Johann Joachim Eschenburg.

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own provisions, consisting chiefly of salt meat, cheese, olives, onions, &c. For this
purpose each one had a vessel made of wicker with a long neck, called yvXwv. Eobi7i-
son, p. 349.

§ 47. In connection with the affairs of war, it is proper to notice the use of
ships or vessels, which the Greeks in early times employed partly in piracy,
partly in transporting armies, and partly in actual combat. In later times the
naval battles of the Greeks were frequent and celebrated. Their first ships
were long (uaxpdt), and moved by oars. The number of rowers was various,
often very considerable. Originally there was but a single rank on each side ;
afterwards, as the ship was built higher, another rank of rowers was added;
vessels of the latter kind were called ^ixpota, those of the former ^ovoxpora,
also/toi-^pH?, xk'kr.tsi;. Ata later period they were builtwith three tiers or ranks,
T'ptTjpEtc, which continued to be the most common form, although there were
vessels with four, five, and six tiers, and sornetimes even more.

It was early customary to place upon ships certain images and signs, from
which they were named. The ship commonly bore the image or statue of some
god, to Vv'hose protection it was especially intrusted. In the capture of a vessel,
the first object of a victor was to plunder this image, and place it as a trophy
in his own ship.

§ 48. The Greeks early practiced in war the forming of regular camps.
Their compass and extent were such as not only to include the whole army,
but also the ships, which after the landing of the troops were drawn upon the
dry land. It was customary to surround the camp with a wall or ramparts with
towers and breast-works. Before the wall was a fosse or ditch, guarded with
pointed stakes. For the principal otficers separate tents were erected, of-
wooden frames, covered w'ith skins. During the night, sentinels were stationed
on guard, and beacon-fires were kindled. Spies and scouts were sent out from
Doth parlies, when hostile camps were placed against each other.

" Tents like those now in use seem to have been a late invention. The ancients, on
desultory expeditions, and in marching through a country, slept with no shelter but '
their cloaks, as our hght troops ofren carry none but a blanket; when they remained
long on a spot they hutted. Achilles' tent or hut was built of fir, and thatched with
reeds; and it seems to have had several apartments, {ll. xxiv. 488. ix. 659)."

§ 49. The order of battle was either to place the war-chariots in front, and
the infantry in the rear, or to give the latter the front, and support them by the
chariots from behind. The whole arnay was drawn into close array, although
arranged in distinct divisions. On the commencement of battle they innplored
the aid of the gods, and made vows of grateful returns. Then the generals
exhorted the soldiers to valor, and proceeded to set an example. The onset
was usually accompanied with loud shouting and clamor to inspirit each other
and intimidate the foe. The wounded were healed with care, having nursing
and medicine ; but the slain of the enemy were left unburied, or their corpses
even exposed to insult, unless their burial was agreed upon in some express

§ 50. The spoils taken in battle consisted partly of arms, which the captoi



either appropriated lo his own use, or dedicated to the gods, and partly in other
utensils and precious articles, which, together with their owners, became the
property of the victor. By means of a ransom, however, the spoils, as well as
the prisoners, could be redeemed. After battle, the remaining booty w^as often
divided among the soldiers by lot; the general, however, always received his
portion first and without lot. Those who had distinguished themselves by valor,
also received prizes and rewards, by the promises of which the generals often
stimulated their troops before the action.

" We find that, so early as Homer's time, the Greeks had improved considerably
upon that tumultuary warfare alone known to many barbarous nations, who yet have
prided themselves in the practice of war for successive centuries. Several terms used
by the poet, together with his description of marches, indicate that orders of battle
were in his time regularly formed in ranks and files. Steadiness in the soldier, that
foundation of all tliose powers which distinguish an army from a mob, and which to
this day forms the highest praise of the best troops, we find in great perfection in the
Iliad. ' The Grecian phalanges,' says the poet (iv. 427), ' marched in close order, the
leaders directing each his own band. The rest were mute : insomuch that you would say,
in so great a multitude there was no voice. Such was the silence with which they
respectively watched for the word of command from their officers.'

Considering the deficiency of iron, the Grecian troops appear to have been very well
armed, both Jbr oftence and defence. Their defensive armor consisted of a helmet, a
breastplate, and greaves, all of brass ; and a shield, commonly of bull's hide, but often
strengthened with brass. The breastplate appears to have met the belt, which was a
considerable defence to the belly and groin ; and with an appendant skirt guarded also
the thighs. All together covered the forepart of the soldier from the throat to the ancle ;
and the shield was a superadded protection for every part. The bulk of the Grecian
troops were infantry, thus heavily armed, and formed in close order, many ranks deep.
Any body, formed in ranks and files, close and deep, without regard to a specific num-
ber of either ranks or files, were generally termed a phalanx (II. iv. 332. vi. 83). But
the Locrians, under Oilean Ajax, were all fight-armed ; bows were their principal
weapons, and they never engaged in close fight (dyxsnaxoi).

Riding on horseback was yet little practiced, though it appears to have been not un-
known (II. xiii. 722). Some centuries, however, passed before it was generally applied
in Greece to military purposes ; the mountainous ruggedness of the country prevented
any extensive use of cavalry, except among the Thessalians, whose territory was a
large plain. [Cf Sallier, cited § 138.] But in the Homeric armies no chief was with-
out his chariot, drawn generally by two, sometimes by three horses; and these chariots
of war make a principal figure in Homer's battles. Nestor, forrning the army for action,
composes the first line of chariots only. In the second he places that part of the in-
fantry in which he has least confidence ; and then forms a third line, or reserve, of the
most approved troops.

The combat of the chiefs, so repeatedly described by Homer, advancing to engage
singly in front of their line of battle, is apt to strike a modern reader with an appear'-^
ance of absurdity perhaps much beyond the reality. Before the use of fire-arms that'
practice was not uncommon, when the art of war was at the greatest perfection. Caesar
himself gives (De Bell. Gall. v. 43), with evident satisfaction, a very particular account
of a remarkable advanced combat, in which, not generals indeed, but two centurions
of his army engaged. The Grecian chiefs of the heroic age, hke the knights of the times
of chivalry, had armor probably superior to that of the common soldiers ; and this,
with the additional advantage of superior skill, acquired by assiduous practice amid
unbounded leisure, would make this skirniishing much less dangerous than on first
consideration it may appear." — Mil ford, ch. ii. sect. 3.

" Another practice common in Homer's time is by no means equally defensible, but
on the contrary marks great barbarism ; that of stopping in the heat of action to strip
the slain. Often this paltry passion for possessing the spoil of the enemy superseded,
all other, even the most important and most deeply interesting objects of battle. The
poet himself (II. v. 48, vi. 67) was not unaware of the danger and inconvenience of the
practice, and seems even to have aimed at a reformation of it. We find, indeed, in
Homer's warfare, a remarkable mixture of barbarism with regularity. Though the
art of forming an army in phalanx was known and commonly practiced, yet the busi-
ness of a general, in directing its operations, was lost in the passion, or we may call if.
fashion, of the great men to signalize themselves by acts of personal courage and skill
in arms. Achilles and Hector, the first heroes of the Iliad (xviii. 106. 252), excel only
in the character of fighting soldiers : as generals and directors of the war they are
inferior to many. Indeed, while the fate of the battles depended so much on the skir-
mishing of the chiefs, we cannot wonder that the prejudice should obtain which set the
able arm, in vulgar estimation, above the able head. But the poet obviously means to
cvpose the absurdity and mischievous consequences of that prejudice, where he makes


Hector (II. xxii. 99), in a late repentance, acknowledge the superior abilities of Polyda-
mas. Yet Homer's own idea of the duties of an officer, though he possessed very
extensive and very accurate knowledge both of the theory and practice of war of his
own age, was still very imperfect." — lb.

§ 51. At the end of war the conquered party either submitted -wholly to the
dominion and laws of the conqueror, or a peace was made upon certain con-
ditions. This was effected through legates, fully commissioned for the purpose.
In forming a treaty of peace, various ceremonies were observed, partly of a
religious character. A victim was slain, of which however no meal was made,
but its flesh was cast aside; libations were poured out; the parties joined
hands in pledge of good faith, and called upon the gods as witnesses of their
covenant, and as avengers of its violation, especially upon Jupiter, whose
thunderbolts were an object of terror to the perjured. The restoration of plun-
der was generally a preliminary requisition ; and the conquered party was often
compelled to pay a sum of money as a fine or indemnification. — Sometimes the
whole war was terminated by a single combat, the parties agreeing to abide by
its issue.


§ 52. Since social life was but gradually introduced in Greece, it is not to be
expected, that the earliest ages should exhibit much refinement in what pertains
to domestic affairs. During the heroic ages their mode of living was nearly as
rude as their morals. Their principal meat was the flesh of cattle, sheep, swine,
goats, and deer, which they were accustomed to roast. The flesh of birds and
fish was more seldom used. The most common food was milk, fruit, and vege-
tables. The first and most common drink was water; wine, however, was in
frequent use ; but, generally, mingled with water. Large drinking-vessel.s
were employed at their repasts. Ordinarily they had two meals a day, at mid-
day and evening, and in the earlier times it was the Greek custom to sit at
table, not to recline. The number of persons at one table was seldom greater
than ten.

It was a proverb, ascribed to Theognis (cf P. V. § 31), that the persons at a social
repast should not be less in number than the Graces, nor more than the Muses. — The
Roman Varro is said to have enjoined this rule, respecting the proper number at a
repast {Gell. xiii. 11). Adam.

"Homer mentions three different sorts of seats: (1) ^((ppo;, which contained two
persons, commonly placed for those of mean rank ; (2) Opd.'o^, on which they sat up-
right, having under their feet a footstool termed Opnwg; (3) K-X(o-/iaj, on which they sat
leaning a little backwards." Robinson. — Cf. Horn. Odys. i. 130, 131.

§ 53. Social repasts or banquets were often held, being occasioned by public
solemnities, festivals, religious celebrations, marriages, and the like. Some-
times they were made at the common expense of the guests (cpavoc, cf. Oclyss.
i. 226) ; such entertainments, however, were viewed as of inferior rank. The
feasts upon victims offered in sacrifice have been mentioned (§ 27).

At table the guests sat according to a definite order. The beginning was
made by washing the hands. In early times a separate board was placed for
each guest, and his portion of food thus divided to him. Wine was brought
by youthful attendants, and the guests often drank to each other, and recipro-
cally exchanged cups. They endeavored to heighten the joys of the banquet
by conversation and wit, and also by songs and instrumental music. Cf. P.
IV. § 68.

§ 54. The dress of the early Greeks was longer, and more ample, and more
completely covered the body, than that of later times. Next to the body they
wore a long robe or frock [^^ctuiv), which was kept in place by a girdle, and
over this a cloak (^x'^aiva) of thicker materials, to protect against the cold.
Instead of the latter they sometimes had a mantle (fa^o^). The women wore
also long cloaks or over-garments, called Ttirt^oc, often richly embroidered and
ornamented. They likewise covered their heads, while the men seem not to
have done it in the earlier ages, except that they wore helmets in war Shoes
or socks were not used constantly, but only in going out. In war the meu
wore a sort of boot or greaves (§ 44).



§ 55. For the sal<e of cleanliness and of bodily strength, the early Greeks
practiced frequent bathing, and with it united the custom of anointing. In
bathing they made much use of the sea-water, on account of its purifying and
strengthening properties. They also had warm baths in their houses. After
taking the bath they anointed the body with oil; costly ointments, expressly
prepared for the purpose, were of later invention. They cultivated in every
way the growth of the hair, long hair being considered as essential to personal
beauty and dignity. The color most esteemed was yellowish or light brown.
They were also pleased with frizzled or curled locks, and employed artificial
means to secure such forms to their hair.

§ 56. Of the real architecture and arrangement of Greek houses in the earlier
periods, we do not get an accurate view from the descriptions of Homer, which,
aside from their poetical character, relate only to the palaces or dwellings of
distinguished personages. (Cf. P. IV. § 232.) Respecting these we may
remark, that they were ordinarily surrounded by some kind of a wall, not very
high; between the wall and the house itself was the fore-court, in which an
altar usually stood. Then followed a colonnade, a vestibule, and the main
building or house, often highly ornamented without and within ; although the
art of building at this time had not reached by far the perfection which Greek
architecture afterwards attained. In the upper part of the house was the dining-
hall, the sleeping-room, and the women's apartment. The roofs were flat, as
in oriental countries, and often served as places of resort both by day and by

§ 57. The Greeks cheerfully received to their houses the stranger, and the
needy; and the rites of hospitality were held sacred among them. .Jupiter
himself was considered as the god and rewarder of hospitality, and the avenger
of all violations of its laws, and on that account was styled 'SivLo^ (P. II. § 25).
They had no public inns (cf. § 168), but travelers found reception with those
who stood related to them by ties of hospitality. This relation existed not
only between particular persons, but also between whole cities and communi-
ties. Kings and distinguished persons exercised hospitality towards each
other by a sort of common understanding. The external tokens of a welcome
reception of guests were joining hands and embracing with a kiss. Sometimes
this was accompanied with offering the bath and unction. On separating, it
w^as common to unite in a friendly repast, and renew their pledge of mutual
friendship over the wine. Valued gifts were sometimes bestow^ed on the de-
parting guest.

§ 58. In speaking of the occupations of the Greeks, agriculture may be first
mentioned. This was their most common pursuit and means of living. The'
boundaries of the fields w^ere marked by stones, which served to guard the
cultivators against mutual encroachments. The culture of the vine and of
trees was also an object of attention. The raising of cattle was a common
employment, and a principal source of wealth. These employments were not
considered in any way degrading or ignoble, but were exercised by persons of
eminence and even by princes. The hunting of wild beasts should also be
mentioned here, as practiced in order to secure the flocks and the fields from
depredation. In the chase they made use of various weapons, as the bow and
arrow% and the spear, with the help of the dog. Fowling and fishing were
likewise a frequent employment.

The nets [rlKTva) employed in fowling, hunting, and fishing were made of flax (Au'a);
the meshes (i^poxot) being of various sizes according to the use intended. In hunting, the
nets were supported by stakes (ordXt/cfs) and extended in a curve so as partly to surround
a space into which the animals were driven. Several kinds of fishing nets are men-
tioned, of which the most common were the dnipiiSXriarpov {retiaculum) or casting-net,
and the <jayr\i'r) {tragum) seine or sean.

See Opvian's Fnems on Fi^hiDg atd Hunting, cf. P. V. § 75. — Ameilhon, sur la peche des Anciens, in the Mem. de VInstiiut,
«■, 1 ass e de Lit. el Beaux Arts, vol. v. p. 350.

§ 59. The employments of women consisted partly in the care of the house-
hold, partly in spinning, weaving, and needle-work, not only for their own
clothing, but for that of the men also. Grinding, baking, cooking and wash-
mg, were performed by the women. In general, the female sex among the


Greeks was in a state of great, although not slavish subjection to the male.
There was comparatively little intercourse between the sexes. The women
lived chiefly by themselves in the apartment assigned to them, the rumtxwv or
FviuxsLov, which was in the interior or upper part of the house (§ 56). Seldom
were they allowed to go abroad. In later times this close discipline and con-
finement remained in force, and women shared even less than previously in the
business and pleasures of men.

On the ancient method of grinding, cf. Mongez, Sur les meules de moulin employees par les Ancieus, in the Mem. de VInstitut,
Classe d'Hist. el Lit. Anc. vol. iii. p. 441.

On the state of females, R G. Lenz, Geschichte der Weiber im heroischen Zeilalter. Hanov. 179a 8.—Rochefort, Les mceuK dea
liecles heroiques, Man. .lead. Insar. vol. xxxvi. p. 396— Cf. 5 181.

§ 60. Among the most common amusements of the Greeks were music and
dancing. The former consisted of vocal and instrumental, which were always
united; and it was designed for instruction as well as gratification. Hence
music, although in a m.ore extended sense of the term, was an essential object
in education. (Cf. § 179, and P. IV. § 63.) The lyre was the stringed in-
strument the most in use, and of wind instruments the flute was the most
common. The former enjoyed the preference, because it was more easily ac-
commodated to song, and also left the performer at liberty to use his voice. ^
The subjects of song were chiefly mythical or historical. Music was most
generally used at banquets and religious festivals, which were also the most
common occasions of dancing. With dancing it was customary to join various
sports and exercises of the body, as leaping, running, riding, wrestling, and
the like.

§ 61. Marriage and nuptial ceremonies are to be noticed in connection with
the domestic affairs of the Greeks. The dowry of the daughter was usually
given by the father. It consisted of female ornaments, a portion of the flocks
and herds, and the like. There were no degrees of consanguinity forbidden
in marriage, except that between parents and children; yet it was considered
as highly censurable for brother and sister to unite. Previously to marriage
the consent of the parents was to be asked. At the nuptials or wedding, the
bride was with pomp conducted home by the bridegroom, who had previously,
according to the common practice, built and made ready a new house. In this
procession to the house, nuptial torches were borne before the newly married,
and bridal hymns were sung by a retinue of youths and virgins. Dancing
usually accompanied the music ; and the whole was followed by a nuptial
feast. A widow seldom contracted a second marriage, although it was not ex-
pressly forbidden. At least, it did not take place until five years or more after
her widowhood.

§ 62. Parents of the better class took special care of the education of thei:
children, both physical and moral. The mother was accustomed to nurse her
own children, and consid»?red herself freed from this duty by no rank or con
dition. The aid of others in this respect was sought only in cases of absolute
necessity. In subsequent years the children had particular teachers and over-
seers, who instructed them in bodily exercises, in useful sciences, and in the
art of war. Cf. P. IV. § 64, § 71.

On the other hand, also, children considered it a duty to love, reverence, and
obey their parents. They rejoiced in a father's benediction, and considered his
curse as the greatest of evils. They endeavored to repay to parents in old
age the care experienced by themselves in childhood, a thing, indeed, expressly
required by law. They looked upon it as their highest honor, to inflict ven-
geance on such as had injured their fathers.

On respect paid to old age amon? the ancients, cf Class. Joum. iii. 142, 320; iv. 319. On the manners and morals ot rnt

earlier ages. cf. Rcchefort, as cited § 59.— C. P. Levesque, Sur les Mceurs des Grecs du temps d'Homere, in the J/em. de I'lnstitiU
Classe des Sciences Mor. et Pol. vol. ii.

§ 63. The slaves (5oL7».ot,) of the Greeks, male and female, were persons that
had been laken prisoners in war {aixudxcotoi, avSQUTioBov), or were purchased
of others. Slaves of the latter class were not common in early times. The in
troduction of commerce or trade in slaves is ascribed to the inhabitants of the
island of Chios, at a later period. The master had an almost unlimited power


over his slave, extending even to the right of life and death. Sometimes the
gift of liberty was bestowed.

Besides the actual slaves there was a class of day laborers, who were accus-
tomed to let their services for hire (^rtsi, Tt^T.d'tai), especially in the agricul-
tural and pastoral employments, which were originally so common in Greece.
A retinue of servants for mere display or luxury was not indulged in during
the period of which we have thus far been speaking. Cf. § 99.

11. — Of the later and morejiourishing ^ges,


§ 64. The number of the Grecian divinities increased with the advancement
of civilization; although the mythology of the Greeks, in its elements, was
chiefly of early origin, engendered and fostered by the ignorance, superstition,
and sensuality of the first ages. The mythical fictions were enlarged, the
modes of representing the gods were varied, the temples, festivals, and sacri-
fices, and all the solemnities and rites of worship were greatly multiplied.
The pomp and splendor of their religion became very imposing, especially at
the period distinguished for the flourishing state of all their affairs. At that
time the plastic arts were in a great measure devoted to the representation and
illustration of religious story, and the ornamenting of religious edifices. (Cf,
P. IV. § 178, 197, 198,234.) This circumstance gives additional interest and
importance to the study of this branch of antiquities.

§ 65 a. The temples {vaoi, Upd) were still built in a simple taste, yet in greater
number and splendor. The interior had commonly two parts, of which the
innermost was the sanctuary (dBv-rov), into which the priest only entered. The
place where stood the statue or image of the god to whom the temple belonged
was in the middle of the temple, commonly surrounded by a guard of lattice
work or the like, and therefore termed ar^xbi-

Originally the Greeks, like the oriental nations, worshiped on the top of mountains
or hills, where they afterwards first erected their temples. When in the common creed
the gods were multiplied and assigned to valleys, rivers, &c., as their appropriate pro-
vinces, temples were built in such spots as were supposed agreeable to the several gods.

Online LibraryJohann Joachim EschenburgManual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions → online text (page 34 of 153)