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HOMER AND RECENT ARCHÆOLOGY.
It needs some courage to undertake logical opinion is fast settling in the an article on what many people will conviction that there is one explanaconsider the interminable Homeric tion, and one only, which will account controversy. But the undertaking, for the discovery in a goldless land though bold, is not rash, if one believe like Greece of rich gold treasures of that the controversy is not intermin- prehistoric date, the explanation that able. It was so, as long as we had the precious metal came from the nothing to guide us but intrinsic other side of the Ægean, where the probabilities and the statements of sands of Pactolus literally ran with ancient writers. Grote, summing up gold, so that the kings of Phrygia and with his usual clearness and vigour Lydia became the richest monarchs in the evidence before him, decided that the world. As soon as the Mycenæan the date of the Homeric poems
could treasures came to light, Mr. Newton not be fixed within four centuries. declared the style of their decoration But, since Grote wrote, the evidence to be like that of the Phrygian royal has been extended, and the new argu- tombs at Doganlu, and other archæoments of a more satisfactory logists have frequently since published character than the old. If, for brief- the same discovery. The fact is unness sake, we may use a metaphor, we deniable, and establishes the Phrygian will say
that historical science has character of the Mycenæan gold-work. let slip after the Homeric hare two When, then, tradition tells that Pelops hounds, philology and archæology. As came from Phrygia to reign over yet they have not secured the prey, Argolis, and when the sober history but they are fast approaching it. The of Thucydides records that Pelops question is now no longer whether the became master of Peloponnesus in virquarry will escape, but rather how tue of the abundant gold which he soon it will be captured, and to which brought with him from his native of the hounds the merit of the capture country, it seems unreasonable any will accrue. This paper contains a longer to doubt that we have really brief account of recent advances in found the tombs of the Pelopid kings Homeric archæology. Mycena and of Argolis. Tiryns have now furnished such an This view will be further confirmed archæological commentary to the if we consider the fashion in which Homeric text as before did not exist. the gold is worked. The goldsmiths The able text-book of Dr. Helbig 'has who fashioned the diadems, the swordsketched out a grammar of Homeric belts, the gold-plates of Mycenæ were archæology which may hereafter be no tyros trying a prentice hand on a extended and amplified; the time has material new to them, but men disalready come when we can point out playing a practised, probably a hereclear landmarks and set forth the indi- ditary, skill in dealing with gold cations furnished by certain new truths. and displaying its lustre to the best
The theories of those who saw in advantage. These workmen cannot the overflowing wealth of the tombs have been trained in Greece, but must of the kings of Mycenæ the spoil accu- have come from Asia Minor. The mulated by Gauls or Goths of a later most extraordinary of all the gold age are entirely exploded. Archæo- signets of Mycenæ, that which repre1.Das Homerische Epos aus den Denk
sents a female figure seated under a mälern erläutert.' Leipzig, 1884.
tree to receive the homage of worship
pers, seems also to point to Phrygia, Several of the gold signets found in if we may accept the ingenious expla- the tombs at Mycenæ show us a style nation of Milchhoefer, who sees in identical with that of the swords ; the scene an act of adoration offered the men on them are armed in the to Cybele, who sits to receive it under
the same sorts of her sacred tree, the pine. Cybele is shields. And these signets again lead precisely the deity of the district us to the intaglios of early date which around Mount Sipylus whence Pelops are found in Crete and other Greek was said to have come.
islands as well as at Mycenæ, the pecuBesides what is Phrygian there is liar style of which has offered a basis much which appears to be Hellenic, or to the very remarkable theories reat least proto-Hellenic, in the art of cently put forth by Milchhoefer as to Mycenæ. The best instance we can the existence of a native and local cite is the wonderful sword-blades style of art in Greece at least as early adorned with scenes inlaid in them,
twelfth century before the scenes which were concealed by rust Christian era. and oxide from discovery by Dr. These intaglios are cut upon small Schliemann, but afterwards brought stones of lentoid shape, which are to light by the patience and ingenuity pierced with a hole for suspension, and of Kumanudes. The style of the most probably served the owners as seals or remarkable, a hunt of three lions by amulets. They are not found in Asia, a body of warriors armed with shield but frequently in the Greek islands, and spear,
very distinctive. The Crete, Rhodes, Melos, and Cyprus, and proportions of the figures and the sometimes in the mainland of Hellas. general plan are Egyptian. But the Their subjects are distinctive, and it is scene has a life which belongs to remarkable that they display but little Greece only: the figures are lithe and Oriental influence; Oriental creatures, in motion, not fixed and mechanical. the lion, the griffin, and the sphinx, And the central touch of the picture, seldom appear on them. Nearly al
man lying stretched under the ways they present to us either animals fierce attack of a lion who turns on of European character, bulls, goats, his pursuers, is a motive for which
stags, dogs, and the like, or subjects one might in vain seek a prototype
derived from Indo-European mythoamid all the sculptures of Egypt logy. Among the latter, beings with and Assyria.3 If in them a man is the head of a horse are conspicuous, defeated by animal or monster, that and Milchhoefer tries with all the animal or monster is an embodiment resources of learning to show that of a demon, and not a mere quadruped. horse-headed monsters belong to the In Egyptian battle-scenes not one of mythology of Greece rather than of the Egyptian soldiers is represented any other country, and to connect as falling ; but the Greeks saw that them with the tales of the Harpies, the fall of a few men while their com- of the Gorgon who gives birth to the rades are victorious is a touch which winged horse Pegasus, and the horseadds pathos and a human interest to headed Demeter worshipped at Phia battle. And it was in virtue of galia and Thelpusa. These gems
the keen and true perceptions like this writer considers to be the work of the that Greek art at a later time rose to Pelasgic race in the islands of the so high a level.
Ægean. We regret that we have not
space to give a fuller account of the 1 'Mycenæ,' p. 354.
theories of Milchhoefer. They are the 2 • Anfänge der Kunst in Griechenland,' result of long observation and much 3 This remark is due to Mr. R. S. Poole,
travel, and no mere theories of the who made it in a lecture at the Royal Institu
study. It is probable that he carries tion, 9th Feb. 1886.
them too far, but that he has done No. 323.-VOL. LIV.
much to prove the existence of a very the architectural principles recovered. early indigenous Greek art must be The general arrangement of the palace freely conceded.
was simple : it consisted of two parts, Thus we are able to identify among of which one seems to have been apobjects found at Mycenæ many speci- propriated to the men, the other to the mens of native Greek art, as well as women of the royal race. much work which reveals a Phrygian contained a large forecourt, avâń, surorigin. A third element at Mycenæ, rounded by colonnades, and a main the Semitic or Phænician, is far less hall or living room, approached from plentifully present. Here and there the forecourt through a vestibule. amid the treasures
engraved in Around these two nuclei were grouped • Mycenæ 'we find objects which were smaller rooms, which served as bedcertainly imported from Phænicia. chambers, rooms for storage and the Such is the figure of Aphrodité with a like; one chamber seems clearly to dove resting on her head, and the have been devoted to purposes of gold plate which bears a represen- bathing. Stairs led to an upper story, tation of a temple of the same goddess but this, of course, has entirely disapwith doves seated on it. Through the peared. On the walls of some of the Phænicians, too, must have come the chambers were very interesting retassel made of Egyptian porcelain, mains of patterns wherewith they had which was found in one tomb. These been painted—patterns imitated from objects prove that Phænician trade Egyptian models, but strangely altered existed at the time of the Pelopid in the copying: in one room kings, but their rarity proves that fragments of a course of alabaster Phænician commerce had
carved in patterns, which had been reached the fulness of development varied and adorned with fragments of which belonged to it at a later time. blue glass let into it at intervals ; a In the Mycenæan age the Greeks could course which has generally been rehold their own against any people, garded as an instance of what is except perhaps the Egyptians, in the termed in the Homeric poems Oplykòs richness and beauty of their handi- κυάνοιο. work. Nor do the few Phænician In the general arrangements of the productions from Mycenæ show any forecourt and men's hall, the position of that elaboration of design and com- of the hearth and the altar of Zeus plication of scene which belongs to the Herceius, and in many other respects, Phænician art of the eighth and suc- the palace which existed at Tiryns ceeding centuries.
seems to have been exactly like the The excavations carried on during palaces of which Homer was thinking. the last few years by Dr. Schliemann Only in one point does a notable diverat Tiryns carry us back to the same gence seem to exist. In the Tirynthian age as those at Mycenæ. But the palace the women's apartments were, point of interest is quite different at as we have said, apart from the men's, the two places. At Mycenæ we have whereas it seems that in the palace a revelation of Greek prehistoric art; of Odysseus at Ithaca the women's at Tiryns we come within sight of the rooms were close to or behind those details and arrangement of a Greek of the men; from many passages it palace of prehistoric times. We now appears that access from the one know why the walls of Tiryns, which set to the other was easy and immein their massive solidity have been a diate. If we may suppose that at wonder to travellers of all ages, were Tiryns anópoolúpn, or door raised
, built so high and so thick. We know above the floor, existed for communicathat they inclosed and protected a tion between the two sets of apartsplendid royal palace, of which the ments, this difficulty will be removed ; ground-plan can still be traced and
and there is nothing whatever in the
remains discovered which is inconsist- rise of the Homeric and Hesiodic ent with such a supposition.
schools of poetry, which fixed for all peruses the Homeric passages which time the main outlines of Greek mydescribe the construction and arrange- thology and the Greek language. ment of the palaces of the Achæan It is not a little remarkable that in kings with the plan of the Tirynthian the archaeological record of Greece palace before one, the coincidences there is a gap which closely correbetween the two are so many and sponds to the gap in Greek history. so striking as to show that these The objects found at Mycenæ, and palaces must belong to the same race the kindred objects found in the exand the same age. In some respects cavations at Sparta and Menidi, as to the plan of the palace at Tiryns fits the which our limits forbid us to speak, Homeric narrative better than even belong to the time before the Dorian the fancy plans which commentators invasion. We have scarcely any rehad made with the sole object of mains which can be given to the next fitting it.
three centuries. We can scarcely supThose who have studied the early pose that the Greeks suddenly lost history of Greece are aware that it the power of producing utensils and offers an extraordinary gap between works of art; the productive arts the supposed time of the Dorian con- must have been in use, in however quest of Peloponnesus and the first degraded a form. But it is probable Olympiad. The date of the Dorian in- enough that the Dorians were slow in vasion according to the received reckon- acquiring the use of the arts, not ing is 1104 B.C. ; the Olympiads begin being naturally æsthetic. And it may in 776 B.C. We have thus a period be that the conquered Ionians and of three centuries and a quarter which Achæans had small chance, amid their is almost an absolute blank as regards struggles for bare existence, to conevents of which we have any know- tinue or develop their artistic activity, ledge. Yet the state of Greece as So while it is possible that carefully represented in the mythic legends so conducted excavations amid the ruins entirely differs from the state of of the cities of Æolis and Ionia might Greece as it appears in the dawning bring to light the traces of an art of history, that we are compelled to linked on
one side to the art of believe that there is a gap of time Mycenæ, and on the other side to the between. This gap is supposed to be art of historical Greece, yet it will filled with obscure events and in- scarcely be wonderful if that art, glorious names. It is supposed that when discovered, disappoints us by its exhausted Greece was in those centu- meagreness and want of energy. But ries recovering from the benumbing of course this is a question to which effects of the Dorian conquest, and the final answer can only come from rising by slow degrees to the height the spade. of civilisation from which she had It is in the eighth century before fallen during the wandering of the the Christian era that Greek history, tribes. But it would appear that this and indeed the history of Europe, may blank space of time held the seeds be said to begin. The eighth century of the rapid development of after witnessed the colonising of Sicily and ages. It then that wealthy lower Italy by Greeks, and the rapid and prosperous Greek colonies grew spread of Milesian trading stations in up along the whole Asiatic coast, and the Euxine, the conquest of the MesCuma arose as the first outpost senians by Sparta, the rise of lyric of Hellas towards the west. Into poetry, and the establishment of the this period falls the legislation of Olympic festival, to be for a thousand Lycurgus, which laid the foundation years a tie to bind Hellas together. of the greatness of Sparta, and the And the eighth century saw a revival
of art, which had its origin in the Other metal bowls of silver and East and thence spread over the bronze, which are also ascribed to islands of Greece into the mainland. Phænician workshops, have been found The spread of the use of writing, and in various countries of the Mediterthe gradual introduction of coins, ranean, more particularly in Etruria accompany henceforth the slow de- and Cyprus. These bowls have been velopment of sculpture out of mere repeatedly published ? and discussed. decoration; so that at any later time Their most remarkable characteristic we have means for assigning a date lies in the way in which they combine within fairly narrow limits to any the representations of Egyptian and objects of Greek art which we may Assyrian art. In alternate bands, find.
sometimes in alternate groups of the We must very briefly follow this same band, we may discern, mingled new wave of art which passed west- together, Egyptian kings slaying their ward from Phænicia along the shores foes, Assyrian monarchs hunting lions, of the Mediterranean. Especially in the scarabæus of Egypt, the sacred the case of two materials, metal and tree of Assyria, scenes of ritual such as pottery, we can trace stage by stage figure on the walls of Egyptian tombs, the spreading influence. Let us begin and incidents
and incidents of court life such as we with metal-work. In one of the
see depicted on the walls of the palaces of Nimroud excavated by Sir palaces of Nimroud. These vessels of H. Layard there were found a number thoroughly eclectic or mixed art belong of bowls of bronze, with designs of to a later period than the vases of repoussé work, which now form a Nimroud, which show Egyptian influchief ornament of the Assyrian gal- ence only. They must belong to the leries of the British Museum. The seventh and the sixth centuries before palace in which they lay was not the Christian era ; and this date will built by King Sargon, but he is well suit the objects found with them believed to have used it. And as the in Cyprus and in Etruria. bowls in question do not exhibit the There can be no doubt that works style which we recognise as Assyrian, in metal so finished and effective as but are, on the contrary, of distinctly these engraved Phænician bowls must Egyptian type, it seems clear that have had great influence in Greece they were importations from abroad. and Italy, more especially because It is regarded by archæologists as they came at a time when the old art almost certain that they were some of Greece was nearly extinct, and no of the spoils brought home by Sargon new art had arisen yet to take its in the course of his conquest of place. In Etruria we find careful and Phænicia about B.C. 720. These vases well-executed copies of some of the then give us a view of the art of more usual and mechanical designs on Phænicia at that time. We cannot these bowls. We might have imahere give any detailed description of gined that the importation of works them ;1 it must suffice to say that so complete into Greece would have they show throughout an intelligent produced in that land also mere appreciation of the ideas and customs imitations more or less perfect. But of Egyptian art, but in imitating that careful copying did not suit the Greek art they adapt; they add, perhaps, nature. Hellenic artists were at all more than they lose in copying. But periods original and productive. So they introduce few forms and ideas though Phænician metal-work stimuforeign to the art of Egypt. Baby
Baby- lated them into activity, the line taken lonia and Assyria contribute nothing by that activity was original and distinctive to them.
? L. P. di Cesnola, Cyprus,' pl. xix. Perrot 1 Layard, 'Nineveh,' second series. Perrot et Chipiez, ‘Hist. de l'Art,' vol. iii. pp. 759. et Chipiez, Hist. de l'Art,' vol. ii. pp. 736, &c. 769, 779, &c.