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Title: The Glory That Was Greece: a survey of Hellenic culture and civilisation

Author: J. C. Stobart

Release date: May 18, 2019 [eBook #59532]
Most recently updated: January 24, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Chuck Greif and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images available at The Internet Archive)


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Index: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Z

List of Illustrations
Illustrations in the Text
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(etext transcriber's note)

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Uniform with this Volume


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


An Illustrated Prospectus will be published in due course.






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Aphrodite of Melos


Mansell & Co. Photo. Emory Walker Ph


A Survey of Hellenic Culture
& Civilisation: by

J. C. Stobart, M.A.


3 Adam Street, Adelphi

All rights reserved

Printed by
Tavistock Street Covent Garden



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

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

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

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

J. C. S.

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Mycenæan Gems (see p. 23)



 Hellenism : the Land and its People1
A New Chapter in History : Crete, the Doorstep of Europe : Progress of Ægean Culture : The Mainland Palaces, Mycenæ and Tiryns : The Makers of Ægean Art12
The Northern Invaders : Homer and the Achæans : The Shield of Achilles : Kings and Gods : Art of the Epic Period : The Hero’s Home : Hesiod’s World35
The Coming of Apollo : Athletics : Sparta : Pallas Athene : Tyranny and Culture : Ionia : The West65
The Rise of Athens : Pheidias : Ictinus and the Temple-builders : Tragedy and Comedy : Aidōs132
Athens : Sparta and Thebes : Fourth-century Culture : Sculpture : The Other Arts : Literature and Philosophy194
Alexander and his Work : Alexander in Art : Alexandria : Athens and her Philosophers237
INDEX: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Z275



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



Engraved by Emery Walker from a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the original in the Louvre, Paris. See p. 251.
Engraved by Emery Walker from a photograph by Bruckmann of the original in the Glyptothek, Munich. See p. 160
Corinthian Vase (Fig. 1) British Museum, Second Vase Room, Case 8, A 1375
Red-figured Vase (Fig. 2) British Museum, Third Vase Room, Case 17, E 453
Black-figured Vase (Fig. 3) British Museum, Second Vase Room, Case I, B 134
White Polychrome Vase (Fig. 4) British Museum, Third Vase Room, Case F, D 60
From a photograph
From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. In the foreground are the columns of the oldest temple in Greece
From a photograph by Alinari. A specimen of Greek scenery in one of the few well-watered plains
From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. The famous pass at which a vain attempt was made to repel the Persian invasion of 480 B.C.
From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of Slab 36 in the Nimroud Gallery, British Museum. An example of stylistic Oriental art at its highest. See p. 19{xiv}
Snake Goddess (Fig. 1). See p. 34
Wild Goat and Young (Fig. 2)
Painted from the facsimiles in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, by Diana R. Wilson, by special permission. See p. 22. According to Greek mythology Zeus was suckled by a she-goat in Crete
From an article by Sir A. J. Evans in the Monthly Review, March, 1901; by kind permission of Mr. John Murray. See pp. 25 and 32
Painted from the facsimile in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, by Diana R. Wilson, by special permission. See p. 25. The bull is a very frequent subject of artistic representation at Cnossos, where bullfighting seems to have been in vogue
From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. Showing the sculpture and masonry of prehistoric Greece. See p. 29
Collotype plate, from the facsimiles in the British Museum, First Vase Room, Case B. Two gold cups found on Spartan territory. The design is in relief beaten up from the back. One shows the trapping of wild cattle, the other tame cattle going to pasture. The vessels are about the size of the modern teacup. See p. 30
Collotype plate, from the electrotypes in the British Museum, as Plate 9. They show the dress and weapons of Ægean folk. All but the blade is a restoration. See p. 30
These vases were originally covered with gold-leaf. The subjects have not yet been completely explained. Probably the whole vase deals with athletic combats: running and leaping on the top zone, bullfighting on the second, and boxing on the third and fourth
Collotype plate, from the facsimiles in the British Museum, as Plate 9. See p. 38. The subject is the siege of a city. We observe that here, as in the previous illustrations, the warriors are represented as almost naked. They fight with slings and arrows and protect themselves with huge shields of wicker{xv}
Collotype plate, from a photograph by Alinari. See pp. 43 and 57. A masterpiece of the earlier Attic school of vase-painting. It is signed by Ergotimus and Klitias, sixth century B.C. The scenes are mythological
From a terra-cotta relief, British Museum, Terra-cotta Room, Case C, B 486. A fine example of archaic relief-work, showing Hermes as the Arcadian shepherd’s god
From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. See p. 69
From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens, of the original in the National Museum. See pp. 69 and 70
Collotype plate, from a photograph by Hanfstaengl of the original at Munich
From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the original in the Archaic Room, British Museum. These three figures may indicate the progress of early Greek sculpture in expressing the human figure. There is little ground for calling these figures “Apollo.” They may equally well be human athletes
Collotype plate, from a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens, of the marble at Olympia. See p. 70
From a photograph by Anderson of a cast from the original in a private collection at Rome. The copy in the British Museum (drawn on p. 80) has the head reversed. See p. 81
From a photograph by Mansell & Co. He is binding the victor’s garland round his forehead. This is, perhaps, the best of several copies made from the famous original, but it is much restored and probably not a very faithful copy
From a photograph by Brogi
From a photograph by Alinari. See p. 81. The recent discovery of the Agias (Pl. 51) has proved that this is not, as was formerly supposed, a true example of the work of Lysippus {xvi}
From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of a cast from the original at Delphi. See p. 81
From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. See p. 87
Collotype plate, from a photograph by Anderson. Represents a competitor in the girls’ foot-race which took place at Olympia in honour of Hera. The original must have been in bronze, but this marble copy reproduces its archaic character. See p. 83
Drawn from Vase B 140 in the Second Vase Room, British Museum (Case I). See pp. 95 and 112
From a photograph by the English Photo Co. of the original marble relief at Athens. See p. 98
From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens, of the original bronze statuette in the Acropolis Museum. See p. 102
Collotype plate, from a photograph of the originals in the British Museum, Second Vase Room, Case 8, A 1430, and Case 16, B 29. The style of these vases may be distinguished by the purple tones of the colouring and the Oriental character of the designs. See Vase Plate, Fig. 1, and p. 105
From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. See p. 107
29 STELE OF ARISTION (Fig. 1)114
From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens, of the original in the National Museum. See p. 114
29 HARMODIUS (Fig. 2)
From a photograph by Alinari of the original in the Naples Museum. See p. 116
From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the original in the British Museum. It was dedicated, as the inscription shows, by King Crœsus. See p. 123{xvii}
From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the original in the Archaic Room, British Museum. In the centre, a warrior yielding up his armour to Pluto. On the right and left, Fates (“Harpies”) carrying off the souls of the dead. In the right corner, a woman mourning. See p. 123
From photographs by Alinari of the originals at Rome. See p. 124
Collotype plate, from photographs of the originals in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mass., U.S.A., by kind permission of the Director. See p. 125
From a photograph. See p. 128
Perseus and Gorgon (Fig. 1)
Hera and Zeus (Fig. 2)
From photographs by Alinari of the originals, now in the Palermo Museum. See p. 130
Photographed from casts in the British Museum. See p. 131
Case I, Section C.
1. Silver Didrachm of Naxos, No. 31
    Obverse: Head of Dionysus crowned with ivy. Reverse: Bunch of grapes and inscription
2. Silver Didrachm of Tarentum, No. 7
    Reverse: Archaic head, ? Taras. Obverse: Taras (the city’s hero) riding a dolphin, cockle-shell and inscription
3. Silver Tetradrachm of Catana, No. 25
    Reverse: Winged Victory holding a wreath. Obverse: River-god as a bull with man’s head, a fish below and a water-bird above
4. Silver Tetradrachm of Syracuse, No. 35
    Reverse: Head of Arethusa surrounded with dolphins. Obverse: Four-horse chariot with Victory above
From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. See p. 134
From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. See p. 138
From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the original in the British {xviii}Museum, after Cresilas. See p. 142
From photographs by Bruckmann of the originals at Munich. See p. 147
From photographs by Mansell & Co. of the originals in the Elgin Room, British Museum. See p. 151
Figures referenced, 30-48 in the British Museum. See p. 154
Figures referenced, 2-3, 16-19, and 28-30 in the British Museum. From photographs by Mansell & Co. of the originals and casts in the British Museum. (Some of the marbles are still in situ at Athens.) See p. 155
From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the marble copy in the British Museum. The old Greek striking down an Amazon is said to be a portrait of Pheidias by himself. See p. 156
From a drawing by R. Bohn in the British Museum. See p. 163
Collotype plate, from a photograph by Tamme of the marble at Dresden, completed by Furtwängler from the head at Bologna. See P. 157
Collotype plate, from a photograph by Alinari of the marble at Bologna. See p. 158
From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the original bronze in the British Museum, after Myron. See p. 159
From a photograph of the original at Olympia
47 THE “SPINARIO” (Fig. 2)
From a photograph of the original at Florence. See p. 161
From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. See p. 163
From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. See p. 164
From a photograph. See p. 166
From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. Really a temple of Hephæstus. See p. 167
From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. A marble statue recently discovered at Delphi. It can be identified as a contemporary replica of a bronze by Lysippus, and is our only certain evidence of his style. See pp. 169 and 218
From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. See p. 169
From photographs by Mansell & Co. of the originals, now in the British Museum (Phigaleian Room). See p. 170
From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens. The best extant example of a Greek theatre. In the centre is the circular orchestra, where the chorus danced and sang, and behind it are relics of the stage-buildings. In the centre of the orchestra was an altar of Dionysus. This theatre was built about the middle of the fourth century B.C. The auditorium would hold about 15,000 spectators. See p. 175
From a photograph by Rhomaides. See p. 182. The whole monument would form a base for the prize tripod
Collotype plate, from originals in the British Museum, Third Vase Room: Vase E 155; Pyxis D 11 (see illustration, p. 45). The vase is a fine two-handled kantharos of the late fifth century. The background is painted black and the figures left red. See p. 191
The Pyxis (lady’s jewel-box) shows a marriage procession, drawn in colours on a light ground. The bride is being led to the family altar, preceded by a flute-player. See p. 191
Collotype plate, from originals in the British Museum, Third Vase Room, Vases D 54 and D 60 in Case F. Vessels, specially painted, to contain the oil used in funerals and buried in the tomb. The youth in the mourning robe is holding an oil-jar and gazing at the monument of his deceased friend. Compare Vase Plate, Fig. 4, and see p. 191
From a photograph by Alinari of the original at Rome. See p. 192
From a photograph by the English Photo Co. of the original in the Athens Museum. See p. 193{xx}
From photographs of originals in the Athens Museum. See p. 193
Collotype plate, from a photograph by Anderson of the original in the Vatican. See p. 217
Collotype plate, from a photograph by Mansell & Co. See p. 214. This Vatican statue of Aphrodite has never been photographed in its original nudity, but a cast was made and from it this photograph was taken
From a photograph by Bruckmann of the original at Munich. See p. 214
From a photograph by Anderson of a copy in the Capitoline Gallery, Rome. See p. 214
From a photograph by Anderson of a copy in the Vatican. See p. 215
64 HEAD OF A YOUTH (Fig. 1)202
From a photograph by Brogi of the bronze at Naples. See p. 215
From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the original bronze in the British Museum. See p. 220
From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens, of the original at Olympia. See p. 215
From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens, of the original at Olympia. See p. 215
From a photograph by the English Photo Co., Athens, of the relief from Mantinea. See p. 216
From a photograph by Anderson of the marble at Rome. The head, which does not belong to the body, has been recognised as representing the style of Scopas (fourth century B.C.). See p. 218
From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the marble in the British {xxi}Museum. See p. 219
From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the original in the British Museum. This belonged to the new temple built after the fire of 356 B.C. See p. 219
From a photograph by the English Photo Co. of the bronze at Athens. See p. 220
From a photograph by Anderson of the marble at Rome. The cupid between the god’s feet is certainly a later addition. See p. 220
From a photograph by Bruckmann of the marble copy at Munich. The original was in bronze. See p. 220
From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the original in the British Museum. Representing a combat between Greeks and Amazons. See p. 222
As the last. See p. 222
75 A NIOBID224
From a photograph by Anderson of the recently discovered original at Rome. See p. 222
Drawn from Vase B 607 in the Fourth Vase Room, British Museum. It is inscribed with the name of the Archon Pythodelos, giving the date 336 B.C. The figures are in black, but this is a survival from the earlier style. See p. 224
Photographed from casts in the British Museum. See p. 225
Case III.
1 Gold Stater of Rhodes, A 37
    Obverse: Head of the Sun-god. Reverse: A rose
2 Athenian Gold Stater, B 30
    Obverse: Head of Athena. Reverse: Owl and olive-branch
3 Gold Stater of Panticapæum, B 2
    Obverse: Head of Pan. Reverse: Gryphon and barley (the latter typifying the corn trade)
4 Silver Tetradrachm of Tenedos, A 20
    Obverse: Janiform head. Reverse: Double axe and bee in a wreath
5 Sicilian Decadrachm, C 29
    Obverse: Head of Arethusa or Persephone. Reverse: Four-horse chariot with Victory above and armour below
From photographs by Mansell & Co. of gems in the British Museum. See p. 225
1 A Quoit-thrower or Hyacinthus; probably fourth century B.C.
2 A Wounded Warrior
3 Harper (compare Pl. 32). Fine work of the fifth century, cornelian intaglio
4 Drunken Satyr, agate scarab
5 Homeric Scene. ? fifth century
6 Ideal Head in the Garb of Heracles; late work
From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the originals in the British Museum. See p. 226
From photographs by Mansell & Co. of originals in the British Museum. See p. 227
From a photograph by Mansell & Co. Not an authentic portrait but a later attempt to express the rugged exterior of the sage which is often a subject of humorous allusion in Plato and elsewhere. See p. 231
Collotype plate, from a photograph by Brogi of the mosaic at Pompeii. See p. 245
From a photograph by Seban and Joaillier of the original at Constantinople. See p. 246
Reproduced in colour from Plate XXXV in “Une Nécropole Royale à Sidon,” by MM. O. Hamdy Bey and Th. Reinach, by kind permission of M. Ernest Leroux, of Paris. See p. 246
From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the bust in the British Museum. See p. 246
Collotype plate, from a photograph by Titzenthaler of the original at Berlin. This is a clever reconstruction of the great altar of Zeus erected by the Attalids near the beginning of the second century B.C. The subject is the combat between gods and giants. See p. 251
From a photograph by Alinari of the marble in the Louvre. See p. 251
From a photograph by Alinari of the marble in the Louvre. See p. 252
From a photograph by Anderson of the original in the Palazzo Spada, Rome. An ideal conception of a philosopher rather than an authentic portrait. See p. 253
From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the original in the British Museum. No certain interpretation of the figures has been made. See p. 263
From a photograph by Brogi of the original at Naples. Depicts how Zethus and Amphion punished their stepmother, Dirce: a degenerate work by two sculptors of the Rhodian school in the first or second century B.C. See p. 265
From a photograph by Mansell & Co. of the cast in the British Museum. Original bronze at Berlin. See p. 220


From the Annual of the British School at Athens, vi. plate ii
British Museum, First Vase Room, Case 7, C 81
From the Annual of the B.S.A., ix. plate x
British Museum, Terra-cotta Room, Case 1, A 38
From the Annual of the B.S.A., ix. plate viii
From the Annual of the B.S.A., ix. p. 305
From the Annual of the B.S.A., ix. p. 306
From the Annual of the B.S.A., ix. p. 311
British Museum, First Vase Room, Case 19
From the Annual of the B.S.A., ix. p. 56
After Schliemann’s reconstruction; from his “Tiryns,” by kind permission of Mr. John Murray
From the Annual of the B.S.A., ix. p. 318
From the Annual of the B.S.A., ix. p. 90
From Ridgeway’s “Early Age of Greece,” i. p. 314, by kind permission of the Cambridge University Press. An early representation of the arms and dress of the Northern Invaders
From a pyxis in the British Museum, Third Vase Room, Case C, D 11 (see Plate 56)
British Museum, Room of Archaic Sculpture, No. 9
British Museum, First Vase Room, Case 34, No. 362
British Museum, Room of Greek and Roman Life, III. 19
From a vase in the British Museum, Third Vase Room, Case G, E 440
From vases, &c.
Outline drawing of the statue in the British Museum
British Museum, Room of Greek and Roman Life, II. B 25. Obverse: Head of Athena wearing a Corinthian helmet. Reverse: Pegasus
Diagram illustrating Doric and Ionic styles
British Museum, Room of Greek and Roman Life, I. A 7
British Museum, Room of Greek and Roman Life, III. B 33
British Museum, as above, III. B 18
From statuettes in the British Museum
British Museum, Room of Greek and Roman Life, IV. B 20. Showing Alexander as a god with the horns of Ammon
Drawn from a photograph of the original at Rome
British Museum, Vase Room, IV. Case 52, F 308




αἰ δὲ τεαὶ ξώουσιν ἀηδόνες ᾖσιν ὁ πάντων
ἁρπακτὴρ Ἀῒδης οὐκ ἐπὶ χεῖρα βαλεῖ
“Still are thy pleasant voices, thy nightingales, awake,
For Death, he taketh all away, but them he cannot take.”


“GREECE” and “Greek” mean different things to different people. To the man in the street, if he exists, they stand for something proverbially remote and obscure, as dead as Queen Anne, as heavy as the British Museum. To the average finished product of Higher Education in England they recall those dog-eared text-books and grammars which he put away with much relief when he left school; they waft back to him the strangely close atmosphere of the classical form-room. The historian, of course, will inform us that all Western civilisation has Greece for its mother and nurse, and that unless we know something about her our knowledge of the past must be built upon sand. That is true: only nobody cares very much what historians say, for they deal with the past, and the past is dead and disgusting. To some cultured folk who have read Swinburne (but not Plato) the notion of the Greeks presents a world of happy pagans, children of nature, without any tiresome ideas of morality or self-control, sometimes making pretty poems and statues, but generally basking in the sun without much on. There are also{2} countless earnest students of the Bible who remember what St. Paul said about those Greeks who thought the Cross foolishness and those Athenians who were always wanting to hear something new. St. Paul forgot that “the Cross” was a typical Stoic paradox. Then there are a vast number of people who do not distinguish between “Greek” and “classical.” By “classics” they understand certain tyrannous conventions and stilted affectations against which every free-minded soul longs to rebel. They distinguish the classical element in Milton and Keats as responsible for all that is dull and far-fetched and unnatural. Classicism repels many people of excellent taste, and Greek art is apt to fall under the same condemnation. It is only in the last generation that scholars have been able to distinguish between the true Greek and the false mist of classicism which surrounds it. Till then everybody had to look at the Greeks through Roman and Renaissance spectacles, confounding Pallas with Minerva and thinking of Greek art as represented by the Apollo Belvedere and the Laocoön. We are now able, thanks to the labours of scholars and archæologists, to see the Greeks as they were, perfectly direct, simple, natural, and reasonable, quite as antagonistic to classicism as Manet and Debussy themselves.

Lastly, there are a few elderly people who have survived the atmosphere of “the classics,” and yet cherish the idea of Greece as something almost holy in its tremendous power of inspiration. These are the people who are actually pleased when a fragment of Menander is unearthed in an Egyptian rubbish-heap, or a fisherman fishing for sponges off Cape Matapan finds entangled in his net three-quarters of a bronze idol. And they are not all schoolmasters either. Some of them spend their time and money in digging the soil of Greece under a blazing Mediterranean sun. Some of them haunt the auction-rooms and run up a fragment of pottery, or a marble head without a nose, to figures that seem quite absurd when you look at the shabby clothes of the{3} bidders. They talk of Greece as if it were in the same latitude as Heaven, not Naples. The strange thing about them is that though they evidently feel the love of old Greece burning like a flame in their hearts, they find their ideas on the subject quite incommunicable. Let us hope they end their days peacefully in retreats with classical façades, like the Bethlehem Hospital.

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

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

It cannot be done by studying their history only. Their history must be full of battles, in which they were only moderately great, and petty quarrels, to which they were immoderately prone. Their literature, which presents the greatest bulk of varied excellence of any literature in the world, must be considered. But as it can only reach us through the watery medium of translation we must supplement it by studying also their statues and temples, their coins, vases, and pictures. Even that will not be sufficient for people who are not artists, because the sensible Philistine part of the world knows, as the Greeks knew, that a man may draw and fiddle and be a scoundrel. Therefore we must look also at their laws and governments, their ceremonies and amusements, their philosophy and religion, to see whether they knew how to live like gentlemen and freemen. If we can keep our eyes open to all these sides of their activity and watch them in the germ and bud, we ought to get near to understanding their power as a living source of inspiration to artists and thinkers. Lovers of the classics are very apt to remind us of the Renaissance as testifying the power of Greek{4} thought to awaken and inspire men’s minds. Historically they are right, for it is a fact which ought to be emphasised. But when they go on to argue that if we forget the classics we ourselves shall need a fresh Renaissance they are making a prophecy which seems to me to be very doubtful. I believe that our art and literature has by this time absorbed and assimilated what Greece had to teach, and that our roots are so entwined with the soil of Greek culture that we can never lose the taste of it as long as books are read and pictures painted. We are, in fact, living on the legacy of Greece, and we may, if we please, forget the testatrix.

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

That Greek work is peculiarly suited to this purpose is partly due, no doubt, to the winnowing of centuries of time, but partly also to its own intrinsic qualities. For one thing, all the best Greek work was done, not to please private tastes, but in a serious spirit of religion to honour the god of the city; that prevents it from being trivial or meretricious. Secondly, it is not romantic; and that renders it a very desirable antidote to modern extravagances. Thirdly, it is{5} idealistic; that gives it a force and permanence which things designed only for the pleasure of the moment must generally lack. With all these high merits, it might remain very dull, if it had not the charm and grace of youth perfectly fearless, and serving a religion which largely consisted in health and beauty.

The Land and its People

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

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

A sea-going people will be an adventurous people in thought as well as action. The Greeks themselves fully{6} realised this. When Themistocles was urging his fellow-Athenians to build a great fleet and take to the sea in earnest, opposition came from the conservatives, who feared the political influence of a “nautical mob” with radical and impious tendencies. The type of solid conservative was the heavy-armed land soldier. So in Greek history the inland city of Sparta stands for tradition, discipline, and stability, while the mariners of Athens are progressive, turbulent, inquiring idealists.

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

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

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Plate I

English Photo Co., Athens


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

Greece enjoys a wonderful climate. The summer sun is hot, but morning and evening bring refreshing breezes from the sea. The rain average is low and regular, snow is almost unknown in the valleys. Hence there is a peculiar dry brightness in the atmosphere which seems to annihilate distance. The traveller is struck with the small scale of Greek geography. The Corinthian Gulf, for instance, which he remembers to have been the scene of famous sea-battles in history, looks as if you could throw a stone across it. From your hotel window in Athens you can see hill-tops in the heart of the Peloponnese. Doubtless this clearness of the atmosphere encouraged the use of colour and the plastic arts for outdoor decoration. Even to-day the ruined buildings of the Athenian citadel shine across to the eyes of the seafarers five miles away at the Peiræus. Time has mellowed their{8} marble columns to a rich amber, but in old days they blazed with colour and gilding. In that radiant sea-air the Greeks of old learnt to see things clearly. They could live, as the Greeks still live, a simple, temperate life. Wine and bread, with a relish of olives or pickled fish, satisfied the bodily needs of the richest. The climate invited an open-air life, as it still does. To-day, as of old, the Greek loves to meet his neighbours in the market square and talk eternally over all things both in heaven and earth. Though the blood of Greece has suffered many admixtures, and though Greece has had to submit to centuries of conquest by many masters and oppressors, her racial character is little changed in some respects. The Greek is still restless, talkative, subtle and inquisitive, eager for liberty without the sense of discipline which liberty requires, contemptuous of strangers and jealous of his neighbour. In commerce, when he has the chance, his quick and supple brain still makes him the prince of traders. Honesty and stability have always been qualities which he is quicker to admire than to practise. Courage, national pride, intellectual self-restraint, and creative genius have undoubtedly suffered under the Turkish domination. But the friends of modern Greece believe that a few generations of liberty will restore these qualities which were so eminent in her ancestors and that her future may rival her past. Not in the field of action, perhaps. We must never forget, when we praise the artistic and intellectual genius of Greece, that she alone rolled back the tide of Persian conquest at Marathon and Salamis, or that Greek troops under Alexander marched victoriously over half the known world. But it is not in the field of action that her greatness lies. She won battles by superior discipline, superior strategy, and superior armour. As soon as she had to meet a race of born soldiers, in the Romans, she easily succumbed. Her methods of fighting were always defensive in the main. Historians have often gone astray in devoting too much attention to her wars and battles.

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

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

In this beautiful land lived the happy and glorious people whose culture we are now to study. Some modernists, indeed, smitten with the megalomania of to-day, profess to despise a history written on so small a scale. Truly Athens{10} was a small state at the largest. Her little empire had a yearly revenue of about £100,000. It is doubtful whether Sparta ever had much more than ten thousand free citizens. In military matters, it must be confessed, the importance attached by historians to miniature fleets and pigmy armies, with a ridiculously small casualty list, does strike the reader with a sense of disproportion. But for the politician it is especially instructive to see his problems worked out upon a small scale, with the issues comparatively simple and the results plainly visible. The task of combining liberty with order is in essentials the same for a state of ten thousand citizens as for one of forty millions. And in the realms of philosophy and art considerations of size do not affect us, except to make us marvel that these tiny states could do so much.

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

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

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English Photo Co., Athens


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

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

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

Lastly, on the same small canvas we have a momentous phase of the eternal and still-continuing conflict between East and West and their respective habits of civilisation. These pages will describe the aggression and repulse of the East.{12}



Vixere fortes ante Agamemnona.

A New Chapter of History

IT is the misfortune of historians to be liable to attacks at both extremities. On the one hand time is continually adding postscripts to their “Finis,” and on the other hand the archæologist is constantly making them tear up and rewrite their first chapters. In Greek history especially the spade has proved mightier than the pen. We are now only certain that the first page of any Greek history written ten years ago must be defective; we are not yet quite sure what to put in its place. Any moment, it seems, the explorer may turn up something which will make a difference of a thousand years or so in our earliest chronology. There are in the Cretan museum scores of clay tablets inscribed with an unknown writing which only await an interpreter to confound and illuminate us all. Forty years ago eminent writers like Gladstone and Freeman were still looking to Homer for their ideas of the primitive European and his civilisation. Strange indeed were the results that followed. In politics we were to believe that the earliest Greeks settled their affairs at a public meeting where elders and princes made{13} persuasive speeches, and radicalism, though not unknown, was sternly discouraged. A benevolent monarchy, hereditary in the male line, was supposed by Sir Henry Maine to be the form of government common to primitive Europe and modern England. Literature was believed to have begun with elaborate epic poems written in hexameters of exquisite variety and extreme subtlety. The primitive woman was believed to have been the object of chivalrous and romantic esteem. Strangest of all, religion in this primitive world was held to have included the cheerful bantering of anthropomorphic gods and goddesses. We were to suppose that the European began by laughing at his gods and ended by worshipping them.

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Tablet of Cretan Linear Script, from Cnossos

Then in the seventies came the redoubtable Dr. Schliemann, most erudite of sappers, and dug into the hill at Hissarlik to see if he could find the bones of Hector and the ruins of Troy. Troy he found in abundance, five Troys, at least, one on the top of another. He called the second from the bottom the city of Priam, and then he crossed over with his spades and picks to look for what might be left of Agamemnon at Mycenæ. Sure enough, he presently startled the learned world by a telegram to the King of Greece saying that he had found the tomb of Agamemnon. Quite certainly he had found some very important things—things, as we shall soon see, far more interesting and valuable to history than if they had belonged, as Schliemann thought, to the King of all the Greeks. But the point is that for many years to come all the excavators who worked on Greek soil started with the false belief that Homer was the beginning of all things and{14} that their discoveries were illustrating Homer. We now know that the excavations at Mycenæ and the poems of Homer represent two entirely different civilisations, neither of them primitive. We are now in a position to throw the beginnings of European culture in the Mediterranean basin centuries—nay, whole millenniums—farther back than our fathers’ wildest dreams could carry them. The history of European civilisation is no longer a traceable progression from Homer to Tennyson or from Odysseus to Captain Peary, but a long cycle of rising and decaying cultures with periods of darkness intervening. For this revolution in our ideas the responsible weapon is the humble but veracious spade.

Crete, the Doorstep of Europe

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

Thus geography has made it exceedingly probable that Crete will play a momentous part in the earliest history of Europe. That island lies like a doorstep at the threshold of Europe. If civilisation was to rise with the sun in the East, out of the extremely ancient civilisations of Egypt and Babylon, by way of those earliest carriers to the world’s markets, the Phœnicians of Tyre and Sidon, clearly this island{15} of Crete would be their stepping-stone to Europe. Thus we reason, knowing it to be the truth. But we should never have learnt the truth from literature. In Homer, for example, Crete is of little importance. It was famous for its “ninety cities” and its mixed nationalities, and it was known as the former realm of Minos. There, too, the father of all craftsmen, Dædalus, had fashioned a wondrous dancing-place. But we might almost gather from the pages of Homer that it was a land whose glory had departed already. And that is the truth. Outside Homer, Crete, though insignificant in history, takes a much more important place in mythology and legend. For religion Crete was the birthplace of Zeus, the king of the gods. In the history of law-making it plays a very important part, for Minos of Crete was said to be the first law-giver, and he was placed as the judge of the dead by later mythology. In religion it produced Epimenides, the early exorcist, and in music Thaletas. Then many ancient historians give us a tradition of early naval empires in Greek waters. Thalassocracies they were called, and that of Crete stands at the head of the list. Finally, those fortunate Englishmen whose introduction to Greece has come through the wonderful “Heroes” of Charles Kingsley know the story of the Cretan labyrinth and that fearsome beast the Minotaur. They know the story of Theseus: how the Athenians of the earliest times had to send tribute every year of their fairest youths and maidens to King Minos of Crete, until one year the prince Theseus besought old Ægeus, his royal father, to let him go among the number in order to stop this cruel sacrifice; how he went at last, and how the Cretan princess, Ariadne, loved him and gave him a weapon and a clue to the labyrinth, and how he slew the dreadful monster and deserted his princess and returned home; but how he forgot also to hoist the signal of his safety, so that the old king, seeing black sails to his ship, cast himself headlong from the rock in his misery, and gave a name to the Ægean Sea. In old days we read it as a beautiful Greek romance; now we think it{16} very likely that the Athenians in early days did have to pay tribute—

septena quotannis
corpora natorum

—to the empire of Minos. Sir Arthur Evans, the explorer of Cnossos, thinks that he has discovered the labyrinth, and perhaps even the Minotaur, in his excavations at Cnossos. Anyhow, he has discovered a civilisation previously almost unknown to history. As these new discoveries centre in Crete, the excavators have naturally taken Crete as the fount and origin of it all, and call their new old world “Minoan,” just as the followers of Dr. Schliemann called their discoveries “Mycenæan.” The two cultures are not distinct; Mycenæan objects mainly represent one or two of the later stages of Minoan culture. But as similar objects have been found in many parts of the Eastern Mediterranean, and as it is just possible (though not very probable) that even more wonderful discoveries of a similar kind may be made elsewhere, and as the relation of Minos to these earliest periods is by no means established, we had better be cautious and adopt the most general name of those which have been applied to this culture and call it “Ægean,” or “Pre-Achæan,” or “Bronze Age.” We may quite fairly use one name for all this world of prehistoric civilisation before Homer, although it covers an enormous space of time and may be divided into many distinct chapters or phases; because, after all, there is a clear line of ancestry between the earliest of the art forms and the latest, indicating that the artists were of the same blood, however many times their cities might be destroyed and their works buried under the soil. It is so distinct, so continuous, and so widely distributed that we are safe in believing that it was the work of one people spread all over the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean. Ægean civilisation has been found in Crete, on the coasts of Asia Minor, on the mainland of Greece, in Egyptian tombs, in Sicily, on the coast of Italy, at Torcello near Venice, at{17} Bologna, and in Spain. Etruscan art seems to be essentially akin to it. Cyprus has long been known as a centre of Ægean civilisation, and is at the present moment yielding fresh treasures to the archæologist. But nowhere has it been discovered in such perfect continuity and splendour as in Crete.

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

Progress of Ægean Culture

I have said that the prehistoric culture revealed by the excavations in Crete and elsewhere forms a continuous and progressive history from the Stone Age to the Iron Age. Sir Arthur Evans, indeed, has divided his discoveries into nine periods, from “Early Minoan I.” to “Late Minoan III.” Without being quite so precise, let us attempt to sketch a{18} history of “prehistoric” civilisation on Greek soil, taking Crete as the centre of influence.

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Black Vase from Cyprus

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

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Plan of Neolithic House

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

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

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

So in the forms and designs of the pottery we watch a steady upward march, the progress growing faster as the standard of achievement rises. Curves and circles take the place of zigzags and triangles. The potter plays tricks with the colour of his clay, daubs it with red, burns it in patches. In these strata we begin to find imitations of the human form, rude images or “idols,” possibly the votive offerings which represent the worshipper in substitution for human sacrifice. These become conventionalised, as everything connected with religion tends to do, into queer fiddle-shaped, goggle-eyed figures. All the Cretan artists insisted{20} on the waist to a degree which would seem to the modern shop-girl an exaggeration. Even in Egypt the small waist was regarded as a characteristic of the Keftiu—the men from the Isles of the Sea. The broad shoulders of the men no doubt are intended to symbolise strength. Along with vases and “idols” are found seals whose emblems show traces of the influence of Egypt under the Sixth Dynasty (? 2540 B.C.).

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Terra-cotta Figure, from Petsofà

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

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Terra-cotta Idol, from Troy

Now we are among the earlier palaces of Cnossos. Each period now seems to have ended with a disaster, after which art rose again triumphantly above the ruins, to begin where it had left off before the invader came to destroy the palace and shrines of its patrons. Here we find the “Kamáres” ware, a style of pottery to which we can perhaps for the first time apply honest expressions of admiration. It is often as thin as eggshell china. Its shapes are extremely varied and graceful; among them the precise form of the modern tea-cup is common, and beautiful dishes for{21}

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Votive Terra-cotta, from Petsofà. (Full size)


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

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Kamáres Cup

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Kamáres “Hole-mouthed” Jar

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

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Fig. 1. Snake Goddess.

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Fig. 2. Wild Goat and Young.



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

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

The shapes are now extremely graceful. These pointed pitchers were used as we see in the famous frieze of the Cupbearer, to serve the wine. There is generally a hole in the base to strain it. Drinking vessels were often of that fairest{24} of Attic shapes known as the kylix. We notice how marine objects predominate in the natural forms selected. That alone might have given us a hint to look for an island as the centre of this art.

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Cretan Filler

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

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

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Cuttle-fish Kylix

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Clay Seal Impression: Pugilist

There is something here for every one. The sportsman will observe the methods of pugilism indicated on the gems, admiring the muscular development and the free action of the Cnossian prize-fighter. He seems to have neglected his “guard,” but then he was separated by a barrier from his opponent. Or we may study the laws of bull-baiting as practised at Cnossos, noting the agility with which toreadors, male and female, leap over the animal’s head. The milliner may study the latest modes of to-day on the fashion-plates of the eighteenth century before Christ. She will find the flounced petticoat{26} of yesterday, the narrow waist, the bodice cut extremely décolletée, the high coiffure of to-morrow, the Medici collar, the zouave jacket. She will see hats which Mr. Myres considers “unparalleled,” some flat like the mode of 1902, others with turned-up brims and roses underneath like that of to-day.

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

The Mainland Palaces

Though there is so much to interest the architect in Cnossos, and though the finest ashlar masonry is to be found there, the ordinary student of ancient building will probably prefer to go for his examples, as of old, to the contemporary{27}

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Citadel of Tiryns


palaces of Mycenæ and Tiryns. In Cnossos there was little or no fortification—another proof that the Minoan empire rested safe behind wooden walls. But on the mainland we have two magnificent fortresses and citadels, so well preserved and so cleverly excavated by Schliemann and Tsountas that the untrained eye can take in at a glance the essential features of the architecture. At Tiryns the builder has taken the fullest advantage of the natural strength of his position. The top of the hill has been levelled and the summit encircled with a gigantic wall seldom less than fifteen feet thick. In the wall there are galleries opening internally upon a series of magazines. Along it at intervals there are massive watch-towers. One such screens each of the gateways. The main gate on the east side is approached by a long ascending ramp, which is exposed all the way to attack from the wall that towers above. To reach the postern-gate on the west you had also to climb a long flight of steps. The hill-top, which is more than 900 feet long, consists of a lower plateau to the north, on which no traces of building have been found, possibly because there were only wooden erections there for the soldiers, or possibly because it was left bare as a place of refuge for the cattle. The higher plateau to the south contains the palace, with its great pillared megaron, or hall. In this there is a circular central hearth. Close behind is the hall of the women, with sleeping-chambers at hand, and a strong treasury partly built into the wall. There is an elaborate bathroom, with drain-pipes and water-supply, hot and cold, a little to the west of the megaron. The three inner courts are sumptuously paved with mosaic, and the walls were covered with frescoes. It appears that the buildings on the summit of the hill were all of a palatial description, and the conclusion is that the commons lived in the plain below, governed and protected by their citadel. Tiryns lies on the flank of the plain of Argos, and within a few miles of the sea. As this one small plain included also the other ancient fortresses of Mycenæ and Argos, the dominions of this king{29} must have been very small. It has been plausibly suggested that these citadels principally existed to command the highways leading to the Isthmus of Corinth.

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

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Beehive Tomb: Section

But the most interesting of the Mycenæan remains are undoubtedly the tombs. In the city itself there is a circular enclosure surrounded by a double series of paving-stones set into the ground on edge, thus forming a ring of shaft graves whose purpose was plainly shown by the objects and bones found in them. Down in the plain below were found other burying-places, also circular, but of a later date and much more striking. These subterranean “beehive” tombs have been found elsewhere in Greece, but nowhere of such splendour. It was one of these which Schliemann proclaimed to be the tomb of Agamemnon. Like the pyramids in Egypt, it contains an inner chamber, which forms the actual grave, outside it a circular “tholos,” probably a shrine for the cult of the departed, and a long “dromos,” or inclined approach.{30} The tholos is of great interest to architects as providing a forerunner of the dome. But it is not built on the principle of the arch, with wedge-shaped masses and a keystone. This dome is contrived by laying ever-narrowing circles of masonry one upon the other concentrically, the interior being smoothed, plastered, and richly decorated. It is thought that the bee-hive shape reproduces the primitive bell-tent, for the tombs of the dead are generally copied from the abodes of the living. Such splendour in the tomb, such careful concealing of the dead underground in an inner chamber, unquestionably proves ancestor-worship.

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

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

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English Photo Co., Athens


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

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Cretan Cup of Degenerate Style.

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

Among the relics of this period are objects which betray the cause of the downfall—weapons of iron. The Bronze Ages are passing away before the superior metal, as the Stone Ages had yielded to the Bronze.{32}

The Makers of Ægean Art

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

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

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Plate 9.—Vaphio Cups.


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

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

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

A word remains to be said about religion. In classical Greece, as everybody knows, there was a prevailing cult of state gods and goddesses, an anthropomorphic Olympian{34} family, Zeus, Hera, Athena, Artemis, Apollo, and the rest of them. But recent students of religion have pointed out that side by side with the public worship of celestial deities there was a more mysterious but more real devotion to a quite different form of religion, a cult of Nature goddesses, with mystical rites whose origin was more than half forgotten. To this class belong the Mysteries of Eleusis, to name the most famous example, and it is seen in the many-breasted “Diana of the Ephesians.” Now Professor Ridgeway has long taught that this naturalistic worship was probably a survival from the prehistoric ages of Greece. It is at its strongest in Arcadia, the untouched primitive part of Greece. He calls it the religion of the Southern mother, retained in spite of the Northern father who would have his Zeus-Odin worshipped in public. The discoveries in Crete have confirmed this theory, and thrown some light on the naturalistic worship of later times. The principal deity of Crete was a Nature goddess, generally represented as adorned with snakes.[11] She was worshipped with orgiastic rites, ecstatic dances, shaking of rattles, ornately robed priests, and emblematical processions. Along with this worship, and probably older, as the aniconic precedes the iconic stage of religion, there are many signs of aniconic fetishes, pillar-worship, axe-worship, tree-worship, and even cross-worship. The monster forms of bull-men, dog-men, snake-men may be only heraldic signs, or they may indicate a worship of monsters such as prevailed in Egypt. Certainly there was worship of the entombed ancestor. We can see that the artistic people of prehistoric Greece were very near to the earth after all.

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Clay Seal Impression with Cruciform Symbol, from Temple Repository, Cnossos

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Plate 10.—Inlaid Dagger Blades.




ἀνδρῶν ἡρώων θεῖον γένος, οἳ καλέονται

The Northern Invaders

IN stepping out of Crete into Homer we are leaving a material world of artists for a literary world of heroes. Incidentally it may be mentioned that we are stepping over three or four centuries without any history. These have rightly been called the Dark Ages, for the analogy between these prehistoric Dark Ages and those of history is singularly close. The Cnossian empire fell before the barbarians, though in this case the last scenes must have taken place at sea. Thus the stability and order of life in the Ægean was broken up and the lamp of culture flickered out. Some sparks of it struggled on, to burn up again with even greater brilliance in the classical period. But some of the crafts perished entirely, such as the faience and the gypsum or stucco reliefs. The writing seems to have perished and been reinvented or reimported later on. The use of weights and money perished for a time out of the Greek world. These things were closely bound up with a flourishing commerce, and now the sea became unsafe for commerce. Sculpture had to begin again from the beginning, and though the shapes of pottery in some cases seem to survive right through, yet the{36} designs suffer an extraordinary degradation and barbarisation before they begin again to be admirable. The same cause operated here as after the fall of Rome. The world was being remade, new peoples were coming upon the scene; there was a long period of Wandering of the Nations, with no Christian missionaries to mitigate their barbarism—or to chronicle their progress. It is a period without any history, and not all the imaginative reconstructions of poetical professors can really throw much light upon it. The Egyptians of about 1200 B.C. observed that there was unrest among the Isles of the Sea, and that is all, so far as we can read the stones.

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

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Warrior Stelé from Mycenæ

This is not all fancy: the Bronze Age is history, as we have seen; so is the Iron Age. What then of the age between, the Age of Heroes? It comes in awkwardly, for it disturbs the poet’s picture of degeneration. But it has to be inserted in deference to the beliefs of Hesiod’s audience. Hesiod is more or less consciously writing a Bible for the{38} Greeks—that is, putting their religious customs into literary form. This is his concession to hero-worship or ancestor-worship. The Heroic Age of Demigods, the milieu of Homeric poems and Attic tragedy, is not historical, and it is vain to make it so.

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

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Fig. 1.—Warrior Vase in black steatite.

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Fig. 2.—Fragment of Silver Vase.

Plate 11.


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

In the fusion of these two streams, each of which had so much to give and so much to receive, lies one secret of the Hellenic people. It would seem that the Northmen came as invaders, not merely as immigrants, into the desirable southern peninsulas. They came as warriors, and took wives of the old race, so that the resulting mixture partook of the qualities of both. But, as usual in such cases, climate and environment gradually told, and the type reverted in long course of time to its original characteristics. For a little while in the fifth century there was a perfect amalgam, and we have a people bold in arms, clean in morality, and skilful in high{40} idealistic art. But soon the virile element decays, vigour declines into indolence, idealism into mere sensuous grace and charm, so that while the Greeks never ceased to be incomparable craftsmen and subtle thinkers, the nobler elements which made them artists and originators in all departments of intellect gradually failed them.

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

Homer and the Achæans

One of these Northern tribes, the Achæans, are the people commemorated in the epics which go under the name of Homer. Although, as I have said, they had an Olympian hierarchy of gods, their real devotion was given to heroes{41}—that is, to deified ancestors of the tribe, whose graves, real or imaginary, were the scene of sacrifices and libations. One such hero was Agamemnon, who was worshipped at Sparta and elsewhere. Another was Achilles, who had the centre of his cult in Phthiotis. Their valorous deeds were doubtless commemorated in ancient lays. But our Homer is not a collection of ballads or folk-songs. It is a literary product of such finish and perfection as to postulate centuries of experiment in the literary art and the intervention of individual genius of the very highest order. We are forced to believe in the existence of a real Homer who set himself, as Hesiod did in a different sphere, to collect the praises of the heroes and to fashion them into immortal verse, grouping the various heroes into one Panhellenic army under the leadership of Agamemnon in a great expedition, probably an echo of real history, against the city of Troy. But it is equally certain that our Iliad and Odyssey are not the untouched composition of a single brain. Not only is the story of the Iliad far too incoherent—warriors killed in one book, fighting cheerfully in the next, a huge wall and fosse round the Greek camp appearing and disappearing unaccountably; not only is the original plot of the Wrath of Achilles forgotten and obscured in later books; not only is the Odyssey in style and diction visibly later than the main part of the Iliad; but it is possible to trace a progressive variation in customs and ideas, with subsequent interpolation and expurgation, throughout. Both epics seem to have been translated out of an original Æolic version into Ionic Greek. And it must not be forgotten that the ancients applied the term “Homer” to a vast body of epic matter of which our Iliad and Odyssey are only a part. We are forced to conclude that many successive generations of bards had worked over the original nucleus. These Homeridæ, or “sons of Homer,” must have included several men of genius among their number, but they were all trained in a noble school. They were, as has been said, hymning the praises of their patrons’ heroic ancestors—that is, they were Æolians telling the story of{42} traditional Achæan heroes, for the Achæans when driven out of their homes by the Dorian invaders bore the name of Æolians when they migrated to the northern coasts of Asia Minor. Probably the earliest Homer was writing in a consciously antiquarian spirit about heroes long ago; certainly the later writers were deliberately archaising and submitting to an epic convention. Thus the Dorians, except for a single oversight, are studiously ignored; writing, coined money, and sculpture are avoided. Habits of ancient barbarism like human sacrifice, poisoned arrows, and the ill-treatment of the dead have been carefully expunged, though the sharp eye of modern criticism can detect the traces of expurgation. Although the heroes certainly belonged to the Iron Age, they are conventionally represented as “smiting with the bronze,” though iron is often mentioned also. All the named heroes, being somebody’s tribal god and somebody’s ancestor, have to receive the title of king, although in the Iliad they are but captains in Agamemnon’s army. Possibly the earliest Homer lived under a patriarchal monarchy; certainly, as we shall see, the authors of the later parts were familiar with oligarchy or aristocracy. The tradition is probably true which says that Homer was not edited in our “authorised” version until the tyranny of Peisistratus at Athens in the sixth century.

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

The Shield of Achilles

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

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Plate 12.—The François Vase.



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

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

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

“And on it he put two cities of mortal men, two fair cities. In one there were marriages and feasts. They were carrying the brides from their chambers through the city with gleaming torches, and loud rose the marriage-songs. The musicians were playing, and among them the flutes and lyres made their music. The women stood admiring, every one at her porch; and the people were crowded in the market-place. There a strife had arisen: two suitors were striving about the price of a man slain. One claimed to have paid in full, and he was appealing to the people, but the other refused to take anything. So both had hurried to have trial before an umpire. Crowds of backers stood around each to cheer them on, and there were the heralds keeping the crowd{44} in order. The old men sat upon polished stones in a holy circle with staves of loud-voiced heralds in their hands. With these they would arise in turn to give their judgments. There in the midst lay two talents of gold to give to the man who should speak the most righteous sentence of them all.

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

“Also he wrought thereon a soft fallow, a fat ploughland, a broad field of three ploughings. Many ploughmen were driving their teams up and down in it. And whenever they came to the baulk of the field at the end of their turn a man{45} came forward with a cup of honey-sweet wine in his hands and proffered it. So they kept wheeling among the ridges, anxious to reach the baulk of the deep fallow, which grew dark behind them, and, gold though it was, looked as if it had been ploughed, so very wondrous was the craft.

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Marriage Procession. From a Pyxis in the British Museum

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

“On it also he wrought a vineyard heavy-laden with grapes, beautifully wrought in gold. Up above were the{46} black bunches, and the vineyard was set with silver poles throughout; round it he drove a trench of kuanos and a wall of tin; a single causeway led to it whereby the pickers walked when they gathered in the vintage. Maids and merry bachelors were carrying the honey-sweet fruit in woven baskets, and in the midst a boy played a lovely tune on a high-pitched lyre, singing thereto with his dainty voice a sweet dirge of Linus, while the rest kept time with stamping of feet and leaping and song and shrieking.

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

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

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

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

“So then when he had fashioned a great and mighty shield{47} he fashioned also a hauberk brighter than the beam of fire, and he fashioned him a strong helmet, fitting the temples, richly dight, and on it put a crest, and he made him greaves of pliant tin.”

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

Kings and Gods

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

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

The truth is, of course, that he’s a king in buckram. He is only a country squire with a pedigree, dressed up as a Basileus to suit the convention of the epic. Such too are the “kings” of the Odyssey. There the story requires that Odysseus shall be King of Ithaca and that his faithful wife shall be maintaining his throne in his absence. But the poet or poets were so little accustomed to the ways of kings that they constantly forget the political importance of Penelope and speak as if it were only a question of the jointure of a comely widow. Eumæus the swineherd extols the wealth of Odysseus by saying that no other in Ithaca{48} had so much. They were already in the habit of regarding the market-place as the political focus of the State. So in the town of Scheria “King” Alcinous goes forth daily to the council with the twelve other “renowned kings.” Odysseus their visitor prays that this “king” and his “queen” may be so blessed by the gods that they may leave to their children “the substance in their halls, and whatever dues of honour the people have rendered unto him.” And the “princess” goes out in a mule-cart with the washing. On the stage of the epic the king is, of course, a great and mighty ruler. We are often reminded how fearful is the wrath of kings. The king says, according to a quotation of Aristotle’s, that he has power of life and death. He gives away cities that do not belong to him. He inherits “his sceptre and his dooms” from Zeus and a long line of ancestors. But he cannot live up to these exalted pretensions. He debates policy in the market-place with the other kings (who are often called elders by mistake, though they are young and lusty as an eagle), and matters are settled by the acclamation of the masses. It is the orator who sways the crowds. By occasional slips of the tongue these divine kings are spoken of as a greedy class, just as they are in Hesiod. As for the “dooms” that they receive by inspiration from Zeus, they make no practical use of them. Justice, as we saw on our Shield, is really administered by the elders in the agora. A careless line of the Odyssey tells of “the hour when a man rises from the assembly and goes home to supper, a man who judges the many quarrels of the young men that go to him for judgment.” There is no single example of a king acting as judge in Homer, and though the king pretends to give away cities he sometimes humbly accepts the gift of an acre or two from the citizens for services rendered. There is, indeed, one celebrated passage of the Iliad where monarchy is apparently extolled; but the attentive reader will discern that it is in the language not of primitive patriarchal conditions, but of a partisan of aristocracy or tyranny rebuking the{49} presumption of radical demagogy. It is in the second book of the Iliad. Agamemnon had bidden the Greeks prepare for flight from Troy. It was only a ruse to try their temper, but it succeeded all too well, for the people hastily took him at his word. Now Odysseus is bidden by the goddess Athena to hurry down and stop them.

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

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

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

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

“He was the ugliest man that came to Troy. He was bandy-legged and lame, and his two shoulders were humped and cramped upon his breast. Above, his head was peaked, and a scanty stubble sprouted upon it. He was the bitterest foe to Achilles and to Odysseus, and ever they were chiding him. Then too he cried out shrill words of reproach against{50} divine Agamemnon. But the Achæans were horribly wroth with him, and hated him in their hearts....

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

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

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

That is why the real gods come so badly out of the epics. They are the only immoral people in Homer; they cheat and lie, they smack and squabble. Perhaps we do not expect much decency from Zeus or Aphrodite, but even the stately Hera herself alternates between the crafty courtesan and the scolding fish-wife. And yet Homer is the “Bible of the Greeks”! Herodotus said, and said truly, that it was Hesiod and Homer who assigned to the gods their names, distributed their honours and functions, and settled their appearance and{51} characteristics. In after-times Homer was the universal primer of education. It is extremely probable that Homer and Hesiod selected certain deities out of a vast number for special honour as members of the Olympian family. Why in the world, then, did not Homer honour them? Various explanations have been given. The old explanation was that this is the naive expression of primitive anthropomorphism, which makes gods in the likeness of men, enlarging the human vices as well as the virtues. But no one who really studies Homer can believe in a theory which makes him simple and childlike. Homer’s ridicule of the gods is not the unsophisticated laughter of a child or a savage. It is to be noticed that it is only some of the gods who come badly out of the Homeric theology. No figure could be lovelier than that of the sea-goddess, Thetis, or more dignified than Pallas Athene, or more ethereal than Iris, the ambassadress of heaven. Professor Ridgeway’s belief that Homer was written by a bard of the old race honouring his Achæan masters might explain the mordant raillery of Northern gods like Zeus and Hera. But then Aphrodite, who is the worst treated of all, would seem to be actually the Nature-goddess of Crete, ever accompanied with doves in Cretan art. It is just the Ægean naturalism which is excluded from Homeric religion. There is nothing to connect even Iris with the rainbow. My own explanation would be that hero-worship is Homer’s main concern. So many of his heroes claim descent from Zeus by so many mothers that Zeus cannot be endowed with monogamic morality. The gods can look after themselves; it is the heroes who require the assistance of the bard. I believe, too, in Professor Gilbert Murray’s suggestion that in these passages of impiety we have the intervention of the later Ionic spirit of rationalism. As such passages are widely diffused over the Iliad we should have to place the composition of a considerable part of it so late as the eighth and seventh century before Christ. But as we have seen that the political background of Homer{52} is in the main a scene of aristocracy, precisely such as we have in the seventh-century poet Hesiod, there is no real objection to a late dating.

Once you abandon the absurd belief in Homer’s “primitive simplicity” and admit, what is now certain, that the epic poets could consciously archaise their story, omitting all reference to events and customs which seemed to them too modern to fit in with the divine race of heroes, just as Malory does with the Arthurian knights, there is no objection to believing that large parts of Homer were written in the eighth century. Of course, there are much older traditions and older fragments of epic poetry embedded in our Iliad and Odyssey. No real violence is done to ancient tradition by bringing these poems down to the verge of historical times, for Homer and Hesiod were generally regarded as contemporaries in antiquity. All the civilisation depicted in Homer is far closer to that of historical Greece than to that of the Ægean excavations. Take the armour for another example. Although, as has been said, the heroes generally “smite with the bronze” and their shields are sometimes “like a tower” and “reaching to the feet” and “girding the body,” as on the monuments of Mycenæ and Crete, yet in the ordinary thought of the poets the swords are undoubtedly of iron, since the cut is commoner than the thrust and you do not cut with a sword of bronze, and the shields are “circular,” “equal every way,” “bossed,” and “like the moon.” Sometimes, as in the case of the shield of Achilles, or the shield of Agamemnon, they are adorned with a blazon. In fact, the Homeric warrior is dressed and equipped exactly like the hoplite of Greek history. As regards his methods of fighting, the epic convention naturally requires a series of duels in order to show the individual prowess of the heroes; and, indeed, the various episodes of the Iliad are labelled as “The Prowess of Diomede,” “The Prowess of Menelaus,” and so forth. But at the back of the poet’s mind there constantly appears an ordinary Greek combat between two lines of{53} warriors. Agamemnon once divides the host up into companies, tribe with tribe and brotherhood with brotherhood. Finally, by placing Homer late, in the flourishing culture of Æolis and Ionia, we avoid the absurdity of supposing that a literary form so exquisite and elaborate as the epic should have sprung out of nothing in times of violent unrest, of invasions, migrations, and ceaseless strife. A priori any one would say that lyric poetry must precede epic, as it has done in England. Greek tradition places Orpheus, the father of lyric song, before Homer. There would be nothing surprising in placing the early elegiac poetry on the same chronological level as the earliest hexameters. That the ordinary forms of lyric verse already existed in Homeric times we can see, if we read the poems attentively. The boy sings his vintage song of the death of Linus. At the burial of Hector there are bards to sing dirges. There is reference to the Hymenæus, or wedding-song. There were banquet songs too: in the First Iliad they sing all day long over their cups. Bards like Demodocus sing of the loves of the gods. Thus there is ample evidence that all the common forms of Greek lyric poetry preceded the epic, and that Homer did not spring into existence ready-made out of the void. Still less did the Achæan invaders from the cold North import a finished literary form of composition into the civilised peninsulas of the Mediterranean.

Art of the Epic Period

And now the question arises as to what sort of art we are to match with the poetry of Homer. It was the desire to give some literary equivalent for the glorious art of Mycenæ and Cnossos which led Schliemann and his school to equate it with Homer. Doubtless prehistoric Crete had its literature. But that has all perished, unless the undecipherable written tablets should chance to yield us something. We must realise that great literature can coexist with crude art. There is no great art in England to correspond with Shakespeare,{54} Milton, or Shelley. Language being the easiest medium of artistic expression, literature commonly develops earlier than the graphic or plastic arts. We must therefore be prepared for the shock of finding that Homer belongs to the same period as a very ugly and inartistic decorative style on the vases and most rudimentary and primitive forms of statuary. The pages of Homer do not really lead us to expect anything else. Sculpture is scarcely mentioned in Homer. There is only one temple statue, and that is the statue of Athena at Troy, of which we are told that the Trojan women used to lay a richly embroidered robe upon its knees. We are probably, then, to conceive a rude seated figure of wood or stone such as we find at the earliest stages of Greek sculpture. Their roughness and rudeness might be mitigated by coverings of embroidery. At Branchidæ, near Miletus, a whole series of such figures was discovered, dedicated with writing of about 550 B.C.; but we can easily believe that such a type might persist for more than a century. It is believed that this type of statue has been evolved from the throne, for it appears certain that empty thrones were worshipped before iconic deities were carved. One can see also that it is only lately derived from a technique of wood, so flat are the planes of its surface. The goddess belongs to the chair rather than the chair to the goddess.

Beyond this there are some obviously imaginary figures in Homer, such as the golden torch-bearers in the fairyland of Phæacia, but nothing that we can call sculpture. Also there are many minor “objects of virtue,” such as the drinking-cup of Nestor and the brooch of Odysseus, some of which may be matched by the relics of the Mycenæan tombs; but of course cups and jewels of gold were still preserved from the older civilisation, and notably enough such objects are always accounted for: either Hephæstus has wrought them, or they have been handed down as heirlooms, or brought by the Sidonians over the sea. Homer does not take his art for granted. He uses the potter’s wheel in similes, but the only{55}

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Seated Statue from Branchidæ

art he really describes is that of tapestry-weaving, the domestic art carried on by all his ladies. Thus Helen employs herself at Troy in weaving figures of warriors into her web, and Andromache weaves flowers into hers. What pattern Penelope wove into her everlasting shroud is known only to those who know what song the sirens sang. Appropriate to this prominence of the textile art is the style of ornamentation described, as we have read, upon the shield of Achilles. For these parallel bands of picture-writing{56}

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Geometric Vase

which were in the poet’s mind when he depicted the shield are known to us in the pottery of the seventh and sixth centuries. It is called by modern archæologists the Geometric style, because the whole body of the vase is divided into bands and panels by strips of zigzag ornament. An early phase of the Geometric style is specially named after the Dipylon Gate at Athens, because huge vases of a certain type were found in great numbers in the ancient cemetery of Athens in that neighbourhood. The subject of these vases is generally funereal. We see the body laid out upon the bier and the mourners indicating their grief by laying their hands upon their heads. The figures are rendered in conventional diagrams. To my taste they are almost repulsive. Not only is the drawing of the figures careless and clumsy, but the spirit of the whole thing is ugly. The fidgety nerves of the artist trying to fill every corner with some sort of scrawl, scraping meaningless emblems even between the legs of his horses, wearies the eye of the spectator. His designs have no sort of correspondence with the form of his material, any more than the modern house-decorator’s friezes and dados properly belong to the four flat surfaces of his walls. The vital qualities of good Greek art are self-control, the subordination of the artist to his work, and the perfect adaptation of the artistic form to the subject under treatment. The Dipylon Style{57} does violence to all these canons of good taste. There must be an explanation.

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

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

Yet even the Dipylon style gradually improved. While still retaining its Geometric character, vase-painting improves in drawing and colour, until in early Attic work like the famous François vase[14] we reach designs of considerable beauty. Here the horse becomes the favourite animal type. When the potters advance far enough they begin to deal with scenes of heroic legend and mythology, carefully labelling their heroes with their names. The Gorgon, which often figures in Homer, as on the shield of Agamemnon and the ægis of Athene, begins to be an art type in the Dipylon{58} period; so do the sphinx and griffin, which, curiously enough, do not appear in our Homer.

The Hero’s Home

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

But even at this, its highest point, the domesticity of Greek life falls far short of modern ideas, and the dignity of the heroes’ wives is somewhat illusory. Possibly the inconsistencies are due once more to the many hands and many successive generations which have had their part in building up the epic. Certainly, for monogamists, the matrimonial ideas of the heroes are far from exclusive. Agamemnon announces his intention of taking Chryseis home, for he likes her better than his dear wife Clytæmnestra, and makes no secret of the position she is to occupy. He does actually take Cassandra home to his wife. In the Odyssey, too, we get a hint of arrangements decidedly Oriental in what Penelope{59} says about her son and the fifty handmaidens. Again, there is a singular contrast between the tender conjugal devotion of Hector and Andromache, or Odysseus and Penelope, and the extraordinary callousness sometimes indicated with regard to feminine charms. It is often remarked as an instance of Homer’s subtlety that he nowhere describes the beauty of Helen, whose face

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

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

If we look at the houses in which the domestic scenes of Homer are set we shall find that they are of a simplicity in strong contrast with the elaborate palaces of Crete or Tiryns; and this in spite of the obvious intention of the bard to depict them on a scale of heroic magnificence. They are mainly built of wood. The palace of Paris consists of three parts—thalamos, dōma, and aule. The thalamos is the private part of the house, and contains the marriage-bed of the royal couple. The dōma, or megaron, is the public hall for meals and{60} receptions. The aule is the court with colonnades surrounding it. Priam had a large family: fifty sons slept with their wives in fifty thalamoi of polished stone built outside his court, while his daughters slept with their husbands in twelve roofed chambers within the court. The palace of Odysseus is more elaborate, and is so intended, for the disguised wanderer says: “Verily, this is the fair house of Odysseus, and easily may it be known and distinguished even among many. For there is building beyond building, and the court of the house is cunningly wrought with a wall and copings, and there are well-fitting double doors.” Standing outside the front door he can perceive by the smell of roast meat that there is a banquet going on. No great magnificence here. In front of the “well-fitting doors” there is a heap of manure, with an aged hound asleep upon it (a similar dung-heap, it may be remarked, graces the court of the palace of Priam in Troy City). Inside the doors there is the megaron, where the banquet is going on. Odysseus sits down on the ashen threshold, leaning against a pillar of cypress wood, specially commended for its straightness. Telemachus takes a lump of meat, “as much as his two hands can grasp,” and a whole loaf out of the fair basket, and Odysseus (who is disguised as a beggar) devours it on his dirty wallet as he sits on the threshold. This threshold under the portico of the hall is the regular meeting-place of beggars, and it is there that strangers are put to sleep. Within the hall there is an upper chamber where Penelope sleeps and lives with her maidens. The wooers set up three braziers in the hall to give them light, and heap them with wood and pine-brands; consequently the hall is so full of smoke that the weapons have to be removed to a storeroom to keep them useful. Odysseus, sleeping in the “prodomos” of the hall, can hear a remark made by one of the twelve grinding-women who have their hand-mills in the house next door. Under the same echoing colonnade where Odysseus sleeps goats and cattle are tethered by day. The walls of the hall itself are of wood,{61} the ceiling is of wood, and the floor is of stamped earth, for it is cleaned with a spade, and fires are raked out of the braziers on to the floor. As for the bridal chamber, Odysseus had built it himself with stone, and it contained a marvellous bed wrought by the hero out of a living olive-tree. Finally, there was a rather obscure postern-gate set high in the wall of the hall above a stone threshold, and opening on to an open gallery. Thus the feature of the house of Odysseus is that it is of two stories; otherwise it consists, as usual, of three parts—hall, court, and chamber.

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

Hesiod’s World

Hesiod is the Cinderella of Greek poets, neglected alike by editors and schoolboys. And yet once he stood on a level{62} with Homer. He is in reality the complement of Homer, and no picture of the Greek Middle Ages can be complete without him. The Parian Marble sets Hesiod thirty years earlier than Homer, Herodotus places them both about 850-800 B.C. Hesiod’s principal works are two, the “Works and Days” and the “Generations of Gods” or “Theogony.” The “Works and Days” is generally supposed to be a treatise on husbandry, but it seems to be in origin a letter of remonstrance to a wicked brother, Persis, who had ousted Hesiod from his property. The letter is embroidered freely with morals, maxims, and examples from mythology. Persis is exhorted to practise industry and good farming, for which some proverbial hints are given. But the main purport of this curious jumble is the reiteration of complaints against the “bribe-devouring kings”—always in the plural—who have given a corrupt judgment against the poet on his brother’s lawsuit. No one pretends to see real monarchy or anything but oligarchy in Hesiod, yet his rulers are called βασιλεῖς, just as are Homer’s. The “Works and Days” contains also the earliest versions of two most famous legends which together make up the Greek story of creation, the story of how Prometheus stole fire from heaven and the story of Pandora, the Eve of Greek mythology. The chief interest for modern readers lies in a very quaint and curious list of taboos and some personal reminiscences which form, I suppose, the oldest piece of autobiography in existence. He has already described seafaring as a very disagreeable business, to be avoided if possible; he now advises his brother to “wait for a seasonable sailing day, and when it comes, then drag down thy swift ship to the sea, and have a fit cargo stowed away on it, that thou mayest return home with profit; even as my father and thine, most witless Persis, used to make voyages for an honest living. Once he came even to this country, after a long voyage in a black ship from Cyme, in Æolis, turning not from rich resources and prosperity, but from dire poverty, which Zeus gives to men. And he dwelt near Helicon in this{63} beggarly hamlet of Ascra—Ascra, vile in winter, uncomfortable in summer, and good never at all. But do thou, my Persis, be seasonable in all thy doings, but above all in seafaring praise a small ship, but put thy cargo in a great one. The freight will be greater and the profit greater if the winds keep off their dreadful storms. Whenever thou turnest thy rash heart to trade, wishing to escape debt and joyless famine, I will show thee the limits of the thundering main without being skilled at all in seafaring or in ships, for I have never sailed the broad sea in a ship except when I crossed to Eubœa from Aulis, where the Achæans in times long past were storm-bound when they gathered a mighty host from holy Hellas for Troy of the fair women. There did I take passage for Chalcis to try for the prizes of wise Amphidamas” (i.e. prizes offered at his funeral games), “the many well-prepared prizes which his lordly sons offered. There I boast to have won the prize for the hymn, and brought home a tripod with handles which I set up to the Muses of Helicon where first they taught me to be a clear-voiced bard. So little trial have I made of well-caulked ships, but still I shall declare the mind of Zeus who bears the ægis, for the Muses have taught me to sing a hymn without bounds.”

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Coin of Croton, showing Tripod

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

Well, this is the reverse of Homer’s medal: the god-{64}nurtured kings frankly revealed as corrupt nobles, the unrelenting toil on the stony farm, the perilous commercial enterprises in small unseaworthy ships, the emigrant returning home to Bœotia in poverty from his Eldorado in Æolis, the superstition, and the pessimism.

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Ship of Odysseus. From a Vase




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

The Coming of Apollo

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

We have already seen something of the earliest strata of religious beliefs on Greek soil. The Ægean worship was principally “aniconic fetishism”—that is, the worship of inanimate, possibly symbolical, objects, such as stones, pillars, crosses, axes, horns, and trees. Then there were animal{66} deities, possibly totemistic in origin, such as the snake-goddess, the dove-goddess, and the bull-man, or Minotaur, powers mainly representing fecundity. There was certainly also ghost-worship; for the dead in the tholos tombs were certainly honoured by sacrifices, and very likely by human sacrifices at first. There seem to have been no temples at all in these stages of religion; it was rather a system of private local cults in great and bewildering variety. But it is certain that the Ægean peoples had developed some wholly anthropomorphic deities before the end. Some of the regular Olympian deities of historical Greece seem to belong partially, and some wholly, to this earlier civilisation. Poseidon, the sea-god, Hermes, the Arcadian shepherd-god, and Demeter or Mother Earth, are of the latter class, with mysterious forms like the Fates, the Curses, the Harpies, and the Sirens. But there was little exclusiveness about ancient religion; new deities are quite readily accepted into polytheistic systems, though in some cases there was a protracted struggle to keep them out. Hesiod remarks that the deities have many names for a single shape, and often a double name reveals assimilation, such as Phœbus Apollo or Pallas Athene. In most cases, indeed, the great name of an Olympian god covers a host of minor deities with varying and sometimes quite opposite attributes. Thus the national Zeus has swallowed up countless local heroes, as when the Laconians worshipped Zeus Agamemnon.

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

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an ancient Cretan story of a divine nativity in which a she-goat suckled a babe. That indicates the transition from an animal deity to an anthropomorphic one, just as does the old Mother Wolf of Roman legend. Doubtless some artistic representations of a she-goat and a she-wolf play their part in such stories. Again, Cronos is said to have tried to crush the usurper in the bud by swallowing his dangerous child, but to have swallowed a stone instead. That may cover the transition from stone-and pillar-worship. Still more instructive are the legends of contest between deities for worship at a particular shrine. The ordinary device for the introduction of Zeus was to make him the father of the local hero. “God,” says Voltaire, “first made man in His own likeness, and man has been returning the compliment ever since.” It is the secret of anthropomorphic religion that the worshipper is worshipping himself, or rather an idealised vision of himself projected upon the public conception of his god. The human heart has an unlimited power of thus adapting its faith to its habits. Anthropologists are continually telling us of the persistence of ancient cults in spite of pretended changes of faith, rituals that belong to Artemis transferred to the Virgin, dirges for Adonis transformed into mourning for Christ. Often when the polite antiquarian Pausanias asked the Greeks of his day about the objects of their worship he got conflicting answers. That is how it becomes easy to make converts if you are content to leave ritual unchanged, and that was how Apollo got himself accepted as the young man’s god all over Greece. There was, indeed, a rival young man’s god in Hermes, a very ancient deity. Remnants of antique aniconic worship attach themselves to Hermes: his statues even in classical times are three parts pillar to one part god. He is the shepherd-god of Arcady,[15] and the Arcadians represent more purely than any other peoples of Greece the aboriginal Ægean stratum. Hermes is a god of music too, but his instrument{68}

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is the lyre, which in shape and construction resembles the modern mandoline, for the body was made from the shell of a tortoise, an indigenous Greek creature, with a sounding-board of parchment stretched over it. Apollo properly plays on the cithara, or Northern harp. The popularity of Hermes persisted throughout because he became identified with Luck, and Luck is the one god we all worship. He is also associated with commerce; he it is who drives a sharp bargain; and, as we saw, the aboriginal stratum of Greece provided the trading element in the Hellenic races. This attribute the trade-despising warriors of the dominant race turned to his discredit, for poor Hermes in Homer, and generally in literature, becomes a sharper of the worst description. If you ask “Who stole the cows?” the answer is, “Hermes.” He is the messenger of Zeus, but he is also his spy. Hermes, then, was much too strongly planted to be uprooted by the intruding Apollo. But it seems that some male god of the older race was swallowed up and bodily incorporated under that name. For in classical Greece there are two rival Apollos, one the Delian or Cynthian Apollo, the centre of whose cult was the island of Delos, the other the true Dorian god, called Pythian Apollo, and worshipped above all at Delphi. The Delian shrine was a centre of the Ionians, and Delos afterwards became the headquarters of the maritime league of Athens and the Ionian States. Delos boasted itself to have been the god’s birthplace, and mythology presented an elaborate nativity for this Apollo and his sister Artemis. “Homeric” hymns to both Apollos are preserved, and it is interesting to notice how the Ionian bard who is praising the Apollo of Delos mentions all the centres of his worship in a longish list which tallies closely with the list of Athenian allies in the Delian confederacy. But this Delian Apollo is not the{69} important one; in many respects he is only a pale reflection of the other, and his vogue principally depended on the extreme sanctity of the little island of Delos.

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Plate 14. PANORAMA OF DELPHI (See p. 69)

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

Apollo is the most virile god on Olympus, as he is the representative god of the most manly race in Hellas, the Dorians. He is the young athlete god. If we trace the history of his type in art we see him at first a rudimentary male figure, only just evolved out of the pillar shape. He is always nude in these early statues, and it is not easy to say how many of the so-called early Apollos represent the god, and how many are simply statues of male athletes. It makes little difference, for the god and his worshipper are one. At first there is little expression, as in the “Apollo of Orchomenos,”[17] for the artist is still struggling with his stubborn material, happy if his chisel can get the semblance of human shape out of the marble. In the next stage, represented by the “Tenean Apollo,” the sculptor has attained considerable mastery over{70} his tools, and has succeeded in his main object, namely, a faithful expression of the muscles of the male body.[18] The reader will notice “the archaic grin” on the faces of all gods and goddesses of this period. This is probably an attempt to indicate the benevolence of the deity; the god smiles when he intends to grant the prayer of his suppliant. Apollo was always the god of healing; Æsculapius was his son and Hygiæa his daughter. By-and-by the artists learn how to express benevolence less crudely,[19] and all the time they are learning more anatomy and a fuller mastery over their tools, until in the glorious fifth century Alcamenes (who, by the way, was an Athenian) could make a noble figure such as stands calm and powerful, every inch a god, in the midst of battle on the West Pediment of the great temple at Olympia.[20] Study this god. If you can love him you will have learnt the secret of Dorian greatness. He is very simple, serious, and severe; he has the asceticism of a good athlete who knows what discipline means for the sake of his club or country. You must judge him as archaic work, you must allow, when you criticise the stiffness of his hair, for the use of tinting and the crown of gilt bay-leaves which once passed through the hollow underneath his hair. You will perceive that there is something wrong with the angle of his eyelids, which meet without overlapping. Sculptors of the next generation learnt to correct that, but they never conceived a grander figure of the sort of god that a gentleman and a Spartiate might fitly worship. Of course this is not a temple image; it is only one detail of a piece of ornament under the gable at the back of a temple, but it is the conception of a great artist. After that they began to think too much about the beauty of Apollo and young athletes in general, worshipping both with extravagant devotion. Hermes as a more graceful and sensuous young god began to supplant Apollo in the favour of Art. At last we get to the dandified young swell with the elaborate coiffure and the studied

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English Photo Co., Athens


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

To return to the god and his oracle: the Dorians had planted him at Delphi on their way south about 1000 B.C., and when they had overrun the whole Peloponnesus, except Arcadia and Achaia, occupying the southern islands, including Crete, and overflowing even into the south of Asia Minor, Delphi became their central shrine and oracle. So cleverly was that oracle managed by the Delphic priests that it became the common centre for advice to all Greece, until it formed a sort of focus of Greek nationality. Even semi-barbarian monarchs like Crœsus of Lydia applied to it for advice, and paid for its oracles with lavish dedications. As ambassadors kept coming to Delphi from all parts of the Greek world, the priests had good opportunity of collecting information. They were especially strong in geography, and if a city found its population increasing beyond the extent of its wall space, or if there were a gang of mischievous young nobles to be got rid of, or if the city sought new commercial openings, it would send an embassy to Delphi to consult Apollo about a suitable site for a new colony. After due sacrifices and oblations and various mysterious rites to ensure the proper reverential spirit, they would be introduced into the inmost shrine, where a priestess sat upon a tripod over the identical crack in the ground where the old serpent Pytho had once made his den. Here was a conical stone representing the omphalos or navel of the earth. Then the inspiration would seize the Pythian priestess, she would fall into a kind of fit or trance, caused, they say, by burning leaves of laurel, and in the course of it she uttered wild and whirling words. Before{72} you left the priests would hand you the substance of her remarks neatly composed in rather weak hexameter verses. Very often the advice would turn out excellently, for the priests knew their business. If it did not they could usually point out that their words bore quite a different interpretation if you had had the sense to understand them. Thus Crœsus asked whether he should make war on the growing power of Persia; he was told that if he did he would destroy a mighty empire. After the success of Cyrus, the oracle, of course, explained that Crœsus had in fact destroyed a mighty empire—namely, his own.

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

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Plate Plate 16.—Apollo of Tenea.



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

We saw that Pindar placed eunomia—good order—among the gifts of Apollo. Like Athena, Apollo was greatly interested in political and constitutional systems. In the course of the seventh century, which is the period when Delphi first began to extend its influence, we find the oracle deliberately claiming the authorship of some of the most celebrated legal and constitutional systems of the day. Sparta was not only the chief Dorian State, with a preponderant influence or hegemony over all Southern Greece, but the possessor of the most elaborate and successful political system in the whole country. We can see the Delphic oracle deliberately inserting itself as the founder of this good order. The historian Herodotus got much of his information from the oracle, and he tells us its version, how a certain Lycurgus had come to Delphi to ask for laws and a constitution, and had received it from the god. But the Spartans themselves had not yet been convinced. They still believed that theirs were the true Dorian institutions—as, in fact, they mostly were—dating back to their original leaders, “the sons of Heracles,” and closely resembling those of Dorian Crete. A generation or two after Herodotus the Delphic claim was admitted, for constitutional writers of all parties were glad to accept the sanction of the god for the constitution as they severally interpreted it. Thus Lycurgus, who had originally been an obscure hero with a half-forgotten cult, came to rank as the Spartan law-giver and the author of the remarkable system of life and government which we shall presently describe. They did the same for the famous legal systems of the West, claiming to have inspired Zaleucus, the law-giver of Locri, and Charondas of Catane with their codes. There is some indication of similar{74} proceedings with regard to Solon of Athens, but they met with little success among the rationalistic worshippers of Athena, who was as much a patron of law and order as Apollo himself. Delphi endeavoured to appropriate the wisdom of the Seven Sages, mostly early historical philosophers who belong to these ages of transition. Apollo even claimed the philosophy of Pythagoras, whose name lent itself peculiarly to a supposed Delphic origin. By such means as these the Delphic oracle became the chief sanctuary in Greece, and exerted a very great influence, which, however, some modern scholars have tended to exaggerate.


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

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

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

Boxing Match. Prize: A six-year-old mule. Consolation Prize: A two-handled cup.

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Mansell & Co.


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

Wrestling Match. Prize: A large tripod, value twelve oxen. Consolation Prize: A clever woman, value four oxen.

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

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

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

Sham Duel. Prize: The armour of Sarpedon.

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

Putting the Weight. Prize: A lump of natural iron.

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

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

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

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

Agamemnon walked over.

Even in the account of these games it seems very probable that there has been a process of accumulation in which later bards have added events according to their fancy. Some of the later encounters are described with much less vigour and skill than the earlier. It is, however, important to notice that from the very first Greek athletics were part of religion. They were undertaken in a serious, devotional spirit, to honour some god or defunct hero. It was the same with poetry. Epic was, of course, devoted to the gods and heroes. The early lyric was also in the main devotional, whatever its subject might be. We have seen Hesiod carrying his poetic talents to a contest in song arranged to honour the funeral of{76}

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

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

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Plate Plate 18.—Head of Apollo, from the Western Pediment, Olympia.

English Photo Co.


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

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

Sacrifice and ritual accompanied every stage of the proceedings. Before the meeting, which took place every four years, ambassadors went from city to city proclaiming a Sacred Truce. All people who could prove Greek nationality were invited. From its situation Olympia naturally attracted support from the flourishing communities of Sicily and South Italy. Whether they sent competitors or not, most of the States would send embassies to the festival, and a great point was made of their lavish equipment. The judges were chosen by lot from the citizens of Elis, who managed the contest; they received a ten months’ course of instruction beforehand in the duties of their office. All the competitors had to undergo a strict examination as to their qualifications, and to{78} take an oath on the altar of Zeus that they would compete fairly and that they had been in training for the previous ten months. The only prize was a crown of wild olive, cut from a certain tree of special sanctity, but the victor’s name and country were proclaimed to the assembled multitude and the highest honours awaited him on his return. He was welcomed in procession, led in through a breach specially made in the wall of his city, and granted immunities from taxation, or, as at Athens, free meals in the Presidential House for all his life. The chariot-races were especially the object of ambition and the opportunity for display to the wealthy. Tyrants of Syracuse competed in them, but the brilliant Athenian Alcibiades outstripped all competitors by sending in no fewer than seven teams.

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

In the very minute account of Olympia which we owe to the traveller Pausanias there are some curious and interesting anecdotes of the games. For example, he saw the statue of the boy Pisirodus, who was brought to the Olympian Games by his mother disguised as a trainer, because no women were allowed to be present. “They say that Diagoras came with his sons Acusilaus and Damagetus to Olympia, and when the young men had won their prizes they carried their father through the assembly, while the people pelted him with flowers and called him happy in his children.” Then there is{79} Timanthes, the strong man, who won the pancration. “He had ceased practising as an athlete, but still he continued to test his strength by bending a mighty bow every day. Well, he went away from home, and while he was away his practice with the bow was discontinued. But when he came back and could no longer bend his bow he lit a fire and flung himself on the flames.” There is the plough-boy Glaucus, whose father noticed him one day fitting the ploughshare into his plough with his fist instead of a hammer. His father thereupon took him to Olympia to box, but as he had no skill in boxing he was badly punished and almost beaten. Suddenly his father called out, “Give him the plough-hammer, my boy!” Whereupon he knocked his adversary out, won the prize, and became a famous pugilist. “The mare of the Corinthian Phidolas was named Aura; at the start she happened to throw her rider, but continuing, nevertheless, to race in due form, she rounded the turning-post, and on hearing the trumpet quickened her pace, reached the umpires first, knew that she had won, and stopped.”

That there was a good deal of extravagance in the cult of athletes was not likely to escape the critical eye of a people who so detested extravagance in any form. The outspoken Euripides had a violent tirade against athletes in his satyric drama Autolycus. “It is folly,” he says, “for the Greeks to make a great gathering to see useless creatures like these, whose god is in their belly. What good does a man do to his city by winning a prize for wrestling or speed or quoit-heaving or jaw-smiting? Will they fight the enemy with quoits? Will they drive the enemy out of their country without spears by kicking? No one plays antics like these when he stands near the steel. Garlands of leaves should be for the wise and good, for the just and sober statesman who guides his city best, for the man who with his words averts evil deeds, keeping battle and civil strife away. Those are the real boons for every city and all the Greeks.” Twenty-three centuries stand between this and “The flannelled fool at the wicket, the muddied oaf{80} at the goal.” I fear that Euripides got no more attention than Mr. Kipling.

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

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Myron’s “Discobolus,” showing the head turned the wrong way

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

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Plate XIX


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

To be naked and unashamed was one of the glories of the cultivated Greek. It astonished (and still shocks) the barbarian. When Agesilaus, the Spartan king, was fighting on Persian soil he caused his Oriental captives to be exhibited naked to his men, in order that they might have no more terror of the great king’s myriads. Alone among civilised peoples of the earth the ancient Greek dared to strip his body to the sun, and this too, as Thucydides witnesseth, came from the{82} manly city. “The Lacedæmonians,” he says, “were the first to use simple raiment of the present style, and in other respects were the first to adopt a similar scale of living for rich and poor. They were the first to strip and undress in public, for anointing with oil after exercise. Originally the athletes used to wear loin-cloths about their middles even at the Olympic Games, and that practice has not long been discontinued” (actually in 720 B.C.). “Even now some of the barbarians, especially the Asiatics, continue to wear clothes at contests of boxing and wrestling. One might point to several other analogies between the customs of ancient Greece and modern barbarism.” With female nudity the case is different. Although the girls of Sparta used to strip for their gymnastic exercises, that was a notorious Spartan idiosyncrasy. It is only under foreign influence and in the later periods that feminine nudity is exhibited in Greek art. Hear Plato on the subject: Socrates has been led by the logic of his argument into the assertion that the women of the Ideal Republic ought to be educated just like the men, to go through the semi-military training of the wrestling school and the gymnasium along with them. The only objection he can see to such a course is that the public exercises of women would appear ridiculous to the Athenians of his day. That objection he dismisses as follows:

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

“I do indeed.”

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

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Plate XX


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


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

Politically, all the Greek states, whether democracies or oligarchies, rest upon a double structure of council and{84} assembly. In democracies the assembly is based on a very wide franchise, and possesses the actual control of the state, the council being limited to subordinate functions, executive and deliberative. At Athens, as we shall see, the council is more like a committee to prepare business for the assembly. In oligarchies, on the other hand, the assembly consists of a comparatively small and select body of richer or nobler citizens, while the actual government is in the hands of the council. Sparta contained both these elements: an assembly of all the warriors, or Spartiates, with full rights, though these were comparatively a small proportion of the population of Laconia, and a Gerousia, or Senate, of thirty elders. But Sparta, though ranked as an oligarchy by the general opinion of Greece, was not, as Aristotle saw, a true or typical oligarchy. In the first place, the ruling council of regular oligarchies generally consisted of a close corporation co-opting its members, while the Spartan gerontes were elected by the whole body of the full citizens. In the second place, Sparta had developed an executive magistracy, which had far more real share in the direction of the state than either the Senate or the Assembly. This perhaps was the secret of their efficient and stable government, for most Greek states had such a dread of personal ascendancy that they sacrificed unity and efficiency of administration by placing their executive magistracies in a position wholly subordinate. It was not so at Sparta. There they had retained a kingship from the early times of the Dorian invasion right through their history, as no other really Greek State was able to do. They had two kings descending in parallel dynasties from prehistoric times, or, as they put it, from two Heracleid families. The origin of this double kingship is really lost in antiquity, though there are many theories about it, both ancient and modern. The most probable is that of two separate bands of Dorian invaders, each under its own king, uniting to conquer the valley of the Eurotas, and combining to form the state. In reviewing the kingship of Greek history Aristotle places this Spartan system

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Mansell & Co.


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

But the political executive passed over in the fifth and fourth centuries to the five Ephors, who controlled and sometimes even oppressed the kings. The origin of this peculiar and distinctive office is also lost in antiquity. Spartan tradition certainly believed in a time when the Ephorate was not; and on the whole the most probable theory is that the Ephorate was originally created by the kings as a subordinate office. Judging from actual history, it is too much to say that the Ephors were always supreme over the kings in practice; nearly all the great men of Spartan history—Leonidas, Cleomenes, Agesilaus, Agis, Cleombrotus—are its kings, and we scarcely know the name of a single Ephor. It was, in fact, a long fight between kings and Ephors for pre-eminence. As a general rule the board of Ephors no doubt directed the stat{86}e’s policy, but kings like Agesilaus seem to have had far more than a mere executive duty. What struck all observers was that Ephors sometimes summoned kings before them for trial, sometimes condemned them to death, and in ceremonial remained seated in the presence of the kings. The fact is that at Sparta sovereignty belonged in a very real sense to the warrior body, and the Ephors expressed that sovereignty, as being directly elected by it. Especially in judicial matters they were supreme, and in a state which moved by clockwork under the control of a rigid discipline and fixed customs, though all the laws were unwritten, the heads of the judicial system naturally held the reins of government. The fact that the Ephors held their position by popular election is held to constitute a democratic element in the constitution. This gives rise to the theory, evolved by the successors of Aristotle in political philosophy, that the stability of the Spartan constitution depended on its nice adjustment of the three elements of polity—monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy. Sparta was thus considered to be the type of a Mixed Constitution. From Sparta the Greek historian Polybius applied the same theory to the government of Rome. Thence it was transferred by Montesquieu to the British Constitution, and thus has played, and is playing, an important part in the history of political science. So far as Sparta is concerned, the theory rests upon a false basis. Aristotle was undoubtedly right in terming Sparta an aristocracy, for the Spartiate body itself was a minority and a jealously guarded close corporation. Both the democratic and the monarchical elements in the state were largely an illusion. Moreover, Aristotle did not admit the propriety of applying the term democracy to a state which merely had some choice in the persons by whom it should be governed. “To govern and be governed in turn” was the essence of democracy to Aristotle, and he would certainly have called both the other examples of the Mixed Constitution, ancient Rome and modern England, aristocracies. To him, however, aristocracy was the best kind of rule. Did it not

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English Photo Co., Athens


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

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

The city of Sparta itself—the only unwalled city in Greece, planted on the banks of the Eurotas, under Mount Taygetus[27]—consisted, then, of a circle of knights and their slaves. The Spartiates formed a very exclusive and haughty clique of military men, extremely narrow and oppressive to{88} those about and beneath them, ever vigilant against rebellion, and conscious that their spears and shields had to take the place of a wall for Lacedæmon. Among themselves they lived an absolutely equal communistic life. Their meals were provided at common mess-tables, each a little club with power to elect and reject its members. As this institution also prevailed among the Dorians of Crete, it is to be regarded as something very ancient and characteristically Dorian. It meant, of course, the complete absence of home and family life. It was by such habits that the Spartans remained a conquering race, victorious first over their Messenian neighbours in two long wars, the details of which are legendary, and then gradually extending their control over the whole Peloponnesus, including their Dorian kinsmen of Argos and Epidaurus.

It is possible that the remarkable discipline and asceticism of Sparta which is proverbially linked with her name had gradually increased. Recent excavations have shown that seventh-century Sparta was not destitute of art. From the lyric poets of the seventh century we get glimpses of a Sparta not entirely ascetic or contemptuous of culture. On the contrary, she is a patroness of foreign poets like Tyrtæus. But already she appreciates most the martial song and dance. It must be remembered that in Greece poetry, music, and the dance were far more closely allied than with us. Not only did Greek dramatists originally train their own choruses in the dance and compose their own music, but even Hesiod in that Eubœan competition had to chant his verses aloud. So at Sparta Terpander and Alcman were first musicians and secondly lyric poets, and Tyrtæus, the Athenian bard, was there to conduct martial dances and to train the boys of Sparta in their musical drill. Thus there was no contradiction in early times between strict military discipline and a love of lyric poetry. Afterwards, when music grew softer and poetry less martial, the Spartans banished all musicians and poets from their midst, though they retained{89} the old marching tunes of antiquity. One of these poets, Alcman, seems to have come to Sparta as a captive from luxurious Lydia, and he does sing of cakes and kisses, but the small fragments of Tyrtæus are all military:

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

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

It was in education that the discipline is most characteristically “Spartan.” From birth to death the Spartan was in the grip of an iron system. Indeed, it began before birth, for the Spartans are the only people in history who have dared to carry out the principles of modern eugenics. They trained the bodies of their girls with running[28] and wrestling{90} and throwing of quoits and javelins, that when the time came they might bear stalwart sons, and bear them bravely. “The Law-giver,” says Plutarch, “put away all coquettishness and hysteria and effeminacy by making the girls strip for processions, dances, and choruses at the temples, with the youths present as spectators. This stripping of the maidens involved no shame, for modesty was there and lewdness was absent, but it produced unaffected manners and a desire for physical fitness, and it gave the female sex some taste of a not ignoble pride, in that they too had their share of manly worth and ambition to excel. Whence came to them that thought which is expressed in the traditional repartee of Leonidas’ wife Gorgo. A foreign woman remarking to her, ‘You Laconians are the only women who rule the men,’ ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘we are the only women who are the mothers of men.’

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

“We have no adulterers in Sparta.”

“Suppose you had, what is the penalty?”

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

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

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Plate Plate 23.—Running Girl.



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

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

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

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

Also, there was a public tutor appointed from among the grown-up nobles for each “herd,” as well as prefects from the wisest and most warlike of the youths of twenty. The latter had his “fags” entirely under his orders. Stealing of food was encouraged as a martial virtue likely to lead to sharpening the wits for warlike purposes. In a state which practised communism there was, of course, no dishonesty involved.{92} If they were caught they were thrashed for their bad stealing. To encourage theft, their public rations were kept short. They were also thrashed for the good of their souls, to encourage endurance. “We have seen many of the youths die under the blows at the altar of Artemis the Upright,” says Plutarch, or rather the authority he is quoting. But modern students consider that this flagellation at the altar was probably a religious ritual, of which there are many other examples. If the beater spared his victim the goddess manifested her displeasure.

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

Old Men. We were warriors of old.

Men. As we are. Who doubts? Behold.

Boys. Some day we shall be more bold.”

Laconic, but Spartan!

The Spartan youths did not neglect their personal appearance, especially in the matter of fine armour. They prided themselves on their long and well-groomed hair. In the pass of Thermopylæ the Persian monarch was astonished to see the three hundred Spartans, who ought to have been trembling and saying their prayers, carefully combing their long hair. In war-time discipline was relaxed. When the line of battle was drawn up in the face of the enemy, first the king sacrificed a{93} goat, and the warriors crowned themselves with garlands of flowers, while the flute-players played the song of Kastor. Then they stepped forward gravely to the sound of the marching pæan, all in step, without disorder or confusion, but “led gently and cheerfully by the music into danger.” There was no fear, for the hymn “made them feel that the god was with them.” When they had routed their enemy they only pursued so far as to assure defeat, “considering it neither gentlemanly nor Hellenic to cut and slay those who yielded and retired.” This was the spirit of all their warfare; they never destroyed a beaten city.

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

And what sort of character did this strange system produce? Well, it produced the three hundred warriors who died to a man round their king Leonidas at the pass of Thermopylæ. It produced the Spartan king who refused the request of his allies to destroy Athens. It produced the women who mourned after the great defeat of Mantinea because no sons or husbands of theirs had died for Sparta. It produced the only good infantry of Greece, and the only stable form of government. It produced good men like Brasidas and Gylippus. Sparta was the state that swept tyranny out of{94} Greece, and bore the brunt of the land-fighting against the Persians. But, on the other hand, the system encouraged that stupid and bigoted conservatism which ruined Sparta, partly through refusing to learn anything new in the art of warfare, and partly through declining to supplement the dwindling warrior caste by extending the franchise to the other inhabitants of Sparta. No doubt, also, the strict discipline of life in the city led to the moral breakdown of her victorious generals Pausanias and Lysander when they came in contact with the fascinations of Eastern luxury. It made the Spartans oppressive and unjust when they had to govern an empire. The typical Spartan is narrow-minded, superstitious, and covetous, but he is always brave, patriotic, and often chivalrous. Sparta has left us no art or literature, but she has left us an extraordinary experiment (for a warning) of aristocratic communism combined with unfettered militarism.

Pallas Athene

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

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

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

All these signs convince us that the Athena worshipped on the Acropolis of Athens is not a primitive goddess. Her character, her weapons, and her cult all point to a Northern origin, like that of Zeus and Apollo. Moreover, we have, in the legend of her successful strife with Poseidon for the patronage of the city, a clear account of her importation, and she shared a temple with the old earth-born hero of Athens, Erechtheus. How then did she come to give her name to the city? Is it true that Athens had been called Cecropia in times past? It is hard to believe that the goddess was called after the city, for there were strong local cults of Athena elsewhere, so markedly individual in character that the name cannot have been due to a mere identification of local heroines with the famous goddess of a famous city. It is not in the least likely that the Spartans, of all people, would call the goddess who played a very important part in the life of their State by the name of an essentially Athenian deity. Nor, again, can we believe that a goddess could completely change her character and become civilised without leaving distinct traces of her past. The only conclusion is that Pallas Athene was an Achæan goddess who came rather late upon the Acropolis of Athens. It is true that the Athenians boasted themselves to be an aboriginal people of the old stock, and it is very{96} probable that the main bodies of Northern invaders did, as Thucydides alleges, pass by that stony promontory of Attica as beneath notice. But they can hardly have left a strong citadel unconquered, and though Athens and her king Menestheus play a rather humble part in the Iliad, yet there was an Athenian contingent in the Achæan host. It is probable that Athens received an Achæan king and that the Acropolis itself passed into Achæan hands. But the population of Attica received little Northern intermixture. Herodotus tells us that the Athenian maidens going down from the citadel to draw water were liable to constant attacks from the Pelasgians who lived on Mount Hymettus.

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

The great legendary King of Athens was Theseus, a figure much embroidered by later mythologists because he{97} had been made the patron hero of the Athenian democracy and the synœcist of Athens—that is, the man who made Attica into a city-state instead of a congeries of village demes. Of course that is not history. All the legends seem to admit that Theseus was originally an alien. His descendants were said to have been driven out by the Homeric King of Athens Menestheus. After the Persian wars the bones of a giant were discovered in the island of Scyros; they were at once recognised as those of Theseus, and brought with great ceremony to be reinterred at Athens.

During this Achæan period the Athenians seem to have largely deserted the sea for agriculture and olive-culture. It will be remembered that Athena’s gift to the city by which she outbid the sea-god was the olive-tree. Of course there were still fishermen on the coast, but when history begins dimly in the seventh century Athens is mainly agricultural and by no means yet a city-state. She was not yet a fully developed city-state when Sparta had long been settled in government and had already extended her hegemony over the whole Peloponnesus. By this time the Athenian kingship had dissolved into aristocracy, and the aristocrats, or Eupatridæ, were a clique of oppressive landowners whose farms were largely worked for them, as at Sparta, on the métayer system, by which the tenant pays a certain proportion of the produce to the proprietor. The troubles which Solon had to face were agrarian troubles connected with boundary-stones. He reckons property in bushels of corn and oil. His enactments, or the ancient laws which pass under his name, are largely concerned with dogs and wolves and olive-culture. The only export permitted is that of olive oil. Even after Solon the local parties that divide the state are not divisions of city-dwellers, but of country folk—the shepherds of the hills, the farmers of the plain, and the fishermen of the coast. These facts emerge in despite of subsequent Athenian historians, who, to please the amour propre of a democratic city, tried to make out that democracy{98} had existed long before the tyranny of Peisistratus—in fact, as far back as Theseus, and certainly Solon. But it is fairly clear to any one discounting this tendency and reading their early traditions impartially that until the time of the tyrants Attica was by no means a true city-state, much less a democracy. Until city life was developed democracy was impossible.

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

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English Photo Co., Athens




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

Athens thus comes rather late into Greek history. Only two facts stand out with any clearness from the period before the sixth-century tyrannies: the attempted tyranny of Cylon and the early law-giving. Both these facts were recalled by events of subsequent history. The attempt of Cylon involved a curse upon one of the greatest of Athenian families, the Alcmæonids, to which belonged celebrated names like Megacles, Cleisthenes, Pericles, and Alcibiades. The Law-givers of Athens are indeed historical personages, which is more than we can say with any confidence for the Spartan Law-giver Lycurgus, but they have served as pegs for much legend and a good deal of deliberate falsification. Athens undoubtedly possessed ancient wooden tablets of laws (though it is rather a question whether they could have survived the two burnings of Athens by the Persians), and some of these laws probably bore the names of Dracon and Solon; but it is very certain that later orators lent weight to any old law they wished to quote with approval, by giving it one of{100} these respectable names. On the other hand we know that when Athenian writers began to take an interest in constitutional history, which was not until two hundred years later, they used Dracon and Solon to father their own theories, because it was possible to form the most conflicting views of what those legislators had really done. One great point was to make out that the democracy was as old as the hills, and in this sense Solon was made the inventor of the Assembly, the Council, and even the popular jury courts. Some ascribed to him the invention of the old Council of the Areopagus. Others maintained that Solon was not a democrat, but the author of a limited franchise on a property basis—in fact, of just the system that Theramenes and his party were proposing in 404 B.C. Others, again, went one better, and attributed a democratic system to Dracon, a still earlier Law-giver, in spite of the fact that Solon had abolished all his laws except those about murder and blood-guiltiness. Thucydides, however, being a scientifically minded historian with an impartial love of truth, passes over this early period with the remark that people will accept without testing any sort of traditions even when they concern their own country. And that is the right attitude for us. There were no historians until the fifth century, no contemporary records whatever, except a very few ancient inscriptions, and the work of the lyric poets who flourished in the eighth, seventh, and sixth centuries. We have, indeed, a considerable bulk of poetry which passes under the name of Solon. Some of it is not above suspicion, for it includes a so-called prelude to a versified edition of his laws, and other lines written in a tone very unsuitable to a philosopher. But from the undoubtedly genuine portion we gather that Solon, so far from being an impartial mediator, collected a popular following, vehemently attacked the rich, and then “gave to the people so much power as sufficeth, neither diminishing nor increasing their honour.” His principal work was to codify the laws which had hitherto existed only in the bosoms of the nobles. He did a great deal to fix the existing{101} social classes in Athens by arranging the people in four ranks according to their property, reckoned, of course, on the basis of land-holding. And he removed agrarian grievances by forbidding loans on the security of the person, a custom which had led to the actual enslaving of the poor by the rich landowners. In these ways he did an immense service to the future liberty of his country. Even a cautious estimate of his work makes him a very great man. But he was not the inventor of democracy.

His personality is hopelessly involved in legend. He is one of the Seven Sages, doubtless real personalities whose names have served as a peg for the inventive faculties of the Greeks. Some of them were natural philosophers, like Thales of Miletus, whose knowledge of astronomy was so exact that he predicted the eclipse of 585 B.C. He is said to have learnt his scientific knowledge, as Solon is said to have learnt his legislative skill, in Egypt, where he measured the height of the pyramids by their shadow. There is very likely a substratum of truth in the stories which make the birth, or rather the revival, of learning in Greece come from Egypt and Crete. Thales knew that the light of the moon came from the sun. He was the first of those natural philosophers of Greece whose main object was to find the “principle” of the universe. Thales held that all things originated from water. Another of the Seven was Bias of Priene, whose activities were mainly political, and who invented maxims like “He is unfortunate who cannot bear misfortune,” and “If thou hast done a good deed, ascribe it to the gods.” At least two of the other four were tyrants. Solon is also associated with a curious figure who went about expounding religion and conducting purificatory rites, Epimenides the Cretan, who was supposed to have lived for fifty years in a cave on nothing but asphodels and water, the father of all hermits. Whatever constitutional enactments Solon did make never had time to get into working order; for the tyranny of Peisistratus and his sons followed almost immediately.{102}

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

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English Photo Co., Athens


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

Tyranny and Culture

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

Show me the patron, and I will show you the style of art which will prevail. The horse-riding aristocracies of Northern ancestry, who prevailed everywhere in Greece in the eighth century, cared little for art. Poetry they could enjoy, if it sang the praises of their ancestors, or if it cheered them at their cups. Hence the popularity of Homer and the Homeridæ{104} and Hesiod on the one hand, of Archilochus, Simonides, and Alcman on the other. But these little “Basileis” were not kings enough to keep courts where art could flourish without starving, and as yet there were few cities great enough to supply the want of a patron. Once more we must look to politics if we wish to understand the revival of art.

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

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

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Plate 27.—Corinthian Vases.


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

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Coin of Corinth. Sixth century

Corinth, with her mighty natural fortress, more than a mile in circuit and 1800 feet high, her two seas and her command over a narrow isthmus, was admirably situated for commerce. She was one of the earliest states to develop a tyranny, to found an empire, and to revive the arts. Her colonies were mostly towards the west, and in Corcyra she had a valuable stepping-stone for Sicily and Italy. It is at Corinth that a new type of vase-painting appears early in the sixth century. It is very obvious that the motive was still derived from textile art, probably from Assyrian embroidery. The result, with its rich purples, is very pleasing from a decorative point of view, though the actual scenes and ornaments are unmeaning, and therefore un-Greek.[32] The coin types of Corinth in the sixth century are already beautiful designs. It was Cypselus, tyrant of Corinth,{106} who dedicated at Olympia that famous chest of which we have spoken, with its parallel bands of mythological scenes. Periander, his son, was originally one of the Seven Sages, though Plato wanted to cast him out for a tyrant. The name of the third, Psammetichus, proves the close intercourse of Corinth with Egypt. It was Corinth under her tyrants that evolved a new poetical form, the dithyramb, and that first erected a Doric temple in Greece proper. This grave and splendid style of architecture was very probably based upon Egyptian models, but with characteristically Greek modifications. The earliest Greek temples seem to have been of wood and sun-baked brick. Such originally was the temple of Hera at Olympia, but as the wooden columns fell down one by one they were replaced with stone. In many features of Doric architecture it is possible to trace development from wooden technique. The whole roofing system is one of joists and beams, even when the roof is of stone. The triglyphs are the ends of the beams, translated into stone. The metopes were originally left open, then filled with terra-cotta reliefs, and finally with slabs of stone carved in high relief. In the earliest Doric temples the columns are very thick and heavy and the intercolumnar spaces very narrow. These things indicate that the architect had not yet fully realised the superior strength of stone. An ignorant or hasty glance might suggest that there was no progress in Greek architecture, but the close observer sees how the succeeding generations of architects continued to make subtle improvements, rendering the shafts more graceful, the mouldings more refined in their curves, correcting most cunningly the optical illusions of a straight row of tall columns, improving the lighting arrangements, improving the masonry, substituting stone for wood and precious marble for stone, adding ornament where it was appropriate, as on the frieze inside the peristyle, rejecting it where it was unsuitable, as on the architrave, which, being a main beam, ought to look heavy and strong, reaching forward, in fact, to the telos, the ultimate end of the type which his{107} predecessors had set him. That is the Greek way. The Parthenon is the goal at which this old temple of Corinth had been aiming.

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Seven columns of the Corinthian temple[33] have stood through the Roman destruction of Corinth and all the subsequent batterings of history. Their antiquity is shown by their clumsy strength. The height of the columns is only about four times the diameter of the base. Each column is a monolith of rough limestone covered with stucco and painted, in height 23½ feet, in diameter tapering rather sharply from the base (5 feet 8 inches) to the top (4 feet 3 inches). The temple was peripteral—i.e. it had a colonnade all round the nave, six columns at each end, fifteen on each side. Already there is an attempt to correct the optical illusion which makes{108} horizontal lines seem to sink in the middle and vertical lines seem to bulge outwards, the stylobate, or floor from which the columns rise, being slightly curved, so that the centre columns stand about 2 centimetres higher than those on the wing. The interior building consists of two oblong chambers back to back, without communication between them. The side walls are prolonged at each end so as to form wings, and between each pair of wings stood two columns “in antis.” Thus there is a porch at each end under the colonnade. From the existence of the two separate chambers we conclude either that the temple united two distinct cults, or that one of the chambers was a treasury, for temples in Greece were always used as banks. I have gone into some detail in describing this building, because it is probably the oldest Doric temple in Greece, except the old wooden Heræum at Olympia. Roof-tiles, which made a sloping roof possible, were said to be an actual Corinthian invention. The Corinthian colony of Corcyra (Corfu) can boast a similar temple about fifty years later (? 600 B.C.).

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

οὐ παντὸς ἀνδρὸς ἐς Κόρινθον ἔσθ’ ὁ πλοῦς
“non cuivis homini contingit adire Corinthum.”

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

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English Photo Co., Athens


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

One of the tyrants of Sicyon won the chariot race at Olympia, and dedicated two large model shrines of Spanish bronze. But Cleisthenes was the most celebrated for his luxurious court, for his hostility to Argos, which made him forbid the recital of Homer at Sicyon because it honoured the Argives, and for the wooing of his daughter Agariste. Cleisthenes had issued a general invitation to any one who wished to marry her to come to his court, offering them hospitality for a year. All the rich young gentlemen of Greece assembled. For a whole year Cleisthenes tested their accomplishments. By that time two Athenians were the favourites, Megacles, of the famous Alcmæonid family, and Hippocleides, who had the most charming social graces in the world. At last came the final day of decision. Hippocleides braced himself for a great effort. There had been a banquet, and perhaps Hippocleides had poured too many libations to Dionysus. After dinner the flute-players struck up, and Hippocleides began to dance. Let Herodotus continue the story: “And he danced, probably, for the pleasure of dancing; but Cleisthenes, looking on, began to have suspicion about it all. Then Hippocleides, after a short rest, ordered a slave to bring in a table: when it came, he began to dance on it, first Laconian{110} figures and then Attic ones; finally he stood on his head on the table” (this was perhaps an old ritual dance) “and gesticulated with his legs. But Cleisthenes, when he danced the first and second time, revolted from the idea of Hippocleides as a son-in-law on account of his indecorous dancing, yet he restrained himself, not wishing to make a scene. But when he saw him gesticulating with his legs he could not restrain himself any longer. ‘O son of Tisander,’ he cried, ‘you have danced away your marriage.’ But Hippocleides answered: ‘Hippocleides doesn’t, care!’ Hence this answer became a proverb.” So Megacles married the lady, and lived happily ever afterwards, becoming the ancestor of Pericles, while Hippocleides probably took to drink and went to the bad altogether. But of this Herodotus does not inform us.

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

At Athens Peisistratus stood forth as champion of the poor shepherds of the Hill against the wealthier parties of the Coast and the Plain. He succeeded where Cylon had failed in gaining command of the Acropolis with his bodyguard. Twice the Athenians managed to expel him, but each time he got back, the first time by dressing up a tall and handsome woman as the goddess Athena and driving into the city with her, and the second time by hiring a contingent of horsemen from Eretria, with money which he had obtained by prudent operations in the goldfields of Thrace. From first to last he and his sons were in power from 560 to 510. It is difficult to estimate his services to Athens, for later generations did their utmost to deny and conceal them, giving some of his achievements to Solon and some to Theseus, and some even to Erechtheus. He founded an early Athenian empire. He won the island of Salamis from Megara, and until she possessed Salamis Athens had no open road to the sea. Later Athenians ascribed this feat to Solon. He regained Sigeum, on the Troad, after a war with Mitylene. He established the elder{111} Miltiades as tyrant of the Thracian Chersonese. In these movements his policy was obviously to open up trade with the Black Sea, the granary of Greece. He extended olive-culture in Attica. He probably began to work the silver-mines at Laurium, which were thenceforth the principal source of Athenian revenue. He made the unfree tillers of the soil into peasant proprietors by confiscating the estates of his noble opponents. He was allied with Sparta and Argos, Thebes and Thessaly and Naxos. He introduced a police armed with bows into the city of Athens.

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

But Peisistratus did more than building for religion. He may fairly be called the founder of the State cults of Athens. He founded the Greater Panathenæa, as the symbol of union for Attica. This was a most solemn yearly procession of all{112} the people, to carry up a new embroidered robe as a gift to the Virgin Goddess on the Acropolis. That is the scene depicted on the frieze of the Parthenon which is now the chief glory of the British Museum. Later Athenians, of course, ascribed the Panathenæa to Theseus or Erechtheus. Along with the procession there were athletic games and sacrifices. And the prizes in the games were those fine big oil-jars, the Panathenaic amphoræ, of which we have a long series preserved.[34] This gave a great impulse to pottery. It is about now that we begin the black-figured type of vase, in which the figures are painted with a lustrous black glaze on the rich brown of the earthenware.

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

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

Literature found a whole-hearted patron in the great

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

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

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

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

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

Onomacritus was a strange person. It seems that Hipparchus had a hobby of collecting oracles, and had commissioned Onomacritus to edit a famous collection of poetical prophecies{114} by Musæus, a half-mythical bard. Onomacritus was detected inserting some of his own compositions, and very properly expelled for a forger. If all the historical forgers of this period had been detected the modern historian’s lot would be a happier one.

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

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

“I will wear my sword in a myrtle bough,
Like Harmodius and Aristogeiton
When they killed the tyrant
And made Athens free.
“Dearest Harmodius, thou art not yet dead.
They say thou art in the Isles of the Blessed,
Where dwells Achilles swift of foot
And Diomede, Tydeus’ son.
“I will wear my sword in a myrtle bough,
Like Harmodius and Aristogeiton
When at the sacrifice of Athena
They killed Hipparchus the tyrant lord.
“Everlasting shall be your glory upon earth,
Dearest Harmodius and Aristogeiton,
For that ye killed the tyrant
And set Athens free.”
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Plate XXIX


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

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

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

This story provided the subject of one of the most famous of archaic statues, the “Harmodius and Aristogeiton” of Antenor.{116} It was carried off by Xerxes to Persia when he sacked Athens in 480, but returned eventually by Antiochus the Great. Meanwhile two other sculptors had been set to reproduce Antenor’s group. It is probably this reproduction from which our many copies have been made. We have them on coins, on vases, on a marble throne, and above all in two separate statues in the Naples Museum, where unfortunately Aristogeiton, who should have been the bearded elder, has been degraded by the addition of one of the pretty curly-haired heads of the fourth or third century. But the Harmodius is a fine type of archaic work, even though it has been freely restored and is of course only a copy. We note how much more successful is the body than the head. But uncouth as the head is it is full of dignity and virility.[36]

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

Hippias, as I have said, was expelled by the machinations of the Alcmæonids and the strong arm of Sparta in 510 B.C. It was the Alcmæonid Cleisthenes who was called upon to draw up a new constitution. After emerging from the tyrannical stage all the Greek states developed a republic, either oligarchical or democratic. In the oligarchic type the citizenship was confined to a few hundreds of the richer citizens and the actual government was carried on by a small council of ten or fifteen members. This was the normal type of Greek government. The democracy of Athens was unique. All Greek states had inherited from the earliest times the public meeting in the market-place as one of the rights of citizenship. At Athens eventually all administrative decrees were made at this Assembly, or Ecclesia, without any revision whatsoever, and all adult male citizens could attend and speak if they chose. It amounted to government by mass meeting. It was, of course, an ignorant, fickle, excitable body, especially in conducting a war or a piece of foreign{117} policy. But it was a wonderful instrument of education, and it gave the Athenian citizen that sense of direct participation in the affairs of his state which alone could satisfy the political aspirations of a Greek. Who shall call it a failure because it bungled a war and an empire, if it made Athens the eye of the world for ever and ever? Cleisthenes set up a Council of five hundred members, fifty elected from each of his new ten tribes, but that was only a committee to prepare business for the Assembly. Also there still remained the old patrician council of notables, now chiefly consisting of ex-magistrates, who met upon the Areian Hill and were called the Council of the Areopagus. These had the guardianship of the laws, amounting probably to a veto upon the Assembly’s proceedings, and a general censorship over morals. They were also the highest criminal court for cases of blood-guilt—a solemn and awful tribunal. Consisting of ex-officials, they naturally had great influence over the merely annual magistrates, or archons; and, in fact, as we have recently learnt from Aristotle, they managed most things in Athens until after the Persian wars. The chief executive magistrates were still the nine annual archons, still chosen by popular election. With his new ten tribes Cleisthenes instituted ten strategoi, or generals, to lead them under command of the War Archon. The ten tribes were so grouped as to prevent any recurrence of the local factions which had enabled Peisistratus to rise. And Cleisthenes devised the ingenious system called ostracism, by which any unpopular statesman who had a certain number of votes cast against him was sent into polite and honourable banishment. It was generally the leader of the Opposition who suffered this fate, and such was the intention. Though Greek democracy inevitably developed a party system, it was never recognised. Opposition was considered treachery to the state, as, indeed, it generally was.

Such in general was the constitution under which Athens rose to glory. It was modified, as we shall see, in a{118} democratic direction by Pericles. As yet it can hardly, with its powerful Areopagus and elective magistrates, be called a democracy. But it tends that way, and the course before it is plain. Cleisthenes has lost much of the credit due to him in the process which has assigned superhuman wisdom to Solon. He, with Pericles, is the father of the Athenian democracy.


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

In the eighth, seventh, and sixth centuries cities like Miletus, Ephesus, and Mitylene on Lesbos were the greatest cities of the Greek world, in size, riches, and culture. They in their turn were sending colonies into the Black Sea, to tap{119} its rich corn-growing and wool-producing regions. We have seen something of the wisdom of Thales, and we must allow our imaginations to suggest what a vast amount of preliminary knowledge and culture is required before a man can calculate an eclipse. It is likely that this learning came in the merchant ships from Egypt. We have seen also what a great part Ionia played in the development (if not the authorship) of the Homeric epics. It is here too that lyric poetry reaches its apotheosis. We have agreed, I hope, that the epic did not come into being out of the void, but that there must have been songs before there were long poems. Hence we are not driven to the extravagant assumption that Sappho and Alcæus were beginners at their trade.

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

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

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

Or the broken marriage chorus:{120}

“Like the sweet apple blushing on the topmost twig,
Top of the topmost, which the gatherers forgot.
Forgot? Nay, but they could not reach to it.
“Like the hyacinth on the hills which the shepherd swains
Tread underfoot, and down to the earth the bright flower....”

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

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

The fertile and prurient invention of late Greek scholarship have given this sublime poetess a biography which is as false as it is unpleasant. From her own works, however, we can gather some interesting details. She belonged to the governing aristocracy of Lesbos, and, for a time at least, went into exile with it. The women of Lesbos seem to have formed rival salons of literary culture, and Sappho herself was the head of one. There was a good deal of jealousy between them. Strangely, the most ardent of her verse is addressed to one{121} of her own sex, and since it cannot be true that she is only writing the amatory language of male poets, we must conclude that the women of Ionia imitated the men in that strange passion which ignored sex. To contradict the celebrated fable of her dramatic suicide from a cliff in consequence of an unrequited love, we have a fragment of her message to her daughter from a calm deathbed:

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

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

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

Alcæus too was a member of the Lesbian aristocracy. He alludes to a short-lived tyranny which was ended by the appointment of a constitutional tyrant or dictator, the wise and generous Pittacus. In the course of these disturbances Alcæus went into exile—among other places, we should note, to Egypt—while his brother took service under the King of Babylon. Such were the cosmopolitan relations of this period. The poet also fought for his country against the Athenians in the struggle for Sigeum, and humorously records the fact that he lost his shield in the rout. Such a loss was the regular mark of defeat, and generally regarded as a brand of ignominy to a soldier. But the Ionians took nothing seriously, not even war. It is strangely illustrative of the prevalence of types in Greek art that many lyric poets lost their shields in battle—Alcæus, Archilochus, and Anacreon—while the Roman Horace was too careful an imitator of the Greek lyric tradition to neglect their example in this respect. The poetry of Alcæus falls into two classes—banquet-songs in praise of{122} love and wine, and political songs attacking his enemies. He too chiefly survives in fragments like

“Wine is the mirror to mortals....”
“Wine, dear child, and Truth....”

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

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

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

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

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

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Coin of Phanes

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

The other is the sculptured column from the temple at Ephesus.[38] Great interest attaches to this work from the inscription, which tells us that it was set up by King Crœsus of Lydia. This famous monarch was in power from 560 to 546 B.C. Himself half a Greek, with strong Hellenic sympathies and in close relation to the Delphic oracle, his growing power was overcoming and absorbing the independent cities of Ionia, who made no very violent resistance. But he himself had to face a still greater power then swallowing up the ancient kingdoms of the East—Cyrus of the Medes and Persians. Crœsus lost a great battle, and died, as ostentatiously as he had lived, on{124} a splendid funeral pyre. The Greeks loved to invent stories about this plutocratic potentate, all illustrating one of their favourite maxims against pride, “Call no man happy until he is dead.” In defiance of chronology edifying interviews were composed between him and Solon. It is clear that the Greeks were tremendously impressed by his magnificent life and dramatic end. The fall of the Lydian power brought the Greeks face to face with Persia, and upon the issue of that momentous conflict hung the destinies of European civilisation.

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

While these lines were in the press there came news that

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

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

The subjects are equally puzzling. In the long slab the male god must be Love, or (as I rather think) Death. The holes in the marble indicate where the bronze balances he was holding were attached. The two female figures obviously indicate Joy and Sorrow. The god is smiling and the balance is inclined towards Joy. Close by{126} the knees of the two women are mysterious objects of marble which seemed to hang from the scales and actually supported them. On each is a nude male figure with hands raised above the head as if in act to strike with the sword. The architectural scrolls which support this and the corresponding single figures of the new slabs seem to me to indicate a ship, especially as there is a dolphin, the regular symbol of sea, under one of them. In other corners there are pomegranates, a fruit associated with the underworld.

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

The West

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

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Plate 32.—Reliefs from the “Ludovisi” Throne, now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, U.S.A.


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

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

It is said that in the great battle on the river Traeis in 511 the cavalry of Sybaris were so much better accustomed to musical drill than to fighting that at the sound of the enemy’s fifes the Sybarite horses began to dance! The asceticism which led to Croton’s efficiency was a result of the teaching of Pythagoras of Samos, the great philosopher. A strange person was Pythagoras; his philosophy largely consisted of sound mathematics run mad on metaphysics. He attached mystical meanings to odd and even numbers; harmony was the principle of the universe. The abiding doctrine of his{128} philosophy was that of metempsychosis, or the transmigration of souls:

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

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

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

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

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

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Their spuriousness was conclusively demonstrated by the great Richard Bentley.

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

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

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

As the East had powerful barbarian kingdoms to withstand, so the West had a terrible enemy always at the gates—the Semites. These Phœnician traders were far more powerful and aggressive in their colony of Carthage than in the mother cities, Tyre and Sidon. Admirably organised as a State, with able generals and highly trained mercenary troops, they coveted the rich island of Sicily. They seem to have effected a lodgment on the west end of the island before the Greeks came to colonise the east and south. Thanks to the great resources of the tyrants of Syracuse, the Greeks here were{130} more successful in resisting the barbarians than were the Ionians of the east. The great conflict came in the battle of Himera, fought, according to tradition, on the same day as Salamis, and won by Gelo, who preceded his brother Hiero on the throne of Syracuse. This victory thrust the Phœnicians back into their corner for nearly a century.

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

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

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

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

Of all the splendours of ancient Syracuse the best memorials are the lofty Doric columns built into the walls of the Christian cathedral. For Syracusan art, however, we prefer to turn to their coins.[44] It is said that Gelo cast these first beautiful silver pieces out of the spoil taken from the Carthaginians at Himera. The reverse always bears the chariot, with four horses for a tetradrachm, two for a didrachm, and one for a drachma. On the obverse is the head of the nymph Arethusa, who presided over the sacred spring on the peninsular citadel of Syracuse which was called Ortygia. The dolphins around the head are held to indicate the salt sea which surrounds this fresh spring of water. If the coin types are any proof, we may suppose that Gelo thought more of his victories at Olympia in the chariot race than of his triumph on the battlefield of Himera.{132}



ὅθι παῖδες Ἀθαναίων ἐβάλοντο φαεννὰν κρηπῖδ’ ἐλευθερίας.

The Rise of Athens

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

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

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

Peisistratus, as I have argued, had laid the foundations of Athenian civilisation, partly by making it into a real city-state, partly by direct encouragement of art and literature, partly by promoting commerce, and thus opening the way to foreign influences. Then in 507 Cleisthenes and the Spartans had given Athens a free republic, with distinctly democratic tendencies. Thus the cold domination of the conservative, uncultured aristocracy, who had mainly been occupied in agricultural pursuits, had lost ground, although, no doubt, the Areopagus, which still “directed most things,” maintained its influence to a considerable extent. What now grew into the most powerful element in the state was the seafaring commercial population, who lived mainly on the sea-coast. These were the restless, eager brains which were beginning to think things out, and to find their bearings in the big world outside Attica. They would be in constant business relations with their Ionian kinsmen across the sea, and thus catch a tincture of their cosmopolitan culture. Accordingly, when at the close of the sixth century the Ionians rose in revolt against their Persian masters, Athens, with Eretria, another commercial city of Eastern connections, alone responded to their cry for help. It was only a raid, but it singed the Great King’s beard by burning one of his capitals, Sardis. For this revenge was promised. The Great King of those days was no effeminate, luxurious Oriental, such as those whom Alexander chased about Asia in later days. The Medes and Persians were then invincible conquerors, who had just devoured all the great empires and{134} ancient civilisations of the East. They were out to conquer the world, and now nothing but a narrow sea lay between them and the presumptuous Greeks. Accordingly, ambassadors were sent in the usual fashion to Greece, to demand earth and water in token of submission. The Athenians are said to have thrown their envoys into the barathron where the bodies of felons were flung for burial, there to collect what earth they could. The Spartans, with whom originality was never a strong point, threw theirs into a well, indicating thereby that the answer was in the negative. So Darius collected a very great host from all his vassals, and sent it round by land, with the ships coasting alongside. Fortunately for Greece, the fleet met with fearful shipwreck off the dangerous Chalcidian promontory of Mount Athos. In 490 Darius tried again. This time it was a much smaller force, designed, not to conquer Greece, but merely to punish Athens and Eretria. It was a naval expedition only, but room was provided in the ships to bring back the Athenians in chains for summary judgment. Datis and Artaphernes were the leaders, but the ex-tyrant Hippias was there to show them the way to the Acropolis, where it seems he already had some friends awaiting his return. But Athens also had an ex-tyrant of the Chersonese among her generals, one who knew the Persian method of fighting and had the strongest motives for resisting them. That tyrant was Miltiades. Hippias’ plan was to cross over the strait from Eubœa, where the Persians had succeeded in enslaving Eretria, land on the north coast of Attica with a large force, and while the land army of Athens was engaged there, slip round with the fleet to Peiræus and catch Athens undefended. His plans miscarried, for the Athenian line swept down the hill at Marathon[45] upon the Persian archers before they were fully deployed, and with their lightning charge hurled them back into the sea with great slaughter, then marched back at full speed to the city, in time.

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English Photo Co., Athens


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

A few years later some slaves working in the Athenian silver-mines at Laurium chanced to strike a rich vein of metal. All Athenian citizens were shareholders in all the state’s property, and naturally expected to divide the profits, which would amount to about ten francs a head. Then stood up a certain Themistocles—not an aristocrat, but a persuasive speaker with the supplest brain that Zeus had ever created since Hermes stole the cows—and proposed to spend the whole bonus on ships. This is the turning-point of Athenian history. The stout hoplites who had won the day at Marathon stood aghast at the proposal. They pointed out that the strength of Pallas lay in her spear, that to create a navy would be to encourage those turbulent radicals at the Peiræus. Besides, what was it for? The Persians had gone home again. Themistocles, in reply, drew attention to a little war then on hand with Ægina, an island obviously not to be conquered by hoplites only. Doubtless a Greek neighbour was the more persuasive bogey, but Themistocles must have known that Persia was the enemy. Athens did not require a hundred new ships to fight Ægina, which had not a score for use in battle. No doubt Themistocles had the support of the “nautical rabble,” for he gained a majority for his proposal, and soon afterwards got rid of his chief opponent, Aristeides,{136} by ostracism. Thus Athens acquired a fleet beyond all comparison the most powerful in Greek waters. It was needed.

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

The host was on the same scale. Herodotus and Æschylus alike delight to parade the outlandish names of the Oriental leaders, to display the numbers of that mighty host of all the nations of the earth, how they drank the rivers dry as they marched, to dwell on the strange equipment of the remote barbarians of Thrace, India, and the Soudan, the wealth and magnificence of the Great King, how he lashed the sea when it broke his bridge, how he questioned the exiled Spartan king Demaratus, unable to believe that these little people should dare to stand up against him. Even more than the life and death of Crœsus, this immortal story of the Persian monarch’s great Armada and its fall, with the tragic contrast between his glorious setting out and miserable return, stirred the imagination of the Greeks for ever afterwards. Did it not illustrate their favourite philosophy of “No excess” and “Know thyself”? All their art was based on this motive: “Know thyself; practise Reverence, because Wealth and Prosperity lead to Insolence, and that arouses Envy in gods and men. Wrath (Nemesis) follows on the heels of Insolence, beguiling with false Hope, and finally leading into Ruin.” That is the doctrine of all Greek tragedy; both Herodotus and Thucydides illustrated it in history, the former taking Persia and the latter Athens for its examples and victims. But it{137} governed their art also; it is the secret of the self-restraint that characterises all the best of their work. That virtue of Aidôs ruled their spirits. That is why it is so absurd to think of the Greeks as happy pagans. They walked in the fear of the Lord, in the shadow of tragedy.

The news of that marshalling of the host found Greece in a state of disunion and terror. Some states submitted at the first summons. All sent for advice to the Delphic oracle. Apollo, I regret to say, was panic-stricken. He told the Cretans not to interfere, he told the Argives to guard their own head; to Athens in particular he sent the most terrible menaces: “O wretched men, why sit ye here? Fly to the ends of the earth, leaving your houses and the high citadel of your wheel-shaped city.... For fire and swift Ares, driving the Syrian chariot, destroyeth it. And he will destroy many other castles, and not yours alone; and he will deliver many temples of the immortals to devouring fire, which now stand dripping with sweat and shaken with terror; black blood trickles from the topmost roofs, foretelling inevitable ruin. Go from the sanctuary, and steel your hearts to meet misfortunes.” Conceive the effect of such an oracle at such a time, and conceive the courage of Athens in preparing to resist! Thessaly submitted; Gelo of Syracuse, the most powerful Greek ally they could have, had declined to help, being in reality fully occupied with the Carthaginian invasion of Sicily; Corcyra was sitting on the fence. Thebes was supposed to be traitorous, but there is little doubt that history has been unfair to Thebes. Nevertheless, the Persian was invited to do his worst. The Spartan plan was to draw strong lines across the Isthmus of Corinth and to fight there in defence of the Peloponnese, which was all the Greece that Sparta cared about. This meant the desertion of all the northern parts. Eventually she was persuaded to try resistance at the northern passes, but she did so half-heartedly. Tempe was found to be indefensible, for the invaders were pouring over another pass to the west of it. The first resistance was{138} therefore made at Thermopylæ, where the mountains left only a narrow track along the shore.

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

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

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

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English Photo Co., Athens


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

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

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

This whole episode was the great achievement of the Greeks in the field of action. It passed into the realm of heroic history. It is almost the only historical episode which the drama, usually devoted to heroic and epic subjects, was permitted to use. No public oration was complete without a{140} reference to it. Vase-painters also depicted the story of Darius and Xerxes as they did that of Hector and Priam. It remained on the border-line of the permissible, however, for when temple sculptors wished to allude to it they generally did so under cover of Homeric contests between Greeks and Trojans or mythological battles between gods and giants or Lapithæ and Centaurs. The memory of this united action had some influence in counteracting the local separatism of the Greeks.

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

This was how Athens became a democratic city-state.

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Mansell & Co.


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

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Ostrakon of Themistocles

Then an empire fell into their lap. It began, as most ancient empires did begin, with an alliance gradually transformed into a tyranny. Most Ionian cities had already won their freedom on the defeat of the Persian navy, but some had still to be liberated, and all needed protection for the future. The year after Platæa was spent by the Greek fleets in cruising about the Ægean, doing the work of liberation. At first Spartan admirals were in command, but the Ionians disliked Dorian discipline, and Pausanias, the victor of Platæa, was puffed up with pride and power. So they turned to Athens, whose commanders were Kimon, the rich and generous son of Miltiades, Aristeides the Just, and Xanthippus, the father of Pericles, all men of the aristocracy, but loyal servants of Athens and capable seamen. Thus they formed the Confederacy of Delos, a league of maritime states, Ionians who worshipped the Delian Apollo. On his sacred island was to be the treasury of the league, and there the common synods were to meet. This league Athens soon transformed into an empire. From the first some of its members were too poor to supply the normal unit of subscription, the trireme galley. These, then, contributed money on the assessment of Aristeides.{142} Athens built the ships for them in her own dockyards and sent her collectors round for the money. Soon, with true Ionian slackness, all the states except Chios, Samos, and Lesbos converted their naval contribution into a money payment. States were coerced into joining the league, garrisons and magistrates were sent from Athens to hold them in subjection. Often colonies of Athenian citizens were planted on their territory. When the Persian danger was finally removed by the destruction of the Phœnician fleet at Eurymedon the allies began to contemplate withdrawal. They were very soon taught that membership was not a voluntary privilege. Now the empire of Athens was a naked despotism, only mitigated by the fact that many of the states were permitted to manage their own internal affairs. The treasury of the league was removed from Delos to Athens, and the money was spent at her discretion. Meanwhile the ambitions of Athens had extended with success. She was no longer content with a naval empire. She began to cherish plans of a great colonial dominion in the west; she wanted to eat up her shrunken neighbour, Megara, in order to have an outlet to the Corinthian Gulf; she took Naupactus on those waters as a base, and sent reconnoitring expeditions to Sicily and planned a great Panhellenic colony at Thurii, in South Italy. Moreover, she mixed in the affairs of great foreign Powers like Egypt. She attacked Cyprus and overran Bœotia.

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

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

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

The main features of the Peloponnesian War, which forms the theme of the great history of Thucydides, may be briefly stated. Almost before it began Athens had to surrender all her claims to land empire. That had been a mistake from the first, for Athens could never turn out a hoplite line fit to stand against the Spartan charge. The strategy of Pericles, dictated by necessity, was to retire within the walls of the city, relying upon the fleet to keep communications open and{144} effect reprisals on the enemy. The weakness of this strategy lay in the fact that no fleet could touch Sparta, and that it put a very serious strain on the rural population of Attica, who had to desert their homes and see their crops ravaged in yearly forays from Sparta. That state of affairs led to a disastrous plague at Athens, and to a feeling of bitterness against Pericles which darkened his closing years. He died two years after the war began, and his place was taken by Cleon, who walked in his footsteps as democrat and imperialist, but, lacking his lofty personality and high birth, has come very badly out of the hands of history and literature. Aristophanes’ perpetual appellation of “tanner” directed against him probably has its point in the fact that he openly represented commercial interests. He was responsible for the shocking decree which condemned all the male inhabitants of Mitylene to death in punishment of their revolt, a decree which was repented and repealed at the eleventh hour, and he was a frequent obstacle to peace. But there is no ground for charging him with selfishness or dishonesty, and he was certainly not devoid of talent. He should be credited with the most brilliant achievement of the Athenian campaign, the taking of Sphacteria and its Spartan garrison.

It would seem that the war might have gone on for ever, but for the insane ambition of the Athenian democracy, which led her to despatch a huge fleet in 415 to Sicily for the subjugation of that island. It was the hare-brained scheme of that good-looking rascal Alcibiades. No one except Socrates could refuse him anything, much less the mass meetings on the Athenian Pnyx. So Athens squandered two great expeditions on an enterprise undertaken in ignorance and entrusted to inefficient commanders. With all her reserves, she just managed to fit out a new fleet and gain a few more sea-fights, but the end could not be long delayed. At last an Athenian admiral was caught napping at Ægospotami. There were no more ships, no more money in the treasury. After a brief siege Athens capitulated to Lysander in 404.{145}

Such in briefest outline is the historical content of the Great Century, and such is the story of the first of European empires. What bearing has it upon our original inquiry as to the causes of the artistic and intellectual brilliance of the fifth century? We have, to start with, a people singularly endowed by Nature with quick intelligence and a marvellous sense of form. The Persian wars and the rise of Athens had added to these natural advantages a passion of pride in their city and an almost fanatical belief in her mission. Thus all her citizens were eager to do their utmost to increase the beauty and honour of the violet-crowned city and her virgin goddess. A city-state makes a much more direct appeal to the emotion of patriotism than the large modern territorial state. Lastly, there was freedom in Athens such as no state in history has ever enjoyed, freedom in thought as well as in politics. This has been denied, but the attacks made upon Pheidias and Pericles, and upon the philosophers Anaxagoras and Socrates, may all be explained on political grounds. We have only to look at the plays of Aristophanes to see what amazing liberty of speech prevailed at Athens. Moreover, it was a privileged and educated equality. We must never forget the thousands of slaves whose cruel toil in mine and factory rendered this brilliant society possible at such an early stage in history. It must not be forgotten that Greek liberty and communism was that of an aristocracy, however democratic might be the relations between its members. Thus you have at Athens a large citizen body lifted by the state above all sordid cares and interests, living a very full social life in the open air, with everything to stimulate intellectual interests—the daily speeches and debates in law-court and Assembly, the continual festivals and dramatic exhibitions, the endless conversations in the agora, the palæstra, and the various colonnades, the daily coming and going of ships from all quarters, constant embassies from the cities of the League, visits from all the talent of Greece, just sufficient intercourse with Egypt and the East—everything{146} to stimulate the intelligence, and yet a dominant religious or moral conviction which tended inevitably to the austerest self-restraint and abhorrence of all extravagance.


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

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

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

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

The body, however, thanks to athletic models, was already much more successfully delineated than the head. Perhaps the best examples of fifth-century sculpture before Pheidias are the pedimental figures from Ægina. These figures from the temple of Aphaia at Ægina were discovered by the English architect Cockerell in 1811; they were acquired by the King of Bavaria, restored by Thorwaldsen, and are now at the Glyptothek in Munich. Our illustration[48] will depict their style in all its archaic vigour. All but the face is highly successful; the naked muscular forms of the warriors follow even the poses of athletics, especially the figure in the attitude of a wrestler making his hold stooping forward to drag away the body of Patroclus. The reader should also notice how cleverly the pose is designed to fit that very difficult angle of the pediment where the roof slopes down. It taxed the ingenuity of artists to compose scenes to fit these triangular spaces. The ordinary rule is that the east pediments should depict a scene of divine peace and grandeur, that being the end at which the worshippers entered the temple. The west pediments, on the contrary, generally display a struggle. In this early Æginetan temple both ends are filled with scenes of warfare from the epic glories of Ægina, one of Ajax, and one of his father, Telamon. These Æginetan sculptures are assigned to the period between Marathon (490) and Salamis (480). The Harmodius group of which I have already spoken belongs clearly to the same phase.{148}

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

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Head of Zeus, on Coin of Elis     Head of Zeus, on Coin of Philip II. of Macedon

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

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

But can you, after all, imagine the splendour of these two statues made by the greatest sculptor who has ever lived? The flesh parts were of ivory, the clothing of solid gold on a core of wood or stone. Zeus was of colossal size, forty feet high. On his head was a green garland of branched olive; in his right hand he bore a Victory of ivory and gold, in his left a sceptre inlaid with every kind of metal. On the golden robe figures and lilies were chased. The throne was adorned with gold and precious stones and ebony and ivory, with figures painted and sculptured upon it. Even the legs and bars of the throne were adorned with reliefs. Round it were low screens, blue enamel in front, and paintings by the sculptor’s brother, Panainos, at the back and sides. The stool on which the god’s feet were resting was adorned with figures in gold; the base, on which the throne rested, likewise. We must not picture ancient Greek art as cold and colourless like the marble statues by which it is represented in our museums. The Greeks loved colour, and used it everywhere. We have grown so accustomed to plain white statues that some of us are offended by the idea of colour in statuary and architecture. In this matter we may safely trust the good taste of the artists who could design and carve so wonderfully. The two favourite Greek marbles, the Parian and the Pentelic, are both of themselves very beautiful fabrics, far more lovely, with their glistening coarse grain and the intermixture of iron which gives them a warm yellowish glow, than the favourite modern marble of Carrara, which is so coldly white and so fine of texture as to dazzle and fatigue the eye and to blur all the delicate outlines. But the Greeks of that day looked upon even their lovely marbles as we do upon brick, good enough for building temples, but not worthy of the high gods. Ivory and gold{150} for the gods, if the worshippers could afford it, otherwise bronze.

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

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

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

The subject of the front or eastern pediment[49] was the birth of Athena. The central scene had gone when Carrey sketched it. It is probable that the armed figure of the goddess rising from the head of Zeus would fill the apex. Close by would stand the goddess of childbirth (Eilithuia), and Hephæstus, who set Athena free with a blow of his hammer, would be near the centre. In the angles the figures have been better preserved, and are mostly among the Elgin Marbles. Various interpretations of their motive have been suggested, but the only one that deserves consideration is Brunn’s theory that they are scenic impersonations rather than mythological characters. It is difficult, as Furtwängler has argued, to find any other example of this sort of personification in the art or literature of the fifth century. But some of the attributions are too plausible to be avoided. At one angle the Sun is just rising in his chariot, of which the horses’ heads are visible above the cornice; at the other the Moon is just sinking in hers. That depicts the time of the great event. Next to these are figures to indicate locality. Facing{152} Helios, with his back to the central scene, is that glorious reclining youth who used to be called “Theseus” in our Museum. According to Brunn he is really Mount Olympus. A mountain he may well be, but would not Pheidias have meant him for the Athenian Mount Hymettus? At the other side artists have sighed over the perfection of those three seated female figures, headless, alas! but wonderful in the perfection of craft which renders the elaborate folds of the soft Ionic draperies without impairing the massive grandeur of the bodies beneath. We used to call them “The Three Fates.” But it is probable that they are not a group of three; one reclines in the lap of her sister, the third sits alone. If the geographical interpretation is to hold good, we cannot improve Professor Waldstein’s suggestion that the sisterly pair is Thalassa (Sea) in the lap of Gaia (Earth). That, however, leaves us without a clue to the third. Would not the moon set beyond land and sea over the island of Salamis? Of the remaining figures the swiftly moving goddess with the windswept draperies can be none other than Iris, the messenger of the gods.

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

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

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

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

Lastly, we come to the frieze. To judge it rightly, the spectator must remember its position on the temple, for its character is entirely changed when it is seen at the level of the eyes on the walls of our Museum. It ran round the top of{154} the cella wall, 39 feet above the floor, inside the colonnade of the Parthenon. It could be examined by mounting the stylobate and craning your neck uncomfortably, but in an ordinary case you would merely catch glimpses of it between the columns as you passed along outside. Moreover, it was in the shadow of the roof, lighted, as Professor Gardner reminds us, from below by reflection from the white marble pavement. This the artist has foreseen and provided for by making the relief of the upper part deeper than below, so that the heads lean forward from the panels. Where deep shadows are required below they are often secured by cutting into the background. Here is another proof of the advantage Art gains when her ministers are practical craftsmen rather than luxurious gentlemen who spend their time between the studio and the drawing-room. The designer of this frieze—and surely the designer was no less than the master himself—had a free hand here, with no laws of tradition to bind him, for such a frieze is without previous example. He had to cover an uninterrupted space of 524 feet with ornament. He chose for his subject the great procession representing the people of Athens which went up every year at the Panathenaic festival to offer a new saffron robe to the goddess. Observe how he has conceived it. Over the front[50] he placed the immortal gods and goddesses, not in the awful majesty of Olympus, but down on earth in their beloved city of Athens. He depicted them at ease; only their added dignity of countenance and their greater stature (their heads reach the cornice, though they are seated) indicates their divinity. They are not overladen with attributive emblems. They are at home in Athens. They sit, they almost lounge, in comfortable attitudes. Dionysus leans on the shoulder of young Hermes. Ares, the dreadful Thracian warrior, has left his armour at home; he rests pleasantly with his right knee clasped in his hands. Hera unveils her head, turning to say a word to her royal husband, who sits a little apart in his simple dignity. Athena, the heroine of the hour, is marked by no pomp; she is

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Plate 44.—The Lemnian Athena.



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

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

But why in the world has he left out the sacred robe itself?{156} Well, he might have chosen to put Athena on her throne in full panoply, and to have made the whole scene far more devotional and impressive to the religious sense. Instead, he has slackened the tension everywhere. The soldiers might have marched in disciplined ranks of Doric precision. The animals might have walked in two by two, as well-behaved beasts going to sacrifice should. The whole thing might have been formal and grand. Pheidias preferred to make it charm by its simplicity and grace. His procession glows with youth and beauty, modest but unembarrassed. The young knight lacing up his military boot is quite unconscious that you and I are looking at him. It would not have done for the solemn pediments, it would have been out of place on the violent metopes, but here, just to glance at between the pillars, as a piece of light, supererogatory ornament, the artist felt at liberty to express the joy of living.

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

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Plate 45.—Head of the Lemnian Athena.



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

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

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

The number of works credibly assigned to Pheidias amounts to twenty-four. He was specially famed for his divine statues. He was able to practise for his chryselephantine work on what is termed an acrolithic image—that is, of gilt wood and marble—for little Platæa. He worked also in bronze. At Olympia he made a statue of the boy victor Pantarkes, whom he loved. For the Athenian Acropolis he made two other statues of Athena, one the colossal bronze figure which faced the visitor as he passed through the Propylæa on to the sacred citadel. Her spear was visible above the roofs to the sailors at sea, and it is so represented on the coins of the city. It was a work of his early years, executed for Kimon. It was removed to Constantinople, and the historian Nicetas tells us of its destruction by a drunken mob in A.D. 1203. There was also the Lemnian Athena,[53] dedicated by the colonists of that island about 450 B.C. Here she was represented in a peaceful aspect without her{158} helmet, “with a blush upon her cheek instead of a helmet to veil her beauty.” The beautiful statue which Furtwängler has compiled by setting a head from Bologna[54] upon a body at Dresden forms a brilliant and to my mind triumphant reproduction of this statue. Of course it is only a copy. If it be true that Pheidias made dedicatory offerings for the Athenians at Delphi immediately after the Persian wars he must have had an artistic career of fifty years. In that time he had brought the art of sculpture from infancy to the prime of manhood.

Ictinus and the Temple-builders

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

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

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

Pheidias had Myron for a fellow-student. Of Myron’s athletic work I have already spoken. He was as original as it was possible to be in the fifth century. As he was chiefly engaged in minor works of a private and occasional nature, he has naturally caught the attention of the epigrammatists. We hear much of the animal statues he carved and of their extraordinary realism, for that was the thing that appealed to the ancient art critic. He seems to have been a master of bronze technique and a skilful goldsmith. The marble copy of his Marsyas in the Lateran and the bronze in the British Museum[55] show the satyr advancing in amazement to pick up the flute which Apollo has just discarded. As in the “Discobolus,” we see the love of distorted poses which enabled Myron to exhibit his fine draughtsmanship and anatomy. Herein, indeed, he is peu cinquième siècle; but we must remember that this figure is one of a dramatic group. I have spoken of Polycleitus too as an athletic sculptor. It is rather remarkable that this youthful art should already in the fifth century be producing its “Canon” and its technical treatises. Though the “Doryphorus” is the most famous of his works, the head of his “Diadumenus” from Rome is probably the most faithful rendering of a Polycleitan original. Other names are mentioned by ancient writers as being worthy to be classed with Pheidias; Calamis, for example; but they are mere names to us, and the ingenious attempts of modern archæology to fit them with appropriate works on the score of qualities attributed to them by ancient critics are hazardous, and for the most part unsatisfactory. Considering the few facts so recorded and the multitude of difficulties they raise, we cannot put much faith in the ancient art critic. Alcamenes and Pæonius, for example, are said to have been the sculptors of the two pediments at Olympia, and yet Alcamenes is described as a pupil of Pheidias,{160} which to any one comparing the Apollo of the west pediment with the pedimental sculptures of the Parthenon is absurd. The other name is also doubtful, for Pæonius was the author of the famous Victory at Olympia,[56] with its superb study of flying drapery. The inscription testifies that it was set up by the Messenians of Naupactus from the spoil of the enemy—presumably the Spartan garrison captured by Cleon at Sphacteria. If, therefore, Pausanias is right in his account of the authorship of the Olympian pediments, both these sculptors must have made extraordinarily rapid progress in their art or have adopted a consciously archaic style for the pediments.

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So much for the named sculptors of the period. We have several other works which obviously belong to the same date. The fine portrait bust of Pericles[57] is, no doubt, a copy from the statue by Cresilas. I have said above that portraiture is rare in the fifth century. The extraordinary significance of Pericles in the art of the period is one reason for this exception. Moreover, it is, after all, scarcely a portrait in the Cromwellian sense, but rather an idealised type of the soldier statesman: so far from breaking, it notably illustrates the rule of idealism in the fifth century. It was said that all the portraits of Pericles represented him in a helmet to conceal his inordinately long head, which is a frequent subject of wit to Aristophanes. Typical of the period too are the Eleusinian relief,[58] the Ludovisi reliefs,[59] and the Mourning Athena.[60] The glorious bronze bust of a Boy Victor depicted in our photogravure is one of the rare original bronzes of the great period. It is part of a full-length statue, the bust being a modern restoration, and it is of great value to students of ancient bronze workmanship. The eyeballs, when the statue was first found at Naples in 1730, were inlaid with silver and the pupils with granite. The lips are gilded, and there was silver and gold on the diadem. The boy pulling a thorn out of his foot (the “Spinario”) belongs to a slightly earlier period and is closely akin{161} to the Running Girl in style. It is a charmingly graceful and boyish figure, quite free from self-consciousness. We notice that though the body is skilfully wrought, the head is obviously wrong, for the long hair of the bent head would hang about his face.[61] Natural and pleasant as the pose is, it is no mere genre study, done to please the artist’s fancy because his eye had caught the pretty attitude of the child in the gymnasium. That was not how artists worked at this early period. The “Spinario” must, I think, have a story behind him: some one had won the boys’ foot-race in spite of a thorn in his foot, and this is the record of his pluck.

From sculpture we pass to the sister art of architecture. Here we can safely affirm that Periclean Athens reached perfection within the limits it had set for itself—namely, the Doric style. For temple architecture the religious feeling of the day had prescribed a definite programme which it would have been almost blasphemy to outstep. That is to say, the outline of the temple was bound to correspond to the norm of Doric architecture, laid down more than a century before. The artist’s originality was therefore confined to the task of improving its details in a manner which would pass unnoticed by the general public, who would but vaguely feel a heightened sense of rhythm and harmony. Here we find proof that Greek simplicity is the outcome of extreme subtlety. Until Penrose every one had imagined the lines of the Parthenon to be straight. On the contrary, the apparently flat stylobate or floor rises 1 in 450 towards the centre over a length of 228 and a breadth of 101 feet. The columns do not only taper, as they seem to do, but they swell in the middle in order to counteract the diminishing effect of light behind them, although in pure Greek work the diameter of the shaft is never greater than that of the base. The axis of the outside columns slopes inwards 1 in 106; the inner columns have a slightly smaller inclination, 1 in 150. Even the fluting is studied; the fine shadow effect is produced by diminishing the width{162} but not the depth of the grooves as they approach the echinus. Nor are the columns all exactly the same thickness, for the corner pillars are made a little higher and thicker than their neighbours, because a fiercer light beats on them. Like the stylobate, the entablature also curves upward in the centre, but still more slightly—2 inches in 100 feet. The planes of the moulding are sometimes inclined forwards to prevent foreshortening. Thus to secure the effect of straightness Ictinus cut every stone of this great building on a slant measured to a hair’s breadth. To my lay mind these facts throw a revealing light upon the nature of Greek art and the true meaning of Greek simplicity. Judge of the self-restraint shown by Ictinus (and of course entasis is not confined to the Parthenon) in expending this infinite trouble in a matter which would escape the eye of nine out of ten spectators. Nine out of ten? Yes, but the tenth might be a brother architect—or it might be Pallas Athena. Now that the measuring-tape has proved how subtle is Greek simplicity in one art, we must be prepared for it in other arts where we cannot measure so accurately—in literature, for example, when Euripides seems commonplace or Socrates illogical.

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

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

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

When the Long Walls of Athens were completed there was no longer any need of fortifications to the Acropolis, though the architectural conception of the whole mass remained that of a shrine and citadel combined. The prehistoric Pelasgians had levelled the top, fortified it on the west, its only accessible end, and surrounded it with a wall. The whole plateau rises to a height of 200 feet. Approaching it from the agora to the{164} west, the pilgrim passes up a flight of low steps to the porch, or propylæa. This was completed in 432 by Mnesicles on the site of an older and much humbler gateway of Kimon’s day. Modern investigators have shown that it was planned on a far more extensive scale than the actual execution, and that room was left for subsequent completion. It is believed that the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War was the cause of this limitation of the original scheme. Even so it was celebrated in antiquity, and is far the most impressive building erected by the Greeks for secular purposes. It consists of a gateway formed by a wall with five openings and fronted by a Doric colonnade, with gable roof and pediment, flanked on each side in the original plan by two colonnaded halls, a smaller one in front and a larger behind. This plan is clearly a development of the gateways of prehistoric citadels like Tiryns and Troy II. One of the wing chambers was used as a picture gallery, the walls being frescoed by Polygnotus and other celebrated painters. This hall is still in excellent preservation, due to its use by the Franks as a council chamber and by the Turks as the palace of their pashas. Some of the stone beams are as long as 20 feet.

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

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

Pass through the wide portals of the propylæa. On your right was the marble terrace where the little girls of Athens dressed up as bears to dance in honour of Brauronian Artemis. Here was the group of Athena and Marsyas, and here Praxiteles was to make his statue of Brauronian Artemis. Beyond the Brauronian precinct was one of Athena the Craftswoman. At this point the colossal bronze Athena “Promachos” of Pheidias towered above you, 36 feet high. We have visited the Parthenon already; to the left of it, just behind the foundations of the old temple of Athena Polias, is the wonderful Erechtheum. This building, though begun soon after the Persians had burnt the old “house of Erechtheus,” and the adjoining temple of Athena built by Peisistratus, was delayed by the Peloponnesian War, and not completed till the end of the century. Here the task set to the architects was a peculiar one. To begin with, the building was not a temple, but a house—the house of an old Pelasgian hero; obviously it must not be of the Doric order. Also it had to include a number of immovable sacred objects, such as the salt spring which gushed up when Poseidon struck the rock with his trident and the sacred olive-tree with which Athena defeated him. This patriotic tree had sprung up into new life after the Persians destroyed it, and had to be treated kindly. The illustration will show how the architect overcame these problems with an unconventional building of extraordinary grace and charm. The main building has a colonnade of six Ionic columns in front, and a north porch of six Ionic columns projecting from one side; at{166} the west end a precinct of Pandrosos (daughter of Cecrops), enclosing the sacred olive-tree, adjoined it, and on the south side the lovely little portico of the Maidens.[65] This is its most celebrated feature, from the figures of the six Athenian girls who carry the graceful Ionic entablature. One of the Caryatids was taken to London by Lord Elgin, and has been replaced by a terra-cotta copy. The capitals on their heads are designed like baskets. I have already spoken of this use of sculpture for columns in connection with the Telamones of Acragas. The name Caryatids given to these figures in later times was derived from the town of Karuæ, in Arcadia.

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The Erechtheum: Modern Reconstruction

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

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

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Plate XLIX


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

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

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

Close by upon a low hill stands a Doric temple of the fifth century in almost perfect preservation. This is commonly called the Theseum, but it is undoubtedly the temple of Hephæstus mentioned by Pausanias.[66] The temple is of Pentelic marble, surrounded on all sides by columns, with six at each end. It is of a slightly earlier date than the{168} Parthenon, and it has very little of the subtle system of optical corrections employed there. It was not a very important building in ancient Athens; in fact, it is scarcely mentioned in antiquity; but as the best-preserved building in all Greece it is of great architectural interest to us. The metopes were not all carved; the rest were probably painted. There is also a sculptured frieze. The subject of the metopes was the Labours of Heracles and Theseus. They are rather badly weathered, and in their present condition not very attractive. Not far away is the Dipylon Gate, with its ancient burial-ground, of which we shall see more in a later section. At the opposite end of the city the visitor in the fifth century B.C. would have been struck by the immense columns of the temple of Olympian Zeus begun by Peisistratus, but never finished. Close under the Acropolis rock was the Theatre of Dionysus, where the tragedies and comedies were performed, and a music hall, or Odeion, erected by Pericles. There was a Cave of Pan on the precipitous slope of the rock. The public meetings of the Athenian Assembly were held on the hill of Pnyx, to the west of the Acropolis. Here there was a sort of open-air theatre. We can still see the platform where Pericles addressed the people, and the seats for the presiding committee behind it.

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

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

Hidden away in a remote mountain glen of Arcadia there was a masterpiece of Ictinus, which is now a lovely ruin amid the most solitary and romantic scenery. This is the temple of Phigaleia, the modern Bassæ.[68] It was dedicated by the Phigaleians to Apollo the Helper in consequence of an epidemic. They sent for the most famous architect in Greece soon after the completion of the Parthenon. Ictinus used, since his clients were poor mountaineers, the local limestone for the building, but the roof and sculptures were of imported marble. He had also to modify the normal Doric plan in accordance with local religious conventions of sun-worship. In the cella of the temple the interior Ionic columns are joined to the wall by short stone partitions, thus forming a row of five chapels on each side. A door was made in the east side to shed the light of the rising sun full on the statue of the sun-god; for the main building is unique among Greek temples in running north and south. The narrow frieze which ran round the interior of the cella represented, as usual, contests of Greeks{170} and Amazons, Centaurs and Lapithæ.[69] It is now in the British Museum. It is of the very finest workmanship, and here we see a system of design hardly less subtle than that of the Parthenon frieze applied to scenes of vigour and violence. The frieze was removed bodily by Baron von Stackelberg and bought at auction by the British Government for £15,000.

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

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

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

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

Tragedy and Comedy

It was the policy of Pericles, when he trusted his fellow-citizens with so much power, to train them to be fit to wield it. Fond as the Athenian was of political and social equality within his own circle of citizenship, his tone and temper were, I think, like those of all the other Greeks, inherently aristocratic. The Greeks were a chosen people. They stood aloof, with slaves and helots beneath them, and with barbarians all round them. Few Greeks would have disputed the doctrine by which Aristotle justified slavery: the Greek is by nature superior; set him down in a barbarian city, and in a short time the Greek would be king. They would have laughed sweetly at Lafayette’s “Rights of Man.” Man only gets his rights as a member of a partnership, a corporate community—to wit, a city. This community he entered, when he was acknowledged as a citizen, not without a strict scrutiny into his claims, as formally as we enter a club. Having once joined partnership with such a state as Athens, his rights became precise and{172} important. Among other rights, a democracy offered him that of taking his turn in the government if the lot or the votes of his fellow-citizens designated him for office. Political philosophy maintains as an axiom that the better people ought to rule over the worse, condemning all democracy, and Athens in particular, because there the many ruled over the few, and therefore necessarily the worse over the better. Pericles would not have denied the doctrine, but only its applicability to Athens. He would have claimed that the whole Athenian citizen body possessed “virtue” in the political philosopher’s sense of the word; they were all aristoi, for he had seen to it that the Athenian citizens should all receive a training, which, though utterly different from the Spartan in its aims and methods, was even more capable of turning the masses into an aristocracy of manners and intelligence.

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

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

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

But this very plausible and suggestive theory has scarcely yet had time to stand its trial. What is certain and most important for the understanding of Tragedy is that the Drama was evolved from the song and dance of the Chorus. First one and then two members of the corps de ballet were brought{174} out from the ranks to perform solo impersonations, to narrate an episode in descriptive rhapsody, or to exchange information by rapid question and answer. Important stages in this evolutionary process were attributed in antiquity to Thespis, the so-called “inventor” of Tragedy, and to Phrynichus and Æschylus, all Athenians of the late sixth and early fifth centuries. Then the part played by the “Answerers” (hypocrites), as the actors were called, gradually gained in magnitude and importance. In Æschylus the choric passages are still the main feature of the play. In Sophocles they form a kind of lyric commentary on the action of the drama, in which the interest now begins to centre. In the later work of Euripides the Chorus is largely a superfluous concession to dramatic conventions. Already by the end of Sophocles’ career there were as many as four actors, and since each performed numerous impersonations, the range of character was considerable. Grand as Athenian drama is, even regarded as a vehicle of literary composition, the mere writing of the “book” was a subordinate part of the work of producing a play. In fact Greek tragedy is far more closely akin to the modern oratorio than to the modern stage-play. The task of providing, equipping, and training a chorus was one of the “liturgies” or public duties laid by the Athenian state upon her richer citizens. It lay in the archon’s discretion to “grant a chorus” to a poet.

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

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Theatrical Figures, Comic and Tragic

in the open air.[70] In the fifth century there was no regular theatre; only a flat circular orchestra where the dramas were produced in the “Place of the Wine-press” to the west of the Acropolis, and the spectators sat round on wooden benches. It was not until late in the fourth century that the great Theatre of Dionysus, with its tiers of stone seats resting on the living rock, was constructed under the south cliff of the citadel. It has been remarked that the Greek stage was not, as ours is, pictorial, but rather plastic, giving the effect of figures in relief against a background. This was one reason why the actors wore high boots which gave them superhuman stature, and padded garments and trailing skirts. The masks they wore were part of the traditional convention of Greek drama. The mask would, of course, preclude any facial expression whatsoever. The Greek actor showed his skill in the grace of his movements, the expressiveness of his gestures, and the clearness and force of his articulation. Dramatic declamation was his main business. Under these circumstances it is clear that we{176} must not expect subtle nuances of meaning to be conveyed by the actors in Greek tragedy, though modern interpreters are always on the look-out for them. Conceive Henry Irving with an immovable eyebrow, or Coquelin with his mouth fixed open in a perpetual grimace. It is obvious that the whole character of the representation is transformed. The female parts, too, were, as on our own Elizabethan stage, invariably taken by men or boys. The scenery was of the simplest. The costume was one conventional to the tragic stage; there was only the slightest attempt to dress the parts. The plays thus had the simplicity and breadth of treatment which we have seen in the statuary and architecture of the period. The art of Pheidias is the most illuminating commentary upon that of Sophocles. As we saw in Cresilas’ portrait of Pericles, idealistic treatment is maintained so faithfully as a principle that realistic characterisation is only admitted so far as it does not conflict with the ideal. In both arts the heroes and heroines must have the profile and contours of physical and moral perfection. It is only within these limits that Deianira can be soft and womanly, Antigone stern and faithful unto death, Ajax bluff and bold, Neoptolemus young and generous. There are broader strokes of character-drawing in the minor characters. Messengers, slaves, and sentinels are sometimes permitted the homely sententiousness of Juliet’s Nurse. But there is nothing that can truly be called relief from the stern shadows that encompass the world of Greek tragedy.

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

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

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

With his inflexible idealism, the poetry of Sophocles is sublimated almost beyond human ken. Moderns sometimes find him too perfect, too statuesque to be interesting. It is both their misfortune and their fault. The appreciation of Sophocles is a test of refined scholarship and an ear sensitive to the inner voices of poetry. This makes translation almost impossible, but Mr. Whitelaw, of Rugby, has come so near to achieving that{178} impossible that I would venture, through his medium, to present a specimen of this poet’s exquisite art. This is the famous choric ode on Love from the “Antigone.”

“O Love, our conqueror, matchless in might,
Thou prevailest, O Love, thou dividest the prey:
In damask cheeks of a maiden
Thy watch through the night is set.
Thou roamest over the sea;
On the hills, in the shepherd’s huts, thou art;
Nor of deathless gods, nor of shortlived men,
From thy madness any escapeth.
“Unjust, through thee, are the thoughts of the just;
Thou dost bend them, O Love, to thy will, to thy spite.
Unkindly strife thou hast kindled,
This wrangling of son with sire.
For great laws, throned in the heart,
To the sway of a rival power give place,
To the love-light flashed from a fair bride’s eyes:
In her triumph laughs Aphrodite.
Me, even now, me also,
Seeing these things, a sudden pity
Beyond all governance transports:
The fountains of my tears
I can refrain no more,
Seeing Antigone here to the bridal chamber
Come, to the all-receiving chamber of Death.”

In this ode we have the Greek tragic view of the passion of Love, as the destroyer and distractor of man’s peace and sanity. Love is one of the means whereby tragic fate fulfils its purposes of vengeance. The circumstances of this particular case are these: Of Antigone’s two brothers one had marched against his native city, and the other had taken arms in its defence. Both had fallen on the field of battle. Creon, the city’s tyrant, forbade any one, under pain of death, to give burial to the slain enemy. In this, of course, he was violating one of{179} the most sacred laws of Greek religion. Now Antigone was betrothed to Creon’s own son, Hæmon; nevertheless her duty was to brave the tyrant’s decree and give the honours of formal burial to her dead brother. She did so. Creon thereupon pronounced her doom, and Hæmon in his despair slew himself upon the tomb in which she was immured. The whole story is but an episode in the doom of the house of Œdipus, father of Antigone. The Greek view of Love, then, is the antithesis of the romantic view of it. Where Love conflicts with duty it must be rigorously suppressed, as a source of folly, weakness, and wickedness. So much is this the case that Sophocles puts into the mouth of Antigone words which he had probably borrowed from Herodotus, and which give a view of the Great Passion so painfully unromantic that the modern commentator, who for all his prosiness is a thoroughly romantic person, is tempted to use the shears by which he commonly cuts his knots and call it an interpolation. “My duty,” says Antigone, “is to my brother first. You speak of my duty to my future husband, and my future children. I reply that a brother is more than a husband or children; they can be replaced, a brother cannot.”

An even more disconcerting display of common sense in a presumably romantic situation is seen in that amazing play the “Alcestis” of Euripides—surely the most conspicuous failure in all dramatic literature. Every one knows the tale, how Admetus was allowed as a boon from Apollo to get some one else as a substitute in his place when Death came to fetch him. His faithful wife, Alcestis, took his place, being consoled by Admetus with the promise of a handsome funeral. Then the king’s old father appears upon the scene to offer his condolences to the widower, but is immediately assailed with the most vehement reproaches for not having himself, as an old man with one foot in the grave already, shown sufficient pluck to volunteer death. He not unnaturally retorts that if it is a question of daring to die, Admetus himself had not been remarkable for courage. The point is one that pleases Euripides;{180} it is a nice point of casuistry; he lets the speakers dispute it at some length. I think these two passages are significant of much. When we think of the Greeks as a race of poetic and artistic genius we must not forget that practical, unsentimental common sense is among their most prominent characteristics. They habitually exposed weakly infants to death. Their comedy is singularly merciless to disease and deformity. Plato’s treatment of the sex problem in his ideal republic is strikingly cold-blooded, but hardly more so than the actual treatment of the same problem in the real republic of Sparta. Before we leave this question of the romantic in the Greek character two things should be observed. The romantic element unquestionably grows stronger as Greek civilisation approaches its decline: there is a good deal of it in Menander and Theocritus, still more in Heliodorus; Alexander the Great is romantic to the finger-tips. Secondly, although there is so little of it in Tragedy, or generally in the relations between the two sexes, it is found in a degree of almost modern intensity in the relations between Heracles and Hylas, between Theseus and Peirithous, between Harmodius and Aristogeiton. It was not foolishness to the Greeks for a man to face death for the youth he loved. Indeed, upon that theory Epaminondas the Theban organised that Sacred Band which for a time revolutionised Greek history.

Another characteristic excellence of Greek drama, and especially of Sophocles, is its extraordinary power of narrative. With its severe scenic limitations, the Attic stage wisely refrained from attempting to reproduce realistically exciting spectacular incidents. The actual “tragedies” seldom occur in the sight of the audience. Far more often the hero or heroine leaves the stage in despair, the chorus intervenes with a mournful ode, and then a messenger arrives with a narrative of the fatal occurrence. Shakespeare, with scarcely less severe limitations, faced the impossible, and courted ridicule by representing battles in full detail on the stage by means of a handful of overworked “supers.” What they could not repre{181}sent the Greeks narrated; and Horace, indeed, exalts it into a principle of dramatic art that “Medea must not butcher her babes in public.” That the Greek dramatists so refrained was probably due to dramatic tradition as well as to the practical necessities of the case. When there was only one speaking actor in addition to the chorus his part must have been chiefly what our composers of oratorios call “recitative.” For these two reasons, and perhaps also in obedience to the Greek spirit of self-restraint, narrative declamation by “messengers” is a striking feature of all Greek tragedy.

We have seen already the religious theory upon which tragedy is generally based, the logical succession of Success, Pride, Vengeance, and Ruin. The tragedians deal largely with stories of the doom which had pursued certain of the heroic houses like that of Labdacus or Atreus. In such cases a prophetic curse rests upon the entire dynasty: Atreus slays his brother’s children and bequeaths doom for Agamemnon. Agamemnon is slain by his guilty wife Clytæmnestra, whereby a duty of vengeance devolves upon their son Orestes, who must slay his mother, and therefore must incur the celestial doom of the matricide, unless Apollo himself can intervene to release him from the vengeance of the Furies. Such stories were pursued by all three great tragedians, often in sequences of three tragedies called trilogies. They have no “moral,” except that sin breeds suffering to the third and fourth generation, but the sin is often an involuntary one. The purpose of the tragedian is to show the struggles of man against fate. According to Aristotle’s oft-quoted theory, the purpose of Tragedy is to act as a “purgative of the emotions by means of pity and terror.” As the surgeon lets blood in order to reduce fever, so the drama enables the spectator to acquire peace of soul through the vicarious sorrows of its heroes and heroines. Aristotle declares every tragedy to consist of two parts, the tying of the knot and the loosing of it. The “loosing” commonly involves a peripeteia, or sudden reversal of fortune, as when Agamemnon’s triumphant return is changed{182} to death and mourning; often it is brought about by an anagnōrĭsis, or recognition, as when the stranger in the palace is found to be Orestes come home for revenge. The so-called Aristotelian “unities,” which have loomed so bulkily in the history of dramatic criticism, and under the fear of which the classical dramatists of France were imprisoned, are not to be found in Aristotle. He does, indeed, advocate unity of subject, but unity of time and place are nowhere demanded. The natural limitations and the consequent simplicity of the Greek stage generally imposed these unities as a practical necessity.

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

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

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English Photo Co., Athens


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

I find it much more difficult to speak of Athenian Comedy with candour and discrimination. Scholars of unblemished reputation and unimpeachable sense of humour do unquestionably find the plays of Aristophanes, even when produced by English schoolboys on speech-day, excessively diverting. There is, it is true, in Aristophanes a good deal of simple honest fun of the type represented by Mr. Punch or Mr. Pickwick and his spectacles in the wheelbarrow. When the wrong man gets a thwacking or when an ignorant amateur told to sit to the oar proceeds to sit on it, it is, I suppose, no less funny in the twentieth century anno Domini than it was in the fifth century before Christ. But there I must leave the humour of Aristophanes to those who can appreciate it and still laugh even when they have laboriously picked out the point of the joke from the notes at the end of their text-book. Most of the humour is of this type. It was written to burlesque the well-known figures of the day, and no doubt served its purpose extremely well. Indeed, there is no more certain proof of the liberty of speech which prevailed in Athens than the fact that Aristophanes was permitted to represent Cleon the Prime Minister in successive plays in the most ludicrous and offensive situations. The Old Comedy of Athens rested largely upon a basis of venomous personal slander and libel without self-restraint, without even common decency. It must be added that all ancient humour was corrupted at the source{184} with obscenity. Anthropology, no doubt, explains this satisfactorily for the anthropologist. Comedy took its rise from obscene representations of the power of fecundity. Women and children were properly forbidden to be present at comic representations. It is not only thus with literature; the comic vase-paintings of Athens and the comic frescoes of Pompeii are not suitable to modern taste.

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

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

“Observe then, and mark, what our citizens were,
When first from my care they were trusted to you;
Not scoundrel informers, or paltry buffoons,
Evading the services due to the State;
But with hearts all on fire, for adventure and war,
Distinguished for hardiness, stature, and strength,
Breathing forth nothing but lances and darts,
Arms, and equipment, and battle array,
Bucklers, and shields, and habergeons, and hauberks,
Helmets, and plumes, and heroic attire.
“But how did you manage to make ’em so manly?
What was the method, the means that you took?
“Speak, Æschylus, speak, and behave yourself better,
And don’t, in your rage, stand so silent and stern.
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Plate 56.—Red-figured Vase; and Pyxis


“A drama, brimful with heroical spirit.
“What did you call it?
The Chiefs against Thebes,’
That inspired each spectator with martial ambition,
Courage, and ardour, and prowess, and pride.
“But you did very wrong to encourage the Thebans.
Indeed you deserve to be punished, you do,
For the Thebans are grown to be capital soldiers.
You’ve done us a mischief by that very thing.
“The fault was your own, if you took other courses;
The lesson I taught was directed to you;
Then I gave you the glorious theme of ‘The Persians,’
Replete with sublime patriotical strains,
The record and example of noble achievement,
The delight of the city, the pride of the stage.
“I rejoiced, I confess, when the tidings were carried
To old King Darius, so long dead and buried,
And the chorus in concert kept wringing their hands,
Weeping and wailing, and crying, Alas!
“Such is the duty, the task of a poet,
Fulfilling in honour his office and trust.
Look to traditional history, look
To antiquity, primitive, early, remote:
See there what a blessing illustrious poets
Conferr’d on mankind, in the centuries past.
Orpheus instructed mankind in religion,
Reclaimed them from bloodshed and barbarous rites;
Musæus delivered the doctrine of medicine,
And warnings prophetic for ages to come.
Next came old Hesiod, teaching us husbandry,{186}
Ploughing, and sowing, and rural affairs,
Rural economy, rural astronomy,
Homely morality, labour and thrift:
Homer himself, our adorable Homer,
What was his title to praise and renown?
What but the worth of the lessons he taught us,
Discipline, arms, and endurance of war?”

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

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

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Plate 57.—White Polychrome Vases (“Lecythi”)


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


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

But they seem to have had some congenital craving for perfection. Some have attributed it to their perfect physical health. Aristophanes, as we have just seen, laughs scornfully at disease and deformity. Euripides is arraigned for getting dramatic pathos out of rags and tatters. When Pericles{188} delivers his oration over the dead soldiers he never once alludes to an individual’s prowess or fate. When Pheidias designs his long frieze, though there is infinite variety in the poses of his people, though every fold of drapery, every limb of man and beast is separately arranged with an eye to its own value in the design, the faces are not allowed to express any transient or personal emotion. A monster, such as a Centaur, or a Giant, or a Barbarian, may be allowed a wrinkled forehead to express age, or a twisted mouth to express pain or emotion, but a Greek must be perfect and serene.

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

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

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

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

Historical Athens practised both burial and cremation, after{190} a period of lying in state. Burial would seem to have been the older custom, for it was assumed that the bones of Theseus must still be in existence somewhere, until they were eventually discovered in the island of Scyros. The Blessed Isles and the Heroic Valhalla doubtless survived as a literary tradition, but the “Hades” of ordinary Greek religion was the “grisly home” of Pluto and Persephone, a place of darkness and lamentation. We have seen that Pythagoras taught the immortality of the soul; but then, as now, it was not philosophy which created the popular ideas about death. The belief in immortality which undoubtedly prevailed generally in Greece seems to have been connected rather with the oldest religion of agricultural days. Such was the mystical hope given to the initiated in the secret nocturnal rites of Eleusis. It was intimately connected with the agricultural deities, Demeter the Earth Mother, Persephone the Maiden, her daughter, Triptolemus, the boy-god, and Eubouleus, the divine swineherd. The beautiful mythological representation of the doctrine in the story of Persephone, who was carried off by Hades to be his bride in the underworld while she was gathering flowers, and then at her mother’s powerful intercession was granted as a compromise the liberty to return to earth for half the year, is visibly a parable of summer and winter. It seems that current Greek theology so far as it related to Death was founded on naturalistic observation of the revival of the seasons and the rebirth of the crops. This theology was strongest across the water in Asia Minor, in its connection with the worship of Adonis.

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

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English Photo Co., Athens


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

Our archæological museums are much indebted to the practice of burying with the deceased the objects of his use in life. An athlete would have the strigil, with which he scraped off the dust and oil of the arena, buried in his tomb; a lady would have her mirror, in its chiselled copper case, or her “pyxis” (jewel-box).[72] Most of the little terra-cotta figures in our museums come from the tombs. Some of them were children’s toys: often the figures seem to have been deliberately broken before interment. Among the most beautiful of such relics of the tomb are the funeral oil-jars, or lecythi, of the fifth and early fourth centuries. They were specially painted for the purpose, as we can perceive by their choice of funereal subjects, and they are of a distinct type of pottery. The usual vase technique of the best period has its background painted with a rich black glaze and its figures left plain in the natural colour of the terra-cotta.[73] But these funeral lecythi have the body of the vase covered with a slip of white or cream colour, and upon it the figures and scenes are painted in polychrome. In this way we have surviving very rare and beautiful effects of colour-drawing in this the noblest period of Greek art. The work of the great artists Polygnotus and Zeuxis has, of course, perished utterly, and we must rely on these little oil-jars, probably the work of quite obscure craftsmen, for our nearest representation of it.[74] Here again we are amazed at the effect produced by simple means. Even where the colours have faded we trace a delicacy and precision of line in the drawing which is simply astonishing. No artists have ever done so much with a single stroke of the brush. It implies a wonderful confidence and mastery of technique.{192}

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

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

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FIG. 1    FIG. 2



Acropolis. It is strangely simple and restrained. The goddess, clad in her helmet, leans upon her spear, with head bent down, to read the names once painted on a short pillar which is part of the relief. The severe lines of her drapery indicate the austerity of the unknown artist’s treatment of his patriotic theme. This is the speech of Pericles in stone. I have chosen also two less-known monuments from the Athenian Museum to show the Athenian view of death more clearly. The dead hero does not mourn, but his humbler friends, like the Giants and Barbarians of the friezes, may express their emotion visibly and indecently. Young men nearly always have their hounds to accompany them upon their tombstones. They are big animals, perhaps of the famed Molossian breed, akin to our pointers. Their descendants may be seen (and felt, unless the traveller knows the local artifice of sitting down and pretending not to be afraid) on any upland farm in Greece to-day. Girls are often accompanied by small pet dogs, curly and excitable. The big hounds clearly show dejection in every line.[77] Commentators tell us that the cat (Felis domesticus) was not kept as a pet in Greece, but that when the ancient writers talk of the “wavy-tail” who catches mice they mean the weasel. Would any one but a commentator keep a weasel for a pet? And what is that headless animal upon the shelf, if not the primeval cat imported from Egypt? The young man in this relief[78] is letting his doves go free. And, as you see, the little slave-boys may look sorry when their masters go. They are not Greeks; they may express human emotions.{194}



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


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

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Fig. 1.—Apollo Sauroctonos.     Fig. 2.—The Cnidian Aphrodite.

Plate 61.


The Long Walls were to be pulled down in order that Athens might be separated from her harbours and become in fact an inland city like Sparta herself. Down they came to the music of flutes, and Athens consented to become the “ally” (euphemism for “humble servant”) of Sparta. The moral of it all for imperial cities would seem to be: (1) the precarious nature of sea-power unless backed very strongly by purse-power; (2) the danger of having unwilling allies or dependents; and (3) the impossibility of conducting war by means of public debate in a democratic assembly. On two occasions near the end of the war and the century the Athenians had tried experiments in constitutional revolution. For, indeed, during the closing stages of the war even the citizens of Athens could see, what was painfully obvious to the rest of the world, that she was not well governed for the purposes of external politics. Popular institutions exist for the sake of popular liberties. There are better ways of maintaining order, if that is your prime object, and much better ways of securing “efficiency.” Democracy may “reign”; it cannot “govern”—not, at any rate, without the help of a trained bureaucracy. Above all, in the conduct of a war a meeting of citizens in the market-place is the clumsiest deliberative body that can be conceived. We have seen how ignorant they were when they embarked on the Sicilian expedition without knowing anything more than interested parties chose to tell them of the resources of their allies and the disposition of the other Sicilian Greeks. Besides ignorance, they had shown hasty passion in condemning the whole male population of Mitylene to death; they had been ferociously unjust in sentencing their admirals to death for not stopping to pick up the shipwrecked survivors after the victory of Arginusæ. They had made childish blunders in strategy, as when they chose three hostile generals to conduct the Sicilian expedition, and in statecraft when they refused peace and drove their cleverest citizen, Alcibiades, over to the side of the enemy. But the most effective argument of the oligarchic party was based on finance. With the cessation{196} of the tribute from the allies it became simply impossible to maintain the host of state functionaries which democracy developed and demanded. Further, democracy was, as we have seen, identified with anti-Spartan policy; Sparta would make no terms with democracy. And, lastly, when the brilliant Alcibiades had been banished by the democracy, he professed to have the Persian satrap, the universal paymaster, in his pocket, and he demanded a revolution as the price of his return. Such were the arguments insinuated by the oligarchs. This party was working incessantly in clubs and secret societies about whose methods of organisation we are woefully ignorant. In 411—that is, two years after the failure of the Sicilian expedition—these intriguers had their way, and Athens consented to try the experiment of oligarchy “until the end of the war.” Government henceforth was to be in the hands of a council of 400, for government by council is the prevailing feature of oligarchy. But, like most Greek oligarchies, Athens was also to have a sort of select Assembly, consisting of 5000 of the well-to-do citizens. The number of 5000 seems to represent the hoplite body of the Athenian army. Thus Athens was imitating Sparta in limiting citizen rights to her fully equipped land warriors, and excluding the “naval mob” who were her real strength in war. As usual in oligarchies, even this purged Assembly seems to have been for show rather than for use. The government was, in fact, what it is generally called, a Government of the Four Hundred. Fortunately for human liberty the experiment was not a success. It only lasted for three months. The Four Hundred had, it is true, come rather late upon the stage if they were to bring the war to a successful conclusion. But they failed to do anything useful, and their accession to power was marked by a failure at sea and the loss of Eubœa. Assassination, a pleasantly rare weapon in Greek politics, removed the leader of the oligarchs, and Athens reverted to democracy.

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

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

The year 402 is the year of restored democracy. It is called the archonship of Eucleides, who is not our Euclid, but another man of the same name. We hear no more of oligarchy at Athens. Henceforth she is a democracy, as before and more so. Where Athenians had formerly got cheap corn they now got it for nothing. Where they had formerly received a fee of threepence for public duties they now got fourpence-halfpenny. According to Aristotle more than 20,000 persons were in receipt of State payment. However much business the company might transact, the shareholders were determined upon one thing—to pay dividends to one another, with a bonus in exceptional years. It is hard to say where the dividends{198} came from. No doubt there was a good deal of commerce and banking business at the Peiræus, mostly in the hands of half-naturalised foreigners. The rich were bled unmercifully, so that they tended to emigrate or grow poor. And yet in the fourth century Athens was steadily rising in the political scale. A glad day came when her admiral Conon, with Persian help, was able to rebuild her Long Walls. She started a new maritime league, under better safeguards, this time, for the allies. She even recovered something of an empire. She could not afford statues in ivory and gold, but she built her theatre with stone, laid out a stadium, and produced many charming works of art. In short, though her ambitions were curtailed, life was very free and full, and, I believe, very pleasant, in fourth-century Athens. Her statesmen had to be content with smaller schemes; they were a good deal concerned with finance: indeed, it was hard work to make both ends meet. Generals complained that they got no pay; and now that hired troops were in vogue warfare was an expensive pastime. The Athenians were rather more hysterical than before, even more apt to make Byngs of their unsuccessful admirals. They talked more than ever, and did rather less. But on the whole they were well governed, and they played a not unimportant part in the warfare and diplomacy of Greece. The restored democracy was a success.

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

Sparta and Thebes

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

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greater part of Southern and Central Greece, Sparta had now stepped into the uncomfortable shoes of Athens, and found herself the mistress of more than a hundred island or seaport “cities.” Now Sparta, as she was frequently reminded, had gone into the Peloponnesian War as champion of the liberty of Hellas against a tyrant city. She had gained the day partly through the virtue of that charming phrase, but I doubt whether anybody seriously expected her to set the Ionian cities and islands at liberty. They were not used to liberty, and would not have known what to do with it. They had utterly lost the habit of fighting or doing anything but pay for their own safety. They were too lazy and broad-minded to care very much where their tribute went. None of them had been enthusiastic about its previous destination. We hear of no bitter lamentations when they discovered that Sparta was selling them wholesale back to the Persians. Pharnabazus and Tissaphernes, the western satraps of the Great King, seem to have been easygoing gentlemen of normal Eastern calm and duplicity. They were not of the stamp of conquerors or despots, but they had heaps of money and were adepts at making and breaking treaties. Sparta both by geography and by habit was an inland power. She never produced more than one competent admiral, and that was the man now at the zenith of his power, Lysander. As Sparta had now inherited a maritime empire, and as she was unable and unwilling to embark definitely upon a naval career, it became necessary to organise a system of garrisons and governors in every city under her sway. This work of organisation fell to Lysander—the nearest equivalent to a Cæsar that Greece ever produced. The Spartan empire, such as it was, was Lysander’s handiwork. Of course every state that came into Spartan hands was forcibly converted to oligarchy. This has often been represented as another example of Sparta’s tyranny. But a survey of Greece will soon convince us that oligarchy, and not democracy, is the normal condition of the Greek polis; and, in fact, with a few rare exceptions, it is only Athens and the states directly under her{200} influence which are democracies. But Lysander was corrupt, and he entrusted the government in each town to a group of local aristocrats who had won or purchased his interest. Thus the states of the Spartan empire were generally governed by a Council of Ten, working hand in glove with a Spartan captain and a Spartan garrison. Athens, as we have seen, was also accustomed to send garrisons where she conquered. But all that we know of the Spartan temper assures us that the little finger of Sparta was thicker than the loins of Athens.

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

The new king was Agesilaus, whose long and important career was the subject of many biographies. He it was who{201} pointed the path of glory to Alexander by revealing the utter incapacity of the Persians to guard their treasures. For Sparta had quickly fallen out with the satraps, and Agesilaus marched about the Phrygian and Lydian coasts gathering plunder with very little difficulty. One of the biographers of Agesilaus was his friend and admirer Xenophon, who was concerned in a great adventure which likewise served to betray the weakness of the Persian empire.

The British schoolboy, fleshing his young teeth upon the “Anabasis” of Xenophon, struggling in a wilderness of parasangs and paradigms and puzzling out what Cheirisophos said and where they pitched camp that night, seldom realises the romantic nature of the enterprise. There was a dynastic struggle in Persia. Cyrus, a bold and able prince, was disputing the succession to the throne with the rightful successor, Artaxerxes. Knowing the weakness of his native troops, Cyrus conceived the idea of stiffening them with ten thousand hired Greeks, for by now the use of mercenaries was growing more frequent in the Greek world. These troops were mostly Spartans, their leader was Clearchus, a Spartan, and Xenophon of Athens was a volunteer under his command. They were recruited without knowing the full nature of the enterprise, and it was only when they found themselves in the heart of Asia that they learnt to their horror that the objective was the far-distant capital. At length they reached Cunaxa, near Babylon, where a mighty host opposed their advance. In the battle Cyrus was killed and the native portion of his troops fled or surrendered or were slain. But the Greeks had fought so valiantly that the victorious army of Artaxerxes did not care to attempt their capture, though the crafty Tissaphernes succeeded in assassinating their leaders and leading the army astray into the wilderness. Thus the Ten Thousand found themselves stranded in a hostile country, without generals and without guides, nearly two thousand miles from home. But being Greeks, with a proper contempt for the barbarian, they scorned to lose heart, though the chance of a safe return must have{202} seemed hopeless. The strong political instinct of the city-state was their salvation. They resolved themselves into a wandering polis, held assemblies, made speeches, elected generals, with Xenophon among them, and preserved perfect self-control and discipline. So began the Catabasis, an immense and dangerous march north-westward, through the passes of the Taurus and the uplands of Armenia, fighting the wild Kurds of the hills, struggling with cold and hunger, utterly ignorant of geography except for the belief that if they went on long enough in the same direction they would some day reach the sea. Their glad cry of “Thalassa! Thalassa!” when at last they saw the shining waters of the Euxine is a cry that has echoed through the ages. Henceforth they were passing through the series of Greek colonies that fringed the south coast of the Black Sea. Though many more adventures awaited them and they were seldom very welcome visitors, yet no fewer than 6000 reached home, and, we trust, lived happily ever afterwards. Not so much the fighting as the courage of the march and the sense of discipline make this one of the finest exploits in Greek history.

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

Xenophon is one of the most accomplished and versatile of

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Plate LXIV


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

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

During the period of which we are speaking there had been some important developments in the art of war. As the soldier{204} is the most conservative of men with the exception of the priest, so next to religion warfare is the most conservative of human activities. Field tactics had altered little since the Persian wars. A Greek battle still depended on the shock of two lines of hoplites, largely a question of weight in impact. If you could once cut your opponent’s line the victory was yours, because then you found his right or shieldless side open to your spear. A Greek soldier with his heavy shield on his left arm could only defend his front and left. For this purpose the men stood shoulder to shoulder in a line made as deep as possible, for the sake of weight in the scrimmage, and, I fear, to prevent the Greek disorder of running away.

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

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

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

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

Thebes and Athens had both suffered from the wanton aggression of Sparta. They now made common cause to avenge it, and at the battle of Leuctra (371) Sparta suffered defeat in a pitched land battle on a great scale for the first time in her history. The victory of Thebes was wholly due to the new tactics of Epaminondas. He had formed a Theban corps d’élite, composed, in a fashion strikingly characteristic of the Greek mind, of 150 pairs of lovers sworn to conquer or die together. Thus he pressed into his service the only romantic feeling which the Greeks understood, the relation between David and Jonathan or between Achilles and Patroclus. This Sacred Band formed the front of the left wing. Further, whereas the whole Spartan line was drawn up as usual with a uniform depth of twelve spears, Epaminondas made his left fifty deep and flung it forward in the attack. The extra weight of this deep wing broke the Spartan right. King Cleombrotus and{206} a thousand Spartans were slain. The loss of men was serious for a little state like Sparta, but the loss in prestige was even worse. This, in Xenophon’s story, is how the news came to Sparta: “It chanced to be the last day of the Boys’ Gymnastic Festival, and the choir of men were therefore at home. When the Ephors heard of the disaster they were sorely grieved, as in my opinion was bound to be the case, but they did not send the men’s choir out or stop the games. They communicated the names of the fallen to their relatives, but they warned the women to bear their loss in silence and not to make lamentation. So next day you could see the families of the slain going about in public with cheerful, smiling faces, but as for those whose menfolk had been announced as living, they went about in gloom and shame.” So Lacedæmon set itself with dogged resolution to endure what the gods might send.

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

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English Photo Co., Athens


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

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

Thebes tried to kill the snake she had scotched at Leuctra. Several times she started to smoke out the Spartan nest. Twice she penetrated the inviolable precincts of Sparta, but each time when she looked into the streets of the unwalled city and saw the Spartan warriors standing at arms before their temples and hearths, she only looked—and found more pressing business elsewhere. Let one chronicler at least decline to quit that sinking ship. The foolish Arcadians might brag of their ancient descent as children of the soil; but the Spartans, under their old lion Agesilaus, could still scatter Arcadians{208} with the wind of their spears in a “Tearless Battle,” wherein not a single Spartan perished.

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

Fourth-century Culture

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

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

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

In politics, for example, she was beginning to make things much less comfortable for the rich. With taxes upon unearned increment she was beginning to drive capital out of the country, so that millionaires could no longer be found to undertake single-handed the “liturgy” of equipping a battleship, but had to be grouped in companies for the purpose. Statesmen, too, were throwing off the dignified reticence of the old regime, to parade the most sordid financial considerations, and to set class against class, by reminding the poor how much nicer it would be if they were rich. Even more was done for the poor now than formerly; they were taught to look to the State for cheap food, and even free education. The principle of payment of members was introduced. Conservatives were alarmed by the growing numbers of state functionaries openly drawing salaries from the Treasury for the duties which they performed, instead of leaving those duties to be neglected, or expecting the rich to perform them in their spare time and recoup themselves in less odiously public fashions. In international relations there was some abatement of nationalist frenzy; in colonial systems there was a marked advance in the direction of federalism, accompanied by a devolutionary process towards local government. In the theatre there was a movement towards lighter entertainments and highly elaborate musical comedies, with{210} lavish display in the matter of dress and scenery. Favourite chorus-girls made large incomes, and sometimes married very respectably indeed. In sport, too, there was a growing tendency to professionalism, much deplored by old-fashioned people. Boxers and wrestlers no longer considered the grace of their movements, because they found that victory was apt to follow more consistently upon hard training and an animal diet. In literature, as we shall presently see more fully, poetry was beginning to yield to prose, and prose was becoming more businesslike and scientific. In social life thinkers were beginning to raise the problem of sex, and even women themselves may have joined in the agitation for some measure of justice for their sex. Euripides, indeed, who is rather apt to go further than modern delicacy permits in his treatment of social problems, had actually made his Medea utter these audacious words: “I would rather stand thrice in the line of battle than bear a child once.”

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

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

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


Meanwhile the artist has improved enormously in the technical details of craftsmanship. It was now only a foreign potentate who could give commissions for statues in such{212} splendid materials as were at the disposal of Pheidias. Bronze was still the ordinary material for important works, but marble, which had formerly been chiefly used for ornament in architecture, was now commonly employed for statues even by the great masters. With more serviceable tools for drilling, sawing, and pointing (where that rather mechanical process was employed), the great artists of the fourth century could play upon marble as if it were wax or clay. They could represent textures and surfaces by the degree of their finish, so that the leather of the shoe is of a surface distinct from the skin of the foot in the Hermes of Praxiteles. There is an extremely subtle contrast between the leopard-skin and the flesh of the young Satyr by the same artist in the admirable torso copy which is in the Louvre. Whereas earlier artists had tried to represent hair by grooves gouged out upon the surface of the head or by rendering each tress as a separate thread, Praxiteles discovered the marvellous impression of curls that could be produced by roughly blocking out several masses and leaving the play of light and deep shadow to indicate a surface movable and alive. New secrets of sculptural anatomy were now at command. Praxiteles discovered the value of that groove which runs vertically down the front of the body between the pectoral and abdominal muscles on each side. He discovered also the anatomical distinction between the male and female brow in that ridge of flesh, known to artists as the bar of Michelangelo, which overhangs the eyebrows. By setting the eyeballs deeper under the brow, and emphasising the long drooping curve of the upper eyelid, the fourth-century artists greatly enhanced their command of expression and emotion, transient qualities after which the fifth century had not greatly cared to strive. Scopas, indeed, carried this discovery to the verge of the legitimate, for the few incomplete fragments of his work which survive are almost theatrical in the intensity of their gaze. Marble, of course, demands methods of its own distinct from those of metal. It is due to the material, in a large measure, that various

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

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

His three masterpieces were the Cnidian Aphrodite, the young Satyr, and the Eros of Thespiæ, but we have a long list of his other works. Of the first, Pliny tells us that it was the finest statue not only of Praxiteles, but of the whole world, and that many had made the voyage to Cnidos expressly to see it. He adds a story that Praxiteles had made two figures of Venus and offered them to the people of Cos at the same price. One was draped, the other nude, and the Coans preferred the former, “thinking it austere and modest.” We must remember that naked goddesses were novelties. The other was purchased by Cnidos, and there were bitter regrets at Cos when they found how much more celebrated was the naked Aphrodite. King Nicomedes of Bithynia subsequently offered to liquidate the entire national debt of Cnidos, “which was immense,” if they would only sell him the statue, but one is{214} glad to learn that the little island preferred to keep both its debts and its goddess. Apparently it was in her capacity as a marine goddess, a “Notre Dame de Bon Secours” (Euploia), that these islanders chose Aphrodite, the foam-born, for their patroness.

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

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

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

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

But of course if we want to know the real Praxiteles we have only to take our ticket to Olympia and worship there at the shrine of Hermes. Here for the first time we have an unquestionable original work by the hand of a great master. This Hermes was found more than thirty years ago by the German excavators in the very temple of Hera where Pausanias had seen him. No copy or cast or photograph can do more than faintly shadow the incomparable beauty of the marble. From the photograph we may appreciate the delicacy of the whole design, in which dignity so marvellously blends with grace and strength with charm.[84] It is Hermes the young Arcadian shepherd’s patron deity, Hermes the musician of the tortoise-lyre, the weaver of guile, the bringer of luck, and the kindly escort of souls on their last ferrying. He is playing in careless indulgence with a baby boy, the infant god of wine, but his eyes and his gentle smile are for some one farther off—not the human spectator. It may be noted, as proving that the{216} technical triumphs of Greek art were gained, not by inspiration, but by hard work at established types, that the child is not very successfully rendered. Greek sculptors could not even yet sufficiently detach themselves from convention to copy the round contours of a baby’s face. Critics are divided in their attempts to reconstruct the motive of the raised right shoulder. Evidently the right hand held some object charming to the infant Dionysus, a bunch of grapes, perhaps, or the serpent-wreathed wand proper to Hermes. As it stands in the photograph we can recognise the loveliest statue in existence, but we cannot see the craft with which the surfaces and textures are rendered. We do not know for certain whether Greek sculptors of the fourth century habitually worked their own statues from start to finish with their own hands. We do know that the surface-finish was regarded as a very important part of the work, and that there were various devices, such as wax-polishing, employed to get the fullest value out of the grain of the marble for flesh parts. Praxiteles is especially named as employing a colourist to tint his marble.

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

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

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

Of Scopas the Parian, the second great sculptor of the fourth century, we have no important remains. Two mutilated{218} heads found on the site of the temple at Tegea, where he made his great pedimental scene of the Calydonian boar-hunt, indicate the new note of pathos and emotion which he introduced into the carving of the human head. We know that Scopas was engaged on the Mausoleum and on one of the thirty-six sculptured columns of the great temple at Ephesus, but nothing that remains from either of those buildings can be ascribed to him with certainty. Perhaps his most famous work was the Palatine Apollo at Rome. We may get the best notion of his style by studying the head, not the body, of a beautiful statue of Meleager[87] at Rome, which is considered by the most competent archæologists to be a copy of the work of Scopas.

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

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

We have many fine works of the fourth century of unknown authorship. Foremost of all—surely one of the six greatest statues in the world[90]—is the Demeter of Cnidos, in the British Museum, a statue so instinct with the spirit of Greek tragedy that but for certain technical points it ought to belong to the fifth century.[91] This is Mother Earth, Our Lady of Sorrows, mourning with sad eyes, but not in despair, for her daughter Persephone. The influence of Praxiteles may be traced in her brow and lips. The workmanship of this statue, as being, with the exception of temple reliefs, the finest Greek original in our Museum, deserves careful study. Very beautiful also is that sculptured drum from one of the thirty-six columns of the great temple of “Diana of the Ephesians,” another of the treasures of our Museum.[92] It is scarcely probable that time should have spared the one column which Scopas himself designed, but we may trace some of his influence in the emotional character of the faces, and much of Praxiteles in the grace of the attitudes and the poetry of the concept. The application of relief to a rounded surface is in itself a work of great difficulty, and we have seen how boldly it had been attempted in the same temple by artists of a much earlier day. This is a funeral scene such as might be represented on an Attic tombstone. In the centre is a matronly figure, headless, alas! fastening her mantle on her shoulder preparatory to the journey; on her left is Hermes, very young and boyish, extending his caduceus as if pointing downwards, but looking upwards to a point above the woman’s head. On her right is another figure, whom from his long wings and boyish form we should take, perhaps, for Love, were it not that his sad eyes and heavy sword mark him out as Death{220}—a beautiful conception found also on the new Ludovisi relief and on some of the Athenian lecythi. Some think that the woman is Alcestis, and it is scarcely likely that any but a heroine, at the least, would occupy such a place in such a building. To make both these emissaries of death so young and charming is an idea typical of the fourth century, and especially of Praxiteles.

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

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

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

Advertisement, you see, was in the air. The almost extreme self-repression of the individual was passing, and in the same spirit a wealthy ruler of Caria who in Greek eyes was a tyrant and in Persian eyes a satrap determined to raise a tomb for himself and his wife which should also be a wonder of the world. His name was Mausolus, and the Mausoleum he built consisted of a columned shrine raised upon a lofty pedestal and surmounted with a pyramidal structure of ever-narrowing square courses of masonry, the whole crowned by a colossal portrait statue of Mausolus and his wife Artemisia in a chariot. Considerable remains were found by Sir Charles Newton at Halicarnassus, and are now in the British Museum. We know that Scopas and other famous artists were employed upon the work. The most important relic is the colossal statue of Mausolus, which, considering its situation, is in remarkably fine preservation.[98] Here we have perhaps for the first time in all{222} the history of art a realistic portrait. The face of the prince is not in the least conventional, has, in fact, a distinctly barbarian profile, yet preserves a dignity and worth of its own, and visibly suggests a foreign plutocrat. The reliefs[99] which adorned the pedestal are also distinctive and interesting. We observe, as on the Mantinean basis, that the figures are widely spaced. Their poses are visibly contrived for decorative effect on a system of correspondences much less subtle, and therefore much less effective, than on the Parthenon frieze. The designer, who may have been Scopas himself, has not shrunk from portraying violent action in the battle of Amazons, which is his subject. Yet there is beauty in every figure, and remarkable technical skill.

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

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The Other Arts

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

Nor can the ordinary student of culture get much satisfaction out of Greek music. It is rather cheering to reflect that after all they did not know everything down in Athens, but left one or two things for us to discover. One of them was harmony. We have heard accomplished savants give curious and not wholly unpleasant renderings of Greek music, and distinguished composers like Sir Hubert Parry have written very beautiful airs which are said to be Greek. Broadly speaking, we may divide modern reproductions of Greek music into two classes: those that are Greek, and those that are music. It is certain that the Greeks attached very great importance to music, far more, in fact, than we do. It was the foremost instrument of ancient education, and philosophers from Pythagoras to Plato insisted very seriously upon its moral and spiritual efficacy. The Greeks divided music into three principal modes, according to the key employed. The Dorian{224}

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

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

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

Coins and gems[103] exhibit increased technical mastery. It must not be forgotten that coin types, being generally of religious significance, are apt to be very slow in responding to the artistic fashions of the day. This is especially the case with Athenian coinage. The Athena type with owl and olive-branch on the reverse is always of a conventional and somewhat archaic character. Elsewhere the coins and gems of the fourth century reach their highest point of perfection, and that is a point which has never been surpassed. As usual, Syracuse is in the forefront for beauty of design, and her new series of tyrants, Dionysius I. and II., revive the glorious types of Gelo and Hiero and improve them. The decadrachms of this period representing the head of the nymph Arethusa surrounded with dolphins and bearing on the reverse a four-horse chariot at full gallop are regarded by numismatists as the most beautiful coins in existence. The best of these bear the signature of their engraver, Euænetus. A gold coinage began here about the time of the repulse of the Athenian Armada. Corinthian coins with the flying Pegasus on the obverse and a head of Athena in a Corinthian helmet on the reverse also attain the summit of their beauty in this century. But even out-of-the-way places like Panticapæum, the corn depot of Southern Russia,{226} and the little island of Tenedos, which to the historian est in conspectu and little more, employed engravers of consummate art. Just before the beginning of the century three cities of the island of Rhodes united to form one republic, which rapidly rose to wealth by way of commerce and good government. It produced a gold coinage of great excellence, the figure of the sun-god Helios on the obverse and a rose (Rhodes) as a punning emblem on the reverse. It is only with Alexander the Great and his successors that the portraiture of mortal rulers begins to appear on Greek coinage. It is then rapidly developed, and some of the barbarian monarchs of the East are portrayed by Greek artists with great vigour and realism.

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

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

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

Literature and Philosophy

This is, as we have noticed, an age of Prose. Poetry is for the time being almost extinct, partly, perhaps, because the Athenian theatre was already so well supplied with material by the great masters of the previous generation, and partly because public recitation was no longer the sole means of publication for literature. It is true that Agathon, a member of the literary circle which included Socrates and Plato, was esteemed almost on a level with the three great tragedians, but all his work has been allowed to perish. The fourth century is the era of the “Middle Comedy,” a stage of transition in which{228} political references were being abandoned and the delineation of manners and social life was taking its place. But no great names attach to this stage, and no relics survive. The New Comedy of manners, in which the great master was Menander, begins towards the end of the fourth century and fills the first half of the third.

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

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

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

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always been a rhetorical people. We have noted how, even in Homer, persuasion by the power of speech was a god-given attribute of kings and elders. The Greeks, and the Romans too, went into battle under the influence of oratory as our Highlanders are aroused to martial frenzy by the eloquence of the pibroch. No one doubts that all the speeches in Thucydides’ history are of his own invention, but if they bear any resemblance to the real thing we must believe that the Greek soldier was encouraged, in the fifth century, to fight by a very sober and logical style of speech, including a categorical estimate of the chances in his favour. The modern reader is frequently lulled to sleep by the words of Brasidas or Nikias encouraging his men to battle. Thucydides had, it seems, learnt his peculiarly artificial style of rhetoric from Antiphon, who was the first professional rhetorician to engage in politics. But even Antiphon was content to direct operations through his pupils. In the fourth century the trained professional orator comes forward on the Pnyx as a public statesman, is elected general, and gives orders to the professional soldiers who now command armies and fleets. The profession of the pleader had grown inevitably out of the legal system in vogue at Athens. Where suits were decided by juries numbering hundreds, a rather violent style of pleading had naturally arisen. Although it was necessary by law for the litigants to conduct their own case, it became customary for them to apply to speech-writers like Lysias, Isæus, and Demosthenes for a speech to be learnt and recited as dramatically as possible. We should expect such performances to be highly emotional and to consist largely of oratorical claptrap. That, on the contrary, they are for the most part severely logical, that purple passages are carefully eschewed and references to national feeling kept within limits is the clearest possible proof of the high intellectual standard of the average Athenian citizen who sat upon the jury. It is true that defendants did dress in mourning and produce wives and families in rags and tears to move the sympathies of their judges, but their arguments must be{230} sensible and must include copious reference to the letter of the law. From the so-called “Private Orations” of Demosthenes we obtain rare glimpses of social life at Athens in the fourth century, the banker Phormio who rises to affluence from slavery, who is liberated and marries his master’s daughter, the elegant hooliganism of rich young men who quarrel in camp and assault one another in the Athenian market-place, the extraordinary luxury of Meidias, who rode on a silver-plated saddle, or the quarrels of neighbours in the country about watercourses and rights of way. In a later chapter we shall have to consider the public orations of Demosthenes as the opponent of the Macedonian conquerors. He is unquestionably for European literature the father of oratory. Cicero learnt his art from Demosthenes, and Burke from Cicero. Cleverness is the distinguishing mark of Demosthenes; his style is restrained and logical. I do not think he was morally great, or even more than tolerably honest, but he was so subtle a pleader that I for one always have an instinctive desire to take the other side.

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

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

Turning now to philosophy, we are confronted at once with the problem of Socrates and his real personality.[106] The sage himself wrote nothing, but he has been written of by two immediate disciples, Xenophon and Plato. Between the two we must form our idea of the man. It is likely that Xenophon missed a great deal of the inner meaning of his master’s teaching, but it is certain that Plato used Socrates as a peg for his own ideas with a freedom which could only be tolerated in a country where portraiture was seldom as yet practised as an art. Socrates may be shortly described as a man who went about asking “Why?” It is a habit that we are too apt to repress in children: the Athenians put Socrates to death for it. Remember that it was the age when sophistry—that is, formal profession of superior wisdom—was beginning to be rife, when professors of this, that, and the other were abroad in the streets of Athens. You may reduce any professor to tears by asking him “Why?” with sufficient persistence, especially if you are followed by a train of admiring young men of good family. Socrates was very pertinacious and absolutely fearless. So a jury of Athenian citizens condemned him to drink hemlock on{232} the charge of corrupting the youth with atheistical doctrines. He was certainly not an atheist. He was deeply religious in the highest sense. He objected, or at least Plato did, to the theology of Homer as undignified, in that it exhibited gods laughing and weeping. But he used constantly to speak of “the God,” “the divine principle,” and even of a “Daimonion,” or divine spirit in his own breast. Moreover, Apollo, speaking by the mouth of the Delphic oracle, had declared him to be the wisest of mankind.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With Plato’s political views as expressed especially in the “Republic” we shall be able to deal more fully in the next chapter, when we come to consider the political theories which arose out of the conditions of the city-state. It is clear that in the hands of men like Socrates and Plato philosophy was usurping the place which according to our notions religion ought to occupy in the minds of men. Greek religion, or at least the official Olympian worship as defined by Homer, Hesiod, and the Tragic Poets, had never attained much influence over the morality of its worshippers. But now philosophy was definitely claiming to teach virtue. Not only sophists like Protagoras and Hippias, but even philosophers like Socrates and Plato, claimed to put right conduct on a basis of reason, and therefore of education. Hence followed the deplorable consequence that virtue was to be for the rich and well-born. Philosophy was snobbish from the start; it finished by excluding{236} all but the select few from any chance of salvation, and, if it had had its way, would have excluded them from any political rights whatever. Socrates seldom discriminates between wise and learned, nor between wise and good. The strength of Greek philosophy is in its earnest opposition to materialism, its proper scorn of base, trivial, and temporary pursuits. But therewith it felt and inculcated a contempt of honest labour, and thereby it drifted farther and farther apart from practical life. For that, of course, the institution of slavery is largely responsible.

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

Alexander and his Work

THE fate of that old god Cronos, supplanted by his own children whom he had tried in vain to devour, is more or less the common lot of all parents of vigorous offspring. The Athenians had a nocturnal festival in which young men ran in relays, each member of the team handing his torch to another, and, as Æschylus says in a fine metaphor, “the first is the victor, even though he be last in the running.” So at this point of our history we begin to be aware of new forces arising in the Greek world, new powers on the fringe of the Hellenic circle now stepping into the light and taking their places in the torch-race of civilisation. Such were Rhodes, the new commercial republic, Caria under Mausolus, Thessaly under Jason, Cyprus under Evagoras, Pergamum under Attalus, the two Leagues, Ætolian and Achæan, and above all Macedon under Philip and Alexander. The stream of culture and intelligence that emanated from Athens and the other ancient cities was now pulsing in the finger-tips of Greece. Many of these new powers are more than half barbarian. They are either monarchies or confederations. What generally happens is that leaders arise{238} who are themselves sufficiently endowed with civilised intelligence to utilise the latent force in a race of untamed and uncivilised warriors. In the military sense the case is that the old powers had grown into the habit of replacing their citizen militias by paid professional soldiers, and their citizens accordingly had grown slack and unwarlike. Rulers like Philip of Macedon were able to raise much larger native levies and to drill them into the professional tactics of the day. Economically it was wealth that told. The old cities were, partly, no doubt through their own lack of foresight, in a state of financial exhaustion, while Philip, by his control of the gold-mines, Attalus and Evagoras by their private wealth, and the Phocians by their sacrilegious seizure of the treasures of Delphi, were still able to bring large forces into the field. The old powers were thus left behind in the race through the force of circumstances beyond their control. In fact, the day of the city-state seemed for a time to be drawing to a close, and larger units, either kingdoms or confederacies, to be taking its place according to their natural superiority.

Modern historians, therefore, suckled on Bismarckism and devoted to physical force, turn aside from the old cities and pronounce them hopelessly degenerate. This is a proposition that deserves examination. In some respects it is false. If it be the mark of historical decadence that the motive power of a race is in some mysterious way paralysed so that invention ceases and no more new forms or experiments are made in culture or politics, then we may assert with some confidence that Greece was not yet even in the third century in such a condition. We shall see something of her new inventions in literature, philosophy, and art in this chapter. In politics the federal systems of Western Greece were distinctly novel and promising. Even in warfare she fought bravely enough at Chæroneia, as she did much later against the invading Gauls. Even Athens, when her dark hour came and she had to submit to garrisons and alien governors, never acquiesced, but rose again and again in rebellion against them. Sparta for a short{239} time in the third century performed the most difficult of all political feats, namely, a reformation and regeneration of herself from within. At Sellasia under Cleomenes III. in 222 B.C. the few Spartans who remained fought against tremendous odds with all their ancient sublime devotion, and died to a man as their ancestors had done under Leonidas. So true is it that moral and spiritual qualities in a people do not come to the sudden end that often befalls a state when it depends for its greatness on material prosperity or physical force.

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

Now it is necessary to go back a little into the earlier part of the fourth century to glance at the rise of Macedon and its conquerors. At the opening of the century Macedon was still almost uncivilised; it was ruled by a monarchy surrounded with an aristocracy of knights very much after the Homeric model. At that time its kings had begun to acquire enough education to mingle a little in Greek politics, and Archelaus in particular had the good taste to invite Euripides and Agathon to his court. Philip II. obtained the throne by suppressing his young ward, the rightful king. At that time Macedon was overrun by wilder barbarians from the west, and it was long before Philip could make head against them. He did so at last by the organising genius which he displayed in remodelling his army, the astute statesmanship with which he made and broke treaties, and still more by the wealth he secured and the use he made of it in bribing his enemies. Philip was, in short, the organiser who occasionally precedes the conqueror and grows{240} the laurels for his successor to wear. Expansion to the west would be difficult and unprofitable. To the east lay the important cities of the Chalcidian peninsulas, the gold-mines of Mount Pangæus, protected by the city of Amphipolis, the rather decrepit kingdom of Thrace, and then the way was clear to the Black Sea and to Asia. Now this was the chosen field of commercial enterprise for Athens and her reviving fleets. A conflict was therefore inevitable.

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

Philip had learnt strategy at the feet of the Theban Epaminondas. The army he created included a corps d’élite of noble horse-guards, the Companions of the King. These were the earliest first-rate mounted troops in history, and it was by their means that the dashing exploits of Alexander{241} were subsequently achieved. For the infantry his great invention was the phalanx. This was clearly a modification of the deep formation invented by Epaminondas. It consisted of sixteen ranks armed with a spear 21 feet long. They stood in close order so that the points of the first five ranks projected from the front to present a bristling hedge of spears. The remaining eleven ranks, we are gravely informed, held their spears obliquely in the air to ward off missiles! Let the military reader find a military justification for this extraordinary arrangement. To me it seems a further confirmation of my civilian view that Greek tactics were primarily designed to prevent armies from running away. We observe that when Alexander took Persian troops into his phalanx he put twelve ranks of Persians into the lines, with a row of Macedonians at their rear. In any case troops standing in close formation armed with weapons 7 yards long must have been useless for any but defensive purposes; and, as a matter of fact, the victories of Alexander were generally gained by the lightning charge of the king at the head of his knights.

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

The grand idea was Philip’s, begotten perhaps from the study of Isocrates, and certainly inspired by the examples of Xenophon and Agesilaus. Unfortunately it was far from arousing any enthusiasm in Greece. Persia was a long way off, and money could be had from the Great King without fighting for it. There was a sordid scramble for bribes among the{242} Greek statesmen. As soon as they heard of Philip’s death they broke into unseemly jubilation, and voted compliments to his murderers; they hoped that things would return to their old routine, and that there would be no more talk of antediluvian crusades. They had reckoned without Alexander, for it is seldom that a Philip is succeeded by an Alexander.

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

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

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Plate 82.—Alexander at Issus (Pompeii mosaic.)



half a barbarian by origin, he was an enthusiast for Hellenism, and his plan was to spread it at the point of the spear all over the civilised world. When he destroyed Thebes he spared one house—the house of Pindar. It was as a missionary of Greek culture that he marched over the burning deserts of Asia. He took poets and artists in his train. He would stop his march every now and then to exhibit Greek athletics and Greek arts to the wondering Orientals. He planted Greek cities wherever he had time to stop, from Alexandria at the mouth of the Nile to Candahar (another version of his name). He had the art which makes a successful apostle, the gift of being all things to all men. In Egypt, the land of religion and mystery, he made a solemn pilgrimage into the desert, and got himself accepted as the son of the god called by the Greeks Ammon. In Persia he recognised the merits of the Persian provincial system, and appointed his own satraps, or even retained the existing ones. He treated Persian women with the deference to which they were accustomed, and added one to his household in the manner to which they were also accustomed. His Macedonians murmured at his Oriental dress and manners, but Alexander was always a Greek at heart, the lines of Homer always rang in his ears, and he fancied himself a reincarnation of Achilles pursuing his Phrygian Hectors over the dusty plains of Troy. He was mad, no doubt, to march so far over those weary deserts into Turkestan, through those dreadful defiles of the Hindu Khush. Only the mutiny of his army turned him back when he reached the farthest of the Five Rivers of the Punjaub. And then it was frantic lunacy to lead his army home along the burning coasts of the Persian Gulf. That experience taught him, it seems, a lesson which he might well have learnt earlier, namely, the value of sea-power for conquerors and empire-builders. When he died he was projecting a naval expedition along the coasts of Africa. The disaffection of Athens had deprived him of the fleet which ought to have belonged to a Panhellenic army, and Alexander had been forced to destroy the Persian fleet by a siege of its arsenal and head{244}quarters, the island city of Tyre. Most conquerors have a touch of insanity, no doubt. The sanest of them is Julius Cæsar, and the maddest is Charles XII. But Alexander the Great had lucid intervals of consummate statesmanship. It is in this respect that he differs from the vulgar type of adventurer and stands among civilising conquerors like William the Norman with his Domesday Book, Napoleon with his Code, and Julius Cæsar with his Julian Laws and his calendar. This intellectual suppleness was the mark of Alexander’s Greek education, though it still remains a difficulty to trace in his career the influence of Aristotle, his tutor.

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

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

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

Alexander in Art

We have numerous works of art which portray Alexander the Great, and as he is said to have granted the sole right of depicting his royal form to Lysippus the sculptor, and to have commissioned Apelles as his royal painter, we may presume that most of the portraits go back to an original by one of these artists. We have enough description of the pictures by Apelles to show that he treated his model with all the obsequiousness of a court painter. There was Alexander in the guise of Zeus wielding the thunderbolt, Alexander in the company of Nike and the Heavenly Twins, Alexander leading the god of war in triumph, Alexander mounted on Bucephalus. The only relic which may give us an idea of the treatment of such subjects in pictorial art is a very fine mosaic floor at Pompeii.[107] It represents the conqueror charging bareheaded into the press of the Persian bodyguard at Issus, his greatest victory. You see Darius in his Oriental “mitre” anxious and terrified, just turning his chariot out of the battle. The scene is represented with great spirit, and Alexander’s face is happily preserved.{246} The horses in particular are most faithfully rendered. As part of the mosaic depicts a Nile scene, with crocodiles, ibis, snakes, and a hippopotamus, we must infer that the original picture was made in Alexandria.

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

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

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Alexander the Great. From a Coin of Thrace

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

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


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

The city of Alexandria was laid out on a mathematical plan by Greek architects. Its situation on the delta of the Nile was exceedingly favourable to commerce, especially as the difficult navigation of its waters was mitigated by the construction of a great lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. In the division of the empire Egypt had the good fortune to fall to the share of Ptolemy, a wise and enlightened ruler, as were most of his descendants of the same name. These all pursued a policy of commerce and peaceful expansion. There was brisk traffic between Alexandria, Rhodes, Pergamum, Athens, and Syracuse, and Alexandria grew to be the greatest city in the world. It was pre-eminently Greek, but tinctured also with some of the Orientalism of its environment.{248}

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

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

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

“Poor foolish heart, I cried ‘Beware,’
I vowed thou wouldst be captured,
So fondly hovering round the snare,
With thy false love enraptured.
“I cried, and thou art caught at last,
All vainly flutterest in the toils.
Lord Love himself hath bound thee fast
And meshed thy pinions in his coils.
“And he hath set thee on his fire,
In drugs thy swooning soul immersed,
In stifling perfumes of desire,
With scalding tears to quench thy thirst.”

So far it is mainly a record of revivals, but in Theocritus, who, though Sicilian by birth, passed most of his active career at Alexandria, we have the inventor of a new and most important branch of literature. With him pastoral poetry was a fresh and genuine creation. His Idylls are, as their name implies, a series of cameo pictures of shepherd life in Sicily. We have found no space here to speak of the later developments of{250} Sicilian history, which in the fourth and third centuries became once more a desperate battleground between Carthaginian invaders and clever Syracusan tyrants like Dionysius and Agathocles. It is strange to think that the beautiful rustic life depicted by Theocritus could exist among the hills and glens of Sicily in spite of all the turmoil of history. Mr. Andrew Lang has completely vindicated Theocritus from the charge of artificiality by pointing out that the shepherds of modern Greece sing in language of refined and impassioned poetry that is perfectly natural and spontaneous. Large parts of the Idylls sound like quotations of such songs of Nature. Theocritus was, of course, the source of that pastoral convention which has produced so much that is artificial in art and literature amid much of supreme beauty. We think at once of Vergil, Spenser, Sidney, Milton, Watteau, and the Dresden shepherdess. Theocritus is the literary father of all these. In his famous Fifteenth Idyll, which describes with exquisite humour the conversation of a pair of Sicilian dames going to see a festival of Adonis at Alexandria, we have the beginnings of another literary form—the mime. This is a rudimentary style of drama which seeks to portray little genre scenes of life with no attempt at a plot. Herondas of Cos was the principal master of this art.

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

Athens and her Philosophers

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

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Plate 86.—Relief from Pergamum.

W. Titzenthaler, Photo. Berlin, W.


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

But in some quarters the pure Greek spirit still produced lovely and reasonable work in art and literature alike. It seems to me impossible to think of degeneracy in connection with the Aphrodite of Melos, known to the public as the Venus of Milo.[112] If she has the charm and suavity of Praxiteles, she has the dignity and breadth of Pheidias. Unless you follow the pedants who make some point of the arrangement of her drapery, there is not a trait of vulgarity in her aspect. No doubt if we had the original Lady of Cnidos we should know better, but at present this superb statue rightly stands as the embodiment of feminine loveliness in statuary. And yet all the archæological indications go to prove that her author lived at the very end of the second century in the Asiatic city of Antioch, on the Mæander. She was found in a cavern on the{252} little island of Melos, hidden there by who knows what devout worshipper or terrified pirate? She is, in fact, surrounded with mystery. No one has succeeded in restoring her missing arms, though far the most plausible theory is that which would make her hold a shield for a mirror in the same manner as the Victory of Brescia. No one has found anything else in Greek sculpture which could belong to the same artist, or even to the same phase of art. I name her here only to prove that you cannot fairly close the history of Greek art with Praxiteles or any other named sculptors, seeing that an unnamed artist living two centuries later could produce a statue on the same plane of excellence.

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

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

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

If we turn now to philosophy we find the great name of Aristotle overshadowing everything else.[114] If we have a true sense of historical proportion, we shall probably admit that the words of Aristotle have conquered the world in far truer sense than the spears of his great pupil. For Aristotle is the father of the inductive method, the patron saint of all those who observe and verify facts in order to discover the laws that control them. He was born at Stagira, in Thrace, but he came to Athens to be a disciple in the Academy, that pleasant olive-grove where Plato was the master. Twenty years he spent thus in study, and then he was commissioned by Philip to teach Alexander and other noble youths of Macedon. As soon as this task was completed he returned to Athens, and there founded his famous Peripatetic school of philosophy, so called because his lectures were delivered in the shady walks that surrounded the Lyceum. In the morning he would discuss abstruse questions with an inner circle of adepts, and in the cool of the evening deliver polished lectures to a wider circle. The fame of his teaching was spread throughout the world, and all the ablest intellects of Greece gathered to hear him. All his life he received the most generous support from Alexander, who made a point of collecting strange beasts from all quarters to enrich his zoological studies. The attitude of the monarch towards learning was in striking contrast to the{254} behaviour of the Athenian democracy. Some wretched hierophant instituted a prosecution for impiety against Aristotle, just as they had done against Socrates, and forced him to withdraw from Athens for the closing years of his life.

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

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

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

Aristotle approached Politics from a more practical standpoint. True to his inductive method, he first collected accounts of all the existing forms of government in the Greek world, more than a hundred in number. Unfortunately, the “Polity of Athens,” recently discovered, is the only surviving example. Then in his great treatise called “The Politics” he attempted to{256} criticise practical statesmanship from a scientific standpoint, and in his turn also constructed something like an ideal state. For him, as for all Greek thinkers, politics was only a branch of ethics. The state came into existence for the sake of enabling men to live; it survives for the purpose of enabling men to live well. The object, therefore, of the statesman is to get the right kind of people at the head of affairs—and that means Aristocracy. Viewing all Greek society from the philosopher’s standpoint, he regarded all those whose economic position required them to be mainly interested in gaining a livelihood as too much preoccupied with sordid cares to possess political virtue or to be fit to govern. His governing class is therefore necessarily the rich class, just as it was with Plato, though neither philosopher would admit wealth as the sole or even the main criterion. Aristotle regards Monarchy as a good form of government also, if you could secure that the monarch should be better than the people he rules, and should rule for their advantage, not his own. There is also a good form of Republic or Free Constitution, in which the whole body of the citizens take their turn in office. But each of these three sound forms of government has its own special danger—Aristocracy degenerates into Oligarchy when the few rule for their own advantage, Monarchy into Tyranny, and the Free Constitution into Democracy.

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

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

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

Other schools of philosophy arose at Athens which from their more vital influence upon the lives and actions of ordinary men are quite as important in the history of human civilisation. Zeno founded in the Stoa Poikile of Athens the Stoic philosophy, and Epicurus taught the doctrines which bore his name, at the same time when Aristotle was lecturing in the Lyceum and the successor of Plato in the Academy. Both were largely concerned with the rules for right conduct in life. The Stoics taught that wisdom and virtue are the true goal of man. Virtue consists in living according to Nature, and it becomes the business of the wise man to discover what is essential and distinguish it from what is merely accidental and ephemeral. Pleasure, praise, even life itself, are among things accidental. At its best Stoicism insisted very sternly upon duty, and the contempt of pain and death. In this way it seized upon all that was noblest in the Roman character and raised up under the Empire a series of martyrs who alone withstood the tyrants because they were not afraid of death. It approaches the sublime in the mouths of Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus. Filtering through the Asiatic temperament and mingling in its course with the higher teaching of Pharisaism, it did much to form the philosophy of a certain Jew of Tarsus, and through him has vitally influenced Christianity. In another{258} sphere its insistence upon Natural Law bore fruit in Roman jurisprudence and lies at the base of all the legal systems of Europe.

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

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

It is evident, then, that intellectual life was still in full vigour at Athens in the third century. But there was a weakening already visible. These Greeks could still think clearly, even nobly, but it was not until they made Roman converts that noble thoughts could be translated into noble action. As for the Greeks, their restless tongues and subtle brains carried them away into logic-chopping and childish love of paradox. There was a day when Athens sent on an embassy to Rome the three heads of her chief schools of philosophy. Their brilliant discourses charmed and amazed{259} the simple Romans. Carneades proved that virtue was profitable, and the Romans were delighted. On the next day he proved that it was unprofitable, and the Romans were astonished. Cato, however, the truest Roman of them all, thought that Rome was better without such brilliant visitors. And he was probably right.{260}



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

IT was, according to Isocrates, the fruit of the activity of Athens that Hellas had ceased to be a geographical expression and had become the definition of an intellectual standpoint. In that very true sense Greek history cannot close. It falls into chapters which are ever to be continued as soon as man begins to think again. Whosoever from the beginning of his action already contemplates its final end and adapts his means thereto in earnest simplicity, whosoever knows that pride and vain ostentation will assuredly bring its own punishment, of whatever land or age he may be, he is a Greek. In that sense we cannot close Greek history. Greece, as Juvenal said in a very hackneyed phrase, vanquished the Roman, her barbarian conqueror, and the Roman took up the mission of extending Hellenism over the West. The history of Roman civilisation only begins in the second century, when Rome was first brought into contact with Greece. Elsewhere I hope we shall see how Greek culture permeated everything at Rome after that, supplied her with art and literature, taught her philosophy, overlaid and almost destroyed her native religion, and even wrote her history. Losing Hellas, Europe sank into ages of darkness: recovering her, the European nations began to think again.{261} Shakespeare we trace through the Latins to Menander, Milton through Vergil to Homer and Theocritus, Bacon to Aristotle, Sir Thomas More to Plato, and so with the others. So that every one who reads books or enjoys art in Europe to-day is indirectly borrowing from Greece.

Moreover, it is fairly obvious that Greece has not ceased to exist as a geographical expression. The more we study modern Greece, the more we are convinced that the Hellenic race is by no means extinct. Greece was, it is true, conquered by the Romans in 146 B.C. They had been forced partly by the aggression of Pyrrhus and partly by the expansion of their own empire to take some action in the Eastern Mediterranean. There they found themselves physically as men among children, intellectually as children among men. Nothing is more striking than the almost reverent spirit in which the Roman soldiers first moved about among the old cities of Greece. But the Greeks were impossible neighbours, and at last, after infinite forbearance, the Romans were compelled by their masculine sense of order to take the responsibility of controlling Greece. Corinth was destroyed for a warning, Macedonia made a province. But cities like Athens and Sparta were left to govern themselves, though, of course, their foreign policy was subject to Roman control. Athens still continued to talk and write and teach. She became a sort of university town to which noble Romans were sent for their studies. Even when Achaia was added to the list of Roman provinces in the days of Augustus it did not mean that Athens ceased to be a free city. In the days of the Empire the more cultured emperors, like Nero and Hadrian, loved to pass their time in Greece, in the attempt to share in her intellectual prestige. So we have Nero performing in the Olympian Games, and Hadrian rebuilding a large part of Athens. It was Hadrian who attempted to complete the gigantic temple of Olympian Zeus begun by Peisistratus. The Athenian schools of philosophy continued to attract strangers from all parts of the world, until Christianity began to see its bitterest foe in the Stoics, who taught many of its doctrines.{262} Julian the Apostate dreamed for a moment of reviving Greek philosophy, so as to overcome Christianity by borrowing many of its doctrines, but at last a decree of Justinian closed the Athenian schools of philosophy in A.D. 529. Meanwhile clouds of barbarian invaders were continually passing over the land. The Goths ravaged Greece under Alaric. The Slavs conquered and peopled a great part of it without, in the long run, materially altering its nationality. Norman invaders conquered it, and not long before our own conquest Harold Hardrada entered Athens in triumph. Then came the Latin crusaders and Venetians. All through the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries there were Frankish Dukes of Athens. In 1456 the Caliph Omar conquered her, and thenceforth, with a temporary period of Venetian triumph, the Turks ruled Greece with a heavy hand until the glorious War of Independence, in which Lord Byron played a part of prophet and warrior. In 1830 Greece was declared an independent kingdom, and shortly afterwards provided with a youthful European king from Bavaria. The experiment was not a success. The Greeks succeeded in getting rid of one king, and Europe obligingly furnished another from her inexhaustible stock of younger sons. Even yet the bed of a Greek king is not altogether a bed of roses. In 1897 the little kingdom plunged into a war with her big neighbour, Turkey, for which she lacked resources and organisation. Her flanks were turned, her armies miserably routed, and she lost a great deal of the credit she had won in the War of Independence. But her true element is still, as it was in ancient times, the sea.

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

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

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

But every national virtue has its characteristic defect which will come to the surface as soon as the stimulus of national self-respect is removed. A strong conquering breed is apt to{264}

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The Laocoön Group

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

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adaptability to environment. This made them, in the days of their decline, sink readily to the position of flatterers and parasites. We find this character attached to the “Hungry Greekling” of Juvenal’s days. In history we meet him as the hanger-on of aristocracy or the crafty tool of emperors. The Romans started as a virile race of warriors, and ended as brutal gluttons with a craving for sensationalism, which the Greeks were only too ready to supply. Hence we get Græco-Roman art in the worst sense of the term, wretched stuff made by sneaks to satisfy the taste of bullies. Most of the sculpture galleries of Europe can supply examples. The Vatican and the Naples Museum are full of them. In the nineteenth century, when the taste of Europe had sunk to its lowest depth of artificiality, work of this kind appealed very strongly to critics. It is only fair to them to say that they had not much opportunity of knowing better, since genuine Greek work of the best periods was mostly lying below the surface unexcavated. Out of this mass of inferior material critics picked one or two examples for admiration. Even great men like Lessing and Winckelmann based excellent maxims of criticism on these rotten foundations. The “Laocoön,” a sensational work by Rhodian sculptors of the first century B.C., was taken by Lessing as the text of his great discourse on the proper functions of the arts. We, on the other hand, can see that this tangled triangle of writhing forms expressing violent emotion of pain and terror has a theatrical and sensational character abhorrent to the very spirit of Greek moderation. Exactly the same is true of the two Farnese masterpieces, the Bull[116] and the Hercules. Such facts as these give one cause to ponder on the mutability of taste and the fallibility of artistic criticism. Restlessness, the symptom of nerves overwrought, is a feature of decadence, which we can observe in the late Greek vase-paintings. The spaces are covered with trivial ornament, the drawing is slack, the sole aim is prettiness. The vigour of the composition is frittered away upon trivial details.{266} In short, the name of the disease from which Greek art was to perish is Vulgarity. Idealism without romanticism was the secret of Greek art at its best. When we find romance without ideals we have reached the nadir.

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Late Greek Vase-painting: from a Pelike in the British Museum.

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Mansell & Co.



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

Acroterion, A.

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

Agora, market-place.

Amphictyony, neighbouring states grouped in a religious union.

Amphiprostyle, a building with columned porch at both ends.

Aniconic, without images, an early stage of religion.

Anthropomorphism, the religious habit of representing gods as men.

Architrave, A.

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

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

Aulētris, female player on the clarinets.

Βασιλεἴς, kings or chiefs.

Caduceus, the snake-wreathed wand carried by Hermes.

Caryatid, a column carved to represent a maiden.

Cella, the nave or main chamber of a temple.

Chiton, a tunic fastened on the left shoulder.

Chlamys, a short mantle worn by Spartans and soldiers.

Chthonic animism, worship of subterranean spirits, generally including cult of the dead and of the reproductive powers of Nature.

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

Chryselephantine, made of gold and ivory.

Decadrachm, a coin of ten drachms (francs).

Deme, a parish.

Dōma, house-place, resembling the medieval hall.

Ecclesia, the Athenian assembly.

Echinus, A.

Entablature, that part of a classical building which rests upon the columns and supports the roof; it includes architrave and frieze.{268}

Entasis, a system of optical correction employed in Greek architecture (see page 161).

Ephebus, a youth of about eighteen.

Ephorate, the board of “overseers” at Sparta.

ἦθος, character, spiritual quality.

Gerousia, Senate and senators of Sparta.

Gerontes, Senate and senators of Sparta.

Guttæ, A.

Harmosts, Spartan governors of conquered cities.

Hegemony, leadership, undefined suzerainty.

Hexastyle, with six columns.

Hierophant, a priest of the mysteries.

Hoplites, heavy armed infantry.

In antis, columns at the end of a building, between the ends of the side walls produced, are said to be in antis.

Iconic, with images, a stage of religious worship.

Kuanos, a blue transparent paste, resembling glass.

Kylix, a goblet.

Lecythus, oil-jar, a certain shape of Greek pottery.

Liturgy, a public duty imposed as a tax upon the rich.

Megaron, hall.

Metopes, A.

Palæstra, wrestling-ground.

Parabasis, an ode sung by the chorus in Greek drama at their entrance on the stage.

Peplos, a long female robe or mantle.

Perioikoi, neighbours, the second class in the Spartan caste system.

Peripteral, surrounded with colonnades.

Peristyle, the colonnades surrounding a building.

Pictographic script, a form of writing in which the symbols are rudimentary pictures.

Pnyx, a hill at Athens, where the Assembly met.

Prodomos, fore-court.

Satrap, a Persian viceroy.

Skolion, a drinking-song in which the guests took part in turns.

Stasis, civil strife, party-feeling, treason.

Stēlē, a monument in the form of an erect slab, a gravestone.

Strategoi, generals, an Athenian magistracy.

Strigil, an instrument used by athletes for scraping off the oil and sand of the palæstra.{269}

Stylobate, the floor from which the columns rise (A).

Telos, goal or end in view.

Thalamos, inner chamber, bed-chamber of the master of the house.

Thalassocracy, maritime supremacy.

Tholos, a vault or dome, any round building.

Triglyphs, A.

Xoanon, an image mainly in the form of a tree-trunk.



[The following list of books will serve two purposes, as a guide to the reader who wishes to inquire further on any special point, and as an acknowledgment of some of the obligations of the writer. Only works in English are here included.]

General Histories of Greece

Bury, Professor J. B. A History of Greece. Macmillan.

The most up-to-date “student’s history”; copiously illustrated; a storehouse of facts in narrow compass.

Grote, G. History of Greece. From the Earliest Times to the Death of Alexander. 10 vols. Murray.

Holm, Adolf. The History of Greece from its Commencement to the Close of the Independence of the Greek Nation. Translated by F. Clarke. 4 vols. Macmillan.

Short chapters with elaborate notes, written from a liberal and sympathetic point of view.

Special Works on the Early Periods

Burrows, Professor R. M. The Discoveries in Crete and their Bearing on the History of Ancient Civilisation. Murray.

Evans, Sir Arthur. Principal work of, is to be found in the Annuals of the British School at Athens. Macmillan.

Grundy, Dr. G. B. The Great Persian War and its Preliminaries. A Study of the Evidence, Literary and Topographical. Murray.

Lang, Andrew. Homer and his Age. Longmans.{271}

Mosso, Angelo. The Palaces of Crete and their Builders. Fisher Unwin.

Murray, Professor Gilbert. The Rise of the Greek Epic. Clarendon Press.

Ridgeway, Professor W. The Early Age of Greece. 2 vols. Cambridge University Press.

—— Minos the Destroyer rather than the Creator of the so-called Minoan Culture of Cnossos. (A lecture delivered before the British Academy, May 26, 1909.)


Barker, E. The Political Thought of Plato and Aristotle. Methuen.

Fowler, W. Warde. The City State of the Greeks and Romans. Macmillan.

Greenidge, A. H. J. A Handbook of Greek Constitutional History. Macmillan.

Whibley, L. Greek Oligarchies: their Organisation and Character. Methuen.

—— Political Parties in Athens during the Peloponnesian War. Prince Consort Dissertation. 1888. Cambridge University Press.

Mythology and Religion

Farnell, L. R. The Cults of the Greek States. 5 vols. Clarendon Press.

Frazer, J. G. Adonis, Attis, Osiris. Macmillan.

Harrison, Jane E., and Verrall, M. de G. Mythology and Monuments of Ancient Athens. 1890.

Lawson, J. C. Modern Greek Folklore and Ancient Greek Religion. Cambridge University Press.

Reinach, Salomon. Orpheus. A General History of Religions. Heinemann.{272}

Sculpture and Art

Gardner, Professor E. A. A Handbook of Greek Sculpture. New Edition, with Appendix. In two Parts; Appendix separately. Macmillan.

Jones, H. Stuart. Select Passages from Ancient Writers, Illustrative of the History of Greek Sculpture. Macmillan.

Murray, A. S. A Handbook of Greek Archæology. Murray.

Perrot and Chipiez. History of Art in Primitive Greece. 2 vols. Chapman and Hall.

Waldstein, Charles. Essays on the Art of Pheidias. Cambridge University Press.

Walters, H. B. Greek Art. Methuen.

—— The Art of the Greeks. Methuen.


Head, B. V. Historia Numorum. A Manual of Greek Numismatics. Clarendon Press.

Hill, G. F. Greek and Roman Coins. Macmillan.


Murray, A. S. Greek Bronzes. Seeley.

British Museum Catalogue.


British Museum Catalogues: Greek and Etruscan, White Athenian Vases.


Jebb, Sir Richard. A Primer of Greek Literature. Macmillan.

Jevons, F. B. A History of Greek Literature from the Earliest Period to the Death of Demosthenes. Griffin.{273}

Topography, Social Life, &c.

Baedeker’s Greece. Fisher Unwin.

Becker, W. A. Charicles: or, Illustrations of the Private Life of the Ancient Greeks. Translated by the Rev. F. Metcalfe. Longmans.

Frazer, J. G. Pausanias’ Description of Greece. 6 vols. Macmillan.

Freeman, K. J. Schools of Hellas. Macmillan.

Gardiner, E. Norman. Greek Athletic Sports and Festivals. Macmillan.{275}{274}


A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Z

Academy, the, 253
Acanthus, the, 226
Accents, Greek system of, 248
Achæan League, the, 237, 245
Achæans, the, from the North, 37;
and Homer, 40-42
Achaia, a Roman province, 261
Achilles, worship of, 41;
the Shield of, 42-47
Acragas, temple at, 130;
Telamones of, 166
Acrocorinthus, 7
Acropolis, the, 7, 95, 96, 102, 138, 157;
its architecture, 163-165
Actors, 174
Acusilaus, 78
Admetus, 179
Adonis, 190, 251
Adultery in Sparta, 90
Ægean civilisation, 16;
culture, 17 et seq.;
decay, 31;
art, 32 et seq.;
dress of warriors, 38;
worship, 65
Ægean Sea, 15
Ægeus, 15, 165
Ægina, commerce, 127;
war with, 135;
pedimental figures from, 147
Ægis, the, 95
Ægospotami, 144
Æolians, the, 42
Æschylus at court of Hiero, 113, 129;
and the Oriental host, 136;
the drama of, 174;
the “Persæ,” 176;
the poet of Marathon, 177;
number of plays, 182;
in the “Frogs” of Aristophanes, 184
Æsculapius, 70
Ætolian League, 237
Agamemnon, tomb of, 13, 29;
worship of, 41;
in the Iliad, 49, 58;
in tragedy, 181
Agariste, 109
Agathocles, 250
Agathon, 227, 239
Agelâdas of Argos, 147
Agesilaus, King of Sparta, 81, 85, 200, 228, 241
Agias (statue), 169, 218
Agis, King of Sparta, 85, 93
Agora, the, 167
Aidōs, 10, 137, 187
Ajax, 147, 176
Alaric the Goth, 170, 262
Alcæus, 119, 121
Alcamenes, 70, 159
“Alcestis” of Euripides, 179
Alcibiades, 78, 99, 144, 146, 170, 195, 196
Alcinous, 48
Alcmæonids, the, 99, 115, 116
Alcman, 88, 104
Alexander the Great, career of, 11;
romantic, 180;
Agesilaus and, 201;
Lysippus sculptor to, 218;
and the temple at Ephesus, 221;
portraiture on coinage, 226;
Macedon under, 237, 241-245;
in art, 245-247
Alexandria, 243;
laid out by Greek architects, 247;
commerce, 247;
the greatest city, 247;
library of, 248;
culture, 248;
the Museum, 248;
and poetry, 249
Amazons, battle of (sculpture), 222
Amen-Ra, 251
Ammon, 243
{276}Amphictyons, 72
Amphidamas, 63, 76
Amphipolis, 240
Anacreon, 113, 121, 122, 129
Anaxagoras, 145, 146
Anaximander, 122
Ancestor-worship, 30, 34, 50
Andromache, 55, 59
Animal deities, 65
“Answerers,” 174
Antenor’s “Harmodius and Aristogeiton,” 115
Anthela, 72
Anthropomorphic religion, 67
Antigone, 176, 178
Antioch, 251
Antiochus the Great, 116
Antiphon, 229
Anytus, 232
Apelles, 213, 223, 242, 245
Aphaia, temple of, Ægina, 147
Aphrodite in Homer, 50;
worship of, in Corinth, 108;
on the Parthenon frieze, 155;
in fourth-century art, 211;
the Cnidian Aphrodite, 213, 214;
in Alexandria, 251;
Aphrodite of Melos, 251
Apollo, the coming of, 65-74;
the Apollo Belvedere, 71;
Apollo of Delos, 112;
on the Parthenon frieze, 155;
temple of Phigaleia, 169;
statue at Delphi, 169;
and Orestes in drama, 181;
in fourth-century art, 211;
Apollo Sauroctonos, 217;
Palatine Apollo, 218;
and Niobe, 222;
“Apollo and Marsyas,” 216
Apollonius the Rhodian, 249
Apoxyomenus, 81, 218
Arcadians, the, 206, 207
Arcady, 167
Archelaus, 239
Archilochus, 104, 121, 122
Archimedes, 248
Architecture, prehistoric, 24;
Doric, 106;
temples, 161;
the Parthenon, 161-163;
the Acropolis, 163, 165;
the Erechtheum, 165-167;
other Athenian buildings, 167-168;
other Greek buildings, 168-171;
fourth-century, 226;
the Corinthian order 226;
Græco-Roman, 263
Archons, 117
Areian Hill, 117
Areopagus, Solon and the, 100;
its powers, 117;
its influence, 133;
under democracy, 141;
power taken away by Pericles, 142;
meeting-place, 167
Ares, 77, 154;
the Ludovisi, 220
Arethusa, 131;
coins, 225
Arginusæ, 195, 232
Argives, the, 109
Argonautic expedition of Jason, 249
Argos, 28, 109, 245
Ariadne, 15
Arion, 122, 173
Aristarchus, the Father of Criticism, 248
Aristeides, 135, 140, 141
Aristion, stēlē of, 114
Aristocracies, 86, 119, 145, 256
Aristogeiton, 115, 180
Aristophanes and “the Harmodius,” 116;
champions the hoplites, 140;
and Cleon, 144;
and liberty of speech, 145;
and Pheidias, 157;
humour of, 183
Aristotle on Spartan government, 86;
on tragedy, 181;
and state payment, 197;
his greatness and birth, 253;
disciple of Plato, 253;
teacher of Alexander, 253;
his writings, 254;
“The Politics,” 255;
his influence, 261
Arnold’s, Matthew, “Thyrsis,” 250
Art, Greek, its perfection, 10, 103;
qualities, 56;
the cults and, 103;
simplicity, 153, 162;
subordination of the artist, 158;
in the fourth century, 208;
continuance and decadence, 262-263;
Græco-Roman, 265;
perishes from vulgarity, 266
Artaphernes, 134
Artaxerxes, 201, 204
Artemis, 202, 222;
of Brauron, 99, 165;
temple of, at Ephesus, 221;
{277}“Artemis and Apollo,” by Praxiteles, 216
Artemisia, wife of Mausolus, 221
Ascra, 62
Ashtaroth, 108
Asia, 244
Aspasia, 146
Athena, statue of, at Troy, 54;
Pallas Athena, 51, 94;
birth and worship, 94;
Northern origin, 95;
an Achæan goddess, 95, 102;
hoplite goddess, 95;
and the name of Athens, 95;
gift of olive-tree, 97;
origin of Athena, 99;
and Erechtheus, 102;
shrine and image, 102, 165, 166;
Athena Parthenos, 148, 156;
in Parthenon sculptures, 151, 152, 154;
statues of, 157;
the Mourning Athena, 160, 192;
Athena Promachos, 102, 165;
Athena the Crafts-woman, 165;
Athena type of coins, 225;
Athena and Marsyas, 165
Athenian drama, 172
Athenian mysteries, 98
Athens and the sea, 6;
and silver-mines, 6;
the state, 9;
pays tribute to Minos, 16;
occupations of the Athenians, 40;
Pallas Athena and, 95;
Theseus and, 97;
agricultural, 97, 98;
Eupatridæ, 97;
democracy, 97;
religious customs, 98;
law-giving, 99;
Homer and, 102;
and the tyrants, 104, 115;
Peisistratus and, 110;
police, 111;
state cults, 111;
freedom of, 115;
government, 116;
the rise of, 132;
attacks by Medes and Persians, 134-140;
and a navy, 135;
Athenian civilisation, 140;
a democratic city-state, 140;
Athenian empire, 141;
Pericles and liberty, 142;
conflict with Sparta, 143;
Peloponnesian War, 143;
capitulates, 144;
freedom in, 145;
Pericles’ ideal, 146;
Pericles’ Athens, 150;
the Long Walls, 163, 195, 198;
buildings of, 167;
aristocracy, 172;
downfall and restoration, 194;
popular government, 195, 197;
oligarchy, 196;
the Thirty Tyrants, 197;
finance, 198;
fourth-century Athens, 209;
coinage, 225;
legal system, 229;
rebellion against aliens, 238;
and Macedon, 240;
oppressions, 244;
enslaved by Demetrius, 252;
her philosophers, 252;
and Aristotle, 253;
“Polity of Athens,” 255;
intellectual life of the third century, 258;
self-government under the Romans, 261;
schools of philosophy, 261;
Frankish dukes, 262.
See also Attica.
Athens and Sparta, 40, 83, 94, 195, 206, 231
Athletics, Greek, antiquity of, 74, 76;
religious significance, 74, 75, 76;
a modernised programme of sports, 74;
Pythian Games, 76;
Olympian Games, 76, 78;
nature of the contests, 77;
sacrifice and ritual, 77;
the competitors, 77;
the judges, 77;
the prize and honours, 78;
discreditable practices, 78;
anecdotes of Pausanias, 78;
Euripides’ tirade against, 79;
inspires sculpture, 80;
nudity, 81
Atreus, 181
Attalids, 251
Attalus, 238
Attica and Northern invasion, 96;
a city-state, 97, 111;
the older worship of, 98
Attica, plain of, 9
Augustus and Alexander the Great, 242
Aule, 59
Aulis, 63
Autocracy, civilisation and, 32

Babylon, 241
Bacchiads, the, 104
Bacchylides, 113, 129
Bacon, 261
“Basileis,” 104
Basileus, 47
Bassæ, temple at, 169, 226
Beauty, Hellenism and, 4
Bentley, Richard, 129
Bias of Priene, 101, 122
{278}Bion, 250
Black Sea, the, 110
Bœotia, 9, 142
Boethos, 220
Boston Museum, slabs in, 125
Boy Victor (statue), 160
Boy with thorn in foot (statue), 160
Branchidæ figures, 54
Brasidas, 93, 229
Breathings and accents, Greek, 248
British Museum, Elgin Marbles, 151, 164, 166;
Strangford Shield, 156;
frieze from Phigaleia, 170;
statue of Demeter, &c., 219;
head of Hypnos, 220;
Mausolus, 221;
Tanagra figures, 227;
Head of Alexander, 246;
the Portland Vase, 263
Bronze Age, the, 16, 19, 36
Bronzes, 220
Brunn on the Parthenon figures, 151
Bucchero nero, 18
Bucephalus, 242, 245
Bull, the Farnese (sculpture), 265
Bull-baiting, Cnossian, 25
Burial of the dead, 190
Burke, Edmund, 230
Burrows, Prof., on Minoan drains, 26;
date of the fall of Minoan empire, 38
Butler, Samuel, on Homer, 58
Byron, Lord, 262;
on Anacreon, 113

Calamis, 159
Callimachus, 166, 226, 249
Callinus, 122
Calydonian boar-hunt, 218
Cameo-engraving, 263
Candahar, 243
Capitoline Gallery, 214
Carcinus, 187
Caria, 221, 237
Carneades, 259
Carrara marble, 147
Carrey’s Parthenon drawings, 150
Carthage, 129
Carthaginian invaders of Sicily, 250
Caryatids, 131, 166
Cassandra, 58
Cat, the, 193
Catabasis, the, 202
Cato, 259
Cave of Pan, 168
Caves as dwellings, 18
Cecropia, 95
Cecrops, 96, 166
Cephisodotus, 213
Cerameikos cemetery, 192
“Cerberus, sop to,” 189
Chæroneia, 238, 241
Chalcidian peninsulas, 240
Chalcis, 63
Chariot-races, 78
Charioteer, the long-robed (statue), 81, 169
Charon, 189
Charondas of Catane, 73, 128
Cheirisophos, 201
Child-birth, goddess of, 98
Children, Spartan, 91
Chios, 142
Chorus, the, 173, 182
Christianity and Stoicism, 257, 261
Chronology, system of, 249
Chryseis, 58
Cicero, 128, 230
Cinadon, conspiracy of, 200
Cithara, 68, 224
City-state, the, 7, 10, 206, 238;
and patriotism, 145;
the ideal, 255, 257
Civilisation, prehistoric, 18
Classicism, “Greek” and, 2
Clearchus, 201
Cleisthenes, 99, 109, 116, 117, 133
Cleombrotus, 85, 205
Cleomenes, 85
Cleomenes III., 239
Cleon, 144, 160, 183, 187
Cleonymus, 186
Clytæmnestra, 58, 181
Cnidos, 213
Cnossos, 16, 20 et seq.;
destruction of, 31;
athletics of, 74
Cockerell, C. R., 147
Coins, Sparta and, 89;
Ionian, 123;
of Syracuse, 129, 131, 225;
of Elis, 148;
art of coins, 225;
Athena type, 225;
gold, 225;
and others, 225, 226;
with portraits of Alexander, 247
Comedy, 173, 183-186
Commerce, Hermes the god of, 68
Common sense of the Greeks, 180
Communism, Platonic, 255
Companions of the King, the (Macedon), 240
Conon, 198, 226
Constantinople Museum, Sidon sarcophagus, 246
Constitution, free, 256;
Mixed, 257;
Mixed, of Sparta, and political science, 86
Constitutional history, contradictions in, 228
Corcyra (Corfu), 105, 108, 137
Corinth and commerce, 105, 127;
art, 105;
and Egypt, 106;
under the Cypselid tyrants, 108;
worship of Aphrodite, 108;
and the Bacchiads, 104;
and the Leagues, 245;
destroyed by the Romans, 261, 263
Corinth, Isthmus of, 137
Corinthian Gulf, the, 7
Corinthian War, the, 203
Cory, Wm. Johnson, 249
Cos, 213
Council of Ten, Spartan, 200
Courtesans of Corinth, 108
Crabbe (Carcinus), 187
Cremation, 189
Creon, 178
Cresilas, 160
Crete, 14 et seq.;
Stone Age in, 18;
palaces, 24
Cripple, 46
Critias, 197, 232
Criticism, Aristotle and, 254
Crito, 233
Crœsus, King of Lydia, 71, 123
Cronos, 66
Croton, 127
Crown of wild olive, 78
Crusaders, Latin, 262
Cunaxa, 201
Cupbearer frieze, the, 23, 25, 32
Curses, the, 66
Cybele, worship of, 251
Cyclopes, 36
Cylon, 99, 104, 110
Cyme, 62
Cynics, the, 258
Cyprus, 17, 142, 237
Cypselid tyrants, 108
Cypselus, tyrant of Corinth, 104, 105, 109
Cyrus, 72, 123, 201
Cythera, figure found at, 220

Dædalus, 15, 166
“Daimonion,” 232
Damagetus, 78
Damon the musician, 146
Dancing-floors, 173
Daphnis, 250
Dardanelles, the, 136
Darius, 72, 134, 245
Datis, 134
Death, Greek ideas of, 190;
sculpture representing, 126, 220;
according to the Epicureans, 258
Deianira, 176
Deities, names for, 66
Delos, shrine of Apollo, 68;
removal of dead from, 112;
confederacy of, 141
Delphi, shrine of Apollo, 68, 71;
spoils of war, 168;
treasures of, 238
Delphic Amphictyony, 72
Delphic Oracle and priests, 71-73;
and art, 103;
and the Persian invasion, 137;
Lysander and, 200
Demaratus, 137
Demeter, or Mother Earth, an early deity, 66;
shrine of, at Anthela, 72;
Eleusinian mysteries, 98, 190;
Persephone and, 124;
worship of, 170;
Demeter of Cnidos (statue), 219
Demetrius, the Besieger of Cities, 252
Democracy, Spartan, 84;
Athenian, 98, 100, 118, 141, 172, 195, 197;
and the Free Constitution, 256
Democritus, 258
Demosthenes, 194, 229, 230, 240
{280}“Diadumenus,” 81, 159
Diagoras, 78
Diana of the Ephesians, 34, 118;
temple of, 219
Diipolia, 98
Diodorus, 128
Diogenes, 258
Dionysius I. and II., tyrants of Syracuse, 250, 255;
coins, 225
Dionysus on the Parthenon frieze, 154;
in the “Frogs” of Aristophanes, 184;
the drama and festivals of, 112, 173, 184;
theatre of, 168
Dipylon Gate, 168
Dipylon Style, the, 56
“Discobolus,” 80, 159
Dithyramb, the, 106, 113, 173
Dogs on tombstones, 193
Dōma, 59
Domestic life in Homer, 58
Dorian Mode in music, 223
Dorians, the, origin of, 38;
dress of warriors, 38;
religious beliefs, 38;
ignored by Homer, 42;
communism, 88;
Apollo, god of the, 69;
Dorian greatness, 70
Doric architecture, 106, 161, 171
Dörpfeld, Dr., 166
“Doryphorus,” 81, 159
Douris, 225
Dracon, 99
Drainage work, Cnossian, 26
Drama, Athenian, 112;
the Greek, 172-187;
as instrument of public education, 172;
“Middle Comedy,” 227;
the New Comedy of manners, 228, 253;
the mime, 250;
“contamination,” 253

Earth, circumference of the, 248
East and West, conflict between, 11
Ecclesia, 116
Education, Spartan, 89;
Platonic, 255
Egypt, Greek learning from, 119;
Athens and the affairs of, 142;
under the Ptolemies, 244.
See also Alexandria
Egyptian influence in Crete, 20, 33
Egyptologists and dates, 17
Eilithuia, 151
Eleatic school of philosophy, 128
Eleusinian mysteries, 34, 98, 170
Eleusinian relief, the (sculpture), 160
Eleusis, the Great Temple of the Mysteries, 170
Eleutheria, 94
Elgin, Lord, and the Parthenon marbles, 151
Elis, citizens of, and Olympian Games, 77;
coins of, 148
Empire and democracy, 11
Empires, Greek, 11
Epaminondas the Theban, 180, 204-208, 240
Ephesus, wealth, &c., 112, 118;
column from, 123;
temple of Artemis, 218, 221;
new temple at, 226
Ephorate, Spartan, 85
Ephorus, 228
Epictetus, 257
Epicureanism, 258
Epicurus, 257, 258
Epidaurus, 104
Epimenides the Cretan, 15, 101
Epinikia, the, 76
Epirus, 245
Eratosthenes, 248
Erechtheum, the, 102, 165-167
Erechtheus, 95, 96, 102, 110, 112
Eretria, 133
Eros, 155, 211;
Eros of Thespiæ, 213, 215;
Eros of Centocelle, 215
Ethics, 235;
of Aristotle, 254;
politics a branch of, 256
Etruscan art, 17
Etruscans, 127
Euænetus, 225
Eubœa, 63, 196
Eubouleus, 190
Eucleides, 197
Euclid, 248
Eugenics, Spartan, 89
Euhemerism, 122
Eumæus, 47
Eunomia, 73, 94
Eupatridæ, 97
{281}Euploia, 213
Euripides, against athletes, 79;
the chorus in, 174;
the sceptic and prophet of the new age, 177;
the “Alcestis,” 179;
number of his works, 182;
in the “Frogs” of Aristophanes, 184, 186;
and social problems, 210;
influence on art, 211;
Archelaus and, 239
European civilisation and modern discoveries, 14;
early civilisation, 247
Eurotas, Vale of, 204
Eurymedon, 142
Euxine, the, 202
Evagoras, 238
Evans, Sir Arthur, discoveries of, 17, 24, 25, 30

Fashions (dress), Cnossian, 25
Fates, the, 66, 123, 189
Federal systems, 238
Flagellation, Spartan, 92
Fortresses of Tiryns, &c., 28
Four Hundred, government of the, 196
François Vase, 43, 57
Frere’s, Hookham, translation of Aristophanes, quoted, 184
Frieze of the Parthenon, 153
Funeral customs, 188
Furies, the, 181
Furtwängler, Adolf, 151, 158

Gaia (Earth), 152
Games, the—see Athletics
Gardner, Prof. Ernest, on the Parthenon sculptures, 150, 154
Gauls, the, 238
Gelo of Syracuse, 130, 131, 137, 225
Gem-engraving, 263
Gems, 225
Genius, the rise of, 132;
Greek impersonal genius, 158
Geometric style in art, 56
Gerontes, Spartan, 84
Gerousia, or Senate, 84
Ghost-worship, 66
Glaucus, 79
God, Socrates and, 232
Gods in Homer, 50
Gorgias of Leontini, 230
Gorgon, the, 57
Goths, the, 262
Government of the Greek States, 83, 116;
popular government in Athens, 195;
Platonic government, 255
Græco-Roman art, 265
“Greece,” and “Greek,” ideas conveyed by, 1
Greece, the country, 5;
and the sea, 5;
climate, 7;
scenery, 9;
the Dark Ages, 36;
the earlier civilisation, 74;
government, 116;
invaders of, 262;
its decline, 263
Greece, modern, 261;
War of Independence, 262;
war with Turkey, 262
Greek character, the, 10
Greek culture, its continuing influence, 260
Greek history, new discoveries and, 12
Greek poetry, 53
Greek states, government of the, 83
Greek world, the, under Alexander, 244
Greeks inherently aristocratic, 171;
racial character of modern Greeks, 8
Griffin, the, 58
“Grin, the archaic,” 70
Grundy, Dr. G. B., 138
Gylippus, 93

Hades, 123, 124, 190, 233
Hadrian, Emperor, 111, 261
Hæmon, 178
Halicarnassus, coin, 123;
mausoleum at, 221
Happiness, 258
Harmodius and Aristogeiton, legend of, 115, 180;
statue by Antenor, 115;
“the Harmodius,” 116;
group from Ægina, 147
Harold Hardrada, 262
Harp, the, 39;
and Spartans, 224
Harpies, the, 66, 189
Harpy tomb, 123
Heavenly twins, the, 245
Hecatæus of Miletus, 122
{282}Hegeso, tomb of, 192
Helen of Troy, 55, 58
Helicon, Mount, 9;
Muses of, 63
Heliodorus, 180, 262
Helios, 226
Hellas, definition of, 260
Hellenic people, the, fusion of races, 39
Hellenism, the study of, 4;
contest between Hellenism and barbarism, 153;
Alexander the Great and, 243;
and Asiatic elements, 251;
the Roman and, 260;
and Europe, 260
Helots, 87
Hephæstus, shield of, 43;
works of, 54;
and Athena, 94;
in the Parthenon frieze, 151, 155;
the temple of, 167
Hera, 23, 50, 130, 154;
temple of, 106, 108, 215
Heracleitus of Ephesus, 122
Heracles, 85;
and his labours, 111, 153;
and Hylas, 180;
the Farnese, 265
“Heracles, the sons of,” 73
Herculaneum, bronzes, 221;
Greek art at, 263
Hercules—see Heracles
Hermes, early origin, 66, 67;
popularity of, 68;
in art, 70;
and the Olympian Games, 76;
in the Parthenon frieze, 154;
on sepulchral slab, 192;
replaces Apollo in art, 211;
of Praxiteles, 169, 211, 215
Hero-worship, 38;
in Homer, 51
Herodotus, 228;
on Homer and Hesiod, 50;
and the Delphic oracle, 73;
declaimed at the Olympic Games, 76;
and the Persians, 136
Heroic age, the, 36, 38;
cult and art, 103
Herondas of Cos, 250
Hersephoria, 98
Hesiod and the five ages of the world, 36;
and the gods, 50;
contemporary with Homer, 52;
the world of, 61-64;
and mythology, 66;
and poetic contest, 75, 88;
popularity of, 104
“Heureka!” 248
Hiero, tyrant of Syracuse, 113, 129, 225
Hieron, 225
Himera, battle of, 130, 131
Hindu Khush, the, 243
Hipparchus, 113, 115
Hippias, 115, 116, 134, 235
Hippocleides, 109
Hissarlik, 13
Historians, 228
Homer and primitive European civilisation, 12, 13, 14;
and the Achæans, 40;
composition of the epics, 41;
as history, 42;
the Shield of Achilles, 42-47;
kings and gods in, 47-53;
Homeric religion, 51;
when written, 52;
and the art of the period, 53;
women in, 58;
houses and domestic life in, 59;
and mythology, 66;
popularity of, 103;
the recitation of, 112;
theology of, 232;
Ionia and, 119;
scholars of Alexandria and, 248;
influence of, 261
“Homeric” hymns, 68
Homeridæ, the, 41
Hoplite, the Athenian, 135
Horace, 121
Horse, the, in Greek art, 57
Horse-races, 129
Houses in Homer, 59
“Hungry Greekling,” 265
Hygiæa, 70
Hylas, 180
Hymettus, Mount, 96
Hypnos (Sleep), 220

Ibycus of Rhegium, 129
Ictinus, the architect, 147;
and the temple-builders, 161-171
“Ilissus,” 152
Immortality, doctrine of, 128;
immortality of the soul, 190;
Platonic theory of, 234
India, Alexander the Great’s invasion of, 243
Indo-Europeans, Ægean, 32
Ionia, 118-126;
cities, 112;
poets, 119;
philosophers, 122;
plastic art, 123, 126;
King Crœsus, 123;
{283}Sparta and Ionian cities, 199, 204
Ionians, the, 40, 68, 118
Ionic states, the, 112
Iphicrates, 204
Iris, 51, 152
Iron Age, the, 31, 37
Isæus, 229
Isles of the Blessed, 37, 39, 189, 190
Isocrates, 230, 241, 260
Issus, 245, 246
Italy, South, Greek cities of, 263

Jason, 211, 249
“Javan,” 118
“Jove of Otricoli,” 148
Judges of the games, 77
Julian the Apostate, 262
Julius Cæsar and Alexander the Great, 242
Justice, Plato’s “The Republic” and, 254
Justinian, 262
Juvenal, 260, 265

Kamáres” ware, 20
Karuæ, 166
Keftiu, 20
Kimon, 140, 141, 157
Kings, the, of Homer, 47;
of Hesiod, 62;
Spartan kings, 84
Kingsley’s, Charles, “Heroes,” 15
Koré, 98.
See also Persephone
Koroplastes, 227
Kylix, the, 24
Kypselus, Chest of, 43

Labdacus, 181
Labyrinth legend, the, 25
Lacedæmon, 206
Lacedæmonians, the, 82
Laconia, 200
“Laconic,” 92
Lady of Cnidos, 251
Lais, 109
Lang, Andrew, on Theocritus, 250
“Laocoön,” the, 265
Laurium silver-mines, 111, 135
Law, Natural, 258
Law-givers, 128;
of Athens, 99
Laws of Solon, 97, 100
Lawson’s, J. C., “Modern Greek Folklore,” 170
Legal system of Athens, 229;
Stoicism and the legal systems of Europe, 258
Lemnian Athena, 157
“Lenormant” statuette, 148
Leonidas, King, 93, 138;
and the Spartans, 113
Lesbos, 118, 142
Lessing, 265
Leto, 222
Leucas, canal through, 109
Leuctra, battle of, 205, 207, 208, 239
Levant, the, commerce and sea-power of, 247
Liberty in Athens, 145
Library of Alexandria, 248
Lighthouse, great (Pharos), 247
Literature, the Ptolemies and, 248;
of the fourth century, 227;
Greek literature, 262
“Liturgies,” 174
Lizard-slayer, the, 212
Logic, Aristotle and, 254
Louvre, the, 215;
Venus of Milo, 252;
Victory of Samothrace, 252
Love, Plato on, 234;
love in Greek drama, 178;
male, 91
Lucian, 214, 263
Luck, Hermes the god of, 68
Lucretius, 258
Ludovisi Throne, reliefs from the, 124, 160
Lyceum, the, 253
Lycia, Nereid Monument, 226
Lycurgean constitution, 200
Lycurgus, 73, 99, 228
Lydian Mode, the, in music, 224
Lydians, coinage invented by, 123
Lyre, the, 68
Lysander, 94, 144, 197, 199
Lysias, 229
Lysicrates, monument of, 182, 226
Lysimachus, 246
{284} Lysippus of Sicyon, 169, 218, 242, 245, 246

Macedon, 237;
rise of, 239
Macedonia, the kingdom of, 244, 252;
a Roman province, 261;
the Macedonian kings, 240;
anti-Macedonian party, 240
Malaria in modern Greece, 8
Mantinæa, 93, 204, 206, 208, 216
Marathon, 134, 139
“Marble Faun,” the, 214
Marbles, Greek, 149
Marcus Aurelius, 257
Mardonius, 139
Marriage customs, Spartan, 90
Marshlands and malaria, 9
“Marsyas,” by Myron, 159
Masks in drama, 175
Mausolus and his mausoleum, 221
Medea, 211
Medes and Persians, 133
Mediterranean peninsulas, 247
Medusa the Gorgon, 95;
the “Rondanini” Medusa, 220
Megacles, 99, 109
Megara, 104, 110, 142
Megaron, 59
Meidias, 230
Melanthius, 186
Meleager, quoted, 249;
statue of Meleager, 218
Melitus, 232
Menander, 180, 228, 253, 261
Menestheus, 96, 97
“Messengers” in Greek tragedy, 181
Messenia, 206
Messenians of Naupactus, 160
Metayer system, 97
Metempsychosis, 128
Metopes, 130;
of the Parthenon, 153
Miletus, 104, 112, 118, 123, 127, 176
Milo, 127
Miltiades, 111, 134, 228
Milton, John, 261;
“Lycidas,” 250
Mime, the, 250
Minoan empire, fall of, 38;
Minoan discoveries, 16
Minos, 15, 16;
laws of, 33
Minotaur, the, 15
Mitylene, 110, 118, 144, 195
Mnesicles, 164, 171
Monarchy, 256
Money, coined, 89
More, Sir Thomas, 261
Morosini, General, 151
Moschus, 250
Mourning, 190
Mummy-cases, 223
Munich Glyptothek, 147, 214
Murray, Prof. Gilbert, on Homer, 51
Musæus, 114
Museum, the, 248
Music, Greek, 223
Mycenæ, 13;
Bronze Age, 23;
palace of, 24;
fortress of, 28, 29;
tombs, 29;
treasures of, 30;
art, 31
Mycenæan discoveries, 16;
art, 31
Myres, Mr., on Cnossian millinery, 26
Myron (sculptor), 80, 159, 217
“Myrtle Bough, The,” 114
Mythology, 66, 98

Naples Museum, 116, 265
Napoleon and Alexander the Great, 242
Narrative in Greek drama, 180
Natural science, Aristotle and, 254
Naturalistic worship, 34
Nature in primitive Cretan art, 22
Nature-study, 128
Nature-worship, 39, 99
Naupactus, 142
Naval empires, 15
Navy, Athenian, 135
Neighbours, or Perioikoi, 87
Neolithic man, 18
Neoptolemus, 176
Nereid Monument, 226
Nero, 261
Nestor, 54
Newton, Sir Charles, 221
Nicetas, 157
Nicomedes, King, of Bithynia, 213
Nike, 245
Nikias, 140, 229
Niobe, 222
Niobids, the, 222
{285}Normans, the, 262
Northern invasion of Greece, 35 et seq.
Novel, the Greek, 262
Nudity, the Greeks and, 81;
in sculpture, 211

Obscenity, 184
Odeion, 168
Odysseus, 47, 54, 59;
palace of, 60
Œdipus, 36, 178
Œnomaus, 76
Oligarchy, 84, 195, 199, 256
Olympia, sculptures at, 157, 159, 160;
temple of Zeus, 168;
the Altis, 169
Olympian cult and art, 103;
deities, 9, 66
Olympic Games, 76;
nature of the contests, 77;
sacrifice and ritual, 77;
the competitors, 77;
the judges, 77;
the prize and honours 78;
trickery, 78;
their duration, 78;
account of Pausanias, 78;
dress of the athletes, 82;
Nero in the, 261
Omar, the Caliph, 262
Omphalos, 71
Onomacritus, 113
Opuntius, 186
Oracle, the Delphic—see Delphic
Oratory, 228-231
Orchomenos, Apollo of, 69
Orestes, 181, 182
Orpheus, 53;
and Eurydice, 192
Ortygia, 131
Ostracism, 117
Ostrakon of Themistocles, 141
Owl, Athena’s, 99
Ox-murder, 98

Pæonius, 159, 160;
Victory by, 252
Pæsto, 128
Painting, Greek, 223
Pallas Athena—see Athena
Pan, 99;
Cave of, 168
Pan-pipes, 224
Panainos, 149, 167
Panathenæa, Greater, 111
Panathenaic amphoræ, 224;
festival, 154, 163
Pandion, 96
Pandora, 62
Pandrosos, 166
Panegyric oration of Isocrates, 230
Pangæus, Mount, gold-mines of, 240
Panhellenic orations, 230;
union, 241
Pantarkes, 157
Panticapæum, 225
Parian marble, 149
Paris, palace of, 59
Parmenio, 246
Parnassus, 69
Parrhasios, 223
Parrhesia, 94
Parry, Sir Hubert, and Greek music, 223
Parthenon, the, supersedes the Acropolis, 102;
architecture, 107, 161-163;
sculptures, 148, 150;
of the pediments, 150, 151;
the metopes, 153;
the frieze, 112, 153;
Athena Parthenos, 156;
destructions, 150, 151
Parthenos of the Parthenon, 148
Party system, 117
Pastoral poetry, 249
Patroclides, 186
Patroclus, 74, 147
Paul, St., and Stoicism, 257;
and the teaching of Socrates, 234
Pausanias, King of Sparta, 85, 94, 141
Pausanias, the traveller, on the Chest of Kypselus, 43;
and Greek worship, 67;
and Olympia, 78;
and the Parthenon, 150, 160;
and the Hermes of Praxiteles, 215;
his works, 262
Pediments of the Parthenon, 150
Pegasus coins, 225
Peiræus, the, as part of Athens, 140;
the planning, 171;
Spartan attack, 205;
new walls, 226;
a centre of commerce, 252
Peirithous, 180
Peisistratus, Homer edited during his tyranny, 42;
democracy before, 98;
and Solon’s laws, 101;
{286}the tyranny of, 104;
services to Athens, 110;
and the foundations of Athenian civilisation, 133;
temple of Athena built by, 165;
temple of Olympian Zeus begun by, 168
Pelasgians, the, 96, 163
Pelasgic Wall, 96
Pelopidas, 205, 207
Peloponnese, the, 137, 206
Peloponnesian War, 143, 194, 199, 208
Pelops, 76
Penelope, 47, 55, 58
Penrose, F. G., on the Parthenon, 161
Pentelic marble, 147
Pergamum, 237;
altar of Zeus, 251
Periander, 106, 108, 109
Pericles, 99, 110;
and the constitution of Athens, 118, 142-144;
attacks on, 145, 156;
oration on Athenian soldiers, 146;
bust of, 160;
the Odeion, 168;
the Acropolis, 192
Peripatetic school of philosophy, 253
Persephone, Eleusinian mysteries in honour of, 98;
on Harpy Tomb (Queen of the Dead), 123;
on Ludovisi reliefs, 123;
worship of, 170;
Hades the home of, 190;
on an archaic relief, 192
Perseus, 130
Persian Empire and Alexander the Great, 242, 243
Persian Gulf, the, 243
Persian wars, the, 124, 133-139, 142, 153, 203;
Greek mercenaries in the Persian army, 201;
Isocrates and the Persians, 230;
Alexander and Persian troops, 241
Persis, 62
Phæacia, 54
“Phædo,” the, of Plato, 233
Phalanx, the, 241
Phalaris of Acragas, 105
Phanes, coin of, 123
Pharisaism, 257
Pharnabazus, 199
Pheidias, 81, 102, 145, 146-158, 213
Phidolas, 79
Phigaleia, temple of, 169
Philip of Macedon, 208, 237-241
Philip II., 239
Philippiades, 135
Philosophers, Ionian, 122
Philosophy of Pythagoras, 127;
Eleatic school of, 128;
of the fourth century, 231-236;
Aristotle, 253;
Stoicism, 257;
Epicurean, 257;
the Cynics, 258;
and Julian the Apostate, 262
Phocians, the, 138, 238
Phœnicia, 244
Phœnician fleet, 142, 247
Phœnician traders, 129
Phœnicians, the, 33, 130
Phormio, 230
Phrygian Mode in music, 224
Phryne, 213
Phrynichus, 174, 176
Phthiotis, 41
Pictographic script, 20
Pillar-worship, 29
Pindar, 73, 76, 113, 129;
the house of, 243
Pipes, 224
Piracy on the Ægean, 105
Pisirodus, 78
Pittacus, 121
“Place of the Wine-press,” 175
Platæa, battle of, 87, 130, 135, 139, 168;
Pheidias and statue for Platæa, 157
Plato, influence of Pythagoras on, 128;
on feminine nudity, 82;
sex problem, 180;
the “Republic,” 209, 254;
and Socrates, 231;
and the Homeric gods, 232;
his ideal philosophy, 234;
Aristotle and, 253;
influence of, 261
Plato’s garden of the Academy, 210
“Platonic” love, 234
Plautus, 253
Pleading in litigation, 229
Pleasure, 258
Pliny, 149, 213, 219, 223
Plutarch on Spartan women, 90;
on Periclean Athens, 150;
the basis of his narratives, 228;
{287}his biographies, 262
Pluto, 190
Pnyx, the, 229;
hill of Pnyx, 168
Poetry, religious aspect of, 75;
lyric, 119;
lyric poets, 129;
the epic, hexameter verse, the elegiac couplet, epigrams, pastoral, 249;
Alexandria and poetry, 249;
Aristotle and, 254
Poets, Ionian, 119-122
Political science, Aristotle and, 254, 255
Political system, Apollo and, 73
Politics, Greek, 10;
in the fourth century, 209;
Plato, 254;
Aristotle, 255
Polycleitus, 80, 81, 159
Polycrates, tyrant of Samos, 104, 113
Polygnotus, 164, 167, 191, 213, 223
Pompeian frescoes and mosaics, 223;
mosaic floor, 245;
Greek art, 263
Population, decline of, 239
Portico, the Royal, 167;
Portico of Freedom, 167;
Decorated Portico, 167
Portland Vase, the, 263
Portraiture, 211;
on coins, 226, 247
Poseidon, the sea-god, 66;
Athena and, 95, 152;
worship, 96;
of Mycale, 112;
in the Parthenon frieze, 155;
and the salt spring, 165;
marks of his trident, 166
Posidonium, 128
Potter’s wheel, the, 22
Pottery, design in, and progress, 19;
Athenian, 112;
red-figured style, 224;
Panathenaic amphoræ, 225
Praxiteles, Statue of Brauronian Artemis, 164;
Hermes, 169, 209;
and Athens, 194;
nudity in sculpture, 211;
works of, 213
“Praying Boy, The,” 220
Priam, palace of, 60
Professionalism, 210, 225
Prometheus, 62
Protagoras, 235
Psammetichus, 106
Psyche, 189
Ptolemies, the, 244, 247, 248, 250
Pugilism, Cnossian, 25
Punjaub, the, 243
Pyrrhus, 245, 261
Pythagoras of Samos, philosophy of, 74, 127;
immortality taught by, 190
Pythian games, 72, 76
Pytho, 69, 71

Quoit-thrower, the, 81

Racial decline, 239
Religion of the Stone Age, 18;
prehistoric Greek, 34;
early religious beliefs, 65;
survival of, 67;
and morality, 235
Religious significance of the games, 74-76;
of poetry, 75
Renaissance, the, and Greek thought, 3
Republic, an Ideal, 254;
of Aristotle, 256
Rhetoric, 228-231;
of Aristotle, 254
Rhodes, 237, 244;
gold coins of, 226;
siege of, 252
Rhodian sculptors of the “Laocoön,” 265
Ridgeway, Prof. Wm., on the survival of early Greek language, 32;
on naturalistic worship, 34;
and the invaders of Greece, 38;
on Homer, 51;
and Greek drama, 173
Rock-tombs, 188
Rodin, M., 148
Romans, the, and Greece, 245;
and Greek philosophy, 258;
and Hellenism, 260;
and the control of Greece, 261;
and Græco-Roman art, 265
Romantic, the, in the Greek character, 180
Roof-tiles, 108
Roxana, 242
Royal Portico, the, 167
Running Girl (statue), 161
Ruskin, John, 150

Sacred Band, the, 180, 205
“Sacred Wars,” 241
Sacrifice and ritual at Olympic Games, 77
Sacrifices and the dead, 66
{288}Salamis, 110, 138
Samos, 142
Samothrace, 252
Sanitation, Cnossian, 26
Sappho, 119-121
Sardis, 133
Satyr, the young, by Praxiteles, 213, 214, 215
Satyric drama and the Satyrs, 173
Scepticism, Ionian, 122
Scheria, 48
Schliemann’s discoveries, 13
Scopas the Parian, 212, 217, 221
Sculpture of the Homeric period, 54;
development of, 69;
inspired by athletes, 80;
Ionian, 123 et seq.;
earliest temple, 130;
before Pheidias, 147;
methods, 148;
materials, 149;
pediment figures, 150;
metopes, 153;
frieze (Parthenon), 153;
statues by Pheidias, 156, 157;
works of sculptors, 159-161;
great sculptors, 159;
minor sculptors, 192;
of the fourth century, 211;
materials, 212;
anatomy, 212;
supports, 213;
works by Praxiteles, 213-217;
convention, 216;
tinted marble, 216;
Scopas, 217;
Lysippus, 218;
works by unknown artists, 219;
six greatest statues, 219;
bronzes, 220;
the Venus of Milo, 251;
Græco-Roman, 265;
the Laocoön, 265
Scyros, 190
Sea, Hesiod and the, 63;
the Greek true element, 262
Sea-power, 195
Seleucid kings, the, 244
Selinus, 130
Sellasia, 239, 245
Semites, the, 129
Seven Sages, the, 74, 101, 106
Seven Wonders of the World, 247
Sex problem, the, 180
Shakespeare and Menander, 253, 261
Shelley’s “Adonais,” 250
Shield of Achilles, the, 42-47
Shields lost in battle, 121
Sicily, tyranny in, 104;
poets in, 126;
and wheat, 127;
the Semites and (Carthaginian invasion), 129, 137;
Athens and, 142, 144, 195;
Idylls of Theocritus, 249;
history, 250
Sicyon, 104, 109
Sidon sarcophagus, 246
Sigeum, 110, 121
Simonides, 104, 109, 113, 122, 129
Simplicity, Greek, in drama, 182
Sirens, the, 66
Skirophoria, 99
“Skolia,” 114
Slavery, 145, 171, 236
Slavs, the, 262
Snake-worship, 69, 99
Socialist, Pericles a, 143;
Plato the father of socialism, 255
Socrates and the education of women, 82;
and Alcibiades, 144;
attacks upon, 145;
and Aspasia, 146;
and the Royal Portico, 167;
Xenophon and, 203;
the personality of, 231;
trial and death, 232;
his philosophy, 231, 234
Soldiers, Spartan, 204;
professional, 238
Solon, the Spartans and, 74;
his laws, 97, 99, 100, 191;
poetry, 100;
and Egypt, 101;
and Peisistratus, 110;
and Cleisthenes, 118;
and funerals, 191;
historians and, 228
Sophistry, 231
Sophocles, actors in, 174;
and the Athenian spirit, 177;
number of his works, 182;
and Aristophanes, 186
Sophrosune, 10
Sparta, conservative in type, 6;
its smallness, 10;
political system, 73, 83;
and the Olympian Games, 77;
government, 84;
kings, 84;
Ephorate, 85;
Mixed Constitution, 86;
an aristocracy, 87;
Helots, 87;
Neighbours, or Perioikoi, 87;
the city, 87;
as conqueror, 88;
military education and discipline, 83, 88-89;
art, 88;
coinage, 89;
education, 89;
women, 90;
marriage customs, 90;
children and youths, 91;
warfare, 92;
{289}relaxations, 93;
Spartan character, 93;
conservatism, 94;
and Persian invasion, 137;
and democracy, 196;
and Lysander, 200;
domination and aggression of, 198, 203, 205;
an inland power, 199;
government, 200;
soldiers, 204;
and Thebes, 207;
reformation of, 239;
and the confederacies, 244;
government under the Romans, 261
Sparta and Athens, 133, 135, 195;
conflict between, 83, 143
Spartans of the Dorian race, 40
Spartiate race of Lacedæmon, 239
Spartiates, the, 84, 87, 88, 239
Sphacteria, 144, 160
Sphinx, the, 58
“Spinario,” the, 161
Stackelberg, Baron von, 170
Stadium, the, 226
Stage, the, 174, 175
Stagira, 253
Stesichorus of Himera, 129
Stoic philosophy, the, 167, 257, 258
Stoicism and Christianity, 261
Stone Age, the, in Crete, 18
Strategoi, 117
Studniczka, Prof., 126
Styx, the, 189, 233
“Successors, the,” 244
Sulla, 220
Swinburne, A. C., on Sappho, 120
Sybaris, 127, 128
Syracuse, poets of, 129;
tyrants of, 78, 129, 250;
Doric columns, 131;
coins, 129, 131, 225
“Syrinx,” the, 224

Tanagra statuettes, 227
Tartarus, 233
Taygetus, Mount, 87
“Tearless Battle,” 208
Tegea, 218
Telamon, 147
Telamones of Acragas, 166
Tempe, 9, 137
Temples, Doric, in Selinus, 130
Ten Thousand, the march of the, 201
Tenean Apollo, 69
Tenedos, 226
Terence, 253
Terpander, 88, 122
Textile art in Homer, 55
Thalamos, 59
Thalassa (Sea), 152
Thalassocracies, 15
Thales of Miletus, 101, 119, 122
Thaletus, 15
Theagenes, 110
Theatre of Dionysus, 168, 175, 226
Theatres, 173
Theban and Persian alliance, 207
Thebes and the Persians, 137;
and Epaminondas, 205;
Theban hegemony, 207;
destroyed, 243
Themis, 69
Themistocles and the sea, 5;
and ships, 135;
and the sea-fight of Salamis, 138-140;
ostracised, 141;
biographies of, 228
Theocritus, 180, 249, 261
Theopompus, 228
Theramenes, 100, 197, 232
Thermopylæ, 92, 93, 113, 138
Theron, 130
Thersites, 50
Theseum, the, 167
Theseus, the story of, 15;
legendary King of Athens, 96, 97;
Peisistratus and, 110, 111;
the Panathenæa, 112;
“Theseus” statue, 152;
the contests of (sculpture), 153;
and Peirithous, 180;
the bones of, 97, 190
Thesmophoria, 98
Thespis, 174
Thessalians, the, 38
Thessaly, 18, 137, 237
Thetis, 51
Thirty Tyrants, the, 197, 232
“Tholos,” 29
Thorwaldsen, A., 147
Thrace, gold in, 6;
and expansion of Athens, 240;
coin of, 246
Thracian Chersonese, the, 110
Thrasybulus, 197
“Three Fates, The,” 152
Thucydides and tradition, 100;
{290}and Greek tragedy in history, 136;
and Pericles, 143;
and the perspective of Greek history, 194;
ethical purpose, 228;
speeches in, 229
Thurii, 142
Tiberius, Emperor, 218
Timanthes, 79
Timotheus of Miletus, 224
Tiryns, 24, 28
Tissaphernes, 199, 201
Tombs, 188;
Mycenæan, 29;
objects from, 191
Tombstones, 192
Traeis, battle of the, 127
Tragedy, 173-183;
development of, 76
Triphylia, 202
Tripod of Delphi, 68
Triptolemus, 98, 190
Troy, ruins of, 13, 36;
Homer and, 41
Truce, Sacred, 77
Turkestan, 243
Turkey, rule of, and war with modern Greece, 262
Tyranny, 256
Tyrants, the, 104, 105
Tyre, 244;
destroyed, 247;
and Sidon, 129
Tyrtæus, 88

Unities,” the dramatic, 182

Valhalla, 189
Vaphio gold cups, 30
“Varvakeion” statuette, 148
Vase-painting, decadence, 265
Vases, funeral, 191;
metal vases, 225.
See also Pottery
Vatican, the, 265
Venetians, the, 262
Venus, 213;
Medici Venus, 214;
Venus of Milo, 251
Vergil, 261
Victory, Parthenon pediment, 152;
at Olympia, 160;
the Wingless Victory, 164;
of Brescia, 252;
of Samothrace, 252
Virtue, 257
Vitruvius on the orders of architecture, 227

Waldstein, Prof., on the Parthenon figures, 152
War and democracy, 195
War of Independence, 262
Warfare among the Greeks, 203
Wedgwood art, 263
Whitelaw’s, Mr., translation of Sophocles, 178
Winckelmann, 265
Wolf-god, 99
Women in Homer, 58;
and nudity, 82;
and gymnastics, 82;
Spartan women, 90
Wordsworth’s “Ode on Immortality” and the Platonic theory, 234
Writing, earliest European, 20

Xanthippus, 141
Xanthus, Harpy Tomb, 188, 123
Xenophanes of Colophon, 128
Xenophon and the Persian war, 201;
the Catabasis, 202;
retires to Sparta, 202;
his works, 203;
and the battle of Leuctra, 206;
as writer, 210;
favours Sparta, 228;
and Socrates, 231
Xerxes, 72, 116, 136, 139

Zaleucus of Locri, 73, 128
Zeno, 167, 257
Zeus, birthplace of, 15;
heaven of, 39;
in Homer, 50;
and minor deities, 66;
athletic honours to, 76;
in the Parthenon pediment, 151;
the “Dresden Zeus,” 148;
gold statue of, at Olympia, 109;
by Pheidias, 148, 149;
temple of, 111 168, 261;
Zeus Ammon, 251
Zeuxis, 191, 213, 223
Zoology, Aristotle and, 254


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[1] This and similar technical terms are explained in the Glossary at the end of the book.

[2] Plate I, Figs. 1 and 2.

[3] Plates 2 and 3.

[4] Plate 4.

[5] Plate 5, Fig. 2.

[6] Plate 6.

[7] Plate 7.

[8] Plate 8.

[9] Plate 9.

[10] Plate 10.

[11] Plate 5, Fig. 1.

[12] Plate 11.

[13] Plate 12.

[14] Plate 12.

[15] Plate 13.

[16] Plate 14.

[17] Plate 15.

[18] Plate 16.

[19] Plate 17.

[20] Plate 18.

[21] See Vase Plate, Fig. 3 (a Panathenaic Amphora).

[22] Plate 19, Fig. 1.

[23] Plate 19, Fig. 2.

[24] Plate 20, Fig. 1.

[25] Plate 20, Fig. 2.

[26] Plate 21.

[27] Plate 22.

[28] Plate 23.

[29] Plate 24.

[30] Plate 25.

[31] Plate 26.

[32] Plate 27, and Vase-Plate, Fig. 1.

[33] Plate 28.

[34] Plates 24 and 76, and Vase-Plate, Fig. 3.

[35] Plate 29, Fig. 1.

[36] Plate 29, Fig. 2.

[37] Plate 30, Fig. 2.

[38] Plate 30, Fig. 1.

[39] Plate 31.

[40] Plate 32.

[41] Plate 33.

[42] Plate 34, Fig. 1.

[43] Plate 34, Fig. 2.

[44] Plate 35.

[45] Plate 36.

[46] Plate 37.

[47] Plate 38.

[48] Plate 39.

[49] Plate 40.

[50] Plate 41.

[51] Plate 42.

[52] Plate 43, Fig. 1.

[53] Plate 44.

[54] Plate 45.

[55] Plate 46.

[56] Plate 47, Fig. 1.

[57] Plate 38.

[58] Plate 25.

[59] Plates 31 and 32.

[60] Plate 59.

[61] Plate 47, Fig. 2.

[62] Plate 48.

[63] Plate 43, Fig. 2.

[64] Plate 49, Fig. 1.

[65] Plate 49, Fig. 2

[66] Plate 50.

[67] Plate 51.

[68] Plate 52.

[69] Plate 53.

[70] Plate 54.

[71] Plate 55.

[72] Plate 56, Fig. 1.

[73] Plate 56, Fig. 2; and Vase Plate, Fig. 2.

[74] Plate 57; and Vase Plate, Fig. 4.

[75] Plate 58.

[76] Plate 59.

[77] Plate 60, Fig. 1.

[78] Plate 60, Fig. 2.

[79] Plate 61, Fig. 2.

[80] Plate 62.

[81] Plate 63, Fig. 1.

[82] Plate 63, Fig. 2.

[83] Plate 64, Fig. 1.

[84] Plates 65 and 66.

[85] Plate 67.

[86] Plate 61, Fig. 1.

[87] Plate 68.

[88] Plate 20, Fig. 2.

[89] Plate 51.

[90] My other five would be the Hermes of Praxiteles, the Aphrodite of Melos, the “Theseus” of the Parthenon, the Colleoni of Verrocchio, and Rodin’s St. Jean-Baptiste.

[91] Plate 69.

[92] Plate 70.

[93] Plate 71.

[94] See plate facing p. 266.

[95] Plate 72.

[96] Plate 73, Fig. 1.

[97] Plate 64, Fig. 2.

[98] Plate 74.

[99] Plate 73, Fig. 2.

[100] Plate 75.

[101] See p. 112.

[102] See Plate 76 and Vase Plate, Fig. 3.

[103] Plates 77 and 78.

[104] Plate 79.

[105] Plate 80.

[106] Plate 81.

[107] Plate 82.

[108] Plate 83.

[109] Plate 84.

[110] Plate 85.

[111] Plate 86.

[112] Plate 87 and Frontispiece.

[113] Plate 88.

[114] Plate 89.

[115] Plate 90.

[116] Plate 91.