Johann Joachim Eschenburg.

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

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The Egyptian Ptolemie* are somewhat inferior. — 8. The coins of the .\rsacidffi of Parthia done
by Greek workmen. — 10 The Greek imperial coins, being such as have the of an emperor
or empress; such as have not these impressions being classed with the civic coins, thouch
struck under the Roman power. None of the imperial coins occur in gold. Of silver there are
those of Aiitioch, Tyre, Sidon, Tarsus, Berytus, Csesarea. The Greek imperial brass coins ate
very numerous. A series of almost all the emperors may be had from those of Antioch, with a
Latin legend on the obverse and Greek on the reverse."

§ 96. The number of Grecian coins of gold now existing, is not great ; proba-
bly there is not one Attic gold coin whose genuineness can be proved ; but their
variety in size and denomination, together with the testimony of authors, is evi



dence that many were struck. They bore the general name of ;^pvcf6j fTttffjjyuoj,
g'old stamped. Of silver coins we have a very large number, of different values.
The most ancient of both kinds have the purest metal. Ordinary small coin,
as well as memorial devices, were made of copper; and at Lacedemon and
Byzantium, of iron.

1 u. The largest coin in common use was the Stater; and the smallest, the Lepton.
One of the brazen or copper pieces of middhng size, ia most common circulation, was
the Chakus, of which the Lepton was but the seventh part. Of golden coins the
Chrysus (.xovtovs, supp. ffrar/jo) was ore of those most in use. The MedaUions, or
pieces which were distributed as tokens of gratitude or flattery, at public games or
other solemn festival occasions, were of a large size and usually of finer execution.

2. A great number of ancient coins have been discovered. One reason of their
preservation was the custom which the ancients had of burying one or more coins
with their dead, to pay Charon for their passage over the Styx. (Cf P. II. *5> 34.)

"From Phidon of Argos to Constantine I. are 36 generations ; and from Masna Grjecia to the
Euphrates, from Cyrene to the Euxine Sea, Grecian arts prevailed and the inhabitants amounted
to about 30,000,000. There died, therefore, in that time and region, not less than ten thousand
millions of people, all of whom had coins of one sort or other buried with them. The tombs
were sacred and untouched, and afterwards neglected, until modern curiosity or chance beean
to disclose them. The urn of Flavia Valentina, in Mr. Towiiley's capital collection, contained
seven brass coins of Antoninus Pius and Eleagahaliis. Such are generally black, from being
burnt with the dead. The best and freshest coins were used on these occasions, from respect to
the dead ; and hence their fine conservation. At Syracuse a skeleton was found in a tomb with a
beautiful gold coin in its mouth ; and innuuierable other instances miaht be given, for hardly is :i
funeral urn found without coins. Other incidents also conspire to furnish us with numbers of
ancient coins, though the above recited circumstances be the chief cause of perfect conserva-
tion. In Sicily, the silver coins with the head of Proserjiine were found in such numbers as to
weigh 600 French livres or pounds. In the 16th century, 60,000 Roman coins were found at Mo-
dena, thought to be a military chest, hid after the battle of Bedri.-.cum, when Otho was defeated
by Vitellius. Near Brest, in the year 1760, between -0 and 30,000 Roman coins were found."

Yet the number o{ different coins preserved is not so great. as might perhaps be expected from
the above remarks. The whole number of ancient coins of riifTerent impressions is estitnated by
Pinkerton at 80,000, and by Eckhel at 70,000; and as many of these differ from each other but
very little, a collection of 30,000 might lay claim, it is said, to considerable completeness. The
whole number of Greek and Roman coins has been estimated at about 50.000; including about
3,000 of gold; and 6,000 of silver; with 31,000 of brass or copper.— Cf. $ 135. 2.

§ 97. The inscriptions, particularly upon the more ancient coins, are ordinarily
very brief and simple, containing only the names of the cities or princes that
struck them, and often only their initials. Upon the coins of the later Asiatic
monarchs, the inscriptions are more full. They are placed sometimes around
the border of the piece, sometimes in the center of the reverse; sometimes upon
both sides of a figure, a head, vessel, or the like; sometimes at the bottom,
within a segment, a section line, or what is called the exergue. Inscriptions
filling the whole of the reverse, are very rarely found on Greek coins.

1. What is meant by the e.xergue, as above mentioned, is readily perceived by re-
curring to an example. Thus, in the medal which our PI. XLII. presents, in fig. 6,
the word Britannia is the legend; the segment at the bottom, which includes the
inscription S. C, is the exergue.

2 m. Upon some Grecian coins we find Phoenician characters, or at least, such as
bear much resemblance to them. The character I is put for the letter Z sometimes,
and sometimes for K. Instead of H, we find also the character Z. Upon the most
ancient coins the 2 often has the form /\A, and on those of later times the form C or
C • And C is frequently used for T; the combination C I D foi" ^^1 ^"d the charac-
ter D for O (as in fig. 4. Plate XL); E is put for H (the latter being employed merely
as an aspirate) : O for OY ; S for Z ; X for K. Upon many coins, especially those
of later dates, both under the eastern and western emperors, we find a combination
of Greek and Latin characters. For instance, we sometimes find S instead of the
Greek C ; R, instead ot F ; and F, instead of a>.

§ 98. There are Greek inscriptions not only upon the coins of the states of
Greece which were struck while they were in possession of their liberty, or under
the government of Grecian masters, but also upon the coin of the Greek cities
and provinces after their subjugation by the Romans, and likewise upon the later
coins of Sicily and Magna Graecia. This renders a knowledge of the Greek
language the more indispensable to every amateur in collecting medals and coins.
— The coins of Greek cities under the Roman dominion sometimes have on one
side a Greek inscription and on the other Latin.

'^ 99 u. Of the works upon Numismatics, such, that is, as will serve for an intro-
duction to the science of coins and medals, or contain copies of the coins and the ne


cessary explanations, we will mention here some of the principal ; including such as
treat of Roman as well as Grecian coins.

1. Amon? the more extensive works are the following .—Ez. Spanhemii, Disserlationes de prsestantia usu Numismalum antiquo-
rum. Lond. et Auisterd. 1717. 2 vols. (nl.—Joh. Eckhel, Doctrina Nunimorum Velerum. Vindob. 1792. ss. 8 vols. 4. Important
additions to this were published in 1S26. 'G. Hertiiann pronounced Eckhel's the ablest work on the subject." — /. C. Boiche,
Lexicon Universae Rei Numarise V'eterum. Lips. 17S5. ss. 10 vols. 8.

2. The following treat the subject less fully :— /. Evelyn, on Medals, Ancient and Modem. Lond. 1697. fol —L. Jobert, La Sci-
ence des ujedailles antiques et modernes, avec des rem hist, et crit (par /. Bimard de la Bastie). Par. 1739. 2 vols. S.—J. C.
Rasche, Kennlniss antiker MJnzen, nach den Grundsltzen des P. Jobert und des Hra. de la BaMie, mil neuen VerbesseruDgen.
NJrnb. 177S-79 3 Th. S.—(Fr. .int. Zaccaria) Istiturione antiquario — numismalica o sia Introduz. alio studio degli antiche
Mediglie. Rom. 1772. 8. (2 Eiiiz. accresciula di una lettera del P. Paciaudi. Venet. 1793. 8 )—ETasm. FrUch, Notitia elemen-
taria numismatum. Cum figg. Viennae, 1758. 4.—Eju»d. Utilitas Rei Numariae Veteris, coinpendio proposita. (s. n. Dtbiel). Vi
ennae, 1733 S.—Ejn^d. Quafuor Tentanjina in Re Numaria Vetere. Vienn. 1737. i.—Pinkerton, Essay on .Medals. Lond. 17S9.
2 vols. (Verj- valuable.) Of. Lond. Quart. Rev. 1. 112.— rirfuoso'J Companion and Coin Collector's Guide. Lond. 1797. 12.—
F. SMichtegroll, Annalen der grtammlen Numismatik. Leipz. and Gotha, 1804. 1806. 2 vols. 4.— By the same, Geschichte dea
Studiums der alten .MOnzkunde. MUnchen, 181 1. 4.— C. L. StiegZifz, Archiologische Unlerhaltungen. Leipz. 1S20. 8. (2d div
treats of Ancient coins) — D. Seslini, Classes generates seu moneta vetus urbium, pop. et regum, ordine geogr. et chronol. descripla.
edit. 2d. Florent. 1821. 4.— .^tiierman, Numismatic M.inuil Lond. 18.32. 12.

3. Of works wiih plates, including Greek coins, the following are among the most important : — Huberti Goltzii, de Re Numaria
Antiqua Opera quae extant Universa. Antwerp. 1708. 5 vols. fol. — A'. F. Haym, Tessoro Britanico, overo Museo Numario. Lond.
1719-20. 2 vols 4. — A- F. Gorii Museum Florentinum, as cited § 191. vol 4th. — lo. lac, Gesneri Numismata Gra?ca regum atque
virorum illust c. conimentario. Tiguri, 1738. fol — Ejusd. Numismata Graeca populorum et urbium. Ibid. 1739. fol.— Ejusd.
Numismata Rejum Macedoniae. lb. 1738. {o\.—PMerin, Recueil des medailles des Rois des peuples et des villes, avec les Supply,
mens. Par. 1762-78. 10 vols. 4. — Magnan, Miscellanea Numismalica. Roma;, 1774. 4 vols. 4. — MilUgen, Recueil de quelques
Medailles Grecques inedites Par. 1812. — T. E. Mioimet, Description de medailles antiques, Grecques el Romains. Pari*, 1S06-13,
6 vols. 8. Supplement, Paris, 1819-22. 2 vols. 8. "containing more than 20,000 impress.ons of medals.' {yentouillac, French
Librarian, p. 310).— C. P, Landon, Nuuiismatiques de Voyage du jeune Anacharsis, ou Medailles des beau tems de la Grece. Par
1818. 2 vols. S.—BaTthdemy, Essai d'une Faleojraphie Numismatiquc. Mem. Acad. Inscr. vol. xxiv. p. 30. xlvii. p. 140.— Fo,
Other references, see Sulztr's Allg. Theor. article SchaumUnze,

(c) Manuscripts.

§ 100. We must consider the copies of the prose and poetical writings of the
Greeks as among the most valuable monuments of their literature. By means
of these we are made acquainted, not only with their history, but also with
their whole genius and character, and with the most valuable models in every
variety of style. It is to the discovery of these, that we are, in great measure,
indebted for the revival of letters. — Although most of the Greek writings extant
have already been published and circulated by means of the press, yet the differ-
ent manuscripts which are in our possession, and particularly the more ancient,
are of much value and utility to the critic.

§ 101. In point of antiquity, inscriptions and coins claim a superiority over
manuscripts. Of the latter, if we except the Herculanean rolls and a few
Egyptian Papyri (§ 107), there does not now remain a single copy, which was
made during the life of the author, or which was transcribed directly from the
original manuscripts. The most ancient, now existing, are not dated f^irther
back than the sixth century; and but few of these can be referred to so early a
date with unquestionable certainty.

1 M. We must attribute the loss of the earlier manuscripts, partly to the destructi-
bility of their material ; partly to the political and physical disasters which befel Greece ;
and partly to the ignorance and supersthion of the middle ages, and the consequent
contempt for these monuments of literature. The practice of obliteration also occa-
sioned losses. Manuscripts still exist whose original writing was effaced that they
might receive other compositions; such are those termed codices Palimpsest i ('^84).
Some losses must also be ascribed to the carelessness of the first publishers ; who
printed directly from the manuscripts and thereby spoiled them ; or after committing
a work to the press, viewed 'he manuscript as useless.

2 m. Notwithstanding this destruction, and perhaps through the very ignorance and
neglect of the owners of collections ihen existing, a large number of Greek manuscripts
were preserved, especially in convents, abbeys, and cathedrals. Some of these cer-
tainly belong to the middle ages, in which there were a few men of information and
lovers of ambient literature, while others for the sake of gain employed themselves as
copyists. Many of these manuscripts were written during the dawn of the revival of
letters, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and in the first half of the fit>eentb
century, for the use of colleges and of the literati. Even for some time after the in-
vention of printing, while the art was yet imperfect and not extensively cultivated, the
practice of copying manuscripts was continued.

See the work of Heeren, cited § 53 ; Tdylor, cited § 53 ; Hillam, cited § 85. 1.

45 2g 2


§ 10-2. To become well acquainted with manuscripts, and to fix their precise
dates, is very difficult. Upon this point we cannot lay down rules, which shall
be applicable in every case, and perfectly decisive. There are only some gene-
ral external marks, by which the age of the manuscript is to be determined with
any considerable degree of probability. We must form our decision by the
characters used in writing, by their size, their spaces, the direction of the letters,
the abbreviations and contractions, and by the whole exterior of the manuscript.

§ 103. In a question respecting the author of a work, or the age in which he
lived, more reliance can be placed on the internal evidence, which is presented
by the subject, the style, and the historical statements and allusions. Some-
times we find the name of the author, and the date of the copy, at the close of
the manuscript; but usually only the name of the transcriber. Often we may
be satisfied from internal evidence, that a work was not composed by the reputed
author, while we are still unable to point out the real author, or the writer of
the manuscript.

§ 104. We shall here limit ourselves to a mention of some of these external
signs, for the sake of example. The most ancient Greek manuscripts, as well
as inscriptions, are written in capital letters {literse unciales), without any space
between the words, and without signs of punctuation. Accents and aspirates
were not introduced till the 7th century; the capital letters in the 8th and 9th
were a little longer and had more inclination and slope. At this period, they
began to make contractions, and a smaller style of writing commenced. Afte'r
the l-2th century, new characters and abreviations were introduced, and greater
variety appeared in the forms of the letters.

1 u. The best manner of becoming acquainted with these characteristics, is by the
study of the manuscripts themselves. They may be learned also by means of the
patterns, which Montfaucon has given in his Greek Palaeography. These marks, how-
ever, it must be remembered, are not an invariable and infallible criterion of the age
of a manuscript. Often, in later times, transcribers strictly imitated the ancient copies,
and preserved all their peculiarities unchanged.

2. Although the signs of punctuatior. are said to have heen devised by Aristophanes (cf. $52),
they were rmt used generally in writing, until a much later period. Bernhardy remarks thai
" interpiinciion is not found in the manuscripts much earlier than the 8th century."— Specimens
of the manner of writing above described, in uncials, without punctuation, are given in our Plate
XXXVIII. f]g. i. and iii. — The two lines of fig. ii. in the same Plate, are designed to show some
of the abbreviations or contractions used in writing. The letters in the upper line (the Plate
being turned upon its side to the right), are employed as abbreviations for the words under them
in the lower line; KC, i.e. ks, for karios ; IC, i. e. is, for iesous ; XC, i.e. chs, f<ir chrisios ;
1X6IJ, i- e. Hem, for ierousalem. Letters used as abbreviations (cf. $49), comnmnly, but not
always, had a horizontal line drawn over them; as is seen in the specimen in fig. iii., where
OiC, in the first line, stands for o iesous ; but FIM, in the second line, is also an abbreviation,
standins for pneumati. Contractions with the mark over them were formerly used in printing.

Bernhardy, Grundl. zur Encyclnpaedie der Philologie. (p. 126.) Halle. 1S32.— £. Mcntjavcon, Palaeographia Graeca. Par.
1708. {o\.~PJeiffcr, Uber BJclier-Handschriften (§ 53.)— Jfanner-f* Miscellanea, meist diplomatisch. Inbalts NUrnb. 1796. 8.—
GrsEca D. Mjrci Bibliottieca codicum manuscriptorum, ic. ("auctoribus A. M. Zanetto et A. Bonsiovanniu'^ Venet. 1740. fol.—
On Greek orthography, Class. Journal, xi. 7. 81.

3. Manuscripts were not unfrequently decorated with paintings or illuminations.
A specimen is given in PI. XLI., which exhibits the goddess Night as beautifully
painted in a MS. of the 10th century, belonging to the Royal library at Paris.

See Montfaucon, Palaeographia, as above cited, lib. i. cap. i.— .See also Monlfaucr/n, Antiq. Expl. as cited P. II. § 12. 2. (d) ;
vol i. of Suppl. p. 25, ss. ; where he exhibits the personifications of the twelve Months, as painted in a MS. belonging to (he Im-
perial library at Vienna.— Cf. § 142. 2.

§ 105. A very profitable use may be made of an extensive knowledge and dili-
gent study of ancient manuscripts. They are of service to the critic in deter-
mining, correcting, and confirming the readings of printed books; and there is
often something to be gleaned even from the copies already examined by others.
By comparing manuscripts we may be prepared to fill up blanks, to discover
false insertions, and to rectify transpositions. And such an examination may
give rise to many critical, philosophical, and literary observations. W'ritings
may be found also, in searching over the libraries of convents, which have
never been published, and which may have hitherto escaped the eye of the
learned. But in order to profit by the advantages presented by this study, one
must have much previous knowledge of language, criticism, bibliography, and
iterary history.
§ 106. It is to the assiduous application of many votaries of classical literature.


after the revival of letters, in the discovery, examination, and comparison of
ancient manuscripts, that we are indebted for the best editions of the Greek and
Roman authors. Although their attention was confined chiefly to the criticism
of the text and the settlement of readings, it was laying the foundation for all
useful criticism upon the matter and contents, which must depend for its basis
and certainty on such previous 'researches. The editions thus prepared, in con-
nection with the prefaces and commentaries accompanying them, will serve,
much better than any rules which can be given, as guides in similar efforts, and
as suggesting the best methods of treating this whole subject.

§ 107 /. The following may be mentioned as among the oldest Greek manu-
scripts that are known; the Codex Alexandrinus ; the Codex Vaticanus ; the
Codex Cot tonianus ; the Codex Colberti mis ,• and two manuscripts nf Bioscorides,
preserved in the imperial library at Vienna. All these manuscripts are in the
uncial letter, without accents or marks of aspiration. — To these must be added
the Herculanenn Rolls, and the Egyptian Papyri.

1. The Codex Alexandrinus consists of four folio volumes, containing the Septuagint
version of the Old Testament, with the Apocryphal books, the New Testament, and
some additional pieces. It is preserved in the British Museum, at London. " It was sent
as a present to King Charles I. from Cyrillus Lucaris, a native of Crete, and patriarch of
Constantinople, by Sir Thomas Rowe, ambassador from England to the Grand Seignior
in the year 1628. Cyrillus brought it with him from Alexandria where it was probably
written." It is referred by some to the fourth century, but by most is considered as
belonging to the sixth. It is written without accents or breathings, or spaces between
the words, and with few abbreviations.

An exact fac-simile of the part containing the New Testament was pubHshed by Dr. Woide,
librarian of ilie Mii?eum, in 1786. In 1812 a fac-simile of the part containing the Psalms was
published by Rev. H. H. Bnber; who was subsequently authorized to publish the rest of the
Old Testament at the expense of the British Parliament.

The Codex Valicanus contains the Old Testament in the Septuagint version, and a
part of the New. It is lodged in the Vatican library at Rome. It is written on parch-
ment or vellum, in three columns on each page, with the letters all ot the same size
except at the beginning of a book, without any division of words, with but few alibrevi-
ations. Some critics have maintained that it was written as early as the fourth century ;
but other ascribed to Evnnder, who, antecedently to the Trojan war, conducted into
Latium a Pelasgic colony from Arcadia. The affinity and resemblance of the
most ancient Greek characters to the Latin is unquestionable. It was probably



by means of the colonists settlinor in that country from various foreign parts,
that civilization and the art of writing were introduced into Italy and a common
alphabet at length formed. The Pelasgi coming from Arcadia, and, under the
name of Tyrrheni, from Asia Minor, seem to have been the first colonists. Soon
after them,'there arrived other Greek colonists, who established themselves in
the lower part of Italy, and brought with them their religion, language, and al-
phabet. If we may credit Quiniilian (lib i.^, there existed at first but a smaller
number of letters, and they differed in their form and signification from those
afterwards used.

See Nammacheri, Comment, de Lit. Rom. Bruns. 1758. 8.— Comp. Dion. Hal. i. 36.— £tt). i. 7. — Tac Ann. xi. M.—Plin.
Hist. Nat. vii. 56, 68.— On the resemblance of the Greek and Roman letters, see also Spelman'i Uissertatioo, in his Trans, of Dion.
Bal. vol. ii. p. 297, as cited P. V. \ 247.

§ lUw. The Greeks, who established themselves in the southern part of Italy,
always maintained iheir relations and an extensive commerce with the other Greeks, and
even preserved their language. From them the country which they inhabited was called
Magna GrcBcia. It was separated irom Sicily, where Greek colonies were also settled,
only by a small strait. From this circumstance arises the resemblance found between
them and the inhabitants of this island in their language, sciences, manners, and
government. These countries having enjoyed the advantages of a long peace, suffered
nothing from the Romans until a late period, and their intercourse with the Greeks
alwavs existing, the arts and sciences among them rose to a very flourishing state. It
is sufficient in this place merely to allude to the school of Pythagoras, which took the
name of Italian, and to that founded by Xenophanes, somewhat later, and called the
Eleatic. In Magna Graecia and Sicily resided many great men, renowned even at the
present day, by the brilliancy of their talents and by their writings ; as, for instance,
Archimedes, D'iodorus; the poets Theocritus, Moschus, and Bion; the orators Lysias,
Gorgias, and others.

See Ja^tmanri's Geschichte der KQnste und Wissenschaften in Itallen.— iJunZop, Hist. Rom. Lit. vol. i. p. 49, as cited § 109. 2.
Saince-Croix, Legislation de la Grande Grece.— Mem. Acad. Inscr. vol. xlii. p. 2S6, and xlv. p. 284.

§ 112. But the circumstances of the Romans must principally occupy our
attention here. That first and long period, which comprises all the time in-
cluded between the foundation of Rome and the close of the first Punic war, a
period of about 500 years, was very sterile with respect to intellectual culture;
at least it was far from being so fertile as might have been expected in a republic,
which advanced so rapidly to a flourishing condition, and was surrounded by
neighbors civilized and instructed in literature and the arts. But the spirit of
aggrandizement, which controlled and guided all the intellectual and political
exertions of the Romans, was in no small degree itself the cause. This involved
them in continual war, and compelled them to neglect literature and science,
■which are the offspring of peace and leisure. Their whole constitution, and
consequently their very education, tended only to this end. Hence the opposi-
tion which the elder Cato made to the reception of the Greek philosophers at
Rome. Hence also the prejudice which caused the Romans to regard all arts
and sciences, with the exception of agriculture and war, as dishonorable and

Online LibraryJohann Joachim EschenburgManual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions → online text (page 73 of 153)