Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

ing with our stay in these parts, which had already produced a general uneasiness; but finding the wind strong and contrary, we went back to the hot baths with our thermometer. In the mean time, the aga of Chemali sent word, that he designed visiting us in the evening, and desired our acceptance of a kid. His men, however, had carried off the intended present, on hearing from the janizary that we were going away. We were glad to avoid seeing him, as we expected he would prove but a troublesome guest. We hastened to get on board, coasted by Troas in the dusk; and, after rowing about five miles, landed and slept on the beach. The solemn night was rendered yet more awful by the melancholy howlings of numerous jackalls, in packs, hunting, as we supposed, their prey.

We embarked again three hours before the break of day, and rowed by a rocky shore until near seven. We then landed at Enekioi, or New Town, now a Greek village, so miserable, as scarcely to furnish grapes, wine, eggs, and oil to fry them, sufficient for Out breakfast. It stands very high, and has been more considerable. By the church door is a Latin sepulchral inscription,* and Pliny mentions a town in the Troad, called Nea, or New Town, which perhaps was on this spot. There was an image of Minerva, on which no rain ever fell; and it was said that sacrifices left there did not putrify.

We left Enekioi, and landed again about mid-day on the beach without the Hellespont, not far from the Sigean promontory, and ascending by a steep track to Giaurkioi, a Greek village, once the city Sigeum, high above the sea, and now resembling Enekioi in wretchedness as well as in situation. We were here accommodated with a small apartment in one of the

* Inscript. Ant. p. 4.

cottages, but it required caution to avoid falling through the floor. The family, to which it belonged, was as poor as oppressed. The thin-voiced women scolding and howling in the court, we inquired the reason, and were told, they had paid a piaster for the privilege of keeping a hog; that the Turk, who collected this money for the aga, demanded ten pereaus as his fee, that they were unable or unwilling to gratify him, and he was carrying the son to prison.

The high hill of Giaurkioi was the acropolis or citadel of Sigeum ; and a mean church on the brow, toward Mount Ida, occupies the site of the Atheneum or temple of Minerva; of which the scattered marbles by it are remains. The famous Sigean inscription lies on the right hand, as you enter it; and on the left is part of a pedestal, of fine white marble; each serving as a seat. The latter is carved in basso relievo.* The Greeks were accustomed to consign their infants to the tutular care of some deity; the midwife, dressed in white with her feet bare, carrying the child to be presented on the fifth day after its birth. The Romans had the same superstition, and Caligula is on record as having placed his daughter, Livia Drusilla, in the lap of Minerva. f- That usage is the subject of the sculpture. The goddess is sitting, as described by Homer, in her temple in Troy. A little chest, borne by one of the figures, may be supposed to contain incense, or the offerings which accompanied this ceremony. A marble, once reposited in the precincts of the temple, and now preserved in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, was found within the same building. It contains a decree, made by'the Sig6ans, two hundred

* It is about five feet nine inches long. See Lady Mary W. Montague. Letter Xliv. and a plate in the Ionian Antiquities. t Suetonius c. 25.

and seventy-eight years before the Christian aera, in honour of king Antiochus; and enacts, among other articles, the erecting in the temple a golden statue of him on horseback,on a pedestal of white marble; with an inscription commemorating his religious regard for the temple, and stiling him the saviour of the people. This in the year 1718 was purchased of the Papas, or Greek priest, by Edward Wortley Montague Esq. then going ambassador to Constantinople.* The place in the wall, from which it was removed, is still visible.

The city Sigeum stood on a slope, now bare, opposite to the part where we ascended. It was founded by the Mityleneans of Lesbos. The Athenians seized it under Phryno, Pittacus sailed after him, and was defeated in a battle. It was then the poet Alcaeus fled, throwing away his shield, which the Athenians suspended in the temple. Periander of Corinth was chosen umpire. The Mitylen6ans afterwards recovered Sig6um, but it was taken from them by Pisistratus, who made his son Hegesistratus tyrant there. The Ilieans then got possession of it, and by them it was subverted, perhaps about the time of Antiochus, as the name of the Sigean people has been purposely erased in the decree above mentioned.

The temple at Sigeum was of remote antiquity, if not coeval with the city, which is said to have been built from the ruins of Troy. The Ilieans probably spared that edifice from a reverence for the deity, or no fragments would now have remained. The celebrated inscription is on part of a pilaster, eight feet seven inches long; one foot and something more than six inches wide, and above ten inches thick. It is broken at the bottom. In the top is a hole three inches and a half

* Chishull Antiq. Asiat. p. 49

long, three wide, and above two deep, This served to unite it firmly with the upper portion, or the capital, by receiving a bar of wood or metal; a customary mode of construction, which rendered the fabric as solid as the materials were durable. The stone was given to the temple, as appears from the inscription on it, by Phanodicus or Proconnesus, a city and island not far from Sig6um, famous for its quarries of marble. Such donations were common, and we shall have occasion to mention several.

The lines in both inscriptions range from the left to the right, and from the right to the left, alternately. This mode of disposition was called BoustropMdon, the lines turning on the marble as oxen do in ploughing. It was used before Periander; and by Solon, the Athenian lawgiver, his contemporary.

The Greek alphabet, as imported by Cadmus from Phoenicia,* consisted of sixteen letters. Palamedes, the rival of Ulysses, who was put to death in the Greek camp before Troy, added four. Simonides of Ceos increased the number to twenty-four. This person was a favourite of Hipparchus, brother of Hegisistratus, the tyrant of Seg6um, and lived with him at Athens.

We may infer from the first inscription on the pilaster that Phanodicus and the temple, to which he contributed, existed before the improvement made by Simonides, for it exhibits only Cadmean and Palamed6an characters: and, also that the structure was raised under the Mityleneans; for it is in their dialect or the iEolian.

The second inscription has the letters of Simonides, and was engraved under the Athenians, as may be collected from its

* See Chishull's learned commentary.

Atticisms; and, it is likely, about the time of Hegesistratus; the method of arranging the lines not being changed, nor the memory of the person, whom it records, if he were not then living, become obsolete.

We copied these inscriptions very carefully,* and not without deep regret, that a stone, so singularly curious, which has preserved to us a specimen of writing antiquated above two thousand years ago, should be suffered to lie so neglected and exposed. Above half a century has elapsed, since it was first discovered, and it still remains, in the open air, a seat for the Greeks, destitute of a patron to rescue it from barbarism, and obtain its removal into the safer custody of some private museum, or, which is rather to be desired, some public repository .-f

CHAP. XIII.

At GiaurkioiProspect of the plainFarther account of itNews of the consulOur plan disconcertedThe eveningBarrows of Achilles, fyc.At Chomkali.

It was Saturday when we arrived at Giaurkioi, and our Jews were prohibited, by their law, from going out of the vik

* Inscript. Ant. pi. 1.

T It is to be wished that a premium were offered, and the undertaking recommended to commanders of ships in the Levant trade. They have commonly interpreters to negociate for them, with men, leavers, ropes, and the other requisites; besides instruments or tools, by which the stone might be broken, if necessary. By a proper application of all-prevailing gold, it is to be believed they might gain the permission or connivance of the papas and persons concerned. It should be done with secrecy. The experiment is easily made, when they are at Tenedos, or wind-bound near the mouth of the Hellespont.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »