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Title: Studies in Greek Scenery, Legend and History

Author: James George Frazer

Release date: November 19, 2017 [eBook #56002]

Language: English

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

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First published under the title, “Pausanias and other Greek Sketches,” 1900
Reprinted 1917



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

J. G. F.

Cambridge, March 30, 1900.



1. Pausanias and his Description of Greece 1
2. Oropus 160
3. Rhamnus 163
4. Marathon 165
5. Prasiae 174
6. Mount Hymettus 178
7. Mount Pentelicus 182
8. Phyle 187
9. The Port of Athens 191
10. The Sacred Way 209
11. The Hall of Initiation at Eleusis 214
12. Eleutherae 216
13. Megara 219
14. The Scironian Road 220
15. The Isthmus of Corinth 223
16. The Bath of Aphrodite 226
17. The Prospect from Acro-Corinth 227
18. The Capture of Corinth by Aratus 228
19. Sicyon 232
20. Phliasia 233
21. Nemea 237
22. The Pass of the Tretus 238
viii23. Mycenae 242
24. The End of the Mycenaean Age 245
25. Mount Arachnaeus 248
26. Epidaurus 249
27. The Temple in Aegina 251
28. The Sanctuary of Poseidon in Calauria 252
29. Troezen 253
30. From Troezen to Epidaurus 255
31. Methana 260
32. Nauplia 261
33. The Springs of the Erasinus 263
34. The Lernean Marsh 266
35. The Anigraean Road 269
36. The Battlefield of Sellasia 270
37. Sparta 271
38. Mistra 274
39. On the Road from Sparta to Arcadia 278
40. Cape Malea 279
41. Monemvasia 281
42. Maina 282
43. Pharae and the Messenian Plain 284
44. Messene 285
45. On the Road to Olympia 287
46. Olympia 290
47. Phidias’s Image of Olympian Zeus 292
48. The Hermes of Praxiteles 293
49. Lasion 296
50. The Erymanthus 299
51. The Monastery of Megaspeleum 300
52. The Gulf of Corinth 301
53. On the Coast of Achaia 303
54. Pellene 304
55. The Road from Argos to Arcadia 306
ix56. Mantinea 308
57. The Road to Stymphalus 310
58. The Lake and Valley of Stymphalus 312
59. The Lake of Pheneus 315
60. From Pheneus to Nonacris 320
61. The Fall of the Styx 324
62. The Valley of the Aroanius 330
63. The Springs of the Ladon 331
64. The Gorge of the Ladon 333
65. Aliphera 336
66. Dimitsana 337
67. Gortys 338
68. The Plain of Megalopolis 342
69. The Cave of the Black Demeter 343
70. The Temple of Apollo at Bassae 345
71. The Temple of Artemis at Aulis 346
72. Glaucus’s Leap 347
73. Evening on the Euripus 349
74. The Copaic Lake 349
75. The Great Katavothra 355
76. The Vale of the Muses 357
77. Hippocrene 358
78. Lebadea 359
79. The Boeotian Orchomenus 361
80. The Plain of Chaeronea 364
81. Panopeus 364
82. Near Hyampolis 365
83. Tithorea 366
84. From Amphissa to Gravia 369
85. Daulis 371
86. The Cleft Way 373
87. Delphi 374
88. Aeschines at Delphi 378
x89. The Pythian Tune 379
90. The Lacedaemonian Trophy at Delphi 380
91. The Gods in Battle 382
92. The Sibyl’s Wish 384
93. Orpheus in Hell 386
94. The Acheron 387
95. A Ride across Parnassus 389
96. Pericles 392

Greece in
the second

I. Pausanias and his Description of Greece.—It may be reckoned a peculiar piece of good fortune that among the wreckage of classical literature the Description of Greece by Pausanias should have come down to us entire. In this work we possess a plain, unvarnished account by an eye-witness of the state of Greece in the second century of our era. Of no other part of the ancient world has a description at once so minute and so trustworthy survived, and if we had been free to single out one country in one age of which we should wish a record to be preserved, our choice might well have fallen on Greece in the age of the Antonines. No other people has exerted so deep and abiding an influence on the course of modern civilisation as the Greeks, and never could all the monuments of their chequered but glorious history have been studied so fully as 2in the second century of our era. The great age of the nation, indeed, had long been over, but in the sunshine of peace and imperial favour Greek art and literature had blossomed again. New temples had sprung up; new images had been carved; new theatres and baths and aqueducts ministered to the amusement and luxury of the people. Among the new writers whose works the world will not willingly let die, it is enough to mention the great names of Plutarch and Lucian.

It was in this mellow autumn—perhaps rather the Indian summer—of the ancient world, when the last gleanings of the Greek genius were being gathered in, that Pausanias, a contemporary of Hadrian, of the Antonines, and of Lucian, wrote his description of Greece. He came in time, but just in time. He was able to describe the stately buildings with which in his own lifetime Hadrian had embellished Greece, and the hardly less splendid edifices which, even while he wrote, another munificent patron of art, Herodes Atticus, was rearing at some of the great centres of Greek life and religion. Yet under all this brave show the decline had set in. About a century earlier the emperor Nero, in the speech in which he announced at Corinth the liberation of Greece, lamented that it had not been given him to confer the boon in other 3and happier days when there would have been more people to profit by it. Some years after this imperial utterance Plutarch declared that the world in general and Greece especially was depopulated by the civil brawls and wars; the whole country, he said, could now hardly put three thousand infantry in the field, the number that formerly Megara alone had sent to face the Persians at Plataea; and in the daytime a solitary shepherd feeding his flock was the only human being to be met with on what had been the site of one of the most renowned oracles in Boeotia. Dio Chrysostom tells us that in his time the greater part of the city of Thebes lay deserted, and that only a single statue stood erect among the ruins of the ancient market-place. The same picturesque writer has sketched for us a provincial town of Euboea, where most of the space within the walls was in pasture or rig and furrow, where the gymnasium was a fruitful field in which the images of Hercules and the rest rose here and there above the waving corn, and where sheep grazed peacefully about the public offices in the grass-grown market-place. In one of his Dialogues of the Dead, Lucian represents the soul of a rich man bitterly reproaching himself for his rashness in having dared to cross Cithaeron with only a couple of men-servants, for he had been set upon and murdered 4by robbers on the highway at the point where the grey ruins of Eleutherae still look down on the pass; in the time of Lucian the district, laid waste, he tells us, by the old wars, seems to have been even more lonely and deserted than it is now. Of this state of things Pausanias himself is our best witness. Again and again he notices shrunken or ruined cities, deserted villages, roofless temples, shrines without images and pedestals without statues, faint vestiges of places that once had a name and played a part in history. To the site of one famous city he came and found it a vineyard. In one neglected fane he saw a great ivy-tree clinging to the ruined walls and rending the stones asunder. In others nothing but the tall columns standing up against the sky marked the site of a temple. Nor were more sudden and violent forces of destruction wanting to hasten the slow decay wrought by time, by neglect, by political servitude, by all the subtle indefinable agencies that sap a nation’s strength. In Pausanias’s lifetime a horde of northern barbarians, the ominous precursor of many more, carried fire and sword into the heart of Greece, and the Roman world was wasted by that great pestilence which thinned its population, enfeebled its energies, and precipitated the decline of art.

The little we know of the life of Pausanias 5is gathered entirely from his writings. Antiquity, which barely mentions the writer, is silent as to the man.

Date of

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

Dates of
the various

6From these and a few more hints we may draw some conclusions as to the dates when the various books that make up the Description of Greece were written. In the seventh book Pausanias tells us that his description of Athens was finished before Herodes Atticus built the Music Hall in memory of his wife Regilla. As Regilla appears to have died in 160 or 161 A.D. and the Music Hall was probably built soon afterwards, we may suppose that Pausanias had finished his first book by 160 or 161 A.D. at latest. There is, indeed, some ground for holding that both the first and the second book were composed much earlier. For in the second book Pausanias mentions a number of buildings which had been erected in his own lifetime by a Roman senator Antoninus in the sanctuary of Aesculapius at Epidaurus. If, as seems not improbable, the Roman senator was no other than the Antoninus who afterwards reigned as Antoninus Pius, we should naturally infer that the second book was published in the reign of Hadrian, that is, not later than 138 A.D., the year when Hadrian died and Antoninus succeeded him on the throne. With this it would agree that no emperor later than Hadrian is mentioned in the first or second book, or indeed in any book before the eighth. Little weight, however, can be attached to this circumstance, for 7in the fifth book Hadrian is the last emperor mentioned although that book was written, as we have seen, in the reign of Marcus Aurelius, thirty-six years after Hadrian’s death. A much later date has been assigned to the second book by Mr. W. Gurlitt in his valuable monograph on Pausanias. He points out that when Pausanias wrote it the sanctuary of Aesculapius at Smyrna had already been founded, and that if Masson’s chronology of the life of the rhetorician Aristides is right the sanctuary was still unfinished in 165 A.D. Hence Mr. Gurlitt concludes that the second book of Pausanias was written after 165 A.D. Even the first book, according to him, must be dated not earlier than 143 A.D. His reason is that when Pausanias wrote this book the stadium at Athens had already been rebuilt of white marble by Herodes Atticus, and that the reconstruction cannot, if Professor C. Wachsmuth is right, have been begun before 143 A.D. or a little earlier. With regard to the other books, the evidence, scanty as it is, is less conflicting. The fifth book, as we have seen, was composed in the year 174 A.D. The eighth book, in which mention is made of the victory of Marcus Antoninus over the Germans, must have been written after 166 A.D., the year when the German war broke out, and may have been written in or after 176 A.D., 8the year in which the emperor celebrated a triumph for his success. In the tenth book occurs the reference to the inroad of the Costobocs; hence the book was written between 166 and 180 A.D. Further, the references which Pausanias makes both forwards and backwards to the several parts of his work show that the books were written in the order in which they now stand. Hence books six to ten cannot have been composed earlier, and may have been composed a good deal later, than 174 A.D., the year in which our author was engaged on his fifth book. Thus the composition of the work extended over a period of at least fourteen years and probably of many more. That Pausanias spent a long time over it might be inferred from a passage in which he explains a change in his religious views. When he began his work, so he tells us, he looked on some Greek myths as little better than foolishness, but when he had got as far as his description of Arcadia he had altered his opinion and had come to believe that they contained a kernel of deep wisdom under a husk of extravagance. Such a total change of attitude towards the religious traditions of his country was more probably an affair of years than of weeks and months.

That the first book was not only written but published before the others seems clear. |The first
written and
before the
9Amongst the proofs of this the strongest is the writer’s statement in the seventh book, that when he wrote his description of Athens the Music Hall of Herodes Atticus had not yet been built. This implies that when he wrote the seventh book the first was already published; otherwise he could easily have incorporated a notice of the Music Hall in its proper place in the manuscript. Again, in the eighth book he expressly corrects a view which he had adopted in the first; this also he might have done in the manuscript of the first book if he still had it by him. In other places he tacitly adds to statements and descriptions contained in the first book. Further, the narrative of the Gallic invasion in the first book is superseded by the much fuller narrative given in the tenth book, and would hardly have been allowed to stand if it had been in the author’s power to cut it out. More interesting are the passages in which we seem to discover references to criticisms which had been passed on his first book. Thus in the third book he repeats emphatically the plan of work which he had laid down for himself in the first, adding that the plan had been adopted after mature deliberation, and that he would not depart from it. This sounds like a trumpet-blast of defiance to the critics who had picked holes in the scheme of his first book. Elsewhere he seems conscious 10that some of their strictures were not wholly undeserved. In speaking of the descendants of Aristomenes he is sorely tempted to go into the family history of the Diagorids, but pulls himself up sharply with the remark that he passes over this interesting topic “lest it should appear an impertinent digression.” Clearly the arrows of the reviewers had gone home. The tedious historical dissertations with which he had sought to spice the plain fare of Athenian topography were now felt by the poor author himself to savour strongly of impertinent digressions. Again, old habit getting the better of him, the sight of a ruined camp of King Philip in a secluded Arcadian valley sets him off rambling on the divine retribution that overtook that wicked monarch and his descendants and the murderers of his descendants and their descendants after them, till, his conscience smiting him, he suddenly returns to business with the half apology, “But this has been a digression.” That Pausanias had the fear of the critics before his eyes is stated by himself in the plainest language. He had made, he tells us, careful researches into the vexed subject of the dates of Homer and Hesiod, but refrained from stating the result of his labours, because he knew very well the carping disposition of the professors of poetry of his own day. Little did he foresee the disposition of certain other 11professors who were to sit in judgment on him some seventeen hundred years later. Had he done so he might well have been tempted to suppress the Description of Greece altogether, and we might have had to lament the loss of one of the most curious and valuable records bequeathed to us by antiquity.


The birthplace of Pausanias is less certain than his date, but there are good grounds for believing that he was a Lydian. For after saying that in his country traces were still to be seen of the abode of Pelops and Tantalus, he mentions some monuments and natural features associated with the names of these ancient princes on and near Mount Sipylus. This is nearly a direct affirmation that the region about Mount Sipylus in Lydia was his native land. The same thing appears, though less directly, from the minute acquaintance he displays with the district and from the evident fondness with which he recurs again and again to its scenery and legends. He had seen the white eagles wheeling above the lonely tarn of Tantalus in the heart of the hills; he had beheld the stately tomb of the same hero on Mount Sipylus, the ruined city at the bottom of the clear lake, the rock-hewn throne of Pelops crowning the dizzy peak that overhangs the cañon, and the dripping rock which popular fancy took for the bereaved Niobe 12weeping for her children. He speaks of the clouds of locusts which he had thrice seen vanish from Mount Sipylus, of the wild dance of the peasantry, and of the shrine of Mother Plastene, whose rude image, carved out of the native rock, may still be seen in its niche at the foot of the mountain. From all this it is fair to surmise that Pausanias was born and bred not far from the mountains which he seems to have known and loved so well. Their inmost recesses he may have explored on foot in boyhood and have drunk in their old romantic legends from the lips of woodmen and hunters. Whether, as some conjecture, he was born at Magnesia, the city at the northern foot of Mount Sipylus, we cannot say, but the vicinity of the city to the mountain speaks in favour of the conjecture. It is less probable, perhaps, that his birthplace was the more distant Pergamus, although there is no lack of passages to prove that he knew and interested himself in that city. As a native of Lydia it was natural that Pausanias should be familiar with the western coast of Asia Minor. There is indeed no part of the world outside of Greece to which he refers so often. He seizes an opportunity to give us the history of the colonisation of Ionia, and dwells with patriotic pride on the glorious climate, the matchless temples, and the natural wonders of that beautiful land.

writers of
the same

13Some scholars have identified our author with a sophist of the same name who was born at Caesarea in Cappadocia, studied under Herodes Atticus, and died an old man at Rome, leaving behind him many declamations composed in a style which displayed a certain vigour and some acquaintance with classical models. But, quite apart from the evidence that our author was a Lydian, there are strong reasons for not identifying him with his Cappadocian namesake. Neither Suidas nor Philostratus, who has left us a short life of the Cappadocian Pausanias, mentions the Description of Greece among his works; and on the other hand our Pausanias, though he often mentions Herodes Atticus, nowhere speaks of him as his master or of any personal relations that he had with him. Further, the author of the Description of Greece is probably to be distinguished from a writer of the same name who composed a work on Syria to which Stephanus of Byzantium repeatedly refers. It is true that our Pausanias evidently knew and had travelled in Syria, but this in itself is no reason for supposing that he was the author of a work to which in his extant writings he makes no allusion. The name Pausanias was far too common to justify us in identifying all the authors who bore it, even when we have grounds for believing them to have been contemporaries.

14That Pausanias had travelled widely beyond the limits of Greece and Ionia is clear from the many allusions he lets fall to places and objects of interest in foreign lands. Some of them he expressly says that he saw; as to others we may infer that he saw them from the particularity of his description. In Syria he had seen the Jordan flowing through the Lake of Tiberias and falling into the Dead Sea, and had gazed at the red pool near Joppa in which Perseus was said to have washed his bloody sword after slaying the sea-monster. He describes a tomb at Jerusalem, the door of which by an ingenious mechanical contrivance opened of itself once a year at a certain hour, and he often alludes to Antioch which for its vast size and wealth he ranked with Alexandria. In Egypt he had seen the Pyramids, had beheld with wonder the colossal statue of Memnon at Thebes, and had heard the musical note, like the breaking of a lute-string, which the statue emitted at sunrise. The statue still stands, and many inscriptions in Greek and Latin carved by ancient visitors on its huge legs and base confirm the testimony of Pausanias as to the mysterious sound. From Egypt our author seems to have journeyed across the desert to the oasis of Ammon, for he tells us that in his time the hymn which Pindar sent to Ammon was still to be seen there carved on a triangular slab beside the altar. Nearer 15home he admired the splendid fortifications of Rhodes and Byzantium. Though he does not describe northern Greece, he had visited Thessaly, and had seen the blue steaming rivulet rushing along at the foot of the rugged forest-tufted mountains that hem in like a wall the pass of Thermopylae on the south. He appears to have visited Macedonia, and perhaps, too, Epirus; at least he speaks repeatedly of Dodona and its oracular oak, and he mentions the sluggish melancholy rivers that wind through the dreary Thesprotian plain and that gave their names to the rivers in hell. He had crossed to Italy and seen something of the cities of Campania and the wonders of Rome. The great forum of Trajan with its bronze roof, the Circus Maximus—then probably the most magnificent building in the world—and the strange beasts gathered from far foreign lands, seem to have been the sights which most impressed him in the capital of the world. In the Imperial Gardens he observed with curiosity a tusk which the custodian assured him had belonged to the Calydonian boar; and he noticed, doubtless with less pleasure, the great ivory image of Athena Alea which Augustus had carried off from the stately temple of the goddess at Tegea. In the neighbourhood of Rome the bubbling milk-white water of Albula or Solfatara, as it is now called, on the road to 16Tibur, attracted his attention, and beside the sylvan lake of Aricia he appears to have seen the grim priest pacing sword in hand, the warder of the Golden Bough. The absurd description he gives of the beautiful and much-maligned Strait of Messina would suffice to prove that he never sailed through it. Probably like most travellers coming from the East he reached Italy by way of Brundisium. Of Sardinia he has given a somewhat full description, but without implying that he had visited it. Sicily, if we may judge by a grave blunder he makes in speaking of it, he never saw.

Aim of

The aim that Pausanias had in writing his Description of Greece is nowhere very fully or clearly stated by him. His book has neither head nor tail, neither preface nor epilogue. At the beginning he plunges into the description of Attica without a word of introduction, and at the end he breaks off his account of Ozolian Locris with equal abruptness. There is reason to believe that the work is unfinished, for he seems to have intended to describe Opuntian Locris, but this intention was never fulfilled. However, from occasional utterances as well as from the general scope and plan of the book, we can gather a fairly accurate notion of the writer’s purpose. Thus in the midst of his description of the Acropolis of Athens he suddenly interposes the remark, “But I must 17proceed, for I have to describe the whole of Greece,” as if the thought of the wide field he had to traverse jogged him, as well it might, and bade him hasten. Again, after bringing his description of Athens and Attica to an end, he adds: “Such are, in my opinion, the most famous of the Athenian traditions and sights: from the mass of materials I have aimed from the outset at selecting the really notable.” Later on, before addressing himself to the description of Sparta he explains his purpose still more definitely and emphatically: “To prevent misconceptions, I stated in my Attica that I had not described everything, but only a selection of the most memorable objects. This principle I will now repeat before I proceed to describe Sparta. From the outset I aimed at sifting the most valuable traditions from out of the mass of insignificant stories which are current among every people. My plan was adopted after mature deliberation, and I will not depart from it.” Again, after briefly narrating the history of Phlius, he says: “I shall now add a notice of the most remarkable sights,” and he concludes his description of Delphi with the words: “Such were the notable objects left at Delphi in my time.” In introducing his notice of the honorary statues at Olympia he is careful to explain that he does not intend to furnish a complete catalogue of 18them, but only to mention such as were of special interest either for their artistic merit or for the fame of the persons they portrayed.

Method of
the work.

From these and a few more passages of the same sort it seems clear that Pausanias intended to describe all the most notable objects and to narrate all the most memorable traditions which he found existing or current in the Greece of his own time. It was a vast undertaking, and we need not wonder that at the outset he should have felt himself oppressed by the magnitude of it, and that consequently in the first book, dealing with Attica, his selection of notable objects should be scantier and his description of them slighter than in the later books. It was not only that he was bewildered by the multitude of things he had to say, but that he had not quite made up his mind how to say them. He was groping and fumbling after a method. As the work proceeded, he seems to have felt himself more at ease; the arrangement of the matter becomes more systematic, the range of his interests wider, the descriptions more detailed, his touch surer. Even the second book shows in all these respects a great advance on the first. To mention two conspicuous improvements, he has now definitely adopted the topographical order of description, and he prefaces his account of each considerable city with a sketch of its history. In the first 19book, on the other hand, an historical introduction is wholly wanting, and though Athens itself is on the whole described in topographical order, the rest of Attica is not. Only with the description of the Sacred Way which led from Athens to Eleusis does Pausanias once for all grasp firmly the topographical thread as the best clue to guide him and his readers through the labyrinth. Throughout the rest of his work the general principle on which he arranges his matter is this. After narrating in outline the history of the district he is about to describe, he proceeds from the frontier to the capital by the nearest road, noting anything of interest that strikes him by the way. Arrived at the capital he goes straight to the centre of it, generally to the market-place, describes the chief buildings and monuments there, and then follows the streets, one after the other, that radiate from the centre in all directions, recording the most remarkable objects in each of them. Having finished his account of the capital he describes the surrounding district on the same principle. He follows the chief roads that lead from the capital to all parts of the territory, noting methodically the chief natural features and the most important towns, villages, and monuments that he meets with on the way. Having followed the road up till it brings him to the frontier, he retraces his steps to the 20capital, and sets off along another which he treats in the same way, until in this manner he has exhausted all the principal thoroughfares that branch from the city. On reaching the end of the last of them he does not return on his footsteps, but crosses the boundary into the next district, which he then proceeds to describe after the same fashion. This, roughly speaking, is the way in which he describes the cities and territories of Corinth, Argos, Sparta, Mantinea, Megalopolis, Tegea, and Thebes.

The work
is a guide-book.

A better and clearer method of arranging matter so complex and varied it might be hard to devise. It possesses at least one obvious advantage—the routes do not cross each other, and thus a fruitful source of confusion is avoided. The reader, however, will easily perceive that the order of description can hardly have been the one in which Pausanias travelled or expected his readers to travel. The most patient and systematic of topographers and sightseers would hardly submit to the irksome drudgery of pursuing almost every road twice over, first in one direction and then in the other. Manifestly the order has been adopted only for the sake of lucidity, only because in no other way could the writer convey to his reader so clear a notion of the relative positions of the places and things described. Why was Pausanias at such pains to present everything to his 21readers in its exact position? The only probable answer is that he wished to help them to find their way from one object of interest to another; in other words that he intended his Description of Greece to serve as a guide-book to travellers. If his aim had been merely to amuse and entertain his readers at home, he could hardly have lighted on a worse method of doing so; for the persons who find topographical directions amusing and can extract entertainment from reading that “This place is so many furlongs from that, and this other so many more from that other,” must be few in number and of an unusually cheerful disposition. The ordinary reader is more likely to yawn over such statements and shut up the book. We may take it, then, that in Pausanias’s work we possess the ancient equivalent of our modern Murrays and Baedekers. The need for such a guide-book would be felt by the many travellers who visited Greece, and for whom the garrulous but ignorant ciceroni did not, as we know, always provide the desired information. Yet with the innocent ambition of an author Pausanias may very well have hoped that his book might prove not wholly uninteresting to others than travellers. The digressions on historical subjects, on natural curiosities, on the strange creatures of different countries, with which he so often breaks the thread of his 22description, may be regarded as so many lures held out to the reader to beguile him on his weary way. Indeed in one passage he plainly intimates his wish not to be tedious to his readers.

Antiquarian and
bias of

When we come to examine the substance of his book we quickly perceive that his interests were mainly antiquarian and religious, and that though he professes to describe the whole of Greece or, more literally, all things Greek, what he does describe is little more than the antiquities of the country and the religious traditions and ritual of the people. He interested himself neither in the natural beauties of Greece nor in the ordinary life of his contemporaries. For all the notice he takes of the one or the other, Greece might almost have been a wilderness and its cities uninhabited or peopled only at rare intervals by a motley throng who suddenly appeared as by magic, moved singing through the streets in gay procession with flaring torches and waving censers, dyed the marble pavements of the temples with the blood of victims, filled the air with the smoke and savour of their burning flesh, and then melted away as mysteriously as they had come, leaving the deserted streets and temples to echo only to the footstep of some solitary traveller who explored with awe and wonder the monuments of a vanished race. Yet as his work proceeded Pausanias seems 23to have wakened up now and then to a dim consciousness that men and women were still living and toiling around him, that fields were still ploughed and harvests reaped, that the vine and the olive still yielded their fruit, though Theseus and Agamemnon, Cimon and Pericles, Philip and Alexander were no more. To this awakening consciousness or, to speak more correctly, to this gradual widening of his interests, we owe the few peeps which in his later books Pausanias affords us at his contemporaries in their daily life. Thus he lets us see the tall and stalwart highlanders of Daulis; the handsome and industrious women of Patrae weaving with deft fingers the fine flax of their native fields into head-dresses and other feminine finery; the fishermen of Bulis putting out to fish the purple shell in the Gulf of Corinth; the potters of Aulis turning their wheels in the little seaside town from which Agamemnon sailed for Troy; and the apothecaries of Chaeronea distilling a fragrant and healing balm from roses and lilies, from irises and narcissuses culled in peaceful gardens on the battlefield where Athens and Thebes, side by side, had made the last stand for the freedom of Greece.

of religious

Contrast with these sketches, few and far between, the gallery of pictures he has painted of the religious life of his contemporaries. To 24mention only a few of them, we see sick people asleep and dreaming on the reeking skins of slaughtered rams or dropping gold and silver coins as a thank-offering for recovered health into a sacred spring; lepers praying to the nymphs in a cave, then swimming the river and leaving, like Naaman, their uncleanness behind them in the water; holy men staggering along narrow paths under the burden of uprooted trees; processions of priests and magistrates, of white-robed boys with garlands of hyacinths in their hair, of children wreathed with corn and ivy, of men holding aloft blazing torches and chanting as they march their native hymns; women wailing for Achilles while the sun sinks low in the west; Persians in tall caps droning their strange litany in an unknown tongue; husbandmen sticking gold leaf on a bronze goat in a market-place to protect their vines from blight, or running with the bleeding pieces of a white cock round the vineyards while the black squall comes crawling up across the bay. We see the priest making rain by dipping an oak-branch in a spring on the holy mountain, or mumbling his weird spells by night over four pits to soothe the fury of the winds that blow from the four quarters of the world. We see men slaughtering beasts at a grave and pouring the warm blood down a hole into the tomb for the dead 25man to drink; others casting cakes of meal and honey into the cleft down which the water of the Great Flood all ran away; others trying their fortune by throwing dice in a cave, or flinging barley-cakes into a pool and watching them sink or swim, or letting down a mirror into a spring to know whether a sick friend will recover or die. We see the bronze lamps lit at evening in front of the oracular image, the smoke of incense curling up from the hearth, the enquirer laying a copper coin on the altar, whispering his question into the ear of the image, then stealing out with his hands on his ears, ready to take as the divine answer the first words he may hear on quitting the sanctuary. We see the nightly sky reddened by the fitful glow of the great bonfire on the top of Mount Cithaeron where the many images of oak-wood, arrayed as brides, are being consumed in the flames, after having been dragged in lumbering creaking waggons to the top of the mountain, each image with a bridesmaid standing by its side. These and many more such scenes rise up before us in turning the pages of Pausanias.

account of
and beliefs.

Akin to his taste for religious ritual is his love of chronicling quaint customs, observances, and superstitions of all sorts. Thus he tells us how Troezenian maidens used to dedicate locks of their hair in the temple of the bachelor Hippolytus before marriage; how on a like 26occasion Megarian girls laid their shorn tresses on the grave of the virgin Iphinoe; how lads at Phigalia cropped their hair in honour of the river that flows in the deep glen below the town; how the boy priests of Cranaean Athena bathed in tubs after the ancient fashion; and how the priest and priestess of Artemis Hymnia must remain all their lives unmarried, must wash and live differently from common folk, and must never enter the house of a private person. Amongst the curious observances which he notices at the various shrines are the rules that no birth or death might take place within the sacred grove of Aesculapius at Epidaurus, and that all sacrifices had to be consumed within the bounds; that no broken bough might be removed from the grove of Hyrnetho near Epidaurus, and no pomegranate brought into the precinct of the Mistress at Lycosura; that at Pergamus the name of Eurypylus might not be pronounced in the sanctuary of Aesculapius, and no one who had sacrificed to Telephus might enter that sanctuary till he had bathed; that at Olympia no man who had eaten of the victim offered to Pelops might go into the temple of Zeus, that women might not ascend above the first stage of the great altar, that the paste of ashes which was smeared on the altar must be kneaded with the water of the Alpheus and no other, and that the sacrifices 27offered to Zeus must be burnt with no wood but that of the white poplar. Again, he loves to note, though he does not always believe, the local superstitions he met with or had read of, such as the belief that at the sacrifice to Zeus on Mount Lycaeus a man was always turned into a wolf, but could regain his human shape if as a wolf he abstained for nine years from preying on human flesh; that within the precinct of the god on the same mountain neither men nor animals cast shadows, and that whoever entered it would die within the year; that the trout in the river Aroanius sang like thrushes; that whoever caught a fish in a certain lake would be turned into a fish himself; that Tegea could never be taken because it possessed a lock of Medusa’s hair; that Hera recovered her virginity every year by bathing in a spring at Nauplia; that the water of one spring was a cure for hydrophobia, while the water of another drove mares mad; that no snakes or wolves could live in Sardinia; that when the sun was in a certain sign of the zodiac earth taken from the tomb of Amphion and Zethus at Thebes and carried to Tithorea in Phocis would draw away the fertility from the Theban land and transfer it to the Tithorean, whence at that season the Thebans kept watch and ward over the tomb, lest the Tithoreans should come and filch the precious earth; 28that at Marathon every night the dead warriors rose from their graves and fought the great battle over again, while belated wayfarers, hurrying by, heard with a shudder the hoarse cries of the combatants, the trampling of charging horses, and the clash of arms.

In carrying out his design of recording Greek traditions, Pausanias has interwoven many narratives into his description of Greece. These are of various sorts, and were doubtless derived from various sources. Some are historical, and were taken avowedly or tacitly from books. Some are legends with perhaps a foundation in fact; others are myths pure and simple; others again are popular tales to which parallels may be found in the folk-lore of many lands. Narratives of these sorts Pausanias need not have learned from books. Some of them were doubtless commonplaces with which he had been familiar from childhood. Others he may have picked up on his travels. The spring of mythical fancy has not run dry among the mountains and islands of Greece at the present day; it flowed, we may be sure, still more copiously in the days of Pausanias. Amongst the popular tales which he tells or alludes to may be mentioned the story of the sleeper in the cave; of the cunning masons who robbed the royal treasury they had built; of the youth who slew the lion and 29|Myths.| married the princess; of the kind serpent that saved a child from a wolf and was killed by the child’s father by mistake; of the king whose life was in a purple lock on his head; of the witch who offered to make an old man young again by cutting him up and boiling him in a hellbroth, and who did in this way change a tough old tup into a tender young lamb. It is characteristic of Greek popular tradition that these stories are not left floating vaguely in the cloudy region of fairyland; they are brought down to solid earth and given a local habitation and a name. The sleeper was Epimenides the Cretan; the masons were Trophonius and Agamedes, and the king for whom they built the treasury was Hyrieus of Orchomenus; the youth who won the hand of the princess was Alcathous of Megara; the king with the purple lock was Nisus, also of Megara; the witch was Medea, and the old man whom she mangled was Pelias; the place where the serpent saved the child from the wolf was Amphiclea in Phocis. Amongst the myths which crowd the pages of Pausanias we may note the strangely savage tale of Attis and Agdistis, the hardly less barbarous story of the loves of Poseidon and Demeter as horse and mare, and the picturesque narratives of the finding of the forsaken babe Aesculapius by the goatherd, and the coming of Castor 30|Legends.| and Pollux to Sparta in the guise of strangers from Cyrene. Of the legends which he tells of the heroic age—that border-land between fable and history—some are his own in the sense that we do not find them recorded by any other ancient writer. Such are the stories how Theseus even as a child evinced undaunted courage by attacking the lion’s skin of Hercules which he mistook for a living lion; how the same hero in his youth proved his superhuman strength to the masons who had jeered at his girlish appearance; how the crazed Orestes, dogged by the Furies of his murdered mother, bit off one of his fingers, and how on his doing so the aspect of the Furies at once changed from black to white, as if in token that they accepted the sacrifice as an atonement. Such, too, is the graceful story of the parting of Penelope from her father, and the tragic tale of the death of Hyrnetho; in the latter we seem almost to catch the ring of a romantic ballad. Among the traditions told of historical personages by Pausanias but not peculiar to him are the legends of Pindar’s dream, of the escape of Aristomenes from the pit, and of the wondrous cure of Leonymus, the Crotonian general, who, attacking the Locrian army at the point where the soul of the dead hero Ajax hovered in the van, received a hurt from a ghostly spear, but was afterwards healed by 31the same hand in the White Isle, where Ajax dwelt with other spirits of the famous dead. To the same class belong a couple of anecdotes with which Pausanias has sought to enliven the dull catalogue of athletes in the sixth book. One tells how the boxer Euthymus thrashed the ghost of a tipsy sailor and won the hand of a fair maiden, who was on the point of being delivered over to the tender mercies of the deceased mariner. The other relates how another noted boxer, by name Theagenes, departed this vale of tears after accumulating a prodigious number of prizes; how when he was no more a spiteful foe came and wreaked his spleen by whipping the bronze statue of the illustrious dead, till the statue, losing patience, checked his insolence by falling on him and crushing him to death; how the sons of this amiable man prosecuted the statue for murder; how the court, sitting in judgment, found the statue guilty and solemnly condemned it to be sunk in the sea; how, the sentence being rigorously executed, the land bore no fruit till the statue had been fished up again and set in its place; and how the people sacrificed to the boxer as to a god ever after.

of the

The same antiquarian and religious tincture which appears in Pausanias’s account of the Greek people colours his description of the country. The mountains which he climbs, the 32plains which he traverses, the rivers which he fords, the lakes and seas that he beholds shining in the distance, the very flowers that spring beside his path hardly exist for him but as they are sacred to some god or tenanted by some spirit of the elements, or because they call up some memory of the past, some old romantic story of unhappy love or death. Of one flower, white and tinged with red, he tells us that it first grew in Salamis when Ajax died; of another, that chaplets of it are worn in their hair by white-robed boys when they walk in procession in honour of Demeter. He notes the mournful letters on the hyacinth and tells the tale of the fair youth slain unwittingly by Apollo. He points out the old plane-tree which Menelaus planted before he went away to the wars; the great cedar with an image of Artemis hanging among its boughs; the sacred cypresses called the Maidens, tall and dark and stately, in the bleak upland valley of Psophis; the myrtle-tree whose pierced leaves still bore the print of hapless Phaedra’s bodkin on that fair islanded coast of Troezen, where now the orange and the lemon bloom in winter; the pomegranate with its blood-red fruit growing on the grave of the patriot Menoeceus who shed his blood for his country. If he looks up at the mountains, it is not to mark the snowy peaks glistering in the sunlight against the 33blue, or the sombre pine-forests that fringe their crests and are mirrored in the dark lake below; it is to tell you that Zeus or Apollo or the Sun-god is worshipped on their tops, that the Thyiad women rave on them above the clouds, or that Pan has been heard piping in their lonely coombs. The gloomy caverns, where the sunbeams hardly penetrate, with their fantastic stalactites and dripping roofs, are to him the haunts of Pan and the nymphs. The awful precipices of the Aroanian mountains, in the sunless crevices of which the snow-drifts never melt, would have been passed by him in silence were it not that the water that trickles down their dark glistening face is the water of Styx. If he describes the smooth glassy pool which, bordered by reeds and tall grasses, still sleeps under the shadow of the shivering poplars in the Lernean swamp, it is because the way to hell goes down through its black unfathomed water. If he stops by murmuring stream or brimming river, it is to relate how from the banks of the Ilissus, where she was at play, the North Wind carried off Orithyia to be his bride; how the Selemnus had been of old a shepherd who loved a sea-nymph and died forlorn; how the amorous Alpheus still flows across the wide and stormy Adriatic to join his love at Syracuse. If in summer he crosses a parched river-bed, where not a driblet of water 34is oozing, where the stones burn under foot and dazzle the eye by their white glare, he will tell you that this is the punishment the river suffers for having offended the sea-god. Distant prospects, again, are hardly remarked by him except for the sake of some historical or legendary association. The high knoll which juts out from the rugged side of Mount Maenalus into the dead flat of the Mantinean plain was called the Look, he tells us, because here the dying Epaminondas, with his hand pressed hard on the wound from which his life was ebbing fast, took his long last look at the fight. The view of the sea from the Acropolis at Athens is noticed by him, not for its gleam of molten sapphire, but because from this height the aged Aegeus scanned the blue expanse for the white sails of his returning son, then cast himself headlong from the rock when he descried the bark with sable sails steering for the port of Athens.

The disinterested glimpses, as we may call them, of Greek scenery which we catch in the pages of Pausanias are brief and few. He tells us that there is no fairer river than the Ladon either in Greece or in foreign land, and probably no one who has traversed the magnificent gorge through which the river bursts its way from the highlands of northern Arcadia to the lowlands on the borders of Elis will be inclined 35to dispute his opinion. Widely different scenes he puts in for us with a few touches—the Boeotian Asopus oozing sluggishly through its deep beds of reeds; the sodden plain of Nestane with the rain-water pouring down into it from the misty mountains; the road running through vineyards with mountains rising on either hand; the spring gushing from the hollow trunk of a venerable plane; the summer lounge in the shady walks of the grove beside the sea; the sand and pine-trees of the low coast of Elis; the oak-woods of Phelloe with stony soil where the deer ranged free and wild boars had their lair; and the Boeotian forest with its giant oaks in whose branches the crows built their nests.

His notices
of the
of Greece.

It is one of the marks of a widening intellectual horizon that as his work goes on Pausanias takes more and more notice of the aspect and natural products of the country which he describes. Such notices are least frequent in the first book and commonest in the last three. Thus he remarks the bareness of the Cirrhaean plain, the fertility of the valley of the Phocian Cephisus, the vineyards of Ambrosus, the palms and dates of Aulis, the olive-oil of Tithorea that was sent to the emperor, the dykes that dammed off the water from the fields in the marshy flats of Caphyae and Thisbe. He mentions the various kinds 36of oaks that grew in the Arcadian woods, the wild-strawberry bushes of Mount Helicon on which the goats browsed, the hellebore, both black and white, of Anticyra, and the berry of Ambrosus which yielded the crimson dye. He observed the flocks of bustards that haunted the banks of the Phocian Cephisus, the huge tortoises that crawled in the forests of Arcadia, the white blackbirds of Mount Cyllene, the two sorts of poultry at Tanagra, the purple shell fished in the sea at Bulis, the trout of the Aroanius river, and the eels of the Copaic Lake. All these instances are taken from the last three books. In the earlier part of his work he condescended to mention the honey of Hymettus, the old silver mines of Laurium, the olives of Cynuria, the fine flax of Elis, the purple shell of the Laconian coast, the marble of Pentelicus, the mussel-stone of Megara, and the green porphyry of Croceae. But of the rich Messenian plain, known in antiquity as the Happy Land, where nowadays the traveller passes, almost as in a tropical region, between orange-groves and vineyards fenced by hedges of huge fantastic cactuses and sword-like aloes, Pausanias has nothing more to say than that “the Pamisus flows through tilled land.”

account of
the state of
the roads.

On the state of the roads he is still more reticent than on that of the country. The dreadful Scironian road—the Via Mala of 37Greece—which ran along a perilous ledge of the Megarian sea-cliffs at a giddy height above the breakers, had lately been widened by Hadrian. An excellent carriage road, much frequented, led from Tegea to Argos. Another road, traversable by vehicles, went over the pass of the Tretus, where the railway from Corinth to Argos now runs; and we have the word of Pausanias for it that a driving-road crossed Parnassus from Delphi to Tithorea. On the other hand the road from Sicyon to Titane was impassable for carriages; a rough hill-track led from Chaeronea to Stiris; the path along the rugged mountainous coast between Lerna and Thyrea was then, as it is now, narrow and difficult; and the pass of the Ladder over Mount Artemisius from Argos to Mantinea was so steep that in some places steps had to be cut in the rock to facilitate the descent. Of the path up to the Corycian cave on Mount Parnassus our author truly observes that it is easier for a man on foot than for mules and horses. Greek mules and horses can, indeed, do wonders in the way of scrambling up and down the most execrable mountain paths on slopes that resemble the roof of a house; but it would sorely tax even their energies to ascend to the Corycian cave.

The real interest of Pausanias, however, lay neither in the country nor in the people of his 38|His
the monuments.|
own age, but in those monuments of the past, which, though too often injured by time or defaced by violence, he still found scattered in profusion over Greece. It is to a description of them that the greater part of his work is devoted. He did not profess to catalogue, still less to describe, them all. To do so might well have exceeded the powers of any man, however great his patience and industry. All that a writer could reasonably hope to accomplish was to make a choice of the most interesting monuments, to describe them clearly, and to furnish such comments as were needful to understanding them properly. This is what Pausanias attempted to do and what, after every deduction has been made for omissions and mistakes, he may fairly be said to have done well. The choice of the monuments to be described necessarily rested with himself, and if his choice was sometimes different from what ours might have been, it would be unreasonable to blame him for it. He did not write for us. No man in his sober senses ever did write for readers who were to be born some seventeen hundred years after he was in his grave. In his wildest dreams of fame Pausanias can hardly have hoped, perhaps under all the circumstances we ought rather to say feared, that his book would be read, long after the Roman empire had passed away, by the people 39whom he calls the most numerous and warlike barbarians in Europe,[1] by the Britons in their distant isle, and by the inhabitants of a new world across the Atlantic.

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

His preference
for the
older over
the later

When we examine Pausanias’s choice of monuments we find that, like his account of the country and people, it was mainly determined by two leading principles, his antiquarian tastes and his religious curiosity. In the first place, the monuments described are generally ancient, not modern; in the second place, they are for the most part religious, not profane. His preference for old over modern art, for works of the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. over those of the later period, was well founded and has been shared by the best judges both in ancient and modern times. Cicero, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Quintilian, and our author’s own contemporary, Lucian, perhaps the most refined critic of art in antiquity, mention no artist of later date than the fourth century B.C. The truth is, the subjugation of Greece by Macedonia struck a fatal blow at Greek art. No sculptor or painter of the first rank was born after the conquest. It seemed as if art were a flower that could only bloom in freedom; in the air of slavery it drooped and faded. 40Thus if Pausanias chose to chronicle the masterpieces of the great age of art rather than the feebler productions of the decadence, we can only applaud his taste. Yet we may surmise that his taste was here reinforced by his patriotism. For he was more than a mere antiquary and connoisseur. He was a patriot who warmly sympathised with the ancient glories of his country and deeply mourned its decline. He recognised Athens as the representative of all that was best in Greek life, and he can hardly find words strong enough to express his detestation of the men who by weakening her in the Peloponnesian war directly prepared for the conquest of Greece by Macedonia. The battle of Chaeronea he describes repeatedly as a disaster for the whole of Greece, and of the conqueror Philip himself he speaks in terms of the strongest reprobation. The men who had repelled the Persians, put down the military despotism of Sparta, fought against the Macedonians, and delayed, if they could not avert, the final subjugation of Greece by Rome were for him the benefactors of their country. He gives a list of them, beginning with Miltiades and ending with Philopoemen, after whom, he says, Greece ceased to be the mother of the brave. And as he mentions with pride and gratitude the men who had served the cause of freedom, so he expresses 41himself with disgust and abhorrence of the men who had worked for the enslavement of Greece to Persia, to Macedonia, and to Rome. His style, generally cold and colourless, grows warm and animated when he tells of a struggle for freedom, whether waged by the Messenians against the Spartans, or by the Greeks against the Gauls, or by the Achaeans against the Romans. And when he has recorded the final catastrophe, the conquest of Greece by Rome, he remarks as with a sigh that the nation had now reached its lowest depth of weakness, and that when Nero afterwards liberated it the boon came too late—the Greeks had forgotten what it was to be free.

His preference
over profane

The preference which Pausanias exhibits for the art of the best period is not more marked than his preference for sacred over profane or merely decorative art, for buildings consecrated to religion over buildings devoted to the purposes of civic or private life. Rarely does he offer any general remarks on the aspect and architectural style of the cities he describes. At Tanagra he praises the complete separation of the houses of the people from the sanctuaries of the gods. Amphissa, he tells us, was handsomely built, and Lebadea could compare with the most flourishing cities of Greece in style and splendour. On the other hand he viewed with unconcealed disdain the squalor and decay 42of the Phocian city of Panopeus, “if city it can be called that has no government offices, no gymnasium, no theatre, no market-place, no water conducted to a fountain, and where the people live in hovels, just like highland shanties, perched on the edge of a ravine.” In the cities he visited he does indeed notice market-places, colonnades, courts of justice, government offices, fountains, baths, and the houses and statues of famous men, but the number of such buildings and monuments in his pages is small compared to the number of temples and precincts, images and votive offerings that he describes, and such notice as he takes of them seldom amounts to more than a bare mention. The civic buildings that he deigns to describe in any detail are very few. Amongst them we may note the Painted Colonnade at Athens with its famous pictures, the spacious and splendid Persian Colonnade at Sparta with its columns of white marble carved in the shape of Persian captives, the market-place at Elis, and the Phocian parliament-house with its double row of columns running down the whole length of the hall and its seats rising in tiers from the columns up to the walls behind.

descriptions of

It is when he comes to religious art and architecture that Pausanias seems to have felt himself most at home. If in his notice of civic buildings and monuments he is chary of details, 43he is lavish of them in describing the temples and sanctuaries with their store of images, altars, and offerings. The most elaborate of his descriptions are those which he has given of the temple of Zeus at Olympia with the great image of the god by Phidias, the scenes on the Chest of Cypselus in the Heraeum at Olympia, the reliefs on the throne of Apollo at Amyclae, and the paintings by Polygnotus in the Cnidian Lesche at Delphi. But, apart from these conspicuous examples; almost every page of his work bears witness to his interest in the monuments of religion, especially when they were more than usually old and quaint. Among the queer images he describes are the thirty square stones revered as gods at Pharae; the rough stones worshipped as images of Love and Hercules and the Graces at Thespiae, Hyettus, and Orchomenus; the pyramidal stone which represented Apollo at Megara; the ancient wooden image of Zeus with three eyes on the acropolis of Argos; the old idol of Demeter as a woman with a horse’s head holding a dove in one hand and a dolphin in the other; the figure of a mermaid bound fast with golden chains in a wild wood at the meeting of two glens; the image of the War God at Sparta in fetters to hinder him from running away; the bronze likeness of an unquiet ghost clamped with iron to a rock to keep him still; 44an image of Athena with a purple bandage on her wounded thigh; a pair of wooden idols of Dionysus with shining gilt bodies and red faces; and tiny bronze images of Castor and Pollux, a foot high, on a rocky islet over which the sea broke foaming in winter, but could not wash them away. Some of the images he describes as tricked out with offerings of devout worshippers. Such were an image of Pasiphae covered with garlands; a figure of Hermes swathed in myrtle boughs; a crimson-painted idol of Dionysus emerging from a heap of laurel leaves and ivy; and a statue of Health almost hidden under tresses of women’s hair and strips of Babylonish raiment in the shade of ancient cypresses at Titane. Among the appointments of the sanctuaries he mentions, for example, altars made of the ashes or blood of the victims, perpetual fires, a golden lamp that burned day and night in the Erechtheum, a gilt head of the Gorgon on the wall of the Acropolis, a purple curtain in the temple of Zeus, a golden and jewelled peacock dedicated by Hadrian to Hera, the iron stand of Alyattes’s bowl, chains of liberated prisoners, hanging from the cypresses in the grove of Hebe, and bronze railings round the shaft down which the enquirer, clad in a peculiar costume, descended by a ladder to consult the oracle of Trophonius.

interest in

45Again, Pausanias loves to notice the things, whether worshipped or not, which were treasured as relics of a mythical or legendary past. Such were the remains of the clay out of which Prometheus had moulded the first man and woman; the stone that Cronus had swallowed instead of his infant son; the remains of the wild-strawberry tree under which Hermes had been nourished; the egg which the lovely Leda had laid and out of which Castor and Pollux had been hatched; the ruins of the bridal chamber where Zeus had dallied with Semele; the mouldering hide of the Calydonian boar; and the old wooden pillar, held together by bands and protected from the weather by a shed, which had stood in the house of Oenomaus. In the temple of Artemis at Aulis, now represented by a ruined Byzantine chapel in a bare stony field, the traveller was shown the remains of the plane-tree under which the Greeks had sacrificed before setting sail for Troy, and on a neighbouring hill the guides pointed out the bronze threshold of Agamemnon’s hut. But the most revered of all the relics described by Pausanias seems to have been the sceptre which Hephaestus was said to have made and Agamemnon to have wielded. It was kept and worshipped at Chaeronea. A priest who held office for a year guarded the precious relic in his house and offered sacrifices to it daily, 46while a table covered with flesh and cakes stood constantly beside it. A ruder conception of religion than is revealed by this practice of adoring and feeding a staff it might be hard to discover amongst the lowest fetish-worshippers of Western Africa. And this practice was carried on in the native city and in the lifetime of the enlightened Plutarch! Truly the extremes of human nature sometimes jostle each other in the street.

His notices
of historic

But his religious bias by no means so warped the mind of Pausanias as to render him indifferent to the historic ground which he trod, and to those monuments of great men and memorable events on which his eye must have fallen at almost every turn. As a scholar he was versed in, and as a patriot he was proud of, the memories which these monuments were destined to perpetuate, and which in the genius of the Greek people have found a monument more lasting than any of bronze or marble. He visited the battlefields of Marathon and Plataea and beheld the trophies of victory and the graves of the victors. At Salamis he saw the trophy of the great sea-fight, but he mentions no graves. Doubtless the bones of many victors and vanquished lay together fathoms deep in the bay. At Chaeronea he saw a sadder monument, the colossal stone lion on the grave of the Thebans who had fallen in 47the cause of freedom. On the battlefield of Mantinea he found the grave of Epaminondas, at Sparta the grave of Leonidas, and among the pine-woods of the sacred isle that looks across the blue Saronic gulf to Attica the grave of the banished Demosthenes. At Thebes he saw the ruins of Pindar’s house, the shields of the Lacedaemonian officers who fell at Leuctra, and the figures of white marble which Thrasybulus and his comrades in exile and in arms had dedicated out of gratitude for Theban hospitality. In the Grove of the Muses on Helicon he beheld the statues of renowned poets and musicians—Hesiod with his lute, Arion on his dolphin, blind Thamyris, Orpheus holding the beasts spellbound as he sang. At Tanagra he observed the portrait and the tomb of the poetess Corinna, the rival of Pindar; and in several cities of Arcadia he remarked portraits of the Arcadian historian Polybius.

Nowhere, however, did he find historical monuments crowded so closely together as at Athens, Olympia, and Delphi. The great sanctuaries of Olympia and Delphi served in a manner as the national museums and record-offices of Greece. In them the various Greek cities not only of the mother-country but of Italy, Sicily, Gaul, and the East set up the trophies of their victories and deposited copies of treaties and other important documents. 48|Historic
They offered a neutral ground where natives of jealous or hostile states could meet in peace, and where they could survey, with hearts that swelled with various emotions, the records of their country’s triumphs and defeats. At Olympia our author mentions a tablet inscribed with a treaty of alliance for a hundred years between Elis, Athens, Argos, and Mantinea; another tablet recording a treaty of peace for thirty years between Athens and Sparta; and the quoit of Iphitus inscribed with the terms of the truce of God which was proclaimed at the Olympic festival. Amongst the many trophies of war which he enumerates the most memorable was the image of Zeus dedicated in common by the Greeks who had fought at Plataea, and the most conspicuous, unless we except the figure of Victory on the pillar dedicated by the Messenians of Naupactus, must have been the colossal bronze statue of Zeus, no less than twenty-seven feet high, which the Eleans set up for a victory over the Arcadians. A golden shield, hung high on the eastern gable of the temple of Zeus, proclaimed the triumph of the Lacedaemonian arms at Tanagra. The sight of one-and-twenty gilded shields that glittered on the eastern and southern sides of the temple must have cost Pausanias a pang, for they had been dedicated by the Roman general Mummius to commemorate the 49conquest of Greece. Another monument that doubtless vexed the patriotic heart of Pausanias was an elegant rotunda with slim Ionic columns resting on marble steps and supporting a marble roof; for the statues which it enclosed, resplendent in gold and ivory, were those of Philip and Alexander, and the building stood as a memorial of the battle of Chaeronea.


At Delphi the road which wound up the steep slope to the temple of Apollo was lined on both sides with an unbroken succession of monuments which illustrated some of the brightest triumphs and darkest tragedies in Greek history.history. Here the proud trophy of the Lacedaemonian victory at Aegospotami, with its rows of statues rising in tiers, confronted the more modest trophy erected by the Athenians for the victory of Marathon. Here were statues set up by the Argives for the share they had taken with the Thebans in founding Messene. Here was a treasury dedicated by the Athenians out of the spoils of Marathon, and another dedicated by the Thebans out of the spoils of Leuctra. Here another treasury, built by the Syracusans, commemorated the disastrous defeat of the Athenians in Sicily. A bronze palm-tree and a gilded image of Athena stood here as memorials of Athenian valour by sea and land at the Eurymedon. Here, above all, were monuments of the victories achieved by the 50united Greeks over the Persians at Artemisium, Salamis, and Plataea. The golden tripod, indeed, which formed the trophy of Plataea, had disappeared long before Pausanias passed up the Sacred Way, its empty place testifying silently to the rapacity of the Phocian leaders; but the bronze serpent which had supported it still stood erect, with the names of the states that had taken part in the battle inscribed on its coils. A prodigious image of Apollo, five-and-thirty ells high, towering above the other monuments, proclaimed at once the enormity of the crime which the Phocians had committed and the magnitude of the fine by which they had expiated it. High and conspicuous too, on the architrave of the temple, hung the shields which told of one of the latest triumphs of the Greek arms, the repulse and defeat of the Gauls. All these and many more historical monuments Pausanias saw and described at Delphi.


At Athens among the portraits of famous men that attracted his attention were statues of the statesmen Solon, Pericles, and Lycurgus, the generals Conon, Timotheus, and Iphicrates, the orators Demosthenes and Isocrates, the philosopher Chrysippus, and the poets Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Menander. In the Prytaneum were preserved copies of the laws of Solon. The colonnades that flanked the 51market-place were adorned with pictures of the battles of Marathon, Oenoe, and Mantinea, and in one of them—the celebrated Painted Colonnade—our author observed bronze shields, smeared with pitch to preserve them from rust, which had been taken from the Spartans at Sphacteria. On the Acropolis stood, as a trophy of the Persian wars, the immense bronze statue of Athena, of which the blade of the spear and the crest of the helmet could be seen far off at sea. Close at hand in the Erechtheum the traveller was shown the sword of Mardonius and the corselet of Masistius, who had fallen while leading the Persian cavalry to the charge at Plataea. In Piraeus he saw the sanctuary of Aphrodite which Conon had built after vanquishing the Lacedaemonian fleet off Cnidus, and at the entrance to the great harbour, in view of the ships sailing out and in, the grave of Themistocles who had won for Athens the empire of the sea. But no place in Greece was richer in monuments of the historic past, none seems to have stirred Pausanias more deeply than that memorable spot outside the walls of Athens where, within the narrow compass of a single graveyard, were gathered the mortal remains of so much valour and genius. Here lay not a few of the illustrious men who by their counsels, their swords, or their pens had made Athens great and famous, and hither 52the ashes of humbler citizens, who had died for their country, were brought from distant battlefields to rest in Attic earth. His description of this the national burying-ground of Athens has not, indeed, the pensive grace of Addison’s essay on the tombs in the Abbey. It is little more than a bare list of the names he read on the monuments, but there almost every name was a history as full of proud or mournful memories as the names carved on the tombs in Westminster and St. Paul’s or stitched on the tattered and blackened banners that droop from the walls of our churches. The annals of Athens were written on these stones—the story of her restless and aspiring activity, her triumphs in art, in eloquence, in arms, her brief noon of glory, and her long twilight of decrepitude and decay. No wonder that our traveller paused amid monuments which seemed, in the gathering night of barbarism, to catch and reflect some beams of the bright day that was over, like the purple light that lingers on the slopes of Hymettus when the sun has set on Athens.

His digressions

To relieve the tedium of the topographical part of his work, Pausanias has introduced digressions on the wonders of nature and of foreign lands. Thus, for example, having mentioned the destruction of Helice by an earthquake, he describes the ominous signs which 53herald the approach of a great earthquake—the heavy rains or long droughts, in winter the sultry weather, in summer the haze through which the sun’s disc looms red and lurid, the sudden gusts, the springs of water drying up, the rumbling noises underground. Further, he analyses the different kinds of shocks, determines the nature of the one which destroyed Helice, and describes the immense wave which simultaneously advanced on the doomed city from the sea. He refers to the ebb and flow of the ocean, to the ice-bound sea and frozen deserts of the north, to the southern land where the sun casts no shadow at midsummer. He tells how the Chinese rear the silkworm, and describes both silk and the silkworm more correctly than any writer who preceded and than some who followed him. It has been suggested that he derived his information, directly or indirectly, from a member of the Roman embassy which appears from the evidence of Chinese historians to have been sent by the emperor Marcus Antoninus to the far East and to have reached the court of China in October 166 A.D. Again, he describes the Sarmatians of northern Europe leading a nomadic life in the depths of their virgin forests, subsisting by their mares, ignorant of iron, clad in corselets made of horse-hoofs, shooting arrows barbed with bone from bows 54of the cornel-tree, and entangling their foes in the coils of their lassoes.

Among the curiosities which seem to have especially interested him were the huge bones he met with in various places. Generally he took them to be bones of giants, but one of them he described more happily as that of a sea-monster. Probably they were all bones of mammoths or other large extinct animals, such as have been found plentifully in modern times in various parts of Greece, for example near Megalopolis, where he saw some of them. Again, he is particularly fond of describing or alluding to strange birds and beasts, whether native to Greece or imported from distant countries. Thus he mentions a reported variety of white blackbirds on Mount Cyllene which had attracted the attention of Aristotle, and he describes almost with the exactitude of a naturalist a small venomous viper of northern Arcadia which is still dreaded by the inhabitants. He refers to the parrots and camels and huge serpents of India, and he describes briefly but correctly the ostrich and the rhinoceros. He gives a full and sober account of the method of capturing the bison, and another of the mode of catching the elk which contrasts very favourably with the absurd account of it given by Caesar. At Tanagra he saw the stuffed or pickled Triton, or what 55passed for such, of which the Tanagraeans were so proud that they put a figure of a Triton on the coins which they minted in the lifetime of Pausanias. In the island of Poroselene he enjoyed, he assures us, the spectacle of a tame dolphin that came at a boy’s call and allowed him to ride on its back.

His report of this last spectacle, though it is confirmed by another witness, may raise a doubt as to his credibility. Professor Alfred Newton, whom I have consulted on the subject, kindly informs me that he knows of no modern evidence to bear Pausanias out, but that considering the widespread belief of the ancients in the familiarity of dolphins he does not think it inconceivable that in those days the creatures lived in little fear of mankind. We cannot judge, he says, by the behaviour of animals at the present day of what they might or did do before persecution began. “When the Russians,” he continues, “discovered Bering’s Island in 1741, they found its shores thronged by a big sea-beast (the Rhytina gigas of naturalists), which, never having seen men before, had no fear of them, and the Russians (shipwrecked as they were) used to wade in the water and milk the ‘cows.’ The confidence was misplaced, and within thirty years or so every one of the animals had been destroyed, and the species extirpated.” Thus it seems 56not impossible that dolphins may have been tamer in antiquity than they are now, and that Pausanias may really have seen what he tells us he saw. But perhaps the exhibition at Poroselene was a hoax.

Greece by
the pseudo-Dicaearchus.

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

“ The road to Athens is a pleasant one, running between cultivated fields the whole way. The city itself is dry and ill supplied with water. The streets are nothing but miserable old lanes, the houses mean, with a few better ones among them. On his first 57arrival a stranger could hardly believe that this is the Athens of which he has heard so much. Yet he will soon come to believe that it is Athens indeed. A Music Hall, the most beautiful in the world, a large and stately theatre, a costly, remarkable, and far-seen temple of Athena called the Parthenon rising above the theatre, strike the beholder with admiration. A temple of Olympian Zeus, unfinished but planned on an astonishing scale; three gymnasiums, the Academy, Lyceum, and Cynosarges, shaded with trees that spring from greensward; verdant gardens of philosophers; amusements and recreations; many holidays and a constant succession of spectacles;—all these the visitor will find in Athens.

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

“ Of the inhabitants some are Attic and some are Athenian. The former are gossiping, slanderous, given to prying into the business of strangers, fair and false. The Athenians are high-minded, straightforward, and staunch in 58friendship. The city is infested by a set of scribblers who worry visitors and rich strangers. When the people catches the rascals, it makes an example of them. The true-born Athenians are keen and critical auditors, constant in their attendance at plays and spectacles. In short, Athens as far surpasses all other cities in the pleasures and conveniences of life as they surpass the country. But a man must beware of the courtesans, lest they lure him to ruin. The verses of Lysippus run thus:

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

“ Thence to Oropus by Psaphides and the sanctuary of Zeus Amphiaraus is a day’s journey for a good walker. It is all up-hill,[2] but the abundance and good cheer of the inns prevent the traveller from feeling the fatigue. Oropus is a nest of hucksters. The greed of the custom-house officers here is unsurpassed, their roguery inveterate and bred in the bone. Most of the people are coarse and truculent in their manners, for they have knocked the 59decent members of the community on the head. They deny they are Boeotians, standing out for it that they are Athenians living in Boeotia. To quote the poet Xeno:

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

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

“ Thence to Tanagra is a hundred and thirty furlongs. The road runs through olive-groves and woodlands: fear of highwaymen there is none at all. The city stands on high and rugged ground. Its aspect is white and chalky; but the houses with their porches and encaustic paintings give it a very pretty appearance. The corn of the district is not very plentiful, but the wine is the best in Boeotia. The people are well-to-do, but simple in their way of life. All are farmers, not artisans. They practise justice, good faith, and hospitality. To needy fellow-townsmen and to vagabonds they give freely of their substance, for meanness and covetousness are unknown to them. It is the safest city in all Boeotia for strangers to stay in; for the independent and industrious habits of the people have bred a sturdy downright hatred of knavery. In this city I observed as little as might be of those unbridled impulses which are commonly the source of the greatest crimes. For where people have enough to live on, they do not 60hanker after lucre, so roguery can hardly show face among them.

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

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

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

“ Thence to Thebes is eighty furlongs. The road is through a flat the whole way. The city stands in the middle of Boeotia. Its circumference is seventy furlongs, its shape circular. The soil is dark. In spite of its antiquity the streets are new, because, as the histories tell us, the city has been thrice razed to the ground on account of the morose and overbearing character of the inhabitants. It is excellent for the breeding of horses; it is all well-watered and green, and has more gardens than any other city in Greece. For two rivers flow through it, irrigating the plain below the city; and water is brought from the Cadmea in 61underground conduits which were made of old, they say, by Cadmus. So much for the city. The inhabitants are high-spirited and wonderfully sanguine, but rash, insolent, and overbearing, ready to come to blows with any man, be he citizen or stranger. As for justice they set their face against it. Business disputes are settled not by reason but by fisticuffs, and the methods of the prize-ring are transferred to courts of justice. Hence lawsuits here last thirty years at the very least. For if a man opens his lips in public on the law’s delay and does not thereupon take hasty leave of Boeotia, he is waylaid by night and murdered by the persons who have no wish that lawsuits should come to an end. Murders are perpetrated on the most trifling pretexts. Such are the men as a whole, though some worthy, high-minded, respectable persons are also to be found among them. The women are the tallest, prettiest, and most graceful in all Greece. Their faces are so muffled up that only the eyes are seen. All of them dress in white and wear low purple shoes laced so as to show the bare feet. Their yellow hair is tied up in a knot on the top of the head. In society their manners are Sicyonian rather than Boeotian. They have pleasing voices, while the voices of the men are harsh and deep. The city is one of the best places to pass the summer in, for it has gardens and plenty of cool 62water. Besides it is breezy, its aspect is verdant, and fruit and flowers abound. But it lacks timber, and is one of the worst places to winter in by reason of the rivers and the winds; for snow falls and there is much mud. The poet Laon writes in praise of the Boeotians, but he does not speak the truth, the fact being that he was caught in adultery and let off lightly by the injured husband. He says:

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

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

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

‘If you have any sense, shun Boeotia.’

So much for the land of the Boeotians.

“From Anthedon to Chalcis is seventy furlongs. As far as Salgoneus the road is level and easy, running between the sea on the one hand and a wooded and well-watered mountain of no great height on the other. The city of Chalcis measures seventy furlongs in circumference. It is all hilly and shaded with trees. Most of the springs are salt, but there is one called Arethusa of which the water, though brackish, is wholesome, cool, and so abundant that it suffices for the whole city. With public buildings such as gymnasiums, colonnades, sanctuaries, and theatres, besides paintings and statues, the city is excellently provided, and the situation of the market-place for purposes of 64commerce is unsurpassed. For the currents that meet in the Euripus flow past the very walls of the harbour, and here there is a gate which leads straight into the market-place, a spacious area enclosed by colonnades. This proximity of the market-place to the harbour, and the ease with which cargoes can be unloaded, attract many ships to the port. Indeed the Euripus itself, with its double entrance, draws merchants to the city. The whole district is planted with olives, and the fisheries are productive. The people are Greek in speech as well as by birth. Devoted to learning, with a taste for travel and books, they bear their country’s misfortunes with a noble fortitudefortitude. A long course of political servitude has not extinguished that inborn freedom of nature which has taught them to submit to the inevitable. To quote a verse of Philiscus:

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

These passages, which I have perhaps quoted at too great length, may suffice. I will spare the reader a long description of Mount Pelion, its pine-woods, its wild flowers, and its simples, which seems to be a fragment of the same work. Two points only in the description of the mountain may be mentioned. The writer tells us that the knowledge of certain simples was hereditary in a single family, who kept it a profound secret, though they refused to accept any 65money from the sick people whom they tended, deeming it would be impious to do so. These herbalists claimed to be descended from the centaur Chiron. Again, we learn from the writer how in the greatest heat of summer, when the Dog Star rose, a procession of men of good birth and in the prime of life, all chosen by the priest and all clad in sheepskins, ascended through the pine-woods to the cave of Chiron and a sanctuary of Zeus on the top of the mountain. He mentions the sheepskins as a proof of the great height of Mount Pelion, as if without them the men would have shivered on the mountain even while the plains below were sweltering and baking in the heat. But it is more probable that the sheepskins had some religious significance.


This account of the procession of skin-clad men to the cave and sanctuary on the top of the high mountain reads not unlike a passage in Pausanias. But how different is almost all the rest of this writer’s description of Greece from that of Pausanias! Instead of a dull patient enumeration of monuments, arranged in topographical order and seldom enlivened even by a descriptive epithet, we have slight highly-coloured sketches of the general appearance of the towns—the white city of Tanagra on the hill with the pretty painted porches of the houses; Chalcis with its handsome buildings, 66its shady trees, its flowing springs, its spacious market beside the narrows where the tide runs fast and the porters are busy unlading the ships in the harbour; Thebes in summer with its fine new streets, its verdure, its fruit and flowers, and the balmy freshness of the perfumed air blowing over gardens; Thebes in winter, swept by bitter cutting winds, the streets deep in mud and whitened by the falling snow; Athens with its old narrow lanes and mean houses, and now and then a glimpse between them of the resplendent Parthenon, like a sun-burst, high up against the sky. Then again as to the people, what a contrast between the grave Pausanias, who hardly allows us to see them except at their devotions, and the sparkling writer who so often lifts the veil of the past and lets us catch a glimpse of the bustling motley crowd and hear the hum of their voices—the crowd that ceased to bustle and the voices that fell silent so long ago. We see the hungry populace at Athens forgetting their empty stomachs in the joys of the theatre and pageant; the frail beauties ogling; the literary pests scribbling lampoons in their garrets or wriggling in the grasp of the law. On the highways we behold the travellers walking in fear of robbers or taking their ease at their inn. At Oropus we watch the custom-house officers diving into the baggage of exasperated travellers, who mutter curses. At Tanagra we shake hands 67with the bluff well-to-do farmer, comfortable, kindly, and contented, who has a hearty welcome for the stranger and a bit and a sup for the beggar who knocks at his door. In the streets of Thebes we jostle with your ruffling swaggering blades, your bullies and swashbucklers, who will knock you down for a word and cut your throat in a dark lane if you dare to whisper a word that reflects on the course of justice, or rather of injustice, in their native city. And moving amongst these ruffians are tall graceful women, muffled up to their eyes, their yellow hair gathered in knots on the top of their heads, their purple shoes peeping from under their white dresses, their soft voices contrasting with the gruff deep bass of the men. Again the scene shifts. We are no longer among the streets and gardens of Thebes, but on the beach at Anthedon with the salt smell of the sea in our nostrils and the cool sea-breeze fanning our brow. We see the fisher-folk, with their ruddy weather-beaten faces and their finger-nails eaten away by the brine, baiting their hooks among the sea-weed on the shore, or hammering away at a new fishing-boat, or ferrying travellers across the beautiful strait to Euboea.

These pictures of a vanished world are worth something. They have life, warmth, and colour; but the colours, we can hardly doubt, are heightened unduly. The lights are too high, 68the shadows too deep. We cannot believe that the population of Oropus consisted exclusively of cut-throats and custom-house officers; that the farmers of Tanagra were all bluff and virtuous; that none but good men struggling nobly with adversity resided at Chalcis; that no lawsuit at Thebes ever lasted less than thirty years. The writer, it is plain, has exaggerated for the sake of literary effect. And he has a strong leaning to gossip and scandal. He extenuates the praise of Boeotia in the mouth of a poet on the ground of a painful episode in the bard’s private history, and he retails with evident relish the current tattle as to the characteristic vices of the various Boeotian towns. On the whole this lively, superficial, gossipy work, with its showy slap-dash sketches of life and scenery, cannot compare in solid worth with the dry and colourless, but in general minute and accurate description of Greece which Pausanias has given us. In the writings of Pausanias we certainly miss the warmth and animation of the other, the pictures of contemporary life and character, the little touches that bring the past and the distant vividly before us. His book is too much a mere catalogue of antiquities, the dry bones of knowledge unquickened by the breath of imagination. Yet his very defects have their compensating advantages. If he lacked imagination he was the less likely to 69yield to that temptation of distorting and discolouring the facts to which men of bright fancy are peculiarly exposed, of whom it has been well said that they are like the angels who veil their faces with their wings.

of Pausanias.

In truth Pausanias was a man made of common stuff and cast in a common mould. His intelligence and abilities seem to have been little above the average, his opinions not very different from those of his contemporaries. |His
While he looked back with regret to the great age of Greek freedom, he appears to have acquiesced in the Roman dominion as inevitable, acknowledging the incapacity of the degenerate Greeks to govern themselves, the general clemency of the Roman rule, and especially the wisdom and beneficence of the good emperors under whom it was his happiness to live. Of democracy he had no admiration. He thought the Athenians the only people who ever throve under it, and on observing that the slaves who fought and died for Athens were buried with their masters, he remarks with apparent surprise that even a democracy can occasionally be just. With his turn for study and for brooding over the past, it was natural that he should prefer a life of privacy to the cares and turmoils of a public career. Accordingly we find that he admired the prudence of Isocrates who lived placidly to old age in the shade and tranquillity 70of retirement, and that he censured implicitly the imprudence of Demosthenes, whose fiery genius hurried him through the storm and sunshine of public life to exile and a violent death.

Such a preference, implied rather than expressed, says much for the decay of public spirit in Greece. Our author himself was conscious that his lot had fallen on evil days. He speaks sorrowfully of the olden time when the gods openly visited the good with honour, and the bad with their displeasure; when the benefactors of mankind were raised to the rank of divinities, and evil-doers were degraded into wild beasts and stones. “But in the present age,” he adds mournfully, “when wickedness is growing to such a height, and spreading over every land and city, men are changed into gods no more, save in the hollow rhetoric which flattery addresses to power; and the wrath of the gods at the wicked is reserved for a distant future when they shall have gone hence.” We cannot doubt that here he glances covertly at the practice of deifying the Roman emperors, which seems to have stirred his honest indignation as a mark of the supple servility and political degeneracy of the age. Nor was he a stranger to those graver thoughts on the vaster issues of life and history which the aspect of Greece in its decline was fitted to awake. The sight of the great city of 71Megalopolis lying in ruins brings to his mind the high hopes with which it had been founded, and that again ushers in a train of melancholy reflexions on the instability of human affairs. He thinks how from so many golden cities of the ancient world—from Nineveh and Babylon, from Thebes and Mycenae—the glory had passed away; how nature itself, which seems so stable, is subject to great mutations; how transitory, then, is earthly glory, how brief and frail the life of man!

His ethical

On the passions which move men and make history he seems to have thought much like other people. He knew that avarice is the cause of many crimes, and that love is the source both of great happiness and of great misery. Yet he appears to have held that the mischief wrought by the passion of love outweighs the good it brings; for after telling how, by washing in the river Selemnus, men and women were supposed to forget their love, he adds that if there is any truth in this story great riches are less precious to mankind than the water of the Selemnus. Again, he has a sincere admiration for the heroic virtues, and a genuine detestation of baseness and depravity of all sorts. Treason he stigmatises as the foulest of crimes. He considers that the bold and disinterested patriot Thrasybulus, who freed his country and healed her dissensions, was the best of all the famous 72men of Athens, and that the deed of Leonidas and his Spartans at Thermopylae was the most splendid feat of arms in Grecian history. He praises his Spartan namesake for his courteous treatment of the captive Coan lady and for rejecting the base proposal of the wretch who would have had him mutilate the corpse of the gallant Mardonius. He speaks with sympathy of the brave men worthy of a happier fate who fell on the tyrant Lachares, of those who would have wrested Piraeus from the Macedonians had they not been done by their confederates to death, and of those others whom on the great day Cimon led to victory by sea and land. He tells how in the last fight with the Romans, before the day was lost, the Achaean general fled, leaving his men to shift for themselves, and he contrasts his selfish cowardice with the soldierly devotion of an Athenian cavalry officer who on the disastrous retreat from Syracuse brought off his regiment safe, then wheeled about and, riding back alone, found the death he sought in the midst of the enemy.

Belief in
the gods.

In religion as in morals Pausanias seems to have occupied a position not unlike that of his contemporaries. That it did not occur to him to doubt the existence of the gods and heroes of Greek mythology is clear from the tenour of his work as well as from many observations which he lets fall. Thus for example, he tells 73us that to see the gods in bodily shape was perilous; that Pan possessed, equally with the greatest of the gods, the power of answering prayer and requiting the wicked; and that down to his own time there was preserved at a city on the Euphrates the very rope, plaited of vine and ivy branches, with which Dionysus had spanned the river on his march to India. Even the criticisms which he sometimes offers on myths and legends prove that in the act of rejecting them wholly or in part he does not dream of questioning the reality of the divine or heroic personages of whom they were told. Thus, to give instances, while he examines and rejects the claims set up on behalf of various objects to be works of Hephaestus, he admits the genuineness of one of the objects, thereby clearly taking for granted the existence of the smith-god himself. Again, observing an image of Aphrodite with fetters on her feet he tells how, according to one tradition, Tyndareus had put this indignity on the goddess to punish her for bringing his daughters to shame. “This explanation,” declares Pausanias with decision, “I cannot accept for a moment It would have been too silly to imagine that by making a cedar-wood doll and dubbing it Aphrodite he could punish the goddess.” Obviously our author, if he has small reverence for the image and none at all for the tradition of its origin, 74cherishes an unfaltering faith in the reality of the goddess. Again, he denies that Semele was ever, as Greek tradition would have it, rescued from hell by Dionysus, and the reason he gives for his incredulity is that Semele was the wife of Zeus and therefore could not die. Yet again, after telling the legend of Eurypylus and the wonderful chest in which he kept a portable god, he mentions only to reject the tradition that Eurypylus received the chest from Hercules. “Sure am I,” says he, “that Hercules knew all about the chest, if it really was such a wonderful chest, and I do not believe that knowing about it he would ever have given it away to a comrade in arms.” Once more, Pausanias cannot bring himself to believe that Hercules ever carried his anger at a friend’s daughter so far as to condemn her to remain a spinster for the rest of her days and to serve him in that capacity as his priestess. He opines that while Hercules was still among men, “punishing other people for presumption and especially for impiety, it is not likely that he would have established a temple with a priestess all for himself, just as if he were a god.”

as to hell.

There is one side, however, of Greek religion as to which Pausanias shows himself consistently sceptical, if not incredulous. He had serious doubts as to the existence of a subterranean hell. “It is not easy,” he says, “to believe that gods 75have an underground abode in which the souls of the dead assemble.” He speaks of the “supposed subterranean realm” of Pluto, and in the cave at Taenarum, which was thought to be one of the mouths of hell, he looked in vain for any passage leading down to the nether world. Cerberus in particular, the hound of hell, is roughly handled by Pausanias, who ruthlessly strips him of his superfluous heads, reduces him to a commonplace serpent, and seems to take a malicious pleasure in enumerating all the places where the animal was said to have been haled up by Hercules. But though Pausanias had his doubts as to hell, he seems to have believed in the existence of the soul after death; for in a passage which has been already quoted he speaks of the punishment that awaits the wicked in another life. At the same time his belief in the doctrine was apparently not very firm; at least he refers to it somewhat hesitatingly in mentioning the Messenian tradition that the soul of the dead hero Aristomenes had fought against his old foes the Lacedaemonians at Leuctra. “The first people,” he there tells us, “who asserted that the soul of man is immortal were the Chaldeans and the Indian magicians; and some of the Greeks believed them, especially Plato, the son of Aristo. If everybody accepts this tenet, there can be no gainsaying the view that hatred of the Lacedaemonians has rankled 76in the heart of Aristomenes through all the ages.”

attitude to

Amongst the gods Pausanias assigns the first place to Zeus. He alone is superior to Destiny, to which all the other gods must submit; he is the ruler and guide of the Fates, and knows all that they have in store for man. Of the Fates themselves Fortune is, in our author’s opinion, the most powerful; she it is whose resistless might sweeps all things along at her will, determining the growth and decay of cities, the revolutions of nature, and the destiny of man. Yet Pausanias’s own devotions seem to have been paid rather to Demeter than to Zeus or the Fates. He visited Phigalia chiefly for the sake of the Black Demeter to whom he sacrificed at the mouth of the cave; he relates at length the history of her image; and he describes in unusual detail the sanctuary and images of Demeter and Proserpine at Lycosura. Again, he had been initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries; he loves to trace their diffusion from Eleusis over the rest of Greece; he speaks of the Andanian mysteries as second in point of sanctity to the Eleusinian alone; he tells us that the Greeks of an earlier age esteemed the latter as far above all other religious exercises as the gods were above heroes; and he expresses his own conviction that there was nothing on which the blessing of God rested in so full a 77measure as on the rites of Eleusis and the Olympic games. His religious awe of the mysteries, silencing his antiquarian garrulity, forbade him to describe not only the rites but the sacred precincts in which they were celebrated. Once more, on Mount Panhellenius in Aegina he sacrificed to the images of the kindred deities Damia and Auxesia according to the ritual observed in sacrificing at Eleusis. Another deity in whom Pausanias seems to have been especially interested was Aesculapius. He examines the legends of the god’s parentage, discusses his nature, and traces the spread of his worship from Epidaurus. Along with his belief in the gods and in the resistless power of Fate our author apparently cherished a dim faith in a divine providence which watches over the affairs of man. In speaking of the exploits of Theseus in Crete he remarks that “nothing less than the hand of Providence could reasonably be supposed to have brought him and his comrades safe back, guiding him through all the mazy intricacies of the labyrinth, and leading him unseen, when his work was done, through the midst of his enemies.”

His belief
in the
active interference
the gods in

The gods, in the opinion of Pausanias, were neither cold abstractions nor blessed beings who, lapped in the joys of heaven, took no thought for the affairs of earth. They actively interfered in the course of events, rewarding the virtuous 78and punishing the wicked. They were the givers of good things to men; and if their rewards had been more open and manifest in days of old, the prosperity of the pious Athenians was a standing proof that even in later times the gods had not forgotten to recompense their worshippers. Yet, like most people who lay themselves out to justify the ways of God to man, Pausanias was readier to detect the hand of the deity in the miseries and misfortunes of his fellow-creatures than in their joys and blessings. The confidence with which he lays his finger on the precise misdeed which drew down on a malefactor the wrath of a justly offended god implies an astonishing familiarity with the counsels of the Almighty. He knew that the Persians were defeated at Marathon because they had angered Nemesis by bringing, in the pride of their hearts, a block of marble which they proposed to set up as a trophy of their expected victory; that the destruction of Sparta and Helice by earthquakes was due to the wrath of Poseidon at the violation of his sanctuaries; that the ruin and death of Mithridates had been brought to pass by Apollo, whose sacred island had been sacked by the king’s general; that Sulla’s miserable end was a direct consequence of his guilt in tearing Aristion from the sanctuary of Athena; and that the wrath of the Eleusinian goddesses abode on the Megarians 79for ever because they had encroached on the sacred land and murdered a herald who warned them to desist. Again, he shrewdly suspects that the long misfortunes of the Messenians flowed directly from the anger of the Dioscuri at the impious presumption of two Messenian youths; and he surmises that gods and heroes combined to wreak their displeasure on the devoted head of Cleomenes, who had tampered with the Delphic oracle, ravaged the sacred Eleusinian land, and burned the grove of the hero Argus. The Delphic Apollo was quick and powerful, according to Pausanias, to defend his honour and to visit with vengeance the sacrilegious persons who dared to assail his sanctuary or rifle his treasures. King Archidamus, who had fingered the sacred moneys, fell in battle in a foreign land and his corpse weltered unburied; the Phlegyans, who made a raid on Delphi, perished by thunderbolts and earthquakes; and it was in all the majesty of thunder, lightning, and earthquake that at a later time the god stood forth to repel the Gauls. Amongst the punishments with which the gods were thought to visit unwarranted intrusions into their sanctuaries, blindness and madness had a special place. King Aepytus, on forcing his way into the shrine of Poseidon at Mantinea, which none might enter, was instantly struck blind and died soon afterwards; some Persian 80soldiers who ventured into the sanctuary of the Cabiri near Thebes became crazed and in that state put an end to themselves; and it was believed that if any defiled or impious person entered the sanctuary of the Eumenides at Cerynea he would go mad on the spot.

His belief
in oracles.

Believing in the gods, Pausanias naturally believed in their official utterances, the oracles. The Delphic oracle, he thinks, foretold the battle of Leuctra and various episodes in the Messenian wars; and he appeals to one of its answers as conclusive evidence that the mother of Aesculapius was Coronis. He relates how the accidental exposure of the bones of Orpheus was followed by the destruction of the city of Libethra in accordance with a prediction of Dionysus in Thrace, and he narrates the fatal disasters which Epaminondas, Hannibal, and the Athenians incurred by misunderstanding oracular answers sent them from Delphi, Ammon, and Dodona. The history of Macedonia, its rise and its fall, had been predicted by the Sibyl, if we may believe Pausanias, who quotes her prophecy; and he assures us that the inroad of the Gauls into Asia had been foretold by Phaennis a generation before the event took place. He had himself consulted the oracle of Trophonius, and has left us a curious account of the ceremonies observed by enquirers at the shrine. In his day, he informs us, the most 81infallible oracle was that of Amphilochus at Mallus in Cilicia.

criticism of

Yet while Pausanias accepted on the whole the religion of his country, he was by no means blind to the discrepancies and improbabilities of many Greek myths and legends, and he speaks somewhat disdainfully of the unquestioning faith of the multitude in the stories they had heard from childhood. “Falsehood in general,” he says, “passes current among the multitude because they are ignorant of history and believe all that they have heard from childhood in choirs and tragedies.” And again he observes that “it is not easy to persuade the vulgar to change their opinions.” From the former of these passages it appears that Pausanias was little disposed to place implicit faith in the utterances of the poets on matters of tradition. Elsewhere he intimates his doubts still more plainly. Speaking of the hydra, which he maintains had not more than one head, he says that the poet Pisander multiplied the creature’s heads “to make the monster more terrific, and to add to the dignity of his own verses.” Again, he mentions that the poets have declared certain objects of art to be works of Hephaestus, and that obsequious public opinion has chimed in with them, but he for his part rejects all such relics as spurious save one. The only poet to whose authority 82he inclined to bow was Homer, whose testimony he often appeals to with respect. He held that many old stories were true enough in their origin, but had fallen into discredit by reason of the distortions and exaggerations to which they had been subjected by the narrators. The particular story which suggests this remark is the legend that Lycaon had been turned into a wolf on sacrificing a babe to Lycaean Zeus. Pausanias believes the legend, but he rejects as incredible the assertion that at every subsequent sacrifice to Zeus on Mount Lycaeus a man had been turned into a wolf, and he does not stick to brand as humbugs the persons who gave out that the Arcadian boxer Damarchus had been so transformed. “Lovers of the marvellous,” he observes, “are too prone to heighten the marvels they hear tell of by adding touches of their own; and thus they debase truth by alloying it with fiction.”

His disbelief

The attitude of incredulity which Pausanias maintained towards many of the current legends is declared by him in the most unequivocal manner. He speaks of “the many falsehoods believed by the Greeks,” and reminds us that though he is bound to record Greek stories he is not bound to believe them, and that as a matter of fact he does not believe them all. The myths of the transformations of gods and 83men into animals and plants seem especially to have stuck in his throat. He does not believe that Zeus changed himself into a cuckoo to win the love of Hera, and as to the story of the transformation of Cycnus into a swan, he says roundly: “That a man should be turned into a bird is to me incredible.” Nor will he hear of Narcissus’s love for his own reflexion in the glassy pool and his wondrous change into the flower that bore his name. “It is sheer folly,” he remarks, “to suppose that a person who has reached the age of falling in love should be unable to distinguish between a man and his reflexion,” and as for the flower in question he has chapter and verse for it to prove that it grew before Narcissus was born. The companion story of the transformation of Hyacinth into the flower he does not treat quite so cavalierly. “It may not be literally true,” he tells us, “but let it pass.” Further, he cannot believe that the beasts followed Orpheus as he sang, and that the minstrel journeyed down to hell to win back his lost Eurydice. Again, while he believes in giants, he rejects as a silly story the notion that they had serpents instead of feet, and he supports his scepticism by referring to the corpse of one of these monstrous beings which had been found in the bed of the river Orontes enclosed in a coffin eleven ells long. Often, 84without formally refusing his assent to some tale of wonder, he quietly hints his incredulity by indicating that he leaves his readers to believe it or not as they feel inclined. Thus after telling how pigs thrown into the halls of Demeter at Potniae were supposed to re-appear next year at Dodona, he adds, almost sarcastically: “The tale may possibly find credence with some people.” Other marvels which he dismisses with a sneer are the sowing of the dragon’s teeth by Cadmus and the springing up of armed men; the sprouting of Hercules’s club into a tree when he set it on the ground; the wonderful vision of Lynceus who could see through the trunk of an oak-tree; and the story that at a certain rock in Megara the sad Demeter stood and called back her daughter from the darkling road down which she had vanished.

His rationalistic
of some

It is not always, however, that Pausanias meets seemingly miraculous stories with a blank negation. He had too much good sense to do that. He knew that our experience does not exhaust the possibilities of nature, and he endeavoured accordingly to trim the balance of his judgment between hasty credulity on the one side and rash disbelief on the other. Thus after pointing out that, if the descriptions of the strange creatures of distant lands are false in some particulars, they are true or at least 85not improbable in others, he concludes: “So careful should we be to avoid hasty judgments on the one hand, and incredulity in matters of rare occurrence on the other.” In his endeavour to winnow the true from the false, to disentangle the ravelled skein of tradition, he has often recourse to that convenient and flexible instrument—rationalistic or allegorical interpretation. We have seen with what ease he thus disencumbered himself of Cerberus’s superfluous heads and reduced that animal from a very extraordinary dog to a very ordinary serpent. The miraculous story of the death of Actaeon, rent in pieces by his hounds at the instigation of Artemis, gives him no trouble: it was a simple case of hydrophobia. Medusa was a beautiful African queen who met Perseus at the head of her troops. Titan was an early astronomer who resided near Sicyon and passed for a brother of the sun for no other reason than that he made observations on that luminary. The fable that Procne and Philomela were turned into a nightingale and a swallow arose merely from a comparison of their mournful cries to the plaintive notes of these birds. In one passage, indeed, under the fierce light of criticism the gods themselves seem on the point of melting away like mist before the sun, leaving behind them nothing but the clear hard face of nature, over which 86for a while the gorgeous pageantry of their shifting iridescent shapes had floated in a golden haze. The passage occurs in the description of Aegium, where our author fell in with a Phoenician of Sidon with whom he discussed the philosophic basis of the belief in Aesculapius, coming to the conclusion that the god was nothing but the air and his father Apollo nothing but the sun. Had Pausanias followed up this line of thought he might, like Schiller, have seen as in a vision the bright procession of the gods winding up the long slope of Olympus, sometimes pausing to look back sadly at a world where they were needed no more. But the whole tenour of his work goes to show that, if here he had a glimpse of a higher truth, it was only a flash-light that went out leaving him in darkness.

His change
of view as
to myths.

In a later passage he makes a confession of his faith in matters of mythology. After telling the barbarous tale how the cannibal Cronus, intending to devour his infant son Poseidon, had been cozened by Rhea into swallowing a foal, he goes on: “When I began this work I used to look on these Greek stories as little better than foolishness; but now that I have got as far as Arcadia my opinion about them is this: I believe that the Greeks who were accounted wise spoke of old in riddles, and not straight 87out; and, accordingly, I conjecture that this story about Cronus is a bit of Greek philosophy. In matters of religion I will follow tradition.” This seems to be practically a recantation of earlier, perhaps youthful scepticism. The tales which he had once ridiculed as absurd he now finds to be full of deep, if hidden, wisdom. Meditation and perhaps still more the creeping paralysis of age, which brings so many men to a dull acquiescence in beliefs and practices which they had spurned in youth, appear to have wrought a mental revolution in Pausanias. The scoffer had become devout.

His treatment

Yet to a pious believer the discrepancy between Greek traditions must have been a sore stumbling-block. Pausanias tripped over it again and again. “Greek traditions,” says he, “are generally discrepant.” “The legends of the Greeks differ from each other on most points, especially in the genealogies.” “The old legends, being unencumbered by genealogies, left free scope for fiction, especially in the pedigrees of heroes.” “Most things in Greece are subjects of dispute.” In face of such differences Pausanias, when he does not content himself with simply enumerating the various traditions, chooses to follow either the most generally received version or the one which on any ground appears to him the most probable. With his sober unimaginative 88temperament and bias to rationalism, it was natural that between conflicting versions of the same tradition he should choose the one which clashed least with experience. Thus he relates the two stories told of the way in which the people of Tanagra acquired the Triton whose stuffed carcase was the glory of the town. One story ran that the creature had been slain by Dionysus himself in single combat; according to the other, a common mortal had found the Triton lying drunk on the beach and had chopped off his head with an axe. The latter version of the tale is described by Pausanias as “less dignified but more probable.” Tritons, it is true, whether drunk or sober, are not common objects of the sea-shore; but there was no need to heighten the marvel by lugging in Dionysus. Again, the death of Aristodemus, the ancestor of the two royal houses of Sparta, was variously narrated. “Those who wish to invest him with a halo of glory,” writes Pausanias, “say that he was shot by Apollo”; but the truer story was that he had been knocked on the head by the children of Pylades. Again, he regards with suspicion the claims of men and women to be the husbands and wives, the sons and daughters of gods and goddesses. “The Moon, they say, loved Endymion, and he had fifty daughters by the goddess. Others, with more probability, say that Endymion 89married a wife.” “Cadmus made a distinguished marriage if he really married, as the Greeks say he did, a daughter of Aphrodite and Ares.” Then as to reputed sons of gods. “That Corinthus was a son of Zeus has never yet, so far as I know, been seriously asserted by anybody except by a majority of the Corinthians themselves.” Oenomaus was a son of Alexion, “though the poets have given out that he was a son of Ares.” The father of Augeas was Eleus, “though those who magnify his history give the name of Eleus a twist, and affirm that Augeas was a son of the sun.” The crafty Autolycus “was reputed to be a son of Hermes, though in truth his father was Daedalion.” The story that Orpheus had the Muse Calliope for his mother is stigmatised by our author as a falsehood. Rivers that appeared in the character of fathers were also viewed by Pausanias with distrust. He held that the father of Eteocles was Andreus, not the river Cephisus; and he believed that the father of Plataea was not the river Asopus but a king of the same name. Other instances of his hesitation to accept legends of divine parentage might be cited.

of historical
methods to

But in his criticism of Greek legends Pausanias did not confine himself to the simple test of experience. He did not merely ask whether a story agreed more or less with the 90laws of nature, and accept or reject it accordingly. In historical enquiries the application of such a criterion obviously cannot carry the enquirer beyond the first step. Pausanias went much further. He introduced considerations drawn from general probability, from chronology, from the monuments, from a comparison with other traditions, from the relative weight to be attached to the authorities by which each version of a legend was supported. In fact, far from being hide-bound in the trammels of tradition, he moved freely among the materials at his disposal, accepting this and rejecting that in obedience to the dictates of a reasonable and fairly enlightened criticism. Thus, he rejects the Sophoclean version of the death of Oedipus because it conflicts with the Homeric. He will not allow that a bronze image of Athena at Amphissa can have formed part of the Trojan spoils, and that a bronze image of Poseidon at Pheneus can have been dedicated by Ulysses, because at the time of the Trojan war and in the lifetime of Ulysses the art of casting in bronze had not yet been invented. He refuses to believe that the grave of Dejanira was at Argos, because she was known to have died at Trachis and her grave to be not far from Heraclea. Among the several places in Greece that set up claims to be the Oechalia of Homer, our author decides in favour of Carnasium in 91Messenia, because the bones of Eurytus were there. The tradition that the mysteries at Celeae had been founded by a man of Eleusis named Dysaules, who had been driven into exile after a battle between the Eleusinians and Athenians, is rejected by Pausanias on the grounds that no such battle took place and that no such person is mentioned by Homer. The legend that Daedalus joined Aristaeus in colonising Sardinia is set aside by him for the reason that Daedalus lived several generations after Aristaeus, and therefore could not possibly have shared with him in a colony or in anything else. Similarly he argues on chronological grounds against the traditions that Achilles had been a suitor of Helen; that Timalcus went to Aphidna with the Dioscuri; and that the Telamon and Chalcodon who marched with Hercules against Elis were the well-known Telamon of Aegina and Chalcodon of Euboea. The Spartan tradition as to the image of Brauronian Artemis is preferred by Pausanias to the Athenian, and that for a variety of reasons which he sets forth in detail.

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

His taste in art.

Of his taste in painting and sculpture we are scarcely able to judge, partly because he is 92chary of his praise, generally confining himself to a simple mention or description of the work before him, partly because so few of the works described by him have survived to our time. |His taste in
The paintings are all gone. A little blue pigment on a ruined wall at Delphi is all that remains of those frescoes of Polygnotus which excited the admiration of antiquity. That Pausanias himself admired them is clear, both from the length of his description and from the words with which he brings it to a close: “So varied and beautiful is the painting of the Thasian artist.” Elsewhere he seems to have lost no opportunity of describing extant pictures of Polygnotus, though he does not always mention his name. A painting of Drunkenness by Pausias apparently struck Pausanias especially, for he tells us that “in the picture you can see the crystal goblet and the woman’s face through it.” But the only pictures, besides those of Polygnotus at Delphi, on which he deigns to bestow a dry word of commendation are a couple of paintings on tombstones, one of them by Nicias, as to whom Pausanias tells us elsewhere that he had been the greatest painter of animals of his time.

His taste in

In sculpture the taste of Pausanias was apparently austere. He decidedly preferred the earlier to the later art. Of the archaic works attributed to Daedalus he says that they “are 93somewhat uncouth to the eye, but there is a touch of the divine in them for all that.” He praises Bupalus, an artist of the sixth century B.C., as “a clever architect and sculptor.” But on the whole it was for the sculptors of the fifth century B.C. that he chiefly reserved his scanty praise, and amongst them he seemingly preferred the masters of the older manner who immediately preceded Phidias. |Predecessors
of Phidias.|
Thus, with regard to Pythagoras of Rhegium, who flourished about 480 B.C., he says that he was “a good sculptor, if ever there was one,” and in speaking of the boxer Euthymus he remarks that “his statue is by Pythagoras, and most well worth seeing it is.” Of Onatas, who was at work about 467 B.C., he expresses a high opinion: “I am inclined to regard Onatas, though he belongs to the Aeginetan school of sculpture, as second to none of the successors of Daedalus and the Attic school.” This criticism indicates that Pausanias preferred in general the Attic school of sculpture to the Aeginetan, though he considered one master of the latter school as the peer of the greatest Attic sculptors. At Pergamus there was a bronze image of Apollo by this same Onatas which Pausanias describes as “one of the greatest marvels both for size and workmanship.” It is a proof of the independence of Pausanias’s judgment in art that this early sculptor, whom he ranked with 94|Phidias| Phidias and Praxiteles, is not even mentioned by any other ancient writer except in a single epigram of the Anthology. Another old master of the fifth century whose statues Pausanias often notices is Calamis; on one of them he bestows a word of commendation. A statue by this artist was much admired by Lucian. The great sculptor Myron, a contemporary of Phidias, seems also to have found favour in the eyes of Pausanias, for he mentions that the image of Dionysus on Mount Helicon was the finest of all the artist’s works, next to the statue of Erechtheus at Athens. That Pausanias appreciated the greatness of Phidias is clear from the way in which he speaks of him and from the detail in which he describes the sculptor’s two most famous works, the image of the Virgin Athena at Athens and the image of Zeus at Olympia. Of the latter he observes that the mere measurements of the image could convey no idea of the impression which the image itself made on the beholder. Yet he did not consider it the sculptor’s masterpiece, for as to the image of the Lemnian Athena at Athens he remarks that it is “the best worth seeing of all the works of Phidias.” The preference thus given to this comparatively obscure statue over the image of Zeus which the ancient world agreed in extolling as little less than divine is another proof of the independence of Pausanias’s 95judgment in artistic matters; and that his taste here was good is attested by the very high place which his contemporary Lucian, one of the best critics of antiquity, assigns to the same statue. Of Alcamenes our author observes that as a sculptor he was second only to his contemporary Phidias, and with regard to the statue of Aphrodite in the Gardens by this artist he says that “few things at Athens are so well worth seeing as this.” Here, again, our author’s judgment is confirmed by that of Lucian, who describes this image as the most beautiful work of Alcamenes, and draws from it not a few traits for his imaginary statue of ideal beauty which was to combine all the most perfect features of the most celebrated statues. Another sculptor whose style seems to have pleased Pausanias was Naucydes, a brother of the famous Polyclitus, who worked at the end of the fifth or at the beginning of the fourth century B.C. A bronze image of Athena by Hypatodorus at Aliphera is declared by Pausanias to be worth seeing both for its size and its workmanship; but the date of this sculptor is somewhat uncertain. Strongylion, whom Pausanias describes as unrivalled in his representations of oxen and horses, seems to have flourished toward the end of the fifth century B.C. Among the sculptors of the following century Pausanias praises Cephisodotus 96|Sculptors
of the
century B.C.|
for the conception of his statue representing the infant Wealth in the arms of Peace, and the sculptors Xenophon and Callistratus for a similar allegorical work representing Wealth in the arms of Fortune. Further, he commends some of the sculptures of Damophon at Messene,[3] and he has a few words of approbation for several works of Praxiteles, but not one for any work of the other two great masters of the fourth century, Scopas[4] and Lysippus, though he mentions many statues by them. A critic of a taste so severe that he could pass by the works of Scopas and the Hermes of Praxiteles without uttering a syllable of admiration was not likely to take much pleasure in the productions of the decadence. Pausanias notices few and praises none of the successors of Praxiteles. Of the colossal image of Olympian Zeus at Athens, which must have been executed in his own lifetime, he says condescendingly that it was good for its size.

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

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

It may be noted as significant of Pausanias’s interest in the older sculpture that the only 97artists with whose styles he shows himself so familiar as to recognise them at sight are Calamis, Canachus, Endoeus, and Laphaes, of whom Calamis and Canachus flourished in the early part of the fifth century B.C., and Endoeus in the last part of the sixth century B.C. The date of Laphaes is unknown, but as the two images by this artist were both made of wood and are expressly declared by Pausanias to be ancient, we can hardly suppose that the sculptor flourished later than the sixth century B.C.

His taste
in architecture.

Of Pausanias’s taste in architecture we are much better able to judge, for many of the buildings described by him exist, and by a most fortunate coincidence amongst them are some of which he expressed his admiration in unusually strong language. |Walls of
To begin with the relics of the prehistoric age, the walls of Tiryns and the beehive tomb of Orchomenus, which he calls the Treasury of Minyas, raised his wonder to such a pitch that he compares them to the Egyptian pyramids and animadverts on the perversity of the Greeks, who admired and described only the marvels they saw abroad, while they entirely neglected the marvels no less great which they had at home. The walls of Tiryns he describes with amazement as “made of unwrought stones, each stone so large that a pair of mules could not even stir the smallest of them.” No modern reader who has 98|Beehive
tomb at
seen the walls of Tiryns as they still stand, built of enormous stones and resembling a work of giants rather than of men, will be likely to regard Pausanias’s admiration of them as misplaced, whatever may be thought of the comparison of them to the pyramids. Amongst the prehistoric remains of Greece they are certainly unmatched. The walls of Mycenae and of the great prehistoric fortress of Gla or Goulas in Boeotia surpass them, indeed, in extent, but fall far short of them in the size of the blocks of which they are composed. As to the beehive tomb at Orchomenus, of which Pausanias says that there was no greater marvel either in Greece or elsewhere, it is now sadly ruinous, but we can judge of its original effect by the great beehive tomb at Mycenae known as the Treasury of Atreus, which agrees with the tomb at Orchomenus very closely in dimensions and exists almost intact. To stand within the great circular chamber and look up at the domed roof, with its rings of regularly hewn stones diminishing one above the other till they are lost in the darkness overhead, is an impressive experience. Those who have enjoyed it will be disposed to think that Pausanias was right in regarding the similar edifice at Orchomenus as a very wonderful structure.


To come down to buildings of the historical age, Pausanias admired the Propylaea or grand 99|Theatre at
portal of the Acropolis at Athens, which “for the beauty and size of the blocks,” he says, “has never yet been matched.” It is probably not too much to say that even in its ruins this magnificent portal is still the highest triumph of the mason’s craft. The exquisite fitting of the massive cleanly-cut blocks of white marble is a pleasure to behold. Again, the sight of the theatre in the sanctuary of Aesculapius at Epidaurus moves the sober Pausanias to an extraordinary, almost unparalleled burst of admiration. “In the Epidaurian sanctuary,” he says, “there is a theatre which in my opinion is most especially worth seeing. It is true that in size the theatre at Megalopolis in Arcadia surpasses it, and that in splendour the Roman theatres far transcend all the theatres in the world; but for symmetry and beauty what architect could vie with Polyclitus? For it was Polyclitus who made this theatre.” Here again modern taste confirms the judgment of Pausanias. Neither the Dionysiac theatre at Athens, nor the great theatre at Megalopolis, nor the well-preserved theatre at Delphi, nor any other existing Greek theatre, so far at least as my experience goes, can vie for a moment in beauty and symmetry with the exquisite theatre at Epidaurus.

Temples at
Bassae and

Again, in regard to the temple of Apollo at Bassae our author says that “of all the temples 100in Peloponnese, next to the one at Tegea, this may be placed first for the beauty of the stone and the symmetry of its proportions,” and as to the temple of Athena Alea at Tegea, to which he here refers, he says elsewhere, “The present temple far surpasses all other temples in Peloponnese both in size and style.” So far as the size of the temple at Tegea goes, Pausanias is wrong. The temple of Zeus at Olympia was nearly twice as large. But in regard to style modern taste merely echoes the opinion of Pausanias. The scanty remains of the temple at Tegea are now mostly buried underground, but the admirable design and workmanship of the architectural fragments, and the beauty of the shattered sculptures, justify the praise which Pausanias bestows on it as the finest temple in Peloponnese in respect of artistic style. No person of taste but will set the pathetic force and beauty of the two battered heads from this temple above all the coarse vigour of the Phigalian frieze and the ungraceful, almost repulsive hardness of the groups from the gables of the Olympian temple. And that in architectural style the temple at Bassae came next to the one at Tegea is an opinion that will hardly be disputed by any one who has seen the beautiful temple at Bassae with its long rows of grey columns standing solitary among the barren mountains. That 101Pausanias was right in preferring it to the temple of Zeus at Olympia both for the beauty of the stone and the symmetry of its proportions is hardly open to question. The temple of Zeus must have been imposing from its size, but its proportions, so far as we can judge from the ruins, do not strike an observer as especially harmonious; and as to the materials, the rough conglomerate of Olympia cannot be compared for beauty with the fine hard limestone of Bassae.

Walls of

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

Music Halls
at Athens
and Patrae.

To come down to buildings of a later age, Pausanias tells us that the Music Hall at Patrae was the grandest in Greece except the one 102built by Herodes Atticus at Athens, which excelled it both in size and style. Here we are in the fortunate position of being able to compare for ourselves the two buildings which Pausanias ranks together as the finest of their kind in Greece, for both of them exist in comparatively good preservation to the present day. That the Music Hall of Herodes Atticus excels in size the one at Patrae, as Pausanias says it did, is obvious at a glance. The former is in fact a spacious theatre, the latter is a tiny one. But both, as appears from the remains, were originally cased with marble and probably presented a splendid appearance. The lions’ paws of white marble which adorn the seats in the Music Hall at Patrae, together with the mosaic pavement of black and white in the adjoining chamber, enable us to form some slight idea of the elegance of those appointments which excited the admiration of Pausanias.

at Athens.

Lastly, our author observes that the stadium at Athens, built of white marble by Herodes Atticus, was “wonderful to see, though not so impressive to hear of,” and that the greater part of the Pentelic quarries had been exhausted in its construction. The latter statement is, of course, an exaggeration. Mount Pentelicus is made of white marble, and there is a good deal of it left to this day, though the great white blotches on its sides, visible even from the coast 103of Epidaurus, tell plainly where the quarrymen have been at work. But we may easily believe Pausanias that the stadium was a wonderful sight when tiers of white marble benches, glistening in the strong sunshine, rose steeply above each other all along both sides of the valley. For a valley it is still, and a valley lined with white marble it must have been in the days of Pausanias. Those who have seen the stadium since it was partially refitted with white marble benches for the games of 1896 can better picture to themselves what its aspect must have been when the benches were complete. Before the time of Herodes Atticus the spectators may have sat either on the earthen slopes, as at Olympia, or on benches of common stone, as at Epidaurus and Delphi.

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

evidence of

The manner in which he has described the monuments is plain and appropriate, entirely free from those vague rhetorical flourishes, literary graces, and affected prettinesses with which, for example, Philostratus tricks out his descriptions of pictures, and which have consequently left it a matter of dispute to this day whether the pictures he describes existed anywhere but in 104his own imagination. No one is ever likely seriously to enquire whether the temples and theatres, the statues and paintings described by Pausanias ever existed or not. His descriptions carry the imprint of reality on them to every mind that is capable of distinguishing between the true and the false; and even if they did not, their truthfulness would still be vouched for by their conformity with the remains of the monuments themselves. Proof of this confirmity might be adduced in great abundance. Here, however, we are concerned with that internal evidence of the author’s honesty and candour which the writings themselves supply. Evidence of this sort can never, indeed, amount to demonstration. Candour and honesty are not qualities that can be brought to the test of the senses; they cannot be weighed in a balance or seen under a microscope. A man who is neither candid nor honest himself will probably never sincerely believe in the existence of these qualities in others, and there is no means of convincing him. It is always open to him to find a sinister motive for the simplest act, a covert meaning under the plainest words. In the case of Pausanias the internal evidence of good faith seems amply sufficient to convince a fair-minded enquirer. It consists in the whole cast and tenour of his writings; in the naturalness and credibility of all that he affirms 105of his own knowledge, with the exception of two or three cases in which he seems to have been duped by mercenary or priestly trickery; it consists in the plainness and directness of the descriptions; in their freedom from any tinge of rhetoric or sophistry; in the modesty with which the author generally keeps himself in the background; and finally in occasional confessions of ignorance which only malignity could interpret as artifices resorted to for the purpose of supporting an assumed air of ingenuous simplicity. This last feature of the work it is desirable to illustrate by instances. The others, pervading as they do the whole book, hardly admit of exemplification.

His confessions

Repeatedly, then, Pausanias owns that he had not been present at certain festivals, and consequently had not seen certain images which were only exhibited on these occasions. Thus with regard to the very curious image of Eurynome, which would have especially interested him as an antiquary, he tells us that the sanctuary in which it stood was opened only on one day in the year, and that as he did not happen to arrive on that day he had not seen the image, and therefore could only describe it from hearsay. Similarly he says that he cannot describe the image of Artemis at Hyampolis because it was the custom to open the sanctuary only twice a year. He tells at second hand of 106a festival of Dionysus at Elis, in which empty kettles were said to be found miraculously filled with wine; but he informs us that he was not himself at Elis at the time of the festival, and from expressions which he uses in regard to the marvel we may infer that he had his doubts about it. No one presumably will dispute these statements of Pausanias and maintain that he arrived in time for those festivals and saw those images although he assures us that he did not. We are bound, therefore, in fairness to believe him when he tells us with regard to the sanctuary of Mother Dindymene at Thebes that “it is the custom to open the sanctuary on a single day each year, not more. I was fortunate enough to arrive on that very day, and I saw the image.” As other instances of his candour may be cited his acknowledgment that he had not witnessed the ceremonies performed at the tombs of Eteocles and Polynices at Thebes, nor beheld the secret object revered in the worship of Demeter at Hermion; that he could describe the sanctuary of Poseidon at Mantinea only from hearsay; that he had neither seen the walls of Babylon and Susa nor conversed with any one who had; that he never saw Antinous in life, though he had seen statues and paintings of him; and that he had not heard the trout sing like thrushes in the river Aroanius, though he tarried by the 107river until sunset, when they were said to sing loudest. These are the confessions of an honest man, inclined perhaps to credulity, but yet who will not deceive others by professing to have seen sights, whether marvellous or otherwise, which he has not seen. Again, when he quotes a book at second hand he is careful to tell us so. Thus, after citing some lines from the Atthis of Hegesinus, he goes on: “This poem of Hegesinus I have not read: it was lost before my time; but the verses are quoted as evidence by Callippus of Corinth in his history of Orchomenus, and I have profited by his information to do the same.” Again, after quoting a couple of verses of an Orchomenian poet Chersias, he adds. “The poetry of Chersias is now lost, but these verses also are quoted by Callippus in the same work of his on Orchomenus.” These statements, like the foregoing, will hardly be disputed even by the most sceptical. No one will be likely to insist that Pausanias read books which he tells us he did not. Therefore in fairness we are bound to believe him when he says that he did read certain other works, such as the memoirs of some obscure historians, a treatise on rhetoric purporting to be by Pittheus, the epics Eoeae and Naupactia, a poem attributed to Linus, verses of Erato, a poem on soothsaying which passed under the name of Hesiod, and the 108oracles of Euclus, Musaeus, and Bacis. If we take the word of Pausanias for what he tells us he did not see and did not read, we must take it also for what he tells us he did see and did read. At least if we are to accept as true all those statements of an author which tell against himself and to reject as false all those which tell in his favour, there is an end of even the pretence of fair and rational criticism.

style of

The literary style of Pausanias is no exception to the rule that the style of a writer reflects the character of the man. Pausanias was neither a great man nor a great writer. He was an honest, laborious, plodding man of plain good sense, without either genius or imagination, and his style is a faithful mirror of his character. It is plain and unadorned, yet heavy and laboured, as if the writer had had to cast about for the proper words and then fit them painfully together like the pieces in a Chinese puzzle. There is a sense of strain and effort about it. The sentences are devoid of rhythm and harmony. They do not march, but hobble and shamble and shuffle along. At the end of one of them the reader is not let down easily by a graceful cadence, a dying fall; he is tripped up suddenly and left sprawling, till he can pull himself together, take breath, and grapple with the next. It is a loose, clumsy, ill-jointed, ill-compacted, rickety, ramshackle 109style, without ease or grace or elegance of any sort. Yet Pausanias had studied good models. He knew Thucydides and his writings abound with echoes of Herodotus. But a style that has less of the unruffled flow, the limpid clearness, the exquisite grace, the sweet simplicity of the Herodotean prose it might be hard to discover. The sound of the one is like the chiming of a silver bell; that of the other like the creaking of a corn-crake. With all its defects, however, the style of Pausanias is not careless and slovenly. The author bestrides his high horse; he bobs up and down and clumps about on it with great solemnity; it is not his fault if his Pegasus is a wooden hobby-horse instead of a winged charger.

He perhaps
his style on
that of

This union of seemingly opposite faults, this plainness without simplicity, this elaboration without richness, may perhaps be best explained by Boeckh’s hypothesis, that he modelled his style on that of his countryman Hegesias of Magnesia, a leader of the Asiatic school of rhetoric, who, aping the unadorned simplicity of Lysias’s manner, fell into an abrupt and jerky, yet affected and mincing style, laboriously chopping and dislocating his sentences so that they never ran smooth, never by any chance slid into a rounded period with an easy cadence. Dionysius of Halicarnassus declares peevishly that in all the voluminous works of Hegesias 110there was not a single well-written page, and that the man must have gone wrong not from stupidity but of set purpose and malice prepense, otherwise he could not have helped writing a good sentence now and then by accident. Frigid conceits and a puerile play upon words were mistaken by this perverse writer for literary beauties, and in the effort to stud his pages with these false jewels he sacrificed both pathos and truth. In this respect, indeed, Pausanias happily did not follow the bad example of his predecessor. His writings are entirely free from paltry conceits and verbal quibbles. The thought is always manly and direct, however tortuous may be the sentence in which he seeks to express it. If he imitated Hegesias, it was apparently in the arrangement of the words and sentences alone.

Whatever may be thought of this theory, the attention which Pausanias obviously bestowed on literary style is in itself wholly laudable. Such attention is a simple duty which every author owes to his readers. Pausanias cannot be blamed for trying to write well; the pity is that with all his pains he did not write better. He was anxious not to be needlessly tedious, not to inflict on the reader mere bald lists of monuments strung together on a topographical thread. He aimed at varying the phraseology, at shunning the eternal repetition 111of the same words in the same order. Yet he steered clear of one shoal only to run aground on another. If to some extent he avoided monotony and attained variety of expression, it was too often at the cost of simplicity and clearness. The natural order of the words was sacrificed and a crabbed contorted one substituted for it merely in order to vary the run of the sentences. For the same reason a direct statement was often discarded in favour of an indirect one, with the result that a reader who happens to be unfamiliar with the author’s manner is sometimes at a loss as to his meaning. For example, it has been questioned whether he means that there was a statue of Aeschylus in the theatre at Athens and one of Oenobius on the Acropolis. Yet any person conversant with his style must feel sure that in both these cases Pausanias intends to intimate the existence of the statue, and that if he does not affirm it in so many words this is due to no other cause than a wish to turn the sentence in another way. Similar instances could easily be multiplied. The ambiguity which so often arises from this indirect mode of statement is one of the many blots on the style of Pausanias. Such as it is, his style is seen at its best in some of the longer historical passages, notably in the spirited narratives of the Messenian wars and the Gallic invasion. Here he occasionally 112rises to a fair level of literary merit, as for example in describing the evil omens that preceded and hastened the death of the patriot king Aristodemus, and again in relating the impious attack of the Gauls on Delphi and their overwhelming repulse. Through the latter narrative there runs, like a strain of solemn music, an undertone of religious faith and fervour which greatly heightens the effect.

use of

In these and similar historical episodes we must allow something for the influence on Pausanias’s style of the literary authorities whom he followed. The warmer tinge of the descriptions, the easier flow of the sentences may not be wholly due to the ardour of the writer’s piety, to the swell of his patriotic feelings. Something of the movement, the glow, the solemn strain, the martial fire may have been caught by him from better models. This brings us to the enquiry, What books did Pausanias use in writing his own? and how did he use them? Unfortunately we are not and probably never shall be in a position to answer these questions fully. Like most ancient writers Pausanias is sparing in the citation of his authorities, and it is clear that he must have consulted books of which he makes no mention. And when to this we add that the works of most of the writers whom he does cite have perished or survive only in a few disjointed 113fragments, it becomes clear that any hope of acquiring a complete knowledge of his literary sources and mode of using them must be abandoned. Many attempts have been made of late years to identify the lost books consulted by Pausanias; but from the nature of the case it is plain that such attempts must be fruitless. One of them will be noticed presently. Meantime all that I propose to do is to indicate some of the chief literary and documentary sources which Pausanias expressly cites, and to illustrate by examples his method of dealing with them.

the historical
parts of

Before doing so it is desirable to point out explicitly a distinction which, though obvious in itself, has apparently been overlooked or slurred over by some of Pausanias’s critics. The matter of his work is of two sorts, historical and descriptive: the one deals with events in the past, the other with things existing in the present. For his knowledge of past events, except in so far as they fell within his own lifetime and observation, Pausanias was necessarily dependent either on written documents or on oral testimony, in short on the evidence of others; no other source of information was open to him. For his knowledge of things existing in the present, on the other hand, he need not have been indebted to the evidence of others, he may have seen them for himself. It does not, of course, follow that what he may 114have seen he did actually see. His descriptions of places and things, like his narratives of events that happened before his time, may all have been taken from books or from the mouths of other people; only it is not, as in the case of the historical narratives, absolutely necessary that they should be so derived. This distinction is so elementary and obvious that to call attention to it may be deemed superfluous. Yet some of the critics appear to labour under an impression that, if they can show the historical parts of Pausanias’s work to have been taken from books, they have raised a presumption that the descriptive or topographical parts were also so taken. They do not, indeed, put so crass a misapprehension into words, but they seem to be influenced by it. To brush away these mental cobwebs it is only needful to realise clearly that, though Pausanias certainly could not have witnessed events which happened before he was born, he was not therefore necessarily debarred from seeing things which existed in his own lifetime. In investigating the sources of his information it is desirable to keep the historical and the descriptive parts of his work quite distinct from each other and to enquire into each of them separately.

used by

To begin with the historical, in the widest sense of the word, we find that Pausanias drew his accounts of the mythical and heroic ages 115in large measure from the poets. Homer is his chief poetical authority, but he also makes use of the later epics such as the Cypria, the Eoeae, the Little Iliad, the Minyad, the Naupactia, the Oedipodia, the Returns (Nostoi), the Sack of Ilium by Lesches, the Thebaid, and the Thesprotis. Of these the Thebaid was esteemed by him next to the Iliad and Odyssey. On questions of genealogy he often cites the early poets Asius and Cinaethon. Among the works attributed to Hesiod he frequently refers to the Theogony and the Catalogue of Women, and he once quotes the Argonautica of Apollonius Rhodius. That he knew the Alexandrian poet Euphorion of Chalcis is shown by two references to his writings. The most ancient Greek hymns in his opinion were those of Olen; he cites several of them. Again, the testimony of Pamphos, author of the oldest Athenian hymns, is often appealed to by Pausanias. Among the lyric poets whose works he knew, such as Alcaeus, Alcman, Archilochus, Pindar, Sappho, and Stesichorus, he appears to have ranked Pindar first; at least he refers to his poems far oftener than to those of the others. Among the elegiac poets he quotes Tyrtaeus and Simonides. With the great tragic and comic poets he shows but little acquaintance; Aeschylus is the only one whose authority he appeals to repeatedly. He refers 116once to the testimony of Sophocles, but only to reject it; once to that of Aristophanes; never to that of Euripides. On the other hand, he seems to have devoted a good deal of attention to the critical study of the older poets. He had investigated the dates of Homer and Hesiod and the question of Homer’s native country. Nor did he neglect to enquire into the genuineness of many poems that passed under famous names. He tells admiringly how a contemporary of his own, Arrhiphon of Triconium, detected the spuriousness of certain verses attributed to an old Argive poet Philammon, by pointing out that the verses were in the Doric dialect which had not yet been introduced into Argolis in Philammon’s time. Among the works ascribed to Musaeus he held that nothing was genuine except the hymn to Demeter composed for the Lycomids; some of the verses which passed under the name of Musaeus he set down as forgeries of Onomacritus. The hymns of Orpheus were ranked by him next to those of Homer for poetical beauty, but he saw that some of the verses attributed to Orpheus were spurious. He had grave doubts as to the Theogony being a genuine work of Hesiod; and he informs us that the reading of a poem fathered on Linus sufficed to convince him of its spuriousness. Of the works which circulated 117under the name of the early Corinthian poet Eumelus one only, he tells us, was held to be genuine. He could not believe that Anaximenes had written a certain epic on Alexander the Great. As to the epic called the Thebaid, which he admired, he reports the view of Callinus that the author was Homer, adding that “many respectable persons have shared his opinion.”

used by

The historian whom Pausanias seems to have studied most carefully and whom he cites most frequently is Herodotus. Though he only once refers to the history of Thucydides and once to that of Xenophon, it is probable that he used both authors in several passages where he does not mention their names. Other historians whom he refers to are Anaximenes, Antiochus of Syracuse, Charon of Lampsacus, Ctesias, Hecataeus, Hellanicus, Hieronymus of Cardia, Myron of Priene, Philistus, Polybius, and Theopompus. Besides these he cites several local histories, such as the histories of Attica by Androtion and Clitodemus, a history of Corinth attributed to Eumelus, a history of Orchomenus by Callippus, and what seems to have been a versified history of Argos by Lyceas. Further, he had read the memoirs of certain obscure historians whose names he does not mention. In his use of the historical materials at his disposal Pausanias appears to have done his best to follow the same critical 118principles which he applied to the mythical and legendary lore of Greece. When the accounts conflicted he weighed them one against the other and accepted that which on the whole seemed to him to be the more probable or the better authenticated. Thus before proceeding to narrate the history of the Messenian wars he mentions his two chief authorities, namely a prose history of the first war by Myron of Priene and a versified history of the second war by Rhianus of Bene; then he points out a glaring discrepancy between the two in regard to the date of Aristomenes—the William Tell or Sir William Wallace of Messenia—and gives his reasons for accepting the testimony of Rhianus and rejecting that of Myron, whose writings, according to him, revealed an indifference to truth and probability of which he gives a striking instance. Again, Pausanias was able to allow for the bias of prejudice in an historian. Thus he points out that the history of Hieronymus the Cardian was coloured by a partiality for Antigonus and a dislike of Lysimachus, of whom the latter had destroyed the historian’s native city; that the historian Philistus concealed the worst excesses of Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse, because he hoped to be allowed by the tyrant to return to that city; and that Androtion, the historian of Attica, had apparently introduced a certain 119narrative for the sole purpose of casting reproach on the Lacedaemonians.

The Elean

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


Another trustworthy source from which Pausanias derived many of his historical facts was inscriptions. What copious use he made of them may be gathered from a slight inspection of his work, particularly his description of Olympia, and that on the whole he read them correctly is proved by inscriptions still extant of which he has given us either the text or the general purport. Yet he did not accept their testimony blindfold. In some of his references to them we can perceive the same discrimination, the same desire to sift and 120weigh the evidence which we have found to characterise his procedure in other enquiries. Thus in an old gymnasium at Anticyra he saw the bronze statue of a native athlete Xenodamus with an inscription setting forth that the man had won the prize in the pancratium at Olympia. Pausanias accordingly consulted the Olympic register and finding no such victor mentioned in it came to the conclusion that, if the inscription were not lying, the victory of Xenodamus must have fallen in Ol. 211 (65 A.D.), the only Olympiad which had been struck out of the register. Again, at Olympia he saw a tablet inscribed with the victories of Chionis, a Lacedaemonian runner, who lived in the first half of the seventh century B.C. In the inscription it was mentioned that the race in armour had not yet been instituted in the time of Chionis; indeed we know from Pausanias that more than a century elapsed after the time of Chionis before the race in armour was introduced. Hence Pausanias concludes very sensibly that the inscription could not, as some people supposed, have been set up by the runner himself, for how could he have foreseen that the race in armour ever would be instituted long after he was dead and buried? Again, he infers that the Gelo who dedicated a chariot at Olympia cannot have been, as was commonly assumed, the tyrant Gelo, because in 121the inscription on the pedestal Gelo described himself as a citizen of Gela, whereas, according to Pausanias, at the time when the chariot was dedicated Gelo had already made himself master of Syracuse and would therefore have described himself as a Syracusan, not as a native of Gela. The argument falls to the ground because Pausanias mistook the date of Gelo’s subjugation of Syracuse by several years; none the less his criticism of the current view testifies to the attention he bestowed on inscriptions.

on art.

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

The local

Yet another source which furnished Pausanias with information, more or less trustworthy, on matters of history and tradition was the discourse of the local guides whom he encountered at many or all of the chief places of interest. We know from other ancient writers that in antiquity, as at the present day, towns of any 122note were infested by persons of this class who lay in wait for and pounced on the stranger as their natural prey, wrangled over his body, and having secured their victim led him about from place to place, pointing out the chief sights to him and pouring into his ear a stream of anecdotes and explanations, indifferent to his anguish and deaf to his entreaties to stop, until having exhausted their learning and his patience they pocketed their fee and took their leave. An educated traveller could often have dispensed with their explanations, but if he were good-natured he would sometimes let them run on, while he listened with seeming deference to the rigmarole by which the poor men earned their daily bread. A question interposed in the torrent of their glib discourse was too apt to bring them to a dead stand. Outside the beaten round of their narrow circle they were helpless. That Pausanias should have fallen into their clutches was inevitable. He seems to have submitted to his fate with a good grace, was led about by them to see the usual sights, heard the usual stories, argued with them about some, and posed them with questions which they could not answer about others. Often no doubt their services were useful and the information they gave both true and interesting. Among the many traditions which Pausanias has embodied in his work there may be not a 123few which he picked up from the guides. We may conjecture, too, that the measurements of buildings and images which he occasionally records were, at least in some cases, derived by him from the same source.

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

from books
or from

Coming now to the descriptive or topographical part, which forms the staple of Pausanias’s work, we have to ask, Whence did he derive his knowledge of the places and and monuments he describes? from observation? or from books? or from both? To these questions Pausanias himself gives no full and direct answer. He neither professes to have seen everything that he describes nor does he acknowledge to have borrowed any of his descriptions from previous writers, whom he barely alludes to and never mentions by name. On the other hand he sometimes affirms in the most unambiguous language that he saw the things which he describes, and as there is no 124|He affirms
that he saw
which he
reason to doubt his word we may accept these affirmations unconditionally, and believe that he describes some things at least as an eye-witness. But such assertions of personal knowledge are only incidental, and the total number of them is exceedingly small in comparison with the number of places and things which he describes without saying whether he saw them or not. Thus in regard to the vast majority of Pausanias’s descriptions we have still to ask, Are they based on personal observation or taken from books? In endeavouring to answer this question we must first of all bear in mind that if Pausanias saw all that he professes to have seen it is inevitable that he should have seen a great deal more. For example, he could not have seen, as he professes to have done, certain statues on the Acropolis of Athens without also seeing the Parthenon, the Erechtheum, and the Propylaea, which he does not expressly say that he saw. He could not have seen, as he says he did, the statue of Anaximenes and the Sicyonian treasury at Olympia without also seeing the temples of Zeus and Hera and a multitude of buildings and statues besides. In short, in all the places which he appears on his own showing to have visited, we may and must assume that he saw much more than he claims in so many words to have seen. Further, since he was not transported from one 125place to another by magic, he must have travelled over the roads which joined the various places that he visited. Thus by plotting out on the map the places which he saw and joining them by the routes he describes, we can form some general notion of the extent of Pausanias’s travels in Greece. Yet the notion thus formed must necessarily be very rough and imperfect. For, in the first place, we cannot always be sure of the route which he took from one town or village to another. Thus, for example, he describes two roads from Argos over Mount Artemisius to Mantinea; but there is nothing to show which he took or even that he took either. He may, like most travellers, have reached Mantinea from Argos by neither of the direct passes over the mountains, but by the circuitous route that goes by Lerna and Tegea. In the second place, it would be very rash to assume that he visited only those places where he is proved by some incidental assertion of personal knowledge to have been. Possibly or rather probably he visited many more. If he did not think it worth while to assure us that he saw the Parthenon and the Erechtheum at Athens, and the temples of Zeus and Hera at Olympia, he need not have thought it worth while to depose to having seen every insignificant shrine and image that he describes in the petty towns 126and obscure villages through which he passed. Thus the indications which he has given us are far too meagre to permit us to make out his itinerary in Greece with any approach to certainty.

he may
have taken

But if we cannot be sure that many of his descriptions are based on personal knowledge, have we any grounds for supposing that they are borrowed, without acknowledgment, from books? Such a supposition would be, on the face of it, neither unreasonable nor improbable. In the historical parts of his work Pausanias must have used many books which he does not mention, and he may have done the same thing in the topographical or descriptive parts. The grounds on which it could be proved or made probable that he borrowed his descriptions from books are various. The most obvious and certain would be the existence in an older writer of a description agreeing in form as well as in substance so closely with a description in Pausanias that no alternative would be left us but to suppose, either that Pausanias copied from this older writer, or that both of them copied from some common original. Or again it might be that the descriptions of Pausanias contained information which he could hardly have ascertained for himself, or mistakes into which he could scarcely have fallen if he had seen the things for himself. In regard to the 127first of these grounds it may be said at once that in the extant literature of antiquity, so far as the present writer is aware, there is no description of any place or monument agreeing in form and substance so closely with a description in Pausanias as to make it probable that he copied it. The slight and superficial resemblances which have been traced between passages of Strabo and passages of Pausanias are no more than such as may easily or necessarily arise when two writers are describing independently the same places.

and of

When we ask whether the descriptions of Pausanias contain matter which he could not easily have ascertained for himself, we are reminded first of his measurements of temples and images, and second of his estimates of the exact distances in furlongs between one place and another. The measurements of temples and images were probably derived either from the local guides or from books. Some of them he may perhaps have taken for himself; but that he should, for example, have measured for himself the height of the temple of Zeus at Olympia is highly improbable. The distances by land, estimated in furlongs, may have been drawn by Pausanias from Roman milestones or from books or from a map like the Tabula Peutingeriana. Distances by sea he can hardly have measured for himself; if he did not borrow 128them from a book or a map, he may have had them from the sailors with whom he voyaged. In all these cases it is possible, perhaps probable, that Pausanias drew his information from literary sources; but what particular books or maps he used, if he used any, we do not know, and it would be vain to guess.

of the
coast of

When we next enquire whether the descriptions of Pausanias contain errors into which he could scarcely have fallen if he had seen the places and things which he describes, a student of Pausanias is at once reminded of the author’s description of the coast of Hermionis, which it is difficult or impossible to reconcile with the actual features of the coast. That the description contains grave errors is almost certain. How these errors are to be explained is much more doubtful. It is easy to suggest, as has been done, that Pausanias did not himself sail along the coast, but borrowed his description from one of those Periploi or Coasting Voyages, which enumerated the places on a coast in topographical order and recorded the distances between them. Yet this supposition by itself would hardly explain the confusion into which Pausanias has fallen. Specimens of these Coasting Voyages have come down to us, and they are so exceedingly clear, concise, and business-like, that it is difficult to understand how any one who simply set himself 129to copy from them could have blundered so egregiously as Pausanias appears to have done. More plausible is the suggestion that, while Pausanias was obliged by the plan of his itinerary to describe the coast in one direction, the Coasting Voyage which lay before him described it in the reverse direction, and that in his effort to throw the information supplied by the Voyage into the form that suited his itinerary Pausanias made the jumble which has caused his critics so much trouble. This may be the true explanation. It would have the further advantage of helping us to understand how Pausanias obtained his knowledge of the exact distances between places on various parts of the coasts of Greece, notably on the coast of Achaia and on the wild inhospitable coast of Laconia. The Coasting Voyage which he used may, like the extant Coasting Voyage of Scylax, have comprised a description of the whole coast of Greece, and from it Pausanias may have borrowed his estimates of distances and perhaps other features of his description as well. This is Mr. Heberdey’s theory, and it is a perfectly tenable one, though in the absence of direct evidence it must remain only a more or less probable hypothesis. Yet when we remember that Pausanias’s topographical indications are nowhere more full and exact than in Arcadia, where by the nature of the case 130he cannot have used a Coasting Voyage, the hypothesis that he used one in other parts of his work seems superfluous, if not improbable. It is quite possible that he described the coast of Hermionis from notes he had made for himself in sailing along it, and that either he failed at the time to take in the natural features correctly or that afterwards in redacting his notes at home he misunderstood what he had written on the spot. Perhaps I may be allowed to say that having repeatedly sailed along the coast in question I can testify from personal experience how difficult it is to identify by sight the places from a ship, so bewildering is the moving panorama of capes, islands, bays, and mountains. It would be no great wonder if Pausanias’s head swam a little in this geographical maze.

Roads from

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

The Enneacrunus

131More famous than either of these difficulties is one which occurs in Pausanias’s account of Athens. Here in the middle of describing the market-place, which lay to the north-west of the Acropolis, he suddenly without a word of warning transports the reader to the Enneacrunus fountain, which lay in the bed of the Ilissus, not far from the Olympieum, at the opposite extremity of the city; then, having despatched the fountain and some buildings in its neighbourhood, he whirls the reader back to the market-place, and proceeds with his description of it as if nothing had happened. Of the many attempts to clear up this mystery, as by supposing either a dislocation of the text or a confusion in the author’s notes or the existence of another fountain near the market-place which may have been shown to him as the Enneacrunus, none is free from serious difficulties. That he fell into error through copying blindly and unintelligently from a book is possible but very improbable. As it is practically certain that he visited Athens and saw both the market-place and the Olympieum, the chances that he should not have seen the Enneacrunus and should therefore have been driven to borrow his description of it from a book are so small that they may be neglected.

at Athens
and altars
at Olympia.

Other passages which Pausanias may perhaps 132have taken either wholly or in part from books are his account of the Athenian law-courts and his list of the altars at Olympia. Neither of these passages, it is true, is demonstrably infected by error or confusion, though there is some ground for suspecting the existence of confusion in the enumeration of the altars. But in both of them the author departs from the topographical order of description, which is so characteristic of his method, and arranges the monuments together simply on the ground of their belonging to the same class. These departures from his usual principle of order suggest that in both cases Pausanias may have borrowed from written documents in which the monuments were grouped together according to kind rather than in topographical order. Another set of monuments which Pausanias links together by a chain other than the topographical are the buildings erected by Hadrian in Athens. It is possible that he may have taken his list of them from the inscription in the Athenian Pantheon which recorded them all.

These are perhaps the most notable passages in Pausanias, which might be thought to bear traces of having been derived either wholly or in part from written documents rather than from personal observation. In none of them are the indications so clear as to amount to a 133proof of borrowing. At most they raise a probability of it, nothing more.


It would be neither surprising nor unnatural if in writing his Description of Greece Pausanias not only consulted, as we know he did, but borrowed from the works of previous writers on the same subject. Any one who undertakes to write a guide-book to a country may legitimately borrow from his predecessors, provided he has taken the trouble to ascertain for himself that their descriptions are still applicable to the country at the time he is writing. Pausanias in his character of the Camden of ancient Greece had many predecessors whose writings he may and indeed ought to have consulted. But of their works only the titles and a few fragments have come down to us, and these contain nothing to show that Pausanias copied or had even read them. The most considerable of the fragments—those which pass under the name of Dicaearchus the Messenian—have been already examined, and we have seen how different in scope and style was the work to which they belonged from that which Pausanias has left us. No one would dream of maintaining that Pausanias copied his description of Greece from the pseudo-Dicaearchus. The most famous of the antiquaries who preceded Pausanias seem to have been Diodorus, Polemo, and Heliodorus, 134all of whom earned by their writings the title of The Periegete or Cicerone. |Diodorus.| Of these the earliest was Diodorus, who is not to be confounded with the Sicilian historian of that name. He published works on the tombs and townships of Attica, of which a few fragments survive. |Heliodorus.| They seem to have been composed before 308 B.C. Heliodorus lived in the reign of Ptolemy Epiphanes and wrote a work on the Acropolis of Athens in no less than fifteen books, of which only a few brief fragments have come down to us. There is some reason to think that Pausanias cannot have consulted it. |Polemo.| Polemo of Ilium flourished in the first part of the second century B.C., and was the author of many special treatises on the monuments of Greece. Amongst them were works on the Acropolis of Athens, on the eponymous heroes of the Attic townships and tribes, on the Sacred Way, on the Painted Colonnade at Sicyon, on the votive offerings at Lacedaemon, on the founding of the cities of Phocis, on the treasuries at Delphi, and many more. More than a hundred extracts from or references to his works have come down to us; and if we may judge from them, from the number and variety of the treatises he published, and from the praise of Plutarch we shall be inclined to pronounce Polemo the most learned of all Greek antiquaries. His acquaintance both 135with the monuments and with the literature seems to have been extensive and profound. The attention which he bestowed on inscriptions earned for him the nickname of the ‘monument-tapper.’ His works were certainly extant later than the time of Pausanias, since they are freely quoted by Athenaeus. It would, therefore, be strange if Pausanias did not study them, dealing as many of them did with the same subjects on which he touched in his Description of Greece. Yet the existing fragments of Polemo hardly justify us in supposing that Pausanias was acquainted with the writings of his learned predecessor. Certainly they lend no countenance to the view that he borrowed descriptions of places and monuments from them. This will appear from an examination of those fragments of Polemo which deal with subjects falling within the scope of Pausanias’s work. We shall look, first, at the things mentioned by both writers, and, second, at the things mentioned by Polemo alone. The fragments are numbered as in the editions of L. Preller and Ch. Müller, to which the reader is referred for the Greek text.

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


Fragment ii. In his description of the Acropolis at Athens, Polemo mentioned a sculptor Lycius, son of Myron. So does 136Pausanias in his description of the Acropolis.

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

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

137Fragment vi. In his description of the pictures in the Propylaea, which probably formed part of his treatise in four books on the Acropolis, Polemo mentioned three Athenian festivals at which torch-races were held, namely the Panathenian festival, the festival of Hephaestus, and the festival of Prometheus. Pausanias in his description of the Academy mentions that torch-races were run from an altar of Prometheus in the Academy to the city.

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

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

Fragment xii. According to Polemo, the Argives related how the first corn sown in 138Argolis had been fetched by Argus from Libya. According to Pausanias, they asserted that they had received the first corn from Demeter.

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

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

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

Fragment xxiv. Polemo said that Athena was wounded by Ornytus. Pausanias says that 139she was wounded by Teuthis, but that some people called her assailant Ornytus.

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

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

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

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

140Fragment xlii. In speaking of wineless libations Polemo remarked on the scrupulousness of the Athenians in matters of ritual. Pausanias observes, in different connexions, that the Athenians were more pious and more zealous in religious matters than other people.

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

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

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

Fragment lxxviii. Polemo mentioned the 141sanctuary of Hercules at Cynosarges. So does Pausanias.

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

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

No evidence

These are, I believe, all the existing fragments of Polemo in which he mentions the same things as Pausanias. Not one of them supports the theory that Pausanias copied from Polemo. In some of them the writer mentions the same places, buildings, and works of art that are mentioned by Pausanias. But this was almost inevitable. When two men describe the same places correctly they can hardly help mentioning some of the same things. In no case does the coincidence go beyond a bare mention. Again, Polemo sometimes referred to the same myth or legend as Pausanias; but this is no proof that Pausanias copied from 142Polemo. A multitude of myths and legends were the commonplaces of every educated Greek, whether he had read Polemo or not. The passage of Polemo as to the race between mule-carts at Olympia agrees in substance, not in language, with the corresponding passage of Pausanias. Both writers, it may be assumed, derived their information from the best source, the Olympic register, which, as we have seen, was published and accessible to all. The Delphian story of the wolf that disclosed the stolen treasure may have been narrated by both writers in the same way, though from the abridged form in which Polemo’s version is reported by Aelian we cannot be sure of this. No doubt the story was told in much the same way by the Delphian guides to all visitors, who may have been surprised to find a statue of a wolf dedicated to Apollo, the old mythical relationship of the god with wolves having long fallen into the background. Again, Polemo, like Pausanias, remarked on the scrupulous piety of the Athenians. So, too, for that matter did St. Paul, but nobody suspects him of having borrowed the remark from Polemo. The mention of the sculptor Lycius, of the grave of Thucydides, and of the torch-race by the two writers proves nothing as to the dependence of the one on the other. Some of the fragments of Polemo show that he described in 143minute detail things which Pausanias has merely mentioned. Finally, in a number of the fragments Polemo makes statements which are explicitly or implicitly contradicted by Pausanias. This proves that if Pausanias was acquainted with the works of Polemo, he at least exercised complete freedom of judgment in accepting or rejecting the opinions of his predecessor. Another proof of his independence is furnished by his speaking of the treasuries at Olympia as treasuries, whereas Polemo had designated the same buildings less correctly as temples.

by Polemo
but not by

Second, let us take the things mentioned by Polemo, but not by Pausanias. They include at Munychia the worship of the hero Acratopotes; at Athens a picture of the marriage of Pirithous, an inscription relating to the sacrifices offered to Hercules at Cynosarges, and cups dedicated by a certain Neoptolemus, apparently on the Acropolis; in Attica a township called Crius; at Sicyon the Painted Colonnade (to which Polemo seems to have devoted a special treatise), pictures by the painters Aristides, Pausanias, and Nicophanes, a portrait of the tyrant Aristratus partly painted by Apelles, and an obscene worship of Dionysus; at Phlius a colonnade called the Colonnade of the Polemarch and containing a painting or paintings by Sillax of Rhegium; at Argos a sanctuary 144of Libyan Demeter; at Sparta a chapel and bronze statue of Cottina, a bronze ox dedicated by her, a sanctuary of Corythallian Artemis, a festival called kopis (described by Polemo in detail), and the worship of two heroes Matton and Ceraon; at Olympia a hundred and thirty-two silver cups, two silver wine-jugs, one silver sacrificial vessel, and three gilt cups, all preserved in the treasury of the Metapontines, a cedar-wood figure of a Triton holding a silver cup, a silver siren, three silver cups of various shapes, a golden wine-jug, and two drinking-horns, all preserved in the treasury of the Byzantines, thirty-three silver cups of various shapes, a silver pot, a golden sacrificial vessel, and a golden bowl, all preserved in the temple of Hera, and a statue of a Lacedaemonian named Leon who won a victory in the chariot-race; at Elis the worship of Gourmand Apollo; at Scolus in Boeotia the worship of Big-loaf Demeter; at Thebes a temple of Aphrodite Lamia, a statue of the bard Cleon (about which Polemo told an anecdote), and games held in honour of Hercules; and finally at Delphi a golden book of the poetess Aristomache in the Sicyonian treasury, a treasury of the Spinatians containing two marble statues of boys, a sanctuary of Demeter Hermuchus, and a curious custom of offering to Latona at the festival of the Theoxenia the largest leek that was to be found.

145All these are mentioned by Polemo as things existing or customs practised within that portion of Greece which Pausanias has described. When we remember that the mention of them occurs in a few brief fragments, which are all that remain to us of the voluminous works of Polemo, we can imagine what a multitude of things must have been described by Polemo, which are passed over in total silence by Pausanias.

Result of
Polemo and

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

or from
writers of

146Yet in recent years it has been maintained that Pausanias slavishly copied from Polemo the best part of his descriptions of Athens, Olympia, and Delphi, and a good deal besides, and that he described these places substantially not as they were in his own age but as they had been in the time of Polemo, about three hundred years before; for it is a part of the same theory that Pausanias had travelled and seen very little in Greece, had compiled the bulk of his book from the works of earlier writers, and had added only a few hasty jottings of his own to give the book a modern air.

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

Theory that
did not
Greece as
it was in
his own

On the other hand, the proposition that Pausanias described Greece not as it was in his own time, but as it had been in an earlier age, while it is of wider scope than the former is also more susceptible of verification. It could be established very simply by proving that he spoke of things as existing which from other sources are known to have ceased to exist before his time. It could not, of course, 147be established merely by showing that he mentions little or nothing of later date than say the age of Polemo, about 170 B.C., unless it could be further shown that the things he mentions had ceased to exist between that age and his own. For obviously all the things he notices might have existed in 170 B.C. and still be in existence when he wrote, and in describing them he would be as truly describing the Greece of his own time as a writer of the present day who, professing to record the most notable things in Athens at the end of the nineteenth century A.D., should choose to mention no building or statue later than the time of Pausanias, or even of Polemo himself. Thus all the attempts that have been made to invalidate the testimony of Pausanias as to the state of Greece in the second century A.D. by demonstrating merely that the things he describes were in existence in the second century B.C. must be dismissed as irrelevant. Even if the premises be admitted, the conclusion which it is sought to establish would not follow from them. It remains, therefore, to examine the evidence which has been thought to prove that some of the things mentioned by Pausanias as existing had ceased to exist before his time. If this were indeed proved, then the proposition that he did not describe Greece as it was in his own time would be proved also, and we 148should be sure that his descriptions were borrowed either wholly or in part from earlier writers, even if we could not hazard any guess as to who these writers were.

His description

In the first place, then, it has been maintained that the description which Pausanias gives of the state of Piraeus did not apply to his own time. His account of the ship-sheds, the two market-places, the sanctuaries, the images, and so on, implies, it is said, that the port was in a fairly thriving state when he wrote about the middle of the second century A.D., and this cannot have been the case since Piraeus was burnt by Sulla in 86 B.C., and still lay in a forlorn condition when Strabo wrote in the age of Augustus. This remarkable criticism entirely overlooks the fact that between the destruction of Piraeus by Sulla and the time of Pausanias more than two hundred years had elapsed, during the greater part of which Greece had enjoyed profound peace and had been treated with special favour and indulgence by the Roman emperors. Is it beyond the bounds of possibility that during these two centuries the blackened ruins should have been cleared away? that new buildings should have sprung up, and population should have gathered once more around the harbour? Does the Palatinate, we may ask by analogy, remain to this day the wilderness to which it 149was reduced by the armies of Louis XIV. two centuries ago? But such questions need no answer. In the case of Piraeus, fortunately, we are not left merely to balance probabilities or improbabilities against each other. We have positive evidence of a great revival of the port after its destruction by Sulla. A single inscription of the first century B.C. or the second century A.D. testifies to the existence of the dockyards, the colonnades, the Exchange, the government buildings, the sanctuaries. Another, contemporary with Pausanias, proves that Roman merchants were then settled in the port. A third deals with the regulation of traffic in the market. Portraits of Roman emperors found on the spot speak of gratitude for imperial favour, and remains of Roman villas and Roman baths bear witness to the return not merely of prosperity but of wealth and luxury. In short, if Pausanias had described Piraeus as lying in ruins, as his critic thinks he should have done, he might have described it as it was in the early part of the first century B.C., but he certainly would not have described it as it was in his own time two hundred years later.

His description

Again, it has been argued that Pausanias copied his description of Arcadia from much older writers because, it is said, he pictures the country as in a flourishing state, whereas 150Strabo says that most of the famous cities of Arcadia had either ceased to exist or had left hardly a trace of themselves behind. How little the testimony of Strabo is worth when he speaks of the interior of Greece is shown by his famous statement that not a vestige of Mycenae remained. Contrast this statement with the brief but accurate description which Pausanias gives of the walls and the lion-gate of Mycenae as they were in his day and as they remain down to this; then say whether the testimony of Strabo is to outweigh that of Pausanias on questions of Greek topography. In fact it is generally recognised that Strabo had visited very few parts of Greece, perhaps none but Corinth. We may therefore well hesitate to confide in his vague sweeping assertion as to the desolation of Arcadia. A simple fact suffices to upset it. Coins of the Roman period prove that seven out of the eleven cities, which he says had ceased to exist or had left hardly a trace behind, were still inhabited and doing business long after the agreeable, but not too scrupulously accurate, geographer had been gathered to his fathers. Nor, again, is it true to say that Pausanias describes Arcadia as if it were in a prosperous state. On the contrary, the long array of ruined or shrunken cities, deserted villages, and roofless shrines, which he has not failed 151to chronicle, leave on the reader, as they left on the writer himself, a melancholy impression of desolation and decay. The only two cities which from his description we should gather to have been in a tolerably thriving condition are Tegea and Mantinea. As to the former we have the precious testimony of Strabo himself that “it kept pretty well together.” As to Mantinea, if we cannot trust the evidence of Pausanias, we can surely trust the architectural and inscriptional evidence which proves that in the Roman period the theatre was rebuilt, and that not many years before Pausanias was born Roman merchants resided in the city, great reconstructions were carried out in the market-place, a marble colonnade added to it, banqueting-halls and treasuries built, a bazaar surrounded with workshops erected, and a semicircular hall reared which, in the words of an inscription referring to it, “would by itself be an ornament of the city.” The remains of these buildings, together with the ancient walls and gates of the city almost in their entire extent though not to their full height, were visible down to the year 1890 A.D. at least.[5] All this in a city which, if we were to believe Strabo, had vanished from the 152earth before his time leaving little or no traces of it behind. So much for the comparative value of the testimony of Strabo and Pausanias with regard to Arcadia.

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

Grove of
Poseidon at

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

Thuria in

Further, Pausanias has been reproached with not knowing that Limnae in Messenia belonged to the Messenians in his time. This is a strange reproach. He treats of Limnae under Messenia, and does not say that it belonged to anybody but the Messenians. What more could he do? Was it needful for him to say of every place in Messenia that it belonged to the Messenians? of every town in Arcadia that it belonged to the Arcadians? of every temple in Athens that it belonged to the Athenians? The ground of the offence is Pausanias’s statement that the neighbouring town of Thuria in Messenia had been bestowed by Augustus on the Lacedaemonians. The truth of this statement is not 153disputed. It is confirmed by coins which prove that in the reign of Septimius Severus, long after the time of Pausanias, Thuria continued to belong to the Lacedaemonians. But the critics have assumed quite gratuitously that along with Thuria the emperor Augustus transferred Limnae also to the Lacedaemonians, and that Pausanias believed Limnae to belong to them still in his time, although we know from the evidence of Tacitus and of boundary stones that in his time Limnae belonged to Messenia. Both these assumptions are baseless. We have no reason to suppose that Augustus gave Limnae to the Lacedaemonians, none to suppose that Pausanias believed it to belong to them. On the contrary, we have, as I have just pointed out, the best of grounds for supposing that he held it to belong to Messenia. The truth is, the critics have confused two distinct, though neighbouring districts, and have shifted the burden of this confusion to the shoulders of the innocent Pausanias, in whose work not a shadow of it can be detected.

Temple of
Apollo at

Lastly, it has been assumed that Pausanias’s account of the temple of Apollo at Delphi is irreconcileable with the remains of the building and with inscriptions relating to it which have recently been discovered by the French at Delphi. The combined evidence of architecture and inscriptions proves conclusively that 154the temple built by the Alcmaeonids in the sixth century B.C. was afterwards destroyed, probably by an earthquake, and that it was rebuilt in the fourth century B.C. Yet Pausanias, it is said, describes the temple of the sixth century B.C. as if it still existed in his time. Let us look at the facts in the light of the French discoveries. Observe, then, that Pausanias mentions the Gallic shields hanging on the architrave of the temple. These shields were captured in 279 B.C. Hence the temple which he describes cannot have been the old one built in the sixth century B.C., since that temple, as we now know, was afterwards destroyed and rebuilt in the fourth century B.C. But did Pausanias believe it to be the old one? There is nothing to show that he did, but on the contrary there is a good deal to show that he did not. In the first place, he does not say that the temple was built by the Alcmaeonids. He says it was built for the Amphictyons by the architect Spintharus. The date of Spintharus is otherwise unknown, but we have no reason to suppose that he lived in the sixth rather than in the fourth century B.C. In the second place, Pausanias tells us that the first sculptures for the gables of the temple were executed by Praxias, a pupil of Calamis, but that as the building lasted some time, Praxias died before it was finished, and the rest of the 155sculptures were executed by another artist. Now we have the evidence of Pausanias himself that the sculptor Calamis was at work as late as 427 B.C. His pupil Praxias may therefore easily, at least in the opinion of Pausanias, have been at work at the end of the fifth century B.C. or in the early part of the fourth century B.C., and this is precisely the time when, if we may judge from the historical and inscriptional evidence, the old temple was destroyed and preparations at least for rebuilding it were being made. At all events, Pausanias cannot possibly have supposed that the pupil of a man who was at work in 427 B.C. can have executed sculptures for a temple that was built in the sixth century B.C. In short, neither was the temple which Pausanias describes the temple of the sixth century B.C. nor can he possibly have supposed it to be so. The temple he describes was in all probability the temple of the fourth century B.C. His statement that the temple was long in building is amply confirmed by the inscriptions, which prove that the process of reconstruction dragged on over a period of many years.

Thus in every case an analysis of the evidence adduced to prove that Pausanias described a state of things which had passed away before his time, reveals only some oversight or misapprehension on the part of his critics. We 156might take it, therefore, without further discussion that he described Greece as it was in his own age. But if any reader is still sceptical, still blinded by the phantom Polemo, let him turn to Pausanias’s description of new Corinth |New
and read it with attention. Here was a city built in 44 B.C., more than a century after the time of Polemo, upon whom Pausanias is supposed by some to have been slavishly dependent. Yet he describes the city minutely and in topographical order, following up each street as it led out of the market-place. Amongst the many temples he mentions in it is one of Octavia and another of Capitolian Jupiter; among the many waterworks is the aqueduct by which Hadrian, the author’s contemporary, brought the water of the Stymphalian Lake to Corinth. And his description of the city with its temples, images, fountains, and portals is amply borne out by coins of the Imperial age. In the face of this single instance it is impossible to maintain that Pausanias must needs have borrowed most of his descriptions from writers who lived before 170 B.C. If he could describe Corinth so well without their aid, why should he not have described Athens, Olympia, and Delphi for himself? Nor does his power of description fail him when he comes down to works which were produced in his own lifetime. Not to mention his many notices of the works 157of Hadrian, such as the Olympieum at Athens with its colossal image of gold and ivory, and the library with its columns of Phrygian marble, its gilded roof, its alabaster ornaments, its statues and paintings, he has given us a minute account of the images dedicated by his contemporary Herodes Atticus in the temple of Poseidon at the Isthmus. |Images
by Herodes
at the
He describes the images of Amphitrite and Poseidon, made of gold and ivory, standing erect in a car drawn by gilt horses with ivory hoofs; the image of Palaemon, also made of gold and ivory, standing on a dolphin; the two Tritons beside the horses, each of them made of gold from the waist upward and of ivory from the waist downward; and the reliefs on the pedestal of the images, comprising a figure of the Sea holding up the infant Aphrodite, with Nereids and the Dioscuri on either side. If he could describe in such detail the work of an obscure contemporary artist whom he does not condescend to mention, what reason have we to think that he could not describe for himself the famous images by the great hand of Phidias, the image of the Virgin at Athens and the image of Zeus at Olympia? In short, if Pausanias copied his descriptions from a book, it must have been from a book written in his own lifetime, perhaps by another man of the same name. The theory of the copyist Pausanias reduces itself to an absurdity.

and the

158The best proof that Pausanias has pictured for us Greece as it was in his own day and not as it had ceased to be long before, is supplied by the monuments. In all parts of the country the truthfulness of his descriptions has been attested by remains of the buildings which he describes, and wherever these remains are most numerous, as for example at Olympia, Delphi, and Lycosura, we have most reason to admire his minute and painstaking accuracy. That he was infallible has never been maintained, and if it had been, the excavations would have refuted so foolish a contention, for they have enabled us to detect some errors into which he fell. For example, he mistook the figure of a girl for that of a man in the eastern gable of the temple of Zeus at Olympia; he misinterpreted the attitude of Hercules and Atlas in one of the metopes of the same temple; he affirmed that the colossal images at Lycosura were made of a single block of marble, whereas we know that they were made of several blocks fitted together; and he described the temple of Athena Alea at Tegea as the largest in Peloponnese, though in fact it was much smaller than the temple of Zeus at Olympia. These and similar mistakes, like the slips he sometimes made in reading inscriptions, do not lend any colour to an imputation of bad faith. All they show is that he shared the common weaknesses of humanity, 159that his eye sometimes deceived him, that his attention sometimes flagged, that occasionally he may have lent too ready an ear to the talk of the local guides. If these are sins, they are surely not unpardonable. Those who have followed in his footsteps in Greece and have formed from personal experience some idea, necessarily slight, of the magnitude of the task he set himself and of the difficulties he had to overcome in accomplishing it, will probably be the readiest to make allowance for inevitable imperfections, will be most grateful to him for what he has done, and least disposed to censure him for what he has left undone. Without him the ruins of Greece would for the most part be a labyrinth without a clue, a riddle without an answer. His book furnishes the clue to the labyrinth, the answer to many riddles. It will be read and studied so long as ancient Greece shall continue to engage the attention and awaken the interest of mankind; and if it is allowable to forecast the results of research in the future from those of research in the past we may venture to predict that, while they will correct the descriptions of Pausanias on some minor points, they will confirm them on many more, and will bring to light nothing to shake the confidence of reasonable and fair-minded men in his honour and good faith.


II. Oropus.—The plain of Oropus extends along the shore for about five miles; inland it narrows to a point, two or three miles from the shore, where the Asopus issues from a beautiful defile. At this inner angle of the plain stand the modern villages of Oropo and Sykamino on opposite sides of the river. But the territory of Oropus included some at least of the low hills which environ the plain, for the hills of Oropus were at one time divided between two Attic tribes. Moreover, the sanctuary of Amphiaraus, which belonged to Oropus, stands in hilly ground to the east of the plain. The whole of this district, lying between the Euripus and the northern declivities of Mount Parnes, is of great natural beauty. It is an undulating and richly wooded country, where the road runs between soft green hills and knolls, with charming and varied prospects across the winding waters of the Euripus to the blue mountains of Euboea, among which the lofty Delph may be seen glistering white with snow even in the hot days of summer. The traveller who comes direct from the monotonous and sterile plain of Athens is struck, on emerging from the wooded pass of Decelea, by the contrast between the scene which he has left behind and that which is suddenly unrolled at his feet. In antiquity this road, which went by Aphidna and could be traversed on foot in a day, was noted for the 161number and excellence of its inns, a distinction which it certainly does not enjoy now.

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

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

162The sanctuary of Amphiaraus, described by Pausanias, lies in a pleasant little glen, neither wide nor deep, among low hills partially wooded with pine. The place, now called Mavrodhilisi, is distant about four miles south-east of Skala Oropou; Pausanias has greatly understated the distance. The path to it first goes through corn-fields near the sea, then turns inland and ascends through woods. A brook flows through the glen and finds its way between banks fringed by plane-trees and oleanders to the sea, which is more than a mile off. The clumps of trees and shrubs which tuft the sides of the glen and in which the nightingale warbles, the stretch of green meadow at the bottom, the stillness and seclusion of the place, and its sheltered and sunny aspect, all fitted it to be the resort of invalids, who thronged thither to consult the healing god. So sheltered indeed is the spot that even on a May morning the heat in the airless glen, with the Greek sun beating down out of a cloudless sky, is apt to be felt by a northerner as somewhat overpowering. But to a Greek it was no doubt agreeable. The oracle, we know, was open only in summer; and Livy speaks of “the ancient temple delightfully situated among springs and brooks”. The ruins of the sanctuary, excavated some years ago by the Greek Archaeological Society, lie on the narrow strip 163of flat ground on the northern or left bank of the stream.

III. Rhamnus.—Rhamnus is one of the loneliest and most secluded, but at the same time most picturesque and verdant spots in all Attica. It lies on the north-east coast of Attica, about six and a half miles north of Kato-Souli, the village which occupies the site of the ancient Tricorythus. The distance agrees well with the sixty Greek furlongs (nearly seven miles) at which Pausanias estimates it. The road from Kato-Souli first goes north-east across the northern portion of the Marathonian plain, which it quits by a pass leading northward through the hills. The pass soon opens into an upland valley, three miles long from south to north by one mile wide, enclosed on both sides by wild and barren hills. The upper slopes of these hills are scantily wooded with firs; their lower slopes are overgrown with myrtle, lentisk, and many sorts of thorny shrubs, especially the one called rhamnus, which gave the district its ancient name. The soil of the valley is partly under cultivation, but most of it is covered with dense underwood and oaks of the valanidia species. On a low flat ridge which runs across the valley from east to west there are some ancient ruins, consisting of walls 164and foundations of houses. There are now no permanent inhabitations in the whole valley. A few dirty hamlets, tenanted from time to time by peasants for the purpose of looking after their fields, lie at its eastern edge. The general aspect of the country is lonesome and desolate.

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


IV. Marathon.—The plain of Marathon, the scene of the memorable defeat of the Persians by the Athenians in 490 B.C., is a crescent-shaped stretch of flat land curving round the shore of a spacious bay and bounded on the landward side by a semicircle of steep mountains, with bare rocky sides, which rise abruptly from the plain. In its north-eastern corner the plain is terminated by a narrow rocky promontory running southward far into the sea and sheltering the bay on the north-east; in antiquity this promontory was called Cynosura (‘dog’s tail’), it is now called Cape Stomi or Cape Marathon. At its southern end the plain is terminated by Mount Agrieliki, a spur of Mount Pentelicus, which here advances so far eastward as to leave only a narrow strip of flat land between it and the sea. Through this strip of flat land at the foot of Mount Agrieliki runs the only carriage road which connects Marathon with Athens. The length of the plain of Marathon from north-east to south-west is about six miles; its breadth varies from one and a half to two and a half miles. The shore is a shelving sandy beach, free from rocks and shoals, and well suited for the disembarkation of troops. A great swamp, covered with sharp reed-grass and divided from the sea by a narrow strip of sandy beach overgrown with pine-trees, occupies most of the 166northern end of the plain. It never dries wholly up even in the heat of summer; two canals constructed by General Sutzos have only partially drained it. Tamarisk bushes grow in the drier parts of the marsh; their scarlet blossoms are conspicuous in spring. The swamp is deepest at its western side, where it is separated only by a narrow passage, hardly wide enough for two horses to pass each other, from the steep rocky slope of Mount Stavrokoraki. The ancient road which led northward from the plain of Marathon to Rhamnus ran along this narrow passage, between the marsh on the one hand and the slope of the mountain on the other. Leake noticed traces of ancient chariot-wheels here; and till a few years ago a long line of stones, a little farther to the south, marked the line of the ancient road. At the northern end of this defile between the marsh and the mountain stands the modern village of Kato-Souli. About a quarter of a mile to the south of it, close to the road and to the foot of the mountain, are the deepest pools of the swamp; they are easily distinguished by the luxuriant vegetation that surrounds them, the tall reeds being particularly noticeable. These pools, beside which cattle find green pasture in summer when the plains are scorched and brown with heat, are fed by powerful subterranean sources, the Macaria of the ancients, 167about which Pausanias tells us the legend of Macaria, daughter of Hercules, who gave her name to the spring. Strabo says that the head of Eurystheus was cut off and buried by Iolaus beside the spring Macaria, under the highroad, and that hence the place was called ‘the head of Eurystheus.’ At Kato-Souli, about half-way up the slope of the hill which rises above the village, there are some shallow niche-like excavations in the rock, not unlike mangers. It may have been these niches to which popular fancy gave the name of ‘the mangers of the horses of Artaphernes.’ On its opposite or eastern side the great swamp ends in a small salt-water lake, now called Drakonera, that is ‘the dragon-water’ or ‘the enchanted water.’ This lake discharges itself into the sea by a stream which flows exactly at the point where the sandy beach of the bay ends and the rocks of Cape Cynosura begin. Sea fish are caught in the lake, and eels in the fresh-water pools of the marsh. The salt lake has perhaps been formed since the time of Pausanias, for he describes only the marsh and a stream flowing from it into the sea. At the southern end of the plain of Marathon there is another, but much smaller, swamp called Vrexisa between the sea and the foot of Mount Agrieliki. Its greatest breadth is about half a mile. It is covered with reedy grass and 168shrubs, and is separated from the sea by a strip of sand. The highroad to Athens runs betwixt this marsh and the foot of the mountains.

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

In this vast sweep of level ground the eye is caught, at no great distance, by a single solitary object rising inconspicuously above it. This is the famous mound, now called Soros, which covers the remains of the Athenians who fell in the battle. It rises from the plain a mile from the foot of the hills, half a mile from the sea, 169and about three-quarters of a mile north of the marsh of Vrexisa. It is a conical mound of light, reddish mould, some thirty feet high and two hundred paces in circumference. Its top has been somewhat flattened by excavations; its sides are overgrown with low brushwood. A wild pear-tree grows at its foot. In April-June 1890 the mound was excavated under the superintendence of Mr. Staes for the Greek Government. Trenches were cut into it, and at the depth of about nine feet below the present surface of the plain there was found an artificial floor, constructed of sand and other materials, about eighty-five feet long and twenty feet broad. On this floor there rested a layer of ashes, charcoal, and human bones, charred by fire and mouldering away with damp. Mixed with this layer of ashes and bones were about thirty earthenware vases, most of them broken in pieces. These vases are painted in the common black-figured style; the subjects represented are generally chariots, but in some cases horsemen and foot-soldiers. Besides these vases there was found a long-necked amphora adorned with friezes of beasts and monsters in the oriental style, and a winged figure of the oriental Artemis; and another two-handled vase of reddish-brown clay, with decorations somewhat in the Mycenaean style, was found to contain charred bones, perhaps those of a 170general. Further excavations made in the following year laid bare a sacrificial pit or trench extending diagonally under the mound from north to south. This trench is cased with burnt bricks, and contained ashes, charcoal, and the bones of animals and birds, mixed with fragments of black-figured vases. It had originally been roofed with bricks, which had fallen in. The bones found in this trench are clearly those of the victims sacrificed to the heroic dead before the mound was heaped over their remains; and the broken vases discovered along with them may have been those which were used at the funeral banquet. The Greek archaeologists further detected some vestiges which led them to believe that, even after the mound had been raised, sacrifices continued to be annually offered at it. This confirms Pausanias’s statement that the men who fell in the battle were worshipped as heroes by the people of Marathon. From an inscription we learn that the Athenian lads went to the tomb, laid wreaths on it, and sacrificed to the dead.

The excavations have finally disproved a theory, broached by E. Curtius in 1853 and maintained by Professor Milchhöfer as late as 1889, that, the mound was prehistoric and had nothing to do with the battle of Marathon. For the black-figured vases found with the bones and ashes of the dead 171belong to the period of the Persian wars; the human remains can therefore be no other than those of the hundred and ninety-two Athenians who fell at Marathon. Curtius’s erroneous theory was apparently countenanced by some imperfect excavations made by Dr. Schliemann in 1884. Many bronze arrow-heads, about an inch long and pierced with a round hole at the top for the reception of the shaft, have been picked up at the mound; also a great number of black flints, rudely chipped into shape. It has been conjectured that these flints are parts of the stone-headed arrows discharged by the Ethiopian archers in the Persian army. But against this opinion it has been urged that similar flints have been found at other ancient sites in Attica and elsewhere, especially in the oldest graves on many Greek islands, and have not been found at Thermopylae and Plataea, where, if anywhere, the stone-headed arrows may be supposed to have flown in showers.

There are two main routes from the plain of Marathon to Athens; one of them goes by the south, the other by the north side of Mount Pentelicus. The first route leaves the plain at its southern extremity, and passing between the foot of Mount Agrieliki and the marsh of Vrexisa runs parallel with the coast for some distance. It then turns westward, and crossing the deep valley which divides Pentelicus on 172the north from Hymettus on the south enters the plain of Athens. This is by far the easiest road; it is the only one which vehicles can traverse. The distance by this road from the great mound at Marathon to Athens is about twenty-five or twenty-six miles. The other route, by the north side of Mount Pentelicus, goes from Oenoe (the modern Ninoi) by a very steep and toilsome path to Stamata, a village in a high situation, surrounded by a few barren fields, among woods of pine. In many places the path is so hemmed in between cliffs and precipices that there is room only for a single horse. Trees are rare, but the stony slopes of the mountain are overgrown with shrubs of many sorts, among which the Erica arborea is conspicuous. In spring its masses of white blossoms perfume the whole air with their fragrance. About half an hour short of Stamata, at a point where there is a spring shaded by fine plane-trees, the path is joined on the left by another path, also steep and toilsome, which comes up from Vrana. This latter path commands a magnificent view backward down the deep ravine through which the traveller has ascended. On either side of the ravine rise the mountains, their precipitous sides covered with straggling pine-forest or evergreen copse, and terminating in bold peaks; below is spread out the green 173expanse of the Marathonian plain, backed by the sea and Cape Cynosura curving into the blue water with the sweep of a scimitar. Farther off, bounding the prospect, stretches the long line of the mountains of Euboea.

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

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

Clearly the first of these routes is the only road by which a large army with cavalry and baggage-train could march. Therefore when the Persians landed at Marathon, under the guidance of the banished Athenian tyrant Hippias, who was of course familiar with the 174country, they must have intended to advance on Athens by the southern road, and consequently the Athenians must have marched to meet them by the same road; for had they taken the northern route the enemy might have given them the slip, and his cavalry might have been entering the streets of Athens at the time when the Athenians were emerging from the defiles of Pentelicus on the plain of Marathon. Thus the traveller who drives to Marathon by the carriage road may feel sure that he is following very closely the route by which the Athenian army advanced to the battle.

V. Prasiae.—The township of Prasiae was situated on the spacious and beautiful bay now called Porto Raphti, on the east coast of Attica, about sixteen miles north-east of Sunium. From the fertile valley of Cephale (now Keratea) a path leads north-eastward through a very deep and narrow glen to the shore of the bay. In the depths of this romantic glen there winds the bed of a stream which is sometimes nearly or wholly dry. The sides of the glen, seamed with the beds of torrents and rifted rocks, are so thickly wooded and overhung with pine-trees and bushes that in many places it is hard to force a passage along it. Flocks of sheep 175and goats browsing, and in spring the warbling of numerous nightingales in the thickets, alone relieve the solitude. At the end of the glen, which is about three miles long, the view of the wide bay, enclosed by barren mountains, suddenly bursts on us. On the north Mount Peratia, with its jagged ridge and bold beautiful outline, descends in precipices almost sheer into the water, its sides bare except for here and there a thin patch of pinewood. On the south rises, dark and massive, the loftier Mavronori (‘the black mountain’). From its base the rocky headland of Koroni runs far out into the sea, sheltering the bay on the east and narrowing its entrance to about a mile and a quarter. Right in the middle of the entrance, breaking the force of the waves when the wind blows from the east, a rocky islet in the shape of a sugar-loaf or pyramid rises abruptly from the sea to the height of about three hundred feet. Its sides, clothed with lentisk bushes and dwarf pines, are so steep that it can be scaled only on one side, the north. On its summit, looking seaward, sits a colossal but headless and armless statue of white marble on a high pedestal, the blocks of which were falling to ruin at the time of Dodwell’s visit but are now held together by iron clamps. This statue, which, to judge from its style, dates from the time of the Roman empire, is popularly supposed to resemble a 176tailor (raphti) seated at his work; hence it has given its present name of Porto Raphti to the bay. It has been plausibly conjectured that this is the monument described by Pausanias as the tomb of Erysichthon who died at sea on his way home from Delos. The striking monument, looking out from its high lonely isle across the blue sea, may have been erected on the traditionary site of the hero’s grave by some wealthy patron of art in Roman days, perhaps by Herodes Atticus himself.

The inner part of the bay is divided into two by a rocky spit jutting out from the shore, to which it is attached by a low isthmus. The promontory takes its name from a chapel of St. Nicholas which stands on the isthmus; a small island off the promontory still bears the name of Prasonisi or ‘Isle of Prasiae.’ The anchorage for fishing boats is on the north side of the isthmus, and here are the few wretched hovels which make up the hamlet of Porto Raphti. The hamlet is not permanently inhabited. For the bay, though one of the finest harbours in Greece, is desolate and hardly frequented except in summer. By day peasants may be met at work in the fields or carting fish to the neighbouring villages. But all through the colder seasons of the year and even on summer evenings a profound stillness, broken only by the lapping of the waves on the beach, reigns 177on the shores of this beautiful bay, one of the fairest scenes in Attica.

On the northern shore of the bay there are a few scanty remains of antiquity which seem to have belonged to the township of Stiria. Prasiae lay on the southern shore, which still bears the ancient name. Here, between the sandy and in part marshy beach and the hills, there stretches a strip of level cornland interspersed with olives and stately cork-oaks. Some vestiges of ancient wall may be traced at a garden not far from the shore, where there is also an ancient well. But the sand is gaining so fast here that a few years ago the ruins of a chapel with some Christian graves were discovered buried in the downs. The citadel of Prasiae occupied the rocky headland of Koroni (probably the ancient Coronea), which, as we have seen, shelters the bay on the east. This bold headland, joined to the mainland by a low sandy isthmus, has obviously been at one time an island; indeed the whole of the southern part of the bay is being gradually sanded up. The fortification walls, six feet thick and built without mortar, may be followed all round the summit of the headland, which is besides so well protected by its steep cliffs that an attack from the side of the sea must have been nearly impracticable. Another wall, eight to ten feet thick, which seems to have been strengthened 178with towers or bastions, runs down in a south-westerly direction from the ring-wall of the citadel. It probably served as an outwork and may have reached as far as the shore, though now it disappears some distance above the water. Within the ring-wall of the citadel are the remains of a number of cross-walls extending at right angles to it; but they are now so overgrown by dense underwood that it is almost impossible to trace them. From the summit of the headland there is a fine prospect, on the one side over the noble bay with its rocky islets, on the other side across the sea to Euboea, Andros, and Ceos. The white houses which are seen gleaming in Ceos are those of the modern town which occupies the site of the ancient Julis.

VI. Mount Hymettus.—The outline of Hymettus, viewed from Athens, is even and regular; but its sides are furrowed by winter torrents and its base is broken into many small isolated hills of a conical form. Except towards its base the range is almost destitute of soil. Wild olives, myrtles, laurels, and oleanders are found only in some of the gullies at the foot of the mountain. Its steep rocky slopes are composed of grey marble seamed and cracked in all directions. Some stunted shrubs, 179however, including the lentisk, terebinth, and juniper, and sweet-smelling herbs, such as thyme, lavender, savory, and sage, grow in the clefts of the rocks, and, with flowers such as hyacinths and purple crocuses, furnish the bees with the food from which they still extract the famous Hymettian honey. Hymettus seems to have been as bare and treeless in classical antiquity as it is now; for Plato remarks that some of the Attic mountains, which now only provided food for bees, had at no very remote epoch furnished the timber with which some very large buildings were still roofed at the time when he wrote. The honey of Hymettus was renowned. It was said that when Plato was a babe the bees on Hymettus filled his mouth with honey. The story went that bees were first produced on the mountain. Poets spoke of the flowery and fragrant Hymettus. The thyme and the creeping thyme (serpyllum) of Hymettus are specially mentioned; the creeping thyme was transplanted to Athens and grown there. When ancient writers speak of Attic honey in general, they may have had Hymettian honey in view. Vitruvius compares Attic honey to resin in colour, which aptly describes the colour of the modern Hymettian honey. When Synesius visited Athens in the fifth century A.D. he found that the glory of its philosophers had departed, but that the glory 180of its bee-masters still remained. Opinions differ as to the quality of the modern Hymettian honey. Leake pronounced it superior to that of the rest of Attica and of the surrounding provinces of Greece. Others think it inferior to the honey of other parts of Greece, such as the Cyclades, Corinth, and Thebes, as well as to the heather honey of Scotland and Ireland. Most of the honey sold as Hymettian comes from Tourko Vouni, north of Athens, and from other parts of Attica.

Hymettus was also famous in antiquity for its marble, which seems to have been especially prized by the Romans. This marble, which is still quarried in large quantities on Hymettus, is a bluish-grey streaky marble, of finer and closer grain than the white Pentelic marble, but far inferior to it in beauty. The Greeks seem not to have used it commonly till the third century B.C. From that time onward we find it employed for tombstones, inscriptions, and the casing of buildings. The principal quarries are on the western side of the mountain, on the slopes which enclose the valley of St. George on the south and south-east and which on the other side descend nearly sheer into ‘the Devil’s Glen’ or ‘the Evil Glen,’ the deepest and wildest gorge in Hymettus. Vestiges of the ancient road or slide by which the blocks were brought down from the quarries 181may be seen about a hundred yards above the chapel of St. George; the road seems to have been led in serpentine curves down the slope, not in a straight line like the road from the quarries on Pentelicus. A great part of the upper ridge of Hymettus is composed of a white marble resembling the white marble of Pentelicus, but inferior to it in crystalline structure and of a duller white. The ancients apparently made little use of this white Hymettian marble.

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


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

But though the view of the pyramidal or gable-like summit is the one which chiefly strikes the observer at Athens, Pentelicus is really a range of mountains with a number of lesser summits, extending from north-west to south-east for a distance of about four and a half miles. The ancient quarries lie on the south-western side of the highest peak. Five-and-twenty of them may be counted, one above the other; the highest is situated not far beneath the highest ridge, at a height of over three thousand three hundred feet above the sea. They are reached from the monastery of 183Mendeli, the wealthiest monastic establishment in Attica, which nestles in a well-watered and wooded glade at the southern foot of the mountain, about twelve hundred feet above sea level. The ground in front of the monastery is shaded by gigantic white poplars, under which flows a spring of excellent water. The name Mendeli is the modern equivalent of Pentele, the name of the ancient township, the site of which is perhaps marked by some ancient blocks and traces of walls and terraces at the chapel of the Trinity, a little to the north-east of the monastery.

The quarries are situated in the gullies above the monastery. An ancient road, very steep and rugged, leads to them up the eastern side of the principal gully. The road is roughly paved; the blocks of marble were probably brought down it on wooden slides. Square holes may be seen at intervals cut in the rock at the side of the road; the beams which supported the wooden slides may have been fastened in these holes. The road appears to end at the principal quarry, a spot now called Spilia, two thousand three hundred feet above the sea. Here the rock has been quarried away so as to leave a smooth perpendicular wall of marble, the top of which is fringed with firs. The marks, delicate and regular, of the ancient chisels may be seen in 184horizontal rows on the face of the rock. At the foot of this wall of marble, overgrown with shrubs and mantled with creepers, is the low entrance to a stalactite grotto, well known to visitors, as the names cut and painted on the walls suffice to prove. The entrance is partly built up with walls of the Byzantine age; to the right, roofed by the rock, is a chapel of St. Nicholas. The grotto is spacious, cool, and dark; its floor descends somewhat from the mouth inwards. About sixty paces from the entrance there is a small side-grotto with a rocky basin full of cold spring-water.

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

The stone extracted from these quarries is a white marble of a close fine grain. It is readily distinguished from Parian marble—the other white marble commonly used by Greek sculptors and architects—by its finer grain and opaque milky whiteness; whereas the Parian marble is composed of large transparent crystals, and is of a glistering snowy whiteness. Parian marble resembles crystallised sugar; Pentelic 185marble resembles solidified milk, though its surface is of course more granular. Pentelic marble, alone among all Greek marbles, contains a slight tincture of iron; hence its surface, when long exposed to the weather, acquires that rich golden-brown patina which is so much admired on the columns of the Parthenon and other buildings constructed of Pentelic marble. The Parian marble, on the other hand, though it weathers more easily than the Pentelic on account of its coarser grain, always remains dazzlingly white. Pentelic marble is always clearly stratified, and in places it is streaked with veins of silvery white, green, and reddish-violet mica. Blocks so streaked were either thrown aside by the ancients or used by them for buildings, not sculpture. But even in architecture these veins of mica entailed this disadvantage that the surfaces containing them, when long exposed to the weather, split and pealed off in flakes, as we may see on the drums of the columns of the Olympieum or Parthenon.

Besides the fine white marble already described, which is commonly known simply as Pentelic marble, there occurs on Mount Pentelicus a grey, bluish-grey, and grey-streaked marble identical in kind with the marble known as Hymettian, because the ancients quarried it on Mount Hymettus. This grey or bluish-grey 186marble is of more recent geological formation than the white. It does not appear to have been quarried by the ancients on Pentelicus; at least no ancient quarries of it have been discovered on the mountain. But it is now obtained in great masses in the large modern quarries to the east of Kephisia, and furnishes Athens with building material for the better class of houses and public edifices; even paving-stones are made of it.

An hour’s climb from the great quarry at Spilia takes us to the summit of Pentelicus. The path ascends slopes which not many years ago were thickly wooded, but are now bare and stony. The view from the top is the clearest and most comprehensive that can be obtained of the Attic peninsula. Conspicuous below us on the north is the sickle-shaped bay of Marathon. The snowy peak of Parnassus closes the prospect on the west; the mountains of Euboea bound it on the north; and to the south, in clear weather, the island of Melos is faintly visible at a distance of ninety to a hundred miles. On the ridge, a little below and to the south-east of the summit of Pentelicus, there is a small platform, which on three sides shows traces of having been hewn out of the rock. It is exactly in the line of the ancient paved road, which, however, comes to an end considerably lower down, at the great quarry. On this 187platform probably stood the image of Athena mentioned by Pausanias.

VIII. Phyle.—An expedition to the ruins of Phyle is a favourite excursion of visitors to Athens. The distance by road is about fourteen miles. Diodorus indeed estimates the distance at a hundred Greek furlongs or eleven miles. But he is wrong. Demosthenes, more correctly, says that it was over a hundred and twenty Greek furlongs. A carriage road runs as far as Chasia, a large village on the southern slopes of Mount Parnes, about ten miles from Athens. Beyond this point the way is nothing but a steep and stony bridle-path. After ascending it for half an hour we come to the meeting of two deep and savage glens. In the glen to the right or east the little monastery of Our Lady of the Defile stands romantically at the foot of sheer precipices. The path to Phyle (which is at the same time the direct road to Thebes) winds rapidly up the narrow western glen through a thin forest of firs. In places the path is hewn in the rock, and the defile is so narrow that a handful of men might make it good against an army. Phyle is reached in about an hour and three-quarters from Chasia. The fortress with its massive walls and towers crowns a high precipitous crag 188on the southern side of the pass, which it completely dominates. A ridge connects the crag with the higher mountains on the east; and along this ridge is the only approach to the fortress. On the west and south the sides of the crag fall away abruptly into a deep ravine, which is broken by tremendous precipices, crested with firs and tufted with shrubs and underwood. The ruins of the fortress encircle a little plateau, scarcely three hundred feet long from east to west, on the summit of the crag. The walls and towers, built of fine quadrangular blocks without mortar, are best preserved on the north-east side, where they are still standing to a height of seventeen courses. The tower at the north-east angle is round; the other two remaining towers are square. The principal gate was on the east side, approached from the ridge. There was further a postern, also approached from the ridge, near the south-east corner. From the fortress, which stands more than two thousand feet above the sea, the view is magnificent, taking in the whole of the Athenian plain with Athens itself and Hymettus, and the sea with Salamis, Aegina, and the coast of Peloponnese.

The high peak, now named Mount Pagania, which towers immediately to the north-east of Phyle in the form of a crescent-shaped wall of naked rock is probably the ancient Harma, 189which the augurs at Athens watched till they saw lightning flash about its summit, whereupon they sent the sacrifice to Delphi. Strabo expressly says that Harma was near Phyle. On its eastern side the peak descends in precipices into the deep glen, already mentioned, at the entrance of which is the monastery of Our Lady of the Defile.

Farther up this glen than the monastery, at a height of some hundreds of feet above the torrent (the Potami) which traverses it, there is a cavern which is sometimes visited. The direct distance of this cavern from the monastery is only about a mile and a half. But in the glen the stream, hemmed in by precipices advancing from the mountains on both sides, has scooped out for itself between them a bed so profound and rugged that to scramble along it is impossible, even when the water is at its lowest. Hence in order to reach the cavern it is needful to make a long detour round the western flanks of Mount Pagania and to come down into the glen at a point a good deal higher up. Having done so we follow the glen downward past the place where another glen opens into it, bringing its tributary stream to swell the Potami. The cave is situated high up on the eastern side of the main glen, a little below the meeting of the waters. To clamber up the steep slope to it is far from easy. The 190mouth of the cave is so narrow that only one person can enter it at a time; it opens at the foot of a precipice darkened by overhanging trees and flanked by two crags which project like wings on either side. In the face of the rock to the right of the entrance into the cavern are some votive niches with worn inscriptions under them. Within the cave, which may be about a hundred paces deep, water dripping from the roof has formed large stalactites and has hollowed out basins in the floor. Broken lamps and potsherds have been found in it in considerable quantities, which, with the votive niches outside, prove that this secluded spot was an ancient sanctuary. It was most probably the Nymphaeum or sanctuary of the Nymphs, which Menander mentioned as being near Phyle. Here, too, the people of Phyle probably offered the sacrifices to Pan to which Aelian refers. For one of the inscriptions on the rock outside the cave sets forth that a certain Tychander caused workmen to put up the image of Pan beside the Celadon, and that sacrifices were offered by one Trophimianus. From this inscription we learn that the Potami, which flows in the depth of the glen below the cave, went in antiquity by the name of the Celadon or ‘Roaring Stream.’


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

Piraeus includes three distinct harbours, each opening to the sea by a separate mouth. These are the great harbour, technically known as Cantharus, on the north-west side of the peninsula, 192and the two smaller and nearly circular harbours of Zea and Munychia on the south-eastern side. The whole of the peninsula, with its three harbours, was strongly fortified in antiquity. The line of the fortification wall may still be traced almost all round it, and in most places the foundations are so well preserved that it is possible to reconstruct the plan of the fortress as a whole. The wall runs along the shore at such a distance as to be out of reach of the waves, and yet near enough the sea to prevent an enemy from bringing siege engines into play on the beach. It is from ten to twelve feet thick, and is very carefully built of squared blocks of the native limestone without mortar. The quarries in which the stones were hewn may be observed at many points both behind and in front of the wall. In places where the stones have been taken away from the wall to furnish building material for the modern town, we can see the grooves or channels cut in the rock in which the stones were originally bedded. These grooves are each about two and a half feet wide and run parallel to each other, showing that only the outer and inner faces of the wall were of solid masonry, and that the core must have been, as in many ancient Greek walls, filled up with rubble and earth. In the best preserved portions the wall is still standing to a height of five courses or more. It is flanked 193by towers which project from the curtain at intervals of sixty or seventy yards.

In addition to this sea-wall which skirted the coast, the mouths of the three harbours were contracted by moles of solid masonry that ran out to meet each other on either side, leaving only a narrow entrance between their extremities. The long moles which thus barred the mouth of the great harbour still exist, though the southern of the two has been washed away by the waves to a depth of some thirteen feet under the surface of the water. They now support the red and green lights which at night mark the entrance to the harbour. The haven of Zea is naturally stronger than the great harbour, and therefore needed less elaborate fortifications. It consists of a circular basin lying about two hundred yards inland from the sea, and is approached by a channel a hundred yards wide. Walls ran along this channel on either side, so that an enemy’s ships endeavouring to enter the harbour would have had to run the gauntlet of a cross fire. At its inner end the channel was flanked on either side by a tower of solid masonry built out into the water, but connected with the fortification walls. The third harbour, Munychia, the smallest of the three, is farthest removed from the business and bustle of the modern port town, and hence has, in some respects, best preserved the relics of antiquity. 194Originally it was a mere open bay, and therefore needed vast constructions of masonry to convert it into a war harbour. The moles built for this purpose are described by Lieutenant von Alten, who examined them with attention, as the most magnificent specimens of ancient Greek fortification which have survived. In some places on the outer edges of the moles the colossal blocks of which they are composed have been piled up in wild confusion by the heavy surf, and project like islets above the surface of the water. Each mole ended in a tower; and the narrow entrance to the harbour was between the towers. The tiny basin is commanded by the hill of Munychia which rises steeply from the shore. In time of danger each of the harbour mouths could be closed with a chain stretched between the two towers that flanked the entrance. The chain seems to have been coated with tar to prevent it from rusting in the water.

On the landward side the peninsula was defended by a wall, which started from the harbour of Munychia, ascended the hill, and after following the edge of the plateau for some distance gradually descended westward to the shallow northern bight of the great harbour, across which it appears to have been carried on a mole or dam. This landward wall, to judge from its existing remains, seems to have been a masterpiece of military engineering, every 195opportunity offered by the nature of the ground for strengthening the fortifications having been unerringly seized upon and turned to account. The naturally weakest spot in the whole circuit was where the wall crossed the flat between the hill of Munychia and the great harbour. Here accordingly we find the wall especially strong; it is twenty-six feet thick, and is constructed of solid masonry in large squared blocks without any core of rubble. Naturally the gates were placed in this landward wall and opened northward. Remains of four of them can be distinguished. The principal gate, flanked by two square towers on oval bases, stood in the flat ground between the north-east end of the great harbour and the heights of Munychia. Through it doubtless ran the highway to Athens; and here at a little side portal for foot-passengers probably stood the image of Hermes, which the nine archons dedicated when they set about fortifying Piraeus. A little to the east of this principal gate and on slightly higher ground is another gate, through which the road to Athens went between the two Long Walls. The gate is double, that is, it is composed of a court nearly square with a gate at each end. The reason of this construction, which is common in Greek fortifications, was that, if an enemy should force the outer gate, he would still have a second gate in front of him, and would in the meantime 196find himself pent in a narrow court, as in a trap, from the walls of which he would be assailed on all sides by the missiles of the defenders.

The docks at Piraeus were one of the glories of Athens. Demosthenes mentions them along with the Parthenon and the Propylaea. When the Athenian navy numbered about four hundred warships, we learn from inscriptions that the number of docks was three hundred and seventy-two. But this excess of ships over docks could scarcely have caused inconvenience, as some vessels must always have been in commission. Very considerable remains of the ancient docks are still to be seen in the harbours of Zea and Munychia. The flat beach all round the basin of Zea was enclosed by a wall of ashlar masonry, which ran round the harbour at a distance of fifty or sixty feet from the water’s edge. This formed the back wall of all the docks, which extended at right angles to it and parallel to each other down into the water. The average breadth of each dock or berth was about twenty feet. The docks were separated from each other by rows of columns, the foundations of which, bedded on the shelving rocky beach, descend in steps to the water, and are continued under it for some distance. These columns supported the roofs, which were probably wooden, for no remains of a stone roof 197have been found. Between these partition rows of columns the rock has been hollowed out and smoothed, so that it forms an inclined plane, descending gradually, like the rows of columns, to the sea, and continued under water for some way. Each of these inclined planes formed the floor of a dock. In the middle of each floor is built a stone pier about ten feet wide and a yard high; in some places the native rock, hewn out at the sides, has been left standing in the centre so as to form a pier of similar dimensions. On these piers, whether built or hewn out of the rock, the ancient ships were hauled up and down. Remains of them may still be seen all round the harbour of Zea running out under the clear water.

The only relics of ancient ships which have been found at Zea are some plates of Parian marble representing great eyes. Clearly these were the ship’s eyes which used to be fastened to the bows of ancient Greek vessels. Pollux tells us that the ship’s name was painted beside its eye. Philostratus describes the picture of an Etruscan pirate ship painted blue, with fierce eyes at the prow to frighten the enemy. In a list of missing or unserviceable ships’ furniture, preserved in an inscription, mention is twice made of a broken ship’s eye. Some of the eyes found at Zea show traces of red paint at the back; the paint probably adhered to them from 198the ships’ sides; for ships’ bows were often painted red. Modern Italian sailors sometimes still paint an eye on the bow of their vessel. In the East, too, every craft owned by a Chinaman, from a sampan up to an English-built screw-steamer, has a pair of eyes painted on the bows, that it may see its way and spy out sunken rocks and other dangers of the deep. Indeed, in all parts of eastern Asia where many Chinese travel, the local steamers, whether owned by Chinese or not, all have eyes; otherwise no Chinaman would travel in them, or send his goods by them.

Another famous structure in Piraeus was the arsenal, which formed a necessary adjunct to the docks of the navy. We know from ancient authors that it was built from designs furnished by the architect Zeno, who explained them to the people in a speech which won him a high reputation for eloquence. The building was admired for its elegance, and the Athenians were proud of it. However, it was finally burnt by the Romans under Sulla, and no certain vestiges of it have been as yet discovered. But by an extraordinary piece of good fortune the directions given to the contractor for its construction have been preserved to us. They were discovered in 1882 engraved on a slab of Hymettian marble at the foot of the hill of Munychia, not far from the harbour of Zea. 199The directions are so full, clear, and precise that we now know Philo’s arsenal from roof to foundation better than any other building of ancient Greece, though not a stone of it has been found. A brief description of the edifice, derived from the inscription, may not be uninteresting.

The arsenal was to be built at Zea, the principal war-harbour, and was to begin at the gateway which led from the market-place and to extend to the back of the docks. It was to be constructed of the hard reddish-grey Piraeic limestone, an excellent building material often mentioned in inscriptions and still much in use. In shape it was to be a sort of arcade, lit principally by rows of windows in the long sides, and divided into three aisles by two rows of columns running down its whole length. The central aisle, paved with flags, and entered by two bronze-plated doors at each end, was to be kept clear as a passage for the public; while the two side aisles were to serve for storing the ships’ tackle. For this purpose each of the side aisles was divided into two stories by a wooden flooring. On the ground floor the sails and other canvas gear were stowed away in presses; and in the upper galleries the ropes were coiled on open wooden shelves. Between the columns which flanked the central aisle there ran a stone balustrade with latticed gates 200opening into the side aisles between each pair of columns. The roof of the building was to be constructed of strong wooden rafters overlaid with boards, which were to be fastened on with iron nails; and the whole was to be covered with close-fitting Corinthian tiles. To secure that the building should be well aired, which was especially necessary in a magazine of this sort, lest the tackle should suffer from damp, slit-like openings were to be left in the walls between the joints of the stones, the number and situation of these air-holes being left to the discretion of the architect. Such was, in outline, the great arsenal of the Piraeus. Thither on hot summer days, we may suppose, crowds were glad to escape from the dust and glare of the streets and to promenade in the cool, lofty, and dimly-lighted arcade, often stopping to gaze with idle curiosity or patriotic pride at the long array of well-ordered tackle which spoke of the naval supremacy of Athens.

Before we quit the war-harbours we should note the Choma, as it was called, a quay near the mouth of the harbour on which, when an armament was fitting out for sea, the Council of the Five Hundred held their sittings daily till the squadron sailed. When all was ready, every captain was bound by law to lay his vessel alongside the quay to be inspected by the Council. The inspection over, the fleet 201weighed anchor and proceeded on its voyage. It must have been a heart-stirring sight to witness the departure of a fleet for the seat of war, as gallant ship after ship passed in long procession through the mouth of the harbour and stood out to sea, followed by the gazing eyes and by the hopes and fears and prayers of thousands assembled on the shore. When the last ship had glided from the smooth water of the harbour, and begun to breast the waves and shake out its sails to the freshening breeze, multitudes would rush from the shore to the heights, there to watch the galleys slowly lessening in the distance, till they could discern no longer the flash and sparkle of the oars as they rose and fell at the ships’ sides, and till even the white sails melted away like snow in the blaze of the sun on the far southern horizon.

A long line of colonnades extending along the eastern shore of the great harbour appears to have formed the public mart or emporium. One of the most important buildings in this commercial part of the harbour was a bazaar or exchange, where foreign merchants exhibited samples of their wares, and where bankers sat at the receipt of custom. It must have been close to the quays and the shipping, as we learn from the account of a successful raid which Alexander of Pherae once made on the bankers’ counters. One day a squadron was 202seen standing into the harbour. The loungers on the quays watched it with indolent curiosity till the ships drew up alongside the wharfs, when a crowd of armed men leaped from the ships’ sides, drew their swords, and with a flourish of trumpets made a rush for the bazaar, where they swept the counters clean and then returned with the booty to their vessels, without stopping to notice the panic-stricken crowds who were fleeing in all directions. In another ‘cutting-out’ expedition which the Lacedaemonians made with twelve ships into the harbour of Piraeus, a handful of daring men jumped ashore, laid hold of some merchants and skippers in the bazaar, and hurried them on board. It was in the bazaar that the Boastful Man in Theophrastus used to stand talking with foreigners about the great sums he had at sea, while he sent his page to the bank where he kept the sum of ten-pence.

Chief among the holy places of Piraeus was a sanctuary of Saviour Zeus. Fine paintings by distinguished artists adorned the cloisters attached to it, and statues stood in the open air. The festival of the god included a regatta and a procession through the streets. The expenses of the sanctuary were partly defrayed by a small tax levied on every vessel which put into the port. Moreover, persons who had escaped from danger—for example, seafaring men who 203had come safe to land—commonly brought thank-offerings to the shrine. From a fragment of an ancient comedy we learn that, among the long-shore sharks who lay in wait on the quays for sailors fresh from a voyage, there were cooks with an eye to business. For in the passage in question one of the fraternity tells us how, whenever he spied a jolly tar just stepping ashore, ready for a spree, with a bulging purse in his fist and an expansive smile on his sunburnt face, he used to rush up to him, shake him warmly by the hand, drop a delicate allusion to Saviour Zeus, and proffer his services at the sacrifice. The bait took, and soon he was to be seen heading for the sanctuary with the sailor man in tow.

Better known to English readers than the sanctuary of Saviour Zeus was the altar of the Unknown God which St. Paul, and after him Pausanias, saw at Phalerum, the old port of Athens. In a dialogue attributed to Lucian, a certain Critias raps out a number of oaths by the old heathen gods and goddesses, and for each of them he is gravely taken to task by his comrade Triephon, who has just been initiated into the sublime mysteries of the Christian theology by a person of a Hebrew cast of countenance, whom he describes as a bald-pated long-nosed Galilean. At last Critias swears by the Unknown God at Athens, 204and this oath is allowed to pass unchallenged by Triephon, who winds up the dialogue with this edifying advice: “Let us, having found out and worshipped the Unknown God at Athens, raise our hands to heaven and give him thanks that we have been found worthy to be subject unto so great a power; but let us leave other folk to babble, satisfied ourselves with applying to them the proverb 'Hippoclides doesn’t care.'”

A little way from the shore of the great harbour was the market-place named after the Milesian architect Hippodamus, who laid out Piraeus on a regular plan. It must have been a spacious open square, for we hear of troops mustering in it. The distinguished general Timotheus had a house on the market-place, and it was here that he lodged his two royal visitors, Jason of Pherae and Alcetas king of Epirus, when they came to give evidence at his trial. The general had impaired his private fortune by his exertions in the public service, and when his illustrious visitors arrived late one evening he had to send out his Caleb Balderstone in haste to borrow some bedding and silver plate. From the market-place a street led upwards to the sanctuary of Artemis on the hill of Munychia. It must have been a wide street; for in the street-fighting at the revolution which overturned the tyranny of the Thirty 205and restored the democracy, the troops of the tyrants formed in order of battle in the market-place and then marched up the street, while the democratic party, led by Thrasybulus, charged down the street in battle array and met them. At one time apparently the market-place fell into disrepair, and enjoyed the dubious privilege of what is popularly known in Scotland as a ‘free coup,’ the inhabitants of the neighbouring streets using it unceremoniously as a convenient dust-hole wherein to throw away their old rags and bones and other domestic refuse. At last the authorities felt constrained to interfere and put a stop to the nuisance. So they ordered that the market-place be levelled and put in good repair, and that for the future nobody should be allowed to shoot rubbish or dump down dung in it.

The broad straight streets of the new town of Piraeus must have formed a striking contrast to the narrow and crooked streets, lined with mean houses, which Athens itself seems always to have retained. Aristotle perhaps had this contrast in his mind when he recommended for his ideal city a mixture of the two modes of building, remarking that the new straight streets in the style of Hippodamus were handsomer and more convenient, but that the old crooked streets could be better defended against an enemy. Another advantage of the older style 206of architecture, at least in southern cities, is the shade and coolness of narrow lanes from which, as from the bottom of a well, we look up at a narrow strip of blue sky high overhead, instead of being exposed to the pitiless glare of the sun as we pace, with blue spectacles on our eyes and a white umbrella over our head, the broad open streets which, on the model of the Parisian boulevards, are rapidly springing up in the towns of southern Europe. Still, in spite of the ravages of municipal authorities and the jerry-builder, we can even yet remark in modern Europe a contrast between the towns that have grown up irregularly in the course of ages, and those which have been created at once on a regular plan by the will of a despot. The two most regularly built towns in Europe are probably Turin and Mannheim. Turin still stands on the lines laid down by Augustus, when he founded a Roman colony on the site; Mannheim was built by the Elector Palatine, Frederick the Fourth, in 1606. Something of the same difference may also be observed between Madrid, the new capital of Spain, with its thoroughfares radiating like the spokes of a wheel from the Puerta del Sol, and the old Spanish capital Toledo, with its narrow lanes straggling up and down the rocky hill whence the white, silent, seemingly half-deserted city looks down on the gorge of the Tagus. But 207Madrid, a creation of Philip the Second, does not equal Turin or Mannheim in mathematical regularity of construction.

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

The man to whom Athens owed so much died an exile in a foreign land; but, if tradition may be trusted, his bones were afterwards brought and laid, with singular felicity, beside the sea at the foot of the frowning walls of that great fortress which formed his noblest monument. The exact spot has been described by an ancient writer. “At the great harbour of 208Piraeus,” says Plutarch, quoting Diodorus the Periegete, “a sort of elbow juts out from the headland of Alcimus; and when you have rounded this elbow, on the inner side, where the sea is somewhat calm, there is a large basement of masonry, and the altar-like structure on it is the grave of Themistocles. And Diodorus imagines that the comic poet Plato bears him out in the following passage:

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

Tradition places the site of the tomb on the shore of the Acte peninsula, near the modern lighthouse, some way to the south of the entrance to the great harbour. Here a small square space has been levelled in the rock; and its outer margin has been cut and smoothed as if to form the bed of a wall. Within this area are three graves, and just outside it, on the side away from the sea, is a large sepulchre hewn in the rock. It has been suggested that when the square space was enclosed by its wall, and the interior was filled up with rubble, it may have been the “altar-like structure” described by Diodorus the Periegete, and that the rock-hewn tomb behind it, and sheltered by it from the surf and spray of the neighbouring sea, may 209have been what antiquity was fain to regard as the grave of Themistocles.

X. The Sacred Way.—Having completed his description of the Attic islands, Pausanias returns to Athens and sets out thence for Eleusis along the Sacred Way. This was the road by which the initiated went from Athens to Eleusis: the antiquary Polemo devoted a whole book to a description of the route. The present highroad from Athens to Eleusis follows very closely the line of the Sacred Way. This road, running in a north-westerly direction, soon passes on the left the Botanic Garden, conspicuous by its tall and stately poplars, and enters the broad belt of olive-wood which still extends, as it doubtless extended in antiquity, along both sides of the Cephisus for mile after mile. Through this wood of ancient olives, with their massive gnarled trunks and pale green foliage, the road runs for more than a mile, crossing several arms of the Cephisus, which are generally dry and dusty, the water being diverted in many petty rivulets to feed the olive-yards and gardens. Beyond the olive-wood the road at first gradually ascends through a bare stony tract where nothing grows but thistles; then it climbs more steeply the arid and rocky slopes of Mount Aegaleus, 210which it crosses by a narrow but easy pass, enclosed on both sides by low and desolate heights. Near the summit of the pass a round isolated hill, crowned by a church of St. Elias, rises conspicuously on the right. From this point of the road there is a famous view backward over the Athenian plain. The scene is especially striking at sunset, when the acropolis, rising high above the olive-woods, with its temples lit up by the dying splendour of the sun, stands out against a background of purple mountains. A little farther on the road turns and begins to descend, and Athens is lost to sight.

About a mile farther on we pass the deserted monastery of Daphni, which probably occupies the site of the sanctuary of Apollo mentioned by Pausanias. It stands on the left of the road enclosed by a high battlemented wall above which rises the dome of its Byzantine church. Beyond the monastery the road descends rapidly towards the shore. Here the ancient road may be traced for a long way on the north side of the pass, running parallel to the modern highway on the left bank of a dry water-course which descends from the monastery. The road was partly cut in the rock, partly supported by a wall of rough stones on the side of the water-course. As the road descends the sea appears at the farther end of it, framed between the 211stony slopes of the hills which enclose the pass. Farther on, the pass opening out, we see stretched below us, like a lake, the deep blue waters of the landlocked Gulf of Salamis, shut in on the south by the bare but beautifully outlined hills of Salamis, on the north by a graceful sweep of the Attic coast, and backed by the distant heights of Cithaeron and the mountains of Megara on the west. Through a dip between the hills of Salamis and the mainland may be seen in clear weather the far conspicuous peak of Cyllene in Arcadia with its crown of snow.

A mile or so after passing the monastery we see on the right of the road some ancient masonry and large blocks of stone at the foot of a rugged wall of rock, in the face of which many niches are cut. This is the sanctuary of Aphrodite mentioned by Pausanias. Soon after this point the hills retire on both sides and the pass ends in a little plain, barren and waterless but partially planted with olives, beside the shore. Here the road turns sharply to the right and, following the shore, runs northward, hemmed in between the sea on the one side and the grey arid slopes of Mount Aegaleus on the other. Soon, however, the hills trend inland a little, leaving between the foot of their declivities and the road a small lake or large pond of clear salt-water, fed by a 212number of copious salt-springs, the ancient Rhiti. The pond is formed by damming up the water of these springs by means of a stone dyke or embankment, beside which the modern road runs on a narrow strip of sand between the pond on the right and the sea on the left. Fiedler observed flying-fish of the size of herrings rising from the surface of the pool: he says their flesh is white and succulent, better than that of the sea fish in the neighbouring bay. In antiquity, as Pausanias tells us, the right of fishing here was strictly preserved by the priests of Eleusis. A strong stream, turning a mill, flows out of the pool into the sea. At the farther end of the pond Mount Aegaleus sends down its last spur close to the road; after passing it the road skirts on the right another salt-pool and enters the Thriasian plain. The stream which issues from the second of the two salt-ponds turns, or rather used to turn, another mill. Opinions have differed as to whether the ancient road ran, like the modern highway, between the salt-pools and the sea, or skirted the foot of the hills, making a circuit round the pools. In any case it seems probable that in antiquity the water of the salt-springs was not dammed up as at present so as to form pools, but was allowed to flow directly into the sea in brooks which hence received the name of Rhiti (‘streams’).

213After entering the Thriasian plain the road continues to skirt the shore. As the ground is here low and marshy, the road is raised on a causeway, which consists of ancient materials mixed with those of later ages. This causeway therefore marks the line of the Sacred Way. On the right of it, about half a mile beyond the salt-pools, where the road to Kalyvia branches off across the plain to the right, there are remains of an ancient monument, which appears to have consisted originally of a cubical mass of earth, cased with white marble and supporting a tombstone. An inscription proves that the monument marked the tomb of one Strato, his wife Polla (Paula) Munatia, and his son Isidotus. This sepulchre, one of the many sepulchres which lined the Sacred Way in antiquity, is not mentioned by Pausanias.

The Thriasian plain, through which the Sacred Way led to Eleusis, is surrounded by mountains and hills except on the south, where it is bounded by the Gulf of Salamis. It is about nine miles long from east to west, and five miles wide at the broadest part, from north to south. The northern and western parts of the plain are stony and barren. Nearer the sea there is a tract of fertile cornland, but it does not extend much to the north of Eleusis itself. The monotony of the otherwise treeless expanse is broken here and there by some 214scattered olive-trees and oaks. In spring and early summer the plain is gaily carpeted in places with anemones, red, purple, and blue.

XI. The Hall of Initiation at Eleusis.—The great Hall of Initiation, to which the paved road leads from the smaller portal, is a vast single chamber about a hundred and seventy feet square, the sides of which face north, south, east, and west. The whole of the west side, together with the western parts of the northern and southern sides, are bounded by the rock of the acropolis, which has been cut away perpendicularly to make room for the hall. The roof was supported by six rows of columns, seven columns in each row: the bases of all these columns except one are still to be seen in their places. Eight tiers of steps, partly cut in the rock, partly built, ran all round the chamber except at the entrances, of which there were six, namely, two on the north, two on the east, and two on the south. On these tiers of steps the initiated probably sat watching the performance of the mysteries which took place in the body of the hall. It is calculated that about three thousand people could find room on them. The steps, originally narrow, were widened at a later date by a 215casing of marble. That this marble casing of the steps is a late work appears from the use of mortar to fasten it on.

There are passages of ancient writers which seem to imply that besides the place to which the initiated had access there was an inner Holy of Holies called the anaktoron or megaron, which none but the high-priest of the mysteries might enter, and which, being suddenly thrown open, disclosed to the view of the awestruck beholders the most sacred objects of their religious veneration lit up by a blaze of dazzling light. But no trace of any inner chamber or enclosure has been discovered in the great Hall of Initiation. It may therefore be suggested that the anaktoron or megaron was perhaps nothing but the body of the hall, which may have been screened by curtains from the spectators sitting in darkness on the tiers of seats that ran all round it, till suddenly the curtain rose and revealed the vast hall brilliantly illuminated, with the gorgeously attired actors in the sacred drama moving mazily in solemn procession or giddy dance out and in amongst the forest of columns that rose from the floor of the hall, while the strains of grave or voluptuous music filled the air. Then, when all was over, the curtain would as suddenly descend, leaving the spectators in darkness and silence, with nothing but the memory of the splendid 216pageant that had burst upon them and vanished like a dream.

XII. Eleutherae.—From Eleusis the road to Eleutherae, which is at the same time the highway from Athens to Thebes, goes north-west across the plain. The olive-trees begin to appear soon after we have left Eleusis, and the road runs for three miles through thick groves of them to the large village of Mandra situated on a small height at the entrance to a valley; for here the mountains which bound the plain of Eleusis begin. The native rock crops up among the houses and streets of the village. The hills that rise on both sides of the valley are wooded with pine. Beyond the village the valley contracts, and the road ascends for a long time through the stillness and solitude of the pine-forest. A little wayside inn (the khan of Palaio-Koundoura) is passed in a lonely dale; and then, after a further ascent, the prospect opens up somewhat, and the tops of Hymettus and Pentelicus are seen away to the east, appearing above a nearer range of hills. Soon afterwards the road descends into a cultivated and fertile little plain or valley watered by the chief arm of the Eleusinian Cephisus, and bounded on the north by the principal range of Cithaeron, on the south by the lower outlying 217chain which we have just crossed. This no doubt is the plain in which stood the temple of Dionysus mentioned by Pausanias. At the northern end of the valley or plain there is now a police-barrack on the right of the road, and near it a public-house, the khan of Kasa. Here the pass over Cithaeron, in the strict sense, begins. It is a narrow rocky defile, up which the road winds tortuously between high pine-clad slopes on either hand. In the very mouth of the pass, immediately beyond the barrack, a steep, conical, nearly isolated hill rises up as if to bar the road. Its summit is crowned with the grey walls and towers of Eleutherae.

The ruins of Eleutherae, now called Gyphtokastro or ‘Gypsy-castle,’ form one of the finest extant specimens of Greek fortification. The circuit of the walls, which is but small, encloses the summit and part of the southern slope of the hill. The north wall, strengthened with eight square projecting towers, is nearly complete. It is about eight feet thick, and is built of blocks laid in regular courses, with a core of rubble. As the ground falls away to the north, the wall is higher on the outside than on the inside. The towers are about thirty paces apart. Most of them entered from the ramparts by two doors, one on each side of the tower. These doors are still to be seen, though the floors of the upper stories, having been of wood, 218have of course perished. Each tower has three small windows or loopholes, one in each of the sides which project outward beyond the curtain. Traces of the wall and towers on the other and lower sides of the hill can still be seen, but they are far less perfect than on the north side. The chief gate was on the south. The whole place is now an utter solitude. When I first visited it, on a day in May, the ground was carpeted with yellow flowers; goats were balancing themselves on the grey ruins; and the goatherd was sleeping in the shadow of one of the towers. On either hand the mountains, clothed in their sombre mantle of dark pine-forests, towered into the bright sky.

If from the ruins of Eleutherae we return to the highroad which winds along the western foot of the hill, and follow it for a few miles to the top of the pass, we obtain a commanding view over the wide plain of Boeotia stretching away to the line of far blue mountains which bounds it on all sides. Below us, but a little to the west, at the foot of the long uniform slope of Cithaeron, the red village of Kokla marks the site of Plataea. Thebes is hidden from view behind the dip of a low intervening ridge. The sharp double-peaked mountain on the west, beyond the nearer fir-clad declivities of Cithaeron, is Helicon. The grand mountain mass which, capped with snow, looms on the 219north-west, is Parnassus. The mountains on the north-east are in Euboea, but the strait which divides them from Boeotia is not visible.

XIII. Megara.—From Eleusis to Megara by road or railway is about fourteen miles. The road first passes along the northern side of the low ridge which formed the acropolis of Eleusis; then it turns down to the sea and follows the shore. The plain of Eleusis is divided from the plain of Megara by a chain of wooded hills which advances southward from Mount Cithaeron to the shore of the bay. The road skirts the foot of these hills, ascending and descending, traversing olive-groves, and winding round little bays and headlands, commanding views, ever shifting but ever beautiful, of the coast of Salamis across the blue and blue-green waters of the lake-like bay, which is here so narrow that the white monastery of Phaneromene, with its clustered domes and turrets, can be plainly seen standing among green fields on the opposite shore. Then, when the last spur of the hills is rounded, the plain of Megara, covered with olives and vines, and backed by high mountains, opens out before us. In the distance can be distinguished the picturesque oriental-looking town of Megara, with its white houses rising in terraces, one above the other, 220on the sides of two isolated hills in the far corner of the plain: the higher of the two hills used to be crowned by a square mediaeval tower.

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

XIV. The Scironian Road.—The famous pass along the sea-cliffs, known in antiquity as the Scironian Road, is thus described by Strabo: “The Scironian cliffs leave no passage between them and the sea. The road from the Isthmus to Megara and Attica runs along the top of them; indeed in many places it is compelled by the beetling mountain, which is high and inaccessible, to skirt the brink of the precipices.” The dread of robbers, who here lay in wait for travellers, enhanced the natural horrors of the pass in ancient as well as in modern times. 221In recent years these horrors have been dissipated by the construction of a highroad and a railway along the coast; but down to the middle of the present century, if we may trust the descriptions of travellers, the cliff-path well deserved its modern name of Kake Skala or ‘the Evil Staircase.’ For six miles it ran along a narrow crumbling ledge half-way up the face of an almost sheer cliff, at a height of six to seven hundred feet above the sea. On the right rose the rock like a wall; on the left yawned the dizzy abyss, where, far below, the waves broke at the foot of the precipices in a broad sheet of white curdling foam. So narrow was the path that only a single sure-footed beast could make its way with tolerable security along it. In stormy or gusty weather it was dangerous; a single slip or stumble would have been fatal. When two trains of mules met, the difficulty of passing each other was extreme. Indeed at the beginning of the present century Colonel Leake pronounced the path impassable for horses; and at a later time, when it had been somewhat mended, another distinguished traveller, himself a Swiss, declared that he knew of no such giddy track, used by horses, in all Switzerland. In many places the narrow path had been narrowed still further by its outer edge having given way and slid into the depths, so that it was only by 222using the utmost caution that the traveller was able to scramble along at all. At one point, where it crossed the mouth of a gully, the road had completely disappeared, having either fallen into the sea or, according to another account, been blown up in the War of Independence. Here therefore the wayfarer was obliged to pick his steps down a breakneck track which zigzagged down to the narrow strip of beach, from which he had laboriously to clamber up by a similar track on the opposite side of the gully. One traveller has graphically described how his baggage-horses slid and slipped on their hind feet down one of these tracks, while their drivers hung on to the tails of the animals to check their too precipitate descent. Last century the path had ceased to be used even by foot-passengers. Chandler took boat at Nisaea and coasted along the foot of the cliffs, looking up with amazement at the narrow path carried along the edge of perpendicular precipices above the breakers and supported so slenderly beneath “that a spectator may reasonably shudder with horror at the idea of crossing.”

Nothing was easier than to make such a path impassable. Accordingly when word reached Peloponnese that Leonidas and his men had been annihilated by the Persians at Thermopylae, the Peloponnesians hurried to 223the Isthmus, blocked up the Scironian road, and built a fortification wall across the Isthmus. In modern times, though the path had fallen into decay, it still showed traces of having been used and cared for in antiquity. In many places the marks of the chariot-wheels were visible in the rock; in other places there were remains of massive substructions of masonry which had once supported and widened the road; and here and there pieces of ancient pavement were to be seen. These were probably vestiges of the carriage road which, as Pausanias tells us, the emperor Hadrian constructed along this wild and beautiful coast. At the present day, as the traveller is whirled along it in the train, he is struck chiefly by the blueness of the sea and the greenness of the thick pine-woods which mantle the steep shelving sides of the mountains.

XV. The Isthmus of Corinth.—The Isthmus of Corinth, which unites Peloponnese on the south to the mountainous district of Megara and Central Greece on the north, is a low flat neck of land about three and a half miles wide at the narrowest part and about two hundred and sixty feet high at the lowest point, stretching roughly in a direction from 224south-west to north-east. The central part is a flat tableland, which shelves away in steep terraces to the sea on the southern side. Its surface is rugged, barren, and waterless; where it is not quite bare and stony, it is mostly overgrown with stunted shrubs and dwarf pines, or with thistles and other prickly plants of a grey arid aspect. There is no underwood and no turf. In spring some grass and herbage sprout in patches among the thistles and afford pasture to flocks. The niggard soil, where soil exists, is cultivated in a rude imperfect way, and yields some scanty crops, mostly of wheat and barley. But in the drought of summer every green blade disappears, and the fields are little more than a bare stony wilderness swept by whirling clouds of dust. This rugged barren quality of the soil was equally characteristic of the Isthmus in antiquity. It seems to have been customary to gather the stones from the fields before sowing the seed.

In ancient times ships of small burden were regularly dragged on rollers or waggons across the narrowest part of the Isthmus in order to avoid the long voyage round Peloponnese; hence this part of the Isthmus was known as the Diolkos or Portage. The Portage began on the east at Schoenus, near the modern Kalamaki; its western termination is not mentioned 225by ancient writers, but was probably near the west end of the modern canal. We read of fleets of warships being transported across the Isthmus; for example after the battle of Actium the victorious Augustus thus conveyed his ships across the Isthmus in pursuit of Antony and Cleopatra, and in 883 A.D. the Greek admiral Nicetas Oriphas transported a fleet across it to repel an attack of the Saracens. Some remains of the ancient Portage, which seems to have been a sort of tramway, may still be seen near a guard-house, at the point where the road from Kalamaki to Corinth crosses the northern of the two ancient fortification walls.

The lowest and narrowest part of the Isthmus, through which the Portage went in antiquity and the modern canal now runs, is bounded on the south by a line of low cliffs. Along the crest of these cliffs may be traced the remains of an ancient fortification wall stretching right across the Isthmus from sea to sea. It is built of large blocks laid in fairly regular courses, and is flanked by square towers which project from the curtain at regular intervals of about a hundred yards on the north side, showing that the wall was meant to protect the Corinthian end of the Isthmus against invasion from the north. The wall does not extend in a straight line, but follows the crest 226of the cliffs, wherever this natural advantage presented itself.

XVI. The Bath of Aphrodite.—The lower spring, which Pausanias took to be Pirene, has sometimes been identified with the copious springs now known as ‘the bath of Aphrodite.’ They issue just below the steep northern edge of the broad terrace on which the old city of Corinth stood. Here the rocks curve round in a semicircle and overhang so as to form grottoes under their beetling brows. From these rocks, overgrown with moss and rank creepers, the clear water bubbles and trickles in copious rills, which nourish a rich vegetation in the open ground through which they flow. The grotto, which is always fresh and cool, commands an uninterrupted view over the Gulf to the mountains beyond. Here in the days of the Turkish dominion the bey of Corinth had his gardens, where he led a life of Asiatic luxury. A staircase still leads from the grotto to the terrace above, on the edge of which stood his seraglio. All is now ruin and desolation. A few pieces of ancient columns of green and white streaked marble mark the site of the seraglio. The spring is frequented only by washerwomen, and its streams water only vegetable gardens 227and orchards. But the water is as sweet as in Pausanias’s time, and the grottoes under the overhanging ledge of rock might pass for “the chambers made like grottoes” of which he makes mention.[6]

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

XVII. The Prospect from Acro-Corinth.—The view from the summit of Acro-Corinth has been famous since the days of Strabo, who has accurately described it. The brilliant foreground, indeed, on which he looked down has vanished. The stately city with its temples, its terraced gardens, its colonnades, its fountains, is no more. In its place there is spread out at our feet the flat yellowish expanse of the Isthmus, stretching like a bridge across the sea to the point where the Geranian mountains, their slopes clothed with the sombre green of the pine-forests, rise abruptly like a massive barrier at its farther end, sending out on their western side a long promontory, which cuts far into the blue waters of the Corinthian Gulf. Across the Gulf tower on the north the bold sharp peaks of Cithaeron and Helicon in Boeotia. On the north-west Parnassus lifts its mighty head, glistering with snow into late 228spring, but grey and bare in summer. In the far west loom the Locrian and Aetolian mountains, seeming to unite with the mountains of Peloponnese on the south, and thus apparently converting the Gulf of Corinth into an inland mountain-girdled lake. To the south-west, above ranges of grey limestone hills dotted with dark pines, soar the snowy peaks of Cyllene and Aroania in Arcadia. On the south the prospect is shut in by the high tablelands and hills of Argolis, range beyond range, the lower slopes of the valleys covered in spring with corn-fields, their upper slopes with tracts of brushwood. Eastward Salamis and the sharp-peaked Aegina are conspicuous. In this direction the view is bounded by the hills of Attica—the long ridge of Hymettus and the more pointed summits of Pentelicus and Parnes, while below them in clear weather the Parthenon is distinctly visible on the Acropolis nearly fifty miles away, the pinnacle of Lycabettus rising over it crowned with its white far-gleaming chapel.

XVIII. The Capture of Corinth by Aratus.—The story of the capture of Corinth by Aratus has been told by Plutarch with a wealth of picturesque details which he doubtless took from the Memoirs written by Aratus 229himself. The city, and especially the lofty and precipitous acropolis of Corinth, was held for King Antigonus by a Macedonian garrison. Aratus resolved to take the place by a night surprise. For this perilous service he picked out four hundred men, and led them to one of the city-gates. It was midsummer: a full moon rode in a cloudless sky, and the assailants feared that its bright beams, reflected from so many helmets and spears, might betray their approach to the sentinels on the walls. But just as the head of the column neared the gate, a heavy bank of clouds came scudding up from the sea and veiled the moon, blotting out the line of walls and shrouding the storming-party in darkness. Favoured by the gloom eight men, in the guise of travellers, crept up to the gate and put the sentinels to the sword. Ordering the rest of his men to follow him at the best speed they could make, Aratus now advanced at the head of a forlorn hope of one hundred men, planted the ladders, scaled the wall, and descended into the city. Not a soul was stirring in the streets, and Aratus hurried along in the direction of the acropolis, congratulating himself on escaping observation, when a patrol of four men was seen coming down the street with flaring torches. The moon shone full on them, but Aratus and his men were in shadow. Aratus whispered his 230men to stand close in the shadow of the houses. The unsuspecting patrol came on: in a minute three of them were cut down, and the fourth escaped with a gash on his head, crying out that the enemy were within the walls. A few minutes more and the trumpets rang out and the whole city was up. The streets, lately silent and deserted, were thronged with crowds hurrying to and fro; lights glanced at the windows; and high above the city a line of twinkling points of fire marked the summit of the acropolis. At the same time a confused hum of voices broke on the ear from all sides. Undeterred by these symptoms of the gathering storm, Aratus pressed up the winding path towards the acropolis as fast as the steep and rugged nature of the ground allowed.

Meantime the three hundred men whom he had left behind, bewildered by the sudden uproar, the flashing of multitudinous lights, and all the tumult of the rudely awakened city, missed the path up the acropolis and, knowing not whither to turn, halted under an overhanging crag at the foot of the mountain. Here they remained in a state of the utmost anxiety and alarm. For by this time Aratus was hotly engaged with the garrison on the summit, and the noise of battle and of distant cheering came floating down to them, but so faint with distance, so broken and distorted by the reverberation 231of the cliffs, that the men below, listening intently, could not tell from which direction the sounds proceeded. While they were still crouching under the shadow of the precipice, they were startled by a loud peal of trumpets close at hand, and peering through the gloom they perceived a large body of men marching past them up the slope. It was the king’s troops hastening to the relief of the garrison on the acropolis. Instantly the three hundred charged out from their lurking-place, and taking the enemy completely by surprise, broke them and drove them in confusion towards the city. They were still flushed with victory when a messenger came hurrying down at breakneck speed from the citadel, telling them that Aratus was at it, cut and thrust, with the garrison, who stood bravely to their arms, and imploring them to hasten to his assistance. They bade him lead the way; and as they toiled upwards they shouted to let their comrades know that help was at hand. By this time the clouds had passed over and the sky was again clear; and so all up the weary ascent they could see the weapons of friend and foe glittering in the moonlight, as the fight swayed this way and that, and could hear their hoarse cries, multiplied apparently a thousandfold as they rolled down on the night air from crag to crag. At last they reached the top, and charging side by 232side with their friends, forced the enemy from the walls. Day was beginning to break when Aratus and his men stood victorious on the summit.

XIX. Sicyon.—Few ancient cities were more advantageously or beautifully situated than Sicyon. Built on a spacious and level tableland, defended on every side by cliffs, abundantly supplied with water, at a distance both safe and convenient from the sea, which, lying beyond a strip of fertile plain, sends its cool refreshing breezes to temper the summer heat, the city possessed a site secure, wholesome, and adapted both for agriculture and commerce. Nor are the natural beauties of the site less remarkable than its more material advantages. Behind it rise wooded mountains and in front of it, across the narrow plain, is stretched the wonderful panorama of the Corinthian Gulf, with Helicon, Cithaeron, and Parnassus towering beyond it to the north, and the mighty rock of Acro-Corinth barring the prospect on the east. At sunrise and sunset especially the scene is one of indescribable loveliness. The ancients themselves were not insensible to the charms of Sicyon. “A lovely and fruitful city, adapted to every recreation,” says a scholiast on Homer, and Diodorus 233speaks of Sicyon as a place “for peaceful enjoyment.”

XX. Phliasia.—The valley of the Asopus above Sicyon is a deep and narrow glen shut in on either hand by mountains, the steep sides of which are thickly overgrown with bushes. In some places, where the road is hemmed in between the roots of the mountain and the white, turbid, rushing river, the bank is occasionally undermined and swept away by the stream, and the path disappears altogether. In its upper reaches the glen widens so as to admit of here and there a small riverside meadow, prettily situated among oaks and shrubbery, with now and then a patch of ploughed land. After we have followed the glen upwards from Sicyon for about four hours, it opens out into a broad and fertile plain, encircled by steep mountains, down which brooks flow on all sides to join the Asopus. This upland plain, some four miles long and standing about a thousand feet above the sea, is Phliasia, the district of which Phlius was the ancient capital. On the west its level expanse is bounded by the picturesque, rugged, woody mass of Mount Gavria (about five thousand feet high), above which appears the snowy top of the lofty Cyllene in Arcadia. The eastern side of the 234valley is bounded by the Tricaranian range, which with its three flat summits divides the Phliasian valley from the vale of Nemea. The Asopus rises among the southern hills and flows northward through the valley in a deep grassy bed. It is here a clear and tranquil stream, very different from the rapid and turbid river which it becomes in the glen below, where it takes its colour from the soil which is washed down into it by the numerous torrents from the white argillaceous mountains through which it threads its way. About the middle of the plain it is joined by a tributary, longer than the Asopus itself, flowing from the mountains which enclose the south-western corner of the plain. The soil of the Phliasian valley is excellent; the central part of it is given up almost exclusively to vineyards which furnish now, as they did in antiquity, a fine fiery wine like Burgundy. In autumn the red and golden foliage of the fading vines lends a richer glow of colour to the beautiful landscape.

Some light is thrown on the topography of Phlius by the events which followed the battle of Leuctra. The Phliasians had been friends of Sparta when Sparta was at the height of her power; and after the disastrous day of Leuctra, when Sparta was deserted by allies and subjects alike, the Phliasians stood loyally by their old friends. This drew down on them 235the hostility of the victorious Thebans and their allies. In 368 B.C. a body of Arcadians and Eleans, marching through the pass of Nemea to join the Thebans, were induced by some Phliasian exiles to make an attempt to surprise and capture Phlius. Six hundred men, supplied with ladders, being sent in advance, concealed themselves by night at the foot of the citadel walls. Next morning the sentinels on Mount Tricaranum, to the east of the town, signalled the approach of the enemy from the valley of Nemea. The eyes of the citizens were thus turned to the hills, over which they momentarily expected to see the enemy appearing. Taking advantage of their distraction the six hundred men under the acropolis planted their ladders and were soon masters of the almost deserted citadel. But the citizens rallied, and after a fierce struggle drove the enemy with fire and sword over the ramparts.

Next year the allies made a more determined attempt to get possession of Phlius. The Theban commander at Sicyon marched from that city against Phlius at the head of his garrison and of a body of Sicyonian and Pellenian troops. He was supported by Euphron, tyrant of Sicyon, with two thousand mercenaries. The attack was again made from the hills on the east of the town. On 236the neck of land which joins the citadel of Phlius with the hills a detachment of Sicyonians and Pellenians was posted, to prevent the Phliasians from ascending the hills and taking their enemies in the rear. The rest of the army then descended from the hills in the direction of a sanctuary of Hera, meaning to ravage the corn-fields and vineyards in the valley. But the Phliasian cavalry and infantry met them and prevented them from carrying out their intention. Skirmishing went on most of the day with varying fortune. At one time Euphron with his mercenaries drove the Phliasians over the broken ground. But as soon as they reached open ground, where the Phliasian cavalry could come into play, they were in turn driven back up the hills as far as the sanctuary of Hera. At last the assailants abandoned the attack and retreated up the hill, purposing to join the detachment of Sicyonians and Pellenians, which they had left on the neck of ground leading to the citadel. To reach them they had to make a long detour up the hill, for a ravine lay between them and their friends, the ravine namely along which the city walls were built. The Phliasians pursued them up hill a little way, then perceiving the enemy’s intention of forming a junction with the detachment on the neck they turned back, and taking a short cut close 237under the town walls hastened to attack the detachment of the enemy before the main body could come up to their assistance. In this race the cavalry outstripped the infantry and charged the Pellenians alone. The latter stood to their arms and repelled the cavalry, till the Phliasian infantry came running up. Then, attacked by horse and foot simultaneously, the Pellenians and Sicyonians gave way. The victorious Phliasians erected a trophy and sang a loud paean. The enemy watched the scene from the hills; then, drawing together his beaten and scattered forces, fell sullenly back on Sicyon.

XXI. Nemea.—Between the valley of Cleonae on the east and the valley of Phlius or St. George on the west is interposed the valley of Nemea, running like its sister valleys from south to north. It is a narrow dale, some two or three miles long, and from half to three-quarters of a mile broad. At its northern end it contracts to a mere gully. Through the bottom of the valley, which is almost a dead flat, meanders like a thread the brook Nemea, fed by the numerous rills which descend from the neighbouring hills. When swollen by heavy rain, these tributaries, having an insufficient outlet through the gully at the 238north end, keep the bottom of the valley green, moist, and marshy. The dale is thus better adapted for pasturage than tillage; indeed from the rich pastures which clothe its bottom and the lower slopes of the hills it received its name of Nemea, ‘the pastoral vale.’ But if the valley itself, especially after rain, is green and smiling, the surrounding hills, scarred and seamed with the beds of torrents, are of a dark and melancholy hue, and, combined with the absolute solitude—not a human habitation being visible through the length and breadth of the dale—affect the mind with a sense of gloom and desolation.[7] The solitude is only broken by the wandering herds of cattle, and from time to time by a group of peasants, who come over from St. George to till their fields in this secluded valley. A white track winds up the western slope to the mouth of a glen which opens in the hill-side. Through this glen is the way to St. George and Phlius.

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

XXII. The Pass of the Tretus.—At the southern end of the valley of Cleonae there rises like a wall of rock the mountain of Tretus, which forms the watershed between the Corinthian and the Argolic gulfs. A straight 239toilsome path led from Cleonae in antiquity, and still leads past the village of Hagios Vasilios, over the mountain, descending into the Argolic plain at the ruins of Mycenae. But the more convenient way from the valley of Cleonae to the plain of Argos bends round to the west, where the mountain is not so high, and runs up a gradually ascending gully. This was the pass of the Tretus, the chief line of communication between Corinth and the south. In antiquity it was, as Pausanias tells us, a driving road, and the ruts worn by the chariot-wheels can still be seen in many places. The defile, though long and narrow, shut in by high mountains on either hand, is nowhere steep, and the rise is not considerable. The road runs by a deeply worn watercourse, at the bottom of which a clear and shallow stream finds its way amid luxuriant thickets of oleander, myrtle, and arbutus. The lower slopes of the mountains are also green with shrubs, but their upper slopes are grey and rocky.

The pass is easily defended. On both sides, towards Cleonae and towards the plain of Argos, may be seen traces of ancient works built to defend the defile. Near the highest point of the pass, where the road begins to descend towards Argos, there are low Turkish watch-towers called Derweni on both sides, and 240rough stone walls such as the Greeks threw up in many passes during the War of Independence. In 1822 the Turkish army under Dramali Pasha, retreating from the plain of Argos, was caught by the Greeks in the pass of the Tretus and nearly annihilated; for years afterwards the defile was strewed with skeletons and skulls of men and horses.

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

The name Tretus (‘perforated’) was supposed by the ancients to be derived from a great cave in the mountain where the Nemean lion had his lair. As to the ancient name of the pass, and the supposed wheel-marks in it, W. G. Clark says: “This is the road known by the name of Tretos, or ‘the perforated’; not, I conceive, in consequence of the caverns in the neighbouring rocks, which are not more 241numerous hereabouts than elsewhere, but because the glen is, as it were, drilled through the rock. And drilled it has been by the stream which flows at the bottom. We saw, or fancied we saw, frequent wheel-marks in the rocks, and we know that this was the direction of a carriage road. But from my subsequent observations I learned to distrust these marks. The ordinary mode of carrying wood in Greece is to tie the heavier ends of the poles on each side to the back of the horse or donkey, and suffer the other ends to trail along the ground, thus making two parallel ruts which in course of time may attain the depth of and be mistaken for wheel-tracks. When a depression is once made, it becomes a channel for the winter rains, and so is smoothed and deepened.”

The modern name of the defile is Dervenaki. The railway from Corinth to Argos runs through it. Towards the northern end of the pass the khan of Dervenaki stands in a little glade overshadowed by tall poplars, cypresses, and mulberry-trees, beside a murmuring spring. At the southern outlet of the pass the whole plain of Argos, with the mountains on either hand and the sea in the distance, bursts suddenly on the view. On the left, nestling at the foot of the hills, are Mycenae and Tiryns, with Nauplia and its towering acropolis rising from the sea and bounding the plain on this side. On the 242right is Argos with its mountain citadel, and beyond it the Lernaean lake glimmers faintly in the distance. In the centre of the picture, beyond the long foreground of level plain, stretches the blue line of the Argolic Gulf.

XXIII. Mycenae.—Passing southwards through the pass of the Tretus, we see the spacious plain of Argolis stretched out before us. Mycenae lies to our left at the roots of the mountains which bound the eastern side of the plain, not far from the point where the pass of the Tretus opens out on it. The Argolic plain may be roughly described as a great triangle, the base of which, on the south, is formed by the Argolic Gulf, while the eastern and western sides are enclosed by the ranges of mountains which converge northwards till they meet in Mount Tretus. The length of the plain from north to south is about twelve miles, the greatest breadth from east to west perhaps not much less. The mountains which shut it in are barren and rocky, the highest being those on the west which form the boundary between Argolis and Arcadia. The whole expanse appears to have been once a bay of the sea, which has been gradually filled up by the deposits brought down from the surrounding mountains. The Gulf of Argolis, a 243broad and beautiful sheet of water winding between mountains, must originally, before its upper waters were expelled by the alluvial deposit, have resembled still more closely, what it still recalls, a fine Scotch sea-loch or a Norwegian fiord.

This alluvial plain, situated at the head of a deep and sheltered frith or arm of the sea, which opening on the Aegean gave ready access to the islands of the Archipelago and the coasts of Asia, was naturally fitted to become one of the earliest seats of civilisation in Greece. And in point of fact legend and archaeology combine to show that in prehistoric times Greek civilisation reached a very high pitch in the plain of Argolis. It contained at least three fortified towns of great importance, of which remains exist to this day, Tiryns, Argos, and Mycenae (to mention them in the order in which they lie from south to north). Tiryns and Mycenae stand on the eastern, Argos on the western side of the plain. Of the three Tiryns is nearest to the sea, from which it is distant not much more than a mile. It, or rather its citadel, occupies a low rocky mound, not a hundred feet above the level of the sea, and rising in perfect isolation from the flat. Farther inland Argos lies at the foot of the last spur which projects into the western side of the plain from the range of Artemisius. 244Its citadel, the Larisa, is a fine bold peak nearly a thousand feet high.

Farther inland, nine miles from the nearest point of the sea, stands Mycenae, near the northern extremity of the plain, but on its eastern side. Its citadel, in respect of elevation and natural strength, occupies an intermediate position between the low citadel of Tiryns and the high mountainous one of Argos. It lies at the mouth of a wild and narrow glen, which here opens on the eastern side of the Argolic plain, between two lofty, steep, and rocky mountains. From the mouth of this glen two deep ravines diverge, one running due west, the other running south-west, and the triangular tableland which they enclose between them is the citadel of Mycenae. The whole scene, viewed from the citadel, is one of desolate grandeur. The ravines yawning to a great depth at our feet, the rugged utterly barren mountains towering immediately across them, the bleak highland glen winding away into the depth of these gloomy and forbidding hills, make up a stern impressive picture, the effect of which is heightened if one sees it, as the present writer chanced to do, on a rainy day. Then with a lowering sky overhead and the mist clinging to the slopes of the mountains, no sound heard but the patter of the rain and the tinkling of sheep-bells from the glen, the whole landscape 245seems to frown and assumes an aspect more in keeping with the mist-wrapt stronghold of some old robber chief in Skye or Lochaber, than with the conception which the traveller had formed of Agamemnon’s “golden city.”

XXIV. The End of the Mycenaean Age.—The catastrophe which put an end to the Mycenaean civilisation in Greece would seem to have been the Dorian invasion, which, according to the traditional Greek chronology, befell about the middle of the twelfth century B.C. That the end of Mycenae and Tiryns was sudden and violent is proved by the conclusive evidence which shows that the palaces were destroyed by fire and that, once destroyed, they were never rebuilt. The date, too, of the Dorian invasion, so far as we can determine it, harmonises well with this view; for the Egyptian evidence of the existence of Mycenae comes down to about the time of the Dorian invasion, and there significantly stops. The cessation also of the characteristic Mycenaean pottery about the same date points to the same conclusion. It is not indeed to be supposed that the Dorians swept over Greece in one unbroken wave of conquest. The tide of invasion probably ebbed and flowed; raids were met and repelled, but were followed by incursions of 246fresh swarms of invaders, the new-comers steadily gaining ground, encroaching on and enveloping the ancient Mycenaean kingdoms till, the last barrier giving way before them, the capitals themselves were stormed, their treasures plundered, and the palaces given to the flames. The conflict between civilisation and barbarism, the slow decline of the former and the gradual triumph of the latter, may have lasted many years. It is thus that many, if not most, permanent conquests have been effected. It was thus that the Saxons step by step ousted the Britons, and the Danes obtained a footing in England; it was thus that the Turks slowly strangled the Byzantine empire. Events like the fall of Constantinople and the expulsion of the Moors from Granada are only the last scenes in tragedies which have been acting for centuries.

To attribute, with some writers, the creation instead of the destruction of the Mycenaean civilisation to the Dorians is preposterous, since the Dorian immigration did not take place till the twelfth century B.C., while the Mycenaean civilisation is known from Egyptian evidence to have existed from the middle of the fifteenth century B.C. at least. But this attribution involves other than chronological difficulties. The typical Dorians were the Spartans, and no greater contrast can well be conceived than 247that between the luxurious semi-Oriental civilisation of Mycenae and the stern simplicity of Sparta. On the one side we see imposing fortifications, stately tombs, luxurious baths, magnificent palaces, their walls gay with bright frescoes or glittering with burnished bronze, their halls crowded with a profusion of precious objects of art and luxury, wrought by native craftsmen or brought by merchants from the bazaars of Egypt and Assyria; and in the midst of all a sultan, laden with golden jewellery, listening to minstrels singing the tale of Troy or the wanderings of Ulysses. On the other side we see an open unfortified city with insignificant buildings, where art and poetry never flourished, where gold and silver were banned, and where even the kings prided themselves on the meanness of their attire. The Dorians, if we may judge of them by the purest specimens of the breed, were just as incapable of creating the art of Mycenae as the Turks were of building the Parthenon and St. Sophia.

Of the Greeks who were rendered homeless by the Dorian invasion most fled to Asia. There, on the beautiful island-studded coast, under the soft Ionian sky, a new Greece arose which, in its splendid cities, its busy marts, its solemn fanes, combined Greek subtlety and refinement with much of Asiatic pomp and 248luxury. By this long and brilliant after-glow of the Mycenaean civilisation in Asia we may judge, as it has been well said, what its meridian splendour had been in Europe.

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

Mount Arachnaeus and the mountains of the Argolic peninsula in general are little better than 249a stony waterless wilderness. The climate is very dry, and the beds of all the streams are waterless except after heavy rain. The hardy little holly-oak and a few dun-coloured shrubs are almost the only representatives of plant life. The eye of the traveller is wearied by the grey monotony of these arid mountains and desert tablelands, and his feet are cut and bruised by the sharp stones over which he has painfully to pick his steps. Nowhere else in Greece, probably, is the scenery so desolate and forbidding.

XXVI. Epidaurus.—The city of Epidaurus was five Roman miles distant from the sanctuary of Aesculapius. But it takes about two hours and a half to ride the distance, for the road is very rough. The scenery on the way is extremely beautiful—a great contrast to the dull road from Nauplia to the sanctuary. The path leaves the open valley by a narrow glen at its northern end, and leads down deeper and deeper through luxuriantly wooded dells into the bottom of a wild romantic ravine. Here we follow the rocky bed of the stream for some distance between lofty precipitous banks. Farther on the path ascends the right bank of the stream, and we ride along it, with the deep ravine below us on the left and a high wall of rock on the right. The whole glen, as far as 250the eye can reach, is densely wooded. Wild olives, pines, plane-trees, Agnus castus, laurel, and ivy mantle its steep sides with a robe of green. In half an hour from the sanctuary another valley opens on the left, down which comes the road from Ligourio. After joining it we continue to follow the glen along a path darkened by trees and the luxuriant foliage of the arbutus, while beside us the stream flows through thickets of myrtle and oleander. In about half an hour more the valley opens out, and we see the sea, with the bold rocky headland of Methana stretching out into it on the right, the islands of Salamis and Aegina in the distance, and farther off the Attic coast lying blue but clear on the northern horizon.

Emerging at last from the valley we cross a little maritime plain, covered with lemon-groves, and reach the site of the ancient Epidaurus. Its position is very lovely. From the little maritime plain, backed by high mountains with wooded sides, a rocky peninsula juts out into the sea, united to the mainland only by a narrow neck of low marshy ground. It divides two bays from each other: the northern bay is well sheltered and probably formed the ancient harbour; the southern bay is an open roadstead. The ancient city seems to have lain chiefly on the peninsula, but to have extended also to the shores of the two bays. The rocky 251sides of the peninsula fall steeply into the sea, and it rises in two peaks to a height of about two hundred and fifty feet; the eastern peak is somewhat the higher. On the edge of the cliffs may be seen in some places, especially on the southern side of the peninsula, remains of the strong walls which enclosed the city. They are built chiefly in the polygonal style, of large blocks well cut and jointed.

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

XXVII. The Temple in Aegina.—The temple stands on the top of a hill towards the north-east corner of the island, commanding superb views over the sea and the coasts of Attica and Peloponnese. It is distant about two and a half hours from the town of Aegina. Travellers from Athens who wish to visit the temple commonly land in the fine rocky bay of 252Hagia Marina on the eastern side of the island. A steep declivity, sparsely wooded with pine-trees, leads up from the shore of the bay to the temple. I shall always remember how on a lovely day in spring we landed here and lay under the pine-trees, looking down on the intensely blue but crystalline waters of the bay. The air was full of the fragrance of the pines, the yellow broom was in flower at our feet, and visible across the sea was the coast of Attica. It was a scene such as Theocritus might have immortalised.

XXVIII. The Sanctuary of Poseidon in Calauria.—The sanctuary is situated very picturesquely on a saddle between the two highest peaks of the island, both of which are covered with pine-woods. A walk of about an hour brings us to it from Poros, the modern capital of the island. The path at first skirts the southern shore of the island for a short way, then turns and ascends in a north-westerly direction through the pine-forest. From the sanctuary, which stands at a height of about six hundred feet above the sea, beautiful and wide prospects open between the wooded hills both to the north and the south. We look down on the sea with its multitudinous bays, creeks, promontories, and islands stretched out before 253us and framed as in a picture between the pine-clad hills on either hand. A fitter home could hardly have been found for the sea-god whose favourite tree—the pine—still mantles the greater part of the island.

XXIX. Troezen.—The plain of Troezen lies between the sea and a range of rough and rocky hills, wooded with dark evergreens and stunted trees, which shut it in on the west and south. The northern part of the plain is marshy in places, and the marshes breed fever among the sallow inhabitants of Damala, the wretched hamlet which nestles among trees at the foot of the hills in the inmost corner of the plain, close to the ruins of Troezen. Stretches of pasture-land, however, and of vineyards alternate with the swamps; and eastward, toward the island of Calauria, the plain is well watered, cultivated like a garden, and verdant with vines, olives, lemon-groves, and fig-trees. Seen from the water of the beautiful almost landlocked bay the green of this rich vegetation, with the tall dark cypresses towering conspicuously over all, is refreshing to eyes accustomed to the arid plains and hills of Greece. At Damala groves of oranges and lemons yield the villagers a considerable return. On higher ground, to the north-west of the village, are the 254ruins of Troezen. The glorious prospect over plain and mountain and sea is unchanged; but of the city itself, which, if we may trust Pausanias, its people regarded with such fond patriotic pride, nothing is left but some insignificant ruins overgrown with weeds and dispersed amid a wilderness of bushes. An isolated craggy mountain, rising steeply on the farther side of a deep ravine, was the ancient acropolis. The ascent is toilsome, especially if it be made at noon on an airless summer day with the sun blazing pitilessly from a cloudless sky, the rocks so hot that you cannot touch them without pain, the loose stones slipping at every step, the dry withered shrubs and herbage crackling under foot and blinding you with clouds of dust and down. The wonderful view from the summit, however, makes amends for the labour of the ascent, ranging as it does across the green fertile plain at our feet and away beyond a bewildering maze of islands, capes, and bays to Sunium on the north-east and the snowy peak of Parnassus on the north-west.

Another picturesque bit of scenery, of a different kind, may be seen by following up the ravine to the point where at a great height it is spanned by a single small arch of grey stone, which the peasants call the Devil’s Bridge. It carries the path and a tiny aqueduct, hewn out of one block of stone, across the narrow but 255profound abyss. High beetling crags rise above the little bridge; ferns and ivy mantle thickly one of the rocky sides of the lyn beneath it; and trees droop over the stream that murmurs in the depths below. This is the stream which Pausanias calls the Golden River. Luxuriant lemon-groves now line its banks where it issues from the ravine on the plain of Troezen.

XXX. From Troezen to Epidaurus.—We left the ruins of Troezen at half-past twelve in the afternoon, and rode northward across the broad flat neck of land which connects the mountainous peninsula of Methana with the mainland. In fifty minutes we reached the shore of the lagoon which is formed at the head of the Bay of Methana by the Potami river, the Golden River of Pausanias. After making a detour round the lagoon we came, at half-past one, to the beach at the point where the stream flows out of the lagoon into the sea. Thence we rode for some way along the beach, then over a rocky point, after which the path kept inland a little from the sea. But all through our journey from Troezen to Kato-Phanari the mountains rose at no great distance from us on the left. By half-past two we were opposite Lesia, a hamlet at the foot of a high rocky mountain, with a glen on its eastern side, 256down which comes a stream. But the bed of the stream, when we crossed it, was dry. Below the hamlet in the plain are olives. A little before four o’clock we came to a ruined mediaeval or modern tower perched on an eminence to our right, between us and the sea. Near it stands a small chapel beside a fine carob-tree. The mountains now advanced to the water’s edge, and our path led along their bushy and rocky slopes, winding round bays and headlands at a considerable height above the sea. Here we enjoyed fine views across the spacious bay to the high, mountainous, and rugged peninsula of Methana, which wears a sombre aspect due perhaps to the dark colour of its volcanic rocks. Farther on the path, though never far from the sea, trended inland and we passed over a great deal of stony ground mostly planted with olives. At many places along our route in the course of the day the peasants were at work gathering the olives from the trees. Another feature in the day’s ride was the great number of carob-trees we passed, some of them very fine trees, with dark, smooth, glossy leaves. Finally the path ascended a steep rocky slope and brought us at half-past four to the village of Kato-Phanari, very picturesquely situated high on the side of a mountain, which a short way above the village rises up in rugged precipices of grey rock. Twilight 257was coming on, but enough of daylight remained to allow me to appreciate the beauty of the prospect from the loftily situated village across the sea to the islands, the high conspicuous peninsula of Methana, and the long line of headlands stretching away towards Epidaurus, all bathed in the warm though fast fading light of a winter evening.

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

At Ano-Phanari I heard of remains of an ancient fortress in the neighbourhood, and set off with a guide to visit them. A walk of a few minutes in a north-easterly direction brought us to the top of the mountain, where the remains are to be seen. The situation is a remarkably fine one. Precipices 258descending towards the sea encircle the summit on the north and north-east, and the views across the Saronic Gulf to Aegina, Salamis, and Megara are magnificent. Some mediaeval remains, comprising walls and two or more ruined chapels, are to be seen on the summit, and on its southern side, towards the village, there is a ruined fortification wall built of large irregular blocks. Thus the ancient fortress which occupied this commanding situation appears to have been repaired and inhabited in the Middle Ages. What the name of the place was in antiquity we do not know.

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

We left Ano-Phanari about ten o’clock and descended westward, out of sight of the sea, into a small trough-like plain or valley surrounded on all sides by rocky and barren mountains. Passing some insignificant ruins in the little plain, we ascended the mountains northward by a steep rocky path that led into a narrow upland valley running north and south and enclosed by hills, the sides of which were 259shaggy with bushes of various sorts. This dale we traversed from end to end. Through a narrow opening or gorge in the mountains on its eastern side we obtained a striking glimpse of part of the promontory of Methana, mostly in shadow, but with gleams of sunshine resting on it here and there. At the northern end of the valley, ascending a ridge, we saw stretched out below us at some depth a wide open valley of roughly circular shape. Our path, which was again very rugged, did not descend into the valley, but skirted its eastern side, keeping up on the mountain, till it turned eastward through a gap in the hills. On passing through the gap a view of the sea with all its coasts and islands shining in the sun (for after a dull morning the day had brightened) suddenly burst upon us. Salamis was conspicuous to the north, and to the east of it appeared Mount Pentelicus with the marble quarries visible even at that distance as white patches on its side. Far below us lay Epidaurus, its little peninsula stretching out into the blue bay. We were at a great height above the sea, but now gradually descended to it in the direction of Epidaurus by a steep rugged path running obliquely down the bushy side of the mountain. Thus we came at last into a little maritime plain, traversed it from south to north, and passing some lemon-groves reached the modern village 260of Palaea Epidauros or Old Epidaurus about half-past two.

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

XXXI. Methana.—Methana is still the name of the mountainous peninsula which runs far out into the sea from the coast of Troezen, forming a very conspicuous landmark in the Saronic Gulf. The isthmus which joins it to the mainland, about a thousand feet wide, was fortified in the Peloponnesian war by the Athenians, who established a fortified post on the peninsula, whence they ravaged the coasts of Troezen and Epidaurus. Remains of the wall across the isthmus may still be seen with the two castles on the opposite shores. These fortifications were renewed in the Middle Ages; and the Greeks attempted to make use of them 261in the War of Independence. The peninsula itself is a mountainous mass of grand and picturesque outline. In the heart of it the chief peak, the conical Mount Chelona, rises to a height of between two and three thousand feet. Most of the peninsula is of volcanic origin, the prevailing rock being a dark red or brown trachyte. The general character of the scenery is one of barren desolation, the whole region, with the exception of a few narrow strips on the coast, being occupied by the sharp mountain-ridges which radiate from Mount Chelona. Narrow gullies divide these ridges from each other. Water is scarce, and the air dry and hot. The inhabitants, however, contrive to cultivate patches of ground, supported by terraces, high up on the mountain sides. The contrast is great between this desolate and arid mountain-mass, and the rich and well-watered plain of Troezen which adjoins it on the south.

XXXII. Nauplia.—Nauplia, now a busy flourishing seaport, and one of the chief towns of Greece, occupies the northern side of a rocky peninsula which juts out westward into the Argolic Gulf, near the head of the gulf and on its eastern side. The northern side of the peninsula is flat, and here the narrow and not 262too savoury streets of Nauplia are crowded together. Thus the town looks across the harbour to the Argolic plain and has no sea-view. The southern side of the peninsula, at the back of the town, is a long and lofty rock called Itsh-Kaleh, which seems to have been the original citadel of Nauplia; for ancient walls, built in the polygonal style, may be seen in places serving as foundations for the mediaeval and modern fortifications. Other remains of antiquity exist in the shape of rock-cuttings, staircases, cisterns, and so forth. The steep southern slope of the rock is thickly overgrown with cactus. On the northern side of the peninsula, between it and the shore of the Argolic plain, stretches the harbour which gives Nauplia its commercial importance. Though spacious, it is very shallow; large steamers have to anchor far out.

An isthmus connects the peninsula with the mainland. Immediately on the landward, that is, eastern side of the isthmus, the massive and imposing rock of Palamidi, one of the strongest fortresses in Greece, towers up abruptly to a height of over seven hundred feet. The fortifications which crown its summit were built by the Venetians and Turks; they now serve as a prison. In their walls, as well as in the walls of Itsh-Kaleh, are built many Venetian inscriptions, some of them bearing the 263lion of St. Mark. Three sides of the mighty rock are precipitous, but on the south-eastern side it is accessible, being joined by a ridge to the hills. The ascent from Nauplia is by a long staircase at the north-western corner of the fortress; it begins close to the gate of the town. The name Palamidi is derived from Palamedes, the son of Nauplius. Palamedium was probably the ancient name of the fortress, though no classical writer mentions it. The prospect from the summit over the gulf and plain of Argos, with the background of mountains encircling the plain, is very fine. Nor is the view from the quay of Nauplia across the bay to the mountains of Argolis one to be easily forgotten, especially if seen by moonlight, when the sea is calm, the stars are shining, and the tall yard-arms of the lateen-rigged craft stand out like black wings against the sky, now blotting out and now disclosing a star as the boats heave on the gentle swell.

XXXIII. The Springs of the Erasinus.—From Argos the road to Tegea goes south-west. At first it skirts the foot of the steep Larisa, and then runs through the southern part of the Argolic plain. On the right rise the mountains, of no great height, which bound the 264plain on the west. About three miles from Argos we quit the highway and strike westward towards the hills through a beautiful avenue of fine silver poplars, plane-trees, and oleanders. It soon brings us to the springs.

The spot is very picturesque. A rugged mountain here descends in precipices of yellowish limestone to the plain, and at its foot a body of clear sparkling water comes rushing impetuously in several streams from the rocks, partly issuing from a low cavern, partly welling up from the ground. Under the rocks the water forms a pellucid but shallow pool, where water-plants of a vivid green grow thickly; then flowing through the arches of a wall, which partially dams up the pool, it is diverted into several channels shaded by tall poplars, willows, and mulberries, and so turns in a short space a dozen mills—the Mills of Argos, as they are called. After watering the rice-fields, the channels unite once more into a river, which finds its way into the sea through swampy ground, among thick tangled beds of reeds and sedge, some three miles only from its source at the foot of the hills. This river, the modern Kephalari, is the Erasinus (‘the lovely river’) of antiquity. It is the only river of the Argolic plain which flows summer and winter alike; and the opinion both of the ancient and the modern Greeks that it is an outlet of the 265Stymphalian lake in Arcadia appears to be well founded.

In the face of the limestone cliff, a few feet above the springs of the river, are the mouths of two caves. A staircase leads up to them. Passing through the mouth of the larger we find ourselves in a lofty dimly-lighted cavern with an arched roof, like a Gothic cathedral, which extends into the mountain for a distance of two hundred feet or more. Water drips from the roof, forming long stalactites. Some light penetrates into the cave from its narrow mouth, but even at high noon it is but a dim twilight. Bats, the natural inhabitants of the gloomy cavern, whir past our heads, as if resenting the intrusion. Several branches open off the main cave. The longest of them, opening to the left, communicates at its inmost end with the upper air by means of a windowlike aperture. In another branch, also to the left, there is a low, narrow, pitch-dark opening, which, if explored with a light, reveals at its far end a crevice descending apparently into the bowels of the mountain. The smaller of the two caves, to the north, is walled off and forms a chapel of the Panagia Kephalariotissa. The worship of Pan, which Pausanias mentions, may have been held in this or the neighbouring cavern; for Pan, the shepherd’s god, loved to haunt caves, and in these two caves shepherds 266with their flocks still seek shelter from rain and storm. The chapel of the Panagia, in which there are some ancient blocks, may very well have succeeded to a shrine of Pan, or perhaps of Dionysus, who was also worshipped here. A festival is still held annually on the spot on the eighteenth of April; it may be nothing but a continuation, in a changed form, of the festival of Dionysus called Tyrbe, which Pausanias mentions.

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

XXXIV. The Lernean Marsh.—Mount Pontinus, which rises above the village of Lerna, is a hill of no great height, but of broad massive outline. On its crest are seen from below against the sky the walls and towers of a mediaeval castle crowning the summit. The 267slope of the hill towards Lerna is on the whole even and uniform and tufted with low plants, but toward the south-east it is broken by some high lines of rocks. The carriage road from Argos skirts the foot of the hill and traverses the village. Beside the road rise the springs both of the Pontinus brook and the Amymone; and between the road and the sea is the Lernean marsh. In approaching Lerna from Argos and entering the pass between Mount Pontinus and the sea we first come to the rush-fringed spring of the Pontinus on the left side of the road. The stream is a mere brook of clear water bordered by rushes and tall grasses and almost choked with green water-plants. A great part of the water is diverted at the spring to turn a mill which stands on the shore. The whole course of the brook from its source to the sea is only a few hundred yards.

After passing the source of the Pontinus and traversing in a few minutes the village of Lerna we come to the springs of the Amymone, which rise beside the road at the southern end of the village, a few yards to the north of a white-washed chapel of St. John. The springs are copious and issue from under rocks, forming at once a shallow pool of beautifully clear water, from which the stream flows towards the sea in a bed fringed with reeds. Great beds of reeds, marking the site of the Lernean marsh, 268grow also beside the pool and in the narrow stretch of flat swampy ground between it and the sea. A fig-tree has rooted itself among the rocks from which the springs flow, and a few yards farther off are a mulberry-tree and a silver poplar.

Some eighty yards or so to the north-east of the springs but completely hidden by a screen of trees is the Alcyonian Lake described by Pausanias. It is a pool of still, dark, glassy water surrounded by great reeds and grasses and tall white poplars with silvery stems. Though distant only about thirty yards from the highroad and the village, the spot is as wild and lonely as if it lay in the depths of some pathless forest of the New World. I sought it for some time in vain, and when at last I came upon it, in the waning light of a winter afternoon, everything seemed to enhance the natural horror of the scene. The sky was dark save for one gleam of sunlit cloud which was reflected in the black water of the pool. The wind sighed among the reeds and rustled the thin leaves of the poplars. Altogether I could well imagine that superstitions might gather about this lonely pool in the marsh. Of such a spot in England tales of unhappy love, of murder and suicide, would be told. To the Greeks of old it seemed one of the ways to hell. The man who drove me from Argos said, like Pausanias, 269that the pool had never been fathomed and was bottomless.

XXXV. The Anigraean Road.—South of Lerna the road skirts the shore for some distance. Leaving the village of Kiveri the path runs along the slope of Mount Zavitza, which falls steeply to the sea on the left. This is the district called Anigraea by Pausanias. The road is still, as it was in his days, very rugged and bad. Now and then we come to a little cove with a beach at the mouth of a narrow glen which cleaves the mountain-side; elsewhere the sea is bordered throughout by sheer cliffs, above which the path scrambles up hill and down dale. The sides of the mountains are chiefly clothed with lentisks and wild olives, with a patch of corn-field here and there. In about two hours and a half from Kiveri the path arrives opposite the Anavolo, the ancient Dine. It is an abundant source of fresh water rising in the sea, about a quarter of a mile from the narrow beach under the cliffs. The body of fresh water appears to be fully fifty feet in diameter. In calm weather it may be seen rising with such force as to form a convex surface, disturbing the sea for several hundred feet around. It is clearly the exit of a subterraneous river of some magnitude, and thus 270corresponds with the Dine of Pausanias. After clambering along the Anigraea for nearly three hours, we find that the mountain abruptly ceases, and the maritime plain of Thyrea stretches out before us to the south. This is what Pausanias describes as “a tract of country on the left, reaching down to the sea, where trees, especially olives, thrive well.” The plain is about five miles long, but nowhere more than half that in breadth; its soil is a rich loam; corn-fields and olive-groves cover its surface.

XXXVI. The Battlefield of Sellasia.—At the present day the track from Arachova to Sparta follows the bed of the Kelephina river (the ancient Oenus) for some seven or eight miles. Path there is none. You ride in the stony bed of the river, crossing its scanty water backwards and forwards again and again. The scenery is picturesque, the river winding between high banks, which are generally green with shrubs and trees. Indeed many trees grow in the very bed of the stream, and the traveller in riding has sometimes to be careful not to be knocked off by their boughs. In front of us, as the valley widens, we get glimpses of the high, blue, snowy range of Taygetus. The point at which, quitting the bed of the stream, we ascend its western bank, and the 271whole magnificent range of Taygetus appears in full view across the valley of the Eurotas, was the scene of the battle of Sellasia.

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

This new town, which has sprung up since the War of Independence, is charming. The 272streets, crossing each other at right angles, are broad and pleasant. Many of the houses are surrounded by gardens, and the soft verdure of the trees peeping over the low walls is grateful and refreshing to the eyes. The gardens abound with orange-trees, which, when laden with fruit, remind one of the gardens of the Hesperides. In spring the air, even in the streets, is heavy with rich perfumes. On the south the town is bounded by the river of Magoula, which here flows from west to east, to fall into the Eurotas a little below the town, opposite the steep heights of Therapnae. Westward the plain extends three or four miles to the foot of the magnificent range of Taygetus, which rises abruptly with steep rocky sides to the height of nearly eight thousand feet. A conspicuous landmark to the west, viewed from Sparta, is the sharp conical hill of Mistra, leaning upon, but still sharply defined against, the Taygetus range. Though really a mountain over two thousand feet high, it is completely dwarfed by the immense wall of Taygetus rising at its back.

The country between Sparta and Taygetus offers points of the most picturesque beauty, especially if, instead of following the highroad, which is rather tame, you strike straight across for Mistra from the ruined theatre of Old Sparta. It was a bright evening in spring 273or early summer (towards the end of April, but summer is earlier in Greece than in England) when I took this walk, and the impression it made on me was ineffaceable. The orange-groves, the gardens fresh and green on all sides, men taking their ease in the warm evening air at a picturesque tavern under a great spreading tree, children playing in the green lanes, a group of Spartan maidens filling their pitchers at a spring that gurgled from a grey time-worn wall, a river (the Magoula) spanned by a quaint old bridge and winding through groves of orange-trees spangled with golden fruit, and towering above all the stupendous snow-clad range of Taygetus in the west, with the sunset sky above it—all this made up a picture or rather a succession of pictures, of which it is impossible to convey in words the effect. It was a dream of Arcadia, the Arcadia of poets, and of painters like the Poussins.

In this union of luxuriant verdure with grand mountain scenery the valley of Sparta recalls the more famed but not more beautiful Granada with its green spreading Vega, its lilac-tinted mountains basking under the bright sky of Spain, and the snowy range of the Sierra Nevada lying like a great white cloud on the southern horizon. But Taygetus towers above the spectator at Sparta as the Sierra Nevada certainly does not over the spectator at Granada. 274To see it on a bright day with all its superb outline—its sharp peaks and grand sweeping curves—clearly defined in the pellucid air, its long line of snowy summits glistering in the sun, and the deep purple shadows brooding on its lower slopes, is a sight not to be forgotten. A recent explorer of Greece has observed that of all Greek cities Sparta enjoys the most beautiful situation. So far as my experience goes, the observation is just.

XXXVIII. Mistra.—The scenery of the district at the eastern foot of Mount Taygetus, to which Pausanias here conducts us, is well described by Vischer as follows: “ While in Therapne, Amyclae, and the round buildings of Vaphio and Marmalia we met with vestiges of a very ancient civilisation which flourished in the plain of the Eurotas before the Dorian invasion; on the other hand when we reach the first line of the rocky heights of Taygetus, we find ourselves in the Middle Ages—in the days of the Franks and the Byzantines. The first stage of Taygetus rises abruptly from the plain in bold cliffs broken by many gullies, from which the mountain torrents issue. Crowning with its picturesque ruins the summit of one of these heights, an hour’s ride to the west of Sparta, is the fortress of Mistra, built by 275William de Villehardouin in the middle of the thirteenth century. Below the castle, on the mountain-side, is spread the extensive town, once a place of much more importance, now half in ruins, with its numerous churches and monasteries falling into decay. Yet for the traveller, in spite of its decay, Mistra must remain in virtue of its situation one of the most enchanting spots which he can find in Greece or anywhere; and the prospect from the castle height, on the one side over the whole plain, on the other side up to the snowy peaks of Taygetus, across the fruitful levels and wooded slopes of the first step in the mountain staircase, needs only a view of the sea to be second to none.

“ The whole neighbourhood, too, is one of indescribable beauty. The way from New Sparta by the village of Magoula, which lies scattered among fruit-trees of every sort, is delightful enough. It passes through a plain watered by fresh brooks, where the drooping branches of the olive-trees and fig-trees often literally bar the way, and in riding one has to take heed not to be hung by the head among the boughs. But all this is almost forgotten when we ride from Mistra by Parori and Hagiannis along the foot of the mountains to Sklavochori. On this ride all the beauties of the Eurotas valley are crowded together; for here we have wild magnificence combined with the luxuriant 276loveliness of a rich southern vegetation. Parori, which lies close to Mistra and was formerly a suburb of it, is at the mouth of a dark and deep gorge, from which a stream comes brawling. This gorge is pointed out to travellers as the Caeadas, the gully into which the Spartans used to throw prisoners of war and afterwards malefactors; and certainly the Caeadas, as well as the Apothetae, where weakly children were exposed, is to be sought in one of the ravines of Mount Taygetus, of which hardly any appears so stern and awful as the one at Parori. At the mouth of the gorge, just above the village, there is a very lovely spot. From a Turkish fountain there pours a copious stream of water, which trickles through creeping plants of all sorts into a large basin, and before it stand some fine plane-trees.

“Farther on, the way winds through wood and thicket, where fruit-trees alternate with tall oaks, elms, and plane-trees, to the village of Hagiannis, hidden among groves of oranges, lemons, fig-trees, and olives. Amongst the woods dark cypresses rise singly like columns; many Judas-trees stood in full blossom, forming with their rosy red a pleasant contrast to the various shades of green, while the oleanders, growing as high as trees beside every rill, had not yet unfolded their buds. Wild vines climb to the very topmost boughs, and many other 277creepers, such as ivy, bindweed, and clematis, often weave trees and shrubs into an impenetrable thicket. In wealth of vegetation this district is unsurpassed in Greece, and no one who has set foot on Greek soil should fail to visit it. Yet it often happens that travellers, satisfied with having visited Sparta, turn back from it immediately, and then, full of the impressions left on them by the plains of Tripolitza, of Argolis, and of the neighbourhood of Athens, complain that there are no trees in Greece.”

The present writer, though he was not farther south than Parori, can confirm the general accuracy of this description. The view of the beautiful valley of Sparta from the steep hill of Mistra, crowded with monuments of the Middle Ages, and dominated by the towering mass of Mount Taygetus, which rises like a wall behind it, combines almost every element of natural beauty and historical association. Immediately below the Frankish castle, which crowns the summit of the hill, are the ruins of a spacious Byzantine palace, once the residence of the governor of the Morea, who ranked next after the emperor. Its great hall opened on the palace garden, from the terrace of which the wonderful view is to be had over the valley. Again, the fountain, described by Vischer, at the mouth of the tremendous gorge, is a scene not to be forgotten. The water gushes from 278many mouths in the face of a wall built against the rock. A stone seat encircles the trunk of the great spreading plane-tree which fronts the fountain. All this, with the gloomy gorge behind, makes up a picture such as is oftener seen in dreams than in reality. Once more, the village of Trypi, situated a little to the north of Mistra, at the entrance of the famed Langada pass over Mount Taygetus, is one of idyllic beauty. It is embowered among woods and orchards on the mountain-side; and entering it from the south you pass the mouth of a narrow glen carpeted with ferns and overarched with trees.

XXXIX. On the Road from Sparta to Arcadia.—Pausanias now returns from Mount Taygetus to Sparta and sets off northward by the road which led to Megalopolis in Arcadia. As far as the Arcadian frontier the track follows the valley of the Eurotas, keeping on the right or west bank of the river and generally running close to the stream, the banks of which are fringed with oleanders, fig-trees, and planes. For the first three miles the valley is open and possesses that combination of charms which renders the vale of Sparta the most beautiful region of Greece. The river flows on the whole at the foot of the 279somewhat bare hills which rise on the eastern side of the valley, dipping their rocky declivities in many places in its water. But on the other side low rolling hills, covered with excellent soil and intersected by streams, stretch away to where the long range of Taygetus stands up against the western sky, its majestic snowy peaks contrasting finely with the dark woods of its lower slopes and the luxuriant vegetation of the valley. In this open part of the valley must have lain all the places and objects mentioned by Pausanias between Sparta and the image of Modesty; but no one has yet ventured to identify them. About three miles from Sparta the valley contracts and the scenery changes. We are no longer in a great open valley covered with luxuriant vegetation and enclosed by grand mountains. It is a narrow dale through which we are passing, hemmed in by low hills, at the foot of which the river flows between banks thickly wooded with willows, poplars, oleanders, and plane-trees. Well-tilled fields lie on the gentle lower slopes of the hills and occupy the stretches of flat land where the hills retire from the river. The bare upper declivities are dotted here and there with a few olives.

XL. Cape Malea.—The sides of Cape 280Malea, the south-eastern extremity of the Greek mainland and of Europe, are formed by dizzy crags, about a thousand feet high, of dark bare rock, seamed and scarred in places by cracks and fissures. At the extreme end of the cape there is a great natural recess in the cliff; and here in the face of the bluff, about two hundred and fifty feet above the sea, there is a tiny terrace sloping to the perpendicular edge of the precipice. Two chapels are built on the terrace, and close by, partly hewn in the rock, is the cell of a half-naked and nearly savage hermit. From the terrace you may clamber down, at the risk of your neck, to a cave opening on the foam of the great rollers which break here eternally. In the inmost corner of the cave is a heap of human bones. The sense of utter solitude and isolation from the world which the spot is fitted to evoke in the mind is broken by the sight of passing vessels. In fair weather steamers of all nations pass continually; and small Greek sailing-boats, with their reddish-brown or white lateen sails, skim along close under the cliffs. But the cape has a bad name for storms and heavy surf; at times even large steamers are unable to weather it for a week together. There was an ancient proverb, “When you have rounded Malea, forget your home.”


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

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

In the Middle Ages Monemvasia was one of the chief places of the Levantine trade and one of the strongest fortresses in the Morea. It gave its name to Malmsey wine, which was 282grown in the Cyclades, especially Tenos, but was called after the port whence it was shipped to the west.

XLII. Maina.—The great central peninsula of southern Greece, which Pausanias describes in detail, has been known since the Middle Ages by the name of Maina or Mani. The backbone of the peninsula is the great range of Taygetus, which runs south till it terminates in Taenarum, the modern Cape Matapan, the southern extremity of Greece. The scenery of the peninsula is wild and savage; the villages, hedged in by impenetrable thickets of cactus, cling like eagles’ eyries to the faces of apparently inaccessible cliffs, and are reached by stony and exceedingly toilsome footpaths—the only semblance of roads in these secluded highlands. Almost everywhere the surface is nothing but the naked rock. Wood there is none, but a few bushes and here and there some tufts of grass have rooted themselves in the crevices of the rocks, and furnish a scanty pasture to the sheep and goats. The miserable stony soil, wherever it exists, is carefully husbanded by means of terraces, and under the soft southern sky of Laconia yields a tolerable return. There are no springs or brooks; water is obtained only 283from cisterns, which are kept closed by their owners, and leave to draw from them has to be paid for.

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


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

The town, with its narrow winding streets and lively bazaar, lies in the great Messenian plain, near its south-eastern extremity. This plain, open to the south and sheltered from the north by mountains, is the warmest part of Greece, and on account of its wonderful fertility was 285known to the ancients as Makaria or the Happy Land. Its natural wealth and delightful climate were celebrated by Euripides in a lost play, of which some lines have been preserved by Strabo. Here at the present day groves of oranges, lemons, fig-trees, olives, and vineyards succeed each other, all fenced by gigantic hedges of prickly and fantastically-shaped cactuses and sword-like aloes, which, with the hot air, remind a traveller from northern Europe that he is in a sub-tropical climate.

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

The monastery is beautifully situated on 286the eastern slope of the mountain, about a quarter of an hour’s walk below the saddle which unites the twin peaks. The buildings, arranged in the form of a quadrangle round a little church, stand on a fine open terrace among cypresses, oaks, and wild olives, commanding an unimpeded view over the Messenian plain southward to the shining waters of the gulf and northward to where the plain ends at the foot of the hills. Ithome and its sister peak rise from the plain about midway between these northern hills and the gulf. Mount Eva, the lower of the two peaks, lies to the south or south-east of Ithome, with which it is connected by a ridge or saddle about half-way up the two mountains. The eastern wall of Messene stood and still stands in ruins on this saddle. The city itself lay on the western side, in the cup formed by the converging slopes of the two mountains. The site may be compared to an immense theatre, of which the back is formed by the saddle in question and the wings by Mount Ithome and Mount Eva. The wretched hamlet of Mavromati lies nearly in the middle of this theatre-like hollow; there are many remains of antiquity in its neighbourhood. But the site of the ancient city is now chiefly occupied by corn-fields, vineyards, and olive-groves.olive-groves.

287The view from the top of Ithome is magnificent. The whole of the rich Messenian plain lies stretched out beneath us. To the south the full sweep of the Messenian gulf is seen, with the glorious snow-capped range of Taygetus bounding both plain and gulf on the east. High up on Taygetus is visible the gap through which the Langada pass runs. Over this pass, which forms the direct route between Sparta and Messenia, the Spartans must have often marched to attack their ancient foes; and it seems just possible that the gleam of their burnished arms in the sunshine, as the army defiled over the pass, may have been visible to the sentinels on Ithome. Farther to the north we see the mountains of Arcadia, with the Lycaean group conspicuous on the north-east. Westward the view is in general bounded by nearer and lower hills, but where they dip on the north-west and again on the south-west we catch glimpses of the Ionian or, as the ancients also called it, the Sicilian sea.

XLV. On the Road to Olympia.—The Erymanthus, descending from the lofty mountains of north-western Arcadia, flows between hills into the broad open valley of the Alpheus and joins that river on its northern bank. At 288its junction with the Alpheus it flows over gravel between abrupt cliffs of pudding-stone. Its water, seen at least from the southern side of the wide valley on a sunny day, is of a bright blue colour. After fording the river and climbing the farther bank, the path leads through open pastures, and then, to avoid a great bend of the river, ascends a pass or woody gorge, where fine oaks and pines, now singly now in clumps, are scattered in wild variety. When we have reached the summit and begin to descend again towards the Alpheus, a series of magnificent views of the river winding between wooded hills opens up before us. For beyond the meeting of its waters with the Erymanthus, the valley of the Alpheus assumes a softer and gayer aspect. Moderate heights rise on the right bank, their gentle slopes thickly wooded with trees and shrubs of the most varied sorts. Pine-trees, maples, planes, and tall lentisk bushes succeed each other, varied here and there by fields and green pastures. Across the Alpheus lie the beautiful wooded hills of Triphylia, where many a picturesque village is seen nestling among pine-woods, and many a height, crowned by church or ruins, stands out abruptly and precipitously above the river. The whole country, with its woods and streams, and the broad river flowing majestically through the middle of the landscape, 289is like a great park. The illusion, however, is broken by the path, which scrambles up hill and down dale, struggles through thickets, and splashes through streams and torrents, in a fashion which resembles anything rather than the trim well-kept walks and avenues of an English park. Such is the scenery and such the path by which Pausanias is now moving westward towards Olympia.

Dio Chrysostom has described how he lost his way in this charming country and fell in with an old dame of the Meg Merrilies type who professed to have the gift of second sight. He says: “Going on foot from Heraea to Pisa by the side of the Alpheus, I was able, up to a certain point, to make out the path. But by and by I found myself in a forest and on broken ground, with many tracks leading to sheepfolds and cattle-pens. And meeting with no one of whom I could ask the way I strayed from the path and wandered up and down. It was high noon; and seeing on a height a clump of oaks, as it might be a grove, I betook myself thither, in the hope that from thence I might spy some path or house. Here then I found stones piled carelessly together, and skins of sacrificed animals hanging up, with clubs and staves, the offerings, as I supposed, of shepherds; and a little way off, seated on the ground, was a tall and stalwart dame, somewhat advanced 290in years, in rustic attire, with long grey hair. Of her I asked what these things might be. She answered, very civilly, in a broad Doric accent, that the spot was sacred to Hercules, and as for herself, she had a son a shepherd and often minded the sheep herself; that by the grace of the Mother of the Gods she had the gift of second sight, and all the herdsmen and farmers of the neighbourhood came to ask her about their crops and cattle.”

XLVI. Olympia.—Olympia lies on the right or north bank of the Alpheus, where the river meanders westward through a spacious valley enclosed by low wooded hills of soft and rounded forms, beyond which appear on the eastern horizon the loftier mountains of Arcadia. The soil of the valley, being alluvial, is fertile; corn-fields and vineyards stretch away in all directions. The whole aspect of the scene, without being grand or impressive, is rich, peaceful, and pleasing. The bed of the Alpheus is wide; but in summer the water is scanty and is divided into several streams running over a broad gravelly bed. The sacred precinct or Altis of Olympia lies between the river on the south and a low but steep hill, thickly wooded with pine-trees and shrubs, which rises on the north. This 291wooded hill is the ancient Mount Cronius. Immediately to the west of the precinct the Cladeus flows between steep sandy banks into the Alpheus from the north.

In the close hot climate of Olympia the need of a good supply of drinking water is especially felt. For months together rain hardly falls; between May and October a shower is a rarity. The great festival was always held in summer (July or August), when the weather at Olympia is cloudless and the heat intense. Hence the multitudes who flocked to witness the games must have been much distressed by the dust and the burning sun, against which the spreading shade of the plane-trees in the sacred precinct could have afforded only an imperfect protection. Indeed Lucian, doubtless with a strong touch of exaggeration, speaks of the spectators packed together and dying in swarms of thirst and of distemper contracted from the excessive drought. The water of the Alpheus is not good to drink, for even in the height of summer it holds in solution a quantity of chalky matter. The water of the Cladeus, on the other hand, is drinkable in its normal state; but even a little rain swells it and makes it run turbid for a long time. Hence it was necessary to sink wells and to bring water from a distance. This was done even in 292Greek times. Nine wells, some square, some round, some lined with the usual shell-limestone, others with plaques of terra-cotta, have been found at Olympia; and water was brought in aqueducts from the upper valley of the Cladeus. But in Roman times the supply was immensely improved and extended by the munificence of the wealthy sophist Herodes Atticus. Lucian tells us how the mountebank Peregrinus denounced Herodes and his aqueduct for pandering to the luxury and effeminacy of the day. It was the duty of the spectators, he said, to endure their thirst, and if need be to die of it. This doctrine proved unacceptable to his hearers, and the preacher had to run for his life pursued by a volley of stones.

XLVII. Phidias’s Image of Olympian Zeus.—The testimony of antiquity to the extraordinary beauty and majesty of the image is very strong. The Roman general Paulus Aemilius was deeply moved by the sight of it; he felt as if in the presence of the god himself, and declared that Phidias alone had succeeded in embodying the Homeric conception of Zeus. Cicero says that Phidias fashioned the image, not after any living model, but after that ideal beauty which he saw with the inward eye alone. Quintilian asserts that the beauty of the image 293served to strengthen religion, the majesty of the image equalling the majesty of the god. A poet declared that either the god must have come from heaven to earth to show Phidias his image, or that Phidias must have gone to heaven to behold it. The statue was reckoned one of the seven wonders of the world, and to die without having seen it was deemed a misfortune. The rhetorician Dio Chrysostom, a man of fine taste, extolled it in one of his speeches. He calls it “the most beautiful image on earth, and the dearest to the gods.” He represents Phidias speaking of his “peaceful and gentle Zeus, the overseer, as it were, of united and harmonious Greece, whom by the help of my art and of the wise and good city of Elis I set up, mild and august in an unconstrained attitude, the giver of life and breath and all good things, the common father and saviour of mankind.” And again in a fine passage he says: “Methinks that if one who is heavy laden in mind, who has drained the cup of misfortune and sorrow in life, and whom sweet sleep visits no more, were to stand before this image, he would forget all the griefs and troubles that are incident to the life of man.”

XLVIII. The Hermes of Praxiteles.—Hermes is represented standing with the infant 294Dionysus on his left arm, and the weight of his body resting on his right foot. His form is the perfection of manly grace and vigour; the features of his oval face, under the curly hair that encircles his brow, are refined, strong, and beautiful; their expression is tender and slightly pensive. The profile is of the straight Greek type, with “the bar of Michael Angelo” over the eyebrows. The left arm of the god rests upon the stump of a tree, over which his mantle hangs loosely in rich folds, that contrast well with his nude body. His right arm is raised. The child Dionysus lays his right hand confidingly on the shoulder of Hermes; his gaze is fixed on the object, whatever it was, which Hermes held in his right hand, and his missing left arm must have been stretched out (as it appears in the restoration) towards the same object. As most of Hermes’s right arm is wanting, we cannot know for certain what he had in his right hand. Probably it was a bunch of grapes. In a wall-painting at Pompeii a satyr is represented holding the infant Dionysus on his left arm, while in his raised right hand he dangles a bunch of grapes, after which the child reaches. It is highly probable that this painting is an imitation, not necessarily at first hand, of the work of Praxiteles; and if so, it affords a strong ground for supposing that the missing right hand of the Hermes held a bunch of 295grapes. The only objection of any weight to this view is that in the statue Hermes is not looking at the child, as we should expect him to be, but is gazing past him into the distance with what has been described as a listening or dreamy look. Hence it has been suggested that Hermes held a pair of cymbals or castanets in his hand, to the sound of which both he and the child are listening; and a passage of Calpurnius has been quoted in which Silenus is represented holding the infant Dionysus on his arm and amusing him by shaking a rattle. This certainly would well explain the attitude and look of Hermes; but on the other hand cymbals or a rattle would not serve so well as a bunch of grapes to characterise the infant Dionysus. The same may be said of the suggestion that Hermes, as god of gain, held aloft a purse and was listening to the chinking of the money in it. In his left hand Hermes probably held his characteristic attribute, a herald’s staff; the round hole for it in the hand is still visible.

On his head he seems to have worn a metal wreath; the deep groove for fastening it on may be seen in the back part of the hair. Traces of dark red paint were perceived on the hair and on the sandal of the foot when the statue was found; the colour is supposed to have been laid on as ground for gilding. The 296back of the statue, which would not be seen well, is not carefully finished; it still shows the strokes of the chisel. Otherwise the technical finish is exquisite. The differences of texture between the delicate white skin of the god, the leather straps of the sandals, the woollen stuff of the cloak, and the curly hair of the head, are expressed in the most masterly way.

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

XLIX. Lasion.—Pausanias has omitted to mention an ancient town that lay in the wild upper valley of the Peneus, in the heart of 297the Elean highlands, not far from the Arcadian frontier. This was Lasion, a place which, from its proximity to the Arcadian boundary, was the subject of border feuds, the Arcadians claiming possession of it, though in fact it appears to have belonged properly to Elis. It changed hands several times in the fifth, fourth, and third centuries B.C. The ruins of this secluded little town were discovered by G. F. Welcker in 1842 near Koumani, a village at the head waters of the Peneus. They may be visited on the way from Olympia to Psophis, though the visit necessitates a short detour to the west.

The route first follows the valley of the Cladeus through soft woodland scenery of the richest and most charming kind, between low hills crowned with clumps of pines. Then, still following the glen of the Cladeus, we ascend through romantically beautiful forests of pines and ancient oaks, and emerge on a wide breezy tableland, backed on the north by the high mountains of northern Arcadia. In the middle of the plateau, which is open and well cultivated, lies the scattered village of Lala. Crossing the northern end of the tableland, which is here carpeted with ferns, we again ascend a steep slope, and find ourselves on a still higher tableland, covered with fine oak forests. After traversing the forest for some 298time we quit the path to Psophis, which continues to run northward, and take a path which strikes westward. The time from Lala to the parting of the ways is about two hours. Another half-hour’s ride through the forest, which grows denser as we advance, brings us to Koumani, a trim well-to-do village, beautifully situated among oak-woods. The time from Olympia is about six hours.

The ruins of Lasion, now called Kouti, are to the north of the village, apparently on the same level with it, but a profound ravine divides them from the village, and half an hour’s laborious descent and ascent of its steep sides are needed to bring us to the ruins. The site is an exceedingly strong one. Two tributaries of the Peneus, coming from the higher mountains to the north-east, flow in deep ravines, which meet at an acute angle. Between them stretches a long, comparatively narrow ridge or tongue of land, which on three sides falls steeply down to the glens; only on the east the ascent is gentle. The top of the ridge is quite flat, and well adapted to be the site of a city. At one point it narrows to a mere isthmus or neck which divides the level summit into two parts, an eastern and a western. The western and smaller part was doubtless the ancient citadel; a finely-built wall of ashlar masonry, extending across the narrowest point 299of the neck, divides it from the rest of the city. The eastern and larger part of the ridge is more or less covered with ruins, and at its eastern end, where the ascent is easiest, a very fine piece of the city wall is still standing. Square towers, about seven feet broad, project from it at intervals. Walls and towers are built of well and regularly cut blocks; the masonry resembles that of Messene. There seem to be no traces of fortification walls on any other side of the plateau; perhaps none existed, the inhabitants thinking the deep ravines a sufficient defence.

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

L. The Erymanthus.—The first sight I had of the Erymanthus, among the mountains of northern Arcadia, is one of the scenes that dwell in the memory. We had been travelling for hours through the thick oak-woods which cover the outlying slopes and 300spurs of Mount Erymanthus on the south, when suddenly, emerging from the forest, we looked down into a long valley, through which flowed, between hills wooded to their summits, a shining river, the Erymanthus. At the far end of the valley high blue mountains closed the view. The scene, arched by the bright Greek sky, was indeed Arcadian.

LI. The Monastery of Megaspeleum.—The ancient Buraicus is the stream now called the Kalavryta river because it descends from the town of that name. The valley, which is broad and open at Kalavryta, contracts to the north of the town into a narrow defile flanked by huge rocks. In this narrow valley is the great monastery of Megaspeleum, the largest and wealthiest monastery in Greece, and indeed one of the largest and richest monasteries of the Eastern Church. Formerly it had dependencies even in Russia. The building and its situation are in the highest degree picturesque. It is a huge whitewashed pile, with wooden balconies on the outside, eight stories high, perched at a great height above the right bank of the river, on the steep slope of a mountain and immediately overhung by an enormous beetling crag which runs sheer up for some hundreds of feet above the roof of the 301monastery. It is this overhanging cliff which gives to the monastery its name of Megaspeleum (‘great cave’). So completely does it overarch the lofty building that when in the War of Independence the Egyptian soldiers of Ibrahim Pacha attempted to destroy the monastery by letting fall masses of rock upon it from the cliff above, the rocks fell clear of the monastery, leaving it unharmed. The steep slope of the mountain below is occupied by the terraced gardens of the monks, which with their rich vegetation, and the cypresses rising here and there above them, add greatly to the charm of the scene. A single zigzag path leads up this steep terraced slope to the monastery. The bare precipices above, crowned with forests, the deep wooded valley below, and the mountains rising steeply on the farther side, make up a landscape of varied delight and grandeur, on which a painter would love to dwell.

LII. The Gulf of Corinth.—After describing the view from the monastery of Troupia on the hill of Bura, Leake makes the following remarks on the scenery of the Gulf of Corinth, which are worth transcribing because they convey the impression made by this wonderfully beautiful gulf on one who in general was not given to dwell on the charms of nature. He 302says: “I doubt whether there is anything in Greece, abounding as it is in enchanting scenery and interesting recollections, that can rival the Corinthiac Gulf. There is no lake scenery in Europe that can compete with it. Its coasts, broken into an infinite variety of outline by the ever-changing mixture of bold promontory, gentle slope, and cultivated level, are crowned on every side by lofty mountains of the most pleasing and majestic forms; the fine expanse of water inclosed in this noble frame, though not so much frequented by ships as it ought to be by its natural adaptation to commerce, is sufficiently enlivened by vessels of every size and shape to present at all times an animated scene. Each step in the Corinthiac Gulf presents to the traveller a new prospect, not less delightful to the eye than interesting to the mind, by the historical fame and illustrious names of the objects which surround him. And if, in the latter peculiarity, the celebrated panorama of the Saronic Gulf, described by Sulpicius, be preferable, that arm of the Aegaean is in almost every part inferior to the Corinthian sea in picturesque beauty; the surrounding mountains are less lofty and less varied in their heights and outlines, and, unless where the beautiful plain of Athens is sufficiently near to decorate the prospect, it is a picture of almost unmitigated sterility and rocky wildness 303exhibited in every possible form of mountain, promontory, and island. It must, however, be admitted that it is only by comparison that such a scene can be depreciated.” I can only confirm this estimate of the superior charms of the Gulf of Corinth. Its waters seemed to me of an even deeper blue; and the delicacy of the morning and evening tints—azure, lilac, and rose—on the mountains is such that it is hard in looking at them to believe they are of the solid earth; so unsubstantial, so fairy-like do they seem, like the gorgeous phantasmagoria of cloudland or mountains seen in dreams.

LIII. On the Coast of Achaia.—Pausanias continues to move eastward along the coast of Achaia. Beyond the Buraicus river, where it issues from its romantic gorge, the strip of fertile plain which has skirted the coast all the way from Aegium comes to an end. The mountains now advance to the shore, and the road runs for a short distance along the summit of cliffs that border the coast. Then the mountains again retreat from the shore, leaving at their base a small maritime plain clothed with olive-groves. A stream, the river of Diakopton, crosses the plain and flows into the sea. It comes down from a wild and magnificent gorge, thickly wooded with tall firs and 304shut in by stupendous precipices of naked rock. Seen at nightfall under a lowering sky, with wreaths of white mist drooping low on the black mountains, the entrance to this gloomy gorge might pass for the mouth of hell; one could fancy Dante and his guide wending their way into it in the darkness.

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

LIV. Pellene.—The scanty and insignificant ruins of Pellene are situated on the summit of a mountain which rises on the western side of the river of Trikala (the ancient Sythas), near the small hamlet of Zougra. It is a ride of two hours and a half from Xylokastro, the little town at the mouth of the river, to Zougra. We cross the river by a large stone bridge not far from its mouth, and then ascend the valley on the western bank of the stream. The bottom of the valley is fruitful; vineyards and fine groves of olives occupy the greater part of it, and tall cypresses rise here 305and there, like dark spires, above the greener foliage. The hills which enclose the valley on the east and west are not very high, but they are gashed and tortured by great scaurs and precipices of white and whity-brown earth. On the western side of the valley in particular a long line of high white precipices runs almost unbroken along the brow of the hills. The white, probably argillaceous, earth, which is thus cleft and gouged into precipices, is the same which forms the great precipices on the eastern side of Sicyon. Indeed it prevails nearly all the way along the southern coast of the Gulf of Corinth from Sicyon to Derveni, near Aegira. This chalky earth forms a plateau of varying height, separated from the shore by a stretch of level plain which averages perhaps a mile in width. The seaward face of the plateau is steep, high, and white; its edges are sharp as if cut with a knife, and ragged like the edge of a saw. Every here and there it is rent by a stream or torrent which has scooped a deep bed for itself out of the friable soil. The valley of the Sythas, up which we go to Pellene, is nothing but one of these water-worn rifts on a gigantic scale. As we ascend it through vineyards and olive-groves, between the rugged broken hills with their long lines of white precipices, the massive Cyllene, with its high, bare, pointed summit, looms in front of us 306at no great distance, blocking the southern end of the valley. After riding up the valley for an hour or more along a road which, for Greece, is excellent, we begin to climb a mountain on the western side of the river. A long, toilsome, winding, dusty, or, in rainy weather, muddy ascent, impeded rather than facilitated by a Turkish paved road of the usual execrable description, brings us in time to the little hamlet of Zougra. As we rise up the steep slope, our fatigue is to some extent compensated by the fine prospect that opens up behind us to the Corinthian Gulf and the mountains beyond it.

LV. The Road from Argos to Arcadia.—From Argos two main passes lead westward over the chain of Mount Artemisius to Mantinea. The southern and more direct of the two is for the greater part of the way nothing but a rough bridle-path; in places it crosses the deep beds of torrents, which at the time of my journey were dry. The path turns round the northern foot of the lofty acropolis of Argos, and skirting the wide Argolic plain enters the valley of the Charadrus or Xerias, as it is now called. This is a long narrow valley of somewhat monotonous aspect, enclosed by barren and rocky hills, and barred at the 307farther end by a steep mountain, on which, when I saw it far away on a bright April morning, purple shadows rested. The bed of the river is broad and stony, sometimes several hundred yards in width; it is generally dry, but after heavy rains the spates that come roaring down it from the mountains are much dreaded. Flocks of sheep and goats feed in the valley; the herdsmen carry the usual long staves tipped with crooks, and sometimes a gun. Trains of laden mules or asses, conducted by peasants, also met us. The head of the valley, immediately under the mountain barrier, is very picturesque. The bottom is partly covered with shrubs and trees, among which (for the place was then in its spring beauty) I noticed the broom and the hawthorn, both in flower, also wild roses, and a tree with a lovely purple bloom, which I believe to have been the Judas-tree. Beyond the small hamlet of Mazi, consisting of a few wretched stone cottages, the path begins the long ascent and winds up the face of the mountain-wall in a series of zigzags. The view backward from the summit of the pass is magnificent, embracing a wilderness of mountains with the sea and the islands of Hydra and Spetsa in the distance. From the top of the pass the path drops down very steeply, almost precipitously, into the flat sodden expanse of the Fallow Plain, across which we look to a 308bleak chain of grey limestone hills. The village of Tsipiana stands at the foot of the pass, its red-roofed houses, with a large church in their midst, rising in tiers on the steep mountain-side. On a ledge high above the village is a monastery among cypresses, and higher still there shoots up a huge fantastic pinnacle of rock. The traveller who has reached Tsipiana is in Arcadia, and if this is his first glimpse of that poetical land, he may find the reality to answer to his expectations, if not to his dreams.

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

LVI. Mantinea.—The ruins of Mantinea are situated in a flat, marshy, and treeless plain 309about nine miles north of the present town of Tripolitza. The plain is about seven miles long from north to south, but in the latter direction it melts into the plain of Tegea; the division between the two is marked only by the protrusion of rocky hills on either side, which here narrows the plain to about a mile in width. On the east the plain is bounded by the chain of Mount Alesius, bare and high on the north, low and bushy on the south; between the two sections of the chain thus marked off from each other is the dip through which the path goes to Nestane and so by the Prinus route to Argos. On the west of the plain rises the high rugged range of Mount Maenalus, its lower slopes bare or overgrown with bushes, its higher slopes belted with dark pine-woods. Seen from the plain to the north of Mantinea on a bright autumn day, this fine range, with its dark blue lights and purple shadows, presents the appearance of a tossing sea of billows petrified by magic. Finally, on the north the plain of Mantinea is divided from that of Orchomenus by a low chain of reddish hills.

A great part of the plain, including almost all the southern part, is covered with vineyards, the rich green foliage of which, when the vines are in leaf, contrasts with the grey arid slopes of the surrounding mountains. But the site of Mantinea itself is now mostly cornland. Not a single 310house stands within the wide area, and hardly one is within sight. In spring the swampy plain is traversed by sluggish streams, little better than ditches, the haunts of countless frogs, which sun themselves on the banks and squatter into the water with loud flops at the approach of the wayfarer. The whole scene is one of melancholy and desolation. As the plain stands about two thousand feet above the sea, the climate is piercingly cold in winter as well as burning hot in summer. The marshes now render the site unhealthy at all times, but in antiquity it was doubtless better drained. Of the oak-forest, through which the road ran from Mantinea to Tegea in the days of Pausanias, nothing is left. Indeed the oak has long ago retreated from the plains to the mountains of Arcadia.

LVII. The Road to Stymphalus.—The road to Stymphalus, after diverging from the road to Pheneus, continues to skirt the foot of the mountains in a north-easterly direction. Behind us we leave Mount Trachy, which seen from the north is an imposing mountain, its steep sides rent by parallel gullies. Gradually the hill and plain of Orchomenus disappear behind us, and the path leads into a savage glen, hemmed in by wild rocky mountains, bare and 311desolate, towering high on either side. Away up in the face of a precipice on the right of the path is seen the little monastery of Kandyla, hanging in what appears an almost inaccessible position. In winter a torrent flows down the middle of the glen to swell the marsh in the plain of Orchomenus. A mile or so beyond the monastery we reach the village of Kandyla, straggling in the wide gravelly bed of the torrent, shaded by plane-trees and mulberry-trees, and shut in on all sides by high rocky mountains, their sides covered with fir-woods and their summits tipped with snow for a good part of the year. From the upper end of the village a pass leads eastward over the mountains to Bougiati and the ancient Alea; the path, which is very rough and steep, ascends a wild gully overhung on the south by a huge beetling crag; the descent on the eastern side of the mountains, towards Bougiati, is so steep as to be almost impassable for horses.

But at present we are following the path to Stymphalus, which, leaving the village of Kandyla in a northerly direction, ascends the mountain by zigzags along the edge of precipices. The snow sometimes lies deep here as late as March, making the ascent difficult and dangerous. The pass runs north-east between the lofty Mount Skipieza, nearly six thousand feet high, on the left, and the sharp-peaked Mount St. Constantine, 312crowned with a Frankish castle, on the right. From the first summit of the pass a path branches off to the right, descending into the narrow valley of Skotini which we see stretching eastward beneath us. Half an hour more takes us to a second summit, whence we look down on the plain and lake of Stymphalus and across to the majestic mass of Mount Cyllene towering on the farther side of the valley. The way now goes down a ravine shut in on both sides by lofty fir-clad mountains and known as the Wolf’s Ravine from the wolves that are said to abound in it. Thus descending we reach the valley of Stymphalus and the western end of the lake.

LVIII. The Lake and Valley of Stymphalus.—The valley of Stymphalus lies immediately to the east of the valley and lake of Pheneus, from which it is divided only by the ridge of Mount Geronteum. The general features of both valleys are alike. Both are shut in so closely on all sides by mountains and hills that the water which accumulates in them has no outlet except by underground chasms, and forms in the bottom of each valley a lake which shrinks in summer. But the valley of Stymphalus is smaller and narrower than the valley of Pheneus, and its lake is quite different. 313Instead of a deep sea-like expanse of blue water, we have here a small lake of the most limpid clearness, the shallowness of which is proved to the eye by the patches of reeds and other water-plants that emerge from the surface of the water even in the middle of the lake. The palm of beauty is generally, I believe, awarded to the lake of Pheneus; but the charms of Stymphalus are of a rarer and subtler sort. Blue lakes encircled by steep pine-clad mountains may be found in many lands; but where shall we look for the harmonious blending of grand mountains and sombre pine-forests with a still, pellucid, shallow, but not marshy lake, tufted with graceful water-plants, such as meets us in Stymphalus?

The lake of Stymphalus may be a mile and a half long by half a mile wide. On the north it bathes the foot of a ridge or chain of low heights, covered with rugged grey rocks and overgrown with prickly shrubs, which reaches its highest point on the west and descends gradually in terraces to the east, where its last rocks are elevated above the plain and lake by only a few feet. On the crest of this rocky ridge, towards its eastern end, are some remains of the citadel of Stymphalus. At the back of the ridge a stretch of level ground divides it from the steep slopes of the majestic Cyllene, 314which rises like a wall on the northern side of the valley. The sides of this great mountain are mostly bare and of a reddish-grey hue; but the grey shoulder of its sister peak on the east, joined to it by a high ridge, is mottled with black pines. The mountains on the southern side of the lake are also steep and high; low bushes mantle their lower and dark pine-forests their upper slopes. Conspicuous among them, between immense pine-covered slopes, is the deep glen known as the Wolfs Ravine, through which the road goes to Orchomenus.

Solitude and silence, broken by the strident cries of the water-fowl that haunt the mere, reign in the valley. A few hamlets nestle in the nooks and glens at the foot of the mountains; but in the wide strath and on the banks of the lake not a human habitation is to be seen. The impression left by the scenery on some minds is that of gloom and desolation. Yet on a hot day, when all the landscape is flooded with the intense sunlight of the south, it is pleasant to sit on the rocky ridge of Stymphalus, looking down on the cool clear water of the lake and listening to the cries of the water-fowl, the drowsy hum of bees, and the tinkle of distant goat-bells. In such weather even the dark pine-forests on the mountains, gloomy as they must be under a bleak cloudy sky, suggest only ideas of coolness and shade; and 315we can well imagine that the ancient Stymphalus, with its colonnades and terraces rising from the lake, must have been a perfect place in which to lounge away the languid hours of a Greek summer. For the high upland character of the valley contributes with the expanse of water to temper the heat of the summer sun. The traveller who passes, as he may do, in a single day from the cool moist air of the valley to the sultry heat of the plain of Argos is struck by the contrast between the climates. In the morning he may have left the cherry-trees in blossom at Stymphalus; in the evening he may see the reapers getting in the harvest in the plain of Argos.

LIX. The Lake of Pheneus.—The lake of Pheneus (for what was a plain in the time of Pausanias is now a lake) is a broad and beautiful sheet of greenish-blue water encircled by lofty mountains which descend in rocky declivities or sheer precipices to the water’s edge, their upper slopes clothed with black pine-woods and their summits capped with snow for many months of the year. Right above the lake on the north-east towers the mighty cone of Cyllene, the loftiest mountain but one in Peloponnese; while on the north-west Dourdouvana rears its long serrated crest, 316culminating in a sharp bare peak of grey rock, at the foot of which, embowered in trees and gardens, nestles the village of Phonia, the representative of the ancient Pheneus. Here on the north, between the village and the lake, is the only stretch of level ground that breaks the mountain ring, and the luxuriant green of its vineyards and maize-fields contrasts pleasingly with the sombre hue of the pine-forests all around. The first sight of this blue lake embosomed among forest-clad mountains takes the traveller by surprise, so unlike is it to anything else in Greece; and he feels as if suddenly transported from the arid hills and the parched plains of Greece to a northern land—from the land of the olive, the vine, and the orange, to the land of the pine, the mountain, and the lake.

So completely is the lake fenced in by mountains on all sides that no stream can issue from it above ground, and the water escapes only by two subterranean emissaries or Katavothras, as they are called by the Greeks, at the south-eastern and south-western ends of the lake. Through the latter emissary the water passes under the mountain, and issuing on the other side, about six miles from the lake and eight hundred feet below its level, forms the source of the Ladon. On the state of these emissaries it depends whether the great 317mountain-basin of Pheneus is a fertile plain or a broad lake. From antiquity down to the present century the periods in which the basin has been completely drained have alternated with periods in which it has been occupied by a lake. In the time of Theophrastus (the fourth century B.C.) the bottom of the valley seems to have been generally dry land, for he mentions that once, when the emissaries had got choked up, the water rose and flooded the plain, drowning the willows, firs, and pines, which, however, reappeared the following year when the flood subsided. In the following century part of the valley at least would seem to have been a lake, for the geographer Eratosthenes, quoted by Strabo, informs us that the river Anias formed in front of the city of Pheneus a lake which was drained by subterranean passages, and that when these passages were closed the water rose over the plain, but that when they were opened again it was discharged into the Ladon and hence into the Alpheus in such volume that the sacred precinct at Olympia was flooded, while the lake on the other hand shrank. Strabo himself mentions that the flow of the Ladon was once checked by the obstruction of the emissaries consequent upon an earthquake. According to Pliny there had been down to his time five changes in the condition of the valley from 318wet to dry and from dry to wet, all of them caused by earthquakes. In Plutarch’s age the flood rose so high that the whole valley was under water, which pious people attributed to Apollo’s anger at Hercules, who was said to have stolen the prophetic tripod at Delphi and carried it off to Pheneus about a thousand years before. However, later on in the same century the waters had again subsided, for Pausanias found the bottom of the valley to be dry land, and knew of the former existence of the lake only from tradition.

From the days of Pausanias down to the beginning of the nineteenth century we have no record of the condition of the valley. In 1806, when Leake and Dodwell visited it, the great valley was still a swampy plain, covered with fields of wheat or barley except at the south-western end, where round the entrance to the emissary the water formed a small lake which never dried up even in summer. But in 1821, doubtless through the obstruction of the emissaries, the water began to rise over the plain, and by 1829-1830, when the French surveyors mapped the district, the whole basin was occupied by a deep lake five miles long by five miles wide. On January 1, 1834, the emissaries suddenly opened again, the Ladon became a deep and raging torrent, the valley was drained, and fresh vegetation 319sprang up on the rich slimy soil. But when Welcker visited Pheneus in 1842 the valley was once more occupied by a lake, and had been so, if he was correctly informed, since 1838 at least. And a lake it would seem to have been ever since. In 1853 the Swiss scholar Vischer found a great lake, exactly as the French surveyors had represented it on their map; the hill on the north-west side of the valley, on which are the scanty remains of the ancient acropolis, projected like a peninsula into the lake, and the site of the ancient city was deep under water. W. G. Clark in 1856 describes with enthusiasm the “wide expanse of still water deep among the hills, reflecting black pine-woods and grey crags and sky now crimson with sunset”; according to him the lake was seven miles long and as many wide. In June 1888 Mr. Philippson found a broad clear lake of deep green colour; and in the autumn of 1895 I viewed with pleasure the same beautiful scene, though I would describe the colour of the water as greenish-blue rather than green. The lake has shrunk, however, a good deal since the middle of the century. A long stretch of level plain, covered with vineyards and maize-fields, now divides the ancient acropolis of Pheneus from the margin of the lake.


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

From the lower village of Phonia we ascend through the luxuriant gardens and lanes of the village to the ridge which bounds the plain of Pheneus on the north-west. On reaching it, a grand view westward of the mighty Mount Chelmos (the ancient Aroanius), with its bare summit and pine-clad lower slopes, bursts upon us. The mountain is seen rising above a deep basin-like valley, the bottom and sides of which are clothed with the richest vegetation. High up on the slope of the mountain to the north-west (Mount Crathis), among trees, is the delightfully-situated monastery of St. George. Our path leads down into the valley; on the slope grow white poplars and cypresses, and the ground is partly carpeted with ferns. From the bottom of the valley, which is chiefly occupied by a charming grove of plane-trees, we ascend through fine woods, mostly of oak, to 321the monastery of St. George. Still ascending after we have passed the monastery, we plunge again into a maze of beautiful woods and dense tangled thickets, threaded by rills of sparkling water. Vegetation of such rank luxuriance is rarely met with in Greece. On emerging from these delightful woodlands we traverse, always ascending, a stretch of bare bushy slopes which intervenes between the verdant glades below and the sombre pine-forests higher up. When these slopes are passed, we enter the pine-forest, through which our way now goes for several hours.

Few things can be more delightful than this ride through the pine-woods. It was a bright October day when I passed through them on my way to Solos; in many places the forest was carpeted with ferns, now turned yellow, and between the tree-trunks we could see across the valley the great slopes of Mount Cyllene, of a glowing purple in the intense sunlight. From time to time, too, we had views backward over the blue waters of the lake of Pheneus embosomed in its dark pine-clad mountains. Added to all this were the delicious odour of the pines and the freshness and exhilaration of the air at a height of about six thousand feet. But the culmination of beauty, so far as distant views go, is reached on the summit of the ridge, before we begin to descend the northern slope 322towards Zarouchla. On the one side, toward the south-east, we look back to the lake of Pheneus and the great mountains which encircle it, Mount Cyllene above all. On the other side, toward the north-west, we gaze down into the long narrow valley of the river Crathis, hemmed in on either hand by high mountains, above which soars the bare sharp peak of Mount Chelmos on the south, while at the farther end of the valley the view is closed by the blue Acarnanian mountains across the Gulf of Corinth.

From the ridge we now descend through the forest by a steep, winding, stony path, till we reach the bed of a stream flowing among romantic rocks and woods to join or rather to form, with other streams, the Crathis. In the bottom of the valley the richness of the vegetation even increases. We rode through thickets of planes, growing as great bushes or small trees, so dense that we had constantly to stoop to the horses’ necks to prevent our faces from being brushed by the branches. Other trees and plants, of which I did not know the names, grew in profusion around us. And above all this Eden-like verdure of woods and lanes and thickets shot up the huge sharp peaks of Chelmos and its sister mountains, blue and purple in the sunlight. In this paradise lies the village of Zarouchla. Beyond it the path 323follows the valley of the Crathis, keeping for the most part on the right bank of the stream. The valley is very narrow, and is enclosed by immense steep mountains, the sides of which, wherever it is practicable, are terraced for vines or other cultivation. The Crathis, when I saw it, was a clear rushing stream, easily fordable at any point. At first the path runs in the bottom of the valley through tangled thickets. Here and there, where the dale is wide enough to admit of it, a patch of maize is grown. But soon, as we proceed, the valley contracts too much to allow even of this, and so the path, often rough and difficult for horses, ascends and leads along the barer mountain-side at some height above the stream.

Thus advancing we at last arrive opposite to the mouth of the deep glen down which the Styx comes to join the Crathis on its western bank. Here we cross the Crathis and strike up the glen of the Styx. The scenery of the profound and narrow glen is almost oppressively grand. The mountains are immense and exceedingly massive; above they are bare and rocky; but their lower slopes are terraced so as to resemble gigantic staircases, and on the terraces are perched several very picturesque villages, the houses scattered at different levels and embowered among trees. At the upper end of the glen soars the mighty cone of Mount 324Chelmos. The grandeur of the scenery, which would otherwise be almost awful, is softened by the wonderful luxuriance of the vegetation in the glen. The horse-chestnut trees especially, with their enormous gnarled and knotted trunks, are a sight to see. The nightingales are said to be very common here and to sing from February to June. A long laborious ascent by a winding path brings us to the prosperous village of Solos on the eastern side of the glen. The villages on the opposite side of the glen, dispersed over the terraced slopes, form, with Solos, almost a single settlement. One of them probably occupies the site of the ancient Nonacris.

LXI. The Fall of the Styx.—The village of Solos stands, as we have seen, on the right bank of the Styx, near where that stream falls into the Crathis. But the source of the stream is at the head of the glen, some miles to the south, where the water tumbles or trickles, according to the season, over the smooth face of an immense perpendicular cliff, the top of which is not far below the conical summit of Mount Chelmos, a mountain nearly eight thousand feet high. The walk from Solos to the foot of the fall and back is exceedingly fatiguing, and very few travellers 325accomplish it; most of them are content to view the fall from a convenient distance through a telescope. For the first two miles or so the path is practicable for horses, and travellers who are resolved to make their way to the waterfall will do well to ride thus far and to have the horses waiting for them here on their return. It is also necessary to take a guide or guides. The path winds up the glen, keeping at first high on the right bank. The bed of the stream is here prettily wooded with poplars and other trees and is spanned by a bridge with a single high arch. For a considerable distance above the village the water of the Styx, as seen from above, appears to be of a clear light-blue colour, with a tinge of green. This colour, however, is only apparent, and is due to the slaty rocks, of a pale greenish-blue colour, among which the river flows. In reality the water is quite clear and colourless.

In about twenty minutes from leaving the village we come in sight of the cliff over which the water of the Styx descends. It is an immense cliff, absolutely perpendicular, a little to the left or east of the high conical summit of Mount Chelmos. The whole of this northern face of the mountain is in fact nothing but a sheer and in places even overhanging precipice of grey rock—by far the most awful line of precipices I have ever seen. The cliffs of 326Delphi, grand and imposing as they are, sink into insignificance compared with the prodigious wall of rock in which Mount Chelmos descends on the north into the glen of the Styx. The cliff down which the water comes is merely the eastern and lower end of this huge wall of rock. Seen from a distance it appears to be streaked perpendicularly with black and red. The black streak marks the line of the waterfall, to which it has given the modern name of Mavro-nero, ‘the Black Water.’ The colour is produced by a dark incrustation which spreads over the smooth face of the rock wherever it is washed by the falling water or by the spray into which the water dissolves before it reaches the ground. In the crevices of the cliffs to the right and left of the fall great patches of snow remain all the year through. I saw them and passed close to the largest of them on a warm autumn day, after the heat of summer and before the first snow of winter.

About twenty-five minutes after leaving Solos we cross the Styx by a ford, and henceforward the route lies on the left or western bank of the stream. Five minutes from the ford bring us to a mill picturesquely situated among trees, where a brook comes purling down a little glen wooded with willows and plane-trees. Just above the mill the Styx 327tumbles over a fine rocky lyn in a roaring cascade. Beyond this point the steep slopes of the hills on the opposite bank of the stream are covered with ferns, which when I rode up the glen were tinged with the gold of autumn. In front of us looms nearer and larger the cone of Mount Chelmos with its long line of precipices.

Ten or twelve minutes beyond the mill the horses are left and the traveller sets forward on foot. As we advance the glen grows wilder and more desolate, but for the first half-mile or so it is fairly open, the track keeps close to the bed of the stream, and there is no particular difficulty. A deep glen now joins the glen of the Styx from the south-east. Here we begin to ascend the slope and cross an artificial channel which brings down water to the mill. All pretence of a path now ceases, and henceforward till we reach the foot of the waterfall there is nothing for it but to scramble over rocks and to creep along slopes often so steep and precipitous that to find a foothold or handhold on them is not easy, and stretching away into such depths below that it is best not to look down them but to keep the eyes fixed on the ground at one’s feet. A stone set rolling down one of these slopes will be heard rumbling for a long time, and the sound is echoed and prolonged by the cliffs with such startling 328distinctness that at first it sounds as if a rock were coming thundering down upon the wayfarer from above. In the worst places the guides point out to the traveller where to plant his feet and hold him up if he begins to slip. Shrubs, tough grass, and here and there a stunted pine-tree give a welcome hold, but on the steepest slopes they are wanting. The last slope up to the foot of the cliff—a very long and steep declivity of loose gravel which gives way at every step—is most fatiguing. As I was struggling slowly up it with the guides, we heard the furious barking of dogs away up the mountains on the opposite side of the glen. The barking came nearer and nearer, and being echoed by the cliffs had a weird impressive sound that suited well with the scene, as if hell-hounds were baying at the strangers who dared to approach the infernal water. However, the dogs came no nearer than the foot of the slope up which we were clambering, and some shouts and volleys of stones served to keep them at bay.

At the head of this long slope of loose gravel we reach the foot of the waterfall. The water, as I have indicated, descends the smooth face of a huge cliff, said to be over six hundred feet high. It comes largely from the snow-fields on the summit of Mount Chelmos, and hence its volume varies with the season. When 329I visited the fall early in October, after the long drought of summer, the water merely trickled down the black streak on the face of the cliff, its presence being shown only by the glistening appearance which it communicated to the dark surface of the rock. At the foot of the cliff it formed a small stream, flowing down a very steep rocky bed into the bottom of the glen far below. The water was clear and not excessively cold. Even when, through the melting of the snows, the body of the water is considerable, it is said to be all dissolved into spray by falling through such a height and to reach the ground in the form of fine rain. Only the lower part of the cliff is visible from the foot of the waterfall, probably because the cliff overhangs somewhat. Certainly the cliffs a little to the right of the waterfall overhang considerably. With these enormous beetling crags of grey rock rising on three sides, the scene is one of sublime but wild and desolate grandeur. I have seen nothing to equal it anywhere. On the third side, looking down the glen and away over the nearer hills, we see the blue mountains of Acarnania across the Gulf of Corinth; my guide said these mountains were in Roumelia. In the face of the rock, a few yards to the right of the waterfall, are carved the names or initials of persons who have visited the spot, with the 330dates of their visits. Among the names is that of King Otho, with the date 1847.

LXII. The Valley of the Aroanius.—After traversing the upland plain of Soudena in a broad stony bed, which in autumn is dry, the river enters a defile at the south-eastern corner of the plain. Through this defile, formed on the east by the slopes of Mount Chelmos and on the west by the hills that close the plain of Soudena on the south, the Aroanius and the road to Clitor run side by side. At first the space between the hills is broad and level, dotted here and there with trees. Soon, however, the valley contracts and begins to descend, affording a beautiful prospect of range behind range of mountains in the south, shading away according to the distance from dark purple to pale blue. The path runs at first on the east bank of the river-bed, which was dry when I saw it early in October. But after being joined by a tributary, which comes down from Mount Chelmos in a deeply-excavated bed between slopes of red earth, the river attained the dimensions of a good-sized Scotch burn. Gradually as the mountains close in on either side the valley becomes a glen, through which the stream flows among plane-trees in a prettily-wooded 331bed. Here the path crosses to the right or west bank, which it follows henceforward. Farther on the glen contracts into a deep rocky gorge between steep mountains, but only to expand again and allow the river to flow, with a pleasing murmur, in its wooded bed through a stretch of cultivated ground. Thus gradually the valley opens out into the plain of Clitor. Vineyards and maize-fields occupy its lower reaches. It was the time of the vintage when I traversed this beautiful valley. Bunches of ripe grapes lay as offerings before the holy pictures in the little wayside shrines; we met strings of donkeys laden with swelling wine-skins or with panniers of grapes; and in the vineyards as we passed the peasants were at work pressing the purple clusters, with which they insisted on loading, for nothing, the aprons of our muleteers.

LXIII. The Springs of the Ladon.—The Ladon of Arcadia, the greatest of the tributaries of the Alpheus, rises in the middle of a valley on the western side of Mount Saita, the ancient Oryxis. The valley is of some breadth, and its bottom is furrowed on both sides by the dry beds of two watercourses. Between the two watercourses there rises in the midst of the valley a low hill of reddish 332rock, which ends on the south in a precipitous face some hundred and fifty feet high. At the foot of this red precipitous rock lies a large still pool of opaque dark-blue water, fringed by sharp-pointed grasses and other water plants, while a few stunted willows, holly-oaks, and plane-trees grow among the rocks beside it. This pool is the source of the Ladon, which rushes from it in a brawling impetuous stream of dark-blue water, its margin fringed with willows. The water enters the pool, not from the rocks above, but from a deep chasm in the earth which is only visible when, as sometimes happens, the source dries up. A peasant, who was beside the pool when I visited it in 1895, told my dragoman that three years before, after a violent earthquake, the water ceased to flow for three hours, and the chasm in the bottom of the pool was exposed, and fish were seen lying on the dry ground. After three hours the spring began to flow a little, and three days later there was a loud explosion and the water burst forth in immense volume. Mr. Philippson was informed on the spot of a like event which had taken place in 1880. Similar sudden eruptions of water at the source of the Ladon have been reported earlier in the present century and in antiquity. The stoppage of the water and its abrupt reappearance are doubtless due to the 333alternate obstruction and clearance of the subterranean passages by which the Lake of Pheneus is drained. For the ancients were right in supposing that the water which rises at the source of the Ladon comes directly underground from the Lake of Pheneus. It has the same deep greenish-blue tinge as the water of the lake, and is flat and tepid to the taste like standing water, not cold and fresh like the water of a mountain spring. The source is distant only about five miles from the lake, from which it is divided by the high range of Mount Saita. The hills on the opposite or western side of the valley are much lower; their slopes of reddish rock are partly covered with low green bushes. Numbers of peasant women may be seen washing clothes beside the pool in the usual Greek fashion; after soaking the clothes in water they beat them with a sort of broad paddle in a wooden trough.

LXIV. The Gorge of the Ladon.—The path from the village of Stretzova leads across bushy and rocky slopes, and then through bare stony fields to the northern bank of the river. Indian corn is here grown in the valley of the Ladon; wooded mountains rise from its southern bank, and higher mountains of 334imposing contour close the view on the south-east. At the point where we strike the river two springs gush from under rocks and form a pool shaded by fine spreading plane-trees, whence a stream flows into the Ladon after a course of a few yards. From this point to the bridge of Spathari, a ride of about five hours, the scenery is unsurpassed in Greece. The river here forces its way along the bottom of a profound gorge hemmed in by high wooded mountains, which in places descend in immense precipices, feathered with trees and bushes in their crevices, to the brink of the rapid stream. The narrow path runs high up on the right or northern side of the gorge, sometimes overhung by beetling crags, and affording views, now grand now almost appalling, down into the depths of the tremendous gorge, and across it to the high wooded slopes or precipices on the farther side.

The gorge may be said to be divided in two at the village of Divritsa, where the mountains recede a little from the river, and the scenery of the two parts is somewhat different. In the first half, ending a little above the village of Divritsa, the river sweeps round the base of high steep mountains, which on the south side of the gorge are wooded to their summits and broken every now and then by a profound glen, the sides of which are also 335wooded from top to bottom. The mountains on the north side are in general not wooded, but bare or overgrown with bushes. This would detract from the beauty of the scenery if the path ran on the south side of the gorge, from which the barer slopes of the mountains on the north would be visible. As it is, the path runs along the steep sides of the mountains on the north side, and the eye rests continually on the mighty wall of verdure that rises on the other side of the river. I had the good fortune to traverse this wonderful gorge on a bright October day, when the beautiful woods were just touched here and there with the first tints of autumn. Far below the river was seen and heard rushing along, now as a smooth swirling stream of opaque green water with a murmurous sound, now tumbling, with a mighty roar, down great rocks and boulders in sheets of greenish-white foam.

Below Divritsa the grandeur of the gorge increases to the point of being almost overpowering. Wooded mountains rising steeply from the river have now given place to enormous perpendicular or beetling crags tufted with trees and bushes in their crevices wherever a tree or a bush can find a footing, and overhanging the ravine till there is hardly room to pass under them, and they seem as if they would shut out the sky and meet above the 336river. Add to this that the path is narrow and runs high above the stream along the brink of precipices where a slip or a stumble of the horse might precipitate his rider into the dreadful depths below. We seem therefore to breathe more freely when, a little above the bridge of Spathari, we at last issue from the gorge and see a great free expanse of sky above us, lower hills, and the river winding between them through woodland scenery of a pretty but commonplace type.

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

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

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

All round the crest of the ridge occupied by the town are the remains of an ancient wall, 338parts of it being intermixed with the yards, walls, and foundations of private houses. In some places there are several courses of masonry standing. The style of masonry is rectangular at the east, but polygonal at the west end of the ridge. The blocks at the latter end are enormous. Here too are the foundations of an imposing edifice, turned east and west, and built of fine squared blocks. It was doubtless a temple. Some ancient foundations may also be seen among the terraced vineyards on the southern slope of the hill.

LXVII. Gortys.—On the right bank of the Gortynius, or river of Dimitsana, about two and a half miles from its junction with the Alpheus, are the ruins of Gortys. They occupy the fairly spacious summit of a hill which falls away on the east in lofty precipices to the river. A visit to them may be most conveniently paid from Karytaena. From this picturesque town, perched high on the right or eastern bank of the Alpheus, we descend northward by a very rugged and stony path into the deep glen of the Alpheus. Steep arid mountains enclose the glen, and behind us towers the imposing rock of Karytaena with its ruined mediaeval castle. In about half an hour we reach the junction of the Gortynius river with 339the Alpheus. We now quit the glen of the Alpheus and follow that of the Gortynius river in a north-easterly direction, keeping at first along the left bank of the stream. The glen, though shut in by barren stony mountains, is rather less gloomy and forbidding than the glen of the Alpheus which we have left. In less than half an hour we descend into the bed of the Gortynius, a rushing stream of clear bluish-green water, and cross it by a stone bridge which is carried on a high pointed arch and paved, in the usual fashion of such bridges in Greece, with cobbles of the most agonising shapes and sizes. Just above the bridge the glen deepens and narrows into a ravine with steep rocky sides, and the view looking up it, with the old high-arched bridge in the foreground and the rushing stream of green water below, is highly picturesque. I drank of the water here and found it by no means cold, in spite of what Pausanias says as to the exceeding coldness of the water of the Gortynius. But it was hot autumn weather when I passed this way. Pausanias may have seen the river in winter or spring, when its current was chilled by ice or melting snow. From the bridge a steep and rugged path ascends the right or western side of the glen. We follow it and continue to ride up hill and down dale along the side of the barren mountains, with the river 340rolling along in the bottom of the deep ravine on our right. Half-way up the precipices which rise on this side of the ravine hangs a little red-roofed monastery. In about three-quarters of an hour from crossing the bridge we reach the ruins of Gortys.

The ruins, as we have seen, occupy the summit of a hill which overhangs the right or western bank of the Gortynius river. At its eastern extremity the hill falls down in sheer precipices of great height into the glen of the river. It is in looking down these immense precipices that we appreciate the height of the hill. On the other hand, seen from the south, as you approach it from Karytaena, the hill presents the appearance merely of a gently-swelling down. The reason of this is that from the bridge over the river we have been gradually rising, and that the ground immediately to the south of Gortys is itself a hill as high as the hill of Gortys, from which it is divided only by a slight hollow now chiefly occupied with vineyards. But when we have ascended what appears to be the gentle eminence occupied by the ruins of Gortys we see that the hill descends in a long slope north-eastward to the glen of the Gortynius river, which curves round the hill in a great bend on the north-east and east. The summit of the hill extends in the form of a rather narrow 341ridge from south-east to north-west, gradually rising to its highest point on the north-west. Towards this end the hill is naturally defended on the side of the south by masses of rugged rocks, of which the ancient engineers took advantage, interposing pieces of walls in the intervals between the rocks. In the crannies of the rocks bushes have now rooted themselves.

The long slope of the hill down to the glen of the Gortynius on the north-east is bare and stony. Stony and barren, too, are the mountains that surround Gortys on all sides. In a grey cold light or under a cloudy sky they would be exceedingly bleak and dreary; but under the warm sunshine of Greece they are only bare and desolate. The most pleasing view is down into the glen of the Gortynius on the north-east, where the river emerges from a narrow defile between high precipices, above which the mountains rise on both sides. At the mouth of the defile there is a house or two among trees. In spite of its height above the river, Gortys lies essentially in a basin shut in on all sides by mountains. The summer heat here must consequently be very great. Even in October, when I visited the place, though a fresh breeze was blowing, it was drowsily hot among the ruins. The sweet smell of the thyme, the tinkle of sheep-bells, the barking of dogs, and the cries of shepherds in the distance 342seemed to enhance the feeling of summer and to invite to slumber in the shade. But it was pleasant and almost cooling to hear the roar of the river, and to see its blue-green water and greenish-white foam away down in the glen.

LXVIII. The Plain of Megalopolis.—Megalopolis stood in the great western plain of Arcadia, which, like the great eastern plain of Mantinea and Tegea, extends in a direction from north to south. In natural beauty the plain of Megalopolis is far superior to its eastern neighbour. The latter is a bare monotonous flat, unrelieved by trees or rivers, and enclosed by barren mountains, so that its general aspect is somewhat dreary and depressing; only towards its northern end do the mountains rise in grander masses and with more picturesque outlines. The plain of Megalopolis, on the other hand, is surrounded by mountains of fine and varied outlines, some of the slopes of which are clothed with wood, and the surface of the plain itself is diversified with copses and undulating downs and hillocks, refreshed by numerous streams shaded with plane-trees, and watered by the broad though shallow stream of the Alpheus winding through its midst. The scenery, in contrast to that of the eastern plain, is eminently bright, smiling, 343and cheerful. It is, perhaps, seen at its best after rain on a fine morning in early summer. The vegetation is then green, the air pellucid, the outlines of the environing mountains are sharp and clear, and their tints vary from deep purple to lilac.

LXIX. The Cave of the Black Demeter.—The cave of the Black Demeter has been identified with a small cavern in the glen of the Neda, about an hour’s walk to the west of Phigalia. The place is known in the neighbourhood as the stomion tes Panagias or Gully of the Virgin. To reach the cavern it is necessary to descend into the ravine by a steep and narrow path which affords very little foothold and overhangs depths which might turn a weak head. At the awkward places, however, it is generally possible to hold on to bushes or rocks with the hands. Thus we descend to the bed of the river, which here rushes roaring along at the bottom of the narrow wooded ravine, the precipitous sides of which tower up on either hand to an immense height. The cave is situated in the face of a prodigious cliff on the north side of the ravine, about a hundred feet or so above the bed of the river, from which it is accessible only by a narrow and difficult footpath. The ravine at this point sweeps round 344in a sharp curve, and the cavern is placed just at the elbow of the bend. On the opposite side of the lyn, some fifty feet or so away, a great crag, its sides green with grass and trees wherever they can find a footing, soars up to a height about as far above the cavern as the cavern is above the stream. Hills close the view both up and down the glen; those at the upper end are high, steep, and wooded.

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

345What is called the Gully of the Virgin is a tunnel, some hundred yards long, formed of fallen rocks and earth, through which the Neda rushes in the ravine below the cavern. In winter the swollen stream flows over the roof of the tunnel, but in summer, when the river is low, you may walk through the tunnel and admire the stalactites which hang from its roof.

LXX. The Temple of Apollo At Bassae.—This temple, by far the best preserved of all ancient temples in Peloponnese, stands in a strikingly wild and secluded situation at a height of nearly four thousand feet above the sea, with a wide prospect southward to the distant mountains of Messenia and Laconia. The ground on which the temple is built is a narrow platform on the southern side of a hill, the Mount Cotilius of the ancients. The rocky slopes of this hill, rising rapidly behind the temple, shut out all distant views on the north and north-east. But to the south the slope descends gradually towards the valley of the Neda. Due south, through a dip in the hills, is seen the apparently flat-topped summit of Ithome. To the south-east, through another gap, appears the range of Taygetus, with its beautiful outlines and sharp snowy peaks. In the nearer foreground, between Ithome and 346Taygetus, rises Mount Ira, the last stronghold of the Messenian race in its struggle for freedom with Sparta. To the east are bare rough hills, dotted with oak-trees, the western spurs of Mount Lycaeus, while farther to the south appears the high round-topped Tetrasi, perhaps the Nomian mountains of the ancients. The sea is not visible, but it may be seen by ascending the slope at the back of the temple. The bleak desolate mountains form a striking background to the solitary temple which, built of the same cold grey limestone which composes the surrounding rocks, tends to deepen rather than relieve the melancholy of the scene, the ruined fane witnessing silently to the transitoriness of human greatness and the vanity of human faith.

LXXI. The Temple of Artemis at Aulis.—From the head of the Bay of Aulis a small valley, sloping gently upwards, runs inland between hills for something over a mile. It is watered by a brook which falls into the bay. About a mile up the valley from the shore is a ruined Byzantine chapel of St. Nicholas, which is supposed to occupy the site of the temple of Artemis, mentioned by Pausanias, where Iphigenia was led to the altar to be sacrificed before the Greek fleet set sail 347for Troy. The scene, if it indeed be so, of this famous event in Greek legend was somewhat bleak and cheerless as I saw it under a leaden sky on a dull November afternoon. The ruined chapel, with its fallen dome and roofless walls, had a forlorn air, standing solitary in a bare, stony, ploughed field on the slope of the low hills that enclose the little valley on the south. Similar hills—low, stony, and treeless—with higher hills rising above them on the north and west, shut in the valley on all sides except the east, where appeared, of a pale blue-green colour under the wintry sky, a bit of the Bay of Aulis, beyond it the open channel of the Euripus, and still farther off, bathed in a gloomy purple, the coast and mountains of Euboea. Bare ploughed fields, with a small tree dotted here and there among them, occupied all the bottom of the valley, and formed the foreground of the melancholy scene. Yet bare fields, stony hills, leaden sky, cold steely sea, and purple mountains glooming in the distance, seemed a fitting framework for the ruined shrine, with its memories of departed glory.

LXXII. Glaucus’s Leap.—Immediately beyond the flat-topped hillock which probably marks the site of Salganeus, the plain 348comes abruptly to an end and the path runs along the steep, bushy, but not precipitous slope of Mount Messapius at some height above the sea, which on a bright sunshiny day is of a beautiful green colour, clear as crystal and dappled with patches of purple. Thus proceeding along the steep mountain-side for about a mile we find ourselves opposite a pretty rocky island, wooded with pines, which lies a little way off the shore. On the island is a ruin which, so far as I could judge by the eye from the shore, seemed to be mediaeval or modern. Hereabouts, too, a row of large stones may be observed lying at the bottom of the clear water, but they appear to be boulders rather than hewn stones. Farther on a high cliff, which seen from the east reminds one of the Lorelei Rock on the Rhine, rises close to the shore. The path here descends and runs along the narrow beach at the foot of the cliff, from which a very copious spring of water rushes into the sea. This high cliff is probably what the ancients called Glaucus’s Leap. On the morning when I passed it, the clear, sunlit, greenish-blue water at its foot looked very inviting; one could fancy the sea-god taking his plunge into its cool delicious depths. Beyond the cliff the path again runs along the foot of the long slope, covered with lentisk and holly-oak bushes, which descends from the high, 349bold, pointed summit of Mount Messapius in an unbroken sweep to the sea.

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

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

In the first place, not only are the emissaries subject to a gradual and regular process of change, their passages being slowly clogged and 350their mouths choked up by the alluvial deposits which in the course of ages raise the bed of the lake; but they are also exposed to sudden and incalculable changes, wrought by earthquakes, landslips, floating logs, and so on, which may in a few minutes either widen the passages or block them up altogether. In the second place, while these changes, whether gradual or sudden, affect the outflow of the water, others not less marked influence its inflow. For the rainfall, on which the inflow ultimately depends, varies not only with the year but with the season. In the sub-tropical climate of the Mediterranean rain hardly falls in summer, and as a consequence the streams in that season either flow with diminished volume or dry up entirely.

All these various causes combine to produce secular and periodic as well as irregular and unforeseen variations in the level of lakes like the Copaic mere. In no lake, perhaps, have the annual changes been more regular and marked than in the Copaic; for while in winter it was a reedy mere, the haunt of thousands of wild fowl, in summer it was a more or less marshy plain where cattle browsed and crops were sown and reaped. So well recognised were these vicissitudes of the seasons that places on the bank of the lake such as Orchomenus, Lebadea, and Copae had summer roads and winter roads by which they communicated with 351each other, the winter roads following the sides of the hills, while the summer roads struck across the plain. With the setting in of the heavy autumn rains in November the lake began to rise and reached its greatest depth in February or March, by which time the mouths of the emissaries were completely submerged and betrayed their existence only by swirls on the surface of the mere. Yet even then the lake presented to the eye anything but an unbroken sheet of water. Viewed from a height such as the acropolis of Orchomenus it appeared as an immense fen, of a vivid green colour, stretching away for miles and miles, overgrown with sedge, reeds, and canes, through which the river Cephisus or Melas might be seen sluggishly oozing, while here and there a gleam of sunlit water, especially towards the north-east corner of the mere, directed the eye to what looked like ponds in the vast green swamp. Bare grey mountains rising on the north and east, and the beautiful wooded slopes of Helicon on the south, bounded the fen. In spring the water began to sink. Isolated brown patches, where no reeds grew, were the first to show as islands in the mere; and as the season advanced they expanded more and more till they met. By the middle of summer great stretches, especially in the middle and at the edges, were bare. In the higher parts the fat alluvial soil left by the 352retiring waters was sown by the peasants and produced crops of corn, rice, and cotton; while the lower parts, overgrown by rank grass and reeds, were grazed by herds of cattle and swine. In the deepest places of all the water often stagnated the whole summer, though there were years when it retreated even from these, leaving behind it only a bog or perhaps a stretch of white clayey soil, perfectly dry, which the summer heat seamed with a network of minute cracks and fissures. By the end of August the greater part of the basin was generally dry, though the water did not reach its lowest point till October. At that time what had lately been a fen was only a great brown expanse, broken here and there by a patch of green marsh, where reeds and other water plants grew. In November the lake began to fill again fast.

Such was the ordinary annual cycle of changes in the Copaic Lake in modern times, and we have no reason to suppose that it was essentially different in antiquity. But at all times the water of the lake has been liable to be raised above or depressed below its customary level by unusually heavy or scanty rainfall in winter or by the accidental clogging or opening of the chasms. As we read in ancient authors of drowned cities on the margin of the lake, so a modern traveller tells of villagers 353forced to flee before the rising flood, and of vineyards and corn-fields seen under water.

The plan of draining the Copaic Lake, which has been successfully accomplished within the last few years, was conceived and apparently executed at a very remote time in antiquity. Strabo reports a tradition that the whole basin of the lake had at one time been drained and cultivated by the people of Orchomenus, and this tradition has been strikingly confirmed by the recent discovery of a complete and very ancient system of drainage works in the bed of the lake. The discovery was made by the engineers charged with the execution of the modern drainage works. As described by them, the ancient works were composed of an ingenious combination of dykes and canals, which completely encircled the lake and, receiving the waters of the streams which flowed into it on the west and south, conducted them to the chasms on the east and north-east banks. Where the canal skirted closely the precipitous rocky shore of the lake, a single dyke or embankment sufficed, the water being led between the dyke and the shore. But where the canal had to cross a bay, or where the bank of the lake was not high and steep enough to serve as one side of the canal, two parallel dykes were constructed and the water flowed between them. The remains of these ancient drainage works in 354the bed of the lake are of two sorts. In the first place we see them as low broad mounds, about five feet high and fifty to sixty yards wide, stretching for long distances across the plain, either in an unbroken line or with occasional gaps. Sometimes it is a single mound that we see, sometimes two parallel mounds at a short distance from each other. And between the two parallel mounds or beside the single one a long shallow depression marks the line of the ancient canal. These long, low, broad mounds are clearly the remains of the dykes which formerly enclosed the canals, and which have been gradually reduced to their present level by the ceaseless wash of the waters in the course of ages. In the second place, the line of the ancient canals may be traced by the walls built of great polygonal blocks which in many places support and case the inner side of the dykes. In some places these walls are well preserved, but in others nothing of them remains but a conspicuous line of white stones running for miles through the otherwise stoneless plain.

When the system of drainage by canals which has just been described was in full operation the basin of the Copaic Lake must have been nearly dry. But as we have no ground to suppose that in the historical period of antiquity the lake was ever drained, it would seem that we must refer these ancient drainage 355works to the prehistoric ages. Now Strabo, as we have seen, has preserved a tradition that the bed of the lake was at one time drained and cultivated by the people of Orchomenus. We shall therefore hardly err in ascribing to the Minyans of Orchomenus—the Dutchmen of antiquity—the extensive system of dykes and canals by which the vast plain was reclaimed from the waters and converted into waving corn-fields and smiling vineyards, which poured wealth into the coffers of the burghers. This was the golden age of Orchomenus, when its riches vied with the treasures of Delphi and the wealth of Egyptian Thebes.

LXXV. The Great Katavothra.—To reach Larymna from the sanctuary of Apollo on Mount Ptous, we quit the trough or little mountain-girdled valley in which the remains of the sanctuary are to be seen and ascend the ridge that bounds it on the north-west, forming a saddle between Mount Tsoukourieli and Mount Megalo Vouno. From the summit of the ridge or saddle we take a last look backwards at the vale of Apollo with its ruined sanctuary and the beautiful Lake Likeri, with its winding shores, beyond and below it to the south; then turning northwards we descend somewhat steeply a narrow glen with high bushy sides, which leads 356us straight down to the north-eastern corner of the great Copaic plain. Across this corner of the plain, which until a few years ago was a marsh or even a lake for many months of the year, but is now under cultivation, we ride to the Great Katavothra, the largest of the natural chasms in the line of cliffs through which the water of the Copaic Lake found its way to the sea. It is a great cave with a high-arched roof opening in the face of a cliff of creamy white limestone. Unlike most of the other chasms or emissaries, it is still in use; the river Melas (the modern Mavropotamos or Black River), after traversing all the northern edge of the Copaic plain in a canal-like bed, pours its water in a steady stream into the cave and vanishes in the depths. A little way inward from the mouth of the cave there is an opening in the roof. When the sunshine streams down through this aperture, lighting up the back of the gloomy cavern with its hanging rocky roof and hurrying river, the effect is very picturesque; it is like a fairy grotto, and we could almost fancy that we stood

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

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


LXXVI. The Vale of the Muses.—The grove of the Muses lay at the northern foot of Mount Helicon in a valley which is traversed by a stream flowing from west to east. Towards its western end the valley contracts, being hemmed in between the steep, lofty, and wooded slopes of Helicon on the south and another rugged but less lofty mountain on the north. The saddle which joins the two mountains bounds the Vale of the Muses on the west. A fine view of the valley is to be had from a ruined mediaeval tower which surmounts a rocky hill of no great height on the northern side of the vale, about midway between Ascra and the village of Palaeo-Panagia. Across the valley to the south rise the steep slopes of Helicon, rocky below and wooded with pines above. In a glen at the foot of these great declivities are seen the trees that hide the secluded monastery of St. Nicholas, below which dark myrtle-bushes extend far down the slope. At the head of the valley in the west the serrated top of Helicon appears foreshortened, and a little on this side of the highest point the monastery of Zagara peeps out, delightfully situated on a woody slope that falls away into the sequestered dale where stand the two villages also called Zagara. To the left of the summit the snowy top of Parnassus just shows itself in the distance. In the nearer foreground, on the hither side of the valley, the conical hill of Ascra, 358crowned with its ruined tower, stands out boldly. Vineyards cover the gently-swelling hills on the northern side of the vale, and down the middle of it the brook Archontitza (probably the ancient Termesus or Permessus), fed by many springs, flows through fields of maize and corn.

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


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

The greater part of the water of the Hercyna rises in the profound gorge immediately behind the town. Here, at the foot of the great 360precipice which is surmounted by the ruins of the castle, a cold spring called Kryo (‘cold’) issues from the rocks and is conducted into a small well-house. Some niches for holding votive offerings are cut in the face of the cliff above it. The largest of these cuttings is a square chamber hewn out of the rock, about six feet above the ground. Right and left, in the sides of the chamber, are benches cut in the rock. In this cool retreat the Turkish governor of Lebadea used to smoke his pipe in the heat of the day. On the opposite side of the ravine, a few paces off, near some plane-trees, several springs of clear but lukewarm water rush turbulently from the ground, and, united with the water of the Kryo, form the Hercyna. They turn a cotton-mill close to the spot where they rise. That some of these springs are the waters of Memory and Forgetfulness of which all who would consult Trophonius had to drink before descending into the oracular pit, is highly probable; but we have no means of identifying these mystic waters. An alteration in the flow of one of the springs is known to have occurred within the nineteenth century; and many such changes may have taken place since antiquity. The general features of the spot, however, have probably changed but little, and they are well fitted to impress the imagination. The many springs gurgling strongly from the 361ground, the verdant plane-trees, the caverned rocks, the great precipices soaring on three sides of us and overhung on the west by the ruins of the mediaeval castle, make up a scene which once seen is not easily forgotten. But the ravine of which this is after all only the mouth does not end here. Its deep, narrow, stony bed, sometimes dry, sometimes traversed by a raging torrent, winds far into the heart of the mountains, shut in on either hand like a cañon by tremendous crags. If you follow it upwards for some miles, the country begins to open up and you find yourself in bleak and desolate highlands. A profound silence reigns, broken only by the cry of a water-ouzel beside the torrent or the screaming of hawks far up the cliffs.

LXXIX. The Boeotian Orchomenus.—Orchomenus, one of the oldest and most famous cities in Greece, occupied the eastern extremity of a sharply-marked chain of hills—the Mount Acontium (‘javelin’) of the ancients—which extends east and west for about six miles, bounding the broad level plain of the Cephisus on the north. Beginning nearly opposite to Chaeronea, which lies at the foot of the hills on the southern side of the plain, the ridge rises gradually to a considerable height, runs eastward at this level for some miles, and 362then slopes down into the Copaic plain. From beginning to end it is the stoniest, barest, barrenest, and most forbidding chain of hills that can well be conceived; looking up at it you wonder if the foot of man has ever trodden these rugged and pathless solitudes. Close to the southern base of these desolate hills the Cephisus—a fairly broad and deep stream of turbid whitish water—flows between low banks fringed with tall willows; ducks disport themselves on its surface, and pigs wallow in the mire on its banks. According as the weather has been dry or rainy, the current is sluggish or rapid. Riding beside it under the willows on a grey November day you might fancy yourself on the banks of an English Ouse or Avon, if the cotton-fields by the river-side and the towering ridge of naked rock beyond did not remind you that you are in a foreign land.

At its eastern end the ridge descends in a long and gentle slope, expanding fan-like as it descends to the Copaic plain. This long slope was the site of Orchomenus. The position is one of great natural strength. On the south and north it is protected by the steep and rugged sides of the ridge which form, as it were, a first line of defence. At the foot of these declivities the waters of the Cephisus on the south and of the Melas on the north constitute a second line of defence; while on the east, 363where the descent to the plain is gradual, the site was till lately rendered secure by the great Copaic swamp which advanced to within a few hundred yards of the end of the slope. The ancient walls, of which considerable remains exist, started from the broad eastern foot of the hill, and followed its northern and southern brows upwards, converging more and more as they rose till at the upper end of the slope they were within about thirty yards of each other. Here at the head of the slope the walls end at the foot of a cliff which rises like a wall to a considerable height. Its small summit, reached by a long, steep, and narrow staircase hewn out of the rock, was the ancient acropolis. Yet this cliff, which presents such an imposing appearance on the east, is separated on the west only by a shallow depression of a few feet from the long rugged ridge of the hills. This, therefore, was the weak point in the circuit; and art had to be called in to supply the want of a natural defence. Accordingly the little citadel, protected by precipices on the east and north, was fortified on the west and south by immense walls of massive masonry, the remains of which are amongst the finest specimens of ancient Greek fortification in existence. The fortress thus formed is so small that it resembles a castle rather than an acropolis of the ordinary Greek type. But the splendid style of the 364masonry leaves no room to doubt that it is a Greek fortress of the very best period, probably of the fourth century B.C.—the golden age of Greek military engineering.

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

LXXXI. Panopeus.—The space enclosed by the fortification walls and by the rocky crests shows but few signs of habitation. On the highest point of the hill, among some holly-oaks, 365are the scanty tumble-down ruins of a mediaeval tower, built in the usual way of small stones with bricks and mortar in the chinks. A little lower down, and farther to the east, is a small chapel with remains of faded paintings on the walls. Scattered about the hill, especially round the chapel, is a good deal of broken pottery. A fine grove of beautiful holly-oaks now shades part of the summit, growing on a grassy slope amid low plants and shrubs. It is pleasant in the heat of the day to rest in the shade of these trees, to smell the wild thyme which grows abundantly on the hill, and to enjoy the distant prospects. To the north, across the broad Chaeronean plain, we look straight into the defile through which the Cephisus flows from Phocis into Boeotia; at the northern end of the defile the low hill is visible on which are the scanty ruins of Parapotamii. To the west Parnassus lifts his mighty head at no great distance from us, his middle slopes darkened by pine-forests that look like the shadows of clouds resting on the mountain-side.

LXXXII. Near Hyampolis.—From the ledge of rocks which bounds the plateau on the south, near a ruined chapel, a spring of beautifully clear water gushes forth. Some ancient blocks lie tumbled about the spring, and a tall 366poplar-tree grows opposite it. The day was very hot when I passed it on my way to and from the ruins of Hyampolis; but the leaves of the poplar rustled in the breeze, and the water flowed from under the rocks with a soothing murmur. Parnassus loomed dim in the distance through a haze of heat. On my return from the ruins I found a shepherd boy at the spring who offered to share his bread with me. This picturesque spot, on which a poet of the Anthology might have written an epigram, is perhaps the site of the temple of Artemis mentioned by Pausanias.

LXXXIII. Tithorea.—The site of Tithorea, first identified by Clarke in 1801, is occupied by the modern village of Velitsa, which stands very picturesquely among trees on the north-eastern slopes of Parnassus, overlooking the broad valley of the Cephisus. About two-thirds of the village are enclosed within the ancient ivy-mantled walls, which rank with those of Messene and Eleutherae as among the finest existing specimens of Greek fortifications. At the back of the village to the south rises a huge mountainous cliff of grey rock, its ledges tufted with pines. Between the foot of this great cliff and the village there intervenes a very steep slope, mostly overgrown 367with holly-oak bushes. On the east the village as well as the site of the ancient city is bounded by a very deep rocky ravine, which winds southward into the heart of the mountains. At the bottom of the ravine a torrent flows from Parnassus over a broad gravelly bed to join the Cephisus in the plain below. This torrent, now called Kakorevma or Evil Stream, is the ancient Cachales. In the time of Pausanias, the townspeople, he tells us, had to fetch their water in buckets from the depths of the lyn. Nowadays a portion of the water of the stream is diverted higher up the glen and brought in a conduit to the village, where it turns two mills and waters the gardens and orchards. As Tithorea was thus naturally defended on two sides, namely by the great cliff on the south and by the deep ravine on the east, it needed walls on two sides only, the west and the north. These walls, starting from the foot of the cliff, first descend the steep slope in a straight line above the village, then follow the gentler slope within the village, still in a direction due north, till they turn round at an obtuse angle and run eastward to the brink of the ravine. Here they stop. Along the edge of the ravine a number of ancient blocks may be observed, but whether they are the remains of an ancient fortification wall is not clear. Perhaps the deep precipitous side of the ravine 368may have been considered a sufficient defence by itself. The walls so far as they exist are finely and solidly built of regular ashlar masonry, and are flanked by massive square towers constructed in the same style. Walls and towers are best preserved in the lower ground among the houses and gardens of the village, but on the steep slope above the village the remains are also considerable.

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

The remains of the walls in the village, on the other hand, can be examined without discomfort, and they better repay study. Here on the north and north-west the wall, flanked by square towers, is standing in an unbroken line for a considerable distance. As a whole, the masonry of the walls and towers is splendid, massive, and almost quite regular, without being 369absolutely so. The beauty of these venerable walls is much enhanced by the thick green veil of ivy and other creepers which clothes their sides and droops in graceful festoons from their summits. Such a mantle of clinging verdure is very rare in Greece, where the ancient temples and fortresses, unlike the ivy-clad abbeys and castles of England, remain for the most part to this day as bare as when they were built, without even a patch of moss to soften their hard outlines and to tell of the lapse of ages.

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

LXXXIV. From Amphissa to Gravia.—The smiling verdure of Amphissa and its neighbourhood forms a striking contrast to the stern, arid, and rocky scenery of Delphi, which is only ten miles off. At Amphissa, indeed, we are on the borders of almost Swiss scenery. For the fir-clad and torrent-rent mountains of Locris and Doris, which rise to the north-west, are the loftiest in the present kingdom of 370Greece. Two of the peaks exceed eight thousand feet in height. A fine specimen of this Alpine scenery may be obtained by following the mule-path which leads north from Amphissa over the mountains to the village of Gravia in the ancient canton of Doris. With the exception of the village of Topolia, which we leave on the right, and here and there a small farm far up on the mountain-side, not a human dwelling is to be seen. At first the path ascends the western declivities of Parnassus. Looking down to the left we see below us a narrow dale, where in early summer the course of the stream, now nearly dried up, is marked by the red oleander blossoms. Beyond the dale Mount Kiano rears its snowy head, the loftiest mountain in Greece; and behind it the long and almost equally lofty ridge of Vardousia is seen stretching north and south. The finest point on the route is at a clear spring which bubbles up at the top of the pass, just where the road surmounts the ridge that joins Parnassus to the mountains of Locris. Hitherto we have been ascending from the south; from this point the road begins to descend to the north. The valley now contracts. The snowy peaks in the west disappear, but their lower spurs form, with the western declivities of Parnassus, a narrow pass, down which a brook babbles over rocks and 371stones, its banks overhung with plane-trees. Pines and oaks of various kinds contrast pleasantly with the steep cliffs and bushy slopes; and now and then we come to a little grassy glade or a patch of corn. “It is,” says the Swiss traveller Vischer, whose description of the road I have borrowed, “almost a Swiss region, and I might have fancied myself transported to my native land, if the holly-oaks and oriental plane-trees had not reminded me that I was in the south.” Thus descending by a steep and rugged path we reach the village of Gravia at the northern end of the pass, in five or six hours from Amphissa.

LXXXV. Daulis.—The situation of ancient Daulis is exceedingly beautiful. It occupied the broad but somewhat uneven summit of a fine massive hill, which rises abruptly from the glens at the eastern foot of Parnassus. Everywhere the sides of the hill—which in the grandeur of its outlines deserves almost to rank as a mountain—are high and steep, except at a single point on the west where a narrow ridge connects it with the main mass of Parnassus. On the south the hill falls away in sheer and lofty precipices of grey rock into a deep romantic glen, the sides of which, where they are not precipitous, are mantled 372with dark green shrubbery. Beyond the ridge to the west soar the immense grey precipitous slopes of Parnassus, mottled here and there with dark pines. High up on its side is seen a white monastery at the mouth of a dark gorge, through which a path ascends to the summit. In the hollow between the hill of Daulis and these great slopes, a mill nestles picturesquely among trees; the water is led to it in a mill-race. Northward the ruined walls of Daulis, here thickly overgrown with ivy and holly-oak, look across a deep dell to the pretty village of Davlia, embowered among trees and gardens on the opposite hill-side. The descent to the valley on this side is steep and bushy, but not precipitous, except where a line of rocks runs obliquely up it on the north-west. Here and there in the valley the last slopes of the hill are terraced and planted with vines. At the eastern foot of the hill begins the great plain—the scene of so many famous battles—which stretches away for miles past the ruins of Panopeus and Chaeronea until at Orchomenus it melts into the still vaster expanse of the Copaic plain. To the south-east, beyond an intervening range of low hills, appears the sharp outline of Helicon. In this direction, at the southern end of the narrow valley which divides these low hills from the mighty steeps of Parnassus, is the famous Cleft Way, where 373Oedipus is said to have done the dark deed that was the beginning of all his woes.

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

LXXXVI. The Cleft Way.—About five miles to the south-west of Daulis the road, after skirting the eastern foot of the mighty mass of Mount Parnassus, turns sharply to the west and begins to ascend through the long, narrow, and profound valley which leads to Delphi. Just at the point where the road turns westward 374and before it begins the long ascent it is joined from the south-east by the direct road from Lebadea and Thebes. The meeting of the three roads—the road from Daulis, the road from Delphi, and the road from Thebes—is the Cleft Way or Triple Road, the scene of the legendary murder of Laius by Oedipus. It is now known as the Cross Road of Megas, after the gallant Johannes Megas, who met his death here in July 1856, while exterminating a band of brigands with a small troop of soldiers. His monument, on a rock at the meeting of the roads, bears a few verses in modern Greek. Apart from any legendary associations the scene is one of the wildest and grandest in Greece, recalling in its general features, though on a vastly greater scale, the mouth of Glencoe. On both sides of the valley the mountains tower abruptly in huge precipices; the cliffs of Parnassus on the northern side of the valley are truly sublime. Not a trace of human habitation is to be seen. All is desolation and silence. A more fitting spot could hardly be found for the scene of a memorable tragedy.

LXXXVII. Delphi.—The site of Delphi, till lately occupied by the modern village of Kastri, is in the highest degree striking and impressive. The city lay at the southern foot 375of the tremendous cliffs of Parnassus, which form a sheer wall of rock, about eight hundred feet high. Over these frightful precipices Philomelus drove some of the defeated Locrians. Just at the angle where this vast wall of rock bends round towards the south it is rent from top to bottom by a deep and gloomy gorge, some twenty feet wide, where there is a fine echo. Facing each other across this narrow chasm rise two stupendous cliffs, whose peaked summits tower considerably above the rest of the line of cliffs. They are nearly perpendicular in front, and perfectly so where they fall sheer down into the gorge. The eastern of the two cliffs was called Hyampia in antiquity; from its top Aesop is said to have been hurled by the Delphians. It has been suggested, though perhaps without sufficient reason, that when the later writers of antiquity, especially the Roman poets, speak of the two summits of Parnassus, they are really referring to these two cliffs. In point of fact the cliffs are far indeed from being near the summit of Parnassus; but seen from Delphi they completely hide the higher slopes of the mountain. In winter or wet weather a torrent comes foaming down the gorge in a cascade about two hundred feet high, bringing down the water from the higher slopes of the mountain. At the mouth of the gorge, under the eastern cliff, is the rock-cut basin of the perennial Castalian 376spring, a few paces above the highway. The water from the spring joins the stream from the gorge, which, after passing over the road, plunges into a deep rocky lyn or glen, which it has scooped out for itself in the steep side of the mountain. Down this glen the stream descends to join the Plistus, which flows along the bottom of the Delphic valley from east to west, at a great depth below the town.

From the cliffs at the back of Delphi the ground slopes away so steeply to the bed of the Plistus that it is only by means of a succession of artificial terraces, rising in tiers above each other, that the soil can be cultivated and made fit for habitation. There are about thirty of these terraces, supported by stone walls, mostly of polygonal masonry. The sanctuary of Apollo occupies only the five or six highest terraces at the foot of the cliffs, on the western side of the Castalian gorge. So high does it stand above the bottom of the valley that twenty minutes are needed to descend the steep terraced slope to the bed of the Plistus. Corn is grown on the terraces below the sanctuary; and the slopes on the eastern side of the Castalian gorge are wooded with fine olive and mulberry trees. Across the valley, on the southern side of the Plistus, rise the bare precipitous cliffs of Mount Cirphis, capped with fir-woods. From the western end of the 377precipices which rise at the back of Delphi a high rocky ridge projects southward toward the bed of the Plistus. This ridge closes the valley of Delphi on the west, shutting out all view of the Crisaean plain and the gulf of Corinth, though a glimpse of the waters of the gulf is obtained from the stadium, the highest part of Delphi.

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


LXXXVIII. Aeschines at Delphi.—That the place of assembly of the Amphictyonic Council at Delphi must have been situated near the chapel of St. Elias is shown by a passage of Aeschines, in which he says that the Cirrhaean plain lay spread beneath and in full view of the meeting-place of the Amphictyonic Council. The orator himself, he tells us, was one of the Athenian representatives at a meeting of the Council. Addressing it he pointed to the smiling and peaceful plain stretched at their feet, with its olive-groves and corn-fields, its cottages and potteries, and in the distance the shining waters of the gulf, with the port-town visible beside it. “You see,” he cried, “yonder plain tilled by the men of Amphissa and the potteries and cottages they have built. You see with your eyes the fortifications of the cursed and execrated port. You know for yourselves that these men levy tolls and take money from the sacred harbour.” He then reminded his hearers of the oath sworn by their ancestors that this fair plain should lie a wilderness for ever. His words were received with a tumult of applause, and next day at dawn the men of Delphi, armed with shovels and mattocks, marched down into the plain, razed the fortifications of the port to the ground, and gave the houses to the flames. It is refreshing to know that on their way back they were hotly pursued 379by the Amphissaeans in arms and had to run for their lives. This was the beginning of the chain of events which in a few months more brought Philip at the head of a Macedonian army into Greece and ended in the overthrow of Greek freedom at Chaeronea.

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

LXXXIX. The Pythian Tune.—Sacadas was said to be the first who played the Pythian air on the flute at Delphi. The tune has been 380described for us by Pollux and Strabo. The melody, intended to represent musically Apollo’s combat with the dragon, was played by a single flute, but now and then the trumpets and fifes struck in. First Apollo was heard preparing for the fight and choosing his ground. Then followed the challenge to the dragon, then the battle, indicated by an iambic measure. Here probably the music imitated the twanging of the silver bow and the swish of the arrows as they sped to their mark. It is expressly said that the gnashing of the monster’s teeth was heard, as he ground them together in his agony. Here the trumpets came in, not in long-drawn winding bouts, but in short single blasts, one perhaps for each arrow-shot, every flourish marking a hit. The shrill wailing notes of the fifes mimicked the dragon’s dying screams. Then the flute broke into a light lilting air, beating time to the triumphal measure trodden by the victorious god.

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

381This Lacedaemonian trophy, commemorative of the great naval victory of Aegospotami, is repeatedly referred to by Plutarch. He says that from the spoils of the battle Lysander set up bronze statues of himself and of all the admirals, together with golden stars of the Dioscuri; and elsewhere he tells us that in his time these old bronze statues of the admirals were covered with a beautiful blue patina, the growth of ages, so that people spoke of them as being true blue salts. Cicero specially mentions the statue of Lysander at Delphi. The reason for dedicating golden stars of the Dioscuri would seem to have been that Castor and Pollux were said to have appeared on the side of the Lacedaemonians at the battle of Aegospotami, just as they appeared on the Roman side at the battle of Lake Regillus. It is related that after the battle of Leuctra, which gave the death-blow to Spartan prestige and power, the golden stars disappeared from Delphi and were never seen again, as if in token that the star of Sparta’s fortunes had set. The dedication of the stars in memory of the appearance of the Dioscuri is an interesting confirmation of the view that the twins Castor and Pollux were the Morning and Evening Star, the equivalents of the Sanscrit Aśvins. It is notable that in Roman history the appearances of the Dioscuri as messengers of victory 382seem always to have taken place in the same season of the year, namely at the summer solstice or the first full moon after it. By a curious coincidence the old chronicler Holinshed reports that on the eve of the battle of Bannockburn, which was also Midsummer Eve, two men appeared at Glastonbury saying they were going to help the Scots in a battle next day; and a single knight in bright armour rode into Aberdeen on the afternoon of the battle and was seen to pass over into the Orkneys in the evening.[9]

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

XCI. The Gods in Battle.—Apollo,

Artemis, and Athena are said to have appeared in person fighting for the Greeks against the Gauls. The heroes Theseus and Echetlus were seen combating on the Greek side at Marathon. In the great sea-fight of Salamis phantoms of armed men were perceived stretching out their hands from Aegina to protect the Greek ships; they were believed to be the Aeacids, who had been prayed to for help before the battle. The spirit of Aristomenes was said to have fought for the Thebans against his old foes the Spartans at Leuctra. The Mantineans fancied they saw Poseidon warring on their side against the Lacedaemonians. In a battle between the 383people of Crotona and the people of Locri, two unknown youths, of wondrous stature, in strange armour, clad in scarlet and riding white horses, were seen fighting on the wings of the Locrian army; after the battle they disappeared. These two youths were probably regarded as Castor and Pollux, whose reported appearance at the battle of the Lake Regillus, charging with lances in rest at the head of the Roman cavalry, is well known. It is said that when Alaric approached Athens he beheld Athena in full armour patrolling the walls, and Achilles guarding them with the same fiery valour with which he had avenged the death of Patroclus; terrified by the vision, the fierce barbarian gave up all thought of attacking the city. Similarly in the battles between the Spaniards and the Indians of Mexico it is affirmed by grave historians that St. James, the patron Saint of Spain, was seen tilting on his milk-white steed at the head of the Christian chivalry. In one of these battles a lady robed in white, supposed to be the Virgin, was visible by the side of St. James, throwing dust in the eyes of the infidels. The stout old chronicler Bernal Diaz, who fought in these wars, confesses that for his sins he was not found worthy to behold the glorious Apostle.[10]

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


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

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

And still she lives and hangs in a basket in a church, and every St. John’s Day about noon she eats a roll of bread.” Another story tells of a lady who resided at Danzig and was so rich and so blest with all that life can give that she wished to live always. So when she came to her latter end, she did not really die but only looked like dead, and very soon they found her in a hollow of a pillar in the church, half standing and half sitting, motionless. She 385stirred never a limb, but they saw quite plainly that she was alive, and she sits there down to this blessed day. Every New Year’s Day the sacristan comes and puts a morsel of the holy bread in her mouth, and that is all she has to live on. Long, long has she rued her fatal wish who set this transient life above the eternal joys of heaven. A third story relates how a noble damsel cherished the same foolish wish for immortality. So they put her in a basket and hung her up in a church, and there she hangs and never dies, though many, many a year has come and gone since they put her there. But every year on a certain day they give her a roll and she eats it and cries out “For ever! for ever! for ever!” And when she has so cried she falls silent again till the same time next year, and so it will go on for ever and for ever. A fourth story, taken down, near Oldenburg in Holstein, tells of a jolly dame that ate and drank and lived right merrily and had all that heart could desire, and she wished to live always. For the first hundred years all went well, but after that she began to shrink and shrivel up till at last she could neither walk nor stand nor eat nor drink. But die she could not. At first they fed her as if she were a little child, but when she grew smaller and smaller they put her in a glass bottle and hung her up in the church. And 386there she still hangs, in the church of St. Mary at Lübeck. She is as small as a mouse, but once a year she stirs.

XCIII. Orpheus in Hell.—Why in his picture of hell the painter Polygnotus should have depicted Orpheus touching the branches of a willow-tree is not clear. Pausanias has himself rightly pointed out that willows grew in the grove of Proserpine, but that does not suffice to explain the gesture of Orpheus in the picture. Mr. J. Six ingeniously suggests that when Orpheus went to hell to fetch the soul of his lost Eurydice he may have carried in his hand a willow-branch, just as Aeneas carried the Golden Bough, to serve as a passport or ‘open Sesame’ to unlock the gates of Death to a living man, and that in memory of this former deed the painter may have depicted the bard touching the willow. Virgil tells how at sight of the Golden Bough, “not seen for long,” the surly Charon turned his crazy bark to shore and received Aeneas on board. Mr. Six surmises that here the words “not seen for long” refer to the time when Orpheus, like Aeneas, had passed the ferry with the Golden Bough in his hand. If he is right, Polygnotus took a different view of that mystic branch from Virgil, who certainly regarded it as a glorified mistletoe. 387Professor C. Robert accepts Mr. Six’s explanation. Formerly he held that Pausanias had misinterpreted the gesture of Orpheus. The bard, on Professor Robert’s earlier view, was depicted merely holding the lyre with one hand and playing on it with the other, and a branch of the willow under which he sat drooped down and touched the hand that swept the strings. This view, which Professor Robert has wisely abandoned, is open to several objections. It substitutes a commonplace gesture, which Pausanias could hardly have so grossly mistaken, for a remarkable one which, however it is to be explained, had clearly struck Pausanias as unusual and significant. Again, if Orpheus had been depicted playing, would not some one have been represented listening? But, so far as appears from Pausanias’s description, not a soul was paying any heed to the magic strains of the great minstrel. It seems better, therefore, to suppose that, like blind Thamyris, he sat sad and silent, dreaming of life in the bright world, of love and music.

XCIV. The Acheron.—The Acheron is the river now known as the Suliotiko or Phanariotiko which comes down from the mountains of the once famous Suli and winds, a sluggish, turbid, and weedy stream, through the wide 388plain of Phanari, traversing some swamps or meres before it reaches the sea. These swamps, which extend nearly to the sea, and never dry up though they shrink in summer, are the Acherusian lake. The plain, where it is not too marshy, is covered with fields of maize and rice and meadows where herds of buffaloes browse. A few plane-trees and low tamarisks fringe the margin of the winding river. Otherwise the plain is mostly treeless. On its eastern side rise, like a huge grey wall, the wild and barren mountains of Suli.

Before entering the plain, on its passage from these rugged highlands, the Acheron flows through a profound and gloomy gorge, one of the darkest and deepest of the glens of Greece. On either side precipices rise sheer from the water’s edge to a height of hundreds of feet, their ledges and crannies tufted with dwarf oaks and shrubs. Higher up, where the sides of the glen recede from the perpendicular, the mountains rise to a height of over three thousand feet, the black pine-woods which cling to their precipitous sides adding to the sombre magnificence of the scene. A precarious footpath leads along a perilous ledge high up on the mountain-side, from which the traveller gazes down into the depths of the tremendous ravine, where the deep and rapid river may be seen rushing and foaming along, often plunging in a 389cascade into a dark abyss, but so far below him that even the roar of the waterfall is lost in mid-air before it can reach his ear.

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

XCV. A Ride across Parnassus.—We left the new village of Delphi, which stands a little to the south-west of the ancient sanctuary, shortly after eight o’clock, and at once struck up the mountain-side at the back of the village. The path for a good way is the same as that to the Corycian cave. It climbs the bare rocky face of the mountain in a series of zigzags, from which as we rose higher and higher a wide prospect opened up behind us to the Gulf of Corinth and the distant mountains of 390Peloponnese. On reaching the top of this long and steep declivity we found ourselves on the edge of an expanse of comparatively level though broken ground, sparsely wooded with pines, beyond which soared the upper slopes of Parnassus, its summit lightly capped with snow. The high plateau on which we now stood is bounded on the north by an outlying spur of Parnassus, clothed with pine-forest, in the southern face of which is the Corycian cave. Instead of crossing the tableland in the direction of the cave, we skirted its south-western corner, keeping the wooded mountain on our right. The path continued to wind for hours along grey rocky slopes where pines grew more or less thickly. On either hand rose sombre mountains of the same general character—grey and rocky with patches of pine-forest on their sides. Now and then a little moss relieved with its verdure the barrenness of the rocks, and a stony glade through which we passed was speckled with pale purple crocuses. On these heights the air felt chilly, for the season was late October, and a little snow—the first of autumn—had fallen in the night, just touching with white the peaks of Parnassus and the high Locrian mountains in the west. The morning had been bright when we left Delphi, but as the day wore on the sky became overcast, its cold and lowering aspect harmonising well with the wild and desolate 391scenery through which we rode. The jingling of the mule-bells and the cries of the muleteers were almost the only sounds that broke the silence, though once in the forest to the right we heard the clapper-like note of a pelican, and once in an open glade we passed some woodmen hewing pine-logs. In time, the path beginning to descend, the rocks gave place to earthy slopes; a little pale thin grass and some withered ferns grew in the glades; the sun shone out between the clouds, and as we descended into the warmer lowlands it seemed as if we were pursuing the departing summer.

In about four hours from Delphi high purple mountains, sunlit and flecked with cloud-shadows, appeared in the north through and above the pine-forest. Farther down the forest grew thin and then disappeared from the stony bottom of the valley, though the upper slopes of the mountains on either side were still wrapped in their dark mantle of pines. It was near one o’clock when we reached Ano-Agoriani, a village nestling among trees in a hollow of the mountains and traversed by a murmuring brook. After a halt of about an hour we quitted the village and descended into the deep bed of the stream; then ascending steeply its western bank we pursued our way along the rocky mountain-side high above the glen. In three-quarters of an hour we came in 392sight of the broad valley of the Cephisus lying stretched below us and backed by mountains on the north. By steep, rocky, winding paths we now descended into the valley, and at a quarter to four reached Kato-Agoriani. The village stands just at the foot of Parnassus. About a mile to the east the grey ruined walls and towers of Lilaea climb a steep and rugged hill-side—the last fall of Parnassus to the plain. The situation of the place at the northern foot of the mountain is such that it can receive very little sun at any time of the year, which, though an advantage in the torrid heat of a Greek summer, must render the winter climate severe. As we rode downwards to Kato-Agoriani the sun set behind the mountains at our back soon after three o’clock, but it was not till nearly two hours afterwards that his light faded from the hills on the opposite or northern side of the valley. This may illustrate the remarks of Pausanias as to the climate of Lilaea.

XCVI. Pericles.—Pericles, a great Athenian statesman, and one of the most remarkable men of antiquity, was the son of Xanthippus, who commanded the Greeks at the battle of Mycale. By his mother Agariste, niece of Clisthenes, who reformed the democracy at Athens after the expulsion of the Pisistratidae, 393he was connected both with the old princely line of Sicyon and with the great but unfortunate house of the Alcmaeonidae. The date of his birth is unknown, but his youth must have fallen in the stirring times of the great Persian war. From his friendship with the poet Anacreon, his father would seem to have been a man of taste, and as he stood in relations of hospitality to the Spartan kings his house was no doubt a political as well as literary centre. Pericles received the best education which the age could supply. For masters he had Pythoclides and the distinguished musician Damon, who infused into his music lessons a tincture of philosophy, whereby he incurred the suspicions of the vulgar, and received the honour of ostracism. Pericles listened also to the subtle dialectics of the Eleatic Zeno. But the man who swayed him most deeply and permanently was the philosopher Anaxagoras. The influence of the speculative genius and dignified and gentle character of the philosopher who resigned his property that he might turn his thoughts more steadily to heaven, which he called his home, and who begged as his last honour that the school-children might have a holiday on the day he died, can be traced alike in the intellectual breadth and the elevated moral tone of the pupil, in his superiority to vulgar superstitions, 394and in the unruffled serenity which he preserved throughout the storms of political life. It was probably the grand manner of Pericles even more than his eloquence that won him the surname of Olympian Zeus.[11]

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

In his youth he distinguished himself in the field, but eschewed politics, fearing, it is said, the suspicions which might be excited in the populace not only by his wealth, high birth, and powerful friends, but by the striking resemblance to the tyrant Pisistratus which old men traced in his personal appearance, musical voice, and flowing speech. But when the banishment of Themistocles and the death of Aristides had somewhat cleared the political stage, Pericles came forward as the champion of the democratic or progressive party, in opposition to Cimon, the leader of the aristocratic or conservative party. The two leaders differed hardly less than their policies. Both indeed were men of aristocratic birth and temper, honourable, brave, and generous, faithful and laborious in the service of Athens. But Cimon was a true sailor, blunt, jovial, free-handed, who sang a capital song, and was always equally ready to drink or fight, to 395whose artless mind (he was innocent of even a smattering of letters[12]) the barrack-room life of the barbarous Spartans seemed the type of human perfectibility, and whose simple programme was summed up in the maxim “fight the Persians.” Naturally the new ideas of political progress and intellectual development had no place in his honest head; naturally he was a sturdy supporter of the good old times of which, to the popular mind, he was the best embodiment. Pericles, grave, studious, reserved, was himself penetrated by those ideas of progress and culture which he undertook to convert into political and social realities; philosophy was his recreation; during the whole course of his political career he never accepted but once an invitation to dinner, and he was never to be seen walking except between his house and the popular assembly and senate-house. He husbanded his patrimony and regulated his domestic affairs with rigid economy that he might escape both the temptation and the suspicion of enriching himself at the public expense.

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

The steps by which he rose to the commanding position which he occupied in later life cannot be traced with certainty. According to Plutarch, Pericles, whose fortune did not 396allow him to imitate the profuse hospitality by which Cimon endeared himself to the people, sought to outbid him by a lavish distribution of the public moneys among the poorer classes; this device was suggested to him by Damonides, says Plutarch on the authority of Aristotle. We may doubt the motive alleged by Plutarch, but we cannot doubt the fact that Pericles did extend, if not originate, the practice of distributing large sums among the citizens either as gratuities or as payment for services rendered—a practice which afterwards attained most mischievous proportions. According to Plato, it was a common saying that Pericles, by the system of payments which he introduced, had corrupted the Athenians, rendering them idle, cowardly, talkative, and avaricious. It was Pericles who introduced the payment of jurymen, and, as there were six thousand of them told off annually for duty, of whom a great part sat daily, the disbursement from the treasury was great, while the poor and idle were encouraged to live at the public expense. But the payment for attendance on the public assembly or parliament (of which all citizens of mature age were members), though probably suggested by the payment of the jurymen, was not introduced by Pericles, and indeed does not seem to have existed during his lifetime. It was he who instituted the payment of the 397citizens for military service—a measure but for which the Athenians would probably not have prolonged the Peloponnesian War as they did, and in particular would not have been so ready to embark on the fatal Sicilian expedition.

There was more justification, perhaps, for the practice, originated by Pericles, of supplying the poorer citizens from the public treasury with the price of admission to the theatre. For in an age when the study of the poets formed a chief element of education, and when the great dramas of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides were being put on the stage in all their freshness, such a measure might almost be regarded as a state provision for the education of the citizens. It was part of the policy of Pericles at once to educate and delight the people by numerous and splendid festivals, processions, and shows. But the good was mixed with seeds of evil, which took root and spread, till, in the days of Demosthenes, the money which should have been spent in fighting the enemies of Athens was squandered in spectacles and pageants. The Spectacular Fund or Theorikon has been called the cancer of Athens. Vast sums were further spent by Pericles in adorning the city with those buildings, which even in their ruins are the wonder of the world. Amongst these were the 398Parthenon, or Temple of the Virgin, and the Erechtheum, both on the acropolis, the former completed in 438 B.C., the latter left unfinished at Pericles’s death; the magnificent Propylaea or vestibule to the acropolis, built between 437 and 432; and the Odeum or music-hall, on the south-eastern slope of the acropolis, completed before 444. The musical contests instituted by Pericles, and for which he himself laid down the rules and acted as judge, took place in the Odeum. Many artists and architects were entrusted with the execution of these great works, but under the direction of the mastermind of Phidias, sculptor, architect, painter—the Michelangelo of antiquity.

But Pericles fortified as well as beautified Athens. It had been the policy of Themistocles to make her primarily a naval and commercial power, and to do so he strengthened the marine, and gave to the city as far as possible the advantages of an insular situation by means of fortifications, which rendered both it and its port impregnable on the land side. By thus basing the Athenian state on commerce instead of, like Solon, on agriculture, he at the same time transferred the political predominance to the democratic or progressive party, which is as naturally recruited from a commercial as a conservative or aristocratic party is from an agricultural 399population. This policy was fully accepted and carried out by Pericles. It was in his time and probably by his advice that the Long Walls were built, which, connecting Athens with Piraeus, converted the capital and its seaport into one vast fortress. Further, in order to train the Athenians in seamanship, he kept a fleet of sixty ships at sea eight months out of every year.

The expenses entailed by these great schemes were chiefly defrayed by the annual tribute, which the confederates of Athens originally furnished for the purpose of waging war against Persia, but which Athens, as head of the league, subsequently applied to her own purposes. If, as seems likely, the transference of the treasury of the league from Delos to Athens, which sealed the conversion of the Athenian headship into an empire, took place between 460 and 454, the step was probably suggested or supported by Pericles, and at all events he managed the fund after its transference. But, though the diversion of the fund from its original purpose probably did not begin with Pericles, yet, once established, he maintained it unwaveringly. The Athenians, he held, fulfilled the trust committed to them by defending their allies against all comers, and the tribute was their wages, which it was their right and privilege 400to expend in works which by employing labour and stimulating commerce were a present benefit, and by their beauty would be “a joy for ever.” That Athens ruled by force, that her empire was in fact a tyranny, he fully admitted, but he justified that tyranny by the high and glorious ends which it subserved.

The rise of Pericles to power, though it cannot be followed step by step, has an obvious and sufficient explanation in his combined wisdom and eloquence. Plato traces his eloquence largely to the influence of Anaxagoras; intercourse with that philosopher, he says, filled the mind of Pericles with lofty speculations and a true conception of the nature of intelligence, and hence his oratory possessed the intellectual grandeur and artistic finish characteristic of the highest eloquence. The range and compass of his rhetoric were wonderful, extending from the most winning persuasion to the most overwhelming denunciation. The comic poets of the day, in general very unfriendly to him, speak with admiration of his oratory: “greatest of Grecian tongues,” says Cratinus; “persuasion sat on his lips, such was his charm,” and “he alone of the orators left his sting in his hearers,” says Eupolis; “he lightened, he thundered,” says Aristophanes. His speeches were prepared with conscientious care; before rising to speak he 401used to pray that no inappropriate word might fall from his lips. He left no written speeches, but the few sayings of his which have come down to us reveal a passionate imagination such as breathes in the fragments of Sappho. Thus, in speaking of those who had died in war, he said that the youth had perished from the city like the spring from the year. He called the hostile island of Aegina “the eyesore of the Piraeus,” and declared that he saw war “lowering from Peloponnese.” Three of his speeches have been reported by Thucydides, who may have heard them, but, though their substance may be correctly recorded, in passing through the medium of the historian’s dispassionate mind they have been shorn of the orator’s imaginative glow, and in their cold iron logic are hardly to be distinguished from the other speeches in Thucydides. An exception to this is the speech which Thucydides reports as having been delivered by Pericles over the slain in the first year of the Peloponnesian War. This speech stands quite apart from the others; and as well in particular touches (for example, in the saying that “the grave of great men is the world”) as in its whole tenor we catch the ring of a great orator, such as Thucydides with all his genius was not. It is probably a fairly close report of the speech actually delivered by Pericles.

402The first public appearance of Pericles of which we have record probably fell about 463. When Cimon, on his return from the expedition to Thasos, was tried on the utterly improbable charge of having been bribed by the Macedonian king to betray the interests of Athens, Pericles was appointed by the people to assist in conducting the prosecution; but, more perhaps from a conviction of the innocence of the accused than, as was said, in compliance with the entreaties of Cimon’s sister Elpinice, he did not press the charge, and Cimon was acquitted. Not long afterwards Pericles struck a blow at the conservative party by attacking the Areopagus, a council composed of life-members who had worthily discharged the duties of archon. The nature of the functions of the Areopagus at this period is but little known; it seems to have had a general supervision over the magistrates, the popular assembly, and the citizens, and to have exercised this supervision in an eminently conservative spirit. It sat also as a court for the trial of certain crimes, especially murder. Pericles appears to have deprived it of nearly all its functions, except its jurisdiction in cases of murder. The poet Aeschylus composed his Eumenides in vindication of the ancient privileges of the Areopagus. Though Pericles was the real author 403of the attack on the Areopagus, the measure was nominally carried by Ephialtes. It was, indeed, part of Pericles’s policy to keep in the background, and to act as far as possible through agents, reserving himself for great occasions. Ephialtes, a friend of Pericles, and a patriot of inflexible integrity, paid dearly for the distinction; he fell by the hand of an assassin employed by the oligarchical party—an event the more striking from the rarity of political assassinations in Greek history. The popular party seems to have immediately followed up its victory over the Areopagus by procuring the ostracism of Cimon, which strengthened the hands of Pericles by removing his most influential opponent. Pericles took part in the battle of Tanagra and bore himself with desperate bravery. After the battle Cimon was recalled from banishment, and it was Pericles who proposed and carried the decree for his recall.

In 454 Pericles led an Athenian squadron from the port of Pegae on the Corinthian Gulf, landed at Sicyon, and defeated the inhabitants who ventured to oppose him; then, taking with him a body of Achaeans, he crossed to Acarnania, and besieged the town of Oeniadae, but had to return home without capturing it. Not long afterwards he conducted a successful expedition to the Thracian Chersonese, where 404he not only strengthened the Greek cities by the addition of a thousand Athenian colonists, but also protected them against the incursions of the barbarians by fortifying the isthmus from sea to sea. This was only one of Pericles’s many measures for extending and strengthening the naval empire of Athens. Colonies were established by him at various times in Naxos, Andros, Oreus in Euboea, Brea in Macedonia, and Aegina. They served the double purpose of establishing the Athenian power in distant parts and of relieving the pressure of population at home by providing the poorer citizens with lands. Somewhat different were the famous colonies established under Pericles’s influence at Thurii in Italy, on the site of the ancient Sybaris, and at Amphipolis on the Strymon, for, though planted under the conduct of Athens, they were not exclusively Athenian colonies, other Greeks being allowed, and even invited, to take part in them. This was especially true of Thurii, which was in a manner a national Greek colony, and never stood in a relation of subjection to Athens. On one occasion Pericles sailed at the head of a splendid armament to the Black Sea, where he helped and encouraged the Greek cities and overawed the barbarians. At Sinope he left a force of ships and men, under the gallant Lamachus, to co-operate with the inhabitants against the tyrant Timesileus, 405and on the expulsion of the tyrant and his party he carried a decree for the despatch of six hundred Athenian colonists to Sinope, to occupy the lands vacated by the exiles. But, with the sober wisdom which characterised him, Pericles never allowed his plans to exceed the bounds of the possible; he was no political dreamer like Alcibiades, to be dazzled with the vision of a universal Athenian empire in Greece, Italy, and Africa, such as floated before the minds of many in that and the following generations. The disastrous expedition which the Athenians sent to Egypt, to support the rebel Inarus against Persia, received no countenance from Pericles.

When Cimon died in 449 the aristocratical party sought to counterbalance the power of Pericles by putting forward Thucydides, son of Melesias, as the new head of the party. He seems to have been an honest patriot, but, as the event proved, he was no match for Pericles. The Sacred War in 448 showed once more that Pericles knew how to defend the interests of Athens. The Phocians, under the protection of Athens, had wrested the control of the Delphic oracle from their enemies the Delphians. The latter were friendly to Sparta, and accordingly the Spartans marched into Phocis and restored the oracle to the Delphians. When they had departed, Pericles, at the head of an Athenian 406force, placed the oracle once more in the hands of the Phocians. As the seat of the great oracle, Delphi was to ancient Greece much what Rome was to mediaeval Europe, and the friendship of the god, or of his priests, was no small political advantage.

When the Athenians despatched a small force under Tolmides to crush a rising in Boeotia, they did so in spite of the warnings of Pericles. These warnings were soon justified by the unfortunate battle of Coronea, which deprived Athens at a blow of the continental dominion she had acquired a few years before by the battle of Oenophyta. The island of Euboea now revolted from Athens, and hardly had Pericles crossed over with an army to reduce it when word came that the Megarians had massacred the Athenian garrison, and, in league with Corinth, Sicyon, and Epidaurus, were up in arms, while a Peloponnesian army under King Plistoanax was on the point of invading Attica. Pericles recrossed in haste to Attica. The Peloponnesians returned home, having advanced no farther than Eleusis and Thria. It was said that Pericles had bribed Cleandridas; certain it is that both Cleandridas and Plistoanax were charged at Sparta with having misconducted the expedition and were found guilty. Having saved Attica, Pericles returned to Euboea, reduced it to subjection, 407expelled the Histiaeans, and settled the Athenian colony of Oreus on their lands.

The thirty years’ peace, concluded soon afterwards with Sparta, was probably in large measure the work of Pericles. The Athenians had evacuated Boeotia immediately after the battle of Coronea, and by the terms of the peace they now renounced their other continental possessions—Achaia, Troezen, Nisaea, and Pegae. The peace left Pericles at liberty to develop his schemes for promoting the internal welfare of Athens, and for making it the centre of the intellectual and artistic life of Greece. But first he had to settle accounts with his political rival Thucydides; the struggle was soon decided by the ostracism of the latter in 444. Thenceforward to the end of his life Pericles guided the destinies of Athens alone; in the words of the historian Thucydides, the government was in name a democracy, but in fact it was the rule of the first citizen. The unparalleled ascendency which he wielded so long over the fickle people is one of the best proofs of his extraordinary genius. He owed it entirely to his personal character, and he used it for the wisest and purest purposes. He was neither a vulgar demagogue to truckle to the passions and caprices of the mob, nor a vulgar despot to cow it by a hireling soldiery; he was a citizen among citizens, who obeyed him 408because they trusted him, because they knew that in his hands the honour and interests of Athens were safe. The period during which he ruled Athens was the happiest and greatest in her history, as it was one of the greatest ages of the world. Other ages have had their bright particular stars; the age of Pericles is the Milky Way of great men. In his lifetime there lived and worked at Athens the poets Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Cratinus, Crates, the philosophers Anaxagoras, Zeno, Protagoras, Socrates, the astronomer Meton, the painter Polygnotus, and the sculptors Myron and Phidias. Contemporary with these, though not resident at Athens, were Herodotus, the father of history; Hippocrates, the father of medicine; Pindar, “the Theban eagle”; the sculptor Polyclitus; and the philosophers Empedocles and Democritus, the latter joint author with Leucippus of the atomic theory. When Pericles died, other stars were rising or soon to rise above the horizon—the historians Thucydides and Xenophon, the poets Eupolis and Aristophanes, the orators Lysias and Isocrates, and the gifted but unscrupulous Alcibiades. Plato was born shortly before or after the death of Pericles. Of this brilliant circle Pericles was the centre. His generous and richly-endowed nature responded to all that was beautiful and noble not only in literature and art but in life, 409and it is with justice that the age of Pericles has received its name from the man in whom, more than in any other, all the various lines of Greek culture met and were harmonised. In this perfect harmony and completeness of nature, and in the classic calm which was the fruit of it, Pericles is the type of the ideal spirit, not of his own age only, but of antiquity.

It seems to have been shortly after the ostracism of Thucydides that Pericles conceived the plan of summoning a general congress of all the Greek states to be held at Athens. Its objects were the restoration of the temples which the Persians had destroyed, the fulfilment of the vows made during the war, and the establishment of a general peace and the security of the sea. Invitations were sent to the Greeks of Asia, the islands from Lesbos to Rhodes, the Hellespont, Thrace, Byzantium, Boeotia, Phocis, Peloponnese, Locris, Acarnania, Ambrada, and Thessaly. The aim of Pericles seems to have been to draw the bonds of union closer between the Greeks and to form a national federation. The beneficent project was defeated by the short-sighted opposition of the Spartans. But if in this scheme Pericles rose above the petty jealousies of Greek politics, another of his measures proves that he shared the Greek prejudices as to birth. At an early period of his career he enacted, or perhaps only 410revived, a law confining the rights of Athenian citizenship to persons both of whose parents were Athenian citizens. In the year 444, on the occasion of a scrutiny of the list of citizens, nearly five thousand persons claiming to be citizens were proved to be aliens under this law, and were ruthlessly sold into slavery.

The period of the thirty years’ peace was not one of uninterrupted tranquillity for Athens. In 440 a war broke out between the island of Samos (a leading member of the Athenian confederacy) and Miletus. Athens sided with Miletus; Pericles sailed to Samos with an Athenian squadron, and established a democracy in place of the previous oligarchy. After his departure, however, some of the exiled oligarchs, in league with Pissuthnes, satrap of Sardes, collected troops and, crossing over to Samos, overpowered the popular party and revolted from Athens. In this revolt they were joined by Byzantium. The situation was critical; the example set by Samos and Byzantium might be followed by the other confederates. Pericles discerned the danger and met it promptly. He led a squadron of sixty ships against Samos; and, after detaching some vessels to summon reinforcements from Chios and Lesbos, and others to look out for the Phoenician fleet which the Persians were expected to send to the help of Samos, he gave 411battle with forty-four ships to the Samian fleet of seventy sail and defeated it. Having received reinforcements of sixty-five ships, he landed in Samos and laid siege to the capital. But when he sailed with sixty ships to meet the Phoenician vessels which were reported to be near, the Samians sallied out with their vessels, defeated the besiegers, and remained masters of the sea for fourteen days. On his return, however, they were again blockaded and were compelled to surrender, nine months after the outbreak of the war.

Though Pericles enjoyed the confidence of the people as a whole, his policy and opinions could not fail to rouse the dislike and suspicions of many, and in the last years of his life his enemies combined to assail him. Two points in particular were singled out for attack, his administration of the public moneys and his religious opinions. With regard to the former, there must always be a certain number of persons who will not believe that others can resist and despise a temptation which to themselves would be irresistible; with regard to the latter, the suspicion that Pericles held heretical views on the national religion was doubtless well grounded. At first, however, his enemies did not venture to impeach himself, but struck at him in the persons of his friends. In 432 Phidias was accused of having appropriated 412some of the gold destined for the adornment of the statue of Athena in the Parthenon. But by the prudent advice of Pericles the golden ornaments had been so attached that they could be taken off and weighed, and when Pericles challenged the accusers to have recourse to this test the accusation fell to the ground. More dangerous, for more true, was the charge against Phidias of having introduced portraits of himself and Pericles into the battle of the Amazons, depicted on the shield of the goddess: the sculptor appeared as a bald old man lifting a stone, while Pericles was represented as fighting an Amazon, his face partly concealed by his raised spear. To the pious Athenians this seemed a desecration of the temple, and accordingly Phidias was clapped into gaol. Whether he died there or at Elis is uncertain.

Even more deeply was Pericles wounded by the accusation levelled at the woman he loved. This was the famous Aspasia, a native of Miletus, whose talents won for her general admiration at Athens. Pericles divorced his wife, a lady of good birth who had borne him two sons, Xanthippus and Paralus, but with whom he was unhappy, and attached himself to Aspasia. With her he lived on terms of devoted affection to the end of his life, though, as she was a foreigner, their union was not a legal marriage. She enjoyed a high reputation 413as a teacher of rhetoric, and seems to have been the centre of a brilliant intellectual society, which included Socrates and his friends. The comic poet, Hermippus, brought her to trial on the double charge of impiety and of corrupting Athenian women for the gratification of Pericles. A decree was further carried by a religious fanatic named Diopithes, whereby all who denied the existence of the gods or discussed the nature of the heavenly bodies were to be tried as criminals. This blow was aimed directly at the aged philosopher Anaxagoras, but indirectly at his pupil Pericles as well as at Aspasia. When this decree was passed, and apparently while the trial of Aspasia was still pending, Pericles himself was called upon by a decree of the people to render an account of the money which had passed through his hands. The result is not mentioned, but we cannot doubt that the matter either was dropped or ended in an acquittal. The perfect integrity of Pericles is proved by the unimpeachable evidence of his contemporary, the historian Thucydides. Aspasia was acquitted, but not before Pericles had exerted all his eloquence in her behalf. Anaxagoras, tried on the charge of impiety, was obliged to quit the city.

It was in the same year (432) that the great contest between Athens and Sparta, 414known as the Peloponnesian War, broke out. We may dismiss as a vulgar calumny the statement, often repeated in antiquity, but quite unsupported by Thucydides, that the war was brought about by Pericles for the purpose of avoiding a prosecution. The war was in truth inevitable; its real cause was Sparta’s jealousy of the growing power of Athens; its immediate occasion was the help lent by Athens to Corcyra in its war with Corinth. At first, with a hypocritical regard for religion, the Spartans demanded as a condition of peace that the Athenians should expel the race of the Alcmaeonidae (including, of course, Pericles), whose ancestors had been guilty of sacrilege about two centuries before. The Athenians retorted in kind, and, after a little more diplomatic fencing, the Spartans were constrained to show their hand by demanding bluntly that Athens should give back to the Greeks their independence—in other words, renounce her empire and abandon herself to the tender mercies of Sparta. Pericles encouraged the Athenians to reject the demand. He pointed out that Athens possessed advantages over the Peloponnesians in superior wealth and greater unity of counsels. He advised the Athenians, in case of war, not to take the field against the numerically superior forces of the Peloponnesians, but to allow the enemy to ravage 415Attica at will, while they confined themselves to the defence of the city. Through their fleet they would maintain communication with their island empire, procure supplies, and harass the enemy by sudden descents on his coasts. By pursuing this defensive policy without attempting to extend their empire, he predicted that they would be victorious. The people hearkened to him and replied to the Spartan ultimatum by counter-demands, which they knew would not be accepted. Pericles had not neglected in time of peace to prepare for war, and Athens was now well equipped with men, money, and ships.

In June of the following summer a Peloponnesian army invaded Attica. By the advice of Pericles the rural population, with their movables, had taken refuge in the city, while the cattle had been sent for safety to the neighbouring islands. The sight of their country ravaged under their eyes excited in the Athenians a longing to march out and meet the enemy, but in the teeth of popular clamour and obloquy Pericles steadily adhered to his defensive policy, content to protect the suburbs of Athens with cavalry. Meanwhile Athenian fleets retaliated upon the enemy’s coasts. About the same time, as a punishment for the share that they were supposed to have had in bringing on the war, the whole population 416of Aegina was expelled from their island to make room for Athenian colonists. This measure, directed by Pericles, relieved to some extent the pressure in the overcrowded capital, and secured a strong outpost on the side of Peloponnese. In the autumn, after the Peloponnesian army had been obliged by want of provisions to quit Attica and disband, Pericles conducted the whole available army of Athens into the territory of Megara, and laid it waste.

It was a custom with the Athenians that at the end of a campaign the bones of those who had fallen in battle should be buried with public honours in the beautiful suburb of Ceramicus, the Westminster of Athens, and the vast crowd of mourners and spectators gathered about the grave was addressed by a citizen chosen for his character and abilities to pay the last tribute of a grateful country to its departed brave. On the present occasion the choice fell on Pericles. Once before, at the close of the Samian War, it had been his lot to discharge a similar duty. The speech which he now delivered, as reported to us by Thucydides, is one of the noblest monuments of antiquity. It is indeed the creed of Athens and of Greece. In its aristocratic republicanism—recognising at once the equal legal rights and the unequal intrinsic merits of individuals—it differs alike from the monarchical spirit of mediaeval and 417modern Europe, with its artificial class distinctions, and from that reactionary communism which preaches the natural as well as the legal equality of men. In its frank admiration of art and letters and all the social festivals which humanise and cheer life, it is as far from the sullen asceticism and the wild debauchery of the East as the grave and manly simplicity of its style is removed from the fanciful luxuriance of Oriental rhetoric. Finally, in the words of comfort and exhortation addressed to the bereaved, the speech—to adopt Thirlwall’s description of another great effort of Athenian oratory—“ breathes the spirit of that high philosophy which, whether learnt in the schools or from life, has consoled the noblest of our kind in prisons, and on scaffolds, and under every persecution of adverse fortune.”

The fortitude of the Athenians was put to a still severer test in the following summer, when to the horrors of war (the Peloponnesians had again invaded Attica) were added the horrors of the plague, which spread havoc in the crowded city. Pericles himself escaped the scourge, but many of his relations and best friends, amongst them his sister and his two sons Xanthippus and Paralus, were struck down. With the elder of his sons, Xanthippus, a worthless young man, the father had been on bad terms, but the death of his surviving son, 418at an interval of a few days, affected him deeply, and when he came to lay the wreath upon the corpse, though he struggled hard to maintain his habitual calm, he broke down, and for the first time in his public life burst into a passion of weeping. But neither private grief nor public calamity shook for a moment the lofty courage and resolution with which he continued to the last to oppose a firm front alike to enemies without and to cravens within. While refusing as before to risk a battle in Attica, which he allowed the Peloponnesians to devastate at pleasure, he led in person a powerful fleet against Peloponnese, ravaged the coast, and destroyed the town of Prasiae in Laconia. But the Athenians were greatly disheartened; they sued for peace, and when their suit was rejected by Sparta they vented their ill-humour on Pericles, as the author of the war, by subjecting him to a fine. However, they soon repented of this burst of petulance, and atoned for it by re-electing him general and placing the government once more in his hands. Further, they allowed him to legitimate his son by Aspasia, that his house might not be without an heir. He survived this reconciliation about a year, but his name is not again mentioned in connexion with public affairs. In the autumn of 429 he died. We may well believe that the philosophy which had been 419the recreation of his happier days supported and consoled him in the clouded evening of his life. To his clement nature it was a peculiar consolation to reflect that he had never carried political differences to the shedding of blood. Indeed, his extraordinary, almost fatherly, tenderness for the life of every Athenian citizen is attested by various of his sayings. On his deathbed, when the friends about him were telling his long roll of glory, rousing himself from a lethargy into which he had fallen, he reminded them of his fairest title to honour: “No Athenian,” he said, “ever put on black through me.”

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


Printed by R. & R. Clark, Limited, Edinburgh.

Transcriber’s Note

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

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

49.13 darkest tragedies in Greek history[.] Added.
64.15 bear their country’s misfortunes with a noble [f]ortitude. Added.
286.30 occupied by corn-fields, vineyards, and olive-groves[.] Added.