« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
about six miles, Wheler arrived at Marcopoli, a small village by ruins of an ancient town, it seems, of Potamus. In three hours more he came to a solitary church, by which were olivetrees, and the biggest lentiscus he ever saw, with tears of mastic issuing from several parts of the body. He went on an hour and a half southward, to Kerateia, probably Thoricus, which he describes as an ancient place, with some remains. It had been destroyed by corsairs. In three long hours he reached Sunium, the track very rocky and bad. About midway he passed over a little mountain, where cinders in abundance lay scattered up and down. It then afforded some copper, and he was told that silver was secretly extracted from the ore. The harbour for boats by the sea-side was that, in which we moored on our first arrival in Attica. This coast was part of the region called Paralos.
CHAP. XXXIV. Road to Marathon-Of Cephisia-An inscription at Oxford
brought from thence- Another inscription--Journey continued Of Brauron-Of Marathon--- Funeral of Atticus Herodes--Pass the night on Pentelè.
Marathon was distant only eighty stadia, or ten miles, from Athens. I was desirous of seeing the plain, and on the fifth of May, after the heat of noon was over, set out attended by a couple of Greeks. The elder brother was acquainted with the road, possessing a share in a stand of goats and sheep in that neighbourhood. We left the twolonic columns of the reservoir of New Athens on our right; passing by a huge single rock, which is split; and by one, on which are inscriptions,
mostly illegible. The mountain of St. George, called anciently, it is supposed, Anchesmus, was on our right hand. It is a naked range, reaching from near Pentelè, with a church of the saint,* standing on the lofty summit above the columns, and visible afar.
Wesoon arrived at Cephisia, a village situated on an eminence by a stream near the western extremity of Mount Pentelè. It was once noted for plenty of clear water, and for pleasant shade, suited to mitigate the heat of summer. It has a mosque, and is still frequented, chiefly by Turks of Athens, who retire at that season to their houses in the country. The famous comic poet Menander was of this place. Atticus Herodes, after his enemies accused him to the emperor Marcus Aurelius. as guilty of oppression, resided here and at Marathon ; the youth in general following him for the benefit of his instruction. Among his pupils was Pausanias of Cæsarea, the author, it has been affirmed, of the Description of Greece.
Atticus Herodes had three favourites, whose loss he lamented, as if they had been his children. He placed statues of them in the dress of hunters, in the fields and woods, by the fountains, and beneath the plane-trees ; adding execrations, if any person should ever presume to mutilate or remove them. One of the Hermæ, or Mercuries, was found in a ruinous church at Cephisia, and is among the marbles, given by Mr. Dawkins to the university of Oxford. This represented Pollux, but the head is wanting. It is inscribed with an affectionate address to him ; after which the possessor of the spot is required, as he respects the gods and heroes, to protect
from violation, and to preserve clean and entire, the images and their bases; and, if he failed, severe vengeance is imprecated on him, that the earth might prove barren to him, the sea not navigable, and that perdition might overtake both him and his offspring ; but, if he complied, that every blessing might await him and his posterity. Another stone, with a like formulary, was seen there by Mr. Wood; and a third near Marathon.
We dismounted about sun-set at a place almost deserted, called Stamati ; and after supper lay down to sleep beneath a spreading vine before the cottage of an Albanian. Ear y in the morning, I proceeded with a guide, to examine an in'scription, of which a peasant had given me information ; quitting, the straight road to Marathon, between which place and Athens was once a town named Pallene. We soon entered between two mountains, Pentelè ranging on our right; and on the left, one of Diacria, the region extending across from Mount Parnes to Brauron. Tarrying to water our horses near some houses, I was presented by an Albanian with a handful of white roses fresh gathered. We penetrated into a lonely recess, and came to a small ruined church of St. Dionysius, standing on the marble heap of a trophy, or monument, erected for some victory obtained by three persons, named Ænias, Xanthippus, and Xanthides. The inscription is on a long stone lying near
The two mountains are divided by a wide and deep watercourse, the bed of a river or torrent, anciently named Erasinus. The track is on the margin, rugged and narrow, shaded with oleander, flowering shrubs, and evergreens. A tree had fallen across, but we passed under it, and entered the plain of Marathon at the corner next to Athens ; Pentelè continuing in the same direction toward the sea, which, with a lofty barrow not far from the shore, was now in view. The watercourse, after winding before a few Albanian cottages, intersects part of the plain, and then ceases. This village is corruptly called Vronna. The old name was Brauron. Here we procured, not without difficulty, a live fowl, which was boiled for breakfast, and some eggs, to be fried in oil. We eat under an olive-tree, then laden with pale yellow flowers. A strong breeze from the sea scattered the bloom, and incommoded us, but the spot afforded no shelter more eligible.
Brauron was noted for a temple of Diana, in which was an ancient image of the goddess. Iphigenia, the daughter of Agamemnon, was said to have left there the idol, which she conveyed from Scythia Taurica. That had been carried to Susa by Xerxes, and given by Seleucus to the Laodicéans of Syria, who continued in possession of it in the time of Pausanias. Beyond the water-course is a large barrow; and, by it, toward Pentelè, are three smaller ; with one, a little out of the line, which had been opened for a furnace or lime-kiln. The cenotaph of Iphigenia is probably among them. Some stones lie about. The lofty barrow, mentioned before, is distinct, in the plain, nearer the sea, and visible all around.
Quitting the olive-tree by Brauron, we rode along the edge of the plain, with Pentelè bebind us; passed a solitary church, and, after a few minutes, turned into a narrow vale on the left hand. We then crossed a mountainous ridge, the track rough and stony, and came into the road, which leads directly from Athens to Marathon. This place has retained its ancient name, is well watered, but very inconsiderable, consisting only of a few houses and gardens. It was equidistant from Carystus in Euboea and from Athens.
Atticus Herodes directed his freedmen to bury him at Marathon, where he died at the age of seventy-six; but the ephebi, or young men of Athens, transported his body on their shoulders to the city, a multitude meeting the bier, and weeping like children for the loss of a parent. The funeral obsequies were performed in the stadium, which was chosen for the place of sepulture. The epitaph of this distinguished person was a single distich.
We returned toward Brauron along the edge of the plain, and passed some cottages and a church or two, on the site perhaps of Oenoe, which town was near Marathon. We afterwards slanted off to the lofty barrow by the sea. The evening approaching, we repaired to a goat-stand on the side of Pentelė, not far from Brauron. The peasants killed and roasted a kid for my supper, after which I lay down to sleep, in the lee of a huge bare rock. This region abounds in wolves. Several large and fierce dogs guarded us, and at intervals barked vehemently and ran together, in a troop, as it were to an attack, or to repel some wild beast from their charge. These dogs render it very dangerous for a stranger to go near their station even in the day-time, unless accompa nied by one of their keepers; and then likewise I have seen them not easily pacified, and prevailed on to retire.