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decree of the tribe named Pandionis. In this record, Nicias is praised and honoured with a crown, because he had obtained a victory with a chorus of boys at the Dionysia, or festival of Bacchus, and with one of men at the Thargelia, or festival of Apollo; and it is ordered, that if any other person had conquered, since the archonship of Euclid, either with boys or men, at the festivals specified, his name should likewise be engraved ; and that the subsequent curators should add the names of such as proved victorious, while they were in office. Religion furnished Athens with a great variety of spectacles and amusements. The festivals were celebrated with gymnic exercises, music, and plays. The public sometimes defrayed the expense of the choruses, but that burthen was commonly laid upon rich citizens, who had attained to the age of forty years. Rewards were proposed for superior excellence, and the victory was eagerly desired. The glory of individuals reflected lustre on the community, to which they belonged; and the tribes were emulous to surpass each other. It was a splendid contention, the parties vying in the display of spirit and generosity. The conquerors were distinguished and applauded, and their names registered on marble. The archonship of Euclid coincides with the second year of the ninety-fourth Olympiad,* and was an æra in the chronology of Athens.
We proceed now to the side of the acropolis, which is toward Mount Hymettus; leaving the town, which before extended beneath on our left into the plain. The hill, near this end, is indented with the site of the theatre of Bacchus, by which is a solitary church or two. This was a very capa
* Before Christ, 401.
cious edifice, near the most ancient temple of Bacchus, and adorned with images of the tragie and comic poets. Some stone-work remains at the two extremities, but the area is ploughed, and produces grain. The Athenians invented both the drama and the theatre, the latter originally a temporary structure of wood; but, while a play of Æschylus was acting, the scaffolds fell; and it was then resolved to provide a solid and durable fabric. The slope of the hill, on which perhaps the spectators had been accustomed to assemble, was chosen for the building; and the seats disposed in rows rising one above another, each resting on the rock as its foundation.
While Athens continued independent, the stage was enobled by the glorious produce of Attic genius; by the solemn chorus; by a Sophocles, and a Menander. When Rome had prevailed, it was degraded and prostituted to the savage combats of gladiators; and, in the time of Trajan, the Athenians exceeded even the Corinthians in their relish of that cruel pastime. These assembled without their city, in a torrent bed, capable of containing the multitude, and of no account; where is is said no one would even bury a free person ; but the Athenians hired, and armed miscreants of all denominations, whom they encouraged to fight in the theatre sacred to Bacchus; so that some, it often happened, were slain in the very chairs belonging to the hierophant and priests. Appollonius Tyanæus, when at Athens, was invited to the theatre; but he refused to enter a place so polluted with human gore; and affirmed in a letter, that the Athenians, unless they speedily desisted from this barbarous practice, would soon sacrifice hecatombs of men, instead of heifers, to their goddess. He wondered that Minerva had not forsaken her temple; and that Bacchus had not removed, as preferring the purer mountain of Cithæron.
In the rock above the theatre is a large cavern, perhaps an ancient quarry, the front ornamented with marble pilasters of the Corinthian order, supporting an entablature, on which are three inscriptions. Over that in the middle, is a female figure, which had lost its head in the year 1676, mounted on two or three steps, sedent. On one side is a marble sun-dial, moved awry from its proper position. It is of a kind anciently very common,* as is evident from the great number still in use about Athens, particularly in the track called The Gardens, where many are set on the mud walls, often with very rude gnomons. Above the cavern are two columns, standing on the steep slope, between the foot of the castle wall and the sedent figure. They are of unequal heights, and have triangular capitals. On each of these a tripod has been fixed, as is evident from the marks of the feet, which may be seen from the battlements of the fortress. The Greeks have converted the cave into a chapel, which is called Panagia Spiliótissa, The l'irgin of the Grotto. The sides of the rock within are covered with holy portraits. The door is rarely open, but I was once present at the celebration of mass, when it was lighted up with wax-candle, and filled with smoke of incense, with bearded priests, and a devout crowd ; the spectacle suiting the place, which is at once solemn and romantic. The tripods, which decorated this monument, were obtained by chorusses exhibited in the theatre below, probably at the Dionysia ; and consecrated to Bac
* Lord Besborough has a small one in his choice and curious collection of antiquities at Roehampton. See the form in Paciaudius.
chus. The first inscription informs us of the author and age, as well as of the occasion of the building. “ Thrasyllus son of Traysillus of Decelia, dedicated the tripod, having, when he provided a chorus, conquered with men for the tribe Hippothoontis. Evius of Chalcis was musician. Neæchmus was archon. Circadamus son of Sotis was teacher.” This archonshop falls on the first year of cxvth Olympiad, three hundred and twenty years before Christ. The other inscriptions are records of a similar nature. “ The people provided a chorus. Pytharatus was archon; the president of the games was Thrasycles, son of Thasyllus, of Decelia. The tribe Pandionis conquered in the contest of men. Nicocles of Ambracia was musician. Lysippus an Arcadian was teacher.” The third has a like preamble, and refers to the same year, but to another class of competitors. « The tribe Hippothoontis conquered in the contest of boys; Theon of Thebes was musician. Pronomas a Theban was teacher.” Pytharatus was archon in the second year of the cxxviith Olympiad,* so that Thrasycles presided and procured other tripods, to be placed on the family monument, forty-nine years after it was erected by Thrasyllus his father. Decelia was a borough town of the tribe Hippothoontis. On one of the tripods was represented the story of Apollo and Diana, killing the children of Niobe. It is mentioned by Pausanias ; who then proceeds to relate, that he had seen this Niobe on Mount Sipylus. The figure,+ over the grotto, was probably
. * Before Christ, 271.
+ If it be conjectured that this figure represented a tribe, the answer is, that no instance of such personification has been produced.
Pausanias may be cited as mentioning statues or pictures of the people, but this is a mistranslation. Demus was an Athenian of singular beauty, the son of Pyri
intended to represent that celebrated phantom, which he has described; the idea of placing the statue there corresponding with her story, and being suggested both by the tripod, and by the tragedies, which were acted in the theatre, containing her unhappy catastrophe.
Going on from the theatre of Bacchus, you have an extensive corn field, once part of the Ceramicus within the city, on the left hand, now bounded by the bed of the Ilissus, beyond which are rocks; and, before you, on an eminence, is the monument of Philopappus. At some distance from the theatre begins an out-work of the fortress, standing on ancient arches, supposed to be the remains of a stoa, or portico, which was connected with the theatre, called the odeum.* This fabric was designed by Pericles for the musical contests, which he regulated and introduced at the Panathenæan solemnity. The building was finished by Lycurgus, son of Lycophron. It contained many rows of seats and marble columns. The roof was constructed with the masts and yards of Persian ships, and formed to imitate the pavilion of Xerxes. Here was the tribunal of the archon, or supreme magistrate; and here the Athenians listened to the rhap. sodists rehearsing the poems of Homer, and to the songs in
SIGTIGST lampes, a friend of Pericles. v. Meursius Pop. Ath. 774. p. 779. Att. Lect. p. 1867.
* Pausanias, p. 23, describing the acropolis, mentions that Attalus had offered the war of the giants, the battle of the Athenians and Amazons, &c. which were (iepos TÔ Telge tū Norw) against the south wall, and each as much as two cubits.
Among the prodigies which were supposed to have pre-signified the event of the war between Antony, who was styled a new Bacchus, and Cæsar, was this; the Bacchus in the combat with the giants was loosened by a hurricane, and borne into the theatre beiteath. Plutarch.