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vival that we need as an entire American Protestant Church. This only can save us from the abnormal and wild tendencies of the age, and uplift a standard that, amid the wide-spreading commotions of the times, both in the Church and State, shall serve as does the light-house to the tempest-tossed mariner upon the deep, to guide both to the calm and peaceful moorings of spiritual and eternal truth. Hagerstown, Md.
Art. III.--SKETCHES OF A TRAVELER FROM GREECE, CONSTANTI
NOPLE, ASIA MINOR, SYRIA AND PALESTINE.
JI1. MODERN ATHENS AND THE MONUMENTS ON THE AKROPOLIS.
Departure from Malla-Hermit of Cape Malea- The Peiræeus in
1834--Removal of the Capital to Athens-Greek Widow and Turkish Embassador--Biography of Colonel Fabricius---Audience with King Otho-Excursion into northern Greece Professorship at the Military College- Monuments of Athens—The Theseum -Its history and description-Polychrome ornaments-Sculptures
-Ancient Market Place— Ascent to the Castle The Akropolis Equestrian Statues—— Temple of Victory-Periklean Portals— Interesting Inscriptions-Gothic Tower--Ancient Temples on the Akropolis— Worship of Pallas Athene—The Parthenon-Its Cell - Hypethral temples—Sculptures and Polychrome decorations—PhidiasCanova— Thorvaldsen—Colossal Ivory Statue of Athene—History of the Parthenon--Its destruction by the Venetians-Its spoliation by the Robber-lord-Its restoration by King Otho— The Erechtheion Its sculptures and history-The Karyated Virgins-Lord ByronGeneral Ghouras-- Fete of King Otho-Illumination of the tempels and moon light scenery on the Akropolis.
At the time when young King Otho, on board the British frigate Madagascar arrived in Greece in 1833,* there did not yet
See our article, “ Modern Greece,” in “ Mercersburg Quarterly Review": for July, 1864, page 437.
exist any regular communication between that country and the western ports of Europe. Steam navigation on the Mediterranean was at that period still confined to some few British vessels plying between Malta and the coasts of France and Italy; the newly established government in Greece, therefore, engaged four or five swift sailing Hydriote brigs, as royal packets, to facilitate a more regular correspondence with Marseilles, Leghorn, Malta and Trieste.
Ilaving spent the summer months of 1834 on a most delightful, but fatiguing pedestrian tour through Calabria and Sicily, during which we ascended Mount Etna and beheld the terrors of its twenty craters, and roaring eruptions, we returned to Messina in order to embark for Greece on one of those royal packets. But the suspicious hostility of the Neapolitan government, under the show of severe quarantine regulations, closed the Sicilian ports against the new Hellenic flag; and we were thus obliged, after many difficulties on account of passports and baggage, to sail to Malta in an Austrian schooner. In that beautiful island we were politely received by the Greek consul, Mr. Michel, who gave us a free passage to Nauplion in the Ilydriote packet Miltiades, a fine looking brig of sixteen guns, commanded by Captain Georgios Zacharis, who had taken a distinguished part in the naval war with Turkey. Toward sun-set, December 5th, the anchors were weighed and we stood out for sea. A brisk libeccio, or south-west wind swelled the sails and carried us in two days through the Cretan sea toward the high and frowning promontories of the Peloponnesos.
At sun-rise, on the 8th, that inhospitable, iron-bound coast lay before us; the distant mountain tops, covered with snow, appeared through the clouds. Neither towns nor villages, cultivation or verdure relieved the monotonous gray and russet colors of the rocks, piled up in chaotic disorder-only here and there on the highest peaks appeared some ruinous tower of the wild Mainots, looking down upon the breakers, foaming and chafing some thousand feet below. We doubled cape Taenaron, now called Matapan,* and crossing the deep Lakonian gulf, bore away toward night-fall beneath the still more precipitous cape Malea, the southernmost promontory of Europe, of whose dangerous rocks the ancient mariners were so afraid, that it was a common saying among them: That whoever had to pass the Malea might bid eternal adieu to his family and friends. Nay, some relics of this superstitious dread exist among the Greeks even at the present day: for instead of continuing to tack around the projecting head-land, the helmsman of our brig, the young Dimitri Zacharis, directed the course of the vessel right against the steep rocky shore, from which the gigantic mountain arose precipitously to a height of several thousand feet above the sea. At a signal given, the sails were furled; the ship laid to, and to our utter astonishment the shout on board was responded to on shore, where a twinkling light appeared at a great distance, on the surface of the water, in a grotto at the base of the cliff, in so wild and in hospitable a region, that we would only have supposed it the refuge of cormorants and seagulls. We were, therefore, in expectation of some scene from the Corsair of Lord Byron, when the old Captain pointing to the distant taper on the coast, said: “Signiors, do you see that light yonder of the venerable old Hermit, who for forty years has blessed my ship and protected it from shipwreck and disasters. Every Greck vessel that doubles cape Malea sends on shore a basket with bread and fruits and some gourds of wine to warm the heart of the pious old Kaloyer.” We felt the most lively desire to visit the hermit, but unfortunately the boat had already started, and when it returned after an hour's absence, we learned from Captain Dimitri, that the hermit lived many years in total seclusion from the world in the natural cavities of the mountain opening upon the sea. He had built an altar on the coast, which during night served as a beacon fire to the ships while doubling the stormy cape. Our Hydriote mariners having offered their present of provisions then knelt down before the rudely built altar, on which a lamp was burning beneath an image of the Holy Virgin, the Panaghia : there they chanted their Kyrie Eleison, received the blessing of the recluse, and thus sure of divine protection, returned joyfully to their ship.
* No doubt a corruption for Metopon or fore-head, the promontory presenting a bluff front against the sea.
When we, ten years later, in 1844, a second time passed the promontory on our return to Denmark, no light appeared beneath the dreary mountain. It had been extinct for a year or two; the old hermit may probably have died in his solitary retreat.* The wind being contrary we tacked up under Crete and it was not until the seventh day after our departure from Malta that we entered the beautiful Saronic gulf, between the Peloponnesos and Attika and anchored smoothly in the celebrated port of the Peiræeus. This large and safe harbor, which for centuries had presented nothing but ruins and desolation, was now full of movement and life. Several British, French and Austrian men-of-war were at anchor in the middle of the port, and quite a number of Greek brigs and caiques, or small coasting vessels were discharging their cargoes of timber and provisions for the new capital. Rows of white houses and a bazar of stores and magazines had recently been built along the shore, now covered with goods, which on camels and mules were transported through the swamps to Athens. Some companies of German troops had just arrived from Trieste and a detachment of handsome Greek Lancers, mounted on fiery Thessalian horses, were awaiting a transport of money from Nauplion.
Without stopping to investigate the numerous and highly interesting walls, towers and other antiquities of the Athenian port, we immediately took horses and galloped off through the plain for Athens, situated at a distance of twenty five stadia or five miles from the coast and distinctly visible by the glittering temple ruins of the Akropolis. The passage, however, was difficult on account of the swamps. The river Kepnissos, descending from Mount Pentelikon through the plain north of the city, had overflowed its banks and inundated the lower re
* The only mention of this curious apparition we have found in books of eastern travels, is the affected and truly French description of the Hermit and his Grotto, by the late M. Bory de Saint Vincent, who saw him in July, 1829, See Expedition Scientifique de Moree, tome II, page 418, Edition in 8 vo.
gion toward the sea coast. Our horses plunged to the saddle girths and the wily mules threw off their baggage, which we at last, though wet and soiled, got safely deposited in the olive grove. In an hour and a half we arrived at the height of the western ridge of the Museion, from which the bustling city below,the elegant Temple of Theseus, the Areopagos, the Akropolis and high distant Mount Hymettos, all at once burst upon our sight. Athens appeared in the depth as one immense pile of ruins, from out of which arose here and there some unroofed churches, desolated mosques and broken minarets. At the first outbreak of the war of independence in 1821, the Greeks in their fury had burnt and destroyed all the Mohammedan sarais, bazars, baths and other public and private buildings; nay, they had even devastated the orange and fig plantations, and all those cool and shady retreats of Turkish indolence, so beautifully described by Lord Byron. In revenge the Turks on their return after the destruction of Missolunghi in 1827, with savage joy laid waste the city of the Greeks and stabled their horses in the beautiful Byzantine churches, eighty of which still adorned Christian Athens.
Descending the hill and forcing our way over the ruinous walls, we entered by the Peiræeus gate and pressing forward to the market place, which seemed the only part of the modern town that had risen from its ashes, we met with crowds of people from all parts of the kingdom in their gaudy and picturesque costumes, who had assembled to salute their young King. There were the Albanian mountaineers; the tall and fierce looking Arnauts or Skypetars—in their white kilts and shaggy eapotes; the more pacific Islanders in their Turkish turbans, wide trowsers and silken kaftans; and the half drunk, red-nosed Bavarians in their tight sky blue uniforms and glittering helmets—all were trafficing, smoking and drinking, or talking and shouting at the same time in their various dialects. Military music resounded through the narrow streets, and King Otho with bis staff at the head of his Greek battalions marched proudly through the city from a review in the plain of the ancient academy of Plato.