History of the Literature of Ancient Greece  

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{{Template}} Geschichte der griechischen Literatür (1841) is a book by Karl Otfried Müller translated into English as History of the Literature of Ancient Greece.

Chapters i.-xxii. were translated by Sir George Cornewall Lewis; chapters xxiii.-xxxvi. by J. W. Donaldson, who carried the work down to the taking of Constantinople by the Turks. It remained one of the best books on the subject for many years.

Excerpt on phallophoria:

"With the Bacchic comus, which turned a noisy festal banquet into a boisterous procession of revellers, a custom was from the earliest times connected, which was the first cause of the origin of comedy. The symbol of the productive power of nature was carried about by this band of revellers, and a wild, jovial song was recited in honour of the god in whom dwells this power of nature, namely, Bacchus himself, or one of his companions. Such phallophoric or ithyphallic songs were customary in various regions of Greece. The ancients give us many hints about the variegated garments, the coverings for the face, such as masks or thick chaplets of flowers, and the processions and songs of these comus singers. Aristophanes, in his Acharnians, gives a most vivid picture of the Attic usages in this respect : in that play, the worthy Dicaeopolis, while war is raging around, alone peacefully celebrates the country Dionysia on his own farm ; he has sacrificed with his slaves, and now prepares for the sacred procession; his daughter carries the basket as Canephorus; behind her the slave holds the phallus aloft; and, while his wife regards the procession from the roof of the house, he himself begins the phallus song, "O Phales, boon companion of Bacchus, thou nightly reveller!" with that strange mixture of wantonness and serious piety which was possible only in the elementary religions of the ancient world."
1 See the quotations chap. XXI. 5.6 KtD/ios Kal ol Ku/j.q>5oi. The feast of the great or city Dionysia is thus described, but it is obvious that the connexion proceeded from the country Dionysia.
3 From Kdifj,rj. The Peloponnesians, according to Aristotle, Poet. c. 3, used this etymology to support their claim to the invention of comedy, because they called villages Ktlifj-ai, but the Athenians 5TJfj.oi.
3 Athenseus, xiv. p. 621, 2, and the lexicographers Hesychius and Suidas, in various articles relating to the subject. Phallophori, Ithyphalli, Autokabdali, Limb is tie, are the different names of these merryandrews.

Full text

THE TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE.


The following History of Greek Literature has been com- posed by Professor K. O. Miiller of Gottingen, at the suggestion of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, and for its exclusive use. The work has been written in German, and has been translated under the superintendence of the Society ;' but the German text has never been published, so that the present trans- lation ap pears^as apn)riginal work.

Before the publication of the present work, no history of Greek Literature had been published in the English language. The Society thought that, since the Greek Literature is the source from which the literature of the civilized world almost exclusively derives its origin ; and since it still contains the finest productions of the human mind in poetry, history, oratory^ and philosophy ; a history of Greek Literature would be properly introduced into the series of works published under their super- intendence. The present work is intended to be within the compass of the general reader ; but at the same time to be useful to scholars, and particularly to persons commencing or pursuing the study of the Greek authors. Agreeably with this view, the chief original authorities for the statements in the text are men- tioned in the notes: but few references have been given to the works of modem critics, either foreign or native,


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Vi THE translator's PREFACE.

The translation has been executed in correspondence with the author^ who has read and approved of the larger part of it. Any corrections which he may furnish (in addition to those noticed in the errata) will be inserted at the end of the second volume.

The work will be completed in about sixty chapters, and will occupy two volumes. The history will be brought down to the extinction of tbe ^eathei^ literature of Greece.

A copious index will accompany the second volume.

January, 1840.


CONTENTS.


PAOS

Introduction — Subject and Purposes of the Work , , 1

FIRST PERIOD OF GREEK LITERATURE.

CHAPTER I.

THE R\CES AND LANGUAGE OF THE GREEKS.

} ] . General account of the languages of the Indo-Teutonic family • • • 3 ( 2. Origin and formation of the Indo-Teutonic languages — multiplicity of

their grammatical forms • 4

§ 3. Characteristics of the Greek language, as compared with the other lan- guages of the Indo-Teutonic family ••••• 6

§ 4. Variety of forms, iaflexions, and dialects in the Greek language • • . 7 § 5. The tribes of Greece, and their several dialects — characteristics of each

dialect •• • 8

CHAPTER II.

THE RELIGION OF THE QREKKS.

§ I. The earliest form of the Greek religion not portrayed in the Homeric

poems ••••••'. 11

§ 2. The Olympic deities, as described by Homer • • • 12

§ 3. Earlier form of worship in Greece directed to the outward objects of

Nature ....•• ib.

} 4. Character and attributes of the several Greek deities, as personifications

of the powers and objects of Nature 13

( 5. Subsequent modification of these ideas, as displayed in the Homeric

description of the same deities 15

CHAPTER III.

EARLIEST POPULAR SONGS.

§ 1 . First efforts of Greek poetry. Plaintive songs of husbandmen • • . 16

} 2. Description of several of these songti, viz. the Linus • 17

} 3. The lalemus, the Scephrus, the Lityetscs, the Bormus, the Maneros, and

the laments for Hylas and Adonis • 18

} 4. The Paean, its origin and character 19'


■ ••


.Vm CONTENTS.

FAOB

§ 5. The' Threno»^oi lament for f he dead; and the Hymeneeot, or biidal song • 20 § 6. Origin and character of the chorus ..••••••... 2*2

§ 7. Ancient poets who composed sacred hymns^ divided into three closses, viz. those connected, i. WiRi the worship of Apollo ; ii. M^ith the worship of Demeter and Dionysus ; and iii. With the Phr}'gian worship of the mother of the Gods, of the Corybantes, &c. ...••••• 24

} 8. Explanation of the Thracian origin of several of the eaily Greek poets . 25 § 9. Influence of the early Thracian or Pierian poets on the epic poetry of

Homer .28

CHAPTER IV.

ORIGIN OF THE EPIC rOETRY.

} 1. Social position of the minstrels or poets in the heroic age • , • • 29 { 2. Epic poems sung at the feasts of princes and nobles, and at public

festivals •••.•••••••• 30

$ 3. Manner of reciting epic poems, explanation of rkapsodists and rhaptO'

diting •••••.32

§ ' 4. Metrical form, and poetical character of the epic poetry « . • . • 35 ( 5. Perpetuation of the early epic poems by memory and not by writing • 37 § 6. Subjects and extent of the ante-IIomeric epic poetry .39

CHAPTER V.

HOMER.

} 1. Opinions on the birth-place and country of Homer 41

§ 2. Homer probably a Smymsean : early history of Smyrna 42

J 3. Union of ^olian and Ionian characteristics in Homer. ••...41

} 4. Novelty of Homer's choice of subjects for his two poems 47

^ 5. Subject of the Iliad: the anger of Achilles 48

^ 6. Enlargement of the subject by introducing the events of the entire war . 50

§ 7. And by dwelling on the exploits of the Grecian heroes . • • . • 52

§ 8. Change of tone^^in the Hiad in its progress • • • 53

\ 9. The Catalogue of Ships 54

} 10. The later books, and the conclusion of the Iliad • • 56

§11. Subject of the Odyssey : the return of Ulysses .••••••• 57

§12. Interpolations in the Odyssey • GO

§ 13. The Odyssey posterior to the Iliad ; but both poems composed by the

same person • • . . • ib

§ 14. Preservation of the Homeric poems by rhapsodists, and manner of their

recitation • G2

CHAPTER VI.

THE CYCLIC POETS.

§ 1. General character of the Cyclic poems 64

§ 2. The Destruction of Troy aud i^Stliiopis of Arctinus of Miletus • • • 65


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CONTENTB. IX

FAOI

§ 3. The little lUad of Lesches .•••'." • . 66

I 4. The Cypria of Stasinus 68

§ 5. The Nostoi of Ag^aaof Troesen . • • • • • 69

§ 6. The Telegonia of Eugammon of Cyrene ••••••••••70

{ 7. Poems on the War against Thebes ••••.. ib« 

CHAPTER VII.

THE HOMERIC HYMNS.

§ 1. General character of the Homeric Hymns, or ProGcmia 72

5 2. Occasions on which they were sung: Poets by whom^ and times at which,

they were composed ••••.••73

§ 3. Hymn to the Delian Apollo . • • • . • • 74

^ 4. Hymn to the Pythian Apollo • • 75

§ 5. Hymn to Hermes ••......••• il*.

§ 6. Hymn to Aphrodite • ••..•••• 76

^ 7. Hymn to Demeter •••••••••••.•••• ib.

CHAPTER VIII.

HESIOD.

§ 1. Circumstances of Hesiod's Life, and general character of his Poetry • • 77 ^ 2. The Works and Days, the Poem on Divination, and the Lessons of Chiron 82

I 3. The Theogony 87

§ 4. The Great £oi», the Catalogues of Women, the Melampodia, the j^gi-

mius • • •..••.95

6 5. The Marriage of Ce}'x, the Kpithalamium of Pclcus and Thctin, the

Descent of Theseus and Firithous into Hell, the Shield of Hercules* • 98

CHAPTER ix *

OTHER EPIC POETS.

^ 1. General character of other Epic Poets ICO

^ 2. Cinsthon of Lacedaemon, Eumelus of Corinth, Asitis of Samos, Chersias

ofOrchomcnus • ib.

( 3. Epic Poems on Hercules ; the Taking of (Echalia; the Heraclea of Pei-

Bander of Rhodes, ••.••.• • • • 102

CHAPTER X.t

THE ELEGY AND THE EPIGRAM.

^ 1 . Kxclusire prevalence of Epic Poetry, in connexion with the monarchical period ; influence of the change in the forms of Government upon Poetry 104

• Misptintcd Chapter X. in the text, f Misprinted Chapter XI. in the text.


X CONTENTS.

FAOB

^ 2. Elegeion, its meaning ; origiu of Klegos ; plaintive songs of Asia Minor,

accompanied by the flute ; mode of Rncitatiou of the Klegy • • .105

( 3. Metre of the Elegy 106

} 4. Political and military tendency of the Elegy as composed hy Callinu* ;

the circtimstances of his time . • • • . . • ib.

} 5. Tyrtsus, his Life ; occasion and subject of his Elegy of Kunomia . .110 { 6. Character and mode of recitation of the Elegies of Tyrtfcus . . . .112 } 7. Elegies of Archilochus, their reference to Banquets ; mixture of convivial

jollity (Asius) • ib.

} 8. Plaintive Elegies of Archilochus 114

} 9. Mimnermus; his Elegies; the expression of the impaired sfrcngt'.i of the

Ionic nation ib.

(10. Luxury, a consolation in this state ; the Nanno of Mimnernuis . . .116

(11. Solon's character ; his Elegy of Sal amis . . . 117

(12. Elegies before and after Solon's Legislation; the expression of his poli- tical feeling ; mixture of Gnomic Passages (Phocylides) . . . .118 § 13. Elegies of Theognis ; their original character • • . . . . . .120

$ 14. Their origin in the political Revolutions of Megara ib.

( 15. Their personal reference to the Friends of Theognis 122

} 16. Elegies of Xenophanes ; their philosophical tendency 124

} 17. Elegies of Simonides on the Victoiies of the Persian War; tender and pathetic spirit of his Poetry ; general View of the course of Elegiac

Poetry 125

} 18. Epigrams in elegiac form ; their Object and Character ; Simonides^ as a

Composer of Epigrams 126

CHAPTER XI.

IAMBIC POKTRY.

5 1. Striking contrast of the Iambic and other contemporaneous Poetry • • 128

5 2. Poetry in reference to the bad and the vulgar 129

} 3. Different treatment of it in Homer and Hesiod 130

} 4. Homeric Comic Poems, Margites, &c 131

$ 5. Scurrilous songs at meals, at the worship of Demeter ; the Festival of

Demeter of Pares, the cradle of the Iambic poetry of Archilochus • 132

$ 6. Date and Public Life of Archilochus 133

i 7. His Private Life ; subject of his Iambics 1 34

$ 8. Metrical form of his iambic and trochaic verses, and different application

of the two asynartetes ; epodes 135

§ 9. Inventions and innovations in the musical recitation 138

} 10. Innovations in Language 139

} 11. Simonides of Am orgus ; his Satirical Poem against Women . • . .140

$ 12. Solon's iambics and trochaics ib.

} 13. Iambic Poems of Hipponax ; invention of choliambics ; Ananias . . 141 § 14. The Fable ; its application among the Greeks, especially in Iambic

poetry 143

} 15. Kinds of the Fable, named after different races and cities • • . .144 ( 16. ^sop, his Life, and the Character of his Fables 145


CONTENTS. XI

PAai

§ 17. Parody, barlesques in an epic form, by Hipponaz 146

} 18. Batrachomyomachia •••• 147

CHAPTER XII.

PROGRESS OF THE GREEK MUSIC.

§ 1. Transition from the Epos, through the Elegy und Iambus^ to Lyric

Poetry; connexion of Lyric Poetrj' with Music ....... 143

} 2. Founders of Greek Music ; Terpander, his descent and date . • . . 1 19

§ 3. Terpander's invention of the seven-stringed Cithara IM

§ 4. Musical scales and styles 152

( 5. Xumes of Terpander for singing to the Cithnra ; their rh\t1imical f«>rm. 154

§ 6. Olympus, descended from an ancient Phrygian family of flute-players . 156 } 7. His influence upon the development of the masic of the flute and rhythm

among the Greeks ib.

§ 8. His influence confined to music 158

§ 9. ThaletaR, his age 159

J 10. His connexion with ancient Cretan worships. Picans and hyporchemes

of Thaletas 160

§11. Musicians of the succeeding period — Clonas, Hierax, Xenodamus, Xeno<

critus, Polymnestus, Sacadas 161

} 1 2. State of Greek Music at this period 163

CHAPTER XIIT.

THE iVOLIC SCHOOL OP LYRIC POETRY.

( 1. Difference between the Lyric Poetry of the i^tlolians, and the (-horal

L}Tic Poetry of the Dorians . . * . .164

§ 2. Life and Political Acts of Ale (Gus ........... 166

§ 3. Their connexion with his Poetry 167

§ 4. The other subjects of his Poems . 168

§ 5. Their metrical form 170

§ 6. Life and moral character of Sappho 1 72

§ 7. Her Erotic Poetry to Phaon 174

§ 8. Poems of Sappho to women 176

^ 9. Hymensals of Sappho 178

§10. Followers of Sappho, Damophil a, Erinna 179

§ 11. Life of Anacreon 180

§ 12. His Poems to the youths at the Court of Folycr.itcs 182

§13. His Love-songs to HetsBra) 183

§ 14. Character of his versification 185

§ 15. Comparison of the later Anacreontics • 186

§ 16. Scolia ; occasions on which they were sung, and their sultjects . . • 187

§ 17. Scolia of Hybrias and CallistratuH 189

CHAPTER Xrv.

CHORAL LYRIC POETRY.

§ 1. Connexion of lyric poetry with choral songs : gpradual rise of regular forms

from this connexion 1 90


Xiv CONTENTS.

PAGE

( 5. Its leading ideas 271

j 6. Defects and excellencies of his historical researches 272

} 7. Style of his narrative ; character of his language 273


SECOND PERIOD OF GREEK LITERATURE.

CHAPTER XX.

LITERARY PREDOMINANCE OF ATHENS.

f 1. Early formation of a national literature in Greece • 275

} 2. Athens subsequently takes the lead in literature and art. Her fitness for

this purpose ib.

( 3. Concurrence of the political circumstances of Athens to the same end.

Solon. The Pisistratids 277

} 4. Great increase in the power of Athens after the Persiiu war .... 279 ^ 5. Administration and policy of Pericles, particularly with respect to art and

literature 280

§ 6. Seeds of degeneracy in the Athenian Commonwealth at its most flourish- ing period 282

} 7. Causes and modes of the degeneracy 283

$ 8. Literature and art were not affected by the causes of moral degeneracy . 28j

CHAPTER XXI.

ORIGIN OF THE GREEK DRAMA.

} 1. Causes of dramatic poetry in Greece 285

} 2. The invention of dramatic poetry peculiar to Greece 287

} 3. Origin of the Greek drama fro :n the worship of Bacchus ib.

} 4. Earliest^ or Doric form of iragedyj a choral or dithyrambic song in the

worship of Bacchus 289

§ 5. Connexion of the early tragedy with a chorus of satyrs 290

} 6.' Improvement of tragedy at Athens by Thespis 292

§ 7. ByPhrynichus 293

^ 8. And by Chcerilus. Cultivation of the satyric drama by the latter . . . 294 } 9. The satyric drama completely separated from tragedy by Pratiuas • • 295

CHAPTER XXII.

FORM AND CHARACTER OF THE GREEK TRAGEDY.

} 1. Ideal character of the Greek tragedy; splendid costume of the actors . 296

§ 2. Cothurnus; masks 297

5 3. Structiure of the theatre . . • 298

§ 4. Arrangement of the orchestra in connexion with the form and position of

the cho/us 299

^ 5. Form of. the stage, and its meaning in tragedy 300

$ 6. Meaning of the entrances of the stage 302

§ 7. The actors ; limitation of their number 303


CONTENTS. XV

FAGS

( 8. Meaning of the protagonist, deuteragonist, tritagonist 305

§ 9. The changes of the scene inconsiderable ; ancient tragedy not being a

picture of outward acts ••••• 307

§ 10. Eccyclema 309

^11. Composition of the drama from various parts ; songs of the entire chorus 310

§ 12. Division of a tragedy by the choral songs 312

^13. Songs of single persons, of the chorus, and of the actors ib.

^ 14. Parts of the drama intermediate between song and speech • . • .315 §15. Speech of the actors; arrangement of the dialogue and its metrical

form • •••• 316


CHAPTER XXni.

JESCUYLUS.

§ 1 . Life of ^schylus •••....•«. 317

§ 2. Number of his tragedies, and their distribuliou into trilogies. . . • 319

§ 3. Outline of his tragedies ; the Persians 320

§ 4. The Phineus and the Glaucus Pontius 321

§ 5. The ^tnsan women • • 322

§ 6. The Seven against Thebes 323

§ 7. The Eleusinians . . . '. 324

{ 8. The Suppliants ; the Egyptians 325

^ 9. The Prometheus bound 327

I 10. The Prometheus unbound 329

§11. The Agamemnon • 331

} 12. The Choephoroe 332

§ 13. The Eumenides, and the Proteus 333

§ 14. General characteristics of the poetry of i1ucliylus 335

§ 15. His latter years and death • . . . . 336


CHAPTER XXIV.

SOPHOCLES.

§ 1. Condition in which tragic poetry came into the hands of Sophocles. His

first appearance • • . • . 337

} 2. Subsequent events of his life ; his devotion to the drama 333

} 3. Epochs in the poetry of Sophocles . • • • 340

§ 4. Thorough change in the form of tragedy 341

} 5. Outline of his plays ; the Antigone 3 12

\ 6. TheElectra ^ 344

5 7. The Trachinian Women . .' 346

§ 8. King (Edipus ib.

\ 9. The Ajax 348

i 10. The Philoctetes 350

} 1 1, 12. The QBdipus at Colonus, in connexion with the cliaructer and conduct

of Sophocles in his latter years • 351

f 13. The style of Sophocles 355


XV« CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XXV.

EURIPIDES.

FAGK

} 1. Difference between Sophocles and Euripidef. The latter essentially spe- culative. Tragedy^ a subject ill-suited for his genius • • • • • 357

i 2. Intrusion of tragedy into the interests of the private 359

} 3. And public life of the time 3G0

$ 4. Alterations in the plan of tragedy introduced by Euripides. Prologue • 362

} 5. And Deut ex machina* • •• 363

} 6. Comparative insiguificanco of the chorus. Prevalence of monodies • • 364

I 7. Style of Euripides 366

J 8. Outline of his plays: the Alcestid ••••.••.•••ib.

\ 9. The Medea 367

$ 10. TheUippolytus 368

\ 11. The Hecuba 369

§ 12. Epochs in the mode of treating his subject : the Heracleidse. • • . 370

\ 13. The Suppliants • • 371

I 14. The Ion . • • • ib.

} 15. The raging Ileracles ••••• 372

^ 16. The Andromache 373

§ 17. Tlie Trojan Women ib.

i 18. The Electra 374

^ 19. The Helena • 375

^ 20. The Iphigenia at Tauri 376

^ 21. The Orestes 377

^ 22. The Phoenician Women . • • ib.

} 23. The Bacchanalians 378

} 24. The Iphigenia at Aulis 379

^ 25. Lobt pieces : the (])yclops • • 380

CHAPITER XXVI.

THE OTHER TRAGIC POETS.

} 1. Inferiority of the other tragic poets 3S1

J 2. Contemporaries of Sophocles and Euripides : Neophron, lun^ Aristurchus,

Achseus, Caircinus, Xenocles . 382

§ 3. Tragedians somewhat more recent : Agathon ; the anonymous son of

Cleomachus. I^ragedy grows effeminate 383

} 4. Men of education employ tragedy as a vehicle of their opinions oa the

social relations of the age 384

} 5. The families of the great tragedians : the iEschyleans, Sophocleans^ and

the younger Euripides .... * 335

( 6. Influence of other branches of literature ; tragedy is treated by Chseremon

in the spirit of lax and effeminate lyric poetry • 386

( 7. Tragedy is subordinated to rhetoric in the dramas of Theodectes. . .337


HISTORY


OP THB


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE.


INTRODUCTION.


In undertaking to write a history of Grecian literature, it is not our intention to enumerate the names of those many hundred authors whose works, accumulated in the Alexandrine Library, are reported, after passing through many other perils, to have finally been burnt by the Khalif Omar — an event from which the cause of civilisation has not, perhaps, suffered so much as many have thought; inasmuch as the inheritance of so vast a collection of writings from antiquity would, by engrossing all the leisure and attention of the modems, havadiminished their zeal and their opportimities for original productions. Nor will it be necessary to carry our younger readers (for whose use this work is chiefly designed) into the controversies of the philosophical schools, the theories of grammarians and critics, or the successive hypotheses of natural philosophy among the Greeks — in short, into those departments of literature which are the province of the learned by profession, and whose influence is conflned to them alone. Our object is to consider Grecian literature as a main constituent of the character of the Grecian people, and to show how those illustrious compositions, which we still justly admire as the Clascal writings of the Greeks, najurally sprung from the taste and genius of the Greek races, and the institution of civil and domestic society as established among them. For this pur- pose our inquiries may be divided into three principal heads: — 1. The development of Grecian poetry and prose before the rise of the Athenian literature ; 2. The flourishing era of poetry and eloquence at Athens ; and, 3. The history of Greek literature in the long period after Alex- ander; which last, although it produced a much larger number of writings than the former periods, need not, consistently with the object of the present work, be treated at great length, as literature had in this age fallen into the hands of the learned few, and had lost its living influence on the general mass of the community.

In attempting to trace the gradual development of the literature of

B


2 HISTORY OF THE

ancient Ghreece from its earliest origin, it would be easj^ to make a beginning, by treating of the extant works of Grecian writers in their chronological order. We might then commence at once with Homer and Hesiod : but if we were to adopt this course, we should, like an epic poet, place our beginning in the middle of the history ; for, like the Pallas of Grecian poetry, who sprang fiill-armed from the head of Jupiter, the literature of Greece wears the perfection of beauty in those works which Herodotus and Aristotle, and all critical and trust-worthy inquirers among the Greeks, recognised as being the most ancient that had descended to their times. Although both in the Iliad and Odyssey we can clearly discern traces of the infancy of the nation to which they belong, and although a spirit of simplicity pervades them, peculiar to the childhood of the human race, yet the class of poetry under which they fall, appears in them at its full maturity ; all the laws which reflection and experience can suggest for the epic form are observed with the most refined faste ; all the means are employed by which the general effect can be heightened ; no where does the poetry bear the character of a firs^ essay or an unsuccessfid attempt at some higher poetical flight ; indeed, as no subsequent poem, either of ancient or modern times> has so completely caught the genuine epic tone, there seems good reason to doubt whether any future poet will again be able to striKe the same chord. It seems, however, manifest, that there must have been many attempts and experiments before epic poetry could reach this elevation ; and it was, doubtless, the perfection of the Jliad and Odyssey, to which these prior essays had led, that buried the productions of former bards in oblivion. Hence the first dawn of Grecian literatiure is without any perfect memorial ; but we must be content to remain in ignorance of the connexion of literature with the character of the Greek races at the outset of their national existence, if we renoimced all attempt at forming a conception of the times anterior to the Homeric poems. In order, therefore, to throw some light on this obscure period, we shall first consider those creations of the human intellect which in general are prior to poetry, and which naturally precede poetical composition, as poetry in its turn is followed by regular composition in prose. These are language and religion. When these two important subjects have been examined, we shall proceed, by means of allusions in the Homeric poems themselves, and the most credible testimonies of later times, to inquire into the progress and character of the Greek poetry before the time of Homer.


LITBRATURX OF ANCIENT OREECB.


CHAPTER I.


§ 1. General account of the langaages of the Indo-Teutonic family. — } 2. Origin and formation of the Indo-Teutonic languages — multiplicity of their grammatical forma. — ( 3. Characteristics of the Greek language, as compared with the other languages of the Indo-Teutonic family. — } 4. Variety of formsy inflexions, and dialects in the Greek language. — § 5. The tril>e8 of Greece, and their several dialects — characteristics of each dialect.

§ 1. Language, the earliest product of the human mind, and the origin of all other intellectual energies, is at the same time the clearest evidence of the descent of a nation and of its affinity with other races. Hence the comparison of languages enables us to judge of the history of nations at periods to which no other kind of memorial, no tradition or record, can ascend. In modem times, this subject has been studied with more comprehensive v?ews and more systematic methods than formerly : and from these researches it appears that a large part of the nations of the ancient world formed a family, whose languages (besides a large number of radical words, to which we need not here particularly advert) had on the whole the same grammatical structure and the same forms of derivation and inflexion. The nations between which this affinity subsisted are — the Indiana, whose language, in its earliest and purest form, is preserved in the Sanscrit; the Persians^ whose primitive language^ the Zend, is closely allied with the Sanscrit ; the Armenians and Phrygians^ kindred races, of whose language the modem Armenian is a very mutilated remnant, though a few ancient features preserved in it still show its original resemblance ; the Gretk nation, of which the Latin people is a branch ; the Sclavonian racen^ who, notwithstanding their intellectual inferiority, appear from their language to be nearly allied with the Persians and other cognate nations ; the Let tic tribes^ among which the Lithuanian has preserved the fundamental forms of this class of languages with remarkable fidelity ; the Teutonic^ and, lastly, the Celtic races, whose language (so far as we can judge from the very degenerate remains of it nowextant), though deviating widely in some respects from the general character perceptible in the other languages, yet unquestionably belongs to the same family. It is remarkable that this family of languages, which possess the highest perfection of grammatical structure, also includes a larger number of nations, and has spread over a wider extent of siuface, than any other : the Semitic family (to which the Hebrew, Syrian, Phoenician, Arabian, and other languages belong), though in many respects it can compete with the Indo-Germanic, is inferior to it in the perfection of its stmcture and its capacity for literary development ; in respect of its difiusion likewise it approaches the Indian class of lan- guages, without being equal to it ; while, again, the rude and meagre languages of the American aborigines are often confined to a very

b2


4 HISTORY OP THE

narrow district, and appear to have no affinity with those pf thfe other. , tribes in the immediate vicinity*. Hence, perhaps, it may be inferred,, that the higher capacity for the formation and development of langaage; was at this early period combined with a greater physical and ni^ntaf energy — in short, with all those qualities on which the ulterior imp»Qve-; ment and increase of the nations by which it was spoken depended/

While the Semitic branch occupies the south-west of Asia, tnelndaf.. ':- Germanic languages run in a straight line from south-east to nortli-;' V* west, through Asia and Europe : a slight interruption, which occurs ih-^ ;V: the country between the Euphrates and Asia Minor, appears to have j",.-,i been occasioned by the pressure of Semitic or Syrian races from^tlief^\.^'^^" south; for it seems probable that originally the members .of; llii^Uj* national family succeeded one another in a continuous line, ahlieuj^h|' -/^ we are not now able to trace the soiwce from which this mighty* stjsrtttirfi'^'^^^; originally flowed. Equally uncertain is it whether these languages^-'wercj .".;., spoken by the earliest inhabitants of the countries to which thcybe^- i^ longed, or were introduced by subsequent immigrations ; in which Ifitter ■ • ^':- case the rude aborigines would have adopted the principal feature of .j, the language spoken by the more highly endowed race, retaining at the^ .;; same time much of their original dialect — an hypothesis which appears . highly probable as regards those languages which show a general ;' affinity with the others, but nevertheless differ from them widely ini&ii^ :' grammatical structure and the number of their radical forms. .. V ■ i i

§ 2. On the other hand, this comparison of languages leads to manjf. J v results, with respect to the intellectual state of the Greek people, wShiolt' ?' throw an unexpected light into quarters where the eye of the bistfkFiaBf \\ has hitherto been able to discover nothing but darkness. .■.W.e.^rej^t^ai ' \ utterly untenable the notion that the savages of Greece, ftom' the 'Jnar-j 'x* ticulate cries by which they expressed their animal wants^^iTind fFom thtf "^".x- sounds by which they sought to imitate the impressions of out*»^awi/;*> objects, gradually arrived at the harmonious and magnificent lan^^iagef /V which we admire in the poems of Homer. So far is this hypothesis;- -i from the truth, that language evidently is connected with the poWjfer oif . ^ abstracting or of forming general notions, and is inconsistent ^itU-.thd-'-, : absence of this faculty. It is plain that the most abstract paris .6^.. ,, speech, those least likely to arise from the imitation of any, outjho^cl ■ ' . impression, were the first which obtained a permanent form ;|Jajict.. hence those parts of speech appear most clearly in all the lan^agies of ■ the Indo-Teutonic family. Among these are the verb " to be,*.- the forms of which seem to alternate in the Sanscrit, the Lithuanian, ':a-fid the Greek; the prouoims, which denote the most general relations of persons and things to the speaker; the numerals, also abstract

  • Some of the American languages are rather cumbersome than meagre in. their

grammmatical forms ; and some are much more widely spread than othet9»^JS^te by Editor,


•^h.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 5

terms, altogether independent of impressions from single objects ; and, lastly, the grammatical forms, by which the actions expressed by verbs are referred to the speaker, and the objects expressed by nouns are placed in the most various relations to one another. The luxuriance of grammatical forms which we perceive in the Greek cannot have been of late introduction, but must be referred to the earliest period of the language; for we find traces of nearly all of them in the cognate tongues, which could not have been the case unless the languages before they diverged had possessed these forms in common : thus the distinc- tion between aorist tenses, which represent an action as a moment, as a single point, and others, which represent it as continuous, like a prolonged line, occurs in Sanscrit as well as in Greek.

In general it may be observed, that in the lapse of ages, from the time that the progress of language can be observed, grammatical forms, such as the signs of cases, moods, and tenses, have never been increased ■in number, but have been constantly diminishing. The history of the / Romance, as well as of the Germanic, languages, shows in the clearest manner how a grammar, once powerful and copious, has been gradually weakened and impoverished, until at last it preserves only a few frag ments of its ancient inflections. The ancient languages, especially the Greek, fortunately still retained the chief part of their gram- I matical forms at the time of their literary development; thus, for ( example, little was lost in the progress of the Greek language from Homer to the Athenian orators. Now there is no doubt that this lux- uriance of grammatical forms is not an essential part of a language, considered merely as a vehicle of thought. It is well known that the Chinese language, which is merely a collection of radical words destitute of grammatical forms, can express even philosophical ideas with tolerable precision ; and the English, which, from the mode of its formation by a mixture of different tongues, has been stripped of its grammatical inflections more completely than any other European language, seems nevertheless, even to a foreigner, to be distinguished by its energetic eloquence. All this must be admitted by every unprejudiced in(}uirer ; but yet it cannot be overlooked, that this copiousness of grammatical forms, and the fine shades of meaning which they express, evince a nicety of observation and a faculty of distinguishing, which unques- tionably prove that the race of mankind among whom these languages arose was characterized by a remarkable correctness and subtlety of thought. Nor can any modern European, who forms in his mind a lively image of the classical languages in their ancient grammatical luxuriance, and compares them with his mother tongue, conceal from himself that in the ancient languages the words, with their inflections, clothed as it were with muscles and sinews, come forward like living bodies, full of expression and character ; while in the modern tongues the words seem shrunk up into mere skeletons. Another advantage which belongs to the fulness of grammatical forms is, that words of

{


6 HISTORY OF TUB

similar signification make likewise a similar impression on the ear; whence each sentence obtains a certain symmetry and, even where the collocation of the words is involved, a clearness and regularity, which may be compared with the effect produced on the eye by the parts of a well- proportioned building ; whereas, in the languages which have lost their grammatical forms, either the lively expression of the feeling is hin- dered by an unvarying and monotonous collocation of the words, or the hearer is compelled to strain his attention, in order to comprehend the mutual relation of the several parts of the sentence. Modern lan- guages seem to attempt to win their way at once to the understanding without dwelling in the ear ; while the classical languages of antiquity seek at the same time to produce a corresponding effect on the outward sense, and to assist the mind by previously filling the ear, as it were, with an imperfect consciousness of the meaning sought to be conveyed by the words.

§ 3. These remarks apply generally to the languages of the Indo- Grermanic family, so far as they have been preserved in a state of inte- grity by literary works and have been cultivated by poets and orators. We shall now limit our regards to the Greek language alone, and shall attempt to exhibit its more prominent and characteristic features as compared with those of its sister tongues. In the sounds which were formed by the various articulation of the voice, the Greek language hits that happy medium which characterises all the mental productions of this people, in being equally removed, on the one hand, from the super- abundant fulness, and, on the other, from the meagreness and tenuity of sound, by which other languages are variously deformed. If we com- pare the Greek with that language which comes next to it in fitness for a lofly and flowing style of poetry, viz., the Sanscrit, this latter certainly has some classes of consonants not to be found in the Greek, the sounds of which it is almost impossible for an European mouth to imitate and distinguish : on the other hand, the Greek is much richer in short vowels than the Sanscrit, whose most harmonious poetry would weary our ears by the monotonous repetition of the A sound ; and it possesses an astonishing abimdance of diphthongs, and tones produced by the contraction of vowels, which a Greek mouth could alone distin- guish with the requisite nicety, and which, therefore, are necessarily confounded by the modern European pronunciation. We may likewise perceive in the Greek the influence of the laws of harmony^ which, in different nations, have caused the rejection of different combinations of vowels and consonants, and which have increased the softness and beauty of languages, though sometimes at the expense of their ter- minations and characteristic features. By the operation of the lattei cause, the Greek has, in many places, lost its resemblance to the original type, which, although not now preserved in any one of the extant languages, may be restored by conjecture from all of them ; even here, however, it cannot be denied that the correct taste and feelinfi:


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 7

of the Greeks led them to a happy mixture of the consonant and vowel sounds, by which strength has been reconciled with soilness, and har- mony with strongly marked peculiarities; while the language has, at the same time, in its multifarious dialects, preserved a variety of sound and character, which fit it for the most discordant kinds of poetical and prosje composition.

§ 4. We must not pass over one important characteristic of the Greek language, which is closely connected with the early condition of the Greek nation, and which may be considered as^ in some degree, pre- figuring the subsequent character of its civilisation. In order to con- vey an adequate idea of our meaning, we will ask any person who is fu;quainted with Greek, to recal to his mind the toils and fatigue which he underwent in mastering the forms of the language, and the difficulty which he found to impress them on his memory ; when his mind, vainly attempting to discover a reason for such anomalies, was almost in despair at finding that so large a number of verbs derive their tenses fix)m the most various roots ; that one verb uses only the first, another only the second, aorist, and that even the individual persons of the aoristare sometimes compounded of the forms of the first and second aorists respec* tively ; and that many verbs and substantives have retained only single or a few forms, which have been lefl standing by themselves, like the remains of a past age. The convulsions and catastrophes of which we see so many traces around us in the frame-work of the world have not been confined to external nature alone. The structure of languages also has evidently, in ages prior to the existence of any literature, suffered some violent shocks, which may, perha]^, have received their impulse from migrations or internal discord ; and the elements of the language, having been thrown in confusion together, were afterwards re-arranged, and combined into a new whole. Above all is this true of the Greek lan- guage, which bears strong marks of having originally formed part of a great and regular plan, and of having been reconstructed on a new system fix>m the fragments of the former edifice. The same is doubtless also the cause of the great variety of dialects which existed both among the Greeks and the neighbouring nations ;— a variety, of which mention is made at so early a date as the Homeric poems*. As the country inhabited by the Greeks is intersected to a remarkable degree by moun- tains and sea, and thus was unfitted by Natiu-e to serve as the habitation of a uniform population, collected in large states, like the plains of the Euphrates and Ganges; and as, for this reason, the Greek people was divided into a number of separate tribes, some of which attract our attention in the early fabulous age, others in the later historical period ; so likewise the Greek language was divided, to an unexampled extent, into various dialects, which differed from each other according to the

  • In Iliad, ii. 804, and iv. 437, there is mention of the variety of dialects among the

allies of the Trojans ; and in Odyssey, xix. 175, among the Greek tribes in Crete.


8


HISTORY OF THE


several tribes and territories. In what relation the dialects of the Pelasgians, Dryopes, Abantes, Leleges, Epeans, and other races widely diffused in the earliest periods of Grecian history, may have stood jo one another, is indeed a question which it would be vain to attempt to answer • but thus much is evident, that the number of these tribes, and their frequent mijrrations, by mixing and confounding the different races, contributed powerfully to produce that irregularity of structure which characterises the Greek language in its very earliest monuments.

§ 5. The primitive tribes just mentioned, which were the earliest occupants of Greece known to tradition, and of which the Pelasgians, and after them the Leleges, were the most extended, unquestionably did much for the first cultivation of the soil, the foundation of insti- tutions for divine worship, and the first establishment of a regular order of society. The PelasgianSy widely scattered over Greece, and having their settlements in the most fertile regions (as the vale of the Peneus in Thessaly, the lower districts of Bceotia, and the plains of Argos and Sicyon), appear, before the time when they wandered through Greece in isolated bodies, as a nation attached to their own dwelling- places, fond of building towns, which they fortified with walls of a colossal size, and zealously worshipping the powers of heaven and earth, which made their fields fruitful and their cattle prosperous. The mythical genealogies of Argos competed as it were with those of Sicyon ; and both these cities, by a long chain of patriarchal princes (iiiost of whom are merely personifications of the country, its mountains and rivers), were able to place their origin at a period of the remotest antiquity. The Leleges also (with whom were connected the Locrians in Northern Greece and the Epeans in Peloponnesus), although they had fewer fixed settlements, and appear to have led a rougher and more warlike life — such as still prevailed in the mountainous districts of Northern Greece at the time of the historian Thucydides — yet cele- brated their national heroes, especially Deucalion and his descendants, as founders of cities and temples. But there is no trace of any peculiar creation of the intellect having developed itself among these races, or of any poems in which they displayed any peculiar character; and whe ther it may be possible to discover any characteristic and distinct features in the legends of the gods and heroes who belong to the territories occupied by these different tribes is a question which must be deferred until we come to treat of the origin of the Grecian mythology. It is however much to be lamented that, with our sources of information, it seems impossible to form a well-grounded opinion on the dialects of these ancient tribes of Greece, by which they were doubtless precisely distinguished from one another; and any such attempt appears the more hopeless, as even of the dialects which were spoken in the several territories of Greece within the historical period we have only a scanty knowledge, by means of a few inscriptions and the statements of gram*


LITEILATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 9

marians, wherever they had not obtained a literary cultivation and celebrity by the labours of poets and prose writers.

Of more influence, however, on the development of the intellectual faculties of the Greeks was the distinction of the tribes and their dialects, established at a period which, from the domination of war- like and conquering races and the consequent prevalence of a bold spirit of enterprise, was called the heroic age. It is at this time, before the migration of the Dorians into Peloponnesus and the settlements in Asia Minor, that the seeds must have been sown of an opposition between the races and dialects of Greece, which exercised the most important influence on the state of civil society, and thus on the direction of the mental energies of the people, of their poetry, art, and literature. If we consider the dialects of the Greek language, with which we are ac- quainted by means of its literary monuments, they appear to fall into two great classes, which are distinguished from each other by characteristic marks. The one class is formed by the Molic dialect ; a name, indeed, mider which the Greek grammarians included dialects very different from one another, as in later times everything was comprehended under the term ^olic, which was not Ionic, Attic, or Doric. According to this acceptation of the term about three-fourths of the Greek nation consisted of ^olians, and dialects were classed together as iEolic which (as is evident from the more ancient inscriptions) differed more from one another than from the Doric ; as, for example, the Thessalian and ^tolian, the Boeotian and Elean dialects. The iEolians, however, pro^ perly so called (who occur in mythology under this appellation), lived at this early period in the plain of Thessaly, south of the 'Peneus, which was afterwards called Thessaliotis, and from thence as far as the Pagu- setic Bay. We also find in the same mythical age a branch of the ^olian race, in southern ^tolia, in possession of Calydon ; this frag- ment of the ^olians, however, afterwards disappears from history, while the Cohans of Thessaly, who also bore the name of Boeotians, two generations after the Trojan war, migrated into the country which was called after them Bceotia, and from thence, soon afterwards, mixed with other races, to the maritime districts and islands of Asia Minor, which from that time forward received the name of ^olis in Asia Minor *, 1 1 is in this latter iBolis that we become acquainted with the ^olian dialect, through the lyric poets of the Lesbian school, the origin and character of which will be explained in a subsequent chapter. On the

  • We here only reckon those i^olians who were in fact considered as belongine

to the ^olian race, and not all the tribes which were ruled by heroes, whom Hesiod, in the fragment of the hoiou, calls sons of i^olus ; although this genealogy justifies us in assuming a close affinity between those races, which is also confirmed by other testinuonies. In this sense tne Minyans of Orchomenus and lolcus, ruled by the JRoWA^ Athamas and Cretheus, were of i^olian origin j a nation which, by the stability of its political institutions, its spirit of enterprise, even for maritime expe- ditions, and its colossal building, holds a pre-eminent rank among the tribes of the mythical age of G.eece. (See Hesiod, Fragm. 28, ed. Gaisford.


lO HIBTORT OF TUB

whole it may be said of this dialect, as of the Boeotian in its earlier form, that it bears an archaic character, and approaches nearest to the source of the Greek language ; hence the Latin, as being connected with the most ancient form of the Greek, has a close affinity with it, and in general the agreement with the other languages of the Indo-Grer- manic family is always most perceptible in the ^olic. A mere variety of the ^olic was the dialect of the Doric race, which originally was confined to a narrow district in Northern Greece, but was afterwards spread over the Peloponnesus and other regions by that important move- ment of population which was called the Return of the Heracleids. It is characterized by strength and breadth, as shown in its fondness for simple open vowel sounds, and its aversion for sibilants. Much more difierent from the original type is the other leading dialect of the Greek language, the loniCy which took its origin in the mother-country, and was by the Ionic colonies, which sailed from Athens, carried over to Asia Minor, where it underwent still further changes. Its characteiv istics are softness and liquidness of sound, arising chiefly from the concurrence of vowels, among which, not the broad a and o, but the thinner sounds of e and u^ were most prevalent ; among the consonants the tendency to the use of s is most discernible. It may be observed, that wherever the Ionic dialect differs either in vowels or consonants from the iEolic, it also differs from the original type, as may be discovered by a comparison of the cognate languages ; it must there- fore be considered as a peculiar form of the Greek, which was deve- loped within the limits of the Grecian territory. It is probable that this dialect was spoken not only by the lonians, but also, at least one very similar, by the ancient Achaean s; since the Achseans in the genealogical legends concerning the descendants of Hellen are repre- sented as the brothers of the lonians : tnis hypothesis would also explain how the ancient epic poems, in which the lonians are scarcely men- tioned, but the Achaean race plays the principal part, were written in a dialect which, though differing in many respects from the genuine Ionic, has yet the closest resemblance to it.

Even from these first outlines of the history of the Greek dialects we might be led to expect that those features would be developed in the institutions and literature of the several races which we find in their actual history. In the JEolic and Doric tribes we should be prepared to find the order of society regulated by those ancient customs and principles which had been early established among the Greeks ; their dialects at least show a strong disposition to retain the archaic forms, without much tendency to refinement. Among the Dorians, however, every thing is more strongly expressed, and comes forward in a more prominent light than among the iBolians ; and as their dialect every- where prefers the broad, strong, and rough tones, and introduces them throughout with unbending regularity, so we might naturally look among


LITERATUilB OF ANCIENT GREECE. 11

them for a disposition to carry a spirit of austerity and of reverence for ancient custom through the entire frame of civil and private society. The loniansy on the other hand, show even in their dialect a strong tendency to modify ancient forms according to their taste and humour, together with a constant endeavour to polish and refine, which was doubtless the cause why this dialect, although of later date and of secondary origin, was first employed in finished poetical compositions.


CHAPTER II*.


{ 1. The earliest fonn of the Ghreek religion not portrayed in the Homeric poems.— } 2. The Olympic deities, as described by Homer.— § 3. Earlier form of worship in Greece directed to the outward objects of Nature. — } 4. Character and attri- butes of the several Greek deities, as personifications of the powers and objects of Natnre. — § 5. Subsequent modification of these ideas, as displayed in tiie Ho- meric description of the same deities.

§ 1. Next to the formation of language, religion is the earliest object of attention to mankind, and therefore exercises a most important influence on all the productions of the human intellect. Although poetry has arisen at a very early date among many nations, and ages which were as yet quite unskilled in the other fine arts have been dis- tinguished for their poetical enthusiasm, yet the development of religious notions and usages is always prior, in point of time, to poetry. No nation has ever been found entirely destitute of notions of a superior race of beings exercising an influence on mankind; but tribes have existed without songs, or compositions of any kind which could be considered as poetry. Providence has evidently first given mankind that knowledge of which they are most in need ; and has, from the beginning, scattered among the nations of the entire world a glimmering of that light which was, at a later period, to be manifested in brighter effulgence.

This consideration t must make it evident that, although the Homeric poems belong to the first age of the Greek poetry y they nevertheless cannot be viewed as monuments of the first period of the development of the Gretk religion. Indeed, it is plain that the notions concerning the gods must have undergone many changes before (partly, indeed, by means of the poets themselves) they assumed that form under which

  • We have thought it absolutely essential, for the sake of accuracy, in treating

of the deities of the ancient Greek religion, to uue the names by which they were known to the Greeks. As these, however, may soimd strange to persons not ac- quainted with the Greek lan^age, we subjoin a list of the gods of the Romans with which they were in later times severally identified, and by whose names they are commonly known:— 2rtf«, Jupiter; Herat Juno; Athenoy Minerva; AreSy Mars; Artemis, Diana ; Hermes, Mercury ; Demeter, Ceres ; Cora, Proserpine ; Hephcestus, Vulcan ; Poseidon, NfXitune ; Aphrodite, Venus ; DionyKuSi Bacchus.


12 HISTORY OF THE

they appear in the Homeric poems. The description given by Homer of the life of the gods in the palace of Zeus on Olympus is doubtless as different from the feeling and the conception with which the ancient Pelasgian lifted up his hands and voice to the Zeus of Dodona, whose dwelling was in the oak of the forest, as the palace of a Priam or Aga- memnon from the hut which one of the original settlers constructed of im- hewn trunks in a solitary pasture, in the midst of his flocks and herds.

§ 2. The conceptions of the gods, as manifested in the Homeric poems, are perfectly suited to a time when the most distinguished and prominent part of the people devoted their lives to the occupation of arms and to the transaction of public business in common ; which time was the period in which the heroic spirit was developed. On Olympus, lying near the northern boundary of Greece, the highest mountain of this country, whose summit seems to touch the heavens, there rules an assembly or family of gods ; the chief of which, Zeus, summons at his pleasure the other gods to council, as Agamemnon summons the other princes. He is acquainted with the decrees of fate, and is able to guide them ; and, as being himself king among the gods, he gives the kings of the earth their power and dignity. By his side is a wife, whose station entitles her to a large share of his rank and dominion ; and a daughter of a masculine complexion, a leader of battles, and a protec- tress of citadels, who by her wise counsels deserves the confidence which her father bestows on her ; besides these a number of gods, with various degrees of kindred, who have each their proper place and allotted duty in the divine palace. On the whole, however, the attention of this divine council is chiefly turned to the fortunes of nations and cities, and especially to the adventures and enterprises of the heroes, who, being themselves for the most part sprung from the blood of the gods, form the connecting link between them and the ordinary herd of mankind.

§ 3. Doubtless such a notion of the gods as we have just described was entirely satisfactory to the princes of Ithaca, or any other Greek territory, who assembled in the hall of the chief king at the common meal, and to whom some bard sung the newest song of the bold adven- tures of heroes. But how could this religion satisfy the mere country- man, who wished to believe that in seed-time and in harvest, in winter and in summer, the divine protection was thrown over him; who anxiously sought to offer his thanks to the gods for all kinds of rural prosperity, for the warding off of all danger from the seed and from the cattle ? As the heroic age of the Greek nation was preceded by another, in which the cultivation of the land, and the nature of the different districts, occupied the chief attention of the inhabitants (which may be called the Pelasgian period), so likewise there are sufficient traces and remnants of a state of the Grecian religion, in which the gods were considered as exhibiting their power chiefly in the operations of outward nature, in the changes of the seasons, and the phenomena of the year.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 13

Imagination — whose operations are most active, and whose expressions are most simple and natural in the childhood both of nations and indi- yiduals — led these early inhabitants to discover, not only in the general phenomena of vegetation, the unfolding and death of the leaf and flower, and in the moist and dry seasons of the year, but also in the peculiar physical character of certain districts, a sign of the alternately hostile or peaceful, happy or ill-omened coincidence of certain deities. There are still preserved in the Greek mythology many legends of a charming, and at the same time touching simplicity, which had their origin at this period, when the Greek religion bore the character of a worship of the powers of Nature. It sometimes also occurs that those parts of mythology which n»fer to the origin of civil society, to the alliances of princes, and to military expeditions, are closely interwoven with mythical narratives, which when minutely examined are found to contain nothing definite on the acts of particular heroes, but only describe physical phenomena, and other circumstances of a general character, and which have been combined with the heroic fables only through a forgetfulness of their original form ; a confusion which naturally arose, when in later times the original connexion of the gods with the agencies of Nature was more and more forgotten, and those of their attributes and acts which had reference to the conduct of human life, the government of states, or moral principles, were perpetually brought into more pro- minent notice. It often happens that the original meaning of narratives of this kind may be deciphered when it had been completely hidden from the most learned mythologists of antiquity. But though this process of investigation is oflen laborious, and may, after all, lead only to uncertain results, yet it is to be remembered that the mutilation and obscuring of the ancient mythological legends by the poets of later times affords the strongest proof of their high antiquity ; as the most ancient buildings are most discoloured and impaired by time.

§ 4. An inquiry, of which the object should be to select and unite all the parts of the Greek mythology which have reference to natural phenomena and the changes of the seasons, although it has never been regularly undertaken, would doubtless show that the earliest religion of the Greeks was founded on the same notions as the chief part of the religions of the East, particularly of that part of the East which was nearest to Greece, Asia Minor. The Greek mind, however, even in this the earliest of its productions, appears richer and more various in its forms, and at the same time to take a loftier and a wider range, than is the case in the religion of the oriental neighbours of the Greeks, the Phrygians, Lydians, and Syrians. In the religion of these nations, the combination and contrast of two beings (Baal and Astarte), the one male, representing the productive, and the other female, representing the passive and nutritive powers of Nature, and the alternation of two states, viz., the strength and vigour, and the weakness and death of


14 HISTORY OF THE

the male personification of Nature, of which the first was celebrated with vehement joy, the latter with excessive lamentation, recur in a perpetual cycle, which must in the end have wearied and stupified the mind. The Grecian worship of Nature, on the other hand, in all the various forms which it assumed in different places, places one deity, as the highest of all, at the bead of the entire system, the God of heaven and light ; for that this is the meaning of the name Zeus is shown by the occurrence of the same root (Diu) with the same signification, even in the Sanscrit*, and by the preservation of several of its derivatives which remained in common use both in Greek and Latin, all containing the notion of heaven and day. With this god of the heavens, who dwells in the pure expanse of ether, is associated, though not as a being of the same rank, the goddess of the Earth, who in different temples (which may be considered as the mother-churches of the Grecian religion) was worshipped under different names, Hera^ Demetery Dione^ and some others of less celebrity. The marriage of Zeus with this god- dess (whii^h signified the union of heaven and earth in the fertilizing rains) was a sacred solemnity in the worship of these deities. Besides this goddess, other beings are associated on one side with the Supreme Crod, who are personifications of certain of his energies ; powerful deities who carry the influence of light over the earth, and destroy the opposing powers of darkness and confusion : as Athena^ bom from the head of her father, in the height of the heavens ; and Apollo^ the piure and shining god of a worship belonging to other races, but who even in his original form was a god of light. On the other side are deities, allied with the earth and dwelling in her dark recesses; and as all life appears not only to spring from the earth, but to return to that whence it sprung, these deities are for the most part also connected with death : as Htrm&t^ who brings up the treasures of fruitfiilness from the depth of the earth, and the child, now lost and now recovered by her mother Demeter, Coray the goddess both of flourishing and of decaying Nature. It was natural to expect that the element of water (Postidcn^) should also be introduced into this assemblage of the personified powers of Nature, and should be peculiarly combined with the goddess of the Earth : and that fire {HephtEstus) should be represented as a powerful principle derived from heaven and having dominion on the earth, and be closely allied with the goddess who sprang from the head of the god of the heavens. Other deities are less important and necessary parts of this system, as Aphrodite^ whose worship was evidently for the most part propagated over Greece from Cyprus and Cytheraf by the influence of

  • The root DIU is most clearly seen in the oblique cases of Zeus^ ^Fis AiP/, in which

the U has passed into the consouant form F : whereas in Ziusy as in other Greek words, the sound DI has passed into Z, and the vowel has been lengthened. In the Latin luvit {luve in Umbnan) the D has been lost before I, which, however, is pro* served in many other derivatives of the same root, as </iV«, dhmu

t See Herod, i. 105; and Hist, of Rome, pp. 121, 122.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 15

SyrophGenician tribes. As a singular being, however, in the assembly of the Grreek deities, stands the changeable god of flourishing, decaying, and renovated Nature, Dionysus^ whose alternate joys and sufferings, and mar- veUous adventures, show a strong resemblance to the form which religious notions assumed in Asia Minor. Introduced by the Thracians (a tribe which spread from the north of Greece into the interior of the country), and not, like the gods of Olympus, recognized by all the races of the Greeks, Dionysus always remaine/1 to a certain degree estranged from the rest of the gods, although his attributes had evidently most affinity with those of Demeter and Cora. But in this isolated position, Dionysus exercises an important influence on the spirit of the Greek nation, and both in sculpture and poetry gives rise to a class of feelings which agree in displaying more powerful emotions of the mind, a bolder flight of i\^ imagination, and more acute sensations of pain and pleasure, than were exhibited on occasions where this influence did not operate.

§ 5. In like manner the Homeric poems (which instruct us noi^ merely by their direct statements, but also by their indirect allusions, not only by what they say^ but also by what they do not say), when atten- tively considered, clearly show how this ancient religion of nature sank into the shade as compared with the salient and conspicuous forms of the deities of the heroic age. The gods who dwell on Olympus scarcely appear at all in connexion with natural phenomena. Zeus chiefly exercises his powers as a ruler and a king ; although he is still designated (by epithets doubtless of high antiquity) as the god of the ether and the storms* ; as in much later times the old picturesque expression was used, " What is Zeus doing?" for " What kind of weather is it?" In the Homeric conception of Hera, Athena, and Apollo, there is no trace of any reference of these deities to the fertility of the earth, the clearness of the atmosphere, the arrival of the serene spring, and the like ; which, however, can be discovered in other mythical legends concerning them, and still more in the ceremonies practised at their festivals, which generally contain the most ancient ideas. Hephaestus has passed from the powerful god of Are in heaven and in earth into a laborious smith and worker of metals, who performs his duty by making armour and arms for the other gods and their favourite heroes. As to Hermes, there are some stories in which he is represented as giving fruitfulness to cattle, in his capacity of the rural god of Arcadia ; from which, by means of various metamorphoses, he is transmuted into the messenger of Zeus, and the servant of the gods.

Those deities, however, which st(X)d at a greater distance from the relations of human life, and especially from the military and political actions of the princes, and could not easily be brought into connexion with them, are for that reason rarely mentioned by Homer, and never take any part in the events described by him ; in general they keep aloof


IS IIISTORT OP THE

from the circle of the 01ym])ic gods. Demeter is never mentioned as assisting any hero, or rescuing liim from danger, or stimulating him to the battle ; but if any one were thence to infer that this goddess was not known as early as Homer's time, he would be refuted by the incidental allusions to her which frequently occur in connexion with agriculture and com. Doubtless Demeter (whose name denotes the earth as the mother and author of life*) was in the ancient Pelasgic time honoured with a general and public worship beyond any other deity ; but the notions and feelings excited by the worship of this goddess and her daughter (whom she beheld, with deep lamentation, torn from her every autumn, and recovered with excessive joy every spring) constantly became more and more unlike those which were connected ^vith the other gods of Olympus. Hence her worship gradually obtained a peculiar form, and chiefly from this cause assumed the character of mysteries: that is, religious solemnities, in which no one could participate without having undergone a previous ceremony of admission and initiation. In this manner Homer was, by a just and correct taste, led to perceive that Demeter, together with the other divine beings belonging to her, had nothing in common with the gods whom the epic muse assembled about the throne of Zeus ; and it was the same feeling which also prevented him from mixing up Dionysus, the other leading deity of the mystic worship of the Greeks, with the subject of his poem, although this god is mentioned by him as a divine being, of a marvellous nature, stimu* lating the mind to joy and enthusiasm.


CHAPTER III.

( 1. First efforts of Greek (oetry. Plaintive songs of husbandmen. — ^ 2. Descrip* tion of several of these songs^ viz. the Lintis. — § 3. The lalemus, the Sccphrus, the Lityerses, the Bormus, the Maneros, and the laments for Orpheus and Adonis. — § 4. The Psean, its origin and character. — ^ 5. The Threnoa, or lament for the dead, and the HymenceoSy or bridal song. — } 6. Origin and character of 'the chorus. — ^ 7. Ancient poets who composed sacred hjonns, divided into three classes, vis. those connected, L With the worship of Apollo; ii. With the worship of Demeter and Diony8u« ; and iii. With the Phrygian worship of the mother of the Gh)ds, of the Corybantes, &c. — ^ 8. Explanition of the Thracian origin of several of the early Greek poets. — } 9. Influence of the earlv Thracian or Pierian poets on the epic poetry of Homer.

§ 1. Many centuries must have elapsed before the poetical language of the Greeks could have attained the splendour, the copiousness, and the fluency which so strongly excite our admiration in the poems of Homer. The service of the gods, to which all the highest energies of the mind were first directed, and from which the first beginnings of sculpture,

  • All fAnrnft that itj yit f^rn^.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 17

]i!chitecture, music, and poetry proceeded, must for a long time have consisted chiefly iu mute motions of the body, in symbolical gestures, in prayers muttered in a low tone, and, lastly, in loud broken ejaculations (oXoXvy/idg), such as were in later times uttered at the death of the victim, in token of an inward feeling ; before the winged word issued clearly from the mouth, and raised the feelings of the multitude to religious enthusiasm —in short, before the first hymn was heard.

The first outpourings of poetical enthusiasm were doubtless songs describing, in few and simple verses, events which powerfully affected the feelings of the hearers. From what has been said in the last chapter it is probable that the earliest date may be assigned to the songs which referred to the seasons and their phenomena, and expressed with sim- plicity the notions and feelings to which these events gave birth : as they were sung by peasants at the corn and wine harvest, they had their origin in times of ancient rural simplicity. It is remarkable that songs of this kind often had a plaintive and melancholy character ; which cir- cumstance is however explained when we remember that the ancient worship of outward nature (which was preserved in the rites of Demeter and Cora, and also of Dionysus) contained festivals of wailing and lamentation as well as of rejoicing and mirth. 1 1 is not, however, to be supposed that this was the only cause of the mournful ditties in question, for the human heart has a natural disposition to break out from time to time into lamentation, and to seek an occasion for grief even where it does not present itself — as Lucretius says, that " in the pathless woods, among the lonely dwellings of the shepherds, the sweet laments were sounded on the pipe*."

§ 2. To the number of these plaintive ditties belongs the song Liiivs^ mentioned by Homer t, the melancholy character of which is shown by its* fiiller names, AWivoq and OWXiroc (literally, " Alas, Linus!'* and " Death of Linus"). It was frequently sung in Greece, according to Homer, at the grape-picking. According to a fragment of Hesiod {, all singers and players, on the cithara lament at feasts and dances Linns, the beloved son of Urania, and call on Linus at the beginning and the end ; which probably means that the song of lamentation began and ended with the exclamation At Alve. Linus was originally the subject of the song, the person whose fate was bewailed in it ; and there were many districts in Greece (for example, Thebes, Chalcis, and Argos) in which tombs of Linus were shown. This Linus evidently belongs to a class of deities or demigods, of which many instances occur in the

  • Inde minutatim dulceis didicere querelas^

Tibia quas fundit digitis pulsata canentum, Avia per nemora ac sylvas saltuscj^ue reperta^ Per loca pastorum deserta atque otia dia. — Lucreiiui, y, 1383— 1 386.

f Iliad, xviii. 569.

I Cited la Eutttathius, p. 1163 (fragm. l^cd. Gaisford).


18 HISTORY OF THE

religions of Greece and Asia Minor ; boys of extraordinary beau^, and in the flower of youth, who are supposed to have been drowned, or de- voured by raging dogs, or destroyed by wild beasts, and whose death is lamented in the harvest or other periods of the hot season. It is obvious that these cannot have been real persons, whose death excited so general a sympathy, although the fables which were offered in explanation of these customs often speak of youths of ro^al blood, who were carried off in the prime of their life. The real object of lamentation was the tender beauty of spring destroyed by the summer heat, and other phenomena of the same kind, which the imagination of these early times invested with a personal form, and represented as gods or beings of a divine nature. According to the very remarkable and explicit tradition of the Argives, Linus was a youth, who, having sprung from a divine origia, grew up with the shepherds among the lambs, and was torn in pieces by wild dogs ; whence arose the " festival of the Jamb s," at which many dogs were slain. Doubtless this festival was celebrated during the greatest heat, at the time of the constellation Sirius; the emblem of which, among the Greeks, was, from the earliest times, a raging dog. It was a natural confusion of the tradition that Linus should afterwards become a minstrel, one of the earliest bards of Greece, who begins a contest with Apollo himself, and overcomes Hercules in playing on the cithara ; even, however, in this character Linus meets his death, and we must probably assume that his fate was mentioned in the ancient song. In Homer the Linus is represented as sung by a boy, who plays at the same time on the harp, an accompaniment usually mentioned with this song ; the young men and women who bear the grapes from the vineyard follow him, moving onward with a measured step, and uttering a shrill cry*, in which probably the chief stress was laid on the excla- mation at \(ve. That this shrill cry (called by Homer Ivy/ibg} was not necessarily a joyful strain will be admitted by any one who has heard the ivyfiog of the Swiss peasants, with its sad and plaintive notes, resounding from hill to hill.

§ 3. Plaintive songs of this kind, in which not the misfortunes of a single individual, but an universal and perpetually recurring cause of grief was expressed, abounded in ancient Greece, and especially in Asia Minor, the inhabitants of which country had a peculiar fondness for mournful tunes. The lalemus seems to have been nearly identical virith the Linus, as, to a certain extent, the same mythological narrations are applied to both. At Tegea, in Arcadia, there was a plaintive song, called ScephruSy which appears, from the fabulous relation in Pausaniasfs

IfAi^iif xi^a^/^c, AIvov 3' u9ro xaXov ^ttit

fi»\9'^ r luy/a.^ rt. ire^i ^xeu^wrtf ifTtfyro.-— Iliad, xviii. 569'"*>572^ on the meaning of /kaXW in this passage^ see below, § 6.

t viii. 53, 2.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GRLECR. 19

to have been sung at the time of the summer heat. In Phrygia, a melancholy song, called Lityerses^ was sung at the cutting of the corn. At the same season of the year, the Mariandynians, on the shores of the Black Sea, played the mournful ditty Bonnus on the native flute. The subject of their lamentation may be easily conjectured from the story that Bormus was a beautiful boy, who, having gone to fetch water for the reapers in the heat of the day, was, while drawing it, borne down by the nymphs of the stream. Of similar meaning are the cries for the youth Hylasy swallowed up by the waters of the fountain, which, in the neighbouring country of the Bithynians, re-echoed from mountain to mountain. In the southern parts of Asia Minor we find, in connexion with the Syrian worship, a similar lament for Adonis*^ whose untimely death was celebrated by Sappho, together with Linus ; and the Marmros^ a song current in Egypt, especially at Pelusium, in which likewise a youth, the only son of a king, who died in early youth, was bewailed ; a resemblance sufficiently strong to induce Herodotus t; who is always ready to find a connexion between Greece and Egypt, to consider the Maneros and the Linus as the same song \.

§ 4. A very different class of feelings is expressed in another kind of songs, which originally were dedicated only to Apollo, and were closely connected with the ideas relating to the attributes and actions of this god, viz. the pceans (wai^ioyeg in Homer). The paeans were songs, of which the tune and words expressed courage and confidence. " All sounds of lamentation ** (atXtva), says Callimachus, " cease when the le Paean, le Paean, is heard §." As with the Linus the interjection at, so with the Paean the cry of iri was connected ; exclamations, un- meaning in themselves, but made expressive by the tone with which they were uttered, and which, as has been already mentioned, dated back from the earliest periods of the Greek worship ; they were different for different deities, and formed as it were the first rudiments of the hymns which began and ended with them. Paeans were sung, not only when there was a hope of being able, by the help of the gods, to overcome a great and imminent danger, but when the danger was happily past; they were songs of hope and confidence as well as of

  • Beautifully descrihed in the well-known verses of Milton : —
    • Thammuz came next behind,

Whose annual wound in Lebanon allured The Syrian damsels to lament his fate In amorous ditties, all a summer's day, While smooth Adonis from his native rock Ran purple to the sea^ supposed with blood Of Thammuz yearly wounded.'* — Paradise Lost, i. 446.

t ii. 79.

I On the subject of these plaintive songs generally see Muller's Dorians, book ii. ch. 8, ^ >2 (vol. i. p. 366, English translation), and Thirlwall in the Thilological Muieum,vol. i. p. 119.

• tt9T Ia U^unnj *h llxt^sv, f».— Hymn. ApoU. 20.

c-2


\


18 HISTORY OF THE

religions of Greece and Asia Minor ; boys of extraordinary beauty9 &n<l in the flower of youth, who are supposed to have been drowned, or de- voured by raging dogs, or destroyed by wild beasts, and whose death is lamented in the harvest or other periods of the hot season. It is obvious that these cannot have been real persons, whose death excited so general a sympathy, although the fables which were offered in explanation of these customs often speak of youths of ro^al blood, who were carried off in the prime of their life. The real object of lamentation was the tender beauty of spring destroyed by the summer heat, and other phenomena of the same kind, which the imagination of these early times invested with a personal form, and represented as gods or beings of a divine nature. According to the very remarkable and explicit tradition of the Argives, Linus was a youth, who, having spnmg from a divine origin, grew up with the shepherds among the lambs, and was torn in pieces by wild dogs ; whence arose the " festival of the Jamb s,'* at which many dogs were slain. Doubtless this festival was celebrated during the greatest heat, at the time of the constellation Sirius; the emblem of which, among the Greeks, was, from the earliest times, a raging dog. It was a natural confusion of the tradition that Linus should afterwards become a minstrel, one of the earliest bards of Greece, who begins a contest with Apollo himself, and overcomes Hercules in playing on the cithara ; even, however, in this character Linus meets his death, and we must probably assume that his fate was mentioned in the ancient song. In Homer the Linus is represented as sung by a boy, who plays at the same time on the harp, an accompanimentusually mentioned with this song ; the young men and women who bear the grapes from the vineyard follow him, moving onward with a measured step, and uttering a shrill cry*, in which probably the chief stress was laid on the excla- mation at \(y£. That this shrill cry (called by Homer Ivyfiog) was not necessarily a joyful strain will be admitted by any one who has heard the ivyfibg of the Swiss peasants, with its sad and plaintive notes, resounding from hill to hill.

§ 3. Plaintive songs of this kind, in which not the misfortunes of a single individual, but an universal and perpetually recurring cause of grief was expressed, abounded in ancient Greece, and especially in Asia Minor, the inhabitants of which country had a peculiar fondness for mournful tunes. The lalemus seems to have been nearly identical with the Linus, as, to a certain extent, the same mythological narrations are applied to both. At Tegea, in Arcadia, there was a plaintive song, called ScephruSy which appears, from the fabulous relation in Pausaniasf*

iftt^oit Ktiei^i^ti A/v0v 3' inro xecXov e^(/Bc XiirT«Xffj ^*>v^* to) }ii ^n^fftvTts afteuTfi

fMXv^ r IvyfA^ Ti. ^oii ffxeti^wrtf ffrovro.— Iliad, zviii. 569*^-572, on the meaning of /mXit^ in this passage, see below, § 6.

t viii. 53, 2.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GKEECR. 10

to have been sung at the time of the summer heat. In Phrygia, a melancholy song, called Lityerses, was sung at the cutting of the corn. At the same season of the year, the Mariandynians, on the shores of the Black Sea, played the mournful ditty Bonnus on the native flute. The subject of their lamentation may be easily conjectured from the story that Bormus was a beautiful boy, who, having gone to fetch water for the reapers in the heat of the day, was, while drawing it, borne down by the nymphs of the stream. Of similar meaning are the cries for the youth Hylas, swallowed up by the waters of the fountain, which, in the neighbouring country of the Bithynians, re-echoed from mountain to mountain. In the southern parts of Asia Minor we find, in connexion with the Syrian worship, a similar lament for Adonis *y whose untimely death was celebrated by Sappho, together with Linus ; and the Manarof^ a song current in Egypt, especially at Pelusium, in which likewise a youth, the only son of a king, who died in early youth, was bewailed ; a resemblance sufficiently strong to induce Herodotus fj who is always ready to find a connexion between Greece and Egypt, to consider the Maneros and the Linus as the same song {.

§ 4. A very different class of feelings is expressed in anotlier kind of songs, which originally were dedicated only to Apollo, and were closely connected with the ideas relating to the attributes and actions of this god, viz. the pceans (wai^ioyeg in Homer). The paeans were songs, of which the tune and words expressed courage and confidence. " All sounds of lamentation ** (a'iXtva), says Callimachus, " cease when the le PsBan, le Paean, is heard §." As with the Linus the interjection ai, so with the Paean the cry of iri was connected ; exclamations, un- meaning in themselves, but made expressive by the tone with which they were uttered, and which, as has been already mentioned, dated back from the earliest periods of the Greek worship ; they were different for different deities, and formed as it were the first rudiments of the hymns which began and ended with them. Paeans were sung, not only when there was a hope of being able, by the help of the gods, to overcome a great and imminent danger, but when the danger was happily past; they were songs of hope and confidence as well as of

  • Beautifully described in the well-known verses of Milton : —

<* Thammuz came next behind, Whose annual wound in Lebanon allured The Syrian damsels to lament his fate In amorous ditties, all a summer's day, While smooth Adonis from his native rock Ran purple to the sea> supposed with blood Of Thammuz yearly wounded.'* — Paradise Lost, i. 446.

t it 79.

I On the subject of these plaintive songs generally see Muller*s Dorians, book ii. ch. 8, § 1^ (vol. i. p. 366, English translation), and Thirlwall in the rhilolo<^ical lIuieum,vol. i. p. 119.

^ 9v}k Bins *A;^iX?fle Knv^trett a7Xjvei /ivrn^t 9itt9T Ia n.AiA>f, ih ll*i^*y, »».— Hymn. ApoU. 20.

c2


20 HISTORY OF THE

thanksgiving for victory and safety. The custom, at the termination of the winter, v^hen the year again assumes a mild and serene aspect, and every heart is filled with hope and confidence, of singing vernal pteans {elapivol iratavcc), recommended by the Delphic oracle to the cities of Lower Italy, is probably of very high antiquity. Among the Pythago- reans likewise the solemn purification (ica6ap(7tc), which they performed in spring, consisted in singing paeans and other hymns sacred to Apollo. In Homer*, the Achaeans, who have restored Chryseis to the priest her father, are represented as singing, at the end of the sacrificial feast, over their cups, a paean in honour of the far-darting god, whose wrath they thus endeavour completely to appease. And in the same poet, Achilles, after the slaughter of Hector, calls on his companions to return to the ships, singing a paean, the spirit and tone of which he expresses in the following words : " We have gained great glory ; we have slain the divine Hector, to whom the Trojans in the city prayed as to a god f*" From these passages it is evident that the paean was sung by several persons, one of whom probably led the others (^e^ap'xuv^y and that the singers of the paean either sat together at table (which was still custo- mary at Athens in Plato's time), or moved onwards in a body. Of the latter mode of singing a paean the hymn to the Pythian Apollo fiir^ nishes an example, where the Cretans, who have been called by the god as priests of his sanctuary at Pytho, and have happily performed a miraculous voyage from their own island after the sacrificial feast which they celebrate on the shores of Crissa, afterwards ascend to Pytho, in the narrow valley of Parnassus. " Apollo leads them, holding his harp (0op/ity5) in his hand, playing beautifully, with a noble and lofty step. The Cretans follow him in a measured pace, and sing, after the Cretan fashion, an lepaean, which sweet song the muse had placed in their breasts J.*' From this paean, which was sung by a moving body of persons, arose the use of the paean (Traiwylieiv) in war, before the attack on the enemy, which seems to have prevailed chiefly among the Doric nations, and does not occur in Homer.

If it was our purpose to seek merely probable conclusions, or if the nature of the present work admitted a detailed investigation, in which we might collect and combine a variety of minute particles of evidence, we could perhaps show that many of the later descriptions of hymns belonging to the separate worships of Artemis, Demeter, Dionysus, and other gods, originated in the earltest period of Greek literature. As, however, it seems advisable in this work to avoid merely conjectural inquiries, we will proceed to follow up the traces which occur in the Homeric poems, and to postpone the other matters antil we come to the history of lyric poetry.

§ 5. Not only the common and public worship of the <jods, but also

    • Iliad, i. 473. f Ihad, xxii. 391. I Horn. Hymn. ApoU. 514.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 21

those events of private life which strongly excited the feelings, called forth the gift of poetry. The lamentation for the dead^ which was chiefly sung by women with vehement expressions of grief, had, at the time described by Homer, already been so far systematised, that singers by profession stood near the bed where the body was laid out, and began the lament ; and while they sang it, the women accompanied them with cries and groans*. These singers of the thrcnoa were at the burial of Achilles represented by the Muses themselves, who sang the lament, while the sisters of Thetis, the Nereids, uttered the same cries of grief 'f.

Opposed to the threnos is the Hymenaosy the joyful and merry bridal song, of which there are descriptions by Homer J in the account of the designs on the shield of Achilles, and by Hesiod in that of the shield of Hercules §. Homer speaks of a city, represented as the seat of bridal rejoicing, in which the bride is led from the virgin's apartment through the streets by the light of torches. A loud hymenaeos arises ; young men dance around ; while flutes and harps (^op/ityyec) resound. The passage of Hesiod gives a more finished and indeed a well-grouped picture, if the parts of it are properly distinguished, which does not appear to have been hitherto done with sufficient exactness. According to this passage, the scene is laid in a fortified city, in which men can abandon themselves without fear to pleasure and rejoicing : " Some bear the bride to the husband on the well-formed chariot; while a loud hymenaeos arises. Burning torches, carried by boys, cast from afar their bght : the damsels (viz., those who raise the hymenaeos) move forwards beaming with beauty. Both (i. e. both the youths who draw the car and the damsels) are followed by joyful choruses. The one chorus, con- sisting of youths (who have drawn the car), sings to the clear sound of the pipe (crvptyl) with tender mouths, and causes the echoes to resound : the other, composed of damsels (forming the hymenaeos, properly so called), dance to the notes of the harp {(fiopfiiyi)" In this passage of Hesiod we have also the first description of a comony by which word the Greeks de- signate the last part of a feast or any other banquet which is enlivened and prolonged with music, singing, and other amusements, until the order of the table is completely deranged, and the half-intoxicated guests go in irregular bodies through the town, ofl«n to the doors of beloved damsels : " On another side ugain comes, accompanied by flutes, a joy- ous band {Kwfioi) of youths, some amusing themselves with the song and the dance, others with laughter. Each of these youths moves onwards, attended by a player on the flute (precisely as may be seen so often re- presented on vases of a much later age, belonging to southern Italy).


♦ &»ilo) ^f»i'w»if|«^;t;w.— Iliad, xxiv. 720—722. t Odyssey, xxiv. 59—61. t Uiad, xviu. 492—49$,

Sput.274— 280.


I


22 HISTORY OP THE

The whole city is filled with joy, and dancing, and festivity*." The circumstances connected with the comos afforded (as we shall hereafter point out) many opportunities for the productions of the lyric muse, both of a lofty and serious and of a comic and erotic description.

§ 6. Although in the above description, and in other passages of the ancient epic poets, choruses are frequently mentioned, yet we are not to suppose that the choruses of this early period were like those wliich sang the odes of Pindar and the choral songs of the tragedians, and accompanied them with dancing and appropriate action. Originally the chorus had chiefly to do with dancing : the most ancient sense of the word chorus is a 'place for dancing : hence in the Eiad and Odyssey ex- pressions occur, such as levelling the chorus (Ktiaivuv xopov)^ that is, making the place ready for dancing ; going to the chorus (xojooV^e tpX<^(^<ii)i &c. : hence the choruses and dwellings of the gods are mentioned together ; and cities which had spacious squares are said to have wide choruses (^evpvxopoi). To these choruses young persons of both sexes, the daughters as well as the sons of the princes and nobles, are represented in Homer as going : at these the Trojan and Phseacian isrinces are described as being present in newly-washed garments and in well-made armour. There were also, at least in Crete, choruses in which young men and women danced together in rows, holding one another by tlie hands t: a custom which was in later times unknown among the lonians and Athenians, but which was retained among the Dorians of Crete and Sparta, as well as in Arcadia. The arrangement of a chorus of this description is as follows : a citharist sits in the midst of the dancers, who surround him in a circle, and plays on the phorminx, a kind of cithara : in the place of which (according to the Homeric hymn to Hermes) another stringed instrument, the lyre, which differed in some respects, was sometimes used ; whereas the flute, a foreign, originally Phrygian, instrument, never in these early times was used at the chorus, but only at the comos, with whose boisterous and unrestrained character its tones were more in harmony. This citharist also accompanies the sound of his instrument with songs, which appear to have scarcely differed from such as were sung by individual minstrels, without the presence of a chorus ; as, for example, Demodocus, in the palace of the Phseacian king, sings the loves of Ares and Aphrodite during the dances of the youths |. Hence he is said to begin the song and the dance §. The other persons, who form the chorus, take no part in this song ; except so far as they allow their movements to be guided by it : an accompa- niment of the voice by the dancers, such as has been already remarked with respect to the singers of the paean, does not occur among the chorus-dancers of these early times : and Ulysses, in looking at the Phseacian youths who form the chorus to the song of Demodocus,

• Scut. 281—285. t Iliad, xviii. 593. J Odyssey, vul 266.

5 uo^rtis i|«(;^*>y.— Iliad, xviii. 606.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 23

ftdniires ttoi ibe sweetness of their voices, or the excellence of their singing, but the rapid motions of their feet*. At the same time, the reader must guard against a misapprehension of the terms fioXnij and fiiXireffdaiy which, although they are sometimes applied to persons dancing, as to the chorus of Artemis t) and to Artemis herself |, neverthe- less are not always connected with singing, but express any measured and graceful movement of the body, as for instance even a game at bail §. When, however, the Muses are described as singing in a chorus |j, they are to be considered only as standing in a circle, with Apollo in the centre as citharist, but not as also dancing : in the procemium to the Theogony of Hesiod, they are described as first dancing in chorus on the top of Helicon, and afterwards as moving through the dark, and singing the race of the immodal gods.

In the dances of the choruses there appears, from the descriptions of the earliest poets, to have been much variety and art, as in the choral dance which Vulcan represented on the shield of Achilles T-* — ^ At one time the youths and maidens dance around nimbly, with measured steps, as when a potter tries his wheel whether it will run ; at another, tbev dance in rows opposite to one another (a dance in a ring alternately with one in rows). Within this chorus sits a singer with the phorminx, and two tumblers (icv/3t(rri?r^|0£, the name being derived from the violent motions of the body practised by them) turn about in the middle, in accordance with the song. In a chorus celebrated by the gods, as described in one of the Homeric hymns**, this latter part is performed by Ares and Hermes, who gesticulate (naLZovm) in the middle of a chorus formed by ten goddesses as dancers, while Apollo plays on the cithara, and the Muses stand around and sing. It cannot be doubted that these icu/3terr»yr^pcc. or tumblers (who occurred chiefly in Crete, where a lively, and even wild and enthusiastic style of dancing had prevailed from early times), in some measure regulated their ges- tures and motions according to the subject of the song to which they danced, and that a choral dance of this kind was, in fact, a variety of hyporcheme (yiropxnf^a)^ as a species of choral dances and songs was called, in which the action described by the song was at the same time represented with mimic gestures by certain individuals who came forward

  • fjtec^fut^vyeti irohSv. — Odyssey, vili. 265.

t Diad, xvi. 182. t Hymn. Pyth. ApoU. 19.

tr^aipri rati r k^ ivrat^ov &9ro x^^ftva ^etXovfftti, rnvtoi 'Setoff ikom XtvxuXtvof if^x^ro ftcX^ng . — Odyssey, vi. 101. Compare Iliads xvii'i. 604 : low l\ xv^tffrnTri^t xar ahrtbt

II Hesiod. Scut. 201—205.

^ Iliad, xviii. 591 — 606. Compare Odyssey, iv. 17 — 19. It is doubtful whether the latter part of the description in the Iliad has not been improperly introduced into the te^t from the passage in the Odyssey. — Editor,

  • ♦ Hymn, Horn, ad ApolL Pyth. 10—26,


24 HISTORY OF THB

from the chorus. This description of choral dances always, in later times, occurs in connexion with the worship of Apollo, which prevailed to a great extent in Crete ; in Delos likewise, the birth-place of Apollo, there were several dances of this description, one of which represented the wanderings of Latona before the birth of that god. This circum- stance appears to be referred to in a passage of the ancient Homeric hymn to the Delian Apollo*, where the Delian damsels in the service of Apollo are described as first celebrating the gods and heroes, and afterwards singing a peculiar kind of hymn, which pleases the assembled multitude, and which consists in the imitation of the voices and lan- guages of various nations, and in the production of certain sounds by some instruments like the Spanish castanets (icpc/ij3aXiaoTvc)> accord- ing to the manner of the different nations, so that every one might imagine that he heard his own voice — for what is more natural than to suppose that this was a mimic and orchestic representation of the wandering Latona, and all the islands and countries, in which she attempted in vain to find a i*efuge, until she at length reached the hospitable Delos?

§ 7. Having now in this manner derived from the earliest records a distin«t notion of the kinds of poetry, and its various accompaniments, which existed in Greece before the Homeric time, with the exception of epic poetry, it will be easier for us to select from the confused mass of statements respecting the early composers of hymns which are contained in later writers, that which is most consonant to the character of remote antiquity. The best accounts of these early bards were those which had been preserved at the temples, at the places where hymns were sung under their names : hence it appears that most of these names are in constant connexion with the worship of peculiar deities ; and it will thus be easy to distribute them into certain classes, formed by the resemblance of their character and their reference to the same worship.

i. Singers, who belong to the worship of Jpollo in Delphi, Delos, and Crete. Among these is Olen, according to the legend, a Lycian or Hyperborean, that is to say, sprung from a country where Apollo loved to dwell. Many ancient hymns, attributed to him, were preserved at Delos, which are mentioned by Herodotus f, and which contained remarkable mythological traditions and significant appellatives of the gods; also nomes^ that is, simple and antique songs, combined with certain fixed tunes, and fitted to be sung for the circular dance of a chorus. The Delphian poetess Boeo called him the first prophet of Phoebus, and the first who, in early times, founded the style of singing in epic metre (tVewv aotda) J. Another of these bards is Philammon, whose name was celebrated at Parnassus, in the territory of Delphi. To liim was referred the formation of Delphian choruses of virgins, which Bung the birth of Latona and of her children. It is plain, from what • V. 161—164. t iv. 35. ♦ Pausan. x. 5, 8.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GRERCE. 25

has been already observed, that so far as these songs really originated in the ancient mythical period, they were intended to be sung, not by a dancing chorus, but by an individual to the choral dance. Lastly, Chry- sothemis, a Cretan, virho is said to have sung the first chorus to the Pythian Apollo, clothed in the solemn dress of ceremony, which the citharodi in later times wore at the Pytliian games.

ii. Singers in connexion with the cognate worships of Demeler and

Dionysus, Among these were the Eumolpids in Eleusis of Attica — a

race which, from early times, took part in the worship of Demeter, and

in the historical age exercised the chief sacerdotal function connected

with it, the office of Hierophant. These Eumolpids evidently derived

their name of "beautiful singers" from their character (from cw fxik-

TctadaC)^ and their original employment was the singing of sacred

hymns ; it will be afterwards shown that this function agrees well with

the fact, that their prc^enitor, the original Eumolpus, is called a Thracian.

Also another Attic house, the Lycomids (which likewise had ii% later

times a part in the Eleusinian worship of Demeter), were in the habit

of singing hymns, and, moreover, hymns ascribed to Orpheus, Musaeus,

and Pamphus. Of the songs which were attributed to Pamphus we

may form a general idea, by remembering that he is said to have first

sung Uie strain of lamentation at the tomb of Linus. The name of

Musaeus (which in fact only signified a singer inspired by the Muses) is

in Attica generally connected with songs for the initiations of Demeter.

Among the numerous works ascribed to him, a hymn to Demeter is

alone considered by Pausanias as genuine*; but however obscure may

be the circumstances belonging to this name, thus much at least is

dear, that music and poetry were combined at an early period with

this worship. Musaeus is in tradition commonly called a Thracian ; he

is also reckoned as one of the race of Eumolpids, and stated to be

the disciple of Orpheus. The Thracian singer, Orpheus, is imquestion-

ably the darkest point in the entire history of the early Grecian poetry,

on account of the scantiness of the accounts respecting him, which have

been preserved in the more ancient vnriters — the lyric poets, Ibycus f

and Pindar J, the historians Hellanicus § and Pherecydes ||, and the

Athenian tragedians, containing the first express testimonies of his

name. This deficiency is ill supplied by the multitude of marvellous

stories concerning him, which occur in later writers, and by the poems

and poetical fragments which are extant under the name of Orpheus.

  • L 22, 7. Compare iv. 1, 5.

t Ibycus in Priscian, vi. 18, 92, torn. i. p. 283, ed. Krehl. (Fragm. 22, ed. Schnei- dewia), who calls him ivofMtxXvros *0^s» Ibycus flourished 560 — 40, b. c.

IPyth.iT.3i5.

§ Hellanicus in Proclus on Hesiod's Works and Days, 631 (Fragm. 75, ed. Sturz), and in Proclus irt^t *OfAn^9v in Gaisford's Hephsestion, p. 466 (Fragm. 145, ed. Sturi).

il Pherecydes in Schol. ApoUon. i. 23 (Fragm. 18, ed. Sturx).


26 HISTORY OF THB

These spurious productions of later times will be treated in that part of our history to which they may with the greatest probability be referred : here we will only state our opinion that the name of Orpheus, and the legends respecting him, are intimately connected with the idea and the worship of a Dionysus dwelling in the infernal regions (Zaypevg), and that the foundation of this worship (which was connected with the Eleusinian mysteries), together with the composition of hymns and songs for its initiations (reXcra/), was the earliest function ascribed to him. Nevertheless, under the influence of various causes, the fame of Orpheus grew so much, that he was considered as the first minstrel of the heroic age, was made the companion of the Argonauts*, and the marvels which music and poetry wrought on a rude and simple generation were chiefly described under his name.

iii. Singers and musicians, who belonged to the Phrygian worship of the great mother of the gods^ of the CoryhanteSy and other similar beings. The Phrygians, allied indeed to the Greeks, yet a separate and distinct nation, difiered from their neighbours in their strong disposition to an orgiastic worship — that is, a worship which was connected with a tumult and excitement produced by loud music and violent bodily movements, such as occurred in Greece at the Bacchanalian rejoicings ; where, however, it never, as in Phrygia, gave its character to every variety of divine worship. With this worship was connected the deve- lopment of a peculiar kind of music, especially on the flute, which in- strument was always considered in Greece to possess a stimulating and passion-stirring force. This, in the Phrygian tradition, was ascribed to the demi-god MarsyaSy who is known as the inventor of the flute, and the imsuccessful opponent of Apollo, to his disciple Olympus^ and, lastly, to HyagniSy to whom also the composition of nomes to the Phry- gian gods in a native melody was attributed. A branch of this worship, and of the style of music and dancing belonging to it, spread at an early date to Crete, the earliest inhabitants of which island appear to have been allied to the Phrygians.

§ 8. By far the most remarkable circumstance in these accounts of the earliest minstrels of Greece is, that several of them (especially from the second of the three classes just described) are called Thracians. It is utterly inconceivable that, in the later historic times, when the Thracians were contemned as a barbarian race f, a notion should have sprung up, that the first civilisation of Greece was due to them ; consequently we cannot doubt that this was a tradition handed down fi^m a very early period. Now, if we are to understand it to mean that Eumolpus,. Orpheus, Musaeus, and Thamyris, were the fellow-countrymen of thos^ Edonians, Odrysians, and Odomantians, who in the historical occupied the Thracian territory, and who spoke a barbarian language.

  • Pindar, Pyth. iv. 315. f See, for example, Thucyd. vii. 29,


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT ORBBCE. 27

tliat is, one unintelligible to the Greeks, we must despair of being able to comprehend these accounts of the ancient Thracian minstrels, and of assigning them a place in the history of Grecian civilisation ; since it is manifest that at this early period, when there was scarcely any inter- course between dilSerent nations, or knowledge of foreign tongues, poets who sang in an unintelligible language could not have had more influence on the mental development of the people thdn the twittering of birds. Nothing but the dumb language of mimicry and dancing, and musical strains independent of articulate speech, can at such a period pass from nation to nation, as, for example, the Phrygian music passed over to Greece ; whereas the Thracian minstrels are constantly represented as the fathers of poetry ^ which of course is necessarily combined with language. When we come to trace more precisely the country of these Thracian bards, we find that the traditions refer to PieriAy the district to the east of the Olympus range, to the north of Thcssaly and the south of Emathia or Macedonia ; in Pieria likewise was Leibethra, where the Muses are said to have sung the lament over the tomb of Orpheus : the ancient poets, moreover, always make Pieria, not Thrace, the native place of the Muses, which last Homer clearly distinguii^hes from Pieria*. It was not until the Pierians were pressed in their own territory by the early Macedonian princes that some of them crossed the Strymon into Thrace Proper, where Herodotus mentions the castles of the Pierians at the expedition of Xerxes t- It is, however, quite conceivable, that in early times, either on account of their close vicinity, or because all the north was comprehended under one name, the Pierians might, in Southern Greece, have been called Thracians. These Pierians, from the intel- lectual relations which they maintained with the Greeks, appear to be a Grecian race ; which supposition is also confirmed by the Greek names of their places, rivers, fountains, &c., although it is probable that, situated on the limits of the Greek nation, they may have borrowed largely from neighbouring tribes J. A branch of the Phrygian nation, so devoted to an enthusiastic worship, once dwelt close to Pieria, at the foot of Mount Bermius, where King Midas was said to have taken the drunken Silenus in his rose-gardens. In the whole of this region a wild and enthusiastic worship of Bacchus was diffused among both men and women. It may be easily conceived that the excitement which the mind thus received contributed to prepare it for poetical enthusiasm. These same Thracian& or Pierians lived, up to the time of the Doric and ^olic migrations, in certain districts of Bocotia and Phocis, That they had dwelt about the Bojotian mountain of Helicony in the district of Thespiae and Ascra, was evident to the ancient historians, as well from the traditions of the cities as from the agreement of many names of places in the country near Olympus (Leibethrion, Pimpleis, Helicon, &c.). At the foot of Parnas-

  • Iliad, xiv. 226. t vii- 112.

X See MuUer'8 Dorians, vol. i. p. 472, 488, 501.


28 HISTORY OF THE

BUS, however, in Phocis, was said to have been situated the city of Daulis, the seat of the Thracian king Tereus, who is known by his connexion with the Athenian king Pandion, and by the fable of the metamor- phosis of his wife Procne into a nightingale. This story (which occurs under other forms in several parts of Greece) is one of those simple fables which, among the early inhabitants of Greece easily grew from a contemplation of the phenomena of Nature and the still life of animals : the nightingale, with her sad nocturnal song, seemed to them to lament a lost child, whose name Itys^ or Jtylits, they imagined that they could bear in her notes ; the reason why the nightingale, when a human being, was supposed to have dwelt in this district was, that it had the fame of being the native country of the art of singing, where the Muses would be most likely to impart their gifts to animals ; as in other parts of Greece it was said that the nightingales sang sweetly over the grave of the ancient minstrel, Orpheus. From what has been said, it appears suffi- ciently clear that these Pierians or Thracians, dwelling about Helicon and Parnassus in the vicinity of Attica, are chiefly signified when a Thracian origin is ascribed to the mythical bards of Attica.

§ 9. It is an obvious remark, that with these movements of the Pierians was also connected the extension of the temples of the Muses in Greece, who alone among the gods are represented by the ancient poets as presiding over poetry, since Apollo, in strictness, is only con- cerned with the music of the cithara. Homer calls the Muses the Olym- pian ; in Hesiod, at the beginning of the Theogony, they are called the Heliconian^ although, according to the notion of the Boeotian poet, they were born on Olympus, and dwelt at a short distance from the highest pinnacle of this mountain, where Zeus was enthroned ; whence they only go at times to Helicon, bathe in Hippocrene, and celebrate their choral dances around the altar of Zeus on the top of the mountain. Now, when it is borne in mind that the same mountain on which the worship of the Muses originally flourished was also represented in the earliest Greek poetry as the common abode of the Gods ; in which, whatever country they might singly prefer, they jointly assembled about the throne of the chief god, it seems higlily probable that it was the poets of this region, the ancient Pierian minstrels, whose imagination had created this council of the gods and had distributed and arranged its parts. Those things which the epic poetry of Homer must have derived from earlier compositions (such as the first notions concerning the structure of the world, the dominions of the Olympian gods and the Titans, the established epithets which are applied to the gods, without reference to the peculiar circumstances under which they appear, and which often disagree with the rest of the epic mythology) probably must, in great measure, be referred to these Pierian bards. Moreover, their poetry was doubtless not concerned merely with the gods, but contained the first germs of the

♦ ApoUodorus, i. 3. 3.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 20

epic or heroic style ; more especially should Thamyris, who in Homer is called a Thracian, and in other writers a son of Philammon* (hy which the neighbourhood of Daulis is designated as his abode), be con- sidered as an epic poet, although some hymns were ascribed to him : for in the account of Homer, that Thamyris, while going from one prince to another, and having just returned from Eurytus of Oechalia, was deprived both of his eyesight and of his power of singing and play- ing on the cithara by the Muses, with whom he had undertaken to contend*, it is much more natural to understand a poet, such as Phemius and Demodocus, who entertained kings and nobles at meals by the narration of heroic adventures, than a singer devoted to the pious service of the gods and the celebration of their praises in hymns.

These remarks naturally lead us to the consideration of the epic style of poetry J of which we shall at once proceed to treat.


CHAPTER IV.

\ I. Social position of the minstrels or poets in the heroic ap^. — } 2. Epic poems Biing at the feasts of princes and nobles, and at public festivals. — } 3. Manner of reciting epic poems; explanation v£rhapsoduts and rhapsodising, — }4. Metrical form, and poetical character of the epic poetry. — ^ 5. Perpetuation of the early epic poems by memory and not by writing. — } 6. Subjects and extent of the ante- Homeric epic poetry.

It is our intention in this chapter to trace the Greek Poetry, as far as we have the means of following its steps, on its migration from the lonely valleys of Olympus and Helicon to all the nations which ruled over Greece in the heroic age, and from the sacred groves of the gods to the banquets of the numerous prfnces who then reigned in the dif- ferent states of Greece. At the same time we propose, as far as the nature of our information permits, to investigate the gradual develop- ment of the heroic or epic style of poetry, until it reached the high station which it occupies in the poems of Homer.

In this inquiry the Homeric poems themselves will form the chief sources of information ; since to them we are especially indebted for a clear, and, in the main, doubtless, a correct picture of the age which we term the heroic. The most important feature in this picture is, that among the three classes of nobles fj common freemen J, and serfs §, the first alone enjoyed consideration both in war and peace ; they alone performed exploits in battle, whilst the people appear to be there only that these exploits may be performed upon them. In the assembly of

» lUad, ii. 594-^600.

t Called &(i^u, a^iiTTfitii ufaxrif, {ia^tXhu (AihovrK, and many other names.

X ^/>Mf (both as a collective and a singular name), ^^fAw av\iS'


so ni8T0RT OF THE

the people, as in the courts of justice, the nobles alone speak, advise, and decide, whilst the people merely listen to their ordinances and decisions, in order to regulate their own conduct accordingly; being sufiered, indeed, to follow the natural, impulse of evincing, to a certain extent, their approbation or disapprobation of their superiors, but still without any legal means of giving validity to their opinion.

Yet amidst this nobility, distinguished by its warUke prowess, its great landed possessions and numerous slaves, various persons and classes found the means of attaining respect and station by means of intellectual influence, knowledge, and acquirements, viz., priests, who were honoured by the people as gods*; seers, who announced the destinies of nations and men, sometimes in accordance with superstitious notions, but not unfrequently with a deep foresight of an eternal and superintending Providence ; heralds, who by their manifold knowledge and readiness of address were the mediators in all intercourse between persons of different states ; artisans, who were invited from one country to another, so much were their rare qualifications in request t; and, lastly, minstrds, or bards ; who, although possessing less influence and authority than the priests, and placed on a level with the travelling artisans, still, as servants of the Muses |, dedicated to the pure and inno- cent worship of these deities, thought themselves entitled to a peculiar degree of estimation, as well as a friendly and considerate treatment. Thus Ulysses, at the massacre of the suitors, respects Phemius their bard§; and we find the same class enjoying a dignified position in royal families ; as, for instance, the faithful minstrel to whose protection Agamemnon entrusted his wife during his expedition against Troy ||.

§ 2. Above all, we find the bards in the heroic age described by Homer as always holding an important post in every festal banquet ; as the Muses in the Olympian palace of Zeus himself, who sing to Apollo's accompaniment on the cithara; amongst the Phaeacians, Demodoeus, who is represented as possessing a numerous choice of songs, both of a serious and lively cast ; Phemius, in the house of Ulysses, whom the twelve suitors of Penelope had brought with them from their palaces in Ithaca %, The song and dance are the chief ornaments of the banquet**, and by the men of that age were reckoned as the highest pleasure ft.

This connexion of epic poetry with the banquets of princes had, per-

jf rU y«^ ^ \t7vn *aXi7 aXXo^tv ethros irtX^ofV &XXo9 yy u /An Tm 0? ^tifiiot^oi iaffty j

«Sr§i ya^ xXtiroi y% fi^oruv str* A^si^oftt yeuetf*

Odyssey, xvii. 383 et teo,

§ Odyjis. xxii. 344 ; see particularly viii. 479. || Odyss. iii. 267.

•[[ Od. xvi. 252. ♦* &mfir.fiara latrcf, ft Od. xvii. 518.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 31

haps, been of considerable duration in Greece. Even the first sketch of the Iliad and Odyssey may have been intended to be sung on these occasions, as Demodocus sang the celebrated poem on the contest between AchiUes and Ulysses*, or the taking of Troy by means of the wooden horse f. It is clear also that the Homeric poems were intended for the especial gratification of princes, not of repubUcan communities, for whom the adage " The government of many is not good ; let there be one lord, one king },'* could not possibly have been composed : and although Homer flourished some centuries later than the heroic age, which appeared to him like some distant and marvellous world, from which the race of man had degenerated both in bodily strength and courage ; yet the constitutions of the different states had not undergone any essential alteration, and the royal families, which are celebrated in the Iliad and Odyssey, still ruled in Greece and the colonies of Asia Minor §. To these the minstrels naturally turned for the purpose of making them acquainted with the renown of their forefathers, and whilst the pride of these descendants of heroes was flattered, and the highest enjoyment secured to them, poetry became the instrument of the most various instruction, and was adapted exclusively for the nobles of that age ; so that Hesiod rightly esteems the power of deciding law-suits with justice, and influencing a popular assembly, as a gifl of the Muses, and especially of Calliope, to kings ||.

But even before Homer's time heroic poetry was not only employed to give an additional zest to the banquets of princes, but for other pur- poses to which, in the later republican age, it was almost exclusively applied, viz., the contests of poets at public festivals and games. A con- test of this nature is alluded to in the Homeric description of the Thracian

• Od. viU. 74. Od. viii. 500. t Iliad, ii. 204

( The supposed descendants of Hercides ruled in Spaita, and for a loni^ time also

in Messenia and Argos (Muller*s Dorians, book iii. chap. 6, }. 10) as Bacchiads in

Corinth, as Aleuads in Thessaly. The Peiopidg were kings of Achaia until Oxylus,

probably for several centuries, and ruled as Penthilids in Lesbos as well as iu Cyme.

The NeHds governed Athens as archons for life until the seventh Olympiad, and the

cities of the lonians as kings for several generations (at Miletus, for example, the

succession was N ileus, Phobius, Phrygius). Besides these the descendants of the

Lycian hero Glaucua ruled in Ionia: Herod, i. 147 — a circumstance which doubtless

influenced the poet in assigning so important a part to the Lycians in the Trojan

war, and in celebrating Glaucus (Iliad, vi.). The Macids ruled over the Molossians,

the JEneads over the remnant of the Teucrians, which maintained itself at Gergis, in

the range of Ida and in the neighbourhood. (Classical Journal, vol. xxvi. p. 308, teq,)

la^rou/ta kings of the race oiJSpytus (Iliad, ii. 604) reigned till about Olympiad 30.

Pausan. viii. 5. Boeotia was, in Hesiod's time, governed by kings with extensive

powers; and Atnphidanuu of Chalcit, at whose funeral games the Ascrsean bard was

victorious ("E^^a, ▼. 652). was probably a king in Eubcsa (see Proclus, fives ^Hff/ohov,

&nd the *A^v); although Plutarch (Conviv. sept. sap. c. 10) only calls him an

ttn» rtXt/uxig. The Honbfiric epigram, 13, in the Life of Homer, c. 31, calls the

yiff») fiMiXiiH ^fiuf«i i/y uy&^tif the ornament of the marketrplace ; the later recension

of the same epigram in 'H^iotev mm *OfAn^»v icye*^ mentions instead the Xa-li tlv aye^r.^d

  • c^/uM(, in a republican sense, the people having taken the p^ace of Aiftjs.

II Theogony, ▼. 84.


32 HISTORY OF THE

bard Thamyris, who, on his road from Eurytus, the powerful ruler of (Echalia, was struck blind at Dorium by the Muses, and deprived of his entire art, because he had boasted of his ability to contend even with the Muses*. The Boeotian minstrel of the " Works and Days " gives an account of his own voyage to the games at Chalcis, which the sons of Amphidamas had celebrated at the funeral of their father ; and says, that among the prizes which were there held out, he carried off a tripod, and consecrated it to the Muses on Mount Helicon f* Later authors converted this into a contest between Hesiod and Homer. Finally, the author of the Delian Hymn to Apollo, which stands the first amongst those attributed to Homer, entreats the Delian virgins (who were them- selves well versed in the song, and probably obeyed him with pleasure), that when a stranger should inquire what bard had pleased them most, they would answer the blind man of Chios, whose poetry every where held the first rank. It is beyond doubt that at the festivals, with which the lonians celebrated the birth of Apollo at Delos, contests of rhapso- dists were also introduced, just as we Bnd them spread throughout Greece, at a time when Grecian history assumes a more connected form | ; and, as may be inferred with respect to the earlier period, from numerous alhisions in the Homeric hymns.

§ 3. The mention of rhapsodists leads us to consider the circum- stance from whence that name is derived, and fix)m which alone we can collect a clear and lively idea of epic poetry, viz., the manner in which these compositions were delivered. Homer everywhere applies the term aoilri to the delivery of poems, whilst tnri merely denotes the every-day conversation of common life ; on the other hand, later authors, frooa Pindar downwards, use the term cttj; frequently to designate poetry, and especially epic, in contradistinction to lyric. Indeed, in that primitive and simple age, a great deal passed under the name of *Aoi^^, or song, which in later times would not have been considered as such ; for in- stance, any high-pitched sonorous recitation, with certain simple modu- lations of the voice.

The Homeric minstrel makes use of a stringed instrument, which is

  • Iliad, ii. 594, teq, f v. 654, »eq., compare above note (*).

X Contests of rhapsodists at Sicyon, in the time of the tyrant Clisthenes, Herod. Y.77 ; at the same time at the PancUheneea, according to well known accounts ; in Syracuse, about Olymp. 69, Schol. Pind. Nem. ii. 1 ; at the Mclepiea in Epidaurus, Plato, Ion, p. 530 ; in Attica also, at the festival of the Brauronian Jrfemis, Hesych. in B^av^ufioig; at the festival of the Charites in Orchomenoi ; that of the Muses at Thespia, and that of Apollo Ptous at Acrcephia, Boeckh. Corp. Inscript. Gr., Nos. 1583—1587, vol. i. p. 762—770 ; in Chiog, in later times, but doubtless from ancient custom, Corp. Inscript. Gr. No. 2214, vol. ii. p. 201; in Teos, imder the name ««r»)3tfX»}f uvru^reitg-tuf, according to Boeckh. Prooem. Lect. Berol. sestiv. 1 834. Poems were likewise sometimes rhapsodised in 0/ympia, Diog. Laert. viii. 6, 63 ; Diod. xiy. 109. Contests of rhapsodists also suited the festivals of Dionysus, Athensus, vii. p. 275 ; and those of a// gods, which it is right to remark for the proper compre* hension of the Homeric hymns.


LITERATURE OP ANCIENT GREECE. 33

called a cUhara^ or, more precisely, phorminx *, an instrument by which dances were also accompanied. When the phorminx was used to lead a dancing-chorus, its music was of course continued as long as the dancing lasted t ; whilst, at the recitation of epic poetry, it was only em- ployed in the introduction (avafioXii)^ and merely served to give the voice the necessary pitch |. A simple accompaniment of this description is very well adapted to the delivery of epic poetry ; and in the present day the heroic lays of the Servians, which have most faithfully retained their original character, are delivered in an elevated tone of voice by wandering minstrels, afler a few introductory notes, for which the gurla^ a stringed instrument of the simplest construction, is employed. That a musical instrument of this nature was not necessary for the recital c^ epic poetry is proved by the fact, that Hesiod did not make use of the cithara, and on that account is said to have been excluded fVom the musical contests at Delphi, where this instrument was held in the highest estimation, as the favourite of Apollo himself. On the other hand, the poets of this Boeotian school merely carried a laurel stafi*§, as a token of the dignity bestowed by Apollo and the Muses, as the sceptre was the badge of judges and heralds.

In later times, as music was more highly cultivated, the delivery of the two species of poetry became more clearly defined. The rhap- sodistSy or chaunters of epic poetry, are distingtiished from the citharodi, or singers to the cithara ||. The expression pat/zy^oc, fiayp^hly^ signifies nothing more than the peculiar method of epic recitation ; and it is an error which has been the occasion of much perplexity in researches re- specting Homer, andVhich has moreover found its way into ordinary langruage, to endeavour to found upon this word conclusions with respect to the composition and connexion of the epic lays, and to infer from it that they consisted of scattered fragments subsequently joined to-

  • That the phorminx and cithara were nearly the same instrument appears not

only from the expression ^ififuyyt xtfia^i^w, which often occurs, but from the con verse expression, tu^tt ^mi^uv, which is used in the Odyssey: —

Htm i ^a^fii^vv ^M/3aXA4r« JUtXn c^fj^f/y. — Od. i. 153 — 5.

t See, for example, Od. iv. 17: —

fura 3f f^n i/wiXirf r« fittas Am^s

I Hence the expression, ^»^f*it»*^ «yi/3«eXX<r &tihn, Od. i. 1 55 ; viii. 266 ; xvii. 262 : Hymn to Hermes, v. 426.

reix* ^^ >jyivt tu9»^l^u9

On Aft^Xk, m the sense of pre/ude, see Pindar, Pyth. i. 7 ; compare Aristoph. Pac. 890 ; Theocrit. vi. 20. I pass over the testimonies of the grammarians.



I See, for example, Plato, Leg. ii. p. 658, and the inscripiions (juoted above, p. 32, note {.


34 HISTORY OP THE

^ether. The term rhaipsodising applies equally well to the bard who recites his own poem (as to Homer, as the poet of the Iliad and Odyssey *), and to the declaimer who recites anew the song that has been heard a thousand times before. Every poem can be rhapsodised which is composed in an epic tone, and in which the verses are of equal length, without being distributed into corresponding parts of a larger whole, strophes, or similar systems. Thus we find this term applied to philosophical songs of purification by Empedocles (fcaOap/xoi), and to iambics by Archilochus and Simonides, which were strung together in the manner of hexameters f; it was, indeed, only lyric poetry, like Pindar's odes, which could not be rhapsodised. Rhapsodists were also not improperly called orij^^Soc J, because all the poems which they re- cited were composed in single lines independent of each other (o-ri'xoi). This also is evidently the meaning of the name rhapwdisf, which, ac- cording^ to the laws of the language, as well as the best authorities §, ought to be derived from fidirTeiv aot^^r, and denotes the coupling to- gether of verses without any considerable divisions or pauses — in other words, the even, unbroken, and continuous flow of the epic poem. As the ancients in general show great steadiness &nd consistency, both in art and literature, and adhered, without any feeling of satiety or craving after novelty, to those models and styles of composition, which had been once recognised as the most perfect ; so epic poems, amongst the Greeks, continued to be rhapsodised for upwards of a thousand years. It is true, indeed, that at a later period the Homeric poems, like those of Hesiod, were connected with a musical accompaniment ||, and it is said that even Terpander the Lesbian adapted the hexameters of Homer, as well as his oi^, to tunes made according to certain fixed nomes or styles of music, and to have thus sung them at the contests %y and that Ste- Sander the Samian appeared at the Pythian games as the first who sung the Homeric poems to the cithara **. This assimilation between the delivery of epic and lyric poetry was however very far firom being gene- rally adopted throughout Ch[«ece> as the epic recitation or rhapsodia is always clearly distinguished firom the poems sung to the cithara at the musical contests ; and how great an effect an exhibition of this kind,

  • Homer, paypvlu vi^uin^ the Iliad and Odyssey, according to Plato, Kep. x.

p. 600 D. Concerning Hesiod as a rhapsodist, Nicocles ap. Schol. Pindar., Nem. ii. 1 . t See Atheneus, xiv. p. 620 G. Compare Plato^ Ion. p. 531. X Mensechmus in Schol. Pind., Nem. ii. 1.

§ The Homerids are called by Pindar, Nem. ii. % fttirrSv imuv aai^d, that is, car- minufn perpetua oratione reeiiai«rmm, Dissen. ed. min. p. 371. In the scholia to this passage a verse is cited under the name of Hesiod, in which he ascribes the paT- rfiv aaslnv to himself and Homer, and, moreover^ in reference to a hymn, not an e^c poem consisting of several parts.

(I Athensiis, xiv. p. 620 B, after Chamalecn. But the argument of Athensus, ih. p. 63'J D. *'Ofi'n^«* f*if tX»rotnxif»t xkffav iuvrw rhv vroii^n tests on erroneous hypotheses.

% Plutarch cleMusica, 3. ** Athen. xiv. p. 633 A.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 35

delivered in a dress of solemn ceremony*, with suitable tones and expres- sion t> produced upon the listeners, and how much it excited their sym- pathy, is most plainly described by Ion, the^Ephesian rhapsodist, whom Plato, in one of his lesser Dialogues, has brought forward as a butt for the irony of Socrates.

§ 4. The form which epic poetry preserved for more than a thousand years among the Greeks agrees remarkably well with this composed and even style of chaunting recitation which we have just described. In- deed, the ancient minstrels of the Homeric and ante-Homeric age had probably no choice, since for a long period the hexameter verse was the only regular and cultivated form of poetry, and even in the time of Ter- pander (about Olymp. 30) was still almost exclusively used for lyric poetry ; although we are not on that account to suppose, that all popular songs, hymeneals, dirges, and ditties (such as those which Homer repre- sents Calypso and Circe as singing at the loom), were composed in the same rhythm. But the circumstance of the dactylic verse, the hexa- meter, having been the first and, for a long time, the only metre which was regularly cultivated in Greece, is an important evidence with respect to the tone and character of the ancient Grecian poetry, the Ho- meric and ante- Homeric epic. The character of the different rhythms, which, among the Greeks, was always in exact accordance with that of the poetry, consists in the first place in the relation of the arm and thesis^ of the stirong or weak cadence — in other words, of the greater or less exertion of 4he voice. Now in the dactyl the^e two elements are evenly balanced:^, which therefore belongs to the class of equal rhythms § ; and hence a regular equipoise^ with its natursd accompani- ment, an even and steady tone, is the character of the dactylic measure. This tone is constantly preserved in the epic hexameter ; but there were other dactylic metres, which, by the shortening of the long element, or the arsisy acquired a different character, which will be more closely examined when we come to treat of the iEolian lyric poetry Accord- ing to Aristotle ||, the epic verse was the most dignified and composed of all measures ; its entire form and composition appears indeed pecu- liarly fitted to produce this effect. The length of the verse, which con- sists of six feet ^, the break which is obtained by a pause at the end **, the close connexion of the parts into an entire whole, which results

  • Plato, Ion. p. 530. The sumptuous drevs of the rhapsodist Magnes of Sm3rma,

in the time of Gyges, is described by Nicolaus Damasc. Fragm. p. 268, ed. Tauch- nitx. In later times, when the Homeric poetry was delivered in a more dramatic style (^tnrnt^hvrd l^ofAoruuirM), the Iliad was simgby the rhapsodists in a red, thlB Odyssey in a violet, dress, Eustath. ad Iliad, A. p. 6, 9, ed. Rom.

t Plato, Ion. p. 535. From this, in later days, a regular dramatic style of acting (v^cK^vtf) for the rhapsodists or Homerists was developed. See Aristot. Poet. 26 Rhetor, iii. 1, 8; Achill. Tat. ii. 1.

I For in Ivv, 1 is equal to two times, as well as uu. § yiwf tfov,

I) Poet. 24, ri fi^mtdv frm^tfUiTetm ueci iyxttiifrarov rSv ftiT^Mv Icrtf, ^ Hence verntt kngi among the Romans. ** MtraXn^g,

d2


36 HISTORY OF TME

fiom the dovetailing of the feet into one another, the alternation of dac- tyls with the heavy spondees, all contribute to give repose and majesty and a lofty solemn tone to the metre, and render it equally adapted to the pythoness virho announces the decrees of the deity*, and to the rhap- sodist who recites the battles and adventures of heroes.

Not only the metre, but the poetical tone and style of the ancient epic, was 6xed and settled in a manner which occurs in no other kind of poetry in Greece. This uniformity in style is the first thing that strikes us in comparing the Homeric poems with other remains of the more ancient epic poetry — the differences between them being apparent only to the careful and critical observer. It is scarcely possible to account satisfac- torily for this uniformity — this invariableness of character — except upon the supposition of a certain tradition handed down from generation to generation in families of minstrels, of an hereditary poetical school. We recognise in the Homeric poems many traces of a style of poetry which, sprung originally from the muse-inspired enthusiasm of the Pierians of Olympus or Helicon, was received and improved by the bards of the heroic ages, and some centuries later arrived at the matured excellence which is still the object of our admiration, though without losing all connexion with its first source. We shall not indeed undertake to defend the genealogies constructed by Pherecydes, Damastes, and other collectors of legends from all the various names of primitive poets and minstrels extant in their time — genealogies, in which Homer and Hesiod are derived from Orpheus, Musseus, and other Pierian bards f ; but the fundamental notion of these derivations, viz., the connexion of the epic poets with the early minstrels, receives much confirmation from the form of the epic poetry itself.

In no other species of poetry besides the epic do we find generally prevalent certain traditional forms, and an invariable type, to which every poet, however original and inventive his genius, submits ; and it is evident that the getting by heart of these poems, as well as their extem- poraneous efiiision on particular occasions and at the inspiration of the moment, must have been by these means greatly facilitated. To the same cause, or to the style which had been consecrated by its origin and tradition, we attribute the numerous and fixed epithets of the gods and heroes which are added to their names without any reference to their actions or the circumstances of the persons who may be described. The gre \t attention paid to external dignity in the appellations which the heroes bestow on each other, and which, from the elevation of their tone, are in strange contrast with the reproaches with which they at the same time load each other — the frequently-recurring expressions, par- ticularly in the description of the ordinary events of heroic life, their

  • Hence called Pythium metrumy and stated to be an invention of the piiestess

Phemonoe, Dorians, ii. ch. 8, § 13.

f These ^nealo^j^es have been most accurately compared and examin.'d with cri- tical acuteness by Lobeck, in his learned work, Aglaophamus, vol. i. p 3i2, »ry.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 37

assemblies, sacrifices, banquets, &c. — the proverbial expressions and sentences derived from an earlier age, to which class may be referred most of the verses which belong in common to Homer and Uesiod — and, finally, the uniform construction of the sentences, and their connexion with each other, ifre also attributable to the same origin.

This, too, is another proof of the happy tact and natural genius of the Greeks of that period ; since no style can be conceived which would be better suited than this to epic narrative and description. In general, short phrases, consisting of two or three hexameters, and usually termi- nating virith the end of a verse ; periods of greater length, occurring chiefly in impassioned speeches and elaborate similes ; the phrases care- fully joined and strung together with conjunctions; the collocation simple and uniform, without any of the words being torn from their connexion, and placed in a prominent position by a rhetorical artifice ; all this appears the natural language of a mind which contemplates the actions of heroic life with an eneigetic but tranquil feeling, and passes them successively in review with conscious delight and complacency.

§ 5. The tone and style of epic poetry is also evidently connected with the manner in which these poems were perpetuated. After the researches of various scholars, especially of Wood and Wolf, no one can doubt that it was universally preserved by the memory alone, and handed down from one rhapsodist to another by oral tradition. The Greeks (who, in poetry, laid an astonishing stress on the manner of delivery, the observance of the rhythm, and the proper intonation and inflection , of the voice) always, even in later times, considered it necessary that per- sons, who were publicly to deliver poetical compositions, should previ- ously practise and rehearse their part. The oral instruction of the chorus was the chief employment of the lyric and tragic poets, who were hence ealled choradidascali. Amongst the rhapsodists also, to whom the cor- rectness and grace of delivery was of much importance, this method of tradition was the most natural, and at the same time the only one pos- sible, at a time in which the art of writing was either not known at all to the Greeks or used only by a few, and by them to a very slight extent. The correctness of this supposition is proved, in the first place, by the silence of Horner^ which has great weight in matters which he had so frequently occasion to describe ; but particularly by the " fatal tokens (^orifiara Xvypa), commanding the destruction of Bellerophon, whicli Proetus sends to Tobates : these being clearly a species of symbolical figures, which must have speedily disappeared from use when alphi^- betical writing was once generally introduced.

Besides this we hfive no credible account of written memorials of that period ; and it is distinctly stated that the laws of Zaleucus (about Olymp. 30) were the first committed to writing : those of Lycurgus, of earlier date, having been at first preserved only by oral tradition. Additional confirmation is afforded by the rarity and worthlessness of any historical


38 HISTORY OF THB

data founded upon written documents, of the period before the com mencement of the Olympiads. The same circumstance also explains the late introduction of prose composition among the Greeks, viz., during the time of the seven wise men. The fiequent employment of writing for detailed records would of itself have introduced the use of prose. Another proof is afibrded by the existing inscriptions^ very few of which are of earlier date than the time of Solon ; also by the coins which were struck in Greece from the reign of Phidon, king of Argos (about Olymp. 8), and which continued for some time without any inscription, and only gradually obtained a few letters. Again, the very shape of the letters may be adduced in evidence, as in all monuments until about the time of the Persian war, they exhibit a great uncouthness in their form, and a great variety of character in different districts ; so much so, that we can almost trace their gradual development from the Phoenician character (which the Greeks adopted as the foundation of their alphabet) until they obtained at last a true Hellenic stamp. Even in the time of Herodotus, the term '^ Phoenician characters" * was still used for writing. If now we return to Homer, it will be found that ihe form of the text itself, particularly as it appears in the citations of ancient authors, dis- proves the idea of its having been originally committed to writing, since we find a great variety of different readings and discrepancies, which are much more reconcilable with oral than written tradition. Finally, the language of the Homeric poems (as it still appears afler the nume- rous revisions of the text), if considered closely and without prejudice, is of itself a proof that they were not committed to writing till many cen- turies ailer their composition. We allude more particularly to the omis- sion of the vau^ or (as it is termed) the JSolic digamma, a sound which was pronounced even by Homer strongly or faintly according to cir cumstances, but was never admitted by the lonians into written com- position, they having entirely got rid of this sound before the introduc- tion of writing: and hence it was not received in the most ancient copies of Homer, which were, without doubt, made by the lonians. The licence as to the use of the digamma is, however, only one instance of the freedom which so strongly characterizes the language of Homer ; but it could never have attained that softness and flexibility which render it so well adapted for versification — that variety of longer and shorter forms which existed together — that freedom in contracting and resolving vowels, and of forming the contractions into two syllables — if the practice of writing had at that time exercised the power, which it necessarily pos- sesses, of fixing the forms of a language. Lastly, to return to the point, for the sake of which we have entered into this explanation, the poetical style of the ancient epic poems shows the great use it made of those aids of which poetry, preserved and transmitted by means of

  • *»mKnm in Herod, v. 58. Likewise in the inscription known by the name of

Ding Tetorum,


LITliRATURE OF ANCIENT GREEC£. 39

memory atone, will always gladly avail itself. The Greek epic, like heroic poems of other nations which were preserved by oral tradition, as well as our own popular songs, furnishes us with many instances, where, by the mere repetition of former passages or a few customary flowing phrases, ihe mind ii^ aUowed an interval of repose, which it gladly makes use of in order to recal the verses which immediately follow. These epic expletives have the same convenience as the constantly- recurring burdens of the stanzas in the popular poetry of other nations, and contribute essentially towards rendering comprehensible the marvel (which, however, could only be accounted as such in times when the powers of memory have been weakened by the use of writing) involved in the composition and preservation of such poems by the means of memory alone*.

§ 6. In this chapter our inquiries have hitherto been directed to the delivery, form, and character of the ancient epic, as we must suppose it to have existed before the age of Homer. With regard, however, to any particular production of this ante- Homeric poetry, no historical testimony of any is extant, much less any fragment or account of the subject of the poem. And yet it is in general quite certain that at the period when Homer and Hesiod arose, a large number of songs must have existed respecting the actions botii of gods and heroes. The compositions of these poets, if taken by themselves, do not bear the character of a com- plete and all-sufficient body, but rest on a broad foundation of other poems, by means of which their entire scope and application was deve- loped to a contemporary audience. In the Theogony, Hesiod only aims at bringing the families of gods and heroes into an unbroken genealo- gical connexion ; the gods and heroes themselves he always suppose^ to be well known. Homer speaks of Achilles, Nestor, Diomed, even the first time their names are introduced, as persons with whose race, family, preceding history, and actions, every person was acquainted, and which require to be only occasionally touched upon so far as may be connected with the actual subject. Besides this, we find a crowd of secondary personages, who, as if well known firom particular traditions, are very shghtly alluded to ; persons whose existence was doubtless a matter of notoriety to the poet, and who were interesting from a variety of circumstances, but who are altogether unknown to us, as they were to the Greeks of later days. That the Olympian council of the gods, as represented in Homer, must have been previously arranged by earlier poets, has been already remarked ; and poetry of a similar nature to one part of Hesiod*s Theogony, though in some respects essentially different,

  • The author has Here given a summary of all the arguments which contradict

the opinion that the ancient epics of the Greeks were originally reduced to writing ; principally because, in the course of the critical examination to which Wolfs in- quiries have been recently submitted in Germany, this point has been differently handled by several persons, and it has been again maintained that these poems were preserved in writing from the beginning.


40 HISTORY OF THE

must have been composed upon Cronus and Japetus, the expelled deities languishing in Tartarus*.

In the heroic age, however, every thing great and distinguished must have been celebrated in song, since, according to Homer's notions, glo- rious actions or destinies naturally became the subjects of poetry f. Penelope by her virtues, and Clyteemnestra by her crimes, .became respec- tively a tender and a dismal strain for posterity |; the enduring opinion of mankind being identical with the poetry. The existence of epic poems descriptive of the deeds of Hercules, is in particular established by the pecidiarity of the circumstances mentioned in Homer with respect to this hero, which seem to have been taken singly from some full and detailed account of his adventures §; nor would the ship Argo have been distinguished in the Odyssey by the epithet of '^ interesting to all,** had it not been generally well known through the medium of poetry ||. Many events, moreover, of the Trojan war were known to Homer as the subjects of epic poems, especially those which occurred at a late period of the siege, * as the contest between Achilles and Ulysses, evidently a real poem, which was not perhaps without influence upon the Iliad ^, and the poem of the Wooden Horse**. Poems are also men- tioned concerning the return of the Achaeansft, and the revenge of Orestes tt. And since the newest song, even at that time, always pleased the audience most§§, we must picture to ourselves a flowing stream of various strains, and a revival of the olden time in song, such as never occurred at any other period. All the Homeric allusions, however, leave the impression that these songs, originally intended to enliven a few hours of a prince's banquet, were confined to the narration of a single event of small compass, or (to borrow an expression from the German epopees) to a single adventure^ for the connexion of which they entirely relied upon the general notoriety of the story and on other existing poems.

Such was the state of poetry in Greece when the genius of Homer arose.

  • That is to say, it does not, from the intimations given in Homer, seem probable

that he reckoned the deities of the water, as Oceanus and Tethys, and those of the light, as Hyperion and Theia, among the Titans, as Hesiod does.

t See lUad, vi.358; Od. iii. 204. J Od. xxiv. 197, 200.

5 See MuUer's Dorians, Append, v. § 14, vol. i. p. 543.

II Od. xii. 70 : *A^yi> itm^t/UXnwtt.

% The words are very remarkable :—

•ffin$f rns rir i^ itXi§s w^mfif tu^ln Inttnt,

hTms 'OWrw tut} nnXij^Mw 'AxtXnos. — Od. viii. 73, teq.

♦* Od. viii. 492. ft Od. i. 326. ♦ I Od. iii. 204. ^ Od.. i. 351


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 41


CHAPTER V.

} 1. Oinnions on the birthplace and country of Homer. — § 2. Homer probably a Smyniaean: early higtory of Smyrna. — ( 3. Union of i^Solian and Ionian cha- racteristici in Homer. — $ 4. Novelty of Homer's choice of subjects for his two poems.—} 5. Subject of the Iliad : the anger of Achilles. — } 6. Enlargement of the subject by introducing the events of the entire war. — } 7. and by dwelling on the exploits of the Grecian heroes. — } 8. Change of tone in the Iliad in its pro- gress. — $ 9. The Catalogue of Ships. — § 10. The later books, and the conclusion of the Iliad. — ( 11. Subject of the Odyssey: the return of Ulysses. — } 12. Inter- polations in the Odyssey. — $ 13. The Odyssey posterior to the Iliad; but both poems composed by the same person.—} 14. Preservation of the Homeric poems by rhiq>sodist8, and manner of their recitation.

§ 1 . The only accounts which have been preserved respecting the life of Homer are a few popular traditions, together with conjectures of the grammarians founded on inferences from different passages of his poems ; yet even these, if examined with patience and candour, furnish some mate- rials for arriving at probable results. With regard to the native country oi Homer, the traditions do not difler so much as might at first sight appear to be the case. Although seven cities contended for the honour of having given birth to the great poet, the claims of many of them were only indirect. Thus the Athenians only laid claim to Homer, as having been the founders of Smyrna*, and the opinion of Aristarchus, the Alexandrine critic, which admitted their claim, was probably qualified with the same explanation f. Even Chios cannot establish its right to be considered as the original source of the Homeric poetry, although the claims of this Ionic island are supported by the high authority of the lyric poet Simonides |. It is true that in Chios lived the race of the Homerids§; who, from the analogy of other yeVi;, are to be considered not as a family, but as a society of persons, who followed the same art, and therefore worshipped the same gods, and placed at their head a

  • This is clearly expressed in the epigram on Pislsiratus, in Bekker's Anecdota,

ToL iL p. 768.

rh f»iy»f I* fi^vX^ nurUrfmr§ff 8$ rtf "Oftn^n

t The opinion of Aristarchus b briefly stated by Pseudo-Plutarch Vita Homeri ii. 2. Its foundation maj be seen by comparing, for example, the Schol. Venet. on Iliad xiiL 197, e cod. A^ which, according to recent investigations, contain extracts from Aristarchus.

X Simonides in Pseudo-Plutarch, ii. 2, and others. Compare Theocritus, vii. 17.

§ Concerning this ^im; , see the statements in Harpocration in 'o^n^'^) and Bek- ker's Anecdota, p. 288, which in part are derived from the lugographers. Another and different ase of the word *0/An^i'hm occurs iu Piato, Isucrates, and other writers, according to which it means the admirers of Homer,


42 HISTORY OF THE

hero, from whom they derived their name*. A member of this house of Homerids was, probably, " the blind poet," who, in the Homeric hymn to Apollo, relates of himself, that he dwelt on the rocky Chios, whence he crossed to Delos for the festival of the lonians and the con- tests of the poets, and whom Thucydidesf took for Homer himself; a supposition, which at least shows that this great historian considered Chios as the dwelling-place of Homer. A later Homerid of Chios was the well-known Cinaethus, who, as we know from his victory at Syracuse, flourished about the 69th Olympiad. At what time the Homerid Par- thenius of Chios lived is unknown |. But notvnthstanding the ascer- tained existence of this clan of Homerids at Chios, nay, if we even, with Thucydides, take the blind man of the hymn for Homer himself, it would not follow that Chios was the birthpUice of Homer : indeed, the ancient writers have reconciled these accounts by representing Homer as having, in his wanderings, touched at Chios, and afterwards fixed his residence there. A notion of this kind is evidently imptied in Pindar's statements, who in one place called Homer a Smyrnsean Iby origin, in another, a Chian and Smyrnsean §. The same idea is also indicated in the passage of an orator, incidentally dted by Aristotle ; which says that " the Chians greatly honoured Homer, although he was not a citizen H.*^ With the Chian race of Homerids may be aptly compared the Satnian family ; although this is not joined immediately to the name of Homer, but to that of Creophyhis, who is described as the contemporary and host of Homer. This house also flourished for several centuries ; since, in the first place, a descendant of Creophyhis is said to have given the Homeric poems to Lycurgus the Spartan ^ (which statement may be so far true, that ^he Lacedaemonians derived their knowledge of these poems from rhapsodists of the race of Creophylus) ; and, secondly, a later Creophylid, named Hermodamas, is said to have been heard by Py- thagoras**,

§ 2. On the other hand, the opinion that Homer viras a Smyrnsean not only appears to have been the prevalent belief in the flourishing times of Greece tt> ^^^ is supported by the two followmg considerations : — first, the important fact, that it appears in the form of a popular legend, a my thus, the divine poet being called a son of a nymph, Critheis, and the

  • Niebuhr, Hist, of Rome, vol. i. not© 747 (801). Compare the Preface to

M liner's Doriaus^ p. xii. seq. English IVansIation, t Thucyd. iii. 104.

X Suidas in naefiivias. It may be conjectur«^d that this viof eUre^est a^cy^ct OfAnfKf, is connected with the ancient epic poet^ Thestorides of Phocsa and Chios mentioned in Pseudo-Herodot. Vit. Horn.

§ See Boeckhi Pindar. Fragm. inc. 86.

II Aristot. Rhet. ii. 23. Comp. Pseudo-Herod. Vit. Horn., near the end.

^ See particularly Heraclid. Pont. irokiruSf, Fragm. 2,

^* Siiidas in Ilv^xyi^ets l^fiuoty p. 231, ed. Knster.

ft Besides the testimony of Pindar, the incidental statement of Scylax is the most remarkable. Jifiu^tx iv VOfAn^a h, p. 35, ed. Is. Voss.


LITERATURE OF ANCIKNT QREECE. 43

Smyrnaean river Meles * ; secondly, that by assuming Smyrna as the central point of Homer's life and celebrity, the claims of all the other cities which rest on good authority (as of the Athenians, already men- tioned, of the Cumseans, attested by Ephorus, himself a Cumaean f, of the Colophonians, supported by Antimachus of Colophon |), may be ex- plained and reconciled in a simple and natural manner. With this view, the history of Smyrna is of great importance in connexion with Homer, but from the conflicting interests of different tribes and the partial accounts of native authorities, is doubtful and obscure : the following account is, at least, the result of careful investigation. There were two traditions and opinions with respect to the foundation or first occupa- tion of Smyrna by a Greek people : the one was the Ionic ; according to which it was founded from Ephesus, or from an Ephesian village called Smyrna, which really existed under that name § ; this colony was also called an Athenian one, the lonians having settled Ephesus under the command of Androclus, the son of Codrus||. According to the other, the Molian account, the Cohans of Cyme, eighteen years after their own city was founded, took possession of Smyrna ^, and, in con- nexion with this event, accounts of the leaders of the colony are given, which agree well with other mythical statements**. As the Ionic settlement was fixed by the Alexandrine chronologist9 at the year 140 after the destruction of Troy, and the foundation of Cyme is placed at the year 150 after the same epoch (whjch is in perfect harmony with the succession of the .^lic colonies), the two races met at about the same time in Smyrna, although, perhaps, it may be allowed that the lonians had somewhat the precedence in point of time, as the name of the Upm was derived from them. It is credible, although it is not distinctly stated, that for a long time the two populations occupied Smyrna jointly. The ^olians, however, appear to have predominated, Smyrna, according to Herodotus, being one of the twelve cities of the

  • Mentioned in all the different lives of Homer. The nailie or epithet of Homer,

Meletigenei, can hardly be of late date> but must have descended from the early epic poets.

t See Pseudo-Plutarch, ii. 2. Ephoms was likewise, evidently, the chief autho- rity followed by the author of the life of Homer, which goes by the name of Hero- dotus.

X Pseudo-Plutarch, ii. 2. The connexion between the SmymsBan and Colophonian origin of Homer is intimated in the epigram, ibid. L 4, which calls Homer the son of Meles, and at the same time makes Colophon his native countiy.

§ See Strabo's detailed explanation^ xiv. p. 633 — 4.

I) Strabo^ xiv. p. 632 — 3. Doubtless, likewise the Smymseau worship of Nemesis was derived from Rhamnus in Attica. The rhetorician Aristides gives many fabu* lous accoimts of the Athenian colony at Smyrna in several places.

% Pseudo-Herodot. Vit. Hom. c. 2, 38.

    • The oljums was, according to Pseudo-Herod, c 2, a certain Theseus, the ae« 

sceadant of Eumelus of PheraB ; according to Parthenius, 5, the same familv of Admetus the Phersan founded Magnesia on the Msander ; and Cyme, the motner- city of Smyrna, had also received inhabitants from Magnesia. Pseudo-Herod, c. 2,


44 HiSTORY OF THE

^olians, while the Ionic league inchides twelve cities, exclusive of Smyrna*; for the same reason Herodotus is entirely ignorant of the Ephesian settlement in Smyrna. Hence it came to pass, that the lonians — ^we know not exactly at what time — ^were expelled by the iEolians ; upon which they withdrew to Colophon, and were mixed with the other Colophonians, always, however, retaining the wish of reco- vering Smyrna to the Ionic race. In later times the Colophonians, in fact, succeeded in conquering Smyrna, and in expelling the ^olians from itf ; fh)m which time Smyrna remained a purely Ionian city. Concerning the time when this change took place, no express testimony has been preserved ; all that we know for certain is, that it happened before the time of Gyges, king of Lydia, that is, before about the 20th Olympiad, or 700 B. C, since Gyges made war on Smyrna, together with Miletus and Colophon |, which proves the connexion of these cities. We also know of an Olympic victor, in Olymp. 23 (688 B. C), who was an Ionian of Smyrna §. Mimnermus, the elegiac poet, who flourished about Olymp. 37 (630 B. C), was^ descended from these Colophonians who had settled at Smyrna ||.

It cannot be doubted that the meeting of these different tribes in this corner of the coast of Asia Minor contributed by the various elements which it put in motion to produce the active and stirring spirit which would give birth to such works as the Homeric poems. On the one side there were the lonians from Athens, virith their notions of their noble- minded, wise, and pnident goddess Athena, and of their brave and philan- thropic heroes, among whom Nestor, as the ancestor of the Ephesian and Milesian kings, is also to be reckoned. On the other side were the Ackceansy the chief race among the JSolians of Cyme, with the princes of Agamemnon's family at their head^, vrith all the claims whicn were bound up with the name of the king of men, and a large body of legends which referred to the exploits of the Pelopids, particularly the taking of Troy. United vrith them were various warlike bands from Locris, Thessaly, and Euboea ; but, especially colonists from Boeotia, with their Heliconian worship of the Muses and their hereditary love for poetry**.

§ 3. If this conflux and intermixture of different races contributed pow-

The Homeric epigram 4; in Pseudo-Herod, c. 14, mentions X»$i i^iKmvt as the founders of Smyrna ; thereby meaning the Locrian tribe, which, deriving its origin from Phricion, near Thermopylae, founded Cyme Phriconis^ and also Larissa Phri- couis.

  • i. 1^9. f Herod, i. 150. comp. i. 16. Pausan. vii. 5, 1.

X Herod. L 14; Pausanias, iv. 21, 3, also states distinctly that the Smyrnseaus were at that time lonians. Nor would Mimnermus have sung the exploits of the Smyrnaeans in this war if they had not been lonians.

§ Pausan. v. 8, 3. || Mimnermus in Strabo, xiv. p. 634.

% Strabo, xiii. p. 582. An Agamemnon, king of Cyme, is mentioned by Pollux, ix. 83.

    • On the connexion of Cyme with Boeotia^ see below, ch. 8. v 1


LITERATURE OP ANCIENT QREPXR. 45

edully to stimulate the mental energies of the people, and to develop tlie traditionary accounts of former times, as well as to create and modify the epic dialect ; yet it would be satisfactory if we could advance a step farther, and cletermine to which race Homer himself belonged. There does not appear to be sufficient reason, either in the name or the accounts of Homer, to dissolve him into a mere fabulous and ideal being : we see Hesiod, with all his minutest family relations, standing before our eyes ; and if Homer was by an admiring posterity represented as the son of a nymph, on the other hand, Hesiod relates how he was visited by the Muses. Now, the tradition which called Homer a Smyrnsan, evidently (against the opinion of Antimachus) placed him in the ^olic time ; and the Homeric epigram*, in which Smyrna is called the ^olian, although considerably later than Homer himself, in whose mouth it is placed, is yet of much importance, as being the testimony of a Homerid who lived before the conquest of Smyrna by the Colophonians. Another argu- ment to the same effect is, that Melanopus, an ancient Cymeean com- poser of hymns, who, among the early bards, has the best claim to his- torical re^ity, the supposed author of a hymn referring to the Delian worship ty in various genealogies collected by the logographers and other mythologists is called the grandfather of Homer X ; whence it appears, that when these genealogies were fabricated, the Smyrnsan pcet was connected with the Cymeean colony. The critics of antiquity have also remarked some traits of manners and usages described in Homer, which were borrowed from the ^olians : the most remarkable is that Bubrastis%j mentioned by Homer as a personification of unap- peased huiiger, had a temple in Smyrna which was referred to the ^olian time|.

Notwithstanding these indications, every one who carefully notes in the Homeric poems all the symptoms of national feelings and recollec- tions of home, will find himself drawn to the other side, and will, with Aristarchus, recognize the beat of an Ionic heart in the breast of Homer. One proof of this is the reverence which the poet shows for the chief gods of the lonians, and, moreover, in their character of Ionic deities. For Pallas Athensea is described by him as the Athenian goddess, who loves to dwell in the temple on the Acropolis of Athens, and also hastens from the land of the Phaeacians to Marathon and Athenji^ : Poseidon likewise is known to Homer as peculiarly the Heliconian god, that is the deity of the Ionian league, to whom the lonians celebrated national festivals both

  • Epigr. Homer, 4. in Pseudo-Herod. 14.

t Pausan. v. 7, A, according to Brkker's edition. From this it appears that Pau- lanias makes Melanopus later than Oleu, and earlieir than Aristeasi

X See Hellanieus and others in Produs Vita Homeri, and Pseudo-Herod, c. 1.

§ IL zziv. 532 ; and compare the Venetian Scholia.

\\ According to the Itmica of Metrodorus in Plutaich Quiest. Symp. vi. 8. 1. Fustathios, on the other hand, ascribes the worship to the lonians.

^ Od. vii. 80. Compare II. xi. 547.


46 HISTORY OF TUE

in Peloponnesus and in Asia Minor*^ : in describing Nestor's sacrifice (o Poseidon, moreover, the poet doubtless was mindful of those which his successors, the Nelids, were wont to solemnize, as kings of the lonians. Among the heroes, Ajax, the son of Telamon, is not repre- sented by Homer, as he was by the Dorians of ^gina and most of the Greeks, as being an iBacid and the kinsman of Achilles (otherwise some mention of this relationship must have occurred), but he is considered merely as a hero of Salamis, and is placed in conjunction with Menes- theus the Athenian : hence it must be supposed that he, as well as the Attic logographer Pherecydes t> considered Ajax as being by origin an Attic Salaminian hero. The detailed statement of the Hellenic descent of the Lycian hero Glaucus in his famous encounter with Diomed, gains a fresh interest, when we bear in mind the Ionic kings of the race of Glaucus mentioned above J. Moreover, with respect to political insti- tutions and political phraseology, there are many symptoms of Ionian usage in Homer : thus the Phratrias, mentioned in the Iliad, occur else- where only in Ionic states ; the Thetes^ as labourers for hire without land, are the same in Homer as in Solon's time at Athens ; Demos, also, in the sense both of "flat country" and of "common people," appears to be an Ionic expression. A Spartan remarks in Plato §, that Homer represents an Ionic more than a Lacedaemonian mode of life ; and, in truth, many customs and usages may be mentioned, which were spread among the Greeks by the Dorians, and of which no trace appears in Homer. Lastly, besides the proper localities of the two poems, the local knowledge of the poet appears peculiarly accurate and distinct in northern Ionia and the neighbouring Mseonia, where the Asian mea- dow and the river Cayster with its swans, the Gygaean lake, and Mount Tmolusll, where Sipylon with its Achelous^, appear to be known to him, as it were, from youthful recollections.

If one may venture, in this dawn of tradition, to follow the faint light of these memorials, and to bring their probable result into connexion with the history of Smyrna, the following may be considered as the sum of the above inquiries. Homer was an Ionian belonging to one of the families which went from Ephesus to Smyrna, at a time when Cohans and Achseans composed the chief part of the population of the city, and when, moreover, their hereditary traditions respecting the expedition of the Greeks against Troy excited the greatest interest ; whence he recon- ciles in his poetical capacity the conflict of the contending races, inas-

  • Iliad, viii 203 ; xx. 404 j with the Scholia. Epigr. Horn. vi. in Pseudo-Heiod. 1 7.

t ApoUod. in. 12, 6.

X Above, p. 31, note }. No use has here been made of the suspicious passages, which might have been interpolated in the age of Pisistratus. Concerning Homer's Attic tendency in mythical points, see also Pseudo-Herod, c. 28.

§ Leg. iiL p. 680. || lUad, ii. 865 ; xx. 392.

% Iliad, xxiv. 615. It is evident from the Scholia that the Homeric Achelo\i8 ii the brook Achelous which runs from Sipylon to Smyrna.


LITERATURE OP ANCIENT GREECE. 47

much as he treats an Achsean subject with the elegance and geniality of an Ionian. But when Smyrna drove out the lonians, it deprived itself of this poetical renown ; and the settlement of the Homerids in Chios was, in all probability, a consequence of the expulsion of the lonians from Smyrna.

It may, moreover, be observed that according to this account, founded on the history of the colonies of Asia Minor, the time of Homer would M a few generations after the Ionic migration to Asia: and with this determination the best testimonies of antiquity agree. Such are the computation of Herodotus, who places Homer vnth Hesiod 400 years before his time*, and that of the Alexandrine chronologists, who place him 100 years after the Ionic migration, 60 years before the legislation of Lycurgnsf: although the variety of opinions on this subject which prevailed among the learned writers of antiquity cannot be reduced within these limits.

§ 4. Ttas Homer, then (of the circumstances of whose life we at leas know the little just stated), was the person who gave epic poetry its first ^reat impulse; into the causes of which we shall now proceed to inquire. Before Homer, as we have already seen, in general only single actions and adventures were celebrated in short lays. The heroic mythology had prepared the way for the poets by grouping the deeds of the prin- cipal heroes into large masses, so that they had a natural connexion with each other, and referred to some common fundamental notion. Now, as the general features of the more considerable legendary collections were known, the poet had the advantage of being able to narrate any one action of Hercules, or of one of the Argive champions agakist Thebes, or of the Achseans against Troy; and at the same time of being certain that the scope and purport of the action (viz. the elevation of Hercules to the gods, and the fated destruction of Thebes and Troy) would be present to the minds of his hearers, and that the individual adventure would thus be viewed in its proper connexion. Thus doubtless for a long time the bards were satisfied with illustrating single points of the heroic mythology with brief epic lays ; such as in later times were produced by several poets of the school of Hesiod. It was also possible, if it was desired, to form from them longer series of adventures of the same hero; but they always remained a collection of independent poems OQ the same subject, and never attained to that unity of character and composition which constitutes one poem. It was an entirely new phenomenon, which could not fail to make the greatest impression, when a poet selected a subject of the heroic tradition, which (besides its connexion with the other parts of the same legendary cycle) had in itself the means of awakening a lively interest, and of satisfying the mind , and at the same time admitted of such a development that the principal personages could be represented as acting each vrith a peculiar and indi-

  • Herod, ii. 53. t ApoUod. Fragm, i« p. 410, ed. Eft^u«.


48 HISTORY OV THE

vidual character, without obscuring the chief hero and the main action of the poem.

One legendary subject, of this extent and interest, Homer found in the anger of Achilles; and another in the return of Ulysses.

§ 5. The first is an event which did not long precede the final destruction of Troy ; inasmuch as it produced the death of Hector, who was the defender of the city. It was doubtless the ancient tradition, established long before Homer's time, that Hector had been slain by Achilles, in revenge for the slaughter of his friend Patroclus : whose fall in battle, unprotected by the son of Thetis, was explained by the tradi- tion to have arisen from the anger of Achilles against the other Greeks for an affront offered to him, and his consequent retirement from the contest. Now the poet seizes, as the most critical and momentous period of the action, the conversion of Achilles from the foe of the Greeks into that of the Trojans ; for as, on the one hand, the sudden revolution in the fortunes of war, thus occasioned, places the prowess of Achilles in the strongest light, so, on the other hand, the change of his firm and reso* lute mind must have been the more touching to the feelings of the hearers. From this centre of interest there springs a long preparation and gradual development, since not only the cause of the anger of Achilles, but also the defeats of the Greeks occasioned by that anger, were to be narrated ; and the display of the insufficiency (^ all the other heroes at the same time oH'ered the best opportunity for exhibiting their several excellencies. It is in the arrangement of this preparatory part and its connexion with the catastrophe that the poet displays his perfect acquaintance with all the mysteries of poetical composition ; and in his continued postponement of the crisis of the action, and his scanty reve- lations with respect to the plan of the entire work, he shows a maturity of knowledge, which is astonishing for so early an age. To all appearance the poet, afler certain obstacles have been first overcome, tends only to one point, viz. to increase perpetually the disasters of the Greeks, which they have drawn on themselves by the injury offered to Achilles : and Zeus himself, at the beginning, is made to pronounce, as coming from him- self, the vengeance and consequent exaltation of the son of Thetis. At the same time, however, the poet plainly shows his wish to excite in the feelings of an attentive hearer an anxious and perpetually increasing desire, not only to see the Greeks saved from destruction, but also that the unbearable and more than human haughtiness and pride of Achilles should be broken. Both these ends are attained through the fulfil- ment of the secret counsel of Zeus^ which he did not communicate to Thetis, and through her to Achilles (who, if he had known it, would have given up all enmity against the Achseans), but only to Hera, and to her not till the middle of the poem * ; and Achilles, through the loss

  • Thetis had said nothing to Achilles of th-i loss of Patroclus (II. xvii. 41 1\ for

she herself did not know of ir. II. xviii. 63. Zeus also lon^ conceals his \ laus


LITERATUilR OF ANCIENT GREECE. 49-

of his dearest friend, whoir he had sent to battle, not . to save the Greeks, but for his own glory *j suddenly changes his hostile attitude towards the Greeks, and is overpowered by entirely opposite feelings. In this manner the exaltation of the son of Thetis is united to tiiat almost imperceptible operation of destiny, which the Greeks were re- quired to observe in all human attairs.

It is evident that the Iliad does not so much aim at the individual exaltation of Achilles, as at that of the hero before whom all the other Grecian heroes humble themselves, and through whom alone the Tro- jans were to be subdued. The Grecian poetry has never shown itself favourable to the absolute elevation of a single individual^ not even if he was reckoned the greatest of their heroes ; and hence a character Kke that of Achilles could not excite the entire sympathy of the poet. It is dear that the poet conceives his hero as striving afler something super-human and inhuman. Hence he falls from one excess of passion into another, as we see in his insatiable hatred to the Greeks, his despe- fate grief for Patroclus, and his vehement anger against Hector ; but still it is impossible to deny that Achilles is the first, greatest, and most ele- vated character of the Iliad ; we find in him, quite distinct from his heroic strength, which far eclipses that of all the others, a god-like lofti- ness of soul. Ck>mpared with the melancholy which Hector, however determined, carries with him to the field of battle, anticipating the dark destiny that awaits him, how lofty is the feeling of Achilles, who sees his early death before his eyes, and, knowing how close it must Mow upon the slaughter of Hector t* yet, in spite of this, shows the most determined resolution before, and the most dignified calmness after the deed. Achilles appears greatest at the funeral games and at the inter- new with Priam, — a scene to be compared with no other in ancient poe- try; in which, both virith the heroes of the event and with the hearers national hatred and personal ambition, and all the hostile and most opposite feelings, dissolve themselves intp the gentlest and most humane, jnst as the human countenance beams vrith some new expression after long-concealed and passionate grief; and thus the purifying and ele- vating process which the character of Achilles undergoes, and by which the divine part of his nature is freed from all obscurities, is one continued idea running through the whole of the poem ; and the manner in which -this process is at the same time communicated to the mind of a hearer,

fiom Hera and the other gods, notwithstanding their anger on account of the suf- ferings of the Acheeans : he does nut reveal them to Hera till after his sleep upon Ida. II. XV. 65. The spuriousness of the verses (11. viii. 475 — 6) was recognized by the ancients, although the principal objection to them is not mentioned. See Schol. Ven. A.

  • Homer does not wish that the going forth of Patroclus should be considered as

a sign that Achilles' wrath is appeased : Achilles, on this very occasion, expresses a wish that no Greek may escape death, but that they two alone, Achilles and Patro- clus, may mount the walls of Ilion. 11. xvi. 97.

t Iliad, xviiL 95 ; xix.417« 


53 HISTORY OF THB

placed the building of these walls immediately afler the landing** This endeavour to comprehend every thing in one poem also shows itself in another circumstance, — that some of the events of the war lying within this poem are copied from others not included in it. Thus the wounding of Diomed by Paris, in the heel t* is taken Irom the story of the death of Achilles, and the same event furnishes the general outlines of the death of Patroclus ; as in both, a god and a man together bring about the accomplishment of the will of fate |.

§ 7. The other -motive for the great extension of the preparatory pari of the catastrophe may, it appears, be traced to a certain conflict between the plan of the poet and his own patriotic feelings. An attentive reader cannot fail to observe that while Homer intends that the Greeks should be made to suffer severely from the anger of Achilles, he is yet, as it were, retarded in his progress towards that end by a natural endeavour to avenge the death of each Greek by that of a yet more illustrious Trojan, and thus to increase the glory of the numerous Achaean heroes; so that, even on the days in which the Greeks are defeated, more Trojans than Greeks are described as being slain% Admitting that the poet, living among the descendants of these Achaean heroes, found more legends about them than about the Trojans in circulation, still the intro- duction of them into a poem, in which these very Achaeans were de- scribed as one of the parties in a war, could not fail to impart to it a national character. How short is the narration of the second dav's battle in the eighth book, where the incidents follow their direct course, under the superintendence of Zeus, and the poet is forced to allow the Greeks to be driven back to their camp (yet even then not without severe loss to the Trojans), in comparison with the narrative of the first day's battle, which, besides many others, celebrates the exploits of Diomed, and extends from the second to the seventh book ; in which Zeus appears, as it were, to have forgotten his resolution and his promise to Thetis. The exploits of Diomed § are indeed closely connected with the violation of the treaty, inasmuch as the death of Pandarus, whidi became necessary in order that his treachery might be avenged, is the work of Tydides || ; but they have been greatly extended, particularly by the battles with the gods, which form the characteristic feature of the legend of Diomed ^ : hence in this part of the Iliad oarticularly, sUght

  • Tbuc. i. 11 . The attempt of the scholiast to remove the difficulty^ by supposbg

a smaller and a larger bulwark, is absurd,

t II. xi. 377.

X II xiz. 417 ; xxii. 359. It was the fate of Achilles, itf r$ nmi m/t^t l^t ht^n^mu

II II. V. 290. Homer does not make on this occasion the reflection which one expects ; but it is his practice rather to leave the requisite morai impreuum to be made by the simple combination of the events, without adding any comment of his own.

^ Diomed, in the Argive mytholofsv* which referred to Pallas, was a being closely connected with this goddess, her shield-bearer and defender of the Pfuladiuia^


UTEAATimB OF ANCIENT QHEECE. &3

fnconsistendes of difierent passages and interruptions in the connexion have arisen. We may mention especially the contradictory expressions of Diomed and his counsellor Athena, as to whether a contest with the gods was advisable or not*. Another inconsistency is that remarked by the ancients with respect to the breastplate of Diomed t; this, however, is re* moved, if we consider the scene between Diomed and Glaucus as an inter- polation added by an Homerid of Chios ; perhaps, with the view of doing honour to some king of the race of Glaucus }. With regard to the night-scenes, which take up the tenth book §, a remarkable statement has been preserved, that tHey were originally a separate book, and were first inserted in the Iliad by Pisistratus ||. This account is so far sup- ported, that not the slightest reference is made, either before or afler, to the contents of this book, especially to the arrival of Rhesus in the Trojan camp, and of his horses taken by Diomed and Ulysses; and the whole book may be omitted without leaving any perceptible chasm. But it is evident that this book was written for the particular place in which we find it, in order to fill up the remainder of the night, and to add another to the achievements of the Grecian heroes ; for it could neither stand by itself nor form a part of any other poem.

§ 8. That the first part of the Iliad, up to the Battle at the Ships, has, as compared with the remaining part, a more cheerful, sometimes even a Jocose character, while the latter has a grave and tragic cast, which extends its influence even over the choice of expressions, naturally arises from the nature of the subject itself. The ill-treatment of Ther- dtes, the cowardly flight of Paris into the arms of Helen, the credulous folly of Pandarus, the bellowing of Mars, and the feminine tears of Aphrodite when wounded by Diomed, are so many amusing and even spcnrtive passages from the first books of the Iliad, such as cannot be found in any of the latter books. The countenance of the ancient bard, which in the beginning assumed a serene character, and is sometimes brightened with an ironical smile, obtains by degrees an excited tragic iezpression. Although there are good grounds in the plan of the Iliad for this difference, yet there is reason to doubt whether the beginning of

Hence he is, in Homer, placed in a closer relation with the Olympic gods than any other hero : Pallas driving his chariot, and giving him courage to encounter Ares, Aphrodite, and even Apollo, in battle. It is particularly observable that Diomed jiever fights with Hector, but with Ares, who enables Hector to conquer.

  • n.v. 130,434,827; vi. 128.

t II. vi. 230 $ and viii. 194. The inconsistency with regard to Pylsemenes is also removed, if we sacrifice v. 579, and retain xiii. 658. Of less importance, as it seems to me, is the oblivion of the mewage to Achilles, which is laid to the charge of Patrodus. II. zi. 839; rv. 390. May not Patrocliis have sent a messenger to inform Achilles of what he wished to kuow ? The non-observance by Polydamas of the advice which he himself gives to Hector (II. xiL 75 ; xv. 354, 447 ; xvi. 367) is easily excused by the natural weakness of humanity*

I AboTe, p. 31, note §.

^ Vv*Ttyi^^i» and AoXMfiiet,

il Schol. Yen. ad II. x« 1 ; Eastatb. p. 785, 41^ ed. Rom.


54 HISTORY OF THE

the second book, in which this humorous tone is most apparent, was written by the ancient Homer or by one of the later Homerids. Zeus undertakes to deceive Agamemnon, for, by means of a dream, be gives him great courage for the battle. Agamemnon himself adopts a second deceit against the Achaeans, for he, though full of the hopes of victory, yet persuades the Acheeans that he has determined on the return home ; in this, however, his expectations are again deceived in a ludicrous man- ner by the Greeks, whom he had only wished to try, in order to stimu- late them to the battle, but who now are determined to fly in the ut- most haste, and, contrary to the decree of fate,' to leave Troy uninjured, if Ulysses, at the suggestion of the gods, had not held them back. Here is matter for an entire mythical comedy y full of 6ne irony, and with an amusing plot, in which the deceiving and deceived Agamemnon is the chief character ; who, with the words, " Zeus has played me a pretty trick*," at the same time that he means to invent an ingenious false- hood, unconsciously utters an impleasant truth. But this Homeric comedy, which is extended through the greater part of the second book, cannot possibly belong to the original plan of the Iliad ; for Agamem- non, two days later, complaining to the Greeks of being deceived by former signs of victory which Zeus had shown him, uses in earnest the same words which he had here used in joke f. But it is not conceivable that Agamemnon (i£ the laws of probability were respected) should be represented as able seriously to repeat the complaint which he had before feigned, without, at the same time, dwelling on the inconsistency be- tween his present and his former opinion. It is, moreover, evident, that the graver and shorter passage did not grow out of the more comic and longer one ; but that the latter is a copious parody of the former, composed by a later Homerid, and inserted in the room of an original shorter account of the arming of the Greeks.

§ 9. But of all the parts of the Iliad, there is none of which the dis- crepancies with the rest of the poem are so manifest as the Cat(i- logue of ike Ships, already alluded to. Even the ancients had critical doubts on some passages ; as, for instance, tlie manifestly intentbnal association of the ships of Ajax with those of the Athenians, which appears to have been made solely for the interest of the Athenian houses (the Eurysacids and Philaids), which deduced their origin from Ajax ; and the mention of the PajiheUemans, whom (contrary to Homer's invariable usage) the Locrian Ajax surpasses in the use of the spear. But still more important are the mythico-historical discrepancies between the Catalogue and the Iliad itself. Meges, the son of Phyleus, is in the Catalogue King of Dulichium ; in the Iliad J, King of the Epeans, dwelling in Elis. The Catalogue here follows the tradition, which waB

  • II. ii. 114, vy» Vi Kuxh ardrnv fiauktverare.

t II. ii. 111—18 and 139—41 correspond to H. ix. 18—28,

I 11. xiii. 692} xv. 519.


IITBRATURB OF ANCIENT GREECE. 55

bIso known in later times*, that Phyleus, the father of Meges, quarrelled with his father Augeas, and left his home on this account. Medoiij a natural son of Oileus, is described in the Catalogue as commanding the troops of Philoctetes, which coftie from Methone ; but in the Iliad as lead- ing the Phthians ty inhabiting Phylace, who, in the Catalogue, form quite a different kingdom, and are led by Podarces instead of Protesilaus. With mich manifest contradictions as these one may venture to attach some weight to the less obvious marks of a fundamental difference of views of a more general ki nd. Agamemnon, accordi ng to the Iliad, governs from Mycens the whole of Argos (that is, the neighbouring part of Peloponne- sus), and many islands^ ; according to the Catalogue,he governs no islands whatever ; but, on the other hand, his kingdom comprises ^gialeia, \ihich did not become Ach2Ban till after the expulsion of the lonians §«  With respect to the Boeotians, the poets of the Catalogue have entirely foigotten that they dwelt in Thessaly at the time of the Trojan war ; for they describe the whole nation as already settled in the country afler^ wards called BoeotiaH. That heroes and troops of men joined the Aeh«an army fh)m the. eastern side of the ^gean Sea and the islands on the coast of Asia Minor, is a notion of which the Iliaii offers no trace ; it knows nothing of the heroes of Co9^ Phidippus and Antiphus, nor anything of the beautiful Nireus from Syme ; and as it is not said of Tlepolemus that he came from Rhodes, but only that he was a son of Hercules, it is most natural to understand that the poet of the Iliad conceived him as a Tirynthian hero. The mention in the Catalogue of a whole line of islands on the coast of Asia Minor destroys the beauty ttnd unity of the picture of the belligerent nations contained in the Iliad, which makes the allies of the Trojans come only from the east and north of the iEgean Sea, and Achaean warriors come only from the west^^ The poets of the Catalogue have also made the Arcadians under Aga* penor, as well as the Perrhsbians and the Magnetes, fight before Troy* The purer tradition of the Iliad does not mix up these Pelasgic tribes <lbr, among all the Greeks, the Arcadians and PerrhcBbians remained most Pelasgic) in the ranks of the Achsean army.

If the enumeration of the Achaean bands is too detailed, and goes beyond the intention of the original poet of the Iliad, on the other hand, the CcUalogtie of the Trojans and their allies is much below the notion

  • Gallimachus ap. Schol. 11. ii. 629. Comp. Theocrit. zxi.

t lU xiiL 693 j xv. 334. % II. ii. 108.

( Here, in particular, the verse (11. ii. 572), in which Adrastus is named as first lung of Sicyon, compared with Herod. ▼. 67 — 8, clearly shows the objects of the Argive rhapsodist.

H There is, likewise, in the Iliad a passage (not, indeed, of much importance) which .speaks of BcgotUmt in Boeoiia. II. v. 709. For this reason Thucydides assumed that aa iTtht^fAos of the Boeotians had at this time settled in Boeotia ; which, however, is not sufficient for the Catalogue.

% The account of the RhodiaM in the Catalogue also, by its great length, hetrays the intention of a rhapsodist to celebrate this island.


56 HISTOftY OF THB

which the Ihad itself ^ves of the forces of the Trojans: this altogether omifs the important allies, the Caucones and the Leleges, both of whom oftea occur in the Iliad, and the latter inhabited the celebrated city of Pedasus, on the Satnioeis *. Among the princes wimentioned in this Catalogue, Asteropseos, the leader and hero of the Peeonians, is particularly ob«  servable, who arrived eleven days before the battle with Achilles, and, therefore, before the review in Uie second book t> and at least deserved to be named as well as Pyrschmes |. On the other hand, this Catalpgue has some names, which are wanting in the parts of the Iliad, where they would naturally recur §. But we have another more decided proof that the Catalogue of the Trojans is of comparatively recent date, and was composed after that of the Achsans. The Cyprian poem, which was intended solely to serve as an introduction to the Iliad ||, gave at its con- clusion (that is, immediately before the beginning of the action of the Iliad) a list of the Trojan allien ^; which certainly would not have been the case if, in the second book of the Iliad, as it then existed, not the Achsans alone but also the Trojans had been enumerated. Perhaps our present Catalogue in the Iliad is only an abridgment of that in the Cyprian poem ; at least, then, the omission of Asteropseus could be ex- plained, for if he came eleven days before the battle just mentioned, he would not (according to Homer's chronology) have arrived till afler the beginning of the action of the Iliad, that is, the sending of the plague.

But from the observations on these two Catalogues may be drawn other inferences, besides that they are not of genuine Homeric origin : 6rst, that the rhapsodists, who composed these parts, had not the Iliad before them in writing, so as to be able to refer to it at pleasure ; other- wise, how should they not have discovered that Medon lived at Phy- lace, and such like particulars; 2dly, that these later poets did not retain the entire Iliad in their memory, but that in this attempt to give an ethnographical survey of the forces on each side, they allowed them- selves to be guided by the parts which they themselves knew by heart and could recite, and by less distinct reminiscences of the rest of the poem.

§ 10. A far less valid suspicion than that which has been raised

  • For the Caucones, see II. x. 429 ; zx. 329. For the Leleges, II. z. 429 ; xz. 96;

zxi. 86. Comp. vi. 35.

f See n. xxi. 155 ; also ui. 102 ; xviii. 351.

\ II. ii. 848. The author of this Catalogue must have thought only of II. xvL 287 The scholiast, on II. ii. 844, Li also quite correct in missing Iphidamaa; who, indeed, was a Trojan, the son of Antenor and Theano, hut was furnished by his maternal grandfather, a Thracian prince, with a fleet of twelve ships. II. zi. 221.

& For example, the soothttayer Eunonau, who, according to the Catalogue (II. ii. 861), was slain by Achilles in the river, of which there is no mention in the Iliad. So likewise Amphimacktis, II. ii. 871. . II See below, chap. vi. § 4.

^ xo) Mmr«i>.«y6s rSv Ttut Tfifft fvfitiMiX'>^^*^^*i P'OClus in Gaisford's! p. 476.


LXTERATUaE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 57

tgaili&t the first part of the Iliad, principally against the second, and also against the fiflh, sixth, and tenth books, rests on the later ones, and on those which follow the death of Hector. A tragedy, which treated its subject dramatically, might indeed have closed with the death of Hector, but no epic poem could have been so concluded ; as in that it is necessary that the feeling which has been excited should be allowed to subside into calm. This effect is, in the first place, brought about by means of the games ; by which the greatest honour is conferred on Patroclus, and also a complete satisfaction is made to Achilles. But neither would the Iliad at any time have been complete without the cession of the body of Hector to his father, and the honourable burial of the Trojan hero. The poet, who everywhere else shows so gentle and humane a disposition, and such an endeavour to distribute even- handed justice throughout his poem, could not allow the threats of Achilles* to be fulfilled on the body of Hector; but even if this had been the poet's intention, the subject must have been mentioned ; for, according to the notions of the Greeks of that age, the fate of the dead body was almost of more importance than that of the living ; and in- stead of our twenty-fourth book^ a description mast have followed of the manner in which Achilles ill-treated the corpse of Hector, and then cast it for food to the dQgs. Who could conceive such an end to the Iliad possible ? It is plain that Homer, fi*om the first, arranged the plan of the Iliad with a full consciousness that the anger of Achilles against Hector stood in need of some mitigation — of some kind of atonement — and that a gentle, humane disposition, awaiting futurity with calm feel- ings, was requisite both to the hero and the poet at the end of the poem,

§ 11. The Odyssey is indisputably, as well as the Iliad, a poem pos- sessing an unity of subject ; nor can any one of its chief parts be re- moved without leaving a chasm in the development of the leading idea; bat it differs firom the Iliad in being composed on a more artificial and more complicated plan. This is the case partly, because in the first and greater half, up to the sixteenth book, two main actions are carried on side by side ; partly because the action, which passes within the compass of the poem, and as it were beneath our eyes, is greatly extended by means of an episodical narration^ by which the chief action itself is made distinct and complete, and the most marvellous and strangest part of the story is transferred from the mouth of the poet to that of the inventive hero himself *!*.

The subject of the Odyssey is the return of Ulysses from a land lying beyond the range of human intercourse or knowledge, to a home intaded by bands of insolent intruders, who seek to rob him ofhis wife, and kill his son. Hence, the Odyssey begins exactly at that point

  • Il.xxii. 35; xxiii. 183.

t It appears, howevdr, from his soliloquy, Od. xx. 18 — ^21> that the poet did not intend hit adventures to be considered as imaginary.


58 HISTORY OF THS

where the hero is considered to be farthest from his home, in the island of Ogygia*, at the navel, that is, the central point of the sea ; where the nymph Calypso t has kept him hidden from all mankind for seven years ; thence having, by the help of the gods, who pity his misfortunes^ passed through the dangers prepared for him by his implacable enemy, Poseidon, he gains the land of the Fhaeacians, a careless, peaceable, and effeminate nation on the confines of the earth, to whom war is only known by means of poejfcry ; borne by a marvellous Phseacian vessel, he reaches Ithaca sleeping ; here he is entertained by the honest swine- herd Eumseus, and having been introduced into his own house as a beg- gar, he is there made to suffer the harshest treatment from the suitors, in order that he may aflerwards appear with the stronger right as a terri- ble avenger. With this simple story a poet might have been satisfied ; and we should even in this form, notwithstanding its smaller extent, have placed the poem almost on an equality with the Iliad. But the poet, to whom we are indebted for the Od^Bsey in its complete form, has interwoven a second story, by which the poem is rendered much richer and more complete ; although, indeed, from the union of two actions, some roughnesses have been produced, which perhaps with a plan of this kind could scarcely be avoided J.

For while the poet represents the son of Ulysses, stimulated by Athena, coming forward in Ithaca with newly excited courage, and calling the suitors to account before the people ; and then afterwards describes him as travelling to Pylos and Sparta to obtain intelligence of his lost father; he gives us a picture of Ithaca and its anarchical con- dition, and of the rest of Greece in its state of peace after the return of the princes, which produces the finest contrast; and, at the same time, prepares Telemachus for playing an energetic part in the work c^ vengeance, which by this means becomes more probable.

Although these remarks show that the arrangement of the Odyssey is essentially different from that of the Iliad, and bears marks of a more artificial and more fiilly developed state of the epos, yet there is much that is common to the two poems in this respect ; particularly that pro- found comprehension of the means of straining the curiosity, and of keeping up the interest by new and unexpected turns of the narrative. The decree of Zeus is as much delayed in its execution in the Odyssey as it is in the Iliad : as, in the latter poem, it is not till after the building of the walls that Zeus, at the request of Thetis, takes an active part.

  • *Qyvyi(t from 'flyuyw, who was originally a deity of the watery expanse which

covers all things.

f KuXxr^m, the Concealer.

J There would be nothing abrupt in the transition from Menelaus to the suitors in Od. iv. 624, if it fell at the beginning of a new book ; and, yet this division into books is a mere contrivance of the Alexandrine grammarians. The four verses 620-4, which are unquestionably spurious^ are a meie useless interpolation ; as they contri- bute nothing to the junction of the parts.


LITERATUm O^ A.NCIENT lOREECE. 59

tt^ninst the Greeks ; so, in the Odyssey, he appears at the very be^n* ning willing to acquiesce in the proposal of Athena for the return of Ulysses, but does not in reality despatch Hermes to Calypso till several days later, in the fiflh book. It is evident that the poet is impressed with a conception familiar to the Greeks, of a divine destiny, slow in its preparations, and apparentiy delaying, but on that very account marching with the greater certainty to its end. We also perceive in the Odyssey the same artifice as that pointed out in the Iliad, of turning the expectation of the reader into a difierent direction from that which the narrative is afterwards to take; but, from the nature of the subject, chiefly in single scattered passages. The poet plays in the most agreeable manner with us, by holding out other means by which the necessary work of vengeance on the suitors maybe accomplished ; and also afler we have arrived somewhat nearer the true aim, he still has in store another foeautifiil invention with which to surprise us. Thus the exhortation twice addressed to Telemachus in the same words, in the early books of the Odyssey, to imitate the example of Orestes* (which strikes deep root in his heart), produces an undefined expectation that he himself may attempt something against the suitors ; nor is the true meaning of it perceived, matil Tdemachus places himself so undauntedly at.his father's side. After- waids, when the father and son have arranged their plan for taking vengeance, they think of assaulting the suitors, hand to hand, with lance and sword, in a combat of very doubtful issue f. The bow of Eurytus, from whidi Ulysses derives such great advantage, is a new and unex- pected idea. Athena suggests to Penelope the notion of proposing it to the suitors as a prize {, and although the ancient legend doubtless repre- sented Ulysses overcoming the suitors with this bow, yet the manner in which it is brought ipto his hands is a very ingenious contrivance of the poet§. As in the Iliad the deepest interest prevails between the Battle at the Ships and the Death of Hector, so in the Odyssey the narrative begins, with the fetdiing of the bow (at the outset of the twenty-first book), to assume a lofly tone, which is mingled with an almost painful expectation ; and the poet makes use of every thing which the legend offered, as the gloomy forebodings of Theoclymenus (who is only intro- duced in order to prepare for this scene of horror ||) and the coutempo-

♦Od.i.302; iii.200.

f Od. xvi. 295* The eifiirtiets of Zenodotus^ as usual, rests on insufficieut grounds, and would deprive the story of an important point of its progress. ♦ Od. Ed. 4.

§ That this part of the poem is founded on ancient tradition appears from the fact that the ^tolian tribe of the Eurytamaru, who derived their origin from Eurytus (prohably the iEtolian (Echalia also belonged to this nation, Strabo, x. p. 448), pos- ■tflted an arae/e of Ulyues, Lycophron, v. 799 $ and the Scholia from Aristotle.

II Among these the disappearance of the sun (Od. xx. 356) is to be observed, which 4fl connected with the return of Ulysies during the new moon (Od. xiv. 162; xix. 307), when an eclipse of the sun could take place. This also appears to be a trace of ancient tradition.


60 HISTORY OF THS

raneous festival of ApoUo (who fully grants the prayer of Ulysses t0 secure him glory in the hattle with the bow *), in order to heighten the marvellous and in^iriting parts of the scene.

§ 12. It is plain that the plan of the Odyssey, as well as of the Hied, offered many opportunities for eTdargementj by the insertion of new passages ; and many irregularities in the course of the narration and its occasional difiuseness may be explained in this manner. The latter, for example, is observable in the amusements offered to Ulysses when en* tertained by the Phseacians ; and even some of the ancients questioned the genuineness of the passage about the dance of the Phseadans and the song of Demodocus on the loves lof Ares and Aphrodite, although this part of the Odyssey appears to have been at least extant in the 50fli Olympiad, when the chorus of the Pheeadans was represented on the throne of the Amyclsean Apollo *{*. So likewise Ulysses' account of his adventures contains many interpolations, particularly in the ndcyia^ or invocation of the dead, where the ancients had already attributed an important passage (which, in fact, destroys the unity and connexion of the narrative) to the diaskeiiastm^ or interpolators, among others, to the Orphic Onomacritus, who, in the time of the Pisistratids, was employed in collecting the poems of Homer X- Moreover, the Alexandrine criticsi Aristophanes and Aristarchus, considered the whole of the last part from the recognition of Penelope, as added at a later period §. Nor can it be denied that it has great defects ; in particular, the description of the arrival of the suitors in the infernal regions is only a second and feebler nekyia, which does not precisely accord with the first, and is introduced in this place without sufficient reason. At the same time, the Odyssey could never have been considered as concluded, until Ulysses had embraced his father Laertes, who is so oflen mentioned in the course of the poem, and until a peaceful state of things had^^en restored, or began to be restored, in Ithaca. It is not therefore likely that the original Odyssey altogether wanted some passage of this kind; but it was pro- bably much altered by the Homerids, until it assumed the form in which we now possess it.

§ 13. That the Odyssey was written after the Iliad, and that many differences are apparent in the character and manners both of m^n and gods, as well as in the management of the language, is quite clear ; but


  • The festival of Apollo (the nofAnmi) ig alluded to. Od. xx. 156, 250, 278;

258. Gomp. xxi. 267 ; xxii. 7.

f Pausan. ill. 18, 7.

f 'See Schol. Od. zi. 104. The entire passage, from xi. 568-626, was Tejected by the ancients, and with good reason. For whereas Ulysses elsewhere is repienented as merely, by means of his libation of blood, enticing the shades from their dark abodes to the asphodel-meadow, where he is standing, as it were, at the gate of Hades ; in this passage he appears in the midst of the dead, who are firmly bound to certain spots in the infernal regions. The same more recent conception prevails im Od. zxiv, 13, where the dead dwell on the asphodel-meadow*

( From Od. xziii. 296, to the end.


LITERATURB OF ANCIENt GREECE. 61

k is difficult and hazardous to raise upon this foundation any definite conclusions as to the person and age of the poet. With the exception of the anger of Poseidon, who always works unseen in the obscure distance, the gods appear in a milder form ; they act in unison, without dissension or contest, for the relief of mankind, not, as is so often the case in the niad, for their destruction. It is,.however, true, that the subject afforded far less occasion for describing the violent and angry passions and vehe«  ment combats of the gods. At the same time the gods all appear a step higher above the human race ; they are not represented as descending in a bodily form from their dwellings on Mount Olympus, and mixing in the tumult of the battle, but they go about in human forms, only dis- cernible by their superior wisdom and prudence, in the company of the adventurous Ulysses and the intelligent Telemachus. But the chief cause of this difference is to be sought in the nature of the story, and, we may add, in the fine tact of the poet, who knew how to preserve unity of subject and harmony of tone in his picture, and to exclude every thing of which the character did not agree. The attempt of many learned writers to discover a different religion and mythology for the Iliad and the Odyssey leads to the most arbitrary dissection of the two • poems * ; above all, it ought to have been made clear how the fable of the Iliad could have been treated by a professor of this supposed religion of the Odyssey, without introducing quarrels, battles, and vehement excitement among the gods ; in which there would have been no difli-' cahy, if the difference of character in the gods of the two poems were introduced by the poet, and did not grow out of the subject. On the other hand, the human race appears in the houses of Nestor, Menelaus, and especially of Alcinous, in a far more agreeable state, and one of far greater comfonf and luxury than in the Iliad. But where could the enjoyments, to which the Atridee, in their native palace, and the peace- able Phseacians could securely abandon themselves, find a place in the rough camp? Granting, however, that a different taste and feeling is shown in the choice of the subject, and in the whole arrangement of the poem, yet there is not a greater difference than is oflen found in the inclinations of the same man in tHe prime of life and in old age ; and, to speak candidly, we know no other argument adduced by the Chorizontesl^ both of ancient and modem times, for attributing the wonderful genius of Homer to two different individuals. It is certain that the Odyssey, in respect of its plan and the conception of its chief characters, of Ulysses

  • Benjamin Constant, in particular, iu his celebrated work, De la Religion, torn. iii.

has been forced to go this length, as he distinguishes trois etpices de mythohgie in the Homeric poems, and determines from them the age of the different parts.

f The Greek word for this is MfAiin ; which; in the Iliad, is only used for the care •f hones, but in the Odyssey signifies human conveniences and luxuriesj among which hot baihs may be particularly mentioned. See Od. viii. 450.

I Those Gbeek grammarians who attributed the Iliad and Odyssey to diffeitnt •oUiort were called 4 ;^«(<{«mf , ** The Separaters.**


62 HISTORY OP TH£

himself, of Nestor and Menelaiis, stands in the closest affinity with th^ Iliad ; that it always presupposes the existence of the earlier poem, and silently refers to it ; which also serves to explain the remarkable fact, that the Odyssey mentions many occurrences in the life of Ulysses, which lie out of the compass of the action, but not one which is celebrated in the Iliad *. If the completion of the Iliad and the Odyssey seems too vast a work for the lifetime of one man, we may, perhaps, have recourse to the supposition, that Homer, after having sung the Iliad in the vigour of his youthful years, in his old age communicated to some devoted disciple the plan of the Odyssey, which had long been working in his mind, and left it to him for completion.

§ 14. It is certain that we are perpetually met with difficulties in 'en- deavouring to form a notion of the manner in which these great epic poems were composed, at a time anterior to the use of viriting. But these difficulties arise much more from our ignorance of the period, and our incapability of conceiving a creation of the mind without those af^li- ances of which the use has become to us a second nature, than in the general laws of tlie human intellect. Who can determine how many thousand verses a person, thoroughly impregnated vnth his subject, and absorbed in the contemplation of it, might produce in a year, and con- fide to the faithful memory of disciples, devoted to their master and his art ? Wherever a creative genius has appeared it has met with persons of congenial taste, and has found assistants, by whose means it has completed astonishing works in a comparatively. short time. Thus the old bard may have been followed by a number of younger minstrek, to whom it was both a pleasure and a duty to collect and diffiise the honey which flowed from his lips. But it is, at least, certain, that it would be unintelligible how these great epics were composed, unless there had been occasions^ on which they actually appeared in their integrity, and could charm an attentive hearer vnth the full force and effisct of a com- plete poem. Without a connected and continuous recitation they were not finished works ; they were mere disjointed fragments, which might by possibility form a whole. But where were there meals or festivals long enough for such recitations? What attention, it has been asked, could be sufficiently sustained, in order to follow so many thousand verses? If, however, the Athenians could at one festival hear in suc- cession about nine tragedies, three satyric dramas, and as many comedies,

  • We find Ulysses, in his yquth, with Autolycus (Od. xix. 394 ; xxiv. 331 ) during

the expedition aia^ainst Troy in Delos, Od. vi. 162 ; in Lesbos, iv. 341 ; in a contest with Achilles, vui. 75; near the corpse and at the burial of Achilles, v. 308; xxiv. 39; contending for the arms of Achilles, xi. 544 ; contending with Philoctetes in shooting with the bow, viii. 219; secretly in Troy, iv. 242; in the Trojan horse, iv. 270 (comp. viii. 492; xi. 522); at the beginning of the return, iii. 130; and, lastly, going to the men who know not the use of salt, xi. 120. But nothing is said of Ulysses* acts in the Iliad : his punishnaent of Thersites ; the horses of Rhesus ; the battle over the body of Patrgclus, &c. In like manner the Odyssey intentionally records different exploits and adventures of Agamenanon, Achillea, Menelaus, and Nestor, from those celebrated in the Iliad.


LITERATURE OF ANOIBNT GREECE. 65

without ever thinking that it might he hetter to distrihute this enjoyment over the whole year, why should not the Greeks of earlier times have been able to listen to the Iliad, and Odyssey, and, perhaps, other poems, at the same festival ? At a later date, indeed, when the rhapsodist was rivalled by the player on the lyre, the dithyrambic minstrel, and by many other kinds of poetry and music, these latter necessarily abridged the time allowed to the epic reciter ; but in early times, when the epic style reigned without a com|>etitor, it would have obtained an undivided attention. Let us beware of measuring, by our loose and desultory reading, the intension of mind with which a people enthusiastically devoted to such enjoyments *, hung with delight on the flowing strains of the minstrel. In short, there was a time (and the Iliad and Odyssey are the records of it) when the Greek people, not indeed at meals, but at festivals, and under the patronage of their hereditary princes, heard and enjoyed these and other less excellent poems, as they were intended to be heard and enjoyed, viz. as complete wholes. Whether they were, at this early period, ever recited for a prize, and in competition with others, is doubtful, though there is nothing improbable in the suppo- sition. But when the conflux of rhapsodists to the contests because per- petually greater ; when, at the same time, more weight was laid on the art of the reciter than on the beauty of the well-known poem which he recited ; and when, lastly, in addition to the rhapsodizing, a number of other musical and poetical performances claimed a place, then the rhap- sodists were permitted to repeat separate parts of poems, in which they h'lped to excel 3 and the Iliad and Odyssey (as they had not yet been reduced to writing) existed for a time only as scattered and unconnected JragtneTUs \, And we are still indebted to the regulator of the^ contest of rhapsodists at the Panathenaea (whether it was Solon or Plsistratus), for having compelled the rhapsodists to follow one another, according to the order of the poem |, and for having thus restored these great works, which were falling into fragments, to their pristine integrity. It is indeed true that some arbitrary additions may h»ve been made to them at this period ; which, however, we can only hope to be able to distin- guish from the rest of the poem, by first cosiing to some general agree- ment as to the original form and subsequent destiny of the Homeric compositions.

  • Above, p. 30, note f f.

f ^ir^ra^fAua, ^if^tifAttetf ^^ropahw tfiofAttet. See the sure testiraonies on this point in Wolf's Prolegomena; p. cxliii.

X i^ vifXn^uts (or in Diog. Laert i^ v^ofi«Xfif) fayp^hTv,


M niSTOHY OF THE


CHAPTER VI.

) 1. General character of the Cyclic poems. — § 2. The Destruction of Troy and i£thi- opis of Arctinus of Miletus. — § 3. Tlie little Iliad of Lesches. — } 4. The Cypria of Stasinus. — } 5. The Nostoi of Agias of Troezen. — § 6. The Telegonia of £u- gammon of Cyrene. — } 7. Poems on the War against Thebes*

§ 1. Homer's poems, as they became the foundation of all Grecian literature, are likewise the central point of the epic poetry of Greece. All that was most excellent in this line originated from them, and was connected with them in the way of completion or continuation ; so that by closely considering this relation, we arrive not only at a proper understanding of the subjects of these later epics, but even are able, in return, to throw some light upon the Homeric poems themselves, — the Iliad and Odyssey. This class of epic poets is called the Cyclic^ from their constant endeavour to connect their poems with those of Ho- mer, so that the whole should form a great cycle. Hence also ori^nated the custom of comprehending their poems almost collectively under the name of Homer*, their connexion with the Iliad and Odyssey being taken as a proof that the whole was one vast conception. More accurate accounts, however, assign almost all these poems to particular authors, who lived after the commencement of Olympiads, and therefore con- siderably later than Homer. Indeed, these poems, both in their cha- racter and their conception of the mythical events, are very different from the Iliad and Odyssey. These authors cannot even have been called Homerids, since a race of this name existed only in Chios, and not one of them is called a Chian. Nevertheless it is credible that they were Homeric rhapsodists by profession, to whom the constant recitation of the ancient Homeric poems would naturally suggest the notion of continuing them by essays of their own in a similar tone. Hence, too, it would be more likely to occur that these poems, when they were sung by the sam« rhapsodists, would gradually themselves acquire the name of Homeric epics. From a close comparison of the extracts and fragments of these poems, which we still possess, it is evi" dent that their authors had before them copies of the Iliad and Odyssey in their complete form, or, to speak more accurately, comprehending the same series of events as those current among the later Greeks and our- selves, and that they merely connected the action of their own poems with the beginning and end of these two epopees. But notwithstanding the close connexion which they made between their own productions and the Homeric poems, notwithstanding that they often built upon particular allusions in Homer, and formed from them long passages of their own

  • Oi ftivTM k^tuot »eu rn KvxXm ifo^pifcwtv us ttiriv (^Ofin^ov), Proclus, Vita Homeri,


- LITERATURB OF ANCIENT GREECE. 65

poems (a fact which is particularly evident in the excerpt of the Cypria) ;

stm their manner of tffeating and viewing mythical subjects differs so

widely from that of Homer, as of itself to be a sufficient proof that the

Homeric poems were no longer in progress of development at the time

of the Cyclic poets, but had, on the whole, attained a settled form, to

wbkti no addition of importance was afterwards made*. Otherwise, we

could not fail to recognise the traces of a later age in the interpolated

passages of the Homeric poems.

§ 2. We commence with the poems which continued the Iliad.

Arctinus of Miletus was confessedly a very ancient poet, nay, he is

even termed a disciple of Homer ; the chronological accounts place him

immediately after the commencement of the Olympiads. His poem,

consisting of 9,100 versesf (about one-third less than the Iliad), opened

with the arrival of the Amazons at Troy, which followed immediately

aiier the death of Hector. There existed in antiquity one recension of

the Iliad, which concluded as follows : — ^Thus they performed the funeral

rites of Hector ; then came the Amazon, the daughter of the valorous

man-destroying Ares J." This, without doubt, was the cyclic edition of

the Homeric poems, more than once mentioned by the ancient critics :

in which they appear to have been connected with the rest of the cyclus,

so as to form an unbroken series. The same order of events also appears

in several works of ancient sculpture, in which on one side Andromache

is represented as weeping over Hector's ashes, while, on the other, the

female warriors are welcomed by the venerable Priam. The action of the

epic of Arctinus was connected with the following principal events. Achilles

kills Penthesilea, and then in a (it of anger puts to death Thersites,

who had ridiculed him for his love for her. Upon this Memnon, the

son of Eos, appears with his Ethiopians, and is slain by the son of

llietis after he himself has killed in battle Antilochus, the Patroclus of

Arctinus. Achilles himself falls by the hand of Paris while pursuing

the Trojans into the town. His mother rescues his body from the

funeral pile, and carries him restored to life to Leuc^, an island in the

Black Sea, where the mariners believed that they saw his mighty form

flitting in the dusk of evening. Ajax and Ulysses contend for his arms ;

the defeat of Ajax causes his suicide §. Arctinus further related the his-

  • In these reiparks we of course except the Catalogue of the Sliips. See

chap. T. $ 9.

f According to the inscription of the tablet in the Museo Borgia (see Heeren Bibliothek der alten Literatur und Kunst, part iv. p. 61) where it is said * * * * 'a^stim]* rif MtXn^w xiywm iitiiv ivrat 4^. The plural «yr» refers to the two poems, accozding to the explanation in the text.

  • A^ms 9vyarn^ fiuyaXvr»f»s «y^«^«y«/«.-— Schol. Yen. ad II. xxiv. ult. v. *

§ See Schol. Find. Isthro. iii. 58, who quotes for this event the ^thiopis, and Sefaol. IL xL 515, who quotes for it the 'IXttu iri^^te of Arctinus. I particularly men- tUm this point ; since, from the account in the Chrestomathia cf Produs, it might be tbcraght that Arctinus had omitted this circumstance.

F


66 HISTORY OF THl

tory of the wooden horse, the careless security of the Trojans, and the de* struction of Laocoon, which induces Mneas to flee for safety to Ida before the impending destruction of the town*. The sack of Troy by the Greeks returning from Tenedos, and issuing from the Trojan horse, was described so as to display in a conspicuous manner the arrogance and mercilessness of the Ghreeks, and to occasion the resolution of Athene, already known irom the Odyssey, to punish them in various ways on their return home. This last part, when diyided from the preceding, was called the Destmction of Troy (*IX/ov weptnt) ; the former, com- prising the events up to the death of Achilles, the Aethiopis of Are«  tinus.

§ 8. Lbsches, or Lescheds, irom Mytilene, or Pyrrha, in the island of Lesbos, was considerably later than Arctinus; tiie best authorities concur in placing him in the time of Archilochus, or about Olymp. xviii. Hence the account which we find in ancient authors of a contest between Arctinus and Lesches can only mean that the later competed with the earlier poet in treating the same subjects. His poem, which was attributed by many to Homer, and, besides, to very different authors, was called the Littie Iliads and was clearly intended as a sup- plement to the great Iliad. We learn from Aristotle t that it comprised the events before the fall of Troy, the fate of Ajax, the exploits of Phi- loctetes, Neoptolemus, and Ulysses, which led to the taking of the town, as well as the account of the destruction of Troy itself: which statement is confirmed by numerous fragments. The last part of this (like the first part of the poem of Arctinus) was called the Destruction of Troy : from which Pausanias makes several quotations, with reference to the sacking of Troy, and the partition and carrying away of the prisoners. It is evident from his citations that Lesches, in many important events (e. ^., the death of Priam, the end of the little Astyanax, and the fate of ^neas, whom he represents Neoptolemus as taking to Pharsalus), fol- lowed quite different traditions from Arctinus. The connexion of the several events was necessarily loose and superficial, and without any unity of subject. Hence, according to Aristotle, whilst the Iliad and Odyssey only furnished materials for one tragedy each, more than eight might be formed out of the Little Iliad |. Hence, also, the opening of

  • Quite differently from Virgil, who in other respects has in the second hook of

the Mneid chiefly followed Arctinus.

t Poet. c. 23, ad fin. ed. Bekker. (c. 38, ed. Tyrwhitt.)

J Ten are mentioned by Aristotle) viz., ChrXatv x/mci itX»»nnTfif, "SuTriXt/tttf 'EvpvTvXoi, Urvxtiet (see Od. iv. 244), Adjcatveu, ^IXUv nipffig^ 'Aa-tfirXwf, 2/iw», Tftjtd,hs» Among these tragedies the subject of the Ad»atvett is not apparent. The name of course means '^ LacedsBmonian women ;" who, as the attendant of Helen, formed the chorus. Helen plajred a chief part in the adventures of Ulysses as a spy in Troy : the subject of the Htmxim above mentioned. Or perhaps Helen was represented as the accomplice of the heroes in the wooden horse. See Od. iv. 271. Compare ^neid. vi. 517. Of Sophocles' tragedy of this name only a few fragments are extant : Nos. 336 — 9, ed. Dindorf.


LITERATURS OF ANCIENT 0REBCE. 67

the poem, whidi promises so much, and has been censuifd as anrogantf '^Jsing of lUon, and Dardania famous for its horses, on whose account the Greeks, the servants of Mars, suffered many evils*."

Before proceeding any further I feel myself bound to justify the above account of the relation between Arctinus and Lesches, since ProcluB, the well-known philosopher and grammarian^ to whose Chrts- tomathiawe are indebted for the fullest account of the epic cyclet» represents it in a totally different point of view. Prochis gives us, as an abridgment of the Cyclic poets, a continuous narrative of the eventf of the Trojan war, in which one poet always precisely takes up another, often in the midst of a closely connected subject. Thus, ao* cOTding to Proclus, Arctinus continued the Homeric Iliad up to the contest for the arms of Achilles; then Lesches relates the result ci this contest, and the subsequent enterprises of the heroes against Troy until the introduction of the wooden horse within the walls ; at this point Arctinus resumes the thread of the narrative, and describes the issuing forth of the heroes inclosed in the wooden horse ; but he too breaks off in the midst of the history of the return of the Greeks at the point where Minerva devises a plan for their punishment : the fulfilment of this plan being related by Agias, in the poem called the Nottoi. In order to make such an interlacing of the different poems comprehensible, we must suppose the existence of an academy of poets, dividing their materials amongst each other upon a distinct understanding, and with the most minute precision. It is, however, altogether inconceivable that Arctinus should have twice suddenly broken off in the midst of actions, which the curiosity of his hearers could never have permitted him to leave unfinished, in order that, almost a century after, Lesches, and probably at a still later date Agias, might fill up the gaps and com* plete the narrative. Moreover, as the extant fragments of Arctinus and Lesches afford sufficient proof that they both sang of the events whichj according to the abstract of Proclus, formed an hiatus in their poems, it is easy to perceive that his account was not drawn up from these poems according to their original forms, but from a selection made by some grammarian, who had put together a connected poetical descrip- tion of these events from the works of several Cyclic poets, in which no occurrence was repeated, but nothing of importance was omitted : and this indeed the expressions of Proclus himself appear to indicate}. In fact, the Cyclus in this sense included not only the epoch of the Trojan war (where the ^ poems were mutually connected by means of

  • Hs wi^) ToXkat ir»fi«9 Aetveu), itpti^rwrtf "A^n^t*

t This part of the Chrestomathia was first published in the Gtfttingen Bibliothek for alte Litteratur und Kunst, Part i^ inedita^ afterwards in Oaisford's Hephaestion, p. 378, 9eq.^ 472, seq., and elsewhere.

fidiistt 'O^vrru^ riftf ilg *I^iUfry.— ProcloB, ubi sup.


68 HISTORY OF THB

their common reference to Homer), but the whole mythology, from the marriage of Heaven and Earth to the last adventures of Ulysses ; for which purpose use must have been made of poems totally distinct from each other, and of whose original connexion, either in their execution or design, no trace whatever is discoverable*.

§ 4. The poem which in the Cyclus preceded the Iliad, and was clearly intended by its author himself for that purpose, was the Cypria^ consisting of eleven books, which may be most safely ascribed to Sta- SINUS of the island of Cyprus, who, however, according to the tradition, received it from ]Homer himself (transformed on that accoimt into a Salaminian from Cyprus), as a portion on the marriage of his daughter. And yet the fundamental ideas of the Cypria are so un-Homeric, and contain so much of a rude attempt at philosophising on mytho- logy, which was altogether foreign to Homer, that Stasinus certainly cannot be considered as of an earlier date than Arctinus. The Cypria began with the prayer of the Earth to Zeus, to lessen the burdens of the race of man, already become too heavy ; and then' related how Zeus, with the view of humbling the pride of mankind, begot Helen upon the goddess Nemesis, and gave her to be educated by Leda. The promise by Venus of the woman whose beauty was to cause the destruction of heroes to the shepherd Paris, as a reward for the decision respecting the apple of discord, her abduction from Sparta during the absence of her husband Menelaus in Crete, and while her brothers, the Dioscuri, are slain in battle by the sons of Aphareus, were all related in conformity with the usual traditions, and the expedition of the heroes of Greece against Troy was derived from these events. The Greeks, however, according to the Cypria, tvnce set out from Aulis against Troy, having the first time been carried to Teuthrania in Mysia, a district ruled by Telephus, and in sailing away having been driven back by a storm ; at their second departure from Aulis the sacrifice of Iphigenia was related. The nine years* contest before Troy, and in its vicinity, did not otcupy near so much space in the Cypria as the preparations for the war ; the full stream of tradition, as it gushes forth from a thousand springs in the Homeric poems, has even at this period dwindled down to narrow dimensions : the chief part was connected with the incidental mentions of earlier events in Homer ; as the attack of Achilles upon iGneas near the herds of cattle t, the killing of Troilus J, the selling of Lycaon to Lemnos§; Falamedes — ^the nobler counterpart of Ulysses — was the only

  • As an additional proof of a point which indeed is almost self-evident, it may

be also mentioned that, according to Proclus^ there were Jive, and afterwards two book* of Arctinus in the epic cyclus : according to the Tabula Borgianoj however, the poems of Arctinus included 9^100 verses, which, according to the standard of the books in Homer, would at least give twelve books.

t II. XX. 90, 9eq,

X II. xxiv. 257. The more recent poetry combines the death of Troilus with the last events of Troy. }Il, xxi. 35. ^


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 69

hero either unknown to or accidentally never mentioned by Homer. AchiJIes was throughout represented as the chief hero, created for the purpose of destroying the race of man by manly strength, as Helen by female beauty; hence also these two beings, who otherwise could not have become personally known to each other, were brought together in a marvellous manner by Thetis and Amphitrite. As, however, the war, conducted in the manner above described, did not destroy a sufficient number of men, Zeus at last resolves, for the purpose of effectually granting the'prayer of the Earth, to stir up the strife between Achilles and Agamemnon, and thus to bring about all the great battles of the Iliad. Thus the Cypria referred altogether to the Iliad for the com- pletion of its own subject; and at the same time added to the motive supposed in the latter poem, the prayer of Thetis, a more general one, the prayer of the Earth, of which the Iliad knows nothing. In the Cypria a gloomy destiny hovers over Uie whole heroic world ; as in Hesiod* the Theban and Trojan war is conceived as a general war of extermination between the heroes. The main origin of this fatality is, moreover, the beauty of the woman, as in Hesiod's mythus of Pan- dora. The unwarlike Aphrodite, who in Homer is so little fitted for mingling in the combats of heroes, is here the conductor of the whole ; on this point the Cyprian poet may have been influenced by the im- pressions of his native island, where Aphrodite was honoured before all other deities.

§ 5. Between the poems of Arctinus and Lesches and the Odyssey came the epic of AaiAsf the Troezeniau, divided into five books, the Nostoi. A poem of this kind would naturally be called forth by the Odyssey, as the author in the very commencement supposes that all the other heroes, except Ulysses, had returned home from Troy. Even in Homer s time there existed songs on the subject of the homeward voyages of the heroes ; but these scattered lays naturally fell into ob- livion upon the appearance of Agias*s poem, which was composed with almost Homeric skill, and all the intimations to be found in Homer were carefully made use of, and adopted as the outlines of the action]: . Agias began his poem with describing how Athene executed her plan of ven- geance, by exciting a quarrel between the Atridae themselves, which pre- vented the joint return of the two princes. The adventures of the Atrids furnished the main subject of the poem§. In the first place the wan- derings of Menelaus, who first left the Trojan coast, were narrated almost up to his late arrival at home ; then Agamemnon, who did not sail till afterwards, was conducted by a direct course to his native land :

  • Hesiod. Op. et D. 160, seq,

f ^Ayimi is the correct form of his name, in Ionic 'Hyias ; Ahyius is a corruption.

\ See particularly Od. iii. 135.

^ Hence, probably, the same poem is more than once in Athenseus called n rHv


70 HISTORY OF THE

and his murder and the other fortunes of his family were described up to the period when Menelaus arrives after the vengeance of Orestes had been consummated*; with which event the poem properly concluded. Artfully interwoven with the above narrative were the voyages and wanderings of the other heroes, Diomed, Nestor, Calchas, Leonteus and Polypoetes, Neoptolemus, and the death of the Locrian Ajax on the Capherian rocks, so that the whole formed a connected picture of the Acheean heroes at variance with each other, hastening homewards by different routes, but almost universally contending with misfortunes and difficulties. Ulysses alone was left for the Odysseyf.

§ 6. The continuation of the Odyssey was the Telegonia, of which poem only two books were introduced into the collection used by ProclusJ. EuoAMMON OF Cyrene, who did not live before the 53d Olympiad, is named as the author. The Telegonia opened with the burial of the suitors by their kinsmen. The want of this part renders the Odyssey incomplete as a narrative ; although, for the internal unity, it is un- necessary, since the suitors are no longer a subject of interest aft«r Ulysses had rid his house of them. The poem then related a voyage of Ulysses to Polyxenus at Elis, the motives for which are not suf- ficiently known to us ; and afterwards the completion of the sacrifices offered by Tiresias ; upon which Ulysses (in all probability in compliance with the prophecy of Tiresias, in order to reach the country where the inhabitants were neither acquainted with the sea nor with salt, the pro- duct of the sea) goes to Thesprotia, and there rules victoriously and happily, till he returns a second time to Ithaca, where, not being re- cognised, he is slain by Telegonus, his son by Circe, who had come to seek his father.

§ 7. With the exception of the events of the Trojan war, and the return of the Greeks, nothing was so closely connected with the Iliad and Odyssey as the fFar of the Ar gives against Thebes ; since many of the

principal heroes of Greece, particularly Diomed and Sthenelus, were

  • SeeOd. iiLSll; iv. 547.

f In what part of the Nostoi the Nekyia, or description of the infernal regions^ which belonged to it^ was introduced, we are not indeed informed ; but there can scarcely be any doubt that it was connected with the funeral of Tiresias^ which Calchas, in the Nostoi, celebrated at Colophon. Tiresias, in the Odyssey, is the only shade in the infernal regions who is endowed with memory and understanding, for whose sake Ulysses ventures as far as the entrance of Hades: would not then the poet, whose object it was to make his work an introduction to the Odyssey, have seized this opportunity to introduce the spirit of the seer into the realm of shades, and by his reception by Hades and Persephone to explain the privileges which, according to the Odyssey, he there enjoys ? The questioning of Tiresias invites to a preparatory explanation more perhaps than any other part of the Odyssey, since, taken by itself, it has something enigmatical.

X These two books were evidently only an epitome of the poem ; for even all that Proclus states from them has scarcely sufficient space : to say nothing of the poem on the Thesprotians in a mystic tone, which Clemens of Alexandria (Strom, vi. 277) attributes to Eugammon, and which was manifestly in its original form a part of the Telegonia.


LITERATURe OF ANOIBMT GREECE* 71

themselves amongst the conquerors of Thebes, and their fathers before thera, a bender and wilder race, had fought on the same spot, in a con- test vi^ch, although unattended with victory, was stQl far from inglorious. Hence also reputed Homeric poems on the subject of this war were extant, which perhaps really bore a great affinity to the Homeric time and school. For we do not find, as in the other poems of the cycle, the names of one or several later poets placed in connexion with these compositions, but they are either attributed to Homer, as the earlier Greeks in general appear to have done^, or, if the authorship of Homer is doubted, they are]usually attributed to no author at all. The ThebaiSy which consisted of seven books, or 5,600 verses, originated from Argos, which was also considered by Homer as the centre of the Grecian power : it commenced " Sing, O Muse, the thirsty Argos, where the princes . . . .t" Here dwelt Adrastus, to whom Polynices, the banished son of CEdipus, fled, and found with him a reception. The poet then took occa- sion to enter upon the cause of the banishment of Polynices, and related the fate of CEdipus and his curse twice pronounced against his sons. Amphiraus was represented as a wise counsellor to Adrastus, and in opposition to Polynices and Tydeus, the heroes eager for battle. Eriphyle was the Helen of this war ; the seductive woman who induced her otherwise prudent husband to rush, conscious of his doom, to meet his unhappy fate J. The insolence of the Argive chiefs was probably represented as the principal cause of their destruction ; Homer in the Iliad described it as the crime and curse of these heroes§, and ^schylus portrays it in characteristic emblems and words. Adrastus is only saved by his horse Areion, a supernatural being ; and a prophecy respecting the Epigoni concluded the whole.

The Epigoni was so far a second part of the Thebais that it was some- times comprehended under tiie same name||, though it might also be considered as distinct. It began with an allusion to the fir^t heroic expedition, *' Now, O Muses, let us commence the exploits of the later men^ ;" and related the much less notorious actions of the sons of the heroes, according to all probability under the auspices of the same Adrastus** who was destined to conquer Thebes, if his army should be

  • In Pausan. iz. 9, 3. KetX)Svos is certainly the light reading. This ancient

elegiac poet therefore, about the 20th Olympiad, quoted the Thebaid as Homeric. The Epigoni was still commonly ascribed to Homer in the time of Herodotus, iv. 32.

X Hence the entire poem is in Pseudo-Herod. Vit. Horn. c. 9, called *Af*/fui^ut V^tkM^ln is S^fiag, in Suidas 'A/i^tei^euu ilixiuffts, § II. V. 409.

I Thus the scholiast on ApolL Rfaod. i. 308, in the account of Manto, cites the Thebaid for the Epigoni.

    • See Pindar, Pyth. viii. 48. It can be shown that Pindar, in his mentions of

this faUe, always keeps near to the Thebaid.


74 HIBTORT OF THE

the Theogony, as he himself says, began and ended his strains*. One short hymn however, formed of verses borrowed from the Theogony, has found its way into this miscellaneous coUectiont. By a similar argu- ment we may refiite the opinion that these hymns were exclusively the work of the Homeiids, that is, the house of Chios : these, as we know from the testimony of Pindar, were accustomed . to commence with an invocaticm to Zeus ; while our collection only contains one very small and unimportant prooBmium to this god|.

Whether any of the preludes which Terpander, the Lesbian poet and musician, employed in his musical recitation of Homer § have been preserved in the present collection, must remain a doubtfid question : it seems however probable that those hymns, composed for an accom* paniment of the dihara, must have had a difierent tone and character.

Moreover, these hymns exhibit such a diversity of language and poetical tone, that in all probability they contain fragments from every century between the time of Homer and the Persian war. Several, as for instance that to the Dioscuri, show the transition to the Orphic poetry, and several refer to local worships, which are entirely un- known to us, as the one to Selene, which celebrates her daughter by Zeus, the goddess Pandia, shining forth amongst the immortals ; ci whom we can now only conjecture that the Athenian festival of Ptodia was dedicated to her.

§ 3. We will now endeavour to illustrate these general remarks by some special explanations of the five longer hymns. The hymn to the Deli AN Apollo is (as has been already stated) || ascribed by Thucydides to Homer himself ; and is, doubtless, the {»oduction of a Homerid of Chios, who, at the end of the poem, calls himself the blind poet who lived on the rocky Chios. But the notion that this poet was Cinsethus, who did not live till the 69th Olympiad^, appears only to have originated from the circumstance that he was the most celebrated of the Homerids. If any one of these hymns comes near to the age of Homer, it is this one ; and it is much to be lamented that a laige portion of it has been lost^, which contained the beginning of the narration, the true ground of the wanderings of Latona. We can only conjecture that this was the announcement, probably made by Here, that Latona would produce a terrible and mighty son: of which a contradiction is meant to be implied in Apollo's first w(»rds, where he calls the cithara his favourite instrument, as well as the bow, and

  • Theogon. 48. Kndings of this kind| called by the grammarians I^^/kpmb, are

also mentioned in the Homeric hymns^ xxi. 4, and xxxiv. 18, and the short song, Hymn xxi. is probably one of them. Gomp. Theognis, v. i. (925), Apollon. Rhod. Arg. iv. 1774.

f See Hymn xxv. and Theog. 94 — 7. I Hymn xxiii.

^ Plutarch de Musica, c. 4, 6 ; and above, chap, iv, § 3 (p. 34).

II Above, chap. v. § 1 (p. 42).

% Schol Find. Nem. iL 1. ** Hymn L 30.


I


LITERATnRS OF AMOUNT GREECE. 75

declares his chief office to be the piomulgatioii of the councils of Zeus*.

Tht entire fkUe of the birth of Apollo is treated so as to give great honour

to the island of Delos, which alone takes pity on Latona, and dares to

ofibr her an asylum ; the fittest subject of a hymn for the joyfid spring

festival, to which the lonians flocked together from far and wide on

their pilgrimage to the holy island.

§ 4. The hymn to the Pythian Apollo is a most interesting record of the ancient mythus of Apollo in the district of Pytho. It belongs to a time when the Pythian sanctuary was still in the territory of Crissa : fnf the hostility between the Pythian priests and the Crisseeans, which afterwards led to the war of the Amphictyons against the city of Crissa (in Olymp. 47.)) there is no trace ; a passage of the hymn also shows that horse-races f had not as yet been introduced at the Pythian games, which began immediately ailer the Crissean war : the ancient Pythian contests had been confined to music. The following is the connexion of this hymn. ApoUo descends from Olympus in order to foond a temple for himself; and while he is seeking a site for it in Boeotia, he is recommended by a water-goddess, Tilphussa or Delphussa, to place it in the territory of Crissa in the ravine of Parnassus : her ad- yiee being prompted by the malicious hope that a dangerous serpent, which abode there, would destroy the youthful god. Apollo accepts her counsel, but frustrates her intent: he founds his temple in this solitary glen, slays the dragon, and then punishes Tilphussa by stopping np her fountain |. Apollo then procures priests for the new sanctuary, Cretan men, whom he, in the form of a dolphin, brings to Crissa, and consecrates as the sacrificers and guardians of his sanctuary.

§ 5. The hymn to Hermes has a character very different from the others; which is the reason why modern critics have taken greater liberties with it in the rejection of verses supposed to be spurious. With that lively simplicity which gives an air of credibility to the most marvellous incidents, it relates how Hermes, begotten by Zeus in secret, is able, when only a new-bom child, to leave the cradle in which his mother believed him to be safely concealed, in order to steal Apollo's cattle from the pastures of the gods in Pieria. The miraculous duld succeeds in driving them away, using various contrivances for con- cealing his traces, to a grotto near Pylos, and slays them there, with all the skill of the most experienced slaughterer of victims. At the same time he had made the first lyre out of a tortoise which had fallen in his way on his first going out ; and with this he pacifies Apollo, who had at length,

Xf^^" ^ «i^^«^ir«i0'i A/0f mfu^ria (i§uk^v. — Hymn. Del. Ap. 131 — 2.

f Hymn ii. 84, 199, where the noise of horses and chariots is given as a reason why the place is not fitted for a temple of Apollo.

X It is not necessary to the right comprehension of this h3rmn to explain the obscurer connexion of this mythus with the worship of a Demeter Tilphossflea, or Erinnys, hostile to Apollo.


76 HISTORY OF THE

by means of his power of divination, succeeded In discovering the thief; so that the two sons of Zeus form at the end the closest intimacy, after an interchange of their respective gifts. This story is narrated in a light and pointed style, the poet seems to aim at rapid transitions, and especially at the beginning he indicates the marvellous exploits of Hermes in an enig«  matic manner ; thus he says that ** Hermes, by finding a tortoise, had gained unspeakable wealth : he had in truth known how to make the tortoise musical.^" This style is evidently far removed from the genuine Homeric tone ; although some instances of this arch simplicity occur both in the Iliad and Odyssey, and the story of the loves of Ares and Aphrodite, in the Odyssey, appears to belong to nearly the same class of compositions as this hymn. But a considerably later age is indicated by the circumstance that the lyre or the cithara — for the poet treats these two instruments as identical, though distinguished in more precise language — is described as having been at the very first provided with seven strings f ; yet the words of Terpander are still extant in which he boasts of having introduced the seven-stringed cithara in the place of the four-stringed :{• Hence it is plain that this poem could not have been composed till some time after the dOth Olympiad, perhaps even by a poet of the Liesbian school, which had at that time spread to Feloponnesus§.

§ 6. The hymn to Aphrodite relates how this goddess (who sub- jects all the gods to her power, three only excepted) is, according to the will of Zeus himself, vanquished by love for Anchises of Troy, and meets him in the form of a Phrygian princess by the herds on Mount Ida. At her departure she appears to him in divine majesty, and an- nounces to him the birth of a son, named ^neas, who will come to reign himself, and after him his family, over the Trojans ||. It is an obvious conjecture that thi& hymn (the tone and expression of which have much of the genuine Homer) was sung in honour of princes of the family of Mneas, in some town of the range of Ida, where the same line continued to reign even until the Peloponnesian war.

§ 7. The hymn to Demeter is chiefly intended to celebrate the sojourning of this goddess among the Eleusinians. Demeter is seeking for her daughter, who has been carried away by Hades, until she learns from the god of the sun that the god of the infernal regions is the ravisher. She then dwells among the Eleusinians, who have hospitably received her, as the old attendant of Demophoon, until her divinity becomes evident ; upon which the Eleusinians build her a temple. In this she conceals herself as a wrathful deity, and withholds her gifts from

  • Hymn iii. v. 24, 25, &c. f ^.bl.

X Euclides Introduct. Harmon, in Meibomius, Script Mus. p. 19.

j We know that the Lesbian lyric poet Alcseus treated the mjrthus of the birth of Hermes and the robbery of the cattle in a very similar manner, but of course in a lyric form.

II Hymn iv. 196, teq. Compare Iliad^ zx. 307.


LITERATURB OF ANCIBNT GREECE. 77

mankind, until Zeus brings about an agreement that Cora shall be

restored to her for two-thirds of the year, and shall only remain one-

third of the year with Hades*. United again with her daughter, she

instructs her hosts, the Eleusinians, in return for their hospitality, in her

sacred orgies.

Even if this hymn did not directly invite persons to the celebration of the EHeusinia, and to a participation in its initiatory rites, by calling those blessed who had seen them, and announcing an unhappy lot in the infernal regions to those who had taken no part in them ; yet we could not fail to recognise the hand of an Attic burd, well versed in the festival and its ceremonies, even in many expressions which have an Attic and local colour. The ancient sacred legend of the £leusinians lies here before us in its pure and unadulterated form ; so far as it can be clothed with an epic garb in a manner agreeable to a refined taste. We may hence infer the value of this hymn (which was not discovered till the last century, and of which a part is lost) for the history of the Greek religion.


CHAPTER Vni.


§ 1. Ciicumsiaaees of Hesiod's Life, and general character of hit Poetry. — § 2. The Works and Days^ the Poem on Divination, and the Lessons of Chiron. — § 3. The Theogony. — } 4. The Great Eoiae^ the Catalogues of Women^ the Me- lampodia, the ^gimius. — § 5. The Marriage of Ceyx^ the Epiihalamium of Peleus and Thetis, the Descent of Theseus and Pirithous into Hell, the Shield of Hercules.

§ 1. While the fairest growth of the Grecian heroic poetry was flourishing under favourable circumstances upon the coast of Asia Minor in the ^olic and Ionic colonies, the mother -country of Greece, and especially Bceolia, to which we are now to direct our attention, were not so happily situated. In that country, already thickly peopled with Greek tribes, and divided into numerous small states, the migrations with which the heroic age of Greece terminated necessarily produced a state of lasting confusion and strife, sometimes even reaching into the interior of single families. It was only on the coast of Asia Minor that the conquerors could find a wide and open field for their enterprises ; this country was still for the most part virgin soil to the Greek settlers, and its native inhabitants of barbarous descent offered no very obstinate resistance to the colonists. Hence likewise it came to pass that of the ^olic Bceotians, who afler the Trojan war emigrated from Thessaliotis, and obtained the sovereignty of Boeotia, a considerable number imme-

  • This depends on the Athenian festival <^cle. At the Thesmophoria, the

festival of sowing, Cora is supposed to descend beneath the earth ; on the Anthes- teria, the festival of the first bloom of spring, exactly four months afterwards, she is supposed to xeascend from the infernal regions.


80 HISTORY OP THE

something very remarkable in this address of the Muses. In the first place, it represents poetical genius as a free gift of the Muses, imparted to a rough, unlettered man, and awakening him from his brutish condition to a better life. Secondly, this gift of the Muses is to be dedicated to the difiusion of truth ; by which the poet means to indicate the serious object and character of his theogonic and ethical poetry ; not without an implied censure of other poems which admitted of an easier and freer play of fancy.

But, beautiful and significant as this story is, it is clear that the poetry of Hesiod can in nowise be regarded as the product of an inspiration which comes like a divine gift from above; it must have been connected both with earlier and with contemporary forms of epic composition. We have seen that the worship of the Muses was of old standing in these districts, whither it had been brought by the Pierian tribes from the neighbourhood of Olympus ; and with this worship the practice of music and poetry was most closely connected*. This poetry consisted chiefly of songs and hymns to the gods, for which Boeotia, so rich in ancient temples, symbolicul rites of worship, and festival ceremonies, offered frequent opportunities.

Ascra itself, according to epic poems quoted by Pausanias, was founded by the Ak>ids, who were Pierian heroes, and first sacrificed to the Muses upon mount Helicon. That Hesiod dweHi at Ascra rests upon his own testimony in the Works and Days (v. 640) ; and this statement is confirmed in a remarkable manner by other historical accounts, for which we are indebted to the Boeotian writer, Plutarch. Ascra had, at an early period, been destroyed by the neighbouring and powerful race of Thespians, and tlie Orchomenians had received the fugitive Ascneans into their city : the oracle then commanded that the bones of Hesiod should be transferred to Orchomenus, and, when what were held to be the remains of the poet were discovered, a monument was erected to him at Orchomenus, upon which was written an inscription, composed by the Boeotian epic poet Chersias, describing him as the wisest of all poets.

On the other hand, the intercourse which subsisted between the Boeotians and their kinsmen on the jEolic coast of Asia Minor, and the flight which poetry had taken in those countries, probably contributed to stimulate the Boeotian poets to new productions. There is no reason to doubt the testimony of the author of the Works and Days (v. 636), that his father came from Cyme in Molis to Ascra : the motive which brought him thither was doubtless the recollection of the ancient affinity between the iBolic settlers and this race of the mother- country ; a recol- lection which was still alive at the time of the Peloponnesian war +. The father of the poet is not stated to be a Cymaean bard ; but is de- scribed as a mariner, who, after repeated voyages from Cyme, had at length taken up his abode at Ascra ; yet it must have been by settlers

« Above, chap. iii. § 8, 9, t See Thucyd. iii. 2 ; vii. 57; viii. 100.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 81

such as this that the fame of the heroic poetry, which at that time was flourishing in the colonies, must have heen spread over the mother-country. The ancients have eagerly sieized upon this point of union in the two schools of poetry, in order to prove that a near relationship existed between Homer and Hesiod. The logographers (or historians before Herodotus) — as Hellanicus, Pherecydes, and Damastes — have combined various names handed down by tradition into comprehensive genealogies, in virhich it appears that the two poets were descended from a common ancestor : for example, that Apellis (also called Apelles, or Apellseus) hacl two sons — Mson, the supposed father of Homer, and Dius, who, according to an ancient but justly rejected interpretation of a verse in the Works and Days, was made the father of Hesiod*.

But it is not our intention to support the opinion that the poetry of Hesiod was merely an ofiset from the Homeric stock transplanted to fioBotia, or that it is indebted to the Homeric poems either for its dialect, versification, or character of style. On the contrary, the most generally re- ceived opinion of antiquity assigns Hesiod and Homer to the same period ; thus Herodotus makes them both about four centuries earlier than his own time t ' in such cases, too, Hesiod is commonly named before Homer, as, for instance, in this passage of Herodotus. As far as we know, it was first maintained by Xenophanes of Colophon | that Hesiod was later than Homer ; on the other hand, Ephorus, the historian of Cyme, and many others, have endeavoured to prove the liigher antiquity of Hesiod. At any rate, therefore, the Greeks of those times did not consider that Homer had formed the' epic language in Ionia, and that Hesiod had borrowed it, and only transferred it to other subjects. They must have entertained the opinion (which has been confirmed by the re- searches of our own time), that this epic dialect had already become the language of refinement and poetry in the mother-country before the cobnies of Asia Minor were founded. Moreover, this dialect is only identical in the two schools of poetry so far as its general features are concerned. Many differences occur in particular points : and it can be proved that this ancient poetical language among the Boeotian tribe adopted many features of the native dialect, which was an holism approaching nearly to the Doric §. Neither dees it appear that the phrases, epithets, and proverbial expressions common to both poets were

  • v. 299. *Efy^ty, nS^if, Ar«» yif»s. f ii. 53.

I In G^iui, Noct. Attiii. 17. Xenophanes, the founder of the Eleatic school of philoeophy, who flourished about the 70th Olympiad, was also an epic poet, and may perhaps, in his uri^tf K«x«^Mf, have found many opportimities of speaking of Homer, wtiom the Colophonians claimed as a countryman. See above, p. 43 (chap. V. $ 2).

§ Thus Hesiod often shortens the ending at in the accusative plural of the first declension, like Alcman, Stesichonis, and Epicharmus : it has indeed been observed that it only occurs long where the syllable is in the arsis, or where it is lengthened by pontion* On the whole, there is in Hesiod a greater tendency to shorter, often to contraeted fannt ; while Homer's ear appears to have found pecnliar delight in the miiHiplication of vowel syllables ,


84 HISTORY OF THE

provident wife ; and provide yourself with a plentiful, but not too nume- rous an ofispring', and you will be blessed with prosperity.'*

With these and similar rules of economy (of which many are, perhaps, rather adapted to the wants of daily life than noble and elevated) the first part of the poem concludes ; its object being to improve the character and habits of Perses, to deter him from seeking riches by litigation, and to incite him to a life of labour as the only source of permanent prosperity. Mythical narratives, fables, descriptions, and moral apophthegms, partly of a proverbial kind, are ingeniously chosen and combined so as to illustrate and enforce the principal idea.

In the second part, Hesiod shows Perses the succession in which his labours must follow if he determines to lead a life of industry. Observing the natural order of the seasons, he begins with the time of ploughing and sowing, and treats of the implements used in these processes, the plough and the beasts which draw it. He then proceeds to show how a prudent husbandman may employ the winter at home, when the labours of the field are at a stand ; adding a description of the storms and cold of a Boeotian winter, which several modem critics have (though probably without sufficient ground) considered as exaggerated, and have therefore doubted its genuineness. With the first appearance of spring follows the dressing and cutting of the vines, and, at the rising of the Pleiades (in the first half of our May), the reaping of the grain. The poet then tells us how the hottest season should be employed, when the corn is threshed. The vintage, which immediately precedes the ploughing, concludes the circle of these rural occupations.

But as the poet's object was not to describe the charms of a country life, but to teach all the means of honest gain which were then open to the Ascrsean countryman, he next proceeds, after having completed the subject of husbandry, to treat with equal detail that of iiavigatioiu Here we perceive how, in the time of Hesiod, the Boeotian farmer himself shipped the overplus of his corn and wine, and transported it to countries where these products were less abundant. If the poet had had any other kind of trade in view, he would have been more explicit upon the subject of the goods to be exported, and would have stated how a husbandman like Perses was to procure them. Hesiod recommends for a voyage of this kind the late part of the summer, on the 50th day after the summer solstice, when there was no work to be done in the field, and when the weather in the Ghreek seas is the most certain.

All these precepts relating to the works of industry interrupt, some- what suddenly, the succession of economical rules for the management of a family*. The poet now speaks of the time of life when a man

  • It would be a great improvement if the verses relating to marriage (697 — 705,

ed. Gdttling) could be placed before 'Houvytvns ^< 9r»t$ lU (376). Then all the pru- dential maxims relating to neighbours, friends, wife, and children, would be explained before the labours of agriculture, and the subsequent rules of domestic economy would all refer to the maxim, %y ^ tirn aStcvdrttv fuanrnfuv irt^Kay^iiHs Jnu*


LITERATURE OF ANCIBNT GREECE. 85

should take a wife, and how he should look out for her. He then especially recommends to all to bear in mind that the immortal gods watch over the actions of men ; in all intercourse with others to keep the tongue ^m idle and provoking words ; and to preserve a certain purity and care in the commonest occurrences of every-day life. At the same time he gives many curious precepts, which resemble sacerdotal rules, with respect to the decoriun to be observed in acts of worship, and, moreover, have much in common with the symbolic rules of the Pythagoreans, which ascribed a deep and spiritual import to many unimportant acts of common life.

Of a very similar nature is the last part of this poem, which treats of the days on which it is expedient or inexpedient to do this or that busi- ness. These precepts, which do not relate to particular seasons of the year, but to the course of each lunar month, are exclusively of a super- stitious character, and are in great part connected with the different worships which were celebrated upon these days : but our knowledge is far too insufficient to explain them all*.

If we regard the connexion of this poem, as indicated by the* heads which we have mentioned, it must be confessed that the whole is perfectly adapted to the circumstances of the case ; and conformable to the poet's view of turning his brother Perses from his scheme of enrich- ing himself by unjust lav«rsuits, and of stimulating him to a life jof la- borious husbandry. On the other hand, it cannot be denied that the poet has failed in producing so perfect an agreement of the several members of his work, that by their combination they form, as it were, one body. Indeed, tbe separate parts have oilen very little connexion with each other, and are only introduced by announcements such as these, " Now, if thou wilt, I will tell another story;" or, " Now I will relate a fable to the kings, &c. This plainly shows much less art in composition than is displayed in the Homeric poems; the reason of which was the far greater difficulty which must have been felt at that time of forming general reflections upon life into a connected whole, than of relating a great heroic event.

Yet in the general tone of the poem, and in the sentiments which it displays, a sufficient uniformity is not wanting. We feel, as we read it, that we are transported back to an age of primitive simplicity, in which even the wealthy man does not disdain to increase his means by the labour of his own hands ; and an attention to economical cares was not considered ignoble, as it was among the later Greeks, who from hus- bandmen became mere politicians. A coarse vein of homely good

  • On the seventh day the poet himself remarks the connexion with Apollo. The

riTfks of the beginning and ending of the month is a day on which evils are to be feared : it was considered as the birthday of the toil-worn Hercules. On the 17th the corn is to be brought to the threshing floor: the 17th of Bo&lromion was the sacrificial dav of Demeter and Cora at Athens (Boeckh. Corp. Inscript. 6r. No. 523), and a great day of the Eleusinia,


86 HIdTORT OF THE

sense, nay, even a dash of interested calculating shrewdness, which were deeply rooted in the Greek character, are combined with honourable {principles of justice, expressed in nervous apophthegms and striking images. When we consider that the poet was brought up in these hereditary maxims of wisdom, and moreover that he was deeply convinced of the necessity of a life of laborious exertion, we shall easily comprehend how strongly an event such as that in which he was concerned with his brother Perses was calculated to strike his mind ; and from the contrast which it offered to his convictions, to induce him to make a connected exposition of them in a poem. This brings us to the true source of the Didactic Epos^ which never can proceed from a mere desire to instruct ; a desire which has no connexion with poetry. Genuine didactic poetry always proceeds from some great and powerful idea, which has something so absorbing and attractive that the mind strives to give expression to it. In the Works and Days this fundamental idea is distinctly perceptible ; the decrees and institutions of the gods protect justice among men, they have made labour the only road to prosperity, and have so ordered the year that every work has its appointed season, the sign of which is discerniWe by man. In announcing these immutable ordinances and eternal lavra, the poet himself is impressed vnth a lofty and solemn feeling, which manifests itself in a sort of oracular tone, and in the sacerdotal style with which many exhortations and precepts are delivered*. We have remarked this priestly character in the concluding part of the poem, and it was not unnatural that many in antiquity should annex to the last verse, " Observing the omens of birds, and avoiding transgressions," another didactic epic poem of the same school of poetry upon divination-f. It is stated that this poem treated chiefly of the flight and cries of birds; and it agrees with this statement, that Hesiod, according to Pausanias, learned divination among the Acananians : the Acananian femilies of diviners deriving their descent from Melampus, whose ears, when a boy, were licked by serpents, whereupon he immediately under- stood the language of the birds.

A greater loss than this supplement on divination is another poem of the same school, called the Lessons of Chiron (Xelptavog v7ro6^«cai), as this was in some measure a companion or counterpart to the Works and Days. For while the extant poem keeps wholly within the circle of the yearly occupations of a Boeotian husbandman, the lost one repre- sented the wise Centaur, in his grotto upon Mount Pelion, instructing the young Achilles in all the knowledge befltting a young prince and hero.

  • We allude particularly to the /Aiyx vn^n Ui^ffn of Hesiod, and the fAty» vnvrn

K^oifft of the Pytma : and to the truly oracular expressions of the Works and Days, as, the ** branch of five,** TUrolot, for the ^ hand f the " day-sleeper/' hfAt^itutTH ivn(, for the thief, &c : on whiui see Gottling's Hesiod, Praef. p. xv,

f Tdurttt IvrayM^i rtns rny i^9t9tfiafTtt»9, SLrtvn *Asr97JJifus i 'PaW ^vu. — ^ProdllS on the Works and Days, at the end, v. 824.


LITERATURK OF ANCIEITT GREECE. 87

We might not improperly apply to this poem the name of a Grerman poem of the middle ages, and call it a Greek Rittenpiegd,

§ 3. We now follow this school of poetry to the great attempt oi forming from the Greek legends respecting the gods a connected tfuid regular picture of their origin and powers, and in general of the entire polytheism of the Greeks. The Tkeogony of Hesiod is not, indeed, to be despised as a poem ; besides many singular legends, it contains thoughts and descriptions of a lofty and imposing character ; but for the history of the religious faith of Greece it is a production of the highest importance. The notions concerning the gods, their rank, and their affini- ties, which had arisen in so much greater variety in the different dis- tricts of Greece than in any other country of the ancient world, found in the Theogony a test of their general acceptance. Ev^ry legend which could not be brought into agreement with this poem sank into the obscurity of mere local tradition, and lived only in the limited sphere of the inhabitants of some Arcadian district, or the ministers of some temple, under the form of a strange and marvellous tale, which was cherished with the greater fondness because its uncon- formity with the received theogony gave it the charm of mystery*. It was through Hesiod that Ghreece first obtained a kind of religious code^ which, although without external sanctions or priestly guardians and interpreters (such as the Vedas had in the Brahmans, and the Zenda- vesta in the Magians), must have produced the greatest influence on the religious condition of the Greeks ; inasmuch as it impressed upon them the necessity of agreement, and as the notions prevalent among the most powerful races, and at the most renowned temples, were em- bodied by the poet with great skill. Hence Herodotus was justified in saying that Hesiod and Homer had made the tkeogony of the Greeks, had assigned the names, offices, and occupations of the gods, and had determined their forms.

According to the religious notions of the Greeks, the deity, who governs the world with omnipotence, and guides the destinies of man with omniscience, is yet without one attribute, which is the most essential to our idea of the godhead — eternity. The gods of the Greeks were too closely bound up with the existence of the world to be exempt from the law by which large, shapeless masses are de- veloped into more and more perfect forms. To the Greeks the gods of Olympus were rather the summit and crowning point of organized and animate life, than the origin of the universe. Thus Zeus^ who must be considered as the peculiar deity of the Greeks, was doubtless, long before the time of Homer or Hesiod, called Cronion, or Cronides,

  • Numbers of these fables, which cannot be reconciled with the Theogony, were,

u we know from Pausanias, in currency, especially in Arcadia; but how little should ve know of them from writers who addressed themselves to the entire nation. The Aitie tragedians likewise, in their accounts of the affinities of the eods, follow the Hesiodean Theogony far more than the locid worships and legends w Attica.


88 HISTORY OF THE

which, according to the most probable interpretation, means the *^ Son of the Ancient of Days *;*' and, as the ruler of the clear heaven, he was derived from Uramu^ or heaven itself. In like manner all the other gods were, according to their peculiar attributes and character, con- nected with beings and appearances which seemed the most ancient. The relation of the primitive and the originating to the recent and the derived was always conceived under the form of generation and birth — the universe being considered to have a life, like that of animals; and hence even heaven and earth were imagined to have an animal organization. The idea of creaiiouy of so high antiquity in the east, and so early known to the Indians, Persians, and Hebrews, which sup- posed the Deity to have formed the world with design, as an earthly artificer executes his work, was foreign to the ancient Greeks, and could only arise in religions which ascribed a personal existence and an eter- nal duration to the godhead. Hence it is clear that theogonies, in the widest sense of the word — that is, accounts of the descent of the gods — are as old as the Greek religion itself; and, doubtless, the most ancient bards would have been induced to adopt and expand such legends in their poems. One result of their attempts to classify the theogonic beings, is the race of Titans^ who were known both to Homer and Hesiod, and formed a link between the general personifications of parts of the universe and the human forms of the Olympic gods, by whose might they were supposed to be hurled into the depths of Tartarus.

Surrounded as he was by traditions and ancient poems of this kind, it would have been impossible for Hesiod (as many moderns have con- ceived) to form his entire Theogony upon abstract philosophical prin- ciples of his own concerning the powers of matter and mind : if his sys- tem had been invented by himself, it would not have met with such ready acceptance from succeeding generations. But, on the other hand, Hesiod cannot be considered as a mere collector of scattered traditions or fragments of earlier poems, which he repeated almost at random, without being aware of their hidden connexion : the choice which he made among different versions of the same fable, and his skilful arrange- ment of the several parts, are of themselves a sufficient proof that he was guided by certain fundamental ideas, and that he proceeded upon a connected view of the formation of outward nature.

To make this position more clear, it will perhaps be most advisable to illustrate the nature of the primitive beings which,^, according to the Theogony, preceded the race of the Titans ; with the view of showing the consistency and connexion of Hesiod's notions : for the rest, a more general survey will suffice.

  • Whatever doubts mav exist with regard to the etymology of K^iv^s (whether

the name comes from x^ettvM, or is allied with »^i>os)i yet everything stated of him agrees with this conception, his dominion during the golden age, the representation ■of a simple patriarchal life at the festival of the Kfivm, Cronus as the ruler of the departed heroes, &c.


LITERATURE OF ANCIBNT OREBCE. 89

" First of all (the Theogony, strictly so called, begins) was Chaoi^* ; that is, the abyss, in which all peculiar shape and figure is lost, and of which we arrive at the conception by excluding all idea of definite form. It is evident, however, that, as Hesiod represents other beings as spring- ing out of Chaos, he must have meant by this word not mere empty space, but a confused mixture of material atoms, instinct with the prin- ciple of life. " Afterwards arose (that is from Chaos) the wide-bosomed Earthy the firm resting-place of all things ; and gloomy Tartara in the depth of the Earth; and JEro«, the fairest of the immortal godsf." The Earth, the mother of all living things, according to the notion of the Greeks and many oriental countries, is conceived to arise out of the dark abyss ; her foundations are in the depth of night, and her surface is the soil upon which light and life exist. Tartara is, as it were, only the dark nde of the Earth ; by which it still remains connected with Chaos. As the Earth and Tartara represent the brute matter of Chaos in a more perfect form, so in Eros the living spirit appears as the principle of all increase and development. It is a lofly conception of the poet of the Theogony, to represent the God of Love as proceed- ing out of Chaos at the beginning of all things ; though probably this thought did not originate with him, and had already been expressed in ancient hymns to Eros, sung at Thespis. Doubtless it is not an accidental coincidence that this city, which was 40 stadia from Ascra, should have possessed the most renowned temple of Eros in all Greece ; and that in its immediate neighbourhood Hesiod should have given to this deity a dignity and importance of which the Homeric poems con* tain no trace. But it appears that the poet was satisfied with borrowing this thought from the Thespian hymns without applying it in the subsequent part of his poem. For although it is doubtless implied that all the following marriages and births of the gods spring from the in- fluence of Eros, the poet nevertheless omits expressly to mention its operation. *' Out of Chaos came Erebus j** the darkness in the depths of the Earth, *' and black Nighty* the darkness which passes over the surface of the Earth. ** From the union of Night and Erebus pro^ ceeded j^ther and Day." It may perhaps appear strange that these dark children of Chaos bring forth the ever-shining iBther of the highest heavens, and the bright daylight of the earth ; this, however, is only a consequence of the general law of development observed in the Theogony, that the dim and shapeless is the prior in point of time ; and that the world is perpetually advancing from obscurity to bright-

  •  ;^Mf, literally synonymous with x*^/^ chasm.

t Plato and Aristotlo in their quotations of this passage omit Tartara (also called Tartarus) ; but probat)ly only because it has not so much importance among the frineipia nmrndi as the others. Tartara could also be considered as included under the Earth, as it is also called Tdfrm^u ymins. But the poet of the Theogony must bave vtated his origin in this place \ as lower down he describes Typhcmiii as the Mm of the EttUi and Tartaras.


90 HISTORY OF THE

ness. Light bunUnf from the boeom of darkness is a beautiful image, which recurs in the cosmogonies of other ancient nations. The Earth then 6rst produced the starry heaven, of equal extent with herself, that it might cover her all round, so as to be f(Nr ever a firm resting-place for the gods ; and also the far-ranging mountains, the lovely abodes of the nymphs. As the hills are elevations of the £arth, so the Heaven is con- ceived as a firmament spread over the Earth ', which, according to the general notion above stated, would have proceeded, and, as it were, grown out of it. At the same time, on account of the various fertilizing and animating influences whidi the Earth receives from the Heaven, the Greeks were led to conceive Earth and Heaven as a married pair*, whose descendants form in the Theogony a second great generation of deities. But another offspring of the Earth is first mentioned. ^ The Earth 9\so bore the roaring swelling sea, the Pontus, without the joys of mar- riage.'* By expressly remarking of Pontus that the Earth produced him alone without love, although the other beings just enumerated lining from the Earth singly, the poet meant to indicate his rough and unkindly nature. It is the wild, waste salt sea, separated at its very origin from the streams and springs of fresh water, which supply nourishment to vegetation and to animal life. These are all made to descend from Ocean, who is called the eldest of the TUotu, These, together with the Cyclopes and HectUonchdres, were produced by the union of Earth and Heaven ; and it is sufficient here to remark of them that the Titans, according to the notions of Hesiod, represent a system of things in which elementary beings, natural powers, and notions of order and regularity are united into a whole. The Cyclopes de- note the transient disturbances of this order by storms, and the Heca- toncheires, or the hundred-handed giants, signify the fearful power of the greater revolutions of nature.

The subsequent arrangement of the poem depends on its mixed genealogical and narrative character. As soon as a new generation of gods is produced, the events are related through which it overcame the earlier race and obtained the supremacy. Thus, after the Titans and their brethren, the Cyclopes and Hecatoncheires, are enumerated, it is related how Cronus deprives his father of the power, by producing new beings, of supplanting those already in existence ; whereupon follow the races of the other primitive beings. Night and Pontus. Then suc- ceed the descendants of the Titans. In speaking of Cronus, the poet relates how Zeus was preserved from being devoured by his father, and of lapetus, how his son Prometheus incensed Zeus by coming for- ward as the patron of the human race, though not for their benefit. Then follows a detailed account of the battle which Zeus and his kindred, assisted by the Hecatoncheires, waged against the Titans ; with

  • The same notion had prevailed, though in a less distinct form, in the eatly

religion of outward nature among the Greeks. See above ch, ii« ( 4, (p. 14),


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 91

the description of the dreadful abode of Tartara, in which the Titans were imprisoned. This part, it must be confessed, appears to be over- loaded by additions of rhapsodists; An afterpiece to the battle of the Titans is the rebellion of Typhoeus (born of the Earth and Tartara) against Zeus. The descendants of Zeus and the Olympian gods, united with him, formed the last part of the original Theogony.

Notwithstanding the great simplicity of this plan, we may yet remark a number of refinements which show a maturely considered design on the part of tlie poet. For instance, Hesiod might have connected the descendants of Night (bom without marriage)* with the children which she bore to Erebus, namely iBther and Dayf. But he relates first the battle of Cronus against Uranus, and the mutilation of the latter ; whereby ihe first interruption of' the peaceable order of the world is caused, and anger «nd curses, personified by the Furies, are Introduced into the world. The mutilation, however, of Uranus caused the production of the Melise, or N3rmphs of the Ash Trees, that is, the mightiest productions of vegetation ; the Giants, or most powerfiil beings of human form; and the Goddess of Love herself. It is not till after this disturbance of the tranquillity of the world that Night produces from her daric bosom those beings, such as Death, and Strife, and Woe, and Blame, which are connected with the sufierings of mankind. Like- wise the race of Pontus, so rich in monsters, vrith which the heroes were to fight their fiercest battles, are properly introduced afler the first deed of violence upon Uranus. It is also evidently by design that the two Titans, Cronus and lapetus, also named together by Homer, are, in the genealogy of their descendants!, arranged in a different order than at the first mention of the Titans §. In the latter passage Cronus is the youngest of all, just as Zeus is in Hesiod the youngest among his brothers ; whilst in Homet* he reigns by the right of primogeniture. But Hesiod supposes the world to be in a state of perpetual develop- ment ; and as the sons overcome the fathers, so also the youngest sons are the most powerfiil, as standing at the head of a new order of things. On the other hand, the race of lapetus, which refers exclusively to the attributes and destinies of mankind ||, is placed after the de- scendants of Cronus, from whom the Olympic gods proceed ; because the actions and destinies of those human Titans are entirely determined by

  • V.211, seq. f v. 124. I v. 453, 507. $ v. 132, seq,

II In the genealogy of lapetus in the Theogony are preserved remains of an ancient poem on the iot of mankind, lapetus himself is the fallen man*' (from MKv-Tw, root lAn), the human race deprived of their former happiness. Of his sons. Atlas and Menoetius represent the ^ufUf of the human soiUj Atlas (from rknveu, TAA), the enduring and obstinate spirit, to whom the gods allot the heaviest bur- dens ; and Menoetius (/»(»«; and eJros), the unconquerable and confident spirit, whom Zeos hurls into Erebus. Promeiheut and Epitnetheus, on the other hand, personify HOf ; the former prudent foresight, the latter the worthless knowledge which comes ftfter the deed. And the gods contrive it so that whatever benefits are gained for the huma& race by the former are lost to it again through his brother.


92 HISTORY OF THE

their relation to (he Olympians, who have reserved to themselves alone a constantiy equal measure of prosperity, and act jointly in repelling with equal severity the bold attempts of the lapetids.

Although therefore this poem is not merely an accumulation of raw materials, but contains many connected thoughts, and is formed on a well-Kligested plan, yet it cannot be denied that neither in the Theogony nor in the Works and Days can that perfect art of composition be found which is so conspicuous in the Homeric poems. Hesiod has not only faithfully preserved the ancient tradition, and introduced without altera- tion into his poetry many time-honoured sayings, and many a verse of earlier songs, but he also seems to have borrowed long passages, and even entire hymns, when they happened to suit the plan of his poem ; and with- out greatly changing their form. Thus it is remarkable that the battle of the Titans does not begin (as it would be natural to expect) with the resolution of Zeus and the other Olympians to wage war against the Titans, but with the chaining of Briareus and the other Hecatoncheires by Uranus ; nor is it until the poet has related how Zeus set free these Hecatoncheires, by the advice of the Earth, that we are introduced to the battle with the Titans, which has already been some time going on. And this part of the Theogony concludes with the Hecatoncheires being set by the gods to watch over the imprisoned Titans, and Briareus, by his marriage with Cymopoleia, becoming the son-in*law of Poseidon, This Briareus, who in Homer is also called iEgseon, and represents the violent commotions and heavings of the sea, was a being who in many places seems to have been connected with the worship of Poseidon*, and it is not improbable that in the temples of this god hymns were sung celebrating him as the vanquisher of the Titans, one of which Hesiod may have taken as the foundation of his narrative of the battle of the Titans.

It seems likewise evident that the Theogony has been in many places interpolated by rhapsodists, as was naturally to be expected in a poem handed down by oral tradition. Enumerations of names always offered facilities for this insertion of new verses; as, for example, the list of streams in the Theogony, which are called sons of the Ocean*]*. Among these we miss exactly those rivers which we should expect most to find, the Boeotian Asopus and Cephisus ; and we find several which at any rate lie beyond the sphere of the Homeric geography, such as the Ister, the Eridanus, and the Nile, no longer the river of Egypt, as in Homer, but under its more modem name. The most remarkable cir- cumstance, however, is that in this brief list of rivers, the passage of Homer X which names eight petty streams flowing from the mountains of Ida to the coast, has been so closely followed, that seven of them

  • Poseidon, from aJyts, which signifieH waves in a state of a^tation, was also

called Aiycun and Aiymian*

t V. 338, 99q. X Iliad, xii. 26.


LITERATURE OP ANCIENT OREBCE. 98

are named in Hesiod. This seems to prove incontestably that the Theogony has been interpolated by rhapsodists who were familiar with the Homeric poems as well as with those of Hesiod.

It has been already stated that the Theogony originally terminated with the races of the Olympian gods, that is, at v. 962 ; the part which follows being only added in order to make a transition to another and longer poem, which the rhapsodists appended as a kind of continuation to the Theogony. For it seems manifest that a composer of genealogical legends of this kind would not be likely to celebrate the goddesses who,

    • joined in love with mortal men, had borne godlike children" (which is

the subject of the last part in the extant version), if he had not also intended to sing of the gods who with mortal women had begotten mighty heroes (a far more frequent event in Greek mythology). The god Dionysus, and Hercules, received among the gods (both of whom sprang from an alliance of this kind), are indeed mentioned in a former part of the poem*. But there remain many other horoes, whose genealogy is not traced, of far greater importance than Medeius, Phocus, ^neas, and many other sons of goddesses. Moreover, the extant concluding verses of the Theogony furnish a complete proof that a poem of this description was annexed to it ; inasmuch as the women whom the Muses are in these last verses called on to celebrate f can be no other than the mortal beauties to whom the gods came down from heaven. As to the nature of this lost poem of Hesiod something will be said hereafler.

Hitherto we have said nothing upon that part of the Theogony which has furnished so intricate a problem to the higher department of criti- cism, viz., the prooemium^ as it is only after having taken a general view of the whole poem that we can hope to succeed in ascertaining the original form of diis part. It can scarcely be questioned that this procemium, with its disproportionate length (v. 1 — 115), its intolerable repetition of the same or very similar thoughts, and the undeniable in- coherences of several passages, could not be the original introduction to the Theogony ; it appears, indeed, to be a collection of all that the Boeotian bards had produced in praise of the Muses. It is not, how- ever, necessary, in order to explain how this confused mass was formed, to have recourse to complicated hypotheses ; or to suppose that this long procemium was designedly formed of several shorter ones. It appears, mdeed, that a much simpler explanation may be found, if we proceed upon some statements preserved in ancient authors! . The genuine

  • V. 940, seq.

\ TXvf TH yvvtuxSf ^uX§v atUetri fi^uiirueti Movg-Mj &C.

X Especially the statement in Plutarch (torn. ii. p. 743, C. ed. Francof.) that the account of the birth of the Muses from Hesiod's poems (viz., v. 36—67 in our proem) was sung as a separate hymn ; and the statement of Aristophanes, the Alex- •oAnaid grammarian (in the scholia to v. 68), that the ascent of the Muses to Olympus followed their dances on Helicon,


94 HISTORY OF THB'

procemium contained the beautiful story above mentioned of the visit of the Muses to Helicon, and of the consecration of Hesiod to the office of a poet by the gift of a laurel branch. Next after this must have fol- lowed the passage which desoribes the return of the Muses to Olympus, where they celebrate their father Zeus in his palace as the vanquisher of Cronus, and as the reigning governor of the world ; which might be succeeded by the address of the poet to the Muses to reveal to him the descent and genealogies of the g^ods. Accordingly the verses 1 — 35, 68 — 74, 104 — 116, would form the original procemium, in the con- nexion of which there is nothing objectionable, except that the last in- vocation of the Muses is somewhat overloaded by the repetition of the same thought with little alteration. Of the intervening parts one, viz., V. 36— -67, is an independent hymn, which celebrates the Muses as Olympian poetesses produced by Zeus in Pieria in the neighbourhood of Olympus, and has no particular reference to the Theogony. For the enumeration contained in it of the subjects simg by the Muses in Olympus, namely, first, songs to all the gods, ancient and recent, then hymns to Zeus in particular, and, lastly, songs upon the heroic races and the battle of the Giants, comprehends the entire range of the Bceotian epic poetry ; nay, even the poems on divination of the school of Hesiod are incidentally mentioned*. This hymn to the Muses was therefore peculiarly well 6tted to serve not only as a separate epic song, but, like the longer Homeric hymns, to open the contest of Boeotian minstrels at any festival.

But the Muses were, according to the statement of this proGemiumt9 celebrated at the end as well as at the beginning ; consequently there must have been songs of the Boeotian epic poets, in which they returned to the Muses from the peculiar subject of their composition. For a concluding address of this kind nothing could be more appropriate than that the poet should address himself to tlie princes, who were pre- eminent among the listening crowd, that he should show them how much they stood in need of the Muses both in the judgment-hall and in the assemblies of the people, and (which was a main point with Hesiod) should impress upon their hearts respect for the deities of poetry and their servants. Precisely of this kind is the other passage inserted in the original prooemium, v. 75 — 103, which would have pro- duced a good effect at the close of the Theogony ; by bringing back the poetry, which had so long treated exclusively of the genealogies of the gods, to the realities of human life; whereas, in the introduction, the whole passage is entirely out of place. But this passage could not remain in the place to which it belongs, viz., after v. 962, because the part relating to the goddesses who were joined in love with mortal men was inserted here, in order that the mortal women who had been loved by gods might follow, and thus the Theogony be infinitely prolonged. Hence, in

  • V. 38. v/AftSfM r& 9^ Mrret rd r* U^ifum fr^a g' livret, f T. 34»


LITERATURB OF AMOUNT GREECE. 95

making an edition of the Theogony, in which the pieces heloi^p ing lo it were introduced into the series of the poem, nothing remained but to insert the hymn to the Muses as well as the epilogue iu the procemium ; an adaptation which, however, could only have been made in an age when the true feeling for the ancient epic poetry had nearly passed away*.

Lastly, with regard to the relation between the Theogony and the Works and Days, it cannot be doubted that there is a great resemblance in the style and character of the two poems ; but who shall pretend to decide that this resemUance is so great as to warrant an opinion that these poems were composed by an indiyidual, and not by a successiop of minstrels ? It is, however, certain that the author of the Theogony and the author of the Works and Days wish to be considered as the same person ; viz., as the native of Helicon who had been trained to a country life, and had been endowed by the Muses with the gifl of poetry. Nor can it be doubted that the original Hesiod, the ancestor of this family of poets, really rose to poetry from the occupations of common life ; although his successors may have pursued it as a regular pro- fession. It is remarkable how the domestic and economical spirit of the poet of the Works appears in the Theogony, wherever the wide dif- ference of the subjects permits it ; as in the legend of Prometheus and Epimetheus. It is true that this takes a somewhat different turn in the Tlieogony and in the Works ; as in the latter it is the casket brought by Pandora from which proceed all human ills, while in the former this charming and divinely endowed maiden brings woe into the world by being the progenitress of the female sex. Yet the ancient bard views the evil produced by women not in a moral but in an econo- mical light. He does not complain of the seductions and passions of which they are the cause, but laments that women, like the drones in a hive, consume the fruits of others' industry instead of adding to the sum.

§ 4. It is remarkable that the same school of poetry which was accustomed to treat the weaker sex in this satiric spirit should have produced epics of the heroic mythology which pre-eminently sang the praises of the women of antiquity^ and connected a large part of the heroic legends with renowned names of heroines. Yet the school of Hesiod might probably find a motive in existing relations and political institutions for such laudatory catalogues of the women of early times. The neighbours of the Boeotians, the Locrians, possessed a nobility consisting of a hundred families, all of which (according to Polybiusf) founded their title to nobility upon their descent from heroines.

  • That there was another and wholly different version of the Theogony^ which

contained at the end a passage deriving the origin of Hephsestus and Athene from a contest of Zeus and Here, appears from the testimony of Cbrysippus, in Galen de Hippocmlis et Platonu dogm. lii. 8, p. 349, teq.

t xil 5. .


96 HISTORY OP THE

Pindar, also, in the ninth Olympian ode, celebrates Protogeneia as the ancestress of the kin^ of Opus. That the poetry of this school was con- nected with the country of the Locrians also appears from the tradition mentioned by Thucydides* that Hesiod died and was buried In the temple of Zeus Nemeius, near Oeneon. The district cf Oeneon was bordered by that of Naupactus, which originally belonged to the Locrians ; and it cannot be doubted that the grave of Hesiod, mentioned in the territory of Naupactust» is the same burying place as that near Oeneon. Hence it is the more remarkable that Naupactus was also the birth-place of an epic poem, which took from it the name of Nau- pactia^ and in which women of the heroic age were celebrated}. From all this it would follow that it was a Locrian branch of the Hesiodean school of poets whence proceeded the bard by whom the EoisB were composed. This large poem, called the Eoub^ or the Great Eoub (fieyaXai 'Hocat), took its name from the circum- stance that the several parts of it all began with the words 7/ 01% aut qualis. Five beginnings of this kind have been preserved which have this in common, that those words refer to some heroine who, beloved by a god, gave birth to a renowned hero§. Thence it appears that the whole series began with some such introduc- tion as the following: *'Such women never will be seen again as were those of former times, whose beauty and charms induced even the gods to descend from Olympus." Each separate part then referred to this exordium, being connected with it by the constant repetition of the words 7/ olri in the initial verses. The most con- siderable fragment from which the arrangement of the individual parts can be best learnt is the 56 verses which are prefixed as an introduction to the poem on the shield of Hercules, and which, as is seen from the first verse, belong to the Eoiae. They treat of Alcmene, but without relating her origin and early life. The narrative begins from the flight of Amphitryon (to whom Alcmene was married) from his home, and her residence in Thebes, where the father of gods and men de- scended nightly from Olympus to visit her, and begot Hercules, the greatest of heroes. Although no complete history of Alcmene is given, the praise of her beauty and grace, her understanding, and her conjugal love is a main point with the poet ; and we may also perceive

  • iii. 95. f Pausan. iz. 38. 3.

X Pausanias, x. 38, 6, uses of it the expression tirn m^rotti/tiva is ywrn/uif, and else- where the Hesiodean poem is called ra is yuveuMcs fH/Atfa, From single quotations it appears that, in the Neutpaeiia, the daughters of Minyas, as well as Medea, were particularly celebrated, and that frequent mention was made of the expedition of the Argonauts.

§ The extant verses (which can be seen in the collection of fragments in Gais* ford's Poets Minores, and other editions) refer to Coronitf the mother of Asclepiot by ApoUo, to Aniiope, the mother of Zethus and Amphion by Zeus, to Meciomict, the mother of Euphemus by Poseidon, and to Cifrene, the mother of AristasuB by Apollo. The longer fragment relating to Alcmene is explained in the text.


LITERA.TURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 97

from extant fragments of the continuation of this section of the Eloia?, that in the relation of the exploits of Hercules, the poet frequently re- curred to Alcmene ; and her relations with her son, her admiration of his heroic valour, and her grief at the labours imposed upon him, were depicted with great tenderness *. From this specimen we may iform a judgment of the general plan which was followed throughout the poem of the Eoiae.

The inquiry into the character and extent of the Eoiae is however rendered more difficult by the obscurity which, notwithstanding much examination, rests upon the relation of this poem to the KaraXoyoQ yvyaiKdv, the Catalogue of IVomen, For thil latter poem is some- times stated to be the same as the Eoiae ; and for example, the fragment on Alcmene, which, from its beginning, manifestly belongs to the Eoiae, is in the Scholia to Hesiod placed in the fourth book of the Catalogue : sometimes, again, the two poems are distinguished, and the statements of the Eoiae and of the Catalogue are opposed to each otherf. The Catalogues are described as an historical-genealogical poem, a cha- racter quite different from that of the Eoise, in which only such women could be mentioned as were beloved by the gods : on the other hand, the Catalogues resembled the Eoiae, when in the first book it was related that Pandora, the first woman according to the Legend of the Theo- gony, bore Deucalion to Prometheus, from whom the progenitors of the Hellenic nation were then derived. We are therefore compelled to sup- pose that originally the Eoiae and the Catalogues were different in plan and subject, only, that both were especially dedicated to the celebration of women of the heroic age, and that this then caused the compilation of a version in whicii both poems were moulded together into one whole. It is also easy to comprehend how much such poems, by their unconnected form, would admit of constant additions, supposing only that they were strung together by genealogies or other links ; and it need not therefore seem surprising that the Eoiae, the foundation of which had doubtless been laid at an early period, still received additions about the 40th Olympiad. The part which referred to Cyrene, a Thessalian maid, who was carried off by Apollo into Libya, and there bore Aris- taus, was certainly not written before the founding of the city of Cyrene in Libya (Olymp. 37). The entire My thus could only have

  • A beautiful passage, which relates to this point, is the address of Alcmene to

her son, i riKvn^ n /uiXtt ^ g't ^avn^eraTav »ai aowro* Zivs iTiKva/a't fr«T)]^.

On the fragments of this part of the EoisB, see Dorians, vol. i. p. 540, Engl. Transl.

f For example, in the scholia to ApoU. Rhod. II. 181. Moreover, the Eoise in which Corunis was celebrated as the mother of Asclepius, was in contradiction with the K«r»A»y« AtvKi^vrihtv, in which Arsinoe, the daughter of Leucippus, according to the Messenian tradition, was the mother of Asclepius, as appears from SchoL TheogoD. 142.

H


98 HISTORY OP THE

originated with the settlement of the Greeks of Thera, among whom were noble families of Thessalian origin.

Of the remaining poems which in antiquity went by the name of Hesiod, it is still less possible to give a complete notion. The Mdani- podia is as it were the heroic representation of that divinatory spirit of the Hesiodean poetry, the didactic forms of which have been already mentioned. It treated of the renowned prince, priest, and prophet of the Argives, Melampus ; and as the greater part of the prophets who were celebrated in mythology were derived from this Melampus, the Hesiodean poet, with his predilection for genealogical connexion, pro- bably did not fail to embrace the entire race of the Melampodias.

The JEgimius of Hesiod shows by its name that it treated of the mythical Prince of the Dorians, who, according to the legend, was the friend and ally of Hercules, whose son Hyllus he is supposed to have adopted and brought up with his own two sons Pamphylus and Dyman, a legend which referred to the distribution of the Dorians into three Phylae or tribes, the Hylleis, Pamphylians, and Dymanes. The frag- ments of this poem also show that it comprehended the genealogical traditions of the Dorians, and the part of the mytholc^ of Hercules closely allied to it ; however difficult it may be to form a well-grounded idea of the plan of this Epos.

An interesting kind of composition attributed to Hesiod are the smaller epicsy in which not a whole series of legends or a complicated story was described, but some separate event of the Heroic Mythology, which usually consisted more in bright and cheerful descriptions than in actions of a more elevated cast. Of this kind was the marriage of Ceyx^ the well-known Prince of Trachin, who was also allied in close amity with Hercules ; and a kindred subject. The Epithalamium of Peleus and Thetis. We might also mention here the Descent of The- seus and Pirithous into the Infernal Regions, if this adventure of the two heroes was not merely introductory, and a description of Hades in a religious spirit the principal object of the poem. We shall best ilhis- trate this kind of small epic poems by describing the one which has been preserved, viz., the Shield of Hercules, This poem contains merely one adventure of Hercules, his combat with the son of Ares, Cycnus, in the Temple of Apollo at Pagasae. It is clear to every reader of the poem that the first 56 verses are taken out of the Eoise, and only inserted be- cause the poem itself had been handed down without an introduction. There is no further connexion between these two parts, than that the first relates the origin of the hero, of whom the short epic then relates a separate adventure. It would have been as well, and perhaps better, to have prefixed a brief hymn to Hercules. The description of the Shield of Hercules is however far the most detailed part of the poem, and that for which the whole appears to have been composed ; a descrip-


LITSRATURB OP ANOIBNT GREECE. 99

lion which was manifestly occasioned by that of the shield of Achilles in the Iliad, but nevertheless quite peculiar, and executed in the genuine spirit of the Hesiodean school. For while the reliefs upon the shield of Achilles are entirely drawn from imagination, and pure poetical imagi- nation, objects are represented upon the shield of Hercules which were in fact the first subjects of the Greek artists who worked reliefs in bronze and other decorative sculptures *. We cannot, therefore, sup- pose the shield of Hesiod to be anterior to the period of the Olympiads, because before that time nothing was known of similar works of art among the Greeks. But on the other hand, it cannot be posterior to the 40th Olympiad, as Hercules appears in it armed and equipped like any other hero ; whereas about this date the poets began to represent him in a different costume, with the club and lion's skin f* The entire class of these short epics appears to be a remnant of the style of the [primitive bards, that of choosing separate points of heroic history, in order to enliven an hour of the banquet, before longer compositions had been formed from them |. On the other hand, these short Hesiodean epics are connected with lyric poetry^ particularly that of Stesichorus, who sometimes composed long choral odes on the same or similar subjects (as for example, Cycnus), and not without reference to Hesiod, This close approximation of the Hesiodean epic poetry and the lyric poetry of Ste- sichonis doubtless gave occasion to the legend that the latter was the son of Hesiod, although he lived much later than the real founder of the Hesiodean school of poetry.

Of the other names of Hesiodean Poems, which are mentioned by

  • The shield of Ackiiles contains, on the prominence in the middle, a representation

of earth, heaven, and sea : then in the next circulaarhand two cities, the one engaged in peaceable occupations, the other beleagured by foes : afterwards, in six depart- ments (which must be considered as lying around concentrically in a third row), rural and joyous scenes — sowing, harvest, vine-picking, a cattle pa8tiu:e, a flock of sheep, a choral dance : lastly, in the external circle, the ocean. The poet takes a delight in adorning this implement of bloody war with the most pleasing scenes of peace, and pays no regard to what the sculptors of his time were able to execute. The Hesiod- ean poet, on the other hand, places in the middle of the »hie/d of Hercules a terrible dragon {}fA>MitT9s ^«/^v), surrounded by twelve twisted snakes, exactly as the g^rgo- neum or head of ]k(|edusa is represented : on Tyrrhenian shields of Tarquinii other monstrous heads are similarly introduced in the middle. A battle of wild boars and lions makes a border, as is often the case in early Greek sculptures and vases. It mnst be conceived as a narrow band or ring round the middle. The first consi- derable row, which surroimds the centre piece in a circle, consists of four depart- ments, of which two contain warlike and two peaceable subjects. So that the entire shield contains, as it were, a sanguinary and a tranquil side. In these are repre- sented the battle of the Centaurs, a choral dance in Olympus, a harbour and fishermen, Perseus and the Gorgons. Of these the first and last subjects are among those which are known to have earliest exercised the Greek artists. An external row (mts^ mvTun, V. 237) is occupied by a city at wal: and a city at peace, which the poet borrows from Homer, but describes with greater minuteness, and indeed overloads with too many details. The rim, as in the other shield, is surroonded by the ocean.

t See the remarks on Peisander below, ch« z. § 3.

$ See abovGip. 40| (ch« It. ( 6):

h2


100 HISTORY OF THE

grammarians, some are doubtful, as they do not occur in ancient au- thors, and others do not by their title give any idea of their plan and subject ; so that we can make no use of them in our endeavour to con- vey a notion of the tone and character of the Hesiodean poetry.


CHAPTER X.

f 1. General character of other Epic Poets.— § 2. Ginsethon of Lacedsemon, Eumelas of Corinth, Asius of Samos^ Ghersias of Orchomenus. — § 3. Epic Poems on Her- cules ; the Taking of (Echalia ; the Heraclea of Peisander of Rhodes.

§ 1. Great as was the number of poems which in ancient times passed under the name of Homer, and were connected in the way of supple- ment or continuation with the Iliad and Odyssey, and also of those which were included under the all-comprehensive name of Hesiod, yet these formed only about a half of the entire epic literature of the early Greeks. The hexameter was, for several centuries, the only perfectly developed form of poetry, as narratives of events of early times were the general amusement of the people. The heroic mythology was an inex- haustible mine of subjects, if they were followed up into the legends of the different races and cities ; it was therefore natural, that in the most various districts of Greece poets should arise, who, for the gratifi- cation of their countrymen, worked up these legends into an epic form, either attempting to rise to an imitation of the Homeric style, or con- tenting themselves with the easier task of adopting that of the school of Hesiod. Most of these poems evidently had little interest except in their subjects, and even this was lost when the logographers collected into shorter works the legends of which they were composed. Hence it happened only occasionally that some learned inquirer into tradi- tionary story took the trouble to look into these epic poems. Even now it is of great importance, for mythological researches, carefully to collect all the fragments of these ancient poems ; such, for example, as the Phoronis and Danais (the works of unknown authors), which con- tained the legends of the earliest times of Argos ; but, for a history of literature, the principal object of which is to give a vivid notion of the character of writings, these are empty and unmeaning names. There are, however, a few epic poets of whom enough is known to enable us to form a general idea of the course which they followed.

§ 2. Of these poets several appear to have made use of the links of genealogy^ in order, like the poet in the Hesiodean catalogues, to string together fables which were not connected by any main action, but which often extended over many generations. According to Pausanias, the works of Cinsethon the Lacedaemonian, who flourished about the 5th Olympiad, had a genealogical foundation ; and from the great pleasure which the Spartans took in the legends of the heroic age, it is probable


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 101

that he treated of certain mythical subjects to which a patriotic interest was attached. His Heraclea, which is very rarely mentioned, may have referred to the descent of the Doric Princes from Hercules ; and also his CEdipodia may have been occasioned by the first kings of Sparta, Procles and Eurysthenes, being, through their mother, descended from the Cadmean kings of Thebes. It is remarkable that the Little Iliad, one of the Cyclic poems, which immediately followed Homer, was by many* attributed to this Cinsethon ; and another Peloponnesian bard, Eumelus the Corinthian, was named as the author of a second Cyclic Epos, the Nostoi. Both statements are probably erroneous ; at least the authors of these poems must, as members of that school who imitated and extended the Homeric Epopees, have adopted an entirely different style of com- position from that required for the genealogical collections of Pelopon- nesian legends. Eumelus was a Corinthian of the noble and governing house of the Bacchaids, and he lived about the time of the founding of Syracuse (4th Olympiad, according to the commonly received date). There were poems extant under his name, of the genealogical and his- torical kind ; by which, however, is not to be understood the later style of converting the marvels of the mythical period into common history, but only a narrative of the legends of some town or race, arranged in order of time. Of this character (as appears also from fragments) were the Corinthiaca of Eumelus, and also, probably, the Europia^ in which perhaps a number of ancient legends were joined to the genealogy of Europa. Nevertheless the notion among the ancients of the style of Eumelus was not so fixed and clear as to furnish any certain criterion ; for there was extant a Titanomachia, as to which Athenseus doubts whe- ther it should be ascribed to Eumelus, the Corinthian, or Aretinus, the Milesian. That there should exist any doubt between these two claimants, the Cyclic poet who had composed the jEthiopis, and the author of genealogical epics, only convinces us how uncertain all literary decisions in this period are, and how dangerous a region this is for the inquiries of the higher criticism. Pausanias vrill not allow anything of Eumelus to be genuine except a prosodion, or strain, which he had composed for the Messenians for a sacred mission to the Temple of Delos ; and it is certain that this epic hymn, in the Doric dialect, really belonged to those times when Messenia was still independent and flourishing, before the first war with the Lacedaemonians, which began in the 9th Olym- piadf. Pausanias also ascribes to Eumelus the epic verses in the Doric

  • See Schol. Vatic, ad Eurip. Troad. 822. Eumelus (corrupted iuto Eumolpuis)

is called the author of the vo^rot in Schol. Find. Olymp. xiii. 31.

f The passage quoted from it by Pausanias iv. 33, p. 3.

appears to say that the muse of Eumelus, which had composed the Prosodion, had also pleased Zeus Ithomatas ; that is, had gained a prize at the musical con- tests among the Ithomsans in Messenia.


102 HISTOHT 07 THB

dialect, vrinch were added to illustrate the reliefs on the chest of Cyp- selus, the renowned work of ancient art. But it is plain that those verses were contemporaneous with the reliefs themselves, which were not made till a century later, under the Government of the Cypselids at Corinth^. Asms of Samos, often mentioned by Pausanias, was a third genealogical epic poet. His poems referred chiefly to his native coun- try, the Ionian island of Samos ; and he appears to have taken occasion to descend to his own time ; as in the glowing and vivid description of the luxurious costume of the Samians at a festival procession to the temple of their guardian goddess, Here . Chersias, the epic poet of Orcho- menus, collected Boeotian legends and genealogies : he was, according to Plutarch, a contemporary of the Seven Wise Men, and appears, from \ the monumental inscription above mentioned, to have been a great ) admirer and follower of Hesiod.

§ 3. While by efforts of this kind nearly all the heroes (whose remem- i brance had been preserved in popular legends) obtained a place in | this endlessly extensive epic literature, it is remarkable that the hero \ on whose name half the heroic mythology of the Greeks depends, to whose mighty deeds (in a degree far exceeding those of all the Achaian heroes before Troy) every race of the Greeks seem to have contributed its share, that Hercules should have been celebrated by no epic poem corresponding to his greatness. Even the two Homeric epopees furnish . some measure of the extent of these legends, and at the same time make it probable that it was usual to compose short epic poems from single adventures of the wandering hero ; and of this kind, probably, was the ^* Taking of CEchalia," which Homer, according to a well-known tra- dition, is supposed to have left as a present to a person joined to him by ties of hospitality, Creophylus of Samos, who appears to have been the head of a Samian family of rhapsodists. The poem narrated how Her- cules, in order to avenge an affront early received by him from £urytus and his sons, takes CEchalia, the city of this prince, slays him and his sons, and carries off his daughter lole, as the spoil of war. This fable is so far connected with the Odyssey that the bow which Ulysses uses against the suitors is derived from this Elurytus, the best archer of his

  • PausjCniag proceeds on the supposition that this chest was the very one in which

the little C^^pselus was concealed from the designs of the Bacchiads by his mother Labda, which was afterwards, in memory of this event, dedicated by the Cypse- lids at Olympia. But not to say that this whole story is not an historial fact, but probably arose merely from the etymology of the word KvyptXog, (from xv^iXfi, a chest,) it is quite incredible that a box so costly and so richly adorned with sculp- tures should have been used by Labda as an ordinary piece of furniture. It is Beut more probable that the Cypselids, at the time of their power and wealth (alter Olymp. 30), had this chest made among other costly offerings, in order to be dedi- cated at Olympia, meaning, at the same time, by the name of the chest (xvyl^ikn) — quite in the manner of the emb/imes pariant on Greek coins — to allude to themselves as donors. Another argument is, that Hercules was distinguished on it by a pecu- liar costume ((^x^'/^'O i ^^d thersfore was not, as in Hesiod*s shield, represented in the common heroic accoutrements.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 103

time. This may have been the reason that very early Homerids formed of this subject a separate epos, the execution of which does not appear to have been unworthy of the name of Homer.

Other portions of the legends of Hercules had found a place in the larger poems of Hedod, the Eoise, the Catalogues, and the short epics ; and Cinaethon the Lacedsemonian may have brought forward many legends little known before his time. Yet this whole series of legends wanted that main feature which eveiy one would now collect from poets and works of art. This conception of Hercules could not arise before his contests with animals were combined from the local tales separately related of him in Peloponnesus, and were embellished with all the ornaments of poetry. Hence, too, he assumed a figure different from that of all other heroes, as he no longer seemed to want the brazen helmet, breast-plate, and shield, or to require the weapons of heroic warfare, but trusting solely to the immense strength of his limbs, and simply armed with a club, and covered with the skin of a lion which he had slain, he exercises a kind of gymnastic skill in slaying the various monsters which he encounters, sometimes exhibiting rapidity in running and leaping, sometimes the highest bodily strength in wrestling and striking. The poet who first represented Hercules in this manner, and thus broke through the monotony of the ordinary heroic combats, was Peisander, a Rhodian, from the town of Cameirus, who is placed at the 83d Olympiad, though he probably flourished somewhat later. Nearly all the allusions in his Heraclea maybe referred to those combats, which were considered as the tasks imposed on the hero by Eurystheus, and which were properly called *llpaK\iovc aOXoi, It is, indeed, very pro- bable that Peisander was the first who fixed the number of these labours at twelve^ a number constantly observed by later writers, though they do not always name the same exploits, and which had moreover esta- blished itself in art at least as early as the time of Phidias (on the tem- ple of Olympia). If the first of these twelve combats have a somewhat rural and Idyllian character, the later ones afforded scope for bold ima- ginations and marvellous tales, which Peisander doubtless knew how to turn to account ; as, for example, the story that Hercules, in his expedi- tion against Geryon, was carried over the ocean in the goblet of the Sun, is first 'cited from the poem of Peisander. Perhaps he was led to this invention by symbols of the worship of the Sun, which existed from early times in Rhodes. It was most likely the originality, which prevailed with equal power through the whole of this not very long poem, that induced the Alexandrian grammarians to receive Peisander, together with Homer and Hesiod, into the epic canon, an honour which they did not extend to any other of the poets hitherto mentioned.

Thus the Chreek Epos^ which seemed, from its genealogical tendency, to have acquired a dry and steril character, now appeared once more animated with new life, and striking out new paths. Nevertheless it


104 HISTORY OF THE

may be questioned whether the epic poets would have acquired this spirit if they had never moved out of the beaten track of their ancient heroic song, and if other kinds of poetry had not arisen and re- vealed to the Greeks the latent poetical character of many other feelings and impressions besides those which prevailed in the epos. We now turn to those kinds of poetry which first appear as the rivals of the epic strains*.


CHAPTER XI. •


§ 1. Exclusive prevalence of Epic Poetry, in connexion with the monarchical period; influence of the change in the forms of Government upon Poetry. — § 2. Elegeion, its meaning ; origin of Elegos ; plaintive songs of Asia Minor, accompanied by the flute ; mode of Recitation of the Elegy. — § 3. Metre of the Elegy. — § 4. Po- litical and military tendency of the Elegy as composed by Callinus ; the circum- stances of his time. — § 5. Tyrtseus, his Life ; occasion and subject of his Elegy of Eunomia. — § 6. Character and mode of recitation of the Elegies of Tyrtaus. § 7. Elegies of Archilochus, their reference to Banquets ; mixture of convivial jollity (Asius). — § 8. Plaintive Elegies of Archilochus. — § 9. Mimnermus ; his Elegies; the expression of the impaired strength of the Ionic nation. — § 10. Luxury a consolation in this state; the Nanno of Mimnermus. — § 11. Solon's character; his Elegy of Salamis. — § 12. Elegies before and after Solon's Legislation ; the ex- pression of his political feeling ; mixture of Gnomic Passages (Phocylides). — § 13. Elegies of Theognis ; their original character. — § 14. Their origin in the political Revolutions of Megara. — § 15. Their personal reference to the Friends of Theognis. — § 1 6. Elegies of Xenophanes ; their philosophical tendency.— § 17. Elegies of Simonides on the Victories of the Persian War; tender and pathetic spirit of his Poetry ; general View of the course of Elegiac Poetry. — § 18. Epigrams in elegiac form; their Object and Character; Simonides^ as a Composer of Epigrams.

§ 1. Until the beginning of the seventh century before our era, or the 20th Olympiad, the epic was the only kind of poetry in Greece, and the hexameter the only metre which had been cultivated by the poets with art and diligence. Doubtless there were, especially in connexion with different worships, strains of other kinds and measures of a lighter movement, according to which dances of a sprightly character could be executed ; but these as yet did not form a finished style of poetry, and were only rude essays and undeveloped germs of other varieties, which hitherto had only a local interest, confined to the rites and customs of particular districts. In all musical and poetical contests the solemn and majestic tone of the epopee and the epic hymn alone prevailed ; and the soothing placidity which these lays imparted to the mind was the only feeling which had found its satisfactory poetical expression. As yet the heart, agitated by joy and grief, by love and anger, could not give utter-

  • Some epic poems of the early period, as the Minyis, AlcnuBonis, and Tkesproiia,

will be noticed in the chapter on the poetry connected with the Mysteries.


, LITERATUEX OF ANCIENT GREECE. 105

ance to its lament for the lost, its longing after the absent, its care for the present, in appropriate forms of poetical composition. These feel- ings were still without the elevation which the beauty of art can alone confer. The epopee kept the mind fixed in the contemplation of a former generation of heroes, which it could view with sympathy and in- terest, but not with passionate emotion. And although in the econo- mical poem of Hesiod the cares and sufferings of the present time fur- nished the occasion for an epic work, yet this was only a partial descent from the lofty career of epic poetry ; for it immediately rose again from this lowly region, and taking a survey of things affecting not only the entire Greek nation but the whole of mankind, celebrated in solemn strains the order of the universe and of social life, as approved by the Gods.

This exclusive prevalence of epic poetry was also doubtless connected with tlie x)olitical state of Greece at this time. It has been already re- marked* how acceptable the ordinary subjects of the epic poems must have been to the princes who derived their race from the heroes of the mythical age, as was the case with all the royal families of early times. This rule of hereditary princes was the prevailing form of government in Greece, at least up to the beginning of the Olympiads, and from this period it gradually disappeared ; at an earlier date and by more vio- lent revolutions among the lonians, than among the nations of Pelopon- nesus. The republican movements, by which the princely families were deprived of their privileges, could not be otherwise than favourable to a free expression of the feelings, and in general to a stronger development of each man*s individuality. Hence the poet, who, in the most perfect form of the epos, was completely lost in his subject, and was only the mirror in which the grand and brilliant images of the past were reflected, now comes before the people as a man with thoughts and objects of his own ; and gives a free vent to the struggling emotions of his soul in elegiac and iambic strains. As the elegy and the iambus, those two contemporary and cognate species of poetry, originated with Ionic poets, . and (as far as we are aware) with citizens of free states ; so, again, the remains and accounts of these styles of poetry furnish the best image of the internal condition of the Ionic states of Asia Minor and the Islands in the first period of their republican constitution,

§ 2. The word elegeioriy as used by the best writers, like the word epos, refers not to the subject of a poem, but simply to its form. In general the Greeks, in dividing their poetry into classes, looked almost exclusively to its metrical shape ; but in considering the essence of the Greek poetry we shall not be compelled to depart from these divisions, as the Greek poets always chose their verse with the nicest attention to the feelings to be conveyed by the poem. The perfect harmony, the accurate correspondence of expression between these multifarious me-

• Chap.iv. §1, 2.


f


106 HlfiTORT OF THl

trical forms and the various states of mind required by the poem, is one of the remarkable features of the Grecian poetry, Itnd to which we shall frequently have occasion to advert. The word cXeyelov, therefore, in its strict sense, means nothing more than the combination of an hexameter and a pentameter, making together a distich ; and an elegeia (eXcye/a) is a poem made of such verses. The word degeion is, however, itself only a derivation from a simpler word, the use of which brings us nearer to ttie first origin of this kind of poetry. EUgos (cXcyoc) means pro- perly a strain of lament, without any determinate reference to a metri- cal form ; thus, for example, in Aristophanes, the nightingale sings an elegos for her lost Itys ; and in Euripides, the halcyon, or kingfisher, sings an elegos for her husband Ceyz^ ; in both which passages the word has this general sense. The origin of the word can hardly be Grecian, since all the etymologies of it which have been attempted seem \ very improbablef ; on the other hand, if it is borne in mind, how cele- ( brated among the Greeks the Carians and Lydians were for laments 1 over the dead, and generally for songs of a melancholy cast|, it will seem likely that the lonians, together with ditties and tunes of this kind, also received the word elegos firom their neighbours of Asia Minor.

However great the interval may have been between these Asiatic dirges and the elegy as embellished and ennobled by Grecian taste, yet it cannot be doubted that they were in fact connected. Those laments of Asia Minor were always accompanied by the flute, which was of great antiquity in Phrygia and the neighbouring parts, but which was unknown to the Greeks in Homer's time, and in Hesiod only occuni as used in the boisterous strain of revellers, called Comos%. The elegy, on the other hand, is the first regularly cultivated branch of Greek poetry, in the recitation of which the flute alone, and neither the cithara nor lyre, was employed. The elegiac poet Mimnermus (about Olympiad 40, 620 B. c), according to the testimony of Hipponax|, nearly as an- cient as himself, played on the flute the Kpali-qQ vofwc ; that is, literally, ^' the fig-branch strain," a peculiar tune, which was played at the Ionic festival of Thargelia, when the men appointed to make atonement for the sins of the city were driven out vdth fig branches. Nanno, the beloved of Mimnermus, was a flute player, and he, according |^to the

♦ Aristoph. Av. 218. Eurip. Iph. Taur. 1061.

f The most favourite is the derivation from s S kiyuf ; but xiyuv is here an im- proper form, and ought in this connexion to be Xoyts, The entire composition is, moreover, very strange.

I Cariao and Lydian laments are often mentioned in antiquity (Franch GaUinus, p. 123, seg.); and the antispastic rhythm "--^ in which there is something dis- pleasing and harsh, was called »a^t»os ; which refers to its use in laments of this kind. It is also very probable that the word vwla came from Asia Minor (Polios iv. 79), and was brought by the Tyrrhenians from Lydia to Etruria, and thence to Rome.

^ Above, chap. iii. § 5.

II In Plutarch de Musica, c. ix. comp, Hesycht in »^a^ins vo/ms.


LTTERATtTRE OF ANCIBNT GREECE. 107

expression of a later elegiac poet, himself played on the lotus-wood flute, and wore the mouthpiece (the ^p/3eca) used by the ancient flute players when, together with his mistress, he led a comos^. And in en- tire agreement with this the elegiac poet Theognis says, that his beloved and much praised Cymus, carried by him on the wings of poetry over the whole earth, would be present at all banquets, as young men would sing of him eloquently to the clear tone of little flutesf*

Nevertheless, we are not to suppose that elegies were from the begin- ning intended to be sung, and to be recited like lyric poems in the narrower sense of the word. Elegies, that is distichs, were doubtless accompanied by the flute before varied musical forms were invented for them. This did not take place till some time after Terpander the Les- bian, who set hexameters to music, to be sung to the cithara, that is, pro- bably, not before the 40th 01ympiad|.

When the Amphictyons, after the conquest of Crissa, celebrated the Pythian games (Olymp. 47, 3 b.c. 590), Echembrotus the Arcadian came forward with elegies, which were intended to be sung to the flute : these were of a gloomy plaintive character, which appeared to the as- sembled Greeks so little in harmony with the feeling of the festival, that this kind of musical representations was immediately abandoned§. Hence it may be inferred that in early times the elegy was recited rather in the style of the Homeric poems, in a lively tone, though probably with this difference, that where the Homerid used the cithara, the flute was employed, for the purpose of making a short prelude and occasional interludes J . The flute, as thus applied, does not appear alien to the warlike elegy of Callinus : among the ancients in general the varied tones of the flutef were not considered as necessarily having a peaceful diaracter. Not only did the Lydian armies march to battle, as Hero- dotus states, to the sound of flutes, masculine and feminine ; but the Spartans formed their military music of a large number of flutes, in- stead of the cithara, which had previously been used. From this how- ever we are not to suppose that the elegy was ever sung by an army on its march, or advance to the fight, for which purpose neither the rhythm nor the style of the poetry is at all suited. On the contrary, we shall

  • This^ according to the most probable reading, is the meaning of the passage of

Hermesianax in Athen. xiii., p. 598 A. Kaitra filv 'Sawovg, ToktM ^ i^t TokXdxt Xmr^ KfifiMius (according to an emendation in the Classical Jourual, vii. p. 238) ; »m/$svs fTuj^t fftnu^etfvm (the latter words according to Schweighaeuser's rendering).

f Theognis, v. 237, teq, J Plutarch, de Musica, iii.4,8.

§ Pansan. x. 7, 3. From the statement of Chamsleon in Athen. xiv. p. G20, that the poems of Mimnermus as well as those of Homer were set to music (jiiX.»ihifinveci) it may be inferred that thev were not so from the bt>ginning.

II Archilochus says af3«y v^* avXtirii^cSi probably in reference to an elegy (Schol. Aristoph. Av. 1428) ; and Solon is stated to have recited his elegy of Salamis a^uv ; but in these passages jt^v, as in the case of Homer, probably expresses a measured style of recitation like that of a ihapsodist : above, ch. iv. § 3 (p. 32). Comp. also Fhilochorus ap. Athen. xiv. 630.

9 n«/«^«Mi MvXtf}, Pindar.




108 HISTORY OF THE

find ill Tyrteeus, Archilochus, Xenophanes, Anacreon, and especially in Theognis, so many instances of the reference of elegiac poetry to banf quetsj that we may safely consider the convivial meeting, and espedal^ the latter part of it, called Comos^ as the appropriate occasion for Uie Greek elegy*.

§ 3. That the elegy was not originally intended to make a completely different impression from the epic poem, is proved by the slight devia- tion of the elegiac metre from the epic hexameter. It seems as if the spirit of art, impatient of its narrow limits, made with this metre its first timid step out of the hallowed precinct. It does not venture to invent new metrical forms, or even to give a new turn to the solemn hexame- ter, by annexing to it a metre of a different character : it is contented simply to remove the third and the last thesis from every second hexa^ meter t ; and it is thus able, without destroying the rhythm, to vary the form of the metre in a highly agreeable manner. The even and regular march of the hexameter is thus accompanied by the feebler and hesi- tating gait of the pentameter. At the same time, this altematioR pro- duces a close union of two verses, which the hexametrical form of the epos, with its uninterrupted flow of versification, did not admit; and ^ thus gives rise to a kind of small strophes. The influence of this metri- ; cal character upon the structure of the sentences, and the entire tone of ] the language, must evidently have been very great. ^

§ 4. Into the fair form of this metre the Ionic poets breathed a soul, i which was vividly impressed with the passing events, and was driven to I and fro by the alternate swelling and flowing of a flood of emotions. It is by no means necessary that lamentations should form the subject of the elegy, still less that it should be the lamentation of love ; but emo^ Hon is always essential to it. Excited by events or circumstances of the present time and place, the poet in the circle of his friends and countrymen pours forth his heart in a copious description of his experience, in the unreserved expression of his fears and hopes, in cen- sure and advice. And as the commonwealth was in early times the first thought of every Greek, his feelings naturally gave rise to the poli- tical and warlike character of the elegy, which we first meet with in the poems of Callinus.

The age of Callinus of Ephesus is chiefly fixed by the allusions to the expeditions of the Cimmerians and Treres, which occurred in his poems. The history of these incursions is, according to the best ancient authorities, as follows : — The nation of the Cimmerians, driven out by

  • The flute is described as used at the Gomus in the passage of Hesiod died

above, p. 21 (ch. iii. § 5).

t Thus, in the first lines of the Iliad and the Odyssey, by omitting the thesis of the third and sixth feet, a perfect elegiac pentameter is obtained.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 109

the Scythians, appeared at the time of Gyges in Asia Minor ; in the reign of Ardys (Olymp. 25, 3—37, 4 ; or 678—29 B.C.) they took Sardis, the capital of the Lydian kings, with the exception of the citadel, and then, under the command of Lygdamis, moved against Ionia; where in particular the temple of the Ephesian Artemis was threatened by them. Lygdamis perished in Cilicia. The tribe of the Treres, who appear to have followed the Cimmerians on their expedi- tion, captured Sardis for the second time in union with t)ie Lycians, and destroyed Magnesia on the Mseander, which had hitherto been a flourishing city, and, with occasional reverses, had on the whole come off superior in its wars with the Ephesians. These Treres, however, under their chieftain Cobus, were (according to Strabo) soon driven back by the Cimmerians under the guidance of Madys. Halyattes, the second successor of Ardys, at last succeeded in driving the Cimmerians out of the country, after they had so long occupied it. (Olymp. 40, 4 — 55, 1 ; 617 — 560 ii.c.) Now the lifetime of Callinus stands in relation to these events thus : he mentioned the advance of the formidable Cim- merians and the destruction of Sardis by them, but described Magnesia as still flourishing and as victorious against Ephesus, although he also knew of the approach of the Treres*. In such perilous times, when the Ephesians were not only threatened with subjugation by their coun- trymen in Magnesia, but with a still worse fate from the Cimmerians and Treres, there was doubdess no lack of unwonted inducements for the exertion of every nerve. But the lonians were already so softened by their long intercourse with the Lydians, a people accustomed to all the luxury of Asia, and by the delights of their beautiful country, that even on such an occasion as this they would not break through the in- dolence of their usual life of enjoyment. It is easy to see how deep and painful the emotion must have been with which Callinus thus addresses his countrymen: " How long will you lie in sloth? when will yoo, youths, show a courageous heart ? are you not ashamed that the neighbouring nations should see you sunk in this lethargy ? You think indeed that you are living in peace ; but war overspreads the whole

earthf." The fragment which begins with the expressions just cited, the only

  • Two fragments of Callinus prove this—

and

Eferyihing else stated in the text is taken from the precise accounts of Herodotus and Strabo. Pliny's story of the picture of Bularchus '* Magnetum excidium" being bought for an equal weight of gold by Candaules, the predecessor of Gyp:es, must be erroneous. Probably some other Lydian named Candaules is confounded vith the old king.

t Gaisford Poetse Minores, voK i. p. 426*


110 HISTORY OF THE

considerable remnant of CalHnus, and even that an imperfect one *, is highly interesting as the first specimen of a kind of poetry in which so much was afterwards composed both by, Greeks and Romans. In general the character of the elegy may be recognized, at it was deter- mined by the metre, and as it remained throughout the entire literature of antiquity. The elegy is honest and straightforward in its expression ; it marks all the parts of its picture with strong touches, and is fond of heightening the effect of its images by contrast. Thus in the verses just quoted Callinus opposes the renown of the brave to the obscurity of cow- ards. The pentameter itself, being a subordinate part of the metre, naturally leads to an expansion of the original thought by supplemen- tary or explanatory clauses. This difiuseness of expression, combined with the excited tone of the sentiment, always gives the elegy a certain degree of feebleness which is perceptible even in the martial songs of Callinus aiid Tyrtaeus. On the other hand, it is to be observed that thfi elegy of Callinus still retains much of the fuller tone of the epic style; < it does not, like the shorter breath of later elegies, confine itself within j the narrow limits of a distich, and require a pause at the end of every ^ pentameter ; but Callinus in many cases comprehends several hexame- - ters and pentameters in one period, without caring for the limits of the verses ; in which respect the earlier elegiac poets of Greece generally ' imitated him.

§ 5. With Callinus we will connect his contemporary TYRTiEus, pro- : bably a few years younger than himself. The age of Tyrtseus is deter- mined by the second Messenian war, in which he bore a part. If vnth ^ Pausanias this war is placed between Olymp. 23. 4, and 28. 1 (685 and j 668 B. c.)) Tyrtaeus would fall at the same time as, or even earlier than, j the circumstances of the Cimmerian invasion mentioned by Callinus; and we should then expect to find that Tyrtseus, and not Callinus, was considered by the ancients as the originator of the elegy. As the reverse is the fact, this reason may be added to others for thinking that the second Messenian war did not take place till after the 30th Olym- piad (660 B.C.)) which must be considered as the period at which Callinus flourished.

We certainly do not give implicit credUit to the story of later writers that Tyrtseus was a lame schoolmaster at Athens, sent out of insolence by the Athenians to the Spartans, who at the command of an oracle had applied to them for a leader in the Messenian war. So much of this account may, however, be received as true, that Tyrtseus came from Attica to the Lacedaemonians ; the place of his abode being, according to a precise statement, Aphidnae, an Athenian town, which is placed by the legends about the Dioscuri in very early connexion with Laconia.

  • It is even doubtful whether the part of this elegiac fragment in StobaBUS which

follows the hiatus^ in fact belongs to Callinus^ or whether the name of Tyrtsos has not fallen out.


LITERATURB OF ANCIENT GREECE. Ill

If Tyrtffius came from Attica, it is easy to understand how the elegiac metre which had its origin in Ionia should have been used by him, and that in the very style of Callinus. Athens was so closely connected with her Ionic colonies, that this new kind of poetry must have been soon known in the mother city. This circumstance would be far more inexplicable if Tyrtffius had been a Lacedaemonian by birth, as was stated vaguely by some ancient authors. For although Sparta was not at this period a stranger to the efforts of the other Greeks in poetry and music, yet the Spartans with their peuliar modes of thinking would not have been very ready to appropriate the new invention of the lonians.

Tyrtaeus came to the Lacedaemonians at a time when they were not only brought into great straits from without by the boldness of Aristo- menes, and the desperate courage of the Messenians, but the state was also rent with internal discord. The dissensions were caused by those Spartans who had owned lands in the conquered Messenia : now that the Messenians had risen against their conquerors, these lands were either in the hands of the enemy, or were left imtilled from fear that the enemy would reap their produce ; and hence the proprietors of them demanded with vehemence, a new division of lands — the most dangerous and dreadful of all measures in the ancient republics. In- this condition of the Spartan commonwealth Tyrtaeus composed the most celebrated of his elegies, which, from its subject, was called Eujiomiay that is, ^' Justice, or " Good Government," (also Politeia^ or " The Constitution). It is not difficult, on considering attentively the character of the early Greek elegy, to form an idea of the manner in which Tyrtaeus probably handled this subject. He doubtless began with remarking the anarchi- cal movement among the Spartan citizens, and by expressing the con- cern vdth which he viewed it. But as in general the elegy seeks to pass from an excited state of the mind through sentiments and images of a miscellaneous description to a state of calmness and tranquillity, it may be conjectured that the poet in the Eunomia made this transition by drawing a picture of the well-regulated constitution of Sparta, and the legal existence of its citizens, which, founded with the divine assists ance, ought not to be destroyed by the threatened innovations ; and that at the same time he reminded the Spartans, who had been deprived of their lands by the Messenian war, that on their courage would depend the recovery of their possessions and the restoration of the former pros- perity of the state. This view is entirely confirmed by the fragments of Tyrtaeus, some of which are distinctly stated to belong to the Euno- mia. In these the constitution of Sparta is extolled, as being founded by the power of the Gods ; Zeus himself having given the country to the Heracleids, and the power having been distributed in the justest manner, according to the oracles of the Pythian Apollo, among the kings, the gerons in the council, and the men of the commonalty in the popular assembly.


112 HISTORY OP THE

§ 6. But the Eiinomia was neither the only nor yet the first ele^ in which Tyrtaeus stimulated the Lacedaemonians to a bold defence against the Messenians. Exhortation to bravery was the theme which this poet took for many elegies*, and wrote on it with unceasing spirit and ever- new invention. Never was the duty and the honour of bravery im- pressed on the youth of a nation with so much beauty and force of language, by such natural and touching motives. In this we perceive the talent of the Greeks for giving to an idea the outward and visible form most befitting it. In the poems of T^rtaeus we see before us the determined hoplite firmly fixed to the earth, with feet apart, pressing his lips with his teeth, holding his large shield against the darts of the distant enemy, and stretching out his spear with a strong hand against the nearer combatant. That the young, and even the old, rise up and yield their places to the brave ; that it beseems the youthfiil warrior to fall in the thick of the fight, as his form is beautiful even in death, while the aged man who is slain in the first ranks is a disgrace to his younger companion from the unseemly appearance of his body : these and similar topics are incentives to valour which could not fail to ^ make a profound impression on a people of fresh feeling and simple ' character, such as the Spartans then were.

That these poems (although the author of them was a foreigner^ ' breathed a truly Spartan spirit, and that the Spartans knew how to value ' them, is proved by the constant use made of them in the military expe- ditions. When the Spartans were on a campaign, it was their custom, after the evening meal, when the paean had been sung in honour of the Gods, to recite these elegies. On these occasions the whole mass did not join in the chant, but individuals vied with each other in repeat- ^ ing the verses in a manner worthy of their subject. The successful t competitor then received from the polemarch or commander a larger portion of meat than the others, a distinction suitable to the simple taste of the Spartans. This kind of recitation was so well adapted to the elegy, that it is highly probable that Tyrtseus himself first published his elegies in this manner. The moderation and chastised enjoyment of a Spartan banquet were indeed requisite, in order to enable the guests to take pleasure in so serious and masculine a style of poetry : among guests of other races the elegy placed in analogous circumstances natu- rally assumed a very different tone. The elegies of Tyrtaeus were, how- ever, never sung on the march of the army and in the battle itself; for these a strain of another kind was composed by the same poet, viz., the anapaestic marches, to which we shall incidentally revert hereafter.

§ 7, After these two ancient masters of the warlike elegy, we shall pass to two other nearly contemporary poets, who have this characteristic in common, that they distinguish themselves still more in iambic than in

  • Galled 'Tir0^««i h* is^tyiUg (Suidas) i. e. Lessons and exhortations in elegiac

verse.


\


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 113

elegiac poetry. Henceforward this union often appears : the same poet who employs the elegy to express his joyous and melancholy emotions, has recourse to the iambus where his cool sense prompts him to censure the follies of mankind. This relation of the two metres in question is perceptible in the two earliest iambic poets, Archiloghus and Simo- NiDEs OF Amorous. The elegies of Archilochus (of which considerable fragments are extant, while of Simonides we only know that he com- posed elegies) had nothing of that bitter spirit of which his iambics were full, but they contain the frank expression of a mind powerfully afiected by outward circumstances. Probably these circumstances were in great part connected with the migration of Archilochus from Paros to Thasos, which by no means fulfilled his expectations, as his iambics show. Nor are his elegies quite wanting in the warlike spirit of Callinus. Archi- lochus calls himself the servant of the God of War and the disciple of the Muses* ; and praises the mode of fighting of the brave Abantes in Euboea, who engaged man to man with spear and sword, and not from afar with arrows and slings ; perhaps, from its contrast with'the prac- tice of their Thracian neighbours who, perhaps, greatly annoyed the colo- nists in Thasos by their wild and tumultuary mode of warfaref. But on the other hand, Archilochus avows, without much sense of shame, and with an indifference which first throws a light on this part of the Ionic character, that one of the Saians (a Thracian tribe, with whom the Thasians were often at war) may pride himself in his shield, which he bad left behind him in some .bushes ; he has saved his life, and will get a shield quite as good some other time}. In other fragments, Archilo- dius seeks to banish the recollections of his misfortunes by an appeal to steady patience, and by the conviction that all men are equal sufferers ; and praises wine as the best antidote to care§. It was evidently very natural that from the custom already noticed among the Spartans, of singing elegies after drinking parties (^(rvfiTrocria), there should arise a connexion between the subject of the poem and the occasion on which it was sung ; and thus wine and the pleasures of the feast became the sub- ject of the elegy. Symposiac elegies of this kind were, at least in later times, after the Persian war, also sung at Sparta, in which, with all respect for the gods and heroes, the guests were invited to drinking and merriment, to the dance and the song ; and, in the genuine Spartan feeling, the man was congratulated who had a fair wife at home. || Among

  • El/ii T lyat fit^eittDt fui *'E»vaXioto utuxrog

t Gaasford, Poet.Gr. Min. frag. 4. | lb. frag. 3. § Fra^. 1^ v. 5 ; and frag. 7.

fl It is clear that the eie^y of Ion of Chios, the contemporary of Pericles, of which Athen. zi. p. 463, has preserved five distichs, was sung in Sparta or in the Spartan camp : and moreover, at the royal table (called by Xenophon the hcfMviet), F<nr Spartans alone could have been exhorted to make libations to Hercules, to Ale- mene, to Procles, and to the Perseids. The reason why Procles alone is mentioned, without Earjrsthenes, (the other ancestor of the kings of Sparta,) can only be that the king saluted in the poem (x»*(irat fiftirtpts (itt^iXtug gurn^ ri irarn^ ri) was a Proclid^ — that is, from the date, probably, Archidamus.


116 HISTORY OF THE

ceptible temperament, but wanting in the power of steady resistance and resolute union, bids a half melancholy, half indifferent, farewell to liberty ; it is important, I repeat, to form a clear conception of this time and this people, in order to gain a correct understanding of the poetical character of Mimnermus. He too could take joy in valorous deeds, and wrote an elegy in honour of the early battle of the Smymaeans against Gyges and the Lydians, whose attack was then (as we have already stated) successfully repulsed. Pausanias, who had himself read this elegy*, evidently quotes fromitt a particular event ofthis war in question, viz., that the Lydians had, on this occasion, actually made an entrance into the town, but that they were driven out of it by the bravery of the Smyrnaeans. To this elegy also doubtless belongs the fragment (pre- served by StobaBus) , in which an Ionian warrior is praised, who drove before him the light squadrons of the mounted Lydians on the plain of the Hermus (that is in the neighbourhood of Smyrna), and in whose firm valour Pallas Athene herself could find nothing to blame when he broke through the first ranks on the bloody battle-field. As in these Hues the poet refers to what he had heard from his predecessors, who had themselves witnessed the hero*s exploits, it is probable that this brave Smyrnaean lived about two generations before the period at which Mimnermus flourished — ^that is precisely in theHime of Gyges. As the poet, at the outset of this fragment, says — ^^ Not such, as I hear, was the courage and spirit of that warrior,** &c.t, we may conjecture that the bravery of this ancient Smyrnsan was contrasted with the effemi- nacy and softness of the actual generation. It seems, however, that Mimnermus sought rather to work upon his countrymen by a melan- choly retrospect of this kind, than to stimulate them to energetic deeds of valour by inspiriting appeals after the manner of Callinus and Tyrtaeus : nothing of this kind is cited from his poems.

§ 10. On the other hand, both the statements of the ancients and the extant fragments, show that Mimnermus recommended, as the only consolation in all these calamities and reverses, the enjoyment of the best part of life, and particularly love, which the gods had given as the only compensation for human ills. These sentiments were expressed in his celebrated elegy of Nanno, the most ancient erotic elegy of antiquity, which took its name from a beautiful and much-loved flute player. Yet even this elegy had contained allusions to political events: thus it lamented how Smyrna had always been an apple of discord to the neigh- bouring nations, and then proceeded with the verses already cited on the taking of the city by the Colophonians§ : the founder of Colophon, An- drsemon of Pylos, was also mentioned in it. But all these reflections on the past and present fortunes of the city were evidently intended only to recommend the enjoyment of the passing hour, as life was only worth

• ix. 29. t iv- 21. J Fiagm, 11. ad Gaisibrd. § Fragm. 9.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 117

having while it could be devoted to love, before unseemly and anxious old age comes on*. These ideas, which have since been so often re- peated, are expressed by Mlmnermus with almost irresistible grace. The beauty of youth and love appears with the greater charm when accom- panied with the impression of its caducity, and the images of joy stand out in the more vivid light as contrasted with the shadows of deep-seated

melancholyt* *

§ 11. With this soft Ionian, who even compassionates the God of the Sun for the toils which he must endure in order to illuminate the eartht, Solon the Athenian forms an interesting contrast. Solon was a man of the genuine Athenian stamp, and for that reason fitted to produce by his laws a permanent influence on the public and private life of his coun- trymen. In his character were combined the freedom and susceptibility of the Asiatic Ionian, with the energy and firmness of purpose which marked the Athenian. By the former amiable and liberal tendencies he was led to favour a system of live and let live," which so strongly distinguishes ^his legislation from the severe discipline of the Spartan constitutions : by the latter he was enabled to pursue his proposed ends with unremitting constancy. Hence, too, the elegy of Solon was dedi- cated to the service of Mars as well as of the Muses ; and under the combined influence of a patriotic disposition like that of Callinus, and of a more enlarged view of human nature, there arose i)oems of which the loss cannot be sufficiently lamented. But even the extant fragments of them enable us to follow this great and noble-minded man through all the chief epochs of his life.

The elegy of Salamis, which Solon composed about Olymp. 44 (604 B. c.) had evidently more of the fire of youth in it than any other of his poems. The remarkable circumstances under which it was written are related by the ancients, from Demosthenes downwards, with tolerable agreement, in the following manner. The Athenians' had from an early period contested the possession of Salamis with the Megarians, and the great power of Athens was then so completely in its infancy, that they were not able to wrest this island from their Doric neighbours, small as was the Megarian territory. The Athenians had suffered so many losses in the attempt, that they not only gave up all propositions in the popular assembly for the reconquest of Salamis, but even made it penal to bring forward such a motion. Under these circumstances, Solon one day suddenly appeared in the costume of a herald, with the proper cap (wikiov) upon his head, having previously spread a report that he was mad ; sprang in the place of the popular assembly upon the

  • That the subject of the elegy should not be contest and war^ but the gifts of

the Muses and Aphrodite for the embellishment of the banquet, is a sentiment also expressed by an Ionian later by two generations (Anacreon of Teos), who himself also composed elegies : Ow ^tXiu St x^firri^t rff^a itXiif •Iv^crdT^m^ Nti»i« »m) ir»Xtft§9 ^»fuiivr% Xiy%h (Athen. xi. p. 463.)

t Fragg. 1—5. % Fragm. 8.


116 HISTORY OF THB

stone where the heralds were wont to stand, and sang in an impassioned tone an elegy, which began with these words : — ^^ I myself come as a herald from the lovely island of Salamis, using song, the ornament of words, and not simple speech, to the people.'* It is manifest that the poet feigned himself to be a herald sent from Salamis, and returned from his mission ; by which fiction he was enabled to paint in far tive- lier colours than he could othdVwise have done the hated dominion of the Megarians over the island, and the reproaches whidi many Salaminian partizans of Athens vented in secret against the Athenians* He described the disgprace which would fall upon the Athenians, if they did not re- conquer the island, as intolerable. ^* In that case (he said) I would rather be an inhabitant of the meanest island than of Athens ; for wher- ever I might live, the saying would quickly circulate — ' This is one of the Athenians who have abandoned Salamis in so cowardly a man^ ner*.' " And when Solon concluded with the words '^ Let us go to Salamis, to conquer the lovely island, and to wipe out our shame,'* the youths of Athens are said to have been seized with so eager a desire of fighting, that an expedition against the Megarians of Salamis was un- dertaken on the spot, which put the Athenians into possession of the island, though they did not retain it without interruption.

§ 12. A character in many respects similar belongs to the elegy of which Demosthenes cites a long passage in his contest with iBschines on the embassy. This, too, is composed in the form of an exhortation to the people. ^ My feelings prompt me (says the poet) to declane to the Athenians how much mischief injustice brings over the city, and that justice everywhere restores a perfect and harmonious order of things.'* In this elegy Solon laments with bitter regret the evils in the political state of the commonwealth, the insolence and rapacity of the leaders of the people, i. e. of the popular party, and the misery of the poor, many of whom were sold into slavery by the rich, and carried to foreign countries. Hence it is clear that this elegy is anteriinr to Solon's legislation, which, as is well known, abolished slavery for debt, and made it impossible to deprive an insolvent debtor of his hberty. Hiese verses give us a livelier picture of this unhappy period of Athens than any historical description. ^' The misery of the people (says Solon) forces itself into every man's house : the doors of the court-yard are no longer able to keep it out ; it springs over the lofty wall, and finds out the wretch, even if he has fied into the most secret part of his dwelling.-'

But in other of Solon's elegies there is the expression of a subdued and tranquil joy at the ameliorations brought about in Athens by his legisla- tive measures (Olymp. 46,3. 594 b. c), by which the holders of property and the commonalty had each received their due share of consideration and

• Fragm. ib.


LITERATURI OF ANCIENT GREECE. 119

power, and both were protected by a firm shield*. But this feeling €i calm satisfaction was not of long continuance, as Solon observed and soon expressed his opinion in elegies, *' that the people, in its ignorance, was bringing itself under the yoke of a monarch (Pisistratus), and that it was not the gods, but the thoughtlessness with which the people put the means of obtaining the sovereign power into the hands of Pisistra- tus, which had destroyed the liberties of Athens t-"

Solon's elegies were therefore the pure expression of his political feel- ings ; a mirror of his patriotic sympathies with the weal and woe of his country. They moreover exhibit an excited tone of sentiment in the poet, called forth by the warm interest which he takes in the affairs of the community, and by the dangers which threaten its welfare. The prevailing sentiment is a wide and comprehensive humanity. When Solon had occasion to express feelings of a different cast — ^when he placed himself in a hostile attitude towards his countrymen and contem- poraries, and used sarcasm and rebuke, he employed not elegiac, but iambic and trochaic metres. The elegies of Solon are not indeed quite free from complaints and reproaches ; but these flow from the regard for the public interests, which animated his poetry. The repose which always follows an excited state of the mind, and of which Solon's elegies would naturally present the reflection, was found in the expression of hopes for the future, of a calm reliance on the gods who had taken Athens into flieir protection, and a serious contemplation of the conse- quences of good or evil acts. From his habits of reflection, and of reli- ance on his undersUmding, rather than his feelings, his ele^es contained more general remarks on human afiairs than those of any of his prede- cessors. Some ccmsiderable passages of this kind have been preserved ; one in which he divides human life into periods of seven years, and assigns to each its proper physical and mental occupations |; another in which the multifarious pursuits of men are described, and their inability to command success ; for fate brings good and ill to mortals, and man cannot escape from the destiny allotted to him by the gods§. Many maxims of a worldly wisdom from Solon's elegies are likewise pre- served, in which wealth, and comfort, and sensual enjoyment are recommended, but only so far as was, according to Greek notions, con- sistent with justice and fear of the gods. On account of these general maxims, which are called T^w/iai, sayings or apophthegms, Solon has been reckoned among the gnomic poets, and his poems have been denominated gnomic elegies. This appellation is so far correct, that the gnomic character predominates in Solon's poetry ; nevertheless it is to be borne in mind that this calm contemplation of mankind cannot

  • Fragm.20.

t Fragg. 18, 19. The frag^. 18 has received an additional distich from Diod. Exc 1, vii. — X. in Mai Script vit. Nov. Coll. vol. iL p. 21.

t Fragm. 14. } Fragm. 5.


120 HISTORY OF THB

alone constitute an elegy. For the unimpassioned enunciation of moral sentences, the hexameter remained the most suitable form : hence the sayings of Phoctlides of Miletus (about Olymp. 60. b. c. 540), with the perpetually recurring introduction '^ This, too, is a saying of Phocy- lides," appear, from the genuine remnants of them, to have consisted only of hexameters*.

§ 13. The remains of Theognis, on the other hand, belong both in matter and form to the elegy properly so called, although in all that respects their connexion and their character as works of art, they have come down to us in so unintelligible a shape, that at first sight the most copious remains of any Greek elegiac poet that we possess — ^for mate than 1400 verses are preserved under the name of Theognis — would seem to throw less light on the character of the Greek elegy than the much scantier fragments of Solon and Tyrtieus. It appears that from the time of Xenophon, Theognis was considered chiefly as a teacher of wisdom and virtue, and that those parts of his writings which had a genera] application were far more prized than those which referred to some particular occasion. When, therefore, in later times it became the fashion to extract the general remarks and apophthegms from the poets, everything was rejected from Theognis, by which his elegies were Umited to particular situations, or obtained an individual colour- ing ; and the gnomology or collection of apophthegms was formed, which, afler various revisions and the interpolation of some fragments of other elegiac poets, is still extant. We know, however, that Theog- nis composed complete elegies, especially one to the Sicilian Megari- ans, who escaped with their lives at the siege of Megara by Gelon (Olymp. 74, 2. 483 b. c); and the gnomic fragments themselves exhibit in numerous places the traces of poems which were composed for particular objects, and which on the whole could not have been very difierent from the elegies of Tyrtseus, Archilochus, and Solon. As in these poems of Theognis there is a perpetual reference to political sub«  jects, it will be necessary first to cast a glance at the condition of Megara in his time.

§ 14. Megara, the Doric neighbour of Athens, had, after its separation from Corinth, remained for a long time under the undisturbed domi- nion of a Doric nobility, which founded its claim to the exercise of the sovereign power both on its descent, and its possession of large landed estates. But before the legislation of Solon, Theagenes had raised him- self to absolute power over the Megarians by pretending to espouse

  • Two distichs cited under the name of Phocylides, in which in the first person

he expresses warmth and fidelity to friends, are probably the fragment of an elegy. On the other hand, there is a distich which has the appearance of a jocular appendix to the yvifieuy almost of a self-parody : — ,

(Gaisford, fragm« 5.;


LITERATURB OF ANCIBNT GREECl. 121

the popular cause. AHer he had heen overthrown, the aristocracy was restored, hut only for a short period, as the commons rose with vio- lence against the nohles, and founded a democracy, which however led to such a state of anarchy, that the expelled nohles found the means of regaining their lost power. Now the poetry of Theognis, so far as its political character extends, evidently falls in the heginning of this democracy, prohahly nearer to the 70th (500 B.C.) than the 60th Olympiad (540 b.c.) : for Theognis, although according to the ancient accounts he was horn hefore the 60th Olympiad, yet from his own verses appears to have lived to the Persian war (Olymp. 75. 480 b. c). Re- volutions of this kind were in the ancient Greek states usually accom- panied with divisions of the large landed estates among the commons ; and hy a fresh partition of the Megarian territory, made hy the democratic party, Theognis, who happened to he absent on a voyage, was deprived of the rich heritage of his ancestors. Hence he longs for vengeance on tlie men who had spoiled him of his property, while he himself had only escaped with his life ; like a dog who throws every thing away in order to cross a torrent*, and the cry of the crane, which gives ivaming of the season of tillage, reminds him of his fertile fields now in other men's hands t* These fragments are therefore full of allusions to the violent political measures which in Greece usually accompanied the accession of the democratic party to power. One of the principal changes on such occasions was commonly the adoption into the sove- reign community of Pcriaci, that is, cultivators who were before excluded from all share in the government. Of this Theognis says J, " Cynius, this city is still the city, hut a different people are in it, who formerly knew nothing of courts of justice and laws, but wore their country dress of goat skins at their work, and like timid deer dwelt at a distance from the town. And now they are the better class ; and those who were formerly noble are now the mean: who can endure to see these things ? The expressions good and bad men (aya6o<, ktrdXol and cojcol, ^ecXoO) which in later times bore a purely moral signification, are evidently used by Theognis in a political sense for nobles and commons ; or rather his use of these words rests in fact upon the supposition that a hrave spirit and honourable conduct can be expected only of men de- scended from a family long tried in peace and war. Hence his chief complaint is, that the good man, that is, the noble, is now of no account as compared with the rich man ; and that wealth is the only object of aH ** They honour riches, and thus the good marries the daughter of the had, and the bad marries the daughter of the good : wealth cor- rupts the blood§. Hence, son of Polypas, do not wonder if the race of the citizens loses its brightness, for good and bad are confounded toge-

• T. 345, ieq, ed.Bekker. t ▼• 1297, teq, J 53, teq.


123 HISTORY or THS

iher *." Theognis doubtless made this complaint on the debaaemeut of the Megarian nobility with the stronger feeling of bitternessi as he him* self had been rejected by the parents of a young woman, whom he had desired to marry, and a far worse man, that is, a man of plebeian bloody had been preferred to him t- Yet the girl herself was captivated widi the noble descent of Theognis : she hated her ignoble husband, ami came disguised to the poet, " with ihe lightness of a little bird)'* as lia says J.

With regard to the union of these fragments into entire elegies, it il important to remark that all the complaints, warnings, and leBSoni having a political reference, appear to be addressed to a single yoanf friend of the poet, Cyrnus, the son of Polypas §. Wherever o^ names occur, either the subject is quite different, or it is at least traateA^ in a different manner. Thus there is a considerable fragment of wH elegy addressed by Theognis to a friend named Simonides, at the tiiM of the revolution, which in the poems addressed to Cyrnus is described as passed by. In this passage the insurrection is described under tiiai;] favourite image of a ship tossed about by winds and waves, while thi'- crew have deposed the skilful steersman, and entrusted the guidance of the helm to the common working sailor. '^ Let this (the poet adds) \m revealed to the good in enigmatic language ; yet a bad man may undar* stand it, if he has sense." It is manifest that this poem was onnpoaeA' during a reign of terror, which checked the freedom of speedi; on tta other hand, in the poems addressed to Cyrnus, Theognis openly dia* plays all his opinions and feelings. So far is he from concealing WH i hatred of the popular party, that he wishes that he could drink tba blood of those who had deprived him of his property ||.

§ 15. On attempting to ascertain more precisely the relation of Cjtttm to Theognis, it appears that the son of Polypas was a youth of noiU» family, to whom Theognis bore a tender, but at the same time paternal^ regard, and whom he desires to see a ^^ good " citizen, in bis sense of the word. The interest felt by the poet in Cyruus probably appfsared much more clearly in the complete elegies than in the gnomic extrada now preserved, in which the address to Cyrnus might appear a mtm superfluity. Several passages have, however, been preserved, in wbidh the true state of his relation to Theognis is apparent. " Cymusf (aajft the poet) when evil befals you, we all weep ; but grief for others ia widt

• v. 189, aeq, f ▼• ^^l, seq. J v. 1091.

§ Elmsley has remarked that U§kv9rut}n is to be read as a patronymte. TIm remark is certain, as ilokv^ai^n never occurs before a consonant, but nine timet bcr. fore a vowel, and moreover in passages where the verse requires a dactyl. Thtf exhortations with the addresses Kv^t and IU)^oirat}fi are also closely connected. ^oXv^as (with the long a) has the same meaning as 9'o)^MireifMtv, a rich proprietor.

II In V. 667 — 82 ^here is a manifest allusion to the ym itciiofftcs in the verses

Aa^fkU Vbvkit 'i^$s yiyurett Ig re fitffw,

% V. 349,


LrrERATUEB OF ANCISMT GREECE. 125

mly a transient feeling*." " I have given you wings, with which nil fly over sea and land, and will be present at all banquets, as ^ men will sing of you to the flute. Even in future times your

  • , will be dear to all the lovers of song, so long as the earth and sun

re. But to me you shew but little respect, deceiving me with 3 ^like a little boy t- It is plain that Cymus did not place in gnis that entire confidence which the poet desired. It cannot, ver, be doubted that these affectionate appeals and tender re- hes are to be taken in the sense of the earlier and pure Doric cufr- and that no connexion of a criminal nature is to be understood, which it would be inconsistent that the poet recommends a married > the youth |. Cymus also is sufiiciently old to be sent as a sacred f (fitfMtpog) to Delphi, in order to bring back an oracle to the city, poet exhorts him to preserve it faithfully, and not to add or to omit rd§.

le poems of Theognis, even in the form in which they are extant, us in the middle of a circle of friends, who formed a kind of eat- Qciety, like the |dulitia of Sparta, and like the ancient public tables sgara itself. The Spartan public tables are described to us as a of aristocratic clubs ; and these societies in Megara might serve to en and keep alive an aristocratic disposition. Theognis himself s that those who, according to the original constitution of Megara, ssed the chief power, were the only persons with whom any one t to eat and drink, and to sit, and whom he should strive to please ||. herefore manifest that all the friends whom Theognis names, not Cyrnus and Simonides, but also Onomacritus, Clearistus, Demo- Demonax, and Timagoras, belonged to the class of the good, " ugh the political maxims are only addressed to Cyrnus. Various \s in the lives of these friends, or the qualities which each shewed sir convivial meetings, furnished occasions for separate, but probably elegies. In one the poet laments that Clearistus should have made ifortunate voyage, and promises him the assistance which is due to »nnected with^his family by ancient ties of hospitality^ : in ano- he wishes a happy voyage to the same or another friend **. To mides, as being the chief of the society, he addresses a farewell r, exhorting him to leave to every guest his liberty, not to detain any iesirous to depart, or to waken the sleeping, &c.tt; and to Onoma- i the poet laments over the consequences of inordinate drinking ||. of the persons whom he addresses appear to have been without circle of friends, although his fame had even in his lifetime spread

  • V. 655, teq, t V- 237, teq, I v. 1225.

\Y,S05,teq. \\v.36,seq. % Y.bll, s«q. ** Y.69l,teq,

tt V. 469, teq. XI v. 305, seq.


i


1



S


124 - HISTORY OF THE

!

far beyond Megara, by means of his travels as well as of his poetry; f and his elegies were sung in many symposia*.

The poetry of Theognis is full of allusions to symposia : so that from it a clear conception of the outward accompaniments of the elegy may be formed. When the guests were satisfied with eating, the cups were filled for the solemn libation ; and at this ceremony a prayer was offered jf to the gods, especially to Apollo, which in many districts of Greece was f expanded into a poean. Here began the more joyous and noisy part of ^ the banquet, which Theognis (as well as Pindar) calls in general Koifiog, although this word in a narrower sense also signified the tumul- tuous throng of the guests departing from the feast t. Now the Ccnnos J - was usually accompanied with the flute | : hence Theognis speaks in so ^^ many places of the accompaniment of the flute-player to the poems sung ^ in the intervals of drinking § ; while the lyre and cithara (or phorminx) ^ are rarely mentioned, and then chiefly in reference to the song at te libation ||. And this was the appropriate occasion for the elegy^jwhick was sung by one of the guests to the sound of a flute, being either ^ addressed to the company at large, or (as is always the case in Theognis) ^ to a single guest. ^"

§ 16. We have next to speak of the poems of a man different in his /' character from any of the elegiac poets hitherto treated of; a philoso- i^ pher, whose metaphysical speculations will be considered in a fatine * chapter. Xenophanes of Colophon, who about the 68th Olympiad 1= (508 B. c.) founded the celebrated school of Elea, at an earlier period, ^ while he was still living at Colophon,, gave vent to his thoughts and f feelings on the circumstances surrounding him, in the form of elegiesf. - These elegies, like those of Archilochus, Solon, Theognis, &c. were f- symposiac : there is preserved in Athenaeus a considerable fragment, ia \ which the beginning of a symposion is described with much distinctness ^ and elegance, and the guests are exhorted, after the libation and song of praise to the gods, to celebrate over their cups brave deeds and the exploits of youths (i. e. in elegiac strains) ; and not to sing the fictions

« Theognis himself mentions that he had been in Sicily, Euboea, and Sparta, t. 387, seq. In Sicily he composed the elegy for his countrymen, which has been nawD- tioned in the text, the colonists from Megara of Megara Hybleea. The verses 891—4 must have been written in Eubcea. Many allusions to Sparta occur, and the pat- sage V. 880 — 4 is probably from an elegy written by Theognis for a Spartan friend, who had a vineyard on Taygetus. The most difficult of explanation are v. 1200 and 1211, seq,, which can scarcely be reconciled with the circumstances of the life of Theognis.

t See Theogn. v. 829,940, 1046, 1065, 1207. I See above p. 21.

§ V. 241, 761, 825, 941, 975, 1041, 1056, 1065. II V. 534, 761, 791.

^ There are, however, in Diogenes Laertius elegiac verses of Xenophanes, in which he states himself to be ninety-two years old, and speaks of his wandeiings in Greece*


LITSRiTURE Off ANCIENT GREECE. 125

of ancient poets on the bnUks of Titans, or giants, or centaurs, and such like stories. From this it is evident that Xenophanes took no pleasure in the ordinary amusements at the banquets of his countrymen ; and from other fragments of the same writer, it also appears that he viewed the life of the Greeks with the eye of a philosopher. Not only does he blame the luxury of the Colophonians, which they had learnt from the Lydians*, but also the folly of the Greeks in valuing an athlete who had bwn victorious at Olympia in running or wrestling, higher than the wise man ; a judgment which, however reasonable in our eyes, must have seemed exceedingly perverse to the Greeks of his days.

§ 17. As we intend in this chapter to bring down the history of the ekgy te-the Persian war, we must also mention Simonides of Ceos, the renowned lyric poet, the early contemporary of Pindar and ^schylus, and so distinguished in elegy that he must be included among the great masters of the elegiac song. Simonides is stated to have been vic- Unrious at Athens over JEschylus himself, in an elegy in honour of those who fell at Marathon (Olymp. 72, 3 ; 490 b. c), the Athenians having instituted a contest of the chief poets. The ancient biographer of Ms- chylus, who gives this account, adds in explanation, that the elegy re- quires a tenderness of feeling which was foreign to the character of £schylus. To what a degree Simonides possessed this quality, and in general how great a master he was of the pathetic is proved by his cele- brated lyric piece containing the lament of Danae, and by other remains of his poetry. Probably, also, in the elegies upon those who died at Marathon and at Flataea, he did not omit to bewail the death of so many brave men, and to introduce the sorrows of the widows and orphans, which was quite consistent with a lofty patriotic tone, particularly at the end of the poem. Simonides likewise, like Archilochus and others, used the elegy as a plaintive song for the deaths of individuals ; at least the Greek Anthology contains several pieces of Simonides, which appear not to be entire epig^ms, but fragments of longer elegies lamenting with heartfelt pathos the death of persons dear to the poet. Among these are the verses concerning Gorgo, who dying, utters these words to her mother: — ^'^ Remain here with my father, and become with a happier iate the mother of another daughter, who may tend you in your old

»ge." From this example we again see how the elegy in the hands of

difierent masters sometimes obtained a sofler and more pathetic, and

sometimes a more manly and robust tone. Nevertheless there is no

reason for dividing the elegy into different kinds, such as the military,

political, symposiac, erotic, threnetic, and gnomic ; inasmuch as some of

  • The thousand persons cloathed in purple, who, be/ore the time of the Tyranttf

were, according to Xenophanes (in Athen. xii. p. 526), together in the market-place, formed an aristocratic body among the citizens (r« 9C9\htv/Aa) ; such as, at this time of transition from the ancient hereditary aristocracies to democracy, also existed in Rhegium, Locri, Croton, Agrigentum and Cyme in iEolis.


128 HISTORY OF THl

the Athenians had set up in a grotto under their acropcdis, because t&: Arcadian god had, according to the popular belief, assisted them Marathon. ^ Miltiades set up me, the cloven-footed Pan, the Arc^: dian, who took part against the Medians, and with the Atheniau^ But Simonides sometimes condescended to express sentiments which 1 could not have shared, as in the inscription on the tripod consecrated i Delphi, which the Greeks afterwards caused to be erased : *' Pausania^ the commander of the Greeks, having destroyed the army of the Medes, dedicated this monument to Phoebfte*." These verses express the arro- gance of the Spartan general, which the good sense and moderation of the poet would never have approved. The form of nearly all these epi- grams of Simonides is the elegiac. Simonides usually adhered to it except when a name (on account of a short between two long syllables) could not be adapted to the dactylic metret ; in which cases he employed trochaic measures. The character of the language, and especially the dialect, also remained on the whole true to the elegiac type, except that in inscriptions for monuments designed for Doric tribes, traces of the Doric dialect sometimes occur.


CHAPTER XI.


$ 1. Striking contrast of the Iambic and other contemporaneous Poetry. — § 2. Poetry in reference to the bad and the vulgar. — § 3. Different treatment of it in Homer and Hesiod. — ^ 4. Homeric Comic Poems, Margites, &c. — § 5. Scurri- lous songs at meals, at the worship of Demeter ; the Festival of Demeter of Paros the cradle of the Iambic poetry of Archilochus. — § 6. Date and Public Life of Archilochus. — § 7. His Private Life; subject of his Iambics.— § 8. Metrical form of his iambic and trochaic verses, and different application of the two asynartetes ; epodes. — ( 9. Inventions and innovations in the musical recitation. — § 10. In- novations in Language. — ^ 11. Simonides of Amorgus; his Satirical Poem against Women. — } 12. Solon's iambics and trochaics. — § 13. Iambic Poems of Hippo- nax ; invention of choliambics ; Ananias. — § 14, The Fable ; its application among the Greeks, especially in Iambic (loetry. — § 15. Kinds of the Fable, named after different races and cities.^-} 16. ^sop, his Life, and the Character of his Fables. — } 17. Parody, burlesques in an epic form, by Hipponax.— § 18. Batra- chomyomachia.

§ I. The kind of poetry distinguished among the ancients by the name Iambic, was created by the Parian poet Archilochus, at the same time as the elegy. In entering on the consideration of this sort of poetry, and in endeavouring by the same process as we have heretofore em- ployed to trace its origin to the character of the Grecian people, and to estimate its poetical and moral value, we are met at the first glance by facts more difficult, and apparently more impossible of comprehension, than any we have hitherto encountered. At a time when the Greeks,

  • Fr. 40. t As *AfxtvavTtif, *linriftMf


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GKEECK. 129

accustomed only to the culin unimpessioned tone of the Eix)s, had but just found a temperate expression of livelier emotions in the elegy, this kind of poetrj, which, has nothing in common with the Epos, either in form or in matter, arose. It was a light tripping measure, ..sometimes loosely constructed or purposely halting and broken, and well adapted to vituperation, unrestrained by any regard to morality or decency*.

The ancients drew a lively image of this bitter and unscrupulous spirit of slanderous attack in the well-known story of the daughters of Lycambes, who hanged themselves from shame and vexatiou. Yet this sarcastic Archilochus, this venomous libeller, was esteemed by antiquity not only an unrivalled master in his peculiar Hue, but, gene- rally, the first poet after Homerf. Where, we are compelled to ask, is the soaring flight of the soul which distinguishes the true poet ? Where that beauty of delineation which confers grace and- dignity even on the most ordinary details ?

§ 2. But Poetry has not only lent herself, in every age, to the descrip- tions of a beautiful and magnificent world, in which the natural powers revealed to us by our own experience are invested with a might and a perfection surpassing truth : she has also turned back her glance upon the reality by which she was surrounded, with all its wants and its weaknesses; and the more she was filled with the beauty and the majestic grace of her own ideal world, the more deeply did she feel, the more vividly express, the evils and the deficiencies attendant on man*s condition. The modes in which Poetry has accomplished this have been various; as various as the tempers and the characters of those whom she has inspired.

A man of a serene and cheerful cast of mind, satisfied with the order of the universe, regarding the great and the beautiful in nature and in human things with love and admiration, though he distinctly per- ceives the defective and the bad, does not suffer his perception of them to disturb his enjoyment of the whole : he contemplates it as the shade in a picture, which serves but to bring out, not to obscure, the brilliancy of the principal parts. A light jest drops from the poet's tongue, a pitying smile plays on his lip ; but they do not darken or deform the lofty beauty of his creations.

The thoughts, the occupations, of another are more intimately l)lended with the incidents and the conditions of social and civil life ; and as a more painful experience of all the errors and perversities of man is thus forced upon him, his voice, even in poetry, will assume a more aiip*y and vehement tone. And yet even tliis voice of harsh rebuke

  • Av€mr$s tetftfi»t, ragwg iambiet, says the Emperor Hadrian. (Brimck, Aua). ii.

p. 286.) " In celeres iambos mittit furentem.'* Horace.

t Maximus poeta aut certesuinmo proximus; as he is called in Valeriiisi Maximus.

K.


130 HISTORY OF THE

may be poetical, when it is accompanied by a pure and noble concepiioir of things as they ought to be.

Yet more, the poet may himself suffer from the assaults of human passions. He may himself be stained with the vices and the weak- nesses of human nature, and his voice may be poured forth from amidst the whirl and the conflict of the passions, and may be troubled, not only by disgust at the sight of interruptions to the moral order of the world, but by personal resentments and hatreds. The ancients in their day, and we in ours, have bestowed admiring sympathy on such a poet, if the expressions of his scorn and his hate did but betray an unusual vehemence of feeling and vigour of thought ; and if, through all the passionate confusion of his spirit, gleams of a nature susceptible of noble sentiments were apparent ; for the impotent rage of a vulgar mind will never rise to the dignity of poetry, even though it be adorned with all the graces of language.

§ 3. Here, as in many other places, it will be useful to rectir to the two epic poets of antiquity, the authors of all the principles of Greek literature. Homer, spite of the solemnity and loftiness of epic poetry, is full of archness and humour; but it is of that cheerful and good-natured character which tends rather to increase than to disturb enjoyment Thersites is treated with unqualified saverity ; and we perceive the peculiar disgust of the monarchic cally disposed poet at such inciters of the people, who slander every- thing distinguished and exalted, merely because they are below it. But it must be remarked that Thersites is a very subordinate figure in the g^oup of heroes, and serves only as a foil to those who, like Ulysses, predominate over the people as guides and rulers. When, however, persons of a nobler sort are exhibited in a comic light, as, for instance, Agamemnon, blinded by Zeus and confident in his delusion and in his supposed wisdom *, it is dune with such a delicacy of handling that the hero hardly loses any of his dignity in our eyes. In this way the comedy of Homer (if we may use the expression) dared even to touch the gods, and in the loftiest regions found subjects for humorous, descriptions: for, as the gods presided over the moral order of the universe only as a body, and no individual god could exercise his special functions without regard to the prerogatives of others. Ares, Aphrodite, and Hermes might serve as types of the perfection of quarrelsome violence, of female weakness, and of finished cunning, without ceasing to have their due share of the honours paid to divinity.

Of a totally different kind is the wit of Hesiod ; especially as it is employed in the Theogony against the daughters of Pandora, the female sex. This has its source in a strong feeling of disgust and indignation,


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 131

which leads the poet, in the bitterness of his mood, to overstep the bounds: of justice, and to deny ail virtue to veomen.

In the Works and Days, too, vehich afford him frequent opportunities for censure, Hesiod is not deficient in a kind of wit which exhibits the b^id and the contemptibie with striking vig^our ; but his wit is never that gay humnur which characterises the Homeric poetry, of which it is the singular property to reconcile the frail and the faulty with the grand and the elevated, and to blend both in one harmonious idea.

§4. Before, however, we come to the consideration of the third stage of the poetical representation of the bad and the despicable, the exist- ence of which we have hinted at in our mention of Archilochus, we must remark that even the early epic poetry contained not only scattered traits of pleasantry and satire, but also entire pictures in the same tone, which formed small epics. On this head we have great reason to lament the loss of the Marg't^, which Aristotle, in his Poetics, ascribep, according to the opinion current among the Greeks, to Homer himself, and regards as the ground- work of comedy, in like manner as he regards the Iliad and the Odyssey as the precursors of tragedy. He likewise places the Margites in the same class with poems written in the iambic metre; but he seems to mean that the iambus was not employed for this class of poetry till subsequently to this poem. Hence it is extremely probable that the iambic verses which, according to the ancient grammarians, were introducied irregularly into the Mar- gites, were interpolated in a later version, perhaps by Pigres the Hali- camassian, the brother of Artemisia, who is also called the author

of this poem*.

From the few fragments and notices relative to the Homeric Margites which have come down to us, we can gather that it was a representn- tion of a stupid man, who had a high opinion of his own cleverness, for he was said "to know many works, but know all badly t;" and we discover from a story preserved by Eustathius that it was necessary to hold out to him very subtle reasons to induce him to do things which required but a very small portion of intellect |.

There were several other facetious small epics which bore the name of Homer ; such as the poem of the Cercnpes, those malicious, and yet merry elves whom Hercules takes prisoners after they have played him many mischievous tricks, and drags them about till they escape from him by

  • Thus the \ eginning of the Margites was as follows :—

JAoweutv $%^tiv MM i«n^«X0t; 'Asr/XX«y0(,

Conremirg 1 igres, 8«e below, j 18. He also interpolated the Iliad with penta- neteig.

I Eustath. ad Od. x. 552, p. 1669, ed. Rom.

k2


132 HISTORY OF THE

fresh 8trata|reins ; the Batrachomyomachia^ which we shall have occa- sion to mention hereafter as an example of parody; the Seven times shorn Goat (at{ lirraTrcicroc), and the Song of the Fieldfares (c7rcic(xX/3ec), which Homer is said to have sung to the boys for field- fares. Some few such pleasantries have come down to us, particularly the poem of the Pot-kiln (Kct/itvoc iy icepa/x^c), which applies the imagina- tion and mythological machinery of the epic style to the business of pottery.

§ 5. These humorous poems are too innocuous and too free from personal attacks to have much resemblance to the caustic iambics of Archilochus. More akin to them undoubtedly were the satirical songs which, according to the Homeric hymn to Hermes, the young men sang extemporaneously in a sort of wanton mutual defiance *. At the public tables of Sparta, also, keen and pointed raillery was permitted, and con- versation seasoned vnth Spartan salt was not held to afibrd any reasonable ground of offence to those who took part in it. But an occasion for yet more audacious and unsparing jest was afforded to the Greeks by some of the most venerable and sacred of their religious rites — the per* mission, or rather encouragement to wanton and unrestrained jokes on everything affording matter for such ebullitions of mirth, con- nected with certain festivals of Demeter, and the deities allied to her. It was a law at these festivals that the persons engaged in their cele- bration should, on certain days, banter all who came in their way, and assail them with keen and licentious raillery t. This was the case at the mystic festival of Demeter at Eleusis, among others. Hence, also, Ari- stophanes in the Frogs introduces a chorus of the initiated, who lead a blissful life in the infernal regions, and makes them pray to Demeter that she would grant them to sport and dance securely the li\elong day, and have much jocose and much serious talk ; and, if the festival had been worthily honoured by jest and merriment, that they might be crowned as victors. The chorus also, after inviting the jolly god lacchus to take part In its dances, immediately proceeds to exercise its mi in satirical verses on various Athenian demagogues and cowards.

f Gonceruing the legality of this reUg^ous license there is an important passage in Aristotle, Pol. v'u, 15. We will set down the entire passage as we understand 5 : « As we banish from the state the speaking of indecent things, it is cU • r that we also prohibit indecent pictures and representations. The magistrate mubt therefore provide that no statue or picture of this kind exist, except for certain deities, of the class to which the law allows scurrilous jesting (o!s uai riw rm4eurfMf &w»m^n i vifMf), At temples of this kind the law also permits all persons of a mature age to pray to the gous for themselves, their children and wives. But younger persons ought to be prohibited from being present at the recitation of iambic verses, or ^ comedies, until they have reached the age at which they may sit at table and drink to intoxication."


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 133

This raillery was so ancient and inveterate a custom that it had given rise to a peculiar word, which originally denoted nothing but the jests and banter used at the festivals of Demeter, namely, lambu^. This was soon converted into a mythological person, the maid lambe, who by some jest first drew a smile from Demeter bewailing her lost daughter, and induced her to take the barley drink of the cyceon ; a legend native to Eleusis, which the Homerid who composed the hymn to Demeter has worked up into an epic form. If we consider that according to the testimony of the same hymn, the island of Paros, the birth-place of Arehilochus, was regarded as, next to Eleusis, the peculiar seat oi Demeter and Cora ; that the Parian colony Thasos, in the settle- ment (^ which Arehilochus himself had a share, embraced the mystic rites of Demeter as the most important worshipt ; that Arehilochus him- self obtained the prize of victory over many competitors for a hymn to Demeter, and that one whole division of his songs, called the lo-bacchi, were consecrated to the service of Demeter and the allied worship of Bacchus I; we shall entertain no doubt that these festal customs af- forded Arehilochus. an occasion of producing his unbridled iambics, for which the manners of the Greeks furnished no other time or place ; and that with his wit and talent he created a new kind of poetry out of the raillery which had hitherto been uttered extempore. All the wanton extravagance which was elsewhere repressed and held in check by law and custom, here, under the protection of religion, burst forth with boundless license ; and these scurrilous efiusions were at length reduced by Arehilochus into the systematic form of iambic

metre.

§ 6. The time at which this took place was the same with that in which the elegy arose, or but little later. Archilochys was a son of Telesicies, who, in dbedience to a Delphic oracle, led a colony from Faros to Thasos. The establishment of this colony is fixed by the ancients at the 15th or 18th Olympiad (720 or 708 b.c.) ; with which it perfectly agrees, that the date at which Arehilochus flourished is according to the chronologists of antiquity, the 23rd Olympiad (688 B. c.) ; though it is oflen placed lower. According to this calcula tion, Arehilochus began his poetical career in the latter years of the

  • It is vain to seek an etymology for the word iamXnu: the most probable suppo-

sition is, that it originated in exclamations, «x«Xv>vk«}, expressive of joy. Similar in form are ^im/t,^, the Bacchic festival procession ; iJu^atftfi^, a Bacchic hymn, aod ihftfi»t, also a kind of Bacchic song.

f The great painter Polygnotus, a native of Thasos, contemporary with Gimon in the psonting of the infernal regions, which he executed at Delphi, repre Rented in the boat of Charon the Parian priestess Cleoboea, who had brought thi mystic worship to Thasos,

is a verse from these poems preserved by Hephaestion, fragm. 68, Gaisford.


134 HISTORY OF THE

Lydian king Gyges, whose wealth he mentions in a verse still extant* ; but is mainly to be regarded as the contemporary of Ardys (from Olymp. 25, 3 to 37, 4. B. c. 678 — 29). In another verset he mentions the cala- mities of Magnesia, which befei that city through the Treres, and, as we have seen, not in the earliest part of Ardys' reign|. Archilochus draws a comparison between the misery of Magnesia and the melancholy condition of Thasos, whither he was led by his family, and was dis- appointed in his hopes of finding the mountains of g^ld they had expected. The Thasians seem, indeed, never to have been contented with their island, though its fertility and its mines might have yielded a considerable revenue, and to have tried to get possession of the opposite coast of Thrace, abounding in gold and in wine ; an attempt which involved them in wars not only with the natives of that country — ^for example the Saians § — but also with the early Greek colonists. We find in fragments of Archilochus that they had, even in his time, extended their incursions sj far eastward as to come into conflict with the inhabitants of Maronea for the possession of Stryme ||, which at a later period, during the Persian war, was regarded as a city of lie Thasians. Dissatisfied with the posture of affairs, which the poet oflen represents as desperate, (in such expressions as, that the cala- mities of all Hellas were found combined in Thasos, that the stone of Tantalus was hanging over their heads, &c.,)^ Archilochus must have quitted Thasos and returned to Paros, since we are informed by credible writers that he lost his life in a war between the Parians and the inha- bitants of the neighbouring island of Naxos.

§ 7. From these facts it appears, that the public life of Archi- lochus was agitated and unsettled ; but his private life was still more exposed to the conflict of contending passions. He had courted a Parian girl, Neobule, the daughter of Lycambes, and his trochaic poems expressed the violent passion with wluch she had inspired him**. Lycambes had actually promised him his daughtertt> and we are ignorant what induced him to withdraw his consent. The rage with which Archilochus assailed the family, now knew no bounds; and he not only accused Lycambes of perjury, but Neobule and her sisters of the most abandoned lives. It is unintelligible how the Parians could suffer the exasperated poet to heap such virulent abuse on persons with whom he had shortly before so earnestly desired to connect himself, had not these iambics first appeared at a fes- tival whose solemnization gave impunity to every license ; and had it not been regarded as a privilege of this kind of poetry to exag- gerate at will the evil reports for which any ground existed, and

  • Fragm. 10. f Fragm. 71. The reading e«0-/«y in this fragment is conjecturaU

I Comp. ch. X. § 4. § Ch. x. § 7.

I| See Harpocration in St^w^w f[ Fragm. 21,43. ** Fragm. 25, 26.

tf This is evident from fr. 83, "Of*** Y Ua^p'^fim ftiyaf, &Xat ti x2 r^dirtlaK


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 135

iu the delineatiou of ofiences which deserved some reproof to give the reins to the fancy. The ostensible object of Archilochus's iambics, like that of the later comedy, was to give reality to caricatures, every hideous feature of which was made more striking by being mag- nified. But that these pictures, like caricatures from Uie hand of a master, had a striking truth, maybe inferred from the impression which Archilochus's iambics produced, both upon contemporaries and posterity. Mere calumnies could never have driven the daughters of Lycambes to bang themselves, if, indeed, this story is to be believed, and is not a gross exaggeration. But we have no need of it ; the uni • versal admiration which was awarded to Archilochus's iambics, proves the existence of a foundation of truth ; for when had a satire which was not based on truth universal reputation for excellence ? When Plato produced his first dialogues agunst the sophists, Gorgias is said to have exclaimed, *' Athens has given birth to a new Archilochus." This comparison^ made by a man not unacquainted with art, shows at all events that Archilochus must have possessed somewhat of the keen and delicate satire which in Plato is most severe where a dull listener would be least sensible of it.

§ 8. Unluckily, however, we can form but an imperfect idea of the general character and tone of Archilochus's poetry; and we can only lament a bss such as has perhaps hardly been sustained in the works of any oiher Greek poet. Horace's epodes are, as he himself says, formed on the model of Archilochus, as to form and spirit*, but not as to subject ; and we can but rarely detect or divine a direct imi^ tation of the Parian poetf*

All that we can now hope to obtain is the knowledge of the external form, especially the metrical structure of Archilochus's poems ; and if we look to this alone, we must regard Archilochus as one of those creative minds which discover the aptest expression for new directions of human thought While the metrical form of the epos was founded upon the dactyl, which, from the equality of ihe arsis and thesis, has a character of repose and steadiness, Archilochus constructed his metres out of that sort of rhythm which the ancient writers called the double iyivos 3i7rXao'ioi/), because the arsis has twice the length of the thesis. Hence arose; according as the thesis is at the beginning or the end, the iambus or the trochee, which have the common character of lightness

  • Parios ego primus iambos

Ostendi Latio> nnmeros animosque secutus Ardulochi, non res et agentia verba Lycamben.

(Horat. Ep. i. 19, 23.)

f The complaint about perjury (Epod. xv.) agrees well with the relations of Archilochus to the family of Lycambes. The proposal to go to the islands of the blessed, in order to escape all misery, in Epod. xvi., would be more natural in the mouth of Archilochus, directed to the Thasian colony^, than in that of Horace. The Neobule of Horace is Caiiidia, but with great alterations.


136 HISTORY OP THE

and rapitlity. At the same time there is this difference, that the iambus, by proceeding from the short to the long syllable, acquires a tone of strength, and appears peculiarly adapted to impetuous diction and bold invective, while the trochee, which falls from the long to the short, has a feebler character. Its light tripping movement appeared peculiarly suited to dancing songs ; and hence, besides the name of trochueus, the runner^ it also obtained the name of choreius, ^te daneer* : occasionally, however, its march was languid and feeble. Archilochus formed long verses of both kinds of feet, and in so doing, with the pur- pose of giving more streng^th and body to these short and weak rhythms, he united iambic and trochaic feet in pairs. In every such pair of feet (called dipodia)^ he left the extreme thesis of the dipodia doabtliil (that is, in the iambic dipodia the first, in the trochaic the last thesis) ; M} that these short syllables might be replaced by long ones. Archi- lochus, however, in order not to deprive the metre of its proper rapidity, did not introduce these long syllables so oflen as ^schylus, for example, who sought, by means of them, to give more solemnity and dignity to his verses. Moreover, Archilochus did not admit resolutions of the long syllables, like the comic poets, who thus made the course of the metre more rapid and various. He then united three iambic dipodias (by making the same words common to more than one pair of feet) into a compact whole, the iambic trimeter : and four trochaic dipodias, two of which, however, were divided from the other two by a fixed pause (called dianrens), into the trochaic tetrameter. Without going more minutely into the structure of the verses, it is suf- ficiently evident from what has been said, that these metres were in their way as elaborate productions of Greek taste and genius as the Parthenon or the statue of the Olympic Jupiter. Nor can there be any stronger proof of their perfection than that metres, said to have been invented by Archilochusf, retained their currency through all ages of the Grreek poetry ; and that although their application was varied in many ways, no material itnprovement was made in their structure.

The distinction observed by Archilochus in the use of them was, that he employed the iambic for the expression of his wrath and bitterness, (whence nearly all the iambic fragments of Archilochus have a hostile bearing,) and that he employed the trochaic as a medium between the iambic and the elegiac, of which latter style Archilochus was, as we have already seen, one of the earUest cultivators. As compared with the elegy, the trochaic metre has less rapidity and elevation of sentiment,

  • According to Arietot. Poet. 4, the trochaic tetrameter is suited to an Ifi-nrw**

9r»lfi¥ts, hut the iambic verse is most Xtxrmif

r t ^v^ Pl^^afc*^ Je ^^"^J *=• 28/ **»e chief passage on the numerous invintiont of Archilochus in rhythm and music.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 137

and approaches more to the tone of common life ; as in the passage* in which the poet declares that ^ he is not fond of a tall general walking with his legs apart, with his hair carefully arranged, and his chin well shorn; hut he prefers a short man, with his legrg bent in, treading firmly on his feet, and full of s^nrit and resource." A personal descrip- tion of this kind, with a serious intent, but verging on the comic in its tone, would not have suited the elegy; and altliough reflections on the misfortunes of life occur in trochaic as well as in elegiac verses, yet an attentive reader can distinguish between the languid tone of the latter and the lively tone of the former, which would naturally be accom- panied in the delivery with appropriate gesticulation. Trochak» were also recited by Archilochus at the banquet ; but while the elegy was an oatpouring of- feelings in which the guests were called on to parti- cipate, Archilochus selects the trochaic tetrameter in order to re- prove a friend for having shamelessly obtruded himself upon a feast prepared at the common expense of the guests, without contributing his share, and without having been invited f.

Other forms of the poetry of Archilochus may be pointed out, with a view of showing the connexion between their metrical and poetical chamcters. Among these are the verses called by the metrical writers oj^nnr^eiet, or uncotinected, and by them said to have been invented by Archilochus: they are considered by Plutarch as forming the transi- tion to another class of rhythms. Of these difficult metres we will only say, thai Uiey consist of two metrical clauses or memb^rs of different kinds; for example, dactylic or anapaestic, and trochaic, which are loosely joined into one verse, the last syllable of the first member retaining the license of the final syllable of a verse |. This kind of metre, which passed firom the ancient iambic to the comic poets, has a feeble and languid expression, though capable at times of a careless grace ; nor was it ever employed for any grave or dignified subject. This character e&pecially appears in the member consisting of three pure trochees, with which the asynartetes oflen close ; which was named Ithy^ fhallicus^ because the verses sung at the Phallagogia of Dionysus, the scene of the wildest revelry in the worship of this god, were chiefly com- posed in this metre §. It seems as if the intention had been that after

  • Fragm. 9.

\ Fragm. 88. The person reproved is the same Peficks who> in the elegifis, is adilreksedas an intimate friend. (See fragm. I, and 131 .)

I Archilochus, as well as bis imitator Horace, did not allow these two clauses to run into one another; but as the comic poets used this liberty (Hephsestion, p. 84. Gaisi) it is certain that in Archilochus, 'E^a^fupiln Xa^ikaty \ xfif*^ '>'«< ytXMw, for example, is to be considcf ed as one verse.

§ A remarkable example of this class of songs is the poem in which the Athenians saluted Demetrius, the son of Antigonus, as a new Bacchus, and which is called by Athenasus i^mkXof, It begins as follows (vi. p. 253 ) : —

  • (U «/ fUyt^TM tUv fitHv fuc4 ^iXt/ctm

This poem, by its relaxed and creeping but at the same time elegant and graceful tone, characterizes the Athens of that time far better than many declamations of rnetorical historians.


138 HISTORY OP THE

the effort required in the anapaestic or dactylic member, the voice should find repose in the trochaic clause, and that the verse should thus proceed with agreeable slowness. Hence the sofl plaintive tone, which may easily be recognised in Xhe fragments of the asynartetes of Archilochus, as well as in the corresponding imitations of Horace*.

Another metrical invention of Archilochus was a prelude to the foimation of strophes, such as we find them in the remains of iheiBolic lyric poets. This was the epodes^ which, however, are here to be ccmsi- dered not as separate strophes, but only as verses ; that is, as shorter verses subjoined to longer ones. Thus an istmbic dimet^ forms an e|K)de to a trimeter, an iambic dimeter or trimeter to a dactylic hexa- meter, a short dactylic verse to an iambic trimeter, an iambic verse to an asynartete ; the object often being to give force and energy to the languid fall of the rhythm. In general, however, the purposes of these epodic combinations are as numerous as their kinds ; and if it af^pears at first sight that Archilochus was guided by no principle in the forma- tion of them, yet on close examination it will be found that each has its appropriate excellence t.

§ 9. As to the manner in which these metres were recited, so im- portant a constituent in their effect, we know thus much, — that the uniformity of the rhapsodists' method of recitation was broken, and that a freer and liolder style was introduced, which sometimes passed into the grotesque and whimsical ; although, in general, iambic verses (as we have already seen |) were in strictness not sung but rhapsodised. There was, however, a mode of reciting iamlncs introduced by Archilochus, by which some poems were repeated to the time of a musical instru- ment, and others were sung§. The paracataloge^ which consisted in the interpolation of a passage recited without strict rhythm and fixed melody, into a piece composed according to certain rules, was also ascribed to Archilochus. Liastly,«maay entertained the opi- nion (which, however, seems doubtful,) that Archilochus introduced the separation of instrumental music from singing, to this extent, — that

  • See especially fragm. 24, where Archilochus describes, in asynartetes with

iambic ejioaes, the violent love which has consumed his heart, darkened his sight, and deprived him of reason ; probably in reference to bis former love for Neobule, which he had then g^ven up. Horace's eleventh epode is similar in many respects*

f When one epode follows two veises there is a small strophe, as fragm. 38 :~-

If the two last verses are here united into one, aprobde is formed, which is the reverse of the epode ; it often occurs in Horace. Another example of a kind of strophe is the short strain of victory which Archilochus is said to have composed for the Olympic festival to Hercules and lolaus (fragm. 60) ; two trimeters with the ephymuion TnnXXa xaXXmitu

I Chap. iv. § 3.

§ra /C£ty tetfitfiuei Xiyt^rfiai ^a^et rtiv K^outtv^ vei V f!inrfiett, Plutarch ubi sup Piobablv this was connected with the epodtc composition ; though, according iu Plutarch, it also occurred in the tragedians.


. LITERA uaE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 139

the instrument left the voice, and did not fall in with it till the end , while the early musicians accompanied it, syllable for syllable, with the same notes on the instrument*. A peculiar kind of three-cornered stringed instrument, called iambycej was also used to accompany iambics, aud probably dated from the time of Archilochusf .

§ 10. It was necessary to lay these dry details before the reader in order to give an idea of the inventive genius which places Archilochus next, in point of originality, to Homer, among the Greek poets. There is, however, another remarkable part of the poetical character of Archi- lochus, viz., his language. If we can imagine ourselves living at a time when cmly the epic style, vnth its unchanging solemnity, its abun- dance of graphic epithets, and its difluse and vivid descriptions, was cultivated by poets, with no other exception than the recent and slight deviation of the elegy, we shall perceive tlie boldness of introducing iuto poetry a language which, surrendering all these advantages, attempt- ed to express ideas as they were conceived by a sober and clear under- standing. In this diction there are no ornamental epithets, intended only to fill out the image ; but every adjective denotes the quality appropriate to the subject, as conceived in the given place|. There are no anti- quated words or forms deriving dignity from their antiquity, but it is the plain language of common life; and if it seem to contain still many rare and difficult words, it is because the Ionic dialect retained words which afterwards fell into disuse. We likewise find in it the article§, unknown to the epic language ; and many particles used in a manner having a far closer affinity with a prose than with an epic style. In short, the whole diction is often such as might occur in an Attic comic poet, and, without the metre, even in a prose writer : nothing but the liveliness and energy with which all ideas are conceived and expressed, and the pleasing and graceful arrangement of the thoughts, distinguishes this language from that of common life | .

  • lu Piutarch the latter is called vr^wx^fia xmi/uv, the former ^ uvi r^v ^Snv

ifw^H, which Archilochus is said to have invented. The meaning is made clear by a comparison of Aristot. Problem, xix. 39, and Plato Leg. vii. p. 812. K^wuv denotes the playing on any musical instrument, the flute as well as the cithara.

f S«'e Athen. xiv. p. 646. Hesychius and Photius in iafAfiu»ti- The instrument tXt-^iafi^t mentioned by AthensBus, appears to have been specially destined for the

X Of this kind are such adjectives as (fragm. 27)

where the skin is not called tender generally, but in reference to the former bloom of the person addressed ; and as (fragm. 55)

where the rock is not called dark generally, but in reference to the difficulty of avoiding a ruck beneath the surface of the water. Such epic epithets as ^u7V "A^tit fun^vtv (fiagm. 116) are very rare.

§ £. g. fragm. 58 : ratavht V Z trUn»t^ t^v ^vyhv t^usi where the article separates rtidfht from sri;yiiv : *^ such are the posteriors which you have."

I) We may cite, as instances of the simple language of Archilochus, two fragments evidentl V belonging to a poem which had some resemblance to Horace's 6th epode. la the beginning was fragment 122, irtfXA.' 073* «X«Vn^, «XA.' IxJm Sv f*iyet', *<tho


140 HISTORY OF THE *

As we have laboured to place the great merit of Archilochus in its true light, we may give a shorter account of the works of his followers in iambic poetry. His writings will also furnish a standard of conn parison for the others.

§ 11. SiMONiDBs OF Amorous follows Archilochus so closely that they may be considered as contemporaries. He is said to have floa- rished in the period following OL 29 (664 b. c). The principal events of his life, as of that of Archilochus, are connected with the foundation of a colony: h^is said to have led the Samians to the neighbour- ing island of Amorgus, and to have there founded three cities. One of these was Minoa, where he settled. Like Archilochus, Simonides composed iambics and trochaic tetrameters ; and in the former metre he also attacked individuals with the lash of his invective and ridicule. What the family of Lycambes were to Archilochus, a certain Orodoecidet was to Simonides. More remarkable, however, is the peculiar appli- cation which Simonides made of the iambic metre : that is to say, he took not individuals, but whole classes of persons, as the object of his satire. The iambics of Simonides thus acquire a certain resemblance to the satire interwoven into Hesiod's epic poems ; and the more so, as it is on women that he vents his displeasure in the largest of his extant pieces. For this purpose he makes use of a contrivance which, at a later time, also occurs in the gnomes of Phocylides ; that is, he derives the various, though generally bad, qualities of women from the variety of their origin ; by which fiction he gives a much liveliei^ image of female characters than he could have done by a mere enumeration of their qualities. The uncleanly woman is formed from the swine, the cunning woman, equally versed in good and evil, from the fbs, the talkative woman from the dog, the lazy woman fVom the earth, the unequal and changeable from the sea, the woman who takes pleasure only in eating and sensual delights from the ass, the perverse woman from the weasel, the woman fond of dress from the horse, the ugly and malicious woman from the ape« There is only one race created for the bienefit of men, the woman sprung from the bee, who is fond of her work and keeps faithful watch over her house.

§ 12. From the coarse and somewhat rude manner of Simonides, we turn with satisfaction to the contemplation of Solon's iambic style. Even in his hands the iambic retains a character of passion and warmth, but it is only used for self-defence in a just cause. After 3olon had introduced his new constitution, he soon found that although he had attempted to satisfy the claims of all parties, or rather to give to each

fox uses many arts, but the hedgehog has one great one/* vie. to roll himself up and resist his enemy. And towards the end (fragm. 118^ 3v TMera^tau fAtymj Tit xuKus Ti i^£yTa 31/1)0?$ atir»fAufi%f$at xanttsy by which words the poet applied to him- self the image of the hedgehog: he hs[d the art of retaliating on those who ill- treated him. Consequently the first fragment would be an incomplete trochaic tetrameter.


LITERATURB OF ANCIENT GREECE. 141

party and order its due share of power, he had Rot succeeded in ^ satisfying any. In order to shame his opponents, he wrote some iambics, in which he calls on his censors to consider of how many citizens the state would have been bereaved, if he had listened to the demands of the contending factions. As a witness of the goodness of his plans, Solon calls the great goddess Earth, the mother of Cronus, whose surface had before his time been covered with numerous boundary stones, in sign of the ground being mortgaged : these he had succeeded in removing, and in restoring the land in full property to the mortgagers. This frag- ment is well worth reading*, since it gives as clear an idea of the poli- tical situation of Athens at that time, as it does of Solon's iambic style. It shows a truly Attic energy and address in defending a favourite cause, while it contains the first germs of that power of speecht, which afterwards came to maturity in the dialogue of the Athenian stage, and in the oratory of the popular assembly and of the courts of justice. In the dialect and expressions, the poetry of Solon retains more of the Ionic cast.

In like manner the few remnants of Solon *s trochaics enable us to form some judgment of his mode of handling this metre. Solon wrote his trochaics at nearly the. same time as his iambics ; when, notwith- standing his legislation, the struggle of parties again broke out between their ambitious leaders, and. some thoughtless citizens reproached Solon, because he, the true patriot, the friend of the whole community, had not seized the reins with a firm hand, and made himself monarch : '* Solon was not a man of deep sense or prudent counsel ; for when the god offered him blessings, he refused to take them : but when he had caught the prey, he was struck with awe, and drew not up the great net, failing at once in courage and sense : for else he would have been willing, having gained dominion and obtained unstinted wealth, and having been tyrant of Athens only for a single day, afterwards to be flayed, and his skin made a leathern bottle, and that his race should become extinct t." The other fragments of Solon's trochaics agree with the same subject ; so that Solon probably only composed one poem in this metre.

§ 13. Far more nearly akin to the primitive spirit of the iambic verse was the style of Hipponax, who ikmrished about the 60th Olympiad (540 b. c). He was bom at Ephesus, and was compelled by the tyrants Athenagoras and Comas to quit his home, and to establish himself in another Ionian city, Clazomenae. This political persecution (which affords a presumption of his vehement love of liberty) probably laid the foundation for some of the bitterness and disgust with which he regarded mankind. Precisely the same fierce and indignant scorn

  • Solon, No. 28, Gaisford. fiuvirnf* | Fragment 25;G.n6ford.


142 HISTORY OP THE

which found an utterance in the iambics ot Archilochus, is ascribed to Hipponax. What the family of Lycambes was to Archilochus, Biipalus and Athenis (two sculptors of a family of Chios, which had produced several generations of artists) were to Hipponax. They had made his small, meagre, and ugly person the subject of a caricature ; an insult Hipponax avenged in the bitterest and most pungent iambics, of which some remains are extant. In this instance, also, the satirist is said to have caused his enemy to hang himself. The satire of Hipponax, however, was not concentrated so entirely on certain individuals ; from existing fragments it appears rather to have been founded on a general view of life, taken, however, on its ridiculous and grotesque side. The luxury of the Greeks of Lesser Asia, which had already risen to a high pitch, is a favourite object of his sarcasms. In one of the longest frag- ments he says^, ** For one of you had very quietly swallowed a continued stream of thunny with dainty sauces, like a Lampsacenian eunuch, and had devouripd the inheritance of his father ; therefore he must now break rocks with a mattock, and gnaw a few 6gs and a little black barley bread, the food of slaves."

His language is filled with words taken from common life, such as the names of articles of food and clothing, and of ordinary utensils, current among the working people. He evidently strives to make his iambics local pictures full of freshness, nature, and homely truth. For this purpose, the change which Hipponax devised in the iambic metre was as felicitous as it was bold ; he crippled the rapid agile gait of the iambic by transforming the last foot from a pure iambus into a spondee, contrary to the fundamental principle, of the whole mode of versification. The metre thus maimed and stripped of its beauty and regularityt, was a perfectly appropriate rhythmical form for the delineation of such pictures of intellectual deformity as Hip- ponax delighted in. Iambics of this kind (called choliambics or trimeter scazons) are still more cumbrous and halting when the fiAh foot is also a spondee ; which, indeed, according to the original struc- ture, is not forbidden. These were called broken-botcked iambics (ischior- rhogics), and a grammarian X settles the dispute (which, according to ancient testimony, was so hard to decide), how far the invention of this kind of verse ought to be ascribed to Hipponax, and how far to another iambographer, Ananius, by pronouncing that Ananius invented the ischiorrhogic variety, Hipponax the common scazon. It appears, how- ever, from the fragments attributed to him, that Hipponax sometimes used the spondee in the fifth foot. In the same manner and with the same effect these poets also changed the trochaic tetrameter^by regu-

-* Ap. Athen. vii. p. 304. B. f ri &^tt«fuf.

{• In Tyrwhitt, Dissert, de Babrio, p. 17,


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 1 43

krly lengthening the penultimate short syllahle. Some remains of this kind are extant. Hipponax likewise composed pure trimeters in tl e style of Archilochus ; but there is no conclusive evidence that he mixed (hem with scazons.

Ananius has hardly any individual character in literary history dis- tinct from that of Hipponax. In Alexandria their poems seem to have been regarded as forming one collection ; and thus the criterion by which to determine whether a particular passage belonged to the one or to the other, was often lost or never existed. Hence in the uncertainty which is the true author, the same verse is occasionally ftscribed to both*. The few fragments which are attributed with cer- tainty to Ananius are so completely in the tone of Hipponax, that it would be a vain labour to attempt to point out any characteristic dif- ference t-

§ 14. Akin to the iambic are two sorts of poetry, which, though differing widely from each other, have both their source in the turn for the delineation of the ludicrous, and both stand in a close historical relation to the iambic : — the Fable (originally called alvoc, and after- wards, less precisely, fiv^oQ and X<5yoc), and the Parody.

With regard to the fable^ it is not improbable that in other countries, particularly in the north of Europe, it may have arisen from a child- like playftil view of the character and habits of animals, which frequently suggest a comparison with the nature and incidents of human life. In Greece, however, it originated in an intentional travestie of human affairs. The alvoc is, as its name denotes, an admonitionj, or rather a reproof, veiled, either from fear of an excess of frankness or from love of fun and jest, beneath the fiction of an occurrence happening among beasts. Such is the character of the ainos, at its very first appearance in Hesiod§. "Now 1 will tell the kings a fable, which they will understand ot themselves. Thus spake the hawk to the nightingale, whom he was carrying in his talons aloft in the air, while she, torn by his sharp clavirs, bitterly lamented — Foolish creature, why dost thou cry out? One much stronger than thou has seized thee ; thou must go whithersoever 1 carry thee, though thou art a songstress ; I can tear thee in pieces or I can let thee go at my pleasure."

Archilochus employed the ainos in a similar manner in his iambics against Lycambes ||. He tells how the fox and the eagle had con- tracted an alliance, but (as the fable, according to other sources, goes

  • As in Athen. xiv. p. 625 G.

f There is no suflBcient ground for supposing that HerondaR, who is sometimes veutioned as a chuliambic poet, lived in this age. The mimiambic poetry asicribed to him will be treated of in connexion with the Mimes of Sophron.

X vem^in0n. See Philological Museum, vol. i. p. 281. ( Op. et D. ▼. 202, teq, \\ Fr. 38, ed. Gaisford ; see note on fr. 39.


144 HISTORY OP THE

on to tell) * the ^agle was so regardless of her engagement, that she ate the fox's cubs. The fox could only call down the vengeance of the gods, and this shortly overtook her ; for the eagle stole the flesh from an altar, and did not observe that she bore with it sparks which set fire to her nest, and consumed both that and her young ones.

It is clear that Archilochus meant to intimate to Lycambes, that though he was too powerless to call him to account for the breach of his engagement, he could bring down upon him the chastisement of the gods.

Another of Archilochus's fables was pointed at absurd pride of rankf.

In like manner Stesichorus cautioned his countrymen, the Hime- raeans, against Phalaris, by the fable of the horse, who, to revenge him- self on the stag, took the man on his back, and thus became his slave t* And wherever we have any ancient and authentic account of the origin of the ^sopian fable, we find it to be the same. It is always some action, some project, and commonly some absurd one, of the Samians, or Delphians, or Athenians, whose nature and consequences Msop describes in a fable, and thus oflen exhibits the posture of affairs in a more lucid, just, and striking manner than could have been done by elaborate argument. But firom the very circumstance, that in the Greek fable the actions and business of men are the real and prominent object, while beasts are merely introduced as a veil or disguise, it has nothhig in common with popular legendary stories of beasts, nor has it any con- nexion with mythological stories of the metamorphoses of animals. It is exclusively the invention of those who detected in the social habits of the lower animals points of resemblance with those of man ; and while i,hey retained the real character in some respects, found means, by the introduction of reason and speech, to place them in the light required for their purpose.

§ 15. It is probable that the taste for fables of beasts and nume- rous similar inventions, found their way into Greece from the East; since this sort of symbolical and veiled narrative is more in harmony with the Oriental than with the Greek character. Thus, for example, the Old Testament contains a fable completely in the style of ^sop (Judges, ix. 8). But not to deviate into regions foreign to our purpose, we may confine ourselves to the avowal of the Greeks themselves, contained in the very names given by them to the fable. One kind of fable was called the Libyan^ which we may, therefore, infer was of African origin, and was introduced into Greece through Cyrene. To this class belongs,

  • Coraes, Mv^m aJ^mtumv ^wayetynjZ, i. Aristsph. A v. 651, ascnbes the fable

^80p.

t See Gaisford, fr. 39.

\ Arist. Rhet. ii. 20. The fable of Meneuius Agrippa is similaiiy applied ; but it is difficult to believe that the ainot, so applied, was known in Latium at that time and it seems probable that the story was transferred from Greece to Rome« 


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE 145

according to i^schylus*, the beautiful fable of the wounded eagle, who, ]iX)kiiig at the feathering of the arrow witli which he wn.s pierced, exclaimed, " I perish by feathers drawn from my own wing." From this example we see that the Libyan fable belonged to the class of fables of animals, bo also did the sorts to which later teachers of rhetoric t give the names of the Cyprian and the Ciiidan ; these writers also men- tion the names of some fabulists among the barbarians, as Cybissus the Libyan and Connis the Cilician. The contest between the olive and the laurel on mount Tmolus, is cited as a fable of the ancient Lydians |.

The Carian stories or fables, however, were taken from human life, as, for instance, that quoted by the Greek lyric poets, '1 imocreon and Simonides. A Carian fisherman, in the winter, sees a sea polypus, and he says to himself, ^ If I dive to catch it, I shall be frozen to death ; if I don't catch it, nay children must starve §." The Sybaritic fa les men- tioned by Aristophanes have a similar character. Some |X)iiite(i saying of a man or woman of Sybaris,with the particular circumstances which called it forth, is related |. The large population of the wealtii> Ionian Sybaris appears to have been much given to such repartees, aud to have caught them up and preserved them with great eager- ness. Doubtless, therefore, the Sicilian poet Epicharmus means, by Sybaritic apophthegms^, what others call Sybaritic fables. The Sybaritic fables, nevertheless, occasionally invested not only the lower animals, but even inanimate objects, with life and speech, as in the one quoted by Aristophanes. A woman in Sybaris broke an earthen pot; the pot screamed out, and cnlled witnesses to see how ill she had been treated. Then the woman said, '^ By Cora, if you were to leave olf calling out for witnesses, and were to make haste and buy a copper liug to bind yourself together, you would show more wisdom." This iable is used by a saucy merry old man, in ridicule of one whom he has ill treated, and who threatens to lay a complaint against him. Both the Sybaritic and ^sopian fables are represented by Aristophanes as jests, or ludicrous stories (yeXpIa).

§ 16. To return tOiEsop: Bentley has shown that he was very far from being regarded by the Greeks as one of their poets, and still less as a writer. They considered him merely as an ingenious fabulist, under whose name a number of fables, oflen applicable to human aflPairs, were current, and to whom, kt a later period, nearly all that were either

  • Fragment of the Myrmidons.

t Theon, and in part also Aphthoniutt. A fragment of a Cyprian fable, about the (Itives of Aphrodite, is imblished in the excerpts from the Codex Angelicas in Wala Rhetor. Grec. vol. ii. p. 12.

X Callim. fr. 93. Bt>nt1.

^ From the Cpdex An^licus in WaU Rhet. Gr. vol. ii. p. 11., and the Proverbs of Macarius in Walz Arsemi Violetum, p. 318.

II Aristoph. Vesp. 1259, 1427, 1437. f Suidas in v.


146 HISTORY OF THE

invented or derived from any other source, were attributed.* His history has been dressed out by the later Greeks, with all manner of droll and whimsical incidents. What can be collected from the ancient writers down to Aristotle is, however, confined to the following^

^sop was a slave of the Samiah ladmon, the son of Hephsestopolis, who lived in the time of the Egyptian king Amasis. (l^e reign of Amasis begins Olymp. 52, 8, 570 b. c.) According to the state- ment of Eugeon, an old Samian historian, * he was a native of the Thracian city Mesembria, which existed long before it was peopled by a colony of Byzantines in the reign of Darius t* According to a less authentic account he was from Cotyeeon in Phrygia. It seems that his wit and pleasantry procured him his freedom ; for though he remained in ladmon's family, it must have been as a freedman, or he could not, as Aristotle relates, have appeared publicly as the defender of a dema- gogue, on which occasion he told a fable in support of his client It is generally received as certain that iEsop perished in Delphi ; the Del- phians, exasperated by his sarcastic fables, having put him to death on a charge of robbing the temple. Aristophanes alludes to a fable which Msop told to the Delpliians, of the beetle who found means to revenge himself on the eagle |.

The character of the JEsopian fable is precisely that of the genuine beast-fable, such as we find it among the Greeks. The condition and habits of the lower animals are turned to account in the same manner, and, by means of the poetical introduction ai reason and speech, are placed in such a light as to produce a striking 'resemblance to the inci- dents and relations of human life.

Attempts were probably early made to give a poetical form to the ^sopian fable. Socrates i^ said to have beguiled his impriaonmerit thus. The iamlnc would of course suggest itself as the most appro- priate form (as at a later period it did to Phaedrus), or the scaason, vrfaich was adopted by Callimachns and Babrins§. But no metrical versions of these fables are known to have existed in early times. The aenus Was generally regarded as a mode of other sorts of poetry, particulariy the iambic, and not as a distinct class. *

§ 17. The other kind of poetry whose origin we are now about to trace, is the Parody* This was understood by the ancients, as well as by ourselves, to mean an adoption of the form of some cele- brated poem, with such changes in the matter as to produce a totally different effect ; and, generally, to substitute mean and ridiculous for elevated and poetical sentiments. The contrast between the grand and

  • "Eiyimy or lS»Hy%mf, falsely written Ev^Vmh, in SnidM in ▼. U^tnrt,

f Mesembria, Pattjrmbria, and Selymbria, are Thracian names^ and mean the cities of Meses, Pattys^ and Selyi. '

X Arisioph. Vesp. 1448. cf. Pac. 129. Coraes, .ASsop. c.2.

§ A distich of an i%<iopian fable is, however, attributed by Diogenes Laertius Co Socrates. Fra^ents of fables in hexameters also occur.


LITERATURE OP ANCIENT ORKECF. 147

sublime images suggested to the memory, and the comic oiiesiiitixxhiced in their stead, renders parody peculiarly fitted to place any subject iii a ludicrous, grotesque, and trivial light. The purpose of it, however, was not in general to detract from the reverence due to the ancient poet (who, in most cases was Homer), by this travestie, but only to add fresh zest and pungency to satire. Perha^iis, too, some persons sporting with the austere and stately forms of the epos, (like playful children dressing themselves in gorgeous and flowing robes of state,) might have fallen upon the de>ioe of parody.

We have already alladed to a fragment of Asius* in elegiac measure, which is not indeed a genuine parody, but which approaches to it. It is a comic description of a beggarly parasite, rendered more ludicrous by a tone of epic solemnity. But, according to the learned Polemon t, the real author of parody was the iambographer Hipponax, of whose pro- ductions in this kind a hexametrical fragment is still extant.

§ 18. The Batrachomyomachia, or Battle of the Frogs and the Mice (which has come down to us among the lesser Homeric poems), is totally devoid of sarcastic tendency. All attempts to discover a satirical meaning in this little comic epos have been abortive. It is nothing more than the story of a war between the frogs and the mice, whicli, from the high-sounding names of the combatants, the detailed genealo- gies of the principal persons, the declamatory speeches, the interference of the gods of Olympus, and all the pomp and circumstance of the epos, has completely the external character of an epic heroic poem ; a cha- racter ludicrously in contrast vrith the subject Notwithstanding many ingenious conceits, it is not, on the whole, remarkable for vigour of poetical conception, and the -introduction falls far short of the genuine tooe of the Homeric epos, so that everything tends to show that the Batrachomyomachia is a production of the close of this era. This sup- ))06ition is confirmed by the ' tradition that Pigres, the brother of the Halicarnassian tyrant Artemisia; and consequently a contemporary of the Persian wai", was the author of this poem {, although at a later period of antiquity, in the time of the Romans, the Batrachomyomachia was ascribed without hesitation to Homer himself.

  • Ch. z. i 7. t Ap. Athen. zv. p. 698, B.

I The passage of Plutarch de Malign. Herod, c. 43. ought to be written as fuU lows: — TtX«f )i Mm4nf^f§»s U n>Mrm4ms kyttn^at ft>ij^ft TiX«vf rot ikySiut t«v«£XX«mv,

CoDceming Pigies see Suidas, who, however^ confounds the later with the earlier Aitemisia.


I '


l2


148 HlSroRY OF THK


CHAPTER XII.

$ 1. Transition frum the £po8, through the Elegy and Iambus, to Lyric Pi>etry; connexion of Lyric Poetry with Music. — } 2. Foundeni of Greek Music; Ter. pander, his descent and date. — $ 3. Terpander's invention of the seven-stringed Cithara. — } 4. Musical scales and styles. — § 5. Nomes of Terpander for sing- ing to the Cithara; their rhythmical form. — §6. Olympus, descended frum an ancient Phrygian family of flute-players. — § 7. His influence upon the develo})- ment uf ihe music of the Bute and rhythm among the Greeks. — } d.His influence cunfiiied to music. — $ 9. Thaletas, his age^ — § 10. His connexion with ancient Cretan worships. Paeans and hyporcheraes of Thaletas. — J 11. Musicians of the succeeding period — Clouas, Hierax, Xenodamus, Xenocritns, Polymnestus, Saca- das. — § 1 2, State of Greek Music at this period.

f) 1. When the epic, elegiac, and iambic styles had been perfected in Greece, tl^e forms of poetry seemed to have become fo various, as scarcely to admit of further increase. The epic style, raised above the ordinary range of human life, had, by the exclusive sway which it exercised for centuries, and the high place which it occupied in general opinion, laid a broad foundation for all future Greek poetry, and had so far influenced its progress that, even in those later styles which differed the most widely from it, we may, to a certain extent, trace an epic and Homeric tone. Thus the lyric and dramatic poets developed the characters of the heroes celebrated in the ancient epic poetry ; so that their descriptions appe.ared rather to be the portraits of real persons than the conceptions of the individual poet. It was not till the minds of the Greeks had been ele- vated by the productions of the epic muse, that the genius of original poets broke loose from the dominion of the epic style, and invented new forms for expressing the emotions of a miud profoimdly agitated by passing events; with fewer innovations in the elegy, but with l^reater boldness and novelty in the iambic metre. In these two styles of poetry, — the former suited to the expression of grief, the latter to the expression of anger, hatred, and contempt — G reek poetry entered the domain of real life.

Yet a great variety of new forms of poetr}* was reserved for the invention of future poets. The elegy and the iambus contained the germs of the lyric style, though they do not themselves come under that head. The principal characteristic of lyric poetry is its connexion with music, vocal as well as instrumental. This connexion, indeed, existed, to a certain extent, in epic, and still more in elegiac and iambic poetry ; but singing was not essential in those styles. Such a recitation by a rhapsodist, as was usual for epic poetry, also served, at least in the beginning, for elegiac, and in great part for iambic verses. Singing and a continued instrumental accompaniment are appro-


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 14&

priate, where the expression of feeling or passion is inconsistent with a more measured and equable mode of recitation. In the attempt to express these impulses, the alternation of high and low tones would naturally give rise to singing. Hence, with the fine sense of harmony possessed by the Greeks, there was produced a rising and falling in the rhythm^ which led to a greater irariety and a more skiltul arrangement of metrical forms. Moreover, as the expression of strong feeling required more pauses and resting-places, the verses in lyric poetry naturally fell into strophes^ of greater or less length ; each of which comprised several varieties of metre, and admitted of an appropriate termination. This arrangement of the strophes was, at the same time, connected with dancing; which was naturally, though not necessa- rily, associated with lyric poetry. The more lively the expression, the more animated will be the gestures of the reciter ; and animated and expressive movements, which follow the rhythm of a poem, and corre- spond to its metricld structure, are, in fact, dancing.

The Greek lyric poetry, therefore, was characterized by the expres- sion of deeper and more impassioned feeling, and a more swelling and impetuous tone, than the elegy or iambus ; and, at the same time, the effect was heightened by appropriate vocal and instrumental music, and often by the movements and figures of the dance. In this union of the sister arts, poetry was indeed predominant; and music and dancing were only employed to enforce and elevate the conceptions of the higher art. Yet music, in its turn, exercised a reciprocal influence on poetry ; so that, as it became more cultivated, the choice of the musical measure decided the tone of the whole poem. In order, therefore, that the cha- racter of the Greek lyric poetry may be fully understood, we will prefix an account of the scientific cultivation of music. Consistently wiili this purpose we should limit our attention to the general character of the music of the ancient Greeks, even if the technical details of the art, notwithstanding many able attempts to explain them, were not still enveloped in great obscurity.

§ 2. The mythical traditions of Orpheus, Philammon, Chrysothemis, and other minstrels of the early times being set aside, the history of Greek music begins with Terpander the Lesbian. Terpander appears to have been properly the founder of Greek music. He first reduced to rule the different modes of singing which prevailed in different coun- tries, and formed, out of these rude strains, a connected system, from which the Greek music never departed throughout all the improve- ments and refinements of later ages. Though endowed with an inven- tive mind, and the commencer of a new era of music, he attempted no more than to systematize the musical styles which existed in the tunes of Greece and Asia Minor. It is probable that Terpander himself Wouged to a family who derived their practice of music from the ancient I^ierian bards of Boeotia; such an inheritance of musical skill is quite


150 HISTORY OF THE

conformable to the mauners and institutions of the eaxly Greeks *, The .l^olians of Lesbos had their origin in Bceotia t» the country to which the worship of the Muses and the Thracian hymns belonged {; and they probably brought with them the first rudiments of poetry. This migration of the art of the Muses is ingeniously expressed by the legend thaty after the murder of Orpheus by the Thracian Mxaada^ his head and lyre were thrown into the sea, and. borne upon its waves to the island of Liesbos ; whence singing and the inn^JQ c^ the cithara flourished in this, the most musical of islands §. The grave supposed to coataiii the head of Orpheus was shown ia Antissa, a small town of Lesbos ; and it was thought that in that i^t the nightingales . saog most sweetly ||. In Antissa ^so, according to the testimony of several ancient writers, Terpander was born. In this way, the domestic impressions and the occupations of his youth may have prepared Terpander for the great undertaking which he aflkerwards performed.

The date of Terpander is determined by his appearance in the mother country of Greece : of his early life in Lesbos nothing is known, l^e first account of him describes him in Peloponnesus, which at that time surpassed the rest of Greece in political power, in well*prder^ govern- ments, and probably also hi nientai cultivaticHi* It is. one of the most certain dates of ancient chronology, that in the 26th Olympiad (e. o. 676) nmsical contests were first Introduced at the feast of Apollo Car- neius, and at their first celebration Terpander was crowned victor. Terpander was also victor four successive times in the musical contests at the Pythian temple of Delphi, which were celebrated there long before the establishment of the gymnastic games and chariot races (Ol. 47), but which then recurred every eight,. and not every four years^. These Pythian victories ought probably to be placed in Hhe period from the 27th to the 33rd Olympiad. For the 4th year o( the 33rd Olympiad 645 B. c.) is the time at which Terpander introduced among the Lace- daemonians his nomes for singing to the cithara, and generally reduced music to a system**. At this time, therefore, he had acquired the greatest renown in' his art by his most important inventions. In Lace-

  • There were in several of the Greek states, bouses or gente; yUfij in which the

performance of musical exhibitions, especially at festivals, descended as an heredi- tary privilege. Thus, at Athens, the playing of the cithara at processions belonged to tbe Eunids. The Eumolpids of Eleusis were originally, as the name proves, a ^n» of singers of hymns (see above, p. 25, ch. iii. § 7). The flute-players of Sparta con- tinued their art and their rights in families. Stesichorus and Simonidet also be lunged to musical families, as we will show below.

t Ch. i. 5 5 (p. 9). I Chap.iL } 8,

J vec^im JT |^r)» iutiarArtiy says Pbanocles, the elegiac poet, who gives the most elegant version of this legend (Stob. tit bdi. p. 399).

II Myr^us of Lesbos, in Antigen. Caryst Hist Mirkb. c 5. In the account in

NicomachusGersBS. Euchir. Harm. ii. p. 29. ed. Meibom. Antissa is mentioned on the same occasion.

% Mnller^s Dorians, b. iv. ch. vl 52. ♦• Marmor Parium, ep. zzxiv. 1. 49, compared with Plutarch de Mustea, c. 9.


LITERATtJRE OF ANCIENT GRBECE. 151

dsemony whose citizens had fVom the earliest times been distinguished for their love of music and dancing, the first scientific cultivation of music was ascribed to Terpander* ; and a record of the precise time had been preserved, probably in the registers of the public games. Hence it appears that Terpander was a younger oontempcMrary of Calli- nus and Ardulochus ; so that the dispute among the ancients, whether Terpander or Ardiikxtos were the elder, must probably be decided by supposing them to have lived about the same time*

§ 3. At the head of all the inventions of Terpander stands the ^ven- stringed cithanu The only accompaniment for the voice used by the early Greeks was a (bur-etringed dthara, the tetrachardf and this instrument had been so generally ined, and held in such r^[Mite, that the whole system of music was always founded upon the tetrachord. Terpander was the first who added three strings to this instrument ; as he himself testifies in two eilant verses f. *' Disdaining the four-stringed song, we shafl sound new hymns on the seven-stringed phorminx." Hie tetrachcnrd was strung so that the two extreme strings stood to one another in the relation called by the ancients diatessaron^ and by the modems vl fourth; that is to say, the lower one made three vibrations in the time that the upper one made four. Between these two s'rings, which formed the>principal harmony of this simple instrument, there were two others; and in the most ancient arrangement of the gamut, called the diatonic^ these two were strung so that the three intervals between these four strings produced twice a whole tone, and in the third place a semitone. Terpander enlarged this instrument by adding one tetrachord to another: he did not however make the highest tone of the lower tetrachord the lowest of the upper, but he left an interval of one tone between the two tetrachords. By this arrangement the cithara would have had eight strings, if Terpanckr had not left out the third string, which must have appeared to him to be of less import- ance. The heptachord of Terpander thus acquired the compass of an octave, or, according to the Greek expression, a diapason ; because the highest tone of the upper and the lowest of the lower tetrachord stood in this relation, which is the simplest of all, as it rests upon the ratio of 1 to 2 ; and wMch was soon acknowledged by the Greeks as the funda- mental concord. At the same time the highest tone of the upper tetra- chord stands to the highest of the lower in the relation of the fifth, the arithmetical expression of which is 2 to 3 ; and in general the tones were doubtless so arranged that the simplest consonances after the

  • If ff-^if jutr^Tofis rif «-!() rj^y fuu^tKhj says Plutarch do Musica, e. 9.

t lo Euclid, Introd. Hann. p. 19. Partly also in Stiabo, xiii. p. 618; CldtneuB Ala. Stiom. fi. p. 814, Potter. The verses are —


152 HISTORY OF THE

octave — that is to say, the fourth and . fifth — governed the whole *. Hence the heptachord of Terpander long remained in high repute, and was employed hy Pindar ; although in his time the deficient string oi the lower tetrachord had been supplied, and an octachord produced t*

§ 4. It will be convenient in this place to explain the difierence between the scales (yivri)^ and the styles or harmonies (rpovoi^ &pfjLoylai) of Greek music, since it is probable that they were regulated byTerpander. The musical scales are determined by the intervals between the four tones of the tetrachord. The Greek musicians describe three musical scales, viz., the diatonic, the chromatic, and the enhar- monic. In the diatonic, the intervals were two tones and a semi-' tone ; and hence the diatonic was considered the simplest and most natural, and was the most extensively used. In the chromatic scale the interval is a tone and a semitone, combined with two other semi- tones}. This arrangement of the tetrachord was also very ancient, but it was much less used, because a feeble and. languid, though pleasing character, was ascribed to it. The third scale, the en- harmonic, was produced by a tetrachord, which, besides an interval of two tones, had also two minor ones of quarter-tones. This was the latest of all, and was invented by Olympus, who must have flourished a short time after Terpander §. The ancients greatly preferred the enharmonic scale, especially on account of its liveliness and force. But from the small intervals of quarter tones, the execution of it required great skill and practice in singing and playing. These musical scales were funher determined by. the styles or harmonies j because on them depended, first, the position or succession of the. inter- vals belonging to the several scales ||, and, secondly, the height and depth of the whole gamut. Three styles were known in very early times, — the Doric, which was the lowest, the Phrygian, the middle one, and the Lydian, the highest. Of these, the Doric alone is named from a Greek race ; the two others are called after nations of Asia Minor, whose love for music, and particularly the flute, is well known. It is probable that national tunes were current among these tribes, whose

  • The strings of the heptachord of Terpander were called, beginninu: from the

highest, l^nrn^ va^atnrfi^ irauttfii^fi, fAwn^ Xi^avog^ ittt^tnrdTfi, vvram- The intervals were 1, 1, 1^, 1, 1, ^, if the neptachord was strung, accoiding to the diatonic scale, in the Doric style.

f In proof of the account of the heptachord given in the text, see Boeckh de Metris Pindari, iii. 7, p. 205, 9qq,

\ Of these short intervals, however, the one is greater than the other, the former being more, the latter less, than a semitone. The first is called apotume, the other ieimma.

§ See Plutarch de Musica, 7, i\, 20, 29, 33; a treatise full of valuable notices, hut written with so little care that the author often contradicts himself.

I) For example, whether the intervals of the diatonon are ^, 1, I, as in the Doric style, or 1, ), 1, as in the Phrygian, or 1, 1 }, as in the Lydian.


LITERATURE OP ANCIENT OREECE. 153

peculiar character was the origin of these styles. Yet their fixed and systematic relation to the Doric style must have been the work of a Greek musician, probably of Terpander himself, who, in his native island of Liesboe, had frequent opportunities of becoming acquainted with the different musical styles of his neighbours of Asia Minor. Thus a fragment of Pindar relates, that Terpander, at the Lydian feasts, had heard the tone of the pectis, (a Lydian instrument, with a compass of two octaves^ &nd had formed from it the kind of lyre which was called Barbiton *. The Lesbians likewise used a particular sort of cithara, called the Asiatic CAaiac) ; and this was by many held to be the inven- tion of Terpander, by others to be the work of bis disciple Cepion t. It is manifest thi^ the Lesbian musicians, with Terpander at their head, were the means of uniting the music of Asia Minor with that of the ancient Greeks (which was best preserved among the Dorians in Pelopon- nesus), and that they founded on it a system, in which each style had its appropriate character. To the establishment of this character the names (yo^wt) contributed, musical compositions of great simplicity and severity, something resembling the most ancient melodies of our church music. The Doric style appears from the statements of all the wit- nesses to have had a character of great seriousness and gravity, pecu- liarly calculated to produce a calm, firm, collected frame of mind. ^* With regard to the Doric style (says Aristotle), all are agreed that it is the most sedate, and has the most manly character." The Phrygian style was evidently derived from the loud vehement styles of music employed by the Phrygians in the worship of the Great Mother of the gods and the Corybantes |. In Greece, too, it was used in orgiastic worships, especially in that of Dionysus. It was peculiarly adapted to the expression of enthusiasm. The Lydian had the highest notes of any of the three ancient styles, and therefore approached nearer to the female voice ; its character was thus softer and feebler than either of the others. Yet it admitted of considerable variety of expression, as the melodies of the Lydian style had sometimes a painful ieind me- lancholy, sometimes a calm and pleasing character. Aristotle (who, in his PoUtics, has given some judicious precepts on the use of music in education) considers the Lydian style peculiarly adapted to the musical cultivation of early youth.

In order to complete our view of this subject, we will here give an account of the other styles of Greek music, although they were

  • In AtbeiiBus,. xvi. p. 635. There are great diflSculties as to the sense of this

much contested passage. Pindar's meaning probably is, that Terpander formed the deep-resounding barbiton, by taking the lower octave from the pectis (or magadis). Amooff the Greek poets, Sappho is said to have first used the pectis or magadis, then Anacreon.

t Plutarch de Mtis. 6. Anecd. Bekker, vol. i. p. 452. Compare Aristoph. Thesm. laO. with the Scholia.

X See ch.iii.^8.


154 HISTORY OF THE

invented aHer the time of Terpander. Between the Doric and Phry- gian styles — ^with respect to the height and lowness of the tones, — the Ionic was interpolated ; and between the Phrygian and Lydian, the ^olic. The former is said to have had a languid and soft, but pathetic tone ; it was particularly adapted to laments. The latter was fitted for the expression of lively, and even impassioned feelings ; it is best known from its use in the remains of the Lesbian poets and of Pindar. To these five styles were then added an equal number with higher and lower tones, which were annexed, at their respective extremes, to the original system. 'Vhe fbrmer were called Hyperdorian, Hyperiastian, Hyperphrygian, &c. ; the others Hypolydian, HyposoliaD, Hypophrygian, &c. Of these styles none belong to this period except those which approximate closely to the first five, viz., the H)'perlydian, and the Hyperdorian, which was also called Mixolydian, as bordering upon the Lydian. Hie invention of the former is ascribed to Polym- nestus *, that of the latter to the poetess Sappho ; this latter was pecu- liarly used for laments of a pathetic and tender cast But the entire system of the fifleen styles was only brought gradually to perfection by the musicians who lived afler the times of Pindar.

§ 5. Another proof that Terpander reduced to a regular system the styles used in his time is, that he was the first who marked the dif- ferent tones in music. It is stated, that Terpander first added musical notes to poems t' Of his mode of notation, indeed, we know nothing ; that subsequently used by the Greeks was introduced in the time of Py- thagoras. Hence, in later times, there existed written tunes by Terpander, of the kind called nomes }, whereas the nomes of the ancient bards, Olen, Philammon, &c., were only preserved by tradition, and must there- fore have undergone many changes. These nomes of Terpander were arranged for singing and playing upon the cithara. It cannot, indeed, be doubted thatT^trpander made use of the fiute, an instrument generally known umong the Greeks in his time ; Archilochus, the con- temporary of Terpander, even speaks of Lesbian paeans being sung to the fiute § ; although the cithara was the inost usual accompaniment for songs of this kind. But it appears, on the whole, from the accounts of the ancients, that the cithara was the principal instrument in the Lesbian music. The Lesbian school of singers to the cithara maintained its pre-eminence in the contests, especially at the Camean festival at Sparta, up to Pericleitus, the last Lesbian who wlus victorious on the cithara,

  • See (11.

t BfiXtff «'^r«f ^t^iifin»i tms ^unftet^t, says Clemens Alex. Strom, i. p. 364, B. Toy Tf^avi^mt ...... »tiec^h»£f ^utirhf ovra j^fMn »$n» vifisf t»afV9f tms twurt rmt '

lavrov »al roTg 'Ofin^ou /kcXh 9r%fi4tfra ^^» Sv rott iyatrnm Plutarch de Mu8. 3, aft^ Heradides.

I Above, ch.'iii. §7. § AifTos t^eip^uv *^o( atfXov Ate^iov 9recwveCf AtchiXochus in Athen. V. p. 180) £. fr. 58. Gaiiifurd. It may also be conjectured from the mutilated passage of the Parian marble, Kp. 35, that Terpander practised flute-play iug.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 155

and who lived before Hipponax (Olym. 60)*. Probably some of these uomes of Terpander were iarprovements on ancient tunes used in religious rites ; and this appears to be the meaning of the statement tiiat some of the nomes noted down by Terpander were invented by the ancient Delphic bard Philammon. Others seem to have grown out of |x>pu]ar songs, to which the names of iEolic and Bceotian nomes allude f. The. greater I number were probably invented by Terpander himself. These nomes of Terpander were finished compositions, in which a cer- tain muaicai -idea was systematically worked out; as is proved by the different' imvtffwhich-beloiiged to one of them}.

The ihythmical form of Terpfmder's compositions was very simple. He is saidlo have added musicad notes to.hexamcfters §. In particular he arnmged passages of thie Homeric poems (which hitherto had only been vecited by rhapsodists) to a musical accompaniment on the cithara ; be also composed hymns in the same metrer, whi^h probably resembled the Homeric hymns, though wiifa somewhat of the lyric character ||. But the nomies of Terpander can scarcely all Htf^e had the simple uni- form rhythm of the heroic hexameter. That they had not, is proved by the names of two of Terpander's nomes, the Ortkian anid the Trochaic ; so called (according to the testimony of Pollux and other grammarians) from the rhythms. The latter was, therefore, composed in trochaic metre ; the former in those orthian rhjrthms, the peculiarity of which consists in a great extension of certaih feet. There is Kke- wiae a fragment of Terpander, consisting entirely of long syllables, in which the thought is as weighty and elevated as the metre is solemn and dignified. ^'Zeus, first cause of all, leader of all ; Zeus, to -thee 1 send this beginning of hymns ^. Metres composed exclusively of long syllables were employed for religious ceremonies of the greatest solemnity. The name of the spondaic foot, which consisted of two long syllahleB, was derived from the libation (inrov^}, at which a sacred silence was observed**. Hymns of this kind were oflen suiig to Zeus in his ancient sanctuary of Dodona, on the borders of lliesprotia and Molossia ; and hence is explained the name of the Molossian foot, con-


pi". ••■.■•■,,...•


  • Hence in Sappho, fr. 52, Blomf. (69, Neue), the Lesbian singer is called vif^x^f

t Plutarch de Mus. 4, Pollux iv. 9. 65.

I These, according to Pollux, iv. 9, 66, were ?«'«^;^«,/«sr«^;^«, Kmrar^at^ fitretzmra' r^tva, S/ipaXHf ^^y*ty \9ri\Ay9s.

} See, particularly, Plutarch de Mus. 3 ; cf. 4. 6. ; Proclus in Photius, Biblioth. p. 523.

II It Im, however, possible that some of the smaller Homeric hymns may have been proems of this kind hw Terpander. For example, that to Athene (xxviii.) appears to be peculiarly fitted for singing to the cithara.

^ Zitf, «'avrA»i) «^;^«, «'«yr«v itynrtt^^

In Clemens Alex; Sttom. vi. p. 784, who also states that this hymn to Zeus was Kt in the Doric style.

  • '■' ilKptifAtec.


156 HISTORY OF THE

sisting of three long syllables, by which the fragment of Terpander ought probably to be measured.

§ 6. The accounts of Terpander's inventions, and the extant remains of his uomes, however meagre and scanty, give some notion of his merits as the father of Grecian music. Another ancient master, how- ever, the Phrygian musician Oltmpus, so much enlarged the system of the Greek music, that Plutarch considers him, and not Terpander, as the founder of it.

The date, and indeed the whole history of this Olympus, are involved in obscurity, by a confusion between him (who is certainly as historical as Terpander) and a mythological Olympus, who is connected with the first founders of the Phrygian religion and worship. Even Plu- tarch, who in his learned treatise upon music has marked the distinc- tion between the earlier and the later Olympus, has still attributed inventions to the fabulous Olympus which properly belong to the his- torical one. The ancient Olympus is quite lost in the dawn of mythical legends ; he is the favourite and disciple of the Phrygian Silenus, Mar- syas, who invented the flute, and used it in his unfortunate contest with the cithara of the Hellenic god Apollo. The invention of nomes could only be ascribed to this fabulous Olympus, and to the still more ancient Hyagnis, as certain nomes were attributed by the Greeks to Olen and Philammon ; that is to say, certain tunes were sung at festivals, which tradition assigned to these nomes. There was also in Phrygia a family said to be descended from the mythical Olympus, the members of which, probably, played sacred tunes on the flute at the festivals of the Magna Mater: to this family, according to Plutarch, the later Olympus belonged.

§ 7. This later Olympus stands midway between his native country Phrygia and the Greek nation. Phrygia, which had in general little connexion with the Greek religion, and was remarkable only for its enthusiastic rites and its boisterous mtisic, obtained, by means of Olympus, an important influence upon the music, and thus upon the poetry, of Greece. But Olympus would not have been able to exercise this influence, if he had not, by a long residence in Greece, become acquainted with the Greek civilization. It is stated that he produced new tunes in the Greek sanctuary of Pytho ; and that he had disciples who were Greeks, such as Crates and Hierax the Argive *. It was by means of Olympus that the flute attained an equal place in Greek music with the cithara ; by which change music gained a much greater com- pass than before. It was much easier to multiply the tones of the flute than those of the cithara ; especially as the ancient flute-players were accustomed to play upon two flutes at once. Hence the severe censors

  • The former is mentioned by Plutarch de Mus. 7 ; the latter by the same

writer, c. 26, and Pollux iv. 10. 79. Accordingly it is not probable that this second Olympus was a mythical personage, or a collective appellation of the Phrygian music in its improved state.


LITER ATD RE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 157

of music in antiquity disapproved of the flute on moral grounds, since they considered the variety of its tones as calculated to seduce the player into an unchaste and florid style of music. Olympus also in- vented and cultivated the third musical scale, the enharmonic ; the powerful effects of which, as well as its difficulties, have been already mentioned. His nomes were accordingly auletic, that is, intended for the flute, and belonged to the enharmonic scale.

Among the different names which have been preserved, that of the Harmateios Nomos may be particularly mentioned, as we are able to form a tolerably correct idea of its nature. In the Orestes of Euripides, a Phrygian Eonuch in the service of Helen, who has just escaped the murderous hands of Orestes and Pylades, describes his dangers in a monody, in which the liveliest expression of pain and terror is blended with a character of Asiatic softness. This song, of which the musical accompaniment was doubtless composed with as much art as the rhytliniical structure, was set to the harmatian nome, as Euripides makes his Phrygian say. This mournful and passionate music appears to ha\ e been particularly adapted to the talent and taste of Olympus. At Delphi, where the solemnities of the Pythian games turned principally upon the fight of Apollo with the Python, Olympcs i« said to have played a dirge in honour of the slain Python upon the flute and in the Lydian style *. A nome of Olympus played u[)on several flutes (XvyavXia) was well known at Athens. Aristophanes, ir. the beginning of his Knights, describes the two slaves of Demus as giving utterance to their griefs in this tune. But from the esteem in which Olympus was held by the ancients, it seems improbable that all his compositions were of this gloomy character ; and we may therefore fairly attribute a greater variety to his genius. His nome to Athene probably had the energetic and serene tone which suited the worship of this goddess. Olympus also shows great richness of invention in his rhythmical forms, and particularly in such as seemed to the Greeks expressive of enthusiasm and emotion. It appears probable from a statement in Plutai'ch, that he introduced the rhvthm of the sona:H to the Magna Mater, or Galliamhi t. The Atys of Catullus shows what an impression of melancholy, beauty and tenderness this metre was capa- ble of producing, when handled by a skilful artist.

A more important fact, however, is, that Olympus introduced not only the third scale of music, but also a third class of rhythms. All

  • With this 18 connected the account that Olympus the Mysian cultivated the

Lydian style, w^tX^rix^n^tu Ciena. Alex. Strom, i. p. 363.. Potter.

t The pa sage of Plutaich de Musica, c. xxix., ««} rh x*V*** ihifAif), f iroXku •iXitnrmi ly rctg Mur^aMf, probably refers to the '!«»»«# ifmuXtif/uvoff which, on account of the prevaleuce of trochees in it might probably be considered as belonging to the


158 HISTORY OF THE

the early rhythmical forms are of two kinds*, the equcU (i^or), in which the arsis is equal to the thesis; and the double (hiT\atnov)y in which the arsis is twice as long^ as the thesis. The former is the basis of the hexameter, the latter of the chief part of the poetry of Archilochus. The equal rhythm is most appropriate, when a calm composed state of mind is to be expressed, as there is a perfect balance of the arsis and thesis. The double rhythm has a rapid and easy march, and is therefore adapted to the expression of passion, but not of great or elevated sentiments, the double arsis requiring no great energy to carry forward the light thesis. Now, besides these, there is a third kind of rhythm, called, from the relation of the arsis to the thesis, one and a half {fifudXioy) ; in which an arsis of two times answers to a thesis of three. The Cretan foot (j_^ — ), and the multifarious class of po^ons belong to this head {AoKJo^KfVKj^^ &c.), to which last the theoretical writers of antiquity ascribe much life and energy, and at the same time, loftiness of expression. That the poets and musicians considered it in the same light may be inferred from the use which they made of it. Olympus was the first who cultivated this rhythm, as we learn from Plutarch, and it is almost needless to remark that this exten- sion of the rhythms agrees with the other inventions of Olympus t<

§ 8. It appears, therefore, that . Olympus exercised an important influence in developing the rhythms, the instrumental music, and the musical scales of the Greeks, as well as in the composition of numerous nomes. Yet if we inquire to what words his compositions were arranged, we can find no trace of a verse written by him. Olympus is never, like Terpander, mentioned as a poet; he is simply a mu8iciaii|. His nomes, indeed, seem to have been originally executed on the flute ak>ne, without singing ; and he himself, in the tradition of the Greeks, was celebrated as a flute-player. It was a universal custom at this time to select the flute-players for the musical performances in Greek. cities from among the Phrygians : of this nation, according to the testimony of Athenaeus, were Iambus, Adon and Telos, mentioned by the Lacede- monian lyric poet Alcman, and Cion, Codalus, and Babys, mentioned by Hipponax. Hence, for example, Plutarch says, that Thaletas took the Cretan rhythm from the flute-playing of Olympus §, and thus acquired the fame of a good poet. Since Olympus did not properly beiong to the Greek literature, and did not enter the lists with the poets

  • Above, chap. xi. ^ 8.

f Accordiag to Plutarch de Mtis. c. 29. Some also ascribe to Olympus the Betx^uos fvifAof (u— ^), which belongs to the same family, though its u>nii makes a lt?s8 pleasing impression.

[ Suidas attributes to him /MXn and \XMyumti which may be a confusion between compositions in the lyric and elegiac style and poetical texts,

^ \k rm *Oku/irtv auXn^t^i Plutarch de Mus. c. 10 ; cC c. 1 5. Hence also, in c 7, a«- iettc nomes are ascribed to Olympus; but in c t3 the first aulodie nomes are ascribed to Clunas.


LITERATURE OP ANCIENl GREECR. 15B

of Greece, it is natural that his precise date should not have heeii recorded. His date, however, is sufficiently marked by the advances of the Greek music and rhythm due to his efforts ; and the generation to which he belonged can thus be determined. For, as it appears both from the nature of his inventions and from express testimony that music had made some progress in his time, he must be later than Ter- pander; on the other hand, he must be prior to Thaletas, according to the statement just mentioned ; so that he must be placed between the 30th and 40th Olympiads (b. c. 660—20) ♦.

§ 9. THALXTA.S makes the third epoch in the history of Greek music. A native of Crete, he found means to express in a musical form the spirit which pervaded the religious institutions of his country, by which he produced a strong impression upon the other Greeks. He seems to have been partly a priest and putly an artist; and from this circum- stance his history is veiled in obscurity. He is called a Gortynian, but is also said to have been born at Elyrus ; the latter tradition may per- haps allude to the belief that the mythical expiatory priest Carmanor (who vras supposed to have purified Apollo himself from the slaughter of the Python, and to have been the father of the bard Chrysothemis) lived at Tarrha, near Elyrus, in the mountains on the west of Crete. It is at any rate certain that Thaletas was connected vrith this ancient seat of relig^ious poetry and music, the object of which was to appease passion and emotion. Thaletas was in the height of his fame invited to Sparta, that he might restore peace and order to the city, at that time torn by intestine commotions. In this attempt he is supposed to have oomj^etely succeeded; and hia political infhience on this occasion gave rise to the report that Lycurgus bad been instructed by him t. In fact, howfevei', Thaletas lived several centuries later than Ly- curgus, havijBg.beeii ione of the musicians who assisted in perfecting Terpander'^ masicQl a^temr:«t Sparta, and giving it a new and fixed f(^nn.' The musicians iKuned by Phitarch, as the arrangers of * this seeond systfem^ are Thaletati of Gortyna, Xenodamus of Cythera, Xeno- critus the Locrian^ Polymnestus of Colophon, Sacadas of Argos. Among these, however, the last ntoied are later than the former ; as Polymnestus con^ppsed for the Lacedaemonians a poem in honour of Thaletas, which is mentioned by Pausanias. If, therefore, Sacadas was a victor in the Pythian games in Olymp. 47, 3 (b. c. 590), and if this may be taken as the time when the most recent of these musi- cians flourished, the first of them, Thaletas, may be fixed not later

  • According to Suidas, Olympus was contemporary with a king Midas^the son uf

Gordios ; but this is no argpument against the assumed date, as the Phrygian kings, down to the time of Cnssus, were alternately named Midas and Oordius.

f Nevertheless Strabo, z. p. 481, justly calls Thaletas a legislative man. Like the Cretan training in general (.^ian V. H. ii. 39,) he doubtless combined poetry and mosic with a measured and well-ordered conduct.


160 HISTORY OP THB

than the 40th Olympiad (b. c. 620); which places him in the right rela tion to Terpander and Olympus*.

§ 10. We now return to the musical and poetical productions c Thaletas, which were connected with the ancient religious rites of hi; country. In Crete, at the time of Thaletas, the predominating worship was that of Apollo ; the character of which was a solemn elevation of mind, a firm reliance in the power of the god, and a calm acquiescence in the order of things proclaimed by him. But it cannot be doubted that the ancient Cretan worship of Zeus was also practised with the wild war dances of theCuretes, like the Phrygian worship of the Magna Mater t. The musical and poetical works of Thaletas fall imder two heads — fceam and hyporchemen. In many respects these two resembled each other ; inasmuch as the peean originally belonged exclusively to the worship of Apollo, and the hyporcheme was also performed at an early date in temples of Apollo, as at Delos |. Hence paeans and hyporchemes were sometimes confounded. Their main features, however, were quite dif- ferent. The psean displayed the calm and serious feeling which pre- vailed in the worship of Apollo, without excluding the expression of an earnest desire for his protection, or of gratitude for aid already vouch- safed. The hyporcheme, on the other hand, was a dance of a mimic character, which sometimes passed into the playful and the comic. Accordingly the hyporchematic dance is considered as a peculiar species of the lyric dances, and, among dramatic styles of dancing, it is com- pared with the cordax of comedy, on account of its merry and sportive tone §. The rhythms of the hyporcheme, if we may judge from the fragments of Pindar, were peculiarly light, and had an imitative and graphic character.

These musical and poeCical styles were improved by Thaletas, who employed both the orchestic productions of his native country, and the impassioned music and rhythms of Olympus. It has already been re- marked that he borrowed the Cretan rhythm from Olympus, which doubt- less acquired this name from its having been made known by Thaletas of Crete. I'he entire class of feet to which the Cretan foot belongs, were called Pceo7is, from being used in pfleans (or peeons). Thaletas doubtless gave a more rapid march to the paean by this animated and vigorous rhythtn |{ . But the hyporchematic productions of Thaletas must have been still gayer and more energetic. And Sparta was the

  • Clinton, who, iu Fagt. Hellen. vol. 1. p. 199. sq,, places Thaletas before Ter-

paudefy rejects the most authentic testimony, that concerning the xmra^Tm^ts oi music at Sparta ; and moreover, does nut allow sufficient weight to the far more artificial character of the music and rhythms of Thaletas.

f Kcv^nrif Tt fiitt ^tX0*aiy/icns «^;^iirT?(<f. Hesiod, fr. 94. Gk>ettling.

I Above, ch. iii. } 6. § Atheu. xiv. p. 630, E.

II Fragments of a psean in paeons are presFrvcd in Aristotle, Rhet. iii. 8, viz.— j^XoytHf^ I'ri AvJtiaWf and X^vtrtoKOfta "Exart, iteu Atif.


LITEnATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 161

country which at this time was best suited to the music of dancing.

The Gymnopsdia, the festival of '* naked youths," one of the chief

solemnities of the Spartans, was well calculated to encourage the love of

gymnastic exercises and dances among the youth. The boys in these

dances first imitated the movements of wrestling and the pancration ; '

and then passed into the wild gestures of the worship of Bacchus *.

There was also much jesting and merriment in these dancesf ; a fact

which points to mimic representations in the style of the hyporcheme,

especially as the establishment of dances and musical entertainments at

the gymnopaedia is ascribed by Plutarch to the musicians, at the head

of whom was Thaletas J. The Pyrrhic, or war-dance, was also formed

by the musicians of this school, particularly by Thaletus. It was a

favourite spectacle of the Cretans and Lacedaemonians ; and both these

nations derived it from their ancestors, the former from the Curetes,

the latter from the Dioscuri. It was accompanied by the flute, which

could only have been the case after the music of the flute had been

scientifically cultivated by the Greeks ; although there was a legend that

Athene herself played the war-dance upon the flute to the Dioscuri §.

It was a natural transition from the simple war-dance to imitations of

different modes of fighting, offensive and defensive, and to the regular

representation of mock fights with several Pyrrhichists. According to

Plato, the Pyrrhic dance was thus practised in Crete ; and Thaletas, in

improving the national music of Crete, composed hyporchemes for the

Pyrrhic dance. The rhythms which were chosen for the expression of

the hurried and vehement movements of the combat were of course

quick and changeable, as was usually the case in the hyporchematic

poems ; the names of some of the metrical feet have been derived from

the rhythms employed in the Pyrrhic dance | .

§ 15, Terpander, Olympus, and Thaletas are distinguished by the salient pecuUarities which belong to inventive genius. But it is difficult to find any individual characteristics in the numerous masters who followed them between the 40th and 50th Olympiads. It may, however, be useful to mention some of their names, in order to give an idea of the zeal with which the Greek music was cultivated, after it had passed out of the hands of its first founders and improvers. The first name we will mention is Clonas, of Thebes, or Tegea, not

  • These gymnopsedic dances, described by AthensBus, xiv. p. 631, xv. p. 678,

were evidently different from the yvfivt^ai^txn S^^nfis, which^ according to the same Athenseus, was the most solemn kind of lyric dance, and corresponded to the em- meleia among the dramatic dances. f Pollux iv. 14, 104.

{ Plutarch de Mus. 9. The ancient chronologists place the first introduction of the gymnopaedia somewhat earlier, viz. Olymp. 28. 4. (b.c. 665.) § See Mtlller's Dorians, book iv. ch. 6. § 6 and 7.

II Not only the Pyrrhic (oo), but also the proceleusmatic, or challenging, foot (oooo), refers to the Pyrrhic dance. The latter ought probably to be considered a resolved onapest ; and so the Mirkuf fvffMg is removed to the aoapsBtic measure.


164 HISTORY OF THB


CHAPTER XIIL

} 1 . Difference between the Lyric Poetry of the ^olians, and the Choral Lyric Poetry of the Dorians. — § 2. Life and political Acts of Alcsus. — § 3. Their con- nexion with his Poetry. — J 4. The other subjects of his Poems. — } 5. Their me- trical fonn. — J 6. Life and moral character of Sappho. — J 7. Her Erotic Poetry to Phaon. — § 8. Poems of Sappho to women. — J 9. Hymcnseals of Sappho.— § 10. Followers of Sappho, Damophila, Erinna. — § 11. Life of Anacreon. — § 12. His Poems to the youths at the Court of Polycrates. — § 13. His Love-songs to Het«rse. — ( 14. Character of his versification. — ^ 15. Comparison of the later Anacreontics. — ^ 16. Scolia; occasions on which they were sung, and their sub- jects. — § 17. Scolia of Uybrias and Callistratus.

§ 1. The lyric poetry of the Greeks is of two kinds, which were culti- vated by different schools of poets; the name which is commonly given to poets living in the same country, and following the same rules of com- position. Of these two schools, one is called the Molic, as it flourished among the j^olians of Asia Minor, and particularly in the island of Lesbos ; the other the Doricy because, although it was diffused over the whole of Greece, yet it was first and principally cultivated by the Do- rians in Peloponnesus and Sicily. The difference of origin appears also in the dialect of these two schools. The Lesbian school wrote in the .^olic dialect, as it is still to be found upon inscriptions in that island, while the Doric employed almost indifferently either a mitigated Do- rism, or the epic dialect, the dignity and solemnity of which was heightened by a limited use of Doric forms. These two schools differ essentially in every respect, as much in the subject, as in the form and style of their poems ; and as in the Greek poetry generally, so here in particular, we may perceive that between the subject, form, and style, there is the closest connexion. To begin with the mode of recitation, the Doric lyric poetry was intended to be executed by choruses, and to be sung to choral dances, whence it is sometimes called choral poetry : on the other hand, the jEolic is never called choral, because it was meant to be recited by a single person, who accompanied his recitation with a stringed instrument, generally the lyre, and with suitable gestures. The structure of the Doric lyric strophe is comprehensive, and oflen very artificial ; inasmuch as the ear, which might perhaps be unable to detect the recurring rhythms, was assisted by the eye, which could fol- low the different movements of the chorus, and thus the spectator was able to understand the intricate and artificial plan of the composition. The .£olic lyric poetry, on the other hand, was much more limited, and either consisted of verses joined together (to *:ara crrixoy), or it formed of a few short verses, strophes in which the same verse is frequently re- peated, and the conclusion is effected by a change in the versification, or by the addition of a short final verse, 'i'he strophes of the Doric


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 165

lyric poetry were also often comLined by annexing^ to two strophes corresponding with one another, a third and different one called an epode. The origin of this, according to the ancients, is, that the chorus, having performed one movement during the strophe, return to their former position during the antistrophe ; and they then remain motion- less for a time, during which the epode is sung. The short strophes of the zEolic lyric poetry, on the other hand, follow each other in equal measure, and without being internipted by epodes. The rhythmical structure of the choral strophes of the Doric lyric poetry is likewise capable of much variety, assuming sometimes a more elevated, some- times a more cheerful character ; whilst in the .^olic, light and lively metres, peculiarly adapted to express the passionate emotion of an ex- citable mind, are frequently repeated.

Choral poetry required an object of public and general interest, as the choruses were combined with religious festivals ; and if they were celebrated in private, they always needed a solemn occasion and cele-» bration. Thoughts and feelings peculiar to an individual could not, with propriety, be sung by a numerous chorus. Hence the choral lyric poetry was closely connected with the interests of the Greek states, either by celebrating their gods and heroes, and imparting a charm and dignity to the festal recreations of the people, or by extolling citizens who had acquired high renown in the eyes of their countrymen. It was also sometimes used at marriages or funerals ; — occasions in which the events of private life are brought into public notice. On the other hand, the ^olic lyric poetry frequently expresses thoughts and feelings in which only one mind can sympathize, and expresses them with such tenderness as to display the inmost workings of the heart How would such impressions be destroyed by the singing of a chorus of many voices ! Even when political events and other matters of public interest were touched upon in the j5iolic lyric poetry, they were not mentioned in such a manner as to invite general sympathy. Instead of seeking, by wise admonitions, to settle the disorders of the state, the poet gives expression to his own party feelings. Nevertheless, it is pro- bable that the ^Eolic poets sometimes composed poems for choral ex- liibition, for choruses were undoubtedly performed in Lesbos, as well as "1 other parts of Greece ; and although some ancient festival songs "light have existed, yet there would naturally be a wish to obtain new poetry, for which purpose the labour of the poets in the island would oe put in requisition. Several of the Lesbian lyric poems, of which we have fragments and accounts, appear to have been composed for choral recitation *. But the characteristic excellence of this lyric poetry

•Especially the hymenfeus of Sappho, from which the poem of Catullus, 62, is imitated ; it was recited by choruses of youn^ men and women j see below J 9. Clioral dances had been usual, in connexion with the hymen ecus, from the earliest ♦imeg ; see above ch. 2, & 5. So likewise the fragment of Sappbo, Kjw«< vu ^«f£l\ ftCjNo. 83, ed. Blomfield, No. 46; ed. Neue, alludes to some imitutiun of a Cretan


166 HISTORY OF THE

was the expression of individual ideas and sentiments, with wainith and frankness. Thiese sentiments found a natural expression in the native dialect of these poets, the ancient iEolic, which has a character of sim- plicity and fondness ; the epic dialect, the general language of Greek poetry, was only used sparingly, in order to soflen and elevate this po- pular dialect. Unhappily the works of these poets were allowed to perish at a time when they had become unintelligible from the singu- larity of their dialect, and the condensation of their thoughts. To this cause, and not to the warmth of their descriptions of the passion of love, is to be attributed the oblivion to which they were consigned. For if lite rary works had been condemned on moral grounds of this kind, the writings of Martial and Petronius, and many poems of the Anthology, would not exist ; while Alcseus and Sappho would probably be extant. As, however, the productions of these two poets have not been preserved, we must attempt to form as perfect an idea of them as can be obtained from the sources of information which are open to us.

§ 2. The circumstances of the life of Alc£us are closely connected with the political circumstances of his native city Mytilene, in the island of Lesbos. Alcseus belonged to a noble family, and a great part of his public life was employed in asserting the privileges of his order. These were then endangered by democratic factions, which appear to have placed ambitious men at their head, and to have given them powerful support, as happened about the same time in Peloponnesus. In many cases the demagogues obtained absolute, or (as the Greeks called it) tyranrdcal power. A tyrant of this kind in Mytilene was Melanchrus, who was opposed by the brothers of Alcseus, Antimenidas and Cicis, in oonj unction with Pittacus, the wisest statesman of the time in Lesbos, and was slain by them in the 42d Olympiad, 612 b.c. At this time the Mytileneans were at war with foreign enemies, the Athenians, who, under Phrynon, had conquered and retained possession of Sigeum, a maritime town of Troas. The Mytileneans, among whom was Alcsus, were defeated in this war ; but Pittacus slew Phrynon in single combat, Olymp. 43. 3. 606 B. c. Mytilene henceforth was divided into parties, from the heads of which new tyrants arose, such as (according to Strabo) Myrsilus, Megalagyrus, and the Cleanactids. The aristocratic party, to which Alcseus and Antimenidas belonged, was driven out of Mytilene, and the two brothers then wandered about the world. Alcseus, being exiled, made long sea voyages, which led him to Egypt ; and Antimenidas served in the Babylonian army, probably in the war which Nebuchadnezzar waged in Upper Asia with the Egyptian Pharaoh Necho, and the states of Syria, Phcenicia, and Judsea, in the years from

dance round the altar ; and dances of this kind were, perhaps, often combined with ^ the hymns of the ^iolians ; see Anthol. Palat. 1^ 189. Anacreon's poems were also sung by female choruses at nocturnal festivals, accordina: to Critias ap. Athen. xiii. p. 600 D,


LITERATURX OF ANCIBNT GREECE. 167

B.C. 606 (01. 43. 8) to 584 (Ol. 49. 1), and longer* Some time after this we again find the brothers in the neighbourhood of their native city, at the head of the exiled nobles, and trying to effect their return by force. Pittacus was then unanimously elected dictator by the people, to defend the constitution, (aiffvfjLviirric). The administration of Pit- tacus lasted, according to the accounts of ancient chronologers, from Olymp. 47. 3. (b. c. 590), to 50. 1. (b. c. 580). He was so fortunate as to overcome the exiled party, and to gain them over by his clemency and moderation. He also (according to a well authenticated statement) was reconciled with Alcaeus ; and it is probable that the poet, after many wanderings, passed his latter days in the quiet enjoyment of his home.

§ 3. In the midst of these troubles and perils, AIcsus struck the lyre, not, like Solon, with a spirit of calm and impartial patriotism, to bewail the evils of the state, and to show the way to improvement, but to give utterance to the passionate emotions of his mind. When Myrsilus was about to establish a tyrannical government in Mytilene, Alceeus composed the beautiful ode, in which he compares the state to a ship tossed about by the waves, while the sea has washed into the hold, and the sail is torn by the wind. A considerable fragment of this ode has been preserved t ; and we may also form some idea of its contents from the fine imitation of it by Horace, which, however, probably falls short of the original I. When Myrsilus dies, the joy of the poet knows no bounds. *' Now is the time for carousing, now is tiic time for chal- lenging the guests to drink, for Myrsilus is dead §,** Horace has also taken the beginning of this ode for one of his finest poems ||. Afier the death of Myrsilus, we find Alca;us aiming the shafts of his poetry at Megalagyrus and the Cleanactids, on account of their attempts to obtain illegal power ; although, according to Strabo, Alcseus himself was not entirely guiltless of attempts against the constitution of Myti- lene. Even when Pittacus was chosen dictator by the people, the dis- content of the poet with the political state of his country did not cease ; on the contrary, Pittacus (who was esteemed by all a wise, moderate, and patriotic statesman, and who had clearly shown his republican virtue by resigning his power afler a ten years' administration) now be- came the prime object of the vehement attacks of Alcseus. He reproaches the people for having unanimously chosen the ignoble % Pittacus to be tyrant over the ill-fated city ; and he assails the dictator with vitupera

  • The battle of Garchcmish, or Circesium, appears from Berosus to fall in 604 b« o.,

the year of Nabopolassai's death ; but 606 b. c.^ the date of the biblical chronology^ IB probably right.

t Fragm. 2. Blomf. 2. Matth. of. 3.

J Garm. 1, 14. O uavis referent^

( Fragm. 4. Blomf. 4. Matth.

II Carm. 1. 37. Nunc est bibeudum —

^ TO MmȤirdv^iU TltrraMv, Fragm. 23. Blomf. 5. Matth.


168 HISTORY OF THE

live epithets which appear fitter for iambic than for lyric poetry. Thus he taunts him in words of the boldest formation, sometimes with his mean appearance, sometimes with his low and vul^r mode of life *. As compared with Fittacus, it seems that the poet now deemed the former tyrant Melanchrus, " worthy of the respect of the city t»"

In this class of his poems (called by the ancients his 'party poemsy ^iXoarramacrTiKa)^ Alcaius gave a lively picture of the political state of Mytilene, as it appeared to liis partial view. His war-songs express a stirring martial spirit, though they do not breathe tlie strict principles of military honour which prevailed among the Dorians, particularly in Sparta. He describes with joy his armoury, the walls of which glit- tered with helmets, coats of mail, and other pieces of armour, " which must now be thought upon, as the work of war is begun J." He speaks of war with courage and confidence to his companions in arms; there is no need of walls (he says), " men are the best rampart of the city§ ;" nor does he fear the shining weapons of the enemy. " Em- blems on shields make no wounds ||." He celebrates the battles of his adventurous brother, who had, in the service of the Babylonians, slain a gigantic champion %; and speaks of the ivory sword-handle which this brother had brought from the extremity of the earth, probably the pre- sent of some oriental prince **. Yet the pleasure he seems to have felt in deeds of arms did not prevent him from relating in one of his poems, how in a battle with the Athenians he had escaped indeed with his life, but the victors had hung up his castaway arms as trophies, in the temple of Pallas at Sigeum '[ f .

§ 4. A noble nature, accompanied with strong passions, a variety of character frequent among the i^olians, appears in all the poetry of Alceeus, especially in the numerous poems which sing the praises pf love and wine. The frequent mention of wine in the fragments of Alcaeus shows how highly he prized the gift of Bacchus, and how in- genious he was in the invention of inducements to drinking. Now it is the cold storms of winter which drive him to drink by the flame of the

  • In Diog. Lacrt. 1. 81. Fragm. 6. Mutth. Thus he calls Pittacus ^o^'he^^i^as, that

is, who sups in the dark, and not in a room lighted with lamps and torches.

t Fragm. 7. Blomf. 7. Matth.

I Fragm. 24. Blomf. 1. Matlh. comp. below ( 5. § Fragm. 9. Blomf. 11,12. Matth.

II Fragm. 13. Matth.

^ The fragment in Straho xiii. p. 617, (8G. Blomf. 8. Matth.) has been thus emended by the author in Niebuhr^s Rheinisches Museum^ vol. i. p. 287. — Kai rot ahx^i*

  • AfrtfiuvihtVf if (pn^n *Ax»eitOf BafivXa/viois trvfi/iei^ovvTet rtkia-at fiiyav SfiXeVf xeii i» wcvatt

mhrtiiis puvaerfiai XTtivavree. ay^a fia^aravy &g (pnertf fieco-iX.^iofj 'raXeuffrav a^tktiirovTm /mm? fiiaf va;^utf aire 9rifji9rtt$, (^ol. for 9rivTi) : that is, this royal champion only wanted a palm of five Greek cubits.

  • ♦ Fragm. 32. Blomf. 67. Matth.

ft Fragm. 56, Blomf. 9. Matth.


LITEHATURB OF ANCIENT GREECE. 169

hearth, as in a beautiful poem imitated by Horace * ; now the heat of the dog star, which parches all nature, and invites to moisten the tongue with wine t* Another time it is the cares and sorrows of life for which wine is the b?st medicine X ; and then again, it is joy for the death of the tyrant which must be celebrated by a drinking bout. Al- cs!us however does not consider wine-drinking as a mere sensual excite- ment. Thus he calls wine the drowner of cares § ; and, as opening tlie heart, it is a mirror for mankind J. Still it may be doubted whether Alcaeus composed a separate class of drinking songs, (oru/iTroriK-a.) From the fragments which remain, and the imitations by Horace, it is more probable that Alcaeus connected every exhortation to drink with some reflection, either upon the particular circumstances of the time or upon man s destiny in general.

It is much to be regretted that so little of the erotic poetry of Alcseus has reached our time. What could be more interesting than the re- lations between Alcaeus and Sappho? of the poet with the jwetess? whilst on the part of Alcseus love and respect for the noble and renowned maiden were in conflict. He salutes her in a poem, " Violet crowned, pure, sweetly smiling Sappho ;** and confesses to her in another that he wishes to express more, but shame prevents him. Sappho understands his meaning, and answers with maiden indignation, " If thy wishes were fair and noble, and thy tongue designed not to utter what is base, shame would not cloud thy eyes, but thou wouldst freely speak thy just desires ^." That his poems to beautiful youths breathed feelings of the tcnderest love may be conjectured from the well-known anecdote that be attributed a peculiar beauty to a small blemish in his beloved * *. The amatory poems, like the passages in praise of wine, are free from a tone of Sybaritic effeminacy, or merely sensual passion. Throughout his poems, we see the active restless man ; and the tumult of war, the strife of politics, the sufferings of exile, and of distant wanderings, serve by contrast to heighten the effect of scenes of tranquil enjoyment. " The Lesbian citizen sang of war amidst the din of arms ; or, when he had bound the storm- tossed ship to the shore, he sang of Bacchus and the Muses, of Venus and her son, and Lycus, beautiful from his black hair and black eyes tt«" It isevidentthat poetry was not a mere pastime, or exercise of skill to Alcaeus, but a means of pouring out the inmost feel- ings of his soul. How superior are these poems to the odes of Horace ! which, admirable as they are for the refinement of the ideas and the

  • Fragm. 1. Blomf. 27. Matth. Horat. Carm. I. 9. Vides ut alia.

t Fragm. 18. Blomf. 28. Matth. t Fragm. 3. Blomf. 29. Matth.

§ X«t$i%nhns, Fragm. 20. Blomf. 31. Matth.

II Fr. 16. Blomf. 36, 37. Matth.

% Fragpn. 38. Blomf. and Sappho, Fragm. 30. In Matthise^ Fragm. 41, 42.

    • Cicero de Nat. D. 1.28. The cod. Glogau. has in Pericle pucro,

it Horat. Carm. I. 32, 5. tqq* Cf. SchoLFind. Olymp, x. 15.


172 HISTORY OF THE

is the Ionic metre (lonici a minori), which he used to express the emo- tions of his passionate nature *.

§ 6. We come now to the other leader of the Lesbian school of poetry, Sappho, the object of the admiration of all antiquity. There is no doubt that she belonged to the island of Lesbos i and the question whether she was born in Eresos or Mytilene is best resolved by supposing that she went from the lesser city to the greater, at the time of her greatest celebrity. She was nearly contemporaneous with her country- man Alcseus, although she must have been younger, as she was still alive in 01. 53. 568 b. c. About Ol. 46. 596 b. c, she sailed from Mytilene in order to take refuge in Sicily t> but the cause of her flight is unknown ; she must at that time have been in the bloom of her life. At a much later period she produced the ode mentioned by Herodotus, in which she reproached her brother Charaxus for having purchased Rhodopis X the courtesan from her master, and for having been induced by his love to emancipate her. This Rhodopis dwelt at Naucratis, and the event falls at a time when a frequent intercourse with Egypt had already been established by the Greeks. Now the government of Amasis (who permitted the Greeks in Egypt to dwell in Naucratis) began in Olymp. 52, 4. 569 b. c, and the return of Charaxus from the journey to Mytilene, where his sister received him with this reproachful and satirical ode, must have happened some years later.

The severity with which Sappho censured her brother for his love for a courtesan enables us to form some judgment of the principles by which she guided her own conduct. For although at the time when she wrote this ode to Charaxus, the fire of youthful passion had been quenched in her breast ; yet she never could have reproached her brother with his love for a courtesan, if she had herself been a courtesan in her youth ; and Charaxus might have retaliated upon her with additional strength. Besides we may plainly discern the feeling of unimpeached honour due to a freeborn and well educated maiden, in the verses already quoted, which refer to the relation of AIcjeus and Sappho. Alcseus testifies that the attractions and loveliness of Sappho did not derogate from her moral worth when he calls her " violet-crowned, pure, sweetly smiling Sappho §." These genuine testimonies are indeed opposed to the ac- counts of many later writers, who represent Sappho as a courtesan. To refute this opinion, we will not resort to the expedient employed by

  • Fragm. 36. Blomr. 69. Matth.

Every ten of these Ionic feet formed a system, as Bentley has arranged Horat. Carm. III. 12. Horace, however, has not in this ode succeeded in catching the genuine tone of the metre. See above ch. 1 1 . § 7.

t Murm. Pnr. ep. 36. comp. Ovid Her. xv. 51. The date of the Parian marble ie lost; but it must have been between Olymp. 44. 1. and 47.2.

I II. 135, and see Athen. xiii. p. 51)6. Rhodopis or Doricha was the fellow slave of ^sop, who flourished at the same time (Olymp. 52). ^ ^ 'l0frX«;^'> iyvkj fniXi;^efiuh 2»ir^o7. See above § 4.




LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 173

some ancient writers, who have attempted to distinguish a courtesan'of Eresos named Sappho from the poetess. A more probable cause of this false imputation seems to be, that later generations, and especially the re- fined Athenians, were incapable of conceiving and appreciating the frank simplicity with which Sappho pours forth her feelings, and therefore confounded them with the unblushing immodesty of a courtesan. In Sappho's time, there still exilXed among the Greeks much of that pri- mitive simplicity which appears in the wi^h of Nausicaa in Homer that she had such a husband as Ulysses. That complete separation between sensual and sentimental love had not yet taken place which we And in the writings of later times, especially in those of the Attic comic poets. Moreover the life of women in Lesbos was doubtless very different from the life of women at Athens and among the lonians. In the Ionian States the female sex lived in the greatest retirement, and were exclu- sively employed in household concerns. Hence, while the men of Athens were distinguished by their perfection in every branch of art, none of their women emerged from the obscurity of domestic life. The secluded and depressed condition of the female sex among the lonians of Asia Minor, originating in circumstances connected with the history of their race, had also become universal in Athens, where the principle on which the education of women rested was that just so much mental culture was expedient for women as would enable them to manage the household, provide for the bodily wants of the children, and overlook the female slaves ; for the rest, says Pericles in Thucydides *, ** that woman is the best of whom the least is said among men, whether for evil or for good." But the ^Eolians had in some degree preserved the ancient Greek manners, such as we find them depicted in their epic poetry and mythology, where the women are represented as taking an active share not only in social domestic life, but in public amusements; and tliey thus enjoyed a distinct individual existence and moral character. There can be no doubt that they, as well as the women of the Dorian states of Peloponnesus and Magna Grecia, shared in the advantages of the general high state of civilization, which not only fostered poetical talents of a high order among women, but, as in the time of the Pytha- gorean league, even produced in them a turn for philosophical reflec- tions on human life. But as such a state of the education and intellect of women was utterly inconsistent with Athenian manners, it is natural that women should be the objects of scurrilous jests and slanderous imputations. We cannot therefore wonder that women who had in any degree overstepped the bounds prescribed to their sex by the manners of Athens, should be represented by the licentious pen of the Athenian comic writers, as lost to every sentiment of shame or decency f.

  • II. 45.

f There were Attic comedies with the title of '< Sappho/* by Amphis, Autlphanes^ EphippuS; Timocles and Diphilus $ and a comedy by Plato entitled " Phaon."


174 HISTORY Of Tms

§ 7. It is certain that Sappho, in her odes, made frequent mention of a youth, to whom she gave her whole heart, while he requited her - passion with cold indifference. But there is no trace whatever of her having named the ohject of her passion, or sought to win his favour hy her beautiful verses. The pretended name of this youth, Phaon, although frequently mentioned in the Attic comedies *, appears not to have occurred in the poetry of Sappho. IF Phaon had been named in her poetry, the opinion could not have arisen that it was the courtesan Sappho, and not the poetess, who was in love with Phaon t- Moreover, the marvellous stories of the beauty of Phaon and the love of the goddess Aphrodite for him, have manifestly been borrowed from the mythus of Adonis |. Hesiod mentions Phaethon, a son of Eos and Cephalus, who when a child was carried off by Aphrodite, and brought up as the guardian of the sanctuary in her temples §. This is evidently founded on the Cyprian legend of Adonis ; the Greeks, adopting this legend, appear to have given the name of Phaethon or Phaon to the favourite of Aphrodite ; and this Phaon, by various mistakes and misinterpretatiohs, at length became the beloved of Sappho. Perhaps also the poetess may, in an ode to Adonis, have celebrated the beautiful Phaon in such a manner that the verses may have been supposed to refer to a lover of her own.

According to the ordinary account, Sappho, despised by Phaon, took the leap from the Leucadian rock, in the hope of finding a cure for the pains of unrequited love. But even this is rather a poetical image, than a real event in the life of Sappho. The Leucadian leap was a re- ligious rite, belonging to the expiatory festivals of Apollo, which was celebrated in this as in other parts of Greece. At appointed times, criminals, selected as expiatory victims, were thrown from the high overhanging rock into the sea ; they were however sometimes caught at the bottom, and, if saved, they were sent away from Leucadia ||. This custom was applied in various ways by the poets of the time to the description of lovers. Stesichorus, in his poetical novel named

  • Aa in the verses of Menander in Strabo x. p. 452.

»v ^ Xiytrat ^purn 1»9r^M

air* Tn^i(p»vws. f In Athen. XIII. p. 596 £; and several ancient lexicographers.

I Gratinus, the comic poet, iu an unknown play in Athen. II. p. 69. D. relates that Aphrodite had concealed Phaon U fi^tietxUany among ike lettuce. The sane legend is also related of Adonis by others, in Athenseus; and it refers to the use off the horti Adonidit, Concerning Fhaon- Adonis, see also ^ian V. H. zii. 18. Lu«  cian Dial. Mori, 9. Plin. N. H. xxii. 8. Servius ad Virg. Ma, III. 279. not to mention inferior authorities for this legend.

§ Hesiod. Theog. 986. tq, vfioreXov (av^w, according to the reading of Arit- tarchus.

II Concerningihe connexion of this custom with the worship of Apollo, see BfHUer'i Dorians. B. 11. ch. 11. $ 10.


I.ITBRATVRE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 175

alyce^ spoke of the love of a virtuous maiden for a youth vvho despised ■r passion ; and in despair she threw herself from the Leucadian rock, he effect of the leap in the story of Sappho (viz. the curing her of sr intolerable passion) must therefore have been unkno^yn to Stesi- Korus. Some years later, Anacreon says in an ode, " again casting yself from the Leucadian rock, I plunge into the grey sea, drunk with ■ve *." The poet can scarcely by these words be supposed to say that i cures himself of a vehement passion, but rather means to describe the ilirious intoxication of violent love. The story of Sappho's leap pro- ikbly originated in some poetical images and relations of this kind ; a miiar story is told of Aphrodite in regard to her lament for Adonis f. Fevertheless it is not unlikely that the leap from the Leucadian rock lay really have been made, in ancient times, by desperate and frantic len. Another proof of the fictitious character of the story is that] it «ves the principal point in uncertainty, namely, whether Sappho sur- ived the leap or perished in it.

From what has been said, it follows that a true conception of the rotic poetry of Sappho, and of the feelings expressed in it, can only be rawn from fragments of her odes, which, though numerous, are for the lost part very short. The most considerable and the best known of appho's remains is the complete ode J, in which she implores Aphro- ite not to allow the torments and agitations of love to destroy her lind, but to come to her assistance, as she had formerly descended rom heaven in her golden car drawn by [sparrows, and with radiant miles on her divine face had asked her what had befallen her, and ^hat her unquiet heart desired, and who was the author of her pain, ihe promised that if he fled her now, he soon would follow her ; if he lid not now accept her presents, he would soon offer presents to her ; r he did not love her now, he would soon love her, even were she coy Jid reluctant. Sappho then implores Aphrodite to come to her again ind assist her. Although, in this ode, Sappho describes her love in ^k)wing language, and even speaks of her own frantic heart §, yet he indelicacy of such an avowal of passionate love is much diminished }y the manner in which it is made. The poetess does not impor-

une her lover with her complaints, nor address her poem to him,

)ut confides her passion to the goddess and pours out to her all the umult and the anguish of her heart. There is great delicacy in her lot venturing to give utterance in her ovm person to the expec- ation that the coy and indifferent object of her affection would be ransformed into an impatient lover; an expectation little likely to find

place in a heart so stricken and oppressed as that of the poetess ; she

  • In Hephaesiion, p. 130.

f See Ptolem. Hephaestion (in Phot, Bibliothec.) fitfikin (.

{ Fragm. 1. Blomf, 1. Neue.


176 HISTORY or THB

only recalls to her mind, that the goddess had in former and similar situations vouchsafed her support and consolation. In other fragments Sapphos passionate excitable temper is expressed with frankness quite foreign to our manners, but which possesses a simple grace. Thus she says, *' I request that the charming Menon be invited, if the feast is to bring enjoyment to me * ;" and she addresses a dis- tinguished youth in these words: " Come opposite to me, oh friend, and let the sweetness which dwells in thine eyes beam upon me t*" Yet we can no where find grounds for reproaching her with having tried to please men or met their advances when past the season of youth. On the contrary, she says, " Thou art ray friend, I therefore advise thee to seek a younger wife, I cannot bring myself to share thy house as an elder J."

§ 8. It is far more difficult to discover and to judge the nature of Sappho's intimacies with women. It is, however, certain that the life and education of the female sex in Lesbos was not, as in Athens, confined within the house; and that girls were not entrusted ex- clusively to the care of mothers and nurses. There were women distinguished by their attainments, who assisted in instructing a circle of young girls, in the same manner as Socrates afterwards did at Athens young men of promising talents. There were also among the Dorians of Sparta noble and cultivated women, who assembled young girls about them, to whom they devoted themselves with great zeal and affection ; and these girls formed associations which, in all probability, were under the direction of the elder women §. Such associations as these existed in Lesbos in the time of Sappho ; but they were completely volimtary, and were formed by girls who were studying to attain that proficiency in music or other elegant arts, that refinement and grace of manners, which distinguished the women around whom they congregated. Music and poetry no doubt formed the basis of these societies, and instruction and exercise in these arts were their immediate object. Though poetry was a part of Sappho's inmost nature, a genuine ex- pression of the feelings by which she was really agitated, it is probable that with her, as with the ancient poets, it was the business and study of life ; and as technical perfection in it could be taught, it might, by persevering instructions, be imparted to the young ||. Not only Sappho, but many other women in Lesbos, devoted themselves to this mode of life. In the songs of this poetess, frequent mention was made

  • Fragm. 33. Neue, from Hcphsest. p. 41 ; it is not, however, quite certain, that

the verses belong to Sappho. Compare fragm. 10. Blomf. 5. Neue (i>.^l, Kvir^i).]

f Fragm. 13. Blomf. 62. Neue. Compare fragment 24. Blomf. 32. Neue. (^XvMi* fMTi^j oSt6i — ), and 28. Blomf. 55. Neue, (}i^vxt /ih k cika^tt — ).

{ Fragm. 12. Blomf. 20. Neue (according to the reading of the latter).

§ Milller's Dorians, B. iv. chap. 4. ( 8. ch. 5. § 2.

II Hence Sappho calls her house, the house of the servant of the Musei," MW9ri>M fiUictf, from which mourning must be excluded : Fragm. 7h Blomf. 26. Neue.


LITERATURE OP ANCIBNT GREECE. 177

of Gorgu and Andromeda as her rivals *. A great number of her young friends were from distant countries t, as Anactoria of Miletus, Grongyla of Colophon, Eunica of Salamis, Gyrinna, Atthis, Mnasidica. A great number of the poems of Sappho related to these female friendships, and reveal the familiar intercourse of the woman's chamber, the Gyoflecouitis ; where the tender refined sensibility of the female mind was cultivated and impressed with every attractive form. Among these accomplishments^ music and a graceful demeanor were the most valued. The poetess says to a rich but uncultivated woman, Where thou diest, there wilt thou Ue, and no one will remember thy name in times to come, because thou hast no share in the roses of Pieria. In- glorious wilt thou wander about in the abode of Hades, and flit among its. dark shades J." She derides one of her rivals, Andromeda, for her manner of dressing, from which it is well known the Greeks were wont to mfer much more of the native disposition and character than we do. •' What woman," says she to a young female friend, " ever charmed thy mind who wore a vulgar and graceless dress, or did not know how to draw her garments close around her ankles § ?" She reproaches one of her friends, Mnasidica, because, though her form was beautiful as that of the young Gyrinna, yet her temper was gloomy ||. To another, Atthis, to whom she had shown particular marks of affection, and who had grieved her by preferring her rival Andromeda, she says, Again does the strength-dissolving Eros, that bitter-sweet, resistless monster agitate me ; but to thee, O Atthis, the thought of me is importunate ; thou fiiiest to Andromeda^." It is obvious that this attachment bears leas the character of maternal interest than of passionate love ; as among the Dorians in Sparta and Crete, analogous connexions between men and youths, in which the latter were trained to noble and manly deeds, were carried on in a language of high wrought and pas- sionate feeling which had all the character of an attachment between persons of different sexes. This mixture of feelings, which among natkms of a calmer temperament have always been perfectly distinct, is an essential feature of the Greek character.

  • From the passage on the relations of Sappho in Maxim. Tyrius, Dissert, xxiv.

f In Suidas in S««^ the irm^ and fiai^r^ieu of Sappho are distinguished : but the trwuMu were, at least ork^iniUy, f».»4nr^mu Thus Maximus Tyrius mentions Aoactona as being loved by Sappho ; but it is probable that ^Avayo^a Tthkn^ietj men- tioned by Suidas among her ft^Unr^teuy is the same person, and that the name ought to be written 'AvattvofiUt UsXn^iet. This emendation is confirmed by the fact, that the ancient name of Miletus was Anactoria; Siephan. Byzant. in voc. Mlxnros, Sustath. ad IL II. 8, p. 21, ed. Rom. ; Schol. ApoU. Rhod. I. 187.

iFragm. 11. Blom£ 19. Neiie. Fragm. 35. Blomf. 23. Neue. This passage is illustrated by ancient works of sculpture, on which women are represented as walking with the upper garment drawn dose to Uie leg above th« ankle. See, for exantpie, the relief in Mus. Capitol. T. IV. Ub.43. II Fragm. 26, 27. Blomf. 42. Neue. The reading, however, is not quite certain. % Fragm. 31. Blomf. 37. Neue. cf. 32. Blomf. 14. Neue. 'U^mfAw fih iy^ (rihv^

  • KTf$y «^X«I WtfT*.

N


178 HISTORY OF THB

The most remarkable exemple of this impassioned strain of Sappho in relation to a female friend is that considerable fragment preservi^ by lionginus, which has often been incorrectly interpreted, because the beginning of it led to the erroneous idea that the object of the passion expressed in it was a man. But the poem says, ^ That man seems to me equal to the gods who sits opposite to thee, and watches thy sweet speech and charming smile. My heart loses its force : for ^en I look at thee, my tongue ceases to utter ; my voice is broken, a subtle fire glides through my veins, my eyes grow dim, and a rushing sound fills my ears." In these, and even stronger terms, the poetess expresses nothing more thkn a friendly attachment to a ybUng girl, but which, from the extreme excitability of feeling, assumes all the tone of the most ardent passion *.

§ 9. From the class of Sapphic odes which we have just desctibed, we must distinguish the Epithalamia or Hymeneals, which were pecu- liarly adapted to the genius of the poetess from the exquisite perception she seems to have had of whatever was attra^ive in either sex. These poems appear, from the numerous fragments which remain, to have had great beauty, and much of that mode of exptession which the simple^ natural manners of those times allovmed, and the warm and senative heart of the poetess suggested. Hie Epithalamium of Catulhis, not that playful one on the marriage of Manlius Torquatus, but the charm- ing, tender poem, '* Vesper adest, juvenes, consurgile," is an evident imitation of a Sapphic Epithalamium, which was composed in the same hexameter verse. It appears that in this, as in Catullus, the trains of youths and of maidens advanced to meet; these reproached, those praised the evening star, because he led the bride to the youth. Then comes the verse of Sappho which has been preserved, ^ Hesperus, who bringest together all that the rosy moming*s light has scattered abroad t«" The beautiful images of the gathered flowers and of the vine twining about the elm, by which Catullus alternately dissuades and recommends the marriage of the msdden, have qmte the character of Sapphic similes. These mostly turn upon flowers and plants, "vHiicfa the poetess seem to have regarded with fond delight and sympathy {- In a fragment lately discovered, which bears a strong impression of the simple language of Sappho, she compares the freshness of youth and the unsullied beauty of a maiden's face to an apple of some peculiar kind, which, when all the rest of the fruit is gathered from the tree, remains alone at an unattainable height, and drinks in the whole vigour of vegetation ; or rather (to give the simple words of the poetess in

  • Catullus, who imitates this poem in Carm. 51, gives it an ixoiiieal tenniiiatioo,

(Otium, Catolle, tibi molestum est, &c.,) which is certainly not bonowed bom Sappho.

t Fragm. 45. Blomf. 68. Neue.

I Concerning the love of Sappho for the rose, see Philostrat. Epis^. 73, comp. Neue fragra. 132.


LITERATURE OF ANCIRNT GREECE. 179

which the thought is placed before us and gpraduaJiy heightened with great beauty and nature) " like the sweet apple wfaidi ripens at the top of the bough, oa the topmost pdnt of the bough, forgotten by the gatherers — no, not quite forgotten, but beyond their reach *." A frag- ment wHiten in a similar tone, speaks of a hyacinth, which growing among tlie mountains is trodden underfoot by the shepherds, and its purple flower is pivssed to the ground t ; thus obviously comparing the maiden who has bo husband to protect her, with the flower which grows in the field, as oontraated with that which blooms in the shelter of a garden. Ib aootiiar h3rmencal, Sappho compares the bridegroom to a youn^ and slender sapling {• But she does not dwell upon such images as these alone ; she also compares him to Ares §, and his deeds to those oi' Achilles || ; and here her lyre may have assumed a lofli^r tone than that which usually characterised it. But there was another kind of hynaeneal among the songs of Sdppho, which furnished occasion to a sort of petulant pleasantry. In this the maidens try to snatch away the bride as she is led to the bridegroom, and vent their mockery OB his triend who stands before the door, and is thence called the Porter^.

Sappho also composed hymns to the gods, in which she invoked them (G conae from their favourite abodes in diienent countries ; but there is httle information extant respecting their contents.

§ 10. The poems of Sappho axe little susceptible of divki^ into distinct dasses. Hence the ancient ^critics divickd them into books, merely according to the metre, the first xxmtaining the odes in the Sapphic metre* and so on. The hymeneals were thus placed in different books. The rhythmical construction of her odes was essentially the same as that of Akseus, yet with many variations, in harmony with the sofler chaxacter of her poetry, and easily perceptible upon a careful compa- rison of the several metres.

How gresA was Sappho*s fame among the Greeks, and how rapidly it spvead throughout Greece, may be seen in the history of Solon**, who was a contemporary of the Lesbian poetess. Hearing his nephew recite

The fragment is in Wak, Rfaetores Graeci, vol. viii. p. 883. Himerius, Orat. I. 4. % 16. cites something similar from a hymensBus of Si^>pho.

f 0?«y rav uAxnhv Iv m^^i^i *oi/itns a(i>^ff

]>eiii6triiis de tioeoL e..l06, quotes these verses without a name; but it can scarcely be doubted that they are Sappho*s. In Catullus, the young women use the same image as the young men in Sappho.

$ Fragm 42. Blomf. 34. Neue. § Fiagm. 39. Blomf. 73. Neue. II Himerius, Orat; I. 4. $ 16.

^ Fragm. 43. Blomf. 38. Neue. It is worthy of remark, that Demetrius de elocut. c. 167, expressly mentions the chorus in relation to this fragment.

♦♦ In Stobseusj Serm. xxix. *28

n2


180 HISTORY OF THE

one of her poems, he is said to have exclaimed, that he would not wil- lingly die till he had learned it by heart. Indeed the whole voice of antiquity has declared that the poetry of Sappho was unrivalled in grace and sweetness.

And doubtless from that circle of accomplished women, of whom she formed the brilliant centre, a flood of poetic warmth and light was poured forth on every side. A friend of hers, Damopihila the Pamphy- lian, composed a hymn on the worship of the Pergsean Artemig (which was solemnized in her native land after the Asiatic fashion) ; in this the iEolic style was blended with the peculiarities of the Pamphylian man- ner*. Another poetess of far higher renown was Ekinna, who died in early youth, when chained by her mother to the spinning-wheel ; she had as yet known the charm of existence in imagination alone. Her poem, called " The Spindle" ('HXcocany), containing only 800 hex- ameter verses, in which she probably expressed the restless and aspiring thoughts which crowded on her youthful mind, as she pursued her monotonous work, has been deemed by many of the ancients of such high poetic merit as to entitle it to a place beside the epics of Homer t.

§ 11. We now come to Anacreon, whose poetry may be considered as akin to that of Alcseus and Sappho, although he was an Ionian from Teos, and his genius had an entirely different tone and bent. In respect also of the external circumstances in which he was placed, he belonged to a different period ; inasmuch as the splendour and luxury of living had, in his time, much increased among the Greeks, and even poetry had contributed to adorn the court of a tyrant. The spirit of the Ionic race was, in Callinus, united with manly daring and a high fueling of honour, and in Mimnermus with a tender melancholy, seeking relief from care in sensual enjoyment ; but in Anacreon it is bereft of of all these deeper and more serious feelings; and he seems to consider life as valuable only in so far as it can be spent in love, mu^c, wine, and social enjoyments. And even these feelings are not animated with the glow of the ^olic poets ; Anacreon, with his Ionic disposition, cares

  1. nly for the enjoyment of the passing moment, and no feeling takes

such deep hold of his heart that it is not always ready to give way to fresh impressions.

Anacreon had already arrived at manhood, when his native city Teof was, afler some resistance, taken by Harpagus, the general of Cyrus In consequence of this capture, the inhabitants all took ship, and sailei for Thrace, where they founded Abdera, or rather they took possessioQ of a Greek colony already existing on the spot, and enlarged the towf. This event happened about the 60th Olymp. 540 b. c. Anacreon was among these Teian exiles; and, according to ancient testimony, he

♦ Philostrat. Vit. Apollon. i. 30, p. 37. ed. Olear. t The chief authority is Anthol. Halat. ix. 190.


LITEflATtTRE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 161

luinself called Abdera, "The fair settlement of the Teians*", About this time, or at least not long afler, Polycrates became tyrant of Samos ; for Thucydides places the height of his power under Cambyses, who began to reign in Olymp. 62. 4. b. c. 529. Polycrates was, according to the testimony of Herodotus, the most enterprising and magnificent of all the Grecian tyrants. His wide dominion over the islands of the JSgsean Sea, and his intercourse with the rulers of foreign countries (as with Amasis, king of Egypt), supplied him with the means of adorning hfs island of Samos, and his immediate retinue, with all that art and riches could at that time effect. He embellished Samos with exten-< sive buildings, kept a court like an oriental prince, and was surrounded by beautiful boys for various menial services ; and he appears to have considered the productions of such poets as Ibycus, and especially Anacreon, as the highest ornament of a life of luxurious enjoyment. Anacreon, according to a well known story of Herodotus, was still at the court of Polycrates, when death was impending over him ; and he had probably just left Samos, when his host and patron was murdered by the treacherous and sanguinary Oroetes (Olympiad 64. 3. b. c. 522). At this time Hippias, the son of Pisistratus, ruled in Athens; and his brother Hipparchus shared the government with him. The latter had more taste for poetry than any of his family, and he is particularly named in connexion with institutions relating to the cultivation of poetry among the Athenians. Hipparchus, according to a Platonic dialogue which bears his name, sent out a ship with fifty oars, to bring Anacreon to Athens ; and here Anacreon found several other poets, who had then come to Athens in order to adorn the festivals of the city, and, in particular, of the royal family. Meanwhile Anacreon devoted his muse to other distinguished families in Athens; among others he is supposed to have loved the young Critias, the son of Dropides, and to have extolled this house distinguished in the annals of Athens t. At this time the fame of Anacreon appears to have reached its highest

  • In Strabo riv. p. 644. A fra^ent in Schol. Odyss. viii. 293. (fragment 132.

ed. Bergk,) also refers to the Siutians in Thrace, as likewise does an epigram of Anacreon (AnthoL Palat. viii. 226) to a brave warrior, who had fallen in the defence of his native city Abdera.

t Plato, Charmid. p. 157 £. Schol. .^chyl.Prom. 128. This Critias was at that time (Olymp. 64) about sixteen years old; for he was bom in Olymp. 60 ; andlhis agrees with the fact, that his grandson Critias, the statesman, one of the thirty tyrants of Athens, was, according to Plato Tim. p. 216, eighty years younger than his grandfather. Consequently, the birth of the younger Critias falls in Olymp. 80, which azrees perfectly with the recorded events of his life. The Critias bom m Olymp. 60, is however called a son of the Dropides, who is stated to have been a friend of Solon, and to have succeeded him in the office of Archon in Olymp. 46. 4. B. c. 593. It seems impossible to escape from these chronological difficulties, ex- cept by distinguishing this Dropides, and his sou Critias, to whom Solon's verses r«fer (Elvifiuvoi K^ir/y ^'v^^erptxt ^ar^if a/uvu*, &c.), from the Dropides and Critias in Anacreon's time. ' Upon this supposition the dates of the persons of this family would stand thus : Dropides, born about Olymp. 36 ; Critias ^u^^o^^^ Olymp. 44 ; Dropides, the grandson, Olymp. 52 ; Critias, the grandson, Olymp. 60 ; Calleeschrus, Olymp. 70 j Critias the tyrant, Olymp. 80.


IS2 HISTORY OP THK

point ; he must also have been advanced in years, as his name was, among the ancients, always connected with the idea of an old man, whose gny hairs did not interfere with h£s gaiety and pursuit of plea- sure. It is, indeed, stated, that Anacreon was stiU alive at the revest of the loffiians, caused by Histiaeus, and that being driven Irom Teoe> he took reftige ia Abdera *. But aa this event happened in Olympiad 71. S. B. c. 494, about 35 years after Anacreon's residence with Polycrates, the statement nmst be incorrect ; and it appears to have arisen from a confusion between the subjugation of the Icmians by Cyrus, and the suppression of thetr revolt under Darius. From an insoription for. the tomb of Anacreon in Tens, attrilmted to Simonides t^ it is inferred that he returned in his old age to Teos, which had been again peopled luder the Persian government. But the monuments whidi were erected to celebrated men in their own country were often merely cenotaphs; and this epitaph may perhaps, like many others bearing the name of Simo- nides, have been composed centuries after the time of that poet {. It is probable that Anacreon, when he had once become known as Uie welcome guest of the richest and most powerful men of Greeoe, and when his social qualities bad acquired general fame, was courted and invited by princes in other parts of Greece. It is intimated in ani epigram that he was intimately connected with the Aleuads^ the ruling fieunily in Thessdy, who at that time added great zeal for art and literature to the hospitable and convivial qualities of their nation. This epigram refers to a votive offering of the Thessalian prince Echecratides, doubtless the person whose son Orestes, in Olympiad 81. 2. b. c. 454, applied to the Athenians to reinstate him in the government which had belee^ed to his father §.

§ 12. Anacreon seems to have laid the foufidation of his poetical fame in his native town of Teos ; but the most productive p^Od of his poetry was during his residence in Samos. The whole of Anacreon'a poetry (says the geographer Strabo, in speaking of the history of Samos) is filled with allusions to Polycrates. His poems, therefore, are not to be considered as the careless outpourings of a mind in the stillness of retirement, but as the work of a person living in the midst of the splendour of the Samian tyrant. Accordingly, his notions of a life of enjoyment are not formed on the Greek model, but on the luxurious nuin- ners of the Lydians||, introduced by Pdycrates into his court. The beautiful youths, who play a principal part in the genuine poems of Anacreon, are not individuals distinguished from the mass of their con- temporaries by the poet, but young men chosen for their beauty, whom

  • In Suidas in v. *Av«»^i«Hr, Tiug.

f Antbol. Pal. vii. 25. fragm. 52. ed. Gainford.

I The fragmeiit Alvdretfin irnT^ii^ Ivi^t/Aeu (Schol. Harl. Od. M. 313^ fragm» 33. Bergk.) ap{)ear8 to refei to a journey to this country.

^: Compure Anthol. Pal. vi. 142, with Thucyd. 1.111.


LITERATURB OF ANCIENT GREECE. 183

Polycrates kept about his person, and of whom some had been procured iVom a distance ; as, for example, Smerdies, from the country of the Thracian Ciconians. Some of these youths enlivened the meals of Po- lycrates by music ; as Bathyllus, whose flute-playing and Ionic singing are extolled by a later rhetorician, and of whom a l»ronze statue was shown in the Temple of Juno at Samos, in the dress and attitude of a player on the cithara ; but which, according to the description of Apu«  leius, appears to have been only an Apollo Citharcodus, in the andffit style. Other youths were perhaps more distinguished as dancers. Anacrepn offers his homage to all these youths, and divides his affection and admiration between Smerdies with the flowing locks, Cleobulus with the beautiful eyes, the bright and playful Lycaspis, the charming Megistes, Bathyllfls, Simalus, and doubtless many others whose names have not been preserved. He wishes them to sport with him in drunken merriment * ; and if the youth will take no part in his joy, he threatens to fly upon light wings up to Olympus, there to make his complaints, and to induce Eros to chastise him for his scorn t> Or he implores Diony* sus, the god with whom Eros, and the dark-eyed nymphs, and the purple Aphrodite, play,— to turn Cleobulus, by the aid of vnne, to the love of Anacreon |. Or he laments, in verses full of careless grace, that the fair Bathylhis favours him so litde §. He knows that his head and temples are grey ; but he hopes to obtain the affection of the youths by his pleasing song and speech ||. In short, he pays his homage to Uiese youths, in language ccHnbining passion and playfulness.

§ 13. Anacreon, however, did not on this account withhold his admi- ration from female beauty. ** Again (he says, in an extant fragment) golden-haired Eros strikes me with a purple ball, and challenges me to sport and play with a maiden with many-coloured sandals. But she, a native of the well-built Lesbos ^, despises my grey hairs, and prefers an- other man." His amatory poetry chiefly consists of complaints of the indifference of women to his love; which, however, are expressed in so light and playful a manner, that they do not seem to proceed from ge- nuine regret. Thus, in the beautiful ode, imitated in many places by Horace ** : *• Thracian Ally, why do you look at me askance, and avoid me without pity, and wiU not allow me any skill in my art ? Know, then, that I could soon And means of curbing your spirit, and, holding the

  • Anacreon has a peculiar term to express this idea, viz. tifiav or ^wti^v. One of

the amusements of tfiis kind of life is gambling, of which the fragment in Schol. Horn. II. xxiii. 88, fhigment 44. Bergk. speaks : *' Dice are the vehement passion and the conflict of Eros.**

t Fr^gm. in Hephaest. p. 52. (22. Bergk.)) explaii^ed by Julian Episi. 18; p. 386. B.

X Fragm. in Dio Chrysost, Or. IZ. p. 31, fr. 2. Bergk*

\ Herat. £p. xiv. 9. 9q,

II Fragm. in Maxim. Tyr. viii. p. 96, fr. 42. Bergk.

% In Athen. xiiL p. 599. C. fr. 15. Bergk. That it does not refer to Sappho is proved by the dates of her lifetime, and of that of Anacreon.

    • In Heraclia. Allegor* Horn. p. 16. edi Schow. fr. 79. Bergk.


184 HISTORY OP THR

reins, could guide you in the course round the goal. Still you wander about the pastures., and bound lightly round thetn, for there has been no dexterous hand to tame you." But such loves as these are far dif- ferent from the deep seriousness with which Sappho confesses her pas- sion, and they can only be judged by those relations between the sexes which were universally established among the lonians at that time. In the Ionic states of Asia Minor, as at Athens, a freebom maiden was Drought up within the strict limits of the family circle, and was never allowed to enter the society of men. Thence it happened that a separate class of women devoted themselves to all those arts which qualified them to enhance the charm of social life — the Hetserae, most of them foreigners or freed women, without the civic rights which , belonged to the daughter of a citizen, but often highly distinguished by the elegance of their demeanor and by their accomplishments. Whenever, there- fore, women are mentioned by Ionic and Attic writers, as taking part in the feasts and symposia of the men, and as receiving at their dwell' ing the salutations of the joyous band of revellers, — the Comus, — there can be no doubt that they were Hetsers. Even at the time of the orators *, an Athenian woman of genuine free blood would have lost the privileges of her birth, if she had so demeaned herself. Hence it follows, that the women with whom Anacreon offers to dance and sing, and to whom, after a plenteous repast, he addresses a song on the Pectis f , are Hetaeree, like all those beauties whose charms are cele- brated by Horace. Anacreon s most serious love appears to have been for the " fair Eurypyle ;" since jealousy of her moved him to write a satirical poem, in which Artemoh, the favourite of Eurypyle, who was then passing an effeminate and luxurious life, is described in the nlean and necessitous condition in which he had formerly lived J. Anacreon here shows a strength and bitterness of satirical expression resembling the tone of Archilochus; a style which he has successfully imitated in other poems. But Anacreon is content with describing the mere sur- face, that is, the outward marks of disgrace, the slavish attire, the low- bred demeanor, the degrading treatment to which Artemon had been exposed ; without (as it appears) touching upon the intrinsic merit or demerit of the person attacked. Thus, if we compare Anacreon with the ^olic lyric poets, he appears less reflective, and more occupied with external objects. For instance, wine, the effects of which are described by Alcaeus with much depth of feeling, is only extolled by Anacreon as a means of social hilarity. Yet he recommends moderation in the use of it, and disapproves of the excessive carousings of the Scythians, which led to riot and brandling §. The ancients, indeed (probably with

  • Demosth. Neser. p. 1352,Rei8ke, and elsewheie ; Issus de Pyrrhi Hered.p. 30.

§14.

t In HephsBst. p. 59. fr. 16. Bergk.

t lu Athen. xii. p. 533. E. fr. 19. Bergk.

§ In Athen. x. p. 427. A. fr. 62. Bergk. Similarly Horace I. 27. 1. «?.


LITERATURE OF ikNCIENT GREECE. 185

justice), considered the drunkenness of Anacreon as rather poetical than real. In Anacreon we see plainly how the spirit of the Ionic race, notwithstanding the elegance and refinement of Ionian manners, had lost its energy, its warmth of moral feeling, and its power of serious re- flexion, and was reduced to a light play of pleasing thoughts and senti- ments. So far as we are able to judge of the poetry of Anacreon, it seems to have had the same character as that attributed by Aristotle to the later Ionic school of painting of Zeuxis, that " it had elegance of design and brilliancy of colouring, but was wanting in moral character

^14. The Ionic softness, and departure from strict rule, which cha- racterizes the poetry of Anacreon, may also be perceived in his versifi- cation. His language approached much nearer to the style of common conversation than that of the ^olic lyric poets, so as frequently to seem like prose embellished with ornamental epithets ; and his rhythm is also softer and less bounding than that of the iEolians, and has an easy and graceful negligence, which Horace has endeavoured to imitate. Some- times he makes use of logaoedic metres, as in the Glyconean verses, which he combines into strophes, by subjoining a Pherecratean verse to a number of Glyconeans. In this metre he shows his love for variety and novelty, by mixing strophes of different lengths with several Glyconean verses, yet so as to preserve a certain symmetry in the whole *. Anacreon also, like the \£olic lyric poets, sometimes used long choriambic verses, particularly when he intended to express energy of feeling, as in the poem against Artemon, already mentioned. This metre also exhibits a peculiarity in the rhythm of the Ionic poets, viz., an alternation of dif- ferent metres, producing a freer and more varied, but also a more care- less, flow of th^ rhythm. In the present poem this peculiarity consists in the alternation of choriambics with iambic dipodies f. The same cha- racter is still more strongly shown in the Ionic metre (lonici a minori) which was much used by Anacreon. At the same time he changed its expression (probably after the example of the musician Olympus) |, by

  • So in the long fragment in Schol. Hephsst. p. 125. fr. 1. Bergk.

This is followed by a second strophe, with four glyconeans and a pherecratean ; and both strophes together form a larger whole. This hymn of Anacreon, the only composition of its kind which is known, is evidently intended for the inhabitants of Magnesia, on the Mseander and LethsBus, rebuilt after its destruction (cb. 9. § 4.), where Artemis was worshipped under the title of Leucophryne.

f So that the metre is


J^OO— I _£(JO —


o / C -


o _/o —

«'cXXei fuv Iv 2eVQi Tifiiig etv^ivetf iraXXa S* If r^o^Vj voXXa tt vSrav fKuriv^ fAaffrtyt 4otfiix^us, X9fim — Two such verses as these are then followed by an iambic dimeter, as an epode :

^tiyMvei r IxrinXfuXvos*

X Seech. 12. §7.


186 HISTOET OF THB

combining two Ionic feet, so that the last long syllable of the first fool was shortened and the first short syllable of the second foot was lengtheiied ; by which change the second foot became a trodiaic dipody *. By this process, called by the ancients a bending^ or refraction (avdKkawig)^ the metre obtained a less uniform, and at the same time a softer, expressioD ; and thus, when distributed into short verses, it became peculiarly suited to erotic poetry. The cmly traces of this metre, before Anacreon's tune^ occur tn two fragments of Sappho. Anacreon, however, £cNraied upon this pfcin a great variety of metres, particularly the short Anacreontic verse (a dimeter lonicus)^ which occurs so frequently, both in his genuine fragments and in the kter odes imitated firom his style. Ana- creon used the trochaic and iambic verses in the same maimer as Avdut> lochus, with whom he has as much in common, in the technical part of his poetry, as with the ^olic lyric poets. The oompoaitioB of verses in strophes is less frequent with Anacreon than with the Lesbian poets ; and when he forms strophes, it often happens that their eoncfaision is not marked by a verse diflerent from those that precede ; but the divi- sion is only made by the juxtaposition of a definite number of shcurt verses (jtox example, four Ionic dimeters), relatii»g to a common subject.

§ 15. It is scarcely possible to treat of ^ genuine remains of the poetry of Anacreon, without adverting to the collection of odes, preserved under his name. Indeed, these graceful little poems have so much influenced the notion formed of Anacreon, that even now the admiration bestowed upon him is almost entirely founded upon these productions of poets much later than him in date, and- very different from him in poetical character. It has long since been proved that these Anacre- ontics are not the work pf Anacreon ; and no further evidence of their spuriousness is needed than the fact, that out of about 150 citations of passages and expressions of Anacreon, which occur in the ancient writers, only one (and that of recent date) refers to a poem in this collection. But their subject and form furnish' even stronger evi- dence. The peculiar circumstances under which Anacreon wrote his poetry never appear in these odes. The persons named in them (as, for example, Bathyllus) lose their individual reality; the truth and vigour of life give place to a shadowy and ideal existence, Many of the common places of poetry, as an old age of pleasure, the praise of love and wine, the power and subtlety of love, &c., are unquestion- ably treated in them with an easy grace and i^ charming simplicity. But generalities of this kind, without any reference to particular events or persons, do not consist with the character of Anacreon's poetry, which was drawn fresh from the life. Moreover, the principal topics in these poems have an epigrammatic and antithetical turn : the strength of the weaker sex, the power of little Eros, the happiness of dreams, the

♦ So that oo^— I cjcj^ — is changed into cj o ^ o | j^ o ,


LITERATOllB Of ANCISNT GREECE. 187

ireshncss of age^ are Bnfajects for epigrams; and for epigrams like those conpoaed in the first century before Christ (especially by Meleager)^ and Bot like these of Simonides. Througfaoitt these odes love is represented as M little boy« who carries on a sort of misdiievous wpott with mankind ; a conception unknown to ancient art» and closely akin to the epigram- matic eports which: faek>nged to the Hterature of a kit^ period, and to the analogous representatioBS c^Gvpid in works of art> especially on gems, where ke appears, in various compositions, as a froward mischievous child. None of these works are more ancient than the time of Lysippus or Alexander. The Eros of the genuine Anacreon, who *' strBies at the poet wiUi a great hatchet, like a smith, and then bathes in the wiatry torrent *," is evidently a being difierodt both in body and mind. The language oi these odes is also prosaic and mean, and the versifica* tion monotonoa^ inartificial, and sometimes faulty t>

These oljectk)ns apply to the entire cdlection ; nevertheless, there is a great dtfierenoe between the several odes, some of which are excellent in their way^ and highly pleanng from their simplicity | ; while others are feeble in their conceptk>n and barbarous in their language and verification. The former may, perhaps, belong to the Alexandrian period ; in which (notwithstanding its refined civilization) some poets attempted to express the simplicity of childish dispositions, as appears from the Idylls of Theocrittts. Those of inferior stamp may be ascribed to the later period of declining paganism, and to uncultivated writers, who imitated a hackneyed style of poetical composition. However, many even of the better Anacreontics may have been written at as late a period as that of the national migrations. There can be no doubt that the century which produced the epic poetry of Nonnus, and so many inge- nious and well-expressed qngrams, possessed sufficient talent and know- ledge for Anacreontics of this kind.

§ 16. With Anacreon ceased the species of lyric poetry, in which he excelled : indeed he stands alone in it, and the tender softness of his song was drowned by the louder tones of the choral poetry. The poem (or melos) destined to be sung by a single person,, never, among the Greeks, acquired so much extent as it has since attained in the modern English and German poetry. By modern poets it has been used as the vehicle for expressing almost every variety of thought and feelings The ancients, however, drew a more precise distinction between the

  • Fragm. in Hepheest. p. 6B. Gkus. fr. 45. Bergk.

f The prevailing metre in these Anacreoutics o_u~o~o (a dimeter iambic catalectic) does not occur in the fragments, except in Hephsest. p. 30, Schol. Ari^ph. Pint. 302. (fr. 92. Bergk.) The verses there quoted are imitated in one of the Anaereontics^ od. 38. Hephs^stion calls this metre, the << so called

I One of the best, viz. Anacreon's advice to the torentes, who is to make him a cup, (No. 17 in the collection,) is cited by Gellius N. A. xix. 9, as a work of Ana- creon himself $ but it has completely the tone and character of the common Ana- creontics.


188 HISTORY OF THE

different feelings to be expressed in different forms of poetry ; and re-^ served tlie ^olic melos for lively emotions of the mind in joy or sorrow^ or for impassioned overflowings of an oppressed heart. Anacreon's poetry contains rather the play of a graceful imagination than deepr emotion ; and among the other Greeks there is no instance of the em^ ployment of lyric poetry for the expression of strong feeling: so tha^ this kind of poetry was confined to a short period of time, and to a small portion of the Greek territory. One kind of lyric poems nearly rex sembling the MoWc^ was, however, cultivated in the whole of Greece^ and especially at Athens, viz.» the Scolion,

ScoUa were songs, which were sung at social meals, during drinking, when the spirit was raised by wine and conversation to a lyrical pitch. But this term was not applied to all drinking songs. The scolion was a particular kind of drinking song, and is distinguished from other paroenia. It was only sung by particular guests, who were skilled in music and poetry ; and it is stated that the lyre, era sprig of myrtle, was handed round the table, and presented to any one who possessed the power of amusing the company with a beautiful song, or even a good sentence in the lyric form. This custom really existed * ; although the notion that the name of the song arose from its irregular course round the table . (cicoXtov, crooked) is not probable. It is much more likely (according to the opinion of other ancient writers), that in the melody, to which the scolia were sung, certain liberties and irregularities were permitted, by which the extempore execution of the song was facilitated ; and that on this account the song was said to be bent. The rhythms of the extant scolia are very various, though, on the whole, they resemble those of the ^olic lyric poetry ; only that the course of the strophes is broken by an accelerated rhythm, and is in general more animated t. The Lesbians were the principal composers of Scolia. Terpander, who (according to Pindar) invented this kind of song, v^as followed by Alcaeus and Sappho, and afterwards by Anacreon and Praxilla of Sicyon I ; besides many others celebrated for choral poetry, as Simonides and Pindar.

  • See particularly the scene described in Aristoph. V^p. 1219. «^. where the

Scolion in caught up from one by the other.

f This is particiidarly true of the apt and eleeant metre, which occurs in eight Scolia (one of them the Harmodius), and of which there is a comic imitation in Aristoph. Eccl. 938.

— .cj_/ou — O — U — u — o_£oo — O — O — u

^UO—O— I _/ou — O —

Here the hendecasyllables begin with a composed and feeble tone ; but a more rapid rhythm is introduced by the anapaestic beginning of the third Verse : and the two expressions are reconciled by the logaoedic members in the last verse.

I Praxilla (who, according to Eusebius, flourished in Olymp. 81. 2. b. c. 451 , and is mentioned as a composer of odes of an erotic character) is stated to be the author of the Scolion *Tiro vravri \t6cf, which was in the ^o^Um n^/XXn;. Ochol. Rav. in Aristoph. Thesm. 528)^ and of the Scolion, Oh» Urn a>M^iKiX,in, (Schol. Vesp. 1279. [1232.])


LITERATURE OF ANCIEBTlf GREECE. 189

We will not include in this number the seven wise men ; for although Diogenes Laertius, the historian of ancient philosophy, cites popular verses of Thales, Solon, Chilon, Pittacus, and Bias, which are some* what in the style of scolia * ; yet the genuineness of these sententious songs is very questionable. With respect to language and metre, they aU aj^iear formed upon the same model ; so that we must suppose the seven wise men to have agreed to write in an uniform style, and more- over in a kind of rhythm which did not become common until the time of the tragedians f* Nevertheless they appear, in substance, to be as early as the age to which they are assigned, as their tone has a great resemblance to that of the scolia in the ^olic manner. For example, one of the latter contains these thoughts : *' Would that we could open the heart of every man, and ascertain his true character ; then close it again, and live with him sincerely as a friend ; the scolion, in Doric rhythms, ascribed to Chilon, has a similar tone : *' Gold is rubbed on the touchstone, and thus tried ; but the minds of men are tried by gold, whether they are good or bad." Hence it is probable that these scolia vrere framed at Athens, in the time of the tragedians, from traditional sayings of the ancient philosophers.

§ 17. Although scolia were mostly composed of moral maxims or of short invocations to the gods, or panegyrics upon heroes, there exist two, of greater length and interest, the authors of which are not other* wise known as poets. The one beginning, '* My great wealth is my spear and sword," and written by Hybrias, a Cretan, in the Doric measure, expresses all the pride of the dominant Dorian, whose right rested upon his arms ; inasmuch as through them he maintained his sway over bondmen, who were forced to plough and gather in the harvest, and press out the grapes for him^. ' The other beginning, In the myrtle-bough will I bear my sword," is the work of an Athenian, named Callistratiis, and was written probably not long ailer the Persian war, as it was a favourite song in the time of Aristophanes. It celebrates

  • Diogenes generally introduces them with some such expression as this : tSv V

f They are all in Doric rhythms (which consist of dactylic members and trochaic dipodies ), jbut with an ithjphallic (— ^ - o _ o) at the close. This composite kind of rhythm never occurs m Pindar, occurs only once in Simonides, but occurs regu- larly in the Doric dioruses of Euripides. The following scolion of Solon may serve as an example :

9tts ^tvos ytyMvip. Also the following one of Pittacus :

In that of Thales (Diog. Laert. I. i. 35,) the ithyphallic \a before the last verse. \ See Mtaier's Dorians, B. III. ch. 4. } 1.


190 ' HISTORY OF THE

the liberators of the Athenian people, Harmodius and Aristogiton, for having, at the festival of Athene, slain the t3rrant Hipparchus, and re- stored equal rights to the Athenians ; for this they lived for ever in the islands of the blest, in oommunity with the most exalted heroes, and on earth their fame was immortal *. This patriotic soolion does not indeed rest on an historical foundation ; for it is known frooi Herodoiiis and Thucydides, that, though Hippafchns, the younger brodier of the tyrant, was slain by Harmodius and Aristogiton, this act only served io make the government of Hippias, the elder brother, morecrtiel and auspicious ; nnd it was Cleomenes the Spartan, who, three years later, really drove the Ptsistratids from Athens. Bat tlK patriotic delnsioa in whieh the soolion vras composed was uniyersal at Athens. Even before the Persian war, statues of Harmodius and Aristogiton bad been erected, as of heroes ; which statues, when carried away by Xerxes, were after- vmrds replaced by others. Supposmg the mind of the Athenian poet possessed with this belief, we cannot but sympathise in the enthosMBm with which he celebrates his national heroes, and desires to ifloitate their costume at the PanAlhenaic festival, when they concealed their swords in boughs of myrtle. The simplicity of the th0a^ts,.ainl the frequent repetition of the same burden, ^ for they slew tiie tyrant," is quite in conformity with the frank and open tone of the scolion ; and we may perhaps conjecture that this poem was a real improoDptu, the pro- duct of a rapid and transient inspiration of its author.


CHAPTER XIV.

( 1. Connection of lyric poetry with choral tmigt: gradtml lite of i^^aor forms from this connection. Fir§i Mtage, — \ 2. Alcman ; his origin and date; mode of recitation and form of his choral songs. — } 3. Their poetical character. — § 4. Stesicbonis ; hereditary transminsion of his poetical taste ; his xefonqation of the chorus. — § 5. Subjects and character of his poetry.— 4 6* Eiotieaad bucolic poetry of StesiehoTus.*^^ 7, Arion. The dithyramb raosed to a xogular choral song. Second itnge, — ( 8. Life of Ibycus ; his imitation ^ Stesichoms^— 4 ^* Erotic tendency of his poetry. — } 10. Life of Simonides.^-} 11. Variety and ingenuity of his poetical powers. Comparison of his Epinikia with those of Pindar.---) 12. Characteristics of his style. — $ 13. Lyric poetry of Bacchylides, imitated from that of Simonides. — } 14. Parties among the Ijrric poets; rivalry of Lavus, Timocreoo, and Pindar wiUi Simonides.

$ 1. The characteristic features of the Doric lyric poetry have heen already described, for the purpose of distoguishing it from the ^olic. These were; recitation by choruses, the artiftcml structure of long strophes, the Doric dialect, and its reference to public stflTairs, especially

  • These, and most of the other scolia, are in Athentens, xr. p. 694« 9q.


LITERATDRB OF ANCIENT GREECE. 191

to the celebratkm of divine worship. The origin of this liind of lyric poetry can be traced to the eariiest tifloes of Greece : for (as has been already shown) ehoruses were geneiuliy used in Greece befoie the time of Homer ; akhoogk ihe dancers in the ancient choruses did not also sing, and ^erefoire aH ^xact^rrespondence of all their motions with the words of the song was not requisite. At that period, however, the joint singing of set«ral pecsons was practised, who either sat, stood or moved ottwards ; as in paeants and hymenteab ; sometimes the mimic movements of the dancer were explained by the singing, which was executed by other persons, as in the hyporchemes. And thus nearly every v^tfiety of the choral poetry, which was afterwards so elaborately and so brilliantly developed, existed, even at that remote period, though in a mdeand ttufinished state. The production of those pdished forms in which ^e style of singing and the nravements of the dance were brought into p^Httct -harmony, coincides wiUi the last advance in musical art ; the improvements in vrfaida^ mnde by Terpander^ Olympus, and Thaletas, have formed the subject of a particular notice..

Thaletas is tetntrfcabie for having cultivated the art of dancii^ as much as that of tnusic ; while his rhythms seem to have been nearly as various as those afterwards ettij^ed in dioral poetry. The union of song and dance, which was transferred from tbe lyric to the dramatic choruses *, must also 1m,tt been wtrodnted at that time ; since the complicated structure of the strophes and antistn^hes is founded, not on singing alone, but on the Xixacm of that art with dancing. In the first century subse(|uent to the epoch of these musicians, choral poetry does not, however, appear in its full perfection and individuality ; but approaches either to the Lesbian lyric poetry, or to the epos; thus the line which separated these two kinds (between wfaidi the choral songs occupy a middle place) gradnally became more distinct. Among tbe^ lyric poets vrhoite the Alexandrians placed in thek canon, Akman and Siesidtorus belong to this period of progress ; while finished lyric ][)oetry is repre" sented by Ibyeus, Simonides mth his disciple Bacdiylides, and Pindar.

We £^11 ^ow proceed to take n view of these: poets separately ; class- ing nniong the former the diihyrambic poet Arion, a«d among the latter Finder's instructer Lasus, and a few others who have sufficient indivi- doa^ of character to distinguish them ^om the crowd.

We must first, howerery notice the erroneous opinion that dioral poetry existed among the Greeks in the works of these great poets only ; they are, on the contrary^ to be regarded merely as the eminent points arising out of a widely extended mass; ns the most perfect re presentatives of that poetical fervour which, at the religious festivals, inspired all classes. Choral dances were so frequent among the Greeks

« Ucixm fav yk^ oi nvrti luu ^v »«} «i^;^o«M-0, says Lucian de Saltnt. 30, <^paring Ihe modern pantomimic style of dancing with the ancient lyric and dramatic style.


192 HISTORY OF THE

at this period, among the Dorians in particular, and were performed by the whole people, especially in Crete and Sparta, with such ardour and enthusiasm, that the demand for songs to be sung as an accompani- ment to them must have been yery great. It is true that, in many places, even at the great festivals, people contented themselves with the old traditionary songs, consisting of a few simple verses in which the principal thoughts and fundamental tone of feeling were rather touched than worked out. Thus, at the festival of Dionysus, the women of Elis sang, instead of an elaborate dithyramb, the simple ditty, full of antique symbolic language : " Come, hero Dionysus, to thy holy sea^ temple, accompanied by the Graces, and rushing on, oxen-hoofed ; holy ox ! holy ox * !**

At Oiympia too, long before the existence of Pindar's skilfully com- posed Epinikia, the little song ascribed to Archilochus t was sung in honour of the victors at the games. This consisted of two iambic verses ;

    • Hail, Hercules, victorious prince, all hail !

Thyself and lolaus, warriors bold," with the burden '^ Tenella ! victorious !" to which a third verse, in praise of the victor of the moment, was probably added extempore. So also the three Spartan choruses, composed of old men, adults and boys, sang at the festivals the three iambic trimeters :

♦• Once we were young, and strong as other youths.

We are so still ; if you list, try our strength.

We shall be stronger far than all of you J." But from the time that the Greeks had learned the charm of perfect lyric poetry, in which not merely a single chord of feeling was struck by the passing hand of the bard, but an entire melody of thoughts and sentiments was executed, their choruses did not persist in the mere repetition of verses like these ; songs were universally demanded, dis- tinguished for a more artificial metre, and for an ingenious combiuar tion of ideas. Hence every considerable town, particularly in the Doric Peloponnesus, had its poet who devoted his whole life to the training and execution of choruses— in short to the business, so im- portant to the whole history of Greek poetry, of the Chorodidascalus. How many such choral poets there were, whose fame did not extend beyond their native place, may be gathered from the fact that Pindar, while celebrating a pugilist of ^gina, incidentally mentions two lyric poets of the same family, the Theandrids, Timocritus and Euphanes. Sparta also possessed seven lyric poets besides Alcman, in these early times §. There too, as in other Doric states, women, even in the time

♦ Plutarch, Qusest. Graec. 36. t See above, p. 138. note f.

I Plutarch, Lycurg. 21. These triple choruses are called T^i;^^^!^ in Pollux IV. 107, where the establishment of them is attributed to TyrtsBus.

( Their names are Spendon, Dionysodotus, Xenodamus, (see Chap. xii. §11.) Gitiadas, Areius, Eurytus, and Z.ircx.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 193

of A Icman, contributed to the cultivation of poetry; as^ for example,

the maiden whom Alcman himself celebrates in Ihese words *, ** This

g:ift of the sweet Muses hath the fair-haired Megalostrata, favoured

among virgins, displayed among us/' From this we see how widely

difiiised, and how deeply rooted, were the feeling and the talent for such

poetical productions in Sparta; and that Alcman, with his beautiful

choral songs, introduced nothing new into that country, and only em<-

ployed) combined and perfected elements already existing. But neither

Alcman, nor the somewhat earlier Terpander, were the first wh(9

awakened ibis spirit among the Spartans. Even the latter found the

love for arts of this description already in existence, where, according

to an extant verse of his, " The spear of the young men, and the

clear^eounding muse, and justice in the wide market-place, flourish.

§ 2. According to a well known and sufficiently accredited account, Alcman was a Lydian of Sardis, who g^ew up as a slave in the house of Agesidas, a Spartan ; but was emancipated, and obtained rightR of citizenship, though of a subordinate kindf* A learned poet of the Alexandrian age, Alexander, the iEtoliau, says of Alcman, (or rather makes him say of himself,) ** Sardis, ancient home of my fathers, had I been reared within thy walls, I were now a cymbajr bearer {, or a eunuch-dancer in the service of the Great Mother, decked with gold, and whirling the beautiful tambourine in my hands. But now I am called Alcman, and belong to Sparta, the city rich in sacred tripods ; and 1 have become acquainted with the Heliconian Muses^ who have made me greater than the despots Daskyles and Gyges," Alcman however, in his own poems, does not speak so contemptuously of the home of his forefathers, but puts into the mouth of a chorus of virgins, words wherein he himself is celebrated as being ** no man of rude unpolished manners, no Thessalian or ^tolian, but sprung from tlie lofly Sardis §." This Lydian extraction had doubtless an influence on Alcmau's style and taste in music. Tbe date at which he lived is usually placed at so remote a period as to render it unintelligible how lyric poetry could have already attained to such variety as is to be found in his works. It may indeed be true that he lived in the reign of the Lydian king Ardys ; but it does not thence follow that he lived at tbe beginning of it; on the contrary, his childhood was contemporary with the elose of that reign. (Ol. 37. 4. b. c.~ 629.) Alcman, in one of his poems, mentioned the musician Polymnastus, who, in his turn,

♦. Fragm. 27. ed. Welcker.

t According to SuidaM he was &*» Mureati and MeRoa was one of the phyls of Sparta, which were founded on diyiHitimi of the city. Perhaps, however, this state ment only means that Alcman dwelt in Mesoa, where the family of his formei Bsasteraad-eiibBefaeBt patron may have resided.

X Ki^r is equivalent to »t^f9^o^»t, the bearer of the dish, iti^vof, used in the wqj ship of Cybele. S«e the epigram in Anthol Pal. VII. 709.

& Fragm. 1 Led. Welcker, according to Welcker's explanation.



194 HISTORY OP THE

composed a poem to Thaletas*. According to this, he must have flourished about Ol. 42. (b. c. 612), which is the date assigned to him by ancient chronologists. His mention of the island Pityusse f ^^^ ^^^ Balearic islands, points to this age; since, according to Herodotus, the western parts of the Mediterranean were first known to the Greeks by the voyages of the Phocseans, from the 35th Olympiad downwards ; and then became a subject of geographical knowledge, not, as hereto- fore, of fabulous legends. ATcman had thus before him music in that maturity which it had attained, not only by the labours of Terpander, but also by those of Thaletas ; he lived at a time when the Spartans, after the termination of the Messenian wars, had full leisure to devote themselves to the arts and pleasures of life ; for their ambition was not as yet directed to distinguishing themselves from the other Greeks by rude unpolished manners. AJcman devoted himself entirely to the cultivation of art ; and we find in him one of the earliest examples of a poet who consciously and purposely strove to embellish his works with new artistical forms. In the ode which is regarded by the ancients as the first, he say% '* Come, Muse, clear- voiced Muse, sing to the maidens a melodious song in a new fashion | ;" and he elsewhere frequently mentions the originality and the ingenuity of his poetical forms. He ought always to be imagined as at the head of a chorus, by means of which, and together with which, he seeks to please.

    • Arise, Muse," exclaims he, " Calliope, daughter of Jove, sing us

pleasant songs, give charm to the hymn, and grace to the chorus §." And again, ** May my chorus please the house of Zeus, and thee, oh lord II !" Alcman is regarded by some as the true inventor of choral poetry, although others assign this reputation to his predecessor Terpander, or to his successor Stesichorus. He composed more espe- cially for choruses of virgins, as several of the fragments quoted above show ; as well as the title of a considerable portion of his songs, Par- thenia. The word Parthenia is, indeed, not always employed in the same sense ; but in its proper technical signification it denotes choral songs sung by virgins, not erotic poems addressed to them. On the contrary, the music and the rhythm of these songs are of a solemn and lofty character ; many of those of Alcman and the succeeding lyric poets were in the Doric harmony. The subjects were very various : according to Proclus, gods and men were celebrated in them, and the passage of Alcman, in which the virgins, with Homeric simplicity, ex-

  • See Gh. xii. § 9. f Steph. Byi. in ntrvw^mt.

I This is the meaninp; of fragm. 1., which probably ought to be written and dis«  tributed (with a slight alteration) as follows :

M«f#* Ayt, M*l«-« XjytuM^ 9'»Xufuk\f fiix»s

The first verse is logaoedic, the second iambic.

( Fragm, 4. || Fragm. 68.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT QREBCE. iQj

claim, " Oh father Zeus, were he but my husband* !" was doubtless in a Parthenion. If we inquire more minutely into the relation of the poet to his chorus, we shall not find, at least not invariably, that it as yet possessed that character to which Pindar strictly adhered. The chorus was not the mere organ of the poet, and all the thoughts and feelings to which it gave utterance, those of the poet f. In Alcman, the virgins more frequently speak in their own persons ; and many Partbenia contain a dialogue between the chorus and the poet, who was at the same time the instruck>r and the leader of the chorus. We find sometimes addresses of the chorus of virgins to the poet, such as has just been mentioned ; sometimes of the poet to the virgins asso- ciated with him ; as in that beautiful fragment in hexameters, " No more, ye honeyvoiced, holy-singing virgins, no more do my limbs suffice to bear me ; oh that I were a Cerylus, which with the halcyons skims the foam of the waves with fearless heart, the sea-blue bird of spring t !"

But, doubtless, Alcman composed and directed other choruses, since the Parthenia were only a part of his poetical works, besides which Hymns to the Gods, Psans, Prosodia§, Hymeneals, and love- songs, are attributed to him. These poems were generally recited or represented by choruses of youths. The love-songs were probably sung by a single performer to the cithara. The clepsiambic poems, eoDsisting partly of singing, partly of common discourse, and for which a peculiar instrument, bearing the same name, was used, also occurred among the works of Alcman, who appears to have borrowed them, s^s well as many other things, from Archilochus||. Alcman blends the sentiments and the style of Archilochus, Terpander, and Thaletas, and, perhi^, eveu those of the iBolian lyric poets : hence his works ex- hil»t a great variety of metre« of dialect, and of general poetical tone. Stately hexameters are followed by the iambic and trochaic verse of Archilochus, by the ionics and cretics of Olympus and Thaletas, and by various sorts of logacedic rhythms. His strophes consisted partly of verses of different kinds, partly of repetitions of the same, as in the ode which opened with the invocation to Calliope above mentioned ^. The connexion of two corresponding strophes with a third of a different

• ftchol. Horn. Od. VI. %U.

-| There are only a few pavcageB in Pindar, in which it has beeir thought that there was a separation of the person of the chorus and th» poet; vit. Pyth. v. 68. (96.) ix. 98. (174.) Nem. i. 19. (29.) vii. 85. (125.); and these have, by an ai!cu- rate interpretation, been reduced to the abovementioned rule.

I Fragm. 12. Bee Miiller*s Dorians, b. iv. ch. 7. } 11.

^ JlfteSimf songs to be sung during a procession to a temple, before the sacrifice.

II Above, p. 139, note t» with Aristozenus ap. Hesycb. in v. Kxt^iofA^,

^ UZ^ iyty K«XXi«ir«, ^ytvn^ Atif Dactylic tetrameters of this kind were com* bined into strophes, without hiatus and syiiAa aneept, that is, after the manner of systems.


196 HISTORY 07 TH5

kind, called an epode, did not occur in Alcman. He made strophes of the same measure succeed each other in an indefinite number, like the ^olic lyric poets : there were, however, odes of his, consisting of fourteen strophes, with an alteration (jurafioXii) in the metre after the seventh * ; Which was of course accompanied with a marked change in the ideas and in the whole tone of the poem.

It ought also to be mentioned that the Laconic metre, a kind of anapastic verse, used as a march (cfijSar^piov), which the Spartan troops sang as they advanced to attack the enemy, is attributed to Alcman t ; whence it may be conjectured that Alcman imitated Tyr- tsus, and composed war-songs similar to his, consisting not of strophes, but of a repetition of the same sort of Terse. The authority for such a supposition if*, however, slight. There is not a trace extant of any marches composed by Alcman, nor is there any similarity betw€»en their form and character and any of his poetry with which we are acquainted. It is true that AJcman frequently employed the anapsstic metre, but not in the same way as Tyrtseus {, and never unconnected with other rhythms. Thus Tyrteeus, who was Alcman 's predecessor by one gene- ration, and whom we have already described as an elegiac poet, appears to have been the only notable composer of Embateria. These were sung to the flute in the Castorean measure by the whole army ; and, as is proved by a few extant verses, contained simple, but vigorous and manly exhortations to bravery. The measure in which they were written was also called the Messenian, because the second Messenian war had given occasion to the composition of war-songs of peculiar force and fervour.

§ S. Alcman is generally regarded as the poet who successfully over- came the difficulties presented by the rough and intractable dialect of Sparta, and invested it with a certain grace. And, doubtless, inde- pendent of their general Doric form, many Spartan idioms are found in his poems §, though by no means all the peculiarities of that dialect ||. Alcman's language, therefore, agrees with the other poetical dialects of Greece, in not representing a popular dialect in its genuine state, but {n elevating and refining it by an admixture with the language of epic poetry, which may be regarded as the mother and nttfse of every variety of poetry among the Greeks.

We n^ay also observe that this tinge of popular Laconian idioms is by no means equally strong in all the varieties of Alcman's poetr}' ; they

  • HephflBst. p. 134. ed. Gaisford.

t The metrical scholia to Euiip. Hec. 59.

I According to the L^tin metrical wiirers, Servius and Bfarius Victorinas, the dimeter hypercatalectos, the trimeter catulecticus, and the tetrameter; brachycata- lectos were called Afcmanica metro. The embateria were partly in the dimeter catalecticus, partly in the tetrameter catalt cticus.

} Ab «■ for ^ (rd^XAiv for SaXM^t &c.), th3 rough termination ^s in fttim^ft Tlt^in^s.

II For example^ not M£&, TtfAoho^^ axxo^ (for atnttf), &c.


LITERATUttE OP ANCIENT GREECE. 197

are most abundant in certain fragments of a hearty, simple character *, in which Alcman depicts his own way of life, hjs eating and drinking, of which, without being absolutely a glutton, he was a great lover f-

But even here we may trace the admixture with the ^olic character |, which ancient grammarians attribute to Alcman. It is explained by tlie fact that Peloponnesus was indebted for the first perfect specimen of lyric poetry to an ^olian of Lesbos, Terpander. In other frag* ments the dialect approximates more nearly to the epic, and has re- tained only a faint tinge of Dorism; especially in all the poems in hexameters, and, indeed, wherever the poetry assumes a dignified, majestic character §.

Alcman is one of the poets whose image is most effaced by time, and of whom we can the least hope to obtain any accurate knowledge. The admiration awarded to him by antiquity is scarcely justified by the extant remains of his poetry ; but, doubtless, this is because they are extremely short, or are cited only in illustration of trifles. A true and lively conception of nature pervades the whole, elevated by that power of quickening the inanimate which descended from remote antiquity : thus, for instance, the poet calls the dew, Hersa, a daughter of Zeus and Selene, of the Ghxi of the Heavens and the Moon ||.

He is also remarkable fbr simple and cheerful views of human life, connected with an intense enthusiasm for the beautiful in whatsoever age or sex, especially for the grace of virgins, the objects of Alcman's most ardent homage. The only evidence that his erotic poetry is somewhat voluptuous ^ is to be found in the innocence and simplicity with which, in the true Spartan fashion, he regarded the relation between the sexes. A corrupt, refined sensuality neither belongrs to the age in which he lived,. nor to the character of his poetry; and although, perhaps, he is chiefly conversant with sensual existence, yet indications are not wanting of a quick and profound conception of the spiritual ♦*.

§ 4. The second great choral poet, Stesichorus, has so little in common with Alcman, that he can in no respect be regarded as suc-

« Fragm. 24. 2^

I Especially in the sound 012 for an original 0N2, as in ^%^«t^». It appears, however, tJiat the pure Doric form 'VLH^m, ought to be introduced everywhere for 1ur«-«. In the third person plural, Alcman probably had, like Pindar, either tunnvt (fr. 73), or i^W^y. The r) in r^aMtiahth tuim^ititf, is also /Bolic ; tiie pure Doric form was m^a^/^v, &c« 

& As in the beautiful fragment, No.' 10, in Welcker's collection, which coataina a description of the repose of night.

II Fr. 47.

% m»iXM^09, Archytas (i k^uxit) in Athen. xiii. p. 600.«F.

«* Alcman called the memory, the ftnifnii by the name ^m^ilt^xu, ** that which lees in the mind:'* as should be written in Ktym. Gud, p. 395. 52. for ^\ ^^m*,

  • ^ecr] is a well-known Doric form for ^uri.


198 HISTORY OF THB

cessor to the Laconian poet, in his endeavours to bring that branch of poetry to perfection. We must consider him as starting from the same point, but kd by the originality of his genius into a totally different path. Stesichorus is of rather a later date than Alcman. He was born, indeed, just at the period when the first steps towards the development of lyric poetry were made by Terpander (Olympiad 33. 4. 643 B. c. ; according to others. Olympiad 37. b. c. 632), but his life was protracted above eighty years (to Olympiad 55. 1. 560 B. c. ; according to others 56. b. c. 556) ; so that he might be a contemporary of the Agrigentine tyrant Phalaris, against whose ambi- tions projects he is said by Aristotle to have warned his fellow-citizens in an ingenious fable *. According to common tradition, Stesichorus was a native of Himera, a city containing a mixed population, half Ionic, half Doric, the Himeraeans having come partly from the Chalci- dian colony Zancle, partly from Syracuse. But at the time Stesichorus was born, Hiniera was but just founded, and his family could have been settled there but a few years. His ancestors, however, were nei- ther Zanclsans nor Syracusans, but dwelt at Mataurus, or Metaurus, a city on the south of Italy, founded by the Locriansf. This circum- stance throws a very welcome light on the otherwise strange tradition, which Aristotle { thought worthy of recording, that Stesichorus was a son of Hesiod, by a virgin named Ctimene, of CEneon, a place in the country of the Ozolian Ix>crians. If we abstract from this what belongs to the ancient mode of expression, which generally clothes in the simplest forms all relationships of blood, the following will result from the first mentioned facts. There was, as we saw above §, a line of epic bards in the style of Hesiod, who inhabited (Eneon, and the neighbouring Nau- pactus, in the country of the Locrians. A family in which a similar practice of the poetical art was hereditary came through the colony of Locri in Italy, in which the Ozolian Locrians took peculiar interest, to these parts, and settled in Mataurus. From this family sprang Stesi- chorus.

Stesichorus lived at a time when the serene tone of the epos and an exclusive devotion to a mythical subject no longer sufficed ; the predo- minant tendency of the Greek mind was towards lyric poetry. He himself was powerfully affected by this taste, and consecrated his life to the transplantation of all the rich materials, and the mighty and imposing shapes, which had hitherto been the exclusive property of the epos> to the choral poem. His special business was the training and direction of choruses, and he assumed the name of Stesichorus^ or leader of choruses, his original name being Tisias. This occupation must have

  • Above, ch. xi. § 14.

i Steph. Byz. in Uddruv^H) ^vn^i^^^oti JAmrav^Tv^ ymg. See Klein, Fragmenta Stesichori, p. 9.

^ In Proclus and '^cetzes, Proleg. to Hesiod. ^ Gh. 8. § 4.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 1^9

remained hereditary in his family in Himera ; a younger Stesichorus of ilimera came, in Olympiad 73. i. B. c. 485, to Greece as a poet * ; a third Stesichorus of Himera was victor at Athens, doubtless as chorus- leader, in Olympiad 102. S. b. c. 870 f. The eldest of them, Stesi- chorus Tbias, made a great change in the artistical form of the chorus. He it was who first hroke the monotonous alternation of the strophe and antistrophe through a whole poem, by the introduction of the epode, differing in measure, and by this means made the chorus stand still |. During the strophe, the chorus moved in a certain evolution, which again during tl^ antistrophe was made back to its original station, where it remained while the epode was sung* The chorus of Stesi- chorus seems to have consisted of a combination of several rows or members of eight dancers ; the number eight appears indeed from various traditions to have been, as it were, consecrated by him §. The mu- sical accompaniment was the cithara. The strophes of Stesichorus were., of great extent, and composed of different verses, like those of Pindar, though of a simpler character. In many poems they consisted of dac- tylic series, which were sometimes broken shorter, sometimes extended longer, as it were variations of the hexameter. With these Stesichorus combined trochaic dfpodies ||, by which the gravity of the dactyls was somewhat tempered ; the metres used by Pindar, and generally for all odes in the Dorian style of music, thus arose Although Stesichorus also mainly employed this grave and solemn harmony, yet he himself mentions on one occasion the use of the Phrygian, which is characte- rized by a deeper pathos, and a more passionate expression %, It appears from this fragment tiiat the poet chose, as its metrical form, dactylic sys- tems (t. e, combinations of similar series without any close or break), to which ponderous trochees were attached **. Elsewhere, Stesichorus used also anapaests and choriambics, which correspond in their character to the dactylic verses just mentioned. Occasionally, however, he used the lighter and rather pleasing than solemn logaoedic measure.

§ 5. As the metres of Stesichorus approach much more nearly to the epos than those of Alcman, as his dialect also is founded on the epic, to

  • Marm. Par. ep. 50. f Ibid. ep. 73.

X See sevexal grammarians and compilers in r^iet 'irnrtxh'*** O' ^^^ i** ^mtx*Q«y

§ Several grammarians at the explanation of ir«£yr« 0»tw.

II ^i^^^. Several verses of greater or less length, formed of dipodies of this Idndy are called by the grammarians Stesichorean verses.

% Fragm. 12. Mus. Grit. Cantab. Fasc. VI. Fragm. 39. ed. Klein :

f»tiftmr» »mXkt»ifun v/»r nsf ifuyt»f f«,iX»t i^iv-

Stesichorus, also, according to Plutarch, used the ia/iaruf v»fA«Sf which had been set by Olympus in the Phrygian &(/*ofia ; above, ch. 12. $ 7.


liOd lilStOtlY OP T*iE

which he ^ve a difTerent tone only by the most frequent and mo^ cUf- fent Dorisms, so al§o with regard to the matter and contents of his poems, btesichorus makes, of ali lyric poets, the nearest approach to the epic. " Stesichorus," says Quintilian elegantly, *' sustained the weight of epic poetry with the lyre." We know the epic subjects which he treated in this manner; they have a great resemblance to the subjects of the shorter epic poems of the Hesiodean school, of which we have spoken above. Many of them were borrowed from the great mythic cycle of Hercules (whom he, like Pisander, invariably represented with the lion's skin, club, and bow) ; such as his expedition against the triple giant of the west, Geryon (Vripvoylg); Scylla (SicvXXa), whom, in the same expedition, Hercules subdued; the combat with Cycnus (K{fi:voe) *, the son of Ares, and the dragging of Cerberus (Kipfiepoi) from the infernal regions. Others related to the mythic cycle of Troy; such as the destruction of Ilium flX/ov iripaig), the returns of the heroes (S6<rroi\ and the story of Orestes C^pe<rreia). Other my- thical subjects were, the prizes which Acastus, King of lolcus, distri- buted at the funeral games of his father Pelias (iirl UeXlg, a^\a)i Jfiriphyle, who seduced her husband Amphiaraus to. join in the expedi- tion against Thebes ('Epi^vXa) ; the hunters of the Calydonian boar ((rvo&fipai^ according to the most probable interpretation) ; lastly, a poem called Europeia (a title al^o borne by the epos of Eumelus), which, from the little we know of it, seems to have treated of the tradi- tional stories of Cadmus, with which that of Europa was interwoven. A question here arises, how these epic subjects could be treated in a lyric form. It is manifest that these poems could not have had the per- fect repose, the vivid and diffuse descriptions, in short all the characte- ristics of the epos. To connect with these qualities the accompaniment of many voices and instruments, a varied rhythmical structure, and choral dancing, would have seemed to the Greeks, with their fine sense of harmony and congruity, a monstrous niisjuinder. There must, there- fore, have been something which induced Stesichorus, or his fellow citizens, to take an interest in these heroes and their exploits. Thus in Pindar all the mythological narratives have reference to some recent event t. In Stesichorus, however, the mythical subject must have been treated at greater length, and have occupied nearly the entire poem ; otherwise the names of these poems would not have been like those of €>pic compositions. One of them, the Oresteia, was so long, that it was divided into two books ; and it contained so much mythical matter, that in the Iliac table, a well known ancient bas-relief, the destruction of Troy is represented in a number of scenes from this poem. The most proi)ab1e supposition, therefore, is that these poems were intended to be represented at the mortuary sacrifices and festivals, which were fre-*

  • C'h 8. (p U8-9.^ t Below, ch. 15. J 1.


LIT^RAT^JttC OP ANCISNT GRECce. 201'

quently Celebrated in Magna Grsecia to the Oreek heroes, especially to those of the Trojan cycle **

The entire tone in which Stesichorus treated these mythic narratives was also quite different from the epic. It is evident from the fragments that he dwelt upon a few brilliant adventures, in which the force and the ^lory of the heroes wan, as it were, concentrated ; and that he gave the reins to his fancy. Thus, in an extant fragment, Hercules is de^ scribed as returning to the god of the sun (Helios), on the goblet on which he had swum to the island of Geryoneus ; ** Helios, the Hype* rioiiid, stepped into the golden goblet, in order to go, over the ocean, to the sacred depths of the dark night to his mother, and wife, and dear children ; while the son of Zeus (Hercules) entered into the laurel (rrove f." In another, the dream of Clytsmnestra, in the night before slie was killed, is described : ** A serpent seemed to approach her, its crest covered with blood ; but, of a sudden, the king of Pleisthenes race (Agamemnon) came out of it |." In general, a lyric poet like Stesi- chorus was more inclined than an epic poet to alter the current legend ; since his object was not so much mere narration, as the praise of indi- vidual lieroes, and the mythus was always introduced with a view to its application. As a proof of this assertion, it is sufficient to. refer to the story, celebrated in antiquity, of Stesichorus having, in a poem (pro- bably the destruction of Troy), attributed all the sufltrings of the Trojan war to Helen § ; but the deified heroine having, as it was supposed, deprived him of his sight, as a punishment for this insult, he composed his famous Palinodia, in which he said that the Helen who had been seen in Troy, and for whom the Greeks and Trojans fought during so many years, was a mere shadow (^ao/ia, ei^oiXov) ; while the true Helen had never embarked from Greece. Even this, however, is. not to be considered as pure invention ; there were in Laconia popular legends of Helen's having appeared as a shade long after her death ||, like her brothers Castoir and Pollux ; and it is possible (hat Stesichorus may have met wit'h some similar story. Stesichorus simply conceived Helen to have remained in Greece ; he did not suppose her to have gone to

Egypt 1[.

  • Thus in Tarentum if tcyt^/M) were offered to the Atrids, Tjrdids, Alcids,

I^ertiads (Paeud-Aristot. Mirab. Ause. 114.); in Metapontum to the Nelidg (Stiabo VI. p. 263,) &i-.

f Fragm. 3. (10. ed. Klein).

I Fragm. inc. I . (43. Klein). This fragment too it in a lyric metre, and ought not to be forced into an elegiac distich.

§ Hence in the Iliac table. Menelaus is rei^resented as attempting to stab Helen wbom he has just recovered; while she flies for protection to the temple of Aphrodite.

|} Herod. VI. 6 L

^ Others sut*po-ed that Proteus, the marine demigod skilled in metamorphoses^ went to the island of Pharos, tod there formed a false Helen with which he deceived Paris; a version of the story which even the ancient Scholiasts have con*


202 UI8T0RT OF THB •

The langruage of Stesichorus likewise accorded with the tone of his poetry. Quintilian, and other ancient critics, state that it corresponded with the dignity oF the persons described by him ; and that he might have stood next to Homer, if he had restrained the copiousness of his diction. It is possible that, in expressing thb opinion, Quintilian did not sufficiently advert to the distinction between the epic and lyric styles.

§ 6. We have subjoined these remarks to the longrer lyric poems of Stesichorus, which were nearest to the epos, as it was in these that the peculiar character of his poetry was most deariy di^layed. Stesi^ chorus, howeveir, also composed poems in praise of the gods, especially p»ans and hymns ; not in an epic, but in a lyric ^orm. There ijere also erotic poems of Stesichorus, differing as much as his other produc* tions from the amatory lyric poems of the Lesbians. They consisted oi love-stories; as the Calyce^ which described the pure but unhappy love of a maiden of that name; and the Bhadina^ which related the melancholy adventures of a Samian brother and sister, whom a Corin- thian tyrant put to death out of love for the sister, and jealousy of the brother*. These are the earliest instances in Greek literature of love- stories forming the basis of romantic poetry; the stories themeelves probably having been derived from the tales with which the inmates of the Greek gyniecea amused themselves. These stories (which were aftervrards collected by Parthenius, Plutarch, and others) usually be- longed, not to the purely mythical period, but either to historical times, or to the transition period between fable and history. In this manner the story involved the ordinary circumstances of life, while extraordi- nary situations could be introduced, serving to show the fidelity of the lovers. Of a similar character was the bucolic poem, which Stesichorus first ndsed from a rude strain of merely local interest, to a classical branch of Greek poetry. The first bucolic poem is said to have been sung by Diomus, a cowherd in Sicily, a country abounding in cattlet* The hero of this pastoral poetry was the shepherd Daphnis (celebrated in Theocritus), who had been beloved by a nymph, and deprived by her, out of jealousy, of his sight ; and with whose laments all nature


founded with that of Stesichorus. As this Proteus was converted by the Egyptian interpreters (i^/mntf) into a king of Egypt, this king was said to have takenHelen from Paris, and to have kept her for Menelaus. This was the story which Hero-


dotus heard in Egypt, II. 1 12. Euripides, in his Helen, gives quite a new turn to the tale. In this play, the gods form a false Helen, whom Paris takes to Troy ; the true Helen is carried hy Hermes to the Egyptian kin^ Proteus. In thia manner, Proteus completely loses the character which he Dears in the ancient Greek mythus ; but the events lead to situations which suited the pathetic tragedy of Euripides.

  • Compare Strab. VIII. p. 347. D. with Pausan. VII. 5. 6. The chief authority

for these love-stories is the long excursus in Athenseus on the popular songs of the Greeks, XIV. p. 618. #99;

f B«f;jMXMu/Mf, Epichannus ap. Athen. XIV. p. 619. The song of Eriphanis, Umx^uI i^m, £ fuymXat, appears to have been of native Sicilian origin.


LITERATURE OP ANCIBNT GREECE. 208

sympathised. This legend was current in the native country of Stesi* chorus, near the river Himeras, where Daphnis is said to have uttered his laments ; and near Cephalosdium, where a stone resembling a man's form was said to have once been Daphnis. Himera was the only one among the ancient Greek colonies in Sicily^ which lay on the northern coast of the island ; it was entirely surrounded by the aboriginal inha- bitants, the Siculians ; and it is therefore probable that the hero Daphnis, and the original form of the pastoral song, belonged to the Siculian peasantry *.

From what precedes, it appears that the poetry of Stesichorus was not employed in expressing his own feelings, or describing the events ot his own life, but that he preferred the past to the present. This cha* racter seems to have been common to all the poems of Stesichorus. Thus he did not, like Sappho, compose Epithalamia having an imme- diate reference to the present, but he took some of his materials from mythology. The beautiful Epithalamium of Theocritus f* supposed to have been sung by the Laconian virgins before the chamber of Mene- laus and Helen, is, in part, imitated from a poem of Stesichorus.

§ 7. Thus much for the peculiarities of this choral poet, hot less re«  markable in himself, than as a precursor of the perfect lyric poetry of Pindar. Our information respecting Arion is far less complete and satisfactory ; yet the little that we know of him proves the wide exten- sion of lyric poetry in the time of Alcman and Stesichorus. Arion was the contemporary of Stesichorus ; he is called the disciple of Alcman, and (according to the testimony of Herodotus) flourished during the reign of Periander at Corinth, between Olymp. 38. 1. and 48. 4. (628 and 595 B. c), probably nearer the end than the beginning of this period. He was a native of Methymna in Lesbos; a district in which the worship of Bacchus, introduced by the Boeotians, was celebrated with orgiastic rites, and with music* Arion was chiefly known in Greece as the perfecter of the dithyramb. The dithyramb, as a song of Bacchanalian festivals, is doubtless of great antiquity ; its name is too ohscufe to have arisen at a late period of the Greek language, and probably originated in the earliest times of the worship of Bacchus |. Its character was always, like that of the worship to which it belonged, impassioned and enthusiastic; the extremes of feeling, rapturous plea- sure, and wild lamentation, were both expressed in it. Concerning the mode of its representation we are but itnperfectly informed. Archilo- chus says, that ** he is able, when his mind is inflamed with wine, to

  • It appears from /Elian V. H., X. 18. that the legend of Daphnis was given in

Stesichorus. not as it is expanded in Theocrit. Id. I., but as it is touched upon in Id. VII. 73. The pastoral legend of the Goathead Comatas, who was inclosed in a box by the king*s conunand, and fed by a swarm of bees, sent by the Muses (Theocrit V 1 1. 78. «90 h^s ^1 the appearance of a story embellished by Stesichorus.

f Id. XVIII.

I Qn the formation of hivfmf*fi»tywe p. 133 note *»


204 HISTORY OF THE

sing the dithyramb, the beautiful straiu of Dionysus*": from which expressions it is probable that in the time of Archilochus, one of a band of revellers sometimes sang the dithyramb, while the others joined him with their voices. There is, however, no trace of a chared performance of the dithyramb at this time. Choruses had been already introduced in Greece, but in connexion with the worship of Apollo, and they danced to the cithara (^p/<iy£)» the instrument used in this worship. In the worship of Dionysus, on the other hand, an irregular band of revellers, led by a fhite-pla}er, was the prominent feature t. Arion, according to the concurrent testimonies of the historians and grammarians of antiquity, was the first who practised a chorus in the representation of a dithyramb, and therefore gave a regular and dignified character to this song, which before had probably consisted of irregular expressions of excited feeling, and of inarticulate ejacular tions. This improvement was made at Corinth, the rich and flourish- ing city of Periander ; hence Pindar in his eulogy of Corinth exclaims :

  • ' Whence, but from Corinth, arose the pleasing festivals of Dionysus,

with the dithyramb, of which the prize is an ox{?" The choruses which sang the dithyramb were circular choruses {kwcXmi xopoO « ^^ culled, because they danced in a circle round the altar on which the sacrifice was burning. Accordingly, in the time of Aristophanes, the expressions *' dithyrambic poet," and *^ teacher of cyclian choruses' {KVKXio^idaaKaXos)^ were nearly synonymous $• With regard to the subjects of the dithyrambs of Arion we know nothing, except that he introduced the tragic style into them ||. This proves that he had dis- tinguished a choral song of a gloomy character, which referred to the dangers and sufferings of Dionysus, from the ordinary dithyramb of the joyous kind; as will be shown in a subsequent chapter f. With regard to the musical accompaniment of the dithyrambs of Arion, it may be remarked, that the cithara was the principal instrument used in it, and not the flute, as in the boisterous comus. Arion was himself the first cithara-player of his time : and the exclusive fame of the Lesr bian musicians from Terpander downwards was maintained by liim

  • 'Of Amw9w &UMr§t JtrnXiv U^i^tu fiiXH ^

ap. Athen. xiv. p. 628* f See ch. iii. § 5.

I Pind. Ol. xiil 18. (25.), where the recent editors give a full and accunte ea- planation of the matter.

§ Hence Arion is said to have been the son of Cyeieut,

II TfyiMif v^iirt Suidas in 'a^jW Concerning the satyrs whom Arion is sud to have used on this occasion, see below, chap. xxi.

% Chap. xxi. The finest specimen of a dithyramb of the joyful kind is theiiag- meut of a dithyramb by Pindar, in Dion. Hal. de Comp. Verb. 22. ^Hiis dithy- ramb was intended for the great Dionysia (rk ftiyd\a or ra A^rtt A/tpurtm), which are described in it as a peat vernal festival, at the season *' when the chamber of the HonrH opens, and the uectarian plants feel the approach of the fragrant spring."


LITBRATURB OF ANCIENT GREECE. 20b

Arion also, according to the well known fuble *, played the orthian noniet9 when he was compelled to throw hunself from a ship into the sea, and was miraculously saved by a dolphin |. Arion is also stated, as well as Terpander, to have composed procemia, that is, hymns to the gods, which served as an introduction to festivals $.

§ 8. In descending to the choral poets who lived nearer the time of the Persian war, we meet with two poets of very peculiar characters ; the Yehement Ibycus, and the tender and refined Simonides.

Ibtcub was a native <^ Rhegiuro, the city near the southernmost point of Italy, which was closely connected with Sicily, the country of Stesi- choms. Rhegium was peopled partly by loniaiis from Chalcis, partly by Dorians from Peloponnesus ; the latter of whom were a superior class. The peculiar dialect formed in Rhegium had some influence on the poems of Ibycus ; although these were in general written in an epic dialect with a Doric tinge, like the poems of Stesichonis ||. Ibycus was a wandering poet, as is intimated in the story of his death having been attested and revenged by cranes ; but his travels were not, like those of Stesichonis, confined to Sicily. He passed a part of his time in Samos with Polycrates; whence the flourishing period of Ibycus may be placed at Olymp. 68. (b. c. 52d) %. We have already explained the style of poetry which was admired at the court' of Polycrates. Ibycus could not here compose solemn hymns to the gods, but must aocommo^ date his Doric cithara, as he was best able, to the strains of Anacreon. Accordingly, it is probable that the poetry of Ibycus was first turned mainly to erotic subjects duiing his residence in the court of Polyr crates ; and that his glowing love-songs (especially to beautiful youths), which formed his chief title to fame in antiquity, were composed at this time.

But that the poetical style of Ibycus resembled that of Stesichorus is proved by the fact that the ancient critics often doubted to which of the two a particular idea or expression belonged **, It may indeed be

  • Herod. I, 23. This fable probably aro> e from a sacred offering in a temple at

TBenamm, which lepresented Tarms sitting on a dolphin, as he api)ear8 on the coins of Tarentam. Plutarch, Conv. Sept. Sap. c. 18. mentions the Pythian instead uf the orthian nome.

t The orthian nome was mentioned above, chap. xii. } 15, in connexion with Po. lymnes'us.

X The nomos orthios was sung to the dthajra (Herod. 1. 24. Aristoph. £q. 1276. Raji 1308, et Schol.), but also to the Phrygian flute (Lucian 4).

& Suidas in v. The ode to Neptune which .Mian H. A.« xii. 45, ascribes to Anon, is copious in words, but poor in ideas, and is quite unworthy of such a poet as Arion. It also presupposes the truth of the fab£e that Arion was saved by a dolphin.

jl A peculiarity of the Rheginian dialect in Stesichorus was the formation of the third i<ersons of barytone verbs in tifti jpi^it^*, ^iyn^h &c.

% Above, ch. xiii. } 12.

    • Citations of Stesichrrus or Ibycus, or (for the same expression) of Stesichorus

and Ibycus, occur in Athen. iv. p. 172 D.j Schul. Yen. ad II. xxiv. 259. iii. 1 14. He- sych. in fiftrnxUrmtf vol. i. p. 774. cd. Alb., Schol. Aristoph. Av.. 1302,- SchoL


206 HI8T0RY OF THE

conjectured that this doubt arose from the works of these two poets being united in the same collection, like those of Hipponax and Auanius, or of Simonides and Bacchylides ; but their works would not have been so united by the ancient editors if there had not been a close affinity between them. The metres of Ibycus also resemble those of Stesicho- rus, being in general dactylic series, connected together into verses ot diffierent lengths, but sometimes so long, that they are rather to b*^ called systems than verses. Besides these, Ibycus frequently uses logaoedic verses of a soft or languid character : and in general his rhythms are less stately and digpiified, and more suited to the expression of passion, than those of Stesichorus. Hence the effeminate poet Aga- thon is represented by Aristophanes as appealing to Ibycus with Aiia- creon and Alcsus, who had made music more sweet, and worn many- coloured fillets (in the oriental fashion), and had led the wanton Ionic dance *.

§ 9. The subjects of the poems of Ibycus appear also to have a strong affinity with those of the poems of Stesichorus. For although no poems with such names as Cycnus or the Orestea are attributed to Ibycus ; yet so many peculiar accounts of mythological stories, espe- cially relating to the heroic period, are cited from his poems, that it seems as if he too had written long poems on the Trojan war, the ex-, pedition of the Argonauts, and other similar subjects. That, like Stesichorus, he dwelt upon the marvellous in the heroic mythology, is proved by a fragment in which Hercules is introduced as saying : '* I also slew the youths on white horses, the sons of Molione, the twins with like heads and connected limbs, both born in the silver egg t."

The erotic poetry of Ibycus is however more celebrated. We know that it consisted of odes to youths, and that these breathed a fervour of passion far exceeding that expressed in any similar productions of Greek literature. Doubtless the poet gave utterance to his own feel- ings in these odes; as indeed appears from the extant fragments. Nevertheless the length of the strophes and the artificial structure of the verses prove that these odes were performed by choruses. Birth- days or other family festivals or distinctions in the gymnasia may have afibrded the poet an opportunity of coming with a chorus into the court-yard of the house, and offisring his congratulations in the most imposing and brilliant manner. The occasions^ of these poetical con- g^tulations were doubtless the same as those which gsve rise to the painted vases in Magna Groecia, with the inscription *' the boy is beau- tiful" (icaXoc 6 iraic), and scenes from gymnastic exercises and social life. But that in the poems of Ibycus, as well as of Pindar, the

Vratislav. ad Find. 01. is. 128. (m* iri^^ "l^zw xm) Irmixtn), EtymoL Gud. in in^vcff'p. 98.31.

  • Thesm. 161.

t Ap. Athen. p. 57 F. (Fr. 27. coll. Schneidewin).


LITERATORB OF ANCIENT GREECE. 207

chorus was the organ of the poet's thoughts and feelings, is sufficiently proved (as has heen already remarked) by the extant fragments. In a very beautiful fragpnent, the versification of which expresses the course of the feeling with peculiar art, Ibycus says * : ** In the spring the Cydonian apple-trees flourish, watered by rivulets from the brooks in the untrodden garden of the virgins, and the grapes which grow under the shady tendrils of the vine. But Eros gives me peace at no season ; like a Thracian tempest, gleaming with fightning, he rushes from Gypris, and, full of fury, he stirs up my heart from the bottom." In some other extant verses he saysf: *' Again Eros looks at me from beneath his black eyelashes with melting glances, and drives me with blandishments of all kinds into the endless nets of Cypris. I tremble at his attack ; as a harnessed steed which contends for the prize in the sacred games, when he approaches old age, unwillingly enters the race- course with the rapid chariot."

These amatory odes of Ibycus did not however consist merely of descriptions of his passion, which could scarcely have afforded sufficient materials for choral representation. He likewise called id the assist- ance of mythology in order to elevate, by a comparison with divine or heroic natures, the beauty of the youth or his own passion. Thus in a poem of this kkid, addressed to Gorgias, Ibycus told the story of Ganymedes and Tithonus, both Trojans and favourites of the gods ; who were described as contemporary |, and were associated in the narrative. Ganymedes is carried off by Zeus in the form of an eagle, in order to become his favourite and cup-bearer in Olympus ; and, at the same time, Eros incites the rising Aurora to bear away from Ida, Tithonus, a Trojan shepherd and prince §. The perpetual youth of Ghinymedes, the short manhood and the melancholy old age of Tithonus, probably g^ve the poet occasion to compare the different passions which they excited, and to represent that of Zeus as the more noble, that of Aurora the less praiseworthy.

§ 10. Leaving Ibycus in the obscurity which envelopes all the Greek lyric poets anterior to Pindar, we come to a brighter point in Simonides. This poet has been already described as one of the greatest masters of the elegy and the epigram ; but a full account of him has been reserved for this place.

Simonides was bom at Julis in the island of Ceos, which was in-


  • Fragm. !• eolL Schneidewin. The end of the fragment is very difficult ; the

translation is made from the following alteration of the text : mrififiti^i u^artuSf

t SchoL Plat. Farm. p. 137. A, (Fragm. 2. coll. Schneidewin). { After the Little Iliad, in which Ganymedes is the son of Laomedon : Schol. Vat. ad Eurip. Troad. 822. Elsewhere Tithonus is his son.

This account of the poem of Stesichorus is taken from Schol. ApoUon. Rhod. 158. compared with Nonnus Dionys. xt. 278. ed. Oraefe*


n\:


208 HISrORT OF THS

habited by Ionian*; ; accordiug to his own testimony *, about Olymp 56. 1. B. c. 556. He lived, according to a precise account, 89 yeara^ and died in 78. 1. b. c. 468. He belonged to a family which sedu* lously cuUivated the musical arts ; his grandfather on the paternal side had been a poet f ; Bacchylides, the lyric poet, was his nephew ; and Simonides the younger, kuown by the name of ** the genealogist,*' on account of a work on genealogies Orepl ysvtaXoyimv), was his grand* son. He himself exercised the functions of a chorus-teacher in the town of Carthaea in Ceos ; and the house of the chorus (xopiryv^^') near the temple of Apollo was his customary abode }. This occupa- tion was to him, as to Stesichorus, the oiigin of his poetical eflforts. The small island of Ceos at this time contained many things which were likely to g^ve a good direction to a youthful mind. The lively genius of the Ionic race was here restrained by severe principles of modera- tion (tnuppoavyri) ; the laws of Ceos are celebrated for their ezcelr lence § ; and although Pnxiicus of Ceos is named among the sophists attacked by Socrates, yet he was considered as a man of probity, and the friend of a beneficent philosophy. Simonides, also« appears throughout his whole life, to have been attached to philosophy ; and his poetical genius is characterized rather by versatility and purity of taste than by fervid enthusiasm. Many ingenious apophthegms and wise sayings are attributed to him, nearly resembling those of the seven sages ; for ex- ample, the evasive answer to the question, what is Gh>d ? is attributed both to Simonides and Thales: in the one anecdote the questioner is Hiero, in the other Crcesus. Simonides himself is sometimes reck- oned among the philosophers, and the sophists considered him as a predecessor in their art. The *' moderation of Simonides" became proverbial || ; a modest consciousness of human weakness, and a re* cognition of a superior power, are everywhere traceable in his poetry. It is likewise recorded that Simonides used, and perfected, the contri- vances which are known by the name of the Mnemonic art.

It must be admitted, ^at, in depth and novelty of ideas, and in the fervour of poetical feeling, Simonides was far inferior to his contem- porary Pindar. But the practical tendency of his poetry, the worldly wisdom, guided by a noble disposition, which appeared in it, and the delicacy with which he treated all the relations of states and rulers, made him the friend of the most powerful and disting^uished men of his


  • In the epii^ram in Flanudes, Jacobs Anthol. Palat. Append. Epigr. 79. (203

Bchneidewitt;.

f Mann. Par. ep. 49. according to Boeckh'i explanation, Corp. Inacrip. v(d« iL p. 319.

I Chameleon ap. Ath. x. p. 456. E. \ Muller*8 ^ginetica, p. 132. note u.

II *U ^futittUu 9m^»su¥vi , Aristides wt^rw *m^»fi. III. p. 645 A. Canter. II* p. 510. Dindorf. Sin)onidis reliquise ed. Schneidewin, p. xxxiiL


LITERATURE OP ANCIENf GREECE. 209

age. Scarcely any poet of antiquity enjoyed so much consideration in his lifetime, or exercised so much influence upon political events, as Simonid^s. He was one of the poets entertained by Hipparchus the Pisistratid (Olymp. 63.2.-66. 3. b. c. 527—14.), and was highly esteemed by him. He was much honoured by the families of the Aleuads and Scopads, who at that time ruled in Thessaly, as powerful aad wealthy nobles, in their cities of Larissa and Crannon, and partly as kings of the entire country. These families attempted, by their hospitality and liberality to the poets and wise men whom they enter- tained, either to soflen the rough nature of the Thessalians, or, at least, to cover it with a varnish of civilization. That, however, they were not always equally liberal to Simonides, appears from the anecdote that Scopas once refused to give him more than half the promised reward, and referred him for the other half to the Dioscuri, whom he had also praised in his ode ; and that, in consequence, the Dioscuri saved Simonides when the house fell upon the impious Scopas *. Simonides appears to have passed much of the latter part of his life in Sicily, chiefly with the tyrant of Syracuse. That he was in high honour at this court is proved by the well attested story, that when, after Gelo's death, a discord arose between the allied and closely connected families of the tyrants of Syracuse and Agrigentum, Hiero of Syracuse and Theroof Agrigentum,with their armies, were standing opposite to each other on the river Gelas, and would have decided their dispute with arms, if Simonides (who, like Pindar, was the friend of both tyrants) had not restored peace between them (Olymp. 76. 1. a. c. 476). But the high reputation of Simonides among the Greeks is chiefly apparent in the time of the Persian war. He was in friendly intercourse both with Themistocles and the Spartan general Pausanias ; the Corin- thians sought to obtain his testimony to their exploits in the Persian war; and he, more than any other poet, partly at the wish of others, and partly of his own accord, undertook the celebration of the great <ieeds of that period. The poems which he wrote for this purpose were for the most part epigrams ; but some were lyric compositions, as the panegyric of those who had fallen at Thermopylae, and the odes on the sea-fights of Artemisium and Salamis. Others were elegiac, as the elegy to those who fought at Marathon, already mentioned.

§ 11. The versatility of mind and variety of knowledge, which Simo- nides appears from these accounts to have possessed, are connected with hb facility of poetical composition. Simonides was probably the most prolific lyric poet whom Greece had seen, although all his productions did not descend to posterity. He gained (according to the inscription

  • That the ancients themselves had difficulties in ascertaining the true version of

this story, appears from Quintilian, Inst. xi. 2. 11 ; it is however certain that the family of the Scopads at that time suffered some great misfortune which Simonides Umented in a thiene : Phavorin. ap. Stob. Serm. CV. 62.

P


210 HISTORY OF THB

of a votive tablet, written by himself*) &6 oxen and tripoas in poeOod contests ; and yet prizes of this kind could only be gained at puWic festivals, such as the festival of Bacchus at Athens. Simonides, ac- cording to his own testimony, conquered at this latter festival w Olymp. 75. 4. b. c. 476, with a cyclian chorus of 50 men. The muse ot , Simonides was, however, far oftcner in the pay of private men ; he wm the first who sold his poems for money, according to the frequent re- proach of the ancients. Thus Socrates in Plato t «ays that Simomd«  was often forced to praise a tyrant or other powerful man, withoal being convinced of the justice of his praises. • r • u

Among the poems which Simonides composed for public w"**^* were hymns and prayers (Karevxal) to various gods, pwans to ApoUcs hyporchemes, dithyrambs, and parthenia. In the hyporchemes Simo- nides seemed to have excelled himself; so great a master was he of the art of painting, by apt rhythms and words, the acte which he wished to describe ; he says of himself that he knows how to combine the plastic movements of the feet with the voice J. His dithyrambs were not, a^ cording to their original purpose, dedicated to Dionysus, but admitted subjects of the heroic mythology ; thus a dithyramb of Simonides bore the title of Memnon §. This transfer to heroes, of poems properly be- longing to Dionysus will be considered more fully in connexion with the subject of tragedy. Moreover the odes just mentioned, which cele- brated those who fell at Thermopylae and in the sea-fights against the Persians, were doubtless intended to be performed at public festivals ia honour of victories.

Among the poems which Simonides composed for private persons, the Epinikia and Threnes are worthy of especial notice. At this period the Epinikia — songs which were performed at a feast in honour of t victor in public and sacred games, either on the scene of the conflict, or at his return home — first received the polish of art from the hands of the choral poets. At an earlier age, a few verses, like those of A^ chilochus, had answered the same purpose. The Epinikia of Simonides and Pindar are nearly contemporaneous with the erection of statues ia honour of victorious combatants, which first became common abont Olymp. 60, and, especially in the time of the Persian war, employed the most eminent artists of the schools of iBgina and Sicyon. A ge- neral idea of the structure of the epinikia of Simonides may be formed from those of Pindar (of which a copious analysis will be found in the next chapter). In these odes, too, the celebration of mythical heroes (as of the Dioscuri in the epinikion of Scopas) was closely connected with the praise of the victor. General reflections and apophthegms were also applied to his peculiar circumstances. Thus in the same ode, the general maxim was stated, that the gods alone could be always

  • Anthol. Palat. ri. 213. f Protag. p. 346. B.

I Plutarch, Sympos. ix. 1 5. 2. § Strabo xv. p. 72a B.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 211

food : that no man coald be invariably good or bad, but could only act irtaously by the grace of the gods, and upon this principle the saying if Pittacus, ^' it is difficult to be good," was censured as requiring too nach, and probably Was applied for the purpose of extenuating some aults in the life of the victorious prince*.

We should be guilty of injustice to Simonides were we to conclude hat he did violence to his own convictions, and oflTered mercenary and lespoken homage; we rather discover a trace of the mild and humane, hough somewhat lax and commodious, opinions on morals, prevalent imong the lonians. Among the Dorians, and in part also among the Boliaus, law and custom were more rigorous in their demands upon he constancy and the virtue of mankind.

The epinikia of Simonides appear to have been distinguished from

ho6e of Pindar mainly in this ; that the former dwelt more upon the

particular victory which gave occasion to his song, and described all its details with greater minuteness; while Pindar, as we shall see, passes lightly over the incident, and immediately soars into higher regions. In an epinikion which Simonides composed for Leophron the son of the tyrant Anaxilas and his vicegerent in Rhegium f* and in which he had to celebrate a victory obtained with a chariot drawn by mules (^tt^vt}), the poet congratulated the victorious ani- mals, dexterously passing in silence over the meaner, and directing attention to the nobler, side of their parentage: Hail, ye daughters of storm-footed steeds !" Simonides, too, in these songs of victory more frequently indulged in pleasantry than befitted a poem destined to be Tedted at a sacred feast ; as, for example, in the epinikion composed in bonoar of an Athenian who had conquered Crios of iEgina in wrestling at Olympia ; where he plays upon the name of the defeated combatant : "Not ill has the ram (6 Kpiog) got himself shorn by venturing into the ■sagnificent grove, the sanctuary of Zeus t".

But the merits of Simonides were still more remarkable (as we have already seen in treating of the elegy) in dirges (^pfjvoi). His style, as

  • See this long fragment from the odes of Simonides in Plato Protag. p. 339. sq.

f As the historic relations are difficult of comprehension, I remark briefly, that

Anaxilas was tyrant of Rhegium, and, from about 01. 71.3. (b. c. 494), of Messene ;

utd that he dwelt in the latter city, leaving Leophron to administer the government

•f Bhegium. On the death of Anaxilas in Olymp. 76. 1. (b. c. 476), Leophioiy as

lu8 eldest sun, succeeded him in the city of Messene : and the freedman Micythus

vsi to administer Rhegium for the younger sons, but he was soon compelled to

Abandon his office. For these facts, see Herod, vii. 170. Diod. xi. 48. 66. Heraclid,

Pont pol. 25. Dionys. Hal. £xc. p. 539. Vales. Dionys. Hal. xix. 4. Mai. Allien.

ip.3. Pausan. v. 26. 3. Schol. Pind. Pyth. II. 34. Justin, iv. 2. xxi. 3. Macrob.

Sat I. 11. The Olympic victory of Leophron (by some writers ascribed to Anaxi*

III) must have taken place before Olymp. 76. 1. b. c.476.

I That the words ^Bri^/et^ i K^Tog oh» uuxuats &c are to be understood as is indi- eated in the text, is proved by the manner in which Aristoph. Nub. 1355. ^ves the substance of the song, which was sung at Athens at meals, from a patriotic interest, Uke a scolion. The contest must be placed about Olymp. 70. b. c 500

P2


210 HISTORY OF THB

of a votive tablet, written by himself*) ^6 oxen and tripoas in poetieal contests ; and yet prizes of this kind could only be gained at public festivals, such as the festival of Bacchus at Athens. Simonldes, ac- cording to his own testimony, conquered at this latter festival ia Olymp. 75. 4. b. c. 476, with a cyclian chorus of 50 men. The muse at Simonides was, however, far oftener in the pay of private men ; he was the first who sold his poems for money, according to the frequent re- proach of the ancients. Thus Socrates in Plato f says that Simonides was often forced to praise a tyrant or other powerful man, without being convinced of the justice of his praises.

Among the poems which Simonides composed for public festivals, were hymns and prayers (icarevxaQ to various gods, pseans to Apollo^ hyporchemes, dithyrambs, and parthenia. In the hyporchemes Simo- nides seemed to have excelled himself; so great a master was he of the art of painting, by apt rhythms and words, the acts which he wished to describe ; he says of himself that he knows how to combine the plastic movements of the feet with the voice {. His dithyrambs were not, ac- cording to their original purpose, dedicated to Dionysus, but admitted subjects of the heroic mythology ; thus a dithyramb of Simonides bore the title of Memnon §. This transfer to heroes, of poems properly be- longing to Dionysus will be considered more fully in connexion with the subject of tragedy. Moreover the odes just mentioned, which cele- brated those who fell at Thermopylae and in the sea-fights against the Persians, were doubtless intended to be performed at public festivals in honour of victories.

Among the poems which Simonides composed for private persons, the Epinikia and Threnes are worthy of especial notice. At this period the Epinikia — songs which were performed at a feast in honour of a victor in public and sacred games, either on the scene of the conflict, or at his return home — first received the polish of art from the hands of the choral poets. At an earlier age, a few verses, like those of Ar- chilochus, had answered the same purpose. The Epinikia of Simonides and Pindar are nearly contemporaneous with the erection of statues in honour of victorious combatants, which first became common about Olymp. 60, and, especially in the time of the Persian war, employed the most eminent artists of the schools of ^gina and Sicyon. A ge- neral idea of the structure of the epinikia of Simonides may be formed from those of Pindar (of which a copious analysis will be found in the next chapter). In these odes, too, the celebration of mythical heroes (as of the Dioscuri in the epinikion of Scopas) was closely connected with the praise of the victor. General reflections and apophthegms were also applied to his peculiar circumstances. Thus in the same ode, the general maxim was stated, that the gods alone could be always

  • Anthol. Palat. vi 213. t Protag. p. 346. B.

{ Plutarch; Sympos. ix. 1 5. 2. $ Strabo xv. p. 728. B.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 211

good : that no man could be invariably good or bad, but could only act virtuously by the grace of the gods, and upon this principle the saying of Pittacus, ^* it is difficult to be good," was censured as requiring too much, and probably was applied for the purpose of extenuating some faults in the life of the victorious prince*.

We should be guilty of injustice to Simonides were we to conclude that he did violence to his own convictions, and oflTered mercenary and bespoken homage; we rather discover a trace of the mild and humane, though somewhat lax and commodious, opinions on morals, prevalent among the lonians. Among the Dorians, and in part also among the iEoliaus, law and custom were more rigorous in their demands upon the constancy and the virtue of mankind.

The epinikia of Simonides appear to have been distinguished from those of Pindar mainly in this ; that the former dwelt more upon the particular victory which gave occasion to his song, and described all Its details with greater minuteness; while Pindar, as we shall see, passes lightly over the incident, and immediately soars into higher regions. In an epinikion which Simonides composed for Leophron the son of the tyrant Anaxilas and his vicegerent in Rhegium t«  and in which he had to celebrate a victory obtained with a chariot drawn by mules (airiivri)^ the poet congratulated the victorious ani- mals, dexterously passing in silence over the meaner, and directing attention to the nobler, side of their parentage: ** Hail, ye daughters of storm-footed steeds !" Simonides, too, in these songs of victory more frequently indulged in pleasantry than befitted a poem destined to be recited at a sacred feast ; as, for example, in the epinikion composed in honoar of an Athenian who had conquered Crios of ^gina in wrestling at Olympia ; where he plays upon the name of the defeated combatant : " Not ill has the ram (6 Kpiog) got himself shorn by venturing into the magnificent grove, the sanctuary of Zeus t".

But the merits of Simonides were still more remarkable (as we have already seen in treating of the elegy) in dirges (^p^voi). His style, as

  • See this long fragment from the odes of Simonides in Plato Protag. p. 339. sq.

f As the historical relations are difficult of comprehension, I remark briefly, that Anaxilas was tyrant of Rhegium, and, from about 01. 71. 3. (b. c. 494), of Messene ; and that he dwelt in the latter city, leaving Leophron to administer the government of Rhegium. On the death of Anaxilas in Olymp. 76. 1. (b. c. 476), Leophioiy as his eldest son, succeeded him in the city of Messene : and the freedman Micythus was to administer Rhegium for the younger sons, but he was soon compelled to abandon his office. For these facts, see Herod, vii. 170. Diod. xi. 48. 66. Heraclid, Pont. pol. 25. Dionys. H^. Exc. p. 539. Vales. Dionys. Hal. xvx. 4. Mai. A<faen. i p. 3. Pausan. v. 26. 3. Schol. Pind. Pyth. II. 34. Justin, iv. 2. xxi. 3. Macrob. Sat. I. 11. The Olympic victory of Leophron (by some writers ascribed to Anaxi* las) must have taken place before Olymp. 76. 1. b. c.476.

X That the words 'Bri^fit^ i K^Tos oh» uuxuats &c. are to be understood as is indi- cated in the text, is proved by the manner in which Aristoph. Nub. 1355. gives the substance of the song, which was sung at Athens at meals, from a patriotic interest/ like a scolion. The contest must be placed about Olymp. 70. b. c. 500

P2


212 HISTORY OF THE

an ancient critic observes, was not as lofty as that of Pindar ; but what he lost in sublimity he gained in pathos *. While Pindar's soaring flights extolled the happiness of the dead who had finished their earthly course with honour, and enjoyed the glories allotted to them in another existence, Simonides gave himself up to the genuine feeling^ of human nature ; he expressed grief for the life that was extinguished ; the foud regret of the survivors ; and sought consolation rather afler the manner of the Ionian elegiac poets, in the perishableness and weari- ness of human life. The dirges of Simonides on the hapless Scopad, and the Aleuad Antiochus, son of Echecratides % were remarkable ex- amples of this style ; and doubtless the celebrated lament of Danae was part of a threne. Enclosed with her infant Perseus in a chest, and exposed to the raging of the storm, she extols the happiness of the un- conscious sleeping babe, in expressions full of the charm of maternal tenderness and devotion |.

§ 12. Simonides did not, like Pindar, in the overflowing riches of his genius, touch briefly on thoughts and feelings ; he wrought out every thing in detail with care and finish §; his verses are like a diamond which throws a sparkling light from each of its many polished faces. If we analyze a passage, like the fragment from the eulogy on the heroes of Thermopyls, we are struck with the skill and grace with which the hand of the master plays with a single thought ; the glory of a great action before which all sorrow disappears ; and the various lights under which he presents it.

  • ' Those who fell at Thermopylae have an illustrious fate, a noble des-

tiny : their tomb is an altar, their dirge a song of triumph. And neither eating rust, nor all-subduing time, shall obliterate this epitaph of the brave. Their subterranean chamber has received the glory of Hellas as its inhabitant. Of this, Leonidas, the king of Sparta, bears witness, by the fair and undying renown of virtue which he left behind him ||." Some idea may be formed of this same kind of description naturally leading to a light and agreeable tissue of thoughts ; of this easy graceful style of Simonides, so extremely dissimilar to that of Pindar, from a feeble prosaic translation of another fragment taken from an ode to a conqueror in the Pentathlon, which treats of Orpheus :

  • ' Countless birds flew around his head ; fishes sprang out of the

dark waters at his beautiful song. Not a breath of wind arose to rustle the leaves of the trees, or to interrupt the honied voice which was

  • It tixTll^wiat fun fAiyaXT^twZi ms U/vht^»f, &X>Ji waJnrtnZt* Dion. HaL Gens. Vet.

Script, ii. 6. p. 420. Reiske.

f The son of the Echecratides, who was mentioned in ch. ziii. ( 11. in connexion with Anacreon, and the elder brother of Orestes.

X Dionys. Hal. de Verb. Comp. 26. Fr. 7. Gaisford. 50. Schneidewin.

j Simonides said that poetry was vocal painting. Plutarch, de Glor. Ath. 3.

II Diod.xi 11 Fr. 16. GaUf. 9. Schneid.


•LITBRATUILB OF ANCIENT GREECE. 218

wailed to the ears of mortals. As when, in the wintry moon, Zeus ap^ points fourteen days as the sacred brooding time of the gay-plumed halcyons, which the earth-dwellers call the sleep of the winds*. With this smooth and highly polished style of composition every thing in the poetry of Simonides is in the most perfect harmony; the choice of words, which seeks, indeed, the noble and the graceful, yet departs less widely from the language of ordinary life than that of Pindar ; and the treatment of the rhythms which is distinguished from that of the Theban poet by a stronger preference for light and flowing measures (more especially the logaoedic) and by less rigorous niles of metre.

§ 13. Bacchylides, the nephew of Simonides, adhered closely to the system and the example of his uncle. He flourished towards the close of the life of Simonides, with whom he lived at the court of Hiero in Syracuse; little more of his history is known. That his poetry was but an imitation of one branch of that of Simonides, cultivated with gpreat delicacy and flnish, is proved by the opinions of ancient critics ; among whom Dionysius adduces perfect correctness and uniform ele- gance as the characteristics of Bacchylides. His genius and art were chiefly devoted to the pleasures of private life, love and wine ; and, when compared with those of Simonides, appear marked by greater sensual grace and less moral elevation. Among the kinds of choral poetry which he employed, besides those of which he had examples in Simonides and Pindar, we find erotic songs : such, for example, as that in which a beautiful maiden is represented, in thegameof theCottabus, as raising her white arm and pouring out the wine for the youths *!* ; a description which could apply only to a Hetaera partaking of the ban- quets of men.

In other odes, which were probably sung to cheer the feast, and which were transformed into choral odes from scolia, the praise of wine 18 celebrated as follows | : "A sweet compulsion flows from the wine cups and subdues the spirit, while the wishes of love, which are mingled with the gifts of Dionysus, agitate the heart. The thoughts of men take a lofty flight ; they overthrow the embattled walls of cities, and believe themselves monarchs of the world. The houses

• IV. M. Sdmeidewiii.

f Alhen. zL p. 782. s?i p. 667. Fr. 23. ed. Neue.

I Athen. iL p. 39. Fr. 26. Neue. The ode consists of short strophes in the Doric meMBie, which are to be reduced to the following metre.

^oo— oo ^o— o

This arrangement necessitates no other alterations than those which have been for other reasons : except that aM4tf * straightways,' should be written for «vrtf io ▼. 6. .


^14 UISTOAY OF THE

glitter with gold and ivory; corn-bearing ships bring hither from Egypt, across the glancing deep, the abundance of wealth. To such heights soars the spirit of the drinker.*' Here too we remark that ela- borate and brilliant execution which is peculiar to the school of Simo- nides ; and the same is shown in all the longer fragments of Bacchy* tides, among which we shall only quote the praise of peace :

    • To mortals belong lofty peace, riches, and the blossoms of honey-

voiced song. On altars of fair workmanship burn thighs of oxen and thick-fleeced sheep in golden flames to the gods. The cares of the youths are, gymnastic exercises, flute-playing, and joyous revelry (airXol leal K^fwt), But the black spiders ply their looms in the iron-boand edges of the shields, and the rust corrodes the barbed spear-bead, and the two-edged sword. No more is heard the clang of brazen tmmpets ; and beneficent sleep, the imrse and soother of our souls, is no longer scared from our eyelids. The streets are thronged with joyous g^oests, and songs of praise to beautiful youths resound * .**

We recognise here a mind which dwells lovingly on the description of these gay and pleasing scenes, and paints itself in every feature, but without penetrating deeper than the ordinary observation of men reaches. Bacchylides, like Simonides, transfers the diffuseness of the eleg^y to the choral lyric poem ; although he himself composed no elegies, and followed the traces of his uncle only as an epigrammatist. The reflec- tions scattered through his lyrics, on the toils of human life, the insta- bility of fortune, on resignation to inevitable evils, and the rejection of vain cares, have much of the tone of the Ionic elegy. The structure of Bacchylides' verse is generally very simple ; nine tenths of his odes, to judge from the firagments, consisted of dactylic series and trochaic dipo- dias, as we find in those odes of Pindar which were written in the Doric mode. Bacchylides, however, gave a lighter character to this measure ; inasmuch as in the places where the syllable might be either long or short, he often preferred the latter.

We find, in his poems, trochaic verses of great elegance ; as, for ex- ample, a fragment, preserved by Athensus, of a religions poem in which the Dioscuri are invited to a feast f- But its character is feeble and languid ; and how difierent firom the hymn of Pindar, the third among the Olympian odes, in celebration of a similar feast of the Dioscuri, held by Theron in Agrigentum !

§ 14. The universal esteem in which Simonides and Bacchylides were held in Greece, and their acknowledged excellence in their art, did not prevent some of their contemporaries from striking into various other paths, and adopting other styles of treating lyric poetry. Lasos of Hermione was a rival of Simonides during his residence in Athens, and

♦ StobaeuH, Serm. LI 1 1, p. 209. Grot. Fr. 12. Ncue. t Athen. xi. p. 500 B. Fr. 27. Neue.


LITBRATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 215

likewise enjoyed high favoar at the court of Hipparchus *. It is how- ever difficult to ascertain, from the very scanty accounts we possess of this poet, wherein consisted the point of contrast between him and his competitor. He was more peculiarly a dithyrambic poet, and was the first who introduced contests in dithyrambs at Athens f^ probably in Olymp. 68. 1. b. c. 508 }. This style predominated so much in his works, that he g^ve to the general rhythms of his odes a dithy- rambic torn, and a free movement, in which he was aided by the variety and flexibility of tone of the flute, his favourite instrument §. He was also a theorist in his art, and investigated the laws of music (i. e, the relation of musical intervals to rapidity of movement), of which later musicians retained much. He was the instructor of Pindar in lyric poetry. It is also very possible that these studies led him to attach excessive value to art; for he was guilty of over-refinement in the rhythm and the sound of words, as, for example, in his odes written without the letter <r (jSunyixoi ^Zai), the hissing sound of which is en- tirely avoided as dissonant.

TiMOCREON THE Rhodian was a genius of an entirely peculiar cha- racter. Powerfiil both as an athlete and a poet, he transferred the pugnacity of the Palaestra to poetry. To the hate which he bore in political life to Themistocles, and, on the field of poetry, to Simonides, he owes his chief celebrity among the ancients. In an extant fragment || he bit- terly reproaches the Athenian statesman for the arbitrary manner in which he settled the afiairs of the island, recalling exiles, and banishing others, of which Timocreon himself was one of the victims. He attacks his enemy with the heavy pompous measure of the Dorian mode, as with the shock of a catapulta, though on other occasions he composed in elegiac distichs and measures of the iBolic kind ; and it cannot be denied that his vituperation receives singular force from the stateliness of the expression, aad the grandeur of the form. Timocreon seems to have ridiculed and parodied Simonides on account of some tricks of his art, as where Simonides expresses the same thought in the same words only trans- posed, first in an hexameter, then in a trochaic tetrameter %,

The opposition in which we find Pindar with Simonides and Bac- chylides is of a much nobler character. For though the desire to

  • Aziftoph. Veip. 1410. comp. Herod, viii. 6.

t SehoL Arittoph. ubi sup.

X The statement of the Parika marble, ep. 46. appears to refer to the cyclic clMimBet.

§ Plutarch de Mus. 39. The fragment of a hymn by Lasas to Demeter^ in Atheiu XIV. p. 624 £., agrees very well with this account.

II Pkitareh, Themist. 21.

% Anthol. PaL ziiL 30. Concerning this enmity, see also Diog. Laert ii. 46, and Snidas in Ti/t^n^Un, The citation from Simonides and Timocreon in Wall. Rhet. Chrae. voL iL p. 10, is probably connected with their quarrel.


216 HISTORY OF THE

stand highest in the favour of the Syracusan tyrant, Hiero, and Thero ofA^igentum stimulated the jealousy between these two poets, yet the real cause lies deeper ; it is to be found in the spirit and temper of the men ; and the contest which necessarily arose out of this diversity, does no dishonour to either party.

The ancient commentators on Pindar refer a considerable number of passages to this hostility * : and in general these are in praise of genuine wisdom as a gifl of nature, a deep rooted power of the mind, and in depreciation of acquired knowledge in the comparison ; or the poet represents genial invention as the highest of qualities, and demands novelties even in mythic narratives. On the contrary, Simonides and Bacchylides thought themselves bound to adhere faithfully to tradition, and reproved any attempt to give a new form to the stories of antiquity t.


CHAPTER XV.


( 1. Pindar's descent; his early training in poetry and music. } 2. Exercise of his art ; his independent position with respect to the Greek princes and republics. § 3. Kinds of poetry cultivated by him. § 4. His Epinikia ; their origin and objects. § 5. The ir two main elements, general remarks, and mythical narrations. § 6. Connexion of these two elements ; peculiarities of the stnicture of Pindar's odes. ^ 7. Variety of tone in his odes, according to the different musical styles.

§ 1. Pindar was born in the spring of 522 B.C. (Olymp. 64. 3); and, according to a probable statement, he died at the age of eighty {. He was therefore nearly in the prime of his life at the time when Xerxes invaded Greece, and the battles of Thermopylae and Salamis were fought. He thus belongs to that period of the Greek nation, when its great qualities were first distinctly unfolded ; and when it ex- hibited an energy of action, and a spirit of enterprise, never afterwards surpassed, together with a love of poetry, art, and philosophy, which produced much, and promised to produce more. The modes of thought, and style of art, which arose in Athens after the Persian war, must have been unknown to him. He was indeed the contemporary of iEschylus, and he admired the rapid rise of Athens in the Persian

  • Ol. II. 86. (154). IX. 48 (74).Pyth. II. 52. (97.) and passim Nem III. 80. (143).

IV.37. (60).Isthm. II. 6.(10). v > r . v ^

f See Plutarch, Num. 4. Fr. 37. Neue, and Clem. Strom, v. p. 687. Pott Fr. 13. Neue.

I For Pindar's life, see Boeckh's Pindar, tom. iii. p. 12. To the authorities there mentioned, may be added the Introduction of Eustathius to his Gommentaij on Pindar in Rustathii Opuscula, p. 32. ed. Tafel. 1832. (Eustath. ProflBm. Comment Pindar, ed. Schneidewin. 1837.)


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 217

^ar ; calling it *' The Pillar of Greece, brilliant Athens, the worthy theme of poets." But the causes which determined his poetical cha- racter are to besought in an earlier period, and in the Doric and ^olic parts of Greece ; and hence we shall divide Pindar from his contempo- rary iEschylus, by placing the former at the close of the early period, the latter at the head of the new period of literature.

Pindar's native place was Cynocephalse, a village in the territory of Thebes, the most considerable city of Boeotia. Although in his time the voices of Pierian bards, and of epic poets of the Hesiodean school had long been mute in Boeotia, yet there was still much love for music and poetry, which had taken the prevailing form of lyric and choral compositions. That these arts were widely cultivated in Boeotia is proved by the fact that two women, Myrtis and Corinna, had attained great celebrity in them during the youth of Pindar. Both were com- petitors with Pindar in poetry. Myrtis strove with him for a prize at public games : and although Corinna said, *^ It is not meet that the clear toned Myrtis, a woman born, should enter the lists with Pindar * :** yet she is said (perhaps from jealousy of his growing fame) to have of\en contended against him in the agones, and to have gained the victory over him five times f. Pausanias, in his travels, saw at Tanagra, the native city of Corinna, a picture in which she was represented as binding her head with a fillet of victory which she had grained in a con* test with Pindar. He supposes that she was less indebted for this victory to the excellence of her poetry than to her Boeotian dialect, which was more familiar to the ears of the judges at the games, and to her extraordinary beauty. Corinna also assisted the young poet with her advice ; it is related of her that she recommended him to ornament his poems with mythical narrations, but that when he had composed a hymn, in the first six verses of which (still extant) almost the whole of the llieban mythology was introduced, she smiled and said, We should sow with the hand, not with the whole sack." Too little of the poetry of Corinna has been preserved to allow of our forming a safe judgment of her style of composition. The extant fragments refer mostly to my- thological subjects, particularly to heroines of the Boeotian legends ; this, and her riyalry with Pindar, show that she must be classed not in the Lesbian school of lyric poets, but among the masters of choral poetry.

The family of Pindar seems to have been skilled in music ; we learn from the ancient biographies of him that his father, or his uncle, was a flute-player. Flute-playing (as we have more than once remark ed

  • The following is the passage in Corinna's dialect :

Apollon. de Pronom. p. 924. B. t iGlian.V. H.xiU.24.


S18 HISTORY OF THE

was brought from Asia Minor into Greece ; its Phrygian origio may perhaps be indicated by the fact that Pindar had in his house at Thebes a small temple of the Mother of the gods and Pan, the Phrygian deities, to whom the first hymns to the flute were supposed to have been sung *. The music of the flute had moreover been introduced into Boeotia at a very early period ; the Copaic lake produced excellent reeds for flutes, and the worship of Dionysus, which was supposed to have originated at Thebes, required the varied and loud music of the flute. Accordingly the Bceotians were early celebrated for their skill in flute-playing ; whilst at Athens the music of the flute did not become common till after the Persian war, when the desire for novelty in art had greatly increased f*

§ 2. But Pindar very early in his life soared far beyond the sphere of a flute-player at festivals, or even a lyric poet of merely local cele- brity. He placed himself under the tuition of Lasus of Hermione, a distinguished poet, already mentioned, but probably better versed in the theory than the practice of poetry and music. Since Pindar made these arts the whole business of his life t, and was nothing but a poet and a musician, he soon extended the boundaries of his art to the whole Greek nation, and composed poems of the choral lyric kind for persons in all parts of Greece. At the age of twenty he composed a song of victory in honour of a Thessalian youth belonging to the gens of the Aleuads §. We find him employed soon afterwards for the Sici* lian rulers, Hiero of Syracuse, and Thero of Agrigentum ; for Arcesi- laus, king of Cyrene, and Amyntas, king of Macedonia, as well ha for the free cities of Greece. He made no distinction according to the race of the persons whom he celebrated : he was honoured and loved by the Ionian states, for himself as well as for his art ; the Athenians made him their public guest (vp6kvoe) ; and the inhabitants of Ceos em- ployed him to compose a processional song (irpoff<$3iov), although they had their own poets, Simonides and Bacchylides. Pindar, however, was not a common mercenary poet, always ready to sing the praises of him whose bread he ate. He received indeed money and presents for his poems, according to the general usage previously introduced by Simonides ; yet his poems are the genuine expression of his thoughts and feelings. In his praises of virtue and good fortune, the colours which he employs are not too vivid ; nor does he avoid the darker shades of his subject ; he oflen suggests topics of consolation for past and present evil, and sometimes warns and exhorts to avoid future ca- lamity. Thus he ventures to speak freely to the powerful Hiero, whose many great and noble qualities were alloyed by insatiable cupidity and

♦ Marm. Par. ep. 10. f Aristot. PoUt. viii. 7.

I Like Sappho^ he is called fiw^MrMt,

$ Pyth. X. composed in Olymp. 69. 3. b. c. 502.


LITERATURB OF ANCIENT ORBECB. 219

mmbilioii, which his courtiers well knew how to turn to a bad account. Pindar exhorts him to tranquillity and contentedness of mind, to calm cheerfulneas, and to clemency, saying to him * : '* Be as thou knowest how to be ; the ape in the boy's story is indeed fair, very fair ; but Rhadamanthus was happy because he plucked the genuine fruits of the mind, and did not take delight in the delusions which follow the arts of the whisperer. The venom of calumny is an evil hard to be avoided, whether by him who hears or by him who is the object of it ; for the ways of calumniators are like those of foxes." Pindar speaks in the same free and manly tone to Arcesilaus IV., king of Cyrene, who afterwards brought on the ruin of his dynasty by his tyrannical severity, and who at that time kept Damophilus, one of the noblest of the Cyre- neans, in unjust banishment. ^ Now understand the enigmatic wisdom of CEdipus. If any one lops with a sharp axe the branches of a large oak, and spoils her stately form, she loses indeed her verdure, but she ^vea proof of her strength, when she is consumed in the winter fire, or when, torn from her place in the forest, she performs the melancholy oflSoe of a pillar in the palace of a foreign prince t* Thy office is to be the physician of the country : Paean honours thee ; therefore thou must treat with a gentle hand its festering wounds. It is easy for a fool to ahake the stability of a city ; but it is hard to place it again on its foundations, unless a god direct the rulers. Gratitude for these good deeds is already in store for thee. Deign therefore to bestow all thy care upon the wealthy Cyrene {."

Thus lofty and dignified was the position which Pindar assumed with regrard to these princes ; and he remained true to the principle which he so frequently proclaims, that firankness and sincerity are always laudable. But his intercourse with the princes of his time appears to have been limited to poetry. We do not find him, like Simonides, the daily assodate, counsellor, and friend of kings and statesmen ; he plays no part in the public events of his time, either as a politician or a courtier. Neither was his name, like that of Simonides, distinguished in the Persian war ; partly because his fellow-citizens, the Thebans, were, together with half of the Grecian nation, on the Persian side, whilst the spirit of independence and victory were with the other half. Nevertheless the lofty character of Pindar's muse rises superior to these unfiivourable circumstances. He did not indeed make the vain attempt of gaining over the Thebans to the cause of Greece ; but he sought to i^pease the internal dissensions which threatened to destroy

  • Pyth* II. 72. (131.) This ode was composed by Pindar at Thebes, bat doubt-

less not till after he had contracted a personal acquaintance with Hiero.

t In this allegory, the oak is the state of Cyrene ; the branches are the banished nobles ; the winter fire is insurrection ; the foreign palace is a foreign conquering power, especially Persia.

X Pyth. IV.


880 HISTORY OF TKB

Thebes during the war, by admonishing his fellow citizens to union and concord * : and after the war was ended, he openly proclaims, in odes intended for the iBginetans and Athenians, his admiration of the heroism of the victors. In an ode, composed a few months afler the surrender of Thebes to the allied army of the Ghreeks t (the seventh Isthmian), his feelings appear to be deeply moved by the misfortunes of his native city ; but he returns to the cultivation of poetry as the Greeks were now delivered from their great peril, and a god had re- moved the stone of Tantalus from their heads. He expresses a hope that freedom will repair all misfortunes : and he turns with a friendly confidence to the city of iEgina, which, according to ancient legends, was closely allied with Thebes, and whose good offices with the Pelo- ponnesians might perhaps raise once more the humbled head of Boeotia.

§ 3. Having mentioned nearly all that is known of the events of Pindar^s life, and his relations to his contemporaries, we proceed to consider him more closely as a poet, and to examine the character and form of his poetical productions.

The only class of poems which enable us to judge of Pindar's general style are the epinikia or triumphal odes. Pindar, indeed, excelled in all the known varieties of choral poetry ; viz. hymns to the gods, paeans and dithyrambs appropriate to the worship of particular divinities, odes for processions {irpoerddia^^ songs of maidens (TrcLpOiveia)^ mimic dancing songs (yTropx^fiaTa)^ drinking songs (ffjcoXia), dirges (Op^voi), and en- comiastic odes to princes (cyicfu/xca), which last approached most nearly to the epinikia. The poems of Pindar in these various styles were nearly as renowned among the ancients as the triumphal odes ; which is proved by the numerous quotations of them. Horace too, in enu- merating the different styles of Pindar's poetry, puts the dithyrambs firsts then the hymns, and afterwards the epinikia and the threnes. Nevertheless, there must have been some decided superiority in the epinikia, which caused them to be more frequently transcribed in the later period of antiquity, and thus rescued them from perishing with the rest of the Greek lyric poetry. At any rate, these odes, from the vast variety of their subjects and style, and their refined and elaborate structure, — some approaching to hymns and psans, others to scolia and hyporchemes, — serve to indemnify us for the loss of the other sorts of lyric poetry.

We will now explain, as precisely as possible, the occasion of an epi- nikian ode, and the mode of its execution. A victory has been gained in a contest at a festival, particularly at one of the four great games most prized by the Greek people }, either by the speed of horses, the

  • Polyb. iv. 31. 5. Fr. incext 125. ed. Boeckh.

f In the winter of Olymp. 75. 2. bv c. 479.

I Olympian Pythia, Nemea, Isthmia. Some of the epinikia, however, belong to other games. For example) the second Pjrthian is not a Pythian ode> but probably


LITER ATURR OF ANCIENT G&EBCE. 231

sirength and dexterity of the human body, or by skill in music *. Such a victory as this, which shed a lustre not only on the victor himself, but on his family, and even on his native city, demanded a solemn ce- lebration. This celebration might be performed by the victor's friends upon the spot where the victory was gained ; as, for example, at Olym- pia, when in the evening after the termination of the contests, by the light of the moon, the whole sanctuary resounded with joyful songs after the manner of encomia t. Or it might be deferred till after the victor's solemn return to his native city, where it was sometimes repeated, in following years, in commemoration of his success |. A celebration of this kind always had a religious character ; it often began with a procession to an altar or temple, in the place of the games or in the native city ; a sacri^ce, followed by a banquet, was then offered at the temple, or in the house of the victor; and the whole solemnity con- cluded with the merry and boisterous revel called by the Greeks Ktafioq. At this sacred, and at the same time joyous, solemnity, (a mingled cha- racter frequent among the Greeks,) appeared the chorus, trained by the poet, or some other skilled person §, for the purpose of reciting the triumphal hymn, which was considered the fairest ornament of the fes- tival. It was during either the procession or the banquet that the hymn was recited ; as it was not properly a religious hymn, which could be combined with the sacrifice. The form of the poem must, to a cer- tain extent, have been determined by the occasion on which it was to be recited. From expressions which occur in several epinikian odes, it is probable that all odes consisting of strophes without epodes || were sung during a procession to a temple or to the house of the victor ; although there are others which contain expressions denoting movement, and which yet have epodes %, It is possible that the epodes in the latter odes may have been sung at certain intervals when the procession was

belongs to games of lolaus at Thebes. The ninth Nemean celebrates a victory in the Pythia at Sicyon, (not at Delphi ;) the tenth Nemean celebrates a victory in the Hecatombsa at Argos ; the eleventh Nemean is not an epinikion, but was sung^ at the installation of a prytanis at Tenedos. Probably the Nemean odes were placed at the end of the collection, after the Isthmian ; so that a miscellaneous supplement could be appended to them.

  • For example^ Pyth. XII., which celebrates the victory of Midas, 9, flute-player

of Agrigentum.

f Pindar's words in Olymp. XI. 76. (93), where this usage is transferred to the mythical establishment of the Olympia by Hercules. The 4th and 8th Olympian^ the 6th, and probably also the 7th Pythian, were sung at the place of the games.

X The 9th Olympian, the 3d Nemean^ and the 2nd Isthmian, were produced at a memorial celebration of this kind.

§ Such as ^neas the Stymphalian in Olymp. VI. 88. (150), whom Pindar calls "a just messenger, a scytala of the fair-haired Muses, a sweet goblet of loud-sounding songs,** because he was to receive the ode from Pindar in person, to carry it to Stym • phflJus, and there to instruct a chorux in the dancing, music^ and text.

II 01. XIV. Pyth. VI. XII. Nem. II. IV. IX. Isthm. VII.

^ Ol. VIII. XIII. The expression rivit »£fibO¥ ^i^m doubtless means, ** Receive this band of persons who have combined for a sacrificial meal and feast." Hence too it appears that the band went into the temple.


289 HISTORY OF THE

not advancing ; for an epode, according to the statements of the an«  cientfl, always required that the chorus should be at rest. But by far the greater number of the odes of t'indar were sung at the Comus, at the jovial termination of the feast : and hence Pindar himself more fre- quently names his odes from the Comus than from the victory *.

§ 4. The occasion of an epinikian ode, — a victory in the* sacred games, — and its end, — the ennobling of a solemnity connected with the worship of the gods, — ^required that it should be composed in a lofty and dignified style. But, on the other hand, the boisterous mirth of the feast did not admit the severity of the antique poetical style, like that of the hymns and nomes ; it demanded a free and lively expression of feeling, in harmony with the occasion ofthe festival, and suggesting the noblest ideas connected with the victor. Pindar, however, g^ves no detailed description of the victory, as this would have been only a re» petition of the spectacle which had already been beheld with enthusi- asm by the assembled Greeks at Olympia or Pytho ; nay, he often bestows only a few words on the victory, recording its place and the sort of contest in which it was won f. Nevertheless he does not (as many writers have supposed) treat the victory as a merely secondary object ; which he despatches quickly, in order to pass on to subjects of gpreater interest. The victory, in truth, is always the point upon which the whole of the ode turns ; only he regards it, not simply as an incident, but as connected with the whole life of the victor. Pindar establishes this connexion by forming a high conception of the fortunes and cha- racter of the victor, and by representing the victory as the result of them. And as the Greeks were less accustomed to consider a man in his individual capacity, than as a member of his state, and his family ; so Pindar considers the renown of the victor in connexion with the past and present condition of the race and state to which he belongs. Now there are two different points from which the poet might view the life of the victor ; viz. destiny or merit % ; in other words, he might celebrate his good fortune or his skill. In the victory with horses, external ad- vantages were the chief consideration ; inasmuch as it required excellent horses and an excellent driver, both of which were attainable only by the rich. The skill of the victor was more conspicuous in gymnastic feats, although even in these, good luck and the favour of the gode might be considered as the main causes of success ; especially as it was a favourite opinion of Pindars, that all excellence is a gill of nature §.

  • Wixm/Afs Sfivtf^ lytuifAMv f*iXds» The grammarians, however, distinguish the

encomia, as being laudatory poems strictly so called, from the epinikia.

f On the other haud* we often find a precise enumeration of all the Tictories, not only of the actual victor, but of his entire family : this must evidently have been re- quired of the poet.

I Sxfi«t and o^crn.

§ r« ^1 ^^ xfiKTifrev ««•«», 01. IX. 100 (151), which ode is a development of this general idea. Compare above, ch. xv. near the end.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREBGE. 228

The good fortune or skill of the victor coold not however be treated abstractedly ; but must be individualized by a description of his peculiar lot. This individual colouring might be given by representing the good fortune of the victor as a compensation for past ill fortune ; or, gene- rally, by describing the alternations of fortune in his lot and in that of his ftunily *. Another theme for an ode might be, that success in gymnas- tic contests was obtained by a family in alternate generations ; that is, by the grandfathers and grandsons, but not by the intermediate gene- ration t* If) however, the good fortune of the victor had been inva- riable, congratulation at such rare happiness was accompanied with moral reflections, especially on the right manner of estimating or en- during g^d fortune, or on the best mode of turning it to account. Ac- cording to the notions of the Greeks, an extraordinary share of the gifts of fortune suggested a dread of the Nemesis which delighted in humbling the pride of man ; and hence the warning to be prudent, and not to strive after further victories %. The admonitions which Pindar addresses to Hiero are to- cultivate a calm serenity of mind, after the cares and toils by which he had founded and extended his empire, and to purify and ennoble by poetry a spirit which had been ruffled by unworthy pas- sk)ns. Even when the skill of the victor is put in the foreground, Pindar in general does not content himself with celebrating this bodily prowess alone, but he usually adds some moral virtue which the victor has shown, or which he recommends and extols. This virtue is sometimes modera- tion, sometimes wisdom, sometimes filial love, sometimes piety to the gods. The latter is frequently represented as the main cause of the victory : the victor having thereby obtained the protection of the deities who preside over- gymnastic contests ; as Hermes, or the Dioscuri. It is evident that, with Pindar, this mode of accounting for success in the games was not the mere fiction of a poet ; he sincerely thought that he had found the true cause, when he had traced the victory to the favour of a god who took an especial interest in the family of the victor, and at the same time presided over the games §. Generally, indeed, in extoll- ing both the skill and fortune of the victor, Pindar appears to adhere to the truth as faithfully as he declares himself to do ; nor is he ever be- trayed into a high flown style of panegyric A republican dread of in- curring the censure of his fellow citizens, as well as an awe of the divine Nemesis, induced him to moderate his praises, and to keep in view the instability of human fortune and the narrow limits of human strength.

Thus far the poet seems to wear the character of a sage who ex- pounds to the victor his destiny, by showing him the dependence of his

  • OL II. Alao Isthm. III. f Nem. VI.

§ As, e.g. 01. VI. 77. (130). sqq. In the above remarks I have chiefly followed Di»H« n 8 Diaeertatiou De Ratione poetica Carminiim Pindaricorum, in his edition of Pindar, sect. i. p. xi.


224 HISTORY OF THE

exploit upon a hig^her order of thin^. Nevertheless, it is not to be supposed that the poet placed himself on an eminence remote from ordinary life, and that he spoke like a priest to the people, unmoved by personal feelings. The Epinikia of Pindar, although they were de- livered by a chorus, were, nevertheless, the expression of his individual feelings and opinions*, and are full of allusions to his personal relations to the victor. Sometimes, indeed, when his relations of this kind were peculiarly interesting to him, he made them the main subject of the ode ; several of his odes, aud some among the most difficult, are to be explained in this manner. In one of his odes f , Pindar justifies the sincerity of his poetry against the charges which had been brought against it ; and represents his muse as a just and impartial dispenser of fame, as well among the victors at the games, as among the heroes of antiquity. In another {, he reminds the victor that he had predicted the victory to him in the public games, and had encouraged him to become a competitor for it § ; and he extols him for having employed his wealth for so noble an object. In another, he excuses himself for having delayed the com- position of an ode which he had promised to a wrestler among the youths, until the victor had attained his manhood ; and, as if to incite himself to the fulfilment of his promise, he points out the hallowed antiquity of these triumphal hymns, connecting their origin with the first establishment of the Olympic games ||.

§ 5. Whatever might be the theme of one of Pindar's epinikian odes, it would naturally not be developed with the systematic completeness of a philosophical treatise. Pindar, however, has undoubtedly much of that sententious wisdom which began to show itself among the Greeks at the time of the Seven Wise Men, and which formed an important element of elegiac and choral lyric poetry before the time of Pindar. The apophthegms of Pindar sometimes assume the form of general maxims, sometimes of direct admonitions to the victor. At other times, when he wishes to impress some principle of morals or prudence upon the victor, he gives it in the form of an opinion entertained by himself: " I like not to keep much riches hoarded in an inner room ; but I like to live well by my possessions, and to procure myself a good name by making large gifts to my friends^."

The other element of Pindar's poetry, his mythical narratives, occu- pies, however, far more space in most of his odes. That these are not mere digressions for the sake of ornament has been completely proved by modern commentators. At the same time, he would sometimes

  • See above, ch. xiv. § 2. f Nem. VII.

I Nem. I.

§ I refer to this the sentiment in v. 27 (40) ; '* The mind showed itself in the counsels of those persons to whom nature has given the power of foreseeing the future;*' and also the account of the prophecy of Tiresias, when the serpents were killed by the young Hercules.

01. XI. f Nem. 1.31 ^45).


LITERATURE OP. ANCIENT GREECE. 225

seem to wish it to be believed that he had been carried away by his poetical fervour, when he returns to his theme from a lonnr mythical nar- ration, or when he annexes a mythical story to a proverbial saying ; as, for example, when he subjoins to the figurative expression, *' Neither by sea nor by land canst thou find the way to the Hyperboreans," the his- tory of Perseus' visit to that fabulous pifeople*. But even in such cases as these, it will be found, on close examination, that the fable belongs to the subject Indeed, it may be observed generally of those Greek writers who aimed at the production of works of art, whether in prose or in poetry, thai they often conceal their real purpose; and affect to leave in vague uncertainty that which had been composed studiously and on a preconceived plan. Thus Plato often seems to allow the dialogue to deviate into a wrong course, when this very course was required by the plan of the investigation. In other passages, Pindar himself remarks that intelligence and reflection are required to discover the hidden meaning of his mythical episodes. Thus, after a description of the Islands of the Blessed, and the heroes who dwell there, he says, " I have many swifl arrows in my quiver, which speak to the wise, but need an interpreter for the multitudef." Again, after the story of Ixion, which he relates in an ode to Hiero, he continues — '* I must, however, have a care lest I fall into the biting violence of the evil speakers ; for, though distant in time, I have seen that the slanderous Archilochus, who fed upon loud-tongued wrath, passed the greater part of his life in difficulties and distresst." It is not easy to understand in this passage what moves the poet to express so much anxiety ; until we advert to the lessons which the history of Ixion contains for the rapacious Hiero. The reference of these mythical narratives to the main theme of the ode may be either hUtorical or ideal. In the first case, ihe mythical personages alluded to are the heroes at the head of the family or state to which the victor belongs, or the founders of the games in which he has conquered. Among the many odes of Pindar to victors from iEgina, there is none in which he does not extol the heroic race of the il^acids. •* It is," he says, •' to me an invariable law, when I turn towards this island, to scatter nraise upon you, O ^acids, masters ol !^)lden chariots §." In the second case, events of the heroic age aro described, which resemble the events of the victor's life, or which con tnin lessons and admonitions for him to reflect upon. Thus two mythical personages may be introduced, of whom one may typify the victor in his praiseworthy, the other in his blameable acts ; so that tlie one example may serve to deter, the other to encourage||. \\\ general, Pindar contrives to unite both these modes of allusion, by reprc senting the national or family heroes as allied in character and spirit to

♦ Pyth. X. 29. ( lf>.) + Ol. II. 83. (1 50.)

I Pyth. II. 54. (99.) S^ Isthrti. V. ( VI.j 19. '27.)

II As Pelops aii<1 Tantalus^ Ol. I.


226 HISTORY OF THE

the victor. Their extraordinary strength and felicity are continued in their descendants ; the same mixture of good and evil destiny*, and even the same faultst, recur in their posterity. It is to be observed that, in Pindar's time, the faith of the Greeks in the connexion of the iieroes of antiquity with passing events was unshaken. The origin of historical events was sought in a remote age ; conquests and settlements in barbarian countries were justified by corresponding enterprises of heroes ; the Persian war was looked upon as an act of the same great drama» of which the expedition of the Argonauts and the Trojan war formed the earlier parts. At the same time, the mythical past was considered as invested with a splendour and sublimity of which even a faint reflection was suflScient to embellish the present. This is the cause of the historical and political allusions of the Greek tragedy, par- ticularly in iEschylus. Even the history of Herodotus rests on the same foundation ; but it is seen most distinctly in the copious mytho- logy which Pindar has pressed into the service of his lyric poetry. The manner in which mythical subjects were treated by the lyric poets was of course different from that in which they had been treated by the epic poets. In epic poetry, the mythical narrative is interesting in itself, and all parts of it are developed with equal fulness. In lyric poetry, it serves to exemplify some particular idea, which is usually stated in the middle or at the end of the ode ; and those points only of the story are brought into relief, which serve to illustrate this idea. Accordingly, the longest mythical narrative in Pindar (viz., the description of the voyage of the Argonauts, in the Pythian ode to Arcesilaus, king of Cyrene, which is continued through twenty-five strophes) falls far short of the sustained diffuseness of the epos. Consistently with the purpose of the ode, it is intended to set forth the descent of the kings of Cyrene from the Argonauts, and the poet only dwells on the relation of Jason with Pelias — of the noble exile with the jealous tyrant — ^because it contains a serious admonition to Arcesilaus in his above-mentioned relation with Damophilus.

§ 6. The mixture of apophthegmatic maxims and typical narratives would alone render it difficult to follow the thread of Pi Adar's meaning; but, in addition to this cause of obscur%y, the entire plan of his poeirj is so intricate, that a modern reader of^en fails to understand the con- nexion of the parts, even where he thinks he has found a clue. Pindar begins an ode full of the lofly conception which he has formed of the glorious destiny of the victor ; and he seems, as it were, carried away by the flood of images which this conception pours forth. He does not attempt to express directly the general idea, but follows the train of thought which it suggests into its details, though without losing sight of their reference to the main object. Accordingly, when he has pur-

  • As the fate of the ancient Cadmeans in Theron, 01. II.

f As the errors (a^?rX««/«0 of the Rhodinn heroes in Diagoras, 01. VII,


LITERATURE OF ANCIKNT GREECE. 227

sued a train of thought, either in an apophthegm at ic or mythical form, up to a certain point, he breaks off, before he has gone far enough to make the application to the victor sufficiently clear; he then takes up another thread, which is perhaps soon dropped for a fresh one ; and at the end of the ode he gathers up all these different threads, and weaves them together into one web, in which the general idea predominates. By reserving the explanation of his allusions until the end, Pindar con- trives that his odes should consist of parts which are not complete or intelligible in themselves ; and thus the curiosity of the reader is kept on the atretch throughout the entire ode. Thus, for example, the ode upon the Pythian victory, which was gained by Hicro, as a citizen of ^tna, a city founded by himself*, proceeds upon a general idea of the repose and serenity of mind whiqh Hiero at last enjoys, after a labo-* rious public life, and to which Pindar strives to contribute by the influence of music and poetry. Full of this idea, Pindar begins by describing the effects of music upon the gods in Olympus, how it delights, inspires, and soothes them, although it increases the anguish of Typbos, the enemy of the gods, who lies bound under ^ina. Thence, by a sudden transition, he passes to the new town of iBtna, under the mountain of the name ; extols the happy auspices under which it was founded ; and lauds Hiero for his great deeds in war, and for the wise constitution he has given to the new state ; to which Pindar wishes exemption from foreign enemies and internal discord. Thus far it does not appear bow the praises of music are connected with the exploits of Hiero as a warrior and a statesman. But the connexion becomes evident when Pindar addresses to Hiero a series of moral sentences, the object of which is to advise him to subdue all unworthy passions, to refresh his mind with the contemplation of art, and thus to obtain from the poets a good name, which will descend to posterity.

§ 7. The characteristics of Pindar's poetry, which have been just explained, may be discerned in all his epinikian odes. Their agree- ment, however, in this respect is quite consistent with the extraordinary variety of style and expression which has been already stated to belong- to this class of pOems. Every epinikian ode of Pindar has its peculiar tone, depending upon the course of the ideas and the ccfnsequent choice of the expressions. The principal differences are connected with the choice of the rhythms, which again is regulated by the musical style. According to the last distinction, the epinikia of Pindar are of three sorts, Doric, iBolic, and Lydian ; which can be easily distinguished, although each admits of innumerable varieties. * In respect of metre, every ode of Pindar has an individual character ; no two odes having the same metrical structure. In the Doric ode the same metrical forms occur as those which prevailed in the choral lyric poetrv of Stesichorus,

♦ Pyth. I.


228 HISTORY OF THE

viz., systems of dactyls and trochaic dipodies*, which most nearly approach the stateliness of the hexameter. Accordingly, a serene dig- nity pervades these odes ; the mythical narrations are developed with greater fulness, and the ideas are limited to the subject, and are free from personal feeling; in short, their general character is that of calm- ness and elevation. The language is epic, with a slight Doric tinge, which adds to its brilliancy and dignity. The rhythms of the ^olic odes resemble those of the Lesbian poetry, in which light dactylic, tro- chaic, or logaoedic metres prevailed; these rhythms, however, when applied to choral lyric poetry, were rendered far more various, and thus often acquired a character of greater volubility and liveliness. The poet*s mind also moves with greater rapidity ; and sometimes he stops himself in the midst of narrations which seem to him impious or arro- gant t. A larger scope is likewise given to his personal feelings ; and in the addresses to the victor there is a gayer tone, which at times even takes a jocular turn]:. The poet introduces his relations to the victor, and to his poetical rivals ; he extols his own style, and decries that of others §. The ^olic odes, from the rapidity and variety of their move- ment, have a less uniform character than the Doric odes; for example, the first Olympic, with its joyous and glowing images, is very different from the second, in which a lofty melancholy is expressed, and from the ninth, which has an expression of proud and complacent self-reliance. The language of the iBolic epinikia is also bolder, more difficult in its syntax, and marked by rarer dialectical forms. Lastly, there are the Lydian odes, the number of which' is inconsiderable ; their metre is mostly trochaic, and of a particularly soil character, agreeing with the tone of the poetry. Pindar appears to have preferred the Lydian rhythnis for odes which were destined to be sung during a procession to a temple or at the altar, and in which the favour of the deity was im- plored in a humble spirit.

  • The ancient writers on music explain how those trochaic dipodies were reduced

to an uniform rhythm with the dactjrlic series. These writers state that the trochaic dipody was considered as a rhythmical foot, having the entire first trochee as its arsis, the second as its thesis ; so that, if the syllahles were measused shortly, it might he taken as equivalent to a dactyl.

t 01. 1. 52. (82.) IX. 35.

X 01. IV. 26. (40.) I^th. II. 72. (131.)

§ 01. II. 86. (155.) IX. 100. (151.) Pyth. II. 79. (145.)


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT aREECE. 229


CHAPTER XVI.

( I. Moral improvement of Greek poetry after Homer especially evident in the notions ag to the state of man after death. $ 2. Influence of the mysteries and of the Orphic doctrines on these notions. ( 3. First traces of Orphic ideas in Hesiod and other epic poets. ( 4. SacerdotaJ enthusiasts in the age of the Seven Sages ; Epimenides, Abaris, Aristeas, and Pherecyides. } 5. An Orphic litera- ture arises after the destruction of the Pythagorean league. § 6. Subjects of the Orphic poetry ; at first cosmogonic, ( 7, afterwards prophetic, in reference to IMonysus.

§ 1. We have now traced the progress of Greek poetry from Homer to Pindar, and observed it throug^h its different stages, from the simple epic song to the artificial and elaborate form of the choral ode. Fortu- nately the works of Homer and Pindar, the two extreme points of this long series, have been preserved nearly entire. Of the intermediate stages we can only form an imperfect judgment from isolated frag- ments and the statements of later writers.

The interval between Homer and Pindar is an important period in the history of Greek civilization. Its advance was so great in this time that the latter poet may seem to belong to a different state of the human race from the former. In Homer we perceive that infancy of the mind which lives entirely in seeing and imagining, whose chief enjoyment consists in vivid conceptions of external acts and objects, without caring much for causes and effects, and whose moral judgments are determined rather by impulses of feeling than by distinctly-con- ceived rules of conduct. In Pindar the Greek mind appears far more serious and mature. Fondly as he may contemplate the images of beauty and splendour which he raises up, and glorious as are the forms of ancient heroes and modem athletes which he exhibits, yet the chief effort of his genius is to discover a standard of moral government ; and when be bas distinctly conceived it, he applies it to the fair and living forms which the fancy of former times had created. There is too much truth in Pindar's poetry, it is too much the expression of his genuine feelings, for him to attempt to conceal its difference from the ancient style, as the later poets did. He says* that the fame of Ulysses has become greater through the sweet songs of Homer than from his real adventures, because there is something ennobling in the illusions and soaring flights of Homer's fancy; and he frequently rejects the narra- tives of former poets, particularly when they do not accord with his own purer conceptions of the power and moral excellence of the godsf.

But there is nothing in which Pindar differs so widely from Homer as in his notions respecting the state of man after death. According

  • Nem. vii. 20 (29).

t See, for example, 01. i. 52 (82) ; ix. 35 (54>


230 HISTORY OF THE

to the description in the Odyssey, all the dead, even the most renowned heroes, lead a shadowy existence in the infernal regions (Aides), where, like phantoms, they continue the same pursuits as on earth, though without will or understanding. On the other hand, Pindar, in his sublime ode of consolation to Theron*, says that all misdeeds of this world are severely judged in the infernal regions, bat that a happy Hfe in eternal sunshine, without care for subsistence, is the portion of the good ; " while those who, through a threefold existence in the upper and lower worlds, have kept their souls pure from all sin, ascend the path of Zeus to the citadel of Cronust» where the Islands of the Blessed are refreshed by the breezes of Ocean, and golden flowers glitter." In thb passage the Islands of the Blessed are described as a reward for the highest virtue, whilst in Homer only a few favourites of the gods (Menelaus, for example, because his wife was a daughter of Zeus) reach the Elysian Field on the border of the ocean. In his ihrenes, or laments for the dead, Pindar more distinctly developed his ideas about immortality, and spoke of the tranquil life of the blessed, in perpetual sunshine, among fragrant gproves, at festal games and sacrifices; and of the torments of the wretched in eternal night. In these, too, he explained himself more fully as to the existence alter- nating between the upper and lower world, by which lofty spirits rise to a still higher state. He sayst — ^ Those from whom Persephone receives an atonement for their former g^ilt, their souls she sends, in the ninth year, to the sun of heaven. . From them spring great kings and men mighty in power and renowned for wisdom, whom posterity calls sacred heroes among men §"

§ 2. It is manifest that between the periods of Homer and Pindar a great change of opinions took place, which could not have been ef- fected at once, but must have been produced by the efforts of many sages and poets, ^l the Greek religious poetry treating of death and the world beyond the grave refers to the deities whose influence was supposed to be exercised in the dark region at the centre of the earth, and who were thought to have little connexion with the political and social relations of hun^n life. These deities formed a class apart from the gods of Olympus, and were comprehended under the name of the Chthonian gods] . The mysteries of the Greeks were connected with the worship of these gods alone. That the love of immortality first

  • 01. ii. 57 (105).

t That is, the way which Zeus himgelf takes when he visits his dethroned father Cronus (now reconciled with him, and become the ruler of the departed spirits in bliss), in order to advise with him on the destiny of mankind.

I Thien. fr. 4, ed. Boeckh.

( In order to understand this passage it is to be observed that, aceording to tlie ancient law, a person who had committed homicide must expiate his offence by an exile or even servitude of eight years before his guilt Was removed.

II Concerning this distinction, the most important in the Greek religious system, see ch. ii. § 5.


LITERATURE OP ANCIENT GREECE. 231

found a support in a belief in these deities appears from the fable of Persephone,' the daughter of Demeter. Every year, at the time of harvest, Persephone was supposed to be carried from the world above to the dark dominions of the invisible King of Shadows CAi^i^c), but to return every spring, in youthful beauty, to the arms of her mother. It was thus that the ancient Greeks described the disappearance and return of vegetable life in the alternations of the seasons. The changes of nature, however, must have been considered as typifying the changes in Hie lot of man ; otherwise Persephone would have been merely a symbol of the seed committed to the ground, and would not have be- come the queen of the dead. But when the goddess of inanimate nature had become the queeu of the dead, it was a natural analogy, which must have early suggested itself, that the return of Persephone to the world of light also denoted a renovation of life and a new birth to men. Hence the Mysteries of Demeter ^ and especially those cele- brated at Eleusis (which at an early period acquired great renown among all the Greeks), inspired the most elevating and animating hopes with regard to the condition of the soul after death. ^ Happy*' (says Pindar of these mysteries)* *' is he who has beheld them, and de- scends beneath the hollow earth; he knows the end, he knows the divine origin of life ;'* and this praise is repeated by all the most dis- tinguished writers of antiquity who mention the Eleusinian mysteries.

But neither the Eleusinian nor any other of the established mysteries of Greece obtained any influence upon the literature of the nation, since the hymns sung and the prayers recited at them were only intended for particular parts of the imposing ceremony, and were not imparted to the public. On the other hand, there was a society of persons who performed the rites of a mystical worship, but were not exclusively attached to a particular temple and festival, and who did not confine their notions to the initiated, but published them to others, and com- mitted them to literary works. These were the followers of Orpheus (pi *Op^oi) ; that is to say, associations of persons, who, under the guidance of the ancient mystical poet Orpheus, dedicated themselves to the worship of Bacchus, in which they hoped to find satisfaction for an ardent longing afler the soothing and elevating influences of reli- gion. The Dionysus to whose worship these Orphic and Bacchic rites were annexed ty was the Chthonian deity, Dionysus Zagreus, closely connected with Demeter and Cora, who was the personifled expression not only of the most rapturous pleasure, but also of a deep sorrow for the miseries of human life. The Orphic legends and poems related in great part to tliis Dionysus, who was combined, as an infernal deiiy, with Hades ; (a doctrine given by the philosopher Heraclitus as tlu

  • Thrin. fr. 8, ed. Boeckh.

t T« '0^^ix« »etXtofAtva, xai Ba«;^<xa. Herod, xi. 8 1 .


232 HISTORY OF THE

opinion of a particular sect* ;) and upon whom the Orphic iheologers founded their hopes of the purification and ultimate immortality of the soul. But their mode of celehrating this worship was very different from the popular rites of Bacchus. The Orphic worshippers of Bac- chus did not indulge in unrestrained pleasure and frantic enthusiasm, but rather aimed at an ascetic purity of life and mannerst. The fol- lowers of Orpheus, when they had tasted the mystic sacrificial feast of raw flesh torn from the ox of Dionysus (ar/Lio^y/a), partook of no other animal food. They wore white linen garments, like Oriental and Egyp- tian priests, from whom, as Herodotus remarks, much may have been borrowed in the ritual of the Orphic worship.

§ 3. It is difficult to determine the time when the Orphic association was formed in Greece, and when hymns and other religious songs were first composed in the Orphic spirit. But, if we content ourselves with seeking to ascertain the beginning of higher and more hopeful views of death than those presented by Homer, we find them in the poetry of Hesiod. In Hesiod's Works and Days, at least, all the heroes are described as collected by Zeus in the Islands of the Blessed near the ocean ; according indeed to one verse (which, however, is not recog- nised by all critics), they are subject to the dominion of Cronus|. In this we may see the marks of a great change in opinion. It became re- pugnant to men's feelings to conceive divine beings, like the gods of Olympus and the Titans, in a state of eternal dissension ; the former selfishly enjoying undisturbed felicity, and the latter abandoned to all the horrors of Tartarus. A humaner spirit required a reign of peace after the rupture of the divine dynasties. Hence the belief, entertained by Pindar, that Zeus had released the Titans from their chains§'; and that Cronus, the god of the golden age, reconciled with his son Zeus, still continued to reign, in the islands of the ocean, over the blessed of a former generation. In Orphic poems, Zeus calls on Cronus, re- leased from his chains, to assist him in laying the foundation of the world. There is also, in other epic poets afler Homer, a similar ten- dency to lofly and tranquillizing notions. Eugammon, the author of the Telegoniafl, is supposed to have borrowed the part of his poem which treated of Thesprotia, from Mussbus, the poet of the mysteries. Thesprotia was a country in which the worship of the gods of death was peculiarly cultivated. In the AlcmtBoms^ which celebrated Ale- mseon, the son of Amphiaraus, Zagreus was invoked as the highest of all the gods^. The deity meant in this passage was the god of the in-

♦ Ap. Clem. Alex. Protr. p. 30, Potter,

f On this and other points mentioned in the text seeLubeck Aglaophamus, p. 244. \ According to ▼. 169 : r*iX0t; «{r* a.6ctmr»t* rMn K^nag ifA^eifftXiuUj (concerning this reading see Goettliug's edition ;) which verse is wanting in some manuscripts.

\\ See above, eh. vi. § 6.

•[] Ylorvio. r>j, Zxy^iv n fiiaJv va.vv7r'i^ra.ri taivraiv. Ktym. Gud. in v. Zxyoivs^


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 233

fernai regions, but in a much more elevated sense than that in which Hades is usually employed. Another poem of this period, the Minyas, gave an ample description of the infernal regions ; the spirit of which may be inferred from the fact that this part (which was called by the name of **The Descent to Hades") is attributed, among other authors, to Cecrops, an Orphic poet, or even to Orpheus himself^.

^ 4. At the time when the first philosophers appeared in Greece, poems must have existed which difiused, in mythical forms, conceptions of the origin of the world and the destiny of the soul, differing from those in Homer. The endeavour to attain to a knowledge of divine and human things was in Greece slowly and with difficulty evolved from the * religious notions of a sacerdotal fanaticism ; and it was for a long period confined to the refining and rationalizing of the traditional mythology, before it ventured to explore the paths of independent inquiry. In the age of the seven sages several persons appeared, who, (being mainly under the influence of the ideas and rites of the worship of Apollo,) partly by a pure and holy mode of life, and partly by a fanatical temper of mind, surrounded themselves with a sort of supernatural halo, which makes it difficult for us to discern their true character. Among these persons was Epimenides of Crete, an early contemporary of Solon, who was sent for to Athens, in his character of expiatory priest, to free it from the curse which had rested upon it since the Cylonian massacre (about Olymp. 42. B.C. 612). Epime- nides was a man of a sacred and marvellous nature, who was brought up by the nymphs, and whose soul quitted his body, as long and as often as it pleased ; according to the opinion of Plato and other ancients, his mind had a prophetic and inspired sense of divine thingsf. An- other and more extraordinary individual of this class was Abaris, who, about a generation later, appeared in Greece as an expiatory priest, with rites of purification and holy songs. In order to give more im- portance to his mission, he called himself a Hyperborean ; that is, one of the nation which Apollo most loved, and in which he manifested himself in person ; and, as a proof of his origin, he carried with him an arrow which Apollo had given him in the country of the Hyperboreans|. Together with Abaris may be mentioned Aristeas of Proconnesus, on the Propontis ; who took the opposite direction, and, inspired by Apollo,

f Whether the oracles, expiatory verses, and poems (as the origin of the Guretes and Coryhantes) attributed to him are his genuine productions cannot now be deter- mined. Damascius, De Princip. p. 383, ascribes to him (after Eudemus) a cosmo- gony, in which the mundane egg plays an important part, as in the Orphic cos- mogonies.

I This is the ancient form of the story in Ilerod. iv. 36, the orator Lycurgus, &c. According to the later version, which is derived from Heraclides Ponticus, Abaris was himself carried by the marvellous airow through the air round the world. Some expiatory verses and oracles were likewise ascribed to Abaris ; also an epic poem, called *' the Arrival of Apollo among the Hyperboreans.*'


2S4 HISTORY OP THE

travelled to the far north, in search of the Hyperboreans. He de- scribed this marvellous journey in a poem, called Arimaspeay which was read by Herodotus, and Grreeks of still later date. It consisted of ethnographical accounts and stories about the northera nations, mixed with notions belonging to the worship of Apollo. In this poem, how- ever, Aristeas so far checked his imagination, that he only represented himself to have penetrated northwards from the Scythians as far as the Issedones ; and he gave as mere reports the marvellous tales of the one- eyed Arimaspians, of the griffins which guarded* the gold, and ctf* the happy Hyperboreans beyond the northern mountains. Aristeas be- came quite a marvellous personage : he is said to have accompanied Apollo, at the founding of Metapontum, in the form of a raven, and to have appeared centuries afterwards, (viz. when he really lived, about the time of Pythagoras,) in the same city of Magna Graecia.

Pherecydes, of the island of Syros, one of the heads of the Ionic school, belongs to this class of the sacerdotal sages, inasmuch as he gave a mythical form to his notions about the nature of things and their internal principks. There are extant some fragments of a theogouy composed by him, which bear a strange character, and have a much closer resemblance to the Orphic poems than to those of Hesiod^. They show that by this time the character of the theogonic poetry had been changed, and that Orphic ideas were in vogue.

$ 5. No name of any literary production of an Orphic poet before Pherecydes is known ; probably because the hymns and religious songs composed by the Orphic poets of that time were destined only for their mystical assembles, and were iiidissolubly connected with the rites performed at them. An exteusive Orphic literature first appeared about the time of the Persian war, when the remains of the Pytha- gorean order in Magna Graecia united themselves to the Orphic asso- ciations. The philosophy of Pythagoras had in itself no analogy with the spirit of the Orphic mysteries ; nor did the life, education, and manners of the followers of Orpheus at all resemble those of the Pythagorean league in lower Italy. Among the Orphic theologers, the worship of Dionysus was the centre of all religious ideas, and the starting point of all speculations upon the world and human nature. The worship of Dionysus, however, appears not to have been held in honour in the cities of the Pythagorean league ; these philosophers preferred the worship of Apollo and the Muses, which best suited the spirit of their social and political institutions. This junction was evidently not formed till after the dissolution o^ the Pythagorean league in Magna Graecia, and the sanguinary persecution of its

  • Sturz de Pherecyde p. 40. sqq. The mixture of divine beings {htn^a^m), the

god Ophioneus, the unity of Zeus and Eros^ and several other things in the Theo- ^ony uf Pherecydes also occur in Orphic poems. The Cosmogony of Acusilaus (Damascius, p. 313, after Eudemus), in which ^ther, Eros, and Metis, are made the children of Ercbos and Night, also has an Orphic colour. See below, ^ 6.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 235

members, by the popular party (about Olymp. 69. 1. B.C. 504). It was natural that many Pythagoreans, having contracted a fondness for exclusive associations, should seek a refuge in these Orpliic conven- ticles, sanctified, as they were, by religion. Several persons, who are called Pythagoreans, and who were known as the authors of Orphic poems, belong to this period ; as Cercops, Brontinus, and Arignote. To Cercops was attributed the great poem called the " Sacred Legends " (icpol Xoyot)^ a complete system of Orphic theology, in twenty-four rhapsodies ; probably the work of several persons, as a certain Diog- oetus was also called the author of it. Brontinus, likewise a Pytha- gorean, was said to he the author of an Orphic poem upon nature (^v^im), and o£ a poem called " The Mantle and the Net " (vitrXoQ Kol ^jcrvov), Orphic expressions symbolical of the creation. Arignote, who is called a pupil, and even a daughter, of Pythagoras, wrote a poem called Bacchica. Other Orphic poets were Persinus of Miletus, Timodes of Syracuse, Zopyrus of Heraclea, or Tarentum. •

The Orphic poet of whom wc know the most is Onomacritus, who, however, was not connected with the Pythagoreans, having lived with Pisistratus and the Pisistratlds, and been held in high estimation by them, before the dissolution of the Pythagorean league. He collected the oracles of Museus for the Pisistratlds ; in which work, the poet Lasus is said (according to Herodotus) to have detected him in a forgery. He also composed songs for Bacchic initiations ; in which he ooonected the Titans with the mythology of Dionysus, by de- scribing them as the intended murderers of the young god^ ; which shows how far the Orphic mythology departed from the theogony of Hesiod. In the time of Plato, a considerable number of poems, under the names of Orpheus and Musaeus, bad been composed by these per- sons, and were recited by rhapsodists at the public games, like the epics of Homer and Hesiod f- The Orpheotelests, Ukewise, an obscure set c^ mystagogues derived from the Orphic associations, used to come before the doors oi the rich, and promise to release them from their own sins, and those of their forefathers, by sacrifices and expiatory songs ; and they produced at this ceremony a heap of books of Orpheus and Musieus, upon which they founded their promises {•

§ 6. In treating of the subjects of this early Orphic poetry, we may remark, first, that there is much difficulty in distinguishing it from Orphic prodnctions of the decline of paganism ; and, secondly, that a detailed explanation of it would involve us in the mazes of ancient mythology and religion. We will, therefore, only mention the prin- cipal contents of these compositions ; which will suffice to give an idea of their spirit and character. We shall take them chiefly from the Orphic cosmogony, which later writers designate as the common one

  • Thb is the meaning of the important passage of Pausan. viii. 37. 3.

t Plato, Ion. p. 536 B. t I'l^^*') I^ep. ii. p. 36 1.


236 HISTORY OF THE

(4 (TvyiiSrfg), — for there were others still more wild and extravagant,— and which probably formed a part of the long poetical collection of

  • ' Sacred Legends," which has been ahready mentioned.

We see, at the very outset of the Orphic theogony, an attempt to refine upon the theogony of Hesiod, and to arrive at higher abstrac- tions than his chaos. The Orphic theogony placed Chronos, Time, at the head of all things, and conferred upon it life and creative power. Chronos was then described as spontaneously producing, chaos and aether, and forming from chaos, within the eether, a mundane egg, of brilliant white. The mundane egg is a notion which the Orphic poets had in common with many Oriental systems; traces of it also occur in ancient Greek legends, as in that of the Dioscuri ; but the Orphic poets Brst developed it among the Greeks. The whole essence of the world was supposed to be contained in this egg^ and to grow from it, like the life of a bird. The mundane egg, which included the matler<of chaos, was impregnated by the winds, that is, by the eether in motion ; and thence arose the golden-winged Eros*. The notion of Eros, as a cosmogoiiic being, is carried much further by the Orphic poets than by Hesiod. They also called him Metis, the mind of the world. The name of Phanes first became common in Orphic poetry of a later date. The Orphic poets conceived this Eros-Phanes as a pantheistic being; the parts of the world forming, as it were, the limbs of his body, and being thus united into an organic whole. The heaven was his head, the earth his foot, the sun and moon his eyes, the rising and setting of the heavenly bodies his horns. An Orphic poet addresses Phanes in the following poetical language : '^ Thy tears are the hapless race of men ; by thy laugh thou hast raised up the sacred race of the gods. Eros then gives birth to a long series of gods, similar to that in Hesiod. By his daughter. Night, he produces Heaven and Earth; these then bring forth the Titans, among whom Cronus *and Rh<ia become the parents of Zeus. The Orphic poets, as well as Hesiod, made Zeus the supreme god at this period of the world. He was, therefore, supposed to supplant Eros-Phanes, and to unite this being with himself. Hence arose the fable of Zeus having swallowed Phanes ; which is evidently taken from the story in Hesiod, that Zeus swallowed Metis, the goddess of wisdom. Hesiod, however, merely meant to imply that Zeus knows all things that concern our weal or woe ; while the Orphic poets go further, and endow their Zeus with the anima mundi. Accordingly, they represent Zeus as now being the first and last; the beginning, middle, and end; man and woman; and, in fine, everything. Nevertheless, the universe was conceived to

  • This feature is aUo iu the burlesque Orphic cosmogony in Aristoph. Av. 694;

according to which the Orphic verse in Schul. Apoll. Rhod. iii. 26 should he thus understoiid :

Aura^ 'i(^6jTa. x^ovoi (not K^^vae) xa« 'rviu(ji.u.Tcc rtivTu (in the nominative case)


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 237

stand in different relations to Zeus and to Eros. The Orphic jmcts also

described Zeus as uniting the jarring elements into one harmonious

structure ; and thus restoring, by his wisdom, the unity which existed

in Phanes, but which had afterwards been destroyed, and replaced by

confusion and strife. Here we meet with the idea of a creation, which

was quite unknown to the most ancient Greek poets. While the

Greeks of the time of Homer and Hesiod considered the world as an

organic being, which was constantly growing into a state of greater

perfection ; the Orphic poets conceived the world as having been formed

by the Deity out of pre-existing matter, and upon a predetermined plan.

Hence, in describing creation, they usually employed the image of a

  • ' crater," in which the different elements were supposed to be mixed

in certain proportions ; and also of a peplos," or garment, in which

the different threads are united into one web. Hence ** Crater," and

•* Peplos,*' occur as the titles of Orphic poems.

§ 7. Another great difference between the notions of the Orphic poets and those of the early Greeks concerning the order of the world was, that the former did not limit their views to the present state of mankind ; still less did they acquiesce in Hesiod 's melancholy doctrine of successive ages, each one worse than the preceding ; but they looked for a cessation of strife, a holy peace, a state of the highest happiness and beatitude of souls at the end of all things. Their firm hopes of this result were founded upon Dionysus, from the worship of whom all their peculiar religious ideas were derived. According to them, Dionysus-Zagreus was a son of Zeus, whom he had begotten, i!i the form of a dragon, upon his daughter Cora- Persephone, before she was carried off to the kingdom of shadows. The young god was supposed to pass through great perils. This was always an essential part of the mythology of Dionysus, especially as it was related in the neighbour- hood of Delphi ; but it was converted by the Orphic poets, and espe- cially by Onomacritus, into the marvellous legend which is preserved by later writers. According to this legend, Zeus destined Dionysus for king, set him upon the throne of heaven, and gave him Apollo and the Curetes to protect him. But the Titans, instigated by the jealous Here, attacked him by surprise, having disguised themselves under a coating of plaster (a rite of the Bacchic festivals), while Dionysus, whose attention was engaged with various playthings, particularly a splendid mirror, did not perceive their approach. Afler a long and fearful conflict the Titans overcame Dionysus, and tore him into seven pieces*, one piece for each of themselves. Pallas, however, succeeded in saving his palpitating heartf) which was swallowed by Zeus in a drink. As the ancients considered the heart as the seat of life, Diony- sus was again contained in Zeus, and again begotten by him. Zeus

  • The Orphic poets added Phorcys and Dione to the Titans and Titanides of Hesiod.

f K^aVvfy ToiXkofAivriv, an etymological fable.


238 HISTORY OF THE

at the same time aven^^es the slaughter of his son by striking and con- suming the Titans with his thunderbolts. From their aahes^ according to this Orphic legend, proceeded the race of men. This EMonysus, torn in pieces and born again, is destined to succeed Zeus in the government of the world, and to restore the golden age. In the same system Dio- nysus was also the god from whom the liberation of souls was expected; for, according to an Orphic notion, more than once alluded to by Plato, human souls are punished by being confined in the body, as in a prison. The sufferings of the soul in its prison, the steps and transitions by which it passes to a higher state of existence, and its gradual purifica- tion and enlightenment, were all fully described in these poems ; and Dionysus and Cora were represented as the deities who performed the task of guiding and purifying the souls of men.

Thus, in the poetry of the first five centuries of Ghreek literature, especially at the close of this period, we find, instead of the calm enjoy- ment of outward nature which characterised the early epic poetry, a profound sense of the misery of human life and an ardent Tonging for a condition of greater happiness. This feeling, indeed, was not so extended as to become common to the whole Chneek nation ; but it took deep root in individual minds, and was connected with more serious and spiritual views of human nature.

We will now turn our attention to the progress made by the Greeks, in the last century of this period, in prdie composition.


CHAPTER XVII.


4 1 • Opposition of philosophy and poetry among the Greeks ; causes of the intro- duction of prose writings. § 2. The lonians give the main impulse ; tendency of philosophical speculation among the lonians. § 3. Retrospect of the theok^csl speculations of Fherecydes. ( 4. Thales; he combines practical talents with bold ideas concerning the nature of -things. ( 5. AnaximandeTf a writer and inquirer on the nature of things. ( 6. Anaximenes pursues the physical in- quiries of his predecessors. ( 7. Heraclitus ; profound character of his natural philosophy. ( 8. Changes introduced by Anaxagoras ; new direction of the physical speculations of the lonians. § 9. Diogenes continues the early doctrine. ArchelauSy an Anaxagoiean, carries the Ionic philosophy to Athens. § 10. Doc- trines of the Eleatics, founded by Xenophanes ; their enthusiastic character is expressed in a poetic form. § 11. Parmenides gives a logical form to the doc- trines of Xenophanes ; plan of his poem. (12. Further development of the Kieatic doctrine by Melissus and Zeno. ( 13. Empedocles, akin to Anaxagoras and the b:ieatics, but conceives lofty ideas of his own. } 14. Italic school ; re- Ci'ives its impulse from an Ionian, which is modified by the Doric character of the inhabitants. Cuincideuce of its practical tendency with its phikwophical principle.

§ I. As the design of this work is to give a history, not of the philo- sophy, but of the literature of Greece, we shall limit ourselves to such a


LITERATURE OP ANCIENT GREECE. 239

view of the early Greek philosophers as will illustrate the literary pro- gress of the Greek nation. Philosophy occupies a peculiar province of the human mind ; and it has its origin in habits of thought which are confined to a few. It is necessary not only to possess these habits of thought, but also to be singularly free from the shackles of any parti- cular system, in order fnlly to comprehend the speculations of the an- cient Greek philosophers, as preserved in the fragments and accounts of their writings. Even if a history of physical and metaphysical spe- calation among the early Greek philosophers were likely to interest the reader, yet it would be foreign to the object of the present work, which is intended to illustrate the intellectual progress and character of the entire Greek nation. Philosophy, for some time afler its origin in Greece, was as far removed from the ordinary thoughts, occupations, and amusements of the people, as poetry was intimately connected with them. Poetry ennobles and elevates all that is most characteristic of a nation; its religion, mythology, political and social institutions, and manners. Philosophy, on the other hand, begins by detaching the mind from the opinions and haUts in which it has been bred up ; from the national conceptions of the gods and the universe ; and from the traditbnary maxims of ethics and politics. The philosopher attempts as far as possible to think for himself; and hence he is led to disparage all that is handed down from antiquity. Hence, too, the Greek philo- sophers from the beginning renounced the ornaments of verse ; that is, of the vehicle which had previously been used for the expression of every elevated feeling. Philosophical writings were nearly the earliest compositions in the unadorned language of common life, ft is not probable that they would have been composed in this form, if they had been intended for recital to a multitude assembled at games and festi- vals. It would have required great courage to break in upon the rhyth- mical flow of the euphonious hexameter and lyric measures, with a discourse uttered in the ktnguage of ordinary conversation. The most ancient writings of Greek philosophers were however duly brief records of their principal doctrines, designed to be imparted to a few persons. lliere was no reason why the form of common speech should not be used for these, as it had been long before used for laws, treaties, and the like. In &ct, prose composition and writing are so intimately con- nected, that we may venture to assert that, if writing had become com- mon among the Greeks at an earlier period, poetry would not have so long letained its ascendancy. We shall indeed find that philosophy, as it advanced, sought the aid of poetry, in order to strike the mind more forcibly. And if we had aimed at minute precision in the division of our subject, we should have passed from theological to philosophical poetry. But it is more convenient to observe, as far as possible, the chronological order of the different branches of literature, and the de- pendence of one upon another; and we shall therefore classify this phi-


240 HISTORY OP THE

losophical poetry with prose coinix)sitions, as being a limited and \wc\\' liar deviation from the usual practice with regard lo philosophical writings.

§ 2. However the Greek philosophers may have sought after origin- ulity and independence of thought, they could not avoid being influ- enced in their speculations by the peculiar circumstances of their own position. Hence the earliest philosophers may be classed according to the races and countries to which they belonged ; the idea of a schoo* (that is, of a transmission of doctrines through an unbroken series of teachers and disciples) not being applicable to this period.

The earliest attempts at philosophical speculation were made by the lonians ; that race of the Greeks, which not only had, in common life, shown the greatest desire for new and various kinds of knowledge, but had also displayed the most decided taste for scientific researches into the phenomena of external nature. From this direction of their in- quiries, the Ionic philosophers were called by the ancients, physical philosophers," or *' physiologers." With a boldness characteristic of inexperience and ignorance, they began by directing their inquiries to the most abstruse subjects ; and, unaided by any experiments which were not within the reach of a common man, and unacquainted with the first elements of mathematics, they endeavoured to determine the origin and principle of the existence of all things. If we are tempted to smile at the temerity with which these lonians at once ventured upon the solution of the highest problems, we are, on the other hand, asto- nished at the sagacity with which many of them conjectured the con- nexion of appearances, which they could not fully comprehend without a much greater progress in the study of nature. The scope of these Ionian speculations proves that they were not founded on d pjiori rea sonings, independent of experience. The Greeks were, always distin- guished by their curiosity, and their powers of delicate#observation. Yet this gifled nation, even when it had accumulated a large stock of knowledge concerning natural objects, seems never to have attempted more than the observation of phenomena' which presented theniselves unsought ; and never to have made experiments devised by the investi- gator.

§ 3. Before we pass from these general remarks to ah account of the individual philosophers of the Ionic school, (taking the term in its most extended sense,) we must mention a man who is important as forming an intermediate link between the sacerdotal enthusiasts, Epimenides, Abaris, and others, noticed in the last chapter, and the Ionic physio- logers. Pherecydes, a native of the island of Syros, one of the Cyc- lades, is the earliest Greek of whose prose writings we possess any remains*, and was certainly one of the first who, after the manner of-the

  • See chap. !S. ^ 3.


LITFRATt'RE OF ANCIENT OREfcCK. 24 I

lonians (l)ef(>i;e they had obtained any papyrus from E<j:y])i), wro'e down their unpolished wisdom upon sheep-skins.* But his prose is only so far prose that it has cast off the fetters of verse, and not because it expresses the ideas of the writer in a simple and perspicuous manner. His book began thus : " !Zeus and Time (Chronos), and Chthonia ex- isted from eternity. Chthonia was called Earth (y^), since Zeus endowed her with honour." Pherecydes next relates how Zeus trans- formed himself into Eros, the god of love, wishing to form the world from the original materials made by Chronos and Chthonia. ^* Zeus makes (Pherecydes goes on to say) a large and beautiful garment ; upon it he paints Earth and Ogenos (ocean), and the houses of Ogenos ; and bespreads the garment over a winged oak."t It is manifest, without attempting a complete explanation of these images, that the ideas and language of Pherecydes closely resembled those of the Orphic theologers, and that he ought rather to be classed with them than with the Ionic philosophers.

§ 4. Pherecydes lived in the age of the Seven Sages ; one of whom, Thales of Miletus, was the first in the series of the Ionic physical philosophers. The Seven Sages, as we have already had occasion to observe, were not solitary thinkers, whose renown for wisdom was acquired by speculations unintelligible to the mass of the people. Their fame, which extended over all Greece, was founded solely on their acts as statesmen, counsellors of the people in public affdirs, and practical men. This is also true of Thales, whose sagacity in affairs of state and public economy appears from many anecdotes. In particular, Herodotus relates, that, at the time when the lonians were threatened by the great Persian power of Cyrus, after the fall of CroBsus, Thales, who was tb'^n very old, advised them to establish an Ionian capital in the middle of their coast, somewhere near Teos, where all the affairs of their race might be debated, and to which all the other Ionic cities might stand in the same relation as the Attic tiemi to Athens. At an earlier age, Thales is said to have foretold to the lonians the total eclipse of the sun, which (either in 610 or 603 B:€.) separated the Medes from the Lydians in the battle which was fought by Cyaxares against Halyattes.^ For this purpose, he doubt- less employed astronomical formulae, which he had obtained, through Asia Minor, from the Chaldeans, the fathers pf Grecian, and indeed

  • Herod. V. 58. The expression *t^t*v^u it^^i^a probahly gave rise to the fable

that Pherecydes was flayed as a punishment for his atheism ; a charge which was made against most of the early philosophers.

f See Sturz Gommentatio de Pherecyde utroque, in his Pherecydis Fragmenfa, ed. alt 1824. The genuineness of the fragments is especially proved by the rare ancient Ionic forms, cited from them by the learned grammarians, ApoUonius au Hercnlian.

{ If Thales was (as is stated by Eusebius) born in Olymp. 35. 2. b, c. 639, h» was then either twenty-nine or thirty-six years old.

a


242 HISTORY OF THE

of all ancient astronomy ; for his own knowledge of mathematics could not have reached as far as the Pythagorean theorem. He is said to have been the first teacher of such problems as that of the equality of the angles at the base of an isosceles triangle. In the main, the tendency of Thales was practical ; and, where his own knowledge was insufficient, he applied the discoveries, of nations more advanced than his own in natural science. Thus he was the first who advised his countrymen, when at sea, not to steer by the Great Bear, which forms a considerable circle round the Pole; but to follow the example of the Phoenicians (from whom, according to Herodotus, the family of Thales was descended), and to take the Lesser Bear for their Polar star.*

Thales was not a poet, nor indeed the author of any written work, and, consequently, the accounts of his doctrine rest only upon the testimony of his contemporaries and immediate successors; so that it would be vain to attempt to construct from them a system of natural philosophy according to his notions. It may, however, be collected from these traditions that he considered all nature as endowed with life: "Everything (he said) is full of gods;"t and he cited, as proofs of this opinion, the magnet and amber, on account of their magnetic and electric properties. It also appears that he considered water as a general principle or cause ; I probably because it sometimes assumes a va])oury, sometimes a liquid form ; and therefore affords a remarkable example of a change of outward appearante. This is sufficient to show that Thales broke through the common prejudices produced by the impressions of the senses; and sought to discover the principle of external forms in moving powers which lie beneath the surface of ap- pearances.

§ 5. Anaximander, also a Milesian, is next after Thales. It seems pretty certain that his little work ** upon nature " {vep) <pv(rewQ)y — as the books of the Ionic physiologers were mostly called, — was written in Olymp. 58, 2, b.c. 547, when he was sixty-four years old.§ This, may be said to be the earliest philosophical work in the Greek language ; for we can scarcely give that name to the mysterious revelations of

  • This constellation was hence called ^onUn. See Schol. Arat. Phcen. 39. Probably

some traditions of this kind served as the basis, of the vaurixh i^r^oXeyia, which was attributed to Thales by the ancients, but, according to a more precise account, was the work of a later writer, Phocius of Samos.

f In the passage of Aristotle, de Anima, i. 5. the words sreivra ^X^^n hSv uhu^ alone express the traditional account of the doctrine of Thales ; the words l» 9\m r^v ^vyM^ fAifuxficLi are the gloss of Aristotle.

X Afx^' aiV/a. The expression a^^ was first used by Anaximander.

§ From the statement of Apollodorus, that Anaximander was sixty-four years old in Olymp. 58. 2. (Diog. La«rt. ii. 2), and of Pliny (N. H. ii. 8.), that the obliquity of the ecliptic was discovered in Olymp. 68, it may be inferred that Anaximander mentioned (his year in his work. Who else could, at that time, have registered such discoveries ?


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GHKECE. 243

Phcrecydes. It was probably written in a style of extreme concise- ness, and in language more befitting poetry than prose, as indeed Jippears from the few extant fragments. The astronomical ami geographical explanations attributed to Anaximander were probably contained in this work. Anaximander possessed a gnomon, or sun- dial, which he had doubtless obtained from Babylon ;* and, being at Sparta (which was still the focus of Greek civilization), he made ob- servations, by which he determined exactly the solstices and equinoxes, and calculated the obliquity of the eclipticf According to Erato- sthenes, he was the first who attempted to draw a map ; in which his object probably was rather to make a mathematical division of the whole earth, than to lay down the forms of the diflfercnt countries com- posing it. According to Aristotle, Anaximander thought that there were innumerable worlds, which he called gods ; supposing these worlds to be beings endowed with an independent power of motion. He also thought that existing worlds were always perishing, and that new worlds were always springing into being; so that motion was per- petual. According to his views, these worlds arose out of the eternal, or rather indeterminable, substance, which he called to aTreipopi he arrived at the idea of an original substance, out of which ali things arose, and to j^hich all things /eturn, by excluding all attributes and limitations. " All existing things (he says in an extant fragment) must, in justice, perish in that in which they had their origin. For one thing is always punished by another for its injustice (i. e., its in- justice in setting itself in the place of another), according to the order of time." J

§ 6. Anaximenes, another Milesian, according to the general tradi- tion of antiquity, followed Anaximander, and must, therefore, have flourished not long before the Persian war.§ With him the Ionic philosophy began to approach closer to the language of argumentative discussion ; his work was composed in the plain simple dialect of the lonians. Anaximenes, in seeking to discover some sensible substance, fiom which outward objects could have been formed, thought that air best fulfilled the conditions of his problem ; and he showed much in- genuity in collecting instances of the rarefaction and condensation of hodies from air. This elementary principle of the lonians was always considered as having an independent power of motion ; and as endowed

  • Herod. II. 109. Concerning Anaximaiider's gnomon^ see Diog. Laert. II. 1,

and others.

+ The obliquity of the ecliptic (that is, the distance of the sun*s course from the eijuator) n)ust have been evident to any one who observed it with attention ; but Anaximander found the means of measuring it, in a certain manner, with the •gnomon.

I SimpHcius ad Aristot. Phys. fol. 6.

§ The more precise slatemenls respecting his date are so confused, that it is dif- finilt to unravel them, See ('linton in the Pliilological Museum, vol. i. p 91.

\^1


244 HISTORY OF THE

with certain attributes of the divine essence. ** As the soul in us (says Anaximenes in an extant fragment),* which is air, holds us together, 60 breath and air surround the whole world."

§ 7. A person of far greater importance in the history of Greek phi- losophy, and especially of Greek prose, is Hrraclitus of Ephesus. The time when he flourished is ascertained to be about the 69th Olym- piad, or B.C. 505. He is said to have dedicated his work, which was entitled " Upon Nature" (though titles of this kind were usually not added to books till later times), to the native goddess of Ephesus, the great Artemis -as if such a destination were alone worthy of it, and he did not consider it worth his while to give it to the public. The concurrent tradition of antiquity describes Heraclitus as a proud and reserved man, who disliked all interchange of ideas with others. He thought that the profound cogitations on the nature of things which he had made in solitude, were far more valuable than all the informa- tion which he could gain from others. " Much learning (he said) does not produce wisdom ; otherwise it would have made Hesiod wise, and Pythagoras, and again Xenophanes and HecataBus.*'t He dealt rather in intimations of important truths than in popular expositions of them, such as the other lonians preferred. His language was prose only inasmuch as it was free from metrical shackles ; but its expressions were bolder and its tone more animated than those of many poems. The cardinal doctrine of his natural philosophy seems to have been, that every thing is in perpetual motion, that nothing has any stable or permanent existence, but that everything is assuming a new form or perishing. '* We step (he says, in his Symbolical language) into the same rivers and we do not step into them" (because in a moment the water is changed). " We are and are not" (because no point in our existence remains fixed) J Thus every sensible object appeared to him, not as something individual, but only as another form of some- thing else. ** Fire (he says) lives the death of the earth ; air lives the death of fire ; water lives the death of air ; and the earth that of water ;' § by which he meant that individual things were only different forms of a universal substance, which mutually destroy each other. In

  • Stobseus, Eclog., p. 296.

f In Diog. Laert. x. 1: «o>.vfi.a6lvi viav oh ^thiffxu (better than (putt)* 'Hrid^tv ya» Mv iiihi^i xeii Tlvietyo^mj avfiig t( Btvo^eivtei rt fiai *E»areuov» All important passage on the first appearance oi learning among tbe Greeks.

^ Uortiftois Toif othrols lf*(ieiivofAiv rt xat ouk ifitfiuivofAtv, tJfAtv rt ueu ovk cT^cv, Heraclit. Alleg. Horn. c. xxiv. p. 84. The image of a stream, into which a person cannot step twice, as it is always different, was used by Heraclitus in several parts of his work, in order to show that all existing things are in a constant state of flux.

§ Z»» «v^ rlv yns ^v»rav, xeii ih^ ^jj rev ^v^ig 6aifttm, thtt^ X>^ rev eti^«s ^dveirof, yij rev tileiTes. Maxim. Tyr. Diss. xxv. p. 260. The expression that one thing lives the death of another is frequent in the fragments of Heraclitus, and generally he appears often to use certain fixed phrases.


LITERATURE OF ANCIINT GKEIXli. 2{b

like maimer he said of men and gods, " Our life is their death; their lifeisonr death;"* that is, he thought that men were gods who had died, and that gods were men raised to life.

Seeking in natural phenomena for the principle of this perpetual motion, Heraclitus supposed it to be Jire, though he probably meant, not the fire perceptible by the senses, but a higher and more universal agent. For, as we have already seen, he conceived the sensible fire as living and dying, like the other elements ; but of the igneous principle of life he speaks thus : " The unchanging order of all things was made neither by a god nor a man, but it has always been, is, and will be, the living fire, which is kindled and extinguished in regular succession.**t Nevertheless, Heraclitus conceived this continual motion not to be the meie work of chance, but to be directed by some power, which he called eifiapijivrj, or fate, and which guided " the way upwards and down- wards" (his expression for production and destruction). " The sun (he said) will not overstep its path ; if it did, the Erinnyes, the allies of justice, would find it out.^'J He recognised in motion an eternal law, which was main>ained by the supreme powers of the universe- In this respect the followers of Heraclitus appear to have departed from the wise example of their teacher; ibr the exaggerated Heracliteans (whom Plato in joke calls oi piovriq^ " the runners") aimed at proving a perpetual change and motion in all things.

Heraclitus, like nearly all the other philosophers, despised the popular religion. Their object was, by arguments derived from their immediate experience, to emancipate themselves from all traditional opinions, which included not only superstition and prejudices, but also some of the most valuable truths. Heraclitus boldly rejected the whole ceremonial of the Greek religion. " They worship images (he said of his country- men) : just as if any one were to converse with houses."§ Neverthe- less, the opinions of Heraclitus on the important question of the rela- tion between mind and body agreed with the popular religion and with the prevailing notions of the Greeks. The primitive beings of the world were, in the popular creed, both spiritual powers and material substances; and Heraclitus conceived the original matter of the world to be the source of life. On the other hand, one of the most impoi tant changes in the history of the human mind was produced by Anaxagoras after the time of Heraclitus, inasmuch as he rejected all the popular

  • ZeifAtv Tov ijuivtitv fidvetrovj TifivvK»fti¥ Ti ro% iKuvttv /3/«y. Philo. Alleg. leg. p. 60.

Ileracl. Alleg. Horn. c. xxiv.

"f" Koo'fiuv rot ecvTov itxeivTuv ovri ris fiiatv out' avS^wvrw t^o/tjfftv, akk' m ait xat scnv xa) tiTTat ort/^ atlZ,v«f a^rofAivov fiir^a xat i^offfitvvvfisvov fiir^a. Clemens Alex. Strom. V. p. 599.

turch, De Kxil. c. xi. p. 604.

§ Kett a.yd\uetfft rovriotffi lu^ivratj oKo7ev u rts ^ofioii Xi(rx*]yivoiTe. Cleintiis Alex. Cohort, p. 33.


4


216 lUSTOllY OF THE

notions on religion and struck into a new path of speculation on sucreii things. Similar opinions had indeed been previously entertained in the East, and, in particular, the Mosaic conceptions of the Deity and the world belong to the same class of religious views. But among the Greeks these views (which the Christian religion has made so familiar in modern times) were frrst introduced by Anaxagoras, and were i)re- sented by him in a philosophical form ; and having been, from the beginning, much more opposed than the doctrines of former philo- sophers to the popular mythological religion, they tended powerfully, by their rapid difiiision, to undermine the principles upon which the entire worship of the ancient gods rested, and therefore prepared the way for the subsequent triumph of Christianity.

§ 8. Anaxagoras, though be is called a disciple of Anaximenes, fol- lowed him at some interval of time ; he flourished at a period when not only the opinions of the Ionic physical philosophers, but those of the Pythagoreans and even of the Eleatics, had been diffused in Greece, and had produced some influence upon speculation. But since it is impossible to arrange together the contemporaneous advances of the different schools or series of philosophers, and since Anaxagoras re- sembled his Ionic predecessors both in the object of his researches and his mode of expounding them, we will finish the series of the Ionic philosophers before we proceed to the Eleatics and Pythagoreans.

The main events of the life of Anaxagoras are known with tolerable certainty from concurrent chronological accounts. He was born at ClazomensB, in Ionia, in Olymp. 70, 1, B.C. 500, and came to Athens in Olymp. 81, 1, B.C. 456.* There he lived for twenty-five years (which is also called thirty in round numbers), till about the beginning of the Pdoponnesian war. At this time there was a faction in the Athenian state whose object it was to shake the power of the great statesman Pericles, and to lower his credit with the people ; but before they ventured to make a direct attack upon him, they began by attacking his friends and familiars. Among these was Anaxagoras, at that time far advanced in age ; and the freedoth of his inquiries into Nature had atForded sufficient ground for accusing him of unbelief in the gods adored by the people. The discrepancy of the testimony makes it dif- ficult to ascertain the result of this accusation ; but thus much is cer- tain, that in consequence of it Anaxagoras left Athens in Olymp. 87, 2, B.C. 431. He died tlucee years afterwards at Lampsacus, in Olymp. 88, 1, B.C. 428, at the age of seventy- two.

The treatise on Nature by Anaxagoras (which was written late in his life, and therefore at Athens) f was in the Ionic dialect, and in prose,

♦ In tho archonship of Callias, who has been confounded with Callias or Callia- de», archon in Olymp. 75, I. This time, in the midst of the terrors of the Persian war, was little favourable to tho philosophical studies of Anaxagoras.

t After Empudocles was known as a philosopher, Aristot. Mctaph. i. 3, wheio i^ycc expresses the entire philosophical pcrfurmauccs.


LITERATUPE OP ANCIENT GREECE. 247

Zkfter the example of Anaximenes. The copious fragments extant* ^'xhibit short sentences connected by particles (a^, and, but, for) with- <:^ut long periods. But though his style was loose, his reasoning was crompact and well arranged. His demonstrations were synthetic, not sBinatytic; that is to say, he subjoined the proof to the proposition to be \Droved, instead of arriving at his result by a process of inquiry.t

The philosophy of Anaxagoras began with his doctrine of atoms, xvhich, contrary to the opinion of all his predecessors, he considered as limited in number. He was the first to exclude the idea of creation from his explanation of nature. ". The Greeks (he said) were mis- taken in their doctrine of creation and destruction; for nothing is cither created or destroyed, but it is only produced from existing things l>y mixture, or it is dissolved by separation. They should therefore rather call creation a conjunction, and destruction a dissolution. "{ ^t, is easy to imagine that Anaxagoras, with this opinion, must have arrived at the doctrine of atoms which were unchangeable and imperishable, and which were mixed and united in bodies in ditferent ways. But since, from the want of chemical knowledge, he was unable to deter- mine the component parts of bodies, he supposed that each separate body (as bone, flesh, wood, stone) consisted of corresponding particles, which are the celebrated ojjtoiofjtipeiai of Anaxagoras. Nevertheless, to explain the production of one thing from another he was obliged to assume that all things contained a portion of all other things, and tliat the particular form of each body depended upon the preponderating ingredient. Now, as Anaxagoras maintained the doctrine that bodies are mere matter, without any spontaneous power of change, he also required a principle of life and motion beyond the material world. This he called spirit (vovc), which, he says, is " the purest and most subtle of all things, having the most knowledge and the greatest strength."§ Spirit does not obey the universal law of the o/Lcoio/ie/oecat, viz. that of mixing with every thing ; it exists in animate beings, but not so closely combined with the material atoms as these are with each other. This spirit gave to all those material atoms, which in the beginning of the world lay in disorder, the impulse by which they took the forms of indi- vidual things and beings. Anaxagoras considered this impulse as having been given by the vovg in a circular direction; according to his opinion, not only the sun, moon, and stars, but even the air and the aether, are

  • The longest is in Simplicius ad Aristot. Phys. p. 336. Auaxagprs Fragmeata

lUustrata, ab £. Scbaubach, Lipsise, 1827 ; fragm. 8.

f Hence, for example, the passage concerning production quoted lower down was not at the beginning, but followed the propobit ions About c/MMfAs^uen, tovg, and motion.

I Simplicius ad Phys. p. 34G, fragm. 22, Schaubach. Concerning the position see Panzerbieter de Fragm. Anaxag. Ordino, p. 9, 21.

& "Eart yap XttrorttTtv v% vrd^ruv ^^vtfAUTuv xei} Kttfict^Mru^oVf xat yvufjcm yi •x'e^t crti* to: Tccffotv 1<r^Uf xot) i^xvu fiiytffTov, Simplicius, ubi sup. Fragm. 8, Schaub.


248 HISTORY OF THE

constantly moving in a circle.* He thought that the power of this circular motion kept all these heavenly bodies (which he supposed to be masses of stone) in their courses. No doctrine of Anaxagoras gave so much offence, or was considered so clear a proof of his atheism, as liis opinion that the sun, the bountiful god Helios, who shines upon both mortals cuid immortals, was a mass of red-hot iron.t How startling must these opinions have appeared at a time when the people were ac- customed to consider nature as pervaded by a tboosand divine powers ! And yet these new doctrines rapidly gained the ascendancy, in spite of all the opposition of religion, poetry, and even the laws which were intended to protect the ancient customs and opinions. A hundred years later Anaxagoras, with his doctrine of vovg^ appeared to Aristotle a sober inquirer, as compared with the wild speculators who preceded him ;$ although Aristotle was aware that his applications of his doc- trines were unsatisfactory and defective. For as Anaxagoras endea- voured to explain natural phenomena, and in this endeavour he, like other natural philosophers, extended the influence of natural causes to its utmost limits, he of course attempted to explain as much as possible by his doctrine of circular motion, and to have recourse as rarely as possible to the agency of vovg. Indeed, it appears that he only intro- duced the latter, like a deus ex machinay when all other means of ex- planation failed.

§ 9. Although Diogenes of Apollonia (in Crete) is not equal in importance, as a philosopher, to his contemporary Anaxagoras, he is yet too considerable a writer upon physical subjects to be here passed over in silence. Without being either the disciple or the teacher, he was a contemporary, of Anaxagoras ; and in the direction of his studies he closely followed Anaximenes, expanding the main doctrines of this philosopher rather than establishing new principles of his own. He began his treatise (which was written in the Ionic dialect) with the laudable principle, *' It appears to me that every one who begins a dis- course ought to state the subject with distinctness, and to make the style simple and dignified.§ He then laid down the principle main-

  • The mathematical studies of Anaxagoras appear likewise to have referred

chiefly to the circle. He attempted a solution of the problem of the quadrature of the circle, and, accordinj]^ to Vitruvius, he instituted some inquiries concerning the optical arrangement of the stage and theatre, which also depended on properties of the circle.

t fAv\os hei^uoas. This Opinion concerning the substance of the heavenly bodies was in great measure foimded upon the great meteoric stone which fell at JEgw Potami, on the Hellespont, in Olymp. 78, 1 ; Anaxagoras and Diogenes of Apol- louia both spoke of this phenomenon. Boeckh Ck)rp. Inscript Gr. vol. ii. p. 320.

X Aristot. Met. A. iii. p. 984, ed. Berol. : o7»» vn<pat¥ t^ivn fro^* lU^ xiyovrats rtvs

T»ii» ^1 t^fAmmm airAJjv ko.) a-ifcvuv, Diog. Laert. vi. 81> ix. 57. Diogen. Apolloniat. Fraujm., ed. F. Panzerbieter (Lipsise, 1830), Fragm. i.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 249

tained by all the physical philosophers who preceded Anaxagoras, viz that all things are different forms of the same elementary substance * which principle he proved by saying that otherwise one thing could not proceed out of another and be nourished by it. Diogenes, like ^ Anaximenes> supposed this elementary substance to be a/r, and, as he conceived it endowed with animation, he found proofs of his doctrine not only in natural phenomena, but also in the human soul, which, according to the popular notions of the ancient Greeks, was breath (li/i/X)))) and therefore air. In his explanations of natural appearances Diogenes went into great detail, especially with regard to the structure of the human body ; and he exhibited not only acquirements which are very respectable for his time, but also a spirit of inquiry and dis- cussion, and a habit of analytical investigation, which are not to be found even in Anaxagoras. The language of Diogenes also shows an attempt at a closer connexion of ideas by means of periodic sen- tences> although the difficulty of taking a general philosophical view is very apparent in his style.*

Diogenes, like Anaxagoras, lived at Athens, and is said to have been exposed to similar dangers. A third Ionic physical philosopher of this time, Archelaus of Miletus, who followed the manner of Anaxa- goras, is chiefly important from having established himself permanently at Athens. It is evident that these men were not drawn to Athens by any prospect of benefit to their philosophical pursuits'; for the Athe- nians at this time showed a disinclination to such studies, which they ridiculed under the name of meteorosophyj and even made the subject of persecution. It was undoubtedly the power which Athens had ac- quired as the head of the confederates against Persia, and the oppres- sion of the states of Asia Minor, which drove these philosophers from Ciazomenae and Miletus to the independent, wealthy, and flourishing Athens. And thus these political events contributed to transfer to Athens the last efforts of Ionic philosophy, which the Athenians at first rejected as foreign to their modes of thinking, but which they after- wards understood and appreciated, and used as a foundation for more extensive and accurate investigations of their own.

§ 10. But before Athens had reached this pre-eminence in philo- sophy, the spirit of speculation was awakened in other parts of Greece, and had struck into new paths of inquiry. The Eleatics afford a re- markable instance of independent philosophical research at this period ; for, although lonians by descent, they departed very widely from their countrymen on the coast of Asia Minor. Elea, (afterwards Velia, ac- cording to the I Oman pronunciation,) was a colony founded in Italy by tlie Phocaeans, when, from a noble love of freedom, they had deli-


  • Especially in the fragment iu Simpliciub ad Aiistot. Ph} s. p. 32. 6 ; Fragm, ii.

r«l. l*an/crbietcr.


252 HISTORY OF THE

annihilation. For, as he says himself, in some sonorous verses,* " How^-^ could that which exists, first will to exist ? how could it become what it- is not ? If it becomes what it is not, it no longer exists ; and the same^ if it begins to exist. Thus all idea of creation is extinguished; and annihilation is incredible .'^ Although in this and other passages the expression of such abstract ideas in epic metre and language may excite surprise, yet there is great harmony between the matter of Parmenid^s and the form in which he has clothed it. His pantheistic doctrine of existence, which he pursued into all its logical consequences, and to which he sacrificed all the evidence of the senses, appeared to him a great and holy revelation. His whole poem on nature was composed in this spirit; and he expressed (though in figurative language) his genuine sentiments, when he related that *' the coursers which carry men as far as thought can reach, accompanied by the virgins of the Sun, brought him to the gates of day and night; that here Justice, who keeps the key of the gate, took him by the hand, addressed him in a friendly manner, and announced to him that he was destined to know everything, the fearless spirit of convincing truth, and the opinions of mortals in which no sure trust is to be placed, &c." t And accordingly his poem, in pursuance of the subject mentioned in these verses, began with the doctrine of pure existence, and then proceeded to an explana- tion of the phenomena of external nature. It was given in the form of a revelation by the goddess Justice, who was described as passing from the first to the second branch of the subject in the following manner : " Here I conclude my sure discourse and thoughts upon truth ; henee- tbrward hear human opinions, and listen to the deceitful ornaments of my speech." Here however Parmenides evidently disparages his own labours ; for, although in this second part he departed firom his funda- mental principle, still it is cleai;, from the fragments which exist, that he never lost sight of his object of bringing the opinions founded on ex- ternal perceptions, into closer accordance with the knowledge of pure intellect.

§ 12. As compared with this great luminary of philosophical pan- theism, his successors (whose youth, at least, falls in the time of which we are treating) appear as lesser lights. It will be sufficient for our purpose to explain the philosophical character of JVIelissus and Zeno. The first was a native of Samos, and was distinguished as being the general who resolutely defended his city against the Athenians, in the war of Olymp. 85. 1. B.C. 440, and even defeated the Athenian fleet, in the absence of Pericles. He followed close upon Parmenides, whose doctrines he appears to have transferred into Ionic prose ; and thus gave greater perspicuity and order to the arguments which the former

  • A p. Simplic. ad Aristot. Phys. f. 31. b. v. 80 sqq. ia Brandis Commeiitationi's

Kleaticae.

f Sext Empir. adv. Mathem. vii. 111. Coram. Eleat. v. 1 sqq.


LITERATURE OP ANCIENT OttKKCE. 253

had veiled in poetic forms * The other, Zeno of Elea, a friend and disciple of Parmenides, also developed the doctrines of Parmenides in a prose work, in which his chief object was to justify the disjunction of philosophical speculation from the ordinary modes of thought (^d^a). This he did, by showing the absurdities involved in the doctrines o^ variety, of motion, and of creation, opposed to that of an all -compre- hending substance. Yet the sophisms seriously advanced by him show how easily the mind is caught in its own snares, when it mistakes its own abstractions for realities ;t and it only depended upon these Eleatics to argue with the same subtlety against the doctrine of ex- istence and unity, in order to make it appear equally absurd with those which they strove to confute.

§ 13. Before we turn from the Eleatics to those other philosophers of Italy, to whom the name of Italic has been aj)propriated, we must notice a Sicilian, who is so peculiar both in his personal qualities and his philosophical doctrines, that he cannot be classed with any sect, although his opinions were influenced by those of the lonians, the Eleatics, and the Pythagoreans. Empedocles of Agrigentum does not belong to so early a period as might be inferred from the accounts of his character and actions, which represent him as akin to Epimenides or Abaris. It is known that this Empedocles, the son of Me ton, | flourished about the eighty-fourth Olympiad, b. c. 444, when he was concerned in the colony of Thurii, which was established by nearly all the Hellenic races, with unanimous enthusiasm and great hopes of success, upon the site of the ruined Sybaris. Aristotle considers him as a contemporary of Anaxagoras, but as having preceded him in the publication of his vmtings. Empedocles was held in high honour by his countrymen of Agrigentum, and also apparently by the other Doric states of Sicily. He reformed the constitution of his native city, by abolishing the oligarchical council of the Thousand ; which measure gave such general satisfaction, that the people are said to have offered him the regal authority. The fame of Empedocles was, however,

  • In order to give an example of hiR manner, we translate a fragment of

M«li8sas in Simptic. ad Phys. f. 22 b. '^ If nothing exists, what can be predicated of it as of something existing ? But if something exists, it is either produced or eternal. If it is produced, it is produced either from something which eidsts, or from something which does not exist. But it is impossible that anything should he produced from that which does not exist ; for, since nothing which exists is pro- duced from that which does not exist, much less can abstract existence (to a^Xus iii) be so produced. In like manner, that which exists cannot be produced from that which dues not exist; for in that case it would exist without having been pro- duced. That which exists cannot therefore change. It is, therefore, eternal."

f Thus Zeno, in order to disprove the existence of space (which he sought to disprove, for the purpose of disproving the existence of motion), argued as follows : " If space exists, it must be in something ; there must, therefore, be a space ron- tainiug space.^ He did not consider that the idea of space is only conceived, in order to answer the question, In what ? not the question, What ?

X There was an earlier Empedocles, the father of Meton, who gained the prize with the race-horse in Olymp. 71.


254 HISTORY OP THE

principally acquired by improvements which he made in the physical condition of large tracts of country. He destroyed the pestiferous ex- halations of the marshes about SeHnus, by carrying two small streams through the swampy grounds, and thus draining off the water. This act is recorded on some beautiful coins of Selinus, which are sti<l ex- tant.* In other places he blocked up some narrow valleys with large constructions, and thus screened a town from the noxious winds which blew into it ; by which he earned to himself the title of "wind averter'* (Kw\v<rayifia£).f It is probable that Empedocles did not conceal his consciousness of possessing extraordinary intellectual powers, and of rising above the limited capacities of the mass of mankind ; so that we need not wonder at his having been considered by his countrymen in Sicily as a person endowed with supernatural and prophetic gifls. Among the sharpsighted and sceptical lonians, who were always seeking to penetrate into the natural causes of appearances, such an opinion could scarcely have gained ground at this time. But the Dorians in Sicily were as yet accustomed to connect all new events with their ancient belief in the gods, and to conceive them in the spirit of their religious traditions.

The poem of Empedocles upon nature also bears the mark of enthu- siasm, both in its epic language and the nature of its contents. At the beginning of it he said, that fate and the divine will had decreed that, if one of the gods should be betrayed into defiling his hands with blood, he should be condemned to wander about for thirty thousand years, far removed from the immortals. He then described himself to have been exiled from heaven, for having engaged in deadly conflict, and com- mitted murder. J As, therefore, since the heroic times of Greece, a fugitive murderer required an expiation and purification ; so a god ejected from heaven, and condemned to appear in the likeness of a man, required some purification that might enable him to resume his original high estate. This purification was supposed to be in part accomplished by the lofty contemplations of the poem, which was hence — either wholly or in part — called a song of expiation {KaOapfiol). According to the idea of the transmigration of souls, Empedocles sup- posed that, since his exile from heaven, he had been a shrub, a fish, a bird, a boy, and a girl. For the present, " the powers which conduct souls" had borne him to the dark cavern of the earth ;§ and from hence the return to divine honours was open to him, as to seers and

  • Concerning these coins, see Acnali dell' lustituto di corrisp. archeclog^ca, 1835.

p. 265.

f Empedocles Agrigentinus, de vita et philosophia ejus exposuit, carmiuum reli- quias collegit Sturz, Liiisiae. 1805, T. 1. p. 49.

+ Fragment ap. Plutarch, de exilio. c. 17. (p. 607.) ap. Sturz. v. 3. sqq.

§ V. 3C2. and v. 9. in Shuz (from Diog. Laert. viii. 77. and Poi-phyr. de antro nymph, c. 8) ought evii't»ntly to be connected in the manner indicated in the text.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 255

poets, and other benefactors of mankind. The ^cat doctrine, that Love is the power which formed the world, was probably announced to him by the Muse whom he invoked, as the secret by the contemplation of which he was to emancipate himself from all the baneful effects of discord.*

The physical philosophy of Empedocles has much in common with that of the Eleatics; and hence Zeno is said to have commented on his poem, that is, probably, he reduced it to the strict principles of the Eleatic school. It has also much in common with the philosophy of Anaxagoras; which would itself scarcely have arisen, if the Eleatic doctrine of eternal existence had not been already opposed to that of Heraclltus concerning the flux of things. Empedocles also denied the possibility of creation and destruction, and saw in the processes so called nothing more than combination and separation of parts; like the Eleatics, he held the doctrine of an eternal and imperishable existence. But he considered this existence as having different natures ; inasmuch as he supposed that there are four elements of things. To these he gave mythological names, calling tire the all-penetrating Zeus, air, the life-giving Here; earth (as being the gloomy abode of exiled spirits), Aidoneus ; and water, by a name of his own, Nestis. These four elements he supposed to be governed by two principles, one posi- tive and one negative, that is to say, connecting, creating love, and dissolving, destroying discord. By the working of discord the world was disturbed from its original condition, when all things were at rest in the form of a globe, ** the divine sphasrus ;" and a series of changes began, from which the existing world gradually arose. Empedocles described and explained, with much ingenuity, the beautiful structure of the universe, and treated of the nature of the earth's surface and its productions. In these inquiries he appears to have anticipated some of the discoveries of modern science. Thus, for example, his doctrine that mountains and rocks had been raised by a subterranean firef is an anticipation of the theory of elevation established by recent geolo- gists; and his descriptions of the rude and grotesque forms of the earliest animals seem almost lo show that he was acquainted with the fossil remains of extinct races. X

§ 14. We now turn to that class of ancient philosophers which in

  • This is proved by the passage in Simplic. ad Phys. f. 34. v. 52. sq. Sturz.:

In like manner the Muse says to the poet:

trtvffiat' ov ^Xitof y% fi^anin fAnrts a^v^tv.

V. 331. from Sext. Empir. adv. math. vii. 122. sq. The invocation of the Muse is in Sext. Einpir. adv. Math. vii. 124. v. 341. sq.

f Plutarch de primu frij^. c. 19. (p. 953.)

I See i^lian Hist. An. xvi. 29. ap. Sturz. v 14 sq.


254 HISTORY OF THE

principally acquired by improvements which he made in the physical condition of large tracts of country. He destroyed the pestiferous ex- halations of the marshes about Selinus, by carrying two small streams through the swampy grounds, and thus draining off the water. This act is recorded on some beautiful coins of Selinus, which are sti'd ex- tant.* In other places he blocked up some narrow valleys with large constructions, and thus screened a town from the noxious winds which blew into it ; by which he earned to himself the title of " wind averter'* (KwXvaayijjLacy.f It is probable that Empedocles did not conceal his consciousness of possessing extraordinary intellectual powers, and of rising above the limited capacities of the mass of mankind ; so that we need not wonder at his having been considered by his countrymen in Sicily as a person endowed with supernatural and prophetic gifls. Among the sharpsighted and sceptical lonians, who were always seeking to penetrate into the natural causes of appearances, such an opinion could scarcely have gained ground at this time. But the Dorians in Sicily were as yet accustomed to connect all new events with their ancient belief in the gods, and to conceive them in the spirit of their religious traditions.

The poem of Empedocles upon nature also bears the mark of enthu- siasm, both in its epic language and the nature of its contents. At the beginning of it he said, that fate and the divine will had decreed that, if one of the gods should be betrayed into defiling his hands with blood, he should be condemned to wander about for thirty thousand years, far removed from the immortals. He then described himself to have been exiled from heaven, for having engaged in deadly conflict, and com- mitted murder. J As, therefore, since the heroic times of Greece, a fugitive murderer required an expiation and purification ; so a god ejected from heaven, and condemned to appear in the likeness of a man, required some purification that might enable him to resume his original high estate. This purification was supposed to be in part accomplished by the lofty contemplations of the poem, which was hence — either wholly or in part — called a song of expiation (KuOapfjioi). According to the idea of the transmigration of souls, Empedocles sup- posed that, since his exile from heaven, he htid been a shrub, a fish, a bird, a boy, and a girl. For the present, " the powers which conduct souls" had borne him to the dark cavern of the earth ;§ and from hence the return to divine honours was open to him, as to seers and

  • Concerning these coins, see Acnali dell' lustituto di corrisp. archeologica, 1835.

p. 265.

f Empedocles Agrigentinus, de vita et philosophia ejus exposuit, carmiuum reli- qiiias collegit Sturz. Lijisias. 1805, T. 1. p. 49.

+ Fragment ap. Plutarch, de exilio. c. 17. (p. 607.) ap. Sturz. v. 3. sqq.

§ V. 3C2. and v. 9. in Sturz (from Diog. Laert. viii. 77. and Porphyr. tie antro nymph, c. 8) ought evif'ently to be connected in the manner indicated in the text.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 255

poets, and other benefactors of mankind. The ^cat doctrine, that Love is the power which formed the world, was probably announced to him by the Muse whom he invoked, as the secret by the contemplation of which he was to emancipate himself from all the baneful effects of discord.*

The physical philosophy of Empedocles has much in common with that of Uie Eleatics ; and hence Zeno is said to have commented on his poem, that is, probably, he reduced it to the strict principles of the Eleatic school. It has also much in common with the philosophy of Anaxagoras; which would itself scarcely have arisen, if the Eleatic doctrine of eternal existence had not been already opposed to that of Ueraclitus concerning the flux of things. Empedocles also denied the possibility of creation and destruction, and saw in the processes so called nothing more than combination and separation of parts ; like the Eleatics, he held the doctrine of an eternal and imperishable existence. But he considered this existence as having different natures ; inasmuch as he supposed that there are four elements of things. To these he gave mythological names, calling tire the cUl-penetrating Zeus , air, the life-giving Here; earth (as being the gloomy abode of exiled spirits), Aidoneus ; and water, by a name of his own, Nestis. These four elements he supposed to be governed by two principles, one posi- tive and one negative, that is to say, connecting, creating love, and dissolving, destroying discord. By the working of discord the world was disturbed from its original condition, when all things were at rest in the form of a globe, ** the divine sphasrus ;" and a series of changes began, from which the existing world gradually arose. Empedocles described and explained, with much ingenuity, the beautiful structure of the universe, and treated of the nature of the earth's surface and its productions. In these inquiries he appears to have anticipated some of the discoveries of modern science. Thus, for example, his doctrine that mountains and rocks had been raised by a subterranean firef is an anticipation of the theory of elevation established by recent geolo- gists; and his descriptions of the rude and grotesque forms of the earliest animals seem almost lo show that he was acquainted with the fossil remains of extinct races. X

§ 14. We now turn to that class of ancient philosophers which in

  • This is proved by the passage in Simplic. ad Phys. f. 34. v. 52. sq. Sturz.:

Kai tptXcTfis iv roiirn^ ton (u,nJtos n ^rXArog rt-

In like manner the Muse says to the poet:

V. 331. from Sext. Empir. adv. math. vii. 122. sq. The invocation of the Muse is in Sext. Empir. adv. Math. vii. 124. v. 341. sq.

f Plutarch de primo frig. c. 19. (p. 953.)

I See JEVmn Hist. An. xvi. 29. ap. Sturz. v 14 sq.


256 HISTORY OP THE

Greece itself was called the Italic;* the most obscure region of the Greek philosophy, as we have no accounts of individual writings, and scarcely even of individual v^iters, belonging to it. Nevertheless, the personal history of Pythagoras, the most conspicuous name among the Italic philosophers, is not so obscure as to compel us to resort to the hypothesis of an antehistorical Pythagoras, from whom a sort of Pytha- gorean religion, together with the primitive constitution of the Italian cities, was derived, and who had been celebrated in very early legends as the instructor of Numa and the author of an ancient civilization and philosophy in Italy .f The Greeks who first make mention of Pytha- goras (viz. Heraclitus and Xenophanes) do not speak of him as a fabulous person. Heraclitus, in particular, mentions him as a rival whose method of seeking wisdom differed from his own. There are, moreover, good grounds for believing the general tradition of antiquity, that Pythagoras, the son of Mnesarchus^, was not a native of the country in which he acquired such extraordinary honour, but of the Ionic island of Samos, and that he migrated to Italy when Samos fell under the tyrannical dominion of Polycrates; which migration is placed, with much probability, in Olymp. 62. 4. b. c. 529. J Considering the dif- ferent characters and dispositions of the Hellenic races, it was natural that philosophy, which seeks to give independence to the mind, and to free it from prejudices and traditions, should always receive its first im- pulse from lonians. The notion of gaining wisdom by one's own elfbrts was exclusively Ionic ; the Dorians laid greater stress on the tra- ditions of their fathers, and their hereditary religion and morality, than on their own speculations. It is probable that Pythagoras, before he left the Ionic Samos, and came to Italy, was not very different from such men as Thales and Anaximander. He had doubtless an inquiring mind, and habits of careful observation ; and he probably combined with mathematical studies (which made their first steps among the lonians) a knowledge of natural history and of other subjects, which he increased by travelling. § Thus Heraclitus not only includes him among persons of much knowledge, || but says of him as follows : " Py- thagoras, the son of Mnesarchus, has made more inquiries than any other man ; he has acquired wisdom, knowledge, and mischievous re-

  • This appellative is an instance of the limited sense of the name Italia, acconl-

inj^ to which it only comprehends the later Bruttii and Calabria. Otherwise the Eleatics could not be distinguished from the Italic school.

t Niebuhr's hypothesis. See his Hist, of Rome, vol. i. p. 165. 244. ed. 2. [p. 158. 235. Eng. transl. last ed.]

+ That the ancient chronologists in Cicero de Re Publ. II. 15, fixed 01. 62. 4, as the year of the arrival of Pythagoras in Italy, is proved by the context. 01. 62. 1, is given as the first year of the reign of Polycrates. Comp. Ch. XIII. § 1 1.

§ That P)rthagoras acquired his wisdom in Egjrpt cannot be safely inferred from Isocrat. Busir. ^ 30 ; the Busiris being a mere rhetorical and sophistical exercise, in which little regard would be paid to historical truth.

!| See above, § 7.


LITERATURB OP ANCIENT GREECE. 257

finement*." But since this Ionic philosopher found himself, on his arrival at Croton, among a mixed population of Dorians and Achaeans * and since his adherents in the neighbouring Doric states were con- stantly increasing ; it is difficult to say whether the opinions and dispo- sitions which he had brought with him from Samos, or the opinions and dispositioiis of the citizens of Croton and the neighbouring cities, who received his doctrinesi exercised the greater influence upon him. Thus much, however, is evident, that speculations upon nature, prompted by the mere love oi truth, could not be in question ; so that the prin- cipal efforts of Pythagoras and his adherents were directed to practical life, especially to the regulation of political institutions according to ge- neral Tiews of the order of human society. There is no doubt that Croton, Caulonia, Metapontum, and other cities in Lower Italy, were long governed, under the superintendence of Pythagorean societies, upon aristocratic principles ; and that they enjoyed prosperity at home, and were formidable, from their strAigth, to foreign states. And even when, after the destruction of Sybaris by the Crotoniats (Oiymp. 67. 3. B.C. 510.), dissensions between the nobles and the people concerning the division of the territory had led to a furious persecution of the Py- thagoreans ; yet the times returned when Pythagoreans were again at the head of Italian cities ; for instance, Archytas, the contemporary of Socrates and Plato, administered tlie affairs of Tarentum with great renown f* It appears that the individual influence of Pythagoras was exercised by means of lectures, or of sayings uttered in a compressed and sym- bolical form, which he communicated only to his friends, or by means of the establishment and direction of the Pythagorean associations and their peculiar mode of life. For there is no authentic account of a single writing of Pythagoras, and no fragment which appears to be genuine. The works which have been attributed to Pythagoras, such as " the Sacred Discourse " (iepog Xoyog), are chiefly forgeries of those Orphic theologers who imitated the Pythagorean manner, and whose relation to the genuine Pythagoreans has been explained in a former chapter }, The fundamental doctrines of the Pythagorean philosophy ; viz. that the essence of all things rests upon a numerical relation ; that the world subsists by the harmony, or conformity, of its different ele- ments ; that numbers are the principle of all that exists ; — all tliese

ioMT^ fjf iV, ^•Xtifiaitnty *»xTtx*mv. Diog. Laert. VIII. 6. Iwra^in, according to the Ionic meaning of the word, is an inquiry founded upon interrogation.

f It appears that there was a second expulsion of the Pythagoreans from Italy after the time of Arehytas. Lysis, the Pythagorean, seems to have gone, in conse- quence of it, to Thebes, where he became the teacher of Epaminondas. The jokes about the Pythagoreans and the Uv4»yo^i(/tvriSi with their strange and singular mode of life, are not earlier than the middle and new comedy, that is, than the 1 00th Olympiad ; this sort of philosophers did not previously exist in Greece. Meineke QiuBtt. Seen. I. p. 24. See Theocrit. Id« XIV. 5.

t Ch.16. 5 5.


258 HISTORY OP THE

must have originated with the master of the school. But the ' scientific development of these doctrines, in works composed in the Doric dia«  lect (as we find them in the extant fragments of Philokus, who hved about the 90th Olympiad, b. g. 420), belongs to a later period. The doctrines so developed are, that the essence of things consists, not, ac» cording to the ancient lonians, in an animate substance, nor, according to the more recent lonians, in a union of mind and matter, but in a form dependent upon fixed proportions ; and that the regularity of these proportions is itself a principle of production. The doctrines in ques-* tion derived much support from mathematical studies, which were iw troduced by Pythagoras into Italy, and, as is well known, were much advanced by him, until they were there first made an important part of education. The study of music also promoted the Pythagorean opi<- nions, in two ways ; theoretically ^ because the efiects of the relations of numbers were clearly seen in the power of the notes ; and practicM^j because singing to the cithara, as tsed by the Pythagoreans, seemed best fitted to produce that mental repose and harmony of soul which the Pythagoreans considered the highest object of education.


CHAPTER XVIII.


§ 1. High antiquity of history in Asia; causes of its eomparative lateness among the Greeks. | 2. Origin of history among the Greeks. The lonians, particularly the Milesians, took the lead. ^ 3. Mythoh>gical historians ; Cadmus, Acusilaus. } 4. Extensive geographical knowledge of Hecataeus; his freer treatment of native traditions. § 5. Pherecydes; his 'genealogical arrangement of traditions and history. } 6. Charon ; his chronicles of general and special history. } 7. Hoi* lanicus ; a learned inquirer into mythical and true history. Beginning of chro- nological researches. § 8. Xanthus, an acute observer. Dionysius of Miletus, the historian of the Persian wars. § 9. General remarks on the composition and style of the logographers.

§ 1. It is a remarkable fact, that a nation so intellectual and culti- vated as the Greeks, should .have been so long without feeling the want of a correct record of its transactions in war and peace.

From the earliest times the East had its annals and chronicles. That Egypt possessed a history ascending to a very remote antiquity, not formed of mythological materials, hut hased upon accurate chrono- logical records, is proved by the extant remains of the work of Mane- tho*. The sculptures on buildings, with their explanatorj- inscriptions, afforded a history of the priests and kings, authenticated by names and numbers ; and we have still hopes that this will hereafter be completely deciphered. The kingdom of Babylon also possessed a very ancient

  • Manetho, high-priest at Heliopolis in Egypt, wrote under Ptobniy ?hilad«l« 

phus (284 B. c.) three books of iEgyptiaca.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 259

histcnry of its princes; which Berosus imparted to the Greeks*, as Manetho did the Eg^yptian history. Ahasuerus is described, in the book of Esther, as causing the benefactors of his throne to' be registered in his chronicle f, wluch was read to him in nights when he could not sleep. Similar registers were perhaps kept many centuries earlier nt the eonrts of Eobatana and Babylon. The ancient sculptures of central A»a have likewise the same historical character as those of Egypt I they record military expeditions, treaties, peciBcations of king«  doms, and the tributes of subject provinces. From the discoveries which have been recently made, it may be expected that many more sculptures of this description will be found in different parts of the ancient kingdom of Assyria. The early concentration of vast masses of men in enormous cities; the despotic form of the government; and the great influence exercised by the events of the court upon the weal and woe of the entire population, directed the attention of millions to one point, and imparted a deep and extensive interest to the journal of the monarch's life. Even, however, without these incentives, which are peculiar to a despotic form of government, the people of Israel, from the early union of its tribes around one sanctuary, and under one law, (for the custody of which a numerous priesthood was appointed,) recorded and preserved very ancient and venerable historical traditions. The difierence between these Oriental nations and the Greeks, with respect to their care in recording their history, is very great. The Greeks evinced a careless and almost infantine indifference about the registering of passing events, almost to the time when they became one of the great nations of the world, and waged mighty wars with the ancient kingdoms of the Blist The celebration of a by-gone age, which imagination had decked with all its charms, engrossed the atten- tion of the Greeks, and prevented it from dwelling on more recent events. The division of the nation into nuinerous small states, and the republican form of the governments, prevented a concentration of interest on particular events and persons ; the attention to domestic affairs was con- fined within a narrow circle, the objects of which changed with every ge- neration. No action, no event, before the great conflict between Greece and Persia, could be compared in interest with those great exploits of the mythicid age, in which heroes from all parts of Greece were sup- posed to have borne a part ; certainly none made so pleasing an im- pression upon all hearers. The Greeks required that a work read in public, and designed for general instructk>n and entertainment, should impart unmixed pleasure to the mind ; but, owmg to the dissensions between the Greek republics, their historical traditions could not but offend some, if they flattered others. In short, it was not till a late pe-

"■* Berosus of Chaldeea wrote under Auiiochus Theos (262 b.c.) a work called Babylonica or Ghaldaica.

f Ba^tktMoi ^s^Hmu i from which Ctesias derived inforooation, Diod. II. 32.

s 2


2C0 HISTORY OP THR

riocl that the Greeks outgrew their poetical mythology, and considered contemporary events as worthy of being thought of and written about. From this cause, the history of many transactions prior to the Persian war has perished; but, without its influence, Greek literature could never have become what it was. Greek poetry, by its purely fictitious character, and its freedom from the shackles of particular truth, ac- quired that general probability, on account of which Aristotle considers poetry as more philosophical than history*. Greek art, likewise, from the lateness of the period at which it descended from the ideal repre- sentation of gods and heroes to the portraits of real men, acquired a nobleness and beauty of form which it could never have otherwise attained. And, in fine, the intellectual culture of the Greeks in general would not have taken its liberal and elevated turn, if it had not rested on a poetical basis.

§ 2. Writing was probably known in Greece some centuries before the time of Cadmus of Miletus t, the earliest Greek historian; but it had not been employed for the purpose of preserving any "detailed iiis- torical record. The lists of the Olympic victors, and of the kings of Sparta and the prytanes of Corinth, which the Alexandrian critics con- sidered sufRciently authentic to serve as the foundation of the early Greek chronology ; ancient treaties and other contracts, which it was important to perpetuate in precise terms; determinations of boundaries, and other records of a like description, formed the first rudiments of a documentary histor}^ Yet this was still very remote from a detailed chronicle of contemporary events. And even when, towards the end of the age of the Seven Sages, some writers of historical narratives in prose began to appear among the lonians and the other Greeks, they did not select domestic and recent events. Instead of this, they began with accounts of distant times and countries, and gradually narrowed their view to a history of the Greeks of recent times. So entirely did the ancient Greeks believe that the daily discussion of common life and oral tradition were sufficient records of the events of their own time and country.

The lonians, who throughout this period were the daring innovators and indefatigable discoverers in the field of intellect, took the lead in history. They were also the first, who, satiated with the childish amuse- ment of mythology, began to turn their keen and restless eyes on all sides, and to seek new matter for thought and composition. The lonians had a peculiar delight in varied and continuous narration. Nor is it to be overlooked, that the first Ionian who is mentioned as a historian, was a Milesian. Miletus, the birth-place of the earliest phi- losophers ; flourishing by its industry and commerce ; the centre of the political movements produced by the spirit of Ionian independence ; and the spot in which the native dialect was first formed into written Greek • Aristot. Poet. 9. f. See above, cl^ 4. J 5.


LITERATURE OP ANCIENT GREECE. 261

prose; was evidently fitted to be the cradle of historical composition iti Greece. If the Milesians had not, together with their neighbours of Asia Minor, led a life of too luxurious enjoyment ; if they had known how to retain the severe manners and manly character of the ancient Greeks, in the midst of the refinements and excitements of later times; it is probable that Miletus, and not Athens, would have been the teacher of the world.

§ 3. Cadmus of Miletus is mentioned as the earliest historian, and, together with Fherecydes of Syros, as the earliest writer of prose. His date cannot be placed much before the 60th Olympiad, b. g. 540 * ; he wrote a history of the foundation of Miletus (Kf/cric MiX^rov), which embraced the whole of Ionia. The subject of this history lay in the dim period, from which only a few oral traditions of an historical kind, but intimately connected with mythical notions, had been preserved. The genuine work of Cadmus seems to have been early lost; the book which bore his name in the time of Dionysius (that is, the Augustan age) was considered a forgery f.

The next historian, in order of time, to Cadmus, was Acusilaus OF Argos. Although by descent a Dorian, he wrote his history in the Ionic dialect, because the lonians were the founders of the his- torical ityle: a practice universally followed in Greek literature. Acu- silaus confined his attention to the mythical period. His object was to collect into a short and connected narrative all the events from the formation of chaos to the end of the Trojan war. It was said of him that he translated Hesiod into prose X : an expression which serves to characterise his work. He appears, however, to have related many legends differently from Hesiod, and in the tone of the Orphic theo- logers of his own time §. He seems to have written nothing which can properly be called history.

§ 4. Hecat^us of Miletus, the Ionian, was of a very different character of mind. With regard to his date, we know that he was a man of great consideration at the time when the lonians wished to attempt a revolt against the Persians under Darius (Olymp. 69. 2. b.c. 503). At that time he came forward in the council of Aristagoras, and dissuaded the undertaking, enumerating the nations which were subject to the Persian king, and all his warlike forces. But if they determined to revolt, he advised them to endeavour, above all things, to maintain the sea by a large fleet, and for this purpose to take the

  • See Clinton, F. H. Vol II. p. 36S, sqq.

i ConoemiDg Xanthus and all the following historians, see the paper " On certain early Greek historians mentioned by Dionysius of Halicamassus,** in the Museiun Criticum, Vol. I. p. 80. 216 ; Vol. II. p. 90.

X Clem. Alex. Strom, vi. p. 629 A.

§ Ch. xvi. i 4, note. For the frag;ments of Acusilaus see Stun*s edition of Phe> recydes


262 HISTORY OF THE

treasures from the temple of Branchidse*. This advice proves Hecataeus to have been a prudent and sagacious man, who understood the true situation of things. Hecataeus did not share the prevalent interest about the primitive history of his nation, and still less had he the infantine and undoubting faith which was exhibited by the Argive Acusilaus. He says, in an extant fragment f — ^'^ Thus says Hecateeus the Milesian: these things I write, as they seem to me to be true ; for the stories of the Greeks are manifold and ludicrous, as it appears to me." He also shows traces of that perverse system of interpretation which seeks to transmute the marvels of fable into natural eyents ; as, for example, he explained Cerberus as a serpent which inhabited the promontory of Tcenarum. But his attention was peculiarly directed to passing events and the nature of the countries and kingdoms with which Greece began to entertain intimate relations. He had travelled much, like Herodotus, and had in particular collected much information about Eg3rpt. Hero- dotus often corrects his statements ; but by so doing he recognises HecataBus as the most important of his predecessors. Hecataeus per- petuated the results of his geographical and ethnographical researches in a work entitled " Travels round the Earth" (Ueplo^og yffc), by which a description of the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea and of southern Asia as far as India was understood. The author began with Crreece, proceeding in a book, entitled ** Europe " to the west, and in another, entitled "Asia," to the east J. Hecatseus also improved and com- pleted the map of the earth sketched by Anaximander § ; it must have been this map which Aristagoras of Miletus brought to Sparta before the Ionian revolt, and. upon which he showed the king of Sparta the countries, rivers, and principal cities of the East. Besides this work, another is ascribed to Hecataeus, which is sometimes called ** His- tories,*' sometimes '* Genealogies;" and of which four books are cited. Into this work, Hecatseus admitted many of the genealogical legends of the Greeks ; and, notwithstanding his contempt for old fables, he laid great stress upon genealogies ascending to the mythological pe- riod ; thus he made a pedigree for himself, in which his sixteenth an- cestor was a god ||. Genealogies would afford opportunities for intro- ducing accounts of different periods ; and Hecatseus certainly narrated

  • Herod, v. 36^ who calls him *E»ara7os o X^yairuit* The times of the birth and

death of HecattBus are fixed with less certainty at Olymp. 57. and Olymp. 75. 4.

f See Deraetr. de Elocut. § 12. Historicorum Grsec. Antiq. Fragmenta, colL F. Creuzer, p. 15.

X Three hundred and thirbr-one fragpnents of this work are eolleeted in Hecatsei Milesii fragmenta ed. R. H. Klausen. Berolini, 1830. It appears in some eases to have received additions since its first puhlication, as was commonly the case with manuals of this kind. Thus Hecatseus Er. 27. mentions Capua, which name, ac- cording to Livy, was giYen to Vultumum in A.U.G, 315 (b.c. 447).

} This is certain from Agathemerus I. 1« 

II Herod. II. 143.


LITERATURE 07 ANCIENT GREECE. 263

many histcrkal events in this work*, although he did not write a con- nected history of the period comprised in it. Hecateus wrote in the pure lonie dialect ; his style had great simplicity, and was sometimes animated, from the Tividness of his descriptions t*

§ 5. Phsrboydes also wrote on genealogies and mythical history, hut did not extend his labours to geography and ethnography. He was born at Leros, a small island near Miletus, and afterwards went to Athens; whence he is sometimes called a Lerian, sometimes an Athe- nian. He floorished about the time of the Persian war* His writings comprehended a great portion of the mythical traditions ; and, in parti- cular, be gave a copious account, in a separate work, of the ancient times of Athens. He was mdch consulted by the later mythographers, and his numerous fragments must still serve as the basis of many mythologicftt inquiries I* By following a genealogical line he was led from Philostts, the son of Ajax, down to Miltiades, the founder of the sovereignty in the Chersonesus; he thus found an opportunity of de- scribing the campaign of Darius against the Scythians; concerning which we have a valuable fragment of his history.

§ 6. Charon, a native of Lampsacus, a Milesian colony, also belongs to this generation §, although he mentioned some events which fell in the beginning of the reign of Artaxerxes, Olymp. 78. 4. b.c. 465 ||. Cha- ron continued the researches of Hecat»us into eastern ethnography. He wrote (na Was the custom of these ancient historians) separate wofks upon Persia, Libya, Ethiopia, &c. He also subjoined the his- tory of his own time, and he preceded Herodotus in narrating the evente of the Persian war, although Herodotus nowhere mentions him. From the fragments of his writings which remain, it is manifest that his relation to Herodotus was that of a dry chronicler to a histo- rian, under whose hands everything acquires life and character If. Charon wrote besides a chronicle *♦ of his own country, as several of the early htstoiians did, who were thence caHed horographers. Probably

♦ Ab that in Herod. VI. 137.

t At in the fragment from Longinus de Sublim. 27. Creuser. Hist. Ant. fr.

p. 54. .

t Stun Pherecydis fragmenta, ed. altera. Lips. 1824. Whether the ten books Cited by the ancittits trere published by Pherecydes himself in this order, or whether they were not separate short treatises of Pherecydes which had been collected by later editors aad arranged as parts of one work, seems doubtful and difficalt of in- vestigation.

§ Dionysius Halic. de Thucyd. jud. 5. p. 818. Reiske places Charon with Acu- silaus, Hecatceus, and others, among the early ; Hellanicus, Xanthus, and others, among the more recent predecessors of Thucydides.

It Plnftarch. Themiit. 27.

fl CharoB*s fragments are collected in Greuzer, ibid. p. 89, sq.

    • *fl*«<, corresponding to the Latin a«wa/e», ought not to be confounded with t^0t,

terminh Itmiiet, See Schweighaeuser ad Athen. XL p. 475 B. XIL 620 D,


264 HISTORY OF THB

most of the ancient histoirians, whose names are enumerated by Diony- sius of Halicarnassus, belonged to this class *.

§ 7. Hellanicus of Mytilene was alnnost a contemporary of He- rodotus ; we know that at the beginnings of the Peloponnesian war he was 65 years old f) and still continued to write. The character of Hellanicus as a mythographer and historian is essentially different from that of the early chronicler^, such as Acusilaus and Pherecydes ; he has far more the character of a learned compiler, whose object is, not merely to note down events, but to arrange his materials and to correct the errors of others. Besides a number of writings upon parti- cular legends and local fables, he composed a work entitled *' the Priestesses of Her^ of Argos;" in whidh the women who had filled this priesthood were enumerated up .to a very remote period (on no better authority than of certain obscure traditions), and various striking events of the heroic time were arranged in chronological order, accord- ing to this series. Hellanicus could hardly have been the first who ventured to make a list of this kind, and to dress it up with chrono- logical dates. Before his time the priests and temple-attendants at Argos had perhaps employed their idle hours in compiling a series of the priestesses of Her^, and in explaining it by monuments supposed to be of great antiquity {. The CameoniccB of Hellanicus would be of more importance for our immediate purpose, as it contained a list of the victors in the musical and poetical contests of the Carnea at Sparta (from Olymp. 26. b. c. 676) §, and was therefore one of the first at- tempts at literary history. The writings of Hellanicus contained a vast mass of matter ; since, besides the works already mentioned, he wrote accounts of Phoenicia, Persia, and Egypt, and also a description of a journey to the renowned oracle of Zeus-Ammon in the desert of Libya (the genuineness of which last work was however doubted). He also descended to the history of his own time, and described some of the events between the- Persian and Peloponnesian wars, but briefly, and without chronological accuracy, according to the reproach of Thu- cydides.

§ 8. Among the contemporaries of Hellanicus was (according to the statement of Dionysius) Xanthus, the son of Candaules of Sardis, a Lydian, but one who had received a Greek education. His work

  • Eugeon of Samos (above Ch. XI. § 16), Deiochusof Proconnetiis, Eodemusof

Paros, Democles of Phigalia, Amelesagoras of Ghalcedon (or Athens).

t The learned Pamphila in Gellius N. A. XV. 23.

X Instances of similar catalogues of priests (in the concoction of which tome pious fraud must have been employed) are the genealogy of the Butads, which was painted up in the temple of Athene Polias (Pausan. I. 26. 6. Plutarch X. Ont. 7.), and which doubtless ascended to the ancient hero Butes; and the line of the priests of Poseidun at Halicarnassus, which begins with a son of Poseidon himself, in Boeckh. Corp. Inscript. Gr. No. 2655

§ See Ch XII. § 2. ' '


LITIRATOftS OV ANCIBITT GREECE. 265

upon Lydia, written in the Ionic dialect, bears, in the few fragments which remain, the stamp of high excellence. Some valuable remarks upon the nature of the earth's surface in Asia Minor, which pointed partly to volcanic agency, and partly to the extension of the sea ; and precise accounts of the distinctions between the Lydian races, are cited from it by Strabo and Dionysius *. The passages quoted by these writers bear unquestionable marks of genuineness; in later tiroes, however, some spurious vrorks were attributed to Xanthus. In parti- cular, a work upon magic, which passed current under his name, and which treated of the religion and worship of Zoroaster, was indubi- tably a recent forgery.

A atill greater uncertainty prevails with respect to the writings of Diomrsius of Milxtus, inasmuch as the ancient writer of this name was confounded by the Greek critics themselves with a much later writer on mythology. It is certain that the Dionysius, whom Diodorus follows in his account of the Greek heroic age, belongs to the times of learning and historical systems ; he turns the whole heroic mythology into an historical romance, in which gpreat princes, captains, sages, and benefactors of mankind take the places of the ancient heroes t. Of (he works which appear to belong to the ancient Dionysius, viz. the Per- sian histories and the events after Darius (probably a continuation of the former), nothing precise is known.

§ 9, To the Greek historians before Herodotus modern scholars have given the common name of logografher^^ which is applied by Thucydides to his predecessors. Tliis term, however, had not so limited a meaning among the ancients ; as logoi signified any discourse in prose. Accord- ingly, the Athenians g^ve the same name to writers of speeches, i.e. per- sons who composed speeches for others, to be used in courts of justice. It is however convenient to comprehend these ancient Greek chro- niclers under a common name, since they had in many respects a commou character. All were alike animated by a desire of recording, for the instruction and entertainment of their contemporaries, the ac- counts which they had heard or collected. But they did this, without attempting, by ingenuity of arrangement or beauty of style, to produce such an impression as had been made by works of poetry. The first Greek to whom it occurred that fiction was not necessary for this pur- pose, and that a narrative of true facts might be made intensely inte- resting, was Herodotus, the Homer of history.

  • The fragments in Creuser ubi sup. p. 135, sq.

f Whetiier this Dionysiot is the Dionysius of Samos cited by Athenseus, who wrote eonceming the cychis> or Dionysius Scytobrachion of Mytilene, has not been completely determined.


266 HisTomy of the


CHAPTER XIX.

} 1. Events of the life of Herodotus. § 2. His travels. ( 3. Gradual formation of his work. } 4. Its plan. § 5. Its leading ideas. } 6. Defects and excellencies of his historical researches. § 7. Style of his narrative ; character of his lan«  guage.

§ 1. Herodotus, the sou of Ly^ea, was, according to a statement of good authority*, born in Olymp. 74. 1. b«c. 484, in the period be- tween the lirst and second Persian wars. His family was one of the most distinguished in the Doric colony of Halicarnassus, and thus be* came involved in the civil commotions of the city« Halicarnassus was at that time governed by the family of Artemisia, the princess who fought so bravely for the Persians in the battle of Salamis, that Xerxes declared that »he was the only man among many women. Lygdamis, the son of Pisindelis, and grandson of Artemisia, was hostile to the family of Herodotus. He killed Panyasis, who was probably the ma- ternal uncle of Herodotus, and who will be mentioned hereafter as one of the restorers of epic poetry; and he obliged Herodotus himself to take refuge abroad. His flight must have taken place about the 82nd Olympiad, B.C. 452.

Herodotus repaired to Samos, the Ionic island, where probably some of his kinsmen resided f* Samos must be looked upon as the second home of Herodotus ; in many passages of his work he shows a minute acquaintance with this island and its inhabitants, and he seems to take a pleasure in incidentally mentioning the part played by it in events of importance. It must have been in Samos that Herodotus imbibed the Ionic spirit which pervades his history. Herodotus likewise under- took from Samos the liberation of his native city from the yoke of Lyg- damis ; and he succeeded in the attempt ; but the contest between the nobles and the commons having placed obstacles in the way of his well-intentioned plans, he once more forsook his native city.

Herodotus passed the latter years of his life at Thurii, the great Grecian settlement in Italy, to which so many distinguished men had intrusted their fortunes. It does not however follow from this account that Herodotus was among the Rrst settlers of Thurii ; the numbers of the original colonists doubtless received subsequent additions. It is certain that Herodotus did not go to Thurii till after the beginning of the Peloponnesian war ; since at the beginning of it he must have been at Athens. He describes a sacred ofiering, which was on the Acropolis of Athens, by its position with regard to the Propylaea { ; now the Pro- pylsa were not finished till the year in which the Peloponnesian war began. Herodotus likewise evidently appears to adopt those views of

  • 0/Pamphila in Gellius N. A. XV. 23

/ Panyasia too is called a Samian, \ "Saiod, V, 77%


LITBRATURB OF ANCIENT GREECE. 867

the relations between the Greek states, which were diffused in Athens by the statesmen of the party of Pericles ; and he states his opinion that Athens did not deserve, after her great exploits in the Persian war, to be BO envied and blamed by the rest of the Greeks ; which was the case just at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war *.

Herodotus settled quietly in Thurii, and devoted the leisure of his latter years entirely to his work. Hence he is frequently called by the anctentfi a Thurian* in reference to the composition of his history.

§ 2. In this short review of the life of Herodotus we have taken no notice of his travels, which are intimately connected with his literary laboura. Herodotus did not visit different countries from the accidents of commercial business or political missions ; his travels were under- taken from the pure spirit of inquiry, and for that age they were very ejLtensive and important. Herodotus visited Eg^pt as high up as Elephantine, Libya, at least as far as the vicinity of Cyrene, Phoeni- cia, Babylon, and probably also Persia ; the Greek states on the Cim- merian Bosporus, the contiguous country of the Scythians, as well as Colchis; beside^ which, he had resided in several states of Greece and Lower Italy, and had visited many of the temples, even the remote one of Dodona. The circumstance of his being, in his capacity of Hall- carnassian, a subject of the king of Persia, must have assisted him materially in these travels ; an Athenian, or a Greek of any of the states which were in open revolt against Persia, would have been treated aa an enemy, and suld as a slave. Hence it may be inferred that the travels of Herodotus, at least those to Eg^pt and Asia, were performed from Halicarnassus in his youth.

Herodotus, of course, made these inquiries with the view of impart- ing their results to his countrymen. But it is uncertain whether he had at that time formed the plan of connecting his information con- cerning Asia and Greece with the history of the Persian war, and of uniting the whole into one great work. When we consider that an intricate and extensive plan of this soit had hitherto been un- know in the historical writings of the Greeks, it can scarcely be doubted that the idea occurred to him at an advanced stage of his inquiries, and that in his earlier years he had not raised his mind above the conception of such worlds as those of Hecatseus, Charon, and others of his predecessors and contemporaries. Even at a later period oi his life, when he was composing his great work, he contemplated writing a separate book upon Assyria ('Atrcrvpioi Xoyot) ; and it seems that this book was in existence at the time of Aristotle ^. In fact, Herodotus might also have made separate books out of the accounts of

  • Compare Herod. VII. 139. with Thuc. II. 8.

•)■ Aristotle, Hist. An. VIII. IS, mentions the account of the siege of Nineveh in Herodotus (for, althouzh the manuscripts generally read Henod, Herodoiut is evi- dently the more suitable name) ; that is, undoubtedly, l\ie «W%« Nv\scLO\H<^x^\<(i\>^\ 1 06. promiaeB to d^emhe in big separate WQrk on Any tia ^com^, 1* \^Ak^x


268 HISTORY OP THE

Eg^ypt, Persia, atid Scythia given in his liistory ; and he woald, no doubt, have done so, if he had been content to tread in the footsteps of fhe logographers who preceded him.

§ 3. It is stated that Herodotus recited his history at different festi- vals. This statement is, in itself, perfectly credible, as the Greeks of this time, when they had finished a composition with care, and had given it an attractive form, reckoned more upon oral delivery than upon solitary reading. l*hucydides, blaming the historians who preceded him, describes them as courting the transient applause of an audi- ence *. The ancient chronologists have also preserved the exact date of a recitation, which took place at the great Panatheneea at Athens, in Olymp. 83. 3. b. c. 446 (when Herodotus was 38 years old). The collections of Athenian decrees contained a decree proposed by Anytas (xj^rififf/xa *AvvTov)j from which it appeared that Herodotus received a reward of ten talents from the public treasury f. There is less autho- rity for the story of a recitation at Olympia ; and least authority of all for the well-known anecdote, that Thucydides was present at it as a boy, and that he shed tears, drawn forth by his own intense desire for knowledge, and his deep interest in the narrative. To say nothing of the many intrinsic improbabilities of this story, so many anecdotes were invented by the ancients in order to bring eminent men of the same pursuits into connexion with each other, ihat it is impossible to give any faith to it, without the testimony of more trustworthy witnesseis.

The public readings of Herodotus (such as that at the Panathenaic festival) must have been confined to detached portions of his subject, which he afterwards introduced into his work; for example, the history and description of £gypt, or the accounts concerning Persia. His great historical work could not have been composed till the time of the Peloponnesian war. Indeed, his history, and particularly the four last books, are so full of references and allusions to events which oc- curred in the first period of the war^, that he appears to have been diligently occupied with the composition or final revision of it at this time. It is however very questionable whether Herodotus lived into the second period of the Peloponnesian war§. At all events, he must have been occupied with his work till his death, for it seems to be in

  • Thucyd. 1.21.

f Plutarch de Malign. Herod. 26.

I As the expulsion of the ^ginetans, the' surprise of Plataa, the Archidamian war, and other events. The passages of Herodotus which could not have been written before this time are. 111. 160. VI. 91. 98. VII. 137. 233. IX. 73.

& The passage in IX. 73. which states that the Lacedsmonians, in their devas- tations of Attica, always spared Decelea and kept at a distance from it {AtntXimt aTixifrPai), cannot be reconciled with the siege of Decelea by Agis in Olymp. 91. 3. n. c. 413. The passages VI. 98. and VII. 170. also contain marks of having been written before^this time. On the other hand, the passage I. 130. appears to xe^ to the insurrection of the Medes in Olymp. 93. 1. a. c. 408. (Xen. Hell I. 2. Ij9.): on this supposition, however, it is strange that Herodotus should have called Darius Mothus by the simple name Darius without any distinctive adjunct.


iITE^ATURE OP ANCIENt GREECE, S69

an iintinislied state. There is no obvious reason why Herodotus should have carried down the war between the Greeks and Persians to the taking of SestQs, without mentioning any subsequent event of it*. Besides, in one place be promises to give the particulars of an occurrence iu a futore part of his work t ; a promise which is nowhere fulfilled.

§ 4. The plan of the work of Herodotus is formed upon a notion which, though it cannot in strictness be called true, was very cur- rent in his time, and had even been developed, after their fashion, by the learned of Persia and Phoenicia, who were not unacquainted with Greek mythology. The notion is that of an ancient enmity between the Greeks and the nations of Asia. The learned of the East consi- dered the rapes of Jo, Medea, and Helen, and the wars which grew out of those ^ents, as single acts of this great conflict ; and their muiu otject-was to determine which of the two parties had first used violence against the other. Herodotus, however, soon drops these stories of old times, and turns to a prince whom he knows to have been the ag- gressor in his war against the Greeks. This is Crcesus, king of Lydia. He then proceeds to give a detailed account of the enterprises of Crce- sus and the other events of his life ; into which are interwoven as epi- sodes, not only the early history of the Lydian kings and of their conflicts with the Greeks, but also some important passages in the history of the Greek states, particularly Athens and Sparla. In this manner Herodotus, in describing the first subjugation of the Greeks by an Asiatic power, at the same time points out the origin and pro- gpress of those states by which the Greeks were one day to be liberated. Meanwhile, the attack of Sardis by Cyrus brings the Persian power on the stage in the place of the Lydian ; and the narrative proceeds to explain the rise of the Persian from the Median kingdom, and to de- scribe its increase by the subjugation of the nations of Asia Minor and the Babylonians. Whenever the Persians come in contact with other nations, an account, more or less detailed, is given of their history and peculiar usages. Herodotus evidently, as indeed he himself confesses t, strives to enlarge his plan by episodes; it is manifestly his object to combine with the history of the conflict between the East and West a vivid picture of the contending nations. Thus to the conquest of Eg) pt by Cambyses (Book II.) he annexes a description of the country, the people, and their history ; the copiousness of which was caused by his fondness for Egypt, on account of its early civilization, and the sta*

  • It may, however, be urged against this view, that the secession of the Spartans

and their allies, the formation of the alliance under the supremacy of Athens, and the change in the character of the war from defensive to offensive, made the taking^ of Sestos a distinctly marked epoch. See Thucyd. I. 89.

t Herod. VII. 213.

{ Herod. IV. 30. Thus he speaks of the Libyans in the 4th book, onl^ because he thinks that the expedition of the Satrap Aiyandes against Barca was in fact di- ivcted against all the nations of Libya. See iV. 167*


270 HISTORY OF THE

bility of its peculiar institutions and usages. The history of Cambyses, of the false Soierdis, and of Darius, is continued in the same detailed manner (Book III.) ; and an account is given of the power of Samos, under Polycrates, and of his tragical end ; by which the Persian power began to extend to the islands between Asia and Europe. The institu- tions established by Darius at the beginning of his reign afford an op- portunity of surveying the whole kingdom of Persia, with all its pro- vinces, and their large revenues. With the expedition of Darius against the Scythians (which Herodotus evidently considers as a reta- liation for the former incursions of the Scythians into Asia) the Per* sian power begins to spread over Europe (Book IV.)* Herodotus then gives a full account of the north of Europe, of which his know- ledge was manifestly much more extensive than that of Hecatseus ; and he next relates the great expedition of the Persian army, which, although it did not endanger the freedom of the Scythians, first opened a passage into Europe to the Persians. The kingdom of Persia now stretches on one side to Scythia, on the other over Egypt to Cyrenaica. A Persian army is called in by Queen Pheretime against the Bar* caeans ; which gives Herodotus an opportunity of relating the history of Cyrene, and describing the Libyan nations, as an interesting compa- nion to his description of the nations of northern Europe. While (Book v.) a part of the Persian army, which had remained behind after the Scythian expedition, reduces a portion of the Thraciaos and the little kingdom of Macedonia under the power of the great king, the great Ionian revolt arises from causes connected with the Scythian expedition, which brings still closer the decisive struggle between Greece and Persia. Aristagoras, the tyrant of Miletus, seeks aid in Sparta and Athens for the lonians; whereupon the historian takes oc- casion to continue the history of these and other Greek states, from the point where he had left it (Book I.) ; and in particular to describe the rapid rise of the Athenians, aHer they had thrown off the yoke of the Pisistratids. The enterprising spirit of the young republic of Athens is also shown in the interest taken by it in the Ionian revolt, which was begun in a rash and inconsiderate manner, and, having been carried on without sufficient vigour, terminated in a complete defeat (Book VI.). Herodotus next pursues the constantly increasing causes of enmity between Greece and Persia; among which is the flight of the Spartan king Demaratus to Darius. To this event he annexes a detailed ex- planation of the relations and enmities of the Greek states, in the period just preceding the first Persian war. The expedition against Eretria and Athens was the first blow struck by Persia at the mother country of Greece, and the battle of Marathon was the first glorious signal that this Asiatic power, hitherto unchecked in its encroachments, was there at length to find a limit. From this point the narrative rnns in a re- gular channel, and pursues to the end the natural course of events ; the


LITERATURE OP ANCIENT GREECE. 271

preparations for war, the movements of (he army, and the canipai^ against Greece itself (Book VII.). Even here, however, the narrative moves at a slow pace ; and thus keeps the expectation upon the stretch. The march and mustering of the Persian army give fall time and opportunity for ibrming a distinct and complete notion of its enormous force ; and the negodations of the Greek states afford an equally clear conception of their jealousies and dissensions ; facts which make the ultimate issue of the contest appear the more astonishing. After the preliminary and undecisive battles of ThermopylaB and Artemisium (Book VIII.), comes the decisive battle of Salamis, which is described with the greatest vividness and animation. This is followed (in Book IX.) by the battle of Plateea, drawn with the same distinctness, partis cularly as regards all its antecedents and circumstances ; together with the contemporaneous battle of Mycale and the other measures of the Greeks for turning their victory to account. Although the work seems unfinished, it concludes with a sentiment which cannot have been placed casually at the end ; viz. that (as the great Cyrus was supposed to have said) *' It is not always the richest and most fertile country which produces the most valiant men."

§ 5. In this manner Herodotus gives a certain unity to his history ; and, notwithstanding the extent of his subject, which comprehends nearly all the nations of the world at that time known, the narrative is constantly advancing. The history of Herodotus has an epic character, not only from the equable and uninterrupted flow of the narrative, but also from certain pervading ideas, which give an uniform tone to the whole. The principal of these is the idea of a fixed destiny, of a wise arrangement of the world, which has prescribed to every being his path ; and which allots ruin and destruction, not only to crime and vio- lence, but to excessive power and riches, and the overweening pride which is their companion. In this consists ike envy of the gods (jipQ6voQ rtoy defSvjj so often mentioned by Herodotus ; by the other Greeks usually called the divine Nemesis. He constantly adverts, in his nar- rative, to the influence of this divine power, the Dcpmoniony as he also calls it. Thus he shows how the deity visits the sins of the ancestors upon their descendants ; how the human mind is blinded by arrogance and recklessness ; how man rushes, as it were, wilfully upon his own destruction ; and how oracles, which ought to be warning voices against violence tuid insolence, mislead from their ambiguity, when interpreted by blind passion. Besides the historical narrative itself, the scattered speeches serve rather to enforce certain general ideas, particularly con- cerning the envy of the gods and the danger of pride, than to charac- terise the dispositions, views, and modes of thought of the persons re- presented as speaking. In fact, these speeches are rather the lyric than the dramatic part of the history of Herodotus ; and if we compare it with the different parts of a Greek tragedy, they correspond, not to the


272 HISTORY OF THE

dialogue, but to the choral songs. Herodotus lastly shows his awe of the divine Nemesis by his moderation and the firmness with which he keeps down the ebullitions of national pride. For, if the eastern princes by their own rashness bring destruction upon themselves, and the Greeks remain the victors, yet he describes the East, with its early civilization, as highly worthy of respect and admiration ; he even pouits out traits of greatness of character in the hostile kings of Persia ; shows his countrymen how they often owed their successes to divine providence and external advantages, rather than to their own valour and ability ; and, on the whole, is anything but a panegyrist of the exploits of the Greeks. So little indeed has he this character, that when the rhetorical historians of later times had introduced a more pre- tending account of these events, the simple* faithful, and impartial Herodotus was reproached with being actuated by a spirit of calumny, and with seeking to detract from the heroic acts of his countrymen *•

§ 6. Since Herodotus saw the working of a divine agency in all hu- man events, and considered the exhibition of it as the main object of his history, his aim is entirely different from that of a historian who regards the events of life merely with reference to man, Herodotus is, in tmth, a theologian and a poet as well as an historian. The in- dividual parts of his work are treated entirely in this spirit. His aim is not merely to give the results of- common experience in human life. His mind is turned to the extraordinary and the marvellous. In this respect his work bears an uniform colour. The great events which he relates — the gigantic enterprises of princes, the unexpected turns of fortune, and other marvellous occurrences — harmonise with the accounts of the astonishing buildings and other works of the East, of the multi- farious and often singular manners of the different nations, the sur- prising phenomena of nature, and the rare productions and animals of the remote regions of the world. Herodotus presented a picture of strange and astonishing things to his mobile and curious countrymen. It were vain to deny that Herodotus, when he does not describe things which he had himself observed, was often deceived by the misrepresent- ations of priests, interpreters, and guides; and, above all, by that propensity to boasting and that love of the marvellous which are so common in the East f. Yet, without his singlehearted simplicity, his disposition to listen to every remarkable account, and his admiration (undisturbed by the national prejudices of a Greek) for the wonders of the Eastern world, Herodotus would never have imparted to us many valuable accounts, in which recent inquirers have discovered substantial truth, though mixed with fable. How oflen have modern travellerB,

  • Plutarch's Treatise m^* rns 'H^«^r«v xetMnhlag^ concerning the malignity of

Herodotus.

f Aristotle, in his Treatise on the Generation of Animals^ III, 5, calls lam I|g«)«r0f ifAv49>Jyfy ^ Herodotus the story-teller."


LITERATURB OF ANCIENT GREECtS. 273

naturalists, and geographers, had occasion to admire the truth and cor- rectness of the observations and information which are contained in the seemingly marvellous narratives of Herodotus ! It is fortunate that he was guided by the maxim which he mentions in his account of the circumnavigation of Africa in the reign of Necho. Having ex- pressed his disbelief of the statement that the sailors had the sun on their right hand, he adds : *' I must say what has been told to me ; but I need not therefore believe all, and this remark applies to my whole work."

Herodotus must have completely familiarised himself with the man- ners and modes of thought of the Oriental nations. The character of his mind and his style of composition also resemble the Oriental type more than those of any other«Greek; and accordingly his thoughts and expressions oHen remind us of the writings of the Old Testament. It cannot indeed be denied that he has sometimes attributed to the eastern princes ideas which were eissentially Greek; as, for example, when he makes the seven grandees of the Persians deliberate upon the re- spective advantages of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy *, But, on the whole, Herodotus seizes the character of an Oriental monarch, like Xerxes, with striking truth ; and transports us into the very midst of the satellites of a Persian despot It would be more just to reproach Herodotus with a want of that political discernment, in judging the afiairs of the Greek states, which had already been awakened among the Athenian statesmen of liis time. Moreover, in the events arising from the situation and interests of states, he lays too much stress on the feelings and passions of particular individuals ; and ascribes to Greek statesmen (as, for instance, the two Cleisthenes ot Sicyon and Athens, in reference to their measures for the division of the people into new tribes) motives entirely different from those by which they appear, on a consideration of the case, to have been really actuated. He likewise relates mere anecdotes and tales, by which the vulgar ex- plained (and still continue to explain) political affairs ; where politi- cians, such as Thucydides and Aristotle, exhibit the trije character of the transaction.

§ 7. But no dissertation upon the historical ^researches or the style of Herodotus can convey an idea of the impression made by reading his work. To those who have read it, all description is superfluous. It is like hearing a person speak who has seen and lived through an infinite variety of the most remarkable things; and whose greatest de* light consists in recalling the images of the past, and perpetuating the remembrance of them. He had eager and unwearied listeners, who

  • ^ Herod. III. 80. He afterwards (VI. 43) defends himself against the charge of

having represented a Persian as praising democracy, of which the Persians knew nothing. This passage proves that a part at least of Book III. had been published before the entire work was completed.

T


1^74 HISTORY OF THE

were not impatient to arrive at the end ; and he could therefore com- plete every separate portion of the history, as if It were an inde- pendent narrative. He knew that he had in store other more attractive and striking events ; yet he did not hurry his course, as he dwelt with equal pleasure on everything that he had seen or heard. In this ttian- ner, the stream of his Ionic language flows on with a charming fkcility. The character of his style (as is natural in mere narration) is to con- nect the different sentences loosely together, with many phrases for the purpose of introducing, recapitulating, or repeating a subject. These phrases are characteristic of oral discourse, which requires such contriv- ances, in order to prevent the speaker, or the hearer, from losing the thread of the story. In this, as In other respects, the language of Herodotus closely approximates to oral narration ; of all varieties of prose, it is the furthest removed from a written style. Long sentences, formed of several clauses, are for the most part conBned to speeches, where reasons and objections are compared, conditions are stated, and their consequences developed. But it must be confessed that where the logical connexion of different propositions is to be expressed, Hero- dotus mostly shows a yrant of skill, and produces no distinct conception of the mutual relations of the several members of the argument. But, with all these defects, his style must be considered as the perfection of the unperiodie style (the Xi^ic eipofUvri)^ the only style employed by his predecessors, the logographers *. To these is to be added the tone of the Ionic dialect, — ^which Herodotus, although by birth a Dorian, adopted from the historians who preceded him f,-— with its uncontfaeted terminations, its accumulated vowels, and its soft forms. These various elements conspire to render the work of Herodotus a production as harmonious and as perfect in its kind as any human work can be.

  • Demetrius de Elocutione, J 12.

f Nevertheless, according to fiermogenes, p. 513, the Ionic dialect of Hecatcos is alone quite pure ; and the dialect of Hefodotas it mix«d with othw expfeisSons,


UTBRATUEB OF ANCIENT GREECE. 275

SECOND PERIOD OP GREEK LITERATURE.

CHAPTER XX.

} 1. Early formation of a national litentore in Greece. ( 2. Athens subsequently takes the lead in literature and art Her fitness for this purpose. { 3. Coucur- renee of the poUtical circumstances of Athens to the same end. Solon. The Pisistratids. } 4. Great increase in the power of Athens after the Persian war. i 5. Administration and policy of Pericles, particularly with respect to art and literature. } 6. Seeds of degeneracy in the Athenian Commonwealth at its most flourishing period. $ 7. Causes and modes of the degeneracy. } 8. Literature and art were not aflfected by the causes of moral degeneracy.

§ 1. Greek literature, so far as we have hitherto followed i(s pro- gress, was a common property of the diflTereut races of the nation ; each race cultivating that species of composition which was best suited to its dispositions and capacities, and impressing on it a corresponding cha- racter. In this manner the town of Miletus in Ionia, the ^Eolians in the island (^ Lesbos, the colonies in Magna Grsecia and Sicily, as well as the Greekd of the mother country, created new forms of poetry and eloquence. The various sorts of excellence thus produced, did not, after the age of the Homeric poetry, remain the exclusive property of the race among which they originated; as popular poems composed in a peculiar dialect are known only to the tribe by whom the dialect is spoken. Among the Greeks a national literature was early formed ; every literary work in the Greek language, in whatever dialect it might be composed, was enjoyed by the whole Greek nation. The songs of the Lesbian Sappho aroused the feelings of Solon in his old age, not- withstanding their foreign ^olian dialect^ ; and the researches of the philosophers of Elea in (Enotria influenced the thoughts of Anaxagoras when living at Miletus and Athensf : whence it may be inferred, that the fame of remarkable writers soon spread through Greece at that time. £ven in an earlier age, the poets and sages used to visit certain cities, which were considered almost as theatres, where they could bring their powers and acquirements into public notice. Among these, Sparta stood the highest, down to the time of the Persian war ; for the Lacedsemonians^ though they produced little themselves, were con- sidered as sagacious and sound judges of art and philosophy|. Accord- ingly, the principal poets, musicians, and philosophers of those times are related to have passed a part of their lives at Sparta §.

§ 2. But the literature of Greece necessarily assumed a different

  • Ch. 13. § 10. t Ch. 17. §8.

X Aristot. Polit. VIII. 5. »l Avxttns • , , 0v fMtvfiayovns tfAus Ivfeivrut x^intv

§ For example, ArchiJochus, Terpander^ Thaletas, Theo^^, 'PYv^x^cr^^f^^) k!(xvkv^ mauder.


276 HISTORY OP THE

form, when Athens, raised as well by her political power and other external circumstances as by the mental qualities of her citizens, acquired the rank of a capital of Greece, with respect to literature and art. Not only was her copious native literature received with admi- ration by all the Greeks, but her judgment and taste were predominant in all things relating to language and the arts, and decided wh^t should be generally recognised as the classical literature of Greece, long before the Alexandrine critics had prepared their canons. There is no more important epoch in the history of the Greek intellect than the time when Athens obtained this pre-eminence over her sister states.

The character of the Athenians peculiarly fitted them to take this lead. The Athenians were lonians ; and, when their brethren sepa- rated from them in order to found the twelve cities on the coast of Asia Minor, the foundations of the peculiar character of Ionic civiliza- tion had already been laid. The dialect of the lonians was distin- guished from that of the Dorians and Cohans by clear and broad marks : the worship of the gods, which had a peculiarly joyful and serene cast among the lonians, had been moulded into fixed national festivals* : and some steps towards the development of republican feel- ing had already been taken, before this separation occurred. The boundless resources aud mobility of the Ionian spirit are shown by the astonishing productions of the lonians in Asia and the islands in the two centuries previous to the Persian war ; viz., the iambic and elegiac poetry, and the germs of philosophic inquiry and historical composition ; not to mention the epic poetry, which belongs to an earlier and different period. The literary works produced during that time by the lonians who remained behind in Attica, seem poor and meagre, as compared with the luxuriant outburst of literature in Asia Minor: nor did it appear, till a later period, that the progress of the Athenian intellect was the more sound and lasting. The advance of the literature of the lonians in Asia Minor (which reminds us of the premature growth of a plant taken from a cold climate and barren soil, and carried to a warmer and more fertile region), as com- pared with that of the Athenians, corresponds with the natural circum- stances of the two countries. Ionia had, according to Herodotus, the softest and mildest climate in Greece ; and, although he does not assign it the first rank in fertility, yet the valleys of this region (especially that of the Maeander) were of remarkable productiveness. Attica, on the other hand, was rocky, and its soil was shallowf ; though not barren, it required more skill and care in cultivation than most other parts of Greece : hence, according to the sagacious remark

  • Hence the Thar^elia and Pyanepsia of Apollo, the Anthesteria and Leniea o!

Dionysus, the Apatuna and Kleusinia, and many other festivals and religious rite8| were common to the lonians and Athenians.

f TO Xiirriy»Mf,


LITEUATURB OF ANCIENT GREECE. 277

of Thucydides, the warlike races turned by preference to the fertile plains of Argos, Thebes, and Thessaly, and afforded an opportunity for a more secure and peaceable development of social life and industry in Attica. Yet Attica was not deBcient in natural beauties. It had (as Sophocles says in the splendid chorus in the CEdipus at Colonus) " green valleys, in which the clear-voiced nightingale poured forth her sweet laments, under the shade of the dark ivy, and the sacred foliage of Bacchus, covering abundant fruit, impenetrable to the sun, and un- ' shaken by the blasts of all storms*.'* Above all, the clear air, refreshed and purified by constant breezes, is celebrated as one of the chief advan- tages of the climate of Attica, and is described by Euripides as lending a charm to the productions of the Athenian intellect. *' Descendants of Erechtheus (the poet says to the Athenians)t, Jhappy from ancient times, favourite children of the blessed gods, you pluck from your sacred unconquered country renowned wisdom, as a fruit of the soil, and con- stantly walk, with graceful step, through the glittering air of your heaven, where the nine sacred Muses of Pieria are said to have once brought up the fair-haired Harmony as their common child. It is also said that the goddess Cypris draws water from the beautifully flowing Cephisus, and breathes over the land mild and refreshing airs ; and that, twining her hair with fragrant roses, she sends the gods of love as companions of wisdom, and supporters of virtue."

§ 3. The political circumstances of Attica contributed, in a remark- able manner, to produce the same effects as its physical condition. When the lonians settled on the coast of Asia Minor, they soon dis- covered their superiority in energy and military skill to the native Lydian, Carian, and other tribes. Having obtained possession of the entire coast, they entered into a friendly relation with these tribes, which, owing to the early connexion of Lydia with Babylonia and Nineveh, brought them many luxuries and pleasures from the interior- of Asia. The result was, that when the Lydian monarchy was strength- ened under the Mermnadce, and began to aim at foreign conquest, the lonians were so enfeebled and corrupted, and were so deficient in po- litical unity, that they fell an easy prey to the neighbouring kingdom ; and passed, together with the other subjects of Crcbsus, under the power of the Persians. The Ionic inhabitants of Attica, on the other hand, encompassed, and often pressed by the manly tribes of Greece, the JEolians, Boeotians, and Dorians, were forced to keep the sword constantly in their hands, and were placed in circumstances which re- quired much courage and energy, in addition to the openness and excitability of the Ionic character. Athens, indeed, did not immedi- ately attain to the proud security which the Spartans derived from their possession of half Peloponnesus, and their undisputed mastery

  • Soph. (Ed. Col. V. 670. t Eurip. Med. y. 824-


278 HISTORY OF THE

of the practice of war. Hence the Athenians were forced to be constantly on the look*out, and to seek for opportunities of extending^ their empire. At the same time, whilQ the Athenians sought to im- prove their political constitution, they strove to increase the liberty of the people ; and a man like Solon could not have arisen in an Ionian state of Asia Minor, to become the peaceful reg^ulator of the state with the approbation of the community. Solon was able to reconcile the hereditary rights of the aristocracy with the claims of the commonalty grown up to manhood ; and to combine moral strictness and order with freedom of action. Few statesmen shine in so bright a light as Solon ; his humanity and warm sympathies with all classes of his countrymen appear from the fragments of his elegies and iambics which have been already cited*.

After Solon comes the dominion of the Pisistratids, which lasted, with some intermptions, for fifty years (from 560 to 510 B.C.). This government was administered with ability and public spirit, so far as was consistent with the interests of the ruling house. Pisistratus was a ix>litic and circumspect prince : he extended his possessions beyond Attica, and established his power in the district of the gold mines on the Strymonf , to which the Athenians subsequently attached so much importance. In the interior of the country, he did much to promote agriculture and industry, and he is said to have particularly encouraged the planting of olives, which suited the soil and climate in so remark- able a manner. The Pisistratids also, like other tyrants, showed a fondness for vast works of art; the temple of the Olympian Zeus, built by them, always remained, though only half finished, the largest building in Athens. In like manner, tyrants were fond of surrounding themselves with all the splendour which poetry and other musical arts could give to their house : and the Pisistratids certainly bad the merit of diffusing the taste for poetry among the Athenians, and of natu- ralising among them the best literary productions which Greece then possessed. The Pisistratids were unquestionably the first to introduce the recital of the entire Iliad and Odyssey at the Pan athenaea|j and the gentle and refined Hipparchus, the son of Pisistratus, was the means of bringing to Athens the most distinguished lyric poets of the time, as Anacreon§, Simonides||, and Lasus^. Some of the collectors and authors of the mystical poetry also found a welcome reception at the court of the Pisistratids, as Onomacritus ; whom they took with them, at their expulsion from Athens, to the court of the JLing of Persia**, But, notwithstanding their patronage of literature and art, Herodotus is undoubtedly right in stating that it was not till after the fall of their dynasty, that Athens shot up with the vigour which can only be de-

♦ Ch. 10. $ 11, 12. ch. 11. i 12. t Herod. I. 64. X Ch, 5. } 14.

5 Ch 13. 511. II Ch. 14. 5 10, ^ Ch. 14. 5 14.

    • b. 16 i 5.


LITERATUaX OF ANCIKNT GREECE. 979

rived from the oonsciousnesg of every citizen that he has a share in the common weal** This statement of Herodotus refers, indeed, princi* pally to the warlike enterprises of Athens, but it is equally true of her intellectual productions. It is, indeed, a remarkable fact that Athens produced her most excellent works in literature and art in the midst of the greatest political convulsions, and of her utmost efforts for self- preservation or conquest. The long dominion of the Pisistratids, not- withstanding the conpourse of foreign poets, produced nothing more important than the first rudiments of the tragic drama ; for the origin of comedy at the country festivals of Bacchus falls in the time before Plsistratus. On the other hand, the thirty years between the expul- sion of Hippias and the battle of Salamis (b. c. 510 to 480) was a period marked by great events both in politics and literature. During this period, Athens contended with energy and success against her neighbours in Bcootia and Eubcea, and soon dared to interfere in tlie affairs of the lonians in Asia, and to support them in their revolt against Persia; after which» she received and warded off the first powerful attack of the Persians upon Greece. During the same period* at Athens, the pathetic tragedies of Phrynichus, and the lofly tragedies of ^schylus, appeared on the stage ; political eloquence was awakened in Themistocles ; historical researches were commenced by Pherecydes ; and everything seemed to give a promise of the greatness to which Athens afterwards attained. Even sculpture at Athens did not flourish under the encouragement which it doubtless received from the enter- prising spirit of the Pisistratids, but first arose under the influence of political freedom* While, from b.c. 540, considerable masters and whole families and schools of brass-founders, workers in gold and ivory, &c., existed in Aigos, Lacedaemon, Sicyon, and elsewhere, the Athens of the Pisistratids could not boast of a single sculptor ; nor is it till the time of the battle of Marathon, that An tenor, Critias, and Hegias are mentipned as eminent masters in brass-founding. But the work for which both Antenor and Hegias were chiefly celebrated was the brazen statues of Harmodi)^ a|id Aristogiton, the tyrannicides and liberators of Athens from the yoke of the Pisistratids, according to the tradition of the Athenian peoplet.

§ 4. The great peril of the Persian war thus came upon a race of high spirited and enterprising men, and exercised upon it the hardening aud elevating influence, by which great dangers, successfully overcome, become the highest benefit to a state. Such a period withdraws the mind from petty, selfish cares, and fixes it on great and public objects. At the moment when half Greece had quailed before the Persian army, the Athenians, with a fearless spirit of independence, abandon their

« Herod. V. 78. t Gh. 13. § 17.


280 HISTORY OP THE

country to the ravages of the enemy : embarking in their ships, they decide the sea-fights in favour of the Greeks, and again they are in the land-war the steadiest supporters of the Spartans. The wise modera- tion with which, for the sake of the general good, they submitted to the supreme command of Sparta, combined with a bold and enterprising spirit, which Sparta did not possess, is soon rewarded to an extent which must have exceeded the most sanguine hopes of the Athenian statesmen. The attachment of thelonians to their metropolis, Athens^ which had been awakened before the battle of Marathon, soon led to a closer connexion between nearly all the Greeks of the Asiatic coast and this state. Shortly afterwards, Sparta withdrew, with the other Greeks of the mother country, from any further concern in the contest ; and an Athenian alliance was formed for the termination of the national war, which was changed, by gradual yet rapid transitions, into a dominion of Athens over her allies ; so that she became the sovereign of a large and flourishing empire, comprehending the islands and coasts of the ^Egean, and a part of the Euxine seas. In this manner, Athens gained a wide basis for the lofly edifice of political glory which was raised by her statesmen.

§ 5. The completion of this splendid structure was due to Pericles, during his administration, which lasted from about B.C. 464, to his death (b.c. 429). Pericles changed the allies of Athens into her subjects, by declaring the common treasure to be the treasure of the Athenian state ; and he resolutely maintained the supremacy of Athens by punishing with severity every attempt at defection. Through his influence, Athens became a dominant community, whose chief business it was to administer the affairs of an extensive empire, flourishing in agriculture, mechanical industry, and commerce. Pericles, however did not make the acquisition of this power the highest object of his exertions, nor did he wish the Athenians to consider it as their greatest good. His aim was to realise in Athens the idea which he had con- ceived of human greatness. He wished that great and noble thoughts should pervade the whole mass of the ruhng people; and this was in fact the case, so long as his influence lasted, to a greater degree than has occurred in any other period of history. Pericles stood among the citizens of Athens, without any public office which gave him extensive legal power* ; and yet he exercised an influence over the multitude which has been rarely possessed by an hereditary ruler. The

♦ Pericles was indeed treasurer of the , administration (• iri rns ^Mn^utt) at the breaking out of the Peloponnesian war ; but, although this oflBce required an ac- curate knowledge of the finances of Athens, it did not confer any Ifgal power. It is assumed that the times are excepted, in which Pericles was strategus, particularly at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, when the strategus had a very extensive executive power, because Athens, being in a 'state of siege, was treated like a for- tified camp.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GRFECE. 281

Athenians saw in him, when he spoke to the people from the bema, an Olympian Zeus, who had the thunder and lightning in his power. It was not the volubility of his eloquence, but the irresistible force of his arguments, and the majesty of his whole appearance, which gain? d him this appellation : hence a comic poet said of him, that he was the only one of the orators who led his sting in the minds of his hearers*.

The objects to which Pericles directed the people, and for which he accumulated so much power and wealth at Athens, may be best seen in the still extant works of architecture and sculpture which originated under his administration. The defence of the state being already pro- vided for, through the instrumentality of Themistocles, Cimon, and Pericles himself, by the fortifications of the city and harbour and the loh^ walls, Pericles induced the Athenian people to expend upon the decoration of Athens, by works of architecture and sculpture, a larger part of its ample revenues than was ever applied to this purpose in any other state, either republican or monarchicalf. This outlay of public money, which at any other period would have been excessive, was then well-timed ; since the art of sculpture had just reached a pitch of high excellence, after long and toilsome efforts, and persons endowed with its magical powers, such as Phidias, were in close intimacy with Pericles. Of the surpassing skill with which Pericles collected into one focus the rays of artistical genius at Athens^ no stronger proof can be afibrded, than the fact that no subsequent period, through the patronage either of Macedonian or Roman princes, produced works of equal excel- lence. Indeed, it may be said that the creations of the age of Pericles are the only works of art which completely satisfy the most refined and cultivated taste. But it cannot have been the intention of Pericles, or of the Athenians who shared his views, to limit their countrymen to those enjoyments of art which are derived from the eye. It is known that Pericles was on terms of intimacy with Sophocles ; and it may be presumed that Pericles thoroughly appreciated such works as the An- tigone of Sophocles ; since (as we shall show hereafler) there was a close analogy between the political principles of Pericles and the poetical character of Sophocles. Pericles, however, lived on a still more intimate footing with Anaxagoras, the first philosopher v?ho proclaimed

  • M/m; rSf ftrriftv Ti xUr^sv lyxurixu^t r»7t &»^»iffiif»tf. Kupolis in the Demi.

f The annual revenue of Athens at the time of Pericles is estimated at 1000 talents (rather more than 200,000/.) ; of which sum 600 talents flowed from the tri- butes of the allies. If we reckon that the Propylsa (with the buildings belonging to it) cost 2012 talents, the expense of all the buildings of this time, — the Odvou, the Parthenon, the Propylaa, the temple at Eleusis, and other contemporary temples in the country, as at Rhamnus and Sunium, together with the sculpture and coloudng, statues of gold and ivory, as the Pallas in the Parthenon, carpets, &c., — cannot have been less than 8000 talents. And yet all these works fell in the last twenty years of the Peloponnesian war.


282 HISTORY OF THB

in Greece the doctrine of a regulating intelligence*. The house of Pericles, particularly from the time when the beautiful and accom- plished Milesian Aspasia presided over it with a greater freedom of in- tercourse than Athenian usage allowed to wives, was a point of union for all the men who had conceived the intellectual superiority of Athens. The sentiment attributed by Thucydides to Pericles in the celebrated funeral oration, that '* Athens is the school of Greece," is doubtless, if not in words, at least in substance, the genuine expression of Periclesf. § 6. It could not be expected that this brilliant exhibition of human excellence should be without its dark side, or that the flourishing state of Athenian civilization should be exempt from the elements of decay. The political position of Athens soon led to a conflict between the patri- otism and moderation of her citizens and their interests and passions. From the earliest times, Athens bad stood in an unfriendly relation to the rest of Greece. Even the lonians, who dwelt in Asia Minor, sur- rounded by Dorians and Cohans, did not, until their revolt from Persia, receive from the Athenians the sympathy common among the Greeks between members of the same race. Nor did the other states of the mother country ever so far recognise the intellectual supremacy of Athens, as to submit to her in political alliances ; and therefore Athens never exercised such an ascendency over the independent states of Greece as was at various times conceded to Sparta. At the very foundation of her political greatness, Athens could not avoid struggling to free herself from the superintendence of the other Greeks ; and since Attica was not an island, — which would have best suited the views of the Athenian statesmen, — Athens was, by means of immense fortifica- tions, as far as possible isolated from the land and withdrawn from the influence of the dominant military powers. The eyes of her statesmen were exclusively turned towards the sea. They thought that the national character of the lonians of Attica, the situation of this peninsula, and its internal resources, especially its silver mines» flitted Athens for mari- time sovereignty. Moreover, the Persian war had given her a powerful impulse in this direction ; and by her large navy she stood at the head of the confederate islanders and Asiatics, who wished to continue the war against Persia for their own liberation and security. These confe- derates had before been the subjects of the King of Persia ; and had long been more accustomed to slavish obedience than to voluntary exertion. It was their refusals and delays, which first induced Athens to draw the reins tighter, and to assume a supremacy over them. The

  • The author of the first Alcibiades (amonff the Platonic dialogues), p. 1 18, onitei

the philosophical musicians, Pythocleides ana Damon« with Anaxagoras, as firiendi of Pericles. Pericles is also said to have been connected with Zeno the Eleatic and Protagoras the sophist.

f Thucy^d, II. 41. ^vftXiiv Ts xiym rn* irei^ajt wi^ fn$ *£AA4)»f ifm^^ui^M iTmm*


LITBRATURl OP ANOIBNT GREECE. 283

Athenians were not cruel and sanguinary by nature ; but a reckless severity, when there was a question of maintaining principles which they thought neeessary to their existence, was implanted deeply in their character ; and oircumstances too often impelled them to employ it against their allies. The Athenian policy of compelling so many cities to contribute their wealth in order to make Athens the focus of art and cnltivation, was indeed accompanied with pride and selfish patriotism. Yet the Athenians did not reduce millions to a state of abject servitude, fbr the purpose of ministering to the wants of a few thousand persons. The object of their statesmen, such as Pericles, doubtless was, to make Athens the pride of the whole confederacy; that their allies should enjoy in common with them the productions of Athenian art, and especially should participate in the great festivals, the Panathensea and Diony8ia,on the embellishment of which all the treasures of wealtli and art were lavished*.

( 7. Energy in action and cleverness in the use of languaget were the qualities which most distinguished the Athenians in comparison with the other Greeks, and which are most clearly seen in their political conduct and their literature. Both qualities are very liable to abuse. The energ:y in action degenerated into a restless love of adventure, which was the chief cause of the fall of the Athenian power in the Peloponnesian war, after the conduct of it had ceased to be directed by the clear and com- posed views of Pericles. The consciousness of dexterity in the use of words, which the Athenians cultivated more than the other Greeks, in- duced them to subject everything to discussion. Hence too arose a copiousness of speech, very striking as compared with the brevity of the early Greeks, which compressed the results of much reflection in a few words. It is remarkable that, soon after the Persian war, the great Cimon was distinguished from his countrymen by avoiding all Attic eloquence and loquacity}. Stesimbrotus, of Thasos, a contemporary, observed of him, that the frank and noble were prominent in his cha- racter, and that he had the qualities of a Peloponnesian more than of an Athenian§. Yet this iluei^cy of the Athenians was long restrained by the deeply-rooted maxims of traditional morality ; nor was it till tl.c beginning of the Peloponnesian war, when a foreign race of teachers,

  • There are many gprounds for thinkinp^ that these festivals were instituted ex-

pressly fbr the allies, who attended them m large numbers. Prayers were also \)ub- bely offemd at the Panathensea for the Plateans (Herod, vi. lu.), and at all great public festivals for the Chians (Theopomp. ap. Schol. Aristoph. Av. 880), who were nearly the only fai^fhl ally of the Athenians in the Peloponnesian war, after tiie defection of the Mytilenssans. Moreover, the colonies of Athens (i.e« probably, in gea&nl, the cities of the confederacy) offered sacrifices at the Panathenaea.

r« ^^eurrn(t«v xet) ro iufof, | itivortif and owfitv^ia,

§ In Plutarch, Cimon, c. 4, indeed, Stesimbrotus is not unjustly censured fur his credulity and his fondness for narrating the cjkronique scandaieuse of those times : but statements, such as that in the text, founded upon personal observation of the general state of society, are always very valuable.


284 HISTORY OF THE

chiefly from the colonies in the east and west, established themselves at Athens, that the Athenians learnt the dangerous art of subjecting the traditional maxims of morality to a scrutinising examination. For al- though this examination ultimately led to the establishing of morality on a scientific basis, yet it at first gave a powerful impulse to immoral motives and tendencies, and, at any rate, destroyed the habits founded on unreasoning faith. These arts of the sophists — for such was the name of the new teachers — were the more pernicious to the Athenians, because the manliness of the Athenian character, which shone forth so o.obly during the Persian war and the succeeding period, had already fallen off before the Peloponnesian war, under the administration of Pericles. This degeneracy was owing to the same accidental causes, which produced the noble qualities of the Athenians. Plato says that Pericles made the Athenians lazy, cowardly, loquacious, and covetous*. This severe judgment, suggested to Plato by his constant repugnance to the practical statesmen of his time, cannot be considered as just ; yet it must be admitted that the principles of the policy of Pericles were closely connected with the demoralization so bluntly described by Plato. By founding the power of the Athenians on dominion of the sea, he led them to abandon land-war and the military exercises requi- site for it, which had hardened the old warriors of Marathon. In the ships, the rowers played the chief part, who, except in times of great danger, consisted not of citizens, but of mercenaries ; so that the Co- rinthians in Thucydides about the beginning of the Peloponnesian war justly describe the power of the Athenians as being rather purchased with money than nativef. In the next place, Pericles made the Athe- nians a dominant people, whose time was chiefly devoted to the business of governing their widely extended empire. Hence it was necessaf^ for him to provide that the common citizens of Athens -should be able to gain a livelihood by their attention to public business; and accord- ingly it was contrived that a considerable part of the large revenues of Athens should be distributed among the citizens, in the form of wages fur attendance in the courts of justice, the public assembly, and the council, and also on less valid grounds, for example, as money for the theatre. Those payments to the citizens for their share in the public business were quite new in Greece; and many well disposed persons considered the sitting and listening in the Pnyx and the courts of justice as an idle life in comparison with the labour of the ploughman and vinegrower in the country. Nevertheless, a considerable time elapsed before the bad qualities developed by these circumstances so far pre- vailed as to overcome the noble habits and tendencies of the Athenian character. For a long time the industrious cultivators, the brave war-

♦ PlatGorg.p. 515. E. f Thucyd. II. 121. Comp. Plutarch, PericL 9,


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 285

riors, and the men of old-fashioned morality were opposed, among the citizens of Athens, to the loquacious, luxurious, and dissolute genera- tion who passed their whole time in the market-place and courts of justice. The contest between these two parties is the main subject of the early Attic comedy ; and accordingly we shall recur to it in con- neiion with Aristophanes.

§ 8. Literature and art, however, were not, daring the Peloponnesian war, afiected by the corruption of morals. The works of this period, — which the names of iBschylus, Sophocles, and Phidias are sufficient to call to our minds — exhibit not only a perfection of form, but also an elevation of soul and a grandeur of conception, which fill us almost^ with as much admiration for those whose minds were sufficiently ma- ture and strong to enjoy such works of art« as for those who produced them. Pericles, whose whole administration was evidently intended to diflPuse a taste for genuine beauty among the people, could justly use the words attributed to him by Thucydides : ** We are fond of beauty without departing from simplicity, and we seek wisdom without becom- ing effeminate*.'*' A step farther, and the love of genuine beauty gave place to a desire for evil pleasures, and the love of wisdom degenerated into a habit of idle logomachy.

We now turn to the drama, the species of poetry which peculiarly belongs to the Athenians ; and we shall here see how the utmost beauty and elegance were g^radually developed out of rude, stiff, antique forms.


CHAPTER XXI.

{ 1. Caoses of dramatic poetry in Greece. § 2. The invention of dramatic poetry peculiar to Greece. § 3. Origin of the Greek drama from the worship of Bac- chus. 5 4 Earliest, or Doric form of tragedy, a choral or dithyrombic song in the worship of Bacchus. J 5. Connexion of the early tragedy with a chorus of satyrs, .J 6. Improvement of tragedy at Athens by Thespis; § 7. by Phrynichus; i 8. and by Chosrilus. Cultivation of the satyric drama by the latter. § 9, The satyric drama completely separated from tragedy by Pratinas.

§ 1. The spirit of an age is, in general, more completely and faithfully represented by its poetry than by any branch of prose composition ; and, accordingly, we may best trace the character of the three different stages of civilization among the Greeks in the three grand divisions of their poetry. The epic poetry belongs to a period when, during the

•• Thucyd. II. 40. ^lUxmUZfiif yaf /ittr, linXiiW, ««i p>^»^»Zfiif &nv /AttXaxicLf, The word iwr/Xw* is not to be understood as if the Athenians did not expend large Minw of pubUc money upon works of art ; what Pericles means is, that tlie Athenians admired the simple and severe beauty of art alone, without seeking after glitter and magnificence.


286 HISTORY OP THE

continuance of monarchical institutions, the minds of the people were impregnated and swayed by legends handed down from antiquity. Elegiac, iambic, and lyric poetry arose in the more stirring and agitated times which accompanied the development of repablican governments * times in which each individual gave vent to his personal aims and wishes and all the depths of the human breast were unlocked by the inspirations of poetry. And now when, at the summit of Greek civilization, in the very prime of Atheniali power and freedom, we see dramatic poetry spring up, as the organ of the prevailing thoughts and feelings of the time, and throwing all other varieties of poetry into the shade, we are naturally led to ask, how it comes that this style of poetry agreed so well with the spirit of the age, and so far outstripped its competitors in the contest for public favour ?

Dramatic poetry, as the Greek name plainly declares, Represents actions ; which are not (as in the epos) merely narrated, but seem to take place before the eyes of the spectator. Yet this external appear- ance cannot constitute the essential difference between dramatic and epic poetry : for, since the events thus represented do not really happen at the moment of their representation ; since the speech And actions of the persons in the drama are only a fiction of the poet, and, when suc- cessful, an illusion to the spectator; it would follow that the whole difference turned upon a mere deception. The essence of this style of poetry has a much deeper source ; viz., the state of the poet*s mind, when engaged in the contemplation of his subject. The epic poet seems to regard the events which he relates, from afar, as objjects of calm contemplation and admiration, and is always conscious of the great interval between him and them ; while the dramatist plunges, with his entire soul, into the scenes of human life, and seems himself to experience the events which he exhibits to our view. He experiences them in a two-fold manner : first, because in the drama, actions (as they arise out of the depths of the human heart) are represented as com- pletely and as naturally as if they originated in our own breasts ; se- condly, because the eflfect of the actions and fortunes of the personages upon the sympathies of other persons in the drama itself is exhibited with such force, that the listener feels himself constrained to like sym- pathy, and powerfully attracted within the circle of the drama. This second means, the strong sympathy in the action of the drama» was, at the time when this style of poetry was developing itself, by far the most important ; and hence arose the necessity of the chorus, as a partici- pator in the fortunes of the principal characters in the drama of this period. Another similar fact is that the Greek drama did not originate from the narrative, but from a branch of lyric poetry. The latter point, however, we shall examine hereafter. At present, we merely consider the fact that the drama comprehends and develops the events of human J/fe with a force and depth which no oVhw ?»Vj\^ o^ y^Vi^ can reach ;


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT OREEGB. 287

and that these admit only of a dramatic treatment, while outward nature is best described in epi€ and lyric poetry.

§ 2. tf we carry ourselves in imagination back to a time when dra- matic composition Was unknown, we must acknowledge that its crea- tiou required great boldness of mind. Bitherto the bard had only sung of gods and heroes, as elevated beings, from ancient traditions ; it was, therefore, a great chatige for the poet himself to come forward all at once in the character of the god or hero ; in a nation which, even in its amusements, had always adhered closely to established usage. It is true that there is much in human nature which impels it to dramatic representations ; namely, the universal love of imitating other persons, and the childlike liveliness with which a narrator, strongly impressed with his subject, delivers a speech which he has heard, or, perhaps, only imagined. Tet there is a wide step from these disjointed elements to the genuine drama ; and it seems that no nation except the Greeks ever made this step. The Old Testament contains narratives interwoven with speeches and dialogues, as the Book of Job ; and lyric poems placed in ^ dramatic connexion, as Solomon's Song ; but we nowhere iind in this literature any mention of dramas properly so called. The dramatic poetry of the Indians belongs to a time when there had been much intercourse between Greece and India ; and the mysteries of the Middle Ages were grounded upon a tradition, though a very obscure one, from antiquity. Even in ancient Greece and Italy, dra- matic poetry, and especially tragedy, attained to perfection only in Athens; and, even here, it was only exhibited at a few festivals of a single god, Dionyius; while epic rhapsodies and lyric odes were recited on various occasions. All this is incomprehensible, if we suppose dra- matic poetry tb have originated in causes independent of the peculiar circumstances of the time and place. If a love of imitation, and a delight in disguising the real person under a mask, were the basis upon which this style of poetry was raised, the drama would have been as natural and as universal among men as these qualities are common to their nature.

§ 3. A more satisfactory explanation of the origin of the Greek drama may be found in its connexion with the worship of the gods, and particularly that of Bacchus. The Greek worship contains a great number of dramatic elements. The gods were supposed to dwell in their temples, and participate in their festivals ; and it was not con- sidered presumptuous or unbecoming to represent them as acting like human beings. Thus, Apollo's combat with the dragon, and his con- sequent flight and expiation, were represented by a noble youth of Delphi ; in Samos the marriage of Zeus and Here was exhibited at the |reat festival of the goddess. The Eleusinian mysteries were (as an ancient writer expresses it*) " a mystical drama " in vhkW iVia Vjiva-

  • Clem, Alex. Protrept* p. 12. Pottet


288 HISTORY OF THE

tory of Demeter and Cora was acted, like a play, by priests and priestesses; though, probably, only with mimic action, illustrated by a few significaiit sentences of a symbolic nature, and by the singing of hymns. There were also similar mimic representations in the worship of Bacchus ; thus, at the Anthesteria at Athens, the wife of the second Archon, who bore the title of Queen, was betrothed to Dionysus iu a secret solemnity, and in public processions even the god himself was represented by a man*. At the Boeotian festival of the Agrionia, Dionysus was supposed to have disappeared, and to be sought for among the mountains ; there was also^ maiden (representing one of the nymphs in the train of Dionysus), who was pursued by a priest, carrying a hatchet, and personating a being hostile to the Crod. This festival rite, which is frequently mentioned by Plutarch, is the origin of the fable, which occurs in Homer, of the pursuit of Dionysus and his nurses by the furious Lycurgus.

But the worship of Bacchus had one quality which was, more than any other, calculated to give birth to the drama, and particularly to tragedy ; namely, the enthusiasm which formed an essential part of it. This enthusiasm (as we have already remarkedf) proceeded from an impassioned sympathy with the events of nature, in connexion with the course of the seasons ; especially with the struggle which Nature seemed to make in winter, in order that she might break forth in spring with renovated beauty : hence the festivals of Dionysus at Athens and elsewhere were all solemnised in the months which were nearest to the shortest dayj. The feeling which originally prevailed at these festivals was, that the enthusiastic participators in them be- lieved that they perceived the god to be really affected by the changes of nature ; killed or dying, flying and rescued, reanimated or returning, victorious and dominant ; and all who shared in the festival felt these joyful or mournful events, as if they were under the immediate influence of them. Now the great changes which took place in the religion, as well as in the general cultivation of the Greeks, banished from men's minds the conviction that the happy or unhappy events, which they be- wailed or rejoiced in, really occurred in nature before their eyes. Bac- chus, accordingly, was conceived as an individual, anthropomorphic, self- existing being ; but the enthusiastic sympathy with Dionysus and his

  • A beautiful slave of Nicias represented Dionysus on an occasion of this kind :

Plutarch, Nic. 3. Compare the description of the great Bacchic procession under Ptolemy Philadelphus in Athen. v. p. 196, sq,

t Ch. 2. J 4.

X In Athens the months succeeded one another in the following order :— Posei- deon, Gamelion (formerly Lenseon), Anthesterion, Elaphebolion ; these, according to Boeckh*8 convincing demonstration, contained the Bacchic festivals of the lesser or country Dionysia, Lensea, Anthesteria, the greater or city Dionysia. In Delphi, the three winter months were sacred to Dionysus (Plutarch de Ei ap. Delphos, c 9.)» and the great festival of Trieterica was celebrated on Parnassus at the time of the shortest day.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 289

fortunes, as with real events, always remained. The swarm of subordi- nate beings — Satyrs, Panes, and Nymphs — by whom Bacchus was sur- rounded, and through whom life seemed to pass from the god of out- ward nature into v^etatlon and the animal world, and branch off into a 'variety of beautiful or grotesque forms, were ever present to the fancy of the Greeks; it was not necessary to depart very widely from the ordinary course of ideas, to imagine that dances of fair nymphs and bold satyrs, among the solitary woods and rocks, were visible to human eyes, or even in fancy to take a part in them. The intense desire felt by every worshipper of Bacchus to figh% to conquer, to suffer, in common with him, made them regard these subordinate beings as a convenient step by which they could approach more nearly to the presence of their divinity. The custom, so prevalent at the festivals of Bacchus, of taking the dis- guise of satyrs, doubtless originated in this feeling, and not in the mere desire of concealing excesses under the disguise of a mask ; otherwise, so serious and pathetic a spectacle as tragedy could never have origi- nated in the choruses of these satyrs. The desire of escaping from selff into something new and strange, of living in an imaginary world, breaks forth iu a thousand instances in these festivals of Bacchus. It is seen in the colouring the body with plaster, soot, vermilion, and different sorts of green and red juices of plants, wearing goats and deer skins round the loins, covering the face with large leaves of dif- ferent {dants ; and, lastly, in the wearing masks of wood, bark, and other materials, and of a complete costume belonging to the character. ' § 4. These facts seem to us to explain how the drama might na- turally originate from the enthusiasm of the worship of Bacchus, as a part of his festival ceremonies. We now come to consider the direct evidence r^pecting its origin. The learned writers of antiquity agree in statiiig that tragedy, as well as comedy, was originally a choral song.* It is a most important fact in the history of dramatic poetry, that the lyric portion, the song of the chorus, was the original part of it. The action, the adventure of the god, was pre-supposed, or only sym- bolically indicated by the sacrifice : the chorus expressed their feelings upon it. This choral song belonged to the class of dithyrambs ; Aris- totle says that tragedy originated with the singers of the dithyramb.f The dithyramb was, as we have already seen,| an enthusiastic ode to Bacchus, which had in early time been sung at convivial meetings by the drunken revellers, but, after the time of Arion (about b. c. 620), was regularly executed by a chorus. The dithyramb was capable of ex- pressing every variety of feeling excited by the worship and mythology

  • One iiassage will serve for many: Euanthias de tragcedia et comoedia, c. 2.

CoDKBdia fere vetoi, ut ipsa quoque olim tragcedia, simplex fuit carmen, quod cho«  iQi circa aras fumantes nunc spatiatus, nunc consistens, nunc revolvens gyros, cum tibicine concinebat.

t Azistot. Pbet. 4. iurl vSh ISof Wyr«y rh h4vp»ufi49,

ch. xw. 8 7.


/


890 HISTORY OF THE

of Bacchus. There were dithyrambs of a gay and joyous tone, cele- brating the commencement of spring ; but tragedy, with its solemn and gloomy character, could not have proceeded from these. This dithy- ramb, from which tragedy probably took its origin, turned upon the sorrows of Dionysus* This appears from the remarkable account qi Herodotus, that in Sicyon, in the tim£ of the tyrapt Clejstbenes (about 600 B.c.)» tragic choruses had been represented, which celebrated th/d sorrows, no^ of Dionysus, but of th^ hero Adra^tus ; and that Ciei- stheues restored these choruses to the worship of Dionysus* This shows, not only that there were ^t that^ime tragic choruses, but ^so that the subject of them had been changed from Dionysus tp pther heroes, especially those who were distinguished by their misfortunes apd sufferings. The reason why sometimes the |dithyramb,t and afjterwards tragedy, was transferred from Dionysus to heroes, and not to other gods of the Qreek Pjympus, was that the latter were ele¥at^ al^ve the chances of fortune, and the alterp^tipns of joy apd grief, to which both Dionysus and the heroes were subject. The date given by IJero- dotus agrees well with the statement of the ancient gramm^aiiSy that the celebrated dithyrambic poet, Arion (abouit $80 B. c), invented the tragic style (r^tayncog rp^Trog); evidently the same variety of djthyrantib as that usual in Sicyon in the time of Cleisthenes. This narrative abo gives some probability to the tradition of a tragic author of Sicyon, named Epigenes, who lived before the time of the Athenian dramatists ^ from the perplexed and, in part, corrupt notices of him it is conjectured that he was the first who transferred tragedy from Dionysus jlo pther persons.

§ 5. Jn attempting to form a more precise conception pf tb^ ancient tragedy, when it still belonged exclusively to the worship of B^cpbus, we are led by the statement of Aristotle, ** that tragedy originated vith the chief singers of the dithyramb,'^ to suppose that the leaders of the chorus came forward separately. It may be conjectured that these, ejther as representetives of Dionysus himself, or aa messengers firom his train, narrated the perils which threatened the god, and his final escape from or triumph over them ; and that the chorus then expressed its feeling^, as at passing events. The chorus thus naturally assuined the character of satellites of Dionysus; whence they easily fell into the parts of satyrs, who were not only his companions in sportive adventures, but also in combats and misfortunes ; aud were as well adapted to eicpress terror or fear, as gaiety or pleasure. It is stated by Aristotle and many grammarians, that the most ancient tragedy bore the character of a

  • Ht rod. V. 67. rk ^d^ut eturw v^etytMtet x*t^** X'^eu^n, rn f^f Asnvtn m Tfftitff

translated, << He gave them back/' or *' He gave them as somethijig due," the lesult is the same.

t There was a dithyramb, entitled MemnoD, composed by Simonides, 8taba ZF. d. 728. Above, chap. xiv.,§ 11. »*?-*/ ^ -— -, i~


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT QREECE. 291

sport of satyrs; and the introducUon of satyrs into this species of poetry is ascribed to Arion, who is said to have invented the tragic dithyramb. The name of tragedy ^ or goat*s song^ was even by the ancients derived from the resj^mblance of the singers, in their character of satyrs, to goats. Yet th^e slight resemblance }a form between satyrs and goats «ouId hardly have given a name to this kind of poetry ; it is far mure probable that this species of dithyramb was originally performed at the burnt sacrifice of a goat ; the conqexion of which with the subject of the earliest t^*agedy can only be explained by means of mythological researches foreign to the present subject.*

Thus far bad tragedy advanced among the Dorians, who therefore considered themselves the inventors of it. All its further development belongs to the Athenians ; while among the Dorians it seems to have been long jnreserved in its original lyric form. Doubtless tragic dithy- rambs of the same kind as those in Sicyon and Corinth continued for a long lime to be sung in Athens ; probably at the temple of Bacchus, called Lensum, and the Leneean festival, with which all the genuine traditions respecting the origin of tragedy were connected. Moreover, the Lensean festival was solemnized exactly at the time when, in other parts of Greece, the sorrows of Dionysus were bewailed. Hence in later times, when the dramatic spectacles were celebrated at the three Dionysiac festivals of the year, tragedy preceded comedy at the Lensea, and followed immediately after the festival procession ; while both at the greatj^r and lesser Pionysla, comedy, which came after a great carousal, wjas first, and was followed by tragedy .f At these festivals, before the innovations ofThespis, when the chorus had assembled round the altar of Dionysus, an individual from the midst of the chorus is said to have answered the other members of the chorus from the sacrificial

table (cXe^c) near the altar ; that is to say, he probably imparted to them in song the subjects which excited and guided the feelings ex- pressed by the chorus in its chants.

  • We here reject the common account (adopted, among other writers, by Horace)

of the invention of comedy at the vintage, the faces smeared with lees of wine, the waggon with which Thespis went round Attica, and so forth ; since all these arise firom a confuision between the origin of comedy and tragedy. Comedy really ori- ginated at the rural Dionysia^or the vintage festival (see ch. XXVII.j. Aristophanes calls the comic poets of his own time iee-singers (^r^uy^loi), but he never gives this name to the tragic poets and actors. The waggon suits not the dithyramb, which was sung by a standing choras, but a procession, which occurred in the earliest form of comedy ; moreover, in many festivals, there was a custom of throwing out jests and scurrilous abuse from a waggon (fjuuftfietra 2| ifiej^wv). It is only by completely avoiding this error (which rests on a very natural confusion) that it is possible to reconcile the earliest history of the drama with the best testimonies, especially that of Aristotle.

i* According to the very important statements concerning the parts of these fes- tivals, which are in the documents cited in the speech of Demosthenes against Midias. 0/ the Lensea it is said, h i^) AfivatM ^ofiirh xa) cl ri^ay^^et xec) cl »u/t,cjiiot ; of the greater Dionysia, roTs Iv affru Aiefv^ietf n Tefttrh »a) o* TuT^tg xa) o xeUfcos KM et xetfAtfiei xai el r^eiyfhi ', of the lesser Dionysia in the Piraeus, if refA^h r^ Auvv^v if

V 2 ^


292 HlblUH) Ot 'J tfh

K 6. 'J il<r aijf.it.-Ill -. Ii'#w :.<■'; jf«- a^^lC-if. '.lU'. 'J j«<:?9j^i- life'. Cfiubfl lia;;d_^ :o bccoiii* i> ciraiiii ; liiOuj^i, .. \««; .?iiiijj*«: uj**-. li li*»r 'in**: Wi Pft^i*>iraiLL'^ ^fc « . jiiO;, 'J !««;:» J Ji- iiiutit li«fc >»icd' bUrj^ uf cui«i«fc-;liij^' wit: till: f:i«oiai r<:)irebeit'ua'tii»ij ^wiiici; ftar. liitucrto a* iiiusi wiiniiUKJ 4u. «i«- ii:ii:iki^it^e of voici:.-*; a uffUiai (JliaiO^ui-, wiiicL wab oHiy distiu^uibuec ititiii tiftfc [aiigiia^c: o! goijiiiioii lji<; IfV JLh if^eirica! loiui &tj i«>riiti:d If oil J tii< fiiiiMi<:(i riratita c/ne acior ap{/irarr lo U: ijO MfiUr? tr^ai '/iwu' a< a^/ WjjMi hov»t:\t:i i\ ii- L»i>fi«i. lii iumf*., liiat. accorOiup U/ lii-. CL^rmVati* )^fa(;t<(je of iij«- Mff.icir Giaiui:, oii«- acu>f jj.a>e<i bfcv*fal jiart-Mi

lii^ saiiii- \ikt:iJk <Uji wilMU tij<- iiM:Ii lliask'-, llJ'il(/fiur;4K: uy'Jiifcb)>ih, Uiue: iia\<: iA:%:ti uf (^Hral u!rf;; : a lid lii01(:0\C'rj tfial ittk CfiOluh wa^ coin&iut^

Will, tiji: aciof.aijfi could iiiaiutuii; adia.oHUfc MJtii hiiiJ: i: ib fcab} Uj Mat Lu* i. (ifaiuat.f ac'.ion ffii{;ii*. bo mttorii^ced, cojitiiiued aud coijCiu«a«<. by tiiir spfc(:ci«eh iiibL-rlcd U:lw<:(rii tiiC ciiOiai bOfifi*-. J>«* U*-, i^r euaifip*^. Irulli UiltOli^ tilt: jJiCCi:^ wiiO.-9<: titiC*. inx\t: UtUh l*l*:bhT\t6 ,'* Vokfc XUfc ^tsW

l/ic'u-' Jii liiih, tbi: biii^ii- acior ifi.^iit aj>)^ar biicokasiveiv ah JLiic^iiybu^. Firiitiieutf; i' Mk>>birfig«:r. aijd A|fa\i-, tiif: motii'-r of PeiitiMriih ; aiiC; ii. tiirbtr b«r\«:fuJ ctiaiaciufr, iiii;.^li>. aiiiiOUii<^ design o aiid iirusiitfOii}:: or le-

Jalf: i:\fcilU wil.Cii CUUi<i l#Ot Cuii^<:lhf:litt) b« KpiebCfllU-C, ah tUfc UiUltrtrf

uf l'i:iitijf:u^ byiiih aiilur;utiaK.' inotber. of eipteb!: triuifipban'. joy a: IXja fifccd ; i>y wii.cb iiiiraii;- i«fc MoJjd Krj/rfcbeiit, uol wituoui iuiA;i«:btiiiif fcU:ii«:>, thfc biJLfi^iaucfc uf iiifc 1ab«<', a^ Ji ih ^ivei; ill tbe Baccbsfc uf l:«ur«- pMlcr. Mfchi>ei«^ef.'. aiid ii<:fdjrih j>fobaui\ piayc-d aii iiiiporUiii'. |^rt jl tiiih cariv diaiiia {ytii^iu. ii«(«i:i^fj. \u^.\ ii-'iauiecl lo a coiAvici4:iaUi«: <rxLeir. ill ti<e \MxiKii\ lofiii uf Cir<;i'k irageri} :) aiiC tii«r bfiefKriifeb Here |/ruuaoi\ sbon, ah <:*Mi\^iiii:t*j witij tiii: citoia, bOiiKf-, Wiiicb taey w;rve<i to ex|>iaii J I. t^Ai- dfiiiiia of 'jitfesjiit. tii<: )/(ri.-»oiiK uf Hit ciiOfut iicHjUfciitiy i^v^l- b<:ii;«:d baiMr. a^ Mel. a>. otb> f j^afts. : lof; Lielore ti«e batvric drauia uuc atijUiied a (libtibfjiitf: ciiUiaf.-K:?, i*. viubl bave bteu coiilouuded Miti traj^<:d V .

'i'itfc iihU*J:>. of till: Cf«Ortir MTf^K: btil'i a JifiliCijia. ^ri of' tbe (Mrriuiiii- ai.cfcj tii(: aiiCiiriil lfag;<:«J#aiih in geiiCfal Mi-ifc tiraciieih uf dauciu^. (or. ah M«r biiouid ^*a,^. baJ<el-iiiabif:f;-.^ ah Meli ah jA^ib aud lilubiciarl^.

J I i'uH t.iiii: uf A ri sto}>iiaf«4:h, ^wbieij piav;. of 'Jbfebpih couid w:aic<^iv U: f«:]/ifcbeiiU;d uj/oii ti*i: -i^a^*,^ Xiyk daiiCCh of 'J'uespif Wfeft: bliJ: |>t:- Joiii«<:d bv adijiiii:rh of ti«ii: ai.f:«i:iii biyii:.^ Mou-ovcr, Ariisiotie rfcijiar«^ tbu*. tui; t:ari«L-si tiagfcdiauh uj»cd tbe «oi«^ liucbaic \erM- (tf«<: iruciiaj< U;tiaff«et^:r> in tiii- d»alo^u<- ii.ok: titai: ti«<: iaiiibw. trjfijeUtf ; iKiti t!j* iotiuizi was {/tf.ui.ariy adap>.f: to iiv«i\. daijot-iike ^ebikuiaWoiir.t

-} 'J'l.i. luLtCfa. i^ttUkt e v' J^'eiiiM. ^/.' i-'i«OIUi^- ti*»- ytttb»ie. I UK YsfUlLh; k'kulUKUt.


LITERATURE OP ANCIENT GREECE. 293

These metres were not invented by the tragic poets, but were borrowed by them from Archilochus, Solon, and other poets of this class,* and invested with the appropriate character and expression. Probably the tragic poets adopted the lively and impassioned trochaic verse, while the comic poets adopted the energetic and rapid iambic verse, formed for jest and wrangling ; the latter seems to have only obtained gra- dually, chiefly through ^schylus, the form in which it seemed a fitting metre for the solemn and dignified language of heroes.t

§ 7. In Phrynichus likewise, the son of Polyphradmon, of Athens, who was in great repute on the Athenian stage from Olymp. 67. 1. (b. c. 512), the lyric predominated over the dramatic element. He, like Thespis, had only one actor, at least until ^schylus had established hk innovations ; but he used this actor for difierent, and especially for female parts. Phrynichus was the first who brought female parts upon the stage (which, according to the manners of the ancients, could only be acted by men) ; a fact which throws a light upon his poetical cha- racter. The chief excellence of Phrynichus lay in dancing and lyric compositions ; if his works were extant, he would probably seem to us rather a lyric poet of the ^olian school than a dramatist. His tendei^ sweet, and often plaintive songs were still much admired in the time of the Pelqponnesian war, especially by old-fashioned people. The cboms, as may be naturally supposed, played the chief part in his drama ; and the single actor was present in order to furnish subjects on which the chorus should express its feelings and thoughts, instead of the chorus being intended to illustrate the action represented upon the stage. It appears even that the great dramatic chorus (which originally Gorresponded to the dithyrambic) was distributed by Phrymchus into sabdivisions, with different parts, in order to produce alternation and contrast in the long lyric compositions. Thus in the famous play of Phrynichus, entitled the PhcenisscB (which he brought upon the stage in Olymp. 75, 4, b. c. 476, and in which he celebrated the exploits of Athens in the Persian war)4 the chorus consisted in part, as the name of the drama shows, of Phoenician women from Sidon and other cities of the neighbourhood, who had been sent to the Persian court ;§ but an-

  • Ch. XI. §. 8.

f The fragments preserved under the name of Thespis are indeed iambic trime- ters ; bnt they are evidently taken from the pieces composed by HeracUdes Ponticus in his name. See Diog. Laert. V. 92.

{ It is related that Phrynichus composed a piece in Olymp. 75. 4. (b. c. 477) for a tragic chorus, which Themistocles had furnished us choregus. Bentley has con- jectured with much probability that this piece was the PhcBnissse, in which Phry- nichus dwelt on the merits of Themistocles. Among the titles of the plays of Phrynichus in Suidas, 2i;v^«»m, ** the consultors or deliberators," probably desig- nates the Phosmssae, which would otherwise be wanting.

( The chorus of Phcsnician women sang at its entrance : — It^tnt &^tu XiKraZ^tt

  • m) ^^n^t'A^uUft as maybe seen from the Schol. Aristoph. Vesp. 220 and Hesych*

in yXnt^ iXJnif*


294 HISTORY 07 THE

other part of it was formed of noble Persians, who in the king's absence consulted about the affairs of the kingdom. For we know that at the beginning of this drama (which had a great resemblance to the Persians of -ffischylus) a royal eunuch and carpet-spreader* came forward, who prepared the seats for this high council, and announ(:ed its meeting. The weighty cares of these aged men, and the passionate laments of the Phoenician damsels who had been deprived of their fathers or brothers by the sea-fight, doubtless made a contrast, in which one of the main charms of the drama consisted. It is remarkable that Phry- nichus, in several instances, deviated from mythical subjects to subjects taken from contemporary history. In a former drama, entitled the Capture of Miletus, he represented the calamities which had befallen Miletus, the colony and ally of Athens, at the Persian conquest, after the Ionic revolt (b. c. 498). Herodotus relates that the whole theatre was moved by it to tears ; notwithstanding which the people afterwards sentenced him to a considerable fine " for representing to thenl their own misfortunes;" a remarkable judgment of the Athenians concerning a work of poetry, by which they manifestly expected to be raised into a liigher wotld, not to be reminded of the miseries of the present life.

§ 8. Contemporary with Phrynichus on the tragic stage was Chce- RiLus, a prolific and, for a long time, active poet ; since he Ciime tor- ward so early as the 64th Olympiad (b. c. 524), and maintained his ground not only against JEschylus, but even for some years agauist Sophocles. The most remarkable fact known with regard to this poet is, that he excelled in the satyric drama, t which had therefore in his time been separated from tragedy. For as tragedy constantly inclined to heroic fables, in preference to subjects connected with Dionysus, and as the rude style of the old Bacchic sport yielded to a more dignified and serious mode of composition, the chorus of satyrs was no longer an appropriate accompaniment. But it was the custom in Greece to retain and cultivate all the earlier forms of poetry which had anything peculiar and characteristic, together with the newer varieties formed from them. Accordingly a separate Satyric Drama was developed, in addition to tragedy; and, for the most part4 three tragedies and one satyric drama at the conclusion, were represented together, forming a connected whole. This satyric drama was not a comedy, but (as an ancient author aptly des^cribes it) a playful tragedy. § Its subjects were taken from the same class of adventures of Bacchus and the heroes, as tragedy ; but they were so treated in connexion with rude objects of outward nature, that the presence and participation of rustic^ '

  • err^eiTfif'

t According to the Terse : 'HfUa fiit fiartXtuf h X«i^iX«e l* raru^mf, I For the most part, I say ; for we shall see, when we come to the AlcestiB of Euripides, that tetralogpies occur> composed of tragedies alone.

} Uai^ovtra r^ayifhiet, Demetrius de Eiocut. f 169. Gomp, Hori Artt P. 231*


LITERATURE 6F ANCIENT GREECE. 295

petulant satyrs seemed quite appropriate. Accord inprly, all scenes from free, untamed nature, adventures of a strikins: character, where stranf^e monsters or savage tyrants of mythology are overcome by valour or stratagem, belong to this class ; and in such scenes as these the satyrs could express various feelings of terror and delight, disgust and desire, with all the openness and unreserve which belong to their character. Mi ibythieid subjects and characters were not therefore suited to the satjrric draifaa. The character btot suited to this drama seems to have been the powerful tiero Hercules, an eater and drinker and boon com- panion^ who, when he is in good humour, allows himself to be amused by the petulant sports of satyrs and other similar elVes.

§ 9. Thft complete separation of the satyric drama from the other dramatic Tarietleti is attribated by ancient grammarians to Pratinas of Fhlius, and ihetefote a Dorian from Peloponnesus, although he came forward in Athens as a rival of Choerilus and iEschylus about Olymp. 70 (b. c. 500), and probably still earlier. He also wrote lyric poems of the hypofcBfithatle kind,^ which are closely connected with the satyrie drama ; t and he tuoreover composed tragedies ; but he chiefly excelled in the tetytic dnima, in the perfecting of which he probably followed native masters; fat Phlitts was a neighbour of Corinth and Sicyon, which produced the tragedy of Arion and Epigenes, represented by satyn^. He bequeathed his art to his son Aristeas, who, like his father, lived at Athetts aft a privileged alien, and obtained great fame on the Athenian fttage in competition with Sophocles. The satyric pieces of these twd Phliilsiitns were considered, together with those of iBschylus, as ihe best ctf iheir kind.

We are hdw come to ttie point where iBschylus appears on the tragic stage; Tfngtdfi as he received it, was still an infant, though a vigorous one ; #heti it passed fh)m his hands it had reached a firm and goodly yoittfi. By adding the second actor, he first gave the dramatic element its dtie derekipilient ; and at the same time he imparted to the whole piece the dignity and elevation of which it was susceptible.

ffi should now proceed immediately to this first great master of the f ragfic art^ if It were tiot first necessary, for the purpose of forming a con^6t cdrieeptibn of his tragedy, to obtain a distinct idea of the ex- ternal apt^rlUice of this species of dramatic representation, and of the esidBlishkl fdniis with which every tragic poet must comply. Much may indeed be gathered from the history of the origin of the tragic drama; but this is not sufficient to g^ve a full and lively notion of the mdhnet in Which a play of iBschylus was represented on the stage, and of the relation which its several parts bore to each other.

« See ch. Xll. ( td.

t Ferhapi the byporcheme in Athen. XIV. p. 617. occurred in a satyric drama.


296 HISTORY OF THE


CHAPTER XXII.

i 1. Ideal character of the Greek tragedy ; splendid costume of the actors. § 2. Cothurnus ; masks. § 3. Structure of the theatre. § 4. Arrangement of the orchestra in counexion with the form and position of the chorus. ( 5. Form of the stage, and its meaning in tragedy. § 6. Meaning of the entrances of the sta^ge. § 7. The actors; limitation of their number. § 8. Meaning of the protagonist, deuteragonist, tritagonist § 9. The changes of the scene incon- siderable ; ancient tragedy not being a picture of outward acts. § 10. Bccy- clema. § 11. Composition of the drama from various parts; songs of the entire chorus. § 12. Division of a tragedy by the choral songs. § 13. Songs of single persons of the chorus and of the actors. § 14. Parts of the drama intermediate between song and speech. § 15. Speech of the actors ; arrange- ment of the dialogue and its metrical form.

§ 1. We shall now endeavour to arrive at a distinct conception of the peculiar character of ancient tragedy, as it appeared in those stable forms which the origin and taste of the Greeks impressed upon it.

The tragedy of antiquity was perfectly different from that which, in progress of time, arose among other nations; — a picture of human life agitated by the passions, and corresponding, as accurately as possible, to its original in all its features. Ancient tragedy departs entirely from ordinary life ; its character is in the highest degree ideal.

We must observe, first, that as tragedy, and indeed dramatic exhibi- tions generally, were seen only at the festivals of Bacchus,* the cha- racter of these festivals exercised a great influence on the drama. It retained a sort of Bacchic colouring ; it appeared in the character of a Bacchic solemnity and diversion ; and the extraordinary excitement of all minds at these festivals, by raising them above the tone of everyday existence, gave both to the tragic and the comic muse unwonted energy and fire.

The costume of the persons who represented tragedy was far removed from that free and natural character which we find raised to the per- fection of beauty by the Greeks in the arts of design. It was a Bacchic festal costume. Almost all the actors in a tragedy wore long striped garments, reaching to the ground, t over which were thrown upper

9

  • In Athens new tragedies were acted at the Lensea and the great Dionysia ; the

latter being a most brilliant festival, at which the allies of Athens and many foreigners were also present. Old tragedies also were acted at the Lenssa ; and none but old ones were acted at the lesser Dionysia. These facts appear, in great mea- sure, from the didascaiite; that is, registers of the victories of the lyric and dramatic poets as teachers of the chorus (;^;«^«J/J«^»«x«), from which, through the learned writers of antiquity, much has passed into the commentaries on the remains of Gh«ek poetry, especially the arguments prefixed to them.

f X*^^^i ir«^^ci^, trraXai.


LITERATURE OP ANCIENT GREECE. 297

g-arments* of purple or some other brilliant colour, with all sorts of gay trimmings and gold ornaments ; the ordinary dress at Bacchic festal processions and choral dances. t Nor was the Hercules of the stage represented as the sturdy athletic hero whose huge litaibs were only concealed by a lion's hide ; he appeared in the rich and gaudy dress we have described, to which his distinctive attributes, the club and the bow, were merely added. The choruses, also, which were furnished by wealthy citizens under the appellation of choregi, in the names of the tribes of Athens, vied with each other in the splendour of their dress and ornaments, as well as in the excellence of their singing and dancing.

§ 2. The chorus, which came from among the people at large, and which always bore a subordinate part in the action of the tragedy, was in no respect distinguished from the stature and appearance of ordinary men. I On the other hand, the actor who represented the god or hero, in whose fate the chorus was interested, needed to be raised, even to the outward sense, above the usual dimensions of mortals. A tragic actor was a very strange, and, according to the taste of the ancients themselves at a later period, a very monstrous being.§ His person was lengthened out considerably beyond the ordinary proportions of the human figure ; in the first place by the very high soles of the tragic shoe, the cothurnus, and secondly by the length of the tragic mask, called onkos ; and the chest and body, arms and legs, were stuffed and padded to a corre- sponding size. It was impossible that the body should not lose much of its natural flexibility, and that many of those slighter movements which, though barely perceptible, are very significant to the attentive observer, should not be suppressed. It followed that tragic gesticulation (which was regarded by the ancients themselves as one of the most im- portant parts of the art) necessarily consisted of stiff, angular move* ments, in which little was left to the emotion or the inspiration of the moment. The Greeks, prone to vehement and lively gesticulation, had constructed a system of expressive gesture, founded on their tem- perament and manners. On the tragic stage this seemed raised to its highest pitch, corresponding always with the powerful emotions of the actors.

Masks, also, which originated in the taste for mumming and dis- guises of all sorts, prevalent at the Bacchic festivals, had become an

  • Ifim/TM and ;^Xa/ev2tf •

f This is evident from the detailed accounts of Pollux IV. c. 18, as well as from works of ancient art, representing scenes of tragedies, especially the mosaics in the Vatican, edited hy Millin. See Description d*une Mosaique antique du Mus6e Pio- Q^mentin a Rome, reprfisentant des scenes de tragedies, par A. L. Millin, Paris, 1819.

X The opposition of the chorus and the scenic actors is generally that of the Homeric Xm2 and inutrif

^ 'cii $li$x^s fctu f •/3i^«ir fuiftaii is the remark of Jbucian de Saltat. c. 27. upon a tragic actor.


298 HISTORY OF THE

indispensable accompaniment to tragedy. They not only concealed the individual features of well-known actors, and enabled the spectators entirely to forget the performer in his part, but gave to his whole aspect that ideal character which the tragedy of antiquity demanded. The tragic mask was not, indeed, intentionally ugly and caricatured, like the comic ; bat the half-open mouth, the large eye-sockets, the sharply-defined fea- tures, in which every characteristic was presented in its utmost strength, the bright and hard colouring, were calculated to make the impression of a being agitated by the emotions and the passions of human nature in a degree far above the standard of common life. The loss of the usual gesticulation was not felt in ancient tragedy ; since it would not have been forcible enough to suit the conception of an ancient hero, nor would it have been visible to the majority of the spectators in the vast theatres of antiquity. The unnatural effect which a set and unifiirm cast of features would produce in tragedy of varied passion and action, like ours, was mttch less striking in ancient tragedy ; Wherein the prin- cipal persons, once forcibly possessed by certain objects and emotions, appeared through the virhole remaining piece in a state of mind whkh was become the habitual and fundamental charitcter of their existence. It is possible to imagine the Orestes of ^schylus, the Ajax of Sopho- cles, the Medea of Euripides, throughout the whole tragedy with the same countenance, though this would be difficult in the case of Hamlet or Tasso. The masks could, however, be changed between the acts, so as to represent the necessary changes in the state or emotions of the persons. Thus in the tragedy of Sophocles, after King (Edipus knows the extent of his calamity and has executed the bloody punishment on himself, he appeared in a different mask from that which he wore in the confidence of virtue and of happiness.

We shall not enter into the question whether the masks of the ancients were also framed with a view to increase the power of the Voice. It is, at least, certain that the voices of the tragic actors had a strength and a metallic resonance, which must have been the result of practice, no less than of natural organization. Various technical expressions of the ancients denote this sort of tone, drawn from the depth of the chest,* which filled the vast area of the theatre with a monotonous sort of chant. This, even in the ordinary dialogue, had more resemblance to singing than to the speech of common life ; and in its unwearied uni- formity and distinctly measured rhythmical cadence, must have seemed like the voice of some more powerful and exalted being than earth could then produce, resounding through the ample space.

§ 3. But before we examine further into the impredsions which the ear received from the tragedy of antiquity, we must endeavour to complete the outline of those made upon the eye ; and to give such an

  • ^/ifiuff XMfvyyiZtiff especially Xfiftv^i^Mf ^t^i^n ra itififitTa in


LITERATURE OP ANCIENT GREECE. S99

account of tHe place of representation and the scenic arranjrements as properly belongs to a history of literature. The ancient theatres were stone buildings of enormous size, calculated to accommodate the whole free and adult population of a Greek city at the spectacles and festal games ; for example, the 16,000 Athenian citizens, with the educated women and many foreigners. These theatres were not designed ex- chisively for dramatic poetry ; choral dances, festal processions, and revels, all sorts of representations of public life and popular assemblies, were held in them. Hence we find theatres in every part of Greece, ihough dramatic poetry was the peculiar growth of Athens. Much, however, in theatrical architecture, such us it became in Athens, where the forms were determined by fixed rules, can only be explained by the adaptation of those forms to dramatic exhibitions.

The Athenians began to build their stone theatre in the temple of Dionysus on the south side of the citadel,* in Olymp. TO. 1. b. c. 500 ; the wooden scaffolding, from which the people had heretofore witnessed the games, having fallen down in that year. It must very Foon have been so far completed as to render it possible for the master-pieces of the three great tragedians to be represented in it; though perhaps the architectural decorations of all the parts were finished later. As early as the t*eloponnesian war, singularly beautiful theatres were built in Peloponnesus and Sicily.

§ 4. The whole structure of the theatre, as well as the drama itself, may be traced to the chorus, whose station was the original centre of the whole performance. Around this all the rest was grouped. The orchestra (which occupied a circular level space in the centre, and, at the same time, at the bottom of the whole building) grew out of the chonis, or dancing place, of the Homeric times ;t a level smooth space, large and wide enough for (he unrestrained movements of a numerous band of dancers. 1'he altar of t)ionysus, around which the dithyrambic chorus danced in a circle, had given rise to a sort of raised platform in the centre of the orchestra, the Thymeley which served as resting place for the chorus when it took up a stationary position. It was used in various ways, according to purposes required by the particular tra- gedy; whether as a funereal monument, a terrace with altars, &c.]:

I AWe, (^. III. $ 6.

I itU rafficitfnt herb briefly to remark, that the form of the lincient Attic theatre should not be confounded with that. usual in the Macedonian period, in Alexandria, Antiochia, and siinilar cities. In the latter, the original orchestra was divided into Halves, and the hal^ which was nearest the stage, was, hy means of a platform of boards, converted into a spacious inferior stage, upon which the mimes or plauipe- ditrii, ai well atf musicians and dancers, played ; while the stage, strictly so called, continued to be appropriated to the tragic and cumic actors. This division of the orchestra was then called ihtfmele, or ftven orchestra, in the limited i^ense of the word.


292 HISTORY OF THE

§ 6. The ancients, however, are agreed that Thespis first caused tragedy to become a drama, though a very simple one. In the time of Pisistratus (b. c. 536), Thespis made the great step of connecting with the choral representation (which had hitherto at most admitted an in- terchange of voices) a regular dialogue, which was only distinguished from the language of common life by its metrical form and by a more elevated tone. For this purpose, he joined one person to the chorus, who was the first actor.* Now according to the ideas which we have formed from the finished drama, one arclor appears to be no better than none at all. When however it is borne in mind, that, according to the constant practice of the ancient drama, one actor played several parts in the same piece (for which the linen masks, introduced by Thespis, must have been of great use) ; and moreover, that the chorus was combined with the actor, and could maintain a dialogue with him, it is easy to see how a dramatic action might be introduced, continued and concluded by the speeches inserted between the choral songs. Let us, for example, from among the pieces whose titles have been preserved,! take the Pen- theus. In this, the single actor might appear successively as Dionysus, Pentheus, a Messenger, and Agave, the mother of Pentheus ; anx), in these several characters, might announce designs and intentions, or re- late events which could not conveniently be represented, as the murder of Pentheus by his unfortunate mother, or express triumphant joy at the deed ; by which means he would represent, not without interesting scenes, the substance of the fable, as it is given in the Bacchse of Euri- pides. Messengers and heralds probably played an important part in this early drama (which, indeed, they retained to a considerable extent in the perfect form of Greek tragedy ;) and the speeches were probably short, as compared with the choral songs, which they served to explain. In the drama of Thespis, the persons of the chorus frequently repre- sented satyrs, as well as other parts ; for, before the satyric drama had acquired a distinctive character, it must have been confounded with tragedy.

The dances of the chorus were still a principal part of the perform- ance ; the ancient tragedians in general were teachers of dancing, (or, as we should say, ballet-masters,) as well as poets and musicians.

In the time of Aristophanes, (when plays of Thespis could scarcely be represented upon the stage,) the dances of Thespis were still per- formed by admirers of the ancient style.t Moreover, Aristotle remarks that the earliest tragedians used the long trochaic verse (the trochaic tetrameter) in the dialogue more than the iambic trimeter ; now the former was peculiarly adapted to lively, dance-like gesticulations.§

  • Called mx^tTfn, from u^»»^iuerfat, because he answered the songs of the chorus.

t The funeral games of Pelias or Phorbas, the Priests, the Youths, Pentheus,

I Aristoph. Vesp. 1479.

J This is also confirmed by the passage of Aristoph. Pac. 322.


LITERATURE OP ANCIENT GREECE. 293

These metres were not invented by the tragic poets, but were borrowed by them from Archilochus, Solon, and other poets of this class,* and invested with the appropriate character and expression. Probably the tragic poets adopted the lively and impassioned trochaic verse, while the comic poets adopted the energetic and rapid iambic verse, formed for jest and wrangling ; the latter seems to have only obtained gra- dually, chiefly through ^schylus, the form in which it seemed a fitting metre for the solemn and dignified language of heroes.f

§ 7. In Phrynichus likewise, the son of Polyphradmon, of Athens, who was in great repute on the Athenian stage from Olymp. 67. 1. (b. c. 512), the lyric predominated over the dramatic element. He, like Thespis, had only one actor, at least until iEschylus had established his innovations ; but he used this actor for difierent, and especially for female parts. Phryniclius was the first who brought female parts upon the stage (which, according to the manners of the ancients, could only be acted by men) ; a fact which throws a light upon his poetical cha- racter. The chief excellence of Phrynichus lay in dancing and lyric compositions ; if his works were extant, he would probably seem to us rather a lyric poet of the ^olian school than a dramatist. His tendei^ sweet, and often plaintive songs were still much admired in the time of the Peloponnesian war, especially by old-fashioned people. The choms, as may be naturally supposed, played the chief part in his drama ; and the single actor was present in order to furnish subjects on which the chorus should express its feelings and thoughts, instead of the chorus being intended to illustrate the action represented upon the stage. It appears even that the great dramatic chorus (which origiually Gorresponded to the dithyrambic) was distributed by Phrym'chus into subdivisions, with different parts, in order to produce alternation and contrast in the long lyric compositions. Thus in the famous play of Phrynichus, entitled the PhcenisscB (which he brought upon the stage in Olymp. 75, 4, b. c. 476, and in which he celebrated the exploits of Athens in the Persian war) 4 the chorus consisted in part, as the name of the drama shows, of Phoenician women from Sidon and other cities of the neighbourhood, who had been sent to the Persian court ;§ but an-

  • Ch. XI. ^ 8.

f The fragments preserved under the name of Thespis are indeed iambic trime- ters ; but they are evidently taken from the pieces composed by HeracUdes Ponticus in his name. See Diog. Laert. V. 92.

{ It is related that Phrynichus composed a piece in Olymp. 75. 4. (b. c. 477) for a tragic chorus, which Themistocles had furnished us choregus.' Bentlejr has con- jectured with much probability that this piece was the PhcBuissse, i:ii which Phry- nichus dwelt on the merits of Themistocles. Among the titles of the plays of Phrynichus in Suidas, 2i/y^«»M,, « the consultors or deliberators," probably desig- nates the Phcsnisss, which would otherwise be wanting.

{ The chorus of Phcenician women sang at its entrance : — Z/Smm** &^ru Xnrtiu^m

  • mi '^•^i^v'A^mioh as maybe seen from the Schol. Aristoph. Vesp. 220 and Hesych.

in yX»xt^ ^Omif*


296 HISTORY OP THE


CHAPTER XXII.

i 1. Ideal character of the Greek tragedy ; splendid costume of the actors. § 2. Cothurnus ; masks. § 3. Structure of the theatre. § 4. Arrangement of the orchestra in connexion with the form and position of the chorus. ( 5. Form of tlie stage, and its meaning in tragedy. § 6. Meaning of the entrances of the sta^ge. § 7. The actors; limitation of their number. § 8. Meaning of the protagonist, deuteragonist, tritagonist. § 9. The changes of the scene incon- siderable ; ancient tragedy not being a picture of outward acts. § 10. Kccy- clema. § 11. Composition of the drama from various parts; songs of the entire chorus. § 12. Division of a tragedy by the choral songs. $ 13. Songs of single persons of the chorus and of the actors. § 14. Parts of the drama intermediate between song and speech. § 15. Speech of the actors ; arrange- ment of the dialogue and its metrical form.

§ 1. We shall now endeavour to arrive at a distinct conception of the peculiar character of ancient tragedy, as it appeared in those stable forms which the origin and taste of the Greeks impressed upon it.

The tragedy of antiquity was perfectly different from that which, in progress of time, arose among other nations ; — a picture of human life agitated by the passions, and corresponding, as accurately as possible, to its original in all its features. Ancient tragedy departs entirely from ordinary life ; its character is in the highest degree ideal.

We must observe, first, that as tragedy, and indeed dramatic exhibi- tions generally, were seen only at the festivals of Bacchus,* the cha- racter of these festivals exercised a great influence on the drama. It retained a sort of Bacchic colouring ; it appeared in the character of a Bacchic solemnity and diversion ; and the extraordinary excitement of all minds at these festivals, by raising them above the tone of everyday existence, gave both to the tragic and the comic muse unwonted energy and fire.

The costume of the persons who represented tragedy was far removed from that free and natural character which we find raised to the per- fection of beauty by the Greeks in the arts of design. It was a Bacchic festal costume. Almost all the actors in a tragedy wore long striped garments, reaching to the ground, t over which were thrown upper

9

  • In Athens new tragedies were acted at the Lensea and the great Dionysia ; the

latter being a most brilliant festival, at which the allies of Athens and many foreigners were also present. Old tragedies also were acted at the Lenssa; and none but old ones were acted at the lesser Dionysia. These facts appear, in great mea- sure, from the dtdascalice ; that is, registers of the victories of the lyric and dramatic poets as teachers of the chorus (;^0^0^iW»«XM), from which, through the learned writers of antiquity, much has passed into the commentaries on the remains of Gheek poetry, especially the arguments prefixed to them.

f ;^'r*^ytf ^tiH^Ufy #r«A«/.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 297

Ifarments* of purple or some other brilliant colour, with all sorts of gay trimmings and gold ornaments ; the ordinary dress at Bacchic festal processions and choral dances. f Nor was ^e Hercules of the stage represented as the sturdy athletic hem whose huge litaibs were only concealed by a lion's hide ; he appeared in the rich and gaudy dress we have described, to which his distinctive attributes, the club and the bow, were merely added. The choruses, also, which were furnished by wealthy citizens under the appellation of choregi, in the names of the tribes of Athens, vied with each other in the splendour of their dress and ornaments, as well as in the excellence of their singing and dancing.

§ 2. The chorus, which came from among the people at large, and which always bore a subordinate part in the action of the tragedy, was in no respect distinguished from the stature and appearance of ordinary men.! ^^ ^^^ other hand, the actor who represented the god or hero, in whose fate the chorus was interested, needed to be raised, even to the outward sense, above the usual dimensions of mortals. A tragic actor was a very strange, and, according to the taste of the ancients themselves at a later period, a very monstrous being.§ His person was lengthened out considerably beyond the ordinary proportions of the human figure ; in the first place by the very high soles of the tragic shoe, the cothurnus, and secondly by the length of the tragic mask, called onkos ; and the chest and body, arms and legs, were stuffed and padded to a corre- sponding size. It was impossible that the body should not lose much of its natural flexibility, and that many of those slighter movements which, though barely perceptible, are very significant to the attentive observer, should not be suppressed. It followed that tragic gesticulation (which was regarded by the ancients themselves as one of the most im- portant parts of the art) necessarily consisted of stiff, angular move- ments, in which little was left to the emotion or the inspiration of the moment. The Greeks, prone to vehement and lively gesticulation, had constructed a system of expressive gesture, founded on their tem- perament and manners. On the tragic stage this seemed raised to its highest pitch, corresponding always with the powerful emotions of the actors.

Masks, also, which originated in the taste for mumming and dis- guises of all sorts, prevalent at the Bacchic festivals, had become an

  • ifutrm and x^ofnoitf^

f This is evident from the detailed accounts of Pollux IV. c. 18, as well as from works of ancient art, representing scenes of tragedies, especially the mosaics in ihe Vatican, edited by Millin. See Description d*une Mosaique autique du Mus^e Pio«  Cl^mentin a Rome, reprfisentant des scenes de tragedies, par A. L. Millin, Paris, 1819.

X The opposition of the chorus and the scenic actors is generally that of the Homeric Xmti and &9M»rts»

^ 'O; ttttx^s Ktu ftfitfif iimfiof^ is the remark of Jbucian de Saltat. c 27. upon a tragic actor.


298 HISTORY OF THE

indispensable accompaniment to tragedy. They not only concealed the individual features of well-known actors, and enabled the spectators entirely to forget the performer in his part, but gave to his whole aspect that ideal character which the tragedy of antiquity demanded. The tragic mask was not, indeed, intentionally ugly and caricatured, like the comic ; but the half-open mouth, the large eye-sockets, the sharply-defined fea- tures, in which every characteristic was presented in its utmost strength, the bright and hard colouring, were calculated to make the impression of a being agitated by the emotions and the passions of human nature in a degree far above the standard of common life. The loss of the usual gesticulation was not felt in ancient tragedy ; since it would not have been forcible enough to suit the conception of an ancient hero, nor would it have been visible to the majority of the spectators in the vast theatres of antiquity. The unnatural effect which a set and unifiirm cast of features would produce in tragedy of varied passion and action, like ours, was mttch less striking in ancient tragedy ; Wherein the prin- cipal persons, once forcibly possessed by certain objects and emotions, appeared through the virhole remaining piece in a state of mind whkh was become the habitual and fundamental charitcter of their existence. It is possible to imagine the Orestes of ^schylus, the Ajax of Sopho- cles, the Medea of Euripides, throughout the whole tragedy with the same countenance, though this would be difficult in the case of Hamlet or Tasso. The masks could, however, be changed between the acts, so as to represent the necessary changes in the state or emotions of the persolis. Thus in the tragedy of Sophocles, after King CEdipus knows the extent of his calamity and has executed the bloody punishment on himself, he appeared in a different mask from that which he wore in the confidence of virtue &nd of happiness.

We shall not enter into the question whether the masks of the ancients were also framed with a view to increase the power of the toice. It is, at least, certain that the voices of the tragic actors had a strength and a metallic resonance, which must have been the result of practice, no less than of natural organization. Various technical expressions of the ancients denote this sort of tone, drawn from the depth of the chest,* which filled the vast area of the theatre with a monotonous sort of chant. This, even in the ordinary dialogtre, had more Resemblance to singing than to the speech of common life ; and in its unwearied uni- formity and distinctly measured rhythmical cadencb, must have seemed like the voice of some more powerful and exalted being than earth could then produce, resounding through the ample space.

§ 3. But before we examine further into the impressions which the ear received from the tragedy of antiquity, we must endeavour to complete the outline of those made upon the eye ; and to give such an

^ 3»fi(iuff ^fvyyiJ^tiff especially Xn^vfii^tiVf in^i^tn ra UcfifitTa in


literature; op ancient Greece. 209

account of tHe place of representation and the scenic arrangements as properly Ijelongs to a history of literature. The ancient theatres were stone buildings of enormous size, calculated to accommodate the whole free and adult population of a Greek city at the spectacles and festal games ; for example, the 16,000 Athenian citizens, with the educated women and many foreigners. These theatres were not designed ex- clusively for dramatic poetry ; choral dances, festal processions, and revels, all sorts of representations of public life and popular assemblies, were held in them. Hence we find theatres in every part of Greece, ihough dramatic poetry was the peculiar growth of Athens. Much, however, in theatrical architecture, such us it became in Athens, where the forms were determined by fixed rules, can only be explained by the adaptation of those forms to dramatic exhibitions.

The Athenians began to build their stone theatre in the temple of Dionysus on the south side of the citadel,* in Olymp. TO. 1. b. c. 500 ; the wooden scafiblding, from which the people had heretofore witnessed the games, having fallen down in that year. It must very soon have been so far completed as to render it possible for the master-pieces of the three great tragedians to be represented in it; though perhaps the architectural decorations of all the parts were finished later. As early as the t*eloponnesian war, singularly beautiful theatres were built in Peloponnesus and Sicily.

§ 4. The whole structure of the theatre, as well as the drama itself, may be traced to the chorus, whose station was the original centre of the whole performance. Around this all the rest was grouped. The orchestra (which occupied a circular level space in the centre, and, at the same time, at the bottom of the whole building) grew out of the chorus, or dancing place, of the Homeric times ;t a level smooth space, large and wide enough for (he unrestrained movements of a numerous band of dancers. The altar of t)ionysus, around which the dithyrambic chorus danced in a circle, had given rise to a sort of raised platform in the centre of the orchestra, the Thymele, which served as resting place for the chorus when it took up a stationary position. It was used in various ways, according to purposes required by the particular tra- gedy; whether as a funereal monument, a terrace with altars, &c.]:

^ T) U Attfi^M iiavfn or rl At»fvtr»o fUtr^v.

I AWej fch. III. $ 6.

{ it is mfficlfot berb briefly to remark, that the form of the lincient Attic theatre should not be confounded with that usual in the Macedonian period, in Alexandria, Antiocbia^ ftnd ti^xiilar cities. In the latter, the original orchestra was divided into Halves, and the hal^ which was nearest the stage, was, by means of a platform of boards, converted into a spacious inferior stage, upon which the mimes or plauipe- darii, ai well ai musicians and dancers, jplayed ; while the stage, strictly so called, contJntxed to be ttppropriated to the tragic and comic actors. This division of the orchestra was then cAiled ihtfmele, or trtn orchestra, in the limited ^nse of the word.


800 HISTOPY OP THB

The chorus itself, in its transition from lyric to dramatic poetry, had undergone a total change of form. As a dithyrambic chorus, it moved in a ring around the altar which served as a centre, and had a com- pletely independent character and action. As a dramatic chorus, it was connected with the action of the stage, was interested in what was passing there, and must therefore, of necessity, front the stage. Hence, according to the old grammarians, the chorus of the drama was qua- drangular, i. e., arranged so that the dancers, when standing in their regular places in rows and groups (errtxoi and Cvya), formed right angles. In this form it passed through the wide side- entrances of the orchestra (the irapodoi) into the centre of it, where it arranged itself between the thymele and the stage in straight lines. The number of dancers in the tragic chorus was probably reduced from fifty, the number of the choreutse in the dithyrambic chorus, in the following manner. First, a quadrangular chorus^ of forty-eight persons, was formed ; and this was divided into four parts or sets which met toge- ther. This hypothesis will explain many difficulties ; for example, how it is that, at the end of the Eumenides of ^schylus, two separate choruses, the Furies and the festal train, come on the stage together.* Tlie chorus of ZEschylus accordingly consisted of twelve persons; at a later period Sophocles increased them to fifteen, which was the regular number in the tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides. t

The places occupied by the choral dancers were all determined by established usages, the main object of which was to afford the public the most favourable view of the chorus, and to bring into the foreground the handsomest and best dressed of the choreutse. The usual move- ments of the tragic chorus were solemn and stately, as beseemed the dignified venerable persons, such as matrons and old men, who fire- quently appeared in them. The tragic style of dancing, called Emme- leia, is described as the most grave and solemn of the public dances.

§ 5. Although the chorus not only sang alone, when the actors had quitted the stage, but sometimes sang alternately with the persons of the drama, and sometimes entered into dialogue with them, yet it did not, in general, stand on the same level with them, but on a raised stage or platform, considerably higher than the orchestra. But as the orchestra and the stage were not only contiguous, but joined, our in- formation on this point is by no means so clear as might be wished. To the eye of the spectator the relation in which the persons of the drama stood to the chorus was determined by their appearance ; the

  • The same fact also throws a light on the number of the chorus of comedy,

twenty-four. This was half the tragic chorus, since comedies were not acted by fours, but singly.

f The accounts of the ancient grammarians respecting the arrangements <^ the chorus refer tb^he chorus of fifteen persons ; as their accounts respecting the arrangements of ihe stage refer to the three actors. The reason was, that the form of the .^chylean tragedy had become obsolete.


UTBRATORB OP ANCIENT ORBBCB. 301

former, heroes of the mythical world, whose whole aspect bespoke some- thing mightier and more sublime than ordinary humanity ; the latter, generally composed of men of the people, whose part it was to show the impression made by the incidents of the drama on lower and feebler minds; and thus, as it were, interpret them to the audience, with whom they owned a more kindred nature. The ancient stage was remarkably long, but of little depth. It was but a small segment cut from the circle of the orchestra ; but it extended on either side so far that its length was nearly double the diameter of the orchestra.* This form of the stage is founded on the artistical taste of the ancients gene- rally ; and again, influenced their dramatic representation in a remark- able maoner. As ancient sculpture delighted above all things in the long lines of figures, which we see in the pediments and friezes, and as even the painting of antiquity placed single figures in perfect outline near each other, but clear and distinct, and rarely so closely grouped as that one intercepted the view of another ; so also the persons on the stage, the heroes and their attendants (who were oflen numerous), stood in long rows on this long and narrow stage. The persons who came from a distance were never seen advancing from the back of the stage, but from the side, whence they often had to walk a considerable dis- tance before they reached the centre where the principal actors stood. The oblong space which the stage formed was inclosed on three sides by high walls, the hinder one of which alone was properly called the Scene^ the narrow walls on the right and left were styled Parasceniay the stage itself was called in accurate language, not scene, but Pro- sceniumt because it was in front of the scene. Scene properly means a tent or hut, and such was doubtless erected of wood by the earliest beginners of dramatic performances, to mark the dwelling of the prin- cipal person represented by the actor. Out of this he came forth into the open space, and into this he retired again.

And although this poor and small hut at length gave place to the stately scene, enriched with architectural decorations, yet its purpose and destination remained essentially the same. It was the dwelling of the principal person or persons ; the proscenium was the space in front of it, and the continuation of this space was the orchestra. . Thus the scene might represent a camp with the tent of the hero, as in the Ajax of Sophocles; a- wild region of wood and rock, with a cave for a dwelling place, as in the Philoctetes; but its usual purport and deco-

  • Those leaders ivho wish for more precise informatiou about architectural mea-

sures and proportions may consult the beautiful plan g^ven by Donaldson, in the supplemental volume to Stuart's Antiquities of Athens, London, 1830, p. 33. It should, however, be observed, that the projecting sides of the proscenium, which Donaldson has assiuned with Hirt> are not supported by any ancient testimony, nor can they be justified by any requirement of the dramatic representations of the Greeks. The space required for these projections ought rather to be allotted to the side entrances of the orchestra, the ir«#«)«i.


302 HISTORY OF TH£

ration were the front of a chieflain's palace with its colonnades, roofs and towers, together with all the accessory buildings which could be erected on the stage, with more or less of finish and of adaptation to the special exigencies of the tragedy. Sometimes also it exhibited a temple, with the buildings and arrangements appertaining^ to a Grecian sanctuary. But in every case it is the front alone of the palace Qr the temple that is seen, not the interior.

In the life of antiquity, everything great and important^ all the maifi actions of family or political interest, passed in the open aijr and in the view of men. Even social meetings took place rather ip public halls, in market-places and streets, than in rooms and chamtalbrs ; and the habits and actions, which were confined to the interior of a hpu^e^ were never regarded as forming subjects for public observation. Accord- ingly, it was necessary that the action of the drama should come forth from the interior of the house ; and tragic poets were compelled to comply strictly with this condition in the invention and plan of their dramatic compositions. The heroic persQnages, when about to give utterance to their thoughts and feelings, capie fo^th into the court in front of their houses. From the other side came the chorus out of the city or district in which the principal i)ersons dwelt ; they assembled, as friends or neighbours might, to offer their counsel or their sym- pathy to the principal actors on the Mage, on some open space ; oflen a market-place designed for popular meetings ; such as, in the monar- chical times of Greece, was commonly attached to Uie prince's palace.

Far from shocking received notions, the performance of choral dances in this place was quite in accordance with Greek usages. Ai^ciently, these market-places were specially designed for nuiperpus popnlar choruses ; they even themselves bore the name of chorus.* When the stage and the whole theatre had been adapted for this kind of repre- sentation, it was necessary that comedy also should conform tp it; even in those productions which exclusively represented the incidents and passions of private and domestic life. In the imitations of the later Attic comedy which we owe to Plautus and Terence, the stgige repre.- sents considerable portions of streets ; the houses of the persQUS of the drama are distinguishable, interspersed with public buildings and temples ; every thing is arranged by the poet with the utmost attention to effect ; and generally to nature and probability, so that the (tctors, in all their goings and comings, their entrances and exits, their meetings in the streets and at their doors, may disclose just so much of their sentiments and their projects as it is necessary or desirable for the spectator to know.

§ 6. The massive and permanent walls of the stage had certain openings which, although differently decorated for different pieces, were

  • Ch. Ill, § 6,


ZrlTBRATUILB OF ANCIKNT GREECE. 303

never changed. Each of these entrances to the stage had its established and permanent signification, and this enabled the spectator to apprehend many things at the first glance, which he must have otherwise gradually made out in the course of the piece ; since contrivances similar to our play-bills were unknown to the anci4snt3. On the other handt the audience came furnished with certain preliminary information concerning what th^ were about to witness, by mean9 of which the plot was far more clear to them than it can now be by mere reading. Of this kind was the distinct meaning attached to the right and the lefl side. The theatre at .^thens was built on the south side of the Acropolis, in such a manner that a person standing on the stage saw the greater part of the city and the harbour on his left, and the country of Attica on his right. Hence, a man who entered on the right by the parascenia, was invariably understood to come from the country, or from afar ; on the lefl, from the city, or the neighbourhood. The two side-walls always bore the same fetation to each other in the arrangements, asNto exterior or interior. Of course, the lower side entrance which led into the orchestra, stood in the same relation ; but of these, (he right one was little used, because the chorus generally consisted of inhabitants of the place, or of the immediate neighbourhood. The main wall, however, or the sceive, propeily so called, had three doors ; the middle, which was called tljye rayal door, represented the principal entrance to the palace, the abode of the prince himself; that on the right was held to be a passage leading without, especially to the apartments of the guests, which in Gi^eek houses were often in a detached building appropriated to that purpose ; that on the leA, more towards the interior, leading to a part of the house not obvious to the first approach ; such as a shrine, a prison, the apartments of the women, &c.

§ 7. But the Greeks carried still further this aj$sociation of certain localities yriih. certain incidents or appearances. The moment an actor entered, they could decide upon his part and his relation to the whole drama. And here we come to the ^oint in which the Greek drama seems the most fettered by inflexible rules, and forced into forms which appear, to our feelings, stiff and unnatural. Greciai^ art, however, as we b^ve often had occasion to remark, in all its mai^festations, loves distinct and unvarying forms, which take possession of the mind with all the force of habit, and immediately put it into a certain frame and temper. If, on the one hand, these forms appear to cramp the creative genius, to check the free cour^ of the fancy; on the other, works of art, which have a given measure, a prescribed form, to fill out, acquire, when thisfo^m is animated by a corresponding spirit, a peculiar stability which seems to raise them above the capricious and ephemeral prodnctions of the human mind, and to assimilate them to the eternal


d04 HISTORY OP THS

works of nature, where the most rigorous conformity to laws is com- bined with boundless variety and beauty.

In the dramatic poetry of Greece, indeed, the outward form to which genius is forced to adapt itself, appears the more rigid, and, we may say arbitrary, since, to the conditions imposed on the choice of thoughts, expression and metre, are added rules, prescribed by the local and personal character of the representation. With regard to the persons of the drama, the ancients show that historical taste which consists in a singular union of attachment to given forms, with aspiration after further progress. The antique type is never unnecessarily rejected ; but is rendered susceptible of a greater display of creative power by expansions which may be said to lie in its very nature.

We have seen how a single actor was detached from the chorus, and how Thespis and Phrynichus contented themselves with this arrange- ment, by causing him to represent in succession all the persons of the drama, anckeither before, or with the chorus, to conduct the whole action of the piece. iBschylus added the second actor, in order to obtain the contrast of two acting persons on the stage, since the general character of the chorus was that of a mere hearer or recipient ; and although ca- pable of expressing its own wishes, hopes, and fears, it was not adapted to independent action. According to this form, only two speaking persons (mutes might be introduced in any number) could appear on the stage at the same time : — they, however, might both enter again in other characters, time only being allowed for change of dress. The appearance of the same actor in different parts of the same play did not strike the ancients as more extraordinary than his appearance in dif- ferent parts iu different plays ; since the persons of the actors were effectually disguised by masks, and their skill enabled them to represent various characters with perfect success. The dramatic art <^ those times required extraordinary natural gifts ; strength of body and of voice, as well as a most careful education and training for the pro- fession.

From the time of the great poets, and even later, in the age of Philip and Alexander, when the interest and character of dramatic performance rested entirely on the actors, the number of actors capable of satisfying the taste and judgment of tl:e public was always very small. Hence, it was an object to turn the talents of the few eminent actors to the greatest possible account ; and to prevent that uijury to the general effect which the interposition of inferior actors, even ia subordinate parts, must ever produce ; and, in fact, so often nowadays does produce. Even Sophocles did not venture beyond the introduction of a third actor ; this appeared to accomplish all Uiat was necessary to the variety and mobility of action in tragedy, without sacrificing the


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 305

Simplicity and clearneAS which, in the good ages of antiquity, were always held to be the most essential qualities. yEschylus adopted this third actor in the three connected plays, the Agamemnon, ChoephorsB and Eumenides ; which he seems to have brought out at Athens at the end of his career. His other tragedies, which were performed earlier, are all so constructed that they could be represented by two actors.* All the plays of Sophocles and Euripides are adapted for three actors only, excepting one, the CSdipus in Colonus, which could not be acted without the introduction of a fourth. The rich and intricate composiition of this noble drama would have been impossible without this innovation.f But even Sophocles himself does not appear to have dared to introduce it on the stage. It is known that the CEdipus in Colonus was not acted till after his death, when it was brought out by Sophocles the younger.

§ 8. But the ancients laid more stress upon the precise number and the mutual relations of these three actors than^might be inferred from what has been said. They distinguished them by the technical names ci Protagonistes, Deuteragonistes, and Tritagonistes. These names are used with different meanings. Sometimes the actors themselves are designated by their parts ; as, for example, when Cleandrus is called the protagonist of iBschylus, and Myniscus his deuteragonist ; or when Demosthenes, in his contest with iEschines, says, that to represent such a stern and cruel tyrant as Creon in the Antigone, is the peculiar glory and privilege of the tritagonist; iEschines himself having served under more distinguished actors as tritagonist. Sometimes the persons entering the stage are distinguished by these three names : as when Pollux the grammarian says, that the protagonist should always enter firom the middle door; that the dwelling of the deuteragonist should be on the right hand, and that of the third person of the drama on the left. According to a passage in a modern Platonic philosopher,^ important to the history of the ancient drama, the poet does not create the protagonist, deuteragonist, or tritagonist ; he only gives to each of these actors his appropriate part.

This, and other expressions of the ancients have involved the subject in many perplexing difficulties, which it would detain us too long to examine in detail. Our purpose will be best accomplished by giving such a summary explanation as will enable these distinctions to be understood.

  • The prolojKiie of the Prometheus appears, indeed, to require three actors for

the parts of iRrometheus, Hephsstus, and Cratos ; but these might have been so arrange^ so as not to require a third actor.

f Unless we assume that the part of Theseus ia this play was partly acted by the person who represented Antig^one, and partly by the person who represented Ismene. It is, however, far more difficult for two actors to represent one part in the same tone and spirit, than' for one actor to represent teverai parts with the appro- priate modifications.

I Plotin. Ennead. ii. L. ii. p. 268. Basil p. 484. Creuzer, Compare the note of (^reuxer^ vol. iiL p. 153, ed. Oxon.


306 HISTORY OP THB

The tragedy of antiquity originated in the delineation of a suffering or passion (?ra^oc), and remained true to its first destination. Sometimes it is outward suffering, danger, and injury ; nometimes, rather inward ; a fierce struggle of the soul, a grievous burthen on the spirit; but it is always one pasnon, in the largest sense of the word, which claims the sympathy of the audience. The person, then, whose fate excites this sympathy, whose outward or inward wars and conflicts are exhibited, is the protagonist In the four dramas which require only two actors, the protagonist is easily distinguished : in the Prometheus, the chained Titan himself; in the Persians, Atossa, torn with anxiety for the fate of the army and the kingdom ; in the Seven against Thebes, Eteocles driven by his father's curse to fratricide ; in the Suppliants, Danaus, the fugitive, seeking a new home. The deuter agonist, in this form of the drama, is not, in general, the author of the sufierings oi the protagonist. This is ^me external power, which, in these tragedies, is not brought to view. His only function is to call forth the expres* sions of the various emotions of the protagonist, sometimes by friendly^ sympathy, sometimes by painful tidings: as for example, in the Prometheus, Oceanus, lo, and Hermes, are all parts of the deuteragonist. The protagonist may also appear in other parts ; but the tragedian generally sought to concentrate all the force and ac- tivity of the piece on one part. When a tritagomst is introduced, be generally acts as instigator or cause of the sufierings of the protagonist ; although himself the least pathetic or sympathetic person of the drama, he is yet the occasion of situations by which pity and interest for the principal person are powerfully excited. To the deuteragonist fall the parts in which, though distinguished by a lofly ardour of feeling, there is not the vehemence and depth appropriate to the protago- nist ; feebler characters, with calmer blood and less daring aspiration of mind, whom Sophocles is fond of attaching to his heroes as a sort of foil, to bring out their full force. But even these sometimes display a peculiar beauty and elevation of character. Thus the gradation of these three kinds of parts depends on the degree In which the one part is calculated to excite pity and anxiety, and to command, generally, the sympathy of the audience. If we look over the titles of the plays of the three great tragedians, we shall find that, when they are not derived from the chorus, or the general subject of the piece, they always consist of the names of the persons to whom the chief interest attaches. Antigone, Electra, CEdipus, the king and the exile, Ajax, Philoctetes, Dejanira, Medea, Hecuba, Ion, Hlppolytus,&c.,are unquestionably all prot agonistic parts.*

  • A more detailed ilbistration of this point, which would lead to invntigatloas

into the structure of the several tragedies, is not consistent with the plan of tha piesent work. We will, however, state the distribution of the parts in neveral tragedies, which seems to us the most probable. In the esctaat tnlogy of .Aehylnai


LITERATURB OF ANOIBNT GREECE. 807

It was the great endeavour of Greek art to exhibit the character and rank of the individuals whom it g^uped together, and to present to the eye a symmetrical image, corresponding with the idea of the action which was to be represented. The protajsronist, as the person whose fate was the centre around which all revolved, must therefore occupy the centre of the stage; the deuteragonist and tritagonist approached him from either side. Hence it was an invariable rule for the protagonist never to leave the stage by either of the side-doors. If, however, he came from abroad, like Agamemnon and Orestes in ^schylus, he passed through the middle door into the interior of the palace, which was his habitation. With regard to the deuteragonist and tritagonist, many difficulties must have arisen from the local meaning attached to the two side doors ; but, if space sufficed for such detailed explanations, we might show, from numerous examples, how the tragic poets found means to fulfil all these conditions.

§ 9. Changes of scene were very seldom necessary in ancient tragedy. The Greek tragedies are so constructed that the speeches and actions, of which they are mainly composed, might with perfect propriety pass on one spot, and indeed ought generally to pass in the court in front of the royal house. The actions to which no speech is attached, and which do not serve to develope thoughts and feelings, (such as Eteocles* combat with his brother; the murder of Agamemnon; Antigone's performance of the obsequies of Polynices, &c.), are imagfiiied to pass behind or without the scene, and are only related on the stage. Hence the importance of the parts of messengers and heralds In ancient tragedy. The poet was not influenced only by the reason given by Horace,* viz., that bloody spectacles and incredible events excite less horror and doubt when related, and ought therefore not to be produced on the stage : there was also the far deeper general reason, that it is never the outward act with which the interest of ancient

the problem mmt be to preserre the same part for the lame actor through all the thzve plays.

(Protaff. Agamemnon, guard, herald. Agamemnon .<DCTf/era^. Casiandra, ifigisthus. -» ItVi/c^. Clytnmnestia. Iprotag, Orestes. ChoSphori ,<Deuteraff, Electra, iSgisthus, Kxangelos. [ Tritag, Cly tssmnestra, female attendant.

iProtag, Orestes. Deuterag, Apollo. Tritag. Pythias, Clytamnestra, Athene. For Sophocles, the Antigone and the CEdipus Tyrannus may serve as examples.

{tProiag, Antigone, Tiresias, Karydice, Exangelos. Antigone • •< Devt^rag, Ismene, g^rd, Hsmon, messenger. I Tritag, Creon. Protug, CEdipus. Deuterag, Priest, Jocasfa, servant, Exangelos. Tritag, Cieon Tiiesias, messenger.

4* Art. Poet. 180. i^.


308 HISTORY OP THE

tragedy is most intimately bound up. The action which forms the basis of every tragedy of those times is internal and spiritual; the reflections, lesolutions, feelings, the mental or moral phenomena, which can be expressed in speech, are developed on the stage. For outward action, which is generally mute, or, at all events, cannot be adequately repre- sented by words, the epic form — narration — is the only appropriate vehicle. Battles, single combats, murders, sacrifices, funerals, and the like, whatever in mythology is accomplished by strength of hand, passes behind the scenes ; even when it might, without any considerable diffi- culty, be performed in front of them. Exceptions, such as the chaining of Prometheus, and the suicide of Ajax, are rather apparent than rea1» and indeed serve to confirm the general rule ; since it is only on account of the peculiar psychological state of Prometheus when bound, and of Ajax at the time of his suicide, that the outward acts are brought on the stage. Moreover, the costume of tragic actors was calculated for impressive declamation, and not for action. The lengthened and stuffed out figures of the tragic actors would have had an awkward, not to say a ludicrous effect, in combat or other violent action.* From the sublime to the ridiculous would here have been but one step, which antique tragedy carefully avoided risking.

Thus it was rather from reasons inherent in its nature, than from obedience to prescribed rules, that Greek tragedy observed, with few exceptions, unity of plan ; and hence it required no arrangement for a complete change of scenic decorations, which was first introduced in the Roman theatre.f In Athens all the necessary changes were effected by means of the Periactee^ erected in the corners of the stage. These were machines of the form of a triangular prism, which turned round rapidly and presented three different surfaces. On the side which was supposed to represent foreign parts, it afforded at each turn a different perspective view, while, on the home side, some single near object alone was changed. For example, the transition from the temple of Delphi to the temple of Pallas on the Acropolis of Athens, in the Enmenides of ^schylus, was effected in this manner. No greater change of scene than this takes place in any extant Greek tragedy. Where different but neighbouring places are represented, the great length of the stage sufficed to contain them all, especially as the Greeks required no exact and elaborate imitation of reality: a slight indication was sufficient to set in activity their quick and mobile ima- ginations. In the Ajax of Sophocles, the half of the stage on the left hand represents the Grecian camp ; the tent of Ajax, which must be in the centre, terminates the right wing of this camp ; on the right, is

  • According to Lucian, Somnium sive Gallus, c. 26, it was ludicroui to see a

person fall with the co' humus.

t The 9cena duciili* and vertUia,


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 309

seen a lonely forest with a distant view of the sea ; here Ajax enters when he is about to destroy himself; so that he is visible to the au- dience, but cannot for a long time be seen by the Chorus, which is in the side space of the orchestra.

§ 10. On the other hand, ancient tragedy was required to fulfil another condition, which could only co-exist with such a conception of the locality as has been^ just described. It is this : the proscenium or stage represents a space in the open air : what passes here is in public ; even in confidential discourse the presence of witnesses is always to be feared. But it was occasionally necessary to place before the spectator a scene which was confined to the interior of the house ; for example, when the plan and the idea of the piece required what is called a tragic situation, that is, a living picture, in which a whole series of affecting images are crowded together. Scenes of this tre- mendous power are: that in which Clyttemnestra with the bloody sword stands over the bodies of Agamemnon and Cassandra, holding the gar- ment in which she has entangled her unfortunate husband ; and, in the succeeding tragedy of the same trilogy, that in which Orestes is seen on precisely the same spot, where the same bathing robe now covers the bodies of ^gisthus and Clytoemnestra. Or, in the tragedy of Sophocles, Ajax, standing among the animals which he has slaughtered in his frenzy, taking them for the princes of the Greek host, and now, sunk in the deepest melancholy, contemplates the effects of his madness. It is easy to perceive that it is not the acts themselves in the moment of execution ; but the circumstances, arising out of those acts when accomplished, which occupied the reflections and the feelings of the chomp and of the audience. To bring on the stage gproups like these, (in the choice and disposition of which we recognize the plastic genius of the age that produced a Phidias,) and to bring to view the interior of dwellings hidden behind the scenes, machines were used, called Eccyclema and Exostra (the one being rolled, the other pushed forward). It were presumptuous to attempt to describe the construction of these machines from the slight indications we could gather from the grammarians ; but their working may be clearly per- ceived in the tragedians themselves. The side doors of a palace or tent are thrown open, and in the same moment an inner chamber with its appropriate decorations is distinctly seen on the stage, where it remains as a central point of the dramatk; action, till the progress of the drama requires its disappearance in the same manner. We may fairly presume that these local representations were far from rude or tasteless ; that they were worthy of the feeling for beauty, and the fancy of the age and nation which produced them ; especially in the latter years of JBschylus, and during the whole career of Sophocles, when the mathematicians, Anaxagoras and Democritus, had begun to study


810 HISTORY OF THE

perspective witlf a view to the sta^e; while the scene-painting of Agatharchus gave rise to a peculiar branch of that art,* which, by .means of light and shadow, prodticed more perfect imitations of real bodies than had been heretofore known.

Machinery for raising figures from beneath the stage, or bearing <hem through the air, for the imitation of thunder and lightning, &c. arrived at sufficient perfection in the time of the three great tragedians to accomplish its end. The tragedies of iEschylus, especially Prome- theus, prove thut he was not unjustly reproached with a great love for fantastic appearances ; such as winged cars, and strange hippogryphs, on which deities, like Oceanus and his daughters, were borne on the stage.

§ 11. We believe that we have now brought before our readers the principal features of Greek tragedy, such as it appeared to the spec- tator when represented in the theatre. But it is equally necessary, before we venture upon an estimate of the several tragedians, to oOer some remarks on the combination of the several parts or elements of a Greek tragedy ; since this also involves much that is not implied in the general notion of a drama, and can only be elucidated by the peculiar historical origin of the tragic art in Greece.

Ancient Grecian tragedy consists of a union of lyric poetry and dramatic discourse, which may be analyzed in different ways. The chorus may be distinguished from the actors, song from dialogue, the lyrical element from the strictly dramatic. But the most convenient distinction, in the first place, is that suggested by Aristotle.f between the song of many voices and the song or speech of a single person. The first belongs to the chorus only ; the second to the chorus or the actors. The many-voiced songs . of the chorus have a peculiar and determinate signification for the whole tragedy. They were called stasimon when they were sung by the chorus in its proper place, in the middle of the orchestra, and parados when sung by the chorus while advancing through the side entrance of the orchestra, or otherwise moving towards the place where it arranged itself in its usual order. The difference between the parodos and the stasimon consists mainly in this, — that the former more frequently begins with long series of anapaestk; systems, which were peculiarly adapted to a procession or march ; or a system of this sort was introduced between the lyrical songs. As to the signi- fication of these songs, the situation of the actors, and the action itself, form the subjects of reflection, and the emotions which they excite in a sympathizing and benevolent mind are expressed. The parodos chiefly explains the entrance of the chorus and its sympathy in the businets of the drama, while the stasima develop this sympathy in the various forms,

  • Called fnnny^ti^itt or etuay^tt^tttn f Poet 12.


LITERATURE OP ANCIENT GREECE* 311

which the progress of the action causes it to assume. As the chorus, generally, represented the ideal jpec^a^or, whose mode of viewing things was to guide and control the impressions of the assembled people, so it was the peculiar proTince of the stasimon, amidst the press and tumult of the action, to maintain that composure of mind which the Greeks deemed indispensable to the enjoyment of a work of art ; and to divest the action of the accidental and personal, in order to place in a clearer light its inward ng^ification and the thoughts which lay beneath the surface. Staslma, therefore, are only introduced in pauses, when the action has run a certain course ; the stag^ it often perfectly clear, or, if any persons have remained on it, others come on who were not in'coimexion with them before, in order that they may have time for the change of costume and masks. In this manner these songs of the assembled chorus divide the tragedy into certain parts, which may be compared to the acts of modern plays, and from which the Greeks called the part before the parodos the prologue^ the parts between the parodos and the stasima, epigodiiiit the part after the last stasimon, exodus. The chorus appears in this kind of songs in its appropriate character, and is true to its desti- nation, viz., to express the sentiments of a pious, well-ordered mind in beauiifiil and noble forms. Hence this part of ancient tragedy, both in matter and form* has the greatest resemblance to the choral lyrics of ' StesichcNTUS, Pindar, and Simonides. The metrical form consists of strophes and antistropheSs which are connected in simple series, without any artificial interweaving, as in the choral lyric poetry. Instead, how- ever, of the same scheme of strophes and antistrophes being preserved through a whole stasimon, it is changed with each pair. Nor are there epodes afler every pair of strophes ; but only at the close of the ode.^ "Xhis changpe of metre (which seems also to have been occasionally con- nected with an alteration of the musical mode) was used to express a change in the ideas and feelingps ; and herein the dramatic lyric poetry differs essentially firom the Pindaric. For whereas the latter rests on one fundamental thought and is essentially pervaded by one tone of feeling* the drami^tic lyric, confining allusions to past and to coming events, and subject to the influence of various leanings to the several interests whidi are opposed on the stage, undergoes changes which often materially distinguish ihe beginning from the end. The rhythmical treatment of the several parts, too, is generally less that artificial combi- nation of various elements which we find in the works of the above- mentioned masters of choral lyric poetry, than a working out of one

  • The epodes, which are apparently ia the middle of a long choral song (as in

^8ch. A gam. 140 — 59. Dindorf.) form the conclusion of the parodos. In the instance just adverted to^ this consists of nine anapsestic systems, and a strophe, antistrophe, and epode in dactylic measures, and is immediately followed by the first i^winnmt whieli esotaias five strophes and antistn^es. in troebaie and logacedic noetrest


812 HISTORY OF THE

theme, often with few variations. It is as if we heard the passionate 8on^ rushing in a mighty torrent right onwards, while the stream of Pindar's verse winds its mazy way through all the deep and delicate intricacies of thought. Without venturing upon the extensive and diffi- cult subject of the difference between the rhythmical structure of lyric and tragic choral verse, we may remark that, as the tragedians used not only the Pindaric measures, but also those of the older Ionic and JBoltc lyric poets, they observe very different rules in the combination of series and verses. To make this clear, it would be necessary to go into all the niceties of the theory of the Greek metres.

§ 12. The pauses which the choral songs produced naturally divided tragedy into the parts already mentioned, prologue, episodia, and exodus. The number, length, and arrangement of these parts admit of an astonishing variety. No numerical rule, like that prescribed by Horace,* here confines the natural development of the dramatic plan.

The number of choral songs was determined by the number of stages in the action calculated to call forth reflections on the human affections, or the laws of fate which governed the events. These again depend on the plot, and on the number of persons necessary to bring it about. Sophocles composed some intricate tragedies, with many stages of the action and many characters, like the Antigone, which is divided into seven acts ; and some simple, in which the action passes through few but carefully worked-out stages, like the Philoctetes, which contains only one stasimon, and therefore consists of three acts, inclusive of the prologue. Long portions of a tragedy may run on without any such pause, and form an act. In the Agamemnon of ^schylus, the choral song which precedes the predictions of Cassandra is the last stasimon.f These prophecies coincide so closely with their fulfilment by the death of Agamemnon, and the emotions which they excite are so little tranquil- lizing, that there is no opportunity for another stasimon. In Sophocles' CEdipus at Colon us, the first general choral song (that is to say, the parodos, in the meaning above given to it) occurs afler the scene in which Theseus promises to CEdipus shelter and protection in Attica.^ Hitherto the chorus, vacillating between horror of the accursed and pity for his woes ; first fearing much, then hoping greatly from him ; is in a state of restless agitation, and can by^o means attain to the serenity and composure which are necessary to enable it to discern the hand of an overruling power.

§ 13. As to the combination of the episodia or acts, the lyric may

  • Art. Poet 299.

Neve minor, neu sit quiuto productior acta

Fabula, quae posci vult et spectata reponi. f V. 975—1032. Dindorf.

I V. 668—7 19. Dindorf. This ode is caUed the leifhs of the CEdipus Coloneut

in Fluiurch An Seal sit ger. Resp. 3.


LITERATURE OP ANCIBNT GREECE. 813

here be far more intimately blended with the dramatic than in the choral songs of which we have hitherto treated. Wherever the discourse does not express subjects of the intellect, but feelings, or impulses of lively emotion, it becomes lyrical, and finds utterance in song. Such songs, which do not stand between the steps or pauses of the action, but enter into the action itself (inasmuch as they determine the will of the actors), may belong to the persons of the drama, to the chorus, or to both ; but in no case can they be given to a full chorus. The third kind of these songs is, in its origin, the most remarkable and important, and unquestionably had place in the early lyrical tragedy. The name of this song, common to the actors and the chorus, is commos^ which property means planctutj ** the wailing for the dead." The wail over the dead is therefore the primary form from which this species of odes took its rise. The liveliest sympathy with suffering constantly remains the main ingredient of the commos; although the en- deavour to incite to an action, or to bring a resolution to maturity, may be connected with it. The commos often occupies a considerable part of a tragedy, especially those of .^Bschylus : as for instance, in the Per- sians* and the ChoephorsB.t Such a picture of grief and suffering, worked out in detail, was an essential part of the early tragedies. In a commos, moreover, the long systems of artfully interwoven strophes and antistrophes had an appropriate place; since in representation they derived a distinctness and effect from the corresponding movements of the persons of the drama and of the chorus, which is necessarily lost to us in the mere perusal. We find a variety of the commos in scenes where the one party appears in lyrical excitement, while the other enounces its thoughts in ordinary language ; whence a contrast arises which produces deeply affecting scenes even in ^schylus, as in the Agamemnon | and the Seven against Thebes.§ But the chorus itself, when agitated by violent and conflicting emotions, may carry on a lyrical dialogue; and hence arose a peculiar kind of choral poetry, in which the various voices are easily recognized by the broken phrases now repeating, now disputing, what has preceded. Long lyric dialogues of this sort, in which all or many voices of the chorus are distinguislied, are to be found in ^schylus, and have been noticed by the ancient com- mentators. || Succeeding tragedians appear to have employed these choral

  • M*cli. Pars. 907—1076. The extire exodus is a commos.

t Midi, C:ho?ph. 306—478.

^ .^SKch. Auam. 1069—1177, where the lyrical excitement gradually passes from Cassandra to the chorus.

§ u^ch. Sept. cont. Theb. 369 — 708, through nearly the whole episodion. Gump. Suppl. 346—437.

fl See Schol. JRtch, Eum. 139, and Theb. 94. Instances are furnished by £um. 140—77, 2bi—7^, 777—92, 836-46. Theb. 77-181. Suppl. 1019—74. The editions frequently denote these single voices by hemichoria; but the division of the chorus into two equal parts, called ltx»t*^ i*^ Pollux, only occurred in certain raro circumstances, as in i^sch. Theb. 1066. Soph. Aj. 866« 


814 HISTORY OF THE

songs exclusively in connexion with commi, and bring forward only a few single voices out of the whole chorus.* When the chorus enters the orchestra, not with a song of many voices, sung In regular rows, but in broken ranks, with a song executed in different parts, the choral ode consists of two portions ; first, one resembling a oommos, which accompanies this irregular entrance ; and, secondly, one like a stasimon, which the chorus does not execute till it has fallen into its regular order. Examples are to be found in the Eumenides of ^schylus and the (Edipus Coloneus of Sophocles.t The tragedians have also inter- spersed separate smaller choral songs, which the ancients expressly dis- tinguish from the stasima,} and which are properly designated by the word Hjrporchemes ; § songs which depict an enthusiastic state of feel- ing, and were united with expressive animated dances, of a kind very different from the ordinary grave Emmeleia. They are frequently used by Sophocles in suitable places, to mark a strong but transitory sentiment. II On the other hand, lyrical parts were sometimes allotted to the persons of the drama : these were in general called &to aicfivrig^ and were either distributed into dialogues or delivered by single per- formers. Long airs of this sort, called Monodies^ in which one person, generally the protagonist of the drama, abandons himself, without restraint, to his emotions, form a principal feature in the tragedies of Euripides.^ As the regular return of fixed musical modes and rhythms was not reconcileable with the free utterance and almost uncon- trollable current of such passionate outpourings, the antistrophe gra- dually disappeared, and the almost infinitely irregular rhytlimical struc- tures (called airoXeXvfiiva)^ in the style of the later dithyrambics, came into use. The artificial system of regular forms, to which Chreek art (and more particularly that of the earlier periods) completely subjected the expression of feeling and passion, was here completely swept away by the torrent of human afi^ections and desires, and a kind of natural freedom was established.

As to what regards the detail of rhythmical forms, it is sufficient for

  • An in Soph. CEd. Col. 117, «jy. Earip. Ion. 184, tqq.

f In the Eumenides of .^Behylus, the expression %p^i» i'^^t^fiu*, t. 307, denotes this regular disposition of the chorus.

X Schol. Soph. Trach. 205. Similar odes in Aj. 693. Phil. 391. 827.

§ Which occurs in Tsetses, wu) r^aytxh w-wn'ri^f, in Cramer Anecd. Vol. lii. p. 346.

II The hyporchemes, however, can scarcely he distingubhed from thesongk resem- bling the commos, since in the latter the entire chorus could hardly haYejoined in the song and dance. In the commatic odes in the Seven against lliebes of iEschylus, especially in the fiwt, v. 78—181, a dancer named Tele»tes (probably as leader of the chorus) represented, by means of mimic dances, the scenes of war described in the poetry, Athen. 1. p. 22. A.

% Aristophanes says of him, that he mW^^u (rhf r^yfiieu) iMffhmn, 'Kn^i^mrrm fuyfvs i Cephisophon being his chief actor. Ran. 944, cf. 874,


LITERATintt OP ANCIENT GREECE. 315

our purpose to remark, that all the earlier lyrical measures might be used for the songs of a single person of the chorus or the stage, as well as for the stasima; but that, generally, grave and solemn forms were applicable only to the songs of the whole chorus ; and that lighter and more sprightly measures, more suited to tlie expression of emotion and afieeiion, prevailed in the monodies. Hence the rhythms of the Doric mode, known from Pindar, are found only in the stasima; not in commi and songs d^rd frmiyfig^ which afford no place where this mode ooold sustain its peculiar character.* On the other hand, dochmiaf are admirably fitted, by their rapid movement and the apparent antipathy of their elements, to depict the most violent excitement of the human mind ; while the great variety of form which may be developed from them, lends itself equally to the expression of stormy passion and of deep melancholy. Tragedy has no form more peculiarly her own, nor more characteristic of her entire being and essence. A fixed diflferenoe in the metrical forms of the commos and the itit^ mtriHIe is not perceptible ; we only know from Aristotle, that certain modes were peculiar to certain persons of the drama, in conse- quence of the peculiar energy or pathos of the character, which ap- peared suited to the acting or suffering heroes or heroines of the drama, but not to the merely sympathizing chorus.|

§ 14. All the odes we have hitherto described are properly of a musical nature, called tnele by the ancients ; they were sung to an accom* paniment of instruments^ among which sometimes the cithara and lyre, sometimes the fiute predominated. Other pieces belong to that middle kind, between song and speech, of which we have spoken in treating of the rhapsodic recitation of the epos, the elegy, and the iambus.§ The anapestie systems, which were chanted sometimes by the chorus, some- times by the actors, but properly as an accompaniment to a marching movement, either of entrance or exit, escort or salutation, recall the Spartan marching songs. || We can hardly imagine them as set to regular melodies, nor yet as delivered in common speech. In the early tragedy they are allotted, in long systems, as a portion of the parodos, to the chorus when entering in rank and file. Hexameters were some- times recited by the actors in announcing important tiding^, or uttering serious reflections; where the peculiar dignity and gravity of this


  • Plutarcli de mosica \7, indeed, SBys that even r^ytHt) «t»T0t, i. e. commoi, were

originally set in the Doric mode ; but this roust refer to the tragedians before

f The maiB f^rm ii^jL^^jCi an antispastic composition, in which the axsis of the iambic and that of tbo tioebaio part coiadded.

X Aristot. Probl. six. 48.

§ Ch. 4. } 3. ch. 10. } 2.

||Ch.l4.}2.


316 HISTORY OF THE

majestic measure produced great effect * The usual trochaic verses ^liich were allied to dialogue admitted of a higher-toned recitation, and especially of a more lively gesticulation, like that used in dancing ; as we have already had occasion to remark.

§ 1 5. We now come to the Epeisodia, where the predominaut cha- racter is not, as in the parts we have hitherto considered) the feeling, but the intellect, which, by directing the will, seeks to render external things subject to itself, and the opinions of others conformable to its own. This was originally the least important element. The variety of forms of discourse which tragedy exhibits grew by degrees out of mere narration. Here also the chorus forms no contrast to the persons of the drama. It is itself, as it were, an actor. The dialogues which it holds with the persons on the stage are, however, necessarily carried on, except in a few cases,t not by all its members, but by its leader. Rare examples, and those only in ^schylus, are to be found, in which the members of the chorus converse among themselves; as in the Agamemnon, where the twelve choreutse deliver their thoughts as twelve actors might do ;t others, in which they express their opinions individually, in the form of dialogue with a person on the stage.§ The arrangement of the dialogue is remarkable for that studious attention to regularity and symmetry which distinguishes Greek art. The opinions and desires which come into conflict are, as it were, poised in a balance throughout the whole dialogue; till at length some weightier reason or decision is thrown into one of the scales. Hence the frequent scenes so artfully contrived in which verse answers to verse, like stroke to stroke ; || and again, others in which two, and sometimes more, verses are opposed to each other in the same manner. Even whole 'scenes, consisting of dialogue and lyrical parts, are some* times thus symmetrically contrasted, like strophes and antistrophes.^

The metre generally used in this portion of ancient tragedy was, as we have already remarked, in early times the Trochaic tetrameter, which, in the extant tragedies, is found only in dialogues full of lively emotion, and in many does not occur at all. The Persians of ^s- chylus, — probably the earliest tragedy we possess, — contains the greatest number of trochaic passages. On the other hand, the Iambic trimeter, which Archilochus had fashioned into a weapon of scorn and ridicule,

  • See Soph. Phil. 839. Eurip. Phaethoo, Iragm. e cod. Paris, v. 65. (fiagm. 2. ed.

Dindorf.)

f As iSsch. Pers. 1 54. Xi*'^ aurfif 'jrJirras fAvht^t iffs^avtif,

I ^sch. Agam. 1346 — 71. The three preceding trochaic vertet^ by which (he consultation is introduced, are spoken by tne three first persons of the chorus mione.

$ i^sch. Agam. 1047—1113.

II These single verses were called fvixo/*v4tei,

% As in the Electra of Sophocles^ v. 1398-^1421, and t. 1422-^1^ c^nespond.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 317

was converted, by judicious alterations in the treatment, leaving its fundamental character unchanged, into the best metrical form for a vigorous, animated, and yet serious conversation. But in the works of ^sehylus it maintained a greater elevation above ordinary prose than in those of his predecessors ; not only from the stately sound o^ the reiterated long syllables, but also from the regular accordance of the pauses in the sense with the ends of verses, by which the several verses stand out distinct. The later tragedians not only made the construc- tion of the verses more varied, light, and voluble, but also divided and connected them more frequently according to the endings and begin- nings of sentences; whereby the dialogue acquired an expression of freer and more natural movement.

After having thus investigated and analyzed in detail the forms in which the tragic poet had to embody the creations of his genius, we should naturally proceed to investigate the essence of a Greek tragedy, following the track indicated by the celebrated definition of Aristotle,

    • Tragedy is the imitation of some action that is serious, entire, and of

a proper magnitude; effecting through pity and terror the refinement of these and similar affections of the soul.'**

But this cannot be done till we have examined more closely the plan and contents of separate tragedies of ^schylus and Sophocles. We shall therefore best accomplish our aim by proceeding to consider the peculiar character of ^schylus as presented to us by his life and works.


CHAPTER XXIII.


} 1. life of ^schyliis. § 2 Number of his tragedies, and their distribution into trilogies. } 3. Outline of his tragedies ; the Persians. } 4. The Phineus and the Glaucus Pontius. ^ 5. The ^tnsean women. § 6. The Seven against Tliebes. ( i. The Eleusinians. $ 8. The Suppliants ; the Egyptians. ( 9 The Prometheus bound. $ 10. The Prometheus unbound. § 11. The Agamemnon. f 12. The Choephorae. . $ 13. The Eumenides, and the Proteus. } 14. .General characteristics of the poetry of iEschylus. } 15. His latter years and death.

§ 1. ^SCHYLUS, the son of Euphorion, an Athenian, from the hamlet of £leusis, was, according to the most authentic record, born in Olymp. 63. 4. B. c. 525.t He was therefore thirty-five years old at the time of the battle of Marathon, and forty-five years old at the time of the battle of Salamis. Accordingly, he was among the Greeks whowere contemporary, in the fullest sense of the word, with these great events,

  • Aristot. Poet. 6. ftifin^ts itfaJ^utf &*ovimeis xet) riXiiatf ftiyiits IpC'^ffns • • •

f The celebrated chronological inscription of the island of Paros states the year of his death and his age, whence the year of his birth can be determined.


818 HISTORY OF THB

and who had felt them with all the emotions of a patriotic spirit. His epitaph speaks only of his fame in the battle of Marathon, not of his glories in poetic contests.* ^schylus belonged completely to the race of the warriors oF Marathon, in the sense which this appellation bore in the time of Aristophanes ; those patriotic and heroic Athenians, of the ancient stamp, from whose manly and honourable character sprang all the glory and greatness which were so rapidly developed in Atbeni after the Persian war.

^schylus, like almost all the graat masters of poetry in ancient Greece, was a poet by profession ; he had chosen the exercise of the tragic art as the business of his life. This exercise of art was combined with the training of choruses for religious solemnities. The tragic, like the comic, poets were essentially chorus teachers. When i^schylus desired to represent a tragic poem, he was obliged to repair, at the proper time, to the Archon, who presided over the festivals of Bacchus,t and obtain a chorus from him. If this public functionary had the requisite confidence in the poet, he granted him the cboms; that is to say, he assigned him one of the choruses which were raised, maintained, and fitted out by the wealthy and ambitious dtisens, as choregi, in the name of the tribes or Phylae of the people. The prin- cipal business of uEschylus then was to practise this chorus in all the dances and songs which were to be performed in his tragedy ; and it is stated that JSschylus employed no assistant for this purpose, but arranged and conducted the whole himself.

Thus far the tragic was upon the same footing as the lyric, especially the dithyrambic, poet, since the latter received his dithyrambic chorus in the same manner, and was likewise required to instruct it. The tragic poet, however, also required actors, who were paid, not by the choregus, but by the state, and who were assigned by lot to the poet, in case he was not already provided. For some poets had actora, who were attached to them, and who were peculiarly practised in their pieces ; thus Cleandrus and Myniscus acted for ^schylus. The prac- tising or rehearsal of the piece was always considered the most im- portant, because the public and official part of the business. Whoever thus brought out upon the stage a piece which had not been performed before, obtained the rewards offered by the state for it, or the prize, if the play was successful. The poet, who merely composed it in the


  • C3'negeirn8, tho enthusiastie fighter of Marathon, is caUed tha brother of

^gchylus : it is certain that his father was named Euphorion, Herod. VL 114. with Valckenaer's note. On the other hand, Ameinias, who began the battle of Salamis, cannot well have been a brother of .^^chylua, since he belonged to tho deme of Palleoe, while ./^chylus belonged to the deme of Eleusi*.

t This was for the great Dionysia, the first Archon, I i^x^ **'^ Vi'X^^ > fo'

the Lenea^ the second^ the basileus.


LITERATURE OF ANCIENT GREECE. 819

fiolitude of his study, could' lay no claim to the rewards due for its public exhibition.

§ 2. These statements show that the exercise of the tra^c art was the sole occupation of a man's life, and (from the great fertility of the ancient poets) absorbed every faculty of his mind. There were extant in antiquity seventy dramas of ^schylus $ and among these the satyric dramas do not appear to be included.* All these plays fall in the period between Olymp. 70. 1. b. c. 500, and Olymp. 81. 1. b. c. 456. In the former of these years, iBschylns, then in his twenty-ilflh year, first strove with Pratinas for the prize of tragedy, (upon which occasion the ancient scaffolding is said to have given way,) and in the latter year the poet died in Sicily. Accordingly he produced seventy tragedies in a period of forty-four years. That the excellence of these works was generally recognized is proved by the fact of ^schylus having obtained the prize for tragedy thirteen times.f For, since at every contest he produced three tragedies, it follows that more than half his works were preferred to those of his competitors, among whom there were such eminent poets as Phrynichus, Choerilus, Pratinas, and Sophocles;! the latter of whom had, at his first representation, in (Mymp. 77. 4. b. c. 493, obtained the prize from ^schylus.

It has been already stated that ^schylus composed three tragedies

for every tragic contest in which he appeared as a competitor ; and to

these, as was also remarked, a satyric drama was annexed. In making

this combination, ^schylus followed a custom which had probably

gprown up before his time, and which was retained as long as tragedy

continued to flourish in Athens. But ^schylus differed from his

successors in this, that his three tragedies formed a whole, connected

in subject and plan ; while Sophocles began to oppose three separate

tragedies to an equal number produced by his rivals. § We should be

^t a loss to understand by what means the three pieces composing the

trilogy were formed into a connected series, without depriving each

piece of its individual character, if we were not so fortunate as to

  • In the much conteit«d pas!«age at the end of the Vila jEtchyti, should probably

Rewritten: Wdin^i i^t^tara Ifii^nMcvret xa) Iwi rovrots ffaru^txei &.f/t(ti^Xa vhru

  • He composed 70 dramas, and also satyric dramas ; five are ascribed to him on

doubtful authority.' The extant titles of dramas of .^Sschylus are, including the lityric dramaa, about 38.

f According to the life. Firit in Olymp. 73, 4. according to the Parian marble.

{ The calculation is indeed rendered somewhat uncertain by the fact that Eupho* lion, the son of .^chylus, gained the prize four times after his father*s death, with dramas which had been bequeathed to him by his father, and which had not been before repretented t Suidat in Ev^/W Accordingly, 12 of the 70 tragedies pro- bably fall after Olymp. 81. U The four prizes ought not, however, to be deducted from the 13 gained by ^sehylus, since Euphorion was publicly proclaimed victor, although it waa well known that the tragedies were composed by ^scbylus.

( This is the meaning of tho words, l^Siftm it(et \mftM iyvffiwfitu, «AXa ftk rft>0yUtf, Suidas in 2ofcfiAnt»


3*2U HISTORY OF THE

possess a trilog^y of ^schylus, in his At^amemnon, Choepliorse, and Eumeuides. The best illustration of the nature of a trilogy will there* fore be a short analysis of these dramas, and accordingly we proceed to give an account of his extant works.

§ 3. Of the early part of the career of ^schylus we do not possess a single work. All his extant dramas are of a later date than the battle of Salamis. Probably his early works contained little to