Page images
PDF
EPUB

* of stones of an amazing size, adapted to each other with such exactness, that

* there is no occasion for filling the interstices with smaller pieces, as is the 'case at Tiryns. The masonry is beautiful, and not of so rude a kind as the

* Cyclopian. The walls are eighteen feet thick, and the passage through

* them into the room is covered by two immense blocks of stone, which 'rest upon the portal; the inner one is twenty-seven feet long, sixteen broad, 'and four thick. The interior of the building is a cone, formed of large 'massive ranges of masonry, surmounted by a key-stone of great size: it 'is forty-seven feet in diameter, and about fifty high. On the north side is 'a portal opening into another chamber, which has not yet been cleared. 'It is probably of the same construction as the first. An urn was discovered 'in this apartment when it was first opened, but it has been removed, I

* believe by Veli Pasha. Owing to this circumstance, it was at first called 'the tomb of Agamemnon.' The description which Pausanias gives3 of the 'treasuries of Atreus has induced some to apply to it that appellation. Fu'ture excavations may perhaps determine the original use of these curious 'buildings: at present the matter is ambiguous. Six columns of green marble 'were discovered under ground: they were curiously wrought, and formed, it 'is supposed, a part of the portal; they have been removed. Lord Elgin disco'vered and excavated this magnificent chamber,which impresses the mind with 'high admiration of the beauty and durability of the ancient edifices.' Journal.

From some passages in the Greek tragedies, it appears that Argos and Mycena? were considered only as different quarters of the same town, and the names applied indiscriminately. Strabo observes,4 that the tragic poets, in consequence of the vicinity of Argos and Mycenae, confound the two appellations, an observation which is repeated by the old Scholiast on Sophocles.5 The Pedagogue,' explaining to Orestes the situation of the different places, says, ' Here is old Argos; here the temple of Juno. That which we are 4 approaching (he continues) is Mycenae.' The murder of Clytemnestra is represented indifferently,' as having taken place at Argos and at Mycenae. Orestes calls on the Gods of Mycenae,* after hearing that his mother was in

* Paus. ii. c. 16. 3 Id. ib. 4 Strab.viii. p. 54T.

* Scho1. Vet. in1. 4. Elactr. Sophod. 4 Sophoc. Elect. 1. 4. 7 Compare Eurip. Elect. 1. Land 1.761.

* Compare Eurip. Elect. 641. and 674. Sec also Sophoc. Elect. 1. 1459.

Argos. He tells Iphigenia' that he was born at Argos, and afterwards says that he is from Mycenaa.

Mycenee, according to Pausanias and Strabo, was founded by Perseus.■ It was destroyed by the Argives, after the battle of Salamis.' The walls, however, owing to the strength of their structure, were not overthrown.1

1. 166. The Trojan captive.] Cassandra. See the Agamemnon of ^Eschylus, and particularly those very sublime scenes in which Cassandra describes her prophetic visions.

1. 178. Cyclopian fabric,,] The walls of Mycenae are continually mentioned by the ancient poets 4 as the work of the Cyclops.

Mr. Bryant,* with his usual learning and ingenuity, advances an opinion, that the Cyclopians were a distinct colony, famous for their knowledge of architecture; and that when they are described as of immense height, and with one eye in the middle of their forehead, their actual figures are not meant to be represented, but the peculiar structure of their edifices, which were lofty towers, with a casement at the top of the building, where a light and fire were kept.

1. 183. Rocks by warriors hurtdJ] I allude to a well known passage in Homer,* where Ajax is described as throwing at Hector a stone of immense size.

This stone was afterwards made the subject of an epigram by a Greek poet/ who takes occasion from it to revile the degeneracy of his contemporaries.

1. 204. The blooming vales of Arcady.] The southern parts of Arcadia, which border upon the ancient districts of Laconia, Messenia, and Elis, present a continual succession of scenery equal to any thing which has been described or imagined in poetic song. Luxuriance and beauty may be pronounced to be the general characteristics; flowery vallies, winding streams,

9 Iph. inTaur. 508. 510. Compare also Eurip. Heraclid. 1. 135, 137, 27fi, 290, and Apol1. Rhod. i. 125, ISti.

■ Paus. 1. ii. c. 16, and Strab. viii. p. 547. * Strab. viii. p. 547. * Paus. vii. c. 25.

* Eurip Here. Fur. 1. 943. Electr. 1.1158. Iph. in Au1. 1. 1500.

* Analysis of Ancient Mythology, t. ii. p. 232.8vo. edit. 6 II. xiv. 1. 409, 7 Agathias ap. Anthol, iii. p. 62

and hills shrouded nearly to their summits with wood, are the objects which commonly awaken our admiration. Sometimes, however, the features assume a bolder cast, and in the vicinity of Caritena craggy mountains, abrupt precipices, and the dark river roaring beneath the gloom of aged trees, inspire the mind with feelings of sublimity. In order to give as correct an idea as I am able of the general appearance of Arcadia, and also to justify the accuracy of the picture which I have endeavoured to draw in the text, I shall make a long extract from the journal of my tour through that country.

'Oct. 12. We left Tripolizza at half past ten for Leondari, where we arrived 'after a ride of six hours. The line of our journey was through a part of 'the district of ancient Maenalia. In about an hour after leaving the town we 'began to ascend from the plain by a rugged path amongst the mountains, and 'looking back had a fine view of the country through which we had passed, 'and the hills beyond Tripolizza. For the next three hours nothing remark'able or interesting presented itself; but the scenery for the last two hours 'before we arrived at Leondari, afforded me great pleasure. On all sides ap'peared views of pastoral beauty; we ascended and descended gentle emi'nences covered with oak trees, and beheld extensive plains stretched out 'before us to a great distance, richly adorned with vineyards, Indian corn, 'and wood. The plains were bounded by high mountains, the forms of some 'of which were clearly visible, whilst others were veiled in impenetrable 'clouds. Their sides to a considerable height appeared shaded with trees,

• and indeed wherever we turned our eyes the face of the country was orna'mented with luxuriant wood. The leaves had begun to change their colour,

and arrayed in the different tints of green, red, and yellow, were blended in

• the roost grateful harmony. The day, though rather too cloudy, and inclined 'to rain, was more favourable to the beauty of the scenery than a broad glare 'of sunshine. The clouds sometimes entirely and sometimes half concealed 'the fine mountainous forms which rose around us. Their shadows passing 'over the plain afforded all the agreeable varieties of gloom and brilliance; 'and from their openings gleams of light shot down frequently and rested on 'the sides of the hills and the summits of the woods. Every thing presented 'the appearance of pastoral tranquillity. No towns were visible in the pro

'spect to disturb its general stillness and repose. The peasants, habited in 'their picturesque dress, a coloured turban, a linen jacket and petticoat of 'snowy whiteness, and carrying in their hands a wooden crook, were quietly 'employed in following their large flocks of goats and sheep; or watched 'them as they fed, reclining under the shade of an ancient tree, and playing 'on their pipe of reed the rude airs of their country. The scenes forcibly 'recalled to my mind the passages of the poets who have celebrated the 'beauties of Arcadia, and I acknowledged at every step the justness of the 'taste which fixed upon it as the residence of rural happiness, and the abode 'of the sylvan gods. Pan was the favourite deity of Arcadia, and Maenalia the 'district which he was supposed principally to inhabit:

fl ITak Tlav, ctT fffff» Xxt upta /uaxfa Avuxtu
E»l« rvV

AgxaStxnv tm Timet' oSt xjia Xvfxof flxpvt

Ipse nemus linquens patrium saltusque Lycaei
Pan ovium custos, tua si tibi Maenala curae
Adsis, O Tegaee faveus.'

'The situation of Leondari is romantic, on the side of a hill in a defile. It 'looks down below on an extensive plain. It is a small village, the houses, 'however, appeared rather better than those of most Turkish towns, being 'built chiefly of stone, and having some fine cypress-trees intermingled 'with them.

'Oct. 13. We set out to view the ruins of Megalopolis distant two hours 'ride. The country displayed scenery similar to what I had so much admired 'the day before. From some woody eminences which we passed over on leav■ ing the town, we had a view of a very extensive plain expanded before us. 'It was not a perfect flat, but agreeably broken by small knolls and gentle 'elevations, covered with trees. Mountains surround this plain of different 'altitudes, some hold and lofty, others rising gently from the level: their sides

* well wooded, and the whole view rich and magnificent. For about an hour

* we rode along a plain, occasionally through woods of oak, or through dingles

* filled with plane-trees. At the small village of Sinani we procured a guide 'to conduct us to the ruins of Megalopolis, distant about a quarter of a mile.

1 Tbeoc. Eid.i. 1.123. » Callim. Hymn, in Dian. 1. 87. ■ Virg. Geor. i. 17.

'Remains of this once magnificent town are visible on both sides the river 'Helisson,1 which falls into the Alpheus. To the S. of the river, the theatre, which Pausanias says,3 was the largest in Greece, is easily traced: part of 'the walls, the semicircular form, and the marks of the seats still existing. 'It is situated on a small eminence rising from the river. Near it to the S. E. 'a piece of ground of an oblong form is visible, perhaps the stadium. The 'river is serpentine in its course; its banks shaded with plane-trees and wil'lows. Its bed is wide and deep, and in winter probably full, though when we

• saw it, it did not containmuch water. In the bed of the river and on its N. 'side are large blocks of stone still adhering together, the remains most pro'bably of a bridge. On the N. bank of the river are the ruins of the temple 'of Jupiter. Part of the peribolus still remains, and near it are fragments of 'large stones and broken fluted columns. The traces of several other build'ings are visible. The whole ground to some distance is strewed with broken 'fragments, which the peasants are collecting and laying in heaps. The si'tuation of Megalopolis is very magnificent. It is in the middle of a plain,

rich, fertile, and adorned with wood. Mountains of beautiful forms appear 'on every side and to the S. W. is Mount Lycaeus, celebrated in the fables of 'the poets as sacred to Jupiter:

Anflaiw Miroju» in Atnuun.

'Oct. 16. We left Leondari for Caritena. The road lies the whole way

* along the plain in which Megalopolis is situated. The plain is rich and 'woody, watered by the Alpheus, along the banks of which we rode for a con'siderable distance. The bed of it is broad, and shaded with plane-trees. 'There was great magnificence in the landscape during the whole of our ride, 'and we passed through some beautiful pastoral scenes, enlivened and adorned 'with the figures of peasants carrying crooks in their hands, and driving large 'flocks of sheep and goats. In four hours we reached Caritena, crossing the 'river (I think Alpheus) which here rolls over a rocky bed, by a bridge of five 'arches. Caritena is romantically situated on the sides of two rocky hills, on 'the summit of one of which are the ruins of a fortress. The scenery round 'it is wild and mountainous.

'Oct. 18. From Caritena we proceeded to Andruzzena, distant five hours 'ride. The views during the first part of the way were uncommonly grand

* Paus. viii. c. SO 1 Id. ib. 32. ♦ Callim. Hymn. ia. Jot. 1.4.

« PreviousContinue »