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Greek Church has always been distinguished, has not allowed to be suggested in vain."—Wordsworth.
There are but few vestiges of antiquity at Apostoli, with the exception of a tumulus with a sarcophagus near it.
Oropos, § hr. A village containing about 50 houses, standing on the lower heights of the ridge of Markopoulos, above some gardens which extend to the Asopus. Some large blocks of hewn stone are all that remains of the fortifications of a town which was, on account of its site, so long the object of military contention to its powerful neighbours. "A few mutilated inscriptions are all that survives of the literature of a city which formerly occasioned by its misfortunes the introduction of Greek philosophy into the schools and palaces of Borne. — Wordsworth.
The route from Oropos to Tanagra passes through the village of Sycaminos, a hamlet inhabited by Albanians, on the opposite bank of the Asopus: the road tarns 1. and ascends the stream, here shaded by pines; it then descends into a small plain, where the Asopus is seen turning to the 1. into a woody chasm abounding in plane-trees. It was from Sycaminos that the brigand chief, Arvanitakos, on seeing the Greek troops in its vicinity, hurried his English and Italian captives on the afternoon of the 21st of April, 1870, and it was between this village and Delisi that Mr. Edward Herbert and his three companions in misfortune were murdered.
Tanagra is about 10 m., from Oropos: its site is on a large circular hill, neither abrupt nor high, rising from the N. bank of the Asopus, and communicating by a bridge with the 8. bank, where there are also ancient remains. The proximity of the city to the Asopus is the reason why Tanagra was styled the daughter of that river. E. of the city a torrent flows into the Asopus. A hill on its banks was sacred to the Tanagreans
from tho tradition which made it the birthplace of Mercury. The vestiges of Tanagra are not very considerable, and are more remarkable for extent than grandeur. There are a few remnants of polygonal masonry, and on the S. side, a gate of the city, the lintel of which is more than 6 ft long, of a single stone. Little is left of the walls but their foundations, the circuit of which may be traced. Tho ground is thickly strewn with fragments of earthenware, which show the existence of a numerous population in former times. At the N.W. corner of the citadel may bo traced the outline of a semicircular building, probably a theatre, scooped out in tho slope on which its walls are built. There is another similar site in the interior of the city S. of tho abovementioned one.
In the Augustan age Thespian and Tanagra were the only Boeotian towns which were preserved, and Tanagra existed for a long time under the Boinan sway. In tho plain to tho N. are two churches, dedicated respectively to St Nicholas and to St George: from the fragments of marble, &c, inserted in their walls, they appear to occupy the sito of old temples. In the walls of another church, on the S. side of the Asopus, dedicated to St. Theodore, built almost entirely of ancient blocks, is an interesting inscription. The former part of it records, in elegiac verse, the dedication of a statue by a victor in a gymnastic contest; the latter is a fragment of an honorary decree, conferring the rights of citizenship on a native of Athens, in consideration of the services which he had rendered to the state of Tanagra.
Beturn to Oropos.
The road again passes by the village of Sycaminos, and bears to the 1. over wild uncultivated hills to
Delist, 7 m., the site of Delium, rendered famous by the intrepidity of Socrates and the misfortunes of his country. It is on rising ground, which shelves down to the plain a little to tho 1. of tho road. By its position on the S. verge of the flat strip of land which fringes the Euripus, and is here reduced to a narrow margin, it commanded this avenue from Attica to Boeotia along tho coast, and this was probably the reason why Delium was seized and fortified by tho Athenians as a port from which they might sally against their northern neighbours. The sea here makes a reach in a S.E. direction, and by the possession of the bay thus formed, Delium became the emporium of Tanagra, which was 5 m. distant
"It was on an evening at the beginning of winter that the battle of Delium was fought; it took place at about a mile to the south of the village from which it was named. One of these sloping hills covered the Boeotian forces from the sight of their Athenian antagonists. These abrupt gullies, channelled in the soil by the autumnal rain, impeded the conflict of the two armies. They afforded less embarrassment to the manoeuvres of the lighter troops; it was to their superiority in this species of force that tho Boeotians were mainly indebted for their victory. Their success was complete. The darkness of the night, and his own good genius, preserved the Athenian philosopher. He seems to have escaped, in tho first instance, by following the bed of one of these deep ravines, into which the soil has been ploughed by the mountain streams: he returned home, together with his pupil and his friend, by a particular road, which his guardian spirit prompted him to take, and which in vain he recommended to his other comrades, whom the enemy convinced too late of their unhappy error."—Wordsworth.
The road to Chalkis now passes by Dramiei, which has been erroneously identified with Delium; there appears to be no evidence of its occupying the site of an ancient city. Tho road lies over a baro arable plain parallel to the sea, bounded \V. by low hills. It then ascends a rugged mountain; on the summit are the remains of a ruined Hellenic city. Descending thence, we arrive at a fountain: tho district around is that
still called VWte, or Avlike (Au\ndj). The city on the mountain above, of which there are still considerable remains, has been supposed to be Aidh, and the small port to the S. tho port described by Strabo, aa affording a harbour for 50 ships. A larger harbour begins S. of tho narrowest point of the Euripus, and spreads like an unfolded wing from the side of Euboea; it is doubtless the Port of Aulis, in which the Greek fleet was moored under Agamemnon. Here was tho scone of tho sacrifice of Iphigenia.
We continue to skirt the shore, till we reach the famous bridgo of tho Euripus, about 3 hrs. from Dramisi. By means of this bridge the Boeotians blockaded these Dardanelles of ancient Greece against their enemies the Athenians, thus locking the door of Athenian commerce. The gold of Thasos, tho horses of Thcssaly, the timber of Macedonia, and the corn of Thrace, were carried into the Piraus by this channel. This bridgo was built by the Boeotians, B.C. 410. From this period the tenure by Athens of tho best part of Euboea was precarious, and her communication with the northern markets dependent on the amity of Bceotia, or exposed to the dangers of the open sea. Euboea was of vast importance to her from ite, position and produce. The passage of the Euripus was re-opened to modern commerce by_ the Greek Government in A.D. 1857.
Passing thus rapidly from state to sbite of ancient Greece, the traveller will be reminded of tho small size of the communities which have filled so great a space in the world's attention. Hellas resembled a collection of mirrors, each having its own separate focus of patriotism, but all ablo to converge to one point, and, as at Platoea, exterminate a common enemy. ROUTE 8.
ATHEiS TO CHALKIS DIRECT.
The most level and easy, though a circuitous route from Athens to Chalkis is through Liosi, leaving Tatoe on tlio I., nnd Capandriti on tho rt., to the large village of Markopoulo, whero there is one of tho best khans in Greece. Thence we descend to the Scala of Oropos, and proceed along the coast to Chalkis.
Another route is by tlte pass of Dekelea, or Tatoe':
Athens to— Hr»
At 2 hrs. from Athens we cross a large chasm, in which the greater branch of tho Kephissus flows, and which, a little abovo this spot, takes a sudden turn to the hills N.W. of Kephissia. The road now inclines E. of Jf. over an open plain covered with beath and shrubs. To 1. is Parnes clothed with woods, which unites itself with the hills stretching to the N. declivities of Pentelicus, and which form the boundary of the plain of Athens. The road ascends these hills for 1£ hr. to a stone fountain on a wooden knoll called
Tatoe, 3 hrs. This is tho site of Dekelea, a Dennis of Attica, at the entrance of the most eastern of the 3 passes over Parnes; the two others being by PhyU, and by Eleutherx. By this pass Mardonius retreated into Bceotia before the battle of Platrea, and by this route com was conveyed from Eubcea to Athens. In B.C. 413, Dekelea was fortified by tho Spartans, who retained it till the end of the Peloponnesian war, to the great injury and annoyance of the Athenians.
Hence is a view of the plain and city of Athens, whence it is distant 5 hours N.N.E. On a hillock abovo the fountain are some remains of a wall. A path strikes off through the hills E. to Oropos, 4 hrs. distant. Leaving tho fountain, wo proceed 1J hr. through the hills belonging to tho mountain anciently called Brilessus, over a precipitous path till we get to the N. of tho high rnngo of Panics. By tho side of a torrent is a solitary church, whence the road descends into an extensive plain. At 4 hrs. from the foot of the mountain, to the N. of tho plain, is a ruined tower; to this point the road leads, crossing the Asopus at a ford. This may have been a castle of the Latin princes, or a Turkish watch-tower. It commands a view of the whole of Boaotia E. of Thebes, and of the windings of tho Asopus.
Skimitari, 1} hr. from the tower; tho place consists of 80 houses, 5 hrs. from Thebes, and 3 from Chalkis.
Henco tho road lies over uneven downs, with a view of the strait and of the hills of Euboea. Approaching the shore wo turn 1. to the villago of Vathy close to the shore, and to a bay formerly called (Baflii), (the large port of Aulis), from which the modern village takes its name. The very rocky path now winds round the small port of Aulis (Rte. 7). Half an hour from Vathy we double the N.E. extremity of the mountain anciently called Messapius, and in another half hour arrive at the bridge over tho Euripus. On passing the Bay of Aulis, tho scholar will call to mind the descriptions of tho sacrifice of Iphigenia in iEschylus and in Lucretius.
Chalkis (Ktt. 9).
THEBES TO CHALKIS (eubcea).
Quitting Thebes at the E. extremity of the town, we leave the fountain of St. Theodore to the rt., and arrive in an hour at an ancient foundation, called by the modern Thebans, "the Gates." A mile before arriving at tliis place, the road descends. A low rocky hill, 300 or 400 yds. to the left, conspicuous from its insulated position, stretches into the plain, and is separated by a narrow strip of land from the foot of Hypatus, or Siamata. This lull corresponds with Teumesaus, which was on the road from Thebes to Chalkis, in sight from the walls of the Cadmeia. In the time of Pausanias there was at Teumessus a temple of Minerva Telchinia. The road now ascends a low ridge, which forms a junction between Mount Soro and the supposed Teumessus, and then descends into the plain, which forms a continuation of that of Thebes.
The village of Syria is 1$ m. to the 1., and an hour after Spahides is half an hour rt.; 2 or 3 m. rt. is a modern ruined tower on a rocky height, which conceals Andritia, where are some Hellenic remains and a source of water.
The road ascends a low root of Hypatus, and passing some Hellenic foundations, and other remains, reaches a fountain. Above the rt. bank of a torrent which descends from Platanaki, a monastery on the mountain, are the traces of an ancient citadel.
From the fountain the road ascends a ridge of hills connected with Mount Ktypa, and leads through a paBs between two peaked heights, where are some remains of a wall of Hellenic j
masonry: on the rt. are vestiges of a similar wall. On the summit of this pass, through which the road from Thebes to Chalkis must always have led, a beautiful view opens of the Euripus, the town of Chalkis, and a great part of Euboea. The road descends into an open plain, intersected with low rocks, and then passes under the hill of Karababa, along the S. shore of the Bay of Chalkis, to the bridge of the Euripus at its E. extremity. There is a small inn at Chalkis.
Euboea and its chief town were in tho middle ages called Egripo, a corruption of Evprnrn; but as every place of importance has now resumed its ancient name, wo have discarded the modem appellations of Negropont and Egripo, and have restored to the island its classical name, and to the town that of Chalkis* This island was one of tho most important possessions of Venice: and one of the memorials of its former greatness, displayed to this day at St. Mark's, is the standard of the kingdom of Negropont. The capital, for many years after its reduction by Mahomet II., was tho usual residence, and under the immediate command of, tho Capitan Pasha, the admiral of the Turkish fleets. At the present day, Chalkis is the only place in tho kingdom of Greece where a few Mahommedan families remain. Ono mosque has been reserved for their use; the rest havo been converted into churches. The fortifications here, as elsewhero in Greece, are ruinous; there are some tolerable houses in the town.
The lion of St. Mark remains over the gate of tho castle. Many of the best nouses are of Venetian construction, and a ch. with high pointed roof, square towers, and Gothic windows, was probably built by that
• Xegroponte was formed from Efrripo-ponte by the cummon prefix of v.—tn'av "Evpin-oj* became trrb N eypo, and the ponte was the bridge, over the Euripus.
people, who possessed the place for nearly three centuries before its capture by Mahomet II. in 1470. An enormous piece of ordnance, like those of the Dardanelles, which defends the approach to the S. side of the Castle, is the most remarkable Turkish monument. The fortress is a construction of different ages, the sjuare towers erected before the invention of gunpowder being mixed with Venetian bastions of antique comitruetion, and with Turkish whitewashed walls. In the glacis of the castle was the Turkish burial-ground, beyond which is the town, surrounded by walls in a state of dilapidation, encircling the promontory in a semilunar form. The Turks threw up beyond these a palisadoed rampart of earth across the isthmus.
The only remains of ancient Chalkis consist of fragments of white marble in the walls of the churches and houses. Chalkis has been a place of importance from the earliest times. It is said to have been founded by an Ionic colony from Athens; but it sent out many colonies of its own. In later times, it was generally dependent on Athens.
The bay on the N. side is called St. Minae, that on the S. Vurko, from its shallow and muddy nature; this latter bay communicates, by a narrow opening, with a long winding strait, extending 4 m., to a second narrow opening, where, on a low point of the Euboean coast, is a tower on the plain of Vasiliko. No vessels, except boats, can approach Eubcea on the S. side nearer than this tower. On the N. there is no difficulty in approaching. The Euripus, which is properly the narrowest part of the strait between Mount Karababa and the Castle of Chalkis, is divided into two unequal parts by a small square castle on a rock, with a solid round tower at the N.W. angle. The Btone bridge from the Boeotian shore, 60 or 70 ft. long, extends to this castle; while a wooden bridge, 35 ft. long, communicates from this castle to the gate of the Fortress. Of the castle on
the rock, the round tower is Venetian, the rest is of Turkish construction.
The first bridge over the Euripus was constructed in the 21st year of the Peloponnesian war. During the expedition of Alexander the Great into Asia, the Chalcidenses fortified the bridge with towers, a wall, and gates, and enclosed a place on the Boeotian side, called CaneOius, within the circuit of their city, thus obtaining a fortified bridge-head. Canethus was probably the hill of Karababa. The bridge no longer existed 140 years after, during the campaign of the Romans against Antiochus, B.C. 192; but it was again thrown over the Euripus at the time when P. Emilius Paulus passed that way, after the conquest of Macedonia 25 years subsequently. In the reign of Justinian the bridge was so much neglected, that there was only an occasional communication by wooden planks. It is under this bridge that the extraordinary changes of current take placo which are frequently mentioned by anoient writers, and have puzzled modern tavam (Jla\tpp60ois iv AvAiSos T($xoij, .aSschylus). The average depth of the water is 7 or 8 ft.; at times the current runs at the rate of 8 m. an hour, with a fall under the bridge of about 1} ft. It remains but a short time in a quiescent state, changing its direction in a few minutes, and often several times in the course of every 24 hrs. After changing its course, the stream almost immediately resumes its velocity, which is generally 4 or 5 m. an hour cither way. These phenomena are now known to be subject to the same laws as the tides. The changes are four each day. These irregularities are supposed to be caused by the windings of the Euboic Gulf both N. and S. of the strait.
In the plain near Chalkis are three ancient excavated cisterns of the usual spheroidal shape. In one of them appears a descent of steps with an arched passage cut through the rock into the body of the cistern, which is small and not deep. It is now converted into a ch. of St. John Prodromal, and has a screen and altar of