The Plain Of Orchomenus, Livadia, Chaeronea
( Originally Published 1913 )
THE road from Thebes to Lebadea (Livadia) leads along the foot of Helicon all the way—Helicon, which, like almost all celebrated Greek mountains, is not a summit, but a system of summits, or even a chain. Looking in the morning from the plain, the contrast of the dark Cithæron and the gentle sunny Helicon strikes the traveller again and again. After the ridge, or saddle, is passed which separates the plain of Thebes from that of Orchomenus, the richness of the soil increases, but the land becomes very swampy and low, for at every half-mile comes a clear silver river, tumbling from the slopes of Helicon on our left, crossing the road, and flowing to swell the waters of Lake Copais —once a vast sheet with undefined edges, half-marsh, half-lake—whioh for centuries had no out-let to the sea, and which was only kept from covering all the plain by evaporation in the heats of summer. Great fields of sedge and rushes, giant reeds, and marsh plants unknown to colder countries, mark each river course as it nears the lake ; and, as might be expected in this lonely fen country, all manner of insect life and all manner of amphibia haunt the sites of ancient culture. Innumerable dragon-flies, of the most brilliant colours, were flitting about the reeds, and lighting on the rich blades of grass which lay on the water's surface ; and now and then a daring frog would charge boldly at so great a prize, but retire again in fear when the fierce insect dashed against him in its impetuous start. Large land tortoises, with their high - arched shells, yellow and brown, and patterned like the section of a great honeycomb, went lazily along the moist banks, and close by the water, which they could not bear to touch. Their aquatic cousins, on the other hand, were not solitary in habit, but lay in lines along the sun-baked mud, and at the first approach of danger dropped into the water one after the other with successive flops, looking for all the world a long row of smooth black pebbles which had suddenly come to life, like old Deucalion's clods, that they might people this solitude. The sleepy and unmeaning faces of these tortoises were a great contrast to those of the water-snakes, which were very like them in form, but wonderfully keen and lively in expression. They, too, would glide into the water, when so strange a thing as man came near, but would presently raise their heads above the surface, and eye with wonder and suspicion, and in perfect stillness, the approach of their natural enemy. The Copaic eels, so celebrated in the Attic comedy as the greatest of all dainties, are a thing of the past. We notioed that while the shrill cicada, which frequents dry places, was not common here, great emerald-green grass-hoppers were flying about spasmodically, in sound and weight like a small bird.
As we passed along, we were shown the sites of Haliartus and Coronea—Haliartus, where the cruel Lysander met his death in a skirmish, and so gave a place in history to an obscure village—Coronea, where the Spartans first learned to taste the temper of the Theban infantry, and where King Agesilaus well-nigh preceded his great rival to the funeral pyre. As I said before, all these towns are only known by battles. Thespiæ has an independent interest, and so has Ascra. The latter was the residence of the earliest known Greek poet of whose personality we can be sure ; Thespiæ, with its highly aristocratic society, which would not let a shopkeeper walk their place of assembly for ten years after he had retired from business, was the site of fair temples and statues, and held its place and fame long after all the rest of the sur-rounding cities had sunk into decay. There are indistinct remains of surrounding walls about both Haliartus and Coronea, but surely nothing that would repay the labour of excavations. All these Bœotian towns were, of course, fortified, and all of them lay close to the hills ; for the swampy plain was unhealthy, and in older days the rising lake was said to have swallowed up towns which had been built close upon its margin. But the supremacy of Orchomenus in older, and Thebes in later days, never allowed these subject towns to attain any importance or any political significance.
After some hours' riding, we suddenly came upon a deep vista in the mountains on our left—such another vista as there is behind Coronea, but narrower, and inclosed on both sides with great and steep mountains. And here we found the cause of the cultivation of the upper plain—here was the town of Lebadea (Livâdia), famed of old for the august oracle of Trophonius in later days the Turkish capital of the surrounding province. To this the roads of all the neighbourhood converge, and from this a small force can easily command the deep gorges and high mountain passes which lead through Delphi to the port of Kirrha. Even now there is more life in Livâdia than in most Greek towns. All the wool of the country is brought in and sold there, and, with the aid of their great water power, they have a considerable factory, where the wool is spun and woven into stuff. A large and beautifully clear river comes down the gorge above the town—or rather the gorge in which the town lies —and tumbles in great falls between the streets and under the houses, which have wooden balconies, like Swiss chalets, built over the stream. The whole aspect of the town was not unlike a Swiss town ; indeed, all the features of the upland country are ever reminding the traveller of his Swiss experience.
But the people are widely different. It was a great saint's day, and all the streets were crowded with peasants from many miles round. As we noted in all Greek towns, except Arachova, the women were not to be seen in any numbers. They do not walk about the streets except for some special ceremony or amusement. But no women's costume is required to lend brightness to the colouring of the scene ; for here every man had his fustanella or kilt of dazzling white, his grey or puce embroidered waistcoat, his great white sleeves, and his scarlet skull-cap, with its blue tassel? Nothing can be imagined brighter than a dense crowd in this dress. They were all much excited at the arrival of strangers, and crowded around us without the least idea or care about being thought obtrusive. The simple Greek peasant thinks it his right to make aloud what observations he chooses upon any stranger, and has not the smallest idea of the politeness of reticence on such occasions.
We were received most hospitably by the medical officer of the district, who had an amiable young wife, speaking Greek only, and a lively old mother-in-law, living, as usual, permanently in the house, to prevent the young lady from being lonely. Like all the richer Greeks in country parts, they ate nothing till twelve, when they had a sort of early dinner called breakfast, and then dined again at half-past eight in the evening. This arrangement gave us more than enough time to look about the town when our day's ride was over; so we went, first of all, to see the site of Trophonius's oracle.
As the gorge becomes narrower, there is, on the right side, a small cave, from which a sacred stream flows to join the larger river. Here numerous square panels, cut into the rock to hold votive tablets (now gone), indicate a sacred place, to which pilgrims came to offer prayers for aid, and thanksgiving for success. The actual seat of the oracle is not certain, and is supposed to be some cave or aperture now covered by the Turkish fort on the rock immediately above ; but the whole glen, with its beetling sides, its rushing river, and its cavernous vaulting, seems the very home and preserve of superstition. We followed the windings of the defile, jumping from rock to rock up the river bed, and were soon able to bathe beyond the observation of all the crowding boys, who, like the boys of any other town, could not satisfy their curiosity at strangeness of face and costume. As we went on for some miles, the country began to open, and to show us a bleak and solitary mountain region, where the chains of Helicon and Parnassus join, and shut out the sea of Corinth from Bœotia by a great bar some twenty miles wide. Not a sound could be heard in this wild loneliness, save the metallic pipe of an ouzel by the river, and the scream of hawks about their nests, far up on the face of the cliffs.
As the evening was closing in we began to retrace our steps, when we saw in two or three places scarlet caps over the rocks, and swarthy faces peering down upon us with signs and shouts. Though nothing could have been more suspicious in such a country, I cannot say that we felt the least uneasiness, and we continued our way without regarding them. They kept watching us from the heights, and when at last we descended nearer to the town, they came and made signs, and spoke very new Greek, to the effect that they had been out scouring the country for us, and that they had been very uneasy about our safety. This was, indeed, the case ; our excellent Greek companion, who felt responsible to the Greek Government for our safety, and who had stayed behind in Livadia to make arrangements, had become so uneasy that he had sent out the police to scour the country. So we were brought in with triumph by a large escort of idlers and officials, and presently sat down to dinner at the fashionable hour, though in anything but fashionable dress. The entertainment would have been as excellent as even the intentions of our host, had not our attention been foolishly distracted by bugs walking up the table-cloth. It is, indeed, but a small and ignoble insect, yet it produces a wonderful effect upon the mind ; for it inspires the most ordinary man with the gift of prophecy : it carries him away even from the pleasures of a fair repast into the hours of night and mystery, when all his wisdom and all his might will not save him from the persistent skirmishing of his irreconcilable foe.
It may be here worth giving a word of encouragement to the sensitive student, whom these hints are apt to deter from venturing into the wilds of Greece. In spite of frequent starvation, both for want of food and for want of eatable food ; in spite of frequent sleeplessness and even severe exercise at night, owing to the excess of insect population ; such is the lightness and clearness of the air, such the exhilarating effect of great natural beauty, and of solitary wandering, free and unshackled, across the wild tracts of valley, wood, and mountain, that fatigue is an almost impossible feeling. Eight or ten hours' riding every day, which in other country and other air would have been almost unendurable, was here but the natural exercise which any ordinary man may conveniently take. It cannot be denied that the discomforts of Greek travelling are very great, but with good temper and patience they can all be borne ; and when they are over, they form a pleasant feature in the recollections of a glorious time. Besides, these discomforts are only the really classical mode of travelling. Dionysus, in Aristophanes's Frogs, asks, especially about the inns, the very questions which we often put to our guide ; and if his slave carried for him not only ordinary baggage, but also his bed and bedding, so nowadays there are many khans (inns) where the traveller cannot lie down—I was going to say to rest—except on his own rugs.
The next day was occupied in a tour across the plain to Orchomenus, then to Chaeronea, and back to Livádia in the evening, so as to start from thence for the passes to Delphi. Our ride was, as it were, round an isosceles triangle, beginning with the right base angle, going to Orchomenus north-east as the vertex, then to Chaeronea at the left base angle, and home again over the high spurs of mountain which protrude into the plain between the two base angles of our triangle. For about a mile, as we rode out of Livadia, a wretched road of little rough paving-stones tormented us—the remains of Turkish engineering, when Livâdia was their capital. Patches of this work are still to be found in curious isolation over the mountains, to the great distress of both mules and riders ; for the stones are very small and pointed, or, where they have been worn smooth, exceedingly slippery. But we soon got away into deep rich meadows upon the low level of the country adjoining the lake, where we found again the same infinitely various insect life which I have already described. A bright merry Greek boy, in full dress (for it was again a holiday), followed in attendance on each mule or pony, and nothing could be more picturesque than the cavalcade, going in Indian file through the long grass, among the gay wild flowers, especially when some creek or rivulet made our course to wind about, and so brought the long line of figures into more varied grouping. As for the weather, it was so uniformly splendid that we almost forgot to notice it. Indeed, strangers justly remark what large conversation it affords us in Ireland, for there it is a matter of constant uncertainty, and requires forethought and conjecture. During my first journey in Greece, in the months of April, May, and June, there was nothing to be said, except that we saw one heavy shower at Athens, and two hours' rain in Arcadia, and that the temperature was not excessively hot. I have had similar experiences in March and April during three other sojourns in the country.
In two or three hours we arrived at the site of old Orchomenus, of late called Scripou, but now reverting, like all Greek towns, to its original name. There is a mere hamlet, some dozen houses, at the place, which is close to the stone bridge built over the Kephissus — the Bœotian Kephissus — at this place. This river appears to be the main feeder of the Copaic lake, coming down, as we saw it, muddy and cold with snow-water from the heights of Parnassus. It runs very rapidly, like the Iser at Munich, and is at Orchomenus about double the size of that river. Of the so-called treasure-house of the Minyae, nothing remains but the stone doorposts and the huge block lying across them ; and even these are almost embedded in earth. It was the most disappointing ruin I had seen in Greece, for it was always quoted with the treasure-house of Atreus at Mycenae as one of the great specimens of prehistoric building. It is not so interesting in any sense as the corresponding raths in Ireland. Indeed, but for Pausanias's description, it would, I think, have excited but little attention.
The subsequent excavation of it by Dr. Schliemann yielded but poor results. The building had fallen in but a few years before. A handsome ceiling pattern was all that rewarded the explorer, to which a curious parallel was afterwards found at Tiryns ; and I also found it on the roof of a rock tomb in Nubia, and on the robe of a goddess over against Wadi Haifa, on the wall of the temple of Thothmes III.
On the hill above are the well-preserved remains of the small Acropolis, of which the stones are so carefully cut that it looks at first sight modern, then too good for modern work, but in no case polygonal, as are the walls of the hill city which it protected. There is a remarkable tower built on the highest point of the hill, with a very perfect staircase up to it. The whole of the work is very like the work of Eleutherae, and seems to be of the best period of Greek wall-building. Nothing surprises the traveller in Greece more than the number of these splendid hill-forts, or town-fortresses, which are never noticed by the historians as anything remarkable—in fact, the art and the habit of fortifying must have been so universal that it excited no comment. This strikes us all the more when so reticent a writer as Thucydides, who seldom gives us anything but war or politics, goes out of his way to describe the wall-building of the Peiraeus. He evidently contrasts it with the hurried and irregular construction of the city walls, into which even tombstones were built ; but if we did not study the remains still common in Greece, we might imagine that the use of square hewn stones, the absence of mortar and rubble, and the clamping with lead and iron were exceptional, whereas that sort of building is the most usual in Greece. The walls of the Peiraeus cannot even have been the earliest specimen, for the great portal at Mycenae, though somewhat rougher and more huge in execution, is on the same principle. The only peculiarity of these walls may have been their height and width, and upon that point it is not easy to get any monumental evidence now. The walls of the Peiraeus have disappeared completely, though the foundations are still traceable ; others have stood, but perhaps on account of their lesser height.
In a large and hospitable monastery we found the well which Pausanias describes as close beside the shrine of the Graces, and here we partook of breakfast, attended by our muleteers, who always accompany their employer into the reception-room of his host, and look on at meat, ready to attend, and always joining if possible in the conversation at table. Some excellent specimens of old Greek pottery were shown us in the monastery, apparently, though not ostensibly, for sale, there being a law prohibiting the sale of antiquities to foreigners, or for exportation. In their chapel the monks pointed out to us some fragments of marble pillars, and one or two inscriptions—in which I was since informed that I might have found a real live digamma, if I had carefully examined them. The digamma is now common enough at Olympia and elsewhere. I saw it best, along with the koph, which is, I suppose, much rarer, in the splendid bronze plates containing Locrian inscriptions, which were in the possession of Mr. Taylor's heirs at Corfu.' These plates have been ably commented on, with facsimile drawings of the inscriptions, by a Greek writer, G. N. Ecnomldes (Corfu, 1850, and Athens, 1869).
It was on our way up the valley to Chaeronea, along the rapid stream of the Kephissus, that we came, in a little deserted church, upon one of the most remarkable extant specimens of a peculiar epoch in Greek art. As usual, it was set up in the dark, and we were repeatedly obliged to entreat the natives to clear the door, through which alone we could obtain any light to see the work. It is a funeral stele, not unlike the celebrated stele and its relief at Athens, which is inscribed as the stele of Aristion, and dates from the time of the Persian wars. The work before us was inscribed as the work of Alxenor the Naxian—an artist otherwise unknown to us ; but the style and finish are very remarkable, and more perfect than the stele of Aristion. It is a relief carved on an upright slab of grey Bœotian marble-I should say about four feet in height—and representing a bearded man wrapped in a cloak, resting on a long stick propped under his arm, with his legs awkwardly crossed, and offering a large grasshopper to a dog sitting before him. The hair and beard are conventionally curled, the whole effect being very like an Assyrian relief; but this is the case with all the older Greek sculpture, which may have started in Ionia by an impulse from the far east. The occurrence of the dog, a feature which strikes us frequently in the later Attic tombs, supports what I had long since inferred from stray hints in Greek literature, that dogs among the old Greeks, as well as the modern, were held in the highest esteem as the friends and companions of man. This curious monument of early Greek art was lying hidden in an obscure and out-of-the-way corner of Greece ; isolated, too, and with little of antiquarian interest in its immediate neighbourhood. On my second visit (1884), I found a cast of it in the Ministry of Public Instruction at Athens. On my third I found the original removed to a prominent place in the National Museum at Athens, where the traveller may now study it at his ease.
The great value of these reliefs consists (apart from their artistic value) in their undoubted genuineness. For we know that in later days, both in Greece and Italy, a sort of pre-Raphaelite taste sprang up among amateurs, who admired and preferred the stiff awkward groping after nature to the symmetry and grace of perfect art. Pausanias, for example, speaks with enthusiasm of these antique statues and carvings, and generally mentions them first, as of most importance. Thus, after describing various archaic works on the Acropolis of Athens, he adds, ' But whoever places works made with artistic skill before those which come under the designation of archaic, may, if he likes, admire the following.' As a natural result, a fashion came in of imitating them, and we have, especially in Italy, many statues in this style which seem certainly to be modern imitations, and not even Greek copies of old Greek originals.
But here at Orchomenus—a country which was so decayed as to lose almost all its population two centuries before Christ, where no amateurs of art would stay, and where Plutarch was, as it were, the last remains in his town of literature and respectability—here there is no danger whatever of finding this spurious work ; and thus here, as indeed all through Greece, archaic work is thoroughly trustworthy. But the unfortunate law of the land not often violated, as in this case,-which insists upon all these relics, however isolated, being kept in their place of finding—is the mightiest obstacle to the study of this interesting phase of culture, and we must depend on the Hellenic Society's gallery of photographs, from which we can make safe observations. The Greeks will tell you that the preservation of antiquities in their original place, first of' all, gives the inhabitants an interest in them (which might be true, but that there are very often no inhabitants); and next, that it encourages travelling in the country. This also is true ; but surely the making decent roads, and the establishing of decent inns, and easy communications, are necessary, before the second stimulus can have its effect.
Not far from this little church and its famous relief, we came in sight of the Acropolis (called Petrachus) of Caeronea, and soon arrived at the town, so celebrated through all antiquity, in spite of its moderate size. The fort on the rock is, indeed, very large—perhaps the largest we saw in Greece, with the exception of that at Corinth ; and, as usual in these buildings, follows the steepest escarpments, raising the natural precipice by a coping of beautiful ashlar masonry. The artificial wall is now not more than four or five feet high ; but even so, there are only two or three places where it is at all easy to enter the enclosure, which is fully a mile of straggling outline on the rock. The view from this fort is very interesting. Commanding all the plain of the lake Copais, it also gives a view of the sides of Parnassus, and of the passes into Phocis, which cannot be seen till the traveller reaches this point. Above all, it looks out upon the gap of Elatea, about ten miles north-west, through which the eye catches glimpses of secluded valleys in northern Phocis.
This gap is, indeed, the true key of this side of Bœotia, and is no mere mountain pass, but a narrow plain, perhaps a mile wide, which must have afforded an easy transit for an army. But the mountains on both sides are tolerably steep, and so it was necessary to have a fortified town, as Elatea was, to keep the command of the place. As we gazed through the narrow plain, the famous passage of Demosthenes came home to us, which begins : It was evening, and the news came in that Philip had seized, and was fortifying Elatea.' The nearest point of observation or of control was the rock of Chæronea, and we may say with certainty that it was from here the first breathless messenger set out with the terrible news. This, too, was evidently the pass through which Agesilaus came on his return from Asia, and on his way to Coronea, where his great battle was fought, close by the older trophy of the Theban victory over Tolmides.
Having surveyed the view, and fatigued ourselves greatly by our climb in the summer heat, we descended to the old theatre, cut into the rock where it ascends from the village—the smallest and steepest Greek theatre I had ever seen. Open-air buildings always look small for their size, but most of those erected by the Greeks and Romans were so large that nothing could dwarf them. Even the theatre of such a town as Taormina in Sicily—which can never have been populous—is, in addition to its enchanting site, a very majestic structure ; I will not speak of the immense theatres of Megalopolis and of Syracuse. But this little place at Chæronea, so steep that the spectators sat immediately over one another, looked almost amusing when cut in the solid rock, after the manner of its enormous brethren. The guide-book says it is one of the most ancient theatres in Greece—why, I know not. It seems to me rather to have been made when the population was diminishing; and any rudeness which it shows arises more from economy than want of experience.
But, small as it is, there are few more interesting places than the only spot in Chæronea where we can say with certainty that here Plutarch sat—a man who, living in an age of decadence, and in a country village of no importance, has, nevertheless, as much as any of his countrymen, made his genius felt over all the world. Apart from the great stores of historybrought together in his Lives, which, indeed, are frequently our only source for the inner life and spirit of the greatest Greeks of the greatest epochs—the moral effect of these splendid biographies, both on poets and politicians through Europe, can hardly be overrated. From Shakespeare and Alfieri to the wild savages of the French Revolution, all kinds of patriots and eager spirits have been fascinated and excited by these wonderful portraits. Alfieri even speaks of them as the great discovery of his life, which he read with tears and with rage. There is no writer of the Silver Age who gives us anything like so much valuable information about earlier authors, and their general character. More especially the inner history of Athens in her best days, the personal features of Pericles, Cimon, Alcibiades, Nicias, as well as of Themistocles and of Aristides, would be completely, or almost completely, lost, if this often despised but invaluable man had not written for our learning. And he is still more essentially a good man—a man better and purer than most Greeks—another Herodotus in fairness and in honesty. A poor man reputed by his neighbours 'a terrible historian,' remarked to a friend of mine, who used to lend him Scott's novels, that Scott was a great historian,' and being asked his reason, replied, ' He makes you to love your kind.' There is a deep significance in this vague utterance, in which it may be eminently applied to Plutarch. ' Here in Chæronea,' says Pausanias, ' they prepare unguents from the flowers of the lily and the rose, the narcissus and the iris. These are balm for the pains of men. Nay, that which is made of roses, if old wooden images are anointed with it, saves them, too, from decay.' He little knew how eternally true his words would be, for though the rose and the iris grow wild and neglected, and yield not now their perfume to soothe the ills of men, yet from Chaeronea comes the eternal balm of Plutarch's wisdom, to sustain the oppressed, to strengthen the patriot, to purify with nobler pity and terror the dross of human meanness. Nay, even the crumbling images of his gods arrest their decay by the spirit of his morals, and revive their beauty in the sweetness of his simple faith.
There is a rich supply of water, bursting from an old Greek fountain, near the theatre—indeed, the water supply all over this country is excellent. There is also an old marble throne in the church, about which they have many legends, but no history. The costume of the girls, whom we saw working in small irrigated plots near the houses, was more beautiful than that in other Greek towns. They wore splendid necklaces of gold and silver coins, which lay like corselets of chain mail on the neck and breast ; and the dull but rich embroidery of wool on their aprons and bodices was quite beyond what we could describe, but not beyond our highest appreciation.
As the day was waning, we were obliged to leave this most interesting place, and set off again on our ride home to Lebadea. We had not gone a mile from the town when we came upon the most pathetic and striking of all the remains in that country—the famous lion of Chaeronea, which the Thebans set up to their countrymen who had fallen in the great battle against Philip of Macedon, in the year 338 B.C. We had been looking out for this monument, and on our way to Chæronea, seeing a lofty mound in the plain, rode up to it eagerly, hoping to find the lion. But we were disappointed, and were told that the history of this larger mound was completely unknown. It evidently commemorates some battle, and is a mound over the dead, but whether those slain by Sylla, or those with Tolmides, or those of some far older conflict, no man can say. It seems, however, perfectly undisturbed, and grown about with deep weeds and brushwood, so that a hardy excavator might find it worth opening, and, perhaps, coins might tell us of its age.
The mound where we found the lion was much humbler and smaller, in fact hardly a mound at all, but a rising knoll, with its centre hollowed out, and in the hollow the broken pieces of the famous lion. It had sunk, we are told, into its mound of earth, originally intended to raise it above the road beside, and lay there in perfect safety till last century, when four English travellers claim to have discovered it (June 3, 1818). They tried to get it removed, and, failing in their efforts, covered up the pieces carefully, which seem since that time to have lain undisturbed till recent years. It is of bluish-grey stone, they call it Bœotian marble or limestone,—and is a work of the highest and purest merit. The lion is of that Asiatic type which has little or no mane, and seemed to us couchant or sitting in attitude, with the head not lowered to the fore paws, but thrown up. The expression of the face is ideally perfect rage, grief, and shame are expressed in it, together with that noble calmness and moderation which characterise all good Greek art. The object of the monument is quite plain, without reading the affecting, though simple, notice of Pausanias : 'On the approach to the city,' says he, 'is the tomb of the Bœotians who fell in the battle with Philip. It has no inscription ; but the image of a lion is placed upon it as an emblem of the spirit of these men. The inscription has been omitted—I suppose, because the gods had willed that their fortune should not be equal to their valour.' So, then, we have here, in what may fairly be called a dated record, one of the finest specimens of the sepulchral monuments of the best age of Greece.
As we saw it, on a splendid afternoon in June, it lay in perfect repose and oblivion, the fragments large enough to tell the contour and the style ; in the mouth of the upturned head wild bees were busy at their work, and the honeycomb was there between its teeth. The Hebrew story came fresh upon us, and we longed for the strength which tore the lion of old, to gather the limbs and heal the rents of his marble fellow. The lion of Samson was a riddle to the Philistines which they could not solve ; and so I suppose this lion of Chaeronea was a riddle, too--a deeper riddle to better men—why the patriot should fall before the despot, and the culture of Greece before the Caesarism of Macedonia. Even within Greece, there is no want of remarkable parallels. This, the last effulgence of the setting sun of Greek liberty, was commemorated by a lion and a mound, as the opening struggle at Marathon was also marked by a lion and a mound. At Marathon the mound is there and the lion gone ; at Chæronea the lion is there and the mound gone). But doubtless the earlier lion was far inferior in expression and in beauty, and was a small object on so large a tomb. Later men made the sepulchre itself of less importance, and the poetic element more prominent ; and perhaps this very fact tells the secret of their failure, and why the refined sculptor of the lion was no equal in politics and war to the rude carver of the relief of the Marathonian warrior.
These and such like thoughts throng the mind of him who sits beside the solitary tomb ; and it may be said in favour of its remoteness and difficulty of access, that in solitude there is at least peace and leisure, and the scattered objects of interest are scanned with affection and with care.
When I returned to the scene in 1905, a great disappointment awaited me. From the railway station at Chaeronea one sees at some distance a tall monument standing by the roadside, surrounded with an iron railing. Here, on a narrow stone pedestal, instead of his old broad mound, the unfortunate lion has been set up, apparently trying to keep his balance by sitting backward as no lion in nature ever sat. This ludicrous effect is produced by making or setting his forelegs too high. The grief and shame which we had felt in the noble head is still there, but is now rather at his own ridiculous posture on a pillar, than at the defeat of the freemen of Greece.