Project Gutenberg's Seeing Europe with Famous Authors, Vol VIII, by Various

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Title: Seeing Europe with Famous Authors, Vol VIII
       Italy and Greece, Part Two

Author: Various

Editor: Francis W Halsey

Release Date: August 16, 2006 [EBook #19061]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Janet Blenkinship and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at

Book Cover





Front Page Illustration
Front Page Illustration






Editor of "Great Epochs in American History"
Associate Editor of "The Worlds Famous Orations"
and of "The Best of the World's Classics," etc.

Front Page Illustration
Front Page Illustration






Part Two

Copyright, 1914, by
[Printed in the United States of America]


Italy, Sicily, and Greece—Part Two

In the Streets of Genoa—By Charles Dickens1
Milan Cathedral—By Hippolyte Adolphe Taine4
Pisa's Four Glories—By Hippolyte Adolphe Taine7
The Walls and "skyscrapers" of Pisa—By Janet Ross and Nelly Erichson11
In and About Naples—By Charles Dickens18
The Tomb of Virgil—By Augustus J. C. Hare24
Two Ascents of Vesuvius—By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe26
Another Ascent—By Charles Dickens31
Castellamare and Sorrento—By Hippolyte Adolphe Taine37
Capri—By Augustus J. C. Hare42
Pompeii—By Percy Bysshe Shelley45
Verona—By Charles Dickens52
Padua—By Theophile Gautier55
Ferrara—By Theophile Gautier59
Lake Lugano—By Victor Tissot62
Lake Como—By Percy Bysshe Shelley64
Bellagio on Lake Como—By W. D. M'Crackan66
The Republic of San Marino—By Joseph Addison69
Perugia—By Nathaniel Hawthorne73
Siena—-By Mr. and Mrs. Edwin H. Blashfield75
The Assissi of St. Francis—By Hippolyte Adolphe Taine78
Ravenna—By Edward A. Freeman80
Benedictine Subiaco—By Augustus J. C. Hare83
Etruscan Volterra—By William Cullen Bryant86
The Paestum of the Greeks—By Edward A. Freeman88
Palermo—By Will S. Monroe91
Girgenti—By Edward A. Freeman93
Segeste—By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe97
Taormina—By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe99
Mount Ætna—By Will S. Monroe101
Syracuse—By Rufus B. Richardson104
Malta—By Theophile Gautier107
On Arriving in Athens—The Acropolis—By J. P. Mahaffy112
A Winter in Athens Half a Century Ago—By Bayard Taylor119
The Acropolis As It Was—By Pausanias122
The Elgin Marbles—By J. P. Mahaffy127
The Theater of Dionysus—By J. P. Mahaffy130
Where St. Paul Preached—By J. P. Mahaffy134
From Athens To Delphi on Horseback—By Bayard Taylor136
Corinth—By J. P. Mahaffy140
Olympia—By Philip S. Marden143
The Temple of Zeus at Olympia As It Was—By Pausanias146
Thermopylæ—By Rufus B. Richardson152
Salonica—By Charles Dudley Warner155
From the Pierian Plain To Marathon—By Charles Dudley Warner157
Sparta and Maina—By Bayard Taylor160
Messenia—By Bayard Taylor164
Tiryns and Mycenæ—By J. P. Mahaffy169
A Tour of Crete—By Bayard Taylor175
The Colossal Ruins at Cnossos—By Philip S. Marden179
Corfu—By Edward A. Freeman182
Rhodes—By Charles Dudley Warner185
Mt. Athos—By Charles Dudley Warner189


The Parthenon
Venice: Santa Maria Del Salute
Feeding the Doves in Front of St. Mark's
Venice: Statue of Colleoni
Palace in St. Mark's Place
Gondola on the Grand Canal
General View of Florence
Palace of the Dukes of Este, Ferrara
Lake Lugano
Titian's Birthplace at Cadore
The Bridge of Sighs
Verona: Tomb of the Scaligers
Milan Cathedral
Baptistery, Cathedral, and Leaning Tower of Pisa
City and Bay of Naples With Vesuvius In the Distance
Temple of Theseus at Athens
Palermo, Sicily, From the Sea
Greek Theater, Segesta, Sicily
Temple of Concord, Girgenti, Sicily
Temple of Juno, Girgenti, Sicily
Amphitheater at Syracuse, Sicily
Greek Temple at Segesta, Sicily
Harbor of Syracuse, Sicily
The So-Called "Ship of Ulysses," off Corfu
Temple of the Olympian Zeus at Athens
The Plain Below Delphi
The Road Near Delphi
Entrance To the Stadium at Olympia
Throne of Minos in Crete


(See Vol. VII for article on these doves)

Courtesy John C. Winston Co.

(Base of the old Campanile at the right)





(Cadore is in the Italian part of the Dolomites)



(See Vol. VII for article on Milan Cathedral)

(See Vol. VII for article on Pisa)

[Pg 1]





The great majority of the streets are as narrow as any thoroughfare can well be, where people (even Italian people) are supposed to live and walk about; being mere lanes, with here and there a kind of well, or breathing-place. The houses are immensely high, painted in all sorts of colors, and are in every stage and state of damage, dirt, and lack of repair. They are commonly let off in floors, or flats, like the houses in the old town of Edinburgh, or many houses in Paris....

When shall I forget the Streets of Palaces: the Strada Nuova and the Strada Baldi! The endless details of these rich palaces; the walls of some of them, within, alive with masterpieces by Vandyke! The great, heavy, stone balconies, one above another, and tier over tier; with here and there, one larger than the rest, towering high up—a huge marble platform; the doorless vestibules, massively barred lower windows, immense public staircases, thick marble pillars, strong dungeon-like arches, and[Pg 2] dreary, dreaming, echoing vaulted chambers; among which the eye wanders again, and again, and again, as every palace is succeeded by another—the terrace gardens between house and house, with green arches of the vine, and groves of orange-trees, and blushing oleander in full bloom, twenty, thirty, forty feet above the street—the painted halls, moldering and blotting, and rotting in the damp corners, and still shining out in beautiful colors and voluptuous designs, where the walls are dry—the faded figures on the outsides of the houses, holding wreaths, and crowns, and flying upward, and downward, and standing in niches, and here and there looking fainter and more feeble than elsewhere, by contrast with some fresh little Cupids, who on a more recently decorated portion of the front, are stretching out what seems to be the semblance of a blanket, but is, indeed, a sun-dial—the steep, steep, up-hill streets of small palaces (but very large palaces for all that), with marble terraces looking down into close by-ways—the magnificent and innumerable churches; and the rapid passage from a street of stately edifices, into a maze of the vilest squalor, steaming with unwholesome stenches, and swarming with half-naked children and whole worlds of dirty people—make up, altogether, such a scene of wonder; so lively, and yet so dead; so noisy, and yet so quiet; so obtrusive, and yet so shy and lowering; so wide-awake, and yet so fast asleep; that it is a sort of intoxication to a stranger to walk on, and on, and on, and look about him. A bewildering phantasmagoria, with all the in[Pg 3]consistency of a dream, and all the pain and all the pleasure of an extravagant reality!...

In the streets of shops, the houses are much smaller, but of great size notwithstanding, and extremely high. They are very dirty; quite undrained, if my nose be at all reliable; and emit a peculiar fragrance, like the smell of very bad cheese, kept in very hot blankets. Notwithstanding the height of the houses, there would seem to have been a lack of room in the city, for new houses are thrust in everywhere. Wherever it has been possible to cram a tumble-down tenement into a crack or corner, in it has gone. If there be a nook or angle in the wall of a church, or a crevice in any other dead wall, of any sort, there you are sure to find some kind of habitation; looking as if it had grown there, like a fungus. Against the Government House, against the old Senate House, round about any large building, little shops stick close, like parasite vermin to the great carcass. And for all this, look where you may; up steps, down steps, anywhere, everywhere; there are irregular houses, receding, starting forward, tumbling down, leaning against their neighbors, crippling themselves or their friends by some means or other, until one, more irregular than the rest, chokes up the way, and you can't see any further.[Pg 4]



The cathedral, at the first sight, is bewildering. Gothic art, transported entire into Italy at the close of the Middle Ages,[3] attains at once its triumph and its extravagance. Never had it been seen so pointed, so highly embroidered, so complex, so overcharged, so strongly resembling a piece of jewelry; and as, instead of coarse and lifeless stone, it here takes for its material the beautiful lustrous Italian marble, it becomes a pure chased gem as precious through its substance as through the labor bestowed on it. The whole church seems to be a colossal and magnificent crystallization, so splendidly do its forests of spires, its intersections of moldings, its population of statues, its fringes of fretted, hollowed, embroidered and open marblework, ascend in multiple and interminable bright forms against the pure blue sky.

Truly is it the mystic candelabra of visions and legends, with a hundred thousand branches bristling and overflowing with sorrowing thorns and ecstatic roses, with angels, virgins, and martyrs upon every flower and on every thorn, with infinite myriads of the triumphant Church springing from the ground pyramidically even into the azure, with its millions of blended and[Pg 5] vibrating voices mounting upward in a single shout, hosannah!...

We enter, and the impression deepens. What a difference between the religious power of such a church and that of St. Peter's at Rome! One exclaims to himself, this is the true Christian temple! Four rows of enormous eight-sided pillars, close together, seem like a serried hedge of gigantic oaks. Their strange capitals, bristling with a fantastic vegetation of pinnacles, canopies, foliated niches and statues, are like venerable trunks crowned with delicate and pendent mosses. They spread out in great branches meeting in the vault overhead, the intervals of the arches being filled with an inextricable network of foliage, thorny sprigs and light branches, twining and intertwining, and figuring the aerial dome of a mighty forest. As in a great wood, the lateral aisles are almost equal in height to that of the center, and, on all sides, at equal distances apart, one sees ascending around him the secular colonnades.

Here truly is the ancient Germanic forest, as if a reminiscence of the religious groves of Irmensul. Light pours in transformed by green, yellow and purple panes, as if through the red and orange tints of autumnal leaves. This, certainly, is a complete architecture like that of Greece, having, like that of Greece, its root in vegetable forms. The Greek takes the trunk of the tree, drest, for his type; the German the entire tree with all its leaves and branches. True architecture, perhaps, always springs out of vegetal nature, and each zone may have its own edifices as well as plants; in this way[Pg 6] oriental architectures might be comprehended—the vague idea of the slender palm and of its bouquet of leaves with the Arabs, and the vague idea of the colossal, prolific, dilated and bristling vegetation of India.

In any event I have never seen a church in which the aspect of northern forests was more striking, or where one more involuntarily imagines long alleys of trunks terminating in glimpses of daylight, curved branches meeting in acute angles, domes of irregular and commingling foliage, universal shade scattered with lights through colored and diaphanous leaves. Sometimes a section of yellow panes, through which the sun darts, launches into the obscurity its shower of rays and a portion of the nave glows like a luminous glade. A vast rosace behind the choir, a window with tortuous branchings above the entrance, shimmer with the tints of amethyst, ruby, emerald and topaz like leafy labyrinths in which lights from above break in and diffuse themselves in shifting radiance. Near the sacristy a small door-top, fastened against the wall, exposes an infinity of intersecting moldings similar to the delicate meshes of some marvelous twining and climbing plant. A day might be passed here as in a forest, in the presence of grandeurs as solemn as those of nature, before caprices as fascinating, amid the same intermingling of sublime monotony and inexhaustible fecundity, before contrasts and metamorphoses of light as rich and as unexpected. A mystic reverie, combined with a fresh sentiment of northern nature, such is the source of Gothic architecture.[Pg 7]



There are two Pisas—one in which people have lapsed into ennui, and live from hand to mouth since the decadence, which is in fact the entire city, except a remote corner; the other is this corner, a marble sepulcher where the Duomo, Baptistery, Leaning Tower and Campo-Santo silently repose like beautiful dead beings. This is the genuine Pisa, and in these relics of a departed life, one beholds a world.

In 1083 in order to honor the Virgin, who had given them a victory over the Saracens of Sardignia, they [the Pisans] laid the foundations of their Duomo. This edifice is almost a Roman basilica, that is to say a temple surmounted by another temple, or, if you prefer it, a house having a gable for its façade which gable is cut off at the peak to support another house of smaller dimensions. Five stories of columns entirely cover the façade with their superposed porticos. Two by two they stand coupled together to support small arcades; all these pretty shapes of white marble under their dark arcades form an aerial population of the utmost grace and novelty. Nowhere here are we conscious of the dolorous reverie of the medieval north; it is the fête of a young nation which is awakening, and, in the gladness of its recent prosperity, honoring its gods. It[Pg 8] has collected capitals, ornaments, entire columns obtained on the distant shores to which its wars and its commerce have led it, and these ancient fragments enter into its work without incongruity; for it is instinctively cast in the ancient mold, and only developed with a tinge of fancy on the side of finesse and the pleasing. Every antique form reappears, but reshaped in the same sense by a fresh and original impulse.

The outer columns of the Greek temple are reduced, multiplied and uplifted in the air, and from a support have become an ornament. The Roman or Byzantine dome is elongated and its natural heaviness diminished under a crown of slender columns with a miter ornament, which girds it midway with its delicate promenade. On the two sides of the great door two Corinthian columns are enveloped with luxurious foliage, calyxes and twining or blooming acanthus; and from the threshold we see the church with its files of intersecting columns, its alternate courses of black and white marble and its multitude of slender and brilliant forms, rising upward like an altar of candelabra. A new spirit appears here, a more delicate sensibility; it is not excessive and disordered as in the north, and yet it is not satisfied with the grave simplicity, the robust nudity of antique architecture. It is the daughter of the pagan mother, healthy and gay, but more womanly than its mother.

She is not yet an adult, sure in all her steps—she is somewhat awkward. The lateral façades on the exterior are monotonous; the cupola[Pg 9] within is a reversed funnel of a peculiar and disagreeable form. The junction of the two arms of the cross is unsatisfactory and so many modernized chapels dispel the charm due to purity, as at Sienna. At the second glance however all this is forgotten, and we again regard it as a complete whole. Four rows of Corinthian columns, surmounted with arcades, divide the church into five naves, and form a forest. A second passage, as richly crowded, traverses the former crosswise, and, above the beautiful grove, files of still smaller columns prolong and intersect each other in order to uphold in the air the prolongation and intersection of the quadruple gallery. The ceiling is flat; the windows are small, and for the most part, without sashes; they allow the walls to retain the grandeur of their mass and the solidity of their position; and among these long, straight and simple lines, in this natural light, the innumerable shafts glow with the serenity of an antique temple....

Nothing more can be added in relation to the Baptistery or the Leaning Tower; the same ideas prevail in these, the same taste, the same style. The former is a simple, isolated dome, the latter a cylinder, and each has an outward dress of small columns. And yet each has its own distinct and expressive physiognomy; but description and writing consume too much time, and too many technical terms are requisite to define their differences. I note, simply, the inclination of the Tower. Some suppose that, when half constructed, the tower sank in the earth on one side, and that the architects[Pg 10] continued on; seeing that they did continue this deflection was only a partial obstacle to them. In any event, there are other leaning towers in Italy, at Bologna, for example; voluntarily or involuntarily this feeling for oddness, this love of paradox, this yielding to fancy is one of the characteristics of the Middle Ages.

In the center of the Baptistery stands a superb font with eight panels; each panel is incrusted with a rich complicated flower in full bloom, and each flower is different. Around it a circle of large Corinthian columns supports round-arch arcades; most of them are antique and are ornamented with antique bas-reliefs; Meleager with his barking dogs, and the nude torsos of his companions in attendance on Christian mysteries. On the left stands a pulpit similar to that of Sienna, the first work of Nicholas of Pisa (1260), a simple marble coffer supported by marble columns and covered with sculptures. The sentiment of force and of antique nudity comes out here in striking features. The sculptor comprehended the postures and torsions of bodies. His figures, somewhat massive, are grand and simple; he frequently reproduces the tunics and folds of the Roman costume; one of his nude personages, a sort of Hercules bearing a young lion on his shoulders, has the broad breast and muscular tension which the sculptors of the sixteenth century admired.

The last of these edifices, the Campo-Santo, is a cemetery, the soil of which, brought from Palestine, is holy ground. Four high walls of polished marble surround it with their white[Pg 11] and crowded panels. Inside, a square gallery forms a promenade opening into the court through arcades trellised with ogive windows. It is filled with funereal monuments, busts, inscriptions and statues of every form and of every age. Nothing could be simpler and nobler. A framework of dark wood supports the arch overhead, and the crest of the roof cuts sharp against the crystal sky. At the angles are four rustling cypress trees, tranquilly swayed by the breeze. Grass is growing in the court with a wild freshness and luxuriance. Here and there a climbing flower twined around a column, a small rosebush, or a shrub glows beneath a gleam of sunshine. There is no noise; this quarter is deserted; only now and then is heard the voice of some promenader which reverberates as under the vault of a church. It is the veritable cemetery of a free and Christian city; here, before the tombs of the great, people might well reflect over death and public affairs.



Few cities have preserved their medieval walls with such loving care as Pisa. The circuit is complete save where the traveler enters the city; and there, alas, a wide breach has been[Pg 12] made by the restless spirit of modernity. But once past the paltry barrier and the banal square, with its inevitable statue of Victor Emanuel, that take the place of the old Porta Romana, one quickly perceives that the city is a walled one. Glimpses of battlements close the vistas of the streets, and green fields peep through the open gates, marking that abrupt transition between town and country peculiar to a fortified city.

The walls are best seen from without. An admirable impression of them can be had on leaving the city by the Porta Lucchese. Turning to the left, after passing a crucifix overshadowed by cypresses, we come to the edge of a stretch of level marshy meadows, gaily pied in spring with orchids and grape hyacinths. Above our heads the high air vibrates with the song of larks. Before us is the long line of the city walls. Strong, grim and gray, they look with nothing to break the outline of square battlements against the sky, but that majestic groups of domes and towers for whose defense they were built. At the angle of the wall to the right is a square watch-tower, backed by groups of cypresses that rise into the air like dark flames. Its little windows command the flat plain as far as the horizon. How easy to imagine the warning blast of the warder's trumpet as he caught sight of a distant enemy, and the wall springing into life at the sound. Armed men buckling on their harness would swarm up ladders to the battlements, the catapult groan and squeak as its lever was forced backward, and at the sharp word of[Pg 13] command the first flight of arrows would be loosed.

But the dream fades, and we pass on to the angle of the wall where the cypresses stand. From the picturesque Jews' cemetery, to which access is easy, the structure of the walls can be studied in detail because the hand of the restorer has been perforce withheld within its gates. The wall is some forty feet high, built of stone from the Pisan hills, weathered for the most part to a grayish hue. The masonry of the lower half is good. The blocks of stone are large and well laid. Those of the upper half are smaller and the masonry is in places careless and irregular. The red brick battlements are square. At short intervals there are walled-up gateways, round-headed or ogival in form, and the whole surface is rent and patched. Centuries of war and earthquakes, rain and fire, have given it a pleasant irregularity, the record of violent and troublous times.

The city can be reentered by the Porta Nuova, only a few yards to the left of the cemetery. So venerable do these battered walls look that we need the full evidence of history to realize that they had more than one predecessor. The memory even of the first walls of Pisa, an ancient city when Rome was young, has been lost. The earliest record of which we know anything appears on a map of the ninth century drawn by one Bonanno; a map, we should rather say professing to be of the ninth century, for churches of the thirteenth century are marked upon it, so it must either have been made, or the churches inserted, then....[Pg 14]

The ancient walls were practically swept away by the prosperity of Pisa. Beside the Balearic Islands she had conquered Carthage, the Lipari Islands, Elba, Corsica, and Palermo, and her galleys poured their spoils into the Pisan port. She traded with the East, and was successful in commerce as in war. Her inhabitants increased rapidly. They could no longer be penned within the narrow limits of the old wall, but overflowed in all directions beyond it. Not only was the Borgo thickly populated, but a whole new region called Forisportae, sprang up.

So masked was the wall by houses, built into it and huddling against it both on the outside and the inside, that it seems to have been actually invisible. So much so that contemporary chroniclers spoke of Pisa as without walls, and attributed her safety to the valor of her citizens and the multitude of her towers. The ancient wall was evidently so hidden and decayed that Pisa must be regarded as a defenseless city in the twelfth century. It is curious that her citizens should have neglected their own safety at a time when they were masters of fortification and defense; when their fame in these arts had reached as far as Egypt and Syria, and when the Milanese came to them to beg for engineers....

The external appearance of an Italian city in the twelfth century was so unlike anything we are accustomed to in modern times that a strong effort of the imagination is needed to conceive it. Seen from a distance the walls enclosed, not houses, but a forest of tall square[Pg 15] shafts, rising into the sky like the crowded chimney stacks in a manufacturing town but far more thickly set together. The city appeared, to use a graphic contemporary metaphor, like a sheaf of corn bound together by its walls.


San Gimignano, tho most of its towers have perished long ago, helps us to imagine faintly what Italian towns were like in the days of Frederick Barbarossa or his grandson Frederick II. For most of the houses were actually towers, long rectangular columns, vying with each other in height and crowded close together on either side of the narrow, airless, darkened streets. Sometimes they were connected with one another by wooden bridges, and all were furnished with wooden balconies used in defensive and offensive warfare with their neighbors.[Pg 16]

Cities full of towers were common all over southern France and central Italy, but Tuscany had more than any other state, and those of Pisa were the most famous of all. The habit of building and dwelling in towers rather than in houses may have arisen from the difficulty of expanding laterally within an enclosed city; but a stronger reason may be found in the dangers and uncertainty of life in a period when a man might be attacked at any moment by his fellow-citizen, as well as by the enemy of the state. It was a distinct military advantage to overlook one's neighbor, who might be an enemy; and towers rose higher and higher. The spirit of emulation entered, and rich nobles gloried in adding tower to tower and in looking down on all rivals.

But whatever the cause of their existence, they were picturesque, and must have presented a gallant sight on the eve of a high festival. The tall shafts were tinged with gold by the western sun, their battlements crowned with three fluttering banners—the eagle of the Emperor, the white cross of the Commune, and the device of the People—looking as tho a cloud of many-colored butterflies were hovering over the city.

Again, how dramatic the scene when the city was rent by one of the perpetually recurring faction-fights. Light bridges with grappling-irons were thrown from tower to tower, doors and windows were barricaded, balconies and battlements lined with men in shining mail, bearing the fantastic device of their leader on helm and shield. Mangonels, or catapults,[Pg 17] huge engines stationed on the roofs of the towers, sent masses of stone hurtling through the air, whistling arbelast bolts and clothyard shafts flew in thick showers, boiling oil or lead rained down on the heads of those who ventured down to attack the doors, and arrows, with Greek fire attached, were shot with nice aim into the wooden balconies and bridges. Vile insults were hurled where missiles failed to strike. The shouts and shrieks of the combatants were mingled with the crash of a falling tower or with the hissing of a fire-arrow. Where those struck, a red glow arose and a thick cloud of smoke enveloped the defenders.

Altho it is evident that towers were very numerous in Pisa, it is difficult to arrive at their precise number. The chroniclers differ greatly in their estimates. Benjamin da Tudela, for instance, says that there were 10,000 in the twelfth century; while Marangone puts the number at 15,000 and Tronci at 16,000. These are round numbers such as the medieval mind loved, but we have abundant evidence that they are not much exaggerated. An intarsia panel in the Duomo, shows how closely the towers were packed together, while the mass of legislation relating to them was directed against abuses that could only have arisen if their number was very large.[Pg 18]





So we go, rattling down-hill, into Naples. A funeral is coming up the street, toward us. The body, on an open bier, borne on a kind of palanquin, covered with a gay cloth of crimson and gold. The mourners, in white gowns and masks. If there be death abroad, life is well represented too, for all Naples would seem to be out of doors, and tearing to and fro in carriages. Some of these, the common Vetturino vehicles, are drawn by three horses abreast, decked with smart trappings and great abundance of brazen ornament, and always going very fast. Not that their loads are light; for the smallest of them has at least six people inside, four in front, four or five more hanging behind, and two or three more, in a net or bag below the axle-tree, where they lie half-suffocated with mud and dust.

Exhibitors of Punch, buffo singers with guitars, reciters of poetry, reciters of stories, a row of cheap exhibitions with clowns and[Pg 19] showmen, drums, and trumpets, painted cloths representing the wonders within, and admiring crowds assembled without, assist the whirl and bustle. Ragged lazzaroni lie asleep in doorways, archways, and kennels; the gentry, gaily drest, are dashing up and down in carriages on the Chiaja, or walking in the Public Gardens; and quiet letter-writers, perched behind their little desks and inkstands under the Portico of the Great Theater of San Carlo, in the public street, are waiting for clients.

Why do the beggars rap their chins constantly, with their right hands, when you look at them? Everything is done in pantomime in Naples, and that is the conventional sign for hunger. A man who is quarreling with another, yonder, lays the palm of his right hand on the back of his left, and shakes the two thumbs—expressive of a donkey's ears—whereat his adversary is goaded to desperation. Two people bargaining for fish, the buyer empties an imaginary waistcoat pocket when he is told the price, and walks away without a word, having thoroughly conveyed to the seller that he considers it too dear. Two people in carriages, meeting, one touches his lips, twice or thrice, holding up the five fingers of his right hand, and gives a horizontal cut in the air with the palm. The other nods briskly, and goes his way. He has been invited to a friendly dinner at half-past five o'clock, and will certainly come.

All over Italy, a peculiar shake of the right hand from the wrist, with the forefinger stretched out, expresses a negative—the only negative[Pg 20] beggars will ever understand. But, in Naples, those five fingers are a copious language. All this, and every other kind of out-door life and stir, and maccaroni-eating at sunset, and flower-selling all day long, and begging and stealing everywhere and at all hours, you see upon the bright sea-shore, where the waves of the Bay sparkle merrily....

Capri—once made odious by the deified beast Tiberius—Ischia, Procida, and the thousand distant beauties of the Bay, lie in the blue sea yonder, changing in the mist and sunshine twenty times a day; now close at hand, now far off, now unseen. The fairest country in the world, is spread about us. Whether we turn toward the Miseno shore of the splendid watery amphitheater, and go by the Grotto of Posilipo to the Grotto del Cane and away to Baiae, or take the other way, toward Vesuvius and Sorrento, it is one succession of delights. In the last-named direction, where, over doors and archways, there are countless little images of San Gennaro, with this Canute's hand stretched out, to check the fury of the burning Mountain, we are carried pleasantly, by a railroad on the beautiful Sea Beach, past the town of Torre del Greco, built upon the ashes of the former town destroyed by an eruption of Vesuvius, within a hundred years; and past the flat-roofed houses, granaries, and maccaroni manufacturies; to Castellamare, with its ruined castle, now inhabited by fishermen, standing in the sea upon a heap of rocks.

Here, the railroad terminates; but, hence we may ride on, by an unbroken succession of[Pg 21] enchanting bays, and beautiful scenery, sloping from the highest summit of Saint Angelo, the highest neighboring mountain, down to the water's edge—among vineyards, olive-trees, gardens of oranges and lemons, orchards, heaped-up rocks, green gorges in the hills—and by the bases of snow-covered heights, and through small towns with handsome, dark-haired women at the doors—and pass delicious summer villas—to Sorrento, where the poet Tasso drew his inspiration from the beauty surrounding him. Returning, we may climb the heights above Castellamare, and looking down among the boughs and leaves, see the crisp water glistening in the sun; and clusters of white houses in distant Naples, dwindling, in the great extent of prospect, down to dice. The coming back to the city, by the beach again, at sunset; with the glowing sea on one side, and the darkening mountain (Vesuvius), with its smoke and flame, upon the other, is a sublime conclusion to the glory of the day.

That church by the Porta Capuna—near the old fisher-market in the dirtiest quarter of dirty Naples, where the revolt of Masaniello began—is memorable for having been the scene of one of his earliest proclamations to the people, and is particularly remarkable for nothing else, unless it be its waxen and bejeweled Saint in a glass case, with two odd hands; or the enormous number of beggars who are constantly rapping their chins there, like a battery of castanets. The cathedral with the beautiful door, and the columns of African and Egyptian granite that once ornamented the temple of[Pg 22] Apollo, contains the famous sacred blood of San Gennaro or Januarius, which is preserved in two phials in a silver tabernacle, and miraculously liquefies three times a year, to the great admiration of the people. At the same moment, the stone (distant some miles) where the Saint suffered martyrdom, becomes faintly red. It is said that the officiating priests turn faintly red also, sometimes, when these miracles occur.

The old, old men who live in hovels at the entrance of these ancient catacombs, and who, in their age and infirmity, seem waiting here, to be buried themselves, are members of a curious body, called the Royal Hospital, who are the official attendants at funerals. Two of these old specters totter away, with lighted tapers, to show the caverns of death—as unconcerned as if they were immortal. They were used as burying-places for three hundred years; and, in one part, is a large pit full of skulls and bones, said to be the sad remains of a great mortality occasioned by a plague. In the rest, there is nothing but dust. They consist, chiefly, of great wide corridors and labyrinths, hewn out of the rock. At the end of some of these long passages, are unexpected glimpses of the daylight, shining down from above. It looks as ghastly and as strange; among the torches, and the dust, and the dark vaults; as if it, too, were dead and buried.

The present burial-place lies out yonder, on a hill between the city and Vesuvius. The old Campo Santo with its three hundred and[Pg 23] sixty-five pits, is only used for those who die in hospitals, and prisons, and are unclaimed by their friends. The graceful new cemetery, at no great distance from it, tho yet unfinished, has already many graves among its shrubs and flowers, and airy colonnades. It might be reasonably objected elsewhere, that some of the tombs are meretricious and too fanciful; but the general brightness seems to justify it here; and Mount Vesuvius, separated from them by a lovely slope of ground, exalts and saddens the scene.

If it be solemn to behold from this new City of the Dead, with its dark smoke hanging in the clear sky, how much more awful and impressive is it, viewed from the ghostly ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii!

Stand at the bottom of the great market-place of Pompeii, and look up the silent streets, through the ruined temples of Jupiter and Isis, over the broken houses with their inmost sanctuaries open to the day, away to Mount Vesuvius, bright and snowy in the peaceful distance; and lose all count of time, and heed of other things, in the strange and melancholy sensation of seeing the Destroyed and the Destroyer making this quiet picture in the sun. Then, ramble on, and see, at every turn, the little familiar tokens of human habitation and everyday pursuits, the chafing of the bucket-rope in the stone rim of the exhausted well; the track of carriage-wheels in the pavement of the street; the marks of drinking-vessels on the stone counter of the wine-shop; the amphoræ in private cellars, stored away so many hundred years ago, and undisturbed to this hour[Pg 24]—all rendering the solitude and deadly lonesomeness of the place, ten thousand times more solemn, than if the volcano, in its fury, had swept the city from the earth, and sunk it in the bottom of the sea.



A road to the right at the end of the Chiaja, leads to the mouth of the Grotto of Posilipo, above which those who do not wish to leave their carriages may see, high on the left, close above the grotto, the ruined columbarium known as the Tomb of Virgil. A door in the wall, on the left of the approach to the grotto, and a very steep staircase, lead to the columbarium, which is situated in a pretty fruit-garden.

Virgil desired that his body should be brought to Naples from Brundusium, where he died, B.C. 19, and there is every probability that he was buried on this spot, which was visited as Virgil's burial-place little more than a century after his death by the poet Statius, who was born at Naples, and who describes composing his own poems while seated in the shadow of the tomb. If further confirmation were needed of the story that Virgil was laid here, it would be found in the fact that Silius Italicus, who lived at the same time with Statius, purchased the tomb of Virgil, restored it from[Pg 25] the neglect into which it had fallen, and celebrated funeral rites before it.

The tomb was originally shaded by a gigantic bay-tree, which is said to have died on the death of Dante. Petrarch, who was brought hither by King Robert, planted another, which existed in the time of Sannazaro, but was destroyed by relic-collectors in the last century. A branch was sent to Frederick the Great by the Margravine of Baireuth, with some verses by Voltaire. If from no other cause, the tomb would be interesting from its visitors; here Boccaccio renounced the career of a merchant for that of a poet, and a well-known legend, that St. Paul visited the sepulcher of Virgil at Naples, was long commemorated in the verse of a hymn used in the service for St. Paul's Day at Mantua.

The tomb is a small, square, vaulted chamber with three windows. Early in the sixteenth century a funeral urn, containing the ashes of the poet, stood in the center, supported by nine little marble pillars. Some say that Robert of Anjou removed it, in 1326, for security to the Castel Nuovo, others that it was given by the Government to a cardinal from Mantua, who died at Genoa on his way home. In either event the urn is now lost.

It is just beneath the tomb that the road to Pozzuoli enters the famous Grotto of Posilipo, a tunnel about half a mile long, in breadth from 25 to 30 feet, and varying from about 90 feet in height near the entrance, to little more than 20 feet at points of the interior. Petronius and Seneca mention its narrow gloomy[Pg 26] passage with horror, in the reign of Nero, when it was so low that it could only be used for foot-passengers, who were obliged to stoop in passing through.

In the fifteenth century King Alphonso I. gave it height by lowering the floor, which was paved by Don Pedro di Toledo a hundred years later. In the Middle Ages the grotto was ascribed to the magic arts of Virgil. In recent years it has been the chief means of communication between Naples and Baiae, and is at all times filled with dust and noise, the flickering lights and resounding echoes giving it a most weird effect. However much one may abuse Neapolitans, we may consider in their favor, as Swinburne observes, "what a terror this dark grotto would be in London!"



At the foot of the steep ascent, we were received by two guides, one old, the other young, but both active fellows. The first pulled me up the path, the other Tischbein[9]—pulled I say, for these guides are girded round the waist with a leathern belt, which the traveler takes hold of, and being drawn up by his guide, makes his way the easier with foot and staff. In this manner we reached the flat from which[Pg 27] the cone rises; toward the north lay the ruins of the summit.

A glance westward over the country beneath us, removed, as well as a bath could, all feeling of exhaustion and fatigue, and we now went round the ever-smoking cone, as it threw out its stones and ashes. Wherever the space allowed of our viewing it at a sufficient distance, it appeared a grand and elevating spectacle. In the first place, a violent thundering toned forth from its deepest abyss, then stones of larger and smaller sizes were showered into the air by thousands, and enveloped by clouds of ashes. The greatest part fell again into the gorge; the rest of the fragments, receiving a lateral inclination, and falling on the outside of the crater, made a marvelous rumbling noise. First of all the larger masses plumped against the side, and rebounded with a dull heavy sound; then the smaller came rattling down; and last of all, drizzled a shower of ashes. All this took place at regular intervals, which by slowly counting, we were able to measure pretty accurately.

Between the summit, however, and the cone the space is narrow enough; moreover, several stones fell around us, and made the circuit anything but agreeable. Tischbein now felt more disgusted than ever with Vesuvius, as the monster, not content with being hateful, showed an inclination to become mischievous also.

As, however, the presence of danger generally exercises on man a kind of attraction, and calls forth a spirit of opposition in the human[Pg 28] breast to defy it, I bethought myself that, in the interval of the eruptions, it would be possible to climb up the cone to the crater, and to get back before it broke out again. I held a council on this point with our guides under one of the overhanging rocks of the summit, where, encamped in safety, we refreshed ourselves with the provisions we had brought with us. The younger guide was willing to run the risk with me; we stuffed our hats full of linen and silk handkerchiefs, and, staff in hand, we prepared to start, I holding on to his girdle.

The little stones were yet rattling around us, and the ashes still drizzling, as the stalwart youth hurried forth with me across the hot glowing rubble. We soon stood on the brink of the vast chasm, the smoke of which, altho a gentle air was bearing it away from us, unfortunately veiled the interior of the crater, which smoked all round from a thousand crannies. At intervals, however, we caught sight through the smoke of the cracked walls of the rock. The view was neither instructive nor delightful; but for the very reason that one saw nothing, one lingered in the hope of catching a glimpse of something more; and so we forgot our slow counting. We were standing on a narrow ridge of the vast abyss; of a sudden the thunder pealed aloud; we ducked our heads involuntarily, as if that would have rescued us from the precipitated masses. The smaller stones soon rattled, and without considering that we had again an interval of cessation before us, and only too much rejoiced to have outstood the danger, we rushed down and reached the foot of the hill together with the drizz[Pg 29]ling ashes, which pretty thickly covered our heads and shoulders....

The news [two weeks later] that an eruption of lava had just commenced, which, taking the direction of Ottajano, was invisible at Naples, tempted me to visit Vesuvius for the third time. Scarcely had I jumped out of my cabriolet at the foot of the mountain, when immediately appeared the two guides who had accompanied us on our previous ascent. I had no wish to do without either, but took one out of gratitude and custom, the other for reliance on his judgment—and the two for the greater convenience. Having ascended the summit, the older guide remained with our cloaks and refreshment, while the younger followed me, and we boldly went straight toward a dense volume of smoke, which broke forth from the bottom of the funnel; then we quickly went downward by the side of it, till at last, under the clear heaven, we distinctly saw the lava emitted from the rolling clouds of smoke.

We may hear an object spoken of a thousand times, but its peculiar features will never be caught till we see it with our own eyes. The stream of lava was small, not broader perhaps than ten feet, but the way in which it flowed down a gentle and tolerably smooth plain was remarkable. As it flowed along, it cooled both on the sides and on the surface, so that it formed a sort of canal, the bed of which was continually raised in consequence of the molten mass congealing even beneath the fiery stream, which, with uniform action, precipitated right and left the scoria which were floating on its surface. In this way a regular dam was at length thrown up, in which the glowing stream[Pg 30] flowed on as quietly as any mill-stream. We passed along the tolerably high dam, while the scoria rolled regularly off the sides at our feet. Some cracks in the canal afforded opportunity of looking at the living stream, from below, and as it rushed onward, we observed it from above.

A very bright sun made the glowing lava look dull; but a moderate steam rose from it into the pure air. I felt a great desire to go nearer to the point where it broke out from the mountain; there my guide averred, it at once formed vaults and roofs above itself, on which he had often stood. To see and experience this phenomenon, we again ascended the hill, in order to come from behind to this point. Fortunately at this moment the place was cleared by a pretty strong wind, but not entirely, for all round it the smoke eddied from a thousand crannies; and now at last we stood on the top of the solid roof (which looked like a hardened mass of twisted dough), but which, however, projected so far outward, that it was impossible to see the welling lava.

We ventured about twenty steps further, but the ground on which we stept became hotter and hotter, while around us rolled an oppressive steam, which obscured and hid the sun; the guide, who was a few steps in advance of me, presently turned back, and seizing hold of me, hurried out of this Stygian exhalation.

After we had refreshed our eyes with the clear prospect, and washed our gums and throat with wine, we went round again to notice any other peculiarities which might characterize this peak of hell, thus rearing itself in the midst of a Paradise. I again observed attentively some chasms, in ap[Pg 31]pearance like so many vulcanic forges, which emitted no smoke, but continually shot out a steam of hot glowing air. They were all tapestried, as it were, with a kind of stalactite, which covered the funnel to the top, with its knobs and chintz-like variation of colors. In consequence of the irregularity of the forges, I found many specimens of this sublimation hanging within reach, so that, with our staves and a little contrivance, we were able to hack off a few, and to secure them. I saw in the shops of the dealers in lava similar specimens, labeled simply "Lava"; and I was delighted to have discovered that it was volcanic soot precipitated from the hot vapor, and distinctly exhibiting the sublimated mineral particles which it contained.



No matter that the snow and ice lie thick upon the summit of Vesuvius, or that we have been on foot all day at Pompeii, or that croakers maintain that strangers should not be on the mountain by night, in such unusual season. Let us take advantage of the fine weather; make the best of our way to Resina, the little village at the foot of the mountain; prepare ourselves, as well as we can, on so short a notice, at the guide's house, ascend at once, and have sunset half-way up, moonlight at the top, and midnight to come down in!

At four o'clock in the afternoon, there is a ter[Pg 32]rible uproar in the little stable-yard of Signor Salvatore, the recognized head guide, with the gold band round his cap; and thirty under-guides who are all scuffling and screaming at once, are preparing half-a-dozen saddled ponies, three litters, and some stout staves, for the journey. Every one of the thirty quarrels with the other twenty-nine, and frightens the six ponies; and as much of the village as can possibly squeeze itself into the little stable-yard, participates in the tumult, and gets trodden on by the cattle.

After much violent skirmishing, and more noise than would suffice for the storming of Naples, the procession starts. The head guide, who is liberally paid for all the attendants, rides a little in advance of the party; the other thirty guides proceed on foot. Eight go forward with the litters that are to be used by and by; and the remaining two-and-twenty beg. We ascend, gradually, by stony lanes like rough broad flights of stairs, for some time. At length, we leave these, and the vineyards on either side of them, and emerge upon a bleak, bare region where the lava lies confusedly, in enormous rusty masses; as if the earth had been plowed up by burning thunder-bolts. And now, we halt to see the sunset. The change that falls upon the dreary region and on the whole mountain, as its red light fades, and the night comes on—and the unutterable solemnity and dreariness that reign around, who that has witnessed it, can ever forget!

It is dark, when after winding, for some time, over the broken ground, we arrive at the foot of the cone, which is extremely steep, and seems to rise, almost perpendicularly, from the spot where[Pg 33] we dismount. The only light is reflected from the snow, deep, hard, and white, with which the cone is covered. It is now intensely cold, and the air is piercing. The thirty-one have brought no torches, knowing that the moon will rise before we reach the top. Two of the litters are devoted to the two ladies; the third, to a rather heavy gentleman from Naples, whose hospitality and good-nature have attached him to the expedition, and determined him to assist in doing the honors of the mountain. The rather heavy gentleman is carried by fifteen men; each of the ladies by half-a-dozen. We who walk, make the best use of our staves; and so the whole party begin to labor upward over the snow—as if they were toiling to the summit of an antediluvian Twelfth-cake.

We are a long time toiling up; and the head guide looks oddly about him when one of the company—not an Italian, tho an habitué of the mountain for many years: whom we will call, for our present purpose, Mr. Pickle of Portici—suggests that, as it is freezing hard, and the usual footing of ashes is covered by the snow and ice, it will surely be difficult to descend. But the sight of the litters above, tilting up, and down, and jerking from this side to that, as the bearers continually slip, and tumble, diverts our attention, more especially as the whole length of the rather heavy gentleman is, at that moment, presented to us alarmingly foreshortened, with his head downward.

The rising of the moon soon afterward, revives the flagging spirits of the bearers. Stimulating each other with their usual watchword, "Courage, friend! It is to eat maccaroni!" they press on, gallantly, for the summit.[Pg 34]

From tingeing the top of the snow above us with a band of light, and pouring it in a stream through the valley below, while we have been ascending in the dark, the moon soon lights the whole white mountain side, and the broad sea down below, and tiny Naples in the distance, and every village in the country round. The whole prospect is in this lovely state, when we come upon the platform on the mountain-top—the region of fire—an exhausted crater formed of great masses of gigantic cinders, like blocks of stone from some tremendous waterfall, burned up; from every chink and crevice of which, hot, sulfurous smoke is pouring out; while, from another conical-shaped hill, the present crater, rising abruptly from this platform at the end, great sheets of fire are streaming forth; reddening the night with flame, blackening it with smoke, and spotting it with red-hot stones and cinders, that fly up into the air like feathers, and fall down like lead. What words can paint the gloom and grandeur of this scene!

The broken ground; the smoke; the sense of suffocation from the sulfur; the fear of falling down through the crevices in the yawning ground; the stopping, every now and then, for somebody who is missing in the dark (for the dense smoke now obscures the moon); the intolerable noise of the thirty; and the hoarse roaring of the mountain; make it a scene of such confusion, at the same time, that we reel again. But, dragging the ladies through it, and across another exhausted crater to the foot of the present volcano, we approach close to it on the windy side, and then sit down among the hot ashes at its foot, and look up[Pg 35] in silence; faintly estimating the action that is going on within, from its being full a hundred feet higher, at this minute, than it was six weeks ago.

There is something in the fire and roar, that generates an irresistible desire to get nearer to it. We can not rest long, without starting off, two of us on our hands and knees, accompanied by the head guide, to climb to the brim of the flaming crater, and try to look in. Meanwhile, the thirty yell, as with one voice, that it is a dangerous proceeding, and call to us to come back; frightening the rest of the party out of their wits.

What with their noise, and what with the trembling of the thin crust of ground, that seems about to open underneath our feet and plunge us in the burning gulf below (which is the real danger, if there be any); and what with the flashing of the fire in our faces, and the shower of red-hot ashes that is raining down, and the choking smoke and sulfur; we may well feel giddy and irrational, like drunken men. But, we contrive to climb up to the brim, and look down, for a moment, into the hell of boiling fire below. Then, we all three come rolling down; blackened, and singed, and scorched, and hot, and giddy; and each with his dress alight in half-a-dozen places.

You have read, a thousand times, that the usual way of descending, is, by sliding down the ashes; which, forming a gradually-increasing ledge below the feet, prevent too rapid a descent. But, when we have crossed the two exhausted craters on our way back, and are come to this precipitous place, there is (as Mr. Pickle has foretold) no vestige of ashes to be seen; the whole being a smooth sheet of ice.[Pg 36]

In this dilemma, ten or a dozen of the guides cautiously join hands, and make a chain of men; of whom the foremost beat, as well as they can, a rough track with their sticks, down which we prepare to follow. The way being fearfully steep, and none of the party—even of the thirty—being able to keep their feet for six paces together, the ladies are taken out of their litters, and placed, each between two careful persons; while others of the thirty hold by their skirts, to prevent their falling forward—a necessary precaution, tending to the immediate and hopeless dilapidation of their apparel. The rather heavy gentleman is abjured to leave his litter too, and be escorted in a similar manner; but he resolves to be brought down as he was brought up, on the principle that his fifteen bearers are not likely to tumble all at once, and that he is safer so, than trusting to his own legs.

In this order, we begin the descent; sometimes on foot, sometimes shuffling on the ice; always proceeding much more quietly and slowly than on our upward way; and constantly alarmed by the falling among us of somebody from behind, who endangers the footing of the whole party, and clings pertinaciously to anybody's ankles. It is impossible for the litter to be in advance, too, as the track has to be made; and its appearance behind us, overhead—with some one or other of the bearers always down, and the rather heavy gentleman with his legs always in the air—is very threatening and frightful. We have gone on thus, a very little way, painfully and anxiously, but quite merrily, and regarding it as a great success—and have all fallen several times, and have all been stopt, somehow or other, as we were sliding away[Pg 37] when Mr. Pickle of Portici, in the act of remarking on these uncommon circumstances as quite beyond his experience, stumbles, falls, disengages himself, with quick presence of mind, from those about him, plunges away head foremost, and rolls, over and over, down the whole surface of the cone!

Giddy, and bloody, and a mere bundle of rags, is Pickle of Portici when we reach the place where we dismounted, and where the horses are waiting; but, thank God, sound in limb! And never are we likely to be more glad to see a man alive and on his feet, than to see him now—making light of it too, tho sorely bruised and in great pain. The boy is brought into the Hermitage on the Mountain, while we are at supper, with his head tied up; and the man is heard of, some hours afterward. He, too, is bruised and stunned, but has broken no bones; the snow having, fortunately, covered all the larger blocks of rock and stone, and rendered them harmless.



The sky is almost clear. Only above Naples hangs a bank of clouds, and around Vesuvius huge white masses of smoke, moving and stationary. I never yet saw, even in summer at Marseilles, the blue of the sea so deep, bordering even on hardness. Above this powerful lustrous[Pg 38] azure, absorbing three-quarters of the visible space, the white sky seems to be a firmament of crystal. As we recede we obtain a better view of the undulating coast, embraced in one grand mountain form, all its parts uniting like the members of one body. Ischia and the naked promontories on the extreme end repose in their lilac envelop, like a slumbering Pompeiian nymph under her veil. Veritably, to paint such nature as this, this violet continent extending around this broad luminous water, one must employ the terms of the ancient poets, and represent the great fertile goddess embraced and beset by the eternal ocean, and above them the serene effulgence of the dazzling Jupiter.

We encounter on the road some fine faces with long elegant features, quite Grecian; some intelligent noble-looking girls, and here and there hideous mendicants cleaning their hairy breasts. But the race is much superior to that of Naples, where it is deformed and diminutive, the young girls there appearing like stunted, pallid grisets. The railroad skirts the sea a few paces off and almost on a level with it. A harbor appears blackened with lines of rigging, and then a mole, consisting of a small half-ruined fort, reflecting a clear sharp shadow in the luminous expanse. Surrounding this rise square houses, gray as if charred, and heaped together like tortoises under round roofs, serving them as a sort of thick shell.

On this fertile soil, full of cinders, cultivation extends to the shore and forms gardens; a simple reed hedge protects them from the sea and the wind; the Indian fig with its clumsy thorny leaves clings to the slopes; verdure begins to appear on[Pg 39] the branches of the trees, the apricots showing their smiling pink blossoms; half-naked men work the friable soil without apparent effort; a few square gardens contain columns and small statues of white marble. Everywhere you behold traces of antique beauty and joyousness. And why wonder at this when you feel that you have the divine vernal sun for a companion, and on the right, whenever you turn to the sea, its flaming golden waves.

With what facility you here forget all ugly objects! I believe I passed at Castellamare some unsightly modern structures, a railroad station, hotels, a guard-house, and a number of rickety vehicles hurrying along in quest of fares. This is all effaced from my mind; nothing remains but impressions of obscure porches with glimpses of bright courts filled with glossy oranges and spring verdure, of esplanades with children playing on them and nets drying, and happy idlers snuffing the breeze and contemplating the capricious heaving of the tossing sea.

On leaving Castellamare the road forms a corniche[12] winding along the bank. Huge white rocks, split off from the cliffs above, lie below in the midst of the eternally besieging waves. On the left the mountains lift their shattered pinnacles, fretted walls, and projecting crags, all that scaffolding of indentations which strike you as the ruins of a line of rocked and tottering fortresses. Each projection, each mass throws its shadow on the surrounding white surfaces, the[Pg 40] entire range being peopled with tints and forms.

Sometimes the mountain is rent in twain, and the sides of the chasm are lined with cultivation, descending in successive stages. Sorrento is thus built on three deep ravines. All these hollows contain gardens, crowded with masses of trees overhanging each other. Nut-trees, already lively with sap, project their white branches like gnarled fingers; everything else is green; winter lays no hand on this eternal spring. The thick lustrous leaf of the orange-tree rises from amid the foliage of the olive, and its golden apples glisten in the sun by thousands, interspersed with gleams of the pale lemon; often in these shady lanes do its glittering leaves flash out above the crest of the walls. This is the land of the orange. It grows even in miserable court-yards, alongside of dilapidated steps, spreading its luxuriant tops everywhere in the bright sunlight. The delicate aromatic odor of all these opening buds and blossoms is a luxury of kings, which here a beggar enjoys for nothing.

I passed an hour in the garden of the hotel, a terrace overlooking the sea about half-way up the bank. A scene like this fills the imagination with a dream of perfect bliss. The house stands in a luxurious garden, filled with orange and lemon-trees, as heavily laden with fruit as those of a Normandy orchard; the ground at the foot of the trees is covered with it. Clusters of foliage and shrubbery of a pale green, bordering on blue, occupy intermediate spaces. The rosy blossoms of the peach, so tender and delicate, bloom on its naked branches. The walks are of bright blue porcelain, and the terrace displays its round[Pg 41] verdant masses overhanging the sea, of which the lovely azure fills all space.

I have not yet spoken of my impressions after leaving Castellamare. The charm was only too great. The pure sky, the pale azure almost transparent, the radiant blue sea as chaste and tender as a virgin bride, this infinite expanse so exquisitely adorned as if for a festival of rare delight, is a sensation that has no equal. Capri and Ischia on the line of the sky lie white in their soft vapory tissue, and the divine azure gently fades away surrounded by this border of brightness.

Where find words to express all this? The gulf seemed like a marble vase purposely rounded to receive the sea. The satin sheen of a flower, the soft luminous petals of the velvet orris with shimmering sunshine on their pearly borders, such are the images that fill the mind, and which accumulate in vain and are ever inadequate. The water at the base of these rocks is now a transparent emerald, reflecting the tints of topaz and amethyst; again a liquid diamond, changing its hue according to the shifting influences of rock and depth; or again a flashing diadem, glittering with the splendor of this divine effulgence.[Pg 42]



The Island of Capri (in the dialect of the people Crapi), the ancient Capreae, is a huge limestone rock, a continuation of the mountain range which forms the southern boundary of the Bay of Naples. Legend says that it was once inhabited by a people called Teleboae, subject to a king called Telon. Augustus took possession of Capreae as part of the imperial domains, and repeatedly visited it. His stepson Tiberius (A.D. 27) established his permanent residence on the island, and spent the latter years of his life there, abandoning himself to the voluptuous excesses which gave him the name of Caprineus....

The first point usually visited in Capri is the Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra), which is entered from the sea by an arch under the wall of limestone cliff, only available when the sea is perfectly calm. Visitors have to lie flat down in the boat, which is carried in by the wave and is almost level with the top of the arch. Then they suddenly find themselves in a magical scene. The water is liquid sapphire, and the whole rocky vaulting of the cavern shimmers to its inmost recesses with a pale blue light of marvelous beauty. A man stands ready to plunge into the water when the boats from the steamers arrive, and to swim about; his body, in the water, then sparkles like a sea-god with phosphorescent silver; his head, out of the water, is black like that of a Moor. Nothing can exaggerate the beauty of the[Pg 43] Blue Grotto, and perhaps the effect is rather enhanced than spoiled by the shouting of the boatmen, the rush of boats to the entrance, the confusion on leaving and reaching the steamers.

That the Grotta Azzurra was known to the Romans is evinced by the existence of a subterranean passage, leading to it from the upper heights, and now blocked up; it was also well known in the seventeenth century, when it was described by Capraanica. There are other beautiful grottoes in the cliffs surrounding the island, the most remarkable being the natural tunnel called the Green Grotto (Grotta Verde), under the southern rocks, quite as splendid in color as the Grotta Azzurra itself—a passage through the rocks, into which the boat glides (through no hole, as in the case of the Grotta Azzurra) into water of the most exquisite emerald. The late afternoon is the best time for visiting this grotto. Occasionally a small steamer makes the round of the island, stopping at the different caverns.

On landing at the Marina, a number of donkey women offer their services, and it will be well to accept them, for the ascent of about one mile, to the village of Capri is very hot and tiring. On the left we pass the Church of St. Costanzo, a very curious building with apse, cupola, stone pulpit, and several ancient marble pillars and other fragments taken from the palaces of Tiberius.

The little town of Capri, overhung on one side by great purple rocks, occupies a terrace on the high ridge between the two rocky promontories of the island. Close above the piazza stands the many-domed ancient church, like a mosque, and[Pg 44] so many of the houses—sometimes of dazzling whiteness, sometimes painted in gay colors—have their own little domes, that the appearance is quite that of an oriental village, which is enhanced by the palm-trees which flourish here and there. In the piazza is a tablet to Major Hamill, who is buried in the church. He fell under French bayonets, when the troops of Murat, landing at Orico, recaptured the island, which had been taken from the French two years and a half before (May, 1806) by Sir Sidney Smith.

Through a low wide arch in the piazza is the approach to the principal hotels. There is a tiny English chapel. An ascent of half an hour by stony donkey-paths leads from Capri to the ruins called the Villa Tiberiana, on the west of the island, above a precipitous rock 700 feet high, which still bears the name of Il Salto....

The visitor who lingers in Capri may interest himself in tracing out the remains of all the twelve villas of Tiberius. A relief exhibiting Tiberius riding a led donkey, as modern travelers do now, was found on the island, and is now in the museum at Naples. Capri has a delightful winter climate, and is most comfortable as a residence. The natives are quite unlike the Neapolitans, pleasant and civil in their manners, and full of courtesies to strangers. The women are frequently beautiful.[Pg 45]



We have been to see Pompeii, and are waiting now for the return of spring weather, to visit, first, Paestum, and then the islands; after which we shall return to Rome. I was astonished at the remains of this city; I had no conception of anything so perfect yet remaining. My idea of the mode of its destruction was this: First, an earthquake shattered it, and unroofed almost all its temples, and split its columns; then a rain of light small pumice-stones fell; then torrents of boiling water, mixed with ashes, filled up all its crevices. A wide, flat hill, from which the city was excavated, is now covered by thick woods, and you see the tombs and the theaters, the temples and the houses, surrounded by the uninhabited wilderness.

We entered the town from the side toward the sea, and first saw two theaters; one more magnificent than the other, strewn with the ruins of the white marble which formed their seats and cornices, wrought with deep, bold sculpture. In the front, between the stage and the seats, is the circular space, occasionally occupied by the chorus. The stage is very narrow, but long, and divided from this space by a narrow enclosure parallel to it, I suppose for the orchestra. On each side are the consuls' boxes, and below, in the theater at Herculaneum, were found two equestrian statues of admirable workmanship, occupy[Pg 46]ing the same place as the great bronze lamps did at Drury Lane. The smallest of the theaters is said to have been comic, tho I should doubt. From both you see, as you sit on the seats, a prospect of the most wonderful beauty.

You then pass through the ancient streets; they are very narrow, and the houses rather small, but all constructed on an admirable plan, especially for this climate. The rooms are built round a court, or sometimes two, according to the extent of the house. In the midst is a fountain, sometimes surrounded with a portico, supported on fluted columns of white stucco; the floor is paved with mosaic, sometimes wrought in imitation of vine leaves, sometimes in quaint figures, and more or less beautiful, according to the rank of the inhabitant. There were paintings on all, but most of them have been removed to decorate the royal museums. Little winged figures, and small ornaments of exquisite elegance, yet remain. There is an ideal life in the forms of these paintings of an incomparable loveliness, tho most are evidently the work of very inferior artists. It seems as if, from the atmosphere of mental beauty which surrounded them, every human being caught a splendor not his own.

In one house you see how the bed-rooms were managed; a small sofa was built up, where the cushions were placed; two pictures, one representing Diana and Endymion, the other Venus and Mars, decorate the chamber; and a little niche, which contains the statue of a domestic god. The floor is composed of a rich mosaic of the rarest marbles, agate, jasper, and porphyry; it looks to the marble fountain and the snow-[Pg 47]white columns, whose entablatures strew the floor of the portico they supported. The houses have only one story, and the apartments, tho not large, are very lofty. A great advantage results from this, wholly unknown in our cities.

The public buildings, whose ruins are now forests, as it were, of white fluted columns, and which then supported entablatures, loaded with sculptures, were seen on all sides over the roofs of the houses. This was the excellence of the ancients. Their private expenses were comparatively moderate; the dwelling of one of the chief senators of Pompeii is elegant indeed, and adorned with most beautiful specimens of art, but small. But their public buildings are everywhere marked by the bold and grand designs of an unsparing magnificence. In the little town of Pompeii (it contained about twenty thousand inhabitants), it is wonderful to see the number and the grandeur of their public buildings. Another advantage, too, is that, in the present case, the glorious scenery around is not shut out, and that, unlike the inhabitants of the Cimmerian ravines of modern cities, the ancient Pompeiians could contemplate the clouds and the lamps of heaven; could see the moon rise high behind Vesuvius, and the sun set in the sea, tremulous with an atmosphere of golden vapor, between Inarime and Misenum.

We next saw the temples. Of the temples of Aesculapius little remains but an altar of black stone, adorned with a cornice imitating the scales of a serpent. His statue, in terra-cotta, was found in the cell. The temple of Isis is more perfect. It is surrounded by a portico of fluted[Pg 48] columns, and in the area around it are two altars, and many ceppi for statues; and a little chapel of white stucco, as hard as stone, of the most exquisite proportion; its panels are adorned with figures in bas-relief, slightly indicated, but of a workmanship the most delicate and perfect that can be conceived.

They are Egyptian subjects, executed by a Greek artist, who has harmonized all the unnatural extravagances of the original conception into the supernatural loveliness of his country's genius. They scarcely touch the ground with their feet, and their wind-uplifted robes seem in the place of wings. The temple in the midst raised on a high platform, and approached by steps, was decorated with exquisite paintings, some of which we saw in the museum at Portici. It is small, of the same materials as the chapel, with a pavement of mosaic, and fluted Ionic columns of white stucco, so white that it dazzles you to look at it.

Thence through the other porticos and labyrinths of walls and columns (for I can not hope to detail everything to you), we came to the Forum. This is a large square, surrounded by lofty porticos of fluted columns, some broken, some entire, their entablatures strewed under them. The temple of Jupiter, of Venus, and another temple, the Tribunal, and the Hall of Public Justice, with their forest of lofty columns, surround the Forum. Two pedestals or altars of an enormous size (for, whether they supported equestrian statues, or were the altars of the temple of Venus, before which they stand, the guide could not tell), occupy the lower end of the[Pg 49] Forum. At the upper end, supported on an elevated platform, stands the temple of Jupiter. Under the colonnade of its portico we sat and pulled out our oranges, and figs, and bread, and medlars (sorry fare, you will say), and rested to eat.

Here was a magnificent spectacle. Above and between the multitudinous shafts of the sun-shining columns was seen the sea, reflecting the purple heaven of noon above it, and supporting, as it were, on its line the dark lofty mountains of Sorrento, of a blue inexpressibly deep, and tinged toward their summits with streaks of new-fallen snow. Between was one small green island. To the right was Capreae, Inarime, Prochyta, and Misenum. Behind was the single summit of Vesuvius, rolling forth volumes of thick white smoke, whose foam-like column was sometimes darted into the clear dark sky, and fell in little streaks along the wind. Between Vesuvius and the nearer mountains, as through a chasm, was seen the main line of the loftiest Apennines, to the east.

The day was radiant and warm. Every now and then we heard the subterranean thunder of Vesuvius; its distant deep peals seemed to shake the very air and light of day, which interpenetrated our frames with the sullen and tremendous sound. This sound was what the Greeks beheld (Pompeii, you know, was a Greek city). They lived in harmony with nature; and the interstices of their incomparable columns were portals, as it were, to admit the spirit of beauty which animates this glorious universe to visit those whom it inspired. If such is Pompeii,[Pg 50] what was Athens? What scene was exhibited from the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the temples of Hercules, and Theseus, and the Winds? The island and the Ægean sea, the mountains of Argolis, and the peaks of Pindus and Olympus, and the darkness of the Boeotian forests interspersed?

From the Forum we went to another public place; a triangular portico, half enclosing the ruins of an enormous temple. It is built on the edge of the hill overlooking the sea. That black point is the temple. In the apex of the triangle stands an altar and a fountain, and before the altar once stood the statue of the builder of the portico. Returning hence, and following the consular road, we came to the eastern gate of the city. The walls are of an enormous strength, and enclose a space of three miles. On each side of the road beyond the gate are built the tombs. How unlike ours! They seem not so much hiding-places for that which must decay, as voluptuous chambers for immortal spirits. They are of marble, radiantly white; and two, especially beautiful, are loaded with exquisite bas-reliefs. On the stucco-wall that encloses them are little emblematic figures, of a relief exceedingly low, of dead and dying animals, and little winged genii, and female forms bending in groups in some funereal office. The high reliefs represent, one a nautical subject, and the other a Bacchanalian one.

Within the cell stand the cinerary urns, sometimes one, sometimes more. It is said that paintings were found within, which are now, as has been everything movable in Pompeii, removed,[Pg 51] and scattered about in royal museums. These tombs were the most impressive things of all. The wild woods surround them on either side; and along the broad stones of the paved road which divides them, you hear the late leaves of autumn shiver and rustle in the stream of the inconstant wind, as it were, like the step of ghosts. The radiance and magnificence of these dwellings of the dead, the white freshness of the scarcely-finished marble, the impassioned or imaginative life of the figures which adorn them, contrast strangely with the simplicity of the houses of those who were living when Vesuvius overwhelmed them.

I have forgotten the amphitheater, which is of great magnitude, tho much inferior to the Coliseum. I now understand why the Greeks were such great poets; and, above all, I can account, it seems to me, for the harmony, the unity, the perfection, the uniform excellence, of all their works of art. They lived in a perpetual commerce with external nature, and nourished themselves upon the spirit of its forms. Their theaters were all open to the mountains and the sky. Their columns, the ideal types of a sacred forest, with its roof of interwoven tracery, admitted the light and wind; the odor and the freshness of the country penetrated the cities. Their temples were mostly upaithric; and the flying clouds, the stars, or the deep sky, were seen above.[Pg 52]





I had been half afraid to go to Verona, lest it should at all put me out of conceit with Romeo and Juliet. But, I was no sooner come into the old Market-place, than the misgiving vanished. It is so fanciful, quaint, and picturesque a place, formed by such an extraordinary and rich variety of fantastic buildings, that there could be nothing better at the core of even this romantic town; scene of one of the most romantic and beautiful of stories.

It was natural enough, to go straight from the Market-place, to the House of the Capulets, now degenerated into a most miserable little inn. Noisy vetturini and muddy market-carts were disputing possession of the yard, which was ankle-deep in dirt, with a brood of splashed and bespattered geese; and there was a grim-visaged dog, viciously panting in a doorway, who would certainly have had Romeo by the leg, the moment he put it over the wall, if he had existed and been at large in those times. The orchard fell into other hands, and was parted off many years ago; but there used to be one attached to the[Pg 53] house—or at all events there may have been—and the Hat (Cappello), the ancient cognizance of the family, may still be seen, carved in stone, over the gateway of the yard. The geese, the market-carts, their drivers, and the dog, were somewhat in the way of the story, it must be confessed; and it would have been pleasanter to have found the house empty, and to have been able to walk through the disused rooms. But the Hat was unspeakably comfortable; and the place where the garden used to be, hardly less so. Besides, the house is a distrustful, jealous-looking house as one would desire to see, tho of a very moderate size. So I was quite satisfied with it, as the veritable mansion of old Capulet, and was correspondingly grateful in my acknowledgments to an extremely unsentimental middle-aged lady, the Padrona of the Hotel, who was lounging on the threshold looking at the geese.

From Juliet's home, to Juliet's tomb, is a transition as natural to the visitor, as to fair Juliet herself, or to the proudest Juliet that ever has taught the torches to burn bright in any time. So, I went off, with a guide, to an old, old garden, once belonging to an old, old convent, I suppose; and being admitted, at a shattered gate, by a bright-eyed woman who was washing clothes, went down some walks where fresh plants and young flowers were prettily growing among fragments of old wall, and ivy-covered mounds; and was shown a little tank, or water-trough, which the bright-eyed woman—drying her arms upon her 'kerchief—called "La tomba di Giulietta la sfortunáta." With the best disposition in the[Pg 54] world to believe, I could do no more than believe that the bright-eyed woman believed; so I gave her that much credit, and her customary fee in ready money. It was a pleasure, rather than a disappointment, that Juliet's resting-place was forgotten. However consolatory it may have been to Yorick's Ghost, to hear the feet upon the pavement overhead, and, twenty times a day, the repetition of his name, it is better for Juliet to lie out of the track of tourists, and to have no visitors but such as come to graves in spring-rain, and sweet air, and sunshine.

Pleasant Verona! With its beautiful old palaces, and charming country in the distance, seen from terrace walks, and stately, balustraded galleries. With its Roman gates, still spanning the fair street, and casting, on the sunlight of to-day, the shade of fifteen hundred years ago. With its marble-fitted churches, lofty towers, rich architecture, and quaint old quiet thoroughfares, where shouts of Montagues and Capulets once resounded.

And made Verona's ancient citizens
Cast by their grave, beseeming ornaments,
To wield old partisans.

With its fast-rushing river, picturesque old bridge, great castle, waving cypresses, and prospect so delightful, and so cheerful! Pleasant Verona! In the midst of it, in the Piazza di Brá—a spirit of old time among the familiar realities of the passing hour—is the great Roman Amphitheater. So well preserved, and carefully maintained, that every row of seats is there, unbroken. Over cer[Pg 55]tain of the arches, the old Roman numerals may yet be seen; and there are corridors, and staircases, and subterranean passages for beasts, and winding ways, above ground and below, as when the fierce thousands hurried in and out, intent upon the bloody shows of the arena. Nestling in some of the shadows and hollow places of the walls, now, are smiths with their forges, and a few small dealers of one kind or other; and there are green weeds, and leaves, and grass, upon the parapet. But little else is greatly changed.

When I had traversed all about it, with great interest, and had gone up to the topmost round of seats, and turning from the lovely panorama closed in by the distant Alps, looked down into the building, it seemed to lie before me like the inside of a prodigious hat of plaited straw, with an enormously broad brim and a shallow crown; the plaits being represented by the four-and-forty rows of seats. The comparison is a homely and fantastic one, in sober remembrance and on paper, but it was irresistibly suggested at the moment, nevertheless.



Padua is an ancient city and exhibits a rather respectable appearance against the horizon with its bell-turrets, its domes, and its old walls upon[Pg 56] which myriads of lizards run and frisk in the sun. Situated near a center which attracts life to itself, Padua is a dead city with an almost deserted air. Its streets, bordered by two rows of low arcades, in nowise recall the elegant and charming architecture of Venice. The heavy, massive structures have a serious, somewhat crabbed aspect, and its somber porticos in the lower stories of the houses resemble black mouths which yawn with ennui.

We were conducted to a big inn, established probably in some ancient palace, and whose great halls, dishonored by vulgar uses, had formerly seen better company. It was a real journey to go from the vestibule to our room by a host of stairways and corridors; a map of Ariadne's thread would have been needed to find one's way back. Our windows opened upon a very pleasant view; a river flows at the foot of the wall—the Brenta or the Bacchiglione, I know not which, for both water Padua. The banks of this watercourse were adorned with old houses and long walls, and trees, too, overhung the banks; some rather picturesque rows of piles, from which the fishermen cast their lines with that patience characteristic of them in all countries; huts with nets and linen hanging from the windows to dry, formed under the sun's rays a very pretty subject for a water-color.

After dinner we went to the Café Pedrocchi, celebrated throughout all Italy for its magnificence. Nothing could be more monumentally classic. There are nothing but pillars, columnets, ovolos, and palm leaves of the Percier and Fontain kind, the whole very fine and lavish of[Pg 57] marble. What was most curious was some immense maps forming a tapestry and representing the different divisions of the world on an enormous scale. This somewhat pedantic decoration gives to the hall an academic air; and one is surprized not to see a chair in place of the bar, with a professor in his gown in place of a dispenser of lemonade.

The University of Padua was formerly famous. In the thirteenth century eighteen thousand young men, a whole people of scholars, followed the lessons of the learned professors, among whom later Galileo figured, one of whose bones is preserved there as a relic, a relic of a martyr who suffered for the truth. The façade of the University is very beautiful; four Doric columns give it a severe and monumental air; but solitude reigns in the class-rooms where to-day scarcely a thousand students can be reckoned....

We paid a visit to the Cathedral dedicated to Saint Anthony, who enjoys at Padua the same reputation as Saint Januarius at Naples. He is the "genius loci," the Saint venerated above all others. He used to perform not less than thirty miracles each day, if Casanova[17] is to be believed. Such a performance fairly earned for him his surname of Thaumaturge, but this prodigious zeal has fallen off greatly. Nevertheless, the reputation of the saint has not suffered, and so many masses are paid for at his altar that the number of the priests of the cathedral and of days in the year are not sufficient. To liquidate the accounts, the Pope has granted permission, at the end of the year, for masses to be said, each, one[Pg 58] of which is of the value of a thousand; in this fashion Saint Anthony is saved from being bankrupt to his faithful devotees.

On the place which adjoins the cathedral, a beautiful equestrian statue by Donatello, in bronze, rises to view, the first which had been cast since the days of antiquity, representing a leader of banditti: Gattamelata, a brigand who surely did not deserve that honor. But the artist has given him a superb bearing and a spirited figure with his baton of a Roman emperor, and it is entirely sufficient....

One thing which must not be neglected in passing through Padua is a visit to the old Church of the Arena, situated at the rear of a garden of luxuriant vegetation, where it would certainly not be conjectured to be located unless one were advised of the fact. It is entirely painted in its interior by Giotto. Not a single column, not a single rib, nor architectural division interrupts that vast tapestry of frescoes. The general aspect is soft, azure, starry, like a beautiful, calm sky; ultramarine dominates; thirty compartments of large dimensions, indicated by simple lines, contain the life of the Virgin and of her Divine Son in all their details; they might be called illustrations in miniature of a gigantic missal. The personages, by naïve anachronisms very precious for history, are clothed in the mode of the times in which Giotto painted.

Below these compositions of the purest religious feeling, a painted plinth shows the seven deadly sins symbolized in an ingenious manner, and other allegorical figures of a very good style; a Paradise and a Hell, subjects which[Pg 59] greatly imprest the minds of the artists of that epoch, complete this marvelous whole. There are in these paintings weird and touching details; children issue from their little coffins to mount to Paradise with a joyous ardor, and launch themselves forth to go to play upon the blossoming turf of the celestial garden; others stretch forth their hands to their half-resurrected mothers. The remark may also be made that all the devils and vices are obese, while the angels and virtues are thin and slender. The painter wishes to mark the preponderance of matter in the one class and of spirit in the other.



Ferrara rises solitary in the midst of a flat country more rich than picturesque. When one enters it by the broad street which leads to the square, the aspect of the city is imposing and monumental. A palace with a grand staircase occupies a corner of this vast square; it might be a court-house or a town hall, for people of all classes were entering and departing through its wide doors....

The castle of the ancient dukes of Ferrara, which is to be found a little farther on, has a fine feudal aspect. It is a vast collection of towers joined together by high walls crowned[Pg 60] with a battlement forming a cornice, and which emerge from a great moat full of water, over which one enters by a protected bridge. The castle, built wholly of brick or of stones reddened by the sun, has a vermilion tint which deprives it of its imposing effect. It is too much like a decoration of a melodrama.

It was in this castle that the famous Lucretia Borgia lived, whom Victor Hugo has made such a monster for us, and whom Ariosto depicts as a model of chastity, grace and virtue; that blonde Lucretia who wrote letters breathing the purest love, and some of whose hair, fine as silk and shining as gold, Byron possest. It was there that the dramas of Tasso and Ariosto and Guarini were played; there that those brilliant orgies took place, mingled with poisonings and assassinations, which characterized that learned and artistic, refined and criminal, period of Italy.

It is the custom to pay a pious visit to the problematical dungeon in which Tasso, mad with love and grief, passed so many years, according to the poetic legend which grew up concerning his misfortune. We did not have time to spare and we regretted it very little. This dungeon, a perfectly correct sketch of which we have before our eyes, consists only of four walls, ceiled by a low arch. At the back is to be seen a window grated by heavy bars and a door with big bolts. It is quite unlikely that in this obscure hole, tapestried with cobwebs, Tasso could have worked and retouched his poem, composed sonnets, and occupied himself with small details of toilet,[Pg 61] such as the quality of the velvet of his cap and the silk of his stockings, and with kitchen details, such as with what kind of sugar he ought to powder his salad, that which he had not being fine enough for his liking. Neither did we see the house of Ariosto, another required pilgrimage. Not to speak of the little faith which one should place in these unauthenticated traditions, in these relics without character, we prefer to seek Ariosto in the "Orlando Furioso," and Tasso in the "Jerusalem Délivrée" or in the fine drama of Goethe.

The life of Ferrara is concentrated on the Plaza Nuova, in front of the church and in the neighborhood of the castle. Life has not yet abandoned this heart of the city; but in proportion as one moves away from it, it becomes more feeble, paralysis begins, death gains; silence, solitude, and grass invade the streets; one feels that one is wandering about a Thebes peopled with ghosts of the past and from which the living have evaporated like water which has dried up. There is nothing more sad than to see the corpse of a dead city slowly falling into dust in the sun and rain. One at least buries human bodies.[Pg 62]



On emerging from the second tunnel,[20] beyond a wild and narrow gorge, there lies suddenly before us, as in a gorgeous fairyland or in the landscape of a dream, the blue expanse of Lake Lugano, with its setting of green meadows and purple mountains, with the many-colored village spires, and the great white fronts of the hotels and villas. Oh, what a wonderful picture!

We feel as if we were going down into an enchanted garden that has been hidden by the great snowy walls of the Alps. The air is full of the perfume of roses and jessamine. The hedges are in flower, butterflies are dancing, insects are humming, birds are singing. Up above, in the mountain, is snow, ice, winter, and silence; here there is sunshine, life, joy, love—all the living delights of spring and summer. Golden harvests are shining on the plains, and the lake in the distance is like a piece of the sky brought down to earth.

Lugano is already Italy, not only because of the richness of the soil and the magnificence of the vegetation, but also as regards the language, the manners, and the picturesque costumes. In each valley the dress is different; in one place the women wear a short skirt, an[Pg 63] apron held in by a girdle, and a bright colored bodice; in another they wear a cap above which is a large shady hat; in the Val Maroblio they have a woolen dress not very different from that of the Capuchins.

The men have not the square figure, the slow, heavy walk of the people of Basle and Lucerne; they are brisk, vigorous, easy; and the women have something of the wavy suppleness of vine branches twining among the trees. These people have the happy, childlike joyousness, the frank good-nature, of those who live in the open air, who do not shut themselves up in their houses, but grow freely like the flowers under the strong, glowing sunshine.

At every street corner sellers are sitting behind baskets of extraordinary vegetables and magnificent fruit; and under the arcades that run along the houses, big grocers in shirt sleeves come at intervals to their shop doors to take breath, like hippopotami coming out of the water for the same purpose. In this town, ultramontane in its piety, the bells of churches and convents are sounding all day long, and women are seen going to make their evening prayer together in the nearest chapel.

But if the fair sex in Lugano are diligent in frequenting the churches, they by no means scorn the cafés. After sunset the little tables that are all over the great square are surrounded by an entire population of men and women. How gay and amusing those Italian cafés are! full of sound and color, with their red and blue striped awnings, their advance guard of little tables under the shade of the orange-trees, and[Pg 64] their babbling, stirring, gesticulating company. The waiters, in black vests and leather slippers, a corner of their apron tucked up in their belt, run with the speed of kangaroos, carrying on metal plates syrups of every shade, ices, sweets in red, yellow, or green pyramids. Between seven and nine o'clock the whole society of Lugano defiles before you. There are lawyers with their wives, doctors with their daughters, bankers, professors, merchants, public officials, with whom are sometimes misted stout, comfortable, jovial-looking canons, wrapping themselves in the bitter smoke of a regalia, as in a cloud of incense.



We have been to Como, looking for a house. This lake exceeds anything I ever beheld in beauty, with the exception of the arbutus islands of Killarney. It is long and narrow, and has the appearance of a mighty river winding among the mountains and the forests. We sailed from the town of Como to a tract of country called the Tremezina, and saw the various aspects presented by that part of the lake. The mountains between Como and that village, or rather cluster of villages, are covered on high with chestnut forests (the eating chestnuts, on which the inhabitants of the country subsist in time of scarcity), which sometimes[Pg 65] descend to the very verge of the lake, overhanging it with their hoary branches. But usually the immediate border of this shore is composed of laurel-trees, and bay, and myrtle, and wild fig-trees, and olives which grow in the crevices of the rocks, and overhang the caverns, and shadow the deep glens, which are filled with the flashing light of the waterfalls. Other flowering shrubs, which I can not name, grow there also. On high, the towers of village churches are seen white among the dark forests.

Beyond, on the opposite shore, which faces the south, the mountains descend less precipitously to the lake, and altho they are much higher, and some covered with perpetual snow, there intervenes between them and the lake a range of lower hills, which have glens and rifts opening to the other, such as I should fancy the abysses of Ida or Parnassus. Here are plantations of olive, and orange, and lemon trees, which are now so loaded with fruit, that there is more fruit than leaves—and vineyards. This shore of the lake is one continued village, and the Milanese nobility have their villas here. The union of culture and the untameable profusion and loveliness of nature is here so close, that the line where they are divided can hardly be discovered.

But the finest scenery is that of the Villa Pliniana; so called from a fountain which ebbs and flows every three hours, described by the younger Pliny, which is in the courtyard. This house, which was once a magnificent palace, and is now half in ruins, we are endeavoring to[Pg 66] procure. It is built upon terraces raised from the bottom of the lake, together with its garden, at the foot of a semicircular precipice, overshadowed by profound forests of chestnut. The scene from the colonnade is the most extraordinary, at once, and the most lovely that eye ever beheld. On one side is the mountain, and immediately over you are clusters of cypress-trees, of an astonishing height, which seem to pierce the sky.

Above you, from among the clouds, as it were, descends a waterfall of immense size, broken by the woody rocks into a thousand channels to the lake. On the other side is seen the blue extent of the lake and the mountains, speckled with sails and spires. The apartments of the Pliniana are immensely large, but ill-furnished and antique. The terraces, which overlook the lake, and conduct under the shade of such immense laurel-trees as deserve the epithet of Pythian, are most delightful.



The picture of the promontory of Bellagio is so beautiful as a whole that the traveler had better stand off for awhile to admire it at a distance and at his leisure. Indeed it is a question whether the lasting impressions[Pg 67] which we treasure of Bellagio are not, after all, those derived from across the lake, from the shore-fronts of Tremezzo, Cadenabbia, Menaggio, or Varenna.

A colossal, conquering geological lion appears to have come up from the south in times immemorial, bound for the north, and finding further progress stopt by the great sheet of water in front of him, seems to have halted and to be now crouching there with his noble head between his paws and his eyes fixt on the snow-covered Alps. The big white house on the lion's neck is the Villa Serbelloni, now used as the annex of a hotel, and the park of noble trees belonging to the villa forms the lion's mane. Hotels, both large and small, line the quay at the water's edge; then comes a break in the houses, and stately Villa Melzi is seen to stand off at one side. Villa Trotti gleams from among its bowers farther south; on the slope Villa Trivulzio, formerly Poldi, shows bravely, and Villa Giulia has cut for itself a wide prospect over both arms of the lake. At the back of this lion couchant, in the middle ground, sheer mountain walls tower protectingly, culminating in Monte Grigna.

The picture varies from hour to hour, from day to day, and from season to season. Its color-scheme changes with wind and sun, its sparkle comes and goes from sunrise to sunset; only its form remains untouched through the night and lives to delight us another day. As the evening wears on, lights appear one by one on the quay of Bellagio, until there is a line of fire along the base of the dark[Pg 68] peninsula. The hotel windows catch the glare, the villas light their storied corridors, and presently Bellagio, all aglow, presents the spectacle of a Venetian night mirrored in the lake.

By this time the mountains have turned black and the sky has faded. It grows so still on the water that the tinkle of a little Italian band reaches across the lake to Cadenabbia, a laugh rings out into the quiet air from one of the merry little rowboats, and even the slight clatter made by the fishermen, in putting their boats to rights for the night and in carrying their nets indoors, can be distinguished as one of many indications that the day is done.

When we land at Bellagio by daylight, we find it to be very much of a bazaar of souvenirs along the water-front, and everybody determined to carry away a keepsake. There is so much to buy—ornamental olive wood and tortoise-shell articles, Como blankets, lace, and what may be described in general terms as modern antiquities. These abound from shop to shop; even English groceries are available. Bellagio's principal street is suddenly converted at its northern end into a delightful arcade, after the arrangement which constitutes a characteristic charm of the villages and smaller towns on the Italian lakes; moreover, the vista up its side street is distinctly original. This mounts steeply from the waterside, like the streets of Algiers, is narrow and constructed in long steps to break the incline.[Pg 69]



The town and republic of St. Marino stands on the top of a very high and craggy mountain. It is generally hid among the clouds, and lay under snow when I saw it, though it was clear and warm weather in all the country about it. There is not a spring or fountain, that I could hear of, in the whole dominions; but they are always well provided with huge cisterns and reservoirs of rain and snow water. The wine that grows on the sides of their mountain is extraordinarily good, much better than any I met with on the cold side of the Apennines.

This mountain, and a few neighboring hillocks that lie scattered about the bottom of it, is the whole circuit of these dominions. They have what they call three castles, three convents, and five churches and can reckon about five thousand souls in their community.[24] The inhabitants, as well as the historians who mention this little republic, give the following account of its origin. St. Marino was its founder, a Dalmatian by birth, and by trade a mason. He was employed above thirteen hundred years ago in the reparation of Rimini, and after he had finished his work, retired to this solitary mountain, as finding it very proper for the life of a hermit, which he led in the[Pg 70] greatest rigors and austerities of religion. He had not been long here before he wrought a reputed miracle, which, joined with his extraordinary sanctity, gained him so great an esteem, that the princess of the country made him a present of the mountain, to dispose of at his own discretion. His reputation quickly peopled it, and gave rise to the republic which calls itself after his name.

So that the commonwealth of Marino may boast, at least, of a nobler original than that of Rome, the one having been at first an asylum for robbers and murderers, and the other a resort of persons eminent for their piety and devotion. The best of their churches is dedicated to the saint, and holds his ashes. His statue stands over the high altar, with the figure of a mountain in its hands, crowned with three castles, which is likewise the arms of the commonwealth. They attribute to his protection the long duration of their state, and look on him as the greatest saint next the blessed virgin. I saw in their statute-book a law against such as speak disrespectfully of him, who are to be punished in the same manner as those convicted of blasphemy.

This petty republic has now lasted thirteen hundred years,[25] while all the other states of Italy have several times changed their masters and forms of government. Their whole history is comprised in two purchases, which they made of a neighboring prince, and in a war in[Pg 71] which they assisted the pope against a lord of Rimini. In the year 1100 they bought a castle in the neighborhood, as they did another in the year 1170. The papers of the conditions are preserved in their archives, where it is very remarkable that the name of the agent for the commonwealth, of the seller, of the notary, and the witnesses, are the same in both the instruments, tho drawn up at seventy years' distance from each other. Nor can it be any mistake in the date, because the popes' and emperors' names, with the year of their respective reigns, are both punctually set down. About two hundred and ninety years after this they assisted Pope Pius the Second against one of the Malatestas, who was then, lord of Rimini; and when they had helped to conquer him, received from the pope, as a reward for their assistance, four little castles. This they represent as the flourishing time of the commonwealth, when their dominions reached half-way up a neighboring hill; but at present they are reduced to their old extent....

The chief officers of the commonwealth are the two capitaneos, who have such a power as the old Roman consuls had, but are chosen every six months. I talked with some that had been capitaneos six or seven times, tho the office is never to be continued to the same persons twice successively. The third officer is the commissary, who judges in all civil and criminal matters. But because the many alliances, friendships, and intermarriages, as well as the personal feuds and animosities, that happen among[Pg 72] so small a people might obstruct the course of justice, if one of their own number had the distribution of it, they have always a foreigner for this employ, whom they choose for three years, and maintain out of the public stock. He must be a doctor of law, and a man of known integrity. He is joined in commission with the capitaneos, and acts something like the recorder of London under the lord mayor. The commonwealth of Genoa was forced to make use of a foreign judge for many years, while their republic was torn into the divisions of Guelphs and Ghibelines. The fourth man in the state is the physician, who must likewise be a stranger, and is maintained by a public salary. He is obliged to keep a horse, to visit the sick, and to inspect all drugs that are imported. He must be at least thirty-five years old, a doctor of the faculty, and eminent for his religion and honesty, that his rashness or ignorance may not unpeople the commonwealth. And, that they may not suffer long under any bad choice, he is elected only for three years.

The people are esteemed very honest and rigorous in the execution of justice, and seem to live more happy and contented among their rocks and snows, than others of the Italians do in the pleasantest valleys of the world. Nothing, indeed, can be a greater instance of the natural love that mankind has for liberty, and of their aversion to an arbitrary government, than such a savage mountain covered with people, and the Campania of Rome, which lies in the same country, almost destitute of inhabitants.[Pg 73]



We pursued our way, and came, by and by, to the foot of the high hill on which stands Perugia, and which is so long and steep that Gaetano took a yoke of oxen to aid his horses in the ascent. We all, except my wife, walked a part of the way up, and I myself, with J——[27] for my companion, kept on even to the city gate, a distance, I should think, of two or three miles, at least. The lower part of the road was on the edge of the hill, with a narrow valley on our left; and as the sun had now broken out, its verdure and fertility, its foliage and cultivation, shone forth in miraculous beauty, as green as England, as bright as only Italy.

Perugia appeared above us, crowning a mighty hill, the most picturesque of cities; and the higher we ascended, the more the view opened before us, as we looked back on the course that we had traversed, and saw the wide valley, sweeping down and spreading out, bounded afar by mountains, and sleeping in sun and shadow. No language nor any art of the pencil can give an idea of the scene....

We plunged from the upper city down through some of the strangest passages that ever were[Pg 74] called streets; some of them, indeed, being arched all over, and, going down into the unknown darkness, looked like caverns; and we followed one of them doubtfully, till it opened, out upon the light. The houses on each side were divided only by a pace or two, and communicated with one another, here and there, by arched passages. They looked very ancient, and may have been inhabited by Etruscan princes, judging from the massiveness of some of the foundation stones. The present inhabitants, nevertheless, are by no means princely, shabby men, and the careworn wives and mothers of the people, one of whom was guiding a child in leading-strings through these antique alleys, where hundreds of generations have trod before those little feet. Finally we came out through a gateway, the same gateway at which we entered last night.

The best part of Perugia, that in which the grand piazzas and the principal public edifices stand, seems to be a nearly level plateau on the summit of the hill; but it is of no very great extent, and the streets rapidly run downward on either side. J—— and I followed one of these descending streets, and were led a long way by it, till we at last emerged from one of the gates of the city, and had another view of the mountains and valleys, the fertile and sunny wilderness in which this ancient civilization stands.

On the right of the gate there was a rude country path, partly overgrown with grass, bordered by a hedge on one side, and on the other by the gray city wall, at the base of[Pg 75] which the tract kept onward. We followed it, hoping that it would lead us to some other gate by which we might reenter the city; but it soon grew so indistinct and broken, that it was evidently on the point of melting into somebody's olive-orchard or wheat-fields or vineyards, all of which lay on the other side of the hedge; and a kindly old woman of whom I inquired told me (if I rightly understood her Italian) that I should find no further passage in that direction. So we turned back, much broiled in the hot sun, and only now and then relieved by the shadow of an angle or a tower.



That admirers of minute designs and florid detail could appreciate grandeur as well, no one can doubt who has seen the plans of the Sienese cathedral. Its history is one of a grand result, and of far grander, tho thwarted endeavor, and it is hard to realize to-day, that the church as it stands is but a fragment, the transept only, of what Siena willed. From the state of the existing works no one can doubt that the brave little republic would have finished it had she not met an enemy before whom the sword of Monteaperto was useless. The plague of 1348 stalked across Tuscany, and the chill of thirty thou[Pg 76]sand Sienese graves numbed the hand of master and workman, sweeping away the architect who planned, the masons who built, the magistrates who ordered, it left but the yellowed parchment in the archives which conferred upon Maestro Lorenzo Maitani the superintendence of the works.

The façade of the present church is amazing in its richness, undoubtedly possesses some grand and much lovely detail, and is as undoubtedly suggestive, with its white marble ornaments upon a pink marble ground, of a huge, sugared cake. It is impossible to look at this restored whiteness with the sun upon it; the dazzled eyes close involuntarily and one sees in retrospect the great, gray church front at Rheims, or the solemn façade of Notre Dame de Paris. It is like remembering an organ burst of Handel after hearing the florid roulades of the mass within the cathedral.

The interior is rich in color and fine in effect, but the northerner is painfully imprest by the black and white horizontal stripes which, running from vaulting to pavement, seem to blur and confuse the vision, and the closely set bars of the piers are positively irritating. In the hexagonal lantern, however, they are less offensive than elsewhere, because the fan-like radiation of the bars above the great gilded statues breaks up the horizontal effect. The decoration of the stone-work is not happy; the use of cold red and cold blue with gilt bosses in relief does much to vulgarize, and there is constant sally in small masses which[Pg 77] belittles the general effect. It is evident that the Sienese tendency to floridity is answerable for much of this, and that having added some piece of big and bad decoration, the cornice of papal head, for instance, they felt forced to do away with it or continue it throughout.

But this fault and many others are forgotten when we examine the detail with which later men have filled the church. Other Italian cathedrals possess art-objects of a higher order; perhaps no other one is so rich in these treasures. The great masters are disappointing here. Raphael, as the co-laborer of Pinturicchio, is dainty, rather than great, and Michelangelo passes unnoticed in the huge and coldly elaborate altar-front of the Piccolomini. But Marrina, with his doors of the library; Barili, with his marvelous casing of the choir-stalls; Beccafumi, with his bronze and neillo—these are the artists whom one wonders at; these wood-carvers and bronze-founders, creators of the microcosmic detail of the Renaissance which had at last burst triumphantly into Siena.

This treasure is cumulative, as we walk eastward from the main door, where the pillars are a maze of scroll-work in deepest cutting, and by the time we reach the choir the head fairly swims with the play of light and color. We wander from point to point, we finger and caress the lustrous stalls of Barili, and turn with a kind of confusion of vision from panel to panel; above our heads the tabernacle of Vecchietta, the lamp bearing angels of Bec[Pg 78]cafumi make spots of bituminous color, with glittering high-lights, strangely emphasizing their modeling; from these youths, who might be pages to some Roman prefect, the eye travels upward still further, along the golden convolutions of the heavily stuccoed pilasters to the huge, gilded cherubs' heads that frame the eastern rose....

It is incredible that these frescoes are four hundred years old. Surely Pinturicchio came down from his scaffolding but yesterday. This is how the hardly dried plaster must have looked to pope and cardinal and princes when the boards were removed, and when the very figures on these walls—smart youths in tights and slashes, bright-robed scholars, ecclesiastics caped in ermine, ladies with long braids bound in nets of silk—crowded to see themselves embalmed in tempera for curious after-centuries to gaze upon.



On the summit of an abrupt height, over a double row of arcades, appears the monastery; at its base a torrent plows the soil, winding off in the distance between banks of boulders; beyond is the old town prolonging itself on the ridge of the mountain. We ascend slowly under the burning sun, and suddenly, at the end of[Pg 79] a court surrounded by slender columns, enter within the obscurity of the cathedral. It is unequalled; before having seen it one has no idea of the art and the genius of the Middle Ages. Append to it Dante and the "Fioretti" of St. Francis, and it becomes the masterpiece of mystic Christianity.

There are three churches, one above the other, all of them arranged around the tomb of St. Francis. Over this venerated body, which the people regard as ever living and absorbed in prayer at the bottom of an inaccessible cave, the edifice has arisen and gloriously flowered like an architectural shrine. The lowest is a crypt, dark as a sepulcher, into which the visitors descend with torches; pilgrims keep close to the dripping walls and grope along in order to reach the grating.

Here is the tomb, in a pale, dim light, similar to that of limbo. A few brass lamps, almost without lights, burn here eternally like stars lost in mournful obscurity. The ascending smoke clings to the arches, and the heavy odor of the tapers mingles with that of the cave. The guide trims his torch; and the sudden flash in this horrible darkness, above the bones of a corpse, is like one of Dante's visions. Here is the mystic grave of a saint who, in the midst of corruption and worms, beholds his slimy dungeon of earth filled with the supernatural radiance of the Savior.

But that which can not be represented by words is the middle church, a long, low spiracle supported by small, round arches curving in the half-shadow, and whose voluntary de[Pg 80]pression makes one instinctively bend his knees. A coating of somber blue and of reddish bands starred with gold, a marvelous embroidery of ornaments, wreaths, delicate scroll-work, leaves, and painted figures, covers the arches and ceilings with its harmonious multitude; the eye is overwhelmed by it; a population of forms and tints lives on its vaults; I would not exchange this cavern for all the churches of Rome!

On the summit, the upper church shoots up as brilliant, as aerial, as triumphant, as this is low and grave. Really, if one were to give way to conjecture, he might suppose that in these three sanctuaries the architect meant to represent the three worlds; below, the gloom of death and the horrors of the infernal tomb; in the middle, the impassioned anxiety of the beseeching Christian who strives and hopes in this world of trial; aloft, the bliss and dazzling glory of Paradise.



With exceptions, all the monuments of Ravenna belong to the days of transition from Roman to Medieval times, and the greater part of them come within the fifth and sixth centuries. It was then that Ravenna became, for a season, the head of Italy and of the Western world.[Pg 81] The sea had made Ravenna a great haven: the falling back of the sea made her the ruling city of the earth. Augustus had called into being the port of Caesarea as the Peiraieus of the Old Thessalian or Umbrian Ravenna. Haven and city grew and became one; but the faithless element again fell back; the haven of Augustus became dry land covered by orchards, and Classis arose as the third station, leaving Ravenna itself an inland city.

Again has the sea fallen back; Caesarea has utterly perished; Classis survives only in one venerable church; the famous pine forest has grown up between the third haven and the now distant Hadriatic. Out of all this grew the momentary greatness of Ravenna. The city, girded with the three fold zone of marshes, causeways, and strong walls, became the impregnable shelter of the later Emperors; and the earliest Teutonic Kings naturally fixt their royal seat in the city of their Imperial predecessors. When this immediate need had passed away, the city naturally fell into insignificance, and it plays hardly any part in the history of Medieval Italy. Hence it is that the city is crowded with the monuments of an age which has left hardly any monuments elsewhere.

In Britain, indeed, if Dr. Merivale be right in the date which he gives to the great Northern wall, we have a wonderful relic of those times; but it is the work, not of the architect, but of the military engineers. In other parts of Europe also works of this date are found here and there; but nowhere save at Ravenna is there a whole city, so to speak, made up of[Pg 82] them. Nowhere but at Ravenna can we find, thickly scattered around us, the churches, the tombs, perhaps the palaces, of the last Roman and the first Teutonic rulers of Italy. In the Old and in the New Rome, and in Milan also, works of the same date exist; but either they do not form the chief objects of the city, or they have lost their character and position through later changes. If Ravenna boasts of the tombs of Honorius and Theodoric, Milan boasts also, truly or falsely, of the tombs of Stilicho and Athaulf. But at Milan we have to seek for the so-called tomb of Athaulf in a side-chapel of a church which has lost all ancient character, and the so-called tomb of Stilicho, tho placed in the most venerable church of the city, stands in a strange position as the support of a pulpit.

At Ravenna, on the other hand, the mighty mausoleum of Theodoric, and the chapel which contains the tombs of Galla Placidia, her brother, and her second husband, are among the best known and best preserved monuments of the city. Ravenna, in the days of its Exarchs, could never have dared to set up its own St. Vital as a rival to Imperial St. Sophia. But at St. Sophia, changed into the temple of another faith, the most characteristic ornaments have been hidden or torn away, while at St. Vital Hebrew patriarchs and Christian saints, and the Imperial forms of Justinian and his strangely-chosen Empress, still look down, as they did thirteen hundred years back, upon the altars of Christian worship. Ravenna, in short, seems, as it were, to have been preserved all[Pg 83] but untouched to keep up the memory of the days which were alike Roman, Christian, and Imperial.



One of the excellent mountain roads constructed by Pius IX. leads through a wild district from Olevano to Subiaco. A few miles before reaching Subiaco we skirt a lake, probably one of the Simbrivii Lacus which Nero is believed to have made by damming up the Anio. Here he fished for trout with a golden net, and here he built the mountain villa which he called Sublaqueum—a name which still exists in Subiaco.

Four centuries after the valley had witnessed the orgies of Nero, a young patrician of the family of the Anicii-Benedictus, or "the blessed one," being only fourteen at the time, fled from the seductions of the capital to the rocks of Mentorella, but, being followed thither, sought a more complete solitude in a cave above the falls of the Anio. Here he lived unknown to any except the hermit Romanus, who daily let down food to him, half of his own loaf, by a cord from the top of the cliff. At length the hiding-place was revealed to the village priest in a vision, and pilgrims flocked from all quarters to the valley. Through the disciples who gathered around Benedict, this desolate ravine[Pg 84] became the cradle of monastic life in the West, and twelve monasteries rose amid its peaks under the Benedictine rule....

Nothing can exceed the solemn grandeur of the situation of the convent dedicated to St. Scholastica, the sainted sister of St. Benedict, which was founded in the fifth century, and which, till quite lately, included as many as sixteen towns and villages among its possessions. The scenery becomes more romantic and savage at every step as we ascend the winding path after leaving St. Scholastica, till a small gate admits us to the famous immemorial Ilex Grove of St. Benedict, which is said to date from the fifth century, and which has never been profaned by ax or hatchet. Beyond it the path narrows, and a steep winding stair, just wide enough to admit one person at a time, leads to the platform before the second convent, which up to that moment is entirely concealed. Its name, Sacro Speco, commemorates the holy cave of St. Benedict.

At the portal, the thrilling interest of the place is suggested by the inscription—"Here is the patriarchal cradle of the monks of the West Order of St. Benedict." The entrance corridor, built on arches over the abyss, has frescoes of four sainted popes, and ends in an ante-chamber with beautiful Umbrian frescoes, and a painted statue of St. Benedict. Here we enter the all-glorious church of 1116, completely covered with ancient frescoes. A number of smaller chapels, hewn out of the rock, are dedicated to the sainted followers of the founder. Some of the paintings are by the rare[Pg 85] Umbrian master Concioli. A staircase in front of the high altar leads to the lower church. At the foot of the first flight of steps, above the charter of 1213, setting forth all its privileges, is the frescoed figure of Innocent III., who first raised Subiaco into an abbacy; in the same fresco is represented Abbot John of Tagliacozzo, under whom (1217-1277) many of the paintings were executed.

On the second landing, the figure of Benedict faces us on a window with his finger on his lips, imposing silence. On the left is the coro, on the right the cave where Benedict is said to have passed three years in darkness. A statue by Raggi commemorates his presence here; a basket is a memorial of that lowered with his food by St. Romanus; an ancient bell is shown as that which rang to announce its approach. As we descend the Scala Santa trodden by the feet of Benedict, and ascended by the monks upon their knees, the solemn beauty of the place increases at every step. On the right is a powerful fresco of Death mowing down the young and sparing the old; on the left, the Preacher shows the young and thoughtless the three states to which the body is reduced after death. Lastly, we reach the Holy of Holies, the second cave, in which Benedict laid down the rule of his order, making its basis the twelve degrees of humility. Here also an inscription enumerates the wonderful series of saints, who, issuing from Subiaco, founded the Benedictine Order throughout the world.[Pg 86]



For several miles before reaching Volterra, our attention was fixt by the extraordinary aspect of the country through which we were passing. The road gradually ascended, and we found ourselves among deep ravines and steep, high, broken banks, principally of clay, barren, and in most places wholly bare of herbage, a scene of complete desolation, were it not for a cottage here and there perched upon the heights, a few sheep attended by a boy and a dog grazing on the brink of one of the precipices, or a solitary patch of bright green wheat in some spot where the rains had not yet carried away the vegetable mold.

In the midst of this desolate tract, which is, however, here and there interspersed with fertile spots, rises the mountain on which Volterra is situated, where the inhabitants breathe a pure and keen atmosphere, almost perpetually cool, and only die of pleurisies and apoplexies; while below, on the banks of the Cecina, which in full sight winds its way to the sea, they die of fevers. One of the ravines of which I have spoken—the "balza," they call it at Volterra—has plowed a deep chasm on the north side of this mountain, and is every year rapidly approaching the city on its summit. I stood on its edge and looked down a bank of soft, red earth five hundred feet in height. A few rods in front of me I saw where[Pg 87] a road had crossed the spot in which the gulf now yawned; the tracks of the last year's carriages were seen reaching to the edge on both sides. The ruins of a convent were close at hand, the inmates of which, two or three years since, had been removed by the Government to the town for safety....

The antiquities of Volterra consist of an Etruscan burial-ground, in which the tombs still remain, pieces of the old and incredibly massive Etruscan wall, including a far larger circuit than the present city, two Etruscan gates of immemorial antiquity, older, doubtless, than any thing at Rome, built of enormous stones, one of them serving even yet as an entrance to the town, and a multitude of cinerary vessels, mostly of alabaster, sculptured with numerous figures in "alto relievo." These figures are sometimes allegorical representations, and sometimes embody the fables of the Greek mythology. Among them are many in the most perfect style of Grecian art, the subjects of which are taken from the poems of Homer; groups representing the besiegers of Troy and its defenders, or Ulysses with his companions and his ships. I gazed with exceeding delight on these works of forgotten artists, who had the verses of Homer by heart—works just drawn from the tombs where they had been buried for thousands of years, and looking as if fresh from the chisel.[Pg 88]



Few buildings are more familiar than the temples of Paestum; yet the moment when the traveler first comes in sight of works of untouched Hellenic skill is one which is simply overwhelming. Suddenly, by the side of a dreary road, in a spot backed indeed by noble mountains, but having no charm of its own, we come on these works, unrivaled on our side of the Hadriatic and the Messenian strait, standing in all their solitary grandeur, shattered indeed, but far more perfect than the mass of ruined buildings of later days. The feeling of being brought near to Hellenic days and Hellenic men, of standing face to face with the fathers of the world's civilization, is one which can never pass away. Descriptions, pictures, models, all fail; they give us the outward form; they can not give us the true life.

The thought comes upon us that we have passed away from that Roman world out of which our own world has sprung into that earlier and fresher and brighter world by which Rome and ourselves have been so deeply influenced, but out of which neither the Roman nor the modern world can be said to spring. There is the true Doric in its earliest form, in all its unmixed and simple majesty. The ground is strewed with shells and covered with acanthus-leaves; but no shell had suggested the Ionic[Pg 89] volute, no acanthus-leaf had suggested the Corinthian foliage. The vast columns, with the sudden tapering, the overhanging capitals, the stern, square abacus, all betoken the infancy of art. But it is an infancy like that of their own Hêraklês; the strength which clutched the serpent in his cradle is there in every stone. Later improvements, the improvements of Attic skill, may have added grace; the perfection of art may be found in the city which the vote of the divine Assembly decreed to Athênê; but for the sense of power, of simplicity without rudeness, the city of Poseidon holds her own. Unlike in every detail, there is in these wonderful works of early Greek art a spirit akin to some of the great churches of Romanesque date, simple, massive, unadorned, like the Poseidônian Doric.

And they show, too, how far the ancient architects were from any slavish bondage to those minute rules which moderns have invented for them. In each of the three temples of Paestum differences both of detail and of arrangement may be marked, differences partly of age, but also partly of taste. And some other thoughts are brought forcibly upon the mind. Here indeed we feel that the wonders of Hellenic architecture are things to kindle our admiration, even our reverence; but that, as the expression of a state of things which has wholly passed away, nothing can be less fit for reproduction in modern times.

And again, we may be sure that the admiration and reverence which they may awaken in the mind of the mere classical purist is cold[Pg 90] beside that which they kindle in the mind which can give them their true place in the history of art. The temples of Paestum are great and noble from any point of view. But they become greater and nobler as we run over the successive steps in the long series by which their massive columns and entablatures grew into the tall clusters and soaring arches of Westminster and Amiens.[Pg 91]





While not one of the original Hellenic city-states, Palermo has a superb location on the northern shores of the central island of the central sea; its harbor is guarded by the two picturesque cliffs and the fertile plain that forms the "compagne" is hemmed in by a semicircular cord of rugged mountains. "Perhaps there are few spots upon the surface of the globe more beautiful than Palermo," writes Arthur Symonds. "The hills on either hand descend upon the sea with long-drawn delicately broken outlines, so delicately tinted with aerial hues at early dawn or beneath the blue light of a full moon the panorama seems to be some fabric of fancy, that must fade away, 'like shapes of clouds we form,' to nothing. Within the cradle of these hills, and close upon the tideless water, lies the city. Behind and around on every side stretches the famous Conco d'Oro, or golden shell, a plain of marvelous fertility, so called because of its richness and also be[Pg 92]cause of its shape; for it tapers to a fine point where the mountains meet, and spreads abroad, where they diverge, like a cornucopia. The whole of this long vega is a garden, thick with olive-groves and orange trees, with orchards of nespole and palms and almonds, with fig-trees and locust-trees, with judas-trees that blush in spring, and with flowers as multitudinously brilliant as the fretwork of sunset clouds."

During the days of Phœnician and Carthagenian supremacy Palermo was a busy mart—a great clearing-house for the commerce of the island and that part of the Mediterranean. But during the days of the Saracens it became not only a very busy city but also a very beautiful city. The Arabian poets extolled its charms in terms that sound to us exceedingly extravagant. One of them wrote: "Oh how beautiful is the lakelet of the twin palms and the island where the spacious palace stands. The limpid waters of the double springs resemble liquid pearls, and their basin is a sea; you would say that the branches of the trees stretched down to see the fishes in the pool and smile at them. The great fishes in those clear waters, and the birds among the gardens tune their songs. The ripe oranges of the island are like fire that burns on boughs of emerald; the pale lemon reminds me of a lover who has passed the night in weeping for his absent darling. The two palms may be compared to lovers who have gained an inaccessible retreat against their enemies, or raise themselves erect in pride to confound the murmurs and the ill thoughts of jealous men. O palms of two lakelets of Palermo, ceaseless, undis[Pg 93]turbed, and plenteous days for ever keep your freshness."

With the coming of the Normans Palermo enjoyed even greater prosperity than had been experienced under the liberal rule of the Saracens. This was the most brilliant period in the history of the city. The population was even more mixed than during Moslem supremacy. Besides the Greeks, Normans, Saracens, and Hebrews, there were commercial colonies of Slavs, Venetians, Lombardians, Catalans, and Pisans.

The most interesting public monuments at Palermo date from the Norman period; and while many of the buildings are strikingly Saracenic in character and recall similar structures erected by the Arabs in Spain, it will be remembered that the Normans brought no trained architects to the island, but employed the Arabs, Greeks, and Hebrews who had already been in the service of the Saracen emirs. But the Arab influence in architecture was dominant, and it survived well into the fourteenth century.



The reported luxury of the Sikeliot cities in this age is, in the double-edged saying of Empedocles, connected with one of their noblest tastes. They built their houses as if they were[Pg 94] going to live for ever. And if their houses, how much more their temples and other public buildings? In some of the Sikeliot cities, this was the most brilliant time of architectural splendor. At Syracuse indeed the greatest buildings which remain to tell their own story belong either to an earlier or to a later time. It is the theater alone, as in its first estate a probable work of the first Hierôn, which at all connects itself with our present time. But at Akragas[36] and at Selinous the greatest of the existing buildings belong to the days of republican freedom and independence. At Akragas what the tyrant began the democracy went on with. The series of temples that line the southern wall are due to an impulse which began under Thêrôn and went on to the days of the Carthaginian siege.

Of the greatest among them, the temple of Olympian Zeus, this is literally true. There can be little doubt that it was begun as one of the thank-offerings after the victory of Himera, and it is certain that at the coming of Hannibal and Hamilkôn it was still so far imperfect that the roof was not yet added. It was therefore in building during a time of more than seventy years, years which take in the whole of the brilliant days of Akragantine freedom and well-being.

To the same period also belong the other temples in the lower city, temples which abide above ground either standing or in ruins, while the older temples in the akropolis have to be looked for underneath buildings of later ages.[Pg 95] It was a grand conception to line the southern wall, the wall most open to the attacks of mortal enemies, with this wonderful series of holy places of the divine protectors of the city. It was a conception due, we may believe, in the first instance, to Thêrôn, but which the democracy fully entered into and carried out. The two best preserved of the range stand to the east; one indeed occupies the southeastern corner of the fortified enclosure.

Next in order to the west comes the temple which bears a name not unlikely, but altogether impossible and unmeaning, the so-called temple of Concord. No reasonable guess can be made at its pagan dedication; in the fifteenth century of our era it followed the far earlier precedent of the temples in the akropolis. It became the church of Saint Gregory, not of any of the great pontiffs and doctors of the Church, but of the local bishop whose full description as Saint Gregory of the Turnips can hardly be written without a smile. The peristyle was walled up, and arches were cut through the walls of the cella, exactly as in the great church of Syracuse. Saint Gregory of Girgenti plays no such part in the world's history as was played by the Panagia of Syracuse; we may therefore be more inclined to extend some mercy to the Bourbon king who set free the columns as we now see them. When he had gone so far, one might even wish that he had gone on to wall up the arches. In each of the former states of the building there was a solid wall somewhere to give shelter from the blasts which sweep round this exposed spot. As the building now stands, it is, after the Athenian[Pg 96] house of Theseus and Saint George, the best preserved Greek temple in being. Like its fellow to the east, it is a building of moderate size, of the middle stage of Doric, with columns less massive than those of Syracuse and Corinth, less slender than those of Nemea.

Again to the west stood a temple of greater size, nearly ranging in scale with the Athenian Parthenon, which is assigned, with far more of likelihood than the other names, to Hêraklês. Save one patched-up column standing amid the general ruin, it has, in the language of the prophet, become heaps. All that is left is a mass of huge stones, among which we can see the mighty columns, fallen, each in its place, overthrown, it is clear, by no hand of man but by those powers of the nether world whose sway is felt in every corner of Sicilian soil.

These three temples form a continuous range along the eastern part of the southern wall of the city. To the west of them, parted from them by a gate, which, in Roman times at least, bore, as at Constantinople and Spalato, the name of Golden, rose the mightiest work of Akragantine splendor and devotion, the great Olympieion itself. Of this gigantic building, the vastest Greek temple in Europe, we happily have somewhat full descriptions from men who had looked at it, if not in the days of its full glory, yet at least when it was a house standing up, and not a ruin. As it now lies, a few fragments of wall still standing amid confused heaps of fallen stones, of broken columns and capitals, no building kindles a more earnest desire to see it as it stood in the days of its perfection.

Courtesy International Mercantile Marine Co.

Courtesy L. C. Page & Co.





Courtesy L. C. Page & Co.

Courtesy L. C. Page & Co.

Courtesy Houghton, Mifflin Co.

Courtesy Houghton, Mifflin Co.

Courtesy Houghton, Mifflin Co.

Courtesy Houghton, Mifflin Co.

Courtesy Houghton, Mifflin Co.

Courtesy Houghton, Mifflin Co.

(Minoan civilization in Crete antedates the Homeric age—perhaps by many centuries

[Pg 97]



The temple of Segeste was never finished; the ground around it was never even leveled; the space only being smoothed on which the peristyle was to stand. For, in several places, the steps are from nine to ten feet in the ground, and there is no hill near, from which the stone or mold could have fallen. Besides, the stones lie in their natural position, and no ruins are found near them.

The columns are all standing; two which had fallen, have very recently been raised again. How far the columns rested on a socle is hard to say; and without an engraving it is difficult to give an idea of their present state. At some points it would seem as if the pillars rested on the fourth step. In that case to enter the temple you would have to go down a step. In other places, however, the uppermost step is cut through, and then it looks as if the columns had rested on bases; and then again these spaces have been filled up, and so we have once more the first case. An architect is necessary to determine this point.

The sides have twelve columns, not reckoning the corner ones; the back and front six, including them. The rollers on which the stones were moved along, still lie around you on the steps. They have been left in order to indicate that the temple was unfinished. But the strongest evidence of this fact is the floor. In some[Pg 98] spots (along the sides) the pavement is laid down; in the middle, however, the red limestone rock still projects higher than the level of the floor as partially laid; the flooring, therefore, can not ever have been finished. There is also no trace of an inner temple. Still less can the temple have ever been overlaid with stucco; but that it was intended to do so, we may infer from the fact that the abaci of the capitals have projecting points probably for the purpose of holding the plaster. The whole is built of a limestone, very similar to the travertine; only it is now much fretted. The restoration which was carried on in 1781, has done much good to the building. The cutting of the stone, with which the parts have been reconnected, is simple, but beautiful.

The site of the temple is singular; at the highest end of a broad and long valley, it stands on an isolated hill. Surrounded, however, on all sides by cliffs, it commands a very distant and extensive view of the land, but takes in only just a corner of the sea. The district reposes in a sort of melancholy fertility—every where well cultivated, but scarce a dwelling to be seen. Flowering thistles were swarming with countless butterflies, wild fennel stood here from eight to nine feet high, dry and withered of the last year's growth, but so rich and in such seeming order that one might almost take it to be an old nursery-ground. A shrill wind whistled through the columns as if through a wood, and screaming birds of prey hovered around the pediments.[Pg 99]



When you have ascended to the top of the wall of rocks [at Taormina], which rise precipitously at no great distance from the sea, you find two peaks, connected by a semicircle. Whatever shape this may have had originally from Nature has been helped by the hand of man, which has formed out of it an amphitheater for spectators. Walls and other buildings have furnished the necessary passages and rooms. Right across, at the foot of the semicircular range of seats, the scene was built, and by this means the two rocks were joined together, and a most enormous work of nature and art combined.

Now, sitting down at the spot where formerly sat the uppermost spectators, you confess at once that never did any audience, in any theater, have before it such a spectacle as you there behold. On the right, and on high rocks at the side, castles tower in the air—farther on the city lies below you; and altho its buildings are all of modern date, still similar ones, no doubt, stood of old on the same site. After this the eye falls on the whole of the long ridge of Ætna, then on the left it catches a view of the sea-shore, as far as Catania, and even Syracuse, and then the wide and extensive view is closed by the immense smoking volcano, but not horribly, for the atmosphere, with its softening effect,[Pg 100] makes it look more distinct, and milder than it really is.

If now you turn from this view toward the passage running at the back of the spectators, you have on the left the whole wall of the rocks between which and the sea runs the road to Messina. And then again you behold vast groups of rocky ridges in the sea itself, with the coast of Calabria in the far distance, which only a fixt and attentive gaze can distinguish from the clouds which rise rapidly from it.

We descended toward the theater, and tarried awhile among its ruins, on which an accomplished architect would do well to employ, at least on paper, his talent of restoration. After this I attempted to make a way for myself through the gardens to the city. But I soon learned by experience what an impenetrable bulwark is formed by a hedge of agaves planted close together. You can see through their interlacing leaves, and you think, therefore, it will be easy to force a way through them; but the prickles on their leaves are very sensible obstacles. If you step on these colossal leaves, in the hope that they will bear you, they break off suddenly; and so, instead of getting out, you fall into the arms of the next plant. When, however, at last we had wound our way out of the labyrinth, we found but little to enjoy in the city; tho from the neighboring country we felt it impossible to part before sunset. Infinitely beautiful was it to observe this region, of which every point had its interest, gradually enveloped in darkness.[Pg 101]



By the ancients Ætna was supposed to be the prison of the mighty chained giant Typhon, the flames proceeding from his breath and the noises from his groans; and when he turned over earthquakes shook the island. Many of the myths of the Greek poets were associated with the slopes of Ætna, such as Demeter, torch in hand, seeking Persephone, Acis and Galatea, Polyphemus and the Cyclops.

Ætna was once a volcano in the Mediterranean and in the course of ages it completely filled the surrounding sea with its lava. A remarkable feature of the mountain is the large number of minor cones on its sides—some seven hundred in all. Most of these subsidiary cones are from three to six thousand feet in height and they make themselves most strongly felt during periods of great activity. The summit merely serves as a vent through which the vapors and gases make their escape. The natural boundaries of Ætna are the Alcantara and Simeto rivers on the north, west, and south, and the sea on the east.

The most luxurious fertility characterizes the gradual slopes near the base, the decomposed volcanic soil being almost entirely covered with olives, figs, grapes, and prickly pears. Higher up is the timber zone. Formerly there was a[Pg 102] dense forest belt between the zone of cultivated land and the tore of cinders and snow; but the work of forest extermination was almost completed during the reign of the Spanish Bourbons. One may still find scattered oak, ilex, chestnut, and pine interspersed with ferns and aromatic herbs. Chestnut trees of surprizing growth are found on the lower slopes. "The Chestnut Tree of the Hundred Horses," for which the slopes of Ætna are famous, is not a single tree but a group of several distinct trunks together forming a circle, under whose spreading branches a hundred horses might find shelter.

Above the wooded zone Ætna is covered with miniature cones thrown up by different eruptions and regions of dreary plateau covered with scoriae and ashes and buried under snow a part of the year. While the upper portions of the volcano are covered with snow the greater portion of the year, Ætna does not reach the limit of perpetual snow, and the heat which is emitted from its sides prevents the formation of glaciers in the hollows. One might expect that the quantities of snow and rain which fall on the summit would give rise to numerous streams. But the small stones and cinders absorb the moisture, and springs are found only on the lower slopes. The cinders, however, retain sufficient moisture to support a rich vegetation wherever the surface of the lava is not too compact to be penetrated by roots. The surface of the more recent lava streams is not, as might be supposed, smooth and level, but full of yawning holes and rents.

The regularity of the gradual slopes is broken[Pg 103] on the eastern side by the Valle del Bove, a vast amphitheater more than three thousand feet in depth, three miles in width, and covering an area of ten square miles. The bottom of the valley is dotted with craters which rise in gigantic steps; and, when Ætna is in a state of eruption, these craters pour forth fiery cascades of lava. The Monte Centenari rise from the Valle del Bove to an elevation of 6,026 feet. At the head of the valley is the Torre del Filosofo at an altitude of 9,570 feet. This is the reputed site of the observatory of Empedocles, the poet and philosopher, who is fabled to have thrown himself into the crater of Ætna to immortalize his name.

The lower slopes of Ætna—after the basin of Palermo—include the most densely populated parts of Sicily. More than half a million people live on the slopes of a mountain that might be expected to inspire terror. "Towns succeed towns along its base like pearls in a necklace, and when a stream of lava effects a breach in the chain of human habitations, it is closed up again as soon as the lava has had time to cool." As soon as the lava has decomposed, the soil produces an excellent yield and this tempts the farmer and the fruit grower to take chances. Speaking of the dual effect of Ætna, Freeman says: "He has been mighty to destroy, but he has also been mighty to create and render fruitful. If his fiery streams have swept away cities and covered fields, they have given the cities a new material for their buildings and the fields a new soil rich above all others."[Pg 104]



The ruins of Syracuse are not to the casual observer very imposing. But even these ruins have great interest for the archeologist. There is, for example, an old temple near the northern end of Ortygia, for the most part embedded in the buildings of the modern city, yet with its east end cleared and showing several entire columns with a part of the architrave upon them. And what a surprize here awaits one who thinks of a Doric temple as built on a stereotyped plan! Instead of the thirteen columns on the long sides which one is apt to look for as going with a six-column front, here are eighteen or nineteen, it is not yet quite certain which. The columns stand less than their diameter apart, and the abaci are so broad that they nearly touch.

So small is the inter-columnar space that archeologists incline to the belief that in this one Doric temple there were triglyphs only over the columns, and not also between them as in all other known cases. Everything about this temple stamps it as the oldest in Sicily. An inscription on the top step, in very archaic letters, much worn and difficult to read, contains the name of Apollo in the ancient form.... The inscription may, of course, be later than the temple; but it is in itself old enough to[Pg 105] warrant the supposition that the temple was erected soon after the first Corinthian colonists established themselves in the island. While the inscription makes it reasonably certain that the temple belonged to Apollo, the god under whose guiding hand all these Dorians went out into these western seas, tradition, with strange perversity, has given it the name of "Temple of Diana." But it is all in the family.

Another temple ruin on the edge of the plateau, which begins about two miles south of the city, across the Anapos, one might also easily overlook in a casual survey, because it consists only of two columns without capitals, and a broad extent of the foundations from which the accumulated earth has been only partially removed. This was the famous temple of Olympian Zeus, built probably in the days of Hiero I., soon after the Persian war, but on the site of a temple still more venerable. One seeks a reason for the location of this holy place at such a distance from the city. Holm, the German historian of Sicily, argues with some plausibility that this was no mere suburb of Syracuse, but the original Syracuse itself. In the first place, the list of the citizens of Syracuse was kept here down at least to the time of the Athenian invasion. In the second place, tradition, which, when rightly consulted, tells so much, says that Archias, the founder of Syracuse, had two daughters, Ortygia and Syracusa, which may point to two coordinate settlements, Ortygia and Syracuse; the latter, which was on this temple plateau, being subsequently merged in the former, but, as sometimes happens in[Pg 106] such cases, giving its name to the combined result.

Besides these temple ruins there are many more foundations that tell a more or less interesting story. Then there are remains of the ancient city that can never be ruined—for instance, the great stone quarries, pits over a hundred feet deep and acres broad, in some of which the Athenian prisoners were penned up to waste away under the gaze of the pitiless captors; the Greek theater cut out of the solid rock; the great altar of Hiero II., six hundred feet long and about half as broad, also of solid rock. Then there is a mighty Hexapylon, which closed the fortifications of Dionysius at the northwest at the point where they challenged attack from the land side. With its sally-ports and rock-hewn passages, some capacious enough to quarter regiments of cavalry, showing holes cut in the projecting corners of rock, through which the hitch-reins of the horses were wont to be passed, and its great magazines, it stands a lasting memorial to the energy of a tyrant. But while this fortress is practically indestructible, an impregnable fortress is a dream incapable of realization. Marcellus and his stout Romans came in through these fortifications, not entirely, it is true, by their own might, but by the aid of traitors, against whom no walls are proof.

One of the stone quarries, the Latomia del Paradiso, has an added interest from its association with the tyrant who made himself hated as well as feared, while Gelon was only feared without being hated. An inner recess of the[Pg 107] quarry is called the "Ear of Dionysius," and tradition says that at the inner end of this recess either he or his creatures sat and listened to the murmurs that the people uttered against him, and that these murmurs were requited with swift and fatal punishment. Certain it is that a whisper in this cave produces a wonderful resonance, and a pistol shot is like the roar of a cannon; but that people who had anything to say about the butcher should come up within ear-shot of him to utter it is not very likely. Historians are not quite sure that the connection of Dionysius with this recess is altogether mythical, but that he shaped it with the fell purpose above mentioned is not to be thought of, as the whole quarry is older than his time, and was probably, with the Latomia dei Cappuccini, a prison for the Athenians.



The city of Valetta, founded in 1566, by the grand master whose name it bears, is the capital of Malta. The city of La Sangle, and the city of Victoria, which occupy two points of land on the other side of the harbor of the Marse, together with the suburbs of Floriana and Burmola, complete the town; encircled by bastions, ramparts, counterscarps, forts, and fortifications, to an ex[Pg 108]tent which renders siege impossible! If you follow one of the streets which surround the town, at each step that you take, you find yourself face to face with a cannon. Gibraltar itself does not bristle more completely with mouths of fire. The inconvenience of these extended works is, that they enclose a vast radius, and demand to defend them, in case of attack, an enormous garrison; always difficult to maintain at a distance from the mother country.

From the height of the ramparts, one sees in the distance the blue and transparent sea, broken into ripples by the breeze, and dotted with snowy sails. The scarlet sentinels are on guard from point to point, and the heat of the sun is so fierce upon the glacis, that a cloth stretched upon a frame and turning upon a pivot at the top of a pole, forms a shade for the soldiers, who, without this precaution, must inevitably be roasted on their posts....

The city of Valetta, altho built with regularity, and, so to speak, all in one "block," is not, therefore, the less picturesque. The decided slope of the ground neutralizes what the accurate lines of the street might otherwise have of monotony, and the town mounts by degrees and by terraces the hillside, which it forms into an amphitheater. The houses, built very high like those of Cadiz, terminate in flat roofs that their inhabitants may the better enjoy the sea view. They are all of white Maltese stone; a sort of sandstone easy to work, and with which, at small expense, one can indulge various caprices of sculpture and ornamentation. These rectilinear houses stand well, and have an air of grandeur, which they owe to[Pg 109] the absence of (visible) roofs, cornices, and attics. They stand out sharply and squarely against the azure of the heavens, which their dazzling whiteness renders only the more intense; but that which chiefly gives them a character of originality is the projecting balcony hung upon each front; like the "moucharabys" of the East, or the "miradores" of Spain.

The palace of the grand masters—to-day the palace of the government—has nothing remarkable in the way of architecture. Its date is recent, and it responds but imperfectly to the idea one would form of the residence of Villiers de I'lle Adam, of Lavalette, and of their warlike ancestors. Nevertheless, it has a certain monumental air, and produces a fine effect upon the great Place, of which it forms one entire side. Two doorways, with rustic columns, break the uniformity of the long façade; while an immense balcony, supported by gigantic sculptured brackets, encircles the building at the level of the first floor, and gives to the edifice the stamp of Malta. This detail, so strictly local in its character, relieves what might be heavy and flat in this architecture; and this palace, otherwise vulgar, becomes thus original. The interior, which I visited, presents a range of vast halls and galleries, decorated with pictures representing battles by sea and land, sieges, and combats between Turkish galleys and the galleys of the "Religion." ...

To finish with the knights, I turned my steps toward the Church of St. John—the Pantheon of the Order. Its façade, with a triangular porch flanked by two towers terminating in stone belfries, having for ornament only four pillars, and[Pg 110] pierced by a window and door, without sculpture or decoration, by no means prepares the traveler for the splendor within.

The first thing which arrests the sight is an immense arch, painted in fresco, which runs the whole length of the nave. This fresco, unhappily much deteriorated by time, is the work of Matteo Preti, called the Calabrese; one of those great second-rate masters, who, if they have less genius, have often more talent than the princes of the art. What there is of science, facility, spirit, expression, and abundant resource, in this colossal picture, is beyond description.

Each section of the arch contains a scene from the life of St. John, to whom the church is dedicated, and who was the patron of the Order. These sections are supported, at their descent, by groups of captives—Saracens, Turks, Christians, and others—half naked, or clad in the remains of shattered armor, and placed in positions of humiliation or constraint, who form a species of barbaric caryatides strikingly suited to the subject. All this part of the fresco is full of character, and has a force of coloring very rare in this species of picture. These solid and massive effects give additional strength to the lighter tone of the arch, and throw the skies into a relief and distance singularly profound. I know no similar work of equal grandeur except the ceiling by Fumiana in the Church of St. Pantaleone at Venice, representing the life, martyrdom, and apotheosis of that saint. But the style of the decadence makes itself less felt in the work of the Calabrese than in that of the Venetian. In recompense of this gigantic work, the artist had the honor, like[Pg 111] Carravaggio, to be made a Knight of the Order.

The pavement of the church is composed of four hundred tombs of knights, incrusted with jasper, porphyry, verd-antique, and precious stones of various kinds, which should form the most splendid sepulchral mosaics conceivable. I say should form, because at the moment of my visit, the whole floor was covered with those immense mats, so constantly used for carpeting the southern churches—a usage which is explained by the absence of pews or chairs, and the habit of kneeling upon the floor to perform one's devotions. I regretted this exceedingly; but the crypt and the chapel contain enough sepulchral wealth to offer some atonement.[Pg 112]





There is probably no more exciting voyage, to any educated man, than the approach to Athens from the sea. Every promontory, every island, every bay, has its history. If he knows the map of Greece, he needs no guide-book or guide to distract him; if he does not, he needs little Greek to ask of any one near him the name of this or that object; and the mere names are sufficient to stir up all his classical recollections. But he must make up his mind not to be shocked at "Ægina" or "Phalrum," and even to be told that he is utterly wrong in his way of pronouncing them.

It was our fortune to come into Greece by night, with a splendid moon shining upon the summer sea. The varied outlines of Sunium, on the one side, and Ægina on the other, were very clear, but in the deep shadows there was mystery enough to feed the burning impatience of seeing all in the light of common day; and tho we had passed Ægina, and had come over against[Pg 113] the rocky Salamis, as yet there was no sign of Peiræus. Then came the light on Psyttalea, and they told us that the harbor was right opposite. Yet we came nearer and nearer, and no harbor could be seen.

The barren rocks of the coast seemed to form one unbroken line, and nowhere was there a sign of indentation or of break in the land. But suddenly, as we turned from gazing on Psyttalea, where the flower of the Persian nobles had once stood in despair, looking upon their fate gathering about them, the vessel had turned eastward, and discovered to us the crowded lights and thronging ships of the famous harbor. Small it looked, very small, but evidently deep to the water's edge, for great ships seemed touching the shore; and so narrow is the mouth, that we almost wondered how they had made their entrance in safety. But we saw it some weeks later, with nine men-of-war towering above all its merchant shipping and its steamers, and among them crowds of ferryboats skimming about in the breeze with their wing-like sails. Then we found out that, like the rest of Greece, the Peiræus was far larger than it looked.

It differed little, alas! from more vulgar harbors in the noise and confusion of disembarking; in the delays of its custom-house; in the extortion and insolence of its boatmen. It is still, as in Plato's day, "the haunt of sailors, where good manners are unknown." But when we had escaped the turmoil, and were seated silently on the way to Athens, almost along the very road of classical days, all our classical notions, which[Pg 114] had been seared away by vulgar bargaining and protesting, regained their sway.

We had sailed in through the narrow passage where almost every great Greek that ever lived had some time passed; now we went along the line, hardly less certain, which had seen all these great ones going to and fro between the city and the port. The present road is shaded with great silver poplars, and plane trees, and the moon had set, so that our approach to Athens was even more mysterious than our approach to the Peiræus. We were, moreover, perplexed at our carriage stopping under some large plane trees, tho we had driven but two miles, and the night was far spent. Our coachman would listen to no advice or persuasion. We learned afterward that every carriage going to and from the Peiræus stops at this half-way house, that the horses may drink, and the coachman take "Turkish delight" and water. There is no exception made to this custom, and the traveler is bound to submit. At last we entered the unpretending ill-built streets at the west of Athens....

We rose at the break of dawn to see whether our window would afford any prospect to serve as a requital for angry sleeplessness. And there, right opposite, stood the rock which of all rocks in the world's history has done most for literature and art—the rock which poets, and orators, and architects, and historians have ever glorified, and can not stay their praise—which is ever new and ever old, ever fresh in its decay, ever perfect in its ruin, ever living in its death—the Acropolis of Athens.[Pg 115]

When I saw my dream and longing of many years fulfilled, the first rays of the rising sun had just touched the heights, while the town below was still hid in gloom. Rock, and rampart, and ruined fanes—all were colored in uniform tints; the lights were of a deep rich orange, and the shadows of dark crimson, with the deeper lines of purple. There was no variety in color between what nature and what man had set there. No whiteness shone from the marble, no smoothness showed upon the hewn and polished blocks; but the whole mass of orange and crimson stood out together into the pale, pure Attic air. There it stood, surrounded by lanes and hovels, still perpetuating the great old contrast in Greek history, of magnificence and meanness—of loftiness and lowness—as well in outer life as in inward motive. And, as it were in illustration of that art of which it was the most perfect bloom, and which lasted in perfection but a day of history, I saw it again and again, in sunlight and in shade, in daylight and at night, but never again in this perfect and singular beauty....

I suppose there can be no doubt whatever that the ruins on the Acropolis of Athens are the most remarkable in the world. There are ruins far larger, such as the Pyramids, and the remains of Karnak. There are ruins far more perfectly preserved, such as the great Temple at Paestum. There are ruins more picturesque, such as the ivy-clad walls of medieval abbeys beside the rivers in the rich valleys of England. But there is no ruin all the world over which combines so much striking beauty, so distinct a type,[Pg 116] so vast a volume of history, so great a pageant of immortal memories. There is, in fact, no building on earth which can sustain the burden of such greatness, and so the first visit to the Acropolis is and must be disappointing.

When the traveler reflects how all the Old World's culture culminated in Greece—all Greece in Athens—all Athens in its Acropolis—all the Acropolis in the Parthenon—so much crowds upon the mind confusedly that we look for some enduring monument whereupon we can fasten our thoughts, and from which we can pass as from a visible starting-point into all this history and all this greatness. And at first we look in vain. The shattered pillars and the torn pediments will not bear so great a strain; and the traveler feels forced to admit a sense of disappointment, sore against his will. He has come a long journey into the remoter parts of Europe; he has reached at last what his soul had longed for many years in vain; and as is wont to be the case with all great human longings, the truth does not answer to his desire. The pang of disappointment is all the greater when he sees that the tooth of time and the shock of earthquake have done but little harm. It is the hand of man—of reckless foe and ruthless lover—which has robbed him of his hope....

Nothing is more vexatious than the reflection, how lately these splendid remains have been reduced to their present state. The Parthenon, being used as a Greek church, remained untouched and perfect all through the Middle Ages. Then it became a mosque, and the Erechtheum a seraglio, and in this way sur[Pg 117]vived without damage till 1687, when, in the bombardment by the Venetians under Morosini, a shell dropt into the Parthenon, where the Turks had their powder stored, and blew out the whole center of the building. Eight or nine pillars at each side have been thrown down, and have left a large gap, which so severs the front and rear of the temple, that from the city below they look like the remains of two different buildings. The great drums of these pillars are yet lying there, in their order, just as they fell, and some money and care might set them all up again in their places; yet there is not in Greece the patriotism or even the common sense to enrich the country by this restoration, matchless in its certainty as well as in its splendor.

But the Venetians were not content with their exploit. They were, about this time, when they held possession of most of Greece, emulating the Pisan taste for Greek sculptures; and the four fine lions standing at the gate of the arsenal in Venice still testify to their zeal in carrying home Greek trophies to adorn their capital.

In its great day, and even as Pausanias saw it, the Acropolis was covered with statues, as well as with shrines. It was not merely an Holy of Holies in religion; it was also a palace and museum of art. At every step and turn the traveler met new objects of interest. There were archaic specimens, chiefly interesting to the antiquarian and the devotee; there were the great masterpieces which were the joint admiration of the artist and the vulgar. Even all the sides and slopes of the great rock were honeycombed into sacred grottos, with their altars and[Pg 118] their gods, or studded with votive monuments. All these lesser things are fallen away and gone; the sacred eaves are filled with rubbish, and desecrated with worse than neglect. The grotto of Pan and Apollo is difficult of access, and when reached, an object of disgust rather than of interest. There are left but the remnants of the surrounding wall, and the ruins of the three principal buildings, which were the envy and wonder of all the civilized world.

The beautiful little temple of Athena Nike, tho outside the Propylæa—thrust out as it were on a sort of great buttress high on the right—must still be called a part, and a very striking part, of the Acropolis. It is only of late years that it has been cleared of rubbish and modern stone-work, thus destroying, no doubt, some precious traces of Turkish occupation which the fastidious historian may regret, but realizing to us a beautiful Greek temple of the Ionic Order in some completeness. The peculiarity of this building, which is perched upon a platform of stone, and commands a splendid prospect, is that its tiny peribolus, or sacred enclosure, was surrounded by a parapet of stone slabs covered with exquisite reliefs of winged Victories, in various attitudes. Some of these slabs are now in the Museum of the Acropolis, and are of great interest—apparently less severe than the school of Phidias, and therefore later in date, but still of the best epoch, and of marvelous grace. The position of this temple also is not parallel with the Propylæa, but turned slightly outward, so that the light strikes it at moments when the other building is not illuminated. At the oppo[Pg 119]site side is a very well-preserved chamber, and a fine colonnade at right angles with the gate, which looks like a guard-room. This is the chamber commonly called the Pinacotheca, where Pausanias saw pictures or frescoes by Polygnotus.



Our sitting-room fronted the south (with a view of the Acropolis and the Areopagus), and could be kept warm without more labor or expense than would be required for an entire dwelling at home. Our principal anxiety was, that the supply of fuel, at any price, might become exhausted. We burned the olive and the vine, the cypress and the pine, twigs of rose trees and dead cabbage-stalks, for aught I know, to feed our one little sheet-iron stove. For full two months we were obliged to keep up our fire, from morning until night. Know ye the land of the cypress and myrtle, where the flowers ever blossom, the beams ever shine? Here it is, with almost snow enough in the streets for a sleighing party, with the Ilissus frozen, and with a tolerable idea of Lapland, when you face the gusts which drive across the Cephissian plain.

As the other guests were Greek, our mode of living was similar to that of most Greek families. We had coffee in the morning, a substantial break[Pg 120]fast about noon, and dinner at six in the evening. The dishes were constructed after French and Italian models, but the meat is mostly goat's flesh. Beef, when it appears, is a phenomenon of toughness. Vegetables are rather scarce. Cow's milk, and butter or cheese therefrom, are substances unknown in Greece. The milk is from goats or sheep, and the butter generally from the latter. It is a white, cheesy material, with a slight flavor of tallow. The wine, when you get it unmixed with resin, is very palatable. We drank that of Santorin, with the addition of a little water, and found it an excellent beverage....

Except during the severely cold weather, Athens is as lively a town as may be. One-fourth of the inhabitants, I should say, are always in the streets, and many of the mechanics work, as is common in the Orient, in open shops. The coffee-houses are always thronged, and every afternoon crowds may be seen on the Patissia Road—a continuation of Eolus Street—where the King and Queen take their daily exercise on horseback. The national costume, both male and female, is gradually falling into disuse in the cities, altho it is still universal in the country. The islanders adhere to their hideous dress with the greatest persistence. With sunrise the country people begin to appear in the streets with laden donkeys and donkey-carts, bringing wood, grain, vegetables, and milk, which they sell from house to house....

Venders of bread and coffee-rolls go about with circular trays on their heads, calling attention to their wares by loud and long-drawn cries. Later in the day, peddlers make their appearance, with packages of cheap cotton stuffs, cloth, handker[Pg 121]chiefs, and the like, or baskets of pins, needles, buttons, and tape. They proclaim loudly the character and price of their articles, the latter, of course, subject to negotiation. The same custom prevails as in Turkey, of demanding much more than the seller expects to get. Foreigners are generally fleeced a little in the beginning, tho much less so, I believe, than in Italy....

The winter of 1857-58 was the severest in the memory of any inhabitant. For nearly eight weeks, we had an alternation of icy north winds and snow-storms. The thermometer went down to 20 degrees of Fahrenheit—a degree of cold which seriously affected the orange-, if not the olive-trees. Winter is never so dreary as in those southern lands, where you see the palm trees rocking despairingly in the biting gale, and the snow lying thick on the sunny fruit of the orange groves. As for the pepper trees, with their hanging tresses and their loose, misty foliage, which line the broad avenues radiating from the palace, they were touched beyond recovery. The people, who could not afford to purchase wood or charcoal, at treble the usual price, even tho they had hearths, which they have not, suffered greatly. They crouched at home, in cellars and basements, wrapt in rough capotes, or hovering around a mangal, or brazier of coals, the usual substitute for a stove. From Constantinople we had still worse accounts. The snow lay deep everywhere; charcoal sold at twelve piastres the oka (twenty cents a pound), and the famished wolves, descending from the hills, devoured people almost at the gates of the city. In Smyrna, Beyrout, and Alexandria, the winter was equally severe, while[Pg 122] in Odessa it was mild and agreeable, and in St. Petersburg there was scarcely snow enough for sleighing. All Northern Europe enjoyed a winter as remarkable for warmth as that of the South for its cold. The line of division seemed to be about the parallel of latitude 45 degrees. Whether this singular climatic phenomenon extended further eastward, into Asia, I was not able to ascertain. I was actually less sensitive to the cold in Lapland, during the previous winter, with the mercury frozen, than in Attica, within the belt of semi-tropical productions.



To the Acropolis there is only one approach; it allows of no other, being everywhere precipitous and walled off. The vestibules have a roof of white marble, and even now are remarkable for both their beauty and size. As to the statues of the horsemen, I can not say with precision whether they are the sons of Xenophon, or merely put there for decoration. On the right of the vestibules is the shrine of the Wingless Victory. From it the sea is visible; and there Ægeus drowned himself, as they say. For the ship which took his sons to Crete had black sails, but Theseus told his father (for he knew there was some peril[Pg 123] in attacking the Minotaur) that he would have white sails if he should sail back a conqueror. But he forgot this promise in his loss of Ariadne. And Ægeus, seeing the ship with black sails, thinking his son was dead, threw himself in and was drowned. And the Athenians have a hero-chapel to his memory. And on the left of the vestibules is a building with paintings; and among those that time has not destroyed are Diomedes and Odysseus—the one taking away Philoctetes's bow in Lemnos, the other taking the Palladium from Ilium. Among other paintings here is Ægisthus being slain by Orestes; and Pylades slaying the sons of Nauplius that came to Ægisthus's aid. And Polyxena about to have her throat cut near the tomb of Achilles. Homer did well not to mention this savage act....

And there is a small stone such as a little man can sit on, on which they say Silenus rested, when Dionysus came to the land. Silenus is the name they give to all old Satyrs. About the Satyrs I have conversed with many, wishing to know all about them. And Euphemus, a Carian, told me that sailing once on a time to Italy he was driven out of his course by the winds, and carried to a distant sea, where people no longer sail. And he said that here were many desert islands, some inhabited by wild men; and at these islands the sailors did not like to land, as they had landed there before and had experience of the natives; but they were obliged on that occasion. These islands he said were called by the sailors Satyr-islands; the dwellers in them were red-haired, and had tails at their loins not much smaller than horses....[Pg 124]

And as regards the temple which they call the Parthenon, as you enter it everything portrayed on the gables relates to the birth of Athene, and behind is depicted the contest between Poseidon and Athene for the soil of Attica. And this work of art is in ivory and gold. In the middle of her helmet is an image of the Sphinx—about whom I shall give an account when I come to Bœotia—and on each side of the helmet are griffins worked. These griffins, says Aristus the Proconnesian, in his poems, fought with the Arimaspians beyond the Issedones for the gold of the soil which the griffins guarded. And the Arimaspians were all one-eyed men from their birth; and the griffins were beasts like lions, with wings and mouth like an eagle. Let so much suffice for these griffins. But the statue of Athene is full length, with a tunic reaching to her feet; and on her breast is the head of Medusa worked in ivory, and in one hand she has a Victory four cubits high, in the other hand a spear, and at her feet a shield; and near the spear a dragon which perhaps is Erichthonius. And on the base of the statue is a representation of the birth of Pandora—the first woman, according to Hesiod and other poets; for before her there was no race of women. Here too I remember to have seen the only statue here of the Emperor Adrian; and at the entrance one of Iphicrates, the celebrated Athenian general.

And outside the temple is a brazen Apollo said to be by Phidias; and they call it Apollo, Averter of Locusts, because when the locusts destroyed the land the god said he would drive them out of the country. And they know that he did so, but they don't say how. I myself know of[Pg 125] locusts having been thrice destroyed on Mount Sipylus, but not in the same way; for some were driven away by a violent wind that fell on them, and others by a strong light that came on them after showers, and others were frozen to death by a sudden frost. All this came under my own notice.

There is also a building called the Erechtheum, and in the vestibule is an altar of Supreme Zeus, where they offer no living sacrifice, but cakes without the usual libation of wine. And as you enter there are three altars: one to Poseidon (on which they also sacrifice to Erechtheus according to the oracle), one to the hero Butes, and the third to Hephæstus. And on the walls are paintings of the family of Butes. The building is a double one; and inside there is sea-water in a well. And this is no great marvel; for even those who live in inland parts have such wells, as notably Aphrodisienses in Caria. But this well is represented as having a roar as of the sea when the south wind blows. And in the rock is the figure of a trident. And this is said to have been Poseidon's proof in regard to the territory Athene disputed with him.

Sacred to Athene is all the rest of Athens, and similarly all Attica; for altho they worship different gods in different townships, none the less do they honor Athene generally. And the most sacred of all is the statue of Athene in what is now called the Acropolis, but was then called the Polis (city) which was universally worshiped many years before the various townships formed one city; and the rumor about it is that it fell from heaven. As to this I shall not give an opinion, whether it was so or not. And Callimachus made[Pg 126] a golden lamp for the goddess. And when they fill this lamp with oil it lasts for a whole year, altho it burns continually night and day. And the wick is of a particular kind of cotton flax, the only kind indestructible by fire. And above the lamp is a palm tree of brass reaching to the roof and carrying off the smoke. And Callimachus, the maker of this lamp, altho he comes behind the first artificers, yet was remarkable for ingenuity, and was the first who perforated stone, and got the name of "Art-Critic," whether his own appellation or given him by others.

In the temple of Athene Polias is a Hermes of wood (said to be a votive offering of Cecrops), almost hidden by myrtle leaves. And of the antique votive offerings worthy of record, is a folding-chair, the work of Dædalus, and spoils taken from the Persians—as a coat of mail of Masistius, who commanded the cavalry at Platæa, and a scimitar said to have belonged to Mardonius. Masistius we know was killed by the Athenian cavalry; but as Mardonius fought against the Lacedæmonians and was killed by a Spartan, they could not have got it at first hand; nor is it likely that the Lacedæmonians would have allowed the Athenians to carry off such a trophy. And about the olive they have nothing else to tell but that the goddess used it as a proof of her right to the country, when it was contested by Poseidon. And they record also that this olive was burnt when the Persians set fire to Athens; but tho burnt, it grew the same day two cubits.

And next to the temple of Athene is the temple of Pandrosus; who was the only one of the three sisters who didn't peep into the forbidden chest.[Pg 127] Now the things I most marveled at are not universally known. I will therefore write of them as they occur to me. Two maidens live not far from the temple of Athene Polias, and the Athenians call them the "carriers of the holy things"; for a certain time they live with the goddess, but when her festival comes they act in the following way, by night: Putting upon their heads what the priestess of Athene gives them to carry (neither she nor they know what these things are), these maidens descend, by a natural underground passage, from an inclosure in the city sacred to Aphrodite of the Gardens. In the sanctuary below they deposit what they carry, and bring back something else closely wrapt up. And these maidens they henceforth dismiss, and other two they elect instead of them for the Acropolis.



Morosini[46] wished to take down the sculptures of Phidias from the eastern pediment, but his workmen attempted it so clumsily that the figures fell from their place and were dashed to pieces on the ground.

An observing traveler[47] was present when a[Pg 128] far more determined and systematic attack was made upon the remaining ruins of the Parthenon. While he was traveling in the interior, Lord Elgin had obtained his famous firman from the Sultan, to take down and remove any antiquities or sculptured stones he might require, and the infuriated Dodwell saw a set of ignorant workmen, under equally ignorant overseers, let loose upon the splendid ruins of the age of Pericles. He speaks with much good sense and feeling of this proceeding. He is fully aware that the world would derive inestimable benefit from the transplanting of these splendid fragments to a more accessible place, but he can not find language strong enough to express his disgust at the way in which the thing was done.

Incredible as it may appear, Lord Elgin himself seems not to have superintended the work, but to have left it to paid contractors, who undertook the job for a fixt sum. Little as either Turks or Greeks cared for the ruins, he says that a pang of grief was felt through all Athens at the desecration, and that the contractors were obliged to bribe workmen with additional wages to undertake the ungrateful task. Dodwell will not even mention Lord Elgin by name, but speaks of him with disgust as "the person" who defaced the Parthenon. He believes that had this person been at Athens himself, his underlings could hardly have behaved in the reckless way they did, pulling down more than they wanted, and taking no care to prop up and save the work from which they had taken the support.

He especially notices their scandalous proceed[Pg 129]ing upon taking up one of the great white marble blocks which form the floor or stylobate of the temple. They wanted to see what was underneath, and Dodwell, who was there, saw the foundation—a substructure of Peiræic sandstone. But when they had finished their inspection they actually left the block they had removed, without putting it back into its place. So this beautiful pavement, made merely of closely-fitting blocks, without any artificial or foreign joinings, was ripped up, and the work of its destruction began. I am happy to add that, tho a considerable rent was then made, most of it is still intact, and the traveler of to-day may still walk on the very stones which bore the tread of every great Athenian.

The question has often been discust, whether Lord Elgin was justified in carrying off this pediment, the metopes, and the friezes, from their place; and the Greeks of to-day hope confidently that the day will come when England will restore these treasures to their place. This is, of course, absurd, and it may fairly be argued that people who would bombard their antiquities in a revolution are not fit custodians of them in the intervals of domestic quiet. This was my reply to an old Greek gentleman who assailed the memory of Lord Elgin with reproaches.

I confess I approved of this removal until I came home from Greece, and went again to see the spoil in its place in our great museum. Tho there treated with every care—tho shown to the best advantage, and explained by excellent models of the whole building, and clear descriptions of their place on it—notwithstanding all[Pg 130] this, it was plain that these wonderful fragments lost so terribly by being separated from their place—they looked so unmeaning in an English room, away from their temple, their country and their lovely atmosphere—that one earnestly wished they had never been taken from their place, even at the risk of being made a target by the Greeks or the Turks. I am convinced, too, that the few who would have seen them, as intelligent travelers, on their famous rock, would have gained in quality the advantage now diffused among many, but weakened and almost destroyed by the wrench in associations, when the ornament is severed from its surface, and the decoration of a temple exhibited apart from the temple itself. We may admit, then, that it had been better if Lord Elgin had never taken away these marbles. Nevertheless, it would be absurd to send them back. But I do think that the museum on the Acropolis should be provided with a better set of casts of the figures than those which are now to be seen there. They look very wretched, and carelessly prepared....



Some ten or twelve years ago, a very extensive and splendidly successful excavation was made when a party of German archeologists laid bare the Theater of Dionysus—the great theater in[Pg 131] which Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides brought out their immortal plays before an immortal audience. There is nothing more delightful than to descend from the Acropolis, and rest awhile in the comfortable marble arm-chairs with which the front row of the circuit is occupied. They are of the pattern usual in the sitting portrait statues of the Greeks—very deep, and with a curved back, which exceeds both in comfort and in grace any chairs made by modern workmen.[49] Each chair has the name of a priest inscribed on it, showing how the theater among the Greeks corresponded to our cathedral, and this front row to the stalls of canons and prebendaries.

But unfortunately all this sacerdotal prominence is probably the work of the later restorers of the theater. For after having been first beautified and adorned with statues by Lycurgus (in Demosthenes' time), it was again restored and embellished by Herodes Atticus, or about his time, so that the theater, as we now have it, can only be called the building of the second or third century after Christ. The front wall of the stage, which is raised some feet above the level of the empty pit, is adorned with a row of very elegant sculptures, among which one—a shaggy old man, in a stooping posture, represented as coming out from within, and holding up the stone above him—is par[Pg 132]ticularly striking. Some Greek is said to have knocked off, by way of amusement, the heads of most of these figures since they were discovered, but this I do not know upon any better authority than ordinary report. The pit or center of the theater is empty, and was never in Greek days occupied by seats, but a wooden structure was set up adjoining the stage, and on this the chorus performed their dances, and sang their odes. But now there is a circuit of upright slabs of stone close to the front seat, which can hardly have been an arrangement of the old Greek theater. They are generally supposed to have been added when the building was used for contests of gladiators or of wild beasts; but the partition, being not more than three feet high, would be no protection whatever from an evil-disposed wild beast.

All these later additions and details are, I fear, calculated to detract from the reader's interest in this theater, which I should indeed regret—for nothing can be more certain than that this is the veritable stone theater which was built when the wooden one broke down, at the great competition of Æschylus and Pratinas; and tho front seats may have been added, and slight modifications introduced, the general structure can never have required alteration.

It is indeed very large, tho I think exaggerated statements have been made about its size. I have heard it said that the enormous number of 30,000 people could fit into it—a statement I think incredible; for it did not to me seem larger than, or as large as, other theaters I have seen, at Syracuse, at Megalopolis,[Pg 133] or even at Argos. But, no doubt, all such open-air enclosures and sittings look far smaller than covered rooms of the same size. This is certain, that any one speaking on the stage, as it now is, can be easily and distinctly heard by people sitting on the highest row of seats now visible, which can not, I fancy, have been far from the original top of the house. And we may doubt that any such thing were possible when 30,000 people, or a crowd approaching that number, were seated. We hear, however, that the old actors had recourse to various artificial means of increasing the range of their voices. Yet there is hardly a place in Athens which forces back the mind so strongly to the old days, when all the crowd came jostling in, and settled down in their seats, to hear the great novelties of the year from Sophocles or Euripides. No doubt there were cliques and cabals and claqueurs, noisy admirers and cold critics, the supporters of the old, and the lovers of the new, devotees and sceptics, wondering foreigners and self-complacent citizens. They little thought how we should come, not only to sit in the seats they occupied, but to reverse the judgments which they pronounced, and correct with sober temper the errors of prejudice, of passion, and of pride.[Pg 134]



It was on this very Areopagus, where we are now standing, that these philosophers of fashion came into contact with the thorough earnestness, the profound convictions, the red-hot zeal of the Apostle Paul. The memory of that great scene still lingers about the place, and every guide will show you the exact place where the Apostle stood, and in what direction he addrest his audience. There are, I believe, even some respectable commentators who transfer their own estimate of St. Paul's importance to the Athenian public, and hold that it was before the court of the Areopagus that he was asked to expound his views. This is more than doubtful. The "blasés" philosophers, who probably yawned over their own lectures, hearing of a new lay preacher, eager to teach and apparently convinced of the truth of what he said, thought the novelty too delicious to be neglected, and brought him forthwith out of the chatter and bustle of the crowd, probably past the very orchestra where Anaxagoras' books had been proselytizing before him, and where the stiff old heroes of Athenian history stood, a monument of the escape from political slavery.

It is even possible that the curious knot of idlers did not bring him higher than this platform, which might well be called part of Mars'[Pg 135] Hill. But if they chose to bring him to the top, there was no hindrance, for the venerable court held its sittings in the open air, on stone seats; and when not thus occupied, the top of the rock may well have been a convenient place of retirement for people who did not want to be disturbed by new acquaintances, and the constant eddies of new gossip in the market-place.

It is, however, of far less import to know on what spot of the Areopagus Paul stood, than to understand clearly what he said, and how he sought to conciliate as well as to refute the philosophers who, no doubt, looked down upon him as an intellectual inferior. He starts naturally enough from the extraordinary crowd of votive statues and offerings, for which Athens was remarkable above all other cities of Greece. He says, with a slight touch of irony, that he finds them very religious indeed, so religious that he even found an altar to a God professedly unknown, or perhaps unknowable....

Thus ended, to all appearance ignominiously, the first heralding of the faith which was to supplant all the temples and altars and statues with which Athens had earned renown as a beautiful city, which was to overthrow the schools of the sneering philosophers, and even to remodel all the society and the policy of the world. And yet, in spite of this great and decisive triumph of Christianity, there was something curiously prophetic in the contemptuous rejection of its apostle at Athens. Was it not the first expression of the feeling which still possesses the visitor who wanders through its ruins, and which still dominates the educated[Pg 136] world—the feeling that while other cities owe to the triumph of Christianity all their beauty and their interest, Athens has to this day resisted this influence; and that while the Christian monuments of Athens would elsewhere excite no small attention, here they are passed by as of no import compared with its heathen splendor?

There are very old and very beautiful little churches in Athens, "delicious little Byzantine churches," as Renan calls them. They are very peculiar, and unlike what one generally sees in Europe. They strike the observer with their quaintness and smallness, and he fancies he here sees the tiny model of that unique and splendid building, the cathedral of St. Mark at Venice. But yet it is surprizing how little we notice them at Athens. I was even told—I sincerely hope it was false—that public opinion at Athens was gravitating toward the total removal of one, and that the most perfect, of these churches, which stands in the middle of a main street, and so breaks the regularity of the modern boulevard!



We left Athens on the 13th of April, for a journey to Parnassus and the northern frontier of Greece. It was a teeming, dazzling day, with[Pg 137] light scarfs of cloud-crape in the sky, and a delicious breeze from the west blowing through the pass of Daphne. The Gulf of Salamis was pure ultramarine, covered with a velvety bloom, while the island and Mount Kerata swam in transparent pink and violet tints. Crossing the sacred plain of Eleusis, our road entered the mountains—lower offshoots of Cithæron, which divide the plain from that of Bœotia....

We climbed the main ridge of the mountains; and, in less than an hour, reached the highest point—whence the great Bœotian plain suddenly opened upon our view. In the distance gleamed Lake Capaïs, and the hills beyond; in the west, the snowy top of Parnassus, lifted clear and bright above the morning vapors; and, at last, as we turned a shoulder of the mountain in descending, the streaky top of Helicon appeared on the left, completing the classic features of the landscape....

As we entered the plain, taking a rough path toward Platæa, the fields were dotted, far and near, with the white Easter shirts of the people working among the vines. Another hour, and our horses' hoofs were upon the sacred soil of Platæa. The walls of the city are still to be traced for nearly their entire extent. They are precisely similar in construction to those of Œnoë—like which, also, they were strengthened by square towers. There are the substructions of various edifices—some of which may have been temples—and on the side next the modern village lie four large sarcophagi, now used as vats for treading out the grapes in vintage-time. A more harmless blood than once curdled on[Pg 138] the stones of Platæa now stains the empty sepulchers of the heroes. We rode over the plain, fixt the features of the scene in our memories, and then kept on toward the field of Leuktra, where the brutal power of Sparta received its first check. The two fields are so near, that a part of the fighting may have been done upon the same ground....

I then turned my horse's head toward Thebes, which we reached in two hours. It was a pleasant scene, tho so different from that of two thousand years ago. The town is built partly on the hill of the Cadmeion, and partly on the plain below. An aqueduct, on mossy arches, supplies it with water, and keeps its gardens green. The plain to the north is itself one broad garden to the foot of the hill of the Sphinx, beyond which is the blue gleam of a lake, then a chain of barren hills, and over all the snowy cone of Mount Delphi, in Eubœa. The only remains of the ancient city are stones; for the massive square tower, now used as a prison, can not be ascribed to an earlier date than the reign of the Latin princes....

The next morning we rode down from the Cadmeion, and took the highway to Livadia, leading straight across the Bœotian plain. It is one of the finest alluvial bottoms in the world, a deep, dark, vegetable mold—which would produce almost without limit, were it properly cultivated. Before us, blue and dark under a weight of clouds, lay Parnassus; and far across the immense plain the blue peaks of Mount Oeta. In three hours we reached the foot of Helicon, and looked up at the streaks of snow[Pg 139] which melt into the Fountain of the Muses....

As we left Arachova, proceeding toward Delphi, the deep gorge opened, disclosing a blue glimpse of the Gulf of Corinth and the Achaian mountains. Tremendous cliffs of blue-gray limestone towered upon our right, high over the slope of Delphi, which ere long appeared before us. Our approach to the sacred spot was marked by tombs cut in the rock. A sharp angle of the mountain was passed; and then, all at once, the enormous walls, buttressing the upper region of Parnassus, stood sublimely against the sky, cleft right through the middle by a terrible split, dividing the twin peaks which gave a name to the place. At the bottom of this chasm issue forth the waters of Castaly, and fill a stone trough by the road-side. On a long, sloping mountain-terrace, facing the east, stood once the town and temples of Delphi, and now the modern village of Kastri.

As you may imagine, our first walk was to the shrine of the Delphic oracle, at the bottom of the cleft between the two peaks. The hewn face of the rock, with a niche, supposed to be that where the Pythia sat upon her tripod, and a secret passage under the floor of the sanctuary, are all that remain. The Castalian fountain still gushes out at the bottom, into a large square enclosure, called the Pythia's Bath, and now choked up with mud, weeds, and stones. Among those weeds, I discerned one of familiar aspect, plucked and tasted it. Watercress, of remarkable size and flavor! We thought no more of Apollo and his shrine, but delving wrist-deep into Castalian mud, gathered huge handfuls of[Pg 140] the profane herb, which we washed in the sacred front, and sent to François for a salad....

As the sun sank, I sat on the marble blocks and sketched the immortal landscape. High above me, on the left, soared the enormous twin peaks of pale-blue rock, lying half in the shadow of the mountain slope upheaved beneath, half bathed in the deep yellow luster of sunset. Before me rolled wave after wave of the Parnassian chain, divided by deep lateral valleys, while Helicon, in the distance, gloomed like a thunder-storm under the weight of gathered clouds. Across this wild, vast view, the breaking clouds threw broad belts of cold blue shadow, alternating with zones of angry orange light, in which the mountains seemed to be heated to a transparent glow. The furious wind hissed and howled over the piles of ruin, and a few returning shepherds were the only persons to be seen. And this spot, for a thousand years, was the shrine where spake the awful oracle of Greece.



The gulf of Corinth is a very beautiful and narrow fiord, with chains of mountains on either side, through the gaps of which you can see far into the Morea on one side, and into Northern Greece on the other. But the bays or harbors on either coast are few, and so there was no[Pg 141] city able to wrest the commerce of these waters from old Corinth, which held the keys by land of the whole Peloponnesus, and commanded the passage from sea to sea. It is, indeed, wonderful how Corinth did not acquire and maintain the first position in Greece.

But as soon as the greater powers of Greece decayed and fell away, we find Corinth immediately taking the highest position in wealth, and even in importance. The capture of Corinth, in 146 B.C., marks the Roman conquest of all Greece, and the art-treasures carried to Rome seem to have been as great and various as those which even Athens could have produced. No sooner had Julius Cæsar restored and rebuilt the ruined city, than it sprang at once again into importance, and among the societies addrest in the Epistles of St. Paul, none seems to have lived in greater wealth or luxury. It was, in fact, well-nigh impossible that Corinth should die. Nature had marked out her site as one of the great thoroughfares of the old world; and it was not till after centuries of blighting misrule by the wretched Turks that she sank into the hopeless decay from which not even another Julius Cæsar could rescue her.

The traveler who expects to find any sufficient traces of the city of Periander and of Timoleon, and, I may say, of St. Paul, will be grievously disappointed. In the middle of the wretched straggling modern village there stand up seven enormous rough stone pillars of the Doric Order, evidently of the oldest and heaviest type; and these are the only visible relic of the ancient city, looking altogether out of place,[Pg 142] and almost as if they had come there by mistake. These pillars, tho insufficient to admit of our reconstructing the temple, are in themselves profoundly interesting. Their shaft up to the capital is of one block, about twenty-one feet high and six feet in diameter. It is to be observed, that over these gigantic monoliths the architrave, in which other Greek temples show the largest blocks, is not in one piece, but two, and made of beams laid together longitudinally. The length of the shafts (up to the neck of the capital) measures about four times their diameter, on the photograph which I possess; I do not suppose that any other Doric pillar known to us is so stout and short.

Straight over the site of the town is the great rock known as the Acro-Corinthus. A winding path leads up on the southwest side to the Turkish drawbridge and gate, which are now deserted and open; nor is there a single guard or soldier to watch a spot once the coveted prize of contending empires. In the days of the Achæan League it was called one of the fetters of Greece, and indeed it requires no military experience to see the extraordinary importance of the place.

Next to the view from the heights of Parnassus, I suppose the view from this citadel is held the finest in Greece. I speak here of the large and diverse views to be obtained from mountain heights. To me, personally, such a view as that from the promontory of Sunium, or, above all, from the harbor of Nauplia, exceeds in beauty and interest any bird's-eye prospect. Any one who looks at the map of[Pg 143] Greece will see how the Acro-Corinthus commands coasts, islands, and bays. The day was too hazy when we stood there to let us measure the real limits of the view, and I can not say how near to Mount Olympus the eye may reach in a suitable atmosphere. But a host of islands, the southern coasts of Attica and Bœotia, the Acropolis of Athens, Salamis and Ægina, Helicon and Parnassus, and endless Ætolian peaks were visible in one direction; while, as we turned round, all the waving reaches of Arcadia and Argolis, down to the approaches toward Mantinea and Karytena, lay stretched out before us. The plain of Argos, and the sea at that side, are hidden by the mountains. But without going into detail, this much may be said, that if a man wants to realize the features of these coasts, which he has long studied on maps, half an hour's walk about the top of this rock will give him a geographical insight which no years of study could attain.



Olympia, like Delphi, is a place of memories chiefly. The visible remains are numerous, but so flat that some little technical knowledge is needed to restore them in mind. There is no village at the modern Olympia at all—nothing[Pg 144] but five or six little inns and a railway station—so that Delphi really has the advantage of Olympia in this regard. As a site connected with ancient Greek history and Greek religion, the two places are as similar in nature as they are in general ruin. The field in which the ancient structures stand lies just across the tiny tributary river Cladeus, spanned by a footbridge.

Even from the opposite bank, the ruins present a most interesting picture, with its attractiveness greatly enhanced by the neighboring pines, which scatter themselves through the precinct itself and cover densely the little conical hill of Kronos close by, while the grasses of the plain grow luxuriantly among the fallen stones of the former temples and apartments of the athletes. The ruins are so numerous and so prostrate that the non-technical visitor is seriously embarrassed to describe them, as is the case with every site of the kind.

All the ruins, practically, have been identified and explained, and naturally they all have to do with the housing or with the contests of the visiting athletes of ancient times, or with the worship of tutelary divinities. Almost the first extensive ruin that we found on passing the encircling precinct wall was the Prytaneum—a sort of ancient training table at which victorious contestants were maintained gratis—while beyond lay other equally extensive remnants of exercising places, such as the Palæstra for the wrestlers. But all these were dominated, evidently, by the two great temples, an ancient one of comparatively small size sacred to Hera, and[Pg 145] a mammoth edifice dedicated to Zeus, which still gives evidence of its enormous extent, while the fallen column-drums reveal some idea of the other proportions. It was in its day the chief glory of the enclosure, and the statue of the god was even reckoned among the seven wonders of the world. Unfortunately this statue, like that of Athena at Athens, has been irretrievably lost. But there is enough of the great shrine standing in the midst of the ruins to inspire one with an idea of its greatness; and, in the museum above, the heroic figures from its two pediments have been restored and set up in such wise as to reproduce the external adornment of the temple with remarkable success.

Gathered around this central building, the remainder of the ancient structures having to do with the peculiar uses of the spot present a bewildering array of broken stones and marbles. An obtrusive remnant of a Byzantine church is the one discordant feature. Aside from this the precinct recalls only the distant time when the regular games called all Greece to Olympia, while the "peace of God" prevailed throughout the kingdom. Just at the foot of Kronos a long terrace and flight of steps mark the position of a row of old treasuries, as at Delphi, while along the eastern side of the precinct are to be seen the remains of a portico once famous for its echoes, where sat the judges who distributed the prizes. There is also a most graceful arch remaining to mark the entrance to the ancient stadium, of which nothing else now remains.

Of the later structures on the site, the "house[Pg 146] of Nero" is the most interesting and extensive. The Olympic games were still celebrated, even after the Roman domination, and Nero himself entered the lists in his own reign. He caused a palace to be erected for him on that occasion—and of course he won a victory, for any other outcome would have been most impolite, not to say dangerous. Nero was more fortunately lodged than were the other ancient contestants, it appears, for there were no hostelries in old Olympia in which the visiting multitudes could be housed, and the athletes and spectators who came from all over the land were accustomed to bring their own tents and pitch them roundabout, many of them on the farther side of the Alpheios.



Many various wonders may one see, or hear of, in Greece; but the Eleusinian mysteries and Olympian games seem to exhibit more than anything else the Divine purpose. And the sacred grove of Zeus they have from old time called Altis, slightly changing the Greek word for grove; it is, indeed, called Altis also by Pindar, in the ode he composed for a victor at Olympia. And the temple and statue of Zeus were built out of the spoils of Pisa, which the people of Elis razed[Pg 147] to the ground, after quelling the revolt of Pisa, and some of the neighboring towns that revolted with Pisa. And that the statue of Zeus was the work of Phidias is shown by the inscription written at the base of it: "Phidias the Athenian, the son of Charmides, made me."

The temple is a Doric building, and outside it is a colonnade. And the temple is built of stone of the district. Its height up to the gable is sixty-eight feet, and its length 2,300 feet. And its architect was Libon, a native of Ellis.

And the tiles on the roof are not of baked earth; but Pentelican marble, to imitate tiles. They say such roofs are the invention of a man of Naxos called Byzes, who made statues at Naxos with the inscription: "Euergus of Naxos made me, the son of Byzes, and descended from Leto, the first who made tiles of stone."

This Byzes was a contemporary of Alyattes the Lydian, and Astyages (the son of Cyaxares), the king of Persia. And there is a golden vase at each end of the roof, and a golden Victory in the middle of the gable. And underneath the Victory is a golden shield hung up as a votive offering, with the Gorgon Medusa worked on it. The inscription on the shield states who hung it up, and the reason why they did so. For this is what it says: "This temple's golden shield is a votive offering from the Lacedæmonians at Tanagra and their allies, a gift from the Argives, the Athenians, and the Ionians, a tithe offering for success in war."

The battle I mentioned in my account of Attica, when I described the tombs at Athens. And in the same temple at Olympia, above the zone that[Pg 148] runs round the pillars on the outside, are twenty-one golden shields, the offering of Mummius the Roman general, after he had beaten the Achæans and taken Corinth, and expelled the Dorians from Corinth. And on the gables in bas-relief is the chariot race between Pelops and Œnomaus; and both chariots in motion. And in the middle of the gable is a statue of Zeus; and on the right hand of Zeus is Œnomaus with a helmet on his head; and beside him his wife Sterope, one of the daughters of Atlas. And Myrtilus, who was the charioteer of Œnomaus, is seated behind the four horses. And next to him are two men whose names are not recorded, but they are doubtless Œnomaus's grooms, whose duty was to take care of the horses....

The carvings on the gables in front are by Pæonius of Mende in Thracia; those behind by Alcamenes, a contemporary of Phidias and second only to him as statuary. And on the gables is a representation of the fight between the Lapithæ and the Centaurs at the marriage of Pirithous. Pirithous is in the center, and on one side of him is Eurytion trying to carry off Pirithous's wife, and Cæneus coming to the rescue, and on the other side Theseus laying about among the Centaurs with his battle-ax; and one Centaur is carrying off a maiden, another a blooming boy. Alcamenes has engraved this story, I imagine, because he learned from the lines of Homer that Pirithous was the son of Zeus, and knew that Theseus was fourth in descent from Pelops. There are also in bas-relief at Olympia most of the Labors of Hercules. Above the doors of the temple is the hunting of the Erymanthian boar, and Hercules[Pg 149] taking the mares of Diomede the Thracian, and robbing Geryon of his oxen in the island of Erytheia, and supporting the load of Atlas, and clearing the land of Elis of its dung....

The image of the god is in gold and ivory, seated on a throne. And a crown is on his head imitating the foliage of the olive tree. In his right hand he holds a Victory in ivory and gold, with a tiara and crown on his head; and in his left hand a scepter adorned with all manner of precious stones, and the bird seated on the scepter is an eagle. The robes and sandals of the god are also of gold; and on his robes are imitations of flowers, especially of lilies. And the throne is richly adorned with gold and precious stones, and with ebony and ivory. And there are imitations of animals painted on it, and models worked on it. There are four Victories like dancers, one at each foot of the throne, and two also at the instep of each foot; and at each of the front feet are Theban boys carried off by Sphinxes, and below the Sphinxes, Apollo and Artemis shooting down the children of Niobe. And between the feet of the throne are four divisions formed by straight lines drawn from each of the four feet.

In the division nearest the entrance there are seven models—the eighth has vanished no one knows where or how. And they are imitations of ancient contests, for in the days of Phidias the contests for boys were not yet established. And the figure with its head muffled up in a scarf is, they say, Pantarcas, who was a native of Elis and the darling of Phidias. This Pantarces won the wrestling-prize for boys in the 86th Olympiad. And in the remaining divisions is the band of Her[Pg 150]cules fighting against the Amazons. The number on each side is twenty-nine, and Theseus is on the side of Hercules. And the throne is supported not only by the four feet, but also by four pillars between the feet. But one can not get under the throne, as one can at Amyclæ, and pass inside; for at Olympia there are panels like walls that keep one off.

At the top of the throne, Phidias has represented above the head of Zeus the three Graces and three Seasons. For these too, as we learn from the poets, were daughters of Zeus. Homer in the Iliad has represented the Seasons as having the care of Heaven, as a kind of guards of a royal palace. And the base under the feet of Zeus (what is called in Attic "thranion") has golden lions engraved on it, and the battle between Theseus and the Amazons—the first famous exploit of the Athenians beyond their own borders. And on the platform that supports the throne there are various ornaments round Zeus, and gilt carving—the Sun seated in his chariot, and Zeus and Hera; and near is Grace. Hermes is close to her, and Vesta close to Hermes. And next to Vesta is Eros receiving Aphrodite, who is just rising from the sea and being crowned by Persuasion. And Apollo and Artemis, Athene and Hercules, are standing by, and at the end of the platform Amphitrite and Poseidon, and Selene apparently urging on her horse. And some say it is a mule and not a horse that the goddess is riding upon; and there is a silly tale about this mule.

I know that the size of the Olympian Zeus both in height and breadth has been stated; but I can[Pg 151] not bestow praise on the measurers, for their recorded measurement comes far short of what any one would infer from looking at the statue. They make the god also to have testified to the art of Phidias. For they say that when the statue was finished, Phidias prayed him to signify if the work was to his mind; and immediately Zeus, struck with lightning that part of the pavement where in our day is a brazen urn with a lid.

And all the pavement in front of the statue is not of white but of black stone. And a border of Parian marble runs round this black stone, as a preservative against spilled oil. For oil is good for the statue at Olympia, as it prevents the ivory being harmed by the dampness of the grove. But in the Acropolis at Athens, in regard to the statue of Athene called the Maiden, it is not oil but water that is advantageously employed to the ivory; for as the citadel is dry by reason of its great height, the statue being made of ivory needs to be sprinkled with water freely. And when I was at Epidaurus, and inquired why they use neither water nor oil to the statue of Æsculapius, the sacristans of the temple informed me that the statue of the god and its throne are over a well.[Pg 152]



We took Thermopylæ at our leisure, passing out from Lamia over the Spercheios on the bridge of Alamana, at which Diakos, famous in ballad, resisted with a small band a Turkish army, until he was at last captured and taken to Lamia to be impaled....

It may be taken as a well-known fact that the Spercheios has since the time of Herodotus made so large an alluvial deposit around its mouth that, if he himself should return to earth, he would hardly recognize the spot which he has described so minutely. The western horn, which in his time came down so near to the gulf as to leave space for a single carriage-road only, is now separated from it by more than a mile of plain. Each visit to Thermopylæ has, however, deepened my conviction that Herodotus exaggerated the impregnability of this pass. The mountain spur which formed it did not rise so abruptly from the sea as to form an impassable barrier to the advance of a determined antagonist. It is of course difficult ground to operate on, but certainly not impossible.

The other narrow place, nearly two miles to the east of this, is still more open, a fact that is to be emphasized, because many topographers, including Colonel Leake, hold that the battle[Pg 153] actually took place there, as the great battle between the Romans and Antioches certainly did. This eastern pass is, to be sure, no place where "a thousand may well be stopt by three," and there can not have taken place any great transformation here since classical times, inasmuch as this region is practically out of reach of the Spercheios, and the deposit from the hot sulfur streams, which has so broadened the theater-shaped area enclosed by the two horns, can hardly have contributed to changing the shape of the eastern horn itself.

Artificial fortification was always needed here; but it is very uncertain whether any of the stones that still remain can be claimed as parts of such fortification. It is a fine position for an inferior force to choose for defense against a superior one; but while it can not be declared with absolute certainty that this is not the place where the fighting took place, yet the western pass fits better the description of Herodotus. Besides this, if the western pass had been abandoned to the Persians at the outset the fact would have been worth mentioning.

As to the heroic deed itself, the view that Leonidas threw away his own life and that of the four thousand, that it was magnificent but not strategy, not war, does not take into account the fact that Sparta had for nearly half a century been looked to as the military leader of Greece. It was audacious in the Athenians to fight the battle of Marathon without them, and they did so only because the Spartans did not come at their call. Sparta had not come to Thermopylæ in force, it is true; but her king[Pg 154] was there with three hundred of her best men. Only by staying and fighting could he show that Sparta held by right the place she had won. It had to be done. "So the glory of Sparta was not blotted out."

One may have read, and read often, the description of the battle in the school-room, but he reads it with different eyes on the spot, when he can look up at the hillock crowned with a ruined cavalry barrack just inside the western pass and say to himself: "Here on this hill they fought their last fight and fell to the last man. Here once stood the monuments to Leonidas, to the three hundred, and to the four thousand."

The very monuments have crumbled to dust, but the great deed lives on. We rode back to Lamia under the spell of it. It was as if we had been in church and been held by a great preacher who knows how to touch the deepest chords of the heart. Eubœa was already dark blue, while the sky above it was shaded from pink to purple. Tymphrestos in the west was bathed in the light of the sun that had gone down behind it. The whole surrounding was most stirring, and there was ever sounding in our hearts that deep bass note: "What they did here."[Pg 155]



The city of Salonica lies on a fine bay, and presents an attractive appearance from the harbor, rising up the hill in the form of an amphitheater. On all sides, except the sea, ancient walls surround it, fortified at the angles by large, round towers and crowned in the center, on the hill, by a respectable citadel. I suppose that portions of these walls are of Hellenic, and perhaps, Pelasgic date, but the most are probably of the time of the Latin crusaders' occupation, patched and repaired by Saracens and Turks. We had come to Thessalonica on St. Paul's account, not expecting to see much that would excite us, and we were not disappointed. When we went ashore we found ourselves in a city of perhaps sixty thousand inhabitants, commonplace in aspect, altho its bazaars are well filled with European goods, and a fair display of Oriental stuffs and antiquities, and animated by considerable briskness of trade. I presume there are more Jews here than there were in Paul's time, but Turks and Greeks, in nearly equal numbers, form the bulk of the population.

In modern Salonica there is not much respect for pagan antiquities, and one sees only the usual fragments of columns and sculptures worked into[Pg 156] walls or incorporated in Christian churches. But those curious in early Byzantine architecture will find more to interest them here than in any place in the world except Constantinople. We spent the day wandering about the city, under the guidance of a young Jew, who was without either prejudices or information. On our way to the Mosque of St. Sophia, we passed through the quarter of the Jews, which is much cleaner than is usual with them. These are the descendants of Spanish Jews, who were expelled by Isabella, and they still retain, in a corrupt form, the language of Spain. In the doors and windows were many pretty Jewesses; banishment and vicissitude appear to agree with this elastic race, for in all the countries of Europe Jewish women develop more beauty in form and feature than in Palestine. We saw here and in other parts of the city a novel head-dress, which may commend itself to America in the revolutions of fashion. A great mass of hair, real or assumed, was gathered into a long, slender, green bag, which hung down the back and was terminated by a heavy fringe of silver. Otherwise, the dress of the Jewish women does not differ much from that of the men; the latter wear a fez or turban, and a tunic which reaches to the ankles, and is bound about the waist by a gay sash or shawl.

The Mosque of St. Sophia, once a church, and copied in its proportions and style from its namesake in Constantinople, is retired, in a delightful court, shaded by gigantic trees and cheered by a fountain. So peaceful a spot we had not seen in many a day; birds sang in the trees without disturbing the calm of the meditative pilgrim. In[Pg 157] the portico and also in the interior are noble columns of marble and verd-antique, and in the dome is a wonderfully quaint mosaic of the Transfiguration. We were shown also a magnificent pulpit of the latter beautiful stone cut from a solid block, in which it is said St. Paul preached. As the Apostle, according to his custom, reasoned with the people out of the Scriptures in a synagogue, and this church was not built for centuries after his visit, the statement needs confirmation; but pious ingenuity suggests that the pulpit stood in a subterranean church underneath this. I should like to believe that Paul sanctified this very spot with his presence; but there is little in its quiet seclusion to remind one of him who had the reputation when he was in Thessalonica of one of those who turn the world upside down.



At early light of a cloudless morning we were going easily down the Gulf of Thermæ or Salonica, having upon our right the Pierian plain; and I tried to distinguish the two mounds which mark the place of the great battle near Pydna, one hundred and sixty-eight years before Christ, between Æmilius Paulus and King[Pg 158] Perseus, which gave Macedonia to the Roman Empire. Beyond, almost ten thousand feet in the air, towered Olympus, upon whose "broad" summit Homer displays the ethereal palaces and inaccessible abode of the Grecian gods. Shaggy forests still clothe its sides, but snow now, and for the greater part of the year, covers the wide surface of the height, which is a sterile, light-colored rock. The gods did not want snow to cool the nectar at their banquets.

This is the very center of the mythologic world; there between Olympus and Ossa is the Vale of Tempe, where the Peneus, breaking through a narrow gorge fringed with the sacred laurel, reaches the gulf, south of ancient Heracleum. Into this charming but secluded retreat the gods and goddesses, weary of the icy air, or the Pumblechookian deportment of the court of Olympian Jove, descended to pass the sunny hours with the youths and maidens of mortal mold; through this defile marks of chariot-wheels still attest the passage of armies which flowed either way, in invasion or retreat; and here Pompey, after a ride of forty miles from the fatal field of Pharsalia, quenched his thirst.

At six o'clock the Cape of Posilio was on our left, we were sinking Olympus in the white haze of morning, Ossa, in its huge silver bulk, was near us, and Pelion stretched its long white back below. The sharp cone of Ossa might well ride upon the extended back of Pelion, and it seems a pity that the Titans did not succeed in their attempt. We were leaving, and looking our last on the Thracian coasts, once rimmed from Mt. Athos to the Bosphorus with a wreath of pros[Pg 159]perous cities. What must once have been the splendor of the Ægean Sea and its islands, when every island was the seat of a vigorous state, and every harbor the site of a commercial town which sent forth adventurous galleys upon any errand of trade or conquest!...

We ascended Mt. Pentelicus. Hymettus and Pentelicus are about the same height—thirty-five hundred feet—but the latter, ten miles to the northeast of Athens, commands every foot of the Attic territory; if one should sit on its summit and read a history of the little state, he would need no map.

Up to the highest quarries the road is steep, and strewn with broken marble, and after that there is an hour's scramble through bushes and over a rocky path. From these quarries was hewn the marble for the Temple of Theseus, the Parthenon, the Propylæ, the theaters, and other public buildings, to which age has now given a soft and creamy tone; the Pentelic marble must have been too brilliant for the eye, and its dazzling luster was, no doubt, softened by the judicious use of color. Fragments which we broke off had the sparkle and crystalline grain of loaf-sugar, and if they were placed upon the table one would unhesitatingly take them to sweeten his tea. The whole mountain-side is overgrown with laurel, and we found wild flowers all the way to the summit....

We looked almost directly down upon Marathon. There is the bay and the curving sandy shore where the Persian galleys landed; here upon a spur, jutting out from the hill, the Athenians formed before they encountered the[Pg 160] host in the plain, and there—alas! it was hidden by a hill—is the mound where the one hundred and ninety-two Athenian dead are buried. It is only a small field, perhaps six miles along the shore and a mile and a half deep, and there is a considerable marsh on the north and a small one at the south end. The victory at so little cost, of ten thousand over a hundred thousand, is partially explained by the nature of the ground; the Persians had not room enough to maneuver, and must have been thrown into confusion on the skirts of the northern swamp, and if over six thousand of them were slain, they must have been killed on the shore in the panic of their embarkation. But still the shore is broad, level, and firm, and the Greeks must have been convinced that the gods themselves terrified the hearts of the barbarians, and enabled them to discomfit a host which had chosen this plain as the most feasible in all Attica for the action of cavalry.



As we approached Sparta, the road descended to the banks of the Eurotas. Traces of the ancient walls which restrained the river still remain in places, but, in his shifting course, he has swept the most of them away, and spread his gravelly deposits freely over the bottoms[Pg 161] inclosed between the spurs of the hills. Toward evening we saw, at a distance, the white houses of modern Sparta, and presently some indications of the ancient city. At first, the remains of terraces and ramparts, then the unmistakable Hellenic walls, and, as the superb plain of the Eurotas burst upon us, stretching, in garden-like beauty, to the foot of the abrupt hills, over which towered the sun-touched snows of Taygetus, we saw, close on our right, almost the only relic of the lost ages—the theater. Riding across the field of wheat, which extended all over the scene of the Spartan gymnastic exhibitions, we stood on the proscenium and contemplated these silent ruins, and the broad, beautiful landscape. It is one of the finest views in Greece—not so crowded with striking points, not so splendid in associations as that of Athens, but larger, grander, richer in coloring. Besides the theater, the only remains are some masses of Roman brickwork, and the massive substructions of a small temple which the natives call the tomb of Leonidas....

We spent the night in a comfortable house, which actually boasted of a floor, glass windows, and muslin curtains. On returning to the theater in the morning, we turned aside into a plowed field to inspect a sarcophagus which had just been discovered. It still lay in the pit where it was found, and was entire, with the exception of the lid. It was ten feet long by four broad, and was remarkable in having a division at one end, forming a smaller chamber, as if for the purpose of receiving the bones of a child. From the theater I made a sketch of[Pg 162] the valley, with the dazzling ridge of Taygetus in the rear, and Mistra, the medieval Sparta, hanging on the steep sides of one of his gorges. The sun was intensely hot, and we were glad to descend again, making our way through tall wheat, past walls of Roman brickwork and scattering blocks of the older city, to the tomb of Leonidas. This is said to be a temple, tho there are traces of vaults and passages beneath the pavement which do not quite harmonize with such a conjecture. It is composed of huge blocks of breccia, some of them thirteen feet long.

I determined to make an excursion to Maina. This is a region rarely visited by travelers, who are generally frightened off by the reputation of its inhabitants, who are considered by the Greeks to be bandits and cut-throats to a man. The Mainotes are, for the most part, lineal descendants of the ancient Spartans, and, from the decline of the Roman power up to the present century, have preserved a virtual independence in their mountain fastnesses. The worship of the pagan deities existed among them as late as the eighth century. They were never conquered by the Turks, and it required considerable management to bring them under the rule of Otho....

Starting at noon, we passed through the modern Sparta, which is well laid out with broad streets. The site is superb, and in the course of time the new town will take the place of Mistra. We rode southward, down the valley of the Eurotas, through orchards of olive and mulberry. We stopt for the night at the[Pg 163] little khan of Levetzova. I saw some cows pasturing here, quite a rare sight in Greece, where genuine butter is unknown. That which is made from the milk of sheep and goats is no better than mild tallow. The people informed me, however, that they make cheese from cow's milk, but not during Lent. They are now occupied with rearing Paschal lambs, a quarter of a million of which are slaughtered in Greece on Easter Day. The next morning, we rode over hills covered with real turf, a little thin, perhaps, but still a rare sight in southern lands. In two hours we entered the territory of Maina, on the crest of a hill, where we saw Marathonisi (the ancient Gythium), lying warm upon the Laconian Gulf. The town is a steep, dirty, labyrinthine place, and so rarely visited by strangers that our appearance created quite a sensation....

A broad, rich valley opened before us, crossed by belts of poplar and willow trees, and inclosed by a semicircle of hills, most of which were crowned with the lofty towers of the Mainotes. In Maina almost every house is a fortress. The law of blood revenge, the right of which is transmitted from father to son, draws the whole population under its bloody sway in the course of a few generations. Life is a running fight, and every foe slain entails on the slayer a new penalty of retribution for himself and his descendants for ever.

Previous to the revolution most of the Mainote families lived in a state of alternate attack and siege. Their houses are square towers, forty or fifty feet high, with massive walls, and win[Pg 164]dows so narrow that they may be used as loopholes for musketry. The first story is at a considerable distance from the ground, and reached by a long ladder which can be drawn up so as to cut off all communication. Some of the towers are further strengthened by a semicircular bastion, projecting from the side most liable to attack. The families supplied themselves with telescopes, to look out for enemies in the distance, and always had a store of provisions on hand, in case of a siege. Altho this private warfare has been supprest, the law of revenge exists.

From the summit of the first range we overlooked a wild, glorious landscape. The hills, wooded with oak, and swimming in soft blue vapor, interlocked far before us, inclosing the loveliest green dells in their embraces, and melting away to the break in Taygetus, which yawned in the distance. On the right towered the square, embrasured castle of Passava on the summit of an almost inaccessible hill—the site of the ancient Las. Far and near, the lower heights were crowned with tall, white towers.



The plain of Messenia is the richest part of the Morea. Altho its groves of orange and olive, fig and mulberry, were entirely destroyed during the Egyptian occupation, new and more[Pg 165] vigorous shoots have sprung up from the old stumps and the desolated country is a garden again, apparently as fair and fruitful as when it excited the covetousness of the Spartan thieves. Sloping to the gulf on the south, and protected from the winds on all other sides by lofty mountains, it enjoys an almost Egyptian warmth of climate. Here it was already summer, while at Sparta, on the other side of Taygetus, spring had but just arrived, and the central plain of Arcadia was still bleak and gray as in winter. As it was market-day, we met hundreds of the country people going to Kalamata with laden asses....

We crossed the rapid Pamisos with some difficulty, and ascended its right bank, to the foot of Mount Evan, which we climbed, by rough paths through thickets of mastic and furze, to the monastery of Vurkano. The building has a magnificent situation, on a terrace between Mount Evan and Mount Ithome, overlooking both the upper and lower plains of the Pamisos—a glorious spread of landscape, green with spring, and touched by the sun with the airiest prismatic tints through breaks of heavy rain-clouds. Inside the courts is an old Byzantine chapel, with fleurs-de-lis on the decorations, showing that it dates from the time of the Latin princes. The monks received us very cordially, gave us a clean, spacious room, and sent us a bottle of excellent wine for dinner.

We ascended Ithome and visited the massive ruins of Messene the same day. The great gate of the city, a portion of the wall, and four of the towers of defense, are in tolerable condition.[Pg 166] The name of Epaminondas hallows these remains, which otherwise, grand as they are, do not impress one like the cyclopean walls of Tiryns. The wonder is, that they could have been built in so short a time—eighty-five days, says history, which would appear incredible, had not still more marvelous things of the kind been done in Russia.

The next day, we rode across the head of the Messenian plain, crossed the Mount Lycæus and the gorge of the Neda, and lodged at the little village of Tragoge, on the frontiers of Arcadia. Our experience of Grecian highways was pleasantly increased by finding fields plowed directly across our road, fences of dried furze built over it, and ditches cutting it at all angles. Sometimes all trace of it would be lost for half a mile, and we were obliged to ride over the growing crops until we could find a bit of fresh trail.

The bridle-path over Mount Lycæus was steep and bad, but led us through the heart of a beautiful region. The broad back of the mountain is covered with a grove of superb oaks, centuries old, their long arms muffled in golden moss, and adorned with a plumage of ferns. The turf at their feet was studded with violets, filling the air with delicious odors. This sylvan retreat was the birthplace of Pan, and no more fitting home for the universal god can be imagined. On the northern side we descended for some time through a forest of immense ilex trees, which sprang from a floor of green moss and covered our pathway with summer shade....[Pg 167]

We were now in the heart of the wild mountain region of Messenia, in whose fastnesses Aristomenes, the epic hero of the state, maintained himself so long against the Spartans. The tremendous gorge below us was the bed of the Neda, which we crossed in order to enter the lateral valley of Phigalia, where lay Tragoge. The path was not only difficult but dangerous—in some places a mere hand's-breath of gravel, on the edge of a plane so steep that a single slip of a horse's foot would have sent him headlong to the bottom.

In the morning, a terrible sirocco levante was blowing, with an almost freezing cold. The fury of the wind was so great that in crossing the exposed ridges it was difficult to keep one's seat upon the horse. We climbed toward the central peak of the Lycæan Hills, through a wild dell between two ridges, which were covered to the summit with magnificent groves of oak. Starry blue flowers, violets and pink crocuses spangled the banks as we wound onward, between the great trunks. The temple of Apollo Epicurius stands on a little platform between the two highest peaks, about 3,500 feet above the sea.

On the day of our visit, its pillars of pale bluish-gray limestone rose against a wintry sky, its guardian oaks were leafless, and the wind whistled over its heaps of ruin; yet its symmetry was like that of a perfect statue, wherein you do not notice the absence of color, and I felt that no sky and no season could make it more beautiful. For its builder was Ictinus, who created the Parthenon. It was erected by the[Pg 168] Phigalians, out of gratitude to Apollo the Helper, who kept from their city a plague which ravaged the rest of the Peloponnesus. Owing to its secluded position, it has escaped the fate of other temples, and might be restored from its own undestroyed materials. The cella had been thrown down, but thirty-five out of thirty-eight columns are still standing. Through the Doric shafts you look upon a wide panorama of gray mountains, melting into purple in the distance, and crowned by arcs of the far-off sea. On one hand is Ithome and the Messenian Gulf, on the other the Ionian Sea and the Strophades....

We now trotted down the valley, over beautiful meadows, which were uncultivated except in a few places where the peasants were plowing for maize, and had destroyed every trace of the road. The hills on both sides began to be fringed with pine, while the higher ridges on our right were clothed with woods of oak. I was surprised at the luxuriant vegetation of this region. The laurel and mastic became trees, the pine shot to a height of one hundred feet, and the beech and sycamore began to appear. Some of the pines had been cut for ship-timber, but in the rudest and most wasteful way, only the limbs which had the proper curve being chosen for ribs. I did not see a single sawmill in the Peloponnesus; but I am told that there are a few in Euboea and Acarnania....

As we approached Olympia, I could almost have believed myself among the pine-hills of Germany or America. In the old times this must have been a lovely, secluded region, well[Pg 169] befitting the honored repose of Xenophon, who wrote his works here. The sky became heavier as the day wore on, and the rain, which had spared us so long, finally inclosed us in its misty circle. Toward evening we reached a lonely little house, on the banks of the Alpheus. Nobody was at home, but we succeeded in forcing a door and getting shelter for our baggage. François had supper nearly ready before the proprietor arrived. The latter had neither wife nor child, tho a few chicks, and took our burglarious occupation very good-humoredly. We shared the same leaky roof with our horses, and the abundant fleas with the owner's dogs.



The fortress of Tiryns may fitly be commented on before approaching the younger, or at least more artistically finished, Mycenæ. It stands several miles nearer to the sea, in the center of the great plain of Argos, and upon the only hillock which there affords any natural scope for fortification. Instead of the square, or at least hewn, well-fitted blocks of Mycenæ, we have here the older style of rude masses piled together as best they would fit, the interstices being filled up with smaller fragments. This is essentially cyclopean building. There is a smaller fort, of rectangular shape, on the south[Pg 170]ern and highest part of the oblong hillock, the whole of which is surrounded by a lower wall, which takes in both this and the northern longer part of the ridge. It looks, in fact, like a hill-fort, with a large inclosure for cattle around it.

Just below the northeast angle of the inner fort, and where the lower circuit is about to leave it, there is an entrance, with a massive projection of huge stones, looking like a square tower, on its right side, so as to defend it from attack. The most remarkable feature in the walls are the covered galleries, constructed within them at the southeast angle. The whole thickness of the wall is often over twenty feet, and in the center a rude arched way is made—or rather, I believe, two parallel ways; but the inner gallery has fallen in, and is almost untraceable—and this merely by piling together the great stones so as to leave an opening, which narrows at the top in the form of a Gothic arch. Within the passage, there are five niches in the outer side, made of rude arches in the same way as the main passage. The length of the gallery I measured, and found it twenty-five yards, at the end of which it is regularly walled up, so that it evidently did not run all the way round. The niches are now no longer open, but seem to have been once windows, or at least to have had some lookout points into the hill country.

It is remarkable that, altho the walls are made of perfectly rude stones, the builders have managed to use so many smooth surfaces looking outward, that the face of the wall seems quite clean and well built. At the southeast corner[Pg 171] of the higher and inner fort, we found a large block of red granite, quite different from the rough, gray stone of the building, with its surface square and smooth, and all the four sides neatly beveled, like the portal stones at the treasury of Atreus. I found two other similar blocks close by, which were likewise cut smooth on the surface. The intention of these stones we could not guess, but they show that some ornament, and some more finished work, must have once existed in the inner fort. Tho both the main entrances have massive towers of stone raised on their right, there is a small postern at the opposite or west side, not more than four feet wide, which has no defenses whatever, and is a mere hole in the wall.

The whole ruin is covered in summer with thistles, such as English people can hardly imagine. The needles at the points of the leaves are fully an inch long, extremely fine and strong, and sharper than any two-edged sword. No clothes except a leather dress can resist them. They pierce everywhere with the most stinging pain, and make antiquarian research in this famous spot a veritable martyrdom, which can only be supported by a very burning thirst for knowledge, or the sure hope of future fame. The rough masses of stone are so loose that one's footing is insecure, and when the traveler loses his balance, and falls among the thistles, he will wish that he had gone to Jericho instead, or even fallen among thieves on the way.

It is impossible to approach Mycenæ from any side without being struck with the picturesqueness of the site. If you come down over[Pg 172] the mountains from Corinth, as soon as you reach the head of the valley of the Inachus, which is the plain of Argos, you turn aside to the left, or east, into a secluded corner—"a recess of the horse-feeding Argos," as Homer calls it—and then you find on the edge of the valley, and where the hills begin to rise one behind the other, the village of Charváti. When you ascend from this place, you find that the lofty Mount Elias is separated from the plain by two nearly parallel waves of land, which are indeed joined at the northern end by a curving saddle, but elsewhere are divided by deep gorges. The loftier and shorter wave forms the rocky citadel of Mycenæ—the Argion, as it was once called.

I need not attempt a fresh description of the Great Treasury. It is in no sense a rude building, or one of a helpless and barbarous age, but, on the contrary, the product of enormous appliances, and of a perfect knowledge of all the mechanical requirements for any building, if we except the application of the arch. The stones are hewn square, or curved to form the circular dome within, with admirable exactness. Above the enormous lintel-stone, nearly twenty-seven feet long, and which is doubly grooved, by way of ornament, all along its edge over the doorway, there is now a triangular window or aperture, which was certainly filled with some artistic carving like the analogous space over the lintel in the gate of the Acropolis. Shortly after Lord Elgin had cleared the entrance, Gell and Dodwell found various pieces of green and red marble carved with geometrical patterns, some of which are reproduced in Dodwell's book. Gell also[Pg 173] found some fragments in a neighboring chapel, and others are said to be built into a wall at Nauplia. There are supposed to have been short columns standing on each side in front of the gate, with some ornament surmounting them; but this seems to me to rest on doubtful evidence, and on theoretical reconstruction. Dr. Schliemann, however, asserts them to have been found at the entrance of the second treasury which Mrs. Schliemann excavated, tho his account is somewhat vague. There is the strongest architectural reason for the triangular aperture over the door, as it diminishes the enormous weight to be borne by the lintel; and here, no doubt, some ornament very like lions on the other gate may have been applied.

There has been much controversy about the use to which this building was applied, and we can not now attempt to change the name, even if we could prove its absurdity. Pausanias, who saw Mycenæ in the second century A.D., found it in much the same state as we do, and was no better informed than we, tho he tells us the popular belief that this and its fellows were treasure-houses like that of the Minyæ at Orchomenus, which was very much greater, and was, in his opinion, one of the most wonderful things in all Greece.

Standing at the entrance, you look out upon the scattered masonry of the walls of Mycenæ, on the hillock over against you. Close behind this is a dark and solemn chain of mountains. The view is narrow and confined, and faces the north, so that, for most of the day, the gate is dark and in shadow. We can conceive no fitter[Pg 174] place for the burial of a king, within sight of his citadel, in the heart of a deep natural hillock, with a great solemn portal symbolizing the resistless strength of the barrier which he had passed into an unknown land. But one more remark seems necessary. This treasure-house is by no means a Greek building in its features. It has the same perfection of construction which can be seen at Eleutheræ, or any other Greek fort, but still the really analogous buildings are to be found in far distant lands—in the raths of Ireland, and the barrows of the Crimea.

"And yet how lovely in thine age of woe,
Land of lost gods and godlike men, are thou!
Thy vales of evergreen, thy hills of snow,
Proclaim thee Nature's varied favourite now:
Thy fanes, thy temples to the surface bow,
Commingling slowly with heroic earth,
Broke by the share of every rustic plough:

"Yet are thy skies as blue, thy crags as wild:
Sweet are thy groves, and verdant are thy fields,
Thine olives ripe as when Minerva smiled,
And still his honeyed wealth Hymettus yields;
There the blithe bee his fragrant fortress builds,
The freeborn wanderer of thy mountain air;
Apollo still thy long, long summer gilds,
Still in his beam Mendeli's marbles glare;
Art, Glory, Freedom fail, but Nature still is fair."

—From Byron's "Childe Harold."[Pg 175]





Crete lies between the parallels of 35 degrees and 36 degrees, not much farther removed from Africa than from Europe, and its climate, consequently, is intermediate between that of Greece and that of Alexandria. In the morning it was already visible, altho some thirty miles distant, the magnificent snowy mass of the White Mountains gleaming before us, under a bank of clouds. By ten o'clock, the long blue line of the coast broke into irregular points, the Dictynnæan promontory and that of Akroteri thrusting themselves out toward us so as to give an amphitheatric character to that part of the island we were approaching, while the broad, snowy dome of the Cretan Ida, standing alone, far to the east, floated in a sea of soft, golden light. The White Mountains were completely enveloped in snow to a distance of 4,000 feet below their summits, and scarcely a rock pierced the luminous covering. The shores of the Gulf of Khania, retaining their amphitheatric form, rose gradually from the water, a rich panorama of wheat-fields, vineyards and olive groves, crowded[Pg 176] with sparkling villages, while Khania, in the center, grew into distinctness—a picturesque jumble of mosques, old Venetian arches and walls, pink and yellow buildings, and palm trees. The character of the scene was Syrian rather than Greek, being altogether richer and warmer than anything in Greece.

Khania occupies the site of the ancient Cydonia, by which name the Greek bishopric is still called. The Venetian city was founded in 1252, and any remnants of the older town which may have then remained, were quite obliterated by it. The only ruins now are those of Venetian churches, some of which have been converted into mosques, and a number of immense arched vaults, opening on the harbor, built to shelter the galleys of the Republic. Just beyond the point on which stands the Serai, I counted fifteen of these, side by side, eleven of which are still entire. A little further, there are three more, but all are choked up with sand, and of no present use. The modern town is an exact picture of a Syrian seaport, with its narrow, crooked streets, shaded bazaars, and turbaned merchants. Its population is 9,500, including the garrison, according to a census just completed at the time of our visit. It is walled, and the gates are closed during the night....

Passing through the large Turkish cemetery, which was covered with an early crop of blue anemones, we came upon the rich plain of Khania, lying broad and fair, like a superb garden, at the foot of the White Mountains, whose vast masses of shining snow filled up the entire southern heaven. Eastward, the plain[Pg 177] slopes to the deep Bay of Suda, whose surface shone blue above the silvery line of the olive groves; while, sixty miles away, rising high above the intermediate headlands, the solitary peak of Mount Ida, bathed in a warm afternoon glow, gleamed like an Olympian mount, not only the birthplace, but the throne of immortal Jove. Immense olive trees from the dark-red, fertile earth; cypresses and the canopied Italian pine interrupted their gray monotony, and every garden hung the golden lamps of its oranges over the wall. The plain is a paradise of fruitfulness....

In the morning, the horses were brought to us at an early hour, in charge of a jolly old officer of gendarmes, who was to accompany us. As far as the village of Kalepa, there is a carriage road; afterward, only a stony path. From the spinal ridge of the promontory, which we crossed, we overlooked all the plain of Khania, and beyond the Dictynnæan peninsula, to the western extremity of Crete. The White Mountains, tho less than seven thousand, feet in height, deceive the eye by the contrast between their spotless snows and the summer at their base, and seem to rival the Alps. The day was cloudless and balmy; birds sang on every tree, and the grassy hollows were starred with anemones, white, pink, violet and crimson. It was the first breath of the southern spring, after a winter which had been as terrible for Crete as for Greece.

After a ride of three hours, we reached a broad valley, at the foot of that barren mountain mass in which the promontory terminates.[Pg 178] To the eastward we saw the large monastery of Agia Triada (the Holy Trinity), overlooking its fat sweep of vine and olive land.... In the deep, dry mountain glen which we entered, I found numbers of carob-trees. Rocks of dark-blue limestone, stained with bright orange oxydations, overhung us as we followed the track of a torrent upward into the heart of this bleak region, where, surrounded by the hot, arid peaks, is the Monastery of Governato.

We descended on foot to the Monastery of Katholiko, which we reached in half an hour. Its situation is like that of San Saba in Palestine, at the bottom of a split in the stony hills, and the sun rarely shines upon it. Steps cut in the rock lead down the face of the precipice to the deserted monastery, near which is a cavern 500 feet long, leading into the rock. The ravine is spanned by an arch, nearly fifty feet high.

At Agia Triada, as we rode up the stately avenue of cypresses, between vineyards and almond trees in blossom, servants advanced to take our horses, and the abbot shouted, "Welcome," from the top of the steps. We were ushered into a clean room, furnished with a tolerable library of orthodox volumes. A boy of fifteen, with a face like the young Raphael, brought us glasses of a rich, dark wine, something like port, some jelly and coffee. The size and substantial character of this monastery attests its wealth, no less than the flourishing appearance of the lands belonging to it. Its large courtyard is shaded with vine-bowers and orange trees, and the chapel in the center has a façade supported by Doric columns.[Pg 179]



The ruins [of the Cnossos palace] lie at the east of the high road, in a deep valley. Their excavation has been very complete and satisfactory, and while some restorations have been attempted here and there, chiefly because of absolute necessity to preserve portions of the structure, they are not such restorations as to jar on one, but exhibit a fidelity to tradition that saves them from the common fate of such efforts. Little or no retouching was necessary in the case of the stupendous flights of steps that were found leading up to the door of this prehistoric royal residence, and which are the first of the many sights the visitor of to-day may see.

It is in the so-called "throne room of Minos" that the restoring hand is first met. Here it has been found necessary to provide a roof, that damage by weather be avoided; and to-day the throne room is a dusky spot, rather below the general level of the place. Its chief treasure is the throne itself, a stone chair, carved in rather rudimentary ornamentation, and about the size of an ordinary chair. The roof is supported by the curious, top-heavy-looking stone pillars, that are known to have prevailed not only in the Minoan but in Mycenæan period; monoliths noticeably larger at the top than at the bottom, reversing the usual form of stone[Pg 180] pillar with which later ages have made us more familiar. This quite illogical inversion of what we now regard as the proper form has been accounted for in theory, by assuming that it was the natural successor of the sharpened wooden stake. When the ancients adopted stone supports for their roofs, they simply took over the forms they had been familiar with in the former use of wood, and the result was a stone pillar that copied the earlier wooden one in shape. Time, of course, served to show that the natural way of building demanded the reversal of this custom; but in the Mycenæan age it had not been discovered, for there are evidences that similar pillars existed in buildings of that period, and the representation of a pillar that stands between the two lions on Mycenæ's famous gate has this inverted form.

Many hours may be spent in detailed examination of this colossal ruin, testifying to what must have been in its day an enormous and impressive palace. One can not go far in traversing it without noticing the traces still evident enough of the fire that obviously destroyed it many hundred, if not several thousand, years before Christ. Along the western side have been discovered long corridors, from which scores of long and narrow rooms were to be entered. These, in the published plans, serve to give to the ruin a large share of its labyrinthine character. It seems to be agreed now that these were the storerooms of the palace, and in them may still be seen the huge earthen jars which once served to contain the palace supplies. Long rows of them stand in the[Pg 181] ancient hallways and in the narrow cells that lead off them, each jar large enough to hold a fair-sized man, and in number sufficient to have accommodated Ali Baba and the immortal forty thieves. In the center of the palace little remains; but in the southeastern corner, where the land begins to slope abruptly to the valley below, there are to be seen several stories of the ancient building. Here one comes upon the rooms marked with the so-called "distaff" pattern, supposed to indicate that they were the women's quarters.

The restorer has been busy here, but not offensively so. Much of the ancient wall is intact, and in one place is a bathroom with a very diminutive bathtub still in place. Along the eastern side is also shown the oil press, where olives were once made to yield their coveted juices, and from the press proper a stone gutter conducted the fluid down to the point where jars were placed to receive it. This discovery of oil presses in ancient buildings, by the way, has served in more than one case to arouse speculation as to the antiquity of oil lamps such as were once supposed to belong only to a much later epoch. Whether in the Minoan days they had such lamps or not, it is known that they had at least an oil press and a good one. In the side of the hill below the main palace of Minos has been unearthed a smaller structure, which they now call the "villa," and in which several terraces, have been uncovered rather similar to the larger building above. Here is another throne room, cunningly contrived to be lighted by a long shaft of light from above[Pg 182] falling on the seat of justice itself, while the rest of the room is in obscurity.

It may be that it requires a stretch of the imagination to compare the palace of Cnossos with Troy, but nevertheless there are one or two features that seem not unlike the discoveries made by Dr. Schliemann on that famous site. Notably so, it seems to me, are the traces of the final fire, which are to be seen at Cnossos as at Troy, and the huge jars, which may be compared with the receptacles the Trojan excavators unearthed, and found still to contain dried peas and other things that the Trojans left behind when they fled from their sacked and burning city. Few are privileged to visit the site of Priam's city, which is hard, indeed, to reach; but it is easy enough to make the excursion to Candia and visit the palace of old King Minos, which is amply worth the trouble, besides giving a glimpse of a civilization that is possibly vastly older than even that of Troy and Mycenæ. For those who reverence the great antiquities, Candia and its pre-classic suburb are distinctly worth visiting, and are unique among the sights of the ancient Hellenic and pre-Hellenic world.



From whichever side our traveler draws near to Corfu, he comes from lands where Greek[Pg 183] influence and Greek colonization spread in ancient times, but from which the Greek elements have been gradually driven out, partly by the barbarism of the East, partly by the rival civilization of the West. The land which we see is Hellenic in a sense in which not even Sicily, not even the Great Hellas of Southern Italy, much less than the Dalmatian archipelago, ever became Hellenic. Prom the first historic glimpse which we get of Korkyra,[64] it is not merely a land fringed by Hellenic colonies; it is a Hellenic island, the dominion of a single Hellenic city, a territory the whole of whose inhabitants were, at the beginning of recorded history, either actually Hellenic or so thoroughly hellenized that no one thought of calling their Hellenic position in question. Modern policy has restored it to its old position by making it an integral portion of the modern Greek kingdom.

To the south of the present town, connected with it by a favorite walk of the inhabitants of Corfu, a long and broad peninsula stretches boldly into the sea. Both from land and from sea, it chiefly strikes the eye as a wooded mass, thickly covered with the aged olive trees which form so marked a feature in the scenery of the island. A few houses skirt the base, growing on the land side into the suburb of Kastrades, which may pass for a kind of connecting link between the old and the new city. And from the midst of the wood, on the side nearest to the modern town, stands out the villa of the King of the Greeks, the chief modern dwelling on the site of ancient Korkyra. This peninsu[Pg 184]lar hill, still known as Palaiopolis, was the site of the old Corinthian city whose name is so familiar to every reader of Thucydides. On either side of it lies one of its two forsaken harbors. Between the old and the new city lies the so-called harbor of Alkinoos; beyond the peninsula, stretching far inland, lies the old Hyllaic harbor, bearing the name of one of the three tribes which seem to have been essential to the being of a Dorian commonwealth....

This last is the Corfu whose fate seems to have been to become the possession of every power which has ruled in that quarter of the world, with one exception. For fourteen hundred years the history of the island is the history of endless changes of masters. We see it first a nominal ally, then a direct possession, of Rome and of Constantinople; we then see it formed into a separate Byzantine principality, conquered by the Norman lord of Sicily, again a possession of the Empire, then a momentary possession of Venice, again a possession of the Sicilian kingdom under its Angevin kings, till at last it came back to Venetian rule, and abode for four hundred years under the Lion of Saint Mark. Then it became part of that first strange Septinsular Republic of which the Czar was to be the protector and the Sultan the overlord. Then it was a possession of France; then a member of the second Septinsular Republic under the hardly disguised sovereignty of England; now at last it is the most distant, but one of the most valuable, of the provinces of the modern Greek kingdom.[Pg 185]

Of the modern city there is but little to say. As becomes a city which was so long a Venetian possession, the older part of it has much of the character of an Italian town. It is rich in street arcades; but they present but few architectural features; and we find none of those various forms of ornamental window so common, not only in Venice and Verona, but in Spalato, Cattaro, and Traü. The churches in the modern city are architecturally worthless. They are interesting so far as they will give to many their first impression of orthodox arrangement and orthodox ritual. The few ecclesiastical antiquities of the place belong to the elder city. The suburb of the lower slope of the hill contains three churches, all of them small, but each of which has an interest of its own.



Coming on deck the next morning at the fresh hour of sunrise, I found we were at Rhodes. We lay just off the semicircular harbor, which is clasped by walls—partly shaken down by earthquakes—which have noble, round towers at each embracing end. Rhodes is, from the sea, one of the most picturesque cities in the Mediterranean, altho it has little remains of that ancient splendor which caused Strabo to prefer it to Rome or Alexandria. The harbor wall, which is flanked on each side by[Pg 186] stout and round, stone windmills, extends up the hill, and becoming double, surrounds the old town; these massive fortifications of the Knights of St. John have withstood the onsets of enemies and the tremors of the earth, and, with the ancient moat, excite the curiosity of this so-called peaceful age of iron-clads and monster cannon. The city ascends the slope of the hill and passes beyond the wall. Outside and on the right toward the sea are a picturesque group of a couple of dozen stone windmills, and some minarets and a church-tower or two. Higher up the hill is sprinkled a little foliage, a few mulberry trees, and an isolated palm or two; and, beyond, the island is only a mass of broken, bold, rocky mountains. Of its forty-five miles of length, running southwesterly from the little point on which the city stands, we can see but little.

Whether or not Rhodes emerged from the sea at the command of Apollo, the Greeks exprest by this tradition of its origin their appreciation of its gracious climate, fertile soil, and exquisite scenery. From remote antiquity it had fame as a seat of arts and letters, and of a vigorous maritime power, and the romance of its early centuries was equaled if not surpassed when it became the residence of the Knights of St. John. I believe that the first impress of its civilization was given by the Phœnicians; it was the home of the Dorian race before the time of the Trojan War, and its three cities were members of the Dorian Hexapolis; it was, in fact, a flourishing maritime confederacy strong enough to send colonies to the distant Italian coast, and Sybaris and Parthenope (modern Naples) perpetuated the luxurious refinement[Pg 187] of their founders. The city of Rhodes itself was founded about four hundred years before Christ, and the splendor of its palaces, its statues and paintings gave it a pre-eminence among the most magnificent cities of the ancient world. If the earth of this island could be made to yield its buried treasures as Cyprus has, we should doubtless have new proofs of the influence of Asiatic civilization upon the Greeks, and be able to trace in the early Doric arts and customs the superior civilization of the Phœnicians, and of the masters of the latter in science and art, the Egyptians.

Naturally, every traveler who enters the harbor of Rhodes hopes to see the site of one of the seven wonders of the world, the Colossus. He is free to place it on either mole at the entrance of the harbor, but he comprehends at once that a statue which was only one hundred and five feet high could never have extended its legs across the port. The fame of this colossal bronze statue of the sun is disproportioned to the period of its existence; it stood only fifty-six years after its erection, being shaken down by an earthquake in the year 224 B.C., and encumbering the ground with its fragments till the advent of the Moslem conquerors.

Passing from the quay through a highly ornamented Gothic gateway, we ascended the famous historic street, still called the Street of the Knights, the massive houses of which have withstood the shocks of earthquakes and the devastation of Saracenic and Turkish occupation. This street, of whose palaces we have heard so much, is not imposing; it is not wide, its solid stone houses are only two stories high, and their fronts are now disfigured by cheap Arab bal[Pg 188]conies; but the façades are gray with age. All along are remains of carved windows. Gothic sculptured doorways and shields and coats of arms, crosses and armorial legends, are set in the walls, partially defaced by time and the respect of Suleiman for the Knights, have spared the mementos of their faith and prowess. I saw no inscriptions that are intact, but made out upon one shield the words "voluntas mei est." The carving is all beautiful.

We went through the silent streets, waking only echoes of the past, out to the ruins of the once elegant church of St. John, which was shaken down by a powder-explosion some thirty years ago, and utterly flattened by an earthquake some years afterward. Outside the ramparts we met, and saluted, with the freedom of travelers, a gorgeous Turk who was taking the morning air, and whom our guide in bated breath said was the governor. In this part of the town is the Mosque of Suleiman; in the portal are two lovely marble columns, rich with age; the lintels are exquisitely carved with flowers, arms, casques, musical instruments, the crossed sword and the torch, and the mandolin, perhaps the emblem of some troubadour knight. Wherever we went we found bits of old carving, remains of columns, sections of battlemented roofs. The town is saturated with the old Knights. Near the mosque is a foundation of charity, a public kitchen, at which the poor were fed or were free to come and cook their food; it is in decay now, and the rooks were sailing about its old, round-topped chimneys.

There are no Hellenic remains in the city, and the only remembrance of that past which we[Pg 189] searched for was the antique coin, which has upon one side the head of Medusa and upon the other the rose (rhoda) which gave the town its name. The town was quiet; but in pursuit of this coin in the Jews' quarter we started up swarms of traders, were sent from Isaac to Jacob, and invaded dark shops and private houses where Jewish women and children were just beginning to complain of the morning light. Our guide was a jolly Greek, who was willing to awaken the whole town in search of a silver coin. The traders, when we had routed them out, had little to show in the way of antiquities. Perhaps the best representative of the modern manufactures of Rhodes is the wooden shoe, which is in form like the Damascus clog, but is inlaid with more taste. The people whom we encountered in our morning walk were Greeks or Jews. The morning atmosphere was delicious, and we could well believe that the climate of Rhodes is the finest in the Mediterranean, and also that it is the least exciting of cities.



Beyond Thasos is the Thracian coast and Mt. Pangaus, and at the foot of it Philippi, the Ma[Pg 190]cedonian town where republican Rome fought its last battle, where Cassius leaned upon his sword-point, believing everything lost. Brutus transported the body of his comrade to Thasos and raised for him a funeral pyre; and twenty days later, on the same field, met again that specter of death which had summoned him to Philippi. It was not many years after this victory of the Imperial power that a greater triumph was won at Philippi, when Paul and Silas, cast into prison, sang praises unto God at midnight, and an earthquake shook the house and opened the prison doors.

In the afternoon we came in sight of snowy Mt. Athos, an almost perpendicular limestone rock, rising nearly six thousand four hundred feet out of the sea. The slender promontory which this magnificent mountain terminates is forty miles long and has only an average breadth of four miles. The ancient canal of Xerxes quite severed it from the mainland. The peninsula, level at the canal, is a jagged stretch of mountains (seamed by chasms), which rise a thousand, two thousand, four thousand feet, and at last front the sea with the sublime peak of Athos, the site of the most conspicuous beacon-fire of Agamemnon. The entire promontory is, and has been since the time of Constantine, ecclesiastic ground; every mountain and valley has its convent; besides the twenty great monasteries are many pious retreats. All the sects of the Greek church are here represented; the communities pay a tribute to the Sultan, but the government is in the hands of four presidents, chosen by the synod, which holds weekly sessions and takes the presidents,[Pg 191] yearly, from the monasteries in rotation. Since their foundation these religious houses have maintained against Christians and Saracens an almost complete independence, and preserved in their primitive simplicity the manners and usages of the earliest foundations.

Here, as nowhere else in Europe or Asia, can one behold the architecture, the dress, the habits of the Middle Ages. The good devotees have been able to keep themselves thus in the darkness and simplicity of the past by a rigorous exclusion of the sex always impatient of monotony, to which all the changes of the world are due. No woman, from the beginning till now, has ever been permitted to set foot on the peninsula. Nor is this all; no female animal is suffered on the holy mountain, not even a hen. I suppose, tho I do not know, that the monks have an inspector of eggs, whose inherited instincts of aversion to the feminine gender enable him to detect and reject all those in which lurk the dangerous sex. Few of the monks eat meat, half the days of the year are fast days, they practise occasionally abstinence from food for two or three days, reducing their pulses to the feeblest beating, and subduing their bodies to a point that destroys their value even as spiritual tabernacles. The united community is permitted to keep a guard of fifty Christian soldiers, and the only Moslem on the island is the solitary Turkish officer who represents the Sultan; his position can not be one generally coveted by the Turks, since the society of women is absolutely denied him. The libraries of Mt. Athos are full of unarranged manuscripts, which are probably mainly filled with the theo[Pg 192]logic rubbish of the controversial ages, and can scarcely be expected to yield again anything so valuable as the Tishendorf Scriptures.

At sunset we were close under Mt. Athos, and could distinguish the buildings of the Laura Convent, amid the woods beneath the frowning cliff. And now was produced the apparition of a sunset, with this towering mountain cone for a centerpiece, that surpassed all our experience and imagination. The sea was like satin for smoothness, absolutely waveless, and shone with the colors of changeable silk, blue, green, pink, and amethyst. Heavy clouds gathered about the sun, and from behind them he exhibited burning spectacles, magnificent fireworks, vast shadow-pictures, scarlet cities, and gigantic figures stalking across the sky. From one crater of embers he shot up a fan-like flame that spread to the zenith and was reflected on the water. His rays lay along the sea in pink, and the water had the sheen of iridescent glass. The whole sea for leagues was like this; even Lemnos and Samothrace lay in a dim pink and purple light in the east. There were vast clouds in huge walls, with towers and battlements, and in all fantastic shapes—one a gigantic cat with a preternatural tail, a cat of doom four degrees long. All this was piled about Mt. Athos, with its sharp summit of snow, its dark sides of rock.[Pg 193]


[1] From "Pictures from Italy." Dickens made his trip to Italy in 1844.

[2] From "Italy: Florence and Venice." By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers. Henry Holt & Co. Copyright, 1869. Translated by John Durand.

[3] Begun in 1386. Its architects were Germans and Frenchmen.

[4] From "Italy: Florence and Venice." By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, Henry Holt & Co. Copyright, 1869. Translated by John Durand.

[5] From "The Story of Pisa." Published by E. P. Dutton & Co.

[6] From "Pictures From Italy."

[7] From "Cities of Southern Italy and Sicily."

[8] From "Travels in Italy."

[9] A German friend with whom Goethe was traveling.

[10] From "Pictures from Italy."

[11] From "Italy: Rome and Naples." By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, Henry Holt & Co. Copyright, 1869. Translated by John Durand.

[12] This term designates a road built along the rocky shore of a seaside, being a figurative application of the architectural term "cornice."—Translator's note.

[13] From "Cities of Southern Italy and Sicily."

[14] From a letter to Thomas Love Peacock, written in 1819.

[15] From "Pictures from Italy."

[16] From "Journeys in Italy." By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, Brentano's. Copyright, 1902.

[17] The memoir writer.

[18] From "Journeys in Italy." By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, Brentano's. Copyright, 1902.

[19] From "Unknown Switzerland." Published by James Pott & Co. Politically, Lake Lugano is part Swiss and part Italian.

[20] The St. Gothard.

[21] From a letter to Thomas Love Peacock, written in 1818.

[22] From "The Spell of the Italian Lakes." By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, L. C. Page & Co. Copyright, 1907.

[23] From "Remarks on Several Parts of Italy in the Years 1701, 1702, 1703."

[24] In the town are now about 1,500 people; in the whole territory of the republic, 9,500. San Marino lies about fourteen miles southwest from Rimini.

[25] At the present time, fourteen hundred years; so that San Marino is the oldest as well as the smallest republic in the world.

[26] From "French and Italian Note-Books." By special arrangement with, and by permission of, Houghton, Mifflin Co., publishers of Hawthorne's works. Copyright, 1871, 1883, 1889.

[27] The author's son, Julian Hawthorne.

[28] From "Italian Cities." By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, Charles Scribner's Sons. Copyright, 1900.

[29] From "Italy: Florence and Venice." By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, Henry Holt & Co. Copyright, 1869.

[30] From "Historical and Architectural Sketches: Chiefly Italian." Published by the Macmillan Co.

[31] From "Cities of Southern Italy and Sicily."

[32] From "Letters of a Traveler."

[33] From "Historical and Architectural Sketches: Chiefly Italian." Published by the Macmillan Co.

[34] From "Sicily: The Garden of the Mediterranean." By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, L. C. Page & Co. Copyright, 1909.

[35] From "The History of Sicily." Published by the Macmillan Co.

[36] The Greek name for Girgenti.

[37] From "Travels in Italy."

[38] From "Travels in Italy."

[39] From "Sicily: The Garden of the Mediterranean." By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, L. C. Page & Co. Copyright, 1909.

[40] From "Vacation Days in Greece." By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, Charles Scribner's Sons. Copyright, 1903.

[41] From "Constantinople." By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, Henry Holt & Co. Copyright, 1875.

[42] From "Rambles and Studies in Greece." Published by the Macmillan Co.

[43] From "Travels in Greece and Russia." Published by G. P. Putnam's Sons.

[44] From the "Description of Greece." Pausanias was a Greek traveler and geographer who lived in the second century A.D.—in the time of the Roman emperors, Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius.

[45] From "Rambles and Studies in Greece." Published by the Macmillan Co.

[46] The Venetian commander who bombarded the Parthenon in 1687.

[47] Edward Dodwell (1767-1832), an English traveler and archeologist, notable for his investigations in Greece when it had been little explored, and author of various records of his work.—Author's note.

[48] From "Rambles and Studies in Greece." Published by the Macmillan Co.

[49] This very pattern, in mahogany, with cane seats, and adapted, like all Greek chairs, for loose cushions, was often used in Chippendale work, and may still be found in old mansions furnished at that epoch.—Author's note.

[50] From "Rambles and Studies in Greece." Published by the Macmillan Co.

[51] From "Travels in Greece and Russia." Published by G. P. Putnam's Sons.

[52] From "Rambles and Studies in Greece." Published by the Macmillan Co.

[53] From "Greece and the Aegean Islands." By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, Houghton, Mifflin Co. Copyright, 1907.

[54] From the "Description of Greece." Pausanias wrote in the time of Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius.

[55] From "Vacation Days in Greece." By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, Charles Scribner's Sons. Copyright, 1903.

[56] From "In the Levant." By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, Houghton, Mifflin Co. Copyright, 1875. Salonica, formerly Turkish territory, was added to the territory of Greece in 1913, under the terms of the treaty of peace that followed the Balkan war against Turkey.

[57] From "In the Levant." By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, Houghton, Mifflin Co. Copyright, 1875.

[58] From "Travels in Greece and Russia." Published by G. P. Putnam's Sons.

[59] From "Travels in Greece and Russia," Published by G. P. Putnam's Sons.

[60] From "Rambles and Studies in Greece." Published by the Macmillan Co.

[61] From "Travels in Greece and Russia." Published by G. P. Putnam's Sons.

[62] From "Greece and the Ægean Islands." By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, Houghton, Mifflin Co. Copyright, 1907.

[63] From "Sketches from the Subject and Neighbor Lands of Venice." Published by the Macmillan Co.

[64] The ancient Greek name of Corfu.

[65] From "In the Levant." By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, Houghton, Mifflin Co. Copyright, 1876.

[66] From "In the Levant." By special arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, Houghton, Mifflin Co. Copyright, 1876. As one of the results of the Balkan war of 1912-1913, Mt. Athos, which had formerly been under Turkish rule, was added to the territory of Greece. Nature made Mt. Athos a part of the mainland, but a canal was cut by Xerxes across the lowland at the base of the lofty promontory, making it an island. Some parts of this canal still remain.

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