« AnteriorContinuar »
Victory. The goddess was represented with a pomegranate in her right hand, and a helmet in her left; and without wings, in memory of Theseus's good success in Crete, the fame of which had not rcached Athens before his arrival: but in other places Victory was usually represented with wings. It was placed on the right hand of the entrance of the citadel, and was built of white marble. About the middle of the citadel, was the stately and celebrated temple of Minerva, called Parthenion, either in honour of the virgin goddess, or because it was built by the two daughters of Erectheus, who were emphatically called Partheni, the virgins. It was a hundred feet square, and having been burnt by the Persians, was restored, upon a larger scale, by Pericles; so that it was more than double its former size: it was of beautiful white marble, and considered as the finest piece of antiquity in the whole world.
. The temple of Neptune, surnamed Erechtheus, was a double building; and besides other curiosities, contained the salt springs, called Erectheis, which was feigned to have sprung out of the earth, at the stroke of Neptune's trident, in his contention with Minerva. And the part of the temple, containing this spring, was consecrated to Neptune: and the other part to Minerva, surnamed the protectress; and Pandrosos, from one of Cecrop's daughters of that name. Here was the sacred olive, produced by Minerva ;' and the image of the goddess, said to have fallen from Heaven, * in the reign of Ericthovius. It was guarded by one or two dragons, and had a lamp constantly burning with oil, and an owl placed before it. The smaller edifice, which is an entrance to the other, is twenty-nine feet long, and 'twenty-one feet three inches broad. The larger, is sixtyIhree feet and a half long, and thirty-six broad. The roof is supported by Ionic pillars, futed; but the capitals seem to be a mixture of the Ionic and Doric order.
On the back part of Minerva's temple, was the public treasury, wherein, besides other public funds, was a
* This is noticed in Acts ch, xix, v. 15.
deposit of one thousand talents, as a provision against any sudden emergency; if any man infringed on this sum, in order to apply it to any trivial purpose, he was to be put to death, on conviction of the offence. In this place was kept a register of the names of those persons who were indebted to the state, and an account of those who had discharged its claims upon them.
· The tutelar gods of this treasury were, Jupiter the saviour, and Plutus the god of riches, whom they represented with wings, and as seeing, while in other places he was without wings and blind.
· Aristophanes has noticed both these statues, in the latter end of his Plutus, where he introduces Carion as very busy in placing the statue of that god next to the statue of Jupiter the saviour, on account of his having recovered his sight by favour of that god.
" Therefore let us wait
This building was burnt to the ground by the treasurers, who, having embezzled the public money, took this step to secure themselves, by putting it out of the power of the people to examine the accounts. *
Other remarkable buildings in the citadel were, the chapels of Jupiter the saviour, and Minerva the saviour: the temple of Astauros, the daughter of Cecrops, or rather of Minerva: and the temple of Venus Hippolyta.
: The lower city, containing all the buildings which surrounded the citadel, with the fort Muñychia, and the two havens, Phalerum and Piræus, was encompassed with walls of unequal strength, being built at different times, and by different hands. The chief of these were the great walls, which connected the haven Piræus with the city, being about five miles in length; for which reason Plutarch calls them long legs, and Propertius
long arms. One of these walls lay to the north, and was built by Pericles at a vast expence. The other lay to the south, and included the port Phalerum: it was called by various names, to distinguish it from the south wall of the citadel; the most expressive of which was that of the Phalerian wall. It was built by Themistocles, of huge square stones, not cemented, but fastened by iron cramps, run with lead. The height of it was forty cubits, which was but half the height at first intended by Themistocles: the length of it was thirty-five stadia. Upon both of them was erected a great number of turrets, which were turned into dwelling houses by the Athenians, when they became so numerous, that the city could not contain them, not being large enough to admit of more buildings.
The Munychian, or wall that encompassed the M1nychia, and joined it to the Piræus, contained sixty stadia: and the exterior wall on the other side of the city, was, in length, forty-three stadia; which are something above twenty-two Roman miles. The stadium nearly answers to a furlong, or the eighth part of a mile.
The principal Gates of the City were,
1. The large gates, called the double gates, on account of their being considerably larger than any of the others, were placed at the entrance of the Ceramicus.
2. The Piræan gate, being the entrance to the Piræus. Near this gate was the temple of the hero Chalcedoon, and the tombs of those that died in defence of their country, when the Amazons made their attack upon it.
3. The gate Hippades, near which Hyperides the orator, and his family, were buried. • 4. The Seputehral gate, by which they carried forth dead persons to their graves.
5. The Priets' gate, which led to Eleusis, through which they, that celebrated the festival of Ceres Eleu
sinia, made a solemn procession; from which custom the gate received the name of Hieræ, from Hieron, sacred.
6. The Ægean gate, so called after Ægeus, the father of Theseus.
7. The gate of Diochases.
8. The Acharnæn gate, so called from its looking towards Acharna, a borough of Attica.
9. The Diolmian gate, or that which lay towards the borough of the Diolmians.
10. The Thracian gate.
11. The Itolian gate, near which was the pillar erected in memory of the Amazons.
12. The Scæan gate, frequently mentioned by Homer.
13. The gate of Adrian, by which they entered into that part of the city, which was rebuilt by that emperor,
The Streets of Athens.
As to the streets of Athens, they were neither very uniform por beautiful; though, from a passage in Homer, they seem to have been tolerably spacious.
The number of them was great, but the names of most of them are quite lost. Few, except the following, are to be found in ancient authors. The way which led to Eleusis: the street of Theseus, betwixt the long walls, which led to the Piræus, which seems also to have been called the Piræan street; and two or three more of less consequence.
The Tripodian street, a way near the Prytanæum ; wherein were places largely stocked with tripods of brass, curiously wrought, amongst which was the famous satyr, said to have been a masterpiece of Praxitiles; concerning these, Heliodorus is reported to have written an entire treatise.
The Buildings of the Lower City.
Of these the most remarkable are, the Ponpeon, a . stately edifice, in which were kept the sacred utensils made use of at festivals, and in which all things that were necessary for the solemn processions were prepared. It was placed at the entrance of the old city, which looks towards Phalerum, and adorned with many statues of the Athenian heroes. Indeed there was scarcely any place in the city that was not filled with such like representations. · The temple of Vulcan, or of Vulcan and Minervá, not far from Ceramicus within the city, seems to have been a public prison; frequent mention being made of persons tortured there.
Near this place was the temple of Venus Urania, or the celestial Venus.
The temple of Theseus is to be seen at this day, and is built, as Sir George Wheeler reports, in all respects like the temple, of Minerva in the city, as to matter, form, and order of architecture, but not so large. It is dedicated to St, George, and still remains a masterpiece of architecture; a building scarcely to be equalled, much less exceeded by any other. : The temple of Castor and Pollux. In this place slaves were exposed to sale... .
The temple of Jupiter Olympias; this was the most magnificent structure in Athens, being no less than four stadia in circuit. The foundations were laid by Pisistratus, and many succeeding governors contributed to the building of it, but it was never completely finished till Adrian's time, which was seven hundred years after the tyranny of Pisistratus.
The temple of Apollo and Pan, at the bottom of the citadel, in a cave or grotto.
The temple of Diana, surnamed Lusizoni, because in it women, after their first child, used to dedicate their girdles to this goddess.