Page images
[ocr errors]

is covered with votive offerings from the patients who have used it. Pausanias (x. 17.) says of Sardinia that the air was turbid and unwholesome; the causes of which he supposes to have been the crystallization of the salt and the oppressive breezes from the south.

The first contribution is an interesting detail by Mr. Morritt of a journey, performed in 1795, through the district of Maina in the Morea. As many, perhaps most, of our readers are not very well acquainted with the Mainiots, we shall extract a short account of this interesting people from Mr. Morritt's narrative.

The Maina includes that part of the country anciently called Laconia, which lies between the gulfs of Messene and Gythium, bounded on the north by the highest ridge of Taygetus, from which a chain of rugged mountains descends to Cape Matapan, the southern termination of the country. It is watered by the Pamisus, now the Pirnatza, the broadest river of the Peloponnese. The plains round Calamata, a town towards the N. W., are fertile and well cultivated, abounding with the cactus, or prickly-pear, the white mulberry, (on which great numbers of silk-wornis are fed,) olives, and various fruit-trees.

The town itself is built on a plan not unusual in this part of the Morea, and well adapted for the defence of the inhabitants against the attacks of the pirates that infest the coast. Each house is a separate edifice, and many of them are high square towers of brown stone, built while the Venetians had possession of the country. The lower story serves chiefly for offices or warehouses, and the walls are pierced with loop-holes for the use of musketry, while the doors are strongly barri.cadoed.'

This style of building we believe to have been universal in ancient times in maritime villages and lone houses.*

The government of the Maina in 1795 resembled that of the Scottish Highlands in former times. Over each district presided a capitano, whose residence was a fortified tower, answering exactly, not only to the small fortresses with which Walter Scott has made us all so familiar, but to the tugris of Asidates which Xenophon describes in the Anabasis, and which, no doubt, has been in all ages the kind of building inhabited by the chieftains of tribes in a semibarbarous state. Each chief, besides his own domain, received a tithe of the produce from the land of his retainers. The different chiefs were independent of one another, although nominally subordinate to the most powerful capitano of the district, who usually bore the title of Bey of the Maina, a dignity which was ratified by a ferman from the Porte. In consequence of the reluctance of the

* We find in this neighbourhood, as in many other parts of Greece, a place called Palæo-castro. It seems that this termination of castro, in the topography of modern Greece, indicates the site of an ancient town and fortification, as amongst us cester, or caster, or chester, denotes the situation of a Roman eucampment.


Mainiots to submit to the charatch, or poll-tax, they had been repeatedly attacked by the Turks, who had invariably failed, not less from the determined resistance of this warlike tribe, than from the inaccessible nature of their country. On the arrival of an enemy by sea, the coast is immediately deserted, and the inhabitants retire to the strong holds of Taygetus. They are all expert at the use of the rifle; and while defended by an impenetrable barrier of rocks to the north, and a craggy tempestuous shore to the south, they may continue to defy the cumbrous manæuvres of an ill-appointed and worse-commanded Turkish force.

In the war which the Russians, with a cruel and defective policy, incited the Greeks to wage against their oppressors, a combined attack was made upon the Maina by the feet of the Capudan Pasha, and an army rated, by the Mainiots, at 20,000 men. A heap of bones, whitened by the sun, near the town of Cardamyle, at tested the result of the attack by sea.

θίνες δε νεκρών και τριτοσπόρω γένει
άφωνα σημανoύσιν όμμασιν βροτών,

ως ουχ υπέρφευ, θνητόν όντα, χρή φρονείν. That by land was equally disastrous to the assailants.

Some of the chiefs Mr. Morritt found to be tolerably versed in Romaic literature, and some sufficiently masters of their ancient language to read Herodotus and Xenophon; that is, we suppose, to collect the substance of those authors; for as to reading, in our acceptation of the term, we would venture any odds, that no Mainiot chief could make apt sense of a chapter of Herodotus. The laws of hospitality were observed with the strictest punctiliousness; the letters of recommendation, like the oýußone of older times, ensured the travellers a friendly attention while they staid, and a safe escort when they departed, in conformity to the precept of Homer

τον ξείνον παρεόντα φιλεϊν, ασιόντα δε σίμσεν -the force of which is imperfectly expressed by Pope,

Welcome the coming, speed the going guest. The religion of the Mainiots is that of the Greek church, with all its mummery. The most pleasing feature in their character was their domestic intercourse with the other sex. The women were neither secluded nor enslaved, and consequently neither corrupted nor ignorant. They partook in the management of their families and the education of their children. Instances of conjugal infidelity were extremely rare, which, indeed, is not much to be wondered at, considering the manner in which the first advances may chance be received. The German Phemius of a certain capitano, an accomplished lyrist, who scraped a three-stringed rebeck,

having offended a pretty woman in the neighbourhood, by some indiscreet proposals, she drew a pistol and shot him dead on the spot. Indeed the Mainiot ladies are altogether most formidable personages. Not content with love's artillery,' which Mr. Morritt describes as being by no means of an inefficient description, they were seen by him slinging stones and bullets at a mark, with great expertness.

Mr. Morritt describes an interesting visit to Zanetachi Kutuphari, a capitano of consideration, and his niece Helena, a young widow and a wealthy capitanessa. At an audience with which she honoured our travellers, this lady wore a light blue shawl-gown embroidered with gold, a sash loosely tied round her waist, and a short vest, without sleeves, of embroidered crimson velvet; over these was a dark velvet Polonese mantle, with wide and open sleeves, richly embroidered. On her head was a green velvet сар, ,


embroidered with gold. A white and gold muslin shawl fixed on the right shoulder, and passed across her bosom under the left arm, toated over the coronet and hung to the ground behind her. Her uncle's dress was still more magnificent. Mr. Morritt was informed, that in case of necessity, the Mainiots can bring 12,000 men into the field.

From some remarks of Dr. Sibthorp, upon the natural productions of the same district, we learn that the white mulberry-tree is called uogie, the black ouxquivia. This fact may, perhaps, throw some light upon the names συκάμινος and συκομορέα, (both applied by St. Luke to a tree which was probably the mulberry-tree,) about which the commentators have been a good deal puzzled. Dr. Sibthorp observes that caprification is still practised. We should have been glad to meet with a clear explanation of the principle of this operation.

The long debated question relating to the treasures of ancient literature, supposed to be concealed in the libraries of the Seraglio, the Mosque of St. Sophia, and the Colleges of Dervises at Constantinople, has at length been settled by the researches of Dr. Hunt and the late Professor Carlyle; and the result of their inquisies is, that in none of those vast collections is there a single classical fragment of a Greek or Latin author, either original or trans lated. The volumes were in Arabic, Persian, or Turkish; and of all of them Mr. Carlyle took exact catalogues.' Surely this is too sweeping a sentence. It was not possible for these gentlemen, without an examination of the books themselves, to ascertain that they contained no translated fragments of a classical author. We think it, on the contrary, very probable, that some of the Arabic MSS. may contain portions of Aristotle or Galen, or of later Greek writers. It appears from Professor Carlyle's description,


that the library of the seraglio is built in the form of a Greek cross, and is not more than twelve yards in length from the extremity of one arm to that of the other. It contains 1994 MSS., mostly Arabic, with a few of the best Turkish writers. The Professor must have made good use of his time, for during his short stay in the seraglio “he is certain that there was not one volume which he did not separately examine; but he was prevented by the jealousy. of the moulahs, who accompanied him, from making out a detailed catalogue of the whole;' and, indeed, if the moulahs had been out of the way, it would have required a quick eye, and the pen of a ready writer, to make out a catalogue of 1294 oriental MSS. in two or three hours. He obtained, however, a catalogue of the library of the patriarchs of Jerusalem, the largest in the empire, and even got permission to carry a few of the most valuable to England. These, together with a large collection of Arabic MSS., were transmitted, we believe, to this country, and deposited in the archiepiscopal library at Lambeth, by the munificence of the present primate. We are, however, not quite certain whether Mr. Carlyle did not misunderstand the permission which he had obtained from the patriarch of Jerusalem; for we have heard it reported, that this venerable dignitary of the Greek church has reclaimed his valuable MSS. And it appears from an expression in one of Dr. Hunt's papers, that the volumes were only lent.

· The patriarch behaved to us with the utmost liberality, not only. sending one of his chaplains to assist us in making a catalogue of the library, but allowing us to take any of the manuscripts we might wish to send to England for the purpose of being exumined and collated. Such' as we thought interesting or curious were forwarded to London along with those procured from the Prince's islands; and they are now in the archiepiscopal library at Lambeth'!-p. 85.

In truth we are not a little surprized at the facility with which the professor was permitted to bring away from more than one library several of what he judged to be the most curious MSS.'as for instance, six from the famous library of St. Saba. We had been led to understand that the alienation of this kind of property was expressly forbidden by the rules of the Greek church. The professor was indefatigable in his researches, for during a stay of three weeks in the convents of Mount Athos, he tells us (p. 196) that he examined almost 13,000 MSS., which is at the rate of about 570

diem. Of these he made out a

a very detailed catalogue. Had he lived to publish this it would have been a valuable addition to our Bibliothecæ.

Dr. Sibthorp's papers contain some interesting details upon the present state of Attica, its statistics aud natural history; and a pleasing account of the monasteries on Mount Athos is given by


Dr. Hunt. Upon his setting out from Constantinople to visit the Holy Mountain, the dragomen spoke much of the ignorance and vices of the Greek caloyers; but Dr. Hunt observes that their representation was very incorrect. He considers that the kind of religious republic, which subsists there, contributes to preserve the language of Greece from further corruption, and checks the defection of Christians to Mahometanism. Most of the Greek didas-' caloi, or schoolmasters, and the higher orders of the clergy, are selected from that place. If it sometimes hides a culprit who has fled from public justice, yet that criminal most probably reforms his life in a residence so well calculated to bring his mind to reflection. A better defence would be, that the manner in which justice is administered in Turkey, makes it very probable, that, in five instances out of six, the culprit who seeks an asylum at Mount Athos may be an innocent person.

In a paper of the late Mr. Davison's, and in the editor's note, we are presented with some interesting particulars relative to Pompey's pillar, as it is called—an appellation, which, of late years, has been the subject of considerable discussion. By means of an accurate measurement with the theodolite, the pillar was found to be ninety-two feet in height, without taking into account the separate stones, by which it is raised four feet from the ground. Its circumference, at the base, is twenty-seven feet and a half. The support of the column is an inverted obelisk, covered with hieroglyphics; a circumstance, says Shaw, which may induce us to suspect that the pillar was not erected by the Egyptians, who would not have buried their sacred inscriptions, but by the Greeks or Romans, nay later perhaps than Strabo. The suspicion is probably just : but the reason assigned for it is not very forcible. By some of the Arabic writers this pillar is called Amoud al Sawary,' the pillar of the colonnades,' an allusion to the porticoes with which it was surrounded as late as the twelfth century.

It appears, from some observations of M. Quatremère, that there was a prefect of Egypt named Pompeius in the time of Diocletian, which, as Mr. Walpole observes, is a strong corroboration of the opinion, that this column was erected in honour of Diocletian by a magistrate of the name of Pompeius. Major Missett informed Mr. W. Turner that the letters AIOK. H. IANON were considered, by those who had lately visited Egypt, as discernible; and Colonel Leake gives the word · Diocletian' as the result of the examination made by himself and Colonel Squire. Dr. Clarke, however, proposes to read AIONAAPIANON. So far the Editor. The fact is, that the inscription was clearly deciphered by our officers in Egypt to the following extent.


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »