Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

Alpheus, distant two hundred and eighty stadia, or thirty miles from Chelonatas, with a temple near it, and a grove of Diana, eighty stadia, or ten miles from Olympia. The whole region abounded in places sacred to Venus and to Diana; and, being well watered, in caves of the nymphs. By the roads were frequent statues of Mercury; and, on the capes, of Neptune. The islands called Strophades were thirty-five miles from Zante.

We came to the sea-side below Chelonatas, and travelled southward to a monastery of the Panagia Scaphidia, or Virgin of the Skiffs, situated on an eminence not far from point Pheia on the north; the beach so insecure, that it is customary to load the boats on shore, and then push them into the water. Near it is a lake fed by a small stream, probably the stagnant water mentioned by Pausanias, measuring about three stadia, on the road from Olympia to Elis by the plain. The supper-bell' rung as we approached. We rode into the court, and saw the priests and monks seated at their respective tables, or in companies on the ground. We dismounted, wondering that nobody stirred, or took any notice of us. We were informed afterwards, that they had mistaken us for Frenchmen, and that their usual courtesy had been withheld, from national prejudices. The society was in a flourishing state, and had partly completed their design of rebuilding the monastery. i

We were conducted to a good apartment, in which we supped. Afterwards some preferred sleeping in the court, hoping to find the air cooler, and to be less molested by vermin ; but innumerable gnats, which arise from the lake, disturbed us with their continual buzzing, and preyed on us exceedingly. The poultry, which roosted close by in a mul

berry-tree, at dawn of day futtered down from the branches in long succession ; and at our next stage we discovered that myriads of large feas had taken possession of the folds of our garments.

In the morning we made our early repast, as usual, on fruit, bread and coffee. We were ready to depart, when one of my companions found a tree-frog in the garden. The back so exactly resembled in colour the green leaf of a lemon tree, on which it was sitting, that the reptile was not easily to be distinguished, except by its lively eyes. It was small, and in shape like a toad; the belly of an ugly pale, speckled, the hinder legs long. The toes, which are clammy, enable it to raise or let down its body, as it occasionally does, sometimes hanging by one foot, and to travel without danger over the bending foliage. It was unwieldy and inactive. On our shaking the bough-to put it in motion, it fell to the ground, tired perhaps with a former exertion; and lay as dead. Its chirping or silence are said to be among the prognostics of changes in the weather. The Greeks call it Spordaca. The species is mentioned by Pliny.

In two hours we came to a village named Pyrgo, from a house in it with a tower.' Upon a mount, on the right hand, was a castle called Katacoli, near which vessels of burthen are laden ; at the port, it is likely, mentioned as fifteen miles from Olympia. The whole plain from Elis affords but scanty shade. Sheds, covered with boughs, are the shelter of the cattle at noon. The peasants were busy at their harvest work. The wheat-sheaves were collected about the Aoors; and horses, running abreast round a stake, were treading out the grain. The habitations were very mean, chiefly low mud-built huts, many of an oval form, with a fence before them. We tarried at Pyrgo in a garden, while our men procured bread and other necessaries, it being expected that our next Conac, or resting place, would be destitute of every thing.

When the heat of noon was over, we crossed a hilly country, and had frequent views of the Rophia or Alpheus, at a distance. This portion of the road to Olympia was called The Mountainous, to distinguish it from that nearer Elis, which was in the plain. The track by the bank of the river was deep-worn in a ridge of the mountain. From it we turned to the left up a valley, which there becomes more contracted ; and in about four hours were near a ruin. The sun was set, and we pitched our tent in a field, which had been sown with corn.

Here gnats swarmed around us innumerable, infesting us, if possible, more terribly than ever before. We endeavoured to sleep, in vain. Our Greeks too called on their Panagia, but were not relieved. It is related, Jupiter, on a like petition from Hercules, whom they molested while sacrificing at Olympia, drove them all beyond the river; from which exploit he acquired the title of Apomuius, or the Fly-expeller : and the-Eleans, at the season of the games, invoked him, sacrificing a bull; when, it is said, the gnats all perished; or, which is recorded as extraordinary, no insect being less docile and intelligent, retired in clouds out of the Olympic territory.

* CHAP. LxXy. Of Pisa--Of OlympiaOf the temple of Jupiter_The statue

--The great altar--Other altarsŘiches of OlympiaSolemnity of the games-- Herodes a benefactor-Ruin of Olympia. 15:

OLYMPIA was in a region named Pisatis, from a city, which had been subdued by the Eleans. The site of Pisa was on an eminence between two mountains called Ossa and Olympus; but in the time of Pausanias no wall or building remained, and it was planted with vines. This place had been rendered excessively illustrious by the power and reputation of its ancient princes, among whom were Enomaus and Pelops ; by the oracle and temple of the Olympian Jupiter; by the celebrity of the grand panegyris, or general assembly, held at it; and by the renown of the agon or games, in which, to be victorious, was deemed the very summit of human felicity.

sol The glory of Olympia was not diminished by the ruin of Pisa. The altis, or sacred grove, was surrounded with a wall. Within was the temple of Jupiter ; and also a temple of Juno, sixty-three feet long, with columns round it of the Doric order; and a metroum, or temple, of the mother of the gods, a large Doric edifice ; with holy treasuries, as at Delphi. These, and the porticoes, a gymnasium, prytanèum, and many more buildings, chiefly in the ipclosure, with the houses of the priests and other inhabitants, made Olympia no inconsiderable place. The stadium was in the grove of wild olive-trees,

[graphic]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

T. Kithin faulp,

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »