Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

port was small, and of a circular form. The stones of one pier are seen above water, and the corresponding side may be traced. About half a mile from the shore is a long hill, which divides the plain. In the side next the sea are traces of a theatre, and on the top are cisterns cut in the rock. In the way to it, some masses of wall and rubbish, partly ancient, are standing ; with ruined churches ; and beyond, a long broken aquæduct crosses to the mountains. The Christian pirates had infested the place so much, that in 1676 it was abandoned. It is now a small village at the eastern extremity of the rocky brow, on which was once a castle ; and is inhabited by a few Albanian families, employed in the culture of the plain, and superintended by a Turk, who resides in an old square tower. The proprietor was Achmet Aga, the primate or principal person of Athens.

The mystic temple at Eleusis was planned by Ictinus, the architect of the Parthenon. Pericles was overseer of the building. It was of the Doric order, the cell so large as to admit the company of a theatre. The columns on the pavement within, and their capitals, were raised by Coræbus. Metagenes of Xypete added the architraves and the pillars above them, which sustained the roof. Another completed the edifice. This was a temple in antis, or, without exterior columns, which would have occupied the room required for the victims. The aspect was changed to Prostylos under Demetrius the Phalerean ; Philo a famous architect erecting a portico, which gave dignity to the fabric, and rendered the entrance more cominodious. The site was beneath the brow, at the east end, and encompassed by the fortress. Some marbles, which are uncommonly massive, and some pieces of the columns remain on the spot. The breadth of the cell is about one hundred and fifty feet; the length, including the Pronaos and portico, is two hundred and sixteen feet; the diameter of the columns, which are Auted six inches from the bottom of the shafts, is six feet and more than six inches. The temple was a Decastyle, or had ten columns in the front, which was to the east. The peribolus or inclosure, which surrounded it on the north-east and on the south side, measures three hundred and eighty-seven feet in length from north to south, and three hundred and twenty-eight feet in breadth from east to west On the west side it joined the angles of the west end of the temple in a straight line. Between the west wall of the inclosure and temple, and the wall of the citadel, was a passage forty-two feet six inches wide, which led to the summit of a high rock, at the north-west angle of the inclosure, on which are the visible traces of a temple in antis, in length seventy-four feet six inches from north to south, and in breadth from the east to the wall of the citadel, to which it joined on the west, fifty-four feet. It was perhaps that sacred to Triptolemus. This spot commands a very extensive view of the plain and bay. About three-fourths of the cottages are within the precincts of the mystic temple, and the square tower stands on the ruined wall of the inclosure.

At a small distance, from the north end of the inclosure, is a heap of marble, consisting of fragments of the Doric and Ionic orders, remains, it is likely, of the temples of Diana Propyléa and of Neptune, and of the Propyléum or gateway. Wheler saw some large stones carved with wheat-ears and bundles of poppy. Near it is the bust of a colossal statue of excellent workmanship, maimed, and the face dis

figured; the breadth at the shoulders, as measured by Pococke, five feet and a half; and the basket on the head above two feet deep. It probably represented Proserpine. In the heap are two or three inscribed pedestals; and on one are a couple of torches, crossed. We saw another fixed in the stone stairs, which lead up to the square 'tower on the outside. It belonged to the statue of a lady, who was hierophant or priestess of Proserpine, and had covered the altar of the goddess with silver. A well in the village was perhaps that called Callichorus, where the women of Eleusis were accustomed to dance in honour of Ceres. A tradition prevails, that if the broken statue be removed, the fertility of the land will cease. Achmet Aga was fully possessed with this superstition, and declined permitting us to dig or measure there, until I had overcome his scruples by a present of a handsome snuff-box, containing several zechins or pieces of gold.

A road led from Eleusis into the Megaris. On it was a well called the Flowery, where Ceres was said to have rested ; and a little farther, a temple ; and after that the tombs of the argives, whose bodies were recovered from the Thebans by Theseus; and then a monument, near which was a spot called, in the time of Pausanias, the Palæstra or wrestling place of Cercyon. Wheler rode about a mile under the north side of the hill; the way covered with anemonies of several colours, wonderfully beautiful; and turning to the left arrived at the flowery well, a spring in a cultivated vale, two or three miles in compass, which he supposes the Rharian plain. Soon after he began to ascend Kerata or Gerata. Two piked rocks on the top shew like horns, and on one was a tower. The way over the mountain was very bad. He then travelled

about an hour in a plain, and arrived at Megara. The dis· tance of this place from Eleusis, in the Antonine Itinerary, is

thirteen miles.


Proceed to MegaraOf the port and town Nisæa-Of Megara : -The stone - An inscription-Dread of corsairs Of the MegarisOur lodging, fc.

We were prevented from tarrying at Eleusis by the arrival of certain agas or rich Turks, in their way from Corinth to Athens. Lombardi, who knew them, hastened to the tower and appeared full of joy ; kneeling before them, fawning and kissing their beards. His tone changed as soon as he was out of their presence, and he poured forth execrations on them very liberally. We proceeded slowly as before toward Megara ; and, landing to dine, ascended the ridge by the sea, behind which is a considerable valley, part of the plain of Eleusis. We approached the port, and the wind not permitting us to turn the point of a small rocky promontory, once called Minoa, went ashore, and after some stay crossed it on foot; leaving men to convey the boats round into the bay. Megara, like Athens, was situated at a distance from the sea.

The port of Megara was called Nisæa from Nisus son of Pandion the second, who obtained the Megaris for his portion, when the kingdom of Athens was divided into four lots .by his father. He founded the town, which was eighteen stadia, or two miles and a quarter, from the city, but united with it, as the Piræus with Athens, by long walls. It had a teinple of Ceres. « The roof,” says Pausanias, “ may be supposed to have fallen through age.” The site is now covered with rubbish, among which are standing some ruinous churches. The place has been named from them Dodeca Ecclesiáis, the Twelve Churches, but the number is reduced to seven. The acropolis, or citadel, called also Nisæa, was on a rock by the sea-side. Some pieces of the wall remain, and a modern fortress has been erected on it; and also on a lesser rock near it. An islet before Nisæa was now green. It is one of five, which, as Strabo relates, occurred in sailing from that port toward Attica. There Minos stationed the Cretan fleet in his war with Nisus.

We had a hot walk to the village of Megara, which consists of low mean cottages, pleasantly situated on the slope of a brow or eminence, indented in the middle. On each side of this vale was an acropolis, or citadel; one named Caria, the other from Alcathous, the builder of the wall. They related, that he was assisted by Apollo, who laid his harp aside on a stone, which, as Pausanias testifies, if struck with a pebble, returned a musical sound. An angle of the wall of one citadel is seen by a windmill. The masonry is of the species called Incertum. In 1676 the city-wall was not entirely demolished, but comprehended the two summits, on which are some churches, with a portion of the plain toward the south. The whole site, except the hills, was now green with corn, and marked by many heaps of stones, the collected rubbish of buildings. A few inscriptions are found, with pedestals fixed in the walls and inverted; and also some maimed or mutilated statues. One of the former relates to Atticus Herodes, and is on a pedestal which supported a

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »