« AnteriorContinuar »
In this way, too, a singular degree of reality, ers. attaches to a fine scene of the Odyssey, where, of these, which we select the more willingly
The following extract contains one during the debate in the agora, a pair of eagles because it relates to a passage in the Iliad. suddenly
descend from the mountain, and, after It is well known that all the scepticism hovering with ominous cries and gestures above the assembly, rush screaming through the air, with regard to the unity and the authorover the habitations of the city to the right. ship of these two great poems rests on the The right hand, in the primitive language of subtile observation of minute points, betrayHellenic divination, is synonymous with the ing either that discrepancy of design, of east or south-east. Supposing, therefore, the opinions, of manners, and of age, which agora to have been situated in the centre of the
sepcity, the course of the eagles over the houses to
arates each poem into discorulant fragments the right would have lain directly towards their of different bards and different times; or, native mountain, whither, after executing their according to the views of inore modest divine commission, they might naturally be ex- doubters, assigns different though individual pected to return.
authors to each poem, and considers one, • The walls are in many places well preserved, perhaps, an Ionian or an Æolo-Thessalian, especially those of the citadel, which remain to the other a Peloponnesian, at least an ina considerable height in almost their whole cir; habitant of European Greece. It is fair, cumference. They are chiefly of polygonal masonry, with a tendency here and there to the therefore, that all the slight incidental ruder Tirynthian or Cyclopian style. In several touches which seem to indicate similarity portions of the area both of the city and acropolis, as to mode of life, habits and feelings, in the the line of the streets, and the form of the build- | poet of the Iliad and Odyssey, and so to reings, are also distinctly traceable, in rows of con- assert the one Homer, should be collected tiguous square compartments, chiefly of the last- with the same industry, and exhibited with mentioned ruder style of structure. The peculiarities of this situation seem to
the same fulness. Now, if there were one mark it out by nature as the spot which the lord author of the Odyssey, it is quite clear that of the Cefalonian isles, if he preferred Ithaca
he was well-skilled, and, it should seem, his place of residence, would have selected as, in personally versed in the navigation of his a military point of view at least, the most appro- day; he could not possibly have ventured priate for his seat of government. On a narrow constantly, before an audience many of isthmus, connecting, or rather separating, the them no doubt mariners, and probably hontwo subdivisions of the island, it commands the channel, together with a prospect of the whole ourable pirates,' to be so minute on nautical east coast of Cefalonia, and possesses a tolerable matters, on everything relating to the ship, port on each side, giving ready and speedy com- its rigging, its management, its perils and munication with both the eastern and western its escapes, if he had not been perfectly conportions of his little empire.'-pp. 71-74. fident in his own acquaintance with sea
manship. Of course of these matters there We must not, however, linger upon Itha is much less in the Iliad; but any observaca, though we have not yet exhausted Mr. tion which indicates familiarity with the sea Mure's Homeric illustrations. It was cer- will, as far as it goes—and we admit that tainly a happy adventure for a genuine the present illustration does not go far-worshipper of the old bard to find himself, tend to show that the poet of the Iliad was in these days of steam-boat rapidity, or at ho idle, luxurious landsman, but that he too least of bold British seamanship, navigating, had occasionally at least, ploughed the dark as Mr. Mure did at a later period of his trav. blue waters of the Ægean or the Ionian els, a part of the Grecian seas, with all the sea :delay, the timidity, of old Ulysses himself, *We sailed about eight on the morning of the vainly struggling with bafiling or adverse 27th, and for the first few hours were becalmed, winds, making some way, then driven back, being indebted for what little progress was made coming to an anchor every night, and dis-) to the oars of three men and a boy, who comembarking on every shore. We trust that posed the crew of the caïque. The water at our traveller at the time derived as much vancing a mile or two into the open sea, although
first was level and smooth as glass; but on adamusement and consolation from his poetic there was still not a breath of wind, the tranquilreminiscences as he imparts to hisreader, lity gave place to a heavy rolling swell. While and that his parallel of Homericand modern considering what could be the cause of this sudGreek navigation compensated for the se- den agitation of the water amid the perfect stillvere trial of his patience. The whole pas- ness of the atmosphere, I observed towards the sage. (vol. ii., p. 33) is full of interest to the south, at some miles distance, a dark line on the classical student.
surface of the sea, gradually spreading in the diThere are, however, one or two minute rection of our vessel, and in a quarter of an hour
a fresh breeze filled the sails. This phenomenon illustrations of the Homeric
was new to me, and I was the more struck with we are unwilling to withhold from our read-1 it, from its bringing home to my mind at once
the full power of a fine simile of Homer, which | guised as a beggar, in approaching the farm of hitherto I had never properly understood or ap- the swineherd, is fiercely assaulted by the dogs, preciated. The veteran hero Nestor while engaged but delivered by the master of the establishwith a wounded comrade in his tent, hearing the ment, who pelts them off with stones. Pope's tumult of battle thickening around the Greek en- translation, with the exception of one or iwo trenchment, goes forth to reconnoitre; and the expressions, here conveys with tolerable fidelity effect produced on his mind by the dismal spec- the spirit of the original : tacle of national discomfiture that presents itself
“Soon as Ulysses near the enclosure drew, is thus figuratively illustrated :
With open mouths the furious mastitis few; ως δ' ότε πορφύρη πέλαγος μέγα κύματι κωφή, ,
Down sit the sage, and, cautivus to withstand, οσσόμενον λιγέων ανέμων λαιψηρά κέλευθα, ,
Let fall the offensire truncheon from his hand. αύτως, ουδ' άρα τι προκυλίνδεται ούδ' ετέρωσε,
Sudden the master runs aloud he calls, πρίν τινα κεκριμένον καταθήμεναι εκ Διός ουρον. .
And from his hasty hand the leather falls;
1. xiv. 16. With showers of stones he drives them far away “So doth the darkly-rolling sea presage,
The scatter'd dogs around at distance bay.” With hollow swell, the coming tempest's rage;
Odyss. xiv. 29. While yet nor here nor there its waves are driv- This whole scene, together with many others
that follow, both as regards the characier of Till Jove send down the threatened gale from the establishment and the habits of its inmates, heaven.”
corresponds very closely to many a one which I • The effect here described is precisely what mysell have wiinessed in the course of my jourI now witnessed. It is one of familiar occurrence ney. But there is one curious point in the dein narrow seas and archipelagos. The wind scription which more especially demands atwhich freshens in one portion of a maritime re- tention; where Ulysses, alarmed at the fury of gion of this nature-ofien, perhaps, behind a the assault, is said to have “sat down, cunningcape or island, and at such a distance as to be ly dropping the stick from his hand." I am unobserved by the navigator iu another-sends probably not the only reader of the poem who across the otherwise smooth surface of the wa- has been puzzled to understand the object of ter the sort of undulation so aptly described by this manæuvre on the part of the hero. "I was the phrase rendered hollow swell, literally muie first led to appreciate its full value in the fol. wave, in the above passage. The whole phenom- lowing manner. At Argos, one evening, at the enon has been dramatised, as it were, by Homer, table of General Gordon, then commanding-inunder the admirable figure of the sea itself chief in the Morea, the conversation happened darkly foreboding, by the heaving of its bosom, to turn, as it frequently does where tourisis are the coming disturbance of its waters, while yet in company, on this very subject of the number uncertain as to the direction in which they are and fierceness of the Greek dogs; when one of to be impelled; as the old hero gloomily presages the company remarked that he knew of a very the approach of the adverse tide of war, though simple expedient for appeasing their fury. Hapas yet doubtful as to the mode in which he may pening, on a journey, to miss his road, and bebe affected by it, or the measures to be adopted ing overtaken by darkness, he sought resuge for stemming its course. It was the more grati- for the night at a pastoral settlement by the fying to have the full value of this fine image real wayside. As he approached, the dogs rushed ized to the senses on the very spot, perhaps, out upon him, and the consequences might have where it may have been first presented to the been serious had he not been rescued by an old puet.'-pp. 82-84.
shepherd (the Eumæus of the fold,) who sallied Our second illustration is more homely, benighted traveller, after pelting off his assail
forth, and, finding that the intruder was but a but curious in its minute truth, and may be ants, gave him a hospitable reception in his inserted for the benefit of future travellers hut. His guest made some remark on the in Greece, who, like Ulysses and Mr. walchfulness and zeal of his dogs, and on the Mure, may run the danger of being wor-danger to which he had been exposed from their ried by the inhospitable dogs of the coun- attack. The old man replied that it was his try :
own fault for not taking the customary precau
tion in such an emergency; that he ought to Among the numerous points of resemblance have stopped and sat down until some person with which the classical traveller cannot fail to whom the animals knew came to protect him. be struck, between the habits of pastoral and As this expedient was new to the iraveller, he agricultural life as still exemplified in Greece, made some further inquiries, and was assured and those which forinerly prevailed in the same that if any person in such a predicament will country, there is none more calculated to arrest simply seat himself on the ground, laying aside his attention than the correspondence of the his weapon of defence, the dogs will also squat shepherd's encampments scattered here and in a circle round him; that as long as he rethere over the face of the less-cultivated dis- mains quiet they will follow his exainple; but tricts, with the settlements of the same kind that as soon as he rises and moves forward they whose concerns are so frequently brought for- will renew their assault. This story, though ward in the illustrative imagery of the Iliad and told without the least reference to the Odyssey, Odyssey. Accordingly, the passage of Homer, with which it had not connected itself in the to which the existing peculiarity above described mind of the narrator, at once brought home to affords the most appropriate commentary, is the my own the whole scene at the fold of Eumæus scene of the latter poem where the hero, dis- I with the most vivid reality. The existence of
the custom was confirmed by other persons pre- ance proper and peculiar to itself; and which, sent, from their own observation or experience. but for the existence of this and a few other I never, myself, happened to be under any ne- venerable remains of the same class, might be cessity of putting its'efficacy to the test.'-Vol. i., considered as the men by whom they were pp. 98-100.
constructed have been, by some modern schools
of skeptics) to be but the unreal visions of a Mr. Mure entered the mainland of poetical fancy. The beauty of its situation Greece by the mouth of the Achelous, adds much to its general effect. It is built just and thus traversed the Homeric Dulichium, where the stream it traverses, a respectable triwhether we place the wealthy kingdom of butary of the Eurotas, issues from one of the
deepest and darkest gorges of Taygetus. I Penelope's most powerful suitors on the could learn no other name for this river than islands at the mouth of the river or on the that of the neighbouring village on its banks, continent. His own observation, and the which is called Xerokampo (Dry-field.) It intelligence which he obtained from his brings down a considerable body of water, boatmen, induced him to concur with Co- dammed up immediately below the bridge for lonel Leake in doubting the formation of the supply of the village fountain. The mathe new land, or the junction of the isl- sonry of the arch, the piers, and the portions of ands (the Echinades) to the Continent, by ancient, and in good preservation. The para
wall immediately connected with either, are the accumulation of the deposits of the pet is modern, of poor rubble work, and where Achelous.
the outer Cyclopian facing of the retaining wall
at the extremity of each flank has fallen away, I saw no spot of land, at least on this part traces are also visible of Turkish repairs. The of the continent, the natural features of which span of the arch is about twenty-seven feet; could justify the hypothesis of its ever having the breadth of the causeway, between the parabelonged to the group of islands that extend pets, from six to seven. Each para pet is about along its shore ; existing appearances would one foot three inches in thickness, giving nine or seem to corroborate the testimony of our mari- ten feet for the whole breadth of the arch. ners, in spite of the strong argument which the There are no visible remains of pavement. Algeneral conviction of the ancients, and the though the precipitous nature of the ground amount and nature of the alluvial deposit, rendered it impossible to obtain any full view of afford to the contrary.'—Vol. i., p. 86.
the upper or western front of this monument, I
was yet enabled to ascertain that the masonry He visited the extensive ruins of nia- is at least as well preserved on that side as on dæ, his engravings of which are chiefly the one represented in the annexed engraving. remarkable, as showing the repeated oc
• The largest stones are those of the arch:
some of them may be from four to five feet currence of the arch in buildings unquesti- long, from two to three in breadth, and beonably of ancient Grecian structure. This tween one and two in thickness. In size and assertion of Mr. Mure, as tending to prove proportions they are nearly similar to those that it was not from ignorance of its prin- which form the interior lining of the heroic seciple, or difficulty as to its construction, pulchres of Mycenæ, and the whole character that the Greeks neglected or declined to
of the work leads to the impression of its being employ this great element of later archi. those monuments. Even those who may not
a structure of the same epoch that produced tecture, runs directly counter to the gene- be willing to acquiesce in this view will scarceral opinion. This, however, is not the only ly venture to dispute ils genuine Hellenic, or instance which he has adduced in his text, rather Spartan, antiquity. Apart from the and illustrated by his drawings. In the style of the masonry, it is hardly in a situation second volume of his work he describes a
to admit of its being a work either of the Mastill more curious, and we may add, very
cedonian or Roman periods, lying as it does in picturesque arched bridge, over a tributary later times it is little likely there could have
remote corner of the peninsula, where in of the Eurotas :
been a thoroughfare of sufficient importance to
warrant such expensive undertakings. Its ex• No entire ancient bridge of any kind-still istence, therefore, seems sufficient in itself to less an arched bridge of a genuine Hellenic pe establish the use of the arch in Greece at a riod—had hitherto been known to exist within very remote epoch.'*-Vol. ii., pp. 248, 249. the limits of Greece; and even the ability of the Greek masons to throw an arch had been very generally questioned. Here I saw an * This discovery of Mr. Mure's, if he be right, arched bridge of considerable size and finished as he apparently is, as to the antiquity of this structure, and in a style of masonry which guar- bridge, will require a correction in the two articles antees it a work of the remotest antiquity-pro- and Roman Antiquities. In the latter it is dis
Arch and Bridge in the new Dictionary of Greek bably of the heroic age itself. This monu- tinctly asserted that the Romans were undoubtedly ment, therefore, while it tangibly connects us the first people who applied the arch to the construcwith a period of society separated from our own tion of bridges.' We mention this, however, rather by so wide a blank in the page of bistory, re- to give ourselves an opportunity of recommending alizes to our senses a state of art to all appear- this excellent work, edited by Dr. Wm. Smith, with
This is still more remarkable, if, accord- Εν δε γυνή ταμίη σίτον και οίνον έθηκεν, ing to Mr. Mure's arguments, in a paper
οία έδoυσι διοτρεφείς βασιληςto which he refers in the Annals of the But the second day's journey from Pheræ Roman Archæological Institute, the Trea- to Sparta is more difficult. The direct sury' of Minyas at Orchomenos was vault- road, according to Mr. Mure, would lie ed on the principle of the arch of concen- over the loftiest, the most rugged summit tric layers. If the arch was well known, of Taygetus. This line in his opinion and thus applied—it must be remembered would be impracticable for a carriage, even that Sir G. Wilkinson has clearly shown for the chariot of Nestor, though probably its occasional use in very early Egyptian accustomed to rude encounters, even where buildings)-in the first, the Pelasgic pe- the roads--as appears sometimes, at least riod of Greece, it should seem to have in later times, to have been the case-were been deliberately declined by later archi- grooved for the wheels. At any rate, the tects in favour of their more simple prin- ascent and descent would have occupied ciple of supporting the roof. Was it from longer time. A more circuitous, yet more the fine and intuitive perception of its ge- level road, practicable for a chariot, and neral incongruity with the character of now used as a bridle-road down into the their architecture, the bold, long, hori- plain of Elis, led over this bridge and zontal lines, reposing in all their massy through a lateral valley. weight on tall straight columns ? The debased character of the Roman-Grecian • There can, therefore,' observes Mr. Mure, buildings of the empire is clearly attributa-be little doubt that this is the line of route ble to the introduction of this uncongenial everything warrants the belief that the poet
which Homer makes Telemachus travel; and element into the regular Grecian form; himself, if not his hero, may have passed over and it will be curious if, at the sacrifice of this very bridge. The distance to Calamata by occasional strength and solidity of struc- this line may be about fifteen hours, or near ture, the Greeks at this very early period forty miles; a long joumey, no doubt, in such a repudiated, on pure æsthetic grounds, that country, but not probably beyond the force of a which might have been fatal to the majes- horseman, Nestor.” '_Vol. ii., p. 254.
pair of sieeds froin the mews of the “Gerenian ty and the beauty of their peculiar style. We must not, however, leave this bridge
This journey of Telemachus, as usual ia at which we have arrived by this archi- Homer, is very rapidly despatched. Whetectural connexion, rather than by following ther up hill or down hill
, the speed of the the course of Mr. Mure's journey—without horses might seem to be unchecked reference to another Homeric illustration. lovk ákovre acTécnu. Of the mountain-pass, This bridge lies upon the only road by whether more or less difficult, there is not which Telemachus could have performed a word-unless it is intimated on their the journey assigned to him from the court arrival on the 'corn-bearing plain,' where of Nestor, at Pylos, to that of Menelaus, at
they finished their courseSparta. Frorn Navarin (Pylos), the dwell
Iξον δ' ες πεδιόν κυρηφόρον, ένθα δ' έπειτα ing of Nestor, to Calamata (Phera), is a *Hvov odúv — Odyss. 111. sub fin. day's journey, which might be performed We revert to the order of Mr. Mure's by Nestor's fine horses-particularly, we journey, but reluctantly pass over his demay observe, as the prudent housekeeper scriptions of many celebrated places - Delput into the carriage a good store of pro- phi,Chæronea, Thebes, Platea. The manvisions, such as Jove-trained kings might ner in which these scenes, hallowed by condescend to eat
such lofty associations, crowd upon the
traveller, is thus strikingly broughi before the assistance of Mr. George Long, Mr. Donaldson, and other well-known scholars, and published by Messrs. Taylor and Hessey: We do not pre
• We are habituated from our schoolboy days tend to have examined this Dictionary throughout; to consider as one of the most interesting feabut the articles which we have consulted appear to
tures of the history of Greece the contrast beus admirably done: they are terse in style, and tween the narrow limits of the country and the pregnant, yet not cumbrously so, with accurate boundless influence on the destinjes of mankind; knowledge; the best and latest authorities are con- the surpassing glory that encircles not only the stantly cited; even Mr. Mure is appealed to in tiny land herself in her integrity, but many of some of the later articles; the slight illustrative en- her petty subdivisions; the number and celebricuted. It was a work much wanted, will be invalua- ty of the great men she produced, and the magble to the young student, and, as 'a book of refer: nitude of the events enacted on so confined a ence, (it is a single handsome double-columned theatre. It is, however, only through the me8vo.) will be most acceptable on the library table of dium of a visit to the country that the full force every scholar.
of this reflection can be brought home to the
mind; when one actually sees clustered, within could build St. Peter's, might look withthe ordinary distance of English market-towns out shame upon the ruins of the Coliseum. from each other, the ruins of cities far better
But will not modern Athens appear known to fame than many a mighty empire, with its countless myriads of square miles or of a foreign usurper, awakening unwelcome population. A ride of less than twelve hours, and humiliating thoughts of the Athens of at a foot-pace, enabled us to visit at least four old ? She must crowd and choke
the places of distinction in Homer's age, with an venerable remains of antiqnity by new ease and rapidity which cannot be better repre- and staring edifices; however skilfully sented than by the flowing lines in which he she may adopt the style of Attic architechas recorded their names:
ture, she will at best be but a tame and -«Πυθωνί τε πετρήεσσαν,
servile imitator : if she departs from it, all Κρίσσαν τε ζαθέην, και Δαυλίδα, και ΙΙανοπή.” will become incongruous. The remains "The rocky Delphi, Crissa the divine,
of the Periclean edifices will stand in Daulis and Panopea.”
their simple majesty as a perpetual re
proof to rivals, which cannot surpass, and The three succeeding days would have sufficed probably will scarcely aspire to equal a traveller more favoured by the elements than them: at all events, there will be that conmyself to traverse, with the same equipage, at the same pace—besides numerous other small stant jarring discordance between the two states of less distinction-the territories of periods which will desecrate the older and Thebes, Platæa, Eleusis, and Athens. Argos, more venerable, and disparage whatever Mycenæ, and Tiryns--the cities of Danaus, real architectural merit may be attained by Hercules, Perseus, Agamemnon-with their co- the new. Let us hear Mr. Muir's sober lossal walls, bearing living testimony to the gi: and dispassionate judgment : gantic energies by which those heroes so well deserved the renown that still attends their names--are all within the compass of a plea- • The selection of Athens as the capital-a sant day's walk to a tolerable pedestrian. The tribute partly to her pre-eminence in ancient whole population of the state of Athens, in its history, partly, no doubt, to the number and best ages, is computed to have been about one- beauty of her extant remains-was not probably third of that of London ; while the whole of in any point of view, the most fortunate that that of Greece proper at the present day, which could have been made. That it was not so in during eight years resisted the concentrated en- either a political or military respect is a comergies of the Mahomedan empire, is considera- mon, if not a universal, opinion among those bly less than that of Constantinople.'—Vol. i., best qualified to judge in such matters, upon Pr. 210, 211.
grounds which it were foreign to our purpose to
recapitulate. But to the antiquary or the artist We proceed to Athens, where it is im- the selection is still more to be deplored. At possible any longer to preserve in violate the conclusion of the war the whole area of the our classical reminiscences—where, be- city was one heap of rubbish, strewed over the tween the enthusiastic student of antiquity haps, to the depth of thirty or forty feer, of frag
surface of a soil composed, in many places, perand the shades of Themistocles, Socrates, ments of ancient Athenian magnificence. There and Demosthenes, arise the unidealized was never so favourable an opportunity offered forms of King Otho, his ministers, and his on so favourable a spot for antiquarian discovery; German professors. Modern buildings. and a well-conducted series of excavations, too, are springing up amid the sacred ruins howerer slowly carried into effect, would not of the great days of Athens; the commence only have brought to light many treasures of ment at least of a large marble palace content the plan of the ancient city, its streets and
ancient art, but have uncovered to a great exfronts, though at respectful distance, the principal'edifices. Here the circumstances are hallowed Acropolis, with its Parthenon and far more propitious than in the waste grounds other majestic relics of antiquity. We are of Roine. In her case after the destruction of disposed to agree with Mr. Muse in the the old city, the inhabitants removed into the regret which he expresses that Athens was open space of the Campus Martius, and the chosen to be the metropolis of the Græco- ruins of their former habitations became, and
have more or less remained ever since, a quarry Bavarian kingdom. There is no inconsi- for the materials employed in the construction derable danger in provoking the glorious of a large and splendid modern city. At Athens, reminiscences of the past.
The new on the other hand, as the buildings of the Rome, which was built upon, or, rather, old city mouldered into ruins, the hovels of by the side of the old, was still the mistress the modern town sprang up on the same site: of the world : she ruled by another author- and as the lightest materials were preferred ity, she swayed the world by other arms; the more valuable remains of antiquity have
in their construction, it is to be supposed that but, in fame, in wealth, in power, she was been allowed to lie in a great measure uudisstill the metropolis of the civilized nations : turbed. The selection of Athens as the seat of even as regards the arts, the Rome which )government, followed up by the draft of a plan