Johann Joachim Eschenburg.

Manual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions online

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notes of MQller and Meier.- C. 0. MUller, De Munimentis Athenarum, &c. Gott. 1837. 4. with plates.— i. Bergmann, Die
AlterhUmer von Athen, nach Stuart und Revett, &c. Weimar, 1838. 80 plates.— .ffirfj Plan des Athen.— Ensch 4- Gruber, Ency-
clopadie, under Attika (written by J/liHer). -There is a glance at some of the most interesting objects, in W. Colton, Visit to Con-
Btantinople and Athens. N. York, 1836. 12. ch. 18, 19.

§ 117. (4.) The Peloponnesus, the fourth division of Grsecia (§ 76), remains to be
noticed. In looking at the physical features of this peninsula, we perceive in the
interior a circular chain of mountahis, almost surrounding an included tract of country
which was called Arcadia. From this circle of elevated summits, various branches
are sent off towards the sea; and we find a Ime running out to each of the principal
promontories ; to Rhium Prom, at the entrance of the Sinus Corinthiacus ; to Cheloni-
tes Prom, on the western side of the peninsula ; to Acriias Prom, west of the Sinus
Messeniacus ; to Tcenarum, to JMalea, and to Scyllcetim, the other points, v. hich occur
in passing round the peninsula to the east. — Between these several mountains were
fruitful valleys, watered by numerous streams descending from the mountains in
every direction.


§ 118. This country was originally called Argia and Pelasgia, but after the t.on-
quests of Pelops was called the island of Pelops, lUXoiroi vncrng ; it was also called
Apia. Its present name, Morea, is said to be drawn from its resemblance to a mul-
berry-leaf in shape, or from the number of mulberry trees that it produces. — It may
be considered in six divisions : Achaia, Argolis, Ehs, Arcadia, Messenia, and Lacu-
nia. Sicyonia and Corinthia are sometimes added to these ; but they may be included
under Achaia.

§ 119. Achaia, in the extent we have just given to it, includes the whole north
coast of Peloponnesus, and the isthmus of Corinth, by which it is joined to Hellas.
Exclusive of Sicyonia and Corinthia, it comprised twelve towns, each independent,
and possessed of its own little territory, which were from a very early time united
in a sort of confederacy called the Achaean league ; they were Dyme, Olenus, PharoB,
Tritaea, PatrcB (now Palras), Rhype, JEghnn the place where the deputies of the
league met, Helice, Bura, ^ge, Mgina, and Pellene. In the resistance to the Ro-
mans made by the Achaean league in the later ages, the cities of Sicyon and especially
Corinth took part.

It was from the opposition made in Achaia, that the Romans, when Mummiu9*reduced Greece
to a subject province by the capture of Corinth, B. C. 146, applied the name Achaia to the whole
country. Cf $ 213. I. 6.

^ 120. Sicyon was the most ancient city of Greece, said to have been founded
B. C. 20S9. — But Corinth has obtained greater notoriety: it was on the isthmus, at
nearly an equal distance from the Saronic and Corinthian gulfs. It was once called
Ephyra. Its citadel was on a hill called Acro-Corinthus. It had two ports ; Lecnm-
tim, on the Si7ii(s Corinthiacus, and CenchrecB, on the Sinus Saro7iicus. Although
destroyed by Mummius, it afterwards recovered its splendor, being rebuilt by Julius
Caesar, and became more famous than before for its luxury and hcentiousness.

The isthmus of Corinth was an important pass. Several attempts have been made, at differ-
ent periods, to join these two seas by a canal, and from the failure of them all, "to cut through
the Corinthian isthmus" has become a proverbial expression for aiming at impossibilities. Here
the Isthmian ^ames, in honor of Neptune, were triennially celebrated : and here a stand has
frequently been made against foreign invaders, the narrowness of the isthmus easily admitting
of regular fortification.

^121. Argolis occupied the north-eastern extremity of the Peloponnesus. Its
chief town was Argos, on the river Inachns, more celebrated in the heroic than the
historic ages of Greece. When Perseus had accidentally slain his grandfather Acri-
sius, he transferred the seat of government to 3Ii/ce?ifB ; this latter city retained its
power to the end of the Trojan war ; but after the death of Agamemnon, the Argives,
through motives of jealousy, besieged, captured, and leveled it with the ground. — ■
North of Argos was Nemea, where Hercules slew the Nemean hon, and instituted the
Nemean games in memory of his victory ; and Tirynthus, a favorite residence of
Hercules, whence he is frequently called the Tirynthian hero. — On the Sinus Argo-
liens (Gulf di Napoli) were, Natiplia (Napoh di Romania), in ancient and modern
times the principal port in these countries ; Epidaunts, remarkable for a celebrated
temple of yEsculapius (P. II. § 84) ; and Trcezene, whither the aged inhabitants of
Athens retired when their city was burned by Xerxes.

^ 122. El is was a small province south of Achaia, on the coast of the Ionian sea.

Its chief tovv'n was Elis, the residence of king Salmoneus, who is said to have pro-
voked the indignation of Jupiter, by his attempts to imitate thunder and lightning ; it
■was on the Peneus (Belvidere or Igliaco), a principal river of the province. Pisa, de-
stroyed at a very remote period, was on the Alpheus (Rouphia or Rufeas), a larger rivei
flowing fi-om Arcadia. Not far from Pisa was Olympia, the place near which the Olym-
pic games were celebrated.

Oh/mpia was the name not of a city, but of the sacred site near which the games were per-
formed. Here was the grove ^Itis, with splendid monuments scattered in it ; the temple of
Olympian Jupiter, with its celebrated statue (cf. P. II. $ 24); the Cronium or Hill of Saturn ;
also a famous hippodrome and stadium.

Barthelemy, ch. xxxviii. as cited P. V. § 153. 2.—Choiseul-Gouffier, Sur I'Hippodrome d'OIympia, in the Mem. Acad. Inscr. vol.
xlix. p. 122.— //wscn's Pindar, vol. ii. p. 630, where is a plan with explanations.— PougueciUc, Voyage de la Grece, vol. v. p. 401.
—J. S. Stanhope, Olympia, &c as cited P. IV. § 243. 1.

'?> 123. Arcadia occupied the centre of the Peloponnesus; and being entirely de-
voted to aariculture was said to be sacred to Pan. — Its principal towns were Tegcea, the
capital ; Orchomenus, near the lake Stymphahts, where Hercules destroyed the Harpies,
on the river Ladon, which flows through Arcadia and joins the Alpheus in the eastern
part of the province; Mantinea, where Epaminondas fell, near the ruins of which is
Tripolitza, the metropolis of the Morea; Megalopolis, near the Helissns, a tr'ihuxary to
the Alpheus, built by Epaminondas to repress the incursions of the Lacedaemonians. —
From the ruins ofPhisalia (Paulitza), in the territory of the Parrhasii, were taken the
bas-reliefs called the Phigalian Marbles (cf. P. IV. § 179, § 183. 4).

The mountains of Arcadia were greatly celebrated by the poets; the principal were
^vllene, the birthplace of Mercury ; Erymanthus, where Hercules slew an enormous

^\ ^


boar; Mcsnalus, sacred to the Muses; Parthenius, where Atalanta resided; Parrhs-
sius and Lycceus, sacred to Jupiter and Pan. From the hill Nonacris flowed the cel»-
brated river Styx ; its waters were said to be poisonous.

i 124. I'he s'outh-western division of the Peloponnesus was Messenia, of which
Messene, a strongly fortified town, was the capital; the citadel was called llhome, and
was supposed to be impregnable ; these were in the interior, west from the Pamisus,
which is the principal river of the province, and flows from the mountains between
Messenia and Arcadia into the Sinus Messeniacus. — The other principal towns were
Pylos, the city of Nestor, now called Navariti ; Methane, where Philip defeated the
Athenians; and CEchalia or Erytopolis, conquered by Hercules.

The Messenians, after a desperate resistance, were subdued by the Lacedaemonians, and the
greater part compelled to leave the country. Subsequently their city lay long in ruins: but
when Epaminondas had destroyed the supremacy of Sparta, he recalled the descendants of the
exiles and rebuilt Messene. After his death, the Spartans again became masters of the country,
but did not expel the Messenians from their restored possessions.

?> 125. The south-eastern and most important division of the Peloponnesus was
Laconia. Its caphal was Sparta, -which, we shall describe in the following sections.

The other towns of note were, Amyclce, on the Eurotas, the residence of Leda;
Therapne, on the same river, the birthplace of Castor and Pollux ; Gytheitm, the prin-
cipal port of Laconia; Helos, whose inhabitants were enslaved by the Spartans ; and
Sellasia, where the Achaeans, by the defeat of Cleomenes, liberated the Peloponne-
sus from the power of Lacedaemon.

The Sinus Laconicus (Gulf of Colochina) was bounded by the capes Malea (St.
Angelo) and TcBnarum (Matapan). Near Taenarum was a cave represented by the
poets as the entrance into the infernal regions ; through this Hercules is said to have
dragged up Cerberus.

The Peloponnesian states were first subjected by Pelops ; but about eighty years after the
Trojan war, the HeraclidcE, or descendants of Hercules, returned to the Peloponnesus, and
became masters of the different kingdoms. This event, which forms a remarkable epoch in
Grecian history, took place 1104 B. C.

% 126. Topography of Sparta. The city of Lacedaemon, which was anciently called
Sparta, is said to have been built by king Lacedaemon, who gave it the latter denomi-
nation from his wife Sparta, though he designated the country and tne inhabitants
from his own name ; but some think that this city received the appellation of Sparta
from the Sparti, who came with Cadmus into Laconia. It was situated at the foot
of mount Taygetus, on the west side of the river Eurotas, which runs into the Laconic
gulf. It was of a circular form, and forty-eight stadia or six miles in circumference,
and was surrounded to a great extent with vineyards, olive or plane trees, gardens,
and summer-houses.

Anciently the city was not surrounded with walls ; and its only defence was the
valor of its inhabitants. Even in the reign of Agesilaus, and for the space of eight
hundred years, this chy was without any fortifications ; but after it fell into the hands
of tyrants, it was surrounded with walls, which were rendered very strong. It had,
however, some eminences upon which soldiers might be posted in case of an attack.
The highest of these eminences served as a citadel ; its summit was a spacious plain,
on which were erected several sacred edifices. Around this hill were ranged five
towns, which were separated from each other by intervals of different extent, and
each of which was occupied by one of the tribes of Sparta.

^ 127. The great square or forum, 'Ayopa, in which several streets terminated, was
embellished with temples and statues. It also contained the edifices in which the
senate, the ephori, and other bodies of magistrates assembled. Of these pubhc edi-
fices the most remarkable was the Portico of the Persians, which the Lacedagmonians
erected after the battle of Plata3a, at the "expense of the vanquished, whose spoils
they shared. The roof of this building was supported by colossal statues of the prin-
cipal officers in the army of Xerxes, who had been taken or killed in that battle, and
who were habited in flowing robes. — The Scias was a building not far from the forum,
in which assemblies of the people were commonly held. The Chorus was a part of
the forum, where dances were performed in honor of Apollo in the Gymnopaedian

Upon the highest of the eminences stood a temple o{ Minerva, which had the privi-
lege of asylum, as had also the grove that surrounded it, and a small house apper-
taining to it, in which king Pausanias was left to expire whh hunger. The temple
was built with brass (XoA/ctoi/foj). Within the building were engraven, in bas-rehef,
the labors of Hercules, and various groups of figures. To the right of this edifice was
a statue oi Jupiter, supposed to be the most ancient statue of brass in existence; of
the same date whh the re-establishment of the Olympic games.

The most ornamented place in Sparta, however, was the Poecile, which, instead of
being confined to a single gallery like that at Athens, occupied a very considerable
extent. The Romans afterwards took away the superb paintings in fresco which had
«een employed to decorate the walk. — Feirther advanced in the city appeared difTer-


ent ranges of Porticos, intended only for the display of different kinds of merchan-

^ 128. Columns and statues were erected for Spartans who had been crowned at
the Olympic games ; but never for the conquerors of the enemies of their country.
Statues might be decreed to wrestlers ; but the esteem of the people was the only
reward of the soldiers. It was not till forty years after the battle of Thermopylce, that
the bones of Leonidas were conveyed to Sparta and deposited in a tomb near the
theatre ; and at the same time also the names of the three hundred Spartans who had
fallen with him were first inscribed on a column. — The theatre v/as in the vicinity of
the forum, and was constructed of beautiful white marble. Not far from the tomb
of Leonidas were those of Brasidas and Pausanias. Funeral orations and games were
annually given near these monuments.

Of the edifices and monuments of Sparta it may be remarked in general, that they were not
distinguished for architectural beauty; and the city had nothing imposing or splendid in its ap..

§ 129. On the south side of the city was the 'iTriruSpoiios, or course for foot and horse
races, some vestiges of which are still visible ; and a httle distance from it was the
Platanhtas, or place of exercise for youth, shaded by beautiful plane-trees, and en-
closed by the Eurotas on one side, by a small river which fell into it on the other, and
by a canal which opened a communication with both on the third. The Plaianistas
was entered by two bridges, on one of which was the statue of Hercules, or all-sub-
duing force, and on the other that of Lycurgus, or all-regulating law.

The place which served Sparta for a port or harbor, was Gytheium, TvQziov, situated
west from the mouth of the Eurotas, and distant from Sparta 240 stadia, according to
Strabo, and 30 [300 ?] according to Polybius. It was early surrounded by strong
wails, and had an excellent harbor, in which the fleets of Sparta rode in security, and
where they found every requisite for their maintenance and security.

The ruins of Sparta are found, under the name Palmochori or old town, about two miles distant
from the modern town Jilisitra, near a spot called Magoula. "The whole site," says Chateau-
briand, ''is uncultivated ; when I beheld this desert, not a plant adorned the ruins, not a bird,
not an insect, not a creature enlivened them, save millions of lizards, which crawled without
noise up and down the sides of the scorching walls. A dozen half-wild horses were feeding
here and there upon the withered grass; a shepherd was cultivating a few water-melons in a
corner of the theatre ; and at Magoula, which gives its dismal name to Lacedcemon, I observed
a small grove of cypresses."

On the topo^raptiy and ruins of Sparta, see Chateaubriand'si Travels (p. 94, ed. N. Y. 1814). — Le Rot, Monumens de la Grece.—
Sir W. Gdl, Itinerary of the Morea.— icaAe's Travels in the Morea. Load. 1830. 3 vols. 8.— Cramer, Dodwdl, &c' as cited P. V.
^ 7. (b).


<5i 130. It was mentioned (§ 8), that having considered the maijtland of Europe under
three divisions, northern, middle, and southern, we might notice the islands together
under a fourth. The European islands known to the ancients were in the Atlantic or
Medherranean ; of those in the Bahic they knew but httle. We will speak first of
those in the Atlantic.

§ 131. Of these, Britannia was the most important. It was scarcely known to
exist before the days of Julius Caesar. Being peopled by successive migrations from
Gaul, the Britons naturally aided the mother country when invaded, and thus pro-
voked the vengeance of Rome. The south-western shores are said to have been
visited by the Phcenicians at a much earlier period ; and that enterprising people have
l)een described as carrying on an extensive trade for tin with Cornwall and the Scilly
isles, which, from their abounding in that metal, were called the Cassiterides InsulcB
(»r Tin islands.

$ 13'.J. The enumeration of the several tribes and villages being a matter rather of curiosity
than utility, we shall only notice a few of the more remarkable.— The Cantii occupied the south
of the island; in their territory were RatupieB (Richborough), celebrated for its oysters by Juve-
nal ; and Partus Lenranis (Lymne), where Cfesar landed, B' C. 55. — The Trinobantes possessed the
country north of the Cantii ; their chief town was Londhtum (London), the most flourishing Ro-
man colony in Britain. — The Silures possessed South Wales, and appear to have been a very
fiourishiTig and warlike tribe. Caractacus, one of their kings, is celebrated for having bravely
defended the liberties of his country; and for a long time baffled the utmost efforts of the Ro-
mans: he was at length subdued by Ostorius Scapula, A. D. 51, and sent in chains to Rome —
^n the eastern coast were the Iceni, whose queen Boadicea, having been cruelly abused by the
ftoman deputies, took up arms to avenge her own and her country's wrongs; at first she ob-
tained several victories over her oppressors, but was finally defeated by Suetonius Paulinus,
A. D 61. — The north of Ensland was possessed by the Briirantes, the most powerful and ancient
of the British nations; their principal towns were Eboracum (York), and hurium (supposed to
k>e Aldborough), the capital of their tribe.

1> 133. Scotland was still less known than England; five nations on the borders,
known by the general name of Meatcp., were subdued by Agricola, and became nomi-
nally subject to the doininion of Rome.

When Britain became a Roman province, it was divided into the five follo\\dng

• J^^ Rotunda of Salonica, the ancient Thessalonica. It is supposed to
have been a Cabirian Temple. By the Christians it was converted into a
church of Paul and Peter. The Turks have turned it into a mosque ; and
erected the minaret, which appear-s attached to it, and in the sallery of
which IS seea a Muezzin, whose office is to announce from the gallery the
nour of prayer.

2. A fountain for the Mussulman ablution before prayers.


provinces; Britannia prima, comprising the eastern and southern division of the
country ; Flavia Ccesariensis, containing the western tribes ; Britannia aecunda,
which included all Wales ; Maxima CcBsariensis, which contained the country
betv>'een the former divisions and the river Tweed; and Valentin, occupied by the

$ 134. To repel the incursions of the Picts and Scots, who frequently laid waste the Roman
settlements, several walls were built across the island. The first was erected by the celebrated
Asricoia, who completed the conquest of Britain. But this bein^ found insufficient to restrain
the incursions of the barbarians, the emperor Adrian erected a rampart of great strength and
dimensions.— The wall of .\drian extended from ^stuariiim Jtiivce (Solway Friih), on the western
roast, to Siiirediiviim (Cousin's House), a village north of Pnns ^Ulii (Newcastle-upon-Tyne), on
the eastern coast, a distance of about 70 miles. It consisted of a double rampart and ditch, and was
strenL'ihened by forts erected at short intervals. — Twenty years after this, the emperor Antoni-
nus rebuilt the wall of Agricola, which was nearly parallel to that of Adrian, and had been neg-
lected after that was built, whence this is usually called the rampart of Antoninus.

$ 13.5. But tile last and sreatest of these structures was the wall erected by the emperor Seve-
rus, A. D. 200.— It was situated a few yards north of the wall of Adrian, and was one of the
strongest fortifications of antiquity. Tlie wall was twelve feet wide and eight feet high, built
of stone and cement ; it was strengthened by eighteen stations or garrisons, thirty-o;i'=' castles,
and three hundred and twenty-four towers : the whole body of forces employed to garrison this
immense range of fortification were ten thousand men, besides six hundred mariners, appointed
to guard the points wliere the ramparts communicated with the shore.

% 136. The islands adjoining Britain were the Orcades (Orkneys), Hebrides (Western
Isles), 3Iunn Taciti (Anglesea) , 3[o7ia Ccesaris (Man), Vcclia (Isle of Wight), and Cas-
siterides (Scilly Isles). — Ireland was known to the ancients only by name, and was
called lerne Juverna, or Hibernia.

The Irish say that they are descended from a Scythian nation, and that at an eaity period, part of the country was colonized by the
Phoenicians; in proof of the latter, it has been urjed that the specimens of the Punic langurtge preserved by Flautus, are almost pure
Irish; and that antique swords, found in the bogs of Ireland, have on analysis been proved to consist of materials precisely similar
to those of the Punic swords dug up by Sir W. Hamilton in the field of Cannse.— Cf. P. V. § 332. 2.

An island called Thule is frequently mentioned in the classical authors as the most
distant known, but its situation has not been described, and therefore we cannot be
certain what particular island was meant. Iceland, some of the Shetland isles, and
Greenland, have been named by different modern w'riters (cf. % 3).

<$> 137. In speaking of the islands in the Mediterranean, we begin in the western part.
The BnleariccB, deriving their name from the skill of the inhabitants in shnging and
archery, were on the coast of Spain. Their names were Balearis major (Majorca) ;
Balearis minor (Minorca), and Ebusus (Ivica).

Between Spain and Italy are Corsica and Sardinia, separated by the Frefum Fosses
(Strait of Bonefacio). Corsica, called by the Greeks Cyrnos, was of little note in
ancient times, but is celebrated for having given birth to Napoleon Bonaparte. It con-
tained two Roinan colonies, Mariana planted by Marius, and Aleria by Sylla. North
of Mariana was JSIatinorum Oppidum (Bastia), the present capital of the island.—
Sardinia derived its name from Sardus, an African prince, said to be a son of Her-
cules, who at a very early period led a colony hither; it was called by the Greeks
Ichnusa, from its resemblance to the human foot. Nehher serpents nor wolves were
found in this island, and (as we are told) only one poisonous herb, which caused those
who eat of it to expire in a fit of laughter, and hence the expression, a Sardonic grin.
The chief town was Calaris (now Cagliari). Both islands were long tributary to the
Carthaginians, who were expelled by the Romans in the first Punic war.

There were several small islands of no great importance on the coast of Italy ; the
chief were Ilua (Elba), which is of some interest, as the spot of Napoleon's temporary
banishment ; Prochyta ; and CaprecB (Capri), infamous as the scene of the unnatural
debaucheries of Tiberius.

^ 138. Sicilia, the largest and most fertile of the Mediterranean islands, hes to the
south of Italy, from which it is separated by the Fretinn Slculum (Strait of Messina). —
It was called Triquetra, or Trinacria, from its triangular shape, terminating in three
promontories ; Pelorus (Faro), on the north ; Pachynus (Passaro), on the south ; and
Lil-yhaiim (Boco), on the west.

SyracuscB (Siracusa) w^as the ancient capital of Sicily, and one of the most remarka-
ble cities of antiquity. It was founded by a Corinthian colony led by Archias, and
arrived at such a pitch of greatness that the circuit of its walls exceeded twenty miles.—
It was divided into five parts, which were so large as to be esteemed separate towns ;
viz. Ortygia, a small island, on which the Greeks originally settled ; Acradina facing
the sea; Tycha, between that and the following division; Neapolis, which stood on
the great port ; and Epipolas. — Syracuse had two ports, the lesser formed by the island
Orlycria, and the greater at the mouth of the river Anapns. which here flows into a
large bay, having the island at its northern, and the fort oi Plemmyrium at its southern
extremity. The celebrated prison called LalomicE was cut out of the rock by the tyrant
Dionysius ; in this was a cavern shaped like the human ear, so contrived as to transmit

Online LibraryJohann Joachim EschenburgManual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions → online text (page 12 of 153)