صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Here, as before, Theseus has yielded to Hercules the most conspicuous spot at the entrance of his own temple. This templo, therefore, possesses an interest not only from the beauty of its structure, but as a consecration of heroic friendship, and an expression of political attachment."—Words■worth.

6. Tlte Hill of the Xymphs.—The hill immediately to the S.W. of the Theseum is the Xympluuum.a remarkable object in modern Athens from the observatory with which it is surmounted. This hill, in the first plans of Athens, used to be called Lycabettus, but incorrectly: an inscription found on its summit has restored the true name. To the S. of this hill is the indication of an ancient road in the direction of the Pirajus. From the Nymphajum we proceed southwards to

7. The 1'nyz.—Tho place of Parliament, or Assembly, of the Athenian people is, according to the opinion almost universally received, an artificial platform to the W. of the Acropolis, of which the boundary is nearly a semicircle with an obtuse-angled triangle added to it on tho opposite side of the diameter, so that the whole outline has tho form of a semicircular bow with the string partly drawn. The semicircular boundary towards the N.E., where anciently was the Agora, is retained by a wall of support which must at one time have been considerably higher than at present. That which remains is about 16 ft. high in the middle, or highest part, and composed of large blocks of various sizes. One stone is 10 ft. by 8 on the face: they are for the most jMirt quadrangular. In the opposite direction the platform was bounded by a vertical excavation in tho rock which is from 12 to 15 ft. high. The foot of this wall inclines towards the centre, thereby showing that originally the entire platform sloped towards the position of the orator, who stood on the celebrated /3fhui, or pulpit, olten called the rock, i A/floi; it was a -uadrangular projection of the rock,

11 ft. broad, rising from a graduated basis. The summit is broken; its present height is about 10 ft.

The area of the platform was capable of containing from 7000 to 8000 persons. From 5000 to 7000 seems to have been the greatest number ever assembled. To be heard from the pulpit must indeed have been so difficult, that we need not wonder that Demosthenes found it necessary to strengthen his voico in order to qualify himself for speaking in the Pnyx.

The name is derived from the word riiWos, signifying probably the throng of persons assembled. It was especially dedicated to Jupiter. In the artificial wall of rock, and on each side of the Bemn, aro niches, below which a number of votive offerings representing different parts of the human body, and now in the British Museum, were found.

The question as to this site being that of the Pnyx, would be set at rest if we were sure that tho walls, of which we see traces running across the top of the hill behind this second terrace, were the original city walls; but authorities differ as to this point.

"The area of tho Pnyx contained about 12,000 square yards, and could therefore easily accommodate tho whole of the Athenian citizens. Tho remark of an ancient grammarian, that it was constructed with tho simplicity of ancient times (Pollux, viii. 132), is borne out by the existing remains. We know, moreover, that it was not provided with seats, with the exception of a few wooden benches in tho first row (Aristoph., Acharn., 25). Hence the assembled citizens either stood or sat on the bare rock (va/ut(, Aristoph., leap., 43); and accordingly the Sausage-seller, when ho seeks to undermine the popularity of Cleon, offers a cushion to the demus (Aristoph., Enuit., 783). It was not provided, like the theatres, with any Bpecies of awning to protect the assembly from the rays of the sun; and this was doubtless one reason why the assembly was held at day-break (Mure, vol. ii. p. 63). "It has been remarked that a traveller who mounts the bema of tho Pnyx may safely say, what perhaps cannot be said with equal certainty of any other spot, and of any other body of great men in antiquity—Here have stood Demosthenes, Pericles, Themistocles, Aristides, and Solon. This remark, however, would not be true in its full extent, if wo were to give credence to a passage of Plutarch (Them. 19), who relates that tho bema originally looked towards the sea, and that it was afterwards removed by the Thirty Tyrants so as to face the land, because the sovereignty of the sea was the origin of the democracy, while the pursuit of agriculture was favourable to the oligarchy. But from no part of the present Pnyx could tho sea be seen, and it is evident, from the existing remains, that it is of much more ancient date than tho age of the Thirty Tyrants. Moreover, it is quite incredible that a work of such gigantic proportions should have been erected by the Thirty, who never even summoned an assembly of the citizens. And even if they had effected such a change in the place of meeting for the citizens, would not the latter, in the restoration of the democracy, have returned to the former site? We have therefore no hesitation in rejecting the whole story along with Forchhammer and Mure, and of regarding it with the latter writer as one of the many anecdotes of what may be called the moral and political mythology of Greece, invented to give zest to the narrative of interesting events, or the actions and characters of illustrious men.

"Wordsworth, however, accepts Plutarch's Btory, and points out remains which he considers to be those of the ancient Pnyx a little behind the present bema. It is true that there is behind the existing bema, and on the summit of the rock, an esplanade and terrace, which has evidently been artificially levelled; and near one of its extremities are appearances on the ground which have been supposed to betoken the existence of a former bema. This esplanade, however, is go much smaller than the present

Pnyx, that it is impossible to believe that it could ever have been used as the ordinary assembly of the citizens; and it is much more probable that it served for purposes connected with the great assembly in the Pnyx below, being perhaps covered in part with buildings or booths for the convenience of the Prytanes, scribes, and other public functionaries." — Dr. Smith'* Diet., p. 283.

8. The Agora was immediately beneath the Pnyx. It is difficult to define its exact limits; its most peculiar and central space was the hollow whicli lies between the Pnyx, the Areopagus, and the Acropolis, but is open towards the S.E. The Ajjnra formed the eastern portion of the quarter called Keramicus, of which the principal feature was a street, probably the high street of Athens, which led from the gate Dipylum into the centre of the Agora. The Agora must have resembled more or less a "place," or square, and was planted with plane-trees. This street was continued beyond the Agora under another name as far as the fountain Callirrhoe.

The accounts of ancient authors do not enable us to fix the exact sites of most of the monuments of the Agora, and there aro no actual traces either to help our inquiry or to call for description. The following short account by Dr. Wordsworth will show what were the principal objects, and what were their purposes; but the determination of the sites must be considered in many instances hypothetical. At the same time they could not, for the most part, have been fur from the sites here assigned.

"It is evident that the site of the Pnyx would have been so selected that it should be of easy access to the people who were assembled there. It would therefore be placed near the Agora. Accordingly, we find thut the Agora was in the valley immediately beneath it. Again, there would be a presumption that the Senate-house was in the neighbourhood of tho Pnyx. For a similar reason we should infer, that, aB the existing laws were frequently appealed to by the orators in the Pnyx, the depository of those laws would lie of easy access from that

Elace. The facts are so. Both the Senateouse (BouKtw-fiptoi/) and that depository (the y[i)Tp$ov), as can bo shown from Pausanias, were placed in the Vidley of tho Agora below the Pnyx." [Not long ago the discovery of a number of laws inscribed on slabs of marble near the so-called Gate of the Agora led some persons to think that tho Bouleuterium was on the N. side of the Acropolis, but, aB the excavations advanced, and no traces of any building were discovered, this new theory respecting the. Bouleuterium fell to the ground.] "The Council of tho Areopagus was called the 'Higher Senate' (v &va /3oDwj). Hence we should infer that the lower senate met at no great distance from it. Accordingly, tho senate-house was at tho foot of the Areopagus hill. Again, tho Prytanes, as presiding in the Pnyx, and as members of the senate, would have their official residence near to both. Their residence (tho ©liXos) was so. It was close to tho senatehouse. The altar of the Twelve Gods was the miUiarium aureum from which the roads of Attica were measured. It would therefore stand in some central spot, as did its counterpart at Rome; and, in fact, the altar in question stood in the Athenian Agora, probably in its centre. A little to the E. of the Tholus stood the statues of the Ten heroes (the i-a-civv/noi) who gave names to the twelve Athenian tribes. To these statues the programmes of laws were attached for public inspection, before they were discussed in the Assembly. Tho situation of these statues illustrates that practice. They stood in the Agora, in the centre of the political quarter of Athens. Mars, at the southern foot of his own hill, occupied a temple between the statues of those Ten Heroes on tho W. and those of Harmodius and Aristogeiton on the E.; and thus we are brought to tho western foot of tho Acropolis, at which point, as has before beon noticed, these two statues stood.

"We return to the Metroum, and proceed westward from that ]x>int. Nenr this temple to the mother of the Gods, was that of the father-deity of the Athenians—of Apollo Patrous. It was on the N.W. of the Metroum. Farther in tho same direction was thu spot chosen by Plato for the scene of Euthyphro's dialogue with Socrates. It was tho porch in which sat tho Archon who took cognizance of religious suits, and from him was called Stoa Basileios. Parallel and contiguous to it was another porch much frequented by the samo philosopher, Socrates; this was the Stoa of Jupiter Eloutherius. Not far to the N.W. of thiB stoa, as Pausanias informs us, was the western wall of the city, and a city-gato in the wall; a little to the E. of which, and therefore within the city, were two buildings, one tho temple of Ceres, the other the Pompeium.

"The Pompeium, as its name indicates, served as a depository for tho objects employed in the sacred no^«! or processions, namely, in the Panathenaio procession, and in that to Eleusis. Such a building must necessarily have stood in a spot by which those processions passed . . . and that spot was tho Dipylum gate."

[The reader should compare tho account of the course of Pausanias given by Dr. Smith (Diet.) There is certainly a great difficulty in reconciling tho probability that Pausanias entered by the Piraic gate, and that therefore the Pompeium was near that gate, with the improbability that the magazine of sacred inplements should be kept in a place near which the processions never passed. Along tho street, whichever it bo, that Pausanias describes, were continued colonnades, OToal open to the street, as is common in many continental towns.]

"Not far to the E. of the Theseum a building of considerable interest is supposed to have stood, the Stoa, which, from the frescoes with which it was adorned, was called the Pcoeilc." [These frescoes were greatly ccler brated.] "Tho Pcecile has been identified with an aucicnt building which still exists in the position above specified " [that which we have called the Gymnasium of Ptolemy]. "This opinion does not seem to me to bo well founded. I should place the Pcecile' at the northern entrance of the Agora; for it stood near the Temple of Hephaestus, which was in the urban Colonus: and also near the Mercury Agorreus, who guarded the entrance of the Agora" (Wordetcorth, p. lu'O sq.).

It may be mentioned, with respect to the newly-discovered gateway which led from the eastern extremity of tho Agora into the Acropolis, that the gateway and the marble wall containing it are said to be the work of a decidedly debased period; at least four hundred years later than the building of the Propytea. The gateway is placed irregularly, and not in (he line of the centre of the great flight of steps. The wall is so weak that it could not havo been the external defence of the citadel: a fact which would not disagree with the conjectural restoration of these outworks, given above, p. 147.

9. The Museum.—Proceeding southward from the Pnyx to the Museum Hill, we cross the lino of one of the principal roads leading between tho two hills in the direction of Piraeus. At the northern foot of tho Museum, and opposite to the Acropolis, are three remarkable ancient excavations in the rock; that in the middle of an irregular form, tho other two 11 ft. square. One leads towards another subterranean chamber of a circular form, 12 ft. in diameter at tho bottom, and diminishing towards the top in the shape of a bell. This may have been a granary. They are sometimes called baths, sometimes prisons, one especially "the prison of Socrates." On the western slopes of this hill there are many traces of the foundations of houses; stairs hewn in the rock occur in several places.

On the summit of the Museum is the monument of Philopappus. Pau

sanias merely says "of a certain Syrian," but the name is on the monument, Philopappus of Besa. He resided at Athens, where he took tho offices of Agonothetes and Choregus, and died about Ad. 105. The monument is of white marble, with a slightly concave front, of considerable size, but of no great architectural merit.

There are indications of ancient walls lending down from tho summit of the Museum into the valley, in tho direction of the Ilissus, and

10. Callirrhoe, otherwise called Enneacrunm, from the nine pipes which conveyed the water. This fountain, according to Fausanias, supplied tho only sweet running water in Athens, the rest of the supply was from wells. The water of Enneacrunus was used especially for tho sacred purposes of lustrations, &c. It is now a small spring of water issuing from the foot of a ridge of roek wliich here crosses the bed of tho Ilissus, so that in times of heavy rain the spring is lost in a small cascade of the torrent falling over the rock, but which, when tho bed is in its ordinary state, that is to say dry, or nearly so, forms a pool permanent through the summer, which is resorted to by the inhabitants of the adjacent part of Athens. The spring is still called, as well as tho river itself, Ka\\i^p6ti.

On the left bank of the Ilissus, near the fountain, but a little lower down, is the site of the elegant Ionic building wliich was seen by Stuart, and published in his first volume, but which lias since utterly perished, except the foundations of the apse of tho church into which it has been converted, and called Tlavayia arty irtTpay, or St. Mary't on the rock. The temple was tctrastylo, amphiprostyle, the material of white marble, and the architecture Ionic, of an early and simple kind; the length and breadth on the upper step 42 ft. and 20, respectively. Leake calls this the Temple of Triptolemus; Forchhammer, that of Artemis Eucleia. Near this the bed of the Ilissus forms a small island, which is generally

[graphic][merged small][merged small]
« السابقةمتابعة »