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DISCOVERY OF ANCIENT ARMOR.
of the fourteenth century. He supposes that after the bloody battle fought at Scripu—the ancient Orchomenus in Boeotia— A.D. 1311, the defensive armor of those who had been slain was gathered together, and laid in this receptacle, from motives of reverence and curiosity. There it lay for five hundred and thirty years, until the casual falling of the wall brought it to light. This hypothesis, so interesting from its historical allusions, is fully confirmed by the variety noticeable in the style of the helmets, about one hundred in number. Some are of the kind worn by the Catalans; others resemble those of the Turcopole troops; while the majority seem to have belonged to the unfortunate Frank knights who fell in the marshy plain, and were overpowered by their opponents. All are rusty and battered, having evidently seen service; so that it does not appear that they were placed in this hidden chamber, as in an arsenal, for future use.*
* Buchon, La Grèce Continentale et la Morée, p. 134.
CLEAN beds, a tight roof, and windows provided with panes of glass—these were comforts not to be despised by a company of travelers who had been suffering from a continuous exposure to vermin, rain, and wind, in the rude huts of the peasants. With such inducements to tarry, we were reluctant to leave Chalcis when Nicholas came to inform us it was time to rise and renew our journey. We carried with us a pleasant remembrance of the place to Athens itself. At length, when the horses were once more laden, and all was ready, we sallied forth. To reach the bridge from Eubea to Roumeli, it was necessary to traverse most of the town. On entering the inclosure of the castro, we noticed, in more than one place, the well-known winged lion of St. Mark, the emblem of the dominion of republican Venice. Within the fortifications there are many scattered fragments of sarcophagi, and other ancient works of art. We wished to see a large cannon that was said to exist here, similar to the famous one of the Bosphorus; but found, on inquiry, that it had been either broken up or melted into coin. We saw, however, some of its enormous balls, two
ANCIENT GREEK ROAD.
feet or more in diameter, adorning the walls of the castle. There is nothing of particular interest in the city of Chalcis, which has a population of eight or ten thousand souls. The most striking fact its position at the narrowest part of the long "sound,” where communication between the main land and Eubea is easiest and most natural.
On reaching the bridge from Chalcis to the main land, our first impression was of astonishment at the smallness of the passage. Toward the upper end of the island, it is at least seven or eight miles wide in some places; but here it contracts to a strait apparently not more than a hundred or a hundred and fifty feet in breadth. Here stands the celebrated bridge of the Euripus, a modern work, occupying the site of an ancient structure. It is built of stone, and is divided into two parts, by a fort standing in the midst of the passage. Upon paying toll, we were allowed to cross, and were once more in Baotia. On this side of the strait there is a high hill, surmounted by a fortress of Turkish construction, which quite commands the city of Chalcis.
We took the ancient road, leading from Chalcis to Tanagra and Thebes, while following the shore of the bay of the Euripus, south of the bridge. Meanwhile our baggage-horses, diverging to the right, took the direct road southwestward to Thebes. The old Greek thoroughfares differed widely from the splendid Roman roads—those vast arteries connecting the whole body of the empire. Their construction was much more simple, and the outlay comparatively small. The story of Edipus shows that frequently in the mountain passes-as at that of Schiste—the road was merely wide enough for a single chariot or wagon; and that when two chariots met, one of them was obliged to turn out in order to allow the other to pass. When the road ran over a ledge of rocks, as in the present instance, there appears to have been nothing but a mere track. The ruts of the wheels are still to be traced for a long distance, cut deep into the rocks. It is much more reasonable to suppose that they were purposely chiseled out, than that they were worn by the continual passage of vehicles over the hard limestone, according to the common notion. Between the two ruts, the rock is about as rough as it was by
nature, so that it is difficult for horses to travel over it at any great speed.
The site of the town of Aulis is little more than half an hour's ride from Chalcis. It was here that the Greek fleet was gathered before the war of Troy, and was detained for long months by calms and adverse winds. To appease the wrath of the gods, whose displeasure the unpropitious weather was supposed to indicate, Agamemnon must slay his daughter; and hence arises the plot of the “Iphigenia in Aulis” of Euripides, the most pathetic, perhaps, of the tragedies of that great poet. Aulis is supposed to have stood on a rocky promontory projecting into the Euripus, on the left of the road; but the only trace of a city is that infallible one—the abundance of fragments of vases and pottery. On either side of the promontory there is a harbor; that on the north being shallow, and, as Strabo remarks, far too small to contain all Agamemnon's ships. The other is the true harbor, and still bears the name of “ Bathys,” or the “Deep.” Upon the shore of this quiet sheet, took place—unless we are to look upon the whole Homeric story as a groundless fabrication—the bloody sacrifice of Iphigenia, a fitting representation of the surrender of every thing most dear in life to the demon Ambition.
Whatever may be the truth of these classic associations, the neighborhood of Aulis is now condemned to a death-like silence. Not a house is to be seen; and as we left the rocky coast, and turned into the level plain that extends to the Asopus, a similar desolation seemed to brood over that. There was no path to follow. We struck boldly across the uncultivated waste toward the point where we knew Tanagra to be situated. The ground was strewn with flowers, among which the Larkspur (Delphinium) of our gardens, growing in wild luxuriance, was the most striking object. Broom and other showy shrubs gave variety to the scene. Our ride of three or four hours over this barren country was warm and uninteresting, and we met not a single human being until we reached the ruins of Tanagra.
These consist chiefly of walls surrounding a rising, and by no means level site, a couple of miles in circumference. At one place, near the spot where we entered Tanagra, there is
an old gate. We walked over a part of the area formerly occupied by the city, and discovered the ancient theatre and the foundation of a temple. The position is not a very strong one, but it commands a pleasant view southward over a wide valley to Mount Parnes and Mount Cithæron, the northern boundaries of Attica. The Asopus runs near its walls, and fertilizes its vicinity, the whole of which, at the time of our visit, was covered with waving fields of wheat. We were somewhat disappointed as to the extent of the remains of Tanagra; for they are by no means commensurate with the importance of a city whose circuit was so extensive, and which claimed to have given birth to the great poet Corinna. In its vicinity a bloody battle was fought in the time of Pericles, between the Athenians and Spartans.
Our horses were tired, and we ourselves were hungry. Finding, however, no shady spot to halt at, we rode on to a small village a mile or two distant, where we could rest and obtain good water to drink. It was at an Albanian house that we stopped for half an hour. Between the Greeks and Albanians, as a general thing, there is little love lost ; for the Greek can never forget the hostile purposes with which the other race was encouraged by the Porte to settle within the limits of Greece. It is said that all the Albanians at present in the kingdom are Christians by profession; still, there seems to lurk a root of bitterness between them and the Greeks, and it is fostered by their difference of language and
On the west of Tanagra the prospect of the interior of Boeotia is cut off by a mountainous ridge running parallel to the Asopus, and behind this lies Thebes. We followed the northern side during the whole afternoon, without seeing a house or a rill of water. We advanced at a rapid rate, not being detained by our customary train of pack-horses. We entered the valley of Thebes, and in a few minutes more reached the modern town.
No one can visit Thebes without a feeling of disappointment. However much he may have been forewarned to expect few or no traces of ancient palaces and temples, when the tourist comes to tread the streets, and is told that he