Charlotte Mary Yonge.

Aunt Charlotte's stories of Greek history for the little ones online

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By CHARLOTTE M. YONGE, Author of "The Heir of Redelyffe," &e.

^rofuselp Elltistratrt, Square 8bo, (Etotlj (ZEitra, BcfoclIcB Boartc, ilt EBgts.
Aunt Charlotte's Stories of ENGLISH HISTORY for the

Little Ones. In Fifty-one easy Chapters, with Questions. Frontispiece in Colours
by H. S. MARKS. R.A. ; 52 Illustrations, and an Illuminated Title-page. Price 6s.

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Aunt Charlotte's Stories of BIBLE HISTORY for the Little

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J86T Cheap Edition of STORIES OF BIBLE HISTORY. 53 Engravings,
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Aunt Charlotte's Stories of FRENCH HISTORY for the

Little Ones. In Forty-nine easy Chapters, with Questions. Frontispiece in
Colours by H. STACY MARKS, R.A. Twelve Full-page Illustrations, and an
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Aunt Charlotte's Stories of GERMAN HISTORY for the

Little Ones. In Fifty easy Chapters, with Frontispiece in Colours, Illuminated
Title-page, and numerous Illustrations. Price 6s.

Aunt Charlotte's Stories of GREEK HISTORY for the

Little Ones. In Forty-five easy Chapters, with Frontispiece in Colours by
WALTER CRANE, Illuminated Title-page, and numerous Illustrations. Price 6s.

Aunt Charlotte's Stories of ROMAN HISTORY for the

Little Ones. In Forty-six easy Chapters, with Frontispiece in Colours, Illumin-
ated Title-page, and numerous-Illustrations. Price 6s.


Aunt Charlotte's Stories of AMERICAN HISTORY. By

Chapters, with Sixteen Full-page Illustrations. Price 6s

Aunt Charlotte's Evenings at Home. A collection of Poems

on many subjects of interest to the young ; Conversations, and Eight Coloured
Illustrations. Price 6s.





Charloile M.Yon&e.














N this little book the attempt has been to trace
Greek History so as to be intelligible to young

children. In fact, it will generally be found that
classical history is remembered at an earlier age than
modern history, probably because the events are simple,
and there was something childlike in the nature of all
the ancient Greeks. I would begin a child's reading
with the History of England, as that which requires to
be known best ; but from this I should think it better
to pass to the History of Greece, and that of Rome
(which is in course of preparation), both because of
their giving some idea of the course of time, and bring-



ing Scripture history into connection with that of the
world, and because little boys ought not to begin their
classical studies without some idea of their bearing. I
have begun with a few of the Greek myths, which are
absolutely necessary to the understanding of both the
history and of art. As to the names, the ordinary
reading of them has been most frequently adopted, and
the common Latin titles of the gods and goddesses have
been used, because these, by long use, have really come
to be their English names, and English literature at
least will be better understood by calling the king of
Olympus Jupiter, than by becoming familiar with him
first as Zeus.


Jan. 6th, 1876.



I. Olympus . . . . . . .11

II. Light and Dark . . . . 18

III. The Peopling of Greece . . . . .26

IV. The Hero Perseus ..... 35

V. The Labours of Hercules . . . . .42

VI. The Argonauts . . . . . . 51

VII. The Success of the Argonauts . . . -59

VIII. The Choice of Paris ..... 68

IX. The Siege of Troy ...... 76

X. The Wanderings of Ulysses . . . . 84

XL The Doom of the Atrides . .... 94

XII. After the Heroic Age . . . . . 102

XIII. Lycurgus and the Laws of Sparta. 6.0.884 668 . no

XIV. Solon and the Laws of Athens. 3.0.594 546 . 118

XV. Pisistratus and his Sons. B.C. 558 499 . . .126

XVI. The Battle of Marathon. B.C. 490 . . . 134

XVII. The Expedition of Xerxes. 6.0.480 . . .142

XVIII. The Battle of Plataea. 6.0.479460 . . 151

XIX. The Age of Pericles. 6.0.464 429 . . . 159



XX. The Expedition to Sicily. B.C. 415413 . 167

XXI. The Shore of the Goat's River. 3.0.406402 . 174

XXII. The Retreat of the Ten Thousand. 0.0.402399 181

XXIII. The Death of Socrates. 8.0.399 .189

XXIV. The Supremacy of Sparta. 6.0.396 . . 196

XXV. The Two Theban Friends. B.C. 387362 . . 203

XXVI. Philip of Macedon. 6.0.364 ... 210

XXVII. The Youth of Alexander. 6.0.356334 . . 217

XXVIII. The Expedition to Persia. 6.0.334 . . 224

XXIX. Alexander's Eastern Conquests. 6.0. 331 328 . 231

XXX. The End of Alexander. 6.0.328 ... 238

XXXI. The Last Struggles of Athens. 6.0.334 311. . 245

XXXII. The Four New Kingdoms. B.C. 311 287 - . 252

XXXIII. Pyrrhus.. King of Epirus. 6.0.287 . . .258

XXXIV. Aratus and the Achaian League. B.C. 267 . 265

XXXV. Agis and the Revival of Sparta. 6.C. 244236 . 272

XXXVI. Cleomenes and the Fall of Sparta, e.c. 236 222 279

XXXVII. Philopcemen, the Last of the Greeks. B.C. 236184 . 286

XXXVIII. The Fall of Greece. 6.0.189146 . . 293

XXXIX. The Gospel in Greece. B.C. 146 A.D. 60 . . 300

XL. Under the Roman Empire . . . 308

XLI. The Frank Conquest. 1201 1446 . . -315

XLII. The Turkish Conquest. 1453 1670 . . 322

XLI 1 1. The Venetian Conquest and Loss. 1684 1796 . 328

XLIV. The War of Independence. 1815. . . 334

XLV. The Kingdom of Greece. 1822 1875. . . 340


Mount Olympus ....

Head of Jupiter .....
Supposed Temple of Jupiter Panhellenius in ^gina

Head of Pallas

Triptolemus ......

Mars and Victory .....

Mount Parnassus .

The World according to the Greeks

Perseus and Andromeda .

Cyclopean Wall . . .

Scene in the Arachnaean Mountains near Argos

Building the Argo .....

Corinth ......

Plains of Troy .....

Greek Ships ......

Achilles binding his Armour on Patroclus
Sepulchral Mound, known as the Tomb of Ajax
Laocoon ......

Funeral Feast ......

Ulysses tied to the Mast . . . .







8 List of Illustrations.

Port of Ithaca ......


Plain of Sparta, with Mount Taygetus


Greek Interior .....

. 1 06

Greek Robe ......


Male Costume ......

. 1 08

Gate of Mycenae . ....


Shores of the Persian Gulf ....

. 129

View in the Vicinity of Athens ....


Pass of Thermopylae .....

. 145

Salamis .......


Persian Soldier ......

. 152

Tombs at Plataea ......


The Acropolis, Athens .....

. 162

Propylaea, Athens ......


The Academic Grove, Athens ....

. 1 68

Athens .......

. . 180

Babylon .......

. 182

Greek Armour ......


Socrates ......


Plato .......

' 193

View on the Eurotas in Laconia

. 202

Thessalonica ......


Demosthenes ......

. 212

Diana of Ephesus ......


Second Temple of Diana at Ephesus . . .

. 227

Princes of Persia .

. . 234

Supposed Walls of Babylon ....


List of Illustrations.


Site of Susa, ancient Metropolis of Persia .... 244

Gate of Hadrian in Athens . . . . 247

Macedonian Soldier ....... 255

Delphi and the Castalian Fount . . . . . 262

Corinth ......... 267

View looking across Isthmus of Corinth .... 269

Ruins of a Temple at Corinth . . . . . .271

Temple of Neptune ...... 285

Crowning the Victor in the Isthmian Games .... 290

Livadia, the ancient Mideia in Argolis .... 292

Sappho .......... 295

Lessina, the ancient Eleusis, on the Gulf of Corinth . . 297

View from Corinth ....... 301

Parthenon and Erectheum ..... 304

Distant View of Parnassus ...... 307

Plains of Philippi ....... 309

Obelisk of Theodosius, Constantinople . . . .313

An Amphitheatre . . . . . . .314

Promontory of Actium . . . . . . .318

Mount Helicon . . . . . . . 321

Cathedral of St. Sophia . . . . . .323

Temple of Minerva, on the Promontory of Sunium . . 330

Ancyra, Galatia ....... 332

The Acropolis, Restored ...... 337

The Isles of Greece ....... 344

Plain of Marathon ...... 346




AM going to tell you the history of the most
wonderful people who ever lived. But I have
to begin with a good deal that is not true ; for
the people who descended from Japhet's son
Javan, and lived in the beautiful islands and peninsulas
called Greece, were not trained in the knowledge of God

12 Stories of Greek History.

like the Israelites, but had to guess for themselves. They
made strange stories, partly from the old beliefs they
brought from the east, partly from their ways of speak-
ing of the powers of nature sky, sun, moon, stars, and
clouds as if they were real beings, and so again of
good or bad qualities as beings also, and partly from
old stories about their forefathers. These stories got
mixed up with their belief, and came to be part of their
religion and history; and they wrote beautiful poems
about them, and made such lovely statues in their
honour, that nobody can understand anything about art
or learning who has not learnt these stories. I must
begin with trying to tell you a few of them.

In the first place, the Greeks thought there were
twelve greater gods and goddesses who lived in
Olympus. There is really a mountain called Olympus,
and those who lived far from it thought it went up into
the sky, and that the gods really dwelt on the top of it.
Those who lived near, and knew they did not, thought
they lived in the sky. But the chief of all, the father
of gods and men, was the sky-god Zeus, as the Greeks
called him, or Jupiter, as he was called in Latin. How-
ever, as all things are born of Time, so the sky or
Jupiter was said to have a father, Time, whose Greek
name was Kronos. His other name was Saturn ; and as
Time devours his offspring, so Saturn was said to have
had the bad habit of eating up his children as fast as
they were born, till at last his wife Rhea contrived to
give him a stone in swaddling clothes, and while he was

Ofympus. 1 3

biting this hard morsel, Jupiter was saved from him,
and afterwards two other sons, Neptune (Poseidon)
and Pluto (Hades), who became lords of the ocean and
of the world of the spirits of the dead ; for on the sea
and on death Time's tooth has no power. However,
Saturn's reign was thought to have been a very peaceful
and happy one. For as people always think of the days
of Paradise, and believe that the days of old were better
than their own times, so the Greeks thought there had
been four ages the Golden age, the Silver age, the
Brazen age, and the Iron age and that people had been
getting worse in each of them. Poor old Saturn, after
the Silver age, had had to go into retirement, with only
his own star, the planet Saturn, left to him ; and Jupiter
was reigning now, on his throne on Olympus, at the
head of the twelve greater gods and goddesses, and it
was the Iron age down below. His star, the planet
we still call by his name, was much larger and brighter
than Saturn. Jupiter was always thought of by the
Greeks as a majestic-looking man in his full strength,
with thick hair and beard, and with lightnings in his
hand and an eagle by his side. These lightnings or
thunderbolts were forged by his crooked son Vulcan
(Hephsestion), the god of fire, the smith and armourer
of Olympus, whose smithies were in the volcanoes (so
called from his name), and whose workmen were the
Cyclops or Round Eyes giants, each with one eye in
the middle of his forehead. Once, indeed, Jupiter had
needed his bolts, for the Titans, a horrible race of

Stories of Greek History.

monstrous giants, of whom the worst was Briareus, who
had a hundred hands, had tried, by piling up mountains

one upon the other,
to scale heaven and
throw him down ; but
when Jupiter was
hardest pressed, a
dreadful pain in his
head caused him to
bid Vulcan to strike
it with his hammer.
Then out darted Hea-
venly Wisdom, his
beautiful daughter
Pallas Athene or Min-
erva, fully armed, with
piercing, shining eyes,
and by her counsels he
cast down the Titans,
and heaped their own
mountains, Etna and
HEAD OF JUPITER. Ossa and Pelion, on

them to keep them down ; and whenever there was
an earthquake, it was thought to be caused by one
of these giants struggling to get free, though perhaps
there was some remembrance of the tower of Babel in
the story. Pallas, this glorious daughter of Jupiter, was
wise, brave, and strong, and she was also the goddess of
women's works of all spinning, weaving, and sewing.

Olympus. 1 5

Jupiter's wife, the queen of heaven or the air, was
Juno in Greek, Hera the white-armed, ox-eyed,
stately lady, whose bird was the peacock. Do you
know how the peacock got the eyes in his tail ? They
once 'belonged to Argus, a shepherd with a hundred
eyes, whom Juno had set to watch a cow named lo,
who was really a lady, much hated by her. Argus
watched till Mercury (Hermes) came and lulled him to
sleep with soft music, and then drove lo away. Juno
was so angry, that she caused all the eyes to be taken
from Argus and put into her peacock's tail. /,

Mercury has a planet called after him too, a very
small one, so close to the sun that we only see it just
after sunset or before sunrise. I believe Mercury or
Hermes really meant the morning breeze. The story
went that he was born early in the morning in a cave,
and after he had slept a little while in his cradle, he
came forth, and, finding the shell of a tortoise with
some strings of the inwards stretched across it, he at
once began to play on it, and thus formed the first lyre.
He was so swift that he was the messenger of Jupiter,
and he is always represented with wings on his cap and
sandals ; but as the wind not only makes music, but
blows things away unawares, so Mercury came to be
viewed not only as the god of fair speech, but as a
terrible thief, and the god of thieves. You see, as long
as these Greek stories are parables, they are grand and
beautiful ; but when the beings are looked on as like
men, they are absurd and often horrid. The gods had

1 6 Stories of Greek History.

another messenger, Iris, the rainbow, who always
carried messages of mercy, a recollection of the bow in
the clouds ; but she chiefly belonged to Juno.

All the twelve greater gods had palaces on Olympus,
and met every day in Jupiter's hall to feast on ambrosia,
a sort of food of life which made them immortal.
Their drink was nectar, which was poured into their
golden cups at first by Vulcan, but he stumbled and
hobbled so with his lame leg that they chose instead
the fresh and graceful Hebe, the goddess of youth, till
she was careless, and one day fell down, cup and
nectar and all. The gods thought they must find
another cupbearer, and, looking down, they saw a
beautiful youth named Ganymede watching his flocks
upon Mount Ida. So they sent Jupiter's eagle down to
fly away with him and bring him up to Olympus. They
gave him some ambrosia to make him immortal, and
established him as their cupbearer. Besides this, the
gods were thought to feed on the smoke and smell of
the sacrifices people offered up to them on earth, and
always to help those who offered them most sacrifices
of animals and incense.

The usual names of these twelve were Jupiter,
Neptune, Juno, Latona, Apollo, Diana, Pallas, Venus,
Vulcan, Mercury, Vesta, and Ceres ; but there were
multitudes besides "gods many and lords many" of
all sorts of different dignities. Every river had its god,
every mountain and wood was full of nymphs, and there
was a great god of all nature called Pan, which in Greek


means All. Neptune was only a visitor in Olympus,
though he had a right there. His kingdom was the
sea, which he ruled with his trident, and where he had
a whole world of lesser gods and nymphs, tritons and
sea horses, to attend upon his chariot.

And the quietest and best of all the goddesses was
Vesta, the goddess of the household hearth of home,
that is to say. There are no stories to be told about
her, but a fire was always kept burning in her honour
in each city, and no one might tend it who was not
good and


god and goddess of light were the glorious twin
A brother and sister, Phoebus Apollo and Diana or
Artemis. They were born in the isle of Delos, which
was caused to rise out of the sea to save their mother,
Latona, from the horrid serpent, Python, who wanted to
devour her. Gods were born strong and mighty ; and
the first thing Apollo did was to slay the serpent at
Delphi with his arrows. Here was a dim remembrance
of the promise that the Seed of the woman should
bruise the serpent's head, and also a thought of the
way Light slays the dragon of darkness with his beams.
Apollo was lord of the day, and Diana queen of the
night. They were as bright and pure as the thought
of man could make them, and always young. The
beams or rays were their arrows, and so Diana was a
huntress, always in the woods with her nymphs ; and
she was so modest, that once, when an unfortunate
wanderer, named Actseon, came on her with her nymphs
by chance when they were bathing in a stream, she
splashed some water in his face and turned him into a

Light and Dark.

stag, so that his own dogs gave chase to him and killed
him. I am afraid Apollo and Diana were rather cruel ; but
the darting rays of the sun and moon kill sometimes as
well as bless ; and so they were the senders of all
sharp, sudden strokes. There was a queen called


Niobe, who had six sons and daughters so bright and
fair that she boasted that they were equal to Apollo
and Diana, which made Latona so angry, that she
sent her son and daughter to slay them all with their
darts. The unhappy Niobe, thus punished for her im-
piety, wept a river of tears till she was turned into stone.

20 Stories of Greek History.

The moon belonged to Diana, and was her car ; the
sun, in like manner, to Apollo, though he did not drive
the car himself, but Helios, the sun-god, did. The
world was thought to be a flat plate, with Delphi in
the middle, and the ocean all round. In the far east
the lady dawn, Aurora, or Eos, opened the gates with
her rosy fingers, and out came the golden car of the sun,
with glorious white horses driven by Helios, attended by
the Hours strewing dew and flowers. It passed over the
arch of the heavens to the ocean again on the west, and
there Aurora met it again in fair colours, took out the
horses, and let them feed. Aurora had married a man
named Tithonus. She gave him ambrosia, which
made him immortal, but she could not keep him from
growing old, so he became smaller and smaller, till
he dwindled into a grasshopper, and at last only his
voice was to be heard chirping at sunrise and sunset.

Helios had 'an earthly wife too, and a son named
Phaeton, who once begged to be allowed to drive the
chariot of the sun for just one day. Helios yielded ;
but poor Phaeton had no strength nor skill to guide the
horses in the right curve. At one moment they
rushed to the earth and scorched the trees, at another
they flew up to heaven and would have burnt Olympus,
if Jupiter had not cast his thunderbolts at the rash
driver and hurled him down into a river, where he was
drowned. His sisters wept till they were changed into
poplar trees, and their tears hardened into amber

Light and Dark.


Mercury gave his lyre to Apollo, who was the true
god of music and poetry, and under him were nine
nymphs the Muses, daughters of memory who dwelt
on Mount Parnassus, and were thought to inspire all
noble and heroic song, all poems in praise to or of
the gods or of brave men,
and the graceful music and
dancing at their feasts, also
the knowledge of the stars of
earth and heaven. ^

These three Apollo,
Diana, and Pallas were
the gods of all that was
nobly, purely, and wisely
lovely; but the Greeks also
believed in powers of ill,
and there was a goddess
of beauty, called Venus
(Aphrodite). Such beauty
was hers as is -the mere
prettiness and charm of
pleasure nothing high or
fine. She was said to have


risen out of the sea, as the sunshine touched the waves,
with her golden hair dripping with the spray ; and her
favourite home was in myrtle groves, where she drove
her car, drawn by doves, attended by the three Graces,
and by multitudes of little winged children, called
Loves ; but there was generally said to be one special

22 Stories of Greek History.

son of hers, called Love Cupid in Latin, Eros in
Greek whose arrows, when tipped with gold, made
people fall in love, and when tipped with lead, made
them hate one another. Her husband was the ugly,
crooked smith, Vulcan perhaps because pretty orna-
ments come of the hard work of the smith ; but she
never behaved well to him, and only coaxed him
when she wanted something that his clever hands
could make. >^

She was much more fond of amusing herself with
Mars (Ares), the god of war, another of the evil gods,
for he was fierce, cruel, and violent, and where he went
slaughter and blood were sure to follow him and his
horrid daughter Bellona. His star was " the red planet
Mars ;" but Venus had the beautiful clear one, which,
according as it is seen either at sunrise or sunset, is
called the morning or evening star. Venus also loved
a beautiful young earthly youth, called Adonis, who
died of a thrust from a wild boar's tusk, while his blood
stained crimson the pretty flower, pheasant's eye, which
is still called Adonis. Venus was so wretched that she
persuaded Jupiter to decree that Adonis should come
back and live for one-half of the year, but he was to go
down to Pluto's underground kingdom the other half.
This is because plants and flowers are beautiful for one
year, die down, and rise again.

But there is a much prettier story, with something
of the same meaning, about Ceres (Demeter), the grave,
motherly goddess of corn and all the fruits of the earth.

Light and Dark.

2 3

She had one fair daughter, named Proserpine (Perse-
phone), who was playing with her companions near
Mount Etna, gathering flowers in the meadows, when
grim old Pluto pounced upon her and carried her off into
his underground world to be his bride. Poor Ceres
did not know what had become of her darling, and
wandered up and down the world seeking for her, tast-
ing no food or drink, till at last, quite spent, she was
taken in as a poor woman by Celeus, king of Eleusis,
and became nurse to his infant child Triptolemus. All
Eleusis was made rich with corn, while no rain fell and
no crops grew on the rest of the earth ; and though first
Iris and then all the gods came to beg Ceres to relent,
she would grant nothing unless she had her daughter
back. So Jupiter sent Mercury to
bring Proserpine home ; but she was
only to be allowed to stay on earth on
condition that she had eaten nothing
while in the under world. Pluto,
knowing this, had made her eat half a
pomegranate, and so she could not stay
with her mother; but Ceres's tears
prevailed so far that she was to spend
the summer above ground and the
winter below. For she really was the
flowers and fruit. Ceres had grown
so fond of little Triptolemus that she
wanted to make him immortal ; but,
as she had no ambrosia, this could only be done by


24 Stories of Greek History.

putting him on the fire night after .night to burn
away his mortal part. His mother looked in one
night during the operation, and shrieked so that she
prevented it ; so all Ceres could do for him was to
give him grains of wheat and a dragon car, with
which he travelled all about the world, teaching men
to sow corn and reap harvests, tf

Proserpine seems to have been contented in her
underground kingdom, where she ruled with Pluto. It

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