Wilfrid Richmond.

The Americana: a universal reference library, comprising the arts ..., Volume 10 online

. (page 58 of 185)
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more especially the preponderance which he
gave to Germans in the government, soon made
him unpopular. At the same time the finances
of the kingdom were in a very embarrassed con-
dition, and a general uneasiness prevailed. In
1843 a rebellion took place, after which a con-
stitution was drawn up. But Otho was after
that no more popular than before, and after the
outbreak of another rebellion in February 1862,
he saw himself compelled to abdicate the throne
(24 October). A provisional government was
then set up at Athens, and the National Assem-
bly after declaring that the throne had been
forfeited by Otho, offered it in succession to
Prince Alfred, of England, and Prince William
George, of Denmark. The latter accepted it, and
30 March 1863 was proclaimed as King George
I. At the end of that year a constituent assem-
bly was elected for the purpose of framing a
new constitution, and the result of its labors was
the constitution which is still in force. In 1864
an addition was made to the small kingdom by
the annexation of the Ionian Islands, which had
hitherto formed an independent republic under
the protection of Britain. From the first Greece
has been watching for an opportunity of ex-
tending its frontier northward, so as to in-
clude the large Greek population in Thessaly
and Epirus. In January 1878, during the Russo-
Turkish war, Greek troops were moved into
Thessaly and Epirus to the assistance of their
brethren who had risen there, but on the re-
monstrance of England these troops were with-



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GREECE



drawn. The Treaty of Berlin made no definite
provisions for any extension of Greek territory,
but in 1881 Turkey had to cede about 5,000
square miles of Thessaly to Greece. After the
union of eastern Roumelia with Bulgaria, in
1885, war with Turkey was only prevented by
the £reat powers. In 1896 an insurrection of the
Christians in Crete led to the interference of
Greece and to war with Turkey. The Turks
speedily drove back the Greeks from the north-
ern frontier and overran Thessaly; and Greece
was enabled only through the efforts of the
great powers to obtain reasonable terms of
peace. The recent internal political history of
Greece relates mainly to her financial obliga-
tions. After the expulsion of the Turkish
troops from Crete in 1898 Prince George
was appointed high commissioner of the
island.

Modern Greek Language and Literature. —
The Greek language seems to have preserved its
purity longer than any other known to us; but
a deadly blow was inflicted when the Greeks
were enslaved by the fall of Constantinople
(1453 A.D.). All the cultivated classes, who still
retained the pure Greek, the language of the
Byzantine princes, either perished in the con-
flict or took to flight, or courted the favor of
their rude conquerors, by adopting their dialect.
In the lower classes only did the common Greek
survive (the koini, demodSs, hapU, idiotikS dia-
lektos) the vulgar dialect of the polished classes,
the traces of which occur, indeed, in earlier
authors, but which first appears distinctly in the
6th century. This Greek patois departed still
more from the purity of the written language —
which took refuge at court, in the tribunals of
justice, and the halls of instruction — when the
Frank crusaders augmented it by their own
peculiar expressions, and the barbarians in the
neighborhood engrafted theirs also upon it.
This popular dialect first appears as a complete
written language in the chronicles of Simon
Sethos, in 1070-80. After the Ottomans had
become masters of the country all the institu-
tions which had contributed to preserve a better
idiom perished at once. The people, left to
themselves, oppressed by the most brutal despo-
tism, would finally have abandoned their own
dialect, which became constantly more corrupt,
had not the Greeks possessed a sort of rallying-
point in their Church. But even here, owing
chiefly to the ignorance and corruption prevail-
ing among the clergy, little could be found to
prevent the further debasement of this fine dia-
lect, which continued till the middle of the 18th
century. About this time many of the Greeks
began to resort for instruction to the universi-
ties of the West, whence they returned to their
native country to animate their fellow-country-
men with the desire of making nearer ap-
proaches to the more civilized nations of Europe,
so as not to remain behind in the general pro-
gress. One consequence of this was that the
Greeks began to pay more attention to their
mother tongue, and this tendency was increased
by intercourse with the more refined West, by
means of more frequent visits from intelligent
men of that quarter to the ruins of Grecian
greatness. The Patriarch (Samuel Eugene Bul-
bars Theotokos) of Corfu, and the unfortunate
Rhigas, may be mentioned as eminent at this
period. 4

At first a large part of the literature of



awakened Greece consisted of translations from
the French, but the country now furnishes origi-
nal writers in every department of literature.
Among the theological works of modern Greece
perhaps the most remarkable is that on < Truth,'
by Pharmakidis (1852), which is one of the
most important works in the modern Greek lan-
guage. The philosophical and mathematical sci-
ences are all well represented. For these
branches of knowledge much has been done by
the University of Athens, many of the profes-
sors of which have published manuals (some of
which have no inconsiderable scientific value)
on the subjects on which they lecture. With
the exception of poetry, history is perhaps the
department which has attracted most writers in
the modern Greek language. On this head the
long and learned dissertations prefixed by Spir-
idion Zampelios to his < Popular Songs of
Greece* (Corfu 1852), and c Studies on Constan-
tinople ) (1858), affording valuable and inter-
esting materials for the history of Greece in
the Middle Ages, deserve to be particularly
mentioned In the department of philology and
scholarship Corav has performed important ser-
vices by collecting a large mass of materials
for acquiring a more thorough knowledge both
of ancient and modern Greek; and after him
Doukas, Darbaris, Asopios, and Rhangabe,
ought to be noticed for their editions of the an-
cient classics with commentaries in modern
Greek. At the head of the orators of the time
of the struggle for independence stands Trik-
oupis, some of whose speeches were collected
and published in 1829, and a second and en-
larged edition of them in i860. In the depart-
ment of poetry a distinction must be made be-
tween that of the people and that of the culti-
vated classes. The former is .represented chiefly
in the songs of the Klephts and other songs
dating from the war of independence, which are
a faithful mirror of the public life at the time
to which they belong. At this period the war-
songs of Rhigas were caught up by the whole
nation and sung with enthusiasm. At a later
period the two Soutsos, Panagios and Alexan-
der, Calvos, Solomos, and others, earned dis-
tinction in the same kind of poetry. The Sout-
sos were distinguished also as dramatists and
novelists, and Alexander also as a satirist
Among the other leading dramatists are Rizos
Neroulos and Zampelios. The most distin-
guished recent author, both a poet and a scholar,
is A. R. Rangabe, while Demetrius Bikelas is
the chief novelist.

Modern Greek, as spoken by the uneducated
classes, is called Romaic, from the fact that it
took on its special character at the time when
the Greeks considered themselves as natives of
the Roman empire, and hence called themselves
Romaioi, or Romans. The Greek of the edu-
cated classes, that used in the newspapers and
other literature of the present day, is distin-
guished from it by a greater resemblance to the
Greek of antiquity, which renders it easy for
any one who has a satisfactory acquaintance
with ancient Greek to read the literary Greek of
the present day. The domain of the Romaic
comprises not only the whole of the present
kingdom of Greece (including Thessaly), but
also part of Roumelia, Albania, and Anatolia,
the islands of Crete and Cyprus, as well as the
islands of the archipelago not belonging to
Greece. The purest Romaic is spoken in the



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i. Modern Athens. 2. The Piraeus, Athens.



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Umv.Ubrary.UC Santa Cruz 2001



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GREEK ARCHITECTURE



less frequented isles of the archipelago, and in
some of the mountainous districts of the inte-
rior. It is in these districts particularly that
modes of expression are still found belonging
to the most classical antiquity. At Megara the
language is less corrupt than at Athens, where
it is mixed with a considerable number of Italian
words. In the northern provinces it is mixed
chiefly with Albanian. Besides the foreign
words which have been introduced into northern
Greek, a* pretty large number of words are found
which have changed their original signification
although they have retained their original form.
Ancient words are most commonly found in
significations the most remote from the original
or derivative sense. The grammar has also
undergone considerable modifications. For ex-
ample, the numbers have been reduced to two by
the suppression of the dual ; and the cases to
four, by the disappearance of the dative, the sig-
nification of which is now expressed by means
of a preposition with the accusative. The first
of the, cardinal numerals is now used as an in-
definite article. The degrees of comparison are
sometimes expressed by the ancient inflexions,
but at other times by the use of fleon (more).
The past tenses of the verb are formed by the
aid of the verb echd (I have), and the future
tenses by the aid of theld (I will). The infini-
tive mood, which has fallen out of use, has its
place supplied by a periphrasis, in which the
verb is put in the subjunctive. The middle voice
has disappeared, and what remains of the old
conjugation is of so little consequence that it
may be regarded as an irregularity. The an-
cient orthography of the language is still pre-
served, but considerable changes appear to have
taken place in the pronunciation. The vowels
% 4, and v, and the diphthongs cc ot, and vc,
are all pronounced like ea in the English word
mean. B is now pronounced as v, and the
sound of b is expressed by M*. A is pro-
nounced like th in thus, and 9 like th in think.

Consult: Neroulos, ( Cours de Litterature
Grecque Moderne ) (1828) ; Rangabe, 'Histoire
Litteraire de la Grece Moderne ) (1877) ; Nicolai,
< Geschichte neugriechischer Litteratur ) (1876).

Greek Architecture. First, that which has
existed in Greece, that is the land of the Hel-
lenes, which, for art purposes, includes every-
thing south of Mount Olympus on the east
coast and the Island of Corfu on the west. This
architecture is of several very distinct epochs.
Second, the architecture identified with the
Greek spirit at the time of the highest intellec-
tual development of the race — viz. from about
500 bx. to the Roman Conquest; and which is
in architecture represented by the famous styles
called Doric and Ionic, with the Corinthian just
appearing at the time when the freedom of
Greece was at an end. Each of these definitions
of the term requires separate treatment.

First. — The architecture of the land of
Greece is known to us in its earliest form by
certain tombal chambers, in which a circular or
polygonal room is enclosed and roofed with
stone by one operation, that is, by laying the
stones in courses continually projecting inwards,
and so decreasing; the size of the chamber within,
until at last a single cap-stone closes the aper-
ture at the top. These stone structures had pas-
sages leading to them, enclosed and roofed with
atone ; and these passages allowed of the cover-



ing in of the whole stone edifice with earth, per*
haps in huge, high mounds. In this way, as in
northern Europe and also in the peninsula of In-
dia, a great funereal monument was erected
which cost nothing but the labor of transporting
many thousand tons of earth and rough stone in
addition to the comparatively slight building of
the stone chamber and passage. The largest of
these is among the ruins of Mycenae, and has
been known for many years as the Treasury of
Atreus.. More elaborate buildings are of what
is known as the Mycenaean epoch (see My-
cen-san) which is not accurately fixed, but
which it is customary now (1004) to place at
about 1700 b.c, lasting perhaps for 500 years.
The name Mycenaean comes from the city of
Mycenae, explored first by Dr. Schilemann in
1876. We know only its remains, painting upon
walls, inlays of metal, pottery and the like, and
something is known of the plan of the royal
palace and its accessory buildings; but no part
of this enables us to fix the date. If we assume
that this artistic civilization lasted until about
1200 b.c. there is less a lapse of time before the
Homeric conditions began; for the palaces and
fortresses described in the Iliad are generally
accepted as of about 1,000 B.C. Again a blank
occurs, and the earliest buildings of the Proto-
Doric may be thought to begin about 600 B.C.

For the classical art of Greece, that is the
building of the celebrated and beautiful temples,
.^see the second part of this paper. This classical
epoch lasts until the Roman conquest, and even
beyond it in a modified form. Thus the gateway
of the Agora in Athens is Doric of a style not
used until the Roman control had begun; and
it is extremely curious to compare this with the
Doric of 500 years earlier. The Roman gov-
ernors and generals built memorial buildings,
porticoes and temples in a curiously modified
style, partly pure Greek, partly of that Roman-
ized Greek which was beginning to be recognized
as the Imperial art for the whole Mediterranean
world. Under the reign of Hadrian an attempt
was made to return to a purer taste, but this was
of brief duration. Greece was not to have an
art of her own again until the Byzantine style
was well established (see Architecture and
Byzantine Architecture). The Byzantine
style in the land of Greece was singularly char-
acterized by very small proportions; there has
never been an interesting style of which the
monuments are so diminutive; important
churches exist in Athens and other cities which
would not hold two hundred persons and which
are delicately built in a refined shape, and pret-
tily if not richly decorated. The architecture of
modern times in Greece is not more intelligent
than that of the rest of Europe, while it is very
simple and inexpensive. The country is small
and poor, and even a royal palace cannot have
much costly treatment ;. moreover the buildings
in Athens are mostly of German design, accord-
ing to the taste of the first dynasty established
there after the freeing of Greece in 1823.

Second.—- Grecian architecture in the sense
of the classical style begins with what we call
the Proto-Doric style as exemplified by the tem-
ple at Corinth, a building with low, thick col-
umns and a comparatively high entablature, as
far as can be ascertained. It is thought by some
that the Heraion (that is the temple of Hera)
at Olympia, is a still older building, and in that



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case the earliest piece of classical Greek archi-
tecture. It is curious in form, as it has six
columns at each end with sixteen on each side,
the corner columns being counted twice, that is
to say, there are forty columns in all. The
peculiarity of this will be seen when we speak
below of the perfected type of Doric temples.
In the Olympia building the columns are of dif-
ferent sizes, varying even more than a foot in
their thickness, and the capitals also differ. The
common explanation, that the columns were orig-
inally of wood and were replaced by stone, one
at a time, at all events points to the extreme
irregularity of the structure. The Doric build-
ings of accepted and permanent type may thus
be thought to appear first at the beginning of the
5th century b.c The Greek colonies in south-
ern Italy and Sicily were flourishing at this time
and we find some of the earliest Doric temples
of classical form in Pesto (the Roman Paestum,
the Greek Poseidonia) ? in Campania and in
Selinunte and Girgenti in Sicily. The style
rapidly took definite form and was reduced at
an early date to a very definite set of rules.
Thus it became a recognized arrangement that
the columns on the flank of the peristylar tem-
ple should be twice as many as those on the
front and one more: the corner column being
always counted twice. Thus the hexastyle tem-
ples at Athens, in Pesto and elsewhere, having
6 columns in front, have 13 on the side; and
the only two octostyle Doric temples known —
the Parthenon at Athens and the great 'temple
at Selinunte — have 17 columns on die side.
But all temples were not peristylar ; on the con-
trary by far the greater number had porticoes
only at the east front or at the east and west
end. The essential parts of the temple are, of
course, the closed naos or, as the Romans called
it, the cella, in which the statue of the divinity
was preserved, together with certain treasures,
consecrated gifts and the like. There must have
been thousands of these little shrines in Greece,
the Greek islands and the colonies. A some-
what larger temple would have a second cham-
ber, the treasury (opisthodomos) at the rear
or west end of the cella, and this would have its
own portico. The Temple of Theseus (so
called) at Athens seems to have had a single
chamber and two porticoes* one at either end,
these being deep and sheltered and affording
place for certain sacred statues and the like.
Larger temples, like the Temple of Zeus at
Olympia, the Parthenon at Athens, and the one
at Pesto, called the Temple of Neptune, have
the interior of the cella divided into a nave and
aisles by two rows of columns; but just what
the connection was between these columns and
the carrying of the roof is not rightly under-
stood. Some archaeologists associate them with
the assumed arrangement for admitting daylight
into the interior through the roof (see HypjE-
thral Theory).

The style of design was this — the columns
were thick in proportion to their height and
tapered from bottom to top, but not as a cone
tapers, for the diminution of thickness follows a
decided and even visible curve which is called
the entasis. These columns are channeled from
top to bottom by grooves, usually twenty in
number, each having an elliptical curve or nearly
so and meeting one another at sharp arrises.
These shafts carried capitals made of one or



two blocks of stone but always in two archi-
tectural parts. The lower part is what is called
the echinus. It is a circular slab of stone pro-
jecting all round as much as half the diameter
of the shaft in the earliest examples, perhaps a
quarter of that diameter in the later ones; and
this projection is rounded in a very subtle way,,
becoming flat below near the shaft and rounding
more rapidly above. The curve of some of
these echinus capitals is of extraordinary beauty.
The uppermost member of the capital is a thick
square block, or die, or plinth, sharp-cornered,
without ornament of any sort except for the
painting. These columns carry the epistyle or
architrave, which, in the Doric style, is usually
plain. Upon this rests what is known as the
frieze, which consists of a series of upright
blocks of stone perhaps half as high again as
they are wide, and their height increased in
appearance by grooves running vertically. These
triglyphs carry, or seem to carry, the third or
crowning member, the cornice, but between the
triglyphs are the spaces called metopes, which
are commonly filled by slabs or blocks of stone,
the outer surface of which was always a favorite
place for ornamentation. The cornice projected
very much beyond the frieze, and its under side
was cut with a drip moulding so that rain-
water would not back up and run down the
entablature, that being the name given to the
three parts taken together, that is, to the whole
horizontal superstructure laid upon the columns.
There was nothing above this cornice except at
the two ends the rising gable which marks the
slope of the roof (see Pediment), and on the
side a gutter for rain-water with spouts or
scuppers in its outer space.

The building of the temple was in this way as
simple as possible — square cornered, oblong,
roofed with a simple gable-roof, without arches
or windows or chimneys. Its decoration was
largely in the extreme refinement of the parts.
The proportion of height to width, the spacing
of columns and their shape and character were
helped out by an extraordinary system of curves
by which a grace was added to the building
which the eye could hardly follow in its cause
or character, but which changed the whole as-
pect very greatly. Thus the entablature was cut
with an upward curve toward the middle and in
this way the whole building had a lighter as-
pect than if it had been strictly horizontal. The
same upward curve was repeated in the stylobate
or stone floor on which the columns stood. The
columns themselves were curved in outline as
above stated, and they were set so as to slope in-
ward, the outer ones the most, this for the
obvious purpose of making tlie building seem
more solidly set upon its base. To the building
so carefully designed there was often added a
great deal of elaborate sculpture (see below)
and, apparently in all cases, rich chromatic dec-
oration. For this subject see Polychromy : but
it may be mentioned here that the modern
world has no very clear notion of what was the
effect of brilliant painting in red and blue, with
gilded metal, applied to a marble building stand-
ing high upon a prominent rock in the heart of
a town, the recognized centre of interest and
the chief religious shrine. No living man has
ever seen anything at all like that; and it is
probable that no imagination can reproduce it in
thought



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To the modern student, the Doric style as
described above, is much the most important part
of Grecian architecture; but to a Greek of the
time of Alexander the Great the Ionic temples
along the shore of Asia Minor would have
seemed the more grand and costly, the more re-
cent, and therefore the more identified with ad-
vanced civilization. Those great temples have
disappeared with a strange completeness.' While
there are Doric temples nearly complete except
for the roof — which has, of course, disap-
peared,— While there are many others of which
large and most interesting remains exist, many
columns standing erect and some parts of the
superstructure, — there is almost nothing re-
maining in complete condition of all the great
Ionic temples. It is on this account that the ex-
quisite building on the Acropolis at Athens, the
Erectheum, contains in itself almost all our
modern notions of the style. Very near it on
the Acropolis is the little square amphiprostyle
temple, known as the Temple of Athenae Nike,
or as the Temple of the Wingless Victory, and
this shrine may also be considered an un-
changed Greek building, because, though it was
entirely destroyed, the stones of it were found
built into a Turkish fortification and the whole
structure was piled up again by the engineers of
the first European king of Greece, Otho of Ba-
varia, who reigned from 1832 to 1862.

We learn from these buildings what the style
really was. The shafts of the columns are much
more slender than those of the Doric style and
are fluted with circular grooves which are sep-
arated from one another by narrow fillets instead
of meeting at a sharp edge. There is a base
composed of mouldings running around the
column. The capital is very peculiar, having
volutes or scrolls at either side so that each
capital has a front and a back precisely alike,
and two ends alike, differing from all other cap-
itals in not being alike on at least four sides.
The members of the entablature are the same as
those of the Doric style, but there are important
differences in them. Thus the epistyle, instead
of being a plain smooth block, is divided into
three parallel surfaces, each one slightly over-
hanging the one below; the frieze is continuous
and not broken by triglyphs ; the cornice is more
richly sculptured. Figure sculpture is applied



Online LibraryWilfrid RichmondThe Americana: a universal reference library, comprising the arts ..., Volume 10 → online text (page 58 of 185)