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Title: Studies of Travel: Greece

Author: Edward A. Freeman

Release date: March 14, 2014 [eBook #45132]

Language: English

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Transcriber’s Note

Please see the transcriber’s notes at the end of this text for a more complete account of any other textual issues and their resolution.


The Parthenon
South-west Corner
From a drawing made by H. W. Williams in 1829

Studies of Travel


Edward A. Freeman




27 & 29 West 23d Street
24 Bedford Street, Strand

The Knickerbocker Press

Entered at Stationers’ Hall, London
By G. P. Putnam’s Sons

Electrotyped, Printed, and Bound by
The Knickerbocker Press, New York
G. P. Putnam’s Sons



The papers that have been brought together in these small volumes are the results of three several journeys made by my father in Greece and Italy. He visited Greece for the first time in 1877, but of the papers written in that year, which appeared in the Saturday Review, only those on Corfu have been reprinted. They form part of the volume of Sketches from the Subject and Neighbour Lands of Venice, in the preface to which work the hope was held out that some out of many papers on the more distant Greek lands might one day be put together. It has been thought that these papers will not prove the less welcome that they must now lack the re-casting that my father would undoubtedly have given to them. Since his Greek journey was made, fresh light has been thrown on many points by the German excavations at Olympia as well as by those conducted by the Greeks themselves on the Athenian Akropolis, at Eleusis and elsewhere.

The papers on the two Italian journies of 1881 and 1883 also stand as they were written with the exception of a few verbal alterations which have seemed needful in such a reproduction of what was originally intended for the columns of a newspaper.

I have to thank the editors of the Saturday Review, the Guardian, and the Pall Mall Gazette for their courtesy in allowing the reprint of these articles which have appeared in their pages.

Florence Freeman,

January 17, 1893.


Round Peloponnêsos1
The Athenian Akropolis16
Athens Below the Akropolis32
The Saronic Gulf68
The Akropolis of Mykênê122
The Treasuries and Treasures of Mykênê140
Mykênê to Corinth162
The Corinthian Gulf202
Corinth to Eleusis220
Olympia and its Church257

Round Peloponnêsos.

The traveller who enters the older Hellenic world by way of Corfu, and who leaves that island by an evening steamer, will awake the next morning within a region which even modern geography and politics allow to be wholly Hellenic. As long as light serves him, he still keeps along the channel which divides free Corfu from enslaved Epeiros; night cuts him off from the sight of the mouth of the Ambrakian Gulf, and of the point where modern diplomacy has decreed that Greek nationality shall, as far as diplomacy can affect such matters, come to an end. The next morning’s dawn finds him off the mouth of the outer Corinthian Gulf. To the east he is shown the position, on one side, of Patras, the old Achaian city which St. Andrew a thousand years back so manfully defended against Slave and Saracen, on the other side, of Mesolongi, whose fame belongs wholly to our own day. We call up the two sieges—the one where the civilian Mavrokordatos, the one hero whom the Fanariot aristocracy gave to the cause of Greece, beat back the Ottoman from its mud walls; the other made more famous still by that fearful sally of the besieged, when, like the men of Ithômê or Eira, they cut their way through the thickest bayonets of the Egyptian invader. There may be some to whom the record of those great deeds may be an unknown tale, but who may yet remember how Mesolongi saw the last and worthiest days of the life of Byron. Of Patras, of Mesolongi, however, we have hardly so much as a distant glimpse; we are told where they are, and that is all. For a while, too, the Peloponnesian coast itself is more distant and less attractive than the islands to the west of it, now parts, no less than Peloponnêsos itself, of the Hellenic realm. Yet we may remember that, as we pass by the Eleian shore—Βουπράσιόν τε καὶ Ἤλιδα δῖαν, while we are shown where lies the path to Olympia, we are now passing by the true Morea, the land which once distinctively bore that name before it gradually spread over the whole peninsula. The mainland as yet hardly attracts us. The dawn has hardly given way to full sunlight as we see Ithakê fade away in the distance, while Kephallênia lifts her bold height full before us. Half the Odyssey rushes on our memory, and the memory of some may be English enough to remember the happy description of our own Ælfred, how Aulixes—his form of Odysseus—was king of two kingdoms, Ithakê and something else, which he held under the casere Agamemnôn. A happy power of seeing the analogies between the institutions of his own day and those of remote ages enabled the West-Saxon King who had seen Rome in his childhood, the prince under whom English, Welsh, and Danish rulers held their kingdoms, to understand the imperial position of the lord of many islands and of all Argos better perhaps than it was understood again till the light of comparative research broke on our own age. We pass by, hoping for some future chance of prying into the geographical difficulties of the Homeric Ithakê, but feeling at all events that it is a stirring moment when we look on islands which legend at least pictures to us as the realm of Odysseus, and in seeing which we may take in a lesson of comparative politics from the noblest ruler of our own people.

Still the insular side is more prominent than the peninsular. Zakynthos, Zante, the isle of flowers, the flower of the Levant, plays no great part in Hellenic history, but as the height of Kephallênia passes away, the beautiful island, with its hills, its valleys, its city spread along the shore and climbing up the mountain-side, is the chief object to draw the eye to itself as long as it remains in sight. It is not till we have passed the curve of the Kyparissian gulf, not till we have passed the great islands, that the coast itself becomes the main object of study. For a study it is, whether in geography, in history, or in simple contemplation of the grand coast-line with the inland mountains soaring above all, and changing their seeming geographical position with the various shiftings of the vessel’s course. The snow-capped height of Pentedaktylos, once Ta getos, rises over all, seen from this point and from that, but always suggesting the same thought, and commonly bringing with its mention the same answer—There lies Sparta. The shape of southern Peloponnêsos lends itself well to a coasting survey of this kind. The three long fingers in which the peninsula ends, and the two deep gulfs between them, allow the whole country to be seen as in a map, and allow most objects to be seen from several points, and therefore to assume several shapes. From Zante to Cerigo—a name which can hardly be a corruption, but which must have by some process supplanted the earlier Kythêra—the coast-line is everything. Islands there are not a few, but they are small islands near to the coast, entering into the general scenery of the coast, and, near as they are, some of them were, like Cerigo itself, part of the dominion of Venice and of the powers which stepped into the place of Venice. Any map earlier than the cession of the Ionian Islands to Greece will show a boundary passing between the coast and several islands which seem to lie within a stone’s throw of it. Along the whole line, the possessors of the mainland, first Ottoman, then Greek, were hemmed in, and as it were blockaded, by a series of floating outposts planted off their shores by the successive possessors of the Seven Islands. One is apt, in using a map of the days of “the Protection,” to mistake the odd-looking frontier drawn in the sea for the probable course of the steamer. Now the frontier is gone; the great islands and the tributary islets all form part of the same kingdom as the mainland. All are now Hellenic in every sense, yet the most striking object in the journey brings forcibly to the mind how recent and artificial is the modern use of the Hellenic name. Tainaros runs far into the sea, as it did when the temple of Poseidôn crowned its height, and when the Helot refugee sought shelter under his protection from his Spartan master. Behind it rises Pentedaktylos, or rather Tainaros carries on Pentedaktylos into the sea. All the folk of those heights called themselves Hellênes in the old days, and all call themselves Hellênes now. But in those intermediate days which are painted for us by the Imperial geographer, the name of Hellênes was confined to a very narrow range indeed. The only Hellênes whom Constantine knew, the only people who were so called by their neighbours—for they do not seem to have borne that name on their own tongues—were the men of Tainaros, the wild and, down almost to our own day, unconquerable land which had in his time already got the name of Maina. These, he tells us pointedly, were no Slaves, distinguishing them from their Slavonic neighbours on Pentedaktylos itself. They were called Hellênes, but it was not in distinction from the Slaves that they were so called. They were, he says, descendants of the old Romans. Let no one dream of colonists from the Palatine or even from the Aventine. The “old Romans” of Constantine are what we should call Greeks, Hellênes, in this particular case the Eleutherolakônes, the people of the Lakonian towns set free under Roman patronage from their subjection to Sparta. The Roman, the subject of the Empire, is distinguished from the Slave, but these particular Romans bore the Hellenic name because they, or at least their immediate forefathers, clave to the Hellenic Gods. Late in the ninth century, till the apostolic zeal of the first Basil brought them within the Christian fold, the men of Maina still sacrificed to Poseidon and the other gods of their fathers. Thus they were Hellênes, Hellênes in the sense which the name bears in the New Testament, Hellênes in the sense in which Jovianus of Korkyra despoiled the temples and altars of the Hellênes to raise the church of the Panagia. No piece of nomenclature is more instructive than this. The name of Hellên would have been an insult to the Orthodox Roman of the purest Hellenic blood. It clave to the men of Tainaros only because they clave to Hellenic idols. Yet, whether as Eleutherolakônes, as Hellênes, or as Mainotes, the men of Tainaros have for many ages continued to have a name of their own.

The most historic spot, however, in the whole voyage is reached some while before we come to Tainaros. Pentedaktylos, the specially Slavonic mountain of Constantine’s day, suggests its Hellenic neighbours, and Pentedaktylos comes in sight before we have doubled the first of the three great Peloponnesian promontories. Among the islands which lie along the coast is one which at first sight is hardly known to be an island. Sphagia keeps close watch over the haven of Navarino—watch so close that the whole length of Sphagia has to be passed before we see the narrow mouth which leads into the landlocked harbour which saw the last great sea-fight fought in Hellenic waters. Sphagia is there; Navarino is there; but some have ventured to doubt whether Sphagia is Sphaktêria, and whether Navarino is Pylos. Some have held that, in the changes of the coast, what was Sphaktêria has now become part of the mainland, and that the island which we now see is not that where Sparta endured her first great humiliation, where Kleôn and Dêmosthenês, in the teeth of all expectation, of every seeming impossibility, brought back “the men,” the Spartan captives, in triumph to the harbour of Peiraieus. Such questions as this cannot be settled by one who sees the sites only as the power of steam hurries him alongside of them. In this general view the question is of no great moment. There is the coast, whatever may be the exact spot, where the legend makes Nestor entertain Têlemachos, and whence Têlemachos and Peisistratos drove a carriage and pair in two days from Pylos to Sparta. Now whether Têlemachos and Peisistratos be real men or mere creations of fancy, the road at least is no creation of fancy. The poet would not have ventured to make his heroes perform such a drive, as something perfectly easy and usual unless Peloponnêsos had been better supplied with roads in his day than it is in our own. Here then we get a kind of history out of the legend. There again is the coast, whatever may be the exact spot, where happened the most remarkable episode of the Peloponnesian war, the occupation of Pylos-the Lacedæmonian Koryphasion-and all that came of it. With yet more certain knowledge of the exact spot, we can point to the harbour where the fetters of Greece were broken, and where the might of Turk and Egyptian fell before the combined powers of Orthodox Russia, Catholic France, and Protestant England.

We pass on from promontory to promontory, the gulfs taking different shapes and bringing different objects into sight at every moment. At last

Slow sinks, more lovely ere his work is done,
Behind Morea’s hills the setting sun.

Pentedaktylos and Tainaros are lighted up, as the sun, in Greek phrase, reigns (βασιλεύει) over the heavens from which he is about to sink into his golden cup. Cerigo and Malea are seen only by the help of the lesser lights, but we can still see the long harbourless coast of Lakonia stretching away to the Argolic lands, and we have found out too the site of the Lakonian Epidauros, more famous in later days as Monembasia. As we woke one morning about the islands of the West, so we wake the next along the islands of the Ægæan. Tênos, Andros, Mykonos, Mêlos, Naxos, Dêlos itself, come into view at different points, till we stand before the haven which has in modern times made itself the centre of the commerce and navigation of these seas. The isle of Syros stands before us, bleak and barren. There is the steep conical hill, covered, every inch of it, with houses rising up to the church of St. George, the cathedral church of Latin Syra, the mediæval city, the city of refuge in days when men were driven to fall back on the hill-fortresses of the earliest day. On the shore, on the site of ancient Syros, but spreading over the adjoining hills, is the modern Hermoupolis, the busy mart of all the islands. Another night, a fair starry night, on the deep, and we reach the goal of the whole pilgrimage. Day has hardly dawned enough to see clearly Sounion and its marble columns, but there, however dimly seen, is the shore of Attica, and the thought comes that came into the heart of the sailors of Salaminian Aias, that before long

προσείποιμ’ αν Ἀθάνας.

The Athenian Akropolis.

It may not seem easy to say anything new on so well-worn a subject as Athens and her Akropolis, but of all subjects in the world there is none which has been more steadily looked at from a single inadequate point of view. It is moreover a subject whose history is not yet ended, and which supplies new points of view by the fact that new pages in its history are still happening. Nowhere is the unity of history more needed to be taught as a practical lesson than on the spot where we may fairly say that the political history of the world begins. There, on the spot whose history begins before the beginning of recorded history, we feel perhaps more keenly than anywhere else how blind and narrow is the way in which the history of that spot has been so commonly looked at, how large a part of the true interest, the true life, of the spot is lopped away, if we look only at some two or three centuries of its long and varied history. In the city of Athens, as a whole, we are painfully struck by the glaring contrast of extreme antiquity and extreme newness. There are buildings of yesterday; there are buildings of a thousand years back; there are buildings of two thousand years back, but the three classes stand out in marked and indeed unpleasant contrast to one another. There are no intermediate links such as there are at Rome, binding the great classes of objects together, and making them all fit into their places as members of one unbroken series. Hence, while at Rome we never forget that we are at Rome, at Athens we may sometimes forget that we are at Athens, That so it is no fault of the Athenians, old or new. It comes of the fact that the Turk once ruled in Athens, and therefore had to be driven out of Athens; while, as the Turk never ruled in Rome, he never had to be driven out of Rome. If this is true of the city in general, it is far less true of the Akropolis. There we can never forget that we are in Athens; and, if we use our eyes aright, we can never forget that the Athens in which we stand did not exist, as some seem to fancy, only for two or three centuries two thousand years back, but that its long history spans the whole range from our first glimpses of civilized Europe down to the warfare in which men still living have borne a part. It is but a narrow view of the Akropolis of Athens to look on it simply as the place where the great works of the age of Periklês may be seen as models in a museum. A truer and a wider view will begin earlier and will go on later. The Parthenôn and the Propylaia are but the records of one stage, though doubtless the most brilliant stage, in the history of a city which ought equally to number among its records the primæval wall which was venerable and mysterious in the days of Thucydides and the bulwarks which were raised by the last Odysseus in warfare with the Turkish oppressor. In the eye of the true historian those earliest and those latest records, and the records of the long ages which passed between them, all have, perhaps not all an equal value, but at least value enough to stamp them all as alike parts of the history of the city, all alike entitled to respect and veneration from every one in whose eyes the history of the city is precious. On the hill of the Akropolis and its buildings the whole history of Athens, from its earliest to its latest days, has been clearly written, and there it may still be clearly read wherever the barbarism of classical pedantry has not wiped out the record. The primæval wall, the wall of Themistoklês, the wall of Kimôn, all come within the charmed period. No one is likely to damage them. It needs, however, a wider view than that of the mere student of the writings, the mere admirer of the art, of two or three arbitrarily chosen centuries, to take in the full meaning even of the works of those arbitrarily chosen centuries. Those remains of the earliest masonry, for which we have to search behind the great buildings of the days of the democracy, those stones which rival aught at Argos or at Tiryns, have a tale to tell such as Argos and Tiryns cannot tell. Why was Athens Athens? How came that one city to fill that particular place in the world’s history which no other city ever did fill? In the Homeric catalogue Athens stands alone; all Attica is already Athens, while every other part of the catalogue is crowded with the names of those smaller towns many of which passed away before recorded history begins. Marathon and Eleusis find no place in the great record. The work had already been done, be the name of the doer of it Thêseus or any other, which made Athens all that Athens was—which fused together into one commonwealth the largest extent of territory, the largest number of citizens which, according to Greek political ideas, could act together as members of a single commonwealth. Athens could become all that she did become, because, in an unrecorded age, in an age of which those rude stones at least are the only record, all Attica became Athens. To that great revolution, none the less certain because in its own nature unrecorded, it is alike owing that Athens in one age could rear the trophy of Marathôn, and that in another she was chosen to be the head of regenerate Greece. The oldest wall—we may call it the wall of Thêseus—and the latest wall of Odysseus are but the earliest and the latest pages of one story, bound together by the direct tie of cause and effect.

If then, fully to take in the historic greatness of the Athenian Akropolis, we must look to facts and their records alike far earlier and far later than the days of Periklês, the works of the days of Periklês lose half their value if we look at them simply as the works of the age of Periklês, and do not bear in mind the long ages, the stirring events, of their later history. The house of Athênê is emphatically the Parthenôn. When Dêmêtrios the Besieger was lodged in its opisthodomos, the satirical remark was made that he and his following were by no means fitting guests for its virgin owner. It should, however, be remembered that that ancient temple has remained the house of the Virgin under three distinct forms of worship. The classical purist might disdain to notice—-or, if he noticed, he might be eager to wipe out such a memory—that on the walls of the cella may still be seen the paintings, the εἰκόνες of another creed, another form of art, from those of Pheidias and Iktinos. Yet those painted forms tell us of one of the great moments in the history of South-Eastern Europe—one might rather say one of the great moments in the history of the world. It speaks of the day when the New Rome was again queen of all the nations, from Crete to the Danube, from the Euphrates to the Bay of Naples, when the Slayer of the Bulgarians, in the moment of his triumph, chose, out of all the holy places of his Empire, the church of the Panagia on the rock of Athens as the scene of his thanksgiving for the great salvation which his arms had wrought. We stand on the rock, and run over in our minds the long ages between Periklês returning from the recovery of Samos, and Basil returning from the recovery of Ochrida. We look down upon the lands which endured the ravages of the last Philip in the cause of Rome, on the city which endured the storm of Sulla in the cause of Mithridatês. We look down on the works of Hadrian and the works of Hêrôdês, and the eye wanders to a spot where the monument of a Syrian prince is the most prominent object on an Athenian hill. We think how long Athens remained the school of Rome, how the Goth turned away from her walls, how Justinian at once strengthened her as a fortress and took away from her her crown as the seat of heathen philosophy and heathen worship. Yet we mark the slight lingering of ancient memories which, in re-dedicating her ancient temples to the new faith, still kept a certain analogy between their older and their newer functions. We mark how the Parthenôn still remained the Parthenôn; how the temple of the heathen warrior Thêseus became the church of the Christian warrior George. We think—Athens is not expressly mentioned in the tale, but she can hardly be deemed to have lagged behind her fellows—how the Greeks, the Ἑλλαδικοί, as the Byzantine writer scornfully calls them, set forth on their strange and bootless errand of delivering Constantinople from Isaurian and Iconoclastic rule. Below us lie the churches of Eirênê, monuments of days when Athens and Constantinople were united in a common orthodoxy, when Athens had given an Empress to the Eastern world, and when men again dreamed of a union of East and West by the marriage of an Athenian and a Frank. All these memories lead up naturally to the great scene of Basil’s day of triumph, when a prince who might be deemed at once Roman, Greek, and Slave, chose Athens and her still abiding Parthenôn for the greatest ceremony of his long reign of warfare and of victory. We pass on to another age. The spirit which will hardly endure the memory of a Greek-speaking Cæsar on the holy hill of Athênê will find times even less to its taste when an Italian prince, in his will drawn up in the Italian tongue, bequeaths the city of Athens to the Church of St. Mary. Things had indeed changed, alike from the days of Periklês and from the days of Basil, yet Athens under the French and Italian Dukes had in some sort come back nearer to her ancient place than when she beheld the thanksgiving of the Macedonian Emperor. Athens, by that name, was again one of the powers of the world, no longer a mere province of Rome, either in her older or her newer seat. It was indeed a time of foreign rule. A Latin Duke had made his palace in the Propylaia of Periklês; a Latin Bishop had displaced the Orthodox rite of Basil’s day in the church which was still the Parthenôn. Yet those were days when Athens was the seat of a brilliant court, when the fame of her princes was spread through Europe. The formula of our own Shakespeare, so strange in the ears of many, when he speaks of Thêseus Duke of Athens, is a mark of days when her Kings and Archons had been forgotten, but the memory of her Dukes still lived in the minds of men. But the wanton barbarism of classical exclusiveness will not endure the memory or the record or the monuments of days like these. Only yesterday the tower of the Dukes of Athens was standing. Its stern and heavy mass well broke the horizontal lines of the Greek architecture, and gave to the whole group somewhat of that outline which the hill of Laon has, and which the hill of Athens has not. But the tower was late; it was barbarous; it did not belong to the two or three favoured ages; it was a reminder of times which the exclusive votaries of those two or three favoured ages would fain wipe out from the records of mankind. Mr. Mahaffy, indeed, who cannot distinguish between the taking of Constantinople in 1204 and the taking of Athens in 1687, believed that Morosini had found time to build this massive tower during the few weeks of his occupation. Mr. Mahaffy, who looks on the Akropolis as so sacred that it was a sin to bombard it, even to drive the Turks out of it—who seems to think freedom and national being something of less moment than the preservation of this or that statue or column—calls for its destruction in his text and crows over its completed destruction in a note. Of this piece of wanton barbarism Dr. Schliemann must bear the blame. Who, if any, were his Greek accomplices, we have forborne to ask. But the tower is gone; a most striking memorial of one age in the history of Athens has been swept away, under the paltry pretext that inscriptions might be found among its materials. By a righteous Nemesis, when the destroyers had finished their work of havoc, they found nothing to reward them.

We can conceive nothing more paltry, nothing more narrow, nothing more opposed to the true spirit of scholarship, than these attempts to wipe out the history of any age. So far from destroying the ducal tower, we would have kept the Turkish minaret. For the Parthenôn, already the temple of heathendom and of two forms of Christianity, became in the end the temple of Islam. A mosque had of course its minaret. Its lower part is still there in the form of a staircase, but the characteristic upper part has vanished. We know not how it vanished, whether through wanton destruction or in one of the sieges in the seventeenth or the nineteenth century. In any case, we should have been well pleased to see both minaret and tower breaking the outline, and speaking of days which have been, but which have passed away. Greece is free; the rule both of the Frank and of the Turk is gone; but that is no reason why the memorials of either Frank or Turk should be swept away. A higher national feeling would keep them carefully as trophies of victory. At all events, let not men, calling themselves scholars, lend themselves to such deeds of wanton destruction. The name of Morosini is unfairly held up to execration because an accident of warfare, which he could not control, made him the destroyer of the Parthenôn. A far heavier blame rests on those who were the deliberate destroyers of the ducal tower. On them indeed may well fall the words of withering scorn in which Byron so well couples the destroying names of Eratostratos and Elgin.

Athens Below the Akropolis.

The main characteristic of modern Athens, and one of its chief points of contrast with Rome, is that whatever is not very old is so very new. But the visitor is apt at once to press this characteristic further than strict truth warrants, and to draw a more strongly marked geographical limit between old and new than strict truth warrants either. At first sight we are apt to fancy that everything that is old stands above, and that everything that is new lies below. The fact that the greatest work of all, the temple of Olympian Zeus, happens to lie below, hardly makes a practical exception. By the loss of so many of its columns it has ceased to be in appearance the greatest work of all, and, what is more to the point, it has practically ceased to be part of the city. It lies outside and alone, apart both from the Akropolis and the modern city. It joins indeed to make one of the best and most familiar views of the Akropolis, but it joins only as a foreground to a distant object. To take Mr. Mahaffy’s illustration, it has come to stand to the Akropolis as Hoar Abbey stands to the Rock of Cashel. On another side, the Thêseion, in its absolute perfection as it is seen in any general view, stands as a kind of intermediate link between the upper and the lower region. Otherwise the impression given by the general view of Athens is that the old things are all above, as, with one or two exceptions which need not be dwelled on, the new things undoubtedly are below. The Akropolis seems to throw out the hill of the Mouseion with the monument of Philopappos as a kind of outwork; and, if we take in objects which cannot be seen at the first glance, the most remarkable and venerable objects, the remains of the ancient walls, the tombs cut in the rock, the seats of the Pnyx, the steps on the hill of Arês, all lie on the upper ground. Against these, setting aside very recent diggings, the low city seems to have nothing to set, except a mass of modern and ugly houses and one modern house bigger and uglier than the rest.

This impression is not untrue as regards the general aspect of the city, but it breaks down when we come to examine things somewhat more in detail. There is more of antiquity in the modern city of Athens than one thinks at first sight; still the comparative rarity of ancient remains, and the strong contrast between such as there are and the modern buildings, form a distinct feature in the character of Athens, as distinguished from cities which present to us an unbroken series of monuments from the earlier times to the latest. Again, it is true that, of such ancient remains as there are, the greater part seem, as it were, to shelter themselves under the shadow of the Akropolis, and but few of them belong to the most brilliant times of Athenian history. The Thêseion, standing as a link between the upper and the lower city, has a position of its own. The most perfect of existing Greek temples, it might alone make the fortune of Athens as a place of artistic pilgrimage, even were there nothing else there to see. In the general view it seems to be absolutely perfect. The one small change which it has undergone reminds us at once of a living page of history and of the folly of those who labour in vain to wipe out history. The temple, like its greater fellow on the Akropolis, became a church, but in its new character it still kept a certain appropriate remembrance of its older use. As the house of the Virgin still remained the house of the Virgin, so the house of the warrior hero remained, as the church of St. George, the house of a warrior saint. If, as some say, the older dedication was really not to Thêseus but to Hêraklês, the parallel is in no way weakened, but rather strengthened. Thêseus indeed overthrew the Marathonian bull; but Hêraklês and St. George were alike victorious over dragons. To fit the building for its new use, no change seems to have been needed, beyond taking down two columns of the inner range of the eastern front to make room for the apse of the converted basilica. The caprice of a generation back took away the apse without restoring the columns, and so left the building in a state which would seem incomplete in the eyes of either its heathen or its Christian patrons. Thêseus might ask for his columns; George might ask for his apse; and the common robber of both would be hard put to for an answer. Now, as one of the many detached museums of Athens, the Thêseion contains a collection of sculptures, inscriptions, and architectural fragments, pre-eminent among which is the archaic statue wrought by Aristiôn, which looks so unpleasantly like a specimen of barbaric art. Still, why may we not hold that in sculpture, as in so many other things, likeness does not prove direct connexion, but merely analogy of stage? At all events, Assyria never made anything better than the work of Aristiôn, while Athens went on and grew from the stage of Aristiôn into the stage of Pheidias.

Before the diggings in the Kerameikos which have brought to light such choice sculptures, as well as a large part of the city wall and the Dipylon gate, the Thêseion stood almost alone as a representative of the great days of Athens on ground lower than the Akropolis and the hills which front it. The theatre of Dionysos and the other buildings which have been dug out from the side of the hill are rather part of the Akropolis itself. The temple of Olympian Zeus, and its feeble companion, the Arch of Hadrian, stand apart and make a feeble company by themselves. In that part, however, of the modern city which lies nearest under the Akropolis, we still have a collection of remains of later Greek and Roman times, while such of the Byzantine churches as are left scattered here and there through the city form a study of surprising interest in their own class. All the world knows the monument of Lysikratês and the later hôrologion of Andronikos Kyrrhestês, better known as the Temple of the Eight Winds. Perhaps all the world does not know the singular way in which they were adapted to the uses of rival creeds, how Franciscan friars found a home under the graceful Corinthian finial of Lysikratês, while howling dervishes quartered themselves under the pagan symbols of Andronikos. We mourn as we look at the graceful toy of Lysikratês, the parent of a whole class of structures at St. Remi and Igel—is it sacrilege to add Northampton, Geddington, and Waltham? Genuine Greek Corinthian capitals are so rare that it is sad to see that not one is altogether perfect.

The hôrologion of Andronikos—if it is lawful to speak so freely of anything built at Athens before the Christian era—has never struck us as anything specially graceful, but it is one of the links which directly connect the ancient and the modern city. It stands at what we may call the ancient end of one of the great modern streets, one which seems to represent an ancient street and which from this monument bears the name of Aiolos. But the quarter where the hôrologion stands is one of the quarters where these later and lesser antiquities stand thickest on the ground. Not far off is the Stoa of Hadrian, where the Imperial architect, forsaking the fashion of his own day, tries, like our modern architects, to call up the forms of a past time, and reproduces the ancient Doric, of course in its slenderer form. But this whole quarter is full of remains of one kind and another. The bazaar is in every sense a link to past times; an ancient wall fences it in, and the sight within, so unlike the European streets of the more polished quarters, reminds us that Athens once was an Eastern city. Various scraps lie around us; here are two little forsaken churches side by side forming in a manner one building; the cupola of one is half broken down, and its bell-gable, its κωδωνοστάσιον, is perched on a neighbouring colonnade. Not far off are two buildings, works of intrusive powers and intrusive architecture, both of which form part of the history of the city, and of which the one ought to be preserved as carefully as the other. No one is likely to propose to destroy the colonnade of Roman Corinthian work because its capitals are not of the same types as the capitals of Lysikratês. But it is equally needful to keep the one mosque which remains from Turkish Athens, a building whose style stands to that of the Byzantine churches in somewhat the same relation in which the Roman colonnades stand to the true Grecian. The mosque stands applied to some military purpose. A worthier use for it, a better badge of triumph and deliverance, would have been to make it a memorial church for some of the heroes of the War of Independence. In the same quarter, drawing near to the Thêseion, are the remains of the gymnasion of Ptolemy, where a crowd of inscriptions of various dates tempt us to spell them out, till we light on one which contains the name of the wife of Hêrôdês of Marathôn. His theatre is on the other side of the Akropolis, forming part, like the elder theatre, of the Akropolis itself. But it is in the quarter to the north of the Akropolis, the quarter of the new agorê, in which the visitor to Athens finds more than elsewhere the opportunity for the process so delightful in the old cities of Gaul and Germany, and Italy, the process of prowling hither and thither, and lighting on some fragment of antiquity—the more varied date of style the better—at every quarter. The Akropolis is too carefully cleared of all that is new; the modern city keeps too little that is old; here, in this quarter of Athens, old and new are mingled together in that way which gives to the inquirer the full interest of discovery.

But, among the later antiquities of Athens, it is the churches which claim the highest place. To the traveller from the West they have a special interest. As no other city of his pilgrimage gives him the same store of buildings of pagan Greek architecture, so there is no other which gives him such a store of buildings of the second—the Christian-Greek architecture. Nor is their interest any the less because of the small size of the modern Athenian churches. There is not only nothing to rival St. Sophia, St. Vital, or St. Mark; there is nothing to rival even their own neighbour at Daphnê. The Eastern Church, like the ancient Church of Ireland, seems always to have been better pleased to build a crowd of small churches rather than a single one on the scale of the great minsters of Western Europe. One cause of this peculiarity doubtless was the use of a single altar in the Eastern rite, which suggested the building of several distinct churches in cases where a Western architect would rather have built a single large church with several chapels. Athens, therefore, is full of small churches, the survivors, we fear, of a larger number, some of which perished in the laying out of the modern city. A crowd of them cling, as it were, to the roots of the Akropolis, in the region of the bazaar and of the monument of Andronikos. The eye soon gets used to, but it does not get tired of, their little cupolas and apses, which always add a pleasing feature to the corners where they are found, though none of them rival either the stateliness or the picturesque effect of the churches of the West. A few are of greater size and of higher architectural character, and one, without being of greater size, is one of the greatest curiosities in Christendom. This is the metropolitan church of Athens, surely the smallest church out of Scotia—we seek for a word which shall take in both Cashel and St. Andrew’s—that ever was designed for metropolitan or cathedral rank. It looks like a toy; it has been wittily said that it seems meant to receive the throne of the Boy Bishop. But it has the thorough Byzantine air; it has the apse, the cupola of the Athenian form, the heads of the windows cutting into the cupola—a form which stands to such cupolas as we have seen at Corfu and Daphnê in the same relation in which a German apse or tower with many gabled sides stands to an apse or tower of the more usual form. The church, small as it is, is rich, covered with plates of sculpture, some of which at least are ancient fragments used up again.

It is not easy, at all events for the traveller to whom Byzantine forms are still new, to fix the exact date of the Athenian churches. Nor can he find, at least off-hand, much to help him in easily accessible books. Messrs. Texier and Pullan have put out a splendid book, most valuable for the illustrations of the particular buildings which they think good to describe, but which is useless as a general view of Byzantine architecture, and which does not contain a single Athenian or other Greek example. Mr. J. M. Neale, in his History of the Holy Eastern Church, goes far more fully into the matter, though we are sometimes tempted to kick at the guidance of a writer who talks about “Arta in Ambracia,” and who attributes “a long and peaceful reign” to the Slayer of the Bulgarians. Of the periods into which he divides Byzantine art he places the metropolitan Church in the second, which reaches from 537 to 1003. This takes in the time of Eirênê, the Athenian Empress to whom Athenian tradition is fond of attributing the churches of her native city. But most of the Athenian churches, including the two which call for most special notice, he assigns to his third period, 1003–1453. This period, we do not exactly know why, is said to be one of Latin influence; but why should Latin influence come in in 1003 of all years? and what Latin influence is there to be seen in such buildings as the churches of St. Theodore and the Kapnikarea? These are, on the whole, the two most striking churches in Athens. They stand well in open places of the modern city, a relief, though a strange contrast, among its modern forms—a contrast indeed so strong that we have heard it whispered that their destruction has sometimes been dreamed of. If there is any Latin element in either, it is in the church of the Kapnikarea which has a kind of secondary church, with a cupola of its own, alongside of the main building, with its Greek cross and central cupola. This secondary church does not appear at St. Theodore, but the Kapnikarea has another feature which St. Theodore has not, in the form of a large narthex, which is surely a special sign of orthodoxy. The remembrance of Peterborough flashed across our mind as we saw this noble portico with its six arches, two wider and four narrower, crowned by four gables. It has suffered much in its effect from the glazing of some of the arches, as well as from the rising of the ground, which has covered the columns up to nearly half their height. This portico is indeed worthy of study; it is a legitimate translation into the language of an arched style of the old portico with its entablature, as the west front of Peterborough is a further translation into the language of a style, not only arched, but pointed. Joining on to the narthex is also a porch on the north side, a porch clearly forming part of the same design, with arches resting on columns, and finished with three gabled faces. Instead of these features, St. Theodore has a simple west front, composed, like ordinary west fronts, of doors and windows. Its most marked external feature is the large bell-gable perched on the south transept. Within, the Kapnikarea has the advantage, as its cupola rests on columns with quasi-Corinthian capitals. Those of the portico have capitals of various forms, mostly unclassical. The material of both these churches is mainly that later form of the alternation of stone and brick which grew out of the earlier Roman masonry, and which we have already seen in Corfu.These churches, and a crowd of others, smaller and less striking, will not be passed unheeded by any one in whose eyes history, whether political or artistic, is one unbroken tale. They are, unless we may claim a place for their corrupt follower in the Turkish mosque, the latest among the antiquities of Athens, and they are not less worthy of study than the earliest. With them we will take our leave of the city of the violet crown, and of the land of which the wisdom of some præ-historic reformer made her more than the head. We pass from Athens and from Attica; one stage more, one bound rather, over the central sea of Greece, will lead us beyond the bounds of Hellas itself. One thought more comes across us as we pass from Athens, as we make ready to pass from Greece. Between the work of the earliest and of the latest Grecian heroes there is a strange likeness. Thêseus—that name will do as well as any other—brought together rival cities to form one abiding commonwealth, and thereby to create the Athens alike of archons, emperors, dukes, and kings. As rival cities forgot their rivalry in the presence of Thêseus, so rival party leaders forget their rivalries in the presence of Kanarês. The hero is gone; and while we write this, Greece, and those who care for Greece, are wondering who can fill his place. His place in truth no one can fill, but the lesson taught by the close of his life ought not to pass away. If rival leaders could work side by side at the bidding of the one man whom all were proud to own as their master, they may go on in the same unselfish path when the voice which calls them to union is no longer the voice of one man, however illustrious, but the voice of their country itself.


The visitor to Athens, even if he has not time to examine every historic spot in Attica, must at least visit the most historic spot of all, the spot where it was fixed that Attica should remain Attica and that Europe should remain Europe. Mr. Lowe, we may well believe, stood alone in looking on the fight of Marathôn as a matter of small importance, because the day which fixed the destiny of the world saw only a comparatively small amount of slaughter. Mr. Lowe of course really knew better; but there are those who really seem not to know better, those who measure things only by their physical bigness, and cannot take in either their results or their moral greatness. There has often been far more blood shed to decide which of two Eastern despots should have the mastery than was shed to decide that Europe should not fall under the dominion of Eastern despots. Never surely did the future fate of the world hang in the same way on the will of a single man as when the arguments of Miltiadês won over the Polemarch Kallimachos to give his vote for immediate battle. That vote was, as it were, the very climax of European constitutional life. All rested on the voice of one man, not because all authority was vested in one man, but because it was vested in many. When the ten generals were equally divided, Kallimachos gave the casting vote, and Europe remained Europe. It is inconceivable that, if Athenian freedom had been then crushed when it was still in its first childhood, the course of the world’s history could have been what it has been. Enslaved Greece could never have been what free Greece was. Athens and Megalopolis could have been no more than an Ephesos or Milêtos. It may well be that, even if the Eastern peninsula had been rent away from the Western world, the central peninsula might still have stood its ground. The barbarian might still have been checked, and checked for ever, by the hands of Romans or Samnites or Lucanians. The Roman power might still have been spread over the world; the Teuton and the Slave might still have come to discharge their later mission within the Roman world; but a Roman world, untutored by Greece, could never have been what the Roman world of actual history was and is. The men who fought at Marathôn fought as the champions of every later generation of European man. If on the Akropolis of Mykênê we feel that we have some small share, the share of distant kinsmen, in the cradle of the oldest European civilisation, the subject of the oldest European literature—so, as we stand on the barrow of the one hundred and ninety-two who died at Marathôn, we feel that we have a nearer claim, the claim of men who come on pilgrimage to the resting-place of men who died that European lands and European men should be all that they have been.

In fact, on the plain of Marathôn, the famous saying of Johnson becomes clothed with a fuller meaning than its author is likely to have thought of. “That man is little to be envied whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plain of Marathôn.” The saying is true, if we think merely of association, of example, of analogy. It becomes true in a yet higher sense, if we look on the day of Marathôn as being all that it truly is, as having fixed, not only the destiny of Athens, but the destiny of Europe. And we may look on that spot from another point of view, less wide indeed than this, but wider than that which looks on it simply as the scene of a single event of the year 490 before our era. Even setting aside the event which has made Marathôn famous with an undying fame, Marathôn would still have a considerable history, mythical and real—a history some chapters of which come within the memory of many of us. We must remember that, besides the view which looks on Greece as being almost in her first youth on the day of Marathôn, there is another view which looks on Greece as being then already in her decline. The one view is true, if we think only of Athenian democracy, of Athenian art, of Athenian poetry; the other view is no less true in the general history of the Greek nation. When the fight of Marathôn was fought, the bondage of the Greek nation had already begun; the work which was ended by Mahomet the Conqueror had been already begun by Crœsus and Cyrus. Asiatic Greece was already enslaved; the fight of Marathôn was fought in order that European Greece might not be enslaved like it. It may also flash across the minds of some who tread the plain of Marathôn that the fight which Miltiadês waged there in the cause of Hellenic freedom was not the last fight which has been waged on the same ground in the same cause. On that same plain, where the Athenians of one age fought to save Greece from coming under the yoke of the Persian, the Athenians of another age fought to free enslaved Greece from the yoke of the Turk. The modern fight of Marathôn, the fight of July, 1824, hardly ranks among the great events of the War of Independence, as its leader certainly does not rank among the purest heroes of the War of Independence. Yet when Gouras smote the janissaries of Omar of Karystos on the same ground on which Miltiadês had smitten the hosts of Datis and Artaphernês, to an eye which takes in the whole range of Grecian and European history, the fact has something more about it than mere association, than mere coincidence. The two fights of Marathôn were in truth only two stages in one long tale, the tale of the undying struggle between civilisation and the freedom of the West and the barbarian despotism of the Eastern world.

Marathôn, like Eleusis, gives us the usual lesson in Greek geography, and makes us better understand the greatness of that wonderful change which fused all the towns of Attica into a single commonwealth. We see at once that Marathôn—the name was, at least in later use, extended to the whole Tetrapolis—was, no less than Eleusis, designed, according to the common laws of Greek political geography, to form a separate state, distinct from Athens. Indeed it is more thoroughly cut off than Eleusis. In the view from the Akropolis, Pentelikos altogether hides the Marathônian plain; while, though Eleusis is actually kept out of sight by Aigaleôs, Kithairôn and the other greater heights beyond it suggest the existence of the Thriasian plain. Marathôn therefore, naturally enough, has a long mythical history distinct from that of Athens. Not only Thêseus, but Hêraklês and the Hêrakleidai figure in it, and legend tells of a fight of Marathôn earlier than either of those which history records. Hêraklês remained in historical times the chief object of local worship, and it was by his sanctuary that the Athenian host encamped before, what we suppose we must call, the second battle. Athênê too, as on other spots of Attic soil, was not without her temple by the marsh. Marathôn does not appear in the Catalogue any more than Eleusis, and for the same reason as Eleusis. But its name appears in the Odyssey in a passage which may suggest some geographical reflections:

Ὤς ἄρα Φωνήσασ’ ἀπέβη γλαυκῶπις Ἀθήνη
Πὸντον ἐπ’ ἀτρύγετον· λίπε δὲ Σχερίην ἐρατεινήν·
Ἴκετο δ’ ἐς Μαραθῶνα καὶ εὐρυάἈγυιαν Ἀθήνην,
Δῦνε δ’ Ἐρεχθῆος πυκινὸν δόμον·

If Scheriê really be Corfu, this may seem a most unexpected route to Athens, and yet it is hardly more wonderful than the route by Syra by which the modern traveller often actually goes. In history the first appearance of Marathôn is when Peisistratos lands there on his return from exile. The second is when the son of Peisistratos led the Persian host thither, as a fitting place for the use of the cavalry which after all they seemed not to have used. No battle in history has been more minutely examined, and that in some cases by men who united technical military knowledge with a thorough knowledge of the country. Colonel Leake, to mention only one inquirer, has done all that the union of both qualities could do, though one is amazed at his constantly referring to Herodotus as a contemporary writer. Yet, after all his labours, after all the labours of Mr. Finlay and others, everybody complains that the narrative of Herodotus is unsatisfactory. The comments of Dean Blakesley strike us as among the most acute that have been made. One may doubt whether Herodotus had ever been there; he certainly shows no knowledge of the ground. He makes no mention of the marshes which form so marked a feature in the character of the Marathônian plain. The marshes lie between the sea and the fighting-ground, as the fighting-ground lies between the marsh and the mountains. The marsh is not only not mentioned by Herodotus, but his account seems almost inconsistent with its existence. But Pausanias saw the picture in the Poikilê which showed the Persians falling into the marsh. It is like appealing to the Bayeux Tapestry from the later accounts of the battle of Senlac. Pausanias, though he lived so many ages after, was in this way really nearer to the time than Herodotus. The picture commemorated the fact; Herodotus tells the story as it had grown up a generation later. By that time, as Dean Blakesley says, the story had come under the operation of the law by which “popular tradition rapidly drops all those particulars of a battle which evince strategic genius, and substitutes for them exaggerated accounts of personal bravery.” Miltiadês, as a good general, took advantage of the ground, and largely owed his success to the nature of the ground. Popular tradition made everything be done by sheer hard fighting.

In short, almost every detail of this memorable fight seems shrouded in uncertainty. It is hard to fix the exact position of either army, and the very name of Marathôn has perhaps shifted its place. The site of the old town seems quite as likely to be, not at the modern Marathôn, but, as Colonel Leake puts it, at Brana. Yet, amid all this doubt, there is essential certainty. Of the work that was done that day, of the general site, there is no doubt, and the most living and speaking monument of all is there to bear its witness. We stand, not, as the poet puts it, on the Persians’ grave, but on the mound which covers the ashes of the men of Athens who fell that day. Within the space between the bay with its blue waters and the hills which fence in the plain, the fate of Europe was fixed. We stand on the mound; the eye passes over the hills, from Probalinthos to the cape of Kynosoura. We look on the older and the newer candidate of the name of Marathôn; we look on the hill where older legends fixed the home of Pan, and where the later name of Drakonera speaks of some older or later dragon myth. We know that it was within these bounds that the might of Asia was broken by the force of two Hellenic cities. Standing on that mound, instead of dreaming, as the poet dreamed in the days of enslaved Greece, we may call to mind how, in the cycle of human things, another triumph of Europe over Asia was won on the same spot, and if there be, as other poets tell us, two special voices which call to freedom, no spot could be better chosen for the work that was done there than the Marathônian plain. Once that land was said to be

Unchanged in all except its foreign lord.

Now the foreign lord is gone, and for the rest no change is needed. The mountains are there, the sea is there, and, almost as imperishable as themselves, the mound of the fallen heroes is there also. At no great distance from the mound, some stones remain which are held to mark the separate monument of the leader of that day’s battle. Standing there, by the grave of Miltiadês, we think of that day only. On the plain of Marathôn, we will not think either of Paros or of Chersonêsos.

While we write, perhaps no inopportune moment, the news comes that Greece has lost the last and the noblest of her later heroes. The man of other times in whom all his countrymen trusted—the man before whom the chiefs of contending parties could lay their jealousies aside—is taken away from his country in the moment of her utmost need. One tie which binds us to the past is rudely snapped, when the last of the heroes of the past, the last of the ἡμιθέων γένος ἀνδρῶν, passes away from the work to which his county had again called him. After a life of ninety years and more—a life in which the severest of censors, whose scourge spared neither Greek nor Englishman, could not find a single flaw—the hero of the fire-ships is no more. The name of Constantine Kanarês is added to the same roll of departed worthies as Miaoulês and Botzarês, as Church and Hastings. And in the long list of men who for so many ages have done honour to the Hellenic name, among the chosen few whose glory no speck tarnishes, along with Phormiôn and Kallikratidas, men of his own calling and his own element, the pen of history will engrave no nobler name than the name of him who has just gone, of him who has as truly died in the service of his country as if he had fallen fifty years back, like Kynaigeiros himself by the shore of Marathôn.

The Saronic Gulf.

Travelling in Greece has in some measure to be done backwards. The stranger who reaches Athens, as it will often be convenient to reach it, by way of Syra, and who does not mean to cross the bounds of the Greek kingdom, will naturally take Athens on his way homewards. The voyage from Syra to Athens is a voyage made from the rising to the setting sun. In the like sort Athens itself is the practical centre for many points which lie to the west of it, and which geographically form further steps on the return journey. To a traveller of the age of Pausanias, one of the earliest of antiquarian travellers in the modern sense, Athens might have seemed a strange centre for a journey in the Argolic land, with Mykênê as its main object. Mykênê was in his day as desolate as it is now, but Argos and Corinth were in a very different case. In his day Argos and Corinth were united by a carriage road, as there is hope that they may before long be united again. The sea was then less thoroughly the highway of Hellas than it had been in earlier times, or than it has become again in later times. Now the traveller who has not a frame of extra hardihood will most likely look on Mykênê and what naturally goes with Mykênê as an excursion to be done from the capital, an excursion as great a part of which as possible is to be made by water. That is to say, the most natural approach to the Argolic land will be to most travellers by sea from Peiraieus to Nauplia. The traveller will thus begin his researches with one of those charming voyages among islands and peninsulas which form so special a feature in Greek travel. The voyage from Peiraieus to Nauplia strongly brings out some of the characteristics of Greek geography and history. As Sulpicius remarked long ago, famous cities lie close together. We better understand the nature of Greek politics and Greek warfare when we fully take in the fact that so many of the contending powers lay within sight of one another. This feeling comes strongly into the mind when we look down from such a point as the hill of Brescia and see the commonwealths of Lombardy grouped as it were in order before us. But there is a wide difference between commonwealths thus grouped, almost as it were in regular array, marked each by its tower rising from the boundless plain, and commonwealths the site of each of which forms a marked natural feature, an island, a promontory, an inland hill. We see why the duration of the Greek commonwealths was far longer than those of Lombardy, and why they were not in the same way easily brought together under the hands of a few powerful lords. Mr. Mahaffy, who occasionally arrives at untrustworthy conclusions on things which he has not sufficiently studied, but who yields to few in keenness of observation on the things which he has really studied, has some good remarks on the geographical separation between state and state which was brought about by the physical features of the country, above all by the mountain ranges. Athens and Thebes were, as modern states go, very near to one another, but Athens and Thebes had real difficulties in getting at one another. The sea indeed was, whether for peaceful or for war-like purposes, not a barrier but a highway, but just as the physical position of the Greek commonwealths gave them a more distinct national being, so the long and winding coasts of the islands and peninsulas on which so many of them were placed gave them, near as they lay together, an actual extent of territory altogether out of proportion to their nearness. Thus, short as the life of the commonwealths of ancient Greece seems to us, it was at least far longer than the life of the commonwealths of mediæval Italy. Of the last, the few that survived were just those whose geographical position enabled them to survive. Venice and Genoa speak for themselves; so does Ragusa on the other side of the great gulf. Lucca too, it has been well observed, was, just like Athens and Thebes, cut from its neighbour Pisa by mountains which hindered either of the once rival states from seeing each other.

With this train of thought in our minds, we may start on our voyage from Peiraieus to Nauplia, the first stage of our journey from Athens to Mykênê. The heights of Megaris, the Akrokorinthos itself, come within the distant view; but, as our course is marked out, of Megara and Corinth we shall see something more and nearer, while of the other states which border the gulf we take our nearest glimpse on the present voyage. From the Akropolis of Athens, from not a few other points of Attic soil, we have looked down on the varied outlines of the two rocky islands which form the main features of the maritime landscape. Farther from us lies Aigina, eyesore of Peiraieus; nearer lies Salamis, the proudest name, save one, in Athenian history. In the general view one island is as prominent as the other, and we naturally ask the cause of the wide difference in their history. Aigina is itself a famous island; Salamis is simply an island which became the scene of one of the most famous of events. One of those caprices of destiny which, above all, make and mar the fortunes of commercial states, made Aigina for a while one of the great powers of Greece. The rival of Athens on the element which belonged to Aigina before it belonged to Athens, she became first the subject, then the victim, of her rival. So, when again an independent state in after days, she underwent a blow no less fearful at the hands of Rome and her Aitolian and Pergamene allies. Salamis has no such history. The isle of the Aiakids, the subject of the poetical oratory of Solon, once disputed between Megara and Athens, became an integral part of the Attic land, the scene of the great fight where Athenian and Aiginetan fought side by side against the barbarian. But Salamis had no share in the glories of Aigina, though she had some share in her sorrow. Aigina has a history of her own, though a history in which her relations towards Athens play the chief part. The history of Salamis is simply a part of the history of Attica. Long indeed after the days of Solôn or of Periklês she suffered at Athenian hands only less severely than Aigina had done, but that was when Athens, tossed to and fro from one Macedonian lord to another, suspected Salamis of treacherous dealings with one to whom the city was for a while hostile. Salamis has gained a separate being in the days of Kassandros, as Eleusis has again a separate being in the days of the Thirty. Is the cause of this difference between the conquered rival and the incorporated territory to be found in the fact that there was no power in the Argolic Aktê which could possibly draw Aigina to itself—the island was far more likely to attract its neighbours on the mainland—while Salamis lay near enough to the Attic coast to come within the range of that strange influence which made the history of Attica so opposite to that of all other Hellenic lands? As Eleusis and Marathôn could be fused into Athens, so could Salamis; but Aigina lay out of that influence, and lay within no other. Aigina, too powerful to be incorporated with Athens, became, as we have seen, the rival and victim of Athens, while Salamis, weaker and less powerful, became indeed her victim, but in the character, not of a foreign enemy, but of a home district charged with treason.

We pass then by Salamis. We muse on the great sea-fight; we muse specially as we pass by the little dependency of Salamis, that isle of Psyttaleia, beloved by Pan, where Aristeidês dealt the last blow against the noblest of the Persian host. These things happened at Salamis and Psyttaleia, but they were not the work of the men of Salamis and Psyttaleia, even if Psyttaleia had any men. But we do see the work of the men of Aigina, the memory of the greatness of Aigina, as we draw near the coast of the historic isle, and the temple of Panhellenian Zeus looks down upon us from its height. We pass round the northern end of the island; we mark the modern town, and the fringe of fertile land which lies between the sea and the soaring and jagged heights of the island. We catch a glimpse of Epidauros, city of Asklêpios, and our thoughts wander away to the second Epidauros on the Lakonian coast, to the third Epidauros far away, parent of Ragusa and all her argosies. We pass by Methana, of all peninsulas the nearest to an island, cleaving to the Argolic Aktê as the Aktê cleaves to Peloponnêsos, as Peloponnêsos cleaves to Hellas, as Hellas and the adjoining lands cleave to the general mass of Europe. We pass on to the spots famous in later as well as in earlier times, to some which are famous in later times only. Kalaureia, with its Amphiktiony, is perhaps less thought of than modern Pôros, the arsenal of Greece, the scene of stirring events in the war which made Greece free. We skirt the Troizenian land, but Troizên itself hardly comes within our ken; and, if Pôros disputes the place with Kalaureia, Hermionê cannot even attempt to dispute the place in our thoughts with the islands lying off her shore which the warfare of modern days has made so illustrious. There lie the homes of those famous Albanian colonists, two of the three great nurseries of the seamen of Hellas. Their fate has been what to shallow observers may seem a strange one, but which simply follows the commonest laws of human nature. Specially privileged under the Turk, they were foremost in the war against the Turk. Delivered from his yoke, they have greatly fallen from the position which they held under his yoke. The explanation is simple. The Hydriots, independent in their own island on the single condition of furnishing men to the Sultan’s navy, enjoyed that kind of half-freedom which makes men long more keenly for perfect freedom. They know better what freedom is than those who are utterly crushed down, and, as they know better what it is, they also know better how to win it. In such cases we always hear the silly charge of ingratitude—gratitude seemingly being due to the invader if, for his own ends, he leaves his victim something. Hydra then, the land of Miaoulês, was foremost in the strife simply because it could be foremost. But when the strife was over, Hydra lost not a little. That is to say, what was lost by Hydra was won by Greece as a whole. In the days of bondage Hydra flourished, because it was comparatively free. With the establishment of general freedom, Hydra lost all special privilege; commerce, as commerce always will, went to such spots as best suited it; Peiraieus and Syra rose as Hydra went down. Yet Hydra and Spetza at least form part of free Greece. Psara, the isle of Constantine Kanarês, is still in bondage. It is something to stand before the house of the last of the old heroes, to look out on Salamis, and to remember that, when the battle was fought, Themistoklês too was ἄπολις ἀνήρ. By a happy analogy men speak of that house as Caprera; the owner of Caprera is ἄπολις ἀνήρ also.

Hydra then, like Aigina in an earlier day, is a witness of the way in which commerce flits from one shore to another. With its fellow, Spetza, the main interest of our voyage itself, as distinguished from the interest of the spots to which our voyage is to lead us, pretty well ends. We now turn the last main corner; we enter the specially Argolic gulf. Before long, eyes familiar with the scene begin to point out to us the whereabouts of the great objects of our pilgrimage. We see—we at least see where we ought to look for—Tiryns on her lonely hill in the plain, the Larissa of Argos crowning her peaked height, Mykênê herself darkly spied out among the mountains. With these objects before us, we may be forgiven if, as soon as we are once on the shore, we hasten towards them, even to the prejudice of a spot which has some claims, both earlier and later, upon our thoughts. We land at Nauplia. With the great sites now close to us, we may be again forgiven if we pass by the fortress which preserves the name of the legendary Palamêdês, and the remains which show that Nauplia too, though its fame and importance belong mainly to far later times, was a dwelling-place and a fortress of primæval Hellas. Of little fame in the old days of Hellenic freedom, Nauplia held under the later Empire, under the Venetian, and under the Turk, so high a place that forsaken and forgotten Tiryns came in popular speech to bear no other name than Old Nauplia. To Old Nauplia then we hasten, but we do not hasten so fast but that we catch a glimpse of the winged lion over the gate of the younger city, the symbol of ages of Peloponnesian history which we are too apt to forget. In those ages, if Tiryns had to take the name of Nauplia, Nauplia had to take the name of a far more distant city. By one of the many attempts to make a name in one language bear a meaning in another—in this case it would be more accurate to say, to make the name bear another meaning in its own language—Nauplia, the port of Argos, became the Venetian stronghold of Napoli di Romania. Peloponnêsos, no longer Sclavinia was still Romania; on no man’s lips in those days was it Hellas. Nowhere, least of all in such a seat of its power as this, can the badge of the great republic be seen without interest, wonder, and admiration. Another lion not far off, commemorating the coming of a Bavarian king, it is only kindness to pass by. We are on the road—for a road there is—to the most wondrous relic of the præ-historic ages of the land. We soon stop before an elevation in the plain which suggests our own Old Sarum, which, at a second glance, may suggest Worlebury. We have at last reached one of the objects which alone would repay us for coming from Old Sarum or from Worlebury to see them. Salamis, Aigina, Pôros, Hydra itself, all seem but mere stages on the way as we stand below the vast and desolate walls of Tiryns.


We have slightly sketched the main objects which flit before the eye in the delightful voyage from the harbour of Athens to what we may in some sort look on as the harbour of Argos. Once on the Argolic soil, close in the very centre and cradle of Hellenic legend, among the cities whose names have from childhood been surrounded with a halo of mythic lore, we must pause and muse at greater length on each of the famous and wondrous objects before us. Each has its own charm, its own lesson. Mykênê is the special goal of our pilgrimage, the object which—even putting modern discoveries apart—would of itself fully reward a journey from the Western world. But half the charm, half the lesson, of Mykênê comes from its relation to the other cities in the neighbourhood. Argos and Mykênê, the destroyer and the destroyed, suggest one another, and are coupled together, confounded together, in many a verse and many a legend. But they do not stand alone. Before we reach them we come to another spot, less famous, less striking in many points, but still having its own fame, its own charm, a spot which must not be passed by even by those who are hastening on to the most famous spot of all. The first of our hill-fortresses plays, beside its fellows, a comparatively small part either in legend or in history. Fixed on a less striking spot than either, not crowning such a height as the Larissa of Argos, not backed by mountain and gorge like the akropolis of Mykênê, desolate as Mykênê itself, but containing no such wonders of primitive art within its walled circuit, Tiryns stands before us, claiming our study simply by its walled circuit and nothing else. It is the hill-fort, and nothing but the hill-fort. But it is something to gaze on a hill-fort whose walls were ancient and wonderful in Homer’s day, and which abide much as they must have stood in Homer’s day. Argos, Mykênê, Corinth, are all to be seen and studied; but we shall lose no small part of the teaching of those cities and of the land of which they form a part, unless we begin our research with the wonderful spot which enabled the first of Greek poets, the first no less of Greek geographers, to fill up his verse with the sounding formula:

Τίρυνθά τε τειχιόεσσαν.

There is moreover one aspect of Tiryns which will give it a special interest to any one who has already seen something of the primitive cities of Italy, but to whom Tiryns itself is his first introduction to the primitive cities of Greece. He who has visited Fæsulæ and Tusculum, he who has looked thoroughly at Rome itself, will feel a certain impression come strongly upon him that his work is imperfect as long as he keeps himself on the western side of the Hadriatic. Tusculum, above all things, points to Tiryns. The collection of primæval remains in Greece and Italy made long ago by Dodwell—an observer, we may add, second only to the great name of Leake—was perhaps unlucky in helping to give greater currency to the dangerous word Pelasgian. But it was a great gain to bring the Greek and Italian examples together. It would be a greater gain still to bring together as many examples as possible of the same kind from all parts of the world. The rash theorist may be indeed led into any number of those wild imaginings which find their expression in names like “Druidical” in Britain, and “Pelasgian” in Italy and Greece. But the critical inquirer, the votary of the Comparative method, will be strengthened in his researches by seeing how in the art of building, as in everything else, like effects spring from like causes, how the same stage of process leads to the same results in distant lands and distant ages. The helpless devisers of theories about the origin of the arch, and especially of the pointed arch, may profitably learn that the arch has been striven after in endless places—that it has been successfully striven after in many places—that the pointed arch, simply as a constructive form, is as old as the round, and most likely older. The guide who shows the single “arco Gotico” at Tusculum illustrates the state of mind in which professed inquirers into architectural history were only two or three generations back. To them the Gothic style and the pointed arch meant the same thing. That belief, as well as many other kindred beliefs, may be well unlearned on the akropolis of Tiryns.

Tiryns lies on the way to Argos; and Argos lies on the way from Tiryns to Mykênê. The three should be studied together; their position and history supply at once so much of likeness and so much of contrast. All alike, no less than Fæsulæ and Tusculum, no less than Athens itself, no less than “the great group of village communities by the Tiber,” are examples of the primitive hill-fort which has grown into the later city. All show, in different ways, the peculiarities which are characteristic of cities of this immemorial type. But they show also the different forms which that immemorial type might assume, according to difference of local or other circumstances. Athens, Corinth, a crowd of others, all belong to the same general class. We might say that all the strictly immemorial cities of Greece did so. For the river city the small streams of Greece gave no room; and, even where the river city was possible, it doubtless marks a later stage than the hill-fort. The cities of colonial Greece, founded close by or actually in the sea, mark a later stage still. Tiryns, Argos, Mykênê, are all hill cities; but they occupy hills of very different heights and figures. They all stand at no great distance from the sea, but none of them ever grew into a maritime city like Athens, Corinth, or Megara. Near together, but not so near that they could be fused together like the constituent elements of Rome or Sparta, they had to endure the other alternatives which commonly waited on cities which lay near together, but where such union was impossible. Rivalry, enmity, destruction of the weaker by the stronger, formed the staple of the history of the three most famous among the cities of the Argolic land.

We stand then before Tiryns. We are almost surprised at finding that we have so soon reached it from modern Nauplia. Itself as utterly forsaken as Mykênê, it does not stand in the same way as Mykênê, utterly cut off from all signs of modern life, from all signs of any date later than that of the primæval days of Greece. There is indeed something startling in finding a primæval city, and that a city so rich in mythical renown, standing at only a small distance from the roadside. More than seventeen hundred years back Pausanias lighted on it in the same way, and found it as desolate as it is now; then, as now, the wall remained, and nothing more. The site is not for a moment to be compared with that of either of the rival cities. The site of Mykênê would be striking indeed as a mere piece of scenery, even though Mykênê were not there. So would the site, if not of Argos itself, at least of its Larissa and its theatre. But the hill of Tiryns is simply one, and that the lowest, of several small isolated hills in the low ground between the gulf and the mountains. Had other hill-forts arisen on those other nearer hills, the group might have been fused together into one great city by the same process which girded the hills of Rome with a single wall. But this was not to be; Argos was to grow, but it was to grow only by the utter wiping out of Tiryns and Mykênê as inhabited cities. There then, wholly forsaken, not containing so much as a shepherd’s hut, stand the mighty walls, the walls which supplied Homer with a speaking epithet, the walls which in later days men deemed to be too great to be the work of mortal hands, and set down as having been wrought by the superhuman skill of the legendary Kyklôpes. The name marks a change in the idea which had come to attach to that name since the days of Homer. The Kyklôpes of later Grecian legend, always artists of one kind or another—sometimes builders of gigantic walls, sometimes forgers of the thunderbolts of Zeus—have no likeness but in name and strength to the solitary and savage Kyklôpes of the Odyssey. But when we see, not only a vast expenditure of mere force, but the display of real skill which is shown in these primitive works of defence—works, as we are tempted to think, of a rude age, when, if force was abundant, no great skill was to be looked for—it is not wonderful if men in later days looked on them as the work of more than mortal hands. For ornament, for polish or finish of any kind, we are not to look in the stage represented by Tiryns. Yet the way in which the rugged material is dealt with, the piling together of these vast unhewn rocks so as to fit them together and to bring to the front so many comparatively smooth surfaces, was, in the ages and under the circumstances of the builders, as true a work of artistic skill as the care which dictated the delicate curves, the minute differences in distance and direction, in the portico of the Parthenôn itself. Who those builders were it is in vain for us to guess. They belong to the primæval, the unrecorded, days of Hellas, to the days before even legendary history begins. Mykênê has a history—a history which different minds may set down as truth, as mere fable, as fable grounded upon truth, but which still is a history, which still is something different from that mere guessing at the names of founders which was prescribed by the supposed necessity of finding an eponymous hero for every land and city. The legends of Tiryns hardly get beyond this stage. Hêraklês indeed figures in its story, but Hêraklês is in his own nature ubiquitous. That Mykênê contains monuments marking a far higher stage of art than anything at Tiryns proves nothing as to the relative date of the two cities. For the works at Tiryns and the oldest work at Mykênê may well be of the same date. All that we can say is that these walls belong to an age before history, before tradition. If Homer had spoken of these walls as the works of Kyklôpes, we might have seen in it a dim tradition that they were the works of some race of men older than his own Achaians. As it is, we can only say that they are the works of the earliest inhabitants of Peloponnêsos of whom any works remain to us. Whatever we may guess from the analogy of other lands, we have no evidence of the existence of any inhabitants of Peloponnêsos earlier than the Achaians of Homer.

We come then somewhat suddenly on the hill-fortress by the roadside. We are guided to the southern face of a hill much longer from north to south than from east to west, and we find ourselves before the main approach of Tiryns, or at least of its akropolis. The great gate has perished; there is nothing to set against the lions of Mykênê. But to the right of where it stood is one of the two main features which have given the walls of Tiryns their special fame. This is what the Greek antiquaries call the σύριγξ, what in English may be called the sally-port, the long passage with its roof made of the great stones of primæval masonry so placed together as to make the form, though not the construction, of the pointed arch. Of the many examples of striving after the archaic construction without ever actually reaching it which are to be found scattered through so many parts of the world, none is more instructive than this. In the history of architectural construction it fully deserves a place alongside of the Mykenaian treasuries. Here is a great military work of the earliest times, the builders of which were striving hard, though without perfect success, to form an arch. This fact at once puts a barrier between the primitive and the historical buildings of Greece. It is indeed strange that a people which had come so near to the greatest of mechanical discoveries should have failed of altogether reaching it, and should have developed its historical architecture from a principle altogether different. In Italy it was otherwise. We there see exactly the same strivings after the arch which we see in Greece; but here the strivings were rewarded with success at an early time. The attempt succeeded; the perfect arch was lighted on, and the historical architecture of Rome was developed from the principle of the arch. Thus, while Fæsulæ, Tusculum, Signia, a crowd of others have their Greek parallels, there is no Greek parallel to the cloaca maxima of Rome.

Then, again, as we have already hinted, these examples show that the pointed arch, simply as a constructive form, is as old as the round. Because the pointed arch happened to become the leading feature of an architectural style later than the round arch, we are apt to fancy that the form is later in its own nature, that it must have been developed out of the round, that he who built the first pointed arch must have seen round arches. Yet the pointed form is just as natural in itself, just as likely to occur to a primitive builder. Indeed we might almost say that it was more likely. The first step towards the arch would doubtless be setting two stones to lean against one another, and this would lead much more easily to the pointed arch than to the round. It so happened that the first Italian builders whose strivings after the arch were quite successful were led to the round and not to the pointed form. But had the Tusculan or the Tirynthian engineer actually reached the construction to which he came so near, an architectural style, with the pointed arch for its great constructive feature, might have arisen in Latium or Argolis a thousand years before it actually did arise under Saracenic hands.

Again, in considering these matters, we must carefully keep ourselves back from any tempting ethnological theories, above all from such ethnological theories as lurk in the dangerous word Pelasgian. No one doubts the near connexion of the old Italian and the old Greek races, a connexion nearer than that of common Aryan origin. But the same kind of analogies which may be seen in their earlier buildings may be seen also in the early buildings of races which are much further apart. If Tiryns finds its best parallel at Tusculum, Mykênê finds its best parallel at New Granga. Nearly just the same strivings after the arch may be found in more than one land altogether beyond the pale of European or Aryan fellowship, as for instance in the ruined cities of Central America. The analogies in the primæval architecture of remote nations exactly answer to the analogies in their weapons, dress, and customs. They belong to the domain of Mr. Tylor.

But, while the remains at Tiryns have this special interest for the student of architectural history, they show also how far the primitive engineers had advanced in the scientific study of the art of defence. Even the non-military observer can well take this in on the eastern side. There rises what, seen from within, seen in a direct view from without, the beholder is apt to call a tower. But it is merely that the wall is either better preserved at this point or else was higher from the beginning. Here was one chief approach to the fortress, and it was guarded by what, in the technical language of Colonel Leake, is called a ramp. The only approach to the gate was by going up an ascent formed by an advanced wall, made so that an assailant would expose his unshielded side to the defenders of the fort. This skilful piece of fortification, with the sally-port which is so nearly perfect, and another, traces of which remain on the other side, shows that the primitive engineers, call them Kyklôpes or anything else, had advanced a long way beyond mere mechanical piling together of stones.

The walls doubtless fence in only the akropolis, the primitive city, answering to the oldest Athens, to the oldest Rome on the Palatine. How far the town may have spread itself over the surrounding plain we have no means of judging. We cannot believe that Tiryns ever became a great city like Argos and Corinth. Its name vanishes from history too soon for that. But at Tiryns, as we shall also see at Mykênê, there was an upper and a lower city within the fortified enclosure itself. Greek antiquaries call the higher level a καταφύγιον, a place of refuge, but it is the strongly fortified part to which the approaches lead. Was this the royal citadel, and was the lower part the dwelling-place of the other original settlers before the town had spread at all beyond the present akropolis? The military objects of the two levels are gone into by Colonel Leake, but we must remember that these ancient strongholds were not, like modern forts, built simply to be attacked and defended. They were dwelling-places of man, fortified because they were dwelling-places of man. One would think that the whole of the first body of settlers would find shelter within the walls. There was the king on the higher level; the rest of the tribe was below. A δῆμος might or might not arise beyond their defences. At Rome and Athens such a δῆμος did arise, and made the history of Rome and Athens different from that of Tiryns.

It is a wonderful thing to stand beneath these mighty walls, raised out of the huge blocks which seem too great for mortal men to have piled. Nowhere else does the line of thought which they suggest come out so strongly. On the Athenian akropolis there are blocks ruder than those of Tiryns itself, but they are hidden by the great works of more polished days. At Mykênê the walls, mighty as they are, have almost yielded to tombs, gates, and treasuries. At Tiryns it is the walls and the walls alone which seem to speak of its days of power. Tiryns struck men as being τειχιόεσσα in the days of the Homeric Catalogue. It is as τειχιόεσσα and as τειχιόεσσα only, that it strikes us still.


A short drive—we are still within the region where driving is possible—takes us from Tiryns to Argos, from the destroyed city to the destroyers. The contrast is striking. Argos, through all changes, has always remained a dwelling-place of man, and not only a dwelling-place of man, but a town of some importance, according to the standard of its own age and place. Modern Athens is an artificial city. It is a town which might have stood anywhere else, built at the foot of the ancient akropolis and around the churches of Eirênê. Modern Argos is not an artificial town; it has come to be what it is by the gradual operation of ordinary historical causes. It shows us what an ancient Greek city, neither ruined nor forsaken nor artificially fostered, but left to the working of natural circumstances, finds itself after long ages of Roman, Venetian, Turkish, and restored Greek rule. The chief remark which the place suggests to a Western eye is how little there is to remark. In the modern town there is no remarkable building of any kind, old or new. The modern cathedral is large and is meant to be of some pretensions, but one would gladly exchange it for the tiny metropolitan church of Athens, or for any other church of genuine Byzantine style and date. The town itself covers a large space, and contains a considerable population. Setting apart the capital and the great seaports, Argos ranks high among the existing cities of Greece. Yet to a Western eye it has an unpleasing, almost a barbarous, look. It is dirty, irregular, with neither Western neatness nor Eastern picturesque effect. An old Venetian possession, one might have expected that St. Mark might have planted somewhat of his impress here, as he has done on so many of his subject cities. If Argos were even as Traü, no one would complain, but, since the Venetian, Argos has seen the Turk, and that is enough to account for the difference. Argos is not lacking in recent history. It was the scene of important events during the War of Independence, when it acted several times as the common meeting-place of Greece. It is still, we believe, a thriving place after its own standard, but that is not the standard of Western Europe, nor yet the standard of Syra and Patras. Yet it sets us thinking whether a town in Western Europe, five or six hundred years back, may not have looked much the same. In one point indeed there was a difference. No Western mediæval town of the same population as modern Argos would have spread over the same space. That is to say, the modern town lies scattered, doubtless because it represents an ancient city of far greater extent.

But the objects which give Argos its main interest in the eyes of the historical inquirer, the objects which bear witness to the existence of Argos in the days of its greatness, lie outside the modern town. One, the chief of all, proclaims its presence from afar. The akropolis of Argos, the famous Larissa, the soaring height crowned by the stronghold which from a primæval fortress grew into a modern castle, is an akropolis in quite another sense than the lowlier hill of Tiryns, or even than that of Athens. The name leads to a long train of thought. It is the Larissa of Argos. How many spots bear the name of Larissa? How many lands and cities bear the name of Argos? He who has a taste for Pelasgian speculation has a wide field opened to him. He who keeps himself within the range of recorded history and of such tradition as may be said to prove itself, may perhaps be led to think how largely the fame of Argos is a borrowed fame. Argos and the Argeians meet us in every page of the Homeric tale; they seem to be the most familiar names for Greece and the Greeks before Greece and the Greeks had as yet an acknowledged common name. A little thought will, however, show that in most of the places where they are named there is no immediate reference to the local city of Argos. The Bretwalda of Hellas ruled over many islands and over all Argos. Whatever this means, it can hardly mean anything short of all Peloponnêsos; at least it cannot mean the local Argos, which did not come within his immediate kingdom. To suppose any reference to the local Argos would be like quartering a Karling at Paris or a West-Saxon at York. But the local Argos dealt with Mykênê like the savage who swallows the eye of his slain enemy in order to take to himself his strength, courage, and glory. Only a few years after Mykênê fell we find the Attic dramatists transferring the whole tale of Pelops’ line from its own place to the destroying city. The confusion has become hopeless. Argos becomes surrounded by a mythical glory to which it has no claim. The name of Argos brings up a crowd of associations, most of which it is our first duty to drive back. We must remember that Agamemnôn—we take the personal name to express the fact of the Mykênaian empire—was lord of the local Argos only in the sense in which he was lord of any other spot in Peloponnêsos. The two neighbouring cities were the heads, as the Catalogue shows us, of two kingdoms of strangely irregular shape, but whose very shape is the sign that the geography is genuine. No inventor could have hit on anything so unlike the arrangements of historic Greece. Argos destroyed Mykênê and took its glories to itself. If we can conceive Paris and Laon—or, by a still bolder flight, Paris and Aachen—within sight of one another, and if we can further conceive the elder seat of rule not only robbed of its history, but actually rased to the ground, by the younger seat, we shall get a fair illustration of what really happened in the case of Argos and Mykênê.

Yet Argos has a history of its own, and that a long and stirring history, though it is a history which can seldom be called honourable, and one which never, in the days of contemporary record, places the city in the first rank, along with Sparta, Athens, and, for a moment, Thebes. In contemporary history Argos seems chiefly to live on the memory of earlier days when she did hold such a place. And it is one of Mr. Grote’s services to those parts of Grecian history which lie rather out of the range of his main strength that he has brought out clearly that there was a time when Argos did hold the first place in Peloponnêsos. In the Iliad she is one of the three cities which Hêrê best loved, but which she could endure to see overthrown as the price of seeing the overthrow of hated Ilios. Argos there ranks with Sparta and Mykênê. When the day of overthrow came, when Achaian rule gave way to Dorian, when Argos in the wider sense became Peloponnêsos, the local Argos appears as first of three chief Dorian powers, with Sparta and, no longer Mykênê, but Messênê—the land and not the later city—as her secondary yokefellows. Prima inter pares among these, she gradually loses the first place to Sparta, and spends the rest of her days as a Greek city in feeble assertion of the place which she had lost. In every age of Greek history, in the days of Persian, Peloponnesian, Corinthian, Macedonian, and Achaian warfare, the name of Argos meets us at every page, but the annals of the city are nowhere adorned by any great strokes of heroism or wisdom. Her policy is often isolated, often cowardly, almost always dictated by jealousy of Sparta. In her last age Pyrrhos dies beneath her walls, and she joins the League under a reclaimed tyrant. But the distance between Aristomachos and Lydiadas may mark the distance between Argos and the first of Grecian cities, when that name had passed away from Argos, Sparta, Athens, and Thebes to Megalopolis, mother of Achaian statesmen.

Still with all this, Argos is a great name. A continuous being, a continuous history, from the Homeric Catalogue to the War of Independence, is something which Megalopolis and even Sparta cannot boast of. Sparta—Lakedaimonia in later phrase—gave way to Misthra; modern Sparta is a new and artificial creation. But Argos, the Argos that we now see, with its queer-looking streets and shops and open spaces, is, by unbroken succession, the city of Diomêdês, the city of Kleobis and Bitôn. We look in vain for the temple which witnessed the filial piety of Kleobis and Bitôn, but the Larissa of Diomêdês, the Aspis—the shield of Argos—which was stormed by the last Kleomenês, is there still. The huge hill with the ruined buildings at the base, with the castle containing remains of almost every age on its crest, with the signs of human occupation covering almost every step of its steep sides, all are now utterly desolate, but they bear witness to the lesson that the modern town over which they soar is the unbroken successor of the dwelling-place of man in præ-historic times. The Larissa of Argos is an akropolis indeed, utterly dwarfing, as far as the works of nature go, the far lowlier height of primæval Athens. No Parthenôn, no Propylaia, crowned the hill of Argos. The nature of the site could hardly have allowed them to stand there, and, if it could, they would have seemed out of place on that mountain-top. The fortress however is there, shattered and forsaken as it is; the walls of the mediæval castle are propped on the walls of unrecorded days with their vast Kyklopean masonry. Other parts rest on masonry of later date, but still masonry of early Hellenic times, stones which were there before Argos thought it her interest in the greatest national peril of Greece, to find out that her hero Perseus was the forefather of the invading barbarian. We look down from the height on the modern city, on the plain, on the gulf which parts the Argolic Aktê from the main mass of Peloponnêsos; we mark the coast stretching away towards the hostile Lakonian land; we gaze on the mountain heights of the central land of the peninsula, fencing in the home of that old Arkadian race which boasted that alone among Greeks it had never changed its dwelling. There rises Artemision, there rises the hoary peak of Kronion, its snow-capped crest seeming no unfit dwelling-place of the aged god who reigned before Zeus and his children. At the foot of the hill lie a number of buildings, all forsaken and shattered, witnessing to the many changes which Argos has seen, to the many masters who have ruled over her. There is one piece of mighty ancient walling strangely brought together with sculpture of Roman times. There is the theatre with its ranges of seats cut deep in the hill-side, a theatre looking out on the wide expanse of city, plain, sea, and mountains. Almost at its foot stands a ruin of the days when Argos formed part of the subject lands of the city by the Tiber, a ruin which bespeaks its kindred with the baths of Antoninus, and shows us in all its boldness the great constructive invention after which men strove at Tiryns, but which Greece, in all other things the mother of arts, had to learn from her Roman masters. We look at the broken brick vault of the Roman building, but if our eye turns a little to the right, we soon see how it was the lands east of the Hadriatic which first learned how to give the great constructive invention of Italy its noblest form and to apply it to its highest use. At no great distance from the Roman ruin stands a church of Byzantine days, which fitly finishes the series. The forms to which men were feeling their way in the sally-port of Tiryns and in the treasure-house of Mykênê reached their perfection when the architects of the East taught the cupola, soaring or spreading as it might be, to rise on its supporting columns over the centre of the churches of Eastern Christendom. Primæval Greece strove after the arch; historic Greece, if she knew its constructive use, confined it to a few purposes of constructive usefulness. Primæval Italy strove, and strove with more success, in the same path, and made the form which Greece used so timidly the life of her national architecture. On Roman ground the arch grew into the cupola, but it was on the ground that was Greek and Roman alike, on the ground of the Eastern peninsula, that the cupola took its noblest form. On the Larissa of Argos a few traces have been found of galleries like those of Tiryns. Pausanias bears witness that Argos once had her subterranean chamber like those of Mykênê, and doubtless following the same construction. At Tiryns and Mykênê the series goes no further; the destroying hand of Argos decreed that it should go no further. The long life of Argos allowed every form to stand there side by side, from the gallery and the treasury to the Roman bath and the Byzantine church. Yet it is not in Argos itself that the series can be really studied. In the life of cities nothing preserves like early overthrow, nothing destroys like continuous life. Of the members of the Argive series the latest alone is perfect. The vault of the Roman bath is broken down; the gallery can scarcely be traced; for the existence of the treasury we have only the witness of a traveller seventeen hundred years back. It is among the victims of Argos that early overthrow has preserved to us the works of the earliest times. In forsaken Tiryns and Mykênê we learn more of the earliest days of Greece than we can learn in the city which has survived them by three-and-twenty centuries. We have mused over the walls, the guarded gate, the sally-port of Tiryns; we must go on to muse on the walls, the mightier gate, the treasuries, the rifled tombs, of Mykênê, Imperial city of Hellas in her earliest day.

The Akropolis of Mykênê.

Euripides was perhaps after all not so far wrong as he seemed to the mocking genius of comedy, when he raised the question whether life and death were not in truth things which had exchanged their names:

τίς οἶδεν εἰ τὸ ζῆν πέν ἐστι κατθανεῖν, τὸ κατθανεῖν δέ ζῆν;

It is at least very often so in the case of cities; it is emphatically so in the case of the great cities of the Argolic land. Argos, as we have seen, if it has not altogether died, has at least been brought down to a kind of life which, judged by its ancient standard, might pass for little better than death. Its continued being has destroyed well nigh every trace of its ancient state within the circuit which still remains inhabited. Argos is thus dead because it has lived. Mykênê, on the other hand, has remained alive because it died. Had Mykênê remained a ruling city, or even a dwelling-place of men in any shape, during all the ages which have passed since the fifth century before Christ, we should not see, as we now see, what the imperial city of the Pelopid house really was. Thanks to its happy destruction, no work of Turk, or Venetian, or Roman has ever arisen to jar on the associations of the primæval city. Even the works of those whom at Mykênê we must call the later Greeks, the men who dwelled there from the Dorian invasion to the days of Periklês, have passed away as though they had never been. No columns rise, as at Nemea, over the forsaken spot; we meet no tomb by the wayside, no legend graven on the rock, such as we light on as we tread the holy way from Athens to Eleusis. House and wall, temple and tower, were either utterly swept away by Argive wrath, or else they have crumbled away into nothingness since the scourge of Argos passed over the devoted city. Where once stood the wide streets of Mykênê, we meet only the shepherd with his crook to guide his flock, or the peasant woman, with Paionian industry, plying her distaff as she gathers her sheep or her goats to watering. For the hum of assembled citizens in the agorê, for the tramp of gathering warriors on the akropolis, we hear only the pipe of the shepherd himself and the bark of the shepherd’s dog. The shepherds who wander over the site of Mykênê may not wholly answer to the pictures of Theokritos or Virgil, but the crook, the pipe, the distaff, are here no figures of speech. They may be seen and heard daily as the sun rises over the deep gorge which fences in the Mykênaian akropolis, or when he “reigns” at eve over the heights of Artemis and Kronos. But even those few shepherds do not, like the few inhabitants of modern Corinth, dwell on the old site of Mykênê, nor do they profess to carry on the Mykênaian name. At the foot of the lower hill, the hill of the city as distinguished from the hill of the akropolis, a small church and a few houses, seeming almost to grow out of the rocky soil, form the small village, not of Mykênê but of Chorbati. Yet in one sense Chorbati has become Mykênê. Gathered there in a small museum are the less splendid and precious of the relics which modern discovery has brought to light on Mykênaian soil. And there too is one relic, torn from a rifled tomb on the akropolis, which to the eye of faith must be more precious even than the treasury and the lion-gate. There lies the nearly perfect skeleton which those who have trodden doubts and difficulties under their feet believe to be the very bones of Agamemnôn. The more cautious Greek antiquary is less rash in committing himself. Mr. Stamatâkês, the learned and zealous guardian of the Mykênaian treasury, points to it with a wise qualification. The rest of his explanation is given in the tongue which is alike his own and Homer’s. But, to express his doubts, the Hellenic lips have learned to form a Teutonic genitive. He does not commit himself to the belief that they are the bones of “Agamemnôn,” pure and simple; they are the bones of “Schliemann’s Agamemnôn.” Yet primæval Hellas, primæval Mykênê, has a history which may well live through alike unreasonable doubts and undiscerning faith. Call him what we will—Agamemnôn or anything else—the name matters little. It is a marked moment in one’s life when one looks on the bones of one who, we need not doubt, was, in days long before Hekataios wrote or even before Homer sang, a lord of many islands and of all Argos.

The position of the akropolis at Mykênê differs widely from that of either of the neighbouring akropoleis of Tiryns and Argos. The hill of Tiryns is a mere mound in the plain. The loftier hill of Argos, though far outtopped by the mountains behind it, still stands out as a marked object. But the akropolis of Mykênê, though we find it to be in a manner isolated, when we come to it, seems like an outpost of the far loftier hills immediately behind it. On one side the rock rises precipitously above a narrow gorge whose limestone cliffs at once, to an eye familiar with the West of England, suggest the gorges of Mendip, and, above all, the great pass of Cheddar. In the early days of fortifications, when there was no missile to be feared but darts and arrows, a fortress was not deemed to be in greater danger by reason of being thus overlooked. Indeed, to be overlooked by high and inaccessible mountains was in itself a kind of shelter. The Mykênaian akropolis thus stands upon the rocks and among the hills in a way in which its fellows at Tiryns and Argos do not. For that same reason it does not stand out in the same way as an object in the distant view. Its true form and position grow gradually upon us as we rise from the modern village along the paths—paths only of the shepherd and his flock—which are now all that represent the wide streets of the city beloved of Hêrê. More than one path may be chosen, and each will lead by one or more of the wonderful remains of the city itself, the so-called treasuries, as distinguished from the remains of the akropolis. But the path to be taken by choice, as it is the path to which the traveller’s instinct will most likely lead him, is that most to the right, that which skirts the brook which runs down from the limestone gorge, and which will lead his steps by the greatest monuments of all, the first and the second treasuries. But let the treasuries wait for a moment; they are works, though of unrecorded days, yet still of days far later than the defences of the akropolis itself. We will gaze first at the very centre of all, the centre, we may say, of præ-historic Hellas. And, as we draw near, we cannot help having our wrath slightly kindled against the last discoverer of Mykênê. Dr. Schliemann has done well in what he has brought to light; we cannot think that he has done well in what he has hidden. As we draw near, the height and outline of a great part of the outer wall of the akropolis are utterly hidden, the general view is spoiled, the proportion of the whole work is sadly damaged, because Dr. Schliemann chose to throw the rubbish which he dug out of the tombs anywhere where it might light. He has for the most part thrown it in vast heaps over the wall, by which a really large part of the course of the wall is hidden, and the whole view blurred and confused. A little trouble might have avoided this at first; a little more trouble might get rid of the rubbish now. In the last diggings at Athens much more care has been taken. The rubbish has been all carried away, and is piled in heaps where it does no harm. If in times to come those heaps should grow into hills like the “mons testaceus” at Rome, no harm will have been done, and an odd little piece of history will have been made. But Dr. Schliemann’s heaps of rubbish do seriously mar the general effect of the Mykênaian akropolis. They make it hard to understand the real line of the walls until we come quite close to them. Among the rocks and the walls, the walls growing out of the rocks, we see something which is neither rock nor wall, but which confuses the outline of both; as we come nearer, we find it to be the former contents of the royal tombs and of the other works which have been brought to light within the walls. As at Tiryns, there is a higher and a lower, an inner and an outer fortress within the akropolis itself. But the greater height of the Mykênaian hill makes this arrangement far more prominent, far more effective than it is at Tiryns. Only at Mykênê the lower enclosure has more of the air of an excrescence or an appendage than the lower enclosure of Tiryns. But it is this lower enclosure, the enclosure immediately entered by the famous lion-gate, which, whether an addition or not to the fortress above, has become the great centre of the associations of the place. There lie the empty tombs, thence came the wondrous treasures, which have carried us back into the depths of what we may fairly call præ-historic history, which have made us stand face to face, if not with the personal heroes of Homer, at least with the men of that age of Hellenic culture which the songs of Homer set before us.

The buildings of Mykênê have been described over and over again till their general effect must be almost as familiar to those who have not seen them as to those who have. But here, as everywhere else, it is the merely artistic character which can be thus taken at a distance. To feel Mykênê, as to feel any other place, we must see it. And even some of the artistic points can, as usual, be thoroughly made out only on the spot. One must see the place thoroughly to take in the wide difference between the masonry and artistic finish of the lion-gate and of the two chief treasuries. The lion-gate—we mean the gate itself, as distinguished from the lions—is a mere piling together of stones. The work is done doubtless with great mechanical skill, and it has the wonderful effect which all such primitive buildings have; still it is altogether without any claims on the score of art. But in the gateways of the treasuries, instead of the vast erect jambs of the lion-gate, we find well-wrought courses of stone in two orders, with something that may almost be called a moulding. These gateways had columns too. Unluckily nearly all are gone, even the precious fragment which was seen and drawn by the earlier travellers. This last, be it remembered, was of a kind which would not have looked out of place in any Romanesque building in England or Normandy. This is a most instructive fact, as the likeness must have been purely accidental; and this may serve to remind us that there are such things as accidental likenesses, and to warn us against leaping to conclusions when such likenesses are found in times and places far distant from one another. In the second treasury, the one lately brought to light by Dr. Schliemann, there is a fragment of another column, no longer in its place, which looks like the first rude attempt at the later Doric. Now over both these gateways, and also over the lion-gate, are openings of the same triangular form, though of course wrought far more carefully in the treasuries than in the lion-gate. In the treasuries these openings are openings; they are at present filled up with nothing. That over the lion-gate is filled, as all the world knows, with a basaltic stone which would seem more natural at Bamburgh than at Mykênê, carved with the famous lions, if lions they be, which guard a column that would not seem out of place in the duomo of Fiesole, in the apse of La Couture at Le Mans, or even in the slype at Worcester. Can we believe that the lion-gate and the lions, that the lion-gate and the gates of the treasuries, are all of the same date? And in point of work the lions at once connect themselves with the gateways of the treasuries, not with the gateway over which they stand. Surely we have in these gateways signs of an abiding type which lived on through several stages of advancing art. Over the square-headed gate there was to be, for whatever reason, a triangular hole, doubtless meant to be filled with a stone of its own shape. In the treasuries either this stone was never put in or it is gone. In the lion-gate it was put in, as it seems to us, when art had passed the stage represented by the lion-gate itself, and had reached the stage which is represented by the gateways of the treasuries.

Another thought suggests itself. At Mykênê, as less clearly at Tiryns, the lion-gate, with its skilfully guarded approach, does not lead at once into the higher enclosure of the akropolis, but into the outer and lower one. Does this go at all to show that this outer enclosure, at Mykênê at least, was an addition to the primitive fortress of all, fencing in the upper part of the hill? The fact that the tombs were found in the lower enclosure also looks this way. There must have been a time when this ground was looked upon as being outside the city, or it would hardly have been used for purposes of burial. The argument does not quite reach demonstration; burial within the walls was not absolutely unknown even in historical Greece, and it may not be safe to argue from historical to primæval Greece. Still the two arguments so far fall together as at least to suggest the idea that we have in the inner enclosure something yet more ancient and venerable than all—something which may have been ancient and venerable, not only in the days of Homer, but in the days of those whose tale Homer has told.

For the present we keep within the akropolis, within the old hill fort which forms the inner circle of the Ekbatana of the imperial lords of præ-historic Hellas. We stand here within the walls which struck the minds of so many of the poets of Greece in the days when their desolation was a thing of yesterday—walls which seemed too mighty to be the work of mortal men, and which, like their fellows elsewhere, were deemed to have been wrought by the same hands which forged the thunderbolts of Zeus. Here we may in truth

Φάσκειν Μυκήνας τὰς πολυχρύσους ὁρᾷν, πολύφθορόν τε δῶμα Πελοπιδῶν τόδε—

and we may deem that the house of the Pelopids was something which grew up as a new thing beneath the shadow of the Cyclopean walls. That inner fortress may well be to the Mykênaian empire of Homeric times what Roma Quadrata on the Capitol was to the Rome which bore rule over all Italy. But not a word is there in the Homeric tale to make us think that that empire was a dominion of foreign princes, or that the patriarch of the Pelopids was other than a son of the peninsula to which the race gave its name. From the akropolis one may look down on the enclosure which holds the rifled tombs, on the space beyond—the site of the wide streets of Mykênê—which holds the treasuries, and so on to destroying Argos and to Tiryns, the fellow-sufferer in overthrow. There is no other spot where we are carried so deep into unrecorded ages, and where unrecorded ages tell their tale so clearly. But the tale of the akropolis, even the tale of the inner fortress, is enough for one while. The tombs of the lower enclosure, the treasuries, if treasuries they be, of the outer city, may supply their own materials for separate thought.

The Treasuries and Treasures of Mykênê.

The Treasuries of Mykênê we have heard of all our days; the Treasures have become famous only since the diggings of Dr. Schliemann brought them to light. The names are perhaps unlucky; as, to those who have not seen the spot, they may suggest a connexion between the treasuries and the treasures which does not exist in fact. The treasures were not found in the treasuries, nor even in the same part of the city as the treasuries. The treasures come from the tombs, and all the tombs that have been opened lie in the outer and lower enclosures of the akropolis. The treasuries, one of which has long been famous, lie altogether outside the akropolis, in what must have been the outer city, among the wide streets of Mykênê. The word “treasures” again may suggest a false idea. Objects thrown into tombs as part of the honour done to deceased persons are hardly “treasures” in any ordinary sense of the word. A treasure is something which may be drawn upon for use; objects which are thrown into tombs are, in the nature of the case, never meant to be used again. But, by whatever name they are to be called, there they are; remains of a great age, of an age which, though beyond the reach of chronology, we can hardly call unrecorded. Though the great works of Mykênê are manifestly of various dates, yet all may in a general way be said to belong to one period—the period, whatever its length, whatever its distance from ourselves, when Mykênê was the head of Hellas. To some stage of that period the objects found in the tombs must belong. It is enough to say that they are work of the period which Homer had before his eyes when he sang of the transfer of the sceptre through the successive generations of the house of Pelops, no stranger house in his song. To attempt to assign the tombs, the skeletons, the ornaments, to particular persons is rash. And, on the other hand, the time is hardly come for those who take a general view of history to commit themselves to any decided judgment as to the place which these objects have in the history of art, or as to their relation to objects found in other lands. It is well that the specialists should for a little time longer have that branch of the subject in their keeping. Some new light will doubtless be thrown on the matter by the find which has just been made in Attica. When all these points have been thoroughly sifted, the historian will be glad to accept the results. As it is, it is enough for him that here are the tombs of the Mykênaian lords of Hellas, that here are the objects which the creed of their days deemed becoming offerings of reverence for the dead.

Besides the field which these objects open for the more direct student of art, they open also a field of almost higher interest for the historian of customs. The mode of disposing of the dead seems to have been a strange kind of compromise between burning and burying. If we rightly understand the process, the bodies were placed in the tombs; they were then half burned; lastly the masks were placed upon them, and the tombs were filled up with the vases and other objects. Here indeed is work for Mr. Tylor and any other labourers in that field. The effect of the masks is wonderful. Whether they are really likenesses or not, we accept them as such while we look on them; we feel ourselves brought more directly into the presence of the men of old than we are even by the sight of the skeleton. Physically the actual bones of the man are more truly part of himself; but we really feel brought nearer to him as we see the thin covering which has rested on his face, and which seems at least to profess to keep the stamp of his features. We will not dare to call him Agamemnôn or any other name. We look at least on what would be the likeness of one of those on whom our own Alfred so happily bestowed the name of the Cæsars that were to be, on one whose historic position is best brought home to us if we call him, in Alfred’s tongue, the Bretwalda of primæval Hellas.

The ornaments and other objects have been described and discussed over and over again by those who have a special object in their study. But there is one among them which we do not remember to have seen described in any of the published accounts, one which, if it has been already mentioned, will certainly stand being mentioned again. Of all the objects which Mr. Stamatâkês has under his care, and which he so fully and clearly explains to all who can follow him in his own tongue, there is none more curious in itself, none which speaks more directly home to us, than those pieces of thin gilding which were found in one of the tombs over the breast of one of the female bodies, and which, when put together, were found to make the complete figure of a young babe. There is nothing wonderful in this. A royal infant—a clitunculus, as some of our own chroniclers would have called him—may have died at Mykênê and have been buried with his mother, as well as anywhere else. But the sight of the impression of the little limbs seems to bring us more nearly into the presence of the home-life of those old kings than any other object in the whole collection. Criticism for a moment holds back; we are more inclined than usual to listen to the voice of legend, when we are told that we are looking on the masks of Kassandra and her child. Neither the Homeric nor the Æschylean story would ever put it into our heads to attribute children to Kassandra; but the local tradition in the days of Pausanias showed the tombs of the twin sons of Kassandra and Agamemnôn, slain and buried with their parents. In our fit of belief we even put aside the obvious question, Where is the mask of the other brother? The legend doubtless erred; in all cases where any tyrant seeks the destruction of a pair of twin brothers, or of young brothers of any kind, one, whether in history or in legend, escapes and lives. In our own eleventh-century history two doubly widowed mothers are left with twin children, each pair sought after by the Aigisthos of their own day. Of the original “clitunculi,” the twin babes of Eadmund and Ealdgyth, both indeed were saved, but one only lived. Of the second pair, the babes of Harold and the second Ealdgyth, one fell into the hands of the Conqueror, safe in his hands from death, though it might be to drag on life only in a dungeon; the other lived to show himself like a shadow on the fleet of Magnus. And, while we are believing, we may for a moment believe that, of a later pair of princes, one escaped, and that Perkin Warbeck was truly Richard the Fourth. The Mykênaian tradition must have erred in boasting of the tomb both of Pelops and of Têledamos. One must have been carried away along with Orestês his half-brother. The impression of the other’s form in beaten gold we will for a moment indulge ourselves in believing that our eyes have looked upon.

But, leaving dreams and analogies, leaving too the strictly scientific examination of the objects as works of art, the picture which they give us of the state of things in the age to which they belong is wonderful and interesting beyond words. We are indeed in the age of Homer, the age of gold and bronze, when, if we cannot strictly say with Hesiod that black iron was not yet, we can at least say that it had gone no way at all to displace the elder metal. We see before our eyes that abundance of gold the tradition of which clave to the Pelopid capital even in the days of the tragedians, and made Sophoklês speak of Mykênê as πολυχρύσος. It jars indeed slightly on the feelings to see the tombs themselves rifled and the more precious part of their contents borne off to distant Athens. As a mere matter of sentiment we might have said of the old King whose skeleton lies in the museum, “Let him alone, let no man move his bones.” We might be tempted to wish that the treasures themselves had remained in the state of

Aurum inrepertum, et sic melius situm
Cum terra celat.

But, without thus rifling the tombs of the dead, we should never have known that the dead and their treasures were there. When once the tombs were opened, the treasures could not be left in them; and, if they were to be borne away at all, they were best borne away to the national capital. In other cases we might plead for the capital of the district, but in this case we could not bear to give Argos another triumph. We must take the relics as they are, in their new place under the best of guardianship. But what a moment it must have been to have stood by the tombs themselves when they were first brought to light!

From the treasures, better perhaps called the relics, let us turn to the treasuries. What were they? Tombs, treasuries, or what? In the time of Pausanias they were clearly deemed to be treasuries. His words are explicit:—Ἀτρέως καὶ τῶν παίδων ὑπόγαια οἰκοδομήματα, ἕνθα oἰ θησαυροί σφισι τῶν χρημάτων ἦσαν. He pointedly distinguishes them from the tombs of Atreus and of those who perished with Agamemnôn on his return, among them Kassandra and her babes. These tombs can hardly fail to be the tombs which have been lately brought to light, though we should hardly find out from Pausanias’s account that the tombs are in the outer circle of the akropolis, while the treasuries are in the outer city of all. The treasuries—at least the great one, that known specially as the Treasury of Atreus—have been described and engraved over and over again. Yet when we at last stand before the gateway, when we pass in and stand beneath the mighty roof, the thing is not the less wonderful because we come to it as to an old friend. The feeling of familiarity is stronger than in the case of the lion-gate. Of this last we may know every detail, but certainly none of the ordinary engravings, hardly the best and latest photographs to be found at Athens, can thoroughly set before us its peculiar effect in the position where it stands. The treasuries we know to be underground works—one is strongly tempted to say vaults or cupolas—and we have a general notion of what they must be. But our previous knowledge takes away nothing from the feeling of the approach—the part which the common views least bring out; and the fact that the building is one which we have so long known and thought of, that it is the goal of a long-hoped-for pilgrimage, brings out feelings as strong and as keen, though of quite another kind, as those which are drawn forth by the act of discovery. And, after all, the best representation cannot fully bring home to us such features as the mighty stone which covers the entrance to the great treasury. Whence came it? who raised it, and wherefore? Was it a proud display of mere mechanical skill on the part of men whose works showed that they had advanced far beyond mere mechanical skill? Our thoughts flit beyond the sea to the yet mightier stone beneath which Theodoric once lay. In both cases, in the age when constructive art was slowly feeling its way and in the age when constructive art had reached all but its highest stage, there is a display of mere power, when the same result might have been brought about by easier means. There was no absolute need to seek and to raise so vast a block as that under which we pass into the great treasury. Still less was there any need to bring that gigantic block across the sea from Istria, when Theodoric might have been as easily covered with a dome of the ordinary construction as Galla Placidia had been.

We enter. It needs some effort of faith to believe that this roof, so cunningly put together of stones which have all but reached the secret of the true cupola, was once covered with brazen plates—that we are, in fact, in what once was one of the brazen chambers of which the poets tell us. From one point of view we may be glad that they are gone, as otherwise we could not so well have studied this wonderful construction. It is as marked a moment in a course of constructive study when we stand in the treasury of Mykênê as when we stand in the peristyle of Spalato. Each marks a great step in the history of art. In one we see how nearly men could come to the arched construction without actually reaching it. In the other we see the perfect construction applied for the first time to its highest artistic use. But Spalato is the direct parent of all that came after it. Mykênê is the parent of nothing. It surely points to some great revolution, some overthrow of the more civilized people by the less civilized, that the art of primæval Greece should have stopped where it did. In all these early buildings we find the arched construction only not brought to perfection. In the artistic architecture of historical Greece the arch, or any approach to it, as an artistic feature, was utterly unknown. At the outside, it is barely used here and there, in works which did not claim to be works of art, where the merest constructive necessity called for it.

To any one who is familiar with Irish remains the treasury of Mykênê cannot fail to suggest New Grange. The essential construction of the two works is the same. But here again the ever needful warning comes in. All that the undoubted likeness really proves is that the same stage of constructive skill was reached, in times perhaps far removed from one another, in Ireland and in Peloponnêsos. It does not prove, it does not even suggest, any nearer connexion than this. Otherwise, no field could be more tempting for a mystic ethnologist. Were there not Danaoi in Argolis? And was there not in Ireland also a people with a name very like Danaoi, but which we will not attempt to spell without an Irish library at hand?

The treasuries are, as Pausanias says, underground, wrought in the hill-side. There is something very singular in a work of this kind, a work of real building as much as anything that ever was built above ground, a work which has nothing in common with rock-hewn tombs, temples, churches, or houses, hidden so that a wayfarer who was not on the look-out might pass by without notice. Was concealment or safety the object sought? Then why were they not made within the fortified akropolis, and not in the midst of the outer city? And, be they tombs, be they treasuries or anything else, why were they so many and so scattered? Five have been reckoned up in all. One, the best preserved after the great one, has been, if not actually discovered, at least brought more fully to light, during Dr. Schliemann’s researches. The roof is broken through, so that it can be looked into from above; but the entrance is as perfect as that of the great treasury. Here it is that the quasi-Doric column is found, a sign perhaps of later date again than the great one. The others are partly pushed down, partly choked up. The great stone of the gateway thus brought near to the ground has much the air of a cromlech. We need hardly say that in mechanical construction a cromlech and the Parthenôn are exactly the same.

Such are some of the thoughts which press upon the mind as we walk where once were the wide streets of Mykênê rich in gold. There is no other spot like it. It is something to stand among the temples of Poseidônia, standing well nigh perfect within the Hellenic walls, while the remains of Roman Pæstum have to be sought for around them. It is something to stand on the akropolis of Kymê, and to feel that its very desolation has in sort brought things back to their ancient state. But at Mykênê the temples of Poseidônia would seem modern. They would seem as much out of place as the Roman amphitheatre seems at Poseidônia. They would, like them, speak of foreign invasion and foreign conquest, of the invading Dorian instead of the invading Roman. At Mykênê, not only is there no trace of later times, Macedonian, Roman, Frankish, Turkish; the very works of the Dorian are swept away. The Pelopid city is there, and the Pelopid city only. The Argive swept away the memorials of his own kinsfolk; he left the memorials of the elder race. There is nothing to disturb, nothing to keep us back from the thoughts of primæval times, and of none other. Beside Mykênê, Kymê itself seems modern, as Poseidônia seems modern beside Kymê. The colony far away on the Italian shore, with the akropolis rising almost straight above the sea, belongs to a state of things many stages later than the akropolis nestling among the inland mountains of Hellas itself, with the sea which brought so many dangers as a mere distant object in the landscape. The works at Mykênê stand as relics neither of a recorded nor of an unknown time; they stand as relics of days before history, but of days of which they are themselves the history. Once more we may give the warning: let names and dates be eschewed. It is enough that the stones were piled, the gold was hammered, the lions were carved in their slab of basalt, the skeleton on which we gaze was buried with its strange rites, by men of the race and age whose picture lives in the oldest and noblest songs of European man. At Mykênê we have reached the hearth and cradle of all Hellas; we have reached the hearth and cradle of all Europe. There we can give thanks for those lights of modern science which teach us to feel that in that hearth and cradle we are not wholly strangers. There we can feel that we come of the same ancestral stock, that we speak a form of the same ancestral speech, that we have our share in the ancestral institutes, which the common forefathers of Greek and Teuton brought from the common home. On the wonders of Egypt and Nineveh we may gaze with simple wonder; in them and their makers we have no share. At Mykênê we may say, as we gaze on the imperial skeleton, “The man is near of kin to us.” Within those walls the lay of Agamemnôn and the lay of Beowulf seem like strophes of the same poem. We may say, with our own Traveller in our own tongue:—

Mid Creacum ic wæs,
And mid Cásere,
Se þe win-burga
Ge-weald áhte.

Nowhere else do the remains of a time at once so famous and so distant stand up with such full life before our eyes. There is in truth no spot like it on earth.

Mykênê to Corinth.

Mykênê and Tiryns have taught us a lesson in the history of those Greek cities which perished in days which we are used to look on as still ancient. Argos has given us one type of the Greek city which has lived on through all changes down to our own times. Corinth, a city hardly less famous than Argos, from some points of views even more famous, has had yet another destiny. After perishing utterly and rising again, Corinth has lived on through all later changes down to recent times, to give way, in recent times, to a new city bearing its own name. And on the way which leads us from Mykênê to Corinth we pass by a site of another kind, the site of a spot which never was a city, but which was as famous and venerable in Hellenic legend and Hellenic religion as any city not of the very foremost rank. Olympia is yet far off, but a foretaste of Olympia may well be had in the plain which was hallowed by the lesser festival, beneath the columns of Nemea, alongside of its ruined church.

But how is Nemea to be reached? It is perhaps a tribute to the ancient greatness of Mykênê that it is there that civilization in one important branch may be said to come to an end. From Nauplia the journey by Tiryns and Argos may be made in a carriage; but it cannot be said that the latter part of the road from Argos to Mykênê is made according to the principles of Macadam. Indeed, we think it would be possible to carry the drive a little further than Mykênê, or, to speak more accurately, than Chorbati. But as such a drive would not take the traveller to any point in particular, and as he certainly could not continue it to Corinth, we may say that the carriage-road ends at Mykênê. Mykênê is the last point which the traveller can examine by that mode of journeying. At Chorbati he will begin his really Greek journey. He will have to go after the fashion of the country so far as to travel, as one of a cavalcade, on one of the small and hardy horses of the country, which seem, very much like their guides or drivers, to be able to do anything and to eat nothing. Perhaps however he may not so far conform to the fashion of the country as himself to become a package on the back of his pack-horse, and to sit there with both his legs on one side. Such a manner of going, besides other things to be said against it, has this manifest disadvantage, that it compels the traveller to take a one-sided view of the land which he goes through. On a journey on which the traveller has to take everything with him, he will hardly forget to take European saddles also. But, even with a European saddle, it needs a calm head and good horsemanship to take in much of the view, or to call up many of its associations, when you are, not indeed, like General Wolfe, “scrambling up,” but, if the phrase be accurate, “scrambling down”

... Rough rugged rocks
Well nigh perpendiklar.

The scrambling up is well enough; it is with the scrambling down, that the hardship comes. It is easy to convince one’s intellect that there is really no danger, that the beast on which one is mounted, most unfairly called ἄλογον, knows thoroughly what he is about, and is far wiser than the ζωὸν λογικόν whom he carries. To give him his head, and to let him go where he pleases, is the dictate of common-sense; but there are moments when common-sense will not be heard. At such moments the traveller begins to wish that he was like Pheidippidês—most rightly named as sparing horses and not sparing his own feet—to whom the journey from Mykênê to Corinth would clearly have been no more than a pleasant morning’s walk. Or better still would it be, if the days of Pausanias could come back, as there is indeed fair hope that they soon may, and that the whole road from Nauplia to Corinth may again be passed by the help of wheels. To the young and adventurous the novelty and roughness of the mode of going seem to have their charms. The traveller more advanced in life would be better pleased even to go on his own feet, and he might think it better still if he might enjoy the Eastern luxury of going

ἐφ’ ἁρμαμαξῶν μαλθακός κατακείμενοι.

One thing however is certain—a land without inns is in every way better than a land with bad inns. The travelling party is self-supporting, and carries along with it all the necessaries of life, as well as some of its comforts and conveniences. It is wonderful how shortly and how thoroughly a sleeping-room and a well-furnished dinner-table can be called as it were out of nothing. It may be better not to ask too minutely what becomes of the hospitable inhabitants who so readily turn out to make way for the strangers. Certain it is, that for the native part of the travelling party, reasonable and unreasonable, any quarters for the night will do. One point, however, calls for a protest; if the man chooses to look on his fustanella and his other garments as an inseparable part of himself, that is his own look-out; but it is hard to treat the unreasonable beast as if his pack-saddle were an inseparable part of him, and to give him no rest from his burthen either by day or by night. As for the traveller himself, he certainly would not exchange the fare, he might not always be anxious to exchange the lodging, which he makes for himself in the museum at Mykênê or in the house of the single priest of fallen Corinth; for those that he could get in some lands where, as there are inns, people do not take everything with them.

The cavalcade leaves Chorbati to make its way to Corinth by way of Nemea. Pausanias gives a choice of routes; the one chosen is that which he distinguishes as the τρητὸς, which he describes as narrow, but passable for carriages. Narrow enough it is, and well it deserves its name as a passage cleft through the rocks, but the wheel tracks are there to show that carriages did once go that way. We are between Corinth and Argos, not between Thebes and Delphi; but we can well fancy the difficulties and the likelihood of quarrel if Laios and Oidipous met in such a strait as this.

We pass on, over ground which five-and-fifty years ago beheld one of the fiercest struggles of the War of Independence. Each of the passes, each of the heights, was held and stoutly contested in the August of 1822, when the men of Peloponnêsos beat back the Turkish host of Dramali in utter defeat. On our immediate path the ground rises and falls, but we are led over no special heights till, as we descend, the plain of Nemea breaks upon us. The columns rise in all the stateliness of solitude. Beyond rise the hills in which the ancients placed the cave of the Nemeian lion. This then is one of the seats of Pan-hellenic religion and Pan-hellenic festive gathering. If its glory did not reach that of Olympia or Delphi or even of the Isthmus, it is the first of the four to which our journey leads us, and we remember that Nemeian victories called forth the song of Pindar, and that Alkibiadês did not disdain either to win triumphs there, or to have those triumphs recorded in the choicest art of the sculpture of his day. There is the temple in the plain, a plain well fitted for the purposes of the games, and, cut out of one of the hills to the right as in the Larissa of Argos, we see where the theatre of Nemea once was. Though the place hardly ranks among sites of first-rate interest, though it calls up no such primæval associations as Mykênê which we have left, no such later associations as Corinth to which we are going, there is much to muse upon in the plain of Nemea. The legend of the lion comes home to us all the more strongly after seeing the sculptured forms which the world has agreed to call lions in the Mykênêan akropolis. Science and scholarship going hand in hand have given him a new interest. The lion, whose cave we cannot see, though we see the mountain side in which it is hollowed, may be mythical in his own person, but he is no mere creature of fiction. If, with Mr. Dawkins, we trace out the retreat of the lion from Europe, we see at Nemea one very important stage in his retreat. We trace him from the day when he made his lair in the caves of Mendip to the day when Herodotus so accurately marked out his geographical limits within the European continent. In his day the lion was still found in the region which stretched from the Achelôos to the Nestos; and when we look at the evidently careful nature of the notice itself, and when we go on to put that notice in its right place among other notices, we shall not be tempted for one moment to think that the lions of Herodotus were other than real lions. Some indeed have suggested that Herodotus was so poor a naturalist as to mistake lynxes or wild cats for lions. No one will be likely to think this when he has once put the whole evidence in its right order. Just as we can believe in a Mykênaian empire without pledging ourselves to a personal Agamemnôn, so we can believe in lions in Peloponnêsos without pledging ourselves to a personal Hêraklês. The constant references to the lion in the Homeric poems must come from actual knowledge or from very recent tradition. The beast has a two-fold name; he is not only λέων but λῖς, and we are tempted, though it is slightly dangerous, to carry our thoughts on a little further with regard to his name. We ourselves seem never to have called him by anything but a name borrowed from the Latin; but are not Löwe and λῖς strictly cognate, signs of a time when the king of beasts had a name common to the whole Aryan family? Anyhow we may be sure that primitive legend would not have quartered the lion at Nemea, that primitive art would not have sculptured him at Mykênê, except at times when his presence in Peloponnêsos was, if a thing of the past at all, a thing of a very recent past.

The modern fauna of Nemea, as it strikes the passer-by, is of a lowlier and more harmless kind. The shepherdesses are there with their goats among the ruins, and a draught of their milk in the Greek May is a refreshment not to be scorned. And he who uses his eyes as he passes along may have the same luck as the infant Hermês when he met the tortoise in his path. The tortoise of that adventure willingly sacrificed himself for the good of mankind, that the baby-god might make a lyre out of his shell. The tortoise kept his place in the human nursery speech of Greece, and we may still ask the question of the Greek girls,

χελὶ χελώνη, τί ποεῖς ἐν τῷ μέσω;

There is a temptation to carry him off as a living memorial of the spot; but the way from Nemea to Britain is long.

But we must not forget man and his works when we are in one of the chief seats of Hellenic worship. Here is the temple of Nemeian Zeus, standing desolate in the plain, almost as some of our Cistercian abbeys stand in their valleys. The history of the holy place is characteristic of Greek religion and of Greek politics. As Elis wrested the possession of Olympia from Pisa, so Argos wrested the possession of Nemea from Kleônai. In each case the possession of the temple and all that belonged to it was a source of dignity and political power. It was therefore eagerly sought for, and unscrupulously seized, by the greater city at the expense of the smaller. In the Olympian case indeed, one ground of refusing the ancient claim of the men of Pisa was that they had no city at all, but were mere villagers, unable and unworthy to preside over one of the great religious solemnities of the Greek nation. With our Northern notions, we are inclined to ask why Olympia and Nemea did not themselves grow into cities. Why did not a town grow up around the sanctuary? Not a few English towns, some of them of considerable size, grew up round some venerated monastery or other great church. A few devotees of the saint, a few dependents of his ministers, began the settlement. Traffic, shelter, all the motives which draw men together, increased the colony. In course of time it either wrested municipal rights from its ecclesiastical lords or received them as a free gift. In either case a new borough was formed, a borough which had not been made but had grown. But in Greek ideas a city was something which did not grow but was made. It might grow indefinitely after it was once made; but its first making did not take the form of growing. A new city was called into being by special and solemn acts, and no such foundation would have been endured at Olympia by Elis or at Nemea by either Argos or Kleônai. Some accommodation there must have been for the ministers of the God and his worshippers, even in ordinary times. At the great festival seasons, so we gather from the story of the assault on the tents of the envoys of Dionysios at Olympia, the crowds which assembled were encamped in the open plain like an army. But such a camp did not, like so many of the camps of Rome, grow into a permanent city. One might have fancied that it might become an object of Pan-hellenic policy to remove these national sanctuaries from the power of particular cities, and to place them under some kind of management in which all who had a right to share in the festival might be represented. But such an idea was foreign to the Greek political mind. The presidency of the temple and the games was essentially a privilege of this or that city. Pisa or Kleônai, Elis or Argos, were hosts, and the rest of Greece were their guests. There were, indeed, Amphiktionies, where a temple belonged to several cities in common; but the action of the most famous of their number in Greek affairs did not do much to impress the general Greek mind in favour of that system of management. Throughout Grecian history the Delphic Amphiktiony either does nothing or becomes the tool of some powerful commonwealth or prince.

But, besides the memories of Nemea and the thoughts which it suggests, there is the temple itself. There is enough left to trace out the whole ground plan, and three columns soar above the plain, catching the eye as a prominent object in the descent. We say “soar,” for these are perhaps the only Doric columns which do soar. They are taller and slenderer than any others to be seen in Greece, and they have thereby lost much of the true Doric character. That they are of much later date than the Attic Parthenôn none can doubt. Greek antiquaries are even inclined to fix them as late as Macedonian times. One almost wonders that an architect who departed so far from the primitive Doric idea in the proportion of his columns did not venture to adopt either of the later forms of capitals, one of which at least must have come into use before his time. We have seen the Ionic capital in use on the Athenian akropolis, and it certainly would have looked more in place as a finish to the columns of Nemea than the form which seems the natural finish at Poseidônia and even at Athens. But they are grand objects all the same. Nothing can wholly take away the inherent majesty of the Doric architecture, and beside them is a relic of even greater interest than themselves. Within the precinct, built out of the remains of the heathen sanctuary, are the ruins of a small church, clearly of early date, one of the many instances in which the professors of the new faith turned the holy places of the old faith to their own purposes. A train of thoughts are suggested by the neighbourhood of the two temples, now alike equally fallen. But on this head we shall do well to check ourselves; a greater opportunity for musings of this kind will be found on the western side of Peloponnêsos.

We leave the temple; we pass by the remains of the theatre; we climb to a fountain where the women gathering around may afford a study in the varied ornaments of their dress. We pass on; we come down again, marking a number of quarries which supplied stone for the neighbouring building and which have almost the look of buildings themselves. It is to our shame that we pass by the remains of Kleônai, its akropolis covering a low hill, without stopping for a nearer examination? Such questions are not always decided by the traveller for himself; they are for the most part settled for him. And he who has lingered at Mykênê in the morning and must needs reach Corinth in the evening may be forgiven if he fail to give Kleônai her due. A halt and a meal are taken at a more convenient point, within sight of the hill of Kleônai, where a few trees give shade, and where a few ruined and forsaken houses remain as memories of the last earthquake. Of that earthquake we shall hear and see more at Corinth. We press on to the city of the two seas and the mountain crowned by its citadel. Before we reach them, we learn again at once how thoroughly Greece is a land of mountains, and how near one part of Greece is to another. Here in Peloponnêsos we see over the gulf to the mountains of Northern Greece. The hoary head of Parnassos rises before us,

Not in the phrensy of a dreamer’s eye,
Not in the fabled landscape of a lay,
But soaring snow-clad through its native sky,
In the wild pomp of mountain majesty.

There in truth it soars, as no figure of speech, but as the mountain which guarded a Pan-hellenic sanctuary greater than that of Nemea. Presently we reach a winding descent, and a flat meadow alone lies between us and Akrokorinthos. The hills of Tiryns, Mykênê, and Kleônai, the Athenian akropolis itself, are as nothing to the Larissa of Argos; but the Argive height itself yields utterly to the great Corinthian steep. Still, as yet we see only the hinder side, the land side, of the mountain; we see the highest point of the fortress which crowns it, but we do not yet see how Akrokorinthos stands to Corinth, New and Old, and to the seas on either side of it. We have yet to study one of the sites of Greece than which none is of higher interest in general history, a site which has to tell a tale of ruin, of restoration, and of renewed ruin, of a different kind from any with which we have as yet met.


Thus far on our Hellenic journey we have been able to contrast cities which were swept away for ever in days which we call ancient with cities which have kept on an uninterrupted being to our own day. The city of the two seas, the city which guards the Isthmus, the city beside whose hill-fortresses all rival hill-fortresses seem as molehills, has a history which is unlike either, a history which, among the great cities of Greece, is wholly her own. And, as none of the great cities of Greece has seen such ups and downs of fortune as Corinth, so none has won for itself a more varied fame. There is no Greek city whose name has entered into more familiar sayings; it even sank to be a kind of a byword in very modern times. Holding, never a first, but always a high secondary place, alike in Grecian legend and in the most brilliant times of Grecian history, Corinth came to be the centre of all Grecian history in the days of the second birth of Grecian freedom; it was swept from the earth by Roman vengeance as none other of the great Grecian cities ever was; it arose afresh as a Roman colony, again under the influence of sky and soil to change into a Greek city; it kept on its Greek character through the ages of Slavonic invasion, to become one of the points most fiercely struggled for in the warfare of Turk and Venetian, to be taken and retaken by the patriots and the oppressors of yet later warfare. And now, after so long and so busy a life, after the endurance of so many blows at the hand of man, the last blow has been dealt by the hand of nature. The last of many earthquakes has sealed the doom of Corinth yet more effectually than it was sealed when Mummius swept it with the besom of destruction. Mummius simply destroyed, and what Mummius destroyed Cæsar could restore. But the last overthrow of Corinth has given her a neighbour and a rival. Old Corinth is forsaken; New Corinth has sprung up by the shore. New Corinth may well grow, and she may have ages of prosperity in store for her. But while New Corinth grows and flourishes by the shore, the only chance for Old Corinth at the foot of the mountain is that New Corinth may grow to such a degree as some day to annex the venerable site as one of its suburbs.

Those who believe in Semitic or other foreign settlements in Greece are apt, though they have no legend like those of Pelops or Kekrops to help them, to quarter a Phœnician settlement on Akrokorinthos. A name or two is all that they have to show, and a hill called φοινίκαιον, and an Ἀθήνη Φοινίκη do not prove much. No site can be more thoroughly Greek; the hill-top, near the sea, but not on it, is the ideal position for a Greek coast town of the earliest type; and at Corinth we have the mightiest of hilltops, near but not on, not one sea only, but two. It is the central point of Hellas, looking all ways, commanding her coasts and her mountains on every side. Its earliest name of Ephyrê is one scattered over many sites of central and northern Greece, from Argolis and Sikyonia to Thessaly and Thesprotia. Semitic elements may have mingled with the local worship of Aphroditê without supporting any Semitic occupation. Corinth traded with all the world, and she may have learned many things from Phœnician visitors without Phœnician settlers ever occupying her soil. The most Hellenic in its position of all Hellenic cities cannot be given up to the barbarian. Instead of a Phœnician origin, the votaries of the East must be satisfied with the most striking of Phœnician analogies. If Corinth and Carthage were not sisters in origin, they were at least sisters in destiny. They perished together, and they rose again together, if the foundation of the Roman colony can be called a rising again of either the Greek or the Phœnician city.

The old memories of far-distant Poseidônia come again on the mind—not unfittingly in a place where Poseidôn was so highly honoured—when we look on the one surviving building of the lower city. Old Corinth is now a mere village of a few houses. A few memorials of Roman times are there; but, as at Poseidônia, they have to be looked for. The one ancient building which strikes the eye and gives a character to the place is the shattered temple, where seven columns still stand in all the stern majesty of the earliest and severest Doric. Corinth gives her name to the latest, the richest, the most graceful form of architecture of Greece. But her one surviving relic is, of all buildings on old Hellenic soil, the one which is furthest removed from the character of her own order. The birthplace, so men deemed, of painting, one of the chosen seats of sculpture, a city crowded with splendid temples of later date, has now nothing to show but these half-fallen columns, carrying us back to the earliest days of the historical being of the city. Young as they seem beside the gates and vanished columns of Mykênê, the Parthenôn is young beside them. They carry us back to the days of Bacchiads and Kypselids, the days when Corinth was the mistress of the Western seas, and sent forth her colonists and artists to follow on the peninsular of Korkyra the models which she had reared at the foot of her own guardian mountain.

The columns stand over the modern village, over a site almost as desolate as that over which they must have stood in the hundred years between Mummius and Cæsar. The other fragments, Greek and Roman, hardly come into the view. But the lower city is not the true Corinth. It is the mountain citadel round which the great associations of the city gather. As we look on from far, as we climb up its steep sides, we think of the two great moments of its deliverance, the day

When first Timoleon’s brother bled,

and the night when Aratos, in his earlier and nobler days, climbed up that steep in the teeth of Macedonian guards and baying dogs, and made Corinth once more a free Hellenic city. We picture him the next morning in the agorê, leaning wearied on his spear, and telling to the citizens whom he had delivered the tale of the night’s work which had set them free. And with such a scene before us, we are not tempted to dwell on the darker day when the deliverer undid his own work, when, rather than divide the possession of Peloponnêsos with a Spartan rival, he could give back the mount of Corinth to a Macedonian lord. High indeed the mount soars above the city, as high above the Larissa of Argos as the Larissa of Argos soars above the little hill of Tiryns. Stern and bare it rises above the city; stern and bare it rises above the open land on either side. But where the mountain sinks more gently towards the lesser height on its Sikyonian side, we may climb the winding path; we may enter the gateway of the forsaken fortress; and here indeed we find the history of Corinth, the history of Hellas, written legibly in stone. The fortress which, but fifty-five years back, was so fiercely disputed between the men of the land and their barbarian masters is now a fortress only in name. The warder keeps the gate; but he keeps it only as a form. The walls shelter only ruins. But they are ruins which tell their tale, fragments which tell how

Many a vanish’d year and age,
And tempest’s breath, and battle’s rage,
Have swept o’er Corinth.

Every age, from the earliest to the latest, has left its living and speaking memorials on that memorable hill, and no classical barbarian has yet taken in hand the cruel work of wiping out that long and wondrous history. Here, in the very gateway, is a primæval wall, reared, it may well be, before Corinth was Dorian, a wall of stones such as Corinth’s own Sisyphos might have been set to roll up the mountainside. Hard by is an arch of the thirteenth century of our era, an arch, not of Venetian, but of genuine French work, work of the days when there were Latin Princes of Achaia and Latin Emperors of the New Rome. We pass on among the fortifications, the dwellings, the temples, of all the creeds and races which Corinth has seen as citizens or as masters. Here is work of Hellenic days, of days when Corinth sent forth her colonies on her one sea and met the Persian in arms on the other. Here are traces of the temples of the Roman colony, traces of the Corinth where Paul taught and which Alaric entered as the first armed disciple of Paul’s teaching. Here is the Byzantine church, witness of the long years when Corinth stood as an outpost of Christendom, in one age against the heathen Slave, in another against the Mahometan Turk. Here is the Turkish mosque, the Turkish dwelling, telling of the long struggle when the Turk wrested the fortress from the Greek, when the Venetian wrested it back from the Turk, when the Turk wrested it once more from the Venetian, till the happier day when the fetter of Hellas, the horn of Peloponnêsos, again passed into the hands of her sons. All are in ruins, all are fittingly in ruins, seeing that all are memorials of powers which have passed away. But as ruins let them be guarded and revered, as ruins which tell their tale, the tale of Corinthian and Hellenic history. The blind fury of the destroyer has decreed that the history of Athens shall no longer be read on the akropolis of Athens. Let Corinth harbour no such enemies. Let not a wall be touched, let not a stone be swept away, which still lives to tell how many times and by how many hands

Was Corinth lost and won.

The ascent is long; to any but the young and active or else the practised mountaineer it is toilsome. But the toil is broken by the relics on which we stop to gaze on our path; it is repaid by the mighty landscapes on which we gaze. It is not too much to say that we look on Hellas from its centre. The small ruined church on the height brings Akrokorinthos within the company of the sacred hills of Christendom, the hills where a sanctuary on the height looks down on town or city at its feet. Cashel has been seized by another hand as a parallel to the akropolis of Athens; a miniature more like the model is found in our own island, where the Tor of Glastonbury looks down on the battle-fields of Western England. Nearer in size however, in the mountain fittings of the landscape, are the twin hills of Sitten. But the giant alps which fence in the Rhone valley of themselves hinder the varied prospect of mountain and plain and sea and island which meets us from the hill of Corinth. The lowlier English height really comes nearer, both in effect and in historic sentiment, to the central citadel of Hellas. If the Sugarloaf, as we prosaically call it—the Pen-y-val of its own people—which so proudly guards the entrance to the Usk valley, had the castle and church of Abergavenny on its summit instead of at its foot, we should have a nearer approach than all to Akrokorinthos, though it would be Akrokorinthos without its seas. But without the seas there could be no Corinth, there could be no Hellas. The point where the Eastern and Western seas most nearly touch is in truth the centre, the key-stone as the poet puts it, of the whole peninsular land south of Olympos. From the citadel of Corinth, if all Hellas does not itself lie within our sight, yet all Hellas lies within sight, as it were, by representation. Peloponnêsos and Attica, the land north and south of the gulf, the shores of the two great confederacies, the mountains of Arkadia and of Phôkis, and the snowy head of Aitolian Korax, stand there as if to speak of the lands north and south of them. And if the Western islands, once the special scene of Corinthian enterprise and Corinthian dominion, are beyond our sight, we may pass on to them in thought along the gulf over which the triremes of Corinth were rowed to their first sea-fight with revolted Korkyra. The eastern sea opens to the right, and the curved shore of Salamis speaks of the nobler warfare where Corinth joined with Athens and with Aigina to beat back the invading lord of Asia. At some favourable moment the eye may even catch the pillared steep of the akropolis of Athens, that Athens which Corinth once hoped to see turned into a sheep-walk, but whose help she was so soon to crave against the very Sparta which held back her destroying hand. From that height the Isthmus seems but a flat plain between the two seas—the Isthmus so often fortified, so often stormed by successive invaders. By that narrow neck Agêsilaos and Antigonos, Mummius and Alaric, James of Avesnes and Francesco Morosini, Amurath and Mahomet and Ali Koumourgi have all made their way into the peninsula. But in all that long history there are two days, not far apart in so long a tale, which stand out conspicuously above all. There is the day of the Roman deliverer and the day of the Roman destroyer, the day of Flamininus and the day of Mummius. Not that it was the freedom of Greece which Flamininus proclaimed in the agorê of Corinth; such a proclamation would have been an insult to the allies of Rome and to all those Greek states which in name at least kept their freedom then and for ages after. But he proclaimed the freedom of Corinth, the freedom of all the Greek lands which the last Philip held in bondage. Fifty years later Corinth was swept from the earth; but let no man deem that even then Achaia became a Roman province. Corinth fell, Corinth rose again, to live a longer and a more varied life as the foundation of Cæsar than as the foundation of Alêtês. And those seven aged columns have stood and looked on all these changes; they beheld the reign of Periandros; they have lived to behold the reign of George of Denmark.

The Akrokorinthos is a mountain covered with ruins; the lower city has sunk to a small village. A few houses are all that remain of that busy meeting-place of two worlds; the shattered temple alone speaks of the creeds that are fallen; one mean church and another small chapel are all that are there to tell of the church which an Apostle founded. Yet the single priest of Corinth and his small flock may boast themselves that they have two epistles of the New Testament all their own, a privilege of which those few Christian households may seem more worthy than the mixed multitude of the modern Thessalonians. A night may be spent in Corinth, and that unharmed by the enemies on whom the comic poet of Athens has so grotesquely bestowed the Corinthian name. There is no fear of the δήμαρχος ἐκ τῶν στρωμάτων—no fear that the traveller may have to cry ἐξείρπουσιν οἱ Κορίνθιοι. But in Greece all animals seem to send forth louder and clearer notes than in other parts of the world; and in Corinth, the centre of Greece, they seem, though it may be merely fancy, to be louder and shriller than in the rest of Greece. A poet more recent than he whom we have so often quoted has sung of

The deep grey of the morning, when Bulgarian cocks are shrill.

Of the vocal powers of Bulgarian cocks we can say nothing; but there must just now be many witnesses either to confirm or to correct the poet’s description. But in the solitude of modern Corinth the few voices that are heard, whether of man or beast or fowl, seem certainly to sound louder and shriller even than in Athens itself. Aphroditê had one of her special homes in Corinth, though the seven massive columns are said to belong, as surely they ought to belong, to her greater sister Athênê. But the bird who once played Aphroditê so sorry a trick, and the beast which carried Dionysos and Zanthias on their journey to the lower world, call us betimes, with a power of voice which surely no Bulgarian cock could surpass, to make our way, not to Kenchreaï, but to its modern substitute Kalamaki—thence once more to draw near to Athens, this time by way of the shore of Megara and of her own Salamis.

The Corinthian Gulf.

Corinth, we have said, with its mountain citadel, is truly the central point of Greece. But we do not thoroughly feel how the Isthmus parts asunder two different spheres of Greek life and history till we find ourselves on the gulf which takes its name from the city on the Isthmus. We can, if we will, make our way to Athens first of all by way of the gulf; but we shall perhaps better understand the position in Grecian history which is held by the shores of the gulf, if we take them at a later stage of our journey. It may, in short, be well to leave Greece by the Corinthian gulf, to make it our way back again to the western islands from whence we started. It is impossible to study Greece in strict chronological order, unless we could anyhow drop from the clouds on the akropolis of Mykênê. But by taking the Corinthian gulf and its shores late in our course, we shall be enabled to end our survey with those parts of Greece which, at least in the days of her old independence, were the last to come to the front. And by this course we shall perhaps better understand why those parts came to the front later than others.

Greece, the most eastern of the three great peninsulas of Europe, begins to play its part in the history of the world earlier than the peninsulas of Italy and Spain; and in the like sort, it is the eastern side of Greece which begins to play its part in the history of Greece earlier than the western side. Is it answered that the position of Athens, the most eastern part of the Greek continent, as a leading state in Greece, is of comparatively late date? As far as dominion goes, Mykênê, Argos, Sparta, all came to the front before her. But it was Athens which, in some unrecorded age, made the first advance in Greek and in European political life by that union which made one commonwealth—we might say, one city—of Athens and Eleusis, of Marathôn and Sounion. Here was in truth the beginning of political history, the foundation of a state of such happy dimensions as to become the model of city-commonwealths for all time. And as for the cities which came before Athens in dominion, they too lie, if not so far east as Athens, yet on the eastern side of their own peninsula. All the earliest greatness, the earliest history, of Greece gathers round her Ægæan, not round her western, shores. Her colonies go eastward and northward, covering all the eastern coast with an Hellenic fringe, while far distant Kymê was the single outpost in the west. Down at least to Macedonian times the eastern side of Greece keeps its predominance; the western side is important mainly as the road to a distinct Hellenic world in Italy and Sicily. Ever and anon this distinct western world influences the eastern Hellenic world, sometimes, as in the great Athenian overthrow before Syracuse, with terrible effect. But, on the whole, the western side of Greece, the side where Corinth was greater than either Sparta or Athens, remained secondary in Grecian affairs, while the Greek world still further to the west lived a life of its own, broken only by occasional dealings with the states of the older Hellenic land. Politically the older Greek world looks in the main eastward. It is only the great religious centres of the nation which in any sort cast their eyes towards the islands of the blessed. Dôdônê lies to the west, in a land whose Hellenic character was called in question. So does Olympia within Peloponnêsos itself, while Delphoi, if it does not look absolutely westward, if its connexion with Thermopylai binds it in some sort to the eastern side of Greece, still looks directly on that central gulf which forms the great highway to the western shores. At Corinth indeed the rule is reversed; the city of the two seas and the two havens looks far more to her western than to her eastern outlet; but her great Isthmian sanctuary looks to the Saronic and not to the Corinthian gulf. The names are well chosen. The western gulf was the true gulf of Corinth. No other city of equal rank stood on its shore, while its waters formed the highway to the insular and quasi-insular dominion of Corinth on the western seas, to Leukas and Korkyra and long-lived Epidamnos, to Ambrakia, fated to be the capital of Pyrrhos, to mightier and more distant Syracuse, fated to be the capital of whole dynasties of tyrants and kings.

We at last then bid farewell to Athens and Attica; and, in bidding farewell to Athens and Attica, we bid farewell to something more. We pass from one Hellenic world to another. We once more cross the head of the Saronic gulf to Kalamaki; thence carriages bear us, it may be to New Corinth, it may be to Loutraki to the north of it, according to exigencies of which the landsman is a poor judge. In either case we are carried far more distinctly away from one geographical and historical region to another than when we simply cross from one side of the Saronic gulf to another. As we are borne over the Isthmian hills, we look to Peloponnêsos on one side, to Northern Greece on the other; we look forward on the Corinthian gulf, and we are borne along to all that it suggests in the further West. On the East we have turned our backs; and we feel that we have done something more than turn our backs in the way which the physical necessities of travel compel us to do. We begin to understand that the northern, the southern, and the western view really make up a system in which the lands and seas which we leave behind us have no share. And when we once find ourselves on the waters of the Corinthian gulf, we begin to feel ourselves in another world from the world of the eastern Hellas, the world of Athens and Sparta. In both of the great divisions of the inland sea, within and without the straits, in the gulf of Krissa and in the gulf of Patrai, we feel that we have left the Greece of Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophôn behind us. We are in a world which their history touches only by fits and starts; we have sailed into the Greece of Polybios. We have made our way from the world of city-commonwealths into the world of federations; as we pass along, the lands of the two great Leagues lie on either side of us. Through nearly the whole of our journey we skirt the Achaian shore to the south, and what, in later times at least, became the Aitôlian shore to the north of us. Lesser Leagues, Boiôtia—for in those later times Boiôtia must count among lesser Leagues—Phôkis, and Lokris, fill up whatever space Aitôlia left unannexed. And, when we have cleared the gulf and are fairly in the western sea, we draw near to another federal land on the shores of Akarnania. We may even cast, if not our eyes, at least our thoughts, to the great northern mainland which in those days had become both Hellenic and federal as the Confederation of Epeiros. Here then is a world where we go by many spots which call up both earlier and later associations, but where the main interest as distinctly belongs to the second and third centuries before our æra as the main interest of the lands washed by the Ægæan belongs to the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries before our æra.

We should be the last to shut out either the earlier or the later associations. We do not forget that Aitôlia, poor in early history, is rich in yet earlier legend, or that it reached the height of its legendary fame when the divine Epeians gave way to the Aitôlian colony which was to grow into the Eleian guardians of Olympia, the special servants of Zeus. As we skirt the inner bay of Krissa, we may think of all the sacred wars from Solôn to Aischinês. Naupaktos has its place alike in legend and in history; in the waters of the outer gulf we remember alike Phormiôn of Athens and Don John of Austria. As we pass by Patras, we remember how well St. Andrew fought for his city against Slave and Saracen. As we look on the southern shore, we remember that there were once Frank Princes of Achaia no less than Frank Dukes of Athens. As we look to the northern shore, we remember that there was a day when the Empire of Servia stretched, without a break, from the Danube to the Corinthian gulf. And, beyond all this, as we skirt the northern shore of the outer gulf, we pass by a spot whose fame in later times outshines every other association from Meleagros to Don John. We pass by Mesolongi, the city of the two immortal sieges, of the long defence where the Fanariot Mavrokordatos, alone among his class, placed his name alongside of the men of Souli and the men of Hydra—of the night of the great sally which places the name of Mesolongi alongside of Ithomê and Eira, of Saguntum, of Numantea, and of Zaragoza. All these memories go to make up the history of the shores along which we pass; still they lie outside its main and special interest. They come either before or after the days when the two shores of the gulf formed the main centre of Hellenic history. The Achaian cities line the shore, and, with our usual protest against vain attempts to call back a past which is gone for ever, for a moment we hardly regret that Slavonic Vostizza has again become Hellenic Aigion. But before we reach the older Achaian shore, we pass by the territory of the city but for whose help those Achaian cities, whose place in earlier history is so small, could never have risen to become one of the two leading powers of Greece. There is the land of Sikyôn, city of Aratos, deliverer and betrayer of Corinth to the right—the man who taught the cities to the left the art of Themistoklês, the art which teaches how a small state may become a great one. And we see plainly written on the two shores, why, in the warfare of those times, the League of the North was commonly the aggressor, the League of the South was commonly the victim. Save here and there some more favoured spot, the shore of Aitôlia seems bare beyond the common bareness of Grecian hills; the shore of Achaia seems rich with a richness the like of which we have hardly seen on any other part of the Hellenic mainland. The narrow strait, the strait by which Phormiôn won his glory, brings into that close neighbourhood which is so characteristic of Greek geography—a neighbourhood as near as that of Euboia to Boiôtia at one point and to Northern Achaia at another—two races as unlike one another as any could be who worshipped the same ancestral gods and spoke dialects of the same ancestral tongue. The development and the rivalry of those two powers give us our second lesson in Grecian history, the lesson of the days when, if the scale of men is smaller, the scale of things is larger, when cities have grown into federations, when the range of Grecian politics is no longer shut up within the Grecian seas, but when Macedonia and Pergamos, Syria and Egypt, Carthage and Rome herself, have begun to appear as actors on the scene. The seas of Eastern Greece belong to the days of her more brilliant yet narrower fame, when Greece was her own world, when the teachings of her history are mainly teachings of example and analogy. The seas of Central and Western Greece belong to the days when Greece, less free it may be, less brilliant, less rich in great deeds and mighty men, had become part of a greater world, and when her destinies had become connected with the destinies of later days by a direct chain of cause and effect. The historical position of the Corinthian gulf is that it is, above all the waters of Hellas, the sea which washes the shores of the Federal lands.

As we get clear of the gulf, by the mouth of Achelôos, the White River of later nomenclature, we are again among the Western islands, though we now see them from wholly different points, and in wholly different relations to one another from those in which we saw them as we first made our way from Corfu round Peloponnêsos. Our course is somewhat erratic; but it enables us to see a coast which has a character of its own and a history of its own. We skirt the shore of Akarnania. Here is a land which has no place in the Homeric Catalogue—a land therefore which has no place in the Hellas of those days, so far as we have any right in these days to make use of the name of Hellas at all. It was then the Epeiros, the nameless mainland, the non-Hellenic shore, as opposed to the Hellenic islands, the realms of Megês and of Odysseus. In the Federal age we find it a Federal commonwealth, weak besides its robber neighbours of Aitôlia, but holding the first place in Greece for what Livy calls the “fides insita genti,” the people who never broke their faith to either friend or enemy. Yet they had enough of worldly wisdom to plead their absence from the Catalogue as a merit in Roman eyes. Aitôlians, Achaians, all the rest, had a share in the overthrow of the mother city of Rome; Akarnania was guiltless. Here is a special history, and the coast has a special character. It is, like other Grecian coasts, a coast of bays and islands and peninsulas; but nowhere else have we seen such a crowd of small islands, mere spots of rock some of them, among which we thread our way, reminding us less of anything that we have seen in Greece than of the northern and more desolate part of the Dalmatian archipelago. There are the Echinades, the Oxeiai, the sharp islands, the urchin islands of later times; but can these dots be Doulichion and the holy Echinai, islands which sent forty ships to the war of Ilios? We pass in and out among them, steering northward between Leukas and the mainland, with the Epeirot mountains in the distant view; but we ourselves do not even reach the channel—after so many changes it is a channel—which divides Leukas or Santa Maura from the mainland. We turn; above the smaller islands rises Ithakê; above Ithakê rises Kephallênia. We enter the haven, as we would believe, of the realm of Odysseus, but not without feeling a difficulty how an island which clearly lies to the north-east can be said to lie πρὸς ζόφον. We pass in and in, hardly dreaming beforehand of the windings of the deep bay which so truly bears the name of Bathy. Scepticism vanishes for a time, and we cannot keep ourselves from greeting the men of Ithakê as countrymen of the elder Odysseus.

But there is still one spot of the mainland to be seen. Before we leave the Hellenic islands, we have still to make another, a more momentary, incursion on the Peloponnêsian mainland. We have seen the sites of Isthmian and Nemeian games; we have still to take a glimpse of the scene of the great festival of Zeus himself. We have passed by the Aitôlian shore; we must visit the great Aitôlian colony. Our last record of Hellenic travel must draw its inspiration from the spot where—

... κραίνων ἐφετμὰς
Ἡρακλέος προτέρας,
ἀτρεκὴς Ἑλλανοδίκας γλεφάρων
Αἰτωλὸς ἀνὴρ ὑψόθεν
ἀμφὶ κόμαισι βάλοι γλαυκόχροα
κόσμον ἐλαίας.

It is hard to conceive the rude Aitôlian discharging such a duty. We may be inclined to fall back on the doctrine of oppressed nationalities, to say,

ἦτοι Πίσα μὲν Διός,

but to deny all place as his ministers to strangers from the northern shore of the gulf. What if we make our way to Olympia, under the belief that the Olympiad of B.C. 364, held by genuine Pisatans under the protection of Arkadian spears, was the only lawful celebration of the festival within historic times?

Corinth to Eleusis.

We could never understand why Lord Palmerston called the horse-races at Epsom “our Isthmian Games” rather than Olympic, Pythian, or Nemeian. But, as it was Lord Palmerston who said it, the saying was accepted as having some special point; as doubtless many people believed on the same authority that Gothic architecture was a style specially appropriate to Jesuit colleges. The only point of special connexion between Epsom and the games of the Isthmus would seem to be that these last were dedicated to Poseidôn, Ποσειδὼν ἵππιος, and might therefore perhaps seem to be in some way more specially “horsey” than the others. Anyhow the connexion with Poseidôn was a connexion with Thêseus and with Athens, and Athens always claimed a special right in the Isthmian festival, alongside of Corinth its proper president. It was somewhat strange then that, during the century when Corinth was not, the presidency of the games was bestowed on Sikyôn, rather than on Athens, the cherished ally of Rome. But in any case the games supply a link between Corinth and Athens. It is well then that the road—we were going to say between the two cities, but we must now rather say between the village and the capital—lies by the site of the games. We tread the path across the Isthmus which looks so flat from the mountain top, but which we now find to have its ups and downs. We pass by the traces of the stadium; we pass by the foundations of the great temple of Poseidôn; we see traces of the wall which in so many ages has proved so vain a barrier; we see signs of the canal which has been so often no less vainly tried as a means to make the Isle of Pelops truly an island. Now that Athens and Corinth are no longer enemies, the work is more needful than ever. No small amount of commerce which now goes elsewhere would, we are told, pass at once through an Isthmian canal to the haven of Peiraieus. We leave the site of Kenchreia to the right, and take ship again at the modern Kalamaki; we thus better see that northern part of the Saronic Gulf which we saw only in the distance as we passed from Peiraieus to Nauplia. We skirt the shore of Megaris; we better take in the outline of Salamis and its satellite Psyttaleia, the scene of the bloody exploit of Aristeidês. We land once more; we pass along the now familiar road, this time perhaps less anxious than before to catch the first glimpse of the holy rock of Athênê. We may perhaps rather feel that, as we near the olive groves of Kolônos, we are still within the domain of Poseidôn. We may perhaps rather fix our eyes on the lowlier and more perfect Thêseion than on the mightier and more shattered Parthenôn. Fresh from the site of the Isthmia, we are inclined to dwell on the legend which tells us how near Athens once was to being Poseidônia. The sea-god thus follows us on our way back from Corinth to Athens. He will follow us through some of the journeys which we must make in Attica itself, before we steer our course back again to the western shores of Peloponnêsos and to the islands more western still. He who cannot see the whole of the Attic land, he who must be satisfied with picturing to himself from the Athenian akropolis how Agis sent forth his plundering bands from Dekeleia, and how the spirit of freedom set with Thrasyboulos on the brow of Phylê, must at least make his way by the Sacred Way to the holy place of Christendom at Daphnê, and to the holy place of heathendom at Eleusis. He must muse on the mound of Marathôn, not to dream that Greece may yet be free, but to wonder and to hope how soon the freedom which stops at Othrys may reach at the very least to Olympos. He must stand too on the marbled steep of Sounion, no longer to shrink from the land on which he stands as a land of slaves. And on two at least of these three journeys he will still find himself in the company of the same deity who reigned on the Isthmus and on Kolônos. If Dêmêtêr and her child held the first place at Eleusis, yet by the bay which is guarded by Salamis, the sea-god was not forgotten, and on the height of Sounion the two powers who strove for the rule of Athens divided the sacred spot between them. The Isthmus with its games, Eleusis on its bay, Sounion on its height, may all be fittingly taken, as nearly as may be at a glance, as being all of them spots where the sea-god received at least a partial local worship.

The traveller who goes from Corinth to Athens by land will take Eleusis on his way; and those who, like the wearied Ten Thousand at Kerasos, have had enough of their land passage, and who prefer to pass toillessly—it may be asleep like Odysseus—over the waves, may well make Eleusis the object of an early journey after they again find themselves at Athens. We have come back to civilized life. From Athens to Eleusis the journey may be made along the Sacred Way by the same means by which the still abiding wheel-tracks tell us that it was made of old. The journey is one of the highest interest; it is a journey of double interest for those at least who count Daphnê and its abiding church no less worthy of interest than Eleusis and its fallen temple. The Sacred Way of Athens has its Roman parallel; but it is not to be found in the Sacred Way of Rome, but in the road which bears the name of the great Censor. The Sacred Way, like the Appian Way, like all ways more or less, though these two seem to have been conspicuous above others, was a street of monuments, a few of which may still be traced. Parting from the monumental quarter of Athens, from the tombs lately brought to light in Kerameikos, the Sacred Way started from the Dipylon—itself brought to light with the tombs—and passed through the olive groves, leaving Poseidôn’s hill of Kolônos to the right. The starting-point of the modern road is not exactly the same, but the two join at no great distance from the ancient walls. The tombs, which are there no longer, may be studied in the itinerary of Pausanias. But one connects itself with a monument of which some traces are to be found further on. The most splendid of all the monuments by the Sacred Way is that which commemorated the most worthless ashes in its whole course. We feel that Athens had indeed fallen when the most splendid of all the tombs was raised by the son-in-law of Phôkiôn, at the bidding and the cost of Harpalos, to commemorate Pythionikê. Further on our journey we come to the spot where the ancient temple of Aphroditê was turned to the worship of Philê, Philê-Aphroditê, the wife of Dêmêtrios the Besieger. Philê was indeed one of the noblest of women, as Pythionikê was one of the vilest; but tomb and temple alike mark the spirit of a time when strangers were turning the men, and even the gods, of Hellas out of their native homes and altars. But, before we reach the temple of Philê, we reach one of those sites where long ages of Greek history are gathered together in a single spot. There, in the pass, was the temple of Apollo; there, girded by its peribolos, standing on its site with the foundations built out of its stones, is the monastic church of Daphnê. It is well to gaze and study while we can. Daphnê has once been sacked already; here, as at Athens,

Quod non fecerunt Gothi fecerunt Scoti;

here, as on the Athenian akropolis, we may curse the name of Elgin, and bewail the columns carried off from their own place to lose beauty, value, and interest in an English museum. And so in our own time the modern spoilers of Athens, in their zeal to wipe out the history of the land, may some day doom the apses, the cupola, the campanile, of Daphnê to be swept away, in the hope of finding inscriptions among their ruins. On a foundation of the temple-stones rises the church with its mingled stone and brickwork, its elaborate windows, its spreading cupola on a far greater scale than those at Corfu or at Athens. And there, perhaps more interesting than all, is the Frankish work at the west end, the defences of the fortified church, raised by the Latin princes, with the contemporary cloister, all alike the work of Western architects on Eastern soil. The barbarians who stole the columns seem to have left something behind them besides mere fragments. An Ionic column embedded in the wall helps to support an arch, once evidently part of a greater number, which carries off our thoughts to the basilicas, not of Ravenna, but of Rome.

Not much further on we can mark wheel-tracks on the rock, and we see the rude foundations—the ἀργοὶ λίθοι of Pausanias—of the peribolos of the temple of the two-fold Aphroditê. We are brought nearer to the days of heathendom, heathendom in so strange a form, when we see the niches carved in the rock to receive the votive offerings—exactly the same fashion which has lingered on in our own times in many churches in Southern lands—and when we see from the inscription Φίλῃ Ἀφροδίτῃ that the Macedonian Queen really had Attic worshippers. By this time we begin better to understand the geography of the country, and to see, what no view from Athens itself would teach us, how strong was the geographical barrier between Athens and Eleusis. This has been well pointed out by Mr. Mahaffy; it is the kind of thing which Mr. Mahaffy, so unlucky on some points, is as well able to take in as any man. In the view from the Athenian akropolis the eye rests on the mountains which part the Attic land from the Bœotian; it passes over the lower range which parts the more specially Athenian land from the Eleusinian. From that range itself, even from the pass that crosses it, we see how completely the two districts were shut out from one another, how—no small point in Grecian political geography—they lie out of sight of one another. We now better understand the tales in the Hymn to Dêmêtêr and in Solôn’s story of Tellos, which set before us Eleusis as a state distinct from Athens, and as having its wars with Athens. We understand how it alone among the Attic δῆμοι kept, in honour doubtless of its sacred character, the name of πόλις, and how once in later times, after Athens was cleared from the Thirty, it did for a moment again become a separate state. We pass along the shore of the bay, by the Rheitoi, the reservoir once sacred to the Eleusinian goddesses, in whose waters only their priests might fish. Then comes the tomb of Stratôn, where we meet with our first sign that Eleusis was a great and flourishing town even in later Roman times. Stratôn had a wife both whose names are Roman; and in the name of her birthplace we get one of those happy misspellings which help us to trace the history of Greek pronunciation. Her description, Πώλλα Μουνατία Ἡράκληα, teaches us that, when the monument was set up, at some time after the days of Pausanias, η and ει had already the same sound, but that Greek αυ no longer represented Latin au.

We have come to Eleusis in the guise of votaries of Poseidôn; but it is to be confessed that, when we reach the sacred city, we have to take it on trust from Pausanias that the sea-god ever was worshipped there. He tells us that there was at Eleusis a temple of Poseidôn the Father; but the remains which we have to study are the remains of the temple of the powers which were emphatically the Mother and the Daughter. Eleusis, like other cities, began as a hill-fort; it still has its akropolis, part of the circuit of whose wall can be traced. It is crowned by a church and bell-tower, of no wonderful architecture certainly, but which we trust may be allowed to abide, even though there may be the ten-thousandth part of a chance that a stone with two or three letters upon it might be found in their foundations. The hill of the Eleusinian akropolis forms a long irregular ridge, rising in the greater part of its course close above the bay, but running a little inland at the point where it becomes an akropolis. It thus leaves a considerable space for the lower city between the hill and the haven. In a walk along the hill, a shattered tower of Frankish times, standing on a nearly detached height, is a prominent object. When reached, it presents no details for study. But in the walk thither we look out on Salamis and the bay which it guards—a lake, as it might seem, between the mainland and the curved island—while on the other side we look down on the Thriasian plain, the plain so often ravaged by Peloponnesian invaders before they crossed the ridge of Aigaleôs to deal havoc in the neighbourhood of Athens itself. And, on the ridge before we reach the tower, one of the smallest and humblest of churches will not be scorned by those who deem that no aspect of the history of the land is beneath their notice. At the foot of the hill, at the opposite end from the tower, lay, as Athens might lie were its haven close at hand, the holy city of the Great Goddesses. At the very end of the ridge, keeping away, as it would seem, from the sea, are the ruins of the temple which was once the greatest in size among the holy places of Hellas. Little now can be made out of its vast circuit. The confused and shattered ruins which are left are those of the temple of Athênê Propylaia. Its plan may be made out with no difficulty; the results may be seen in more than one book from Colonel Leake onward. But one feature, which is not the least instructive of all, seems hardly to have drawn to itself any notice. Among its ruins lie capitals of the same class as those in the baths of Antoninus, capitals in which the traditional trammels are forsaken, and in which a wider scope is given for representation of forms divine, human, or animal. These are memorials of what was in truth one of the most flourishing times in Eleusinian history; when, under the Pax Romana, no Tellos could fight in warfare between Athens and Eleusis, no traitors driven from Athens could find shelter in Eleusis, but when Athens and Eleusis flourished side by side, the one as the university of the world, the other as one of its chief seats of pilgrimage. Are these remains of the temple, as rebuilt by the philosophic Marcus? In any case they are links in that long chain of the history of art which here, as we stand in Eleusis, carries off our thoughts to Lucca and to Wetzlar. The last age then of the glories of Eleusis begins with the saint of heathendom, the prince in whose days the martyrs of Lyons bore their torments and Polycarp played the man at the stake. They were avenged when Eleusis fell before the attack of a Christian and a Teutonic invader. The desolation which we see around us dates from that inroad of Alaric which marked so great an epoch in Grecian history, the great turning-point when pagan Hellas changed into the Christian land which scorned the Hellenic name. Since that day Eleusis has never again raised her head. A time came when she had passed away as utterly as Tiryns or Mykênê. Not an inhabited house was there when Spon and Wheler rode to Eleusis. A small town which had arisen in the days of Leake had become yet smaller during the War of Independence. And now Eleusis seems to be beginning to arise again at the point of her circuit which lies furthest away from her ancient sanctuary. Vessels are in the bay; a modern factory—we forget its exact object—covers a large space between the hill and the sea. Signs of life are to be welcomed everywhere; they are especially to be welcomed when they show that Greece has life in other spots than her encroaching capital. Let the factory grow and prosper; let the vessels come in greater numbers, they will do no harm to what remains of the temple of Dêmêtêr and Athênê; only we should be glad to be equally sure that some æsthetic doctor, Greek or German, may not some day meditate a raid on the churches, the campanile, and the ruined tower.


One more excursion, this time not on the Attic soil, but on the Attic sea, must be added to the Eleusinian and the Marathônian pilgrimage, even by those who cannot undertake to follow the keen guidance of Colonel Leake into every corner of the Attic δῆμοι. The survey of the Attic land may well be ended at the point where, in geographical accuracy, it ought, by those at least who approach by way of Syra, to have begun. But to one thus drawing nigh for the first time, Sounion is at most the beacon which points to Athens; it may even be that, if he chances to draw nigh on a dim and cloudy morning, he may fail to distinguish the marbled steep of Sounion among the other lofty points over which his eye wanders. He expects, it may well be, that the height and the temple will front him boldly as the first point of Attic ground to catch his eye. He may not thoroughly take in the fact that the promontory lies in a manner round a corner. Unless he has studied his map very carefully, he may draw near under the belief that the Attic peninsula ends in a point, in the same way in which the three southern peninsulas of Peloponnêsos, that of Tainaros above all, certainly do. Pausanias indeed begins his picture, not only of Attica, but of all Greece, with the “height of Sounion, stretching forth from the Attic land and the mainland of Hellas towards the Kyklades and the Ægæan sea.” Yet it is certain that some who have approached the mainland of Hellas from the Kyklades have not been lucky enough to catch a sight of Athênê on the promontory as a harbinger of Athênê on the inland rock. Even he who is more favoured cannot, at that moment, stop to study the arrangement of the columns which still keep their ancient whiteness. Nor will he, as he sails by, find out that there too the rival of Athênê was not wholly ousted, that the sea-god kept at Sounion a secondary place, at least as important as that which he kept at Eleusis alongside of Dêmêtêr and her Child.

A voyage to Sounion forms then a necessary part of even a short sojourn in Athens and Attica. He who is careful about mines, old or new, might prefer a land journey which should combine Sounion with Laureion. Otherwise it may be better to put oneself under the guardianship of the lord of the dolphins, to whom men prayed on Sounion (ὦ χρυσοτρίαιν’, ὦ δελφίνων μεδέων Σουνιάρατε), and to trust to his golden trident to clear the way. That way leads by several striking points of coast, each cape having, as a rule, an island placed before it as a kind of outpost. Such above all is Zôstêr, where the narrow isthmus, as Dean Blakesley hints, tied the promontory to the shore, but where pious etymologers at a later time saw the spot where Lêtô loosed her girdle. Such an etymology is much of a piece with many popular etymologies in our own land. From the hill of Battle we look out on Telham, so called, says the local legend, because the advancing Norman there told his army. Not far off flows one of the “cold becks” which have given their names to so many spots from Normandy to Scotland. Here it is said to mark the spot where the Duke called back his flying men. The derivation of Zôstêr from Lêtô’s zone is a guess essentially of the same kind as these; yet there is a difference between them which is not uninstructive in comparing the history of the Greek and the English language. In the English derivations the real meaning is absolutely forgotten; wholly wrong words, having merely an accidental likeness in sound, are pressed into the service. In one of the two cases the word thus misapplied has itself in that meaning become obsolete. It is not unlikely that a new legend may arise, and that Telham, instead of the spot where William told—that is, numbered—his army, may become the spot where he told them to do this or that. But Greek had not, in the days at least when the Zôstêr legend was invented, been so utterly broken up as that men were likely to go off to an altogether wrong root. The tale kept within the prescribed range of tying or untying something or other; and Lêtô, Artemis, and Apollôn gained a fresh seat of worship through the etymological guess. But Zôstêr has its place in history as well as in legend. The Persians, after Salamis, took, so says Herodotus, the three small peaks which form the peninsula for Athenian ships, and fled all the more till they found out their mistake. One sceptical historian suggests that it must have been a moonlit night. But, after all, may not this story be less legendary than that of Lêtô, only so far as that real actors are brought in? That the Persians took the rocks of Zôstêr for ships and fled all the more is the kind of mocking saying which was likely to be said at the time, whether true or false. And, even if it was a mere mocking saying, it might well have passed into serious belief before Herodotus, a four-years-old child at the time, had grown into an inquiring historian. After all, the story belongs to a class. There are the thistles which the armies took for spears after the fight of Montl’hery. There are the Welshwomen in the red cloaks, whom the French at Fishguard took for regular soldiers coming to the help of the valiant militia of Pembrokeshire. Did all these things happen, or are they all mere sayings which have found their way into history? Let comparative mythologists argue the point.

But we are followed by etymologies along the whole coast. Every one who has ever looked at the map knows the long island, immediately east of the southern point of Attica, whose name fluctuates between the mere description Makris and the more attractive name of Helenê. How came Helen hither? We may be sure, with all deference to Strabo, that this is not the Kranaê of the third book of the Iliad; that was far away by the Lakonian shore, and the Homeric reference was commemorated by a temple of Aphroditê with an unseemly surname. So Pausanias tells us, though he does not explain what brought Helen to the long island off Sounion. We will not hint that according to one Homeric story (see Odyssey iii. 278) she must have been, if not on the island, at least near it, in better company and at a later and better part of her story, than that in which Strabo would bring her into these parts. But on Attic soil or on Attic waters we must learn to feel an Attic patriotism, and, so minded, we can give her a chance from another quarter. We must not forget that Helen has her independent place in Attic as well as in Peloponnesian legend. She was carried off by Thêseus as well as by Paris. She was known at Aphidna, at Dekeleia, and at Rhamnous; and it would be only a fair freak of etymological invention to give her an island off the Attic as well as off the Lakonian coast.

But with Helen in this way to guard the eastern side of the southern extremity of the Attic land, it is a little disappointing when we find the real origin of the name of the much smaller island which guards its western side. There lies the isle of Patroklos. Helen and Patroklos seem well matched; and a charm seems to be broken when we find that the island takes its name, not from the Homeric antitype of Jonathan, but from the Admiral of Ptolemy Philadelphos, who there dug a trench and threw up a wall when he came to help Athens against Antigonos Gonatas. Such a fall from poetry to prose, from legend to history, is really sad. Yet we may draw some small comfort. Everything is a gain which reminds us that the history of Athens did not end with the war of Chairôneia or with the war of Lamia, but that Ptolemy and Antigonos, and men later by ages on ages than Ptolemy and Antigonos, had something to do with fixing her destinies.

The island of Patroklos is the last of the series of capes and islands between Peiraieus and Sounion. All have lost their names, unless any one takes Phaura and Phleua to be forms of the same name. All the rest have descriptive names ending in νησί—the diminutive form, which, according to rule in modern Greek, has supplanted the older νῆσος—just as along our own shores they might end in holm or ey. We turn round the last point, and now—

Σούνιον ἱρὸν ἀφικόμεθ’, ἄκρον Ἀθηνῶν.

A sceptical thought will flash across the mind. Ought we not to read Ἀθήνης for Ἀθηνῶν? But if we stifle the thought, we have again another witness to the way in which all Attica had even in Homeric times already become Athens. There is the little bay fenced in by the height, crowned by the white columns, which gives the cape its modern, its Italian, name. The name is well applied; Sounion is before all things the Cape of the Columns. The pure white which their marble still keeps is striking to the eye which has been for some time accustomed to the yellowish brownish hue of the standing columns of Athens. We say the standing columns, because those columns of the Parthenôn which have been thrown down are as white as those on Sounion. But for this last fact, it would be easy to account for the difference in the hue of the columns by the difference between the pure sea-air of Sounion and the air of an akropolis rising above a great city. Only here comes in the difficulty which is suggested by the whiteness of the fallen columns at Athens. Either the discolouring of the columns which are still standing has happened since Morosini’s siege, or else the columns that are overthrown have regained their whiteness since their fall. We do not pretend to explain the difficulty; we only state it. All that we are concerned with is the striking effect of the white marble of the columns on Sounion as contrasted either with the discoloured columns of the Parthenôn, or with the primitive columns of rougher stone which were covered with some kind of plaster from the beginning. The actual material of the columns of Sounion is something intermediate between the two. It is marble, but marble from the neighbouring hills, much less fine than the Pentelic marble of the Parthenôn. Another point at once strikes the eye. Thirteen architectural objects stand up, but it is soon seen that only twelve are of the usual shape of columns. What is the thirteenth? It looks like a square pier, such as we should expect to find inside a basilica at Lucca, but not outside a temple at Sounion. The appearance is puzzling until we actually reach the site of the temple and there carefully spell out the ground plan. But before we do this two other remains have to be studied. Sounion, besides being a holy place, was also a fortress. When the news of the overthrow at Syracuse came to Athens, when every means was used to prop up the tottering commonwealth, one means of defence that was taken was the fortification of Sounion. This was done with the special object of supplying a defence to the corn ships which brought in the foreign food that Athens needed more than ever when the Peloponnesians were at Dekeleia. A large part of the wall which cut off the promontory is still to be traced, a wall of the best Hellenic masonry, strengthened by square towers at intervals. Within this military circuit again we come to the remains of the Propylaia, the entrance, as at Eleusis and at Athens itself, to the immediate sacred precinct. But the summit of all, crowning the promontory and immediately overlooking the sea, is the temple itself. And when we come carefully to study its plan, we see the meaning of the anomalous square object which seemed so puzzling from below. The temple was one in antis, and the square object is the end of one of the walls of the cella. The fellow to it may be traced, though it does not rise high enough to make a feature in the general view. One of the columns ranging with the antæ, two on the northern side towards the land and nine on the southern or seaside, are still standing with their architraves; but the eastern and western fronts, with their columns and pediments, have perished.

It is indeed a spot to stand and gaze, though now with quite other and happier feelings than those which Byron put into the mouth of his imaginary Greek poet. The impulse is to gaze on the sea and the islands, the realm of Athens, the realm which her fortress on Sounion was to guard. But it is well to look landward also, and a short walk from the temple will show that Athênê was not the only power that was worshipped on Sounion. That the sea-god, lord of the Sounion dolphins, was worshipped there is plain from Aristophanes. The jokes in the Birds, where the god is addressed,

Ὦ Σουνιέρακε χαῖρ’ ἄναξ Πελαργικέ,

give us another title of the sea-god. Poseidôn at Sounion, like Zeus at Dodônê, was prayed to as Pelasgian. The comic poet, when he had once got into Nephelokokkygia, does not scruple to change the epithets of the deity into “hawky” and “storky.” We might be sure from this that Colonel Leake was misled in fancying that Poseidôn had nothing more than a mere altar on Sounion. We come down from the temple of Athênê, we pass the Propylaia; we pass the ruins of the wall; we reach the little isthmus—for the site of the temple is peninsular—and on a lower height we find remains, not enough to enable us to make out the plan of any building, but enough to show that a building of some importance must have stood there. Surely here we have the site of the temple of the god who was prayed to on Sounion. Poseidôn is here, as well as at Corinth, at home on his isthmus.

The men of Sounion are the subject of an allusion of the poet Anaxandridês, quoted by Athênaios, which at first sight is not very clear:—

πολλοὶ δὲ νῦν μέν εἰσιν οὐκ ἐλεύθεροι, εἰς αὔριον δὲ Σουνιεῖς, εἶτ’ εἰς τρίτην ἀγορᾷ κέκρηνται.

Some say that this refers to their prosperity as living near the mines of Laureion. The words in themselves would seem rather to point to a class intermediate between the slave and the full citizen. But how could there be such in any part of Attica after the union of the Attic towns? Of their modern successors, a few might be seen near the mouth of a cave by the sea, some contemplating the strangers, others following the useful occupation of Nausikaa. The whole scene—the little bay, with its beach beside the blue waters; the hills behind, with their white columns against the sky; the cave, suggesting endless Homeric remembrances of nymphs and sea-gods—even the homely work going on by the shore—all seems in harmony; all seems to carry us back to the days when the powers which had striven for Athens seem to have agreed to hold Sounion as a joint possession.

Olympia and its Church.

Olympia, when the German diggers have fled before the heat of a Greek summer, when they have left all the statues and other beautiful things that they have found sealed up against all men, Greek and barbarian, may seem to be, even literally, Olympia with the spring taken out of its year. But Olympia can, for all general historical purposes, be Olympia without them; some minds may not greatly regret their absence. To some minds galleries, museums, collections of all kinds, are simply wearisome. The weariness is one which may be well endured for the sake of the knowledge which may be gained through it; still the contemplation of objects in rows and cases, catalogued and numbered, is weariness compared with the pure pleasure of contemplating the same objects, each in its right place, each forming part of the whole of which it was meant to form part. Better one statue without a nose, in the place where the sculptor first put it than ten statues with noses set up apart from their context in any collection in Athens, Rome, or London. No blame of course attaches to the diggers at Olympia. The objects which they found were not in their places, and could not be kept in their places. They can only be kept in a museum; and to our minds that museum should not only not be at Berlin or London—an evil of which Greek law forbids all danger—but it should be at Olympia and not at Athens. The little collection at Eleusis is in its right place; it is at Eleusis; so it should be with the greater collection at Olympia. But the feeling that a museum, with all that it teaches, is in itself a bore, that its lessons are painful lessons, somewhat tempers the traveller’s disappointment at finding that the relics are all shut up, and that the key is somewhere in Germany. For the buildings themselves are not carried away; they can be studied without let or hindrance, and perhaps with even a deeper feeling of thankfulness to those whose untiring zeal and energy have uncovered them. And the plain of Altis, the stream of Alpheios, the hill of Kronos, the mightier Arkadian mountains, are there in any case. And they, with the immortal remembrances of the spot, are the true Olympia.

From the port of Katakolon to the town of Pyrgos there is a road, and that road goes on further to Olympia itself. The venerable spot can therefore be reached in a carriage. The question might, however, be raised whether a carriage journey over such a road as that between Pyrgos and Olympia—a journey moreover modified by occasional spaces where it is better to go on foot—is not at least as tiring as the ride from Mykênê to Corinth. But, as the traveller goes along from Pyrgos to Olympia, especially as he nears the immediate object of his pilgrimage, he can hardly fail to draw the comparison between the nakedness of Attica and the land through which he passes, rich with trees and with cultivation, the bleak mountains replaced by lower hills which are often green with verdure, with villages scattered thick among them, the scenery in many places coming nearer to that of the hillier parts of England than might have seemed possible in Greece. It is only here and there, when the eye catches some of the more distant points of the landscape, especially when the vast heights of Arkadia come in view, that it is brought strongly home to his mind that it is through Hellas that he is journeying. At last, however, he reaches the spot which was the religious centre of Hellas, and there the Arkadian heights, soaring over the lower hills which surround the Olympian plain itself, fully remind him where he is. Here is the spot where, more than in any other, every Greek was reminded that, however war and policy might divide them, he was still a sharer with every other Greek in a heritage of language, religion, and general culture in which the barbarian had no share, where the Greek from the Spanish Zakynthos and the Greek from the Tauric Chersonêsos could feel themselves, if not countrymen, at least brethren, before the temple of the common Father of Gods and men. Here were the victories won which were recorded in the odes of Pindar; here, we would fain believe, Herodotus recited his history to assembled Greece; here the Macedonian King had to prove his descent from an Argeian stock before he could be admitted as a worthy competitor of Hellenic freemen; here Alkibiadês made that display of lavish splendour which at least proved that the resources of Athens were not worn out. And as we read inscription after inscription recording the name of Elis and her citizens, our thoughts go back to the never-forgotten claims of the true people of the land. We remember how Pisa—the name may almost seem strange in this, its more ancient seat—deemed herself to be the lawful President of the Olympian feast by an older right than could belong to the intruders from Aitolia. And we think too of that one day in later times when the arms of Thebes won back for them their ancient right for one passing moment. All this might press on the mind as we look on the plain by Alpheios, and people it in imagination with competitors, spectators, worshippers, the very realm and trysting-place of the scattered Hellenic nation. All this we might call up, even if no actual monument of those days were there to remind us of them. Yet it is something to think of all this beside the uncovered foundations of the great Pan-hellenic temple; and it is something more still to trace out all that Olympia suggests in the presence of remains which tell us of the times when the Pan-hellenic temple and its festival had passed away.

The foundations of four principal buildings have been brought to light by the German diggings. Two of them belong to the days alike of pagan worship and of Hellenic freedom. There is the lesser, the older temple, the temple of Hêrê, in the spreading capitals of its massive Doric columns—capitals, be it remembered, now lying shivered around their feet—carrying us back to the solemn and solid style of Poseidônia and of Corinth. Side by side with this venerable fragment we find inscriptions of Roman date, bearing witness to the unity of history, and showing how Olympia still remained holy after captive Greece had led captive her conquerors. Hard by stands the great central monument of all, the temple of Zeus itself, not a column of its vast ranges standing perfect, but with, frequently enough, capitals of less antique form than those of the lesser temple, to show the date and style and character of the building which held the greatest work of Pheidias. But it is not only the days of Pheidias, the days of free Greece, the days of Athenian, Spartan, and Theban rivalry, which are represented in their remains with that memorable precinct. Two periods of the history of Greece and the world have still to be represented. There is that vast semicircle of Roman brickwork, looking like the apse of a vast basilica, but which is in truth the exedra of Hêrôdês Atticus; for the bountiful man of Marathôn extended his bounty to the shrine of the common gods of Hellas as well as to the temples, the theatres, and all the public works of his own city. But the cycle is not yet complete; there is one age more to be represented, one phase more of the history of man to furnish its contribution to the architectural remains of Olympia. And that age, that phase, has, from one point of view at least, the highest claims on us of all. We take our chance of being set down as irreclaimable barbarians when we say that, after all, the building of highest interest of which the remains are now to be seen at Olympia is the admirable basilican church which occupies the site of the temple of Hippodameia. Enough remains to enable us to make out nearly the whole of its arrangements. It marks a very narrow view of things, a strange imprisonment of thought within a few arbitrarily chosen centuries when we see not a few who reverence every stone of the great and the little temple, even, it may be, every brick of the exedra of Hêrôdês, but who seem to turn up their noses at a monument at least as historical as any of them. No doubt the special interest of this particular building is largely due to the place where it is found. It is because it is found in the Altis of Olympia, because it is built on the site of one of the ancient temples of Olympia, because its materials have been supplied by that and by others of those temples, that the church which now stands as a ruin alongside of them has much of its special charm. To take the lowest view, it is a memorial of the greatest revolution of the whole course of history, the revolution which installed the worship of Christ and the Panagia on the site of the shrines of Zeus and Hêrê and Hippodameia. The classical purist cannot get rid either of the general history of mankind or of the more enlarged view of the history of art merely by shutting his eyes to both of them. The basilica is there; it is a fact; it is also a fact that those who placed it there had a special motive in placing it there—that of specially marking the triumph of the new faith by setting up its altars on the site of the fallen altars of heathendom. And it is a fact also that, however mere classical pedantry may despise the style in which that basilica was reared, it is simply pedantry that will despise it. The style, constructively perfect in itself, contained in itself the germ of all that was to come after. We cannot reach Köln and Westminster, except by the necessary stages of Spalato and Olympia.

We may for a moment sympathize with the pedants as we read the inscription of Jovianus at Corfu. Jovianus destroyed, and he put very little in the place of that which he destroyed. We treasure his work and his boast as pieces of history; but we must allow that art, as such, has no reason to thank him. But the case is quite different with the basilica of Olympia. Its architect may take his place alongside of those who did the bidding of Diocletian and Theodoric. He destroyed indeed, but he destroyed only to put to new uses. The shrine of the new faith was reared out of the very stones of the shrine of the old. The columns which, in a past state of things, had known only how to bear the dead weight of the entablature, were now taught to lift up the arch, as a living thing rising from their own substance. Enough is left of the basilica of Olympia to show that it might have held its own even among the basilicas of Ravenna. But at Olympia the name of Ravenna seems to awake no echo, to carry with it no meaning. In all accounts that we have seen the building is said to be Byzantine. That perhaps simply means that it is Christian and not heathen. Byzantine, in any architectural sense, the church assuredly is not. It is essentially basilican, without any Byzantine features. Nor can the date be late enough to be called Byzantine in any political sense. We may talk about Byzantine after the final separation of the Empires in 800; before that time the word leads to confusion. One cannot conceive this church to be later than Justinian’s time; it may well be earlier. When could such a building have been so utterly overthrown and swallowed up? We can think of no time so likely as the Slavonic and Avar inroads of Justinian’s own day and of the days of his immediate successors.

The church itself is a not very large basilica of the purest and simplest type. There is no dome, no approach to Byzantine arrangement, not even the chalkidikê or transept. Two arcades supported by the smaller columns of the former building, showing Ionic capitals of two types, led to an apse of which the arch of triumph has unluckily together vanished. But of the well-wrought cancelli, carrying the mind across the sea to St. Clement’s, a large part still remains. The apse has its windows divided by what at first sight seem to be coupled columns—the type which ranges from St. Constantia to the Moissac cloister—but which really form a single block within and without. The walls are of brick; several of the windows are preserved, and in their jambs we see long stones set upright, just as in the primitive work both of England and Ireland. Everywhere we find these witnesses to the universality of the earliest form of Christian architecture. The pavement contains many inscribed stones of various dates. Some are Pagan, recording votes of the city of Elis in the days of the early Emperors; some are Christian, as that which records the zeal of a certain pious reader ἀναγνωστής towards the making of the pavement itself. To the west of the nave is a range of Ionic columns forming the portico, but their arches or entablature has perished. But to the south-west is an attached building where alone the arches are preserved. They are set on the Ionic columns with an intervening stilt set crosswise in a most ingenious fashion. The column becomes a mid-wall shaft.

Such a building, on such a site, found in such a case, suggests thoughts which bring all the ages of the world together. The old glory of Olympia passed away; free Elis—whatever we say of free Pisa—no longer gathered the competitors of free Hellas from Massalia to Trapezous to strive in a national solemnity before the national gods of Hellas. But Olympia lived on as long as the Roman masters of Hellas clave to the gods of Rome, and saw the gods of Rome in the gods of Hellas. A day came when the lord of Rome cast away his faith alike in Zeus of Olympia and in Jupiter of the Capitol; a day followed when a later prince forbade either worship, when the games of Olympia ceased as a rite of the forbidden worship, when her temples were forsaken or destroyed or made into materials for new temples of the new creed. Presently barbaric invasions swept away the new temple and the old alike. Zeus was still worshipped on Tainaros; St. Andrew still helped his votaries at Patras; but the temples, pagan and Christian, of the Olympian Altis lay hidden and forgotten, and the hill of Kronos looked down on solitude instead of on the great religious centre of the Hellenic race. Ages after, the zeal of strangers working on Hellenic ground brings to light the ruins of the pagan temples, and with them the ruins of the Christian Church. We rejoice in both discoveries; only let it be remembered that each alike is part of the history of Hellas and of the history of man. We will at least believe that there is no fear that the recovered church of Olympia may share the same fate which the narrowness of classical barbarism decreed for the ducal tower of Athens.
























Transcriber’s Note

A number of obvious printer’s errors have been corrected, and are listed below.

Given the context, the Greek phrase on p. 15, “προσείποιμ’ αν Ἀθάνας”, is most likely a version of line 1222 of Sophocles’ Ajax, “προσείποιμεν Ἀθάνας”.

The following list contains corrections that were made to the text based on the likelihood of printer’s errors.

p. 11brough[t] back “the men,”Added.
p. 18so it [is] is no faultRemoved.
p. 21Greek po[t/l]itical ideasCorrected.
p. 41as the capitals of Lysikratês[.]Added.
p. 149[D/C]um terra celat.Corrected.
p. 157a si[g]n perhaps of later dateCorrected.
p. 169we are led over no special[s] heightsRemoved.
p. 216Yet they had enough of world[l]y wisdomAdded.
p. 275Æg[ae/æ]an SeaCorrected.