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Title: Sculptured tombs of Hellas

Author: Percy Gardner

Release date: December 9, 2022 [eBook #69508]

Language: English

Original publication: United Kingdom: Macmillan & Co, 1896

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


Table of Contents and Index
List of Illustrations





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Plate I








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Few griefs and many joys my life has held,
Out-lengthened to the utmost bounds of eld.
My name is Symmachus, in Chios born,
Which rich with grapes the branching vines adorn;
But when I died, my bones were hidden here,
In Attic land, to gods and men most dear.
Athenian Epitaph.



The monuments erected to the dead belong in every country, like funeral customs generally, to a deeper stratum of the national consciousness than do openly expressed beliefs. This is, in fact, a phase of the general law that in the history of religion cultus is more venerable and more conservative than doctrine. And as, further, the beliefs which find an expression in literature are those of the most enlightened and the least conservative spirits, it is misleading if one attempts to learn from the higher literature of a people how the masses really think and feel in regard to death and the life which lies beyond death.

These considerations are certainly applicable in the case of Greece. The two great literatures of Greece, the Epic and the Attic, belong each to a class, to an aristocracy whether of birth or of talent, and stand high above the beliefs of the common people. If we wish to ascertain what the ordinary Greek citizen, l’homme sensuel moyen, thought and felt in the presence of death, whether his own or that of friends, we must supplement the study of the poets, the orators, and the philosophers{viii} by an investigation of ritual, of burial customs, and of the lines of tombs which stretched from the gates of many Greek cities on both sides of the main roads.

The purpose of the present book may best be accomplished if we proceed to consider in succession, first the burial customs of the Greeks, next the ideas as to the future life which prevailed among them, and finally the monuments of the dead.

It is the last-mentioned memorials which are the principal concern of this book. For a long while English-speaking scholars, and even tourists, have felt a special interest in the sepulchral monuments which form so marked a feature of the great museum at Athens, and in the Dipylon cemetery, part of which still survives. I have tried to set forth, for scholars and for lovers of art, a concise account of these monuments, their periods and classes, their inscriptions and their reliefs. And as an introduction and supplement to an account of the tombs of Athens, I have added a still slighter account of the tombs of the pre-historic age in Greece, of the monuments of Asia Minor, of the tombs of Sparta, Boeotia, and other districts, and of the magnificent Greek sarcophagi recently discovered at Sidon.

It would occupy much space if I tried here to detail all my obligations to previous scholars. The whole success of this work must depend on its due illustration; and though the nucleus of my illustrations consists of photographs taken for me during a visit to Athens, I have{ix} been obliged also to borrow from a variety of learned and valuable works. In every case in which I asked permission to copy a published engraving that permission was courteously granted. If by mischance I have in any case copied without permission, I trust that I may be pardoned. References to the sources of engravings will be found at the foot of my pages.

Special thanks are due to Dr. Conze and the German Archaeological Institute for allowing me to use the plates of their magnificent work, Die Attischen Grabreliefs, which furnishes representations by photography or drawing of almost all important Attic tombs. Where the photographs of this work were better than my own, I have in some cases used them in preference.

To M. Cavvadias and the Greek Government I am indebted for permission to photograph freely in the Athenian Museums; and to the Trustees of the British Museum for leave to reproduce two interesting monuments (Figs. 28 & 35) which are hitherto unpublished.

When I have had occasion to quote from Homer and the poets of the Anthology, I have usually attempted a rendering in English verse. For Greek elegiacs I have used rhymed heroic verse, and for Greek hexameters English ballad metre. I have also to thank my colleague, Dr. James Williams, of Lincoln College, for allowing me to use several of his excellent versions of poems of the Anthology.

After careful consideration, I have decided that in{x} a work of this kind, which does not attempt completeness, but is methodical in arrangement, the best form of Index is a detailed table of contents and list of engravings. By the aid of these, anything included in the book can be very readily found.

Percy Gardner.

Oxford, August, 1896.

PS. Most of the abbreviations used in the notes will explain themselves; but I should explain the following:—

C. A. G. (‘Corpus of Attic Grave-reliefs’) is Die Attischen Grabreliefs, ed. A. Conze.

Kaibel, is G. Kaibel, Epigrammata Graeca ex Lapidibus conlecta.




Importance attached to burial, 1. The Prothesis, 2; illustrated by
vases, 3. Presence of ghosts, 4. The Ecphora, on archaic vases, 5; on later monuments, 6. Sleep and Death, 7. Custom of burning, 9. Funeral feast and speeches, 11.

Primitive beliefs as to needs of dead, 12. Liberality to the dead in archaic times, 12. Terra-cotta offerings, 13. Sacrifices at tombs, 14. Evidence of excavations, 16. Classes of heroes, 17. Evidence of sepulchral lekythi, 18. Presence of the dead in representations, 19.

Question what became of the dead, 23. Homeric beliefs; Hades, 25; visit to Hades of Odysseus, 26; Islands of the Blessed, 27. Influence of Orphism, 28. Paintings of Polygnotus at Delphi, 30; Charon, 31; Theseus and Peirithous, 32; Orpheus, 33; the Uninitiated, 34; Eurynomus, 35. Painting on vase of Canusium, 36; Orpheus, 37; Herakles and Cerberus, 37; Megara, 38; Initiated, 38. Comparison of Greek and Christian Hades, 39. Development of the Eumenides, 40. Conflict between ritual and ethics, 42. Hades in the Tragedians, 43. Localization {xii}of ghosts, 44.

So-called treasuries of early Greece, 46; at Mycenae, 47; really tombs, 51; various forms, 51. Rock-graves at Mycenae, 52; their tombstones, 54; subjects and style of art, 57.

Early Ionian civilization not yet excavated, 59. Tomb of Tantalus on Sipylus, 60. Geometric tombs of Phrygia, 62; Lion-tombs, 64; their chronology, 66; relation to Mycenae, 67. Archaic tombs of Lycia, 67; pre-Ionian art, 68; the Harpy Monument, 69; Sirens, 73; other Lycian tombs, 74.

Relief of Chrysapha, 76; its meaning, 77; other similar tombs, 78. Cultus of ancestors at Sparta, 80. Details of reliefs; honour paid to women, 81; food of the dead, 82; horse and dog, 83.

Distinction of tombs from commemorative tablets, 87. Lines of descent from Spartan reliefs, 88. Athenian banqueting reliefs, 88. Customs of sitting and reclining, 89. Tegean relief, 90. Presence of votaries, 91. Asklepian tablets, 92. Tablets to heroes and to ancestors, 93. The hero as horseman, 94; accompanied by lady, 98. Votive tablets from Tarentum, 100. The hero as foot-soldier, 102; unarmed, 103.

Graves of Dipylon style at Athens, 105. Periods of Athenian monuments, 106. First period, the mound and stele, 108; the table, 109; the pillar, 110. Early Athenian tombs usually of the young, 111. Second period; forms of tombs, 112; marble vases, 113. Tombs usually of {xiii}families, 116. The use of painting and metal on marble, 116. Determination of dates of tombs, 117. Third period, 118. Preservation of part of cemetery at Athens, 118. Architectural decoration of tombs; the acanthus, 119; the sphinx, 121; the siren, 126; goats butting, 128; the lion, 130; the bull, 131.

Portraits of the dead originate in Ionia, 133. Portraits at Athens, 134; their ideal character, 134. Portrait statues, 135; on horseback or on foot, 136; female figures, 137. The dead as Hermes, 138. Statues of mourning women, 139. Portraits on stelae, first period, 140; Aristion, Lyseas, 141; stelae of youths, 143. Second period, stelae of citizens, 145; stelae of warriors, 146; Dexileos, 147; young athletes, 149; hunters, 152; students, 153; shipwrecked men, 154; children, 154; matrons, 157; girls, 158; priestesses, 160.

Pathos and charm of Attic groups, 162. Predominance of women, 163. Women and children in later Greece, 163. Stelae with father and children, 164; mother and children, 166. Family groups, 167. Series of groups representing leave-taking, 168; series representing self-adornment, 171. Stele of Phaenarete, 173. Stele of Ameinocleia, 176. Dressing for a journey or offerings to the dead? 176. Domestic interiors or scenes at the tomb? 178. Several stone lekythi on one slab, 178. Occasional appearance of Hermes, 180.

Do the Attic reliefs refer to past or future life? 182. Line of connexion with Spartan stelae, 182; the wine-cup, the pomegranate, the cock, 183; the dove, the horse, 184; the dog, 185. Reliefs which clearly refer to past life, 185. The δεξίωσις, 186. We must distinguish between origin and meaning of reliefs, 187. Oblong reliefs refer to the future, 188; in them Herakles and Dionysus sometimes present, 189. Style of archaic reliefs, 190; bear name of sculptor, 191. Lower level of style in fifth-century reliefs, 191. Fourth-century reliefs connected with the second {xiv}Attic school of sculpture, 193.

Simplicity of inscriptions on early stelae, 195. Explicatory character of inscriptions, 196. Occurrence of χαῖρε, 197. Inscription of Dexileos, 197. Longer inscriptions after the fourth century, 197. Specimens of public epitaphs over warriors, 198; over others, 201. Specimens of later inscriptions, 203; sentiments as to life, 204; statements as to the future life, 204. Orphism in epitaphs, 206. Threats to violators, 207. Epitaphs of the Palatine Anthology, 208.

Splendour of Asiatic Greek tombs, 214. The Lycian Nereid Monument, 215; its sculptures, 216; its occasion, 219; its date, 220. Relation to Ionian school of historical painting, 221. The heroon of Gyeulbashi, 221; subjects of sculpture, 223; relation to painters, 224. The Lion-tomb of Cnidus, 225. Greek graves in the Crimea, 226.

Interesting problem of reconstruction, 228. Plans of Pullan and Oldfield, 230. Testimony of ancient writers, Hyginus, Martial, 232; Pliny, 233. Account of excavation by Guichard, 236. Analogy of other buildings, 239. The statues of Mausolus and Artemisia, where placed, 240. Other sculptural remains, 241.

Discovery of sarcophagi at Sidon, 243. Archaic sarcophagi of Clazomenae, 243. Sarcophagus of the Satrap at Sidon, 245; its connexion with history, 246; and with Ionian art, 247. The Lycian sarcophagus, 248; ideal character, 248. The sarcophagus of the Mourning Women, 249; variety in expression of grief, 251; likeness to temple, 251; perhaps belongs to King Strato, 252. The Alexander sarcophagus, 252; dress of Greeks and Persians, 253; subjects of pediments, 253; the lion-hunt, 255; the battle, 256; perhaps belongs to Abdalonymus, 258; of uncertain artistic school, 258. The Amazon sarcophagus of Vienna, 258.




Fig.1.Lying in State. Benndorf, Griech. u. Sicil. Vasenb., pl. i.3
  2. pl. xxxiii.4
  3.Funeral Procession. Rayet, Monum. de l’Art ant., pl. lxxv.6
  4.Arrival at the Tomb. pl. lxxv.6
  5.Deposition at the Tomb. Dumont, Céram. de la Grèce propre, pl. xxvii.9
  6.Pyre of Patroclus. Mon. dell’ Inst. IX, xxxii.10
  7.Child’s Coffin. Stackelberg, Gräber der Hellenen, pl. viii.14
  8.Offerings at a Tomb. Ephemeris Archaiol. 1886, pl. iv.18
  9.Spirit seated on Stele. Pottier, Lécythes blancs, pl. iv.20
  10.Toilet scene, Sepulchral. Furtwängler, Coll. Sabouroff, pl. lx.21
  11.Gifts at Tomb. Brit. Mus. Cat. Vases, IV, pl. iv.22
  12.The Boat of Charon. Antike Denkmäler, I, pl. xxiii.31
  13.The Greek Underworld. Wiener Vorlegeblätter, Ser. E, pl. i.36
  14.Sectional plan of the so-called Treasury of Atreus. Schuchhardt, Schliemann’s Ausgrabungen, p. 17647
  15.Restoration of interior of Treasury. Perrot et
{xvi}Chipiez, La Grèce Primitive, p. 638
  16.Plan and façade of Treasury. Perrot et Chipiez, La Grèce Primitive, pl. vi.49
  17.Ceiling of Treasury, Orchomenus. Journ. Hell. Stud. II, pl. xiii.50
  18.Tombstone, Mycenae. Schliemann, Mycenae, p. 8154
  19. p. 8655
  20. Perrot et Chipiez, op. cit., p. 77056
  21.Tumulus on Sipylus. Texier, Description de l’Asie M. pl. cxxx.61
  22.Section of Chamber. Weber, Le Sipyle, pl. i.61
  23.Tomb of Midas. Perrot et Chipiez, Phrygie, p. 8362
  24.Geometrical façade of Tomb. p. 10363
  25.Tomb flanked by Lions. p. 11164
  26.Head of Lion. Journ. Hell. Stud. pl. xviii.65
  27.North and West sides of Harpy Tomb. E. A. Gardner, Handbook of Greek Sculpture, I, p. 11071
  28.Gable of Lycian Tomb. Photograph74
Pl.iiSpartan stele. Photograph76
Fig.29.Hades and Persephone. Ann. dell’ Inst. XIX, pl. F79
  30.Seated Hero. Journ. Hell. Stud. V, p. 12383
  31.Stele, man feeding snake. Photograph85
Pl.iiiSepulchral Banquet. Photograph88
Fig. 32.Assur-bani-pal and Queen. Perrot et Chipiez, Chaldée et Assyrie, p. 10789
  33.Stele from Tegea. Photograph90
  34.Coin of Bizya. Br. Mus. Cat. Coins, Thrace, p. 9092
  35.Horseman relief (British Museum). Photograph96
  36.Horseman relief (Berlin). Furtwängler, Coll. Sabouroff, pl. xxix.97
  37.Votive tablet, Tarentum. Mon. dell’ Inst. XI, pl. lv.101
  38.Hero on foot. Monum. Grecs de l’Assoc. d’Études Grecques, pl. i.102
  39.Hero seated. Roscher, Lexikon, I, p. 2571103
Fig. 40.Achilles at tomb of Patroclus. Gerhard, Auserlesene Vasenbilder, pl. cxcix.108
Pl.ivMarriage-vase. Athen. Mittheil. 1887, pl. ix. 114 v. Marriage-vase and Lekythi. Photograph 115 i. View in Cemetery of Cerameicus.118
Fig. 41.Head of Assyrian stele. Perrot et Chipiez, Chaldée et Assyrie, p. 270120
  42.Head of Greek stele. Brückner, Ornament u. Formen der Att. Grabstelen, pl. i.120
  43.Anthemion of stele. Photograph121
  43.A. 122
  43.B. 123
  44.Sphinx of Spata.123
  45.Terra-cotta: Sphinx and Youth. Stackelberg, Gräber der Hellenen, pl. lvi.124
  46.Stele of Lamptrae, restored. Athen. Mittheil. XII, p. 105125
  47.Siren from Tomb. Photograph127
  48.Head of stele.128
  49. 129
  50.Stele of Leon.130
  51.Portrait from Tomb, Thera. Athen. Mittheil. IV, pl. vi.135
  52.Horseman from Tomb. pl. iii.137
Pl. vi Seated Lady. Photograph 137
vii.Hermes of Andros. 138
viii. Mourning Slave. Furtwängler, Coll. Sabouroff, pl. xv. 139
ix.Stele of Aristion. Photograph140
  Stele of Alxenor.141
Fig.53.Seated Hero. Michaelis, Anc. Marbles in Gr. Brit. p. 385142
  54.Head of Youth holding discus. C. A. G. pl. iv.143
  55.Dermys and Citylus. Athen. Mittheil. III, pl. xiv.144
Pl.xTynnias seated. Photograph 145 xi. Stele of Aristonautes. Photograph 146 xii. Stele of Dexileos.147
Fig. 56. Warrior of Tegea. Bull. de Corresp. hellénique, IV, {xviii}
Pl. vii pl. vii.148
Pl.xiiiYouth with Dog. Photograph149
Fig. 57.Athlete balancing stone. Photograph150
  58.Young horseman.151
Pl.xivStele from Aegina. 151
  xvRelief from Ilissus.152
Fig. 59. Stele of Democleides.153
  60.Head of Old Man.155
  61.Boy, from stele.156
Pl.xviSeated Lady. C. A. G. pl. xv.156
Fig.62Portrait of Mynno. C. A. G. pl. xvii.157
Pl.xviiStele of Amphotto. Photograph158
Fig.63Girl with Doll. Journ. Hell. Stud. VI, pl. B.159
  64.Priestess of Isis. Photograph159
Pl.xviiiEuempolus and children. Photograph164
Fig.65Xanthippus and children. Museum Marbles, X, pl. iii.165
Pl.xixMother and family. Photograph 166 xx. Chaerestrata and Lysander. Photograph 167 xxi. Mica and Dion. Photograph 167 xxii. Mother and daughter. Photograph 168 xxiii. Damasistrata. Photograph 169 xxiv. Mother and nurse.169
Fig.66Plangon fainting. C. A. G. p. 70170
Pl.xxvHegeso. Photograph 172 xxvi. Lady and attendant. Photograph 173 xxvii. Ameiniche. Photograph173
Fig.67Phaenarete. C. A. G. pl. xxxix.174
Pl.xxviiiAmeinocleia. Photograph175
Fig.68Scene at Tomb. Benndorf, Griech. u. Sicil. Vasenb. pl. xv.177
  69.Domestic scene. Heydemann, Griech. Vasenbilder, pl. xi.178
  70.Family group. Brückner, Griech. Grabreliefs, p. 12179
  71. 179
  72.Stele of Myrrhina. Gazette Archéol. I, pl. vii.180
Pl.xxixOrpheus and Eurydice. Photograph181
  xxx.Stele of Eutamia. C. A. G. pl. xxviii.185{xix}
Fig.73Dionysus as guest. Roscher, Lexikon, I, p. 2539190
Fig.74Nereid Monument (Falkener). Overbeck, Griech. Plastik, II, p. 191216
  75.Gable of Nereid Monument. Ann. dell’ Inst. 1875, pl. DE.217
  76.Heroon of Gyeulbashi. Benndorf and Niemann, Heroon von Gjölbaschi-Trysa, pl. i.222
  77.Lion-tomb, Cnidus. Newton, Travels and Discov. II, pl. xxiii.225
  78.Mausoleum (Mr. Pullan). Archaeologia, LIV, p. 281230
  79. (Mr. Oldfield). Drawing of Mr. Oldfield231
  80.Sarcophagus of the Satrap: end. Hamdy Bey et T. Reinach, Une Nécropole Royale à Sidon, pl xxi.246
  81.Sphinxes: Lycian Sarcophagus. pl. xv.248
  82.Sarcophagus of Mourners: end. pl. vii.250
  83.Alexander Sarcophagus: end. pl. xxvi.254
  84. LION-HUNT. pl. xxxi.255
  85. A LION. pl. XX.257





The burial of the dead was a matter as to which the ancient Greeks had very strong feelings. When a corpse was not committed to earth or fire, the unfortunate spirit to which it had served as a dwelling-place was condemned to find no rest either on earth or in the world of shades, but to wander unhappily around the spot where it had met its fate, or to flutter on the verge of the river of death, which it was not permitted to cross. For such reasons, it was the first and most important duty of an heir to see that the person whom he succeeded met with due burial. In war, as a rule, each side buried its own dead; and so great was the horror at neglect of this pious office, that after a drawn battle the side which was not in possession of the battle-field would commonly ask for a truce for the purpose of burying the slain, though it thereby acknowledged defeat. It is well known how bitterly the Athenians accused their generals, because their dead were not duly buried after the battle of Arginusae. When Admetus, in the Alcestis of Euripides, wishes utterly to cast off his filial relation to his father Pheres, he threatens that he will not bury him. And when in the Antigone of Sophocles, Creon forbids the burial of his slain enemy Polynices, the prohibition is represented as an act of barbarous cruelty, bringing with it the vengeance of the offended gods. In order to perform the last rites to her brother, Antigone incurs death. The plot of the{2} last half of the Ajax, which seems intolerably tedious to a modern reader, turns on the question whether the body of the hero shall receive sepulture or not.

It is true that all the more serious evils of want of burial were obviated by an inhumation of a merely formal character. The dead man who in the ode of Horace[1] begs the passer-by to give him formal or ceremonial burial, tells him that it will be quite sufficient if he casts over the body three handfuls of dry earth. If the body of a man was lost at sea, or otherwise had become undiscoverable, an empty tomb or cenotaph was erected, and his spirit laid with ceremonies.

In the case of an ordinary death, there was a regular order of ceremonies, which are detailed in Lucian’s De Luctu. To the women of the house belonged the melancholy duty of washing and anointing the corpse, and preparing it for burial. In the mouth was sometimes placed an obolus, the fee of Charon. The body was dressed as if for a wedding rather than a funeral, in rich and clean clothes; the face was painted, and wreaths were placed on head and breast. Then took place what was called the πρόθεσις, or exhibition of the corpse, in order that friends and relatives might take a last farewell of it. Vase-paintings give us many representations of the scene. Father and mother, or brothers and sisters, or children, thronged round the bier with expressions of love and sorrow, while the dirge of the hired wailing-women resounded through the house. A terra-cotta tablet of the sixth century, engraved in the text[2] (Fig. I), gives us a quaint and vivid picture of the room of death. The dead man, whose face appears, while the rest of the painting is broken away, is evidently a youth in the bloom of his days, who lies on the bier, clad in an embroidered garment. Close by his head stands his mother, ΜΕΤΕΡ, at whose feet is his little sister, ΑΔΕΛΦΕ;{3} a somewhat older sister stands at the foot of the bier. To the left is a group of men, the father, ΠΑΤΕΡ, a grown-up brother, ΑΔΕΛΦΟΣ, and two other men. To the extreme right appears the name, though not the figure, of the grandmother, ΘΕΘΕ, between whom and the group of men are two other matrons, carefully distinguished as the aunt and the aunt on the father’s side, ΘΕΘΙΣ and ΘΕΘΙΣ ΠΡΟΣ ΠΑΤΡ[ΟΣ]. A little child also appears by a stool quite at the foot of the couch. The letters ΟΙΜΟΙ in the field represent the wailings of the women.

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A beautiful Attic vase of the fifth century (Fig. 2) gives us a less quaint but more graceful representation of the prothesis[3]. In this case the corpse is that of a woman, who lies on her bier not merely clad in green garments, but decked with a necklace. The friends grouped about her are all women, with hair cut short in sign of mourning, clad in garments of dark brown, green, or blue. The lady who stands at the foot of the bier and her neighbour place their hands on their heads in sign of grief; their dress is that of burgher ladies; no doubt they are the nearest relatives of the dead. The girl who stands at the head of the bier is a slave or hired attendant. She is more simply clad, and carries in one hand{4} a flapper or fan to keep off the flies, in the other a basket containing fillets or ribbons. A wreath hangs against the wall of the room. Three small, naked, winged idola hover in the air. They are doubtless spirits of the dead: but the motive for their presence is not clear. One might at first be disposed to regard them as merely ready to receive the departed spirit; the figure nearest to the mouth of the corpse might even be regarded as the soul which has just taken flight. But these views scarcely account for the attitude, which is clearly in each of the three idola a recognized sign of grief. In fact, the close resemblance of gesture between the lady who stands at the foot of the bier and the winged figure above her seems to show that they share the same feeling, which is one of sorrow. But why should spirits grieve at receiving a companion from the land of the living? The question is not easy to answer. We may observe that in all scenes of this kind, when these little sprites are introduced, they are in the same attitude. The lamentations of the living seem always to awake a responsive echo in their breasts.

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After the laying out, πρόθεσις, came the ἐκφορά, or burial. Early in the morning the body was taken, decked and clad{5} as it was, and laid on a wagon, or on a bier to be carried on the shoulders of friends. A procession was formed, including near friends, musicians, hired wailing-women, and others who carried the vessels needed for the last sad rites. To the modern visitor in Greece none of the existing customs is more striking than that of bearing to the grave bodies decked out and painted, and looking more like wax images from Tussaud’s than the actual relics of humanity.

Several monuments of the early period present us with representations of the ἐκφορά so clear that we can judge with certainty even of its details. Of these the earliest are vases of the eighth century from the Dipylon cemetery. One engraved in the Monumenti of the Roman Institute[4] clearly represents the funeral of a distinguished chief. The body lies on the top of a lofty bier, supported by four columns, which again is carried on a car drawn by two horses. Immediately behind the car come the relatives: and it is accompanied by long strings of mourners, who are depicted in the childish fashion of the art of the time as alike naked. The women are distinguished by the breast merely, the men by swords which they carry at the waist. The geese which seem to follow the procession are only inserted to fill up vacant spaces in the design; since there is nothing to which the early vase-painter objects more strongly than leaving any part of the ground without figures. On another contemporary vase, published on the same plate, is a scene of πρόθεσις; the corpse on its bier is surrounded by mourners, who seem to be sprinkling it with lustral water. These glimpses into the daily life of pre-historic Athens are very attractive; and the life which they reveal differs but little from that of the historic Athens of the Persian wars.

An archaic terra-cotta, here engraved (Fig. 3)[5], gives us a vivid representation of the appearance of the funeral cortége.{6}

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The corpse is placed on a car drawn by two horses. It is accompanied by a woman who bears on her head a jar of wine for the funeral libations, and by two wailing-women who tear their hair as they walk. Behind, comes a bearded flute-player, and two young men, doubtless the next of kin. A vase of the sixth century, which also we engrave (Fig. 4), represents a comparatively modest funeral[6]. The arrival at the tomb is depicted. The dead man, whose face is uncovered, lies{7} on a bier drawn by two asses. The procession resembles that of the last representation; the flute-player, who wears a long white robe, and the next of kin follow the bier; of the wailing-women, two are perched on the funeral wagon, other two stand in front of the grave, which appears as a square erection to the right. The cock who is to form part of the offerings to the dead stands between two trees which mark the graveyard.

Such was the actual prosaic procession to the grave. But the artists who painted the white Athenian lekythi, vessels especially made to be placed in the tomb[7], preferred in their representations of funerals to take refuge in the realm of imagery and fancy. For the actual carriage of the body to the place of burial they substitute a poetic fiction. When in the battles before Troy, Sarpedon fell beneath the spear of Patroclus, we are told in the Iliad that the gods took charge of his body which the foeman had despoiled[8].

To Phoebus then his Father spake
Who drives the clouds along,
‘Dear Phoebus go, Sarpedon find
Amid the battle throng,
From purple gore his body lave;
Then bear him far away,
And wash him in the flowing stream,
And in ambrosia lay;
With garments clothe that wax not old,
And let the winged pair,
The brethren Sleep and Death, from thence
His body swiftly bear
To wealthy Lycia’s goodly land,
Where kinsmen shall be fain
To heap the mound and set the stone,
The guerdon of the slain.’

It is thoroughly in accord with the spirit of Greek art that it should have welcomed and dwelt on the idea thus{8} suggested by the epic poet. Greek painters and sculptors, like Greek dramatists and lyric poets, loved above all things to escape from the prosaic details of actual life into the ideal world of myth and fancy, into the language of which they translated the facts of every-day existence. On a very beautiful red-figured vase, ascribed to Euphronius, is represented the bearing away of Sarpedon’s dead body by Sleep and Death, Sleep being a benign daemon with yellow hair, Death a dark-haired being of more forbidding aspect[9]. And after the precedent furnished by Sarpedon, Sleep and Death have been introduced into scenes on other Greek vases, wherein the body is not that of any ancient hero, but of an ordinary citizen. We give an example from an Attic white lekythos[10] (Fig. 5). The dead body, the eyes of which are not closed in death, is that of a girl, who is borne to the resting-place indicated by a sepulchral stele by two winged figures, of whom the bearded one is doubtless Death and the younger, or beardless, Sleep. The god Hermes, as conductor of souls, is present to preside at the deposition at the tomb.

The twin brethren Sleep and Death belong to poetry rather than to real belief. And it is the bodies, not the spirits, of the dead which they bear to the last resting-place. Other Athenian lekythi represent the journey of the soul to the land of shades, under the guidance of Hermes or in the boat of Charon. With these pictures I will deal in the third chapter, which treats of Greek beliefs as to the future life. Meantime we must follow the funeral procession to the cemetery.

In the Homeric age the bodies of fallen chiefs were burned with much ceremony, and funeral games celebrated at their tombs. The classical instance is the burning of the body of{9}

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Patroclus in the Iliad. But even at that time it is doubtful whether so expensive a method of disposing of the body was at all universal. In historical times, as may be abundantly proved from ancient writers and from existing remains, the customs of burning and of burying flourished together. Distinguished and wealthy men commonly had their funeral pyres, but the bodies of the Kings of Sparta, for example, when they died abroad, were embalmed and carried home for burial, instead of being burned. In various cemeteries of Greece we find sometimes the one custom most prevalent and sometimes the other. It is unnecessary in the present place to go beyond this general statement. When the body was buried, it was not, save very rarely, placed in a sarcophagus of stone,{10} but far more commonly in a hole in the rock; or a grave was dug in the soil and a small chamber constructed of slabs of stone or terra-cotta. In case of burning, a pyre of wood was erected in or near the cemetery, and after the flames had burned themselves out, the human ashes, which are readily to be distinguished, were carefully and piously collected and placed in a vessel of bronze or of earthenware, which might either be buried or preserved in some hallowed spot in the house.

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A late vase of Canusium[11] furnishes us with a representation of the pyre of Patroclus, and of the sacrifices which according to Homer were performed at it (Fig. 6). In the midst is the pyre of great logs, on which is heaped the armour of Patroclus. This detail shows, we may observe, how free are even the later vase-painters in their treatment of Homeric scenes, for Patroclus’ armour, which Hector had carried off, is not mentioned{11} in the Iliad as being placed on his pyre. While Agamemnon pours a libation to the soul of the dead hero, Achilles plunges his sword into the neck of one of the Trojan captives, while the rest sit by, awaiting their fate. The inscription beneath, ΠΑΤΡΟΚΛΟΥ ΤΑΦΟΣ makes the identification certain.

It does not appear that among the Greeks there were any regular ceremonies as an accompaniment of burial, any ritual of prayer or dedication. When a public funeral took place it is true that an oration was delivered at the grave; we have record of orations pronounced by Pericles and Demosthenes over those who had fallen in battle on various occasions. Sometimes also there was a funeral feast at the tomb. But in ordinary cases the mourners seem to have returned immediately after the burial to partake of the funeral feast at the house of a near relative or heir of the deceased, who was himself regarded as the host on the occasion. By thus eating and drinking with the dead, the survivors entered into a kind of sacred communion with him; speeches were made in his honour, and libations poured from the cups of which in ghostly fashion he might partake.{12}



No Greek custom constituted a larger part of religious cultus than did the offerings to the dead. And no custom is more frequently portrayed on ancient vases. Such offerings did not begin merely with the funeral, but even earlier.

According to the beliefs of most barbarous or semi-barbarous races, the dead have needs and desires as imperious as those of the living. Indeed, the life of the next world is regarded as in the main a ghostly continuation of previous existence, a life marked by the same habits and requirements as that which men live on earth. But, as the dead man is less materialist in his needs, his wants may be supplied at smaller cost and in less completeness.

In many primitive countries we find the dead man living in his tomb as he had lived in his house, the tomb being often a copy of the house. There he treasures the goods which were buried with him, and there he receives the constant homage and frequent gifts of his descendants.

In Greece, as far back as we can trace burial customs, it was usual to deal liberally with chiefs and warriors when they went to their last resting-place. Indeed, the further back we go, the greater seems to have been the liberality. The richest graves yet discovered in Greece are those of the pre-historic rulers of Mycenae, spoiled by Dr. Schliemann in 1877. In these sepulchres were found treasures sufficient{13} to stock a great museum—armour and ornaments of gold, swords and arrows, drinking-cups and sceptres, every kind of object in which the wealth of semi-barbarous chiefs is commonly displayed. In the historic age the profusion is less marked, but we yet find abundant proofs of the survival of the custom of fully equipping the dead for their existence in the world of shades. Mingled with human bones are sometimes those of horses and dogs, slain to accompany their master, sometimes those of flesh and fowl brought to him for food. Vessels for holding food and wine and oil are among the ordinary equipment of the tomb, lamps are very common, and jewelry and coins in which the thickness of the gold is reduced to that of paper shows the gradual growth of the belief that it is safe to cheat the dead. Ladies take with them to their graves their mirrors and the vessels which contained rouge and other necessaries of the toilet.

In later Greek graves terra-cotta plays a large part. Not only are vessels of this cheap material substituted for the golden or bronze vases and cups of early graves, but also loaves and animals of terra-cotta take the place of more genuine food. And terra-cotta images, sometimes of deities but more often apparently of mere human beings, are laid up in store by the corpse, each being broken, perhaps to render it unfit for the possession of the living. An engraving of a child’s coffin with its contents, which I reproduce from Stackelberg[12] (Fig. 7), will give some idea of the abundant contents of the richer Greek tombs. The symmetrical arrangement of the various vases and of the terra-cotta images is noteworthy; and as parts only of a human skeleton are present, it seems that in this case the body was not placed complete in the coffin, but only the{14} skull, the shin-bones, and other parts of a corpse which had been for the most part disposed of in some other way.

I have been present at excavations at Terranova in Sicily, on which site the resting-places of the dead are formed of several slabs of terra-cotta. Around the skeletons are heaped vases, most commonly of the lekythos form, with occasional coins and other antiquities. But it would be a long task to give anything like a satisfactory account of the contents of tombs in various parts of the Greek world. Every district or city follows its own customs in the matter.

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We turn to the sacrifices brought to the tomb. While the burial was taking place, the friends of the deceased threw into the grave terra-cotta figures, vases and the like, breaking them as they threw them. Such at least is the usage traced by Messrs. Pottier and Reinach at Myrina, and they observe that proofs of the existence of a similar custom have been found at Tanagra and Kertch[13]. Libations would take place{15} at the same time from the vessels carried to the tomb for the purpose, as well as afterwards at the funeral feast.

Thenceforward at set seasons sacrifices were offered at the tomb. These seasons were, the third day after burial, τρίτα, the ninth day, ἔνατα, the thirtieth day, which came at the end of the mourning, besides the νεκύσια or general feast of the dead, corresponding to the All Souls’ Day of the Middle Ages, and the γενέσια or birthday of the deceased[14]. And such sacrifices were also made at irregular times, when any portent or significant dream made the survivors suppose that their ancestors were displeased with them. At the beginning of the Choëphori of Aeschylus, of the Electra of Sophocles, and of the Electra of Euripides, mention is made of sacrifices at the tomb of Agamemnon, offered by Clytemnestra in consequence of a dream, which had disturbed her mind. In the Iphigeneia in Tauris of Euripides, Iphigeneia prepares, also in obedience to a dream, to sacrifice to the spirit of her brother Orestes, whom she supposes to be dead.

These passages from the great dramatists exhibit the Athenian custom of the fifth century B.C. How late this custom lasted in Greece may be shown from the language of Lucian, in the second century A.D. Speaking with contempt of the popular beliefs, he writes[15]: ‘People fancy that souls rising from below dine as they can, flitting about the smell and the steam, and drink the honeyed draught from the trench.’ Again, in another place[16], Lucian writes: ‘The shades are nourished by our libations, and by the offerings at the tomb; so that those who have no friend or relative left on earth, live foodless and famished among the rest.’

The offerings brought to the dead were of a simpler and{16} less sumptuous character than those dedicated to the gods. Through Greek history they tended to become less costly. In the Iliad Achilles sacrifices to the spirit of Patroclus not only horses and dogs, oxen and sheep, but also twelve Trojan prisoners. At the taking of Troy, according to the legend, Polyxena was sacrificed on the tomb of Achilles. Not only did the custom of sending slaves to attend a dead chief, and horses for him to ride, die out, but the food of the dead became much less solid than beef and mutton. The laws of Solon forbade the sacrifice of oxen to the dead[17]. As late as the sixth century, an inscription of Ceos[18] speaks of sacrifice at tombs according to the old ritual; but after that time more serious sacrifices were reserved for actual heroes and exceptional tombs. A black ox, for example, was annually offered to the heroes of Plataea down to the time of Plutarch[19], with wreaths and fillets. Ordinary souls had to be content with something much simpler; cakes and flowers, with wine, honey, and milk, sometimes a fowl or a few eggs, sufficed for their somewhat ethereal needs. But in early, and still more in later times, the survivors would sometimes try to show their respect, in exceptional cases, by a great display of grief and by costly sacrifices.

Excavations sometimes reveal to us traces not merely of presents brought to the dead, but of actual sacrifices made to them. For example, when the mound which covered the bodies of those who fell at Marathon was recently excavated[20], traces were found in broken vessels and animals’ bones of the feast held by the survivors at the time of the burial, as well as a trench cut to receive offerings, and considerable masses of ashes, dating no doubt from the yearly sacrifices which in the month of Boedromion the people of Athens{17} offered in gratitude to the heroes who had first dared to look the Mede in the face.

In historic Greece there were recognized heroes of every grade of dignity and importance. A few, such as Amphiaraus and Trophonius, rivalled the gods in their functions, in the number of their worshippers, and the splendour of their shrines. Others, such as Aeacus at Aegina, and Jason at Pherae, were venerated as semi-divine progenitors and supernatural defenders of the cities against all enemies. Others, such as Pelops at Olympia, and Hyacinthus at Amyclae, had tombs in close connexion with some of the most frequented and highly appreciated shrines of the Greek world. But beside these more dignified members of the clan of heroes there stood many whose influence and whose worship belonged only to a locality, to a clan, or a family. The Dorians in particular[21], like all conservative races, carried the worship of deceased parents and ancestors to the furthest point. But all over Greece there were small heroa or chapels belonging to families, the cultus of which was merely an extension of the worship which made sacred the domestic hearth. In modern cemeteries, and more especially in those of France, the tombs are frequently adorned with wreaths of real or artificial flowers, with crosses and designs of beadwork or with religious pictures. So in Greece it was usual to see in the neighbourhood of the tombs of those who had recently passed away, or who had left behind them many friends, the traces of libations, wreaths of flowers, sashes of various colours, even pieces of armour or other more solid gifts which were protected against theft by the sacred character of the spot.

Serious sacrifices to the dead are, as we shall see in a future chapter, a frequent subject of votive tablets and even of actual sepulchral reliefs. The lighter and less solemn offerings to{18} the dead are commonly depicted on white Attic lekythi, which were specially made to be placed in graves, and which take their subjects from that use.

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The simplest of these vase-paintings consist merely of representations of a gravestone, bound with sashes or with wreaths, on either side of which stands a survivor, male or female, holding a basket, wreaths, a sash, or the like. In our example (Fig. 8)[22] from a vase of Eretria in the Museum of Athens, the stele is truncated by a licence in drawing, but the relief on it, a woman seated on a chair and holding out a bunch of grapes to a seated boy, is similar to many of the groups in our plates. A mirror is represented as hung on the wall: this no doubt stands for a part of the marble relief.{19} On one side of the stele stands a young man leaning on a staff, who seems to be directing a maiden who stands on the other side, where she shall place two wreaths which she carries. Our engraving makes no attempt to reproduce the brilliant colouring of the original, in which the dresses of the seated lady of the relief and the standing girl who ministers at the tomb are bright red, the garment of the youth brown, and the hair of all the figures a golden brown. In some of these scenes, the stele is hung with more serious offerings than flowers: sometimes a lekythos is suspended from the top or placed on the steps: in some cases, a sword is slung round it by means of a baldric[23]. Sometimes the attendant girls bring elaborate toilet-vases and flasks of oil.

By a curious convention, often the dead person is introduced into the scene, seated on the steps of the basis which supports the sepulchral slab, between the two ministrants. In one case[24] a lady thus seated holds on her finger two little birds, perhaps an indication of a sacrifice, ‘a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons.’ On other vases she holds an oil-flask or a toilet-vase. Sometimes, especially if the person represented be a man, he holds a lyre[25]. In our example (Fig. 9) of this curious scheme, a ghost is seen flitting through the air, and one of the attendants brings a little bird. The precise meaning of the lyre has been doubted. M. Pottier thinks that it represents music played before the dead, as part of their cultus. But this, of course, assumes the seated person to be a survivor, and we shall presently show this view to be untenable. It is, however, well known that to be able to play on the lyre as it passed from hand to hand at banquets was part of the training of the Athenian gentleman. It may well seem then that the musical employment of the dead man is merely an{20} instance of the general rule that the Athenians loved to represent their dead in some employment which had been a favourite and characteristic one when they lived. And this view is confirmed by the occurrence on an early stele of the figure in relief of a man carrying a lyre[26].

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That the seated personage who plays the lyre if a man, or who if a woman holds a tray of offerings or a lekythos, is not a survivor but a dead person, may be readily shown by a comparison of certain vase-paintings. For an example we may take two lekythi figured on one plate[27] in the Sabouroff Collection. On one of these is represented a young man seated beside a stele, playing on a lyre which he holds, while an attendant girl brings him a sash or fillet. On the other the stele is absent, and the scene, which is given in the text{21}

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(Fig. 10), seems one taken from daily life. A lady, fully draped, is seated on a chair; in her lap rests a flat box containing sashes; a maid-servant comes to her holding a smaller box with open lid, probably a casket of jewelry. This last scene is closely like many of the Attic sepulchral reliefs[28], and the artist who painted it can scarcely have had in his mind any other intention than that of representing a lady who had died. The former scene must be of parallel significance; and the{22} man seated with the lyre can scarcely be other than the proprietor of the stele beside which he sits.

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We add, from a late vase in the British Museum[29], a very interesting sepulchral group (Fig. 11). The tomb is in the form of a pillar with acanthus ornament at the base, resting on a flat slab or table[30]. This latter is heaped up with vases and sashes, the gifts of survivors. Among these gifts stands a female figure in sorrowful attitude, either a statue of the deceased, or more probably herself in spiritual presence. On one side a man raises his hand in greeting or adoration, on the other approaches a girl bearing some offering.{23}



The group of vase-paintings with which we dealt in the last chapter raises a curious question. In all, or almost all, of them the locality is clearly implied by the presence of a stele in the background. The offerings which they represent were made, it seems, at the tomb itself. Is it not, however, a strange thing that wealthy and educated Athenians should suppose the souls of the dead to have nothing better to do than to rest beside the tomb, and there await the offerings of survivors? Did they not believe in a region of the dead, a kingdom of Hades, where the bad were punished and the good received the recompense of their merits? And if so, how could the souls of the departed be at the same time in Hades, and in the neighbourhood of the graveyard? In order to find a solution for these difficulties we must give some account of the views of ordinary Greeks, at different periods of the national history, in regard to the life after death, and the condition of the departed.

We must begin our examination of Greek belief as to the future life by turning to the Homeric poems. The outlines of the psychical doctrine which these contain has been traced with masterly hand by Dr. Erwin Rohde[31], whose conclusions{24} agree well with all that we have of late learned from history and archaeology as to the Homeric age and literature.

It is only superficial theorizing which will find in the Homeric poems the ordinary barbaric views as to the nature of the soul and the future life. Primitive elements there may be in the Homeric beliefs on these subjects; but these primitive elements are mostly of the nature of a survival. The Homeric poems belong to a race of singular gifts and remarkable intellectual capacity, a small clan or aristocracy which had by the force of inborn genius penetrated to views in all matters of practical wisdom which must be considered decidedly advanced. Like the Vedas of India and the Zend Avesta, the Iliad and the Odyssey are the flowers of special developments of civilization, of the culture of pure-blooded clans, which had worked their way forward, amid surrounding barbarism, to a comparatively civilized survey of the world and of mankind.

The notion which is the common property of barbarous peoples, that the dead dwell among the living, and constantly interfere for good and for evil in their affairs, that they must be appeased by constant sacrifices and receive their share of all increase,—this notion has indeed left traces in the Homeric poems, but they are slight. It rather shows through the psychology of Homer than regulates or inspires it.

The intellectual aristocracy of Homer has in this matter a strong bias towards scepticism. It is really remarkable how nearly the Homeric theories of the soul correspond with the facts recorded by that cautious and sceptical body of inquirers, the Psychical Society.

The psyche to Homer is not in the least like the Christian soul, but is a shadowy double of the man, wanting alike in force and in wisdom. It has no midriff, but lives as dreams live; appearing to the living in visions, sleeping or waking, but without power. While the body of a dead man remains{25} unburnt or unburied, his ghost wanders about the place of death: when the body has received due meed of funeral rites, the spirit departs to the land of shades, never to return, nor to vex the survivors.

The realm of Hades appears in the more antique parts of the poems of Homer as a land where shades dwell under the rulership of King Hades and august Persephone, living a life which is a sort of reflex and corollary of the past. Orion, the mighty hunter, still pursues in that land the spectres of wild beasts over the meadows of asphodel. Agamemnon still deplores his sad fate, Ajax will not be reconciled to his enemy Odysseus, Achilles lives on the memory of his past exploits, and rates the life of the greatest heroes in Hades as beneath that of the meanest serving-man on earth. Even these shadowy passions do not stir the hearts of the dead until they have drunk of the blood of the sacrifice, and their vital force is thus in some degree renewed. To Teiresias alone, says Circe, has Persephone granted that even after death he shall have living sense, while the rest flit like shadows.

It is quite clear that this view, which removes the dead to Hades, and deprives them of all sense and power, is not to be reconciled with some of the customs of Homeric cultus, especially with the offering of victims, animal and human, at the tombs of heroes. This, however, is not strange: cultus has infinitely greater power of persistence among men than mere speculative beliefs; and among peoples of all religions we find a want of harmony between the religious belief and the religious custom which needs explanation. Homer does not fear the dead; but the burial customs described in his poems must have arisen at a time when the dead were greatly feared, and regarded as meddlesome in human affairs.

And this marked inconsistency which we find in the Homeric age persists throughout Greek history. The customs of the cultus of the dead are, as we have seen, persistent among all{26} Greek tribes, though more fully appreciated by some than others, and remain in force down to the very decline of Paganism. But at the same time speculation as to the world of spirits and the condition of the departed went on, on lines almost independent of custom and cultus. If the dead were safe in Hades they could not also live in their tombs; why then take offerings thither? If their life was the life of dreams and of shadows, why did they need food, both animal and vegetable, and abundant drink? This is sufficiently obvious to us. Yet Greek belief in all ages must have found some means of reconciling theory and cultus, and of preventing the course of speculation as to the state of the departed from interfering with the practical piety of the worship of ancestors.

We are able to follow, at all events in outline, the gradual development of the belief in Hades among the Greeks. The voyage of Odysseus to Hades in the Odyssey, whatever may be its date (a somewhat doubtful point), shows us that belief at a very early and incomplete stage. The main interest of the author of the Odyssey is evidently to give a glimpse at the later fortunes of some of the principal personages of the Iliad; though with this he includes a curious vision of fair women, Tyro, Alcmena, and Leda and the like. He accomplishes his purpose by taking the widely wandering Odysseus to Hades under the pretext that he will there learn how best he may win back to his native Ithaca. To Homer Hades is not, as in later belief, situated beneath our feet. Odysseus has to reach it by sailing to the confines of the ocean, to the land of the Cimmerians, enveloped in mist and cloud, where the bright rays of the sun do not shine. When he reaches the groves of poplar and willow, amid which flow the rivers Acheron and Pyriphlegethon and Cocytus, he digs a trench, and makes sacrifices to the dead, offering libations and barley-cakes, and slaying a ram in honour of Teiresias. No sooner is this done than the spirits of the dead begin to flock about him, and{27} those whom he permits to drink of the blood of his sacrifice can answer his questions and inform him of their fate. The only class of persons whom Homer represents as punished in Hades are perjurers, perhaps because their punishment on earth was so problematic. But a few noted criminals of legend, such as Tityus and Tantalus, are also represented as undergoing a chronic punishment.

Hades, however, is by no means the only dwelling-place of souls known to the authors of the Homeric poems. Every scholar is familiar with the beautiful lines in which Proteus foretells the future destiny of Menelaus[32].

In Argos’ horse-abounding plain
To die is not thy fate,
O Menelaus, there for thee
No mortal chances wait.
Thee shall the immortals far away
To earth’s remotest end,
Where fair-haired Rhadamanthys dwells
In Plains Elysian, send.
There life flows on in easy course,
There never snow nor rain
Nor winter tempests vex the land;
But Ocean sends amain
Fresh Zephyr breezes breathing shrill
To cool the untroubled life.
There dwell, since thou art kin to Zeus,
And Helen is thy wife.

In dealing with the Homeric poems we can never escape the difficulties as to chronology and genuineness which at present envelop the whole Homeric question, on its literary side, like a thick mist. Dr. Rohde thinks that this passage is of later date than that which describes the voyage to Hades of Odysseus. The last line has a curious ring. Menelaus is to be rescued from the common fate, not for any virtue or merit of his own, but because he is the son-in-law of Zeus.{28} We are reminded of the still more aristocratic belief of certain existing races of barbarians, who think that a happy state in the future life is reserved for the chiefs and those of high lineage.

According to the Cyclic Poets, the Islands of the Blessed were destined not for Menelaus only, but for others of the heroes who fought at Troy. In the Aethiopis, Eos (the Dawn) is allowed not merely to bear away her dead son Memnon, as Sarpedon had been borne away by Sleep and Death, but to awake him again to an immortal life. In the same poem, Thetis is represented as carrying off the body of Achilles from the funeral pyre, and transporting it over the sea to a new life in the island of Leuce, the white island, which popular fancy placed in the Euxine sea. In the Works and Days of Hesiod all the godlike heroes who fought at Troy are said to dwell still in the Islands of the Blessed. Odysseus after his death was said to have been translated to the island of Aeaea. And an Athenian drinking-song of about B.C. 500 tells how Harmodius and Aristogeiton, who slew the Tyrant and restored liberty to the Athenians, are not dead but dwell in the Happy Isles with Diomedes and swift-footed Achilles.

It may be doubted how far the Islands of the Blessed, the Elysian Fields, and the Realm of Hades are really distinct in Homeric geography. All seem to be reached by a voyage across the sea in the direction of the setting sun. Subsequent poets, however, gradually determine and map out the land of the dead. It is a conjecture, the truth of which is more than probable, that the great teacher of the lore of the future world was Orphism.

Orphism is one of the most important, but at the same time one of the most obscure phases of ancient religion. The original documents of the sect have perished, and forgeries have taken their place. It is only by putting together a number of occurrences, and collecting phenomena from all quarters,{29} that we are able even to conjecture the tenets and observances of the Orphists; yet it seems certain that they exercised a deep and long-continued influence on the development of religion in Greece. We first clearly trace their activity in the sixth century B.C., when Onomacritus, a contemporary of Peisistratus at Athens, committed to writing much of their lore, and when Pythagoras attempted to found among the Greek cities of Southern Italy something like an Orphic church. Yet from what we learn as to Orphism, we see that it must contain elements handed down from a barbaric and primitive state of religion. It was essentially mystic and ecstatic in character. Zagreus, who was a form of Dionysus, was the principal object of Orphic worship,—the young god who was torn to pieces by the wicked hands of Titans, but restored to life by the favour of Zeus and Athena. By mystic communion with Zagreus, who was regarded as the ruler of the dead, the votary escaped from the trammels of the flesh, became pure and chaste, and fit for a nobler existence hereafter. Of course, in this religion, as in all, mere ritual tended to encroach on the religion of conduct; it was supposed by many that a mere partaking in mysterious rites would secure for them a favourable reception in the world of shades, and a verdict of acquittal from the stern judges of the dead.

It is certain, as I have already observed, that this ecstatic form of religion contains primitive elements. Anthropology has informed us that the wizard or medicine-man among savage tribes commonly acquires and retains his influence by means of trances or ecstasies, in which he professes to be inspired by the spirits of the dead. This is the original germ whence all ecstatic religion takes its rise; though, of course, it may reach a high moral level under some circumstances, and tend greatly to the help and elevation of mankind. What was the precise ethical level of the Orphic religion it is very hard to say.{30}

However, we are at present concerned only with one aspect of Orphism—its lore as to the world of spirits. It is believed that this lore gradually works its way into current literature and art. After we leave the Homeric age, the next important landmark in the history of Hades is to be found in the great painting of Polygnotus in the Leschè or arcade of Delphi. Of this picture we possess so careful and detailed a description from the pen of Pausanias[33] that a skilled archaeologist, Professor Robert, has succeeded, with the help of certain vase-paintings of Polygnotan style, in restoring, figure for figure, the whole composition, with a sureness of hand which may well surprise those who do not realize the degree in which the scientific methods of archaeology have been developed in recent years.

In the upper part of the picture is a group which is almost a transcript from the Odyssey: Odysseus sword in hand over his trench, the unburied Elpenor behind him in sailor’s dress, and Teiresias and Anticleia approaching to hold converse with him. But this group seems somewhat apart from the rest of the scene, which is composed of elements mostly foreign to the Homeric circle of ideas. On the left is the river Acheron, full of reeds and peopled with shadowy fish; on which floats the bark of the ferryman Charon, who is taking to their last home the spirits of a man and a girl. Pausanias observes that Polygnotus has borrowed Charon from the epic poem called the Minyas, in which the voyage to Hades of Theseus and Peirithous was narrated. Whencesoever Charon may have originally come, he certainly held a great place in the beliefs of the later Greeks. The obol, his fee, was sometimes placed in the mouth of the dead. In later writers, such as Virgil and Lucian, he is very prominent. Some of the sepulchral lekythi, of which I have spoken already, furnish us with a representation of the River of Death and the boat of Charon. One here{31}

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copied (Fig. 12) from a vase at Athens[34], presents a most curious scene. Charon, a being of traditional ugliness, clad in sailor’s cap and short chiton, drives his boat to the bank by means of a pole. He is awaited by a girl who bears in her hands her favourite bird, a goose, while a box for the toilet rests on a rock, and near it sits a young child. This flitting to the world of shades has quite a domestic aspect: it seems that Charon was expected to convey not only passengers, but also as baggage the offerings brought to them at the tomb. Sometimes the boat of Charon appears in these vase-paintings in close proximity to the stele of the grave; and the dead wait for him on the{32} steps of the stele[35]. On another vase, Hermes, with herald’s staff, leads the soul down to the edge of the river[36].

It is a well-known fact, though one not easy to explain, that Charon, under the form Charuns, figures as the messenger of death in several of the mural paintings of Etruscan tombs. He is there depicted as a hideous monster, with hooked nose, sometimes winged, wielding an axe, and entwined with serpents. That the mild and quiet Charon of the Greeks should have his counterpart in a fierce and deformed daemon in the more monstrous pantheon of Etruria is quite natural; but it is less clear whence the Greeks and Etruscans originally borrowed their respective divinities.

We must, however, resume our description of the picture of Polygnotus. About the entrance of Hades cluster the transgressors whose punishment is eternal. They are very few in number: the parricide, the temple-robber, and such noted personages of legend as Tityus, who is devoured by a vulture after the fashion of Prometheus. Next we reach a group of fair women, who must indeed have been delightful creations under the hands of the most dignified and majestic of all painters—Ariadne and Tyro, Procris and Chloris. For some who had to be punished a most gentle meed of punishment is provided. Phaedra in her lifetime, as is well known, was inspired with a disastrous passion for her stepson Hippolytus, and after his death she went and hanged herself. In the painting of Polygnotus, as Pausanias observes, ‘Phaedra is borne through the air on a swing, and holds the ropes on each side in her hands: this attitude, in spite of the extreme gentleness of the allusion, refers to the manner of her death.’ Near the group of women Theseus and Peirithous are seated. They had dared, with overweening impiety, to make their way into Hades, in order to carry off Persephone, Queen of the{33} Shades. But they were made prisoners by the nether powers and kept in chains. Such a fate for heroes of the race of the gods naturally seemed to Polygnotus too harsh. In his picture they merely keep their seats. So Virgil writes, ‘Sedet aeternumque sedebit infelix Theseus.’ Pausanias quotes Panyasis, a late Epic poet, to the effect that Theseus and Peirithous on their seats did not appear to be prisoners, but really the rock grew to their flesh in the place of bonds. But Polygnotus was content with a mere hint: in his painting nothing indicated either bondage or torture. Near by are Cameiro and Clytie, daughters of Pandareus. In the Odyssey Penelope tells how they were carried away by the fierce storm-winds and given to the hateful Erinnyes. But Polygnotus will know nothing of the Erinnyes. He merely represents the girls as crowned with flowers and playing with astragali or knuckle-bones. The storm-winds seem to have done them little harm.

Presently we come to the central part of the picture. It is occupied by the grove of Persephone, represented in the sparing fashion of Greek painting by a single tree, under which sits Orpheus, his lyre in his hands. No doubt we have here the key to the picture. Orpheus is the central figure of the whole. To Polygnotus he is not merely a departed hero, but priest and hierophant. The song which he sings is the mystic song of immortality. About him there cluster the heroes who fought at Troy: on the one side Agamemnon, Protesilaus, Achilles, Patroclus; on the other, Hector, Paris, Memnon, Sarpedon, and Penthesileia, queen of the Amazons. Paris makes love to Penthesileia, who looks back at him with contempt. The Greek and Trojan heroes may fight again their battles in memory; but peace has fallen on them, and they no longer wish to wield the lance. We need not dwell on other groups: Palamedes and Thersites busy with the dice; Thamyris, who had once challenged the Muses, seated in dejection over his broken lyre; the strange apparition of Marsyas,{34} who teaches the boy Olympus to play the flute; and many others.

Towards the right end of the painting we again find punishments of a kind going forward. Sisyphus heaves his rock up the hill. Tantalus stands up to the chest in water which he may not drink, and clutches at fruit which eludes his grasp. These punishments had already been mentioned in the Odyssey; Polygnotus adds a rock, which hangs over the head of the sufferer, ever threatening to fall, but never falling. There appears also a great cask set in the earth, which it is the fate of an approaching train ever to try to fill with water from broken water-vessels. This was, according to tradition, the allotted task of the fifty daughters of Danaus, who had all save one in one night slain their husbands. But Polygnotus followed a different account: he calls the approaching men and women merely ἀμύητοι, uninitiated. Pausanias observes that they must be those who held in contempt the sacred mysteries of Eleusis; but this does not seem to be the meaning. They are ordinary persons, men and women who did not necessarily sin overtly against the Mysteries, but merely neglected to avail themselves of the ‘means of grace’ offered them by the hierophants of Eleusis, and suffer in the next world for their carelessness or obstinacy.

The general tone of the painting of Polygnotus bears a close resemblance to that of the sepulchral reliefs which we shall describe in this book. This is the less curious, when we consider that the sculptors of the reliefs were of that Attic school of sculpture which took so much of its character from Polygnotus. In spirit also the painting is like the Homeric poems, when they deal with the future life. The cultivated Greek mind looked for little bliss in the world to come, except such as could come from the reunion of friends and families, and the memory of past deeds. Still less did it look for future punishments. These were ordinarily reserved for the{35} noted criminals of legend. The only classes which Polygnotus seems to have thought in any peril were the parricides, the temple-robbers, and the uninitiated. He seems to have thought that spirits were of the stuff of which dreams are made, and passed an existence of quiet and gentle melancholy, of which the worst feature was its exposure to tedium.

There do not appear in the picture of Polygnotus, as in some paintings which we must presently consider, any malignant beings to act as the police of the under-world. Not even Cerberus appears. The only spirit of inauspicious type who is seen is Eurynomus. Pausanias says[37]: ‘The interpreters at Delphi say that Eurynomus is one of the spirits that dwell in Hades, and that his office is to devour the bodies of the dead, leaving only their bones.’ Eurynomus does not appear, adds Pausanias, in Homer nor in the Cyclic poets. The daemon shows his teeth, and is seated on the skin of a vulture. Probably it was from the facts just mentioned that the interpreters at Delphi deduced the function of Eurynomus. But their opinion goes for little, and the name Eurynomus has nothing to do with the decay of the flesh. In the time of Polygnotus it was usually fire rather than decay which made away with the bodies of the dead. This daemon, who was possibly an archaic form of Hades himself, remains then unexplained. At any rate, we have no right to regard him as a punisher of souls. The punishments of Hades, according to Polygnotus, seem to go on by some law, without present enforcement.

With the Hades of Polygnotus we must compare that which is depicted on a class of large amphorae which come to us from Apulia in Italy. I have engraved (Fig. 13) a fair specimen of these vase-paintings, which are all closely alike, from a vase of Canusium[38].{36}

Here in the centre we have, in place of the sacred grove of Persephone, the palace of Hades and his Queen. He is seated, and holds a long sceptre; she carries a torch. The palace has not unnaturally taken the form of a chapel of the deities; the wheels hung up in the background seem to be votive offerings. The motive of the whole picture is curiously twofold. Two visits to Hades, which really took place at quite different times, are depicted as going on together, the quest of Orpheus for his lost Eurydice, and the attempt of Herakles to carry off the dog Cerberus and to rescue his friend Theseus.

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Orpheus stands, lyre in hand, before the chapel of the nether deities. He is clad in the variegated embroidered robes of the Orientals, with sleeves down to the wrists and{37} a Phrygian tiara. In the painting of Polygnotus Orpheus was, as Pausanias expressly states, clad in the ordinary Greek dress. Later art rejoiced in the picturesque costume of the Persians and Phrygians: and the Thracian home of Orpheus allowed artists to consider him as belonging to a semi-Greek, Anatolian race. Orpheus is evidently using his art to persuade Hades to restore Eurydice, and that dread deity seems, from the position of his uplifted right hand, to be addressing him; but Eurydice, in this as in most of the vase-paintings, is wanting; a curious fact, which may indicate that the motive of the quest of Orpheus was originally something different. It seems indeed, as will appear clearly later, that the vase-painter combines without much skill or purpose groups taken from the works of older and more thoughtful artists.

In the lowest line Herakles struggles with Cerberus, around whose three necks he has fastened a chain. Hermes, who carries a herald’s staff, points out to his brother the road to the upper air, and urges departure. A more terrifying figure behind Herakles also gives cause for haste. One of the Poenae or Furies, a female servant of Hades, wearing hunting-boots and holding over her arm a leopard’s skin, advances with a torch to defend the realm of the dead against rash invaders. In the upper line, on the right, a similar figure, with drawn sword, guards the captives whom Herakles has come to release. Peirithous sits and cannot rise, but Theseus is standing; so far as he is concerned, the attempt of the invincible Herakles is successful, and he is allowed to return to earth.

The other groups which make up the picture have no special connexion either with Orpheus or with Herakles, and are introduced merely to complete the picture of Hades. On some of these under-world vases the names are written over the various persons, so that we can identify them with{38} ease and certainty. In the upper line to the left is Megara, the wife of Herakles, and the two children of hers whom their father slew in a fit of madness. They stand near a spring-house, where water flows from a lion’s-head fountain. Drops of blood still stand on their breasts. Why they alone should thus bear in Hades the marks of mortal calamity we cannot say; nor indeed why they should appear at all as prominent inhabitants of the land of shades. One is inclined to fancy that some tale or legend may have connected them with the voyage of their father to Hades.

Beneath them is a curious domestic group: a young husband who is in the act of crowning himself with a wreath, a wife, and their little son, who drags behind him a plaything. It is a veritable scene of the reconstitution, in the land of shades, of a family endued with perpetual youth and leisure. Who these people may be is quite uncertain; but it is reasonable to think that they are such as have undergone initiation, and whose future life is thus assured. Opposite are the three judges of the dead, Minos, Aeacus, and Rhadamanthys, or, as some give the name, Triptolemus. Bearded and venerable figures, they carry long sceptres, but do not look so stern as one would expect from their terrible function.

The other scenes, in the two corners below, are of not much more than geographical import. They show the place to be Hades by introducing some of the well-known inhabitants of that region. On the left is Sisyphus uprearing his rock; and lest he should loiter at the task, one of the Poenae with snakes in her hair urges him with a double-thonged whip; in her other hand she carries a javelin and leopard’s skin. On the right is Tantalus, in the dress of an Oriental prince, and still carrying his sceptre. The Homeric pains have ceased to trouble him; he no longer stands in water, nor reaches after fruit. But he is still threatened by the hanging rock.{39}

On other vases of the class, while the general arrangement is the same, the groups are varied. Peleus and Myrtilus, the faithless charioteer who arranged his victory at Olympia, sometimes take the place of Theseus and Peirithous. In the place of Tantalus we have a group of women ever drawing water, whether they be the Danaides or women who died uninitiated.

It is likely that all these Apulian vase-paintings go back to some original of a great painter which was known throughout the Greek world. An original by Polygnotus it cannot be; the composition is quite unlike his, and the Oriental garments worn by some of the personages indicate a different and a later school than his. We know that Nicias, a contemporary of Praxiteles, made a great picture of the under-world; but as we know nothing of its details, the inquiry whether this was the original copied in Italy has no certain basis.

Singularly instructive and suggestive is the comparison of these Hellenic pictures of the under-world with those which our ancestors of the Middle Ages painted on the walls and in the windows of their churches. There we see the ecstatic bliss of the saved, conducted by angels to the abode of God and the saints, and the fearful tortures inflicted upon the damned by hosts of hideous and malignant demons, who bind, burn, tear, and outrage them with fiendish ingenuity. In the Christian paintings there is no mean, everything is extreme. The destiny to eternal life or eternal torment seems to hang upon a decision by no means easy: angels and devils dispute the possession of souls, and the latter are at least as successful as the former in their raids. Our ancestors can scarcely have taken these representations as seriously as we are disposed to take them, or life shadowed by such a terrific future would have been unendurable. But still they embodied the teaching of the Church, which few dared dispute, at all events openly. They give us a glimpse at{40} the terrible moral pressure necessary in order that the realities of the moral and spiritual life should be burned into the heart of the European peoples.

In the Greek pictures, on the other hand, nothing is extreme, but everything is in moderation. Setting aside the torments of a few legendary heroes, like Tityus and Tantalus, which had little relation to actual life, there was no torture, as there was certainly no bliss, in Hades. Between the punishment of the uninitiated and the reward of the initiated there is not very much difference. Whether Megara and her children belong to the class of the happy or the wretched we do not know. They bear the marks of suffering, but as one of the boys carries the oil-flask and strigil of the athlete, he would seem to pass his time in Hades as suitably as the little boy of the initiated pair who trundles his toy. The only unpleasant feeling which is roused by our vase-painting or the more exquisite Hades of Polygnotus is that its tenants must suffer from infinite ennui, and the same reproach has been brought sometimes against the heaven of the Middle Ages. But probably only highly civilized people learn to realize that ennui may become a torment.

In particular, we may compare the swarms of black and hideous devils, with horn and hoof of the mediaeval pictures, with the Greek Poenae. We can trace the genealogy of these latter from early times. The Oriental imagination had from very early times delighted in depicting evil spirits in the form of monsters and winged beasts, who are overcome and slain by the gods in human form. For winged monsters the Greek artists of the sixth century had tended to substitute winged human beings of hideous aspect, Gorgons and Harpies, Eris and Phobos, and the like. It was Aeschylus who, wishing to bring on the stage in bodily form in his Eumenides the powers that avenge kindred blood, transformed the Erinnyes, who had hitherto been worshipped at Athens as the Eumenides{41} or gentle goddesses, in beautiful and dignified form[39]. He took as his models the Gorgons and Harpies of earlier art. So he himself tells us in the Eumenides[40], where his priestess thus describes the sleeping visitors: ‘I call them not women, but Gorgons; yet cannot I quite liken them to the forms of Gorgons. In a picture once I saw Harpies painted bearing off the food of Phineus: these, however, are unwinged in aspect, but black and utterly abominable.’

Pausanias too says, when speaking of the shrine of the Eumenides at Athens[41]: ‘It was Aeschylus who first wreathed snakes in their hair; but in their statues there is nothing terrible, nor in the other statues set up in honour of the nether gods.’ In a series of vase-paintings which represent the flight to Delphi and the purification of Orestes, the Erinnyes appear sometimes in Aeschylean guise as women, unwinged, but with snakes in their hair and of terrible aspect. With these the Poenae of our vase-painting are almost identical in dress, though the ugliness is softened down. And as Polygnotus knows not the Poenae, it seems likely that it was in part the influence of Aeschylus which introduced them as ministrants of evil in the realm of Hades. But the Poenae certainly fill very inefficiently the place of the Christian demons. Greek art loved to soften, to generalize, while mediaeval art rejoiced, like Dante, in exact detail. Greek art was always ready to sacrifice precise meaning to beauty and grace, while mediaeval art had little sense of beauty, but tried to work on the emotions of fear and horror.

Side by side with the evidence derived from the works of ancient painters we must place that derived from ancient poets and other writers. The philosophers are outside our scope, except so far as they testify to the opinions of ordinary{42} men: to regard the views of Plato and Epicurus as ordinary Greek opinions would of course be as absurd as to regard John Stuart Mill or Herbert Spencer as representatives of the ordinary Englishman.

In ordinary Greek belief, then, we find abundant traces of the eternal conflict between the priest and the prophet, between ritual and ethics. There was a general feeling that those who died nobly or after a well-spent life were sure of a friendly reception in Hades. Xenophon says of Agesilaus[42], ‘He ever feared the gods, being of opinion that those who lived nobly were not yet happy, but that those who had died with good name were at once among the blessed.’ The chorus in the Alcestis speak of their mistress immediately after her death as a blessed spirit. And a multitude of epitaphs[43] express the conviction that those who had lived nobly were sure of a favourable reception from Persephone. Beside this ethical view we find the opinion of the sacerdotal party that initiation in the Mysteries or attachment to the cultus of some deity was necessary for the attainment of future bliss. This was especially the view of the Orphists, and as such it is ridiculed by Plato in the Republic[44]: ‘They persuade not individuals merely, but whole cities also, that men may be absolved and purified from crimes, both while they are still alive and even after their decease, by means of certain sacrifices and pleasureable amusements which they call Mysteries: which deliver us from the torments of the other world, while the neglect of them is punished by an awful doom.’ We have seen that Polygnotus gives some countenance to those who regarded the Mysteries as the gate of future happiness. And there was certainly in Greece a generally spread conviction, which may be well traced in the Frogs of Aristophanes, that initiation was, if not a passport to future happiness, at least a safeguard{43} amid the dangers which surround the soul from the moment of its departure from the body until its final doom is fixed.

In the mentions of Hades to be found in the Tragedians, it appears more especially as the place of the reassembling of families. Sophocles’ Antigone expresses a hope of being well received in Hades by the relations to whom at her peril she has performed the rites of burial. The Oedipus of Sophocles wants to blind himself in order that in Hades he may not see the father and mother whom he has so deeply though ignorantly injured. In the Agamemnon of Aeschylus, Clytemnestra anticipates the meeting of Agamemnon in Hades with his daughter Iphigeneia. Hyperides, in his Funeral Oration, takes a somewhat wider view. He imagines the fallen heroes of the Lamian War as received in friendly fashion in Hades not merely by their kinsfolk, but by the worthies of Troy and of Marathon, and by the tyrannicides Harmodius and Aristogeiton.

As regards the imagery and geography of Hades the ordinary Greeks do not seem to have greatly troubled themselves. There were the views of poets and painters, and there were the more definite and dogmatic views of the professors of Orphic lore. These the people received or neglected as suited the bent of the mind of each. Hades was a realm of the imagination, as to the nature of which each man might innocently indulge his own hopes and aspirations.

In the epitaphs of later times we find, as will be shown in a future chapter[45], numerous allusions to the realm of Hades and Persephone. But they do not strike the reader as embodying strong belief; often they are of an epideictic or rhetorical character, like the statements which also occur that the soul of the dead has made its way to the Islands of the Blest or to the abodes of the gods. The beliefs which confined the spirits of the dead to the tomb and its neighbour{44}hood belong to a lower and worse-educated stratum of the population, but have more vitality.

Greek religion and tradition knew of many mortals who had gone down alive into the earth, and there abode, giving for the most part oracles from their hiding-places. Such was Amphiaraus, the Argive hero, who after the bootless siege of Thebes went down with chariot and horses into the ground, and whose shrine was in later times a great oracular seat. Such was Trophonius of Lebadeia, whose cave is described for us by Pausanias. Caeneus, when overwhelmed with rocks by the Centaurs, vanished alive into the earth, and there lived on. It is, in fact, a marked feature of the cultus of heroes that their power is exercised only at the place where they disappeared or where their bodies were laid. They are intensely local, earth-daemons who possess a piece of land, and whose favour must be conciliated by any one who expects that land to yield him increase. Pelopidas, in the course of a campaign against the Spartans[46], unwittingly slept near the graves of some virgins of Leuctra, who had in old time been violated and slain by the Spartans. They appeared at night to the Theban general, and promised him victory if he made them the sacrifice of a foal. This is but one among a hundred instances of the fact that a hero had power only at his spot of burial: elsewhere he was helpless.

It is remarkable that this tendency to localization has been in all ages a mark of the ghost, and still marks him in the cases investigated by the Psychical Society. Yet the local character of ghosts has not become an impediment in the way of the acceptance of the Christian doctrines of Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. Among our ancestors, just as among the Greeks, beliefs could lie in strata, and inconsistencies between a belief of one stratum and a belief of another stratum{45} had little disturbing power. When Campbell writes in his noble address to the Mariners of England, ‘The spirits of your fathers shall start from every wave,’ he can scarcely be supposed to deny that the souls of British naval heroes had found a heavenly resting-place.

Sometimes, however, the Greek mind was disturbed by inconsistencies of this kind, and evolved a theory for their explanation. Thus a later interpolator of the Odyssey, being scandalized by the assertion of Odysseus that he saw in Hades the mighty Herakles, adds[47], ‘his ghost (εἴδωλον) only; since he himself joys amid the delights of the immortal gods.’ Others supposed that it was only the spirits of the unburied which hovered around their bodies: and it is an ingenious modern theory that the custom of burning the bodies of the dead arose out of the desire to prevent them from disturbing the living. But in spite of everything, the Greek dead retained to the last their right to levy tribute on their descendants and friends.{46}



When we turn from the facts of Greek cult and belief as to a future life to the monuments of the dead, and set them in chronological order, the first group which commands our attention is that which belongs to the pre-historic city of Mycenae. We cannot here speak of the wealth of gold and silver, of bronze and ivory, which the fortunate spade of Dr. Schliemann brought to light within the sacred circle in the Acropolis of the city[48]. We must pass by the contents of the graves of the wealthy pre-historic monarchs of Mycenae, and confine our survey to the outward and sculptural adornments of their tombs. These fall into two well-marked and clearly distinguished classes. First, we have the conical so-called treasuries, of which several exist in the neighbourhood of Mycenae, as well as at Orchomenus, Menidi and other spots of Greece; secondly, we have the carved tombstones which were set up over the graves in the Mycenaean Acropolis.

The larger and more elaborate of the so-called treasuries of pre-historic Greece, such as the Treasury of Atreus at Mycenae, and the Treasury of Minyas at Orchomenus, consist of two chambers, a larger outer chamber, which is circular in plan and of conical form, resembling in fact the beehive{47} to which it has often been compared, and a cubical inner chamber, of much smaller dimensions. The accompanying engraving will make this clear (Fig. 14). The architect of the Mycenaean tomb had no small skill. The colossal size of the stones, especially of that over the door and of some in the dromos or approach, arouses the astonishment of the modern visitor, who wonders by what machinery and appliances blocks so colossal were transported from the quarries and placed in position. The gradual inward slope of the walls, each course of which somewhat overlaps the course below, is managed with great skill and accuracy. Rows of nails, some remains of which are still to be seen in the inner walls, supported, not indeed as some have supposed, a complete bronze lining to the conical chamber, but rows of stars or other ornaments, on which would glitter the light of the torches (Fig. 15). Perhaps the most expressive characteristic of all is the lavish expenditure of labour on a building which was entirely buried with earth, and on the magnificent approach built of hewn stones, when something far simpler and more effective might have been arranged. Evidently the builders of these monuments thought no trouble and no expense wasted, if only the dead were honoured and gratified.

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A simpler form of tomb of the same age and style dispensed with the square side-chamber, and consisted of{48} a beehive building only. The engraving (Fig. 16) gives the plan of such a tomb near the Lion Gate of Mycenae.

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The excavations of recent years have given us abundant information on three important points, first as to the architectural decoration of these splendid memorials of the dead, second as to their purpose, and third as to their date. On each of these subjects I must briefly touch.

There have been for a long time in the British Museum interesting fragments from the doorway of the Treasury of{49}

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Atreus, and attempts have been made, on the ground of these fragments and others once known which have disappeared, to reconstruct the entrance of the building. Such attempt has best succeeded in the hand of M. Chipiez[52], who has produced{50} a design at once faithful to the data, and of noble architectural effect. A more recent discovery is that of the decoration, in relief, of the ceiling of the side-chamber of the tomb of Orchomenus, which was excavated by Dr. Schliemann in 1880[53] (Fig. 17). The pattern of this ceiling bears a close resemblance to some of the Egyptian patterns in use for painted ceilings, thus giving us a valuable suggestion as to the origin of the art of the Mycenaean age.

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That the conical underground buildings of early Greece were really erected as burial-places of the kings and nobles is now certain. Pausanias, in whose times less was known as to primitive Greece than is now known, calls the beehive{51} tomb at Orchomenus the treasury of Minyas, and those at Mycenae the treasuries of Atreus and his sons. And doubtless they were in a sense treasuries, since in them were stored all the rich spoils which at that time were so freely bestowed on the great dead. But primarily they were burial-places, and the use as treasure-houses was only a derivative one. A few years ago this was a matter of dispute among the learned, K. O. Müller taking one side and Welcker the other. But in this case, as in so many others, the spade has cut the Gordian knot which the wit of man could not untie. Excavation has brought to light within the beehive grave of Menidi, in Attica, six skeletons; and at Vaphio, though the bodies which had been buried in the conical chamber had passed into dust, yet the disposition of the rich booty which was found buried beneath the floor showed that it was certainly a sepulchral deposit.

In the case of the more elaborate tombs with two chambers, there can be little doubt that the smaller side-chamber was that wherein the corpses were laid, while the outer chamber served for the purposes of the cultus with which the dead were honoured: thither was brought the tribute of sacrifice and offering which the dead demanded from the living. But in those cases where there is a single chamber, the dead rested beneath the floor of that chamber in the midst of their wealth, their arms and ornaments and vessels of silver and gold.

A number of recent discoveries, a full account of which would take us too far from our immediate subject, have helped us to determine the date of the beehive tombs of early Greece. The earliest date indicated for them seems to be about the fifteenth, and the latest the tenth, century before our aera. They belong to the age of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth dynasties of Egypt, when the land of the Pharaohs was more than once exposed to invasion by the powerful chiefs of the islands of the north. As the mists of the past are lifting,{52} we gain a clearer and clearer view of a somewhat highly developed civilization in Hellenic lands at a time long before the Greece which is known to us came into being, of kings before Agamemnon, and palaces older and more splendid than those described in the Homeric poems. We may venture, though perhaps not without some trepidation, to ascribe the tombs of which we have spoken to the Achaean heroes whose fame still echoes in the earliest poetry of Greece; though it is certain that after their erection great changes had taken place in the country before the Homeric poems acquired anything like their present form. Our trepidation arises from the fact that the last word is certainly not said, nor the last theory put forth in this matter. The claims of the Carians and the Pelasgi to the remains of the Mycenaean age find adherents. Mr. Helbig, in an able recent work[54], has tried to prove that the contents of the Mycenaean tombs are almost entirely Phoenician. But the verdict of the majority of archaeologists goes in favour of the Achaeans, and the sober judgement of M. Perrot has accepted their claims in his great work on La Grèce primitive.

It is supposed by many archaeologists that the graves which were dug in the rock just within the Lion-gate of Mycenae, those tombs the rich spoil of which dazzled Europe a few years ago, are of older period than the beehive tombs. It is not unusual to recognize in the graves of prehistoric Greece two periods, an older period of rock-cut graves, and a later of beehive graves. But this distinction rests on no solid proof. There is no reason for deciding that the contents of the beehive tomb at Vaphio belonged to a later age than the contents of the Mycenaean rock-tombs. In the opinion of Professor Petrie, an opinion eminently worthy of consideration, they belong to an earlier time. Mr. Evans, another excellent authority, has accepted{53} a view, first put forward by myself, that the bodies and the treasures found in the rock-graves at Mycenae had been moved thither, on some alarm of invasion, from an earlier resting-place in the beehive tombs which lie outside the acropolis walls of that city. In any case we are justified, in the present state of knowledge, in declining to recognize the line of division of which we have spoken. And so we may persist in regarding the sculptural decorations of the rock-tombs as not earlier than the architectural decorations of the beehive tombs. Very probably they may be later, but in any case they belong to the same race and the same age.

Over several of the rock-cut fosses in which the wealth of the early kings of Mycenae lay mingled with their bones, there was erected, either at the time of burial or later, an upright slab to mark the spot. Some of these slabs were plain, but others were carved with reliefs, of which some account must here be given, as it is desirable to compare them with the sepulchral reliefs of later Greece.

These slabs were made of the calcareous stone of the district: with time their surface has naturally suffered, but we can still trace on them the scenes sculptured by hands evidently quite unaccustomed to dealing with such materials. The designs are in many cases mere patterns, such as appear with far greater appropriateness on the gold plates used for the adornment of the dead. But in a few cases we have transcripts from the life of the period. Fig. 18[55] represents part of one tombstone. We here see a warrior charging the foe in a chariot, the horse of which gallops with an almost preternatural energy. The driver holds with his right hand the reins, while the left hand grasps the hilt of a sword slung to his side by a sword-belt. In front of him flies an enemy who brandishes a leaf-shaped sword. The whole field is occupied by spiral designs. Fig. 19[56] presents{54}

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a scene still ruder in execution, but similar in design, save that the enemy is still defiant, instead of in flight, though{55}

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the lance of the charioteer has already pierced him. A third stele (Fig. 20[57]) represents a mixed scene of war and the chase. In the background a warrior charges in his chariot as before; the enemy has fallen before him, and lies under the horse’s feet, endeavouring vainly to shelter himself under his huge shield. In the foreground a lion pursues a stag. Here it may be doubted whether the lion stands in a close{56} relation to the charioteer or not. When Rameses II, on the monuments of Egypt, charges his foes, a lion gallops beside him, and shares in the fray. Have we some such scene here in imitation of Egyptian art? Or is the lion merely seeking his own prey? Or is he, as is not impossible, only a dog?

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All three of these scenes come from slabs erected over one grave at Mycenae, the fifth. The other slabs with reliefs are in too fragmentary a condition to be studied to much purpose; and in fact it is to be feared that the reader may{57} accuse us of somewhat straining evidence in interpreting these more complete scenes, though in reality none of our statements is open to much doubt.

We need but carry our thoughts for a minute to the sculptures which adorned the walls of the palaces of the kings of Assyria, which are full of the triumphs of those powerful monarchs alike over human foes and the beasts of the field, in order fully to recognize the meaning of the Mycenaean reliefs. Here also we doubtless have a court chronicle, though material and style will not bear for a moment any comparison with the magnificent records of Nimroud. Here also we may discern the king, in whose honour the slab was set up, slaying and pursuing his enemies. And although at Mycenae we are in a time of comparative barbarism, yet at least for the choice of subject we may find parallels in the later age of Greece. Dexileos riding down his foe on horseback on the splendid monument of the Cerameicus (Pl. XII) may be considered a parallel to the nameless chief of Mycenae who pursues his enemy in the chariot of an earlier age. But a still closer resemblance of subject is to be found in monuments of Asia Minor, in the paintings of the sarcophagi of Clazomenae, which date from the sixth century[58]. On these we have frequent battle scenes, and chiefs riding in two-horse chariots occur. The graves of Lycia and the sarcophagi of Sidon also preserve in their reliefs extracts from the lives of the chiefs buried in them, of their military expeditions, hunting exploits and domestic enjoyments.

The extraordinary inferiority of the sculpture of Mycenae in comparison either with the architecture of walls and gates, or with the working of the gold and silver cups and ornaments found in the tombs, may at first surprise us. But in spite{58} of this inferiority, there are touches of similarity between the representations on the stone and those in the metal plates which show them to belong to one age. We may account best for the curious discrepancy by reflecting how very closely art is dependent on material. The artists of Mycenae were evidently used to gold and metal work. They had learned to adapt their devices perfectly to a material which could be engraved and hammered. But to making reliefs in stone they were clearly quite unaccustomed. No mason who thought as a mason would attempt so absurd a task as the working out on stone of these spiral and interlaced patterns. They are taken straight from metal to limestone. And complete ignorance of the art of working in relief is shown also in the way in which the scenes are executed, each figure being quite flat, and the outlines only made clear against the ground of the relief. A distant report of reliefs in stone to be found in the lands of the far east and the south seems to have reached the workmen of Mycenae, and set them to work, when they naturally carried with them into the new branch of art the style of the repoussé metalwork which was familiar to them. Even the Lion Gate of Mycenae, though a work of a character very superior to that of the tombstones, is very weak on the side of technique.{59}



After the heroic or Achaean age we find in all branches of Greek history a marked break. Some great cataclysm in Greece, in all likelihood the Dorian conquest of Peloponnesus in the eleventh and tenth centuries, separates the age which is called Mycenaean from historic times. The young tree of Hellenic civilization had produced a few flowers, but a long period of comparative barbarism had to pass before it obeyed a second time the call of the season and brought forth mature fruit. This course of events is clearly mirrored in the graves of Greece Proper. The tombs of the later Mycenaean age, which have been discovered in great abundance, especially at Mycenae itself, are far less rich than those of the earlier period. And not only are their contents less plentiful and less interesting, but they present us with no external adornment which should justify us in here dwelling upon them. As our subject is the outsides rather than the insides of sepulchral monuments in Greece, we must pass almost in silence over a long period of time, and begin again, amid quite different surroundings, on the threshold of the Olympiads, and of Greek history as opened to us by Herodotus.

There can be little doubt that if excavations were carried out on a large scale on the coast of Asia Minor, amid the early Aeolic and Ionic settlements, we should be able to bridge the gap now existing between pre-historic and historic Greece.{60} Doubtless by degrees the lacuna in our knowledge will be filled up. But at present it remains a lacuna.

Before however we proceed to an account of the cemeteries of the great cities of Greece Proper, of Sparta and Athens and Thebes, we must glance at the tombs erected in semi-Greek districts of Asia, such as Phrygia and Lycia, in honour of the wealthy kings who there bore sway. Greek history may, in a sense, be said to begin with the Mermnadae of Lydia, and all our histories of Greek art contain a chapter on the archaic monuments of Lycia.

A great part of the interior of Asia Minor is full of rock-sculptures, carved partly in the service of religion, partly as a record of the dead. Much of this sculpture is of great but unknown antiquity, and less closely related to any Hellenic work than to that of the races of Syria and Mesopotamia. The best general account of these remains will be found in the fifth volume of Perrot and Chipiez’ Histoire de l’Art dans l’Antiquité. It is only necessary in the present work to mention a few groups of monuments of a later time, which may be advantageously compared with early Greek monuments.

Pausanias, who was well acquainted with the Ionian coast, tells us that he had seen[59] on Mount Sipylus a notable tomb ascribed by tradition to Tantalus, son of Zeus and Pluto (Πλούτω), and father of Pelops, who gave his name to the Peloponnesus. This monument has been identified[60] in a tumulus of which the remains still stand on a spur of Sipylus. It was excavated, and partly destroyed, by M. Texier, whose drawings, which are here repeated, give us a notion of its original form and disposition (Fig. 21).

Save for the fact that it was not covered with earth, but stood free, this tumulus bears a striking resemblance to the tombs at Mycenae and Orchomenus. And the chamber within{61}

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(Fig. 22) in many points of construction recalls the chamber of the beehive tombs, though its ground plan is not circular like theirs, but oblong. It is certainly remarkable to find, in the very district whence, according to the legends, Pelops came,{62} a tomb so closely resembling those said to have been erected in Greece by his sons and grandsons. This however leads us to historical questions into which we must not at present enter.

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The inner lands of Phrygia also furnish monuments parallel to those of Mycenae. In the neighbourhood of Kumbet, Leake found a large necropolis containing many tombs of ancient Phrygian kings and notables, some of which are remarkable for their architecture, and some for their sculpture. And here{63} we are not dependent upon mere tradition, for the most notable tomb of the group bears an inscription in Phrygian, stating that it was set up by Atys in honour of Midas the king (Fig. 23). M. Perrot has allowed me to reproduce here a drawing of this tomb, made by M. Tomaszkievicz from a photograph taken by Mr. Blunt[62].

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Several other façades adorned with patterns of a similar character have been found in the same district by recent travellers, especially Mr. W. M. Ramsay. These also in most cases adorned tombs, though perhaps in some cases the tombs were but cenotaphs and did not contain actual remains. We repeat an engraving (Fig. 24) of a carved front, which seems of a somewhat later date than the Midas Tomb[63].

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If the geometric decorations of these early Phrygian monuments remind us of the carving of pillar and lintel at Mycenae, a still closer parallel to the Gate of the Lions is furnished by{65}

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other Phrygian tombs of which Mr. Ramsay was the fortunate discoverer. At Ayazinn he found a tomb entrance surmounted by a tall column on either side of which ramped a colossal lion (Fig. 25), rudely executed it is true, but by no means wanting in vigour. Under each of the lions is a small cub. We reproduce the drawing of this monument made by M. St. Elme Gautier[64]. Fragments also of colossal lions of a far nobler type, which had in like heraldic pose served to decorate a tomb, were{66} found in the same district: an engraving of a fragment of one of these (Fig. 26)[65] will give us, so to speak, the high-water mark of Phrygian art, and we must confess that it is a level which the Greeks themselves scarcely reached before the end of the sixth century.

For the sake of completeness I have reproduced some of the most clearly marked types of Phrygian tombs. But it is impossible here to enter into the historic questions which they suggest, and which have given rise to much discussion[66]. Almost the only fact which we know as to the history of Phrygia is that recorded by Strabo[67], who tells of a Phrygian king Midas, who, when his kingdom was devastated about B.C. 680 by an invasion of the Cimmerians, committed suicide by drinking bull’s blood. After the Cimmerians had retired, the kingdom of the Lydians arose to a great height of power and splendour, but that of the Phrygians did not fully recover, remaining a dependency of Lydia.

The Midas of the Midas Tomb can scarcely be the monarch who fell in the darkest hour of his country’s history. Are we to suppose that the king Midas of the tomb was a predecessor of Strabo’s monarch, or a successor? Or are we to suppose with M. Perrot that he was no historic monarch, but a deity, and that the supposed tomb is really rather a shrine? That the monument was really a tomb Mr. Ramsay argues with great force. But its date is more problematic, and we cannot venture in this matter to express an opinion.

According to Mr. Ramsay the tombs guarded by lions are more ancient than those with geometric façades, and go back to quite a remote antiquity. But the opposite opinion, that the geometrical tombs are the older, has found advocates.{67} Between them, the two classes of monuments seem to occupy the period between the eighth century, or earlier, and the age of Croesus and Cyrus.

That there was some not distant relation between the sepulchral art of Phrygia and that of Mycenae cannot be denied. It would however be a mistake hence to leap to the conclusion that the art of Mycenae was of Phrygian origin. It appears that the remains which come to us from Mycenae are earlier by several centuries than those which we find in Phrygia. It might even be suggested that the stream of art flowed rather in the opposite direction, from Mycenae to Phrygia. A more reasonable view, however, is that the art of Phrygia and that of Mycenae were not mother and daughter, but rather cousins, derived alike from some stem of Asiatic art which has yet to be traced out.

More interesting, because more full of human meaning, are the sculptural adornments of the early tombs of the district of Lycia in southern Asia Minor. Early Greek tradition shows a close relation subsisting between Lycia and Peloponnesus. There is a well-known Homeric story which tells how Bellerophon, the descendant of Aeolus, was sent to Lycia by Proetus, who desired that he should there be slain at the hands of the Lycian king, his father-in-law; and how nevertheless Bellerophon prospered in Lycia in all that he undertook, slaying the Chimaera, and overcoming the hosts of Solymi and Amazons. Glaucus, the grandson of Bellerophon, and Diomedes of Argos meet under the walls of Ilium as cousins. And tradition connected the name of the Lycian Cyclopes with the mighty walls of Tiryns and of Mycenae. The genealogies of the legends are no doubt quite untrustworthy, yet they are often confirmed as indications of race by other evidence. And there is, as we shall see, so near an analogy between the monuments of Lycia and those of Peloponnesus that we are obliged to assume between the two countries also some connexion.{68}

When we consider the series of Lycian tombs, which may be studied better in the British Museum than in any other museum of Europe, we find a most interesting blending of Oriental and Greek elements[68]. Their architecture is local; the main feature of it being that it renders directly, in stone and in rock, forms which are clearly in origin wooden. Everywhere we see the square beam as it were petrified. In the roof of the ordinary Greek temple we see that the forms were thought out while the building material was still wood, and only modified when stone took the place of beams. In the Lycian tombs this feature is still more notable, because the Lycian architects lacked the nimbleness of the Greek intellect, and were more conservative of settled forms. The sculptures which adorn these curious constructions have also local elements, but in this field the art of Ionia comes in as a controlling force in the sixth century, rendering the native customs and beliefs in forms to which the student of Greek art is accustomed. It may be that our familiarity with the forms and style of the sculpture in some degree misleads us. When we know the words of a language we sometimes too hastily think that we are masters of its thought. The religion and the customs of Lycia may resemble those of Greece less closely than the monuments would lead us to think. But in ancient times art influenced custom as well as custom art. In the present state of our knowledge we cannot regard the early monuments of Lycia as outside the pale of Greek art.

There are indeed, as M. Perrot has well shown, among Lycian archaic monuments a few which seem to precede the Ionic influence. Such is the square chest of the British Museum[69], on one side of which is a lion strangling an ox, on another side a lioness with her cubs, on the third a man{69} slaying a lion, and on the fourth a group of horsemen and warriors on foot. The lion-slayer in particular takes our thoughts not to Greece but to Egypt and Assyria. Many of the tombs which do show Ionic influence are not suggestive in the present connexion. Their sculptural adornment is such as we might expect to find as soon on a temple as on a tomb; satyrs, animals, sphinxes and the like. We will here consider only a few monuments, the sculpture of which seems to be really sepulchral in character.

Incomparably the most interesting of the archaic grave-monuments of the Xanthus valley is the beautiful tomb called the Harpy Monument, the reliefs of which now adorn the British Museum, having been brought thither by Sir Charles Fellows. When complete the tomb was in the form of a square tower of masonry about twenty feet high, which was surmounted by a small chamber, wherein doubtless in ancient times lay the bodies of those to whose honour the whole was erected, together with the riches heaped around their biers. This chamber reminds us of the tomb of Cyrus, as described by Arrian[70]. ‘Below,’ writes Arrian, ‘it was built of squared masonry in the form of a four-sided tower, on which was a chamber roofed with stone, having a narrow door to it, through which a man of no great stature could with pain and difficulty pass. In the chamber stood a golden coffin wherein was buried the body of Cyrus, and beside the coffin a couch with feet of beaten gold, whereon was laid a coverlet of Babylonian carpets, and below purple rugs. On these was placed a candys and other garments of Babylonian workmanship: also Median trousers and robes of hyacinth dye, some of purple, some of other colours; and torques and swords, and gold earrings set with stones.’

Similar, though no doubt less splendid, may have been{70} the contents of the Harpy Tomb; and it is noteworthy that in it also there is a small opening at the side, intended not for the entrance of men, but either for admission of dues of food and drink, or more probably to give free ingress and egress to the ghosts of the dead. The Persians and the Lycians must have been of kindred stocks; and we may well suppose that their burial customs would be similar.

The reliefs which decorate the outer faces of the Harpy Tomb are among the most charming memorials of antiquity. In spite of a certain crudity and poverty in design, which is discovered on a close inspection, the style in its elegant and graceful conventionality is very attractive. And the difficulty which exists in the identification of the figures of the reliefs, and the determination of their meaning, adds an intellectual fascination to that which is aesthetic. (See Fig. 27.)

On the side which faces the west we find the door already mentioned, over which is a figure of a cow suckling her calf. At the two ends sit, face to face, two dignified female figures. They are clad alike in the Ionian dress with long sleeves, but in attributes they differ. The figure to the left holds a vessel of offerings; a sphinx supports the arm of her chair; she is severe in type and solitary. The figure to the right holds in her two hands flower and fruit; the bar of her chair ends in a ram’s head. Three votaries approach her, whereof the first is busy with her drapery, the second carries flower and fruit, the third bears an egg. It is clear that the lady on the right is more approachable; her flower and fruit, and the ram’s head, all symbolize the genial abundance of life in nature. The libation-vessel of the lady to the left, and her sphinx, seem to belong to the grave rather than to life.

Let us pass to the other three sides of the tomb. The central group of each of them represents a seated male figure receiving offerings from a votary, also male. But the motive of the groups and the age of the votaries varies. On the east,{71} a young boy brings an egg and a cock to an elderly man who holds a flower and a sceptre: a Triton supports the arm of his chair. On the south, a youth carries a dove to a clumsy figure who holds fruits. On the north, a warrior brings armour to a bearded personage, beneath whose throne is a bear. The flanking figures on the east side are merely more votaries with offerings. But on the north and south sides we find the remarkable beings from whom the tomb takes its name, strange monsters having the head, arms, and breasts of women, but the tails and feet of birds, who carry each in her arms a young girl clad in long drapery. In the corner of the north side is a woman, who sits in an attitude of grief.

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Such are the details of reliefs, the precise import of which{72} will probably never be recovered, unless a new light dawns on Lycian customs and religion. Earlier explanations saw in the winged figures the Harpies or storm-winds bearing away the daughters of Pandareus, according to a well-known tale of the Odyssey[71]. But an objection to this interpretation at once arises from the fact that the girls who are being borne away cling lovingly to their captors, and show neither dread nor anger. Hence it has appeared more reasonable to find in them souls of women gently carried by guardian spirits to the land of the future. In the seated male and female figures, it has been proposed to find the deities of the Lycian race, though who these were is not clear. If the seated ladies be goddesses, it seems clear that they must preside respectively over life and death. Yet it would be very bold so far to Hellenize them as to call them Demeter, the impersonation of the fruitful earth, and Persephone, queen of the shades below.

The most recent explanation of the reliefs, first propounded by Milchhoefer, regards them as memorials of the worship, not of the gods, but of the heroized dead. Certainly they in some points nearly resemble the Spartan reliefs, of which we shall treat in the next chapter, and which do beyond doubt belong to the hero-worship of Lacedaemonian families. The offerings, too, in the hands of the votaries, the flower, the fruit, the egg, and the cock, are such as were brought in Greece to the tomb, and such as are figured in the Spartan monuments. No offering could be more appropriately offered to a deceased ancestor, in an artistic representation, than the armour which was sometimes in early days placed, in Greek and Asiatic graves, on the head and the breast of him who had worn it during his life; and in later days was sometimes attached to his tomb. And however we interpret the winged figures, we can hardly make them other than the ministers of death, a fact which seems{73} to strike a keynote with which all the rest of the explanation must harmonize.

Yet when we try to explain the sculptures as memorials of Lycian ancestor-worship we soon come to difficulties. On the stelae of Sparta we find a pair, ancestor and ancestress, or the ancestor alone. On Attic tombs we do not find more than a family group. But here, on the monument of Xanthus, there are five detached seated figures, three men and two women. What kind of a group of ancestors will these form, and why are they separate? In the little seated lady of the north side one is tempted, on the analogy of mediaeval paintings, to see the dedicator of the whole tomb. But this again is uncertain. In the whole matter we walk like the Mystae at Eleusis in the dark, seeing only vague forms and hearing words which we cannot interpret.

To the winged figures with their prey we may certainly find an analogy in the Sirens of the Athenian monuments (see below, Chap. VIII). The Siren was with the Greeks a sepulchral figure, and signified a death gentle rather than violent. The small beings in their arms on the Xanthian monument are almost certainly souls, which Greek art often represents as of very small size.

The Siren, in her ordinary Greek form, is found on another Lycian monument, which has not hitherto been engraved. In the British Museum[72] only the gable end of this tomb is preserved. In the midst of it is a column of Ionic type, though not of the ordinary form, on which stands the Siren of whom we speak. She is clad in a short chiton, girt at the waist, with loose sleeves. Though the wings and legs are those of a bird, she has human arms, outstretched. On either side of the column sits a figure: on the left a beardless elderly man, on the right a bearded man; each holds a staff, and extends the{74} unoccupied hand. These two dignified men appear to be the heroes to whom the tomb belongs; and the Siren represents the mourning of the survivors. Here, even more than in the Harpy Tomb, we seem within the range of Greek conceptions and Ionic art.

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Another monument[73], probably not much later than 500 B.C., was adorned with what appears to be a funeral procession—old men in chariots, young horsemen, and armed men marching. One of the venerable figures in the chariots holds in one hand a flower, in the other apparently a cup, symbols which we shall presently see to have a decidedly sepulchral signification.{75} Another fragment of archaic Lycian work in the British Museum[74] represents a woman standing at the foot of a couch, whereon it appears that a man reclined, for one of his feet is visible; but whether alive or dead we cannot be sure. But we must not linger over these fragments, though they might repay a more careful and detailed study. The threads which we are now obliged to drop, we shall regather when we treat of the tombs of Athens, and of the monuments erected by Attic artists on the coast of Asia Minor.{76}



The group of grave reliefs which constitutes our record of the customs and beliefs of the Lacedaemonians in regard to the tomb, a group which is inferior to few sets of ancient monuments in historical interest, has not very long been known to the world. Attention was first called to it in 1877 by Drs. Dressel and Milchhoefer, and it has since then found a place in all the histories of sculpture.

Of these reliefs the most important and the best preserved is now in the Museum of Berlin. It was found at Chrysapha near Sparta. It is represented in one of our plates (II), from which representation it is possible to gain some notion of the fashion of its carving, which is remarkable, and has been generally considered to indicate a hand or a school more versed in the carving of wood than in the sculpturing of marble. As in the carving of an onyx, we find several distinct planes one behind the other, on which are respectively projected the different parts of the relief, the outlines of each part being slightly rounded, and the inner markings graven in shallow lines with a tool. The face and arm of the nearest figure project most from the background; next, his body; and so on, layer beyond layer, to the ground of the relief. The style is rude, hard, and vigorous; though the capacity of the artist is narrowly limited, he moves within his limits with

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Plate II

Page 76


firm steps. The date of the work is probably the latter part of the sixth century.

Perhaps even more striking than the style of the relief is its subject. Seated side by side, no doubt on two chairs, though one only can be made out, are a pair, a bearded man who faces outwards and who holds in his right hand a winecup, and a woman, who bears a pomegranate in her right hand, while with the left she draws forward her veil. Both figures are fully clad. Behind the pair is erect a bearded snake; before their knees we see advancing two smaller figures, male and female, bringing as offerings a cock and an egg, a flower, and a fruit.

In the same volume of the Athenian Mittheilungen (ii), in which this relief was originally published, may be found photographs of other reliefs which closely resemble it in character, but show small differences in period and detail. On Plate 24 is a relief wherein the snake is wholly wanting: on Plate 23 the snake is transposed, being erect in front of the wine-cup, and the style of the work is decidedly more advanced: on Plate 22 a dog appears beside the seated pair.

These four reliefs then make up a strongly defined group; and before we turn to other reliefs of the Spartan class, it may be well to determine what meaning may be assigned to the representations which they exhibit.

We may begin by rejecting without hesitation some of the theories on the subject which might naturally be suggested by a first impression. The wine-cup in the hands of the male figure might dispose one to think of Dionysus and his consort Ariadne; but this explanation would leave the serpent and other features unexplained, nor have we reason to think that the cultus of Dionysus had struck deep roots at Sparta in early times. Again, the serpent might suggest Asklepius with his daughter Hygieia, since the healing deity commonly carries a staff round which a serpent twines. But to this explanation{78} the winecup offers difficulties; and, again, the evidence for a local cult at Sparta is insufficient.

Far nearer to the mark is the view which Dr. Milchhoefer accepted, that in the dignified seated pair we have embodied the deities of the world of shades. The wine-cup would in that case refer to the frequent offerings of wine made to the shades below; and the serpent is the well-known companion and friend of the dead. We are not well informed as to the names borne at Sparta by the king and queen of the world of the dead. At Argos they were not so well known by the Homeric names of Hades and Persephone, which they commonly bore in Greece, as by the names of Klymenos and Chthonia. But in fact the pair were known by many names in various places.

An interesting terra-cotta (Fig. 29) from Locri in Italy[75] presents a group at first sight nearly resembling the seated pair of Sparta. We find on it Hades and his Queen seated side by side: he is wreathed and holds flowers; she carries a cock and ears of corn. This is valuable evidence, and shows that in southern Italy monuments of the class we are considering might well belong to the worship of the recognized deities of the nether world. But a closer consideration shows that at Sparta the worship took another and a less generalized form, natural to a race among whom ancestors were held in special and unusual honour.

Though Hades and his Queen are frequently mentioned in sepulchral inscriptions, they are but rarely figured together in sculpture. A comparison of two or three other stelae of Sparta will suggest at all events a modification of the view that the seated pair of the reliefs already mentioned are merely the rulers of the world below. In the fourth volume of the Athenian Mittheilungen are published two reliefs which beat{79}

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important inscriptions. On one is represented a man wrapped in a cloak seated: in his left hand is a pomegranate; in his right a wine-cup, out of which a coiled serpent drinks. The stone bears the name ΤΙΜΟΚΛΗϹ. If this inscription were of the same date as the relief it would of course at once prove that the stone is a memorial of an individual, and not a dedication to Hades. But in the opinion at least of Prof. Furtwängler the inscription is decidedly the later; it cannot therefore be regarded as conclusive evidence. But such evidence is afforded us by the next monument. Here we have a bearded man seated, in a decidedly later and more finished style of art, holding in his right hand a wine-cup, from which a serpent feeds. The inscription here is ΑΡΙΣΤΟΚΛΗϹ Ο ΚΑΙ ΖΗΘΟϹ;{80} and it seems not merely to show that the memorial belongs to a man, Aristocles, but also that this Aristocles received a second name after his death in the quality of hero or demi-god. We learn from other sources of several such heroic names bestowed on distinguished men after their death. The rarity of names on the Spartan tombs may be readily accounted for by the existence of a stern law of Lycurgus[76], that names were not to be recorded on the tombs except in the case of priestesses, or of warriors who had fallen in battle. Another regulation of the great lawgiver ordained that bodies might be buried within the city, and memorials of the dead set up in the neighbourhood of the temples. Such monuments were not always gravestones, but sometimes memorials of those who were buried in a different place, or had fallen on foreign service.

In view of such facts as these we cannot hesitate to see in the sepulchral reliefs of Sparta reference to individuals, the ancestor, or the ancestor and his wife. They are the shrines of the family worship of the Laconians. But yet in a sense the dead man is identical with Hades. In Egypt each of the virtuous dead became part of Osiris. According to Herodotus the Getae thought that their dead returned to their deity Zalmoxis. In Greece, by dying, men put away the individual accidents of the flesh and became in a sense united with Hades. This no doubt is one reason why down to the second century B.C. we scarcely ever find individual portraits on tombs, a fact to which we shall hereafter return.

The cultus of ancestors was closely parallel to that of the gods. To both, sacrifices of food and of drink were constantly brought. To the temple of the gods corresponded the family heroum or shrine. To the statues of the gods corresponded the representation of the human dead in an{81} ideal or heroized form. And gods and ancestors alike partook with their votaries of food at stated times, becoming the guest-friends of the worshipper.

Regarding the relation of the Spartan stelae to the cultus of ancestors as certain, we may proceed to consider in the light of that connexion the meaning of various details of the reliefs. The thing that is perhaps of the highest interest in them is the high honour paid to women. Ancestor and ancestress sit in state side by side, and are approached by their descendants, the smallness of whose figures is intended to portray the humility of their approach to their heroic progenitors. That ancestor-worship should find a special home at Sparta need not surprise us. We know that respect for elders and for parents was almost as strongly rooted among the conservative Laconians as it is in our days among the Chinese and Japanese. An exhortation to be worthy of their predecessors was the appeal which most readily stirred the hearts of the Spartan spearmen. They lived under the shadow of the past to an extent which we can hardly realize. But it is scarcely so familiar a fact that Sparta was the city in all Greece where women were held in highest honour. The Athenians inherited something of the Ionian desire for the seclusion of women, and to the contemporaries and countrymen of Thucydides it seemed high praise of a woman to say that she was never talked of. At Sparta, on the other hand, in some of the great crises of history, women are prominent in the foreground, from the days when little Gorgo saved her father Cleomenes from being bribed, to the days when Agiatis stirred up a later Cleomenes to his projects of political reform. The Spartan education, which seemed to regard women as only of use for bearing children to uphold the State, can scarcely have aimed at a high intellectual ideal. Modern German writers are fully convinced that sharing the exercises and games of the men must have rendered Laconian women{82} coarse and masculine. Yet the Spartan ladies had a great share in the ownership of land; Spartan nurses were sought for in all Greece for the rearing of boys; and we learn from Plutarch that in all matters the Spartans were ready to take the advice of their women, and looked on their approval as the highest of rewards. On this regard for women among the Laconians, the treatment of women in their sepulchral reliefs is an excellent commentary.

The offerings brought to the seated pair in the relief first cited are such as belonged in a special way to the dead. The pomegranate was the food of the Shades, which, when Persephone had tasted in the palace of Hades, she belonged to him beyond recall. The cock and the egg are the simplest meat-offerings which were brought to the dead and enjoyed by the living. Flowers in all countries and in all ages have been laid on the tomb; and the Greeks who loved to deck their banquets with them were not an exception to the general rule. The winecup in the hand of the seated hero may be characterized as a very broad hint to his descendants that at the tomb were due the libations which were grateful alike to the gods and to the spirits of the dead. The serpent who is sometimes represented as drinking from the cup is either the companion of the dead or even his spirit in another form. The way in which a serpent disappears into the ground marks him out as essentially a chthonic being.

A few more characteristic specimens of this class of monuments must be cited. On a stele from Chrysapha (Fig. 30) we see a man, depicted in an archaic style of art, seated, holding winecup and pomegranate; at his feet leaps a dog, while a horse is depicted in relief in the background. In discussing this relief Dr. Furtwängler[77] advocates the view that horse and dog have a symbolical reference, the horse being{83}

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nearly connected with Hades and the dog with Hecate, both mythologic beings closely connected with the dead. I have proposed[78] a somewhat bolder view, that these animals sculptured on the stone bear the same relation to the mortal horse and dog which had belonged to the hero that the portrait bears to himself, and that they are really a survival of an ancient custom, whereof we find traces in the graves of Greece and Italy, by which the horse and dog of a deceased warrior were slain and buried in the same place with him. Whether their bones were mingled with their master’s, or whether they are merely figured on his gravestone, the{84} meaning is much the same, that wherever the lord is, there are his faithful attendants: ‘Admitted to that equal sky, his faithful dog shall bear him company,’ as Pope says. In any case, horse and dog on a tomb are certainly a mark of knightly rank.

Among many proofs that the animal companions of the hero had reference rather to his occupations and necessities than to any symbolism, the evidence afforded by a grave at Tanagra[79] seems worth citing. Although that grave is of a period later than Alexander the Great, it seems to preserve early Greek ways of looking at death and what lies beyond. The interior of this grave contained paintings of the head and neck of a horse, a sword and a loom, besides a house and various articles of furniture. Here the paintings seem closely to represent what might at an earlier time have been the contents of the grave. The horse and the sword belong to the husband, the loom to the wife, whether we are to consider these as reflections of the past life of the pair or as an accompaniment of their ghostly existence. The furniture and the house are provision for their spiritual need of a domicile, just as in the graves of Egypt we find paintings of the life of the house and farm, there placed to break the shock of death, and provide for the shadow of a departed landlord a shadow of his past employments[80].

We pass to the representations which serve to bridge the gap between the grave-monuments of Sparta and those of other districts. Among the Spartan reliefs published by Milchhoefer, the following occupy one plate[81]:—

A female figure, seen from the waist upwards, clad in a chiton, holding in her left hand a tall flower.

A youth, standing, clad in a chlamys; he holds a staff{85} in one hand, in the other a cake or fruit; before him a snake erect.

Both of these are of quite early style: with the latter of them we may compare the following in the Museum at Athens[82]:—

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Man standing wrapped in a mantle; in his left hand a pomegranate, in the right a winecup, out of which feeds a serpent coiled and erect.

In these instances we approach the ordinary representation{86} of the dead as standing, so common on the tombs alike of Athens and of Northern Greece, numerous instances of which will be found in the ninth chapter. Yet the snake, the flower, the pomegranate, all belong to the special cultus of the dead; and there is not in these cases a reference to the past life, as is probably the case with the great majority of Attic stelae.{87}



Before we proceed further, one distinction of importance has to be made. It will be found that all the sepulchral monuments of Greece belong to one of two classes:—

1. Actual tombs, whether temples, or tables, or slabs hewn to be let into the ground.

2. Commemorative tablets. These may readily be distinguished in form, because their width is greater than their height, whereas in the true grave-stele, the height is greater than the width. They were made usually not to be fixed into the ground of the cemetery, but to be set up in chapels or mounted on walls in its neighbourhood. An example will be found in Pl. III. These slabs have a closer relation to actual cultus than have the gravestones. Their likeness in shape and in composition to tablets dedicated to the deities is obvious. In fact they belonged to the chapels and shrines sacred to the worship of heroes and exalted ancestors, rather than to the ordinary dead.

When we proceed to trace down the lines of descent of the memorials of ancestor-worship from Sparta in various districts of Greece, we shall find that some of these lines lead us to groups of actual tombstones, but more usually they lead to dedicatory reliefs, closely connected with the cultus of the dead, but not usually coming from actual cemeteries.

One line takes us to the so-called sepulchral banquets of{88} Athens. The best specimen of these reliefs, found at the Piraeus, and dating from the end of the fifth century, is represented in our plates (Pl. III). It has passed by the absurd name, The Death of Socrates. On a couch, supported by cushions, reclines a bearded citizen, holding in his hand a cup, and apparently pouring the libation with which the Greeks preluded their feasts. At his feet sits his wife, occupied, like many of the ladies represented on Athenian tombs, in admiring a necklace, which she holds in both hands, or possibly a wreath, for the object itself, having been represented in colour and not in the marble, has disappeared. A young slave as cup-bearer is occupied in fetching wine in a jug from the huge crater or mixing bowl which appears on the left of the relief; beneath the couch a dog is occupied with a bone. On the right of the scene there enters a bearded man, of smaller stature than the reclining hero, who raises his hand out of the folds of his himation in a fashion which to the Greeks implied adoration.

At the first glance there seems but small likeness between this scene of domestic feasting and the stiff Spartan reliefs. Yet when we compare the two in detail, we find that the differences between them lie in the different customs of varying ages, and in the artistic rendering, rather than in the signification. Let us make the comparison.

In the Spartan relief the hero is seated, in the Athenian reclining. Here we have an illustration of the well-known fact that during the historic age the Greeks changed their custom from sitting at meals, as do the Homeric heroes, for a reclining posture. The habit of lying at meals, awkward as it seems to us, was a result of growing luxury. It had long, as we know from the reliefs of the Assyrian palaces, been customary in the East. Fig. 32[83] shows King Assur-bani-pal and his Queen

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Plate III

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feasting in their palace, in the seventh century B.C. From the East, the custom spread to the Ionians of Asia Minor, and thence to Greece itself, with other traits of Ionian luxury.

An archaic relief from Tegea (Fig. 33)[84] seems to mark the point of transition in Hellas from the seated to the reclining position. Although only the feet of the hero are seen, yet these feet sufficiently prove that he was extended on a couch. His wife draws forward her veil; between husband and wife is a youth holding a wreath, in regard to whom it is not easy to say whether he is the child of the pair, or merely a cup-bearer, or an adorer.

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It is a consequence of the assumption of a reclining position by the man in the reliefs, that the woman must be separated from him. In the somewhat unrestrained vase-paintings of{90} Euphronius and his contemporaries we frequently find women reclining at table with men and sharing their cups. But these, as the disorder of the scenes clearly shows, were hetaerae, slaves of abandoned character. No wife, and no self-respecting concubine would even be present at a Greek banquet. When a husband dined at home, his wife might be present, but would probably not take a share in the repast. She would sit opposite her husband, to cheer him with her talk. But for a Greek wife to sit like the Queen of Assur-bani-pal drinking wine, and pledging her lord in a cup, would be an impossibility. Alike on the Tegean and the Athenian relief she is wholly occupied with her dress, like a true daughter of Greece. The Spartan wife had more in common with her husband.

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Another marked divergence between the Spartan and the Athenian relief lies, so to speak, in its tense. In the former, the past is set aside, and we find allusion only to the life beyond the grave. The snake, the pomegranate, the offerings, all have reference to the status of the dead as hero and as an associate of the nether gods. But the Athenian relief might at first sight be supposed to be an excerpt out of daily domestic life. There is no symbolism, no exaltation. Husband, wife, and slave may have met thus a hundred times in their ordinary life on earth. In this we find the influence of the ordinary spirit of grave-reliefs at Athens, which, as we shall see in a future chapter, dwells on and draws from the past daily life rather than the more ghostly life of the future.

Yet a clear indication which unites the two classes of representation is furnished by the votaries who appear in both alike. They are in the Spartan relief very small in stature; a naive way of indicating how far below the hero they rank. The votary of the Athenian relief is scarcely smaller than his ancestral hero. Yet his presence is an undoubted proof of the connexion of the monument with actual worship. On many of the later representations of banquets, this is further emphasized by the introduction of the well-known symbolism of ancestor-worship. In some a snake is depicted in the foreground. In others a horse’s head appears in the background. In others the superhuman character of the hero is indicated by the lofty crown, which belongs to the god of the lower world, Hades or Sarapis, and which appears on the head of the reclining hero[85].

The Spartan monuments were probably in many cases set up as tombstones over the actual graves of ancestors. But the Athenian banqueting reliefs were not usually on tombstones, more often on memorial tablets preserved in chapels{92} devoted to the cultus of the dead. This their shape clearly indicates. All tombstones are almost of necessity higher than they are broad, usually tall and narrow. But the banqueting reliefs are oblong in the opposite direction, broader than they are high. This difference indicates a different use and destination. In fact they come rather into line with the reliefs which belong to the worship of civic or local heroes, or those set up by grateful votaries in the shrines of Asklepius and other healing deities, than with the immediate memorials of the dead.

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The likeness between some of the votive monuments of Asklepius and the ordinary sepulchral banquets is so close as to have caused considerable confusion. The Asklepian reliefs appear to borrow of set purpose much of the symbolism which belongs to ancestor-worship. As an instance we engrave (Fig. 34) a coin of Bizya, a Greek city of Thrace[86], struck in the reign of Philip the Arab. On the reverse of the coin we see Asklepius reclining on a couch, against which rests his serpent-twined rod. His daughter or wife Hygieia is seated beside him; a human attendant brings in a wine-jar. The accessories, a coat of mail hung on a tree, a shield suspended from the wall, a horse who trots in from the right, are among the ordinary features of sepulchral banqueting reliefs, and seem{93} inappropriate to a peaceful and non-equestrian deity like Asklepius. Such contamination of one class of monuments by another, such transfer of symbols from one artistic field to another, is among the common phenomena offered by Greek art.

We have now reached phenomena which require careful consideration. We have found that there is no clear line of distinction to be drawn between banqueting reliefs which were set up in honour of dead persons and reliefs which belong to the cultus of heroes, and even of deities who partake of the nature of heroes, such as Asklepius. It is always difficult in dealing with ancient monuments to separate the particular class of which we propose to treat from other classes which are akin to it in origin and in meaning. It is always necessary at last to draw a somewhat arbitrary line, and to adhere to it for the sake of order and method.

In Greek cultus and belief there is no broad distinction to be made between the veneration paid to the more noteworthy of those who were recently dead, and the worship accorded to local and national heroes, Theseus and Orestes, the Dioscuri and Asklepius. In a sense, all the dead were heroes, and any of them might become a worthy object of periodic sacrifice, proprietor of a sacred domain, and lord of a priesthood. I have already (Chap. II) dwelt on these facts from the point of view of custom and cultus; it remains to show their working in the field of art.

In dealing, not with actual gravestones, but with the oblong reliefs which had a closer relation to cultus, and were dedicated only to the more distinguished of the dead, it is quite impossible to distinguish clearly those which were set up in honour of recognized mythic heroes, from those which belonged strictly to the cult of ancestors. Sometimes the inscription may help us to a decision, or sometimes we may find direction in the place where the relief is found. Apart from these external{94} indications, those offered by the relief itself are usually ambiguous.

That some of the banqueting reliefs were set up in honour of persons recently dead may be proved[87]. Indeed, in later times, such scenes not unfrequently decorate actual tombstones. This being the case, it is reasonable to assume that the great majority of them belong to tribal and family worship. They were set up, not usually at the tomb, but in shrines and heroa in the neighbourhood of the cemetery, or in the chapels of deities or heroes; sometimes, perhaps, in private houses, to be a constant reminder to the survivors.

In an early and interesting sepulchral relief in the British Museum[88] we have an unusual group. On a couch there recline an old man and a young, doubtless father and son, while a second son leads in a horse. This relief may serve as a transition to another class of oblong cultus-reliefs. The cult of heroized ancestors does not find its only memorials in Greece in the reliefs in which they are represented as seated or reclining. There is another group of monuments in which they appear as horsemen, or as leading horses.

The connexion of the horse with the heroic dead, whencesoever the notion may have arisen, was certainly in some districts of Greece very close. Milchhoefer has shown[89] how the sculptural evidence indicates that this connexion was closest in Thrace and Northern Greece. And this is but natural. The aristocracies of Thessaly, of Boeotia, and other northern parts of Greece were essentially equestrian; whereas in Peloponnesus the horse, being unsuited to the rugged mountain paths, was comparatively rare. The strength of a Thessalian army lay in its cavalry; the strength of a Spartan army in its array of spearmen. To a horse-loving race it was natural to think of the mighty dead as horsemen. Even at Sparta the national{95} heroes, the sons of Zeus, Castor and Pollux, were essentially riders; and on monuments they seldom appear without their steeds. Still more close is the connexion between heroes of Northern Greece and their horses.

A great deal of learning has been expended by a variety of archaeologists to prove that the horse, when he appears in the sepulchral banquets and the present class of reliefs, is of chthonic signification; that he belongs mythologically to the gods of the world below, and to mortals assimilated to them[90]. It may be doubted whether they have proved their case. Hades is in Homer κλυτόπωλος, in allusion to the dread chariot in which he bore away Persephone[91]; but he does not appear as a rider. The wild rider or hunting ghost is familiar in northern lands, but not in ancient Greece. It seems preferable to take the simpler explanation, that a chief accustomed all his life to riding would scarcely be supposed to lack a horse in the fields of Hades. We have ancient evidence that the presence of a sculptured horse beside a sculptured man showed his knightly rank in the Athenian Constitution of Aristotle[92], where we are told that a statue of one Diphilas on the Athenian Acropolis, which was set up to mark his rise to the knightly rank, had a horse standing beside it.

Several extant monuments show how the god-like heroes of Northern Hellas came as horsemen to receive the tribute of the living. And this kind of monument spread from the north into other parts of the Greek world.

One of the earliest and most typical of these reliefs is in the British Museum[93] (Fig. 35). It comes from Rhodes, and may be dated about 400 B.C. In it we have a combination in three figures of the three elements which in this class of monuments{96} are almost universally mingled. First, there is the hero himself on horseback. Next, there is a female figure of stature equal to or greater than his own[94], who meets him and pours him a cup of wine. Thirdly, there is a worshipper on a somewhat smaller scale, who does homage.

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Another relief of about the same period, from Tanagra, (Fig. 36), shows us a varied group[95]. Beside his horse the hero stands, clad in chiton and mantle, holding out a flat cup or patera, which a lady standing in front of him fills from a wine-jug. A square altar stands between the two, towards which, in attitude of adoration, approaches a man, represented on a smaller scale, with his wife and two children. The inscription above is Καλλιτέλης Ἀλεξιμάχῳ ἀνέθηκεν. Dedicated by{97} Calliteles to Aleximachus. Whether Aleximachus was a recognized local hero, or only an ordinary dead man raised by Calliteles to heroic rank, cannot be decided with certainty.

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Another very similar relief is figured in the fourth volume of the Athenian Mittheilungen[96]. It is from Thebes. The hero stands, holding a lance in one hand, and in the other the usual flat cup, the patera. From the right seven figures approach. The first is the lady who pours wine, and behind her are six worshippers, who bring in a pig and a fowl for sacrifice. The sepulchral character of the relief is emphasized by placing a tumulus just in front of the horse, and in fact under his forefoot.{98}

Another relief, in the Museum of Berlin[97], is similar in most respects; but the lady of tall stature here stands behind the horseman, and instead of paying him homage, seems to receive it in common with him from a train of approaching votaries. A large serpent erect in the background is the friend and companion of the hero.

There can be no question as to the association of these reliefs with worship, since the preparations for sacrifice are actually represented on them. But in many directions they offer us a series of interesting problems.

Firstly, is the hero who is thus honoured merely an ordinary dead person raised at death to heroic rank, or is he one of the local heroes who were everywhere in Greece held in honour, mythic founders of cities or ancestors of tribes, or healing and oracular demigods like Amphiaraus and Trophonius? No doubt, in many instances, the heroic horseman of the reliefs is of this latter class. Yet that a man recently deceased is sometimes the recipient of honour is proved by the inscriptions in some cases, and may be almost with certainty inferred from the presence of the tumulus on the relief last described. On the monuments the hero is represented in the bloom of early manhood; but of course it does not follow that he died young: immortal bloom belongs to the hero after death, however worn and wrinkled age may have left him.

Secondly, who and what is the lady who on the reliefs pours wine? Her stature, which is equal to that of the hero himself, and far greater than that of the worshippers, shows at once that she is no living mortal or descendant, but a person of equal rank with the horseman. As a matter of artistic tradition we can trace her genesis quite clearly, as has been well shown by Furtwängler[98]. On the Spartan stelae we found{99} ancestor and ancestress seated side by side. When the reclining position supersedes that of sitting, the wife necessarily moves from her husband’s side and sits opposite to him. It is a variety of the same motive when the husband sits or stands and the wife pours him wine, a group found on several stelae[99], one as early as the Persian wars, and very commonly in the paintings of Greek vases, from quite an early period. The motive of wine-pouring being thus thoroughly established in Greek art, could easily be transferred from one kind of group to another. It may have been that in some cases the hero had no wife, or he may have had several successively: that would make no great difference, as the idea of the group is fixed. As Furtwängler expresses it: ‘Il importe d’insister sur le fait que nous sommes ici en face d’une forme artistique, qui avait pour objet d’exprimer une conception de ces puissances souterraines dérivée d’un des principaux usages de leur culte.’ This is a far more reasonable explanation than that of some writers, who fancy that the wine-pouring lady is a kind of Houri, or nymph of Paradise, who awaits the hero in the next world to recompense him with her embraces for the pains which he has in this world undergone for the good of mankind.

Thirdly, what is the relation between these heroic reliefs and the numerous reliefs and paintings on Attic stelae in which the deceased is represented as riding on a horse? Several of these we cite below in Chapter IX. Some points of difference between the two classes of monuments are obvious. The heroic reliefs are broad, shaped like votive tablets: the Attic reliefs are tombstones of upright shape. In the votive reliefs the wine-pouring consort is seldom absent, and votaries are usually present. In the Attic reliefs the horse is merely one of the adjuncts of daily life, and the rider is represented in the guise of his ordinary existence. In fact, as we shall see{100} when we reach the ordinary Attic reliefs, the figure of the horseman, when it occurs on them, is merely a characteristic portrait of a man who in his life had been fond of horses, and perhaps won victories with them at the great sacred festivals.

Nevertheless, it would be very rash to say that the heroic and the ordinary horseman reliefs had no influence on one another. For example, a relief at Tanagra[100] seems to fall exactly between the two classes. On it a horseman in armour rides, followed by an attendant who holds the tail of the horse, as was the way of Greek body-servants. A female figure meets the pair with wine-jug and cup. Here, if the relief belongs to the one class, the servant is out of place; if to the other class, the pourer of wine. Probably, being oblong in form, it is really of the heroic class, but contaminated by the influence of the other. On an ordinary sepulchral slab in the British Museum[101], the horseman and servant recur, but the lady is absent.

In recent years an immense quantity of votive terra-cottas has been discovered on the site of the Dorian colony of Tarentum. These illustrate in a striking fashion the monuments of the Spartan mother-city. They consist mainly of two groups.

In the first group we see a man, bearded or beardless, wearing a tall crown, reclining on a couch, often holding a wine-cup. Beside him is seated a woman, sometimes bearing in her arms a child, who stretches out his arms towards the man. We engrave (Fig. 37) a specimen of the class[102], in which, however, the child does not appear, but instead, in the background, a horse, who seems to be drinking from the flat cup. And{101} this horse connects the first group with the second, which consists of figures of riding horsemen.

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Mr. Arthur Evans, who has had the advantage of studying these terracottas at Tarentum[103], is disposed to maintain that the group represents, not deceased persons, but rather the deities of the lower world, Dionysus, Cora, and Iacchus. ‘The terracotta representations here found must be rather regarded as primarily connected with the cult of chthonic deities and national heroes, than with that of departed human spirits,’ though ‘the starting-point may be regarded as purely sepulchral.’ Dr. Wolters, on the other hand[104], connects the representations far more closely with the worship of the dead. But after all, the opposition between these two opinions is not fundamental. Probably at Tarentum, as at Sparta, the dead ancestor{102} and ancestress were regarded as scarcely distinguishable from the king and queen of the world of shades, into whose being they passed at death. Thus the last note struck in the monuments of Dorian hero-worship is in complete harmony with the first.

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There are also reliefs in which the heroic character of the deceased is indicated, not by the horse, but by the presence of armour and arms. In some states wealthy and well-born citizens were content to fight on foot, and the position which had seemed to them dignified during life was preserved by them in the unseen world. A good example from Attica{103} (Fig. 38) is given in the text[105]. The hero stands on the right, helmeted; his shield rests against the wall. A dignified lady of the same stature as the hero pours him wine; between the two is an altar: on the left is a votary of small size. These groups may serve to remind us how often in Greece, in the hour of stress and danger, ancestral and local heroes appeared amid the ranks of the fighting men, and turned the tide of battle in favour of their descendants or townsfolk.

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Finally, the hero may even appear in the reliefs unarmed, as an ordinary citizen. On a relief from Patras[106] (Fig. 39) he is seated on a throne almost with the dignity of Zeus, a sceptre in his raised hand, a shield hung on the wall above him. His consort stands behind the seat, while from the left there advances a train, men, women, and children, making the well-known gesture with the raised hand which implies adoration, and bringing a ram for sacrifice. A horse’s head appears above through a square opening, the part standing, as so often in{104} these monuments, for the whole. This relief bears a very close likeness to those found in the sanctuary of Asklepius on the side of the Acropolis hill at Athens; indeed, if the hero had held a staff entwined by a serpent we should not have hesitated to identify him as Asklepius. But in the absence of that attribute we are probably justified in considering him to be some local hero of Patras, either mythical or historical.{105}



In regard to the laws which regulated the erection of monuments of the dead, and the forms which those monuments assumed in successive ages, under the influence of custom and belief, our information does not reach far beyond Athens. At Athens alone have we been so fortunate as to find, beneath the soil, a considerable part of an ancient burying-ground, where not the graves only, but also the monuments erected over them, are untouched by the spoiler, and almost as fresh as they were when Athens was a powerful city. It will therefore be well worth our while to consider the history of the Athenian monumental customs, which have been carefully studied on the spot by several able archaeologists.

Graves of the Mycenaean age have been discovered in Attica, at Sparta, and at Menidi. Of such graves we have already spoken. At an uncertain period, probably about the eighth century, there succeeded, in place of these, the graves found in such numbers just outside the Dipylon gate of Athens, and so called Dipylon graves. The pottery found in these burying-places is very interesting, although the devices are rude, because there are painted upon it representations from the contemporary life of Greece, the prehistoric Greece of the age of Homer and of Hesiod. The most ordinary pictures are sea-fights, or else the burial of{106} the dead. Of the representations of Greek obsequies which these vases bear we have had occasion to speak above[107]. The reason for the selection of the subject belongs to the present connexion.

The time appears to have been one of poverty and of depression in art. The rich treasures and the admirable talent for decoration which belonged to the Mycenaean age lay buried in the past. The Greece which we know, the historic Greece of art and poetry, of philosophy and history, had not yet come into being. The moon had set and the sun had not risen, and men moved in the dimmest twilight. Thus it can scarcely surprise us that the graves of the Dipylon class, with their poor and scanty contents, were surmounted by no sculptured monuments. In place of a column or a slab, there stood on the graves one of the large amphorae of the period, enriched with adornment of geometric patterns and lines of stiff animals. Into these vessels were poured, almost beyond doubt, the offerings of food and drink brought by survivors and descendants. The choice of a sepulchral subject for the vases is thus readily accounted for. The vessel rested probably on a mound of earth, such as the χῶμα, of which we shall presently speak, or on a simple pedestal of stone.

As we approach the historic age of Athens, the stone monument with its painting and reliefs makes its appearance. It is not difficult to divide into periods the history of the production at Athens of monuments of the dead. It falls quite naturally into three sections:—

(1) The time before the Persian wars, 550-480.
(2) The time of perfected art, 480-300.
(3) The Hellenistic and Roman age.

The epic custom of Greece was to erect over the dead{107} a τύμβος or mound, with a στήλη or gravestone[108] placed upon or beside it. Such a custom was continued in later Greece in the case of great graves made after a battle to contain the bodies of the slain. The tumulus at Marathon is well known to visitors to Greece, and the lion set up to crown the mound at Chaeroneia, where the Theban sacred band was cut to pieces by the phalanx of Philip, still exists in fragmentary condition. But for the graves of private persons the lavish customs of the heroic age in Greece gave place to more modest ways.

A passage in Cicero’s De Legibus[109] gives us some interesting information in regard to Athenian customs. Solon, Cicero tells us, legislated only against the violation of tombs, not against their sumptuousness. But some time after, in consequence of the growth of splendid tombs in the Cerameicus, a law was passed, forbidding tombs more elaborate than could be made by ten men in three days. Nor were they to be decorated with plaster[110], nor were Hermae to be set on them. Notwithstanding, after a time, the luxury of tombs again increased; until Demetrius Phalereus (B.C. 317-307) carried a law that no monument should be erected save a column not more than three cubits in height, or a flat slab, or a water-vessel[111]. A magistrate was appointed to see that the decree was complied with.

The legislation of Demetrius does appear, as we shall presently see, to have been successful. If the earlier legislation mentioned by Cicero was effectual, it must be placed in the days of the democracy which succeeded the expulsion of the Tyrants or in the stirring times of the Persian wars. For there is a decided dearth of sepulchral monuments at{108} Athens in the first half of the fifth century. In the latter half of the sixth, and again in the latter half of the fifth century, they are numerous and elaborate. Whether Cicero’s words, ‘aliquanto post Solonem,’ can be stretched to cover a period of nearly a century may, however, be doubted.

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We have evidence that during the latter part of the sixth century, the τύμβος the στήλη, the mound and the slab, persisted side by side. Often a grave would be marked by both; sometimes one or the other would be wanting. In the course of time the mound has usually disappeared, while the slab often remains. But it is easy to prove that the mound was common to early periods. Not only do we find mention of it in a variety of authors[112], Herodotus, Plato, Lucian, Pausanias, but its form is depicted upon black-figured vases. We give an instance (Fig. 40) in which Achilles is represented as dragging the body of Hector tied to his chariot beside the mound which represents the grave of{109} Patroclus[113]: a serpent and the shade of Patroclus appear. Here the tomb is a white mound of oval form, whence it may be judged that in place of a mere mound of earth sometimes an artificial structure was built, and a recent discovery at Athens fully confirms this view. In the Piraeus street were found in 1891[114] remains of an erection about two yards in diameter, which consisted of a framework of tiles overlaid with fine stucco, and which seemed originally to have been in the shape of the upper half of an egg. This was clearly just such a tomb as is figured in the vase-painting: and doubtless in antiquity such mounds were common, but they perished easily, or might very commonly be destroyed by careless workers in the course of excavation. At Myrina Messrs. Pottier and Reinach found the contents of tombs in many cases lying on the surface of the ancient soil; a fact for which they account by saying that these objects must originally have been covered by a mound.

On the mound would in some cases be set the commemorative stone. In other cases in this period also, as we learn from vase-paintings[115], an earthenware vessel was set on it to receive offerings. Sometimes we find in the representations mound and stele set side by side. And sometimes there is a third feature of the tomb, a τράπεζα, or table, that is, a horizontal stone. In one remarkable vase-painting[116] we see clearly mound, stele, and table. More commonly we find the stele and the table only; the latter being used as a seat by the dead person, or sometimes serving as a place of deposit for baskets of wreaths and other offerings. See, for example, Fig. 11, p. 22.{110}

The ordinary stele was in shape a tall and tapering slab, surmounted by an acanthus pattern. On the face of it were commonly the names of those buried, and, as a rule, two rosettes. In our frontispiece, which represents a part of the cemetery of the Cerameicus in its present form, may be seen several stelae; and one is figured in the text (below, Fig. 43) as an example. The rosettes seem to represent the two breasts, and we may here see a hint that the stele takes the place of a portrait-figure, just as does the turban which commonly surmounts modern Turkish tombs.

In the sixth century the stele is commonly adorned with a portrait of the deceased in low relief; but sometimes a painted portrait takes the place of one in relief.

Not all stelae, however, were of tall and narrow form, nor was the device on them always limited to a single figure: groups sometimes make their appearance, and to accommodate them the stele has to be made broader. This development we will trace in the next period. Meantime we must say a few words as to the pillar (κίων) which is frequently mentioned as well as the stele in ancient epigrams. The small round pillar, carved with a simple inscription, which is so abundant at Athens, belongs to the later age of the city. But in early times pillars were frequently set up on graves, and surmounted with a portrait or figure of some kind. As examples we may cite the supposed grave of Orpheus in Pieria, which was marked, according to Pausanias[117], by a pillar surmounted by a hydria; and the grave attributed to the sons of Oedipus, Eteocles and Polynices, on which stood a pillar supporting a shield[118]. On the grave of Aristomenes at Messene also was a pillar to which the ox, annually destined to be sacrificed to the hero, was tied[119]. At a later time the grave of Epaminondas{111} was marked, like that of the sons of Oedipus, by a pillar supporting a shield, and that of Isocrates by the figure of a siren, standing on a pillar 30 cubits high. The oldest existing specimen of a sepulchral pillar is from the tomb of Xenares in Corfu.

The terms σῆμα and μνῆμα, which are frequently applied to the tomb both in existing epitaphs and in the epigrams of the Anthology, do not seem to refer to any special form of monument, but rather to the purpose of the tomb as a significant monument (σῆμα) or as a memorial (μνῆμα).

Every one who examines the early graves of Attica must be struck with the fact that whereas it would seem natural that tombs should be set up by children for their parents, at Athens the opposite rule seems to prevail. Commonly tombs profess to be erected for those who died young by their sorrowing relatives. Not only were young men who fell in battle honoured with fine monuments, but young men who died of disease, and unmarried girls. A large proportion of the women whose tombs we find seem either to have died unmarried or else to have perished in childbirth. It would seem that ordinary citizens, who died in the course of nature, were buried in great family vaults; but that separate tombs with fine sculptural decoration were erected in special cases, when a father lost a promising and beloved boy or girl, or a young husband lost at one blow his wife and his hope of a progeny to carry on his name and tend his old age. The erection of a tomb to relative or friend was no matter of course, but an exceptional proceeding, adopted when feeling ran strongly, and required some satisfaction in outward act. The stern law of Sparta allowed only the names of men who fell in battle or women who were priestesses to be publicly set up. At Athens feeling took the place of law; and while those who died for their country were sure of honourable burial, ornate tombs were the gifts of special affection. We{112} are told that the effeminate people of Agrigentum erected special tombs to their horses and pet birds. Here, as in so many cases, the Athenians maintained the human mean, between harsh rigour on the one hand, and luxurious effusiveness on the other.

To the second period, B.C. 480-300, belongs the great mass of the fine sepulchral monuments of Athens. In the age of Pheidias, the custom comes in of flanking the sculptural group of stelae with a pair of pilasters supporting a small gable, as seen in several of our plates, and by degrees the ground between the pilasters recedes, and a deep interior is seen, as in Plates XI, XXVI, &c. By this recessing is produced the monument in the form of a small and shallow temple, within which we see in very high relief some scene from the daily and domestic life of Athens. These are the most splendid of the Athenian tombs, in date almost confined to the fourth century. They are the monuments of which Cicero writes; ‘amplitudines sepulcrorum quas nunc in Ceramico videmus’: even in Cicero’s time they were evidently one of the great sights of Greece; how much more notable are they now, when we have but a wreck of the artistic wealth and splendour of Greece with which to compare them!

It has been sometimes supposed that the temple-like form of these tombs, whence they are called ναἰσκοι, indicates special veneration for those to whom they are erected. If houses in form like those of the gods are given to mortals, surely, it may be said, the mortals are raised almost to the rank of the gods. This view, however, is mistaken. The architectural forms which we associate with Greek temples are not originally peculiar to them. It is only because the temples of Greece have survived the secular buildings that we are disposed to look on pillars and gables as belonging specially to the gods. We have, however, still a few secular Greek buildings, such as the Propylaea of Athens; and we see them to be constructed on{113} similar architectural principles to the temples. The Ionic and Doric styles of architecture were no more exclusively religious in use or origin than was Gothic architecture in England. The ναἰσκοι were not temples, but merely a framing for a domestic interior, such as is often represented on vases. They are rooms of the women’s apartments in Greek houses. A dead lady in the Anthology calls her tomb οἰκία λάϊνα[120].

About contemporary with the introduction of the ναἰσκοι was the custom of shaping the tomb after the fashion of a vase. These stone vases are extremely common in the Museum of Athens. Perhaps the earliest of them is one published by Köhler[121]. In the relief of it we see two men hand in hand, and it bears an inscription which Köhler on epigraphic grounds assigns to the period B.C. 450-430. It is painted like a real Greek vase with palmettes and maeander patterns. It was probably at the time when the custom of placing terra-cotta vases on the tombs was dying out, that it occurred to the sculptors to replace them by making the stele itself in the form of a vase, adorned like the ordinary stelae with inscription and relief. The marble vases were of two kinds. First, we have the lekythos or unguent vase, of the same shape as the red-figured and white ground vases very commonly placed in Athenian graves. These latter are mentioned by Aristophanes[122] as the work of the inferior artist: ὃς τοῖς νεκροῖσι ζωγραφεῖ τὰς ληκύθους, and in another passage he speaks of them as sometimes let into the tomb and fastened there with lead[123]. To imitate them in marble was therefore natural. For an instance of the lekythos tomb see figures 70 to 72, below. In the case of those who died unmarried, a vase of another form was used as the model. Here again we have only an imitation in stone of a terra-cotta vase often placed on the tomb. At Athens it was a custom, when a marriage was about to take place,{114} for a girl to bring to the bride a vessel of water from the spring Callirrhoe for a bridal bath. The water was fetched in a two-handled vessel of peculiar form, the λουτροφόρος, such as seems not to have been used on any other occasion. The Athenian Museum contains several imitations in terra-cotta of the marriage vase; and in every case the scenes painted on these vases are taken either from the ceremonies of marriage or those of mourning. When a girl was married the marriage vase was used in the pomp and jollity of the wedding: when she died unwedded, it was placed on her tomb as a memorial. As Athenian epitaphs put it, in that case she was wedded to Hades. On the tombs also of youths who died before the marriage-day, the λουτροφόρος of terra-cotta was regarded as an appropriate decoration. A well-known passage of Demosthenes[124] gives us explicit authority for this usage. ‘What is the proof,’ he asks, ‘that Archiades died unmarried? A marriage vase is set up on his tomb.’ Sometimes the marriage vase thus set on the tomb was an ordinary vessel of terra-cotta. Sometimes it was represented in relief on the stele. And sometimes the stele itself was fashioned in the form of a marriage vase.

The usage is well illustrated by a stele from Kalyvia, now at Athens[125], of which we give an engraving (Pl. IV). The whole field of the stele is occupied by a great marriage vase in relief. On the top of it, on a basis, stands a Siren, tearing her hair and beating her breast in sign of sympathy with the mourners. On the body of the vase is depicted a scene from the funeral rites. A marriage vase stands erect in the midst of three mourners, all apparently women, one of whom is tying to the handle of the vase (this vase has but one handle)

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Plate IV

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a wreath. Twice over, on this curious stele, we have the symbolism of the vase employed to indicate the unmarried condition of the defunct.

On another stele (Pl. V) three vases are represented in relief, a marriage vase and two sepulchral lekythi[126]. The central vase bears a relief, a young horseman armed, standing beside his horse, and giving his hand to an elderly man who is wrapped in a cloak. The relief on the vase to left shows us a boy, of somewhat manly form, running with a hoop. It is likely that in the grave to which this monument belonged a father had buried three sons, one of military age and almost marriageable, the other two still young.

No sentiment is more often expressed in epitaphs, none more strongly affected the Greek heart, than the sadness of the fate of those young men and women to whom death came in the place of that marriage which was regarded as the consummation of earthly happiness. When the marriage vase was used for funeral libations, then indeed the bitterness of fate was felt by every bystander. The poets have embodied this feeling in many an epigram; one of these by the poet Meleager[127] I must endeavour, though the task is a hard one, to reproduce in English:—

When Clearista doffed her virgin tire,
No bridal but a tomb did she require.
The flutes before her door but yesternight
To merry household clatter answered bright;
The morrow found them wailing, and the lay
Of Hymen in lament died sad away.
And torches bright that in her bower did glow
Illume the passage to the realm below.[128]

It is not, however, most usual to find the tombs of the later fifth and the fourth centuries thus adapted to the circum{116}stances of a special tenant. Some of the stelae of this period, such as those of Tynnias (Pl. X), Aristonautes (Pl. XI), and Amphotto (Pl. XVII) belong especially to individuals; but the great majority of the graves between B.C. 450 and 300 are of eminently domestic character. The reliefs which they bear represent not one person but many, and the inscriptions contain several names. The simple burial customs of the Athenians made great vaults unnecessary; a handful of ashes could be easily disposed of.

In looking at the sculpture of Attic tombs, we must not forget this domestic and family destination. And there is another point, one of technique, which we must also bear in mind. All decorative reliefs in Greece, whether they belonged to the temple, the public building, or the tomb, depended in a great degree for effect on the colour which was freely used to help out the sculpture. Few traces of colouring now remain on the sepulchral reliefs, but there can be no doubt that originally they were coloured, not perhaps all over, but in many parts. The background would be filled in with blue or other strong colour. The hair of the persons sculptured would be, according to the almost universal custom of Greek sculpture, red. Eyes and eyebrows would be indicated with the brush as well as with the chisel. The garments would commonly be at all events tinted, and in some cases they would bear designs painted to represent embroidery, as is the case with the votive archaic female figures recently discovered at Athens[129]. On our plate, which represents the stele of Aristion (Pl. IX), considerable traces of colour may be observed. And besides colour, metal accessories were in many cases added. In the stele of Dexileos (Pl. XII), reins, sword, and lance were added in metal.

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Plate V

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Thus when we see on our reliefs a lady holding out empty hands (cf. Pl. XXVI), we may be sure that originally those hands had borne a necklace or other jewelry, added in colour. The handles of the marriage vase on Pl. IV must have been marked with colour. The ornaments of the helmet of Aristonautes (Pl. XI) were added in metal, and so on in other cases. To the modern eye the pure white of Greek reliefs as they now are, seems classical and appropriate. And we may be right. Greek life has passed away, and looks upon us as if from another world in the ghostly reflection of Greek art. We see it not in a realistic but in a softened and ideal light. But the Greeks themselves loved strong colour, and in any purely artistic question their eyes are far more to be trusted than ours, which are perverted by the ugly surroundings of our daily life.

The date of Greek sepulchral monuments may be determined by a variety of considerations. The inscriptions which they bear may help us in some cases. We know that the old Attic alphabet, which did not distinguish short from long vowels, confusing O with Ω, and E with H, and which used the form [Image of form unavailable.] for Λ and Λ for Γ, was officially superseded by the alphabet of Asia Minor in the archonship of Euclides 403 B.C. But long before this date the Ionian letters had been in frequent use for private documents. Thus any tomb bearing an inscription in the Ionian character can scarcely be later than 400 B.C.; but may be considerably earlier. The evidence of date furnished by inscriptions being thus rather vague, we return to the evidence offered by the forms of the stelae and the style of the reliefs.

A certain roughness and want of elaboration in the acroteria, the architectural adornments of the tops of the stelae, indicates fifth-century work. For example, the stelae of Lysander (Pl. XX) and of Mica (Pl. XXI), with their somewhat clumsy ending above, are typical of the fifth century, while a somewhat more elegant top, as in the stele of Damasistrata (Pl. XXIII),{118} is usually an indication of the more luxurious fourth century. But style of sculpture is a safer criterion. Those who are familiar with the style of the Parthenon frieze, and with that of Praxitelean art, will find little difficulty in determining to which of these two very different styles that of any given relief most closely approximates. To the question of the relation of sepulchral reliefs to the works of the great Athenian artists we will return in a later chapter (XI).

The effects of the sumptuary laws of Demetrius Phalereus are clearly visible in the Athenian cemeteries. After 300 B.C. we find no more lofty stelae, no more temple-like tombs of great size and beauty. As might be expected from the statement of Cicero above cited, henceforward we find only small and mean monuments, the low stele with reliefs, the stone lekythos, the short pillar, inscribed only with a name. Such tombs are found in extraordinary abundance in the neighbourhood of Athens; but their interest, whether from the point of view of the historian or the artist, is but slight, and we shall be but little concerned with them in these pages.

We must imagine most of the roads leading to great cities as flanked on both sides by the sculptured memorials of the dead. Those who have visited Rome and Pompeii will be familiar with this custom, which seems to us rather depressing. But we must remember that the tombs of the Greeks and Romans had not that air of uniform melancholy which tombs bear among us. The frontispiece shows a part of the great Athenian cemetery of the Cerameicus, which lay just outside the Dipylon Gate. It shows us the line of tombs of various ages and of many forms, which flanked the sacred way leading to Eleusis, the line of which is visible in the foreground. On the left is the relief of Dexileos, which belonged to a sort of shrine, of which the foundations still exist. Close to it is a table or τράπεζα; below it, a tall stele with rosettes on the face of it, and surmounted by an acanthus. Then come more{119} tables and a flat stele adorned with reliefs. Further are two shrines, ναΐσκοι, and a lofty basis supporting a bull. One or two short pillars of the later age are visible in the background. In some cases stone lekythi, such as that lying broken at the foot of the pedestal of the bull, were inserted, sometimes one and sometimes two, in the flat upper surface of the tables.

To what events this section of the cemetery owes its remarkable preservation is a matter of conjecture. Francis Lenormant suggested that it was covered by the earthen agger set up against the walls of Athens by Sulla when he attacked the city from this side, and so preserved from the ruin which time brings. Dr. Brückner, however, rejects this view, thinking that the spot was buried with earth by the Athenians themselves on some occasion[130]. Whatever explanation be accepted, it is certainly a great gain to us thus to find preserved, like a fly in amber, a section of a great cemetery of Greece.

The architectural features and decoration of the tombs of Athens may best be spoken of in this place.

First, of the acanthus. The gradual growth of this ornament in complication and variety may be traced in the stelae of successive periods[131]. The general form is always two Ionic volutes, surmounted by a palmette. To this is commonly added, after the fifth century B.C., some kind of pattern derived from the leaf of the acanthus, which Callimachus, the inventor or improver of the Corinthian column, at the same period introduced into temple architecture.

The acanthus is said by some to be introduced into tomb decoration because it grew on the rocky spurs which the Greeks generally used as burying-places. And in favour of this view may be cited the curious fact that in the vase-paintings we often see on the top of a tomb, in place of a sculptured acanthus,{120}

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FIG. 41.


FIG. 42.

one growing naturally. But there is, on the other side, a piece of evidence the value of which must be acknowledged. At Khorsabad in Assyria[132], M. Place discovered a tall square stele, fluted on all four sides, and surmounted by a device which is really a palmette, but which bears a strong resemblance to the so-called acanthus pattern of Greek art. The meaning and purpose of this pillar are obscure; but whatever they may be, it is scarcely open to doubt that in an artistic sense it lies in the line of descent of the Hellenic stele. And it naturally{121} suggests the question whether the finial ornament of Greek gravestones was originally meant for an acanthus at all, or whether it is only a variety of the Ionic scroll and the Assyrian palmette. We engrave side by side the top of this column (Fig. 41), and for comparison with it, an archaic anthemion from a Greek stele[133] (Fig. 42).

After the archaic period the anthemion on the top of the Attic stele goes on developing in complexity as well as in beauty. We give three characteristic treatments of the fourth century, which may be compared with the example already figured. Of these monuments, one (43)[134] is adorned with rosettes only; the second (43 A)[135] with a group of three persons, father, mother, and daughter; the third (43 B)[136] with a marriage vase.

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The acanthus is not the only ornament used as a finial for Greek stelae: other devices sometimes appear in the same place; and their meaning is a matter worthy of consideration.

On some of the early monuments of Attica there stood a sphinx. The instance figured (44) is from an early tomb at Spata, near Athens[137]. The monster is archaic in form: her hair falls in long formal curls, her breast is covered with{122}

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feathers: on her head is a round crown. The history of the sphinx has been traced by Milchhoefer[138] and other writers. Its origin is certainly to be sought in Egypt, in which country sphinxes were set up in lines as guardians of the temples. The Egyptian sphinx is unwinged and male, as the beard which it commonly wears clearly shows; but when the people of Asia Minor and Syria imitated the form, they added wings. The significance of the monster was in Egypt quite vague; and it was probably even more vague in Asia. Thus when the Greeks adopted the strange form, it cannot have brought with it much meaning. They had to give it a meaning of their own. In fact, it was quite characteristic in the Greeks that they{123}

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borrowed forms and gave to them their own meaning. They took the forms and sounds of the letters of the alphabet from the Phoenicians, but used those letters to express their own thoughts, and the same thing took place when they received from the East an established pattern or form in art. To the Greeks, then, the sphinx is a monster, sometimes fierce and hostile, sometimes more kindly and gentle, who brings men and women to an early death; a spiritual force, like the Siren, which bears away souls. On a terra-cotta (Fig. 45) published by Stackelberg[139], a sphinx, this time with human arms, is represented as standing on the body of a dead youth. Some such group must have been before the mind of Aeschylus when he describes the shield of Parthenopaeus as adorned with a sphinx{125} bearing in her claws a man of Thebes[140]. But in the sphinx of our engraving there is no sign of fierceness or ravening.

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A sphinx probably stood on the top of one of the most interesting of early Athenian monuments, the stele of Lamptrae, of which I give a restoration (Fig. 46) by Dr. Winter[141]. It consisted of a thick slab with elegantly adorned cornice. On the top is a deep cutting, made to hold either the sphinx of the engraving, or, possibly, a portrait. Three sides of{126} the slab bear low reliefs which are much injured, but the subjects of which are of interest. On the front is a young horseman, evidently the denizen of the tomb, who rides to the right on a horse, holding spear and shield: a second horse is represented by a mere doubling of the outlines. On one of the narrower sides stands the father of the horseman, in an attitude of grief: on the other side are two mourning women, no doubt his near relatives. To these mourning relatives we may find abundant parallels among the vases which represent the lying in state of the corpse and its removal to the place of burial[142].

It will be observed that the sphinx of the terra-cotta has human arms. This, and her female sex, bring her into close connexion with other female monsters, who also are winged and have the arms of women, the Harpies and the Sirens. Harpy and Siren are, in fact, not clearly distinguished in art; both are human-headed birds. And both are daemons destructive to human life, since, according to the legends, the Harpies were notable for foul and ravenous habits, the Sirens for a passion for the blood of the sailors whom they drew to them by the sweetness of their singing. As sphinx and Siren were thus both alike the ministers of early or untimely death, it will not greatly surprise us to find that on later monuments Sirens appear in the place of sphinxes. An instance from the museum at Athens is figured (Fig. 47)[143]; the woman-bird is human from head to waist, and is occupied with playing on her lyre. The tomb on which she stood perhaps belonged to some young girl or boy who perished by an untimely death.

Yet this is by no means certain. For the Siren of Attic tombs has greatly modified her nature under the kindly influence of Attic poetry and art. She came from the East,{127} almost certainly as a malicious and devouring daemon. But in the ordinary custom of Attic tombs of the fifth and fourth centuries she becomes friendly and sympathetic. Sometimes, as in our example, she plays on a musical instrument. Sometimes she seems to express grief by the movements of her arms, beating her breast, or tearing her hair (see Pl. IV). A passage in the Helena[144] of Euripides represents the Sirens quite in the same sympathetic light. Helen, when wailing over the calamities at Troy calls on the Sirens, winged maidens, daughters of the earth, to come and join to her lamentations the music in which they were skilled.

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The sphinx and the Siren may have originally found their place on tombs as ἀποτρόπαια, stone images of daemons to drive away the real daemons. But they retain their place on the tombs of a more refined age to express sympathy with the mourners, and to add a gentle touch of sorrow to the delightful domestic scenes which usually occupy the front of the monuments. Sophocles calls the Sirens the daughters of Phorcys, who sing the ways of Hades; it cannot therefore seem inappropriate that the tomb of Sophocles himself was adorned with the figure of one of these spirits.

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More obscure devices are sometimes mingled with the acanthus over the tomb. In a few cases (Fig. 48) we find a pair of goats butting one another over a drinking-cup[145]. The cup seems to show that there must be here some Dionysiac reference or meaning, though what it is we cannot{129} say. In one case a female figure (Fig. 49), the import of which is hard to determine[146], stands over a tomb, with the acanthus-leaves for a background.

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It is not rare in most periods of Greek art to place on a tomb, instead of a portrait, the image of an animal, or some other device, the meaning of which has to be discovered{130} by the spectator. Sometimes it contains an allusion, usually to his name. We engrave (Fig. 50) a stele on which is represented a lion in relief[147], and as the name of the person whom the tomb commemorates is Leon, the allusion is clear. We may compare an epigram of Simonides[148], written for a tomb, which runs thus:—

Most brave of beasts am I; of men most brave
He whom I guard, reclining on his grave.
Leon his name, yet save he had possessed
The lion nature, here I should not rest.
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The traditional character of the lion, which was known to the Greeks rather from the Iliad than from personal experience,{131} made his figure a fitting adornment for the tombs of those who had died in battle for their country. Two gigantic lions still survive which adorned Greek tombs of historical celebrity. One stood over the remains of the Theban band which fell at Chaeroneia. The other, brought by Sir Charles Newton from Cnidus, probably marked the burial-place of the Athenians who fell in the battle of Cnidus, 394 B.C. The lioness on tombs seems to have scarcely had such dignified associations. On the tomb of Lais at Corinth stood a lioness, holding in her paws a ram[149], a symbol of the destructive force of the charms of the courtezan. A lioness without a tongue is said also to have stood on the tomb of Leaena, the Athenian courtezan who was a friend of Harmodius and Aristogeiton, and refused to betray the conspirators against the Tyrants.

A bull or cow sometimes also stood on a grave. In the British Museum is a bull of this class[150]. A heifer is said to have stood on the tomb of Boidion, concubine of Chares, who followed him in his expedition against Philip of Macedon[151]. On the grave of Diogenes of Sinope was a dog, to mark his cynic nature. But the dog which appears on the summit of a tomb in the Athenian cemetery need not have anything to do with cynicism. He may have his place as a trusty watcher and guardian; or he may be connected with the cultus of the dead, as we have already suggested. On the grave of Philager his teacher, Metellus Nepos, set a raven, which Cicero declared to be most appropriate to a master who taught how to fly better than how to speak[152]. Of course the raven, as the bird sacred to Apollo, was very appropriate on the tombs of learned men. In an epitaph in the Anthology[153] it is said{132} that the grave of the poet Sophocles was surmounted by a satyr, holding in his hand a female mask. As, however, we are told by other authorities that a Siren stood on his tomb, we must suppose the satyr to have surmounted a cenotaph erected to the poet by his admirers in some other city than Athens. From another epigram[154] we learn that on the grave of Plato an eagle was sculptured: here we are clearly in the realm of poetic symbolism.{133}



In the Spartan group of sepulchral monuments we found one of the two fountain-heads of Greek sepulchral reliefs, springing directly out of the ancestor-worship of the Dorian race. For the other main source, which is much less religious and more artistic in origin, we turn to Athens and to Ionia. It arises out of the custom of setting up portraits of the dead.

The earliest sepulchral monuments which reach us from Attica, setting aside the merely decorative or symbolical sphinx, are portraits of the dead. In these portraits there is something of artistic and something of religious purpose. As we shall presently see, no hard and fast line can be drawn between the image used in ancestor-worship and the portrait which is merely a memorial. In fact we may see two lines of tendency taking their rise in the mere image of the dead. The one tendency is to bring it nearer to the images of the gods; to identify the departed ancestor or friend with Hades, the ruler of the world of shades. The other tendency is to render the portrait a characteristic memorial of the life which is past. In almost all existing sculptural remains we may see something of both tendencies, and it is by no means easy to determine what features in them properly belong to the past life, and what features to the life which begins with death. At Sparta, as we have seen, there is almost no reference to the past. In Lycia, past and future are closely blended. At Athens, and in several{134} districts of Greece, the past has a tendency to eclipse the future. Yet at least in the earlier stelae the religious, the human, and the artistic are all actively working elements.

From the middle of the sixth century onwards the custom prevailed of placing upon the tomb a portrait of the occupant, who is represented in characteristic attitude and employment[155]. A man in middle life is commonly represented in arms; a youth appears as an athlete holding strigil or discus. A married woman appears with the basket of wool, which signifies her most usual employment to be spinning; a young girl carries a doll, or plays with a pet bird or dog. Sometimes this portrait is sculptured in the round; sometimes it appears in relief, on a larger or a smaller scale.

But no one at all well acquainted with the religious feelings and artistic tendencies of the Greeks will expect that portraits thus erected will be portraits in any modern or naturalistic sense, at all events until after the fourth century. When an honorary statue was erected in the neighbourhood of a temple or set up in a market-place in the likeness of some statesman or poet or athlete, it would represent the actual features of the person so commemorated, in the manner in which the sculptors of the time understood the art of portraiture. Greater vagueness and generality always in Greece characterized the sepulchral portrait. It was a radical feeling of the Greek mind that he who died put away the accidents of his personal individuality, and became in some degree a mere phase of the deity of the lower world. Thus, though he would not lose what was most essential in his personality, sex, youth or age, warlike or peaceful character, and the like, he would become typical of a class rather than individual, the warrior, the athlete, or the girl, rather than a particular man or woman. Besides this deep-seated tendency, it must often have happened that the sculptor who made the{135} effigy had scarcely seen the person to be represented, and was quite incapable of making from memory a life-like portrait, whereas taking a mould from the dead face was a process invented, we are told[156], by Lysistratus, brother of Lysippus, the contemporary of Alexander the Great, and unknown at an earlier period.

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We find in Greece proper as early as the sixth century portrait statues from tombs. Male figures stand naked, female figures are closely wrapped in archaic drapery. It is very probable that some of the stiff archaic statues of men which figure in the earlier chapters of the histories of Greek{136} sculpture really come from tombs. They commonly pass under the name of Apollo, as the Apollo of Thera, of Orchomenus, of Tenea, and so forth. But at the very early stage of Greek art to which they belong, the figures of gods and men were distinguished one from the other rather by circumstance and attribute than by any marked feature of the statues themselves. And thus some writers[158] have maintained that these so-called Apollos are really portraits of athletes. In regard to one of them, the Apollo of Thera, Professor Loeschcke has argued from its find-spot, in the neighbourhood of the rocky cemetery of that island, that it probably stood on a tomb. To bring before the eyes of the reader the character of these early portrait-statues I have given an engraving of the head of this statue (Fig. 51). The long locks fall over the shoulders, and the hair over the forehead is close curled in the decorative Ionian fashion. The upturned corners of the mouth, and the almost Chinese obliquity of the eyes, are well-known features of the most primitive art of Greece.

In the same paper Professor Loeschcke publishes[159] a fragment of an archaic equestrian statue (Fig. 52), which comes from the graveyard of Vari in Attica, and was probably a memorial of a cavalier buried there. The equestrian figure on Greek tombs had, as we have found in an earlier chapter, usually a special meaning; but here it seems to be a mere portrait of one who had served in the cavalry, or perhaps had won a victory at the great games of Greece with a racehorse. Noteworthy are the long rigidly cut figure of the horse, and the seat of the rider, whose legs stretch along the flanks of the horse. This may result from the greater sculptural difficulty of carving the legs in a detached attitude.

We possess also certain seated female figures of the same

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early age which appear to have adorned tombs. A fragment of one of these was found built into the wall which Themistocles constructed round Athens soon after the battle of Salamis, a wall erected, as Thucydides[160] tells us, in such haste that men spared neither public nor private edifice in its construction. But the best evidence as to the character of the early sepulchral portraits of Athenian ladies reaches us by a less direct route. Many people are familiar with the charming seated figure in the Vatican which goes by the name of Penelope, a veiled woman seated in pensive attitude, with her head resting on one hand, while the other hand lies on the rock on which she sits (Pl. VI). This rock, however, is a restoration[161], and replicas prove that in place of it we must suppose a chair, under which stood a large work-basket, to have supported the lady. She is, in all likelihood, no mythic heroine, but an ordinary Greek mistress of the house, resting for a while from the active toils of the loom in an attitude which gives the impression that the thought{138} of approaching death has come over her with saddening power. Both the attitude and the basket of work recur frequently in the reliefs of early stelae[162], and there is good reason to suppose that the so-called Penelope is an excerpt from some Greek cemetery, though the statue itself dates only from the Roman age. The original from which it is copied would date from the early part of the fifth century.

Before going on to speak of the stelae with reliefs, which are our main business, it may be well to follow down to a later time the lines which start with figures like the ‘Apollo’ of Tenea and the ‘Penelope’ of the Vatican.

It is by no means unlikely that in later days tombs in Greece may sometimes have been adorned with life-like portraits of their occupants, executed by some of the great sculptors of the day, such as the noble figures of Mausolus and Artemisia, which stood in the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. But certainly this was not the only, probably not the usual, line followed in memorial statues. The idea of generalization and of deification of the dead, of which I have already spoken, was by no means inoperative in this province.

Pl. VII represents one of two figures found in the island of Andros, and now placed in the museum at Athens[163]. This male figure obviously appears in the guise of Hermes, and indeed bears a resemblance which is more than superficial to the celebrated Olympian Hermes of Praxiteles. Very probably it may have grasped the herald’s staff of Hermes. But the snake which twines round the tree-trunk, which is a necessary support to the marble statue, has no connexion with Hermes, but seems to indicate rather a connexion with

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the grave, that in fact the statue is rather of a mortal in the similitude of Hermes than of the god himself. And this suspicion becomes a certainty when we consider other facts. Close to it was found its companion, a female figure, which does not seem to stand for a goddess, but for an ordinary woman[164]; and as male and female were thus found together, they had probably both stood on one tomb. There are other pairs of figures, of later and ruder work, at Athens, which in general character resemble the pair from Andros. Thus we seem to be on the track of a clear and defined sepulchral custom prevailing from the fourth century onwards. The successors of Alexander in Egypt, Syria, and Macedon appear on their coins in the guise of various deities, Hermes, Apollo, and Dionysus particularly; and it can scarcely surprise us that a distinguished private person should by the ennobling touch of death be raised to the same level, and take the form of Hermes, the messenger of the world of shades. We find that in Thessaly tombstones quite usually are inscribed, not only with the name of the occupant of the grave, but also with a formula dedicating them to Hermes Chthonius[165].

The Museum of Berlin has acquired, from the Sabouroff Collection, two interesting statues of women, seated in an attitude of grief, which almost certainly belong to tombs, and challenge comparison with the ‘Penelope.’ One is figured in Pl. VIII. Their date is probably the fourth century; but they certainly do not come from the hands of the great sculptors of that century; the work of them is poor, and their style has been well termed that of domestic art. Their dress is not that of the Athenian lady, but that of the maidservants who so often appear on the stelae in attendance on their{140} mistress[166], a dress of coarse material with long sleeves reaching to the wrist. They are clearly mourning slave-girls, who were placed on the grave of their mistress to commemorate her wealth and her kindness to her dependants.

We next approach the rich series of sepulchral reliefs, in which, as we have already shown, three periods are to be distinguished: first, that before the Persian War; second, the fifth and fourth centuries; and third, the later age. In this chapter we deal with the representations which are primarily portraits, leaving more complicated scenes for the next chapter.

Among the best-known of the works of early Athenian art is the stele of Aristion, which was found in 1838 in the midst of a tumulus at Velanideza in Attica. Simple and in details clumsy, the figure of the warrior (Pl. IX A) on that stele is singularly pleasing as a whole, and the unrivalled eye of Brunn saw in it, at a time when very little was known as to the early art of Athens, the whole promise of the Attic art of the future, more especially in the way in which it occupied the field of the relief, and was wrought into a composition which showed in all its naïveté a fine sense of proportion and of the relation of the part to the whole. As if on a parade, the soldier stands in helmet and cuirass, grasping his spear, and waiting the word of command. The hair and the right hand especially show the limitations imposed on the artist by the undeveloped character of his technique. Yet the relief is justly a favourite with lovers of art. One of its charms our plate imperfectly reproduces, the delicate remains of colouring, which may still be traced on the marble, and which are repeated on the casts in our cast collections.

From the same cemetery as this work of the sculptor Aristocles comes another stele adorned, not with relief, but

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with painting[167], and bearing the inscription, Λυσὲᾳ ἐνθάδε σῆμα πατὴρ Σήμων ἐπέθηκεν. The colour has indeed disappeared with time, but the patience of Mr. Thiersch and of Dr. Loeschcke has succeeded in proving its former presence from the variety of preservation of the surface of the marble, the parts of it which were protected by colour having retained the original surface, while those which were not so protected suffered from corrosion. We can clearly trace the outlines of the figure of Lyseas, a bearded man, who stands, holding in one hand a winecup, in the other a bough for lustration. Below is a jockey, seated on a galloping horse, doubtless a memorial of some victory won in the great games.

Lyseas is clad in civic dress, and in this respect he resembles another person of distinction whose stele reaches us from Boeotia, and was executed by the artist Alxenor of Naxos (Pl. IX B). This delightful monument represents a worthy Greek citizen in one of his lighter moods. Standing in a position of ease, he rests his weight on a staff which supports his shoulder, and holds out in sport a grasshopper to a favourite dog, who leaps up in an attitude somewhat constrained, and clearly resulting from the narrow limits of the monument. The inscription added by the artist is as delightfully simple as the representation itself: ‘Alxenor of Naxos fashioned me: only look!’

Alxenor was a native of Naxos, Aristocles probably of a Parian family; these are facts, among others, which confirm the view put forth by Loeschcke and Furtwängler, that the stele with portrait is of Ionian origin, and imported into Greece together with the marble of the islands of the Asiatic coast, and with the sculptors who came to exercise their hereditary skill in carving that marble. It is difficult to prove to demonstration any assertion in regard to the art of Ionia,{142} as the remains which will finally establish or condemn such assertions still lie beneath the soil of Miletus, Ephesus, Phocaea, and the other great Ionian settlements of the coast. But we can assert with reasonable confidence, that as Greece owed conservatism and ancestor-worship to the rigid Dorians, so she owed progress in art and all the delights of life to the joyous Ionian strain; and portraiture has in it the human and individual character which belongs especially to the Ionians.

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Another relief, now preserved at Ince Blundell Hall[168] (Fig. 53), sets before us a typical Greek citizen, seated in dignified fashion. From the artistic point of view it is interesting to see how completely, even in the archaic period, the sculptor has attained the art of displaying rather than concealing the bodily forms by means of the drapery. Whence this relief may have come we know not. But it is{143} of Parian marble, and the comparison of other reliefs indicates for it an Ionian origin, perhaps on one of the islands of the Aegean. We miss the attributes which in the stelae of Sparta refer to the cultus of ancestors. It is, however, impossible to be sure that they were originally wanting. For it seems clear that on the right hand, which lies palm upwards, some attribute rested which was indicated in colour, perhaps a flat cup, while the raised left hand may have held a flower.

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The stelae of youths are in the early age more common than those of grown men. As we might expect, the portraits of young men, even from their tombs, are marked by an athletic tinge. In the wall of Themistocles, already mentioned, near the Dipylon gate of Athens, was found the head of a young man, who had probably been a winner in the pentathlon,{144} a combination of five contests—hurling the spear, throwing the discus, leaping, running, and wrestling[169]. The victors in this complicated sport appear in their statues holding either spear or discus or the weights (άλτῆρες) used in leaping. In the present case it is the discus which has the preference (Fig. 54). Held up in the left hand, the discus forms a sort of background or frame to the remarkable head, with its long arched nose, its wide-open archaic eye, and the long mass of its hair falling down the neck.

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To this work, which is, for the time, of finished style and execution, a strong contrast is presented by an extraordinary monument of Boeotia (Fig. 55), from the tomb of two brothers,

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Dermys and Citylus[170]. The artist certainly meant rightly, and he has succeeded in conveying to future times the impression of the mutual affection of the pair, who stand with the arm of each thrown round the other’s neck, in a fashion peculiar to lovers and schoolboys. But unfortunately his ambition was beyond his skill, and the extraordinary rigidity and helplessness of the group are even more conspicuous than its good motive. It is hard to see whence the arms come and whither they go; and it is quite clear that unless the sculptor had added the name of each brother in the marble, their best friends would have been unable to discern which was which. The inscription further records the name of the person who erected the tomb: ‘Set up by Amphalces in memory of Dermys and Citylus.’

Coming down to a somewhat later time, we are compelled by the abundance of the material to select a few portraits of men as typical, and to pass over the great majority of them in silence.

A thoroughly typical portrait of an Athenian citizen of the fifth century is found in the stele of Tynnias, the son of Tynnon (Pl. X). Tynnias is seated holding a long staff, his garment thrown loosely over his shoulders but leaving his breast bare. The work is not very careful, yet it would not be easy to find in art a figure of greater grace and dignity. This mere mortal would sit undisgraced among the seated gods of the frieze of the Parthenon. He might almost stand for Zeus, the father of gods and men, instead of for the father of ordinary Athenian girls and boys. Only in one point does his humanity come out clearly. The chair on which he is seated is not such a square high-backed throne as would suit a deity, or such as commonly appears on tombs, but a thoroughly domestic chair, such as we see in the domestic interiors of vases{146} (see Figs. 10 and 69). The back slopes at a comfortable angle, and the legs diverge so far apart that it could only with great difficulty be overturned. Since the Chippendale reaction we have accepted the notion that chairs with bent legs are not artistic, but it is clear that some skilful Greek sculptors were of another opinion. The boots of Tynnias also are not the sandals of ordinary Greek art, but leather boots not unlike ours.

The simple form of this monument with its shallow pediment contrasts with the more highly developed and elegant stelae of the fourth century; the rough surface below shows where it was let into a socket. It is in fact an ordinary roadside tomb; can we wonder that the nation which had such perfect taste in common things attained so perfect a sense of beauty in form and dignity in deportment?

To the peaceful Tynnias a striking contrast is offered by the figures of citizens who fell in battle, and whose graves are a memorial of their warlike prowess. We give three examples.

First, the tomb of Aristonautes, son of Archenautes (Pl. XI). This is almost the only example which has come down to us of a complete ναῗδιον or temple. The letters of the inscription indicate the earlier part of the fourth century. Aristonautes is represented in the act of charging the enemy; he wears a conical helmet adorned with ornaments of gilt-bronze[171], and a cuirass; in his hands were sword or spear and shield. The relief is so high that the figure is almost in the round, to which circumstance we must attribute the loss of the left leg, which is now replaced in plaster. A chlamys lies on the left shoulder. The ground on which the hero charges is the rocky soil of some battlefield; the background was painted blue to bring out strongly the manly lines of the form. This monument comes from the Cerameicus at Athens.

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It would not be easy to imagine a more vigorous and lifelike image of a fallen warrior than this. Drapery and bodily forms alike are of the noblest. The face, with its square form, overhanging eyebrows, and parted lips, breathes the very spirit of military ardour. Such as every friend of Aristonautes would wish him to look when he sprang forward in his last fatal rush upon the foe, such he stands in imperishable marble. A grave in Westminster Abbey is supposed to recompense the English soldier for pain and untimely death, but surely the idea of living in marble under the eyes of all his fellow-citizens might furnish at least as strong an impulse to valiant deeds as the thought of a modern cathedral with its tasteless monuments and inanimate likenesses. It would, however, be a mistake to suppose that this figure, for all its lifelikeness, is an individual portrait. It is too strongly marked by the style of one of the noblest of Attic sculptors, Scopas, to allow us to doubt that there is in it a strong ideal element.

Another monument of the same school is the well-known relief (Pl. XII) in which we see Dexileos of the Athenian cavalry riding down and transfixing an overthrown foe, who vainly tries to strike back[172]. The inscription beneath this relief, which comes from a small chapel near the Dipylon gate of Athens, proves that it was executed in memory of a horseman who fell in the Corinthian War of 394 B.C. History records that in the battle the Athenians were defeated, and one is tempted to pause for a moment to consider how a modern sculptor would have represented Dexileos. An artist such as those who have modelled the tombs of St. Paul’s and Westminster would probably have sculptured him smitten to death, falling back in the arms of a grateful country; perhaps would have added above an angel crowning him with a wreath of celestial{148} reward. But the Greek artists of the good period could not find in defeat and death any elements worthy of their art: they must represent those whom they portrayed in the moment of success and victory, not in that of overthrow. The difference is very suggestive. Infinitely inferior to Greek art in charm, in simplicity and dignity, modern art introduces higher elements than were usually taken into account in Hellas. From the artistic point of view the ancients were right; but from the ethical point of view there may be more to be said for the moderns.

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A more modest memorial of a warrior comes from Tegea[173] (Fig. 56). In the relief we see a man named Lisas in the

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guise not of a hoplite but of a peltast or auxiliary. His defensive armour consists only of a conical helmet and a shield. His chiton is girt only on the left shoulder, so as to leave the right arm perfectly free. What he carried in the right hand we cannot be sure. It was filled in in colour, and has disappeared. The attitude makes us at first think of a sling. But it is more likely that the weapon was a light javelin for throwing. Lisas is evidently advancing over rocky ground to the attack.

From monuments of warriors we pass to those of young athletes; and in Greece almost every man who died before coming to full maturity appears on his tomb in athletic guise. The exercises of the palaestra were not reserved, as among us, for a certain number of the most robust young men, but were, like the military service with which they were nearly connected, a part of the life of every man not given up to sloth and luxury. On Pl. XIII is a noble figure of an athletic ephebus. He stands solidly on flat feet, naked but for a chlamys which he holds with the right hand, while the left grasps strigil and oil-flask, the necessaries of the life of the athlete. The bare body is treated with utmost simplicity and without a trace of self-consciousness. A dog sits at his master’s feet with nose upturned. This monument is from Thespiae in Boeotia, and must date from the middle of the fifth century: the letters over the head, Ἀγαθόκλη χαῖρε, are, it need scarcely be said, of much later times, proving that this stele, like so many at Athens, was used again in Roman times to mark a fresh tomb.

Of somewhat later date is the relief on an Attic lekythos (Fig. 57), in which we find an athlete exercising himself[174]. Stark naked, according to the invariable custom of the Greek palaestra, he rests his weight on one leg, while on the other he balances a heavy stone ball, such a ball as was actually{150} found in the gymnasium of Pompeii. This was doubtless an exercise of the class used for training special muscles and producing a perfect physical development. In front of the athlete stands a slave-boy, holding his oil-flask, and behind him is a pillar on which is his garment.

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A stele from Thespiae, of the middle of the fifth century[175] (Fig. 58), presents us with the figure of a young horseman, seated on a galloping horse. He wears the chiton and the Thessalian horseman’s cloak, the chlamys. The reins were filled in in bronze; the holes for fixing the metal being still visible in the horse’s mouth and neck. The easy and masterly

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seat of the rider, and the noble forms of the horse, place this relief among the most pleasing which we possess.

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A fine monument of the age and style of Pheidias comes from Aegina (Pl. XIV). Carved on it is the beautiful figure of a young man clad in a mantle, who holds in his left hand a bird, and extends the right without obvious purpose[176]. By this hand is a bird-cage; under it is a sepulchral monument, against which a boy leans, and on the top of which is a sculptured cat. The cat was well known in Egypt in antiquity, but the Greeks were unfamiliar with it, and its presence in this connexion is curious. The young man reminds us by the form of his head and his garment of the youths of the Parthenon frieze, who are his contemporaries and may{152} come from the same chisel. The beautiful ornament which surmounts the group forms in its extreme gracefulness a fitting boundary to it.

Another striking group (Pl. XV) comes from the bed of the Ilissus. It is nearly a century later in date than the last-mentioned. We see in it a youth of magnificent proportions, half sitting on and half leaning against a sepulchral column. In the left hand he grasps a short staff, which rests on his knee. At his feet is a dog scenting the quarry; on the steps of the stele is seated in an attitude of dejection a young boy, while an old man, no doubt the father of him to whom the tomb belongs, gazes earnestly into his face. No doubt this vigorous young man was a hunter of hares, the short staff being such as hunters used to throw at the prey. Nothing but the view of the original of this wonderful relief, or at least of a cast of it, suffices to make one appreciate quite adequately its beauty.

With these reliefs we may compare an epitaph[177], written by an anonymous author to be placed on the tomb of a young man named Pericles. From the description of the relief which the tomb bore it is clear that the implements of the chase were represented in it in detail; this would be quite natural in the Hellenistic age, as we may see by comparing several examples in the Museum at Athens[178]:—

A marble tomb I stand for Archias’ son,
Young Pericles, and speak his hunting done.
The horse, the spear, in my relief are set,
The dogs, the stakes, and on the stakes the net.
Yet all are stone. The beasts their pleasure take
Around; thy wakeless sleep they cannot break.

In the last two cases a stele has been present in the background, and a boy shows by his attitude and expression traces of grief. By such gentle hints does the sculptor of

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Plate XIV

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Greece shadow forth rather than express his meaning. The deceased himself is in both cases represented in the perfection of health and vigour; it is only the minor characters of the groups who give a suggestion of the mortality of such perfection.

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But the young men of Athens were not all notable for warlike prowess or skill in the palaestra. Another relief[179] represents a youth seated reading from a scroll. He was either{154} an author or an ardent student of letters. The work is of the fourth century. In our chapter on epitaphs may be found several destined for the tombs of those who excelled rather in intellectual pursuits than those of the gymnasium.

In some cases the reference to the past life of the deceased and the manner of his death is clearer and more explicit. For example, one Democleides (Fig. 59) is represented on his tomb as seated in an attitude of dejection on the deck of a galley[180]. His head rests on his hand; behind him lie his shield and helmet. No doubt he was a soldier who perished at sea, whether in a naval engagement or by shipwreck. An epigram in the Anthology[181], by an unknown writer, was evidently written to be placed under some such representation as this:—

A vessel’s oars and prow I here behold.
O cease! why paint them o’er the ashes cold?
Nay! let the shipwrecked sailor underground
Forget the fate which ’mid the waves he found.

It has been pointed out that, in the reliefs of tombs, the persons represented usually merge their individual peculiarities, and appear as types. But few rules are without exceptions: and, as an exception, I engrave (Fig. 60) a highly characteristic portrait of an elderly man, who appears in the background of a group of the fourth century[182]. It is not what we should call a classical type, but full of character and energy, and quite individual in character.

The early art of Greece is seldom very successful in dealing with children. Children did not, in the great age of Hellas, interest the Greeks as they do us; they were valued rather for what they would become than for what they were. Thus the representations of them are made too much in the light of the future, and boys and girls on the monuments are figured as little men and women. This was the more natural{155}

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as children had no childish dress, but wore clothes like those of adults. One has only to compare, in the celebrated group of Praxiteles, the figure of the child Dionysus with that of Hermes, who carries him, to realize fully the lacuna thus produced in ancient art. An early Athenian stele (Fig. 61) bears in relief the figure of a young boy named Callis[tratus?], who holds in one hand a bird, while a dog leaps up to greet him. The name being incomplete, some have regarded the child as a girl, and in fact the decision as to the sex is not easy.{156}

Turning from men to women, we may cite a few instances of the characteristic portrait, though, generally speaking, the tombs of women are decorated with such groups as we shall deal with in the next chapter.

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First we may take a stone (Pl. XVI), the very form of which, with the rough surface of the lower half, sufficiently proves that it was placed directly in the ground or the mound of earth which covered the grave[183]. The device is simple, a veiled matron seated, holding in her hands attributes the nature of which is not easily determined, but which may be

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a cake and a bird, and in any case must be regarded as gifts of the survivors. The work is archaic, even earlier in character than the Persian Wars, according to the editors of the Corpus. In another early relief (Fig. 62), which bears the name of Mynno[184], we may see under the seat of the lady{158} a work basket, such as we have already observed placed under the so-called Penelope’s seat. With both hands Mynno twists her thread on a distaff, which is visible immediately under her left arm. The form of the stele indicates the fifth century; and it is noteworthy that the art of the time had not yet mastered the problem of presenting the breast in true profile: while Mynno’s face is turned to the right, her bosom appears to be turned rather towards the spectator, and even the further knee is represented with some clumsiness.

Beside these simple and characteristic portraits of seated women we must place a standing figure. The stele bears the name of Amphotto, and comes from Thebes (Pl. XVII). There is here, as in many Boeotian monuments, a pleasing absence of convention. The dress of Amphotto is arranged in an unusual manner; her hair streams down her back. She seems at first sight quite an ordinary mortal; yet there are features in the representation which belong to another sphere. On the girl’s head is a tall circular crown, of the kind called by archaeologists the polus, which is a distinguishing mark of goddesses in early art. In her hands also are perhaps a flower (represented in painting and so lost) and a fruit, which are the characteristic offerings to the dead, and remind us of the Lycian and Spartan monuments of the cultus of heroes.

The Amphotto stele belongs to the middle of the fifth century. Of the same age is an interesting slab at the British Museum[185], on which is depicted a woman seated, also wearing the polus. She holds in one hand a leaf-shaped fan, of the same kind which the statuettes of Tanagra commonly hold; and in the other hand a cup from which a serpent feeds. The serpent here takes us still nearer to the ideas which gave rise to the Spartan stelae.

A class of reliefs must not be omitted which represents

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FIG. 63.


FIG. 64.


young girls holding dolls. The specimen engraved (Fig. 63) is from the tomb of one Aristomache[186]. Aristomache is about thirteen or fourteen years old; the undeveloped breast shows her not to have attained full womanhood. Her head, gently bent, is turned towards a little figure, no doubt intended for a terra-cotta statuette, which she holds in her right hand. This statuette might perhaps represent a deity; but the comparison of other reliefs[187], where a doll is certainly represented, makes us disposed to see one here also. Greek girls were allowed dolls until they married, when they often dedicated them, with balls and other girlish toys, to some female deity[188]. The presence of the doll, then, shows that Aristomache has not yet taken a husband and laid aside infants of terra-cotta for those of flesh.

Finally, we engrave (Fig. 64) a characteristic figure of a priestess of Isis[189], from a tomb on which she appears, probably in company of her parents, but they have been broken away. In the stiff and formal dress of her calling she advances, bearing in her hands the sistrum and vase of the goddess who, of all the deities, was most closely associated with the future life. To her patronage and protection her priestess trusts for a prosperous voyage past the dangers of the last voyage, and a happy resting-place in Hades. The letters of the name, Alexandra, show that the monument belongs to the Roman age, though it is by no means wanting in charm.

This figure is characteristic of the late age of Attic reliefs, but parallels to it at an earlier period are not wanting. For example, an Athenian tomb of the fourth century[190] shows us a lady seated, to whom a young girl brings a tympanum or{161} drum, the special instrument of the Phrygian Goddess Cybele. And a metrical inscription, which accompanies the design, tells us that the deceased lady was a priestess of Cybele. Cybele, at an earlier time, filled in some respects nearly the same place in the religion of the Athenians which Isis took in Hellenistic days. The paths of the dead were under her guardianship, and she might be trusted to ensure to her votaries a place in the world below.{162}



We next reach the ordinary family groups, a class of representations usual in the most beautiful and distinctive of the Athenian stelae. It is these which have captivated a long series of travellers and artists from Goethe onwards; and it is these which naturally rise before the imagination when the cemeteries of Athens are spoken of. Goethe has observed that the wind which blows from the tombs of the ancients comes with gentle breath as over a hill of roses. And there is no other series of monuments which seems to take us so readily into the daily life of the Greeks and to make us feel that they were men and women of like nature with ourselves, no longer cold and classic, but full of the warm blood and the gentle affections of ordinary humanity.

It is the natural pathos and the artistic charm of the family groups which adorn the majority of the tombs of ancient Athens, which strongly impress all visitors to that beautiful city, even visitors to whom most of the works of Greek sculpture do not convey any strong emotion. There is scarcely any one, however hardened by Puritanic training or the ubiquitous ugliness of modern surroundings against what is simple and true and lovely in art, who does not feel, through the hard shell of Philistinism, some touchings of sympathy and delight, if he spends a morning in the Cerameicus, or an afternoon in the sepulchral rooms of the National Museum. The{163} influence of ancient Athens has made the cemetery of modern Athens, in spite of many incongruities, one of the most beautiful in the world. If, with the remembrance of Athens still fresh, we visit the great cemeteries of London, it is impossible to express the feeling of ugliness and bad taste, of jejuneness in design and poverty of execution with which they oppress the spirits. Religious hope and consolation are among us, a chill resignation was the natural attitude of the Greeks in the presence of death; and yet we counterbalance the superiority of our religion by the inferiority of our taste and perceptions.

It is very notable how complete in all these representations is the predominance of women, and how domestic is their tone. This fact can only be explained when we consider that these monuments belong, in the great majority of cases, to the time after the political greatness of Athens had been shattered at the battle of Aegospotami. In ancient Greece generally, and more especially at Athens, men gave to their wives and families only such time and care as they could spare from more engrossing occupations. By nature the Athenians were intensely political. And while Athens was a ruling power, and every citizen had a part in the game of politics played on a great scale, it was to public life that their thoughts and energies were directed, and the life of the home remained very much in the background. Every scholar is familiar with the contemptuous language applied by Aristophanes and Euripides to women; and Xenophon in his Oeconomics regards that girl as best bred who had seen and heard the least, and had but the virtue of modesty. Secluded homes like these were not likely to claim very much of the life of the man whose whole soul was bent on the extension of the Athenian Empire. The fact is that all noble deeds in the world are bought at a price, and part of the price paid for the unrivalled burst of public splendour at Athens in the fifth century was the seclusion of women and the institution of slavery.{164}

But even in the Oeconomics of Xenophon we have the picture of a worthy citizen who gives much time and care to his home and his wife. And as public life decayed in the fourth century, and as manners became less severe, women became a more important element in the life of the community. The wife was no longer looked on as merely necessary for the production of citizens, while the courtesan accumulated vast wealth, and sometimes built temples or gave away cities. It is in the fourth century that a growing sympathy for child-life makes the children in Attic sculpture cease to be little men and women, and become real children. And it is the art of the fourth century which gives for the first time a noble and ideal expression of the life of the family, and the mutual love of its members.

The best plan will be, first to set before the reader several characteristic specimens of family groups, and afterwards to discuss the questions, many and not easily answered, which they suggest.

On Pl. XVIII will be found a somewhat exceptional subject, father and children only. Seated on a chair of the convenient domestic shape, Euempolus, as he is styled in the inscription, holds in one hand a bird, and extends a finger of the other hand to the children in front of him, of whom the nearer, clad in an over-garment only, seems to be a boy; the further, who wears also a tunic, is apparently a girl. Both have their long hair done up in a roll, and both have the stiff air which is usual in case of children of the fifth century. Another work of the same early period is the stele of Xanthippus in the British Museum (Fig. 65)[191]. The object in the hand of Xanthippus has been a puzzle to archaeologists. The prevailing view takes it for a shoe-maker’s last, and supposes that Xanthippus, far from being ashamed of his trade, glories in it even on his

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tomb. But an objection to this view is that trades were certainly not held in high honour among freemen anywhere in Greece. The name Xanthippus too, which belonged to the family of Pericles, was one of the noblest at Athens, and it seems impossible that it can have been borne by a mere cobbler. It seems more likely therefore that what Xanthippus really holds is a votive offering; perhaps some memorial of a cure wrought on one of his feet by Asklepius. The other hand of the hero rests on the neck of his little daughter, while{166} an older girl or perhaps his wife holds a bird. The work is almost contemporary with the Parthenon frieze; the monument most dignified and charming.

The earliest and one of the most interesting of the groups which represent a mother and her children is the so-called Leucothea relief in the Villa Albani (Pl. XIX). A mother, clad in a sleeved Ionic tunic and an over-dress, is seated dandling on her knee her youngest infant, a little girl who stretches out to her a loving hand. Under the seat is the matronly work-basket. In front two elder girls approach their mother, and behind them a maid-servant, also clad in the Ionian dress, brings a wreath.

Before the consideration of this delightful group begins, we must observe that the clumsy right hand of the infant and the head of the nurse are modern restorations. The rest of the design, though of archaic stiffness, and dating from a time not later than the Persian wars, shows the greatest promise. The arm of the mother as seen through the sleeve, and the forms of the infant’s body, are rendered with care and delicacy. It is only necessary to compare the details with those of the figures on the Harpy Tomb of Xanthus (Fig. 27) in order to recognize how vastly superior the artists of Greece proper at the time were to those of Lycia, especially in the sense of the proportions of the body, and the art of so arranging drapery as to display rather than to conceal them.

In most respects we clearly have here an ordinary scene from the life of the women’s apartments. The mother has risen and breakfasted, and the nurse brings her the children. And yet there are in the scene certain details which probably have a special meaning. The position and attitude of the two elder children remind us oddly of the little worshippers who appear in the corner of the Spartan relief. And the wreath, though no doubt flowers and ribbons were continually used by both men and women in Greece for the adornment

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of their persons, is yet one of the most usual and characteristic decorations of the tomb. It appears that here, as in almost all the designs with which we are to deal, there is some allusion to death, as well as to mere domestic happiness. This, however, is denied by some very competent archaeologists; and we must postpone further discussion of the subject until we have passed under review a certain number of characteristic examples of the class.

A very simple and noble specimen of fifth-century work represents a mother and son, Chaerestrata and Lysander[192] (Pl. XX). The mother is handing to the son by the wings a little bird. The son, a dignified youth, wrapped in his himation ‘like an image of modesty’ as Aristophanes puts it, stretches out one hand to receive the gift. On the Lycian Harpy Tomb, a youth presents in similar fashion to a seated male figure a dove held by the wings; and this bird, as the smallest and least expensive of animal offerings, was a very usual gift to the dead. Lysanias is almost beyond doubt the person in whose honour the tomb was set up, and his mother’s gift can scarcely have failed to convey to the mind of a Greek spectator some sepulchral significance.

A group of a very different kind appears in our next example[193] (Pl. XXI). A young man named Dion is giving his hand to a very beautiful seated woman, Mica, whose drapery is quite a model of arrangement. Her attention is divided between her companion and the mirror which she holds up in her left hand. The pair are probably husband and wife, and one may conjecture, though it is by no means certain, that it is the wife who died, and to whom her young husband has set up this beautiful monument[194]. A similar relief, though{168} of a later period, found at Naples[195], bears a simple and graceful epitaph:—

This pledge of love for Aste Daphnis made,
Who loved her living, and desires her dead.

The name Mica, Little-one, is fanciful, and quite unlike the rather stately names usual at Athens. We might be tempted to see in the seated lady a courtesan; but this view falls to the ground when we compare other stelae. On one tomb a Mica is in company of a Philtate, Dearest; in another she gives her hand to an Ariste, Best[196]. In another beautiful relief of the fifth century another Mica takes leave of her husband Amphidemus, who is represented as a warrior setting out for war[197]. It would seem then that there were certain families at Athens in the fifth and fourth centuries which chose to give fanciful names to their daughters. Generally speaking, the names both of men and women were assigned for sober family reasons, and not in mere caprice.

Before we consider the meaning of the sepulchral family groups, and compare them one with another, it will be well to bring before the reader a variety of typical examples, which we will briefly describe in turn, passing, whenever possible, from the simpler to the more complex, and from the less expressive to the more expressive.

First, we have a series of groups in which the main idea is leave-taking.

Pl. XXII. A lady clad in the sleeved Ionian chiton and over-dress, seated, gives her hand to another who stands before her. Between the two, in the background, stands a bearded man whose head rests on his hand[198]. The imperfect perspective of the group, which may be observed specially in the breast of the seated lady and in the footstool, seems to indicate the fifth

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Plate XX

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Plate XXI

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century as date. Nothing, except the somewhat pensive attitude of the man, indicates that we have here anything but an excerpt from the ordinary daily life of the women’s apartments.

Pl. XXIII. A seated lady, represented in somewhat better perspective, gives her hand to a bearded man who wears only the himation or cloak, and seems to hold in the left hand a strigil. Between the two, in the background, stands a second lady in the accustomed pensive attitude. Behind the mistress’s seat stands a young slave-girl, clad in the long-sleeved chiton usually worn by maid-servants, her hair wrapped in a kerchief. In the face of the seated figure is a certain eagerness or intensity of expression, which lifts the group somewhat above the level of everyday life; besides which, the symbolism of the sphinx, which is used as a support to the arm of the chair, has a sepulchral meaning. Above the seated figure is inscribed her name, Damasistrata, daughter of Polycleides.

Pl. XXIV[199]. A lady, seated in the same fashion as in the last two reliefs, stretches both her hands towards a matron who stands before her, and who lightly touches her face with the right hand. Behind the seated figure stands a young girl; beneath the seat is a dove feeding. Here the expression of the two principal persons, leaning one towards the other and tenderly embracing one another, has an obvious significance. It is no embrace of daily life, but one which goes before a long parting. The frame in which this relief stands is a modern restoration.

Fig. 66[200]. A young woman, identified by the inscription as Plangon, daughter of Tolmides, falls back, evidently fainting with illness, on a couch. She is supported by a maid-servant, whose rank is indicated by the kerchief which binds her hair, and by her mother, whose extended arms signify sympathy and grief. The father, Tolmides, stands on the left in an attitude of{170}

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grief. This is an almost unique representation of the moment of death. Nearly always the Attic artist, whose invariable feeling is ‘nothing in extremes,’ avoids thus clearly portraying the last struggle, and contents himself with some gentle hint of death. Here, by a very instructive variation, he is more explicit. And his fortunate freedom from convention throws back a light on the other scenes which we have passed in review. One of the epitaphs in the Anthology[201] describes

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a painted scene of a similar character, depicted on the tomb of a lady named Neotima, who was represented lying back in the exhaustion of death, brought about by childbirth, while her mother Mnasylla hung over her, and her father Aristoteles stood by, resting his head on his hand, in the usual attitude of grief. Curiously enough, the presence of the husband is not mentioned, nor even his name. Perhaps the commonness of death in childbirth at Athens needs a word of explanation. It may be accounted for partly perhaps by the sedentary life of Athenian women, but more especially by the fact that help in the crisis was not usually afforded by physicians, but by midwives, who had had no training save that which is gained by practice. The resort to male accoucheurs was condemned by the instinctive delicacy of the Attic women.

We must cite one more relief of this class, though it is of interest not for the representation which it bears, which is quite ordinary, but for the inscription[202]. A seated woman, veiled, gives her hand to a standing veiled figure, a bearded man standing in the background. Over the head of the seated figure is inscribed, Χοιρίνη τίτθη. Choerine then is a wet-nurse, and the lady to whom she gives her hand is probably her foster-child whom she has brought up, and who, even after marriage, retains affection for her old nurse, and erects a monument in honour of her fidelity. This monument stands by no means alone; it is one of many set up both by men and women in memory of their nurses. Such facts show that in Greece, though the nurse would commonly be a slave, natural affection and gratitude often triumphed over social convention, and she was regarded as a friend rather than as a dependant.

Another group of reliefs is even more thoroughly feminine. It is dominated by the idea of adornment. The well-born{172} ladies of Athens took, as we know, great pains to enhance by art the charms which nature had liberally bestowed upon them. The rouge-pot was a well-known part of their arsenal, and is sometimes found in their graves. They were not, like modern women, the humble slaves of a fashion which constantly changes. The form and disposition of their garments varies but little from century to century. But they were very particular as to pattern and texture, and very careful that each garment should fall in the most graceful and becoming folds. For jewelry they seem to have had a strong liking, and it may be urged as a palliation of so frivolous a taste that the Greek jewelry which has come down to us is in very good taste. The custom of adorning oneself with huge diamonds and rubies, as a proof of wealth, would have been considered barbaric in Greece. Jewelry was mainly of gold, or even gilt bronze, of little material value, but wrought by cunning workmen, in complete disregard of time, with exquisite care and subtilty[203], so as to be in itself a thing of art as well as a mere decoration. If stones were inserted in the metal, they were quite common stones, sards and onyxes and the like, not cut in facets, but carved in the form of scarabs, or engraved with beautifully cut designs in intaglio. Like the dress, the pottery, and the coins of the Greeks, and all the other surroundings of their life, their jewels exhibited on a smaller scale the same unrivalled artistic taste which is shown on a larger scale by their temples and their sculpture.

Pl. XXV. Hegeso, daughter of Proxenus, is seated to left on a chair which is admirably shaped alike for comfort and steadiness. Her hair is bound with a beautifully arranged kerchief; she wears the fine Ionic chiton with sleeves and an over-dress. She is looking at a necklace which she has drawn from a box held by a serving-girl, and which she holds in both

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hands. This necklace must have been represented either by help of colour or metal. The slave-girl’s more simple dress contrasts with the elegance of that of her mistress. The work seems to belong to the early part of the fourth century. This monument is not in the Museum of Athens, but remains in its place in the Cemetery by the Gate.

Pl. XXVI. We have once more a group of lady and jewel-box. But here the attendant who brings the box seems from her dress to be no slave, but a sister or relative. And the seated lady is not here attracted by the jewels, but sits in pensive attitude; it may be, however, that her right hand, which is near her neck, is holding a necklace already adjusted. In some of the details in this relief there is clumsiness, for example in the right arm of the standing figure; nevertheless the design is very graceful.

Pl. XXVII. Here is a further variation. The standing sister or friend, Demostrate, is evidently trying to tempt the taste of the seated Ameiniche by offering her jewels, but cannot even attract her attention. With one hand resting on the seat of the squarely made chair, Ameiniche looks pensively outwards. The artist seems to imply that when personal adornment ceases to interest a woman, the shadow of fate is not far away.

A relief published in the Corpus[204], on which is depicted a lady and her attendant, the former fastening a bracelet, bears an inscription which at once interests us (Fig. 67). The seated lady is named Phaenarete, a name borne by the mother of Socrates. It would be a strange freak of fortune if it had preserved to us the tomb of the mother of Socrates, engaged in an occupation scarcely in harmony with the character of her son. It is curious that there is something to be said in favour of this view, and no decisive argument against it. The date of{174}

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the relief is given by Furtwängler[205] as the Pheidian age; most archaeologists would probably place it rather later, but still well within the fifth century. Phaenarete gave birth to Socrates about B.C. 470; but when she died we know not: there is certainly no reason why she should not have died at about the date of execution of this relief. Whether she was old or young at the time of her death would make no serious difference; on her tomb an ideal figure would appear and no true portrait.

But it may be said that the parents of Socrates were poor; his father Sophroniscus was a second-rate sculptor, his mother was a midwife[206]: is it likely that such people could afford so expensive a tomb? To which it may be replied that Socrates certainly inherited a small fortune. And it appears that the fine tombs at Athens did not belong by any means exclusively to the wealthy class. Again, Sophroniscus was a sculptor; a tomb of somewhat sumptuous style would therefore cost him far less than the usual price. And the profession of a midwife, in a city where such duties were undertaken ordinarily by women, might be fairly lucrative.

On the other hand, the name Phaenarete does not appear to have been at all rare at Athens. It occurs on three or four existing stelae, some of which belong to the fifth century[207]. Much therefore as we should desire to find in our stele a record of the mother of Socrates executed either by Sophroniscus, or even by Socrates himself, who in his youth followed his father’s craft, we cannot do so with any confidence. Such an attribution remains a bare possibility, and we have no means of testing it.

Pl. XXVIII. Here there are obviously preparations for a journey. The principal figure is Ameinocleia, daughter of Andromenes. She is clad in a long chiton and an over-dress which serves also as a veil. A slave is putting on her sandal,{176} during which process she steadies herself by resting a hand on the girl’s head. In front is a friend who bears a box of jewelry. The fair Ameinocleia is evidently setting out on a journey. And it seems evident that there is an allusion to a solemn departure on a journey whence none returns, although in the details of the representation we find no clear suggestion of death. That is unnecessary when the whole group is itself an allusion to it.

Some writers have doubted whether in the scenes of hand-taking and of adornment there be anything beyond an ordinary scene of daily life, a domestic interior. The stele of Ameinocleia furnishes reasons for declining to agree with them. As we have seen, in the hand-taking scenes more emotion is commonly visible than an ordinary family scene would warrant. And reflection soon shows that even in scenes of adornment the notion of parting is in place. The Greek lady especially adorned herself when she was preparing to go abroad, to take part, maybe, in some procession in honour of the gods or some marriage festivity. Thus the notions of adornment and of leaving home are naturally connected.

No doubt in these scenes there may be traced another element, one derived from the custom of placing ornaments in the tomb and bringing offerings to the dead. We can trace this influence by means of the paintings of the white lekythi of which we have spoken in Chapter II. On these vases are depicted innumerable scenes from the cult of the dead, among which we often find ladies seated and attendants bringing offerings. We engrave an example[208] (Fig. 68). Here the lady who is seated on the steps of the tomb seems to be the person for whom that tomb was made. She holds on her knees a box of jewelry; on either side of the tomb stands a maid-servant. In other instances[209] the maids bring unguent-vases, fans, and

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other articles of the toilet. These groups, however, are but translations into the realm of death of scenes of daily life, such as are common on Attic vases of the fifth and fourth centuries. These vases often show us the interior of the women’s apartments, with ladies dressing or engaged in domestic occupation. As an example we may take a pyxis published by Dumont[210], on which are depicted a lady with her hair down, to whom one maid brings a necklace, and another a vessel of ointment, and another lady whose shoe is being laced by a slave-girl. Another vase, published by Heydemann[211] (Fig. 69), shows us a seated woman to whom an attendant brings a box of jewelry, and a family group of father, mother,{178} and child. The likeness of these groups to those of the sepulchral reliefs is striking.

The question which is the original in art, the domestic interior or the offering at the tomb, is not an easy one. The former class of scenes is Ionic, the latter Doric in character. Both make their appearance on Attic works at about the same time. It is a case like that of the meeting of two streams, when it is impossible to say which is the main river and which the tributary.

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We have already observed (Chap. VIII) that a not unfrequent form of monument at Athens in the later period was a flat slab (τράπεζα), in which were inserted one or more stone lekythi adorned with reliefs. The reliefs are in such cases ordinarily family groups; and the juxtaposition of several of these lekythi in museums has demonstrated some facts not without interest. It appears that sometimes when a family grave was acquired, and covered with a slab, a pair of marble vases were inserted in it, the reliefs of both of which comprise{179}

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the same set of persons in a somewhat varied arrangement. An instance is engraved (Figs. 70, 71). On these lekythi[212] Callistomache appears seated, Aristion and Timagora standing; the main difference is that in one case the seated lady faces the right, in the other case the left. On another pair of lekythi we see two husbands, Mys and Meles, with their wives, Metrodora and Philia. On one vase the two husbands have joined hands, while the women stand behind them; on the other vase the wives have joined hands, while the men stand in the background[213]. Sometimes on the lekythi which stood together, either on the same slab or on slabs closely adjacent, we can{180} trace the successive generations of Athenian citizens, their names recurring commonly in alternate generations.

In a very few instances a deity makes his appearance in the ordinary family groups. The deity who thus intervenes is always Hermes, the guide of souls (Psychopompus), who leads them down the dangerous road to the world of spirits.

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Most noteworthy among the stelae on which Hermes appears is that shaped in the form of a lekythus, and bearing the name Myrrhina[214] (Fig. 72). In the relief we see the graceful figure of the lady, closely wrapped up and veiled, giving her hand to Hermes, who leads her forth, looking back at her the while.{181} An old man and youths, probably the father and brothers of Myrrhina, stand, the former with raised hand in the attitude appropriate to adoration[215].

This is doubtless a real tombstone; but the same can scarcely be said of the beautiful relief which represents the final parting of Orpheus and Eurydice (Pl. XXIX). Orpheus has dared the perils of the world below and surmounted them. He has led the recovered Eurydice to the very confines of the world of shades; and at that moment his disobedience to the law of Hades, which forbade him to look back, has once more deprived him of his bride. Hermes claims her back, and the lovers must part finally[216]. That this beautiful relief, the date of the original of which is about 400 B.C., has some connexion with the grave seems clear; the subject is sepulchral, and the sentiment of the group, gentle and subdued, is closely like that of Athenian tombs. At the same time the form of the relief, low and broad, proves that it is not part of an ordinary monument: rather it was meant to be inserted in a wall. It may be a sort of ‘elegant extract,’ like so many of the copies of the Roman age. The subject and treatment of some celebrated sepulchral monument may have been copied in marble for a Roman amateur, and taken out of its original connexion.{182}



For the interpretation and full appreciation of the Attic reliefs, it is important to discuss somewhat carefully a fundamental question, which may be set forth in several ways. Is their allusion primarily to the life of the past or the life of the future? Is the scene of them Athens or Hades? Is the hand-taking a sign of parting or of re-union in a world of spirits? In a word, do they point backward or forward?

In this controversy the names of eminent archaeologists appear on both sides. But to the English reader it will be more satisfactory to find a brief statement of the arguments cited on this side and on that, than to learn what line has been taken by the various authorities[217].

The view which makes the future the time, and the spiritworld the scene of the sculptured reliefs has in its favour many analogies, and will naturally commend itself to those who are attracted by the investigations of comparative religion. There can be little doubt that the seated pair of the Spartan monuments are regarded as holding their court as heroized dead. And a number of intermediate links connect these clearly marked memorials of ancestor-worship with the usual Attic groups in an almost uninterrupted series, so that to draw

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a line of division at any point between backward-looking and forward-looking representations is by no means easy. Let us follow a few of these series.

In the Spartan relief (Pl. II) the heroic pair hold in their hands the winecup and the pomegranate, drink and food of spirits. The hero of Fig. 30 holds both. Both may be found repeatedly also on the stelae of Athens and the rest of Greece.

1. The winecup. On the beautiful archaic stele of Lyseas at Athens[218], the hero is represented not in relief, but painted on the marble; he stands erect, holding in one hand a winecup, in the other a lustral branch. Not very much later in date is the stele[219] on which appears in relief a veiled lady seated, who holds in one hand the flat patera (Pl. XVI). Here the patera seems to stand in the place of the winecup, and clearly has the same reference to the receipt of libations.

2. The pomegranate. On an archaic tombstone of Aegina[220], a seated lady gives her hand to a male figure standing before her: in the other hand she holds a pomegranate. Again, on a stele of the early part of the fifth century, which comes from Larissa in Thessaly[221], a lady called Polyxena stands, drawing forward with one hand her veil, and in the other holding a pomegranate.

Nor is it only the attributes held by the Spartan heroes which appear in Attic and other reliefs, but also the offerings brought to them by worshippers. We will take the cock and the dove, which are prominent at Sparta or on the Lycian Harpy Tomb, which so closely resembles in its symbolism the Spartan monuments.

3. The cock. From Larissa comes a fifth-century stele[222], on which is a relief representing a young Thessalian, clad in a chlamys, who holds in one hand a spear, in the other a cock{184} His name is Vekedamus. A cock is also painted on a tomb at Athens which bears the name of Antiphanes[223].

4. The dove. An Athenian tomb of the middle of the fifth century[224] (Pl. XXX) bears the seated figure of a lady, Eutamia; before her stands an attendant of small stature, who brings her a dove and a toilet-box. Here the dove has the appearance of an offering. But on a number of Athenian stelae the dove appears evidently as a common household pet. It is sufficient to refer to our Plate XVIII and Fig. 61; though perhaps a more pleasing instance than either of these is offered by a charming relief at Brocklesby Park[225], in which we see a young girl fondling two doves, which at once takes our thoughts to the offering of two doves at the temple of Jerusalem after childbirth[226], though doubtless the correspondence is accidental.

The horse and the dog also, which figure so prominently on the Spartan tomb (Fig. 30), are of frequent occurrence at Athens.

5. The horse. We have already spoken of the many votive and sepulchral reliefs on which the dead appear as horsemen. And the horse is also of frequent occurrence on portrait-stelae. Of this we have cited instances above, Chap. IX. The horse on the base of the Lyseas monument seems to be a memorial of some victory in the racecourse. But on another very early tomb, from Lamprika in Attica[227], we find, sculptured on the face of it, a young knight on horseback fully armed. Another armed horseman carved beneath the feet of a standing man occurs on an Attic tombstone of somewhat later date[228]. On the lekythus-stelae of the fourth and third centuries, in the scenes of leave-taking, the husband who gives his hand to his{185} wife is often accompanied by a horse[229], and sometimes also by a youth who bears his armour.

6. The dog. On the stele by Alxenor (Pl. IX) we have a dog as companion of the dead; also in Pl. XIII and on the Ilissus relief (Pl. XV). This addition to sepulchral groups is so common, and so natural, the Greeks being as fond of dogs as we are, that it requires no comment.

The stele of Eutamia (Pl. XXX) seems to lie very nearly on the boundary between the heroizing stelae and ordinary Attic reliefs. At first glance it does not present any marked deviation from the usual Athenian types. Yet when one examines it in detail many links are evident connecting it with Sparta and ancestor-worship. The difference in scale between the seated lady and her attendant makes the latter seem rather a worshipper than a mere handmaid. And the offerings which she brings, more especially the dove, belong to the cultus of the dead. The dog too, sculptured in relief above, offers an exact parallel to the horse in relief of the stele Fig. 30. Our first point then, that there is an unbroken line of connexion between stelae of the Spartan and those of the Athenian class, is made out to demonstration.

But another point may be made out with equal clearness, that at all events a large part of the Attic reliefs have reference exclusively to the past. Several groups of them may be cited in proof.

1. Reliefs in which an actual death-scene is portrayed. Such a scene is represented in our Fig. 66. It is clear that here nothing can be referred to except what has occurred in the past; and this is equally clear in the case of—

2. Reliefs in which is represented some notable scene in the life of the deceased. A good example is offered by the monument on which Dexileos appears striking down his enemies (Pl. XII), or that of Democleides, Fig. 59.{186}

3. Reliefs in which the profession of the deceased is indicated, as in the case of the physicians[230]: and as in the stele of Mynno (Fig. 62).

It has been said that the reference to the past in such cases may be explained from the Greek notion that the future life was a continuation of the past on the same lines but in a ghostly fashion. But this statement will not bear a closer examination. An earthly hunter may hunt in Elysium: possibly a warrior may be imagined as finding new and ghostly enemies to overthrow. But could it be for a moment supposed that a woman would spend her time in Hades in repetitions of sickness and death, or that a physician would find there need for the exercise of his old craft? It is thus abundantly clear that in some at least of the Attic reliefs the backward look prevails.

The class of reliefs from which we may best illustrate the two different fashions of interpretation is the very large class in which is represented hand-giving, the Greek δεξίωσις. Sometimes one of the pair who are hand in hand is standing and one seated: sometimes both are standing. There are three ways in which the attitude of the pair may be interpreted. First it may be taken to mark a mere family group, an Attic interior scene, a portrait of husband and wife or father and son in a connexion which marks their unity of feeling and mutual affection. Second, we may combine with this idea that of parting. To this view I have inclined in a previous chapter. Third, we may take the hand-giving as indicating the reception in Hades by those who have gone before of their kindred who follow them. In the funeral oration of Hyperides there is a passage[231] which is cited in favour of this view, in which the orator speaks of the heroes of old in Hades

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Plate XXX

Page 186


greeting, with a δεξίωσις their descendants who follow them in the way of virtue and honour. So in the poets also, as we have above seen, there are frequent references to the life of the re-united family in Hades. And in fact a hope of such re-union seems to have existed among all peoples in which family life was highly developed.

We can scarcely venture to rule any of these views out of court. We can indeed venture to say that in the Athenian reliefs as they reach us, the setting is full of allusions to the life of the past, while all that suggests Hades is conspicuously absent. At the same time, while this is the clear result of artistic analysis, it is quite impossible to say that the hopes and longings of survivors may not have sometimes found in the mere grouping of a family scene some earnest of re-united family life under other conditions than those of earth. Artistic groups, like strains of music, may be interpreted by the emotions rather than by the intellect, and suggest many things to many people.

We can best solve the questions we have raised by drawing clearly a line of distinction between the origin of the Attic sepulchral groups and their meaning. They undoubtedly derive much both from the ancestor-worship of early Hellas, and from the monuments in which that worship found expression. But it is very unlikely that to the Attic mind of the fifth and fourth centuries they usually conveyed much of religious meaning. The bright genius of Attic art had little sympathy with the mystic side of man’s nature. Its tendency was not towards ethical religion, but towards beauty and enjoyment and social life. Thus, in the memorials of the dead, the Athenians and those who took their tone from Attic art sought to produce a pleasing and not too vivid memorial of the dead, rather than a record of hope in the future life. They did not disbelieve in the future world, nor did they practically neglect the simple and pleasing ritual of the cultus of the dead. But their minds{188} turned more naturally to thoughts less severe and gloomy, thoughts of the present, of the beauteous land they dwelt in and the charm of their social surroundings.

But on the other hand it must be allowed that in the case of the cultus-reliefs of the oblong class (Chapter VII), the reference is to the future and not to the past. The worship of the dead could not begin until they were canonized, so to speak; and to this canonization all the details of the reliefs refer. If the question be asked whether the scene in which the august hero sits on his throne or leads his horse is Hades or the tomb itself, the answer is not easy. There seems to have existed in this matter a confusion of mind. The earliest beliefs of the human race seem to regard the dead as continuing in the grave an existence which is a ghostly echo of the past life, and there receiving the constantly presented offerings of their descendants. But the Greeks, as we know them in history, had risen to a higher level of thought. They thought that the soul travelled away from the resting-place of the body until it reached the shadowy realm of Hades and Persephone, there to receive from divine justice the reward or the punishment which it had earned in its earthly life[232]. Such was the view of the priest and the poet, and of educated people generally. But it is a familiar fact in the history of religion that custom and cultus move far more slowly than doctrine; and that to this body of usage is attached a survival of the earlier or more primitive belief. So it came to pass in Greece, in spite of the philosopher who spoke of the soul as mounting to its native aether, and of the poet who sang of the realm of Hades and dread Persephone. Still through the centuries offerings were brought to the tomb, and the dead were supposed there to enjoy them. Still the stele remained a sort of shrine of the family cultus, and ancestors were regarded as there present in the same supernatural fashion{189} in which deities were present in their temples and their images. We can scarcely upbraid the Greeks; for we too, while commonly believing in heaven, if not in hell, still think of our dead as present in some sense at the tomb in which we have laid their bodies. And modern scientific research even indicates some justification of this deep-seated prejudice, which mere reason disowns. For there is everywhere a deep-seated belief that apparitions haunt the places where the persons whose shadows they are lived their lives or underwent some overpowering emotion.

Thus it seems quite natural to regard the scene of the cultus reliefs as the actual graveyard where they were set up. And this interpretation is in most cases satisfactory. But some of them have a clear reference to the land of spirits. In one instance, on an Attic votive tablet, we see a deceased mortal feasting with Herakles and the Muses[233] and there is a whole class of monuments which represent deceased heroes supping with Dionysus. We engrave one of the most characteristic examples[234] (Fig. 73). An elderly man reclines on a couch, beside which is a table spread with fruits, and a slave pouring wine. A serpent twined round the table has clearly a sepulchral reference. The wife of the hero is seated at his feet: both turn with surprise and delight to the left of the relief, where the young Dionysus, bearing a thyrsus, and supporting his reeling body on the shoulder of a young satyr, advances towards the couch. The dead man had doubtless been a votary of Dionysus, perhaps attached to the Orphic mysteries; and the god to whom in his earthly life he had devoted himself comes to sup with him in the world of shades. In this case certainly the banquet must be regarded as held, not at the tomb, but in some nobler scene.{190}

Next to the meaning of the sepulchral reliefs of Greece, the style of art in which they are executed requires some attention.

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The reliefs of the sixth century, and down to about B.C. 460, are excellent examples of the art of their time, in no way inferior to other contemporary works of sculpture. The relief of Pl. II introduces us to a school of artists of whom we have no other knowledge, a school localized in Peloponnesus, and trying to work out an independent line of art. The early reliefs of Athens and the Islands stand, however, on a much higher level. We have already seen that Professor Brunn, an admirable judge, had early discerned in the qualities of the Aristion relief (Pl. IX) the promise of the excellence of later Athenian art. The other stele of Pl. IX, that of Alxenor, shows similar merits, and a somewhat more advanced style. The group of mother and children (Pl. XIX) is a work of the greatest{191} delicacy and charm: the forms of mother and infant, showing through the orderly folds of the Ionian dress, indicate genuine love of nature and appreciation of form; and the group is full of the same sentiment which charms us in the tombs of a later age.

The reliefs of the sixth century were usually executed in honour of distinguished persons; they frequently bore the name of the sculptor, and that sculptor would usually be one whose fame was great. This shows that early sculptors were proud of executing tombs: at a later time tombs almost never bear an artist’s name.

As we approach the middle of the fifth century, the art of the sculptor in Greece is taking constantly a higher and a wider range. Great temples are rising on all sides, especially at Athens, and offering to great artists noble opportunities of distinction to be won either by designing the great cultus-statues of the gods, or by fitly adorning the outsides of their temples. The sculpture of athletes also had, in the hands of Pythagoras of Myron and of Polycleitus, reached a perfection hitherto undreamed of. And at the same period the sumptuary laws of Athens, which were only gradually falling into neglect, closely limited the sum of money to be spent on tombs. Under these circumstances we cannot be surprised that the sepulchral monuments of the middle of the fifth century, of the age of the Parthenon and the Temple of Nike, are mostly of somewhat small size and poor execution. In their style they show something of the contemporary grand style, but it is only a distant cousinship to it which they display. They are not the work of great artists, but of workers scarcely above the level of the skilled stonemason.

Several of the groups figured in our plates belong to this age. As examples, we may take Pl. XVII, the stele of Amphotto, which is a work of the earlier half of the fifth century, and Plates X, XIII, XVIII, XX, XXI, XXVI,{192} all of which were probably executed in the latter half of that century. The form of these stelae is simple, even clumsy, the gable above usually surmounted by three acroteria, on which an acanthus pattern was probably painted. The subjects consist of few figures in simple groups. The perspective is by no means perfect; for instance, the breasts of Tynnias (Pl. X) and of Mica (Pl. XXI) are too fully turned to the spectator. Nevertheless these reliefs have an extraordinary nobility and dignity. Tynnias might almost have sat for a model of the Zeus at Olympia: Lysander (Pl. XX) is the model of a modest and well-bred Athenian boy: Mica (Pl. XXI), in spite of her fanciful name, has not a touch of levity. Like the maidens of the Parthenon frieze, all these human beings behave as if in the immediate presence of the gods. They embody nobility and repose.

In the fourth century, the conditions of sculpture at Athens again underwent a great change. No new and splendid temples rose from the ground. No great public buildings offered a wide field to the architect, the painter, and the sculptor. Art worked mainly in the service of individuals. And, at the same time, the sepulchral monuments of Athens became far more sumptuous. It is therefore quite natural that they should have been sometimes undertaken by artists of renown.

We have the testimony of Pausanias to the fact that Praxiteles himself sometimes made the sculptural adornment of the great Attic sepulchres. Outside the Peiraeus gate, among other noteworthy tombs, Pausanias[235] found one which he thus describes: ‘Not far from the gates is a tomb, whereon stands a soldier standing by his horse: who he was I know not, but it was Praxiteles who made both man and horse.’ The contemporary painter Nicias also undertook tombs. Pausanias[236] tells us that outside the gates of Triteia in Achaia was ‘a tomb{193} of white marble worthy of note in all respects, but particularly remarkable for the paintings on the marble, the work of Nicias. There is a throne of ivory, and seated on it a young and beauteous woman, behind whom stands a maid-servant holding a sunshade. Also a young man standing, not bearded as yet, clad in a chiton with a purple chlamys over it: beside him is an attendant carrying hunting-spears and leading dogs of hunting breed.

Praxiteles and Nicias were closely associated in art; Praxiteles is even said to have declared that his sculpture owed much of its charm to the colouring applied to it by Nicias. We may judge then that the beautiful sepulchral monuments of the fourth century, whether set up at Athens or elsewhere, owed their excellence to the second Athenian school, to Praxiteles and Scopas and their contemporaries. An examination of the monuments themselves fully confirms this view. More than one archaeologist has been struck with the strong likeness to be traced between the heads recently recovered from the pediments of the temple of Athena at Tegea[237], which are our best evidence for recovering the style of Scopas, and some of the Attic sepulchral reliefs, especially that of Dexileos (Pl. XII) and that from the Ilissus (Pl. XV). These works are certainly of the age of Scopas. The tomb of Dexileos was set up immediately after 394 B.C., and in the same year the old temple of Athena at Tegea was burned, affording to young Scopas the task of its reconstruction. It is quite possible that some of the existing tombs of the fourth century may be the actual work of sculptors of the second Attic school. In the moderation, the gentleness, the pleasing sentiment of these Athenian tombs we see precisely the qualities for which Praxiteles was celebrated. But, generally speaking, sepulchral monuments are of the class of work which a great sculptor would leave to{194} pupils and assistants, just as they left the decorative sculpture of the bases of their great statues.

The tombs of this age are larger and more sumptuous, and the groups at once more complicated and more expressive. There is less repose than in the stelae of the fifth century, and more sentiment. Characteristic figures of warriors of this age are those of Dexileos (Pl. XII) and Aristonautes (Pl. XI): and among family groups we may notice the Ilissus relief (Pl. XV), the stele of Damasistrate (Pl. XXIII), and the group of Pl. XXIV.

Our plates scarcely come down to a later time than the fourth century, but among the most interesting figures found on tombs of the later age is the figure of the girl devoted to the service of Isis in Fig. 64.{195}



After thus entering into the question of the meaning of the Attic sepulchral reliefs, and discussing their relation to the Greek beliefs as to the future world, it is necessary to give some account of the inscriptions which accompany the reliefs.

By far the most usual inscription on an Attic tomb consists of a proper name, to which is added commonly a patronymic. In addition to this simple record, archaic tombs sometimes bear the name of the artist who executed them. Towards the end of the fifth century the custom comes in of adding also the place to which the deceased belonged. The reliefs of the best age are not signed by an artist, and in fact anything beyond names and demes is, in the fifth and fourth centuries, quite unusual. The strict canons of developed Greek art seem to have rejected any long or metrical epitaph as out of place or in bad taste. Later, in the third and second centuries, longer inscriptions, often written in elegiac metre, are far commoner.

Our plates and engravings furnish specimens of the ordinary kinds of inscriptions. The two archaic reliefs of Pl. IX bear the artists’ names, in one case Ἔργον Ἀριστοκλέοσ[238], in the other Ἀλχσήνορ ἐποίησεν ὁ Νάχσιος: to the latter signature is added a delightfully naïve comment, ἀλλ' ἐσίδεσθε, Just look! implying that in the artist’s own opinion his work is well worth looking{196} at. The inscription on the tomb of Dermys and Citylus (Fig. 55) records the name of the dedicator, Ἀμφάλκης ἔστασ’ ἐπὶ Κιτύλοι ἠὃ ἐπὶ Δέρμυι.

After the archaic age, the inscriptions are simpler, as Ἀμφοττό (Pl. XVII), Εὐέμπολος (Pl. XVIII), Δημοκλείδης Δημητρίο (Fig. 59), Τυννίας Τύννωνος Tρικορύσιος (Pl. X), Κρατιστὼ Ὀλυνθία Ἄγρωνος θνγάτηρ Γλαυκίου δὲ γυνή, and so forth.

When the tomb belongs to one person these inscriptions are simple, and there can be no ambiguity in their interpretation, nor is there any doubt to which of the persons represented in the relief the identifying inscription belongs. But when the inscription contains several names the matter is not so simple. Dr. Furtwängler lays down the rule that the names are the names of the dead; in that case, as the dead and the living appear together in the reliefs, there would be no necessary correspondence between relief and inscription. I find however, in the great majority of cases, that not only do the inscriptions agree with the reliefs, but that the names are placed over the figures in order to identify them. The analogy of Greek vases here helps us. On vases it is an ordinary custom to place over each of the persons of the design his or her name, merely for purposes of identification. It appears that the same custom prevails in sepulchral reliefs. Confirmation of this view will be found in abundance by any one who examines the Corpus of Attic Reliefs. And further confirmation is afforded by the epigrams of the Anthology. One records[239] not only the name of the person to whom the tomb belongs, and who appears in its relief, but also the names of the dog, the horse, and the slave who form his cortége. Another reads[240], ‘This is Timocleia, this Philo, this Aristo, and this Timaetho; all daughters of Aristodicus.’ In fact, to this general rule of the explicatory character of the inscriptions only a few doubtful exceptions{197} make their appearance. One of these exceptions appears on our Pl. XXVII. The group consists of two ladies, whereas the names above are Μικίων Αἰαντοδώρου Ἀναγυράσιος, Ἀμεινίχη Μικίωνος Θριασίου, Δημοστράτη Αἴσχρωνος Ἁλαὲως—the names of one man and two women. But it appears that in this case a name was originally placed only over the seated lady: this was erased, and the three names which we find were inserted at a later period. We may safely therefore assert that at all events in the great majority of cases the names placed on the tombs identify the persons of the reliefs, and do not by any means necessarily give us a clue to the occupants of the grave.

It is pointed out by Dr. Weisshäupl, in an excellent paper on Greek epitaphs[241], which has been of great service to me in this chapter, that the term χαῖρε, Farewell, which is common in late Greek epitaphs, does not occur on the graves of Athenian citizens. The age of the deceased, in modern epitaphs one of the most indispensable features, is seldom stated on Greek tombs: a curious exception being found in the case of Dexileos.

Among the tombs which we engrave, only this of Dexileos (Pl. XII) bears a long or a detailed inscription. The record here tells us that the hero was born in the archonship of Teisander, and died in that of Eubulides, and was one of the five horsemen at Corinth. The last phrase is curious, nor is its meaning certain. Usually it is explained as meaning that Dexileos took part in some noted feat of arms with four other horsemen in the Corinthian war. But recently[242], Dr. Brückner has tried to prove that the πέντε ἱππεῖς were the adjutants of the Hipparchi, and persons of definite rank in the army.

After the age of Demetrius of Phalerum, when the sepulchral monuments of Athens become poorer and smaller, the inscriptions as a rule remain very brief. But on exceptional tombs of this age, and a larger number of the Roman period,{198} we find long inscriptions in prose or in verse, giving the history of the occupant or moralizing on life and death. Already in another work[243] I have given a brief account of the general character of Athenian epitaphs. I therefore in this place prefer to take my examples not from Athens, but from other parts of Greece. There is, at all events in later ages, no great difference in character between the sepulchral inscriptions of Athens and those of other cities, if we except those districts of Asia Minor which were partly under the influence of Asiatic religions and ways of thinking. Where the epitaph has some pretension to literary style I give a rendering in heroic verse, in other cases a prose translation may suffice.

We may begin with the inscription of a public tomb. At all times these tombs bore epigrams of a nobler type than those of private persons. Commonly they were set up in some public place and were the scene of heroic honours. The epigram which they bore would be composed by some noted poet. Every one knows of the noble lines written by Simonides for the Spartans who fell at Thermopylae:—

Go, stranger, and at Lacedaemon tell
That here obedient to her laws we fell.

Another public epitaph, also belonging to some of the heroes of the Persian wars, has been found at Megara[244]. It is not, however, the original record, but a copy made of that record when it had almost perished with age in the fourth or fifth century of our aera by one Helladius, who attributes to Simonides the verses which run thus:—

Eager we strove that freedom’s day might rise
For Greece and home; but death is all our prize.
Some fell beside Euboea’s sacred strand,
Where Artemis, chaste huntress, holds the land:{199}
Some died at Mycale; some the warlike show
Of Tyrian fleets at Salamis laid low:
Some in Boeotian plains, in daring mood,
The charging Median chivalry withstood.
Here in full market[245], ’mid the thronging crowd,
Our townsmen have our honoured grave allowed.

This epitaph was evidently placed on the public grave of the Megarian citizens who fell in the various battles against the Persians. It was no doubt a cenotaph. Pausanias mentions it, and states that the Megarians set the graves of their distinguished dead in the senate-house, so that all future generations might consult in presence of the heroes: Helladius adds, ‘even in my day a bull is sacrificed by the city.’ An epitaph in the market-place and the annual sacrifice of a bull for a thousand years might well supply to the Greek soldier an incentive as great as among us the hope of a monument in Westminster Abbey.

A similar monument in honour of the Athenians who fell at Potidaea, in the Peloponnesian War, is preserved at the British Museum[246]. We may also consider as public a tomb erected at Corfu by Amphilochian soldiers to one of their comrades who had fallen in a skirmish on the opposite coast[247]. It dates from about the third century B.C.:—

For thee a bitter fate thy friends behold
Of Amphilochian land the warriors bold,
When by Illyrian horse in battle slain
Within an island tomb thy bones remain.
They left thee not, when thou wast lying low,
Thy comrades brave well-skilled the dart to throw;
From deadly battle-press thy corpse they save,
And mourning kinsmen bear thee to the grave.

Public epitaphs such as these are in the highest degree objective. They recount the deeds of a hero and deplore his death, but they seldom indulge in moral reflection, or speak of any future life. This is in fact the character of all early epitaphs, whether from private or public graves. I will cite a few of the sixth century to begin with.

The tomb of Menecrates at Corfu is well known to many travellers, from its beautiful situation. The inscription, written in archaic characters of Corinth, runs thus[248]: ‘This tomb is of Menecrates son of Tlesias of the race of Oeanthe: the people raised it to him. He was proxenus, beloved by the people, and died at sea, and was buried by the stroke of oars of the public ships[249]. Praximenes, coming from his native city, raised with the people this memorial to his brother.’ Menecrates seems to have been consul or proxenus of Corinth at Corcyra, and was succeeded in that office by his brother Praximenes.

The sculptured lion found on the spot may belong to the tomb of Menecrates; but it more probably belongs to another tomb of the same age erected to one Arniadas, which bears a very simple record[250], ‘This is the tomb of Arniadas: bright-eyed Ares was his death, as he fought by the ships at the streams of Arathus, doing many valiant deeds in the sad battle-strife.’

The qualities of moderation, of self-control and of nobility which belong pre-eminently to almost all Greek productions of the fifth century, are in nothing to be observed more clearly than in the epitaphs of that period. A few specimens will suffice as well as many to exhibit this character. Many or most of them record a death in battle: it appears that only when a man thus died for his country or was otherwise{201} especially distinguished, was he allowed an epitaph recording more than his name and that of his father. A grave at Anactorium[251] of the fifth century bears the inscription, ‘This tomb near the way shall be called by the name of Procleidas, who died fighting for his country.’ Another at Thisbe[252] in Boeotia reads, ‘Dear to citizens and friends I fell in the front ranks fighting valiantly.’ The following record civic or personal rather than military merit. From Thespiae[253], ‘As a memorial over Olaidas when he died I was erected by his father Ossilus, to whom his departure brought sorrow.’ From Tanagra[254], ‘Thy native city, Cercinus son of Phoxius, Heracleia in Pontus, shall have sorrow at thy death among our friends; so never shall we forget thy praise: greatly did I admire thy nature.’ The ‘I’ of the former of these two epitaphs is the tombstone; the ‘I’ of the second is a sorrowing friend.

The epitaphs of the fourth century B.C. are of similar character, but somewhat more abundant and less rigid in type. The following from Oreus in Euboea[255] is decidedly pleasing:

In bloom of youth by praise thy fame was spread,
In blameless ways thy childish days were sped:
In man’s estate, when law and country bade,
Where hostile ranks by Ares were arrayed,
A horseman, thou didst strive with fair renown
Thy fathers and thy fatherland to crown.
This tomb, to mark thy worth, thy sire doth raise,
Thy city decks it with unceasing praise.

An epitaph from Thebes[256] seems to have been erected over a soldier of the Sacred War: ‘When young I cultivated merriment (εὐφροσύνην ἤσκουν) associating with my companions in the gymnasium. I die in war, bearing aid to the Delphic land. My grandfather was Euenoridas, my father Neon.’ In this epigram notes quite unfamiliar to the Christian world are{202} struck. The deceased had fallen on what might have passed as a crusade, an expedition to punish the sacrilegious aggression of the Phocians on the temple of Apollo at Delphi. Yet instead of dwelling on such religious merit, the epitaph speaks of his cheeriness of disposition and his sociability, of his worship of the ‘goddess fair and free, in heaven yclept Euphrosyne.’ In fact no quality is more often mentioned with praise in sepulchral inscriptions than the social habits of the deceased. An inscription of the same age from Athens[257] seems to record the success of a comic actor, who is praised especially for having overcome his natural disqualification for his pursuit: ‘All Hellas admires thee, Euthias, and misses thee in the sacred festivals; nor without cause. For through art, not natural gift, in vine-crowned comedy of gentle mirth thou wast second in rank, but first in art.’ In athletic sports also we learn that the spectators most applauded those who won by science, not mere strength. Another contemporary inscription from Athens[258] is in more poetic form: ‘Divine Modesty, daughter of high-minded Shame, one who valued above all thee and warlike Valour, Cleidemus of Melita son of Cleidemides is here buried.’

It will be observed that all the epigrams hitherto cited are from the graves of men, not women. Indeed, inscriptions from women’s tombs very seldom, at this early time, contain more than the name with that of father or husband. Generally speaking, until the time of Alexander, the women of Greece were content to shine with borrowed light, and to be notable in the home rather than in the city. Of sculptural honour they had, as we have seen, even more than their share; but to praise a woman in public might well seem to her friends to approach indelicacy. In the later age inscriptions recording female worth are frequent. There is no question that as the public life of Greece decayed, women became more and more prominent in the cities.{203}

It is not easy to assign, on epigraphic grounds, an exact date to sepulchral inscriptions of the third and later centuries down to Roman Imperial times. Partly for this reason, and partly because the later epitaphs of Greece really form one class, I prefer to group them rather by subject than by period. Generally speaking, they have more literary pretensions than earlier epitaphs, and their character is more personal and subjective, so that they give us information on many subjects as to which early inscriptions are silent.

An epitaph from Melos[259] of the third century B.C. is set over a wife, but it bears a suspicious appearance of being the composition of the husband: ‘I love even in death my husband, for with no common care he made me a tomb conspicuous to all. And me his wife he made equal to the heroes in veneration in memory of the sweet joys of love.’ As a memorial of a young man who met with some accident on the shore of Leucas[260], the following epigram was graven: ‘Unfavourable weather kept back Telesphorus and loosed his girdle (i.e. delayed the girding of his loins for a journey). The shore proved fatal to him; and destiny would no longer wait. Alas! for his untimely death, and his sad parents!’ We may next cite a couple of Boeotian epitaphs inscribed over literary men. From Larymna[261]: ‘Behold, stranger, here the tomb of departed Philo, who gave himself to the skilled pursuit of polite letters, while to all the citizens of Larymna he showed a nature ever friendly. Early he has quitted his life yet at its prime; and with universal mourning his city weeps his loss.’ Still more detailed is the following, from Orchomenus[262], of the second century B.C., set up over one Philocrates of Sidon: ‘Thou boastedst a maturity, Philocrates, not unworthy of thy earlier life, urged on by the subtle mind. For from early youth, as{204} is right, thou hadst been familiar with the doctrines of Epicurus, easy to understand. Then, obedient to the rudder of Fortune[263], in a wandering life, thou didst preside at the contests of men among the Minyae[264]. Now thou liest close to thy son, thy limbs touching his, without sorrow, having come out of life to join him gone before.’ Sometimes inscriptions of this biographic character contain literary touches. For example, on a public tomb at Thera[265], set up in honour of Admetus, priest of Apollo Carneius, the epitaph ends, ‘leaving to wife and mother heavy grief: yet what wonder? even Thetis had to mourn the loss of the slain Achilles.’

The epitaphs which express a sentiment as to human life are usually of Roman age. I will, however, cite a few of them, in order to complete our survey. An epitaph from Samos[266] ends with the reflection, ‘If due account were made of piety, never would my home have incurred such misfortunes as these.’ One from Tanagra[267] ends, ‘O mortals, turn your thoughts to what is paltry: if you meditate better things, Hades is envious of the good.’ These are feelings which doubtless often touch the minds of relatives and friends in our days, but on this particular point we are more under the dominion of convention than were the Greeks; and the utterances of cynicism or despair are mostly excluded from our graveyards. The following from Thespiae[268] is more in the line of propriety: ‘Who would not weep over the vain hopes of parents, looking at me?’

Many epitaphs of the later period contain some statement as to the destiny of the spirit. Such statements are, however, usually expressed in very conventional form; they have the air rather of poetical amplification than of a real hope beyond{205} the grave. In this respect they contrast markedly with early Christian inscriptions; in which, however rough and inelegant the form may be, there lies an unmistakable air of real feeling. A pagan epitaph of Sparta[269], of the second century A.D., runs: ‘Adorned with every virtue, noble Titanius, son of Paeon, thou possessest the Island of the Blest.’ We can scarcely imagine that at this late period the Island of the Blest lived in popular belief, or that the phrase is anything but a poetical reminiscence. An epitaph, which may have been written beneath the sculptured dog, on the tomb of Diogenes the Cynic[270], runs thus: ‘Lies he here, who dwelt in an earthen cask? Aye, truly; but now that he is dead, he has the stars for his home.’ With this optimistic rhetoric we may compare the cynical and pessimistic rhetoric of another epitaph, ‘Mix the wine, and drink deep with brows crowned with flowers, nor scorn the delights of love: all the rest at death is consumed by earth and fire[271].’ As this epigram accompanied a relief which represented a man reclining at table, the whole seems to have been a cynical travesty of the banqueting reliefs above discussed.

Where, however, mention is made of Hades and Persephone, or where we catch an echo of Orphic phrase, we may suspect a more serious meaning. In the following, for example, from Crommyon[272], the opening phrase seems to belong to Orphism and the Mysteries, ‘I Philostrata have gone back to the source whence I came, leaving the bondage in which nature yoked me. Having filled up the measure of fourteen years, in the fifteenth, a virgin, I quitted the body, childless, unwedded, a maiden. May those to whom life is an object of desire grow old to their hearts’ content.’ The same character attaches to the following, from Megara[273]: ‘The body of Nicocrates rests in the lap of earth; his heart (κέαρ) has fled above to the divine aether.{206} Thanks to thee, Pluto, kindly deity, for this destiny. Gentle and lovable, a favourite with all was the son of Callitychus; now another and a divine light receives him.’

We occasionally find mention made of Hermes in epitaphs as leader and friend of departed spirits. An anonymous epitaph of the Palatine Anthology[274], reads thus: ‘They say that Hermes leads the good on the way that bears to the right from the pyre to Rhadamanthys: by this way Aristonous, the much-mourned son of Chaerestratus, went down to the abode of Hades, who receives all men.’ The phrase ‘bears to the right’ must refer to some known chart or description of the paths of souls, which are described in greater detail in some of the Orphic inscriptions. For example, on a gold tablet found at Petelia in Italy[275], buried doubtless with one who had been initiated in the Orphic Mysteries, we find a sort of guide or way-book for the last journey: ‘Thou shalt find on the left of the abode of Hades a well, and beside it planted a white cypress. And thou shalt find another, cold water flowing from the Lake of Mnemosyne: before it stand guards. Then shalt thou say, “I am a child of earth and starry heaven, but a heavenly race is mine, as ye yourselves know. I am dry and faint with thirst; give me then speedily cold water flowing from the lake of Mnemosyne.” The spring on the left, the name of which is not given, is doubtless that of Lethe, or forgetfulness. The soul which wishes to claim its immortal rights must avoid this water, and demand in virtue of its divine nature some of the other water, that of memory, that its individuality may not be lost. This seems to be the path to the right, on which Hermes leads those who have in their lifetime prepared themselves for the journey.

It would be easy to multiply epitaphs of this kind, but they would lead us into regions of thought and belief outside the{207} limits of this book, which is concerned not with the opinions of Greek philosophers and mystics but of every-day people.

A priestess of Zeus, at Argos[276], seems to have found a tomb in the sacred precinct of the god; whence her epitaph runs: ‘The divine ruler, to whom it was my honour to minister when alive, took my blameless life and gave me this favour among the dead. Hence I have not a tomb underground, but dwell in the place of the blest, in the golden home of the gods.’ Here there seems to be a play upon the place of burial, as involving a parallel exaltation of the spirit. An elegant epitaph by Dionysius of Magnesia, still extant, from Paros[277], begins by an inquiry as to the name of the dead person, then goes on to narrate the history of her life, and ends with an appeal to Persephone, and a kindly greeting to survivors:—

O Maid of many names, Queen ruling wide,
Her by the hand to pious places guide.
On all who, passing, greet the soul below
With kindly word, may God some good bestow.

This epigram brings us to the last class of extant epitaphs, that in which the passer-by is addressed in friendly or in threatening language. This kind is not exclusively late: we have already seen that the Spartan epitaph at Thermopylae addresses the wayfarer, and bids him carry a message to Sparta. But it is very common on late tombs. In an epitaph from Crete[278], of the first century, the wayfarer is requested to say as he passes, ‘May earth lie light on thee.’ In another, of the same age, from Pholegandros[279], we read, ‘Having duteously greeted me, the dead Diogenes, go, stranger, to thine own affairs, and may they prosper at thy will.’ The gentle custom of giving a passing greeting at the tomb, in the word χαῖpε, seems to have been usual among the Greeks. Thus easily one kept on good terms with the dead, and won their friendly{208} wishes. On the other hand, any sort of violence done to a grave or its inmates brought down on the sacrilegious violator all kinds of plagues and miseries, which are sometimes, in late Roman times, set forth in the epitaph itself, in terrorem. Sometimes a sum of money is mentioned which the violator must pay as a fine to redeem his guilt; but sometimes he is threatened with direr penalties, gout and fever and many other diseases. The tomb of Annia Regilla, wife of Herodes Atticus, at Athens, bears an inscription in which the prayer is set forth that for any one who disturbs the grave the earth may refuse to bear fruit and the sea refuse to bear his ships, and that he and his race may perish miserably. Blessings are heaped on all who may honour the burial-place. Our minds naturally pass to the well-known epitaph on Shakespeare’s tomb at Stratford, which may perhaps have been framed on an ancient model.

At a decidedly higher literary level than the epitaphs collected from Greek gravestones are many of those put together in the seventh book of the Palatine Anthology. All real lovers of Greek letters are acquainted with the delightful epigrams written by poets of the Hellenistic age to adorn the tomb: gems of Callimachus, of Meleager, of Leonidas of Tarentum, and others. English poets, from Dr. Johnson to Mr. Andrew Lang, have devoted hours of leisure to rendering in English verse these flowers of ancient poetry, which are best characterized in the well-known words as slight things but roses, βαιὰ μὲν ἀλλὰ ῥόδα. If, however, we accept the comparison of the Epigrams of the Anthology to roses, we must remember that our roses are highly cultivated and civilized flowers. No person with any literary discernment would compare them to the brier-rose, the anemone, or the primrose.

In previous chapters of this work I have occasionally ventured on versions of Greek epitaphs from the Anthology. Yet, in view of the purpose and character of this book, we can make{209} but careful and scant use of that collection. Roses may be a suitable adornment for a tomb, but when one is anxious carefully to study the form of the monument and to examine its sculptural decoration and its epitaph, roses may be in the way. As it comes down to us, the Anthology is put together on literary rather than historic principles. Dates and schools are mixed up with the most perplexing indifference. Epigrams of Simonides and Sappho are placed next to the verses of Callimachus and Archias, of Rufinus and Paulus Silentiarius, authors who between them cover a space of more than a millennium. And, moreover, in no department of Greek letters is the rhetorical and epideictic spirit, that pest of Greece, more rampant than in the epigram. The great majority of sepulchral epigrams were written, not to duly honour the dead, but to display the literary taste and ingenuity of the poet. So that while we admire greatly the finished and exquisite beauty of these poems, we can seldom suppose that they embody much feeling or contain much thought. One class of epitaphs in the Anthology, the anonymous, has more actuality, being commonly transcribed from actual tombstones: but from the literary point of view these are the poorest.

I propose, however, to give in this place renderings of a few of these literary epitaphs, selecting such as belong to an earlier period, and such as have some interest in their matter, and not merely in their style. In some cases I give a version of my own; in other cases I use the elegant translations which Dr. James Williams, of Lincoln College, has kindly placed at my disposal.

We find not rarely on Greek tombs of all periods colloquies between the dead and wayfarers. The following is a literary version by Leonidas[280] of such a dialogue, carried on in a style of stately courtesy:{210}

‘Lady, what name, what father dost thou own,
That lieth ’neath this shaft of Parian stone?’
‘Prexo, the daughter of Calliteles.’
‘Where wast thou born?’ ‘Beside the Samian seas.’
‘Who paid thee fitting funeral honours thus?’
‘The husband of my youth, Theocritus.’
‘How came thy death?’ ‘In childbed did I die.’
‘Thine age?’ ‘But two and twenty years lived I.’
‘And childless?’ ‘Nay, of mother’s care bereft,
Calliteles, just three years old, was left.’
‘Long life and ripe old age thy boy await.’
‘Friend, all good things be showered on thee by fate.’

The following bears the name of Sappho[281]:—

The dust of Timas: ere her bridal she
Saw the dark chamber of Persephone.
Their lovely hair her playmates offered here,
Cut off to honour her who was so dear.

This seems of archaic simplicity compared with the metrical epitaph on Clearista by Meleager, already cited in Chapter VIII. Nothing could well be simpler also than the following by Callimachus[282], whose art in this case conceals art:—

Saon the son of Dicon here doth lie
In holy sleep: the good can never die.

A charming epitaph[283] on one Amyntichus, being anonymous, is probably from a real tomb:—

Dear earth, receive Amyntichus to rest,
Mindful of all his labour spent on thee;
Thee with the boughs of Bacchus oft he dressed,
And in thee planted oft the olive-tree,
Filled thee with Deo’s grain, and trenches led
To make thee rich in herbs and autumn fruits.
Lie thou then lightly on his hoary head,
And busk his tomb with springtide’s tender shoots.

An epitaph, by Leonidas[284] of Tarentum, on one Clitagoras, refers to offerings at the tomb, such as we have spoken of in Chapter II:—

Shepherds, who tend upon yon mountain steep
Your herds of goats and flocks of fleecy sheep,
A little gift Clitagoras to-day
For sake of Queen Persephone doth pray;
I would that sheep should bleat, and from a rock
A shepherd pipe soft music to his flock;
And let one hind cull fresh young meadow-bloom
In early spring, and crown therewith my tomb;
Another take and milk a mother ewe
And with the stream this funeral stone bedew;
The dead are reached by kindly acts of men,
And e’en the dead can make return again.

This is a pastoral picture well worthy of Theocritus; the last two lines show how persistently there lingered among the Greek peasants that notion of the exchange of services between dead and living of which I have spoken above.

Sometimes not only human beings but also favourite animals had their tombs and epitaphs. Especially, we are told, was this the case at Agrigentum in Sicily, a city which paid dearly for its luxury and effeminacy at the time of the Carthaginian invasion of the end of the fifth century. The following[285], by Meleager, was for a hare:—

A long-eared hare was I and swift of feet,
When Phaenium stole me from my mother’s breast.
She gave me young spring flowers to be my meat,
And in her bosom oft I lay caressed.
True mother she! but death soon came to me,
Good living made me fat and overfed.
Here lie I ’neath her chamber floor, that she
In dreams may see my tomb beside her bed.

We are here clearly in the region of elegant trifles: and being there we may give a few more specimens of the poetic{212} art which, like the acanthus, gave an elegant finish to the tomb. The following is Meleager’s lament over Heliodora[286]:—

To Hades, Heliodora, from above,
I send these tears, the relics of my love,
Tears hard to weep; and on thy tomb I pour
This memory of loving days of yore.
O bitter, bitter, darling, is my woe
A bootless gift for Acheron below.
Where is my flower? By Hades snatched away,
The budding blossom is but dust to-day.
Grant, Mother Earth, that one so dear as she
May softly in thy arms enfolded be.

The next epitaph, by Philip of Thessalonica, is quite Hellenistic in character[287]:—

Architeles the Sculptor, where was laid
His son, with mournful hand the tombstone made.
Not cut with iron tool the lines appear;
The stone was furrowed by the frequent tear.
O stone! lie lightly, that the dead may know
A hand indeed paternal set thee so.

I cite only the end of another epitaph, by Heracleitus, which is said to have adorned the tomb of a lady named Aretemias[288]. It is so neat and compressed that I have in vain tried to render it in an English heroic distich:—‘Twin sons I bare: one I left to my husband as a stay of old age; one I take with me as a memorial of my husband.’

We may add a couple more epitaphs which clearly belong to the epideictic or rhetorical class, but which please by the neatness of their form. One by Damagetes[289] professes to record the last words of a lady named Theano, of Phocaea, in Asia Minor.

Phocaeans! hear the moan Theano made,
As night received her with eternal shade.{213}
‘How sad my lot! Afar some unknown sea
In thy swift ship, my husband, beareth thee.
Fate stands beside my bed. Ah! wert thou by,
Holding thy loving hand that I might die.’

The following professes to belong to a tomb of Ajax[290], on which was placed a mourning woman, who represented his unappreciated worth or valour:—

On Ajax’ tomb with closely shaven hair
I sit, sad Worth, in semblance of despair,
Grief-struck at heart that with the Achaean host
Deceitful Fraud more weight than I can boast.



The sepulchral monuments of Greece Proper are all on a modest scale, and noteworthy on account of their beauty of design and charm of sentiment rather than for their magnificence or costliness. In order to find sumptuous tombs erected by Greek architects and decorated by the great Greek sculptors, we must cross over into Asia. We have in a previous chapter spoken of some of the monuments of Asia Minor which are contemporary with the earliest tombs of Greece. We have now to observe how Greece in the later fifth and the fourth centuries paid back the artistic debt which she owed to Asia. The custom of erecting magnificent memorials of departed rulers long prevailed in all parts of Asia. And when Greece stood without a rival in the arts of architecture and sculpture, it was natural that the wealthy princes who planned the monuments of their predecessors, or sometimes their own destined tombs, should import Greek artists, and allow them a free hand to produce great mausoleums, in which the art of Greece registered in beautiful forms the affection of kinsfolk and the veneration of subject populations.

Without at all intending to exhaust the subject, I propose to give some account of a few of the most noteworthy of these monuments, especially of the Nereid monument and the Gyeulbashi heroon in Lycia, and the Mausoleum a Halicarnassus. These tombs I select not as typical of their age and{215} country, but rather as exceptional. They represent the almost complete victory in Asia not only of Greek art, but even of Greek ideas. Side by side with these monuments there were erected in Asia Minor, and especially in Lycia, tombs in which native tendencies, such as we have seen in an earlier chapter were still dominant. Sir Charles Fellows brought from Lycia some tombs of this character, and casts of the reliefs of others which remain in their site. The most interesting representation is from a tomb at Cadyanda[291], on which we see banqueting scenes, dancing figures, a group of four girls playing with knucklebones, and so forth, with bilingual inscriptions in Greek and Lycian. But to comment on these scenes as if they were of Hellenic origin would lead us far astray. Like the paintings and reliefs of Etruria, they represent a peculiar and lost phase of civilization, thinly veneered by the art and thought of Hellas.

In his third journey through Lycia, in 1842, Sir Charles Fellows discovered, not far from the agora of Xanthus, a lofty stone basis, some 33 feet by 22 in dimensions; and in close connexion with it a large quantity of reliefs and of fragments of Ionic architecture[292]. Leaving the basis where it stood, he brought to England the sculpture; and by the labours of English archaeologists the tomb to which both basis and sculpture belonged has been reconstructed. I repeat the restoration of Falkener[293], which has been accepted by Overbeck and other authorities (Fig. 74). The restoration is not in all points certain. As the basis remains there cannot be any question as to its form and the position of the sculptured friezes which adorned it. And the examination of the upper surface of the{216} basis established a pteron or line of columns all round, with statues standing in the intercolumniations. But as to the position of the friezes which belong to the upper part of the monument, and as to the acroteria which Falkener places on the top of all, there remains considerable uncertainty. The whole of the sculpture may be studied in the British Museum, and is published by Professor Michaelis in the tenth volume of the Roman Monumenti dell’ Instituto.

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From the present point of view the most important of{217}

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the scenes depicted on this monument is to be found in one of the pediments[294] (Fig. 75). The hero of whom the tomb is a memorial is seated in state, sceptre in hand: his wife sits opposite, and the children are grouped about them. Further to the right are attendants on a smaller scale. One dog is asleep under the master’s chair, another lies in the corner of the pediment. In the other pediment there is a warlike scene, of which only one-half is preserved. The midmost figure, doubtless the hero again, is on horseback[295] charging an overthrown foe, to whose aid his companions, clad as Greek hoplites, hurry forward. The representation here is no doubt of some notable feat of arms of the owner of the tomb. To the warlike scene the peaceful scene first described corresponds. At{218} first sight it seems merely a picture out of daily life: but if we bear in mind the ordinary symbolism of the Greek tomb we may fairly find in it some sepulchral significance. The grouping of the children about their parents reminds us of many Attic sepulchral reliefs, and the train of attendants bears a decided resemblance to the group of votaries usual on heroizing reliefs. In fact, we find here what is called by archaeologists a contamination. The Asiatic custom of regarding a tomb as a monument of the fame and a record of the exploits of some great ruler or leader of men is penetrated by the genius of Attic sepulchral art, and takes new and more beautiful forms.

Treating the two pediments as striking the keynote of the whole sculptural adornment of the monument, we shall not hesitate to find in all its representations allusions to the life and exploits of the hero whom it commemorates. But of the four friezes which encircled the building at various heights, three furnish us with information which is too vague to be historically useful. The theme of the first is battle, of the third hunting, of the fourth feasting and repose. It is only the frieze numbered as the second in the publications which gives us more detailed and accurate information. Here are unfolded to us the successive scenes of the siege and capture of a hostile city; the battle before the walls, the attempt to storm and the defence, the parleying and surrender, the escape of some of the inhabitants and the leading into captivity of others. In the scene of capitulation the central figure is an Eastern king or ruler, in Persian cap; behind him an attendant bears a sunshade; around him stand his guards. This potentate is approached by two elderly men, staid and dignified, who are clearly the representatives of the city, and come asking for terms. In other scenes we find a bold but a necessarily unsuccessful attempt to represent without due perspective the city walls with the heads of the defenders showing above them,{219} the women wailing, the attacking force adjusting the ladders for scaling, or repulsing sorties of the besieged.

The siege and the capture of a hostile city was evidently one of the most notable events of the life of the hero of the monument. With some plausibility archaeologists have found allusion to the same siege in the beautiful figures of women which stood between the columns of the pteron, the temple-like structure which crowned the monument. These figures represent young girls in the dress of Attic maidens flying in haste and alarm from some danger which threatens them. At their feet are various marine creatures: the dolphin, the sea-snake, a crab, a water-bird, or a fish. This curious circumstance has given rise to the commonly accepted view that they represent Nereid nymphs hastily escaping over the surface of the sea from some rude alarm, flying in disorder to their father Nereus, as they do on more than one vase when Peleus has laid hands on their sister Thetis. What more likely to cause a panic among the shy and peaceful ladies of the sea than a marine battle, or even the attack of an army on a city of the seacoast?

Urlichs has tried to show that all the historical indications which may be derived from the frieze of the siege and from the presence of the flying Nereids may be explained if we assign the tomb to the king or satrap, Pericles of Xanthus, who, as we learn from a fragment of Theopompus, laid siege to the neighbouring city of Telmessus, and after a stubborn resistance compelled it to capitulate. Before we can accept or reject this theory we must briefly consider two questions. Is an actual historic event depicted on the tomb, or is the representation merely of a mythical siege of the past? And what is the date of the monument?

As to the first of these questions I have already sufficiently indicated my view. The sculptural history of the siege is too detailed and precise to be a rendering of a merely typical{220} or ideal siege. The two emissaries of the besiegers must have had prototypes, and recent prototypes, in real life; and the king before whom they stand is no mythical chief, but the ruler for whom the tomb was made. This has been disputed by Wolters, but the general consensus of archaeologists is against him.

On the other point, the date of the monument, there has been much wider divergence of opinion. At first, in England, it was placed in the sixth century, as a monument of the conquest of Xanthus by Harpagus, the general of Cyrus. This, however, is quite impossible. Soon the pendulum swung too far in the other direction, and the sculpture was brought down to the fourth century, and even connected with the school of Scopas. The date fixed by Furtwängler[296], the latter part of the fifth century, is now generally accepted. In the forms of the Nereids we may trace the artistic influence of the Victory of Paeonius, set up about B.C. 424. And if some of the figures of the friezes be carefully considered they will be found to show traces of undeveloped art, even of archaism. The Nereid monument belongs to the age of the Parthenon and the temple of Athena Nike, not to the age of the Mausoleum.

If therefore we were compelled, as Urlichs supposed, to assign the taking of Telmessus by Pericles to so late a date as the 102nd Olympiad (B.C. 372), we should be obliged to give up its assignment to that king. But there is no conclusive reason for the date fixed by Urlichs. There is therefore no improbability that our monument may be a memorial of Pericles of Xanthus. In any case it has an important place among the remains of antiquity, because it stands in the line of descent, a line marked by many lacunae, which connects the mural reliefs of Assyria, with their fulness of historic detail, and the magnificent monuments of imperial Rome. The Nereid{221} Monument and that of Gyeulbashi, as well as some of the sarcophagi from Sidon, with which I shall deal in the fifteenth chapter, naturally strike the student as being set in a key somewhat different from that of ordinary Greek sculpture. The mythological scenes portrayed on them find ready parallels in Greece, but the more historic scenes carry our minds to the wall-sculptures of Assyria or the reliefs of Roman columns, such as those of Trajan and Aurelius, rather than to other Greek works. The reason of this is probably that the art of these Asiatic monuments is influenced by that of Ionia, which is to us, unfortunately, but little known. The Ionian tendency was towards history, that of the Dorians towards religion. The great Greek painters, following Ionian precedent, celebrated in their works many historic battles. Bularchus in very early times is said to have portrayed, for a Lydian king, a victory of the Magnesians: Panaenus painted at Athens the battle of Marathon, Androcydes of Cyzicus painted for the Thebans a picture of their victory at Plataea, and Euphranor depicted the battle of Mantineia. But in Greece sculpture took a different and more ideal line, and translated the battles of the present into mythic combats of the past, in which Centaurs and Amazons rather than fellow-Greeks represented the vanquished party. The sculpture of the Nereid monument is dominated by a more realistic and historic spirit. The sculpture at Gyeulbashi is on the border-line, so that we find it hard to decide whether the scene of the siege there portrayed is Ilium or Lycia, and whether the battles are being fought on the windy plain of Troy or the southern coast of Asia Minor. The sculpture of the Mausoleum is of the purely Greek and ideal character. But the greatest of the Sidonian sarcophagi returns, as we shall see, in the age of Alexander the Great, to a more realistic level.

The heroon of Gyeulbashi was discovered in the heart of Lycia by Schönborn in 1842. For a long time the discovery{222} remained almost unnoticed. But a few years ago an Austrian expedition was sent to secure such remains of the monument as have artistic value, and these are now deposited in the Museum of Vienna. Unfortunately they have suffered terribly, being of limestone and not of marble, from exposure to the weather, and some of the friezes have almost perished. Casts of the better-preserved portions are to be found at South Kensington and Oxford. And the whole monument is published in the completest and most satisfactory form by Professor Benndorf[297].

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In form the heroon differs entirely, as will be seen from the engraving (Fig. 76) from other Lycian monuments. The{223} actual grave is a modest construction in the form of a sarcophagus surmounted by a cover with gables. This stands transversely within a walled enclosure some 78 feet long by 68 wide, inside measurement. The enclosing wall is built solidly of squared stones. And it is this which is the interesting part of the whole; for the wall is adorned without and within with a series of reliefs, presenting us with a whole gallery of representations remarkable alike for their style and their subjects, some of which are portrayed nowhere else in the whole range of Greek sculpture.

The keynote here again is furnished by the group of seated heroic personages. This group is sculptured over the door through which the enclosure is entered; unfortunately it has so severely suffered that the details are obscure. The great lintel stone over the doorway is decorated as follows. Above are the foreparts of four winged bulls, separated by rosettes and a gorgon-head. Immediately below these are seated two pairs of figures, in each case male and female. The men are bearded, the women veiled. Husband and wife are turned towards one another, and behind the wife in each group stands a girl, a daughter or servant, holding in one instance a casket, in the other raising her arms in an attitude of sorrow.

These two heroic pairs are probably the proprietors of the sacred enclosure, which was built like a finely carved casket to hold their ashes. In the decoration of the casket we find one Oriental motive. Over the door inside is a line of dwarfs, or of repetitions of the Egyptian monster Bes, holding musical instruments or dancing. Here we have a touch lent by a religion less refined and artistic than that of the anthropomorphic Greeks. The rest of the reliefs take their subjects from the legendary tales of Greece. We do not appear to have here, as on the Nereid monument, allusions to the lives of the buried heroes. There is no scene which bears the impress of history. The Greek artists who were employed by{224} the wealthy Lycian family to adorn the wall seem to have been left quite free in their choice of subjects. So they run on almost without plan, from tale to tale and from scene to scene. Sometimes we have two subjects, one above the other, quite independent one of the other. Sometimes the two lines of decorations are occupied with a single scene.

It would be useless to attempt to describe in detail scenes which we are unable to set before the eyes of the reader. The landing of the Greeks at Troy, the siege of the City, the battle of Achilles with the Amazons who come to its rescue, Odysseus meeting Penelope, and shooting down the suitors, are taken from the cycle of Trojan legend. Then we have the hunting of the Calydonian boar, the carrying off of the daughters of Leucippus, the expedition of the Seven against Thebes, all portrayed with the freedom which Greek artists use, always ready to subordinate strict fidelity to tradition to the necessities of art and the love of balance and measure. The interest of those scenes is great, but it does not belong to our subject. The art is not sepulchral, but of the myth-loving kind which prevails in the decoration of Greek temples, and which once marked the lost masterpieces of the great Greek painters. Professor Benndorf has tried, and not unsuccessfully, to prove that in the reliefs of Gyeulbashi we may find clear traces of the influence of the great Thasian painter Polygnotus, another of whose lines of influence reached the sculptors of the Parthenon. The Lycian heroon and the Attic temple are works of about the same period, widely as they differ in some respects. At Athens the influence of Polygnotus is fairly and fully translated into sculptural style. In Lycia the sculptor has less transforming vigour, and he retains in the work of the chisel some conventions appropriate only to the work of the brush.

One other important tomb must be mentioned which was built in Asia, though its construction is purely Greek, its material the marble of Pentelicus, and its erection on the{225} coast of Asia Minor no more than an instance of the fortune of war.

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Among the discoveries, with the fruits of which Sir Charles Newton enriched the British Museum, there were few which he valued more highly than that of the Lion-tomb of Cnidus. The huge lion, which is now in the Mausoleum Room of the British Museum, reclined on the top of a building made solid{226} to receive his vast weight, looking out over the Carian Sea. We engrave (Fig. 77) the whole monument as restored by Mr. Pullan[298].

It can scarcely be contended that the lion is a great work of sculpture. His size is imposing and his attitude monumental, but the head and body alike lack character and force. This is true of all the lions of Greek artists of the period, the great lion set up in memory of Chaeroneia, those which adorned the Mausoleum, and others. The fact is that the Greeks between the days of the Persian Wars and those of Alexander knew nothing of the lion, probably scarcely ever saw one, dead or alive. So their artistic and idealizing tendency had to work without constant reference to, and correction by, nature. Thus, while the types of the horse, the bull, and the dog went on developing on the lines of love and appreciation of nature, the type of the lion became fantastic and poor. The soul of the lion does not inhabit the bodies prepared for it by Greek artists.

Nevertheless the Cnidian monument has its interest. It is conjectured, with a high degree of probability, that it was set up by Conon, after his great victory of 394 B.C. over the Spartan fleet at Cnidus. It commemorates alike the battle and the Athenians who fell in it. It is an Attic tomb though not erected in Attica, more imposing as a historical monument than the reliefs of the Cerameicus, but inferior to them in the higher artistic qualities.

Our subject being Greek sculptured tombs, we must leave out of consideration one of the most important classes of Hellenic or semi-Hellenic graves, that which belongs to the Greek colonists of the Crimea and their barbarous Scythic allies[299]. In the neighbourhood of the ancient Panticapaeum,{227} a city closely connected with Athens by ties of commerce and alliance, there are many mound-graves, which being opened have been found to contain lofty vaulted chambers, in shape and design not unlike the treasuries of Mycenae and Orchomenus, but of a far later age, belonging in fact mostly to the fourth century, which seems to have been the golden age of Panticapaeum. These graves have no important architectural features and no sculptural adornment. But they have in many cases preserved to our days their contents, a rich spoil of gold and bronze, of Greek vases and barbarous armour, of ornaments and coins. By an art-loving and paternal government, these important relics of the most northerly branch of the Hellenic stock have been carefully collected and preserved, forming to-day one of the most splendid attractions of the Hermitage Museum at St. Petersburg.

They are also luxuriously published in official publications of the Russian Government, offering to the student of history a new chapter, showing how, in the Crimea of old, Greek and Scythian met, how the Greek refined the Scythian and supplied him with admirable works of art, and how the Scythian lent the Greek armour and clothes, besides no doubt supplying him with timber, corn, and skins. And to the student of art they exhibit the richness and the taste displayed by Athenian craftsmen in the fourth century, in the production even of the smallest and least considered of the appliances of daily life.{228}



We turn next to the Mausoleum, the great tomb erected in honour of Mausolus, king of Caria, by his widow Artemisia, in the middle of the fourth century. It ranked among the wonders of the world, and was the work of the most celebrated artists of Greece. The discovery of its remains by Sir Charles Newton occupies a prominent position among the first-rate achievements of English excavators. And their acquisition by the British Museum has made the National Gallery of Sculpture almost as rich in fourth-century sculpture as the purchase of the Elgin marbles had made it in the sculpture of the fifth century.

The problem of the reconstruction of the Mausoleum is among the most interesting of those connected with the history of Greek architecture. Generally speaking, after the excavation of the site of the great Greek building, its restoration is by no means difficult. The laws of Greek architecture are so precise, and its forms so simple, that it is possible from the evidence of a few stones to reconstruct it with the certainty with which the skilled palaeontologist constructs a geological animal from the evidence of a few bones. The wonderful reconstructions of Dr. Dörpfeld on the Athenian Acropolis, at Olympia, and elsewhere, have commonly but little in them which is arbitrary, though much which is brilliant.

Dr. Dörpfeld has not yet attempted the Mausoleum. But{229} it is safe to say that in its reconstruction he would meet difficulties such as he has not yet encountered. At first sight, the materials for a reconstruction seem very abundant. We have an elaborate description of the monument by Pliny. We have an account of its partial destruction in the sixteenth century by the Knights of St. John. And the excavations on the site conducted by Sir Charles Newton were complete and systematic. But the advantage derived from all this richness of material is more than balanced by the fact that the Mausoleum was a work of new and original design. It was no Greek temple, made according to well-established rules, but a monument intended to stand alone through the centuries. Thus the man who would successfully restore its design must venture to rise above convention, and has need of a thorough grasp of the tendencies and possibilities of Greek architecture.

Setting aside the fanciful reconstructions proposed by scholars before Newton’s excavations, we pass to those made with the data now available. The earliest reconstruction, one to which we must attach considerable value, is that set forth by the excavators themselves. It is hard to say who is responsible for it. It was first projected by Lieut. Smith, an engineer attached to the expedition, revised and completed by Mr. Pullan the architect, adopted and defended by Sir Charles Newton himself. Plans based upon this, but differing from it in various points, were set forth by Mr. Fergusson and Dr. Petersen. But since neither of these writers has fairly grappled with the subject from the beginning, we may feel justified in not paying much heed to their plans. If we are to set aside a restoration made on the spot, with all local knowledge and every resource, it must be only after a very careful and complete survey of all the available evidence.

The plans of Pullan, Fergusson, and Petersen have won their way into our books, and are frequently treated as final. But final they certainly are not. They have never, until quite{230} lately, been collated with sufficient care with the evidence, especially with the ancient authorities. They contain violations of precedent and probability which it is not easy to justify. Mr. Oldfield has therefore done an excellent work in his recent attempt[300] to improve upon the received restorations, an attempt marked by extreme care, lucidity, and ingenuity.

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It is, unfortunately, not possible here to criticize in satisfactory detail the views of Mr. Oldfield and his predecessors. I propose only to set forth briefly the sum of the evidence{231}

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which exists for the reconstruction, after engraving side by side the plans set forth by Mr. Pullan (Fig. 78) and Mr. Oldfield (Fig. 79)[301] on the basis of that evidence. Readers to whom such inquiries have no interest would do well to omit the rest of this chapter.

Our materials are of four kinds. First we have the statements of certain ancient writers. Second, we have the curious account by Guichard of the state of the building when it was partially destroyed by the Knights of St. John in 1522. Third, we may cite the analogy of other ancient buildings of the same kind, so far as they are preserved. And of course all these sources of information must be used in strict subordination to the evidence of excavation and of the remains actually existing.

1. Ancient Writers.

Hyginus[302] mentions three facts in regard to the Mausoleum; he says that it was of Parian marble, 80 feet in height, 1,350 feet in circumference. In two of these statements he is certainly right. The marble of the Mausoleum is Parian, and the circuit of the sacred enclosure or peribolus is given by Newton as 1,348 English feet. But as to the height of the building Hyginus contradicts Pliny, and must probably be corrected by him.

Martial, in a curious line, speaks of the Mausoleum as suspended in the air[303]. This phrase certainly implies that it did not appear to spectators a solid and massive structure, but light and aspiring. Mr. Oldfield contends that the phrase would well describe a building whereof the upper part rested mainly on pillars[304], and would certainly not apply to a building{233} of which solidity is the most striking feature, as it is of Mr. Pullan’s reconstruction.

The most important of ancient writers on the Mausoleum is Pliny[305], whose description we must transcribe at length, both in Latin and English.

Scopas habuit aemulos eadem aetate Bryaxim et Timotheum et Leocharen, de quibus simul dicendum est quoniam pariter caelauere Mausoleum. Sepulcrum hoc est ab uxore Artemisia factum Mausolo Cariae regulo, qui obiit Olympiadis cvii[306] anno secundo. Opus id ut esset inter septem miracula hi maxime fecere artifices. Patet ab austro et septentrione sexagenos[307] ternos pedes, breuius a frontibus, toto circumitu pedes ccccxi[308], attolitur in altitudinem xxv cubitis, cingitur columnis xxxvi. Πτερόν uocauere[309]. Ab oriente caelauit Scopas, a septentrione Bryaxis, a meridie Timotheus, ab occasu Leochares, priusque quam peragerent regina obiit. Non tamen recesserunt nisi absoluto iam, id gloriae ipsorum artisque monumentum iudicantes, hodieque certant manus. Accessit et quintus artifex. Namque supra πτερόν pyramis altitudine inferiorem aequauit[310], uiginti quatuor gradibus in metae cacumen se contrahens. In summo est quadriga marmorea quam fecit Pythis. Haec adiecta cxxxx pedum altitudine totum opus includit. Scopas had as rivals and contemporaries Bryaxis, Timotheus, and Leochares, whom we must treat of together since together they sculptured the Mausoleum. This is the tomb erected to Mausolus prince of Caria by his widow Artemisia. He died in the second year of the 107th Olympiad (B.C. 351). That this work is among the seven wonders of the world is mainly owing to these artists. Its length on the north and south sides is sixty-three feet; the façades are shorter; the whole circuit is 411 feet; it rises to a height of twenty-five cubits, and is surrounded by thirty-six columns. This they call the Pteron. The sculptures of the east side are by Scopas, those on the north by Bryaxis, those on the south by Timotheus, those on the west by Leochares. Before the task was finished the queen died; but the artists ceased not till the work was done, considering that it would redound to their glory and be a memorial of their art. To this day they vie in handiwork. There came in also a fifth artist. For over the pteron was a pyramid in height equal to that below, with a flight of twenty-four steps tapering to a point. On the top is a marble quadriga made by Pythis. The addition of this raises the height of the whole building to 140 feet.


In this passage are several disputed readings, which I have marked in the notes. I have accepted Mr. Oldfield’s version, which is that of the earlier edition of Sillig’s Pliny. I will briefly sum up Pliny’s evidence as to the form and dimensions of the building. His statement as to the circumstances of its erection needs no summing; it is clear, and no doubt correct.

1. The frontage towards north and south was 63 feet: the frontage (in a stricter sense the fronts) towards east and west was shorter. But the circuit was 411 feet. This latter dimension seems inconsistent with the former. How could a building which was 411 feet in circuit have no side longer than 63 feet? Impressed by this difficulty, some writers supposed the true dimensions to be 163 feet (adding to the text centenos) for the frontage to north and south. Colonel Leake, followed by Newton and Pullan, regarded the dimension of 63 feet as really the length of the cella, not of any frontage. This, however, is doing clear violence to the text of Pliny. But by a most ingenious adaptation, Mr. Oldfield has succeeded in reconciling the numbers of Pliny as they stand. He has, in fact, substituted for a square or oblong groundplan of the building ☐, a cruciform plan [cruciform image not available.]; and so makes it possible for any given front to be less than a fourth of the circuit of the building. Here Mr. Oldfield has certainly won a great advantage over rival constructions: he has kept to the text of Pliny, and at the same time greatly improved the form of the building. It is true that it would not be easy to find other Greek buildings of cruciform plan, but the Erechtheium at Athens gives us a hint that such a plan, produced by the intersection of two ordinary temples, would not be impossible. And the Mausoleum was a building in which originality of design was to be expected.

2. The number of columns of the pteron was thirty-six. The pteron is the temple-like building erected on the base, a construction of which, in any possible view, columns were{235} the principal feature. Now the writers who supposed the pteron to be a huge square edifice were compelled to place the columns all round the edge of it: and to fill up the midst with a vast and solid construction of hewn stone (Fig. 78). But Mr. Oldfield is enabled, by greatly reducing the superficial area covered by the pteron, to make the columns by far its most conspicuous feature. Within them there is room only for a small building; or the space may even be filled by a few solid piers, which is the plan he adopts. He can thus far more nearly conform to the ‘aere pendentia Mausolea’ of Martial.

3. The total height was 140 feet[311] from the ground to the top of the chariot. Let us consider how this height was made up. Thirty-seven and a half feet (25 cubits) was occupied by the pteron. Then there was a pyramid of twenty-four steps over the pteron, supporting a chariot, and there was under the pteron another pyramid equal in height to the upper one. Now we have considerable remains of the steps of the upper pyramid, from careful measurement of which Mr. Pullan has ascertained that each step was 12¼ inches in height. Thus the total height of the upper pyramid was 24½ feet. The lower pyramid was of the same height. The chariot would not occupy less than twelve feet. We have thus accounted for 37½, 24½, 24½ and 12 feet, about 100 feet of the 140 of Pliny. The amount may be filled up by assuming that the whole stood on a high podium or basis, and by inserting an attic over the pteron, or in other ways.

4. If the reading aequavit for aequat be accepted, an opening is left for Mr. Oldfield’s view, that after the building had been set up with a pyramid rising to a point, it was decided to add a chariot on the top, and that in order to accomplish this, a basis was built round the topmost steps of the pyramid, of which six were thus concealed from view.{236}

5. Sir C. Newton[312] and Mr. Pullan accepted the reading ‘altitudinem inferiorem’ for altitudine, and had supposed the assertion to be that the height of the pyramid above was equal to that of the basis below the pyramid. This is, however, a mere correction of the text. If we adhere to the reading of the MSS. we must retain altitudine, and suppose inferiorem to apply to a second pyramid beneath the pteron. It is thus that Mr. Oldfield takes the phrase, and of the existence of this second pyramid he finds proof in the testimony of Guichard, to which we shall next turn. The height of this lower pyramid he supposes to have been equal to that of the original pyramid of twenty-four steps, not of course to the later truncated pyramid of eighteen steps.

It will be seen on referring to Figs. 78 and 79 that the acceptance of one or the other of these readings of Pliny makes a great difference in the principles of reconstruction. Mr. Pullan admitted no lower pyramid, and regarding the chariot on the summit as part of the original design, makes the twenty-four steps of the upper pyramid support it. Mr. Oldfield does admit a lower pyramid, and regarding the chariot as a later addition works into its basis six steps of the upper pyramid. Hence a great difference between the two restorers in the area covered by the base of the upper pyramid, which is far larger in Mr. Pullan’s design: and this affects the whole form of the building, since the excavations determined the size of the area on which the whole stood. It is not easy to meet Mr. Oldfield’s argument in favour of his design, that the phrase ‘tapering to a point’ applies far better to his pyramid, as originally intended, than to Mr. Pullan’s flat-topped pyramid.

2. The Testimony of Guichard.

Such appears to be the testimony of Pliny. And in some points it is curiously supplemented by the very notable account,{237} professing to come from an eye-witness, which is given us by Guichard[313] of the proceedings of the Knights of St. John on the site of the Mausoleum. ‘In the year 1522, when Sultan Solyman was preparing an expedition against the Rhodians, the Grand Master, knowing the importance of the Castle of St. Peter [at Budrum or Halicarnassus], and being aware that the Turk would seize it if he could at the first assault, sent some knights thither to repair the fortress and make all due preparations to resist the enemy. Among the number of those sent was the Commander de la Tourette, a Lyonnese knight, who was afterwards present at the taking of Rhodes, and came to France, where he related what I am now about to narrate to M. d’Alechamps, a person sufficiently known by his learned writings, and whose name I mention here only for the purpose of publishing my authority for so singular a story.

‘When these knights had arrived at Mesy (Budrum), they at once set about fortifying the castle; and looking about for stones wherewith to make lime, found none more suitable or more easily got at than certain steps of white marble, raised in the form of a staircase (perron) in the middle of a level field near the port, which had formerly been the great square of Halicarnassus. They therefore pulled down and took away these marble steps for their use, and finding the stone good, proceeded, after having destroyed the little masonry remaining above ground, to dig lower down, in the hope of finding more.

‘In this attempt they had great success, for in a short time they perceived that the deeper they went the more the structure was enlarged at the base, supplying them not only with stone for making lime but also for building.

‘After four or five days, having laid bare a great space one afternoon, they saw an opening as into a cellar. Taking a candle, they descended through this opening, and found that{238} it led into a fine large square apartment, ornamented all round with columns of marble, with their bases, capitals, architrave, frieze, and cornices, carved and sculptured in mezzo rilievo. The space between the columns was lined with slabs and bands of marbles of different colours, ornamented with mouldings and sculptures, in harmony with the rest of the work, and inserted in the white ground of the wall, where deeds and battle-scenes were represented sculptured in relief.

‘Having at first admired these works, and entertained their fancy with the singularity of the sculpture, they pulled it to pieces, and broke up the whole of it, applying it to the same purpose as the rest.

‘Besides this apartment, they found afterwards a very low door, which led into another apartment, like an ante-chamber, where was a tomb, with its urn and its cover (tymbre) of white marble, very beautiful and of marvellous lustre. This sepulchre, for want of time, they did not open, the retreat having already sounded.

‘The day after, when they returned, they found the tomb opened, and the earth all round strewn with fragments of cloth of gold, and ornaments of the same metal, which made them suppose that the pirates who hovered on their coast, having some inkling of what had been discovered, had visited the place during the night, and had removed the lid of the tomb.’

Those who are acquainted with the Levant, with its wondrous tales of underground chambers and hidden treasures, will scarcely be disposed to accept, without a grain of salt, the details of this curious story. It may be true, or it may be in the main a work of the imagination. Many such stories, grounded or groundless, are flitting from mouth to mouth in Asia Minor, and rapidly growing in the process. Nevertheless it is probable that Mr. Oldfield is justified in saying that the earlier part of the tale affords a clear confirmation of the existence (which has been denied) of a lower pyramid at the Mausoleum as well as{239} that which surmounted the building. The knights found in the ground steps of white marble like a staircase, and as they dug downwards these steps spread outwards, just as would the steps of a pyramid. The solid mass of marble had escaped while most of the upper part of the building had been carried away as material for the castles of the knights. But it survived no longer; it was carried away by the companions of De la Tourette and built into the walls of the castle. As to what Guichard tells us in regard to the contents of the inner chamber, scepticism is more justifiable.

3. The Analogy of other Buildings.

Of monuments mentioned in these pages, only two can fairly be used for comparison with the Mausoleum. These are the Lycian Nereid Monument (Fig. 74) and the Lion Tomb of Cnidus (Fig. 77). The Nereid Monument consists, like the Mausoleum, of a pteron raised upon a base or podium; but no part of it is of pyramidal form. It is merely, if the restoration be correct, a building in the form of an ordinary Greek temple, on an unusually high podium. It may be used as proof that the Mausoleum also had a high podium, for the existence of which the existing remains furnish no direct evidence. The Lion Tomb may be suggestive from a constructional point of view, as the architectural problem involved in supporting a massive lion on the top was not unlike the problem which the architect of the Mausoleum had to solve. But its elevation was of a far simpler type than was that of the Mausoleum.

Other buildings are cited and engraved in the treatise of Mr. Oldfield, but unless we could examine them in detail it would be useless to mention them here. They are valuable rather as offering suggestions on points of construction than as affording us real parallels to the plan of the Mausoleum.

The evidence of existing remains must be studied partly in{240} Sir C. Newton’s History of Discoveries, partly in the Mausoleum Room of the British Museum. Lately Mr. Murray has in that museum set up one of the pillars of the pteron, with base and cornice, a reconstruction which will greatly help those who wish to revive in imagination the glories of the most splendid of ancient sepulchres.

For the manner in which out of the data Mr. Oldfield makes a conjectural restoration of the great tomb we must refer the reader to his admirable paper in Archaeologia. We can only conclude, as we began, by referring to his engraving set side by side with Mr. Pullan’s (Figs. 78, 79). Of the two it is by far the better, closer to the ancient evidence, less clumsy, more Greek. But of course it may be in turn superseded by other restorations hereafter. In one point both reconstructions are certainly wrong, in placing on the top of the whole, in the chariot of Pythis, the magnificent statues of Mausolus and Artemisia, found on the site, which were doubtless carefully preserved in the interior of the building, and not put almost beyond sight and exposed to the weather on the top of it. I have elsewhere[314] maintained this view by the following arguments:—

1. Pliny mentions the chariot of Pythis, but says nothing of any figures in it.

2. The statues at such a height, in a chariot, and behind gigantic horses, would have been almost invisible from below.

3. Neither Mausolus nor his wife is holding reins or clad in the dress of a charioteer.

4. The head of Mausolus in particular is too well preserved to have been long exposed to the weather.

5. Both the horses and the wheel of the chariot are on a far larger scale than the two statues.

6. They are also very inferior to the statues as works of art.{241}

The only argument of importance on the other side arises from the fact that the statues and the fragments of the chariot were found together. But it must be observed that the course of discovery in the German excavations at Olympia proved that collocations of remains of ancient buildings have often a most fortuitous character. And not only were the statues of Mausolus and Artemisia found with the remains of the chariot, but also a variety of fragments of other statues which can have had nothing to do with that chariot.

We cannot yet venture to say to which of the Mausoleum artists the portrait of Mausolus is due. Quite lately Dr. J. Six has suggested Bryaxis and Dr. W. Amelung Praxiteles, who is said by Vitruvius to have had a share in the monument. But neither of these conjectures reaches beyond a probability.

We possess, besides the sculptured remains already mentioned, quite a wealth of fragments of statues and reliefs from the site. (1) Some fragments of metopes, one of which seems to have represented an adventure of Theseus. (2) A few figures from a most spirited frieze, representing a race of chariots. This frieze is generally accepted as the work of Scopas. (3) Scanty vestiges of a frieze representing the battle of Lapiths and Centaurs. (4) The well-known wonderful frieze of the Greeks and Amazons. (5) A magnificent torso of a Persian rider on his horse. (6) Portions of many statues of colossal size and of life size. These sculptural remains have never been properly published[315], nor are by any means all of them exhibited in the public rooms of the British Museum.

The Mausoleum was a wonder of the world, not so much on account of its size and costliness as because of its ingenious architecture and noble sculpture. Though it had not the magnificence of the Taj Mahal of Agra, nor the solidity of the{242} Pyramids of Egypt, it is probably the noblest tomb ever erected for mortal man. It not only immortalized the name of Mausolus, but it is also a leading authority for the style of the second great school of Attic sculptors. Its poor remains are among the most precious possessions of the British Museum. Of the authors, we can still say, in the words of Pliny, ‘hodie certant manus.{243}



The recent great discovery at Sidon of a number of beautiful sarcophagi executed by Greek artists, and belonging to the best period of sculpture, has been quite a revelation to archaeologists. Before, we had abundance of Roman sarcophagi, the sculpture of which showed various degrees of merit; and we had a few sarcophagi from Cyprus and Lycia and Etruria, which were interesting, but not very important in relation to Greek art or Greek religion. One or two of our most beautiful sarcophagi, notably the Amazon sarcophagus of Vienna, were Hellenic, and dated as far back as the fourth century; but these seem almost lost in the brilliancy of the recent discoveries.

The Greek custom was not to bury the dead in massive coffins of stone, but either to build a receptacle for the body out of slabs of terra cotta, or to enclose it in a light earthenware vessel. I speak of course of the cases when the body was buried: when it was burned, obviously only a small vase would be necessary to hold the ashes.

The terra-cotta coffins of the Greeks had seldom any notable adornment. But exception must be made of one great necropolis, that of Clazomenae in Ionia. In some of our great museums, notably those of London and Berlin, there are preserved several remarkable sarcophagi[316] of the sixth{244} century, which come from that site. They are of solid construction, made of terra-cotta, adorned with rich patterns painted on lids and on sides, and covered with scenes closely parallel to those familiar to us on black-figured vases, combats of warriors, hunting scenes, heraldic animals, and the like. A distinctly Oriental trait found on some of these coffins is found in the scenes where the hunters are pursuing in chariots stags and other game. The kings of Assyria are represented on the walls of their palaces as thus hunting in chariots; but the custom was probably quite foreign to all Greeks except a few wealthy inhabitants of Asia, who were influenced by Asiatic ways. These productions of Ionic potters are very interesting from many points of view, but are not quite in the line of our present investigation.

Let us then at once pass to the sarcophagi from Sidon, now the chief ornaments of the important museum formed by Hamdy Bey at Constantinople[317]. They all come from one series of tombs discovered at Sidon. There was a central pit sunk in the rocky soil, off which branched in all directions a series of chambers cut at various times and opening one out of the other. The rooms contained a number of sarcophagi of various periods, the earlier showing the influence of Egypt, the later that of Hellas. There can be little doubt that we have discovered one of the chief burying-places of the royal race of the kings of Sidon. Unfortunately the coffins had been opened by robbers at some uncertain period, and their contents removed. Only the sarcophagi themselves remain, for the most part in an excellent state of preservation, and even retaining to some extent the colours with which their marble was stained when they were fashioned.

Until the end of the sixth century these royal coffins are{245} of the Egyptian form, the body being plain, and the cover imitating the form of a mummy with the face exposed. But in the fifth century these faces show the dominance of Greek style. And as the rule of Greek art in the Levant becomes during that century more pronounced, the mummy-like sarcophagus gives place to forms better suited for offering a suitable field to the sculptor, and the flat surfaces are adorned with reliefs, which in style if not in subject are of pure Greek type. We will briefly describe the four principal sculptured sarcophagi under the names which have been for convenience assigned to them, and in chronological order: (1) The Tomb of the Satrap, (2) The Lycian Tomb, (3) The Tomb of the Mourning Women, (4) The Alexander Tomb.

The Tomb of the Satrap is assigned by Studniczka to the middle of the fifth century, and though the freedom of pose of some of the figures sculptured on it may make us hesitate before accepting quite so early a date, it certainly belongs to the century. Three of the four scenes which adorn the sides and ends of the tomb are clearly scenes from the history of one man, no doubt the hero contained in it, a personage represented as having a long beard, and usually wearing the conical hat of the Persians and Phrygians. The scene of one of the ends (Fig. 80)[318] recalls the gable of the Nereid monument. The bearded man reclines on a couch at table, holding in his hand a winecup. His wife is seated at his feet; in attendance on him are two young men, one of whom fills a rhyton or drinking horn from a jug. We have here a scheme closely like that of the sepulchral banquet of Athens. And though the reference may be primarily to the family repast of the palace, yet considering that the sculptor was a Greek, it is scarcely likely that all reference to what was beyond the{246} tomb was wholly absent from his mind. The wine which the hero drinks may very well be that poured in libation at his grave.

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At the opposite end of the sarcophagus are represented four of the body-guard, conversing one with the other. On one of its sides is a scene of leave-taking. The hero sits on a throne, resting his arm Zeus-like on a sceptre, while behind him stand two of the women of his household. Before him is a young man, no doubt a son, stepping into a chariot to which four horses are already yoked, and of which he holds the reins. He turns to say a word of farewell to his father. Two other young men are present: one holds in the horses of the chariot, the other stands ready to mount a horse, and to ride beside it. Here again we have a scene to which abundant parallels may be found among the Attic grave-reliefs. The departure of a warrior or a horseman is, as we have already seen[319], an{247} ordinary subject on the stelae of Athens and elsewhere. It may be that the son is setting out on a military expedition which brought his father fame and increase of territory.

On the fourth side of the tomb, father and son are again prominent. It is a hunting scene. In the midst is a panther turning to bay, which father and son charge at the same moment on horseback from one side and the other. On the left a young horseman has struck down a stag, and to balance him on the right is represented a horse galloping away in a panic, having thrown his rider, whom he drags with him. There can be little doubt that all these scenes are out of the life of the person to whom the tomb is devoted, and in all his son appears with him, very probably the successor who had the sarcophagus made. The subsidiary figures may be either younger sons or merely attendants. Unfortunately we have no historical data for the assignment of the tomb to any particular ruler of Sidon.

M. Reinach insists with justice on the importance of this tomb as a monument of the great art of Ionia of the fifth century, an art of which little has come down to us, but of the splendour of which we can judge from the statements of ancient writers. Our sarcophagus lies half-way between the reliefs of Assyria, recording the great deeds of the kings, in an exaggerated and ideal historical record, and the sculpture of purely Greek monuments such as the Mausoleum, where the battles of Greeks and Amazons, of Lapiths and Centaurs, take the place of the contests of ordinary men. The Lycian Tomb and that of the Mourning Women belong almost entirely to the idealizing tendency of Greek sculpture already spoken of, which translated the present into the past and the human into the heroic. With the age of Alexander the historic tendency once more prevails, since the deeds of Alexander and his contemporaries might well seem pitched at a level quite as high as the mythic exploits of Herakles and Theseus.{248}

The Lycian Tomb may be dated about the year 420. It owes its name to its curious form, a form common in Lycia, the cover being set on in the shape of a Gothic arch. The conjecture has been hazarded that it was originally made for a Lycian chief and carried off by its Phoenician proprietor; but for this view there is not much evidence.

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The two ends are adorned, with consummate taste and adaptation to space, with mythic subjects. Above, at one end, are a pair of griffins, at the other a pair of sphinxes, whose beautiful faces might be those of two angels of death (Fig. 81). Below are Centaurs in carefully balanced groups. The sides of the tomb bear reliefs the subjects of which are taken from daily life, but daily life treated quite generally, and with a view{249} to the laws of sculptural composition rather than with any intention to set forth the history of a life. On one side two Amazons, each in a four-horse chariot and attended by a female charioteer, attack a lion. On the other side five men on horseback close in upon a boar. The hunters are all young men of the type of the riders on the frieze of the Parthenon, to some of whom in fact they bear a very close resemblance. But the chariot used for lion-hunting savours rather of Assyria than of Greece. The reliefs were fully coloured, such accessories as reins and spears being filled in in metal.

As the Lycian Tomb carries an echo of the style of Pheidias, so the Tomb of the Mourning Women reminds us at once of the works of the second Attic school, and of Praxiteles in particular. We should date it about B.C. 370 or 360. I can only describe in detail the scenes of the one end of it which is selected for the illustration; of the rest of the sculptured reliefs a very summary description must suffice. Never was there a work of art in which death and mourning were represented in so varied and so exquisitely subdued a fashion. The sarcophagus is like an artistic lament, written in many verses, and composed in different keys, but still constantly returning to and hovering about the loss of some dignified and much-regretted person. In the engraving (Fig. 82) we see at the top two corresponding groups, in each of which is a bearded man seated in an attitude of dejection, while a younger man standing before him holds discourse with him. The subject of which he speaks is, we can scarcely doubt, the death of the ruler who was the master and protector of both, and whose departure causes widely spread sorrow in the land. Just below, in the gable, are three seated women, who also seem to talk on the same theme. They remind us of a fine passage in the dirge pronounced by David over Saul and Jonathan[320], ‘Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who{250}

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clothed you in scarlet with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold on your apparel.’ The main field is occupied by three women standing, separated one from the other by pillars of Ionic form. In the attitude of all there is something of pensiveness, as it would seem to us, but to a Greek eye it would mean more than thought,—sorrow. The poses are precisely those to which we are accustomed in the Attic family groups; and there can be little doubt that the artist who made this sarcophagus belonged to the school, Praxitelean in character, which produced the stelae of Athens. The lowest{251} line of sculpture in the engraving is on a very small scale and in low relief; it represents scenes of hunting and the bringing home of the booty.

The remaining three faces of the sarcophagus correspond with that which we have described in subject and in style, the other end closely so. On each side we find—besides the lowest relief, which runs all round—above, a funeral procession, in which a hearse is convoyed to the grave by a chariot and led horses, and below, six more women in mourning attitudes standing between pillars. The number of these female figures is thus eighteen. It would puzzle many a modern artist to solve the artistic problem thus set, to produce eighteen figures of women, all young and of the same type, all standing in poses both in themselves elegant but yet suggestive of grief, and so different one from the other that there is no sameness or repetition. But artistic problems of this sort had a special attraction for Greek artists of the best period—for the artist who planned the Parthenon frieze as well as for the artists of the Mausoleum. And no solution could be found more perfect than that offered us in the present case. The eighteen women have been compared to a dirge of eighteen stanzas; and though to sustain the comparison the dirge would be somewhat monotonous, that fact perhaps would not make it less impressive.

M. Reinach well observes that the whole form of this monument is taken from that of a temple. The columns support an entablature, above which rises a pediment. Between the columns stand statues, as very often in Greek temples and in monuments such as the Lycian heroon (Fig. 74). No doubt, morphologically, the sarcophagus is a miniature temple, as the temple itself is a beautified and idealized house; but in Greece every form of monument soon acquires a decoration specially suited to it; thus the form and decoration of this tomb are an able adaptation rather than a survival.{252}

If our assignment of the date of the sarcophagus to about B.C. 370 or 360 be correct, we may almost venture to assign a name to its possessor. Though we do not know much of the history of Sidon, we do know that at this period the throne of the city was occupied by a king named Strato, in whose honour the people of Athens passed a decree, in return for favours done to their envoys. The text of this decree is extant[321]. As Strato was thus on excellent terms with the people of Athens; what more natural than that Athens should lend an artist for the decoration of his sarcophagus either to him or to his successor?

By far the most beautiful and the most noteworthy of the Sidonian sarcophagi is that which bears the name of Alexander the Great. At first, when the discovery was made, some writers expressed the opinion that it was the tomb of Alexander himself. Alexander however was buried, as we know on quite sufficient testimony, not at Sidon but at Alexandria[322]. And though the coffin is quite worthy of holding the bones of the greatest of kings, yet Alexander’s taste was probably too florid to be content with a mere shrine of marble. Moreover, it is almost certain that no Greek was the occupant, for inside were found linen bands, such as were used for swaddling the corpses of Oriental, but not of Hellenic, princes. The body which had been thus swathed has disappeared.

But though the great sarcophagus never held the body of Alexander, yet its sculptures are an important artistic and even historical record of some of his achievements. Let us briefly consider them in order.

According to analogy, we should expect to find in the{253} pedimental scenes of the sarcophagus the best clue to its attribution: with them therefore we will begin. In examining all the scenes, we must discriminate with the utmost care between the dress of Macedonians and Greeks on one side and that of the Persians, Phoenicians, and other Asiatic peoples on the other. Greeks appear here, as in all works of art, usually with body either bare or covered with a cuirass, at the bottom of which is a leather flap. Sometimes a chlamys floats from their shoulders. They carry sword and shield, or a lance, and wear helmets: the Macedonian helmet rises in a peak at the top and has cheek-pieces. The dress of the Asiatics is less varied: they wear a loose chiton, sleeves cover their arms to the wrist, and trousers reach to the ankle; on their heads is the Phrygian cap, the flaps of which often cover the mouth; a loose coat with sleeves, almost like the jacket of a hussar, is often attached to them at the neck and hangs behind. This is the candys, often mentioned by ancient writers. Xenophon[323] says that soldiers put their arms through the sleeves when on parade.

In the first pediment we have a fighting scene. The fighting is between Macedonians on one side and Persians on the other. The most prominent figure, who occupies the midmost place, is an Asiatic cavalier, who strikes down at a Greek soldier. His Persian companions overthrow the Macedonians opposed to them. We have, in fact, a victory of Asiatics over Europeans. In the opposite pediment (Fig. 83) is a scene less easy to interpret. Here the combatants are all Greek or Macedonian. The most prominent figure is that of a fully armed foot-soldier, who drives his sword into the throat of a youth who kneels at his feet.

In the frieze below the pediment last mentioned (Fig. 83), we again see an Asiatic horseman, apparently the hero of the{254} first pediment, as central figure, victorious over a Greek opponent, whose helmet, of form not Macedonian, lies beside him. On either side of the horseman there charges fiercely a Macedonian soldier against Asiatics, who are clearly over-matched. In the corresponding frieze at the other end is a scene in which a party of Asiatics hunt the panther.

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Before leaving these scenes, we may observe that it seems clear that the Asiatic chief already twice repeated is the tenant of the tomb. His dress is quite suitable for that of a ruler of Sidon: his position is marked as unique. The scenes in which{255} he takes part are no doubt his hunting and his petty wars with neighbouring princes, whose armies, like all armies at the time, were mixed, consisting partly of Macedonians, partly of Greek mercenaries, and partly of native troops. In knowing so little of the history of the time, we lose the clue that we might otherwise possess as to the particular events portrayed.

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If we accept this interpretation, we shall be able to explain one at least of the long friezes which adorn the sides of the sarcophagus (Fig. 84)[324]. The subject of it is a lion-hunt. In the midst is a group, about which the whole scene is balanced. The lion has turned to bay, and flung himself upon the horse{256} ridden by an Asiatic cavalier, who is doubtless the Sidonian monarch of previous scenes. He defends himself with energy; and help is approaching from both sides. On one side, galloping to his aid, Alexander himself, notable for his regal fillet or diadema, and the intense expression observable in most of his portraits. On the other side comes a Macedonian noble, perhaps Hephaestion, a beautiful figure, but without the diadema. At the two ends of the relief are other groups—a Persian drawing the bow, a servant running up armed with a pike, a Greek and a Persian striking down a stag. We can easily understand that to accompany Alexander in his hunting, and to be rescued by him from the attack of a lion, was enough to confer great distinction on any Asiatic potentate, and we cannot be surprised that he should think the event worthy of record on his tomb.

The remaining frieze is that which has attracted most attention[325]. It is a representation of the conquering charge of Alexander and his companions at one of his battles, perhaps that of Issus. From the left comes the Great King, a lion’s skin on his head, overthrowing, by a furious charge, a Persian noble who tries to stop his way. An elderly man, perhaps Parmenio, charges at the same moment from the right with like success; in the midst is a third Macedonian leader striking down at a Persian, one of the noblest figures ever executed in marble. In the field is a mêlée of Greeks and Persians, the former having by much the better of the fray. In this scene the intention certainly seems to be to glorify Alexander and his generals; and it is not easy to find any allusion to deeds of the Sidonian king. He can scarcely be one of the overthrown Persian horsemen. The whole composition should be compared with the well-known Pompeian mosaic which represents the battle of Issus: the group of Alexander and{257} his immediate foe is composed in the two scenes in almost exactly the same way. We engrave finally (Fig. 85) one of the lions which decorate the upper corners of the coffin.

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It is most probable that this tomb contained the remains of a king mentioned in history. About 350 B.C. Sidon had revolted against Persia under Artaxerxes Ochus, and the revolt had been mercilessly suppressed by the Persian king. As a natural result, the city regarded Alexander, when in his victorious course he reached Sidon, as a deliverer rather than as a foe. While Tyre resisted to the death, Sidon yielded at once. A King Strato was then ruling. For reasons of his own Alexander directed Hephaestion to depose him, and to set up in his place a member of the royal house named{258} Abdalonymus. The latter, however, did not reign very long, as after this Phoenicia became a bone of contention between the Ptolemies and the Seleucidae. It seems a fair historical conjecture that the great sarcophagus is that of Abdalonymus, who seems to have been the last of the native royal race, and who records on his tomb alike his own exploits and those of his hero and protector Alexander.

The beauty of the whole sarcophagus cannot be judged from our representations, few in number and small in size. To be appreciated fully, the great monument must be seen in its place in the Museum at Constantinople: its beauty and preservation are alike overpowering. Much of the colouring still remains[326], but the accessories, swords, bits of horses, and the like, once filled in in bronze and silver, have disappeared. The style is a style of wonderful vigour of grouping and skill in execution. Altogether it is one of the world’s masterpieces.

The artistic school of this great work of art remains yet to be determined. The names of Eutychides and Euthycrates, great sculptors of the end of the fourth century, have been suggested. But the truth is that in this sarcophagus we are face to face with a work of a character quite new to us, in some ways a more masterly work of the Greek chisel than we had before possessed. Hitherto we had been able to divide Greek reliefs into high relief, half relief, and bas relief. But the artist of these friezes mixes all these styles, in order to produce the desired effect, with masterful boldness. We must wait until time and fresh discoveries enable us to determine his artistic genealogy.

The nearest of Greek sarcophagi in date and style to the last of the Sidonian series is the great Amazon sarcophagus of Vienna[327], an admirable work of art, on the four sides of which{259} are depicted with much spirit the battles of the Greeks and Amazons. But we have here regular mythologic scenes like those which adorn the great temples of Greece; nothing personal, and nothing which has reference to the future world. Any further consideration of Greek sarcophagi and of the Roman sarcophagi which succeeded them would take us into another province of the great empire of Hellenic antiquity.

THE END{260}



[1] I. 28. 36: ‘Iniecto ter pulvere curras.’

[2] Benndorf, Griech. und Sicil. Vasenbilder, pl. i.

[3] Benndorf, Griech. und Sicil. Vasenbilder, pl. xxxiii.

[4] Mon. dell’ Inst. ix. 39.

[5] Rayet, Monum. de l’Art Antique, pl. lxxv.

[6] Rayet, text to above plate.

[7] See below, Ch. VII, VIII.

[8] Iliad, xvi. 666.

[9] Klein, Euphronios, p. 272. Iris and a female figure stand on either side. Some writers, interpreting the latter as Eos, have seen in the dead body that of Memnon. The point is immaterial to our present purpose.

[10] Dumont, Céramiques de la Grèce propre, pl. xxvii.

[11] Mon. dell’ Inst. ix. 32. We reproduce only the central group of the painting.

[12] Gräber der Hellenen, p. 42, pl. viii. Stackelberg found the coffin himself near the Acharnian Gate at Athens, and drew it immediately on discovery.

[13] Pottier et Reinach, La Nécropole de Myrina, p. 101.

[14] Herodotus, iv. 26. The word γευέσια may perhaps mean, as some have suggested, the anniversary of the death, if death be regarded as birth into a new life. The early Christians seem to have adopted this view.

[15] P. 519; Charon, 22.

[16] II. p. 926; De Luctu, 9.

[17] Plutarch, Solon, 21.

[18] Athen. Mittheil. i. 143.

[19] Plutarch, Aristides. 21.

[20] Athen. Mittheil. 1893, p. 53.

[21] See below, Chap. VI.

[22] Ephem. Archaiol. 1886, pl. iv.

[23] Benndorf, Griech. und Sicil. Vasenb. pl. xxi, 2: cf. xxi. 1, xxii, xxv, &c.

[24] Dumont, Céram. de la Grèce, pl. xxv.

[25] Pottier, Lécythes blancs, pl. iv: cf. p. 74.

[26] No. 735 of the Athens Museum.

[27] Pl. lx.

[28] In a later Chapter (X) I show by instances how close is sometimes the resemblance in reliefs and on vases between the toilet scenes of daily life and scenes of offering to the dead.

[29] Catalogue of Vases, IV. pl. iv. I cannot accept the view of the author of the Catalogue, that all three figures are those of mourners.

[30] As to the pillar (κίων) and table (τράπέζα), see Chap. VIII.

[31] Psyche, Seelencult und Unsterblichkeitsglaube der Griechen, 1894.

[32] Odyssey, iv. 560.

[33] x. 28. Cf. Robert, Die Nekyia des Polygnot. Halle, 1892.

[34] Antike Denkmäler, published by the German Archaeological Institute, vol. i. pl. xxiii. 3.

[35] Nos. 1 and 2 on the plate already cited.

[36] Pottier, Lécythes blancs, pl. 3: cf. Benndorf, Griech. und Sicil. Vasenb. pl. 27.

[37] X. 28. 7.

[38] See Wiener Vorlegeblätter, Series E, pl. i-iii: cf. Baumeister, Denkmäler, article ‘Unterwelt.’

[39] Cf. the relief published in Athen. Mittheil. iv. pl. ix.

[40] L. 50.

[41] I. 28. 6.

[42] Agesilaus, xi. 8.

[43] See Chap. XI.

[44] II. p. 364 E (translation of Davies and Vaughan).

[45] Chap. XII.

[46] Plutarch, Pelopidas, 20-22.

[47] Odyssey, xi. 602.

[48] For this see, among other works, Schliemann, Mycenae and Tiryns; Schuchhardt, Excavations of Schliemann (Eng. trans.); Perrot et Chipiez, La Grèce Primitive; Gardner, New Chapters in Greek History.

[49] Schuchhardt, Schliemann’s Ausgrabungen, p. 176.

[50] Perrot et Chipiez, La Grèce Primitive, p. 638.

[51] Schliemann, Mycenae, pl. E.

[52] Perrot et Chipiez, pl. vi.

[53] Journal of Hellenic Studies, ii. p. 136, pl. xiii.

[54] Helbig, La Question mycénéenne. 1896.

[55] Schliemann, Mycenae, p. 81.

[56] Ibid. p. 86.

[57] Perrot et Chipiez, p. 770.

[58] The most recent account of these, by M. Joubin, will be found in the Bulletin de Corresp. hellén. 1895, p. 69.

[59] II. 22, 2 (Ταντάλου) ἰδὼν οἰδα ἐν Σιπύλῳ τάφον Θέας ἄξιον.

[60] Texier, Description, pl. cxxx.

[61] Weber, Le Sipyle, pl. i.

[62] Perrot et Chipiez, v. 83. Mr. Ramsay, while allowing the general excellence of this drawing, disputes its accuracy in some particulars. See Journ. Hell. Stud. 1889, p. 155.

[63] Perrot et Chipiez, v. p. 103.

[64] Perrot et Chipiez, v. p. 111. Another drawing in Journ. Hell. Stud. 1888, p. 368 (Ramsay).

[65] Journ. Hell. Stud. pl. xviii.

[66] With M. Perrot’s work on Phrygia, it is necessary to compare Mr. Ramsay’s ‘Study of Phrygian Art’ in the Journal of Hellenic Studies for 1889 and 1890.

[67] I. p. 61.

[68] See the Catalogue of Sculpture of the British Museum, or Perrot and Chipiez, vol. v.

[69] Brit. Mus. Cat. of Sculpture, i. No. 80; cf. Perrot and Chipiez, vol. v. p. 396.

[70] Anabasis, vi. 29.

[71] Odyssey, xx. 66.

[72] Catalogue of Sculpture, i. p. 53, No. 93.

[73] Brit. Mus. Cat. of Sculpture, i. No. 86. Engraved in Murray, Hist. Sculpture, i. pl. iii-v; Cesnola, Cyprus, pl. 16, 17; Brunn, Denkmäler, pl. 102.

[74] Cat. of Sculpture, No. 97; Murray, i. pl. v.

[75] Ann. dell’ Inst. xix. pl. F.

[76] Plutarch, Lycurgus, 27.

[77] Athen. Mittheil. vii. 163.

[78] Journal of Hellenic Studies, v. 131. I return to the subject in the next chapter.

[79] Athen. Mittheil. x. 160.

[80] See Maspéro, Life in Ancient Egypt and Assyria, p. 145.

[81] Athen. Mittheil. ii. 25.

[82] Catalogue, No. 1417.

[83] Perrot et Chipiez, ii. p. 107.

[84] Athen. Mittheil. iv. pl. 7.

[85] See a paper by Pervanoglu, Das Familienmahl auf altgriech. Grabsteinen.

[86] Brit. Mus. Cat. of Coins: Thrace, p. 90.

[87] Journ. Hell. Stud. v. p. 116.

[88] Ibid. v. p. 106.

[89] Athen. Mittheil. 1879, p. 165.

[90] Cf. Furtwängler, Sabouroff Coll. Introd. p. 39.

[91] Buchholz, Homerische Realien, iii. 1, 334.

[92] Chap. vii. p. 20, ed. Kenyon.

[93] Brit. Mus. Cat. of Marbles, No. 753.

[94] Here the female figure seems decidedly the taller, but this may be the result of the law of Greek reliefs, to place the heads of persons represented on one level.

[95] Coll. Sabouroff, pl. 29.

[96] Pl. 16.

[97] Roscher, Lexikon, i. p. 2555.

[98] La Collection Sabouroff, Introd. p. 28.

[99] Athen. Mittheil. viii. 16; Le Bas, Voyage, pl. 103.

[100] Athen. Mittheil. iii. 380; Friedrichs-Wolters, Gipsabgüsse, No. 1076; Roscher, Lexikon, i. p. 2557.

[101] Museum Marbles, ix. pl. 34.

[102] Mon. dell’ Inst. xi. 55.

[103] Journ. Hell. Stud. vii. 1.

[104] Arch. Zeitung, 1883, p. 285.

[105] Monum. Grecs, pl. i; Roscher, Lexikon, i. p. 405, where the figures are wrongly called Ares and Aphrodite.

[106] Roscher, Lexikon, i. p. 2571.

[107] Chap. I.

[108] Il. xi. 371; Od. xii. 14, &c. Cf. the phrase, τύμβῳ τε στήλῃ τε, τὸ γὰρ γέρας ἐστὶ θανόντων.

[109] II. 26.

[110] ‘Opere tectorio exornari.’

[111] ‘Columellam, aut mensam aut labellam.”

[112] These passages are collected by Messrs. Pottier and Reinach in the Bulletin de Corresp. hellénique, 1882, p. 396.

[113] Gerhard, Auserl. Vasenbilder, pl. 199: cf. Mon. dell’ Inst. viii. pl. 5; Benndorf, Griech. und Sicil. Vasenbilder, pl. 24.

[114] Arch. Jahrbuch, 1891, p. 197.

[115] e.g. Mon. dell’ Inst. viii. 5.

[116] Stackelberg, Gräber der Hellenen, xlv. 3. The deceased lady, seated on the τράπεζα, was, no doubt, represented as draped, but the wash of colour has worn away.

[117] Paus. ix. 30, 7.

[118] Ibid. ix. 25, 2.

[119] Ibid. iv. 32, 3.

[120] VII. 700.

[121] Athen. Mittheil. x. pl. 13.

[122] Ecclesiazusae, l. 996. Cf. l. 538.

[123] Ibid. l. 1110.

[124] An exhaustive article on these vases will be found in Athen. Mittheil. 1891, p. 371 (Wolters). The writer maintains that they appear only on the tombs of the unmarried. For a representation of a terra-cotta vase on a χῶμα see p. 379.

[125] Athen. Mittheil. 1887, pl. ix.

[126] Athens Cat. 884. The lekythos on the right, however, is a restoration, all except part of its foot.

[127] Anthology, vii. 182.

[128] Ad Leocharem, p. 1086.

[129] For the colouring of these votive figures see Collignon, Hist. de la Sculpture grecque, vol. i, frontispiece; Ephemeris Arch. 1887, pl. ix; Antike Denkmäler des Arch. Inst. i. pl. 39.

[130] Athen. Mittheil. 1893, p. 83.

[131] This matter is treated in detail in Brückner’s Ornament und Format der Attischen Grabstelen: see pl. i. of that work.

[132] Perrot et Chipiez, ii. 270.

[133] Brückner, Ornament und Formen der Att. Grabstelen, pl. i. 2.

[134] Athens Cat. 975.

[135] Ibid. 729.

[136] Ibid. 754.

[137] Ibid. 28.

[138] Athen. Mittheil. vol. iv.

[139] Gräber der Hellenen, pl. 56.

[140] Septem c. Theb. 524.

[141] Athen. Mittheil. xii. 105.

[142] Chap. I, above.

[143] Athens Cat. No. 775.

[144] L. 168.

[145] Athens Cat. No. 783.

[146] Athens Cat. No. 744.

[147] Athens Cat. No. 770.

[148] Anthol. Palat. vii. 344.

[149] See F. Imhoof-Blumer and P. Gardner, Numismatic Commentary on Pausanias, pl. E, p. 19.

[150] Published in the Journ. Hell. Stud. vi. p. 32.

[151] Anth. Palat. vii. 169.

[152] Plutarch, Cic. 26.

[153] VII. 37. Cf. 707.

[154] Anth. Palat. vii. 62.

[155] See especially a paper by Professor Loeschcke in Athen. Mittheil. iv. 292.

[156] Pliny, N. H. xxxv. 153.

[157] Athen. Mittheil. iv. pl. vi.

[158] For example, Dr. Waldstein, in the first volume of the Journal of Hellenic Studies, p. 168.

[159] Athen. Mittheil. iv. pl. iii.

[160] I. 90. τειχίζειν δὲ ... φειδομένους μήτε ἰδίου μήτε δημοσίου οἰκοδομήματος.

[161] The head also does not belong to the statue, and the right arm and other parts are restorations. See the Berlin Denkmäler, i. pl. 31, 32.

[162] For the basket see Fig. 62: for the attitude cf. Pl. XXVI. Epigrams to be placed on tombs adorned with statues of women are to be found in the Anthology, vii. 649, &c. As a replica of the ‘Penelope’ in very high relief exists in the Vatican, we may regard it as likely that the original was not entirely detached from the background.

[163] Athens Cat. No. 218.

[164] Athens Cat. No. 219.

[165] e.g. Kaibel, No. 505, from Tricca. The formula of dedication is Ἑρμάον Χθονίου.

[166] See Plates XXV, XXVI.

[167] Athen. Mittheil. iv. pl. i, ii. Cf. C. A. G. pl. i.

[168] Michaelis, Ancient Marbles in Great Britain, p. 385, whence our engraving is taken.

[169] C. A. G. pl. iv. As to the pentathlon, see the Journ. Hell. Stud. i. p. 210.

[170] Athen. Mittheil. iii. pl. 14.

[171] These are lost, but the holes in which they were fixed remain over the forehead.

[172] Reins, sword, and lance were added in metal, as is shown by the remaining holes in which these were fixed. Colour was doubtless freely added.

[173] Bull. Corr. Hellén. iv. pl. 7.

[174] Athens Cat. No. 873.

[175] Athens Cat. No. 828.

[176] It has been suggested that the gesture is one of adoration in presence of the deities of the next world.

[177] Anthologia, vii. 338.

[178] For instance, Athens Cat. No. 1192.

[179] At Rome. Published in the Ann. e Mon. dell’ Inst. 1855, pl. xv. Cf. Friedrichs-Wolters, Gipsabgüsse, No. 1010.

[180] Athens Cat. No. 752.

[181] VII. 279.

[182] Athens Cat. No. 731.

[183] C. A. G. pl. xv.

[184] C. A. G. pl. xvii.

[185] Br. Mus. Cat. of Marbles, No. 721; Mus. Marb. ix. pl. 38.

[186] Journ. Hell. Stud. vi. pl. B.

[187] Such as Friedrichs-Wolters Gipsabgüsse, No. 1024: Arch. Zeitung, 1871, pl. 53.

[188] Anthol. Palat. vi. 280.

[189] Athens Cat. No. 1196.

[190] C. A. G. pl. xxxvii.

[191] Museum Marbles, x. 3.

[192] Athens Cat. No. 711.

[193] Ibid. No. 765; C. A. G. pl. xlviii.

[194] The two notions that in such groups it is always the seated or that it is always the standing person who is dead are alike fallacious.

[195] Kaibel, No. 557.

[196] C. A. G. Nos. 134, 139.

[197] Ibid. No. 158.

[198] Athens Cat. No. 717.

[199] Athens Cat. No. 870.

[200] Ibid. No. 749. A photograph of the relief being unsatisfactory, we copy the engraving at p. 70 of the C. A. G.

[201] VII. 730, by Perses.

[202] C. A. G. No. 333, pl. lxxxiv.

[203] I have a vivid recollection of the admiration expressed for the examples in the British Museum by Mr. Ruskin.

[204] Pl. xxxix; cf. Athens Cat. No. 724.

[205] Sabouroff Coll. Introd. p. 12.

[206] Plato, Theaetetus, p. 198 A.

[207] Rangabe, Antiq. Hell. ii. pp. 539, 842; cf. C. I. G. 1012 b, 7034, and Aristophanes, Acharn. l. 49.

[208] Benndorf, Griech. und Sicil. Vasenbilder, pl. xv.

[209] e.g. Benndorf, op. cit. pl. xxv; Dumont, Cér. de la Grèce propre, i. pl. xxv.

[210] Op. cit. pl. ix.

[211] Griech. Vasenbilder, pl. xi.

[212] 950 and 951 in the National Museum, Athens: No. 323, pl. lxxvii, and No. 357, pl. lxxxviii, of the C. A. G.

[213] Figured in Brückner’s Griech. Grabreliefs, p. 12.

[214] Gazette archéol. i. pl. vii.

[215] Hermes also appears on a monument of the British Museum, a sort of round altar on which are sculptured a man and woman hand in hand. Br. Mus. Cat. Sculpture, No. 710.

[216] The example in our plate is that at Paris. The inscriptions, Zetus, Amphion, Antiopa, are modern, and utterly incorrect.

[217] Good statements of the arguments will be found in the Introduction to Furtwängler’s Sabouroff Collection, and in Brückner’s Griech. Grabreliefs, 1888.

[218] C. A. G. No. 1, pl. i. See above, p. 141.

[219] C. A. G. No. 36, pl. xv.

[220] Athen. Mittheil. viii. pl. 17.

[221] Ibid. pl. 2.

[222] Ibid. pl. 3.

[223] C. A. G. No. 22, pl. xiii.

[224] Ibid. No. 66, pl. xxviii.

[225] Michaelis, Anc. Marbles in Gr. Britain, p. 229, No. 7.

[226] Luke ii. 24.

[227] C. A. G. No. 19, pl. xi.

[228] Ibid. No. 14, pl. ix. Barracco Collection.

[229] C. A. G. pls. ciii, cxxxi, &c.

[230] A physician named Jason examining a patient, on a stele of the British Museum: Cat. No. 629.

[231] Epitaph. 13.

[232] See above, Chap. III.

[233] Arch. Zeitung, 1871, pl. 49; Journ. Hell. Stud. v. p. 138.

[234] Roscher, Lexikon, i. p. 2539. The relief is in the Louvre.

[235] I. 2. 3.

[236] VII. 22. 6.

[237] Overbeck, Geschichte der gr. Plastik, ed. 4. ii. p. 22.

[238] I have transcribed these inscriptions as they stand, letter by letter, retaining χσ for ξ, ο for ω, οι for ῳ, and so on.

[239] VII. 304, by Peisander.

[240] VII. 463, by Leonidas.

[241] Grabgedichte der griechischen Anthologie. Vienna, 1889.

[242] Jahrbuch des Inst. 1895, p. 204.

[243] New Chapters in Greek History, chap. x.

[244] Kaibel, Epigrammata Graeca, No. 461; C.I.G. i. 1051. Cf. Paus. i. 43. 3.

[245] The published copy is very defective, and of the last two lines only the general sense can be made out.

[246] Brit. Mus. Greek Inscr. i. p. 102. Cf. New Chapters in Greek History p. 322.

[247] Kaibel, No. 183.

[248] Kaibel, No. 179. Roehl, Inscrr. Gr. Antiqq. No. 342.

[249] This is the rendering of Roehl. The conceit is rather far-fetched for so early a period.

[250] Kaibel, No. 180: Roehl, No. 343.

[251] Kaibel, No. 182.

[252] Ibid. No. 487.

[253] Ibid. No. 486.

[254] Ibid. No. 488.

[255] Ibid. No. 209.

[256] Ibid. No. 490.

[257] Kaibel, No. 38.

[258] Ibid. No. 34.

[259] Kaibel, No. 189.

[260] Ibid. No. 482.

[261] Ibid. No. 493.

[262] Ibid. No. 491.

[263] Fortune, Τύχη, was represented in art as holding a rudder and a cornucopia.

[264] That is, the Charitesia, games held at Orchomenus.

[265] Kaibel, No. 191.

[266] Ibid. No. 224.

[267] Ibid. No. 496.

[268] Ibid. No. 497.

[269] Kaibel, No. 473.

[270] Anth. Palat. vii. 64, anonymous.

[271] Stephani, Der ausruhende Herakles, p. 59. The relief has disappeared.

[272] Kaibel, No. 463.

[273] Ibid. No. 462.

[274] VII. 545.

[275] Journ. Hell. Stud. 3 p. 112.

[276] Kaibel, No. 465.

[277] Ibid. No. 218.

[278] Ibid. No. 195.

[279] Ibid. No. 190.

[280] Anth. Palat. vii. 163. Version of J. Williams.

[281] Anth. Palat. vii. 489. Version of J. Williams.

[282] Ibid. vii. 451. Version of J. Williams.

[283] Ibid. vii. 321. Version of J. Williams.

[284] Anth. Palat. vii. 657. Version of J. Williams.

[285] Ibid. vii. 207. Version of J. Williams.

[286] Anth. Palat. vii. 476. Version of J. Williams.

[287] Ibid. vii. 554. My version.

[288] Ibid. vii. 465.

[289] Ibid. vii. 735. My version.

[290] Anth. Palat. vii. 145. My version.

[291] Brit. Mus. Cat. of Sculpture, i. No. 766; Fellows, Lycia, p. 116; Petersen, Reisen in Lykien, ii. p. 193.

[292] For a full account of this monument see Annali dell’ Inst. 1874 and 1875; Mon. dell’ Inst. x.; cf. also Benndorf and Niemann, Reisen in Carien und Lykien, p. 89, pl. xxiv.

[293] From Overbeck, Geschichte der gr. Plastik, ii. 191.

[294] Annali dell’ Inst. 1875, pl. DE.

[295] All that is preserved of steed and rider is the foreleg of the rearing horse.

[296] Arch. Zeit. 1882, p. 359.

[297] Das Heroon von Gjölbaschi-Trysa. O. Benndorf and G. Niemann. Wien, 1889. Our engraving is taken from pl. i. of this admirable work.

[298] Newton, Travels and Discoveries, ii. pl. 23.

[299] As to these see the Antiquités du Bosphore Cimmérien, a magnificent work, now republished at a moderate price by M. Salomon Reinach. Also Newton, Essays in Art and Archaeology, ch. ix., Greek Art in the Kimmerian Bosporos.

[300] The Antiquary, vol. liv. pp. 273-362.

[301] Mr. Oldfield has kindly allowed me to copy a drawing in which his latest views are incorporated.

[302] Fab. 223.

[303] ‘Aere ... uacuo pendentia Mausolea.’ Epig. 1.

[304] Comparing Martial, Epig. ii. 14: ‘Inde petit centum pendentia tecta columnis.’

[305] N. H. 36, 30.

[306] v. l. cvi.

[307] v. l. centenos sexagenos.

[308] v. l. pedes ccccxl.

[309] v. l. uocauere circumitum.

[310] v. l. altitudinem inferiorem aequat.

[311] In a rough statement like this it is unnecessary to take into account the slight difference between the English and the Greek foot.

[312] Hist. Disc. ii. p. 191.

[313] Funérailles et diverses manières d’ensevelir, &c., quoted by Newton in his History of Discoveries, vol. i. p. 76.

[314] Journ. Hell. Stud. xiii. p. 188.

[315] The whole of the Amazon frieze is now figured in the Berlin Denkmäler, vol. ii., and in Overbeck’s Plastik, 4th ed., ii. p. 106.

[316] For an account of these see the Berlin Antike Denkmäler, vol. i. part 4; also Bulletin de Corr. hellén. 1895, p. 69.

[317] Une nécropole royale à Sidon. Hamdy Bey and Théodore Reinach. A good account by Studniczka in the Jahrbuch of the German Institute for 1894, p. 204.

[318] This and the subsequent engravings are taken from the plates of the magnificent work of Hamdy Bey and M. Théodore Reinach, Une nécropole royale à Sidon, by kind permission of authors and publisher.

[319] Chaps. IX, X.

[320] 2 Sam. i. 24.

[321] Hicks, Greek Historical Inscriptions, p. 155. The marble is in the Oxford Museum.

[322] The evidence is put together by Mr. Chinnock in the Classical Review of June, 1893.

[323] Cyropaedeia, viii. 3, 10.

[324] It must be observed that although we are obliged in the engraving to bisect this relief, it is really continuous. The head of the lion in the upper line fits on to the body of the lion in the lower line.

[325] It is figured not only in the works already cited, but also in Overbeck’s Geschichte der Plastik, ii. p. 403, and in other works.

[326] As to this and all other details, see the valuable remarks of M. Reinach, op. cit. p. 325.

[327] Robert, Die antiken Sarkophag-Reliefs, ii. pl. 27.

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber: can scarely have aimed=> can scarcely have aimed {pg 81}

in Attica, at Spata, and at Menidi=> in Attica, at Sparta, and at Menidi {pg 105}