Obrazy na stronie
PDF

on the events which preceded it, viz., the “Laius,” the “OEdipus,” and the “Sphinx.” ever, make the last to have been a satyric drama. –3. IISpaat (“The Persians”). This piece is so called because the chorus is composed of aged Persians. The subject is purely an historical one : it is the defeat of the naval armament of Xerxes. This play was performed eight years after the battle of Salamis, and it has been considered by some a defect that so recent an event should have been represented on the stage. But, as Racine has remarked in the preface to Bajazet, distance of place supplies the want of distance of time. The scene is laid at Susa, before the ancient structure appropriated to the great council of state, and near the tomb of Darius. The shade of this monarch comes forth from the sepulchre, for the purpose of counselling Xerxes to cease from the war against a people whom the gods protect. The piece contains great beauties; every instant the trouble of the Persians increases, and the interest augments. By some it has been supposed to have been written with a political intent, the poet endeavouring, by an animated description of the permicious effects of an obstinate pride, and by filling the spectators with a malignant compassion for the vanquished Xerxes, indirectly disposing them to break off the war which Themistocles wished to prolong. — 4. 'Ayauéuvov (“Agamemnon”). This prince, returning from the siege of Troy with his female captive Cassandra, is assassinated by Clytemnestra and AEgisthus. The part of Cassandra, who predicts the woes that are about to fall upon the house of Agamemnon, forms the chief interest of the piece, and is one of the finest that has ever been conceived. The commencement of this tragedy is somewhat languid, but as the play proceeds all is movement and feeling. — 5. Xombópot (“The Choēphorae”). This drama is so entitled, because the chorus, composed of female Trojan captives, slaves of Clytemnestra, are charged with the office of bringing the liquor for making libations at the tomb of Agamemnon (ros), a libation, and pépw, to bring). The subject of the piece is Orestes avenging the death of Agamemnon on Clytemnestra and her paramour. When this horrible deed has been accomplished, the parricide is delivered over to the Furies, who disturb his reason. “The spirit of AEschylus,” observes Potter, “shines through this tragedy; but a certain softening of grief hangs over it, and gives it an air of solemn magnificence.” The characters of Orestes and Electra are finely supported.—6. Ełuévadec (“The Eumenides,” or “Furies”). This play derives its name from the circumstance of the chorus being composed of Furies who pursue Orestes. The latter pleads his cause before the Areopagus, and is acquitted by the vote of Minerva. This drama is remarkable for its violation of the unity of place, the scene being first laid at Delphi and afterward at Athens. Müller has written a very able work on the scope and character of this production, in which he discusses incidentally some of the most important points connected with the Greek drama. As regards the object which the poet had in view when composing the piece, he considers it to be a political one. Æschylus was a zealous partisan of Aristides, and opponent of Themistocles, and evident symptoms of this partiality are to be found in some of his plays. As an Athenian citizen and patriot, the poet on every occasion recommends to his countrymen temperance and moderation in their enjoyment of democratic liberty, and in their ambitious schemes against the rest of Greece. The party of Themistocles had made themselves obnoxious, in these respects, to the patriotic feelings of Æschylus ; and a demagogue named Ephialtes, having attacked the authority of the venerable court of the Areopagus, the poet in this play of the Eumenides appeared in its defence, and strove to save this excellent institution, though ineffectually,

[ocr errors]

from the levelling doctrines of the day. Pollux informs us, that the tragic chorus, up to the time when this play was first represented, consisted of fifty persons, but that the terror occasioned by a chorus of fifty furies caused a law to be passed, fixing the tragic chorus, for the time to come, at fifteen, and the comic chorus at twenty-four. (Iul. Pol., 4, 110.) Pollux evidently is in error here. The number of choreutae for the whole tetralogy consisted of fifty (originally, as Müller thinks, of forty-eight), and these choreutae it was the poet's business to distribute into choruses for the individual tragedies and satyric drama composing the tetralogy. Pollux, therefore, in all probability, misconceived something which he had learned relative to the number of choreuta for the whole tetralogy, of which number at least three fourths were on the stage at the end of the Eumenides. But this was done in order to afford the people a splendid and expressive spectacle; neither were the choreutae thus combined all habited as furies. (Müller, Eumenides, p. 52, seqq.) — With regard to the number of the tragic chorus in each particular play, it may be remarked, that Sophocles first brought in fifteen, the previous number having been twelve, and that Æschylus employed only twelve in more than one of his dramas, although in others very possibly he adopted the number so extended by Sophocles. (Consult the remarks of Müller, Eumen., p. 58.)—This play did not prove, at first, very successful. It was altered by the poet, and reproduced some years after, during his residence in Sicily, when it carried off the prize. —7. 'Ixérváeg (“The Female Suppliants”). Danaus and his daughters solicit and obtain the protection of the Argives against Ægyptus and his sons. This play forms one of the feeblest productions of Æschylus. It possesses one remarkable feature, that the chorus acts the principal part. The scene is near the shore, in an open grove, close to the altar and the images of the gods presiding over the sacred games, with a view of the sea and the ships of Ægyptus on one side, and of the towers of Argos on the other; with hills, and woods, and vales, a river flowing between them.—We have no good edition, as yet, of all the plays of Æschylus. That of Schütz, Halae, 1808–21, 5 vols. 8vo, although useful in some respects, is not held in very high estimation ; neither is that of Butler, Cantab., 1809, 8 vols. 8vo, regarded with a very favourable eye by European scholars. Wellauer's edition, also, Lips., 1823–1831, 3 vols. 8vo, though highly lauded by some, is far from being satisfactory to all. The edition by Scholefield, Cantab., 1828, 8vo, is a useful one. The best text is that given by W. Dindorf, Lips., 1827. The best editions of the separate plays are those of Blomfield, as far as they extend, comprising, namely, the Prometheus, Septem contra Thebas, Agamemnon, Persa, and Choēphorae. His edition of the Persa, however, was very severely handled by Seidler, in one of the German reviews, though the edge of the critique was in a great measure blunted by the personal feeling visible throughout. The editions of Dr. Blomfield appeared originally from the Cambridge press. There are good editions of the Agamemnon and Choēphorae by Klausen and Peile. Müller's edition of the Eumenides, appended to the dissertations above alluded to, is an excellent and scholar-like performance, though it provoked the ire of Hermann and his school, having been severely criticised by him and one of his disciples. A translation of it appeared from the Cambridge press in 1835–II., III. (Vid. Supplement.) AEscu LAPius, son of Apollo and the nymph Coronis, and god of the healing art. Pausanias (2, 26) gives three different accounts of his origin, on which our limits forbid us to dwell. The one of these that has been followed by Ovid makes Coronis to have been unfaithful to Apollo, and to have been, in consequence, put to death by him, the offspring of her womb having been first taken from her and spared Apollo received the information respecting the unfaithfulness of Coronis, from a raven, and the angry deity is said by Apollodorus to have changed the colour of the raven from white to black, as a punishment for his unwelcome officiousness. As Coronis, in Greek, signifies a crow, hence another fable arose that Æsculapius had sprung from an egg of that bird, under the figure of a serpent. The first of the accounts given by Pausanias makes the birthplace of AEsculapius to have been on the borders of the Epidaurian territory; the second lays the scene in Thessaly; the third in Messenia. AEsculapius was placed, at an early age, under the care of the centaur Chiron. Being of a quick and lively genius, he made such progress as soon to become not only a great physician, but at length to be reckoned the god and inventor of medicine, though the Greeks, not very careful of consistency in the history of those early ages, gave to Apis, son of Phoroneus, the glory of having invented the healing art. AEsculapius accompanied Jason in his expedition to Colchis, and in his medical capacity was of great service to the Argonauts. He married Epione, whom some call Lampetia, by whom he had two sons, Machaon and Podalirius, and four daughters, Hygiea, AEgle, Panacea, and Iaso, of whom Hygiea, goddess of health, was the most celebrated. In the fabulous traditions of antiquity, AEsculapius is said to have restored many to life. According to Apollodorus (3, 10, 3), he received from Minerva the blood that flowed from the veins of Medusa, and with that which proceeded from the veins on the left, he operated to the destruction of men, while he used that which was obtained from the veins on the right for the benefit of his fellow-creatures. (Compare Heyne, ad Apollod, l. c.) With this last he brought back to the light of day Capaneus and Lycurgus, according to some, or Eriphyle and Hippolytus according to others, or, as other ancient authorities state, Hymenaeus, and Glaucus the son of Minos. Jupiter, alarmed at this, and fearing, says Apollodorus, lest men, being put in possession of the means of triumphing over death, might cease to render honour to the gods, struck AEsculapius with thunder. The common account makes this to have been done on the complaint of Pluto Apollo, enraged at the loss of his son, destroyed the Cyclopes who had forged the thunderbolts of Jove, for which offence the monarch of the skies was about to hurl him into Tartarus, but, on the supplication of Latona, banished him for a season from Olympus, and compelled him to serve with a mortal (rid. Admetus and Amphrysus).—Thus far we have traced the Greek accounts respecting AEsculapius. If, however, a careful inquiry be instituted, the result will be a decided conviction that the legend of AEsculapius is one of Oriental origin. According to Sanchoniathon, Æsculapius was the same with the Phoenician Esmun, the son of Sydyk, called “the just,” and the brother of the seven Cabiri. (Sanchon., Frag., ap. Euseb., Praep. Erang., p. 39. – Cory's Ancient Fragments, p. 13.) Hence the meaning of Esmun, which signifies “the eighth.” (Compare the Schmoun, or Mendes, of Egypt.) The seven Cabiri are the seven planets; and, in the Fgyptian mythology, Phtha is added to them as the eighth. Phtha and AEsculapius, then, are identical, and the latter, like the former, though added to the number of the Cabiri, becomes in a mysterious sense their parent and guide. (Creuzer’s Symbolik, vol. 2. p. 285 and 336.) In Esmun-AEsculapius, then, we have a solar deity, personified in his beauty and his weakness, for he is the same with the youth of Berytus, who mutilated himself and was placed in the number of the gods, and in this quality he receives the name of Paean or Paeon, “the physician.” He becomes identified also with the beauteous Apollo, for whose son he passes among the Greeks; while, as a mutilated deity, he is the same with the Phrygian Atys, the fair Adonis, and the chained Hercules of the Tyrians, all varied forms of the

same idea. He is the sun, without strength at the close of autumn. In all these different points of view. we find Esculapius corresponding to the Egyptian divinities; to Horus, to Harpocrates, to Sem, and to the ; of the earth, Serapis. Egypt was always famed or the knowledge possessed by its priests of the healing art; and it always represented its great deities, the symbols of the power of nature, as endued with a healing influence. (Creuzer's Symbolik, par Guigniaut, vol. 2, p. 337 and 170, seqq.) Isis receives, in inscriptions, the epithet of “salutary.” (Gruter, p. 83. —Fabrett., p.470—Reines, col. 1, n. 132) Serapis, whose name frequently occurs by the side of that of his spouse, had, at Canopus, a city already famous by its temple of Hercules, a sanctuary no less renowed for the wonderful cures performed within it, and of which a register was carefully preserved. (Strabo, 801. – Compare Creuzer, Dionys., 1, p. 122, and Guigniaut's dissertation on the god Serapis, “Sur le Dieu Serapis et son origine,” p. 20 and 22.) Both of these divinities, in the scenes figured on the monuments, bear ser pents, or agathodemons, as the emblems of health they carry also the chalice, or salutary cup of nature, surrounded by serpents, and which formed, perhaps, the most ancient idol connected with their worship. (Crewzer's Symbolik, par Guigniaut, vol. 1, p. 818, seqq.) One thing at least is certain, that these sacred serpents were nourished in their temples as living images of these deities of health. (Guigniaut's Serapis, p. 19, seqq.) The nurture of these national fetichs consisted in cakes of honey, and such was also the food of the serpents consecrated to the powers beneath the earth, the divinities of the dead. In fact, the god of medicine is, at the same time, a telluric power; and it is he that causes the mineral waters, the sources of health, to spring from the bosom of the earth. AEsculapius, then, is identical, in his essence, with the Canopic Serapis: like him, he has for a symbol a vase surrounded by serpents, and he was originally this same vase, the sacred Canopus. (Compare Creuzer, Dionys., p. 220–Symbolik, par Guigniaut, vol. 1, p. 415 and 818, seqq.) It is curious to observe the strong analogy that exists between the Oriental worship of Serapis, and the Grecian ideas, rites, and usages in the case of AEsculapius. At AEgium, in Achaia, near the ancient temple of Ilithyia, were to be seen the statues of the god and goddess of health, Asclepius (AEsculapius) and Hygiea. (Pausan., 7, 23.) At Titane, a city of Sicyonia, the first settler of which was, according to tradition, Titon, brother of the Sun, Alexanor, the son of Machaon and grandson of Æsculapius, had erected a temple to this deity. His statue, at this place, was almost entirely enveloped in a tunic of white wool, with a mantle thrown over it, so that the face, and the extremities of the hands and feet, alone appeared to view. A sculapius was carried, it is said, from Epidaurus to Pergamus ; and we are also told that, in this Asiatic city, the Acesius of Epidaurus took the name of Telesphorus. (Pausan., 2, 11.) Now Telesphorus indicates the autumnal season, the sun that has come to his maturity together with the productions of the earth, and, consequently, verging to his decline. Hence the Arcadians gave to Æsculapius a nurse named Trygon, an appellation derived probably from the Greek Tpty” or Tpuytsa, and referring to the labours of harvest. AEsculapius, moreover, according to a tradition preserved in Attica, offered himself on the eighth day for admission into the Eleusinian mysteries, and was accordingly initiated. (Philostrat. Wit. Apollon... 4, 18.) He is, in this point of view, the tardy one, the last comer assisting at the festival of autumn and the harvest. The subterranean powers and the deities of death are also the divinities of sleep. Such, too, is the case with Æsculapius. He gives slumber and repose, and by their means bestows health. (Lyd., de Mens., p 78, ed. Schow.) Hence the custom .#going to his temple at Epidaurus for the purpose of sleeping therein, and recovering health by the means which the god of health would indicate in a dream to the invalids. (Compare Sprengel, Gesch. der Medicin., vol. 1, p. 107, seqq.) The ancient Esculapius, introduced at an early period into the religion of Samothrace, appeared at first in Greece under a form closely assimilated to that of the vase-gods, dwarfs, or pigmies, that were accustomed to be enveloped in garments, and to which was attributed a magic influence. (Creuzer's Symbolik, par Guignaut, vol. 2, p. 310, seqq.) In these mysterious idols, the richness of hidden meaning was as great as the mode of decking the exterior was whimsical. The spirit of the old Pelasgic belief would seem, however, to have been continually employed in decomposing, as it were, this body of ideas united in one pool. symbol, and in individualizing each for itself. It was thus that, by degrees, there arose round the god of medicine a cortége of genii, of both sexes, regarded either as his wives, or as his sons and daughters, or even as his grandchildren. In the sculptured representations of Æsculapius, to which the development of Grecian art had subsequently given birth, we find the figure of Jove, a little modified, becoming the model of this deity., And yet, though the Grecian perception of the beautiful led them to deviate, in general, from the grosser representations of the Pelasgic worship, we find them, in the present case, still retaining an attachment for the ancient, and, at the same time, more significant and mysterious images. Hence, by the side of the new deity is placed one of his personified attributes, under the figure of an enveloped dwarf. In every quarter, where the Asclepiades (rid. that article) taught the principles of the healing art, or cured diseases in the temples of their master and reputed father, Esculapius and his good genii were celcbrated as saving divinities, on votive tablets, inscriptions, medals, and gems. The Romans, too, in the year of their city 461, in order to be delivered from a pestilence, sent a solemn embassy to Epidaurus to obtain the sacred serpent nourished at that place in the temple of Æsculapius. A temple was likewise erected to this deity on an island in the Tiber, where the sacred reptile had disappeared among the reeds. (Val. Max., 1, 8, 2.) Not content with this, however, they resolved to have also a family of Asclepiades, and they

retended to have found it in the house of Acilius.—

he principal and most ancient temples of AEsculapius ('Adk2nstíeta), were those at Titane in Sicyonia (Pausan., 2, 11); at Tricca in Thessaly (Strabo, 438); at Tithorea in Phocis, where he was revered under the name of Archegetes (Pausan., 10, 32); at Epidaurus (Pausan., 2, 26); in the island of Cos (Strabo, 657); at Megalopolis (Pausan., 8, 32); at Cyllene in Elis (Pausan., 6, 26); and at Pergamus in Asia Minor (Pausan., 2, 26). Among all these temples, that of Epidaurus was at first the most celebrated, for it was from this city that the worship of 42sculapius was carried into Sicyonia, and also to Pergamus and Cyllene. "Pausan., 2, 10.) It appears, however, that the temple of Cos became in time the most famous of all, since the Epidaurians, on one occasion, sent deputies thither. (Pausan., 3, 23.) At a more recent period, AEgea, in Cilicia, could boast of a temple of AEsculapius which was held in high repute. It was here that Apollonius of Tyana practised many of his impostures. (Philostr., Wit. Apollon., 1, 7.) Constantine destroyed this temple in his zeal for Christianity. (Euseb., Vit. Con.stant., ed. Reading, 3, 56.) Almost all these edifices were regarded as sanctuaries, which none of the profane could approach except after repeated purifications. Epidaurus was called the sacred country (Pausan., 2, 26), a name which also appears on its medals. (Eckhel, Doctr. Num. Vet., vol. 2, p. 290. – Willonson, Prolegom., p. 1.11.) The temple at Asopus took the •ppellatios Hypertelcaton, as if it concealed within

its walls the most sacred mysteries. (Pausan, 3, 22. The statue of Hygiea, at Ægium in Achaia, could only be viewed by the priests. (Pausan., 7, 24.) No female was allowed to be delivered, and no sick persons were permitted to die, within the environs of the temle at Epidaurus. (Pausan., 2, 27.) The temple at ithorea was surrounded by a hedge, in the vicinity of which no edifice could be erected. The hedge was forty stadia from the building itself. (Pausan., 10, 32.) Most of these temples stood in healthy situations. That of Cyllene, for example, was situate on Cape Hyrmine, in one of the most fertile and smiling countries in the Peloponnesus; while that of Epidaurus, erected, like the former, in the immediate neighbourhood of the sea, was surrounded by hills covered with the thick foliage of groves. (Pausan, 2, 27. — Compare Willonson, }... p. LIII., and Chandler's Tranels, ch. 53, p. 223.) Others again were built near rivers, or in the vicinity of mineral springs; and it would appear from Xenophon (Mem., 3, 13), that the temple of Æsculapius at Athens contained within it a source of warm water. The worship rendered to AEsculapius had for its object the occupying the imagination of the sick by the ceremonies of which they were witnesses, and the exciting them to a sufficient degree in order to produce the desired result. For an account of these ceremonies, and the mode of curing that was generally adopted, consult Sprengel, Hist, de la Medicine, vol. 1, p. 154, seqq.—Esculapius was sometimes represented either standing, or sitting on a throne, holding in one hand a staff, and grasping with the other the head of a serpent: at his feet a dog lay extended. (Pausan., 2, 27. — Compare Montfaucon, Antiquité expliq., vol. 1, pt. 2, pl. 187, 188.) At Corinth, Megalopolis, and Ladon, the god was represented under the form of an infant, or rather, perhaps, a dwarf, holding in one hand a sceptre, and in the other a pine-cone. (Pausan., 2, 10.) Most generally, however, he appeared as an old man with a flowing beard. (Pausan., 10, 32.) On some ancient monuments we see him with one hand applied to his beard, and having in the other a knotted staff encircled by a serpent. (Minucius Feliz, ed. Elmenhorst., p. 14.) He oftentimes bears a crown of laurel (Antichita d'Ercol., vol. 5, p. 264,271.—Maffei, Gemm. ant., 2, n. 55), while at his feet are placed, on one side, a cock, and, on the other, the head of a ram ; on other occasions, a vulture or an owl. Frequently a vase of circular form is seen below his statues (Erizco, Discorso, &c., p. 620), or, according to others, a serpent coiled up. (Buonarotti, Osservazioni, &c., p. 201.) At other times he has his body encircled by an enormous serpent. (Theodoret. affect. curat. disp.– Op., ed. Shulze, vol. 4 and 8, p. 906.) Among all the symbols with which Æsculapius is adorned, the serpent plays the principal part. The gems, medals, and other monuments of antiquity connected with the worship of this deity, most commonly bear such an emblem upon them. (Spanheim, Epist. 4, ad Morell., p. 217, 218, ed. Lips., 1695–Compare Knight's Inquiry into the Symbolical Language of Ancient Art and Mythology, Ś 25.—Class. Journ., vol. 23, p. 13.) .Essopus, a river of Mysia, in Asia Minor, rising in Mount Cotylus, and falling, after a course of 500 stadia, into the Propontis, to the east of the Granicus. Strabo (582) conceives, that Homer extended the boundaries of Priam's kingdom to this river. Chishull (Travels in Turkey, p. 59) makes the modern name to be the Boklu, but Gossellin gives it as the Sataldere (French Strabo, vol. 4, p. 187, not.) AF'serNIA, a city of Samnium, in the northern part of the country, and not far from the western confines. It was situate about twelve miles northwest of Bovianum, and is mentioned by Livy (Epit., 16) as having been colonized about the beginning of the first Punic war. The same writer (27, 10) speaks of it as one of those colonies which distinguished themselves by their firm adherence to the Roman power during the war with Hannibal. It was subsequently recolonized by Augustus and Nero (Front., de Col.), but Strabo (239 and 249) makes it a very inconsiderable place, having suffered materially in the Marsic war. The modern Isernia is supposed to represent AEsernia. AEsion. Vid. Supplement. AEsox, son of Cretheus and Tyro. He succeeded his father in the kingdom of Iolchos, but was dethroned by his half-brother Pelias. AEson became the father, by Alcimede, of the celebrated Jason, the leader of the Argonauts. Through fear of the usurper, Jason was intrusted to the care of the centaur Chiron, and brought up at a distance from the court of Pelias. On his arriving at manhood, however, he came to Iolchos, according to one account, to claim his inheritance; but, according to another, he was invited by Pelias to attend a sacrifice to Neptune on the seashore. The result of the interview, whatever may have been

the cause of it, was an order from Pelias to go in quest

of the golden fleece. (Wid. Jason.) During the ab

sence of Jason on this well-known expedition, the tyr

anny of Pelias, according to one version of the story, drove AEson and Alcimedes to self-destruction; an act of cruelty, to which he was prompted by intelligence

having been received that all the Argonauts had perish

ed, and by a consequent wish on his part to make himself doubly secure, by destroying the parents of Jason. He put to death also their remaining child. 1, 9, 16, seqq.—Diod. Sic. 4, 50–Hygin., 24.) Ovid, however, gives quite a different account of the latter days of Æson. According to the poet (Met, 7, 297,

seqq.), Jason, on his return with Medea, found his

father Æson still alive, but enfeebled by age; and the Colchian enchantress, by drawing the blood from his veins and then filling them with the juices of certain herbs which she had gathered for the purpose, restored him to a manhood of forty years. The daughters of Pelias having entreated Medea to perform the same operation on their aged father, she embraced this opportunity of avenging the wrongs inflicted on Jason and his parents by the death of the usurper. (Wid. Pelias.)

AEsoxides, a patronymic of Jason, as being de

scended from AEson. AEsäpus, I. a celebrated fabulist, who is supposed to have flourished about 620 B.C. (Larcher, Hist. d'Herod., Table Chronol., vol. 7, p. 539.) Much uncertainty, however, prevails both on this point, as well as in relation to the country that gave him birth. Some ancient writers make him to have been a Thracian. (Compare Mohnke, Gesch. Lat. Gr. und R., vol. 1, p. 291.) Suidas states that he was either of Samos or Sardis; but most authorities are in favour of his having been a Phrygian, and born at Cotyaeum. All appear to agree, however, in representing him as of servile origin, and owned in succession by several masters. The first of these was Demarchus, or, according to the reading of the Florence MS., Timarchus, who resided at Athens, where AEsop, consequently, must have had many means of improvement within his reach. From Demarchus he came into the F. of Xanthus, a Samian, who sold him to admon, a philosopher of the same island, under whose roof he had for a fellow-slave the famous courtesan Rhodope. (Herod., 2, 134.) Iadmon subsequently gave him his freedom, on account of the talents which he displayed, and AEsop now turned his attention to foreign travel, partly to extend the sphere of his own knowledge, and partly to communicate instruction to others. The vehicles in which this instruction was conveyed were fables, the peculiar excellence of which has caused his name to be associated with this pleasing branch of composition through every succeeding period. AEsop is said to have visited Persia, Egypt. Asia Minor, and Greece, in the last of which countries

(Apollod,

his name was rendered peculiarly famous. The reputation for wisdom which he enjoyed, induced Croesus, king of Lydia, to invite him to his court. The fabulist obeyed the call, but, after residing some time at Sardis, again journeyed into Greece. At the period of his second visit, the Athenians are said to have been oppressed by the usurpation of Pisistratus, and to console them under this state of things, AEsop is related to have invented for them the fable of the frogs petitioning Jupiter for a king. The residence of Æsop in Greece at this time would seem to have been a long one, if any argument for such an opinion may be drawn from a line of Phaedrus (3, 14), in which the epithet of sener is applied to the fabulist during the period of this his stay at Athens. He returned, however, eventually to the court of the Lydian monarch. |Whether the well-known conversation between Æsop and Solon occurred after the return of the former from his second journey into Greece, or during his previous residence with Croesus, cannot be satisfactorily ascertained: the latter opinion is most probably the more correct one, if we can believe that the interview between Solon and Croesus, as mentioned by Herodotus (1,30, seqq.), ever took place. It seems that Solon had offended Croesus by the low estimation in which he held riches as an ingredient of happiness, and was, in consequence, treated with cold indifference. (Herod., 1, 33.) AEsop, concerned at the unkind treatment which Solon had encountered, gave him the following advice: “A wise man should resolve either not to converse with kings at all, or to converse with them agreeably.” To which Solon replied, “Nay, he should either not converse with them at all, or converse with them usefully.” (Plut., Vit. Sol., 28.) The particulars of AEsop's death are stated as follows by |Plutarch (de sera numns rindicta, p. 556.-Op., ed. Reiske, vol. 8, p. 203). Croesus sent him to Delphi with a large amount of gold, in order to offer a magnificent sacrifice to Apollo, and also to present four mnae to each inhabitant of the sacred city. Having had some difference, however, with the people of Delphi, he offered the sacrifice, but sent back the money to Sardis, regarding the intended objects of the king's bounty as totally unworthy of it. The irritated Delphians, with one accord, accused him of sacrilege, and he was thrown down the rock Hyampea. Suidas makes him to have been hurled from the rocks called Phaedriades, but the remark is an erroneous one, since these rocks were too far from Delphi, and the one from which he was thrown was, according to Lucian, in the neighbourhood of that city. (Phalaris prior—Op., ed Bip., vol. 5, p. 46–Compare Larcher, Hist, d'Herod., vol. 7, p. 539.) Apollo, offended at this deed, sent all kinds of maladies upon the Delphians, who, in order to free themselves, caused proclamations to be made at all the great celebrations of Greece, that if there was any one entitled so to do, who would demand satisfaction from them for the death of AEsop, they would render it unto him. In the third generation came a Samian, named Iadmon, a descendant of one of the former masters of the fabulist, and the Delphians, having made atonement, were delivered from the evils under which they had been suffering. Such is the narrative of Plutarch. And we are also informed, that, to evince the sincerity of their repentance, they transferred the punishment of sacrilege, for the time to come, from the rock Hyampea to that named Nauplia. Other accounts, however, inform us, that AEsop offended the people of Delphi by compa-. ring them to floating sticks, which appear at a distance to be something great, but, on a near approach, dwindle away into insignificance, and that he was accused, in consequence, of having carried off one of the vases consecrated to Apollo. The scholiast on Aristophanes (Vesp., 1486) informs us, that AEsop had ir. ritated the Delphians by remarking of them, that they

lad no land, like other people, on the produce of which to support themselves, but were compelled to depend for subsistence on the remains of the sacrifices. Determined to be revenged on him, they concealed a consecrated cup amid his baggage, and, when he was some distance from their city, pursued and arrested him. The production of the cup sealed his fate, and he was thrown from the rock Hyampea, as already mentioned. As they were leading him away to execution, he is said to have recited to them the fable of the eagle and beetle, but without producing any effect. The memory of Esop was highly-honoured throughout Greece, and the Athenians erected a statue to him (Phaedrus, 2, Epil., 2, seqq.), the work of the celebrated Lysippus, which was placed opposite those of the seven sages. It must be candidly confessed, however, that little, if anything, is known with certainty respecting the life of the fabulist, and what we have thus detailed of him appears to rest on little more than mere tradition, and the life which Planudes, a monk of the fourteenth century, is supposed to have #." to the world; a piece of biography possessing ew intrinsic claims to our belief. Hence some writers have doubted whether such an individual as AEsop ever existed. (Compare Visconti, Iconografia Greca, vol. 1, p. 154, where the common opinion is advocated.) But, whatever we may think on this head, one point at least is certain, that none of the fables which at present go under the name of Æsop were ever written by him. They appear to have been preserved for a long time in oral tradition, and only collected and reduced to writing at a comparatively late period. Plato (Phaedon. Op., pt. 2, vol. 3, p. 9, ed. Bekker) informs us, that Socrates amused himself in prison, towards the close of his life, with versifying some of these fables. (Compare Plut., de Aud. Poet., p. 16, c., and Wyttenbach, ad loc.) His example found numerous imitators. A collection of the fables of AEsop, as they were called, was also made by Demetrius Phalereus (Diog. Laert., 5, 80), and another, between 150 and 50 B.C., by a certain Babrius. (Compare Tyrwhitt, Dissert. de Babrio, Lond., 1776, 8vo.) The former of these was probably in prose; the latter was in choliambic verse (vid. Babrius). But the bad taste of the grammarians, in a subsequent age, destroyed the metrical form of the fables of Babrius, and reduced them to prose. To them we owe the loss of a large portion of this collection. Various collections of Æsopian fables have reached our times, among which six have attained to a certain degree of celebrity. Of these the most ancient is not older than the thirteenth century; the author is unknown. It is called the collection of Florence, and contains one hundred and ninety-nine fables, together with a puerile life of the fabulist by Planudes, a Greek monk of the fourteenth century. The second collection was made by an unknown hand in the thirteenth or fourteenth century. The monk Planudes formed the third collection. The fourth, called the Heidelberg collection, together with the fifth and sixth, styled, the former the Augsburg collection, the latter that of the Vatican, are the work of anonymous compilers. These last three contain many of the fables of Babrius reduced to bad prose. Besides the collections which have just been enumerated, we possess one of a character totally distinct from the rest. It is a Greek translation, executed in the fifteenth century by Michael Andreopulus, from a Syriac original, which would appear itself to have been nothing more than a translation from the Greek, by a Persian named Syntifa. (Schöll, Hist. Lat. Gr., vol. 1, p. 253.)—As regards the question, whether the fafiles of the Arabian Lokman have served as a prototype for those of AEsop, or otherwise, it may be remarked, that, in the opinion of De Sacy (Biographie Universelle, vol. 24, p. 631, s. v. Lokman), the apologues of§ Arabian fabulist are nothing more than 2

an imitation of some of those ascribed to Æsop, and that they in no respect bear the marks of an Arabian invention. (Compare the observations of Erpenius, in the preface to his edition of Lokman, 1615.)—With respect to the person of AEsop, it has been generally supposed that the statement of Planudes, which makes him to have been exceedingly deformed, his head of a conical shape, his belly protuberant, his limbs distorted, &c., was unworthy of credit. Wisconti, however, supports the assertions of Planudes in this particular, from the remains of ancient sculpture. (Iconografia Greca, vol. 1, p. 155. )—The best editions of Æsop are the following: that of Heusinger, Lips., 1741, 8vo; that of Ernesti, Lips., 1781, 8vo; that of Coray, Paris, 1810, 8vo; and that of De Furia, Lips., 1810, 8vo. —II. An eminent Roman tragedian, and the most formidable rival of the celebrated Roscius, though in a different line. Hence Quintilian (11, 3) remarks, “Roscius citation, AEsopus gravior suit, quod ille coma dias, hic tragardias egit.” His surname was Clodius, probably from his being a freedman of the Clodian or “... family. He is supposed to have been born in the first half of the seventh century of Rome, since Cicero, in a letter written A.U.C. 699 (Ep. ad Fam., 7, 1), speaks of him as advanced in years. Some idea of the energy with which he acted his parts on the stage may be formed from the anecdote related by Plutarch (Wit. Cic., 5), who informs us, that on one occasion, as AEsopus was performing the part of Atreus, at the moment when he is meditating vengeance, he gave so violent a blow with his sceptre to a slave who approached, as to strike him lifeless to the earth. A circumstance mentioned by Valerius |Maximus (8, 10, 2) shows with what care AEsopus and Roscius studied the characters which they represented on the stage. Whenever a cause of any importance was to be tried, and an orator of any eminence was to plead therein, these two actors were accustomed to mix with the spectators, and carefully observe the movements of the speakers as well as the expression of their countenances. AEsopus, like Roscius, lived in great intimacy with Cicero, as may be seen in various passages in the correspondence of the latter. He appeared for the last time in public on the day when the theatre of Pompey was dedicated. A.U.C. 699, but his physical powers were unequal to the effort, and his voice failed him at the very beginning of an adjuration, “Si sciens fallo.” (Cuc., Ep. ad Fam., 7, 1.) He amassed a very large fortune, which his son squandered in a career of the most ridiculous extravagance. It is this son of whom Horace (Sat., 2, 3, 239) relates, that he dissolved a costly pearh in vinegar, and drank it off. Compare the statement of Pliny (9, 59)—III. An engraver, most probably of Sigaeum. The time when he lived is uncertain. In connection with some brother-artist, he made a large cup, with a stand and strainer, dedicated by Phanodicus, son of Hermocrates, in the Prytaneum at Sigaeum. (Consult the remarks of Hermann, uber Bockh's Behandlung der Griech. Inschrift., p. 216–219.)—IV. Vid. Supplement. AEstii, a nation of Germany, dwelling along the southeastern shores of the Baltic Sea. Hence the origin of their name, frcm the Teutonic Est, “east,” as indicating a community dwelling in the eastern part of Germany. (Compare the English Esser, i. e., AEstseria.) They carried on a traffic in amber, which was found in great abundance along their shores. This circumstance alone would lead us to place them in a part of modern Prussia, in the country probably beyond Dantzic. Tacitus calls their position “the right side of the Suevic” or Baltic “Sea.” It is incorrect to assign them to modern Esthonia. Either this last is a general name for any country lying to the east, or else the Esthians of Esthonia came originall from what is now Prussia. The AEstii worshipp

« PoprzedniaDalej »