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early red-figured vases which now form so prominent a part of the treasures of the great museums of Europe.
It was in the last century that excavations in the cemeteries of Etruria brought first to light large numbers of ancient vases painted with scenes from the mythology and the daily life of Greece. At first they were called Etruscan vases, in spite of the fact that not only their art and their subject but also their inscriptions were purely Greek. It is only in late years that the fact has been discovered, that they were importations from Greek factories, coming in the earlier period from Corinth or Chalcis, and after a time principally from Athens. We may congratulate ourselves on the fortunate circumstance that the wealthy Lucumos of Etruria thought it in good taste to adorn their houses and to fill their graves with these delightful vessels. Our gain is inestimable. It is true that Greek vases have a language of their own; and probably even well-informed and artistic visitors pass through the vaserooms of our museums without feeling much interest in their contents. But the language is well worth learning. There is no class of ancient monuments which has risen so rapidly of late years in the estimation of archæologists. The students, who take the pains to understand Greek vases, soon discover not only that their art is, within the limits which it studiously observes, most admirable, but also that they carry with them more of the flavour of ancient life than even sculpture or coins. They not only give us abundant information as to the beliefs, the cults, and the customs of Greece, but they put us at once, if only they have escaped restoration in modern Italian workshops, on terms of friendship with the potter who moulded and the painter who decorated them. Clay with its marvellous durability preserves for us not only the ultimate design of the worker, but his first sketch; his second thoughts, his mistakes and carelessness, his happy inspirations, and the obstacles which interfered with their realization. A vase bears the same relation to a sculptured relief which a diary bears to a formal historical treatise. It is more local, temporary, and personal. And at the
time vases are among our most serious documents in matters of mythology and mythography. Every year they are used more and more for comparison with the plots of the tragedies of Æschylus and Euripides, and the lyric tales of Pindar. Miss Harrison applies the test of vases, as she is perfectly justified in doing, in order to determine the comparative antiquity of various versions of Attic myths, and their popularity among the people. How far brighter and fresher is this source of knowledge than the musty, pedantic pages of an Apollodorus or a
Hyginus! In contact with the actual works of the Attic potters the conventional compositions of the Alexandrian mythologists fall to pieces, and we have, in the place of complicated structures of mythological gingerbread, myths living and growing, crossing and recrossing, springing from the heart of the people and finding expression in their customs. It is then no small advantage that we derive from the excavations at the Acropolis, that they really lay a solid foundation for the construction of a history of ancient vase-painting.
To the stirring times which followed the Persian wars belong some of the well-known features of the Acropolis. Cimon and his contemporaries not only made of the surface of the Acropolis a table-land fit for the erection of great buildings, but they began some important monuments and planned more. One magnificent trophy erected out of the Persian spoils remained always a feature of the citadel. This was the great bronze figure of Athena called in later times Promachos, the work of Pheidias, whose glittering spear and helmet were visible out to sea, not indeed from Sunium, as Pausanias seems to imply, since Hymettus intervenes, but at a great distance. At the same period were set up other dedications full of the rapidly unfolding promise of Attic art. There were paintings by Polygnotus, the Raffaelle of antiquity, whom Cimon had brought from Thasos, and who became a citizen of Athens and the originator of that ethical style, pure and self-contained, of which the Parthenon frieze was the fullest embodiment. There were statues by Calamis, whose works, now lost to us, are perhaps among all Greek sculptures those which we should most care to recover; we can form but a very slight notion of them from the archaizing reliefs of the Neo-Attic school. We have recovered (Harrison, p. 387) a basis inscribed with a dedicatory inscription by Callias, who fought at Marathon; and it is possible that on it may have stood the celebrated Aphrodite of Calamis; but this is a poor consolation. There were also works by Myron of Discobolus fame, notably his cow, about which the poetasters of antiquity wrote thousands of epigrams, none of which, if we may judge of them by those extant, told anything about the work of art, but only informed men as to the ingenuity of the epigrammatist.
The other works planned at this time were not final. Propylæa were erected to form an entrance on the west, but they were soon pulled down to make way for the magnificent Propylaea of Pericles. A Parthenon was planned, but it seems not to have risen above the foundations. We cannot be sure why the next generation chose to begin these tasks afresh, instead of
working on the projected lines. But it seems likely that the rapid rise of Athenian power and prosperity enlarged the ambition of the architects and artists, and the Delian fund provided them with so large a treasure that they were able to carry out designs of greater magnificence than were a few years before even contemplated.
A question warmly debated in the archæological camp of late is whether the Peisistratid temple of Athena was rebuilt after the Persian wars
Dörpfeld maintains that it was rebuilt without the surrounding stylobate. He pertinently asks where the treasures of the Delian confederacy could have been stored, before Parthenon and Erechtheum were built, save for this old temple. Probably if Dörpfeld had contented himself with the view that the cella was rebuilt for a temporary purpose, and then pulled down on the erection of the Parthenon and Erechtheum, archæologists would have been indisposed to quarrel with him. But he by no means stops at that point. He tries to show that it still remained standing during all the period of Greek history, and was visited by Pausanias in the Antonine age. Thus extended, the view does incur grave difficulties. We are asked to believe that the beautiful porch of the Erechtheum, with its row of maidens standing to support the roof, was built within two yards of the blank wall of this earlier building (see plan); and that, at a time when Pericles was adorning the Acropolis with every embellishment which art could devise or money procure, he allowed the very centre of the hill to be occupied by a structure destitute of architectural and sculptural ornament, and only set up in haste for practical purposes.
It is of course impossible here to give even a short account of a controversy which involves the citation of ancient writers and of inscriptions, as well as the weighing of architectural evidence, Dörpfeld's arguments have been met point by point by Petersen, the late Head of the German School, and the question is still far from being settled.
Miss Harrison is as usual entirely on the side of Dr. Dörpfeld, whose arguments she sums up (p. 504). She even goes further, and supposes that when Pausanias speaks of the temple of Athena Polias and the treasures it contained, he intends not, as all writers have hitherto supposed, a part of the complex building called the Erechtheum, but this most ancient temple of Athena. At the same time she is obliged to allow that the very archaic wooden figure of Athena, which the people of Athens guarded as their most important and venerable treasure, was preserved under the roof of the Erechtheum, thus acknowledging in her theory a weakness which, if not fatal, is at least serious. It is an interesting as well as a pretty quarrel; but we must leave it to be dealt with by others.
We now reach the great age of Athens, the age of the Olympian Pericles, when every year brought fresh fame and power to Athens abroad, and rendered the city more beautiful within. Never again could come such a conjunction of circumstances. In the midst of a people of highly organized sensibility and keen love of the beautiful, a school of architects and sculptors, unrivalled alike in loftiness and delicacy, was called upon to adorn a site of incomparable natural beauty, which had been swept clear for them by the Persians and made ready by Cimon. And for resources they were able to draw upon the almost boundless wealth accumulated from the tribute, while close to them lay the mountain Pentelicus, composed of the most beautiful marble which the world can show. However splendid their success, it could scarcely reach the level of their opportunity.
It was at this time that the surface of the Acropolis received the stamp which it wore until the downfall of Paganism. It will be well therefore to recount the principal features of the site; and we would beg the reader to follow us on the plan.
It was of great importance to provide the plateau on the west side with an approach worthy of Athens. The Propylæa of Cimon were set aside as unsatisfactory, and the architect Mnesicles was entrusted with the task of planning new gates; not such gates as might keep out an enemy—for that the Athenians trusted to their ships and the city-wall—but such gates as might properly impress citizen and visitor as they entered. Not only did the Propylæa of Mnesicles form a standing boast to the Athenians, but they still form, as every visitor to Athens knows, a most beautiful and imposing whole. Dr. Dörpfeld has made an interesting discovery, to which he has been led, not by the unearthing of new facts, but by a more careful weighing of those already known. The ground-plan of the building as it stands is evidently irregular, and not in accordance with the principles of Greek architecture. The reason of this is, according to Dörpfeld, that the original plan was not fully carried out. The hall which stands on the right side as one approaches the entrance should have been as large as the ball on the left side, and behind each there was to have been a still more extensive gallery, intended no doubt for the reception of the great works in painting and sculpture, which then every year was producing at Athens. Why the plan was not carried out we cannot be sure, but it is very likely that one reason may have been an objection on the part of the votaries of Artemis Brauronia, on whose precinct the too audacious Mnesicles would fain have trespassed. There is a clear summary
of Dörpfeld's reasonings in Miss Harrison's book (p. 355); it will be to many architects a pleasure to follow them, for they are as definite as fact and measure can make them, and as neat as the demonstrations of Euclid.
Within the enclosure the most prominent monuments were of course those devoted to the worship of Athena. As one passed the Propylæa, her great bronze statue by Pheidias towered over one's head, and behind it was visible the smoke curling up from her great altar, which stood in the open air. On the right hand stood the Parthenon in its unrivalled majesty, and on the left the smaller Erechtheum, with its row of marble maidens sustaining the roof of the southern porch. In regard to these two temples recent excavation has added comparatively little to our knowledge ; an exquisite head of the goddess Iris, from the Parthenon frieze, is the chief new addition,
The ground beneath their foundations is the only part of the surface of the Acropolis which has escaped a thorough investigation; and it is greatly to be hoped that the zeal for knowledge of the modern Athenians will never lead them to venture on underpinning the two temples in order to search beneath them.
While the Propylæa were being built one of the skilled masons fell from a height. His life was despaired of; but Athena appeared in a dream to Pericles, and prescribed a remedy, from the use of which the mason recovered. In return Pericles set up a statue of Athena Hygieia, the patroness of medicine, near her altar on the Acropolis. It gives actuality to this pleasing story when we discover close to the Propylæa, possibly on the spot where the mason fell, a basis of a statue bearing an inscription in letters of the time of Pericles, which reads, “The Athenians to Athena Hygieia : Pyrrhus, the Athenian, was the sculptor.'
Besides being Virgin, Protector, and Healer, Athena was worshipped on the Citadel by other titles. She was also Giver of Victory; and the exquisite little temple of Nike Apteros, which stands just outside the Propylæa, was really dedicated to her, the Unwinged Victory,' in contrast to the ordinary winged Victory, who was but her servant and messenger. It used to be supposed that as Ergane, the patroness of work, Athena had a separate sanctuary on the Acropolis. This is now, however, denied. It is true that an inscription recording a dedication to Athena Ergane was found in the space between the shrine of Artemis Brauronia and the Parthenon, and in consequence it