Greek History and Greek Monuments
THE notion of the antiquary current among many educated people is still that which Scott has illustrated and immortalized in the person of Mr. Oldbuck of Monkbarns, a man full of trifles and hobbies, of old-world lore and scraps of pedantry, who loves to keep about him everything that is old because it is old, and who is out of harmony with all modern progress. The figure is charming and picturesque ; but an antiquary of this kind has clearly no claim to be called a man of science on the one hand, or a man of high culture on the other, He is a pleasing and harmless oddity.
The antiquarian of the popular fancy and the instructed antiquary or archæologist of to-day are beings as different one from the other as can well be imagined. The modern archæologist is nothing if not scientific, nothing if not progressive. He regards a textbook a few years old in the same way in which a chemist or a biologist would regard it, as quite out of date. He must have the last edition, the newest light. The objects with which he deals are indeed ancient, though not so ancient as the subject matter of the geologist and the astronomer. But his theories are new, sometimes painfully so, and he is as modern as possible in his habit of mind.
The force which has changed older antiquarianism into newer archæology is the same force which has revolutionized all the fields of physical and biologic science, and which is beginning to revolutionize the historic sciences also. It is the power of the idea of evolution or development, which has come in to bind into a compact body of knowledge the scattered facts of excavation and discovery, and to range into an ordered whole the monuments preserved in the museums of various countries. Some people are tired of hearing of evolution : I fear that they have a bad time in prospect. Nodoubtabout 1789 many French people were tired of the word " revolution; ” but still, for good and for evil, the Revolution had to take its course, and it was mostly those who objected to the word who lost their heads in its process.
The methods by which we now deal with all the results of excavation are comparative. It has been said of Greek vases, “ He who has seen a few has seen none ; he who has seen many has seen one.” And the same principle applies universally : only through the many does the one become really visible. For example, a statue is found on some classic site. The material, the date of origin, the artistic school to which it belongs, the particular one among all its aspects in which the artist has regarded his subject, — these questions at once occupy our attention, and to answer them we have to refer to all similar statues in all the museums of Europe. It is to be hoped that we shall not regard the statue without admiration and enjoyment, but the intellectual process is independent of such enjoyment. It proceeds by the comparative method, and assumes the course of ancient art to be an historic process, every point of which can only be rightly studied in relation to what came before and what follows after.
Fortunately, we are now saved from the dangers of excessive skepticism in this field by two things. In the first place, the introduction of the idea of evolution has acted with a purely constructive force. When we have determined certain fixed points in any field of ancient history, we are able to draw the line from one to the other with firm and steady hand. Before, the course of events between one point and the other might well seem like the course of a river in a great plain, devious and unmeaning ; now it will seem like the course of a river which is pent in by two great ranges of hills, and so limited by bounds which it cannot pass. Instead of being incalculable, the line of history is seen to be governed by ascertainable laws, and to follow the trend of traceable tendencies.
The great advantage possessed by archæology in an age of investigation and of skepticism is that it deals with things which can be seen and felt, can be examined and reëxamined, measured and weighed, regarded in this light and in that, and left to work slowly on intellect and imagination. A theoretic view is one thing, a fact is quite another thing; and when the fact is embodied in an actually existing monument, it becomes hard and definite as marble or bronze. It is a great relief sometimes to escape from books, and to turn one’s attention to facts which do not change, — hard ground which owes nothing to theories, though it may serve as a basis for many.
In its methods and material, prehistoric archæology may be compared closely with geology. Dealing with flints and potsherds and other relics of primitive man, it endeavors to determine the nature of his abodes, his habits, and his arts. It has no records to examine or correct, no inscriptions to guide its researches. Its methods are those of comparison and classification, and its procedure is purely inductive.
In dealing with Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, and other old-world lands, archæology does not run parallel to the statements of ancient historians, but almost entirely supersedes them. Herodotus or Berosus, Diodorus or Ctesias, may sometimes give us a useful suggestion or hint; but Greek knowledge of lands other than Greece was very limited, and we cannot trust except where we can test. On the other hand, the excavations of the present century have brought us an almost infinite wealth of inscribed stones and bricks from the seats of these ancient empires ; and out of these documents a fixed and objective history is being gradually built up, which now reaches back to the fourth or fifth millennium before the Christian era. At the same time, the cylinders, the wall paintings and sculptures, the tombs of Egypt and Mesopotamia, have furnished us with materials for a vivid restoration of the life of the peoples of those regions, of their appearance, their customs, their buildings, their wars, and their employments in time of peace. Thus, in the case of Egypt and Assyria, archæologic investigation has provided us not only with a background to history, but with a history and a background as well.
For the sake of contrast we turn at once to modern days, — say the time since the invention of printing. In this field it is evident that the details of all events of importance have been so fully recorded, from so many points of view, that it is unlikely that we need go to the material records of archæology for any important additions to our knowledge of the facts of history. But our churches and town halls, our portraits and works of art, our relics of all kinds, are of the greatest possible value to the spirit of historic study, to those who wish to construct in imagination the life of the past in its detail. There can be no doubt that these surroundings of ours act daily beyond our consciousness on heart and imagination, producing a reverent spirit, and a sense of oneness with our ancestors which enters deeply into the lives of all who have leisure and imagination.
Greece lies midway between Egypt and the modern world ; and Greek archæology lies midway between that of Egypt and that of modern Europe. The main outlines of Greek history are traced for us by historians such as the world has scarcely again produced, — Herodotus and Thucydides and Polybius. In comparison with the narratives of these great writers, the additions of positive fact which archæology can make to the fabric of history may well seem of small importance. Here and there our excavations and researches may correct a date or add detail to a statement. In some cases they reach beyond this, but only in comparatively few. Yet in filling up the background of the historic drama, in giving us a vivid sense of Greek life, religion, and art, the facts with which archæology deals are of untold value. These facts combined with the imaginative literature of ancient Hellas, the works of her poets and orators, vivify in an extraordinary degree the bare historic fact, and make the Greek race, the most gifted which the world has ever seen, seem to us near and clear, far nearer than our own ancestors of half a millennium ago. Of course, besides this historic value of the extant monuments of Greece, we have to consider their intrinsic value as works of supreme beauty and interest. But even apart from æsthetic appreciation, we must allow the data with which Greek archæology deals to be of high value, if the study of history itself be of value ; if there is any good in escaping from the tyranny of the present, and in refreshing the emotions by dwelling with sympathy on the hopes and fears of a bygone age ; or if there is any intellectual gain in realizing human history as a whole, as a progress from one phase of culture to another.
Probably no modern can fully realize the part played in Greece by the plastic arts ; and perhaps we of England, Old and New, with our Puritan traditions, can realize this less than other peoples. Our architecture is eclectic, and not spontaneous ; among us sculpture can hardly be said to exist; even painting is in the service of private persons, not of the state. We express our emotions, religious and patriotic, in poetry and in music rather than by means of the plastic arts. But with the Greeks it was one of the first necessities of their nature to utter in some visible form, in monument and sculptured group, their strongest emotions. Their surroundings expressed them as clearly as the shell of the snail indicates its species. They were always, so to speak, blossoming in works of art: they thought and felt in stone or marble, or in the great national pictures which adorned all the places of public resort. Some appreciation of these facts is necessary to any full understanding of Hellenic life.
The aid which archæology confers on Greek history is rendered in two ways. Partly it is the result of travel and excavation : travel by which new districts are searched through, excavation whereby the sites of ancient cities are discovered and their remains laid bare. Partly it is the result of more leisurely and detailed attention to the monuments which are thus brought to light, when they are scientifically analyzed, or examined in the great museums of Europe. In England we are perhaps too ready to think that excavation is the one road to archæological discovery. But quite as important services as those rendered to knowledge by the excavator are performed by the highly trained scholars who assimilate the facts which come from the freshly opened sites, and extract from the mass of new material the grains of gold which give it most of its value. In the progress of physical science the explorer and the worker in the laboratory both have a share : it is just the same in the growth of archæological knowledge.
Some of the most notable work of recent times has been done in numismatics. I can remember the time, scarcely a quarter of a century ago, when Greek coins were commonly called medals, and valued only as works of art or as interesting documents of mythology, or perhaps as serving to illustrate some passage in Sophocles or Euripides. The idea of placing the coins of every Greek city in a strict chronological sequence, so that at every point they could be brought into relations with the recorded history of that city, was foreign to earlier numismatists. It was like the letting out of water when Mr. Barclay Head, now keeper of coins in the British Museum, published his modest work on the chronological sequence of the coins of Syracuse, in which for the first time a rigorous and logical method of arranging the coins was followed. This work made its appearance in 1874 ; and in the score of years which have since elapsed the entire procedure in Greek numismatics has been changed, and we regard coins as documents always to be placed in the strictest relation to history, in a series which runs parallel to the civil and military transactions of every city, and often casts on these a light which is by no means to be despised.
It would take us too far afield if I tried to show in any detailed fashion how the modern numismatist works, how he tries to bring into one focus the facts which are offered him by the monuments with which he has to deal and the statements of ancient writers ; sometimes checking and correcting the writers by means of the monuments, more often using the monuments to illustrate and make vivid the statements of the historians. Instead of attempting that which circumstances render impossible, I will pass on to consider the results of one or two lines of research in Greek vases and statues, which no less than coins are real historical documents.
It is well known that while works of Greek sculpture survive in abundance, the equally beautiful and important creations of the great painters of Greece have utterly perished. Our knowledge of great masters of the brush in Greece is very scanty ; we even have to fall back on the stories, often silly and always untrustworthy, told of them by the elder Pliny. But we are now slowly working back to them from the designs of Greek vases, which cannot indeed give us any notion of the coloring which they used, but may serve to enlighten us in regard to their treatment of subjects, their grouping and perspective, and their drawing. In regard to the greatest of early Greek painters, Polygnotus, who probably exercised much influence even on the genius of Pheidias, we have lately gained fresh light. Comparing the elaborate descriptions of his works by the traveler Pausanias with the designs of extant vases, we have by degrees, Professor Robert, of Halle, leading the way, at length reached a point at which we may claim to have recovered the general character of Polygnotan art.
I do not know that at the moment there is any more promising field for study in museums than that offered by Greek and Roman portraits. An extensive series of photographs of ancient portrait sculptures has been produced at Munich by Professor Brunn and his pupil von Arndt. By studying it, we are able for the first time to survey the mass of material relative to the subject, and to judge both what the Greeks and Romans were like, and what they wished to be thought like. As yet ancient portraits have been but little studied since the days of Visconti; but the first man who applies to them the methods and resources of modern archæology is likely to reap a rich harvest. Our knowledge of history, our understanding of mankind, our skill in art, will all alike profit.
Let us, however, now pass from museum work to the more stirring pursuits of excavation. The last few years have seen a far more rigorous method introduced into excavation. They have seen an attack made upon many of the important sites of Greece, — Olympia, Epidaurus, the Athenian Acropolis, Delphi. And the result has been the withdrawal of curtain after curtain which hid from us the background against which the drama of Greek history was played. The Greek nature was so essentially articulate and plastic that every mood of the people and every event of their history left in these great religious centres traces in trophy and statue, in dedication and inscription. At the end of two thousand years only a small gleaning from the rich harvest remains to us. But even that gleaning is of inestimable value, since it enables us, by study and care, to reconstruct in imagination what has passed away, and to judge of the surroundings — the very beautiful and very characteristic surroundings — of ancient Hellenic life.
Some day it may be possible to set forth in detail the main results of the most recent of the great excavations in Greece, those which are now being carried out by the French at Delphi. That, however, must be reserved for the future. The French savants engaged in the excavation are very slow in publishing their results; and we must wait for accurate knowledge of their discoveries until they are prepared themselves to describe them in full. Yet, since I was able, in 1895, myself to pay a brief visit to the site, I may venture to give in a few words the general impressions which it made on me.
Delphi lay aloft, and apart from the ordinary ways of commerce and intercourse in Greece. On a terrace on the southern slope of Mount Parnassus, where the mountain breaks down in ledges to the Gulf of Corinth, the fair site is perched like an eagle’s nest, some two thousand feet above the sea. Behind it rise the Phædriades, rocks which front the east and catch the earliest rays of the rising sun ; paths lead up from the sacred spot to the wild mountain fastnesses above, from whence one can see the whole of Greece, which from his Delphic home Apollo seems to survey. Delphi can be reached by a long road from Bœotia, but the natural approach is from the beautiful gulf which divides Peloponnesus from northern Greece; and we know that it was by way of this gulf that the votaries of Apollo commonly came to his presence. Toiling up steep after steep, the traveler feels a cooler and a keener air blowing as he draws near to Delphi; and there comes over him, unavoidably, something of the feeling of religious awe which from the earliest times men have felt in the vicinity of great mountains, and which still inspires poetry, the ghost of religion, in sonnets like those of Wordsworth and rhapsodies like those of Ruskin.
“ The site of Delphi is one of the most beautiful spots in Greece: ” thus writes M. Homolle, the director of the French excavations. “ I scarcely know another which produces an impression more profound and more truly religious : it has mystery, grandeur, divine awe. The sanctuary is as it were hidden in the recess of a rocky theatre ; a colossal precipice bounds and dominates it, and the wings of the semicircle seem to shut it in from the world. The wild ridge of Kirphis closes the horizon to the south. Around are rocks of brilliant whiteness on which the sun pours its hot rays ; lofty peaks where the great storm clouds assemble ; narrow and mysterious gorges whence sounds reëcho, multiplied and magnified ; ravines bordered by deep precipices ; a soil subject to frequent earthquake shocks; exhalations which rise from the earth and produce ecstasy ; streams of clear water which seem made to remove impurity. What clearer signs could there be of the presence and working of the gods ? What place could be more suitable for prayer and prophecy ? ”
At Delphi religion and poetry were inextricably intertwined. Apollo was most at home as god of song and prophecy, among his attendant Muses. The heights of Parnassus, the spring of Castalia, were equally sacred to religion and to poetry. The oracles of Apollo were given in verse ; for the Pythian priestess, however uneducated, received, while she ministered to the god, something of the gift of song, and was able to write good verse.
A few years ago, the site of the temple of Apollo and the sacred inclosure where it stood were covered by the houses of a squalid Greek village. These have, fortunately, now been removed, and the French explorers, supported by liberal government grants and by every advantage of science, are engaged in the work of laying bare, foot by foot, all that remains to testify of the past splendors of the shrine.
From the Castalian spring, beside which now stands a chapel of St. George, we soon reach the ancient gate of the sacred precinct, the wall of which is in most places still preserved. Through this gate we enter the beginning of the Sacred Way, trodden by all who wished to approach the temple. Still paved almost throughout its length, this road winds up the hill in a circuitous course, amid the foundations of treasuries and of trophies, and amid inscriptions which stand on every side, written in the characters of all periods.
Just inside the gate stood the remains of two great trophies, close together, — that set up by Pheidias for the Athenians after the battle of Marathon, and that erected by Lysander after he had defeated the Athenian fleet at Ægos Potami. The Marathonian group consisted of Apollo and Athena and the general Miltiades, together with the legendary heroes of Attica, who by a pious imagination were chosen to represent the Attic tribes which took part in the battle. Far more extensive and magnificent was the group which Lysander set up, and in which all the greatest contemporary sculptors had a share. It contained forty figures, — the brethren Castor and Pollux, the chief patrons of the Dorian race, Lysander receiving a wreath from Poseidon, other deities, and the principal officers of Lysander.
It is worth while to pause for a moment, to notice a point of contrast between these two historic trophies. The difference between them is not merely one of scale and splendor. It consists also in a changed view of religion. In the Marathonian trophy, it is the gods and heroes who are conspicuous, Apollo, Athena, and the ancestors of the Attic tribes. One man only, Miltiades, stands among them. To them the honors of the day are duly accorded. In the group set up by Lysander, it is himself and his principal officers who are central and conspicuous. Poseidon is there, but it is that he may hand a wreath to the victorious general. As Greek art rises, the gods are more and more prominent, men fade more and more into the background. As Greek art decays, men once more claim the front rank, while the gods fall back ; and even in persisting, the gods take more and more of the nature of men.
Of the Spartan group the bases remain. A trophy which stood near by, commemorating a victory of the Tegeans over Spartan foes, has also bequeathed to us some fragments of foundation and a few inscriptions. It is curious to think with what feelings a passing Athenian or Spartan must have regarded these records of victory and defeat, of glory and humiliation. We can scarcely fancy the existence of a great European cathedral which should contain sculptural memorials of Jena and Sedan, of Austerlitz and Waterloo. Yet in the sacred shrines of Greece military trophies, once erected, were safe. In the peace of Zeus and of Apollo they remained, to instruct and to stimulate the descendants of both victor and vanquished. They were the property of the gods, who gave victory now to this city, and now to that. So the Greeks built up records of their history, — records the value and character of which we first realize when, on the spot, we trace their very bases and the inscriptions which identified their statues.
From this group of trophies the Sacred Way leads between two semicircular buildings, fronting it one on each side, wherein the sculptor Antiphanes had ranged figures of the early kings of Argos and of the warriors who had taken part in the mythic siege of Thebes. A little further on the road broadens into a square, about which stand a number of treasure houses. The cities which were most liberal in their gifts to the Delphic shrine not only presented statues and tripods and sacred vessels to the god, but also erected small museums in which they could be safely housed. The sites of some of these, the treasuries of Sicyon and Syracuse, of Athens,Potidæa, and Thebes, can be identified with more or less confidence. And in the case of three treasuries, at least, those of Sicyon, Cnidus, and Athens, we have recovered not only the foundations, but remains of the sculptures with which they were adorned, — sculptures considerable in extent and of a high order of merit. In date they range from the middle of the sixth to the middle of the fifth century. The sculptures of the Athenian treasury, wrought in fine Parian marble, are of exceptional interest as well as beauty, as they exactly fill a gap in our knowledge of Athenian art. We are well acquainted with the art of Athens before the Persian invasion, and we are well acquainted with the art of Athens during the great age of Pericles and of Pheidias. But our knowledge of Athenian art during the period B. C. 480 to 450 hitherto has been gathered mainly from the paintings of vases. The sculpture at Delphi belongs precisely to that time. The interest of the Sicyonian and Cnidian sculptures is scarcely inferior. Of all these doubtless photographs will be shortly published.
From the place of the treasuries the Sacred Way turns upward, bordered not only by the bases of dedications of all kinds, but also by outcropping fragments of virgin rock. It was seldom the Greek way to level and plan a great surface to be slowly filled by buildings. They allowed each new edifice to find a place as it could, whence arose infinite variety. The rocky ground allowed such proceeding. The rocks of Delphi were sacred, and any spot not actually occupied by a building or a dedication remained as nature had originally formed it. The way soon reaches another open space, called the area, a place surrounded by exedræ. or covered seats, furnishing an opportunity to the processions to halt and form anew before passing on to the temple. In this place once in eight years was acted a sort of miracle play, representing the battle between Apollo and the dragon Python, who had tried to exclude him from Delphi. In the immediate neighborhood stood many dedications, in part extant, such as tire pyramid of the Messenians, a lofty three-sided basis whereon alighted a figure of Victory ; a tall column dedicated by the Naxians, surmounted by a sphinx; and other memorials. Near by was the stoa, or portico of the Athenians, erected, as Pausanias says, in memory of the naval victories of Phormio over the ships of many of the Greek states. It was adorned with the prows of ships and with bronze shields. The inscription written in huge letters on the basis of this portico is still extant: these letters are certainly too archaic for the age of Phormio, and it must be some earlier victory which is commemorated. The background to these monuments is formed by one of the most characteristic of the features of the site, which has indeed been known for a long time, — a wall sixteen feet high, formed of polygonal stones cleverly fitted together in a compact mass, and engraved with innumerable inscriptions recording many acts of the people of Delphi, documents announcing the emancipation of slaves, and the like. This inscribed wall, itself a perfect treasury of historic documents, supports also the terrace whereon the temple of Apollo is erected. One mounts the wall by a steeply sloping ramp, and arrives in front of the great altar of sacrifices. These great altars in Greece always stood outside the temples, which must not be polluted by the shedding of blood. The smoke of the burning rose day by day, through the clear air of Greece, to the presence of Apollo above. Just by the altar is a record of a dedication of exceptional interest, made to Apollo by Gelon, king of Syracuse, after his great victory over the Carthaginians at Himera in B. C. 480, on the very day of the victory over Xerxes at Salamis. The offering consisted of a golden Victory and a tripod. With this dedication stood two others, offered by the brothers of Gelon, and all round the ground is covered with the bases of monuments and trophies. These are nearly all of early date, some earlier than the Persian wars ; a tithe from the people of Gortyna in Crete ; offerings by the people of Metapontum, and even by the non-Hellenic races of Italy ; a chariot dedicated by a Battus king of Cyrene; an extant bull presented by a man of Cleitor in Arcadia; three dancing women who supported on their heads a tripod, intended perhaps to hold the lustral water with which those who came into the presence of Apollo removed their ceremonial uncleanness.
We must not pass in silence what is, from the artistic point of view, the most important relic of ancient Delphi, — the archaic bronze charioteer. This fine statue of a youth, clad in a long robe reaching to the feet, and grasping in his hands the bronze reins of the chariot which he was driving, is a new and startling example of the freshness of Greek art. The lines of the drapery are severe, but the arms and feet, as is often the case in archaic art, are closely naturalistic. The small head, with its clear and strong outline, is almost uninjured. M. Svoronos has tried to prove that this charioteer belonged to the votive chariot dedicated by the people of Cyrene; but M. Homolle, with greater probability, maintains that he comes from a chariot erected at Delphi by the rulers of Syracuse in B. C. 482—472. In the days of Gelon and Hieron Syracuse was one of the most interesting and artistic cities of Greece, and in future we shall always have this beautiful statue to recall the city to our minds.
The head of the Sacred Way is a magnificent spot, commanding a view not only of the whole precinct of Apollo with its rich dedications, but of a circle of mountains all row*, while far below in the valley runs the stream fed by the Castalian spring.
We are now in front of the temple itself. And here for the first time we have to confess to a little disappointment. The French excavators had hoped to find the temple with marble front erected by the Alcmæonidæ of Athens in a sumptuous fashion soon after the Persian wars. They had hoped to find at least some considerable part of the sculptures wherewith Praxias of Athens had adorned that temple. They had not been without some expectation of tracing the external machinery of the great oracle, of discovering the sacred adytum and the fissure whence issued the gas which inspired the Pythian prophetess. But it has been clearly made out that the temple built by the Alcmæonidæ. with its sculptures, perished, probably by an earthquake, in the fourth century, to be succeeded by another less interesting and splendid shrine. At first, as was natural, the explorers were ready to give the credit of its destruction to the Phocian robbers who occupied the site about B. C. 355, but an inscription recently discovered proves that it took place at least fifteen years earlier ; so that we must blame the vandalism of nature rather than that of man. Some fragments of the earlier temple have at length been found; one of its pediments was of marble, the other of tufa stone. But the subjects, and even the style, can scarcely be recovered.
As regards the oracular shrine, also, our expectations have been disappointed. At first the foundations of the temple seemed to have an air of mystery: there is quite a network of crossing walls inclosing underground spaces. But a close examination shows that there is no definite pi - in these underground labyrinths, nor do the chambers appear to have any communication one with another ; thus it would seem that the walls must be merely a substruction built to support the floor u!, the temple. And the oracular cave does not anywhere appear. This disappointment is the greater because, in the excavation of the oracular temple of Apollo Didymæus at Miletus, an oracular chamber deep under the foundations of the temple was actually found.
Since good photographs of the Delphic discoveries are not yet to be had, we are obliged to fill up the defects in our evidence by turning to plans and restorations of the kindred site of Olympia, which has been so well worked out and so amply illustrated by the magnificent publications of the German Archæological Institute. At Delphi, as at Olympia, we have a great altar, older than the temple, and a noble temple built when the growing anthropomorphism in religion made it necessary that the deity should have an abode worthy of him. At Delphi, as at Olympia, there were numerous treasuries, erected by the cities of Greece ; inscriptions of all periods, unnumbered dedications to the gods. At Delphi, as at Olympia, there were a stadium, porticoes, and exedræ. From the athletic point of view, Olympia was the more important site ; but at Delphi there were contests in poetry and music as well as in physical strength and address.
It is scarcely necessary to insist on the gain which has come to the student of Greek history from the excavations of Olympia. We are now able to reconstruct, in imagination, the background of one very important side of Greek life, — the side connected with the great athletic contests of Greece, and the religious shrines about which they revolved. For the first time the festival of Olympia becomes real to us. We see the vast crowd issuing in the morning from the porticoes where it has snatched a hasty sleep, and moving on to the stadium to see the chosen athletes of the age struggle for the mastery. We see the long procession of victims passing on to the altar of Zeus, accompanied by the bands of delegates from the Greek colonies of Italy, Sicily, and Asia Minor. We pore over the trophies of many a battle, and the records of many a treaty. We accompany the traveler Pausanias as he wanders with his guide over the sacred ground, from statue to statue, till he reaches the noblest embodiment of the religious feeling of the Greeks, the colossal Zeus of Pheidias in gold and ivory. Soon we shall be able to make Delphi as vivid in our imaginations as Olympia is now. The sacred home of Apollo will not be to us, as it was to our ancestors, the site of a squalid modern village, but a body to which the soul can be in a measure restored. We shall be able to follow up the Sacred Way the processions which came from Athens and Thebes and Sparta to ask for those decisions of Apollo on which the history of the world depended. With them we shall pass from treasury to treasury and trophy to trophy, till we stand by the great altar, in the presence of the temple which the indwelling deity had made the source of the noblest inspirations of the Hellenic race. Apollo will speak to us no longer from mere books, but from his own shrine on the slopes of the mountain which is for all time the sacred home of poetic fervor.
There will be gains of a more special character for the historian and the archæologist. The historian will doubtless recover copies of treaties and of wars but slightly recorded, or even unrecorded, by the ancient writers. The archæologist will acquire a vast accession of material, new lights on architecture, new sculptural groups and friezes. The epigraphist will find new forms of letters and new grammatical peculiarities. But the highest and most real gain which will accrue to all those interested in Hellenic studies in their various branches is the sudden breath of fact and reality which will blow through the whole field of Hellenic culture, stirring the air, and invigorating the pulses of all who feel it. The study which ceases to advance must surely retrograde. And whatever advantage the improved critical methods of modern days may secure us in the mastery and interpretation of known documents and the admirable works of the Greek historians, yet a far sharper spur to the mind is to be found in the discovery of what is altogether new material. In recent years, all scholars have felt the impulse given to Greek studies by the discovery of the Athenian Constitution of Aristotle and the poems of Bacchylides. This fact should open their eyes to the solid advantage to be derived from new discoveries in other fields than that of literature. We are by degrees excavating the tomb not merely of Hellenic men, but of Greek civilization itself, and we find that tomb richly stored with all that Hellas held most dear. What would our ancestors, who so highly valued third-rate Græco-Roman sculpture and Roman sarcophagi, have thought of the treasures brought to light at Pompeii and Athens, Olympia and Delphi ? It is for us that these treasures have been reserved ; and if we fail to appreciate and to use them, we shall deserve to lose our sense of beauty in the vulgarity of modern surroundings, and to lose our sense of the dignity of human life amid the materialism produced by the rapid spread of all kinds of physical invention and discovery. Only fact can weigh against fact; and if we would not he overborne by the facts which surround our daily life, we must seek a remedy in the appeal to less obvious facts, — of history, of art, and of human nature.