Page images

The outer gate should be the boundary
Of every modest woman's walk.

In depravity and licentiousness they at least equal their ancestors. The accounts which I received from very good authority are too disgusting to be submitted to public view. They are, however, confirmed by the narration of an old traveller. See C. 22, of Navigations, Peregrinations, and Voyages made into Turkey, by Nicholas Nicholay Dauphinois Lord of Arfeuile, 1551.

'They have found out a way of corresponding with their lovers by sending 'them different tokens, as an orange, an almond, &c. for the interpretation * of which, the lover has recourse to some old woman who is supposed to be 'skilled in magic. He replies in the same way. This correspondence is called 'MdvtStt, and is something similar to the clandestine courtship of the Greek 'ladies described by Lucian.*

'The way in which a marriage is negotiated is this. The parents of the female, 'when they have fixed upon a man whom they think likely to prove an eligible 'connection, make a long list of the different things which they intend to give 'their daughter as a dowry. This is transmitted to the man, who looks it 'over, and if he thinks the offer sufficiently lucrative accepts it, if not, rejects 'the proposal. After it is determined that the couple are to be married, they 'never see each other till the ceremony takes place, either in the house of the 'bridegroom or in the church. The bride, who is still called by the ancient 'name of Nu^ipn,3 is brought there veiled; and at the ceremony a crown of 'artificial flowers is placed on the head of the bride and bridegroom. The 'eighth day after the marriage they both go to visit the parents of the bride, 'and a feast, with dancing and singing, is prepared on the occasion.

'The marriage ceremonies of the Albanians have several peculiarities, 'some of which appear to be relics of ancient customs. On the day of the 'marriage the bridegroom proceeds on horseback to the house of the bride, 'attended by his friends. The bride is brought out, and placed sideways on 'a horse, and conducted to the house of the bridegroom. When she ap'proaches the house a party of women meet her, and dance before her a dance

* Toxaris, s. 13. Ed. Hemsterhus:

* The ancient Greeks, however, applied the word Nv/*ph, to persons who had been married a long time as well as to those lately married. See Medea, 1. 149 and 163. In the first passage it is applied to Medea, in the last to Creusa.


'called Zuflof, holding each other by the hand. She proceeds into the house; 'the bridegroom remains at the door on horseback; a large cake, called 'ITAax8v7a, is brought out to him, which he breaks over his head and throws to 'his friends. He then enters the house, the Papas performs the marriage 'ceremony, and the day concludes with feasting and dancing.' Journal.

In this account of some of the marriage customs of the Greeks and Albanians, traces of ancient manners may be recognised. I will enumerate a few of them.

The relations formerly conducted the negotiation for marriage.4
The woman brought the dowry.'

The bride remained concealed for some days after the marriage.'
The custom of wearing crowns at the marriage is ancient.'
Bion talks of the ripof JapiAiov,' and Persuasion is poetically said to have
woven the marriage crown for Helen!'

The ancient Greeks had dances at their marriages.*

1. 258. The sprightly chorus.] 'The art of dancing is still cultivated very 'assiduously by all orders of Greeks. I will describe some of the most re'markable dances which I saw performed.

'1. The Xofef. This I saw danced by ten females. The number, however, 'is, I believe, unlimited, and men sometimes dance it along with the women.* 'They hold each other by the hand, and move with a slow step in a circular 'figure round the room. The first and second in the dance are the chief per'formers: the first holds the right hand of the second in her left, and extends 'between both hands a handkerchief, the position of which she continually 'varies. The two first are occupied in setting to each other, but with little 'variety of steps. After some time the first female resigns her place, which 'is taken by the second, and so on till the whole party has led in succession. 'The dance is tedious from its uniformity. Any variety that can be intro

4 Apol1. Rhod. iii. 656, and Id. i. 1. 780.

» Horn. Odyss. i. 1. 277. Eurip. Medea, 1. 238. Eurip. Iph. in Aul. 1.610. 6 Oppian. Halieutic. iv. 1. 179. » Eurip. Iph. in Au1. 1. 905. * Bion. Eid. i. L 88. » Coluthus de raptu Helena, 1 . 28. ■ Eurip. Ion. 1 . 1473. See also Hesiod. Scut. Her. 1 . 276. * In this and some other particulars it resembles the dance called 'Of ^o? (the necklace) described by Lucian, De Sal tat.

'duced, depends upon the invention of the first female. The Xo^of is men'tioned as a dance by Homer3 and by Euripides.4 It was a circular dance, 'and hence is called Xefof appiA*^?,* by Callimachus. It was anciently 'accompanied with songs.*

'2. The Xuplof. This resembles very much the Xopot. The only difference 'which I observed, was that the leader, instead of conducting the others 'always in the same figure round the room, varied it at pleasure; sometimes • passing under the joined hands of the other dancers, sometimes suddenly 'turning back, &c. It is danced, as well as the Xofof, by men and women 'tosether.' Journal.

This dance, according to tradition, was first performed by the youths and virgins of Delos on the return of Theseus from his successful expedition to Crete, and the leader of the dance was supposed to represent Ariadne. The different twinings and evolutions of the dance are meant to express the windings of the labyrinth. Callimachus has described it:

Ai St irofi 9txq0-<t88,i j£0fnl»Jff arp«Xff afaf •
An Tole tuu ftpMOM? fiawnrw Igw afotyta,

EiV«7o avv irxi$t<rTtv, oil KprffoO» atvnrXti'
0» j£«X«ren pv»n/*a Km adjuw Jim Q»Mtt
YIxnQxrts, xoci fvajuirlov lSot o-xoX»8 X«(3uftvOs
TlHytx rw irtgi (Supoi/ thigofxtvis xiMfMyM,
Kuxxmi / tigQWxflo' j^of8 J* t)fn<rx% ©»iirsuf.'

With many-twinkling feet the female band
Glide o'er the marble floor, hand join'd in hand:
Long flow'ry chaplets carelessly entwine
Cythera's statue and her sacred shrine,
Which Theseus erst from Creta's rugged shore
Amidst the rescued youths and virgins bore.
They from the lab'rinth's maze, and roarings dread
Of fierce Pasiphae's son, in safety fled,

» Horn. Odysa. Tiii. 1 . 264. 4 Eurip. Elect. 1 . 859.

> Callim. Hymn, in Dian. 1.3, and Spanheim's note; and Callim. Hymn, in De1. 1. 300. See also Jischin. in Ctes. p. 62o, Ed. Reiske; and Oppian Halieut. i. 674.

• jEschy1. Eumenid. 1 . 303. 7 Callim. Hymn, in De1. 1. 306.

[ocr errors]

'8. The IT*vwx*V This is danced by two persons. They stand opposite 'and at some dL»tance from each other. They each hold a handkerchief with 'both hands, the position of which they change continually; keeping it how'ever generally above the head. They advance and recede from each other 'with a very slow step, sometimes joining hands. There is not much beauty 'in this dance.

'4. The Afv*u1»x«f. This is a military dance, and requires great exertion and 'activity. hfvwSUt, from which its name is derived, signifies an Albanian sol'dier. I saw it danced by one, and by ten or twelve. The single dancer dis'• played a great deal of strength and agility. He began in a slow time, 'gradually encreasing the celerity of his motions. He held a handkercheif in 'his hand, dropped frequently on his knee, and shewed his force and dexterity 'in a variety of attitudes. This dance has a finer effect when performed by 'several. I saw it once performed by twelve Albanians.

'The different motions of the body in this dance, and the rapidity of the 'changes seem intended to represent the various positions of a warrior in 'battle, and in this respect it resembles the Pyrrhic dance of the ancients '(which the Lacedaemonians performed to the strains of Tyrtaeus)' and the ( war-dance of the American Indians. Seuthes, King of Thrace, is described 'by Xenophon,' to have leaped in the dance as if he was avoiding a dart.

Md* Tz\j7x fimXOev xscxTi rt »vXnilfs, xoct ir»Xiri^v u/Ao^oivxit p'vS/xaf rt xai 0toi / fxxlxSt

"After this, came in some blowing horns, and sounding upon the trumpets M made of raw hides, a melody not unlike that of the magadis. Then Seuthes, "starting from his seat, shouted aloud the war-cry, and leaped with great "agility, as if avoiding a dart."

'5. Another dance, called the Afv«uj«xof, but of a different description 'from the former. It is performed by a female, and is uncommonly elegant. 'I saw it danced by an Athenian lady. She began very slowly, walking round 1 the room to a measured step, with her eyes fixed on the ground and her 'hands placed on her sides: she gradually quickened the time, still preserv'ing the same figure. She then threw herself into a variety of the most beau'tiful attitudes, changing continually the position of the arms, which were

9 Athenaeus, 1. xiv. c. 29. * Xenoph. Anab. vii. c. 3.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »