Obrazy na stronie

almost unlimited power, and an ambitious man might easily have abused it to make himself master of the state, Solon's friends exhorted him to seize the opportunity of becoming tyrant of Athens; and they were not at a loss for fair arguments to colour their foul advice, reminding him of recent instances—of Tynnondas in Euboea, and Pittacus at Mytilene, who had exercised a sovereignty over their fellow-citizens without forfeiting their love. Solon saw through their sophistry, and was not tempted by it to betray the sacred trust reposed in him; but, satisfied with the approbation of his own conscience and the esteem of his countrymen, instead of harbouring schemes of self-aggrandizement, he bent all his thoughts and energies to the execution of the great task which he had undertaken. This task consisted of two main parts: the first and most pressing business was to relieve the present distress of the cominonalty ; the next to provide against the recurrence of like evils, by regulating the rights of all the citizens according to equitable principles, and fixing them on a permanent basis. In proceeding to the first part of his undertaking, Solon held a middle course between the two extremes—those who wished to keep all, and those who were for taking ev. erything away. While he resisted the reckless and extravagant demands of those who desired all debts to be cancelled, and the lands of the rich to be confiscated and parcelled out among the poor, he met the reasonable expectations of the public by his disburdening ordinance (Xelodyffeta), and relieved the debtor, partly by a reduction of the rate of interest, which was probably made retrospective, and thus, in many cases, would wipe off a great part of the debt, and partly by lowering the standard of the silver coinage, so that the debtor saved more than one fourth in every payment. (Plut., Sol., 15.—Wid. Boeckh, Staatsh., 2, p. 360.) He likewise released the pledged lands from their encumbrances, and restored them in full property to their owners; though it does not seein cer. tain whether this was one of the express objects of the measure, or only one of the consequences which it involved. Finally, he abolished the inhuman law which enabled the creditor to enslave his debtor, and restored those who were pining at home in such bondage to immediate liberty; and it would seem that he compelled those who had sold their debtors into foreign countries to procure their freedom at their own expense. The debt itself, in such cases, was of course held to be extinguished. Solon himself, in a poem which he afterward composed on the subject of his legislation, spoke with a becoming pride of the happy change which this measure had wrought in the face of Attica, of the numerous citizens whose lands he had discharged, and whose persons he had emancipated, and brought back from hopeless slavery in strange lands. He was only unfortunate in bestowing his confidence on persons who were incapable of imitating his virtue, and who abused his intimacy. At the time when all men were uncertain as to his intentions, and no kind of property could be thought secure, he privately informed three of his friends of his determination not to touch the estates of the land-owners, but only to reduce the amount of debt. He had afterward the vexation of discovering, that the men to whom he had intrusted this secret had been base enough to take advantage of it, by making large purchases of land—which at such a juncture bore, no doubt, a very low price—with borrowed money. Fortunately for his fame, the state of his private affairs was such as to exempt him from all suspicion of having had any share in this sordid transaction. He had himself a considerable sum out at interest, and was a loser in proportion by his own enactment. This seems the most probable and accurate account of Solon's measures of relief. There was, however, another, adopted by some ancient writers, which represented him as

having entirely cancelled all debts, and as having only disguised the violence of this proceeding under a soft and attractive inien. It does not appear that the ancients saw anything to censure in his conduct according to either view. But the example of Solon cannot fairly be pleaded by those who contend that either public or private faith may be rightly sacrificed to expediency. He must be considered as an arbitrator, to whom all the parties interested submitted their claims, with the avowed intent that they should be decided by him, not upon the footing of legal right, but according to his own view of the public interest. It was in this light that he himself regarded his office, and he appears to have discharged it faithfully and discreetly. The strongest proof of the wisdom and equity of his measures is, that they subjected him to obloquy from the violent spirits of both the extreme parties. But their murmurs were soon drowned in the general approbation with which the disburdening ordinance was received ; it was celebrated with a solemn festival; and Solon was encouraged, by the strongest assurances of the increased confidence of his fellow-citizens, to proceed with his work; and he now entered on the second and more difficult part of his task. He began by repealing all the laws of Draco, except those which concerned the repression of bloodshed, which were, in fact, customs hallowed by time and by religion, and had been retained, not introduced, by his predecessor. . As a natural consequence, perhaps, of this measure, he published an amnesty, or act of grace, which restored those citizens who had been deprived of their franchise for lighter offences, and recalled those who had been forced into exile; and it seems probable that this indulgence was extended to the house of Megacles, the Alcmaeonids, as they were called from a remote ancestor, the third in descent from Nestor, and to the partners of his guilt and punishment: the city, now purified and tranquillized, might be supposed to be no longer either polluted or endangered by their presence; and it was always liable to be disturbed by their machinations so long as they remained in banishment. The four ancient tribes were retained, with all their subdivisions; but it seems probable that Solon admitted a number of new citizens; for it is said that he invited foreigners to Athens by this boon, though he confined it to such as settled their whole family and substance, and had dissolved their connexion with their native land. The distinguishing feature of the new constitution was the substitution of property for birth, as a title to the honours and offices of the state. (Compare Niebuhr, Rom. Hist., 2, 305, 2d ed., Camb. trans.) This change, though its consequences were of infinite importance, would not appear so violent or momentous to the generation which witnessed it, since at this time these two claims generally concurred in the same person. Solon divided the citizens into four classes, according to the gradations of their fortunes, and regulated the extent of their franchise and their contributions to the public necessities by the amount of their incomes. The first class, as its name expressed, consisted of persons whose estates yielded a nett yearly income, or rent, of 500 measures of dry or liquid produce (IIevrakootouéðuvot). The qualification of the second class was three fifths of this amount: that of the third, two thirds, or, more probably, half of the latter. The members of the second class were called knights, being accounted able to keep a warhorse; the name of the third class, whom we might call yeomen, was derived from the yoke of cattle for the plough, which a farm of the extent described was supposed to require (Zevyirat). The fourth class comprehended all whose incomes fell below that of the third, and, according to its name, consisted of hired labourers in husbandry (67tec), The first class was exclusively eligible to the highest offices, those of the nine archons, and so to all others which had hitherto been reserved to the nobles; they were also destined to fill the highest commands in the army, as it later times, when Ather's became a maritime power, they did in the fleet. Some lower offices were undoubtedly left open to the second and third class, though we are unable to define the extent. of their privileges, or to ascertain whether, in their political rights, one had any advantage over the other. They were at least distinguished from each other by the mode of their military service ; the one furnishing the cavalry, the other the heavy-armed 'infantry. But, for their exclusion from the dignities occupied by the wealthy few, they received a compensation in the comparative lightness of their burdens. They were assessed, not in exact proportion to the amount of their incomes, but at a much lower rate; the nominal value of their property being for this purpose reduced below the truth, that of the knights by one sixth, that of the third class by one third. The fourth class was excluded from all share in the magistracy, and from the honours and duties of the full-armed warrior, the expense of which would, in general, exceed their means: by land they served only as light troops; in later times they manned the fleets. In return, they were exempted from all direct contributions, and they were permitted to take a part in the popular assembly, as well as in the exercise of those judicial powers which were now placed in the hands of the people.' We shall shortly have occasion to observe how amply this boon compensated for the loss of all the privileges that were withheld from them. Solon's classification takes no notice of any other than landed property; yet, as the example of Solon himself seems to prove that Attica must already have carried on some foreign trade, it is not unlikely that there were fortunes of this kind equal to those which gave admission to the higher classes, But it can hardly be supposed that they placed their possessors on a level with the owners of the soil; it is more probable that these, together with the newlyadopted citizens, without regard to their various degrees of affluence, were all included in the lowest class. Solon's system then made room for all freemen, but assigned to them different places, varying with their visible means of serving the state. His general aim in the distribution of power, as he himself explains it in a fragment which Plutarch has preserved from one of his poems, was to give such a share to the commonalty as would enable it to protect itself, and to the wealthy as much as was necessary for retaining their dignity; in other words, for ruling the people without the means of oppressing it. He threw his strong shield, he says, over both, and permitted neither to gain an unjust advantage. The magistrates, though elected upon a different qualification, retained their ancient authority; but they were now responsible for the exercise of it, not to their own body, but to the governed. The judicial functions of the archons were perhaps preserved nearly in their full extent; but appeals were allowed from their jurisdiction to courts numerously composed, and filled indiscriminately from all classes. (Pluto, Sol., 18.) Solon could not foresee the change of circumstances by which this right

exempt from the general condition of mutability.

of appeal became the instrument of overthrowing the equilibrium which he hoped to have established on a solid basis, when that which he had designed to exercise an extraordinary jurisdiction became an ordinary

tribunal, which drew almost all causes to itself, and overruled every other power in the state. He seems to have thought that, while he provided sufficiently for the security of the commonalty by permitting the lowest of

its members to vote in the popular assembly, and to sit

in judgment on cases in which the parties were dissatisfied with the ordinary modes of proceeding, he had

also ensured the stability of his new order of thirgs set out on a long course of travels. by two institutions, which appeared to be sufficient

guards against the sallies of democratical extravagance,

—anchors, as Plutarch expresses it, on which the ves.

sel of state might ride safely in every storm. These

were the two councils of the Four Hundred and the

Areopagus. The institution of the council of the

Four Hundred was uniformly attributed to Solon; and, if this opinion be correct, which has, however, bech made the subject of some dispute, then, according to

the theory of Solon's constitution, the assembly of the

people will appear to have been little more than the

organ of that council, as it could only act upon the proposition laid before it by the latter. But the Judi

cial power which Solon had lodged in the hands of the

people was the most powerful instrument on which

he relied for correcting all abuses and remedying all

mischiess that might arise out of the working of his

constitution. A body of 6000 citizens was every year

created by lot to form a supreme court, called Heliaea

which was divided into several smaller ones, not limited to any precise number of persons. The qualifications required for this were the same with those which gave admission into the general assembly, except that the members of the former might not be under the age of thirty. It was therefore, in fact, a select portion of the latter, in which the powers of the larger body were concentrated, and exercised under a judicial form. Passing over the other features of the Athenian constitution, as settled by Solon, on which our limits will not allow us to dwell, we proceed at once to the remainder of his history. Solon was not one of those resormers who dream that they have put an end to innovation, and that the changes they have wrought are But the very provisions which he made for the continual revision and amendment of his laws, seems to show the improbability of Plutarch's account : that he enacted them to remain in force for no more than a century. They were inscribed on wooden tablets, arranged in pyramidal blocks turning on an axis; which were kept at first in the Acropolis, but were afterward, for more convenient inspection, brought down to the Prytaneum. According to Plutarch. Solon, af. ter the completion of his work, found himself exposed to such incessant vexation from the questions of the curious and the cavils of the discontented, that he obtained permission to withdraw from Athens for ten years, and set out on the travels in which he visited Asia Minor, Cyprus, and Egypt, collecting and diffusing knowledge, and everywhere leaving traces of his presence in visible monuments or in the memories of men. But there is some difficulty in reconci. ling this story with chronology, since it supposes him to have sound Croesus in Lydia, who did not mount the throne within twenty or thirty years aster; and the alleged occasion of the journey is very doubtful, though it is in substance the same with that assigned by Herodotus. It is probable that Solon remained for several years at Athens, to observe the practical effect of his institutions, and to second their operation by his personal influence. He was, undoubtedly, well aware how little the letter of a political system can avail until its practice has become familiar, and its principles have gained a hold on the opinions and feelings of the people, and that this must be a gradual process, and liable to interruption and disturbance. Hence it could not greatly disappoint or afflict him to hear voices raised from time to time against himself, and to perceive that his views were not generally or fully comprehended. But he may at length have thought it prudent to retire for a season from the public eye, the better to maintain his dignity and popularity ; and, as he himself declared, that age, while it crept upon him, still found him continually learning, we need not be surprised if, at an unusually late period of life, he On his return, he jound that faction had been actively labouring to pervert and undo his work, and was compelled eventually to witness the partial overthrow of his system in the usurpation of Pisistratus. (Wid. Pisistratus.)—It is not certain how long he survived this inroad upon his Institutions; one account, apparently the most authentic, places his death in the year following that in which the revolution occurred (B.C. 559). The leisure of his retirement from public life was to the last devoted to the Muses: and if we might trust Plalo's assertions on such subjects, he was engaged at the time of his death in the composition of a great poem, in which he had designed to describe the flourishing state of Attica before the Ogygian flood, and to celebrate the wars which it waged with the inhabitants of the vast island which afterward sank in the Atlantic Ocean. On the fragments of this poem, preserved in the family, Plato, himself a descendant of Solon, prosesses to have founded a work which he lest unfinished, but in which he had meant to exhibit his imaginary state in life and action. It is certainly not improbable that Solon, when the prospect of his country be. caine gloomy, and his own political career was closed. indulged his imagination with excursions into an ideal world, where he may have raised a social fabric as un].ke as possible to the reality which he had before his eyes at home, and perhaps suggested by what he had seen or heard in Egypt. It is only important to observe that the fact, if admitted, can lead to no safe conclusions as to his abstract political principles, and can still less be allowed to sway our judgment on the design and character of his institutions. (Thirlwall's Greece, vol. 2, p. 23, seqq)—Solon is generally ranked under the gnomic poets, and some fragments of his productions in this department have been preserved by the ancient writers. Of these the finest is his “Prayer to the Muses.” The fragments of Solon are sound in the collections of H. Stephens, Winterton, Brunck, Gaisford, and Boissonnade. —(Scholl, Hist. Lit. Gr., vol. 1, p. 238.) Soly Mi, a people of Lycia, of whom an account is given under the head of Lycia. SoMNUs, son of Erebus and Nox, was one of the deities of the lower world, and the god of Sleep. The Latin poet Ovid (Met, 11, 592, seqq.), probably after some Grecian predecessor, as was usually the case, gives a beautiful description of the Cave of Sleep, near the land of the Cimmerians, and of the cortège which there attended on him, as Morpheus, Icelos or Phorbétér, and Phantasos ; the first of whom takes the form of man to appear in dreams, the second of animals, the third of inanimate objects. (Keightley's Mythology, 200.) p Sosus, a river of India, falling into the Ganges, and now the Saone or Son. As this river towards its origin is called Ando-nadi, it appears that the name Andomatis (given also in Arrian), or, rather, Ando-natis, can denote no other than it. (Plin., 6, 18.) Soph ENE, a country of Armenia, between the principal stream of the Euphrates and Mount Masius. It is now called Zoph. (Dio Cass., 36, 36–Plin., 5, 12 ) Sophocles, a celebrated tragic poet, born at Colonus, a village little more than a mile from Athens, B.C. 495. He was, consequently, thirty years junior to AEschylus, and fifteen senior to Euripides, the former having been born B.C. 525, and the latter B.C. 480.-Sophilus, his father, a man of opulence and respectability, bestowed upon his son a careful education in all the literary and personal accomplishments of his age and country. The powers of the future dramatist were developed, strengthened, and refined by a careful instruction in the principles of music and poetry; while the graces of a person eminently handsome derived fresh elegance and ripened into a noble manhood amid the exercises of the palæstra. The garlands which he won attested his attainments in both these departments of Grecian education. A still more striking proof of his personal beauty and early profi

ciency is recorded in the fact that when, aster the battle of Salamis, the population of Athens stood in solemn assembly around the trophy raised by their valour, Sophocles, at the age of sixteen, was selected to lead, with dance and lyre, the chorus of youths who performed the paran of their country's triumph. (Athen., 1, p. 20, e) The commencement of his dramatic carecr was marked not more by its success than by the singularity of the occasion on which his first tragedy appeared. The bones of Theseus had been solemnly transferred by Cimon from their grave in the isle of Scyros to Athens (B.C 468. — Marm. Arund, No. 57). An eager contest between the tragedians of the day ensued. Sophocles, then in his twenty-fifth year, ventered to come forward as one of the candidates, among whom was the veteran AEschylus, now for thirty years the undoubted master of the Athenian stage. Party feelings excited such a tumult among the spectators, that the archon Aphepsion had not balloted the judges, when Cimon advanced with his nine fellow-generals to offer the customary libations to Bacchus. No sooner were these completed, than, detaining his colleagues, he directed them to take with him the requisite oath, and then seat themselves as judges of the performance. Before this self-constituted tribunal Sophocles exhibited his maiden drama, and by their decision was proclaimed first victor. . This remarkable triumph was an earnest of the splendid career before him. From this event, B.C. 468, to his death, B.C. 405, during a space of three-and-sixty years, he continued to compose and exhibit. Twenty times did he obtain the first prize, still more frequently the second, and never sank to the third. An accumulation of success which left the victories of his two great rivals far behind. Alschylus won but thirteen dramatic contests. Euripides was still less fortunate. —Such a continuation of poetic exertion and triumph is the more remarkable, from the circumstance that the powers of Sophocles, so far from becoming dulled and exhausted by these multitudinous efforts, seem to have contracted nothing from labour and age save a mellower tone, a more touching pathos, a sweet and gentle character of thought and expression. The life of Sophocles, however, was not altogether devoted to the service of the Muses. In his fifty-seventh year he was one of the ten generals, with Pericles and Thucydides among his colleagues, and served in the war against Samos. But his military talents were probably of no high order, and his generalship added no brilliancy to his dramatic fame. At a more advanced age he was appointed priest to Alon, one of the ancient heroes of his country; an office more suited to the peaceful temper of Sophocles. In the civil duties of an Athenian citizen he doubtless took a part. Nay, in extreme age, we find him one of the committee of the Tpotovãot, appointed, in the progress of the revolution brought about by Pisander, to investigate the state of affairs, and report thereon to the people assembled on the hill of Colonus, his native place. (Aristot., Rhet., 3, 18.) And there, as Tpótov?oc, he assented, with characteristic easiness of temper, to the establishment of oligarchy, under the council of four hundred, “as a bad thing, but the least pernicious measure which circumstances allowed.” The civil dissensions and extreme reverses which marked the concluding years of the Peloponnesian war must have fallen heavily on the mind of one whose chief delight was in domestic tranquility, and who remembered that proud day of Salaminian triumph in which he bore so conspicuous a part. His sorrows as a patriotic citizen were aggravated by the unnatural conduct of his own family. (Wit. Anon.—Cic , de Sen., § 7) Jealous at the old man's affection for a grandchild by a second wife, an elder son or sons endeavoured to deprive him of the management of his property, on the ground of dotage and incapacity. The only * the

father produced, was to read before the court his CEdipus at Colonus, a piece which he had just composed; or, according to others, that beautiful chorus only in which he celebrates the loveliness of his favourite residence (Cic., de Fin., 5, 1). The admiring judges instantly arose, dismissed the cause, and accompanied the aged poet to his house with the utmost honour and respect. Sophocles was spared the misery of beholding the utter overthrow of his declining country. Early in the year 405 B.C., some months before the defeat of Ægospotamos put the finishing stroke to the missortunes of Athens, death came gently upon the venerable old man, full of years and glory. The accounts of his death are very diverse, all tending to the marvellous. Ister and Neanthes state that he was choked by a grape; Satyrus makes him to expire from excessive exertion, in reading aloud a long paragraph out of the Antigone; others ascribe his death to extreme joy at being proclaimed the Tragic victor. Not content with the singularity of his death, the ancient recorders of his life add prodigy to his funeral also. He died when the Athenians were cooped up within their walls, and the Lacedæmonians were in possession of Decelea, the place of his family sepulchre. Bacchus twice appeared in a vision to Lysander, the Spartan general, and bid him allow the interment; which accordingly took place with all due solemnity. Pausanias, however, tells the story somewhat differently (1, 21). Ister states, moreover, that the Athenians passed a decree to appoint an annual sacrifice to so admirable a man. (Wit. Anon.)—Seven tragedies alone remain out of the great number which Sophocles composed; yet among these seven we probably possess the most splendid productions of his genius. Suidas makes the number which he wrote one hundred and twenty-three. Aristophanes, the grammarian, one hundred and thirty, seventeen of which he deemed spurious. Böckh considers both statements erroneous. It appears from the argument to the Antigone, that this play was exhibited a little before the generalship of Sophocles, B.C. 441, and that this was his thirty-second drama; and it is known that Sophocles began to exhibit B.C. 468. Hence Böckh argues that, as during the first twenty-seven years of his dramatic career he produced thirty-two tragedies, so during the remaining thirty-six years it is not

robable he composed many more than this number.

e therefore supposes that the true number is seventy, or nearly so. To Iophon, the son of Sophocles, he refers many of the plays which bore the father's name; others he ascribes to the favourite grandson, Sophocles, son of Ariston, by his wife or mistress Theoris. The result of Böckh's investigation is, that of the one hundred and six dramas whose titles remain, only twenty-six can, with any certainty, be assigned to the elder Sophocles. (Böckh, ad Trag. Graec., c. 8, seqq.)—The personal character of Sophocles, without rising into spotless excellence or exalted heroism, was honourable, calm, and amiable. In his younger days he seems to have been addicted to intemperance in love and wine. (Cic., Off, 1,40. —Athen., 13, p. 603.) And a saying of his, recorded by Plato, Cicero, and Athenaeus, while it confirms the charges just mentioned, would also imply that years had cooled the turbulent passions of his youth. “I thank old age,” said the poet, “for o me from the tyranny of my appetites.” Yet even in his later days, the charms of a Theoris and an Archippe are reported to have been too powerful for the still susceptible dramatist. Aristophanes, who, in his Ranae, manifests so much respect for Sophocles, then just dead, had, fourteen years before, accused him of avarice ; an imputation, however, scarcely reconcilable with all that is known or can be inferred respecting the character of Sophocles. The old man, who was so absorbed in his art as to incur a charge of lunacy from the utter neglect of his affairs, could hard

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It was Sophocles who gave the last improvements to the form and exhibition of tragedy. To the two performers of AEschylus he added a third actor; a number which was never asterward increased. Under his directions the effect of theatric exhibitions was heightened by the illusion of scenery carefully painted and duly arranged. The choral parts were still farther curtailed, and the dialogue carried out to its full development. The odes themselves are distinguished by their close connexion with the business of the play, the correctness of their sentiments, and the beauty of their poetry. His language, though at times marked by harsh metaphors and perplexed constructions, is pure and majestic, without soaring into the gigantic phraseology of Æschylus on the one hand, or sinking into the commonplace diction of Euripides on the other. His management of a subject is admirable. No one understood so well the artful envelopment of incident, the secret excitation of the feelings, and the gradual heightening of the interest up to the final crisis, when the catastrophe bursts forth in all the force of overwhelming terror or compassion. Such was Sophocles; the most perfect in dramatic arrangements, the most sustained in the even flow of dignified thought, word, and tone, among the tragic triumvirate. Longinus, it is true, while bestowing the highest praises upon Sophocles, alleges a frequent inequality; but this is scarcely borne out by anything in his extant tragedies (§ 33.—Theatre of the Greeks, 3d ed., p. 43, seqq.).-Nature, observes Schlegel, had refused Sophocles only one gift, a voice for song. He could only call sorth and guide the harmonious effusions of other voices, and is therefore said to have departed from the established custom that the poet should act a part in his own play; so that once, only, he made his appearance in the character of the blind songster, Thamyris, o on the lyre.—In so sar as he had AEschylus for his predecessor, who had fashioned tragedy from its original rudeness into the dignity of his Cothurnus, Sophocles stands, in respect to the history of his art, in such a relation to that poet, that he could avail himself of the enterprise of that original master; so that Æschylus appears as the projecting predecessor, Sophocles as the finishing successor. That there is more art in the compositions of the latter is evident: the restriction of the chorus in proportion to the dialogue, the finish of the rhythms and of the pure Attic diction, the introduction of more numerous persons, the richer connexion of the sables, the greater multiplicity of incidents, and the complete development, the more quiet sustentation of all momenta of the action, and the more theatrical displa

of the decisive ones, the more finished rounding .# of the whole, even in a mere outward point of view. But there is yet another respect in which he outshines Af'schylus, and deserved the favour of Destiny, which allowed him such a predecessor, and to compete with him on the satne subjects: I mean the inward harmony and completeness of his mind, by virtue of which he satisfied, from his own inclination, every requisition of the beautiful; a mind whose free impulse was accompanied by a self-consciousness clear even to transparency. To surpass AEschylus in daring conception might be impossible ; but I maintain that it is only on account of his wise moderation that Sophocles seems to be less daring; since everywhere he goes to work with the greatest energy, nay, perhaps with more sustained severity ; as a man who is accurately acquainted with his limits insists the more confident.

ly on his rights within those limits. As AEschylus delights in carrying all his fictions into the disturbances of the old world of Titanism, Sophocles, on the contrary, seems to avail himself of Divine interference only of necessity. He formed human beings, as was the general agreement of antiquity, better, that is, not more moral and unerring, but more beautiful and noble than they are in reality.—As characteristic of this poet, the ancients have praised that native sweetness and gracefulness, on account of which they called him the Attic Bee. Whoever has penetrated into the feeling of this peculiarity, may flatter himself that the spirit for antique art has arisen within him; for modern sensibility, very far from being able to fall in with that judgment, would be more likely to find in the Sophoclean tragedy, both in respect of the representation of bodily suffering and in the sentiments and arrangements, much that is insufferably austere.—We will now proceed to give a brief sketch of the tragedies of Sophocles that have come down to us. 1. Ataç uaortyopópoc, “Ajar armed with the lash.” The subject of this piece is the madness of Ajax, his death, and the dispute which arises on the subject of his interment. Many critics have regarded the play as defective, because the action does not terminate with the death of the hero ; but, after this catastrophe, an incident occurs which forms a second action. To this it has been replied that there is not, in fact, any double action, since the first is not terminated by the death of Ajax, to whom burial is refused: as the deprivation of funeral rites was regarded by the ancients in the light of one of the greatest misfortunes, the spectators could not have gone away satisfied so long as the question of burial remained unsettled in the case of one whose death they had mourned.—2. 'HAéktpa, “Electra.” The subject of this piece is the vengeance which a son, urged on by an oracle, and in obedience to the decree of Heaven, takes on the murderers of his father, by consigning to death his own mother. The character of Electra, the daughter of Agamemnon, who here plays the principal part, is admirably delineated, and sustained with exceeding ability throughout the whole play. The recognition between the brother and sister forms one of the most touching scenes in the whole compass of the Grecian drama.-3. Oióitrovc Túpavvoc, “King OEdipus.” . It would be difficult to conceive a subject more thoroughly tragical than that which forms the basis of this play. The nd and terrific meaning of the fable, however, as chlegel has well remarked, is a circumstance which is generally overlooked : to that very CEdipus, who solved the riddle of human life propounded by the Sphinx, his own lise remained an inexplicable riddle, till it was cleared up, all too late, in the most dreadful manner, when all was irrecoverably lost. This is a striking image of the arrogant pretensions of human wisdom, which always proceeds upon generalities, without teaching its possessor the right application of them to himself. The OEdipus Tyrannus is regarded not merely as the chef-d'oeuvre of Sophocles, but also, as regards the choice and disposition of the fable, as the finest tragedy of antiquity. And yet we know that it failed of obtaining the prize. It has been imitated by Seneca, P. Corneille, and Voltaire.—4. 'Avriyovn, “Antigone.” Creon, king of Thebes, had ordered that no one should bestow the rites of burial on Polynices, and his object in so doing was to punish him for having borne arms against his country. Antigone, sister to the young prince, listening to the dictates of affection rather than those of sear, ventures to disregard this mandate, and falls a victim to her pious act.—5. Toaxivial, “The Trachinian Women,” or the death of Hercules. The scene is laid at Trachis, and the chorus is composed of young semales of the country. Seneca has imitated this piece in his Hercules Furens, and Rotrou in his Hercule Mourant.—

6. tookrárno, “Philoctetes.” It having been decreed by fate that Troy could not be taken without the presence of Philoctetes, whom the Greeks had abandoned in the island of Lemnos, Ulysses and Pyrrhus are sent to him to induce him to return to the Grecian camp. They succeed with great difficulty in accomplishing their object. This tragedy, though very simple in its plot, is marked by a constantly increasing interest, and the characters are well supported.—7. Oióitovo & Ti Kožovo, “OEdipus at Colonus.” The subject is the death of CEdipus, near the temple of the Eumenides at Colonus. OEdipus, blind and driven from his throne, seeks, under the guidance of his daughter, for a tomb in a foreign land, where the tale of his woes had arrived before him, and causes his intended presence to be regarded with dread. There is need of manifest proof of Divine protection to enable him to find an asylum and tomb in this stranger-land, and these proofs are vouchsased him at the closing scene of his life.—The best editions of Sophocles are, that of Brunck, Argent., 1786, 4to, 2 vols., and 1786– 9, 8vo, 3 vols.; that of Erfurdt, Lips., 1802–1811, 7 vols. 8vo; and that of Hermann, Lond., 1826, 2 vols. 8vo. The separate editions of the plays are numerous, and some of them valuable. Sophonisba, a daughter of Asdrubal, the Carthaginian, celebrated for her beauty and unfortunate end. (Vid. Masinissa.) Sophron, a native of Syracuse, born about 420 B.C., and celebrated as a writer of mimes. His pieces, composed in the Doric dialect, and not in verse properly so called, but in a species of cadenced prose (karažoyáðmy. Athen., ed. Schweigh., vol. 11, p. 315), were great favourites with Plato, who became acquainted with them through Dion of Syracuse, and spread the taste for this species of composition at Athens. We have only a few titles and fragments remaining of the mimes of Sophron, which are altogether insufficient to enable us to form any very definite opinion of the character of these compositions: although we know that the fifteenth Idyl of Theocritus is an imitation of one of Sophron's mimes. Barthelemy thinks that these productions were in the style of the Fables of La Fontaine. Athenæus cites two kinds of mimes: one called Miuot dvdpeiot (Male mimes); the other Miuot yuvaiketot (Female mimes). Apollodorus of Athens wrote a commentary on the mimes of Sophron.—The fragments of Sophron are given in the Classical Journal, vol. 4, p. 380, and with additions and corrections in the Museum Criticum, vol. 2, p. 340–358, 559–560. Both these collections are by Blomfield. (Schöll, Hist. Lit. Gr., vol. 2, p. 117. –Consult Müller, Die Dorier, vol. 2, p. 360, seqq.) Sophroniscus, the father of Socrates. SoRacte, a mountain of Etruria, a little to the southeast of Falerii, now Monte Santo Silvestro, or, as it is by modern corruption sometimes termed, Sant' Oreste. On the summit was a temple and grove dedicated to Apollo, to whom an annual sacrifice was of fered by a people of the country, distinguished by the name of Hirpii, who were on that account held sacred, and exempted from military service and other duties. (Plin., 7, 2) The sacrifice consisted in their passing over heaps of red-hot embers without being injured by the fire. (AEn., 11, 785. — Sil. Ital., 5, 175.) A remarkable fountain, the exhalations of which were fatal to birds, is mentioned as existing in the vicinity of this mountain by Pliny (31, 2) and Witruvius (8, 3.—Cramer's Anc. Italy, vol. 1, p. 230). SostgèNEs, an Egyptian mathematician, who assisted Julius Caesar in regulating the Roman calendar. The philosopher, by tolerably accurate observations, discovered that the year was 365 days and 6 hours; and, to make allowance for the odd hours, he invented the intercalation of one day in * The

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