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faropu 7rf of T8f ff xrrifus
Eu. But if we die,
Pist. In the Ceramicus.
1. 379. Yon new-turnd earth.] The tombs of the ancient Athenians which I saw opened during my residence at Athens, are composed either of stone or marble, or a coarse baked clay. They are of an oblong form, with a cover, which fits exactly the sepulchre. I did not see any remains of the cedar boxes in which the body was sometimes enclosed ;* nor did I notice any particular direction observed in their disposition. The ancient authors do not agree in their accounts of the arrangement of the bodies in interment, whence we may conclude that there was no general rule. Diogenes Lacrtius says, that they were turned to the east; * JEYmn,3 on the contrary, and Plutarch, to the west. In the tombs made of clay, the tops of which are semicircular, in which the poorer class was buried, scarcely any thing is found except coarse lamps, rude lachrymatories, and mirrors; but in those of stone and marble which were appropriated to the rich, ornaments of gold, rings, alabaster lachrymatories, coloured glass vessels of the form of candlesticks, mirrors, and vases of beautiful figure and workmanship, are generally discovered. The skeletons enclosed are often perfect. They are commonly laid upon a bed of what appeared to be ashes, three or four inches deep. In their mouths sometimes is seen a small silver obolus (Charon's fare) and a piece of soapy substance is
* Eurip- Alcest. 1. 3C5. and Troades, 1141. M. Fauvel, in his Letters to the National Institute (a translation of which is given in the Monthly Magazine for Feb. 1813) has not thought proper to mention (lest, I suppose, he should offend his master) that an Englishman found the most valuable vases at Athens, and that Englishmen assisted at the discoveries of jEgina.
* Vit. Solon. * Var. Hist. 1. vii. See Meursius de Funere. Gronov. Thesaur. V. xi.
frequently found lying near the body, which perhaps had been used in the ablution of the corpse, to which great attention was paid.*
I. 384. Earthen plates.] The ancients poured libations on the tombs of their friends and relatives,* and traces of this ceremony may be observed in the funeral rites of the modern Greeks. The priest mixes up some earth with water, and pours it on the body when it is laid in the grave. The custom of visiting the tombs of the dead, and of feasting there, a practice as old as the time of Homer,6 is preserved. Forty days after interment/ the relations and friends meet at the tomb of the deceased, and partake of a large wX»rutil» (as it is called) or pasty. The ancients used, on the same occasion, a cake called wtXxvot.* Sig. Lusieri informed me that in the neighbourhood of Athens he had discovered tombs, on the tops of which were left the plates, cups, &c. which had been used at the funeral feast.' They were of rude and inelegant workmanship, and apparently of very remote antiquity. The spirits of the departed were supposed to return to earth, in order to partake of the funeral repast, an idea which Lucian has ridiculed with his usual wit.'
It is not improbable that the custom of placing plates and cups upon the tombs originated in a superstitious notion which the ancients entertained that Death came to feast at the sepulchres of the deceased, on the victims there slain:
The ceremony of the funeral supper was preserved by the Romans.
dimidio constriclus cammarus ovo Ponitur, exigua feral is ccena patella.'
Feasting used to form a part of the funeral in our island, and is still retained in Scotland, Ireland, and the northern parts of England. Shakspeare alludes to it:
♦ iEschy1. Coiiph. 1.488. and Eurip. Alcest. 1 . 98.
1 Soph. Antig. 1. 430, 901. ^Eschy1. Coiiph. 1 . 13. 6 Hom. II. 24. 1 . 665.
7 Anciently the tomb was visited by the friends of the deceased on the ninth day after interment. See Isaeus de Cironis Heraeditat. p. 224. 'Coeph. 1.89.
9 The funeral feast was however sometimes held at the house of the nearest relative of the deceased. Demosth. de Cor. sub fin. p. 321. Ed. Reiske.
• Lucian, Contemp1. 1.1. p. 619. * Eurip. Alcest. L 844. * Juv. Sat. v. L 84.
List all ye swains who watchful keep
Upon these hills your wand'ring sheep;
And oh! let my sad spirit share
Your constant love, your tender care.
To it in summer's fervid heat
May your young lambs a requiem bleat,
Whilst on the rocks the shepherd swain
In mournful murmurs swells his strain.
To my lone shade in early spring
Ye travellers your off'rings bring,
And o'er my solitary grave
With rev'rence pour the milky wave;
Then rifle ev'ry flowret's bloom,
To deck the turf that binds my tomb.
For think not that when life is fled,
No hopes or fears affect the dead,
E'en then their shades your care can prove,
And own with gratitude your love.
I. 428. When Pestilence his arid footsteps press'd.] There is a very fine chorus in Sophocles,7 in which the plague, and its dreadful effects, are forcibly painted.
N»iXta Tf ffi/tSxa
Ylaiocv n fovctirtrx rt f»ifuf ifM\lXos.
Upon the pestilential ground,
» CEdip.Tyran.1. 180.
Raise the weak voice of supplicating pray'r
Unto the Pow'rs divine,
The whole Chorus is too long to transcribe, but is well worth a perusal.
From the energetic narrative of Thucydides, Lucretius and Ovid' have composed terrific pictures of the plague at Athens and iEgina.
Of this dreadful disease as it now appears on the shores of the Levant, Procopius, according to medical writers, is the first who has given an accurate account. The description of Thucydides is deficient in some of the principal symptoms of the present disorder, and it is therefore concluded that the plague which caused such devastation in the Peloponnesian war is different from the disease which now prevails: Mr. Guys,' however, in his rage for assimilating every thing ancient to modern appearances and customs in Greece, says, that the plague described by Thucydides, Procopius, Drs. Bertrand, and Timoni, is the same disorder. , •
'As soon as the plague shews itself in a city (I write from the information 'of an Athenian who had seen it), the inhabitants abstain from all flesh meat 'and eat herbs and light food; they also make use of a herb called labdanum, 'which they hold, to the nose, fancying that the smell of it is a preservative 'against the disorder. As soon as attacked the patient begins to drink large 'quantities of brandy and eat caviar. The symptoms are a pain in the head, 'nausea, vomiting, and thirst, inflammation in the eyes and face; then tu'mours generally under the axillae, but sometimes in other parts of the body. 'The tumours are very large, about the size of a hen's egg, and if they come 'to suppuration the patient generally recovers, though slowly. If they do • not, they turn black, a delirium ensues, and the patient dies in five or six 'days from the beginning of the disorder. The diseased are always left to 'their fate, as the physicians, afraid of taking the disorder, will not visit them. 'They are attended only by men called Morti, who having had the disease are 'supposed not to be so much subject to its influence. It is said to be brought 'from iEgypt, and the Greeks have a current story which is curious enough. 'They say that the plague lias not appeared with its former violence since the
8 Lucret. Lib. vi. Ovid. Met. vii. 1. 523. See also a fine description of the plague in Thomson, Summer, 1 . 1052. » Voyage Litteraire, T. ii. p. 126.