Johann Joachim Eschenburg.

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

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Tl e kind just descrilied was difierent from the folded ta'olets, called Surrvxa, (cf. dt-
pj ma, diptycha, § 118), which became specially remarkable in connection with affairs
of state.

1. The writer has in possession a manuscript copy of the Syriac New Testament, on parch-
ment, of unknown but very anrient date, procured hy Rev. J. Peikivs, from the Nestorians of
Persia. The form is quadrangular : tiie leaves are folded and placed in layers in the manner
above described. Generally, four leaves or sheets are folded together double, making eight
pages ; sometimes there are five, making ten pages ; sometimes but three. These are stitched
together, and the layers united somewhat after the manner of a modern book.

2. Tablets of wood or metal were often connected together by means of rings or
parchment bands, thus forming a book of several leaves. — " In the year 1699, Mont-
fjucon purchased, at Rome, a book of eight leaden leaves (including two which
formed the cover), four inches long and three inches wide. Leaden rings were
fastened on the back, through which a small leaden rod ran to keep the leaves to-

The terms 0i0\os and SipXtov designated a book or volume of papyrus, and i^en'
Pp'iva a book of parchment, when they were used distinctively. Cf. 2 Tim. iv. 13.

For ttie forms of rolls, books, and tablets, see Plates XXXVl. and XXXVUI.— Cf. Calmet's Diet, (as cited J IS. 4.), vol. iii. p. 93.

§ 58. There were among the Greeks copyists, who made it their business to
transcribe books. Those, who had distinguished skill in writing were called
xa7.%iyf>dq)Gt. Those, who applied themselves to take down discourses or ad-
dresses, and so made use of notes and abbreviations, were named arjixiioypd^oL and
raxvyiiarpoi. Such as wrote in golden letters, or ornamented with golden initial
letters manuscripts in which places had been left for that purpose, were termed
XfiVjoypd'poL. Among the later Greeks, transcribers received the Roman appel-
lation of notaries (notariij. In the middle ages, the work of transcribing was
especially the employment of ecclesiastics and monks in the convents and
abbeys, in which there was usually an apartment expressly fitted for the ob-
ject, called the scriptorium.

Alexandria was the principal resort of the copyists in the later periods of Grecian
hterature. In the same edifice with the celebraied hbrary in this chy (cf. 'i 76), were
extensive offices completely fitted up for the business of transcribing books. Here
the Calligraphi were very numerous, even until the irruption of the Arabs. About
thirty years before that event, the circumstance is mentioned by an eye-witness.
{Theophyl. Simocatta, Hist. viii. 13.)

See /. Taylor, History of itie Transmission of ancient books to modern times. Lond. 1827. 8. Cf. New York Review, No. vi.
Oct. lS3g.

§ 59. In the most ancient times, in Greece, the use of writing was infrequent.
Many afifairs of civil life, afterwards transacted in writing, were then conducted
orally; as, for example, judicial causes, contracts, and treaties. The earliest
written laws were those of Draco. Even inscriptions upon public monuments
and tombs were very rare in the first ages.

1 u. There is scarcely a trace in Homer of written orders or despatches ; every
thing of the kind being transacted by oral intercourse or messages. In a single in-
stance only, does he allude to a written communication (Iliad, vi. 168 — 178), where
Proetus is represented as sending something like a letter with written charactery
(trfinara ypdipai iv irivaKi tztvktCo) by Bellerophon to Jobates ; but there are difierent
explanations of this passage.

2 u. The writing of books seems to have commenced in the tiijie of Pisistratus and
Solon, and its first fruits were perhaps merely the recording of traditionary poetry

Qicarterly Review, No. Ixxxvii— Gogru£t, Or. Laws, &c. P. ii. btc. ii. § 6.—MitJoid's Greece, ch. ii. § 3. (note p. 132. vol.
Bust. ed. 1823).

3 /. By some it has been considered as not an improbable supposition, that the
poetry of Homer was not committed to writing by himself, but that this was first done
at a later period, and with the insertion of many passages not belonging to it. For
more full notices on the question whether Homer committed his poems to writing,
con«nh P. V. >^ 50. 4.


§ 60. Instruction in the early periods was also of course chiefly oral. The
name of sao-es, or wise men (ao(j)0(.', aofiorai), was conferred on all who were
distinguished for their knowledge and thereby enjoyed a conspicuous rank and
influence in the state. These men delivered orally their doctrines and precepts,
which in later periods were collected and recorded. In the first ages, when the
compass and sum of all known attainments was not very great, many and vari-
ous kinds were united in one individual, who was at once theologian, physiolo-
gist, speculative and practical philosopher, statesman, lawgiver, poet, orator,
and musician. The subsequent division and separation of the branches of
knowledge contributed to its advancement and perfection, although probably
not to any increase of its direct and immediate influence.

III. — Of the most Jlourishing period of Greek Literature.

§ 61. During the time intervening between Solon (B. C. 594) and Alexander
(B. C. 336), Greek literature rose to its greatest splendor. In this period, the
circumstances of the Greeks generally, and of the Athenians in particular, were
such as very happily conspired to promote literature and the arts. Among the
causes which contributed to their progress, may be mentioned, in addition to
the circumstances already noticed, the native disposition of the people, favorably
influenced by the climate and the physical features of the country, the free and
republican form of the government, the general influence of their customs and
usages, their commerce with other nations, especially the Egyptians, and their
system of education, which was expressly adapted to the public interests of the
community, and which cultivated in fortunate harmony both body and mind.
With such advantages, the Greeks became highly distinguished in the arts, and
were the first to place them on established principles, and reduce them to appro-
priate, consistent, and useful rules.

1 II. Their language, which had already acquired so much flexibility, copiousness,
and harmony, was carried to its highest perfection in the period of which we now
^peak. From the works of their best writers, they deduced a system of rhetorical
truths and precepts, embodied \dx\i great discrimination and skill, and taught both
orally and in writing. Eloquence and poetry they raised to the greatest eminence.
They composed history with taste, judgment, and fidehty. Philosophy was one of
their favorite studies, and was taught in various schools with order and precision.
They discussed with much penetration many of the principles of government and
pubhc economy. They cultivated hkewise whh great success the mathematical
sciences. And their good taste, the elements of which they possessed as it were by
nature, and which was highly improved by their devoted attention to the fine arts,
enabled them to impart to the sciences generally a liveUer aspect, and to render them
more attractive and useful.

2. "The opposite character of different Hellenic tribes exerted a powerful influence upon the
culture and literature of the Greeks. This appears the most striking in the case of the lonians
and Dorians, both externally and internally. Ionian republicanism and Dorian aristocracy were
long arrayed in hostility against each other, and contended desperately in the Peloponnesian
war. The views of life entertained by each were widely different. The sprightly Ionian sought,
with a light heart, to clothe life with various forms of beauty, and enjoyed the pleasure of the
moment, and readily exchanged what was old for something new. The Dorian, reared among
mountains, loved repose and lime-hallowed usages; enjoyed contemplation and serious enjoy-
ments, and strove for the vast and the sublime. Among the lonians sprung \ip, from real impres-
sions, the plastic form of epic poetry ; from tradition, epic history ; from reflection upon experi-
ence, moral sayings, scornful iambics, and elegy; and, from pleasurable emotions, the sensual,
mirthful song. To the Dorians, the higher lyric poetry is indebted for its formation and culture ;
it originated in a fine sensibility, and rose to an earnest enthusiasm and a deep contemplation of
the divine and the human. The Ionian philosophy commenced with the material world and its
origin ; the Dorian, with the spiritual world and with essential existence, and separated the
mental phenomena from physics ; the former applied itself to the real world, the latter, to the
ideal. — Between the two stood the ..iColians, with a lax political constitution, tending to disorder.
With them originated the didactic form of poetry; and their tumultuous passions were poured
forth in lyrics of a fervid character, accompanied by similar music. — The Athenians united, in
jtart, (as far as their public life and their original character would allow,) the peculiarities of the
lonians and the Dorians,— a lively imagination and a lofty earnestness,— carrying both to lae
highest Ditch of •Jerfection." Wackier, Literatur-geschichte, i. p. 103.



§ 62. It is not designed here to give a minute history of the progress of the
various branches, or to specify and describe particularly the writers in the differ-
ent departments. On these subjects something more full will be given in
another place (Part V). It is only proposed now to point out the most remark-
able circumstances and features of this illustrious period, and mention the
principal institutions and customs, which served to awaken intellectual activity,
and call forth talents of every kind, and employ them in the most successful

§ 63. The whole system of education among the Greeks was peculiarly cal-
culated for the development and improvement of the powers of the mind and of
the body in common. Gymnastics ('jtt.xr;) constituted an essential part
of it, and was taught and practiced in the Gymnasia (yr^ia^ta), or schools for
bodily exercise. All that part of it, which related more especially to the culti-
vation of the mind, went under the term music (ixovaixr;); and in this compre-
hensive sense, the term is used by Plutarch and other ancient writers, when
they speak of music as so indispensable in the education of the young, and as
exerting so great an influence on the temper and character.

" Plato (Leg. 6. Rep. 2. 17) includes the whole of education (■rTaiSeia'i under the
two parts above named; (ra i^adfinara cio-i SiTva;) i] fiiv em aoJuaai, yvuvacTim]; h o" in\
xf/vx^, liov(jiKh. The former was divided by him into fdAf? and S/'x'?'^'?- The latter
embraced all the arts and sciences over which xhe Muses presided. The term itovciKrt
was sometimes used, especially in later times, in the restricted sense." Grammar
{ypa-txnaTa, ypaixnariKt]) was sometimes distinguished from the other branches included
under the term iiovaiKh ; and thus the education of a Greek was divided into three
parts ; grammar, music, and gymnastics. Cf. § 71. It may be important to remark,
that the Spartans and Athenians differed very much as to their grand aim in educa-

On the eaucation of the Athenians, see Barthdemy, Anacharsia, ch. xivi. cited P. V. § 153. 2.— On that of Sparta, and other
states, Mliller, History and Ant. of the Doric Race, bk. iv. ch. v. and vi.— On the schools of the Greeks, see Schwartz, as cited § 75.
—Perizonius ad ^Han. V. Hist. ii. 16.

Respecting the music of the Greeks, and its connections, see G. A. ViUaltau, Recherches snr I'Analofie de la Musique avec la
Language. — B. J. Burette, Sur I'ancienne Musique, in the Mem. Jlcad. des Inscr. vol. iv. p. 116, v. 133, viii. 27, x. p. 111. xv.
xvii. 61.— C/iaiano/i, in the same Memoires, vol. xxxv. p. 360. .xlvi. p. 285.— F. Nulan, on the Theoretical Music of the Greeks ;
in the Trmisactions of the Royal .Soc. of Literature, vol. ii. Lond. 1834.— C. Buniey, History of Music. Lond. 1776. 3 vols. 4.—
Barthelemy, Anacharsis, ch. xivii.— For a notice of the works which treat of the music of the ancients, see /. N. Forkei, AUgem.
Gescbichte der Musik. Leipz. 1792. S.—Sulzer's Allg. Theor. der schon. KQnste, art. Miuik.

% 64. The following remarks on the Gymnasia, are from Barthelemy'' s Travels of

"A magistrate, named the gymnasiarch {yviivaaiapxv?\ , presides at [has the charge
of] the different gymnasia of the state. It is his duty to furnish the oil made use of
by the athletae to give suppleness to their hmbs. He has under him, in each gym-
nasium, several officers; such as the gymnastes [who attends to the health and diet
of the youth, and is sometimes called iarpog] ; the paidotribes [rraiSorpi/Siig, whose duty
is to teach the arts exercised in the palaestra] . and others ; some of whom maintain
order among the youth, and others teach them different exercises. At the head of
these are ten sophronists [cro^ipovicTai] , nominated by the ten tribes, to whom the
superintendence of the morals of the youth is more especially committed, and all of
whom must be approved by the Areopagus.

As it is of the greatest importance that confidence and scrutiny should prevail in the
gymnasium, as well as in all numerous assembhes, thefts committed there are punished
with death, when they exceed the value of ten drachms. The gymnasia being deemed
the asylum of innocence and modesty, Solon had prohibited the people from entering
them at the time when the scholars, celebrating a festival in honor of Mercury, were
less under the eye of their preceptors ; but this regulation has fallen into disuse.
_ The exercises practiced there are ordained by the laws, subject to certain regula-
tions, and animated by the commendations of the masters, and still more by the emu-
lation that subsists among the scholars. All Greece considers them as the most
essential part of education, as they render men active, robust, and capable of sup-
porting military- labors, as well as the leisure hours of peace. Considered relatively
to health, physicians prescribe rhem with success. Of their great*utihty in the mih-
tary art, it is impossible to give a higher idea than by citing the example of the Lace
dasmonians. To the?e exercises were they indebted for those victories which once
made them so formidable to other nations ; and, in later times, in order to conquer,
it was first necessary to equal them in the eymnastic discipline. — But if the advan-
tages resulting from this institution be eminent, its abuses are not less dangerous.
Medicine and philosophy both concur in condemning these exercises, when they ex
kaust the body, or give more ferocity than courage to the mmd.


The gymnasium of the Lyceum has been successively enlarged and embellished.
The waiis are enriched wiih paintings. Apollo is the tutelary deity of the place. His
statue is at the entrance ; and the gardens, ornamented wiih beautiful alleys, were
restored in the last years of my residence in Greece. Those who walk there, are
invited to rest themselves, by seats placed under the trees."

For further notices of the gymnastic exercises, see P. III. § 88.— Cf. Smith, Diet, of Antiquities.

§ 65. The fact that the term music was used in the comprehensive sense above
noticed, and was united with poetry, rehearsals, and imitative gestures, will, if
properly considered, help us to appreciate more justly the musical contests of tiie
Greeks. These were regarded as among the most valuable means of intellectual
improvement. The love of glory was stimulated by them, and became the
moving spring of the most intense efforts. They exerted the greater influence
from the circumstance of their being usually connected with public and festival
occasions, especially with the four solemn games of the Greeks, the Olympian,
Pythian, Isthmian, and Nemean. At Athens they were united with the Pana-
thensan festival, one of the highest interest, and attended by vast multitudes of
people, and by the appointment of Pericles they were held in the Odeum, an
edifice specially appropriated for the purpose.

1. " AU the violence of the early ages was unable to repress that elegance of ima-
ginalion which seems congenial to Greece. Very anciently a contention for a prize
in poetry and music was a favorite entertainment of the Grecian people ; and when
connected, as it often was, with some ceremony of religion, drew together {T/mc. 3.
104. Xen. Mem. Socr. 3, c. 3) large assemblies of both sexes. A festival of this kind
in the httle island of Delos, at which Homer assisted, brought a numerous concourse
from different parts by sea; and Hesiod (Op. and Di. 1. 2. v. 272) informs us of a
splendid meeting for the celebration of various games, at Chalcis in Euboea, where
himself obtained the prize for poetry and song. The contest in music and poetry
seems early to have been particularly connected with the worship of Apollo. When
this was carried from the islands of the JEgean to Delphi, a prize for poetry was in-
stituted ; whence arose the Pythian games. But it appears from Homer that games,
in which athletic exercises and music and dancing were alternately introduced, made
a common amusement of the courts of princes ; and before his time, the manner of
conducting them was so far reduced to a system (Od. 8. v. 258), that pubhc judges
of the games are mentioned as a kind of established magistrate." Mitford, Hist.
Greece, ch. iii. § 4.

2 71. Shortly after the time of Solon, these contests existed, under systematic regu-
lations. They were termed dy(^ves hovcikoI, and thus distinguished from the corpo-
real exercises, which were called dywve^ yvjxviKol. Poets, rhapsodists, actors, panto-
mimes, and musicians took part in them. The judges, (iywi'oJtVat, dycovodirai, diavn-
vrjTat, PpaPevrai, were men specially distinguished for knowledge and taste. The;^
assigned the theme of the contest, and their judgment on the comparative merits of
the performers was decisive.

See Martini, Abhandlung von den Odea der Alien. Leip. 1767. 8.— 5S«ig^cr, Andeutungen &c. Qber ArchOologie. Dresden,
1806. 8.— Aufsatz von d. Musik. Wttlstr. d. Mien, in the N. Bill, der sch. nissenchaften, 7th bk.—Du Sesnd, Conjbals et Prix
proposes aux poetes, &c. parnii les Grecs et les Remains. Mem, Acad. Insc xiii. 331.

§ 66. The competitors in these contests were required to possess natural
abilities, long and laborious preparation, theoretical and practical knowledge of
their art, a well modulated voice, and skill upon the musical instruments which
accompanied the exercise, usually the lyre or harp. The order in which they
performed was decided by lot, and their conduct during the contest was pre-
scribed by fixed laws. The name of the victor, the one to whom the judges
assigned the prize, was proclaimed by a herald. His reward was a garland or
wreath and public applause. Sometimes he received a medal, statue, or poem,
dedicated to his honor.

1 u. On these occasions, not only did musicians and poets contend, but orators also
made pubhc their works ; as, for example, Isocrates recited his Panegyric at the
Olympic festival. Such recitals were sometimes called Aoyot uXvuiriKoi; among them
may be included A^hat were called eTriSei^eig, pubhc discussions of the sophists. Even
historians were allowed to engage in those exercises. We have an example in He-
rodotus, who is said to have recked his history at the Olympic games, in the hearing
of Thucydides, then a mere youth.

2. At the festivals held in honor of Bacchus at Athens, especially those termed
Aiovvcxia ixeyaXa (cf. P. HI. "^ 77. 3), there were contests, in which the representation
oi dramatical pieces had a place. The poet who sought the prize must produce four
or at least three, forming together one complete fable, each of which might be com-


pared to a single statue belonging to a group. The four dramas must consist of three
tragedies and one satyre. 1 he complete suit of four pieces constituted what was
called the TcrpaXoyia; the three tragedies formed the rpiXoyin. On the days of the
exhibition, the theatre was opened at sunrise, and it seems tiiat the people could sit
out all the pieces offered, sometimes to the number of nine tragedies and three
satyres. Five judges then decided upon the merits of the competitors and bestowed
the' prize.

ScJiClL, Hist. Litt. Gr. liv. iii. ch. 2.—Barthelemy, in Mem. Jcad. as cited P. III. § 90 — Lmid. Quart. Rev. Sept. IS42.

3. A tripod seems to have been the peculiar reward bestowed by the people of
Athens on that choragus [xopvyos, cf. P. III. § 103] , who exhibited the best musical
or theatrical entertainment ; and we find that this custom obtained for these tripods
the name of choragic tripods. It was customary for the victor to dedicate the tripod
he had won to some divinity, and to place it either on one of the temples already
built, or on the top of some edifice erected and consecrated by him for the purpose.
"A tripod thus dedicated was always accompanied with an inscription ; so that it be-
came a permanent, authentic, and public moimment of the victory, and of the person
who obtained it."

Stuart, Diet, of Architecture.— Cf. P. I. § 115.— For choragic monuments, see Plate XLIX fig. A. and C; for explanation of
which, cf. Description of Plates.

§ 67. Usually the Grecian writers were accustomed to make known their
works in prose and poetry by recitation or rehearsal, rather than by circulating
manuscripts. They read or rehearsed themselves, and procured it to be done
by others, in order to avail themselves of the opinions of hearers and judo-es.
This was done sometimes publicly, sometimes privately. When it was public,
the reader had an elevated seal (^poj/oj), and the hearers sat around on benches.
They communicated their judornient of his work, and of particular parts of it,
either by silence, which according to the motions and expressions of counte-
nance connected with it, might signify, on the one hand, admiration and praise,
and on the other, censure and contempt; or by audible testimonials of approba-
tion, with the words xaXuij, ao^Z><;, and the like, and by loud applause (xporoj),
at the close of the reading. They sometimes gave more decided applause by
conducting the author to his residence with marks of honor. — Sometimes, how-
ever, the author submitted his manuscript to the perusal of others, who then
might place their criticisms and remarks upon the margin.

§ 68. It was very common for the Greeks to avail themselves of the service
of a class of persons, whom they called dmyviifftat, readers, who made it their
business to read aloud or recite to hearers the works of the more distinguished
authors. The times selected for the purpose were the hours of the greatest
leisure, those assigned to meals, or for bathing and so forth. These readers
themselves cultivated letters, and especially strove to acquire a correct, agreea-
ble, and commanding style of elocution. They usually read the works of poets,
orators, and historians. Pythagoras is supposed to have introduced this prac-
tice. It doubtless took its rise from an early Greek custom, mentioned by
Homer; according to which, lyric songs and epic rhapsodies were sung by the
poets themselves, or by other singers, who, as well as the poets, played upon
musical instruments.

The custom of reading at meals still prevails to some extent in the east. — "The
mind was also fed during the repast, by a long story about Echmiadzin, read by a
monk from a sort of orchestra above us. A still longer oration followed, pronounced
from a manuscript, by the vartahed at the head of the table." — See account of the
convent at Echmiadzin, in Smith and Dibight, cited § 36.

§ 69. The literary feasts of the Greeks, termed symposia {rsvfntoaia), are evi-
dence that they sought to avail themselves of every opportunity for the mutual
interchange of literary acquisition, even in the hours of recreation and social
amusement. Such table-intercourse the philosophers, especially, maintained
with their young scholars in the Prytaneum, the Academy, the Lyceum. &c.
There were rules for directing the conduct and conversation at these rep.isis of
the schools ; as for example, a code or system of the kind was prepared by Xeno-

Online LibraryJohann Joachim EschenburgManual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions → online text (page 69 of 153)