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Title: Museum of Antiquity: A Description of Ancient Life

Author: L. W. Yaggy

T. L. Haines

Release date: February 4, 2009 [eBook #27988]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Jeannie Howse, Juliet Sutherland and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at


Transcriber's Note:

Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document have been preserved.

Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. For a complete list, please see the end of this document.

Images may have been moved to avoid mid-paragraph insertion. Click on the images to see a larger version.

Destruction of Pompeii

Painted by J.M.W. Turner, R.A. Engraved & Printed by Illman Brothers.














Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1880 by
L.W. Yaggy & T.L. Haines,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D.C.




Egypt, Greece and Italy were the fountain heads of our civilization and the source of our knowledge; to them we can trace, link by link, the origin of all that is ornamental, graceful and beautiful. It is therefore a matter of greatest interest to get an intimate knowledge of the original state, and former perfection, the grandeur, magnificence and high civilization of these countries, as well as of the homes, the private and domestic life, the schools, churches, rites, ceremonies, &c.

The many recent excavations in Troy, Nineveh, Babylon and the uncovering of the City of Pompeii, with its innumerable treasures, the unfolding of the long-hoarded secrets, have revealed information for volumes of matter. But works that treat on the various subjects of antiquity are, for the most part, not only costly and hard to procure, but also far too voluminous. The object of this work is to condense into the smallest possible compass the essence of information which usually runs through many volumes, and place it into a practical form for the common reader. We hope, however, that this work will give the reader a greater longing to extend his inquiries into these most interesting subjects, so rich in everything that can refine the taste, enlarge the understanding and improve the heart. It has been our object, so far as possible, to avoid every expression of opinion, whether our own or that of any school of thinkers, and to supply first, facts, and secondly, careful references by which the citations of those facts, may be verified, and the inferences from them traced by the reader himself, to their legitimate result.

Before we close, we would tender our greatest obligations to the English and German authors, from whom we have drawn abundantly in preparing this work; also to the Directors of the British Museum of London, and the Society of Antiquarians of Berlin, and especially to the authorities of the excavated City of Pompeii and its treasures in the Museum of Naples, where we were furnished with an intelligent guide and permitted to spend days in our researches. To each and all of these, who have so kindly promoted our labor, our heartfelt thanks are cordially returned.

Many of the engravings are from drawings made on the spot, but a greater number are from photographs, and executed with the greatest fidelity by German and French artists.



Steel Plate Engravings.

The Palace of the Cæsars, 1
House of the Tragic Poet—Sallust, 112
Egyptian Feast, 270
Approach to Karnac, 384
Temple of Karnac, 470
The Philae Islands, 656
School of the Vestal Virgins, 832




The Glory of the City—Destruction—Excavation—Entering Pompeii (Page 21-25)—The Streets of the City—The Theatres of Pompeii—Villa of Julia Felix—Pavements and Sidewalks—Arrangement of Private Houses (Page 26-53)—Elegance of Domestic Architecture—Ground Plan of Roman House—Exterior Apartments—Interior Apartments—Dining Halls—The Triclinium—Materials and Construction—The Salve Lucru—Paintings and Decorations—The Drunken Hercules—Wall Decoration—The Peristyle—The House of Siricus—Political Inscriptions—Electioneering Advertisements—The Graffiti—Street of the Lupanar—Eighty Loaves of Bread Found—The House of the Balcony—Human Bodies Preserved—Discovered Bodies—House of Diomedes (Page 54-74)—Location of the Villa—Ground Plan of the Villa—Detail of Ground Plan—The Caldarium—Galleries and Halls—Porticoes and Terraces—Tomb and Family Sepulchre—The Villa Destroyed—Conclusive Evidence—Jewels and Ornaments—Pliny's Account of a Roman Garden—Stores and Eating Houses (Page 75-81)—Restaurant—Pompeian Bill of Fare—Circe, Daughter of the Sun—Houses of Pansa and Sallust (Page 82-102)—Curious Religious Painting—General View of House—Worship of the Lares—Domesticated Serpents—Discoveries Confirm Ancient Authors—Ornamentation and Draperies—Remarkable Mansions—House of the Vestals—Surgical and other Instruments—Shop of an Apothecary—House of Holconius (Page 103-112)—Decorations of the Bed-Chambers—Perseus and Andromeda—Epigraphs and Inscriptions—Ariadne Discovered by Bacchus—General Survey of the City (Page 113-118)—Wine Merchant's Sign—Sculptor's Laboratory— House of Emperor Joseph II 17-119
The Amphitheatre—Coliseum—84,000 Seats—The Bloody Entertainments—Examining the Wounded—Theatres—Roman Baths (Page 147-156)—Description of the Baths—Cold Baths—Warm Chambers—The Vapor Baths—Hot-Air Baths—Social Games and Sports (Page 157-162)—Domestic Games—Jugglers—Game of Cities—Gymnastic Arts—Social Entertainments (Page 163-180)—Characteristics of the [vi] Dance—Grace and Dress of the Dancers—Position at the Table—Vases and Ornaments—Food and Vegetables—Mode of Eating—Reminders of Mortality—Egyptian Music and Entertainments (Page 181-188)—Musical Instruments—Jewish Music—Beer, Palm Wine, Etc—Games and Sports of the Egyptians (Page 189-202)—Games with Dice—Games of Ball—Wrestling—Intellectual Capabilities—Hunting 120-202
Domestic Life.
Occupation of Women—Bathing—Wedding Ceremonies—Children's Toys—Writing Materials—Families, Schools and Marriages—Duties of Children—Dress, Toilet and Jewelry (Page 219-232)—The Chiton—Dress Materials—Styles of Wearing Hair—Head-Dress of Women—Hair-Pins—Sunshades—Crimes and Punishments; Contracts, Deeds, Etc. (Page 233-252)—Punishments—Laws Respecting Debt—Contracts—Superstition—Cure of Diseases—Houses, Villas, Farmyards, Orchards, Gardens, Etc. (Page 253-270)—Character of the People—Construction of Houses—Plans of Villas—Irrigation—Gardens—Egyptian Wealth (Page 271-280)—Gold and Silver—Worth of Gold—Treasures—Total Value of Gold 203-280
Domestic Utensils.
Writing Materials—Literature—Curious Lamps—The Candelabrum—Candelabra—Oil-Lamps—The Steelyard—Drinking Vessels—Colored Glass—Glass—Glass Vessels—Articles of Jewelry—Toilet-Boxes, Etc.—Furniture (Page 309-322)—Chairs and Stools—Bed-Room Furniture—Tables, Etc.—Pottery—Drawings on Vases—Vases (Page 323-342)—Greek Vases—Inscriptions on Vases—Historical Subjects on Vases—Uses of Vases—Vases Found in Tombs—Silver Vessels—Decorated Vases 281-342
Colored Glass Vessels—Imitation Jewels—Potters—Carpenter's Tools—Professions—Husbandry—Rise of the Nile—Agricultural Implements—Agriculture—Baking, Dyeing and Painting (Page 363-384)—Flour Mills—Bread-Baking—Dyeing—Scouring and Dyeing—Coloring Substances—Mineral Used for Dyeing—Cost of Dyeing—Cloth Manufacture—Persian Costumes 343-384
Ruins at Hissarlik—Settlement of Troy—First Settlers—Scæan Gate—Call of Menelaus—Houses at Troy—Objects Found in Houses—Silver Vases—Taking out the Treasure—Shield of the Treasure—Contents of the Treasure—Ear-Rings and Chains—Gold Buttons, Studs, Etc.—Silver Goblet and Vases—Weapons of Troy—Terra Cotta Mugs—Condition of the Roads—Lack of Inscriptions 385-422
Nineveh and Babylon.[vii]
Explorations of Niebuhr and Rich—Excavations at Kouyunjik Palace—Sennacherib's Conquests—Highly-Finished Sculptures—North Palace, Kouyunjik—Temple of Solomon—The Oracle—Description of the Palace—Modern Houses of Persia—Chambers in the Palace—The Walls—Grandeur of Babylon—Building Materials—History of Babylon—Karnac and Baalbec (Page 461-473)—Stupendous Remains—Temple of Luxor—Chambers of the Great Pyramid—The Great Temple—The Pantheon at Rome—Egyptian Obelisks—Obelisks 423-484
Religion or Mythology.
Mythology—Mythological Characters—The Pythian Apollo—Phœbus Apollo—Niobe and Leto—Daphne—Kyrene—Hermes—The Sorrow of Demeter—The Sleep of Endymion—Phaethon—Briareos—Dionysos—Pentheus—Asklepios—Ixion—Tantalos—The Toils of Herakles—Admetos—Epimetheus and Pandora—Io and Prometheus—Deukalion—Poseidon and Athene—Medusa—Danae—Perseus—Andromeda—Akrisios—Kephalos and Prokris—Skylla—Phrixos and Helle—Medeia—Theseus—Ariadne—Arethusa—Tyro—Narkissos—Orpheus and Eurydike—Kadmos and Europa—Bellerophon—Althaia and the Burning Brand—Iamos 485-642
Fine Arts.
Egyptian Sculpture—Etruscan Painting—Renowned Painters—Parrhasius—Colors Used—Sculpture Painting—Fresco Painting—Sculpturing (Page 667-694)—Sculpture in Greece and Egypt—Sculptures of Ancient Kings—Animal Sculpture—Modeling of the Human Figure—"The Sculptor of the Gods"—Grandeur of Style—Statues—Description of Statues—Work of Lysippus—The Macedonian Age—Roman Art—Copies of Ancient Gods—Mosaic (Page 695-702)—Mosaic Subjects—Battle Represented in Mosaics—Grandeur of Style 643-702
Homer—Paris—Achilles—The Vengeance of Odysseus—Sophocles—Herodotus—The Crocodile—Artabanus Dissuades Xerxes—Socrates—Socrates and Aristodemus—Aristophanes—Plato—The Perfect Beauty—Last Hours of Socrates—Demosthenes—Philip and the Athenians—Measures to Resist Philip—Former Athenians Described—Oration on the Crown—Invective against Catiline—Expulsion of Catiline from Rome—The Tyrant Prætor Denounced—Immortality of the Soul—Julius Cæsar—The Germans—Battle of Pharsalia—Virgil—Employment of the Bee—Punishments in Hell—Horace—To Licinius—Happiness Founded on Wisdom—The Equality of Man—Plutarch—Proscription of Sylla—Demosthenes and Cicero Compared 703-832
Tombs and Catacombs.[viii]
Extent of the Tombs—An Acre and a quarter in a Tomb—Sculpturings—Painting—Burying According to Rank—Mummies—Mummy Cases and Sarcophagi—Roman Tombs—Inscriptions—The Catacombs (Page 873-910)—Inscriptions—Catacombs—Christian Inscriptions—Early Inscriptions—Catacombs, nearly 900 miles long—Utensils from the Catacombs—Paintings—S. Calixtus—Lord's Supper 833-910
Truth of the Bible.
The Assyrian and Babylonian Discoveries—1100 Christian Inscriptions—The use of the Bible for Excavators—Accordance with Ancient Writings—Frieze from the Arch of Titus—No Book produced by Chance—God the Author—Its Great Antiquity—The Pentateuch—Preservation of the Scripture—Its Important Discoveries—Its Peculiar Style—Its Harmony—Its Impartiality—Its Prophecies—Its Important Doctrines—Its Holy Tendency—Its Aims—Its Effects—Its General Reception—Persecuted but not Persecuting 911-944

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Destruction of Pompeii 17
View of Pompeii. (From a Photograph) 23
Plan of a Roman House 28
Vestibule of a Pompeian House 30
Triclinium or Dining-room 33
Hercules Drunk. (From Pompeii) 37
Discovered Body at Pompeii 51
Ground Plan of the Suburban Villa of Diomedes 57
Wall Painting at Pompeii 69
Household Utensils 72
Restaurant. (From Wall Painting) 77
Bed and Table at Pompeii. (From Wall Painting) 78
Plan of a Triclinium 79
Head of Circe 81
Kitchen Furniture at Pompeii 84
Brooches of Gold found at Pompeii 98
Scales found at Pompeii 100
Wall Painting found at Pompeii 105
Gold Breastpins found at Pompeii 114
A Laboratory, as found in Pompeii 117
First Walls Discovered in Pompeii 118
View of the Amphitheatre at Pompeii 121[x]
Coliseum of Rome 128
Examining the Wounded 133
Asking Pardon 135
Not Granted 135
Combats with Beasts 137
View of the Tepidarium 151
Ancient Bath Room. (As Discovered) 155
Egyptian Vases 173
Social Enjoyment of Women. (From an Ancient Painting) 205
Gold Pins 220
Shawl or Toga Pin 220
Pearl Set Pins 221
Stone Set Brooches 224
Hair Dress. (From Pompeii) 227
Toilet Articles found at Pompeii 231
Wreath of Oak. (Life Saving) 247
Tabulæ, Calamus, and Papyrus 283
Tabulæ, Stylus, and Papyrus 283
Tabulæ and Ink Stand 284
Libraries and Money 284
Gold Lamp. (Found at Pompeii) 287
Candelabrum, or Lamp Stand 289
Candelabra, or Lamp Stands 290
Standing Lamp 293
Ancient Lamps 293
Scales and Weights 295
Vessels. (From Pompeii) 296
Drinking Vessel 297
Glass Vessels. (From Pompeii) 302
Cups and Metals 304
Gold Jewelry. (From Pompeii) 305
Heavy Gold Pins 306
Brooches Inset with Stone 307
Safety Toga Pins 308[xi]
Plundering Corinth 317
Greek Vase 321
Etruscan Vase 324
Roman Vases 325
Vase Representing a Marriage. (Found at Pompeii) 328
Vase Representing Trojan War. (Found at Pompeii) 333
Vase. (Found at Pompeii) 334
Vase Representing Greek Sacrifice 336
Vase 2,000 Years Old 337
Silver Platter 339
Silver Cup. (Found at Hildesheim) 340
Vase of the First Century 341
Dish of the First Century 341
Ancient Glass Vessels 346
Glass Brooch 347
Imitation of Real Stone 348
Ancient Egyptian Pottery 350
Mill and Bakery at Pompeii 365
Bread Discovered in Pompeii 371
Metals and Beads 389
Terra-cotta Lamps 394
Bronze Lamps 394
Golden Cups of Priam. (Found at Troy) 396
Wonderful Vases of Terra-cotta from Palace of Priam 399
From Palace of Priam 400
Lids and Metals of Priam 401
Treasures of Priam. (Found at Troy) 404
Part of Machine of Priam 406
Jewelry of Gold and Stones 406
Vessel Found in the Palace of Priam 407
Shield of the Palace of Priam 408
Gold Necklace of Troy 409[xii]
Gold Tassels of Troy 409
Lamps found at Troy 409
Studs and Bracelets of Priam 411
Gold Pins with Set Gems 411
Gold Ear-rings of Troy 412
Spears, Lances, Ax and Chain 415
Shears, Knives and Spears 415
Lances Found at Palace of Priam, Troy 416
Coins or Metals 418
Elegant Brooch of Troy 421
Lamp found at Troy 422
Palace of Sennacherib 427
Discovered in the Palace 435
View of a Hall 445
Columns of Karnac 463
The Great Pyramids and Sphinx 469
Ruins of Baalbec 473
View of the Pantheon at Rome 475
Pantheon at Rome 477
Half Section of the Pantheon 478
Obelisk of Heliopolis 481
Jupiter. (or Zeus) 491
Apollo. (From an Ancient Sculpture) 495
Pluto and His Wife 503
Ceres. (or Demeter. From Pompeii Wall Painting) 512
Juno. (or Here) 516
Diana. (or Artemis) 520
Vulcan. (or Hephaistos) 526
Minerva. (or Pallas Athene. Found at Pompeii) 530
Ancient Sculpturing on Tantalos 537
Urania. (Muse of Astronomy) 538
Jupiter. (or Zeus with his Thunderbolt) 544[xiii]
Thalia, the Muse 550
Laocoon, the False Priest 555
Grecian Altar. (3000 years old) 563
Themis. (Goddess of Law) 565
Euterpe. (Muse of Pleasure) 577
Thalia. (Muse of Comedy) 584
Numa Pompilius Visiting the Nymph Egeria 591
Polyhymnia. (Muse of Rhetoric) 603
Sphinx of Egypt 607
Calliope. (Muse of Heroic Verse) 614
The Origin of Man 617
Erate. (Muse of the Lute) 623
Terpsichore. (Muse of Dancing) 625
Ancient Sacrifice. (From Wall Painting of Pompeii) 631
Melpomene. (Muse of Tragedy) 639
Clio. (Muse of History) 642
Ancient Art and Literature 645
Painting. (2600 years old) 655
Dying Gladiator 689
Mosaic Floor 696
Mosaic Doves 697
Apollo Charming Nature 701
Ancient Authors 709
Library of Herculaneum 723
Trojan Heroes 735
Ancient Metal Engraving 745
Socrates Drinking the Poison 762
From Ancient Sculpturing 775
King Philip. (of Macedon) 784
Augustus Cæsar. (Found at Pompeii) 795
Julius Cæsar. (From an Ancient Sculpturing) 805
Virgil and Horace 813
Euclid 824[xiv]
Alexander Severus 831
Egyptian Tomb 835
Sarcophagus, or Coffin. (With Noah's Ark Cut in Relief on the Outside) 841
Coffin of Alabaster. (Features of the Deceased Sculptured) 843
Discovered Tomb with its Treasures. (At Pompeii) 847
Articles Found in a Tomb 852
Hieroglyphics 857, 858, 859
Egyptian Pillar 862
Egyptian Column 867
Sections of the Catacombs with Chambers 874
Plan of the Catacombs at Rome 875
Stone Coffin 878
Stone Coffin with Open Side 879
Inside View of the Catacombs 881
Lamps Found in the Catacombs 884
Tomb Inscription 896
Painted Ceiling 906
Chamber of a Catacomb 909
Frieze from the Arch of Titus 916
Pentateuch, Written 3200 Years Ago 921
Shishak and His Captives on Sculptured Wall at Karnac 935
Portrait of Rehoboam 936

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Address to the Mummy.

"And thou hast walked about, (how strange a story!)
In Thebes' streets three thousand years ago,
When the Memnonium was in all its glory,
And time had not begun to overthrow
Those temples, palaces and piles stupendous,
Of which the very ruins are tremendous.
"Perhaps that very hand now pinioned flat,
Has hob-a-nobbed with Pharaoh, glass to glass;
Or dropped a half-penny in Homer's hat;
Or doffed thine own to let Queen Dido pass;
Or held, by Solomon's own invitation,
A torch at the great Temple's dedication.
"Thou couldst develop—if that withered tongue
Could tell us what those sightless orbs have seen—
How the world looked when it was fresh and young
And the great deluge still had left it green;
Or was it then so old that history's pages
Contained no record of its early ages?
"Since first thy form was in this box extended
We have, above ground, seen some strange mutations;
The Roman Empire has begun and ended,
New worlds have risen—we have lost old nations;
And countless kings have into dust been humbled,
While not a fragment of thy flesh has crumbled.
"If the tomb's secrets may not be confessed,
[16] The nature of thy private life unfold:
A heart has throbbed beneath that leathern breast,
And tears adown that dusty cheek have rolled;
Have children climbed those knees and kissed that face?
What was thy name and station, age and race?"


"Child of the later days! thy words have broken
A spell that long has bound these lungs of clay,
For since this smoke-dried tongue of mine hath spoken,
Three thousand tedious years have rolled away.
Unswathed at length, I 'stand at ease' before ye.
List, then. O list, while I unfold my story."
*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

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Pompeii was in its full glory at the commencement of the Christian era. It was a city of wealth and refinement, with about 35,000 inhabitants, and beautifully located at the foot of Mount Vesuvius; it possessed all local advantages that the most refined taste could desire. Upon the verge of the sea, at the entrance of a fertile plain, on the bank of a navigable river, it united the conveniences of a commercial town with the security of a military station, and the romantic beauty of a spot celebrated in all ages for its pre-eminent loveliness. Its environs, even to the heights of Vesuvius, were covered with villas, and the coast, all the way to Naples, was so ornamented with gardens and villages, that the shores of the whole gulf appeared as one city.

[18]What an enchanting picture must have presented itself to one approaching Pompeii by sea! He beheld the bright, cheerful Grecian temples spreading out on the slopes before him; the pillared Forum; the rounded marble Theatres. He saw the grand Palaces descending to the very edge of the blue waves by noble flights of steps, surrounded with green pines, laurels and cypresses, from amidst whose dark foliage marble statues of gods gleamed whitely.

The skillful architect, the sculptors, the painters, and the casters of bronze were all employed to make Pompeii an asylum of arts; all trades and callings endeavored to grace and beautify the city. The prodigious concourse of strangers who came here in search of health and recreation added new charms and life to the scene.

But behind all this, and encased as it were in a frame, the landscape rose in a gentle slope to the summit of the thundering mountain. But indications were not wanting of the peril with which the city was threatened. The whole district is volcanic; and a few years before the final catastrophe, an earthquake had shaken Pompeii to its foundations; some of the buildings were much injured. On August 24, A.D. 79, the inhabitants were busily engaged in repairing the damage thus wrought, when suddenly and without any previous warning a vast column of black smoke burst from the overhanging mountain. Rising to a prodigious height in the cloudless summer sky, it then gradually spread out like the head of some mighty Italian pine, hiding the sun, and overshadowing the earth for miles in distance.

The darkness grew into profound night, only broken by the blue and sulphurous flashes which darted from the pitchy cloud. Soon the thick rain of thin, light ashes, almost imperceptible to the touch, fell upon the land. Then quickly succeeded shower of small pumice stones and heavier ashes, and emitting stifling eruptic fumes. After a time the sounds of approaching torrent [19]were heard, and soon streaming rivers of dense black mud poured slowly but irresistibly down the mountain sides, and circled through the streets, insidiously creeping into such recesses as even the subtle ashes had failed to penetrate. There was now no place of shelter left. No man could defend himself against this double enemy. It was too late for flight for such as had remained behind. Those who had taken refuge in the innermost parts of the houses, or in the subterranean passages, were closed up forever. Those who sought to flee through the streets were clogged by the small, loose pumice stones, which lay many feet deep, or were entangled and overwhelmed in the mud-streams, or were struck down by the rocks which fell from the heavens. If they escaped these dangers, blinded by the drifting ashes and groping in the dark, not knowing which way to go, they were overcome by the sulphurous vapors, and sinking on the highway were soon buried beneath the volcanic matter. Even many who had gained the open country, at the beginning of the eruption, were overtaken by the darkness and falling cinders, and perished miserably in the field or on the sea-shore, where they had vainly sought the means of flight.

In three days the doomed city had disappeared. It lay buried beneath a vast mass of ashes, pumice stone and hardened mud, from twenty to seventy feet deep. Those of its terror-stricken inhabitants who escaped destruction, abandoned forever its desolate site. Years, generations, centuries went by, and the existence of Pompeii—yea, even its very name—had ceased to be remembered. The rich volcanic soil became covered with a profusion of vegetation. Vineyards flourished and houses were built on the site of the buried city.

Nearly eighteen hundred years had elapsed since the thunderer Vesuvius had thrown the black mantle of ashes over the fair city before the resuscitation arrived. Some antique bronzes and utensils, discovered by a peasant, excited universal attention. [20]Excavations were begun, and Pompeii, shaking off as it were her musty grave clothes, stared from the classic and poetical age of the first into the prosaic modern world of the nineteenth century. The world was startled, and looked with wondering interest to see this ancient stranger arising from her tomb—to behold the awakening of the remote past from the womb of the earth which had so long hoarded it.

The excavation has been assiduously prosecuted, until to-day three hundred and sixty houses, temples, theatres, schools, stores, factories, etc., have been thrown open before us with their treasured contents. It is often, but erroneously, supposed that Pompeii, like Herculaneum, was overwhelmed by a flood of lava. Had this been the case, the work of excavation would have been immensely more difficult, and the result would have been far less important. The marbles must have been calcined, the bronzes melted, the frescoes effaced, and smaller articles destroyed by the fiery flood. The ruin was effected by showers of dust and scoriæ, and by torrents of liquid mud, which formed a mould, encasing the objects, thus preserving them from injury or decay. We thus gain a perfect picture of what a Roman city was eighteen hundred years ago, as everything is laid bare to us in almost a perfect state.

What wealth of splendid vessels and utensils was contained in the chests and closets! Gold and gilded ivory, pearls and precious stones were used to decorate tables, chairs and vessels for eating and drinking. Elegant lamps hung from the ceiling, and candelabra and little lamps of most exquisite shapes illuminated the apartments at night. To-day, looking at the walls, the eyes may feast on beautiful fresco paintings, with colors so vivid and fresh as if painted but yesterday; while gleaming everywhere on ceiling, wall and floor, are marbles of rarest hue, sculptured into every conceivable form of grace and beauty, and inlaid in most artistic designs.


Entering Pompeii.

We will now proceed to describe the general aspect of the city, and for this purpose it will be convenient to suppose that we have entered it by the gate of Herculaneum, though in other respects the Porta della Marina is the more usual and, perhaps, the best entrance.

On entering, the visitor finds himself in a street, running a little east of south, which leads to the Forum. To the right, stands a house formerly owned by a musician; to the left, a thermopolium or shop for hot drinks; beyond is the house of the Vestals; beyond this the custom-house; and a little further on, where another street runs into this one from the north at a very acute angle, stands a public fountain. In the last-named street is a surgeon's house; at least one so named from the quantity of surgical instruments found in it, all made of bronze. On the right or western side of the street, by which we entered, the houses, as we have said, are built on the declivity of a rock, and are several stories high.

The fountain is about one hundred and fifty yards from the city gate. About the same distance, further on, the street divides into two; the right-hand turning seems a by-street, the left-hand turning conducts you to the Forum. The most important feature in this space is a house called the house of Sallust or of Actæon, from a painting in it representing that hunter's death. It stands on an area about forty yards square, and is encompassed on three sides by streets; by that namely which we have been describing, by another nearly parallel to it, and by a third, perpendicular to these two. The whole quarter at present excavated, as far as the Street of the Baths, continued by the Street of Fortune, is divided, by six longitudinal and one transverse street, into what the Romans called islands, or insulated masses [22]of houses. Two of these are entirely occupied by the houses of Pansa and of the Faun, which, with their courts and gardens, are about one hundred yards long by forty wide.

From the Street of the Baths and that of Fortune, which bound these islands on the south, two streets lead to the two corners of the Forum; between them are baths, occupying nearly the whole island. Among other buildings are a milk-shop and gladiatorial school. At the northeast corner of the Forum was a triumphal arch. At the end of the Street of the Baths and beginning of that of Fortune, another triumphal arch is still to be made out, spanning the street of Mercury, so that this was plainly the way of state into the city. The Forum is distant from the gate of Herculaneum about four hundred yards. Of it we shall give a full description in its place. Near the south-eastern corner two streets enter it, one running to the south, the other to the east. We will follow the former for about eighty yards, when it turns eastward for two hundred yards, and conducts us to the quarter of the theatres. The other street, which runs eastward from the Forum, is of more importance, and is called the Street of the Silversmiths;[1] at the end of which a short street turns southwards, and meets the other route to the theatres. On both these routes the houses immediately bordering on the streets are cleared; but between them is a large rectangular plot of unexplored ground. Two very elegant houses at the southwest corner of the Forum were uncovered by the French general Championnet, while in command at Naples, and are known by his name. On the western side of the Forum two streets led down towards the sea; the excavations here consist almost entirely of public buildings, which will be described hereafter.


VIEW OF POMPEII. (From a photograph.)ToList

The quarter of the theatres comprises a large temple, called the Temple of Neptune or Hercules, a temple of Isis, a temple [23]of Æsculapius, two theatres, the Triangular Forum, and the quarters of the soldiers or gladiators. On the north and east it is bounded by streets; to the south and west it seems to have been enclosed partly by the town walls, partly by its own. Here the continuous excavation ends, and we must cross vineyards to [24]the amphitheatre, about five hundred and fifty yards distant from the theatre, in the southeast corner of the city, close to the walls, and in an angle formed by them. Close to the amphitheatre are traces of walls supposed to have belonged to a Forum Boarium, or cattle market. Near at hand, a considerable building, called the villa of Julia Felix, has been excavated and filled up again. On the walls of it was discovered the following inscription, which may serve to convey an idea of the wealth of some of the Pompeian proprietors:

In Praedis Julle Sp F. Felicis
Balneum Venerium Et Nongentum Tabernæ Pergulæ
Cœnacula Ex Idibus Aug Primis
In Idus Aug. Sextas Annos Continuos Quinque
S. Q. D. L. E. N. C.

That is: "On the estate of Julia Felix, daughter of Spurius, are to be let a bath, a venereum, nine hundred shops, with booths and garrets, for a term of five continuous years, from the first to the sixth of the Ides of August." The formula, S. Q. D. L. E. N. C., with which the advertisement concludes, is thought to stand for—si quis domi lenocinium exerceat ne conducito: "let no one apply who keeps a brothel."

A little to the south of the smaller theatre was discovered, in 1851, the Gate of Stabiæ. Hence a long straight street, which has been called the Street of Stabiæ, traversed the whole breadth of the city, till it issued out on the northern side at the gate of Vesuvius. It has been cleared to the point where it intersects the Streets of Fortune and of Nola, which, with the Street of the Baths, traverse the city in its length. The Street of Stabiæ forms the boundary of the excavations; all that part of Pompeii which lies to the east of it, with the exception of the amphitheatre, and the line forming the Street of Nola, being still occupied by vineyards and cultivated fields. On the other hand, that part [25]of the city lying to the west of it has been for the most part disinterred; though there are still some portions lying to the south and west of the Street of Abundance and the Forum, and to the east of the Vico Storto, which remain to be excavated.

The streets of Pompeii are paved with large irregular pieces of lava joined neatly together, in which the chariot wheels have worn ruts, still discernible; in some places they are an inch and a half deep, and in the narrow streets follow one track; where the streets are wider, the ruts are more numerous and irregular. The width of the streets varies from eight or nine feet to about twenty-two, including the footpaths or trottoirs. In many places they are so narrow that they may be crossed at one stride; where they are wider, a raised stepping-stone, and sometimes two or three, have been placed in the centre of the crossing. These stones, though in the middle of the carriage way, did not much inconvenience those who drove about in the biga, or two-horsed chariot, as the wheels passed freely in the spaces left, while the horses, being loosely harnessed, might either have stepped over the stones or passed by the sides. The curb-stones are elevated from one foot to eighteen inches, and separate the foot-pavement from the road. Throughout the city there is hardly a street unfurnished with this convenience. Where there is width to admit of a broad foot-path, the interval between the curb and the line of building is filled up with earth, which has then been covered over with stucco, and sometimes with a coarse mosaic of brickwork. Here and there traces of this sort of pavement still remain, especially in those streets which were protected by porticoes.

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Arrangement of Private Houses.

We will now give an account of some of the most remarkable private houses which have been disinterred; of the paintings, domestic utensils, and other articles found in them; and such information upon the domestic manners of the ancient Italians as may seem requisite to the illustration of these remains. This branch of our subject is not less interesting, nor less extensive than the other. Temples and theatres, in equal preservation, and of greater splendor than those at Pompeii, may be seen in many places; but towards acquainting us with the habitations, the private luxuries and elegancies of ancient life, not all the scattered fragments of domestic architecture which exist elsewhere have done so much as this city, with its fellow-sufferer, Herculaneum.

Towards the last years of the republic, the Romans naturalized the arts of Greece among themselves; and Grecian architecture came into fashion at Rome, as we may learn, among other sources, from the letters of Cicero to Atticus, which bear constant testimony to the strong interest which he took in ornamenting his several houses, and mention Cyrus, his Greek architect. At this time immense fortunes were easily made from the spoils of new conquests, or by peculation and maladministration of subject provinces, and the money thus ill and easily acquired was squandered in the most lavish luxury. One favorite mode of indulgence was in splendor of building. Lucius Cassius was the first who ornamented his house with columns of foreign marble; they were only six in number, and twelve feet high. He was [27]soon surpassed by Scaurus, who placed in his house columns of the black marble called Lucullian, thirty-eight feet high, and of such vast and unusual weight that the superintendent of sewers, as we are told by Pliny,[2] took security for any injury which might happen to the works under his charge, before they were suffered to be conveyed along the streets. Another prodigal, by name Mamurra, set the example of lining his rooms with slabs of marble. The best estimate, however, of the growth of architectural luxury about this time may be found in what we are told by Pliny, that, in the year of Rome 676, the house of Lepidus was the finest in the city, and thirty-five years later it was not the hundredth.[3] We may mention, as an example of the lavish expenditure of the Romans, that Domitius Ahenobarbus offered for the house of Crassus a sum amounting to near $242,500, which was refused by the owner.[4] Nor were they less extravagant in their country houses. We may again quote Cicero, whose attachment to his Tusculan and Formian villas, and interest in ornamenting them, even in the most perilous times, is well known. Still more celebrated are the villas of Lucullus and Pollio; of the latter some remains are still to be seen near Pausilipo.

Augustus endeavored by his example to check this extravagant passion, but he produced little effect. And in the palaces of the emperors, and especially the Aurea Domus, the Golden House of Nero, the domestic architecture of Rome, or, we might probably say, of the world, reached its extreme.

The arrangement of the houses, though varied, of course, by local circumstances, and according to the rank and circumstances of the master, was pretty generally the same in all. The principal rooms, differing only in size and ornament, recur everywhere; those supplemental ones, which were invented only for convenience or luxury, vary according to the tastes and circumstances of the master.



The private part comprised the peristyle, bed-chambers, triclinium, œci, picture-gallery, library, baths, exedra, xystus, etc. We proceed to explain the meaning of these terms.

Before great mansions there was generally a court or area, upon which the portico opened, either surrounding three sides of the area, or merely running along the front of the house. In smaller houses the portico ranged even with the street. Within the portico, or if there was no portico, opening directly to the street, was the vestibule, consisting of one or more spacious apartments. It was considered to be without the house, and was always open for the reception of those who came to wait there until the doors should be opened. The prothyrum, in Greek architecture, was the same as the vestibule. In Roman architecture, it was a passage-room, between the outer or house-door which opened to the vestibule, and an inner door which closed the entrance of the atrium. In the vestibule, or in an apartment opening upon it, the porter, ostiarius, usually had his seat.

The atrium, or cavædium, for they appear to have signified the same thing, was the most important, and usually the most splendid apartment of the house. Here the owner received his crowd of morning visitors, who were not admitted to the inner apartments. The term is thus explained by Varro: "The hollow of the house (cavum ædium) is a covered place within the walls, left open to the common use of all. It is called Tuscan, from the Tuscans, after the Romans began to imitate their [29]cavædium. The word atrium is derived from the Atriates, a people of Tuscany, from whom the pattern of it was taken." Originally, then, the atrium was the common room of resort for the whole family, the place of their domestic occupations; and such it probably continued in the humbler ranks of life. A general description of it may easily be given. It was a large apartment, roofed over, but with an opening in the centre, called compluvium, towards which the roof sloped, so as to throw the rain-water into a cistern in the floor called impluvium.

The roof around the compluvium was edged with a row of highly ornamented tiles, called antefixes, on which a mask or some other figure was moulded. At the corners there were usually spouts, in the form of lions' or dogs' heads, or any fantastical device which the architect might fancy, which carried the rain-water clear out into the impluvium, whence it passed into cisterns; from which again it was drawn for household purposes. For drinking, river-water, and still more, well-water, was preferred. Often the atrium was adorned with fountains, supplied through leaden or earthenware pipes, from aqueducts or other raised heads of water; for the Romans knew the property of fluids, which causes them to stand at the same height in communicating vessels. This is distinctly recognized by Pliny,[5] though their common use of aqueducts, in preference to pipes, has led to a supposition that this great hydrostatical principle was unknown to them. The breadth of the impluvium, according to Vitruvius, was not less than a quarter, nor greater than a third, of the whole breadth of the atrium; its length was regulated by the same standard. The opening above it was often shaded by a colored veil, which diffused a softened light, and moderated the intense heat of an Italian sun.[6] The splendid columns of the house of [30]Scaurus, at Rome, were placed, as we learn from Pliny,[7] in the atrium of his house. The walls were painted with landscapes or arabesques—a practice introduced about the time of Augustus—or lined with slabs of foreign and costly marbles, of which the Romans were passionately fond. The pavement was composed of the same precious material, or of still more valuable mosaics.



The tablinum was an appendage of the atrium, and usually entirely open to it. It contained, as its name imports,[8] the family archives, the statues, pictures, genealogical tables, and other relics of a long line of ancestors.

Alæ, wings, were similar but smaller apartments, or rather recesses, on each side of the further part of the atrium. Fauces, jaws, were passages, more especially those which passed to the interior of the house from the atrium.

[31]In houses of small extent, strangers were lodged in chambers which surrounded and opened into the atrium. The great, whose connections spread into the provinces, and who were visited by numbers who, on coming to Rome, expected to profit by their hospitality, had usually a hospitium, or place of reception for strangers, either separate, or among the dependencies of their palaces.

Of the private apartments the first to be mentioned is the peristyle, which usually lay behind the atrium, and communicated with it both through the tablinum and by fauces. In its general plan it resembled the atrium, being in fact a court, open to the sky in the middle, and surrounded by a colonnade, but it was larger in its dimensions, and the centre court was often decorated with shrubs and flowers and fountains, and was then called xystus. It should be greater in extent when measured transversely than in length,[9] and the intercolumniations should not exceed four, nor fall short of three diameters of the columns.

Of the arrangement of the bed-chambers we know little. They seem to have been small and inconvenient. When there was room they had usually a procœton, or ante-chamber. Vitruvius recommends that they should face the east, for the benefit of the early sun. One of the most important apartments in the whole house was the triclinium, or dining-room, so named from the three beds, which encompassed the table on three sides, leaving the fourth open to the attendants. The prodigality of the Romans in matters of eating is well known, and it extended to all matters connected with the pleasures of the table. In their rooms, their couches, and all the furniture of their entertainments, magnificence and extravagance were carried to their highest point. The rich had several of these apartments, to be used at different seasons, or on various occasions. Lucullus, celebrated for his wealth and profuse expenditure, had a certain [32]standard of expenditure for each triclinium, so that when his servants were told which hall he was to sup in, they knew exactly the style of entertainment to be prepared; and there is a well-known story of the way in which he deceived Pompey and Cicero, when they insisted on going home with him to see his family supper, by merely sending word home that he would sup in the Apollo, one of the most splendid of his halls, in which he never gave an entertainment for less than 50,000 denarii, about $8,000. Sometimes the ceiling was contrived to open and let down a second course of meats, with showers of flowers and perfumed waters, while rope-dancers performed their evolutions over the heads of the company. The performances of these funambuli are frequently represented in paintings at Pompeii. Mazois, in his work entitled "Le Palais de Scaurus," has given a fancy picture of the habitation of a Roman noble of the highest class, in which he has embodied all the scattered notices of domestic life, which a diligent perusal of the Latin writers has enabled him to collect. His description of the triclinium of Scaurus will give the reader the best notion of the style in which such an apartment was furnished and ornamented. For each particular in the description he quotes some authority. We shall not, however, encumber our pages with references to a long list of books not likely to be in the possession of most readers.

"Bronze lamps,[10] dependent from chains of the same metal, or raised on richly-wrought candelabra, threw around the room a brilliant light. Slaves set apart for this service watched them, trimmed the wicks, and from time to time supplied them with oil.

"The triclinium is twice as long as it is broad, and divided, as it were, into two parts—the upper occupied by the table and the couches, the lower left empty for the convenience of the attendants and spectators. Around the former the walls, up to [33]a certain height, are ornamented with valuable hangings. The decorations of the rest of the room are noble, and yet appropriate to its destination; garlands, entwined with ivy and vine-branches, divide the walls into compartments bordered with fanciful ornaments; in the centre of each of which are painted with admirable elegance young Fauns, or half-naked Bacchantes, carrying thyrsi, vases and all the furniture of festive meetings. Above the columns is a large frieze, divided into twelve compartments; each of these is surmounted by one of the signs of the Zodiac, and contains paintings of the meats which are in highest season in each month; so that under Sagittary (December), we see shrimps, shell-fish, and birds of passage; under Capricorn (January), lobsters, sea-fish, wild-boar and game; under Aquarius (February), ducks, plovers, pigeons, water-rails, etc.



"The table, made of citron wood[11] from the extremity of Mauritania, more precious than gold, rested upon ivory feet, and was covered by a plateau of massive silver, chased and carved, weighing five hundred pounds. The couches, which would contain thirty persons, were made of bronze overlaid with ornaments in silver, gold and tortoise-shell; the mattresses of Gallic wool, [34]dyed purple; the valuable cushions, stuffed with feathers, were covered with stuffs woven and embroidered with silk mixed with threads of gold. Chrysippus told us that they were made at Babylon, and had cost four millions of sesterces.[12]

"The mosaic pavement, by a singular caprice of the architect, represented all the fragments of a feast, as if they had fallen in common course on the floor; so that at the first glance the room seemed not to have been swept since the last meal, and it was called from hence, asarotos oikos, the unswept saloon. At the bottom of the hall were set out vases of Corinthian brass. This triclinium, the largest of four in the palace of Scaurus, would easily contain a table of sixty covers;[13] but he seldom brings together so large a number of guests, and when on great occasions he entertains four or five hundred persons, it is usually in the atrium. This eating-room is reserved for summer; he has others for spring, autumn, and winter, for the Romans turn the change of season into a source of luxury. His establishment is so appointed that for each triclinium he has a great number of tables of different sorts, and each table has its own service and its particular attendants.

"While waiting for their masters, young slaves strewed over the pavement saw-dust dyed with saffron and vermilion, mixed with a brilliant powder made from the lapis specularis, or talc."

Pinacotheca, the picture-gallery, and Bibliotheca, the library, need no explanation. The latter was usually small, as a large number of rolls (volumina) could be contained within a narrow space.

Exedra bore a double signification. It is either a seat, intended to contain a number of persons, like those before the Gate [35]of Herculaneum, or a spacious hall for conversation and the general purposes of society. In the public baths, the word is especially applied to those apartments which were frequented by the philosophers.

Such was the arrangement, such the chief apartments of a Roman house; they were on the ground-floor, the upper stories being for the most part left to the occupation of slaves, freedmen, and the lower branches of the family. We must except, however, the terrace upon the top of all (solarium), a favorite place of resort, often adorned with rare flowers and shrubs, planted in huge cases of earth, and with fountains and trellises, under which the evening meal might at pleasure be taken.

The reader will not, of course, suppose that in all houses all these apartments were to be found, and in the same order. From the confined dwelling of the tradesman to the palace of the patrician, all degrees of accommodation and elegance were to be found. The only object of this long catalogue is to familiarize the reader with the general type of those objects which we are about to present to him, and to explain at once, and collectively, those terms of art which will be of most frequent occurrence.

The reader will gain a clear idea of a Roman house from the ground-plan of that of Diomedes, given a little further on, which is one of the largest and most regularly constructed at Pompeii.

We may here add a few observations, derived, as well as much of the preceding matter, from the valuable work of Mazois, relative to the materials and method of construction of the Pompeian houses. Every species of masonry described by Vitruvius, it is said, may here be met with; but the cheapest and most durable sorts have been generally preferred.

Copper, iron, lead, have been found employed for the same purposes as those for which we now use them. Iron is more plentiful than copper, contrary to what is generally observed in [36]ancient works. It is evident from articles of furniture, etc., found in the ruins, that the Italians were highly skilled in the art of working metals, yet they seem to have excelled in ornamental work, rather than in the solid and neat construction of useful articles. For instance, their lock-work is coarse, hardly equal to that which is now executed in the same country; while the external ornaments of doors, bolts, handles, etc., are elegantly wrought.

The first private house that we will describe is found by passing down a street from the Street of Abundance. The visitor finds on the right, just beyond the back wall of the Thermæ Stabianæ, the entrance of a handsome dwelling. An inscription in red letters on the outside wall containing the name of Siricus has occasioned the conjecture that this was the name of the owner of the house; while a mosaic inscription on the floor of the prothyrum, having the words Salve Lucru, has given rise to a second appellation for the dwelling.

On the left of the prothyrum is an apartment with two doors, one opening on a wooden staircase leading to an upper floor, the other forming the entry to a room next the street, with a window like that described in the other room next the prothyrum. The walls of this chamber are white, divided by red and yellow zones into compartments, in which are depicted the symbols of the principal deities—as the eagle and globe of Jove, the peacock of Juno, the lance, helmet and shield of Minerva, the panther of Bacchus, a Sphinx, having near it the mystical chest and sistrum of Isis, who was the Venus Physica of the Pompeians, the caduceus and other emblems of Mercury, etc. There are also two small landscapes.

Next to this is a large and handsome exedra, decorated with good pictures, a third of the size of life. That on the left represents Neptune and Apollo presiding at the building of Troy; the former, armed with his trident, is seated; the latter, crowned [37]with laurel, is on foot, and leans with his right arm on a lyre. On the wall opposite to this is a picture of Vulcan presenting the arms of Achilles to Thetis. The celebrated shield is supported by Vulcan on the anvil, and displayed to Thetis, who is seated, whilst a winged female figure standing at her side points out to her with a rod the marvels of its workmanship. Agreeably to the Homeric description the shield is encircled with the signs of the zodiac, and in the middle are the bear, the dragon, etc. On the ground are the breast-plate, the greaves and the helmet.


HERCULES DRUNK. (From Pompeii.)ToList

In the third picture is seen Hercules crowned with ivy, inebriated, and lying on the ground at the foot of a cypress tree. [38]He is clothed in a sandyx, or short transparent tunic, and has on his feet a sort of shoes, one of which he has kicked off. He supports himself on his left arm, while the right is raised in drunken ecstasy. A little Cupid plucks at his garland of ivy, another tries to drag away his ample goblet. In the middle of the picture is an altar with festoons. On the top of it three Cupids, assisted by another who has climbed up the tree, endeavor to bear on their shoulders the hero's quiver; while on the ground, to the left of the altar, four other Cupids are sporting with his club. A votive tablet with an image of Bacchus rests at the foot of the altar, and indicates the god to whom Hercules has been sacrificing.

On the left of the picture, on a little eminence, is a group of three females round a column having on its top a vase. The chief and central figure, which is naked to the waist, has in her hand a fan; she seems to look with interest on the drunken hero, but whom she represents it is difficult to say. On the right, half way up a mountain, sits Bacchus, looking on the scene with a complacency not unmixed with surprise. He is surrounded by his usual rout of attendants, one of whom bears a thyrsus. The annexed engraving will convey a clearer idea of the picture, which for grace, grandeur of composition, and delicacy and freshness of coloring, is among the best discovered at Pompeii. The exedra is also adorned with many other paintings and ornaments which it would be too long to describe.

On the same side of the atrium, beyond a passage leading to a kitchen with an oven, is an elegant triclinium fenestratum looking upon an adjacent garden. The walls are black, divided by red and yellow zones, with candelabra and architectural members intermixed with quadrupeds, birds, dolphins, Tritons, masks, etc., and in the middle of each compartment is a Bacchante. In each wall are three small paintings executed with greater care. [39]The first, which has been removed, represented Æneas in his tent, who, accompanied by Mnestheus, Achates, and young Ascanius, presents his thigh to the surgeon, Iapis, in order to extract from it the barb of an arrow. Æneas supports himself with the lance in his right hand, and leans with the other on the shoulder of his son, who, overcome by his father's misfortune, wipes the tears from his eyes with the hem of his robe; while Iapis, kneeling on one leg before the hero, is intent on extracting the barb with his forceps. But the wound is not to be healed without divine interposition. In the background of the picture Venus is hastening to her son's relief, bearing in her hand the branch of dictamnus, which is to restore him to his pristine vigor.

The subject of the second picture, which is much damaged, is not easy to be explained. It represents a naked hero, armed with sword and spear, to whom a woman crowned with laurel and clothed in an ample peplum is pointing out another female figure. The latter expresses by her gestures her grief and indignation at the warrior's departure, the imminence of which is signified by the chariot that awaits him. Signor Fiorelli thinks he recognizes in this picture Turnus, Lavinia, and Amata, when the queen supplicates Turnus not to fight with the Trojans.

The third painting represents Hermaphroditus surrounded by six nymphs, variously employed.

From the atrium a narrow fauces or corridor led into the garden. Three steps on the left connected this part of the house with the other and more magnificent portion having its entrance from the Strada Stabiana. The garden was surrounded on two sides with a portico, on the right of which are some apartments which do not require particular notice.

The house entered at a higher level, by the three steps just mentioned, was at first considered as a separate house, and by Fiorelli has been called the House of the Russian Princes, from some excavations made here in 1851 in presence of the sons [40]of the Emperor of Russia. The peculiarities observable in this house are that the atrium and peristyle are broader than they are deep, and that they are not separated by a tablinum and other rooms, but simply by a wall. In the centre of the Tuscan atrium, entered from the Street of Stabiæ, is a handsome marble impluvium. At the top of it is a square cippus, coated with marble, and having a leaden pipe which flung the water into a square vase or basin supported by a little base of white marble, ornamented with acanthus leaves. Beside the fountain is a table of the same material, supported by two legs beautifully sculptured, of a chimæra and a griffin. On this table was a little bronze group of Hercules armed with his club, and a young Phrygian kneeling before him.

From the atrium the peristyle is entered by a large door. It is about forty-six feet broad and thirty-six deep, and has ten columns, one of which still sustains a fragment of the entablature. The walls were painted in red and yellow panels alternately, with figures of Latona, Diana, Bacchantes, etc. At the bottom of the peristyle, on the right, is a triclinium. In the middle is a small œcus, with two pillars richly ornamented with arabesques. A little apartment on the left has several pictures.

In this house, at a height of seventeen Neapolitan palms (nearly fifteen feet) from the level of the ground, were discovered four skeletons together in an almost vertical position. Twelve palms lower was another skeleton, with a hatchet near it. This man appears to have pierced the wall of one of the small chambers of the prothyrum, and was about to enter it, when he was smothered, either by the falling in of the earth or by the mephitic exhalations. It has been thought that these persons perished while engaged in searching for valuables after the catastrophe.

In the back room of a thermopolium not far from this spot was discovered a graffito of part of the first line of the Æneid, in which the rs were turned into ls:

Alma vilumque cano Tlo.

[41]We will now return to the house of Siricus. Contiguous to it in the Via del Lupanare is a building having two doors separated with pilasters. By way of sign, an elephant was painted on the wall, enveloped by a large serpent and tended by a pigmy. Above was the inscription: Sittius restituit elephantum; and beneath the following:

Hospitium hic locatur
Triclinium cum tribus lectis
Et comm.

Both the painting and the inscription have now disappeared. The discovery is curious, as proving that the ancients used signs for their taverns. Orelli has given in his Inscriptions in Gaul, one of a Cock (a Gallo Gallinacio). In that at Pompeii the last word stands for "commodis." "Here is a triclinium with three beds and other conveniences."

Just opposite the gate of Siricus was another house also supposed to be a caupona, or tavern, from some chequers painted on the door posts. On the wall are depicted two large serpents, the emblem so frequently met with. They were the symbols of the Lares viales, or compitales, and, as we have said, rendered the place sacred against the commission of any nuisance. The cross, which is sometimes seen on the walls of houses in a modern Italian city, serves the same purpose. Above the serpents is the following inscription, in tolerably large white characters: Otiosis locus hic non est, discede morator. "Lingerer, depart; this is no place for idlers." An injunction by the way which seems rather to militate against the idea of the house having been a tavern.

The inscription just mentioned suggests an opportunity for giving a short account of similar ones; we speak not of inscriptions cut in stone, and affixed to temples and other public buildings, but such as were either painted, scrawled in charcoal and other substances, or scratched with a sharp point, such as a nail [42]or knife, on the stucco of walls and pillars. Such inscriptions afford us a peep both into the public and the domestic life of the Pompeians. Advertisements of a political character were commonly painted on the exterior walls in large letters in black and red paint; poetical effusions or pasquinades, etc., with coal or chalk (Martial, Epig. xii. 61, 9); while notices of a domestic kind are more usually found in the interior of the houses, scratched, as we have said, on the stucco, whence they have been called graffiti.

The numerous political inscriptions bear testimony to the activity of public life in Pompeii. These advertisements, which for the most part turn on the election of ædiles, duumvirs, and other magistrates, show that the Pompeians, at the time when their city was destroyed, were in all the excitement of the approaching comitia for the election of such magistrates. We shall here select a few of the more interesting inscriptions, both relating to public and domestic matters.

It seems to have been customary to paint over old advertisements with a coat of white, and so to obtain a fresh surface for new ones, just as the bill-sticker remorselessly pastes his bill over that of some brother of the brush. In some cases this new coating has been detached, or has fallen off, thus revealing an older notice, belonging sometimes to a period antecedent to the Social War. Inscriptions of this kind are found only on the solid stone pillars of the more ancient buildings, and not on the stucco, with which at a later period almost everything was plastered. Their antiquity is further certified by some of them being in the Oscan dialect; while those in Latin are distinguished from more recent ones in the same language by the forms of the letters, by the names which appear in them, and by archaisms in grammar and orthography. Inscriptions in the Greek tongue are rare, though the letters of the Greek alphabet, scratched on walls at a little height from the ground, and thus evidently the work of [43]school-boys, show that Greek must have been extensively taught at Pompeii.

The normal form of electioneering advertisements contains the name of the person recommended, the office for which he is a candidate, and the name of the person, or persons, who recommended him, accompanied in general with the formula O. V. F. From examples written in full, recently discovered, it appears that these letters mean orat (or orant) vos faciatis: "beseech you to create" (ædile and so forth). The letters in question were, before this discovery, very often thought to stand for orat ut faveat, "begs him to favor;" and thus the meaning of the inscription was entirely reversed, and the person recommending converted into the person recommended. In the following example for instance—M. Holconium Priscum duumvirum juri dicundo O. V. F. Philippus; the meaning, according to the older interpretation, will be: "Philippus beseeches M. Holconius Priscus, duumvir of justice, to favor or patronize him;" whereas the true sense is: "Philippus beseeches you to create M. Holconius Priscus a duumvir of justice." From this misinterpretation wrong names have frequently been given to houses; as is probably the case, for instance, with the house of Pansa, which, from the tenor of the inscription, more probably belonged to Paratus, who posted on his own walls a request to passers-by to make his friend Pansa ædile. Had it been the house of Pansa, when a candidate for the ædileship, and if it was the custom for such candidates to post recommendatory notices on their doors, it may be supposed that Pansa would have exhibited more than this single one from a solitary friend. This is a more probable meaning than that Paratus solicited in this way the patronage of Pansa; for it would have been a bad method to gain it by disfiguring his walls in so impertinent a manner. We do not indeed mean to deny that adulatory inscriptions were sometimes written on the houses or doors of powerful or popular men or pretty women. A verse of [44]Plautus bears testimony to such a custom (Impleantur meæ foreis elogiorum carbonibus. Mercator, act ii. sc. 3). But first, the inscription on the so-called house of Pansa was evidently not of an adulatory, but of a recommendatory character; and secondly, those of the former kind, as we learn from this same verse, seem to have been written by passing admirers, with some material ready to the hand, such as charcoal or the like, and not painted on the walls with care, and time, and expense; a proceeding which we can hardly think the owner of the house, if he was a modest and sensible man, would have tolerated.

Recommendations of candidates were often accompanied with a word or two in their praise; as dignus, or dignissimus est, probissimus, juvenis integer, frugi, omni bono meritus, and the like. Such recommendations are sometimes subscribed by guilds or corporations, as well as by private persons, and show that there were a great many such trade unions at Pompeii. Thus we find mentioned the offectores (dyers), pistores (bakers), aurifices (goldsmiths), pomarii (fruiterers), cæparii (green-grocers), lignarii (wood merchants), plostrarii (cart-wrights), piscicapi (fishermen), agricolæ (husbandmen), muliones (muleteers), culinarii (cooks), fullones (fullers), and others. Advertisements of this sort appear to have been laid hold of as a vehicle for street wit, just as electioneering squibs are perpetrated among ourselves. Thus we find mentioned, as if among the companies, the pilicrepi (ball-players), the seribibi (late topers), the dormientes universi (all the worshipful company of sleepers), and as a climax, Pompeiani universi (all the Pompeians, to a man, vote for so and so). One of these recommendations, purporting to emanate from a "teacher" or "professor," runs, Valentius cum discentes suos (Valentius with his disciples); the bad grammar being probably intended as a gibe upon one of the poor man's weak points.

The inscriptions in chalk and coal, the graffiti, and [45]occasionally painted inscriptions, contain sometimes well-known verses from poets still extant. Some of these exhibit variations from the modern text, but being written by not very highly educated persons, they seldom or never present any various readings that it would be desirable to adopt, and indeed contain now and then prosodical errors. Other verses, some of them by no means contemptible, are either taken from pieces now lost, or are the invention of the writer himself. Many of these inscriptions are of course of an amatory character; some convey intelligence of not much importance to anybody but the writer—as, that he is troubled with a cold—or was seventeen centuries ago—or that he considers somebody who does not invite him to supper as no better than a brute and barbarian, or invokes blessings on the man that does. Some are capped by another hand with a biting sarcasm on the first writer, and many, as might be expected, are scurrilous and indecent. Some of the graffiti on the interior walls and pillars of houses are memoranda of domestic transactions; as, how much lard was bought, how many tunics sent to the wash, when a child or a donkey was born, and the like. One of this kind, scratched on the wall of the peristyle of the corner house in the Strada della Fortuna and Vicolo degli Scienziati, appears to be an account of the dispensator or overseer of the tasks in spinning allotted to the female slaves of the establishment, and is interesting as furnishing us with their names, which are Vitalis, Florentina, Amarullis, Januaria, Heracla, Maria (Maria, feminine of Marius, not Maria), Lalagia (reminding us of Horace's Lalage), Damalis, and Doris. The pensum, or weight of wool delivered to each to be spun, is spelled pesu, the n and final m being omitted, just as we find salve lucru, for lucrum, written on the threshold of the house of Siricus. In this form, pesu is very close to the Italian word peso.

We have already alluded now and then to the rude etchings and caricatures of these wall-artists, but to enter fully into the [46]subject of the Pompeian inscriptions and graffiti would almost demand a separate volume, and we must therefore resume the thread of our description.

A little beyond the house of Siricus, a small street, running down at right angles from the direction of the Forum, enters the Via del Lupanare. Just at their junction, and having an entrance into both, stands the Lupanar, from which the latter street derives its name. We can not venture upon a description of this resort of Pagan immorality. It is kept locked up, but the guide will procure the key for those who may wish to see it. Next to it is the House of the Fuller, in which was found the elegant little bronze statuette of Narcissus, now in the Museum. The house contained nothing else of interest.

The Via del Lupanare terminates in the Street of the Augustals, or of the Dried Fruits. In this latter street, nearly opposite the end of the Via del Lupanare, but a little to the left, is the House of Narcissus, or of the Mosaic Fountain. This house is one of recent excavation. At the threshold is a Mosaic of a bear, with the word Have. The prothyrum is painted with figures on a yellow ground. On the left is a medallion of a satyr and nymph; the opposite medallion is destroyed.

The atrium is paved with mosaic. The first room on the right-hand side of it has a picture of Narcissus admiring himself in the water. The opposite picture has a female figure seated, with a child in her arms, and a large chest open before her. The tablinum is handsomely paved with mosaic and marble. Behind this, in place of a peristyle, is a court or garden, the wall of which is painted with a figure bearing a basin. At the bottom is a handsome mosaic fountain, from which the house derives one of its names, with a figure of Neptune surrounded by fishes and sea-fowl; above are depicted large wild boars.

On the opposite side of the way, at the eastern angle of the Street of the Lupanar, is the House of the Rudder and Trident, [47]also called the House of Mars and Venus. The first of these names is derived from the mosaic pavement in the prothyrum, in which the objects mentioned are represented; while a medallion picture in the atrium, with heads of Mars and Venus, gave rise to the second appellation. The colors of this picture are still quite fresh, a result which Signor Fiorelli attributes to his having caused a varnish of wax to be laid over the painting at the time of its discovery. Without some such protection the colors of these pictures soon decay; the cinnabar, or vermilion, especially, turns black after a few days' exposure to the light.

The atrium, as usual, is surrounded with bed-chambers. A peculiarity not yet found in any other house is a niche or closet on the left of the atrium, having on one side an opening only large enough to introduce the hand, whence it has been conjectured that it served as a receptacle for some valuable objects. It is painted inside with a wall of quadrangular pieces of marble of various colors, terminated at top with a cornice. In each of the squares is a fish, bird, or quadruped.

This closet or niche stands at a door of the room in which is an entrance to a subterranean passage, having its exit in the Via del Lupanare. There is nothing very remarkable in the other apartments of this house. Behind is a peristyle with twelve columns, in the garden of which shrubs are said to have been discovered in a carbonized state.

Further down the same Street of the Augustals, at the angle which it forms with the Street of Stabiæ, is the house of a baker, having on the external wall the name Modestum in red letters. For a tradesman it seems to have been a comfortable house, having an atrium and fountain, and some painted chambers. Beyond the atrium is a spacious court with mills and an oven. The oven was charged with more than eighty loaves, the forms of which are still perfect, though they are reduced to a carbonaceous state. They are preserved in the Museum.

[48]The narrow street to which we have alluded, as entering the Via del Lupanare nearly opposite to the house of Siricus, has been called the Via del Balcone, from a small house with a projecting balcony or mænianum. Indications of balconies have been found elsewhere, and indeed there were evidently some in the Via del Lupanare; but this is the only instance of one restored to its pristine state, through the care of Signor Fiorelli in substituting fresh timbers for those which had become carbonized. The visitor may ascend to the first floor of this house, from which the balcony projects several feet into the narrow lane. In the atrium of this house is a very pretty fountain.

The house next to that of the Balcony, facing the entrance of a small street leading from the Via dell Abbondanza, and numbered 7 on the door post, has a few pictures in a tolerable state of preservation. In a painting in the furthest room on the left of the atrium Theseus is seen departing in his ship; Ariadne, roused from sleep, gazes on him with despair, while a little weeping Cupid stands by her side. In the same apartment are two other well-preserved pictures, the subjects of which it is not easy to explain. In one is a female displaying to a man two little figures in a nest, representing apparently the birth of the Dioscuri. The other is sometimes called the Rape of Helen. There are also several medallion heads around.

In the small street which runs parallel with the eastern side of the Forum, called the Vico di Eumachia, is a house named the Casa nuova della Caccia, to distinguish it from one of the same name previously discovered. As in the former instance, its appellation is derived from a large painting on the wall of the peristyle, of bears, lions, and other animals. On the right-hand wall of the tablinum is a picture of Bacchus discovering Ariadne. A satyr lifts her vest, while Silenus and other figures look on in admiration. The painting on the left-hand wall is destroyed. On entering the peristyle a door on the right leads down some [49]steps into a garden, on one side of which is a small altar before a wall, on which is a painting of shrubs.

Proceeding from this street into the Vico Storto, which forms a continuation of it on the north, we find on the right a recently excavated house, which, from several slabs of variously colored marbles found in it, has been called the House of the Dealer in Marbles. Under a large court in the interior, surrounded with Doric columns, are some subterranean apartments, in one of which was discovered a well more than eighty feet deep and still supplied with fresh water; almost the only instance of the kind at Pompeii. The beautiful statuette of Silenus, already described, was found in this house. Here also was made the rare discovery of the skeletons of two horses, with the remains of a biga.

This description might be extended, but it would be tedious to repeat details of smaller and less interesting houses, the features of which present in general much uniformity; and we shall therefore conclude this account of the more recent discoveries with a notice of a group of bodies found in this neighborhood, the forms of which have been preserved to us through the ingenuity of Signor Fiorelli.

It has already been remarked that the showers of lapillo, or pumice stone, by which Pompeii was overwhelmed and buried, were followed by streams of a thick, tenacious mud, which flowing over the deposit of lapillo, and filling up all the crannies and interstices into which that substance had not been able to penetrate, completed the destruction of the city. The objects over which this mud flowed were enveloped in it as in a plaster mould, and where these objects happened to be human bodies, their decay left a cavity in which their forms were as accurately preserved and rendered as in the mould prepared for the casting of a bronze statue. Such cavities had often been observed. In some of them remnants of charred wood, accompanied with [50]bronze or other ornaments, showed that the object inclosed had been a piece of furniture; while in others, the remains of bones and of articles of apparel evinced but too plainly that the hollow had been the living grave which had swallowed up some unfortunate human being. In a happy moment the idea occurred to Signor Fiorelli of filling up these cavities with liquid plaster, and thus obtaining a cast of the objects which had been inclosed in them. The experiment was first made in a small street leading from the Via del Balcone Pensile towards the Forum. The bodies here found were on the lapillo at a height of about fifteen feet from the level of the ground.

"Among the first casts thus obtained were those of four human beings. They are now preserved in a room at Pompeii, and more ghastly and painful, yet deeply interesting and touching objects, it is difficult to conceive. We have death itself moulded and cast—the very last struggle and final agony brought before us. They tell their story with a horrible dramatic truth that no sculptor could ever reach. They would have furnished a thrilling episode to the accomplished author of the 'Last Days of Pompeii.'

"These four persons had perished in a street. They had remained within the shelter of their homes until the thick black mud began to creep through every cranny and chink. Driven from their retreat they began to flee when it was too late. The streets were already buried deep in the loose pumice stones which had been falling for many hours in unremitting showers, and which reached almost to the windows of the first floor. These victims of the eruption were not found together, and they do not appear to have belonged to the same family or household. The most interesting of the casts is that of two women, probably mother and daughter, lying feet to feet. They appear from their garb to have been people of poor condition. The elder seems to lie tranquilly on her side. Overcome by the noxious gases, she [51]probably fell and died without a struggle. Her limbs are extended, and her left arm drops loosely. On one finger is still seen her coarse iron ring. Her child was a girl of fifteen; she [52]seems, poor thing, to have struggled hard for life. Her legs are drawn up convulsively; her little hands are clenched in agony. In one she holds her veil, or a part of her dress, with which she had covered her head, burying her face in her arm, to shield herself from the falling ashes and from the foul sulphurous smoke. The form of her head is perfectly preserved. The texture of her coarse linen garments may be traced, and even the fashion of her dress, with its long sleeves reaching to her wrists; here and there it is torn, and the smooth young skin appears in the plaster like polished marble. On her tiny feet may still be seen her embroidered sandals.



"At some distance from this group lay a third woman. She appears to have been about twenty-five years of age, and to have belonged to a better class than the other two. On one of her fingers were two silver rings, and her garments were of a finer texture. Her linen head-dress, falling over her shoulders like that of a matron in a Roman statue, can still be distinguished. She had fallen on her side, overcome by the heat and gases, but a terrible struggle seems to have preceded her last agony. One arm is raised in despair; the hands are clenched convulsively; her garments are gathered up on one side, leaving exposed a limb of beautiful shape. So perfect a mould of it has been formed by the soft and yielding mud, that the cast would seem to be taken from an exquisite work of Greek art. She had fled with her little treasure, which lay scattered around her—two silver cups, a few jewels, and some dozen silver coins; nor had she, like a good housewife, forgotten her keys, after having probably locked up her stores before seeking to escape. They were found by her side.

"The fourth cast is that of a man of the people, perhaps a common soldier. As may be seen in the cut, he is of almost colossal size; he lies on his left arm extended by his side, and his head rests on his right hand, and his legs drawn up as if, finding [53]escape impossible, he had laid himself down to meet death like a brave man. His dress consists of a short coat or jerkin and tight-fitting breeches of some coarse stuff, perhaps leather. On one finger is seen his iron ring. His features are strongly marked the mouth open, as in death. Some of the teeth still remain, and even part of the moustache adheres to the plaster.

"The importance of Signor Fiorelli's discovery may be understood from the results we have described. It may furnish us with many curious particulars as to the dress and domestic habits of the Romans, and with many an interesting episode of the last day of Pompeii. Had it been made at an earlier period we might perhaps have possessed the perfect cast of the Diomedes, as they clung together in their last struggle, and of other victims whose remains are now mingled together in the bone-house."

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House of Diomedes.

This house, the most interesting, and by far the most extensive of the private buildings yet discovered, is the Suburban Villa, as it is called, from its position a little way without the gates, in the Street of the Tombs, which led to, or formed part of, the suburb called Augustus Felix. It is worthy of remark that the plan of this edifice is in close accord with the descriptions of country houses given us by Vitruvius and others—a circumstance which tends strongly to confirm the belief already expressed, that the houses of the city are built upon the Roman system of arrangement, although the Greek taste may predominate in their decoration. We will commence by extracting the most important passages in Pliny the Younger's description of his Laurentine villa, that the reader may have some general notion of the subject, some standard with which to compare that which we are about to describe.

"My villa is large enough for convenience, though not splendid. The first apartment which presents itself is a plain, yet not mean, atrium; then comes a portico, in shape like the letter O, which surrounds a small, but pleasant area. This is an excellent retreat in bad weather, being sheltered by glazed windows, and still more effectually by an overhanging roof. Opposite the centre of this portico is a pleasant cavædium, after which comes a handsome triclinium, which projects upon the beach, so that when the southwest wind urges the sea, the last broken waves just dash [55]against its walls. On every side of this room are folding doors, or windows equally large, so that from the three sides there is a view, as it were, of three seas at once, while backwards the eye wanders through the apartments already described, the cavædium, portico, and atrium, to woods and distant mountains. To the left are several apartments, including a bed-chamber, and room fitted up as a library, which jets out in an elliptic form, and, by its several windows, admits the sun during its whole course. These apartments I make my winter abode. The rest of this side of the house is allotted to my slaves and freedmen, yet it is for the most part neat enough to receive my friends. To the right of the triclinium is a very elegant chamber, and another, which you may call either a very large chamber (cubiculum), or moderate-sized eating-room (cœnatio), which commands a full prospect both of the sun and sea. Passing hence, through three or four other chambers, you enter the cella frigidaria of the baths, in which there are two basins projecting from opposite walls, abundantly large enough to swim in, if you feel inclined to do so in the first instance. Then come the anointing-room, the hypocaust, or furnace, and two small rooms; next the warm bath, which commands an admirable view of the sea. Not far off is the sphæristerium, a room devoted to in-door exercises and games, exposed to the hottest sun of the declining day. Beside it is a triclinium, where the noise of the sea is never heard but in a storm, and then faintly, looking out upon the garden and the gestatio, or place for taking the air in a carriage or litter, which encompasses it. The gestatio is hedged with box, and with rosemary where the box is wanting; for box grows well where it is sheltered by buildings, but withers when exposed in an open situation to the wind, and especially within reach of spray from the sea. To the inner circle of the gestatio is joined a shady walk of vines, soft and tender even to the naked feet. The garden is full of mulberries and figs, the soil being especially suited to the [56]former. Within the circuit of the gestatio there is also a cryptoportico, for extent comparable to public buildings, having windows on one side looking to the sea, on the other to the garden. In front of it is a xystus, fragrant with violets, where the sun's heat is increased by reflection from the cryptoportico, which, at the same time, breaks the northeast wind. At either end of it is a suite of apartments, in which, in truth, I place my chief delight."[14] Such was one of several villas described by Pliny. The directions given by Vitruvius for building country houses are very short. "The same principles," he says, "are to be observed in country houses as in town houses, except that in the latter the atrium lies next to the door, but in pseudo-urban houses the peristyles come first, then atria surrounded by paved porticoes, looking upon courts for gymnastic exercises and walking" (palæstras et ambulationes).[15] It will appear that the distribution of the Suburban Villa was entirely in accordance with these rules.

The house is built upon the side of the hill, in such a manner that the ground falls away, not only in the line of the street, across the breadth of the house, but also from the front to the back, so that the doorway itself being elevated from five to six feet above the roadway, there is room at the back of the house for an extensive and magnificent suite of rooms between the level of the peristyle and the surface of the earth. These two levels are represented on the same plan, being distinguished by a difference in the shading. The darker parts show the walls of the upper floor, the lighter ones indicate the distribution of the lower. A further distinction is made in the references, which are by figures to the upper floor, and by letters to the lower. There are besides subterraneous vaults and galleries not expressed in the plan.



1. Broad foot pavement raised nine inches or a foot above the carriage way, running along the whole length of the Street of Tombs. 2. Inclined planes, leading up to the porch on each side. 3. Entrance. 4. Peristyle. This arrangement corresponds exactly with the directions of Vitruvius for the building of [58]country houses just quoted. The order of the peristyle is extremely elegant. The columns, their capitals, and entablatures, and the paintings on the walls are still in good preservation. The architectural decorations are worked in stucco; and it is observed by Mazois that both here and in other instances the artist has taken liberties, which he would not have indulged in had he been working in more valuable materials. On this ground that eminent architect hazards a conjecture that the plasterer had a distinct style of ornamenting, different from that of architects, or of the masons in their employ. The lower third of the columns, which is not fluted, is painted red. The pavement was formed of opus Signinum. 5. Uncovered court with an impluvium, which collected the rain water and fed a cistern, whence the common household wants were supplied. 6. Descending staircase, which led to a court and building on a lower level, appropriated to the offices, as the kitchen, bakehouse, etc., and to the use of slaves. It will be recollected that the ground slopes with a rapid descent away from the city gate. This lower story, therefore, was not under ground, though near eight feet below the level of the peristyle. It communicates with the road by a back door. From the bottom of the stair there runs a long corridor, A, somewhat indistinct in our small plan, owing to its being crossed several times by the lines of the upper floor, which leads down by a gentle slope to the portico surrounding the garden. This was the back stair, as we should call it, by which the servants communicated with that part of the house. There was another staircase, B, on the opposite side of the house, for the use of the family. 7. Door and passage to the upper garden, marked 17, on the same level as the court. 8. Open hall, corresponding in position with a tablinum. Being thus placed between the court and the gallery, 28, it must have been closed with folding doors of wood, which perhaps were glazed. 9, 10, 11, 12. Various rooms containing nothing remarkable. 13. Two rooms situated in the [59]most agreeable manner at the two ends of a long gallery, 28, and looking out upon the upper terraces of the garden, from which the eye took in the whole gulf of Naples to the point of Sorrento, and the island of Capreæ. 14. Procæton, or antechamber. 15. Lodge of the cubicular slave, or attendant upon the bed-room. 16. Bed-room, probably that of the master, or else the state-chamber. b. Alcove. Several rings were found here which had evidently belonged to a curtain to draw across the front of it. c. Hollow stand or counter of masonry, probably coated with stucco or marble, which served for a toilet-table. Several vases were found there, which must have contained perfumes or cosmetic oils. The form of this bed-room is very remarkable, and will not fail to strike the reader from its exact correspondence with the elliptic chamber or library described by Pliny in his Laurentine villa. The windows in the semi-circular end are so placed that they receive the rising, noontide, and setting sun. Bull's eyes, placed above the windows, permitted them to be altogether closed without darkening the room entirely. These windows opened on a garden, where, in Mazois' time, the care of the guardian had planted roses, which almost beguiled him into the belief that he had found the genuine produce of a Pompeian garden. This must have been a delightful room, from its ample size, elegance of ornament, and the quiet cheerful retirement of its situation.

17. Upper garden upon the level of the court.

18. Entrance to the baths, which, though originally rare in private houses, had become so common, long before the destruction of Pompeii, that few wealthy persons were without them. The word balneum was peculiarly applied to domestic, thermæ to public baths. This specimen, which fortunately was almost perfect, small as it is, suffices to give an idea of the arrangement of private baths among the Romans. 19. Portico upon two sides of a small triangular court. There is as much skill in the [60]disposition, as taste in the decoration, of this court, which presents a symmetrical plan, notwithstanding the irregular form of the space allotted to it. Its situation is conformable to the advice of Vitruvius; and as it could not front the west, it has been placed to the south. The columns of the portico are octagonal. At the extremity of the gallery, on the left of the entrance, there is a small furnace where was prepared some warm beverage or restorative for the use of the bathers, who were accustomed to take wine or cordials before they went away. Here a gridiron and two frying pans were found, still blackened with smoke. In the centre of the base, or third side of the court, is placed a bath, 20, about six feet square, lined with stucco, the edge of which is faced with marble. It was covered with a roof, the mark of which is still visible on the walls, supported by two pillars placed on the projecting angles. The holes in the walls to admit the three principal beams are so contrived that each side is lined with a single brick. Under this covering the whole wall was painted to represent water, with fish and other aquatic animals swimming about. The water was blue, and rather deep in color: the fish were represented in the most vivid and varied tints. Some years ago this painting recovered, on being wetted, the original freshness and brilliancy of its coloring; but exposure to the weather has done its work, and now scarce a trace of it remains. In the middle of it there is a circular broken space to which a mask was formerly attached, through which a stream gushed into the basin below. Two or three steps led down to this baptisterium, where the cold bath was taken in the open air. This court and portico were paved in mosaic. 21. Apodyterium. 22. Frigidarium. 23. Tepidarium. These two rooms, in neither of which was there a bathing vessel, show that frequently rooms thus named were not intended for bathing, but simply to preserve two intermediate gradations of temperature, between the burning heat of the caldarium or laconicum and the open air. In fact, no trace [61]of any contrivance for the introduction or reception of water has been found in No. 22. It was simply a cold chamber, cella frigidaria. Nor was the little chamber, 23, large enough to receive conveniently a bathing vessel; but seats of wood were found there for the convenience of those who had quitted the bath, and who came there to undergo the discipline of the strigil, and a minute process of purification and anointing. This room is not above twelve feet by six: the bath, therefore, could not have been calculated for the reception of more than one, or, at most, of two persons at once. Here the great question relative to the use of glass windows by the ancients was finally settled. This apartment was lighted by a window closed by a movable frame of wood, which, though converted into charcoal, still held, when it was found, four panes of glass about six inches square. A more elaborate and curious glass window was found at a later period in the public baths. 24. Caldarium. It might, however, be employed at pleasure as a tepid or cold bath, when the weather was too cold for bathing in the open air. The suspensura caldariorum, as Vitruvius calls the hollow walls and floors raised upon pillars, are in remarkably good preservation. By means of these the whole apartment was entirely enveloped in flame, and might be easily raised to a most stifling temperature.

We will, however, add that Vitruvius directs a bed of clay mixed with hair to be laid between the pillars and the pavement; and some tradition of this custom may be imagined to subsist, for the potters of the country, in some cases, work up wool with their clay, a practice unknown elsewhere, as we believe, in the art of pottery. The burning vapor passed out above the ceiling, gaining no entrance into the apartment. Air and light were admitted by two windows, one higher than the other. In one of these Mazois found a fragment of glass. The bathing-vessel, e, lined with stucco, and coated on the outside with marble, was fed by two cocks, which must have been very small, to judge from the [62]space which they occupied. Hence, hot and cold water were supplied at pleasure; and it was only to fill the vessel with boiling water, and the whole apartment would be converted into one great vapor bath.

As it would have been difficult or impossible to have kept alive a lamp or torch in so dense a steam, there is near the door a circular hole, closed formerly by a glass, which served to admit the light of a lamp placed in the adjoining chamber. The hypocaust, or furnace and apparatus, 25, for heating the water, are so placed that they can not be seen from the triangular court. They are small, but correspond with the small quantity of boiling water which they were required to furnish. f. Stone table. g. Cistern. h. Mouth of hypocaust. i. A furnace, probably for boiling water when merely a tepid bath was required, without heating the suspensura caldariorum. By the side of the hypocaust were placed the vases for hot and cold water, as described in the chapter on Baths; their pedestals were observable between the mouth of the furnace and the letter k. l. Wooden staircase, no longer in existence, which led to the apartments above. 26. Reservoir.

Such was the distribution of this bath. Some paintings and mosaics, which are ordinary enough, formed its only decorations; yet, from the little that remains, we can discover that the good taste which reigned everywhere, and the freshness of the colors, must have rendered the effect of the whole most agreeable.

27. This chamber seems to have been used as a wardrobe, where the numerous garments of the opulent masters of this dwelling were kept under presses, to give them a lustre. This conjecture is founded upon the remains of calcined stuffs, and the fragments of wardrobes and carbonized plank found in the course of excavation.

28. Great gallery, lighted by windows which looked upon the two terraces, 34, separated by the large hall, 33. This [63]gallery furnished an agreeable promenade, when the weather did not permit the enjoyment of the external porticoes or terraces.

29, 29. These two small apartments, which were open to the gallery, and probably were closed by glass, may very well have been, one a library, the other a reading-room, since the place in which books were kept was not usually the place in which they were read; being small and confined, suitable to the comparatively small number of volumes which an ancient library generally contained, and also to the limited space within which a considerable number of rolls of papyrus might be placed.

A bust, painted on the wall of one of them, confirms this supposition, for it is known that the ancients were fond of keeping the portraits of eminent men before their eyes, and especially of placing those of literary men in their libraries.

30. The form of this hall is suitable to a triclinium, and its situation, protected from the immediate action of the sun's rays, would seem to mark it as a summer triclinium. Still the guests enjoyed the view of the country and of the sea, by means of a door opening upon the terrace. In front of the little chamber, 31, is a square opening for the staircase, which descends to the point B upon the floor below. It is to be remarked, that at the entrance of each division of the building there is a lodge for a slave. No doubt each suite of rooms had its peculiar keeper. The chamber, 10, seems to have been reserved for the keeper of the peristyle; the apartment, 15, belonged to the slave of the bed-chamber, who watched the apartment of his master; a recess under the staircase, 35, was, without doubt, the place of the atriensis, or attendant on the atrium, when the hall, 8, was open, to give admission to the interior of the house; and when this hall was closed, he attended in the chamber, 12, which commanded the entrance through the passage, or fauces.

Lastly, the small lodge, 31, is so placed as to keep watch over all communication between the upper floor, where is the [64]peristyle, and the lower floor, in which the apartments of the family seem to have been chiefly situated.

32. Apartment, entirely ruined, to which it is difficult to assign a name.

33. Large cyzicene œcus, about thirty-six feet by twenty-six. All the windows of this apartment opened almost to the level of the floor, and gave a view of the garden, the terraces and trellises which ornamented them, as well as of the vast and beautiful prospect towards the sea and Vesuvius.

34. Large terraces, perhaps formerly covered with trellises, which communicate with the terraces over the gallery by which the garden is surrounded.

35. Staircase leading to the upper floor, on which may have been the gynæceum, or suite of apartments belonging to the women. So retired a situation, however, did not always suit the taste of the Roman ladies.

Cornelius Nepos says that "they occupy for the most part the first floor in the front of the house." Mazois was long impressed with the idea that there must have been an upper story here, but for a long time he could not find the staircase.

At last he discovered in this place marks in the plaster, which left no doubt in his mind but that it had existed here, though being of wood it disappeared with the other woodwork. He recognized the inclination and the height of the steps, and found that they were high and narrow, like those stone stairs which exist still in the same dwelling.

36. A sort of vestibule at the entrance of the building, appropriated to the offices. This lower court probably contained the kitchen.

37. Bake-house, apartments of the inferior slaves, stables, and other accessories. These are separated from the main building by means of a mesaulon, or small internal court, to diminish the danger in case of a fire happening in the kitchen or [65]bake-house. There were two ways of communication from the level of the street to the level of the garden; on one side by the corridor, A, A, principally reserved for the servants, on the other by the staircase, B, C, C, C, Portico round the garden.

The side beneath the house and that at the right of the plan are perfectly preserved, but it has been found necessary to support the terrace on this side by inserting a modern pillar between each of the old ones, and to build two massive piers beneath the terrace on which the great cyzicene hall is situated. This portico was elegantly ornamented. If we may judge of the whole from a part, which is given by Mazois, the interior entablature was ornamented with light mouldings and running patterns, while there was a little picture over each pillar. That in his plate represents a swan flying away with a serpent. The pillars were square, the lower part painted with flowers springing from trellises, apparently of very delicate execution. The same style of painting occurs in the court of the baths. The ceiling of the portico beneath the terrace is, in respect of its construction, one of the most curious specimens of ancient building which have reached our time. It is a plane surface of masonry, hung in the air, supported neither on the principle of the arch, nor by iron cramps, but owing its existence entirely to the adherence of the mortar by which it is cemented. It is divided into compartments by false beams (caissons) of the same construction. The whole is of remarkable solidity. D. Open hall at the end of the western portico. E. Fountain, supplied perhaps by the water of the cistern. There was formerly a well upon the terrace, 34, by which water might be drawn from the reservoir of this fountain, but it was effaced when the area of the terrace was restored. F, F, F. Different chambers, halls, triclinium, in which the remains of a carpet were found on the floor, and other rooms, to which it is difficult to assign any particular destination. They are all decorated in the most elegant and refined manner, but their [66]paintings are hastening to decay with a rapidity which is grievous to behold. Fortunately, the Academy of Naples has published a volume of details, in which the greater part of the frescos of this villa are engraved. G. Passage, leading by the staircase B to the upper floor, and by the staircase H to the subterranean galleries. There is a similar staircase, H, on the other side of the portico.

These galleries form a crypt beneath the portico, lighted and aired by loop-holes on the level of the ground. Amphoræ, placed in sand against the wall, are still to be seen there, and for this reason it has been conjectured that the crypt served the purposes of a cellar; but even this crypt was coarsely painted. I. Mesaulon, or court, which separates the offices from the house. K. Small room at the extremity of the garden. L. An oratory; the niche served to receive a little statue. M. Xystus, or garden. N. Piscina, with a jet d'eau. O. Enclosure covered with a trellis. P. Door to the country and towards the sea. Q. This enclosure, about fifteen feet wide, appears to have been covered with a trellis, and must have been much frequented, since there is a noble flight of steps leading down to it from the upper garden. It fronted the south, and must have been a delightful winter promenade.

The arch to the left is the end of the open hall, D, above the portico; on each side are the terraces, 34, 34, and in the centre are the remains of the cyzicene hall. Beneath on the level of the portico, are the several rooms marked F, probably the chief summer abode of the family, being well adapted to that purpose by their refreshing coolness. Their ceilings for the most part are semicircular vaults, richly painted, and the more valuable because few ceilings have been found in existence. We should attempt in vain to describe the complicated subjects, the intricate and varied patterns with which the fertile fancy of the arabesque painter has clothed the walls and ceilings, without the aid of drawings, [67]which we are unable to give; and, indeed, colored plates would be requisite to convey an adequate notion of their effect. In the splendid work which Mr. Donaldson has published upon Pompeii, several subjects taken from these rooms will be found, some of them colored, together with eight mosaics, some of very complicated, all of elegant design; and to this and similar works we must refer the further gratification of the reader's curiosity.

Such was this mansion, in which no doubt the owner took pride and pleasure, to judge from the expense lavished with unsparing hand on its decoration; and if he could be supposed to have any cognizance of what is now passing on earth, his vanity might find some consolation for having been prematurely deprived of it, in the posthumous celebrity which it has obtained. But his taste and wealth have done nothing to perpetuate his name, for not a trace remains that can indicate to what person or to what family it belonged. It is indeed usually called the Villa of Marcus Arius Diomedes, on the strength of a tomb discovered about the same period immediately opposite to it, bearing that name. No other tomb had then been discovered so near it, and on this coincidence of situation a conclusion was drawn that this must have been a family sepulchre, attached to the house, and, by consequence, that the house itself belonged to Diomedes. The conjecture at the outset rested but on a sandy foundation, which has since been entirely sapped by the discovery of numerous other tombs almost equally near. All that we know of the owner or his family may be comprised in one sentence, which, short as it is, speaks forcibly to our feelings. Their life was one of elegant luxury and enjoyment, in the midst of which death came on them by surprise, a death of singular and lingering agony.

When Vesuvius first showed signs of the coming storm the air was still, as we learn from the description of Pliny, and the smoke of the mountain rose up straight, until the atmosphere would bear it no higher, and then spread on all sides into a [68]canopy, suggesting to him the idea of an enormous pine tree. After this a wind sprung up from the west, which was favorable to carry Pliny from Misenum to Stabiæ, but prevented his return. The next morning probably it veered something to the north, when, in the younger Pliny's words, a cloud seemed to descend upon the earth, to cover the sea, and hide the Isle of Capreæ from his view. The ashes are said by Dion Cassius to have reached Egypt, and in fact a line drawn southeast from Vesuvius would pass very near Pompeii, and cut Egypt. It was probably at this moment that the hail of fire fell thickest at Pompeii, at daybreak on the second morning, and if any had thus long survived the stifling air and torrid earth which surrounded them, their misery probably was at this moment brought to a close. The villa of which we speak lay exactly between the city and the mountain, and must have felt the first, and, if there were degrees of misery, where all perished alike, the worst effects of this fearful visitation. Fearful is such a visitation in the present day, even to those who crowd to see an eruption of Vesuvius as they would to a picture-gallery or an opera; how much more terrible, accompanied by the certainty of impending death, to those whom neither history nor experience had familiarized with the most awful phenomenon presented by nature. At this, or possibly an earlier moment, the love of life proved too strong for the social affections of the owner of the house. He fled, abandoning to their fate a numerous family, and a young and beautiful daughter, and bent his way, with his most precious movables, accompanied only by a single slave, to the sea, which he never reached alive. His daughter, two children, and other members of his family and household sought protection in the subterranean vaults, which, by the help of the wine-jars already stored there, and the provisions which they brought down with them, they probably considered as sufficient refuge against an evil of which they could not guess the whole extent. It was a vain hope; the same fate awaited them all by different ways. The strong vaults and narrow openings to the day protected them, indeed, from the falling cinders; but the heat, sufficient to char wood, and volatilize the more subtle part of the ashes, could not be kept out by such means. The vital air was changed into a sulphurous vapor, charged with burning dust. In their despair, longing for the pure breath of heaven, they rushed to the door, already choked with scoriæ and ruins, and perished in agonies on which the imagination does not willingly dwell.



[70]This the reader will probably be inclined to think might do very well for the conclusion of a romance, but why invent such sentimental stories to figure in a grave historical account? It is a remarkable instance, perhaps the strongest which has yet occurred, of the peculiar interest which the discoveries at Pompeii possess, as introducing us to the homes, nay, to the very persons of a long-forgotten age, that every circumstance of this tale can be verified by evidence little less than conclusive. Beside the garden gate, marked P, two skeletons were found; one presumed to be the master, had in his hand the key of that gate, and near him were about a hundred gold and silver coins; the other, stretched beside some silver vases, was probably a slave charged with the transport of them. When the vaults beneath the room, D, were discovered, at the foot of the staircase, H, the skeletons of eighteen adult persons, a boy and an infant were found huddled up together, unmoved during seventeen centuries since they sank in death. They were covered by several feet of ashes of extreme fineness, evidently slowly borne in through the vent-holes, and afterwards consolidated by damp. The substance thus formed resembles the sand used by metal founders for castings, but is yet more delicate, and took perfect impressions of everything on which it lay. Unfortunately this property was not observed until almost too late, and little was preserved except the neck and breast of a girl, which are said to display extraordinary beauty of form. So exact is the impression, that the very texture [71]of the dress in which she was clothed is apparent, which by its extraordinary fineness evidently shows that she had not been a slave, and may be taken for the fine gauze which Seneca calls woven wind. On other fragments the impression of jewels worn on the neck and arms is distinct, and marks that several members of the family here perished. The jewels themselves were found beside them, comprising, in gold, two necklaces, one set with blue stones, and four rings, containing engraved gems. Two of the skeletons belonged to children, and some of their blonde hair was still existent; most of them are said to have been recognized as female. Each sex probably acted in conformity to its character, the men trusting to their own strength to escape, the women waiting with patience the issue of a danger from which their own exertions could not save them.

In the same vault bronze candelabra and other articles, jewels and coins were found. Amphoræ were also found ranged against the wall, in some of which the contents, dried and hardened by time, were still preserved. Archæologists, it is said, pretend to recognize in this substance the flavor of the rich strong wine for which the neighborhood of Vesuvius is celebrated.

Besides the interior garden within the portico, there must have been another garden extending along the southern side of the house. The passage from the peristyle, 7, the position of the elliptic chamber, 16, and the trellis work, Q, with its spacious steps, leave no doubt on this subject. It has been stated in a German periodical that traces of the plowshare have been distinguished in the fields adjoining this villa. This is the only authority we have for supposing that the process of excavation has been extended at all beyond the house itself. The garden to the south is still, to the best of our information, uncleared, nor is it likely that it contains objects of sufficient interest to recompense the labor which would be consumed in laying it open. Our limited knowledge of ancient horticulture is not therefore likely [72]to be increased by means of Pompeii; for such small flower-pots as are attached to houses within the town can not contain anything worth notice beyond a fountain or a summer triclinium.



We will do our best, however, to complete the reader's notion of an Italian villa, and show what might have been, since we can not show what has been here, by borrowing Pliny's account of the garden attached to his Tuscan villa, the only account of a Roman garden which has come down to us.

"In front of the house lies a spacious hippodrome, entirely [73]open in the middle, by which means the eye, upon your first entrance, takes in its whole extent at one view. It is encompassed on every side with plane trees covered with ivy, so that while their heads flourish with their own green, their bodies enjoy a borrowed verdure; and thus the ivy twining round the trunk and branches, spreads from tree to tree and connects them together. Between each plane tree are placed box trees, and behind these, bay trees, which blend their shade with that of the planes. This plantation, forming a straight boundary on both sides of the hippodrome, bends at the further end into a semi-circle, which, being set round and sheltered with cypresses, casts a deeper and more gloomy shade; while the inward circular walks (for there are several) enjoying an open exposure, are full of roses, and correct the coolness of the shade by the warmth of the sun.

"Having passed through these several winding alleys, you enter a straight walk, which breaks out into a variety of others, divided by box edges. In one place you have a little meadow; in another the box is cut into a thousand different forms, sometimes into letters; here expressing the name of the master, there that of the artificer; while here and there little obelisks rise, intermixed with fruit trees; when on a sudden, in the midst of this elegant regularity, you are surprised with an imitation of the negligent beauties of rural nature, in the centre of which lies a spot surrounded with a knot of dwarf plane trees. Beyond this is a walk, interspersed with the smooth and twining acanthus, where the trees are also cut into a variety of names and shapes. At the upper end is an alcove of white marble, shaded with vines, supported by four small columns of Carystian marble. Here is a triclinium, out of which the water, gushing through several little pipes, as if it were pressed out by the weight of the persons who repose upon it, falls into a stone cistern underneath, from whence it is received into a fine polished marble basin, so artfully contrived that it is always full without ever overflowing. When I [74]sup here, this basin serves for a table, the larger sort of dishes being placed round the margin, while the smaller swim about in the form of little vessels and water-fowl.

"Corresponding to this is a fountain, which is incessantly emptying and filling; for the water, which it throws up to a great height, falling back again into it, is returned as fast as it is received, by means of two openings.

"Fronting the alcove stands a summer-house of exquisite marble, whose doors project and open into a green enclosure, while from its upper and lower windows also the eye is presented with a variety of different verdures. Next to this is a little private closet, which, though it seems distinct, may be laid into the same room, furnished with a couch; and notwithstanding it has windows on every side, yet it enjoys a very agreeable gloominess, by means of a spreading vine, which climbs to the top and entirely overshades it. Here you may lie and fancy yourself in a wood, with this difference only, that you are not exposed to the weather. In this place a fountain also rises, and instantly disappears. In different quarters are disposed several marble seats, which serve, as well as the summer-house, as so many reliefs after one is tired of walking. Near each seat is a little fountain, and throughout the whole hippodrome several small rills run murmuring along, wheresoever the hand of art thought proper to conduct them, watering here and there different spots of verdure, and in their progress refreshing the whole."

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page decoration 5

Stores and Eating Houses.

To notice all the houses excavated at Pompeii, would be wearisome in the extreme. We intend therefore merely to select some of the most important, to be described at length, the arrangement of which may serve, with variations according to place and circumstances, as a type of the whole. Some, which offer no particularity in their construction, are remarkable for the beauty of their paintings or other decorations; and, indeed, it is from the paintings on the walls that many of the houses have derived their names. Some again are designated from mosaics or inscriptions on the threshold, from the trade or profession evidently exercised by the proprietors, or from some accident, as the presence of distinguished persons at their excavation—as, for instance, those called the House of the Emperor Joseph II., del Gran Duca, degli Scienziati, etc. As it is the object of this work to convey a general notion of the remains of Pompeii, and to exhibit, as far as our materials will permit, the private life of the first century in all its degrees, we shall begin with one or two of the stores. These present great similarity in their arrangements, and indicate that the tribe of storekeepers was very inferior in wealth and comfort to that of our own time and country. They are for the most part very small, and sometimes without any interior apartment on the ground floor. The upper floor must [76]have comprised one or two sleeping-rooms; but there is, as we believe, only one house in which the upper floor is in existence.

It is rare at Pompeii to see a whole house set apart for purposes of trade, a part being occupied by the store itself, the rest furnishing a comfortable dwelling for the owner. The houses of the richer classes, instead of presenting a handsome elevation to the street, were usually surrounded with stores. They furnished considerable revenue.

Cicero, in a letter to Atticus, speaks of the ruinous state into which some of his stores had fallen, "insomuch that not only the men, but the mice had quitted them," and hints at the gain which he hoped to derive from this seemingly untoward circumstance. One Julia Felix possessed nine hundred stores, as we learn from an inscription in Pompeii.

At night the whole front was closed with shutters, sliding in grooves cut in the lintel and basement wall before the counter, and by the door, which is thrown far back, so as to be hardly visible.

There is an oven at the end of the counter furthest from the street, and three steps have been presumed to support different sorts of vessels or measures for liquids. From these indications it is supposed to have been a cook's shop; for the sale, perhaps, both of undressed and dressed provisions, as is indicated in the view. The oven probably served to prepare, and keep constantly hot, some popular dishes for the service of any chance customer; the jars might hold oil, olives, or the fish-pickle called garum, an article of the highest importance in a Roman kitchen, for the manufacture of which Pompeii was celebrated.[16]


RESTAURANT. (From Wall Painting.)ToList

[77]Fixed vessels appear inconvenient for such uses on account of the difficulty of cleaning them out; but the practice, it is said, continues to this day at Rome, where the small shopkeepers keep their oil in similar jars, fixed in a counter of masonry. All the ornaments in the view are copied from Pompeii. In front of the store, which stands opposite the passage leading behind the small theatre to the Soldiers' Quarters, are three stepping-stones, to enable persons to cross the road without wetting their feet in bad weather.

In conjunction with a street view, we give the view of another shop, which has also a counter containing jars for the reception of some liquid commodity. By some it is called a Thermopolium, or store for the sale of hot drinks, while others call it an oil store. In front is a fountain. It is situated at the angle of the street immediately adjoining the House of Pansa. The left-hand street leads to the Gate of Herculaneum; the right, skirting Pansa's house, is terminated by the city walls.

Tracks of wheels are very visible on the pavement. The interior was gaily painted in blue panels and red borders, as we learn from the colored view in Mr. Donaldson's Pompeii, from which this is taken. The counter is faced and covered with marble. Numerous thermopolia have been discovered in Pompeii, many [78]of them identified, or supposed to be identified, by the stains left upon the counters by wet glasses.


BED AND TABLE AT POMPEII. (From Wall Painting.)ToList

In the centre is a small altar, placed before a niche, ornamented with the painting of some goddess holding a cornucopia. She is reposing on a couch, closely resembling a modern French bed. The mattress is white, striped with violet, and spotted with gold; the cushion is violet. The tunic of the goddess is blue, the bed, the table, and the cornucopia, gold. This house stands just by the gate of Herculaneum, adjoining the broad flight of steps which leads up to the ramparts. Bonucci supposes that it belonged to the officer appointed to take charge of the gate and walls.

We may take this opportunity to describe the nature and arrangement of the triclinium, of which such frequent mention has been made. In the earlier times of Rome, men sat at table—the habit of reclining was introduced from Carthage after the Punic wars. At first these beds were clumsy in form, and covered with mattresses stuffed with rushes or straw. Hair and wool mattresses were introduced from Gaul at a later period, and were soon followed by cushions stuffed with feathers. At first these tricliniary beds were small, low, and round, and made of wood; afterwards, in the time of Augustus, square and highly ornamented couches came into fashion. In the reign of Tiberius they began to be veneered with costly woods or tortoiseshell, and were covered with valuable embroideries, the richest of which came from Babylon, and cost incredible sums.

Each couch contained three persons, and, properly, the whole [79]arrangement consisted of three couches, so that the number at table did not exceed the number of the Muses, and each person had his seat according to his rank and dignity. The places were thus appropriated: 1. The host. 2. His wife. 3. Guest. 4. Consular place, or place of honor. This was the most convenient situation at table, because he who occupied it, resting on his left arm, could easily with his right reach any part of the table without inconvenience to his neighbors. It was, therefore, set apart for the person of highest rank. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Other guests.



The entertainment itself usually comprised three services; the first consisting of fresh eggs, olives, oysters, salad, and other light delicacies; the second of made dishes, fish, and roast meats; the third of pastry, confectionery, and fruits. A remarkable painting, discovered at Pompeii, gives a curious idea of a complete feast. It represents a table set out with every requisite for a grand dinner. In the centre is a large dish, in which four peacocks are placed, one at each corner, forming a magnificent dome with their tails. All round are lobsters—one holding in his claws a blue egg, a second an oyster, a third a stuffed rat, a fourth a little basket full of grasshoppers. Four dishes of fish decorate the bottom, above which are several partridges, and hares, and squirrels, each holding its head between its paws. The whole is surrounded by something resembling a German sausage; then comes a row of yolks of eggs; then a row of peaches, small melons, and cherries; and lastly, a row of vegetables of different sorts. The whole is covered with a sort of green-colored sauce.

Another house, also of the minor class, yet superior to any hitherto described, is recommended to our notice by the beauty [80]of the paintings found. That the proprietor was not rich is evident from its limited extent and accommodation; yet he had some small property, as we may infer from the shop communicating with the house, in which were sold such articles of agricultural produce as were not required for the use of the family.

This house was formerly decorated with paintings taken from the Odyssey, and from the elegant fictions of Grecian mythology. When Mazois visited it in 1812, two paintings in the atrium were still in existence, though in a very perishing state. Shortly after he had copied them they fell, owing to the plaster detaching itself from the wall. One of them is taken from the Odyssey, and represents Ulysses and Circe, at the moment when the hero, having drunk the charmed cup with impunity, by virtue of the antidote given him by Mercury, draws his sword and advances to avenge his companions.[17] The goddess, terrified, makes her submission at once, as described by Homer, while her two attendants fly in alarm; yet one of them, with a natural curiosity, can not resist the temptation to look back, and observe the termination of so unexpected a scene. Circe uses the very gesture of supplication so constantly described by Homer and the tragedians, as she sinks on her knees, extending one hand to clasp the knees of Ulysses, with the other endeavoring to touch his beard.[18] This picture is remarkable, as teaching us the origin of that ugly and unmeaning glory with which the heads of saints are often surrounded. The Italians borrowed it from the Greek artists of the lower empire, in whose paintings it generally has the appearance, as we believe, of a solid plate of gold. The [81]glory round Circe's head has the same character, the outer limb or circle being strongly defined, not shaded off and divining into rays, as we usually see it in the Italian school. This glory was called nimbus, or aureola, and is defined by Servius to be "the luminous fluid which encircles the heads of the gods." It belongs with peculiar propriety to Circe, as the daughter of the sun. The emperors, with their usual modesty, assumed it as the mark of their divinity; and, under this respectable patronage, it passed, like many other Pagan superstitions and customs, in the use of the church.

The other picture represents Achilles at Scyros, where Thetis had hidden him among the daughters of Lycomedes, to prevent his engaging in the Trojan war. Ulysses discovered him by bringing for sale arms mixed with female trinkets, in the character of a merchant. The story is well known. The painting represents the moment when the young hero is seizing the arms. Deidamia seems not to know what to make of the matter, and tries to hold him back, while Ulysses is seen behind with his finger on his lips, closely observing all that passes.




page decoration 3

Houses of Pansa and Sallust.

The two compartments marked 30 are houses of a very mean class, having formerly an upper story. Behind the last of them is a court, which gives light to one of the chambers of Pansa's house. On the other side of the island or block are three houses (32), small, but of much more respectable extent and accommodation, which probably were also meant to be let. In that nearest the garden were found the skeletons of four women, with gold ear and finger rings having engraved stones, besides other valuables; showing that such inquilini or lodgers, were not always of the lowest class.

The best view of this house is from the front of the doorway. It offers to the eye, successively, the doorway, the prothyrum, the atrium, with its impluvium, the Ionic peristyle, and the garden wall, with Vesuvius in the distance. The entrance is decorated with two pilasters of the Corinthian order. Besides the outer door, there was another at the end of the prothyrum, to secure the atrium against too early intrusion. The latter apartment was paved with marble, with a gentle inclination towards the impluvium. Through the tablinum the peristyle is seen, with two of its Ionic capitals still remaining. The columns are sixteen in number, fluted, except for about one-third of their height from the bottom. They are made of a volcanic stone, and, with their capitals, are of good execution. But at some period subsequent to the erection of the house, probably after the earthquake, A.D. 63, they have been covered with hard stucco, and large [83]leaves of the same material set under the volutes, so as to transform them into a sort of pseudo-Corinthian, or Composite order. It is not impossible that the exclusively Italian order, which we call Composite, may have originated in a similar caprice. Of the disposition of the garden, which occupied the open part of the peristyle, we have little to say. Probably it was planted with choice flowers. Slabs of marble were placed at the angles to receive the drippings of the roof, which were conducted by metal conduits into the central basin, which is about six feet in depth, and was painted green. In the centre of it there stood a jet d'eau, as there are indications enough to prove. This apartment, if such it may be called, was unusually spacious, measuring about sixty-five feet by fifty. The height of the columns was equal to the width of the colonnade, about sixteen feet. Their unfluted part is painted yellow, the rest is coated with white stucco. The floor is elevated two steps above the level of the tablinum.

A curious religious painting, now almost effaced, was found in the kitchen, representing the worship offered to the Lares, under whose protection and custody the provisions and all the cooking utensils were placed. In the centre is a sacrifice in honor of those deities, who are represented below in the usual form of two huge serpents brooding over an altar. There is something remarkable in the upper figures. The female figure in the centre holds a cornucopia, and each of the male figures holds a small vase in the hand nearer to the altar, and a horn in the other. All the faces are quite black, and the heads of the male figures are surrounded with something resembling a glory. Their dress in general, and especially their boots, which are just like the Hungarian boots now worn on the stage, appear different from anything which is to be met with elsewhere. Are these figures meant for the Lares themselves? On each side are represented different sorts of eatables. On the left a bunch of small birds, a string of fish, a boar with a girth about his body, and a [84]magnificently curling tail, and a few loaves, or rather cakes, of the precise pattern of some which have been found in Pompeii: on the right, an eel spitted on a wire, a ham, a boar's head, and a joint of meat, which, as pig-meat seems to have been in request here, we may conjecture to be a loin of pork; at least it is as like that as anything else. It is suspended by a reed, as is still done at Rome. The execution of this painting is coarse and careless in the extreme, yet there is a spirit and freedom of touch which has hit off the character of the objects represented, and forbids us to impute the negligence which is displayed to incapacity. Another object of interest in the kitchen is a stove for stews and similar preparations, very much like those charcoal stoves which are seen in extensive kitchens at the present day. Before it lie a knife, strainers, and a strange-looking sort of a frying-pan, with four spherical cavities, as if it were meant to cook eggs. A similar one, containing twenty-nine egg-holes, has been found, which is circular, about fifteen inches in diameter, and without a handle. Another article of kitchen furniture is a sort of flat ladle pierced with holes, said to belong to the class called trua. It was meant apparently to stir up vegetables, etc., while boiling, and to strain the water from them.



This house has been long excavated, and perhaps that is the reason that, considering its extent and splendor, the notices of it are particularly meagre. Of the decorations we have been able [85]to procure no detailed accounts, though several paintings are said to have been found in it, and among them, one of Danae amid the golden shower, deserving of notice. Of the garden little can be said, for little is known. According to the best indications which Mazois could observe, it consisted of a number of straight parallel beds, divided by narrow paths, which gave access to them for horticultural purposes, but with no walk for air and exercise except the portico which adjoins the house.

Inferior to the House of Pansa, and to some others in size, but second to none in elegance of decoration and in the interest which it excites, is a house in the street leading from the Gate of Herculaneum to the Forum, called by some the House of Actæon, from a painting found in it; by others the House of Caius Sallustius. It occupies the southernmost portion of an insula extending backwards to the city walls.

It is remarkable that the architects of Pompeii seem to have been careless for the most part whether they built on a regular or an irregular area. The practice of surrounding the owner's abode with shops, enabled them to turn to advantage the sides and corners of any piece of ground, however misshapen. Thus in another plan the apartments of the dwelling-houses are almost all well shaped and rectangular, though not one of the four angles of the area is a right angle.

The general view of this house is taken from the street in front, and runs completely through to the garden wall. One of the pilasters which flank the doorway has its capital still in good preservation. It is cut out of gray lava, and represents a Silenus and Faun side by side, each holding one end of an empty leather bottle, thrown over their shoulders. Ornaments of this character, which can be comprehended under none of the orders of architecture, are common in Pompeii, and far from unpleasing in their effect, however contrary to established principles. On the right is the large opening into the vestibule. In the centre of the [86]view is the atrium, easily recognized by the impluvium, and beyond it through the tablinum are seen the pillars of the portico. Beyond the impluvium is the place of a small altar for the worship of the Lares. A bronze hind, through the mouth of which a stream of water flowed, formerly stood in the centre of the basin. It bore a figure of Hercules upon its back.

The walls of the atrium and tablinum are curiously stuccoed in large raised panels, with deep channels between them, the panels being painted of different colors, strongly contrasted with each other.

We find among them different shades of the same color, several reds, for instance, as sinopis, cinnabar, and others. This sort of decoration has caused some persons to call this the house of a color-seller—a conjecture entirely at variance with the luxury and elegance which reign in it. The floor was of red cement, with bits of white marble imbedded in it.

The altar in the atrium and the little oratory in the left-hand ala belong to the worship of the Lares domestici or familiares, as is indicated by the paintings found in the false doorway, but now removed. They consisted of a serpent below and a group of four figures above, employed in celebrating a sacrifice to these gods.

In the centre is a tripod, into which a priest, his head covered, is pouring the contents of a patera. On each side are two young men, dressed alike, apparently in the prætexta; at least their robes are white, and there is a double red stripe down the front of their tunics, and a red drapery is thrown over the shoulders of each. In one hand each holds a patera; in the other each holds aloft a cow's horn perforated at the small end, through which a stream is spouting into the patera at a considerable distance. This, though an inconvenient, seems to have been a common drinking-vessel. The method of using it has already been described. In the background is a man playing on the double flute.

[87]The worship of the Lares was thus publicly represented, and their images were exposed to view, that all persons might have an opportunity of saluting them and invoking prosperity on the house. Noble families had also a place of domestic worship (adytum or penetrale) in the most retired part of their mansions, where their most valuable records and hereditary memorials were preserved.

The worship of these little deities (Dii minuti, or patellarii) was universally popular, partly perhaps on account of its economical nature, for they seem to have been satisfied with anything that came to hand, partly perhaps from a sort of feeling of good fellowship in them and towards them, like that connected with the Brownies and Cluricaunes, and other household goblins of northern extraction.

Like those goblins they were represented sometimes under very grotesque forms. There is a bronze figure of one found at Herculaneum, and figured in the Antiquites d'Herculanum, plate xvii. vol. viii., which represents a little old man sitting on the ground with his knees up to his chin, a huge head, ass's ears, a long beard, and a roguish face, which would agree well with our notion of a Brownie. Their statues were often placed behind the door, as having power to keep out all things hurtful, especially evil genii. Respected as they were, they sometimes met with rough treatment, and were kicked or cuffed, or thrown out of window without ceremony, if any unlucky accident had chanced through their neglect. Sometimes they were imaged under the form of dogs, the emblems of fidelity and watchfulness, sometimes, like their brethren of the highways (Lares compitales), in the shape of serpents.

The tutelary genii of men or places, a class of beings closely allied to Lares, were supposed to manifest themselves in the same shape: as, for example, a sacred serpent was believed at Athens to keep watch in the temple of Athene in the Acropolis. Hence [88]paintings of these animals became in some sort the guardians of the spot in which they were set up, like images of saints in Roman Catholic countries, and not unfrequently were employed when it was wished to secure any place from irreverent treatment.

From these associations the presence of serpents came to be considered of good omen, and by a natural consequence they were kept (a harmless sort of course) in the houses, where they nestled about the altars, and came out like dogs or cats to be patted by the visitors, and beg for something to eat. Nay, at table, if we may build upon insulated passages, they crept about the cups of the guests; and in hot weather ladies would use them as live boas, and twist them round their necks for the sake of coolness.

Martial, however, our authority for this, seems to consider it as an odd taste. Virgil, therefore, in a fine passage, in which he has availed himself of the divine nature attributed to serpents, is only describing a scene which he may often have witnessed:

Scarce had he finished, when with speckled pride,
A serpent from the tomb began to glide;
His hugy bulk on seven high volumes rolled;
Blue was his breadth of back, but streaked with scaly gold;
Thus, riding on his curls, he seemed to pass
A rolling fire along, and singe the grass.
More various colors through his body run,
Than Iris, when her bow imbibes the sun.
Betwixt the rising altars, and around,
The rolling monster shot along the ground.
With harmless play amidst the bowls he passed,
And with his lolling tongue assayed the taste;
Thus fed with holy food, the wondrous guest
Within the hollow tomb retired to rest.
The pious prince, surprised at what he viewed,
The funeral honors with more zeal renewed;
Doubtful if this the place's genius were,
Or guardian of his father's sepulchre.

We may conjecture from the paintings, which bear a marked [89]resemblance to one another, that these snakes were of considerable size, and of the same species, probably that called Æsculapius, which was brought from Epidaurus to Rome with the worship of the god, and, as we are told by Pliny, was commonly fed in the houses of Rome. These sacred animals made war on the rats and mice, and thus kept down one species of vermin; but as they bore a charmed life, and no one laid violent hands on them, they multiplied so fast, that, like the monkeys of Benares, they became an intolerable nuisance. The frequent fires at Rome were the only things that kept them under.

Passing through the tablinum, we enter the portico of the xystus, or garden, a spot small in extent, but full of ornament and of beauty, though not that sort of beauty which the notion of a garden suggests to us. It is not larger than a city garden, the object of our continual ridicule; yet while the latter is ornamented only with one or two scraggy poplars, and a few gooseberry-bushes with many more thorns than leaves, the former is elegantly decorated by the hand of art, and set apart as the favorite retreat of festive pleasure. True it is that the climate of Italy suits out-of-door amusements better than our own, and that Pompeii was not exposed to that plague of soot which soon turns marble goddesses into chimney-sweepers. The portico is composed of columns, fluted and corded, the lower portion of them painted blue, without pedestals, yet approaching to the Roman rather than to the Grecian Doric. The entablature is gone. From the portico we ascend by three steps to the xystus. Its small extent, not exceeding in its greatest dimensions seventy feet by twenty, did not permit trees, hardly even shrubs, to be planted in it. The centre, therefore, was occupied by a pavement, and on each side boxes filled with earth were ranged for flowers; while, to make amends for the want of real verdure, the whole wall opposite the portico is painted with trellises and fountains, and birds drinking from them; and above, with thickets enriched and ornamented with numerous tribes of their winged inhabitants.

[90]The most interesting discoveries at Pompeii are those which throw light on, or confirm passages of ancient authors. Exactly the same style of ornament is described by Pliny the Younger as existing in his Tuscan villa. "Another cubiculum is adorned with sculptured marble for the height of the podium; above which is a painting of trees, and birds sitting on them, not inferior in elegance to the marble itself. Under it is a small fountain, and in the fountain a cup, round which the playing of several small water-pipes makes a most agreeable murmur." At the end of this branch of the garden, which is shaped like an L, we see an interesting monument of the customs of private life. It is a summer triclinium, in plan like that which has been mentioned in the preceding chapter, but much more elegantly decorated. The couches are of masonry, intended to be covered with mattresses and rich tapestry when the feast was to be held here: the round table in the centre was of marble. Above it was a trellis, as is shown by the square pillars in front and the holes in the walls which enclose two sides of the triclinium. These walls are elegantly painted in panels, in the prevailing taste; but above the panelling there is a whimsical frieze, appropriate to the purpose of this little pavilion, consisting of all sorts of eatables which can be introduced at a feast. When Mazois first saw it the colors were fresh and beautiful; but when he wrote, after a lapse of ten years, it was already in decay, and ere now it has probably disappeared, so perishable are all those beauties which can not be protected from the inclemency of the weather by removal. In front a stream of water pours into a basin from the wall, on which, half painted, half raised in relief, is a mimic fountain surmounted by a stag. Between the fountain and triclinium, in a line between the two pilasters which supported the trellis, was a small altar, on which the due libations might be poured by the festive party. In the other limb of the garden is a small furnace, probably intended to keep water constantly hot for the [91]use of those who preferred warm potations. Usually the Romans drank their wine mixed with snow, and clarified through a strainer, of which there are many in the Museum of Naples, curiously pierced in intricate patterns; but those who were under medical care were not always suffered to enjoy this luxury. Martial laments his being condemned by his physician to drink no cold wine, and concludes with wishing that his enviers may have nothing but warm water. At the other end of the garden, opposite the front of the triclinium, was a cistern which collected the rain waters, whence they were drawn for the use of the garden and of the house. There was also a cistern at the end of the portico, next the triclinium.

The several rooms to the left of the atrium offer nothing remarkable. On the right, however, as will be evident upon inspecting the plan, a suite of apartments existed, carefully detached from the remainder of the house, and communicating only with the atrium by a single passage. The disposition and the ornaments of this portion of the house prove that it was a private venereum, a place, if not consecrated to the goddess from whom it derives its name, at least especially devoted to her service. The strictest privacy has been studied in its arrangements; no building overlooks it; the only entrance is closed by two doors, both of which we may conjecture, were never suffered to be open at once; and beside them was the apartment of a slave, whose duty was to act as porter and prevent intrusion. Passing the second door, the visitor found himself under a portico supported by octagonal columns, with a court or open area in the centre, and in the middle of it a small basin. At each end of the portico is a small cabinet, with appropriate paintings: in one of them a painting of Venus, Mars, and Cupid is conspicuous.

The apartments were paved with marble, and the walls lined breast-high with the same material. A niche in the cabinet nearest the triclinium contained a small image, a gold vase, a [92]gold coin, and twelve bronze medals of the reign of Vespasian; and near this spot were found eight small bronze columns, which appear to have formed part of a bed.

In the adjoining lane four skeletons were found, apparently a female attended by three slaves; the tenant perhaps of this elegant apartment. Beside her was a round plate of silver, which probably was a mirror, together with several golden rings set with engraved stones, two ear-rings, and five bracelets of the same metal.

Both cabinets had glazed windows, which commanded a view of the court and of each other; it is conjectured that they were provided with curtains. The court itself presents no trace of pavement, and, therefore, probably served as a garden.

The ground of the wall is black, a color well calculated to set off doubtful complexions to the best advantage, while its sombre aspect is redeemed by a profusion of gold-colored ornament, in the most elegant taste. The columns were painted with the color called sinopis Ponticum, a species of red ochre of brilliant tint. Nearly all the wall of the court between the cabinets is occupied by a large painting of Actæon, from which the house derives one of its names; on either side it is flanked by the representation of a statue on a high pedestal. The centre piece comprises a double action. In one part we see a rocky grotto, in which Diana was bathing when the unwary hunter made his appearance above: in the other he is torn by his own dogs, a severe punishment for an unintentional intrusion. The background represents a wild and mountainous landscape. A painted frieze, and other paintings on the walls, complete the decorations of the portico.

The large apartment was a triclinium for the use of this portion of the house, where the place of the table, and of the beds which surrounded it on three sides, was marked by a mosaic pavement. Over the left-hand portico there was a terrace. The [93]space marked 36 contained the stair which gave access to it, a stove connected probably with the service of the triclinium and other conveniences.

In the centre room is the opening into the tablinum, which probably was only separated from the atrium by curtains (parapetasmata), which might be drawn or undrawn at pleasure. Through the tablinum the pillars of the peristyle and the fountain painted on the garden wall are seen. To the right of the tablinum is the fauces, and on each side of the atrium the alæ are seen, partly shut off, like the tablinum, by handsome draperies. The nearer doors belong to chambers which open into the atrium. Above the colored courses of stucco blocks the walls are painted in the light, almost Chinese style of architecture, which is so common, and a row of scenic masks fills the place of a cornice. The ceiling is richly fretted.

The compluvium also was ornamented with a row of triangular tiles called antefixes, on which a mask or some other object was moulded in relief. Below, lions' heads are placed along the cornice at intervals, forming spouts through which the water was discharged into the impluvium beneath. Part of this cornice, found in the house of which we speak, is well deserving our notice, because it contains, within itself, specimens of three different epochs of art, at which we must suppose the house was first built, and subsequently repaired.

It is made of fine clay, with a lion's head moulded upon it, well designed, and carefully finished. It is plain, therefore, that it was not meant to be stuccoed, or the labor bestowed in its execution would have been in great part wasted. At a later period it has been coated over with the finest stucco, and additional enrichments and mouldings have been introduced, yet without injury to the design or inferiority in the workmanship; indicating that at the time of its execution the original simplicity of art had given way to a more enriched and elaborate style of [94]ornament, yet without any perceptible decay, either in the taste of the designer or the skill of the workman.

Still later this elegant stucco cornice had been covered with a third coating of the coarsest materials, and of design and execution most barbarous, when it is considered how fine a model the artists had before their eyes.

In the restoration, the impluvium is surrounded with a mosaic border. This has disappeared, if ever there was one; but mosaics are frequently found in this situation, and it is, therefore, at all events, an allowable liberty to place one here, in a house so distinguished for the richness and elegance of its decorations.

Beside the impluvium stood a machine, now in the National Museum, for heating water, and at the same time warming the room if requisite. The high circular part, with the lid open, is a reservoir, communicating with the semi-circular piece, which is hollow, and had a spout to discharge the heated water. The three eagles placed on it are meant to support a kettle. The charcoal was contained in the square base.

In the preceding pages we have taken indiscriminately, from all quarters of the town, houses of all classes, from the smallest to the most splendid, in the belief that such would be the best way of showing the gradations of wealth and comfort, the different styles of dwelling adopted by different classes of citizens, in proportion to their means. It would, however, be manifestly impossible so to classify all the houses which contain something worthy of description, and we shall, therefore, adopt a topographical arrangement as the simplest one, commencing at the Gate of Herculaneum, and proceeding in as regular order as circumstances will permit through the excavated part of the town.

Most of the houses immediately about the gate appear to have been small inns or eating-houses, probably used chiefly by country people, who came into market, or by the lower order of travelers. Immediately to the right of it, however, at the [95]beginning of the street called the Via Consularis, or Domitiana, there is a dwelling of a better class, called the House of the Musician, from paintings of musical instruments which ornamented the walls. Among these were the sistrum, trumpet, double flute, and others. Upon the right side of the street, however, the buildings soon improve, and in that quarter are situated some of the most remarkable mansions, in respect of extent and construction, which Pompeii affords. They stand in part upon the site of the walls which have been demolished upon this, the side next the port, for what purpose it is not very easy to say; not to make room for the growth of the city, for these houses stand at the very limit of the available ground, being partly built upon a steep rock. Hence, besides the upper floors, which have perished, they consist each of two or three stories, one below another, so that the apartments next the street are always on the highest level. Those who are familiar with the metropolis of Scotland will readily call to mind a similar mode of construction very observable on the north side of the High Street, where the ground-floor is sometimes situated about the middle of the house.

One of the most remarkable of these houses contains three stories; the first, level with the street, contains the public part of the house, the vestibule, atrium, and tablinum, which opens upon a spacious terrace. Beside these is the peristyle and other private apartments, at the back of which the terrace of which we have just spoken offers an agreeable walk for the whole breadth of the house, and forms the roof of a spacious set of apartments at a lower level, which are accessible either by a sloping passage from the street, running under the atrium, or by a staircase communicating with the peristyle. This floor contains baths, a triclinium, a spacious saloon, and other rooms necessary for the private use of a family. Behind these rooms is another terrace, which overlooks a spacious court surrounded by porticoes, and containing a piscina or reservoir in the centre. The pillars on the side next [96]the house are somewhat higher than on the other three sides, so as to give the terrace there a greater elevation. Below this second story there is yet a third, in part under ground, which contains another set of baths, and, besides apartments for other purposes, the lodging of the slaves. This was divided into little cells, scarcely the length of a man, dark and damp; and we can not enter into it without a lively feeling of the wretched state to which these beings were reduced.

A few steps further on the same side, is another house somewhat of the same description, which evidently belonged to some man of importance, probably to Julius Polybius, whose name has been found in several inscriptions. Fragments of richly-gilt stucco-work enable us to estimate the richness of its decoration and the probable wealth of its owner. It will be readily distinguished by its immense Corinthian atrium, or rather peristyle. It has the further peculiarity of having two vestibules each communicating with the street and with the atrium. The portico of the atrium is formed by arcades and piers, ornamented with attached columns, the centre being occupied by a court and fountain. These arcades appear to be enclosed by windows. Square holes, worked in the marble coping of a dwarf wall which surrounds the little court, were perfectly distinguishable, and it is concluded that they were meant to receive the window-frames.

Pliny the Younger describes a similar glazed portico at his Laurentine villa; and an antique painting, representing the baths of Faustina, gives the view of a portico, the apertures of which are entirely glazed, as we suppose them to have been here. The portico, and three apartments which communicate with it, were paved in mosaic. Attached to one of the corner piers there is a fountain. The kitchen and other apartments were below this floor. There was also an upper story, as is clear from the remains of stair-cases. This house extends to the point at which a by-street turns away from the main road to the Forum. We [97]will now return to the gate, to describe the triangular island of houses which bounds the main street on the eastern side.

That close to the gate, called the House of the Triclinium, derives its name from a large triclinium in the centre of the peristyle, which is spacious and handsome, and bounded by the city walls. The House of the Vestals is a little further on. What claim it has to this title, except by the rule of contraries, we are at a loss to guess; seeing that the style of its decorations is very far from corresponding with that purity of thought and manners which we are accustomed to associate with the title of vestal. The paintings are numerous and beautiful, and the mosaics remarkably fine. Upon the threshold here, as in several other houses, we find the word "Salve" (Welcome), worked in mosaic. One may be seen in cut on page 30.

We enter by a vestibule, divided into three compartments, and ornamented with four attached columns, which introduces us to an atrium, fitted up in the usual manner, and surrounded by the usual apartments. The most remarkable of these is a triclinium, which formerly was richly paved with glass mosaics. Hence we pass into the private apartments, which are thus described by Bonucci:—"This house seems to have been originally two separate houses, afterwards, probably, bought by some rich man, and thrown into one. After traversing a little court, around which are the sleeping chambers, and that destined to business, we hastened to render our visit to the Penates. We entered the pantry, and rendered back to the proprietors the greeting that, from the threshold of this mansion, they still direct to strangers. We next passed through the kitchen and its dependencies. The corn-mills seemed waiting for the accustomed hands to grind with them, after so many years of repose. Oil standing in glass vessels, chestnuts, dates, raisins, and figs, in the next chamber, announce the provision for the approaching winter, and large amphoræ of wine recall to us the consulates of Cæsar and of Cicero.



"We entered the private apartment. Magnificent porticoes are to be seen around it. Numerous beautiful columns covered with stucco, and with very fresh colors, surrounded a very agreeable garden, a pond, and a bath. Elegant paintings, delicate ornaments, stags, sphinxes, wild and fanciful flowers everywhere cover the walls. The cabinets of young girls, and their toilets, with appropriate paintings, are disposed along the sides. In this last were found a great quantity of female ornaments, such as seen in the cut, and others, and the skeleton of a little dog. At the extremity is seen a semicircular room adorned with niches, and formerly with statues, mosaics, and marbles. An altar, on which the sacred fire burned perpetually, rose in the centre. This is the sacrarium. In this secret and sacred place the most solemn and memorable days of the family were spent in rejoicing; and here, on birthdays, sacrifices were offered to Juno, or the Genius, the protector of the new-born child."

[99]The next house is called the House of a Surgeon, because a variety of surgical instruments were found in it. In number they amounted to forty; some resembled instruments still in use, others are different from anything employed by modern surgeons. In many the description of Celsus is realized, as, for instance, in the specillum, or probe, which is concave on one side and flat on the other; the scalper excisorius, in the shape of a lancet-point on one side and of a mallet on the other; a hook and forceps, used in obstetrical practice. The latter are said to equal in the convenience and ingenuity of their construction the best efforts of modern cutlers. Needles, cutting compasses (circini excisorii), and other instruments were found, all of the purest brass with bronze handles, and usually enclosed in brass or boxwood cases.

There is nothing remarkable in the house itself, which contains the usual apartments, atrium, peristyle, etc., except the paintings. These consist chiefly of architectural designs, combinations of golden and bronze-colored columns placed in perspective, surmounted by rich architraves, elaborate friezes, and decorated cornices, one order above another. Intermixed are arabesque ornaments, grotesque paintings, and compartments with figures, all apparently employed in domestic occupations.

One of them represents a female figure carrying rolls of papyrus to a man who is seated and intently reading. The method of reading these rolls or volumes, which were written in transverse columns across the breadth of the papyrus, is clearly shown here. Behind him a young woman is seated, playing on the harp. All these figures are placed under the light architectural designs above described, which seem intended to surmount a terrace. It is a common practice at the present day in Italy, especially near Naples, to construct light treillages on the tops of the houses, where the inhabitants enjoy the evening breeze, al fresco, in the same way as is represented in these paintings.

The peristyle is small, but in good preservation. Its [100]inter-columniations are filled up by a dwarf wall painted red, the lower part of the columns being painted blue. This house runs through the island from one street to the other. Adjoining it, on the south, is the custom-house, telonium. Here a wide entrance admits us into an ample chamber, where many scales were found, and among them a steelyard, statera, much resembling those now in use, but more richly and tastefully ornamented.



Many weights of lead and marble were found here; one with the inscription, "Eme et habebis" (Buy and you shall have), also scales. Near the custom-house is a soap manufactory. In the first room were heaps of lime, the admirable quality of which has excited the wonder of modern plasterers. In an inner room are the soap-vats, placed on a level with the ground.

Besides these, the block contains three houses which have been distinguished by names, the House of Isis and Osiris, the House of Narcissus, and the House of the Female Dancers. Of these the latter is remarkable for the beauty of the paintings which adorn its Tuscan atrium.

Among them are four very elegant figures of female dancers, from which the name given to the house is taken. Another represents a figure reposing on the border of a clear lake, surrounded by villas and palaces, on the bosom of which a flock of ducks and wild-fowl are swimming. The house of Narcissus is distinguished by the elegance of its peristyle; the inter-columniations are filled up by a dwarf wall, which is hollowed at the top, [101]probably to receive earth for the cultivation of select flowers. Our materials do not admit of a fuller description of the houses in this quarter.

Passing onwards from the House of Sallust, the next island to the south, separated from it by a narrow lane, affords nothing remarkable, except the shop of a baker, to the details of which, in conjunction with the art of dyeing, we purpose to devote a separate chapter. It is terminated in a sharp point by the fountain before mentioned. The disposition of the streets and houses everywhere is most unsymmetrical, but here it is remarkably so, even for Pompeii. Just by the house with the double vestibule the main street divides into two, inclined to each other at a very acute angle, which form, together with a third cross street of more importance, called the Strada delle Terme, or Street of the Baths, another small triangular island.

The house of the apex was an apothecary's shop. A great many drugs, glasses, and vials of the most singular forms, were found here; in some of the latter fluids were yet remaining. In particular one large glass vase is to be mentioned, capable of holding two gallons, in which was a gallon and a half of a reddish liquid, said to be balsam. On being opened, the contents began to evaporate very fast, and it was, therefore, closed hermetically. About an inch in depth of the contents has been thus lost, leaving on the sides of the vessel a sediment, reaching up to the level to which it was formerly filled. The right-hand street leads to buildings entirely in ruins, the left-hand one, which is a continuation of the Via Consularis, or Domitiana, conducts us towards the Forum.

Immediately to the eastward of the district just described is the House of Pansa, which occupies a whole block. The block between it and the city walls, on the north, offers nothing remarkable. Beyond, still to the east, is a block separated from it by a narrow street, called the Via della Fullonica, and bounded on the [102]other side by the Street of Mercury, which runs in a straight line from the walls nearly to the Forum. This block contains, besides several private houses of great beauty, the Fullonica, or establishment for the fulling and dyeing of woolen cloths. This, together with the bake-house above mentioned, will be described further on.

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House of Holconius.

Passing on the insula or block, bounded on the north by the Street of Holconius, on the south by the Street of Isis, on the west by the Street of the Theatres, and on the east by that of Stabiæ, we find two remarkable houses excavated within the last few years. That at the northern corner of the street of the Theatres, numbered 4 on the entrance, is sometimes called the House of Holconius. The two stores which precede it, numbered 2 and 3, seem to have been the property of the master of the house, and communicate with each other. A third shop, numbered 1, at the angle of the street, appears to have been occupied by a dyer, and is called Taberna Offectoris. On the front of the house were some inscriptions for electioneering purposes.

The pilasters on either side of the main entrance are painted red to about the height of a man, beyond which they are of white plaster. On entering the prothyrum may be observed a large hole in the wall, destined for the reception of the repagulum, or strong wooden bar with which the door was secured. The door appears, from the places for bolts on the threshold, to have been composed of two pieces (bifora). The walls of the prothyrum are painted black, with a red podium, divided into three compartments by green and yellow lines, in the middle of which are an aquatic bird, perhaps an ibis, a swan with spread wings, and an ornament that can not be made out. Towards the top the walls are painted with fantastic pieces of architecture on a white ground; amidst which, on one side, is a nymph descending [104]apparently from heaven. She has a golden-colored vest, on her shoulders is a veil agitated by the breeze, and she bears in her hand a large dish filled with fruits and herbs. On the other side was a similar figure, playing on the lyre, with a sky-blue vest and rose-colored veil that fluttered about her. The remaining architectural paintings contained little winged Cupids, one holding a cornucopia, another a drum, and two with baskets of fruits and flowers. These were the good geniuses, which, by being depicted at the entrance of a house, repelled all evil influences and rendered it a joyful abode.

The pavement of the Tuscan atrium is variegated with small pieces of white marble placed in rows. The impluvium in the middle appears to have been under repair, as it is stripped of its marble lining. The walls of the atrium are painted red, with vertical black zones like pilasters, or antæ, besides lines and ornaments of various colors. On the wall to the left of the entrance is painted a recumbent Silenus, crowned with ivy, and pressing in his arms the little Bacchus, who in alarm is endeavoring to escape from his embraces. Near it, on a yellow ground, is the bearded head of a man, with two claws projecting from his temples like horns, and a beard floating as if it was in the water. It may probably be a mask of Oceanus, who is represented on coins of Agrigentum in a somewhat similar manner. Under the head is the figure of a hippocampus.

Many objects were found in this atrium, some at the height of four or five yards from the floor, which must consequently have fallen in from the upper stories; and others on the pavement itself. But one of the most important discoveries was the skeleton of a woman, near the entrance of the tablinum. She appears to have been in the act of flight, and had with her a small box containing her valuables and nick-nacks. Among the most curious of these was a necklace composed of amulets, or charms, which, it will be observed, are all attributes of Isis and her [105]attendant, Anubis, or of her husband Osiris, here considered as Bacchus. The mystic articles kept in the Isiac coffer were, says Eusebius, a ball, dice, (turbo) wheel, mirror, lock of wool.

The first bed-chamber on the right of the atrium communicated with the store No. 3, and was probably occupied by the slave who conducted the business of it. The first bed-chamber on the left had a similar communication with the store outside.



There are few houses in Pompeii in which the paintings are more numerous or better preserved than in that which we are examining. The second bed-chamber on the right has several. In this room may be observed a space hollowed in the wall to receive the foot of a bed or coutch. The walls are white, with [106]a red podium, and are surmounted by a cornice from which springs the vault. The upper part is painted with lines, between which are depicted griffins in repose, baskets with thyrsi, branches of herbs, and other objects.

The lower part of the walls is divided into larger compartments by candelabra supporting little globes. In each compartment are eight small pictures, representing the heads and busts of Bacchic personages, in a very good state of preservation. On the left is Bacchus, crowned with ivy, his head covered with the mitra, a sort of veil of fine texture which descends upon his left shoulder. This ornament, as well as the cast of his features, reveals the half feminine nature of the deity. Opposite to him is the picture of Ariadne, also crowned with ivy, clothed in a green chiton and a violet himation. She presses to her bosom the infant Iacchus, crowned with the eternal ivy, and bearing in his hand the thyrsus. Then follow Bacchic or Panic figures, some conversing, some drinking together, some moving apparently in the mazes of the dance. Paris, with the Phrygian cap and crook, seems to preside over this voluptuous scene, and to listen to a little Cupid seated on his shoulder.

In the chamber on the opposite side of the atrium, fronting that just described, were also four pictures, two of which are destroyed, the walls having apparently been broken through, not long after the destruction of Pompeii, by persons in search of their buried property. Of the other two, which are almost effaced, one represents an aged Faun, holding in his hands a thyrsus and a vase; the other a young woman conversing with an African slave. A wooden chest seems to have stood close to the left-hand wall.

The left ala, or wing, has its walls painted in yellow and red compartments, with a black podium. In the middle of each was a valuable painting, but these, with the exception of the greater part of one fronting the entrance, have been almost [107]destroyed. The one saved represents Apollo, who has overtaken Daphne, and is clasping her in his arms, while the nymph, who has fallen on her knees, repels the embraces of the deity. A malicious little Cupid, standing on tiptoes, draws aside the golden-tissued veil which covered the nymph, and displays her naked form. On the left of the same apartment is a picture, almost effaced, of Perseus and Andromeda; and on the right another with three male figures, of which only the lower part remains.

The right ala, which, however, from its capability of being closed with a door, does not properly come under that denomination, seems, from various culinary utensils of metal and earthenware found in it, to have served as a kitchen, or rather perhaps as a store-closet.

The tablinum, opposite the entrance, and, as usual, without any enclosure on the side of the atrium, has a small marble threshold, and on its floor little squares of colored marbles surrounded with a mosaic border. The yellow walls, divided into compartments by vertical stripes of red, white, and black, were beautifully ornamented with the usual architectural designs and flying figures. On each side were two larger pictures, of which only that on the left of the spectator remains. It represents Leda showing to Tyndareus a nest containing the two boys produced from the egg. A stucco cornice runs round the wall, above which a flying nymph is painted on a white ground, between two balconies, from which a man and woman are looking down. There are also figures of sphinxes, goats, etc.

A wooden staircase on the left of the tablinum, the first step being of stone, led to the floor above. On the right is the passage called fauces, leading to the peristyle. On its left-hand side, near the ground, was a rudely traced figure of a gladiator, with an inscription above, of which only the first letters, PRIMI, remain. On the left wall of the fauces, near the extremity, and level with the eye, is another inscription, or graffito, in small [108]characters, difficult to be deciphered from the unusual nexus of the letters, but which the learned have supposed to express the design of an invalid to get rid of the pains in his limbs by bathing them in water.

At the extremity of the fauces, on the right, there is an entrance to a room which has also another door leading into the portico of the peristyle. The walls are painted black and red, and in the compartments are depicted birds, animals, fruits, etc. Two skeletons were found in this room. In the apartment to the left, or east of the tablinum, of which the destination can not be certainly determined, the walls are also painted black, with architectural designs in the middle, and figures of winged Cupids variously employed. On the larger walls are two paintings, of which that on the right represents the often-repeated subject of Ariadne, who, just awakened from sleep, and supported by a female figure with wings, supposed to be Nemesis, views with an attitude of grief and stupor the departing ship of Theseus, already far from Naxos. On the left side is a picture of Phryxus, crossing the sea on the ram and stretching out his arms to Helle, who has fallen over and appears on the point of drowning. The form of this chamber, twice as long as it is broad, its vicinity to the kitchen, and the window, through which the slaves might easily convey the viands, appear to show that it was a triclinium, or dining-room.

The floor, which is lower by a step than the peristyle, is paved with opus Signinum, and ornamented only at one end with a mosaic. On one of the walls, about ten feet from the floor, is the graffito, Sodales Avete (Welcome Comrades), which could have been inscribed there only by a person, probably a slave, mounted on a bench or a ladder.

The viridarium, or xystus, surrounded with spacious porticoes, was once filled with the choicest flowers, and refreshed by the grateful murmur of two fountains. One of these in the [109]middle of the peristyle is square, having in its centre a sort of round table from which the water gushed forth. The other fountain, which faces the tablinum, is composed of a little marble staircase, surmounted by the statue of a boy having in his right hand a vase from which the water spirted, and under his left arm a goose. The statue is rather damaged.

Many objects were found in the peristyle, mostly of the kind usually discovered in Pompeian houses. Among them was an amphora, having the following epigraph in black paint:


which has been interpreted to mean that it contained Coan wine flavored with pomegranate, and that it came from Rome, from the stores of Aterius Felix.

The portico is surrounded by strong columns, and seems to have had a second order resting on the first, as may be inferred from some indications to the right of him who enters from the fauces. The walls are painted red and black, with architectural designs, candelabra, meanders, birds, winged Cupids, etc. There are also fourteen small pictures enclosed in red lines, eight of which represent landscapes and sea-shores, with fishermen, and the other six fruits and eatables. On the wall on the right side is the following graffito, or inscription, scratched with some sharp instrument:


That is: "On the 25th July, hog's lard, two hundred pounds, Garlic, two hundred bunches." It seems, therefore, to be a domestic memorandum of articles either bought or sold.

Around the portico are several rooms, all having marble thresholds, and closed by doors turning on bronze hinges. On [110]the right hand of the peristyle, near the entrance, is a private door, or posticum, leading into the Street of the Theatres, by which the master of the house might escape his importunate clients.

The rooms at the sides of the peristyle offer nothing remarkable, but the three chambers opposite to the tablinum are of considerable size, and contain some good pictures. The first on the right has two figures of Nereids traversing the sea, one on a sea-bull the other on a hippocampus. Both the monsters are guided by a Cupid with reins and whip, and followed by dolphins. Another painting opposite the entrance is too much effaced to be made out. The same wall has a feature not observed in any other Pompeian house, namely, a square aperture of rather more than a foot reaching down to the floor, and opening upon an enclosed place with a canal or drain for carrying off the water of the adjoining houses. It seems also to have been a receptacle for lamps, several of which were found there.

Adjoining this room is a large exedra with a little impluvium in the middle, which seems to indicate an aperture in the roof, a construction hitherto found only in atria. The absence of any channels in the floor for conducting water seems to show that it could not have been a fountain. This exedra is remarkable for its paintings. In the wall in front is depicted Narcissus with a javelin in his hand, leaning over a rock and admiring himself in the water, in which his image is reflected; but great part of the painting is destroyed. A little Cupid is extinguishing his torch in the stream. In the background is a building with an image of the bearded Bacchus; and near it a terminal figure of Priapus Ithyphallicus, with grapes and other fruits. This picture was much damaged in the process of excavation.

On the left wall is a painting of a naked Hermaphroditus. In his right hand is a little torch reversed; his left arm rests on the shoulders of Silenus, who appears to accompany his songs on the lyre, whilst a winged Cupid sounds the double flute. On the [111]other side is a Bacchante with a thyrsus and tambourine, and near her a little Satyr, who also holds a torch reversed.

But the best picture in this apartment is that representing Ariadne discovered by Bacchus. A youthful figure with wings, supposed to represent Sleep, stands at Ariadne's head, and seems to indicate that she is under his influence. Meanwhile a little Faun lifts the veil that covers her, and with an attitude indicating surprise at her beauty, turns to Bacchus and seems to invite him to contemplate her charms. The deity himself, crowned with ivy and berries, clothed in a short tunic and a pallium agitated by the breeze, holds in his right hand the thyrsus, and lifts his left in token of admiration. In the background a Bacchante sounds her tympanum, and invites the followers of the god to descend from the mountains. These, preceded by Silenus, obey the summons; one is playing the double flute, another sounding the cymbals, a third bears on her head a basket of fruit. A Faun and a Bacchante, planted on a mountain on the left, survey the scene from a distance.

The adjoining triclinium, entered by a door from the exedra, had also three paintings, one of which however is almost destroyed. Of the remaining two, that on the left represents Achilles discovered by Ulysses among the damsels of Lycomedes. The subject of that on the right is the Judgment of Paris. It is more remarkable for its spirit and coloring than for the accuracy of its drawing. This apartment has also six medallions with heads of Bacchic personages.

In the same block as the house just described, and having its entrance in the same street, stands the house of Cornelius Rufus. It is a handsome dwelling, but as its plan and decorations have nothing to distinguish them from other Pompeian houses, we forbear to describe them. The only remarkable feature in this excavation was the discovery of a Hermes at the bottom of the atrium on the left, on which was a marble bust of the [112]owner, as large as life and well executed, having his name inscribed beneath.

Not far from the houses just described, in the Street of Stabiæ, at the angle formed by the street leading to the amphitheatre, stands the House of Apollo Citharœdus, excavated in 1864. It derives its name from a fine bronze statue, as large as life, of Apollo sounding the lyre, which was found there, but has now been placed in the Museum at Naples. In this house the tablinum and a peristyle beyond are on a higher level than the atrium; consequently the fauces, or passage leading to the latter, ascends. In the peristyle is a semicircular fountain, on the margin of which were disposed several animals in bronze, representing a hunting scene. In the centre was a wild boar in flight attacked by two dogs; at the sides were placed a lion, a stag, and a serpent. These animals, arranged in the same way in which they were found, are now preserved in the Museum.

Adjoining the House of Lucretius are several stores. That next door but one appears to have belonged to a chemist or color-maker. On the right of the atrium is a triple furnace, constructed for the reception of three large cauldrons at different levels, which were reached by steps. The house contained a great quantity of carbonized drugs. At the sides of the entrance were two stores for the sale of the manufactured articles. In one of these stores was discovered, some yards below the old level of the soil, the skeleton of a woman with two bracelets of gold, two of silver, four ear-rings, five rings, forty-seven gold, and one hundred and ninety-seven silver coins, in a purse of netted gold.

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House of the Tragic Poet

Painted by J. Coomans Engraved & Printed by Illman Brothers.



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General Survey of the City.

Proceeding southward along the Street of Mercury, we pass under the triumphal arch of Nero, and crossing the transverse street which leads towards the Gate of Nola, enter the Street of the Forum, a continuation of the Street of Mercury, leading straight to the triumphal arch at the north end of the Forum, and bounding the island of the Baths on the eastern side. This street is one of the most spacious in Pompeii. A long list of articles was found here in the course of excavation. One of the houses about the centre of the street nearly opposite the entrance to the Thermæ, is of more consequence than the rest, and has been named the House of Bacchus, from a large painting of that god on a door opposite to the entry. Channels for the introduction of water were found in the atrium, which has been surrounded by a small trough, formed to contain flowers, the outer side of which is painted blue, to imitate water, with boats floating upon it. The wall behind this is painted with pillars, between which are balustrades of various forms. Cranes and other birds perch upon these, and there is a back ground of reeds and other vegetables, above which the sky is visible. The greater portion of the eastern side of the street is occupied by a row of shops with a portico in front of them. It is flanked on either side by footpaths, and must have presented a noble appearance when terminated by triumphal arches at either end, and overlooked by the splendid Temple of Jupiter and that of Fortune elevated on its lofty basis.

[114]It is to be noticed that the last-named edifice does not stand symmetrically either with the Street of the Forum or with the Street of the Baths running past the House of the Pansa. "The portico," we quote again from Gell, "is turned a little towards the Forum, and the front of the temple is so contrived that a part of it might be seen also from the other street. It is highly probable that these circumstances are the result of design rather than of chance. The Greeks seem to have preferred the view of a magnificent building from a corner, and there is scarcely a right-angled plan to be found either in ancient or modern Italy." In the Street of the Forum has been established a temporary museum of articles found in Pompeii. Adjoining it is a library containing all the best works that have been written on the city.



The street running westward between the baths and the Forum presents nothing remarkable, except that in it are the signs of the milk-shop and school of gladiators. There is also an [115]altar, probably dedicated to Jupiter, placed against the wall of a house; above it is a bass-relief in stucco, with an eagle in the tympanum. Eastward of the Forum this street assumes the name of the Street of Dried Fruits, from an inscription showing that dried fruits were sold in it; and, indeed, a considerable quantity of figs, raisins, chestnuts, plums, hempseed, and similar articles were found. It is now, however, usually called the Street of the Augustals.

Near the point at which this street is intersected by that of Eumachia, running at the back of the east side of the Forum, there is a remarkably graceful painting of a youthful Bacchus pressing the juice of the grape into a vase placed upon a pillar, at the foot of which is a rampant animal expecting the liquor, apparently meant for a tiger or panther, but of very diminutive size. This picture is one foot five inches high and one foot two inches wide. It probably served for the sign of a wine-merchant. Corresponding with it, on the other side of the shop, is a painting of Mercury, to render that knavish god propitious to the owner's trade.

We will now proceed to the Street of Abundance, or of the Merchants, formerly called the Street of the Silversmiths. This is about twenty-eight feet wide, and bordered on each side by foot-paths about six feet wide, which are described as made in several places of a hard plaster, probably analogous to opus Signinum. At the end next the Forum it is blocked up by two steps, which deny access to wheel carriages, and is in other parts so much encumbered by large stepping-stones that the passage of such vehicles, if not prohibited, must have been difficult and inconvenient.

We may here take notice of a peculiarity in this street. It slopes with a very gentle descent away from the Forum, and the courses of masonry, instead of being laid horizontally, run [116]parallel to the slope of the ground, a unique instance, as we believe, of such a construction.

The doors of several shops in this street have left perfect impressions on the volcanic deposit, by which it appears that the planks of which they were made lapped one over the other, like the planks of a boat.

Although the houses that line this street have now been cleared, there still remains a large unexcavated space on its southern side. The only house requiring notice is that called the Casa del Cinghiale, or House of the Wild Boar, a little way down on the right-hand side in going from the Forum. Its name is derived from the mosaic pavement of the prothyrum, representing a boar attacked by two dogs. The house is remarkable for its well-preserved peristyle of fourteen Ionic columns, with their capitals. On the right is a brick staircase leading to a large garden. The atrium is bordered with a mosaic representing the walls of a city with towers and battlements, supposed by some to be the walls of Pompeii.

Just beyond this house is a small street or lane, turning down to the right, called the Vicolo dei Dodici Dei, from a painting on the outside wall of the corner house, in the manner of a frieze, representing the twelve greater divinities. Below is the usual painting of serpents. At the corner of the quadrivium is the apothecary's shop, in which was a large collection of surgical instruments, mortars, drugs, and pills. The house is not otherwise remarkable.

Of the early excavations at the southern extremity of the town few records are preserved. In the Quarter of the Theatres, besides the public buildings, there are but two houses of any interest. These occupy the space between the Temple of Æsculapius and the small theatre. The easternmost of them is one of the most interesting yet discovered in Pompeii, not for the beauty or curiosity of the building itself, but for its contents, which prove [117]it to have been the abode of a sculptor. Here were found statues, some half finished, others just begun, with blocks of marble, and all the tools required by the artist. Among these were thirty-two mallets, many compasses, curved and straight, a great quantity of chisels, three or four levers, jacks for raising blocks, saws, etc., etc. The house has the usual arrangement of atrium, tablinum, and peristyle, but, owing to the inclination of the ground, the peristyle is on a higher level than the public part of the house, and communicates with it by a flight of steps. A large reservoir for water extended under the peristyle, which was in good preservation when first found, but has been much injured by the failure of the vault beneath.



Returning by the southernmost of the two roads which lead to the Forum, we find, beside the wall of the triangular Forum as it is called, one of the most remarkable houses in Pompeii, if not for its size, at least for its construction.

The excavations here made were begun in April, 1769, in the presence of the Emperor Joseph II., after whom this house has been named; but after curiosity was satisfied, they were filled up again with rubbish, as was then usual, and vines and poplars [118]covered them almost entirely at the time when Mazois examined the place, insomuch that the underground stories were all that he could personally observe. The emperor was accompanied in his visit by his celebrated minister, Count Kaunitz, the King and Queen of Naples, and one or two distinguished antiquaries. This was one of the first private dwellings excavated at Pompeii. It appears to have been a mansion of considerable magnificence, and, from its elevated position, must have commanded a fine view over the Bay of Naples towards Sorrento. The "find" was so good on the occasion of the emperor's visit, as to excite his suspicion of some deceit. The numerous articles turned up afforded Sir W. Hamilton an opportunity to display his antiquarian knowledge. Joseph appears to have been rather disgusted on hearing that only thirty men were employed on the excavations, and insisted that three thousand were necessary. We give a cut of the house, page 119.

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[1] Now the Street of Abundance.

[2] Nat. Hist. xxxvi. 2.

[3] Ib. xxxvi. 15.

[4] Sexagies sestertium.

[5] Nat. Hist. xxxi. 6, S. 31: Aqua in plumbo subit altitudinem exortus sui.

[6] Rubent (vela scil.) in cavis ædium, et museum a sole defendunt. We may conclude, then, that the impluvium was sometimes ornamented with moss or flowers, unless the words cavis ædium may be extended to the court of the peristyle, which was commonly laid out as a garden. [The latter seems more likely.]

[7] xxxvi. 1.

[8] From tabula, or tabella, a picture. Another derivation is, "quasi e tabulis compactum," because the large openings into it might be closed by shutters.

[9] This rule, however, is seldom observed in the Pompeian houses.

[10] The best of these were made at Ægina. The more common ones cost from $100 to $125; some sold for as much as $2000. Plin. Hist. Nat. xxxiv. 3.

[11] These citreæ mensæ have given rise to considerable discussion. Pliny says that they were made of the roots or knots of the wood, and esteemed on account of their veins and markings, which were like a tiger's skin, or peacock's tail (xiii. 91. sqq.) Some copies read cedri for citri; and it has been suggested that the cypress is really meant, the roots and knots of which are large and veined; whereas the citron is never used for cabinet work, and is neither veined nor knotted.

[12] About $161,000.

[13] The common furniture of a triclinium was three couches, placed on three sides of a square table, each containing three persons, in accordance with the favorite maxim, that a party should not consist of more than the Muses nor of fewer than the Graces, not more than nine nor less than three. Where such numbers were entertained, couches must have been placed along the sides of long tables.

[14] Plin. Ep. lib. ii. 17. We have very much shortened the original, leaving out the description of, at least, one upper floor, and other particulars which did not appear necessary to the illustration of our subject.

[15] Vitruvius, vi. 8.

[16] It was made of the entrails of fish macerated in brine. That made from the fish called scomber was the best. This word is sometimes translated a herring, but the best authorities render it a mackerel. It was caught, according to Pliny, in the Straits of Gibraltar, entering from the ocean, and was used for no purpose but to make garum. The best was called garum sociorum, a term of which we have seen no satisfactory explanation, and sold for 1,000 sesterces for two congii, about $20 a gallon. An inferior kind, made from the anchovy (aphya), was called alec, a name also given to the dregs of garum. "No liquid, except unguents," Pliny says, "fetched a higher price."—Hist. Nat. xxxi. 43.


"Hence, seek the sty—there wallow with thy friends."
She spake. I drawing from beside my thigh
My faulchion keen, with death-denouncing looks
Rushed on her; she with a shrill scream of fear
Ran under my raised arm, seized fast my knees,
And in winged accents plaintive thus began:
"Say, who art thou," etc.—Cowper's Odyss. x. 320.


She sat before him, clasped with her left hand
His knees; her right beneath his chin she placed,
And thus the king, Saturnian Jove, implored.—Il. i. 500.





page decoration 5


The amphitheatre stands some hundred yards from the theatres, in the south-eastern angle of the walls of the town. Although, perhaps, of Etruscan origin, the exhibitions of the amphitheatre are so peculiarly Roman, and Pompeii contains so many mementos of them, that a detailed account of them will not perhaps be misplaced. At an early period, B.C. 263, the practice of compelling human beings to fight for the amusement of spectators was introduced; and twelve years later the capture of several elephants in the first Punic war proved the means of introducing the chase, or rather the slaughter, of wild beasts into the Roman circus. The taste for these spectacles increased of course with its indulgence, and their magnificence with the wealth of the city and the increasing facility and inducement to practice bribery which was offered by the increased extent of provinces subject to Rome. It was not, however, until the last period of the republic, or rather until the domination of the emperors had collected into one channel the tributary wealth which previously was divided among a numerous aristocracy, that buildings were erected solely for the accommodation of gladiatorial shows; buildings entirely beyond the compass of a subject's wealth, and in which perhaps the magnificence of imperial Rome is most amply [121]displayed. Numerous examples scattered throughout her empire, in a more or less advanced state of decay, still attest the luxury and solidity of their construction; while at Rome the Coliseum (see frontispiece) asserts the pre-eminent splendor of the metropolis—a monument surpassed in magnitude by the Pyramids alone, and as superior to them in skill and varied contrivance of design as to other buildings in its gigantic magnitude.



The Greek word, which by a slight alteration of its termination we render amphitheatre, signifies a theatre, or place of spectacles, forming a continuous inclosure, in opposition to the simple theatre, which, as we have said, was semicircular, but with the seats usually continued somewhat in advance of the diameter of the semicircle. The first amphitheatre seems to have been that of Curio, consisting of two movable theatres, which could be placed face to face or back to back, according to the species of amusement for which they were required.

Usually, gladiatorial shows were given in the Forum, and [122]the chase and combats of wild beasts exhibited in the Circus, where once, when Pompey was celebrating games, some enraged elephants broke through the barrier which separated them from the spectators. This circumstance, together with the unsuitableness of the Circus for such sports, from its being divided into two compartments by the spina, a low wall surmounted by pillars, obelisks, and other ornamental erections, as well as from its disproportionate length, which rendered it ill adapted to afford a general view to all the spectators, determined Julius Cæsar, in his dictatorship, to construct a wooden theatre in the Campus Martius, built especially for hunting, "which was called amphitheatre (apparently the first use of the word) because it was encompassed by circular seats without a scene."

The first permanent amphitheatre was built partly of stone and partly of wood, by Statilius Taurus, at the instigation of Augustus, who was passionately fond of these sports, especially of the hunting of rare beasts. This was burnt during the reign of Nero, and though restored, fell short of the wishes of Vespasian, who commenced the vast structure completed by his son Titus—called the Flavian Amphitheatre, and subsequently the Coliseum. The expense of this building it is said would have sufficed to erect a capital city, and, if we may credit Dion, 9,000 wild beasts were destroyed in its dedication. Eutropius restricts the number to 5,000. When the hunting was over the arena was filled with water, and a sea-fight ensued.

The construction of these buildings so much resembles the construction of theatres, that it will not be necessary to describe them at any great length. Without, they usually presented to the view an oval wall, composed of two or more stories of arcades, supported by piers of different orders of architecture adorned with pilasters or attached pillars. Within, an equal number of stories of galleries gave access to the spectators at different elevations, and the inclined plane of the seats was also supported [123]upon piers and vaults, so that the ground plan presented a number of circular rows of piers, arranged in radii converging to the centre of the arena. A suitable number of doors opened upon the ground floor, and passages from thence, intersecting the circular passages between the piers, gave an easy access to every part of the building. Sometimes a gallery encompassed the whole, and served as a common access to all the stairs which led to the upper stories. This was the case in the amphitheatre at Nismes. Sometimes each staircase had its distinct communication from without: this was the case at Verona.

The arrangement of the seats was the same as in theatres; they were divided horizontally by præcinctiones, and vertically into cunei by staircases. The scene and apparatus of the stage was of course wanting, and its place occupied by an oval area, called arena, from the sand with which it was sprinkled, to absorb the blood shed, and give a firmer footing than that afforded by a stone pavement. It was sunk twelve or fifteen feet below the lowest range of seats, to secure the spectators from injury, and was besides fenced with round wooden rollers turning in their sockets, placed horizontally against the wall, such as the reader may have observed placed on low gates to prevent dogs from climbing over, and with strong nets. In the time of Nero these nets were knotted with amber, and the Emperor Carinus caused them to be made of golden cord or wire. Sometimes, for more complete security, ditches, called euripi, surrounded the arena. This was first done by Cæsar, as a protection to the people against the elephants which he exhibited, that animal being supposed to be particularly afraid of water. The arena was sometimes spread with pounded stone. Caligula, in a fit of extravagance, used chrysocolla; and Nero, to surpass him, caused the brilliant red of cinnabar to be mixed with it.

In the centre of the arena was an altar dedicated sometimes to Diana or Pluto, more commonly to Jupiter Latiaris, the [124]protector of Latium, in honor of whom human sacrifices were offered. Passages are to be found in ancient writers, from which it is inferred that the games of the amphitheatre were usually opened by sacrificing a bestiarius, one of those gladiators whose profession was to combat wild beasts, in honor of this bloodthirsty deity. Beneath the arena dens are supposed to have been constructed to contain wild beasts.

At the Coliseum numerous underground buildings are said by Fulvius to have existed, which he supposed to be sewers constructed to drain and cleanse the building. Others with more probability have supposed them to be the dens of wild beasts. Immense accommodation was requisite to contain the thousands of animals which were slaughtered upon solemn occasions, but no great provision need have been made to carry off the rain-water which fell upon the six acres comprised within the walls of the building. Others again have supposed them formed to introduce the vast bodies of water by which the arena was suddenly transformed into a lake when imitations of naval battles were exhibited. Doors pierced in the wall which supported the podium communicated with these, or with other places of confinement beneath the part allotted to the audience, which being thrown open, vast numbers of animals could be introduced at once. Vopiscus tells us that a thousand ostriches, a thousand stags, and a thousand boars were thrown into the arena at once by the Emperor Probus. Sometimes, to astonish, and attract by novelty, the arena was converted into a wood. "Probus," says the same author, "exhibited a splendid hunting match, after the following manner: Large trees torn up by the roots were firmly connected by beams, and fixed upright; then earth was spread over the roots, so that the whole circus was planted to resemble a wood, and offered us the gratification of a green scene."

The same order of precedence was observed as at the theatre—senators, knights, and commons having each their [125]appropriate place. To the former was set apart the podium, a broad precinction or platform which ran immediately round the arena. Hither they brought the curule seats or bisellia, described in speaking of the theatres of Pompeii; and here was the suggestus, a covered seat appropriated to the Emperor. It is supposed that in this part of the building there were also seats of honor for the exhibitor of the games and the vestal virgins. If the podium was insufficient for the accommodation of the senators, some of the adjoining seats were taken for their use. Next to the senators sat the knights, who seem here, as in the theatre, to have had fourteen rows set apart for them; and with them sat the civil and military tribunes. Behind were the popularia, or seats of the plebeians. Different tribes had particular cunei allotted to them. There were also some further internal arrangements, for Augustus separated married from unmarried men, and assigned a separate cuneus to youths, near whom their tutors were stationed. Women were stationed in a gallery, and attendants and servants in the highest gallery. The general direction of the amphitheatre was under the care of an officer named villicus amphitheatri. Officers called locarii attended to the distribution of the people, and removed any person from a seat which he was not entitled to hold. We may notice, as a refinement of luxury, that concealed conduits were carried throughout these buildings, from which scented liquids were scattered over the audience. Sometimes the statues which ornamented them were applied to this purpose, and seemed to sweat perfume through minute holes, with which the pipes that traversed them were pierced. It is this to which Lucan alludes in the following lines:—

—— As when mighty Rome's spectators meet
In the full theatre's capacious seat,
At once, by secret pipes and channels fed,
Rich tinctures gush from every antique head;
At once ten thousand saffron currents flow,
And rain their odors on the crowd below.
Rowe's Lucan, book ix.

[126]Saffron was the material usually employed for these refreshing showers. The dried herb was infused in wine, more especially in sweet wine. Balsams and the more costly unguents were sometimes employed for the same purpose.

Another contrivance, too remarkable to be omitted in a general account of amphitheatres, is the awning by which spectators were protected from the overpowering heat of an Italian sun. This was called Velum, or Velarium; and it has afforded matter for a good deal of controversy, how a temporary covering could be extended over the vast areas of these buildings. Something of the kind was absolutely necessary, for the spectacle often lasted for many hours, and when anything extraordinary was expected the people went in crowds before daylight to obtain places, and some even at midnight.

The Campanians first invented the means of stretching awnings over their theatres, by means of cords stretched across the cavea and attached to masts which passed through perforated blocks of stone deeply bedded in the wall. Quintus Catulus introduced them at Rome when he celebrated games at the dedication of the Capitol, B.C. 69. Lentulus Spinther, a contemporary of Cicero, first erected fine linen awnings (carbasina vela). Julius Cæsar covered over the whole Forum Romanum, and the Via Sacra, from his own house to the Capitol, which was esteemed even more wonderful than his gladiatorial exhibition. Dio mentions a report that these awnings were of silk, but he speaks doubtfully; and it is scarcely probable that even Cæsar's extravagance would have carried him so far. Silk at that time was not manufactured at Rome; and we learn from Vopiscus, that even in the time of Aurelian the raw material was worth its weight in gold. Lucretius, speaking of the effect of colored bodies upon transmitted light, has a fine passage illustrative of the magnificence displayed in this branch of theatrical decoration.

This the crowd surveys
[127] Oft in the theatre, whose awnings broad,
Bedecked with crimson, yellow, or the tint
Of steel cerulean, from their fluted heights
Wave tremulous; and o'er the scene beneath,
Each marble statue, and the rising rows
Of rank and beauty, fling their tint superb,
While as the walls with ampler shade repel
The garish noonbeam, every object round
Laughs with a deeper dye, and wears profuse
A lovelier lustre, ravished from the day.

Wool, however, was the most common material, and the velaria made in Apulia were most esteemed, on account of the whiteness of the wool.

Those who are not acquainted by experience with the difficulty of giving stability to tents of large dimensions, and the greater difficulty of erecting awnings, when, on account of the purpose for which they are intended, no support can be applied in the centre, may not fully estimate the difficulty of erecting and managing these velaria. Strength was necessary, both for the cloth itself and for the cords which strained and supported it, or the whole would have been shivered by the first gust of wind, and strength could not be obtained without great weight. Many of our readers probably are not aware, that however short and light a string may be, no amount of tension applied horizontally will stretch it into a line perfectly and mathematically straight. Practically the deviation is imperceptible where the power applied is very large in proportion to the weight and length of the string. Still it exists; and to take a common example, the reader probably never saw a clothes-line stretched out, though neither the weight nor length of the string are considerable, without the middle being visibly lower than the ends. When the line is at once long and heavy, an enormous power is required to suspend it even in a curve between two points; and the amount of tension, and difficulty of finding materials able to withstand it, are the [128]only obstacles to constructing chain bridges which should be thousands, instead of hundreds of feet in length.

In these erections the piers are raised to a considerable height, that a sufficient depth may be allowed for the curve of the chains without depressing the roadway. Ten times—a hundred times the power which was applied to strain them into that shape would not suffice to bring them even so near to a horizontal line but that the most inaccurate and unobservant eye should at once detect the inequality in their level; and the chains themselves would probably give way before such a force as this could be applied to them. The least diameter of the Coliseum is nearly equal in length to the Menai bridge; and if the labor of stretching cords over the one seems small in comparison with that of raising the ponderous chains of the other, we may take into consideration the weight of cloth which those cords supported, and the increase of difficulties arising from the action of the wind on so extensive a surface.

In boisterous weather, as we learn from Martial and other authors, these difficulties were so great that the velum could not be spread. When this was the case the Romans used broad hats, or a sort of parasol, which was called umbella or umbraculum, from umbra, shade. We may add, in conclusion, that Suctonius mentions as one of Caligula's tyrannical extravagances, that sometimes at a show of gladiators, when the sun's heat was most intense, he would cause the awning to be drawn back, and, at the same time, forbid any person to leave the place.

The difficulty of the undertaking has given rise to considerable discussion as to the means by which the Romans contrived to extend the velum at such a height over so great a surface, and to manage it at pleasure. Sailors were employed in the service, for the Emperor Commodus, who piqued himself on his gladiatorial skill, and used to fight in the arena, believing himself mocked by the servile crowd of spectators, when once they hailed [129]him with divine honors, gave order for their slaughter by the sailors who were managing the veils.



Concerning the method of working them no information has been handed down. It is evident, however, that they were supported by masts which rose above the summit of the walls. Near the top of the outer wall of the Coliseum there are 240 consoles, or projecting blocks of stone, in which holes are cut to receive the ends of spars, which ran up through holes cut in the cornice to some height above the greatest elevation of the building. A sufficient number of firm points of support at equal intervals was thus procured; and, this difficulty being overcome, the next was to stretch as tight as possible the larger ropes, upon which the whole covering depended for its stability.

The games to which these buildings were especially devoted were, as we have already hinted, two-fold—those in which wild beasts were introduced, to combat either with each other or with men, and those in which men fought with men. Under the general term of gladiators are comprised all who fought in the arena, though those who pitted their skill against the strength and ferocity of savage animals were peculiarly distinguished by the name of bestiarii. In general these unhappy persons were slaves or condemned criminals, who, by adopting this profession, purchased an uncertain prolongation of existence, but freemen sometimes gained a desperate subsistence by thus hazarding their lives; and in the decline of Rome, knights, senators, and even the emperors sometimes appeared in the arena, at the instigation of a vulgar and degrading thirst for popular applause.

The origin of these bloody entertainments may be found in the earliest records of profane history and the earliest stages of society. Among half-civilized or savage nations, both ancient and modern, we find it customary after a battle to sacrifice prisoners of war in honor of those chiefs who have been slain. Thus Achilles offers up twelve young Trojans to the ghost of [130]Patroclus. In course of time it became usual to sacrifice slaves at the funeral of all persons of condition; and either for the amusement of the spectators, or because it appeared barbarous to massacre defenceless men, arms were placed in their hands, and they were incited to save their own lives by the death of those who were opposed to them.

In later times, the furnishing these unhappy men became matter of speculation, and they were carefully trained to the profession of arms, to increase the reputation and popularity of the contractor who provided them. This person was called lanista by the Romans. At first these sports were performed about the funeral pile of the deceased, or near his sepulchre, in consonance with the idea of sacrifice in which they originated; but as they became more splendid, and ceased to be peculiarly appropriated to such occasions, they were removed, originally to the Forum, and afterwards to the Circus and amphitheatres.

Gladiators were first exhibited at Rome, B.C. 265, by M. and D. Brutus, on occasion of the death of their father. This show consisted only of three pairs. B.C. 216, the three sons of M. Æmilius Lepidus, the augur, entertained the people in the Forum with eleven pair, and the show lasted three days. B.C. 201, the three sons of M. Valerius Lævinus exhibited twenty-five pairs. And thus these shows increased in number and frequency, and the taste for them strengthened with its gratification, until not only the heir of any rich or eminent person lately deceased, but all the principal magistrates, and the candidates for magistracies, presented the people with shows of this nature to gain their favor and support.

This taste was not without its inconveniences and dangers. Men of rank and political importance kept families, as they were called, of gladiators—desperadoes ready to execute any command of their master; and towards the fall of the republic, when party rage scrupled not to have recourse to open violence, questions of [131]the highest import were debated in the streets of the city by the most despised of its slaves. In the conspiracy of Catiline so much danger was apprehended from them, that particular measures were taken to prevent their joining the disaffected party; an event the more to be feared because of the desperate war in which they had engaged the republic a few years before, under the command of the celebrated Spartacus. At a much later period, at the triumph of Probus, A.D. 281, about fourscore gladiators exhibited a similar courage. Disdaining to shed their blood for the amusement of a cruel people, they killed their keepers, broke out from the place of their confinement, and filled the streets of Rome with blood and confusion. After an obstinate resistance they were cut to pieces by the regular troops.

The oath which they took upon entering the service is preserved by Petronius, and is couched in these terms: "We swear, after the dictation of Eumolpus, to suffer death by fire, bonds, stripes, and the sword; and whatever else Eumolpus may command, as true gladiators we bind ourselves body and mind to our master's service."

From slaves and freedmen the inhuman sport at length spread to persons of rank and fortune, insomuch that Augustus was obliged to issue an edict, that none of senatorial rank should become gladiators; and soon after he laid a similar restraint on the knights.

Succeeding emperors, according to their characters, encouraged or endeavored to suppress this degrading taste. Nero is related to have brought upwards of four hundred senators and six hundred knights upon the arena; and in some of his exhibitions even women of quality contended publicly. The excellent Marcus Aurelius not only retrenched the enormous expenses of these amusements, but ordered that gladiators should contend only with blunt weapons. But they were not abolished until some time after the introduction of Christianity. Constantine [132]published the first edict which condemned the shedding of human blood, and ordered that criminals condemned to death should rather be sent to the mines than reserved for the service of the amphitheatre. In the reign of Honorius, when he was celebrating with magnificent games the retreat of the Goths and the deliverance of Rome, an Asiatic monk, by name Telemachus, had the boldness to descend into the arena to part the combatants. "The Romans were provoked by this interruption of their pleasures, and the rash monk was overwhelmed under a shower of stones. But the madness of the people soon subsided; they respected the memory of Telemachus, who had deserved the honors of martyrdom, and they submitted without a murmur to the laws of Honorius, which abolished forever the human sacrifices of the amphitheatre." This occurred A.D. 404. It was not, however, until the year 500 that the practice was finally and completely abolished by Theodoric.

Some time before the day appointed for the spectacle, he who gave it (editor) published bills containing the name and ensigns of the gladiators, for each of them had his own distinctive badge, and stating also how many were to fight, and how long the show would last. It appears that like our itinerant showmen they sometimes exhibited paintings of what the sports were to contain. On the appointed day the gladiators marched in procession with much ceremony into the amphitheatre. They then separated into pairs, as they had been previously matched. An engraving on the wall of the amphitheatre at Pompeii seems to represent the beginning of a combat. In the middle stands the arbiter of the fight, marking out with a long stick the space for the combatants. On his right stands a gladiator only half armed, to whom two others are bringing a sword and helmet. On the left another gladiator, also only partly armed, sounds the trumpet for the commencement of the fight; whilst behind him two [133]companions, at the foot of one of the Victories which enclose the scene, are preparing his helmet and shield.



At first, however, they contended only with staves, called rudes, or with blunted weapons; but when warmed and inspirited by the pretense of battle, they changed their weapons, and advanced at the sound of trumpets to the real strife. The conquered looked to the people or to the emperor for life; his antagonist had no power to grant or to refuse it; but if the spectators were dissatisfied and gave the signal of death, he was obliged to become the executioner of their will. This signal was the turning down the thumbs; as is well known. If any showed signs of fear, their death was certain; if on the other hand they waited the fatal stroke with intrepidity, the people generally relented. But fear and want of spirit were of very rare occurrence, insomuch that Cicero more than once proposed the principle of honor which actuated gladiators as an admirable model of constancy and courage, by which he intended to animate himself and others to suffer everything in defence of the commonwealth.

[134]The bodies of the slain were dragged with a hook or on a cart through a gate called Libitinensis, the Gate of Death. The victor was rewarded with a sum of money, contributed by the spectators or bestowed from the treasury, or a palm-branch, or a garland of palm ornamented with colored ribbons—ensigns of frequent occurrence in ancient monuments. Those who survived three years were released from this service, and sometimes one who had given great satisfaction was enfranchised on the spot. This was done by presenting the staff (rudis) which was used in preluding to the combat; on receiving which, the gladiator, if a freeman, recovered his liberty; if a slave, he was not made free, but was released from the obligation of venturing his life any further in the arena.

Gladiators were divided, according to the fashion of their armor and offensive weapons, into classes, known by the names of Thrax, Samnis, Myrmillo, and many others, of which a mere catalogue would be tedious, and it would be the work of a treatise to ascertain and describe their distinctive marks.

Another group consists of four figures. Two are secutores, followers, the other two, retiarii, net men, armed only with a trident and net, with which they endeavored to entangle their adversary, and then dispatch him. These classes, like the Thrax and Myrmillo, were usual antagonists, and had their name from the secutor following the retiarius, who eluded the pursuit until he found an opportunity to throw his net to advantage. Nepimus, one of the latter, five times victorious, has fought against one of the former, whose name is lost, but who had triumphed six times in different combats. He has been less fortunate in this battle. Nepimus has struck him in the leg, the thigh, and the left arm; his blood runs, and in vain he implores mercy from the spectators. As the trident with which Nepimus is armed is not a weapon calculated to inflict speedy and certain death, the secutor [135]Hyppolitus performs this last office to his comrade. The condemned wretch bends the knee, presents his throat to the sword, and throws himself forward to meet the blow, while Nepimus, his conqueror, pushes him, and seems to insult the last moments of his victim. In the distance is the retiarius, who must fight Hyppolitus in his turn. The secutores have a very plain helmet, that their adversary may have little or no opportunity of pulling it off with the net or trident; the right arm is clothed in armor, the left bore a clypeus, or large round shield; a sandal tied with narrow bands forms the covering for their feet. They wear no body armor, no covering but a cloth round the waist, for by their lightness and activity alone could they hope to avoid death and gain the victory. The retiarii have the head bare, except a fillet bound round the hair; they have no shield, but the left side is covered with a demi-cuiarass, and the left arm protected in the usual manner, except that the shoulder-piece is very high. They wear the caliga, or low boot common to the Roman soldiery, and bear the trident; but the net with which they endeavored to envelop their adversaries is nowhere visible. This bas-relief is terminated by the combat between a light-armed gladiator and a Samnite. This last beseeches the spectators to save him, but it [136]appears from the action of the principal figure that this is not granted. The conqueror looks towards the steps of the amphitheatre; he has seen the fatal signal, and in reply prepares himself to strike.





Between the pilasters of the door the frieze is continued. Two combats are represented. In the first a Samnite has been conquered by a Myrmillo. This last wishes to become his comrade's executioner without waiting the answer from the people, to whom the vanquished has appealed; but the lanista checks his arm, from which it would seem that the Samnite obtained pardon.

Another pair exhibits a similar combat, in which the Myrmillo falls stabbed to death. The wounds, the blood, and the inside of the bucklers are painted of a very bright red color. The swords, with the exception of that of Hyppolitus, are omitted; it is possible that it was intended to make them of metal.

The bas-reliefs constituting the lower frieze are devoted to the chase and to combats between men and animals. In the upper part are hares pursued by a dog; beyond is a wounded stag pursued by dogs, to whom he is about to become the prey; below, a wild boar is seized by an enormous dog, which has already caused his blood to flow.

In the middle of the composition a bestiarius has transfixed a bear with a stroke of his lance. This person wears a kind of short hunting boot, and is clothed as well as his comrade in a light tunic without sleeves, bound round the hips, and called subucula. It was the dress of the common people, as we learn from the sculptures on Trajan's column. The companion of this man has transfixed a bull, which flies, carrying with him the heavy lance with which he is wounded. He turns his head toward his assailant, and seems to wish to return to the attack; the man by his gestures appears astonished, beholding himself disarmed and at the mercy of the animal, whom he thought mortally stricken. [137]Pliny (lib. viii. cap. 45) speaks of the ferocity shown by bulls in these combats, and of having seen them, when stretched for dead on the arena, lift themselves up and renew the combat.

Combats with Beasts


Another sort of amphitheatrical amusements consisted in witnessing the death of persons under sentence of the law, either by the hands of the executioner, or by being exposed to the fury of savage animals. The early Christians were especially subjected to this species of cruelty. Nero availed himself of the prejudice against them to turn aside popular indignation after the great conflagration of Rome, which is commonly ascribed to his own wanton love of mischief; and we learn from Tertullian, that, after great public misfortunes, the cry of the populace was, "To the lions with the Christians."

The Coliseum now owes its preservation to the Christian blood so profusely shed within its walls. After serving during ages as a quarry of hewn stone for the use of all whose station and power entitled them to a share in public plunder, it was at last secured from further injury by Pope Benedict XIV., who consecrated the building about the middle of the last century, and placed it under the protection of the martyrs, who had there borne testimony with their blood to the sincerity of their belief.

[138]There is nothing in the amphitheatre of Pompeii at variance with the general description of this class of buildings, and our notice of it will therefore necessarily be short. (See page 121.) Its form, as usual, is oval: the extreme length, from outside to outside of the exterior arcade, is 430 feet, its greatest breadth is 335 feet. The spectators gained admission by tickets, which had numbers or marks on them, corresponding with similar signs on the arches through which they entered. Those who were entitled to occupy the lower ranges of seats passed through the perforated arcades of the lower order; those whose place was in the upper portion of the cavea ascended by staircases between the seats and the outer wall of the building. From hence the women again ascended to the upper tier, which was divided into boxes, and appropriated to them.

The construction consists for the most part of the rough masonry called opus incertum, with quoins of squared stone, and some trifling restorations of rubble. This rude mass was probably once covered with a more sumptuous facing of hewn stone: but there are now no other traces of it than a few of the key-stones, on one of which a chariot and two horses is sculptured, on another a head; besides which there are a few stars on the wedge-stones.

At each end of the ellipse were entrances into the arena for the combatants, through which the dead bodies were dragged out into the spoliarium. These were also the principal approaches to the lower ranges of seats, occupied by the senators, magistrates, and knights, by means of corridors to the right and left which ran round the arena. The ends of these passages were secured by metal gratings against the intrusion of wild beasts. In the northern one are nine places for pedestals to form a line of separation, dividing the entrance into two parts of unequal breadth. The seats are elevated above the arena upon a high podium or parapet, upon which, when the building was first opened, there [139]remained several inscriptions, containing the names of duumvirs who had presided upon different occasions. There were also paintings in fresco, one representing a tigress fighting with a wild boar; another, a stag chased by a lioness; another, a battle between a bull and bear. Other subjects comprised candelabra, a distribution of palms among the gladiators, winged genii, minstrels, and musicians; but all disappeared soon after their exposure to the atmosphere. The amphitheatre comprises twenty-four rows of seats, and about 20,000 feet of sitting-room.

It may be observed that the arena of the amphitheatre of Pompeii appears to be formed of the natural surface of the earth, and has none of those vast substructions observable at Pozzuoli and Capua. It does not, therefore, appear capable of being turned into a Naumachia, nor indeed would it have been easy to find there water enough for such a purpose.

In the Roman theatre the construction of the orchestra and stage was different from that of the Greeks. By the construction peculiar to the Roman theatre, the stage was brought nearer to the audience (the arc not exceeding a semi-circle), and made considerably deeper than in the Greek theatre. The length of the stage was twice the diameter of the orchestra. The Roman orchestra contained no thymele. The back of the stage, or proscenium, was adorned with niches, and columns, and friezes of great richness, as may be seen in some of the theatres of Asia Minor, and in the larger theatre at Pompeii, which belong to the Roman period.

On the whole, however, the construction of a Roman theatre resembled that of a Greek one. The Senate, and other distinguished persons, occupied circular ranges of seats within the orchestra; the prætor had a somewhat higher seat. The space between the orchestra and the first præcinctio, usually consisting of fourteen seats, was reserved for the equestrian order, tribunes, etc. Above them were the seats of the plebeians. Soldiers were [140]separated from the citizens. Women were appointed by Augustus to sit in the portico, which encompassed the whole. Behind the scenes were the postscenium, or retiring-room, and porticoes, to which, in case of sudden showers, the people retreated from the theatre.

The earliest theatres at Rome were temporary buildings of wood. A magnificent wooden theatre, built by M. Æmilius Scaurus, in his edileship, B.C. 58, is described by Pliny. In 55 B.C., Cn. Pompey built the first stone theatre at Rome, near the Campus Martius. A temple of Venus Victrix, to whom he dedicated the whole building, was erected at the highest part of the cavea.

The next permanent theatre was built by Augustus, and named after his favorite, the young Marcellus, son of his sister Octavia. Vitruvius is generally reported to have been the architect of this building, which would contain 30,000 persons. The audience part was a semi-circle 410 feet in diameter. Twelve arches of its external wall still remain. From marks still visible in the large theatre at Pompeii, the place reserved for each spectator was about 13 inches. This theatre contained 5,000. The theatre of Pompeii, at Rome, contained 40,000. The theatre of Scaurus is said to have contained 80,000. The Romans surpassed the Greeks in the grandeur and magnificence of these buildings. They built them in almost all their towns. Remains of them are found in almost every country where the Romans carried their rule. One of the most striking Roman provincial theatres is that of Orange, in the south of France.

Odeum was a building intended for the recitations of rhapsodists and the performances of citharædists, before the theatre was in existence. In its general form and arrangements the odeum was very similar to the theatre. There were, however, some characteristic differences. The odeum was much smaller than the theatre, and it was roofed over. The ancient and [141]original Odeum of Athens in the Agora was probably erected in the time of Hipparchus, who, according to Plato, first introduced at Athens the poems of Homer, and caused rhapsodists to recite them during the Panathenæa. There were two others in Athens—the Odeum of Pericles, and that of Herodes Atticus. The Odeum of Pericles was built in imitation of the tent of Xerxes. It was burnt by Sylla, but was restored in exact imitation of the original building. It lay at the east side of the theatre of Dionysus. The Odeum of Herodes Atticus was built by him in memory of his departed wife Regilla, whose name it commonly bore. It lies under the southwest angle of the Acropolis. Its greatest diameter within the walls was 240 feet, and it is calculated to have held about 8,000 persons. There were odea in several of the towns of Greece, in Corinth, Patræ, and at Smyrna, Ephesus and other places of Asia Minor. There were odea also in Rome; one was built by Domitian, and a second by Trajan. There are ruins of an Odeum in the villa of Adrian, at Tivoli and at Pompeii.

Remains of amphitheatres are found in several cities of Etruria. The amphitheatre of Sutri is considered to be peculiarly Etruscan in its mode of construction. It is cut out of the tufa rock, and was no doubt used by that people for festal representations long before Rome attempted anything of the kind. The Romans copied these edifices from the Etruscans. We have historical evidence, also, that gladiatorial combats had an Etruscan origin, and were borrowed by the Romans.

Amphitheatres were peculiar to the Romans. The gladiatorial shows, and the chase and combats of wild beasts with which the amphitheatre is always connected, were at first given in the circus. Its unsuitableness for such sports determined Julius Cæsar, in his dictatorship, to construct a wooden theatre in the Campus Martius, built especially for hunting. Caius Scribonius Curio built the first amphitheatre, for the celebration of his [142]father's funeral games. It was composed of two theatres of wood, placed on pivots, so that they could be turned round, spectators and all, and placed face to face, thus forming a double theatre, or amphitheatre, which ending suggested its elliptical shape. Statilius Taurus, the friend of Augustus, B.C. 30, erected a more durable amphitheatre, partly of stone and partly of wood, in the Campus Martius. Others were afterwards built by Caligula and Nero. The amphitheatre of Nero was of wood, and in the Campus Martius.

The assembled people in a crowded theatre must have been an imposing spectacle, in which the gorgeous colors of the dresses were blended with the azure of a southern sky. No antique rendering of this subject remains. The spectators began to assemble at early dawn, for each wished to secure a good seat, after paying his entrance fee. This, not exceeding two oboloi, was payable to the builder or manager of the theatre. After the erection of stone theatres at Athens, this entrance fee was paid for the poorer classes by Government, and formed, indeed, one of the heaviest items of the budget. For not only at the Dionysian ceremonies, but on many other festive occasions, the people clamored for free admission, confirmed in their demands by the demagogues. Frequently the money reserved for the emergency of a war had to be spent for this purpose. The seats in a theatre were, of course, not all equally good, and their prices varied accordingly. The police of the theatre had to take care that everybody took his seat in the row marked on his ticket. Most of the spectators were men. In older times women were allowed only to attend at tragedies, the coarse jokes of the comedy being deemed unfit for the ears of Athenian ladies. Only hetairai made an exception to this rule. It is almost certain that the seats of men and women were separate. Boys were allowed to witness both tragedies and comedies. Whether slaves were admitted amongst the spectators seems [143]doubtful. As pedagogues were not allowed to enter the schoolroom, it seems likely that they had also to leave the theatre after having shown their young masters to their seats. Neither were the slaves carrying the cushions for their masters' seats admitted amongst the spectators. It is, however, possible that when the seats became to be for sale, certain classes of slaves were allowed to visit the theatre. Favorite poets and actors were rewarded with applause and flowers; while bad performers had to submit to whistling, and, possibly, other worse signs of public indignation. Greek audiences resembled those of southern Europe at the present day in the vivacity of their demonstrations, which were even extended to public characters amongst the spectators on their clearing the theatre.

Vitruvius has given some minute directions, strongly illustrative of the importance of the subject, for choosing a proper situation for a theatre. "When the Forum is finished, a healthy situation must be sought for, wherein the theatre may be erected to exhibit sports on the festival days of the immortal gods. For the spectators are detained in their seats by the entertainment of the games, and remaining quiet for a long time, their pores are opened, and imbibe the draughts of air, which, if they come from marshy or otherwise unhealthy places, will pour injurious humors into the body. Neither must it front the south; for when the sun fills the concavity, the inclosed air, unable to escape or circulate, is heated, and then extracts and dries up the juices of the body. It is also to be carefully observed that the place be not unfitted to transmit sound, but one in which the voice may expand as clearly as possible."

The ancient scene was not, like that of the modern stage, capable of being shifted. It consisted of a solid building (scena stabilis), representing the facade of a royal palace, and adorned with the richest architectural ornaments. It was built of stone, or brick cased with marble, and had three doors, of which the [144]middle one, called porta regia, larger and handsomer than the others, was supposed to form the entrance to the palace. This was used only in the representation of tragedies, and then only by the principal personages of the drama. The door in the right wing was appropriated to inferior personages, and that on the left to foreigners or persons coming from abroad. In our plan, the five angles of the triangles not yet disposed of determine the disposition of the scene. Opposite the centre one are the regal doors; on each side are those by which the secondary characters entered. Behind the scene, as in the Greek theatre, there were apartments for the actors to retire into; and under it were vaults or cellars, which, as in the modern stage, served for the entrance of ghosts, or the appliance of any needful machinery. The proscenium, or space between the orchestra and the scene, answering to our stage, though deeper than the Greek, was of no great depth, which was not required for the performance of ancient dramas, in which only a few personages appeared on the stage at once. Besides, in the absence of any roof, the voice of the performers would have been lost if the stage had been too deep. That of Pompeii is only about twenty-one feet broad, though its length is one hundred and nine.

Along the front of the stage, and between it and the orchestra, runs a tolerably deep linear opening, the receptacle for the aulæum, or curtain, the fashion of which was just the reverse of ours, as it had to be depressed instead of elevated when the play began. This operation, performed by machinery of which we have no clear account, was called aulæum premere, as in the well-known line of Horace:[19]

Quatuor aut plures aulæa premuntur in horas.

It should, however, be mentioned that the ancients seem also to have had movable scenery (scena ductilis), to alter the appearance [145]of the permanent scene when required. This must have consisted of painted board or canvas.

Another method of illusion was by the use of masks. These were rendered necessary by the vastness of the ancient theatres, and the custom of performing in the open air.

In the eastern portico of the Triangular Forum are four entrances to different parts of the greater theatre. The first two, as you enter, lead into a large circular corridor surrounding the whole cavea; the third opens on an area behind the scene, from which there is a communication with the orchestra and privileged seats; the fourth led down a long flight of steps, at the bottom of which you turn, on the right, into the soldiers' quarter, on the left, into the area already mentioned. The corridor is arched over. It has two other entrances, one by a large passage from the east side, another from a smaller passage on the north. Six inner doors, called vomitoria, opened on an equal number of stair-cases which ran down to the first præcinctio. The theatre is formed upon the slope of a hill, the corridor being the highest part, so that the audience upon entering descended at once to their seats, and the vast staircases, which conducted to the upper seats of the theatres and amphitheatres at Rome, were saved. By the side of the first entrance is a staircase which led up to the women's gallery above the corridor; here the seats were partitioned into compartments, like our boxes. The benches were about one foot three inches high and two feet four inches wide. One foot three inches and a half was allowed to each spectator, as may be ascertained in one part, where the divisions are marked off and numbered. There is space to contain about five thousand persons. Here the middle classes sat, usually upon cushions which they brought with them; the men of rank sat in the orchestra below, on chairs of state carried thither by their slaves. Flanking the orchestra, and elevated considerably above it, are observable two divisions, appropriated, one perhaps to the [146]pro-consul, or duumvirs and their officers, the other to the vestal virgins, or to the use of the person who gave the entertainments. This is the more likely, because in the smaller theatre, where these boxes, if we may call them so, are also found, they have a communication with the stage.

This theatre appears to have been entirely covered with marble; the benches of the cavea were of marble, the orchestra was of marble, the scene with all its ornaments was also of marble; and yet of this profusion of marble only a few fragments remain.

It appears, from an inscription found in it, to have been erected, or much improved, by one Holconius Rufus. Upon the first step of the orchestra was another inscription, composed of bronze letters let into the marble. The metal has been carried away, but the cavities in the marble still remain. They were placed so as partly to encompass a statue, and run thus:


signifying, that the colony dedicated this to its patron, M. Holconius Rufus, son of Marcus: then follow his titles. In the middle of this inscription is a vacant space, where probably stood the statue of Holconius, as the cramps, by which something was fastened, still remain. Or possibly it may have been an altar, as it was the custom among the ancients to sacrifice to Bacchus in the theatre.

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Roman Baths.

After the excavations at Pompeii had been carried on to a considerable extent, it was matter of surprise that no public baths were discovered, particularly as they were sure almost to be placed in the most frequented situation, and therefore probably somewhere close to the Forum. The wonder was increased by the small number of baths found in private houses. That public baths existed, was long ago ascertained from an inscription discovered in 1749, purporting that one Januarius, an enfranchised slave, supplied the baths of Marcus Crassus Frugi with water, both fresh and salt. At length an excavation in the vicinity of the Forum brought to light a suite of public baths, admirably arranged, spacious, highly decorated, and superior to any even in the most considerable of our modern cities. They are fortunately in good preservation, and throw much light on what the ancients, and especially Vitruvius, have written on the subject.

Inscription in the Court of the Baths.


"On occasion of the dedication of the baths, at the expense of Cnæus Alleius Nigidius Maius, there will be the chase of wild beasts, athletic contests, sprinkling of perfumes, and an awning. Prosperity to Maius, chief of the colony."

This announcement of a public entertainment is written on a wall of the court of the baths, to the right hand on entering.

The provincial towns, imitating the example of Rome, and [148]equally fond of all sorts of theatrical and gladiatorial exhibitions, of which we have spoken at length in describing the various theatres of Pompeii, usually solemnized the completion of any edifices or monuments erected for the public service by dedicating them. This ceremony was nothing more than opening or exhibiting the building to the people in a solemn manner, gratifying them at the same time with largesses and various spectacles. When a private man had erected the building, he himself was usually the person who dedicated it. When undertaken by the public order and at the public cost, the citizens deputed some magistrate or rich and popular person to perform the ceremony. In the capital vast sums were expended in this manner; and a man who aspired to become a popular leader could scarcely lay out his money to better interest than in courting favor by the prodigality of his expenses on these or similar occasions. It appears, then, that upon the completion of the baths, the Pompeians committed the dedication to Cnæus Alleius Nigidius Maius, who entertained them with a sumptuous spectacle.

There were combats (venatio) between wild beasts, or between beasts and men, a cruel sport, to which the Romans were passionately addicted; athletic games (athletæ), sprinkling of perfumes (sparsiones), and it was further engaged that an awning should be raised over the amphitheatre. The convenience of such a covering will be evident, no less as a protection against sun than rain under an Italian sky: the merit of the promise, which may seem but a trifle, will be understood by considering the difficulty of stretching a covering over the immense area of an ancient amphitheatre. We may observe, by the way, that representations of hunting and of combats between wild beasts are common subjects of the paintings of Pompeii. A combat between a lion and a horse, and another, between a bear and a bull, have been found depicted in the amphitheatre. The velarium, or awning, is advertised in all the inscriptions yet found which give [149]notice of public games. Athletæ and sparsiones appear in no other. We learn from Seneca that the perfumes were disseminated by being mixed with boiling water, and then placed in the centre of the amphitheatre, so that the scents rose with the steam, and soon became diffused throughout the building.

There is some reason to suppose that the completion and dedication of the baths preceded the destruction of the city but a short time, from the inscription being found perfect on the wall of the baths, for it was the custom to write these notices in the most public places, and after a very short season they were covered over by others, as one billsticker defaces the labors of his predecessors. This is abundantly evident even in the present ruined state of the town, especially at the corners of the principal streets, where it is easy to discover one inscription painted over another.

But to return to the Baths. They occupy almost an entire block, forming an irregular quadrangle; the northern front, facing to the Street of the Baths, being about 162 feet in length, the southern front about 93 feet, and the average depth about 174 feet. They are divided into three separate and distinct compartments, one of which was appropriated to the fireplaces and to the servants of the establishment; the other two were occupied each by a set of baths, contiguous to each other, similar and adapted to the same purposes, and supplied with heat and water from the same furnace and from the same reservoir. It is conjectured that the most spacious of them was for the use of the men, the lesser for that of the women. The apartments and passages are paved with white marble in mosaic. It appears, from Varro and Vitruvius, that baths for men and women were originally united, as well for convenience as economy of fuel, but were separated afterwards for the preservation of morals, and had no communication except that from the furnaces. We shall call these the old Baths by way of distinction, and because they were first [150]discovered; but in reality, the more recently discovered Stabian Baths may probably be the more ancient.

It should be observed here that the old Pompeian thermæ are adapted solely to the original purposes of a bath, namely, a place for bathing and washing. They can not therefore for a moment be compared to the baths constructed at Rome during the period of the empire, of which such magnificent remains may still be seen at the baths of Diocletian, and especially at those of Caracalla. In these vast establishments the bath formed only a part of the entertainment provided. There were also spacious porticoes for walking and conversing, halls and courts for athletic games and gladiatorial combats, apartments for the lectures and recitations of philosophers, rhetoricians and poets. In short, they formed a sort of vast public club, in which almost every species of amusement was provided. In the more recently discovered baths, called the Thermæ Stabianæ, there is indeed a large quadrangular court, or palæstra, which may have served for gymnastic exercises, and among others for the game of ball, as appears from some large balls of stone having been found in it. Yet even this larger establishment makes but a very slight approach to the magnificence and luxury of a Roman bath.

The tepidarium, or warm chamber, was so called from a warm, but soft and mild temperature, which prepared the bodies of the bathers for the more intense heat which they were to undergo in the vapor and hot baths; and, vice versa, softened the transition from the hot bath to the external air. The wall is divided into a number of niches or compartments by Telamones, two feet high, in high relief, and supporting a rich cornice. These are male, as Caryatides are female statues placed to perform the office of pillars. By the Greeks they were named Atlantes, from the well-known fable of Atlas supporting the heavens. Here they are made of terra-cotta, or baked clay, incrusted with the finest marble stucco. Their only covering is a girdle round the [151]loins; they have been painted flesh-color, with black hair and beards; the moulding of the pedestal and the baskets on their heads were in imitation of gold; and the pedestal itself, as well as the wall behind them and the niches for the reception of the clothes of the bathers, were colored to resemble red porphyry. Six of these niches are closed up without any apparent reason.



The ceiling is worked in stucco, in low relief, with scattered figures and ornaments of little flying genii, delicately relieved on medallions, with foliage carved round them. The ground is painted, sometimes red and sometimes blue. The room is lighted by a window two feet six inches high and three feet wide, in the bronze frame of which were found set four very beautiful panes of glass fastened by small nuts and screws, very ingeniously contrived, with a view to remove the glass at pleasure. In this room was found a brazier, seven feet long and two feet six inches broad, made entirely of bronze, with the exception of an iron lining. The two front legs are winged sphinxes, terminating in lions' [152]paws, the two other legs are plain, being intended to stand against the wall. The bottom is formed with bronze bars, on which are laid bricks supporting pumice-stones for the reception of charcoal. There is a sort of false battlement worked on the rim, and in the middle a cow is to be seen in high relief. Three bronze benches also were found, alike in form and pattern. They are one foot four inches high, one foot in width, and about six feet long, supported by four legs, terminating in the cloven hoofs of a cow, and ornamented at the upper ends with the heads of the same animal. Upon the seat is inscribed, M. NIGIDIUS, VACCULA. P.S.

Varro, in his book upon rural affairs, tells us that many of the surnames of the Roman families had their origin in pastoral life, and especially are derived from the animals to whose breeding they paid most attention. As, for instance, the Porcii took their name from their occupation as swine-herds; the Ovini from their care of sheep; the Caprilli, of goats; the Equarii, of horses; the Tauri, of bulls, etc. We may conclude, therefore, that the family of this Marcus Vaccula were originally cow-keepers, and that the figures of cows so plentifully impressed on all the articles which he presented to the baths are a sort of canting arms, to borrow an expression from heraldry, as in Rome the family Toria caused a bull to be stamped on their money.

A doorway led from the tepidarium into the caldarium, or vapor-bath. It had on one side the laconicum, containing the vase called labrum. On the opposite side of the room was the hot bath called lavacrum. Here it is necessary to refer to the words of Vitruvius as explanatory of the structure of the apartments (cap. xi. lib. v.): "Here should be placed the vaulted sweating-room, twice the length of its width, which should have at each extremity, on one end the laconicum, made as described above, on the other end the hot bath." This apartment is exactly as described, twice the length of its width, exclusively of [153]the laconicum at one end and the hot bath at the other. The pavement and walls of the whole were hollowed to admit the heat.

The labrum was a great basin or round vase of white marble, rather more than five feet in diameter, into which the hot water bubbled up through a pipe in its centre, and served for the partial ablutions of those who took the vapor-bath. It was raised about three feet six inches above the level of the pavement, on a round base built of small pieces of stone or lava, stuccoed and colored red, five feet six inches in diameter, and has within it a bronze inscription, which runs thus:


Relating that "Cnæus Melissæus Aper, son of Cnæus Aper. Marcus Staius Rufus, son of M. Rufus, duumvirs of justice for the second time, caused the labrum to be made at the public expense, by order of the Decurions. It cost 5,250 sesterces" (about $200). There is in the Vatican a magnificent porphyry labrum found in one of the imperial baths; and Baccius, a great modern authority on baths, speaks of labra made of glass.

This apartment, like the others, is well stuccoed and painted yellow; a cornice, highly enriched with stucco ornaments, is supported by fluted pilasters placed at irregular intervals. These are red, as is also the cornice and ceiling of the laconicum, which is worked in stucco with little figures of boys and animals.

The women's bath resembles very much that of the men, and differs only in being smaller and less ornamented. It is heated, as we have already mentioned, by the same fire, and supplied with water from the same boilers. Near the entrance is an inscription painted in red letters. All the rooms yet retain in perfection their vaulted roofs. In the vestibule are seats similar [154]to those which have been described in the men's baths as appropriated to slaves or servants of the establishment. The robing-room contains a cold bath; it is painted with red and yellow pilasters alternating with one another on a blue or black ground, and has a light cornice of white stucco and a white mosaic pavement with a narrow black border. There are accommodations for ten persons to undress at the same time. The cold bath is much damaged, the wall only remaining of the alveus, which is square, the whole incrustation of marble being destroyed. From this room we pass into the tepidarium, about twenty feet square, painted yellow with red pilasters, lighted by a small window far from the ground. This apartment communicates with the warm bath, which, like the men's, is heated by flues formed in the floors and walls.

There are in this room paintings of grotesque design upon a yellow ground, but they are much damaged and scarcely visible. The pavement is of white marble laid in mosaic. The room in its general arrangement resembles the hot bath of the men; it has a labrum in the laconicum, and a hot bath contiguous to the furnace. The hollow pavement and the flues in the walls are almost entirely destroyed; and of the labrum, the foot, in the middle of which was a piece of the leaden conduit that introduced the water, alone remains. On the right of the entrance into these women's baths is a wall of stone of great thickness and in a good style of masonry.

These baths are so well arranged, with so prudent an economy of room and convenient distribution of their parts, and are adorned with such appropriate elegance, as to show clearly the intellect and resources of an excellent architect. At the same time some errors of the grossest kind have been committed, such as would be inexcusable in the most ignorant workman; as, for instance, the symmetry of parts has been neglected where the parts correspond; a pilaster is cut off by a door which passes through the middle of it; and other mistakes occur which might have been avoided without difficulty. This strange mixture of good and bad taste, of skill and carelessness, is not very easily accounted for, but it is of constant recurrence in Pompeii.


ANCIENT BATH-ROOM. (As discovered).ToList

[156]Vitruvius recommends the selecting a situation for baths defended from the north and northwest winds, and forming windows opposite the south, or if the nature of the ground would not permit this, at least towards the south, because the hours of bathing used by the ancients being from after mid-day till evening, those who bathed could, by those windows, have the advantage of the rays and of the heat of the declining sun.

For this reason the Pompeian baths hitherto described have the greater part of their windows turned to the south, and are constructed in a low part of the city, where the adjoining buildings served as a protection to them from the inconvenience of the northwest winds.

Before concluding this account of the Stabian baths, we should mention that under the portico, near the entrance to the men's baths, was found a sun-dial, consisting as usual of a half circle inscribed in a rectangle, and with the gnomon in perfect preservation. It was supported by lion's feet and elegantly ornamented. On its base was an Oscan inscription, which has been interpreted as follows by Minervini: Marius. Atinius, Marii filius, quæstor, ex multatitia pecunia conventus decreto fieri mandavit. That is: the Quæstor M. Atinius, in accordance with a decree of the assembly, caused it to be made out of money levied by fines. The title of "Quæstor" seems to show that this inscription must have been written after the occupation of Pompeii by the Romans, but at the same time at a period when the Oscan tongue continued to be generally spoken. The fines alluded to were probably levied for breaches of the rules to be observed in the palæstra.


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Social Games and Sports.

Jugglers of both sexes, either single or in gangs, were common all over Greece putting up their booths, as Xenophon says, wherever money and silly people could be found. These frequently amused the guests at drinking feasts with their tricks. The reputation of this class of people was anything but above suspicion, as is proved by the verse of Manetho ("Apotheles," IV., 276), in which they are described as the "birds of the country, the foulest brood of the city." Their tricks were innumerable, and outvied in boldness and ingenuity those of our conjurors, barring, of course such as are founded on the modern discoveries of natural science. Male and female jugglers jumped forwards and backwards over swords or tables; girls threw up and caught again a number of balls or hoops to the accompaniment of a musical instrument; others displayed an astounding skill with their feet and toes while standing on their hands. Rope-dancers performed the most dangerous dances and salti-mortali. In Rome even elephants were trained to mount the rope. Flying-machines of a construction unknown to us are also mentioned, on which bold aeronauts traversed the air. Alkiphron tells a story about a peasant who, on seeing a juggler pulling little bullets from the noses, ears, and heads of the spectators, exclaimed: "Let such a beast never enter my yard, or else everything would soon disappear." Descriptions of these tricks are frequent in ancient writers, particularly in the indignant invectives of the early fathers [158]of the Church. Amongst the pictures of female jugglers in all kinds of impossible postures, can be seen a girl performing the dangerous sword-dance, described by Plato. It consists in her turning somersaults forwards and backwards across the points of three swords stuck in the ground. A similar picture we see on a vase of the Berlin Museum. Another vase shows a female juggler dressed in long drawers standing on her hands, and filling with her feet a kantharos from a krater placed in front of her. She holds the handle of the kantharos with the toes of her left foot, while the toes of her other foot cling round the stem of the kyathos used for drawing the liquor. A woman sitting in front of her performs a game with three balls, in which the other artiste also seems to take a part. In another, a girl in a rather awkward position is shooting an arrow from a bow.

Of social games played by the topers we mention, besides the complicated kottabos, the games played on a board or with dice. Homer already mentions a game of the former class, and names Palamedes as its inventor; of the exact nature of this game we know little or nothing. Neither are we informed of the details of another kind of petteia played with five little stones on a board divided by five lines.

The so-called "game of cities" seems to have resembled our chess or draughts. The board was divided into five parts. Each player tried to checkmate the other by the skillful use of his men. Games of hazard with dice and astragaloi were most likely greater favorites with the topers than the intellectual ones hitherto described. The number of dice was at first three, afterwards two; the figures on the parallel sides being 1 and 6, 2 and 5, 3 and 4. In order to prevent cheating, they were cast from conical beakers, the interior of which was formed into different steps. Each cast had its name, sixty-four of which have been transmitted to us by the grammarians. The luckiest cast, each of the dice showing the figure 6, was called Aphrodite; the unluckiest, [159]the three dice showing the figure 1, had the names of "dog" or "wine" applied to it.

Another game of a similar nature was played with the so-called astragaloi, dice of a lengthy shape made of the knuckles of animals. Two of the surfaces were flat, the third being raised, and the fourth indented slightly. The last-mentioned side was marked 1, and had, amongst many other names, that of "dog;" the opposite surface, marked 6. The Latin names of the two other sides marked 3 and 4 were suppus and planus respectively. The figures 2 and 5 were wanting on the astragaloi, the narrow end-surfaces not being counted. The number of astragaloi used was always four, being the same as in the game of dice. Here also the luckiest cast was called Aphrodite, with which at the same time the honor of king-of-the-feast was connected.

Young girls liked to play at a game with five astragaloi, or little stones, which were thrown into the air and caught on the upper surface of the hand. This game is still in use in many countries. We possess many antique representations of these various games.

Two vase paintings show soldiers playing at draughts. Astragaloi and dice of different sizes, some with the figures as above described on them, others evidently counterfeited, are preserved in several museums. Of larger representations we mention the marble statue of a girl playing with astragaloi in the Berlin Museum, and a Pompeian wall-painting in which the children of Jason play the same game, while Medea threatens their lives with a drawn sword. The celebrated masterpiece of Polykletes, representing two boys playing with astragaloi, formerly in the palace of Titus in Rome, has unfortunately been lost. Another wall-painting shows in the foreground Aglaia and Hileaira, daughters of Niobe, kneeling and playing the same game.

In connection with these social games we mention a few other favorite amusements of the Greeks. The existence of [160]cock-fights is proved by vase-paintings, gems, and written evidence. It was a favorite pastime with both old and young. Themistokles, after his victory over the Persians, is said to have founded an annual entertainment of cock-fights, which made both these and the fights of quails popular among the Greeks. The breeding of fighting-cocks was a matter of great importance, Rhodes, Chalkis, and Media being particularly celebrated for their strong and large cocks. In order to increase their fury, the animals were fed with garlic previous to the fight. Sharp metal spurs were attached to their legs, after which they were placed on a table with a raised border. Very large sums were frequently staked on them by owners and spectators.

Here, again, we see antique customs reproduced by various modern nations. The Italian game of morra (il giuco alla morra or fare alla morra) was also known to the ancients. In it both players open their clenched right hands simultaneously with the speed of lightning, whereat each has to call out the number of fingers extended by the other. It is the same game which figured among Egyptian amusements. Mimetic dances were another favorite amusement at symposia. They mostly represented mythological scenes. A few words about Greek dancing ought to be added.

Homer mentions dancing as one of the chief delights of the feast; he also praises the artistic dances of the Phaiakian youths. This proves the esteem in which this art was held even at that early period. In the dances of the Phaiakai, all the young men performed a circular movement round a singer standing in the centre, or else two skilled dancers executed a pas de deux. Homer's words seem to indicate that the rhythmical motion was not limited to the legs, as in our modern dances, but extended to the upper part of the body and the arms. Perhaps the germs of mimetic art may be looked for in this dance.

According to Lucian, the aim of the dance was to express [161]sentiment, passion, and action by means of gestures. It soon developed into highest artistic beauty, combined with the rhythmic grace peculiar to the Greeks. Like the gymnastic and agonistic arts, the dance retained its original purity as long as public morality prevailed in Greece: its connection with religious worship preserved it from neglect. Gradually, however, here also mechanical virtuosity began to supplant true artistic principles.

The division of dances according to their warlike or religious character seems objectionable, because all of them were originally connected with religious worship. The distinction between warlike and peaceful dances is more appropriate. Among the warlike dances particularly adapted to the Doric character, was the oldest and that most in favor. It dates from mythical times. Pyrrhichos, either a Kretan or Spartan by birth, the Dioskuroi, also Pyrrhos, the son of Achilles, are mentioned as its originators. The Pyrrhic dance, performed by several men in armor, imitated the movements of attack and defence. The various positions were defined by rule; hands and arms played an important part in the mimetic action. It formed the chief feature of the Doric gymnopaidia and of the greater and lesser Panathenaia at Athens. The value attached to it in the latter city is proved by the fact of the Athenians making Phrynichos commander-in-chief owing to the skill displayed by him in the Pyrrhic dance.

Later a Bacchic element was introduced into this dance, which henceforth illustrated the deeds of Dionysos. A fragment of a marble frieze shows a satyr with a thyrsos and laurel crown performing a wild Bacchic dance between two soldiers, also executing a dancing movement; it most likely illustrates the Pyrrhic dance of a later epoch.

Of other warlike dances we mention the karpeia, which rendered the surprise of a warrior plowing a field by robbers, and the scuffle between them. It was accompanied on the flute.

More numerous, although less complicated, were the [162]peaceful choral dances performed at the feasts of different gods, according to their individualities. With the exception of the Bacchic dances, they consisted of measured movements round the altar. More lively in character were the gymnopaidic dances performed by men and boys. They were, like most Spartan choral dances, renowned for their graceful rhythms. They consisted of an imitation of gymnastic exercises, particularly of the wrestling-match and the Pankration; in later times it was generally succeeded by the warlike Pyrrhic dance.

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Social Entertainments.

We will now give some of the more domestic entertainments, such as parties or dinners, given by the Egyptians. In their entertainments they appear to have omitted nothing which could promote festivity and the amusement of the guests. Music, songs, dancing, buffoonery, feats of agility, or games of chance, were generally introduced; and they welcomed them with all the luxuries which the cellar and the table could afford.

The party, when invited to dinner, met about midday, and they arrived successively in their chariots, in palanquins borne by their servants, or on foot. Sometimes their attendants screened them from the sun by holding up a shield (as is still done in Southern Africa), or by some other contrivance; but the chariot of the king or of a princess, was often furnished with a large parasol; and the flabella borne behind the king, which belonged exclusively to royalty, answered the same purpose. They were composed of feathers, and were not very unlike those carried on state occasions behind the Pope in modern Rome. Parasols or umbrellas were also used in Assyria, Persia, and other Eastern countries.

When a visitor came in his car, he was attended by a number of servants, some of whom carried a stool, to enable him to alight, and others his writing tablet, or whatever he might want during his stay at the house. The guests are assembled in a sitting room within, and are entertained with music during the interval preceding the announcement of dinner; for, like the Greeks, they considered it a want of good breeding to sit [164]down to table immediately on arriving, and, as Bdelycleon, in Aristophanes, recommended his father Philocleon to do, they praised the beauty of the rooms and the furniture, taking care to show particular interest in those objects which were intended for admiration. As usual in all countries, some of the party arrived earlier than others; and the consequence, or affectation of fashion, in the person who now drives up in his curricle, is shown by his coming some time after the rest of the company; one of his footmen runs forward to knock at the door, others, close behind the chariot, are ready to take the reins, and to perform their accustomed duties; and the one holding his sandals in his hand, that he may run with greater ease, illustrates a custom, still common in Egypt, among the Arabs and peasants of the country, who find the power of the foot greater when freed from the encumbrance of a shoe.

To those who arrived from a journey, or who desired it, water was brought for their feet, previous to entering the festive chamber. They also washed their hands before dinner, the water being brought in the same manner as at the present day; and ewers, not unlike those used by the modern Egyptians, are represented, with the basins belonging to them, in the paintings of a Theban tomb. In the houses of the rich they were of gold, or other costly materials. Herodotus mentions the golden foot-pan, in which Amasis and his guests used to wash their feet.

The Greeks had the same custom of bringing water to the guests, numerous instances of which we find in Homer; as when Telemachus and the son of Nestor were received at the house of Menelaus, and when Asphalion poured it upon the hands of his master, and the same guests, on another occasion. Virgil also describes the servants bringing water for this purpose when Æneas was entertained by Dido. Nor was the ceremony thought superfluous, or declined, even though they had previously bathed and been anointed with oil.

[165]It is also probable that, like the Greeks, the Egyptians anointed themselves before they left home; but still it was customary for a servant to attend every guest, as he seated himself, and to anoint his head; which was one of the principal tokens of welcome. The ointment was sweet-scented, and was contained in an alabaster, or in an elegant glass or porcelain vase, some of which have been found in the tombs of Thebes. Servants took the sandals of the guests as they arrived, and either put them by in a convenient place in the house, or held them on their arm while they waited upon them.

After the ceremony of anointing was over, and in some cases at the time of entering the saloon, a lotus flower was presented to each guest, who held it in his hand during the entertainment. Servants then brought necklaces of flowers, composed chiefly of the lotus; a garland was also put round the head, and a single lotus bud, or a full-blown flower, was so attached as to hang over the forehead. Many of them, made up into wreaths and other devices, were suspended upon stands in the room ready for immediate use; and servants were constantly employed to bring other fresh flowers from the garden, in order to supply the guests as their bouquets faded.

The Greeks and Romans had the same custom of presenting guests with flowers or garlands, which were brought in at the beginning of their entertainments, or before the second course. They not only adorned their heads, necks, and breasts, like the Egyptians, but often bestrewed the couches on which they lay, and all parts of the room, with flowers; though the head was chiefly regarded, as appears from Horace, Anacreon, Ovid, and other ancient authors. The wine-bowl, too, was crowned with flowers, as at an Egyptian banquet. They also perfumed the apartment with myrrh, frankincense and other choice odors, which they obtained from Syria; and if the sculptures do not give any direct representation of this practice among the Egyptians, [166]we know it to have been adopted and deemed indispensable among them; and a striking instance is recorded by Plutarch, at the reception of Agesilaus by Tachos. A sumptuous dinner was prepared for the Spartan prince, consisting, as usual, of beef, goose, and other Egyptian dishes; he was crowned with garlands of papyrus, and received with every token of welcome; but when he refused "the sweatmeats, confections, and perfumes," the Egyptians held him in great contempt, as a person unaccustomed to, and unworthy of, the manners of civilized society.

The Greeks, and other ancient people, usually put on a particular garment at festive meetings, generally of a white color; but it does not appear to have been customary with the Egyptians to make any great alteration in their attire, though they evidently abstained from dresses of a gloomy hue.

The guests being seated, and having received these tokens of welcome, wine was offered them by the servants. To the ladies it was generally brought in a small vase, which, when emptied into the drinking-cup, was handed to an under servant, or slave, who followed; but to the men it was frequently presented in a one-handled goblet, without being poured into any cup, and sometimes in a larger or small vase of gold, silver, or other materials.

Herodotus and Hellanicus both say that they drank wine out of brass or bronze goblets; and, indeed, the former affirms that this was the only kind of drinking-cup known to the Egyptians; but Joseph had one of silver, and the sculptures represent them of glass and porcelain, as well as of gold, silver and bronze. Those who could not afford the more costly kind were satisfied with a cheaper quality, and many were contented with cups of common earthenware; but the wealthy Egyptians used vases of glass, porcelain, and the precious metals, for numerous purposes, both in their houses and in the temples of the gods.

The practice of introducing wine at the commencement of an entertainment, or before dinner had been served up, was not [167]peculiar to this people; and the Chinese, to the present day, offer it at their parties to all the guests, as they arrive, in the same manner as the ancient Egyptians. They also drank wine during the repast, perhaps to the health of one another or of an absent friend, like the Romans; and no doubt the master of the house, or "the ruler of the feast," recommended a choice wine, and pledged them to the cup.

While dinner was preparing the party was enlivened by the sound of music; and a band, consisting of the harp, lyre, guitar, tambourine, double and single pipe, flute and other instruments, played the favorite airs and songs of the country. Nor was it deemed unbecoming the gravity and dignity of a priest to admit musicians into his house, or to take pleasure in witnessing the dance; and seated with their wives and family in the midst of their friends, the highest functionaries of the sacerdotal order enjoyed the lively scene. In the same manner, at a Greek entertainment, diversions of all kinds were introduced; and Xenophon and Plato inform us that Socrates, the wisest of men, amused his friends with music, jugglers, mimics, buffoons, and whatever could be desired for exciting cheerfulness and mirth.

The dance consisted mostly of a succession of figures, in which the performers endeavored to exhibit a great variety of gesture; men and women danced at the same time, or in separate parties, but the latter were generally preferred, from their superior grace and elegance. Some danced to slow airs, adapted to the style of their movement; the attitudes they assumed frequently partook of a grace not unworthy of the Greeks; and others preferred a lively step, regulated by an appropriate tune. Men sometimes danced with great spirit, bounding from the ground more in the manner of Europeans than of an Eastern people; on which occasions the music was not always composed of many instruments, but consisted only of crotala or maces, a [168]man clapping his hand, and a woman snapping her fingers to the time.

Graceful attitudes and gesticulation were the general style of their dance; but, as in other countries, the taste of the performance varied according to the rank of the person by whom they were employed, or their own skill; and the dance at the house of a priest differed from that among the uncouth peasantry, or the lower classes of townsmen.

It was not customary for the upper orders of Egyptians to indulge in this amusement, either in public or private assemblies, and none appear to have practiced it but the lower ranks of society, and those who gained their livelihood by attending festive meetings. The Greeks, however, though they employed women who professed music and dancing, to entertain the guests, looked upon the dance as a recreation in which all classes might indulge, and an accomplishment becoming a gentleman; and it was also a Jewish custom for young ladies to dance at private entertainments, as it still is at Damascus and other Eastern towns.

The Romans, on the contrary, were far from considering it worthy of a man of rank, or of a sensible person; and Cicero says: "No man who is sober dances, unless he is out of his mind, either when alone, or in any decent society; for dancing is the companion of wanton conviviality, dissoluteness, and luxury."

Nor did the Greeks indulge in it to excess; and effeminate dances, or extraordinary gesticulation, were deemed indecent in men of character and wisdom. Indeed, Herodotus tells a story of Hippoclides, the Athenian, who had been preferred before all the nobles of Greece, as a husband for the daughter of Clisthenes, king of Argos, having been rejected on account of his extravagant gestures in the dance.

Of all the Greeks, the Ionians were most noted for their fondness of this art; and, from the wanton and indecent tendency of their songs and gestures, dances of a voluptuous character [169](like those of the modern Almehs of the East) were styled by the Romans "Ionic movements." Moderate dancing was even deemed worthy of the gods themselves. Jupiter, "the father of gods and men," is represented dancing in the midst of the other deities; and Apollo is not only introduced by Homer thus engaged, but received the title of "the dancer," from his supposed excellence in the art.

Grace in posture and movement was the chief object of those employed at the assemblies of the rich Egyptians; and the ridiculous gestures of the buffoon were permitted there, so long as they did not transgress the rules of decency and moderation. Music was always indispensable, whether at the festive meetings of the rich or poor; and they danced to the sound of the harp, lyre, guitar, pipe, tambourine, and other instruments, and, in the streets, even to the drum.

Many of their postures resembled those of the modern ballet, and the pirouette delighted an Egyptian party four thousand years ago.

The dresses of the female dancers were light, and of the finest texture, showing, by their transparent quality, the forms and movement of the limbs; they generally consisted of a loose flowing robe, reaching to the ankles, occasionally fastened tight at the waist; and round the hips was a small narrow girdle, adorned with beads, or ornaments of various colors. Sometimes the dancing figures appear to have been perfectly naked; but this is from the outline of the transparent robe having been effaced; and, like the Greeks, they represented the contour of the figure as if seen through the dress.

Slaves were taught dancing as well as music; and in the houses of the rich, besides their other occupations, that of dancing to entertain the family, or a party of friends, was required of them; and free Egyptians also gained a livelihood by their performances.

[170]While the party was amused with music and dancing, and the late arrivals were successively announced, refreshments continued to be handed round, and every attention was shown to the assembled guests. Wine was offered to each new comer, and chaplets of flowers were brought by men servants to the gentlemen, and by women or white slaves to the ladies, as they took their seats. An upper servant, or slave, had the office of handing the wine, and a black woman sometimes followed, in an inferior capacity, to receive an empty cup when the wine had been poured into the goblet. The same black slave also carried the fruits and other refreshments; and the peculiar mode of holding a plate with the hand reversed, so generally adopted by women from Africa, is characteristically shown in the Theban paintings.

To each person after drinking a napkin was presented for wiping the mouth, answering to the mahrama of the modern Egyptians; and the bearer of it uttered a complimentary sentiment, when she offered it and received back the goblet: as, "May it benefit you!" and no oriental at the present day drinks water without receiving a similar wish. But it was not considered rude to refuse wine when offered, even though it had been poured out; and a teetotaller might continue smelling a lotus without any affront.

Men and women either sat together, or separately, in a different part of the room; but no rigid mistrust prevented strangers, as well as members of the family, being received into the same society; which shows how greatly the Egyptians were advanced in the habits of social life. In this they, like the Romans, differed widely from the Greeks, and might say with Cornelius Nepos, "Which of us is ashamed to bring his wife to an entertainment? and what mistress of a family can be shown who does not inhabit the chief and most frequented part of the house? Whereas in Greece she never appears at any entertainments, except those to which relations alone are invited, and constantly [171]lives in the women's apartments at the upper part of the house, into which no man has admission, unless he be a near relation." Nor were married people afraid of sitting together, and no idea of their having had too much of each other's company made it necessary to divide them. In short, they were the most Darby and Joan people possible, and they shared the same chair at home, at a party, and even in their tomb, where sculpture grouped them together.

The master and mistress of the house accordingly sat side by side on a large fauteuil, and each guest as he arrived walked up to receive their welcome. The musicians and dancers hired for the occasion also did obeisance to them, before they began their part. To the leg of the fauteuil was tied a favorite monkey, a dog, a gazelle, or some other pet; and a young child was permitted to sit on the ground at the side of its mother, or on its father's knee.

In the meantime the conversation became animated, especially in those parts of the room where the ladies sat together, and the numerous subjects that occurred to them were fluently discussed. Among these the question of dress was not forgotten, and the patterns, or the value of trinkets, were examined with proportionate interest. The maker of an ear-ring, and the store where it was purchased, were anxiously inquired; each compared the workmanship, the style, and the materials of those she wore, coveted her neighbor's, or preferred her own; and women of every class vied with each other in the display of "jewels of silver and jewels of gold," in the texture of their "raiment," the neatness of their sandals, and the arrangement or beauty of their plaited hair.

It was considered a pretty compliment to offer each other a flower from their own bouquet, and all the vivacity of the Egyptians was called forth as they sat together. The hosts omitted nothing that could make their party pass off pleasantly, and keep [172]up agreeable conversation, which was with them the great charm of accomplished society, as with the Greeks, who thought it "more requisite and becoming to gratify the company by cheerful conversation, than with variety of dishes." The guests, too, neglected no opportunity of showing how much they enjoyed themselves; and as they drew each other's attention to the many nick-nacks that adorned the rooms, paid a well-turned compliment to the taste of the owner of the house. They admired the vases, the carved boxes of wood or ivory, and the light tables on which many a curious trinket was displayed; and commended the elegance and comfort of the luxurious fauteuils, the rich cushions and coverings of the couches and ottomans, the carpets and the other furniture. Some, who were invited to see the sleeping apartments, found in the ornaments on the toilet-tables, and in the general arrangements, fresh subjects for admiration; and their return to the guest-chamber gave an opportunity of declaring that good taste prevailed throughout the whole house. On one occasion, while some of the delighted guests were in these raptures of admiration, and others were busied with the chitchat, perhaps the politics, or the scandal of the day, an awkward youth, either from inadvertence, or a little too much wine, reclined against a wooden column placed in the centre of the room to support some temporary ornament, and threw it down upon those who sat beneath it.[20] The confusion was great: the women screamed; and some, with uplifted hands, endeavored to protect their heads and escape its fall. No one, however, seems to have been hurt; and the harmony of the party being restored, the incident afforded fresh matter for conversation; to be related in full detail to their friends, when they returned home.

The vases were very numerous, and varied in shape, size, and materials; being of hard stone, alabaster, glass, ivory, bone, porcelain, bronze, brass, silver, or gold; and those of the poorer [173]classes were of glazed pottery, or common earthenware. Many of their ornamental vases, as well as those in ordinary use, were of the most elegant shape, which would do honor to the Greeks, the Egyptians frequently displaying in these objects of private luxe the taste of a highly refined people; and so strong a resemblance did they bear to the productions of the best epochs of ancient Greece, both in their shape and in the fancy devices upon them, that some might even suppose them borrowed from Greek patterns. But they were purely Egyptian, and had been universally adopted in the valley of the Nile, long before the graceful forms we admire were known in Greece; a fact invariably acknowledged by those who are acquainted with the remote age of Egyptian monuments, and of the paintings that represent them.



For some of the most elegant date in the early age of the third Thothmes, who lived between 3,300 and 3,400 years before our time; and we not only admire their forms, but the richness of the materials of which they were made, their color, as well as the hieroglyphics, showing them to have been of gold and silver, or of this last, inlaid with the more precious metal.

Those of bronze, alabaster, glass, porcelain, and even of ordinary pottery, were also deserving of admiration, from the beauty of their shapes, the designs which ornamented them, and the superior quality of the material; and gold and silver cups were [174]often beautifully engraved, and studded with precious stones. Among these we readily distinguish the green emerald, the purple amethyst, and other gems; and when an animal's head adorned their handles, the eyes were frequently composed of them, except when enamel, or some colored composition, was employed as a substitute.

While the guests were entertained with music and the dance dinner was prepared; but as it consisted of a considerable number of dishes, and the meat was killed for the occasion, as at the present day in Eastern and tropical climates, some time elapsed before it was put upon table. An ox, kid, wild goat, gazelle or an oryx, and a quantity of geese, ducks, teal, quails and other birds, were generally selected; but mutton was excluded from a Theban table. Plutarch even states that "no Egyptians would eat the flesh of sheep, except the Lycopolites," who did so out of compliment to the wolves they venerated; and Strabo confines the sacrifice of them to the Nome of Nitriotis. But though sheep were not killed for the altar or the table, they abounded in Egypt and even at Thebes; and large flocks were kept for their wool, particularly in the neighborhood of Memphis. Sometimes a flock consisted of more than 2,000; and in a tomb below the Pyramids, dating upwards of 4,000 years ago, 974 rams are brought to be registered by his scribes, as part of the stock of the deceased; implying an equal number of ewes, independent of lambs.

A considerable quantity of meat was served up at those repasts, to which strangers were invited, as among people of the East at the present day; whose azooma, or feast, prides itself in the quantity and variety of dishes, in the unsparing profusion of viands, and, whenever wine is permitted, in the freedom of the bowl. An endless succession of vegetables was also required on all occasions; and, when dining in private, dishes composed chiefly of them were in greater request than joints, even at the tables of the rich, and consequently the Israelites, who, by their long [175]residence there, had acquired similar habits, regretted them equally with the meat and fish of Egypt.

Their mode of dining was very similar to that now adopted in Cairo and throughout the East; each person sitting round a table, and dipping his bread into a dish placed in the centre, removed on a sign made by the host, and succeeded by others, whose rotation depends on established rule, and whose number is predetermined according to the size of the party, or the quality of the guests.

Among the lower orders, vegetables constituted a very great part of their ordinary food, and they gladly availed themselves of the variety and abundance of esculent roots growing spontaneously, in the lands irrigated by the rising Nile, as soon as its waters had subsided; some of which were eaten in a crude state, and others roasted in the ashes, boiled or stewed: their chief aliment, and that of their children, consisting of milk and cheese, roots, leguminous, cucurbitaceous and other plants, and the ordinary fruits of the country. Herodotus describes the food of the workmen who built the Pyramids, to have been the "raphanus, onions and garlic;" the first of which, now called figl, is like a turnip-radish in flavor; but he has omitted one more vegetable, lentils, which were always, as at the present day, the chief article of their diet; and which Strabo very properly adds to the number.

The nummulite rock, in the vicinity of those monuments, frequently presents a conglomerate of testacea imbedded in it, which, in some positions, resemble small seeds; and Strabo imagines they were the petrified residue of the lentils brought there by the workmen, from their having been the ordinary food of the laboring classes, and of all the lower orders of Egyptians.

Much attention was bestowed on the culture of this useful pulse, and certain varieties became remarkable for their excellence, the lentils of Pelusium being esteemed both in Egypt and in foreign countries.

[176]That dinner was served up at mid-day, may be inferred from the invitation given by Joseph to his brethren; but it is probable that, like the Romans, they also ate supper in the evening, as is still the custom in the East. The table was much the same as that of the present day in Egypt: a small stool, supporting a round tray, on which the dishes are placed; but it differed from this in having its circular summit fixed on a pillar, or leg, which was often in the form of a man, generally a captive, who supported the slab upon his head; the whole being of stone, or some hard wood. On this the dishes were placed, together with loaves of bread, some of which were not unlike those of the present day in Egypt, flat and round as our crumpets. Others had the form of rolls or cakes, sprinkled with seeds.

It was not generally covered with any linen, but, like the Greek table, was washed with a sponge, or napkin, after the dishes were removed, and polished by the servants, when the company had retired; though an instance sometimes occurs of a napkin spread on it, at least on those which bore offerings in honor of the dead.

One or two guests generally sat at a table, though from the mention of persons seated in rows according to rank, it has been supposed the tables were occasionally of a long shape, as may have been the case when the brethren of Joseph "sat before him, the first born according to his birth-right, and the youngest according to his youth," Joseph eating alone at another table where "they set on for him by himself." But even if round, they might still sit according to rank; one place being always the post of honor, even at the present day, at the round table of Egypt.

In the houses of the rich, bread was made of wheat; the poorer classes being contented with bakes of barley, or of doora (holcus sorghum), which last is still so commonly used by them; for Herodotus is as wrong in saying that they thought it "the [177]greatest disgrace to live on wheat and barley," as that "no one drank out of any but bronze (or brazen) cups." The drinking cups of the Egyptians not only varied in their materials, but also in their forms. Some were plain and unornamented; others, though of small dimensions, were made after the models of larger vases; many were like our own cups without handles; and others may come under the denomination of beakers, and saucers. Of these the former were frequently made of alabaster, with a round base, so that they could not stand when filled, and were held in the hand, or, when empty, were turned downwards upon their rim: and the saucers, which were of glazed pottery, had sometimes lotus blossoms, or fish, represented on their concave surface.

The tables, as at a Roman repast, were occasionally brought in, and removed, with the dishes on them; sometimes each joint was served up separately, and the fruit, deposited in a plate or trencher, succeeded the meat at the close of the dinner; but in less fashionable circles, particularly of the olden time, fruit was brought in baskets, which stood beside the table. The dishes consisted of fish; meat boiled, roasted, and dressed in various ways; game, poultry, and a profusion of vegetables and fruit, particularly figs and grapes, during the season; and a soup, or "pottage of lentils," as with the modern Egyptians, was not an unusual dish.

Of figs and grapes they were particularly fond, which is shown by their constant introduction, even among the choice offerings presented to the gods; and figs of the sycamore must have been highly esteemed, since they were selected as the heavenly fruit, given by the goddess Netpe to those who were judged worthy of admission to the regions of eternal happiness. Fresh dates during the season, and in a dried state at other periods of the year, were also brought to table, as well as a preserve of the [178]fruit, made into a cake of the same form as the tamarinds now brought from the interior of Africa, and sold in the Cairo market.

The guests sat on the ground, or on stools and chairs, and, having neither knives and forks, nor any substitute for them answering to the chop-sticks of the Chinese, they ate with their fingers, like the modern Asiatics, and invariably with the right hand; nor did the Jews and Etruscans, though they had forks for other purposes, use any at table.

Spoons were introduced when required for soup, or other liquids; and, perhaps, even a knife was employed on some occasions, to facilitate the carving of a large joint, which is sometimes done in the East at the present day.

The Egyptians washed after, as well as before, dinner; an invariable custom throughout the East, as among the Greeks, Romans, Hebrews, and others; and Herodotus speaks of a golden basin, belonging to Amasis, which was used by the King, and "the guests who were in the habit of eating at his table."

An absorbent seems also to have been adopted for scouring the hands; and a powder of ground lupins, the doqaq of modern Egypt, is no doubt an old invention, handed down to the present inhabitants.

Soap was not unknown to the ancients, and a small quantity has been found at Pompeii. Pliny, who mentions it as an invention of the Gauls, says it was made of fat and ashes; and Aretæus, the physician of Cappadocia, tells us that the Greeks borrowed their knowledge of its medicinal properties from the Romans. But there is no evidence of soap having been used by the Egyptians; and if by accident they discovered something of the kind, while engaged with mixtures of natron or potash, and other ingredients, it is probable that it was only an absorbent, without oil or grease, and on a par with steatite, or the argillaceous earths, with which, no doubt, they were long acquainted.

The Egyptians, a scrupulously religious people, were never [179]remiss in expressing their gratitude for the blessings they enjoyed, and in returning thanks to the gods for that peculiar protection they were thought to extend to them and to their country, above all the nations of the earth.

They, therefore, never sat down to meals without saying grace; and Josephus says that when the seventy-two elders were invited by Ptolemy Philadelphus to sup at the palace, Nicanor requested Eleazer to say grace for his countrymen, instead of those Egyptians to whom that duty was committed on other occasions.

It was also a custom of the Egyptians, during or after their repasts, to introduce a wooden image of Osiris, from one foot and a half to three feet in height, in the form of a human mummy, standing erect, or lying on a bier, and to show it to each of the guests, warning him of his mortality, and the transitory nature of human pleasures. He was reminded that some day he would be like that figure; that men ought "to love one another, and avoid those evils which tend to make them consider life too long, when in reality it is too short;" and while enjoying the blessings of this world, to bear in mind that their existence was precarious, and that death, which all ought to be prepared to meet, must eventually close their earthly career.

Thus, while the guests were permitted, and even encouraged, to indulge in conviviality, the pleasures of the table, and the mirth so congenial to their lively disposition, they were exhorted to put a certain degree of restraint upon their conduct; and though this sentiment was perverted by other people, and used as an incentive to present excesses, it was perfectly consistent with the ideas of the Egyptians to be reminded that this life was only a lodging, or "inn" on their way, and that their existence here was the preparation for a future state.

"The ungodly," too, of Solomon's time, thus expressed themselves: "Our life is short and tedious, and in the death of a [180]man there is no remedy; neither was there any man known to have returned from the grave. For we are born at all adventure, and we shall be hereafter as though we had never been, ... come on, therefore, let us enjoy the good things that are present, ... let us fill ourselves with costly wine and ointments; and let no flower of the spring pass by us; let us crown ourselves with rosebuds, before they be withered; let none of us go without his part of our voluptuousness; let us leave tokens of our joyfulness in every place."

But even if the Egyptians, like other men, neglected a good warning, the original object of it was praiseworthy; and Plutarch expressly states that it was intended to convey a moral lesson. The idea of death had nothing revolting to them; and so little did the Egyptians object to have it brought before them, that they even introduced the mummy of a deceased relative at their parties, and placed it at table, as one of the guests; a fact which is recorded by Lucian, in his "Essay on Grief," and of which he declares himself to have been an eye-witness.

After dinner, music and singing were resumed; hired men and women displayed feats of agility; swinging each other round by the hand; throwing up and catching the ball; or flinging themselves round backwards head-over-heels, in imitation of a wheel; which was usually a performance of women. They also stood on each other's backs, and made a somersault from that position; and a necklace, or other reward, was given to the most successful tumbler.

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Egyptian Music and Entertainments.

Though impossible for us now to form any notion of the character or style of Egyptian music, we may be allowed to conjecture that it was studied on scientific principles; and, whatever defects existed in the skill of ordinary performers, who gained their livelihood by playing in public, or for the entertainment of a private party, music was looked upon as an important science, and diligently studied by the priests themselves. According to Diodorus it was not customary to make music part of their education, being deemed useless and even injurious, as tending to render the minds of men effeminate; but this remark can only apply to the custom of studying it as an amusement. Plato, who was well acquainted with the usages of the Egyptians, says that they considered music of the greatest consequence, from its beneficial effects upon the mind of youth; and according to Strabo, the children of the Egyptians were taught letters, the songs appointed by law, and a certain kind of music, established by government.

That the Egyptians were particularly fond of music is abundantly proved by the paintings in their tombs of the earliest times; and we even find they introduced figures performing on the favorite instruments of the country, among the devices with which they adorned fancy boxes or trinkets. The skill of the Egyptians in the use of musical instruments is also noticed by Athenæus, who says that both the Greeks and barbarians were taught by [182]refugees from Egypt, and that the Alexandrians were the most scientific and skillful players on pipes and other instruments.

It is sufficiently evident, from the sculptures of the ancient Egyptians, that their hired musicians were acquainted with the triple symphony: the harmony of instruments; of voices; and of voices and instruments. Their band was variously composed, consisting either of two harps, with the single pipe and flute; of the harp and double pipe, frequently with the addition of the guitar; of a fourteen-stringed harp, a guitar, lyre, double pipe, and tambourine; of two harps, sometimes of different sizes, one of seven, the other of four, strings; of two harps of eight chords, and a seven-stringed lyre; of the guitar and the square or oblong tambourine; of the lyre, harp, guitar, double pipe, and a sort of harp with four strings, which was held upon the shoulder; of the harp, guitar, double pipe, lyre, and square tambourine; of the harp, two guitars, and the double pipe; of the harp, two flutes, and a guitar; of two harps and a flute; of a seventeen-stringed lyre, the double pipe, and a harp of fourteen chords; of the harp and two guitars; or of two seven-stringed harps and an instrument held in the hand, not unlike an eastern fan, to which were probably attached small bells, or pieces of metal that emitted a jingling sound when shaken, like the crescent-crowned bells of our modern bands. There were many other combinations of these various instruments; and in the Bacchic festival of Ptolemy Philadelphus, described by Athenæus, more than 600 musicians were employed in the chorus, among whom were 300 performers on the cithara.

Sometimes the harp was played alone, or as an accompaniment to the voice; and a band of seven or more choristers frequently sang to it a favorite air, beating time with their hands between each stanza. They also sang to other instruments, as the lyre, guitar or double pipe; or to several of them played together, as the flute and one or more harps; or to these last with [183]a lyre or a guitar. It was not unusual for one man or one woman to perform a solo; and a chorus of many persons occasionally sang at a private assembly without any instrument, two or three beating time at intervals with the hand. Sometimes the band of choristers consisted of more than twenty persons, only two of whom responded by clapping their hands; and in one instance we have seen a female represented holding what was perhaps another kind of jingling instrument.

The custom of beating time by clapping the hands between the stanzas is still usual in Egypt.

On some occasions women beat the tambourine and darabooka drum, without the addition of any other instrument; dancing or singing to the sound; and bearing palm branches or green twigs in their hands, they proceeded to the tomb of a deceased friend, accompanied by this species of music. The same custom may still be traced in the Friday visit to the cemetery, and in some other funeral ceremonies among the Moslem peasants of modern Egypt.

If it was not customary for the higher classes of Egyptians to learn music for the purpose of playing in society, and if few amateur performers could be found among persons of rank, still some general knowledge of the art must have been acquired by a people so alive to its charms; and the attention paid to it by the priests regulated the taste, and prevented the introduction of a vitiated style.

Those who played at the houses of the rich, as well as the ambulant musicians of the streets, were of the lower classes, and made this employment the means of obtaining their livelihood; and in many instances both the minstrels and the choristers were blind.

It was not so necessary an accomplishment for the higher classes of Egyptians as of the Greeks, who, as Cicero says, "considered the arts of singing and playing upon musical instruments [184]a very principal part of learning; whence it is related of Epaminondas, who, in my judgment, was the first of all the Greeks, that he played very well upon the flute. And, some time before, Themistocles, upon refusing the harp at an entertainment, passed for an uninstructed and ill-bred person. Hence, Greece became celebrated for skillful musicians; and as all persons there learned music, those who attained to no proficiency in it were thought uneducated and unaccomplished."

Cornelius Nepos also states that Epaminondas "played the harp and flute, and perfectly understood the art of dancing, with other liberal sciences," which, "though trivial things in the opinion of the Romans, were reckoned highly commendable in Greece."

The Israelites also delighted in music and the dance; and persons of rank deemed them a necessary part of their education. Like the Egyptians with whom they had so long resided, the Jews carefully distinguished sacred from profane music. They introduced it at public and private rejoicings, at funerals, and in religious services; but the character of the airs, like the words of their songs, varied according to the occasion; and they had canticles of mirth, of praise, of thanksgiving, and of lamentation. Some were epithalamia, or songs composed to celebrate marriages; others to commemorate a victory, or the accession of a prince; to return thanks to the Deity, or to celebrate his praises; to lament a general calamity, or a private affliction; and others, again, were peculiar to their festive meetings. On these occasions they introduced the harp, lute, tabret, and various instruments, together with songs and dancing, and the guests were entertained nearly in the same manner as at an Egyptian feast. In the temple, and in the religious ceremonies, the Jews had female as well as male performers, who were generally daughters of the Levites, as the Pallaces of Thebes were either of the royal family, or the daughters of priests; and these musicians were attached exclusively to the service of religion.

[185]David was not only remarkable for his taste and skill in music, but took a delight in introducing it on every occasion. "And seeing that the Levites were numerous, and no longer employed as formerly in carrying the boards, veils, and vessels of the tabernacle, its abode being fixed at Jerusalem, he appointed a great part of them to sing and play on instruments, at the religious festivals."

Solomon, again, at the dedication of the temple, employed "120 priests, to sound with trumpets;" and Josephus pretends that no less than 200,000 musicians were present at that ceremony, besides the same number of singers, who were Levites.

When hired to attend at a private entertainment, the musicians either stood in the centre, or at one side, of the festive chamber, and some sat cross-legged on the ground, like the Turks and other Eastern people of the present day. They were usually accompanied on these occasions by dancers, either men or women, sometimes both; whose art consisted in assuming all the graceful or ludicrous gestures, which could obtain the applause, or tend to the amusement, of the assembled guests. For music and dancing were considered as essential at their entertainments, as among the Greeks; but it is by no means certain that these diversions counteracted the effect of wine, as Plutarch imagines; a sprightly air is more likely to have invited another glass; and sobriety at a feast was not one of the objects of the lively Egyptians.

They indulged freely in whatever tended to increase their enjoyment, and wine flowed freely at their entertainments.

Private individuals were under no particular restrictions with regard to its use, and it was not forbidden to women. In this they differed widely from the Romans; for in early times no female at Rome enjoyed the privilege, and it was unlawful for women, or, indeed, for young men below the age of thirty, to drink wine, except at sacrifices.

Even at a later time the Romans considered it disgraceful [186]for a woman to drink wine; and they sometimes saluted a female relation, whom they suspected, in order to discover if she had secretly indulged in its use. It was afterwards allowed them on the plea of health.

That Egyptian women were not forbidden the use of wine, is evident from the frescoes which represent their feasts; and the painters, in illustrating this fact, have sometimes sacrificed their gallantry to a love of caricature. Some call the servants to support them as they sit, others with difficulty prevent themselves from falling on those behind them; a basin is brought too late by a reluctant servant, and the faded flower, which is ready to drop from their heated hands, is intended to be characteristic of their own sensations.

That the consumption of wine in Egypt was very great is evident from the sculptures, and from the accounts of ancient authors, some of whom have censured the Egyptians for their excesses; and so much did the quantity used exceed that made in the country, that, in the time of Herodotus, twice every year a large importation was received from Phœnicia and Greece.

Notwithstanding all the injunctions or exhortations of the priests in favor of temperance, the Egyptians of both sexes appear from the sculptures to have committed occasional excesses, and men were sometimes unable to walk from a feast, and were carried home by servants. These scenes, however, do not appear to refer to members of the higher, but of the lower, classes, some of whom indulged in extravagant buffoonery, dancing in a ludicrous manner, or standing on their heads, and frequently in amusements which terminated in a fight.

At the tables of the rich, stimulants were sometimes introduced, to excite the palate before drinking, and Athenæus mentions cabbages as one of the vegetables used by the Egyptians for this purpose.

Besides beer, the Egyptians had what Pliny calls factitious, [187]or artificial, wine, extracted from various fruits, as figs, myxas, pomegranates, as well as herbs, some of which were selected for their medicinal properties. The Greeks and Latins comprehended every kind of beverage made by the process of fermentation under the same general name, and beer was designated as barley-wine; but, by the use of the name zythos, they show that the Egyptians distinguished it by its own peculiar appellation. Palm-wine was also made in Egypt, and used in the process of embalming.

The palm-wine now made in Egypt and the Oases is simply from an incision in the heart of the tree, immediately below the base of the upper branches, and a jar is attached to the part to catch the juice which exudes from it. But a palm thus tapped is rendered perfectly useless as a fruit-bearing tree, and generally dies in consequence; and it is reasonable to suppose that so great a sacrifice is seldom made except when date-trees are to be felled, or when they grow in great abundance.

The modern name of this beverage in Egypt is lowbgeh; in flavor it resembles a very new light wine, and may be drunk in great quantity when taken from the tree; but, as soon as the fermentation has commenced, its intoxicating qualities have a powerful and speedy effect.

Among the various fruit-trees cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, palms, of course, held the first rank, as well from their abundance as from their great utility. The fruit constituted a principal part of their food, both in the month of August, when it was gathered fresh from the trees, and at other seasons of the year, when it was used in a preserved state.

They had two different modes of keeping the dates; one was by the simple process of drying them, the other was by making them into a conserve, like the agweh of the present day; and of this, which was eaten either cooked or as a simple [188]sweetmeat, there have been found some cakes, as well as the dried dates, in the sepulchres of Thebes.

Pliny makes a just remark respecting the localities where the palm prospers, and the constant irrigation it requires; and though every one in the East knows the tree will not grow except where water is abundant, we still read of "palm-trees of the desert," as if it delighted in an arid district. Wherever it is found it is a sure indication of water; and if it may be said to flourish in a sandy soil, this is only in situations where its roots can obtain a certain quantity of moisture. The numerous purposes for which its branches and other parts might be applied rendered the cultivation of this valuable and productive tree a matter of primary importance, for no portion of it is without its peculiar use.

The trunk serves for beams, either entire, or split in half; of the gereet, or branches, are made wicker baskets, bedsteads, coops, and ceilings of rooms, answering every purpose for which laths or any thin woodwork are required; the leaves are converted into mats, brooms, and baskets; of the fibrous tegument as the base of the branches, strong ropes and mats are made, and even the thick ends of the gereet are beaten flat and formed into brooms.

Besides the lowbgeh of the tree, brandy, wine, and vinegar are made from the fruit; and the quantity of saccharine matter in the dates might be used in default of sugar or honey.

In Upper Egypt another tree called the Dom, or Theban palm, was also much cultivated, and its wood, more solid and compact than the date-tree, is found to answer as well for rafts, and other purposes connected with water, as for beams and rafters.


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Games and Sports of the Egyptians.

The game of morra was common in ancient as well as modern Italy, and was played by two persons, who each simultaneously threw out the fingers of one hand, while one party guessed the sum of both. They were said in Latin, "micare digitis," and this game, still so common among the lower order of Indians, existed in Egypt, about four thousand years ago, in the reigns of the Osirtasens.

The same, or even a greater, antiquity may be claimed for the game of draughts, or, as it has been called, chess. As in the two former, the players sat on the ground, or on chairs, and the pieces, or men, being ranged in line at either end of the tables, moved on a chequered board, as in our own chess.

The pieces were all of the same size and form, though they varied on different boards, some being small, others large with round summits: some were surmounted by human heads; and many were of a lighter and neater shape, like small nine-pins, probably the most fashionable kind, since they were used in the palace of king Remeses. These last seem to have been about one inch and a half high, standing on a circular base of half an inch in diameter; but some are only one inch and a quarter in height, and little more than half an inch broad at the lower end. Others have been found, of ivory, one inch and six eighths high, and one and an eighth in diameter, with a small knob at the top, exactly like those represented at Beni Hassan, and the tombs near the Pyramids.

[190]They were about equal in size upon the same board, one set black, the other white or red; or one with round, the other with flat heads, standing on opposite sides; and each player, raising it with the finger and thumb, advanced his piece towards those of his opponent; but though we are unable to say if this was done in a direct or a diagonal line, there is reason to believe they could not take backwards as in the Polish game of chess, the men being mixed together on the board.

It was an amusement common in the houses of the lower classes, as in the mansions of the rich; and king Remeses is himself portrayed on the walls of his palace at Thebes, engaged in the game of chess with the ladies of his household.

The modern Egyptians have a game of chess, very similar, in the appearance of the men, to that of their ancestors, which they call dameh, and play much in the same manner as our own.

Analogous to the game of odd and even was one, in which two of the players held a number of shells, or dice, in their closed hands, over a third person who knelt between them, with his face towards the ground, and who was obliged to guess the combined number ere he could be released from this position.

Another game consisted in endeavoring to snatch from each other a small hoop, by means of hooked rods, probably of metal; and the success of a player seems to have depended on extricating his own from an adversary's rod, and then snatching up the hoop, before he had time to stop it.

There were also two games, of which the boards, with the men, are in the possession of Dr. Abbott. One is eleven inches long by three and a half, and has ten spaces or squares in three rows; the other twelve squares at the upper end (or four squares in three rows) and a long line of eight squares below, forming an approach to the upper part, like the arrangement of German tactics. The men in the drawer of the board are of two shapes, one set ten, the other nine in number.

[191]Other games are represented in the paintings, but not in a manner to render them intelligible; and many, which were doubtless common in Egypt, are omitted both in the tombs, and in the writings of ancient authors.

The dice discovered at Thebes and other places, may not be of a Pharaonic period, but, from the simplicity of their form, we may suppose them similar to those of the earliest age, in which, too, the conventional number of six sides had probably always been adopted. They were marked with small circles, representing units, generally with a dot in the centre; and were of bone or ivory, varying slightly in size.

Plutarch shows that dice were a very early invention in Egypt, and acknowledged to be so by the Egyptians themselves, since they were introduced into one of their oldest mythological fables; Mercury being represented playing at dice with the Moon, previous to the birth of Osiris, and winning from her the five days of the epact, which were added to complete the 365 days of the year.

It is probable that several games of chance were known to the Egyptians, besides dice and morra, and, as with the Romans, that many a doubtful mind sought relief in the promise of success, by having recourse to fortuitous combinations of various kinds; and the custom of drawing, or casting lots, was common, at least as early as the period of the Hebrew Exodus.

The games and amusements of children were such as tended to promote health by the exercise of the body, and to divert the mind by laughable entertainments. Throwing and catching the ball, running, leaping, and similar feats, were encouraged, as soon as their age enabled them to indulge in them; and a young child was amused with painted dolls, whose hands and legs, moving on pins, were made to assume various positions by means of strings. Some of these were of rude form, without legs, or with an imperfect representation of a single arm on one side. Some had [192]numerous beads, in imitation of hair, hanging from the doubtful place of the head; others exhibited a nearer approach to the form of a man; and some, made with considerable attention to proportion, were small models of the human figure. They were colored according to fancy; and the most shapeless had usually the most gaudy appearance, being intended to catch the eye of an infant. Sometimes a man was figured washing, or kneading dough, who was made to work by pulling a string; and a typhonian monster, or a crocodile, amused a child by its grimaces, or the motion of its opening mouth. In the toy of the crocodile, we have sufficient evidence that the notion of this animal "not moving its lower jaw, and being the only creature which brings the upper one down to the lower," is erroneous. Like other animals, it moves the lower jaw only; but when seizing its prey, it throws up its head, which gives an appearance of motion in the upper jaw, and has led to the mistake.

The game of ball was of course generally played out of doors. It was not confined to children, nor to one sex, though the mere amusement of throwing and catching it appears to have been considered more particularly adapted to women. They had different modes of playing. Sometimes a person unsuccessful in catching the ball was obliged to suffer another to ride on her back, who continued to enjoy this post until she also missed it; the ball being thrown by an opposite player, mounted in the same manner, and placed at a certain distance, according to the space previously agreed upon; and, from the beast-of-burden office of the person who had failed, the same name was probably applied to her as to those in the Greek game, "who were called asses, and were obliged to submit to the commands of the victor."

Sometimes they caught three or more balls in succession, the hands occasionally crossed over the breast; they also threw it up to a height and caught it, like our "sky-ball;" and the game described by Homer to have been played by Halius and Laodamus, [193]in the presence of Alcinous, was known to them; in which one party threw the ball as high as he could, and the other, leaping up, caught it on its fall, before his feet again touched the ground.

When mounted on the backs of the losing party, the Egyptian women sat sidewise. Their dress consisted merely of a short petticoat, without a body, the loose upper robe being laid aside on these occasions; it was bound at the waist with a girdle, supported by a strap over the shoulder, and was nearly the same as the undress garb of mourners, worn during the funeral lamentation on the death of a friend.

The balls were made of leather or skin, sewed with string, crosswise, in the same manner as our own, and stuffed with bran, or husks of corn; and those which have been found at Thebes are about three inches in diameter. Others were made of string, or of the stalks of rushes, platted together so as to form a circular mass, and covered, like the former, with leather. They appear also to have had a smaller kind of ball probably of the same materials, and covered, like many of our own, with slips of leather of a rhomboidal shape, sewed together longitudinally, and meeting in a common point at both ends, each alternate slip being of a different color; but these have only been met with in pottery.

In one of their performances of strength and dexterity, two men stood together side by side, and, placing one arm forward and the other behind them, held the hands of two women, who reclined backwards, in opposite directions, with their whole weight pressed against each other's feet, and in this position were whirled round; the hands of the men who held them being occasionally crossed, in order more effectually to guarantee the steadiness of the centre, on which they turned.

Sometimes two men, seated back to back on the ground, at a given signal tried who should rise first from that position, without touching the ground with the hand. And in this, too, there [194]was probably the trial who should first make good his seat upon the ground, from a standing position.

Another game consisted in throwing a knife, or pointed weapon, into a block of wood, in which each player was required to strike his adversary's, or more probably to fix his own in the centre, or at the circumference, of a ring painted on the wood; and his success depended on being able to ring his weapon most frequently, or approach most closely to the line.

Conjuring appears also to have been known to them, at least thimble-rig, or the game of cups, under which a ball was put, while the opposite party guessed under which of four it was concealed.

The Egyptian grandees frequently admitted dwarfs, and deformed persons, into their household; originally, perhaps, from a humane motive, or from some superstitious regard for men who bore the external character of one of their principal gods, Pthah-Sokari-Osiris, the misshapen Deity of Memphis; but, whatever may have given rise to the custom, it is a singular fact, that already as early as the age of Osirtasen, or about 4,000 years ago, the same fancy of attaching these persons to their suite existed among the Egyptians, as at Rome, and even in modern Europe, till a late period.

The games of the lower orders, and of those who sought to invigorate the body by active exercises, consisted of feats of agility and strength. Wrestling was a favorite amusement; and the paintings at Beni Hassan present all the varied attitudes and modes of attack and defence of which it is susceptible. And, in order to enable the spectator more readily to perceive the position of the limbs of each combatant, the artist has availed himself of a dark and light color, and even ventured to introduce alternately a black and red figure. The subject covers a whole wall.

It is probable that, like the Greeks, they anointed the body [195]with oil, when preparing for these exercises, and they were entirely naked, with the exception of a girdle, apparently of leathern thongs.

The two combatants generally approached each other, holding their arms in an inclined position before the body; and each endeavored to seize his adversary in the manner best suited to his mode of attack. It was allowable to take hold of any part of the body, the head, neck, or legs; and the struggle was frequently continued on the ground, after one or both had fallen; a mode of wrestling common also to the Greeks.

They also fought with the single stick, the hand being apparently protected by a basket, or guard projecting over the knuckles; and on the left arm they wore a straight piece of wood, bound on with straps, serving as a shield to ward off their adversary's blow. They do not, however, appear to have used the cestus, nor to have known the art of boxing; though in one group, at Beni Hassan, the combatants appear to strike each other. Nor is there an instance, in any of these contests, of the Greek sign of acknowledging defeat, which was by holding up a finger in token of submission; and it was probably done by the Egyptians with a word. It is also doubtful if throwing the discus, or quoit, was an Egyptian game; but there appears to be one instance of it, in a king's tomb of the 19th dynasty.

One of their feats of strength, or dexterity, was lifting weights; and bags full of sand were raised with one hand from the ground and carried with a straight arm over the head, and held in that position.

Mock fights were also an amusement, particularly among those of the military class, who were trained to the fatigues of war, by these manly recreations. One party attacked a temporary fort, and brought up the battering ram, under cover of the testudo; another defended the walls and endeavored to repel the enemy; others, in two parties of equal numbers, engaged in [196]single stick, or the more usual neboot, a pole wielded with both hands; and the pugnacious spirit of the people is frequently alluded to in the scenes portrayed by their artists.

The use of the neboot seems to have been as common among the ancient, as among the modern, Egyptians; and the quarrels of villages were often decided or increased, as at present, by this efficient weapon.

Crews of boats are also represented attacking each other with the earnestness of real strife. Some are desperately wounded, and, being felled by their more skillful opponents, are thrown headlong into the water; and the truth of Herodotus' assertion, that the heads of the Egyptians were harder than those of other people, seems fully justified by the scenes described by their own draughtsmen.

It is fortunate that their successors have inherited this peculiarity, in order to bear the violence of the Turks, and their own combats.

Many singular encounters with sticks are mentioned by ancient authors; among which may be noticed one at Papremis, the city of Mars, described by Herodotus. When the votaries of the deity presented themselves at the gates of the temple, their entrance was obstructed by an opposing party; and all being armed with sticks, they commenced a rude combat, which ended, not merely in the infliction of a few severe wounds, but even, as the historian affirms, in the death of many persons on either side.

Bull-fights were also among their sports; which were sometimes exhibited in the dromos, or avenue, leading to the temples, as at Memphis before the temple of Vulcan; and prizes were awarded to the owner of the victorious combatant. Great care was taken in training them for this purpose; Strabo says as much as is usually bestowed on horses; and herdsmen were not loth to allow, or encourage, an occasional fight for the love of the exciting and popular amusement.

[197]They did not, however, condemn culprits, or captives taken in war, to fight with wild beasts, for the amusement of an unfeeling assembly; nor did they compel gladiators to kill each other, and gratify a depraved taste by exhibitions revolting to humanity. Their great delight was in amusements of a lively character, as music, dancing, buffoonery, and feats of agility; and those who excelled in gymnastic exercises were rewarded with prizes of various kinds; which in the country towns consisted, among other things, of cattle, dresses, and skins, as in the games celebrated in Chemmis.

The lively amusements of the Egyptians show that they had not the gloomy character so often attributed to them; and it is satisfactory to have these evidences by which to judge of it, in default of their physiognomy, so unbecomingly altered by death, bitumen, and bandages.

The intellectual capabilities, however, of individuals may yet be subject to the decision of the phrenologist; and if they have escaped the ordeal of the supposed spontaneous rotation of a pendulum under a glass bell, their handwriting is still open to the criticisms of the wise, who discover by it the most minute secrets of character; and some of the old scribes may even now be amenable to this kind of scrutiny. But they are fortunately out of reach of the surprise, that some in modern days exhibit, at the exact likeness of themselves, believed to be presented to them from their own handwriting by a few clever generalities; forgetting that the sick man, in each malady he reads of in a book of medicine, discovers his own symptoms, and fancies they correspond with his own particular case. For though a certain neatness, or precision, carelessness, or other habit, may be discovered by handwriting, to describe from it all the minutiæ of character is only feeding the love of the marvelous, so much on the increase in these days, when a reaction of credulity bids fair to make nothing too extravagant for our modern gobe-mouches.

[198]Among the various pastimes of the Egyptians, none was more popular than the chase; and the wealthy aristocracy omitted nothing that could promote their favorite amusement. They hunted the numerous wild animals in the desert; they had them caught with nets, to be turned out on some future day; and some very keen sportsmen took long journeys to spots noted for abundance of game.

When a grand chase or hunt took place in the domain of some grandee, or in the extensive tracts of the desert, a retinue of huntsmen, beaters and others in his service, attended to manage the hounds, to carry the game baskets and hunting poles, to set the nets, and to make other preparations for a good day's sport. Some took a fresh supply of arrows, a spare bow, and various requisites for remedying accidents; some were merely beaters, others were to assist in securing the large animals caught by the lasso, others had to mark or turn the game, and some carried a stock of provisions for the chasseur and his friends. These last were borne upon the usual wooden yoke, across the shoulders, and consisted of a skin of water, and jars of good wine placed in wicker baskets, with bread, meats, and other eatables.

Sometimes a portion of the desert of considerable extent, was enclosed by nets, into which the animals were driven by beaters; and the place chosen for fixing them was, if possible, across narrow valleys, or torrent beds, lying between some rocky hills. Here a sportsman on horseback, or in a chariot, could waylay them, or get within reach with a bow; for many animals, particularly gazelles, when closely pressed by dogs, fear to take a steep ascent, and are easily overtaken, or shot as they double back.

The spots thus enclosed were usually in the vicinity of the water brooks, to which they were in the habit of repairing in the morning and evening; and having awaited the time when they went to drink, and ascertained it by their recent tracks on the accustomed path, the hunters disposed the nets, occupied proper [199]positions for observing them unseen, and gradually closed in upon them.

Such are the scenes partially portrayed in the Egyptian paintings, where long nets are represented surrounding the space they hunted in; and the hyænas, jackals, and various wild beasts unconnected with the sport, are intended to show that they have been accidentally enclosed within the same line of nets with the antelopes and other animals.

In the same way Æneas and Dido repaired to a wood at break of day, after the attendants had surrounded it with a temporary fence, to enclose the game.

The long net was furnished with several ropes, and was supported on forked poles, varying in length, to correspond with the inequalities of the ground, and was so contrived as to enclose any space, by crossing hills, valleys or streams, and encircling woods, or whatever might present itself; smaller nets for stopping gaps were also used; and a circular snare, set round with wooden or metal nails, and attached by a rope to a log of wood, which was used for catching deer, resembled one still made by the Arabs.

The dresses of the attendants and huntsmen were generally of a suppressed color, "lest they should be seen at a distance by the animals," tight fitting, and reaching only a short way down the thigh; and the horses of the chariots were divested of the feathers and showy ornaments used on other occasions.

Besides the portions of the open desert and the valleys, which were enclosed for hunting, the parks and covers on their own domains in the valley of the Nile, though of comparatively limited dimensions, offered ample space and opportunity for indulging in the chase; and a quantity of game was kept there, principally the wild goat, oryx, and gazelle.

They had also fish-ponds, and spacious poultry-yards, set apart for keeping geese and other wild fowl, which they fattened for the table.

[200]It was the duty of the huntsmen, or the gamekeepers, to superintend the preserves; and at proper periods of the year wild fawns were obtained, to increase the herds of gazelles and other animals, which always formed part of the stock of a wealthy Egyptian.

The Egyptians frequently coursed with dogs in the open plains, the chasseur following in his chariot, and the huntsmen on foot. Sometimes he only drove to cover in his car, and having alighted, shared in the toil of searching for the game, his attendants keeping the dogs in slips, ready to start them as soon as it appeared. The more usual custom when the dogs threw off in a level plain of great extent, was for him to remain in his chariot, and, urging his horses to their full speed, endeavor to turn or intercept them as they doubled, discharging a well-directed arrow whenever they came within its range.

The dogs were taken to the ground by persons expressly employed for that purpose, and for all the duties connected with the kennel; and were either started one by one or in pairs, in the narrow valleys or open plains; and when coursing on foot, the chasseur and his attendant huntsmen, acquainted with the direction and sinuosities of the torrent beds, shortened the road as they followed across the intervening hills, and sought a favorable opportunity for using the bow; or enjoyed the course in the level space before them.

Having pursued on foot, and arrived at the spot where the dogs had caught their prey, the huntsman, if alone, took up the game, tied its legs together, and hanging it over his shoulders, once more led by his hand the coupled dogs, precisely in the same manner as the Arabs do at the present day. But this was generally the office of persons who carried the cages and baskets on the usual wooden yoke, and who took charge of the game as soon as it was caught; the supply of these substitutes for our game cart being in proportion to the proposed range of the chase, and the number of head they expected to kill.

[201]Sometimes an ibex, oryx, or wild ox, being closely pressed by the hounds, faced round and kept them at bay, with its formidable horns, and the spear of the huntsman as he came up, was required to decide the success of the chase.

It frequently happened, when the chasseur had many attendants and the district to be hunted was extensive, that they divided into parties, each taking one or more dogs, and starting them on whatever animal broke cover; sometimes they went without hounds, merely having a small dog for searching the bushes, or laid in wait for the larger and more formidable animals, and attacked them with the lance.

The noose, or lasso, was also employed to catch the wild ox, the antelope and other animals; but this could only be thrown by lying in ambush for the purpose, and was principally adopted when they wished to secure them alive.

Besides the bow, the hounds and the noose, they hunted with lions, which were trained expressly for the chase, like the cheeta, or hunting leopard of India, being brought up from cubs in a tame state; and many Egyptian monarchs were accompanied in battle by a favorite lion. But there is no instance of hawking.

The bow used for the chase was very similar to that employed in war; the arrows were generally the same, with metal heads, though some were only tipped with stone. The mode of drawing the bow was also the same; and if the chasseurs sometimes pulled the string only to the breast, the more usual method was to raise it, and bring the arrow to the ear; and occasionally, one or more spare arrows were held in the hand, to give greater facility in discharging them with rapidity on the antelopes and oxen.

The animals they chiefly hunted were the gazelle, wild goat or ibex, the oryx, wild ox, stag, kebsh or wild sheep, hare and porcupine; of all of which the meat was highly esteemed among the delicacies of the table; the fox, jackal, wolf, hyæna, and [202]leopard, and others, being chased as an amusement, for the sake of their skins, or as enemies of the farm-yard. For though the fact of the hyæna being sometimes bought with the ibex and gazelle might seem to justify the belief that it was also eaten, there is no instance of its being slaughtered for the table. The ostrich held out a great temptation to the hunter from the value of its plumes. These were in great request among the Egyptians for ornamental purposes; they were also the sacred symbol of truth; and the members of the court on grand occasions decked themselves with the feathers of the ostrich. The labor endured during the chase of this swift-footed bird was amply repaid; even its eggs were required for some ornamental or for some religious use (as with the modern Copts); and, with the plumes, formed part of the tribute imposed by the Egyptians on the conquered countries where it abounded. Lion hunting was a favorite amusement of the kings, and the deserts of Ethiopia always afforded good sport, abounding as they did with lions; their success on those occasions was a triumph they often recorded; and Amunoph III. boasted having brought down in one battue no less than one hundred and two head, either with the bow or spear. For the chase of elephants they went still further south; and, in after times, the Ptolemies had hunting places in Abyssinia.

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[19] Epp. ii. 1, 189.

[20] We regret having lost the copy of this amusing subject. It was in a tomb at Thebes.


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The life of married women, maidens, children while in the care of women, and of female slaves, passed in the gynaikonitis, from which they issued only on rare occasions. The family life of Greek women widely differed from our Christian idea; neither did it resemble the life in an Oriental harem, to which it was far superior. The idea of the family was held up by both law and custom, and although concubinage and the intercourse with hetairai was suffered, nay favored, by the state, still such impure elements never intruded on domestic relations.

Our following remarks refer, of course, only to the better classes, the struggle for existence by the poor being nearly the same in all ages. In the seclusion of the gynaikonitis the maiden grew up in comparative ignorance. The care bestowed on domestic duties and on her dress was the only interest of her monotonous existence. Intellectual intercourse with the other sex was wanting entirely. Even where maidens appeared in public at religious ceremonies, they acted separately from the youths. An intercourse of this kind, at any rate, could not have a lasting influence on their culture. Even marriage did not change this state of things. The maiden only passed from the gynaikonitis of her father into that of her husband. In the latter, however, she was the absolute ruler. She did not share the intellectual life of her husband—one of the fundamental conditions of our family life. It is true that the husband watched over her honor with jealousy, assisted by the gynaikonomoi, sometimes even by means [204]of lock and key. It is also true that common custom protected a well-behaved woman against offence; still her position was only that of the mother of the family. Indeed, her duties and achievements were hardly considered by the husband, in a much higher light than those of a faithful domestic slave.

In prehistoric times the position of women seems to have been, upon the whole, a more dignified one. Still, even then, their duties were essentially limited to the house, as is proved, for instance, by the words in which Telemachus bids his mother mind her spindle and loom, instead of interfering with the debates of men. As the state became more developed, it took up the whole attention of the man, and still more separated him from his wife. Happy marriages, of course, were by no means impossible; still, as a rule, the opinion prevailed of the woman being by nature inferior to the man, and holding a position of a minor with regard to civic rights. This principle has, indeed, been repeatedly pronounced by ancient philosophers and lawgivers. Our remarks hitherto referred chiefly to the Ionic-Attic tribe, renowned for the modesty of its women and maidens. The Doric principle, expressed in the constitution of Sparta, gave, on the contrary, full liberty to maidens to show themselves in public, and to steel their strength by bodily exercise. This liberty, however, was not the result of a philosophic idea of the equality of the two sexes, but was founded on the desire of producing strong children by means of strengthening the body of the female.

The chief occupation of women, beyond the preparing of the meals, consisted in spinning and weaving. In Homer we see the wives of the nobles occupied in this way; and the custom of the women making the necessary articles of dress continued to prevail even when the luxury of later times, together with the degeneracy of the women themselves, had made the establishment of workshops and places of manufacture for this purpose [205]necessary. Antique art has frequently treated these domestic occupations. The Attic divinities, Athene Ergane and Aphrodite Urania, as well as the Argive Here, Ilithyia, the protecting goddess of child-bearing, Persephone, and Artemis, all these plastic art represents as goddesses of fate, weaving the thread of life, and, at the same time, protecting female endeavors; in which two-fold quality they have the emblem of domestic activity, the distaff, as their attribute. Only a few representations of spinning goddesses now remain; but many are the pictures of mortal spinning-maidens painted on walls, chiefly for female use. For the spinning, a spindle was used, as is still the case in places where the [206]northern spinning-wheel has not supplanted the antique custom. Homer describes noble ladies handling the distaff with the spindle belonging to it. Helen received a present of a golden spindle, with a silver basket to keep the thread in. The distaff, with a bundle of wool or flax fastened to its point, was held under the left arm, while the thumb and first finger of the right hand, slightly wetted, spun the thread at the end of which hung the spindle, made of metal. The web was, from the spindle, wound round a reel, to be further prepared on the loom.


SOCIAL ENJOYMENT OF WOMEN (From an ancient painting.)ToList

Akin to spinning are the arts of weaving and embroidering. We frequently see in vase-paintings women with embroidering-frames in their laps. The skill of Greek ladies in embroidery is sufficiently proved by the tasteful embroidered patterns and borders on Greek dresses, both of men and women. The vase-paintings supply many examples.

Our remarks about female duties in preparing the meal must be short. The heavy parts of the duty, like grinding the corn in hand-mills, were performed by servants. In the palace of Odysseus twelve female slaves were employed all day in grinding wheat and barley in an equal number of hand-mills, to supply the numerous guests. The hand-mill consisted (like those still used in some Greek islands) of two stones, each about two feet in diameter, the upper one of which was made to rotate by means of a crooked handle, so as to crush the corn poured through an opening in it.

Baking and roasting meat on the spit were among the duties of female slaves. In every house of even moderate wealth, several of these were kept as cooks, chambermaids, and companions of the ladies on their walks, it being deemed improper for them to leave the house unaccompanied by several slaves. How far ladies took immediate part in the preparing of dainty dishes we can not say. In later times it became customary to buy or hire male slaves as cooks.

[207]Antique representations of women bathing, adorning themselves, playing, and dancing, are numerous. The Athenian maiden, unlike her Spartan sister, did not think it proper to publicly exhibit her bodily skill and beauty in a short chiton, but taking a bath seems to have been among her every-day habits as is shown by the numerous bathing scenes on vases. In one of them, a slave pours the contents of a hydria over her nude mistress. Cowering on the floor in another we see an undressed woman catching in her hand the water-spout issuing from a mask of Pan in the wall into a bath. An alabastron and comb are lying on the floor. A picture on an amphora in the museum of Berlin offers a most interesting view of the interior of a Greek bath-chamber. We see a bathing establishment built in the Doric style. By a row of columns the inner space is divided into two bath-chambers, each for two women. The water is most likely carried by pressure to the tops of the hollow columns, the communication among which is effected by means of pipes about six feet from the ground. The openings of the taps are formed into neatly modeled heads of boars, lions, and panthers, from the mouths of which a fine rain spray is thrown on the bathers. Their hair has been tightly arranged into plaits. The above-mentioned pipes were evidently used for hanging up the towels; perhaps they were even filled with hot water to warm the bathing linen. Whether our picture represents a public or private bath seems doubtful. The dressing after the bath has also been frequently depicted.

We need not enter upon the subject here. We will mention the chief utensils, as the comb, ointment-bottle, mirror, etc., on a following page. The scenes thus depicted are undoubtedly borrowed from daily life, although Aphrodite, with her attendance of Cupids and Graces, has taken the place of mortal women.

For music, games, and dances, we mention only a game at ball, which was played in a dancing measure, and, therefore, [208]considered as a practice of graceful movements. Homer mentions Nausikaa as a skilled player of this game. It is remarkable that wherever women playing at ball appear in pictures they are represented in a sitting posture. (See cut, page 205.)

The swing was essentially a female amusement. In commemoration of the fate of Erigone, daughter of Ikarios, a festival had been ordained at Athens at which the maidens indulged in the joys of the swing. Illustrations of this pastime occur frequently on vases, free from any mythological symbolism, even in cases where Eros is made to move the swing.

We now come to the point in the maiden's life when she is to preside over her own household as the legitimate mate of her husband. In most cases Greek marriage was a matter of convenience, a man considering it his duty to provide for the legitimate continuation of his family. The Doric tribe did not attempt to disguise this principle in its plain-spoken laws; the rest of Greece acknowledged it but in silence, owing to a more refined conception of the moral significance of marriage.

The seclusion of female life, indeed, made the question of personal charms appear of secondary importance. Equity of birth and wealth were the chief considerations. The choice of the Athenian citizen was limited to Athenian maidens; only in that case were the children entitled to full birthright, the issue of a marriage of an Athenian man or maiden with a stranger being considered illegitimate by the law. Such a marriage was, indeed, nothing but a form of concubinage. The laws referring to this point were, however, frequently evaded. At the solemn betrothal, always preceding the actual marriage, the dowry of the bride was settled; her position as a married woman greatly depended upon its value. Frequently the daughter of poor, deserving citizens were presented with a dowry by the state or by a number of citizens.

In Homer's time the bridegroom wooed the bride with rich [209]gifts; Iphidamas, for instance, offers a hundred heifers and a thousand goats as a nuptial present. But afterwards this was entirely reversed, the father of the bride having to provide the dowry, consisting partly in cash, partly in clothes, jewelry, and slaves. In cases of separation the dowry had, in most cases, to be returned to the wife's parents. The most appropriate age for contracting a marriage, Plato in his Republic fixes, for girls, at twenty, for men, at thirty. There was, however, no rule to this effect. Parents were naturally anxious to dispose of their daughters as early as possible, without taking objection to the advanced years of the wooer, as is tersely pointed out by Aristophanes.

The actual marriage ceremony, or leading home, was preceded by offerings to Zeus Teleios, Hera Teleia, Artemis Eukleia and other deities protecting marriage. The bridal bath was the second ceremony, which both bride and bridegroom had to go through previous to their union.

On the wedding day, towards dark, after the meal at her parental home was over,[21] the bride left the festively adorned house, and was conducted by the bridegroom in a chariot to his dwelling. She sat between the bridegroom and the best man chosen from among his relatives or intimate friends. Accompanied by the sounds of the hymenæos, and the festive sounds of flutes and friendly acclamations from all passers-by, the procession moved slowly towards the bridegroom's house, also adorned with wreaths of foliage. The mother of the bride walked behind the chariot, with the wedding torches, kindled at the parental hearth, according to custom immemorial. At the door of the bridegroom his mother was awaiting the young couple with burning torches in her hand. In case no wedding meal had been served at the bride's house, the company now sat down to it. To prognosticate the desired fertility of the union, cakes of sesame were distributed. The same symbolic meaning attached to the quince, which, [210]according to Solon's law, the bride had to eat. After the meal the couple retired to the thalamos, where for the first time the bride unveiled herself to her husband. Before the door of the bridal chamber epithalamia were sung, a charming specimen of which we possess in the bridal hymn of Helena by Theokritos. On the two first days after the wedding, wedding-presents were received by the pair. Not till after these days did the bride appear without her veil.

Very different from the social position of chaste women was that of the hetairai. We are not speaking of the lowest class of unfortunates, worshiping Aphrodite Pandemos, but of those women who, owing to their beauty and grace of conversation, exerted great influence even over superior men. We only remind the reader of Aspasia. In the graces of society the hetairai were naturally superior to respectable women, owing to their free intercourse with men. For the hetairai did not shun the light of day, and were not restrained by the law. Only the house of the married man was closed to them.

Before passing from private to public life, we must cast a glance at the early education of the child by the mother. We begin with the earliest days of infancy. After the first bath the new-born child was put into swaddling-clothes, a custom not permitted by the rougher habits of Sparta. On the fifth or seventh day the infant had to go through the ceremony of purification; the midwife, holding him in her arms, walked several times round the burning altar. A festive meal on this day was given to the family, the doors being decorated with an olive crown for a boy, with wool for a girl. On the tenth day after its birth, when the child was named, another feast took place. This ceremony implied the acknowledgment, on the part of the father, of the child's legitimacy. The name of the child was chosen by both parents, generally after the name of either of the grandparents, sometimes, also, after the name or attributes of a deity, [211]under whose particular protection the child was thus placed. A sacrifice, offered chiefly to the goddess of child-bearing, Here Ilithyia, and a meal, concluded the ceremony. At the latter, friends and relatives presented the infant with toys of metal or clay, while the mother received painted vases. The antique cradle consisted of a flat swing of basket work, such as appears in a terra-cotta relief in the British Museum, of the infant Bacchus being carried by a satyr brandishing a thyrsus, and a torch-bearing bacchante. Another kind of cradle, in the form of a shoe, is shown containing the infant Hermes, recognizable by his petasos. It also is made of basket-work. The advantage of this cradle consists in its having handles, and, therefore, being easily portable. It also might be suspended on ropes, and rocked without difficulty. Other cradles, similar to our modern ones, belong to a later period. The singing of lullabies, and the rocking of children to sleep, were common amongst the ancients. Wet-nurses were commonly employed amongst Ionian tribes; wealthy Athenians chose Spartan nurses in preference, as being generally strong and healthy. After the child had been weaned it was fed by the dry nurse and the mother with pap, made chiefly of honey.

The rattle, said to be invented by Archytas, was the first toy of the infant. Other toys of various kinds were partly bought, partly made by the children themselves on growing older. We mention painted clay puppets, representing human beings or animals, such as tortoises, hares, ducks, and mother apes with their offspring. Small stones were put inside, so as to produce a rattling noise; which circumstance, together with the fact of small figures of this kind being frequently found on children's graves, proves their being toys. Small wooden carts, houses and ships made of leather, and many other toys, made by the children themselves, might be instanced. Up to their sixth year boys and girls were brought up together under their mother's care; from [212]that point their education became separate. The education proper of the boy became a more public one, while the girl was brought up by the mother at home, in a most simple way, according to their notions. From amongst the domestic slaves a trustworthy companion was chosen for the boy. He was, however, not a tutor in our sense, but rather a faithful servant, who had to take care of the boy in his walks, particularly on his way to and from school. He also had to instruct his pupil in certain rules of good behavior. The boy had, for instance, to walk in the street with his head bent, as a sign of modesty, and to make room for his elders meeting him. In the presence of the latter he had to preserve a respectful silence. Proper behavior at table, a graceful way of wearing his garments, etc., might be mentioned as kindred subjects of education. Boys were accompanied by pedagogues up to their sixteenth year. The latter appear frequently in vase-paintings, and are easily recognizable by their dress, consisting of chiton and cloak, with high-laced boots; they also carry sticks with crooked handles, and their hair and beards give them a venerable aspect; while their pupils, according to Athenian custom, are clad more lightly and gracefully. The pedagogue of the group of the Niobides is well known.

Education was, at Athens, a matter of private enterprise. Schools were kept by private teachers, the government supervision extending only to the moral not to the scientific qualification of the schoolmaster. Grammar, music and gymnastics, to which Aristotle adds drawing, as a means of æsthetic cultivation, were the common subjects of education at schools and gymnasia; also reading, writing and arithmetic. The method of teaching how to write consisted in the master's forming the letters, which the pupils had to imitate on their tablets, sometimes with the master's assistance. The writing materials were small tablets covered with wax, into which the letters were scratched by means of a pencil made of metal or ivory. It was pointed at [213]one end, and flattened or bent at the other, so as to extinguish the writing, if required, and, at the same time, to smooth the surface again for other letters. A young girl, in a charming Pompeian wall-painting, has in her hand a double tablet, while with her other hand she holds a pencil to her chin, as if pondering over a letter. Her nurse looking over her shoulder tries to decipher the contents of the love-letter. Besides these tablets, Herodotus mentions the use of paper made of the bark of the Egyptian papyrus-plant. The stalk (three or four feet in length) was cut longitudinally, after which the outer bark was first taken off; the remaining layers of bark, about twenty in number, were carefully severed with a pin; and, afterwards, the single stripes plaited crosswise; by means of pressing and perforating the whole with lime-water, the necessary consistency of the material was obtained. The lower layers of bark yielded the best writing-paper, while the outer layers were made into packing-paper (emporetica); the uppermost bark was used for making ropes. A case of this kind full of parchment rolls, with a cover to it, stands by the side of Klio in a wall-painting of Herculaneum. In her left hand the muse holds a half-opened roll on which are inscribed the words "Klio teaches history." The ink was made of a black coloring substance; it was kept in an inkstand made of metal, with a cover to it. Double inkstands, frequently seen on monuments, were most likely destined for the keeping of black and red inks, the latter of which was frequently used. To write on paper or parchment, the ancients used the Memphic, Gnidic, or Anaitic reeds, pointed and split like our pens. As we mentioned before, it was the custom of adults to write either reclining on the kline, with the leaf resting on the bent leg, or sitting in a low arm-chair, in which case the writing apparatus was supported by the knee of the writer. The latter posture is exemplified by a reading ephebos in a vase-painting; it was, undoubtedly, also that of the boys sitting on the rising steps used [214]as forms at the schools. After his elementary education was completed, the boy was made acquainted with the works of national poetry, particularly with the poems of Homer, the learning by heart and reciting of which inspired him with patriotic pride.

Of the marriage contracts of the Egyptians we are entirely ignorant, nor do we even find the ceremony represented in the paintings of their tombs. We may, however, conclude that they were regulated by the customs usual among civilized nations; and, if the authority of Diodorus can be credited, women were indulged with greater privileges in Egypt than in any other country. He even affirms that part of the agreement entered into at the time of marriage was, that the wife should have control over her husband, and that no objection should be made to her commands, whatever they might be; but, though we have sufficient to convince us of the superior treatment of women among the Egyptians, as well from ancient authors as from the sculptures that remain, it may fairly be doubted if those indulgences were carried to the extent mentioned by the historian, or that command extended beyond the management of the house, and the regulation of domestic affairs.

It is, however, remarkable that the royal authority and supreme direction of affairs were entrusted without reserve to women, as in those states of modern Europe where the Salic law has not been introduced; and we not only find examples in Egyptian history of queens succeeding to the throne, but Manetho informs us that the law, according this important privilege to the other sex, dated as early as the reign of Binothris, the third monarch of the second dynasty.

In primitive ages the duties of women were very different from those of later and more civilized periods, and varied of course according to the habits of each people. Among pastoral tribes they drew water, kept the sheep, and superintended the [215]herds as well as flocks. As with the Arabs of the present day, they prepared both the furniture and the woolen stuffs of which the tents themselves were made, ground the corn, and performed other menial offices. They were also engaged, as in ancient Greece, in weaving, spinning, needlework, embroidery, and other sedentary occupations within doors.

The Egyptian ladies in like manner employed much of their time with the needle; and the sculptures represent many females weaving and using the spindle. But they were not kept in the same secluded manner as those of ancient Greece, who, besides being confined to certain apartments in the house, most remote from the hall of entrance, and generally in the uppermost part of the building, were not even allowed to go out of doors without a veil, as in many Oriental countries at the present day.

The Egyptians treated their women very differently, as the accounts of ancient authors and the sculptures sufficiently prove. At some of the public festivals women were expected to attend—not alone, like the Moslem women at a mosque, but in company with their husbands or relations; and Josephus states that on an occasion of this kind, "when it was the custom for women to go to the public solemnity, the wife of Potiphar, having pleaded ill health in order to be allowed to stay at home, was excused from attending," and availed herself of the absence of her husband to talk with Joseph.

That it was the custom of the Egyptians to have only one wife, is shown by Herodotus and the monuments, which present so many scenes illustrative of their domestic life; and Diodorus is wrong in supposing that the laity were allowed to marry any number, while the priests were limited to one.

But a very objectionable custom, which is not only noticed by Diodorus, but is fully authenticated by the sculptures both of Upper and Lower Egypt, existed among them from the earliest times, the origin and policy of which it is not easy to [216]explain—the marriage of brother and sister—which Diodorus supposes to have been owing to, and sanctioned by, that of Isis and Osiris; but as this was purely an allegorical fable, and these ideal personages never lived on earth, his conjecture is of little weight; nor does any ancient writer offer a satisfactory explanation of so strange a custom.

Though the Egyptians confined themselves to one wife, they, like the Jews and other Eastern nations, both of ancient and modern times, scrupled not to admit other inmates to their hareem, most of whom appear to have been foreigners, either taken in war, or brought to Egypt to be sold as slaves. They became members of the family, like those in Moslem countries at the present day, and not only ranked next to the wives and children of their lord, but probably enjoyed a share of the property at his death.

These women were white or black slaves, according to the countries from which they were brought; but, generally speaking, the latter were employed merely as domestics, who were required to wait upon their mistress and her female friends. The former, likewise, officiated as servants, though they of course held a rank above the black slaves.

The same custom prevailed among the Egyptians regarding children, as with the Moslems and other Eastern people; no distinction being made between their offspring by a wife or any other woman, and all equally enjoying the rights of inheritance; for, since they considered a child indebted to the father for its existence, it seemed unjust to deny equal rights to all his progeny.

In speaking of the duties of children in Egypt, Herodotus declares, that if a son was unwilling to maintain his parents he was at liberty to refuse, but that a daughter, on the contrary, was compelled to assist them, and, on refusal, was amenable to law. But we may question the truth of this statement; and, [217]drawing an inference from the marked severity of filial duties among the Egyptians, some of which we find distinctly alluded to in the sculptures of Thebes, we may conclude that in Egypt much more was expected from a son than in any civilized nation of the present day; and this was not confined to the lower orders, but extended to those of the highest ranks of society. And if the office of fan-bearer was an honorable post, and the sons of the monarch were preferred to fulfill it, no ordinary show of humility was required on their part; and they walked on foot behind his chariot, bearing certain insignia over their father during the triumphal processions which took place in commemoration of his victories, and in the religious ceremonies over which he presided.

It was equally a custom in the early times of European history, that a son should pay a marked deference to his parent; and no prince was allowed to sit at table with his father, unless through his valor, having been invested with arms by a foreign sovereign, he had obtained that privilege; as was the case with Alboin, before he succeeded his father on the throne of the Lombards. The European nations were not long in altering their early habits, and this custom soon became disregarded; but a respect for ancient institutions, and those ideas, so prevalent in the East, which reject all love of change, prevented the Egyptians from discarding the usages of their ancestors; and we find this and many other primitive customs retained, even at the period when they were most highly civilized.

In the education of youth they were particularly strict; and "they knew," says Plato, "that children ought to be early accustomed to such gestures, looks, and motions as are decent and proper, and not to be suffered either to hear or learn any verses and songs, than those which are calculated to inspire them with virtue; and they consequently took care that every dance and ode introduced at their feasts or sacrifices should be subject to certain regulations."

[218]They particularly inculcated respect for old age; and the fact of this being required even towards strangers, argues a great regard for the person of a parent; for we are informed that, like the Israelites and the Lacedæmonians, they required every young man to give place to his superiors in years, and even, if seated, to rise on their approach.

Nor were these honors limited to their lifetime; the memory of parents and ancestors was revered through succeeding generations; their tombs were maintained with the greatest respect; liturgies were performed by their children, or by priests at their expense; and we have previously seen what advantage was taken of this feeling, in the laws concerning debt.

"For of all people" says Diodorus, "the Egyptians retain the highest sense of a favor conferred upon them, deeming it the greatest charm of life to make a suitable return for benefits they have received;" and from the high estimation in which the feeling of gratitude was held among them, even strangers felt a reverence for the character of the Egyptians.

Through this impulse, they were induced to solemnize the funeral obsequies of their kings with the enthusiasm described by the historian; and to this he partly attributes the unexampled duration of the Egyptian monarchy.

It is only doing justice to the modern Egyptians to say that gratitude is still a distinguishing trait of their character; and this is one of the many qualities inherited by them, for which their predecessors were remarkable; confirming what we have before stated, that the general peculiarities of a people are retained, though a country may be conquered, and nominally peopled by a foreign race.


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Dress, Toilet and Jewelry.

We now come to the dress of the Ancients. We shall have to consider those articles of dress used as a protection against the weather, and those prescribed by decency or fashion, also the coverings of the head and the feet, the arrangement of the hair and the ornaments. Unfortunately, the terminology is, in many cases, uncertain. Many points, therefore, must remain undecided. Before entering upon details, we must remark that the dress of the Greeks, compared with modern fashion, was extremely simple and natural. Owing to the warmth of the climate and the taste of the inhabitants, both superfluous and tight articles of dress were dispensed with. Moreover, the body was allowed to develop its natural beauty in vigorous exercise; and in this harmony and beauty of the limbs the Greeks prided themselves, which, of course, reacted favorably on the character of the dress.

Gold Pins


Identical with this in form is the chiton worn by Doric women. It was simple, short-skirted, and with a slit in the upper part at both sides. It was fastened with clasps over both shoulders, and shortened as far as the knees by means of pulling it through the girdle. In this form it is worn by two maidens in the Louvre, destined for the service of the Lakonian Artemis at Karyæ. They carry kinds of baskets on their heads, and are performing the festive dance in honor of the goddess. The exomis is worn by the female statue in the Vatican known as the "Springing Amazon," and also by statues of Artemis, and [220]representations of that goddess on gems and coins. The long chiton for women reaching down to the feet, and only a little pulled up at the girdle, we see in a vase painting, representing dancing youths and maidens, the former wearing the short, the latter the long, chiton. A development of the long chiton is the double-chiton. It was a very large, oblong piece of woven cloth, left open on one side, like the Doric chiton for men. It was equal to about one and a half lengths of the body. The overhanging part of the cloth was folded round the chest and back, from the neck downwards, the upper edge being arranged round the neck, and the two open corners clasped together on one shoulder. On this open side, therefore, the naked body was visible. Over the other shoulder the upper edge of the chiton was also fastened with a clasp—these clasps, as seen in annexed cuts, were elaborate ornaments, some being richly bejeweled, others being made of wrought gold—the arm being put through the opening left between this clasp and the corresponding corner of the cloth.

Shawl or Toga Pin


In the same way was arranged the half-open chiton, the open side of which, from the girdle to the lower hem, was sewed up. A bronze statuette illustrates this way of putting it on. A young girl is about to join together on her left shoulder the chiton, which is fastened over the right shoulder by means of an agraffe. It appears clearly that the whole chiton consists of one piece. Together with the open and half-open kinds of the chiton, we also find the closed double-chiton flowing down to the feet. It was a piece of cloth considerably longer than the human body, and closed on both sides, inside of which the [221]person putting it on stood as in a cylinder. As in the chiton of the second form, the overhanging part of the cloth was turned outward, and the folded rim pulled up as far as the shoulders, across which (first on the right, and after it on the left side) the front and back parts were fastened together by means of clasps, the arms being put through the two openings affected in this manner. Round the hips the chiton was fastened by means of a girdle, through which the bottom part of the dress trailing along the ground was pulled up just far enough to let the toes be visible. Above the girdle the chiton was arranged in shorter or longer picturesque folds. The chief alterations of varying fashion applied to the arrangement of the diploidion which reached either to the part under the bosom or was prolonged as far as the hips; its front and back parts might either be clasped together across the shoulders, or the two rims might be pulled across the upper arm as far as the elbow, and fastened in several places by means of buttons or agraffes, so that the naked arm became visible in the intervals, by means of which the sleeveless chiton received the appearance of one with sleeves. Where the diploidion was detached from the chiton, it formed a kind of handsome cape, which, however, in its shape, strictly resembled the Diploidion proper. Its shape was considerably modified by fashion, taking sometimes the form of a close-fitting jacket, at others (when the sides remained open) that of a kind of shawl, the ends of which sometimes equaled in length the chiton itself. [222]In the latter case, the ampechonion was naturally at least three times as long as it was wide. In antique pictures women sometimes wear a second shorter chiton over the other. A great many varieties of dress, more distinguishable in the vase-paintings, representing realistic scenes, than in the ideal costumes of sculptural types, we must omit, particularly as, in most cases, they may be reduced to the described general principles.

Pearl Set Pins


From the chiton we now pass to the articles of dress of the nature of cloaks. They also show throughout an oblong form, differing in this essentially from the Roman toga. It, belonging to this class, was arranged so that the one corner was thrown over the left shoulder in front, so as to be attached to the body by means of the left arm. On the back the dress was pulled toward the right side so as to cover it completely up to the right shoulder, or, at least, to the armpit, in which latter case the right shoulder remained uncovered. Finally, the himation was again thrown over the left shoulder, so that the ends fell over the back.

Concerning the materials of the described garments, we have mentioned before that linen was used principally by the Ionians, wool by the Dorians; the latter material in the course of time became the rule for male garments all over Greece. The change of seasons naturally required a corresponding modification in the thickness of these woolen garments; accordingly we notice the difference between summer and winter dresses. For women's dresses, besides sheep's wool and linen, byssos, most likely a kind of cotton, was commonly used. Something like the byssos, but much finer, was the material of which the celebrated transparent dresses were woven in the Isle of Amorgos; they consisted of the fibre of a fine sort of flax, undoubtedly resembling our muslins and cambrics. The introduction of silk into Greece is of later date, while in Asia it was known at a very early period. From the interior of Asia the silk was imported into Greece, [223]partly in its raw state, partly worked into dresses. Ready made dresses of this kind differed greatly from the dresses made in Greece of the imported raw silk. The Isle of Kos was the first seat of silk manufacture, where silk dresses were produced rivaling in transparency the above-mentioned. These diaphanous dresses, clinging close to the body, and allowing the color of the skin and the veins to be seen, have been frequently imitated with astonishing skill by Greek sculptors and painters. We only remind the reader of the beautifully modeled folds of the chiton covering the upper part of the body of Niobe's youngest daughter, in a kneeling position, who seeks shelter in the lap of her mother; in painting, several wall-pictures of Pompeii may be cited.

The antiquated notion of white having been the universal color of Greek garments, a colored dress being considered immodest, has been refuted by Becker. It is, however, likely that, with the cloak-like epiblememata, white was the usual color, as is still the case amongst Oriental nations much exposed to the sun. Brown cloaks are, however, by no means unusual; neither were they amongst Greek men. Party-colored Oriental garments were also used, at least by the wealthy Greek classes, both for male and female dresses, while white still remained the favorite color with modest Greek women. This is proved, not to mention written evidence, by a number of small painted statuettes of burnt clay, as also by several pictures on lekythoi from Attic graves. The original colors of the dresses, although (particularly the reds) slightly altered from the burning process, may still be distinctly recognized.

The dresses were frequently adorned with interwoven patterns, or attached borders and embroideries. From Babylon and Phrygia, the ancient seats of the weaving and embroidering arts, these crafts spread over the occidental world, the name "Phrygiones," used in Rome at a later period for artists of this kind, reminding [224]one of this origin. As we learn from the monuments, the simplest border either woven or sewed to the dresses, consisted of one or more dark stripes, either parallel with the seams of the chiton, himation, and ampechonion, or running down to the hem of the chiton from the girdle at the sides or from the throat in front. The vertical ornaments correspond to the Roman clavus. Besides these ornaments in stripes, we also meet with others broader and more complicated; whether woven into, or sewed on, the dress seems doubtful. They cover the chiton from the hem upwards to the knee, and above the girdle up to the neck, as is seen in the chiton worn by the spring goddess Opora, in a vase-painting. The whole chiton is sometimes covered with star or dice patterns, particularly on vases of the archaic style. The vase-painters of the decaying period chiefly represent Phrygian dresses with gold fringes and sumptuous embroideries of palmetto and "meandering" patterns, such as were worn by the luxurious South-Italian Greeks. Such a sumptuous dress is worn by Medea in a picture of the death of Talos on an Apulian amphora in the Jatta collection at Ruvo. In the same picture the chitones of Kastor and Polydeukes, and those of the Argonautai, are covered with palmetto embroideries, the edges at the bottom showing mythological scenes on the dark ground.

Stone Set Brooches


In the cities Greeks walked mostly bareheaded, owing most likely to the more plentiful hair of southern nations, which, moreover, was cultivated by the Greeks with particular care. Travelers, hunters, and such artificers as were particularly exposed to the sun, used light coverings for their heads. The different forms [225]of these may be classified. They were made of the skins of dogs, weasels, or cows.

The hair is considered in Homer as one of the greatest signs of male beauty among the long-haired Achaioi; no less were the well-arranged locks of maidens and women praised by the tragic poets. Among the Spartans it became a sacred custom, derived from the laws of Lykurgos, to let the hair of the boy grow as soon as he reached the age of the ephebos, while up to that time it was cut short. This custom prevailed among the Spartans up to their being overpowered by the Achaic federation. Altogether the Dorian character did not admit of much attention being paid to the arrangement of the hair. Only on solemn occasions, for instance on the eve of the battle of Thermopylæ, the Spartans arranged their hair with particular care.

At Athens, about the time of the Persian wars, men used to wear their hair long, tied on to the top of the head in a knot, which was fastened by a hair-pin in the form of a cicada. Of this custom, however, the monuments offer no example. Only in the pictures of two Pankratiastai, on a monument dating most likely from Roman times, we discover an analogy to this old Attic custom. After the Persian war, when the dress and manners of the Ionians had undergone a change, it became the custom to cut off the long hair of the boys on their attaining the age of epheboi, and devote it as an offering to a god, for instance, to the Delphic Apollo or some local river-god. Attic citizens, however, by no means wore their hair cropped short, like their slaves, but used to let it grow according to their own taste or the common fashion. Only dandies, as, for instance, Alkibiades, let their hair fall down to their shoulders in long locks. Philosophers also occasionally attempted to revive old customs by wearing their hair long.

The beard was carefully attended to by the Greeks. The barber's shop, with its talkative inmate, was not only frequented by those requiring the services of the barber in cutting the hair, [226]shaving, cutting the nails and corns, and tearing out small hairs, but it was also, as Plutarch says, a symposion without wine, where political and local news were discussed. Alkiphron depicts a Greek barber in the following words: "You see how the d——d barber in yon street has treated me; the talker, who puts up the Brundisian looking-glass, and makes his knives to clash harmoniously. I went to him to be shaved; he received me politely, put me in a high chair, enveloped me in a clean towel, and stroked the razor gently down my cheek, so as to remove the thick hair. But this was a malicious trick of his. He did it partly, not all over the chin; some places he left rough, others he made smooth without my noticing it." After the time of Alexander the Great, a barber's business became lucrative, owing to the custom of wearing a full beard being abandoned, notwithstanding the remonstrances of several states.[22] In works of art, particularly in portrait statues, the beard is always treated as an individual characteristic. It is mostly arranged in graceful locks, and covers the chin, lips and cheeks, without a separation being made between whiskers and moustache. Only in archaic renderings the wedge-like beard is combed in long wavy lines, and the whiskers are strictly parted from the moustache. As an example we quote the nobly formed head of Zeus crowned with the stephane in the Talleyrand collection. The usual color of the hair being dark, fair hair was considered a great beauty. Homer gives yellow locks to Menelaos, Achilles, and Meleagros; and Euripides describes Menelaos and Dionysos as fair-haired.

The head-dress of women was in simple taste. Hats were not worn, as a rule, because, at least in Athens, the appearance of women in the public street was considered improper, and [227]therefore happened only on exceptional occasions. On journeys women wore a light broad-brimmed petasos as a protection from the sun. With a Thessalian hat of this kind Ismene appears in "Œdipus in Kolonos." The head-dress of Athenian ladies at home and in the street consisted, beyond the customary veil, chiefly of different contrivances for holding together their plentiful hair. We mentioned before, that the himation was sometimes pulled over the back of the head like a veil. But at a very early period Greek women wore much shorter or longer veils, which covered the face up to the eyes, and fell over the neck and back in large folds, so as to cover, if necessary, the whole upper part of the body. The care bestowed on the hair was naturally still greater amongst women than amongst men. Cut shows a number of heads of Athenian women, taken from an old painting of Pompeii. These, and the numerous heads represented in sculptures and gems, give an idea of the exquisite taste of these head-dresses. At the same time, it must be confessed that most modern fashions, even the ugly ones, have their models, if not in Greek, at least in Roman antiquity. The [228]combing of the hair over the back in wavy lines was undoubtedly much in favor. A simple ribbon tied round the head, in that case, connected the front with the back hair. This arrangement we meet with in the maidens of the Parthenon frieze and in a bust of Niobe. On older monuments, for instance, in the group of the Graces on the triangular altar in the Louvre, the front hair is arranged in small ringlets, while the back hair partly falls smoothly over the neck, and partly is made into long curls hanging down to the shoulders. It was also not unusual to comb back the front hair over the temples and ears, and tie it, together with the back hair, into a graceful knot. Here, also, the above-mentioned ribbon was used. It consisted of a stripe of cloth or leather, frequently adorned, where it rested on the forehead, with a plaque of metal formed like a frontal. This stephane appears on monuments mostly in the hair of goddesses; the ribbon belonging to it, in that case, takes the form of a broad metal circle destined no more to hold together, but to decorate the hair. This is the case in a bust of Here in the Villa Ludovisi, in the statue of the same goddess in the Vatican, and in a statue of Aphrodite found at Capua. Besides this another ornamented tie of cloth or leather was used by the Greeks, broad in the centre and growing narrower towards both ends. Its shape had great similarity to the sling. It was either put with its broader side on the front of the head, the ends, with ribbons tied to them, being covered by the thick black hair, or vice versa; in which latter case the ends were tied on the forehead in an elaborate knot. The net, and after it the kerchief, were developed from the simple ribbon, in the same manner as straps on the feet gradually became boots.


HAIR-DRESS. (From Pompeii.)ToList

The kekryphalos proper consists of a net-like combination of ribbon and gold thread, thrown over the back hair to prevent it from dropping. The large tetradrachmai of Syrakuse, bearing the signature of the engraver, Kimon, show a beautiful head of [229]Arethusa adorned with the kekryphalos. More frequent is the coif-like kekryphalos covering the whole hair, or only the back hair, and tied into a knot at the top.

The modifications of the sakkos, and the way of its being tied, are chiefly illustrated by vase-paintings. At the present day the Greek women of Thessaly and the Isle of Chios wear a head-dress exactly resembling the antique sakkos. The acquaintance of the Greeks with the curling-iron and cosmetic mysteries, such as oil and pomatum, can be proved both by written evidence and pictures. It quite tallied with the æsthetical notions of the Greeks to shorten the forehead by dropping the hair over it, many examples of which, in pictures of both men and women, are preserved to us.

We conclude our remarks about dress with the description of some ornaments, the specimens of which in Greek graves and in sculptural imitations are numerous. In Homer the wooers try to gain the favor of Penelope with golden breastpins, agraffes, ear-rings, and chains. Hephaistos is, in the same work, mentioned as the artificer of beautiful rings and hair-pins. The same ornaments we meet with again at a later period as important articles of female dress.

Many preserved specimens show the great skill of Greek goldsmiths' breastpins. Hair-pins, in our sense, and combs for parting and holding up the hair were unknown to the Greeks. The double or simple comb of Greek ladies, made of box-wood, ivory, or metal, was used only for combing the hair. The back hair was prevented from dropping by means of long hair-pins, the heads of which frequently consisted of a graceful piece of sculpture. Well known are the hair-pins adorned with a golden cicada which, in Solon's time, were used by both Athenian men and women for the fastening of the krobylos.

It was the custom of the Greeks to adorn their heads on festive occasions with wreaths and garlands. Thus adorned the [230]bridegroom led home the bride. Flowers full of symbolic meaning were offered on the altars of the gods, and the topers at carousals were crowned with wreaths of myrtle, roses, and violets, the latter being the favorite flower with the Athenians. The flower-market of Athens was always supplied with garlands to twine round the head and the upper part of the body; for the latter also was adorned with garlands. Crowns consisting of other flowers, and leaves of the ivy and silver-poplar, are frequently mentioned. Wreaths also found a place in the serious business of life. They were awarded to the victors in the games; the archon wore a myrtle-wreath as the sign of his dignity, as did also the orator while speaking to the people from the tribune.

The crowning with flowers was a high honor to Athenian citizens—awarded, for instance, to Perikles, but refused to Miltiades. The head and bier of the dead were also crowned with fresh wreaths of myrtle and ivy.

The luxury of later times changed the wreaths of flowers for golden ones, with regard to the dead of the richer classes. Wreaths made of thin gold have repeatedly been found in graves. The barrows of the old Pantikapaion have yielded several beautiful wreaths of ivy and ears of corn; a gold imitation of a crown of myrtle has been found in a grave in Ithaka. Other specimens from Greek and Roman graves are preserved in our museums. A golden crown of Greek workmanship, found at Armento, a village of the Basilicata (at present in Munich), is particularly remarkable. A twig of oak forms the ground, from among the thin golden leaves of which spring forth asters with chalices of blue enamel, convolvulus, narcissus, ivy, roses, and myrtle, gracefully intertwined. On the upper bend of the crown is the image of a winged goddess, from the head of which, among pieces of grass, rises the slender stalk of a rose. Four naked male genii and two draped female ones, floating over the flowers, point towards the goddess, who stands on a pedestal bearing an inscription.

[231]Greek, particularly Athenian, women carried a sunshade, or employed slaves to hold it over them. In the Panathenaic procession even the daughters of metoikoi had to perform this service. Such sunshades, which, like our own, could be shut by means of wires, we often see depicted on vases and Etruscan mirrors. This form was undoubtedly the most common one. The cap-like sunshade painted on a skyphos, which a Silenus, instead of a servant, holds over a dignified lady walking in front of him, is undoubtedly intended as a parody, perhaps copied from the scene of a comedy. In vase paintings we also see frequently the leaf-like painted fan in the hands of women.



The above articles were in good preservation when found. a, l, n, are hand-mirrors; m, is a wall-mirror; c, toilet-box, made of ivory and beautifully carved; d and k, bronze combs; i, fine comb; b, ear and tooth-pick; f, pin-box, with glass and steel pins; h, salve-box; g, hair-pins made of ivory and gold; e, is a powder or paint-box.

Of the secrets of Greek toilette we will only disclose the fact that ladies knew the use of paint. The white they used consisted of white-lead; their reds were made either of red minium or of a root. This unwholesome fashion of painting was even extended to the eyebrows, for which black color was used, made either of pulverized antimony or of fine soot.

[232]The mirrors of the Greeks consisted of circular pieces of polished bronze, either without a handle or with one richly adorned. Frequently a cover, for the reflecting surface, was added. The Etruscan custom of engraving figures on the back of the mirror or the cover seems to have been rare among the Greeks, to judge, at least, from the numerous specimens of mirrors found in Greek graves. Characteristic of these are, on the other hand, the tasteful handles, representing mostly Aphrodite, as in a manner the ideal of a beautifully adorned woman. These hand-mirrors frequently occur in vase paintings, particularly in those containing bathing utensils.

The carrying of a stick seems to have been a common custom. It is mostly of great length, with a crutched handle; young Athenian dandies may have used shorter walking-sticks. The first-mentioned sticks seem to have been used principally for leaning upon in standing still, as is indicated by frequent representations in pictures.

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Crimes and Punishments; Contracts, Deeds, Etc.

Truth or justice was thought to be the main cardinal virtue among the Egyptians, inasmuch as it relates more particularly to others; prudence, temperance, and fortitude being relative qualities, and tending chiefly to the immediate benefit of the individual who possesses them. It was, therefore, with great earnestness that they inculcated the necessity of fully appreciating it; and falsehood was not only considered disgraceful, but when it entailed an injury on any other person was punishable by law.

A calumniator of the dead was condemned to a severe punishment; and a false accuser was doomed to the same sentence which would have been awarded to the accused, if the offense had been proved against him; but to maintain a falsehood by an oath was deemed the blackest crime, and one which, from its complicated nature, could be punished by nothing short of death. For they considered that it involved two distinct crimes—a contempt for the gods, and a violation of faith towards man; the former the direct promoter of every sin, the latter destructive of all those ties which are most essential for the welfare of society.

The willful murder of a freeman, or even of a slave, was punished with death, from the conviction that men ought to be restrained from the commission of sin, not on account of any distinction of station in life, but from the light in which they viewed the crime itself; while at the same time it had the effect of showing that if the murder of a slave was deemed an offense [234]deserving of so severe a punishment, they ought still more to shrink from the murder of one who was a compatriot and a free-born citizen.

In this law we observe a scrupulous regard to justice and humanity, and have an unquestionable proof of the great advancement made by the Egyptians in the most essential points of civilization. Indeed, the Egyptians considered it so heinous a crime to deprive a man of life, that to be the accidental witness of an attempt to murder, without endeavoring to prevent it, was a capital offense, which could only be palliated by bringing proofs of inability to act.

With the same spirit they decided that to be present when any one inflicted a personal injury on another, without interfering, was tantamount to being a party, and was punishable according to the extent of the assault; and every one who witnessed a robbery was bound either to arrest, or, if that was out of his power, to lay an information, and to prosecute the offenders; and any neglect on this score being proved against him, the delinquent was condemned to receive a stated number of stripes, and to be kept without food for three whole days.

Although, in the case of murder, the Egyptian law was inexorable and severe, the royal prerogative might be exerted in favor of a culprit, and the punishment was sometimes commuted by a mandate from the king.

Sabaco, indeed, during the fifty years of his reign, "made it a rule not to punish his subjects with death," whether guilty of murder or any other capital offence, but, "according to the magnitude of their crimes, he condemned the culprits to raise the ground about the town to which they belonged. By these means the situation of the different cities became greatly elevated above the reach of the inundation, even more than in the time of Sesostris;" and either on account of a greater proportion of criminals, or from some other cause, the mounds of Bubastis were raised considerably higher than those of any other city.

[235]The same laws that forbade a master to punish a slave with death took from a father every right over the life of his offspring; and the Egyptians deemed the murder of a child an odious crime, that called for the direct interposition of justice. They did not, however, punish it as a capital offence, since it appeared inconsistent to take away life from one who had given it to the child, but preferred inflicting such a punishment as would induce grief and repentance. With this view they ordained that the corpse of the deceased should be fastened to the neck of its parent, and that he should be obliged to pass three whole days and nights in its embrace, under the surveillance of a public guard.

But parricide was visited with the most cruel of chastisements; and conceiving, as they did, that the murder of a parent was the most unnatural of crimes, they endeavored to prevent its occurrence by the marked severity with which it was avenged. The criminal was, therefore, sentenced to be lacerated with sharpened reeds, and, after being thrown on thorns, he was burned to death.

When a woman was guilty of a capital offence, and judgment had been passed upon her, they were particularly careful to ascertain if the condemned was in a state of pregnancy; in which case her punishment was deferred till after the birth of the child, in order that the innocent might not suffer with the guilty, and thus the father be deprived of that child to which he had at least an equal right.

But some of their laws regarding the female sex were cruel and unjustifiable; and even if, which is highly improbable, they succeeded by their severity in enforcing chastity, and in putting an effectual stop to crime, yet the punishment rather reminds us of the laws of a barbarous people than of a wise and civilized state. A woman who had committed adultery was sentenced to lose her nose, upon the principle that, being the most conspicuous feature, and the chief, or, at least, an indispensable, ornament of [236]the face, its loss would be most severely felt, and be the greatest detriment to her personal charms; and the man was condemned to receive a bastinado of one thousand blows. But if it was proved that force had been used against a free woman, he was doomed to a cruel mutilation.

The object of the Egyptian laws was to preserve life, and to reclaim an offender. Death took away every chance of repentance, it deprived the country of his services, and he was hurried out of the world when least prepared to meet the ordeal of a future state. They, therefore, preferred severe punishments, and, except in the case of murder, and some crimes which appeared highly injurious to the community, it was deemed unnecessary to sacrifice the life of an offender.

In military as well as civil cases, minor offences were generally punished with the stick; a mode of chastisement still greatly in vogue among the modern inhabitants of the valley of the Nile, and held in such esteem by them, that convinced of (or perhaps by) its efficacy, they relate "its descent from heaven as a blessing to mankind."

If an Egyptian of the present day has a government debt or tax to pay, he stoutly persists in his inability to obtain the money, till he has withstood a certain number of blows, and considers himself compelled to produce it; and the ancient inhabitants, if not under the rule of their native princes, at least in the time of the Roman emperors, gloried equally in the obstinacy they evinced, and the difficulty the governors of the country experienced in extorting from them what they were bound to pay; whence Ammianus Marcellinus tells us, "an Egyptian blushes if he can not show numerous marks on his body that evince his endeavors to evade the duties."

The bastinado was inflicted on both sexes, as with the Jews. Men and boys were laid prostrate on the ground, and frequently held by the hands and feet while the chastisement was [237]administered; but women, as they sat, received the stripes on their back, which was also inflicted by the hand of a man. Nor was it unusual for the superintendents to stimulate laborers to their work by the persuasive powers of the stick, whether engaged in the field or in handicraft employments; and boys were sometimes beaten without the ceremony of prostration, the hands being tied behind their back while the punishment was applied.

The character of some of the Egyptian laws was quite consonant with the notions of a primitive age. The punishment was directed more particularly against the offending member; and adulterators of money, falsifiers of weights and measures, forgers of seals or signatures, and scribes who altered any signed document by erasures or additions, without the authority of the parties, were condemned to lose both their hands.

But their laws do not seem to have sanctioned the gibbet, or the exposure of the body of an offender; for the conduct of Rhampsinitus, in the case of the robbery of his treasure, is mentioned by Herodotus as a singular mode of discovering an accomplice, and not as an ordinary punishment; if, indeed, the whole story be not the invention of a Greek cicerone.

Thefts, breach of trust, and petty frauds were punished with the bastinado; but robbery and house-breaking were sometimes considered capital crimes, and deserving of death; as is evident from the conduct of the thief when caught by the trap in the treasury of Rhampsinitus, and from what Diodorus states respecting Actisanes.

This monarch, instead of putting robbers to death, instituted a novel mode of punishing them, by cutting off their noses and banishing them to the confines of the desert, where a town was built, called Rhinocolura, from the peculiar nature of their punishment; and thus, by removing the bad, and preventing their corrupting the good, he benefited society, without depriving the criminals of life; at the same time that he punished them severely [238]for their crimes, by obliging them to live by their labors, and derive a precarious sustenance from quails, or whatever they could catch, in that barren region. Commutation of punishment was the foundation of this part of the convict system of Egypt, and Rhinocolura was their Norfolk Island, where a sea of sand separated the worst felons from those guilty of smaller crimes; who were transported to the mines in the desert, and condemned to work for various terms, according to their offence.

The Egyptians had a singular custom respecting theft and burglary. Those who followed the profession of thief gave in their names to the chief of the robbers; and agreed that he should be informed of every thing they might thenceforward steal, the moment it was in their possession. In consequence of this the owner of the lost goods always applied by letter to the chief for their recovery; and having stated their quality and quantity, the day and hour when they were stolen, and other requisite particulars, the goods were identified, and, on payment of one quarter of their value, they were restored to the applicant in the same state as when taken from his house.

For being fully persuaded of the impracticability of putting an entire check to robbery, either by the dread of punishment, or by any method that could be adopted by the most vigilant police, they considered it more for the advantage of the community that a certain sacrifice should be made in order to secure the restitution of the remainder, than that the law, by taking on itself to protect the citizen, and discover the offender, should be the indirect cause of greater loss.

And that the Egyptians, like the Indians, and we may say the modern inhabitants of the Nile, were very expert in the art of stealing, we have abundant testimony from ancient authors.

It may be asked, what redress could be obtained, if goods were stolen by thieves who failed to enter their names on the books of the chief; but it is evident that there could be few of [239]those private speculators, since by their interfering with the interests of all the profession, the detection of such egotistical persons would have been certain; and thus all others were effectually prevented from robbing, save those of the privileged class.

The salary of the chief was not merely derived from his own demands upon the goods stolen, or from any voluntary contribution of the robbers themselves, but was probably a fixed remuneration granted by the government, as one of the chiefs of the police; nor is it to be supposed that he was any other than a respectable citizen, and a man of integrity and honor. The same may be said of the modern "shekh of the thieves," at Cairo, where this very ancient office is still retained.

The great confidence reposed in the public weighers rendered it necessary to enact suitable laws in order to bind them to their duty; and considering how much public property was at their mercy, and how easily bribes might be taken from a dishonest tradesman, the Egyptians inflicted a severe punishment as well on the weighers as on the shopkeepers, who were found to have false weights and measures, or to have defrauded the customer in any other way; and these, as well as the scribes who kept false accounts, were punished (as before stated) with the loss of both their hands; on the principle, says Diodorus, that the offending member should suffer; while the culprit was severely punished, that others might be deterred from the commission of a similar offence.

As in other countries, their laws respecting debt and usury underwent some changes, according as society advanced, and as pecuniary transactions became more complicated.

Bocchoris (who reigned in Egypt about the year 800 B.C., and who, from his learning, obtained the surname of Wise), finding that in cases of debt many causes of dispute had arisen, and instances of great oppression were of frequent occurrence, enacted, that no agreement should be binding unless it were [240]acknowledged by a written contract; and if any one took oath that the money had not been lent him, that no debt should be recognized, and the claims of the suing party should immediately cease. This was done, that great regard might always be had for the name and nature of an oath, at the same time that, by substituting the unquestionable proof of a written document, the necessity of having frequent recourse to an oath was avoided, and its sanctity was not diminished by constant repetition.

Usury was in all cases condemned by the Egyptian legislature; and when money was borrowed, even with a written agreement, it was forbidden to allow the interest to increase to more than double the original sum. Nor could the creditors seize the debtor's person: their claims and right were confined to the goods in his possession, and such as were really his own; which were comprehended under the produce of his labor, or what he had received from another individual to whom they lawfully belonged. For the person of every citizen was looked upon as the property of the state, and might be required for some public service, connected either with war or peace; and, independent of the injustice of subjecting any one to the momentary caprice of his creditor, the safety of the country might be endangered through the avarice of a few interested individuals.

This law, which was borrowed by Solon from the Egyptian code, existed also at Athens; and was, as Diodorus observes, much more consistent with justice and common sense than that which allowed the creditor to seize the person, while it forbade him to take the plows and other implements of industry. For if, continues the historian, it is unjust thus to deprive men of the means of obtaining subsistence, and of providing for their families, how much more unreasonable must it be to imprison those by whom the implements were used!

To prevent the accumulation of debt, and to protect the interests of the creditor, another remarkable law was enacted by [241]Asychis, which, while it shows how greatly they endeavored to check the increasing evil, proves the high respect paid by the Egyptians to the memory of their parents, and to the sanctity of their religious ceremonies. By this it was pronounced illegal for any one to borrow money without giving in pledge the body of his father, or the tomb of his ancestors; and, if he failed to redeem so sacred a deposit, he was considered infamous; and, at his death, the celebration of the accustomed funeral obsequies was denied him, and he could not enjoy the right of burial either in that tomb or in any other place of sepulture; nor could he inter his children, or any of his family, as long as the debt was unpaid, the creditor being put in actual possession of the family tomb.

In the large cities of Egypt, a fondness for display, and the usual allurements of luxury, were rapidly introduced; and considerable sums were expended in furnishing houses, and in many artificial caprices. Rich jewels and costly works of art were in great request, as well among the inhabitants of the provincial capitals, as at Thebes and Memphis; they delighted in splendid equipages, elegant and commodious boats, numerous attendants, horses, dogs, and other requisites for the chase; and, besides, their houses, their villas and their gardens, were laid out with no ordinary expense. But while the funds arising from extensive farms, and the abundant produce of a fertile soil, enabled the rich to indulge extravagant habits, many of the less wealthy envied the enjoyment of those luxuries which fortune had denied to them; and, prompted by vanity, and a silly desire of imitation, so common in civilized communities, they pursued a career which speedily led to the accumulation of debt, and demanded the interference of the legislature; and it is probable that a law, so severe as this must have appeared to the Egyptians, was only adopted as a measure of absolute necessity, in order to put a check to the increasing evil.

[242]The necessary expenses of the Egyptians were remarkably small, less, indeed, than of any people; and the food of the poorer classes was of the cheapest and most simple kind. Owing to the warmth of the climate, they required few clothes, and young children were in the habit of going without shoes, and with little or no covering to their bodies. It was, therefore, luxury, and the increasing wants of an artificial kind, which corrupted the manners of the Egyptians, and rendered such a law necessary for their restraint; and we may conclude that it was mainly directed against those who contracted debts for the gratification of pleasure, or with the premeditated intent of defrauding an unsuspecting creditor.

In the mode of executing deeds, conveyances, and other civil contracts, the Egyptians were peculiarly circumstantial and minute; and the great number of witnesses is a singular feature in those documents. In the time of the Ptolemies, sales of property commenced with a preamble, containing the date of the king in whose reign they were executed; the name of the president of the court, and of the clerk by whom they were written, being also specified. The body of the contract then followed.

It stated the name of the individual who sold the land, the description of his person, an account of his parentage, profession, and place of abode, the extent and nature of the land, its situation and boundaries, and concluded with the name of the purchaser, whose parentage and description were also added, and the sum for which it was bought. The seller then vouched for his undisturbed possession of it; and, becoming security against any attempt to dispute his title, the name of the other party was inserted as having accepted it, and acknowledged the purchase. The names of witnesses were then affixed; and, the president of the court having added his signature, the deed was valid. Sometimes the seller formally recognized the sale in the following manner:

[243]"All these things have I sold thee: they are thine, I have received their price from thee, and will make no demand upon thee for them from this day; and if any person disturb thee in the possession of them, I will withstand the attempt; and, if I do not otherwise repel it, I will use compulsory means, or, I will indemnify thee."

But, in order to give a more accurate notion of the form of these contracts, we shall introduce a copy of the whole of one of them, as given by Dr. Young, and refer the reader to others occurring in the same work. "Translation of the enchorial papyrus of Paris, containing the original deed relating to the mummies:—'This writing dated in the year 36, Athyr 20, in the reign of our sovereigns Ptolemy and Cleopatra his sister, the children of Ptolemy and Cleopatra the divine, the gods Illustrious: and the priest of Alexander, and of the Saviour gods, of the Brother gods, of the Beneficent gods, of the Father-loving gods, of the Illustrious gods, of the Paternal god, and of the Mother-loving gods, being (as by law appointed): and the prize-bearer of Berenice the Beneficent, and the basket-bearer of Arsinoe the Brother-loving, and the priestess of Arsinoe the Father-loving, being as appointed in the metropolis (of Alexandria); and in (Ptolemais) the royal city of the Thebaid? the guardian priest for the year? of Ptolemy Soter, and the priest of king Ptolemy the Father-loving, and the priest of Ptolemy the Brother-loving, and the priest of Ptolemy the Beneficent, and the priest of Ptolemy the Mother-loving; and the priestess of queen Cleopatra, and the priestess of the princess Cleopatra, and the priestess of Cleopatra, the (queen) mother, deceased, the Illustrious; and the basket-bearer of Arsinoe the Brother-loving (being as appointed): declares: The Dresser? in the temple of the Goddess Onnophris, the son of Horus, and of Senpoeris, daughter of Spotus? ("aged about forty, lively,") tall ("of a sallow complexion, hollow-eyed, and bald"); in the temple of the [244]goddess to (Horus) his brother? the son of Horus and of Senpoeris, has sold, for a price in money, half of one-third of the collections for the dead "priests of Osiris?" lying in Thynabunum ... in the Libyan suburbs of Thebes, in the Memnonia ... likewise half of one-third of the liturgies: their names being, Muthes, the son of Spotus, with his children and his household; Chapocrates, the son of Nechthmonthes, with his children and his household; Arsiesis, the son of Nechthmonthes, with his children and his household; Petemestus, the son of Nechthmonthes; Arsiesis, the son of Zminis, with his children and his household; Osoroeris, the son of Horus, with his children and his household; Spotus, the son of Chapochonsis, surnamed? Zoglyphus (the sculptor), with his children and his household; while there belonged also to Asos, the son of Horus and of Senpoeris, daughter of Spotus? in the same manner one-half of a third of the collections for the dead, and of the fruits and so forth ... he sold it on the 20th of Athyr, in the reign of the King ever-living, to (complete) the third part: likewise the half of one-third of the collections relating to Peteutemis, with his household, and ... likewise the half of one-third? of the collections and fruits for Petechonsis, the bearer of milk, and of the ... place on the Asian side, called Phrecages, and ... the dead bodies in it: there having belonged to Asos, the son of Horus, one-half of the same: he has sold to him in the month of ... the half of one-third of the collections for the priests of Osiris? lying in Thynabunum, with their children and their households: likewise the half of one-third of the collections for Peteutemis, and also for Petechonsis, the bearer of milk, in the place Phrecages on the Asian side: I have received for them their price in silver ... and gold; and I make no further demand on thee for them from the present day ... before the authorities ... (and if any one shall disturb thee in the possession of them, I will resist him, and, if I do not succeed, I [245]will indemnify thee?).... Executed and confirmed. Written by Horus, the son of Phabis, clerk to the chief priests of Amonrasonther, and of the contemplar? Gods, of the Beneficent gods, of the Father-loving gods, of the Paternal god, and of the Mother-loving gods. Amen.

"'Names of the witnesses present:

In this, as in many other documents, the testimony required is very remarkable, sixteen witnesses being thought necessary for the sale of a moiety of the sums collected on account of a few tombs, and for services performed to the dead, the total value of which was only 400 pieces of brass; and the name of each person is introduced, in the true Oriental style, with that of his father. Nor is it unreasonable to suppose that the same precautions and minute formulas were observed in similar transactions during the reigns of the Pharaonic kings, however great may have been the change introduced by the Ptolemies and Romans into the laws and local government of Egypt.

The Egyptians paid great attention to health, and "so wisely," says Herodotus, "was medicine managed by them, that no doctor was permitted to practice any but his own peculiar branch. Some were oculists, who only studied diseases of the [246]eye; others attended solely to complaints of the head; others to those of the teeth; some again confined themselves to complaints of the intestines; and others to secret and internal maladies; accoucheurs being usually, if not always, women." And it is a singular fact, that their dentists adopted a method, not very long practiced in Europe, of stopping teeth with gold, proofs of which have been obtained from some mummies of Thebes.

They received certain salaries from the public treasury; and after they had studied those precepts which had been laid down from the experience of their predecessors, they were permitted to practice; and, in order to prevent dangerous experiments being made upon patients, they might be punished if their treatment was contrary to the established system; and the death of a person entrusted to their care, under such circumstances, was adjudged to them as a capital offence.

If, however, every remedy had been administered according to the sanitary law, they were absolved from blame; and if the patient was not better, the physician was allowed to alter the treatment after the third day, or even before, if he took upon himself the responsibility.

Though paid by Government as a body, it was not illegal to receive fees for their advice and attendance; and demands could be made in every instance except on a foreign journey, and on military service; when patients were visited free of expense.

The principal mode adopted by the Egyptians for preventing illness was attention to regimen and diet; "being persuaded that the majority of diseases proceed from indigestion and excess of eating;" and they had frequent recourse to abstinence, emetics, slight doses of medicine, and other simple means of relieving the system, which some persons were in the habit of repeating every two or three days.


WREATH OF OAK. (Life Saving.)ToList

"Those who lived in the corn country," as Herodotus terms it, were particular for their attention to health. "During three [248]successive days, every month, they submitted to a regular course of treatment; from the conviction that illness was wont to proceed from some irregularity in diet;" and if preventives were ineffectual they had recourse to suitable remedies, adopting a mode of treatment very similar to that mentioned by Diodorus.

The employment of numerous drugs in Egypt has been mentioned by sacred and profane writers; and the medicinal properties of many herbs which grow in the deserts, particularly between the Nile and Red Sea, are still known to the Arabs; though their application has been but imperfectly recorded and preserved.

"O virgin, daughter of Egypt," says Jeremiah, "in vain shalt thou use many medicines, for thou shalt not be cured;" and Homer, in the Odyssey, describes the many valuable medicines given by Polydamna, the wife of Thonis, to Helen while in Egypt, "a country whose fertile soil produces an infinity of drugs, some salutary and some pernicious; where each physician possesses knowledge above all other men."

Pliny makes frequent mention of the productions of that country, and their use in medicine; he also notices the physicians of Egypt; and as if their number were indicative of the many maladies to which the inhabitants were subject, he observes, that it was a country productive of numerous diseases. In this, however, he does not agree with Herodotus, who affirms that, "after the Libyans, there are no people so healthy as the Egyptians, which may be attributed to the invariable nature of the seasons in their country."

Pliny even says that the Egyptians examined the bodies after death, to ascertain the nature of the diseases of which they had died; and we can readily believe that a people so far advanced in civilization and the principles of medicine as to assign to each physician his peculiar branch, would have resorted to this effectual method of acquiring knowledge and experience.

[249]It is evident that the medical science of the Egyptians was sought and appreciated even in foreign countries; and we learn from Herodotus, that Cyrus and Darius both sent to Egypt for medical men. In later times, too, they continued to be celebrated for their skill; Ammianus says it was enough for a doctor to say he had studied in Egypt to recommend him; and Pliny mentions medical men going from Egypt to Rome. But though their physicians are often noticed by ancient writers, the only indication of medical attendance appears to be in the paintings of Beni Hassan; and even there it is uncertain whether a doctor, or a barber, be represented.

Their doctors probably felt the pulse; as Plutarch shows they did at Rome, from this saying of Tiberius, "a man after he has passed his thirtieth year, who puts forth his hand to a physician, is ridiculous;" whence our proverb of "a fool or a physician after forty."

Diodorus tells us, that dreams were regarded in Egypt with religious reverence, and the prayers of the devout were often rewarded by the gods, with an indication of the remedy their sufferings required; and magic, charms, and various supernatural agencies, were often resorted to by the credulous; who "sought to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that had familiar spirits, and to the wizards."

Origen also says, that when any part of the body was afflicted with disease, they invoked the demon to whom it was supposed to belong, in order to obtain a cure.

In cases of great moment oracles were consulted; and a Greek papyrus found in Egypt mentions divination "through a boy with a lamp, a bowl, and a pit;" which resembles the pretended power of the modern magicians of Egypt. The same also notices the mode of discovering theft, and obtaining any wish; and though it is supposed to be of the 2d century, the practices it alludes to are doubtless from an old Egyptian source; and other [250]similar papyri contain recipes for obtaining good fortune and various benefits, or for causing misfortunes to an enemy.

Some suppose the Egyptians had even recourse to animal magnetism, and that dreams indicating cures were the result of this influence; and (though the subjects erroneously supposed to represent it apply to a very different act) it is not impossible that they may have discovered the mode of exercising this art, and that it may have been connected with the strange scenes recorded at the initiation into the mysteries. If really known, such a power would scarcely have been neglected; and it would have been easy to obtain thereby an ascendency over the minds of a superstitious people.

Indeed, the readiness of man at all times to astonish on the one hand, and to court the marvelous on the other, is abundantly proved by present and past experience. That the nervous system may be worked upon by it to such a degree that a state either of extreme irritability, or of sleep and coma, may be induced, in the latter case paralyzing the senses so as to become deadened to pain, is certain; and a highly sensitive temperament may exhibit phenomena beyond the reach of explanation; but it requires very little experience to know that we are wonderfully affected by far more ordinary causes; for the nerves may be acted upon to such an extent by having as we commonly term it "our teeth set on edge," that the mere filing a saw would suffice to drive any one mad, if unable to escape from its unceasing discord. What is this but an effect upon the nerves? and what more could be desired to prove the power of any agency? And the world would owe a debt of gratitude to the professors of animal magnetism, if, instead of making it, as some do, a mere exhibition to display a power, and astonish the beholders, they would continue the efforts already begun, for discovering all the beneficial uses to which it is capable of being applied.

We might then rejoice that, as astrology led to the more [251]useful knowledge of astronomy, this influence enabled us to comprehend our nervous system, on which so many conditions of health depend, and with which we are so imperfectly acquainted.

The cure of diseases was also attributed by the Egyptians to Exvotos offered in the temples. They consisted of various kinds. Some persons promised a certain sum for the maintenance of the sacred animals; or whatever might propitiate the deity; and after the cure had been effected, they frequently suspended a model of the restored part in the temple; and ears, eyes, distorted arms, and other members, were dedicated as memorials of their gratitude and superstition.

Sometimes travelers, who happened to pass by a temple, inscribed a votive sentence on the walls, to indicate their respect for the deity, and solicit his protection during their journey; the complete formula of which contained the adoration of the writer, with the assurance that he had been mindful of his wife, his family, and friends; and the reader of the inscription was sometimes included in a share of the blessings it solicited. The date of the king's reign and the day of the month were also added, with the profession and parentage of the writer. The complete formula of one adoration was as follows:

"The adoration of Caius Capitolinus, son of Flavius Julius, of the fifth troop of Theban horse, to the goddess Isis, with ten thousand names. And I have been mindful of (or have made an adoration for) all those who love me, and my consort, and children, and all my household, and for him who reads this. In the year 12 of the emperor Tiberius Cæsar, the 15 of Pauni."

The Egyptians, according to Pliny, claimed the honor of having invented the art of curing diseases. Indeed, the study of medicine and surgery appears to have commenced at a very early period in Egypt, since Athothes, the second king of the country, is stated to have written upon the subject of anatomy; and the schools of Alexandria continued till a late period to enjoy the [252]reputation, and display the skill, they had inherited from their predecessors. Hermes was said to have written six books on medicine, the first of which related to anatomy; and the various recipes, known to have been beneficial, were recorded, with their peculiar cases, in the memoirs of physic inscribed among the laws deposited in the principal temples.

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Houses, Villas, Farmyards, Orchards, Gardens, Etc.

The monumental records and various works of art, and, above all, the writings, of the Greeks and Romans, have made us acquainted with their customs and their very thoughts; and though the literature of the Egyptians is almost unknown, their monuments, especially the paintings in the tombs, have afforded us an insight into their mode of life scarcely to be obtained from those of any other people. The influence that Egypt had in early times on Greece gives to every inquiry respecting it an additional interest; and the frequent mention of the Egyptians in the Bible connects them with the Hebrew Records, of which many satisfactory illustrations occur in the sculptures of Pharaonic times. Their great antiquity also enables us to understand the condition of the world long before the era of written history; all existing monuments left by other people are comparatively modern; and the paintings in Egypt are the earliest descriptive illustrations of the manners and customs of any nation.

It is from these that we are enabled to form an opinion of the character of the Egyptians. They have been pronounced a serious, gloomy people, saddened by the habit of abtruse speculation; but how far this conclusion agrees with fact will be seen in the sequel. They were, no doubt, less lively than the Greeks; but if a comparatively late writer, Ammianus [254]Marcellinus, may have remarked a "rather sad" expression, after they had been for ages under successive foreign yokes, this can scarcely be admitted as a testimony of their character in the early times of their prosperity; and though a sadness of expression might be observed in the present oppressed population, they can not be considered a grave or melancholy people. Much, indeed, may be learned from the character of the modern Egyptians; and notwithstanding the infusion of foreign blood, particularly of the Arab invaders, every one must perceive the strong resemblance they bear to their ancient predecessors. It is a common error to suppose that the conquest of a country gives an entirely new character to the inhabitants. The immigration of a whole nation taking possession of a thinly-peopled country, will have this effect, when the original inhabitants are nearly all driven out by the new-comers; but immigration has not always, and conquest never has, for its object the destruction or expulsion of the native population; they are found useful to the victors, and as necessary for them as the cattle or the productions of the soil. Invaders are always numerically inferior to the conquered nation—even to the male population; and, when the women are added to the number, the majority is greatly in favor of the original race, and they must exercise immense influence on the character of the rising generation. The customs, too, of the old inhabitants are very readily adopted by the new-comers, especially when they are found to suit the climate and the peculiarities of the country they have been formed in; and the habits of a small mass of settlers living in contact with them fade away more and more with each successive generation. So it has been in Egypt; and, as usual, the conquered people bear the stamp of the ancient inhabitants rather than that of the Arab conquerors.

Of the various institutions of the ancient Egyptians, none are more interesting than those which relate to their social life; and when we consider the condition of other countries in the early [255]ages when they flourished, from the 10th to the 20th century before our era, we may look with respect on the advancement they had then made in civilization, and acknowledge the benefits they conferred upon mankind during their career. For like other people, they have had their part in the great scheme of the world's development, and their share of usefulness in the destined progress of the human race; for countries, like individuals, have certain qualities given them, which, differing from those of their predecessors and contemporaries are intended in due season to perform their requisite duties. The interest felt in the Egyptians is from their having led the way, or having been the first people we know of who made any great progress, in the arts and manners of civilization; which, for the period when they lived, was very creditable, and far beyond that of other kingdoms of the world. Nor can we fail to remark the difference between them and their Asiatic rivals, the Assyrians, who, even at a much later period, had the great defects of Asiatic cruelty—flaying alive, impaling, and torturing their prisoners, as the Persians, Turks, and other Orientals have done to the present century, the reproach of which can not be extended to the ancient Egyptians. Being the dominant race of that age, they necessarily had an influence on others with whom they came in contact; and it is by these means that civilization is advanced through its various stages; each people striving to improve on the lessons derived from a neighbor whose institutions they appreciate, or consider beneficial to themselves. It was thus that the active mind of the talented Greeks sought and improved on the lessons derived from other countries, especially from Egypt; and though the latter, at the late period of the 7th century B.C., had lost its greatness and the prestige of superiority among the nations of the world, it was still the seat of learning and the resort of studious philosophers; and the abuses consequent on the fall of an empire had not yet brought about the demoralization of after times.

[256]The early part of Egyptian monumental history is coeval with the arrivals of Abraham and of Joseph, and the Exodus of the Israelites; and we know from the Bible what was the state of the world at that time. But then, and apparently long before, the habits of social life in Egypt were already what we find them to have been during the most glorious period of their career; and as the people had already laid aside their arms, and military men only carried them when on service, some notion may be had of the very remote date of Egyptian civilization. In the treatment of women they seem to have been very far advanced beyond other wealthy communities of the same era, having usages very similar to those of the modern world; and such was the respect shown to women that precedence was given to them over men, and the wives and daughters of kings succeeded to the throne like the male branches of the royal family. Nor was this privilege rescinded, even though it had more than once entailed upon them the trouble of a contested succession; foreign kings often having claimed a right to the throne through marriage with an Egyptian princess. It was not a mere influence that they possessed, which women often acquire in the most arbitrary Eastern communities; nor a political importance accorded to a particular individual, like that of the Sultana Valideh, the Queen Mother, at Constantinople; it was a right acknowledged by law, both in private and public life. They knew that unless women were treated with respect, and made to exercise an influence over society, the standard of public opinion would soon be lowered, and the manners and morals of men would suffer; and in acknowledging this, they pointed out to women the very responsible duties they had to perform to the community.

From their private life great insight is obtained into their character and customs: and their household arrangements, the style of their dwellings, their amusements and their occupations, explain their habits; as their institutions, mode of government, [257]arts and military knowledge illustrate their history, and their relative positions among the nations of antiquity. In their form and arrangement, the houses were made to suit the climate, modified according to their advancement in civilization; and we are often enabled to trace in their abodes some of the primitive habits of a people, long after they have been settled in towns, and have adopted the manners of wealthy communities; as the tent may still be traced in the houses of the Turks, and the small original wooden chamber in the mansions and temples of ancient Greece.

As in all warm climates, the poorer classes of Egyptians lived much in the open air; and the houses of the rich were constructed to be cool throughout the summer; currents of refreshing air being made to circulate freely through them by the judicious arrangement of the passages and courts. Corridors, supported on columns, gave access to the different apartments through a succession of shady avenues and areas, with one side open to the air, as in cloisters; and even small detached houses had an open court in the centre, planted as a garden with palms and other trees. Mulkufs, or wooden wind-sails, were also fixed over the terraces of the upper story, facing the prevalent and cool N.W. wind, which was conducted down their sloping boards into the interior of the house. They were exactly similar to those in the modern houses of Cairo; and some few were double, facing in opposite directions.

The houses were built of crude brick, stuccoed and painted, with all the combinations of bright color in which the Egyptians delighted; and a highly decorated mansion had numerous courts, and architectural details derived from the temples. Over the door was sometimes a sentence, as "the good house;" or the name of a king, under whom the owner probably held some office; many other symbols of good omen were also put up, as at the entrances of modern Egyptian houses; and a visit to some temple gave as [258]good a claim to a record as the pilgrimage to Mecca, at the present day. Poor people were satisfied with very simple tenements; their wants being easily supplied, both as to lodging and food; and their house consisted of four walls, with a flat roof of palm-branches laid across a split date-tree as a beam, and covered with mats plastered over with a thick coating of mud. It had one door and a few small windows closed by wooden shutters. As it scarcely ever rained, the mud roof was not washed into the sitting room; and this cottage rather answered as a shelter from the sun, and as a closet for their goods, than for the ordinary purpose of a house in other countries. Indeed at night the owners slept on the roof, during the greater part of the year; and as most of their work was done out of doors, they might easily be persuaded that a house was far less necessary for them than a tomb. To convince the rich of this ultra-philosophical sentiment was not so easy; at least the practice differed from the theory; and though it was promulgated among all the Egyptians, it did not prevent the priests and other grandees from living in very luxurious abodes, or enjoying the good things of this world; and a display of wealth was found to be useful in maintaining their power, and in securing the obedience of a credulous people. The worldly possessions of the priests were therefore very extensive, and if they imposed on themselves occasional habits of abstemiousness, avoided certain kinds of unwholesome food, and performed many mysterious observances, they were amply repaid by the improvement of their health, and by the influence they thereby acquired. Superior intelligence enabled them to put their own construction on regulations emanating from their sacred body, with the convenient persuasion that what suited them did not suit others; and the profane vulgar were expected to do, not as the priests did, but as they taught them to do.

In their plans the houses of towns, like the villas in the country, varied according to the caprice of the builders. The [259]ground-plan, in some of the former, consisted of a number of chambers on three sides of a court, which was often planted with trees. Others consisted of two rows of rooms on either side of a long passage, with an entrance-court from the street; and others were laid out in chambers round a central area, similar to the Roman Impluvium, and paved with stone, or containing a few trees, a tank or a fountain in its centre. Sometimes, though rarely, a flight of steps led to the front door from the street.

Houses of small size were often connected together and formed the continuous sides of streets; and a court-yard was common to several dwellings. Others of a humbler kind consisted merely of rooms opening on a narrow passage, or directly on the street. These had only a basement story, or ground-floor; and few houses exceeded two stories above it. They mostly consisted of one upper floor; and though Diodorus speaks of the lofty houses in Thebes four and five stories high, the paintings show that few had three, and the largest seldom four, including, as he does, the basement-story. Even the greater portion of the house was confined to a first floor, with an additional story in one part, on which was a terrace covered by an awning, or a light roof supported on columns. This served for the ladies of the family to sit at work in during the day, and here the master of the house often slept at night during the summer, or took his siesta in the afternoon. Some had a tower which rose even above the terrace.

The first-floor was what the Italians call the "piano nobile;" the ground rooms being chiefly used for stores, or as offices, of which one was set apart for the porter, and another for visitors coming on business. Sometimes besides the parlor were receiving apartments on the basement-story, but guests were generally entertained on the first-floor; and on this were the sleeping-rooms also, except where the house was of two or three stories. The houses of wealthy citizens often covered a considerable space, and either stood directly upon the street, or a short way back, within [260]an open court; and some large mansions were detached, and had several entrances on two or three sides. Before the door was a porch supported on two columns, decked with banners or ribbons, and larger porticoes had a double row of columns, with statues between them.

In the distribution of the apartments numerous and different modes were adopted, according to circumstances; in general, however, the large mansions seem to have consisted of a court and several corridors, with rooms leading from them, not unlike many of those now built in Oriental and tropical countries. The houses in most of the Egyptian towns are quite destroyed, leaving few traces of their plans, or even of their sites; but sufficient remains of some at Thebes, at Tel el Amarna, and other places, to enable us, with the help of the sculptures, to ascertain their form and appearance.

Granaries were also laid out in a very regular manner, and varied of course in plan as much as the houses, to which there is reason to believe they were frequently attached, even in the towns; and they were sometimes only separated from the house by an avenue of trees.

Some small houses consisted merely of a court, and three or four store-rooms on the ground-floor, with a single chamber above, to which a flight of steps led from the court; but they were probably only met with in the country, and resembled some still found in the fellah villages of modern Egypt. Very similar to these was the model of a house now in the British Museum, which solely consisted of a court-yard and three small store-rooms on the ground-floor, with a staircase leading to a room belonging to the storekeeper, which was furnished with a narrow window or aperture opposite the door, rather intended for the purposes of ventilation than to admit the light. In the court a woman was represented making bread, as is sometimes done at the present day in Egypt, in the open air; and the store-rooms were full of grain.

[261]Other small houses in towns consisted of two or three stories above the ground-floor. They had no court, and stood close together, covering a small space, and high in proportion to their base, like many of those at Karnak. The lower part had merely the door of entrance and some store-rooms, over which were a first and second floor, each with three windows on the front and side, and above these an attic without windows, and a staircase leading to a terrace on the flat roof. The floors were laid on rafters, the end of which projected slightly from the walls like dentils; and the courses of brick were in waving or concave lines, as in the walls of an enclosure at Dayr el Medeeneh in Thebes. The windows of the first-floor had a sort of mullion dividing them into two lights each, with a transom above; and the upper windows were filled with trellis-work, or cross bars of wood, as in many Turkish harems. A model of a house of this kind is also in the British Museum. But the generality of Egyptian houses were far less regular in their plan and elevation; and the usual disregard for symmetry is generally observable in the houses even of towns.

The doors, both of the entrances and of the inner apartments, were frequently stained to imitate foreign and rare woods. They were either of one or two valves, turning on pins of metal, and were secured within by a bar or bolts. Some of these bronze pins have been discovered in the tombs of Thebes. They were fastened to the wood with nails of the same metal, whose round heads served also as an ornament, and the upper one had a projection at the back, in order to prevent the door striking against the wall. We also find in the stone lintels and floor, behind the thresholds of the tombs and temples, the holes in which they turned, as well as those of the bolts and bars, and the recess for receiving the opened valves. The folding doors had bolts in the centre, sometimes above as well as below; a bar was placed across from one wall to the other; and in many instances wooden [262]locks secured them by passing over the centre, at the junction of the two folds. For greater security they were occasionally sealed with a mass of clay, as is proved by some tombs found closed at Thebes, by the sculptures, and in the account given by Herodotus of Rhampsinitus' treasury.

Keys were made of bronze or iron, and consisted of a long straight shank, about five inches in length, with three or more projecting teeth; others had a nearer resemblance to the wards of modern keys, with a short shank about an inch long; and some resembled a common ring with the wards at its back. These are probably of Roman date. The earliest mention of a key is in Judges (iii. 23-25), when Ehud having gone "through the porch, and shut the doors of the parlor upon him and locked them," Eglon's "servants took a key and opened them."

The doorways, like those in the temples, were often surmounted by the Egyptian cornice; others were variously decorated, and some, represented in the tombs, were surrounded with a variety of ornaments, as usual richly painted. These last, though sometimes found at Thebes, were more general about Memphis and the Delta; and two good instances of them are preserved at the British Museum, brought from a tomb near the Pyramids.

Even at the early period when the Pyramids were built, the doors were of one or two valves: and both those of the rooms and the entrance doors opened inwards, contrary to the custom of the Greeks, who were consequently obliged to strike on the inside of the street door before they opened it, in order to warn persons passing by; and the Romans were forbidden to make it open outward without a special permission.

The floors were of stone, or a composition made of lime or other materials; but in humbler abodes they were formed of split date-tree beams, arranged close together or at intervals, with planks or transverse layers of palm branches over them, [263]covered with mats and a coating of mud. Many roofs were vaulted, and built like the rest of the house of crude brick; and not only have arches been found of that material dating in the 16th century before our era, but vaulted granaries appear to be represented of much earlier date. Bricks, indeed, led to the invention of the arch; the want of timber in Egypt having pointed out the necessity of some substitute for it.

Wood was imported in great quantities; deal and cedar were brought from Syria; and rare woods were part of the tribute imposed on foreign nations conquered by the Pharaohs. And so highly were these appreciated for ornamental purposes, that painted imitations were made for poorer persons who could not afford them; and the panels, windows, doors, boxes, and various kinds of woodwork, were frequently of cheap deal or sycamore, stained to resemble the rarest foreign woods. And the remnants of them found at Thebes show that these imitations were clever substitutes for the reality. Even coffins were sometimes made of foreign wood; and many are found of cedar of Lebanon. The value of foreign woods also suggested to the Egyptians the process of veneering; and this was one of the arts of their skillful cabinet makers.

The ceilings were of stucco, richly painted with various devices, tasteful both in their form and the arrangement of the colors; among the oldest of which is the Guilloche, often miscalled the Tuscan or Greek border.

Both in the interior and exterior of their houses the walls were sometimes portioned out into large panels of one uniform color, flush with the surface, or recessed, not very unlike those at Pompeii; and they were red, yellow, or stained to resemble stone or wood. It seems to have been the introduction of this mode of ornament into Roman houses that excited the indignation of Vitruvius; who says that in old times they used red paint sparingly, like physic, though now whole walls are covered over with it.

[264]Figures were also introduced on the blank walls in the sitting-rooms, or scenes from domestic life, surrounded by ornamental borders, and surmounted by deep cornices of flowers and various devices richly painted; and no people appear to have been more fond of using flowers on every occasion. In their domestic architecture they formed the chief ornament of the mouldings; and every visitor received a bouquet of real flowers, as a token of welcome on entering a house. It was the pipe and coffee of the modern Egyptians; and a guest at a party was not only presented with a lotus, or some other flower, but had a chaplet placed round his head, and another round his neck; which led the Roman poet to remark the "many chaplets on the foreheads" of the Egyptians at their banquets. Everywhere flowers abounded; they were formed into wreaths and festoons, they decked the stands that supported the vases in the convivial chamber, and crowned the wine-bowl as well as the servants who bore the cup from it to the assembled guests.

The villas of the Egyptians were of great extent, and contained spacious gardens, watered by canals communicating with the Nile. They had large tanks of water in different parts of the garden, which served for ornament, as well as for irrigation, when the Nile was low; and on these the master of the house occasionally amused himself and his friends by an excursion in a pleasure-boat towed by his servants. They also enjoyed the diversion of angling and spearing fish in the ponds within their grounds, and on these occasions they were generally accompanied by a friend, or one or more members of their family. Particular care was always bestowed upon the garden, and their great fondness for flowers is shown by the number they always cultivated, as well as by the women of the family or the attendants presenting bouquets to the master of the house and his friends when they walked there.

The house itself was sometimes ornamented with propylæ [265]and obelisks, like the temples themselves; it is even possible that part of the building may have been consecrated to religious purposes, as the chapels of other countries, since we find a priest engaged in presenting offerings at the door of the inner chambers; and, indeed, were it not for the presence of the women, the form of the garden, and the style of the porch, we should feel disposed to consider it a temple rather than a place of abode. The entrances of large villas were generally through folding gates, standing between lofty towers, as at the courts of temples, with a small door at each side; and others had merely folding-gates, with the jambs surmounted by a cornice. One general wall of circuit extended round the premises, but the courts of the house, the garden, the offices, and all the other parts of the villa had each their separate enclosure. The walls were usually built of crude brick, and, in damp places, or when within reach of the inundation, the lower part was strengthened by a basement of stone. They were sometimes ornamented with panels and grooved lines, generally stuccoed, and the summit was crowned either with Egyptian battlements, the usual cornice, a row of spikes in imitation of spear-heads, or with some fancy ornament.

The plans of the villas varied according to circumstances, but their general arrangement is sufficiently explained by the paintings. They were surrounded by a high wall, about the middle of which was the main or front entrance, with one central and two side gates, leading to an open walk shaded by rows of trees. Here were spacious tanks of water, facing the doors of the right and left wings of the house, between which an avenue led from the main entrance to what may be called the centre of the mansion. After passing the outer door of the right wing, you entered an open court with trees, extending quite round a nucleus of inner apartments, and having a back entrance communicating with the garden. On the right and left of this court were six or more store-rooms, a small receiving or waiting room [266]at two of the corners, and at the other end the staircases which led to the upper stories. Both of the inner facades were furnished with a corridor, supported on columns, with similar towers and gateways. The interior of this wing consisted of twelve rooms, two outer and one center court, communicating by folding gates; and on either side of this last was the main entrance to the rooms on the ground-floor, and to the staircases leading to the upper story. At the back were three long rooms, and a gateway opening on the garden, which, besides flowers, contained a variety of trees, a summer-house, and a large tank of water.

The arrangement of the left wing was different. The front gate led to an open court, extending the whole breadth of the facade of the building, and backed by the wall of the inner part. Central and lateral doors thence communicated with another court, surrounded on three sides by a set of rooms, and behind it was a corridor, upon which several other chambers opened.

This wing had no back entrance, and standing isolated, the outer court extended entirely around it; and a succession of doorways communicated from the court with different sections of the centre of the house, where the rooms, disposed like those already described, around passages and corridors, served partly as sitting apartments, and partly as store-rooms.

The stables for the horses and the coach-houses for the traveling chariots and carts, were in the centre, or inner part of the building; but the farm-yard where the cattle were kept stood at some distance from the house, and corresponded to the department known by the Romans under the name of rustica. Though enclosed separately, it was within the general wall of circuit, which surrounded the land attached to the villa; and a canal, bringing water from the river, skirted it, and extended along the back of the grounds. It consisted of two parts; the sheds for housing the cattle, which stood at the upper end, and the yard, where rows of rings were fixed, in order to tie them while [267]feeding in the day-time; and men always attended, and frequently fed them with the hand.

The granaries were also apart from the house, and were enclosed within a separate wall; and some of the rooms in which they housed the grain appear to have had vaulted roofs. These were filled through an aperture near the top, to which the men ascended by steps, and the grain when wanted was taken out from a door at the base.

The superintendence of the house and grounds was intrusted to stewards, who regulated the tillage of the land, received whatever was derived from the sale of the produce, overlooked the returns of the quantity of cattle or stock upon the estate, settled all the accounts, and condemned the delinquent peasants to the bastinado, or any punishment they might deserve. To one were intrusted the affairs of the house, answering to "the ruler," "overseer," or "steward of Joseph's house;" others "superintended the granaries," the vineyard, or the culture of the fields; and the extent of their duties, or the number of those employed, depended on the quantity of land, or the will of its owner.

The mode of laying out their gardens was as varied as that of the houses; but in all cases they appear to have taken particular care to command a plentiful supply of water, by means of reservoirs and canals. Indeed, in no country is artificial irrigation more required than in the valley of the Nile; and, from the circumstance of the water of the inundation not being admitted into the gardens, they depend throughout the year on the supply obtained from wells and tanks, or a neighboring canal.

The mode of irrigation adopted by the ancient Egyptians was exceedingly simple, being merely the shadoof, or pole and bucket of the present day; and, in many instances, men were employed to carry the water in pails, suspended by a wooden yoke they bore upon their shoulders. The same yoke was employed for carrying other things, as boxes, baskets containing game and [268]poultry, or whatever was taken to market; and every trade seems to have used it for this purpose, from the potter and the brick-maker, to the carpenter and the shipwright.

Part of the garden was laid out in walks shaded with trees, usually planted in rows, and surrounded, at the base of the stem, with a circular ridge of earth, which, being lower at the centre than at the circumference, retained the water, and directed it more immediately towards the roots. It is difficult to say if trees were trimmed into any particular shape, or if their formal appearance in the sculpture is merely owing to a conventional mode of representing them; but, since the pomegranate, and some other fruit trees, are drawn with spreading and irregular branches, it is possible that sycamores, and others, which presented large masses of foliage, were really trained in that formal manner, though, from the hieroglyphic signifying "tree" having the same shape, we may conclude it was only a general character for all trees.

Some, as the pomegranates, date-trees, and dom-palms, are easily recognized in the sculptures, but the rest are doubtful, as are the flowering plants, with the exception of the lotus and a few others.

To the garden department belonged the care of the bees, which were kept in hives very like our own. In Egypt they required great attention; and so few are its plants at the present day, that the owners of hives often take the bees in boats to various spots upon the Nile, in quest of flowers. They are a smaller kind than our own; and though found wild in the country, they are far less numerous than wasps, hornets, and ichneumons. The wild bees live mostly under stones, or in clefts of the rock, as in many other countries; and the expression of Moses, as of the Psalmist, "honey out of the rock," shows that in Palestine their habits were the same. Honey was thought of great importance in Egypt, both for household purposes, and for [269]an offering to the gods; that of Benha (thence surnamed El assal), or Athribis, in the Delta, retained its reputation to a late time; and a jar of honey from that place was one of the four presents sent by John Mekaukes, the governor of Egypt, to Mohammed.

Large gardens were usually divided into different parts; the principal sections being appropriated to the date and sycamore trees, and to the vineyard. The former may be called the orchard. The flower and kitchen gardens also occupied a considerable space, laid out in beds; and dwarf trees, herbs, and flowers, were grown in red earthen pots, exactly like our own, arranged in long rows by the walks and borders.

Besides the orchard and gardens, some of the large villas had a park or paradise, with its fish-ponds and preserves for game, as well as poultry-yards for keeping hens and geese, stalls for fattening cattle, wild goats, gazelles, and other animals originally from the desert, whose meat was reckoned among the dainties of the table.

It was in these extensive preserves that the rich amused themselves with the chase; and they also enclosed a considerable space in the desert itself with net-fences, into which the animals were driven, and shot with arrows, or hunted with dogs.

Gardens are frequently represented in the tombs of Thebes and other parts of Egypt, many of which are remarkable for their extent. The one here introduced is shown to have been surrounded by an embattled wall, with a canal of water passing in front of it, connected with the river. Between the canal and the wall, and parallel to them both, was a shady avenue of various trees; and about the centre was the entrance, through a lofty door, whose lintel and jambs were decorated with hieroglyphic inscriptions, containing the name of the owner of the grounds, who in this instance was the king himself. In the gateway were rooms for the porter, and other persons employed about the [270]garden, and, probably, the receiving room for visitors, whose abrupt admission might be unwelcome; and at the back a gate opened into the vineyard. The vines were trained on a trellis-work, supported by transverse rafters resting on pillars; and a wall, extending round it, separated this part from the rest of the garden. At the upper end were suites of rooms on three different stories, looking upon green trees, and affording a pleasant retreat in the heat of summer. On the outside of the vineyard wall were placed rows of palms, which occurred again with the dom and other trees, along the whole length of the exterior wall; four tanks of water, bordered by a grass plot, where geese were kept, and the delicate flower of the lotus was encouraged to grow, served for the irrigation of the grounds; and small kiosks or summer-houses, shaded with trees, stood near the water, and overlooked beds of flowers. The spaces containing the tanks, and the adjoining portions of the garden, were each enclosed by their respective walls, and a small subdivision on either side, between the large and small tanks, seems to have been reserved for the growth of particular trees, which either required peculiar care, or bore a fruit of superior quality.

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Egyptian Feast

Painted by Edwin Long, A.R.A. Engraved & Printed by Illman Brothers.




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Egyptian Wealth.

That the riches of the country were immense is proved by the appearance of the furniture and domestic utensils, and by the great quantity of jewels of gold and silver, precious stones, and other objects of luxury in use among them in the earliest times; their treasures became proverbial throughout the neighboring states, and a love of pomp and splendor continued to be the ruling passion of the Egyptians till the latest period of their existence as an independent state.

The wealth of Egypt was principally derived from taxes, foreign tribute, monopolies, commerce, mines, and above all from the productions of a fruitful soil. The wants of the poorer classes were easily satisfied; the abundance of grain, herbs and esculent plants, afforded an ample supply to the inhabitants of the valley of the Nile, at a trifling expense, and with little labor; and so much corn was produced in this fertile country, that after sufficing for the consumption of a very extensive population, it offered a great surplus for the foreign market; and afforded considerable profit to the government, being exported to other countries, or sold to the traders who visited Egypt for commercial purposes.

The gold mines of the Bisharee desert were in those times very productive; and, though we have no positive notice of their first discovery, there is reason to believe they were worked at the earliest periods of the Egyptian monarchy. The total of the [272]annual produce of the gold and silver mines (which Diodorus, on the authority of Hecatæus, says, was recorded in the tomb of Osymandyas at Thebes, apparently a king of the 19th dynasty) is stated to have been 3,200 myriads, or 32 millions of minæ—a weight of that country, called by the Egyptians mn or mna, 60 of which were equal to one talent. The whole sum amounted to 665 millions of our money; but it was evidently exaggerated.

The position of the silver mines is unknown; but the gold mines of Allaga, and other quartz "diggings," have been discovered, as well as those of copper, lead, iron and emeralds, all of which are in the desert near the Red Sea; and the sulphur, which abounds in the same districts, was not neglected by the ancient Egyptians.

The abundance of gold and silver in Egypt and other ancient countries, and the sums reported to have been spent, accord well with the reputed productiveness of the mines in those days; and, as the subject has become one of peculiar interest, it may be well to inquire respecting the quantity and the use of the precious metals in ancient times. They were then mostly confined to the treasures of princes, and of some rich individuals; the proportion employed for commercial purposes was small, copper sufficing for most purchases in the home market; and nearly all the gold and silver money (as yet uncoined) was in the hands of the wealthy few. The manufacture of jewelry, and other ornamental objects took up a small portion of the great mass; but it required the wealth and privilege of royalty to indulge in a grand display of gold and silver vases, or similar objects of size and value.

The mines of those days, from which was derived the wealth of Egypt, Lydia, Persia, and other countries, afforded a large supply of the precious metals; and if most of them are now exhausted or barely retain evidences of the treasures they once gave forth, there can be no doubt of their former productiveness; and it is reasonable to suppose that gold and silver abounded in [273]early times in those parts of the world which were first inhabited, as they did in countries more recently peopled. They may never have afforded at any period the immense riches of a California or an Australia, yet there is evidence of their having been sufficiently distributed over various parts of the old world.

For though Herodotus (iii., 106) says that the extremities of the earth possess the greatest treasures; these extremities may approach or become the centre, i.e., of civilization, when they arrive at that eminence which all great countries in their turn seem to have a chance of reaching; and Britain, the country of the greatly coveted tin, once looked upon as separated from the rest of mankind, is now one of the commercial centres of the world. The day, too, has come when Australia and California are rivals for a similar distinction; and England, the rendezvous of America in her contests with Europe, has yielded its turn to younger competitors.

The greatest quantity of gold and silver in early times was derived from the East; and Asia and Egypt possessed abundance of those metals. The trade of Colchis, and the treasures of the Arimaspes and Massagetæ, coming from the Ural (or from the Altai) mountains, supplied much gold at a very early period, and Indian commerce sent a large supply to western Asia. Spain, the Isle of Thasos, and other places, were resorted to by the Phœnicians, particularly for silver; and Spain, for its mines, became the "El Dorado" of those adventurous traders.

The mines of the Eastern desert, the tributes from Ethiopia and Central Africa, as well as from Asia, enriched Egypt with gold and silver; but it was long before Greece (where in heroic times the precious metals were scarcely known) obtained a moderate supply of silver from her own mines; and gold only became abundant there after the Persian war.

Thrace and Macedonia produced gold, as well as other countries, but confined it to their own use, as Ireland employed the [274]produce of its mines; and as early Italy did, when its various small states were still free from the Roman yoke; and though the localities from which silver was obtained in more ancient times are less known, it is certain that it was used at a very remote period; and (as before stated) it was commonly employed in Abraham's time for mercantile transactions.

Gold is mentioned on the Egyptian monuments of the 4th dynasty, and silver was probably of the same early time; but gold was evidently known in Egypt before silver, which is consistent with reason, gold being more easily obtained than silver, and frequently near the surface or in streams.

The relative value and quantity of the precious metals in the earliest times, in Egypt and Western Asia, are not known; and even if a greater amount of gold were found mentioned in a tribute, this could be no proof of the silver being more rare, as it might merely be intended to show the richness of the gifts. In the tribute brought to Thothmes III. by the Southern Ethiopians and three Asiatic people, the former present scarcely any silver, but great quantities of gold in rings, ingots, and dust. The Asiatic people of Pount bring two baskets of gold rings, and one of gold dust in bags, a much smaller amount of gold than the Ethiopians, and no silver; those of Kufa, or Kaf, more silver than gold, and a considerable quantity of both made into vases of handsome and varied shapes; and the Rot-n̄-n (apparently living on the Euphrates) present rather more gold than silver, a large basket of gold and a smaller one of silver rings, two small silver and several large gold vases, which are of the most elegant shape, as well as colored glass or porcelain cups, and much incense and bitumen. The great Asiatic tribute to the same king at Karnak, speaks in one place of 100 ingots (or pounds weight?) of gold and silver, and afterwards of 401 of silver; but the imperfect preservation of that record prevents our ascertaining how much gold was brought, or the relative proportions of the two metals.

[275]M. Leon Faucher, indeed, suggested that the value of silver in some countries originally equaled, if it did not exceed, that of gold ... and the laws of Menes state that gold was worth two and a half times more than silver.... Everywhere, except in India, between the fifth and sixth century B.C., the relative value of gold and silver was 6 or 8 to 1, as it was in China and Japan at the end of the last century. In Greece it was, according to Herodotus, as 13 to 1; afterwards, in Plato's and Xenophon's time, and more than 100 years after the death of Alexander, as 10 to 1, owing to the quantity of gold brought in through the Persian war; when the value of both fell so much, that in the time of Demosthenes it was five times less than at the death of Solon.

Though it may not be possible to arrive at any satisfactory conclusion respecting the quantity of gold and silver taken from the mines, employed in objects of art and luxury, or in circulation as money in Egypt and other countries, we shall introduce a few facts derived from the accounts of ancient authors, relating to the amount of wealth amassed, and the purposes to which those precious metals were applied. We shall also show some of the fluctuations that have taken place in the supply of them at various periods; and shall endeavor to establish a comparison between the quantity said to have been in use in ancient and modern times.

When we read of the enormous wealth amassed by the Egyptian and Asiatic kings, or the plunder by Alexander and the Romans, we wonder how so much could have been obtained; for, even allowing for considerable exaggeration in the accounts of early times, there is no reason to disbelieve the private fortunes of individuals at Rome, and the sums squandered by them, or even the amount of some of the tributes levied in the East. Of ancient cities, Babylon is particularly cited by Herodotus and others for its immense wealth. Diodorus (ii. 9) mentions a golden [276]statue of Jupiter at Babylon 40 feet high, weighing 1,000 Babylonian talents; another of Rhea, of equal weight, having two lions on its knees, and near it silver serpents of 300 talents each; a standing statue of Juno weighing 800 talents, holding a snake, and a sceptre set with gems; as well as a golden table of 500 talents weight on which were two cups weighing 300 talents, and two censers each of 300 talents weight, with three golden bowls, one of which, belonging to Jupiter, weighed 1,200 talents, the others each 600; making a total of at least 6,900 talents, reckoned equal to $55,000,000. And the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar, 60 cubits, or 90 feet high, at the same ratio would weigh 2,250 talents, or $17,934,820.

David, who had not the Indian and Arabian trade afterwards obtained by Solomon, left for the building of the temple 100,000 talents of gold and 1,000,000 of silver; and the sum given by him of his "own proper good," "over and above all prepared for the holy house," was "3,000 talents of gold" and "7,000 of refined silver;" besides the chief men's contributions of 500 talents and 10,000 drachms of gold, 10,000 talents of silver, and an abundance of brass, iron, and precious stones.

The annual tribute of Solomon was 666 talents of gold, besides that brought by the merchants, and the present from the Queen of Sheba of 120 talents; and the quantity of gold and silver used in the temple and his house was extraordinary. Mr. Jacob, in his valuable work on the precious metals, has noticed many of these immense sums, collected in old times. Among them are the tribute of Darius, amounting to 9,880 talents of silver and 4,680 of gold, making a total of 14,560, estimated at about $37,250,000; the sums taken by Xerxes to Greece; the wealth of Crœsus; the riches of Pytheus, king of a small territory in Phrygia, possessing gold and silver mines, who entertained the army of Xerxes, and gave him 2,000 talents of silver and 4,093,000 staters of gold (equal to 23,850,000 dollars of our money); [277]the treasures acquired by Alexander, in Susa and Persia, exclusive of that found in the Persian camp and in Babylon, said to have amounted to 40,000 or 50,000 talents; the treasure of Persepolis rated at 120,000 talents; that of Pasagarda at 6,000; and the 180,000 talents collected at the capture of Ecbatana; besides 6,000 which Darius had with him, and were taken by his murderers. "Ptolemy Philadelphus is stated by Appian to have possessed treasure to the enormous amount of 740,000 talents;" either "890 million dollars, or at least a quarter of that sum;" and fortunes of private individuals at Rome show the enormous wealth they possessed. "Crassus had in lands $8,072,915, besides as much more in money, furniture, and slaves; Seneca, $12,109,375; Pallas, the freedman of Claudius, an equal sum; Lentulus, the augur, $16,145,805; Cæc. Cl. Isidorus, though he had lost a great part of his fortune in the civil war, left by his will 4,116 slaves, 3,600 yoke of oxen, 257,000 other cattle, and in ready money $2,421,875. Augustus received by the testaments of his friends $161,458,330. Tiberius left at his death $108,984,375, which Caligula lavished away in less than one year; and Vespasian, at his succession, said that to support the state he required quadrigenties millies, or $1,614,083,330. The debts of Milo amounted to $2,825,520. J. Cæsar, before he held any office, owed 1,300 talents, $1,279,375; and when he set out for Spain after his prætorship, he is reported to have said, that 'Bis millies et quingenties sibi deesse, ut nihil haberet,' or 'that he was $10,091,145 worse than nothing.' When he first entered Rome, in the beginning of the civil war, he took out of the treasury $5,479,895, and brought into it at the end of it $24,218,750; he purchased the friendship of Curio, at the commencement of the civil war, by a bribe of $2,421,856, and that of the consul, L. Paulus, by 1,500 talents, about $1,397,500; Apicius wasted on luxurious living $2,421,875; Caligula laid out on a supper $403,625; and the ordinary expense of Lucullus for a supper in [278]the Hall of Apollo was 50,000 drachms, or $8,070. The house of Marius, bought of Cornelia for $12,105, was sold to Lucullus for $80,760; the burning of his villa was a loss to M. Scaurus of $4,036,455; and Nero's golden house must have cost an immense sum, since Otho laid out in furnishing a part of it $2,017,225." But though Rome was greatly enriched by conquest, she never obtained possession of the chief wealth of Asia; and the largest quantity of the precious metals was always excluded from the calculations of ancient writers.

The whole revenue of the Roman Empire under Augustus is "supposed to have been equal to 200 millions of our money;" and at the time of his death (A.D. 14) the gold and silver in circulation throughout the empire is supposed to have amounted to $1,790,000,000; which at a reduction of 1 grain in 360 every year for wear, would have been reduced by the year A.D. 482 to $435,165,495; and when the mines of Hungary and Germany began to be worked, during the seventh and ninth centuries, the entire amount of coined money was not more than about 42 at the former, and 165 or 170 million dollars at the latter, period; so that if no other supply had been obtained, the quantity then circulating would long since have been exhausted.

"The loss by wear on silver" is shown by Mr. Jacob "to be four times that of gold;" that on our money is estimated at more than one part in a hundred annually; and "the smaller the pieces, the greater loss do they suffer by abrasion." "The maximum of durability of gold coins seems to be fixed at 22 parts, in 24, of pure gold with the appropriate alloys. When the fineness ascends or descends from that point, the consumption by abrasion is increased."

It is from its ductility that gold wears so much less than silver; and many ancient gold coins (as those of Alexander and others), though evidently worn by use, nearly retain their true weight, from the surface being partly transferred into the adjacent hollows, and not entirely rubbed off as in silver.

[279]The quantity of the precious metals, formerly used for the purposes of luxury, greatly diminished after the decline of the Roman empire, and in the middle ages they were sparingly employed except for coinage; ornamental work in gold and silver, mostly executed by first-rate artists, being confined to men of rank, till the opening of new mines added to the supply; which was afterwards increased by the abundant treasures of America; and the quantity applied to ornamental purposes then began to vie with that of olden times.

M. Leon Faucher even calculates the annual abstraction of the precious metals from circulation by use for luxury, disasters at sea, and export, at 25 million dollars, in Europe and the United States.

The silver from the American mines exported to Europe in 100 years, to 1630, gave an addition to the currency of 5 million dollars annually, besides that used for other purposes, or re-exported; and from 1630 to 1830 from 7½ to 10 millions annually; an increase in the quantity used for currency having taken place, as well as in that exported to India, and employed for purposes of luxury.

Humboldt states the whole quantity of gold from the American mines, up to 1803, to be 162 millions of pounds in weight, and of silver 7,178 millions, or 44 of silver to 1 of gold.

Again, the total value of gold produced during three centuries to 1848, including that from Russia, has been estimated at $2,825,000,000; and the total annual quantity of gold, before the discovery of the Californian fields, has been reckoned at about $50,000,000. That from California and Australia already amounts yearly to $170,000,000 (or 3 2/5 times as much as previously obtained), and is still increasing; but though far beyond the supply afforded by the discovery of America, the demand made upon it by the modern industry of man, together with the effect of rapid communication, and of the extension of trade, as well as by [280]the great deficiency of gold in the world, will prevent its action being felt in the same way as when the American supply was first obtained; and still less will be the effect now, than it would have been in ancient times, if so large and sudden a discovery had then been made. For, as Chevalier says, "Vast as is the whole amount of gold in the world, it sinks into insignificance when contrasted with the aggregate product of other branches of human industry. If they increase as fast as the gold, little or no alteration will take place in its value; which depends on the relation between it and the annual production of other wealth."

According to another calculation, all the gold now in the world is supposed to be equal to about $3,410,000,000; but the whole amount of either of the two precious metals in old times is not easily ascertained, nor can any definite comparison be established between their former and present value. And still less in Egypt, than in Greece and Rome, no standard of calculation being obtainable from the prices of commodities there, or from any other means of determining, the value of gold and silver.

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[21] At this meal, contrary to the usual custom, women were present.

[22] According to tradition, many Makedonians were killed by the Persians taking hold of their long beards, and pulling them to the ground. Alexander, in consequence, had his troops shaved during the battle.


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The immense number and variety of statues, lamps, urns, articles of domestic use, in metal or earthenware, etc., discovered at Herculaneum and Pompeii, have rendered the Museum at Naples an inexhaustible treasury of information relative to the private life of the ancients. To give an adequate description of the richness and variety of its contents would far exceed the whole extent of this work, much more the small space which it can have; but that space can not be better occupied than in describing some few articles which possess an interest from the ingenuity of their construction, the beauty of their workmanship, or their power to illustrate ancient usages or ancient authors.

Writing implements are among the most important of the latter class, on account of the constant mention of them, as well as of the influence which the comparative ease or difficulty of producing copies of writing is always found to exert over society. On this head there is no want of information. The implements used are frequently mentioned, especially in familiar writings, as the letters of Cicero, and their forms have been tolerably ascertained from various fragments of ancient paintings.

It is hardly necessary to state that for manuscripts of any length, and such as were meant to be preserved, parchment or vellum, and a vegetable tissue manufactured from the rush [282]papyrus, were in use. The stalk of this plant consists of a number of thin concentric coats, which, being carefully detached, were pasted crossways one over the other, like the warp and woof in woven manufactures, so that the fibres ran longitudinally in each direction, and opposed in each an equal resistance to violence. The surface was then polished with a shell, or some hard smooth substance. The ink used was a simple black liquid, containing no mordant to give it durability, so that the writing was easily effaced by the application of a sponge. The length of the Greek papyri is said to vary from eight to twelve inches; the Latin often reach sixteen; the writing is in columns, placed at right angles to the length of the roll.

To each of them is appended a sort of ticket, which served as a title. Hence the end of the roll, or volume, was called frons, a term of frequent recurrence in Ovid and Martial, and not always rightly understood. Hence, also, when we meet with the expression, gemina frons, we must understand that the volume had a ticket at each end. These books were also composed of two tables or pages, and served for memoranda, letters, and other writings, not intended to be preserved. They were composed of leaves of wood or metal coated over with wax, upon which the ancients wrote with a stylus, or iron pen, or point rather, for it was a solid sharp-pointed instrument, some 6 to 8 inches in length, like a lady's stiletto upon a large scale. In the middle of each leaf there appears to have been a button, called umbilicus, intended to prevent the pages touching when closed, and obliterating the letters traced on the yielding wax.

The tablets here represented would be called twofold, as consisting only of two leaves; in the following cut may be seen another sort, consisting of several leaves, united at the back with hinges or rings. In Latin they were called tabulæ, or tabellæ, and the epithets, duplices, triplices, quintuplices, served to mark the number of the leaves.



[283]Beside them stands a double inkstand, intended probably to contain both black and red ink. The former was made either of lampblack or some other sort of charcoal, or from the cuttlefish, and was called atramentum. As it contained no mordant, and was readily obliterated by moisture, it could be used for writing upon ivory tablets; and it has been conjectured that some sorts of paper were covered with a wash, or varnish, to facilitate the discharge of the old writing, and render the paper serviceable a second time. Red ink was prepared from cinnabar. The reed, cut to a point, which lies beside the inkstand, is the instrument used in writing with ink before the application of quills. It was called calamus. The open papyrus explains how manuscripts were read, rolled up at each end, so as to show only the column of writing upon which the student was intent. At the other side is a purse, or bag, to hold the reed, penknife, and other writing instruments.

The next cut represents, besides a set of tablets bound up, a single one hanging from a nail. Such, probably, were those suspended at Epidaurus, containing remedies by which the sick had been cured, by the perusal of which Hippocrates is said to have profited in the compilation of his medical works. It also contains, besides a papyrus similar to those described, a hexagonal inkstand, with a ring to pass the finger through, upon which there lies an instrument resembling a reed, but the absence of the knots, or joints, marks it to be a stylus. Another of these instruments leans against the open book.



[284]These were made of every sort of material; sometimes with the precious metals, but usually of iron, and on occasion might be turned into formidable weapons. It was with his stylus that Cæsar stabbed Casca in the arm, when attacked in the senate by his murderers; and Caligula employed some person to put to death a senator with the same instruments.

In the reign of Claudius women and boys were searched to ascertain whether there were styluses in their pen-cases. Stabbing with the pen, therefore, is not merely a metaphorical expression. Tablets such as those here represented, were the day-books, or account-books. When they were full, or when the writing on them was no longer useful, the wax was smoothed, and they were ready again for other service.



The cut above, besides an inkstand, represents an open book. The thinness and yellowish color of the leaves, which are tied together with ribbon, denotes that it was made of parchment or vellum.



Below is a cylindrical box, called scrinium and capsa, or capsula, in which the manuscripts were placed vertically, the titles at the top. Catullus excuses himself to Manlius for not having sent him the required verses, because he had with him only one box of his books. It is evident that a great number of volumes might be comprised in this way within a small space; and this may tend to explain the smallness of the ancient libraries—at least of the rooms which [285]are considered to have been such. Beside the box are two tablets, which, from the money-bag and coins scattered about, had probably been used in reckoning accounts.

No perfect papyri, but only fragments, have been found at Pompeii. At Herculaneum, up to the year 1825, 1,756 had been obtained, besides many others destroyed by the workmen, who imagined them to be mere sticks of charcoal. Most of them were found in a suburban villa, in a room of small dimensions, ranged in presses round the sides of the room, in the centre of which stood a sort of rectangular book-case.

Sir Humphry Davy, after investigating their chemical nature, arrived at the conclusion that they had not been carbonized by heat, but changed by the long action of air and moisture; and he visited Naples in hopes of rendering the resources of chemistry available towards deciphering these long-lost literary treasures. His expectations, however, were not fully crowned with success, although the partial efficacy of his methods was established; and he relinquished the pursuit at the end of six months, partly from disappointment, partly from a belief that vexatious obstacles were thrown in his way by the jealousy of the persons to whom the task of unrolling had been intrusted. About five hundred volumes have been well and neatly unrolled. It is rather remarkable that, as far as we are acquainted, no manuscript of any known standard work has been found, nor, indeed, any production of any of the great luminaries of the ancient world.

The most celebrated person, of whom any work has been found, is Epicurus, whose treatise, De Natura, has been successfully unrolled. This and a few other treatises have been published. The library in which this was found appears to have been rich in treatises on the Epicurean philosophy. The only Latin work which it contained was a poem, attributed to Rabirius, on the war of Cæsar and Antony.

A curious literary monument has been found in the shape [286]of a calendar. It is cut on a square block of marble, upon each side of which three months are registered in perpendicular columns, each headed by the proper sign of the zodiac. The information given may be classed under three heads, astronomical, agricultural, and religious. The first begins with the name of the month; then follows the number of days; then the nones, which in eight months of the year fall on the fifth day, and were thence called quintanæ—in the others on the seventh, and were, therefore, called septimanæ. The ides are not mentioned, because seven days always elapsed between them and the nones. The number of hours in the day and night is also given, the integral part being given by the usual numerals, the fractional by an S for semissis, the half, and by small horizontal lines for the quarters. Lastly, the sign of the zodiac in which the sun is to be found is named, and the days of the equinoxes and of the summer solstice are determined; for the winter solstice we read, Hiemis initium, the beginning of winter. Next the calendar proceeds to the agricultural portion, in which the farmer is reminded of the principal operations which are to be done within the month. It concludes with the religious part, in which, besides indicating the god under whose guardianship the month is placed, it notes the religious festivals which fall within it, and warns the cultivator against neglecting the worship of those deities upon whose favor and protection the success of his labors is supposed mainly to depend.


GOLD LAMP. (Found at Pompeii.)ToList

No articles of ancient manufacture are more common than lamps. They are found in every variety of form and size, in clay and in metal, from the cheapest to the most costly description. A large and handsome gold lamp found at Pompeii in 1863 may be seen in the Pompeian room at the museum in Naples. We have the testimony of the celebrated antiquary, Winkleman, to the interest of this subject. "I place among the most curious utensils found at Herculaneum, the lamps, in which the ancients sought to display elegance and even magnificence. Lamps of [287]every sort will be found in the museum at Portici, both in clay and bronze, but especially the latter; and as the ornaments of the ancients have generally some reference to some particular things, we often meet with rather remarkable subjects. A considerable number of these articles will be found in the British Museum, but they are chiefly of the commoner sort. All the works, however, descriptive of Herculaneum and Pompeii, present us with specimens of the richer and more remarkable class which attract admiration both by the beauty of the workmanship and the whimsical variety of their designs. We may enumerate a few which occur in a work now before us, 'Antiquites d'Herculanum,' in which we find a Silenus, with the usual peculiarities of figure ascribed to the jolly god rather exaggerated, and an owl sitting on his head between two huge horns, which support stands for lamps. Another represents a flower-stalk growing out of a circular plinth, with snail-shells hanging from it by small chains, which held the oil and wick; the trunk of a tree, with lamps suspended from the branches; another, a naked boy, beautifully wrought, with a lamp hanging from one hand, and an instrument for trimming it from the other, the lamp itself representing a theatrical mask. Beside him is a twisted column surmounted by the head of a Faun or Bacchanal, which has a lid in its crown, and seems intended as a reservoir of oil. The boy [288]and pillar are both placed on a square plateau raised upon lions' claws. But beautiful as these lamps are, the light which they gave must have been weak and unsteady, and little superior to that of the old-fashioned common lamps, with which they are identical in principle. The wick was merely a few twisted threads drawn through a hole in the upper surface of the oil vessel, and there was no glass to steady the light and prevent its varying with every breeze that blew.



"Still, though the Romans had not advanced so far in art as to apply glass chimneys and hollow circular wicks to their lamps, they had experienced the inconvenience of going home at night through a city poorly paved, watched and lighted, and accordingly soon invented lanterns to meet the want. These, we learn from Martial, who has several epigrams upon this subject, were made of horn or bladder: no mention, we believe, occurs of glass being thus employed. The rich were preceded by a slave bearing their lantern. This Cicero mentions as being the habit of Catiline upon his midnight expeditions; and when M. Antony was accused of a disgraceful intrigue, his lantern-bearer was tortured to extort a confession whither he had conducted his master. One of these machines, of considerable ingenuity and beauty of workmanship, was found in Herculaneum, and another almost exactly the same, at Pompeii a few years after. In form it is cylindrical, with a hemispherical top, and it is made of sheet-copper, except the two main pieces, which are cast. The bottom consists of a flat, circular copper plate, supported by three balls, and turned up all around the rim, from which rise the rectangular supports, which support the upper part of the frame. The top and bottom were further connected by the interior uprights, between which the laminæ of horn or glass were placed, and secured at the top and bottom by the doublings of the copper. Horn was the most common substance used to transmit the light, but bladder and other membranes were also employed. In the centre [289]of the lantern is seen the small lamp. The cover is hemispherical, and lifts up and down: it is pierced with holes for the admission of air, and has besides the characters NBVRTI-CATIS pricked upon it. These have been interpreted, Tiburti Cati Sum, or Tiburti Cati S. (ervus), indicating, the one that it belonged to Catus, or that it was to be carried by his slave."

One of the most elegant articles of furniture in ancient use was the candelabrum, by which we mean those tall and slender stands which served to support a lamp, but were independent of, and unconnected with, it. These, in their original and simple form, were mere reeds or straight sticks, fixed upon a foot by peasants to raise their light to a convenient height; at least such a theory of their origin is agreeable to what we are told of the rustic manners of the early Romans, and it is in some degree countenanced by the fashion in which many of the ancient candelabra are made. Sometimes the stem is represented as throwing out buds; sometimes it is a stick, the side branches of which have been roughly lopped, leaving projections where they grew; sometimes it is in the likeness of a reed or cane, the stalk being divided into joints. Most of those which have been found in the buried cities are of bronze, some few of iron. In their general plan and appearance there is a great resemblance, though [290]the details of the ornaments admit of infinite variety. All stand on three feet, usually griffins' or lions' claws, which support a light shaft, plain or fluted according to the fancy of the maker. The whole supports either a plinth large enough for a lamp to stand on, or a socket to receive a wax candle, which the Romans used sometimes instead of oil in lighting their rooms. Some of them have a sliding shaft, like that of a music stand, by which the light might be raised or lowered at pleasure.



One of those elegant table lamps, by the praise of which the present discussion was introduced, is represented in the accompanying plate. Including the stand it is three feet high. On a rectangular plinth rises a rectangular pillar, crowned by a capricious capital. On the front of the pillar is a mask of a Bacchante, with fine features and long flowing hair; and on the opposite side, the head of a bull, with the Greek word Bucranion. From the extreme points of the abacus, four ornamental branches, beautifully chased, project; the lamps which now hang from them, though ancient, also, are not those which belong to the stand, and were not found with it. They are nearly alike in figure, but differ in size. Three of them are ornamented with various animals, the fourth is plain. One of them has each of its ends wrought into the form of a shell. Above are two eagles in high relief, with the thunderbolt of [291]Jupiter in their talons. Another has two bulls' heads, a third two elephants' heads projecting from the sides. The latter is suspended by two dolphins, instead of the chains generally in use, whose tails are united, and attached to a small ball and ring. The pillar is not placed in the center, but at one end of the plinth, which is the case in almost every lamp of this description yet found. The space thus obtained may have served as a stand for the oil vase used in trimming the lamps. The plinth is beautifully damasked, or inlaid, in imitation of a vine, the leaves of which are of silver, the stem and fruit of bright brass. On one side is an altar with wood and fire upon it; on the other a Bacchus, naked, with his thick hair plaited and bound with ivy. He rides a tiger, and has his left hand in the attitude of holding reins, which time probably has destroyed; with the right he raises a drinking-horn. The workmanship of this lamp is exquisitely delicate in all its parts.

Before we quit this subject we have still one candelabrum to notice, which for simplicity of design and delicacy of execution is hardly to be surpassed by any in the Neapolitan collection. The stem is formed of a liliaceous plant, divided into two branches, each of which supports a flat disc, which may represent the flower, upon which a lamp was placed. At the base is a mass of bronze which gives stability to the whole, upon which a Silenus is seated, earnestly engaged in trying to pour wine from a skin which he holds in his left hand into a cup in his right. In this figure all the distinctive marks of the companion and tutor of Bacchus are expressed with great skill; the pointed ears, the goat's tail, the shaggy skin, the flat nose, and the ample rotundity of body, leave no doubt on our minds as to the person intended to be represented. The head, especially, is admirable, both in respect of workmanship and expression.

Amongst Greek domestic utensils we also count articles made of basket-work, which frequently occur in antique pictures. The [292]kalathos, the basket for keeping wool (used for weaving and embroidering), and also flowers and fruit, is frequently met with in vase paintings illustrating the life of Greek women. As early as Homer's time baskets, probably round or oval, were used at meals, to keep bread and pastry in. They had a low rim and handles. The kaneon was also used at offerings, where it is filled with pomegranates, holly boughs and ribbons. At the Panathenaia noble Athenian maidens carried such baskets, filled with holy cakes, incense, and knives on their heads. These graceful figures were a favorite subject of antique sculpture. Both Polyklete and Skopas had done a celebrated kanephore—the former in bronze, the latter in marble. There was also a flat basket, chiefly used for carrying fish, similar to that used at the present day by fishermen in the south. Other baskets used by peasants appear frequently in antique pictures, in the original carried by a peasant on a stick over his shoulder, together with another basket of the same pear-like shape, taken from a bas-relief representing a vintage, in which the former appears filled with grapes, while the latter is being filled with must by a boy. This proves, at the same time, the knowledge amongst the Greeks of the art of making the basket-work dense enough to hold fluids. The same fact is shown by a passage in Homer, in which Polyphemos lets the milk coagulate to cheese in baskets, which cheese was afterwards placed on a hurdle through which the whey trickled slowly. Of plaited rushes, or twigs, consisted also a peculiar kind of net, a specimen of which is seen on the reverse of a medal coined under the Emperor Macrinus, as the emblem of the maritime city of Byzantium.

To light and heat the room, in Homer's time, fire-baskets, or fire-basins were used, standing on high poles, and fed with dry logs of wood or splinters. The cinders were, at intervals, removed by serving-maids, and the flames replenished. Such fire-baskets on poles are still used by night-travelers in Southern [293]Russia, and at nightly ceremonies in India. The use of pine-torches is of equal antiquity. They consisted of long, thin sticks of pine-wood, tied together with bark, rushes or papyrus. The bark of the vine was also used for torches, called lophis. The golden statues on pedestals, in the hall of Alkinoos, undoubtedly held such torches in their hands. In vase paintings we also see a different form of the torch, carried chiefly by Demeter and Persephone, which consists of two pieces of wood fastened crosswise to a staff. An imitation of this wooden torch was undoubtedly the torch-case made of clay or metal in the shape of a salpinx. Its surface was either smooth or formed in imitation of the bundles of sticks and the bark of the wooden torch, the inside being filled with resinous substances.



The date of oil-lamps in Greece can not be stated with accuracy; they were known at the time of Aristophanes. They were made of terra-cotta or metal, and their construction resembles those used by the Romans. They are mostly closed semi-globes with two openings, one, in the centre, to pour the oil in, the other in the nose-shaped prolongation destined to receive the wick. Amongst the small numbers of Greek lamps preserved to us we have chosen a few of the most graceful specimens, one of them showing the ordinary form of the lamp. Some are made [294]of clay, the latter being painted in various colors. The Athenians also used lanterns made of transparent horn, and lit up with oil-lamps. They were carried at night in the streets like the torches. Sparks, carefully preserved under the ashes, served both Greeks and Romans to light the fire. The ancients had, however, a lighting apparatus consisting of two pieces of wood, of which the one was driven into the other, like a gimlet, the friction effecting a flame. According to Theophrast, the wood of nut or chestnut trees was generally used for the purpose.

The street running from the Temple of Fortune to the Forum, called the Street of the Forum, in Pompeii, and forming a continuation of that of Mercury, has furnished an unusually rich harvest of various utensils. A long list of these is given by Sir W. Gell, according to which there were found no less than two hundred and fifty small bottles of inferior glass, with numerous other articles of the same material, which it would be tedious to particularize.



A marble statue of a laughing faun, two bronze figures of Mercury, the one three inches and the other four inches high, and a statue of a female nine inches high, were also found, together with many bronze lamps and stands. We may add vases, basins with handles, pateræ, bells, elastic springs, hinges, buckles for harness, a lock, an inkstand, and a strigil; gold ear-rings and a silver spoon; an oval cauldron, a saucepan, a mould for pastry, and a weight of alabaster used in spinning, with its ivory axis remaining. The catalogue finishes with a leaden weight, forty-nine lamps of common clay ornamented with masks and animals, forty-five lamps for two wicks, three boxes with a slit to keep money in, in one of which were found thirteen coins of Titus, Vespasian, and Domitian. Among the most curious things discovered, were seven glazed plates found packed in straw. There were also seventeen unvarnished vases of terra-cotta and seven [295]clay dishes, and a large pestle and mortar. The scales and steelyard which we have given are said to have been found at the same time. On the beam of the steelyard are Roman numerals from X. to XXXX.; a V was placed for division between each X.; smaller divisions are also marked. The inscription is

T. IMP. AVG. F. VI. C.



which is translated thus: "In the eighth consulate of Vespasian Emperor Augustus, and in the sixth of Titus, Emperor and son of Augustus. Proved in the Capitol." This shows the great care taken to enforce a strict uniformity in the weights and measures used throughout the empire; the date corresponds with the year 77 of our era, only two years previous to the great eruption. The steelyard found was also furnished with chains and hooks, and with numbers up to XXX. Another pair of scales had two cups, with a weight on the side opposite to the material weighed, to mark more accurately the fractional weight; this weight was called by the ancients ligula, and examen.

Gell tells us that the skeleton of a Pompeian was found here, "who apparently, for the sake of sixty coins, a small plate and a saucepan of silver, had remained in his house till the street was already half filled with volcanic matter." He was found as if in the act of escaping from his window. Two others were found in the same street.

The shops in the street on the north side of the Temple of Augustus most probably supplied those who feasted with dainties; and it has been called the Street of Dried Fruits, from the quantity of raisins, figs, plums, and chestnuts, fruit of several sorts preserved in vases of glass, hempseed, and lentils. It is now, [296]however, more generally known as the Street of the Augustals. Scales, money, moulds for pastry and bread, were discovered in the shops; and a bronze statue of Fame, small, and delicately executed, having golden bracelets round the arms.

In the northern entrance to the building the name CELSVM was written on a pilaster; near it was found in a box a gold ring with an engraved stone set in it, forty-one silver, and a thousand and thirty-six brass coins.

The next group of vessels, though nearly destitute of ornament, and probably of a very ordinary class, will serve to give us some idea of the cooking vessels of the Romans. One of the most celebrated vases in the Neapolitan collection was found with a bronze simpulum in it; and upon the vase itself there was a sacrificial painting, representing a priest in the act of pouring out a libation from a vase with the simpulum.

Pottery in ancient times was usually much more ornamental than at present, although it was often the case that their ornaments were rather an inconvenience, and would simply encumber the vessels; in our practical age more importance is placed in the convenience and utility than in beauty. Even their common vessels are not without a certain degree of elegance, both in form and workmanship.


VESSELS. (From Pompeii.)ToList

Great numbers of clay vases have been found, of which the following is a very beautiful specimen. The lip and base have the favorite ovolo moulding; the body has two rows of fluting separated by a transverse band, charged with leaves, and with a swan in the centre. The neck of the vase is painted, and the same subject is given on each [297]side. It represents a chariot, drawn by four animals at full gallop, which appear to be intermediate between tigers and panthers. A winged genius directs them with his left hand, while with his right he goads them with a javelin.

Another winged figure preceding the quadriga, with a thyrsus in his left hand, is in the act of seizing the bridle of one of the animals. The whole is painted in white on a black ground, except some few of the details, which are yellow, and the car and mantle of the genius, which are red. The handles represent knotted cords, or flexible branches interlaced, which terminate in the heads of animals. This vase is much cracked, probably in consequence of the violence of the fire.

Some drinking vessels of peculiar construction have been found, which merit a particular description. These were in the shape of a horn, the primitive drinking-vessel, and had commonly a hole at the point, to be closed with the finger, until the drinker, raising it above his mouth, suffered the liquor to flow in a stream from the orifice.



This method of drinking, which is still practiced in some parts of the Mediterranean, must require great skill in order to hit the mark exactly. Sometimes the hole at the tip was closed, and one or two handles fitted to the side, and then the base formed the mouth; and sometimes the whimsical fancy of the potter fashioned it into the head of a pig, a stag, or any other animal. One in the Neapolitan Museum has the head of an eagle with the ears of a man.

These vases are usually of clay, but cheap as is the material, it is evident by their good workmanship that they were not made by the lowest artists.

[298]The learned seem to have been generally mistaken on the subject of glass-making among the ancients, who appear to have been far more skillful than had been imagined. The vast collection of bottles, vases, glasses, and other utensils, discovered at Pompeii, is sufficient to show that the ancients were well acquainted with the art of glass-blowing.

There is no doubt but that the Romans possessed glass in sufficient plenty to apply it to purposes of household ornament. The raw material appears from Pliny's account to have undergone two fusions; the first converted it into a rough mass called ammonitrum, which was melted again and became pure glass. We are also told of a dark-colored glass resembling obsidian, plentiful enough to be cast into solid statues.

Pliny mentions having seen images of Augustus cast in this substance. It probably was some coarse kind of glass resembling the ammonitrum, or such as that in which the scoriæ of our iron furnaces abound. Glass was worked either by blowing it with a pipe, as is now practiced, by turning in a lathe, by engraving and carving it, or, as we have noticed, by casting it in a mould.

The ancients had certainly acquired great skill in the manufacture, as appears both from the accounts which have been preserved by ancient authors, and by the specimens which still exist—among which we may notice, as pre-eminently beautiful, that torment of antiquaries, the Portland vase, preserved in the British Museum. We have already adverted to another vase of the same kind, and of almost equal beauty, found in one of the tombs near the Gate of Herculaneum.

A remarkable story is told by Dion Cassius, of a man who, in the time of the Emperor Tiberius, brought a glass cup into the imperial presence and dashed it on the ground. To the wonder of the spectators, the vessel bent under the blow without breaking, and the ingenious artist immediately hammered out the bruise, and restored it whole and sound to its original form; [299]in return for which display of his skill, Tiberius, it is said, ordered him to be immediately put to death.

The story is a strange one, yet it is confirmed by Pliny, who both mentions the discovery itself, and gives a clue to the motives which may have urged the emperor to a cruelty apparently so unprovoked. He speaks of an artificer who had invented a method of making flexible glass, and adds that Tiberius banished him, lest this new fashion should injure the workers in metal, of whose trade the manufacture of gold, silver, and other drinking-cups, and furniture for the table, formed an extensive and important branch.

The Romans were also well acquainted with the art of coloring glass, as appears, among other proofs, from the glass mosaics, of which mention has been made. Pliny speaks of a blood-red sort, called hæmatinum, from blood, of white glass, blue glass, etc. The most valuable sort, however, was the colorless crystal glass, for two cups of which, with handles on each side, Nero gave 6,000 sesterces, about $240.

Under this head we may speak of the vases called murrhina, since one theory respecting them is, that they were made of variegated glass. Their nature, however, is doubtful; not so their value. Pliny speaks of 70 talents being given for one holding three sextarii, about four and a half pints. Titus Petronius on his death-bed defrauded the avarice of Nero, who had compelled him, by a common piece of tyranny, to appoint the crown his heir by breaking a murrhine trulla, or flat bowl, worth 300 talents. Nero himself, as became a prince, outdid all by giving 100 talents for a single capis, or drinking-cup, "a memorable circumstance, that an emperor, and father of his country, should have drunk at so dear a rate." Pliny's description of this substance runs thus:

"It is to be noticed that we have these rich cassidoin vessels (called in Latin murrhina) from the East, and that from places [300]otherwise not greatly renowned, but most within the kingdom of Parthia; howbeit the principal come from Carmania. The stone whereof these vessels are made is thought to be a certain humor, thickened as it were in the earth by heat. In no place are these stones found larger than small tablements of pillars or the like, and seldom were they so thick as to serve for such a drinking-cup as I have spoken of already. Resplendent are they in some sort, but it may rather be termed a gloss than a radiant and transparent clearness; but that which maketh them so much esteemed is the variety of colors, for in these stones a man shall perceive certain veins or spots, which, as they be turned about, resemble divers colors, inclining partly to purple and partly to white: he shall see them also of a third color composed of them both, resembling the flame of fire. Thus they pass from one to another as a man holdeth them, insomuch as their purple seemeth near akin to white, and their milky white to bear as much on the purple. Some esteem those cassidoin or murrhine stones, the richest, which present as it were certain reverberations of certain colors meeting altogether about their edges and extremities, such as we observe in rainbows; others are delighted with certain fatty spots appearing in them; and no account is made of them which show either pale or transparent in any part of them, for these be reckoned great faults and blemishes; in like manner if there be seen in the cassidoin any spots like corns of salts or warts, for then are they considered apt to split. Finally, the cassidoin stones are commended in some sort also for the smell that they do yield."

On these words of Pliny a great dispute has arisen. Some think that onyx is the material described, a conjecture founded on the variety of colors which that stone presents. To this it is objected, that onyx and murrha, onyx vases and murrhine vases are alike mentioned by Latin writers, and never with any hint as to their identity; nay, there is a passage in which Heliogabalus [301]is said to have onyx and murrhine vases in constant use. Others, as we have said, think that they were variegated glass; others that they were the true Chinese porcelain, a conjecture in some degree strengthened by a line of Propertius:

"Murrheaq. in Parthis pocula cocta focis."

At the same time this quotation is not so conclusive as it might have been, since Pliny speaks of murrha as "hardened in the earth by heat," and the poet may only have meant the same thing, though the expression in that case would be somewhat strained. To us, Pliny's description appears to clearly point to some opaline substance; the precious opal has never in modern times been found in masses approaching to the size necessary to make vessels such as we have spoken of. The question is not likely to be settled, and it is not improbable that the material of these murrhine vases is entirely unknown to us, as the quarries of many marbles used by the ancients have hitherto eluded our research, and the marbles themselves are only known by their recurrence among ancient buildings.

We may here notice one or two facts connected with glass, which show that the ancients were on the verge of making one or two very important discoveries in physical science. They were acquainted with the power of transparent spherical bodies to produce heat by the transmission of light, though not with the manner in which that heat was generated by the concentration of the solar rays. Pliny mentions the fact that hollow glass balls filled with water would, when held opposite to the sun, grow hot enough to burn any cloth they touched; but the turn of his expression evidently leads to the conclusion that he believed the heat to become accumulated in the glass itself, not merely to be transmitted through it. Seneca speaks of similar glass balls, which magnified minute objects to the view. Nay, he had nearly stumbled on a more remarkable discovery, the composition of light, for he mentions the possibility of producing an artificial [302]rainbow by the use of an angular glass rod. At a far earlier period Aristophanes speaks of "a transparent substance used to light fires with," usually translated glass. The passage is curious, as it shows a perfect acquaintance with the use of the burning glass.

With the laws of reflection the ancients, as we know from the performances ascribed to Archimedes, were well acquainted. It is singular that being in possession of such remarkable facts connected with refraction, they should never have proceeded to investigate the laws by which it is governed.


GLASS VESSELS (of Pompeii).ToList

The first object figured h, in the annexed block, is a glass funnel, infundibulum; g, is described as a wine-strainer, but the method of its use is not altogether clear. The bottom is slightly concave, and pierced with holes. It is supposed to have been used as a sort of tap, the larger part being placed within the barrel, and the wine drawn off through the neck or spout, which is broken. Fig. n, is a wine-taster, something on the principle of a siphon. It is hollow, and the air being exhausted by the mouth at the small end, the liquid to be tasted was drawn up into the cavity. a and b, wine-jars; c, two small wine-jars in a glass casket; d, e, f and q, goblets or drinking-glasses of toned and beautiful colored glass; i and m, glass dishes, the first with a saucer.

[303]Another sort of glass strainer, of which there are several in the Neapolitan Museum, is made of bronze, pierced in elegant and intricate patterns as seen on page 84. The Romans used strainers filled with snow to cool their wines, and such may have been the destination of the one here represented. These were called cola vinaria, or nivaria. The poor used a linen cloth for the same purpose.

With respect to the details of dress, the excavations, whether at Pompeii or Herculaneum, enable us to clear up no difficulties, and to add little to that which is already known on this subject. Still a short notice of the principal articles of dress, and explanation of their Latin names, may be expedient for the full understanding of some parts of our subject. The male costume will detain us a very short time.

The proper Roman dress, for it would be tiresome and unprofitable to enter upon the variety of garments introduced in later times from foreign nations, consisted merely of the toga and tunica, the latter being itself an innovation on the simple and hardy habit of ancient times. It was a woolen vest, for it was late before the use of linen was introduced, reaching to the knees, and at first made without sleeves, which were considered effeminate; but, as luxury crept in, not only were sleeves used, but the number of tunics was increased to three or four. The toga was an ample semi-circular garment, also without sleeves. It is described as having an opening large enough to admit the head and the right arm and shoulder, which were left exposed, having a sort of lappet, or flap (lacinia), which was brought under the right arm and thrown over the left shoulder, forming the sinus, or bosom, the deep folds of which served as a sort of pocket. This is the common description, which, we confess, conveys no very clear notion of the construction or appearance of the dress. The left arm was entirely covered, or if exposed, it was by gathering up the lower edge of the ample garment.



[304]The female dress consisted of one or more tunics, with an upper garment, called stola, which superseded the toga, originally worn by women as well as men. The stola is said to have been a more ample and ornamented sort of tunic. The tunic worn by women does not seem to have differed from that worn by men, except that it reached to the feet. Above the stola, women wore a mantle called palla or pallium. This is said to have been thrown across the shoulders, the right end being gathered up and thrown over the left shoulder, leaving nothing but the right hand visible.


GOLD JEWELRY (From Pompeii).ToList

Some minute speculations relative to one article in female dress have been based on a statue from Herculaneum, in which a Neapolitan antiquary thinks that he has discovered the nature and construction of that compound garment called the tunico-pallium, in which the appearance and uses of the tunic and mantle were united. It is the statue of a woman employed in buckling her dress over the right shoulder, having already fastened it on the left, in such a manner as to leave the arm bare.

Numerous articles of female ornament have been found, of which we have collected a few into one block. They are drawn of the same size as the originals. The lower corners of the cut represent ear-rings, seen in front and sideways. It is a portion of a plain gold spheroid, very thick, with a metal hook at the back to pass through the ear. The next is of simpler construction, having pearl pendants. Both these patterns seem to have [305]been very common. The upper right-hand corner of the cut represents a breast-pin, attached to a Bacchanalian figure, with a patera in one hand and a glass in the other. He is provided with bat's wings, and two belts, or bands of grapes, pass across his body. The bat's wings symbolize the drowsiness consequent upon hard drinking. There are also represented gold rings with serpent's heads, the eyes of which are inlaid with beautiful stones and diamonds; also bracelets of this pattern were very common.

A beautiful gold necklace was also found, of which a cut is represented in the above plate. It was very elaborate and exquisite. Ornamental safety-pins were also found, as shown in following cuts. Lockets were also found, indicating religious subjects of later date.

Small toilet-boxes, made of wood or ivory, were also numerous; and, like the vases, of many different forms; and some, which contained cosmetics of divers kinds, served to deck the dressing table, or a lady's boudoir. They were carved in [306]various ways, and loaded with ornamental devices in relief; sometimes representing the favorite lotus flower, with its buds and stalks, a goose, gazelle, fox, or other animal. Many were of considerable length, terminating in a hollow shell, not unlike a spoon in shape and depth, covered with a lid turning on a pin; and to this, which may properly be styled the box, the remaining part was merely an accessory, intended for ornament, or serving as a handle.



They were generally of sycamore wood, sometimes of tamarisk, or of acacia; and occasionally ivory, and inlaid work, were substituted for wood. To many, a handle of less disproportionate length was attached, representing the usual lotus flower, a figure, a Typhonian monster, an animal, a bird, a fish, or a reptile; and the box itself, whether covered with a lid or open, was in character with the remaining part. Some shallow ones were probably intended to contain small portions of [307]ointment, taken from a large vase at the time it was wanted, or for other purposes connected with the toilet, where greater depth was not required; and in many instances they rather resembled spoons than boxes.



Many were made in the form of a royal oval, with and without a handle; and the body of a wooden fish was scooped out, and closed with a cover imitating the scales, to deceive the eye by the appearance of a solid mass. Sometimes a goose was represented, ready for table, or swimming on the water, and pluming itself; the head being the handle of a box formed of its hollow body; some consisted of an open part or cup, attached to a covered box; others of different shapes offered the usual variety of fancy devices, and some were without covers, which may come under the denomination of saucers. Others bore the precise form and character of a box, being deeper and more capacious; and these were probably used for holding trinkets, or occasionally as repositories for the small pots of ointment, or scented oils, and bottles containing the collyrium, which women applied to their eyes.

Some were divided into separate compartments, covered by a common lid, either sliding in a groove, or turning on a pin at [308]one end; and many of still larger dimensions sufficed to contain a mirror, combs, and, perhaps, even some articles of dress.

These boxes were frequently of costly materials, veneered with rare woods, or made of ebony, inlaid with ivory, painted with various devices, or stained to imitate materials of a valuable nature; and the mode of fastening the lid, and the curious substitute for a hinge given to some of them, show the former was entirely removed, and that the box remained open, while used.

Knobs of ebony, or other hard wood, were very common. They were covered with great care, and inlaid with ivory and silver.



Some boxes were made with a pointed summit, divided into two parts, one of which alone opened, turning on small pivots at the base, and the two ends of the box resembled in form the gable ends, as the top, the shelving roof, of a house. The sides were, as usual, secured by glue and nails, generally of wood, and dove-tailed, a method of joining adopted in Egypt at the most remote period; but the description of these belongs more properly to cabinet work, as those employed for holding the combs, and similar objects, to the toilet.

Some vases have been found in boxes, made of wicker-work, closed with stoppers of wood, reed, or other materials, supposed to belong either to a lady's toilet or to a medical man; one of which, now in the Berlin Museum, has been already noticed.


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In the furniture of the houses the Egyptians displayed considerable taste; and there, as elsewhere, they studiously avoided too much regularity, justly considering that its monotonous effect fatigued the eye. They preferred variety both in the arrangement of the rooms and in the character of their furniture, and neither the windows, doors, nor wings of the house, exactly corresponded with each other. An Egyptian would, therefore, have been more pleased with the form of our Elizabethan, than of the box-shaped rooms of later times.

In their mode of sitting on chairs they resembled the modern Europeans rather than Asiatics, neither using, like the latter, soft divans, nor sitting cross-legged on carpets. Nor did they recline at meals, as the Romans, on a triclinium, though couches and ottomans formed part of the furniture of an Egyptian. When Joseph entertained his brethren, he ordered them to sit according to their ages. Egyptians sometimes sat cross-legged on the ground, on mats and carpets, or knelt on one or both knees; these were rather the customs for certain occasions, and of the poorer classes. To sit on their heels was also customary as a token of respect in the presence of a superior, as in modern Egypt; and when a priest bore a shrine before the deity he assumed this position of humility; a still greater respect being shown by prostration, or by kneeling and kissing the ground. But the house of a wealthy person was always furnished with chairs and couches. [310]Stools and low seats were also used, the seat being only from 8 to 14 inches high, and of wood, or interlaced with thongs; these, however, may be considered equivalent to our rush-bottomed chairs, and probably belonged to persons of humbler means. They varied in their quality, and some were inlaid with ivory and various woods.

Those most common in the houses of the rich were the single and double chair (answering to the Greek thronos and diphros), the latter sometimes kept as a family seat, and occupied by the master and mistress of the house, or a married couple. It was not, however, always reserved exclusively for them, nor did they invariably occupy the same seat; they sometimes sat like their guests on separate chairs, and a diphros was occasionally offered to visitors, both men and women.

Many of the fauteuils were of the most elegant form. They were made of ebony and other rare woods, inlaid with ivory, and very similar to some now used in Europe. The legs were mostly in imitation of those of an animal; and lions' heads, or the entire body, formed the arms of large fauteuils, as in the throne of Solomon (I Kings, x. 19). Some, again, had folding legs, like our camp-stools; the seat was often slightly concave; and those in the royal palace were ornamented with the figures of captives, or emblems of dominion over Egypt and other countries. The back was light and strong, and consisted of a single set of upright and cross bars, or of a frame receding gradually and terminating at its summit in a graceful curve, supported from without by perpendicular bars; and over this was thrown a handsome pillow of colored cotton, painted leather, or gold and silver tissue, like the beds at the feast of Abasuerus, mentioned in Esther, or like the feathered cushions covered with stuffs and embroidered with silk and threads of gold in the palace of Scaurus.

Seats on the principle of our camp-stools seem to have been much in vogue. They were furnished with a cushion, or were [311]covered with the skin of a leopard, or some other animal, which was removed when the seat was folded up; and it was not unusual to make even head-stools, or wooden pillows on the same principle. They were also adorned in various ways, bound with metal plates, and inlaid with ivory, or foreign woods; and the wood of common chairs was often painted to resemble that of a rarer and more valuable kind.

The seats of chairs were frequently of leather, painted with flowers and fancy devices; of interlaced work made of string or thongs, carefully and neatly arranged, which, like our Indian cane chairs, were particularly adapted for a hot climate; but over this they occasionally placed a leather cushion, painted in the manner already mentioned.

The forms of the chairs varied very much; the larger ones generally had light backs, and some few had arms. They were mostly about the height of those now used in Europe, the seat nearly in a line with the bend of the knee; but some were very low, and others offered that variety of position which we seek in the kangaroo chairs of our own drawing-room. The ordinary fashion of the legs was in imitation of those of some wild animal, as the lion or the goat, but more usually the former, the foot raised and supported on a short pin; and, what is remarkable, the skill of their cabinet-makers, even before the time of Joseph, had already done away with the necessity of uniting the legs with bars. Stools, however, and more rarely chairs, were occasionally made with these strengthening members, as is still the case in our own country; but the drawing-room fauteuil and couch were not disfigured by so unseemly and so unskillful a support.

The stools used in the saloon were of the same style and elegance as the chairs, frequently differing from them only in the absence of a back; and those of more delicate workmanship were made of ebony, and inlaid, as already stated, with ivory or [312]rare woods. Some of an ordinary kind had solid sides, and were generally very low; and others, with three legs, belonged to persons of inferior rank.

The ottomans were simple square sofas, without backs, raised from the ground nearly to the same level as the chairs. The upper part was of leather, or a cotton stuff, richly colored, like the cushions of the fauteuils; the base was of wood painted with various devices; and those in the royal palace were ornamented with the figures of captives, the conquest of whose country was designated by their having this humiliating position. The same idea gave them a place on the soles of sandals, on the footstools of a royal throne, and on the walls of the palace at Medeenet Haboo, in Thebes, where their heads support some of the ornamental details of the building.

Footstools also constituted part of the furniture of the sitting-room; they were made with solid or open sides, covered at the top with leather or interlaced work, and varied in height according to circumstances, some being of the usual size now adopted by us, others of inconsiderable thickness, and rather resembling a small rug. Carpets, indeed, were a very early invention, and they are often represented sitting upon them, as well as on mats, which are commonly used in their sitting-rooms, as at the present day, and remnants of them have been found in the Theban tombs.

Their couches evinced no less taste than the fauteuils. They were of wood, with one end raised, and receding in a graceful curve; and the feet, as in many of the chairs, already described, were fashioned to resemble those of some wild animal.

Egyptian tables were round, square, or oblong; the former were generally used during their repasts, and consisted of a circular flat summit, supported like the monopodium of the Romans, on a single shaft, or leg, in the centre, or by the figure of a man, intended to represent a captive. Large tables had usually three [313]or four legs, but some were made with solid sides; and though generally of wood, many were of metal or stone; and they varied in size, according to the purposes for which they were intended.

Of the furniture of their bed-rooms we know little or nothing; but that they universally employed the wooden pillow above alluded to is evident, though Porphyry would lead us to suppose its use was confined to the priests, when, in noticing their mode of life, he mentions a half cylinder of well polished wood "sufficing to support their head," as an instance of their simplicity and self-denial. For the rich they were made of Oriental alabaster, with an elegant grooved or fluted shaft, ornamented with hieroglyphics, carved in intaglio, of sycamore, tamarisk, and other woods of the country; the poor classes being contented with a cheaper sort, of pottery or stone. Porphyry mentions a kind of wicker bedstead of palm branches, hence called bais, evidently the species of framework called kaffass, still employed by the modern Egyptians as a support to the divans of sitting rooms, and to their beds. Wooden, and perhaps also bronze, bedsteads (like the iron one of Og, King of Bashan), were used by the wealthier classes of the ancient Egyptians; and it is at least probable that the couches they slept upon were as elegant as those on which their bodies reposed after death; and the more so, as these last, in their general style, are very similar to the furniture of the sitting-room.

The oldest specimen of a bedstead is that mentioned by Homer as joined together by Odysseus in his own house. He had cut off the stem of an olive-tree a few feet from the ground, and joined to it the boards of the bed, so that the trunk supported the bed at the head. It therefore was immovable. The antique bed must be considered as the prolongation of the diphros. The cross-legged diphros prolonged became the folding bed; that with perpendicular legs the couch. The former could easily be moved [314]and replaced; they are perhaps identical with the beds frequently mentioned in the "Odyssey," which were put into the outer hall for guests. One of them is shown as the notorious bed of Prokrustes in a picture on a vase. The diphros corresponds to the couch resting on four legs, at first without head and foot-board, which were afterwards added at both ends. By the further addition of a back on one of the long sides, it became what we now call a chaise longue or sofa. This sleeping kline was no doubt essentially the same as that used at meals. The materials were, besides the ordinary woods, maple or box, either massive or veneered. The legs and backs, and other parts not covered by the bed clothes, were carefully worked. Sometimes the legs are neatly carved or turned, sometimes the frames are inlaid with gold, silver, and ivory, as is testified in the "Odyssey," and elsewhere.

The bedding mentioned in Homer did not consist of sumptuous bolsters and cushions, as in later times. It consisted, even amongst the richer classes, first of all of the blankets of a long-haired woolen material, or perhaps a kind of mattress. Hides, as spread by the poor on the hard floor, were sometimes put under the blankets, and other additional blankets, so as to soften the couch. The whole was covered with linen sheets. The light blankets served to cover the sleeper, who sometimes used his own dress for this purpose; sometimes they consisted of woolen blankets woven for the purpose. After Homer's time, when Asiatic luxury had been introduced into Greece, a mattress was placed immediately on the bed-straps. It was stuffed with plucked wool or feathers, and covered with some linen or woolen material. Pillows, like the mattresses stuffed with wool or feathers, were added to complete the bedding, at least in more luxurious times. (The cut on page 78 gives a good idea of the looks of an ancient Roman and Grecian bed.) Of a similar kind were the klinai placed in the sitting-rooms, lying on which, in a [315]half-reclining position, people used to read, write and take their meals. They were covered with soft blankets of gorgeous colors, while one or more cushions served to support the body in its half-sitting position, or to prop the left arm.

Tables were used by the ancients chiefly at meals, not for reading and writing. The antique tables, either square with four legs, or circular or oval with three connected legs, afterwards with one leg, resemble our modern ones, but for their being lower. Mostly their slabs did not reach higher than the kline; higher tables would have been inconvenient for the reclining person. In Homeric and even in later times, a small table stood before each thronos. The use of separate dishes for each guest is comparatively new. Originally the meats were brought in on large platters, divided by the steward, and each portion put on the bare table. In want of knives and forks the fingers were used. The pastry was put in baskets by the tables. Whether the Homeric tables were as low as the later ones, when lying instead of sitting had become the custom, we must leave undecided, in want of sculptural evidence. The legs of the tables were carefully finished, particularly those of the tripods, which frequently imitated the legs of animals, or at least had claws at their ends. The four-legged tables were more simple in design. The material was wood, particularly maple; later on, bronze, precious metals, and ivory were introduced.

For the keeping of articles of dress, valuable utensils, ornaments, bottles of ointment, and documents, larger or smaller drawers and boxes were used. Chests of drawers and upright cupboards with doors seem to have been unknown in earlier times; only in few monuments of later date (for instance in the wall-painting of a shoemaker's workshop at Herculaneum) we see something resembling our wardrobe. The wardrobes mentioned by Homer doubtless resembled our old-fashioned trunks. The surfaces showed ornaments of various kinds, either cut from [316]the wood in relief or inlaid with precious metal and ivory. Some smaller boxes with inlaid figures or painted arabesques are shown from pictures on vases. The ornamentation with polished nails seem to have been very much in favor—a fashion re-introduced in modern times. The most celebrated example of such ornamentation was the box of Kypselos, in the opisthodomos of the temple of Hera at Olympia. It dates probably from the time when the counting by Olympiads was introduced, and served, according to Botticher, for the keeping of votive tapestry and the like. According to Pausanias, it was made of cedar-wood, and elliptic in shape. It was adorned with mythological representations, partly carved in wood, partly inlaid with gold and ivory, encircling the whole box in five stripes, one over the other.

Locks, keys and bolts, known at an early period for the closing of doors, were later applied to boxes, as is sufficiently proved by the still-existing small keys fastened to finger-rings, which, although all of Roman make, were most likely not unknown to the Greeks. For doors these would have been too small.

The furniture of Greek houses was simple, but full of artistic beauty. This was particularly displayed in vessels for the keeping of both dry and fluid stores, as were found in temples, dwellings and even graves. Only the last-mentioned have been preserved to us. Earthen vessels are the most numerous. The invention of the potter's wheel is of great antiquity, and was ascribed by the Greeks in different places to different mythical persons. The Corinthians named Hyperbion as its inventor. In the Kerameikos, the potters' quarter of Athens, Keramos, the son of Dionysos and Ariadne, was worshiped as such. The name of the locality itself was derived from this "heros eponymos." Next to Corinth and Athens (which latter became celebrated for earthen manufactures, owing to the excellent clay of the promontory of Kolias), Ægina, Lakedæmon, Aulis, Tenedos, Samos and Knidos were famous for their earthenware. In these places the manufacture of painted earthenware was concentrated; thence they were exported to the ports of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea for the markets of the adjoining countries. Owing to the beautiful custom of the ancients of leaving in the graves of the dead the utensils of their daily life, a great many beautiful vessels have been preserved which otherwise would have shared the destruction of the dwellings with much less fragile implements. From the pictures on these vases we derive, moreover, valuable information as to the public and private habits of the Greeks. The greatest number of graves in their original condition, and filled with vessels, are found in Italy.



[318]Good, particularly red, clay was in demand for superior goods, and of this the promontory of Kolias, near Athens, furnished an unlimited supply. The potter's wheel was in use at a very early period. On it were formed both large and small vessels, with the difference, however, that of the former the foot, neck, and handles were formed separately, and afterwards attached, as was also the case in small vessels with widely curved handles.

In order to intensify the red color the vessel was frequently glazed and afterwards dried and burnt on the oven. The outlines of the figures to be painted on the vase were either cut into the red clay and filled up with a brilliant black varnish, or the surface itself was covered with the black varnish up to the contours, in which case these stood out in the natural red color of the clay.

The first mentioned process was the older of the two, and greater antiquity is, therefore, to be assigned to vessels with black figures on a red ground. In both kinds of paintings draperies or the muscles of nude figures were further indicated by the incision of additional lines of the color of the surface into the figures. [319]Other colors, like dark red, violet, or white, which on close investigation have been recognized as dissolvable, were put on after the second burning of the vessel.

About the historic development of pottery we know nothing beyond what may be guessed from the differences of style. As we said before, figures of a black or dark-brown color painted on the natural pale red or yellowish color of the clay indicate greater antiquity. The black figures were occasionally painted over in white or violet. These vessels are mostly small and somewhat compressed in form; they are surrounded with parallel stripes of pictures of animals, plants, fabulous beings, or arabesques. The drawings show an antiquated stiff type, similar to those on the vessels recently discovered at Nineveh and Babylon, whence the influence of Oriental on Greek art may be inferred. This archaic style, like the strictly hieratic style in sculpture, was retained together with a freer treatment at a more advanced period. As a first step of development we notice the combination of animals and arabesques, at first with half-human, half-animal figures, soon followed by compositions belonging mostly to a certain limited circle of myths. The treatment of figures shows rigidity in the calm, and violence in the active, positions. The Doric forms of letters and words on many vases of this style, whether found in Greece or Italy, no less than the uniformity of their technique, indicate one place of manufacture, most likely the Doric Corinth, celebrated for her potteries; on the other hand, the inscriptions in Ionian characters and written in the Ionian dialect on vessels prove their origin in the manufactures of the Ionian Eubœa and her colonies. The pictures on these vases, also painted in stripes, extend the mythological subject-matter beyond the Trojan cycle to the oldest epical myths, each story being represented in its consecutive phases.

The latter vases form the transition to the second period. The shapes now become more varied, graceful, and slender. The [320]figures are painted in black, and covered with a brilliant varnish; the technique of the painting, however, does not differ from that of the first period. The outlines have been neatly incised and covered up with black paint; the details also of draperies and single parts of the body are done by incision, and sometimes painted over in white or dark red. The principle seems to be that of polychrome painting, also applied in sculpture. Single parts of the armor, embroideries, and patterns of dresses, hair, and beards of men, the manes of animals, etc., are indicated by means of dark red lines. This variety of color was required particularly for the draperies, which are stiff and clumsily attached to the body. The same stiffness is shown in the treatment of faces and other nude parts of the body, as also in the rendering of movements. The faces are always in profile, the nose and chin pointed and protruding, and the lips of the compressed mouth indicated only by a line. Shoulders, hips, thighs, and calves bulge out, the body being singularly pinched. The grouping is equally imperfect. The single figures of compositions are loosely connected by the general idea of the story. They have, as it were, a narrative character; an attempt at truth to nature is, however, undeniable.



The subjects are taken partly from the twelve-gods cycle (like the frequently-occurring birth of Athene, Dionysian processions, etc.), or from Trojan and Theban myths; partly also from daily life, such as chases, wrestlings, sacrifices, symposia and the like. To this class belong most of those large Panathenaic prize-vases, which are of such importance for our knowledge of gymnastic competitions.

In our third class the figures appear in the natural color of the surface, which itself has been painted black. The character of the figures in consequence appears gay and lively. Both styles seem at one time to have existed together, for we find them used severally on two sides of one and the same vessel, till at last the [321]painting of black figures was disused entirely. The drawings now become more individual, and are freed from the fetters of conventional tradition—a proof of the free development of both political and artistic feelings, even among the lower classes of artificers. The specimens of the third class show the different stages of this process of liberation. At first the figures are somewhat hard, and the drapery, although following the lines of the body more freely than previously, shows still traces of archaic severity of treatment; the details, indicated by black lines, are still carefully worked out. For smaller folds and muscles, a darker shade of the red color is used; wreaths and flowers appear dark; red white is used only in few cases—for instance, for the hair of an old man. The composition shows greater concentration and symmetry in the grouping, according to the conditions of the space at disposal. The figures show a solemn dignity, with signs, however, of an attempted freer treatment.

Kramer justly calls this period that of the "severe style," and compares it with the well-known "Æginetic" style in sculpture. The further development of the "severe style" is what [322]Kramer calls the "beautiful style," in which grace and beauty of motion and drapery, verging on the soft, have taken the place of severe dignity. In high art this transition might be compared to that from Perugino's school to that of Raphael, or, if we may believe the ancient writers, from the school of Polygnotos to that of Zeuxis and Parrhasios.

The form of the vessels themselves next calls for our attention. The vases, two-handled amphorai and krateres, found most frequently during this period, are slender and graceful. Together with them we meet with beautifully modeled drinking-horns, and heads or whole figures, used to put vessels upon. The variety of forms, and the largeness of some vessels, overloaded as they were with figures, soon led to want of care in the composition. The moderation characteristic of the "beautiful style" was soon relinquished for exaggerated ornamentation, combined with a preference for representing sumptuous dresses and the immoderate use of white, yellow, and other colors. This led gradually to the decadence of pottery.

In some Etruscan cities earthenware was manufactured by local artists working after Greek patterns. The figures are distinguished from genuine Greek work by the contours being incised very deeply and filled up with red color. The clay also is coarser. The compositions show an admixture of local myths and usages, not to mention Etruscan inscriptions.

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Painted vases may be considered as the most curious, the most graceful, and the most instructive remains that have come down to us from ancient times. The beauty of the forms, the fineness of the material, the perfection of the varnish, the variety of the subjects, and their interest in an historical point of view give painted vases a very important place among the productions of the arts of the ancients. Painted vases have been collected with great eagerness ever since they have been known, and the most remarkable have been engraved by celebrated artists, and explained by profound archæologists. Modern art and archæology have obtained from them beautiful models and important information. They were known for the first time in the seventeenth century.

Painted vases were, to a considerable extent, objects of traffic and of export from one country to another. They may be generally traced to Athens as the original place of exportation. Corinth also exported vases, for the products of Corinthian potters have been found in Sicily and Italy, and there can be no doubt that Corinth had established an active trade in works of art with the Greek colonies all over the Mediterranean. Athenian vases were carried by the Phœnicians, the commercial traders of the ancient world, as objects of traffic to the remotest parts of the then known world. In the Periplus of Scylax, the [324]Phœnicians are mentioned as exchanging the pottery of Athens for the ivory of Africa. They were, in fact, the ornamental china of the ancient world.



Etruscan.—The potter's art was introduced into Etruria by Demaratus of Corinth, who, flying from that city, took up his abode at Tarquinii, the modern Corneto, where vases in the most archaic style, resembling those of Corinth, or those called Doric, have been found. Vases, the Etruscan origin of which can not be disputed, have been found at Volterra, Tarquinii (Corneto), Perugia, Orvieto, Viterbo, Aquapendente, and other towns of ancient Etruria. The clay of which they are made is of a pale or reddish yellow, the varnish is dull, the workmanship rather rude, the ornaments are devoid of taste and elegance, and the style of the figures possesses all those characteristics already assigned to that of the Etruscans. The figures are drawn in black on the natural color of the clay; sometimes a little red is introduced on the black ground of the drapery. It is by the subject chiefly that the Etruscan vases are distinguished from the Greek vases. On the former, the figures are in the costume peculiar to ancient Italy; the men and the heroes are represented with their beards and hair very thick; the gods and genii have large wings; monstrous combinations not capable of explanation by Hellenic myths; we may also observe divinities, religious customs, attributes, [325]manners, arms, and symbols, different from those of Greece. Etruscan deities, such as Charun with his mace, denote their Etruscan origin; the subjects of the vases are, however, generally derived from Greek mythology, treated in a manner consonant to the Etruscan taste, and to their local religion, while their drawing is of the coarsest kind. If an inscription in Etruscan characters, traced invariably from right to left, accompanies the painting, certainty with regard to their origin may be considered as complete. It is true that the greater number of the letters of the ancient Greek alphabet are of the same form as those of the Etruscan alphabet; but there are in the latter some particular characters which will prevent any confusion. The names of the personages on the vases are spelt differently from those on the Greek, as Ainas for Ajax, Atreste for Adrastus, Akle for Achilles, Alesti for Alcestis, etc. We must also observe, that Etruscan painted vases are very rare, and are but few in number, compared with those for which we are indebted to the arts of Greece.



Greek.—The paste of these vases is tender, easily scratched or cut with a knife, remarkably fine and homogeneous, but of loose texture. When broken, it exhibits a dull opaque color, more or less yellow, red or grey. It is composed of silica, alumina, carbonate of lime, magnesia and oxide of iron. The color depends on the proportions in which these elements are mixed; the paler parts containing more lime, the red more iron. The exterior coating is composed of a particular kind of clay, which seems to be a kind of yellow or red ochre, reduced to a very fine paste, mixed with some glutinous or oily substance, and laid on with a brush; great difference is observable in the pastes of vases [326]coming from widely separated localities, owing either to their composition or baking. The paste of the early vases of Athens and Melos is of a very pale red; that of vases of the Doric or Corinthian style is of a pale lemon color. At the best period of the art, the paste is of a warm orange red; but Lucanian and Apulian vases are of a paler tone. The Etruscan painted vases of all ages are of a pale red tone, with a much greater proportion of white, which appears to be owing to the greater proportion of chalk used in preparing the paste.

The earliest vases were made with the hand, while those of a later period were made with the wheel; the wheel, however, is a very early invention. Among the Egyptians and Greeks it was a low, circular table, turned with the foot. Representations of a potter turning the wheel with his foot, occur on painted vases of an early date. With this simple wheel the Greeks effected wonders, producing shapes still unrivalled in beauty.

After the vases had been made on the wheel, Dr. Birch writes, they were duly dried in the sun, and then painted; for it is evident that they could not have been painted while wet. The simplest and probably the most common, process was to color the entire vase black. The under part of the foot was left plain. When a pattern was added, the outline, faintly traced with a round point on the moist clay, was carefully followed by the painter. It was necessary for the artist to follow his sketch with great rapidity, since the clay rapidly absorbed the coloring matter, and the outline was required to be bold and continuous, each time that it was joined detracting from its merit. A finely-ground slip was next laid upon a brush, and the figures and ornaments were painted in. The whole was then covered with a very fine siliceous glaze, probably formed of soda and well-levigated sand. The vase was next sent to the furnace, and carefully baked. It was then returned to the workshop, where a workman or painter scratched in all the details with a pointed tool. The [327]faces of female figures were colored white, with a thick coat of lime or chalk, and the eyes red. Parts of the drapery, the crests of helmets, and the antyges, or borders of shields, were colored with a crimson coat, consisting of an oxide of iron and lime, like a body color.

In the second style of vases the figures are painted in a dark brown or black, of an unequal tone, on yellow ground, formed of a siliceous coating over the pale red clay of the vase. An improvement upon this style was the changing of the color of the figures by painting, or stopping out, all the ground of the vase in black, thus leaving the figures of the natural red of the clay, and the marking of the muscles and finer portions, as an outline, of bright brown. After the paint had dried, the slip, or the siliceous glaze, was laid over the vase, except the under part of the foot and the inside. The colors used were few and simple, and were evidently ground excessively fine, and made into a kind of slip. Of these colors the black was the most important and the most extensively used. Great difference has always existed as to the nature of this color. Vauquelin takes it to be a carbonaceous matter, such as plumbagine or black lead. The Duc de Luynes asserts it to be an oxide of iron. Of opaque colors, the most important and extensively used is the white, said by Brongniart to be a carbonate of lime or fine clay. Red and yellow are sparingly used. Blue and green are rarely found, and only on vases of the latest styles. The liquid employed for mixing the colors is supposed to have been water.

The glaze with which these vases were covered is described by M. Brongniart as lustrous (lustre), and only one kind was used, the recipe for making which is now lost. It appears to have been composed of one of the principal alkalies, either potash or soda. The vases of Nola and Vulci are remarkable for the beauty and brilliancy of their glaze.

According to d'Hancarville the vases were baked in a naked [328]furnace. Representations of ancient furnaces occur on painted vases. The furnaces were of simple construction, in shape like tall ovens, fed by fires from beneath, into which the vases were placed with a long shovel resembling the baker's peel.



The colors being laid on in a different manner in the earlier and later vases has caused them to be distinguished into two general classes. In the earlier the ground is yellow or red, and the figures are traced on it in black, so as to form kinds of silhouettes. These are called the black or archaic vases; they are generally in an ancient style; their subjects belong to the most ancient mythological traditions, and their inscriptions to the most ancient forms of the Greek alphabet, written from right [329]to left, or in boustrophedon. The draperies, the accessories, the harness of the horses, and the wheels of the chariots, are touched with white. At a later period, the whole vase was painted black, with the exception of the figures, which were then of the color of the clay of the vase; the contours of the figures, the hair, drapery, etc., being previously traced in black. There are then two general classes of Greek vases, distinguished by the figures, which are black or yellow. They are in general remarkable for the beauty and elegance of their forms. There is a great variety in their sizes; some being several feet high, and broad in proportion; others being not higher than an inch. The subject is on one side of the vase; sometimes it occupies the entire circumference, but more generally it is on one side alone, and then there is on the reverse some insignificant subject, generally two or three old men leaning on a stick, instructing a young man, or presenting him with some instrument or utensil; a bacchanalian scene is sometimes represented on the reverse. Some vases have been found with two subjects on the sides of the vase. On some of the finest vases, the subject goes round the entire circumference of the vase. On the foot, neck and other parts are the usual Greek ornaments, the Vitruvian scroll, the Meander, Palmetto, the honeysuckle. A garland sometimes adorns the neck, or, in its stead, a woman's head issuing from a flower. These ornaments are in general treated with the greatest taste and elegance. Besides the obvious difference in the style of the vases, there is a remarkable difference in the execution of the paintings. They are not all of the highest merit, but the boldness of the outlines is generally remarkable on them. They could be executed only with the greatest rapidity, the clay absorbing the colors very quickly, so that if a line was interrupted the joining would be perceptible. Some thought that the figures were executed by the means of patterns cut out, which being laid on the vase, preserved on the black ground the principal masses in [330]yellow, which were finished afterwards with a brush. But this opinion of Sir William Hamilton has been abandoned by himself, particularly since the traces of a point have been recognized, with which the artist had at first sketched on the soft clay the principal outlines, which he afterwards finished with a brush dipped in the black pigment, without, however, strictly following the lines traced by the point. The traces of the point are rarely observed; all depended on the skill and talent of the artists. They must have been very numerous, as these vases are found in such numbers, and the greater number may be considered as models for the excellence of their design and the taste of their composition. Not unfrequently, the artists by whom the designs have been painted, have placed their names on them; the principal names known are those of Clitias, Doris who painted the celebrated Francois vase, Asteas, and Epictetos. Clitias is the most ancient; his designs evince the infancy of art, those of the other artists display greater progress in the art; the name can be recognized from the word painted, which follows it immediately. Some vases have the potter's name inscribed on them.

One of the earliest makers was Taleides. Nearly fifty names of potters have been found, but they only occur on choice specimens of art. On many vases the name of the artist appears along with that of the potter, which much enhances the value of the vase. On the celebrated Francois vase appear the name of the artist Clitias, and the name of the potter Ergotimos. Some potters, such as Amasis and Euphronius, painted as well as made vases. Other inscriptions are sometimes found on vases which enhance their value greatly. They are generally the names of gods, heroes, and other mythological personages, which are represented in the paintings.

These inscriptions are of great interest for two reasons: in the first place, from the form of the letters and the order according to which they are traced, the greater or lesser antiquity of [331]the vase can be recognized, these inscriptions necessarily following all the changes of the Greek alphabet; care must be taken to examine whether the inscription goes from right to left, whether the long vowels, the double letters are replaced by the silent vowels, or single letters; these are in general signs of relative antiquity which prove that of the vase itself; secondly, because the names invariably explain the subject of the painting, and even indicate by a name hitherto unknown, either some personage who sometimes bore another name, or a person whose real name was unknown, in fine, some mythic being of whom ancient writers give us no information.

The information derived from vases is of great importance for the study of Greek mythology viewed in its different epochs, and for the interpretation and understanding of ancient tragic or lyric poets. Moral or historical inscriptions, in prose and in verse, have also been found on vases. The letters of these inscriptions are capital or cursive; they are very delicately traced, and often require a great deal of attention to perceive. They are traced in black or white with a brush, sometimes they are incised with a very sharp point.

On some which had been gifts to some "beautiful youths," we find the inscription, "the handsome boy," and also the form, "the handsome Onetorides," "the handsome Stroibos." One youth is called "the most handsome Hippocritus." The names of females, whether brides, beauties, or hetairæ, are found accompanied with the expression, "the lovely Œnanthe," "the fair Rodon." On others, salutatory expressions are sometimes found, such as "Hail to thee;" "Happy as possible."

The subjects represented on painted vases, although of infinite variety, may be reduced to three classes, which include them all: 1. Mythological subjects; 2. Heroic subjects; 3. Historical subjects. The Mythological subjects relate to the history of all the gods, and their adventures in human form are reproduced on them [332]in a thousand shapes. It requires a deep and intimate knowledge of Greek mythology, in order to explain the different subjects. One of the oldest and most popular subjects in Greece was the Gigantomachia, which is found represented as a whole upon many vases, while others contain individual incidents from it.

Among the Olympic deities represented, Zeus takes a prominent part. The father of the gods, the great thunderer, seldom appears alone, but is chiefly seen in scenes from the Heracleid and the Trojan war. On the black vases, and on those of the finest style with red figures, his amorous adventures are also frequently depicted. The goddess Hera rarely appears.

Athene, the great female deity of the Ionic race, plays an important part in many scenes. As Pallas Athene she frequently appears; generally on foot, but sometimes in her quadriga. Poseidon, the sea god, appears as a subordinate in many scenes, and as a protagonist in others. Apollo, Artemis, Hephæstos, Ares, Aphrodite, and Hermes, frequently appear in various scenes in the vases. The greater part of the paintings of the vases are relative to Dionysus, his festivals and mysteries. On them we see depicted his birth, childhood, education, all his exploits, his banquets, and his games; his habitual companions, his religious ceremonies, the lampadephori brandishing the long torches, the dendrophori raising branches of trees, adorned with garlands and tablets; the initiated preparing for the mysteries; lastly, the ceremonies peculiar to those great institutions, and the circumstances relative to their dogmas and their aim. The inferior deities also appear on the vases.

The Historical subjects begin with the war of Troy. Painters, as well as poets, found in this event a vast field to exercise their talents and their imagination. The principal actors in this memorable drama appear on the vases. The principal scenes of the Trojan war are depicted; but we must remark, that the historical subjects do not extend to a later period than that of the Heracleidæ.

[333]Among the incidents represented are the opening scenes of the Iliad, the quarrel of Agamemnon and Achilles, Briseis led away by the heralds, Paris and Helen, the death of Patroclus, the grief of Achilles, the arming of Achilles, the death of Hector, Priam entreating for the corpse of Hector, the terrible scene of the last night of Troy. Many subjects from the Odyssey also occur. Incidents from the Greek drama are of common occurrence, such as the death of Agamemnon, Orestes and Pylades meeting Electra, the death of Clytemnestra, the Furies pursuing Orestes.



We may consider, as belonging to the class of historical vases, those with paintings relative to public and private customs; those representing games, repasts, scenic representations of combats of animals, hunting and funeral subjects.

[334]Millingen remarks that the subjects of the paintings vary according to the period and the places in which they have been executed; on the most ancient vases Dionysiac scenes are frequently seen. As, originally, the greater number were destined to contain wine, they were adorned with analogous subjects. Those of the beautiful period of the art, especially of the manufacture of Nola, a town in which Greek institutions were observed with extreme care, present the ancient traditions of mythological episodes in all their purity. Those of a later period represent subjects taken from the tragic writers. Lastly, on those of the decline, we see depicted the new ceremonies and superstitions which were mingled with the ancient and simple religion of the Greek. Painted vases are, therefore, of the greatest interest for the study of the manners and customs of ancient Greece, and of those which the Romans adopted from her in imitation.

VASE (Found at Pompeii.)

VASE. (Found at Pompeii.)ToList

[335]As to the uses of these vases, there have been a variety of opinions; but a careful examination of a great number of vases would lead us to suppose that many were, doubtless, articles of household furniture, for use and adornment, such as the larger vases, destined, by their size, weight, and form, to remain in the same place, while others, of different sizes and shapes, were made to hold wine and other liquids, unguents, and perfumes. It is evident that they were more for ornament than use, and that they were considered as objects of art, for the paintings seem to have been executed by the best artists of the period. They were chiefly employed for entertainments, and the banquets of the wealthy. They are seen in use in scenes painted on the vases themselves. Many, especially those of the later style, were solely used for decorative purposes, as is evident from the fact of one side only being executed with care, while the other has been neglected, both in the drawing and in the subject. Those with Panathenaic subjects were probably given full of oil, as prizes at the national games. These were called Athla. Certain vases bearing the inscription, "From Athens," or "Prize from Athens," seem to have been given to the victors in the pentathlon, or courses of athletic exercises in the Panathenæa. Others may have been given at the palæstric festivals, or as nuptial presents, or as pledges of love and friendship; and these are marked by some appropriate inscription.



We find that they were also used in the ceremonies of the Mysteries, for we see their forms represented on the vases themselves: Bacchus frequently holds a cantharus, Satyrs carry a diota. A few seem to have been expressly for sepulchral purposes. Some have supposed that these vases were intended to hold the ashes of the dead; but this could not have been their use, for they are only found in tombs in which the bodies have been buried without being burnt. The piety of the relations adorned the tomb of the deceased with those vases, together with his armor and [336]jewelry, which they had prized most in life, which were associated with their habits, or recalled circumstances the memory of which they cherished.

We could not but feel astonished at the perfect preservation of such fragile objects, did we not know that they were found in tombs. Those in which they are found, are placed near the walls, but outside the town, at a slight depth, except those of Nola, where the eruptions of Vesuvius have considerably raised the soil since the period when the tombs were made, so that some of the tombs of Nola are about twenty-one feet under ground.

In Greece, the graves are generally small, being designed for single corpses, which accounts for the comparatively small size of the vases discovered in that country. At Athens the earlier graves are sunk deepest in the soil, and those at Corinth, especially such as contain the early Corinthian vases, are found by boring to a depth of several feet beneath the surface.

The early tombs of Civita Vecchia, and Cære, or Cervetri, in Italy, are tunneled in the earth; and those at Vulci, and in the Etruscan territory, from which the finest and largest vases have been extracted, are chambers hewn in the rocks. In southern Italy, especially in Campania, the common tombs are constructed of [337]rude stones or tiles, and are exactly of sufficient size to contain a corpse and five or six vases; a small one is placed near the head, and the others between the legs of the body, or they are ranged on each side, frequently on the left side alone.

The number and beauty of the vases vary, probably, according to the rank and fortune of the owner of the tomb. The tombs of the first class are larger, and have been built with large cut stones, and rarely connected with cement; the walls inside are coated with stucco, and adorned with paintings; these tombs resemble a small chamber; the corpse is laid out in the middle, the vases are placed round it, frequently some others are hung up to the walls on nails of bronze. The number of vases is always greater in these tombs; they are also of a more elegant form.

Several other articles are sometimes found in the tombs, such as gold and silver fibulæ, swords, spears, armor, and several ornaments. The objects buried with the corpse generally bespeak the tastes and occupation of the deceased. Warriors are found with their armor, women with ornaments for the toilet, priests with their sacerdotal ornaments, as in the tomb at Cervetri. When the vases are taken out of the excavations, they are covered with a coating of whitish earth, something like tartar, and of a calcareous nature; it disappears on the application of aqua fortis. This operation ought to be done with great caution; for though the aqua fortis does not injure the black varnish, it might destroy some of the other colors.


2000 YEARS OLD.ToList

Some of these vases are as well preserved as if they had just been issued from the hands of the potter; others have been greatly injured by the earthy salts with which they have come in contact; [338]many are found broken—these have been put together and restored with great skill. But this work of restoration, especially if the artist adds any details which are not visible on the original, might alter or metamorphose a subject, and the archæologist ought to set little value on these modern additions, in the study of a painted vase.

Several collections have been formed of these vases. The British Museum contains the finest collections, purchased by government from Sir William Hamilton and others. The Museum at Naples, and the Gregorian Museum in the Vatican, also contain many beautiful specimens from Magna Græcia and Etruria. The British Museum has about 2,600 vases of all kinds. The Museum at Naples contains about 2,100, and the Gregorian Museum at Rome about 1,000. Several amateurs have also formed collections in England, France, and Italy. We may mention those of Roger, Hope, Sir Harry Englefield, in England; those of the Duc de Blacas, the Comte Pourtales, in France; and that of the Marquis Campana, in Rome. The total number of vases in public and private collections probably amounts to 15,000 of all kinds. Some of these collections have been published, such as the first collection of Sir William Hamilton, explained by d'Hancarville; the second by Tischbein. Several works have also been published, giving detailed accounts of painted vases in general.

We have mentioned before the luxurious custom, common amongst the Romans after the conquest of Greece and Asia, of having their utensils of the table, and even of the kitchen, made of solid silver. Valuable plate was of common occurrence in the houses of the rich. According to Pliny, common soldiers had the handles of their swords and their belts studded with silver; the baths of women were covered with the same valuable material, which was even used for the common implements of kitchen and scullery. Large manufactories of silver utensils were [339]started, in which each part of the work was assigned to a special artificer; here the orders of the silver-merchants were executed. Amongst the special workmen of these manufactories were the modelers, founders, turners or polishers, chiselers, the workmen who attached the bas-reliefs to the surface of the vessel, and the gilders. Many valuable vessels have been recovered in the present century; others (for instance, several hundred silver vessels found near the old Falerii) have tracelessly disappeared. Amongst the discoveries which happily have escaped the hands of the melter, we mention the treasure of more than one hundred silver vessels, weighing together about 50 pounds, found by Berney in Normandy (1830). According to their inscriptions, these vessels belonged to the treasury of a temple of Mercury; they are at present in the late imperial library at Paris. In the south of Russia the excavations carried on in 1831, 1862, [340]and 1863, amongst the graves of the kings of the Bosphoric empire, have yielded an astonishing number of gold and silver vessels and ornaments belonging to the third century of our era. At Pompeii fourteen silver vases were discovered in 1835; at Cære (1836) a number of silver vases (now in the Museo Gregoriano) were found in a grave. One of the most interesting discoveries was made near Hildesheim, 7th October, 1868, consisting of seventy-four eating and drinking vessels, mostly well preserved; not to speak of numerous fragments which seem to prove that only part of the original treasure has been recovered; the weight of all the vessels (now in the Antiquarium of the Royal Museum, Berlin) amounts to 107,144 lbs., some over 53 tons, of silver. The style and technical finish of the vases prove them to have been manufactured in Rome; the form of the letters of [341]the inscriptions found on twenty-four vessels indicates the first half of the first century after Christ. The surfaces of many of them are covered with alto-relievos of beaten silver—a circumstance which traces back their origin to imperial times, distinguishing them, at the same time, from the bas-relief ornamentations of the acme of Greek art. The gilding of the draperies and weapons, and the silver color of the naked parts, in imitation, as it were, of the gold-and-ivory statues of Greek art, also indicate Roman workmanship. The annexed cuts show some of the finest pieces of this treasure. The composition of the figures on the surface of the vase in cut on page 340 shows true artistic genius; naked children are balancing themselves on water-plants growing in winding curves from a pair of griffins; some of the children attack crabs and eels with harpoons, while others drag the killed animals from the water. The graceful groups on the drinking-vessels in the above cuts are mostly taken from the Bacchic cycle of myths.




FOUND AT HILDESHEIM. (Of the first century)ToList





Besides vessels of precious metals and stones, those of glass were in favorite use among the Romans. The manufactory of glass, originating in Sidon, had reached its climax of perfection, both with regard to color and form, in Alexandria about the [342]time of the Ptolemies. Many of these Alexandrine glasses have been preserved to us, and their beauty fully explains their superiority in the opinion of the ancients to those manufactured in Italy. Here also, after the discovery of excellent sand at Cumæ and Linternum, glass works had been established. Most of our museums possess some specimens of antique glass manufacture, in the shape of balsam or medicine bottles of white or colored glass. We also possess goblets and drinking-bottles of various shapes and sizes, made of white or common green glass; they generally taper toward the bottom, and frequently show grooves or raised points on their outer surfaces, so as to prevent the glass from slipping from the hand; urns, oinochoai, and dishes of various sizes made of glass, are of frequent occurrence. Some of these are dark blue or green, others party-colored with stripes winding round them in zigzag or in spiral lines, reminding one of mosaic patterns. Pieces of glittering glass, being most likely fragments of so-called allassontes versicolores (not to be mistaken for originally white glass which has been discolored by exposure to the weather), are not unfrequently found. We propose to name in the following pages a few of the more important specimens of antique glass-fabrication. One of the first amongst these is the vessel known as the Barberini or Portland Vase, which was found in the sixteenth century in the sarcophagus of the so-called tomb of Severus Alexander and of his mother Julia Mammæa. It was kept in the Barberini Palace for several centuries, till it was purchased by the Duke of Portland, after whose death it was placed in the British Museum. After having been broken by the hand of a barbarian, it has fortunately been restored satisfactorily. Many reproductions of this vase in china and terra-cotta have made it known in wide circles. The mythological bas-reliefs have not as yet been sufficiently explained. Similar glass vases with bas-relief ornamentation occur occasionally either whole or in fragments.


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Many arts and inventions were in common use in Egypt for centuries before they are generally supposed to have been known; and we are now and then as much surprised to find that certain things were old 3,000 years ago, as the Egyptians would be if they could hear us talk of them as late discoveries. One of them is the use of glass, with which they were acquainted at least as early as the reign of the first Osirtasen, more than 3,800 years ago; and the process of glass-blowing is represented during his reign, in the paintings of Beni Hassan, in the same manner as it is on later monuments, in different parts of Egypt, to the time of the Persian conquest.

The form of the bottle and the use of the blow-pipe are unequivocally indicated in those subjects; and the green hue of the fused material, taken from the fire at the point of the pipe, sufficiently proves the intention of the artist. But, even if we had not this evidence of the use of glass, it would be shown by those well-known images of glazed pottery, which were common at the same period; the vitrified substance that covers them being of the same quality as glass, and containing the same ingredients fused in the same manner. And besides the many glass ornaments known to be of an earlier period is a bead, found at Thebes, bearing the name of a Pharaoh who lived about 1450 B.C., the specific gravity of which, 25° 23', is precisely the same as of crown glass, now manufactured in England.

[344]Glass bottles are even met with on monuments of the 4th dynasty, dating long before the Osirtasens, or more than 4,000 years ago; the transparent substance shows the red wine they contained; and this kind of bottle is represented in the same manner among the offerings to the gods, and at the fetes of individuals, wherever wine was introduced, from the earliest to the latest times. Bottles, and other objects of glass, are commonly found in the tombs; and though they have no kings' names or dates inscribed upon them (glass being seldom used for such a purpose), no doubt exists of their great antiquity; and we may consider it a fortunate chance that has preserved one bead with the name of a sovereign of the 18th dynasty. Nor is it necessary to point out how illogical is the inference that, because other kinds of glass have not been found bearing a king's name, they were not made in Egypt, at, or even before, the same early period.

Pliny ascribes the discovery of glass to some Phœnician sailors accidently lighting a fire on the sea-shore; but if an effect of chance, the secret is more likely to have been arrived at in Egypt, where natron (or subcarbonate of soda) abounded, than by the sea side; and if the Phœnicians really were the first to discover it on the Syrian coast, this would prove their migration from the Persian Gulf to have happened at a very remote period. Glass was certainly one of the great exports of the Phœnicians; who traded in beads, bottles, and other objects of that material, as well as various manufactures, made either in their own or in other countries: but Egypt was always famed for its manufacture; a peculiar kind of earth was found near Alexandria, without which, Strabo says, "it was impossible to make certain kinds of glass of many colors, and of a brilliant quality," and some vases, presented by an Egyptian priest to the Emperor Hadrian, were considered so curious and valuable that they were only used on grand occasions.

[345]Glass bottles, of various colors, were eagerly bought from Egypt, and exported into other countries; and the manufacture as well as the patterns of many of those found in Greece, Etruria, and Rome, show that they were of Egyptian work; and though imitated in Italy and Greece, the original art was borrowed from the workmen of the Nile.

Such, too, was their skill in making glass, and in the mode of staining it of various hues, that they counterfeited with success the emerald, the amethyst, and other precious stones; and even arrived at an excellence in the art of introducing numerous colors into the same vase, to which our European workmen, in spite of their improvements in many branches of this manufacture, are still unable to attain. A few years ago the glass-makers of Venice made several attempts to imitate the variety of colors found in antique cups; but as the component parts were of different densities, they did not all cool, or set, at the same rapidity, and the vase was unsound. And it is only by making an inner foundation of one color, to which those of the outer surface are afterwards added, that they have been able to produce their many-colored vases; some of which were sent to the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Not so the Egyptians, who combined all the colors they required in the same cup, without the interior lining: those which had it being of inferior and cheaper quality. They had even the secret of introducing gold between two surfaces of glass; and in their bottles, a gold band alternates within a set of blue, green, and other colors. Another curious process was also common in Egypt in early times, more than 3,000 years ago, which has only just been attempted at Venice; whereby the pattern on the surface was made to pass in right lines directly through the substance; so that if any number of horizontal sections were made through it, each one would have the same device on its upper and under surface. It is in fact a Mosaic in glass; made by fusing together [346]as many delicate rods of an opaque glass of the color required for the picture, in the same manner as the woods in Tunbridge-ware are glued together, to form a larger and coarser pattern. The skill required in this exquisite work is not only shown by the art itself, but the fineness of the design; for some of the feathers of birds, and other details, are only to be made out with a lens; which means of magnifying was evidently used in Egypt, when this Mosaic glass was manufactured. Indeed, the discovery of a lens of crystal by Mr. Layard, at Nimroud, satisfactorily proves its use at an early period in Assyria; and we may conclude that it was neither a recent discovery there, nor confined to that country.



Winkleman is of opinion that "the ancients carried the art [347]of glass-making to a higher degree of perfection than ourselves, though it may appear a paradox to those who have not seen their works in this material;" and we may even add that they used it for more purposes, excepting of course windows, the inconvenience of which in the hot sun of Egypt would have been unbearable, or even in Italy, and only one pane of glass has been found at Pompeii, in a place not exposed to the outer light.



That the Egyptians, more than 3,000 years ago, were well acquainted not only with the manufacture of common glass, for beads and bottles of ordinary quality, but with the art of staining it with divers colors, is sufficiently proved by the fragments found in the tombs of Thebes; and so skillful were they in this complicated process, that they imitated the most fanciful devices, and succeeded in counterfeiting the rich hues, and brilliancy, of precious stones. The green emerald, the purple amethyst, and other expensive gems, were successfully imitated; a necklace of false stones could be purchased at an Egyptian jeweler's, to please the wearer, or deceive a stranger, by the appearance of reality; and some mock pearls (found lately at Thebes) have been so well counterfeited, that even now it is difficult with a strong lens to detect the imposition.

Pliny says the emerald was more easily counterfeited than any other gem, and considers the art of imitating precious stones a far more lucrative piece of deceit than any devised by the ingenuity of man; Egypt was, as usual, the country most noted for this manufacture; and we can readily believe that in Pliny's time they succeeded so completely in the imitation as to render it difficult to distinguish false from real stones.

[348]Many, in the form of beads, have been met with in different parts of Egypt, particularly at Thebes; and so far did the Egyptians carry this spirit of imitation, that even small figures, scarabæi, and objects made of ordinary porcelain, were counterfeited, being composed of still cheaper materials. A figure, which was entirely of earthenware, with a glazed exterior, underwent a somewhat more complicated process than when cut out of stone and simply covered with a vitrified coating; this last could, therefore, be sold at a low price; it offered all the brilliancy of the former, and its weight alone betrayed its inferiority; by which means, whatever was novel, or pleasing from its external appearance, was placed within reach of all classes, or, at least, the possessor had the satisfaction of seeming to partake in each fashionable novelty.



Such inventions, and successful endeavors to imitate costly ornaments by humbler materials, not only show the progress of art among the Egyptians, but strongly argue the great advancement they had made in the customs of civilized life; since it is certain, that until society has arrived at a high degree of luxury and refinement, artificial wants of this nature are not created, and the poorer classes do not yet feel the desire of imitating the rich, in the adoption of objects dependent on taste or accidental caprice.

Glass bugles and beads were much used by the Egyptians for necklaces, and for a sort of network, with which they covered [349]the wrappers and cartonage of mummies. They were arranged so as to form, by their varied hues, numerous devices or figures, in the manner of our bead purses; and women sometimes amused themselves by stringing them for ornamental purposes, as at the present day.

A far more numerous class were the potters; and all the processes of mixing the clay, and of turning, baking and polishing the vases are represented in the tombs of Thebes and Beni Hassan, of which we have already spoken.

They frequently kneaded the clay with their feet, and after it had been properly worked up, they formed it into a mass of convenient size with the hand, and placed it on the wheel, which was of very simple construction, and generally turned with the hand. The various forms of the vases were made out by the finger during the revolution; the handles, if they had any, were afterwards affixed to them; and the devices and other ornamental parts were traced with a wooden or metal instrument, previous to their being baked. They were then suffered to dry, and for this purpose were placed on planks of wood; they were afterwards arranged with great care in trays, and carried, by means of the usual yoke, borne on men's shoulders, to the oven.

The Egyptians displayed much taste in their gold, silver, porcelain, and glass vases, but when made of earthenware, for ordinary purposes, they were frequently devoid of elegance, and scarcely superior to those of England before the taste of Wedgewood substituted the graceful forms of Greek models, for some of the unseemly productions of our old potteries. Though the clay of Upper Egypt was particularly suited to porous bottles, it could be obtained of a sufficiently fine quality for the manufacture of vases like those of Greece and Italy; in Egypt, too, good taste did not extend to all classes, as in Greece; and vases used for fetching water from a well, or from the Nile, were of a very ordinary kind, far inferior to those carried by the Athenian women to the fountain of Kallirhoe.

[350]The Greeks, it is true, were indebted to Egypt for much useful knowledge, and for many early hints in art, but they speedily surpassed their instructors; and in nothing, perhaps, is this more strikingly manifested than in the productions of the potter. Samples of the more common are seen below.

Carpenters and cabinet-makers were a very numerous class of workmen; and their occupations form one of the most important subjects in the paintings which represent the Egyptian trades.



For ornamental purposes, and sometimes even for coffins, doors and boxes, foreign woods were employed; deal and cedar were imported from Syria; and part of the contributions, exacted from the conquered tribes of Ethiopia, and Asia, consisted in ebony and other rare woods, which were annually brought by the chiefs, deputed to present their country's tribute to the Egyptian Pharaohs.

Boxes, chairs, tables, sofas, and other pieces of furniture were frequently made of ebony, inlaid with ivory, sycamore and acacia, were veneered with thin layers, or ornamented with carved devices of rare wood, applied or let into them; and a fondness for this display suggested to the Egyptians the art of painting common boards, to imitate foreign varieties, so generally adopted in other countries at the present day.

The colors were usually applied on a thin coating of stucco, laid smoothly upon the previously prepared wood, and the various knots and grains painted upon this ground indicated the quality of the wood they intended to counterfeit.

[351]The usual tools of the carpenter were the ax, adze, handsaw, chisels of various kinds (which were struck with a wooden mallet), the drill, and two sorts of planes (one resembling a chisel, the other apparently of stone, acting as a rasp on the surface of the wood, which was afterwards polished by a smooth body, probably also of stone); and these, with the ruler, plummet, and right angle, a leather bag containing nails, the hone, and the horn of oil, constituted the principal, and perhaps the only, implements he used.

Many adzes, saws and chisels, have been found at Thebes. The blades are all of bronze, the handles of the acacia or the tamarisk; and the general mode of fastening the blade to the handle appears to have been by thongs of hide. It is probable that some of those discovered in the tombs are only models, or unfinished specimens, and it may have been thought sufficient to show their external appearance, without the necessity of nailing them, beneath the thongs, for those they worked with were bound in the same manner, though we believe them to have been also secured with nails. Some, however, evidently belonged to the individuals in whose tombs they were buried, and appear to have been used; and the chisels often bear signs of having been beaten with the mallet.

The drill is frequently represented in the sculptures. Like all the other tools, it was of the earliest date, and precisely similar to that of modern Egypt, even to the nut of the dom in which it turned, and the form of its bow with a leathern thong.

The chisel was employed for the same purposes, and in the same manner, as at the present day, and was struck with a wooden mallet, sometimes flat at the two ends, sometimes of circular or oval form; several of which last have been found at Thebes, and are in European museums. The handles of the chisel were of acacia, tamarisk, or other compact wood, the blades of bronze, and the form of the points varied in breadth, according to the work for which they were intended.

[352]The hatchet was principally used by boat-builders, and those who made large pieces of frame-work; and trees were felled with the same instrument.

With the carpenters may be mentioned the wheelwrights, the makers of coffins, and the coopers, and this sub-division of one class of artisans shows that they had systematically adopted the partition of labor.

The makers of chariots and traveling carriages were of the same class; but both carpenters and workers of leather were employed in their manufacture; and chariots either passed through the hands of both, or, which is more probable, chariot makers constituted a distinct trade.

The tanning and preparation of leather was also a branch of art in which the Egyptians evinced considerable skill; the leather cutters constituted one of the principal sub-divisions of the fourth-class, and a district of the city was exclusively appropriated to them, in the Libyan part of Thebes, where they were known as "the leather-cutters of the Memnonia."

Many of the occupations of their trade are portrayed on the painted walls of the tombs at Thebes. They made shoes, sandals, the coverings and seats of chairs or sofas, bow-cases, and most of the ornamental furniture of the chariot; harps were also adorned with colored leather, and shields and numerous other things were covered with skin prepared in various ways. They also make skins for carrying water, wine, and other liquids, coated within with a resinous substance, as is still the custom in Egypt.

The stores of an Egyptian town were probably similar to those of Cairo and other Eastern cities, which consist of a square room, open in front, with falling or sliding shutters to close it at night, and the goods, ranged on shelves or suspended against the walls, are exposed to the view of those who pass. In front is generally a raised seat, where the owner of the shop and his [353]customers sit during the long process of concluding a bargain previous to the sale and purchase of the smallest article, and here an idle lounger frequently passes whole hours, less intent on benefiting the merchant than in amusing himself with the busy scene of the passing crowd.

It is probable that, as at the present day, they ate in the open front of their shops, exposed to the view of every one who passed, and to this custom Herodotus may allude, when he says, "the Egyptians eat in the street."

There is no direct evidence that the ancient Egyptians affixed the name and trade of the owner of the shop, though the presence of hieroglyphics, denoting this last, together with the emblem which indicated it, may seem to argue in favor of the question; and the absence of many individuals' names in the sculpture is readily accounted for by the fact that these scenes refer to the occupation of the whole trade, and not to any particular person.

The high estimation in which the priestly and military professions were held in Egypt placed them far above the rest of the community; but the other classes had also their degrees of consequence, and individuals enjoyed a position and importance in proportion to their respectability, their talents, or their wealth.

According to Herodotus, the whole Egyptian community was divided into seven tribes, one of which was the sacerdotal, another of the soldiers, and the remaining five of the herdsmen, swineherds, merchants, interpreters, and boatmen. Diodorus states that, like the Athenians, they were distributed into three classes—the priests, the peasants, or husbandmen, from whom the soldiers were levied, and the artisans, who were employed in handicraft and other similar occupations, and in common offices among the people—but in another place he extends the number to five, and reckons the pastors, husbandmen, and artificers independent of the soldiers and priests. Strabo limits them to [354]three, the military, husbandmen, and priests; and Plato divides them into six bodies, the priests, artificers, shepherds, huntsmen, husbandmen, and soldiers; each peculiar art or occupation he observes being confined to a certain sub-division of the caste, and every one being engaged in his own branch without interfering with the occupation of another. Hence it appears that the first class consisted of the priests, the second of the soldiers, the third of the husbandmen, gardeners, huntsmen, boatmen of the Nile, and others; the fourth of artificers, tradesmen and merchants, carpenters, boat-builders, masons, and probably potters, public weighers, and notaries; and in the fifth may be reckoned pastors, poulterers, fowlers, fishermen, laborers, and, generally speaking, the common people. Many of these were again sub-divided, as the artificers and tradesmen, according to their peculiar trade or occupation; and as the pastors, into oxherds, shepherds, goatherds, and swineherds, which last were, according to Herodotus, the lowest grade, not only of the class, but of the whole community, since no one would either marry their daughters or establish any family connection with them. So degrading was the occupation of tending swine, that they were looked upon as impure, and were even forbidden to enter a temple without previously undergoing a purification; and the prejudices of the Indians against this class of persons almost justify our belief in the statement of the historian.

Without stopping to inquire into the relative rank of the different sub-divisions of the third class, the importance of agriculture in a country like Egypt, where the richness and productiveness of the soil have always been proverbial, suffices to claim the first place for the husbandmen.

The abundant supply of grain and other produce gave to Egypt advantages which no other country possessed. Not only was her dense population supplied with a profusion of the necessaries of life, but the sale of the surplus conferred considerable [355]benefits on the peasant in addition to the profits which thence accrued to the state, for Egypt was a granary, where, from the earliest times, all people felt sure of finding a plenteous store of corn, and some idea may be formed of the immense quantity produced there from the circumstance of "seven plenteous years" affording, from the superabundance of the crops, a sufficiency of corn to supply the whole population during seven years of dearth, as well as "all countries" which sent to Egypt "to buy" it, when Pharaoh, by the advice of Joseph, laid up the annual surplus for that purpose.

The right of exportation, and the sale of superfluous produce to foreigners, belonged exclusively to the government, as is distinctly shown by the sale of corn to the Israelites from the royal stores, and the collection having been made by Pharaoh only; and it is probable that even the rich landowners were in the habit of selling to government whatever quantity remained on hand at the approach of each successive harvest, while the agricultural laborers, from their frugal mode of living, required very little wheat and barley, and were generally contented, as at the present day, with bread made of the Doora flour; children and even grown persons, according to Diodorus, often living on roots and esculent herbs, as the papyrus, lotus, and others, either raw, toasted, or boiled.

The government did not interfere directly with the peasants respecting the nature of the produce they intended to cultivate; and the vexations of later times were unknown under the Pharaohs. They were thought to have the best opportunities of obtaining, from actual observation, an accurate knowledge on all subjects connected with husbandry, and, as Diodorus observes, "being from their infancy brought up to agricultural pursuits, they far excelled the husbandmen of other countries, and had become acquainted with the capabilities of the land, the mode of irrigation, the exact season for sowing and reaping, as well as [356]all the most useful secrets connected with the harvest, which they had derived from their ancestors, and had improved by their own experience." "They rented," says the same historian, "the arable lands belonging to the kings, the priests, and the military class, for a small sum, and employed their whole time in the tillage of their farms," and the laborers who cultivated land for the rich peasant, or other landed proprietors, were superintended by the steward or owner of the estate, who had authority over them, and the power of condemning delinquents to the bastinado. This is shown by the paintings of the tombs, which frequently represent a person of consequence inspecting the tillage of the field, either seated in a chariot, walking, or leaning on his staff, accompanied by a favorite dog.

Their mode of irrigation was the same in the field of the peasant as in the garden of the villa; and the principal difference in the mode of tilling the former consisted in the use of the plow.

The usual contrivance for raising water from the Nile for watering the crops was the shadoof, or pole and bucket, so common still in Egypt, and even the water-wheel appears to have been employed in more recent times.

The sculptures of the tombs frequently represent canals conveying the water of the inundation into the fields, and the proprietor of the estate is seen, as described by Virgil, plying in a light painted skiff or papyrus punt, and superintending the maintenance of the dykes, or other important matters connected with the land. Boats carry the grain to the granary, or remove the flocks from the lowlands; as the water subsides the husbandman plows the soft earth with a pair of oxen, and the same subjects introduce the offering of first-fruits of the gods in acknowledgment of the benefits conferred by "a favorable Nile." The main canal was usually carried to the upper or southern side of the land, and small branches, leading from it at intervals, traversed the fields in straight or curving lines, according to the nature or elevation of the soil.

[357]Guards were placed to watch the dykes which protected the lowlands, and the utmost care was taken to prevent any sudden influx of water which might endanger the produce still growing there, the cattle, or the villages. And of such importance was the preservation of the dykes that a strong guard of cavalry and infantry was always in attendance for their protection; certain officers of responsibility were appointed to superintend them, being furnished with large sums of money for their maintenance and repairs, and in the time of Romans any person found destroying a dyke was condemned to hard labor in the public works or in the mines, or was branded and transported to the Oasis. According to Strabo, the system was so admirably managed, "that art contrived sometimes to supply what nature denied, and, by means of canals and embankments, there was little difference in the quantity of land irrigated, whether the inundation was deficient or abundant." "If," continues the geographer, "it rose only to the height of eight cubits, the usual idea was that a famine would ensue, fourteen being required for a plentiful harvest; but when Petronius was præfect of Egypt twelve cubits gave the same abundance, nor did they suffer from want even at eight;" and it may be supposed that long experience had taught the ancient Egyptians to obtain similar results from the same means, which, neglected at a subsequent period, were revived, rather than, as Strabo thinks, first introduced, by the Romans.

In some parts of Egypt the villages were liable to be overflowed when the Nile rose to more than an ordinary height, by which the lives and property of the inhabitants were endangered, and when their crude brick houses had been long exposed to the damp the foundations gave way, and the fallen walls, saturated with water, were once more mixed with the mud from which they had been extracted. On these occasions the blessings of the Nile entailed heavy losses on the inhabitants, for, according [358]to Pliny, "if the rise of water exceeded sixteen cubits famine was the result, as when it only reached the height of twelve." In another place he says, "a proper inundation is of sixteen cubits * * * * in twelve cubits the country suffers from famine, and feels a deficiency even in thirteen; fourteen cause joy, fifteen security, sixteen delight; the greatest rise of the river to this period being of eighteen cubits, in the reign of Claudius; the least during the Pharsalic war."

The land being cleared of the water, and presenting in some places a surface of liquid mud, in others nearly dried by the sun and the strong northwest winds (that continue at intervals to the end of Autumn and commencement of Winter), the husbandman prepared the ground to receive the seed, which was either done by the plow and hoe, or by more simple means, according to the nature of the soil, the quality of the produce they intended to cultivate, or the time the land had remained under water.

When the levels were low and the water had continued long upon the land they often dispensed with the plow, and, like their successors, broke up the ground with hoes, or simply dragged the moist mud with bushes after the seed had been thrown upon the surface, and then merely drove a number of cattle, asses, pigs, sheep, or goats into the field to tread in the grain. "In no country," says Herodotus, "do they gather their seed with so little labor. They are not obliged to trace deep furrows with the plow and break the clods, nor to partition out their fields into numerous forms as other people do, but when the river of itself overflows the land, and the water retires again, they sow their fields, driving the pigs over them to tread in the seed, and this being done every one patiently awaits the harvest." On other occasions they used to plow, but were contented, as we are told by Diodorus and Columella, with "tracing slight furrows with light plows on the surface of the land," and [359]others followed with wooden hoes to break the clods of the rich and tenacious soil.

The modern Egyptians sometimes substitute for the hoe a machine called khonfud, "hedgehog," which consists of a cylinder studded with projecting iron pins, to break the clods after the land has been plowed, but this is only used when great care is required in the tillage of the land, and they frequently dispense with the hoe, contenting themselves, also, with the same slight furrows as their predecessors, which do not exceed the depth of a few inches, measuring from the lowest part to the summit of the ridge. It is difficult to say if the modern Egyptians derived the hint of the "hedgehog" from their predecessors, but it is a curious fact that a clod-crushing machine, not very unlike that of Egypt, has only lately been invented in England, which was shown at the Great Exhibition.

The ancient plow was entirely of wood, and of as simple a form as that of modern Egypt. It consisted of a share, two handles, and the pole or beam, which last was inserted into the lower end of the stilt, or the base of the handles, and was strengthened by a rope connecting it with the heel. It had no coulter, nor were wheels applied to any Egyptian plow, but it is probable that the point was shod with a metal sock, either of bronze or iron. It was drawn by two oxen, and the plowman guided and drove them with a long goad, without the assistance of reins, which are used by modern Egyptians. He was sometimes accompanied by another man, who drove the animals, while he managed the two handles of the plow, and sometimes the whip was substituted for the more usual goad.

Cows were occasionally put to the plow, and it may not have been unknown to them that the cow plows quicker than the ox.

The mode of yoking the beasts was exceedingly simple. Across the extremity of the pole, a wooden yoke or cross-bar, [360]about fifty-five inches, or five feet, in length was fastened by a strap lashed backwards and forwards over a prominence projecting from the centre of the yoke, which corresponded to a similar peg, or knob, at the end of the pole, and, occasionally, in addition to these, was a ring passing over them as in some Greek chariots. At either end of the yoke was a flat or slightly concave projection, of semi-circular form, which rested on a pad placed upon the withers of the animal, and through a hole on either side of it passed a thong for suspending the shoulder-pieces which formed the collar. These were two wooden bars, forked at about half their length, padded so as to protect the shoulder from friction, and connected at the lower end by a strong broad band passing under the throat.

Sometimes the draught, instead of being from the withers, was from the head, the yoke being tied to the base of the horns, and in religious ceremonies oxen frequently drew the bier, or the sacred shrine, by a rope fastened to the upper part of the horns, without either yoke or pole.

From a passage in Deuteronomy, "Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together," it might be inferred that the custom of yoking two different animals to the plow was common in Egypt; but it was evidently not so, and the Hebrew lawgiver had probably in view a practice adopted by some of the people of Syria, whose country the Israelites were about to occupy.

The hoe was of wood, like the fork, and many other implements of husbandry, and in form was not unlike the letter A, with one limb shorter than the other, and curving inwards. The longer limb, or handle, was of uniform thickness, round and smooth, sometimes with a knob at the end, and the lower extremity of the blade was of increased breadth, and either terminated in a sharp point, or was rounded at the end. The blade was frequently inserted into the handle, and they were bound together, about the centre, with twisted rope. Being the most [361]common tool, answering for hoe, spade, and pick, it is frequently represented in the sculptures, and several, which were found in the tombs of Thebes, are preserved in the museums of Europe.

The hoe in hieroglyphics stands for the letter M, though the name of this instrument was in Egyptian, as in Arabic, Tore. It forms the commencement of the word Mai, "beloved," and enters into numerous other combinations.

There are no instances of hoes with metal blades, except of very late time, nor is there any proof of the plowshare having been sheathed with metal.

The ax had a metal blade, either bronze or iron, and the peasants are sometimes represented felling trees with this implement, while others are employed in hoeing the field preparatory to its being sown—confirming what we have observed, that the ancient, as well as the modern, Egyptians frequently dispensed with the use of the plow.

The admission of swine into the fields, mentioned by Herodotus, should rather have been before than after they had sown the land, since their habits would do little good to the farmer, and other animals would answer as well for "treading in the grain;" but they may have been used before for clearing the fields of the roots and weeds encouraged by the inundation; and this seems to be confirmed by the herd of pigs with water plants represented in the tombs.

They sometimes used a top dressing of nitrous soil, which was spread over the surface; a custom continued to the present day; but this was confined to certain crops, and principally to those reared late in the year, the fertilizing properties of the alluvial deposit answering all the purposes of the richest manure.

Besides the admixture of nitrous earth the Egyptians made use of other kinds of dressing, and sought for different productions the soils best suited to them. They even took advantage of the edge of the desert for growing the vine and some other [362]plants, which, being composed of clay and sand, was peculiarly adapted to such as required a light soil, and the cultivation of this additional tract, which only stood in need of proper irrigation to become highly productive, had the advantage of increasing considerably the extent of the arable land of Egypt. In many places we still find evidence of its having been tilled by the ancient inhabitants, even to the late time of the Roman empire; and in some parts of the Fyoom the vestiges of beds and channels for irrigation, as well as the roots of vines, are found in sites lying far above the level of the rest of the country.

The occupation of the husbandman depended much on the produce he had determined on rearing. Those who solely cultivated corn had little more to do than to await the time of harvest, but many crops required constant attention, and some stood in need of frequent artificial irrigation.

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Baking, Dyeing and Painting.

The fame of an actor has been justly said to be of all fame the most perishable, because he leaves no memorial of his powers, except in the fading memories of the generation which has beheld him. An analogous proposition might be made with respect to the mechanical arts: of all sorts of knowledge they are the most perishable, because the knowledge of them can not be transmitted by mere description. Let any great convulsion of nature put an end to their practice for a generation or two, and though the scientific part of them may be preserved in books, the skill in manipulation, acquired by a long series of improvements, is lost. If the United States be destined to relapse into such a state of barbarism as Italy passed through in the period which divides ancient and modern history, its inhabitants a thousand years hence will know little more of the manual process of printing, dyeing, and the other arts which minister to our daily comfort, in spite of all the books which have been and shall be written, than we know of the manual processes of ancient Italy. We reckon, therefore, among the most interesting discoveries of Pompeii, those which relate to the manner of conducting handicrafts, of which it is not too much to say that we know nothing except through this medium. It is to be regretted, that as far as our information goes, there are but two trades on which any light has yet been thrown, those, namely, of the baker and the dyer. We shall devote this chapter to collecting what is known upon these subjects, and probably also speak some on painting.

[364]Several bakers' shops have been found, all in a tolerable state of preservation. The mills, the oven, the kneading-troughs, the vessels for containing flour, water, leaven, have all been discovered, and seem to leave nothing wanting to our knowledge; in some of the vessels the very flour remained, still capable of being identified, though reduced almost to a cinder. But in the centre some lumps of whitish matter resembling chalk remained, which, when wetted and placed on a red-hot iron, gave out the peculiar color which flour thus treated emits. Even the very bread, in a perfect though carbonized form, has in some instances been found in the oven. One of these bakers' shops was attached to the House of Sallust, another to the House of Pansa: probably they were worth a handsome rent. A third, which we select for description, for one will serve perfectly as a type for the whole, seems to have belonged to a man of higher class, a sort of capitalist; for, instead of renting a mere dependency of another man's house, he lived in a tolerably good house of his own, of which the bakery forms a part. It stands next to the House of Sallust, on the south side, being divided from it only by a narrow street. Its front is in the main street or Via Consularis, leading from the gate of Herculaneum to the Forum. Entering by a small vestibule, the visitor finds himself in a tetrastyle atrium (a thing not common at Pompeii), of ample dimensions, considering the character of the house, being about thirty-six feet by thirty. The pillars which supported the ceiling are square and solid, and their size, combined with indications observed in a fragment of the entablature, led Mazois to suppose that, instead of a roof, they had been surmounted by a terrace. The impluvium is marble. At the end of the atrium is what would be called a tablinum in the house of a man of family, through which we enter the bake-house, which is at the back of the house, and opens into the smaller street, which, diverging from the main street at the fountain by Pansa's house, runs up straight to the city walls. The atrium is surrounded by different apartments, offering abundant accommodation, but such as we need not stop to describe.



[366]The work-room is about thirty-three feet long by twenty-six. The centre is occupied by four stone mills, exactly like those found in the other two stores, for all the bakers ground their own flour. To give more room they are placed diagonally, so as to form, not a square, but a lozenge. Mazois was present at the excavation of this house, and saw the mills at the moment of their discovery, when the iron-work, though entirely rust-eaten, was yet perfect enough to explain satisfactorily the method of construction. This will be best understood from the following representation, one half of which is an elevation, the other half a section. The cut on page 365 gives some idea of them.

The base is a cylindrical stone, about five feet in diameter and two feet high. Upon this, forming part of the same block, or else firmly fixed into it, is a conical projection about two feet high, the sides slightly curving inwards. Upon this there rests another block, externally resembling a dice-box, internally an hour-glass, being shaped into two hollow cones with their vertices towards each other, the lower one fitting the conical surface on which it rests, though not with any degree of accuracy. To diminish friction, however, a strong iron pivot was inserted in the top of the solid cone, and a corresponding socket let into the narrow part of the hour-glass. Four holes were cut through the stone parallel to this pivot. The narrow part was hooped on the outside with iron, into which wooden bars were inserted, by means of which the upper stone was turned upon its pivot, by the labor of men or asses. The upper hollow cone served as a hopper, and was filled with corn, which fell by degrees through the four holes upon the solid cone, and was reduced to powder by friction between the two rough surfaces. Of course it worked its way to the bottom by degrees, and fell out on the cylindrical base, round which a channel was cut to facilitate the collection. [367]These machines are about six feet high in the whole, made of a rough gray volcanic stone, full of large crystals of leucite. Thus rude, in a period of high refinement and luxury, was one of the commonest and most necessary machines—thus careless were the Romans of the amount of labor wasted in preparing an article of daily and universal consumption. This, probably, arose in chief from the employment of slaves, the hardness of whose task was little cared for; while the profit and encouragement to enterprise on the part of the professional baker was proportionately diminished, since every family of wealth probably prepared its bread at home. But the same inattention to the useful arts runs through everything that they did. Their skill in working metals was equal to ours; nothing can be more beautiful than the execution of tripods, lamps, and vases, nothing coarser than their locks; while at the same time the door-handles, bolts, etc., which were seen, are often exquisitely wrought. To what cause can this sluggishness be referred? At present we see that a material improvement in any article, though so trifling as a corkscrew or pencil-case, is pretty sure to make the fortune of some man, though unfortunately that man is very often not the inventor. Had the encouragement to industry been the same, the result would have been the same. Articles of luxury were in high request, and of them the supply was first-rate. But the demands of a luxurious nobility would never have repaid any man for devoting his attention to the improvement of mills or perfecting smith's work, and there was little general commerce to set ingenuity at work. Italy imported largely both agricultural produce and manufactures in the shape of tribute from a conquered world, and probably exported part of her peculiar productions; but we are not aware that there is any ground for supposing that she manufactured goods for exportation to any extent.

Originally mills were turned by hand, (many establishments may still be seen in the streets of Naples for grinding corn by [368]means of a hand-mill, turned by a man. Such flour-shops have always a picture of the Madonna inside,) and this severe labor seems, in all half-savage times, to have been conducted by women. It was so in Egypt; it was so in Greece in the time of Homer, who employs fifty females in the house of Alcinous upon this service. It was so in Palestine in the time of the Evangelists, and in England in the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. We find a passage of St. Matthew thus rendered by Wicliffe: "Two wymmen schulen (shall) be grinding in one querne," or hand-mill; and Harrison the historian, two centuries later, says that his wife ground her malt at home upon her quern. Among the Romans poor freemen used sometimes to hire themselves out to the service of the mill when all other resources failed; and Plautus is said to have done so, being reduced to the extreme of poverty, and to have composed his comedies while thus employed. This labor, however, fell chiefly upon slaves, and is represented as being the severest drudgery which they had to undergo. Those who had been guilty of any offense were sent to the mill as a punishment, and sometimes forced to work in chains. Asses, however, were used by those who could afford it. That useful animal seems to have been employed in the establishment we are describing, for the fragment of a jaw-bone, with several teeth in it, was found in a room which seems to have been the stable; and the floor about the mill is paved with rough pieces of stone, while in the rest of the rooms it is made of stucco or compost. The use of water-mills, however, was not unknown to the Romans. Vitruvius describes their construction in terms not inapplicable to the mechanism of a common mill of the present day, and other ancient authors refer to them. "Set not your hands to the mill, O women that turn the millstone! sleep sound though the cock's crow announce the dawn, for Ceres has charged the nymphs with the labors which employed your arms. These, dashing from the summit of a wheel, make [369]its axle revolve, which, by the help of moving radii, sets in action the weight of four hollow mills. We taste anew the life of the first men, since we have learnt to enjoy, without fatigue, the produce of Ceres."

In the centre of the pier, at the back, is the aperture to the cistern by which the water used in making bread was supplied. On each side are vessels to hold the water. On the pier above is a painting, divided horizontally into two compartments. The figures in the upper ones are said to represent the worship of the goddess Fornax, the goddess of the oven, which seems to have been deified solely for the advantages which it possessed over the old method of baking on the hearth. Below, two guardian serpents roll towards an altar crowned with a fruit very much like a pine-apple; while above, two little birds are in chase of large flies. These birds, thus placed in a symbolical picture, may be considered, in perfect accordance with the spirit of ancient mythology, as emblems of the genii of the place, employed in driving those troublesome insects from the bread.

The oven is on the left. It is made with considerable attention to economy of heat. The real oven is enclosed in a sort of ante-oven, which had an aperture in the top for the smoke to escape. The hole in the side is for the introduction of dough, which was prepared in the adjoining room, and deposited through that hole upon the shovel with which the man in front placed it in the oven. The bread, when baked, was conveyed to cool in a room the other side of the oven, by a similar aperture. Beneath the oven is an ash-pit. To the right is a large room which is conjectured to have been a stable. The jaw-bone above mentioned and some other fragments of a skeleton were found in it. There is a reservoir for water at the further end, which passes through the wall, and is common both to this room and the next, so that it could be filled without going into the stable. The further room is fitted up with stone basins, which seem to [370]have been the kneading-troughs. It contains also a narrow and inconvenient staircase.

Though corn-bread formed the principal article of nourishment among the Italians, the use of bread itself was not of early date. For a long time the Romans used their corn sodden into pap, and there were no bakers in Rome antecedent to the war against Perseus, king of Macedonia, about B.C. 580. Before this every house made its own bread, and this was the task of the women, except in great houses, where there were men-cooks. And even after the invention of bread it was long before the use of mills was known, but the grain was bruised in mortars. Hence the names pistor and pistrinum, a baker and baker's shop, which are derived from pinsere, to pound. The oven also was of late introduction, as we have hinted in speaking of the goddess Fornax, nor did it ever come into exclusive use. We hear of bread baked under the ashes; baked in the bread-pan, which was probably of the nature of a Dutch oven; and other sorts, named either from the nature of their preparation or the purpose to which they were to be applied. The finest sort was called siligineus, and was prepared from the best and whitest sort of wheaten flour. A bushel of the best wheat of Campania, which was of the first quality, containing sixteen sextarii, yielded four sextarii of siligo, here seemingly used for the finest flour; half a bushel of flos, bolted flour; four sextarii of cibarium, seconds; and four sextarii of bran; thus giving an excess of four sextarii. Their loaves appear to have been very often baked in moulds, several of which have been found; these may possibly be artoptæ, and the loaves thus baked, artopticii. Several of these loaves have been found entire. They are flat, and about eight inches in diameter. One in the Neapolitan Museum has a stamp on the top:—


[371]This has been interpreted to mean that cicer (vetch) was mixed with the flour. We know from Pliny that the Romans used several sorts of grain. The cut below gives an idea of their form.



In front of the house, one on each side the doorway, there are two shops. Neither of these has any communication with the house; it is inferred, therefore, that they were let out to others, like the shops belonging to more distinguished persons. This supposition is the more probable because none of the bakeries found have shops attached to them, and there is a painting in the grand work on Herculaneum, Le Pitture d'Ercolano, which represents a bread-seller established in the Forum, with his goods on a little table in the open air.

There is only one trade, so far as we are aware, with respect to the practices of which any knowledge has been gained from the excavations at Pompeii—that of fulling and scouring cloth. This art, owing to the difference of ancient and modern habits, was of much greater importance formerly than it now is. Wool was almost the only material used for dresses in the earlier times of Rome, silk being unknown till a late period, and linen garments being very little used. Woolen dresses, however, especially in the hot climate of Italy, must often have required a thorough purification, and on the manner in which this was done of course their beauty very much depended. And since the toga, the chief article of Roman costume, was woven in one piece, and was of course expensive, to make it look [372]and wear as well as possible was very necessary to persons of small fortune. The method pursued has been described by Pliny and others, and is well illustrated in some paintings found upon the wall of a building, which evidently was a fullonica, or scouring-house. The building in question is entered from the Street of Mercury, and is situated in the same island as the House of the Tragic Poet.

The first operation was that of washing, which was done with water mixed with some detergent clay, or fuller's earth; soap does not appear to have been used. This was done in vats, where the clothes were trodden and well worked by the feet of the scourer. The painting on the walls of the Fullonica represents four persons thus employed. Their dress is tucked up, leaving their legs bare; it consists of two tunics, the under one being yellow and the upper green. Three of them seem to have done their work, and to be wringing the articles on which they have been employed; the other, his hands resting on the wall on each side, is jumping, and busily working about the contents of his vat. When dry, the cloth was brushed and carded, to raise the nap—at first with metal cards, afterwards with thistles. A plant called teazle is now largely cultivated in England for the same purpose. The cloth was then fumigated with sulphur, and bleached in the sun by throwing water repeatedly upon it while spread out on gratings. In the painting the workman is represented as brushing or carding a tunic suspended over a rope. Another man carries a frame and pot, meant probably for fumigation and bleaching; the pot containing live coals and sulphur, and being placed under the frame, so that the cloths spread upon the latter would be fully exposed to the action of the pent-up vapor. The person who carries these things wears something on his head, which is said to be an olive garland. If so, that, and the owl sitting upon the frame, probably indicate that the establishment was under the patronage of Minerva, the tutelary [373]goddess of the loom. Another is a female examining the work which a young girl has done upon a piece of yellow cloth. A golden net upon her head, and a necklace and bracelets, denote a person of higher rank than one of the mere workpeople of the establishment; it probably is either the mistress herself, or a customer inquiring into the quality of the work which has been done for her.

These pictures, with others illustrative of the various processes of the art, were found upon a pier in the peristyle of the Fullonica. Among them we may mention one that represents a press, similar in construction to those now in use, except that there is an unusual distance between the threads of the screw. The ancients, therefore, were acquainted with the practical application of this mechanical power. In another is to be seen a youth delivering some pieces of cloth to a female, to whom, perhaps, the task of ticketing, and preserving distinct the different property of different persons, was allotted. It is rather a curious proof of the importance attached to this trade, that the due regulation of it was a subject thought not unworthy of legislative enactments. B.C. 354, the censors laid down rules for regulating the manner of washing dresses, and we learn from the digests of the Roman law that scourers were compelled to use the greatest care not to lose or to confound property. Another female, seated on a stool, seems occupied in cleaning one of the cards. Both of the figures last described wear green tunics; the first of them has a yellow under-tunic, the latter a white one. The resemblance in colors between these dresses and those of the male fullers above described may perhaps warrant a conjecture that there was some kind of livery or described dress belonging to the establishment, or else the contents of the painter's color-box must have been very limited.

The whole pier on which these paintings were found has been removed to the museum at Naples. In the peristyle was a [374]large earthenware jar, which had been broken across the middle and the pieces then sewed carefully and laboriously together with wire. The value of these vessels, therefore, can not have been very small, though they were made of the most common clay. At the eastern end of the peristyle there was a pretty fountain, with a jet d'eau. The western end is occupied by four large vats in masonry, lined with stucco, about seven feet deep, which seem to have received the water in succession, one from another.

Dyeing and painting in ancient times was rather more perfect than at present, at least the colors were stronger and more durable. The Egyptians had the most durable colors. The Henna is a plant which is abundant in Egypt, Arabia, and Palestine, and was used by the ancients, as it is by the moderns, for dyeing. The leaves were dried and pulverized, and then made into a paste. It is a powerful astringent dye, and is applied to desiccate and dye the palms of the hands and soles of the feet and nails of both, and gives a sort of dun or rust color to animal tissues, which is very permanent.

It is stated that when sal-ammoniac and lime were put upon the colored parts they changed to a dark greenish-blue color, and passed on to black, probably from the sal-ammoniac containing iron which would give this result.

The Tyrian ladies dyed rings and stars upon their persons. Men gave a black dye to the hair of their heads and beards. The dyeing of the nails with henna is a very ancient custom. Some of the old Egyptian mummies are so dyed. It is supposed that the Jewish women also followed this custom. Reference is made to it in Deuteronomy, where the newly-married wife is desired to stain her nails. Also, in the Song of Solomon, Camphire, in the authorized version, is said to mean henna, which has finely-scented flowers growing in bunches, and the leaves of the plant are used by women to impart a reddish stain to their nails.

[375]Speaking of the Arabian women at the present day, Dr. Thomson, in "The Land and the Book," says: "They paint their cheeks, putting tahl around their eyes, arching their eyebrows with the same, and stain their hands and feet with henna thus to deck themselves, and should an unmarried woman do so, an impression is conveyed highly injurious to the girl's character."

Galls are named among the substances known to the ancients, but we can not find whether they were used as a dyeing agent. Wilkinson says that tanning was in Egypt a subdivision of dyeing, and it is mentioned that copperas with galls dyed leather black; and there can be little doubt that galls were used for a similar purpose in ordinary dyeing. The Myrobollans and several sorts of barks and pods of the Acacia nilotica were also used for tanning, from their astringent properties, and may have been similarly used for dyeing.

These are a few of the principal coloring matters used by dyers in ancient times. There is a little confusion with respect to some of the salts mentioned as having been used by them, especially the alkaline salts—a circumstance, however, not to be wondered at. In more modern times there is a similar confusion on this same head.

When nitre, for instance, is burned with carbonaceous matter, the product is carbonate of potash. The ashes left by burning wood contain the same salt. The ashes left by burning sea-weed produce carbonate of soda. When nitre is burned with sulphur, the product is sulphate of potash, etc. These have all been called generically, even in modern times, nitre, having each a certain prefix well understood by the adept, or chemist, of the day.

We think it probable that all these processes for making the different salts were practiced in ancient times, but now having only the generic name nitre given us by historians, we can not understand exactly when nitre is mentioned which of the nitres is meant.

[376]When Solomon speaks of the action of vinegar upon nitre, the chemist understands that the salt referred to is a carbonate, but when the nature of the action or application is not given, we have no idea what particular salt is meant. There is no doubt, however, that the ancients were well acquainted with the alkaline salts of potash and soda, and applied them in the arts. The metallic salts of iron, copper, and alumina were well known, and their application to dyeing was generally the same as at the present day. That they were used both as mordants and alterants is evident from several references.

A very suggestive statement is made by Pliny about the ancient Egyptians. "They began," says he, "by painting or drawing on white cloths with certain drugs, which in themselves possessed no color, but had the property of attracting or absorbing coloring matter, after which these cloths were immersed in a heated dyeing liquor; and although they were colorless before, and although this dyeing liquor was of one equable and uniform color, yet when taken out of it soon afterwards, the cloth was found to be wonderfully tinged of different colors according to the peculiar nature of the several drugs which had been applied to their respective parts, and these colors could not be afterwards discharged by washing."

Herodotus states that certain people who lived near the Caspian Sea could, by means of leaves of trees which they bruised and steeped in water, form on cloth the figures of animals, flowers, etc., which were as lasting as the cloth itself. This statement is more suggestive than instructive.

Persia was much famed for dyeing at a very early period, and dyeing is still held in great esteem in that country. Persian dyers have chosen Christ as their patron; and Bischoff says that they at present call a dye-house Christ's workshop, from a tradition they have that He was of that profession. They have a legend, probably founded upon what Pliny tells of the Egyptian [377]dyers, "that Christ being put apprentice to a dyer, His master desired Him to dye some pieces of cloth of different colors; He put them all into a boiler, and when the dyer took them out he was terribly frightened on finding that each had its proper color."

This or a similar legend occurs in the apocryphal book entitled "The First Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ." The following is the passage:

"On a certain day also, when the Lord Jesus was playing with the boys, and running about, He passed by a dyer's shop whose name was Salem, and there were in his shop many pieces of cloth belonging to the people of that city, which they designed to dye of several colors. Then the Lord Jesus, going into the dyer's shop, took all the cloths and threw them into the furnace. When Salem came home and saw the cloth spoiled, he began to make a great noise and to chide the Lord Jesus, saying: "What hast Thou done unto me, O thou son of Mary? Thou hast injured both me and my neighbors; they all desired their cloths of a proper color, but Thou hast come and spoiled them all." The Lord Jesus replied: "I will change the color of every cloth to what color thou desirest," and then He presently began to take the cloths out of the furnace; and they were all dyed of those same colors which the dyer desired. And when the Jews saw this surprising miracle they praised God."

Tin.—We have no positive evidence as to whether the ancients used oxide, or the salts of tin, in their dyeing operations. A modern dyer could hardly produce permanent tints with some of the dye drugs named without tin salts. We know that the ancients used the oxides of tin for glazing pottery and painting; they may therefore have used salts of tin in their dyeing operations. However, they had another salt—sulphate of alumina—which produces similar results, although the moderns in most cases prefer tin, as it makes a more brilliant and permanent tint.

Alum.—This is what is termed a double salt, and is composed of sulphate of alumina and sulphate of potash. The process of manufacturing it in this country is by subjecting clay slate containing iron pyrites to a calcination, when the sulphur with the iron is oxidized, becoming sulphuric acid, which, combining with the alumina of the clay, and also with the iron, becomes sulphate of alumina and iron; to this is added a salt of [378]potash, which, combining with the sulphate of alumina, forms the double salt alum. Soda or ammonia may be substituted for potash with similar results; the alum is crystallized from the solution. That the ancients were acquainted with this double salt has been disputed, but we think there can be no doubt of its existence and use at a very early period. A very pure alum is produced in volcanic districts by the action of sulphurous acid and oxygen on felspathic rocks, and used by the ancients for different purposes. Pliny mentions Alumine, which he describes as white, and used for whitening wool, also for dyeing wool of bright colors. Occasionally he confounds this salt with a mixture of sulphate of alumina and iron, which, in all probability, was alum containing iron, the process of separation not being perfect; and he mentions that this kind of alumen blackens on the application of nut-galls, showing that iron was in it. Pliny says of alumen, that it is "understood to be a sort of brine which exudes from the earth; of this, too, there are several kinds. In Cyprus there is a white alumen, and another kind of a darker color; the uses of these are very dissimilar, the white liquid alumen being employed for dyeing a whole bright color, and the darker, on the other hand, for giving wool a tawny or sombre tint." This is very characteristic of a pure aluminous mordant, and of one containing iron. He also mentions that this dark alumen was used for purifying gold. He must be referring here to its quality of giving gold a rich color. The liquid of this iron alumen, if put upon light-colored gold, and heated over a fire, gives it a very rich tint; a process practiced still for the same purpose. So far, however, as the application to dyeing is concerned, it is unnecessary to prove that the ancients used our double salt alum. Probably the alumen referred to by Pliny, as exuding from the earth, was sulphate of alumina, without potash or soda, a salt not easily crystallized, but as effective, in many cases more effective, in the operations of dyeing, as alum, which [379]is attested by the preference given to this salt over alum for many purposes at the present day. Pliny says that alumen was a product of Spain, Egypt, Armenia, Macedonia, Pontus, Africa, and the Islands of Sardinia, Melos, Lipara, and Strangyle, and that the most esteemed is that of Egypt. And Herodotus mentions that King Amasis of Egypt sent the people of Delphi a thousand talents of this substance, as his contribution toward the rebuilding of their temple. Notwithstanding considerable confusion in Pliny's account of this substance, our belief is, that it refers to different salts of alumina, and whether or not they were all used in the processes of dyeing, they were used for manufacturing purposes, and thus gives us some insight to the advanced state of the arts in those times.

Respecting the cost and durability of the Tyrian purple, it is related that Alexander the Great found in the treasury of the Persian monarch 5,000 quintals of Hermione purple of great beauty, and 180 years old, and that it was worth $125 of our money per pound weight. The price of dyeing a pound of wool in the time of Augustus is given by Pliny, and this price is equal to about $160 of our money. It is probable that his remarks refer to some particular tint or quality of color easily distinguished, although not at all clearly defined by Pliny. He mentions a sort of purple, or hyacinth, which was worth, in the time of Julius Cæsar, 100 denarii (about $15 of our money) per pound.

Since, according to our modern researches into this dye, one fish, the common Purpura lapillus, produces only about one drop of the liquor, then it would take about 10,000 fish to dye 1 lb. of wool, so that $160 is not extravagant.

Spinning and weaving in ancient times were principally performed by women; indeed, the words woof, weaving, and web are allied to the word wife. However, in ancient Egypt and in India men also wrought at the loom. Probably nothing could [380]be simpler or ruder than the looms used by ancient weavers. Were we to compare these with the looms and other weaving apparatus of the present day, and reason therefrom that as the loom so must have been the cloth produced thereon, we would make a very great mistake. There are few arts which illustrate with equal force our argument in favor of the perfection of ancient art so well as this of weaving. It would appear that our advancement is not so much in the direction of quality as in that of quantity. There are few things we can do which were not done by the ancients equally perfect. Rude as were their looms in ancient Egypt, they produced the far-famed linen so often mentioned in Scripture and the writings of other nations. In order to show that this is not to be regarded as a merely comparative term applicable to a former age, we will here quote from G. Wilkinson respecting some mummy-cloths examined by the late Mr. Thomson, of Clithero:—"My first impression on seeing these cloths was, that the first kinds were muslins, and of Indian manufacture; but this suspicion of their being cotton was soon removed by the microscope. Some were thin and transparent, and of delicate texture, and the finest had 140 threads to the inch in the warp." Some cloth Mr. Wilkinson found in Thebes had 152 threads to the inch in the warp, but this is coarse when compared with a piece of linen cloth found in Memphis, which had 540 threads to the inch of the warp. How fine must these threads have been! In quoting this extract from Wilkinson to an old weaver, he flatly said it was impossible, as no reed could be made so fine. However, there would be more threads than one in the split, and by adopting this we can make cloth in our day having between 400 and 500 in the inch. However, the ancient cloths are much finer in the warp than woof, probably from want of appliance for driving the threads of the weft close enough, as they do not appear to have lays as we have for this purpose. Pliny refers to the remains of a linen [381]corselet, presented by Amasis, king of Egypt, to the Rhodians, each thread of which was composed of 365 fibres: "Herodotus mentions this corselet, and another presented by Amasis to the Lacedæmonians, which had been carried off by the Samians. It was of linen, ornamented with numerous figures of animals worked in gold and cotton. Each thread of the corselet was worthy of admiration, for though very fine, every one was composed of 360 other threads all distinct." No doubt this kind of thread was symbolical. It was probably something of this sort that Moses refers to when he mentions the material of which the corselet or girdle of the high priest was made—the fine twined linen. Jewish women are represented in the Old Testament as being expert in the art of spinning.

Ancient Babylon was also celebrated for her cloth manufacture and embroidery work, and to be the possessor of one of these costly garments was no ordinary ambition. It is not to be wondered at that when Achan saw amongst the spoils of Jericho a goodly Babylonish garment he "coveted it and took it." The figure represented on the ancient seal of Urukh has, says Rawlinson, fringed garments delicately striped, indicating an advanced condition of this kind of manufacture five or six centuries before Joshua. It may be mentioned, however, that such manufactures were in ancient times, especially in Egypt, national. Time was of little importance, labor was plentiful, and no craftsman was allowed to scheme, or plan, or introduce any change, but was expected to aim at the perfection of the operation he was engaged in, and this led to perfection every branch. Every trade had its own quarters in the city or nation, and the locality was named after the trade, such as goldsmiths' quarters, weavers' quarters, etc. This same rule seems to have been practised by the Hebrews after their settlement in Palestine, for we find such names in Scripture as the Valley of Craftsmen. We also find that certain trades continued in families; passages such as the [382]following are frequent—"The father of those who were craftsmen," and "The father of Mereshah, a city, and of the house of those who wrought fine linen;" and again, "The men of Chozeba, and Joash, and Saraph, who had the dominion of Moab and Jashubalahem, these were potters, and those that dwelt among plants and hedges, and did the king's work." In ancient Egypt every son was obliged to follow the same trade as his father. Thus caste was formed. Whether this same was carried out in Babylon, Persia, and Greece, we do not know; but certainly, in these nations there were in all cases officers directing the operations, and overseers, to whom these again were responsible, so that every manufacturing art was carried on under strict surveillance, and to the highest state of perfection. As the possession of artistic work was an object of ambition amongst the wealthy or favored portion of the community, it led to emulation among the workers. Professor Rawlinson, in his "Five Ancient Monarchies," speaks of the Persians emulating with each other in the show they could make of their riches and variety of artistic products. This emulation led both to private and public exhibitions. One of those exhibitions, which lasted over a period of six months, is referred to in the Old Testament; so when we opened our Great Exhibition in 1876 we were only resuscitating a system common in ancient times, the event recorded in the Book of Esther having happened at least 2,200 years before:

"In those days, when the King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace, in the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him: when he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom, and the honor of his excellent majesty, many days, even an hundred and fourscore days. And when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and unto small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king's palace; where were white green and blue hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble; the beds were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of red, and blue, and white, and black marble. And they gave them drink in vessels of gold (the vessels being diverse one from another), and royal wine in abundance, according to the state of the king."

[383]This must have been a magnificent exhibition. The number attending this feast is not ascertainable; but, if the princes and nobles of the provinces (the provinces were 127 in number), and all the officers and great men of Persia and Media, and the servants of the palace, great and small, were there, it must have formed an immense company. Now, as every one drank out of a golden cup of a different pattern, we obtain an idea of profusion in art of which we can form but a very limited conception. This fact indicates that variety of pattern was an object sought after—a fashion fostering and favoring the development of art and design, and worthy of being emulated in the present day.

Speaking of the Persians, Professor Rawlinson says that the richer classes seem to have followed the court in their practices. In their costume they wore long purple or flowered robes, with loose-hanging sleeves, flowered tunics reaching to the knee, also sleeved, embroidered trowsers, tiaras, and shoes of a more elegant shape than the ordinary Persian. Under their trowsers they wore drawers, and under their tunics shirts, and under their shoes stockings or socks. In their houses their couches were spread with gorgeous coverlets, and their floors with rich carpets—habits that must have necessitated an immense labor and skill, and indicate great knowledge in the manufacture of textile fabrics.

Among the great historic nations of antiquity, the chief consumption of copper and tin was in the manufacture of bronze; and the quantities of these metals necessary for the purpose must have been very great, for bronze seems to have been the principal metallic substance of which articles both of utility and art were formed. Wilkinson, Layard, and others, found bronze articles in abundance amongst the debris of all the ancient civilizations to which their researches extend, proving that the manufacture of this alloy was widely known at a very early period; and strange to say, when we consider the applications of some of the tools [384]found, we are forced to the conclusion that the bronze of which they were made must originally have been in certain important particulars superior to any which we can produce at the present day. In these researches were found carpenters' and masons' tools, such as saws, chisels, hammers, etc., and also knives, daggers, swords, and other instruments which require both a fine hard edge and elasticity. Were we to make such tools now, they would be useless for the purpose to which the ancients applied them. Wilkinson says: "No one who has tried to perforate or cut a block of Egyptian granite will scruple to acknowledge that our best steel tools are turned in a very short time, and require to be re-tempered; and the labor experienced by the French engineers who removed the obelisk of Luxor from Thebes, in cutting a space less than two feet deep along the face of its partially decomposed pedestal, suffices to show that, even with our excellent modern implements, we find considerable difficulty in doing what to the Egyptians would have been one of the least arduous tasks."

But Wilkinson believes that bronze chisels were used for cutting granite, as he found one at Thebes, of which he says, "Its point is instantly turned by striking it against the very stone it was used to cut; and yet, when found, the summit was turned over by blows it had received from the mallet, while the point was intact, as if it had recently left the hands of the smith who made it."

"Another remarkable feature in their bronze," says the same author, "is the resistance it offers to the effects of the atmosphere—some continuing smooth and bright though buried for ages, and since exposed to the damp European climate. They had also the secret of covering the surface with a rich patina of dark or light green, or other color, by applying acids to it."

Approach to Karnac

Engraved & Printed by Illman Brothers.




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As Excavated by Dr. Schliemann.

No words can describe the interest which belongs to such a contribution to the history of the world as the discovery of Troy by Dr. Schliemann. The belief of a large part of the classic world for centuries has been embodied in a saying quite common among the Greeks: "I know of but one Ilion, and that is the Ilion as sung by Homer, which is not to be found except among the muses who dwell on Olympus." To-day is given to the world a description of the fire-scathed ruins of that city whose fate inspired the immortal first-fruits of Greek poetry, and from these remains are brought to light thousands of facts bearing upon the origin and history of the inhabitants, and illustrating their religion and language, their wealth and civilization. He has supplied the missing link, long testified by tradition as well as poetry, between the famous Greeks and their kindred in the East.

The satisfaction which the discovery of Troy gives to the Greeks especially is, perhaps, nearly commensurate with the joy that a discovery would bring to the Christian which would so confirm the truth of the Bible as to forever silence its critics and the skepticism of the day. The Iliad was the Greek Bible, and every page of it was full of accounts of Troy, its people and its [386]heroes. It was the ultimate standard of appeal on all matters of religious doctrine and early history. It was learned by the boys at school. It was the study of men in their riper years, and even in the time of Socrates there were Athenian gentlemen who could repeat both the Iliad and Odyssey by heart. In whatever part of the ancient world a Greek settled he carried with him a love for the great poet, just as much as the Christian family takes the Bible to its new frontier home. No work of profane literature has exercised so wide and long-continued an influence.

The site of Troy is upon a plateau on the eastern shore of the Ægean Sea, about 4 miles from the coast and 4½ miles southeast from the port of Sigeum. The plateau lies on an average about 80 feet above the plain, and descending very abruptly on the north side. Its northwestern corner is formed by a hill about 26 feet higher still, which is about 705 feet in breadth and 984 in length, and from its imposing situation and natural fortifications this hill of Hissarlik seems specially suited to be the Acropolis of the town.

Like the other great Oriental capitals of the Old World, the present condition of Troy is that of a mound, such as those in the plain of the Tigris and Euphrates, offering for ages the invitation to research, which has only been accepted and rewarded in our own day. The resemblance is so striking as to raise a strong presumption that, as the mounds of Nimrud and Hillah have been found to contain the palaces of the Assyrian and Babylonian kings, so we may accept the ruins found in the mound of Hissarlik as those of the capital of that primeval empire in Asia Minor.

As the mounds opened by Layard and his fellow laborers contained only the "royal quarters," which towered above the rude buildings of cities, the magnitude of which is attested by abundant proofs, so it is reasonable to believe that the ruins at [387]Hissarlik are those of the royal quarter, the only really permanent part of the city built on the hill capping the lower plateau which lifted the huts of the common people above the marshes and inundations of the Scamander and the Simois. In both cases the fragile dwellings of the multitude have perished, and the pottery and other remains, which were left in the surface of the plateau of Ilium, would naturally be cleared away by the succeeding settlers. Homer's poetical exaggeration exalted the mean dwellings that clustered about the acropolis into the "well-built city" with her "wide streets."

The erroneous theory which assigns Troy to the heights of Bunarbashi could, in fact, never have gained ground, had its advocates employed the few hours which they spent on the heights, and in Bunarbashi itself, in making small holes, with the aid of even a single workman. No one can conceive how it is possible that the solution of the great problem, "ubi Troja fait"—which is surely one of the greatest interest to the whole civilized world—should have been treated so superficially that, after a few hours' visit to the Plain of Troy, men have sat down at home and written voluminous works to defend a theory, the worthlessness of which they would have perceived had they but made excavations for a single hour.

The view from the hill of Hissarlik is extremely magnificent. Before it lies the glorious Plain of Troy, which is covered with grass and yellow buttercups; on the north northwest, at about an hour's distance, it is bounded by the Hellespont. The peninsula of Gallipoli here runs out to a point, upon which stands a lighthouse. To the left of it is the island of Imbros, above which rises Mount Ida of the island of Samothrace, at present covered with snow; a little more to the west, on the Macedonian peninsula, lies the celebrated Mount Athos, or Monte Santo, with its monasteries, at the northwestern side of which there are still to be seen traces of that great canal, which, according to [388]Herodotus (vii. 22, 23), was made by Xerxes, in order to avoid sailing round the stormy Cape Athos.

Returning to the Plain of Troy we see to the right of it, upon a spur of the promontory of Rhœteum, the sepulchral mound of Ajax, at the foot of the opposite Cape of Sigeum that of Patroclus, and upon a spur of the same cape the sepulchre of Achilles; to the left of the latter, on the promontory itself, is the Village of Yenishehr. The Plain, which is about two hours' journey in breadth, is thence bounded on the west by the shores of the Ægean, which are, on an average, about 131 feet high, and upon which we see first the sepulchral mound of Festus, the confidential friend of Caracalla, whom the Emperor (according to Herodian IV.) caused to be poisoned on his visit to Ilium, that he might be able to imitate the funeral rites which Achilles celebrated in honor of his friend Patroclus, as described by Homer. Then upon the same coast there is another sepulchral mound, called Udjek-Tepe, rather more than 78½ feet in height, which most archæologists consider to be that of the old man Æsyetes, from which Polites, trusting to the swiftness of his feet, watched to see when the Greek army would set forth from the ships.

"Swift Iris stood amidst them, and the voice
Assuming of Polites, Priam's son,
The Trojan scout, who, trusting to his speed,
Was posted on the summit of the mound
Of ancient Æsyetes, there to watch
Till from their ships the Grecian troops should march—"

Between the last-named mounds we see projecting above the high shores of the Ægean Sea the island of Tenedos, to which the crafty Greeks withdrew their fleet when they pretended to abandon the siege. To the south we see the Plain of Troy, extending again to a distance of two hours, as far as the heights of Bunarbashi, above which rises majestically the snow-capped Gargarus of Mt. Ida, from which Jupiter witnessed the battles between the Trojans and the Greeks.

[389]One of the greatest difficulties has been to make the enormous accumulation of debris at Troy agree with chronology; and in this Dr. Schliemann only partially succeeded. According to Herodotus (vii. 43): "Xerxes in his march through the Troad, before invading Greece (B.C. 480) arrived at the Scamander and went up to Priam's Pergamus, as he wished to see that citadel; and, after having seen it, and inquired into its past fortunes, he sacrificed 1,000 oxen to the Ilian Athena, and the Magi poured libations to the manes of the heroes."



This passage tacitly implies that at that time a Greek colony had long since held possession of the town, and according to Strabo's testimony (XIII. i. 42), such a colony built Ilium during the dominion of the Lydians. Now, as the commencement of the Lydian dominion dates from the year 797 B.C., and as the Ilians seem to have been completely established there long before the arrival of Xerxes in 480 B.C., we may fairly assume that their first settlement in Troy took place about 700 B.C. Now, there are found no inscriptions later than those belonging to the second century after Christ, and no coins of later date than Constantine II., but very many belonging to Constantine the Great, who, as is well known, intended to build Constantinople on that site, but it remained an uninhabited place till about the end of the reign of Constans II., that is till about A.D. 361. Since the accumulation of debris during this long period of 1061 years amounts only to six and one-half feet, whereas we have still to dig to a depth of forty feet, and in places to forty-six and [390]one-half below this, before reaching the native soil, how many years did it require to form a layer of forty to forty-six and one-half feet? The formation of the uppermost one, the Greek layer of six and one-half feet required 1061. The time required to cover the foundations of Troy to a depth of forty-six and one-half feet of debris must have been very long. The first layer of from thirteen to twenty feet on this hill of Hissarlik belonged to the Aryan race, of whom very little can be said. The second layer was formed by the Trojans of Homer, and are supposed, by Dr. Schliemann and others to have flourished here about 1400 years before Christ. We have only the general supposition of antiquity that the Trojan war occurred about B.C. 1200, and Homer's statement that Dardanus, the first Trojan King, founded Dardania, which town Virgil and Euripides consider identical with Ilium, and that after him it was governed by his son Erichthonius, and then by his grandson Tros, by his great-grandson Ilus, and then by his son Laomedon, and by his grandson Priam. Even if we allow every one of these six kings a long reign of thirty-three years, we nevertheless scarcely carry the foundation of the town beyond 1400 B.C., that is 700 years before the Greek colony.

During Dr. Schliemann's three-year excavations in the depths of Troy, he has had daily and hourly opportunities of convincing himself that, from the standard of our own or of the ancient Greek mode of life, we can form no idea of the life and doings of the four nations which successively inhabited this hill before the time of the Greek settlement. They must have had a terrible time of it, otherwise we should not find the walls of one house upon the ruined remains of another, in continuous but irregular succession; and it is just because we can form no idea of the way in which these nations lived and what calamities they had to endure, that it is impossible to calculate the duration of their existence, even approximately, from the thickness of their ruins. It is extremely remarkable, but perfectly intelligible from the continual [391]calamities which befel the town, that the civilization of all the four nations constantly declined; the terra-cottas, which show continuous decadence, leave no doubt of this.

The first settlement on this hill of Hissarlik seems to have been of the longest duration, for its ruins cover the rock to a height of from thirteen to twenty feet. Its houses and walls of fortification were built of stones, large and small, joined with earth, and manifold remains of these may be seen in the excavations. It was supposed that these settlers were identical with the Trojans of whom Homer sang, which is not the case.

All that can be said of the first settlers is that they belonged to the Aryan race, as is sufficiently proved by the Aryan religious symbols met with in the strata of their ruins, both upon the pieces of pottery and upon the small curious terra-cottas with a hole in the centre, which have the form of the crater of a volcano or of a carrousel, i.e., a top.

The excavations made have sufficiently proved that the second nation which built a town on this hill, upon the debris of the first settlers (which is from 13 to 20 feet deep), are the Trojans of whom Homer sings. Their debris lies from 23 to 33 feet below the surface. This Trojan stratum, which, without exception, bears marks of great heat, consists mainly of red ashes of wood, which rise from 5 to 10 feet above the Great Tower of Ilium, the double Scæan Gate, and the great enclosing Wall, the construction of which Homer ascribes to Poseidon and Apollo, and they show that the town was destroyed by a fearful conflagration. How great the heat must have been is clear also from the large slabs of stone upon the road leading from the double Scæan Gate down to the Plain; for when the road was laid open all the slabs appeared as uninjured as if they had been put down quite recently; but after they had been exposed to the air for a few days, the slabs of the upper part of the road, to the extent of some 10 feet, which had been exposed to the heat, began to [392]crumble away, and they have now almost disappeared, while those of the lower portion of the road, which had not been touched by the fire, have remained uninjured, and seem to be indestructible. A further proof of the terrible catastrophe is furnished by a stratum of scoriæ of melted lead and copper, from one fifth to one and one fifth of an inch thick, which extends nearly through the whole hill at a depth of from 28 to 29½ feet. That Troy was destroyed by enemies after a bloody war is further attested by the many human bones which were found in these heaps of debris, and above all the skeletons with helmets, found in the depths of the Temple of Athena, for, as we know from Homer, all corpses were burned and the ashes were preserved in urns. Of such urns were found an immense number in all the pre-Hellenic strata on the hill. Lastly, the Treasure, which some member of the royal family had probably endeavored to save during the destruction of the city, but was forced to abandon, leaves no doubt that the city was destroyed by the hands of enemies. This Treasure was found on the large enclosing wall by the side of the royal palace, at a depth of 27½ feet, and covered with red Trojan ashes from 5 to 6½ feet in depth, above which was a post-Trojan wall of fortification 19½ feet high.

As Homer is so well informed about the topography and the climatic conditions of the Troad, there can surely be no doubt that he had himself visited Troy. But, as he was there long after its destruction, and its site had moreover been buried deep in the debris of the ruined town, and had for centuries been built over by a new town, Homer could neither have seen the Great Tower of Ilium nor the Scæan Gate, nor the great enclosing Wall, nor the palace of Priam; for, as every visitor to the Troad may convince himself by the excavations, the ruins and red ashes of Troy alone—forming a layer of from five to ten feet thick—covered all these remains of immortal fame, and this [393]accumulation of debris must have been much more considerable at the time of Homer's visit. Homer made no excavations so as to bring those remains to light, but he knew of them from tradition; for the tragic fate of Troy had for centuries been in the mouths of all minstrels, and the interest attached to it was so great that tradition itself gave the exact truth in many details.

"Say now, ye Nine, who on Olympus dwell,
Muses—for ye are Goddesses, and ye
Were present and know all things; we ourselves
But hear from Rumor's voice, and nothing know—
Who were the chiefs and mighty lords of Greece."

Such, for instance, is the memory of the Scæan Gate in the Great Tower of Ilium, and the constant use of the name Scæan Gate in the plural, because it had to be described as double, and in fact it has been proved to be a double gate. According to the lines of the Iliad, it now seems extremely probable that, at the time of Homer's visit, the King of Troy declared that his race was descended in a direct line from Æneas.

"But o'er the Trojans shall Æneas reign,
And his sons' sons, through ages yet unborn."

Now, as Homer never saw Ilium's Great Tower, nor the Scæan Gate, and could not imagine that these buildings lay buried deep beneath his feet, and as he probably imagined Troy to have been very large—according to the then existing poetical legends—and perhaps wished to describe it as still larger, we can not be surprised that he makes Hector descend from the palace in the Pergamus and hurry through the town in order to arrive at the Scæan Gate; whereas that gate and Ilium's Great Tower, in which it stands, are in reality directly in front of the royal house. That this house is really the king's palace seems evident from its size, from the thickness of its stone walls, in contrast to those of the other houses of the town, which are built almost exclusively of unburned bricks, and from its imposing situation [394]upon an artificial hill directly in front of or beside the Scæan Gate, the Great Tower, and the great surrounding Wall. This is confirmed by the many splendid objects found in its ruins, especially the enormous royally ornamented vase with the picture of the owl-headed goddess Athena, the tutelary divinity of Ilium; and lastly, above all other things, the rich Treasure found close by it. It can not, of course, be proved that the name of this king, the owner of this Treasure, was really Priam; but he is so called by Homer and in all the traditions. All that can be proved is, that the palace of the owner of this Treasure, this last Trojan king, perished in the great catastrophe, which destroyed the Scæan Gate, the great surrounding Wall, and the Great Tower, and which desolated the whole city. It can be proved, by the enormous quantities of red and yellow calcined Trojan ruins, from five to ten feet in height, which covered and enveloped these edifices, and by the many post-Trojan buildings, which were again erected upon these calcined heaps of ruins, that neither the palace of the owner of the Treasure, nor the Scæan Gate, nor the great surrounding Wall, nor Ilium's Great Tower, were ever again brought to light. A city, whose king possessed such a Treasure, was immensely wealthy, considering the circumstances of these times; and because Troy was rich it was powerful, had many subjects, and obtained auxiliaries from all quarters.



This Treasure of the supposed mythical king Priam, of the [395]mythical heroic age, is, at all events, a discovery which stands alone in archæology, revealing great wealth, great civilization and great taste for art, in an age preceding the discovery of bronze, when weapons and implements of pure copper were employed contemporaneously with enormous quantities of stone weapons and implements. This Treasure further leaves no doubt that Homer must have actually seen gold and silver articles, such as he continually describes; it is, in every respect, of inestimable value to science, and will for centuries remain the object of careful investigation.

While the Trojan war was the last it was also the greatest of all the achievements of the heroic age, and was immortalized by the genius of Homer. Paris, son of Priam, king of Ilium or Troy, abused the hospitality of Menelaus, king of Sparta, by carrying off his wife Helen, the most beautiful woman of the age. All the Grecian princes looked upon the outrage as committed upon themselves. Responding to the call of Menelaus, they assemble in arms, elect his brother Agamemnon, king of Mycenæ, leader of the expedition, and sail across the Ægean in nearly 1,200 ships to recover the faithless fair one. Some, however, excelled Agamemnon in fame. Among them Achilles stands pre-eminent in strength, beauty and value, while Ulysses surpasses all the rest in the mental qualities of counsel, subtility and eloquence. Thus, by the opposite endowments, these two heroes form the centre of the group.



Among the Trojans, Hector, one of the sons of Priam, is most distinguished for heroic qualities, and forms a striking contrast to his handsome, but effeminate brother, Paris. It is said that even the gods took part in the contest, encouraging their favorite heroes, and sometimes fighting by their side or in their stead. It was not until the tenth year that Troy yielded to the inevitable fate. It was delivered over to the sword and its glory sank in ashes.

[396]The houses of Troy were all very high, and had several stories, as is obvious from the thickness of the walls, the construction and colossal heaps of debris. The city was immensely rich, and as it was wealthy, so was it powerful and its buildings large. The ruins are found in a badly decayed state, because of the great fires that occurred there, and the neighboring towns were largely built with stone from the ruins of Troy; Archæanax is said to have built a long wall around Sigeum with its stones.

A portion of a large building was laid bare, the walls of which are 6¼ feet thick, and consist for the most part of hewn blocks of limestone joined with clay. None of the stones seem to be more than 1 foot 9 inches long, and they are so skillfully put together, that the walls form a smooth surface. This house is built upon a layer of yellow and brown ashes and ruins, at a depth of 20 feet, and the portion of the walls preserved reaches up to within 10 feet below the surface of the hill. In the house, as far as has been excavated, only one vase, with two breasts in front and one breast at the side, has been found.



This is the first house that Dr. Schliemann excavated, which is quite evident by what he writes about it: "It is with a feeling of great interest that, from this great platform, that is, at a perpendicular height of from thirty-three to forty-two feet, I see this [397]very ancient building (which may have been erected 1000 years before Christ) standing as it were in mid air."

A room was excavated which is ten feet high and eleven and one-fourth wide; it was at one time much higher; its length has not been ascertained.

One of the compartments of the uppermost houses, below the Temple of Athena and belonging to the pre-Hellenic period, appears to have been used as a wine-merchant's cellar or as a magazine, for in it there are nine enormous earthen jars of various forms, about five and three-fourths feet high and four and three-fourths feet across, their mouths being from twenty-nine and one-half to thirty-five and one-fourth inches broad. Each of these earthen jars has four handles, three and three-fourths inches broad, and the clay of which they are made has the enormous thickness of two and one-fourth inches.

A house of eight rooms was also brought to light at a depth of twenty-six feet. It stands upon the great Tower, directly below the Greek Temple of Athena. Its walls consist of small stones cemented with earth, and they appear to belong to different epochs; for, while some of them rest directly upon the stones of the Tower, others were not built till the Tower was covered with eight inches, and in several cases even with three and one-fourth feet, of debris. These walls also show differences in thickness; one of them is four and one-half feet, others are only twenty-five and one-half inches, and others again not more than nineteen and two-thirds inches thick. Several of these walls are ten feet high, and on some of them may be seen large remnants of the coatings of clay, painted yellow or white. Black marks, the result of fire, upon the lower portion of the walls of the other rooms which have been excavated, leave no doubt that their floors were of wood, and were destroyed by fire. In one room there is a wall in the form of a semicircle, which has been burnt as black as coal. All the rooms as yet laid open, and not resting [398]directly upon the Tower, have been excavated down to the same level; and, without exception, the debris below them consists of red or yellow ashes and burnt ruins. Above these, even in the rooms themselves, were found nothing but either red or yellow wood-ashes, mixed with bricks that had been dried in the sun and subsequently burnt by the conflagration, or black debris, the remains of furniture, mixed with masses of small shells: in proof of this there are the many remains which are still hanging on the walls.

A very large ancient building was found standing upon the wall or buttress. At this place the wall appears to be about seventy-nine feet wide, or thick. The site of this building, upon an elevation, together with its solid structure, leave no doubt that it was the grandest building in Troy; nay, that it must have been the Palace of Priam. This edifice, now first laid open from beneath the ashes which covered it in the burning of the city, was found by Dr. Schliemann in the very state to which, in Homer, Agamemnon threatens to reduce it: "The house of Priam blackened with fire."

Upon this house, by the side of the double gate, upon Ilium's Great Tower, at the edge of the western slope of the Acropolis, sat Priam, the seven elders of the city, and Helen; and this is the scene of the most splendid passage in the Iliad:

"Attending there on aged Priam, sat
The Elders of the city; . . .
All these were gathered at the Scæan Gates.
. . . so on Ilion's Tower
Sat the sage chiefs and counselors of Troy.
Helen they saw, as to the Tower she came."

From this spot the company surveyed the whole plain, and saw at the foot of the Acropolis the Trojan and the Achæan armies face to face, about to settle their agreement to let the war be decided by a single combat between Paris and Menelaus.

"Upon Seamander's flowery mead they stood
Unnumbered as the vernal leaves and flowers."

[399]The description which Homer gives of the Tower of Ilium, and the incidents connected with it, corresponds so closely to the tower which Dr. Schliemann found that it leaves no doubt that the two are identical.


WONDERFUL VASES OF TERRA-COTTA. (From the Palace of Priam, at 24¼ feet.)ToList

"Now, with regard to the objects found in these houses, I must first of all mention having discovered, at a depth of twenty-six feet, in the Palace of Priam, a splendid and brilliant brown vase, twenty-four and one-fourth inches high, with a figure of the tutelar goddess of Troy, that is, with her owl's head, [400]two breasts, a splendid necklace, indicated by an engraved pattern, a very broad and beautifully engraved girdle, and other very artistic decorations; there are no arms, nor are there any indications of them. Unfortunately this exquisite vase has suffered from [401]the weight of stones which lay upon it. No. 4 resembles an owl's beak, and especially as this is seen between the ear-shaped ornaments, it was doubtless intended to represent the image of the owl with upraised wings on each side of the vases, which image received a noble appearance from the splendid lid with a coronet. I give a drawing of the largest vase of this type, which was found a few days ago in the royal palace at a depth of from twenty-eight to twenty-nine and one-half feet; on the top of it I have placed the bell-shaped lid with a coronet, which was discovered close by and appears to have belonged to it.



"I also found in the Treasure three great silver vases, the largest of which is above eight and one-fourth inches high and nearly eight inches in diameter, and has a handle five and one-half inches in length and three and one-half in breadth. (No. 23.) The second vase is 6.9 inches high and nearly six inches in diameter; another silver vase is welded to the upper part of it (No. 22), of which, however, only portions have been preserved. No. 19 is a splendid Terra-cotta vase from the Palace of Priam. It is the largest vase of the type frequent in the ruins, with two small handles and two great upright wings. The cover was found near it.



"On the south side of the hill, where, on account of the slight natural slope, I had to make my great trench with an inclination of fourteen degrees, I discovered, at a distance of 197 feet from the declivity, a Tower, forty feet thick, which I have uncovered on the north and south sides along the whole breadth of [402]my trench, and have convinced myself that it is built on the rock at a depth of forty-six and a half feet.

"The Tower is at present only twenty feet high, but the nature of its surface, and the masses of stones lying on both sides, seem to prove that it was at one time much higher. For the preservation of what remains we have only to thank the ruins of Troy, which entirely covered the Tower as it now stands. It is probable that after the destruction of Troy much more of it remained standing, and that the part which rose above the ruins of the town was destroyed by the successors of the Trojans, who possessed neither walls nor fortifications. The western part of the Tower, so far as it is yet uncovered, is only from 121 to 124 feet distant from the steep western slope of the hill; and, considering the enormous accumulation of debris, I believe that the Tower once stood on the western edge of the Acropolis, where its situation would be most interesting and imposing, for its top would have commanded, not only a view of the whole Plain of Troy, but of the sea with the Islands of Tenedos, Imbros and Samothrace. There is not a more sublime situation in the area of Troy than this, and I therefore presume that it is the 'Great Tower of Ilium' which Andromache ascended because 'she had heard that the Trojans were hard pressed and that the power of the Achæans was great.'

"'But to the height of Ilion's topmost tower
Andromache is gone; since tidings came
The Trojan force was overmatched, and great
The Grecian strength.'

"After having been buried for thirty-one centuries, and after successive nations have built their houses and palaces high above its summit during thousands of years, this Tower has now again been brought to light, and commands a view, if not of the whole Plain, at least of the northern part and of the Hellespont. May this sacred and sublime monument of Greek heroism [403]forever attract the eyes of those who sail through the Hellespont! May it become a place to which the inquiring youth of all future generations shall make pilgrimage to fan their enthusiasms for knowledge, and above all for the noble language and literature of Greece!

"Directly by the side of the Palace of King Priam I came upon a large copper article of the most remarkable form, which attracted my attention all the more as I thought I saw gold behind it. On the top of this copper article lay a stratum of red and calcined ruins, from four and three-quarters to five and one-quarter feet thick, as hard as stone, and above this again lay a wall of fortification (six feet broad and twenty feet high) which was built of large stones and earth, and must have belonged to an early date after the destruction of Troy. In order to withdraw the Treasure from the greed of my workmen, and to save it for archæology, I had to be most expeditious, and although it was not yet time for breakfast, I immediately had breakfast called. While the men were eating and resting I cut out the Treasure with a large knife, which it was impossible to do without the very greatest exertion and the most fearful risk of my life, for the great fortification wall, beneath which I had to dig, threatened every moment to fall down upon me. But the sight of so many objects, every one of which is of inestimable value to archæology, made me foolhardy, and I never thought of any danger. It would, however, have been impossible for me to have removed the Treasure without the help of my dear wife, who stood by me ready to pack the things which I cut out in her shawl and to carry them away.



"The first thing I found was a large copper shield, in the form of an oval salver, in the middle of which is a knob or boss encircled by a small furrow. It is a little less than twenty inches in length, is quite flat, and surrounded by a rim one and one-half inches high; the boss is two and one-third inches high and [404]four and one-third inches in diameter; the furrow encircling it is seven inches in diameter and two-fifths of an inch deep. This round shield of copper (or bronze?) with its central boss, and the furrow and rim so suitable for holding together a covering of ox-hides, reminds one irresistibly of the seven-fold shield of Ajax (Iliad vii. 219-223):

"'Ajax approached; before him, as a tower,
[405] His mighty shield he bore, seven-fold, brass-bound,
The work of Tychius, best artificer
That wrought in leather; he in Hyla dwelt.
Of seven-fold hides the ponderous shield was wrought
Of lusty bulls; the eighth was glittering brass.'

"It is equally striking to compare the shield of the Treasure with the description of Sarpedon's shield, with its round plate of hammered copper (or bronze), and its covering of ox-hides, fastened to the inner edge of the rim by gold wires or rivets (Iliad xii. 294-297):

"'His shield's broad orb before his breast he bore,
Well wrought, of beaten brass, which the armorer's hand
Had beaten out, and lined with stout bull's hide
With golden rods, continuous, all around.'

"The second object which I got out was a copper caldron with two horizontal handles. It is sixteen and one-half inches in diameter and five and one-half inches high; the bottom is flat, and is nearly eight inches in diameter. In the Iliad this vessel is used almost always as a caldron, and is often given as a prize at games; in the Odyssey it is always used for washing the hands or feet. This one shows the marks of a fearful conflagration, and near the left handle are seen two fragments of copper weapons (a lance and a battle-ax) firmly molten on. (See No. 25.)

"The third object was a copper plate two-fifths of an inch thick, six and one-third inches broad, and seventeen and one-third inches long; it has a rim about one-twelfth of an inch high; at one end of it there are two immovable wheels with an axle-tree. This plate is very much bent in two places, but I believe that these curvatures have been produced by the heat to which the article was exposed in the conflagration; a silver vase four and three-fourths inches high and broad has been fused to it; I suppose, however, that this also happened by accident in the heat of the fire. (See No. 14.)





[406]"This remarkable object lay at the top of the whole mass, and I suppose it to have formed a hasp to the lid of the wooden chest in which the Treasure was packed. The fourth article I brought out was a copper vase five and one-half inches high and four and one-third inches in diameter. Thereupon followed a globular bottle of the purest gold, weighing 6,220 grains, or above one pound troy; it is nearly six inches high and five and one-half inches in diameter, and has the commencement of a zigzag decoration on the neck, which, however, is not continued all round. Then came a cup, likewise of the purest gold, weighing seven and one-fourth oz. troy; it is three and one-half inches high and three inches broad. (See Nos. 4 and 12.)

"Next came another cup of purest gold, weighing about one pound and six oz. troy; it is three and one-half inches high, [407]seven and one-fourth inches long, and seven and one-fifth inches broad; it is in the form of a ship, with two large handles; on one side there is a mouth one and one-fifth inches broad, for drinking out of, and another at the other side two and three-fourths inches broad. Prof. Stephanos Kumanudes, of Athens, remarks, the person who presented the filled cup may have first drank from the small mouth as a mark of respect, to let the guest drink from the larger mouth. (See No. 10.)

"The Treasure further contained a small cup of gold weighing two and one-fourth oz. troy; also six pieces of the purest silver in the form of large knife blades; they have all been wrought with a hammer.





"I also found in the Treasure three great silver vases, the [408]largest of which is above eight and one-fourth inches high and nearly eight inches in diameter, and has a handle five and one-half inches in length and three and one-half in breadth; I found besides a number of silver goblets and cups. Upon and beside the gold and silver articles I found thirteen copper lances; also fourteen copper weapons, which are frequently met with here, and seven large double-edged copper daggers.

"As I found all these articles together, forming a rectangular mass, or packed into one another, it seems to be certain that they were placed on the city wall in a wooden chest, such as those mentioned by Homer as being in the Palace of King Priam. This appears to be the more certain, as close by the side of these articles I found a copper key above four inches long, the head of which (about two inches long and broad) greatly resembles a large safe-key of a bank. Curiously enough this key has had a wooden handle.

"That the Treasure was packed together at terrible risk of life, and in the greatest anxiety, is proved among other things also by the contents of a large silver vase, at the bottom of which I found two gold diadems, a fillet and four beautiful ear-rings of most exquisite workmanship; upon these lay fifty-six gold ear-rings of exceedingly curious form, and 8,750 small gold rings, perforated prisms and dice, gold buttons and similar jewels; then followed six gold bracelets, and, on the top of all, the two small gold goblets. Some of these are mentioned by Homer:

"'Far off were flung the adornments of her head;
The net, the fillet, and the woven band,
The nuptial-veil by golden Venus given.'


"The one diadem consists of a gold fillet, twenty-one and two-thirds inches long and nearly half an inch broad, from which there hang on either side seven little chains to cover the [409]temples, each of which has eleven square leaves with a groove; these chains are joined to one another by four little cross chains, at the end of which hangs a glittering golden idol of the tutelar goddess of Troy, nearly an inch long. The entire length of each of these chains, with the idols, amounts to ten and one-quarter inches. Almost all these idols have something of the human form, but the owl's head with the two large eyes can not be mistaken; their breadth at the lower end is about nine-tenths of an inch. Between these ornaments for the temples there are forty-seven little pendant chains adorned with square leaves; at the end of each little chain is an idol of the tutelar goddess of Ilium, about three-quarters of an inch long; the length of these little chains with the idols is not quite four inches. The fillet is above eighteen inches long and two-fifths of an inch broad, and has three perforations at each end. Eight quadruple rows of dots divide it into nine compartments, in each of which there are two large dots, and an uninterrupted row of dots adorns the whole edge. (See Fig. 1.) Of the four ear-rings only two [410]are exactly alike; from the upper part, which is almost in the shape of a basket, and is ornamented with two rows of decorations in the form of beads, there hang six small chains on which are three little cylinders; attached to the end of the chains are small idols of the tutelar goddess of Troy. The length of each ear-ring is three and one-half inches. The upper part of the other two ear-rings is larger and thicker, but likewise almost in the shape of a basket; from it are suspended five little chains entirely covered with small round leaves, on which are likewise fastened small but more imposing idols of the Ilian tutelar divinity; the length of one of these pendants is three and one-half inches, that of the other a little over three inches. (See Fig. 17.)



"Homer, in the Iliad, sings of 'beautifully twined tassels of solid gold' which adorned Athene:

"'All around
A hundred tassels hung, rare works of art,
All gold, each one a hundred oxen's price.'

"Again, when Hera adorns herself to captivate Jove, her zone is fringed with a hundred tassels, and her ear-rings are described in terms corresponding exactly to the triple leaves above described:

"'Her zone, from which a hundred tassels hung,
She girt above her; and, in three bright drops,
Her glittering gems suspended from her ears,
And all around her grace and beauty shone.'


"Of the six gold bracelets two are quite simple, and closed, but consist of an ornamented band one-twenty-fifth of an inch thick and one-fourth of an inch broad. The other three are double, and the ends are turned round and furnished with a head. The princess who wore these bracelets must have had unusually small hands, for they are so small that a girl of ten would have difficulty in putting them on.

"The fifty-six other gold ear-rings are of various sizes, and [411]three of them appear to have also been used by the princesses of the royal family as finger-rings. Also gold buttons were found, or studs, one-sixth of an inch high, in the cavity of which is a ring above one-tenth of an inch broad for sewing them on; gold double buttons, exactly like our shirt studs, three-tenths of an inch long, which, however, are not soldered, but simply stuck together, for from the cavity of the button there projects a tube, nearly one-fourth of an inch long, and from the other a pin of the same length, and the pin is merely stuck into the tube to form a double stud. (See Fig. No. 16.) These double buttons or studs can only have been used, probably, as ornament upon leather articles, for instance upon the handle-straps of swords, shields, or knives. I found in the vase also two gold cylinders above one-tenth of an inch long; also a small peg above four-fifths of an inch in length, and from six one-hundreths to eight one-hundreths of an inch thick; it has at one end a perforated hole for hanging it up, and on the other side six encircling incisions, which give the article the appearance of a screw; it is only by means of a magnifying glass that it is found not to be really a screw. I also found in the same vase two pieces of gold, one of which is one-seventh of an inch, the other above two inches long; each of them has twenty-one perforations.

"The persons who endeavored to save the Treasure had fortunately the presence of mind to stand the silver vase, containing [412]the valuable articles described above, upright in the chest, so that not so much as a bead could fall out, and everything has been preserved uninjured.





"M. Landerer, of Athens, a chemist well known through his discoveries and writings, who has most carefully examined all the copper articles of the Treasure, and analyzed the fragments, finds that all of them consist of pure copper without any admixture of tin or zinc, and that, in order to make them more durable, they have been wrought with the hammer.

"As I hoped to find other treasures here, and also wished to bring to light the wall surrounding Troy, the erection of which Homer ascribes to Poseidon and Apollo, as far as the Scæan Gate, I have entirely cut away the upper wall, which rested partly upon the gate, to an extent of fifty-six feet. Visitors to the Troad can, however, still see part of it in the northwest earth-wall opposite the Scæan Gate. I have also broken down the enormous block of earth which separated my western and northwestern cutting from the Great Tower. The result of this new excavation is very important to archæology, for I have been able to uncover several walls, and also a room of the Royal Palace, twenty feet in length and breadth, upon which no buildings of a later period rest.



"Of the objects discovered there I have only to mention an excellently engraved inscription found upon a square piece of red slate, which has two holes not bored through it and an encircling incision, but neither can my learned friend Emile Burnouf nor I tell in what language the inscription is written. Further, there [413]were some interesting terra-cottas, among which is a vessel, quite the form of a modern cask, and with a tube in the centre for pouring in and drawing off the liquid. There were also found upon the walls of Troy, one and three-fourths feet below the place where the Treasure was discovered, three silver dishes, two of which were broken to pieces in digging down the debris, they can, however, be repaired, as I have all the pieces. These dishes seem to have belonged to the Treasure, and the fact of the latter having otherwise escaped our pickaxes is due to the above mentioned large copper vessels which projected, so that I could cut everything out of the hard debris with a knife.

"I found, further, a silver goblet above three and one-third inches high, the mouth of which is nearly four inches in diameter; also a silver flat cup or dish five and one-half inches in diameter, and two beautiful small silver vases of most exquisite workmanship. The larger one, which has two rings on either side for hanging up by strings, is nearly eight inches high with its hat-shaped lid, and three and one-half inches in diameter across the bulge. The smaller silver vase, with a ring on either side for suspension by a string, is about six and three-fourths inches high, with its lid, and above three inches broad.

"I now perceive that the cutting which I made in April was exactly at the proper point, and that if I had only continued it I should in a few weeks have uncovered the most remarkable buildings in Troy, namely, the Palace of King Priam, the Scæan Gate, the Great Surrounding Wall, and the Great Tower of Ilium; whereas, in consequence of abandoning this cutting, I had to make colossal excavations from east to west and from north to south through the entire hill in order to find those most interesting buildings.

"In the upper strata of the north western and western excavations we came upon another great quantity of heads of beautiful terra-cotta figures of the best Hellenic period, and at a depth [414]of twenty-three feet upon some idols, as well as the upper portion of a vase with the owl's face and a lid in the form of a helmet. Lids of this kind, upon the edge of which female hair is indicated by incisions, are frequently found in all the strata between thirteen and thirty-three feet deep, and as they belong to vases with owls' faces, the number of lids gives us an idea of the number of the vases with the figure of the owl-headed Athene, which existed here in Troy.

"Homer rarely mentions temples, and, although he speaks of the Temple of Athene, yet, considering the smallness of the city, it is very doubtful whether it actually existed. It is probable that the tutelar goddess at that time possessed only the sacrificial altar which I discovered, and the crescent form of which greatly resembles the upper portion of the ivory idol found in the lowest strata as well as the one end of the six talents contained among the Treasure.

"Valuable stones, such as those large flags which cover the road leading from the Scæan Gate to the Plain, as well as the stones of the enclosing wall and of the Great Tower, have been left untouched, and not a single stone of the Scæan Gate is wanting. Nay, with the exception of the houses which I myself destroyed, it would be quite possible to uncover the 'carcasses' of all the houses, as in the case of Pompeii. The houses must have been very high, and a great deal of wood must have been used in their construction, for otherwise the conflagration could not have produced such an enormous quantity of ashes and rubbish.

"Upon and beside the gold and silver articles, I found thirteen copper lances, from nearly seven to above twelve and one-half inches in length, and from above one and one-half to two and one-third inches broad at the broadest point; at the lower end of each is a hole, in which, in most cases, the nail or peg which fastened the lance to the wooden handle is still sticking. [415]The pin-hole is clearly visible in a lance-head which the conflagration has welded to a battle-ax. The Trojan lances were therefore quite different from those of the Greeks and Romans.





"I also found fourteen of those copper weapons, which are frequently met with here, but which have never been discovered [416]elsewhere; at one end they are pointed but blunt, and at the other they end in a broad edge. I formerly considered them to be a species of lance, but now, after mature consideration, I am convinced that they could have been used only as battle-axes. They are from above six to above twelve inches in length, from nearly one-half to above three-fourths of an inch thick, and from above one to nearly three inches broad; the largest of them weighs about three pounds avoirdupois.



"There were also seven large double-edged copper daggers, with a handle from about two to two and three-fourths inches long, the end of which is bent round at a right angle. These handles must at one time have been encased in wood, for if the cases had been made of bone they would still have been wholly or partially preserved. The pointed handle was inserted into a piece of wood, so that the end projected about half an inch beyond it, and this end was simply bent round. The largest of these daggers is ten and two-thirds inches in length and above two inches broad at the broadest part; a second dagger, which is above one and three-fourths inches broad, has the point broken off, and is now less than nine inches long, but appears to have been eleven inches; a third dagger is eight and two-thirds inches long, and measures above one and one-fourth inches at the broadest point.

"On the north side of the hill I have now also uncovered several house-walls at a depth of forty-two and one-half feet, and also the beginning of a remarkable wall of fortification, the [417]continuation of which may be seen in the labyrinth of the house-walls in the depths of the Temple of Athene. On the north side, above the primary soil, I have also brought to light a portion of the pavement already mentioned, composed of small, round, white sea-pebbles, below which are the calcined ruins of a building which formerly stood there.

"Among some very remarkable terra-cottas discovered since my last report I must mention two jugs found on the north side, at a depth of from twenty-three to twenty-six feet, each of which has two upright necks standing side by side, but their handles are united. One of them has also beside the mouths two small elevations, which may probably indicate eyes. Of a third jug of this kind I only found the upper portion. I must also mention an exceedingly curious cup, discovered at a depth of thirteen feet, which consists of a tube resting upon three feet and ending in one large and two small goblets; the larger goblet is connected with the opposite side of the tube by a handle. At the same depth I met with a large vase, from which projects a separate small vase; it is ornamented with incisions, and has three feet and two very pretty handles and rings for hanging it up. I found likewise, at the depth of thirteen feet, a vase with two female breasts, two large handles and engravings resembling letters. Among other extremely curious terra-cottas I must also mention three pots with three rows of perforations; they have the usual handle on one side and three feet on the other; also three large vases with perforations right round, on all sides, from the bottom to the top; their use is a riddle to me; can they have served as bee-hives? Also a vessel in the form of a pig, with four feet, which are, however, shorter than the belly, so that the vessel can not stand upon them; the neck of the vessel, which is attached to the back of the pig, is connected with the hinder part by a handle. I further found a pot in the form of a basket with a handle crossing the mouth, [418]and a tube in the bulge for drawing off the liquid. Also two terra-cotta funnels, at a depth of ten feet, with a letter which I have repeatedly met with on some of the terra-cottas. At a depth of five feet I found one of those round twice-perforated terra-cottas with a stamp, in which there are Egyptian hieroglyphics; also a dozen of the same articles in the stamps of which are a crowned head, a bird, a dog's head, a flying man or an eagle and a stag. At a depth of sixteen and one-half feet I found the handle of a cup with the beautifully modeled head of a bull.

"Neither can I prove that the terra-cottas here frequently met with, in the form of horses' heads, represent the mother of Hera, Cybele or Rhea, but it is very likely, for, as it is well known, in Phrygia she was represented with a horse's head. Terra-cotta idols of the Ilian Athene are rarely met with, but we daily find marble idols of this goddess, most of which have almost a human form. We also frequently come upon oblong flat pieces of rough marble upon which the owl's face of the goddess is more or less deeply engraved. It is often so finely scratched that the aid of a magnifying glass is required to convince one that it actually exists; we found several such pieces of marble where the owl's head was painted in a black color. Since I have come to the conclusion that they are idols of the tutelar divinity of Troy I have carefully collected them.



"In excavating the ground upon which my wooden house had stood we found, at a depth of from nine to nineteen inches, eighteen copper and two silver medals; one of the latter is of Marcus Aurelius. The other is a tetra-drachm of the island of Tenedos; on the obverse, to the right, is the head of Jupiter, to the left that of Juno, both having one neck in common, like the heads of Janus. [419]The head of Jupiter is crowned with laurels, that of Juno has a wreath or crown. Upon the reverse of the coin there is a laurel wreath round the edge, and in the centre a large double ax, above which stands the word Teneelion, below and to the right of the handle of the double ax there is a winged Eros, who is holding up an object which it is difficult to distinguish, to the left is a bunch of grapes and a monogram, which looks like the letter A.

"Of the copper coins five are of Alexandria Troas, two of Ophrynium, one of Tenedos, two of Abydos, and one of Dardania.

"When I uncovered the road paved with large flags of stone, which leads from the Scæan Gate to the Plain, the stones looked as new as if they had just been hewn. But since then, under the influence of the burning sun, the flags of the upper portion of the road, which have specially suffered from the conflagration that destroyed the city, are rapidly crumbling away, and will probably have quite disappeared in a few years. However, the flags of stone on the northwestern half of the road, which have been less exposed to the heat, may still last many centuries.

"In this day, closing the excavations at Ilium forever, I can not but fervently thank God for His great mercy, in that, notwithstanding the terrible danger to which we have been exposed owing to the continual hurricanes, during the last three years' gigantic excavations, no misfortune has happened, no one has been killed, and no one has been seriously hurt.

"In my last report I did not state the exact number of springs in front of the Ilium. I have now visited all the springs myself, and measured their distance from my excavations, and I can give the following account of them. The first spring, which is situated directly below the ruins of the ancient town-wall, is exactly 399 yards from my excavations; its water has a temperature of [420]60.8° Fahrenheit. It is enclosed to a height of six and-one-half feet by a wall of large stones joined with cement, nine and one-quarter feet in breadth, and in front of it there are two stone troughs for watering cattle. The second spring, which is likewise still below the ruins of the ancient town-wall, is exactly 793 yards distant from my excavations. It has a similar enclosure of large stones, seven feet high and five feet broad, and has the same temperature. But it is out of repair, and the water no longer runs through the stone pipe in the enclosure, but along the ground before it reaches the pipe. The double spring spoken of in my last report is exactly 1,033 yards from my excavations. It consists of two distinct springs, which run out through two stone pipes lying beside each other in the enclosure composed of large stones joined with earth, which rises to a height of seven feet and is twenty-three feet broad; its temperature is 62.6° Fahrenheit. In front of these two springs there are six stone troughs, which are placed in such a manner that the superfluous water always runs from the first trough through all the others. It is extremely probable that these are the two springs mentioned by Homer, beside which Hector was killed.

"'They (Hector and Achilles) in flight and pursuit,
They by the watch-tower, and beneath the wall
Where stood the wind-beat fig-tree, raced amain
Along the public road, until they reached
The fairly-flowing founts, whence issued forth,
From double source, Scamander's eddying streams.
One with hot current flows, and from beneath,
As from a furnace, clouds of steam arise;
'Mid Summer's heat the other rises cold
As hail, or snow, or water crystallized;
Beside the fountains stood the washing-troughs
Of well-wrought stone, where erst the wives of Troy
And daughters fair their choicest garments washed,
In peaceful times, ere came the sons of Greece.'

"In this new excavation I find four earthen pipes, from eighteen and three-quarters to twenty-two and one-quarter inches long, and [421]from six and one-half to eleven and three-quarters inches thick, laid together for conducting water, which was brought from a distance of about seven miles from the upper Thymbrius. This river is now called the Kemar, from the Greek word kamara (vault), because an aqueduct of the Roman period crosses its lower course by a large arch. This aqueduct formerly supplied Ilium with drinking water from the upper portion of the river. But the Pergamus required special aqueducts, for it lies higher than the city.



"Unfortunately upon none of the articles of the Treasure of Priam are there found any inscriptions or any religious symbols except 100 idols of the Homeric 'owl-faced goddess Athene.' (Thea glaukopis Athene) which glitter upon the two diadems and the four ear-rings. These are, however, an undeniable proof that the Treasure belongs to the city and to the age of which Homer sings."

The question asked is: Has Schliemann found any inscriptions which throw the certain light of written testimony on the language, the history and social condition, the religion, science and literature of the old inhabitants of the hill, whose records form as yet no part of ancient history? Upon this point very little satisfaction can be given, yet the people of ancient Troy did have a written language. At a depth of twenty-six feet, in the royal palace, a vase with an inscription was found. One of the letters resembles the Greek P. This same letter occurs on a seal found at a depth of twenty-three feet; two other letters of this inscription occurred on one other terra-cotta, likewise found at a depth of twenty-three feet.

To Dr. Martin Haug belongs the honor of first deciphering the Trojan inscriptions on the above-mentioned vase. He, not [422]without much research, interpreted it as a dedication "To the divine Sigo," a deity whose name was found in Sigeum. The transmutation, however, seemed forced; and, while Haug was right in his method, his results were pronounced at best,

"Fragments of broken words and thoughts,
Yet glimpses of the true."

Prof. T. Gomperz, of Vienna, after making one correction in Haug's reading, still found it unsatisfactory, till the thought struck him of reading it from right to left round the vase, instead of from left to right, when the confused syllables flashed, as by sudden crystallization, into the pure Greek, and read: "To the divine Prince."

Another inscription was found which Prof. Max Muller read as the very name of Ilion. Others were found which are not as yet interpreted.




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Far away from the highways of modern commerce and the tracks of ordinary travel lay a city buried in the sandy earth of a half-desert Turkish province, with no trace of its place of sepulture. Vague tradition said it was hidden somewhere near the river Tigris; but for a long series of ages its existence in the world was a mere name—a word. That name suggested the idea of an ancient capital of fabulous splendor and magnitude; a congregation of palaces and temples, encompassed by vast walls and ramparts—of "the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly; that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me," and which was to become "a desolation and dry like a wilderness."

More than two thousand years had it lain in its unknown grave, when a French savant and a wandering scholar sought the seat of the once powerful empire, and searching till they found the dead city, threw off its shroud of sand and ruin, and revealed once more to an astonished and curious world the temples, the palaces, and the idols; the representations of war and the chase, of the cruelties and luxuries of the ancient Assyrians. The Nineveh of Scripture, the Nineveh of the oldest historians; the Nineveh—twin sister of Babylon—glorying in pomp and power, all traces of which were believed to be gone; the Nineveh in which the captive tribes of Israel had labored and wept, and against which the words of prophecy had gone forth, was, after a sleep of [424]twenty centuries, again brought to light. The proofs of ancient splendor were again beheld by living eyes, and by the skill of draftsmen and the pen of antiquarian travelers made known and preserved to the world.

In the history of Jonah's visit, Nineveh is twice described as "that great city," and again as an "exceedingly great city of three days' journey."

The measurement assigned to Nineveh by the sacred writer applies, without doubt, to its circuit, and gives a circumference of about sixty miles.

None of the historical books of the Old Testament give any details respecting Nineveh. The prophets, however, make frequent incidental allusion to its magnificence, to the "fenced place," the "stronghold," the "valiant men and chariots," the "silver and gold," the "pleasant furniture," "carved lintels and cedar work." Zephaniah, who wrote about twenty-four years before the fall of Nineveh, says of it:

"This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly;
That said in her heart, 'I am, and there is none beside me.'"

The ruins of Nineveh were virtually unknown to the ancient classical writers, though we gather from all of them that it was one of the oldest, most powerful and most splendid cities in the world; that it perished utterly many hundred years before the Christian Era; and that after its fall Babylon became the capital of the Assyrian empire, which finally grew still greater and mightier. On examining their details, we find names confounded, incidents transposed, and chronology by turns confused, extended or inverted. Difficulties of another and more peculiar kind beset this path of inquiry, of which it will suffice to instance one illustration—proper names, those fixed points in history around which the achievements or sufferings of its heroes cluster, are constantly shifting in the Assyrian nomenclature; both men and gods being designated, not by a word composed of certain fixed sounds or [425]signs, but by all the various expressions equivalent to it in meaning, whether consisting of a synonym or a phrase. Hence we find that the names furnished by classic authors generally have little or no analogy with the Assyrian, as the Greeks generally construed the proper names of other countries according to the genius of their own language, and not unfrequently translated the original name into it. Herodotus, however, though he mentions but one Assyrian king, gives his true name, Sennacherib.

The immense mounds of brick and rubbish which marked the presumed sites of Babylon and Nineveh had been used as quarries by the inhabitants of the surrounding country, from time immemorial, without disclosing to other eyes than those of the wild occupier of the soil the monuments they must have served to support or cover. Though carefully explored by Niebuhr and Claudius James Rich, no other traces of buildings than a few portions of walls, of which they could not understand the plan, had been presented; if, however, the investigations of these travelers produced few immediate results, the first-named certainly has the merit of being the first to break the ground, and by his intelligence, to have awakened the enterprise of others. Rich, who was the East India Company's resident at Baghdad, employed his leisure in the investigation of the antiquities of Assyria. He gave his first attention to Babylon, on which he wrote a paper, originally published in Germany—his countrymen apparently taking less interest in such matters than did the scholars of Vienna. In a note to a second memoir on Babylon, printed in London in 1818, we find Nineveh thus alluded to by Rich. He says: "Opposite the town of Mosul is an enclosure of rectangular form, corresponding with the cardinal points of the compass; the eastern and western sides being the longest, the latter facing the river. The area, which is now cultivated, and offers no vestiges of building, is too small to have contained a town larger than Mosul, but it may be supposed to answer to the palace of [426]Nineveh. The boundary, which may be perfectly traced all round, now looks like an embankment of earth or rubbish, of small elevation; and has attached to it, and in its line, at several places, mounds of greater size and solidity. The first of these forms the southwest angle, and on it is built the village of Nebbi Younis, the prophet's tomb (described and delineated by Niebuhr as Nurica), where they show the tomb of the prophet Jonah, much revered by the Mohammedans. The next, and largest of all, is the one which may be supposed to be the monument of Ninus. It is situated near the centre of the western face of the enclosure, and is joined like the others by the boundary wall;—the natives call it Kouyunjik Tepe. Its form is that of a truncated pyramid, with regular steep sides and a flat top; it is composed, as I ascertained from some excavations, of stones and earth, the latter predominating sufficiently to admit of the summit being cultivated by the inhabitants of the village of Kouyunjik, which is built on it at the northeast extremity. The only means I had, at the time I visited it, of ascertaining its dimensions, was by a cord which I procured from Mosul. This gave 178 feet for the greatest height, 1,850 feet for the length of the summit east and west, and 1,147 for its breadth north and south.

This mound has revealed the grandest and most stupendous remains of ancient Neneveh. Within the boundaries of ancient walls there are many mounds and elevations. All of them are artificial and are caused by the remains of the ancient structures. Mound Nimroud is about four miles in circumference at its base, on the top of which is a great pyramid mound 777 feet in circumference and 144½ feet high.

M. Botta distinctly traced the walls of an enclosure forming nearly a perfect square, two sides of which are 5,750 feet, the other 5,400, or rather more than a mile each way, all the four angles being right angles, which face the cardinal points. M. Botta commenced researches in the mound of Kouyunjik in 1842, and, meeting with little success, he abandoned his excavations in the following year.


Discovered in a mound 1850 feet long, 1145 feet wide, and 178 feet high.ToList

[428]Layard, in 1846, opened some trenches in the southern face of the mound, but, at that time, without any important results. At a subsequent period he made some inquiries respecting the bas-relief described by Rich, and the spot where it was discovered having been pointed out to him in the northern group of ruins, he opened trenches, but, not finding any traces of sculptures, discontinued his operations.

Upon completing his labors at Nimroud, in 1847, Layard determined on making some farther researches at Kouyunjik. He commenced at the southwestern corner, and not only discovered the remains of a palace, which had been destroyed by fire, but, within the short space of a month, had explored nine of its chambers. All the chambers were long and narrow, and the walls lined with bas-reliefs of larger size than most of those he had found at Nimroud. The slabs were not divided by bands of inscription, but were covered with figures scattered promiscuously over the entire surface, all the details being carefully and delicately executed. The winged human-headed bulls at the entrances resembled those found at Khorsabad and Persepolis in the forms of the head-dress, and feathered cap; and the costumes of the figures in general were also like those found at Khorsabad. The period of the palace was conjectured to be between those of Khorsabad and Nimroud. After Mr. Layard had left Mosul, Mr. Ross continued the excavations, and discovered several additional bas-reliefs—an entrance, which had been formed of four sphinxes, and a very large square slab, which he conjectured to be a dais or altar, like that found at Nimroud.

Here he found a chamber lined with sculptured slabs, divided, like those of Khorsabad and Nimroud, by bands of inscription. He also found, at the foot of the mound, a monument about three feet high, and rounded at the top, containing a [429]figure with a long cuneiform inscription, and above it various sacred emblems. When discovered it was supported by brickwork, and near it was a sarcophagus in baked clay.

On the departure of Mr. Ross from Mosul the excavations were placed under the charge of Mr. Rassam, the English consul, with power to employ a small body of men, so as not to entirely abandon possession of the spot.

Layard says: "During a short period several discoveries of the greatest interest and importance were made, both at Kouyunjik and Nimroud. I will first describe the results of the excavations in the ruins opposite Mosul.

"Shortly before my departure for Europe, in 1848, the forepart of a human-headed bull of colossal dimensions had been uncovered on the east side of the Kouyunjik Palace. This sculpture then appeared to form one side of an entrance or doorway. The excavations had, however, been abandoned before any attempt could be made to ascertain the fact. On my return a tunnel, nearly 100 feet in length, was opened at right angles to the winged bull, but without coming upon any other remains but a pavement of square limestone slabs, which continued as far as the excavation was carried.

"On uncovering the bull, which was still partly buried in the rubbish, it was found that adjoining it were other sculptures, and that it formed part of an exterior facade. The upper half of the slab had been destroyed; upon the lower was part of the figure of the Assyrian Hercules strangling the lion, similar to that discovered between the bulls in the propylæa of Khorsabad, and now in the Louvre. The hinder part of the lion was still preserved. The legs, feet, and drapery of the god were in the boldest relief, and designed with great truth and vigor. Beyond this figure, in the same line, was a second bull. Then came a wide portal, guarded by a pair of winged bulls twenty feet long, and probably, when entire, more than twenty feet high, and two [430]gigantic winged figures in low relief. Flanking them were two smaller figures, one above the other. Beyond this entrance the facade was continued by a group similar to that on the opposite side by a smaller entrance into the palace and by a wall of sculptured slabs; then all traces of building and sculpture ceased near the edge of a water-worn ravine.

"Thus, part of the facade of the southeast side of the palace, forming apparently the grand entrance to the edifice, had been discovered. Ten colossal bulls, with six human figures of gigantic proportions, altogether 180 feet in length, were here grouped together. Although the bas-reliefs to the right of the entrance had apparently been purposely destroyed with a sharp instrument, enough remained to allow me to trace their subject. They had represented the conquest of a district, probably part of Babylonia, watered by a broad river and wooded with palms, spearmen on foot in combat with Assyrian horsemen, castles besieged, long lines of prisoners, and beasts of burden carrying away the spoil. Amongst various animals brought as tribute to the conquerors could be distinguished a lion led by a chain. There were no remains whatever of the superstructure which once rose above the colossi, guarding this magnificent entrance.

"Although the upper part of the winged bulls was destroyed, fortunately the lower part, and, consequently, the inscriptions, had been more or less preserved. To this fact we owe the recovery of some of the most precious records of the ancient world.

"On the two great bulls forming the center entrance was one continuous inscription, injured in parts, but still so far preserved as to be legible almost throughout. It contained 152 lines. On the four bulls of the facade were two inscriptions, one inscription being carried over each pair, and the two being precisely of the same import. These two different inscriptions complete the annals of six years of the reign of Sennacherib, and contain [431]numerous particulars connected with the religion of the Assyrians, their gods, their temples, and the erection of their palaces. We gather from them that, in the third year of his reign, Sennacherib turned his arms against Merodach-Baladan, king of Babylon, whom he entirely defeated, capturing his cities and a large amount of spoil. The fourth year appears to have been chiefly taken up with expeditions against the inhabitants of the mountainous regions to the north and east of Assyria. In the fifth he crossed the Euphrates into Syria, the inhabitants of which country are called by their familiar Biblical name of Hittites. He first took possession of Phœnicia, which was abandoned by its King Luliya (the Eululæus of the Greeks). He then restored to his throne Padiya, or Padi, king of Ekron, and a tributary of Assyria, who had been deposed by his subjects and given over to Hezekiah, king of Jerusalem. The king of Ethiopia and Egypt sent a powerful army to the assistance of the people of Ekron, but it was entirely defeated by Sennacherib, who afterwards marched against Hezekiah, probably to punish him for having imprisoned Padiya. The inscriptions record this expedition, according to the translation of the late Dr. Hincks, in the following term:—'Hezekiah, king of Judah, who had not submitted to my authority, forty-six of his principal cities, and fortresses and villages depending upon them, of which I took no account, I captured and carried away their spoil. I shut up (?) himself within Jerusalem, his capital city. The fortified towns, and the rest of his towns, which I spoiled, I severed from his country, and gave to the kings of Ascalon, Ekron, and Gaza, so as to make his country small. In addition to the former tribute imposed upon their countries, I added a tribute, the nature of which I fixed.' The next passage is somewhat illegible, but the substance of it appears to be, that he took from Hezekiah the treasure he had collected in Jerusalem, thirty talents of gold and eight hundred talents of silver, [432]the treasures of his palace, besides his sons and his daughters, and his male and female servants or slaves, and brought them all to Nineveh. This city itself, however, he does not pretend to have taken.

"The translation of this passage by Sir H. Rawlinson varies in some particulars from that given in the text. It is as follows: 'Because Hezekiah, king of Judah, would not submit to my yoke I came up against him, and by force of arms, and by the might of my power I took forty-six of his fenced cities; and of the smaller towns which were scattered about I took and plundered a countless number. And from these places I captured and carried off, as spoil, 200,150 people, old and young, male and female, together with horses and mares, asses and camels, oxen and sheep, a countless multitude. And Hezekiah himself I shut up in Jerusalem, his capital city, like a bird in a cage, building towers around the city to hem him in, and raising banks of earth against the gates, so as to prevent escape. * * * * Then upon this Hezekiah there fell the fear of the power of my arms, and he sent out to me the chiefs and the elders of Jerusalem with thirty talents of gold and eight hundred talents of silver, and divers treasures, a rich and immense booty. * * * * All these things were brought to me at Nineveh, the seat of my government, Hezekiah having sent them by way of tribute, and as a token of his submission to my power.'

"There can be no doubt that the campaign against the cities of Palestine, recorded in the inscriptions of Sennacherib in this palace, is that described in the Old Testament; and it is of great interest, therefore, to compare the two accounts, which will be found to agree in the principal incidents mentioned to a very remarkable extent. In the Second Book of Kings it is said—'Now, in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib, king of Assyria, come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them. And Hezekiah, king of Judah, [433]sent to the king of Assyria, to Lachish, saying, I have offended; return from me; that which thou puttest on me will I bear. And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. And Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord and in the treasures of the king's house. At that time did Hezekiah cut off [the gold from] the doors of the temple of the Lord, and [from] the pillars which Hezekiah, king of Judah, had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.'"

When Mr. Layard revisited Kouyunjik in 1849, there were no vestiges of the sculptured walls discovered two years previously. The more recent trenches, however, dug under the superintendence of Mr. Ross, were still open; and the workmen employed by direction of the British Museum had run tunnels along the walls within the mound, to save the trouble of clearing away the soil, which had accumulated to a depth of thirty feet above the ruins. Under the direction of Layard, the excavations were resumed with great spirit, and before the lapse of many weeks, several chambers had been entered, and numerous bas-reliefs discovered. One hall, 124 feet by 90 feet, appears, says Layard, "to have formed a center, around which the principal chambers in this part of the palace were grouped. Its walls had been completely covered with the most elaborate and highly-finished sculptures. Unfortunately, all the bas-reliefs, as well as the gigantic monsters at the entrances, had suffered more or less from the fire which had destroyed the edifice; but enough of them still remained to show the subject, and even to enable him, in many places, to restore it entirely."

Continuing his discoveries in the mound, Layard "opened no less than seventy-one halls and chambers, also passages, whose walls, almost without an exception, had been paneled with slabs of sculptured alabaster, recording the wars, the triumphs, and the great deeds of the Assyrian king. By a rough calculation, about 9,880 feet, or nearly two miles of bas-reliefs, with twenty-seven portals formed by colossal winged bulls and lion sphinxes, were uncovered in that part alone of the building explored during his researches. The cut on page 435 shows some of them. The greatest length of the excavations was about 720 feet, the greatest breadth about 600 feet. The pavement of the chambers was from twenty to thirty-five feet below the surface of the mound. The measurements merely include that part of the palace actually excavated."




Figures from the portal of the palace of Sennacherib, having the forms of winged bulls with human heads, bearing crowns.
3.   King Sennacherib on his throne. A sculpture found at Nimroud, dating from the 7th century Before Christ.
4.   A king on the hunt.
5.   The storming of a fortress. In the foreground are two warriors clad in armor, helmeted and heavily armed with swords and spears.
Vases of glass and alabaster engraved with the word Sargon. From Nimroud.
8.   Vessel of glazed earthenware—, found at Babel.
9.   Bronze drinking cup ornamented with the head of an animal.
10.   Lamp of earthenware.
11.   Stuff woven in patterns of Assyrian style. From relief at Nimroud.
12.   Table formed of fragments of sculptures found at Nimroud.
16.   Bent sword.
17.   Double edged ax.
18.   Spear.
19.   Quiver filled with arrows and elaborately sculptured.
20.   Bow.
Daggers and knife in one case.
24.   Helmet.
25.   Round shield such as was borne by foot soldiers.
26.   Breastplate of a knight of high degree.
27.   Parasol found at Nimroud. (Now in British Museum.)
28.   Ear-ring of gold.
Bracelets of gold.
35.   Wall painting representing lions.

[436]Most of the sculptures discovered in this hall and group of chambers have been deposited in the British Museum.

For the more recent collection of sculptures which have been brought to light, we are indebted to Mr. Hormuzd Rassam, a native of Mosul, and a friend and colleague of Layard; and to Mr. William Kennet Loftus, the agent of the Assyrian excavation fund. In 1852, Mr. Rassam was appointed by the Trustees of the British Museum to take charge of the excavations at Nineveh. For more than a year his researches were nearly fruitless, when, at length, just as his appointment was about to terminate, he turned again to a previously-abandoned trench in the north side of the mound, and was almost immediately rewarded by the discovery of numerous chambers and passages, covered with a variety of bas-reliefs in an excellent state of preservation, having suffered less injury from fire than those of the other palaces. In one room was a lion hunt, in a continuous series of twenty-three slabs, with but one interval. The other slabs represented exteriors of palaces, gardens, battles, sieges, processions, etc., the whole forming the decorations of what must have been a splendid palace.

Subsequently, in 1854, at the instance of Sir Henry Rawlinson, Mr. Loftus and his coadjutor, Mr. Boutcher, transferred their operations from South Babylonia to Nineveh. At first Mr. Loftus' excavations were unsuccessful, but about the beginning of August he discovered the remains of a building on a level twenty feet lower than the palace that Mr. Rassam was exploring, and which proved to be a lower terrace of the same building, even more highly elaborated and in better preservation than those previously discovered in the ruins. At the entrance of an [437]ascending passage there was also found a "mass of solid masonry—apparently the pier of an arch—the springing of which is formed by projecting horizontal layers of limestone."

Mr. Loftus, in his Report of the 9th of October, observes: "The excavations carried on at the western angle of the North Palace, Kouyunjik, continue to reveal many interesting and important facts, and to determine several points which were previously doubtful.

"1. The existence of an outer basement wall of roughly cut stone blocks, supporting a mud wall, upon which white plaster still remains, and from which painted bricks have fallen. 2. At the corner of the palace, and at a considerable distance from the principal chambers, is an entrance hall, with column bases, precisely as we see them represented in the sculptures. 3. Above this entrance hall and its adjoining chambers, there was formerly another story, the first upper rooms yet discovered in Assyria. This, with its sculptured slabs, has fallen into the rooms below. 4. The various sculptures here disinterred are the works of four, if not five, different artists, whose styles are distinctly visible. It is evident that this portion of the edifice has been willfully destroyed, the woodwork burned, and the slabs broken to pieces. The faces of all the principal figures are slightly injured by blows of the ax."

This highly interesting series of bas-reliefs, which has now been placed in a lower chamber in the British Museum, consequently represents the siege and capture of Lachish, as described in the Second Book of Kings, and in the inscriptions on the human-headed bulls. Sennacherib himself is seen seated on his throne, and receiving the submission of the inhabitants of the city, whilst he had sent his generals to demand the tribute of payment from Hezekiah. The defenders of the castle walls and the prisoners tortured and crouching at the conqueror's feet are Jews, and the sculptor has evidently endeavored to indicate the peculiar physiognomy of the race, and the dress of the people.

[438]The value of this discovery can scarcely be overrated. Whilst we have thus the representations of an event recorded in the Old Testament, of which consequently these bas-reliefs furnish a most interesting and important illustration, they serve to a certain extent to test the accuracy of the interpretation of the cuneiform inscriptions, and to remove any doubt that might still exist as to the identification of the King who built the palace on the mound of Kouyunjik with the Sennacherib of Scripture. Had these bas-reliefs been the only remains dug up from the ruins of Nineveh, the labor of the explorer would have been amply rewarded, and the sum expended by the nation on the excavations more than justified. They furnish, together with the inscriptions which they illustrate, and which are also now deposited in the national collection, the most valuable cotemporary historical record possessed by any museum in the world. They may be said to be the actual manuscript, caused to be written or carved by the principal actor in the events which it relates. Who would have believed it probable or possible, before these discoveries were made, that beneath the heap of earth and rubbish which marked the site of Nineveh, there would be found the history of the wars between Hezekiah and Sennacherib, written at the very time when they took place by Sennacherib himself and confirming even in minute details the Biblical record? He who would have ventured to predict such a discovery would have been treated as a dreamer or an impostor. Had it been known that such a monument really existed, what sum would have been considered too great for the precious record?

A few remarks are necessary on the architecture and architectural decorations, external and internal of the Assyrian palaces. The inscriptions on their walls, especially on those of Kouyunjik and Khorsabad, appear to contain important and even minute details not only as to their general plan and mode of construction, but even as to the materials employed for their [439]different parts, and for the objects of sculpture and ornaments placed in them. (Capt. Jones calculated that the mound of Kouyunjik contains 14,500,000 tons of earth, and that its construction would have taken 10,000 men for twelve years.) This fact furnishes another remarkable analogy between the records of the Jewish and Assyrian kings. To the history of their monarchs and of their nation, the Hebrew chroniclers have added a full account of the building and ornaments of the temple and palaces of Solomon. In both cases, from the use of technical words, we can scarcely hope to understand, with any degree of certainty, all the details. It is impossible to comprehend, by the help of the description alone, the plan or appearance of the temple of Solomon. This arises not only from our being unacquainted with the exact meaning of various Hebrew architectural terms, but also from the difficulty experienced even in ordinary cases, of restoring from mere description an edifice of any kind. In the Assyrian inscriptions we labor, of course, under still greater disadvantages. The language in which they were written is as yet but very imperfectly known, and although we may be able to explain with some confidence the general meaning of the historical paragraphs, yet when we come to technical words relating to architecture, even with a very intimate acquaintance with the Assyrian tongue, we could scarcely hope to ascertain their precise signification. On the other hand, the materials, and the general plan of the Assyrian palaces are still preserved, whilst of the great edifices of the Jews, not a fragment of masonry, nor the smallest traces, are probably left to guide us. But, as Mr. Fergusson has shown, the architecture of the one people may be illustrated by that of the other. With the help of the sacred books, and of the ruins of the palaces of Nineveh, together with those of cotemporary and after remains, as well as from customs still existing in the East, we may, to a certain extent, ascertain the principal architectural features of the buildings of both nations.

[440]Before suggesting a general restoration of the royal edifices of Nineveh, we shall endeavor to point out the analogies which appear to exist between their actual remains and what is recorded of the temple and palaces of Solomon. In the first place, as Sennacherib in his inscriptions declares himself to have done, the Jewish king sent the bearers of burdens and the hewers into the mountains to bring great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, to lay the foundations, which were probably artificial platforms, resembling the Assyrian mounds, though constructed of more solid materials. We have the remains of such a terrace or stage of stone masonry, perhaps built by King Solomon himself, at Baalbec. The enormous size of some of the hewn stones in that structure, and of those still remaining in the quarries, some of which are more than sixty feet long, has excited the wonder of modern travelers. The dimensions of the temple of Jerusalem, threescore cubits long, twenty broad, and thirty high, were much smaller than those of the great edifices explored in Assyria. Solomon's own palace, however, appears to have been considerably larger, and to have more nearly approached in its proportions those of the kings of Nineveh, for it was one hundred cubits long, fifty broad and thirty high. "The porch before the temple," twenty cubits by ten, may have been a propylæum, such as was discovered at Khorsabad in front of the palace. The chambers, with the exception of the oracle, were exceedingly small, the largest being only seven cubits broad, "for without, in the wall of the house, he made numerous rests round about, that the beams should not be fastened in the walls of the house." The words in italics are inserted in our version to make good the sense, and may consequently not convey the exact meaning, which may be, that these apartments were thus narrow in order that the beams might be supported without the use of pillars, a reason already suggested for the narrowness of the greater number of chambers in the Assyrian palaces. These [441]smaller rooms appear to have been built round a large central hall called the oracle, the whole arrangement thus corresponding with the courts, halls, and surrounding rooms at Nimroud, Khorsabad, and Kouyunjik. The oracle was twenty cubits square, smaller far in dimensions than the Nineveh halls; but it was twenty cubits high—an important fact, illustrative of Assyrian architecture, for as the building itself was thirty cubits in height the oracle must not only have been much loftier than the adjoining chambers, but must have had an upper structure of ten cubits. Within it were the two cherubim of olive wood ten cubits high, with wings each five cubits long—"and he carved all the house around with carved figures of cherubim and palm trees, and open flowers, within and without." The cherubim have been described by Biblical commentators as mythic figures, uniting the human head with the body of a lion, or an ox, and the wings of an eagle. If for the palm trees we substitute the sacred trees of the Nineveh sculptures, and for the open flowers the Assyrian tulip-shaped ornament—objects most probably very nearly resembling each other—we find that the oracle of the temple was almost identical, in the general form of its ornaments, with some of the chambers of Nimroud and Khorsabad. In the Assyrian halls, too, the winged human-headed bulls were on the side of the wall, and their wings, like those of the cherubim, "touched one another in the midst of the house." The dimensions of these figures were in some cases nearly the same in the Jewish and Assyrian temples, namely, fifteen feet square. The doors were also carved with cherubim and palm trees, and open flowers; and thus, with the other parts of the building, corresponded with those of the Assyrian palaces. On the walls at Nineveh the only addition appears to have been the introduction of the human form and the image of the king, which were an abomination to the Jews. The pomegranates and lilies of Solomon's temple must have been nearly identical with the usual [442]Assyrian ornament, in which, and particularly at Khorsabad, the promegranate frequently takes the place of the tulip and the cune.

But the description given by Josephus of the interior of one of Solomon's houses still more completely corresponds with and illustrates the chambers in the palaces of Nineveh. "Solomon built some of these (houses) with stones of ten cubits, and wainscoted the walls with other stones that were sawed, and were of great value, such as were dug out of the bowels of the earth, for ornaments of temples," etc. The arrangement of the curious workmanship of these stones was in three rows; but the fourth was pre-eminent for the beauty of its sculpture, for on it were represented trees and all sorts of plants, with the shadows caused by their branches and the leaves that hung down from them. These trees and plants covered the stone that was beneath them, and their leaves were wrought so wonderfully thin and subtle that they appeared almost in motion; but the rest of the wall, up to the roof, was plastered over, and, as it were, wrought over with various colors and pictures.

To complete the analogy between the two edifices, it would appear that Solomon was seven years building his temple, and Sennacherib about the same time in erecting his great palace at Kouyunjik.

The ceiling, roof, and beams of the Jewish temple were of cedar wood. The discoveries of the ruins at Nimroud show that the same precious wood was used in Assyrian edifices; and the king of Nineveh, as we learn from the inscriptions, sent men, precisely as Solomon had done, to cut it in Mount Lebanon. Fir was also employed in the Jewish buildings, and probably in those of Assyria.

In order to understand the proposed restoration of the palace at Kouyunjik from the existing remains, the reader must refer to the cut, on page 427, of the excavated ruins. It will be remembered that the building does not face the cardinal points of [443]the compass. We will, however, assume, for convenience sake that it stands due north and south. To the south, therefore, it immediately overlooked the Tigris; and on that side rose one of the principal facades. The edifice must have stood on the very edge of the platform, the foot of which was at that time washed by the river, which had five massive staircases leading to the river. Although from the fact of there having been a grand entrance to the palace on the east side, it is highly probable that some such approach once existed on the west side, yet no remains whatever of it have been discovered. The northern facade, like the southern, was formed by five pairs of human-headed bulls, and numerous colossal figures, forming three distinct gateways.

The principal approach to the palace appears, however, to have been on the eastern side, where the great bulls bearing the annals of Sennacherib were discovered. In the cut we have been able, by the assistance of Mr. Fergusson, to give a restoration of this magnificent palace and entrances. Inclined ways, or broad flights of steps, appear to have led up to it from the foot of the platform, and the remains of them, consisting of huge squared stones, are still in the ravines, which are but ancient ascents, deepened by the winter rains of centuries. From this grand entrance direct access could be had to all the principal halls and chambers in the palace; that on the western face, as appears from the ruins, only opened into a set of eight rooms.

The chambers hitherto explored appear to have been grouped round three great courts or halls. It must be borne in mind, however, that the palace extends considerably to the northeast of the grand entrance, and that there may have been another hall, and similar dependent chambers in that part of the edifice. Only a part of the palace has been hitherto excavated, and we are not, consequently, in possession of a perfect ground-plan of it.

[444]The general arrangement of the chambers at Kouyunjik is similar to that at Khorsabad, though the extent of the building is very much greater. The Khorsabad mound falls gradually to the level of the plain, and there are the remains of a succession of broad terraces or stages. Parts of the palace, such as the propylæa, were actually beneath the platform, and stood at some distance from it in the midst of the walled enclosure. At Kouyunjik, however, the whole of the royal edifice, with its dependent buildings, appears to have stood on the summit of the artificial mound, whose lofty perpendicular sides could only have been accessible by steps, or inclined ways. No propylæa, or other edifices connected with the palace, have as yet been discovered below the platform.

The inscriptions, it is said, refer to four distinct parts of the palace, three of which, inhabited by the women, seem subsequently to have been reduced to one. It is not clear whether they were all on the ground-floor, or whether they formed different stories. Mr. Fergusson, in his ingenious work on the restoration of the palaces of Nineveh, in which he has, with great learning and research, fully examined the subject of the architecture of the Assyrians and ancient Persians, endeavors to divide the Khorsabad palace, after the manner of modern Mussulman houses, into the Salamlik or apartments of the men, and the Harem, or those of the women. The division he suggests must, of course, depend upon analogy and conjecture; but it may, we think, be accepted as highly probable, until fuller and more accurate translations of the inscriptions than can yet be made may furnish us with some positive data on the subject. In the ruins of Kouyunjik there is nothing, as far as we are aware, to mark the distinction between the male and female apartments. Of a temple no remains have as yet been found at Kouyunjik, nor is there any high conical mound as at Nimroud and Khorsabad.


(Of which 71 were discovered in the Palace.)ToList

[446]In all the Assyrian edifices hitherto explored we find the same general plan. On the four sides of the great courts or halls are two or three narrow parallel chambers opening one into the other. Most of them have doorways at each end leading into smaller rooms, which have no other outlet. It seems highly probable that this uniform plan was adopted with reference to the peculiar architectural arrangements required by the building, and we agree with Mr. Fergusson in attributing it to the mode resorted to for lighting the apartments.

Early excavators expressed a belief that the chambers received light from the top. Although this may have been the case in some instances, yet recent discoveries now prove that the Assyrian palaces had more than one story. Such being the case, it is evident that other means must have been adopted to admit light to the inner rooms on the ground-floor. Mr. Fergusson's suggestion, that the upper part of the halls and principal chambers was formed by a row of pillars supporting the ceiling and admitting a free circulation of light and air, appears to us to meet, to a certain extent, the difficulty. It has, moreover, been borne out by subsequent discoveries, and by the representation of a large building, apparently a palace, on one side of the bas-reliefs from Kouyunjik.

Although the larger halls may have been lighted in this manner, yet the inner chambers must have remained in almost entire darkness. And it is not improbable that such was the case, to judge from modern Eastern houses, in which the rooms are purposely kept dark to mitigate the great heat. The sculptures and decorations in them could then only be properly seen by torchlight. The great courts were probably open to the sky, like the courts of the modern houses of Mosul, whose walls are also adorned with sculptured alabaster. The roofs of the large halls must have been supported by pillars of wood or brick work. It may be conjectured that there were two or three stories of [447]chambers opening into them, either by columns or by windows. Such appears to have been the case in Solomon's temple; for Josephus tells us that the great inner sanctuary was surrounded by small rooms, "over these rooms were other rooms, and others above them, equal both in their measure and numbers, and these reached to a height equal to the lower part of the house, for the upper had no buildings about it." We have also a similar arrangement of chambers in the modern houses of Persia, in which a lofty central hall, called the Iwan, of the entire height of the building, has small rooms in two or three separate stories opening by windows into it, whilst the inner chambers have no windows at all, and only receive light through the door. Sometimes these side chambers open into a center court, as we have suggested may have been the case in the Nineveh palaces, and then a projecting roof of woodwork protects the carved and painted walls from injury by the weather. Curtains and awnings were no doubt suspended above the windows and entrances in the Assyrian palaces to ward off the rays of the sun.

Although the remains of pillars have hitherto been discovered in the Assyrian ruins, we now think it highly probable, as suggested by Mr. Fergusson, that they were used to support the roof. The modern Yezidi house, in the Sinjar, is a good illustration not only of this mode of supporting the ceiling, but of the manner in which light may have been admitted into the side chambers. It is curious, however, that no stone pedestals, upon which wooden columns may have rested, have been found in the ruins; nor have marks of them been found on the pavement. We can scarcely account for the entire absence of all such traces. However, unless some support of this kind were resorted to, it is impossible that the larger halls at Kouyunjik could have been covered in. The great hall, or house, as it is rendered in the Bible, of the forest of Lebanon was thirty cubits high, upon four rows of cedar pillars with cedar beams upon the pillars. The [448]Assyrian kings, as we have seen, cut wood in the same forests as King Solomon; and probably used it for the same purpose, namely, for pillars, beams and ceilings. The dimensions of this hall, 100 cubits (about 150 feet) by 50 cubits (75 feet), very much resemble those of the center halls of the palaces of Nineveh. "The porch of pillars" was fifty cubits in length; equal, therefore, to the breadth of the hall, of which, we presume, it was a kind of inclosed space at the upper end, whilst "the porch for the throne where he might judge, even the porch of judgment * * * * covered with cedar wood from one side of the floor to the other," was probably a raised place within it, corresponding with a similar platform where the host and guests of honor are seated in a modern Eastern house. Supposing the three parts of the building to have been arranged as we have suggested, we should have an exact counterpart of them in the hall of audience of the Persian palaces. The upper part of the magnificent hall in which we have frequently seen the governor of Isfahan, was divided from the lower part by columns, and his throne was a raised place of carved headwork adorned with rich stuffs, ivory, and other precious materials. Suppliants and attendants stood outside the line of pillars, and the officers of the court within. Such also may have been the interior arrangements of the great halls in the Assyrian edifices.

We have already described the interior decorations of the Assyrian palaces, and have little more to add upon the subject. The walls of Kouyunjik were more elaborately decorated than those of Nimroud and Khorsabad. Almost every chamber explored there, and they amounted to about seventy, was paneled with alabaster slabs carved with numerous figures and with the minutest details. Each room appears to have been dedicated to some particular event, and in each, apparently, was the image of the king himself. In fact, the walls recorded in sculpture what the inscriptions did in writing—the great deeds of Sennacherib in [449]peace as well as in war. It will be remarked that, whilst in other Assyrian edifices the king is frequently represented taking an active part in war, slaying his enemies, and fighting beneath a besieged city, Sennacherib is never represented at Kouyunjik otherwise than in an attitude of triumph, in his chariot or on his throne, receiving the captives and the spoil. Nor is he ever seen torturing his prisoners, or putting them to death with his own hand.

There were chambers, however, in the palace of Sennacherib, as well as in those at Nimroud and Khorsabad, whose walls were simply coated with plaster, like the walls of Belshazzar's palace at Babylon. Some were probably richly ornamented in color with figures of men and animals, as well as with elegant designs; or others may have been paneled with cedar wainscoting, as the chambers in the temple and palaces of Solomon, and in the royal edifices of Babylon. Gilding, too, appears to have been extensively used in decoration, and some of the great sphinxes may have been overlaid with gold, like the cherubim in Solomon's temple. The cut on page 445 gives a beautiful representation of the interior of the palaces. It is taken from the halls of the palace of Sennacherib.

At Kouyunjik, the pavement slabs were not inscribed as at Nimroud; but those between the winged bulls, at some of the entrances, were carved with an elaborate and very elegant pattern. The doors were probably of wood, gilt, and adorned with precious materials, like the gates of the temple of Jerusalem, and their hinges appear to have turned in stone sockets, some of which were found in the ruins. To ward off the glare of an Eastern sun, hangings or curtains, of gay colors and of rich materials, were probably suspended to the pillars supporting the ceiling, or to wooden poles raised for the purpose, as in the palaces of Babylon and Shushan.

Layard's researches have satisfied him that a very [450]considerable period elapsed between the earliest and latest buildings discovered among the mounds of Nimroud. We incline to this opinion, but differ from the surmise that the ruins of Nimroud and the site of Nineveh itself are identical. The dimensions of Nineveh, as given by Diodorus Siculus, were 150 stadia on the two longest sides of the quadrangle, and 90 on the opposite; the square being 480 stadia, 60 miles; or, according to some, 74 miles. Layard thinks, that by taking the four great mounds of Nimroud, Kouyunjik, Khorsabad and Karamles, as the corners of a square, the four sides will correspond pretty accurately with the 60 miles of the geographer, and the three days' journey of the prophet Jonah.

The parallelogram, or line of boundary, being thus completed, we have now to ascertain how far it accords with the localities of the researches; and we find that it not only comprehends the principal mounds which have already been examined, but many others, in which ruins are either actually, or almost certainly, known to exist. Another important object of remark connected with this subject, is the thickness of the wall surrounding the palace of Khorsabad, which Botta states to be fifteen metres, i.e., forty-eight feet, nine inches, a very close approximation to the width of the wall of the city itself, which was "so broad as that three chariots might be driven upon it abreast." This is about half the thickness of the wall of Babylon, upon which "six chariots could be driven together," and which Herodotus tells were eighty-seven feet broad, or nearly double that of Khorsabad. The extraordinary dimensions of the walls of cities is supported by these remains at Khorsabad. The Median wall, still existing, in part nearly entire, and which crosses obliquely the plain of Mesopotamia from the Tigris to the banks of the Euphrates, a distance of forty miles, is another example. The great wall of China, also, of like antiquity, we are told, "traverses high mountains, deep valleys, and, by means of arches, wide [451]rivers, extending from the province of Shen Si to Wanghay, or the Yellow Sea, a distance of 1,500 miles. In some places, to protect exposed passages, it is double and treble. The foundation and corner stones are of granite, but the principal part is of blue bricks, cemented with pure white mortar. At distances of about 200 paces are distributed square towers or strong bulwarks." In less ancient times, the Roman walls in our own country supply additional proof of the universality of this mode of enclosing a district or guarding a boundary before society was established on a firm basis. It may be objected against the foregoing speculations on the boundary of Nineveh, that the river runs within the walls instead of on the outside. In reply, we submit that when the walls were destroyed, as described by the historian, the flooded river would force for itself another channel, which in process of time would become more and more devious from the obstructions offered by the accumulated ruins, until it eventually took the channel in which it now flows.

Babylon was the most beautiful and the richest city in the world. Even to our age, it stands as a marvel. It was built about 3,000 years ago, but did not reach the summit of its magnificence until about 570 years Before Christ, when Nebuchadnezzar lavished almost an endless amount of wealth upon it.

Its magnitude was 480 furlongs, or sixty miles, in compass. It was built in an exact square of fifteen miles on each side, and was surrounded by a brick wall eighty-seven feet thick and 350 feet high, on which were 250 towers, or, according to some writers, 316. The top of the wall was wide enough to allow six chariots to drive abreast. The materials for building the wall were dug from a vast ditch or moat, which was also walled up with brickwork and then filled with water from the River Euphrates. This moat was just outside of the walls, and surrounded the city as another strong defence.

The city had 100 brass gates, one at the end of each of its [452]fifty streets. The streets were 150 feet wide and ran at right angles through the city, thus forming 676 great squares. Herodotus says besides this there was yet another wall which ran around within, not much inferior to the other, yet narrower, and the city was divided into two equal parts by the River Euphrates, over which was a bridge, and at each end of the bridge was a palace. These palaces had communication with each other by a subterranean passage.

To prevent the city from suffering from an overflow of the river during the summer months, immense embankments were raised on either side, with canals to turn the flood waters of the Tigris. On the western side of the city an artificial lake was excavated forty miles square, or 160 miles in circumference, and dug out, according to Megasthenes, seventy-five feet deep, into which the river was turned when any repairs were to be made, or for a surplus of water, in case the river should be cut off from them.

Near to the old palace stood the Tower of Babel. This prodigious pile consisted of eight towers, each seventy-five feet high, rising one upon another, with an outside winding staircase to its summit, which, with its chapel on the top, reached a height of 660 feet. On this summit is where the chapel of Belus was erected, which contained probably the most expensive furniture of any in the world. One golden image forty feet high was valued at $17,500,000, and the whole of the sacred utensils were reckoned to be worth $200,000,000. There are still other wonderful things mentioned. One, the subterraneous banqueting rooms, which were made under the River Euphrates and were constructed entirely of brass; and then, as one of the seven wonders of the world, were the famous hanging gardens; they were 400 feet square and were raised 350 feet high, one terrace above the other, and were ascended by a staircase ten feet wide. The terraces were supported by large vaultings resting upon [453]curb-shaped pillars and were hollow and filled with earth, to allow trees of the largest size to be planted, the whole being constructed of baked bricks and asphalt. The entire structure was strengthened and bound together by a wall twenty-two feet in thickness. The level of the terrace was covered with large stones, over which was a bed of rushes, then a thick layer of asphalt, next two courses of bricks likewise cemented with asphalt, and finally plates of lead to prevent leakage, the earth being heaped on the platform and terrace and large trees planted. The whole had the appearance from a distance of woods overhanging mountains.

The great work is affirmed to have been effected by Nebuchadnezzar to gratify his wife, Anytis, daughter of Astyages, who retained strong predilection for the hills and groves which abounded in her native Media.

Babylon flourished for nearly 200 years in this scale of grandeur, during which idolatry, pride, cruelty, and every abomination prevailed among all ranks of the people, when God, by His prophet, pronounced its utter ruin, which was accordingly accomplished, commencing with Cyrus taking the city, after a siege of two years, in the year 588 Before Christ, to emancipate the Jews, as foretold by the prophets. By successive overthrows this once "Glory of the Chaldees' Excellency," this "Lady of Kingdoms," has become a "desolation" without an inhabitant, and its temple a vast heap of rubbish.

The ancient Tower of Babel is now a mound of oblong form, the total circumference of which is 2,286 feet. At the eastern side it is cloven by a deep furrow and is not more than fifty or sixty feet high, but on the western side it rises in a conical figure to the elevation of 198 feet, and on its summit is a solid pile of brick thirty-seven feet in height and twenty-eight in breadth, diminishing in thickness to the top, which is broken and irregular and rent by large fissures extending through a third of its height; it is perforated with small holes.

[454]The fire-burnt bricks of which it is built have inscriptions on them, and so excellent is the cement, which appears to be lime mortar, that it is nearly impossible to extract one whole. The other parts of the summit of this hill are occupied by immense fragments of brickwork of no determinate figure, tumbled together and converted into solid vitrified masses, as if they had undergone the action of the fiercest fire, or had been blown up by gunpowder, the layers of brick being perfectly discernible. These ruins surely proclaim the divinity of the Scriptures. Layard says the discoveries amongst the ruins of ancient Babylon were far less numerous and important than could have been anticipated. No sculptures or inscribed slabs, the paneling of the walls of palaces, appear to exist beneath them, as in those of Nineveh. Scarcely a detached figure in stone, or a solitary tablet, has been dug out of the vast heaps of rubbish. "Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground." (Isaiah xxi. 9.)

The complete absence of such remains is to be explained by the nature of the materials used in the erection of even the most costly edifices of Babylon. In the vicinity there were no quarries of alabaster, or of limestone, such as existed near Nineveh. The city was built in the midst of an alluvial country, far removed from the hills. The deposits of the mighty rivers which have gradually formed the Mesopotamian plains consist of a rich clay. Consequently stone for building purposes could only be obtained from a distance. The black basalt, a favorite material amongst the Babylonians for carving detached figures, and for architectural ornaments, as appears from fragments found amongst the ruins, came from the Kurdish Mountains, or from the north of Mesopotamia.

The Babylonians were content to avail themselves of the building materials which they found on the spot. With the tenacious mud of their alluvial plains, mixed with chopped straw, [455]they made bricks, whilst bitumen and other substances collected from the immediate neighborhood furnished them with an excellent cement. A knowledge of the art of manufacturing glaze, and colors, enabled them to cover their bricks with a rich enamel, thereby rendering them equally ornamental for the exterior and interior of their edifices. The walls of their palaces and temples were also coated, as we learn from several passages in the Bible, with mortar and plaster, which, judging from their cement, must have been of very fine quality. The fingers of a man's hand wrote the words of condemnation of the Babylonian empire "upon the plaster of the king's palace." Upon those walls were painted historical and religious subjects, and various ornaments, and, according to Diodorus Siculus, the bricks were enameled with the figures of men and animals. Images of stone were no doubt introduced into the buildings. We learn from the Bible that figures of the gods in this material, as well as in metal, were kept in the Babylonian temples. But such sculptures were not common, otherwise more remains of them must have been discovered in the ruins. The great inscription of Nebuchadnezzar, engraved on a black stone, and divided into ten columns, in the museum formed by the East India Company, appears to contain some interesting details as to the mode of construction and architecture of the Babylonian palaces and temples.

It may be conjectured that, in their general plan, the Babylonian palaces and temples resembled those of Assyria. We know that the arts, the religion, the customs, and the laws of the two kindred people were nearly identical. They spoke, also, the same language, and used, very nearly, the same written characters. One appears to have borrowed from the other; and, without attempting to decide the question of the priority of the independent existence as a nation and of the civilization of either people, it can be admitted that they had a certain extent of [456]common origin, and that they maintained for many centuries an intimate connection. We find no remains of columns at Babylon, as none have been found at Nineveh. If such architectural ornaments were used, they must have been either of wood or of brick.

Although the building materials used in the great edifices of Babylon may seem extremely mean when compared with those employed in the stupendous palace-temples of Egypt, and even in the less massive edifices of Assyria, yet the Babylonians appear to have raised, with them alone, structures which excited the wonder and admiration of the most famous travelers of antiquity. The profuse use of color, and the taste displayed in its combination, and in the ornamental designs, together with the solidity and vastness of the immense structure upon which the buildings proudly stood, may have chiefly contributed to produce this effect upon the minds of strangers. The palaces and temples, like those of Nineveh, were erected upon lofty platforms of brickwork. The bricks, as in Assyria, were either simply baked in the sun, or were burned in the kiln. The latter are of more than one shape and quality. Some are square, others are oblong. Those from the Birs Nimroud are generally of a dark red color, while those from the Mujelibe are mostly of a light yellow. A large number of them have inscriptions in a complex cuneiform character peculiar to Babylon. These superscriptions have been impressed upon them by a stamp, on which the whole inscription was cut in relief. Each character was not made singly, as on the Assyrian bricks, and this is the distinction between them. Almost all the bricks brought from the ruins of Babylon bear the same inscription, with the exception of one or two unimportant words, and record the building of the city by Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabubaluchun. We owe the interpretation of these names to the late Dr. Hincks.

It may not be out of place to add a few remarks upon the [457]history of Babylon. The time of the foundation of this celebrated city is still a question which does not admit of a satisfactory determination, and into which we will not enter. Some believe it to have taken place at a comparatively recent date; but if, as the Egyptian scholars assert, the name of Babylon is found on monuments of the eighteenth Egyptian dynasty, we have positive evidence of its existence at least in the fifteenth century Before Christ. After the rise of the Assyrian empire, it appears to have been sometimes under the direct rule of the kings of Nineveh, and at other times to have been governed by its own independent chiefs. Expeditions against Babylon are recorded in the earliest inscriptions yet discovered in Assyria; and as it has been seen, even in the time of Sennacherib and his immediate predecessors, large armies were still frequently sent against its rebellious inhabitants. The Babylonian kingdom was, however, almost absorbed in that of Assyria, the dominant power of the East. When this great empire began to decline Babylon rose for the last time. Media and Persia were equally ready to throw off the Assyrian yoke, and at length the allied armies of Cyaxares and the father of Nebuchadnezzar captured and destroyed the capital of the Eastern world.

Babylon now rapidly succeeded to that proud position so long held by Nineveh. Under Nebuchadnezzar she acquired the power forfeited by her rival. The bounds of the city were extended; buildings of extraordinary size and magnificence were erected; her victorious armies conquered Syria and Palestine, and penetrated into Egypt. Her commerce, too, had now spread far and wide, from the east to the west, and she became "a land of traffic and a city of merchants."

But her greatness as an independent nation was short-lived. The neighboring kingdoms of Media and Persia, united under one monarch, had profited no less than Babylon, by the ruin of the Assyrian empire, and were ready to dispute with her the [458]dominion of Asia. Scarcely half a century had elapsed from the fall of Nineveh, when "Belshazzar, the king of the Chaldæans, was slain, and Darius, the Median, took the kingdom." From that time Babylonia sank into a mere province of Persia. It still, however, retained much of its former power and trade, and as we learn from the inscriptions of Bisutun, as well as from ancient authors, struggled more than once to regain its ancient independence.

After the defeat of Darius and the overthrow of the Persian supremacy, Babylon opened its gates to Alexander, who deemed the city not unworthy to become the capital of his mighty empire. On his return from India, he wished to rebuild the temple of Belus, which had fallen into ruins, and in that great work he had intended to employ his army, now no longer needed for war. The priests, however, who had appropriated the revenues of this sacred shrine, and feared lest they would have again to apply them to their rightful purposes, appear to have prevented him from carrying out his design.

This last blow to the prosperity and even existence of Babylon was given by Seleucus when he laid the foundation of his new capital on the banks of the Tigris (B.C. 322). Already Patrocles, his general, had compelled a large number of the inhabitants to abandon their homes, and to take refuge in the desert, and in the province of Susiana. The city, exhausted by the neighborhood of Seleucia, returned to its ancient solitude. According to some authors, neither the walls nor the temple of Belus existed any longer, and only a few of the Chaldæans continued to dwell around the ruins of their sacred edifices.

Still, however, a part of the population appear to have returned to their former seats, for, in the early part of the second century of the Christian era, we find the Parthian king, Evemerus, sending numerous families from Babylon into Media to be sold as slaves, and burning many great and beautiful edifices still standing in the city.

[459]In the time of Augustus, the city is said to have been entirely deserted, except by a few Jews who still lingered amongst the ruins. St. Cyril, of Alexandria, declares, that in his day, about the beginning of the fifth century, in consequence of the choking up of the great canals derived from the Euphrates, Babylon had become a vast marsh; and fifty years later the river is described as having changed its course, leaving only a small channel to mark its ancient bed. Then were verified the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah, that the mighty Babylon should be but "pools of water," that the sea should come upon her, and that she should be covered with the multitude of the waves thereof.

In the beginning of the seventh century, at the time of the Arab invasion, the ancient cities of Babylonia were "a desolation, a dry land and a wilderness." Amidst the heaps that alone marked the site of Babylon there rose the small town of Hillah.

Long before Babylon had overcome her rival Nineveh, she was famous for the extent and importance of her commerce. No position could have been more favorable than hers for carrying on a trade with all the regions of the known world. She stood upon a navigable stream that brought to her quays the produce of the temperate highlands of Armenia, approached in one part of its course within almost one hundred miles of the Mediterranean Sea, and emptied its waters into a gulf of the Indian Ocean. Parallel with this great river was one scarcely inferior in size and importance. The Tigris, too, came from the Armenian hills, flowed through the fertile districts of Assyria, and carried the varied produce to the Babylonian cities. Moderate skill and enterprise could scarcely fail to make Babylon, not only the emporium of the Eastern world, but the main link of commercial intercourse between the East and the West.

The inhabitants did not neglect the advantages bestowed upon them by nature. A system of navigable canals that may [460]excite the admiration of even the modern engineer, connected together the Euphrates and Tigris, those great arteries of her commerce.

The vast trade that rendered Babylon the gathering-place of men from all parts of the known world, and supplied her with luxuries from the remotest clime, had the effect of corrupting the manners of her people, and producing that general profligacy and those effiminate customs which mainly contributed to her fall. The description given by Herodotus of the state of the population of the city when under the dominion of the Persian kings, is sufficient to explain the cause of her speedy decay and ultimate ruin. The account of the Greek historian fully tallies with the denunciation of the Hebrew prophets against the sin and wickedness of Babylon. Her inhabitants had gradually lost their warlike character. When the Persian broke into their city they were reveling in debauchery and lust; and when the Macedonian conqueror appeared at their gates, they received with indifference the yoke of a new master.

Such were the causes of the fall of Babylon. Her career was equally short and splendid; and although she has thus perished from the face of the earth, her ruins are still classic, indeed sacred, ground. The traveler visits, with no common emotion, those shapeless heaps, the scene of so many great and solemn events. In this plain, according to tradition, the primitive families of our race first found a resting place. Here Nebuchadnezzar boasted of the glories of his city, and was punished for his pride. To these deserted halls were brought the captives of Judæa. In them Daniel, undazzled by the glories around him, remained steadfast to his faith, rose to be a governor amongst his rulers, and prophesied the downfall of the kingdom. There was held Belshazzar's feast, and was seen the writing on the wall. Between those crumbling mounds Cyrus entered the neglected gates. Those massive ruins cover the spot where Alexander died.


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Karnac and Baalbec.

The city of Thebes is, perhaps, the most astonishing work executed by the hand of man. Its ruins are the most unequivocal proof of the ancient civilization of Egypt, and of the high degree of power which the Egyptians had reached by the extent of their knowledge. Its origin is lost in the obscurity of time, it being coeval with the nation which first took possession of Egypt; and it is sufficient to give a proper idea of its antiquity to say that the building of Memphis was the first attempt made to rival the prosperity of Thebes.

Its extent was immense; it filled the whole valley which was permeated by the Nile. D'Anville and Denon state its circumference to have been thirty-six miles; its diameter not less than ten and a half. The number of its inhabitants was in proportion to these vast dimensions. Diodorus says that the houses were four and five stories high. Although Thebes had greatly fallen off from its ancient splendor at the time of Cambyses, yet it was the fury of this merciless conqueror that gave the last blow to its grandeur. This prince pillaged the temples, carried away all the ornaments of gold, silver, and ivory, which decorated its magnificent buildings, and ruined both its temples and its buildings. Before this unfortunate epoch, no city in the world could be compared with it in extent, splendor, and riches; and, according to the expression of Diodorus, the sun had never seen so magnificent a city.

Previous to the establishment of the monarchical [462]government, Thebes was the residence of the principal college of the priesthood, who ruled over the country. It is to this epoch that all writers refer the elevation of its most ancient edifices. The enumeration of them all would require more time than we have.

Here was the temple, or palace of Karnac, of Luxor; the Memnonium; and the Medineh-Tabou, or, as some other travelers spell it, Medinet-habou.

The temple, or the palace of Karnac was, without doubt, the most considerable monument of ancient Thebes. It was not less than a mile and a half in circumference, and enclosed about ten acres. M. Denon employed nearly twenty minutes on horseback in going round it, at full gallop. The principal entrance of the grand temple is on the northwest side, or that facing the river. From a raised platform commences an avenue of Crio-sphinxes leading to the front propyla, before which stood two granite statues of a Pharaoh. One of these towers retains a great part of its original height, but has lost its summit and cornice. Passing through the pylon of these towers you arrive at a large open court, or area, 275 feet by 329 feet, with a covered corridor on either side, and a double line of columns down the centre. Other propylæa terminate this area, with a small vestibule before the pylon, and form the front of the grand hall of assembly, the lintel stones of whose doorway were forty feet ten inches in length. The grand hall, or hypostyle hall, measures 170 feet by 329 feet, supported by a central avenue of twelve massive columns, 62 feet high (without the plinth or abacus), and 36 feet in circumference; besides 122 of smaller, or, rather less gigantic dimensions, 42 feet 5 inches in height, and 28 feet in circumference, distributed in seven lines, on either side of the former. It had in front two immense courts, adorned by ranges of columns, some of which were sixty feet high, and others eighty; and at their respective entrances there were two colossal statues on the same scale. In the middle of the second court there were four obelisks of granite of a finished workmanship, three of which are still standing. They stood before the sanctuary, built all of granite, and covered with sculptures representing symbolical attributes of the god to whom the temple was consecrated. This was the Maker of the universe, the Creator of all things, the Zeus of the Greeks, the Jupiter of the Latins, but the Ammon of the Egyptians. By the side of the sanctuary there were smaller buildings, probably the apartments of those attached to the service of the temple; and behind it other habitations, adorned with columns and porticos, which led into another immense court, having on each side closed passages, or corridors, and at the top a covered portico, or gallery, supported by a great number of columns and pilasters. In this way the sanctuary was entirety surrounded by these vast and splendid buildings, and the whole was enclosed by a wall, covered internally and externally with symbols and hieroglyphics, which went round the magnificent edifice.



[464]Beyond this wall there were other buildings, and other courts, filled with colossal statues of grey and white marble. These buildings, or temples, communicated with each other by means of galleries and passages, adorned with columns and statues. The most striking circumstance, however, is, that attached to this palace are the remains of a much more considerable edifice, of higher antiquity, which had been introduced into the general plan when this magnificent building was restored by the Pharaoh Amenophis, the third king of the eighteenth dynasty, nearly 4,000 years ago. This more ancient edifice, or rather its ruins, are considered to be more than 4,000 years old, or 2,272 years Before Christ. A second wall enclosed the whole mass of these immense and splendid buildings, the approach to which was by means of avenues, having on their right and left colossal figures of sphinxes. In one avenue they had the head [465]of a bull; in another they were represented with a human head; in a third with a ram's head. This last was a mile and a half in length, began at the southern gate, and led to the temple of Luxor.

Dr. Manning says: "We now enter the most stupendous pile of remains (we can hardly call them ruins) in the world. Every writer who has attempted to describe them avows his inability to convey any adequate idea of their extent and grandeur. The long covered avenues of sphinxes, the sculptured corridors, the columned aisles, the gates and obelisks, and colossal statues, all silent in their desolation, fill the beholder with awe." (See cut on page 463.)

There is no exaggeration in Champollion's words: "The imagination, which, in Europe, rises far above our porticos, sinks abashed at the foot of the 140 columns of the hypostyle hall at Karnac. The area of this hall is 70,629 feet; the central columns are thirty-six feet in circumference and sixty-two feet high, without reckoning the plinth and abacus. They are covered with paintings and sculptures, the colors of which are wonderfully fresh and vivid. If, as seems probable, the great design of Egyptian architecture was to impress man with a feeling of his own littleness, to inspire a sense of overwhelming awe in the presence of the Deity, and at the same time to show that the monarch was a being of superhuman greatness, these edifices were well adapted to accomplish their purpose. The Egyptian beholder and worshiper was not to be attracted and charmed, but overwhelmed. His own nothingness and the terribleness of the power and the will of God was what he was to feel. But, if the awfulness of Deity was thus inculcated, the divine power of the Pharaoh was not less strikingly set forth. He is seen seated amongst them, nourished from their breasts, folded in their arms, admitted to familiar intercourse with them. He is represented on the walls of the temple as of colossal stature, while the noblest [466]of his subjects are but pigmies in his presence; with one hand he crushes hosts of his enemies, with the other he grasps that of his patron deity.

"The Pharaoh was the earthly manifestation and avatar of the unseen and mysterious power which oppressed the souls of man with terror. 'I am Pharaoh,' 'By the life of Pharaoh,' 'Say unto Pharaoh whom art thou like in thy greatness.' These familiar phrases of Scripture gain a new emphasis of meaning as we remember them amongst these temple palaces."

Speaking of this magnificent temple, and of the avenue of sphinxes we have just mentioned, Belzoni exclaims, that "on approaching it the visitor is inspired with devotion and piety; their enormous size strikes him with wonder and respect to the gods to whom they were dedicated. The immense colossal statues, which are seated at each side of the gate, seems guarding the entrance to the holy ground; still farther on was the majestic temple, dedicated to the great God of the creation." And a little after, "I was lost," says he, "in a mass of colossal objects, every one of which was more than sufficient of itself alone to attract my whole attention. I seemed alone in the midst of all that is most sacred in the world; a forest of enormous columns, adorned all round with beautiful figures and various ornaments from top to bottom. The graceful shape of the lotus, which forms their capitals, and is so well-proportioned to the columns, that it gives to the view the most pleasing effect; the gates, the walls, the pedestals, and the architraves also adorned in every part with symbolical figures in basso relievo and intaglio, representing battles, processions, triumphs, feasts, offerings, and sacrifices, all relating to the ancient history of the country; the sanctuary, wholly formed of fine red granite, with the various obelisks standing before it, proclaiming to the distant passenger, 'Here is the seat of holiness;' the high portals, seen at a distance from the openings of the vast labyrinth of edifices; [467]the various groups of ruins of the other temples within sight; these altogether had such an effect upon my soul as to separate me, in imagination, from the rest of mortals, exalt me on high over all, and cause me to forget entirely the trifles and follies of life. I was happy for a whole day, which escaped like a flash of lightning."

Such is the language of Belzoni in describing these majestic ruins, and the effect they had upon him. Strong and enthusiastic as his expressions may, perhaps, appear, they are perfectly similar, we assure you, to those of other travelers. They all seem to have lost the power of expressing their wonder and astonishment, and frequently borrow the words and phrases of foreign nations to describe their feelings at the sight of these venerable and gigantic efforts of the old Egyptians.

We have said that this avenue of sphinxes led to the temple of Luxor.

This second temple, though not equal to that of Karnac in regard to its colossal proportions, was its equal in magnificence, and much superior to it in beauty and style of execution.

At its entrance there still stand two obelisks 100 feet high, and of one single block covered with hieroglyphics executed in a masterly style. It is at the feet of these obelisks that one may judge of the high degree of perfection to which the Egyptians had carried their knowledge in mechanics. We have seen that it costs fortunes to move them from their place. They were followed by two colossal statues forty feet high. After passing through three different large courts, filled with columns of great dimensions, the traveler reached the sanctuary, surrounded by spacious halls supported by columns, and exhibiting the most beautiful mass of sculpture in the best style of execution.

"It is absolutely impossible," again exclaims Belzoni, "to imagine the scene displayed, without seeing it. The most [468]sublime ideas that can be formed from the most magnificent specimens of our present architecture, would give a very incorrect picture of these ruins. It appeared to me like entering a city of giants, who, after a long conflict, were all destroyed, leaving ruins of their various temples, as the only proofs of their former existence. The temple of Luxor," he adds, "presents to the traveler at once one of the most splendid groups of Egyptian grandeur. The extensive propylæon, with the two obelisks, and colossal statues in the front; the thick groups of enormous columns, the variety of apartments, and the sanctuary it contains. The beautiful ornaments which adorn every part of the walls and columns, cause in the astonished traveler an oblivion of all that he has seen before."

So far Belzoni; and in this he is borne out by Champollion, who speaks of Thebes in terms of equal admiration. "All that I had seen, all that I had admired on the left bank," says this learned Frenchman, "appeared miserable in comparison with the gigantic conceptions by which I was surrounded at Karnac. I shall take care not to attempt to describe any thing; for either my description would not express the thousandth part of what ought to be said, or, if I drew a faint sketch, I should be taken for an enthusiast, or, perhaps, for a madman. It will suffice to add, that no people, either ancient or modern, ever conceived the art of architecture on so sublime and so grand a scale as the ancient Egyptians."

The Great Pyramid, which is yet an enigma, stands for our astonishment. Herodotus tells us, when speaking of the Labyrinth of Egypt, that it had 3,000 chambers, half of them above and half below ground. He says, "The upper chambers I myself passed through and saw, and what I say concerning them is from my own observation. Of the underground chambers I can only speak from the report, for the keepers of the building could not be got to show them, since they contained, as they said, the [469]sepulchres of the kings who built the labyrinth, and also those of the sacred crocodiles; thus it is from hearsay only that I can speak of the lower chambers. The upper chambers, however, I saw with my own eyes, and found them to excel all other human productions. The passage through the houses, and the various windings of the path across the courts, excited in me infinite admiration, as I passed from the courts into the chambers, and from chambers into colonnades, and from colonnades into fresh houses, and again from these into courts unseen before. The roof was throughout of stone like the walls, and the walls were carved all over with figures. Every court was surrounded with a colonnade, which was built of white stone exquisitely fitted together. At the corner of the labyrinth stands a pyramid forty fathoms high, with large figures engraved on it, which is entered by a subterranean passage." No one who has read an account of the Great Pyramid of Egypt, the building of Solomon's Temple, and of the ruins of ancient stone buildings still remaining, will doubt the ability of the ancients in the art of building with stones. Baalbec has probably the largest stones ever used.



Baalbec is situated on a plain now called Bukaa, at the northern end of a low range of black hills, about one mile from the base of Anti-Lebanon.

It is unknown just how old it is, or by whom it was built. Dr. Kitto, in his "History of the Bible," ascribes the building of it to Solomon. But the present remains are mostly of a later period, probably about 3,000 years old. Some of the material [470]and some of the original foundations were used again for the second structures.

Baalbec has justly received a world-wide celebrity, owing to the magnificence of its ruins, which have excited the wonder and admiration of travelers who have enjoyed the privilege of seeing them. Its temples are among the most magnificent of Grecian architecture. The temples of Athens no doubt excel them in taste and purity of style, but they are vastly inferior in dimensions.

While the edifices of Thebes exceed them in magnitude, they bear no comparison with the symmetry of the columns, with the richness of the doorways, and the friezes, which abound at Baalbec. The foundations of the great temple are themselves entitled to rank with the pyramids among the wonders of the world, being raised twenty feet above the level of the ground, and have in them stones of one solid mass ninety feet long, eighteen feet wide, and thirteen feet thick.

The main attractions, however, are the three temples or main chambers. The first, which may be called the great temple, consists of a peristyle, of which only six columns remain, two courts and a portico are standing on an artificial platform, nearly thirty feet high, and having vaults underneath. Beneath the whole platform is an immense court of two hundred feet across; it is a hexagon or nearly round shape. It is accessible by a vaulted passage, which leads to a triplet gateway, with deep mouldings, which opens into the first court.

The great court is 440 feet long by 370 feet wide, and has on each of its sides niches and columns, which, even in their ruins, are magnificent.

The two sides exactly correspond with each other, but the south is in better condition than the other. These niches have columns in front of them in the style of the hexagon, with chambers at the angles of the great court or square. The visitor [471]entering through the portico, and passing into the great court, has before him on the opposite side (the west) of the court, the Great Temple originally dedicated to Baal. This was a magnificent peristyle measuring 290 feet by 160 feet, with nineteen huge columns on each side, and ten on each end, making fifty-eight in all. The circumference of these columns at the base is twenty-three feet and two inches, and at the top twenty feet; and their height, including base and capital, was seventy-five feet, while over this was the entablature fourteen feet more. In the walls of the foundation are seen those enormous stones, some ninety feet in length; others, sixty-four, sixty-three, sixty-two, etc., and all from thirteen to eighteen feet wide, and very frequently thirteen feet thick. These stones mark the extent of a platform of unknown antiquity, but far older than the peristyle temple, and it is from this that the temple took its early date and name. It is probable that the great stones lying in the adjoining quarry were intended for it, as the temple at that date seems to have been left unfinished.

Temple of Karnac

Engraved & Printed by Illman Brothers.



The second temple has not quite the dimensions that the first has, but it is one of the grandest monuments of the ancient art in Syria. It is 227 feet by 117. Its peristyle is composed of forty-two columns, fifteen on each side and eight on each end. At the portico was an immense row of six fluted columns, and within these, and opposite to the ends of the antæ, were two others. The height of these columns is sixty-five feet, and their circumference nineteen feet and two inches, while the entablature, richly ornamented above the columns, was about twelve feet high.

The portico is destroyed, only a few pieces of the shafts remaining, and the steps by which it was approached are also destroyed. The columns of the peristyle have mostly fallen; but four remain with their entablatures on the south side near the portico; on the west end there are six remaining, and on the [472]north there are nine. The cut on page 473 gives somewhat of an idea of this temple.

In 1759 an earthquake threw down three columns of the great temple and nine of the peristyle of the Temple of the Sun. It would appear as though nothing but an earthquake could destroy these remains, and they even seem to withstand this with wonderful resistance. At the western end is the cella, or innermost sacred part of the edifice, it is 160 feet by 85. A modern wall was built across the vestibule and the only entrance is through a low hole broken in the wall. Entering through this aperture the spectator has before him the gem of the structure, the great portal. It was twenty-one feet high and forty-two feet long and gorgeously ornamented. The sides are each of a single stone, and the lintels are composed of three huge blocks. Borders of fruit, flowers and leaves are profuse on the architrave, and on the soffit of the door is the celebrated figure of the eagle with a caduceus in his talons, and in his beak strings of long twisted garlands, which are extended on each side and have the opposite ends borne by flying genii.

In 1751 the portal was perfect. When Wood sketched it, but eight years afterwards, the shock of an earthquake rent the wall and permitted the central stone to sink about two feet. Yet, even in this state, it is one of the most striking and beautiful gateways in the world. The first compartment measures ninety-eight feet by sixty-seven, having fluted columns on each side, and the sanctum, or place for the altar and statue, occupies a space of twenty-nine feet deep at the western end and considerably raised above the floor of the nave. Such were the arrangements of this vast magnificent edifice.

It may be well to mention here another building although not so old nor large, but we wish to speak of it because it is so remarkable in withstanding time.



We are speaking of the Pantheon, the splendid building [474]erected by M. Agrippa, the friend of Augustus, in immediate connection with the Thermæ, built and dedicated to Jupiter Ultor by him. This building, which embodied, as it were, the highest aspirations of Roman national pride and power, was completed, according to the original inscription preserved on it, B.C. 25, in which year Agrippa was consul for the third time. According to the statement of Pliny ("His. Nat.," 36, 24, I), which however, has been disputed, it was originally dedicated to Jupiter Ultor, whose statue, therefore, undoubtedly stood in the chief niche opposite the entrance. The other six niches contained the statues of as many gods; those of the chief deities of the Julian family, Mars and Venus, and of the greatest son of that family, the divine Cæsar, being the only ones amongst the number of which we have certain knowledge. Was it that the statues of Mars and Venus showed the attributes of the other principal gods, or that the statues of the latter stood in the small chapels (ædiculæ) between the niches, or that the unequaled enormous cupola was supposed to represent heaven, that is, the house of all the gods? Certain it is that, together with the old appellation the new name of the Pantheon, i.e., temple of all the gods, was soon applied to the building. The latter name has been unanimously adopted by posterity, and has even originated the Christian destination of the edifice as church of all the martyrs (S. Maria ad Martyres). Without entering into the consecutive changes the building has undergone in the course of time, we will now attempt a description of its principal features. The temple consists of two parts, the round edifice and the portico. The former was 132 feet in diameter, exclusive of the thickness of the wall, which amounts to 19 feet. The wall is perfectly circular, and contains eight apertures, one of which serves as entrance, while the others form, in a certain order, either semicircular or quadrangular niches; the former are covered by semi-cupolas, the latter by barrel-vaults. Only the niche opposite the entrance is, [475]at the present time, uninterrupted, and open up to its full height, thus corresponding with the formation of the entrance section; in front of each of the others, two columns have been erected, the beams of which close the opening of the semicircular vault. To this chief portion of the building is attached the splendid portico which, in the manner of the above-mentioned temples, projects by three columns, besides a massive wall-structure. The frontage [476]shows eight columns. As a rule, the whole space of the pronaos was without columns; contrary to the rule we here see it divided into three naves by means of two pairs of columns. The center nave, which was also the widest, led to the entrance-door, each of the two others being terminated by an enormous niche. Not to mention æsthetical considerations, these columns were required as props of the roof covering the vast space (the portico is about 100 feet long).





The columns of the portico carried beams, on the frieze of which the following inscription in large letters has been placed: M·AGRIPPA·L·F·COS·TERTIUM·FECIT. Another inscription below this one, in smaller characters, states the building to have been restored by Septimius Severus and Caracalla. The beams carry a large pediment, originally adorned with groups of statues representing Jupiter's victories over the Gigantes. Behind and above this gable rises a second one of the same proportions, serving as an ornament of the projecting wall which connects the round building with the portico. The roof of the portico was supported by beams made of brass. According to the drawing of Serlio, these beams were not massive, but consisted of brass plates riveted together into square pipes—a principle frequently applied by modern engineers on a larger scale in building bridges, etc. Unfortunately, the material of the roof, barring some of the large rivets, has been used by Pope Urban VIII. for guns and various ornaments of doubtful taste in St. Peter's Cathedral. The large columns carrying the ugly tabernacle on the grave of St. Peter are one of the results of this barbarous spoliation. The old door, also made of brass, which leads from the portico into the interior has, on the contrary, been preserved. The outer appearance of the round building is simple and dignified. It most likely was originally covered with stucco and terra-cotta ornaments, of which, however, little remains at present; but the simple bricks, particularly in the upper stripes, [477]where the insertion of the vault becomes visible, look, perhaps, quite as beautiful as the original coating. The whole cylinder of masonry is divided into three stripes by means of cornices, which break the heaviness of the outline, the divisions of the inner space corresponding to those of the outer surface. The first of these stripes is about forty feet high, and rests on a base of Travertine freestone. It consists of simple horizontal slabs of stone, broken only by doors which lead to chambers built in the thickness of the wall between the niches. It corresponds to the columns forming the first story of the interior, the two cornices, in and outside, being on a level. The second stripe, about thirty feet in height, answers to the second story of the interior, where the semicircular arches of the niches are situated. The horizontal stone layers outside are accordingly broken by large double arches, destined to balance the vaults in the interior. They alternate with smaller arches, thus forming a decoration of the exterior at once dignified and in harmony with the general design of the building. The two cornices in and outside are again on a level. The third stripe corresponds to the cupola, the tension of which is equal to 140 feet. The outer masonry reaches up to about a third of its height, from which point the cupola proper begins to rise in seven mighty steps.

The height of the dome is equal to the diameter of the cylindrical building, 132 feet, which adds to the sober and harmonious impression of the whole building. The lower of the [478]above-mentioned interior stories is adorned with columns and pilasters, the latter of which enclosed the niches. Eight of these columns, over thirty-two feet in height, are monoliths of giallo antico—a yellow kind of marble beautifully veined, and belonging to the most valuable materials used by ancient architects. Six other columns are made of a kind of marble known as pavonazzetto; by an ingenious mode of coloring these columns are made to harmonize with those consisting of the rarer material. Above the first lies a second lower story, the architectural arrangements of which may be recognized from Adler's ingenious attempt at reconstruction. Its original decoration consisted of tablets of [479]colored marble, the effect being similar to that of a sequence of narrow pilasters. This original decoration has later been changed for another. Above the chief cornice which crowns this story, and at the same time terminates the circular walls, rises the cupola, divided into five stripes, each of which contains twenty-five "caskets" beautifully worked and in excellent perspective. In the center at the top is an opening, forty feet in diameter, through which the light enters the building. Near this opening a fragment has been preserved of the bronze ornamentation which once seems to have covered the whole cupola. Even without these elegant decorations the building still excites the spectator's admiration, as one of the masterpieces of Roman genius.



Obelisks were in Egypt commemorative pillars recording the style and the title of the king who erected them, his piety, and the proof he gave of it in dedicating those monoliths to the deity whom he especially wished to honor. They are made of a single block of stone, cut into a quadrilateral form, the width diminishing gradually from the base to the top of the shaft, which terminates in a small pyramid (pyramidion). They were placed on a plain square pedestal, but larger than the obelisk itself. Obelisks are of Egyptian origin. The Romans and the moderns have imitated them, but they never equaled their models.

Egyptian obelisks are generally made of red granite of Syene. There are some, however, of smaller dimensions made of sandstone and basalt. They were generally placed in pairs at the entrances of temples, on each side of the propyla. The shaft was commonly ten diameters in height, and a fourth narrower at the top than at the base. Of the two which were before the palace of Luxor at Thebes, one is seventy-two feet high, and six feet, two inches wide at the base; the other is seventy-seven feet high, and seven feet, eight inches wide. Each face is adorned with hieroglyphical inscriptions in intaglio, and the summit is terminated by a pyramid, the four sides of which represent [480]religious scenes, also accompanied by inscriptions. The corners of the obelisks are sharp and well cut, but their faces are not perfectly plane, and their slight convexity is a proof of the attention the Egyptians paid to the construction of their monuments. If their faces were plane they would appear concave to the eye; the convexity compensates for this optical illusion. The hieroglyphical inscriptions are in a perpendicular line, sometimes there is but one in the middle of the breadth of the face, and often there are three. The inscription was a commemoration by the king who had the temple or palace built before which the obelisk was placed. It contained a record stating the houses and titles which the king who erected, enlarged, or gave rich presents to a temple, had received in return from the priesthood, and setting forth, for instance, that Rameses was the lord of an obedient people, and the beloved of Ammon. Such is the subject of the inscription which is in the middle of each face of the obelisks; and though the name of the same king and the same events are repeated on the four sides, there exists in the four texts, when compared, some difference, either in the invocation to the particular divinities or in the titles of the king. Every obelisk had, in its original form, but a single inscription on each face, and of the same period of the king who had erected it; but a king who came after him, adding a court, a portico, or colonnade to the temple or palace, had another inscription relative to his addition, with his name engraved on the original obelisk; thus, every obelisk adorned with many inscriptions is of several periods. The pyramidion which terminates them generally represents in its sculptures the king who erected the obelisk making different offerings to the principal deity of the temple, and to other divinities. Sometimes also the offering is of the obelisk itself. The short inscriptions of the pyramidion bear the oval of the king and the name of the divinity. By these ovals can be known the names of the kings who erected the obelisks still existing, [481]whether in Egypt or elsewhere. The largest obelisk known is that of St. John Lateran, Rome. It was brought from Heliopolis to Alexandria by the emperor Constantine, and was conveyed to Rome by Constantius, who erected it in the Circus Maximus. The height of the shaft is 105 feet, 7 inches. The sides are of [482]unequal breadth at the base, two measure nine feet, eight and one-half inches, the other two only nine feet. It bears the name of Thohtmes III. in the central, and that of Thohtmes IV. in the lateral lines, kings of the eighteenth dynasty, in the fifteenth century B.C. The two obelisks at Luxor were erected by the king Rameses II., of the nineteenth dynasty, 1311 B.C. (Wilkinson). One of these has been taken to Paris. The obelisk of Heliopolis bears the name of Osirtasen I., 2020 B.C. (Wilkinson), and is consequently the most ancient. It is about sixty-seven feet high. The obelisks at Alexandria were brought from Heliopolis about 2,000 years ago. The one that was lying in the sand, and the smaller of the two, was removed to London some years ago, and the other, which was still standing, was presented to the United States by Ismail Pasha, father of the present Khedive. This monument of antiquity is an inestimable treasure to our country. It bears the name of Thohtmes III. In the lateral lines are the ovals of Rameses the Great. It is of red granite of Syene. It bears the name of Cleopatra's Needle, is about seventy feet high, with a diameter at its base of seven feet, seven inches. We can hardly appreciate that we should have standing in New York a relic so ancient—a column upon which Moses and Aaron looked, and doubtless read its hieroglyphic inscription; that Rameses the Great (Sesostris) had his knightly banner carved upon it; that Darius, Cambyses, Alexander the Great, the Ptolemies, Julius Cæsar, Cleopatra, Mark Antony and Augustus knew it; that it was equally known and beheld of Pythagoras, Herodotus and Strabo; that a long procession of the most illustrious characters of the middle ages have passed before it, from the days of Clement and Anastasius to those of Don John of Austria; and, finally, that it was the first herald of Egypt to Napoleon and Mohammed Ali. A monument like this will truly be cherished by every citizen. The obelisk of the Piazza del Popolo claims great interest, as it [483]also stood before the Temple of the Sun at Heliopolis. Lepsius attributes it to Meneptha. It was removed to Rome by Augustus, B.C. 19, to ornament the Circus Maximus. The obelisk in front of St. Peter's was brought to Rome by Caligula, and placed on the Vatican in the Circus of Caligula. It is about eighty-three feet high. There are several other Egyptian obelisks in Rome. Nothing can afford a greater idea of the skill of the Egyptians, and of their wonderful knowledge of mechanism, than the erection of these monoliths.


OBELISK OF HELIOPOLIS. (Over 4000 years old).ToList

The following is a translation of the hieroglyphic writing which is set into it: "The Horus; the living from his birth; the king of Upper and Lower Egypt; Ra Kheper Ka; Lord of the two diadems; Son of the sun; Osirtasen; the loved of the God of Heliopolis from his birth; Ever-living; The golden Horus; the Good God; Ra Kheper Ka to the first celebration of the panegyry. He (has) made (this obelisk) the eternal generator."

The Greeks never made obelisks outside of Egypt. The Macedonian kings, or Ptolemies, who reigned in that country, from Alexander to Augustus, erected, terminated, or enlarged many monuments, but always according to Egyptian rules. Egyptian artists executed obelisks for their Greek princes, but they did not depart, any more than in the other monuments, from their ancient customs. The Egyptian style and proportions are always to be recognized, and the inscriptions are also traced in hieroglyphics. The obelisk found at Philæ was erected in honor of Ptolemy Evergetes II. and of Cleopatra, his sister, or Cleopatra, his wife, and placed on a base bearing a Greek inscription relating the reason and occasion of this monument. It was removed from Philæ by Belzoni, and has been now erected at Kingston Hall, Dorset, by Mr. Bankes. It is very far from equaling the Pharaonic obelisks in dimensions, it being only twenty-two feet high.

After the Romans had made Egypt a Roman province they carried away some of its obelisks. Augustus was the first who conceived the idea of transporting these immense blocks to Rome; he was imitated by Caligula, Constantine, and others. They were generally erected in some circus. Thirteen remain at the present day at Rome, some of which are of the time of the Roman domination in Egypt. The Romans had obelisks made in honor of their princes, but the material and the [484]workmanship of the inscriptions cause them to be easily distinguished from the more ancient obelisks. The Barberini obelisk, on the Monte Pincio, is of this number; it bears the names of Adrian, of Sabina, his wife, and of Antinous, his favorite. The obelisk of the Piazza Navona, from the style of its hieroglyphics, is supposed to be a Roman work of the time of Domitian. The name of Santus Rufus can be read on the Albani obelisk, now at Munich, and as there are two Roman prefects of Egypt known of that name, it was, therefore, one of those magistrates who had executed in that country these monuments in honor of the reigning emperors, and then had them sent to Rome. The Romans also attempted to make obelisks at Rome; such is the obelisk of the Trinita de' Monti, which formerly stood in the Circus of Sallust. It is a bad copy of that of the Porta del Popolo. The Roman emperors in the east had also some Egyptian obelisks transported to Constantinople. Fragments of two of these monuments have been found in Sicily, at Catania; one of them has eight sides, but it is probably not a genuine Egyptian work. The use of the obelisk as a gnomon, and the erection of it on a high base in the center of an open space, were only introduced on the removal of single obelisks to Rome.

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Mythology is from the word myth, meaning fable, it is therefore a system of fabulous opinions and doctrines respecting the deities which the heathen nations have supposed to preside over the world or to influence its affairs.

They had twelve gods, Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, Mercury, Mars, Vulcan, Apollo, Diana, Minerva, Juno, Ceres and Vesta. Besides these there were other lesser gods, Bacchus, Isis, Hebe, the Muses and the Fates, etc.; also Sleep, Dreams and Death; and there were still others who had free will and intelligence, and having mixed forms, such as the Pegasus, or winged horse, the Centaur, half man and half horse, Hydra, etc.

The Greek theory of the origin of things was that the beginning was chaos laden with the seed of all nature, then came the Earth and the Heavens, or Uranus; these two were married and from this union came a numerous and powerful brood. First were the six Titans, all males, and then the six females, and the Cyclops, three in number; these latter were of gigantic size, having but one eye, and that in the center of the forehead. They represented Thunder, Lightning and Fire, or the rapid flame.

The Titans made war upon their father and wounded him, and from the drops of blood which flowed from the wound and [486]fell upon the earth sprang the Furies, whose names signified "Unceasing," "Envier," and "Blood-Avenger;" and the Giants and melian Nymphs, and from the blood drops which fell into the sea sprang Venus, the goddess of love and beauty.

The youngest and bravest son, Saturn, who wounded and dethroned his father, was, by the consent of his brethren, permitted to reign with an understanding that his male children should all be destroyed. But his wife, Rhea, hid from him three of her sons, Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto, who, waging a ten-year war against their father, finally dethroned him and divided the kingdom among themselves. The oldest, Jupiter, had the heavens, and reigned over all gods, Neptune over the sea, and Pluto the lower regions.

Jupiter then built his courts on Mount Olympos, reigned supreme god over heaven and earth; he was called the father of man and gods, and is placed at the head of the entire creation.

He is generally represented as majestic in appearance, seated on a throne with a sceptre in one hand and thunderbolts in the other. Jupiter had a number of wives; he also married his sister Juno, who was the queen goddess. Besides Jupiter, Juno, Neptune and Pluto the other eight gods were the children of Jupiter.

Neptune was second to Jupiter in power. He is represented as carrying a trident or three-tined fork, with which he strikes the earth and shakes it; he is therefore often called the "earth-shaker." He is usually represented like Jupiter, of a serene and majestic aspect, seated in a chariot made of shells and drawn by dolphins and sea-horses, while the Tritons and the Nymphs gambol about him.

Pluto is represented as the grim, stern ruler over hell. He is also called Hades and Orcus. He has a throne of sulphur, from beneath which flows the Rivers Lethe, or "Oblivion," Phlegethon, Cocytus and Acheron. In one hand he holds his fork and in the other the keys of hell, and beside him is the dog with [487]three heads. He is described as being well qualified for his position, being inexorable and deaf to supplications, and an object of aversion and hatred to both gods and men. From his realms there is no return, and all mankind, sooner or later, are sure to be gathered into his kingdom.

As none of the goddesses would marry the stern and gloomy god, he seized Proserpine, the daughter of Ceres, while she was gathering flowers, and opened the earth and carried her through into his dominion.

Mercury was the messenger and ambassador of the gods. He was represented by wings on his hat, and sandals, and usually carrying a wand, or staff, with two serpents twined around it. He himself was a god of eloquence and the patron of orators, merchants, thieves, robbers, travelers and shepherds.

Mars was the god of war. Sorrow and fear accompanied him, disorder and discord in tattered garments go before him and anger and clamor follow. He is of huge size and gigantic strength, and his voice was louder than those of ten thousand mortals.

Vulcan was the forger, and is generally represented at an anvil in a short tunic, with a hammer in his right hand. He was lame when he was born, and his mother, Juno, was so shocked that she flung him headlong from the Mt. Olympos.

Apollo was the god of archery, prophecy and music, and is usually seen with a harp in his hand and of beautiful figure.

Diana was the goddess of chase, and appears with a bow in her hand and a quiver of arrows at her back, and on her side is a hound. She devoted herself to perpetual celibacy, and her chief joy was to speed like a Dorian maid over the hills, followed by a train of nymphs in pursuit of the flying game.

Minerva is the goddess of wisdom and skill, and the teacher in warfare. She has a serious and thoughtful countenance, a spear in one hand and a shield in the other, while a helmet covers her head. She is said to have sprung from the brains of Jupiter.

[488]Juno, the wife of Jupiter, was haughty, jealous and inexorable; a goddess of dignified and matronly air, often found with a peacock at her feet.

Ceres is the goddess of grain and harvest. She is represented riding on a chariot drawn by dragons, and distributing grain to the different regions of the earth. She holds in one hand corn and wheat, in the other a lighted torch, and wears on her head a garland of wheat heads.

After Pluto stole her daughter, Proserpine, she searched for her throughout the whole world.

Vesta, the goddess of the household and domestic hearths, is represented in a long-flowing robe, with a veil on her head, a lamp in one hand, and a spear or javelin in the other. In her temple at Rome, the sacred fire was guarded by six priestesses, called the Vestal Virgins.

Among the lesser gods there were many, but the most common was Bacchus, who was the god of lust, wine, and the patron of drunkenness and debauchery. He is represented as an effeminate young man, with long flowing hair. In one hand he holds a goblet, in the other a bunch of grapes and a short dagger.

The Muses were goddesses who presided over music and poetry, and all the liberal arts and sciences. They were nine in number.

The Graces were three in number, and personified Splendor, Joy and Pleasure. They were three beautiful sisters, standing with their arms entwined.

The Fates were also three goddesses, who presided over the destiny of mortals. The first was the staff of life, the second spun the cord, and the third cut it off.

This is a brief outline of the origin and nature of the gods and goddesses: and the legends are numerous, and some of them are of exceeding interest and beauty, while others shock and disgust us by the gross impossibilities and hideous deformities which they [489]reveal. We have concluded to give a direct translation of them from the Greek, so that the reader may have them in the pure original form, and thereby have not only the beauty and interest retained, but at the same time an idea of the style of the ancient writings; only a few stories have been modified to bring them nearer to the level of the rest. We will, however, be obliged to use the Greek names instead of the Latin in this translation, as it is from the Greek, and will therefore give the names translated below:

Greek. Latin.
Zeus, Jupiter.
Here, Juno.
Poseidon, Neptune.
Plouton, Pluto.
Demeter, Ceres.
Apollo, Apolo.
Artemis, Diana.
Hephaistos, Vulcan.
Athene, Minerva.
Ares, Mars.
Aphrodite, Venus.
Hermes, Mercury.
Hestia, Vesta.

The most of the Greek people appear to have believed that their divinities were real persons, but their philosophers explained the legends concerning them as allegorical representations of general physical and moral truths. The Greeks, therefore, instead of favoring nature, worshiped the powers of nature personified.


From land to land the lady Leto wandered in fear and sorrow, for no city or country would give her a home where she might abide in peace. From Crete to Athens, from Athens to Ægina, from Ægina to the heights of Pelion and Athos, through all the islands of the wide Ægæan Sea, Skyros and Imbros and Lemnos, and Chios the fairest of all, she passed, seeking a home. [490]But in vain she prayed each land to receive her, until she came to the Island of Delos, and promised to raise it to great glory if only there she might rest in peace. And she lifted up her voice and said, "Listen to me, O island of the dark sea. If thou wilt grant me a home, all nations shall come unto thee, and great wealth shall flow in upon thee; for here shall Phœbus Apollo, the lord of light and life, be born, and men shall come hither to know his will and win his favor." Then answered Delos, and said, "Lady, thou promisest great things; but they say that the power of Phœbus Apollo will be such as nothing on the wide earth may withstand; and mine is but a poor and stony soil, where there is little to please the eye of those who look upon me. Wherefore I fear that he will despise my hard and barren land, and go to some other country where he will build a more glorious temple, and grant richer gifts to the people who come to worship him." But Leto swore by the dark water of Styx, and the wide heaven above, and the broad earth around her, that in Delos should be the shrine of Phœbus, and that there should the rich offerings burn on his altar the whole year round.

So Leto rested in the Island of Delos, and there was Phœbus Apollo born. And there was joy among the undying gods who dwell in Olympos, and the earth laughed beneath the smile of heaven. Then was his temple built in Delos, and men came to it from all lands to learn his will and offer rich sacrifices on his altar.


Long time Apollo abode in Delos; and every year all the children of Ion were gathered to the feast which was held before his temple. But at length it came to pass that Apollo went through many lands, journeying towards Pytho. With harp in [491]hand he drew nigh to the gates of Olympos, where Zeus and the gods dwell in their glory; and straightway all rejoiced for the sweetness of his harping. The Muses sang the undying gifts of the gods, and the griefs and woes of mortal men who can not flee from old age and death. The bright Horai joined hands together with Hebe and Harmonia; and Ares stood by the side of Aphrodite with Hermes the slayer of Argos, gazing on the face of Phœbus Apollo, which glistened as with the light of the new-risen sun. Then from Olympos he went down into the Pierian land, to Iolkos and the Lelantian plain; but it pleased him not there to build himself a home. Thence he wandered on to Mykalessos, and, traversing the grassy plains of Teumessos, came to the sacred Thebes; but neither would he dwell there, for no man had yet come hither, neither was there road nor path, but only wild forests in all the land.


JUPITER. (Zeus)ToList

Further and further he roamed, across the stream of Kephisos and beyond Okalea and Haliartos, until he came to Telphusa. There he thought to build himself a temple, for the land was rich and fair, so he said, "Beautiful Telphusa, here would I rest in thy happy vale, and here shall men come to ask my will and seek for aid in the hour of fear; and great glory shall come to thee while I abide in thy land." But Telphusa was moved with anger as she saw Phœbus marking out the place for his shrine and laying its foundations; and she spake craftily to him, and said, "Listen to me, Phœbus Apollo. Thou seekest here to have a home, but here thou canst never rest in peace; for my broad plain will tempt men to the strife of battle, and the tramp of war-horses shall vex the stillness of thy holy temple. Nay, even [492]in the time of peace, the lowing cattle shall come in crowds to my fountain, and the tumult will grieve thine heart. But go thou to Krisa, and make for thyself a home in the hidden clefts of Parnassos, and thither shall men hasten with their gifts from the utmost bounds of the earth." So Apollo believed her words, and he went on through the land of the Phlegyes until he came to Krisa. There he laid the foundations of his shrine in the deep cleft of Parnassos; and Trophonios and Agamedes, the children of Erginos, raised the wall. There also he found the mighty dragon who nursed Typhaon, the child of Here, and he smote him, and said, "Rot there upon the ground, and vex not more the children of men. The clays of thy life are ended, neither can Typhoeus himself aid thee now, nor Chimæra of the evil name. But the earth and the burning sun shall consume and scorch thy body." So the dragon died, and his body rotted on the ground; wherefore the name of the place is called Pytho, and they worship Phœbus Apollo as the great Pythian king.

But Phœbus knew now that Telphusa had deceived him, because she said nothing of the great dragon of Krisa, or of the roughness of the land. So he hastened back in his anger and said, "Thou hast beguiled me, Telphusa, with thy crafty words; but no more shall thy fountain send forth its sweet water, and the glory shall be mine alone." Then Apollo hurled great crags down and choked the stream near the beautiful fountain, and the glory departed from Telphusa.

Then he thought within himself what men he should choose to be his priests at Pytho; and far away, as he stood on the high hill, he saw a ship sailing on the wine-faced sea, and the men who were in it were Cretans, sailing from the land of King Minos to barter their goods with the men of Pylos. So Phœbus leaped into the sea, and changed his form to the form of a dolphin, and hastened to meet the ship. None knew whence the great fish came which smote the side of their vessel with its [493]mighty fins; but all marveled at the sight, as the dolphin guided the ship through the dark waters, and they sat trembling with fear, as they sped on without a sail by the force of the strong south wind. From the headland of Malea and the land of the Lakonians they passed to Helos and to Tænaron where Helios dwells, in whom the sons of men take delight, and where his cattle feed in the rich pastures. There the sailors would have ended their wanderings; but they sought in vain to land, for the ship would not obey its helm. Onward it went along the coast of the Island of Pelops, for the mighty dolphin guided it. So from Arene and Arguphea it came to the sandy Pylos, by Chalkis and Dyme to the land of the Epeians, to Pheræ and to Ithaka. There the men saw spread out before them the waters which wash the shores of Krisa; and the strong west wind came with its fierce breath, and drove them off to the east and towards the sunrising until they came to Krisa.


APOLLO. (From an ancient Sculpture.)ToList

Then Phœbus Apollo came forth from the sea, like a star, and the brightness of his glory reached up to the high heaven. Into his shrine he hastened, and on the altar he kindled the undying fire, and his bright arrows were hurled abroad, till all Krisa was filled with the blaze of his lightnings, so that fear came upon all, and the cries of the women rose shrill on the sultry air. Then, swift as a thought of the heart, he hastened back to the ship; but his form was now the form of a man in his beauty, and his golden locks flowed over his broad shoulders. From the shore he called out to the men in the Cretan ship, and said "Who are ye, strangers? and do ye come as thieves and robbers, bringing terror and sorrow whithersoever ye may go? Why stay ye thus, tarrying in your ships, and seek not to come out on the land? Surely ye must know that all who sail on the wide sea rejoice when their ship comes to the shore, that they may come forth and feast with the people of the land?" So spake Phœbus Apollo; and the leader of the Cretans took courage and said, "Stranger, sure I am that [494]thou art no mortal man, but one of the bright heroes or the undying gods. Wherefore tell us now the name of this land and of the people who dwell in it. Hither we never sought to come, for we were sailing from the land of Minos to barter our wares at Pylos; but some one of the gods hath brought us hither against our will."

Then spake the mighty Apollo, and said to them, "O, strangers, who have dwelt in Knossos of the Cretan land, think not to return to your ancient home, to your wives or to your children. Here ye must guard and keep my shrine, and ye shall be honored of all the children of men. For I am the son of Zeus, and my name is Phœbus Apollo. It was I who brought you hither across the wide sea, not in guile or anger, but that in all time to come ye may have great power and glory, that ye may learn the counsel of the undying gods and make known their will to men. Hasten then to do my bidding; let down your sails, and bring your ship to the shore. Then bring out your goods, and build an altar on the beach, and kindle a fire, and offer white barley as an offering; and because I led you hither under the form of a dolphin, so worship me as the Delphian god. Then eat bread and drink wine, as much as your soul may lust after; and after that come with me to the holy place, where ye shall guard my temple."

So they obeyed the words of Phœbus; and when they had offered the white barley, and feasted richly on the sea-shore, they arose to go, and Apollo led them on their way. His harp was in his hand, and he made sweet music, such as no mortal ear had heard before; and they raised the chant Io Pæan, for a new power was breathed into their hearts, as they went along. They thought not now of toil or sorrow; but with feet unwearied they went up the hill until they reached the clefts of Parnassos, where Phœbus would have them dwell.

Then out spake the leader of the Cretans, and said, boldly, [495]"O king, thou hast brought us far away from our homes to a strange land; whence are we to get food here? No harvest will grow on these bare rocks, no meadows are spread out before our eyes. The whole land is bare and desolate." But the son of Zeus smiled and said, "O foolish men, and easy to be cast down, if ye had your wish ye would gain nothing but care and toil. But listen to me and ponder well my words. Stretch forth your hands and slay each day the rich offerings, for they shall come to you without stint and sparing, seeing that the sons of men shall hasten hither from all lands, to learn my will and ask for aid in the hour of fear. Only guard ye my temple well, and keep your hands clean and your hearts pure; for if ye deal rightly no man shall take away your glory; but if ye speak lies and do iniquity, if ye hurt the people who come to my altar, and make them to go astray, then shall other men rise up in your place, and ye yourselves shall be thrust out forever, because ye would not obey my words."


In the little Island of Delos there lived a long time ago a lady who was called Niobe. She had many sons and many daughters, and she was very proud of them, for she thought that in all the Island of Delos, and even in all the world, there were no children so beautiful as her own. And as they walked, and leaped, and ran among the hills and valleys of that rocky island, all the people looked at them, and said, "Surely there are no other children like the children of the lady Niobe." And Niobe was so pleased at hearing this, that she began to boast to every one how strong and beautiful her sons and daughters were.

Now in this Island of Delos there lived also the lady named Leto. She had only two children, and their names were Artemis and Phœbus Apollo; but they were very strong and fair, indeed. And whenever the lady Niobe saw them, she tried to think that her own children were still more beautiful, although she could hardly help feeling that she had never seen any so glorious as Artemis and Apollo. So one day the lady Leto and the lady Niobe were together, and their children were playing before them; and Phœbus Apollo played on his golden harp, and then he shot from his golden bow the arrows which never missed their mark. But Niobe never thought of Apollo's bow, and the arrows which he had in his quiver; and she began to boast to the lady Leto of the beauty of her children, and said, "See, Leto; look at my seven sons and my seven daughters, and see how strong and fair they are. Apollo and Artemis are beautiful, I know, but my children are fairer still; and you have only two children while I have seven sons and seven daughters." So Niobe went on boasting, and never thought whether she should make Leto angry. But Leto said nothing until Niobe and her children were gone, and then she called Apollo, and said to him, "I do not [497]love the lady Niobe. She is always boasting that her sons and daughters are more beautiful than you and your sister; and I wish you to show her that no one else is so strong as my children, or so beautiful." Then Phœbus Apollo was angry, and a dark frown came upon his fair young face, and his eyes were like the flaming fire. But he said nothing, and he took his golden bow in his hand, and put his quiver with his terrible arrows across his shoulder, and went away to the hills where he knew that the lady Niobe and her children were. And when he saw them he went and stood on a bare high rock, and stretched the string of his golden bow, and took an arrow from his quiver. Then he held out the bow, and drew the string to his breast, until the point of the arrow touched the bow; and then he let the arrow fly. Straight to its mark it went, and one of the lady Niobe's sons fell dead. Then another arrow flew swiftly from the bow, and another, and another, and another, till all the sons and all the daughters of Niobe lay dead on the hillside. Then Apollo called out to Niobe, and said, "Go and boast now of your beautiful children!"

It had all passed so quickly that Niobe scarcely knew whether it was not a dream. She could not believe that her children were really gone—all her sons and all her daughters, whom she had just now seen so happy and strong around her. But there they lay, still and cold, upon the ground. Their eyes were closed as if they were asleep, and their faces had still a happy smile, which made them look more beautiful than ever. And Niobe went to them all one by one, and touched their cold hands, and kissed their pale cheeks; and then she knew that the arrows of Phœbus Apollo had killed them. Then she sat down on a stone which was close to them, and the tears flowed from her eyes, and they streamed down her face, as she sat there as still as her children who lay dead before her. She never raised her head to look at the blue sky—she never moved hand or foot, [498]but she sat weeping on the cold rock until she became as cold as the rock itself. And still her tears flowed on, and still her body grew colder and colder, until her heart beat no more, and the lady Niobe was dead. But there she still seemed to sit and weep, for her great grief had turned her into a stone; and all the people, whenever they came near that place, said, "See, there sits the lady Niobe, who was turned into stone, when Phœbus Apollo killed all her children because she boasted that no one was so beautiful as they were." And long after, when the stone was grown old and covered with moss, the people still thought they could see the form of the lady Niobe; for the stone, which did not look much like the form of a woman when they came near to it, seemed at a distance just as though Niobe still sat there, weeping for her beautiful children whom Phœbus Apollo slew.


In the vale of Tempe, where the stream of Peneios flows beneath the heights of Olympos towards the sea, the beautiful Daphne passed the days of her happy childhood. Fresh as the earliest morning, she climbed the crags to greet the first rays of the rising sun; and when he had driven his fiery horses over the sky, she watched his chariot sink behind the western mountains. Over hill and dale she roamed, free and light as the breeze of spring. Other maidens round her spoke each of her love, but Daphne cared not to listen to the voice of man, though many a one sought her to be his wife.

One day as she stood on the slopes of Ossa in the glow of early morning, she saw before her a glorious form. The light of the new-risen sun fell on his face with a golden splendor, and she knew that it was Phœbus Apollo. Hastily he ran towards [499]her, and said, "I have found thee, Child of the Morning. Others thou hast cast aside, but from me thou canst not escape. I have sought thee long, and now will I make thee mine." But the heart of Daphne was bold and strong; and her cheek flushed and her eye sparkled with anger, as she said, "I know neither love nor bondage. I live free among the streams and hills; and to none will I yield my freedom." Then the face of Apollo grew dark with anger, and he drew near to seize the maiden; but swift as the wind she fled away. Over hill and dale, over crag and river, the feet of Daphne fell lightly as falling leaves in autumn; but nearer yet came Phœbus Apollo, till at last the strength of the maiden began to fail. Then she stretched out her hands, and cried for help to the lady Demeter; but she came not to her aid. Her head was dizzy, and her limbs trembled in utter feebleness as she drew near the broad river which gladdens the plains of Thessaly, till she almost felt the breath of Phœbus, and her robe was almost in his grasp. Then, with a wild cry, she said, "Father Peneios, receive thy child," and she rushed into the stream, whose waters closed gently over her.

She was gone; Apollo mourned for his madness in chasing thus the free maiden. And he said, "I have punished myself by my folly; the light of the morning is taken out of the day. I must go on alone till my journey shall draw towards its end." Then he spake the word, and a laurel came up on the bank where Daphne had plunged into the stream; and the green bush with its thick clustering leaves keeps her name forever.


Among the valleys and hills of Thessaly, Kyrene, the fair-armed daughter of Hypseus, wandered free as the deer upon the mountain side. Of all the maidens of the land, there was [500]none to vie her in beauty; neither was there any that could be matched with her for strength of arm and speed of foot. She touched not the loom or the spindle; she cared not for banquets with those who revel under houses. Her feasts were spread on the green grass, beneath the branching tree; and with her spear and dagger she went fearless among the beasts of the field, or sought them out in their dens.

One day she was roaming along the winding banks of Peneios, when a lion sprang from a thicket across her path. Neither spear nor dagger was in her hand, but the heart of Kyrene knew no fear, and she grappled with him until the beast sank wearied at her feet. She had conquered, but not unseen, for Phœbus Apollo had watched the maiden as she battled with the angry lion; and straightway he called the wise centaur Cheiron, who had taught him in the days of his youth. "Come forth," he said, "from thy dark cave, and teach me once again, for I have a question to ask thee. Look at yonder maiden, and the beast which lies beaten at her feet; and tell me (for thou art wise) whence she comes, and what name she bears. Who is she, that thus she wanders in these lonely valleys without fear and without hurt? Tell me if she may be wooed and won." Then Cheiron looked steadfastly at the face of Phœbus, and a smile passed over his countenance as he answered, "There are hidden keys to unlock the prison-house of love; but why askest thou me of the maiden's name and race—thou who knowest the end of all things, and all the paths along which the sons of men are journeying? Thou hast counted the leaves which burst forth in the spring-time, and the grains of sand which the wind tosses on the river bank, or by the sea shore. But if I must needs match thee in suitable wisdom, then listen to my words. The maiden is wooed and won already; and thou art going to bear her as thy bride over the dark sea, and place her in golden halls on the far-off Libyan land. There she shall have a home rich in [501]every fruit that may grow up from the earth; and there shall thy son Aristaios be born, on whose lips the bright Horai shall shed nectar and ambrosia, so that he may not come under the doom of mortal men."

Then Phœbus Apollo smiled as he answered, "Of a truth, Cheiron, thou deservest thy fame, for there are none to match with thee for wisdom; and now I go with Kyrene to the land which shall be called by her name, and where, in time to come, her children shall build great and mighty cities, and their name shall be spread abroad throughout all the earth for strength and wisdom."

So the maiden Kyrene came to the Libyan land, and there Aristaios, her child, was born. And Hermes carried the babe to the bright Horai, who granted him an endless life; and he dwelt in the broad Libyan plains, tending his flocks, and bringing forth rich harvests from the earth. For him the bees wrought their sweetest honey; for him the sheep gave their softest wool; for him the cornfields waved with their fullest grain. No blight touched the grapes which his hand had tended; no sickness vexed the herds which fed in his pastures. And they who dwelt in the land said, "Strife and war bring no such gifts as these to the sons of men; therefore let us live in peace."


Early in the morning, long ago, in a cave of the great Kyllenian hill, lay the new-born Hermes, the son of Zeus and Maia. The cradle-clothes were scarcely stirred by his soft breathing, while he slept as peacefully as the children of mortal mothers. But the sun had not driven his fiery chariot half over the heaven, when the babe arose from his sacred cradle and [502]stepped forth from the dark cavern. Before the threshold a tortoise fed lazily on the grass; and when the child saw it he laughed merrily. "Ah! this is luck, indeed," he said; "whence hast thou come, pretty creature, with thy bright speckled shell? Thou art mine now, and I must take thee into my cave. It is better to be under shelter than out of doors; and though there may be some use in thee while thou livest, it will comfort thee to think that thou wilt sing sweetly when thou art dead." So the child Hermes took up his treasure in both arms, and carried it into the cavern. There he took an iron probe, and pierced out the life of the tortoise; and quick as thought, he drilled holes in its shell, and fixed in them reed-canes. Then across the shell he fastened a piece of ox-hide, and with seven sheep-gut cords he finished the making of his lyre. Presently he struck it with the bow, and a wave of sweet music swelled out upon the air. Like the merry songs of youths and maidens, as they sport in village feasts, rose the song of the child Hermes; and his eyes laughed slyly as he sang of the loves of Zeus and Maia, and how he himself was born of the mighty race of the gods. Still he sang on, telling of all that he saw around him in the home of the nymph, his mother, but all the while, as he sang, his mind was pondering on other things; and when the song was ended, he went forth from the cave, like a thief in the night, on his wily errand.

The sun was hastening down the slope of heaven, with his chariot and horses to the slow-rolling stream of Ocean, as Hermes came to the shadowy hills of Pieria, where the cattle of the gods fed in their large pastures. There he took fifty from the herd, and made ready to drive them to the Kyllenian hill. But before him lay vast plains of sand; and, therefore, lest the track of the cattle should tell the tale of his thieving, he drove the beasts round about by crooked paths, until it seemed as though they had gone to the place from whence he had stolen them. He had taken [503]good care that his own footsteps should not betray him, for with branches of tamarisk and myrtle, well twisted with their leaves, he hastily made sandals, and sped away from Pieria. One man alone saw him, a very old man, who was working in his vineyard on the sunny plain of Onchestos. To him Hermes went quickly, and said, "Old man, thou wilt have plenty of wine when these roots come all into bearing trim. Meanwhile keep a wise head on thy crumpled shoulders, and take heed not to remember more than may be convenient."



Onwards, over dark hills, and through sounding dells, and across flowery plains, hastened the child Hermes, driving his flock before him. The night waxed and waned, and the moon had climbed to her watchtower in the heaven, when, in the flush of early morning, Hermes reached the banks of the great Alpheian stream. Then he turned his herd to feed on the grassy plain, while he gathered logs of wood, and, rubbing two sticks together, kindled the first flame that burned upon the earth where dwell the sons of men. The smoke went up to the heaven, and the flame crackled fiercely beneath it, as Hermes brought forth two of the herd, and, tumbling them on their back, pierced out the life of both. Their hides he placed on the hard rock; their flesh he cut up into twelve portions; and so Hermes hath the right of ordering all sacrifices which the children of men offer to the undying gods. But he ate not of the flesh or fat, although hunger sorely pressed him; and he burnt the bones in the fire, and tossed his tamarisk sandals into the swift stream of Alpheios. Then he quenched the fire, and with all his might trampled down the ashes, until the pale moon rose up again in the [504]sky. So he sped on his way to Kyllene. Neither god nor man saw him as he went, nor did the dogs bark. Early in the morning he reached his mother's cave, and darted through the keyhole of the door, softly as a summer breeze. Without a sound his little feet paced the stony floor, till he reached his cradle and lay down, playing like a babe among the clothes with his left hand, while the right held the tortoise-lyre hidden underneath them.

But, wily as he was, he could not cheat his mother. To his cradle she came, and said, "Whither hast thou wandered in the dark night? Crafty rogue, mischief will be thy ruin. The son of Leto will soon be here, and bear thee away bound in chains not easily shaken off. Out of my sight, little wretch, born to worry the blessed gods and plague the race of men!" "Mother," said Hermes, gently, "why talk thus to me, as though I were like mortal babes, a poor cowering thing, to cry for a little scolding? I know thy interest and mine: why should we stay here in this wretched cave, with never a gift nor a feast to cheer our hearts? I shall not stay. It is pleasanter to banquet with the gods than to dwell in a cavern in draughts of whistling wind. I shall try my luck against Apollo, for I mean to be his peer; and if he will not suffer me, and if Zeus, my father, take not up my cause, I will see what I can do for myself, by going to the shrine of Pytho and stealing thence the tripods and caldrons, the iron vessels and glittering robes. If I may not have honor in Olympos, I can at least be the prince of thieves."

Meanwhile, as they talked together, Eos rose up from the deep ocean stream, and her tender light flushed across the sky, while Apollo hastened to Onchestos and the holy grove of Poseidon. There the old man was at work in his vineyard, and to him Phœbus went quickly, and said, "Friend hedger, I am come from Pieria looking for my cows. Fifty of them have been driven away, and the bull has been left behind with the four dogs who guarded them. Tell me, old man, hast thou seen any one [505]with these cows, on the road?" But the old man said that it would be a hard matter to tell of all that he might chance to see. "Many travelers journey on this road, some with evil thoughts, some with good; I can not well remember all. This only I know, that yesterday, from the rising of the sun to its setting, I was digging in my vineyard, and I think, but I am not sure, that I saw a child with a herd of cattle. A babe he was, and he held a staff in his hand, and, as he went, he wandered strangely from the path on either side."

Then Phœbus stayed not to hear more, for now he knew of a surety that the new-born son of Zeus had done him the mischief. Wrapped