Εικόνες σελίδας

Athens the temperature seldom rises above 80° or 90°, and it is very rarely so low as the freezing point; it is therefore generally healthy, while on the contrary, many parts of Livadia, which, in ancient times were the site of populous cities, are become infectious marshes, spreading death among those who are hardy enough to establish themselves in their neighbourhood.

The soil of Greece is generally good; that of Boeotia especially is very rich, E. wheat, Indian corn, barley, kidney-beans, rice, and sesamum, with a great quantity of cotton; while its lakes still supply Athens and other parts of the country with eels, waterfowls, and rushes for baskets, mats, and lamp-wicks. Not fewer than eight different sorts of wheat are cultivated with great success, and produce in good

soils from ten to twelve for one, and in the best

from fifteen to eighteen for one, and this mostly in unmanured ground; barley, millet, and tobacco are also general throughout Greece. In the plains of Thessaly are extensive groves of mulberry-trees, cultivated principally for the silk-worm, which is there an object of much attention; the trees are carefully cut down, watered, and hoed. The silk of Attica is remarkable for its whiteness; but that of the Morea, deriving its name probably from the mulberry, is the most celebrated; there is also abundance of excellent corn, wine, and figs, and the wheat yields thirty-fold, and two crops in a year. The cactus or Indian-fig forms an impenetrable hedge with its thorny coats round the plantations in many places; but most of the lands are open. Cotton is produced in most parts of the country, but in the greatest abundance in the plains of Triccala in Thessaly, where not less than 600,000 pounds of the wool are grown annually. The fig-tree is cultivated with much attention and success, and the olive forms the greatest part of the exports and riches of Attica, yet this oil, once so fine and so highly esteemed, is now only used for the manufacture of soap. Their knowledge of agriculture is not very far advanced, and the simple instruments they use bear every mark of a very ancient origin; in some parts, as in the isles of the Archipelago, they use the spade instead of the j the lands being divided into parcels too small to require the use of the latter instrument. Of the wines of this country, ten different sorts have been enumerated by Dr. Sibthorp, but none of them can be called fine except those made on a few of the islands of the Archipelago; the practice also which generally prevails of mixing with them turpentine, from the species of fir called pinus maritima, in order to prevent them from becoming acid, renders the flavor not very agreeable. This fir is one of the most useful trees in Greece, furnishing pitch and tar for all maritime and domestic purposes; of the resinous parts are made candles or torches, the cones are put into the wine casks, the wood serves for the carpenter, and the bark for tanning. Honey is produced in considerable quantities, and much valued by the Athenians, especially that of Hymettus, in Attica, which has been celebrated from time immemorial, and is still so much in esteem, that a present of 1000 pounds

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weight of it is annually sent to Constantinople Articles of the first necessity are all manuix. tured in Greece; tanning, dyeing, cotton and it weaving, and other mechanical arts, are carrie. on with tolerable skill in every family: and to Greeks have no need of importing any thing but what contributes to convenience or luxury; articles of this description they can easily procure by giving in exchange the superfluity of their produce, as grain, oil, wine, fruits, ke This exchange sometimes affords a very lucrative commerce, but, in order to turn the balance decidedly in favor of the Greeks, agriculture must be carried to a higher state of perfection, so that the quantity of their productions may be increased, and the quality of their goods improved.

o produce these beneficial effects the labora must be rescued from the iron hand of oppres. sion, and brought under the dominion of jos laws; but the despotism of the Turks has or lysed every thing in Greece. To live in abled wretchedness, to have no appearance of well or comfort in their dwellings, or anything who may tempt the cupidity of these savage maso is the only safeguard that the miserable Groe possess. Owing to this cause, and the unwho some state of the atmosphere in some places arising from the numerous marshes near the to the population of the country is much diminished The whole of Greece does not perhaps now to tain more than 4,000,000 of inhabitants, allo" ing to the

Peninsula in the north . 2,000,000 The Morea and Negropont 1,000,000 The islands . . . . . 1,000,000

The Greeks constitute three-fourths of this Pulation; the rest are Turks, Mussulmans, A. anians, Jews, and the mixed descendants o Romans, Venetians, Neapolitans, and othek ropeans, generally called Franks. The Turs are, however, quite ignorant of the state of to population; it is, therefore, not surprising to strangers should have but an imperfect kno" ledge of it. As of old, the people may be o to be divided into four classes, cultivators oftsoil. craftsmen, soldiers, and priests. In " manners of the Greeks we may observe mio defects and vices; but these are, for the to É. the natural effect of their long * ard bondage, and should make us detes to barbarous despotism which has so long of pressed a people gifted with every disposo necessary to render them great, happy, and * o of their ancestors. They are indeed no rally lively, and this appears in the exco joy which they manifest in their gins x church-festivals, in which they drink and *; and dance in honor of their patron saint they fall into a state of weariness and stupo tion. It is said, that a Greek before he to again into his enslaved village, sometimes” a week, a month, or a year to rejoice in; this is not gaiety; it is frenzy; they appo this like the unfortunate negroes, who pass o whole night in dancing, in order to someo toils of the day. If the men are immoder”" their exhibitions of joy, the women are * *

their grief The loss of her husband terminates for ever the happiness of the widow; she utters dreadful lamentations, tears her hair, disfigures her countenance, retires from society, neglects the care of her person, and takes no part in social avocations; she seldom marries again. In well regulated towns this excessive mourning has been rather tempered by the prevalent manners, but, in the country parts and the islands, it is still inordinate. At their funerals, mourners are hired for the purpose, and the disgusting spectacle is exhibited of a factitious despair, mingled with the most extravagant panegyrics on the deceased; in many places they expose the dead in the churches, where they are visited by the relations and friends, who come to give them the last kiss. A woman is considered as of little value in society, when her husband is dead: in the higher ranks, as among the ancients, the Greek females are sequestered and shut up in their seraglios, from which they never go out without their veils, and that only to visit their female relations, or to frequent the churches. Embroidery, music, and story-telling are their chief occupations in their retirement, and their minds thus left without culture, would become torpid were it not for their natural vivacity, which discovers itself in the brightness of their eyes, in the flexibility of their agreeable countenances, and in the agility of all their limbs; but these women, who in the most simple dress always appear even handsome, disfigure themselves by the heavy costume in which they are muffled up, and the thick paint with which they cover their faces. Frequent bathing, and that languor inseparable from idleness, impair in early life those charms, which begin to disclose themselves at a very tender age, and all the marks of a premature old age appear before they have reached what is commonly considered the

rime of life; among the lower classes, the

tigues of labor generally produce the same effect. With an excessive love for dress, and great fondness of perfumery, the Greek women manifest

great negligence in regard to the cleanliness of

their apparel, and their dwellings are destitute of neatness, though it would be most easy to keep them in order; since all their moveables consist in a few sophas, some presses or chests to contain their clothes, the matrasses which they spread in the evening to sleep on, some stools about two feet high which serve them for tables and chairs, and the brazier near which the women in winter spend the whole day, and which is about the same height: some images complete the decoration of their rooms. In the cities and the islands, where more intercourse with the European nations prevails, there is less uniformity . insipidity in the life of the females; they are not excluded from society; gay and affable, they often charm the traveller by the most gracious and easy hospitality. “What stranger,’ says a popular French advocate of the Greeks, “can resist the invitations and offers of hospitality which are frequently addressed to him in a sweet and harmonious language by groups of lively and black-eyed females seated before their houses, and occupied in the labors

of embroidery and spinning, under the fine climate of the Archipelago?' Education furnishes them with scarcely any means of dissipating their weariness; their husbands either leave them alone while they go to navigate the ocean, or treat them with a lordliness equal to that of the Turks. Among the superstitions to which they are much devoted may be mentioned their using of various charms, their consulting with sorceresses, and their reliance on dreams, which interest them exceedingly, and by which the young females endeavour to discover what sort of a husband they are likely to have, and whether they are destined to be happy in their future life. Their marriages are celebrated with rejoicings, in which whole villages take a part. The proposals are made in some of the islands by proxenetes or match-makers; at church the newly married couple are adorned with crowns; and, on entering the bridegroom's house, the bride is carried over the threshold, as to touch it would be counted a bad omen: Almonds, walnuts, and other fruits are distributed among the people; the repast is commonly very abundant, and they drink moderately as is customary in Greece, where drunkenness is seldom met with, and their manner of living is generally very simple. In vain in this country do Helicon and Parnassus still rear their summits to the clouds, the genius of the fine arts no longer resides there: how indeed could they develop themselves under a government which makes every appearance of riches a signal for fresh exactions ! Neither architecture, nor painting, nor sculpture, is to be found in any perfection; the churches even are small and mean, and those which are in any respect remarkable in their construction take their date from the times of the latter empire, or of the Italians, or have been composed of the fragments of antiquity; besides these there are no public edifices, except the monasteries, built without taste, and often without any symmetry. This country, once the richest in the productions of the fine arts, is now the poorest in the civilised world; and, to equal other nations, it will be necessary for the Greeks to study the very first rinciples, since these have fallen into oblivion. susic is among them less an art than a means of amusement and diversion; in their churches the clergy conient themselves with miserable psalmody, which they never dream of improving; and, in their social meetings, a bad instrument, some favorite air, and a poor player, are sufficient to excite their gaiety. Their songs sometimes produce emotions of the most moving kind, but this is hardly to be attributed to their music; indeed, buried in slavery and poverty, how can the art of harmony inspire any people? The language of the ancient Greeks has undergone many alterations in the course of time; and these, as may be observed, commenced with the decline of the eastern empire. The irruption of the barbarians hastened the corruption of the language, as well as the fall of the empire; and ages have passed in which this nation had no literature but that of its ancestors. About the twelfth century some taste for learning arose; the crusades then commenced, which brought the East into relation with the West, the Greeks with the Latins and Saracens; and though there was a striking distinction between the supple and artful character of the Greeks, and the barbarous rudeness of the Latins, new ideas were inspired into the mind of the nation, and new expressions were introduced into its language. The Italians particularly had great influence over the Romaic, or modern Greek, which was then formed; poets and prose writers availed themselves of this new language; which, though as remote from the ancient Greek as the Italian is from the tongue of ancient Rome, soon became the national idiom. Had not their liturgy, from the earliest times of Christianity, maintained the use of the ancient harmonious language of their ancestors, the Greeks probably would have been much farther distant from its purity; and to this same preventive cause may be attributed the uniformity which prevails in the modern language in all the different districts, how remote soever they may be from the centre of Greece. In some of the islands also, which are very little addicted to trade, more of the words and turns of expression of the ancient Greek are preserved than in the rest of the country. The Albanians, who have been settled in Greece only six centuries, have adopted the language of the Greeks, though they differ from them in other respects, and treat them with great contempt. Independently of words and expressions derived from the European tongues, the ancient Greek grammar has undergone various alterations; the accents, which the nice ear of an Athenian distinguished with so much care, have been confounded; the aspirations, though still marked, are no longer pronounced; several vowels and diphthongs, that the ancients distinguished, have now the same sound given to them, et, ot, m et v, being pronounced by the Greeks as é; and this, they pretend, is the true pronunciation. . With the words of the ancient language the moderns have taken great liberties, lengthening some, shortening others, interpolating or retrenching the vowels or consonants in the middle of words, changing one letter for another; in fine, confounding their significations, and using the ancient words in new senses. In the grammar, the dual number, peculiar to the ancient Greek, and the oblique cases, are lost; the auxiliaries to have and to will, employed in modern languages to indicate the past and the future, as well as the use of the }. pronouns in the verbs, are all dérived rom European sources. It is remarkable, that the mariners and fishermen of the nation have retained more of the ancient words than others; the names which they give to plants and fishes bear a strong resemblance to those by which Dioscorides, and other naturalists, called them. On the other hand, the most corrupt dialect is used in Attica, where once the most pure and chastened style prevailed. The orthography varies much, and, indeed, has no fixed rules. We cannot expect any brilliant progress in literature from a people oppressed for so many centuries, who possess no capital, or any great establishments for education; who, until this


century, had not even a single printing pits and received from Venice and 1. the ol, books generally saleable, that is, the formulane, of devotion. The Athenians have lost all traca of those dramatic exhibitions of which their to: cestors were so fond. Only three poems hat. been produced among them before the eighteem century; but since that time their poets hite multiplied, and their productions have become more numerous and varied. Songs, in which all nations delight, are become a favorite amus. ment with the Greeks. At first they had two kinds of them, viz. erotic, or love songs, and the clephtica tragoudia, that is, songs celebrating the great exploits of some klephtes, a name simply signifying a robber, but by no means dishony. able in some parts of Greece, where the mos respectable people make no scruple of taking to the highway, and subsisting on the booty the have acquired, especially if they hate regular; made their offering at the shrine of some saint or madonna. We shall quote two of the klephtic songs in the original, as a specimen o' the Romaic generally spoken, with subpo. translations, which will give some idea ofte tone that breathes through many of these mo tain strains.

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Darkness drew near, and day was fading foot. Like death and life, when Demes spoke his loo “Leave me awhile, my children'—hence, and to Our draught for evening from the crystal spring; My brother's son, Lampsakis' come and wear These arms—my arms—henceforth be chieftain of reMy comrades, take my now forsaken swordCut me green boughs, and let its blade afford Once more a couch to rest its weary lord! Call me a priest to whom I may confess All my past errors—would the list were lessA Klephtes long! an Armatolos longer, Terror of Turks—but now the foe is stronger- , , 'Tis Death! prepare my tomb—but broad and high When o'er it sounds the Moslem's battle-cry, Let me have space to raise my mouldering o". Appall with death, yet strike with living force' And leave one crevice—where the rusting "no Of swallows and of nightingales that sing The lovely May, may tell me when 'tis Sprius'

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A little while before the insurrection of the Greeks a printing press was established in the island of Scio; by this means learning began to spread rapidly; the classic works of ancient Greece were republished; , libraries, colleges, and schools, were established among themselves, and the young Greeks were encouraged to frequent the foreign universities. Of all the losses suffered by this interesting country, that of her universities at Buchorest, Aivali, Scio, Yanina, and Athens, will be long felt; the very seeds of their restoration perished with the 500 Greek students, “the sacred band, who fell at the fatal battle of Drageschan. The Anglo-Ionian university of Corfu is now the only sanctuary for Greek literature; and this, perhaps, is destined ere long to shed the beams of learning and virtue over the regions of the Levant. The character of the Grecian people, as of all other civilised nations, has been strongly influenced by the principles and practices of its religion. In ancient times, notwithstanding the 1ights that philosophy afforded, they were completely under the dominion of their priests; their treasures were lavished at their altars, their lives were often sacrificed in their temples, and the fables of their mythology, and the various festivals of their worship, some of them horrid for their cruelty and others abominable for their licentiousness, were the themes of their finest works of imagination. However free they were in the conduct of their civil affairs, they were really slaves in their religious opinions. When at Yength the prevalence of Christianity wrought the downfall of this ancient system of superstition and imposture, the national spirit transferred to the new worship the ardent imagination, the vivacity, and the puerile superstition, that had been derived from the ancients. Miserable controversies, and scholastic subtilties, distracted the mino, of the people; a breach took place ol. X.

with the church of Rome; pagan doctrines relative to magic, the curse po by the priests, and the efficacy of some religious services, were propagated almost without alteration; but, incredible as it may seem, the doctrine of i. so profitable to the Latins, and which has conferred such immense influence and riches on their clergy, never gained access among the Greeks. The usurpation of temporal power by the clergy, which has constituted the disgrace of the Latin church, is unknown to them; the Greeks are astonished how a bishop of Rome, who, say they, is no more than a bishop of Alexandria, of Antioch, or of Nice, should dare to usurp the supremacy over the whole Christian world, and domineer over the clergy and laity. There has always been something of the republican forms of antiquity preserved in the Greek church; they consider the priestly power as residing chiefly in the patriarchs, metropolitans, archbishops, and bishops; and say, that the first seven councils have settled every thing that relates to doctrine, the decisions of which nothing should, or can, affect. As to discipline, they consider it as the business of the synods, and that the assistance of a pope is altogether unnecessary. Four patriarchs, elected by the synods, and residing at Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria, have nearly the same power, that of Constantinople being merely regarded as the chief, and exercising some temporal authority in a council of archimandrites, archdeacons, and other priests and monks, at which he presides; every bishop among the Greeks decides matters in dispute, according to the codes of Justinian and Theodosius, and the laws of Basil of Macedonia. But this temporal authority is rather the result of the civil, than the religious state of the people, who, having no other superior authorities than their patriarchs and bishops, would rather refer to these national judges, than to the tribunals of their Turkish oppressors. The manners of the superior Greek clergy are very simple: as they are mostly taken from the monastic order, their lives partake very much of the uniformity of the cloister; while monachism itself does not, as in the Romish church, exhibit any thing of that pomp, predominant influence, and cruel authority, w id: have been displayed by the Jesuits, the Dominicans, and Cistertians, of the West. The Greek monks are all of the order of St. Basil, preserving much of the simplicity of their primitive institution; it is in solitary places, in the midst of rocks and deserts, that the caloyers take up their abode. . It must not, however, be concealed, that the inhabitants of the Greek cloisters are generally very ignorant; being condemned to a contemplative mode of life, they seem as if they imagined they had nothing more to do with their reason; and some of them, not content with the sacrifice of thought, submit to the mortifications, and austere life of anchorites, and become almost walking spectres. Ambitious, notwithstanding this, of ecclesiastical honors, their conduct is often greedy and oppressive; the patriarch, obliged to pay a tax to the Turks for his place, exacts upon the metropolitans, these squeeze the bishops, and the bishops lay the monks and parishes under con2 R.

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tribution; they frequently sell the furniture of those who do not pay these exactions, and contract debts at the cost of the people. The lower clergy, that is to say the papas, having no prospect of advancement, betake themselves to occupations of the meanest kind, in order to support their families; for, happily for the population of the country, they are not forbidden to marry. They are frequently husbandmen or farmers, who, having learned a few of the formularies and ceremonies of the church, have purchased the priestly office of some accommodating bishop, and, becoming all at once papas, make money of every thing; they sell absolutions, sacraments, exorcisms, relics, &c. They promote all kinds of superstition; they have covered all Greece with their little chapels, each of which has its officiating priest; ignorant and fanatical, and miserably paid, they are often the disgrace of the religion they profess, and pursue trades by no means honorable, in order to obtain their subsistence. “All Greece,’ says the Count de Choiseul-Gouf. fier, “is filled with these monks, scarcely any of whom can read; but they know how far the influence of religious fear extends over superstitious minds. Every pirate has with him a caloyer, or papas, to absolve him from a crime the very moment he has committed it; after having massacred the people in the buildings they take by surprise, after having plundered and razed them to their foundations, they immediately prostrate themselves at the foot of their minister, when the repeating of a few words reconciles them to the Deity, as they suppose, calms their consciences, and encourages them to the commission of new crimes. Numberless ceremonies and superstitions constitute the whole of the religion of the papas and the laity; and there is not one superstitious opinion or practice of the ancient Greeks which is not prevalent among their descendants in some form or other; they have even augmented the number. They acknowledge the influence of evil genii every where; they have protecting saints against every species of misfortune and accident; they have o nature with invisible spirits; the dead ave no rest among them, they appear again in the form of vampires or broucalakas; the whole village is thrown into confusion, and they make use of every charm to quiet the rest'essness of these phantoms. In no place has sorcery so completely enthroned id: as in Greece; not only do they believe in it, but they see its effects every where. Dreams are ever furnishing fresh food for superstition; they attribute periodical fevers, and other diseases, tomalignant influences, and to envy ; they write the name of the malady on a triangular paper, and stick it on the entrance of the sick man's chamber in order to obtain his cure; they fix the nail of a coffin on the doors of their houses to drive away the apparitions; they tremble at the screeching of an owl, or the shaking of a leaf; the osprey spreads alarm in every direction, when its cries interrupt the silence of the night; a whole caravan is stopped, if a hare cross its path, until some one comes up, who has not seen it, and breaks the charm; to hear the braying of an ass on a fast day, to meet a papas, or monk, at the rising of

the sun, are portentous omens; lightning is dreaded by the husbandmen, and eclipses are considered as the precursors of calamities; in fine, the number five is held as one of the worst of auguries, so that they believe themselves bewitched if they utter it, or if any one extend to them their hand with the five fingers. Should another Luther make his appearance in the Eastern church, he would have a multitude of these things to reform, and he would render a great service to the people by suppressing the useless fasts, which are imposed on them during a great part of the year. The fast on the Epiphany, at the great ceremony of the blessing of the waters, every Wednesday and Friday in honor of the Passion, at the Ascetsion, and at Christmas; but it is in Lent especially, that every body, even the sick and women with child, observe a rigorous fast: to see the miserable food, and even polypuses and other marine animals, some of them half putrified, on which they then support themselves, we have the greatest difficulty to conceive how these intrepid fasters can sustain life. . At the approach of Easter they make themselves amends for this severe abstinence; on Palm Sunday they decorate the churches with the boughs of odoriferous shrubs; they purchase on the following days absolution from their sins; on Holy Thursday they partake of the Communion according to the rites of the primitive church, observing this ceremony as a banquet of peace and brothery love; Ash Wednesday is a day of entire fasting, and they continue their devotions till late at night; but on Easter eve all is bustle and preparation for the next day's festival; they clean the house, throw out of the windows the old earthen vessels, which have been used during Lent; the best apparel is taken out of the family chest; the paschal lamb is purchased for the solemn repast, and they resume the harp and the tambourine, which had been laid aside during the fast. The dawn of the Sabbath is hailed by vollies of musketry and cries of joy; they make presents to their friends of painted eggs and cakes, the paschal lamb is eaten by the whose family, and copious libations of wine spread everywhere a noisy pleasure, which is kept up during eight days, and often degenerates inie extreme licentiousness. In many respects these orgies resemble the Saturnalia of the ancient Greeks. Baptism among the Greeks is administered by immersion, and they accuse the Latins of having altered this institution by practises sprinkling. Their communion is a distribution of wheaten bread and wine; to which on partcular festivals a lamb is added; this simple repast seems very much to resemble the agara, of the first Christians. In their churches they have only pictures painted on wood, miserably executed ; in the country of Phidias and Praxiteles they have proscribed without pity statues and sacred sculpture, for fear of falling into idelatry, but they have no fear of this kind frca exposing to view the wretched images painted by the monks. These paintings pass amcro. them as miraculous; and most of the Greek monasteries possess one of them, which the cre

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