being
skilled at all in seafaring or in ships, for I have never sailed the
broad sea in a ship except when I crossed to Eubœa from Aulis, where the
Achæans in times long past were storm-bound when they gathered a mighty
host from holy Hellas for Troy of the fair women. There did I take
passage for Chalcis to try for the prizes of wise Amphidamas” (_i.e._
prizes offered at his funeral games), “the many well-prepared prizes
which his lordly sons offered. There I boast to have won the prize for
the hymn, and brought home a tripod with handles which I set up to the
Muses of Helicon where first they taught me to be a clear-voiced bard.
So little trial have I made of well-caulked ships, but still I shall
declare the mind of Zeus who bears the ægis, for the Muses have taught
me to sing a hymn without bounds.”

[Illustration: Coin of Croton, showing Tripod]

Quaint old Hesiod! How like the literary man of all ages! He has never
been to sea except on the channel ferry, but in virtue of his literary
gifts he is competent to instruct other landsmen in navigation. So by
help of the Muses he declares the mind of Zeus--“Never put to sea in a
storm!”

Well, this is the reverse of Homer’s medal: the god-nurtured kings
frankly revealed as corrupt nobles, the unrelenting toil on the stony
farm, the perilous commercial enterprises in small unseaworthy ships,
the emigrant returning home to Bœotia in poverty from his Eldorado in
Æolis, the superstition, and the pessimism.

[Illustration: Ship of Odysseus. From a Vase]



III

THE AGES OF TRANSITION

     οὐ μὴν οὐδ’ ὑπαρχόντων τούτων ἁπάντων ἤδη πόλις,
    ἀλλ’ ἡ τοῦ εὖ ζῆν κοινωνία.--ARISTOTLE.


THE COMING OF APOLLO

“He bringeth to men and women cures for their grievous sicknesses, he
giveth the harp, and he granteth the Muse to whomsoever he will; he
ruleth his oracular shrine, bringing peace and lawful order into our
hearts; he stablished the descendants of Heracles and Ægimius in
Lacedæmon and Argos and most holy Pylos.” Such is the Theban poet’s
summary of the attributes of the Dorian god. Healing, harp-music and
lyric poetry, discipline fostered by the Delphic oracle, and the Dorian
government of Sparta, Argos, and Messenia--these are the gifts of Apollo
to Greece. There is nothing here to connect him with Nature-worship. He
is not even connected with light or sun.

We have already seen something of the earliest strata of religious
beliefs on Greek soil. The Ægean worship was principally “aniconic
fetishism”--that is, the worship of inanimate, possibly symbolical,
objects, such as stones, pillars, crosses, axes, horns, and trees. Then
there were animal deities, possibly totemistic in origin, such as the
snake-goddess, the dove-goddess, and the bull-man, or Minotaur, powers
mainly representing fecundity. There was certainly also ghost-worship;
for the dead in the tholos tombs were certainly honoured by sacrifices,
and very likely by human sacrifices at first. There seem to have been no
temples at all in these stages of religion; it was rather a system of
private local cults in great and bewildering variety. But it is certain
that the Ægean peoples had developed some wholly anthropomorphic deities
before the end. Some of the regular Olympian deities of historical
Greece seem to belong partially, and some wholly, to this earlier
civilisation. Poseidon, the sea-god, Hermes, the Arcadian shepherd-god,
and Demeter or Mother Earth, are of the latter class, with mysterious
forms like the Fates, the Curses, the Harpies, and the Sirens. But there
was little exclusiveness about ancient religion; new deities are quite
readily accepted into polytheistic systems, though in some cases there
was a protracted struggle to keep them out. Hesiod remarks that the
deities have many names for a single shape, and often a double name
reveals assimilation, such as Phœbus Apollo or Pallas Athene. In most
cases, indeed, the great name of an Olympian god covers a host of minor
deities with varying and sometimes quite opposite attributes. Thus the
national Zeus has swallowed up countless local heroes, as when the
Laconians worshipped Zeus Agamemnon.

All these processes of change are reflected in mythology. It would seem
as if mythologists, or, as we should say, expert theologians, set out to
reconcile the people to new forms of worship by inventing delightful
stories to account for the change. Homer and Hesiod were doing precisely
that sort of work. For example, the introduction of the Northern Zeus
was effected by means of a curious myth. It was agreed that he had not
always been King of Heaven; formerly his old father Cronos had ruled, he
whose wife was the earth. Zeus was born in Crete--that is, he was
attached to

[Illustration: PLATE XIII. HERMES KRIOPHOROS: (THE LAMB-CARRIER)]

an ancient Cretan story of a divine nativity in which a she-goat suckled
a babe. That indicates the transition from an animal deity to an
anthropomorphic one, just as does the old Mother Wolf of Roman legend.
Doubtless some artistic representations of a she-goat and a she-wolf
play their part in such stories. Again, Cronos is said to have tried to
crush the usurper in the bud by swallowing his dangerous child, but to
have swallowed a stone instead. That may cover the transition from
stone-and pillar-worship. Still more instructive are the legends of
contest between deities for worship at a particular shrine. The ordinary
device for the introduction of Zeus was to make him the father of the
local hero. “God,” says Voltaire, “first made man in His own likeness,
and man has been returning the compliment ever since.” It is the secret
of anthropomorphic religion that the worshipper is worshipping himself,
or rather an idealised vision of himself projected upon the public
conception of his god. The human heart has an unlimited power of thus
adapting its faith to its habits. Anthropologists are continually
telling us of the persistence of ancient cults in spite of pretended
changes of faith, rituals that belong to Artemis transferred to the
Virgin, dirges for Adonis transformed into mourning for Christ. Often
when the polite antiquarian Pausanias asked the Greeks of his day about
the objects of their worship he got conflicting answers. That is how it
becomes easy to make converts if you are content to leave ritual
unchanged, and that was how Apollo got himself accepted as the young
man’s god all over Greece. There was, indeed, a rival young man’s god in
Hermes, a very ancient deity. Remnants of antique aniconic worship
attach themselves to Hermes: his statues even in classical times are
three parts pillar to one part god. He is the shepherd-god of
Arcady,[15] and the Arcadians represent more purely than any other
peoples of Greece the aboriginal Ægean stratum. Hermes is a god of music
too, but his instrument

[Illustration: Lyre]

[Illustration: Cithara]

is the lyre, which in shape and construction resembles the modern
mandoline, for the body was made from the shell of a tortoise, an
indigenous Greek creature, with a sounding-board of parchment stretched
over it. Apollo properly plays on the cithara, or Northern harp. The
popularity of Hermes persisted throughout because he became identified
with Luck, and Luck is the one god we all worship. He is also associated
with commerce; he it is who drives a sharp bargain; and, as we saw, the
aboriginal stratum of Greece provided the trading element in the
Hellenic races. This attribute the trade-despising warriors of the
dominant race turned to his discredit, for poor Hermes in Homer, and
generally in literature, becomes a sharper of the worst description. If
you ask “Who stole the cows?” the answer is, “Hermes.” He is the
messenger of Zeus, but he is also his spy. Hermes, then, was much too
strongly planted to be uprooted by the intruding Apollo. But it seems
that some male god of the older race was swallowed up and bodily
incorporated under that name. For in classical Greece there are two
rival Apollos, one the Delian or Cynthian Apollo, the centre of whose
cult was the island of Delos, the other the true Dorian god, called
Pythian Apollo, and worshipped above all at Delphi. The Delian shrine
was a centre of the Ionians, and Delos afterwards became the
headquarters of the maritime league of Athens and the Ionian States.
Delos boasted itself to have been the god’s birthplace, and mythology
presented an elaborate nativity for this Apollo and his sister Artemis.
“Homeric” hymns to both Apollos are preserved, and it is interesting to
notice how the Ionian bard who is praising the Apollo of Delos mentions
all the centres of his worship in a longish list which tallies closely
with the list of Athenian allies in the Delian confederacy. But this
Delian Apollo is not the important one; in many respects he is only a
pale reflection of the other, and his vogue principally depended on the
extreme sanctity of the little island of Delos.

The true Apollo is the Northern god who had his home at Delphi. He and
his worship play such a prominent part in the making of classical as
distinct from prehistoric and heroic Greece that I put him in the
forefront of this age of transition. Delphi is one of the most
impressive sites in Greece, lying high in a narrow glen with precipitous
and almost awe-inspiring crags on every side.[16] Several times in Greek
history rash invaders failed to penetrate into this mysterious shrine.
The god’s majesty and the terrors of his abode were sufficient
protection. It is clear from the mythological presentation of his coming
that before Apollo there was already an ancient oracle at Delphi, the
source of which was a snake called Pytho. Snakes figure largely in the
animistic worship of the old race, as typifying the spirits of the dead
issuing from the earth. The myth described how Apollo came and conquered
this serpent. He built a great temple in this valley of Parnassus, and
took the place of Earth, or Themis, as Pythian Apollo, lord of the
Delphic oracle.

Apollo is the most virile god on Olympus, as he is the representative
god of the most manly race in Hellas, the Dorians. He is the young
athlete god. If we trace the history of his type in art we see him at
first a rudimentary male figure, only just evolved out of the pillar
shape. He is always nude in these early statues, and it is not easy to
say how many of the so-called early Apollos represent the god, and how
many are simply statues of male athletes. It makes little difference,
for the god and his worshipper are one. At first there is little
expression, as in the “Apollo of Orchomenos,”[17] for the artist is
still struggling with his stubborn material, happy if his chisel can get
the semblance of human shape out of the marble. In the next stage,
represented by the “Tenean Apollo,” the sculptor has attained
considerable mastery over his tools, and has succeeded in his main
object, namely, a faithful expression of the muscles of the male
body.[18] The reader will notice “the archaic grin” on the faces of all
gods and goddesses of this period. This is probably an attempt to
indicate the benevolence of the deity; the god smiles when he intends to
grant the prayer of his suppliant. Apollo was always the god of healing;
Æsculapius was his son and Hygiæa his daughter. By-and-by the artists
learn how to express benevolence less crudely,[19] and all the time they
are learning more anatomy and a fuller mastery over their tools, until
in the glorious fifth century Alcamenes (who, by the way, was an
Athenian) could make a noble figure such as stands calm and powerful,
every inch a god, in the midst of battle on the West Pediment of the
great temple at Olympia.[20] Study this god. If you can love him you
will have learnt the secret of Dorian greatness. He is very simple,
serious, and severe; he has the asceticism of a good athlete who knows
what discipline means for the sake of his club or country. You must
judge him as archaic work, you must allow, when you criticise the
stiffness of his hair, for the use of tinting and the crown of gilt
bay-leaves which once passed through the hollow underneath his hair. You
will perceive that there is something wrong with the angle of his
eyelids, which meet without overlapping. Sculptors of the next
generation learnt to correct that, but they never conceived a grander
figure of the sort of god that a gentleman and a Spartiate might fitly
worship. Of course this is not a temple image; it is only one detail of
a piece of ornament under the gable at the back of a temple, but it is
the conception of a great artist. After that they began to think too
much about the beauty of Apollo and young athletes in general,
worshipping both with extravagant devotion. Hermes as a more graceful
and sensuous young god began to supplant Apollo in the favour of Art. At
last we get to the dandified young swell with the elaborate coiffure and
the studied

[Ilustration: PLATE XV. “APOLLO,” FROM ORCHOMENUS

_English Photo Co., Athens_]

theatrical pose, the Apollo Belvedere, who seemed to our
great-grandfathers the most perfect of Greek statues, though he was
carved to suit a decadent taste in the days when Greece had lost the
very memory of manliness. Another conflicting, but, I believe, equally
Dorian type of Apollo represents him in the flowing and almost feminine
robes of a musician. This is Apollo the artist, not the athlete, the
Apollo who leads the choir of Muses on Parnassus.

To return to the god and his oracle: the Dorians had planted him at
Delphi on their way south about 1000 B.C., and when they had overrun the
whole Peloponnesus, except Arcadia and Achaia, occupying the southern
islands, including Crete, and overflowing even into the south of Asia
Minor, Delphi became their central shrine and oracle. So cleverly was
that oracle managed by the Delphic priests that it became the common
centre for advice to all Greece, until it formed a sort of focus of
Greek nationality. Even semi-barbarian monarchs like Crœsus of Lydia
applied to it for advice, and paid for its oracles with lavish
dedications. As ambassadors kept coming to Delphi from all parts of the
Greek world, the priests had good opportunity of collecting information.
They were especially strong in geography, and if a city found its
population increasing beyond the extent of its wall space, or if there
were a gang of mischievous young nobles to be got rid of, or if the city
sought new commercial openings, it would send an embassy to Delphi to
consult Apollo about a suitable site for a new colony. After due
sacrifices and oblations and various mysterious rites to ensure the
proper reverential spirit, they would be introduced into the inmost
shrine, where a priestess sat upon a tripod over the identical crack in
the ground where the old serpent Pytho had once made his den. Here was a
conical stone representing the omphalos or navel of the earth. Then the
inspiration would seize the Pythian priestess, she would fall into a
kind of fit or trance, caused, they say, by burning leaves of laurel,
and in the course of it she uttered wild and whirling words. Before you
left the priests would hand you the substance of her remarks neatly
composed in rather weak hexameter verses. Very often the advice would
turn out excellently, for the priests knew their business. If it did not
they could usually point out that their words bore quite a different
interpretation if you had had the sense to understand them. Thus Crœsus
asked whether he should make war on the growing power of Persia; he was
told that if he did he would destroy a mighty empire. After the success
of Cyrus, the oracle, of course, explained that Crœsus had in fact
destroyed a mighty empire--namely, his own.

The supple intelligence of the Greeks devoted a good deal of its
ingenuity to inventing smart _double-entendres_ like this, but I am
afraid that the Delphic priests were actually guilty of a good deal of
low trickery, though they would hardly have won the national confidence,
as they did, if that sort of answer had been their ordinary practice. In
politics they played a very important part until the Persian wars, when
their more accurate knowledge of external affairs led them to overrate
the power of Darius and Xerxes and to counsel submission, whereby they
somewhat injured their credit. They formed a sort of international
bureau, a sort of Hague, though not always on the side of peace, for the
statesmen of Greece. Two institutions in particular made them a
much-frequented shrine; one was the Pythian Games, the second in
importance of the four great religious and athletic festivals of Greece,
and the other was the Delphic Amphictyony. The latter was an
international league for religious worship which looked, at times, as if
it were going to develop into a real Panhellenic confederacy. Delphi had
crept in here, supplanting a much older religious union of neighbours at
Anthela. Even in historical times the Amphictyons or their delegates met
alternately at the shrine of Demeter at Anthela and at the temple of
Apollo at Delphi. The meeting was mainly for common worship, but some of
the proceedings touched international politics, and there was an old
Amphictyonic oath

[Illustration: Plate PLATE 16.--Apollo of Tenea.

_Hanfstaengl._]

resembling the Geneva Conventions, in which the members bound themselves
not to cut off running water from any other city of the league.
Unfortunately, the inveterate feuds of the Greeks often led to the abuse
of this league for political ends, and, instead of enforcing holy peace,
we often find it waging sacred wars.

We saw that Pindar placed _eunomia_--good order--among the gifts of
Apollo. Like Athena, Apollo was greatly interested in political and
constitutional systems. In the course of the seventh century, which is
the period when Delphi first began to extend its influence, we find the
oracle deliberately claiming the authorship of some of the most
celebrated legal and constitutional systems of the day. Sparta was not
only the chief Dorian State, with a preponderant influence or hegemony
over all Southern Greece, but the possessor of the most elaborate and
successful political system in the whole country. We can see the Delphic
oracle deliberately inserting itself as the founder of this good order.
The historian Herodotus got much of his information from the oracle, and
he tells us its version, how a certain Lycurgus had come to Delphi to
ask for laws and a constitution, and had received it from the god. But
the Spartans themselves had not yet been convinced. They still believed
that theirs were the true Dorian institutions--as, in fact, they mostly
were--dating back to their original leaders, “the sons of Heracles,” and
closely resembling those of Dorian Crete. A generation or two after
Herodotus the Delphic claim was admitted, for constitutional writers of
all parties were glad to accept the sanction of the god for the
constitution as they severally interpreted it. Thus Lycurgus, who had
originally been an obscure hero with a half-forgotten cult, came to rank
as the Spartan law-giver and the author of the remarkable system of life
and government which we shall presently describe. They did the same for
the famous legal systems of the West, claiming to have inspired
Zaleucus, the law-giver of Locri, and Charondas of Catane with their
codes. There is some indication of similar proceedings with regard to
Solon of Athens, but they met with little success among the
rationalistic worshippers of Athena, who was as much a patron of law and
order as Apollo himself. Delphi endeavoured to appropriate the wisdom of
the Seven Sages, mostly early historical philosophers who belong to
these ages of transition. Apollo even claimed the philosophy of
Pythagoras, whose name lent itself peculiarly to a supposed Delphic
origin. By such means as these the Delphic oracle became the chief
sanctuary in Greece, and exerted a very great influence, which, however,
some modern scholars have tended to exaggerate.


ATHLETICS

The coming of Apollo and his Dorians meant also a great impetus to the
cult of athletics in Greece. The boxers and the bull-fighters of Cnossos
prove that athletics were already at home on Greek soil before the
Northerners came, and this fact alone should prove that the earlier
civilisation was not Asiatic, not at any rate Semitic. But the Achæans
and Dorians were also devoted to manly sport. With them it seems to have
had from the first a religious significance, especially in connection
with funerals and ancestor-worship. In the Iliad the funeral of
Patroclus is honoured with sports at his tomb. The programme of this
early meeting was an elaborate one. It might be described in modern
technical style somewhat as follows:

     CHARIOT RACE. First Prize: A blameless, accomplished woman and a
     tripod with handles. Second Prize: A brood mare. Third Prize: A new
     kettle. Fourth Prize: Two talents of gold. Fifth Prize: A new
     two-handled pan.

     Antilochus won the toss and took the inner station. In the first
     lap there was little in it, but on rounding the turn Eumelus’ team
     pushed to the front, with Diomede lying second, close up. Phœbus
     Apollo knocked the whip out of Diomede’s hand, whereupon Pallas
     Athene responded by breaking the leader’s yoke, the driver being
     seriously injured. Result: Diomede 1, Antilochus 2, Menelaus 3,
     Meriones 4, Eumelus 0. The fifth prize was awarded to Nestor as the
     oldest member present. Menelaus’ objection to Antilochus on the
     score of dangerous driving was amicably settled.

     BOXING MATCH. Prize: A six-year-old mule. Consolation Prize: A
     two-handled cup.

[Illustration: PLATE XVII. THE “STRANGFORD APOLLO”

_Mansell & Co._]


     Epeius and Euryalus were the only entrants. Epeius was an early
     winner, finding the Theban champion’s jaw in the first round and
     knocking him out like a fish out of water.

     WRESTLING MATCH. Prize: A large tripod, value twelve oxen.
     Consolation Prize: A clever woman, value four oxen.

     Of the two wrestlers Ajax showed superior strength, but Odysseus
     was more than his match in science. This seems to have been a
     regular rough-and-tumble, both champions being pinched black and
     blue; there was nothing to choose between them, and after a
     ding-dong struggle the match was declared a draw.

     FOOT-RACE. First Prize: Handsome silver punch-bowl of Sidonian
     make. Second Prize: Fat ox. Third Prize: Half a talent of gold.

     Odysseus, none the worse for his recent encounter, entered in a
     field of three. Ajax son of Oileus was first off the mark, closely
     followed by Odysseus. The latter, unable to get on terms with his
     speedier rival, prayed to Pallas Athene for help. On nearing the
     prizes Ajax fell, and Odysseus was declared the winner. The
     objection lodged by Ajax on the ground of celestial interference
     was dismissed with ridicule.

     SHAM DUEL. Prize: The armour of Sarpedon.

     Diomede and Telamonian Ajax were so evenly matched that this event
     also was pronounced a draw.

     PUTTING THE WEIGHT. Prize: A lump of natural iron.

     Polypoetes won this event with a record put, amid general
     enthusiasm.

     ARCHERY. First Prize: Ten double axes. Second Prize: Ten single
     axes.

     The mark was a dove tied to a mast. Teucer won the toss and took
     first shot, missing his bird, but cutting the string by which it
     was attached. Thereupon Meriones snatched the bow, and, vowing a
     hecatomb to Apollo, pierced the dove to the heart, thus proving his
     title to the first prize.

     JAVELIN-THROWING. First Prize: Ornamental cauldron, value one ox.
     Second Prize: Javelin.

     Agamemnon walked over.

Even in the account of these games it seems very probable that there has
been a process of accumulation in which later bards have added events
according to their fancy. Some of the later encounters are described
with much less vigour and skill than the earlier. It is, however,
important to notice that from the very first Greek athletics were part
of religion. They were undertaken in a serious, devotional spirit, to
honour some god or defunct hero. It was the same with poetry. Epic was,
of course, devoted to the gods and heroes. The early lyric was also in
the main devotional, whatever its subject might be. We have seen Hesiod
carrying his poetic talents to a contest in song arranged to honour the
funeral of

Amphidamas. Tragedy, it is now said, developed out of funeral choruses.
It appears also that the great games of Delphi--the Pythian
Games--developed from a musical contest. The histories of Herodotus are
said to have been declaimed at the Olympic Games, and orators would in
later times make them the occasion for Panhellenic orations. There was
no divorce between intellect and muscle among the Greeks. Each was a
necessary part of _areté_, the quality of the perfect man. Sport-loving
people as we are, there is nothing in all literature so hard for us to
comprehend as the work of Pindar, the Bœotian poet of the early fifth
century. His professional business was only the writing of the Epinikia,
songs and music in celebration of athletic contests at the great games,
Pythian, Nemean, Isthmian, and Olympic. But the spirit in which he
approaches his task is that of a man writing about the most solemn and
important achievements in the world. He assumes that success in a boys’
wrestling match or a mule-race is an episode in the history of the
successful athlete’s country, and does not find it inappropriate to
speak of the gods and heroes in the same breath. “Far and wide shineth
the glory of the Olympian Games, the glory that is won in the races of
Pelops, where swiftness of foot contends, and feats of strength, hardy
in labour. All his life long the victor shall bask in the glory of song
for his prize. Daily continued blessedness is the supreme good for every
man.” We cannot understand the devotional spirit of Pindar unless we
realise that the Greeks dedicated their bodily strength and grace to the
honour and service of heaven. The Hebrew praised Jehovah in dance and
song; the Greek honoured Zeus and Apollo with wrestling and races and
the beauty of trained bodies.

The Olympian Games[21] had originally belonged to the service of local
heroes, Œnomaus and Pelops, but as they gained in popularity Father Zeus
took them under his ægis. Apollo was said to have outrun Hermes in a
race there and to

[Illustration: Plate PLATE 18.--Head of Apollo, from the Western
Pediment, Olympia.

_English Photo Co._]

have beaten Ares in boxing. The traditional date for the founding of the
festival was 776 B.C., and that became the era from which all Greek
dates were subsequently settled. But the actual date has no special
significance: in origin the games were much older, and their great
importance begins a good deal later--begins, in fact, with the real
hegemony of Sparta. Though the games were not in Spartan territory it
was undoubtedly from Spartan support that their importance arises.

At first the only contest was a foot-race, but various events were added
until at last five days were necessary for the whole meeting. The most
important contests were the following: (1) Short foot-race; (2) double
course; (3) long foot-race; (4) wrestling; (5) pentathlon, consisting of
five feats, long jump, foot-race, quoit-throwing, javelin-throwing,
wrestling; (6) boxing; (7) four-horse chariot-race; (8) pancration, a
mixture of boxing and wrestling--in fact, a combat between two naked
unarmed men, with scarcely any rules; (9) horse-race; (10) hoplite-race
for soldiers in full armour. Besides these there were six special events
for boys and various other contests, such as mule-races and trotting
races, which did not become permanent fixtures. There was a regular
competition for heralds and trumpeters.

Sacrifice and ritual accompanied every stage of the proceedings. Before
the meeting, which took place every four years, ambassadors went from
city to city proclaiming a Sacred Truce. All people who could prove
Greek nationality were invited. From its situation Olympia naturally
attracted support from the flourishing communities of Sicily and South
Italy. Whether they sent competitors or not, most of the States would
send embassies to the festival, and a great point was made of their
lavish equipment. The judges were chosen by lot from the citizens of
Elis, who managed the contest; they received a ten months’ course of
instruction beforehand in the duties of their office. All the
competitors had to undergo a strict examination as to their
qualifications, and to take an oath on the altar of Zeus that they
would compete fairly and that they had been in training for the previous
ten months. The only prize was a crown of wild olive, cut from a certain
tree of special sanctity, but the victor’s name and country were
proclaimed to the assembled multitude and the highest honours awaited
him on his return. He was welcomed in procession, led in through a
breach specially made in the wall of his city, and granted immunities
from taxation, or, as at Athens, free meals in the Presidential House
for all his life. The chariot-races were especially the object of
ambition and the opportunity for display to the wealthy. Tyrants of
Syracuse competed in them, but the brilliant Athenian Alcibiades
outstripped all competitors by sending in no fewer than seven teams.

Although the prize was but a spiritual one, we cannot say that the
contests were always conducted in what we should call a spirit of pure
amateur sport. Perhaps the incentive to trickery was excessively great.
Anyhow, there stood at Olympia an ominous row of statues dedicated to
Zeus which had been set up as fines by athletes guilty of discreditable
practices, generally of the kind we associate with the “pulling” of
horses. But when it is considered that the Olympian Games continued in
an almost unbroken series for twelve centuries--that is, until the
Emperor Theodosius abolished them in A.D. 393--the list of such
irregularities is not unduly long.

In the very minute account of Olympia which we owe to the traveller
Pausanias there are some curious and interesting anecdotes of the games.
For example, he saw the statue of the boy Pisirodus, who was brought to
the Olympian Games by his mother disguised as a trainer, because no
women were allowed to be present. “They say that Diagoras came with his
sons Acusilaus and Damagetus to Olympia, and when the young men had won
their prizes they carried their father through the assembly, while the
people pelted him with flowers and called him happy in his children.”
Then there is Timanthes, the strong man, who won the pancration. “He
had ceased practising as an athlete, but still he continued to test his
strength by bending a mighty bow every day. Well, he went away from
home, and while he was away his practice with the bow was discontinued.
But when he came back and could no longer bend his bow he lit a fire and
flung himself on the flames.” There is the plough-boy Glaucus, whose
father noticed him one day fitting the ploughshare into his plough with
his fist instead of a hammer. His father thereupon took him to Olympia
to box, but as he had no skill in boxing he was badly punished and
almost beaten. Suddenly his father called out, “Give him the
plough-hammer, my boy!” Whereupon he knocked his adversary out, won the
prize, and became a famous pugilist. “The mare of the Corinthian
Phidolas was named Aura; at the start she happened to throw her rider,
but continuing, nevertheless, to race in due form, she rounded the
turning-post, and on hearing the trumpet quickened her pace, reached the
umpires first, knew that she had won, and stopped.”

That there was a good deal of extravagance in the cult of athletes was
not likely to escape the critical eye of a people who so detested
extravagance in any form. The outspoken Euripides had a violent tirade
against athletes in his satyric drama _Autolycus_. “It is folly,” he
says, “for the Greeks to make a great gathering to see useless creatures
like these, whose god is in their belly. What good does a man do to his
city by winning a prize for wrestling or speed or quoit-heaving or
jaw-smiting? Will they fight the enemy with quoits? Will they drive the
enemy out of their country without spears by kicking? No one plays
antics like these when he stands near the steel. Garlands of leaves
should be for the wise and good, for the just and sober statesman who
guides his city best, for the man who with his words averts evil deeds,
keeping battle and civil strife away. Those are the real boons for every
city and all the Greeks.” Twenty-three centuries stand between this and
“The flannelled fool at the wicket, the muddied oaf at the goal.” I
fear that Euripides got no more attention than Mr. Kipling.

As with us, professionalism grew upon them in later days. The old ideals
of bodily grace and all-round excellence were deserted. In their place
the boxing and pancration encouraged a coarse type of heavy-weight
bruiser. The training and meals of the athletes became a by-word in
vegetarian Greece, and romantic sporting reporters enlarged upon the
gastronomic feats of the famous athletes.

[Illustration: Myron’s “Discobolus,” showing the head turned the wrong
way]

Athleticism, however, gave one thing to the Greeks that we lack. It was
from the models in the palæstra and the stadium that the sculptors of
Greece drew their inspiration. It was of course an immense benefit to
that art to be able to see the stripped body at exercise in the
sunlight, and that, coupled with the natural Greek sense of form, is the
secret of the unchallenged supremacy of Greek sculpture. Perfect anatomy
of the body was achieved even before the face could be properly
rendered. The nude male figure was the favourite theme of fifth-century
art, and extraordinary perfection was reached by Myron and Polycleitus.
Myron’s “Discobolus” is, of course, one of the best known of ancient
statues. Myron, an Athenian artist, is an elder contemporary of
Pheidias, and therefore belongs to the earlier stages of the great
period. But he had already begun to feel the artist’s sense of mastery
over his material, and he delighted in rather strained poses, therein
starting a tendency for sculpture which would surely have led to a
premature

[Illustration:

_Anderson_

FIG. 1. THE “DISCOBOLUS” OF MYRON

_Mansell & Co._

FIG. 2. THE “DIADUMENUS” OF POLYCLEITUS

PLATE XIX]

decadence if it had not been for the extraordinary genius of the
inspired Pheidias. My illustration gives one of many modern examples of
this much-copied statue.[22] But it is leagues removed from the original
bronze. The “Discobolus” is an instantaneous photograph of an athlete
just poising the heavy disk and preparing to throw. In another moment he
will turn right-about on the pivot of his right foot. There are few
statues of the fifth century which thus select an instant out of a
series of movements. For athlete statues two types stand pre-eminent.
One is the athlete[23] just fastening the diadem upon his victorious
brow (“Diadumenus”), a type due to Polycleitus, whose examples of
figure-drawing were taken even by the Greeks as “classics”--that is, as
models of perfection in the direction attempted. His “Doryphorus”[24]
was known as “the Canon,” as being a model of proportion, on which
subject Polycleitus wrote a treatise. Unfortunately we are compelled
here again to rely upon inferior marble copies of an original in bronze,
copies which probably do injustice to their model in exaggerating its
heaviness and muscularity. The other fine athletic type is that of the
“Apoxyomenus,” the athlete engaged with the strigil in scraping off the
oil with which all athletes, and especially wrestlers, were
anointed.[25] Of all statues dealing with athletics one of the most
impressive is the bronze charioteer lately discovered by the French at
Delphi. There is a wonderful calm and dignity about the long-robed
figure.[26]

To be naked and unashamed was one of the glories of the cultivated
Greek. It astonished (and still shocks) the barbarian. When Agesilaus,
the Spartan king, was fighting on Persian soil he caused his Oriental
captives to be exhibited naked to his men, in order that they might have
no more terror of the great king’s myriads. Alone among civilised
peoples of the earth the ancient Greek dared to strip his body to the
sun, and this too, as Thucydides witnesseth, came from the manly city.
“The Lacedæmonians,” he says, “were the first to use simple raiment of
the present style, and in other respects were the first to adopt a
similar scale of living for rich and poor. They were the first to strip
and undress in public, for anointing with oil after exercise. Originally
the athletes used to wear loin-cloths about their middles even at the
Olympic Games, and that practice has not long been discontinued”
(actually in 720 B.C.). “Even now some of the barbarians, especially the
Asiatics, continue to wear clothes at contests of boxing and wrestling.
One might point to several other analogies between the customs of
ancient Greece and modern barbarism.” With female nudity the case is
different. Although the girls of Sparta used to strip for their
gymnastic exercises, that was a notorious Spartan idiosyncrasy. It is
only under foreign influence and in the later periods that feminine
nudity is exhibited in Greek art. Hear Plato on the subject: Socrates
has been led by the logic of his argument into the assertion that the
women of the Ideal Republic ought to be educated just like the men, to
go through the semi-military training of the wrestling school and the
gymnasium along with them. The only objection he can see to such a
course is that the public exercises of women would appear _ridiculous_
to the Athenians of his day. That objection he dismisses as follows:

“Well, then,” says Socrates, “as we have begun the argument we must take
the rough with the smooth, and we must beg the wits to leave their usual
trade and be serious. They must remember that it is not very long since
it seemed to the Greeks ugly and ridiculous that men should appear
naked, as it does now to most of the barbarians. And when the Cretans
first, and after them the Lacedæmonians, began their stripped exercises
the wits of the day had occasion to make fun of such things. Don’t you
suppose they did?”

“I do indeed.”

“But when experience showed that it was better to strip than to cover
the body, what the eye thought ridiculous was

[Illustration: FIG. 1. THE “DORYPHORUS” OF POLYCLEITUS

_Alinari_

FIG. 2. THE “APOXYOMENUS”

PLATE XX]

overwhelmed by what logic declared to be best, and it became apparent
that it is only a fool who thinks anything ridiculous, except what is
evil.”


SPARTA

We turn naturally from Apollo and his Dorians to the headquarters of the
Dorian race, where all the strength and weakness of the Dorian character
is revealed at its highest and lowest. As the most important part of
Greek history consists of the long duel between Sparta and Athens, and
all our literature comes from Athens, posterity naturally tends to take
sides against Sparta. And yet all those writers, from Herodotus to
Aristotle, had a very real admiration for Sparta. Liberals, on the other
hand--and we are all Liberals nowadays--dislike Sparta, as representing
oligarchy against democracy and as having sold the liberty of Greece to
the Persians. And yet the Spartans practised equality, which the
Athenians praised, as no people on earth have ever practised it, and in
selling Greece to Persia they were only bidding against Athens. Other
people despise Sparta as the one Greek people which contributed hardly
anything to literature and art. And yet she is the most typically Greek
of all Greek states. The fact is that she is a paradox. One of the chief
interests of Greek history is the extraordinary psychological contrast
between the two chief actors. Sparta is the antithesis of Athens, and
yet, if any one would know Greece, he must realise that both are
essentially and characteristically Greek. Each is the complement of the
other. Without Sparta Greece would lack its most remarkable figure in
the realm of politics, as well as its chief bulwark in land warfare.
These are the two sides of Sparta on which we ought to fix our
attention--the political system which gave her the best, or at any rate
the most stable, government in Greek history, and the military education
and discipline which gave her the finest army.

Politically, all the Greek states, whether democracies or oligarchies,
rest upon a double structure of council and assembly. In democracies
the assembly is based on a very wide franchise, and possesses the actual
control of the state, the council being limited to subordinate
functions, executive and deliberative. At Athens, as we shall see, the
council is more like a committee to prepare business for the assembly.
In oligarchies, on the other hand, the assembly consists of a
comparatively small and select body of richer or nobler citizens, while
the actual government is in the hands of the council. Sparta contained
both these elements: an assembly of all the warriors, or Spartiates,
with full rights, though these were comparatively a small proportion of
the population of Laconia, and a _Gerousia_, or Senate, of thirty
elders. But Sparta, though ranked as an oligarchy by the general opinion
of Greece, was not, as Aristotle saw, a true or typical oligarchy. In
the first place, the ruling council of regular oligarchies generally
consisted of a close corporation co-opting its members, while the
Spartan _gerontes_ were elected by the whole body of the full citizens.
In the second place, Sparta had developed an executive magistracy, which
had far more real share in the direction of the state than either the
Senate or the Assembly. This perhaps was the secret of their efficient
and stable government, for most Greek states had such a dread of
personal ascendancy that they sacrificed unity and efficiency of
administration by placing their executive magistracies in a position
wholly subordinate. It was not so at Sparta. There they had retained a
kingship from the early times of the Dorian invasion right through their
history, as no other really Greek State was able to do. They had two
kings descending in parallel dynasties from prehistoric times, or, as
they put it, from two Heracleid families. The origin of this double
kingship is really lost in antiquity, though there are many theories
about it, both ancient and modern. The most probable is that of two
separate bands of Dorian invaders, each under its own king, uniting to
conquer the valley of the Eurotas, and combining to form the state. In
reviewing the kingship of Greek history Aristotle places this Spartan
system [Illustration: PLATE XXI. CHARIOTEER: BRONZE

_Mansell & Co._]

in a class by itself, calling it a “permanent hereditary generalship.”
By his time the office had lost, indeed, much of its political
significance, and was notoriously subordinate to the Ephorate. The
military leadership was by far the most conspicuous duty attached to the
office. This is curious, for political experience commonly shows the
opposite case; one of the first duties to be taken from a hereditary
office is the military leadership, because of the peculiar need for
personal capacity in that department. But Sparta was a singularly
conservative and religious, not to say superstitious, city, devoted to
ritual, and firmly believing in the general’s luck. Such a people does
not feel confidence under the leadership of mere talent; it much prefers
to fight under the orders of a descendant of Heracles. And as Spartan
warfare was always a very simple business, requiring no strategic skill
in its direction, the Spartans were not likely to find out the weakness
of a hereditary system in generalship. Beyond the leading of armies, the
Spartan kings had few rights or duties. They had ex-officio titles to
two of the thirty seats in the _Gerousia_, they had legal jurisdiction
in some unimportant cases connected with religion, and they represented
the state in certain festivals and sacrifices.

But the political executive passed over in the fifth and fourth
centuries to the five Ephors, who controlled and sometimes even
oppressed the kings. The origin of this peculiar and distinctive office
is also lost in antiquity. Spartan tradition certainly believed in a
time when the Ephorate was not; and on the whole the most probable
theory is that the Ephorate was originally created by the kings as a
subordinate office. Judging from actual history, it is too much to say
that the Ephors were always supreme over the kings in practice; nearly
all the great men of Spartan history--Leonidas, Cleomenes, Agesilaus,
Agis, Cleombrotus--are its kings, and we scarcely know the name of a
single Ephor. It was, in fact, a long fight between kings and Ephors for
pre-eminence. As a general rule the board of Ephors no doubt directed
the state’s policy, but kings like Agesilaus seem to have had far more
than a mere executive duty. What struck all observers was that Ephors
sometimes summoned kings before them for trial, sometimes condemned them
to death, and in ceremonial remained seated in the presence of the
kings. The fact is that at Sparta sovereignty belonged in a very real
sense to the warrior body, and the Ephors expressed that sovereignty, as
being directly elected by it. Especially in judicial matters they were
supreme, and in a state which moved by clockwork under the control of a
rigid discipline and fixed customs, though all the laws were unwritten,
the heads of the judicial system naturally held the reins of government.
The fact that the Ephors held their position by popular election is held
to constitute a democratic element in the constitution. This gives rise
to the theory, evolved by the successors of Aristotle in political
philosophy, that the stability of the Spartan constitution depended on
its nice adjustment of the three elements of polity--monarchy,
aristocracy, and democracy. Sparta was thus considered to be the type of
a Mixed Constitution. From Sparta the Greek historian Polybius applied
the same theory to the government of Rome. Thence it was transferred by
Montesquieu to the British Constitution, and thus has played, and is
playing, an important part in the history of political science. So far
as Sparta is concerned, the theory rests upon a false basis. Aristotle
was undoubtedly right in terming Sparta an aristocracy, for the
Spartiate body itself was a minority and a jealously guarded close
corporation. Both the democratic and the monarchical elements in the
state were largely an illusion. Moreover, Aristotle did not admit the
propriety of applying the term democracy to a state which merely had
some choice in the persons by whom it should be governed. “To govern and
be governed in turn” was the essence of democracy to Aristotle, and he
would certainly have called both the other examples of the Mixed
Constitution, ancient Rome and modern England, aristocracies. To him,
however, aristocracy was the best kind of rule. Did it not

[Illustration: PLATE XXII. VIEW OF MODERN SPARTA, WITH MOUNT TAYGETUS

_English Photo Co., Athens_]

mean etymologically “government by the best”? Besides, there was the
practical proof of excellence that Sparta alone was free from the ever
endemic Greek disease of “stasis” or civil strife, and that Sparta alone
of Greek States had never witnessed a successful revolution.

In the common meaning of the term also Sparta was an aristocracy. Her
citizen body--the Spartiates, as they called themselves--were always a
minority of nobles, living armed and watchful amid a great subject
population of serfs. These Helots were of the same blood as the
neighbouring peoples of Messenia and Arcadia--that is to say, they are
the aboriginal stratum of Greece--and if they had a chance would no
doubt prove as intelligent and artistic as their ancestors. But no
chance was given them; they were ruthlessly oppressed, cruelly
exploited, and there was an organised secret service to remove any men
of mark that might arise from their ranks. On the battlefield of Platæa
every Spartan soldier was followed by seven Helots. Thus every Spartan
is to be ranked with the mediæval knight, though he fought on foot.
Between these two classes of knights and serfs there was also an
intermediate rank--the Neighbours, or Perioikoi. If the theory of racial
stratification is to be applied to them they must represent a pre-Dorian
wave of conquest, Achæan presumably, which in its turn had to yield,
but, being not entirely alien, was treated on a superior footing. Though
they had no political or social standing, the Perioikoi were not
oppressed. They lived mostly in the country and on the sea-coast. They
provided the sailors, the farmers, and, so far as Laconia had any trade,
the traders. They seem to have been contented with their lot, but we
know singularly little about them.

The city of Sparta itself--the only unwalled city in Greece, planted on
the banks of the Eurotas, under Mount Taygetus[27]--consisted, then, of
a circle of knights and their slaves. The Spartiates formed a very
exclusive and haughty clique of military men, extremely narrow and
oppressive to those about and beneath them, ever vigilant against
rebellion, and conscious that their spears and shields had to take the
place of a wall for Lacedæmon. Among themselves they lived an absolutely
equal communistic life. Their meals were provided at common mess-tables,
each a little club with power to elect and reject its members. As this
institution also prevailed among the Dorians of Crete, it is to be
regarded as something very ancient and characteristically Dorian. It
meant, of course, the complete absence of home and family life. It was
by such habits that the Spartans remained a conquering race, victorious
first over their Messenian neighbours in two long wars, the details of
which are legendary, and then gradually extending their control over the
whole Peloponnesus, including their Dorian kinsmen of Argos and
Epidaurus.

It is possible that the remarkable discipline and asceticism of Sparta
which is proverbially linked with her name had gradually increased.
Recent excavations have shown that seventh-century Sparta was not
destitute of art. From the lyric poets of the seventh century we get
glimpses of a Sparta not entirely ascetic or contemptuous of culture. On
the contrary, she is a patroness of foreign poets like Tyrtæus. But
already she appreciates most the martial song and dance. It must be
remembered that in Greece poetry, music, and the dance were far more
closely allied than with us. Not only did Greek dramatists originally
train their own choruses in the dance and compose their own music, but
even Hesiod in that Eubœan competition had to chant his verses aloud. So
at Sparta Terpander and Alcman were first musicians and secondly lyric
poets, and Tyrtæus, the Athenian bard, was there to conduct martial
dances and to train the boys of Sparta in their musical drill. Thus
there was no contradiction in early times between strict military
discipline and a love of lyric poetry. Afterwards, when music grew
softer and poetry less martial, the Spartans banished all musicians and
poets from their midst, though they retained the old marching tunes of
antiquity. One of these poets, Alcman, seems to have come to Sparta as a
captive from luxurious Lydia, and he does sing of cakes and kisses, but
the small fragments of Tyrtæus are all military:

    “Come, ye sons of dauntless Sparta,
     Warrior sons of Spartan citizens,
     With the left advance the buckler,
     Stoutly brandish spears in right hands,
     Sparing not your lives for Sparta:
     Such is not the Spartan custom.”

Terpander praises Sparta for three things, the courage of her youths,
her love of music, and her justice. A Spartan proverb, apparently
ancient, runs: “Sparta will fall by love of wealth, naught else.” They
were, and always remained, a covetous people; but for that very reason
when coined money began to be used in Greece about the seventh century
Sparta forbade its introduction lest commerce should taint the warrior
spirit of her citizens, so that Sparta had no coinage until the second
century, but continued to use, where money was necessary, the ancient
clumsy ingots of iron. Change for five pounds at Sparta needed a cart to
bring it home in. But money is not the only form of wealth, and it is
probably an Athenian lampoon which represents the Spartan as living on
nothing but the celebrated black soup. As every Spartan had his land
(the equality and inalienability of the lots is probably a later
fiction), with any number of Helots to till it, while the young men
spent their leisure in the chase, there was plenty to supply the Spartan
larder, and to provide wine and sweetmeats for Lydian poets as well.

It was in education that the discipline is most characteristically
“Spartan.” From birth to death the Spartan was in the grip of an iron
system. Indeed, it began before birth, for the Spartans are the only
people in history who have dared to carry out the principles of modern
eugenics. They trained the bodies of their girls with running[28] and
wrestling and throwing of quoits and javelins, that when the time came
they might bear stalwart sons, and bear them bravely. “The Law-giver,”
says Plutarch, “put away all coquettishness and hysteria and effeminacy
by making the girls strip for processions, dances, and choruses at the
temples, with the youths present as spectators. This stripping of the
maidens involved no shame, for modesty was there and lewdness was
absent, but it produced unaffected manners and a desire for physical
fitness, and it gave the female sex some taste of a not ignoble pride,
in that they too had their share of manly worth and ambition to excel.
Whence came to them that thought which is expressed in the traditional
repartee of Leonidas’ wife Gorgo. A foreign woman remarking to her, ‘You
Laconians are the only women who rule the men,’ ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘we are
the only women who are the mothers of _men_.’”

The strongest moral suasion compelled Spartan men to marry. The marriage
customs of Sparta were peculiar and carry us back to the remotest
antiquity. The bridegroom carried off his bride by a pretence of
violence, and the bride cut her hair short and dressed like a man. There
was no marriage feast; the young husband dined at his mess-table,
visited his young wife by stealth, and returned to barracks. Sometimes a
wife bore children to a man whose face she had never seen. The child was
not considered to belong to his father, but to the city. “The Law-giver
thought it absurd to take trouble about the breed of horses and dogs,
and then let the imbecile, the elderly, and the diseased bear and beget
children.” There was another celebrated Spartan repartee about adultery:

“We have no adulterers in Sparta.”

“Suppose you had, what is the penalty?”

“The fine is a big bull that jumps over Taygetus and drinks from the
Eurotas.”

“My dear sir, how could there be such a monstrous animal?”

[Illustration: Plate PLATE 23.--Running Girl.

_Anderson._]

“My dear sir, how could there be adultery at Sparta?”

At birth the babe was taken away from its parent to a hall where the
elders of the tribe sat to examine it. If it was plump and strong they
said, “Rear it.” If not it was exposed to die in a cleft of the
mountain. “For they thought better, both for it and the city, that it
should die than that it should live if it was not naturally healthy and
strong. That was why the women washed it with wine instead of water as a
test of its strength.” They had scientific methods of rearing babies, no
swaddling-clothes, no fear of the dark or solitude. Foreigners used to
hire Laconian women for their nurses.

As soon as they were seven years old the children were drafted off into
“herds.” The most “sensible and combative” of each herd was made
prefect, whose orders the others had to obey implicitly and suffer his
punishments without wincing. The older men watched them at their play,
and set them to fight one another. They learnt letters, but nothing else
except music and drill. They walked without sandals, and generally
played naked.

At the age of twelve they were allowed one mantle a year, no tunic.
“They had no experience of baths and unguents; only for a few days each
year they were allowed such luxuries.” They slept in their herds on
rushes, which they had to cut from the river-banks. “In winter they used
to mix thistles with their bedding, from the idea that there was some
warmth in them.” At this age they began to associate with older youths
on those curious terms of male love peculiar to the Greeks. Their elders
would take a fatherly interest in the achievements of their beloved,
chastise and encourage them.

Also, there was a public tutor appointed from among the grown-up nobles
for each “herd,” as well as prefects from the wisest and most warlike of
the youths of twenty. The latter had his “fags” entirely under his
orders. Stealing of food was encouraged as a martial virtue likely to
lead to sharpening the wits for warlike purposes. In a state which
practised communism there was, of course, no dishonesty involved. If
they were caught they were thrashed for their bad stealing. To encourage
theft, their public rations were kept short. They were also thrashed for
the good of their souls, to encourage endurance. “We have seen many of
the youths die under the blows at the altar of Artemis the Upright,”
says Plutarch, or rather the authority he is quoting. But modern
students consider that this flagellation at the altar was probably a
religious ritual, of which there are many other examples. If the beater
spared his victim the goddess manifested her displeasure.

After mess, at which he was waited on by his fags, the prefect would
address himself to their intellectual education. Some had to sing, to
others he would put questions in ethical casuistry. “Who is the best of
the men?” “What do you think of this or that action?” The answer had to
be brief and pointed--“Laconic,” in fact. The boy had to give reasons
for his answer. A bad answer was punished by a bite on the back of the
hand, but if older men were present the prefect had to justify his
punishments. If a boy cried out ignobly in fighting, his lover was
punished also. But the real source of their education was in music,
marching songs, and hymns in praise of the heroes of Spartan history.
One such song is preserved:

     “OLD MEN. We were warriors of old.

     “MEN. As we are. Who doubts? Behold.

     “BOYS. Some day we shall be more bold.”

Laconic, but Spartan!

The Spartan youths did not neglect their personal appearance, especially
in the matter of fine armour. They prided themselves on their long and
well-groomed hair. In the pass of Thermopylæ the Persian monarch was
astonished to see the three hundred Spartans, who ought to have been
trembling and saying their prayers, carefully combing their long hair.
In war-time discipline was relaxed. When the line of battle was drawn up
in the face of the enemy, first the king sacrificed a goat, and the
warriors crowned themselves with garlands of flowers, while the
flute-players played the song of Kastor. Then they stepped forward
gravely to the sound of the marching pæan, all in step, without disorder
or confusion, but “led gently and cheerfully by the music into danger.”
There was no fear, for the hymn “made them feel that the god was with
them.” When they had routed their enemy they only pursued so far as to
assure defeat, “considering it neither gentlemanly nor Hellenic to cut
and slay those who yielded and retired.” This was the spirit of all
their warfare; they never destroyed a beaten city.

As soon as they were of military age the army and the secret police took
most of their time and thought. Arts, crafts, and business they
considered the work of slaves. Dancing, singing, modest banquets, and
hunting were their relaxations. It was not until the age of thirty that
a Spartan could go into the agora and enjoy his rights as a citizen.
Even then lounging in the market-place was not encouraged; most of the
day was spent in the gymnasiums and clubs. There was, of course, no
private family life whatever. King Agis, coming back victorious from a
campaign, asked permission to dine with his wife. It was refused by the
Ephors, whose power, no doubt, was derived from their position as
overseers of this singular disciplinary system. The old men were highly
honoured, and the supreme object of an old Spartan’s ambition was a seat
on the Senate.

And what sort of character did this strange system produce? Well, it
produced the three hundred warriors who died to a man round their king
Leonidas at the pass of Thermopylæ. It produced the Spartan king who
refused the request of his allies to destroy Athens. It produced the
women who mourned after the great defeat of Mantinea because no sons or
husbands of _theirs_ had died for Sparta. It produced the only good
infantry of Greece, and the only stable form of government. It produced
good men like Brasidas and Gylippus. Sparta was the state that swept
tyranny out of Greece, and bore the brunt of the land-fighting against
the Persians. But, on the other hand, the system encouraged that stupid
and bigoted conservatism which ruined Sparta, partly through refusing to
learn anything new in the art of warfare, and partly through declining
to supplement the dwindling warrior caste by extending the franchise to
the other inhabitants of Sparta. No doubt, also, the strict discipline
of life in the city led to the moral breakdown of her victorious
generals Pausanias and Lysander when they came in contact with the
fascinations of Eastern luxury. It made the Spartans oppressive and
unjust when they had to govern an empire. The typical Spartan is
narrow-minded, superstitious, and covetous, but he is always brave,
patriotic, and often chivalrous. Sparta has left us no art or
literature, but she has left us an extraordinary experiment (for a
warning) of aristocratic communism combined with unfettered militarism.


PALLAS ATHENE

Sparta and Athens are the counterparts and complements of one another:
Sparta drilled, orderly, efficient, and dull; Athens free, noisy,
fickle, and brilliant. Sparta’s watchword in history is Eunomia (order);
the motto of Athens is Eleutheria (liberty) and Parrhesia (free speech
and free thought). But Sparta was orderly and powerful over all the
Peloponnese long before Athens was free or cultured.

Both Apollo and Athena were deities specially concerned with cities and
good government. If Apollo was the god of prophecy, music, poetry, and
athletics, Athena’s arts were those of the craftsman, the potter, and
the weaver. Athena, though a fair, grey-eyed goddess, was nevertheless
an enemy to love, wise in counsel and fond of battle. So strictly
maidenly was she that they gave her a virgin birth. No female had a hand
in her making, for she sprang fully armed from the head of Zeus at a
blow from the hammer of Hephæstus. That was the scene depicted on the
front gable of the Parthenon. The worship of Athena is singularly pure
and civilised; it is almost

[Illustration: PLATE XXIV. ATHENA PROMACHOS. FROM A PANATHENAIC
AMPHORA]

entirely free from magic and mystery, for Athena is emphatically a civic
goddess, having hardly any connection with the powers of Nature. She is
pure intellect. True, she has a pugnacious aspect, she is armed with
spear and shield, and with a breastplate, or ægis, bearing the Gorgon’s
head and snaky coils of hair.[29] It has been ingeniously suggested that
the ægis had been evolved by art from the skin of a beast worn over the
shoulders, with the fierce head hanging over the breast of the wearer,
and the legend of Medusa the Gorgon invented to explain it. Anyhow,
Athena is a hoplite goddess. Whatever connection she may have with water
elsewhere, at Athens she is armed for land warfare.

All these signs convince us that the Athena worshipped on the Acropolis
of Athens is not a primitive goddess. Her character, her weapons, and
her cult all point to a Northern origin, like that of Zeus and Apollo.
Moreover, we have, in the legend of her successful strife with Poseidon
for the patronage of the city, a clear account of her importation, and
she shared a temple with the old earth-born hero of Athens, Erechtheus.
How then did she come to give her name to the city? Is it true that
Athens had been called Cecropia in times past? It is hard to believe
that the goddess was called after the city, for there were strong local
cults of Athena elsewhere, so markedly individual in character that the
name cannot have been due to a mere identification of local heroines
with the famous goddess of a famous city. It is not in the least likely
that the Spartans, of all people, would call the goddess who played a
very important part in the life of their State by the name of an
essentially Athenian deity. Nor, again, can we believe that a goddess
could completely change her character and become civilised without
leaving distinct traces of her past. The only conclusion is that Pallas
Athene was an Achæan goddess who came rather late upon the Acropolis of
Athens. It is true that the Athenians boasted themselves to be an
aboriginal people of the old stock, and it is very probable that the
main bodies of Northern invaders did, as Thucydides alleges, pass by
that stony promontory of Attica as beneath notice. But they can hardly
have left a strong citadel unconquered, and though Athens and her king
Menestheus play a rather humble part in the Iliad, yet there was an
Athenian contingent in the Achæan host. It is probable that Athens
received an Achæan king and that the Acropolis itself passed into Achæan
hands. But the population of Attica received little Northern
intermixture. Herodotus tells us that the Athenian maidens going down
from the citadel to draw water were liable to constant attacks from the
Pelasgians who lived on Mount Hymettus.

In all the elaborate rebuilding of Periclean days the rock of Acropolis
was pretty thoroughly scoured of ancient remains. But we still see
traces of Cyclopean masonry, as at Tiryns and Mycenæ, forming what the
Athenians called “the Pelasgic Wall.” To that period belong such
traditional royalties as Cecrops, Erechtheus, and Pandion, possibly real
names of prehistoric kings who ruled over the rock and part of the plain
below, but by no means over the whole of Attica. In artistic
representation these ancient worthies are rather apt to develop
serpents’ tails in place of their lower limbs. As they worshipped
Poseidon, we may be sure that these Cecropians or Pelasgians were a
trading, seafaring people, having intercourse with Crete and their
kinsmen of Caria and Ionia. Poseidon was always the common deity of the
Ionian people, who looked to Athens as their head, probably because she
had suffered so little infusion of Northern blood. It is not likely that
Athens was ever a citadel of equal importance with Mycenæ or Cnossos in
pre-Achæan days. Attica has yielded but few important relics of the
Bronze Age, but, on the other hand, the Attic sites contain an unbroken
series of artistic design from the earliest to the latest times.

The great legendary King of Athens was Theseus, a figure much
embroidered by later mythologists because he had been made the patron
hero of the Athenian democracy and the synœcist of Athens--that is, the
man who made Attica into a city-state instead of a congeries of village
demes. Of course that is not history. All the legends seem to admit that
Theseus was originally an alien. His descendants were said to have been
driven out by the Homeric King of Athens Menestheus. After the Persian
wars the bones of a giant were discovered in the island of Scyros; they
were at once recognised as those of Theseus, and brought with great
ceremony to be reinterred at Athens.

During this Achæan period the Athenians seem to have largely deserted
the sea for agriculture and olive-culture. It will be remembered that
Athena’s gift to the city by which she outbid the sea-god was the
olive-tree. Of course there were still fishermen on the coast, but when
history begins dimly in the seventh century Athens is mainly
agricultural and by no means yet a city-state. She was not yet a fully
developed city-state when Sparta had long been settled in government and
had already extended her hegemony over the whole Peloponnesus. By this
time the Athenian kingship had dissolved into aristocracy, and the
aristocrats, or Eupatridæ, were a clique of oppressive landowners whose
farms were largely worked for them, as at Sparta, on the _métayer_
system, by which the tenant pays a certain proportion of the produce to
the proprietor. The troubles which Solon had to face were agrarian
troubles connected with boundary-stones. He reckons property in bushels
of corn and oil. His enactments, or the ancient laws which pass under
his name, are largely concerned with dogs and wolves and olive-culture.
The only export permitted is that of olive oil. Even after Solon the
local parties that divide the state are not divisions of city-dwellers,
but of country folk--the shepherds of the hills, the farmers of the
plain, and the fishermen of the coast. These facts emerge in despite of
subsequent Athenian historians, who, to please the _amour propre_ of a
democratic city, tried to make out that democracy had existed long
before the tyranny of Peisistratus--in fact, as far back as Theseus, and
certainly Solon. But it is fairly clear to any one discounting this
tendency and reading their early traditions impartially that until the
time of the tyrants Attica was by no means a true city-state, much less
a democracy. Until city life was developed democracy was impossible.

Strange relics of this agricultural life survive in the religious
customs of Athens--as, for example, in the sacrifice called Diipolia or
Ox-murder. “They choose,” says Porphyry, “some girls as water-carriers,
and they bring water for sharpening the axe and the knife. When the axe
has been sharpened one person hands it and another hits the ox, another
slaughters him, others flay him, and they all partake of him. After this
they sew up the hide of the ox and stuff it with hay and set it up, just
like life, and yoke it to the plough as if it were going to draw it. A
trial is held about the murder, and each passes on the blame for the
deed to another. The water-carriers accuse those who sharpened the
knife, the sharpeners blame the man who handed it, he passes the guilt
on to the man who struck, the striker to the slaughterer, the
slaughterer blames the knife itself; and the knife, as it cannot speak,
is found guilty and thrown into the sea.” All these offices are held in
certain families by hereditary right. The whole ceremony clearly points
back to days when the ploughing ox was held sacred. The older worship of
Attica is all agricultural. The Eleusinian mysteries are in honour of
Demeter (the Earth-Mother), Koré, her daughter, also called Persephone,
and Triptolemus, who brought corn from Egypt.[30] There are the Athenian
mysteries called Thesmophoria, in which the women cast mysterious
objects, really pieces of decayed pig and dough in the shape of snakes
and men, into clefts in the earth. They were intended to produce
fertility in fields and women. There was the Hersephoria also, in which
maidens carried baskets containing objects whose nature they must not
know to the precinct of the goddess of

[Illustration: PLATE XXV. DEMETER, PERSEPHONE AND TRIPTOLEMUS

_English Photo Co., Athens_

[ELEUSINIAN RELIEF]]

child-birth. Tradition said that two girls did peep in, and saw a child
and a snake, which pursued and killed them. The Skirophoria was similar;
it included a rite of daubing the image of Pallas with the white clay
which was used as a dressing for olive-trees. There was another ceremony
in which young girls dressed as bears danced in honour of Artemis of
Brauron. There were the three sacred ploughings of Attic soil every
year. Besides snake-heroes and snake-kings, there was the wolf-god who
became identified with Apollo, and the goat-god Pan. It is possible that
Athena’s owl is a relic of those days of Nature-worship. Most of these
cults are Attic rather than Athenian, and are specially localised in the
country demes. They visibly belong to the same religious area as the
snaky figures of Cnossos; and, indeed, Crete figures largely in the
mythology of this period. Anthropomorphic religion probably began at
Athens with a rude female xoanon, or wooden pillar-like statue, who
received in due course the name of the warrior maiden as Athena Polias.

Athens thus comes rather late into Greek history. Only two facts stand
out with any clearness from the period before the sixth-century
tyrannies: the attempted tyranny of Cylon and the early law-giving. Both
these facts were recalled by events of subsequent history. The attempt
of Cylon involved a curse upon one of the greatest of Athenian families,
the Alcmæonids, to which belonged celebrated names like Megacles,
Cleisthenes, Pericles, and Alcibiades. The Law-givers of Athens are
indeed historical personages, which is more than we can say with any
confidence for the Spartan Law-giver Lycurgus, but they have served as
pegs for much legend and a good deal of deliberate falsification. Athens
undoubtedly possessed ancient wooden tablets of laws (though it is
rather a question whether they could have survived the two burnings of
Athens by the Persians), and some of these laws probably bore the names
of Dracon and Solon; but it is very certain that later orators lent
weight to any old law they wished to quote with approval, by giving it
one of these respectable names. On the other hand we know that when
Athenian writers began to take an interest in constitutional history,
which was not until two hundred years later, they used Dracon and Solon
to father their own theories, because it was possible to form the most
conflicting views of what those legislators had really done. One great
point was to make out that the democracy was as old as the hills, and in
this sense Solon was made the inventor of the Assembly, the Council, and
even the popular jury courts. Some ascribed to him the invention of the
old Council of the Areopagus. Others maintained that Solon was not a
democrat, but the author of a limited franchise on a property basis--in
fact, of just the system that Theramenes and his party were proposing in
404 B.C. Others, again, went one better, and attributed a democratic
system to Dracon, a still earlier Law-giver, in spite of the fact that
Solon had abolished all his laws except those about murder and
blood-guiltiness. Thucydides, however, being a scientifically minded
historian with an impartial love of truth, passes over this early period
with the remark that people will accept without testing any sort of
traditions even when they concern their own country. And that is the
right attitude for us. There were no historians until the fifth century,
no contemporary records whatever, except a very few ancient
inscriptions, and the work of the lyric poets who flourished in the
eighth, seventh, and sixth centuries. We have, indeed, a considerable
bulk of poetry which passes under the name of Solon. Some of it is not
above suspicion, for it includes a so-called prelude to a versified
edition of his laws, and other lines written in a tone very unsuitable
to a philosopher. But from the undoubtedly genuine portion we gather
that Solon, so far from being an impartial mediator, collected a popular
following, vehemently attacked the rich, and then “gave to the people so
much power as sufficeth, neither diminishing nor increasing their
honour.” His principal work was to codify the laws which had hitherto
existed only in the bosoms of the nobles. He did a great deal to fix the
existing social classes in Athens by arranging the people in four ranks
according to their property, reckoned, of course, on the basis of
land-holding. And he removed agrarian grievances by forbidding loans on
the security of the person, a custom which had led to the actual
enslaving of the poor by the rich landowners. In these ways he did an
immense service to the future liberty of his country. Even a cautious
estimate of his work makes him a very great man. But he was not the
inventor of democracy.

His personality is hopelessly involved in legend. He is one of the Seven
Sages, doubtless real personalities whose names have served as a peg for
the inventive faculties of the Greeks. Some of them were natural
philosophers, like Thales of Miletus, whose knowledge of astronomy was
so exact that he predicted the eclipse of 585 B.C. He is said to have
learnt his scientific knowledge, as Solon is said to have learnt his
legislative skill, in Egypt, where he measured the height of the
pyramids by their shadow. There is very likely a substratum of truth in
the stories which make the birth, or rather the revival, of learning in
Greece come from Egypt and Crete. Thales knew that the light of the moon
came from the sun. He was the first of those natural philosophers of
Greece whose main object was to find the “principle” of the universe.
Thales held that all things originated from water. Another of the Seven
was Bias of Priene, whose activities were mainly political, and who
invented maxims like “He is unfortunate who cannot bear misfortune,” and
“If thou hast done a good deed, ascribe it to the gods.” At least two of
the other four were tyrants. Solon is also associated with a curious
figure who went about expounding religion and conducting purificatory
rites, Epimenides the Cretan, who was supposed to have lived for fifty
years in a cave on nothing but asphodels and water, the father of all
hermits. Whatever constitutional enactments Solon did make never had
time to get into working order; for the tyranny of Peisistratus and his
sons followed almost immediately.

To return to the goddess: only two passages of Homer refer to Athens,
and both were probably interpolated at the editing of Homer in the days
of Peisistratus. Both allude to the connection between Athena and
Erechtheus. The goddess is described in one place as visiting “the
goodly house of Erechtheus,” which probably means the old Pelasgian
palace on the Acropolis; in the other she has received Erechtheus, the
son of Earth, into “her own rich shrine.” Modern criticism, however, is
apt to reverse the relationship of host and guest--Erechtheus the
earth-born was the prehistoric hero, Athena the Olympian interloper. The
early shrine of Athena upon the Acropolis has quite recently been
discovered on the north side of the plateau by Dörpfeld. It would seem
to have been a building of the sixth century or earlier, and to have
been surrounded with a peristyle of columns by a later hand--whose we
shall presently see. This is the “old temple” superseded for cult
purposes by the Parthenon. Our “Erechtheum,” so well known for its
caryatid porch, was built right up against this old temple, so that the
caryatid porch juts out over the stylobate of it. In the old temple was
the old cult image of the goddess afterwards replaced by the splendid
creation of Pheidias. It was a xoanon, or pillar statue, of olive-wood,
in a standing posture, its rude shape doubtless concealed with offered
drapery. It was armed with spear, shield, ægis, and helmet, and stood in
act to strike. As the illustration[31] shows, this became a favourite
motive in the portraiture of the goddess; she stands there as the
champion and protectress of the city. Athena Polias is her fitting
title. Pheidias idealised this type in his Athena Promachos. But it does
not seem to be very ancient. Probably Athens, like Troy, had possessed
an earlier seated Pallas, upon whose knees the women laid their
embroidered “peplos.” Nothing in art or ritual need make us doubt that
Pallas Athene was far from aboriginal in Athens, that she came in with
the Achæans, and that it was not until Athens became a real city-state,
with

[Illustration: PLATE XXVI. ATHENA POLIAS: BRONZE

_English Photo Co., Athens_]

civic worship of an idealised type, that the great vogue of the Virgin
began on the Acropolis.


TYRANNY AND CULTURE

All this time art has been slowly reviving. Lyric poetry and music had
found a patroness in the advancing city of Sparta. The Heroic and
Olympian cults which were fostered by the epic poets and by the
influence of the Delphic oracle undoubtedly gave an impetus to art,
partly by requiring temples and temple statues, and partly by fixing
certain artistic types for the principal deities. Even the potter,
though he is still where we left him in the Dipylon and Geometric styles
of ornament, begins to depict the heroic mythology, and to evolve types
which can be imitated and improved. This fixing of types or motives was
essential to the progress of ancient art. The Greek sculptor does not
carve a statue, as novel and original as possible, to send to an
exhibition of art. He is commissioned to make, we will say, an Athena;
in that case he has to express the armour, the ægis, the owl, perhaps
the snake. He tries, indeed, to make the goddess as lovely and strong
and benignant as he can. Perhaps he is allowed to choose between the
Polias type or the seated statue, but in any case the type is fixed for
him. Or he may be asked to make an athlete statue; in that case he will
have to carve a nude male figure as physically perfect as possible, in
an athletic attitude. He will not be asked, yet, to portray accidental
facts, such as the lineaments of the particular man the statue is to
honour. That is how, by concentrating on a limited number of motives,
Greek art succeeded in a few generations in approaching so near to
perfection.

Show me the patron, and I will show you the style of art which will
prevail. The horse-riding aristocracies of Northern ancestry, who
prevailed everywhere in Greece in the eighth century, cared little for
art. Poetry they could enjoy, if it sang the praises of their ancestors,
or if it cheered them at their cups. Hence the popularity of Homer and
the Homeridæ and Hesiod on the one hand, of Archilochus, Simonides, and
Alcman on the other. But these little “Basileis” were not kings enough
to keep courts where art could flourish without starving, and as yet
there were few cities great enough to supply the want of a patron. Once
more we must look to politics if we wish to understand the revival of
art.

The little states of old, with their natural citadels, provided a
splendid opportunity for any ambitious and unscrupulous person who
wished to make himself tyrant. All you had to do was to stand forth as
champion of the oppressed “demos” against the oppressive aristocracy,
declare that your life was in danger, acquire a bodyguard of a few score
stout knaves armed with spears, or even cudgels, then seize the citadel,
and, if you had not forgotten provisions, there you were. It was a
simple trick that was tried again and again in Greek history, and it
nearly always succeeded. For example, at Corinth there was a singularly
offensive aristocracy called Bacchiads. One of them had a deformed
daughter who was permitted to marry beneath her. Her son, Cypselus, was
not received in Bacchiad circles; he felt aggrieved, and he adopted the
programme I have indicated. He founded a little dynasty which lasted
more than seventy years, until it was put down by the Spartans in 581
B.C. The same thing had happened a little earlier at Sicyon; it was
repeated at Megara a little later, and at Epidaurus. At Athens the first
attempt by Cylon, about 621, failed; at Miletus a similar attempt
succeeded. In the sixth century tyranny broke out everywhere in Sicily.
In 560 Athens followed suit with the tyranny of Peisistratus. Polycrates
of Samos comes about thirty years later. Thus many states in Greece went
through the tyrannical phase about this time.

Although the Greeks, to their eternal honour, ever afterwards detested
the name of tyrant, and although they tried to expunge the benefits they
owed to them from the tablets of their history, yet we can see that
tyranny was a valuable, almost a necessary, stage in the progress of the
Greek state. Anything is better than aristocracy of the Bacchiad type:
even

[Illustration: Plate 27.--Corinthian Vases.]

a tyrant has the merit of possessing a single throat. As a matter of
fact, most of the Greek tyrants, with the exception of Phalaris of
Acragas, who had a habit of roasting his subjects in a brazen bull, were
intelligent and not oppressive rulers. They were able to form a
consistent foreign policy, which is always the strong point of
autocracies, to found colonies, acquire empires, form alliances, and
marry their neighbours’ daughters. We hear of tyrants having relations
with Egypt and Lydia, and importing copper from Spain. At home they
policed their cities and made them appreciate the benefits of order.
Above all, no doubt from sordid motives, they encouraged commerce. The
flourishing commerce of Minoan days had ceased with the end of the
thalassocracy. Piracy had become rife on the Ægean, as we see in Homer,
where no visitor thinks it impolite to be asked whether he is or is not
a pirate. For art and literature, here at last were the patrons. It is
under the tyrants of the late seventh and sixth centuries that the art
revival begins.

[Illustration: Coin of Corinth. Sixth century]

Corinth, with her mighty natural fortress, more than a mile in circuit
and 1800 feet high, her two seas and her command over a narrow isthmus,
was admirably situated for commerce. She was one of the earliest states
to develop a tyranny, to found an empire, and to revive the arts. Her
colonies were mostly towards the west, and in Corcyra she had a valuable
stepping-stone for Sicily and Italy. It is at Corinth that a new type of
vase-painting appears early in the sixth century. It is very obvious
that the motive was still derived from textile art, probably from
Assyrian embroidery. The result, with its rich purples, is very pleasing
from a decorative point of view, though the actual scenes and ornaments
are unmeaning, and therefore un-Greek.[32] The coin types of Corinth in
the sixth century are already beautiful designs. It was Cypselus, tyrant
of Corinth, who dedicated at Olympia that famous chest of which we have
spoken, with its parallel bands of mythological scenes. Periander, his
son, was originally one of the Seven Sages, though Plato wanted to cast
him out for a tyrant. The name of the third, Psammetichus, proves the
close intercourse of Corinth with Egypt. It was Corinth under her
tyrants that evolved a new poetical form, the dithyramb, and that first
erected a Doric temple in Greece proper. This grave and splendid style
of architecture was very probably based upon Egyptian models, but with
characteristically Greek modifications. The earliest Greek temples seem
to have been of wood and sun-baked brick. Such originally was the temple
of Hera at Olympia, but as the wooden columns fell down one by one they
were replaced with stone. In many features of Doric architecture it is
possible to trace development from wooden technique. The whole roofing
system is one of joists and beams, even when the roof is of stone. The
triglyphs are the ends of the beams, translated into stone. The metopes
were originally left open, then filled with terra-cotta reliefs, and
finally with slabs of stone carved in high relief. In the earliest Doric
temples the columns are very thick and heavy and the intercolumnar
spaces very narrow. These things indicate that the architect had not yet
fully realised the superior strength of stone. An ignorant or hasty
glance might suggest that there was no progress in Greek architecture,
but the close observer sees how the succeeding generations of architects
continued to make subtle improvements, rendering the shafts more
graceful, the mouldings more refined in their curves, correcting most
cunningly the optical illusions of a straight row of tall columns,
improving the lighting arrangements, improving the masonry, substituting
stone for wood and precious marble for stone, adding ornament where it
was appropriate, as on the frieze inside the peristyle, rejecting it
where it was unsuitable, as on the architrave, which, being a main beam,
_ought_ to look heavy and strong, reaching forward, in fact, to the
_telos_, the ultimate end of the type which his predecessors had set
him. That is the Greek way. The Parthenon is the goal at which this old
temple of Corinth had been aiming.

[Illustration:

DORIC STYLE

IONIC STYLE]

Seven columns of the Corinthian temple[33] have stood through the Roman
destruction of Corinth and all the subsequent batterings of history.
Their antiquity is shown by their clumsy strength. The height of the
columns is only about four times the diameter of the base. Each column
is a monolith of rough limestone covered with stucco and painted, in
height 23½ feet, in diameter tapering rather sharply from the base (5
feet 8 inches) to the top (4 feet 3 inches). The temple was
peripteral--_i.e._ it had a colonnade all round the nave, six columns at
each end, fifteen on each side. Already there is an attempt to correct
the optical illusion which makes horizontal lines seem to sink in the
middle and vertical lines seem to bulge outwards, the stylobate, or
floor from which the columns rise, being slightly curved, so that the
centre columns stand about 2 centimetres higher than those on the wing.
The interior building consists of two oblong chambers back to back,
without communication between them. The side walls are prolonged at each
end so as to form wings, and between each pair of wings stood two
columns “in antis.” Thus there is a porch at each end under the
colonnade. From the existence of the two separate chambers we conclude
either that the temple united two distinct cults, or that one of the
chambers was a treasury, for temples in Greece were always used as
banks. I have gone into some detail in describing this building, because
it is probably the oldest Doric temple in Greece, except the old wooden
Heræum at Olympia. Roof-tiles, which made a sloping roof possible, were
said to be an actual Corinthian invention. The Corinthian colony of
Corcyra (Corfu) can boast a similar temple about fifty years later (?
600 B.C.).

It was under these Cypselid tyrants that Corinth began to acquire her
historical character of a luxurious, sensual, and cosmopolitan city.
Aphrodite, as she was worshipped at Corinth, was none other than
“Ashtaroth, the abomination of the Sidonians,” and was imported along
with the Tyrian purple from Phœnicia. She had a famous temple on the
citadel of Corinth, which was thronged by her sacred slaves, the
courtesans. Their numbers grew to more than a thousand, and they were a
notorious snare to the commercial travellers of antiquity. You had to be
a rich man to visit Corinth, as the proverb said:

    οὐ παντὸς ἀνδρὸς ἐς Κόρινθον ἔσθ’ ὁ πλοῦς

    “non cuivis homini contingit adire Corinthum.”

That this immoral state of affairs began under the tyrants we can be
sure, though Periander is said to have collected all the procuresses he
could find and drowned them in the sea. Pindar delicately sings of “the
hospitable damsels, ministers

[Illustration: PLATE XXVIII. OLD TEMPLE AT CORINTH

_English Photo Co., Athens_]

of Persuasion in wealthy Corinth.” And we are told that when the
Persians invaded Greece the courtesans flocked to the temple of
Aphrodite to pray for the deliverance of the land. In gratitude for
their patriotism bronze statues of them were erected, with an epigram by
Simonides. Lais, the most celebrated of all these erring females,
belongs to the time of the Peloponnesian war, though there would appear
to have been others who adopted her famous name. The other Greeks were
apt to speak of Corinth in much the same tone as a modern Englishman or
German speaks of Paris. The wealth of Cypselus is proved by his
dedication of a colossal gold (or gilt) statue of Zeus at Olympia.
Periander cut a canal through the promontory of Leucas, and projected
another through the isthmus of Corinth.

One of the tyrants of Sicyon won the chariot race at Olympia, and
dedicated two large model shrines of Spanish bronze. But Cleisthenes was
the most celebrated for his luxurious court, for his hostility to Argos,
which made him forbid the recital of Homer at Sicyon because it honoured
the Argives, and for the wooing of his daughter Agariste. Cleisthenes
had issued a general invitation to any one who wished to marry her to
come to his court, offering them hospitality for a year. All the rich
young gentlemen of Greece assembled. For a whole year Cleisthenes tested
their accomplishments. By that time two Athenians were the favourites,
Megacles, of the famous Alcmæonid family, and Hippocleides, who had the
most charming social graces in the world. At last came the final day of
decision. Hippocleides braced himself for a great effort. There had been
a banquet, and perhaps Hippocleides had poured too many libations to
Dionysus. After dinner the flute-players struck up, and Hippocleides
began to dance. Let Herodotus continue the story: “And he danced,
probably, for the pleasure of dancing; but Cleisthenes, looking on,
began to have suspicion about it all. Then Hippocleides, after a short
rest, ordered a slave to bring in a table: when it came, he began to
dance on it, first Laconian figures and then Attic ones; finally he
stood on his head on the table” (this was perhaps an old ritual dance)
“and gesticulated with his legs. But Cleisthenes, when he danced the
first and second time, revolted from the idea of Hippocleides as a
son-in-law on account of his indecorous dancing, yet he restrained
himself, not wishing to make a scene. But when he saw him gesticulating
with his legs he could not restrain himself any longer. ‘O son of
Tisander,’ he cried, ‘you have danced away your marriage.’ But
Hippocleides answered: ‘Hippocleides doesn’t, care!’ Hence this answer
became a proverb.” So Megacles married the lady, and lived happily ever
afterwards, becoming the ancestor of Pericles, while Hippocleides
probably took to drink and went to the bad altogether. But of this
Herodotus does not inform us.

The tyranny at Megara was a brief one, but we know that Theagenes built
an aqueduct for his city and made it a serious commercial rival to
Athens.

At Athens Peisistratus stood forth as champion of the poor shepherds of
the Hill against the wealthier parties of the Coast and the Plain. He
succeeded where Cylon had failed in gaining command of the Acropolis
with his bodyguard. Twice the Athenians managed to expel him, but each
time he got back, the first time by dressing up a tall and handsome
woman as the goddess Athena and driving into the city with her, and the
second time by hiring a contingent of horsemen from Eretria, with money
which he had obtained by prudent operations in the goldfields of Thrace.
From first to last he and his sons were in power from 560 to 510. It is
difficult to estimate his services to Athens, for later generations did
their utmost to deny and conceal them, giving some of his achievements
to Solon and some to Theseus, and some even to Erechtheus. He founded an
early Athenian empire. He won the island of Salamis from Megara, and
until she possessed Salamis Athens had no open road to the sea. Later
Athenians ascribed this feat to Solon. He regained Sigeum, on the Troad,
after a war with Mitylene. He established the elder Miltiades as tyrant
of the Thracian Chersonese. In these movements his policy was obviously
to open up trade with the Black Sea, the granary of Greece. He extended
olive-culture in Attica. He probably began to work the silver-mines at
Laurium, which were thenceforth the principal source of Athenian
revenue. He made the unfree tillers of the soil into peasant proprietors
by confiscating the estates of his noble opponents. He was allied with
Sparta and Argos, Thebes and Thessaly and Naxos. He introduced a police
armed with bows into the city of Athens.

He probably did much of what Theseus is supposed to have done in
synœcising Athens--that is, transforming Attica from a number of
villages with a capital into a city-state with surrounding territory. We
know that he sent judges on circuit round the country demes. The other
indications are that Peisistratus pulled down the city wall in order
that she might be able to expand, that he constructed a proper
water-supply, and that he fostered the worship of the Olympian or city
deities. At the same time he fostered agriculture, and tried to get the
poor of Athens back to the land. As he had owed his return to Athena, he
signalised his gratitude by surrounding the old temple of Athena Polias
with a marble peristyle and sculptures. Some of the sculptures of this
period are preserved on the Acropolis of Athens. They were generally
carved of the softer _porus_ or rough limestone, and freely adorned with
colour. But the decorations of Peisistratus’ temple are of Parian
marble. Heracles and his labours seem to have been preferred to Theseus
as a subject for representation. On the plain below the Acropolis
Peisistratus began a temple to Olympian Zeus on so huge a scale that
republican Athens was unable to complete it until the Emperor Hadrian
brought his immense resources into play.

But Peisistratus did more than building for religion. He may fairly be
called the founder of the State cults of Athens. He founded the Greater
Panathenæa, as the symbol of union for Attica. This was a most solemn
yearly procession of all the people, to carry up a new embroidered robe
as a gift to the Virgin Goddess on the Acropolis. That is the scene
depicted on the frieze of the Parthenon which is now the chief glory of
the British Museum. Later Athenians, of course, ascribed the Panathenæa
to Theseus or Erechtheus. Along with the procession there were athletic
games and sacrifices. And the prizes in the games were those fine big
oil-jars, the Panathenaic amphoræ, of which we have a long series
preserved.[34] This gave a great impulse to pottery. It is about now
that we begin the black-figured type of vase, in which the figures are
painted with a lustrous black glaze on the rich brown of the
earthenware.

Peisistratus greatly encouraged the idea of Athens as the leading member
of the Ionic States of Greece. Up to this time great Ionian cities like
Miletus and Ephesus had been far ahead of Athens in wealth and
civilisation. It is hard to say how Peisistratus persuaded them that
Athens was in some sort their mother city unless such was the fact. He
inaugurated the solemn purification of Delos, by removing the dead from
the island. Henceforth the Apollo of Delos was to share with the
Poseidon of Mycale the patronage of Ionia. Both at the Panionic
festivals of Delos and the Panathenaic festivals at Athens the solemn
recitation of Homer formed an important part of the proceedings. It was
Peisistratus who caused an authorised version of Homer to be prepared at
Athens. Certain portions were selected and edited. Thus at length Homer
became a fixed canon.

Another festival instituted by Peisistratus led to important literary
results. This was the Great Dionysia. Dionysus was a late-comer in
Olympian mythology, probably from Thrace. As the god of wine, his coming
had to face some opposition from the temperance party, but like a god he
triumphed. It was at the Dionysia that, as we shall see, the Athenian
drama took its rise as a service of worship to the god.

Literature found a whole-hearted patron in the great

[Illustration:

1. CORINTHIAN VASE.
2. RED-FIGURED VASE.
3. BLACK-FIGURED VASE.
4. WHITE POLYCHROME VASE.]

tyrant’s younger son Hipparchus. At his court were, among others,
Simonides, Anacreon, and Onomacritus. Simonides of Ceos is specially
associated with the dithyramb, the chorus in honour of Dionysus, which
played a great part in the development of the chorus of tragedy. He was
also a composer of odes of victory for successful athletes, though here
his fame was eclipsed by his younger rival Pindar. But it is chiefly as
a writer of elegies and epitaphs and epigrams that his fame survives.
Every one knows that epitaph he wrote on Leonidas and his Three Hundred
Spartans at Thermopylæ.

    “Go tell at Sparta, thou that passest by,
     That here, obedient to her word, we lie.”

His fine ode on the same subject is still extant. Anacreon is known even
to the “general reader,” through Byron:

    “Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!
       We will not think of themes like these!
     It made Anacreon’s song divine,
       He served--but served Polycrates--
     A tyrant; but our masters then
     Were still, at least, our countrymen.”

Anacreon’s main business was, as our poet suggests, the writing of
banquet songs on love and wine. It is rather melancholy to reflect that
his anacreontics were composed--according to his own prescription--on
ten parts of water to five of wine; but all the ancients watered their
liquor. How closely tyranny is to be associated with the revival of
culture is proved by the careers of these two poets. Anacreon passed
from the court of Polycrates, tyrant of Samos, to Hipparchus, one of the
tyrants of Athens. When he fell Anacreon went to the still more
brilliant court of Hiero, tyrant of Syracuse. Simonides went with him,
and there they were joined by Bacchylides, Pindar, and Æschylus.

Onomacritus was a strange person. It seems that Hipparchus had a hobby
of collecting oracles, and had commissioned Onomacritus to edit a famous
collection of poetical prophecies by Musæus, a half-mythical bard.
Onomacritus was detected inserting some of his own compositions, and
very properly expelled for a forger. If all the historical forgers of
this period had been detected the modern historian’s lot would be a
happier one.

One monument of this period is of especial interest, the _stēlē_ or
gravestone of Aristion.[35] It is a bas-relief, once adorned with
colour, of a warrior in armour with a long spear in his hand. It is not
likely that any attempt was made at a portrait of the deceased. As the
_stēlē_ was found at Peisistratus’ birthplace it has been suggested that
this may be that very Aristion who proposed the decree which gave the
tyrant his bodyguard. It certainly belongs to the right period of art,
but Aristion was a common name; and is it likely that a record of such a
man would have been permitted to survive?

It was the custom after dinner at Athens to pass round the harp, and for
each guest as it came to him either to improvise a verse or to cap his
neighbour’s impromptu or to sing a stave of some famous song. The most
popular of all these “skolia” was “The Myrtle Bough.” One version of it
runs:

    “I will wear my sword in a myrtle bough,
     Like Harmodius and Aristogeiton
     When they killed the tyrant
     And made Athens free.

    “Dearest Harmodius, thou art not yet dead.
     They say thou art in the Isles of the Blessed,
     Where dwells Achilles swift of foot
     And Diomede, Tydeus’ son.

    “I will wear my sword in a myrtle bough,
     Like Harmodius and Aristogeiton
     When at the sacrifice of Athena
     They killed Hipparchus the tyrant lord.

    “Everlasting shall be your glory upon earth,
     Dearest Harmodius and Aristogeiton,
     For that ye killed the tyrant
     And set Athens free.”

[Illustration:

_English Photo Co., Athens_

FIG. 1. STELE OF ARISTION

_Alinari_

FIG. 2. HARMODIUS

PLATE XXIX]

Right down in the days of Demosthenes, nearly two hundred years later,
these two men were still mentioned in most of the public decrees,
because immunities had been granted to their descendants for ever. They
are the only private individuals who had statues erected to them for
more than a hundred years. All this extraordinary honour was theirs
because they had killed a tyrant.

Although we can see the blessings that the tyrants of Greece had brought
to their cities, it is to the credit of the Greeks that they could not.
They much preferred to govern themselves badly than to be governed ever
so efficiently by some one else. A tyrant might give them wealth, peace,
culture, and happiness, but no Greek ever lost sight of the tyrant’s
_telos_, or goal. The tyrant governed, as Aristotle says, “for his own
advantage, not that of his subjects.” Hence their execration of tyranny
and the extraordinary honour they paid to tyrannicides. Such a sentiment
has had an enormous influence in history. The Greeks taught it in their
schools, their orators embroidered the theme, the Roman schoolboys
learnt declamations against tyrants from their Greek teachers of
rhetoric, until finally this old legend of Harmodius and Aristogeiton
whetted the daggers of Brutus and Cassius against Cæsar.

It was a legend, I am afraid. The Athenian tyranny was put down by a
Spartan army persuaded by a bribed oracle at the bidding of the
Alcmæonids. All that Harmodius and Aristogeiton had done was to kill
Hipparchus, the younger brother of Hippias, by surprise, as he was
marshalling the Panathenaic procession. Apparently, too, the motive was
merely a love affair of a kind that we consider disreputable; but that
only added the necessary touch of romance to the story. No ancient
historian supports the belief of the common folk at Athens that
Harmodius and Aristogeiton had set Athens free.

This story provided the subject of one of the most famous of archaic
statues, the “Harmodius and Aristogeiton” of Antenor. It was carried
off by Xerxes to Persia when he sacked Athens in 480, but returned
eventually by Antiochus the Great. Meanwhile two other sculptors had
been set to reproduce Antenor’s group. It is probably this reproduction
from which our many copies have been made. We have them on coins, on
vases, on a marble throne, and above all in two separate statues in the
Naples Museum, where unfortunately Aristogeiton, who should have been
the bearded elder, has been degraded by the addition of one of the
pretty curly-haired heads of the fourth or third century. But the
Harmodius is a fine type of archaic work, even though it has been freely
restored and is of course only a copy. We note how much more successful
is the body than the head. But uncouth as the head is it is full of
dignity and virility.[36]

From Aristophanes it would appear that it was the mark of a jingo
democrat at Athens to sing “the Harmodius” on every possible occasion.

Hippias, as I have said, was expelled by the machinations of the
Alcmæonids and the strong arm of Sparta in 510 B.C. It was the Alcmæonid
Cleisthenes who was called upon to draw up a new constitution. After
emerging from the tyrannical stage all the Greek states developed a
republic, either oligarchical or democratic. In the oligarchic type the
citizenship was confined to a few hundreds of the richer citizens and
the actual government was carried on by a small council of ten or
fifteen members. This was the normal type of Greek government. The
democracy of Athens was unique. All Greek states had inherited from the
earliest times the public meeting in the market-place as one of the
rights of citizenship. At Athens eventually all administrative decrees
were made at this Assembly, or Ecclesia, without any revision
whatsoever, and all adult male citizens could attend and speak if they
chose. It amounted to government by mass meeting. It was, of course, an
ignorant, fickle, excitable body, especially in conducting a war or a
piece of foreign policy. But it was a wonderful instrument of
education, and it gave the Athenian citizen that sense of direct
participation in the affairs of his state which alone could satisfy the
political aspirations of a Greek. Who shall call it a failure because it
bungled a war and an empire, if it made Athens the eye of the world for
ever and ever? Cleisthenes set up a Council of five hundred members,
fifty elected from each of his new ten tribes, but that was only a
committee to prepare business for the Assembly. Also there still
remained the old patrician council of notables, now chiefly consisting
of ex-magistrates, who met upon the Areian Hill and were called the
Council of the Areopagus. These had the guardianship of the laws,
amounting probably to a veto upon the Assembly’s proceedings, and a
general censorship over morals. They were also the highest criminal
court for cases of blood-guilt--a solemn and awful tribunal. Consisting
of ex-officials, they naturally had great influence over the merely
annual magistrates, or _archons_; and, in fact, as we have recently
learnt from Aristotle, they managed most things in Athens until after
the Persian wars. The chief executive magistrates were still the nine
annual _archons_, still chosen by popular election. With his new ten
tribes Cleisthenes instituted ten _strategoi_, or generals, to lead them
under command of the War Archon. The ten tribes were so grouped as to
prevent any recurrence of the local factions which had enabled
Peisistratus to rise. And Cleisthenes devised the ingenious system
called ostracism, by which any unpopular statesman who had a certain
number of votes cast against him was sent into polite and honourable
banishment. It was generally the leader of the Opposition who suffered
this fate, and such was the intention. Though Greek democracy inevitably
developed a party system, it was never recognised. Opposition was
considered treachery to the state, as, indeed, it generally was.

Such in general was the constitution under which Athens rose to glory.
It was modified, as we shall see, in a democratic direction by
Pericles. As yet it can hardly, with its powerful Areopagus and elective
magistrates, be called a democracy. But it tends that way, and the
course before it is plain. Cleisthenes has lost much of the credit due
to him in the process which has assigned superhuman wisdom to Solon. He,
with Pericles, is the father of the Athenian democracy.


IONIA

At this time, when the mainland cities of Greece were beginning to
revive the old Ægean culture under changed conditions, their kinsmen
across the sea on both sides had gone in advance of them in
civilisation. Why this was so it is hard to say--impossible, on the old
theory that all these great cities from Miletus to Sybaris were merely
colonies of Athens or Corinth or poor little Megara. But if it be true
that one and the same gifted race had dwelt from Neolithic times on the
coasts of the Eastern Mediterranean, then it is quite natural that the
cities furthest removed from the main focus of Northern invasion should
be the first to recover from the turmoil of the Dark Ages caused by the
coming of Achæans and Dorians. The Ionians at any rate bear all the
characteristics that we should expect from the kinsfolk of those
pre-Achæan peoples without the Northern stiffening. They are
intelligent, artistic, commercial, without any military virtues to speak
of. They tend towards naturalistic deities like the Diana of Ephesus,
and they scoff at the Olympian system. Their patron god is the sea-god.
No deep gulf, such as that of race, separates them from the Lydian and
Carian peoples behind them. Moreover, we can find the period and the
political motive when the legends of their foundation from Athens first
came into vogue. In the East “Javan” was the collective name for the
Greeks.

In the eighth, seventh, and sixth centuries cities like Miletus,
Ephesus, and Mitylene on Lesbos were the greatest cities of the Greek
world, in size, riches, and culture. They in their turn were sending
colonies into the Black Sea, to tap its rich corn-growing and
wool-producing regions. We have seen something of the wisdom of Thales,
and we must allow our imaginations to suggest what a vast amount of
preliminary knowledge and culture is required before a man can calculate
an eclipse. It is likely that this learning came in the merchant ships
from Egypt. We have seen also what a great part Ionia played in the
development (if not the authorship) of the Homeric epics. It is here too
that lyric poetry reaches its apotheosis. We have agreed, I hope, that
the epic did not come into being out of the void, but that there must
have been songs before there were long poems. Hence we are not driven to
the extravagant assumption that Sappho and Alcæus were beginners at
their trade.

The great lyric period of the seventh and sixth centuries belongs
politically to an era of aristocracies and tyrannies. The aristocracies
here were composed, not of farmers, as at Athens, nor of
warrior-knights, as at Sparta, but of merchant princes who have always
proved lavish patrons of a certain kind of art and literature. Most of
the great poets seem to have been members of the aristocracy.

Sappho is a remarkable figure in the history of literature, the only
woman who has ever reached the front rank among poets. We have of her
only a few score lines of broken fragments, only two poems that exceed
ten lines, and not one of thirty. Yet even from these ruined remnants we
can feel across the ages the vital throb of her passion, speaking in
music of altogether unequalled beauty. It is impossible to describe the
emotion which scholars and poets of all ages have felt when they first
stumbled upon

    “Immortal Aphrodite of the starry throne,
     Daughter of God, weaver of guile, I beseech thee
     Neither to disgust nor to distress subdue,
     Lady, my heart....”

Or the broken marriage chorus:

    MAIDENS

    “Like the sweet apple blushing on the topmost twig,
     Top of the topmost, which the gatherers forgot.
     Forgot? Nay, but they could not reach to it.

    YOUTHS

    “Like the hyacinth on the hills which the shepherd swains
     Tread underfoot, and down to the earth the bright flower....”

But translation inevitably spoils the fragrance, as even Rossetti and
Swinburne have found. It is of Sappho that Swinburne writes in her own
metre:

    “Ah the singing, ah the delight, the passion!
     All the Loves wept, listening; sick with anguish
     Stood the crowned nine Muses about Apollo;
         Fear was upon them,
     While the tenth sang wonderful things they knew not.
     Ah the tenth, the Lesbian! the nine were silent,
     None endured the sound of her song for weeping;
         Laurel by laurel
     Faded all their crowns; but about her forehead,
     Round her woven tresses and ashen temples,
     White as dead snow, paler than grass in summer,
         Ravaged with kisses,
     Shone a light of fire as a crown for ever.
     Yea, almost the implacable Aphrodite
     Paused, and almost wept; such a song was that song....”

The fertile and prurient invention of late Greek scholarship have given
this sublime poetess a biography which is as false as it is unpleasant.
From her own works, however, we can gather some interesting details. She
belonged to the governing aristocracy of Lesbos, and, for a time at
least, went into exile with it. The women of Lesbos seem to have formed
rival salons of literary culture, and Sappho herself was the head of
one. There was a good deal of jealousy between them. Strangely, the most
ardent of her verse is addressed to one of her own sex, and since it
cannot be true that she is only writing the amatory language of male
poets, we must conclude that the women of Ionia imitated the men in that
strange passion which ignored sex. To contradict the celebrated fable of
her dramatic suicide from a cliff in consequence of an unrequited love,
we have a fragment of her message to her daughter from a calm deathbed:

    “ ... For it is not right that in a house the Muses haunt
     Mourning should dwell: such things befit us not.”

We cannot lightly dismiss as mere gossip the story of tender feeling, or
at any rate tender expressions, between Sappho and Alcæus. They were
contemporary love-poets of the same city. Sappho sometimes used the
alcaic measure, and Alcæus the sapphic. Besides, we have it on the
authority of Aristotle. One line of Alcæus to Sappho is preserved:

    “Sappho, pure sweet-smiling weaver of violets.”

Alcæus too was a member of the Lesbian aristocracy. He alludes to a
short-lived tyranny which was ended by the appointment of a
constitutional tyrant or dictator, the wise and generous Pittacus. In
the course of these disturbances Alcæus went into exile--among other
places, we should note, to Egypt--while his brother took service under
the King of Babylon. Such were the cosmopolitan relations of this
period. The poet also fought for his country against the Athenians in
the struggle for Sigeum, and humorously records the fact that he lost
his shield in the rout. Such a loss was the regular mark of defeat, and
generally regarded as a brand of ignominy to a soldier. But the Ionians
took nothing seriously, not even war. It is strangely illustrative of
the prevalence of types in Greek art that many lyric poets lost their
shields in battle--Alcæus, Archilochus, and Anacreon--while the Roman
Horace was too careful an imitator of the Greek lyric tradition to
neglect their example in this respect. The poetry of Alcæus falls into
two classes--banquet-songs in praise of love and wine, and political
songs attacking his enemies. He too chiefly survives in fragments like

    “Wine is the mirror to mortals....”

    “Wine, dear child, and Truth....”

Though there is not the fire of Sappho in his work, it is singularly
artistic, polished, and rich in the language of pure poetry. For the
rest we must be content to admit his great reputation in antiquity and
to enjoy him through the medium of Horace’s Latin.

These two great poets, who both flourished about 600 B.C., their
predecessors Archilochus, Arion, Callinus, and Terpander, and their
successors of the next generation Anacreon and Simonides, are the best
representatives of the early culture of Ionia. To complete the picture
we must remember her philosophers. Besides Thales and Bias, the two
Sages (Bias, by the way, is credited with having proposed that the
Ionians should leave their homes _en masse_ and found a united state in
the west), there were students of natural philosophy like Anaximander,
who made the first map and the first sundial and explained the evolution
of life from chaos by the interaction of heat and cold, Heracleitus of
Ephesus, “the weeping philosopher,” or Hecatæus of Miletus, the
grandfather of history and geography. Hecatæus first explained away the
gods as only deified mortals of past ages, a doctrine afterwards called
Euhemerism. This was the Ionian attitude of scepticism which doubtless
is to be discerned in Homer’s attitude to the gods. Even Sappho, the
worshipper of Aphrodite, says in one fragmentary line:

    “I know not what the gods are: two notions have I....”

Language is the easiest medium for art. We must not be surprised to find
this high poetic and philosophic standard accompanied chronologically by
plastic work, still to be called archaic, which shows the artist
painfully struggling with his

[Illustration:

_Mansell & Co._

Fig. 1. SCULPTURED COLUMN FROM THE OLD TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS AT EPHESUS

_Mansell & Co._

FIG. 2. RELIEF FROM THE HARPY TOMB, NORTH SIDE

PLATE XXX]

material. Though Miletus was already growing rich with commerce the
Ionian coin types are still very primitive. It is generally believed
that coinage was invented by the Lydians in the seventh century, but for
a long time the marks upon their coins were only mechanical impressions.
One of the earliest attempts at an artistic motive is the coin found at
Halicarnassus bearing a stag and an inscription which seems to mean “I
am the mark of Phanes.” We know of a Phanes at Halicarnassus late in the
sixth century, but this must be the token of an ancestor of his. Most of
these coins are of electrum, a natural mixture of gold and silver.

[Illustration: Coin of Phanes]

Of the sculpture of this region we must be content with two examples.
One is the so-called Harpy Tomb from Xanthus, in Lycia.[37] It shows us
the “harpies” conceived as angels of death--by no means malignant, as
the harpies afterwards became--carrying away the dead. Perhaps it would
be better to call them Kēres, or Fates. In the centre of this north side
is the dead warrior yielding up his helmet to Hades. On the west side
the Queen of the Dead (Persephone) sits in majesty. Over the door is the
common heraldic motive of the suckling goat, and to the right of her
three worshippers bring offerings of poppies and sesame to another
seated goddess. Archæologists date this monument in the latter half of
the sixth century.

The other is the sculptured column from the temple at Ephesus.[38] Great
interest attaches to this work from the inscription, which tells us that
it was set up by King Crœsus of Lydia. This famous monarch was in power
from 560 to 546 B.C. Himself half a Greek, with strong Hellenic
sympathies and in close relation to the Delphic oracle, his growing
power was overcoming and absorbing the independent cities of Ionia, who
made no very violent resistance. But he himself had to face a still
greater power then swallowing up the ancient kingdoms of the East--Cyrus
of the Medes and Persians. Crœsus lost a great battle, and died, as
ostentatiously as he had lived, on a splendid funeral pyre. The Greeks
loved to invent stories about this plutocratic potentate, all
illustrating one of their favourite maxims against pride, “Call no man
happy until he is dead.” In defiance of chronology edifying interviews
were composed between him and Solon. It is clear that the Greeks were
tremendously impressed by his magnificent life and dramatic end. The
fall of the Lydian power brought the Greeks face to face with Persia,
and upon the issue of that momentous conflict hung the destinies of
European civilisation.

On purely æsthetic grounds I prefer to illustrate this section with a
picture which, one fears, chronologically belongs to a period at least
two generations later. But the spirit of Sappho seems to be revealed in
it as in no other work of art. These “Reliefs from the Ludovisi
Throne”[39] were discovered in Rome with no inscription to tell us
whence or when they had been brought there. Decoratively considered,
they are superb examples of low relief. Observe how the motives are
accommodated to the triangular slabs. On one is a flute-girl playing the
double pipe. Feminine nudity is rare indeed in fifth-century work;
probably no one but an _auletris_ would have been so represented at that
date; but the topic is treated with all possible refinement and reserve.
On the other is a hooded worshipper trimming or extinguishing a lamp.
And who is the diademed goddess on the central slab? It is not the sea
from which she is rising. It can be none other than the maid,
Persephone, who spent half the year with her dark lord, Hades, under the
earth, and half with her mother, Demeter, above, and when she came
brought the spring and the flowers back with her. The rendering of the
silken garments half revealing the fine anatomy beneath is so skilful
and advanced that we are surprised to notice that the eyes are still
archaically rendered.

       *       *       *       *       *

While these lines were in the press there came news that

[Illustration: PLATE XXXI. RELIEFS FROM THE “LUDOVISI THRONE”

_Alinari_]

America had added yet another to her list of trophies captured from
Europe. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts has just acquired three more
slabs which obviously belong to the same monument, and of which, by the
courtesy of the Director, we are enabled to publish one of the earliest
photographic representations.[40] It is said that these additional slabs
had lain for years unrecognised in the hands of a collector at Lewes, in
Sussex. Whether they formed the other half of the same throne, tomb, or
altar, or whether they formed the second of a pair, the new slabs
correspond precisely in shape, subject, and treatment to the old. The
hooded figure of the old “throne” is balanced by the wonderfully
realistic old woman of the new. The nude flute-player has her
counterpart in the nude male citharist. And the long central slab is
matched by the new relief of the winged male god and the two seated
females.

As for the style, it is obviously identical; there is the same
remarkable mixture of archaic imperfection in the delineation of heads
and faces, with finished and confident mastery in the technique of
relief. The architectural ornament, the carving of the nude bodies, the
treatment of the wings and of the drapery, is as advanced as that of the
Parthenon sculptures. Yet the archaic smile of the faces, the carving of
the eyes, the imperfect setting of a head in profile upon a body
full-face recalls the early Æginetan sculptures and the metopes of
Selinus. We must, I suppose, date this work in the period between
Marathon and Salamis, or a very little later. Even so, there is nothing
even on vase-paintings to match the nude bodies or the winged god for
half a century to come.

The subjects are equally puzzling. In the long slab the male god must be
Love, or (as I rather think) Death. The holes in the marble indicate
where the bronze balances he was holding were attached. The two female
figures obviously indicate Joy and Sorrow. The god is smiling and the
balance is inclined towards Joy. Close by the knees of the two women
are mysterious objects of marble which seemed to hang from the scales
and actually supported them. On each is a nude male figure with hands
raised above the head as if in act to strike with the sword. The
architectural scrolls which support this and the corresponding single
figures of the new slabs seem to me to indicate a ship, especially as
there is a dolphin, the regular symbol of sea, under one of them. In
other corners there are pomegranates, a fruit associated with the
underworld.

Mythological interpretation will no doubt attempt to bring these scenes
into relation with the famous Homeric simile of the scales in connection
with the fate of Hector. But that is highly unsatisfying. To my eyes the
whole series bears reference to Death. The Winged God of Death reappears
on Athenian funeral lecythi of a later date. The figure of Sorrow may be
matched by a marble statue found at Eleusis. The musicians have the sad
or pensive faces of dirge-players. The rising Persephone is the heroine
of the Eleusinian myth of immortality. The old woman may be Fate, and
her younger counterpart is surely trimming the lamp for the journey. In
brief, I would hazard the opinion that the whole monument is Eleusinian
and funereal in character, symbolical rather than mythological. Such a
character is strange indeed for the period to which the art seems to
belong, but the art itself is without any close parallel. More it would
be unbecoming to say at present; the monument is _sub judice_, and until
Professor Studniczka has spoken--“let no dog bark.”


THE WEST

Wheresoever the patron is there will the poets be gathered together.
When tyrants like Polycrates and Peisistratus ceased to exist in the
East, and when the Ionian cities had fallen under the Lydian and Persian
despotisms, the courtly poets migrated with their lyres and other
luggage to Sicily and South Italy, where there were aristocracies as
elegant and tyrants as bountiful. The centres of commerce in this

[Illustration: Plate 32.--Reliefs from the “Ludovisi” Throne, now in the
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, U.S.A.]

period before Athens rose into prominence were Miletus, Corinth, Ægina,
and Sybaris, but above all the first and the last. The West was then, as
it is now, one of the greatest granaries of the world. Sicily in
particular, with its fertile volcanic soil and its equable climate, was
regarded as the original home of wheat. Milesian wool and Eastern wares
found a ready market among the Etruscans, whose tastes were Greek, as
their race originally was. Most of this traffic passed through the hands
of Sybaris. As a result Sybaris, on her soft, warm gulf, became
proverbial for wealth and effeminacy. In the early sixth century Sybaris
seems to have been larger and richer than any other State at any period
of Greek history. Her walls had a circumference of over six miles, her
population was 100,000, she kept a standing force of 5000 horsemen, and
in her last great battle is said to have put 300,000 men into the field.
But in the midst of her opulence and luxury she fell--and was destroyed
for ever, so that not a vestige was left to mark her site. It was her
neighbour and rival Croton that destroyed her. Croton was not nearly so
wealthy, but she was better organised for war. She prided herself on the
number of prizes her athletes won at Delphi and Olympia, and she was led
by the famous strong man Milo, he who

                  “Could rend an oak
    And peg thee in his knotty entrails.”

It is said that in the great battle on the river Traeis in 511 the
cavalry of Sybaris were so much better accustomed to musical drill than
to fighting that at the sound of the enemy’s fifes the Sybarite horses
began to dance! The asceticism which led to Croton’s efficiency was a
result of the teaching of Pythagoras of Samos, the great philosopher. A
strange person was Pythagoras; his philosophy largely consisted of sound
mathematics run mad on metaphysics. He attached mystical meanings to odd
and even numbers; harmony was the principle of the universe. The abiding
doctrine of his philosophy was that of metempsychosis, or the
transmigration of souls:

     “CLOWN. What is the opinion of Pythagoras concerning wild-fowl?

     “MALVOLIO. That the soul of our grandam might haply inhabit a
     bird.”

These doctrines of the immortality of the soul came, no doubt, from the
East, for Pythagoras is reported to have sojourned in Egypt and visited
Babylon. He founded a great secret society, which lived on monastic (and
of course vegetarian) principles. He had considerable influence on the
mind of Plato. His followers, banded together by mystical rites of
initiation, took to playing an important part in the politics of their
country, and fell into disrepute in consequence.

When Sybaris was destroyed some of the survivors took refuge at
Posidonium, her colony. Here, at the modern Pæsto, is one of the most
splendid relics of Doric architecture.[41]

Xenophanes of Colophon was another Ionian philosopher of the sixth
century who came to instruct the West. He was the founder of the
important Eleatic school of philosophy, teaching that God was one, and
was one with Nature. Like others of his kind, he devoted a great deal of
attention to Nature-study, especially geology. These regions also
boasted two of the most celebrated law-givers of antiquity, Zaleucus of
Western Locri, said to have been the first to put laws into writing, and
Charondas of Catane. We have seen reason to believe that the Law-givers
of Greece represent rather a conception of Greek history than a fact.
Doubtless these two sages are as historical as Solon, but there is even
less doubt that they have both been made the peg for elaborate forgeries
of some late Pythagorean philosopher, who succeeded in foisting off a
whole series of excellent moral doctrines upon their shoulders, to the
great confusion of later writers, such as Cicero and Diodorus, who
believed them to be genuine.

[Illustration: PLATE XXXIII. THE TEMPLE OF POSEIDON AT PAESTO]

Their spuriousness was conclusively demonstrated by the great Richard
Bentley.

Lyric poets too arose in Sicily and Asia Minor. Stesichorus of Himera,
who was stricken blind because he spoke ill of beautiful Helen of Troy,
and Ibycus of Rhegium, who sings with almost Sapphic fire of roses and
nightingales and Eros

    “Who shooteth his melting glance from under his shadowy eyelids.”

But most remarkable for its volume of talent is the galaxy of poets
gathered at Syracuse round the great tyrant Hiero. His wealth is
indicated by his frequent victories in the chariot-races of Greece. To
these athletic triumphs we owe not only the incomparable coin-types of
Syracuse, but the immortal victory-songs of Pindar. The eagle flights of
Pindar I have already described as indescribable. We cannot, I think,
put ourselves into the attitude of the Greeks with regard to horseraces.
Heavily as we may bet about them, we do not associate them with history
and religion. Until we do so Pindar must remain largely a stranger to
us. He is like some fairy juggler throwing up strings of jewels which
vanish when we try to grasp them. Bacchylides is a lesser, more facile
Pindar. I have mentioned that his uncle Simonides and Anacreon also
migrated to this court. Presently they were joined by a greater than
them all--the tragedian Æschylus.

As the East had powerful barbarian kingdoms to withstand, so the West
had a terrible enemy always at the gates--the Semites. These Phœnician
traders were far more powerful and aggressive in their colony of
Carthage than in the mother cities, Tyre and Sidon. Admirably organised
as a State, with able generals and highly trained mercenary troops, they
coveted the rich island of Sicily. They seem to have effected a lodgment
on the west end of the island before the Greeks came to colonise the
east and south. Thanks to the great resources of the tyrants of
Syracuse, the Greeks here were more successful in resisting the
barbarians than were the Ionians of the east. The great conflict came in
the battle of Himera, fought, according to tradition, on the same day as
Salamis, and won by Gelo, who preceded his brother Hiero on the throne
of Syracuse. This victory thrust the Phœnicians back into their corner
for nearly a century.

It is to be observed that Himera and Platæa meant far more than physical
victories. Neither Persians nor Phœnicians were in our sense barbarians;
indeed, so far as political organisation and material comfort are
concerned they were far ahead of the Greeks. It was a question which of
two civilisations, which of two spiritual and moral standpoints, should
prevail. In these victories Europe escaped out of Gomorrah with the
smell of the brimstone upon the hair of her head and the skirts of her
raiment.

The town nearest to the Carthaginians in Sicily was Selinus. The wealth
and piety of this city are indicated by the remains of eight Doric
temples, seven of which belong to the sixth and early fifth centuries.
From these come the earliest examples of temple sculpture. The earliest
is the very archaic metope[42] which shows Perseus cutting off the head
of the Gorgon, who is clinging to a small Pegasus, while Athene stands
behind to encourage the hero. The heads are full-face, while the legs
are in profile. The Gorgon is the happiest effort (she looks the
happiest of the three), because this was a recognised art type of
ugliness and terror. The other[43] here illustrated is of the early
fifth century, a little before the Olympia metopes. It represents with
great dignity and beauty the appearance of Hera to Zeus when she came in
all her finery, as related in Homer, to beguile his heart. Observe how
admirably the scene is designed to fill the space of the panel without
overcrowding.

Acragas, too, the home of the tyrant Theron, has left us ruins of a
colossal temple of an unusual design. The columns are so huge that a man
can stand inside the fluting of them.

[Illustration: PLATE XXXIV. METOPES FROM THE TEMPLE OF HERA AT SELINUS

_Alinari_

FIG. 1. PERSEUS AND GORGON

_Alinari_

FIG. 2. HERA AND ZEUS]

The most remarkable feature is the row of pillars, carved to represent
men, bearing up the heavy entablature, as the caryatids of the
Erechtheum carried their portico upon their heads. But the motive at
Acragas was to indicate the strength of the bearers and the weight of
the burden. The refined Athenian put maidens in their place, with a very
light roof to carry. It was not an idea that found much acceptance among
the Greeks, though it is rather popular with the modern
architect--witness the Hermitage Palace at Petersburg.

Of all the splendours of ancient Syracuse the best memorials are the
lofty Doric columns built into the walls of the Christian cathedral. For
Syracusan art, however, we prefer to turn to their coins.[44] It is said
that Gelo cast these first beautiful silver pieces out of the spoil
taken from the Carthaginians at Himera. The reverse always bears the
chariot, with four horses for a tetradrachm, two for a didrachm, and one
for a drachma. On the obverse is the head of the nymph Arethusa, who
presided over the sacred spring on the peninsular citadel of Syracuse
which was called Ortygia. The dolphins around the head are held to
indicate the salt sea which surrounds this fresh spring of water. If the
coin types are any proof, we may suppose that Gelo thought more of his
victories at Olympia in the chariot race than of his triumph on the
battlefield of Himera.



IV

THE GRAND CENTURY

    ὅθι παῖδες Ἀθαναίων ἐβάλοντο φαεννὰν κρηπῖδ’ ἐλευθερίας.
                            PINDAR.


THE RISE OF ATHENS

Never in all the world’s history was there such a leap of civilisation
as in Greece of the fifth century. In one town of about thirty thousand
citizens during the lifetime of a man and his father these things
occurred: a world-conquering Power was shattered for ever, a naval
empire was built up, the drama was developed to full stature, sculpture
grew from crude infancy to a height it has never yet surpassed, painting
became a fine art, architecture rose from clumsiness to the limit of its
possibilities in one direction, history was consummated as a scientific
art, the most influential of all philosophies was begotten. And all this
under no fostering despot, but in the extreme human limit of liberty,
equality, and fraternity. One Athenian family might have known
Miltiades, Themistocles, Æschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Socrates,
Pheidias, Pericles, Anaxagoras, Aristophanes, Herodotus, Thucydides,
Polygnotus, and Ictinus.

No historical cause will account for genius, no historian can predict
its coming. Some say that great literature is produced by outbursts of
national emotion, as Shakespeare was “produced” by the defeat of the
Spanish Armada (though he

[Illustration: PLATE XXXV. EARLY COINS OF SICILY AND MAGNA GRÆCIA

1. NAXOS.     2. TARENTUM.      3. CATANA.     4. SYRACUSE.]

was twenty-four when it happened) and Milton by the Puritan rebellion
(though he wrote “Comus” in 1634). Others maintain that art is the
blossom of decay. It is vain to look to politics for the real cause of
the uprising of genius. But when a whole state rises simultaneously to
an intellectual heat, at which masterpieces are thrown off almost daily,
in almost every department of human activity, we may, and must, look for
some historical and political explanation.

Peisistratus, as I have argued, had laid the foundations of Athenian
civilisation, partly by making it into a real city-state, partly by
direct encouragement of art and literature, partly by promoting
commerce, and thus opening the way to foreign influences. Then in 507
Cleisthenes and the Spartans had given Athens a free republic, with
distinctly democratic tendencies. Thus the cold domination of the
conservative, uncultured aristocracy, who had mainly been occupied in
agricultural pursuits, had lost ground, although, no doubt, the
Areopagus, which still “directed most things,” maintained its influence
to a considerable extent. What now grew into the most powerful element
in the state was the seafaring commercial population, who lived mainly
on the sea-coast. These were the restless, eager brains which were
beginning to think things out, and to find their bearings in the big
world outside Attica. They would be in constant business relations with
their Ionian kinsmen across the sea, and thus catch a tincture of their
cosmopolitan culture. Accordingly, when at the close of the sixth
century the Ionians rose in revolt against their Persian masters,
Athens, with Eretria, another commercial city of Eastern connections,
alone responded to their cry for help. It was only a raid, but it singed
the Great King’s beard by burning one of his capitals, Sardis. For this
revenge was promised. The Great King of those days was no effeminate,
luxurious Oriental, such as those whom Alexander chased about Asia in
later days. The Medes and Persians were then invincible conquerors, who
had just devoured all the great empires and ancient civilisations of
the East. They were out to conquer the world, and now nothing but a
narrow sea lay between them and the presumptuous Greeks. Accordingly,
ambassadors were sent in the usual fashion to Greece, to demand earth
and water in token of submission. The Athenians are said to have thrown
their envoys into the barathron where the bodies of felons were flung
for burial, there to collect what earth they could. The Spartans, with
whom originality was never a strong point, threw _theirs_ into a well,
indicating thereby that the answer was in the negative. So Darius
collected a very great host from all his vassals, and sent it round by
land, with the ships coasting alongside. Fortunately for Greece, the
fleet met with fearful shipwreck off the dangerous Chalcidian promontory
of Mount Athos. In 490 Darius tried again. This time it was a much
smaller force, designed, not to conquer Greece, but merely to punish
Athens and Eretria. It was a naval expedition only, but room was
provided in the ships to bring back the Athenians in chains for summary
judgment. Datis and Artaphernes were the leaders, but the ex-tyrant
Hippias was there to show them the way to the Acropolis, where it seems
he already had some friends awaiting his return. But Athens also had an
ex-tyrant of the Chersonese among her generals, one who knew the Persian
method of fighting and had the strongest motives for resisting them.
That tyrant was Miltiades. Hippias’ plan was to cross over the strait
from Eubœa, where the Persians had succeeded in enslaving Eretria, land
on the north coast of Attica with a large force, and while the land army
of Athens was engaged there, slip round with the fleet to Peiræus and
catch Athens undefended. His plans miscarried, for the Athenian line
swept down the hill at Marathon[45] upon the Persian archers before they
were fully deployed, and with their lightning charge hurled them back
into the sea with great slaughter, then marched back at full speed to
the city, in time.

[Illustration: PLATE XXXVI. THE PLAIN OF MARATHON

_English Photo Co., Athens_]

This was the triumph of the Athenian hoplite--his only really great feat
in history--led by aristocrats and governed by an aristocratic council.
The hoplite himself was a comfortable burgess who could afford a full
suit of armour. It was not a victory for democracy, and the clamorous
proletariat of the Peiræus had little, if any, share in it. But it was a
purely Athenian triumph. Alone--with the help of her little Bœotian
friend Platæa--alone she had done it. The great Dorian city had been
urgently entreated by the runner Philippides to send aid. But Sparta was
busy with a festival and had to wait until the moon came right for
marching. Athens now, by virtue of this supreme achievement, stepped up
into the second rank of Greek Powers.

A few years later some slaves working in the Athenian silver-mines at
Laurium chanced to strike a rich vein of metal. All Athenian citizens
were shareholders in all the state’s property, and naturally expected to
divide the profits, which would amount to about ten francs a head. Then
stood up a certain Themistocles--not an aristocrat, but a persuasive
speaker with the supplest brain that Zeus had ever created since Hermes
stole the cows--and proposed to spend the whole bonus on ships. This is
the turning-point of Athenian history. The stout hoplites who had won
the day at Marathon stood aghast at the proposal. They pointed out that
the strength of Pallas lay in her spear, that to create a navy would be
to encourage those turbulent radicals at the Peiræus. Besides, what was
it for? The Persians had gone home again. Themistocles, in reply, drew
attention to a little war then on hand with Ægina, an island obviously
not to be conquered by hoplites only. Doubtless a Greek neighbour was
the more persuasive bogey, but Themistocles must have known that Persia
was the enemy. Athens did not require a hundred new ships to fight
Ægina, which had not a score for use in battle. No doubt Themistocles
had the support of the “nautical rabble,” for he gained a majority for
his proposal, and soon afterwards got rid of his chief opponent,
Aristeides, by ostracism. Thus Athens acquired a fleet beyond all
comparison the most powerful in Greek waters. It was needed.

Persia had spent the interval in suppressing Egypt; Darius was dead, and
Xerxes reigned in his stead. But still the slave stood behind the royal
chair to whisper every day at dinner, “Master, remember the Athenians.”
In 480 he had time to remember them. This time there were to be no
miscalculations; no mere raid this time, but the hugest armament in
history. No shipwrecks this time: where the army had to cross the sea at
the Dardanelles a bridge was constructed; where the fleet had to round
the promontory a canal was dug.

The host was on the same scale. Herodotus and Æschylus alike delight to
parade the outlandish names of the Oriental leaders, to display the
numbers of that mighty host of all the nations of the earth, how they
drank the rivers dry as they marched, to dwell on the strange equipment
of the remote barbarians of Thrace, India, and the Soudan, the wealth
and magnificence of the Great King, how he lashed the sea when it broke
his bridge, how he questioned the exiled Spartan king Demaratus, unable
to believe that these little people should dare to stand up against him.
Even more than the life and death of Crœsus, this immortal story of the
Persian monarch’s great Armada and its fall, with the tragic contrast
between his glorious setting out and miserable return, stirred the
imagination of the Greeks for ever afterwards. Did it not illustrate
their favourite philosophy of “No excess” and “Know thyself”? All their
art was based on this motive: “Know thyself; practise Reverence, because
Wealth and Prosperity lead to Insolence, and that arouses Envy in gods
and men. Wrath (Nemesis) follows on the heels of Insolence, beguiling
with false Hope, and finally leading into Ruin.” That is the doctrine of
all Greek tragedy; both Herodotus and Thucydides illustrated it in
history, the former taking Persia and the latter Athens for its examples
and victims. But it governed their art also; it is the secret of the
self-restraint that characterises all the best of their work. That
virtue of Aidôs ruled their spirits. That is why it is so absurd to
think of the Greeks as happy pagans. They walked in the fear of the
Lord, in the shadow of tragedy.

The news of that marshalling of the host found Greece in a state of
disunion and terror. Some states submitted at the first summons. All
sent for advice to the Delphic oracle. Apollo, I regret to say, was
panic-stricken. He told the Cretans not to interfere, he told the
Argives to guard their own head; to Athens in particular he sent the
most terrible menaces: “O wretched men, why sit ye here? Fly to the ends
of the earth, leaving your houses and the high citadel of your
wheel-shaped city.... For fire and swift Ares, driving the Syrian
chariot, destroyeth it. And he will destroy many other castles, and not
yours alone; and he will deliver many temples of the immortals to
devouring fire, which now stand dripping with sweat and shaken with
terror; black blood trickles from the topmost roofs, foretelling
inevitable ruin. Go from the sanctuary, and steel your hearts to meet
misfortunes.” Conceive the effect of such an oracle at such a time, and
conceive the courage of Athens in preparing to resist! Thessaly
submitted; Gelo of Syracuse, the most powerful Greek ally they could
have, had declined to help, being in reality fully occupied with the
Carthaginian invasion of Sicily; Corcyra was sitting on the fence.
Thebes was supposed to be traitorous, but there is little doubt that
history has been unfair to Thebes. Nevertheless, the Persian was invited
to do his worst. The Spartan plan was to draw strong lines across the
Isthmus of Corinth and to fight there in defence of the Peloponnese,
which was all the Greece that Sparta cared about. This meant the
desertion of all the northern parts. Eventually she was persuaded to try
resistance at the northern passes, but she did so half-heartedly. Tempe
was found to be indefensible, for the invaders were pouring over another
pass to the west of it. The first resistance was therefore made at
Thermopylæ, where the mountains left only a narrow track along the
shore.

The battle of Thermopylæ and the death of Leonidas with his three
hundred Spartans are often represented as a forlorn hope and a gallant
suicide. It was, on the contrary, a reasonable plan of defence, though
intended only as a first line of resistance. Six thousand Greek hoplites
marched with Leonidas, and they should have been sufficient to hold that
narrow pass, and the mountain track, which alone could turn it, against
a great force. Of course, the Persians were coming by land and sea, but
Themistocles, with the Greek fleet, was to hold their fleet in check at
a parallel point. The plan failed, because the Phocians, who were
guarding the mountain track, were caught napping and fled. The
Peloponnesian allies who were then sent back by Leonidas were not being
dismissed because the case was hopeless, but despatched to defend the
point where the mountain track debouches into the main pass. This they
failed to do. Leonidas was caught between two fires, and perished
valiantly with all his men. It was not the less glorious because it was
reasonable. Meanwhile a great storm had inflicted serious loss on the
Persian fleet.

Now the strategy of defending the isthmus seemed the only hope, and
that, of course, meant the abandonment of Athens. Sadly the Athenians
saw the necessity; they removed their wives and children to the island
of Salamis, and put all their fighting men on board their fleet, which
amounted to nearly two hundred vessels. Dr. G. B. Grundy, the modern
investigator of these wars, believes that the defence of the Acropolis
was a serious attempt, rather than a fanatical misinterpretation of that
second oracle which bade Athens trust to wooden walls. The Persians
swept on irresistibly, wrecked and ruined Attica, and burnt the city of
Athens and her citadel--not, however, so completely as to destroy all
the old sculptures there.

The great sea-fight of Salamis[46] needs no describing here

[Illustration: PLATE XXXVII. THE BAY OF SALAMIS

_English Photo Co., Athens_]

It was Themistocles’ victory. He had cajoled, threatened, and finally
deceived the Spartan admiral into remaining there instead of retiring to
the isthmus. He craftily persuaded the Persian monarch to attack the
Greeks in narrow waters where numbers were only an obstacle; the fleet
which won the day was his creation. The battle has gained its deathless
glamour from the picture of Xerxes sitting on the hill above, enthroned
on marble, to watch the engagement taking place at his feet. In that
narrow strait between Salamis and the mainland, and in that lucid
atmosphere, every detail of the fight must have been visible to the
monarch, and his courtiers, his eunuchs, and his concubines. There was
no smoke or dust; the manœuvre was simply “full speed ahead and ram,”
steering, if you could, so that the metal prow of your ship struck the
enemy obliquely, and sheared off the whole row of protruding oars on one
side. Then, unless the enemy sank under the impact, it was a case of
hand-to-hand fighting with spear and shield against arrows and
scimitars.

Thus there was no need of the lines at the isthmus. Athens had conquered
at sea as she had conquered on land at Marathon. Xerxes fled home with
the bulk of his army in mighty dread lest his bridge over the Hellespont
should be broken.

He left behind him a great force under Mardonius, a force of picked
Persian cavalry and infantry, which for some time devastated Northern
Greece and perpetrated a second sack of Athens. At last it came to the
great campaign of Platæa (479). Here the Spartan infantry got its
opportunity and proved worthy of it, though the Athenian hoplites slew
their thousands also. So at length the Persian peril rolled away and
Greece was able to breathe again.

This whole episode was the great achievement of the Greeks in the field
of action. It passed into the realm of heroic history. It is almost the
only historical episode which the drama, usually devoted to heroic and
epic subjects, was permitted to use. No public oration was complete
without a reference to it. Vase-painters also depicted the story of
Darius and Xerxes as they did that of Hector and Priam. It remained on
the border-line of the permissible, however, for when temple sculptors
wished to allude to it they generally did so under cover of Homeric
contests between Greeks and Trojans or mythological battles between gods
and giants or Lapithæ and Centaurs. The memory of this united action had
some influence in counteracting the local separatism of the Greeks.

The side of this great contest which chiefly concerns us is its effect
in promoting Athenian civilisation. Salamis and Platæa had pushed Athens
forward into the front rank of Greece, to a position almost on a level
with Sparta herself. It is true that she still had to ask Sparta’s
permission, or to trick her into acquiescence, before she could build
the walls she desired. But above all it was a triumphant vindication of
the policy of Themistocles. Even Aristeides, who had come home to help
his country in her hour of trial, had to admit that. Henceforth he seems
to be working with Themistocles on the democratic side. For Salamis had
outshone even Marathon. The “nautical rabble” had justified itself. The
party of cautious hoplites, who feared democracy, no longer controlled
the policy of the state. Instead, they remained on their devastated
farms, grumbling at the “demagogues,” and issuing forth to support
conservative politicians like Kimon and Nikias. Their great champion in
literature is Aristophanes, who loves to depict the old Marathon men as
the real bulwark of the state. When Athens was rebuilt Themistocles saw
to it that the Peiræus should henceforth be part of the city, connected
with it by long walls. The Peiræus stood for naval interests and naval
empire, for commerce (though not for peace), and for democracy. It was
not so far off but that the voters could flock up to Athens when an
Assembly was to be held. It contained a large population of resident
foreigners.

This was how Athens became a democratic city-state.

[Illustration: PLATE XXXVIII. PERICLES

_Mansell & Co._]

Democracy advanced in various stages: the poorest were made eligible for
the magistracies; the encroaching power of the Areopagus was reduced;
the magistrates (archons) and the Councillors were no longer leaders
elected for merit, but ordinary burgesses chosen by lot; the Assembly
became actually sovereign over administration within the terms of the
constitution. Themistocles himself was presently ostracised, being far
too great and clever to be a comfortable companion in a democratic
city-state. Curiously enough, time has spared one of the very “ostraka,”
or potsherds, bearing his name by which he was condemned to banishment.

[Illustration: Ostrakon of Themistocles]

Then an empire fell into their lap. It began, as most ancient empires
did begin, with an alliance gradually transformed into a tyranny. Most
Ionian cities had already won their freedom on the defeat of the Persian
navy, but some had still to be liberated, and all needed protection for
the future. The year after Platæa was spent by the Greek fleets in
cruising about the Ægean, doing the work of liberation. At first Spartan
admirals were in command, but the Ionians disliked Dorian discipline,
and Pausanias, the victor of Platæa, was puffed up with pride and power.
So they turned to Athens, whose commanders were Kimon, the rich and
generous son of Miltiades, Aristeides the Just, and Xanthippus, the
father of Pericles, all men of the aristocracy, but loyal servants of
Athens and capable seamen. Thus they formed the Confederacy of Delos, a
league of maritime states, Ionians who worshipped the Delian Apollo. On
his sacred island was to be the treasury of the league, and there the
common synods were to meet. This league Athens soon transformed into an
empire. From the first some of its members were too poor to supply the
normal unit of subscription, the trireme galley. These, then,
contributed money on the assessment of Aristeides. Athens built the
ships for them in her own dockyards and sent her collectors round for
the money. Soon, with true Ionian slackness, all the states except
Chios, Samos, and Lesbos converted their naval contribution into a money
payment. States were coerced into joining the league, garrisons and
magistrates were sent from Athens to hold them in subjection. Often
colonies of Athenian citizens were planted on their territory. When the
Persian danger was finally removed by the destruction of the Phœnician
fleet at Eurymedon the allies began to contemplate withdrawal. They were
very soon taught that membership was not a voluntary privilege. Now the
empire of Athens was a naked despotism, only mitigated by the fact that
many of the states were permitted to manage their own internal affairs.
The treasury of the league was removed from Delos to Athens, and the
money was spent at her discretion. Meanwhile the ambitions of Athens had
extended with success. She was no longer content with a naval empire.
She began to cherish plans of a great colonial dominion in the west; she
wanted to eat up her shrunken neighbour, Megara, in order to have an
outlet to the Corinthian Gulf; she took Naupactus on those waters as a
base, and sent reconnoitring expeditions to Sicily and planned a great
Panhellenic colony at Thurii, in South Italy. Moreover, she mixed in the
affairs of great foreign Powers like Egypt. She attacked Cyprus and
overran Bœotia.

In all this imperial policy from about 460 onwards the leader of the
democracy, who by his personal ascendancy was almost as powerful as a
monarch at Athens, was Pericles.[47] He was one of those aristocrats who
succeed in securing the allegiance of the masses, like Tiberius
Gracchus, or Pitt, or Salisbury, by their very aloofness. His single aim
was to make Athens free, powerful, and glorious. In Greece imperialism
was allied, as it is not with us, with radicalism. At home Pericles had
swept away the last vestiges of power from the Areopagus; he had
introduced payment of jurymen,

[Illustration: PLATE XXXIX. PEDIMENTAL FIGURES FROM THE TEMPLE OF APHAIA
AT ÆGINA

_Bruckmann_]

payment of soldiers and sailors, payment to enable the poor to attend
the theatre. He was, in short, what we should now call a Socialist.
Abroad he was the advocate of imperial expansion by land as well as sea.
He was for keeping a tight hold over the “allies,” and he justified the
appropriation of their subscriptions to the private purposes of Athens.
He had apparently come into power over Kimon’s shoulders as the advocate
of hostility to Sparta. The Peloponnesian War was of his making. There
is much in this sketch of his policy which displeases us. But there was
something in the personality of Pericles which made even critics like
Thucydides venerate his name, while they execrated the men who carried
on precisely the same line of policy after his death. This was his
idealistic patriotism, free from all sordid and selfish motives. He
believed in Athenian liberty, and he was prepared to extend it by force
if necessary. This illogical and paradoxical state of mind is common to
idealists; we ourselves have our pugnacious “pacifists,” our churches
prepared to extend the Gospel of Peace by the sword.

Conflict with Sparta was inevitable. Athens was constantly treading on
her toes in various parts of Greece. She was an upstart rival aspiring
openly to the foremost place in Hellas. That being so, we have no need
to inquire closely into the occasion of the great war which filled the
latter quarter of the century from 431 to 404, and ended in the
humiliating defeat of Athens. In any case the causes of it must be
sought much earlier in the century, since Athens and Sparta had long
been subsisting on terms of truce only.

The main features of the Peloponnesian War, which forms the theme of the
great history of Thucydides, may be briefly stated. Almost before it
began Athens had to surrender all her claims to land empire. That had
been a mistake from the first, for Athens could never turn out a hoplite
line fit to stand against the Spartan charge. The strategy of Pericles,
dictated by necessity, was to retire within the walls of the city,
relying upon the fleet to keep communications open and effect reprisals
on the enemy. The weakness of this strategy lay in the fact that no
fleet could touch Sparta, and that it put a very serious strain on the
rural population of Attica, who had to desert their homes and see their
crops ravaged in yearly forays from Sparta. That state of affairs led to
a disastrous plague at Athens, and to a feeling of bitterness against
Pericles which darkened his closing years. He died two years after the
war began, and his place was taken by Cleon, who walked in his footsteps
as democrat and imperialist, but, lacking his lofty personality and high
birth, has come very badly out of the hands of history and literature.
Aristophanes’ perpetual appellation of “tanner” directed against him
probably has its point in the fact that he openly represented commercial
interests. He was responsible for the shocking decree which condemned
all the male inhabitants of Mitylene to death in punishment of their
revolt, a decree which was repented and repealed at the eleventh hour,
and he was a frequent obstacle to peace. But there is no ground for
charging him with selfishness or dishonesty, and he was certainly not
devoid of talent. He should be credited with the most brilliant
achievement of the Athenian campaign, the taking of Sphacteria and its
Spartan garrison.

It would seem that the war might have gone on for ever, but for the
insane ambition of the Athenian democracy, which led her to despatch a
huge fleet in 415 to Sicily for the subjugation of that island. It was
the hare-brained scheme of that good-looking rascal Alcibiades. No one
except Socrates could refuse him anything, much less the mass meetings
on the Athenian Pnyx. So Athens squandered two great expeditions on an
enterprise undertaken in ignorance and entrusted to inefficient
commanders. With all her reserves, she just managed to fit out a new
fleet and gain a few more sea-fights, but the end could not be long
delayed. At last an Athenian admiral was caught napping at Ægospotami.
There were no more ships, no more money in the treasury. After a brief
siege Athens capitulated to Lysander in 404.

Such in briefest outline is the historical content of the Great Century,
and such is the story of the first of European empires. What bearing has
it upon our original inquiry as to the causes of the artistic and
intellectual brilliance of the fifth century? We have, to start with, a
people singularly endowed by Nature with quick intelligence and a
marvellous sense of form. The Persian wars and the rise of Athens had
added to these natural advantages a passion of pride in their city and
an almost fanatical belief in her mission. Thus all her citizens were
eager to do their utmost to increase the beauty and honour of the
violet-crowned city and her virgin goddess. A city-state makes a much
more direct appeal to the emotion of patriotism than the large modern
territorial state. Lastly, there was freedom in Athens such as no state
in history has ever enjoyed, freedom in thought as well as in politics.
This has been denied, but the attacks made upon Pheidias and Pericles,
and upon the philosophers Anaxagoras and Socrates, may all be explained
on political grounds. We have only to look at the plays of Aristophanes
to see what amazing liberty of speech prevailed at Athens. Moreover, it
was a privileged and educated equality. We must never forget the
thousands of slaves whose cruel toil in mine and factory rendered this
brilliant society possible at such an early stage in history. It must
not be forgotten that Greek liberty and communism was that of an
aristocracy, however democratic might be the relations between its
members. Thus you have at Athens a large citizen body lifted by the
state above all sordid cares and interests, living a very full social
life in the open air, with everything to stimulate intellectual
interests--the daily speeches and debates in law-court and Assembly, the
continual festivals and dramatic exhibitions, the endless conversations
in the agora, the palæstra, and the various colonnades, the daily coming
and going of ships from all quarters, constant embassies from the cities
of the League, visits from all the talent of Greece, just sufficient
intercourse with Egypt and the East--everything to stimulate the
intelligence, and yet a dominant religious or moral conviction which
tended inevitably to the austerest self-restraint and abhorrence of all
extravagance.


PHEIDIAS

In the great oration over the bodies of the dead Athenian soldiers which
Thucydides ascribes to Pericles the statesman is made to express his
ideal of Athens. She was “the instructress of Greece.” She alone, he
said, followed “culture without extravagance, and philosophy without
softness.” She alone combined daring with reflection. She alone welcomed
strangers, and, while reverencing the gods and the laws, permitted
freedom of speech and conscience to all men. He congratulated her upon
the happiness of life at Athens, the public displays and sacrificial
banquets which afforded daily delight to her inhabitants. He did not lay
much stress upon the outward magnificence of the city, for that, in a
large measure, was his own work. But it is that aspect of his policy
which we can all appreciate, whether we are democrats or imperialists or
neither or both.

Pericles himself set the example which Athens followed of encouraging
talent from all quarters to devote its abilities to the service of
Athens. Aspasia seems to have maintained a salon which was frequented by
most of the men of genius of the day. She herself was of Miletus, and
being an Ionian, was accustomed to a freedom of intellectual intercourse
denied to the cloistered women of Attica. Pericles had separated by
mutual consent from his wife, and though the laws did not allow him to
marry a foreigner, he lived with Aspasia through most of his public
career. She was a wit as well as a beauty. At her house you would meet
Pheidias the sculptor, Damon the musician, Anaxagoras the philosopher,
Alcibiades, and Socrates. There, we may presume, the plans for the
beautification of Athens were freely discussed.

It was a rare opportunity for the artists. Here was an imperial city to
be rebuilt, and plenty of money to build with.

[Illustration: PLATE XL. SCULPTURES OF THE EASTERN PEDIMENT OF THE
PARTHENON

_Mansell & Co._]

The directors of the work were Pheidias the sculptor and Ictinus the
architect. Pheidias had learnt his craft under Agelâdas of Argos. Thus
he stands at the very beginning of the period of fine art. Technical
mastery over stone and bronze was by no means complete when he began to
work. The “archaic smile” still hovered over the lips of contemporary
sculptures, the eyes were too prominent, the eyelids were still cut to
meet at the corners instead of overlapping, hair was still
conventionally rendered by parallel grooves, or spirals, or roughly
blocked out for coloration.

The body, however, thanks to athletic models, was already much more
successfully delineated than the head. Perhaps the best examples of
fifth-century sculpture before Pheidias are the pedimental figures from
Ægina. These figures from the temple of Aphaia at Ægina were discovered
by the English architect Cockerell in 1811; they were acquired by the
King of Bavaria, restored by Thorwaldsen, and are now at the Glyptothek
in Munich. Our illustration[48] will depict their style in all its
archaic vigour. All but the face is highly successful; the naked
muscular forms of the warriors follow even the poses of athletics,
especially the figure in the attitude of a wrestler making his hold
stooping forward to drag away the body of Patroclus. The reader should
also notice how cleverly the pose is designed to fit that very difficult
angle of the pediment where the roof slopes down. It taxed the ingenuity
of artists to compose scenes to fit these triangular spaces. The
ordinary rule is that the east pediments should depict a scene of divine
peace and grandeur, that being the end at which the worshippers entered
the temple. The west pediments, on the contrary, generally display a
struggle. In this early Æginetan temple both ends are filled with scenes
of warfare from the epic glories of Ægina, one of Ajax, and one of his
father, Telamon. These Æginetan sculptures are assigned to the period
between Marathon (490) and Salamis (480). The Harmodius group of which I
have already spoken belongs clearly to the same phase.

If we turn from this to the Parthenon sculptures, we shall see the
amazing swiftness of the blossoming of Greek art. With Pheidias, and
largely no doubt owing to his genius, the plastic art has conquered its
stubborn material, but it has not yet attained that fatal fluency which
induces carelessness or conscious elaboration and extravagant striving
for effect. This is the stage at which the arts and crafts produce their
masterpieces. In our days, thanks to mechanical appliances, stone is as
easy to work as clay. The sculptor produces his model, foreign
underlings do the heavy chiselling, and the artist finishes it off. This
is perhaps why Rodin produces such an effect of strength by leaving much
of his work in the rough. We may be sure that Pheidias executed the
whole process with loving care and diligence from first to last.

[Illustration: Head of Zeus, on Coin of Elis]

[Illustration: Head of Zeus, on Coin of Philip II. of Macedon]

Here, alas! it must be confessed that we have not a single work which we
can ascribe with certainty to the hand of the master himself. His great
masterpieces, the Zeus of Olympia and the Parthenos of the Parthenon,
were of ivory and gold. Of course they have perished utterly. We have to
content ourselves with descriptions--and the ancient art critic was
singularly inept even for an art critic--and casual attempts at copying
on coins or statuettes. The coins of Elis do indeed give us a Zeus of
considerable dignity which may impart some faint notion of the glorious
original, but of the Athena Parthenos we have not even this relic. I
decline to follow the text-books on Greek architecture by presenting the
woolly-headed “Jove of Otricoli” or the well-groomed but fatuous old
senator known as the “Dresden Zeus” for the work of Pheidias. Nor will I
insult him by depicting the Parthenos by means of the stumpy
“Varvakeion” or the inchoate “Lenormant” statuettes. Such

[Illustration: PLATE XLI. PORTIONS OF THE EAST FRIEZE OF THE PARTHENON

_Mansell & Co._]

caricatures only disturb our judgment. For these statues we had better
trust our imaginations, working upon what Pliny tells us: “The beauty of
the Olympian Zeus seems to have added something to the received
religion, so thoroughly does the majesty of the work suit the deity.”

But can you, after all, imagine the splendour of these two statues made
by the greatest sculptor who has ever lived? The flesh parts were of
ivory, the clothing of solid gold on a core of wood or stone. Zeus was
of colossal size, forty feet high. On his head was a green garland of
branched olive; in his right hand he bore a Victory of ivory and gold,
in his left a sceptre inlaid with every kind of metal. On the golden
robe figures and lilies were chased. The throne was adorned with gold
and precious stones and ebony and ivory, with figures painted and
sculptured upon it. Even the legs and bars of the throne were adorned
with reliefs. Round it were low screens, blue enamel in front, and
paintings by the sculptor’s brother, Panainos, at the back and sides.
The stool on which the god’s feet were resting was adorned with figures
in gold; the base, on which the throne rested, likewise. We must not
picture ancient Greek art as cold and colourless like the marble statues
by which it is represented in our museums. The Greeks loved colour, and
used it everywhere. We have grown so accustomed to plain white statues
that some of us are offended by the idea of colour in statuary and
architecture. In this matter we may safely trust the good taste of the
artists who could design and carve so wonderfully. The two favourite
Greek marbles, the Parian and the Pentelic, are both of themselves very
beautiful fabrics, far more lovely, with their glistening coarse grain
and the intermixture of iron which gives them a warm yellowish glow,
than the favourite modern marble of Carrara, which is so coldly white
and so fine of texture as to dazzle and fatigue the eye and to blur all
the delicate outlines. But the Greeks of that day looked upon even their
lovely marbles as we do upon brick, good enough for building temples,
but not worthy of the high gods. Ivory and gold for the gods, if the
worshippers could afford it, otherwise bronze.

Regretfully, therefore, we must seek the genius of Pheidias in works
which were probably constructed according to his designs, minor works,
mere decorative reliefs applied to architecture, much defaced by
accident and time, but still bearing the stamp of grandeur and dignity.
It seems from the latest evidence that the execution of the Parthenon
sculptures did not begin until after the banishment of Pheidias. But we
may well believe that they had been designed by the master. In any case
they are originals of the great period, and thus far better guides than
any copies, however skilfully executed. Plutarch tells us that as the
buildings of Periclean Athens rose “majestic in size and inimitable in
symmetry and grace, the workmen rivalled one another in the artistic
beauty of their workmanship. Especially wonderful was their speed.
Pheidias was the overseer.” The surviving relics of the Parthenon
sculptures fall into three groups, according to their place on the
temple--the Pediments, the Metopes, and the Frieze.

Of these the Pediments are the most important for their size and
prominence in the building. For example, they are the only external
sculptures noticed by the traveller Pausanias. Moreover, each figure is
a separate statue carved in the round, and perfectly finished back and
front alike, though by no possibility could they be visible except from
the front. Ruskin would inform us that this is evidence of the moral
excellence of the artist. But the Greeks were a practical people who
disliked waste in any form, and Professor Ernest Gardner is probably
right in suggesting that the sculptor finished his statues in order that
he might be sure they were rightly made. Such fidelity to his religious
duty is evidence, after all, of moral excellence. Time has wrought cruel
havoc with the sculptures. The central figures had gone even before
Carrey made his drawings for the Marquis de Nointel in 1674. In 1687 a
great explosion occurred, when a Venetian gunner (with the good old
Venetian name of Schwartz) dropped a bomb into the

[Illustration: PLATE XLII. PORTIONS OF THE WEST FRIEZE OF THE PARTHENON

_Mansell & Co._]

Turkish powder magazine stored in the temple, and wrought further havoc.
Then the victorious General Morosini tried to remove some of the
figures, and broke them in the effort. In 1801 Lord Elgin, armed with a
firman authorising him to remove a few blocks of stone, carried off the
greater part of the surviving sculptures. From him they were purchased
by the British Government for the British Museum. Whatever the morality
of this capture, it was a blessing in effect, for the Parthenon suffered
further damage during the War of Liberation, and those stones which
remain _in situ_ have deteriorated far more than those which were
removed. Besides, the Greeks have still plenty of ancient marble to
write their names on. Forlorn as they stand in the Elgin Room, battered
and bruised as they are, all headless but one, and he much defaced, they
still convey an impression of unsurpassed beauty and perfection of art.

The subject of the front or eastern pediment[49] was the birth of
Athena. The central scene had gone when Carrey sketched it. It is
probable that the armed figure of the goddess rising from the head of
Zeus would fill the apex. Close by would stand the goddess of childbirth
(Eilithuia), and Hephæstus, who set Athena free with a blow of his
hammer, would be near the centre. In the angles the figures have been
better preserved, and are mostly among the Elgin Marbles. Various
interpretations of their motive have been suggested, but the only one
that deserves consideration is Brunn’s theory that they are scenic
impersonations rather than mythological characters. It is difficult, as
Furtwängler has argued, to find any other example of this sort of
personification in the art or literature of the fifth century. But some
of the attributions are too plausible to be avoided. At one angle the
Sun is just rising in his chariot, of which the horses’ heads are
visible above the cornice; at the other the Moon is just sinking in
hers. That depicts the time of the great event. Next to these are
figures to indicate locality. Facing Helios, with his back to the
central scene, is that glorious reclining youth who used to be called
“Theseus” in our Museum. According to Brunn he is really Mount Olympus.
A mountain he may well be, but would not Pheidias have meant him for the
Athenian Mount Hymettus? At the other side artists have sighed over the
perfection of those three seated female figures, headless, alas! but
wonderful in the perfection of craft which renders the elaborate folds
of the soft Ionic draperies without impairing the massive grandeur of
the bodies beneath. We used to call them “The Three Fates.” But it is
probable that they are not a group of three; one reclines in the lap of
her sister, the third sits alone. If the geographical interpretation is
to hold good, we cannot improve Professor Waldstein’s suggestion that
the sisterly pair is Thalassa (Sea) in the lap of Gaia (Earth). That,
however, leaves us without a clue to the third. Would not the moon set
beyond land and sea over the island of _Salamis_? Of the remaining
figures the swiftly moving goddess with the windswept draperies can be
none other than Iris, the messenger of the gods.

The back or west pediment denotes a contest always, but here, as befits
Athena, a contest moral rather than physical, the strife between Athena
and Poseidon for the tutelage of Athens. The high angle in the centre
would be filled with the olive-tree, and the two contestant deities may
be seen in Carrey’s drawing. Poseidon is starting back in affright at
the sight of Athena’s gift, and she is advancing triumphantly; a winged
Victory would be at hand to place the crown upon her head. The only
considerable relic of this gable is another nude male form in the
British Museum, reclining like the “Theseus,” but headless and armless,
the “Ilissus.”

Not only the execution of the figures, but the composition of the two
scenes, with their subtle correspondences and distinctions, their
intricate rhythm (notice in detail the arrangement of the drapery folds
on “The Three Fates”), and yet their simple, broad dignity, is typical
of what the fifth century was

[Illustration: FIG. 1. THE “STRANGFORD” SHIELD

FIG. 2. THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE ACROPOLIS

_Mansell & Co._

PLATE XLIII]

striving for. We might at first glance take the almost severe simplicity
of fifth-century art, as we see it, for example, in the dramas of
Sophocles or the history of Thucydides or the lines of Doric
architecture, for the result of immaturity. But the more we study these
things the more we find to study. The apparent simplicity has been
produced with infinite labour and loving care.

The metopes of the Parthenon, originally ninety-two in number, consist
of separate panels, almost square, adorned with figures in the highest
possible relief, often quite free from the back wall. Each one
represents a single combat, Gods against Giants, Lapithæ against
Centaurs, Greeks against Amazons, Greeks against Trojans, on the various
sides. These subjects, with the contests of Theseus and the labours of
Heracles, are the regular themes of sculpture on Greek temples. They all
represented to the Greek mind the everlasting moral contest between
Hellenism and Barbarism, or between culture and savagery. Heracles
destroying monsters like the Hydra snake, Theseus slaying robbers and
oppressors of mankind, are symbolical of the conflict between light and
darkness. They also, no doubt, bear historical reference to the Persian
wars. The best of these metope sculptures are high upon the walls of the
Elgin Room. They were the work of subordinate artists, and they vary
greatly in excellence. In some we can see the handiwork of old sculptors
trained in the archaic school of athletic sculpture, still making their
drapery stiff and mechanical. In the best there is great vigour and fine
drawing. All are remarkable for the ingenuity of the composition. It was
no easy matter to fill ninety-two square panels with struggling figures
without monotony or iteration. Nevertheless, I do not think that the
Greek artists ever took much pleasure in their metope work.

Lastly, we come to the frieze. To judge it rightly, the spectator must
remember its position on the temple, for its character is entirely
changed when it is seen at the level of the eyes on the walls of our
Museum. It ran round the top of the cella wall, 39 feet above the
floor, inside the colonnade of the Parthenon. It could be examined by
mounting the stylobate and craning your neck uncomfortably, but in an
ordinary case you would merely catch glimpses of it between the columns
as you passed along outside. Moreover, it was in the shadow of the roof,
lighted, as Professor Gardner reminds us, from below by reflection from
the white marble pavement. This the artist has foreseen and provided for
by making the relief of the upper part deeper than below, so that the
heads lean forward from the panels. Where deep shadows are required
below they are often secured by cutting into the background. Here is
another proof of the advantage Art gains when her ministers are
practical craftsmen rather than luxurious gentlemen who spend their time
between the studio and the drawing-room. The designer of this
frieze--and surely the _designer_ was no less than the master
himself--had a free hand here, with no laws of tradition to bind him,
for such a frieze is without previous example. He had to cover an
uninterrupted space of 524 feet with ornament. He chose for his subject
the great procession representing the people of Athens which went up
every year at the Panathenaic festival to offer a new saffron robe to
the goddess. Observe how he has conceived it. Over the front[50] he
placed the immortal gods and goddesses, not in the awful majesty of
Olympus, but down on earth in their beloved city of Athens. He depicted
them at ease; only their added dignity of countenance and their greater
stature (their heads reach the cornice, though they are seated)
indicates their divinity. They are not overladen with attributive
emblems. They are at home in Athens. They sit, they almost lounge, in
comfortable attitudes. Dionysus leans on the shoulder of young Hermes.
Ares, the dreadful Thracian warrior, has left his armour at home; he
rests pleasantly with his right knee clasped in his hands. Hera unveils
her head, turning to say a word to her royal husband, who sits a little
apart in his simple dignity. Athena, the heroine of the hour, is marked
by no pomp; she is

[Illustration: Plate 44.--The Lemnian Athena.

_Tamme._]

conversing in friendly fashion with Hephæstus. Apollo turns his
beautiful head to say a word to the grave Poseidon. Eros is a naked
human boy leaning at the knee of Aphrodite; she is fully draped, and
even veiled, as becomes the deity of Heavenly Love. It is a warm,
peaceful day: the gods have flung back their tunics from their
shoulders, the goddesses are clad in soft Ionic robes. The sculptor has
not chosen to represent the ceremony at its crisis. The procession is on
its way, the music can be heard in the streets below. Close by Athena,
separated by no extra space, a priest is handing a folded garment, the
old peplos, no doubt, to a lad. It cannot be the offering of the new
one, for Athena has her back to the scene. Groups of grave elders
converse together, leaning on their staves. Attendant maidens stand near
with baskets on their heads. This eastern end shows us the peace and
happiness of a heaven not far removed from earth at its best.

Turning the corners, we have on each side the approaching procession,
advancing towards the front at a slow pace. As the passing visitor
glances up between the columns the procession actually moves. First come
the young men leading the sacrificial beasts, oxen and sheep, with
attendants bearing the trays and water-jars. The flute-players and
harpers follow at the head of the warriors, the war-chariots, men with
branches of victory, and the hoplites with shield and spear. And then,
most brilliant of all, the young knights,[51] scions of the best
families of Athens, sitting their fiery horses barebacked with charming
ease and grace, some wearing the broad hat and short chlamys, some in
chitons, some with mantles flying in the wind, some in armour. Here and
there you see the marshals ordering the procession. Farther back it is
just forming; the young knights are mounting their horses and attendants
are holding them ready. We must supply to the frieze a coloured
background and bronze fittings such as spears and bridles.

But why in the world has he left out the sacred robe itself? Well, he
might have chosen to put Athena on her throne in full panoply, and to
have made the whole scene far more devotional and impressive to the
religious sense. Instead, he has slackened the tension everywhere. The
soldiers might have marched in disciplined ranks of Doric precision. The
animals might have walked in two by two, as well-behaved beasts going to
sacrifice should. The whole thing might have been formal and grand.
Pheidias preferred to make it charm by its simplicity and grace. His
procession glows with youth and beauty, modest but unembarrassed. The
young knight lacing up his military boot is quite unconscious that you
and I are looking at him. It would not have done for the solemn
pediments, it would have been out of place on the violent metopes, but
here, just to glance at between the pillars, as a piece of light,
supererogatory ornament, the artist felt at liberty to express the joy
of living.

If you needed to look upon divinity in its awful grandeur, you had only
to enter the shrine and worship before the temple statue. This was the
chryselephantine Athena Parthenos, 39 feet high, with £150,000 worth of
refined gold upon her raiment, with her triple-crested helmet, her
shield and Victory, her ægis and her serpent. Like the Olympian Zeus,
she was to be as splendid as art could make her; there was colour and
ornament everywhere. I do not suppose that even here she was very
terribly militant. Loose tresses of her hair escaped to mitigate the
ferocity of the helmet, with its fierce sphinx and monsters. Her pet owl
was perched somewhere on her helmet. The “Strangford Shield” in the
British Museum[52] is of great interest, because it seems to copy the
design of the original shield with some fidelity, and it belongs to an
interesting anecdote told about the sculptor. In 432, when Pericles was
being attacked through his friends, they charged Pheidias with
embezzling some of the gold entrusted to him for this statue, and with
blasphemous impropriety in putting his own portrait, together with the
portrait of Pericles, on the goddess’s

[Illustration: Plate 45.--Head of the Lemnian Athena.

_Alinari._]

shield. The first charge he could answer, because Pericles had warned
him to make all the gold detachable so that it could be weighed. The
latter bears a family resemblance to the whole class of sacristan’s
tales which attach to every artistic monument in Europe. There was, and
there is, on the shield an old man’s head which looks so realistic that
it might be a portrait. Near him there is a warrior with his arm across
his face, and that is said to have been the artist’s device for
concealing from common view a speaking likeness of Pericles.
Nevertheless Pheidias was condemned by the angry people, as
Aristophanes, his contemporary, tells us:

    “Pheidias began the mischief, he was first to come to grief.”

Few other details of the sculptor’s life are worth repeating. Many are
given, but their contradictions involve us in hopeless difficulties.
Neither portraits nor biographies belong to the fifth century, so wholly
was the individual merged in the community. Later centuries had to
provide them, and invent them.

The number of works credibly assigned to Pheidias amounts to
twenty-four. He was specially famed for his divine statues. He was able
to practise for his chryselephantine work on what is termed an
acrolithic image--that is, of gilt wood and marble--for little Platæa.
He worked also in bronze. At Olympia he made a statue of the boy victor
Pantarkes, whom he loved. For the Athenian Acropolis he made two other
statues of Athena, one the colossal bronze figure which faced the
visitor as he passed through the Propylæa on to the sacred citadel. Her
spear was visible above the roofs to the sailors at sea, and it is so
represented on the coins of the city. It was a work of his early years,
executed for Kimon. It was removed to Constantinople, and the historian
Nicetas tells us of its destruction by a drunken mob in A.D. 1203. There
was also the Lemnian Athena,[53] dedicated by the colonists of that
island about 450 B.C. Here she was represented in a peaceful aspect
without her helmet, “with a blush upon her cheek instead of a helmet to
veil her beauty.” The beautiful statue which Furtwängler has compiled by
setting a head from Bologna[54] upon a body at Dresden forms a brilliant
and to my mind triumphant reproduction of this statue. Of course it is
only a copy. If it be true that Pheidias made dedicatory offerings for
the Athenians at Delphi immediately after the Persian wars he must have
had an artistic career of fifty years. In that time he had brought the
art of sculpture from infancy to the prime of manhood.


ICTINUS AND THE TEMPLE-BUILDERS

One of the characteristics of Greek art is the subordination of the
artist to his work, as of the art itself to its purpose. This is but a
part of the general subordination of the individual to society in Greek
life. Hence it follows that we seldom have to think of isolated genius,
and never of the genius of Greek artists as of some fitful and
inexplicable freak of nature. For this reason it is not as incredible
that there should have been several different Homers _all_ men of genius
as that two Vergils should have arisen at Rome, or two Shakespeares in
England. Sappho is one among a group of superlative lyric poets.
Sophocles is one of four. Demosthenes is the greatest of a group of
great orators. This remains a remarkable fact, in view of the natural
tendency of time to sharpen the outline of peaks in the ranges of
culture, and the national tendency of the Greeks to personify all
processes and movements.

Great as Pheidias is, he is nevertheless surrounded by a circle of
sculptors and architects, engravers and painters, who are all great. In
execution they may be ranked in grades of ability, and their
individualities are clearly discernible, but they are all inspired by
the same nobility of artistic character, so that the spirit of
fifth-century art is a thing that the eye can easily perceive. Reserve
and dignity are its most prominent characteristics. It shares with all
Greek art the

[Illustration: PLATE XLVI. STATUE OF MARSYAS. AFTER MYRON

_Mansell & Co._]

qualities of grace and directness, by which we mean a vivid and logical
intelligence which knows its aim and pursues it unswervingly.

Pheidias had Myron for a fellow-student. Of Myron’s athletic work I have
already spoken. He was as original as it was possible to be in the fifth
century. As he was chiefly engaged in minor works of a private and
occasional nature, he has naturally caught the attention of the
epigrammatists. We hear much of the animal statues he carved and of
their extraordinary realism, for that was the thing that appealed to the
ancient art critic. He seems to have been a master of bronze technique
and a skilful goldsmith. The marble copy of his Marsyas in the Lateran
and the bronze in the British Museum[55] show the satyr advancing in
amazement to pick up the flute which Apollo has just discarded. As in
the “Discobolus,” we see the love of distorted poses which enabled Myron
to exhibit his fine draughtsmanship and anatomy. Herein, indeed, he is
_peu cinquième siècle_; but we must remember that this figure is one of
a dramatic group. I have spoken of Polycleitus too as an athletic
sculptor. It is rather remarkable that this youthful art should already
in the fifth century be producing its “Canon” and its technical
treatises. Though the “Doryphorus” is the most famous of his works, the
head of his “Diadumenus” from Rome is probably the most faithful
rendering of a Polycleitan original. Other names are mentioned by
ancient writers as being worthy to be classed with Pheidias; Calamis,
for example; but they are mere names to us, and the ingenious attempts
of modern archæology to fit them with appropriate works on the score of
qualities attributed to them by ancient critics are hazardous, and for
the most part unsatisfactory. Considering the few facts so recorded and
the multitude of difficulties they raise, we cannot put much faith in
the ancient art critic. Alcamenes and Pæonius, for example, are said to
have been the sculptors of the two pediments at Olympia, and yet
Alcamenes is described as a pupil of Pheidias, which to any one
comparing the Apollo of the west pediment with the pedimental sculptures
of the Parthenon is absurd. The other name is also doubtful, for Pæonius
was the author of the famous Victory at Olympia,[56] with its superb
study of flying drapery. The inscription testifies that it was set up by
the Messenians of Naupactus from the spoil of the enemy--presumably the
Spartan garrison captured by Cleon at Sphacteria. If, therefore,
Pausanias is right in his account of the authorship of the Olympian
pediments, both these sculptors must have made extraordinarily rapid
progress in their art or have adopted a consciously archaic style for
the pediments.

So much for the named sculptors of the period. We have several other
works which obviously belong to the same date. The fine portrait bust of
Pericles[57] is, no doubt, a copy from the statue by Cresilas. I have
said above that portraiture is rare in the fifth century. The
extraordinary significance of Pericles in the art of the period is one
reason for this exception. Moreover, it is, after all, scarcely a
portrait in the Cromwellian sense, but rather an idealised type of the
soldier statesman: so far from breaking, it notably illustrates the rule
of idealism in the fifth century. It was said that all the portraits of
Pericles represented him in a helmet to _conceal_ his inordinately long
head, which is a frequent subject of wit to Aristophanes. Typical of the
period too are the Eleusinian relief,[58] the Ludovisi reliefs,[59] and
the Mourning Athena.[60] The glorious bronze bust of a Boy Victor
depicted in our photogravure is one of the rare original bronzes of the
great period. It is part of a full-length statue, the bust being a
modern restoration, and it is of great value to students of ancient
bronze workmanship. The eyeballs, when the statue was first found at
Naples in 1730, were inlaid with silver and the pupils with granite. The
lips are gilded, and there was silver and gold on the diadem. The boy
pulling a thorn out of his foot (the “Spinario”) belongs to a slightly
earlier period and is closely akin to the Running Girl in style. It is
a charmingly graceful and boyish figure, quite free from
self-consciousness. We notice that though the body is skilfully wrought,
the head is obviously wrong, for the long hair of the bent head would
hang about his face.[61] Natural and pleasant as the pose is, it is no
mere genre study, done to please the artist’s fancy because his eye had
caught the pretty attitude of the child in the gymnasium. That was not
how artists worked at this early period. The “Spinario” must, I think,
have a story behind him: some one had won the boys’ foot-race in spite
of a thorn in his foot, and this is the record of his pluck.

From sculpture we pass to the sister art of architecture. Here we can
safely affirm that Periclean Athens reached perfection within the limits
it had set for itself--namely, the Doric style. For temple architecture
the religious feeling of the day had prescribed a definite programme
which it would have been almost blasphemy to outstep. That is to say,
the outline of the temple was bound to correspond to the norm of Doric
architecture, laid down more than a century before. The artist’s
originality was therefore confined to the task of improving its details
in a manner which would pass unnoticed by the general public, who would
but vaguely feel a heightened sense of rhythm and harmony. Here we find
proof that Greek simplicity is the outcome of extreme subtlety. Until
Penrose every one had imagined the lines of the Parthenon to be
straight. On the contrary, the apparently flat stylobate or floor rises
1 in 450 towards the centre over a length of 228 and a breadth of 101
feet. The columns do not only taper, as they seem to do, but they swell
in the middle in order to counteract the diminishing effect of light
behind them, although in pure Greek work the diameter of the shaft is
never greater than that of the base. The axis of the outside columns
slopes inwards 1 in 106; the inner columns have a slightly smaller
inclination, 1 in 150. Even the fluting is studied; the fine shadow
effect is produced by diminishing the width but not the depth of the
grooves as they approach the echinus. Nor are the columns all exactly
the same thickness, for the corner pillars are made a little higher and
thicker than their neighbours, because a fiercer light beats on them.
Like the stylobate, the entablature also curves upward in the centre,
but still more slightly--2 inches in 100 feet. The planes of the
moulding are sometimes inclined forwards to prevent foreshortening. Thus
to secure the effect of straightness Ictinus cut every stone of this
great building on a slant measured to a hair’s breadth. To my lay mind
these facts throw a revealing light upon the nature of Greek art and the
true meaning of Greek simplicity. Judge of the self-restraint shown by
Ictinus (and of course entasis is not confined to the Parthenon) in
expending this infinite trouble in a matter which would escape the eye
of nine out of ten spectators. Nine out of ten? Yes, but the tenth might
be a brother architect--or it might be Pallas Athena. Now that the
measuring-tape has proved how subtle is Greek simplicity in one art, we
must be prepared for it in other arts where we cannot measure so
accurately--in literature, for example, when Euripides seems commonplace
or Socrates illogical.

While the white marble columns and the white marble roof presented this
appearance of simple strength and purity, the decorative mouldings
between were enriched not only with the sculpture we have described, but
with brilliant colour. The background behind the sculpture of the
pediment was red, the ground of the metopes probably red, and that of
the frieze probably blue. The simple echinus and abacus mouldings of the
capitals were enriched with leaf patterns in red, blue, and gold. The
architrave, has holes which once held bronze pegs for a row of gilt
shields and wreaths. The grooves of the triglyphs were painted blue. A
bright key-pattern ran along the upper edge of the triglyph. The guttæ,
or “drops,” were probably gilt. On each corner of the roof-angle stood a
golden oil-jar, and at the apex of the gable an acroterion carved and
coloured.

[Illustration: FIG. 1. THE VICTORY OF PÆONIUS

FIG. 2. THE “SPINARIO”

PLATE XLVII]

Inside the colonnade is the cella, 194 feet long, with six columns of
its own within the peristyle at each end. The interior was divided into
two main parts--the Hekatompedos, exactly 100 Attic feet in length,
where the great gold and ivory statue stood in solitary grandeur, with a
couch near at hand for the goddess to recline on when she was tired; and
the Opisthodomos, to the west of it, strictly called the Parthenon,
which was a sort of museum or bank for handsome offerings. The interior
seems to have been lighted only from the doors. Ionic columns were used
to carry the ceiling of the Parthenon proper. The wooden ceiling itself
was adorned with sunken panels brightly painted. Battered and decayed as
this marble building is to-day after its centuries of use as a temple,
as a church, as a mosque, as a powder magazine, and as an archæological
bear-garden, it is still most wonderful in its majesty.[62] We can
hardly imagine the impression it produced when it glowed with life and
colour on the day of the Panathenaic festival in 438 B.C., when it was
opened to the public after fifteen years of building. The sculpture
seems to have been applied after the opening of the temple.

Let us glance at the principal buildings beside the Parthenon which
crowned the flat-topped citadel. I suspect that most modern spectators
feel a secret sense of discontent when they see a reconstruction of the
Acropolis.[63] The unregenerate Goth in our bosoms cries out for spires
and pinnacles upon such a splendid site, for domes and towers and
battlements to fret the sky above it. Would any relics of them have
stood for twenty-three centuries in that land of earthquakes?

When the Long Walls of Athens were completed there was no longer any
need of fortifications to the Acropolis, though the architectural
conception of the whole mass remained that of a shrine and citadel
combined. The prehistoric Pelasgians had levelled the top, fortified it
on the west, its only accessible end, and surrounded it with a wall. The
whole plateau rises to a height of 200 feet. Approaching it from the
agora to the west, the pilgrim passes up a flight of low steps to the
porch, or propylæa. This was completed in 432 by Mnesicles on the site
of an older and much humbler gateway of Kimon’s day. Modern
investigators have shown that it was planned on a far more extensive
scale than the actual execution, and that room was left for subsequent
completion. It is believed that the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War
was the cause of this limitation of the original scheme. Even so it was
celebrated in antiquity, and is far the most impressive building erected
by the Greeks for secular purposes. It consists of a gateway formed by a
wall with five openings and fronted by a Doric colonnade, with gable
roof and pediment, flanked on each side in the original plan by two
colonnaded halls, a smaller one in front and a larger behind. This plan
is clearly a development of the gateways of prehistoric citadels like
Tiryns and Troy II. One of the wing chambers was used as a picture
gallery, the walls being frescoed by Polygnotus and other celebrated
painters. This hall is still in excellent preservation, due to its use
by the Franks as a council chamber and by the Turks as the palace of
their pashas. Some of the stone beams are as long as 20 feet.

The front chamber of each wing rested on an artificial stone bastion,
and as that on the south was never completed the platform remained free
for the erection of a lovely miniature shrine, the temple of the
Wingless Victory.[64] This, though its stones were totally scattered and
built into a Turkish bastion, was reconstructed in 1835 by European
architects with such success that it is one of the most charming things
in Athens. It must have been built soon after the abandonment of the
original plan for the propylæa. It has four columns of the Ionic order
at each end, surmounted with a sculptured frieze, of which four panels
are in the Elgin collection. The whole shrine, which is only 18 feet by
27 feet, was surrounded by a railing supported on a marble balustrade
carved with Victories in low relief. Though they are mostly headless,

[Illustration: PLATE XLVIII. THE PARTHENON. MODERN VIEW FROM NORTH-WEST

_English Photo Co., Athens_]

the outlines are in a good state and reveal very fine workmanship,
especially in the treatment of drapery. They clearly belong to the next
period after the Parthenon frieze. From the platform in front of the
shrine there is a lovely view over the Attic plain towards Eleusis.
Beyond it, over Salamis and the blue Saronic gulf you can see the
citadel of Corinth and the distant mountains of the Argolid and the
Peloponnese. It was here that old Ægeus stood watching for the sails of
his dear son from Crete.

Pass through the wide portals of the propylæa. On your right was the
marble terrace where the little girls of Athens dressed up as bears to
dance in honour of Brauronian Artemis. Here was the group of Athena and
Marsyas, and here Praxiteles was to make his statue of Brauronian
Artemis. Beyond the Brauronian precinct was one of Athena the
Craftswoman. At this point the colossal bronze Athena “Promachos” of
Pheidias towered above you, 36 feet high. We have visited the Parthenon
already; to the left of it, just behind the foundations of the old
temple of Athena Polias, is the wonderful Erechtheum. This building,
though begun soon after the Persians had burnt the old “house of
Erechtheus,” and the adjoining temple of Athena built by Peisistratus,
was delayed by the Peloponnesian War, and not completed till the end of
the century. Here the task set to the architects was a peculiar one. To
begin with, the building was not a temple, but a house--the house of an
old Pelasgian hero; obviously it must not be of the Doric order. Also it
had to include a number of immovable sacred objects, such as the salt
spring which gushed up when Poseidon struck the rock with his trident
and the sacred olive-tree with which Athena defeated him. This patriotic
tree had sprung up into new life after the Persians destroyed it, and
had to be treated kindly. The illustration will show how the architect
overcame these problems with an unconventional building of extraordinary
grace and charm. The main building has a colonnade of six Ionic columns
in front, and a north porch of six Ionic columns projecting from one
side; at the west end a precinct of Pandrosos (daughter of Cecrops),
enclosing the sacred olive-tree, adjoined it, and on the south side the
lovely little portico of the Maidens.[65] This is its most celebrated
feature, from the figures of the six Athenian girls who carry the
graceful Ionic entablature. One of the Caryatids was taken to London by
Lord Elgin, and has been replaced by a terra-cotta copy. The capitals on
their heads are designed like baskets. I have already spoken of this use
of sculpture for columns in connection with the Telamones of Acragas.
The name Caryatids given to these figures in later times was derived
from the town of Karuæ, in Arcadia.

[Illustration: The Erechtheum: Modern Reconstruction]

Besides the objects already mentioned, the Erechtheum contained a number
of very ancient relics. There you were shown the marks of Poseidon’s
trident on the rock; there were spoils taken from the Persians; an old
wooden Hermes dedicated by Cecrops, a chariot by Dædalus, a lamp by
Callimachus kept perpetually burning, and above all the ancient wooden
image of Athena Polias.

Dörpfeld maintains that the old temple of Athena Polias was left
standing even after the Erechtheum was completed. If that were true we
should have to believe that the architect deliberately projected his
unnecessary Caryatid porch right into

[Illustration: FIG. 1. THE TEMPLE OF NIKÉ APTEROS [THE WINGLESS VICTORY]

FIG. 2. THE CARYATID PORCH OF THE ERECHTHEUM

_English Photo Co., Athens_

PLATE XLIX]

the blank wall of the older temple, where it could not be seen and could
scarcely be passed, for it encroaches right over the stylobate of the
old colonnade.

I have only mentioned some of the wonderful objects on the sacred rock.
When Pausanias saw it, it was crowded from end to end with works of art,
sacred or commemorative. No profane person inhabited it.

It was to the Acropolis that the attention of Pericles and his artists
was first directed when the time came to beautify Athens. In the city
below you would be struck with the plainness of the private houses,
presenting no decorative aspect whatever to the narrow and tortuous
streets. They were all of one story, with a roof sloping inwards to an
open colonnade, round which the rooms were grouped. The agora was the
centre of commercial and social life. Close by were some famous
porticoes or cloisters, shady and cool to lounge in. In the Royal
Portico the “king archon” sat to do his business, mostly connected with
religion. Here the Council of the Areopagus met in later days. Here
Socrates conversed, and here he was tried for impiety. Ancient laws were
inscribed upon the walls of it. The Portico of Freedom contained statues
and celebrated frescoes painted by Euphranor in the fourth century. The
Decorated Portico (Stoa Poikilē) in the agora was even more famous for
its historical and mythological pictures, including one of the battle of
Marathon by Panainos, and one by the master Polygnotus of the taking of
Troy. It was in this Stoa that Zeno developed in later times his Stoic
philosophy. All these pictures have perished utterly, but we can still
see reflections of them in the vase-paintings of the day.

Close by upon a low hill stands a Doric temple of the fifth century in
almost perfect preservation. This is commonly called the Theseum, but it
is undoubtedly the temple of Hephæstus mentioned by Pausanias.[66] The
temple is of Pentelic marble, surrounded on all sides by columns, with
six at each end. It is of a slightly earlier date than the Parthenon,
and it has very little of the subtle system of optical corrections
employed there. It was not a very important building in ancient Athens;
in fact, it is scarcely mentioned in antiquity; but as the
best-preserved building in all Greece it is of great architectural
interest to us. The metopes were not all carved; the rest were probably
painted. There is also a sculptured frieze. The subject of the metopes
was the Labours of Heracles and Theseus. They are rather badly
weathered, and in their present condition not very attractive. Not far
away is the Dipylon Gate, with its ancient burial-ground, of which we
shall see more in a later section. At the opposite end of the city the
visitor in the fifth century B.C. would have been struck by the immense
columns of the temple of Olympian Zeus begun by Peisistratus, but never
finished. Close under the Acropolis rock was the Theatre of Dionysus,
where the tragedies and comedies were performed, and a music hall, or
Odeion, erected by Pericles. There was a Cave of Pan on the precipitous
slope of the rock. The public meetings of the Athenian Assembly were
held on the hill of Pnyx, to the west of the Acropolis. Here there was a
sort of open-air theatre. We can still see the platform where Pericles
addressed the people, and the seats for the presiding committee behind
it.

So entirely does Athens focus upon herself the culture of the fifth
century, we are apt to forget that Athens was not Greece. The Temple of
Zeus at Olympia was the most celebrated temple in all Greece, but
chiefly for the wealth of the dedications there and the number of
athletic statues. Delphi too was enriched with countless artistic
offerings sent, in spite of the Pythian’s faint-hearted counsels, from
the spoil of the war. There was a famous tripod with a stand of twisted
serpents, on whose coils were inscribed the names of those cities which
had taken part in the battle of Platæa. A forlorn remnant of it still
exists at Constantinople. Both Olympia and Delphi have been recently
excavated, the former by the Germans and the latter by the French. But
neither site has quite realised expectations. The greatest finds at
Olympia

[Illustration: PLATE L. THE “THESEUM,” ATHENS

_English Photo Co., Athens_]

were the Hermes of Praxiteles, which belongs to the next epoch, and the
temple pediments which I have already mentioned. At Delphi the
long-robed charioteer, one of the noblest fifth-century bronzes, was the
most conspicuous treasure, but one very fine athletic statue is worthy
of mention. This is the Agias, an athletic portrait in marble, executed
by Lysippus, fourth of the great masters of Greek sculpture.[67] Traces
were found of a great number of small shrines which acted as the
treasuries of the various states and were grouped round the great temple
of Apollo, and some of these, notably the Cnidian, Siphnian, and
Athenian treasuries, have yielded important relics of sculpture. The
holy precinct was crowded with treasuries, shrines, votive groups, and
colonnades. It included a theatre, a circular dancing-floor, and a
colossal statue of Apollo. The Altis at Olympia was similarly filled
with treasuries; round it just outside were the stadium, the hippodrome,
the palæstra, and the gymnasium.

Hidden away in a remote mountain glen of Arcadia there was a masterpiece
of Ictinus, which is now a lovely ruin amid the most solitary and
romantic scenery. This is the temple of Phigaleia, the modern Bassæ.[68]
It was dedicated by the Phigaleians to Apollo the Helper in consequence
of an epidemic. They sent for the most famous architect in Greece soon
after the completion of the Parthenon. Ictinus used, since his clients
were poor mountaineers, the local limestone for the building, but the
roof and sculptures were of imported marble. He had also to modify the
normal Doric plan in accordance with local religious conventions of
sun-worship. In the cella of the temple the interior Ionic columns are
joined to the wall by short stone partitions, thus forming a row of five
chapels on each side. A door was made in the east side to shed the light
of the rising sun full on the statue of the sun-god; for the main
building is unique among Greek temples in running north and south. The
narrow frieze which ran round the interior of the cella represented, as
usual, contests of Greeks and Amazons, Centaurs and Lapithæ.[69] It is
now in the British Museum. It is of the very finest workmanship, and
here we see a system of design hardly less subtle than that of the
Parthenon frieze applied to scenes of vigour and violence. The frieze
was removed bodily by Baron von Stackelberg and bought at auction by the
British Government for £15,000.

We find another example of the versatile genius of Ictinus at Eleusis.
Eleusis was the most important town of Attica except Athens, and had
long been independent. It formed an agricultural centre for the plain
around it. Its famous mysteries were of agricultural significance to
start with, and were chiefly concerned with the worship of Demeter and
Persephone in their characters as grain-givers. It was no doubt a later
development when the Greeks began to graft the deepest religious and
metaphysical doctrines relating to immortality upon them. We can easily
see how rustic rites celebrating the death and rebirth of the cornfields
should come to bear this exalted meaning for reflective people. Every
year on the fifth night of the Greater Eleusinian festival in spring the
Athenian people trooped out along the Sacred Way in a torchlight
procession. Only the initiated, the Mystæ, were allowed to witness the
secret ceremony, which seems to have consisted of a ritual marriage. For
most illuminating suggestions as to its real nature I would refer the
reader to Mr. J. C. Lawson’s recent book on “Modern Greek Folklore and
Ancient Greek Religion.”

The Great Temple of the Mysteries was designed, but not completed, by
Ictinus, for the Peloponnesian War put a stop to the Eleusinian
worshippers from Athens--not the least of their deprivations. But they
were resumed when Alcibiades came home, and continued until Alaric the
Goth destroyed the temple. The peculiarity of this building is that it
cuts into the living rock. The interior somewhat resembled a theatre,
with eight stone tiers all round it, and an upper story supported on
columns. The building itself was square, with a portico in

[Illustration: PLATE LI. THE “AGIAS” OF LYSIPPUS

_English Photo Co., Athens_]

front only. The upper story was reached by a rock-terrace cut out of the
hill-side at the back. The whole temple, with out-buildings, was
enclosed by a wall.

Summing up the architectural character of the period, we should say that
it was severely limited by the conservatism of religion to the austerest
outlines and the simplest plans. Such laws it loyally obeyed, and yet
found scope for exquisite workmanship and subtle varieties within them.
Ictinus and Mnesicles were quite capable of adapting themselves to any
local peculiarities, but the strict Doric style still reigned supreme.
Finally we note that fine architecture is almost entirely confined to
the service of religion and patriotism, while private and secular
buildings are still on the most unpretentious scale. The only
architectural work of a strictly utilitarian character that we can
mention is the planning of the Peiræus, which was as orderly, as regular
and as dull as “town-planned” towns generally are.


TRAGEDY AND COMEDY

It was the policy of Pericles, when he trusted his fellow-citizens with
so much power, to train them to be fit to wield it. Fond as the Athenian
was of political and social equality within his own circle of
citizenship, his tone and temper were, I think, like those of all the
other Greeks, inherently aristocratic. The Greeks were a chosen people.
They stood aloof, with slaves and helots beneath them, and with
barbarians all round them. Few Greeks would have disputed the doctrine
by which Aristotle justified slavery: the Greek is by nature superior;
set him down in a barbarian city, and in a short time the Greek would be
king. They would have laughed sweetly at Lafayette’s “Rights of Man.”
Man only gets his rights as a member of a partnership, a corporate
community--to wit, a city. This community he entered, when he was
acknowledged as a citizen, not without a strict scrutiny into his
claims, as formally as we enter a club. Having once joined partnership
with such a state as Athens, his rights became precise and important.
Among other rights, a democracy offered him that of taking his turn in
the government if the lot or the votes of his fellow-citizens designated
him for office. Political philosophy maintains as an axiom that the
better people ought to rule over the worse, condemning all democracy,
and Athens in particular, because there the many ruled over the few, and
therefore necessarily the worse over the better. Pericles would not have
denied the doctrine, but only its applicability to Athens. He would have
claimed that the whole Athenian citizen body possessed “virtue” in the
political philosopher’s sense of the word; they were all _aristoi_, for
he had seen to it that the Athenian citizens should all receive a
training, which, though utterly different from the Spartan in its aims
and methods, was even more capable of turning the masses into an
aristocracy of manners and intelligence.

It was a liberal education even to walk in the streets of that wonderful
city, to worship in her splendid shrines, to sail the Mediterranean in
her fleets, to lounge in her colonnades and listen to the wisdom of the
wise. The temple services, the festivals, and the banquets were intended
with solemn symbolism to uplift the minds of the worshippers. There was
actual practice in public business for every one, whether in the
Assembly or the Council Hall or the large Jury Courts. Thus it was hoped
that any man whom the lot might appoint to be archon or president would
be fit for his duties.

But of all instruments of public education perhaps the most important
was the Drama. This word, which we associate with entertainment after
dinner, with tinsel and bad ventilation, meant to the Greeks a religious
solemnity destined to the praise of gods and the edification of men.
During the fifth century at Athens the stage was far the most powerful
form of literary and artistic expression--so much so that as Greek
literature in this period is almost entirely absorbed by Athens, all the
other voices of poetry are for a time reduced to silence. The amazingly
rapid development of this form of expression was largely due to the
concentration with which the literary

[Illustration: PLATE LII. THE TEMPLE OF APOLLO AT PHIGALEIA [BASSÆ]

_English Photo Co., Athens_]

genius of Greece pursued it. Athenian drama, Tragic, Comic, and Satyric,
was produced at the festivals of Dionysus, and it has generally been
supposed to have taken its rise from rude choruses in honour of the
wine-god, developed by Arion and others into the Dithyramb. This is an
ancient and respectable theory. The Satyric Drama is obviously connected
with wine and the wine-god’s goatish followers, the Satyrs. Comedy was
derived from _kōmē_, a village, being originally the rustic form of the
same species of mimetic worship. As for Tragedy, that was traced
etymologically to the Greek for a goat, and of course the goat has a
family relationship with Dionysus. But it has recently been argued that
Tragedy was certainly the earliest form of the drama to be developed,
and though _we_ may wind up an evening’s jollification by going to see
“Othello,” yet ancient Tragedy has, as was often remarked by the
ancients themselves, nothing to do with wine or Dionysus, and is
scarcely of the festive character that we should associate with that
cheerful deity. Professor Ridgeway has shown some reason to believe that
the drama took its rise in quite a different manner--namely, from the
funeral ceremonies held at the tomb of a dead hero. He shows the
frequent appearance of tombs in the scenery of Tragedy, and adduces
evidence to prove that the Greeks did include mimetic representations of
the dead hero and his deeds among the ceremonies performed in his
honour. This would account not only for the character of Tragedy, with
its sombre musings upon Death and Fate, but also for the milieu in which
its scenes invariably moved--namely, the Epic circle of heroes.
Professor Ridgeway further points out that the worship of Dionysus was
itself not a very ancient nor a strictly Greek cult. Theatres and
dancing-floors are, however, as old as Cnossos.

But this very plausible and suggestive theory has scarcely yet had time
to stand its trial. What is certain and most important for the
understanding of Tragedy is that the Drama was evolved from the song and
dance of the Chorus. First one and then two members of the _corps de
ballet_ were brought out from the ranks to perform solo impersonations,
to narrate an episode in descriptive rhapsody, or to exchange
information by rapid question and answer. Important stages in this
evolutionary process were attributed in antiquity to Thespis, the
so-called “inventor” of Tragedy, and to Phrynichus and Æschylus, all
Athenians of the late sixth and early fifth centuries. Then the part
played by the “Answerers” (hypocrites), as the actors were called,
gradually gained in magnitude and importance. In Æschylus the choric
passages are still the main feature of the play. In Sophocles they form
a kind of lyric commentary on the action of the drama, in which the
interest now begins to centre. In the later work of Euripides the Chorus
is largely a superfluous concession to dramatic conventions. Already by
the end of Sophocles’ career there were as many as four actors, and
since each performed numerous impersonations, the range of character was
considerable. Grand as Athenian drama is, even regarded as a vehicle of
literary composition, the mere writing of the “book” was a subordinate
part of the work of producing a play. In fact Greek tragedy is far more
closely akin to the modern oratorio than to the modern stage-play. The
task of providing, equipping, and training a chorus was one of the
“liturgies” or public duties laid by the Athenian state upon her richer
citizens. It lay in the archon’s discretion to “grant a chorus” to a
poet.

The stage consisted originally of a circular dancing-floor (orchestra)
with an altar in the middle. Here the fifteen members of the chorus
marched in, headed by a single flute-player, chanting in unison. As soon
as they had arrived in position they formed line three deep, the
coryphæus in the middle of the front row, with the leader of each
semichorus on his right and left. While they sang they performed simple
rhythmic movements of a solemn character. At first the individual actors
simply stepped out from the ranks to deliver their lines, but in later
times (when precisely, is a matter of burning controversy) they appeared
behind the orchestra on a raised stage. The performance was, of course,
always given

[Illustration: PLATE LIII. PORTIONS OF THE PHIGALEIAN FRIEZE

COMBAT BETWEEN CENTAURS AND LAPITHÆ [WEST SIDE, SLAB 528]

COMBAT BETWEEN GREEKS AND AMAZONS [EAST SIDE, SLAB 537]

_Mansell & Co._]

[Illustration: Theatrical Figures, Comic and Tragic]

in the open air.[70] In the fifth century there was no regular theatre;
only a flat circular orchestra where the dramas were produced in the
“Place of the Wine-press” to the west of the Acropolis, and the
spectators sat round on wooden benches. It was not until late in the
fourth century that the great Theatre of Dionysus, with its tiers of
stone seats resting on the living rock, was constructed under the south
cliff of the citadel. It has been remarked that the Greek stage was not,
as ours is, pictorial, but rather plastic, giving the effect of figures
in relief against a background. This was one reason why the actors wore
high boots which gave them superhuman stature, and padded garments and
trailing skirts. The masks they wore were part of the traditional
convention of Greek drama. The mask would, of course, preclude any
facial expression whatsoever. The Greek actor showed his skill in the
grace of his movements, the expressiveness of his gestures, and the
clearness and force of his articulation. Dramatic declamation was his
main business. Under these circumstances it is clear that we must not
expect subtle nuances of meaning to be conveyed by the actors in Greek
tragedy, though modern interpreters are always on the look-out for them.
Conceive Henry Irving with an immovable eyebrow, or Coquelin with his
mouth fixed open in a perpetual grimace. It is obvious that the whole
character of the representation is transformed. The female parts, too,
were, as on our own Elizabethan stage, invariably taken by men or boys.
The scenery was of the simplest. The costume was one conventional to the
tragic stage; there was only the slightest attempt to dress the parts.
The plays thus had the simplicity and breadth of treatment which we have
seen in the statuary and architecture of the period. The art of Pheidias
is the most illuminating commentary upon that of Sophocles. As we saw in
Cresilas’ portrait of Pericles, idealistic treatment is maintained so
faithfully as a principle that realistic characterisation is only
admitted so far as it does not conflict with the ideal. In both arts the
heroes and heroines must have the profile and contours of physical and
moral perfection. It is only within these limits that Deianira can be
soft and womanly, Antigone stern and faithful unto death, Ajax bluff and
bold, Neoptolemus young and generous. There are broader strokes of
character-drawing in the minor characters. Messengers, slaves, and
sentinels are sometimes permitted the homely sententiousness of Juliet’s
Nurse. But there is nothing that can truly be called relief from the
stern shadows that encompass the world of Greek tragedy.

It must not be forgotten that the themes upon which Tragedy drew were,
almost exclusively, the heroic or epic legends. One or two exceptions
there are; the “Persæ” of Æschylus is one such, for reasons which I have
already explained. Phrynichus also wrote a tragedy founded on
contemporary history, “The Sack of Miletus,” an episode of the Ionian
revolt. But such a theme came too near home, touched too closely on
politics, and the poet was punished with a fine. Otherwise the dramatist
had no scope for originality or for the element of the unexpected in the
choice of his plot. It is as if

[Illustration: PLATE LIV. THEATRE AT EPIDAURUS

_English Photo Co., Athens_]

our dramatists were restricted to the Bible for their choice of subjects
instead of being entirely debarred from it. The audience knew the main
outline of the story as soon as the play began. Thus the audience was
often in the secret while the characters on the stage were not, and this
fact gave scope for dramatic irony, which is especially connected with
the name of Sophocles.

Sophocles is for literature the supreme embodiment of the Athenian
spirit at this its purest and highest period. The tragedies of Æschylus
have the grandeur and incompleteness of archaic art. He wrestles with
the most awful problems of human destiny and divine purpose. His style
matches his themes; it is a whirlpool of foaming imagery in which great
masses of poetry in phrase and metaphor appear and disappear
continually. He continually baffles the transcriber and the modern
interpreter, and it is only the most reverential spirit that can refrain
from occasional sensations of ludicrous bathos. Euripides, on the other
hand, is so fluent and easy in his craftsmanship that he often seems by
contrast commonplace. He is probably the cleverest of all dramatists,
and he often dealt with his religious themes in the spirit of an
unabashed sceptic. Like Plato, he saw that the gods of anthropomorphic
creation were very far from ideal; and he used all the craft and
subtlety of the rationalist to exhibit them at their weakest. Æschylus
is the poet of the religious men of Marathon; Euripides, “the human,” is
the prophet of the New Age of the fourth century, liberal, cosmopolitan,
restless and fearless in inquiry. Sophocles is the true exponent of
Periclean Athens in the realm of literature.

With his inflexible idealism, the poetry of Sophocles is sublimated
almost beyond human ken. Moderns sometimes find him too perfect, too
statuesque to be interesting. It is both their misfortune and their
fault. The appreciation of Sophocles is a test of refined scholarship
and an ear sensitive to the inner voices of poetry. This makes
translation almost impossible, but Mr. Whitelaw, of Rugby, has come so
near to achieving that impossible that I would venture, through his
medium, to present a specimen of this poet’s exquisite art. This is the
famous choric ode on Love from the “Antigone.”

    STROPHE

    “O Love, our conqueror, matchless in might,
     Thou prevailest, O Love, thou dividest the prey:
     In damask cheeks of a maiden
     Thy watch through the night is set.
     Thou roamest over the sea;
     On the hills, in the shepherd’s huts, thou art;
     Nor of deathless gods, nor of shortlived men,
     From thy madness any escapeth.

    ANTISTROPHE

    “Unjust, through thee, are the thoughts of the just;
     Thou dost bend them, O Love, to thy will, to thy spite.
     Unkindly strife thou hast kindled,
     This wrangling of son with sire.
     For great laws, throned in the heart,
     To the sway of a rival power give place,
     To the love-light flashed from a fair bride’s eyes:
     In her triumph laughs Aphrodite.
     Me, even now, me also,
     Seeing these things, a sudden pity
     Beyond all governance transports:
     The fountains of my tears
     I can refrain no more,
     Seeing Antigone here to the bridal chamber
     Come, to the all-receiving chamber of Death.”

In this ode we have the Greek tragic view of the passion of Love, as the
destroyer and distractor of man’s peace and sanity. Love is one of the
means whereby tragic fate fulfils its purposes of vengeance. The
circumstances of this particular case are these: Of Antigone’s two
brothers one had marched against his native city, and the other had
taken arms in its defence. Both had fallen on the field of battle.
Creon, the city’s tyrant, forbade any one, under pain of death, to give
burial to the slain enemy. In this, of course, he was violating one of
the most sacred laws of Greek religion. Now Antigone was betrothed to
Creon’s own son, Hæmon; nevertheless her duty was to brave the tyrant’s
decree and give the honours of formal burial to her dead brother. She
did so. Creon thereupon pronounced her doom, and Hæmon in his despair
slew himself upon the tomb in which she was immured. The whole story is
but an episode in the doom of the house of Œdipus, father of Antigone.
The Greek view of Love, then, is the antithesis of the romantic view of
it. Where Love conflicts with duty it must be rigorously suppressed, as
a source of folly, weakness, and wickedness. So much is this the case
that Sophocles puts into the mouth of Antigone words which he had
probably borrowed from Herodotus, and which give a view of the Great
Passion so painfully unromantic that the modern commentator, who for all
his prosiness is a thoroughly romantic person, is tempted to use the
shears by which he commonly cuts his knots and call it an interpolation.
“My duty,” says Antigone, “is to my brother first. You speak of my duty
to my future husband, and my future children. I reply that a brother is
more than a husband or children; _they can be replaced, a brother
cannot_.”

An even more disconcerting display of common sense in a presumably
romantic situation is seen in that amazing play the “Alcestis” of
Euripides--surely the most conspicuous failure in all dramatic
literature. Every one knows the tale, how Admetus was allowed as a boon
from Apollo to get some one else as a substitute in his place when Death
came to fetch him. His faithful wife, Alcestis, took his place, being
consoled by Admetus with the promise of a handsome funeral. Then the
king’s old father appears upon the scene to offer his condolences to the
widower, but is immediately assailed with the most vehement reproaches
for not having himself, as an old man with one foot in the grave
already, shown sufficient pluck to volunteer death. He not unnaturally
retorts that if it is a question of daring to die, Admetus himself had
not been remarkable for courage. The point is one that pleases
Euripides; it is a nice point of casuistry; he lets the speakers
dispute it at some length. I think these two passages are significant of
much. When we think of the Greeks as a race of poetic and artistic
genius we must not forget that practical, unsentimental common sense is
among their most prominent characteristics. They habitually exposed
weakly infants to death. Their comedy is singularly merciless to disease
and deformity. Plato’s treatment of the sex problem in his ideal
republic is strikingly cold-blooded, but hardly more so than the actual
treatment of the same problem in the real republic of Sparta. Before we
leave this question of the romantic in the Greek character two things
should be observed. The romantic element unquestionably grows stronger
as Greek civilisation approaches its decline: there is a good deal of it
in Menander and Theocritus, still more in Heliodorus; Alexander the
Great is romantic to the finger-tips. Secondly, although there is so
little of it in Tragedy, or generally in the relations between the two
sexes, it is found in a degree of almost modern intensity in the
relations between Heracles and Hylas, between Theseus and Peirithous,
between Harmodius and Aristogeiton. It was not foolishness to the Greeks
for a man to face death for the youth he loved. Indeed, upon that theory
Epaminondas the Theban organised that Sacred Band which for a time
revolutionised Greek history.

Another characteristic excellence of Greek drama, and especially of
Sophocles, is its extraordinary power of narrative. With its severe
scenic limitations, the Attic stage wisely refrained from attempting to
reproduce realistically exciting spectacular incidents. The actual
“tragedies” seldom occur in the sight of the audience. Far more often
the hero or heroine leaves the stage in despair, the chorus intervenes
with a mournful ode, and then a messenger arrives with a narrative of
the fatal occurrence. Shakespeare, with scarcely less severe
limitations, faced the impossible, and courted ridicule by representing
battles in full detail on the stage by means of a handful of overworked
“supers.” What they could not represent the Greeks narrated; and
Horace, indeed, exalts it into a principle of dramatic art that “Medea
must not butcher her babes in public.” That the Greek dramatists so
refrained was probably due to dramatic tradition as well as to the
practical necessities of the case. When there was only one speaking
actor in addition to the chorus his part must have been chiefly what our
composers of oratorios call “recitative.” For these two reasons, and
perhaps also in obedience to the Greek spirit of self-restraint,
narrative declamation by “messengers” is a striking feature of all Greek
tragedy.

We have seen already the religious theory upon which tragedy is
generally based, the logical succession of Success, Pride, Vengeance,
and Ruin. The tragedians deal largely with stories of the doom which had
pursued certain of the heroic houses like that of Labdacus or Atreus. In
such cases a prophetic curse rests upon the entire dynasty: Atreus slays
his brother’s children and bequeaths doom for Agamemnon. Agamemnon is
slain by his guilty wife Clytæmnestra, whereby a duty of vengeance
devolves upon their son Orestes, who _must_ slay his mother, and
therefore _must_ incur the celestial doom of the matricide, unless
Apollo himself can intervene to release him from the vengeance of the
Furies. Such stories were pursued by all three great tragedians, often
in sequences of three tragedies called trilogies. They have no “moral,”
except that sin breeds suffering to the third and fourth generation, but
the sin is often an involuntary one. The purpose of the tragedian is to
show the struggles of man against fate. According to Aristotle’s
oft-quoted theory, the purpose of Tragedy is to act as a “purgative of
the emotions by means of pity and terror.” As the surgeon lets blood in
order to reduce fever, so the drama enables the spectator to acquire
peace of soul through the vicarious sorrows of its heroes and heroines.
Aristotle declares every tragedy to consist of two parts, the tying of
the knot and the loosing of it. The “loosing” commonly involves a
_peripeteia_, or sudden reversal of fortune, as when Agamemnon’s
triumphant return is changed to death and mourning; often it is brought
about by an _anagnōrĭsis_, or recognition, as when the stranger in the
palace is found to be Orestes come home for revenge. The so-called
Aristotelian “unities,” which have loomed so bulkily in the history of
dramatic criticism, and under the fear of which the classical dramatists
of France were imprisoned, are not to be found in Aristotle. He does,
indeed, advocate unity of subject, but unity of time and place are
nowhere demanded. The natural limitations and the consequent simplicity
of the Greek stage generally imposed these unities as a practical
necessity.

Greek simplicity is often, as we have seen, a studiously contrived
impression and the result of elaborate concealment of art. That it is
not entirely so in the case of the drama is proved by the astonishing
fertility of the principal dramatists. Æschylus wrote more than 70
plays, Sophocles 113, Euripides 92, and another tragic poet whose work
has not survived 240. They were written and produced in competition. In
468 B.C. Sophocles began his public career by competing against Æschylus
for the prize of tragedy. As the house seemed equally divided, the
presiding archon left the decision to the ten generals who had just come
back victorious from their warfare in Thrace. The prize was awarded to
Sophocles, who, it is significant to notice, had been specially trained
under a famous musician. Euripides only won the prize five times in a
poetical career of fifty years. A prize was likewise awarded to the
choregus who produced and trained the best chorus. It was the custom for
the successful choregus, who was always, of course, a rich man, to
dedicate his prize--a tripod--in a certain street in Athens. One such
monument of the fourth century by a certain Lysicrates is still standing
in fair preservation. It was a pretty example of the luxurious
Corinthian order of architecture.[71]

Tragedies were performed three times a year at the three festivals of
Dionysus. The poet had an audience of 13,000,

[Illustration: PLATE LV. MONUMENT OF LYSICRATES AT ATHENS

_English Photo Co., Athens_]

including strangers from all parts of Greece. At first, it would seem,
admission was free, but so great was the crush that a small entrance fee
was charged. It was one of the really popular measures of Pericles to
start a fund not only for enabling the poorer citizens to enter free,
but actually to compensate them for their loss of employment while
engaged in this public duty. After all, why should the privileges of
free education be lost by the citizen merely because he is over fourteen
years of age? Why should we have to pay to enter the theatre, when the
doors of the National Gallery are opened to us for nothing?

I find it much more difficult to speak of Athenian Comedy with candour
and discrimination. Scholars of unblemished reputation and unimpeachable
sense of humour do unquestionably find the plays of Aristophanes, even
when produced by English schoolboys on speech-day, excessively
diverting. There is, it is true, in Aristophanes a good deal of simple
honest fun of the type represented by Mr. Punch or Mr. Pickwick and his
spectacles in the wheelbarrow. When the wrong man gets a thwacking or
when an ignorant amateur told to sit _to_ the oar proceeds to sit _on_
it, it is, I suppose, no less funny in the twentieth century _anno
Domini_ than it was in the fifth century before Christ. But there I must
leave the humour of Aristophanes to those who can appreciate it and
still laugh even when they have laboriously picked out the point of the
joke from the notes at the end of their text-book. Most of the humour is
of this type. It was written to burlesque the well-known figures of the
day, and no doubt served its purpose extremely well. Indeed, there is no
more certain proof of the liberty of speech which prevailed in Athens
than the fact that Aristophanes was permitted to represent Cleon the
Prime Minister in successive plays in the most ludicrous and offensive
situations. The Old Comedy of Athens rested largely upon a basis of
venomous personal slander and libel without self-restraint, without even
common decency. It must be added that all ancient humour was corrupted
at the source with obscenity. Anthropology, no doubt, explains this
satisfactorily for the anthropologist. Comedy took its rise from obscene
representations of the power of fecundity. Women and children were
properly forbidden to be present at comic representations. It is not
only thus with literature; the comic vase-paintings of Athens and the
comic frescoes of Pompeii are not suitable to modern taste.

Aristophanes as a poet is in a very different category. Every now and
then in a parabasis he turns to talk to his audience, so to speak, in
his own person, dropping for the moment into serious vein. In such
passages he is often superb.

In the following dialogue from “The Frogs” we have an interesting and
characteristic piece of literary criticism. Aristophanes is, as we have
seen, a Tory. The Athenian he loves is remarkably like the John Bull of
our national ideal. Here Æschylus as the poet of the old order is at
issue with Euripides, and Dionysus himself is there to umpire, disguised
as an irrelevant Philistine. The spirited and very free translation is
by Hookham Frere. Euripides has already expounded his principles, and
Æschylus now takes his turn.

    ÆSCHYLUS

    “Observe then, and mark, what our citizens were,
     When first from my care they were trusted to you;
     Not scoundrel informers, or paltry buffoons,
     Evading the services due to the State;
     But with hearts all on fire, for adventure and war,
     Distinguished for hardiness, stature, and strength,
     Breathing forth nothing but lances and darts,
     Arms, and equipment, and battle array,
     Bucklers, and shields, and habergeons, and hauberks,
     Helmets, and plumes, and heroic attire.

    EURIPIDES

    “But how did you manage to make ’em so manly?
     What was the method, the means that you took?

    DIONYSUS

    “Speak, Æschylus, speak, and behave yourself better,
     And don’t, in your rage, stand so silent and stern.

[Illustration: Plate 56.--Red-figured Vase; and Pyxis]


    ÆSCHYLUS

    “A drama, brimful with heroical spirit.

    EURIPIDES

    “What did you call it?

    ÆSCHYLUS

                           “‘The Chiefs against Thebes,’
    That inspired each spectator with martial ambition,
    Courage, and ardour, and prowess, and pride.

    DIONYSUS

    “But you did very wrong to encourage the Thebans.
     Indeed you deserve to be punished, you do,
     For the Thebans are grown to be capital soldiers.
     You’ve done us a mischief by that very thing.

    ÆSCHYLUS

    “The fault was your own, if you took other courses;
     The lesson I taught was directed to you;
     Then I gave you the glorious theme of ‘The Persians,’
     Replete with sublime patriotical strains,
     The record and example of noble achievement,
     The delight of the city, the pride of the stage.

    DIONYSUS

    “I rejoiced, I confess, when the tidings were carried
     To old King Darius, so long dead and buried,
     And the chorus in concert kept wringing their hands,
     Weeping and wailing, and crying, Alas!

    ÆSCHYLUS

    “Such is the duty, the task of a poet,
     Fulfilling in honour his office and trust.
     Look to traditional history, look
     To antiquity, primitive, early, remote:
     See there what a blessing illustrious poets
     Conferr’d on mankind, in the centuries past.
     Orpheus instructed mankind in religion,
     Reclaimed them from bloodshed and barbarous rites;
     Musæus delivered the doctrine of medicine,
     And warnings prophetic for ages to come.
     Next came old Hesiod, teaching us husbandry,
     Ploughing, and sowing, and rural affairs,
     Rural economy, rural astronomy,
     Homely morality, labour and thrift:
     Homer himself, our adorable Homer,
     What was his title to praise and renown?
     What but the worth of the lessons he taught us,
     Discipline, arms, and endurance of war?”

All Greek literature and art is judged by critics of all sorts from a
standard almost exclusively moral. “Did he teach well?” “Did his art
make people better?” Such are the questions constantly applied. The
doctrine of Art for Art’s sake would have seemed to the Greeks monstrous
and wicked. The actual charges made against Euripides in these scenes
are (1) that he was an innovator; (2) that he was a realist, introducing
lame people and beggars in rags on the idealist tragic stage; (3) that
he was fond of casuistry, and thereby cultivated dishonesty; (4) that he
chose immoral subjects dealing with such revolting topics as women in
love! Sophocles is evidently regarded by our irrepressible bard as a
personage too sacred to be brought upon his stage. That gentle spirit
would have no part in such a strife either here or in the underworld.

I look upon Greek Comedy as a Saturnalian product. A people accustomed
to a strict, self-imposed discipline in the rest of its art and morals
deliberately throws off its restraints and lets itself go on occasions,
like a Scotchman at Hogmanay. The Greeks were not in the least shocked
by occasional and seasonable ebullitions of high spirits. If you had an
enemy or an opponent in politics, the production of a comedy was the
time when you might reasonably assert that his deceased mother had been
a greengrocer, or that his wife had eloped with a Thracian footman, or
that his face was ugly and his person offensive to the senses. You were
expected to include some references to Melanthius, a tragic poet who was
notoriously and most laughably afflicted with leprosy, or Opuntius, who
provoked great mirth by having only one eye, or Cleonymus, who lost his
shield on the field of battle, or Patroclides, who

[Illustration: Plate 57.--White Polychrome Vases (“Lecythi”)]

suffered a celebrated accident in the theatre. Any reference to leather
was sure of a hearty laugh, for Cleon was interested in the
leather-market. Anything about crabs tickled the audience, because they
all knew Carcinus, the tragic poet. Impudent personalities are generally
amusing for the moment, and they were the mainstay of old comedy. May it
rest in peace!


AIDÔS

Almost to weariness the chronicler of Greek culture has to reiterate
this virtue of Moderation, Self-knowledge, Self-restraint, as the secret
of all that is highest in the great period. It is a very remarkable
phenomenon after all. There was nothing in the Greek temperament to
account for it: on the contrary, they were excitable and hot-blooded
people of the South. There was nothing at all in their religion to
preach asceticism. It was not a product of reaction, a result of surfeit
from extravagance, because it belongs to the earlier phases of culture
only. I think it was due in a large measure to the force of historical
circumstances. The same influences of external barbarism which forced
them to fence their states behind a ring-wall on a rocky citadel also
led them to enclose their souls within a wall of reserve. The West was
not yet awake; it was against the East that they had to fight,
spiritually as well as bodily. Eastern “barbarism,” which was really
civilisation, ancient and splendid, visibly exhibited all the lusts of
the flesh, all the pomps and vanities of this wicked world. Notably the
Ionian philosophers, who saw the East close at hand, were the first to
preach “Know thyself” and “Nothing too much!” And the Athenians, who had
personally inflicted the Nemesis that attends pride, were the first to
practise it.

But they seem to have had some congenital craving for perfection. Some
have attributed it to their perfect physical health. Aristophanes, as we
have just seen, laughs scornfully at disease and deformity. Euripides is
arraigned for getting dramatic pathos out of rags and tatters. When
Pericles delivers his oration over the dead soldiers he never once
alludes to an individual’s prowess or fate. When Pheidias designs his
long frieze, though there is infinite variety in the poses of his
people, though every fold of drapery, every limb of man and beast is
separately arranged with an eye to its own value in the design, the
faces are not allowed to express any transient or personal emotion. A
monster, such as a Centaur, or a Giant, or a Barbarian, may be allowed a
wrinkled forehead to express age, or a twisted mouth to express pain or
emotion, but a Greek must be perfect and serene.

This principle may be studied in detail upon the tombstones of Athens.
You may often get much illumination about the character of people from
their attitude in presence of death. The Turk plants cypresses in his
cemeteries, carves a turban on a shaft over his graves, and then leaves
the dead to keep their own graveyards tidy. The Frenchman adorns his
tombs with conventional wreaths of tin flowers. The Englishman
advertises the virtues of the wealthy deceased and the emotions of the
survivors in Biblical texts or rather insincere epitaphs. The Italian,
when he can afford it, erects florid monuments in Carrara marble. The
nomad barbarian burns his dead, the jungle savage leaves the corpse in a
tree for sepulture by the birds of heaven. The Egyptian preserves the
body in balms and spices for the great awakening. The Roman generally
used the pyre and stored the ashes methodically in tombs and catacombs.

We have seen that a divergence in funeral practice probably marks the
difference between the two races which went to make up the population of
ancient Greece. The aboriginal Southerners seem to have preserved their
dead in shaft-graves and dome-graves, when their means allowed,
sometimes only in earthenware jars. Rock-tombs of a similar character
are found in great numbers all over Asia Minor, especially in Phrygia
and Lycia. Sometimes in more civilised times they are replaced by large
sarcophagi of stone, wood, or earthenware. Such is the Harpy Tomb at
Xanthus, and the sculptures upon

[Illustration: PLATE LVIII. ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE. [TOMBSTONE RELIEF]

_Alinari_]

it indicate the religious beliefs which accompany that form of
burial--the winged angels which carry the soul away after death, whether
called Fates or Harpies. Then the soul itself is often represented as a
tiny winged figure, sometimes issuing from the mouth of the dead. It was
thus that the Greek word Psyche came to mean both “soul” and
“butterfly.” Tombs of this architectural character were obviously
intended as houses for the dead, and, indeed, their design often follows
the character of the houses occupied by the living. In accordance with
the same idea, objects dear to the living are buried with the dead, such
as the weapons and accoutrements of a warrior, the jewels and personal
belongings of a woman, the toys of a child. Sometimes economical motives
lead to a mere conventional copying of the real object, and many of the
axes and swords found in the old tombs are far too weak ever to have
been made for practical use. Blood and libations were sometimes poured
into the graves, and vessels containing oil, or even food and drink,
were often placed in the tomb, and when money came into use as much of
that as could conveniently be spared. That too was conventionalised into
the penny due to Charon, who ferried souls across the Styx. The “sop to
Cerberus” was also a mythological explanation of the food buried with
the body.

But Charon and Cerberus seem to belong to a different series of ideas
about the dead. The Northerners, such as the Achæans of Homer, burned
their dead upon the funeral pyre, collecting their ashes in jars and
urns, and in the case of a great man raising a barrow over the spot.
They believed that the soul of the happy warrior departed to a Valhalla
or Paradise in the Isles of the Blessed, where he lived thenceforth as
he had lived on earth at his best, in continual feasting and athletic
exercise. The soul could not attain to this blessed relief until it had
received the rites of burial, and to deny burial was an awful crime
against Greek morality. After a battle one side generally had to
acknowledge its defeat by asking for a truce in order that it might bury
its dead.

Historical Athens practised both burial and cremation, after a period
of lying in state. Burial would seem to have been the older custom, for
it was assumed that the bones of Theseus must still be in existence
somewhere, until they were eventually discovered in the island of
Scyros. The Blessed Isles and the Heroic Valhalla doubtless survived as
a literary tradition, but the “Hades” of ordinary Greek religion was the
“grisly home” of Pluto and Persephone, a place of darkness and
lamentation. We have seen that Pythagoras taught the immortality of the
soul; but then, as now, it was not philosophy which created the popular
ideas about death. The belief in immortality which undoubtedly prevailed
generally in Greece seems to have been connected rather with the oldest
religion of agricultural days. Such was the mystical hope given to the
initiated in the secret nocturnal rites of Eleusis. It was intimately
connected with the agricultural deities, Demeter the Earth Mother,
Persephone the Maiden, her daughter, Triptolemus, the boy-god, and
Eubouleus, the divine swineherd. The beautiful mythological
representation of the doctrine in the story of Persephone, who was
carried off by Hades to be his bride in the underworld while she was
gathering flowers, and then at her mother’s powerful intercession was
granted as a compromise the liberty to return to earth for half the
year, is visibly a parable of summer and winter. It seems that current
Greek theology so far as it related to Death was founded on naturalistic
observation of the revival of the seasons and the rebirth of the crops.
This theology was strongest across the water in Asia Minor, in its
connection with the worship of Adonis.

Nevertheless, belief in immortality was not in Greece any more than it
is with us strong enough to assuage the sting of Death or to enable the
Greeks to dispense with the formalities of funerals. The Athenians
practised the usual rites of mourning with professional musicians and
dirge-singers, black clothes, women tearing their hair and beating their
breasts. All this was and is inevitable, but the public sense of Greece
continually demanded decency and reserve in the presence of

[Illustration: PLATE LIX. THE MOURNING ATHENA

_English Photo Co., Athens_]

Death. Solon’s old laws attempt to limit funeral displays. The Spartan
system was very rigorous on the point, and there the women were held in
such discipline that the death of a warrior on the field of battle was
sometimes even actually received with patriotic rejoicing by the women
of his family.

Our archæological museums are much indebted to the practice of burying
with the deceased the objects of his use in life. An athlete would have
the strigil, with which he scraped off the dust and oil of the arena,
buried in his tomb; a lady would have her mirror, in its chiselled
copper case, or her “pyxis” (jewel-box).[72] Most of the little
terra-cotta figures in our museums come from the tombs. Some of them
were children’s toys: often the figures seem to have been deliberately
broken before interment. Among the most beautiful of such relics of the
tomb are the funeral oil-jars, or lecythi, of the fifth and early fourth
centuries. They were specially painted for the purpose, as we can
perceive by their choice of funereal subjects, and they are of a
distinct type of pottery. The usual vase technique of the best period
has its background painted with a rich black glaze and its figures left
plain in the natural colour of the terra-cotta.[73] But these funeral
lecythi have the body of the vase covered with a slip of white or cream
colour, and upon it the figures and scenes are painted in polychrome. In
this way we have surviving very rare and beautiful effects of
colour-drawing in this the noblest period of Greek art. The work of the
great artists Polygnotus and Zeuxis has, of course, perished utterly,
and we must rely on these little oil-jars, probably the work of quite
obscure craftsmen, for our nearest representation of it.[74] Here again
we are amazed at the effect produced by simple means. Even where the
colours have faded we trace a delicacy and precision of line in the
drawing which is simply astonishing. No artists have ever done so much
with a single stroke of the brush. It implies a wonderful confidence and
mastery of technique.

Our museums also contain a great number of the marble slabs, decorated
in high relief, which formed the ordinary tombstone of the Athenians
buried in the cemetery of Cerameikos, outside the Dipylon Gate at
Athens. A few of them are still _in situ_, and present a remarkable
picture as they stand. One of the most famous is the tomb of Hegeso, in
the Athenian Museum. But there are a great many more, less known but
equally beautiful, both there and elsewhere. None of them are, so far as
we know, the work of named artists. The great works constructed under
Pericles and Pheidias on the Acropolis must have collected dozens of
competent minor craftsmen to Athens, and given them a noble training in
their craft. Some show the round contours and delicate drapery of the
Pheidian style, some the heavy muscularity of Polycleitus, and some show
the small, finely poised heads of the school of Lysippus.

The subjects represented on the lecythi generally depict some part of
the funeral rites, and the sepulchral slabs generally exhibit a scene of
departure, which is always treated with extraordinary dignity and
reserve. Not a lamentation is uttered, not a tear falls. Perhaps the
gaze of our athlete’s father is more searching and intense than if it
were a mere earthly separation from his stalwart son. There is, I think,
no portraiture even here. If it is a woman who has gone to her long
home, she is sometimes shown putting away her jewels for the journey. On
one archaic relief now at Rome, a mother, with a smile upon her face, is
placing her child on the knees of Persephone. A very beautiful one, also
at Rome, bears the mythological scene of the parting between those types
of married love and constancy, Orpheus and Eurydice. The head of Orpheus
is bent a little, but Eurydice is smiling farewell, and the hand of
Hermes, the Escort of Souls, is very light upon her wrist.[75] Most
typical of all, perhaps, is the Mourning Athena,[76] which was probably
a public memorial of soldiers fallen in the wars, since it was found
built into a wall on the

[Illustration: FIG. 1

FIG. 2

PLATE LX. TWO TOMBSTONE RELIEFS, FROM THE CERAMEIKOS, ATHENS]

Acropolis. It is strangely simple and restrained. The goddess, clad in
her helmet, leans upon her spear, with head bent down, to read the names
once painted on a short pillar which is part of the relief. The severe
lines of her drapery indicate the austerity of the unknown artist’s
treatment of his patriotic theme. This is the speech of Pericles in
stone. I have chosen also two less-known monuments from the Athenian
Museum to show the Athenian view of death more clearly. The dead hero
does not mourn, but his humbler friends, like the Giants and Barbarians
of the friezes, may express their emotion visibly and indecently. Young
men nearly always have their hounds to accompany them upon their
tombstones. They are big animals, perhaps of the famed Molossian breed,
akin to our pointers. Their descendants may be seen (and felt, unless
the traveller knows the local artifice of sitting down and pretending
not to be afraid) on any upland farm in Greece to-day. Girls are often
accompanied by small pet dogs, curly and excitable. The big hounds
clearly show dejection in every line.[77] Commentators tell us that the
cat (_Felis domesticus_) was not kept as a pet in Greece, but that when
the ancient writers talk of the “wavy-tail” who catches mice they mean
the weasel. Would any one but a commentator keep a weasel for a pet? And
what is that headless animal upon the shelf, if not the primeval cat
imported from Egypt? The young man in this relief[78] is letting his
doves go free. And, as you see, the little slave-boys may look sorry
when their masters go. They are not Greeks; they may express human
emotions.



V

THE FOURTH CENTURY

    But Greece and her foundations are
    Built below the tide of war,
    Throned on the crystalline sea
    Of thought and its eternity.
                 SHELLEY.


ATHENS

The pre-eminence of Thucydides among Greek historians has, I venture to
think, somewhat distorted the true perspective of Greek history. The
absorbing interest with which we follow his account of the Peloponnesian
War to its close in the downfall of Athens leads us to regard all the
rest of Greek history with that slackening of interest with which we
commonly regard a sequel. The truth is that Athens rose from her knees
after an interval, much chastened, considerably exhausted, certainly
poorer, but with as much intellectual vigour and power of artistic
creation as before. The Athens that we know intimately is the Athens of
the Restoration. Really we know almost nothing of fifth-century Athens
but her external politics and the remains of her monuments. The restored
Athens is the city of Plato, of Demosthenes, and of Praxiteles. She has
still to be the mother of philosophy, ethics, oratory, political
science, comedy of manners, logic, grammar, and the essay and the
dialogue as forms of literature. This is the only Athens which we know
at all intimately from within.

[Illustration:

_Anderson._

Fig. 1.--Apollo Sauroctonos.

_Mansell & Co._

Fig. 2.--The Cnidian Aphrodite.

Plate 61.]

The Long Walls were to be pulled down in order that Athens might be
separated from her harbours and become in fact an inland city like
Sparta herself. Down they came to the music of flutes, and Athens
consented to become the “ally” (euphemism for “humble servant”) of
Sparta. The moral of it all for imperial cities would seem to be: (1)
the precarious nature of sea-power unless backed very strongly by
purse-power; (2) the danger of having unwilling allies or dependents;
and (3) the impossibility of conducting war by means of public debate in
a democratic assembly. On two occasions near the end of the war and the
century the Athenians had tried experiments in constitutional
revolution. For, indeed, during the closing stages of the war even the
citizens of Athens could see, what was painfully obvious to the rest of
the world, that she was not well governed for the purposes of external
politics. Popular institutions exist for the sake of popular liberties.
There are better ways of maintaining order, if that is your prime
object, and much better ways of securing “efficiency.” Democracy may
“reign”; it cannot “govern”--not, at any rate, without the help of a
trained bureaucracy. Above all, in the conduct of a war a meeting of
citizens in the market-place is the clumsiest deliberative body that can
be conceived. We have seen how ignorant they were when they embarked on
the Sicilian expedition without knowing anything more than interested
parties chose to tell them of the resources of their allies and the
disposition of the other Sicilian Greeks. Besides ignorance, they had
shown hasty passion in condemning the whole male population of Mitylene
to death; they had been ferociously unjust in sentencing their admirals
to death for not stopping to pick up the shipwrecked survivors after the
victory of Arginusæ. They had made childish blunders in strategy, as
when they chose three hostile generals to conduct the Sicilian
expedition, and in statecraft when they refused peace and drove their
cleverest citizen, Alcibiades, over to the side of the enemy. But the
most effective argument of the oligarchic party was based on finance.
With the cessation of the tribute from the allies it became simply
impossible to maintain the host of state functionaries which democracy
developed and demanded. Further, democracy was, as we have seen,
identified with anti-Spartan policy; Sparta would make no terms with
democracy. And, lastly, when the brilliant Alcibiades had been banished
by the democracy, he professed to have the Persian satrap, the universal
paymaster, in his pocket, and he demanded a revolution as the price of
his return. Such were the arguments insinuated by the oligarchs. This
party was working incessantly in clubs and secret societies about whose
methods of organisation we are woefully ignorant. In 411--that is, two
years after the failure of the Sicilian expedition--these intriguers had
their way, and Athens consented to try the experiment of oligarchy
“until the end of the war.” Government henceforth was to be in the hands
of a council of 400, for government by council is the prevailing feature
of oligarchy. But, like most Greek oligarchies, Athens was also to have
a sort of select Assembly, consisting of 5000 of the well-to-do
citizens. The number of 5000 seems to represent the hoplite body of the
Athenian army. Thus Athens was imitating Sparta in limiting citizen
rights to her fully equipped land warriors, and excluding the “naval
mob” who were her real strength in war. As usual in oligarchies, even
this purged Assembly seems to have been for show rather than for use.
The government was, in fact, what it is generally called, a Government
of the Four Hundred. Fortunately for human liberty the experiment was
not a success. It only lasted for three months. The Four Hundred had, it
is true, come rather late upon the stage if they were to bring the war
to a successful conclusion. But they failed to do anything useful, and
their accession to power was marked by a failure at sea and the loss of
Eubœa. Assassination, a pleasantly rare weapon in Greek politics,
removed the leader of the oligarchs, and Athens reverted to democracy.

Once more, however, at the very end of the war, when the city
surrendered, Athens had perforce, at the bidding of

[Illustration: PLATE LXII. GIRL’S HEAD

_Eruckmann_]

Lysander, her conqueror, to revise her constitution in an oligarchic
direction. Once more the sacred laws were thrown into the melting-pot,
and there were elaborate programmes, and discussions as to the precise
form of oligarchy which should be adopted. But while the preliminaries
were going on the administration fell into the hands of a board of
so-called commissioners charged, like Oliver Cromwell, with the revision
of the constitution. Like Oliver these men soon found themselves in a
position of power too good to be lost. They were called the Thirty
Tyrants, and they deserved the name. They ruled with a strong hand,
banished their enemies, disarmed the citizen army, and began a system of
private plunder, with the spears of the Spartan garrison to enforce
their commands. Athens never forgot and never forgave this nightmare of
the Thirty. Most of them were men of talent, some of them were
philosophers and literary men who had sat at the feet of Socrates.
Critias, the Robespierre of the party, quarrelled with Theramenes, its
philosophical Danton, an advocate of the “moderate Constitution,” and
sent him to execution. Before very long, one is glad to know, honest men
(by which term one means, in this instance, democrats) were gathering on
the borders of Attica, and under the leadership of Thrasybulus won their
way home and crushed the “gentle Critias” and his gang for ever.

The year 402 is the year of restored democracy. It is called the
archonship of Eucleides, who is not our Euclid, but another man of the
same name. We hear no more of oligarchy at Athens. Henceforth she is a
democracy, as before and more so. Where Athenians had formerly got cheap
corn they now got it for nothing. Where they had formerly received a fee
of threepence for public duties they now got fourpence-halfpenny.
According to Aristotle more than 20,000 persons were in receipt of State
payment. However much business the company might transact, the
shareholders were determined upon one thing--to pay dividends to one
another, with a bonus in exceptional years. It is hard to say where the
dividends came from. No doubt there was a good deal of commerce and
banking business at the Peiræus, mostly in the hands of half-naturalised
foreigners. The rich were bled unmercifully, so that they tended to
emigrate or grow poor. And yet in the fourth century Athens was steadily
rising in the political scale. A glad day came when her admiral Conon,
with Persian help, was able to rebuild her Long Walls. She started a new
maritime league, under better safeguards, this time, for the allies. She
even recovered something of an empire. She could not afford statues in
ivory and gold, but she built her theatre with stone, laid out a
stadium, and produced many charming works of art. In short, though her
ambitions were curtailed, life was very free and full, and, I believe,
very pleasant, in fourth-century Athens. Her statesmen had to be content
with smaller schemes; they were a good deal concerned with finance:
indeed, it was hard work to make both ends meet. Generals complained
that they got no pay; and now that hired troops were in vogue warfare
was an expensive pastime. The Athenians were rather more hysterical than
before, even more apt to make Byngs of their unsuccessful admirals. They
talked more than ever, and did rather less. But on the whole they were
well governed, and they played a not unimportant part in the warfare and
diplomacy of Greece. The restored democracy was a success.

While Athens is recuperating her strength we may turn aside for a moment
to watch two other States make their successive attempts to hold the
overlordship of Hellas; remembering all the time that the northern
horizon is already dark with the storm that is going to sweep the whole
of ancient Greece into political insignificance.


SPARTA AND THEBES

The first episode of Greek international history in the fourth century
is a Spartan domination, lasting less than thirty years, but generally
considered as one of the imperial experiments of Greece. In addition to
her own permanent hegemony over the

[Illustration:

_Anderson_

FIG. 1. THE MARBLE FAUN, AFTER PRAXITELES

_Anderson_

FIG. 2. THE EROS OF CENTOCELLE

PLATE LXIII]

greater part of Southern and Central Greece, Sparta had now stepped into
the uncomfortable shoes of Athens, and found herself the mistress of
more than a hundred island or seaport “cities.” Now Sparta, as she was
frequently reminded, had gone into the Peloponnesian War as champion of
the liberty of Hellas against a tyrant city. She had gained the day
partly through the virtue of that charming phrase, but I doubt whether
anybody seriously expected her to set the Ionian cities and islands at
liberty. They were not used to liberty, and would not have known what to
do with it. They had utterly lost the habit of fighting or doing
anything but pay for their own safety. They were too lazy and
broad-minded to care very much where their tribute went. None of them
had been enthusiastic about its previous destination. We hear of no
bitter lamentations when they discovered that Sparta was selling them
wholesale back to the Persians. Pharnabazus and Tissaphernes, the
western satraps of the Great King, seem to have been easygoing gentlemen
of normal Eastern calm and duplicity. They were not of the stamp of
conquerors or despots, but they had heaps of money and were adepts at
making and breaking treaties. Sparta both by geography and by habit was
an inland power. She never produced more than one competent admiral, and
that was the man now at the zenith of his power, Lysander. As Sparta had
now inherited a maritime empire, and as she was unable and unwilling to
embark definitely upon a naval career, it became necessary to organise a
system of garrisons and governors in every city under her sway. This
work of organisation fell to Lysander--the nearest equivalent to a Cæsar
that Greece ever produced. The Spartan empire, such as it was, was
Lysander’s handiwork. Of course every state that came into Spartan hands
was forcibly converted to oligarchy. This has often been represented as
another example of Sparta’s tyranny. But a survey of Greece will soon
convince us that oligarchy, and not democracy, is the normal condition
of the Greek _polis_; and, in fact, with a few rare exceptions, it is
only Athens and the states directly under her influence which are
democracies. But Lysander was corrupt, and he entrusted the government
in each town to a group of local aristocrats who had won or purchased
his interest. Thus the states of the Spartan empire were generally
governed by a Council of Ten, working hand in glove with a Spartan
captain and a Spartan garrison. Athens, as we have seen, was also
accustomed to send garrisons where she conquered. But all that we know
of the Spartan temper assures us that the little finger of Sparta was
thicker than the loins of Athens.

Like Pausanias before him, Admiral Lysander became intoxicated with
success. A very little liberty and luxury was enough to bring giddiness
to the ascetic heads of Sparta. Lysander began to think revolutionary
thoughts of a Sparta where men could be rich and free like the rest of
the world. And the infection spread. Sparta was now earning a thousand
talents a year from her empire, and though money was still forbidden at
home, and though Sparta had as yet absolutely no coinage of her own,
private Spartans were unquestionably getting rich quickly. A rich
Spartan was a horrid anomaly: there was nothing that money could buy in
Laconia except land. Hence family estates began to change hands faster,
and the class of landless, therefore voteless, men of Spartan blood
rapidly multiplied. It was Sparta’s boast that she alone in all Greece
had never suffered a revolution. She never came so near it as on the
present occasion, when Lysander with his riches was trying to subvert
the Lycurgean constitution by bribing the Delphic oracle, and the
discontented Inferiors at home were planning a secret rebellion. Both
failed: the conspiracy of Cinadon was detected by the vigilant Ephors
and ruthlessly crushed, while Lysander in playing the part of king-maker
unwittingly made a king who was his equal in ability. Very soon the
conqueror of Athens found himself unnecessary to Sparta, and had to
submit to the indignity of being tried and pardoned.

The new king was Agesilaus, whose long and important career was the
subject of many biographies. He it was who pointed the path of glory to
Alexander by revealing the utter incapacity of the Persians to guard
their treasures. For Sparta had quickly fallen out with the satraps, and
Agesilaus marched about the Phrygian and Lydian coasts gathering plunder
with very little difficulty. One of the biographers of Agesilaus was his
friend and admirer Xenophon, who was concerned in a great adventure
which likewise served to betray the weakness of the Persian empire.

The British schoolboy, fleshing his young teeth upon the “Anabasis” of
Xenophon, struggling in a wilderness of parasangs and paradigms and
puzzling out what Cheirisophos said and where they pitched camp that
night, seldom realises the romantic nature of the enterprise. There was
a dynastic struggle in Persia. Cyrus, a bold and able prince, was
disputing the succession to the throne with the rightful successor,
Artaxerxes. Knowing the weakness of his native troops, Cyrus conceived
the idea of stiffening them with ten thousand hired Greeks, for by now
the use of mercenaries was growing more frequent in the Greek world.
These troops were mostly Spartans, their leader was Clearchus, a
Spartan, and Xenophon of Athens was a volunteer under his command. They
were recruited without knowing the full nature of the enterprise, and it
was only when they found themselves in the heart of Asia that they
learnt to their horror that the objective was the far-distant capital.
At length they reached Cunaxa, near Babylon, where a mighty host opposed
their advance. In the battle Cyrus was killed and the native portion of
his troops fled or surrendered or were slain. But the Greeks had fought
so valiantly that the victorious army of Artaxerxes did not care to
attempt their capture, though the crafty Tissaphernes succeeded in
assassinating their leaders and leading the army astray into the
wilderness. Thus the Ten Thousand found themselves stranded in a hostile
country, without generals and without guides, nearly two thousand miles
from home. But being Greeks, with a proper contempt for the barbarian,
they scorned to lose heart, though the chance of a safe return must
have seemed hopeless. The strong political instinct of the city-state
was their salvation. They resolved themselves into a wandering _polis_,
held assemblies, made speeches, elected generals, with Xenophon among
them, and preserved perfect self-control and discipline. So began the
Catabasis, an immense and dangerous march north-westward, through the
passes of the Taurus and the uplands of Armenia, fighting the wild Kurds
of the hills, struggling with cold and hunger, utterly ignorant of
geography except for the belief that if they went on long enough in the
same direction they would some day reach the sea. Their glad cry of
“Thalassa! Thalassa!” when at last they saw the shining waters of the
Euxine is a cry that has echoed through the ages. Henceforth they were
passing through the series of Greek colonies that fringed the south
coast of the Black Sea. Though many more adventures awaited them and
they were seldom very welcome visitors, yet no fewer than 6000 reached
home, and, we trust, lived happily ever afterwards. Not so much the
fighting as the courage of the march and the sense of discipline make
this one of the finest exploits in Greek history.

As for Xenophon, he retired to spend his leisure and his money close to
his beloved Sparta. Purchasing an estate near Olympia, he devoted his
veteran days to literature and sport. His life in Triphylia is a picture
of the retired sporting colonel of religious and aristocratic
tendencies. He regards his estate as a stewardship for the goddess
Artemis. He builds her a shrine, an altar with a statue of cypress-wood
modelled on the temple and golden statue of Ephesus. Hard by was a river
full of fish, and an orchard, with pasture-lands and upland game
preserves, abounding in wild boars, gazelles, and deer. Every year he
gave a sacrifice to the goddess, and invited his neighbours to the
feast. There would be barley porridge, wheaten loaves, and sweetmeats.
Game had previously been supplied by a day’s hunting on a large scale,
in which Xenophon’s sons conducted the operations and all the neighbours
took part if they liked.

Xenophon is one of the most accomplished and versatile of

[Illustration:

_Brogi_

FIG. 1. HEAD OF A YOUTH

_Mansell and Co._

FIG. 2. WINGED HEAD OF HYPNOS

PLATE LXIV]

minor writers. He wrote, besides his “Anabasis,” a treatise on hunting,
with valuable information on the breeding of horses and hounds; he wrote
memoirs of his beloved but little comprehended master in philosophy,
Socrates, who had been put to death at Athens while Xenophon was on his
expedition; he wrote also perhaps the earliest European work of prose
fiction, in which he sketched the proper training of a prince and a
gentleman, under the title of “The Education of Cyrus”; he wrote a
history of Greece beginning where Thucydides left off and ending with
the downfall of Sparta; among his minor works are treatises on finance,
on the duties of a captain of horse, and a glowing panegyric on the
Spartan constitution. An equally warm indictment of the Athenian
democracy is falsely ascribed to his pen. He was an aristocrat and
philo-Laconian by sympathy, and the democracy of Athens had earned his
displeasure by slaying Socrates and by banishing himself. That was only
natural, seeing that he had taken Spartan service in the field against
her, and she seems very generously to have allowed him to return home
before the end of his life. In his versatile intelligence, his
cosmopolitan habits as a soldier of fortune, in his youthful enthusiasm
for philosophy, and in the journalistic spirit which prompted him to
write pamphlets on any topic which interested him, no less than in his
dislike of democracy, Xenophon is perhaps the most characteristic figure
of the fourth century, though he is too military and too conservative to
be a typical Athenian of any age.

Greece did not, of course, enjoy peace during the thirty years of
Spartan predominance. It could never be said at any point of Greek
history that the land had rest forty years. There was fighting in Asia
Minor against the Persians, and fighting in Greece round the Isthmus, a
tiresome and lengthy struggle with discontented allies, generally called
the Corinthian War. We cannot get a clear conception of the life of a
Greek state unless we realise that peace was an abnormal condition.

During the period of which we are speaking there had been some important
developments in the art of war. As the soldier is the most conservative
of men with the exception of the priest, so next to religion warfare is
the most conservative of human activities. Field tactics had altered
little since the Persian wars. A Greek battle still depended on the
shock of two lines of hoplites, largely a question of weight in impact.
If you could once cut your opponent’s line the victory was yours,
because then you found his right or shieldless side open to your spear.
A Greek soldier with his heavy shield on his left arm could only defend
his front and left. For this purpose the men stood shoulder to shoulder
in a line made as deep as possible, for the sake of weight in the
scrimmage, and, I fear, to prevent the Greek disorder of running away.

It was the secret of Spartan pre-eminence in war that a Spartan hoplite
never thought of running away. But now in this fourth century we enter
upon a scientific age when men are beginning to apply their reason
logically to all the activities of life instead of trusting to habit.
Soldiering, as in the case of the Ten Thousand, is passing over from
amateur patriots to mercenary professionals. It is clear that if new
ideas are to revolutionise the art of war, the supremacy of Sparta is
doomed. Strong arms and thick skulls flourished in the vale of Eurotas.
Sparta had a rude shock when an Athenian condottiere named Iphicrates
cut up a Spartan company of hoplites with a newfangled battalion of his
own training, a body of drilled light infantry. And now in the fullness
of time Bœotia was to produce its man of genius--Epaminondas the Theban.

In 378 Sparta had sold the Ionian cities back to the Great King, who
sent down from Susa a beautiful treaty saying, “King Artaxerxes thinks
it just that Asia Minor and the Ionian islands shall belong to him, and
that the rest of the cities of Greece, both great and small, shall be
independent.” That was really the end of Sparta’s dream of an oversea
empire. She had found it too fatiguing for a land power. Armed with this
treaty, she began to run amuck among her neighbours. She assailed the
Arcadian city of Mantinea and tore it up into villages. One of her
captains marching past Athens made a

[Illustration: PLATE LXV. THE HERMES OF PRAXITELES

_English Photo Co., Athens_]

dash for Peiræus, but was fortunately foiled. Another had played the
same trick on Thebes, this time successfully, for he seized and
garrisoned the citadel. His outrageous performance was approved at home,
but it seems at last to have roused the sluggish spirit of the dwellers
in the Bœotian marshes. There was a delightfully romantic conspiracy
organised from Athens, and a body of Theban patriots liberated their
city. Among the patriots was Pelopidas, a brave and skilful soldier, and
his friend was Epaminondas, one of the greatest men in all history.

Two qualities, in addition to the ordinary human virtues of courage and
wisdom, seem to distinguish Epaminondas: he showed originality even in
the art of war, and he had the broad mental vision which we demand from
statesmen but seldom find in Greeks. I do not see any proof that he
possessed the full spirit of Panhellenism; he was emphatically a Theban
first, whatever he might be afterwards. But he had, it seems, an eye for
an international situation. It is the measure at once of his success and
of his failure that the rise and fall of Thebes is exactly conterminous
with the rise and death of Epaminondas.

Thebes and Athens had both suffered from the wanton aggression of
Sparta. They now made common cause to avenge it, and at the battle of
Leuctra (371) Sparta suffered defeat in a pitched land battle on a great
scale for the first time in her history. The victory of Thebes was
wholly due to the new tactics of Epaminondas. He had formed a Theban
_corps d’élite_, composed, in a fashion strikingly characteristic of the
Greek mind, of 150 pairs of lovers sworn to conquer or die together.
Thus he pressed into his service the only romantic feeling which the
Greeks understood, the relation between David and Jonathan or between
Achilles and Patroclus. This Sacred Band formed the front of the left
wing. Further, whereas the whole Spartan line was drawn up as usual with
a uniform depth of twelve spears, Epaminondas made his left fifty deep
and flung it forward in the attack. The extra weight of this deep wing
broke the Spartan right. King Cleombrotus and a thousand Spartans were
slain. The loss of men was serious for a little state like Sparta, but
the loss in prestige was even worse. This, in Xenophon’s story, is how
the news came to Sparta: “It chanced to be the last day of the Boys’
Gymnastic Festival, and the choir of men were therefore at home. When
the Ephors heard of the disaster they were sorely grieved, as in my
opinion was bound to be the case, but they did not send the men’s choir
out or stop the games. They communicated the names of the fallen to
their relatives, but they warned the women to bear their loss in silence
and not to make lamentation. So next day you could see the families of
the slain going about in public with cheerful, smiling faces, but as for
those whose menfolk had been announced as living, they went about in
gloom and shame.” So Lacedæmon set itself with dogged resolution to
endure what the gods might send.

Epaminondas with true insight determined to raise up a counterbalancing
power in the Peloponnesus to hang upon the flank of Sparta if she should
ever again try to tyrannise over Greece. His plan was to form
city-states among the Arcadians and Messenians, those backward children
of Nature who had always preferred a village life among their hills.
Mantinea was restored to the rank of a state, Messenia was given a new
capital, and a new and splendid city was specially constructed to unite
several scattered Arcadian villages in one interesting federal
constitution. But the Great City, as she was proudly named, was not a
great success. Perhaps the Arcadians were too arcadian in their habits
to fulfil the scheme of Epaminondas. It is very characteristic of the
Greek mind that the news of Theban triumph was very ill received in the
city of her ally Athens. Athens might cherish a respectable hereditary
feud with Sparta, but Thebes she had always detested. Thebes was her
next-door neighbour. Though you might have to fight a Spartan, you
couldn’t help liking him. Once again the orators drew upon that
inexhaustible precedent of the Persian wars, when Sparta and Athens had
stood together against Thebes and Persia. So Athens was persuaded to
draw away from

[Illustration: PLATE LXVI. THE HERMES OF PRAXITELES: HEAD

_English Photo Co., Athens_]

Thebes and form an alliance upon equal terms with Sparta. But her action
was not very vigorous.

The nine years between the battles of Leuctra and Mantinea are commonly
described by historians as a period of Theban hegemony. It is true that
Thebes was probably on land the most powerful state in Greece, and that
Epaminondas played the foremost part in the diplomacy of that period,
but she had no great following of states, and as Athens, Sparta, and
Corinth were among those who declined to follow she can hardly be said
to have led Greece. Also it is interesting to notice that the
liberal-minded Epaminondas found it just as impossible as Athens and
Sparta had done to hold a Greek alliance together without the use of
garrisons. He sent harmosts into Achaia and Sicyon. Thebes also was as
ready as Sparta to interfere with constitutions. We can understand
Sparta, with her aristocratic habits, showing a prejudice for oligarchy,
or Athens, the city of liberty and free speech, encouraging democracy,
but that Thebes, herself oligarchically constituted, should now enforce
democracy upon her allies can only be a piece of cold-blooded diplomacy
due to the knowledge that oligarchies were generally committed to the
Spartan side. Nor can Thebes be acquitted of trafficking with the enemy.
For Pelopidas was sent to Susa to plead the ancient alliance of Thebes
and Persia at the battle of Platæa! In these three respects all the
hegemonies of Greece are alike, all tarred with the same brush.

Thebes tried to kill the snake she had scotched at Leuctra. Several
times she started to smoke out the Spartan nest. Twice she penetrated
the inviolable precincts of Sparta, but each time when she looked into
the streets of the unwalled city and saw the Spartan warriors standing
at arms before their temples and hearths, she only looked--and found
more pressing business elsewhere. Let one chronicler at least decline to
quit that sinking ship. The foolish Arcadians might brag of their
ancient descent as children of the soil; but the Spartans, under their
old lion Agesilaus, could still scatter Arcadians with the wind of
their spears in a “Tearless Battle,” wherein not a single Spartan
perished.

So we come to the last great fight of this epoch--that of Mantinea. Here
Spartans and Athenians fought on the same side against Thebes. The
Theban tactics were the same precisely as at Leuctra, and the Spartans
had learnt nothing by the experience. They saw the line advancing _en
échelon_, they saw the deepened left wing, and they took no steps to
counteract it. As before, they were broken and routed. But in the hour
of defeat a chance spear found its billet in the body of Epaminondas,
and, like Wolfe on the Heights of Abraham, that hero fell in the hour of
victory. When he heard that the two men he had hoped for as his
successors had also fallen he cried to his followers to make peace with
Sparta, and so expired. The star of Thebes waned with his death; and,
indeed, all the fires of the Greek firmament soon paled before the
rising sun of Macedonia--and Philip had learnt warfare from Epaminondas.


FOURTH-CENTURY CULTURE

In the fourth century--or rather in that earlier half of it which forms
the theme of the present chapter--Greek art pursues its inevitable
course of development. Perhaps the wasting influence of the
Peloponnesian War, that most wasteful and unsatisfactory contest, had
brought a touch of disillusionment upon the high ideals and youthful
hopes with which the Grand Century had set forth. Perhaps there may be
something in the racial theory, which holds that the vigorous Northern
strain was beginning to succumb to the influence of a Southern climate,
while the artistic temperament native to the South was reasserting
itself and disturbing the equilibrium between clever and brave. But it
may have been simply the working of some law of Nature that all arts
pass from the phase of earnest endeavour to that sense of triumphant
mastery which so fatally entices into luxuriance. In sculpture I think
we shall see that it was thus with Greece. There is unquestionably in

[Illustration: PLATE LXVII. APOLLO AND MARSYAS

_English Photo Co., Athens_]

the fourth century some slackening of purpose, some loss of ideals, some
tendency in the direction of prettiness and languor.

But we must not yet begin to speak of degeneration. The Hermes of
Praxiteles and the “Republic” of Plato are not works of decadence. Some
modern historians are rather vulture-like in their scent for decay. They
show an unseemly gusto in tracing the causes of decline and fall of
states, so that they begin the post-mortem long before the breath is out
of their patient. Greece of the fourth century is still very active and
vigorous, still improving the old arts and inventing new ones.
Fourth-century Athens is far too like twentieth-century England for an
Englishman to feel quite comfortable in using the term “degeneration” of
her.

In politics, for example, she was beginning to make things much less
comfortable for the rich. With taxes upon unearned increment she was
beginning to drive capital out of the country, so that millionaires
could no longer be found to undertake single-handed the “liturgy” of
equipping a battleship, but had to be grouped in companies for the
purpose. Statesmen, too, were throwing off the dignified reticence of
the old regime, to parade the most sordid financial considerations, and
to set class against class, by reminding the poor how much nicer it
would be if they were rich. Even more was done for the poor now than
formerly; they were taught to look to the State for cheap food, and even
free education. The principle of payment of members was introduced.
Conservatives were alarmed by the growing numbers of state functionaries
openly drawing salaries from the Treasury for the duties which they
performed, instead of leaving those duties to be neglected, or expecting
the rich to perform them in their spare time and recoup themselves in
less odiously public fashions. In international relations there was some
abatement of nationalist frenzy; in colonial systems there was a marked
advance in the direction of federalism, accompanied by a devolutionary
process towards local government. In the theatre there was a movement
towards lighter entertainments and highly elaborate musical comedies,
with lavish display in the matter of dress and scenery. Favourite
chorus-girls made large incomes, and sometimes married very respectably
indeed. In sport, too, there was a growing tendency to professionalism,
much deplored by old-fashioned people. Boxers and wrestlers no longer
considered the grace of their movements, because they found that victory
was apt to follow more consistently upon hard training and an animal
diet. In literature, as we shall presently see more fully, poetry was
beginning to yield to prose, and prose was becoming more businesslike
and scientific. In social life thinkers were beginning to raise the
problem of sex, and even women themselves may have joined in the
agitation for some measure of justice for their sex. Euripides, indeed,
who is rather apt to go further than modern delicacy permits in his
treatment of social problems, had actually made his Medea utter these
audacious words: “I would rather stand thrice in the line of battle than
bear a child once.”

If we had to sum up the new characteristic of the fourth century under a
single phrase, we should perhaps be justified in saying that the
professional spirit was making itself felt in all directions. We see it
in the military art, where the citizen hoplites, with their extremely
simple tactics and strategy, are yielding to trained bands under
professional captains. The statesmen are now no longer the famous
generals of the day, nor men marked out by birth and wealth for high
position, but trained speakers, and often professional pleaders.
Literature is no longer in the hands of men like Æschylus and Sophocles,
who were soldiers or generals as well, though Xenophon is of course a
notable example of the writer who takes literature among his other
activities. But now there are professional sophists teaching oratory and
various literary arts. Books circulate freely, schools of professional
philosophers arise, as in Plato’s garden of the Academy. This
specialisation naturally involves an increased attention to technical
processes, a more scientific and less human outlook, and a growth of
self-consciousness. For example, it is now that constitutional histories
begin to be written. While people are young and

[Illustration: PLATE LXVIII. MELEAGER: HEAD AFTER SCOPAS

_Anderson_]

strong they are apt to take their constitutions for granted. Greece is
now grown to full stature, and beginning to grow introspective and
emotional.

The public taste has changed somewhat in matters of art. The
impoverished States of the fourth century no longer lavish their wealth
upon glorious temples, and sumptuous statues in ivory and gold. Private
dedications occupy more of the artist’s time, and though the subjects
are still of a religious and ideal character, yet the gods have become a
great deal more human. Herein we may probably see the influence of
Euripides. The heroes of the epic cycle no longer possessed much
interest for their own sake. Jason and Medea only raised for Euripides
an absorbing problem in matrimonial relations. So the Apollos and
Aphrodites of the fourth century are as human as the Madonnas and St.
Sebastians of the sixteenth. Psychology intrudes upon art. Allegorical
impersonations begin to be popular among the subjects of statuary. Human
portraiture also begins, though slowly, to be practised with some
realism. Nudity in sculpture, which had hitherto been mainly confined to
athletic works, where it is obviously appropriate and necessary, is now
extended even to images of deities, and under the chisel of Praxiteles
Aphrodite uncovers her loveliness and modesty. Eros, too, her son and
tormentor, becomes a popular type, not yet as the chubby babe of
Græco-Roman times, but as an “ephebus,” almost full-grown, with long
wings upon his shoulders. Hermes, as we have already remarked, begins to
replace the more vigorous Apollo as the youthful type of celestial
beauty. Nevertheless this growing worship of human grace has not yet
suffered any visible taint of sensuality. Whether or not it leads that
way is a question for the future to decide, but Greek art has not yet
lost its reticence and dignity.


SCULPTURE

Meanwhile the artist has improved enormously in the technical details of
craftsmanship. It was now only a foreign potentate who could give
commissions for statues in such splendid materials as were at the
disposal of Pheidias. Bronze was still the ordinary material for
important works, but marble, which had formerly been chiefly used for
ornament in architecture, was now commonly employed for statues even by
the great masters. With more serviceable tools for drilling, sawing, and
pointing (where that rather mechanical process was employed), the great
artists of the fourth century could play upon marble as if it were wax
or clay. They could represent textures and surfaces by the degree of
their finish, so that the leather of the shoe is of a surface distinct
from the skin of the foot in the Hermes of Praxiteles. There is an
extremely subtle contrast between the leopard-skin and the flesh of the
young Satyr by the same artist in the admirable torso copy which is in
the Louvre. Whereas earlier artists had tried to represent hair by
grooves gouged out upon the surface of the head or by rendering each
tress as a separate thread, Praxiteles discovered the marvellous
impression of curls that could be produced by roughly blocking out
several masses and leaving the play of light and deep shadow to indicate
a surface movable and alive. New secrets of sculptural anatomy were now
at command. Praxiteles discovered the value of that groove which runs
vertically down the front of the body between the pectoral and abdominal
muscles on each side. He discovered also the anatomical distinction
between the male and female brow in that ridge of flesh, known to
artists as the bar of Michelangelo, which overhangs the eyebrows. By
setting the eyeballs deeper under the brow, and emphasising the long
drooping curve of the upper eyelid, the fourth-century artists greatly
enhanced their command of expression and emotion, transient qualities
after which the fifth century had not greatly cared to strive. Scopas,
indeed, carried this discovery to the verge of the legitimate, for the
few incomplete fragments of his work which survive are almost theatrical
in the intensity of their gaze. Marble, of course, demands methods of
its own distinct from those of metal. It is due to the material, in a
large measure, that various

[Illustration: PLATE LXIX. THE DEMETER OF CNIDOS

_Mansell & Co._]

supports, such as tree-trunks, pillars, and urns, have to be introduced
into marble statues in the round. Thus it became inevitable to make the
figure lean frankly upon his support, and thus we get those graceful
reclining attitudes which are often cast in the teeth of Praxiteles as
symptomatic of decadence.

Pheidias and Praxiteles are as pre-eminent among the names of ancient
sculptors as are Polygnotus, Zeuxis, and Apelles among the painters. Of
the two, Praxiteles was the most praised, and his works had the highest
value in the Roman market. This being so, it is remarkable how little we
know of his personality--practically nothing except that he was an
Athenian, and was the son or brother of another famous sculptor called
Cephisodotus. Plausible stories are told of his relations with Phryne,
who is said to have been his model for the Cnidian Aphrodite. She is
said further to have cajoled him into giving her the Eros dedicated at
Thespiæ, by first making him promise her the best of all his statues,
and then discovering which he thought the best by raising a false report
of fire at his studio. His period of activity seems to have extended
from about 370 to 330 B.C.

His three masterpieces were the Cnidian Aphrodite, the young Satyr, and
the Eros of Thespiæ, but we have a long list of his other works. Of the
first, Pliny tells us that it was the finest statue not only of
Praxiteles, but of the whole world, and that many had made the voyage to
Cnidos expressly to see it. He adds a story that Praxiteles had made two
figures of Venus and offered them to the people of Cos at the same
price. One was draped, the other nude, and the Coans preferred the
former, “thinking it austere and modest.” We must remember that naked
goddesses were novelties. The other was purchased by Cnidos, and there
were bitter regrets at Cos when they found how much more celebrated was
the naked Aphrodite. King Nicomedes of Bithynia subsequently offered to
liquidate the entire national debt of Cnidos, “which was immense,” if
they would only sell him the statue, but one is glad to learn that the
little island preferred to keep both its debts and its goddess.
Apparently it was in her capacity as a marine goddess, a “Notre Dame de
Bon Secours” (Euploia), that these islanders chose Aphrodite, the
foam-born, for their patroness.

Coins of Cnidos indicate the pose of the statue with sufficient
clearness for us to identify a Venus in the Vatican as a copy of the
Cnidian Aphrodite.[79] Papal decency has seen fit to encase her legs,
beginning just below the hips, with drapery constructed of tin. This
would, if anything could, impair the aspect of perfect modesty which
shows in every line of her pose and expression. She is not aware of
human spectators; there is no self-conscious prudery, as in the
abominable Medici Venus, which was an attempt by a later and baser
generation to imitate the same type. She has left her robe to hang over
the tall water-jar, and is stepping from or towards the bath, not
without shrinking, and not in ignorance of her beauty. Even in this
imperfect copy we recognise the qualities which made Lucian admire the
statue--“the design of the scalp and forehead, the finely pencilled
eyebrows, and the look of the eyes, so tender, yet so bright and
joyful.” He adds elsewhere that “a proud smile plays over her lips.” A
lovely girl’s head in Parian marble, now in the Glyptothek at Munich,
appears to me so clearly to resemble a younger sister of the same
goddess that it must bear some relation to an original by
Praxiteles.[80]

The Capitoline Gallery also possesses a copy of the “Young Satyr” of
Praxiteles, “called by the Greeks περιβοητός”--that is, world-famed.[81]
Readers of Hawthorne will remember his eloquent description of the
“Marble Faun,” and though we, better supplied with ancient originals,
can recognise that this is only _after_ (and not very near) Praxiteles,
yet even as it stands the statue has a peculiar charm and fascination.
The sculptor has conveyed the impression of a young creature of the
woods, only half human, shy and wild as an animal, and as

[Illustration: PLATE LXX. SCULPTURED COLUMN FROM THE TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS
AT EPHESUS

_Mansell & Co._]

careless and happy. His smile is as lazy as his attitude. Yet we notice
the reserve with which his animal characteristics are indicated merely
in the shape of his pointed ear and the “unclassical” profile of his
face. Not only is his weight thrown upon one leg, as in all the statues
by Praxiteles, but the other foot is gracefully curled round it. This is
the only complete ancient copy of the Satyr, but there is a mutilated
torso in the Louvre, so fine in its finish and texture that some critics
suppose it to be original.

Of the Eros which Phryne dedicated at Thespiæ we have no certain copies.
But it is evident that many of the Erotes in our galleries were inspired
by that masterpiece, and the prettiest is the Eros of Centocelle, a
three-quarters figure of admirable design, though of rather slack
execution.[82] I believe also that the bronze head of a youth at Naples
might well trace its parentage to an Eros by Praxiteles, though the
languishing craft of the eyes and the sensuous fullness of the lips are
certainly exaggerated.[83]

But of course if we want to know the real Praxiteles we have only to
take our ticket to Olympia and worship there at the shrine of Hermes.
Here for the first time we have an unquestionable original work by the
hand of a great master. This Hermes was found more than thirty years ago
by the German excavators in the very temple of Hera where Pausanias had
seen him. No copy or cast or photograph can do more than faintly shadow
the incomparable beauty of the marble. From the photograph we may
appreciate the delicacy of the whole design, in which dignity so
marvellously blends with grace and strength with charm.[84] It is Hermes
the young Arcadian shepherd’s patron deity, Hermes the musician of the
tortoise-lyre, the weaver of guile, the bringer of luck, and the kindly
escort of souls on their last ferrying. He is playing in careless
indulgence with a baby boy, the infant god of wine, but his eyes and his
gentle smile are for some one farther off--not the human spectator. It
may be noted, as proving that the technical triumphs of Greek art were
gained, not by inspiration, but by hard work at established types, that
the child is not very successfully rendered. Greek sculptors could not
even yet sufficiently detach themselves from convention to copy the
round contours of a baby’s face. Critics are divided in their attempts
to reconstruct the motive of the raised right shoulder. Evidently the
right hand held some object charming to the infant Dionysus, a bunch of
grapes, perhaps, or the serpent-wreathed wand proper to Hermes. As it
stands in the photograph we can recognise the loveliest statue in
existence, but we cannot see the craft with which the surfaces and
textures are rendered. We do not know for certain whether Greek
sculptors of the fourth century habitually worked their own statues from
start to finish with their own hands. We do know that the surface-finish
was regarded as a very important part of the work, and that there were
various devices, such as wax-polishing, employed to get the fullest
value out of the grain of the marble for flesh parts. Praxiteles is
especially named as employing a colourist to tint his marble.

In addition to the Hermes, we have direct literary evidence as to a
great group of Artemis and Apollo, the work of Praxiteles, at Mantinea.
We are told also the subject of certain reliefs on the architectural
base of it, and reliefs of very fine workmanship corresponding in
subject have been excavated at Mantinea. There is thus a very fair
presumption that these panels were designed, if not executed, by the
master who made the group. One slab, here illustrated,[85] shows the
contest between Apollo the harper and Marsyas the semi-bestial player of
that barbarous instrument the flute. Marsyas had challenged Apollo to a
contest, and being quite inevitably defeated was flayed alive as a
punishment for his presumption. The penalty is delicately indicated by
the Phrygian slave who holds the knife in the centre. The fourth-century
artists seldom missed a psychological point, and Praxiteles has
emphasised the contrast between the dignified god in his majestic
harper’s robes

[Illustration: PLATE LXXI. FIGURE OF A YOUTH: FROM CERIGO

_English Photo Co., Athens_]

and the naked, violent Satyr distending his cheeks as flute-playing
barbarians were not ashamed to do. It is evident that the Marsyas is a
quotation by Praxiteles of the celebrated figure by Myron. We note, as a
technical point in the history of relief sculpture, the effect produced
by the wide spacing of the figures. On the other slabs are beautiful
though mutilated figures of the Muses, who acted as umpires in the
contest.

We have copies also of another Praxitelean original, Apollo Sauroctonos
(the Lizard-slayer),[86] but the copyist has evidently exaggerated
almost to caricature the elegant slimness of the young god. But on the
basis of our knowledge of the Hermes I think we can reconstruct in
imagination an exquisite statue even out of the effeminate Vatican copy.
The true Apollo would not lean all his weight upon the tree;
consequently the tilt of his hips would be less violent. His face would
be much more carefully modelled, with less of that womanish smoothness
of contour. But the copyist has noted and tried to express the lovely
brow which Praxiteles gave to all his heads. The careless grace, the
impression of youth and playful strength belong to the original, and are
highly characteristic of the artist. The motive of the statue seems to
have been a new and rather bold invention; we know of no cult of a
lizard-slaying Apollo. It is true that Apollo was the deity commonly
invoked in cases of natural plagues, such as invasions of field-mice or
locusts, but it seems more probable that Praxiteles, desiring to
represent Apollo in a new guise, deliberately chose to portray him as a
boy at play. It is clear that Praxiteles was a strongly original and
inventive genius, who was not afraid to give his own impression of
established types. He was the first who dared to portray Aphrodite
naked; out of the gross and bestial Satyr he made a delightful elf of
the woods, and he turned the vigorous athlete Apollo into a slender
stripling.

Of Scopas the Parian, the second great sculptor of the fourth century,
we have no important remains. Two mutilated heads found on the site of
the temple at Tegea, where he made his great pedimental scene of the
Calydonian boar-hunt, indicate the new note of pathos and emotion which
he introduced into the carving of the human head. We know that Scopas
was engaged on the Mausoleum and on one of the thirty-six sculptured
columns of the great temple at Ephesus, but nothing that remains from
either of those buildings can be ascribed to him with certainty. Perhaps
his most famous work was the Palatine Apollo at Rome. We may get the
best notion of his style by studying the head, not the body, of a
beautiful statue of Meleager[87] at Rome, which is considered by the
most competent archæologists to be a copy of the work of Scopas.

The third is Lysippus of Sicyon, an extraordinarily prolific artist, of
whose style we may form a very clear conception, although we have no
originals. Athletic types were his favourite work, and his favourite
technique was bronze-casting. His discovery was the added grace and
beauty which could result from decreasing the proportion of the head to
the body. Wherever we find small curly heads very lightly poised upon a
strong, vigorous body we may trace the influence of Lysippus. His most
famous statue was the young athlete scraping off the oil from his arm
with the strigil. The emperor Tiberius fell in love with this
“Apoxyomenus,” as it is called, and removed it from the front of the
baths of Agrippa to his own bed-chamber, but the people of Rome raised
such an outcry that he had to restore it. Modern critics have shown that
our “Apoxyomenus”[88] is not a faithful copy of this statue. On the
other hand, the “Agias” recently discovered at Delphi[89] is a
contemporary marble copy of a bronze by Lysippus, and gives us a very
fine example of his style. Lysippus was also the sculptor-in-ordinary to
Alexander the Great, and we may trace to Lysippean originals all the
numerous portraits of the Macedonian conqueror. Lysippus was a theorist
as well as a practical sculptor, and, like Polycleitus, produced his own
theoretical “Canon” of sculptural proportions. He was (with

[Illustration: PLATE LXXII. THE “LUDOVISI” ARES

_Anderson_]

the possible exception of the Devil) the first professed impressionist,
for Pliny records a saying of his: “Other sculptors had represented men
as they were, while he portrayed them as they appeared to be.”

We have many fine works of the fourth century of unknown authorship.
Foremost of all--surely one of the six greatest statues in the
world[90]--is the Demeter of Cnidos, in the British Museum, a statue so
instinct with the spirit of Greek tragedy that but for certain technical
points it ought to belong to the fifth century.[91] This is Mother
Earth, Our Lady of Sorrows, mourning with sad eyes, but not in despair,
for her daughter Persephone. The influence of Praxiteles may be traced
in her brow and lips. The workmanship of this statue, as being, with the
exception of temple reliefs, the finest Greek original in our Museum,
deserves careful study. Very beautiful also is that sculptured drum from
one of the thirty-six columns of the great temple of “Diana of the
Ephesians,” another of the treasures of our Museum.[92] It is scarcely
probable that time should have spared the one column which Scopas
himself designed, but we may trace some of his influence in the
emotional character of the faces, and much of Praxiteles in the grace of
the attitudes and the poetry of the concept. The application of relief
to a rounded surface is in itself a work of great difficulty, and we
have seen how boldly it had been attempted in the same temple by artists
of a much earlier day. This is a funeral scene such as might be
represented on an Attic tombstone. In the centre is a matronly figure,
headless, alas! fastening her mantle on her shoulder preparatory to the
journey; on her left is Hermes, very young and boyish, extending his
caduceus as if pointing downwards, but looking upwards to a point above
the woman’s head. On her right is another figure, whom from his long
wings and boyish form we should take, perhaps, for Love, were it not
that his sad eyes and heavy sword mark him out as Death--a beautiful
conception found also on the new Ludovisi relief and on some of the
Athenian lecythi. Some think that the woman is Alcestis, and it is
scarcely likely that any but a heroine, at the least, would occupy such
a place in such a building. To make both these emissaries of death so
young and charming is an idea typical of the fourth century, and
especially of Praxiteles.

In many of the bronzes of our museums we can trace very clearly the new
influence of Lysippus. A fine example is provided by the figure of a
youth[93] recently dredged up under romantic circumstances off the
island of Cythera (Cerigo), which lies at the extreme southerly point of
Laconia, This was part of a cargo of spoils from Greece looted by the
Roman general Sulla and shipwrecked off Cape Matapan. No satisfactory
guess has yet been made as to the name of the statue or the motive of
its attitude. In my opinion the upstretched arm in readiness to grasp
seems to indicate an athlete playing a game of “catch.” “The Praying
Boy,” one of the treasures of Berlin, is a singularly perfect bronze,
full of grace, probably the work of Boethos, a famous sculptor of the
early part of the third century.[94] The Ludovisi Ares[95] is a marble
copy of an original which shows unmistakable influence of Lysippus, and
the restful attitude of the handsome war-god, so free from any trace of
ferocity, is characteristic of the manner in which the fourth century
civilised and humanised all its topics. So is the Rondanini Medusa,[96]
a Gorgon’s head translated into terms of decorative beauty--it might be
a design for a door-knocker. The snakes are there, and the chilly
glance, but there is nothing terrible in the face. The lovely winged
head, which originally belonged to a full-length statue of Hypnos
(Sleep), is one of the most striking bronzes in the British Museum.[97]
It is clearly related to the period which produced that figure of Death,
“the brother of Sleep,” on the Ephesian column. This example has been
covered by exposure to the air with a beautiful green patina,

[Illustration:

_Bruckmann_

FIG. 1. THE “RONDANINI” MEDUSA

_Mansell & Co._

FIG. 2. RELIEF FROM THE MAUSOLEUM

PLATE LXXIII]

often imitated with the application of acids by modern bronze-workers.
But the Herculaneum bronzes, which had been preserved for eighteen
centuries in an airproof casing of lava, are to-day in much the same
condition as when they left the studio. Though they were made, no doubt,
in Roman times, Lysippus is again the artist whose influence is most
clearly visible, as, for example, in the vivid Pair of Wrestlers, or the
Seated Hermes.

I have already said that the old cities of Greece were mostly too
impoverished to undertake great architectural works in this period.
Ephesus, however, had her great temple of Artemis burned down by an
enterprising individual with the very modern ambition of getting his
name before the public. For fear of increasing his success I will not
repeat it here, but when Alexander the Great offered to rebuild the
temple out of his own pocket the Ephesians declined, possibly on the
ground that their temple had already advertised a malefactor and they
did not desire it to be a further advertisement for a benefactor. So
they rebuilt it themselves with such splendour that it became one of the
Seven Wonders of the world.

Advertisement, you see, was in the air. The almost extreme
self-repression of the individual was passing, and in the same spirit a
wealthy ruler of Caria who in Greek eyes was a tyrant and in Persian
eyes a satrap determined to raise a tomb for himself and his wife which
should also be a wonder of the world. His name was Mausolus, and the
Mausoleum he built consisted of a columned shrine raised upon a lofty
pedestal and surmounted with a pyramidal structure of ever-narrowing
square courses of masonry, the whole crowned by a colossal portrait
statue of Mausolus and his wife Artemisia in a chariot. Considerable
remains were found by Sir Charles Newton at Halicarnassus, and are now
in the British Museum. We know that Scopas and other famous artists were
employed upon the work. The most important relic is the colossal statue
of Mausolus, which, considering its situation, is in remarkably fine
preservation.[98] Here we have perhaps for the first time in all the
history of art a realistic portrait. The face of the prince is not in
the least conventional, has, in fact, a distinctly barbarian profile,
yet preserves a dignity and worth of its own, and visibly suggests a
foreign plutocrat. The reliefs[99] which adorned the pedestal are also
distinctive and interesting. We observe, as on the Mantinean basis, that
the figures are widely spaced. Their poses are visibly contrived for
decorative effect on a system of correspondences much less subtle, and
therefore much less effective, than on the Parthenon frieze. The
designer, who may have been Scopas himself, has not shrunk from
portraying violent action in the battle of Amazons, which is his
subject. Yet there is beauty in every figure, and remarkable technical
skill.

Another famous work of decorative sculpture belonging to this period is
the colossal group of the Niobids. It was brought to Rome from somewhere
in Asia Minor, probably Cilicia, and apparently copied by several
Græco-Roman artists of very various powers. The original dates, no
doubt, from the fourth century. It seems to have formed a group of
detached statues set up on a pedestal either in the open air or in a
colonnade. The general arrangement of the figures resembles that of a
pedimental composition, for the whole group would be pyramidal, with
Niobe herself as the apex figure. Niobe’s tragedy is an example of
divine jealousy aroused by excessive human felicity and pride, for Niobe
was so proud of the beauty of her large family that she exulted over
Leto, who had but two children, Apollo and Artemis. Accordingly she and
all her brood were shot down by the painless arrows of the two gods. The
“plot” of the group is a study in psychology, typical of the fourth
century, showing how the various members of the doomed family met their
deaths. Here again the technique is wonderful; every figure is designed
in a broad architectural spirit. The actual figures, as we have them,
mostly at Florence, are of varying merit. Probably the best is the most
recently discovered, which is here illustrated.[100] But all are of
rather frigid perfection in workmanship.

[Illustration: PLATE LXXIV. STATUE OF MAUSOLUS, FROM THE MAUSOLEUM

_Mansell & Co._]

THE OTHER ARTS

Nothing has been said here about painting, because Greek painting is
essentially a matter for the professional archæologist who can study
what Pliny and others said about it and try to find some intelligent
meaning in it by reference to pottery and sculpture. Of course the
influence of Polygnotus, Parrhasios, Zeuxis, and Apelles should be
traceable even in the humble decorators of pitcher, pot, and pipkin. But
we have no relics of the original work of any of those artists, and the
ancient art critic is an obscure and uncertain guide. He seems to have
had the most ridiculous canons of art, and to have considered it the
greatest triumph of painting when birds came to peck at the grapes in a
picture. The only Greek pictures that we have are the mural frescoes and
mosaics of Pompeii, which belong properly to the Roman department, and a
few Egyptian mummy-cases painted by Greek artists. Therefore, if you
please, we will leave Greek painting to the connoisseurs, with the
remark that Apelles of the fourth century was considered the greatest of
all Greek masters.

Nor can the ordinary student of culture get much satisfaction out of
Greek music. It is rather cheering to reflect that after all they did
not know everything down in Athens, but left one or two things for us to
discover. One of them was harmony. We have heard accomplished savants
give curious and not wholly unpleasant renderings of Greek music, and
distinguished composers like Sir Hubert Parry have written very
beautiful airs which are said to be Greek. Broadly speaking, we may
divide modern reproductions of Greek music into two classes: those that
are Greek, and those that are music. It is certain that the Greeks
attached very great importance to music, far more, in fact, than we do.
It was the foremost instrument of ancient education, and philosophers
from Pythagoras to Plato insisted very seriously upon its moral and
spiritual efficacy. The Greeks divided music into three principal modes,
according to the key employed. The Dorian

Mode was the lowest in pitch. It was the music of the seven- or
eight-stringed cithara used in martial songs and dances. The Spartans
were so conservative in matters of music, as in all else, that when the
famous Timotheus of Miletus appeared in their city with his new
twelve-stringed harp the Ephors ordered the strings to be broken. The
Phrygian Mode was based on the major scale with a flat seventh (G to G),
and the Lydian on the major with a sharp fourth (F to F). The Lydian was
the music of the “soft, complaining flute,” and its high-pitched sounds
were condemned by the austere critics of the mainland as too sensuous
and emotional. Wind music was, as we have seen on the monuments,
originally regarded as a barbarian monstrosity, but a fourth-century
dinner-party would scarcely have been complete without at least one turn
on the double pipe by a pretty _aulētris_. A sort of double pipe is
still used by Greek shepherd-boys, and in the modern example which I
have seen one pipe was used as a “drone,” as in the bagpipes. This
instrument is probably a humble survivor of the “syrinx” played by
Arcadian shepherds in antiquity and by the modern impresario of Punch
and Judy shows--in fact, the Pan-pipes. The superior instrument played
by the _aulētris_ would be really a double clarinet. The flute, as we
have it, was not known in antiquity.

The Greek potter never made any legitimate advance beyond the
Red-figured Style of the fifth century. In the early part of the fourth
century there is no appreciable change of style; the technique is a
little more perfect, the aim is a little less vigorous. The series of
Panathenaic amphoræ[101] (those large jars painted with figures of
Athena and athletic subjects intended for prizes at the Panathenaic
games) continues unbroken, and their design changes little because they
have to correspond with a conventional type. The custom was that they
should have their figures in black, and accordingly the painter obeyed
the custom by leaving parts of his vase in the natural red of the burnt
clay, and treating those parts as

[Illustration: PLATE LXXV. A NIOBID

_Anderson_]

panels on which he painted his figures in black.[102] One change we
notice: vases are no longer signed by the artist. We conclude from this
that pottery is no longer assigned to known masters like Hieron and
Douris for decoration, but more mechanically produced in large numbers
by humble craftsmen in factories. This would correspond with the
increased professionalism which characterises this period in all
departments of life. Towards the end of the century--that is, in the
days of Alexander--it appears that vases were more frequently made in
metal; not that we have any metal vases surviving, but the earthenware
takes forms which can only be explained as imitation of metal. Thus the
surface is often raised in relief, and vases are apparently cast in
moulds.

Coins and gems[103] exhibit increased technical mastery. It must not be
forgotten that coin types, being generally of religious significance,
are apt to be very slow in responding to the artistic fashions of the
day. This is especially the case with Athenian coinage. The Athena type
with owl and olive-branch on the reverse is always of a conventional and
somewhat archaic character. Elsewhere the coins and gems of the fourth
century reach their highest point of perfection, and that is a point
which has never been surpassed. As usual, Syracuse is in the forefront
for beauty of design, and her new series of tyrants, Dionysius I. and
II., revive the glorious types of Gelo and Hiero and improve them. The
decadrachms of this period representing the head of the nymph Arethusa
surrounded with dolphins and bearing on the reverse a four-horse chariot
at full gallop are regarded by numismatists as the most beautiful coins
in existence. The best of these bear the signature of their engraver,
Euænetus. A gold coinage began here about the time of the repulse of the
Athenian Armada. Corinthian coins with the flying Pegasus on the obverse
and a head of Athena in a Corinthian helmet on the reverse also attain
the summit of their beauty in this century. But even out-of-the-way
places like Panticapæum, the corn depot of Southern Russia, and the
little island of Tenedos, which to the historian _est in conspectu_ and
little more, employed engravers of consummate art. Just before the
beginning of the century three cities of the island of Rhodes united to
form one republic, which rapidly rose to wealth by way of commerce and
good government. It produced a gold coinage of great excellence, the
figure of the sun-god Helios on the obverse and a rose (Rhodes) as a
punning emblem on the reverse. It is only with Alexander the Great and
his successors that the portraiture of mortal rulers begins to appear on
Greek coinage. It is then rapidly developed, and some of the barbarian
monarchs of the East are portrayed by Greek artists with great vigour
and realism.

Lastly, architecture exhibits similar tendencies towards technical
facility and a less austere spirit in the use of ornament. To this
period belong the new temple at Ephesus and the Mausoleum already
mentioned, and the kindred sepulchral monument from Lycia known as the
Nereid Monument, from the graceful figures of sea-nymphs set between the
columns on the tall basis of the shrine. In Athens we have the new stone
theatre of Dionysus, the new stadium for athletic contests, the little
choragic monument of Lysicrates, and the new walls to the Peiræus
constructed by Conon with Persian help. The luxurious Corinthian order
is now more popular than the staid Doric. The invention of this
beautiful type, with its curling acanthus leaves embowering the original
volutes of the Ionic capital, is attributed to the Athenian sculptor
Callimachus, a versatile artist of Periclean days.[104] It was the
discovery of a new drill for stone-cutting which made it possible. A
legendary explanation of its origin was naturally provided. Callimachus
had been struck with the beauty of a column on which a woman had placed
a basket of flowers in memory of the maiden whose tomb it marked, and a
live acanthus had sprung from the cracked stone below the basket. The
earliest appearance of the Corinthian capital is, so far as we know, to
be found in the

[Illustration: PLATE LXXVI. ATHLETES BOXING. FROM A PANATHENAIC
AMPHORA]

temple at Bassæ. It became increasingly popular, especially in Roman
times. Owing to its slenderer shaft, Vitruvius compares the Corinthian
order to a young girl, while he likens the Ionic to a matron and the
Doric to a man.

In the terra-cotta statuettes which have been found in such large
numbers at Tanagra and elsewhere we have some of the most delightful as
well as the most characteristic examples of fourth-century art.[105]
They are generally found in tombs, and seem to have been made for the
purpose. They seldom represent deities, though we have several examples
of Eros, and perhaps Aphrodite. Far the commonest subject is a young
girl draped in a mantle. Indeed, the maker of such ware is called in
Greek Koroplastes--“Girl-modeller.” Domestic scenes are common, girls
talking, dancers, animals, and so forth. Some are jointed, and many of
them were obviously designed as toys. Sometimes they were glazed, but
far more often the colours were applied directly to the clay after it
came from the mould. The colours have therefore in many cases entirely
disappeared. Apart from their singular grace and charm, they give us
extremely interesting examples of Greek costume. The British Museum has
a very fine collection, which well deserves study. A few of them appear
to be modelled from famous statues of the period.


LITERATURE AND PHILOSOPHY

This is, as we have noticed, an age of Prose. Poetry is for the time
being almost extinct, partly, perhaps, because the Athenian theatre was
already so well supplied with material by the great masters of the
previous generation, and partly because public recitation was no longer
the sole means of publication for literature. It is true that Agathon, a
member of the literary circle which included Socrates and Plato, was
esteemed almost on a level with the three great tragedians, but all his
work has been allowed to perish. The fourth century is the era of the
“Middle Comedy,” a stage of transition in which political references
were being abandoned and the delineation of manners and social life was
taking its place. But no great names attach to this stage, and no relics
survive. The New Comedy of manners, in which the great master was
Menander, begins towards the end of the fourth century and fills the
first half of the third.

Prose would naturally fall into three categories--History, including
political and economic writings, Oratory, and Philosophy.

The fifth century had produced the two great historians Herodotus and
Thucydides, both of whom treated their subject from a lofty standpoint
with a distinctly ethical purpose. The typical historian of the fourth
century has a much more restricted outlook. Instead of seeking to point
a moral or to illustrate the larger aspects of life, he is contented
with investigating and narrating the facts of the past for their own
sake or for any purpose to which the reader may care to put them. Such
were Ephorus and Theopompus, whose work, though lost to us, formed the
base upon which such writers as Plutarch built their narratives.
Undoubtedly, however, these historians often had causes of their own to
serve. The constitutional history of Greece, which was originally
compiled by various writers of this period, is full of contradictions
which distinctly point to theories constructed under the influence of
interested motives and in accordance with certain political tendencies.
The venerable figures of Solon and Lycurgus, many biographical details
concerning Miltiades and Themistocles, have been composed by persons
whose motives seldom included any disinterested love of truth. On the
other hand, fourth-century historians now approach their work with much
more distinct ideas as to the rules of evidence. Xenophon I have already
described as one of the characteristic figures of the day. He always
betrays a strong tendency in favour of Sparta, and especially his friend
King Agesilaus.

Oratory as a branch of literature resting upon formal rules of rhetoric
is a creation of this period. The Greeks had

[Illustration: PLATE LXXVII. COINS OF THE FOURTH CENTURY B.C.

1. RHODES. 2. ATHENS. 3. PANTICAPÆUM. 4. TENEDOS. 5. SICILIAN
DECADRACHM.]

always been a rhetorical people. We have noted how, even in Homer,
persuasion by the power of speech was a god-given attribute of kings and
elders. The Greeks, and the Romans too, went into battle under the
influence of oratory as our Highlanders are aroused to martial frenzy by
the eloquence of the pibroch. No one doubts that all the speeches in
Thucydides’ history are of his own invention, but if they bear any
resemblance to the real thing we must believe that the Greek soldier was
encouraged, in the fifth century, to fight by a very sober and logical
style of speech, including a categorical estimate of the chances in his
favour. The modern reader is frequently lulled to sleep by the words of
Brasidas or Nikias encouraging his men to battle. Thucydides had, it
seems, learnt his peculiarly artificial style of rhetoric from Antiphon,
who was the first professional rhetorician to engage in politics. But
even Antiphon was content to direct operations through his pupils. In
the fourth century the trained professional orator comes forward on the
Pnyx as a public statesman, is elected general, and gives orders to the
professional soldiers who now command armies and fleets. The profession
of the pleader had grown inevitably out of the legal system in vogue at
Athens. Where suits were decided by juries numbering hundreds, a rather
violent style of pleading had naturally arisen. Although it was
necessary by law for the litigants to conduct their own case, it became
customary for them to apply to speech-writers like Lysias, Isæus, and
Demosthenes for a speech to be learnt and recited as dramatically as
possible. We should expect such performances to be highly emotional and
to consist largely of oratorical claptrap. That, on the contrary, they
are for the most part severely logical, that purple passages are
carefully eschewed and references to national feeling kept within limits
is the clearest possible proof of the high intellectual standard of the
average Athenian citizen who sat upon the jury. It is true that
defendants did dress in mourning and produce wives and families in rags
and tears to move the sympathies of their judges, but their arguments
must be sensible and must include copious reference to the letter of
the law. From the so-called “Private Orations” of Demosthenes we obtain
rare glimpses of social life at Athens in the fourth century, the banker
Phormio who rises to affluence from slavery, who is liberated and
marries his master’s daughter, the elegant hooliganism of rich young men
who quarrel in camp and assault one another in the Athenian
market-place, the extraordinary luxury of Meidias, who rode on a
silver-plated saddle, or the quarrels of neighbours in the country about
watercourses and rights of way. In a later chapter we shall have to
consider the public orations of Demosthenes as the opponent of the
Macedonian conquerors. He is unquestionably for European literature the
father of oratory. Cicero learnt his art from Demosthenes, and Burke
from Cicero. Cleverness is the distinguishing mark of Demosthenes; his
style is restrained and logical. I do not think he was morally great, or
even more than tolerably honest, but he was so subtle a pleader that I
for one always have an instinctive desire to take the other side.

Isocrates, “the old man eloquent,” who died about 338 B.C., is an
interesting figure, very typical of his day. He became a professor of
rhetoric, and kept a school in which he had a hundred pupils, each of
whom paid him 1000 drachmæ for the course. He received as much as thirty
talents for writing a single speech. But he was a pure theorist; he
scarcely ever delivered his orations, which were written for private
reading, and carefully polished for that purpose. Some modern historians
discern in him a statesman of wide and lofty views. It is true that he
advocated peace, retrenchment, and reform for Athens. It is true also
that he spoke in his great Panegyric Oration, a work which had taken him
ten years to write, in favour of concerted action by Hellas against the
Persians. But I fear that Isocrates as a Panhellenist is a fraud.
Panhellenic orations on the text of the Persian wars were a standing
dish at the Olympic festival. Gorgias of Leontini, among others, had
delivered a similar oration in

[Illustration: PLATE LXXVIII. GREEK GEMS

_Mansell & Co._]

past years. It is surely a proof of the deadness of Panhellenic feeling
in Greece that the assembled States could periodically applaud such
orations and then go home and sign the peace which the Great King had
sent down from Susa. Moreover, the Panegyric itself is written in a very
curious tone for a genuine internationalist. He begins very happily:
“Athens and Sparta united, shoulder to shoulder, as they stood at
Platæa, Athens and Sparta ... yes, but in that order, mind you....
Athens must come first.... Sparta is, and always has been, a bully and a
sneak ... don’t you remember ...?” That is the spirit of the Panegyric.
Nor is the style really comparable to that of Demosthenes. Carefully
constructed as it is, it smells of the lamp; there is a wearisome
mellifluousness in its cadences, and a horrid odour of
self-consciousness and self-righteousness in its tone.

Turning now to philosophy, we are confronted at once with the problem of
Socrates and his real personality.[106] The sage himself wrote nothing,
but he has been written of by two immediate disciples, Xenophon and
Plato. Between the two we must form our idea of the man. It is likely
that Xenophon missed a great deal of the inner meaning of his master’s
teaching, but it is certain that Plato used Socrates as a peg for his
own ideas with a freedom which could only be tolerated in a country
where portraiture was seldom as yet practised as an art. Socrates may be
shortly described as a man who went about asking “Why?” It is a habit
that we are too apt to repress in children: the Athenians put Socrates
to death for it. Remember that it was the age when sophistry--that is,
formal profession of superior wisdom--was beginning to be rife, when
professors of this, that, and the other were abroad in the streets of
Athens. You may reduce any professor to tears by asking him “Why?” with
sufficient persistence, especially if you are followed by a train of
admiring young men of good family. Socrates was very pertinacious and
absolutely fearless. So a jury of Athenian citizens condemned him to
drink hemlock on the charge of corrupting the youth with atheistical
doctrines. He was certainly not an atheist. He was deeply religious in
the highest sense. He objected, or at least Plato did, to the theology
of Homer as undignified, in that it exhibited gods laughing and weeping.
But he used constantly to speak of “the God,” “the divine principle,”
and even of a “Daimonion,” or divine spirit in his own breast. Moreover,
Apollo, speaking by the mouth of the Delphic oracle, had declared him to
be the wisest of mankind.

In the main, there is no doubt but that the condemnation of Socrates
was, like that of Christ, a political move. Both Critias and Theramenes,
the foremost leaders of the oligarchic revolution, were among the
disciples of Socrates. Both Anytus and Melitus, his accusers, belonged
to the democratic reactionaries who had overthrown them. If we may judge
by Plato and Xenophon, Socrates was unquestionably a keen critic of the
innumerable sophistries upon which democracy was built. With all that,
Socrates was a good citizen and patriot. He had fought in many Athenian
battles, the soldiers marvelled at his contempt for cold and danger, he
had done his best to prevent the unjust sentence upon the generals of
Arginusæ, he had incurred the hostility of the Thirty Tyrants.

The trial and death of Socrates present a scene which for pathos and
nobility stands, with one other, alone in history. At the first trial he
was condemned only by a majority of six. Athenian law permitted him
under such circumstances to propose an alternative penalty. He proposed,
accordingly, that he should be entertained for the rest of his life at
public expense, along with the officers and benefactors of the State, in
the Presidential Hall. This Socratic irony was treated by the judges as
contumacy, and at the second hearing he was condemned to death by a
large plurality of votes. Plato has written of his end in three great
dialogues--“The Apology,” “The Phædo,” and “The Crito.” In “The Apology”
Socrates concludes his address to the jury with these words: “This only
I ask of you. When my sons grow up, gentlemen, if they seem to

[Illustration: PLATE LXXIX. CORINTHIAN CAPITAL

_Mansell & Co._]

you to be concerned about wealth or anything rather than virtue, punish
them, I pray you, with the same affliction as that with which I have
afflicted you, and if they pretend to be something when they are
nothing, make it a reproach to them, as I have made it to you. If you
will do that, we shall have received justice at your hands, I and my
sons. Ah, I see it is now time for us all to go hence, me to my death,
you to your life. But which of us is going on a better errand--that none
can say, but only God alone.”

The dialogue of “Phædo” is perhaps the sublimest thing in literature. It
purports to be the last discourse of Socrates to the friends who have
come to share his last moments. He preaches the immortality of the soul,
the unimportance of death, nay, the urgent necessity of that release
from the hampering and deluding trammels of the body, if a philosopher
is to see things as they are and enjoy the knowledge of reality. He puts
it as a “myth,” using the current Greek mythology of Styx and Hades and
Tartarus to enforce his doctrine of Hell, Paradise, and Purgatory. His
friend Crito asks for instructions as to his burial.

     “‘Bury me any way you like,’ answered Socrates, ‘if you get hold of
     me and I don’t escape you.’ He looked at us with a quiet smile and
     proceeded: ‘No, sirs, I can’t convince Crito that I am this
     Socrates who is now conversing with you. He thinks I am that one
     whom he will presently see dead, and he asks, if you please, how he
     is to bury me. I have been making a long speech to prove that when
     I have drunk the poison I shall not be with you any more, but shall
     have gone away to enjoy whatever blessings await the departed; only
     I am afraid it is all lost upon Crito, with all my consolations for
     myself and you. So you must be my sureties with Crito in a pledge
     just contrary to that which he gave to my judges. He went bail that
     I would remain here. You must go bail that I shall certainly not
     remain, but abscond and vanish. Then Crito will be less afflicted,
     and when he sees my body being burnt or buried he won’t grieve for
     me as if something unpleasant was happening to me, and he won’t say
     at the funeral that it is Socrates he is laying out or burying.’”

Then the story of his painful and courageous death is told in language
of extraordinary simplicity and dignified restraint. “Such, Echecrates,
was the last end of our companion, as we should say, the best, the
wisest, and the justest man of all we had ever known.”

Socrates had done much towards giving Greek philosophy its new trend.
The earlier philosophers had been chiefly concerned with the physical
universe, trying to discover its origin, and thereby its “principle”;
this had been apt to degenerate into that paltry inquisitiveness about
mere phenomena which many people are still apt to dignify with the name
of “natural science.” Socrates sought not so much the origin as the end
of things; he made philosophy concern herself with the nature of
reality, and incidentally with ethics and conduct.

The development of ideal philosophy may probably be ascribed, in the
main, to Plato rather than Socrates. Perhaps the general English reader
will find the simplest exposition of the Platonic theory of Ideas in
Wordsworth’s “Ode on Intimations of Immortality.” Put very briefly, it
is that the material world apprehended by the human senses is only a
copy or pale reflection of the realities “laid up in heaven.” The soul
comes into this world

    “Not in entire forgetfulness
     And not in utter nakedness.”

We recognise the forms of things by their likeness to the patterns
apprehended by the soul elsewhere. Thus, as Plato says in the “Meno,”
all learning is a process of recollection. The words of St. Paul to the
Corinthians are almost a verbal echo of this teaching of Socrates: “For
now we see in a mirror darkly, but then face to face: now I know in
part; but then shall I know even as I am known.”

The doctrines of Plato about Love have been strangely perverted in the
popular mind by a singular freak of language in the use of the word
“platonic.” They are expounded in two very different dialogues, the
almost boisterous “Symposium,”

[Illustration: PLATE LXXX. FIVE TANAGRA STATUETTES

_Mansell & Co._]

where Socrates and his friends agree to diversify the drinking with a
series of discourses on Love, and that most exquisite composition called
the “Phædrus,” in which Socrates and his friend converse on the same
topic as they lie in the shade of a spreading plane-tree upon the grassy
banks of the Ilissus.

The human soul, coming from eternity into life, has not forgotten
altogether “the sea of beauty” of which it had once enjoyed the vision.
All beautiful things remind us of it, and (once more to quote
Wordsworth):

    “Hence in a season of calm weather,
       Though inland far we be,
     Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
       Which brought us hither.”

Thus all men possess a natural yearning for beauty, however much their
glimpses of it may have been darkened and distorted by their earthly
experiences, and in their beloved they are seeing the reflection of the
reality of beauty. The procreant impulse is part of man’s yearning for
immortality; it is out of goodness and beauty that the immortal is to be
begotten.

With Plato’s political views as expressed especially in the “Republic”
we shall be able to deal more fully in the next chapter, when we come to
consider the political theories which arose out of the conditions of the
city-state. It is clear that in the hands of men like Socrates and Plato
philosophy was usurping the place which according to our notions
religion ought to occupy in the minds of men. Greek religion, or at
least the official Olympian worship as defined by Homer, Hesiod, and the
Tragic Poets, had never attained much influence over the morality of its
worshippers. But now philosophy was definitely claiming to teach virtue.
Not only sophists like Protagoras and Hippias, but even philosophers
like Socrates and Plato, claimed to put right conduct on a basis of
reason, and therefore of education. Hence followed the deplorable
consequence that virtue was to be for the rich and well-born. Philosophy
was snobbish from the start; it finished by excluding all but the
select few from any chance of salvation, and, if it had had its way,
would have excluded them from any political rights whatever. Socrates
seldom discriminates between wise and learned, nor between wise and
good. The strength of Greek philosophy is in its earnest opposition to
materialism, its proper scorn of base, trivial, and temporary pursuits.
But therewith it felt and inculcated a contempt of honest labour, and
thereby it drifted farther and farther apart from practical life. For
that, of course, the institution of slavery is largely responsible.

[Illustration: PLATE LXXXI. BUST OF “SOCRATES”

_Mansell & Co._]



VI

THE MACEDONIAN WORLD

    εἴπερ ἴσην ῥώμην γνώμῃ, Δημόσθενες, εἶχες
     οὔποτ’ ἂν Ἑλλήνων ἦρξεν Ἄρης Μακεδών.
                            PLUTARCH.


ALEXANDER AND HIS WORK

The fate of that old god Cronos, supplanted by his own children whom he
had tried in vain to devour, is more or less the common lot of all
parents of vigorous offspring. The Athenians had a nocturnal festival in
which young men ran in relays, each member of the team handing his torch
to another, and, as Æschylus says in a fine metaphor, “the first is the
victor, even though he be last in the running.” So at this point of our
history we begin to be aware of new forces arising in the Greek world,
new powers on the fringe of the Hellenic circle now stepping into the
light and taking their places in the torch-race of civilisation. Such
were Rhodes, the new commercial republic, Caria under Mausolus, Thessaly
under Jason, Cyprus under Evagoras, Pergamum under Attalus, the two
Leagues, Ætolian and Achæan, and above all Macedon under Philip and
Alexander. The stream of culture and intelligence that emanated from
Athens and the other ancient cities was now pulsing in the finger-tips
of Greece. Many of these new powers are more than half barbarian. They
are either monarchies or confederations. What generally happens is that
leaders arise who are themselves sufficiently endowed with civilised
intelligence to utilise the latent force in a race of untamed and
uncivilised warriors. In the military sense the case is that the old
powers had grown into the habit of replacing their citizen militias by
paid professional soldiers, and their citizens accordingly had grown
slack and unwarlike. Rulers like Philip of Macedon were able to raise
much larger native levies and to drill them into the professional
tactics of the day. Economically it was wealth that told. The old cities
were, partly, no doubt through their own lack of foresight, in a state
of financial exhaustion, while Philip, by his control of the gold-mines,
Attalus and Evagoras by their private wealth, and the Phocians by their
sacrilegious seizure of the treasures of Delphi, were still able to
bring large forces into the field. The old powers were thus left behind
in the race through the force of circumstances beyond their control. In
fact, the day of the city-state seemed for a time to be drawing to a
close, and larger units, either kingdoms or confederacies, to be taking
its place according to their natural superiority.

Modern historians, therefore, suckled on Bismarckism and devoted to
physical force, turn aside from the old cities and pronounce them
hopelessly degenerate. This is a proposition that deserves examination.
In some respects it is false. If it be the mark of historical decadence
that the motive power of a race is in some mysterious way paralysed so
that invention ceases and no more new forms or experiments are made in
culture or politics, then we may assert with some confidence that Greece
was not yet even in the third century in such a condition. We shall see
something of her new inventions in literature, philosophy, and art in
this chapter. In politics the federal systems of Western Greece were
distinctly novel and promising. Even in warfare she fought bravely
enough at Chæroneia, as she did much later against the invading Gauls.
Even Athens, when her dark hour came and she had to submit to garrisons
and alien governors, never acquiesced, but rose again and again in
rebellion against them. Sparta for a short time in the third century
performed the most difficult of all political feats, namely, a
reformation and regeneration of herself from within. At Sellasia under
Cleomenes III. in 222 B.C. the few Spartans who remained fought against
tremendous odds with all their ancient sublime devotion, and died to a
man as their ancestors had done under Leonidas. So true is it that moral
and spiritual qualities in a people do not come to the sudden end that
often befalls a state when it depends for its greatness on material
prosperity or physical force.

But the most serious symptom of later Greece was a real racial decline,
for which history has no remedy and no mercy, a decline of population.
The Spartiate race of Lacedæmon, for example, became almost extinct.
There were no more than 1500 of them at the date of the battle of
Leuctra, and after that we hear of expeditions containing no more that
thirty genuine Spartiates. In a less degree it was the same all over old
Greece, and whether it was due to malarial fever or to economic
distress, it made the political decline of these states inevitable.

Now it is necessary to go back a little into the earlier part of the
fourth century to glance at the rise of Macedon and its conquerors. At
the opening of the century Macedon was still almost uncivilised; it was
ruled by a monarchy surrounded with an aristocracy of knights very much
after the Homeric model. At that time its kings had begun to acquire
enough education to mingle a little in Greek politics, and Archelaus in
particular had the good taste to invite Euripides and Agathon to his
court. Philip II. obtained the throne by suppressing his young ward, the
rightful king. At that time Macedon was overrun by wilder barbarians
from the west, and it was long before Philip could make head against
them. He did so at last by the organising genius which he displayed in
remodelling his army, the astute statesmanship with which he made and
broke treaties, and still more by the wealth he secured and the use he
made of it in bribing his enemies. Philip was, in short, the organiser
who occasionally precedes the conqueror and grows the laurels for his
successor to wear. Expansion to the west would be difficult and
unprofitable. To the east lay the important cities of the Chalcidian
peninsulas, the gold-mines of Mount Pangæus, protected by the city of
Amphipolis, the rather decrepit kingdom of Thrace, and then the way was
clear to the Black Sea and to Asia. Now this was the chosen field of
commercial enterprise for Athens and her reviving fleets. A conflict was
therefore inevitable.

The statesman who led the anti-Macedonian party at Athens was the orator
Demosthenes. His brilliant series of Philippics and Olynthiac Orations
are full of denunciations of the crafty monarch, full of trumpet-calls
to the ancient valour of Athens which sometimes ring rather hollow to
modern ears. Demosthenes was not exceptionally honest, but there is no
warrant for suspecting the purity of his patriotism. He himself set the
example of bearing a shield personally in the ranks, and he must have
been conscious throughout his public career that he was in danger of
assassination or of execution if the enemy triumphed. The wisdom of his
opposition to Philip has also been questioned. Events were to prove that
these Macedonian kings were not barbarians; on the contrary, their
warmest aspiration was to be counted as Greeks, and they had, as they
frequently testified, a great love of Greek culture and a deep
veneration for Athens as the home of it. This the future was to prove;
the present only showed a foreign monarch devouring piecemeal the
markets of Athens in the north. Perhaps Demosthenes ought to have
realised that Macedon was too strong for Athens, but no one could
seriously expect old Greece to succumb to this upstart without a
struggle. For one thing, Macedon had not and never acquired a really
strong fleet. But her army was certainly irresistible.

Philip had learnt strategy at the feet of the Theban Epaminondas. The
army he created included a _corps d’élite_ of noble horse-guards, the
Companions of the King. These were the earliest first-rate mounted
troops in history, and it was by their means that the dashing exploits
of Alexander were subsequently achieved. For the infantry his great
invention was the phalanx. This was clearly a modification of the deep
formation invented by Epaminondas. It consisted of sixteen ranks armed
with a spear 21 feet long. They stood in close order so that the points
of the first five ranks projected from the front to present a bristling
hedge of spears. The remaining eleven ranks, we are gravely informed,
held their spears obliquely in the air to ward off missiles! Let the
military reader find a military justification for this extraordinary
arrangement. To me it seems a further confirmation of my civilian view
that Greek tactics were primarily designed to prevent armies from
running away. We observe that when Alexander took Persian troops into
his phalanx he put twelve ranks of Persians into the lines, with a row
of Macedonians _at their rear_. In any case troops standing in close
formation armed with weapons 7 yards long must have been useless for any
but defensive purposes; and, as a matter of fact, the victories of
Alexander were generally gained by the lightning charge of the king at
the head of his knights.

We need not touch upon the shabby “Sacred Wars” which caused Philip to
enter Greece on the invitation of Thebes. It was at Chæroneia in 338
that Philip defeated a mixed Greek army in whose ranks Demosthenes was
fighting as a hoplite. Philip was generous to the Greeks, and especially
to Athens. Next year the darling wish of his heart was obtained, for he
was elected president of a Panhellenic union destined to fulfil his
great scheme of avenging the Persian invasions of Greece by a march to
Babylon. In the next year he was murdered, and his brilliant son
Alexander cannot be acquitted of complicity in the crime.

The grand idea was Philip’s, begotten perhaps from the study of
Isocrates, and certainly inspired by the examples of Xenophon and
Agesilaus. Unfortunately it was far from arousing any enthusiasm in
Greece. Persia was a long way off, and money could be had from the Great
King without fighting for it. There was a sordid scramble for bribes
among the Greek statesmen. As soon as they heard of Philip’s death they
broke into unseemly jubilation, and voted compliments to his murderers;
they hoped that things would return to their old routine, and that there
would be no more talk of antediluvian crusades. They had reckoned
without Alexander, for it is seldom that a Philip is succeeded by an
Alexander.

This young man who conquered the world and died at the age of
thirty-three has quite naturally captivated the imagination of posterity
and formed a model for ambitious generals of later days. Julius Cæsar
sighed to think of his inferiority in achievement. Augustus paid a visit
to his tomb, and wore his portrait on a ring. Napoleon consciously
imitated him. As a soldier he was not only an organiser of victory,
though of course he owed a great deal to his father in this respect, and
a strategist with an eye for a battlefield, but also a dashing cavalry
leader, the sort of man to ride straight for the enemy’s king, to be the
first in the breach, and to leap down alone into the enemy’s town. He
did this sort of thing with impunity; he never lost a battle. He was
chivalrous to ladies, Bayard and Bluebeard by turns. He married a
beautiful Eastern princess called Roxana, he rode a beautiful war-horse
called Bucephalus. If Lysippus and Apelles may be trusted, he had the
face of a Greek god. He had just that touch of dissipation which somehow
rounds off the conception of a popular hero. He had the good fortune to
die young, in the hour of victory.

And what is to be the sober historian’s estimate of this dazzling
person? We may minimise his triumphs by pointing out that the Persian
empire was helpless before him, like ripe fruit waiting to be gathered.
We may certainly charge him with conquering insanely without stopping to
organise, and with neglecting his own kingdom and failing to deal
adequately with the political condition of old Greece. We may point to
the extraordinarily rapid collapse of his empire. But then he died
suddenly in the midst of his work, and left no grown heir to succeed
him. In some respects I think we must all admit that he showed very
remarkable gifts of statesmanship. Though

[Illustration: Plate 82.--Alexander at Issus (Pompeii mosaic.)

_Brogi._]

half a barbarian by origin, he was an enthusiast for Hellenism, and his
plan was to spread it at the point of the spear all over the civilised
world. When he destroyed Thebes he spared one house--the house of
Pindar. It was as a missionary of Greek culture that he marched over the
burning deserts of Asia. He took poets and artists in his train. He
would stop his march every now and then to exhibit Greek athletics and
Greek arts to the wondering Orientals. He planted Greek cities wherever
he had time to stop, from Alexandria at the mouth of the Nile to
Candahar (another version of his name). He had the art which makes a
successful apostle, the gift of being all things to all men. In Egypt,
the land of religion and mystery, he made a solemn pilgrimage into the
desert, and got himself accepted as the son of the god called by the
Greeks Ammon. In Persia he recognised the merits of the Persian
provincial system, and appointed his own satraps, or even retained the
existing ones. He treated Persian women with the deference to which they
were accustomed, and added one to his household in the manner to which
they were also accustomed. His Macedonians murmured at his Oriental
dress and manners, but Alexander was always a Greek at heart, the lines
of Homer always rang in his ears, and he fancied himself a reincarnation
of Achilles pursuing his Phrygian Hectors over the dusty plains of Troy.
He was mad, no doubt, to march so far over those weary deserts into
Turkestan, through those dreadful defiles of the Hindu Khush. Only the
mutiny of his army turned him back when he reached the farthest of the
Five Rivers of the Punjaub. And then it was frantic lunacy to lead his
army home along the burning coasts of the Persian Gulf. That experience
taught him, it seems, a lesson which he might well have learnt earlier,
namely, the value of sea-power for conquerors and empire-builders. When
he died he was projecting a naval expedition along the coasts of Africa.
The disaffection of Athens had deprived him of the fleet which ought to
have belonged to a Panhellenic army, and Alexander had been forced to
destroy the Persian fleet by a siege of its arsenal and headquarters,
the island city of Tyre. Most conquerors have a touch of insanity, no
doubt. The sanest of them is Julius Cæsar, and the maddest is Charles
XII. But Alexander the Great had lucid intervals of consummate
statesmanship. It is in this respect that he differs from the vulgar
type of adventurer and stands among civilising conquerors like William
the Norman with his Domesday Book, Napoleon with his Code, and Julius
Cæsar with his Julian Laws and his calendar. This intellectual
suppleness was the mark of Alexander’s Greek education, though it still
remains a difficulty to trace in his career the influence of Aristotle,
his tutor.

On his death at Babylon in 323 the whole empire flew to pieces. He had
unwisely divided his veteran armies among his various generals, and each
of them found himself established as the monarch of a large territory.
Most of them naturally desired to emulate their master and secure as
much of his empire as they could for themselves. Out of the confusing
struggles of the next generation three great kingdoms gradually emerged:
that of Macedonia, warlike and turbulent under various shortlived
dynasties, that of Asia, huge and wealthy under a line of Seleucids, and
that of Egypt under a long family of Ptolemies. All these kingdoms were
mainly Greek. In the country, no doubt, Oriental life and language
continued, but in the towns and for purposes of government both the
language and the civilisation were Greek. Thus Alexander had done his
work. He had actually added the whole of Asia Minor, Phœnicia, and Egypt
to the Greek world. Curious traces of Hellenism are found even in
distant India.

In this world of “the Successors,” as they are called, the ancient
states of Greece are not altogether negligible. Rhodes continued to be
free, rich, and happy. Athens, as I have remarked, was occasionally
oppressed and sometimes enslaved by the Macedonian rulers to the north,
but for the most part she continued as a free democracy, conducting her
own affairs as vehemently as ever, though now, of course, as a
second-class power. Sparta stood sullenly aloof, joining no
confederacies,

[Illustration: PLATE LXXXIII. “THE SARCOPHAGUS OF ALEXANDER” FROM SIDON:
LION-HUNT

_Seban & Joaillier_]

but dreadfully shrunken in population. I have alluded to her notable
experiments at reform in the third century under Agis and Cleomenes. It
was ended by the crushing defeat at Sellasia from the Achæan League and
the Macedonians. Towns like Argos and Corinth preserved their liberties
by joining the Leagues. Epirus was a new Power rising to fame by the
same road as Macedon under an adventurous king called Pyrrhus. He
unfortunately turned west instead of east in his search for worlds to
conquer, and there met another rising power, a race of real soldiers who
made short work of the Greek phalanx, even when supported by heavy
cavalry in the form of Indian elephants. It was these Romans who, when
they came in due course to return his visit, put “Finis” to this chapter
of Greek history, and proceeded themselves to undertake the task of
writing the next.


ALEXANDER IN ART

We have numerous works of art which portray Alexander the Great, and as
he is said to have granted the sole right of depicting his royal form to
Lysippus the sculptor, and to have commissioned Apelles as his royal
painter, we may presume that most of the portraits go back to an
original by one of these artists. We have enough description of the
pictures by Apelles to show that he treated his model with all the
obsequiousness of a court painter. There was Alexander in the guise of
Zeus wielding the thunderbolt, Alexander in the company of Nike and the
Heavenly Twins, Alexander leading the god of war in triumph, Alexander
mounted on Bucephalus. The only relic which may give us an idea of the
treatment of such subjects in pictorial art is a very fine mosaic floor
at Pompeii.[107] It represents the conqueror charging bareheaded into
the press of the Persian bodyguard at Issus, his greatest victory. You
see Darius in his Oriental “mitre” anxious and terrified, just turning
his chariot out of the battle. The scene is represented with great
spirit, and Alexander’s face is happily preserved. The horses in
particular are most faithfully rendered. As part of the mosaic depicts a
Nile scene, with crocodiles, ibis, snakes, and a hippopotamus, we must
infer that the original picture was made in Alexandria.

The same scene is depicted with greater brilliance on the famous
sarcophagus from Sidon. On one side of it Alexander and Parmenio are
fighting the Persians at Issus, and on the other side they are engaged
in a lion hunt.[108] Few works of art can compare with this monument in
magnificence or in historical interest. It is especially interesting in
the history of art because it gives us the best example of the
application of colour to sculpture, and completely justifies that
process.[109] It also affords fine specimens of Greek mouldings and
designs. The material is Pentelic marble imported from Athens. This
sarcophagus is now in the museum at Constantinople.

Of the many busts and heads of Alexander, none gives us a very
favourable example of the work of Lysippus. The so-called Dying
Alexander is hideously strained and emotional. A head in the British
Museum, however, is probably nearer to the original, though the very
short upper lip and the heavy jaw make it a rather unpleasing
portrait.[110] We are told that Lysippus alone was permitted to make
portraits of Alexander, because “others desiring to represent the bend
of his neck and the emotional glance of his eyes, failed to render his
manly and leonine aspect.” It should be noted that Lysippus made a
famous group of Alexander’s hunting, and another of Alexander’s troop of
horse, so that the Constantinople reliefs may go back to Lysippean
originals.

[Illustration: Alexander the Great. From a Coin of Thrace]

Alexander was worshipped even in his lifetime as a god. He claimed,
among other divine claims, to be a son of Ammon. In this character he is
represented with the ram’s horns of that Egyptian deity on a coin of
Thrace cast by Lysimachus, one of his generals and successors.

[Illustration: Plate 84. PORTION OF THE EASTERN FRIEZE OF THE
SARCOPHAGUS OF ALEXANDER.]

Alexander was the first of mortals to have his portrait on Greek coins,
and it is only in virtue of the divine honours paid to him that this is
conceded even to the conqueror of the world. Many of the later kings
followed his example, and portraiture on the coins now becomes common.


ALEXANDRIA

In studying the early civilisation of Europe, which means the history of
the Mediterranean peninsulas, one must not forget that economically
Egypt is the key to the whole position. In natural resources it is far
the richest country in that region. Hitherto, however, it had been shut
off from the rest of the world by its own peculiar civilisation and
religion, though the Greeks had occasionally borrowed ideas from it and
sometimes interfered in its historical course. Now Alexander gives it a
Greek government and a Greek capital. In order to crush the Phœnician
fleet which had been the principal naval support of the Persian Empire,
he had been compelled to destroy the city of Tyre. But it was more than
a strategic move. He intended the commerce and sea-power of the Levant
to be henceforth in Greek hands. He succeeded brilliantly in his
purpose. Phœnicia passed away from the stage of history, and only
survived in her great colony of Carthage.

The city of Alexandria was laid out on a mathematical plan by Greek
architects. Its situation on the delta of the Nile was exceedingly
favourable to commerce, especially as the difficult navigation of its
waters was mitigated by the construction of a great lighthouse, one of
the Seven Wonders of the World. In the division of the empire Egypt had
the good fortune to fall to the share of Ptolemy, a wise and enlightened
ruler, as were most of his descendants of the same name. These all
pursued a policy of commerce and peaceful expansion. There was brisk
traffic between Alexandria, Rhodes, Pergamum, Athens, and Syracuse, and
Alexandria grew to be the greatest city in the world. It was
pre-eminently Greek, but tinctured also with some of the Orientalism of
its environment.

Along with commerce the Ptolemies cultivated literature by founding a
sort of university or college called the Museum. It consisted of a
temple of the Muses, rooms for its members, a common dining-hall,
cloistered walks for the peripatetic teacher, and above all of a
magnificent library, for which the kings of Egypt made it their ambition
to collect all the books in the world. Half a million MSS. were gathered
there in the third century. The chief librarian was the master of the
whole institution, which was a place of research and literary production
rather than of education. At the same time Ptolemy made a point of
attracting all the foremost literary men of the Greek world to his
court. It cannot be denied that the Alexandrian culture was rich and
vigorous. Great strides were made in science and mathematics, new and
promising forms of literature were invented, but at the same time the
sheltered air of the Museum tended to produce, as is inevitably the case
with collegiate institutions, a rather frigid and academic type of work.
At Alexandria, for instance, the first critics arose, and the first
literary scholars, whose task was mainly to elucidate and comment upon
the works of Homer. One of these scholars invented the Greek system of
breathings and accents to help in the recital of verse. The most famous
of all of them was Aristarchus, the Father of Criticism. In science and
mathematics we must mention our old friend Euclid, who reigned in the
hearts of schoolboys until the day before yesterday. Here worked
Archimedes, the great engineer and founder of mechanics, statics, and
dynamics. His researches in these directions remained unequalled until
the seventeenth century _anno Domini_. Wondrous stories are told of his
inventions and of his absent-mindedness. Once as he was entering the
bath the overflowing of the water gave him a valuable scientific hint.
He was so pleased that he forgot to dress, but ran home through the
streets crying, “Heureka! Heureka!” At Alexandria, too, lived
Eratosthenes, who first measured the circumference of the earth and
worked out a system of chronology for history.

[Illustration: PLATE LXXXV. ALEXANDER THE GREAT

_Mansell & Co._]

There were many other historians of lesser repute at the Museum.

In poetry Alexandria is connected with some important developments,
chiefly literary revivals of ancient modes. Thus Apollonius the Rhodian
attempted to revive the epic, and wrote a long poem in hexameter verse
on the Argonautic expedition of Jason. It is of course rather cold and
formal, it is a long way from Homer, but it is of considerable merit in
the field of poetry. Alexandria revived also the elegiac couplet,
chiefly for short epigrams, some of which have the beauty and colour of
a Greek gem. We may see for an example that epigram of Callimachus from
which I have taken the couplet at the head of my Introduction, and which
was so charmingly translated by William Johnson Cory. I quote another
elegiac epigram of Meleager’s to show how modern in tone and subject
these dainty lyrics had become in the first century B.C.:

    “Poor foolish heart, I cried ‘Beware,’
       I vowed thou wouldst be captured,
     So fondly hovering round the snare,
       With thy false love enraptured.

    “I cried, and thou art caught at last,
       All vainly flutterest in the toils.
     Lord Love himself hath bound thee fast
       And meshed thy pinions in his coils.

    “And he hath set thee on his fire,
       In drugs thy swooning soul immersed,
     In stifling perfumes of desire,
       With scalding tears to quench thy thirst.”

So far it is mainly a record of revivals, but in Theocritus, who, though
Sicilian by birth, passed most of his active career at Alexandria, we
have the inventor of a new and most important branch of literature. With
him pastoral poetry was a fresh and genuine creation. His Idylls are, as
their name implies, a series of cameo pictures of shepherd life in
Sicily. We have found no space here to speak of the later developments
of Sicilian history, which in the fourth and third centuries became
once more a desperate battleground between Carthaginian invaders and
clever Syracusan tyrants like Dionysius and Agathocles. It is strange to
think that the beautiful rustic life depicted by Theocritus could exist
among the hills and glens of Sicily in spite of all the turmoil of
history. Mr. Andrew Lang has completely vindicated Theocritus from the
charge of artificiality by pointing out that the shepherds of modern
Greece sing in language of refined and impassioned poetry that is
perfectly natural and spontaneous. Large parts of the Idylls sound like
quotations of such songs of Nature. Theocritus was, of course, the
source of that pastoral convention which has produced so much that is
artificial in art and literature amid much of supreme beauty. We think
at once of Vergil, Spenser, Sidney, Milton, Watteau, and the Dresden
shepherdess. Theocritus is the literary father of all these. In his
famous Fifteenth Idyll, which describes with exquisite humour the
conversation of a pair of Sicilian dames going to see a festival of
Adonis at Alexandria, we have the beginnings of another literary
form--the mime. This is a rudimentary style of drama which seeks to
portray little genre scenes of life with no attempt at a plot. Herondas
of Cos was the principal master of this art.

Two pupils of Theocritus were Bion and Moschus, both accomplished
elegiac poets. Bion’s dirge for Daphnis and Moschus’ lament for Bion
have provided the type for Vergil’s lament for Daphnis, for Milton’s
“Lycidas,” for Shelley’s “Adonais,” and Matthew Arnold’s “Thyrsis.”


ATHENS AND HER PHILOSOPHERS

In Alexandria, then, the Hellenic genius was as fruitful as ever. But it
was growing under glass there, and it was not pure Occidental culture.
We have to think of the Greek Ptolemies, descended from Macedonian
generals, as on the one hand writing Greek poetry and inviting Greek
scholars to criticise it, but on the other hand accepting homage and

[Illustration: Plate 86.--Relief from Pergamum.

W. Titzenthaler, Photo. Berlin, W.]

adulation as Eastern potentates, and actually marrying their sisters
after the customary manner of Pharaohs. In Egypt Father Zeus took over
the horns of Amen-Ra and became Zeus Ammon. Aphrodite, the foam-born
goddess, assumed her Oriental nature once more and was mated with young
Adonis in weird and lascivious Eastern ritual. Adonis was no Grecian
youth, but a mystic personification of the spring, and his worshippers
tore their hair and made lamentation for him with the same frenzy as
made the priests of Carmel cut themselves with knives in honour of Baal.
All over Asia Minor Hellenism had to mingle with Asiatic elements,
losing in the contact all its fine austerity and sweet reasonableness.
Hence was born the worship of Cybele, an Oriental Great Mother, with
horrid mysteries performed by priestly eunuchs. Even the sculpture with
which the wealthy Attalids adorned their great altar of Zeus at
Pergamum, though Greek in plot and execution, is of almost Asiatic
luxuriance and voluptuous beauty.[111] Passion and effort replace calm
and dignity even as they do in the new Asiatic schools of oratory.
Alexander’s violent battering at the gates which separate East from West
had produced a strange hybrid in many of the cities of Eastern Greece.

But in some quarters the pure Greek spirit still produced lovely and
reasonable work in art and literature alike. It seems to me impossible
to think of degeneracy in connection with the Aphrodite of Melos, known
to the public as the Venus of Milo.[112] If she has the charm and
suavity of Praxiteles, she has the dignity and breadth of Pheidias.
Unless you follow the pedants who make some point of the arrangement of
her drapery, there is not a trait of vulgarity in her aspect. No doubt
if we had the original Lady of Cnidos we should know better, but at
present this superb statue rightly stands as the embodiment of feminine
loveliness in statuary. And yet all the archæological indications go to
prove that her author lived at the very end of the second century in the
Asiatic city of Antioch, on the Mæander. She was found in a cavern on
the little island of Melos, hidden there by who knows what devout
worshipper or terrified pirate? She is, in fact, surrounded with
mystery. No one has succeeded in restoring her missing arms, though far
the most plausible theory is that which would make her hold a shield for
a mirror in the same manner as the Victory of Brescia. No one has found
anything else in Greek sculpture which could belong to the same artist,
or even to the same phase of art. I name her here only to prove that you
cannot fairly close the history of Greek art with Praxiteles or any
other named sculptors, seeing that an unnamed artist living two
centuries later could produce a statue on the same plane of excellence.

One of the most interesting figures among the warriors who followed
Alexander was Demetrius, the Besieger of Cities, who gained his title
from a celebrated but unsuccessful siege of Rhodes. He gained the
kingdom of Macedonia and enslaved Athens. In celebration of a naval
victory gained by him in 306 B.C. he set up at Samothrace a wonderful
statue of Victory standing on the prow of a warship.[113] Her wings are
outspread, her drapery is blown back by the wind, she is all life and
motion. Along with the Venus of Milo she is the chief glory of the
sculpture galleries in the Louvre. The reader should compare her with
that earlier Victory fashioned by Pæonius. He will see that her drapery
is much richer and the whole conception far more sensational. Both are
very beautiful statues, but a pure taste will probably prefer the
earlier one.

In all this period the dear city of Pallas had not suffered any material
change. She had lost most of her colonies and maritime possessions, and
in external politics she was but a pawn among the kings of Macedon and
Egypt. But for the most part she remained a free democracy, governed by
her free Assembly. The Peiræus still remained an important centre of
commerce. Intellectually Athens still ruled the world not only in virtue
of her past achievements, but by the continuing pre-eminence of her
philosophers. Her principal literary product

[Illustration: PLATE LXXXVII. APHRODITE OF MELOS [VENUS OF MILO]

_Alinari_]

of these days was the New Comedy of Menander and his school. Menander’s
work was taken over bodily by the Roman poets Plautus and Terence, who
did little more than translate his comedies into Latin, and sometimes
weave two of them together into one play, a process known by the not
inappropriate technical name “contamination.” From the Roman comedians
they passed almost direct to the Elizabethan age, so that in the history
of the drama Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure” begins almost where
Menander left off. It must be confessed that the large fragments of
Menander recently discovered do not raise our estimate of this
dramatist.

If we turn now to philosophy we find the great name of Aristotle
overshadowing everything else.[114] If we have a true sense of
historical proportion, we shall probably admit that the words of
Aristotle have conquered the world in far truer sense than the spears of
his great pupil. For Aristotle is the father of the inductive method,
the patron saint of all those who observe and verify facts in order to
discover the laws that control them. He was born at Stagira, in Thrace,
but he came to Athens to be a disciple in the Academy, that pleasant
olive-grove where Plato was the master. Twenty years he spent thus in
study, and then he was commissioned by Philip to teach Alexander and
other noble youths of Macedon. As soon as this task was completed he
returned to Athens, and there founded his famous Peripatetic school of
philosophy, so called because his lectures were delivered in the shady
walks that surrounded the Lyceum. In the morning he would discuss
abstruse questions with an inner circle of adepts, and in the cool of
the evening deliver polished lectures to a wider circle. The fame of his
teaching was spread throughout the world, and all the ablest intellects
of Greece gathered to hear him. All his life he received the most
generous support from Alexander, who made a point of collecting strange
beasts from all quarters to enrich his zoological studies. The attitude
of the monarch towards learning was in striking contrast to the
behaviour of the Athenian democracy. Some wretched hierophant instituted
a prosecution for impiety against Aristotle, just as they had done
against Socrates, and forced him to withdraw from Athens for the closing
years of his life.

Aristotle took all knowledge as his province and proceeded to map it out
for further investigation. It is impossible even to enumerate all his
extant writings here, and they are only a small part of what he wrote.
For scientific method he wrote on Logic and Dialectic, and here he was
the discoverer of the syllogism and distinguished the inductive and
deductive methods of reasoning. For literature he dissected Poetry and
Rhetoric, laying down principles which all subsequent critics have been
compelled to follow. In his Ethics he defines the nature of virtue in a
sense that is truly Hellenic. Virtues are the mean between two vices.
Thus liberality is the virtue of which prodigality and parsimony are the
extremes; courage is the mean between foolhardiness and cowardice. For
Natural Science he wrote the first treatise on zoology, enumerating
about 500 different species. It was the first time in the history of the
world when men had thought it worth while to observe the world around
them. Most of this scientific work was beyond the reach of mankind, and
remained so for two thousand years. The Romans studied him, but scarcely
advanced a step. In the Dark Ages Europe lost even the power to follow
him, and much of his teaching was recovered from the wise men of Arabia.
The mediæval schoolmen were content with abridged translations for their
scientific knowledge. It was not until the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries that Europe came again to be able to study and understand him.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth men like Bacon and Newton began to
make some advance. Even now he is our master in Logic, in Criticism, and
above all in Politics.

Plato had treated Political Science in three great dialogues, the
greatest of which is “The Republic.” The ostensible object of this work
is to define the nature of Justice, and in order to do so Socrates and
his friends set out to construct an

[Illustration: PLATE LXXXVIII. THE VICTORY OF SAMOTHRACE

_Alinari_]

Ideal Republic. Before they have gone very far it is evident, and indeed
it is admitted, that such a state as they envisage cannot exist upon
earth, though it may be laid up in the heavens for an example. It is a
small Greek city-state. Plato discerns three elements in every state,
the producers, the warriors, and the thinking element. Of these he makes
three rigid classes, though education, upon the importance of which
Plato everywhere insists, is to provide the means of rising for all.
Music and gymnastics are the twofold base of Platonic education. The
thinking part of the community are to have the sole title to government.
They are to live a simple communistic life, rather like the nobles of
Sparta, but without their military activity. In order that nothing may
disturb their absolute unity, Plato decrees that wives and children are
to be held in common, as well as all property. These strange doctrines
have caused Plato to be held as the father of Socialism, but it is to be
observed that in Plato communism is only advocated for a restricted
circle of aristocrats, and that it is based not upon economic
considerations, but on ethics in a spirit of asceticism. In a later
dialogue Plato regretfully admits that laws are necessary to a state,
seeing that you cannot keep your philosophers on the throne when you
have got them there. This admission may be occasioned by the failure of
Plato to realise his ideals in actual practice. He had an extraordinary
chance. He was invited over to Syracuse to mould the character and
policy of the young tyrant Dionysius II. He argued that it was useless
to place an ideal system of government before a young man who was not of
sufficient education to appreciate it. He therefore determined to begin
with the education of the prince, and began it with geometry. The issue
may be easily guessed.

Aristotle approached Politics from a more practical standpoint. True to
his inductive method, he first collected accounts of all the existing
forms of government in the Greek world, more than a hundred in number.
Unfortunately, the “Polity of Athens,” recently discovered, is the only
surviving example. Then in his great treatise called “The Politics” he
attempted to criticise practical statesmanship from a scientific
standpoint, and in his turn also constructed something like an ideal
state. For him, as for all Greek thinkers, politics was only a branch of
ethics. The state came into existence for the sake of enabling men to
live; it survives for the purpose of enabling men to live well. The
object, therefore, of the statesman is to get the right kind of people
at the head of affairs--and that means Aristocracy. Viewing all Greek
society from the philosopher’s standpoint, he regarded all those whose
economic position required them to be mainly interested in gaining a
livelihood as too much preoccupied with sordid cares to possess
political virtue or to be fit to govern. His governing class is
therefore necessarily the rich class, just as it was with Plato, though
neither philosopher would admit wealth as the sole or even the main
criterion. Aristotle regards Monarchy as a good form of government also,
if you could secure that the monarch should be better than the people he
rules, and should rule for their advantage, not his own. There is also a
good form of Republic or Free Constitution, in which the whole body of
the citizens take their turn in office. But each of these three sound
forms of government has its own special danger--Aristocracy degenerates
into Oligarchy when the few rule for their own advantage, Monarchy into
Tyranny, and the Free Constitution into Democracy.

It is evident in all his writings that he regards the Athenian
government as a bad one, but we must remember that he only saw it in its
decline. The most valuable part of his teaching is that wherein he
defines the state as a partnership, not in all things, but only in those
things which concern its _telos_--the good life. Also, it is made up,
not of individuals, but of smaller partnerships such as the family. It
is on these grounds that he criticises the doctrine of communism. Since
the whole object of political life is to secure moral completeness, it
is obvious that the citizen does not surrender his whole being to the
state. Thus both philosophers are alike in putting aside the claims of
the working classes, who, it must not be forgotten, largely

[Illustration: PLATE LXXXIX. STATUE OF ARISTOTLE

_Anderson_]

consisted of slaves. Both are therefore aristocratic. Both look upon the
state as existing for moral rather than economic ends. Both regard the
laws and constitution as something sacred and clearly beyond the reach
of the citizens. Neither of them has conceived the idea of political
progress, which, indeed, is an idea of very modern origin. Such was the
philosophic ideal of the city-state, in some respects better and in some
respects worse than our own.

After Aristotle Greek political thinkers took up and developed the hints
he drops as to the Mixed Constitution, in which the three elements
Monarchic, Aristocratic, and Democratic are to be subtly mingled as they
were in Sparta and Rome.

Other schools of philosophy arose at Athens which from their more vital
influence upon the lives and actions of ordinary men are quite as
important in the history of human civilisation. Zeno founded in the Stoa
Poikile of Athens the Stoic philosophy, and Epicurus taught the
doctrines which bore his name, at the same time when Aristotle was
lecturing in the Lyceum and the successor of Plato in the Academy. Both
were largely concerned with the rules for right conduct in life. The
Stoics taught that wisdom and virtue are the true goal of man. Virtue
consists in living according to Nature, and it becomes the business of
the wise man to discover what is essential and distinguish it from what
is merely accidental and ephemeral. Pleasure, praise, even life itself,
are among things accidental. At its best Stoicism insisted very sternly
upon duty, and the contempt of pain and death. In this way it seized
upon all that was noblest in the Roman character and raised up under the
Empire a series of martyrs who alone withstood the tyrants because they
were not afraid of death. It approaches the sublime in the mouths of
Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus. Filtering through the Asiatic temperament
and mingling in its course with the higher teaching of Pharisaism, it
did much to form the philosophy of a certain Jew of Tarsus, and through
him has vitally influenced Christianity. In another sphere its
insistence upon Natural Law bore fruit in Roman jurisprudence and lies
at the base of all the legal systems of Europe.

Epicurus, on the other hand, made pleasure the end of life, not the mere
bodily pleasure with which his name has been associated, but that which
in the sum of its moments goes to form what we call happiness. It was
necessary to happiness that men should cast off all the degrading fears
born of superstition and know that the gods--if indeed gods exist--are
too much occupied themselves in enjoying celestial happiness to
condescend to punish and afflict the mortals under their feet. So the
Epicureans accepted a material theory, largely due to Democritus, which
explained the universe on atomic principles. Death was merely the
resolution of body and soul into its primordial atoms. The less noble
spirits among them undoubtedly taught the maxim “Let us eat and drink,
for to-morrow we die,” but in such a mind as that of the Roman poet
Lucretius Epicureanism is a fine and lofty thing, with its fearless
spirit of inquiry and its bitter scorn of superstition.

We should mention also the Cynics, whose chief teacher was Diogenes, for
they inculcated a contempt for pleasure and an asceticism which led some
of them to live a hermit life, or, like mendicant friars, to carry
neither staff nor scrip and to take no thought for their raiment.
Needless to say, Cynicism never became a popular doctrine.

It is evident, then, that intellectual life was still in full vigour at
Athens in the third century. But there was a weakening already visible.
These Greeks could still think clearly, even nobly, but it was not until
they made Roman converts that noble thoughts could be translated into
noble action. As for the Greeks, their restless tongues and subtle
brains carried them away into logic-chopping and childish love of
paradox. There was a day when Athens sent on an embassy to Rome the
three heads of her chief schools of philosophy. Their brilliant
discourses charmed and amazed the simple Romans. Carneades proved that
virtue was profitable, and the Romans were delighted. On the next day he
proved that it was unprofitable, and the Romans were astonished. Cato,
however, the truest Roman of them all, thought that Rome was better
without such brilliant visitors. And he was probably right.



VII

EPILOGUE

    ἡ πόλις ἡμῶν ... τὸ τῶν Ἑλλήνων ὄνομα πεποίηκε
     μηκέτι τοῦ γένους ἀλλὰ τῆς διανοίας δοκεῖν εἶναι.
      ISOCRATES.


It was, according to Isocrates, the fruit of the activity of Athens that
Hellas had ceased to be a geographical expression and had become the
definition of an intellectual standpoint. In that very true sense Greek
history cannot close. It falls into chapters which are ever to be
continued as soon as man begins to think again. Whosoever from the
beginning of his action already contemplates its final end and adapts
his means thereto in earnest simplicity, whosoever knows that pride and
vain ostentation will assuredly bring its own punishment, of whatever
land or age he may be, he is a Greek. In that sense we cannot close
Greek history. Greece, as Juvenal said in a very hackneyed phrase,
vanquished the Roman, her barbarian conqueror, and the Roman took up the
mission of extending Hellenism over the West. The history of Roman
civilisation only begins in the second century, when Rome was first
brought into contact with Greece. Elsewhere I hope we shall see how
Greek culture permeated everything at Rome after that, supplied her with
art and literature, taught her philosophy, overlaid and almost destroyed
her native religion, and even wrote her history. Losing Hellas, Europe
sank into ages of darkness: recovering her, the European nations began
to think again. Shakespeare we trace through the Latins to Menander,
Milton through Vergil to Homer and Theocritus, Bacon to Aristotle, Sir
Thomas More to Plato, and so with the others. So that every one who
reads books or enjoys art in Europe to-day is indirectly borrowing from
Greece.

Moreover, it is fairly obvious that Greece has not ceased to exist as a
geographical expression. The more we study modern Greece, the more we
are convinced that the Hellenic race is by no means extinct. Greece was,
it is true, conquered by the Romans in 146 B.C. They had been forced
partly by the aggression of Pyrrhus and partly by the expansion of their
own empire to take some action in the Eastern Mediterranean. There they
found themselves physically as men among children, intellectually as
children among men. Nothing is more striking than the almost reverent
spirit in which the Roman soldiers first moved about among the old
cities of Greece. But the Greeks were impossible neighbours, and at
last, after infinite forbearance, the Romans were compelled by their
masculine sense of order to take the responsibility of controlling
Greece. Corinth was destroyed for a warning, Macedonia made a province.
But cities like Athens and Sparta were left to govern themselves,
though, of course, their foreign policy was subject to Roman control.
Athens still continued to talk and write and teach. She became a sort of
university town to which noble Romans were sent for their studies. Even
when Achaia was added to the list of Roman provinces in the days of
Augustus it did not mean that Athens ceased to be a free city. In the
days of the Empire the more cultured emperors, like Nero and Hadrian,
loved to pass their time in Greece, in the attempt to share in her
intellectual prestige. So we have Nero performing in the Olympian Games,
and Hadrian rebuilding a large part of Athens. It was Hadrian who
attempted to complete the gigantic temple of Olympian Zeus begun by
Peisistratus. The Athenian schools of philosophy continued to attract
strangers from all parts of the world, until Christianity began to see
its bitterest foe in the Stoics, who taught many of its doctrines.
Julian the Apostate dreamed for a moment of reviving Greek philosophy,
so as to overcome Christianity by borrowing many of its doctrines, but
at last a decree of Justinian closed the Athenian schools of philosophy
in A.D. 529. Meanwhile clouds of barbarian invaders were continually
passing over the land. The Goths ravaged Greece under Alaric. The Slavs
conquered and peopled a great part of it without, in the long run,
materially altering its nationality. Norman invaders conquered it, and
not long before our own conquest Harold Hardrada entered Athens in
triumph. Then came the Latin crusaders and Venetians. All through the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries there were Frankish Dukes of Athens.
In 1456 the Caliph Omar conquered her, and thenceforth, with a temporary
period of Venetian triumph, the Turks ruled Greece with a heavy hand
until the glorious War of Independence, in which Lord Byron played a
part of prophet and warrior. In 1830 Greece was declared an independent
kingdom, and shortly afterwards provided with a youthful European king
from Bavaria. The experiment was not a success. The Greeks succeeded in
getting rid of one king, and Europe obligingly furnished another from
her inexhaustible stock of younger sons. Even yet the bed of a Greek
king is not altogether a bed of roses. In 1897 the little kingdom
plunged into a war with her big neighbour, Turkey, for which she lacked
resources and organisation. Her flanks were turned, her armies miserably
routed, and she lost a great deal of the credit she had won in the War
of Independence. But her true element is still, as it was in ancient
times, the sea.

We have already seen that Greek art still crops out in occasional
masterpieces down to imperial times. With literature this is still more
the case. Long after the best of Roman literature was over and done
with, Greece kept putting forth new products. The Greek novel, for
example, in Lucian and Heliodorus is something entirely fresh and of
great importance in literary history. The biographies of Plutarch are a
new departure; so are the guide-books of such writers as Pausanias.

[Illustration: PLATE XC. THE PORTLAND VASE

_Mansell & Co._]

The case of Lucian, in particular, shows that a Syrian of the second
century A.D. could write in pure Attic Greek. In him we have the
prototype of Swift and Sterne, a brilliant mocker and a creative genius.
With him Greek literature expired laughing.

It only remains to glance at the decadence of Greek art and to see what
form it took. The Romans, when they plundered and sacked Corinth,
transported enormous quantities of plunder to Rome, and a taste for
Greek art quickly sprang up among the wealthy senators. To meet their
tastes, Greek artists were set to work. Some of their works, in the form
of portraits, we shall meet again when we come to deal with Rome. Greek
architects also evolved a Græco-Roman style, in which they blended,
sometimes with the happiest results, massive Roman strength with Greek
elegance and grace. In minor crafts such as gem-engraving Greek artists
continued to produce exquisite work for the Roman market. The famous
Portland Vase is a good example of this sort of work.[115] Although the
material is glass, it is genuine cameo-engraving, and must have involved
infinite labour. The material of the vase was composed of two layers of
glass, white over dark blue, and then the white was ground away by hand,
so as to leave the design in white upon the blue background, a scheme of
decoration imitated with great success by the Wedgwood artists. It is
one of the tragedies of the British Museum that this priceless treasure
was smashed to pieces by an insane visitor. It has, however, been
repaired with great skill. In the Greek cities of South Italy where the
taste of the patrons remained Greek we find preserved, as at Pompeii and
Herculaneum, works thoroughly Greek in all branches of art, produced at
various dates down to the first century A.D. Given good taste in the
patron, Greek artists did not cease to be capable of fine art.

But every national virtue has its characteristic defect which will come
to the surface as soon as the stimulus of national self-respect is
removed. A strong conquering breed is apt to

[Illustration: The Laocoön Group]

become cruel and vicious when it loses the power to conquer. A
sensitive, artistic people is prone to sensuality and weakness in its
latter days. An industrous commercial race degenerates into sordid
greed. That is why a loss of national pride is such a serious loss in
history. A characteristic virtue of the Greeks was, as we have seen,
their supple facility of intellect, their

[Illustration: PLATE XCI. THE FARNESE BULL

_Brogi_]

adaptability to environment. This made them, in the days of their
decline, sink readily to the position of flatterers and parasites. We
find this character attached to the “Hungry Greekling” of Juvenal’s
days. In history we meet him as the hanger-on of aristocracy or the
crafty tool of emperors. The Romans started as a virile race of
warriors, and ended as brutal gluttons with a craving for
sensationalism, which the Greeks were only too ready to supply. Hence we
get Græco-Roman art in the worst sense of the term, wretched stuff made
by sneaks to satisfy the taste of bullies. Most of the sculpture
galleries of Europe can supply examples. The Vatican and the Naples
Museum are full of them. In the nineteenth century, when the taste of
Europe had sunk to its lowest depth of artificiality, work of this kind
appealed very strongly to critics. It is only fair to them to say that
they had not much opportunity of knowing better, since genuine Greek
work of the best periods was mostly lying below the surface unexcavated.
Out of this mass of inferior material critics picked one or two examples
for admiration. Even great men like Lessing and Winckelmann based
excellent maxims of criticism on these rotten foundations. The
“Laocoön,” a sensational work by Rhodian sculptors of the first century
B.C., was taken by Lessing as the text of his great discourse on the
proper functions of the arts. We, on the other hand, can see that this
tangled triangle of writhing forms expressing violent emotion of pain
and terror has a theatrical and sensational character abhorrent to the
very spirit of Greek moderation. Exactly the same is true of the two
Farnese masterpieces, the Bull[116] and the Hercules. Such facts as
these give one cause to ponder on the mutability of taste and the
fallibility of artistic criticism. Restlessness, the symptom of nerves
overwrought, is a feature of decadence, which we can observe in the late
Greek vase-paintings. The spaces are covered with trivial ornament, the
drawing is slack, the sole aim is prettiness. The vigour of the
composition is frittered away upon trivial details. In short, the name
of the disease from which Greek art was to perish is Vulgarity. Idealism
without romanticism was the secret of Greek art at its best. When we
find romance without ideals we have reached the nadir.

[Illustration: Late Greek Vase-painting: from a _Pelike_ in the British
Museum.]

[Illustration: THE PRAYING BOY

_Mansell & Co._]



GLOSSARY

For explanation of words marked A refer to the architectural diagrams on
page 107.


     _Acroterion_, A.

     _Ægis_, a breastplate adorned with the head of a Gorgon and a
     fringe of serpents, an attribute of Zeus and Athena.

     _Agora_, market-place.

     _Amphictyony_, neighbouring states grouped in a religious union.

     _Amphiprostyle_, a building with columned porch at both ends.

     _Aniconic_, without images, an early stage of religion.

     _Anthropomorphism_, the religious habit of representing gods as
     men.

     _Architrave_, A.

     _Archon_, a ruler or magistrate; a board of nine at Athens.

     _Aretē_, virtue; strictly, the quality of a man.

     _Aulētris_, female player on the clarinets.

     Βασιλεἴς, kings or chiefs.

     _Caduceus_, the snake-wreathed wand carried by Hermes.

     _Caryatid_, a column carved to represent a maiden.

     _Cella_, the nave or main chamber of a temple.

     _Chiton_, a tunic fastened on the left shoulder.

     _Chlamys_, a short mantle worn by Spartans and soldiers.

     _Chthonic animism_, worship of subterranean spirits, generally
     including cult of the dead and of the reproductive powers of
     Nature.

     _Choregus_, the man who equipped a chorus for a stage play;
     generally a man of wealth on whom this duty was laid as a sort of
     tax.

     _Chryselephantine_, made of gold and ivory.

     _Decadrachm_, a coin of ten drachms (francs).

     _Deme_, a parish.

     _Dōma_, house-place, resembling the medieval hall.

     _Ecclesia_, the Athenian assembly.

     _Echinus_, A.

     _Entablature_, that part of a classical building which rests upon
     the columns and supports the roof; it includes architrave and
     frieze.

     _Entasis_, a system of optical correction employed in Greek
     architecture (see page 161).

     _Ephebus_, a youth of about eighteen.

     _Ephorate_, the board of “overseers” at Sparta.

     ἦθος, character, spiritual quality.

_Gerousia_ }
_Gerontes_ } Senate and senators of Sparta.

     _Guttæ_, A.

     _Harmosts_, Spartan governors of conquered cities.

     _Hegemony_, leadership, undefined suzerainty.

     _Hexastyle_, with six columns.

     _Hierophant_, a priest of the mysteries.

     _Hoplites_, heavy armed infantry.

     _In antis_, columns at the end of a building, between the ends of
     the side walls produced, are said to be in antis.

     _Iconic_, with images, a stage of religious worship.

     _Kuanos_, a blue transparent paste, resembling glass.

     _Kylix_, a goblet.

     _Lecythus_, oil-jar, a certain shape of Greek pottery.

     _Liturgy_, a public duty imposed as a tax upon the rich.

     _Megaron_, hall.

     _Metopes_, A.

     _Palæstra_, wrestling-ground.

     _Parabasis_, an ode sung by the chorus in Greek drama at their
     entrance on the stage.

     _Peplos_, a long female robe or mantle.

     _Perioikoi_, neighbours, the second class in the Spartan caste
     system.

     _Peripteral_, surrounded with colonnades.

     _Peristyle_, the colonnades surrounding a building.

     _Pictographic script_, a form of writing in which the symbols are
     rudimentary pictures.

     _Pnyx_, a hill at Athens, where the Assembly met.

     _Prodomos_, fore-court.

     _Satrap_, a Persian viceroy.

     _Skolion_, a drinking-song in which the guests took part in turns.

     _Stasis_, civil strife, party-feeling, treason.

     _Stēlē_, a monument in the form of an erect slab, a gravestone.

     _Strategoi_, generals, an Athenian magistracy.

     _Strigil_, an instrument used by athletes for scraping off the oil
     and sand of the palæstra.

     _Stylobate_, the floor from which the columns rise (A).

     _Telos_, goal or end in view.

     _Thalamos_, inner chamber, bed-chamber of the master of the house.

     _Thalassocracy_, maritime supremacy.

     _Tholos_, a vault or dome, any round building.

     _Triglyphs_, A.

     _Xoanon_, an image mainly in the form of a tree-trunk.



BIBLIOGRAPHY


[The following list of books will serve two purposes, as a guide to the
reader who wishes to inquire further on any special point, and as an
acknowledgment of some of the obligations of the writer. Only works in
English are here included.]


_General Histories of Greece_

BURY, PROFESSOR J. B. A History of Greece. Macmillan.

The most up-to-date “student’s history”; copiously illustrated; a
storehouse of facts in narrow compass.

GROTE, G. History of Greece. From the Earliest Times to the Death of
Alexander. 10 vols. Murray.

HOLM, ADOLF. The History of Greece from its Commencement to the Close of
the Independence of the Greek Nation. Translated by F. Clarke. 4 vols.
Macmillan.

Short chapters with elaborate notes, written from a liberal and
sympathetic point of view.



_Special Works on the Early Periods_

BURROWS, PROFESSOR R. M. The Discoveries in Crete and their Bearing on
the History of Ancient Civilisation. Murray.

EVANS, SIR ARTHUR. Principal work of, is to be found in the Annuals of
the British School at Athens. Macmillan.

GRUNDY, DR. G. B. The Great Persian War and its Preliminaries. A Study
of the Evidence, Literary and Topographical. Murray.

LANG, ANDREW. Homer and his Age. Longmans.

MOSSO, ANGELO. The Palaces of Crete and their Builders. Fisher Unwin.

MURRAY, PROFESSOR GILBERT. The Rise of the Greek Epic. Clarendon Press.

RIDGEWAY, PROFESSOR W. The Early Age of Greece. 2 vols. Cambridge
University Press.

---- Minos the Destroyer rather than the Creator of the so-called Minoan
Culture of Cnossos. (A lecture delivered before the British Academy, May
26, 1909.)


_Politics_

BARKER, E. The Political Thought of Plato and Aristotle. Methuen.

FOWLER, W. WARDE. The City State of the Greeks and Romans. Macmillan.

GREENIDGE, A. H. J. A Handbook of Greek Constitutional History.
Macmillan.

WHIBLEY, L. Greek Oligarchies: their Organisation and Character.
Methuen.

---- Political Parties in Athens during the Peloponnesian War. Prince
Consort Dissertation. 1888. Cambridge University Press.


_Mythology and Religion_

FARNELL, L. R. The Cults of the Greek States. 5 vols. Clarendon Press.

FRAZER, J. G. Adonis, Attis, Osiris. Macmillan.

HARRISON, JANE E., and VERRALL, M. DE G. Mythology and Monuments of
Ancient Athens. 1890.

LAWSON, J. C. Modern Greek Folklore and Ancient Greek Religion.
Cambridge University Press.

REINACH, SALOMON. Orpheus. A General History of Religions. Heinemann.


_Sculpture and Art_

GARDNER, PROFESSOR E. A. A Handbook of Greek Sculpture. New Edition,
with Appendix. In two Parts; Appendix separately. Macmillan.

JONES, H. STUART. Select Passages from Ancient Writers, Illustrative of
the History of Greek Sculpture. Macmillan.

MURRAY, A. S. A Handbook of Greek Archæology. Murray.

PERROT AND CHIPIEZ. History of Art in Primitive Greece. 2 vols. Chapman
and Hall.

WALDSTEIN, CHARLES. Essays on the Art of Pheidias. Cambridge University
Press.

WALTERS, H. B. Greek Art. Methuen.

---- The Art of the Greeks. Methuen.


_Coinage_

HEAD, B. V. Historia Numorum. A Manual of Greek Numismatics. Clarendon
Press.

HILL, G. F. Greek and Roman Coins. Macmillan.


_Bronzes_

MURRAY, A. S. Greek Bronzes. Seeley.

British Museum Catalogue.


_Vases_

British Museum Catalogues: Greek and Etruscan, White Athenian Vases.


_Literature_

JEBB, SIR RICHARD. A Primer of Greek Literature. Macmillan.

JEVONS, F. B. A History of Greek Literature from the Earliest Period to
the Death of Demosthenes. Griffin.


_Topography, Social Life, &c._

BAEDEKER’S Greece. Fisher Unwin.

BECKER, W. A. Charicles: or, Illustrations of the Private Life of the
Ancient Greeks. Translated by the Rev. F. Metcalfe. Longmans.

FRAZER, J. G. Pausanias’ Description of Greece. 6 vols. Macmillan.

FREEMAN, K. J. Schools of Hellas. Macmillan.

GARDINER, E. NORMAN. Greek Athletic Sports and Festivals. Macmillan.



INDEX


Academy, the, 253

Acanthus, the, 226

Accents, Greek system of, 248

Achæan League, the, 237, 245

Achæans, the, from the North, 37;
  and Homer, 40-42

Achaia, a Roman province, 261

Achilles, worship of, 41;
  the Shield of, 42-47

Acragas, temple at, 130;
  Telamones of, 166

Acrocorinthus, 7

Acropolis, the, 7, 95, 96, 102, 138, 157;
  its architecture, 163-165

Actors, 174

Acusilaus, 78

Admetus, 179

Adonis, 190, 251

Adultery in Sparta, 90

Ægean civilisation, 16;
  culture, 17 _et seq._;
  decay, 31;
  art, 32 _et seq._;
  dress of warriors, 38;
  worship, 65

Ægean Sea, 15

Ægeus, 15, 165

Ægina, commerce, 127;
  war with, 135;
  pedimental figures from, 147

Ægis, the, 95

Ægospotami, 144

Æolians, the, 42

Æschylus at court of Hiero, 113, 129;
  and the Oriental host, 136;
  the drama of, 174;
  the “Persæ,” 176;
  the poet of Marathon, 177;
  number of plays, 182;
  in the “Frogs” of Aristophanes, 184

Æsculapius, 70

Ætolian League, 237

Agamemnon, tomb of, 13, 29;
  worship of, 41;
  in the Iliad, 49, 58;
  in tragedy, 181

Agariste, 109

Agathocles, 250

Agathon, 227, 239

Agelâdas of Argos, 147

Agesilaus, King of Sparta, 81, 85, 200, 228, 241

Agias (statue), 169, 218

Agis, King of Sparta, 85, 93

Agora, the, 167

_Aidōs_, 10, 137, 187

Ajax, 147, 176

Alaric the Goth, 170, 262

Alcæus, 119, 121

Alcamenes, 70, 159

“Alcestis” of Euripides, 179

Alcibiades, 78, 99, 144, 146, 170, 195, 196

Alcinous, 48

Alcmæonids, the, 99, 115, 116

Alcman, 88, 104

Alexander the Great, career of, 11;
  romantic, 180;
  Agesilaus and, 201;
  Lysippus sculptor to, 218;
  and the temple at Ephesus, 221;
  portraiture on coinage, 226;
  Macedon under, 237, 241-245;
  in art, 245-247

Alexandria, 243;
  laid out by Greek architects, 247;
  commerce, 247;
  the greatest city, 247;
  library of, 248;
  culture, 248;
  the Museum, 248;
  and poetry, 249

Amazons, battle of (sculpture), 222

Amen-Ra, 251

Ammon, 243

Amphictyons, 72

Amphidamas, 63, 76

Amphipolis, 240

Anacreon, 113, 121, 122, 129

Anaxagoras, 145, 146

Anaximander, 122

Ancestor-worship, 30, 34, 50

Andromache, 55, 59

Animal deities, 65

“Answerers,” 174

Antenor’s “Harmodius and Aristogeiton,” 115

Anthela, 72

Anthropomorphic religion, 67

Antigone, 176, 178

Antioch, 251

Antiochus the Great, 116

Antiphon, 229

Anytus, 232

Apelles, 213, 223, 242, 245

Aphaia, temple of, Ægina, 147

Aphrodite in Homer, 50;
  worship of, in Corinth, 108;
  on the Parthenon frieze, 155;
  in fourth-century art, 211;
  the Cnidian Aphrodite, 213, 214;
  in Alexandria, 251;
  Aphrodite of Melos, 251

Apollo, the coming of, 65-74;
  the Apollo Belvedere, 71;
  Apollo of Delos, 112;
  on the Parthenon frieze, 155;
  temple of Phigaleia, 169;
  statue at Delphi, 169;
  and Orestes in drama, 181;
  in fourth-century art, 211;
  Apollo Sauroctonos, 217;
  Palatine Apollo, 218;
  and Niobe, 222;
  “Apollo and Marsyas,” 216

Apollonius the Rhodian, 249

Apoxyomenus, 81, 218

Arcadians, the, 206, 207

Arcady, 167

Archelaus, 239

Archilochus, 104, 121, 122

Archimedes, 248

Architecture, prehistoric, 24;
  Doric, 106;
  temples, 161;
  the Parthenon, 161-163;
  the Acropolis, 163, 165;
  the Erechtheum, 165-167;
  other Athenian buildings, 167-168;
  other Greek buildings, 168-171;
  fourth-century, 226;
  the Corinthian order 226;
  Græco-Roman, 263

_Archons_, 117

Areian Hill, 117

Areopagus, Solon and the, 100;
  its powers, 117;
  its influence, 133;
  under democracy, 141;
  power taken away by Pericles, 142;
  meeting-place, 167

Ares, 77, 154;
  the Ludovisi, 220

Arethusa, 131;
  coins, 225

Arginusæ, 195, 232

Argives, the, 109

Argonautic expedition of Jason, 249

Argos, 28, 109, 245

Ariadne, 15

Arion, 122, 173

Aristarchus, the Father of Criticism, 248

Aristeides, 135, 140, 141

Aristion, stēlē of, 114

Aristocracies, 86, 119, 145, 256

Aristogeiton, 115, 180

Aristophanes and “the Harmodius,” 116;
  champions the hoplites, 140;
  and Cleon, 144;
  and liberty of speech, 145;
  and Pheidias, 157;
  humour of, 183

Aristotle on Spartan government, 86;
  on tragedy, 181;
  and state payment, 197;
  his greatness and birth, 253;
  disciple of Plato, 253;
  teacher of Alexander, 253;
  his writings, 254;
  “The Politics,” 255;
  his influence, 261

Arnold’s, Matthew, “Thyrsis,” 250

Art, Greek, its perfection, 10, 103;
  qualities, 56;
  the cults and, 103;
  simplicity, 153, 162;
  subordination of the artist, 158;
  in the fourth century, 208;
  continuance and decadence, 262-263;
  Græco-Roman, 265;
  perishes from vulgarity, 266

Artaphernes, 134

Artaxerxes, 201, 204

Artemis, 202, 222;
  of Brauron, 99, 165;
  temple of, at Ephesus, 221;
  “Artemis and Apollo,” by Praxiteles, 216

Artemisia, wife of Mausolus, 221

Ascra, 62

Ashtaroth, 108

Asia, 244

Aspasia, 146

Athena, statue of, at Troy, 54;
  Pallas Athena, 51, 94;
  birth and worship, 94;
  Northern origin, 95;
  an Achæan goddess, 95, 102;
  hoplite goddess, 95;
  and the name of Athens, 95;
  gift of olive-tree, 97;
  origin of Athena, 99;
  and Erechtheus, 102;
  shrine and image, 102, 165, 166;
  Athena Parthenos, 148, 156;
  in Parthenon sculptures, 151, 152, 154;
  statues of, 157;
  the Mourning Athena, 160, 192;
  Athena Promachos, 102, 165;
  Athena the Crafts-woman, 165;
  Athena type of coins, 225;
  Athena and Marsyas, 165

Athenian drama, 172

Athenian mysteries, 98

Athens and the sea, 6;
  and silver-mines, 6;
  the state, 9;
  pays tribute to Minos, 16;
  occupations of the Athenians, 40;
  Pallas Athena and, 95;
  Theseus and, 97;
  agricultural, 97, 98;
  Eupatridæ, 97;
  democracy, 97;
  religious customs, 98;
  law-giving, 99;
  Homer and, 102;
  and the tyrants, 104, 115;
  Peisistratus and, 110;
  police, 111;
  state cults, 111;
  freedom of, 115;
  government, 116;
  the rise of, 132;
  attacks by Medes and Persians, 134-140;
  and a navy, 135;
  Athenian civilisation, 140;
  a democratic city-state, 140;
  Athenian empire, 141;
  Pericles and liberty, 142;
  conflict with Sparta, 143;
  Peloponnesian War, 143;
  capitulates, 144;
  freedom in, 145;
  Pericles’ ideal, 146;
  Pericles’ Athens, 150;
  the Long Walls, 163, 195, 198;
  buildings of, 167;
  aristocracy, 172;
  downfall and restoration, 194;
  popular government, 195, 197;
  oligarchy, 196;
  the Thirty Tyrants, 197;
  finance, 198;
  fourth-century Athens, 209;
  coinage, 225;
  legal system, 229;
  rebellion against aliens, 238;
  and Macedon, 240;
  oppressions, 244;
  enslaved by Demetrius, 252;
  her philosophers, 252;
  and Aristotle, 253;
  “Polity of Athens,” 255;
  intellectual life of the third century, 258;
  self-government under the Romans, 261;
  schools of philosophy, 261;
  Frankish dukes, 262.
  _See also_ Attica.

Athens and Sparta, 40, 83, 94, 195, 206, 231

Athletics, Greek, antiquity of, 74, 76;
  religious significance, 74, 75, 76;
  a modernised programme of sports, 74;
  Pythian Games, 76;
  Olympian Games, 76, 78;
  nature of the contests, 77;
  sacrifice and ritual, 77;
  the competitors, 77;
  the judges, 77;
  the prize and honours, 78;
  discreditable practices, 78;
  anecdotes of Pausanias, 78;
  Euripides’ tirade against, 79;
  inspires sculpture, 80;
  nudity, 81

Atreus, 181

Attalids, 251

Attalus, 238

Attica and Northern invasion, 96;
  a city-state, 97, 111;
  the older worship of, 98

Attica, plain of, 9

Augustus and Alexander the Great, 242

_Aule_, 59

Aulis, 63

Autocracy, civilisation and, 32


Babylon, 241

Bacchiads, the, 104

Bacchylides, 113, 129

Bacon, 261

“Basileis,” 104

Basileus, 47

Bassæ, temple at, 169, 226

Beauty, Hellenism and, 4

Bentley, Richard, 129

Bias of Priene, 101, 122

Bion, 250

Black Sea, the, 110

Bœotia, 9, 142

Boethos, 220

Boston Museum, slabs in, 125

Boy Victor (statue), 160

Boy with thorn in foot (statue), 160

Branchidæ figures, 54

Brasidas, 93, 229

Breathings and accents, Greek, 248

British Museum, Elgin Marbles, 151, 164, 166;
  Strangford Shield, 156;
  frieze from Phigaleia, 170;
  statue of Demeter, &c., 219;
  head of Hypnos, 220;
  Mausolus, 221;
  Tanagra figures, 227;
  Head of Alexander, 246;
  the Portland Vase, 263

Bronze Age, the, 16, 19, 36

Bronzes, 220

Brunn on the Parthenon figures, 151

Bucchero nero, 18

Bucephalus, 242, 245

Bull, the Farnese (sculpture), 265

Bull-baiting, Cnossian, 25

Burial of the dead, 190

Burke, Edmund, 230

Burrows, Prof., on Minoan drains, 26;
  date of the fall of Minoan empire, 38

Butler, Samuel, on Homer, 58

Byron, Lord, 262;
  on Anacreon, 113


Calamis, 159

Callimachus, 166, 226, 249

Callinus, 122

Calydonian boar-hunt, 218

Cameo-engraving, 263

Candahar, 243

Capitoline Gallery, 214

Carcinus, 187

Caria, 221, 237

Carneades, 259

Carrara marble, 147

Carrey’s Parthenon drawings, 150

Carthage, 129

Carthaginian invaders of Sicily, 250

Caryatids, 131, 166

Cassandra, 58

Cat, the, 193

Catabasis, the, 202

Cato, 259

Cave of Pan, 168

Caves as dwellings, 18

Cecropia, 95

Cecrops, 96, 166

Cephisodotus, 213

Cerameikos cemetery, 192

“Cerberus, sop to,” 189

Chæroneia, 238, 241

Chalcidian peninsulas, 240

Chalcis, 63

Chariot-races, 78

Charioteer, the long-robed (statue), 81, 169

Charon, 189

Charondas of Catane, 73, 128

Cheirisophos, 201

Child-birth, goddess of, 98

Children, Spartan, 91

Chios, 142

Chorus, the, 173, 182

Christianity and Stoicism, 257, 261

Chronology, system of, 249

Chryseis, 58

Cicero, 128, 230

Cinadon, conspiracy of, 200

Cithara, 68, 224

City-state, the, 7, 10, 206, 238;
  and patriotism, 145;
  the ideal, 255, 257

Civilisation, prehistoric, 18

Classicism, “Greek” and, 2

Clearchus, 201

Cleisthenes, 99, 109, 116, 117, 133

Cleombrotus, 85, 205

Cleomenes, 85

Cleomenes III., 239

Cleon, 144, 160, 183, 187

Cleonymus, 186

Clytæmnestra, 58, 181

Cnidos, 213

Cnossos, 16, 20 _et seq._;
  destruction of, 31;
  athletics of, 74

Cockerell, C. R., 147

Coins, Sparta and, 89;
  Ionian, 123;
  of Syracuse, 129, 131, 225;
  of Elis, 148;
  art of coins, 225;
  Athena type, 225;
  gold, 225;
  Corinthian,
and others, 225, 226;
  with portraits of Alexander, 247

Comedy, 173, 183-186

Commerce, Hermes the god of, 68

Common sense of the Greeks, 180

Communism, Platonic, 255

Companions of the King, the (Macedon), 240

Conon, 198, 226

Constantinople Museum, Sidon sarcophagus, 246

Constitution, free, 256;
  Mixed, 257;
  Mixed, of Sparta, and political science, 86

Constitutional history, contradictions in, 228

Corcyra (Corfu), 105, 108, 137

Corinth and commerce, 105, 127;
  art, 105;
  and Egypt, 106;
  under the Cypselid tyrants, 108;
  worship of Aphrodite, 108;
  and the Bacchiads, 104;
  and the Leagues, 245;
  destroyed by the Romans, 261, 263

Corinth, Isthmus of, 137

Corinthian Gulf, the, 7

Corinthian War, the, 203

Cory, Wm. Johnson, 249

Cos, 213

Council of Ten, Spartan, 200

Courtesans of Corinth, 108

Crabbe (Carcinus), 187

Cremation, 189

Creon, 178

Cresilas, 160

Crete, 14 _et seq._;
  Stone Age in, 18;
  palaces, 24

Cripple, 46

Critias, 197, 232

Criticism, Aristotle and, 254

Crito, 233

Crœsus, King of Lydia, 71, 123

Cronos, 66

Croton, 127

Crown of wild olive, 78

Crusaders, Latin, 262

Cunaxa, 201

Cupbearer frieze, the, 23, 25, 32

Curses, the, 66

Cybele, worship of, 251

Cyclopes, 36

Cylon, 99, 104, 110

Cyme, 62

Cynics, the, 258

Cyprus, 17, 142, 237

Cypselid tyrants, 108

Cypselus, tyrant of Corinth, 104, 105, 109

Cyrus, 72, 123, 201

Cythera, figure found at, 220


Dædalus, 15, 166

“Daimonion,” 232

Damagetus, 78

Damon the musician, 146

Dancing-floors, 173

Daphnis, 250

Dardanelles, the, 136

Darius, 72, 134, 245

Datis, 134

Death, Greek ideas of, 190;
  sculpture representing, 126, 220;
  according to the Epicureans, 258

Deianira, 176

Deities, names for, 66

Delos, shrine of Apollo, 68;
  removal of dead from, 112;
  confederacy of, 141

Delphi, shrine of Apollo, 68, 71;
  spoils of war, 168;
  treasures of, 238

Delphic Amphictyony, 72

Delphic Oracle and priests, 71-73;
  and art, 103;
  and the Persian invasion, 137;
  Lysander and, 200

Demaratus, 137

Demeter, or Mother Earth, an early deity, 66;
  shrine of, at Anthela, 72;
  Eleusinian mysteries, 98, 190;
  Persephone and, 124;
  worship of, 170;
  Demeter of Cnidos (statue), 219

Demetrius, the Besieger of Cities, 252

Democracy, Spartan, 84;
  Athenian, 98, 100, 118, 141, 172, 195, 197;
  and the Free Constitution, 256

Democritus, 258

Demosthenes, 194, 229, 230, 240

“Diadumenus,” 81, 159

Diagoras, 78

Diana of the Ephesians, 34, 118;
  temple of, 219

Diipolia, 98

Diodorus, 128

Diogenes, 258

Dionysius I. and II., tyrants of Syracuse, 250, 255;
  coins, 225

Dionysus on the Parthenon frieze, 154;
  in the “Frogs” of Aristophanes, 184;
  the drama and festivals of, 112, 173, 184;
  theatre of, 168

Dipylon Gate, 168

Dipylon Style, the, 56

“Discobolus,” 80, 159

Dithyramb, the, 106, 113, 173

Dogs on tombstones, 193

_Dōma_, 59

Domestic life in Homer, 58

Dorian Mode in music, 223

Dorians, the, origin of, 38;
  dress of warriors, 38;
  religious beliefs, 38;
  ignored by Homer, 42;
  communism, 88;
  Apollo, god of the, 69;
  Dorian greatness, 70

Doric architecture, 106, 161, 171

Dörpfeld, Dr., 166

“Doryphorus,” 81, 159

Douris, 225

Dracon, 99

Drainage work, Cnossian, 26

Drama, Athenian, 112;
  the Greek, 172-187;
  as instrument of public education, 172;
  “Middle Comedy,” 227;
  the New Comedy of manners, 228, 253;
  the mime, 250;
  “contamination,” 253


Earth, circumference of the, 248

East and West, conflict between, 11

Ecclesia, 116

Education, Spartan, 89;
  Platonic, 255

Egypt, Greek learning from, 119;
  Athens and the affairs of, 142;
  under the Ptolemies, 244.
  _See also_ Alexandria

Egyptian influence in Crete, 20, 33

Egyptologists and dates, 17

Eilithuia, 151

Eleatic school of philosophy, 128

Eleusinian mysteries, 34, 98, 170

Eleusinian relief, the (sculpture), 160

Eleusis, the Great Temple of the Mysteries, 170

Eleutheria, 94

Elgin, Lord, and the Parthenon marbles, 151

Elis, citizens of, and Olympian Games, 77;
  coins of, 148

Empire and democracy, 11

Empires, Greek, 11

Epaminondas the Theban, 180, 204-208, 240

Ephesus, wealth, &c., 112, 118;
  column from, 123;
  temple of Artemis, 218, 221;
  new temple at, 226

Ephorate, Spartan, 85

Ephorus, 228

Epictetus, 257

Epicureanism, 258

Epicurus, 257, 258

Epidaurus, 104

Epimenides the Cretan, 15, 101

Epinikia, the, 76

Epirus, 245

Eratosthenes, 248

Erechtheum, the, 102, 165-167

Erechtheus, 95, 96, 102, 110, 112

Eretria, 133

Eros, 155, 211;
  Eros of Thespiæ, 213, 215;
  Eros of Centocelle, 215

Ethics, 235;
  of Aristotle, 254;
  politics a branch of, 256

Etruscan art, 17

Etruscans, 127

Euænetus, 225

Eubœa, 63, 196

Eubouleus, 190

Eucleides, 197

Euclid, 248

Eugenics, Spartan, 89

Euhemerism, 122

Eumæus, 47

_Eunomia_, 73, 94

Eupatridæ, 97

Euploia, 213

Euripides, against athletes, 79;
  the chorus in, 174;
  the sceptic and prophet of the new age, 177;
  the “Alcestis,” 179;
  number of his works, 182;
  in the “Frogs” of Aristophanes, 184, 186;
  and social problems, 210;
  influence on art, 211;
  Archelaus and, 239

European civilisation and modern discoveries, 14;
  early civilisation, 247

Eurotas, Vale of, 204

Eurymedon, 142

Euxine, the, 202

Evagoras, 238

Evans, Sir Arthur, discoveries of, 17, 24, 25, 30


Fashions (dress), Cnossian, 25

Fates, the, 66, 123, 189

Federal systems, 238

Flagellation, Spartan, 92

Fortresses of Tiryns, &c., 28

Four Hundred, government of the, 196

François Vase, 43, 57

Frere’s, Hookham, translation of Aristophanes, quoted, 184

Frieze of the Parthenon, 153

Funeral customs, 188

Furies, the, 181

Furtwängler, Adolf, 151, 158


Gaia (Earth), 152

Games, the--_see_ Athletics

Gardner, Prof. Ernest, on the Parthenon sculptures, 150, 154

Gauls, the, 238

Gelo of Syracuse, 130, 131, 137, 225

Gem-engraving, 263

Gems, 225

Genius, the rise of, 132;
  Greek impersonal genius, 158

Geometric style in art, 56

Gerontes, Spartan, 84

Gerousia, or Senate, 84

Ghost-worship, 66

Glaucus, 79

God, Socrates and, 232

Gods in Homer, 50

Gorgias of Leontini, 230

Gorgon, the, 57

Goths, the, 262

Government of the Greek States, 83, 116;
  popular government in Athens, 195;
  Platonic government, 255

Græco-Roman art, 265

“Greece,” and “Greek,” ideas conveyed by, 1

Greece, the country, 5;
  and the sea, 5;
  climate, 7;
  scenery, 9;
  the Dark Ages, 36;
  the earlier civilisation, 74;
  government, 116;
  invaders of, 262;
  its decline, 263

Greece, modern, 261;
  War of Independence, 262;
  war with Turkey, 262

Greek character, the, 10

Greek culture, its continuing influence, 260

Greek history, new discoveries and, 12

Greek poetry, 53

Greek states, government of the, 83

Greek world, the, under Alexander, 244

Greeks inherently aristocratic, 171;
  racial character of modern Greeks, 8

Griffin, the, 58

“Grin, the archaic,” 70

Grundy, Dr. G. B., 138

Gylippus, 93


Hades, 123, 124, 190, 233

Hadrian, Emperor, 111, 261

Hæmon, 178

Halicarnassus, coin, 123;
  mausoleum at, 221

Happiness, 258

Harmodius and Aristogeiton, legend of, 115, 180;
  statue by Antenor, 115;
  “the Harmodius,” 116;
  group from Ægina, 147

Harold Hardrada, 262

Harp, the, 39;
  and Spartans, 224

Harpies, the, 66, 189

Harpy tomb, 123

Heavenly twins, the, 245

Hecatæus of Miletus, 122

Hegeso, tomb of, 192

Helen of Troy, 55, 58

Helicon, Mount, 9;
  Muses of, 63

Heliodorus, 180, 262

Helios, 226

Hellas, definition of, 260

Hellenic people, the, fusion of races, 39

Hellenism, the study of, 4;
  contest between Hellenism and barbarism, 153;
  Alexander the Great and, 243;
  and Asiatic elements, 251;
  the Roman and, 260;
  and Europe, 260

Helots, 87

Hephæstus, shield of, 43;
  works of, 54;
  and Athena, 94;
  in the Parthenon frieze, 151, 155;
  the temple of, 167

Hera, 23, 50, 130, 154;
  temple of, 106, 108, 215

Heracleitus of Ephesus, 122

Heracles, 85;
  and his labours, 111, 153;
  and Hylas, 180;
  the Farnese, 265

“Heracles, the sons of,” 73

Herculaneum, bronzes, 221;
  Greek art at, 263

Hercules--_see_ Heracles

Hermes, early origin, 66, 67;
  popularity of, 68;
  in art, 70;
  and the Olympian Games, 76;
  in the Parthenon frieze, 154;
  on sepulchral slab, 192;
  replaces Apollo in art, 211;
  of Praxiteles, 169, 211, 215

Hero-worship, 38;
  in Homer, 51

Herodotus, 228;
  on Homer and Hesiod, 50;
  and the Delphic oracle, 73;
  declaimed at the Olympic Games, 76;
  and the Persians, 136

Heroic age, the, 36, 38;
  cult and art, 103

Herondas of Cos, 250

Hersephoria, 98

Hesiod and the five ages of the world, 36;
  and the gods, 50;
  contemporary with Homer, 52;
  the world of, 61-64;
  and mythology, 66;
  and poetic contest, 75, 88;
  popularity of, 104

“Heureka!” 248

Hiero, tyrant of Syracuse, 113, 129, 225

Hieron, 225

Himera, battle of, 130, 131

Hindu Khush, the, 243

Hipparchus, 113, 115

Hippias, 115, 116, 134, 235

Hippocleides, 109

Hissarlik, 13

Historians, 228

Homer and primitive European civilisation, 12, 13, 14;
  and the Achæans, 40;
  composition of the epics, 41;
  as history, 42;
  the Shield of Achilles, 42-47;
  kings and gods in, 47-53;
  Homeric religion, 51;
  when written, 52;
  and the art of the period, 53;
  women in, 58;
  houses and domestic life in, 59;
  and mythology, 66;
  popularity of, 103;
  the recitation of, 112;
  theology of, 232;
  Ionia and, 119;
  scholars of Alexandria and, 248;
  influence of, 261

“Homeric” hymns, 68

Homeridæ, the, 41

Hoplite, the Athenian, 135

Horace, 121

Horse, the, in Greek art, 57

Horse-races, 129

Houses in Homer, 59

“Hungry Greekling,” 265

Hygiæa, 70

Hylas, 180

Hymettus, Mount, 96

Hypnos (Sleep), 220


Ibycus of Rhegium, 129

Ictinus, the architect, 147;
  and the temple-builders, 161-171

“Ilissus,” 152

Immortality, doctrine of, 128;
  immortality of the soul, 190;
  Platonic theory of, 234

India, Alexander the Great’s invasion of, 243

Indo-Europeans, Ægean, 32

Ionia, 118-126;
  cities, 112;
  poets, 119;
  philosophers, 122;
  plastic art, 123, 126;
  King Crœsus, 123;
  Sparta and Ionian cities, 199, 204

Ionians, the, 40, 68, 118

Ionic states, the, 112

Iphicrates, 204

Iris, 51, 152

Iron Age, the, 31, 37

Isæus, 229

Isles of the Blessed, 37, 39, 189, 190

Isocrates, 230, 241, 260

Issus, 245, 246

Italy, South, Greek cities of, 263


Jason, 211, 249

“Javan,” 118

“Jove of Otricoli,” 148

Judges of the games, 77

Julian the Apostate, 262

Julius Cæsar and Alexander the Great, 242

Justice, Plato’s “The Republic” and, 254

Justinian, 262

Juvenal, 260, 265


“Kamáres” ware, 20

Karuæ, 166

Keftiu, 20

Kimon, 140, 141, 157

Kings, the, of Homer, 47;
  of Hesiod, 62;
  Spartan kings, 84

Kingsley’s, Charles, “Heroes,” 15

Koré, 98.
  _See also_ Persephone

Koroplastes, 227

Kylix, the, 24

Kypselus, Chest of, 43


Labdacus, 181

Labyrinth legend, the, 25

Lacedæmon, 206

Lacedæmonians, the, 82

Laconia, 200

“Laconic,” 92

Lady of Cnidos, 251

Lais, 109

Lang, Andrew, on Theocritus, 250

“Laocoön,” the, 265

Laurium silver-mines, 111, 135

Law, Natural, 258

Law-givers, 128;
  of Athens, 99

Laws of Solon, 97, 100

Lawson’s, J. C., “Modern Greek Folklore,” 170

Legal system of Athens, 229;
  Stoicism and the legal systems of Europe, 258

Lemnian Athena, 157

“Lenormant” statuette, 148

Leonidas, King, 93, 138;
  and the Spartans, 113

Lesbos, 118, 142

Lessing, 265

Leto, 222

Leucas, canal through, 109

Leuctra, battle of, 205, 207, 208, 239

Levant, the, commerce and sea-power of, 247

Liberty in Athens, 145

Library of Alexandria, 248

Lighthouse, great (Pharos), 247

Literature, the Ptolemies and, 248;
  of the fourth century, 227;
  Greek literature, 262

“Liturgies,” 174

Lizard-slayer, the, 212

Logic, Aristotle and, 254

Louvre, the, 215;
  Venus of Milo, 252;
  Victory of Samothrace, 252

Love, Plato on, 234;
  love in Greek drama, 178;
  male, 91

Lucian, 214, 263

Luck, Hermes the god of, 68

Lucretius, 258

Ludovisi Throne, reliefs from the, 124, 160

Lyceum, the, 253

Lycia, Nereid Monument, 226

Lycurgean constitution, 200

Lycurgus, 73, 99, 228

Lydian Mode, the, in music, 224

Lydians, coinage invented by, 123

Lyre, the, 68

Lysander, 94, 144, 197, 199

Lysias, 229

Lysicrates, monument of, 182, 226

Lysimachus, 246

Lysippus of Sicyon, 169, 218, 242, 245, 246

Macedon, 237;
  rise of, 239

Macedonia, the kingdom of, 244, 252;
  a Roman province, 261;
  the Macedonian kings, 240;
  anti-Macedonian party, 240

Malaria in modern Greece, 8

Mantinæa, 93, 204, 206, 208, 216

Marathon, 134, 139

“Marble Faun,” the, 214

Marbles, Greek, 149

Marcus Aurelius, 257

Mardonius, 139

Marriage customs, Spartan, 90

Marshlands and malaria, 9

“Marsyas,” by Myron, 159

Masks in drama, 175

Mausolus and his mausoleum, 221

Medea, 211

Medes and Persians, 133

Mediterranean peninsulas, 247

Medusa the Gorgon, 95;
  the “Rondanini” Medusa, 220

Megacles, 99, 109

Megara, 104, 110, 142

_Megaron_, 59

Meidias, 230

Melanthius, 186

Meleager, quoted, 249;
  statue of Meleager, 218

Melitus, 232

Menander, 180, 228, 253, 261

Menestheus, 96, 97

“Messengers” in Greek tragedy, 181

Messenia, 206

Messenians of Naupactus, 160

_Metayer_ system, 97

Metempsychosis, 128

Metopes, 130;
  of the Parthenon, 153

Miletus, 104, 112, 118, 123, 127, 176

Milo, 127

Miltiades, 111, 134, 228

Milton, John, 261;
  “Lycidas,” 250

Mime, the, 250

Minoan empire, fall of, 38;
  Minoan discoveries, 16

Minos, 15, 16;
  laws of, 33

Minotaur, the, 15

Mitylene, 110, 118, 144, 195

Mnesicles, 164, 171

Monarchy, 256

Money, coined, 89

More, Sir Thomas, 261

Morosini, General, 151

Moschus, 250

Mourning, 190

Mummy-cases, 223

Munich Glyptothek, 147, 214

Murray, Prof. Gilbert, on Homer, 51

Musæus, 114

Museum, the, 248

Music, Greek, 223

Mycenæ, 13;
  Bronze Age, 23;
  palace of, 24;
  fortress of, 28, 29;
  tombs, 29;
  treasures of, 30;
  art, 31

Mycenæan discoveries, 16;
  art, 31

Myres, Mr., on Cnossian millinery, 26

Myron (sculptor), 80, 159, 217

“Myrtle Bough, The,” 114

Mythology, 66, 98


Naples Museum, 116, 265

Napoleon and Alexander the Great, 242

Narrative in Greek drama, 180

Natural science, Aristotle and, 254

Naturalistic worship, 34

Nature in primitive Cretan art, 22

Nature-study, 128

Nature-worship, 39, 99

Naupactus, 142

Naval empires, 15

Navy, Athenian, 135

Neighbours, or Perioikoi, 87

Neolithic man, 18

Neoptolemus, 176

Nereid Monument, 226

Nero, 261

Nestor, 54

Newton, Sir Charles, 221

Nicetas, 157

Nicomedes, King, of Bithynia, 213

Nike, 245

Nikias, 140, 229

Niobe, 222

Niobids, the, 222

Normans, the, 262

Northern invasion of Greece, 35 _et seq._

Novel, the Greek, 262

Nudity, the Greeks and, 81;
  in sculpture, 211


Obscenity, 184

Odeion, 168

Odysseus, 47, 54, 59;
  palace of, 60

Œdipus, 36, 178

Œnomaus, 76

Oligarchy, 84, 195, 199, 256

Olympia, sculptures at, 157, 159, 160;
  temple of Zeus, 168;
  the Altis, 169

Olympian cult and art, 103;
  deities, 9, 66

Olympic Games, 76;
  nature of the contests, 77;
  sacrifice and ritual, 77;
  the competitors, 77;
  the judges, 77;
  the prize and honours 78;
  trickery, 78;
  their duration, 78;
  account of Pausanias, 78;
  dress of the athletes, 82;
  Nero in the, 261

Omar, the Caliph, 262

Omphalos, 71

Onomacritus, 113

Opuntius, 186

Oracle, the Delphic--_see_ Delphic

Oratory, 228-231

Orchomenos, Apollo of, 69

Orestes, 181, 182

Orpheus, 53;
  and Eurydice, 192

Ortygia, 131

Ostracism, 117

Ostrakon of Themistocles, 141

Owl, Athena’s, 99

Ox-murder, 98


Pæonius, 159, 160;
  Victory by, 252

Pæsto, 128

Painting, Greek, 223

Pallas Athena--_see_ Athena

Pan, 99;
  Cave of, 168

Pan-pipes, 224

Panainos, 149, 167

Panathenæa, Greater, 111

Panathenaic amphoræ, 224;
  festival, 154, 163

Pandion, 96

Pandora, 62

Pandrosos, 166

Panegyric oration of Isocrates, 230

Pangæus, Mount, gold-mines of, 240

Panhellenic orations, 230;
  union, 241

Pantarkes, 157

Panticapæum, 225

Parian marble, 149

Paris, palace of, 59

Parmenio, 246

Parnassus, 69

Parrhasios, 223

Parrhesia, 94

Parry, Sir Hubert, and Greek music, 223

Parthenon, the, supersedes the Acropolis, 102;
  architecture, 107, 161-163;
  sculptures, 148, 150;
  of the pediments, 150, 151;
  the metopes, 153;
  the frieze, 112, 153;
  Athena Parthenos, 156;
  destructions, 150, 151

Parthenos of the Parthenon, 148

Party system, 117

Pastoral poetry, 249

Patroclides, 186

Patroclus, 74, 147

Paul, St., and Stoicism, 257;
  and the teaching of Socrates, 234

Pausanias, King of Sparta, 85, 94, 141

Pausanias, the traveller, on the Chest of Kypselus, 43;
  and Greek worship, 67;
  and Olympia, 78;
  and the Parthenon, 150, 160;
  and the Hermes of Praxiteles, 215;
  his works, 262

Pediments of the Parthenon, 150

Pegasus coins, 225

Peiræus, the, as part of Athens, 140;
  the planning, 171;
  Spartan attack, 205;
  new walls, 226;
  a centre of commerce, 252

Peirithous, 180

Peisistratus, Homer edited during his tyranny, 42;
  democracy before, 98;
  and Solon’s laws, 101;
  the tyranny of, 104;

  services to Athens, 110;
  and the foundations of Athenian civilisation, 133;
  temple of Athena built by, 165;
  temple of Olympian Zeus begun by, 168

Pelasgians, the, 96, 163

Pelasgic Wall, 96

Pelopidas, 205, 207

Peloponnese, the, 137, 206

Peloponnesian War, 143, 194, 199, 208

Pelops, 76

Penelope, 47, 55, 58

Penrose, F. G., on the Parthenon, 161

Pentelic marble, 147

Pergamum, 237;
  altar of Zeus, 251

Periander, 106, 108, 109

Pericles, 99, 110;
  and the constitution of Athens, 118, 142-144;
  attacks on, 145, 156;
  oration on Athenian soldiers, 146;
  bust of, 160;
  the Odeion, 168;
  the Acropolis, 192

Peripatetic school of philosophy, 253

Persephone, Eleusinian mysteries in honour of, 98;
  on Harpy Tomb (Queen of the Dead), 123;
  on Ludovisi reliefs, 123;
  worship of, 170;
  Hades the home of, 190;
  on an archaic relief, 192

Perseus, 130

Persian Empire and Alexander the Great, 242, 243

Persian Gulf, the, 243

Persian wars, the, 124, 133-139, 142, 153, 203;
  Greek mercenaries in the Persian army, 201;
  Isocrates and the Persians, 230;
  Alexander and Persian troops, 241

Persis, 62

Phæacia, 54

“Phædo,” the, of Plato, 233

Phalanx, the, 241

Phalaris of Acragas, 105

Phanes, coin of, 123

Pharisaism, 257

Pharnabazus, 199

Pheidias, 81, 102, 145, 146-158, 213

Phidolas, 79

Phigaleia, temple of, 169

Philip of Macedon, 208, 237-241

Philip II., 239

Philippiades, 135

Philosophers, Ionian, 122

Philosophy of Pythagoras, 127;
  Eleatic school of, 128;
  of the fourth century, 231-236;
  Aristotle, 253;
  Stoicism, 257;
  Epicurean, 257;
  the Cynics, 258;
  and Julian the Apostate, 262

Phocians, the, 138, 238

Phœnicia, 244

Phœnician fleet, 142, 247

Phœnician traders, 129

Phœnicians, the, 33, 130

Phormio, 230

Phrygian Mode in music, 224

Phryne, 213

Phrynichus, 174, 176

Phthiotis, 41

Pictographic script, 20

Pillar-worship, 29

Pindar, 73, 76, 113, 129;
  the house of, 243

Pipes, 224

Piracy on the Ægean, 105

Pisirodus, 78

Pittacus, 121

“Place of the Wine-press,” 175

Platæa, battle of, 87, 130, 135, 139, 168;
  Pheidias and statue for Platæa, 157

Plato, influence of Pythagoras on, 128;
  on feminine nudity, 82;
  sex problem, 180;
  the “Republic,” 209, 254;
  and Socrates, 231;
  and the Homeric gods, 232;
  his ideal philosophy, 234;
  Aristotle and, 253;
  influence of, 261

Plato’s garden of the Academy, 210

“Platonic” love, 234

Plautus, 253

Pleading in litigation, 229

Pleasure, 258

Pliny, 149, 213, 219, 223

Plutarch on Spartan women, 90;
  on Periclean Athens, 150;
  the basis of his narratives, 228;
  his biographies, 262

Pluto, 190

Pnyx, the, 229;
  hill of Pnyx, 168

Poetry, religious aspect of, 75;
  lyric, 119;
  lyric poets, 129;
  the epic, hexameter verse, the elegiac couplet, epigrams, pastoral, 249;
  Alexandria and poetry, 249;
  Aristotle and, 254

Poets, Ionian, 119-122

Political science, Aristotle and, 254, 255

Political system, Apollo and, 73

Politics, Greek, 10;
  in the fourth century, 209;
  Plato, 254;
  Aristotle, 255

Polycleitus, 80, 81, 159

Polycrates, tyrant of Samos, 104, 113

Polygnotus, 164, 167, 191, 213, 223

Pompeian frescoes and mosaics, 223;
  mosaic floor, 245;
  Greek art, 263

Population, decline of, 239

Portico, the Royal, 167;
  Portico of Freedom, 167;
  Decorated Portico, 167

Portland Vase, the, 263

Portraiture, 211;
  on coins, 226, 247

Poseidon, the sea-god, 66;
  Athena and, 95, 152;
  worship, 96;
  of Mycale, 112;
  in the Parthenon frieze, 155;
  and the salt spring, 165;
  marks of his trident, 166

Posidonium, 128

Potter’s wheel, the, 22

Pottery, design in, and progress, 19;
  Athenian, 112;
  red-figured style, 224;
  Panathenaic amphoræ, 225

Praxiteles, Statue of Brauronian Artemis, 164;
  Hermes, 169, 209;
  and Athens, 194;
  nudity in sculpture, 211;
  works of, 213

“Praying Boy, The,” 220

Priam, palace of, 60

Professionalism, 210, 225

Prometheus, 62

Protagoras, 235

Psammetichus, 106

Psyche, 189

Ptolemies, the, 244, 247, 248, 250

Pugilism, Cnossian, 25

Punjaub, the, 243

Pyrrhus, 245, 261

Pythagoras of Samos, philosophy of, 74, 127;
  immortality taught by, 190

Pythian games, 72, 76

Pytho, 69, 71


Quoit-thrower, the, 81


Racial decline, 239

Religion of the Stone Age, 18;
  prehistoric Greek, 34;
  early religious beliefs, 65;
  survival of, 67;
  and morality, 235

Religious significance of the games, 74-76;
  of poetry, 75

Renaissance, the, and Greek thought, 3

Republic, an Ideal, 254;
  of Aristotle, 256

Rhetoric, 228-231;
  of Aristotle, 254

Rhodes, 237, 244;
  gold coins of, 226;
  siege of, 252

Rhodian sculptors of the “Laocoön,” 265

Ridgeway, Prof. Wm., on the survival of early Greek language, 32;
  on naturalistic worship, 34;
  and the invaders of Greece, 38;
  on Homer, 51;
  and Greek drama, 173

Rock-tombs, 188

Rodin, M., 148

Romans, the, and Greece, 245;
  and Greek philosophy, 258;
  and Hellenism, 260;
  and the control of Greece, 261;
  and Græco-Roman art, 265

Romantic, the, in the Greek character, 180

Roof-tiles, 108

Roxana, 242

Royal Portico, the, 167

Running Girl (statue), 161

Ruskin, John, 150


Sacred Band, the, 180, 205

“Sacred Wars,” 241

Sacrifice and ritual at Olympic Games, 77

Sacrifices and the dead, 66

Salamis, 110, 138

Samos, 142

Samothrace, 252

Sanitation, Cnossian, 26

Sappho, 119-121

Sardis, 133

Satyr, the young, by Praxiteles, 213, 214, 215

Satyric drama and the Satyrs, 173

Scepticism, Ionian, 122

Scheria, 48

Schliemann’s discoveries, 13

Scopas the Parian, 212, 217, 221

Sculpture of the Homeric period, 54;
  development of, 69;
  inspired by athletes, 80;
  Ionian, 123 _et seq._;
  earliest temple, 130;
  before Pheidias, 147;
  methods, 148;
  materials, 149;
  pediment figures, 150;
  metopes, 153;
  frieze (Parthenon), 153;
  statues by Pheidias, 156, 157;
  works of sculptors, 159-161;
  great sculptors, 159;
  minor sculptors, 192;
  of the fourth century, 211;
  materials, 212;
  anatomy, 212;
  supports, 213;
  works by Praxiteles, 213-217;
  convention, 216;
  tinted marble, 216;
  Scopas, 217;
  Lysippus, 218;
  works by unknown artists, 219;
  six greatest statues, 219;
  bronzes, 220;
  the Venus of Milo, 251;
  Græco-Roman, 265;
  the Laocoön, 265

Scyros, 190

Sea, Hesiod and the, 63;
  the Greek true element, 262

Sea-power, 195

Seleucid kings, the, 244

Selinus, 130

Sellasia, 239, 245

Semites, the, 129

Seven Sages, the, 74, 101, 106

Seven Wonders of the World, 247

Sex problem, the, 180

Shakespeare and Menander, 253, 261

Shelley’s “Adonais,” 250

Shield of Achilles, the, 42-47

Shields lost in battle, 121

Sicily, tyranny in, 104;
  poets in, 126;
  and wheat, 127;
  the Semites and (Carthaginian invasion), 129, 137;
  Athens and, 142, 144, 195;
  Idylls of Theocritus, 249;
  history, 250

Sicyon, 104, 109

Sidon sarcophagus, 246

Sigeum, 110, 121

Simonides, 104, 109, 113, 122, 129

Simplicity, Greek, in drama, 182

Sirens, the, 66

Skirophoria, 99

“Skolia,” 114

Slavery, 145, 171, 236

Slavs, the, 262

Snake-worship, 69, 99

Socialist, Pericles a, 143;
  Plato the father of socialism, 255

Socrates and the education of women, 82;
  and Alcibiades, 144;
  attacks upon, 145;
  and Aspasia, 146;
  and the Royal Portico, 167;
  Xenophon and, 203;
  the personality of, 231;
  trial and death, 232;
  his philosophy, 231, 234

Soldiers, Spartan, 204;
  professional, 238

Solon, the Spartans and, 74;
  his laws, 97, 99, 100, 191;
  poetry, 100;
  and Egypt, 101;
  and Peisistratus, 110;
  and Cleisthenes, 118;
  and funerals, 191;
  historians and, 228

Sophistry, 231

Sophocles, actors in, 174;
  and the Athenian spirit, 177;
  number of his works, 182;
  and Aristophanes, 186

_Sophrosune_, 10

Sparta, conservative in type, 6;
  its smallness, 10;
  political system, 73, 83;
  and the Olympian Games, 77;
  government, 84;
  kings, 84;
  Ephorate, 85;
  Mixed Constitution, 86;
  an aristocracy, 87;
  Helots, 87;
  Neighbours, or Perioikoi, 87;
  the city, 87;
  as conqueror, 88;
  military education and discipline, 83, 88-89;
  art, 88;
  coinage, 89;
  education, 89;
  women, 90;
  marriage customs, 90;
  children and youths, 91;
  warfare, 92;
  relaxations, 93;

  Spartan character, 93;
  conservatism, 94;
  and Persian invasion, 137;
  and democracy, 196;
  and Lysander, 200;
  domination and aggression of, 198, 203, 205;
  an inland power, 199;
  government, 200;
  soldiers, 204;
  and Thebes, 207;
  reformation of, 239;
  and the confederacies, 244;
  government under the Romans, 261

Sparta and Athens, 133, 135, 195;
  conflict between, 83, 143

Spartans of the Dorian race, 40

Spartiate race of Lacedæmon, 239

Spartiates, the, 84, 87, 88, 239

Sphacteria, 144, 160

Sphinx, the, 58

“Spinario,” the, 161

Stackelberg, Baron von, 170

Stadium, the, 226

Stage, the, 174, 175

Stagira, 253

Stesichorus of Himera, 129

Stoic philosophy, the, 167, 257, 258

Stoicism and Christianity, 261

Stone Age, the, in Crete, 18

_Strategoi_, 117

Studniczka, Prof., 126

Styx, the, 189, 233

“Successors, the,” 244

Sulla, 220

Swinburne, A. C., on Sappho, 120

Sybaris, 127, 128

Syracuse, poets of, 129;
  tyrants of, 78, 129, 250;
  Doric columns, 131;
  coins, 129, 131, 225

“Syrinx,” the, 224


Tanagra statuettes, 227

Tartarus, 233

Taygetus, Mount, 87

“Tearless Battle,” 208

Tegea, 218

Telamon, 147

Telamones of Acragas, 166

Tempe, 9, 137

Temples, Doric, in Selinus, 130

Ten Thousand, the march of the, 201

Tenean Apollo, 69

Tenedos, 226

Terence, 253

Terpander, 88, 122

Textile art in Homer, 55

_Thalamos_, 59

Thalassa (Sea), 152

Thalassocracies, 15

Thales of Miletus, 101, 119, 122

Thaletus, 15

Theagenes, 110

Theatre of Dionysus, 168, 175, 226

Theatres, 173

Theban and Persian alliance, 207

Thebes and the Persians, 137;
  and Epaminondas, 205;
  Theban hegemony, 207;
  destroyed, 243

Themis, 69

Themistocles and the sea, 5;
  and ships, 135;
  and the sea-fight of Salamis, 138-140;
  ostracised, 141;
  biographies of, 228

Theocritus, 180, 249, 261

Theopompus, 228

Theramenes, 100, 197, 232

Thermopylæ, 92, 93, 113, 138

Theron, 130

Thersites, 50

Theseum, the, 167

Theseus, the story of, 15;
  legendary King of Athens, 96, 97;
  Peisistratus and, 110, 111;
  the Panathenæa, 112;
  “Theseus” statue, 152;
  the contests of (sculpture), 153;
  and Peirithous, 180;
  the bones of, 97, 190

Thesmophoria, 98

Thespis, 174

Thessalians, the, 38

Thessaly, 18, 137, 237

Thetis, 51

Thirty Tyrants, the, 197, 232

“Tholos,” 29

Thorwaldsen, A., 147

Thrace, gold in, 6;
  and expansion of Athens, 240;
  coin of, 246

Thracian Chersonese, the, 110

Thrasybulus, 197

“Three Fates, The,” 152

Thucydides and tradition, 100;
  and Greek tragedy in history, 136;

  and Pericles, 143;
  and the perspective of Greek history, 194;
  ethical purpose, 228;
  speeches in, 229

Thurii, 142

Tiberius, Emperor, 218

Timanthes, 79

Timotheus of Miletus, 224

Tiryns, 24, 28

Tissaphernes, 199, 201

Tombs, 188;
  Mycenæan, 29;
  objects from, 191

Tombstones, 192

Traeis, battle of the, 127

Tragedy, 173-183;
  development of, 76

Triphylia, 202

Tripod of Delphi, 68

Triptolemus, 98, 190

Troy, ruins of, 13, 36;
  Homer and, 41

Truce, Sacred, 77

Turkestan, 243

Turkey, rule of, and war with modern Greece, 262

Tyranny, 256

Tyrants, the, 104, 105

Tyre, 244;
  destroyed, 247;
  and Sidon, 129

Tyrtæus, 88


“Unities,” the dramatic, 182


Valhalla, 189

Vaphio gold cups, 30

“Varvakeion” statuette, 148

Vase-painting, decadence, 265

Vases, funeral, 191;
  metal vases, 225.
  _See also_ Pottery

Vatican, the, 265

Venetians, the, 262

Venus, 213;
  Medici Venus, 214;
  Venus of Milo, 251

Vergil, 261

Victory, Parthenon pediment, 152;
  at Olympia, 160;
  the Wingless Victory, 164;
  of Brescia, 252;
  of Samothrace, 252

Virtue, 257

Vitruvius on the orders of architecture, 227


Waldstein, Prof., on the Parthenon figures, 152

War and democracy, 195

War of Independence, 262

Warfare among the Greeks, 203

Wedgwood art, 263

Whitelaw’s, Mr., translation of Sophocles, 178

Winckelmann, 265

Wolf-god, 99

Women in Homer, 58;
  and nudity, 82;
  and gymnastics, 82;
  Spartan women, 90

Wordsworth’s “Ode on Immortality” and the Platonic theory, 234

Writing, earliest European, 20


Xanthippus, 141

Xanthus, Harpy Tomb, 188, 123

Xenophanes of Colophon, 128

Xenophon and the Persian war, 201;
  the Catabasis, 202;
  retires to Sparta, 202;
  his works, 203;
  and the battle of Leuctra, 206;
  as writer, 210;
  favours Sparta, 228;
  and Socrates, 231

Xerxes, 72, 116, 136, 139


Zaleucus of Locri, 73, 128

Zeno, 167, 257

Zeus, birthplace of, 15;
  heaven of, 39;
  in Homer, 50;
  and minor deities, 66;
  athletic honours to, 76;
  in the Parthenon pediment, 151;
  the “Dresden Zeus,” 148;
  gold statue of, at Olympia, 109;
  by Pheidias, 148, 149;
  temple of, 111 168, 261;
  Zeus Ammon, 251

Zeuxis, 191, 213, 223

Zoology, Aristotle and, 254


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[Illustration: ATHENS]


FOOTNOTES:

[1] This and similar technical terms are explained in the Glossary at
the end of the book.

[2] Plate I, Figs. 1 and 2.

[3] Plates 2 and 3.

[4] Plate 4.

[5] Plate 5, Fig. 2.

[6] Plate 6.

[7] Plate 7.

[8] Plate 8.

[9] Plate 9.

[10] Plate 10.

[11] Plate 5, Fig. 1.

[12] Plate 11.

[13] Plate 12.

[14] Plate 12.

[15] Plate 13.

[16] Plate 14.

[17] Plate 15.

[18] Plate 16.

[19] Plate 17.

[20] Plate 18.

[21] _See_ Vase Plate, Fig. 3 (a Panathenaic Amphora).

[22] Plate 19, Fig. 1.

[23] Plate 19, Fig. 2.

[24] Plate 20, Fig. 1.

[25] Plate 20, Fig. 2.

[26] Plate 21.

[27] Plate 22.

[28] Plate 23.

[29] Plate 24.

[30] Plate 25.

[31] Plate 26.

[32] Plate 27, and Vase-Plate, Fig. 1.

[33] Plate 28.

[34] Plates 24 and 76, and Vase-Plate, Fig. 3.

[35] Plate 29, Fig. 1.

[36] Plate 29, Fig. 2.

[37] Plate 30, Fig. 2.

[38] Plate 30, Fig. 1.

[39] Plate 31.

[40] Plate 32.

[41] Plate 33.

[42] Plate 34, Fig. 1.

[43] Plate 34, Fig. 2.

[44] Plate 35.

[45] Plate 36.

[46] Plate 37.

[47] Plate 38.

[48] Plate 39.

[49] Plate 40.

[50] Plate 41.

[51] Plate 42.

[52] Plate 43, Fig. 1.

[53] Plate 44.

[54] Plate 45.

[55] Plate 46.

[56] Plate 47, Fig. 1.

[57] Plate 38.

[58] Plate 25.

[59] Plates 31 and 32.

[60] Plate 59.

[61] Plate 47, Fig. 2.

[62] Plate 48.

[63] Plate 43, Fig. 2.

[64] Plate 49, Fig. 1.

[65] Plate 49, Fig. 2

[66] Plate 50.

[67] Plate 51.

[68] Plate 52.

[69] Plate 53.

[70] Plate 54.

[71] Plate 55.

[72] Plate 56, Fig. 1.

[73] Plate 56, Fig. 2; and Vase Plate, Fig. 2.

[74] Plate 57; and Vase Plate, Fig. 4.

[75] Plate 58.

[76] Plate 59.

[77] Plate 60, Fig. 1.

[78] Plate 60, Fig. 2.

[79] Plate 61, Fig. 2.

[80] Plate 62.

[81] Plate 63, Fig. 1.

[82] Plate 63, Fig. 2.

[83] Plate 64, Fig. 1.

[84] Plates 65 and 66.

[85] Plate 67.

[86] Plate 61, Fig. 1.

[87] Plate 68.

[88] Plate 20, Fig. 2.

[89] Plate 51.

[90] My other five would be the Hermes of Praxiteles, the Aphrodite of
Melos, the “Theseus” of the Parthenon, the Colleoni of Verrocchio, and
Rodin’s St. Jean-Baptiste.

[91] Plate 69.

[92] Plate 70.

[93] Plate 71.

[94] See plate facing p. 266.

[95] Plate 72.

[96] Plate 73, Fig. 1.

[97] Plate 64, Fig. 2.

[98] Plate 74.

[99] Plate 73, Fig. 2.

[100] Plate 75.

[101] See p. 112.

[102] See Plate 76 and Vase Plate, Fig. 3.

[103] Plates 77 and 78.

[104] Plate 79.

[105] Plate 80.

[106] Plate 81.

[107] Plate 82.

[108] Plate 83.

[109] Plate 84.

[110] Plate 85.

[111] Plate 86.

[112] Plate 87 and Frontispiece.

[113] Plate 88.

[114] Plate 89.

[115] Plate 90.

[116] Plate 91.





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