Charles Bucke.

Ruins of ancient cities : with general and particular accounts of their rise, fall, and present condition (Volume 1) online

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ficult of access ; the walls and square towers are, in
some places, well preserved ; and their style, which is
nearly regular, renders it probable, that they were
constructed not long before the invasion of the

The ancient Necropolis is on the east side of the
Acropolis, behind the village : the remains of several
tombs have been uncovered by the rains. The
church of the Holy Virgin contains an ancient chair
of white marble, curiously ornamented. It is called
by the villagers the throne of Plutarch t.

There are two ancient circular altars with fluted
intervals, in the manner of an Ionic or Corinthian
column. Altars of this kind were placed on the
road side. They were unstained with fire and blood,
being set apart for exclusive oblations of honey,
cakes, and fruit. These altars are common in Greece,
and generally formed of coarse black stone ; those of
Chaeronea, however, are of white marble. They are
frequently found in Italy, and are at present used as
pedestals for large vases, their height being in general
* DoJwdi. t IM-


about three feet. They are never inscribed, and
sometimes not fluted ; and are frequently n-jnvst mrt
on painted terra-cot ta vases.

Some Ionic fragments of small proportions :irr
scattered among the ruins. On the rock there was
anciently a statue of Jupiter; but Pausanias nx n-
tions no temple. The theatre stands at the foot of
the Acropolis, and faces the plain. It is the smallest
in Greece, except one at Mesaloggion ; but it is well
preserved. Indeed, nothing is better calculated to
resist the devastations of time than the Grecian
theatres, when they are cut in the rock, as they
generally are.

" The sole remains of this town," says Sir John
Hobliouse, " are some large stones six feet in length,
and the ruins of a wall on the hill, and part of a shaft of
a column, with its capital ; the seats of a small amphi-
theatre, cut out of the rock, on the side of the same
hill ; in the flat below, a fountain, partly constructed
of marble fragments, containing a few letters, not
decipherable ; some bits of marble pillars, just ap-
pearing above ground, and the ruins of a building of
Roman brick."

Two inscriptions have, we understand, lately been
discovered at this place; one relative to Apollo, the
other to Diana. Several tombs have been also dis-
covered and opened.

Though a respectable traveller asserts, that the
battle of Clueronea, by putting an end to the turbu-
lent independence of the Grecian republics, introduced
into that country an unusual degree of civil tran-
quillity and political repose, we cannot ourselves
think so ; we therefore subjoin, from Dr. Leland, a
short account of the conqueror's death.

" When the Greeks and Macedonians were seated
in the theatre, Philip came out of his palace, attended
by the two Alexanders, his son and son-in-law. lie


was clothed in a white flowing robe, waving in soft
and graceful folds, the habiliment in which the
Grecian deities were usually represented. He moved
forward with a heart filled with triumph and exul-
tation, while the admiring crowds shouted forth their
flattering applause. His guards had orders to keep
at a considerable distance from his person, to show
that the king confided in the affections of his people,
and had not the least apprehensions of danger amidst
all this mixed concourse of different states and na-
tions. Unhappily, the danger was but too near him.
The injured Pausanias had not yet forgot his wrongs,
but still retained those terrible impressions, which
the sense of an indignity he had received, and the
artful and interested representations of others, fixed
deeply in his mind. He chose this fatal morning for
the execution of his revenge, on the prince who had
denied reparation to his injured honour. His design
had been for some time premeditated, and now was
the dreadful moment of effecting it. As Philip
marched on in all his pride and pomp, this young
Macedonian slipped through the crowd, and, with a
desperate and malignant resolution, waited his ap-
proach in a narrow passage, ju-t at the entrance into
the theatre. The king advanced towards him : Pau-
sanias drew his poniard ; plunged it into his heart ;
and the conqueror of Greece, and terror of Asia, fell
prostrate to the ground, and instantly expired *.


" Are we at Cordova ? " says a modern writer.
" The whole reign of the Omniad Caliphs passes, in
mental review, before us. Once the seat of Arabian
art, gallantry, and magnificence, the southern king-
dom of Spain was rich and flourishing. Agriculture

* Rollin ; Barthelemy ; Leland ; Hobhouse ; DoUwell ; Iceland,

RUIXS or \Miisr

was respected ; the fine arts cultivated ; gardens
were formed ; roads executed ; palaces erected ; :nnl
physics, geometry, and astronomy, advanced. The
inhabitants were active and industrious ; accomplish-
ments were held in esteem ; and the whole state of
society formed a striking contrast to that of every
other in Europe."

It was situated in Hispanic Bnotica, having 1
built by Marcellus. It was the native place of both
the Senecas, and Lucan. Indeed, it produced, in
ancient times, so many celebrated characters, that it
was styled the "mother of men of genius." Its
laws were written in verse ; and its academy was
partly distinguished for its cultivation of the Greek
language, as well as for rhetoric and philosophy. It
became celebrated, also, under the Moors.

Of its ancient grandeur, however, Cordova has
preserved nothing but a vast inclosure, filled with
nouses, half in ruins. Its long, narrow, and ill-paved
streets are almost deserted ; most of the houses are
uninhabited ; and the multitude of churches and con-
vents which it contains, are besieged by a crowd of
vagabonds, covered with rags. The ancient palace
of the Moors has been converted into stables, in
which, till within these few years, one hundred An-
dalusian horses were usually kept. Their genealogy
was carefully preserved ; and the name and age of
each written over the stall in which he stood. In
the place appropriated to bathing, is part of a Cufic

Cordova was called at first Corduba, and after-
wards Colonia Patricia, as appears from inscriptions
on the numerous medals which have been discovered
in this city and neighbourhood.

From the Romans it passed successively under the
dominion of the Goths and Arabs ; and, while the
latter swayed the sceptre of Spain, Cordova became


pre-eminently distinguished, as we have just stated,
as the seat of arts, sciences, and literature.

About ten miles from this place is a small town,
called by the ancients Obubea* ; and we mention
it here merely because it reminds us that Julius
Caesar came thither to stop the progress of Pompey's
sons, who had a little before entered Spain in twenty-
seven dayst.


CORCYRA is an island in the Ionian Sea, on the coast
of Epirus : it is now called Corfu; was first peopled by
a colony from Colchis, B. c. 1349, and afterwards by a
colony from Corinth, who, with Chersicrates at their
head,came to settle there, on being banished from their
native city 703 years before the Christian era.
Homer calls it Phaeacia ; Callimachus, Drepane.

Ancient authors give glorious descriptions of the
beautiful gardens of this island belonging to Alcinous;
but, at present, no remains of them are to be found.
It was famous for the shipwreck of Ulysses.

The air is healthy, the land fertile, the fruit excel-
lent. Oranges, citrons, honey, wax, oil, and most
delicious grapes, are very abundant.

The war between this people and that of Athens
was called the Corcyrean ; and operated as an intro-

* Obubea changed its name to Porcuna ; and this, it is supposed,
from the circumstance of a sow having had thirty pigs at one litter;
in memory of which her figure was cut in stone with the following
inscription underneath :


C. N. GAL. C.lEsO.







D. D.

+ Jose.


duction to the Peloponnesian war. Corcyra was then
an independent jmwrr, which could send out lltvt-;
and :irniir< ; and its alliance was courted by many
other state*.

Thucydides gives a frightful account of a sedition
which occurred in this city and island during the
Peloponncsian war: some were condemned to die
under judicial sentences ; some slew one another in
the temples; some hung themselves upon the trees
within its verge ; some perished through private
enmity ; some for the sums they had lent, by the
hands of the borrowers. Every kind of death was
exhibited. Every dreadful act, usual in a sedition,
and more than usual, was then perpetrated. For
fathers slew their children ; some were dragged from
altars ; and some were butchered at them ; and a
number died of starvation in one of the temples.

Corcyra, when in the possession of the Romans,
became a valuable station for their ships of war, in
their hostilities against the cities of Asia. Septimius
Severus and his family .appear to have been great
benefactors to it ; for, about 150 years ago, there was
found a number of medals, not only of Septimius,
but of his wife Julia Domna; Caracalla, his eldest
son, and his wife 1 'lank ilia ; also of Geta, his youngest

Two hundred years ago, Corfu consisted of nothing
but one old castle and a village. It is now a consi-
derable town. It stands projecting on a rock into
the sea ; and, from the fortifications guarding it, is a
place of strength. The fortresses are completely
mined below ; and the roads to the gates of some of
them arc narrow and precipitous. By an accidental
explosion of a powder-mill, one of the fortresses, in
the early part of the last century, 2000 people were
killed and wounded ; and by a singular catastrophe,
in 1789, 600 individuals lost their lives ; ten galleys


and several boats were sunk in the harbour ; and
many houses in the town greatly damaged.

Wheler visited the ruins of Palceopoli, the
ancient metropolis of the island. " It stood," says he,
" on a promontory to the south of the present city,
separated from it by a little bay, of about a mile or
two over. The abundance of ruins and fortifications,
which are to be seen there, do sufficiently prove it to
have been so." Abundance of foundations, he goes on
to observe, have been dug up there ; and of arches and
pillars, many of which have been employed to build
the foundations of the present city.

There are also the remains of an old place of wor-
ship ; the architecture of which is sustained by
Corinthian columns of white marble, with an inscrip-
tion, showing that it was built by the Emperor Jovian,
after he was converted to the Christian faith and had
destroyed the heathen temples.

" / Jovian, having received the faith, established
the kingdom of my power ; and having destroyed the
heathen temples and altars, have built to thee, thou
blessed and most high King, a holt/ temple, the gift of an
unworthy hand."

Mr. Dod well visited this place some years ago, and
he says that nothing is now seen above ground of the
remains of the ancient city, except some frusta of
large columns, which from having flutings without in-
tervals, were evidently of the Doric order. They have
a large square, which forms but one mass with a
column, which is a singularity, it is said, of which
there is no other example.

Corcyra was celebrated, as we have before stated,
for having been the island on which Ulysses is repre-
sented in the Odyssey as having been entertained by
Alcinous, king of Phaeacia. It is also the place where
Cicero and Cato met after the battle of Pharsalia; and
where Cato, after having intrusted Cicero to take the


command of the last legions which remained fa'thful
to the republic, separated from him to low his life at
Utica, while Cicero went toloM-liis head to the trium-
virate. To this place Aristotle was onre exileil ; and
it is well known as having heen visited by tlie youthful
Alexander; aa the place where the tragical nuptials
of Antony and Cleopatra were celehrated ; and aa
that where Agrippina touched, hringing from Kgypt
the body of the murdered Germanicus in the midst
of winter*.


Corinth !

Whoie gorgeous fabrics seoni'd to strike the skies,
Whom, though by tyrant victois oft subdued,
Greece, Egypt, Rome, with awful wonder view'd.
Her name, for Pallas' heavenly art renown'd,
Spread like the foliage which her pillars crovvu'd ;
But now in fatal desolation laid,
Oblivion o'er it draws a diauial shade.

THIS city was situated at the foot of a hill, on
which stood the citadel. To the south it \\.is de-
fended hy the hill itself, which is there extremely
steep. Strong and lofty ramparts protected it on
three sides. Corinth was at first subject to the
kings of Argos and Mycenae ; at last Sisyphus made
himself master of it. But his descendants w. n-
dispossessed of the throne by the Hcraclidu?, about
ten years after the siege of Troy. The regal power,
after this, came to the descendants of Bacchis, under
whom the monarchy was changed into an aristo-
cracy ; that is, the reins of government were in the
hands of the elders, who annually chose from
amongst themselves a chief magistrate, whom they
called I'rytanis. At length Cypwhi.s, having gained
the people, usurped the supreme authority, which
he transmitted to his son Pcriander.

Thucydidcs; Rollio ; Whelcr ; Dodwell; WiljLuni.


The most celebrated of the Corinthians was a per-
son, who though a tyrant, was reckoned one of the
seven wise men (Periander). When he had first made
himself master of the city, he wrote to Thrasybulus,
tyrant of Miletus, to know what measures he should
take with his newly-acquired subjects. The latter,
without any answer, led the messenger into a field
of wheat ; where, in walking along, he beat down
with his cane all the ears of corn that were higher
than the rest. Periander perfectly well understood
the meaning of this enigmatical answer, which was a
tacit intimation to him, that, in order to secure his
own life, he should cut off the most eminent of the
Corinthian citizens. Periander, however, did not
relish so cruel an advice.

lie wrote circular letters to all the wise men, in-
viting them to pass some time with him at Corinth,
as they had done the year before at Sardis with
Croesus. Princes in those days thought themselves
much honoured when they could have such guests in
their houses. Plutarch describes an entertainment
which Periander gave these illustrious guests, and
observes, at the same time, that the decent simplicity
of it, adapted to the taste and humour of the persons
entertained, did him much more honour than the
greatest magnificence could have done. The subject
of their discourse at table was sometimes grave and
serious, at other times pleasant and gay. One of the
company proposed this question ; Which is the
most perfect popular government ? That, answered
Solon, where an injury, done to any private citizen, is
such to the whole body : That, said Bias, where the
law lias no superior : That, said Thales, where the
inhabitants are neither too rich nor too poor : That,
said Anacharsis, where virtue is honoured, and vice
detested : Says Pittacus, where dignities are always
conferred upon the virtuous, and never upon the


wicked: Says Cleobulue, win-re the <iti/ni> fear
blame, more than punishment : Says Chilo, when-
the laws are more regarded, and have more ami unity,
than the orators, trom all these opinions Periander
concluded, that the most perfect popular government
would be that which came nearest to aristocracy,
where the sovereign axithority is lodged in the hands
of a few men of honour and virtue.

This city standing between two seas, an attempt
was made by Periander, and afterwards by Alex-
ander, Demetrius, Julius Ca-sar, Caligula, Nero, and
Herodes Atticus, to unite them ; but they all failed
in the attempt.

Strabo was in Corinth after its restoration by the
Romans. He describes the site, and says, that its
circuit occupied five miles. From the summit of
the Sisyph6um, he continues, is beheld to the north
Parnassus and Helicon, lofty mountains cnv.r><l
with snow ; and below both, to the west, the Cris-
s.-i an gulf, bounded by Phocis, by Boeotia and the
Megaris, and by Corinthia and Sicyonia. Beyond
all these arc the Oneian mountains, stretching as far
as Cithaeron.

Corinth had temples dedicated to the Egyptian
Isis, to Serapis, and Scrapis of Canopus. Fortune,
also, had a temple, and her statue was made of Per-
sian work ; and near this temple was another, dedi-
cated to the mother of all the gods.

Besides the citadel, built upon the mountain, the
works of art, which chiefly displayed the opulence
and taste of the people, were the grottoes, raised
over the fountain of Pyrene, sacred to the Muses,
and constructed of white marble. There were, also,
a theatre and stadium, built of the same materials,
and decorated in the most magnificent manner ; also
a temple of Neptune, containing the chariots of the


god, and of Ampliitrite, drawn by horses covered
over with gold, and adorned with ivory hoofs.

There were a multitude of statues, also ; amongst
which were those of Bacchus, and Diana of Ephesus.
These were of wood ; others were of bronze ; amongst
which were those of Apollo Clarius ; a Venus by
Hermogenes of Cythera ; two Mercuries ; three
statues of Jupiter ; and a Minerva. This last was
mounted on a pedestal, the basso-relievos of which
represented the Nine Muses.

Such, indeed, were its wealth, magnificence, and
excellent situation, that it was thought by the
Romans equally worthy of empire with Carthage
and Capua ; and this induces me to say a few words
in regard to its war with the Romans.

Metellus* having received advice in Macedonia of
the troubles in Peloponnesus, departed thither with
Romans of distinction, who arrived in Corinth at
the time the council was assembled there. They
spoke in it with abundance of moderation, exhorting
the Achaians not to draw \ipon themselves, by im-
prudent levity and weakness, the resentment of the
Romans. They were treated with contempt, and
ignominiously turned out of the assembly. An
innumerable crowd of workmen and artificers rose
about them, and insulted them. All the cities of
Achaia were at the time in a kind of delirium ; but
Corinth was far more frantic than the rest, and
abandoned themselves to a kind of madness. They
had been persuaded that Rome intended to enslave
them all, and absolutely to destroy the Achaian

The Romans, having chosen Mumming for one of

the consuls, charged him with the management of

the Achaian war. When Mummius had assembled

all his troops, he advanced to the city, and encamped

Rollin. ~~

2'-Ct It TINS OP ANCM.M ( 1 ,

before it. A body of his advanced guard bciii ne^li -

gent of duty upon their post, tin- In-Me^d made u
sally, attacked them vigorously, killed many, and
pursued the' rest almost to the entrance of their cam]).
This small advantage very much encouraged the
Achaians, and thereby proved fatal to them. Direus
offered the consul battle. The latter, to augment his
rashness, kept his troops within the camp, as if i ,ir
prevented him from accepting it. The joy and pre-
sumption of the Achaians rose in consequence to an
inexpressible height. They advanced furiously with
all their troops, having placed their wives and children
upon the neighbouring eminence, to be spectators of
the battle, and caused a great number of carriages to
follow them, to be laden with the booty they should
take from the enemy ; so fully did they assure them-
selves of the victory.

Never was there a more rash or ill-founded confi-
dence. The faction had removed from the service
and councils all such as were capable of commanding
the troops, or conducting affairs ; and had substitute. I
others in their room, without either talents or ability,
in order to their being more absolutely masters of
the government, and ruling without opposition.
The chiefs, without military knowledge, valour, or
experience, had no other merit than a blind and
frantic rage. They had already committed an excess
of folly in hazarding a battle, which was to decide
their fate, without necessity, instead of thinking of a
long and brave defence in so strong a place as
Corinth, and of obtaining good conditions by a vigor-
ous resistance. The battle was fought near Leuco-
petra, and the defile of the isthmus. The consul
had posted part of his horse in ambuscade, which
they quitted at a proper time for charging the
Achaian cavalry in flank ; who, surprised by an
unforeseen attack, gave way immediately. The in-


fantry made a little more resistance ; but, as it was
neither covered, nor sustained by the horse, it was
soon broken and put to flight. Direus, upon this,
abandoned himself to despair. lie rode full speed
to Megalopolis, and having entered his house, set
fire to it ; killed his wife, to prevent her falling into
the hands of the enemy ; drank poison ; and in that
manner put an end to his life, worthy of the many
crimes he had committed.

After this defeat, the inhabitants lost all hope of
defending themselves ; so that all theAchaians who
had retired into Corinth, and most of the citizens,
quitted it the following night, to save themselves
how they could. The consul having entered the city,
abandoned it to be plundered by the soldiers. All
the men who were left in it were put to the sword,
and the women and children sold ; and after the
statues, paintings, and richest moveables were re-
moved, in order to their being carried to Rome, the
houses were set on fire, and the whole city con-
tinued in flames for several days. From that time
the Corinthian brass became more valuable than ever,
though it had been in reputation long before. It is
pretended that the gold, silver, and brass, which were
melted, and ran together in this conflagration,
formed a new and precious metal. The walls Avere
afterwards desolated, and razed to their very founda-
tions. All this was executed by order of the Senate,
to punish the insolence of the Corinthians, who had
violated the law of nations, in their treatment of the
ambassadors sent to them by Rome.

The booty taken at Corinth was sold, and consi-
derable sums raised from it. Amongst the paintings
there was a piece drawn by the most celebrated
hand in Greece, representing Bacchus, the beauty of
which was not known to the Romans, who were at
that time entirely ignorant of the polite arts. Poly-

<>i i

bins, who wa* then in tlu- country, had the mortifi-
cation to seo the painting serve tlir soldiers for a tal>le
to play at dice upon. It was afterwards sold to
Attains for 3025 sterling. 1'liny mentions another
picture by the same painter, which the same Attains
purchased for 110 talents. The consul, surprised that
the price of the painting in question should r.
high, interposed his authority, and retained it con-
trary to public faith, and notwithstanding the com-
plaints of Attains, because he imagined there was
some hidden virtue in the prize, unknown to him.
lie did not act in that manner for his private int
ii'T with the view of appropriating it to himself, as
lie sent it to Rome, to be applied in adorning the
city. When it arrived at Rome, it was set up in
the temple of Ceres, whither the judges went to
see it out of curiosity, as a masterpiece of art ;
and it remained there till it was burned with that

Mummius was a great warrior, and an excellent
man ; but he had neither learning, knowledge of arts,
nor taste for painting or sculpture. He ordered par-
ticular persons to take care of transporting many
of the paintings and statues of the most excellent
masters to Rome. Never had loss been so irn pa-
rable, as that of such a deposite, consisting of the
masterpieces of those rare artists, who contributed
almost as much as the great captains, to the rendering
of their age glorious to posterity. Mummius, how-
ever, in recommending the core of that precious col-
lection to those to whom he confided them, threat) ni d
them very seriously, that if the statues, paintings,
and other things with which ho charged them, should

Online LibraryCharles BuckeRuins of ancient cities : with general and particular accounts of their rise, fall, and present condition (Volume 1) → online text (page 20 of 36)