Obrazy na stronie
PDF

great susceptibility even for the more lofty charms of womanly virtue, but no real respect.—That independ

[ocr errors]

his almost ludicrous delineation of many characterisu. peculiarities (such as the clumsy deportment of Pen

ent freedom in the method of treating the story, which theus in a female garb, when befooled by Bacchus

was one of the privileges of the tragic art, frequently, in Euripides, degenerates into unbounded caprice. It is well known that the fables of Hyginus, which differ so much from the relations of other writers, are partly extracted from his pieces. ... As he often overturned what had hitherto been well known and generally received, he was obliged to use prologues, in which he announces the situation of affairs according to his acceptation, and makes known the course of events. (Compare the amusing scene in Aristophanes, Rana, 1177, seqq., and Porson's explanation of the employment of such prologues by Euripides, Praelect, in Eurip., p. 8, seqq.) These prologues make the beginnings of the plays of Euripides very uniform; it has the appearance of great deficiency of art when somebody comes out and says, “I am so and so; such and such things have already happened, and this is what is going to happen.” This method may be compared to the labels coming out of the Inouths of the figures in old pictures, which can only be excused by the great simplicity of their antique style. But then, all the rest must harmonize with it, which is by no means the case with Euripides, whose personages discourse according to the newest fashion of the manners of his time. In his prologues, as well as in the dénouement of his plots, he is very lavish of unmeaning appearances of gods, who are elevated above men only by being suspended in a machine, and might very easily be spared. He pushes to excess the method which the ancient tragic writers have of treating the action, by throwing everything into large masses, with repose and motion following at stated intervals. At one time he unreasonably prolongs, with too great fondness for vivacity of dialogue, that change of speakers at every verse which was usual even with his predecessors, in which questions and answers, or reproaches and replies, are shot to and fro like darts; and this he sometimes does so arbitrarily, that half of the lines might be dispensed with. At another time he pours forth long, endless speeches; he endeavours to show his skill as an orator in its utmost brilliancy, by ingenious syllogisms, or by exciting pity. Many of his scenes resemble a suit at law, in which two persons, who are the parties opposed to one another, or sometimes in the presence of a third person as judge, do not confine themselves to what their present situation requires ; but, beginning their story at the most remote period, accuse their adversary and Justify themselves, doing all this with those turns which are familiar to pleaders, and frequently with those which are usual among sycophants. Thus the poet attempted to make his poetry entertaining to the Athenians by its resemblance to their daily and favourite pursuit. carrying on and deciding, or at least listening to, lawsuits. On this account Quintilian particularly recommends him to the young orator, who may learn more by studying him than the older tragedians; an opinion marked with his usual accuracy. But it is easy to see that such a recommendation conveys no high eulogium, since eloquence may indeed find place in the drama when it is suitable to the capacity and object of the person who is speaking; but when rhetoric steps into the place of the immediate expression of the soul, it is no longer poetical.—The style of Euripides is, on the whole, not compressed enough, although it presents us with some very happily-drawn pictures and ingenious turns of language; it has neither the dignity and energy of AEschylus, nor the chaste grace of Sophocles. In his expressions he frequently aims at the extraordinary and strange, and, on the other hand, loses himsels in commonplace; and too of. ten the tone of his speeches becomes quite every-day,

(Baccha, v. 782, seqq.), or the greediness of Hercules (Alcestis, v. 764, seqq.), and his boisterous demands on the hospitality of Admetus), Euripides was a forerunner of the new comedy ; for which he has an evident inclination, since, under the names belonging to the age of heroes, he frequently paints real personages of his own time. Menander also expressed an extraordinary admiration for him, and declared himself to be his scholar; and there is a fragment of Philemon, full of such extravagant admiration of him that it almost seems to be intended as a jest. ‘If the dead,' he says, or makes one of his personages say, ‘really possessed sensation, as some suppose, I would hang myself in order to see Euripides.' The sentiments of the more ancient Aristophanes, his contemporary, form a striking contrast to the veneration which the later comic writers had for him. Aristophanes reproaches or banters him for his lowering the dignity of tragedy, by exhibiting so many heroes as whining and tattered beggars (Rana, v. 841, 1063–Acharn., 395, seqq.—Par, v. 147); by introducing the vulgar affairs of ordinary life (Rana, v. 959); by the sonorous unmeaningness of his choral odes, and the feebleness cf his verses (Ranae, v. 1300, seqq.—Paz, v. 532); and by the loquacity of all his personages, however low their rank or unsuitable their character might be. He charges his dramas with an immoral tendency (Rana, v. 850, 1043, 1068.-Nubes, v. 1371), and himself with contempt for the gods and fondness for newsangled doctrines. (Rana, v. 887, seqq.) He laughs at his affectation of philosophy and rhetoric. (Rana, v. 815, 826, 966, 970, 1073, 1076.) Aristophanes, indeed, persecutes him indefatigably and inexorably; he was ordained to be, as it were, his perpetual scourge, that none of his vagaries in morals or in art might remain uncensured. Although Aristophanes, as a comic dramatist, is, by means of his parodies, the foe of the tragic poets in general, yet he nowhere attacks Sophocles; and even in the places in which he fastens on the weak side of AEschylus, his reverence for him is manifest, and he everywhere opposes his gigantic proportions to the petty ingenuity of Euripides. He has laid open, with immense understanding and inexhaustible wit, his sophistical subtlety, his rhetorical and philosophical pretensions, his immorality and seductive effeminacy, and the merely sensual emotions he excites. As modern judges of art have for the most part esteemed Aristophanes to be nothing better than an extravagant and slanderous buffoon, and, moreover, have not understood the art of translating the humourous dress he gives subjects into the truths which lie at the bottom, they have attached but little importance to his opinion.—After all that has gone before, we must not lose sight of the fact, that Euripides was yet a Greek, and a contemporary, too, of many of the greatest men that Greece possessed in politics, philosophy, history, and the graphic art. If, when compared with his predecessors, he stands far below them, when compared with many moderns he is far superior to them. He is particularly strong in the representation of a distempered and erring mind, given up to its passions to a degree of phrensy. (Longinus, 15, 3.) He is excellent when the subject leads principally to emotion, and has no higher claims; and still more on occasions when even moral beauty demands pathos. Few of his pieces are without single passages that are charmingly beautiful. Take him altogether, it is by no means my intention to deny that he possesses extraordinary talents; I only maintain that they were not united to a disposition honouring the rigour of moral principles and the holiness of religious feelings above everything else.” we have remaining at the present day only eighteen tragedies and one satyric piece. The following are the titles and subjects: 1. ‘Exã6m, Hecuba. The sacrifice of Polyxena, whom the Greeks immolate to the manes of Achilles, and the vengeance which Hecuba, doubly unfortunate in having been reduced to captivity and deprived of her children, takes upon Polymnestor, the murderer of her son Polydorus, form the subject of this tragedy. The scene is laid in the Grecian camp in the Thracian Chersonese. The shade of Polydorus, whose body remains without the rites of sepulture, has the prologue assigned it. Ennius and L. Accius, and in modern times Erasmus of Rotterdam, have translated this play into Latin verse. Ludovico Dolce has given an Italian version of it; several passages have been rendered into French by La Harpe; Racine owes to it some fine verses in his Andromache and Iphigenia, and Voltaire has imitated some parts in his Mérope.— 2. 'Opéarno, Orestes. The scene of this play is laid at Argos, the seventh day after the murder of Clytemnestra. It is on this day that the people, in full assembly, are to sit in judgment upon Orestes and Electra. The only hope of the accused is in Menelaus, who has just arrived; but this prince, who secretly aims at the succession, stirs up the people in private to pronounce sentence of condemnation against the parricides. The sentence is accordingly pronounced, but the execution of it is left to the culprits themselves. They meditate taking vengeance by slaying Helen; but this princess is saved by the intervention of Apollo, who brings about a double marriage, by uniting Orestes with Hermione, the daughter of Helen, and Electra with Pylades. This dénouement is unworthy of the tragedy. The piece, moreover, is full of comic and satiric traits. Some commentators think they rec. ognise the portrait of Socrates in that of the simple and virtuous citizen who, in the assembly of the people, undertakes the defence of Orestes. This play is ascribed by some to Euripides the younger, nephew of the former.—3. Potviaoat, Phaenissa. The subject of this piece is the death of Eteocles and Polynices. The chorus is composed of young Phaenician females, sent, according to the custom established by Agenor, to the city of Thebes, in order to be consecrated to the service of the temple at Delphi. The prologue is assigned to Jocasta. Grotius regards the Phoenissae as the chef-d'oeuvre of Euripides: a more elevated and heroic tone prevails throughout it than is to be sound in any other of his pieces. The subject of the Phoenissa is that also of the Thebais of Seneca. Statius has likewise imitated it in his epic poem, and Rotrou in the first two acts of his Antigone.—4. Míðeta, Medea. The vengeance taken by Medea on the ungrateful Jason, to whom she has sacrificed all, and who, on his arrival at Corinth, abandons her for a royal bride, forms the subject of this tragedy. What constitutes the principal charm of the piece is the simplicity and clearness of the action, and the force and natural cast of the characters. The exposition of the play is made in a monologue by the nurse: the chorus is composed of Corinthian females, a circumstance which does not fail to give an air of great improbability to this portion of the plot. It is said that Euripides gave to the world two editions of this tragedy, and that, in the first, the children of Medea were put to death by the Corinthians, while in the second, which has come down to us, it is their mother herself who slays them. According to this hypothesis, the 1378th verse and those immediately following, in which Medea says that she will impose on Corinth, contemptuously styled by her the land of Sisyphus, an expiatory festival for this crime, have been retained by mistake in the revision in which they should have disappeared. Medea has no expiation to demand of the Corinthians, if they are not guilty of the murder of her sons. (Compare Böttiger, de Me. dea Euripidea, &c. — Matthia, Misc., vol. 1, p. 1,

and descends from the height of the buskin to level (Theatre of the Greeks, 2d ed., p. 133 seqq.)-Of the ground. For these reasons, as well as on account of 120 dramas which Euripides is said to "on composed,

seqq.—Böckh, Graeca. Tragardiae Principum num ea qua supersunt genuina, &c., p. 165.) AElian informs us (W. H., 5, 21), that the Corinthians prevailed upon Euripides to alter the tradition in question: he makes no mention, however, of any change in the piece itself According to others, they purchased this compliance for the sum of five talents. The subject of the Medea was a favourite one with the dramatic writers of former times, and has proved no less so with the moderns. Among the former may be mentioned Neophron of Sicyonia, Ennius, Pacuvius, Accius, Ovid, and Seneca; among the latter, Ludovico Dolce, Glover, Corneille, &c.—5. "Irróżvros creoavopopot, Hippolytus Coronifer, “Hippolytus wearing a crown.” The subject of this tragedy is the same with that which Racine has taken for the basis of his Phèdre, a subject eminently tragical. It presents to our view a female, a feeble-minded woman, the victim of the resentment of Venus, who has inspired her with a criminal passion. An object of horror to him whom she loves, and not daring to reveal her own shame, she dies, after having engaged Theseus, by her misrepresentations, to become the destroyer of his own son. The title of this tragedy is probably derived from the crown which Hippolytus offers to Diana. Euripides at first gave it the name of 'Irmã2utor kažvirröuevoc. He afterward retouched it, and, changing the catastrophe and the title, reproduced it in the year that Pericles died. It gained the prize over the pieces of Iophon and Ion, which had competed with it in the contest. It is sometimes cited under the title of the Phaedra, and the celebrated chef-d'oeuvre of Racine is an imitation of it, as well as the tragedy of Seneca, which last, however, rather merits the name of a parody. A comparison between the Hippolytus of Euripides and the Phèdre of Racine, is given by Louis Racine, in the Memoires de l'Academie des Inscrip. et Belles-Lettres, vol. 8, p. 300; and by the Abbé Batteux in the same collection, vol. 42, p. 452. Consult also the work of Aug. Wilhelm Schlegel, Paris, 1805, 8vo, “Comparaison entre la Phedre de Racine et celle d’ Euripide.”— 6. "A2kmaric, Alcestis. The subject of this tragedy is moral and affecting. It is a wife who dies for the sake of prolonging her husband's existence. Its object is to show, that conjugal affection and an observance of the rites of hospitality are not suffered to go without their reward. Hercules, whom Admetus had kindly received while unfortunate, having learned that Alcestis, the wise of the monarch, had consummated her mournful sacrifice, seeks her in the shades, and restores her to her husband. In this piece, as in some others of Euripides, the introduction of comic traits into a tragic subject is open to just criticism. Although the character of Hercules is interesting and well-drawn, and though the play, in general, offers many beauties, it is, notwithstanding, regarded as one of the most feeble productions of our author.—7. 'ArÖpouárm, Andromache. The death of the son of Achilles, whom Orestes slays, after having carried off from him Hermione, forms the subject of the piece. The scene is laid in Thetidium, a city of Thessaly, near Pharsalus. Some have pretended, that the aim of Euripides in writing this tragedy was to render odious the law of the Athenians which permitted bigamy. (Consult Reflexions sur l’Andromaque d’Euripide et sur l'Andromaque de Racine, par Louis Racine, in the Mem. de l'Acad des Inscrip., &c., vol. 10, p. 31.1.) Racine, in the preface to his Andromaque, holds the following language in relation to the mode of treating the subject which he has adopted in his own piece. “Andromaque, dans Euripide, craint pour la vie de Molossus, qui est un fils qu’elle a eu de Pyrrhus. et qu'Hermione veut faire mourir avec sa mère. Mais ici il ne s'agit point de Molossus. Andromaque ne connoit pas d'autre mari qu'Hector, ni d'autre fils qu'Astyanax. J'ai cru en cela me conformer a l'idée que nous avons maintenant de cette princesse. La plupart de ceux qui ont entendu parler d’Andromaque ne la connoissent que pour la veuve d'Hector, et pour la mère d'Astyanax. On he croit pas qu’elle doive aimer un autre mari ni un autre fils ; et je doute que les larmes d’Andromaque eussent fait sur l'esprit de mes spectateurs l'impression qu’elles ont faite, si elles avoient coulé pour unautre fils que celui qu’elle avoit d'Hector.” It is easy to perceive from this how much the French poet has ennobled by the change the character of his heroine—8. 'Ikérváez, Supplices, “The Female Suppliants.” The scene of this tragedy is laid in front of the temple of Ceres at Eleusis, whither the Argive females, whose husbands have perished before Thebes, have followed their king Adrastus, in the hope of engaging Theseus to take up arms in their behalf, and obtain the rites of sepulture for their dead, whose bodies were withheld by the Thebans. Theseus yields to their request and promises his assistance. In exhibiting this play the third year of the 90th Olympiad, the fourteenth of the Peloponnesian war, Euripides wished, it is said, to detach the Argives from the Spartan cause. His attempt, however, failed, and the treaty was signed by which Mantinea was sacrificed to the ambition of Lacedæmon. The exposition of this piece has not the same fault as the rest: it is imposing and splendid, and made without the intervention of an actual prologue; for the monologue by which AEthra, the mother of Theseus, makes known the subject of the piece, is a prayer addressed to Ceres, in which the recital naturally finds a place.—9. 'Iolyéveta # #v Aiziól, Iphigenia in Aulide, “Iphigenia at Aulis.” The subject of this tragedy is the intended sacrifice of Iphigenia, and her rescue by Diana, who substitutes another victim. It is the only one of the F. of Euripides that has no prologue, for it is well nown that the Rhesus, which is also deficient in this respect, had one formerly. Hence Musgrave has conjectured that the present play had also once a prologue, in which the exposition of i. piece was made by Diana; and Ælian (Hist. Am., 7, 39) cites a passage of the Iphigenia which we do not now find in it, and which could only have been pronounced by Diana; it announces what she intends to do for the purpose of saving Iphigenia. Eichstädt, however, and Böckh, maintain, that the Iphigenia which we at present have could not have been furnished with a prologue, since, if it had been, this prologue ought to have contained the recital which is put in the mouth of Agamemnon at verse 49, seqq. Hence Böckh concludes, that there were two tragedies with this name, one written by Euripides and having a prologue, the other composed by Euripides the younger, and which is also the one that we now possess. (Eichstädt, de Dram. Gracorum Comiro-Satyrico, p. 99.—Böckh, Graeca. Tragardia: Principum, &c., p. 216.—Consult also Bremi, Philolog. Beyträge aus der Schweiz, p. 143, and Jacobs, Zusitze zu Sulzer, vol. 5, pt. 2, p. 401.) Racine has made the story of Iphigenia the subject of one of his chefs-d'oeuvre. (Consult the Comparaison de l'Iphi. genie d’ Euripide arec l'Iphigemie de Racine, par Louis Racine, in the Mem de l'Acad, des Inscrip., &c., vol. 8, p. 288.) It has also been treated by Ludovico Dolce and by Rotrou.-10. 'Iolyéveta à èv Taipouc, Iphigenia in Tauride, “Iphigenia in Tauris.” The daughter of Agamemnon, rescued by Diana from the knife of the sacrificer, and transported to Tauris, there serves the goddess as a priestess in her temple. Orestes has been cast on the inhospitable shores of this country, along with his friend Pylades, and by the laws of Tauris they must be sacrificed to Diana. Recognised by his sister at the fatal moment, Orestes conducts her back to their common country. A monologue by Iphigenia occupies the place of a prologue and exposition. The scene where Iphigenia and her brother became known to each other is of a deep and

[ocr errors]

touching interest: nevertheless, Guimond de la Touche is said, is this respect, to have surpassed his model. — 1 1. Todačec, Troades, “The #. females.” The action of this piece is prior to that of the Hecuba. The scene is laid in the Grecian camp, under the walls of Troy, which has fallen into the hands of the foe. A body of female captives have been distributed by lot among the victors. Agamemnon has reserved Cassandra for himself; Polyxena has been immolated to the manes of Achilles; Andromache has fallen to Neoptolemus, Hecuba to Ulysses. The object of the poet is to show us in Hecuba a mother bowed down by misfortune. The Greeks destroy Astyanax, and his mangled body is brought in to the mother of Hector, his own parent being by this time carried away in the train of Neoptolemus. Ilium is then given as a prey to the flames. This succession of horrors passes in mournful review before the eyes of the spectator; yet there is no unity of action to constitute a subject for the piece, and consequently the play has no dénodement. Neptune appears in the prologue. Seneca and M. de Chateaubrun have imitated this tragedy.-12. Bákyat, Bacchae, “The female Bacchanalians.” The arrival of Bacchus at Thebes and the death of Pentheus, who is torn in pieces by his mother and sister—such is the subject of this piece, in which Bacchus opens the scene and makes himself known to the spectators. Brumoy regards this as a satyric drama; in this, however, he is mistaken, as the chorus of satyrs can never be dispensed with in such compositions. The action of the Bacchae is very defective: it is a succession of rich paintings, of tragic situations, of brilliant verses, connected together by a very feeble interest. The spectacle which this tragedy presented must have been at once imposing and well calculated to keep alive curiosity. (Compare the remarks of Prevost, Eramen de la tragédie des Bacchantes, in the Theatre des Grecs, by Raoul-Rochette, vol. 9, p. 376.) There is some probability for supposing that we have this play in a second edition.—13. "Hoax? eiðat, Heraclidae. The descendants of Hercules, persecuted by Eurystheus, flee for refuge to Athens, and implore the protection of that city. The Athenians lend aid, and Eurystheus becomes the victim of the vengeance he was about bringing upon them. Iolas, an old companion of Hercules, explains the subject to the spectators. The poet manages to impart an air of great interest to the piece.—14. 'E2&vm, Helena. The scene is laid in Egypt, where Menelaus, after the destruction of Troy, finds Helen, who had been detained there by Proteus, king of that country, when Paris wished to convey her to Ilium. Euripides follows in this the account of Herodotus, to which he adds some particulars of his own that border on romance. The action passes at the isle of Pharos, where Theoclymenus, the son and successor of Proteus, keeps Helen in custody with the view of espousing her. She employs a stratagem in order to escape from his power. The dénouement of this piece resembles that of the Iphigenia in Tauris— 15. 'Iow, Ion. Ion, son of Apollo and Creüsa, daughter of Erechtheus, king of Athens, has been brought up among the priests at Delphi. The design of Apollo is to make him pass for the son of Xuthus, who has married Creüsa. The interest of the piece consists in the double danger which Creiisa and Ion run ; the former of being slain by Ion, and the latter of perishing by the poison prepared for him by a mother who is ignorant of his being her son. The play, however, is somewhat complicated, and has need of a long exposition, which is assigned to Mercury. The scene is laid at the entrance of Apollo's temple in Delphi, a place expressly chosen in order to give to the spectacle an air of pomp and solemnity. A religious tone, full of gravity and softness, pervades the whole piece, There is much resemblance between this tragedy and the Athalie of Racine. — 16. Hono.*

Hercules furens. After having killed, in his phrensy, his wife and children, Hercules proceeds to submit himself to certain expiatory ceremonies, and to seek repose at Athens. Amphitryon appears in the prologue: the scene is laid at Thebes.—17. 'HAExtpa, Electra. The subject of this piece has been treated also by Eschylus and Sophocles, but by each in his peculiar way. Euripides transfers the scene from the palace of AEgisthus to the country near Argos: the exposition of the play is made by a cultivator, to whom Electra has been compelled to give her hand, but who has taken no advantage of this, and has respected in her the daughter of a royal line. On comparing Euripides with Sophocles, we will find him inserior to the latter in the manner of treating the subject: he has succeeded, however, in embellishing it with interesting episodes.—18. 'Pijaoc, Rhesus. A subject derived from the tenth book of the Iliad. Some able critics have proved that this piece was never written by Euripides. (Consult Dissertation sur la tragédie de Rhesus, par Hardion, in the Mem. de l'Acad. des Inscr. et Belles-Lettres, vol. 10, p. 323–Valckenaer, Diatribe Euripidea, c. 9, seqq.—Beck's Puripides, vol. 3, p. 444, seqq., &c.) – 19, baethov, Phaethon. Of this play we have about eighty verses remaining. Clymene, the mother of Phaethon, is the wife of Merops, king of the Ethiopians, and Phaethon passes for the son of this prince. The young man, having conceived some doubts respecting his origin, addresses himself to the Sun. The catastrophe, which cost him his life, is well known. In the tragedy of Euripides, the body of her son is brought to Clymene, at the very moment when Merops is occupied with the care of procuring for him a bride.—20. Aavan, Danaë. Of this play we have the commencement alone, unless the sixty-five verses, which commonly pass for a part of the prologue, are rather to be considered as the production of some imitator, who has proceeded no farther in his attempt to ape the style of Euripides. This last is the hypothesis of Wolf. (Litt. Anal, vol. 2, p. 394.) —The ancient writers cite also a poem of Euripides, to which we have already alluded, under the title of E.T.uk/detov, “Funeral hymn,” on the death of Nicias and Demosthenes, as well as of the other Athenians who perished in the disastrous expedition against Syracuse. We possess also two Epigrams of Euripides, each consisting of four verses, one of which has been preserved for us in the Anthology, and the other in Athenaeus. There have also come down to us five letters, ascribed to Euripides, and written with sufficient purity and simplicity of style to warrant the belief that they are genuine productions. (Compare the remarks of Beck in his edition of the poet—vol. 7, ed. Glasg., p. 720.)—Of the numerous fragments of Euripides that have reached us, it seems unnecessary here to speak. The only production worth mentioning, after those already noticed, is the satyric drama entitled Cyclops (Kūkzano). The Greek satyric drama must not be confounded with the satire of the Romans, from which it was totally distinct. (Bentley on Phal. aris, p. 246, ed. Lond., 1816.) It was a novel and mixed kind of play, first exhibited by Pratinas, probably at a period not long subsequent to Olymp. 70, 2, B.C. 499. (Theatre of the Greeks, 2d ed., p. 113.) The poet, borrowing from tragedy its external form and mythological materials, added a chorus of satyrs, with their lively songs, gestures, and movements. This species of composition quickly obtained great celebrity. The tragic poets, in compliance with the humour of their auditors, deemed it advisable to combine this ludicrous exhibition with their graver pieces. One satyric drama was added to each tragic trilogy, as long as the custom of contending with a series of plays, and not with single pieces, continued. AEschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides were all distinguished satyric *. and in the Cyclops of the latter we pos0

sess the only extant specimen of this singular exhibi-
tion. Notwithstanding, however, its burlesque ingre-
dients, the tragic character was so far preserved in the
satyric play, that the subject appears to have been
always historical, and the action partly serious, though
with a fortunate catastrophe. No less than tragedy
and comedy, the satyric drama had its peculiar and ap-
propriate stage decorations, representing woods, caves,
mountains, and other diversities of the sylvan landscape.
Satyrs old and young, with Silenus in his various ages,
were distinguished from one another by the variety of
their grotesque masks, crowned with long, shaggy goat's
hair; while the Satyrs were negligently clad in skins
of beasts, and the Sileni decorated with garlands of
flowers skilfully woven. The satyr-parts, too, appear
to have been sometimes acted by pantomimic perform-
ers, moving on a kind of stilts, to give more completely
the appearance of goat's legs. The choral dance, it is
hardly necessary to remark, was thoroughly rustic, pe-
culiarly lively, and quite opposite in character to the
solemn and impressive movements which accompanied
the serious tragedy. (Compare Casaubon, de Sat.
Poes., 1, 5.) The fable of the Cyclops of Euripides
is drawn from the Odyssey. The subject is Ulysses
depriving Polyphemus of his eye, after having intox-
icated him with wine. In order to connect with the
story a chorus of satyrs, the poet has recourse to the
following expedient. He supposes that Silenus, and
his sons, the Satyrs, in seeking over every sea for Bac-
chus, whom pirates have carried away, have been ship-
wrecked on the coast of Sicily, where they have fallen
into the hands of Polyphemus. The Cyclops has
made slaves of them, and has compelled them to tend
his sheep. Ulysses, having been cast on the same
coast, and having been, in like manner, made captive
by Polyphemus, finds in these satyrs a willing band of
accomplices. They league with him against their mas-
ter, but their excessive cowardice renders them very
useless auxiliaries. They profit, however, by his vic-
tory, and embark along with him.—Among the numer-
ous editions of Euripides which have issued from the
press, the following are particularly worthy of notice:
that of Beck, commenced by Morus, Lips., 1778-88,
3 vols. 4to: that of Musgrave, Oxon., 1778, 4 vols.
4to: that of Matthiae, Lips., 1813-37, 10 vols. 8vo. ;
and the variorum Glasgow edition, 1820, 9 vols. 8vo,
—Of the separate plays, the best editions are those of
Porson, Brunck, Walckenaer, Monk, &c. The Diatribe
of Valckenaer (Diatribe in Euripidis perditorum dra-
matum reliquias, Lugd. Bat., 1767, 4to) is a choice
piece of criticism, and contains some happy corrections
of the text of the fragments. It is an excellent work
for those who wish to be acquainted with the philo-
sophical opinions of Euripides, and with the peculiar
character of his style, as distinguished from that of
Sophocles.—II. A nephew of the preceding (Suid,
s.r.—Böckh, de Trag. Gratc., xiv. and xviii.), com-
monly styled Euripides Junior. He was a dramatic
poet, like his uncle, and exhibited, besides his own
compositions, several plays of the latter, then dead;
one of these gained the prize. Böckh and others sus:
pect that he reproduced the Iphigenia in Aulis, and
perhaps the Palamedes. (Wid, preceding article.) To
this Euripides is ascribed, by Suidas, an edition of
Homer. (Theatre of the Greeks. 2d ed., p. 158.)
Euripus, a narrow strait, dividing Euboea from the
main land of Greece, and supposed to have been formed
by an earthquake, or some other convulsion of nature.
which tore Euboea from the Boeotian coast. (Eurip.
ap. Strab.,60) Several of the ancients have reported,
that the tide in this strait ebbed and flowed seven times
in the day, and as many times during the night, and
that the current was so strong as to arrest the progress
of ships in full sail. (Pomp. Mela, 2, 7–Strabo,
55.—Id., 403–Plin, 2,100.) According to the pop-
ular account, Aristotle drowned himself here out of

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

chagrin, from not being able to account for so unusual
a motion of the water. The story, however, is devoid
of foundation. (Wid. Aristoteles.)—From this rapid
movement of the current, the Euripus derived its an-
cient name (ei, bene, and flirta, jacio). Livy's ac-
count of this strait appears the most rational. “A
more dangerous station for a fleet,” observes this wri-
ter, “can hardly be found; besides that the winds rush
down suddenly and with great fury from the high
mountains on each side, the strait itself of the Euripus
does not ebb and flow seven times a day, at stated
hours, as report says; but the current changing irreg-
ularly, like the wind, from one point to another, is
hurried along like a torrent tumbling from a steep
mountain; so that, night or day, ships can never lie
quiet.” (Lit., 28, 6.) The straits are now called, by
a corruption of the ancient name, the straits of Negro-
pont. Hobhouse visited the Euripus, and the account
given by this intelligent traveller of its appearance in
our own days is deserving of being cited. “What I
witnessed of the Euripus was, that the stream flows
with violence, like a mill-race, under the bridges, and
that a strong eddy is observable on that side from which
it is about to run, about a hundred yards above the
bridges; the current, however, not being at all appa-
rent at a gro, distance, either to the south or north.
Yet the ebbing and flowing are said to be visible at
ten or a dozen leagues distance, at each side of the
strait, by marks shown of the rising and falling of the
water in several small bays on both coasts. The depth
of the stream is very inconsiderable, not much more
than four feet. The account which Wheler copied
from the Jesuit Babin, respecting the changes of the
Euripus, and which he collected on the spot, though
not from his personal experience, he not being long
enough in the place, was, that it was subject to the
same laws as the tides of the ocean for eighteen days
of every moon, and was irregular, having twelve, thir-
teen, or fourteen flowings and ebbings for the other
eleven days; that is, that it was regular for the three
last days of the old moon and the eight first of the
new, then irregular for five days, regular again for the
next seven, and irregular for the other six. The water
seldom rose to two feet, and usually not above one;
and, contrary to the ocean, it flowed towards the sea,
and ebbed towards the main land of Thessaly, north-
ward. On the irregular days it rose for half an hour,
and fell for three quarters; but, when regular, was six
hours in each direction, losing an hour a day. It did
not appear to be influenced by the wind. A Greek of
Athens, who had resided three years at Egripo, told
me that he considered the changes to depend chiefly
on the wind, which, owing to the high lands in the vi-
cinity of the strait, is particularly variable in this place.

[ocr errors]

were aware, that the story of the Euripus changing its
course always seven times during the day was un-
founded; and the account given of it by Livy (28,6)
corresponds, in some measure, with that of my Athe-
nian informant. The bridge which anciently connect-
ed the main land and the island was considerably long-
er than that which at present serves the same purpose.
We are informed, that the strait was made more nar-
row by a dike, which the inhabitants of Chalcis con-
structed to lessen the passage; and it is by no means
improbable, that the whole of the flat on which the
fortified part of Egripo now stands, and which is sur-
rounded on the land side by a wide marsh, was for-
merly covered by the waters of the Euripus.” (Hob.
house's Journey, vol. 1, Lett. 29, p. 372, seqq., Am. ed.)
Európa, I. one of the three main divisions of the
ancient world. With the northern parts of this the
ancients were very slightly acquainted, viz., what are
now Prussia, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Russia.
They applied to this quarter the general name of Scan-
dinavia, and thought it consisted of a number of islands.
From the Portuguese cape, denominated by mariners
the Rock of Lisbon, to the Uralian Mountains,thelength
of modern Europe may be reckoned at about 3300
British miles, and from Cape Nord, in Danish Lapland,
to Cape Matapan, the southern extremity of the Morea,
it may be about 2350. As regards the limits of Eu-
rope, it may be remarked, that the chain of the Ural
Mountains, the river of the same name, the Caspian
Sea, and the lowest level of the isthmus between it
and the Sea of Azos (a level indicated by the course of
the Manytch and the Kuma), are boundaries between
Europe and Asia in the part in which they are con-
tiguous. That frontier ends at the Tanais or Don,
which for a short space terminates the two continents.
The remaining limits are more easily determined; they
are the Sea of Azof, the Black Sea, the Bosporus, the
Propontis, and the Hellespont. The line is taken across
the Archipelago; Tenedos, Mytilene, Chios, Samos,
Nicaria, Cos, and Rhodes, belong to Asia; Naxos,
Stampalia, and Scarpanto, to Europe. The Mediter-
ranean divides Africa and Europe; but it is not ascer-
tained whether Malta, Gozo, Comino, Lampedosa, and
Linosa are African or European islands. The Cana-
ries, Madeira, and the Azores are, in a physical poin
of view, appendages of Africa, being parts of a sub-
marine continuation from the chain of Atlas.-With
respect to the name of Europe, it must be confessed
that its etymology is altogether uncertain. Bochart de-
rives the word from the Phoenician Ur-appa, which he
makes equivalent to the Greek 2 evkorpägaror, “of a
white or fair aspect;" and considers it as applying not
only to the sister of Cadmus, but also to the Continent of
Europe, from the fairer visages and complexions of its

The two great gulfs, for so they may be called, at the
north and south of the strait, which present a large
surface to every storm that blows, and receive the
whole force of the Archipelago, communicate with

inhabitants: “quia Europaei Africanos candore faciei multum superant.” (Geogr. Sacr., 4, 33, col. 298.) M. Court de Gebelin, on the other hand, deduces the |name from the Phoenician Wrai, i.e., owesos indi.

[ocr errors]

-- each other at this narrow shallow channel; so that the cating the country lying in that direction with refer-
* . Euripus may be a sort of barometer, indicative of every lence to Asia. His explanation, however, of the mode
** change, and of whatever rising and falling of the tide, in which the same appellation came to be applied
--- not visible in the open expanse of waters there may be to the lunar divinity, is far less plausible: “Cenom

in these seas. I did not, however, see any marks of me convintpas moins à la Lune; caronnelavoit quele
the water being ever higher at one time than at another. soir; et lorsqu'on commence à l'apercevoir a la Néo-
The Greek had observed also, that, when the wind was menie, c'est toujours au couchant: d'ailleurs n'est
north or south, that is, either up or down the strait, the elepas la Reine de la Nuit! elle fut done appellee

[ocr errors]

alteration took place only four times in the twenty-four hours; but that, when it was from the east, and blew strongly over the mountains behind Egripo, the refluxes took place more frequently, ten or twelve times; and that, in particular, immediately before the full of the moon, the turbulence and eddies, as well as the rapidity of the stream, were very much increased. There was never, at any season, any certain rule with respect either to the period or the number of changes. Those of the ancients who inquired into this phaenomenon Siss

avec raison Europe.” (Monde Primitif, vol. 1, p.
250)—As regards the progress of geographical dis-
covery, it may be remarked, that the earliest notices
of Europe are in the writings of the Greeks, who in-
habited the southeastern corner of the continent. From
this country the geographical knowledge of Europe ex-
tended by degrees to the west and north. Homer was
acquainted with the countries round the AEgean Sea
or Archipelago. He had also a pretty accurate gem-
eral notion respecting those which lie ** south

[ocr errors]
[graphic]
« PoprzedniaDalej »