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late age when Suidas lived; if we consider, too, the authors which he must needs have studied, in order to form his work ; authors who, many of them, wrote in the most refined and polished ages; it will be evident, that even in those late centuries the taste for a purer literature was by no means extinct, and that even then there were readers who knew its value.
In the ninth century lived Photius, patriarch of Constantinople. His most celebrated work may be called a journal of his studies; a journal where we learn the various authors he perused, the subjects they treated, the plans
of their works, and where sometimes, also, we have extracts. From him we are informed, not only of many authors now lost, but what was in his time the state of many that are now remaining.
Among the authors now lost, he perused Theopompus the historian, and Hyperides the orator; among those now mutilated and imperfect, he perused entire Diodorus Siculus. Many others, if necessary, might be added of either sort.
It is singular, with regard to Photius, that from a layman he was raised at once to be patriarch of Constantinople. Yet his studies evidently seem to have had such a rank in view, being principally applied to theology, to history, and to oratory; with enough philosophy and medicine not to appear deficient, if such subjects should occur. As to poetry, one might imagine, either that he had no relish for it, or that, in the train of his inquiries, he did not esteem it a requisite.
Michael Psellus, of the eleventh century, was knowing in the Greek philosophy and poetry of the purer ages, and for his various and extensive learning was ranked among the first and ablest scholars of his time.
Besides his treatise of Mathematics, his comments upon Aristotle, and a number of other works, (many of which are printed,) he is said to have commented and explained no less than twentyfour comedies of Menander, a treatise now lost, though extant as well as the comedies in so late a period. He must have had a relish for that polite writer, or otherwise it is not probable he would have undertaken such a labour.
Nor need we wonder this should happen. Why should not the polite Menander have had his admirers in these ages, as well as the licentious Aristophanes? Or rather, why not as well as Sophocles and Euripides? The scholia upon these (though some, perhaps may be more ancient) were compiled by critics, who lived long after Psellus.
e See Fabric. Bibl. Græc. vol. ix. 369. from bigotry, perhaps from a consciousness r See Fabric. Bibl. Græc. vol. i. 769. of their own wretched inferiority in every
In the passage quoted by Fabricius upon species of elegant composition, but certainly this subject, its author says, that the latter from no indignation against indecency and Greek monks persuaded the latter Greek immorality. For if so, why preserve Luemperors, to destroy Menander and many cian? why preserve Aristophanes ? why other of the old Greek poets, from the loose- preserve collections of epigrams, more inness of their morals, and their great inde- decent and flagitious than the grossest cencies. That the monks may have per- productions of the most licentious modern suaded this, is not improbable ; perhaps ages?
We may add, with regard to all these scholiasts, (whatever may have been their age,) they would never have undergone the labours of compilation and annotation, bad they not been encouraged by the taste of their contemporary countrymen. For who ever published, without hopes of having readers!
The same may be asserted of the learned bishop of Thessalonica, Eustathius, who lived in the twelfth century. His admiration of Homer must have been almost enthusiastic, to carry him through so complete, so minute, and so vast a commentary both upon the Iliad and the Odyssey, collected from such an immense number both of critics and historians.
Eustratius, the metropolitan of Nice, who lived a little earlier in the same century, convinces us that he studied Aristotle with no less zeal; and that, not only in his logical pieces, but in his ethical also, as may be seen by those minute and accurate comments on the Nicomachean Ethics, which go under his name, and in which, though others had their share, he still is found to have taken so large a portion to himself.
Planudes, a monk of the fourteenth century, appears (which is somewhat uncommon) to have understood and admired the Latin classics, Cicero, Cæsar, Ovid, Boethius, and others; parts of which authors he translated, such as the Commentaries of Cæsar relative to the Gallic wars, the Dream of Scipio by Cicero, the Metamorphosis of Ovid, the fine tract of Boethius de Consolatione, and (according to Spon) St. Augustine de Civitate Dei. Besides this, he formed a Greek Anthology, (that well-known collection printed by Wechelius in 1600,) and composed several original pieces of his own.
It appears from these examples, and will hereafter appear from others, how much the cause of letters and humanity is indebted to the church.
Having mentioned Latin classics, I beg leave to submit a conjecture concerning the state and duration of the Latin tongue at Constantinople.
When Constantine founded this imperial city, he not only adorned it with curiosities from every part of the Roman empire, but he induced, by every sort of encouragement, many of the first families in Italy, and a multitude more of inferior rank, to leave their country, and there settle themselves. We may therefore suppose, that Latin was for a long time the prevailing language of the place, till in a course of years it was supplanted by
& Demetrius Triclinius, the scholiast on i See Fabric. Biblioth. Græc. vol. ii. Sophocles, lived after Planudes, for he mentions him. See Fabric. Bibl. Græc. p. 634. * See Fabric. Biblioth. Græc, vol. x.
h See Fabric. Biblioth. Græc, vol. i. p. 533. p. 289, &c.
Greek, the common language of the neighbourhood, and the fashionable acquired language of every polite Roman.
We are told, that soon after the end of the sixth century, Latin ceased to be spoken at Rome. Yet was it in the beginning of that century that Justinian published his Laws in Latin at Constantinople'; and that the celebrated Priscian in the same city taught the principles of the Latin grammar.
If we descend to a period still later, (so late, indeed, as to the tenth and eleventh centuries,) we shall find, in the ceremonial of the Byzantine court, certain formularies preserved, evidently connected with this subject.
As often as the emperor gave an imperial banquet, it was the custom for some of his attendants, at peculiar times during the feast, to repeat and chant the following words: Kwvoépßet Δέους ήμπέριουμ βέστρουμ-βήβητε, Δόμηνι ήμπεράτωρες εν μουλτος άννος: Δέους όμνήποτενς πρέστεθ-'Ην γαυδίο πρανδείτε, Δόμηνι.
It may possibly for a moment surprise a learned reader, when he hears that the meaning of this strange jargon is, “May God preserve your empire: live, imperial lords, for many years; God Almighty so grant: dine, my lords, in joy."
But his doubts will soon vanish, when he finds this jargon to be Latin, and comes to read it exhibited according to a Latin alphabet :
“ Conservet Deus imperium vestrum-vivite, domini imperatores, in multos annos; Deus Omnipotens præstet—in gaudio prandete, domini."
It is evident, from these instances, that traces of Latin were still remaining at Constantinople during those centuries. It will be then, perhaps, less wonderful, if Planudes upon the same spot should, in the fourteenth century, appear to have understood it. We may suppose, that by degrees it changed from a common language to a learned one, and that, being thus confined to the learned few, its valuable works were by their labours again made known, and diffused among their countrymen in Greek translations.
This, too, will make it probable, that even to the lowest age of the Greek empire their great libraries contained many valuable Latin manuscripts; perhaps had entire copies of Cicero, of Livy, of Tacitus, and many others. Where else did Planudes, when he translated, find his originals ?
I See before, p. 454, note a.
by Leichius and Reiskius, at Leipzic, in the m These formularies are selected from a year 1751. See of this book, p. 215, 216. ceremonial of the Byzantine court, drawn Many more traces of this Hellenistic Latin up by the emperor Constantine Porphyro- occurs in other parts of it. In the Latin genitus, who reigned in the beginning of types I have followed the commentator, and the eleventh century. The book, being a not the translator; and as the Greeks have large folio, was published in the originalno letter but B to denote the Latin V, have Greek, with a Latin translation and notes, preferred vivite to bibite.
NICETAS, THE CHONIATE-HIS CURIOUS NARRATIVE OF THE MISCHIEFS
DONE BY BALDWYN'S CRUSADE, WHEN THEY SACKED CONSTANTINOPLE IN THE YEAR 1205 — MANY OF THE STATUES DESCRIBED, WHICH THEY THEN DESTROYED-A FINE TASTE FOR ARTS AMONG THE GREEKS, EVEN IN THOSE DAYS, PROVED FROM THIS NARRATIVE-NOT SO AMONG THE CRUSADERS—AUTHENTICITY OF NICETAS'S NARRATIVE -STATE OF CONSTANTINOPLE AT THE LAST PERIOD OF THE GRECIAN EMPIRE, AS GIVEN BY CONTEMPORARY WRITERS, PHILELPHUS AND ÆNEAS SYLVIUS-NATIONAL PRIDE AMONG THE GREEKS NOT TOTALLY EXTINCT EVEN AT THIS DAY.
BESIDES Planudes, a large number of the same nation might be mentioned, but I omit them all for the sake of Nicetas, the Choniate, in order to prove through him, that the more refined part of that ingenious people had not even in the thirteenth century lost their taste; a taste not confined to literary works only, but extended to works of other kinds and character.
s'his historian (I mean Nicetas ") was present at the sacking of Constantinople by the Barbarians of Baldwyn's crusade, in the year 1205. Take, by the way of sample, a part only of his enumeration of the noble statues, which were probably brought thither by Constantine to decorate his new city, and which these adventurers then destroyed.
Among others, he mentions the colossian statue of Juno, erected in the forum of Constantine ; the statue of Paris standing by Venus, and delivering to her the golden apple; a square and lofty obelisk, with a figure on it to indicate the wind; the figure of Bellerophon, riding upon Pegasus; the pensive Hercules, made by no less an artist than Lysippus; the two celebrated figures of the man and the ass, erected by Augustus after his victory at Actium; the wolf, suckling Romulus and Remus; an eagle destroying a serpent, set up by Apollonius Tyaneus; and an exquisite Helen, in all the charms of beauty and of elegance.
Speaking of the wind-obelisk, he relates with the greatest feeling the curious work on its sides: the rural scene; birds singing; rustics labouring, or playing on their pipes; sheep bleating; lambs skipping; the sea, and a scene of fish and
• He was called the Choniate from ning from p. 405, and proceeding to p. 418. Chonæ, a city of Phrygia, and possessed, The author has endeavoured to make his when in the court of Constantinople, some translated extracts faithful, but he thought of the highest dignities. Fabric. Biblioth. the whole original Greek too much to be Græc, vol. xi. p. 401, 402.
inserted, especially as it may be found in • A large part of this chapter is extracted Fabricius's Bibliotheca, a book by no means from the History of Nicetas, as printed by rare. A few particular passages he has Fabricius in the tome above quoted, begin- given in the original.
fishing ; little naked Cupids, laughing, playing, and pelting each other with apples; a figure on the summit, turning with the slightest blast, and thence denominated the wind's attendant.
Of the two statues brought from Actium, he relates, that they were set up there by Augustus on the following incident. As he went out by night to reconnoitre the camp of Antony, he met a man driving an ass. The man was asked, who he was, and whither he was going? My name, replied he, is Nico, my ass's name Nicander; and I am going to Cæsar's army. The story derives its force from the good omen of lucky names, and may be found (though with some variation) both in Suetonius and Plutarch. The real curiosity was, that statues so celebrated should be then existing.
If the figures of the wolf and the founders of Rome were of the same age, they might probably have been the very work to which Virgil is supposed to have alluded, in describing the shield of Æneas :
Illam tereti cervice reflexam
Mulcere alternos, et corpora fingere lingua. Æn. viii. 633. But nowhere does the taste of Nicetas appear so strongly, as when he speaks of the Hercules and the Helen.
“ The Hercules is exhibited to us, as if he were actually present-immense in bulk, and, with an air of grandeur, reposing himself-his lion's-skin (that looked formidable even in brass) thrown over him-himself sitting without a quiver, a bow, or a club, but having the right leg bent at the knee; his head gently reclining on the hand of his left arm; and a countenance full of dejection, as if he were reflecting with indignation on the many successive labours imposed on him by Eurystheus.”p
For his person, we are informed he was ample in the chest ; broad in the shoulders ; had hair that curled; arms that were strong and muscular; and a magnitude, such as might be supposed to belong to the original Hercules, were he to revive ; a leg being equal in length to the stature of a common man. And yet adds Nicetas, filled with indignation, “ this Hercules, being such as here represented, this very Hercules did not these men spare."
I can only subjoin, by way of digression, that there is a fine Greek epigram describing the statue of a dejected Hercules, sitting without his weapons, which exactly resembles this of Nicetas, and which is said likewise to be the work of Lysippus, only there the poet imputes his hero's dejection, not to the tyranny of Eurystheus, but to the love of Omphale."
If Nicetas speak with admiration of this statue, it is with
Ρ 'Εκάθητο δέ, μή γωρυτόν εξημμένος, μή πλατύς, την τρίχα ούλοs, κ. τ. λ. Ιbid. τόξον ταϊν χερούν φέρων, μη, κ. T. 1. p. 409. Fabr. as above, p. 408, 409.
r Vid. Antholog. I. iv. tit. 1. 4 "Ην δε το στέρνον ευρύς, τους ώμους