Page images
PDF
EPUB

· XCIV. The manners and customs of the Lydians do not essentially vary from those of Greece,

except

father of Cræsus, the foundation of which (or the bottom part) ý sportos, is of great stones : but the rest of the sepulchre xwpace vñs, a tumulus of earth.

Here we have surely, in the first place, an exact description of what perfectly resembles a large British or Irish barrow; we have also some intimation in the next place of the probable existence of a passage and kitsvaen, or small room under the foundation of great stones, designed for the reception of the bones and ashes; and formed of large rude stones, as in some of our barrows, over which there was then a vast tumulus, or mount of earth, heaped up very high.

And the historian after this goes on, and says (as has hitherto been apprehended) “ that the artificers, the la- . “ bourers, and the girls who were prostituted for hire, con“ structed it, and even to my days are remaining five termini “ on the top of the sepulchre, having letters inscribed, re“ cording what each had performed; and on a measure“ ment it appeared that the work of the girls was most con“ siderable. The cireuit or circumference of this sepulchre “ is six stadia, and two plethra (that is little more than three “ quarters of a mile) and the breadth is thirteen plethra."

But in translating the whole in this manner, there seems to be no small difficulty in the word ougor, which is translated termini, or rude boundary stones, and also to the words reójapata evexexoMento, which are translated letters were, inscribed; for indeed it is only by a partieular mode of accenting that Ougos can never be put for ogos, terminus or fines, a boundary or limit; and much more properly Qúgós may mean alveus or fossa, a ditch or artificial trench, whilst at the same time, the word EyezexoNaTTo in reality rather implies that letters or marks were impressed by being stumpt or beaten in, than by being inscribed or cut. The expression therefore actually used by Herodotus does not in reality at .. 4

all

except in this prostitution of the young women. They are the first people on record' who coined

gold

all agree with the idea of an inscription being cut on boundary stones, or on any stone monument, but exactly agrees with that of rude characters or marks being stampt or beaten into the side of a dry ditch (perhaps somewhat in the manner that those old memorials the figures of the white horse, and of the white leaf cross, are formed on the sides of certain chalk bills in our own country.)

Herodotus then expressly says, it appeared by measuring that the work of the girls was the greatest; and we may observe it certainly would be so, in every respect, if their ditch was, as it should seem to have been, the outermost of five concentric ones, formed on the summit of this vast barrow.

I should therefore be greatly inclined to translate the words of Herodotus as follows: taking them as they might appear before the invention of accents.

“ Ton xpn Tis Meer esto Allwr peyaaww, To de adao onua xwhat γης: εξειργασαντο δε μιν οι αγοραιοι ανθρωποι και οι χειρωνακτες και αι ενεργαζομεναι παιδι και. ουροι δε πεντε εοντες ετι και ες εμε ησαν επι το σηματος ανω, και σφι γραμματα ενεκεκολαπτο τα εκαστοι εξεργασαντο. και εφαινετο μετρεομενον το των παιδισκεων εργον εον μεγιστον.

“ The bottom part of it was a mass of great stones, but " the rest of the sepulchre a tumulus of earth. The men in « civil life (or who exercised public offices) and the crafts66 men (or mechanics) and the girls who were prostitutes, “ reared this sepulchre each class by themselves. And there “ were yet existing, even to my days, five ditehes (or arti“ ficial trenches) upon the sepulchre, on the upper part, on “ which were stampt (or impressed) letters (or characters) “ shewing what each set had wrought; and on meusuring it " appeared that the work of the girls was the greatest.”

According to this translation we find this sepulchre was (as Chandler indeed found it to be) a great barrow or artificial hill.

And

gold and silver 138 into money, and traded in retail. They claim also the invention of certain games *, which have since been practised among the Grecians, and which, as they say, were first discovered at the time of their sending a colony into Tyrrhenia. The particulars are thus re

lated :

And according to this translation of the whole, we are further informed, that it was raised over certain great stones, which immediately covered the bones and ashes; whilst at the top were five great works like ditches or artificial trenches, somewhat in the manner of those of an ancient high fortress, surrounding the area on the summit. On the slopes of which ditches were rudely stampt in large characters, certain marks or letters, expressing how much of the work each of the several classes of people had performed.

It may be observed, with due deference to Mr. King, that if those trenches were concentric, there could be no occasion for measuring them. The simplest explanation seems to be, that this tomb was raised not by the manual exertions, but by the contributions of these three classes of people, and that the contribution of the courtesans was the largest. This perhaps may excite the less wonder, when it is considered that the females of Lydia were proverbially celebrated for their elegance and beauty, and their exquisite skill in dancing.

They obtained great celebrity from the performance of one dance in particular, in honour of Bacchus.

138 Who coined gold and silver. ]-Who were really the first people that coined gold money, is a question not to be decided. According to some, it was Phidon, king of Argos ; according to others, Demodice, the wife of Midas.--Larcher.

* See Christie on Ancient Games, p. 33. Dr. Hyde affirms that dice were invented between the time of Homer and Aristophanes. Mr. Christie says, about 600 years before the birth of Christ, they were certainly known to Æschylus.

a

lated :- In the reign of Atys, the son of Menes, all Lydia was reduced to the severest distress by a scarcity of corn. Against this they contended for a considerable time, by patient and unremitted industry. This not proving effectual, they sought other resources, each one exerting his own genius. Upon this occasion they invented cubes, bowls, and dice, with many other games: of chess, however, the Lydians do not claim the discovery These they applied as a resource against the effects of the famine '39. One day they gave themselves so totally to their diversions, as to abstain entirely from food : on the next they refrained from their games, and took their necessary repasts. They lived thus for the space of eighteen years. But when their calamity remitted nothing of its violence, but rather increased, the king divided the whole nation by lot into two parts, one of which was to continue at home, the other to migrate elsewhere. They who staid behind retained their ancient king; the emigrants placed themselves under the conduct of his son, whose name was Tyrrhenus. These leaving their coun

try,

139 Against the effects of the famine.]—That the Lydians may have been the inventors of games, is very probable; that under the pressure of famine, they might detach half their nation to seek their fortune elsewhere, is not unlikely: but that to soften their miserable situation, and to get rid of the sensations of hunger, they should eat only every other day, and that for the space of eighteen years, appears perfectly absurd. --Larcher.

try, as had been determined, went to Smyrna, where building themselves vessels for the purpose of transplanting their property and their goods, they removed in search of another residence. After visiting different nations, they arrived at length in Umbria*. Here they built cities, and have continued to the present period, changing their ancient appellation of Lydians, for that of Tyrrhenians "40, after the son of their former sovereign.

XCV. I have before related how these Lydians were reduced under the dominion of Persia. It now becomes necessary to explain who this Cyrus, the conqueror of Cræsus, was, and by what means the Persians obtained the empire of Asia. I shall follow the authority of those Persians, who seem more influenced by a regard to truth, than partiality to Cyrus ; I am not ignorant, however, that there are three other narratives 14" of this

monarch.

* Umbria was also called Etruria; Tuscany is its modern name.

140 Tyrrhenians.]—It was these Tyrrhenians, or Etruscans, who taught the Romans their games and combats, in which they excelled, especially in racing with chariots. For the same reason, most of the great number of Etruscan monuments found in Italy relate to sports and games; wbich confirms what authors say of the Lydians, and of the Etruscans, who are sprung from them.-Montfaucon.

141 Three other narratives.]—-Ctesias, in the fragments of his Persiap history, preserved by Photius, differs from Herodotus

« PreviousContinue »