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They made their peace however with Augustus, and having met afterwards with different treatment under different emperors, sometimes favourable, sometimes harsh, and never more severe than under Vespasian, their oppressions were at length relieved by the virtuous Nerva and Trajan.k
Mankind during the interval, which began from Nerva, and which extended to the death of that best of emperors Marcus Antoninus, felt a respite from those evils which they had so severely felt before, and which they felt so severely revived under Commodus, and his wretched successors.
Athens, during the above golden period, enjoyed more than all others the general felicity, for she found in Adrian so generous a benefactor, that her citizens could hardly help esteeming him a second founder. He restored their old privileges; gave them new; repaired their ancient buildings, and added others of his own. Marcus Antoninus, although he did not do so much, still continued to shew them his benevolent attention.'
If from this period we turn our eyes back, we shall find, for centuries before, that Athens was the place of education, not only for Greeks, but for Romans. It was hither that Horace was sent by his father; it was here that Cicero put his son Marcus under Cratippus, one of the ablest philosophers then belonging to that city."
The sects of philosophers, which we have already described, were still existing, when St. Paul came thither. We cannot enough admire the superior eloquence of that apostle, in his manner of addressing so intelligent an audience. We cannot enough admire the sublimity of his exordium; the propriety of his mentioning an altar, which he had found there ; and his quotation from Aratus, one of their well-known poets."
Nor was Athens only celebrated for the residence of philosophers, and the institution of youth: men of rank and fortune found pleasure in a retreat which contributed so much to their liberal enjoyment.
The friend and correspondent of Cicero, T. Pomponius, from his long attachment to this city and country had attained such a perfection in its arts and language, that he acquired to himself the additional name of Atticus. This great man may be said to have lived during times of the worst and cruelest factions. His youth was spent under Sylla and Marius; the middle of his life during all the sanguinary scenes that followed; and, when he was old, he saw the proscriptions of Antony and Octavius. Yet though Cicero and a multitude more of the best men perished,
k See the same tract, in the same m See Horat. Epist. ii. l. ii. 43, and volume of Gronovius's collection, p. 1746, the beginning of Cicero's Offices, addressed 1747.
to his son
-Quamquam, Marce Fili, &c. I See the same author, in the same Acts xvii. 22, &c. volume, p. 1748, 1749.
he had the good fortune to survive every danger. Nor did he seek a safety for himself alone; his virtue so recommended him to the leaders of every side, that he was able to save not himself alone, but the lives and fortunes of many of his friends. When we look to this amiable character, we may well
suppose, that it was not merely for amusement that he chose to live at Athens ; but rather that, by residing there, he might so far realize philosophy, as to employ it for the conduct of life, and not merely for ostentation.
Another person, during a better period, (that I mean between Nerva and Marcus Antoninus.) was equally celebrated for his affection to this city. By this person I mean Herodes Atticus, who acquired the last name from the same reasons for which it had formerly been given to Pomponius.P
We have remarked already, that vicissitudes befall both men and cities, and changes too often happen from prosperous to adverse, Such was the state of Athens under the successors of Alexander, and so on from Sylla down to the time of Augustus. It shared the same hard fate with the Roman empire in general upon the accession of Commodus.
At length, after a certain period, the Barbarians of the north began to pour into the south. Rome was taken by Alaric, and Athens was besieged by the same. Yet here we are informed (at least we learn so from history) that it was miraculously saved by Minerva and Achilles. The goddess, it seems, and the hero both of them appeared, compelling the invader to raise the siege.
It was thus, we are told, that, many years before, Castor and Pollux had fought for the Romans;' and that, many centuries afterwards, St. George, at Iconium, discomfited the Saracens ; nay, so late as in the sixteenth century, a gallant Spaniard, Peter de Paz, was seen to assist his countrymen, some months after his decease, when they made an assault at the siege of Antwerp.
• The life of this extraordinary man is printed at Mentz, an. 1617. cum gratia et finely and fully written by Cornelius Nepos, privilegio Cæsar. Majest. together with the a life well worthy of perusal. See also the approbation of Oliverius Manarcus, vicelarge and valuable collection of confidential provincial of the Belgic Jesuits, and Gulielletters, addressed to him by Cicero. mus Fabricius, styled Apostolicus et regius
P See Fabric. Bibl. Græc. vol. iv. p. 371. librorum censor; and attested also by the and Suidas, under the word Herodes. evidence Multorum gravium militum, qui
4 See Zosimi Histor. I. v. c. 5, 6. p. 511, vidisse se sancte jurabant. &c. edit. Gr. Lat. 8vo. 1679. where the The besieged, it seems, and their allies, whole story is related at length.
the Dutch and English, were upon the point * Sec Florus, 1. i. 2 ; 1. ii. 12. Justin. of forcing a post (aggerem) possessed by the 1. xx. 3.
Spaniards, who besieged the city. Del• Fuller's Holy War, p. 27. Matt. Rio's words after this are, Tum a regiis miParis, p. 43. According to this last author, litibus (Hispanis scil.) primo paucioribus there were three that fought, St. George, conspectus prope aggerem Petrus de Paz, St. Demetrius, and St. Mercury.
Hispanus tribunus, vir et militarib. et . The following extract is taken from the pietatis ornamentis laudatissimus, qui, jam Disquisitiones Magicæ of Martin Del-Rio, mensibus aliquot ante defunctus, visus his armatus, ut solebat, legionem præcedere, et u Essays and Counsels by Lord Verulam, suis quondam militibus, manu advocatis, num. xxxv. sequerentur ut se imperare. Indicant primi * See Synesii Epist. 135. in Gronovius's secundis ; sic tertiis; sic sequentibus ; vi- Collection, vol. v. (as before,) p. 1751, and dent omnes idem, mirantur, animisque re- of this work, p. 461. sumptis notum sequuntur ducem, &c. Dis- y Sec Gronovius's Collection, (as before,) quisit. Mag. p. 262
Instead of giving my own sentiments upon these events, I choose to give those of an abler man upon a similar subject. After having related some singular stories of equal probability, lord Bacon concludes with the following observation.
“My judgment (says he) is, that they (he means the stories) ought all to be despised, and ought to serve but for winter-talk by the fireside. Though when I say despised, I mean it as for belief; for otherwise the spreading or publishing of them is in no sort to be despised, for they have done much mischief."
Synesius, who lived in the fifth century, visited Athens, and gives in his Epistles an account of his visit. Its lustre appears at that time to have been greatly diminished. Among other things he informs us, that the celebrated portico or colonnade, the Greek name of which gave name to the sect of Stoics, had by an oppressive proconsul been despoiled of its fine pictures ; and that, on this devastation, it had been forsaken by those philosophers.*
In the thirteenth century, when the Grecian empire was cruelly oppressed by the crusaders, and all things in confusion, Athens was besieged by one Segurus Leo, who was unable to take it; and, after that, by a marquis of Montserrat, to whom it surrendered.
Its fortune after this was various; and it was sometimes under the Venetians, sometimes under the Catalonians, till Mahomet the Great made himself master of Constantinople. This fatal catastrophe (which happened near two thousand years after the time of Pisistratus) brought Athens, and with it all Greece, into the hands of the Turks, under whose despotic yoke it has continued ever since.
The city from this time has been occasionally visited, and descriptions of it published by different travellers. Wheeler was there along with Spon, in the time of our Charles the Second, and both of them have published curious and valuable narratives. Others, as well natives of this island as foreigners, have been there since, and some have given (as Monsr. Le Roy) specious publications of what we are to suppose they saw. None however have equalled the truth, the accuracy, and elegance of Mr. Stuart, who, after having resided there between three and four years, has given us such plans and elevations of the capital buildings now standing, together with learned comments to elucidate every part, that he seems, as far as was possible for
the power of description, to have restored the city to its ancient splendour.
He has not only given us the greater outlines and their measures, but separate measures and drawings of the minuter decorations ; so that a British artist may (if he please) follow Phidias, and build in Britain as Phidias did at Athens.
Spon, speaking of Attica, says that the road near Athens was pleasing, and the very peasants polished. Speaking of the Athenians in general, he says of them, “ Ils ont une politesse d'esprit naturelle, et beaucoup d'addresse dans toutes les affaires, qu'ils enterprenent."
Wheeler, who was Spon’s fellow-traveller, says as follows, when he and his company approached Athens: “We began now to think ourselves in a more civilized country than we had yet passed : for not a shepherd that we met but bid us welcome, and wished us a good journey." p. 335. Speaking of the Athenians, he adds, “This must with great truth be said of them, their bad fortune hath not been able to take from them what they have by nature, that is, much subtlety or wit.” p. 347. And again, “The Athenians, notwithstanding the long possession that barbarism hath had of this place, seem to be much more polished in point of manners and conversation, than any other in these parts; being civil, and of respectful behaviour to all, and highly complimental in their discourse.” b
Stuart says of the present Athenians, what Spon and Wheeler said of their forefathers: he found in them the same address, the same natural acuteness, though severely curbed by their despotic masters.
One custom I cannot omit. He tells me, that frequently at their convivial meetings, one of the company takes what they now call a lyre, though it is rather a species of guitar, and after a short prelude on the instrument, as if he were waiting for inspiration, accompanies his instrumental music with his voice, suddenly chanting some extempore verses, which seldom exceed two or three distichs; that he then delivers the lyre to his neighbour, who, after he has done the same, delivers it to another; and that so the lyre circulates, till it has passed round the table.
Nor can I forget his informing me, that, notwithstanding the various fortune of Athens, as a city, Attica was still famous for olives, and mount Hymettus for honey. Human institutions perish, but nature is permanent.
? This most curious and valuable book was published at London, in the year 1762.
a Spon, vol. ii. p. 76, 92. edit. 8vo. b Wheeler, p. 356. edit. fol.
ACCOUNT OF BYZANTINE SCHOLARS CONTINUED—SUIDAS-JOHN STOBÆUS,
OR OF STOBA-PHOTIUS-MICHAEL PSELLUS_THIS LAST SAID TO HAVE COMMENTED TWENTY-FOUR PLAYS OF MENANDER-REASONS TO MAKE THIS PROBABLE-EUSTATHIUS, A BISHOP, THE COMMENTATOR OF HOMER-EUSTRATIUS, A BISHOP, THE COMMENTATOR OF ARISTOTLEPLANUDES, A MONK, THE ADMIRER AND TRANSLATOR OF LATIN CLASSICS, AS WELL AS THE COMPILER OF ONE OF THE PRESENT GREEK ANTHOLOGIES-CONJECTURES CONCERNING THE DURATION OF THE LATIN TONGUE AT CONSTANTINOPLE.
That I may not be prolix, I hasten from the writers already mentioned to Suidas, who is supposed to have lived during the ninth or tenth centuries. In his Lexicon, which is partly historical, partly explanatory, he has preserved many quotations from authors who lived in the earlier and politer ages, and from poets in particular, whose works at present are for the greater part lost. Kuster, an able critic in the beginning of the present century, gave a fine edition of this author, at Cambridge, in three volumes folio; and Mr. Toupe of Cornwall (whom I have mentioned already, and cannot mention with too much applause) has lately favoured the learned world with many valuable emendations.
John Stobæus, or of Stoba, (whose name John makes it probable he was a Christian,) is of an uncertain age, as well as Suidas; though some imagine him to have lived during an earlier period, by two or three centuries.d His work is not a lexicon, like that of the other, but an immense common-place, filled with extracts upon various subjects, both ethical and physical, which extracts he had collected from the most approved writers. As this book is highly valuable, from containing such incredible variety of sentiments upon interesting topics, and those taken from authors
many of whom are lost; as it is at the same time so incorrectly printed, that in too many places it is hardly intelligible; it would be a labour well worthy an able critic, by the help of manuscripts and plausible conjecture, to restore it, as far as possible, to its original purity. The speculations he chiefly gives us are neither trivial nor licentious, but, in the language of Horace,
Quod magis ad nos Pertinet, et nescire malum est. But to return from Stobæus to Suidas. If we consider the c Concerning this little-known author, I See Fabric. Biblioth. Græc. vol. vii. see the preface of his learned editor, Kuster. 665.