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

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noss. They were constructed about tin year 1780,
aa a defence against pirates and horde- ( Arnauts
who sometimes entered the town at night, and
threatened to pillage it. The walls embrace a cir-
cuit of nearly three miles, and enclose not only the
town and citadel, but also some open spaces for cattle.
They were built in seventy-five days, all hands
being employed night and day. All kinds of mate-
rials which were at hand were employed in their
construction, and in some places they exhibit large
blocks of stone and marble, and several fragmei.tal

The lower city had thirteen gates, and among
the principal edifices which adorned it were, 1. The
Olympian temple, erected in honour of Athens and
all Greece. 2. The Pantheon, dedicated to all the
gods ; a noble structure, supported by one hundred
and twenty marble pillars, and having over its great
gateway two horses, carved by Praxiteles. 3. The
temple of Theseus ; a noble structure, of Pentelic

The Gymnasia of Athens were many, but tho most
remarkable were the Lyceum, Academia, and Cyno-
sarges. The Lyceum stood on the banks of the
Ilissus ; some say it was built by Pisistratus ; others
by Pericles ; others by Lycurgus.

The Academy was so called from Academtis. The
Cynosarges was a place in the suburbs, not far from
the Lyceum.

The Areopagus is situated a few hundred feet west
of the Acropolis. It consists of an insulated rock,
precipitous, and broken towards the south ; on the
north side it slopes gently down towards the temple
of Theseus, and is rather lower than the Acropolis.



" Higher up, ascending a hill covered with thistles
and red pebbles, you arrive," says M. La Martine,
" at the Pnyx ; the scene of the stormy assemblies
of the people of Athens, and of the fluctuating tri-
umphs of its orators or its favourites ; enormous
masses of black stone, some of which measure twelve
or thirteen cubic feet, lie upon one another, and sup-
port the terrace, upon which the people collected.
Still higher up, at the distance of about fifty paces,
we perceive a huge square block, wherein steps have
been cut, which probably served for the orator to
mount his tribunal, which thus overlooked the
people, the city, and the sea. This possesses not the
character of the people of Pericles, but seems Roman.
The recollections it inspires are, however, delightful.
Demosthenes spoke from thence, and roused or
calmed that popular sea, more stormy than the^ZEgean,
which he could also hear roll behind him."

" From the odeum of Regilla," says Dr. Clarke,
" we went to the Areopagus, wishing to place our feet
upon a spot where it is so decidedly known that St.
Paul had himself stood; and to view with our own eyes
the same scene which he beheld, when he declared
unto the Athenians the nature of the UNKNOWN GOD,
whom they so ignorantly worshipped. * * * We
ascended to the top by means of steps cut within the
natural stone, which is of breccia. The sublime
scene here exhibited is so striking, that a brief de-
scription of it may prove how truly it offers to us a
commentary upon St. Paul's \vords, as they were
delivered upon the spot. Before him there was
spread a glorious prospect of mountains, islands,
seas, and skies ; behind him towered the lofty Acro-
polis, crowned with all its marble temples. This
very object, whether in the face of nature, or among
the works of art, conspired to elevate the mind, and
to fill it with reverence towards that BEING, ' who

94 RDINfl ni- \\, am ( [TIES.

made and governs the world ;' who sittrth in that
light which no mortal eye can approach, and MI is
nigh unto the meant -t \' hi- rn-.ituns; > in \\limn
we live, and move, and have our being.'"

Near the Pirtean gate is still to be seen, in a state
of admirable preservation, the ground-plot and entire
town of the Pnyx, or place of jtarl'fim.-nt of the
Athenians, as it was appropriated by Solon to the
use of the citizens. Nearly the whole of it is an ex-
cavation of the rock, and the several parts of it were
carved in stone of one solid mass, with the excep-
tion only of the semi-circular area, the fartlu >t part
of which consists of masonry. " To approach the
spot," says Dr. Clarke, " once dignified by the pre-
sence of the greatest Grecian orators, to set our feet
where they stood, and actually to behold the place
where Demosthenes addressed ' the men of Athens,'
calling to mind the most memorable examples of his
eloquence, is a gratification of an exalted nature. But
the feelings excited in viewing the Pnyx, peculiarly
affect Englishmen : that holy fire, so much dreaded
by the Athenian tyrants, and which this place had
such a remarkable tendency to agitate, burns yet in
Britain ; it is the very soul of her liberties, and it
strengthens the security of her laws; giving eloquence
to her senate, heroism to her armies, extension to her
commerce, and freedom to her people : iilthough an-
nihilated in almost every country of the earth, it
lives in England, and its extinction there, like the
going out of the sacred flame in the temple of Del-
phi, would I'f felt as a national calamity."

Among the loose fragments, dispersed in the Acro-
polis, has been found a small piece of marble, with
an inscription, but in so imperfect a state, that Dr.
Clarke considered it only worth notice as a memorial
of the place where it was found, and in its allusion to
the Prytancum, which is the only legible part of it.


The Prytancum, where the written laws of Solon
were kept, however, was not in the Acropolis, but
in a lower part of the city. The Gymnasium of
Ptolemy, which stands near the temple of Theseus, is
greatly dilapidated, and, in no small degree, con-
cealed by dwellings*. The Erectheum is situated
about one hundred and fifty feet to the north of the
Parthenon. This structure consisted of two conti-
guous temples ; that of Minerva Polias, with its por-
tico towards the east ; and that of Pandrosus towards
the west, with its two porticoes standing by the north
and south angles, the entrance to the Pandroseuin
being on the northern side. The Turks made a
powder-magazine of one of the vestibules of this
building, which contains one of the finest specimens
of Ionian architecture now existing ; and it has been
judiciously remarked of the sculpture, every where
displayed in this edifice, that it is difficult to conceive
how marble has been wrought to such a depth, and
brought to so sharp an edge, the ornaments having
all the delicacy of works of metal.

In that portion of the Erectheum which was dedi-
cated to Minerva Polias, the columns of the front
porch are standing, but without any part of their
entablature. The marblet of this ruin is of virgin
whiteness ; and the workmanship, as the structure is
very diminutive in comparison with the specimens of
the Parthenon, is a still more exquisite example than
that temple, of the polish and edge which were
given to all the parts of Grecian architecture. The
line of no pencil can excel the delicate accuracy of
contour in the swell of the torus, and the ornaments
of the base ; and the hand, in passing repeatedly over
the marble, seeks in vain for the slightest inequality
or even roughness on the surface.

* Clarke. f Hobhouse, p. 343.

iNs (IK \\rn:vr <nii:<.

A bluish-grey limestone* set in- to have been u- .1
in some of tin- works ; particularly in the exquisite
ornaments of the Krectheum, where the t'rie/e of the
temple and of its porticoes are not of marble like the
rest of the building, but of this sort of slate-lime-
stone. This re-cnililes the limestone employed in the
walls of the cella at the temple of Ceres, at Elcu-is
and in buildings before the use of marble was known
for purposes of architecture : such, for example, is
the sort of stone employed in the temple of Apollo
at Phigalia, and in other edifices of equal antiquity ;
it effervesces briskly in acids, and has all the pro-
perties of common compact lime, except that it is h::rd
enough to cut glass, and, of course, is susceptible of a
tine polish, exhibiting a flat conchoidal fracture,
which is somewhat splintery. We could not discover
a single fragment of porphyry ; which was remark-
able, as this substance was almost always used by
the ancients in works of great magnificence.

The temple of ANCIIESMIAN JUPITER stood upon
a commanding eminence. The pagan shrine has
been succeeded by a small Christian sanctuary. Of
the scene from the top of this steep and craggy roek,
Wheler speaks in a style of enthusiasm, rather un-
frequent with him : " I wish I could make you
taste the same satisfaction, while I describe the pro-
spect, that I then did, and still do, when I consider it.
Here, either a Democritus might sit and laugh at
the pomps and vanities of the world, whose glories
so soon vanish ; or a Heraclitus weep over the mani-
fold misfortunes of it, telling sad stories of the
various changes and events of life. This would have
been a place to inspire a poet, as the brave actions, per-
formed within his view, have already exercised the
pens of great historians. Here, like Virgil, he might
have sate, and interwoven beautiful descriptions of


the rivers, mountains, woods of olives, and groves of
lemons and oranges, with the celebrated harbours on
the shores and islands, all lying before him, as on a
map, which I was content to do only in contempla-
tion ; and with a sea-compass to mark out the most
considerable places on paper."

The Odeum of Regilla stands at the foot of the
rock of the Acropolis. The remains of this edifice
are those which Wheler and all former travellers,
excepting Chandler, have described as the theatre of
Bacchus *. Of the theatre of Bacchus, nothing
remains except the circular sweep for the seats; as in
the earliest ages of dramatic representation, it was
universally formed by scooping the sloping side of
a rockt. The^i passion of the Athenians for the
theatre is not conceivable. Their eyes, their ears,
their imagination, their understanding, all shared in
the satisfaction : nothing gave them so sensible a

* Clarke.

f The theatre of the ancients was divided into three principal
parts ; each of which Lad its peculiar appellation. The division for
the actors was called in general the scene, or stage ; that for the
spectators was particularly termed the theatre, which must have
been of vast extent, as at Athens it was capable of containing above
thirty thousand persons ; and the orchestra, which, amongst the
Greeks, was the place assigned for the pantomimes and dancers,
though at Rome it was appropriated to the senators and vestal

The theatre was of a semicircular form on one side, and square
on the other. The space contained within the semicircle was
allotted to the spectators, and had seats placed one above another
to the top of the building. The square part, in the front of it, was
the actors' division; and in the interval, between both, was the

The great theatres had three rows of porticoes, raised one upon
another, which formed the body of the edifice, and at the same
time three different stories for the seats. From the highest of
those porticoes the women saw the representation, covered from the
weather. The rest of the theatre was uncovered, and all the busi-
ness of the stage was performed in the open air.
+ Boimliu ; Uollin.


pleasure in dramatic perfonnaiuvs, rithor tragic or
comic, as the strokes which were aimed at the atlairs
of the public, whether some chance occasioned tin-
application, or the address of the poets, who knew
how to reconcile the most remote subjects with the
transactions of the republic. They entered by this
means into tho interests of the people, took occasion
to soothe their passions, authorise their pretensions,
justify, and sometimes condemn their conduct, enter-
tain them with agreeable hopes, instruct them in
their duty in certain nice conjunctures ; in effecting
which they often not only acquired the applauses of
the spectators, but credit and influence in the public
affairs and councils : hence the theatre became so
grateful, and so much the concern of the people *.

Plutarch, in bis inquiry whether the Athenians wore more
eminent in the arts of war or in the arts of peace, severely censures
their insatiable fondness for diversions. He asserts, that the money,
idly thrown away upon the representation of the tragedies of
Sophocles and Euripides alone, amounted to a much greater sum
than had been expended in all their wars against the Persians, in
defence of their liberty and common safety. That judicious philo-
sopher and historian, to the eternal infamy of the Athenians, records
a severe but sensible reflection of a Lacednmonian, who happened
to be present at these diversions. The generous Spartan, trained
up in a state where public virtue still continued to be the object of
public applause, could not behold the ridiculous assiduity of the
Choragi, or magistrates who presided at the public shows, and the
immense sums which they lavished in the* decorations of a new
tragedy, without indignation. He therefore frankly told the
Athenians, that they were highly criminal in wasting so much
time, and giving that serious attention to trifles, which ought to be
dedicated to the affairs of the public. That it was still more cri-
minal to throw away upon such baubles as the decorations of a
theatre, that money which ought to be applied to the equipment of
their fleet, or the support of their army. That diversions ought to
be treated merely as diversions and might serve to relux the mind
at our idle hours, or when over a bottle ; if any kind of utility could
rise from such trifling pleasures. But to sec the Athenians make
the duty, they owed to tin ir country, (rive way to their passion for
the entertainments of the theatre, and to waste unprofitable that


The temple, dedicated to Augustus, consists of
four Doric pillars of white marble, fluted, and, like
those of all the other buildings of this order, without
plinths or bases ; they still support their architrave
with the pontoon, on the top of which is a square
piece of marble, seeming to have been placed there
as the pedestal to some statue. There seems, also,
to be some inscription on it, but by reason of the
height, unintelligible. It is impossible to give
a plan of the whole ; the remains of it affording
but little light towards discovering what form it
was of.

Of the remains of the Stadium Panathenaicum, the
most wonderful of all the works of Herodes Atticus:
" It has been usual to say of this," says Dr. Edward
Clarke, " that nothing now remains of its former
magnificence. To our eyes, every thing necessary to
impress the mind with an accurate idea of the object
itself, and of its grandeur, and of the prodigious
nature of the work, seemed to exist, as if it had been
in its perfect state. The marble covering of the
seats, indeed, no longer appears ; but the lines are
visible of the different ranges ; and perhaps a part
of the covering itself might be brought to light by a
removal of the soil."

This memorial of Attic splendour, and of the
renown of a private citizen of Athens, became ulti-
mately his funeral monument ; and a very curious
discovery may be reserved for future travellers in the
majestic sepulchre of Herodes himself, who was here
interred with the highest obsequies and most distin-
guished honours a grateful people could possibly
bestow upon the tomb of a benefactor, who spared no
expense for them while he was living, and every indi-

time and money upon such frivolous diversions, which ought to be
appropriated to the affairs and tliQ. necessities of the state, appeared
to him to be the height of infatuation." MONTAGUE.


vicinal of whom participated in his bounty * at his
death t.

Beneath the a rcl i <>f Hadrian persons arc conducted
from the old city of Theseus to the now Athens, built
by Hadrian. The stones are put together without
cfinent ; but the work is adorned with a row of
Corinthian pilasters and columns, with bases sup-
porting an upper tier in the same style of architecture.
It was erected commemorative of Hadrian's return
to Athens. A new city had arisen under his
auspices. Magnificent temples, stately shrines, un-
sullied altars, awaited the benediction of this sacer-
dotal monarch ; and it would, indeed, have been mar-
vellous if the Athenians, naturally prone to adulation,
neglected to bestow it on a benefactor so well dis-
posed for its reception. The triumphal arch was of
course prepared, and lasting characters thereon in-
scribed have proclaimed to succeeding ages, that
" The Athens of Hadrian eclipsed the city of The-
seus J."

Besides this arch, there are other remnants of
structures erected in honour of Hadrian. Of these
are the stupendous pillars which bear his name. In
the time of Pausanias, there were one hundred and
twenty pillars of Phrygian marble. Of these, sixteen
columns of white marble, each six feet in diameter,
and sixty feet in height, now remain ; all of the

' He bequeathed to every Athenian a mm nearly equivalent to
3/. of our money.

t The funeral of Herodes Atticui must have afforded one of the
moit affecting solemnities of which history makes mention. He
was seventy-six years old when he died ; and in the instructions
which he left for his interment, he desired to be buried at Maia-
thon, where he was born ; but the Athenians insisted upon pos-
sessing his remains ; and they caused the youth of their city to bonr
him to the Stadium Fanathcnaicnm, which he had built ; all the
people accompanying, am! pouring forth lamentations as for a deceased
parent. CLARKE.



Corinthian order, beautifully fluted, and of the most
exquisite workmanship. " Certainly," says Wheler,
" this was a work alone that may justify the liberality
of Hadrian, and the great care he took to adorn the
city ; for this must needs have been a wonderful por-
tico, both for beauty, use, and grandeur." Pausamas
says, that it was enclosed with a cloister, in which
were built rooms of the same stone, only the roofs
of alabaster, gilded with gold, and the whole excel -
lently adorned with statues and pictures. He founded
also a library and a gymnasium.

The Tower or Temple of the "Winds* is more at-
tractive by its singularity than its beauty. It was
the water- clock, the chronometer, and the weather
guide of Athens. It was built by Andronicus
Cyrrhestest. On the top stood a brazen Triton, con-
trived so as to turn round with the wind, and with a
wand, that he held in his hand, to point to the figure of
the wind which blew. The Triton is now wanting ;
the rest remains entire. It is a small octagon tower ;
the roof is built pyramidically. On every side is
represented the figure of a wind, with proper attri-
butes, characterising the nature of it, in very good
basso rilievo, and their names written above them in
Greek characters. The god Zephyrus is represented
as a beautiful young man, gliding gently along with
an imperceptible motion, with his bosom full of
flowers. They are all drawn with wings, and flying
on with more or less rapidity, according to the vio-
lence of ecich wind in those parts. This structure
is known to be the same which Vitruvius mentions,
but it is entirely unnoticed by Pausanias:}:. Some
suppose that it was one of the sacred structures of
the ancient city, and that, as a place of religious
worship, it answered other purposes than that of
merely indicating the direction of the winds, the
seasons, and the hours.

^Dodwell. f Sandwich^ J Clarke.

102 "RUINS 01 i CITIF*.

As Dr. Clarke drew near to tin- wall*, ho IK-IK Id
the vast (Y-Tn|ii;m citadel, crowned with temples,
that originated in the veneration, once paid to the
memory of the illustrious dead, surrounded 1>\ ob-
jects, tolling the same theme of sepulchral grandeur,
and now monuments of departed greatness, moulder-
ing in all the solemnity of ruin. " So paramount is
this funeroal diarueter in the approach to Athens
from the Piraeus," says he, " that as we passed the
hill of the Museum, which was, in fact, an ancient
cemetery of the Athenians, we might have imagined
ourselves to be among the tombs of Telmessus, from
the number of sepulchres hewn in the rock, and
from the antiquity of the workmanship, evidently
not of later date than any thing of the kind in Asia
Minor. In other respects, the city exhibits nearly
the appearance so briefly described by Strabo,
eighteen centuries before our coming ; and perhaps it
wears a more magnificent aspect, owing to the splen-
did remains of Hadrian's temple of Olympian Jove,
which did not exist when Athens was visited by the
disciple of Xenacchus."

" The first monument," says La Martinc, " which
attracts your attention, is the temple of Olympian
Jupiter, the magnificent columns of which rise alone
upon a deserted naked spot, on the right of what
was Athens a worthy portico of a city in ruins."
This temple* was pretended by the Athenians to
have been originally founded in the time of Deuca-
lion, and to have subsisted nine hundred years ; but
in the end falling into ruin, it began to be rebuilt by
Pisistratus, and having received additions from
several hands during the space of seven hundred
years, was completely finished by the Emperor Ha-
drian, and dedicated to Jupiter Olympus, to whoso
honour the same prince erected a colossal statue of

l.',r.l S.uulwicli.


immense value, both on account of the richness of its
materials and the beauty of its workmanship. Nothing
in all Greece, nor even in the whole world, was
equal to the magnificence of this temple. Its area
was computed to be four stadia. The inside was
embellished with statues by the best hands, placed
between each column, which were gifts from all the
cities of Greece, that were desirous of paying their
court to the Emperor ; among whom the Athenians
distinguished themselves by the colossus, erected by
them in honour of the monarch himself. It is im-
possible from the remains to collect the plan of the
whole building; there being nothing left but ten
beautiful Corinthian pillars, with their friezes, ar-
chitraves, and cornices, two fluted, the remaining
eight plain. Close behind the eight, which stand in
one rank, is a wall of white marble, the same as the
columns, and, at the south end, the two that project,
being fluted, and on a different line from the others,
seem to have formed the entrance of the temple*.

The solitary grandeur of these marble ruinst is,
perhaps, more striking than the appearance pre-
sented by any other object at Athens ; insomuch that
the Turks themselves seem to regard them with an
eye of respect and admiration ; large parties of them
being frequently seen seated on their carpets, in the
long shade of the columns. " Rome," says Chandler,
" afforded no example of this species of building. It
was one of the four marble edifices, which had raised
to the pinnacle of renown the architects who planned
them ; men, it is said, admired in the assembly of
the gods for their wisdom and excellence."

Of this temple seventeen columns were standing in
1676 ; but, a few years before Chandler arrived at
Athens, one was thrown down, for the purpose of
building a new mosque in the market-place.
* Sandwich. t Hobhouse.


Some of tin- columns still support their architraves,
as we have before stated, one of which was tumid to
equal three feet in width, and although of one entire
piece of marble, it extended in length twenty-two
feet six inches. On the top of the entablature is
shown the dwelling of a hermit, who fixed his aboiU-
upon this eminence, and dedicated his life entirely to
the contemplation of the sublime objects by which
his residence was on all sides surrounded.

The beauty of the temple of Theseus* is not at all
prejudiced by its littleness; but still remains a master-
piece of architecture, not easy to be paralleled, much
less exceeded. Much of the history of Theseus is
expressed in relievo, on the pronaos of the front and
west end, where all the tricks and art of wrestling
seem well expressed. There are, also, some in
women's habits, to express the war of the Amazons.

This elegant buildingt is supposed to have fur-
nished the model of the Parthenon, which resembles

Online LibraryCharles BuckeRuins of ancient cities : with general and particular accounts of their rise, fall, and present condition (Volume 1) → online text (page 8 of 36)