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sparse population of shepherds and fishermen in the early times of Greece, when, as Herodotus and Thucydides tell us, every man's life was in his hands, and no coast free from the constant incursions of pirates. Under such outward pressure the village life of primitive barbarians began to crystallize into civic order. On some parts of the Acropolis rock one may still trace, though not so clearly as on the neighbouring Areiopagus, the foundations of the huts or cells of the early inhabitants. Recently a few graves dating from the same age have been discovered. They contain, besides human bones, only a few rude terra-cotta figures, and fragments of the primitive pottery known to archæologists as Mycenæan, because it is found in greatest abundance on the site of Mycenæ.
It is evident that in very early times efforts were made to strengthen the Acropolis with walls, especially on the western side where it is most easily accessible. Of such early walls there are considerable remains close to the Propylæa of Pericles. Some archæologists have tried to trace the lines of a far more complete system of fortification, running round the foot of the Acropolis and enclosing a small part of the surrounding plain. This view, which is however based on no great amount of existing remains, would help to account for the fact that a strip of land at the foot of the rock was in Greek historical times known as the Pelasgicum and kept, for traditional religious reasons, free of buildings. In the recent excavations, there have been found near the later Erechtheum traces of the foundations of a prehistoric palace, which Dr. Dörpfeld supposes to have been the abode of the kings who traced their lineage to Erechtheus, as well as of a rocky staircase leading thence to the lower ground, just as does. the staircase at Tiryns, which descends to the plain from the palace of the rulers of that early city.
That the kings of Athens in the heroic age had their palace on the Acropolis may be regarded as certain, though it is possible that its site is covered by the Parthenon. What that palace would be like we may judge from the remarkable discovery at Tiryns of remains of a palace of the Greek heroic age, some account of which appeared in this Review in 1886. They record a civilization, luxurious if not lofty, and an age when wealthy and noble families dispersed over Greece disposed of the resources of the country, and ruled over masses of subject vassals, whose huts clustered about their lofty abodes. When, early in the sixth century, Peisistratus seized on the government of Athens, he, like the early kings, took up his abode on the Acropolis. But by this time the change had begun which at Athens, as in most Greek cities, transformed the Acropolis from
an abode of men into a dwelling-place of the gods. There already existed a large temple of Athena in the very midst of the Acropolis, of which the foundations have in the last few years been traced, and Dr. Dörpfeld assures us, on the evidence of architectural style, that this temple was adorned by Peisistratus with a stylobate. He was content to share the plateau with the goddess to whom he owed his elevation and success.
Considerable remains of the Acropolis and its monuments as they existed in the time of the Peisistratidæ have been preserved to us as a consequence of the havoc wrought by the Persians when they were in possession of Athens in B.C. 480 and 479. As, however, this statement has the air of a paradox, we must try to prove that it is true,
Herodotus tells us (viii. 51), how in B.c. 480 the numberless host of Xerxes came down upon Athens, and how the Athenian people fled upon their ships to the opposite island of Salamis, except a few who, reading literally the oracle which bade the Athenians trust to their wooden walls, barricaded the approaches to the Acropolis with beams and planks, and so awaited the foe. To the Persians when they arrived they offered a desperate resistance, but some of the mountaineers in the invading army climbed up the steep rock to the sanctuary of Aglauros on the north of the Acropolis, and thence mounted the narrow staircase which led thither from the summit (see plan). The defenders were put to the sword, or flung themselves in despair down the precipices, and the Persian soldiery completed their work by breaking down and destroying the monuments on the sacred site, and burning the buildings. The destruction was a deed of warlike fury, not of religious iconoclasm. It was formerly supposed that the Persians, and especially their kings, were actuated by a hatred of idolatry, and a zeal for more spiritual religion in their dealings with conquered nations. But the records of Egypt show us that in that country the Persian invaders displayed an easy tolerance towards Egyptian cultus. So it was at Athens. On the day after the temples had been burned Xerxes ordered the Athenian exiles, who were in his camp, to go up to the Acropolis and sacrifice to Athena after their own fashion. It is said that they found a portent, which showed that the humiliation of Athens would not be lasting. The sacred olive-tree of Athena, instead of withering from the flames, had in one night sent out a fresh shoot a cubit in length.
After the glorious victory of the Greeks at Salamis, the Persian troops retired for the winter into Baotia, and the Athenians could for a few months revisit their home. But in Vol. 171,--No. 341.
the spring of 479, Mardonius once more occupied the ruined city, and Herodotus says that, when he left it to meet the Spartans at Platæa, he once more burned all that could be burned, and levelled with the ground whatever still remained standing, walls, houses, temples, and statues. The destruction was as complete as barbarous fury could make it. When the people of Athens came back to their city, they found only an undistinguishable heap of ruins, blackened with fire and shattered with hammers.
But the days which followed the repulse of the Persians were in all Greece days of vigour and progress, of youthful hopes and unbounded aspirations. It was not likely that the Athenians, who had hurled back the whole strength of Asia, would sit long idle in the midst of ruins. And it was not likely, at a time when art was growing and expanding every day, that they would be content to restore the buildings and monuments of the Acropolis to the state in which they had been before the coming of Xerxes. When art is stagnant or dead, nations care greatly to preserve the monuments handed down to them by previous generations. When art is alive and growing, destruction is sometimes almost welcomed as an opportunity for progress, and the feeling of Homer's Diomedes, We are far better than our fathers,' governs the energies of architect, sculptor, and painter. So the Athenians proceeded to make new temples larger than the old, to set up more beautiful statues, to establish more splendid cults. The marble fragments with which the surface of the Acropolis was covered, they used only as materials for walls or foundations for buildings. They were straightway buried out of sight; and buried they remained until the excavations of the last three years. Yet the Athenians seem to have made some distinctions. Pausanias speaks in one place of ancient images of Athena blackened by Persian smoke, but still holding their places of honour. Thus it would seem that some of the images of the gods, sacred from long association, were repaired and set up again. But almost all that had not so strong religious sanction was condemned. Votive portraits of men and women, dedications bearing the names of wealthy citizens, even the sculptural decorations of temples, were thrown aside as no longer worthy of a place in the Athens which was to be.
The story of the building of the walls of the lower city by Themistocles is well known. In constant fear of Spartan interruption, men, women, and children, toiled incessantly at the work, and for material not only the walls of private houses were demolished, but also inscribed stones and sepulchral monuments were broken up and used; in fact, from the wall of
Themistocles we have in recent years recovered inscriptions and fragments of tombs of an early period ; the slab, for instance, on which is sculptured the head of a youth holding a discus. But it would be a mistake to suppose that the walls of the upper city or Acropolis were thus hastily piled together. They show, on the other hand, every mark of care, and are admirably constructed. In places, it is true, we find, instead of squared stones from the quarry, the remains of pillar and cornice taken from the ruined temples lying near; but it is likely that this break in the order of the walls was the result not of haste or parsimony, but of deliberate intention. Pausanias tells us that some of the Greeks were anxious to leave all the ruins on the Acropolis lying as they stood for an eternal memorial of the hate due to the Persians. This could not be done; but it was found possible to retain and to embody in the walls of the citadel a memorial of the ruin wrought by the barbarians sufficient to act as a perpetual reminder.
It is probably to Cimon that we must ascribe the reduction of the Acropolis to its present form. The wall on the north has been ascribed by the excellent authority of Leake to Themistocles; but there are embedded in it some defective pillars which seem to have been intended for the Parthenon which Cimon planned, but did not construct, and therefore it can scarcely be attributed to an earlier time than Cimon's. The wall on the south was made in order to form a platform for this same temple. Pausanias says expressly that all the walls of the Acropolis which did not date from the Pelasgic age were erected by Cimon. Of the method of formation of the surface of the Acropolis under his hands, we must endeavour to give some account.
The natural rock, which is its foundation, is not flat above, but rises in the midst somewhat like a gable roof. Let us pursue this analogy a little further. Let us suppose a house with gable roof, of which the ridge runs parallel to the front and back walls of the house. Then it is evident that if the two walls of the house are carried up to the level of the ridge, and the two triangular spaces between ridge and walls filled up, a flat roof will be the result. This was the plan followed by the Athenian architects. They built their solid walls on the line where the abrupt rise of the rock ceased, and as the walls rose they filled the space between them and the highest ridge with layer above layer of earth and stones until they produced a surface-not, indeed, mathematically level, but level enough to serve as a foundation for the noble temples and beautiful monuments with which the piety of the Athenians designed to
reward the gods, who had rolled back the tide of Persian invasion, and made Athens free and glorious.
It is these spaces behind the walls which have been thoroughly searched in the last five years. And as they were filled to a great degree with the ruined walls and inscriptions and statues left scattered on the site when the Persians departed, it may easily be understood that a rich harvest has been reaped of works of historical and artistic interest, belonging to the age
of Peisistratus and the time which followed down to B.C. 480. In the neighbourhood of the Erechtheum ancient sculptures lay crowded together; at one spot fourteen statues were found, representing in various styles of art a goddess or her votaries.
Seldom has a more admirable opportunity been offered to archæologists than this. An endless series of statues, of fragments of pediments, of bases, of inscriptions, of shards of vases, is laid before them, and they may be quite sure that all belong to a period of which the limit in time is sharply defined. A hundred questions as to the meaning, the school, the historical bearing of each monument, are suggested, and beyond these questions lies the grand problem of recovering the whole artistic and mythologic surroundings of the sixth century at Athens. And the very men most fitted to use the opportunity are on the spot. Besides the members of the Greek Archæological Society there are now concentrated in Athens, in the German, French, English, and American Schools, the most promising young archæologists of many countries. It cannot be denied that the lead in all archæological matters belongs to the Germans. But we must remember that the British School at Athens has been but quite recently established, and suffers from poverty unknown to the other Schools, which can rely on Government support.
We now know with certainty that the principal temple of Athens in the Peisistratid age, that of Athena, lay between the sites of the later Parthenon and the later Erechtheum. In size it does not approach the Parthenon, from which temple it also differs in ground-plan (see plan), inasmuch as behind the cella of the goddess we find traces of two rooms, which would seem to have been used as treasure-chambers. Perhaps they may have contained respectively the treasures of Athena and those of the other gods, which are in the later inscriptions kept apart, and which were guarded by different Boards of Treasurers. The skill and technical knowledge of Dr. Dörpfeld have achieved an extraordinary triumph in the reconstruction of this temple from data which to the untrained mind would seem of no interest. Nothing but the bare foundations remain on the spot; but by a series of elaborate measurements he has identified