صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

be met with in Greece than in any other country of Europe, of which no drawing can convey other than a very faint notion. The outline, indeed, of this colossal mass of rugged rock and greensward, interspersed here and there, but scantily, with the customary fringe of shrubs, although from a distance it enters into fine composition with the surrounding landscape, can in itself hardly be caUed picturesque; and the formal line of embattled Turkish or Venetian wall, which crowns the summit, docs not set it off to ail vantage. Its vast size and height produce the greatest effect, as viewed from the 7 Doric columns standing nearly in the centre of the wilderness of rubbish and hovels that now mark the site of the city which it formerly protected." The perpendicular height of the Acro-Corinthus above the sea is 1886 English feet. It is described by Livy (xlv. 28) as "ant in immanem altitudinem edita;" and Statius is not guilty of much exaggeration in the lines (Tfcefc., vii. 106) :—

"summas caput Acro-Corintbus in auras Tollit, et altems geminum mare protcgit umbra."

Lord Byron's 'Siege of Corinth' will be read with great interest on the spot.

Many a vanlsb'd year and agr>, And tempest's breath, and battle'0 rage, Have swept o'er Corinth; yet she stands, A fortress fortn'd to Freedom's hands. The whirlwind's wrath, the earthquake's shock, }Jave left untouch'd her hoary rock. The keystone of a land, which still. Though fall'n. looks proudly on that hill. The landmark to the double tide That purpling rolls on either side. As If their waters chafed to meet. Vet pause and crouch beneath her feet. But could the blood before her shed Since first Tlmoleon's brother bled. Or baffled Persia's despot fled, Arise from out the earth which drank The stream of slaughter as it sank. Thai sanguine ocean would o'erflow Her isthmus idly Bpread below: Or could the bones of all the slain. Who perish'd there, be piled again. That rival pyramid would rise More mountain-like, through those clear Bkies, Than yon tower-capp'd Acropolis, k Which seems the very clouds to kiss.


Inns.—A small inn is kept by a civil and attentive person, and is perhaps as comfortable as can be expected in so poor a place. Here travellers can breakfast before ascending the Acropolis.

The traveller while in this neighbourhood during the summer montha cannot be too much on his guard against the Malaria by which a great portion of Greece during the hot season is so terribly affected. Many of our countrymen have fallen victims to the fever it occasions. The very term Greek fever has become proverbial as an affection which is either speedily fatal, or insidiously undermines the constitution till the system sinks under its influence. Corinth is on this account to be passed in the sickly season as speedily as may be.

From the remotest period of Grecian history, Corinth maintained, with a very small territory, a high rank among the states of Greece. Hers was the earliest school of policy and the arts, and she resisted the ambition of Rome to the last. By the peculiarity of her position, she became the centre of commercial intercourse between Europe and Asia, and the chief port for the exchange of commodities between Greece and foreign nations. These sources of power and wealth were still further assisted by the great Isthmian games, which took place every 3rd year, in the immediate neighbourhood. Of all the Greek cities, Corinth was perhaps the most celebrated for its luxury, splendour, and voluptuousness. Corinth joi ued the Achaean league against the Romans; and for this was doomed to destruction by those unforgiving conquerors. This treasury of the arts was consigned to the brute fury of the soldiery, when Mummius, assisted by the treachery of some of the citizens, gained admission into the city, B.C. 146. It was then plundered and destroyed by fire, many of its works of art being conveyed to Rome. Mummius, it will be remembered, informed the captain of the vessel to which they were entrusted that should any of them be lost ho would be required to replace them! Corinth remained desolate for about a century, when a Boman colony was planted there, and the city was partially rebuilt by Julius Cassar. Finally it shared the fate of the other towns of Greece, in the tremendous devastation wrought by Alaric tho Goth. It is scarcely necessary to add that Corinth possesses for the Christian the additional interest of having been the residence of St. Paul, and to tho church of which ho addressed two of his epistles. Hero tho apostle abodo for 18 months, supporting himself by the work of Ms own hands; here ho was brought into contact with the hard and unsympathising dominion of Home in the person of Gallio. To Corinth too were addressed those warnings of a world to come, and those praises of Charity, so much needed among tho proud and luxurious burghers of the rich commercial city; and those similes drawn from tho national games of Greece, so forciblo here from the neighbourhood of the Isthmian and Nemean festivals.

In modern times, after many vicissitudes, Corinth was besieged and taken in 1459 by Mahomet II. It was transferred by the Turks to tho Venetians in 1G98 and restored by them to the Turks in 1715. Under the Turkish rule it was a town of considerable extent, though thinly peopled. The houses wero intermingled with mosques, gardens and fountains.

During the revolutionary war Corinth was reduced to ashes, not a building having escaped. A few streets had been rebuilt, and lines marked out for the formation of now quarters, in which, however, but little progress had been made when the growth of the modern town was arrested by tho great earthquake of February, 1858, which destroyed almost every house. The town is now being rebuilt in a moro convenient position, near to the shore of the Gulf of Corinth, about 2 m. to the eastward of the ancient Lechasum.

On the establishment of the kingdom of Greece, the question naturally arose

as to the choice of a future capital and royal residenco. Nauplia, Argos, Patras, Corinth, and Athens wero tho towns whoso claims alternately engaged the attention of the regency. But notwithstanding the apparent admirable commercial and military position of Corinth, the unhealthiness of the surrounding plain, and the impracticability of ever forming a large and safe port in either of the gulfs, turned the scale in favour of Athens.

There are but few remains of antiquity at Corinth. The ruins of two buildings of tho Boman town still exist, viz., 1st, a largo mass of brickwork on the northern side of the bazaar of Modern Corinth, probably a part of ono of the baths built by Hadrian. 2ndly, an amphitheatre, excavated in the rock, on the eastern side of the modern town, not far from the left bank of the torrent which separates the Acro-Oorinthus from the heights to the eastward. It is probable that this amphitheatre was a work posterior to the time of Pausanias, as it is not noticed by him. Tho area below is 290 ft. by 190, the thickness of the remaining part of the cavea 100 ft. It is probable that it had a superstructure of masonry, supported by arcades, but no remains of it exist. At ono end of the amphitheatre was a subterraneous entrance for the wild beasts or gladiators.

The seven Doric columns, noticed by travellers in all ages, are still erect in the midst of modern desolation. Wh en Wheler visited Greece in 1676, there were 12 columns standing; and the ruin was in the same state when described by Stuart 90 years afterwards. It was in its present condition when visited by Mr. Hawkins in 1795. Tho temple appears to have had originally 6 columns in front; and it is conjectured by Leoko to have been that dedicated to Athena Chalinitis. The great antiquity of tho statue of tho goddess, as described by Pausanias, and her epithet and worship connected with tho favourite fable of Bellerophon and Pegasus, one of the earliest events of Corinthian mythology, accord perfectly with the appearance of great antiquity in tho existing columns. On a comparison of these columns with the other most ancient temples, it would seem that the lateBt date that can be ascribed to this temple is the middle of the 7th centy. before the Christian era. Of the seven columns, five belonged to one of the fronts, and three, counting tho angular column twice, to one of the sides of the Peristyle. The three columns of the sido and the two adjoining ones in front have their entablature still resting upon thorn, but one of them has lost its capital. Of the two remaining columns, the capital of one and the architraves of both are gone. They are 5 ft. 10 inches in diameter at the base, and the shafts are formed of a single piece of limestone, covered with fine stucco. Tho templo must have been about 65 ft in breadth, but the original longth cannot bo ascertained. The columns are of heavy and archaic proportion; but constitute the only important relic of ancient Corinth. The fountain of Pirene is frequently mentioned by tho ancient writers. There appear to have been 3 springs of that name—the well in the Aero-Corinth, the rivulets which issue at the foot of the hill as described by Strabo, and tho source below the brow of the table-land on which the present town is situated. Modern Corinth occupies the site of the ancient city, which is a table-land at the foot of the Aero-Corinth, overlooking a lower level extending along the sea-shore on one side to the isthmus, and on tho other to Sikyon. This lower level was traversed by two parallel walls, which connected Corinth with I.echa3um. Their length was 12 stadia. But scanty remains of tho harbour of T.i clupnm are still visible, as has been said above.

The Acro-Corinthus.—To ascend to the highest point of the Acro-Corinthus is a laborious walk of one hour. This fortress stands at an elevation of 1886 ft, and is considered as the strongest fortification in Greece, next to that of Nauplia in Argolis. It would, if properly garrisoned, be a place of great strength and importance. It abounds with excellent water, is in most parts precipitous, and there is only one spot

from which it can bo annoyed with artillery. This is a pointed rock a few hundred yards to the S.W. of it, from which it was battered by Mahommed II. Before the introduction of artillery it was deemed almost impregnable, and had never been taken, except by treachery or surprise. It shoots up majestically from the plain, and forms a conspicuous object at a great distance: it is clearly seen from Athens, from which it is not less than 44 m. in a direct line. A steep ascent winding through rocks on the W. side leads to tho first gate. Permission to view tho Acro-Corinthus was, during the timo of tho Turks, rarely granted, but, is now never refused. Within the fortress are but few objects of interest Tho ruins of mosques, houses, and Turkish and Venetian fortifications, are mingled together in one confused mass. Upon a platform in the upper part is an extensive building, now used as a barrack. The garrison usually consists of only 20 or 30 soldiers. Cisterns have been hewn in tho solid rock to receive tho rain-water; and in the hill are two natural springs, one of which, tho famous Pirene, rises from a fountain of ancient construction, and has been celebrated for tho salubrity of its waters. After gushing from the rock, it branches into several limpid streams, which descend into the town and afford a constant supply of water; whence its ancient appellation of the "wellwatered city"—ttiitipov iarv. Corinth is called by Pindar tho "city of Pirene;" and the Corinthians are described in one of the Delphian oracles as "those dwelling around the beautiful Pirene." (Herod., v. 92.)

The magnificent panoramic view from the summit of the Aero-Corinth—certainly one of the grandest as well as one of the most varied in Europe*—embraces the most interesting portion of Greece, and the scenes of many glorious actions. The most striking points in the landscape are:—The Sikyonian

• N.B.—The traveller in Greece should on no account omit to ascend the Acrocorinthus, even at the expense of waiting some time for a clear day. The view is equally splendid in winter or In summer.

promontory, where the gulf of Corinth turns N. W. by N.: The foot of the promontory Kyrrha, N.N.W.: The promontory Antikyrrha (now Aspraspitia), with its bay, and, beyond it, the highest point of Parnassus, N.

"Soaring snnw-cliul through Its native sky,
In the wild pomp of mountain-majesty."

N.N.E., is Mount Helicon, "with a high hunch on its back like a camel." The highest point of Mount Geranea, between Megara and Corinth, lies N.E. by N. The Isthmus itself runs E.N.E., towards the highest ridge of Mount Kithaeron. Beyond Kithtcron, eastward, follow Mounts Pomes and Hymettus, and between them appears the Parthenon upon the Acropolis of Athens. Then the island of Salamis, E. (or E. by S.), and jEgina, S.E. Strabo has accurately characterised the prominent features of this view, which comprehends eight of the most celebrated states of ancientGreeco—Achaia, Lokris, Phokis, Bcootia.Attica, Argolis, Corinthia, and Sikyonia. Leake says this "view comprehends porhaps a greater number of celebrated objects than any other iu Greece. Hymettus bounds the horizon to the eastward, and the Parthenon is distinctly visible at a direct distance of not much less than 50 English miles. Beyond the isthmus and bay of Lechseum are seen all the great summits of Locris, Phocis, Bcootia, and Attica; and the two Gulfs, from the hill of Koryfe (Gonoessa) on the Corinthiac, to Sunium at the entrance of the Saronic Gulf. To the westward, the view is impeded by a great hill, which may bo called the eye-sore of the Acro-Corinthus, especially with regard to modem war. Its summit is a truncated peak." i Daring the two first years of the revolutionary war, the Acro-Corinthus was lost and regained three different times, without a shot being fired. The Turks surrendered it twice by capitulation, and once it was abandoned by the Greeks, betrayed by a ba»e and cowardly priest left in command, who deserted it on the approach of Mohammed Dramali Pasha, before his army had appeared in sight.

From Corinth the traveller will proceed to Kalamriki (2 hrs.) along tho

Isthmus of CorinUt.

The celebrated tract of limestone rock which connects the Peloponnesus with Northern Greece, and unites two chains of lofty mountains, is about 10 m. in length. Its width at Corinth is nearly as much, but at its northern extremity does not exceed 4 m. At this point the small bay of Lutrdki on the W. is joined with the little, secure, harbour of Kalamdki on the E. by an excellent road, the highest elevation of which is probably not 100 ft. above the sea. Kalamaki consists of store-houses, wineshops, stables, and a small khan, where provisions may always be found. At these harbours the steamboats, from Corfu and Athens, meet once a week, going either way, and regular stations have been built, as was already observed. On the above-named days plenty of carriages and horses are in attendance, and there is a good road from Corinth to each of these little ports. The rough chasms, ravines, dells, cliffs, and ridges of the Isthmus, covered with the Isthmian pine (Pinus maritima), and interspersed with occasional corn-fields, make tho whole tract exceedingly interesting. The combination of sea and mountain on overy side is also imusually beautiful. Six miles to the E. of Corinth, on tho Saronic gulf, is Kenkres or Cenchreat, where St. Paul made his vow (Acts xviii. 18). The remuins on this little cove arc chiefly of Roman brickwork. The so-called Baihof Helen is a stream of tepid, saline, and clear water gushing from a rock a few feet abovo the sea. But it is hardly worth the traveller's while to diverge from the direct road between Corinth and Kalamaki. Leaving then Cenchrceo on the rt., and passing through the village of Hexamtti, which gave its Byzantino name to the Isthmus, wo reach, J of a m. S.E. of Kalamiiki, tho site of tho famous Isthmian Sanctuary. It is a level spot, of an irregular quadrangular form, containing-the temple of Posidop,

a Stadium, and other buildings connected with the great Panhcllenic festival celebrated here. Tho Sanctuary was surrounded on all sides by a strong wall, which can still be clearly traced; there are many ancient deltris within the enclosure, which is about 640 ft. in length: but its breadth varies from 600 to 300 ft. Pausanias's account of the Isthmian Sanctuary is brief and unsatisfactory.

Tho northern portion of tho walls which surrounded tho Isthmian Sanotuary belonged to a line of fortification, which extended at one period across the Isthmus. This wall may still be traced in its whole extent, from the Bay of Lechamm to the Bay of Schoanus (Kalamdki). At what period it was erected iB uncertain. Tlio first Isthmian wall mentioned in history, was that thrown up by the Peloponnesians, when Xerxes was invading Greece. But this was a work of haste, and could not be the same as the massive wall with towers, of which remains arc still extant. Moreover, it is evident from the military operations in the Corinthia, recorded by Thucydides and Xenophon, that in their time the Isthmus was not defended by a lino of fortifications. It is not till we come to the period of the decline of tho Roman Empire that we find mention of the regular Isthmian wall, which was then considered to be an important defence against the invasion of the barbarians. On this account it was restored by Valerian, and by Justinian, and by tho Greeks against the Turks in 1415; and after it had been destroyed by the Turks, it was rebuilt by the Venetians in 1463. It was a second time destroyed by th e Turks; and by the treaty of Carlowitz, in 1699, the remains of the old walls were made the boundary line between the territories of the Ottomans and those of the Venetians.

At a short distance N. of the Isthmian wall, was the Diulkoi, a level road, upon which small vessels were drawn by moving rollers from one sea to the other. The idea of cutting a canal across the Isthmus was frequently entertained in antiquity, from the time of Periander to that of Nero; but Nero alone

actually commenced tho work. Ho continued it for a length of 4 stadia, when he was obliged to give it up in consequence of the insurrection of Vindex in Gaul. Tho canal was commenced upon tho western shore, close to the Diolkos; and traces of it may still be seen. It has now little depth; but it is 200 ft. wide, and may bo traced for about 1200 yds.

Kalam&ki.—Some slight remains, near the modern village, indicate tho site of tho ancient Sduxnus, which gave its former name to this port. Hero will be found another steamer, which will transport the traveller in 4 hrs. to the Piraius. For an account of the routes by land from Corinth to Athens, consult Map and Index.

Tho voyage from the Isthmus to tho Pirmus is very pleasant and interesting. Megara and Salamis are on the left, Mxioa is on the right, and an amphitheatre of mountains extends all around. Tho battle of Salamis was fought in tho narrow strait between the island of that name and the mainland of Attica. After a passage of about 3} hours, we enter tho

Pireus, described in Bte. 2. Tho traveller will most likely proceed at once to Athens, and visit this locality later. He had better entrust tho caro of his luggage, &c, to tho representative of the Hotel at Athens, at which he may have determined to stop, and who will bo found on board the steamer. Passports aro very rarely demanded, nor are the Custom-house regulations strict. An abundance of vehicles of all kinds will be found at tho landingplace, to convey the traveller over tho 5 miles' distance to Athens, and a train* from the Pirreus railway station starts, as a general rule, in summer at eviry hour, reaching Athens in 20 minutes. (Fare 1 drachm, 1st class). The railway was opened in March, 18C9. Tho Acropolis, with its glorious group of ancient buildings, is before the eyes during this drive, recalling the opening lines of the 2nd Canto of' Childo Harold':—

« السابقةمتابعة »