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Thieves steal section of fresco from Pompeii



 by James Mackenzie; Editing by Alison Williams

ROME — Thieves detached and stole a section of fresco in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii last week, adding to the degradation of one of the world's outstanding archaeological sites after heavy rain caused sections of wall to collapse.
Officials from Pompeii's archaeology service said the thieves chipped off a 20 cm-wide section of fresco depicting the goddess Artemis from a site known as the House of Neptune and Amphitrite, which is not currently open to the public.
 Police said news of the theft, which occurred on March 12, had been withheld so as not to compromise their investigation of the case, which they described as "particularly delicate".
The latest theft occurred two weeks after sections of wall at the site collapsed during heavy rain, prompting new Culture Minister Dario Franceschini to promise to step up maintenance work at the site.
One of Italy's most popular attractions, Pompeii was preserved under ash from a volcanic eruption in 79 AD and rediscovered in the 18th century. It has become a symbol for decades of mismanagement of Italy's cultural sites after a series of collapses that have brought an international outcry.


Dispatch, Greece: The mythology of Delphi



By Kate Rice

Travel Weekly’s Kate Rice is on vacation in Greece with her family. Her third dispatch follows. Click to read Kate’s first and second dispatches.

On our trip to Delphi, Gavriela found a soul mate in our philosopher-guide George, who we hired though ShoreTrips. His highly personalized (and commissionable) shore excursions work as well for land-based tourists like us as they do for cruise passengers.

George met us at our hotel and the three-hour drive to Delphi went swiftly, as he pointed out landmarks from Greek history. There was Marathon, site of a decisive Greek victory over the Persians.

According to legend, the messenger Pheidippides ran from Marathon to Athens to deliver the message of victory, and collapsed and died after delivering it. His run was the inspiration for the modern marathon race.

The route to Delphi is also the site of the tragedy of Oedipus, fated to kill his father and marry his mother. George pointed out the mountains where the infant Oedipus was said to be abandoned and then raised, ignorant of his lineage. And it's also where he had his fateful encounter with his father, and then is awarded his mother's hand after solving the riddle posed by the fearsome Sphinx.

My daughter Gavriela, as it turns out, learned the riddle but didn't know that it was Oedipus who solved it.

At Delphi, we toured the museum first. It was filled with French and Italian students who were about Gavriela's age, and they clearly were as enthusiastic about the ancient Greeks as she was. George, who knows everybody — the museum staff, the other tour guides (some of whom he helped train) — took a quick look at the worksheets some of the students were filling out and gave a nod of approval.

He pointed out the international nature of Greek archaeology in general and Delphi in particular; exhibit descriptions were in Greek, English and French, since the French led the initial excavations of Delphi when they were discovered in the 1860s.

George used a tour of the museum to prepare us for touring the site itself. He was very appreciative of Gavriela's knowledge about Greek history and often had her give us the context for the statues and artifacts we were looking at.

One piece that stood out for Gavriela: the Chariotter of Delphim, a bronze statue that is considered one the world's finest examples of ancient bronze statues. But why bronze? Because, George explained, bronze was highly valued because it was functional; gold might be beautiful, but it had no practical applications.

From the museum, we walked to the ruins, which are set into a mountainside that overlooks a broad valley filled with 3 million olive trees. It is a place of serene beauty.

We walked up the steps, past the agora. Then we ascended the steps past the treasuries holding the valuables brought to the Oracle of Delphi. Some, like heavy statues, were left outside because they were too heavy to steal. (The Romans did loot Delphi, but took so many statues that the ship carrying them sank into the sea, where they remain today.) "The Romans were greedy shoppers," observed George.

The treasuries held smaller gifts. All have been destroyed, but the Athenian treasury has been restored.

Then, we finally came to the ruins of Apollo's Temple, where the pythia, the middle-aged woman who would interpret the god's answers to supplicants' questions, had her visions. Priests would turn her responses into verses that were often elliptical and open to interpretation. But, said George, the gods are perfect; misinterpretations were human error.

My favorite part was not the temple, beautiful as it is, but the theater just above it. Cut out of the rock, it could seat 5,000, and, said George, was essentially a repository for intellect. That is, intellectuals could present their knowledge for it to be judged and, if deemed worthy, passed on to future generations.

If you won applause for your presentation, you were golden. If the response was only silence, "at least you tried," George said.

One presentation I found particularly interesting. It was by Democritus, who presented his walking stick, broken in half, to the crowd. He broke it in half again, and then again.

He got to a piece too small to break.

Democritus was formulating atomic theory, George said.

"When we break this," Democritus said to the crowd, "we unleash the wrath of the gods."

We started our walk back down the mountainside, George lamenting to Gavriela that on each visit, he finds that there seems to be more steps.

He stopped to pick some greens, after asking me if Gavriela is an adventurous eater. She is, I assured him.

When we stopped for lunch at an old hunting lodge that is now a restaurant, George had a quick exchange with the kitchen crew. Part of our lunch included a Delphic omelette with mustard greens that George picked at Delphi.

We drove back to Athens. George said he should make Gavriela his "lieutenant" on his tours.

Gavriela pondered that for a moment.

"Now I know what I can do in the summer during college," she said.


Follow Kate Rice on Twitter @krtravelweekly. 

The Amazon Women: Is There Any Truth Behind the Myth?


Strong and brave, the Amazons were a force to be reckoned with in Greek mythology—but did the fierce female warriors really exist?

By Amanda Foreman

I oved watching the “Wonder Woman” TV series when I was a girl. I never wanted to dress like her—the idea of wearing a gold lamé bustier and star-spangled blue underwear all day seemed problematic—but the Amazonian princess was strong and resourceful, with a rope trick for every problem. She seemed to be speaking directly to me, urging, “Go find your own inner Amazonian.” When I read the news that Wonder Woman was going to be resurrected for a blockbuster movie in 2016, Batman vs. Superman, it made me excited—and anxious. Would the producers give her a role as fierce as her origins—and maybe some shoulder straps—or would she just be cartoon eye candy?
The fact that she isn’t even getting billing in the title makes me suspicious. It wouldn’t have pleased Wonder Woman’s creator either. “Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world,” declared the psychologist and comic book writer William Moulton Marston, offering a proto-feminist vision that undoubtedly sounded quite radical in 1943. “Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don’t want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are.”
Over the years, the writers at DC Comics softened Wonder Woman’s powers in ways that would have infuriated Marston. During the 1960s, she was hardly wondrous at all, less a heroic warrior than the tomboyish girl next-door. It was no longer clear whether she was meant to empower the girls or captivate the boys. But the core brand was still strong enough for Gloria Steinem to put her on the cover of the first newsstand issue of Ms. magazine in 1972—with the slogan “Wonder Woman for President.”
The creators of Wonder Woman had no interest in proving an actual link to the past. In some parts of the academic world, however, the historical existence of the Amazons, or any matriarchal society, has long been a raging issue. The origins of the debate can be traced back to a Swiss law professor and classical scholar named Johann Jakob Bachofen. In 1861 Bachofen published his radical thesis that the Amazons were not a myth but a fact. In his view, humanity started out under the rule of womankind and only switched to patriarchy at the dawn of civilization. Despite his admiration for the earth-mother women/priestesses who once held sway, Bachofen believed that the domination of men was a necessary step toward progress. Women “only know of the physical life,” he wrote. “The triumph of patriarchy brings with it the liberation of the spirit from the manifestations of nature.”
It comes as no surprise that the composer Richard Wagner was enthralled by Bachofen’s writings. Brünnhilde and her fellow Valkyries could be easily mistaken for flying Amazons. But Bachofen’s influence went far beyond the Ring Cycle. Starting with Friedrich Engels, Bachofen inspired generations of Marxist and feminist theorists to write wistfully of a pre-patriarchal age when the evils of class, property and war were unknown. As Engels memorably put it: “The overthrow of mother-right was the world historical defeat of the female sex. The man took command in the home also; the woman was degraded and reduced to servitude; she became the slave of his lust and a mere instrument for the production of children.”
There was, however, one major problem with the Bachofen-inspired theory of matriarchy: There was not a shred of physical evidence to support it. In the 20th century, one school of thought claimed that the real Amazons were probably beardless “bow-toting Mongoloids” mistaken for women by the Greeks. Another insisted that they were simply a propaganda tool used by the Athenians during times of political stress. The only theorists who remained relatively unfazed by the debates swirling through academia were the Freudians, for whom the idea of the Amazons was far more interesting in the abstract than in a pottery fragment or arrowhead. The Amazonian myths appeared to hold the key to the innermost neuroses of the Athenian male. All those women sitting astride their horses, for example—surely the animal was nothing but a phallus substitute. As for their violent death in tale after tale, this was obviously an expression of unresolved sexual conflict.
Myth or fact, symbol or neurosis, none of the theories adequately explained the origins of the Amazons. If these warrior women were a figment of Greek imagination, there still remained the unanswered question of who or what had been the inspiration for such an elaborate fiction. Their very name was a puzzle that mystified the ancient Greeks. They searched for clues to its origins by analyzing the etymology of Amazones, the Greek for Amazon. The most popular explanation claimed that Amazones was a derivation of a, “without,” and mazos, “breasts”; another explanation suggested ama-zoosai, meaning “living together,” or possibly ama-zoonais, “with girdles.” The idea that Amazons cut or cauterized their right breasts in order to have better bow control offered a kind of savage plausibility that appealed to the Greeks.
The eighth-century B.C. poet Homer was the first to mention the existence of the Amazons. In the Iliad—which is set 500 years earlier, during the Bronze or Heroic Age—Homer referred to them somewhat cursorily as Amazons antianeirai, an ambiguous term that has resulted in many different translations, from “antagonistic to men” to “the equal of men.” In any case, these women were considered worthy enough opponents for Homer’s male characters to be able to boast of killing them—without looking like cowardly bullies.
Future generations of poets went further and gave the Amazons a fighting role in the fall of Troy—on the side of the Trojans. Arktinos of Miletus added a doomed romance, describing how the Greek Achilles killed the Amazonian queen Penthesilea in hand-to-hand combat, only to fall instantly in love with her as her helmet slipped to reveal the beautiful face beneath. From then on, the Amazons played an indispensable role in the foundation legends of Athens. Hercules, for example, last of the mortals to become a god, fulfills his ninth labor by taking the magic girdle from the Amazon queen Hippolyta.
By the mid-sixth century B.C., the foundation of Athens and the defeat of the Amazons had become inextricably linked, as had the notion of democracy and the subjugation of women. The Hercules versus the Amazons myth was adapted to include Theseus, whom the Athenians venerated as the unifier of ancient Greece. In the new version, the Amazons came storming after Theseus and attacked the city in a battle known as the Attic War. It was apparently a close-run thing. According to the first century A.D. Greek historian Plutarch, the Amazons “were no trivial nor womanish enterprise for Theseus. For they would not have pitched their camp within the city, nor fought hand-to-hand battles in the neighborhood of the Pynx and the Museum, had they not mastered the surrounding country and approached the city with impunity.” As ever, though, Athenian bravery saved the day.
The first pictorial representations of Greek heroes fighting scantily clad Amazons began to appear on ceramics around the sixth century B.C. The idea quickly caught on and soon “amazonomachy,” as the motif is called (meaning Amazon battle), could be found everywhere: on jewelry, friezes, household items and, of course, pottery. It became a ubiquitous trope in Greek culture, just like vampires are today, perfectly blending the allure of sex with the frisson of danger. The one substantial difference between the depictions of Amazons in art and in poetry was the breasts. Greek artists balked at presenting anything less than physical perfection.
The more important the Amazons became to Athenian national identity, the more the Greeks searched for evidence of their vanquished foe. The fifth century B.C. historian Herodotus did his best to fill in the missing gaps. The “father of history,” as he is known, located the Amazonian capital as Themiscyra, a fortified city on the banks of the Thermodon River near the coast of the Black Sea in what is now northern Turkey. The women divided their time between pillaging expeditions as far afield as Persia and, closer to home, founding such famous towns as Smyrna, Ephesus, Sinope and Paphos. Procreation was confined to an annual event with a neighboring tribe. Baby boys were sent back to their fathers, while the girls were trained to become warriors. An encounter with the Greeks at the Battle of Thermodon ended this idyllic existence. Three shiploads of captured Amazons ran aground near Scythia, on the southern coast of the Black Sea. At first, the Amazons and the Scythians were braced to fight each other. But love indeed conquered all and the two groups eventually intermarried. Their descendants became nomads, trekking northeast into the steppes where they founded a new race of Scythians called the Sauromatians. “The women of the Sauromatae have continued from that day to the present,” wrote Herodotus, “to observe their ancient customs, frequently hunting on horseback with their husbands...in war taking the field and wearing the very same dress as the men....Their marriage law lays it down, that no girl shall wed until she has killed a man in battle.”
The trail of the Amazons nearly went cold after Herodotus. Until, that is, the early 1990s when a joint U.S.-Russian team of archaeologists made an extraordinary discovery while excavating 2,000-year-old burial mounds—known as kurgans—outside Pokrovka, a remote Russian outpost in the southern Ural Steppes near the Kazakhstan border. There, they found over 150 graves belonging to the Sauromatians and their descendants, the Sarmatians. Among the burials of “ordinary women,” the researchers uncovered evidence of women who were anything but ordinary. There were graves of warrior women who had been buried with their weapons. One young female, bowlegged from constant riding, lay with an iron dagger on her left side and a quiver containing 40 bronze-tipped arrows on her right. The skeleton of another female still had a bent arrowhead embedded in the cavity. Nor was it merely the presence of wounds and daggers that amazed the archaeologists. On average, the weapon-bearing females measured 5 feet 6 inches, making them preternaturally tall for their time.
Finally, here was evidence of the women warriors that could have inspired the Amazon myths. In recent years, a combination of new archaeological finds and a reappraisal of older discoveries has confirmed that Pokrovka was no anomaly. Though clearly not a matriarchal society, the ancient nomadic peoples of the steppes lived within a social order that was far more flexible and fluid than the polis of their Athenian contemporaries.
To the Greeks, the Scythian women must have seemed like incredible aberrations, ghastly even. To us, their graves provide an insight into the lives of the world beyond the Adriatic. Strong, resourceful and brave, these warrior women offer another reason for girls “to want to be girls” without the need of a mythical Wonder Woman.

Amanda Foreman is the award-winning author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire and A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War. Her next book The World Made by Women: A History of Women from the Age of Cleopatra to the Era of Thatcher, is slated for publication by Random House (US) and Allen Lane (UK) in 2015.


Russian Archaeologists Dig Up Mythical Satyr Skeleton?


John Squires

Much like the Faun of Roman Mythology, as seen in Pan's Labyrinth, the Greek mythological figure known as a Satyr is essentially a half-man, half-goat creature, oftentimes depicted as being very humanlike, with the body of a goat. Surely no such creature ever actually roamed the earth... right?
As reported by Before It's News, Russian archaeologists believe that they may have unearthed the body of one of these mythical creatures, over in the city of Stavropol Krai. Story goes that they recently opened up an ancient mound and discovered the skeleton seen in the image above, which looked quite unlike anything they had ever seen before. They said that there is no scientific explanation for the bizarre skeleton, which is comprised of the skull of a human, and what appears to be the body of a goat-like creature. "What if the Stavropol archaeologists have discovered a previously unknown anomalous creature to mankind?" said one of the men who made the discovery.
Though you won't understand a word that's being said, unless you speak the language, you can check out the Russian news report on the strange find below, which gives you
- See more at: http://www.fearnet.com/news/news-article/russian-archaeologists-dig-mythical-satyr-skeleton#sthash.mb9xyYbp.dpuf


Replica of ancient Roman barge in works




ARCHAEOLOGISTS and boatbuilders are replicating a nearly 2,000-year-old Roman barge at Xanten Archaeological Park in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Oaken, flat-bottomed and 15 metres long, barges of this type were an important means of transport on inland waterways in the Rome-controlled Rhineland in the late first century AD.
Remnants of a Roman barge were discovered during gravel extraction in a dried-up arm of the Rhine River near the Xanten district of Wardt in 1991.
About 7 metres long, the preserved barge section is one of the chief exhibits at the Xanten Archaeological Park's Roman Museum.
Completion of the replica, said to be the first of its kind in Germany and named Nehalennia - after the goddess worshipped as the protector of seafarers in the Roman province of Germania Inferior, on the west bank of the Rhine - is expected in late November.
The boat's maiden voyage is planned for the spring of 2015.
"Not on the Rhine, though - there's too much traffic," remarked the international project's director, archaeologist Gabriele Schmidhuber-Aspoeck.
Two millennia ago, flat-bottomed Roman barges were able to manoeuvre safely even in the shallow arms of the Rhine. \
A barge such as that found in Xanten could carry 10 tonnes of cargo and had a draught of only about a half-metre. It had no sail, and when not propelled by wind or water current, the crew had to row it, pole it or tow it with long ropes from the riverbank.
The archaeologists hope that construction of the replica, to cost approximately 500,000 euros (about $US700,000), will provide insight into ancient Roman boatbuilding techniques.
The renowned Dutch ship archaeologist Jaap Morel and a Dutch company from Utrecht specialising in historic shipbuilding have been hired for the project.
To save time and money, the replica is being built mostly with modern tools, Schmidhuber-Aspoeck said, pointing out that the barge's bottom planks have to be bent by hand at high temperatures, however.
Five tonnes of oak, nearly 2,000 iron nails and 25 metres of iron bands will be used. Visitors can observe the construction in a large tent next to the Roman Museum. – dpa



Greek theater

Theater is from a Greek verb meaning ‘to behold’

Theatre as we know it began in ancient Greece with a religious ceremony called ‘dithyramb’ in which a chorus of men dressed in goat skins.

 The word ‘tragedy’ comes from a Greek expression meaning ‘goat song’…

 …and ‘theatre’ comes from a Greek verb meaning ‘to behold’.

Ancient Greek audiences stamped their feet rather than clapping their hands to applaud

 According to Aristotle, the plot is the most important feature of a dramatic performance.
The oldest play still in existence is The Persians by Aeschylus, written in 472 BC.


Professor praises ancient Greek architecture


By Pierre Ortlieb
According to 20th-century Greek architect Constantinos Doxiadis, failing to revive the human element in architectural planning may bring about the end of civilization.
Professor of the history and theory of architecture at the Architecture School of the National Technical University of Athens in Greece Panayotis Tournikiotis explored Doxiadis’ influence and legacy in a talk on Monday night. The lecture, titled “Global Greece: C.A. Doxiadis and Planning in the Network Era,” aimed to explore how the planning of cities in ancient Greece relates to modern construction and design. Tournikiotis explained that Doxiadis aimed to recreate a “human dimension” in architecture, which was central to ancient Greek cities but has become lost in modernity.
“The ancient Greeks designed not isolated objects but parts of a dynamic urban environment,” Tournikiotis quoted Doxiadis as saying, adding that the Greek polis was often built around a marketplace — a center of human gathering.
Tournikiotis explained that the human aspect of urban design must now be synthesized with the mechanical demands of an industrial world, and eventually evolve into what Doxiadis calls the “ecumenopolis,” a global city. The ancient Greeks’ commitment to a human dimension in their designs has faded with time, the professor explained, but must be regained in both architectural theory and practice.
To illustrate this, Tournikiotis displayed maps depicting the Greek city of Priene in the year 350 B.C., comparing them to Doxiadis’ work in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. He noted that both showed a communal focal point of social interaction, which demonstrates Doxiadis’ desire to “create cities which consist of elements based on the human scale” as well as his emphasis on the human perspective. Many of Doxiadis’ sketches and drawings were structured around the 360-degree rotation of the human eye, a technique that underscores the “early humanistic existentialism” of Doxiadis’ projects, the professor added.
“To build a global network, you have to go back to the villages,” Tournikiotis noted, echoing Doxiadis.
Dean of the School of Architecture Robert A.M. Stern, who attended the lecture, said that American architects did not hold a positive opinion of Doxiadis before the mid-1960s, when many of them showed a renewed interest in the architecture of the Greek islands and Doxiadis’ theories reemerged  in U.S. architectural circles. The Greek architect saw his country as the beginning of the world, as the origin of democracy, Tournikiotis added, suggesting that the influence of ancient Greece should spread as much into modern architecture as it has into politics.
Swarnabh Ghosh ARC ’14 praised Tournikiotis’ talk, adding that the discussion of the origins of Doxiadis’ theories clarified a lot of questions architecture students have about Ekistics, a concept in urban planning pioneered by Doxiadis.

The lecture was sponsored by the Alexander S. Onassis foundation and co-organized by the School of Architecture and Yale’s Hellenic Studies department.

Roman statue found at underwater palace near Naples


ROME (Nov 8, 2013): Italian archaeologists on Thursday said they have recovered an ancient Roman marble statue spotted by a diver in an imperial palace that is now under water in the Bay of Naples.
"The discovery is significant and quite important for us because of the quality of the marble and the excellent workmanship of the sculpture," said Paolo Caputo, a local heritage official.
The statue is of a woman and was discovered in October just off the shore near the town of Baia in what is already an underwater archaeological park.
The figure is headless and without arms.
"We do not yet know whether it is a divinity or a member of the imperial family," Caputo said.
The area around Baia was a thermal resort that was popular in Roman times and has several villas.
One of them was confiscated by the Emperor Nero (37-68 AD) and turned into a summer residence and it was there that the statue was found. – AFP



The man behind the emperor: Augustus show opens in Rome


ROME (Oct 20, 2013): A political genius, a great reformer, a patron of the arts -- but ancient Rome's first emperor Augustus was also a family man, as highlighted in a new exhibition that opened in Rome this week.
The show marks 2,000 years since the death of the founder of the Roman Empire and the man most associated with the "Pax Romana", a period of immense architectural and artistic achievement.
"We wanted to look at the personality of Augustus beyond the official persona," said Daniel Roger, chief conservator at the Louvre museum in Paris, which is co-organising the exhibition in Rome.
Through some 200 items including statues, jewelry and platters, the exhibition at the Scuderie del Quirinale delves into the emperor's family life and tries to depict the ebullient mood of the time.
The show brings together for the first time statues of Augustus in his attire as a divine leader and as a star general, as well as an equestrian one found in the Aegean Sea in Greece and displayed in Italy for the first time.
"We know of more than 210 portraits and statues of Augustus. He was no ordinary emperor," said Mariarosaria Barbera, the chief superintendent for Rome's vast archaeological heritage.
Barbera said Augustus had specifically wanted his official images to reflect his duties, his political programme and his plans for the future.
> 'Upstart young prince"
"From an upstart young prince he became a man of power who legislated everything in public and private life, including the length of togas that citizens were allowed to carry," she said.
Caius Octavius was born in 63 BC and died in 14 AD.
He was the grand nephew of Julius Caesar and became his adopted son. He governed Rome for more than 40 years -- a golden age in its history.
The young Octavius took on the title of Augustus to indicate his position had divine blessing, and he managed to bring together the aristocratic and populist strands of political thought at the time.
Flanked by his general Agrippa, his best friend whom he married to his only daughter, Julia, and by his political adviser Maecenas, Caesar Augustus hugely extended the territory controlled by Rome.
He was also well known as an arts patron and helped sponsor Virgil, Horace, Livy and Ovid.
The artists of the time were inspired by ancient Greece but created new styles for a new empire.
Roger called it "a privileged time in Roman history" when Rome itself was transformed "from a city of bricks into a city of marble" under Augustus.
With imposing statues, "we have the impression Augustus invented political propaganda but that is an anachronistic term," Roger said.
"What he really wanted, was that artistic style as much as the military would unite the provinces of the Roman empire," the curator said.
While his public life flourished, the emperor's private life was marred by the tragedy of the death of his grandchildren -- whom he had groomed to take over the reins of power.
After a first political marriage with Clodia, the goddaughter of Mark Antony, he then married Scribonia, grand-niece of Pompey, whom he repudiated the same day she gave birth to Julia to marry the great love of his life -- Livia.
Without a direct heir, he ended up adopting her eldest son, Tiberius, before dying aged 76.
The exhibition runs at until February 9, 2014 and will then move to the Grand Palais in Paris between March 19 and July 13. – AFP


MARCO BOZZARIS



FITZ-GREENE HALLECK

    At midnight, in his guarded tent,
        The Turk was dreaming of the hour
    When Greece, her knee in suppliance bent,
        Should tremble at his power.
    In dreams, through camp and court he bore
    The trophies of a conqueror;
        In dreams, his song of triumph heard;
    Then wore his monarch's signet-ring;
    Then pressed that monarch's throne--a king:
    As wild his thoughts, and gay of wing,
        As Eden's garden-bird.
    At midnight, in the forest shades,
        Bozzaris ranged his Suliote band,
    True as the steel of their tried blades,
        Heroes in heart and hand.
    There had the Persian's thousands stood,
    There had the glad earth drunk their blood,
        On old Platæa's day:
    And now there breathed that haunted air,
    The sons of sires who conquered there,
    With arms to strike, and soul to dare,
        As quick, as far as they.
    An hour passed on--the Turk awoke;
        That bright dream was his last:
    He woke--to hear his sentries shriek,
    "To arms! they come! the Greek! the Greek!"
    He woke--to die mid flames and smoke,
    And shout and groan, and sabre-stroke,
        And death-shots falling thick and fast
    As lightnings from the mountain-cloud;
    And heard, with voice as trumpet loud,
        Bozzaris cheer his band:
    "Strike!--till the last armed foe expires;
    Strike!--for your altars and your fires;
    Strike!--for the green graves of your sires;
        God--and your native land!"
    They fought--like brave men, long and well;
        They piled the ground with Moslem slain;
    They conquered--but Bozzaris fell,
        Bleeding at every vein.
    His few surviving comrades saw
    His smile, when rang their proud--"Hurrah,"
        And the red field was won:
    Then saw in death his eyelids close,
    Calmly as to a night's response,
        Like flowers at set of sun.
    But to the hero, when his sword
        Has won the battle for the free,
    Thy voice sounds like a prophet's word,
    And in its hollow tones are heard
        The thanks of millions yet to be.
    Bozzaris! with, the storied brave
    Greece nurtured in her glory's time,
    Rest thee--there is no prouder grave,
        Even in her own proud clime.
    We tell thy doom without a sigh;
    For thou art Freedom's now, and Fame's--
    One of the few, the immortal names
        That were not born to die.


Biographical and Historical: Fitz-Greene Halleck was born in Connecticut, July 8, 1790, and died November 19, 1867. Of his poems, "Marco Bozzaris" is probably the best known. Marco Bozzaris, leader of the Greek revolution, was, killed August 20, 1823, in an attack upon the Turks near Missolonghi, a Greek town. His last words were: "To die for liberty is a pleasure, not a pain."

SONG OF THE GREEK BARD


(From "Don Juan," Canto-III.)

LORD BYRON
    The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece!
        Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
    Where grew the arts of war and peace,
        Where Delos rose and Phoebus sprung!
    Eternal summer gilds them yet,
    But all, except their sun, is set.
    The Scian and the Teian muse,
        The hero's harp, the lover's lute,
    Have found the fame your shores refuse;
        Their place of birth alone is mute
    To sounds which echo further west
    Than your sires' "Islands of the Blest."
    The mountains look on Marathon--
        And Marathon looks on the sea;
    And musing there an hour alone,
        I dreamed that Greece might still be free:
    For, standing on the Persian's grave,
    I could not deem myself a slave.
    A king sat on the rocky brow
        Which looks o'er sea-born Salamis;
    And ships by thousands lay below,
      And men in nations;--all were his!
    He counted them at break of day--
    And when the sun set, where were they?
    And where are they? and where art thou
        My country? On thy voiceless shore
    The heroic lay is tuneless now--
        The heroic bosom beats no more.
    And must thy lyre, so long divine,
        Degenerate into hands like mine?
    'Tis something in the dearth of fame,
        Though linked among a fettered race,
    To feel at least a patriot's shame,
        Even as I sing, suffuse my face;
    For what is left the poet here?
        For Greeks a blush--for Greece a tear.
    Must we but weep o'er days more blest?
        Must we but blush?--Our fathers bled.
    Earth, render back from out thy breast
        A remnant of our Spartan dead!
    Of the three hundred grant but three,
    To make a new Thermopylæ!
    What, silent still? and silent all?
        Ah, no; the voices of the dead
    Sound like a distant torrent's fall,
        And answer, "Let one living head,
    But one, arise--we come, we come!"
    'Tis but the living who are dumb.
    In vain--in vain: strike other chords;
        Fill high the cup with Samian wine!
    Leave battles to the Turkish hordes,
        And shed the blood of Scio's vine!
    Hark! rising to the ignoble call--
    How answers each bold bacchanal!
    You have the Pyrrhic dance as yet--
        Where is the Pyrrhic phalanx gone?
    Of two such lessons, why forget
        The nobler and the manlier one?
    You have the letters Cadmus gave--
    Think you he meant them for a slave?
    The tyrant of the Chersonese
        Was freedom's best and bravest friend;
    That tyrant was Miltiades!
        O that the present hour would lend
    Another despot of the kind!
    Such chains as his were sure to bind.
    Trust not for freedom to the Franks--
        They have a king who buys and sells--
    In native swords and native ranks
        The only hope of courage dwells;
    But Turkish force and Latin fraud
    Would break your shield, however broad.
    Place me on Sunium's marbled steep,
        Where nothing, save the waves and I
    May hear our mutual murmurs sweep;
        There, swan-like, let me sing and die;
    A land of slaves shall ne'er be mine--
    Dash down yon cup of Samian wine!

Historical: The decline of Greece is the theme of this poem. Byron represents a Greek poet as contrasting ancient and modern Greece, showing that, in modern Greece, "all except their sun is set."

RIENZI'S ADDRESS TO THE ROMANS


MARY RUSSELL MITFORD

                                                Friends!
    I come not here to talk. You know too well
    The story of our thralldom. We are slaves!
    The bright sun rises to his course, and lights
    A race of slaves! he sets, and his last beam
    Falls on a slave!--not such as, swept along
    By the full tide of power, the conqueror leads
    To crimson glory and undying fame,
    But base, ignoble slaves--slaves to a horde
    Of petty tyrants; feudal despots; lords,
    Rich in some dozen paltry villages,
    Strong in some hundred spearmen; only great
    In that strange spell--a name.
                                  Each hour dark fraud,
    Or open rapine, or protected murder,
    Cry out against them. But this very day,
    An honest man, my neighbor--there he stands--
    Was struck--struck like a dog, by one who wore
    The badge of Ursini, because, forsooth,
    He tossed not high his ready cap in air,
    Nor lifted up his voice in servile shouts
    At sight of that great ruffian! Be we men,
    And suffer such dishonor?--Men, and wash not
    The stain away in blood?
                                Such shames are common.
    I have known deeper wrongs. I that speak to you,
    I had a brother once, a gracious boy,
    Full of gentleness, of calmest hope,
    Of sweet and quiet joy: there was the look
    Of heaven upon his face, which limners give
    To the beloved disciple. How I loved
    That gracious boy! Younger by fifteen years,
    Brother at once and son! He left my side,
    A summer bloom on his fair cheek, a smile
    Parting his innocent lips: in one short hour,
    The pretty, harmless boy was slain! I saw
    The corse, the mangled corse, and then I cried
    For vengeance!
                         Rouse ye, Romans! rouse ye, slaves!
    Have ye brave sons? Look in the next fierce brawl
    To see them die. Have ye fair daughters? Look
    To see them live, torn from your arms, distained,
    Dishonored; and, if ye dare call for justice,
    Be answered by the lash!
                                              Yet this is Rome,
    That sat on her seven hills, and from her throne
    Of beauty ruled the world! Yet we are Romans!
    Why, in that elder day, to be a Roman
    Was greater than a king! And, once again,--
    Hear me, ye walls, that echoed to the tread
    Of either Brutus!--once again, I swear,
    The Eternal City shall be free!

Biographical and Historical: Mary Russell Mitford, born in 1787, was an English writer of miscellaneous works. Among her most noted productions is the tragedy "Rienzi," which was presented in London in 1828. It is the story of the Roman patriot, Rienzi, who led a revolution at Rome in 1347. He overthrew the power of the aristocracy and introduced many reforms in the government. After establishing himself in power, however, he is said to have become in turn haughty and arbitrary.


MERIT BEFORE BIRTH


TRANSLATED FROM SALLUST

You have committed to my conduct, O Romans, the war against Jugurtha. The patricians take offence. They say, "Why, he has no family statues. He can point to no illustrious ancestors." What of that? Will dead ancestors or motionless statues fight battles? Can your general appeal to them in the hour of extremest danger? How wise it would be, surely, to intrust your army to some untried person without a single scar, but with any number of ancestral statues,--who knows not the simplest rudiments of military service, but is very perfect in pedigree! I have known such holiday heroes, raised, because of family, to positions for which they had no fitness. But, then, in the moment of action they were obliged, in their ignorance and trepidation, to intrust every movement, even the most simple, to some subaltern, some despised plebeian.
What they have seen in books, I have seen written on battlefields, with steel and blood. They sneer at my mean origin. Where,--and may the gods bear witness,--where, but in the spirit of man, is nobility lodged? Tell these despicable railers that their haughty lineage cannot make them noble, nor will my humble birth make me base. I profess no indifference to noble descent; but when a descendant is dwarfed in the comparison, it should be a shame, and not a matter to boast of! I can show the standards, the armor, and the spoils which I have in person wrested from the vanquished. I can show the scars of many wounds received in combating the enemies of Rome. These are my statues! These are my honors, to boast of; not inherited by accident, but earned by toil, by abstinence, by valor, amid clouds of dust and seas of blood. Their titles date from similar acts of their ancestors; but these detractors did not even dare to appear on the field as spectators. These are my credentials! These, O Romans, are my titles of nobility! Tell me, are they not as deserving of your confidence and reward as those of which any patrician of them all can boast?

Biographical and Historical: Sallust, the author of this selection, was a famous Roman historian of the first century B. C. Caius Marius was the son of a small farmer and worked his way up from this humble origin to the highest position, that of consul, in spite of the determined opposition of the senate, and the aristocracy. By the vote of the Roman people, he was given command of the army in the campaign against Jugurtha, a prince who had usurped the Numidian throne.

SPARTACUS TO THE GLADIATORS


ELIJAH KELLOGG

It had been a day of triumph in Capua. Lentulus, returning with victorious eagles, had amused the populace with the sports of the amphitheatre to an extent hitherto unknown even in that luxurious city. The shouts of revelry had died away; the roar of the lion had ceased; the last loiterer had retired from the banquet, and the lights in the palace of the victor were extinguished. The moon, piercing the tissue of fleecy clouds, silvered the dewdrop on the corselet of the Roman sentinel, and tipped the dark waters of Volturnus with wavy, tremulous light. It was a night of holy calm, when the zephyr sways the young spring leaves, and whispers among the hollow reeds its dreamy music. No sound was heard but the last sob of some weary wave, telling its story to the smooth pebbles of the beach, and then all was still as the breast when the spirit has departed.
In the deep recesses of the amphitheatre a band of gladiators were crowded together,--their muscles still knotted with the agony of conflict, the foam upon their lips, and the scowl of battle yet lingering upon their brows,--when Spartacus, rising in the midst of that grim assemblage, thus addressed them:--
"Ye call me chief, and ye do well to call him chief who, for twelve long years, has met upon the arena every shape of man or beast that the broad Empire of Rome could furnish, and yet never has lowered his arm. And if there be one among you who can say that, ever, in public fight or private brawl, my actions did belie my tongue, let him step forth and say it. If there be three in all your throng dare face me on the bloody sand, let them come on!
"Yet, I was not always thus, a hired butcher, a savage chief of savage men. My father was a reverent man, who feared great Jupiter, and brought to the rural deities his offerings of fruits and flowers. He dwelt among the vineclad rocks and olive groves at the foot of Helicon. My early life ran quiet as the brook by which I sported. I was taught to prune the vine, to tend the flock; and then, at noon, I gathered my sheep beneath the shade, and played upon the shepherd's flute. I had a friend, the son of our neighbor; we led our flocks to the same pasture, and shared together our rustic meal.
"One evening, after the sheep were folded, and we were all seated beneath the myrtle that shaded our cottage, my grandsire, an old man, was telling of Marathon and Leuctra, and how, in ancient times, a little band of Spartans, in a defile of the mountains, withstood a whole army. I did not then know what war meant; but my cheeks burned. I knew not why; and I clasped the knees of that venerable man, till my mother, parting the hair from off my brow, kissed my throbbing temples, and bade me go to rest, and think no more of those old tales and savage wars.
"That very night the Romans landed on our shore, and the clash of steel was heard within our quiet vale. I saw the breast that had nourished me trampled by the iron hoof of the warhorse; the bleeding body of my father flung amid the blazing rafters of our dwelling. To-day I killed a man in the arena, and when I broke his helmet clasps, behold! he was my friend! He knew me,--smiled faintly,--gasped,--and died; the same sweet smile that I had marked upon his face when, in adventurous boyhood, we scaled some lofty cliff to pluck the first ripe grapes, and bear them home in childish triumph. I told the praetor he was my friend, noble and brave, and I begged his body, that I might burn it upon the funeral-pile, and mourn over him. Ay, on my knees, amid the dust and blood of the arena, I begged that boon, while all the Roman maids and matrons, and those holy virgins they call vestal, and the rabble, shouted in mockery, deeming it rare sport, forsooth, to see Rome's fiercest gladiator turn pale, and tremble like a very child, before that piece of bleeding clay; but the praetor drew back as if I were pollution, and sternly said, 'Let the carrion rot! There are no noble men but Romans!' And he, deprived of funeral rites, must wander, a hapless ghost, beside the waters of that sluggish river, and look--and look--and look in vain to the bright Elysian Fields where dwell his ancestors and noble kindred. And so must you, and so must I, die like dogs!
"O Rome! Rome! thou hast been a tender nurse to me! Ay, thou hast given to that poor, gentle, timid shepherd-lad, who never knew a harsher sound than a flute-note, muscles of iron and a heart of flint; taught him to drive the sword through rugged brass and plaited mail, and warm it in the marrow of his foe! to gaze into the glaring eyeballs of the fierce Numidian lion, even as a smooth-cheeked boy upon a laughing girl. And he shall pay thee back till thy yellow Tiber is red as frothing wine, and in its deepest ooze thy life-blood lies curdled!
"Ye stand here now like giants, as ye are! the strength of brass is in your toughened sinews; but to-morrow some Roman Adonis, breathing sweet odors from his curly locks, shall come, and with his lily fingers pat your brawny shoulders, and bet his sesterces upon your blood! Hark! Hear ye yon lion roaring in his den? 'Tis three days since he tasted meat; but to-morrow he shall break his fast upon your flesh; and ye shall be a dainty meal for him.
"If ye are brutes, then stand here like fat oxen waiting for the butcher's knife; if ye are men, follow me! strike down yon sentinel, and gain the mountain passes, and there do bloody work as did your sires at old Thermopylæ! Is Sparta dead? Is the old Grecian spirit frozen in your veins, that you do crouch and cower like base-born slaves beneath your master's lash? O comrades! warriors! Thracians! if we must fight, let us fight for ourselves; if we must slaughter, let us slaughter our oppressors; if we must die, let us die under the open sky, by the bright waters, in noble, honorable battle."

Biographical and Historical: This is a supposed speech of Spartacus written by Elijah Kellogg, a New England clergyman. Spartacus was a Thracian by birth, who served in the Roman army. Having deserted, he was taken prisoner, sold as a slave, and trained as a gladiator at Capua. He escaped and gathered about him a large army of slaves and gladiators, with whom he intended to push northward and allow them all to return to their homes. They, however, after attacking many towns, were finally overcome. Spartacus himself died in battle, and six thousand slaves were crucified on the road from Capua to Rome.
Capua was a city of great luxury, containing an amphitheater nearly as large as the Coliseum at Rome. The ancients attached great importance to the rites of burial, and believed that the soul could not reach the Elysian Fields unless the body had been buried.


THE RETURN OF REGULUS


ELIJAH KELLOGG

The beams of the rising sun had gilded the lofty domes of Carthage, and given, with its rich and mellow light, a tinge of beauty even to the frowning ramparts of the outer harbor. Sheltered by the verdant shores, a hundred triremes were riding proudly at their anchors, their brazen beaks glittering in the sun, their streamers dancing in the morning breeze, while many a shattered plank and timber gave evidence of desperate conflict with the fleets of Rome.
No murmur of business or of revelry arose from the city. The artisan had forsaken his shop, the judge his tribunal, the priest the sanctuary, and even the stern stoic had come forth from his retirement to mingle with the crowd that, anxious and agitated, were rushing toward the senate-house, startled by the report that Regulus had returned to Carthage.
Onward, still onward, trampling each other under foot, they rushed, furious with anger, and eager for revenge. Fathers were there, whose sons were groaning in fetters; maidens, whose lovers, weak and wounded, were dying in the dungeons of Rome, and gray-haired men and matrons, whom the Roman sword had left childless.
But when the stern features of Regulus were seen, and his colossal form towering above the ambassadors who had returned with him from Rome; when the news passed from lip to lip that the dreaded warrior, so far from advising the Roman senate to consent to an exchange of prisoners, had urged them to pursue, with exterminating vengeance, Carthage and Carthaginians,--the multitude swayed to and fro like a forest beneath a tempest, and the rage and hate of that tumultuous throng vented itself in groans, and curses, and yells of vengeance.
But calm, cold, and immovable as the marble walls around him, stood the Roman; and he stretched out his hand over that frenzied crowd, with gesture as proudly commanding as though he still stood at the head of the gleaming cohorts of Rome. The tumult ceased; the curse, half muttered, died upon the lip; and so intense was the silence, that the clanking of the brazen manacles upon the wrists of the captive fell sharp and full upon every ear in that vast assembly, as he thus addressed them:--
"Ye doubtless thought--for ye judge of Roman virtue by your own--that I would break my plighted oath, rather than, returning, brook your vengeance. I might give reasons for this, in Punic comprehension, most foolish act of mine. I might speak of those eternal principles which make death for one's country a pleasure, not a pain. But, by great Jupiter! methinks I should debase myself to talk of such high things to you; to you, expert in womanly inventions; to you, well-skilled to drive a treacherous trade with simple Africans for ivory and gold!
"If the bright blood that fills my veins, transmitted free from godlike ancestry, were like that slimy ooze which stagnates in your arteries, I had remained at home, and broke my plighted oath to save my life. I am a Roman citizen; therefore have I returned, that ye might work your will upon this mass of flesh and bones, that I esteem no higher than the rags that cover them.
"Here, in your capital, do I defy you. Have I not conquered your armies, fired your towns, and dragged your generals at my chariot wheels, since first my youthful arms could wield a spear? And do you think to see me crouch and cower before a tamed and shattered senate? The tearing of flesh and rending of sinews is but pastime compared with the mental agony that heaves my frame.
"The moon has scarce yet waned since the proudest of Rome's proud matrons, the mother upon whose breast I slept, and whose fair brow so oft had bent over me before the noise of battle had stirred my blood, or the fierce toil of war nerved my sinews, did, with fondest memory of bygone hours, entreat me to remain. I have seen her, who, when my country called me to the field, did buckle on my harness with trembling hands, while the tears fell thick and fast down the hard corselet scales--I have seen her tear her gray locks and beat her aged breast, as on her knees she begged me not to return to Carthage! and all the assembled senate of Rome, grave and reverend men, proffered the same request. The puny torments which ye have in store to welcome me withal, shall be, to what I have endured, even as the murmur of a summer's brook to the fierce roar of angry surges on a rocky beach.
"Last night, as I lay fettered in my dungeon, I heard a strange, ominous sound; it seemed like the distant march of some vast army, their harness clanging as they marched, when suddenly there stood by me Xanthippus, the Spartan general, by whose aid you conquered me, and, with a voice as low as when the solemn wind moans through the leaflless forest, he thus addressed me:--
"'Roman, I come to bid thee curse, with thy dying breath, this fated city: know that in an evil moment, the Carthaginian generals, furious with rage that I had conquered thee, their conqueror, did basely murder me. And then they thought to stain my brightest honor. But, for this foul deed, the wrath of Jove shall rest upon them here and hereafter.' And then he vanished.
"And now, go bring your sharpest torments. The woes I see impending over this guilty realm shall be enough to sweeten death, though every nerve and artery were a shooting pang. I die! but my death shall prove a proud triumph; and, for every drop of blood ye from my veins do draw, your own shall flow in rivers.

"Woe to thee, Carthage! Woe to the proud city of the waters! I see thy nobles wailing at the feet of Roman senators! thy citizens in terror! thy ships in flames! I hear the victorious shouts of Rome! I see her eagles glittering on thy ramparts. Proud city, thou art doomed! The curse of God is on thee--a clinging, wasting curse. It shall not leave thy gates till hungry flames shall lick the fretted gold from off thy proud palaces, and every brook runs crimson to the sea."