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and deed. Zeus himself was believed to watch over the sacred performance of all oaths. Athena was the divine Wisdom, especially as ́exercised in civil affairs. Nem'esis was the divine Justice, as heard either in warnings of conscience within or the reproaches of the world without. The Erin'nyes, or as they were flatteringly called, Eumenʼides, * were the avengers of crime, older than all the Olympian divinities, and dreaded alike by gods and men. The cries of the injured aroused them from their dark abode in Tartarus; and to the guilty man they appeared as fierce, implacable furies, with flaming eyes and extended talons, who never slept, but walked or waited constantly by his side from the moment of his crime till its punishment; while to the innocent victim, whom they avenged, they wore the form of serene and stately goddesses, with faces beautiful though
26. At a later period, new elements entered into the religious life of the Greeks, through their intercourse with other nations, especially with Egypt, Asia Minor, and Thrace. The most important of these was the idea of purification for sins, which was unknown to Homer and Hesiod, and was probably borrowed from the Lydians. The earliest sacrifices were merely expressions of gratitude, or means of obtaining the favor of the gods, and had nothing of the character of sin-offerings. In case of crime, it was impossible to turn aside the wrath of the Eumenides, either by prayers or sacrifices; the guilty person must suffer the extremest consequences of his guilt. But under the new system it was believed that the divine anger might be averted, and the stain of sin removed.
Persons guilty of homicide, whether intentional or accidental, were excluded from the society of man and the worship of the gods until certain rites had been performed. In earlier times, a chief or king might officiate in the ceremony of purification, but later it was intrusted to priests, or to persons supposed to be specially marked for the favor of heaven by holiness of life. In case of public calamity, such as plague, famine, or defeat in war, whole cities or states underwent the process of purification, with a view to appease the supposed wrath of the gods for some hidden or open crime.
27. Among other foreign observances were the ecstatic rites in honor of various divinities. Such were the Bacchanalian dances, celebrated at Thebes and Delphi, in honor of Dionysus, in which troops of women spent whole nights upon the mountains in a state of the wildest frenzy, shouting, leaping, clashing noisy instruments, tearing animals to pieces and devouring the raw flesh, and even cutting themselves with knives without feeling the wounds. Those who abandoned themselves freely to this excitement were
The word Erinnyes meant curses, and hence the angry or persecuting goddesses. Fearing to call these terrible beings by their real name, the Greeks substituted the term Eumenides, which meant soothed or benevolent.
supposed to secure the favor of the god and escape future visitations, while those who resisted were punished with madness.
28. Among the most solemn rites were the Mysteries celebrated at Eleusis in honor of Demeter and Perseph'one. These could only be approached by a long and secret course of preparation, and it was a crime even to speak of them in the presence of the uninitiated. They commanded the deepest reverence of the Greeks, and the participants were regarded as more secure than others, both in temporal and spiritual perils. When exposed to shipwreck, passengers commonly asked each other, "Have you been initiated?"
The Eleusinian Mysteries, at least in their earlier form, are supposed to have been a remnant of the old Pelasgic worship, and thus “grounded on a view of nature less fanciful, more earnest, and better fitted to awaken both philosophical thought and religious feeling" than the Hellenic mythology.
29. Another custom adopted from abroad was the formation of secret societies, whose members bound themselves by ascetic vows, and the obligation to perform, at fixed seasons, certain solemnities. Such were the Orphic, and afterward the Pythagorean brotherhoods. Those who entered upon the "Orphic Life," as it was called, promised to abstain wholly from animal food, except the mystic sacrificial feast of raw flesh, and wore white linen garments like the Egyptian priests. Though worshipers of Dionysus, the Orphic brotherhood abstained from all wild and unseemly demonstrations, and aimed at the most severe simplicity and purity of life and manners. Their reputation for wisdom and holiness was abused by certain impostors, who used to visit the houses of the rich and offer to release them from the consequences both of their own sins and those of their forefathers, by sacrifices and expiatory songs prescribed in the Orphic books.
30. We have anticipated the five or six centuries which followed the Heroic Age, for the sake of giving a connected though brief account of the religious beliefs and customs of the Greeks, without which their history could not be understood. It only remains to mention those oracles through which, from the earliest times to the latest, and even long after the civil existence of Greece was ended, the gods were believed to make known their will to man.
31. The oldest of the oracles was that of Zeus at Dodona, where the message of the god was believed to be heard in the rustling of the sacred oaks and beeches, and interpreted by his chosen priests or prophetesses. At Olympia, in Elis, the will of Zeus was read in the appearance of victims sacrificed for the purpose. The oracles of Zeus were comparatively few. The office of revealing the divine will to man devolved usually upon Apollo, who had twenty-two oracles in European and Asiatic Greece.
32. Of these the most celebrated was at Delphi, in Phocis, where was a temple of Apollo containing his golden statue and an ever-burning fire of fir-wood. In the center of the temple was a crevice in the ground, whence arose a peculiarly intoxicating vapor. When the oracle was to be consulted, the Pythia, or priestess, took her seat upon the sacred tripod over this opening; and when bewildered or inspired by the vapor, which was supposed to be the breath of the god, she uttered a response in hexameter verses. It was often so obscure,* that it required more wit to discern the meaning of the oracle than to determine the best course of conduct without its aid. But so great was the reputation of the Delphic shrine, that not only Greeks, but Lydians, Phrygians, and Romans sent solemn embassies to consult it concerning their most important undertakings.
33. What Europe has been to the rest of the world, Greece was to Europe. The same peculiarities of coast and climate which made Europe the best adapted to civilization of all the continents, long made Greece its most highly civilized portion. But as Europe had her northern barbarians, always pressing upon the great mountain barrier of the Pyrenees, Alps, and Carpathians, sometimes bursting their limits and overrunning the more civilized but weaker nations to the southward, so Greece suffered, toward the close of the Heroic Age, from the incursions of the Illyrians on her north-western frontier. The time of this movement was fixed by Greek historians at sixty years after the fall of Troy, or, in our reckoning, B. C. 1124.
Though the Illyrians did not enter central or southern Greece, their southward movement produced a general change among the tribes of the peninsula. The Thessalians, who had previously been settled on the western coast of Epirus, now crossed the, Pindus mountains, and cleared for themselves a place in the fertile basin of the Pene'us, hitherto occupied by the Boeotians. The Boeotians, thus dispossessed of their ancient seats, moved southward, across Mounts O'thrys and Eta, to the vale of the Cephissus, whence they drove the Cadmians and Minyæ. These tribes were scattered through Attica and the Peloponnesus. The Dorians, moving from the northward, occupied the narrow valley between ŒŒta and Parnassus, which thus became Doris; while the Dryo'pians, earlier inhabitants of this region, took refuge in Euboea and the islands of the Ægean.
34. B. C. 1104. Twenty years later, a still more important movement took place. The Dorians, cramped by the narrow mountain limits of their abode, united with their western neighbors, the Ætolians, to invade the Peloponnesus. It is said that they were conducted by Tem'enus, Cresphontes, and Ar'istode'mus, in pursuance of the claims of their great ancestor, Hercules, who had been expelled from the southern peninsula a
*For a specimen, see ?? 108-9, 114.
hundred years before. before. The Dorian migration is therefore often called the Return of the Heraclidæ. Aristodemus was killed by lightning when about to cross the Corinthian Gulf. His brothers were completely victorious over the king of the Achæans, then the most powerful monarch in the Peloponnesus, and proceeded to divide the peninsula between themselves and their allies. The Etolians received Elis, on the western coast; the rest of the peninsula, except its northern border on the Corinthian Gulf, remained to the Dorians, who continued for five centuries to be the dominant race in Greece. The Heraclid princes then divided the various crowns by lot. That of Argos fell to Temenus; that of Messenia, to Cresphontes; and that of Sparta, to Eurysthenes and Procles, the twin sons of Aristodemus.
35. The conquered Achæans were forced either to emigrate to Asia and Italy, or to content themselves with the northern coast of their peninsula, from which they expelled its Ionian inhabitants, and gave it their own name, Achaia. The Ionians, after resting a few years in Attica, whose people were their kinsmen, sought more space in the Cyclades, in Chios and Samos, or on the neighboring coasts of Asia Minor. In the fertile region between the Hermus and Mæander, and on the islands, twelve Ionian cities* sprang up, and became rich and flourishing states. Though independent of each other in government, they were united in the worship of Posidon at one common temple, the Panio'nium, which crowned the headland of Mycale.
36. The Eolians had already been driven from their ancient home in central Greece, and had found refuge in Lesbos and the north-western coast of Asia Minor, between the Hermus and the Hellespont. They, also, formed twelve independent cities, but Mytilene, on the isle of Lesbos, was considered the metropolis.
37. The Dorians, extending their migrations beyond the conquered peninsula, took possession of the south-western coast of Asia Minor, with the islands of Cos and Rhodes. Their six cities-sometimes called the Doric Hexapolis-were Cni'dus and Halicarnassus, on the mainland; Ial'yssus, Cami'rus, and Lindus, on the isle of Rhodes; and Cos, on the island of its own name. Like the Ionians, they worshiped at a common sanctuary, the temple of the Triopian Apollo.
Greece was first occupied by the Pelasgi, but its ancient name is derived from the Hellenes, who early became the predominant race. Many arts were introduced by foreigners, among whom Cecrops and Danaus of Egypt, Pelops of Phrygia, and Cadmus of Phoenicia, are most famous in tradition. The Heroic
My'us, Prie'ne, Eph'esus, Co'lophon, Leb'edos, Te'os, Erythræ, Clazom'enæ, Phocæ'a, Mile'tus, Chi'os, and Sa'mos.
Age was illustrated by the achievements of sons of the gods, the last and greatest of their works being a ten years' siege of Troy. Greece was governed at this period by many absolute monarchs: kings and nobles, as well as people, led simple and industrious lives. Not only tillage, weaving, and the manufacture of metals, but architecture, sculpture, music, and poetry were cultivated to a high degree. Greek religion was the most refined and beautiful form of Natureworship. Six gods and six goddesses constituted the Supreme Council of Olympus, and a multitude of inferior divinities peopled the mountains, woods, and waters. Conscience was personified in Nemesis and the Erinnyes. Rites of atonement for sin, ecstatic celebrations, and ascetic brotherhoods were adopted by the Greeks from foreign nations. Of many oracles, the most celebrated was that of Apollo, at Delphi. The Heroic Age ended with a general migration of the tribes of Greece, which resulted in the settlement of the Dorians in the Peloponnesus, and the planting of many Ionian and Eolian colonies on the shores of Asia Minor.
SECOND PERIOD. B. C. 1100-500.
38. The Heroic Age had ended with a general migration among the tribes of Greece, which for a time interrupted their improvement of manners. But Grecian liberty arose out of the ruins of the Heroic Age; and instead of absolute monarchies, various forms of free government were established in the several states. A state, indeed, was nothing more than a city with a small portion of land surrounding it. Except in Attica, no city at this time had control over any other town.
39. All the Greeks-though existing under a multitude of governments, and divided by rivalries and jealousies — considered themselves as children of one ancestor, Hellen, and gave the common name of barbarians, or babblers, to all other nations. The poems of Homer, which were chanted at the public festivals and repeated at every hearth-stone, described all the Greeks as united against a common foe, and made the feeling of brotherhood stronger than any occasional animosity. Beside the community of blood, language, and national history, the Greeks were strongly bound together by their equal interest in the oracles and the celebration of religious rites, and their participation in the great national festivals.
40. THE GAMES. Of these the oldest and most celebrated were the Olympic Games. The date of their foundation is lost among the fables of the Heroic Age, but it is certain that these athletic contests were the favorite diversion of heroes in those primitive times. They were revived and invested with new importance in the time of Iph'itus,
king of Elis, and Lycurgus, regent of Sparta. In the next century their celebration, once in four years, began to afford the Greek measurement of time.
B. C. 884.
The first Olympiad was B. C. 776-772. The scene of the festival was upon the banks of the Alpheus, in Elis, near the ancient temple of the Olympian Zeus. During the month of the celebration wars were suspended throughout Greece. Deputies appeared from all the Hellenic