Слике страница
PDF
ePub

the, who rule tinces of a wel, doubt that

There can be no reasonable doubt that the tombs found are those of princes of a wealthy and presurnably powerful line, who ruled earlier than the immigration of the Heraclid Dorians. They seem to have occupied that social elevation which Homer ascribes to the princes whom Zeus has reared,' if we may judge by the mass of value expended on their sepulture. We question very much whether there was, before Dr. Schliemann dug, so much gold coin in circulation in the whole of the Morea as the bullion found in the tombs would represent. We seeni to see the ascendency of the hero-king over his subjects expressed in the potent factor, gold, scattered broadcast on his inortal remains. When was ever death so larded with solid wealth as here ? Animal victims only appear consumed on the pyre of Patroclus. There is nothing in it of the sumptuous destructiveness which commits to the flames, or locks up in the bowels of the earth, articles of current use and high esteem. Such are, in the funeral games of the hero, bestowed with more discernment on his living friends as prizes competed for in honour of his memory. A golden (i.e. probably gilded) coffin is inentioned as receiving Hector's bones, and Achilles speaks of a single golden urn (áudigopejs) as destined to receive the remains of Patroclus and himself.' At Mycenæ we find the gold in the form of visors and breastplates, but no trace of any coffin. Further, the Homeric pyre is consumed in the open, and the bones picked out from the ashes for preservation. At Mycenæ the bodies, if Dr. Schliemann is right, were burned in pits, three and five together, so far as to consume the flesh and leave the bones; while in some remarkable instances they were merely desiccated, leaving the frame dried and scorched, but entire in all its solid elements, to be then crushed flat by weight from above.

We proceed to notice in detail the principal Homeric decorations, weapons, utensils, &c., which appear to be illustrated by the remains found at Mycenæ, Hissarlik, and Cyprus.

The sacred (otéumata) crowns or chaplets of Apollo are used for supplicatory purposes by his priest Chryses in the opening passage of the Iliad. There is no detail as to their material or fashion, but, as they are presented on the top of a golden sceptre,'? like the traditional olive bough or wreath, of which we have such frequent notice in the tragedians, and as they are plainly part of the sacred equipment of the shrine, we shall probably be right in supposing them also to be of

1 Il. xxiv. 795 ; xxiii. 91–2; cf. Od. xxiv. 74. The line, Il. xxiii. 92, was impugned by the ancient critics, being supposed by them to be founded on this from the Odyssey.

2 Il. i. 14-5.

[ocr errors][merged small]

cold mayo Homering or ofand is the uced by

work found in the Mycenæan tombs, of which No. 281 is a typical specimen (see for others p. 247), may be cited as possible parallels. In the tomb of three each skeleton had five such diadems of thin gold plate, each 191 in. long, with a maximum breadth of 4 in., but narrowing towards the ends. In the women's tomb the specimen above referred to as No. 281 was even larger, measuring 25 in. in length by II in. in breadth, and profusely ornamented with large shield-like rosettes. Dr. Schliemann names some Cypriote images of Aphroditê in terra cotta and marble, in the British Museum, as having similar diadems on the head. The diadem being assumed to be of gold may explain the epithets 'golden' and 'well-crowned' bestowed by Homer on this goddess."

The ‘sceptre' of the Homeric king or of the ‘herald,' his official, is a prominent object in Homer, and is the oldest known symbol of sovereignty. The sacred one produced by the priest, as mentioned above, is called 'golden, meaning probably 'gold-mounted.'3 So is that grasped by Odysseus,4 and so in other instances. That of Achilles is 'pierced with golden studs.'5 A similar sceptre is borne by Tiresias as the seer, and by Minos as the judge of the dead. That of Agamemnon is an heirloom given by Zeus to Tantalus and his successors. Its material is not noticed, but it is called

ever imperishable,'? which epithet is probably to be explained by the perpetual demise, which the poet traces as far as the King of Men. The remains of one or more sceptres of conspicuous richness are figured by Dr. Schliemann. Thus

$ an heirterial is noet is probabety

regarded probably as those of such a sceptre; and No. 451, a magnificent golden cylinder of quatrefoiled open work, the quatrefoils touching by their points only, and every leaf glazed with a flake of rock-crystal, was no doubt part of the mounting of another such. In the same tomb, that of the five corpses, was a splendidly executed head of a golden dragon with open jaws, No. 452, which appears to be the handle of this quatrefoiled stem; for the scales of the monster are similarly glazed

1 xpuoén, éüotépavos, Il. iii. 64; Od. iv. 14 et al.; viii. 288. In the shorter hymn to the goddess the force of both epithets seems combined in xpvoooté avos, Hym. Hom. vi. I. 2 Il. ix. 38, 99, 156.

3 i. 15.

4 ii. 268. 5 Il. i. 245. 6 Od. xi. 91, 569. ? ü Octov aici.-11. ii. 46.

8 II. 101-7; see Pausan. ix. xl. 11, 12, for a sceptre hallowed with divine honours, as traditionally believed to be this of Agamemnon, at Chæronea in Boeotia.

ith his scoritics wilan panop als precisaj

with crystal flakes, of which one only had fallen off. This is perhaps the strongest presumption which the remains offer in favour of the claim of the tomb to be that of the King of Men himself. Some remarkable sceptre—as we may presume it to have been from the careful record--was, according to the poet, a traditional heirloom of the Mycenæan dynasty. The tomb presents us with one which would have been remarkable if found anywhere at any time. The poet bestows on it no descriptive touches, save that the Fire-god wrought it, but in the royal accoutrements he places the dragon as the dominant emblem. Dragon-forms crowd the king's corslet, and are repeated in his shield-belt. But this remarkable sceptre becomes little short of marvellous when, after three millenniums probably of entombment ‘full fathom five' below the soil of which it symbolised the sway, it starts from its repose, having moulted just one crystal flake in the long period, and reveals precisely the device royal of the Agamemnonian panoply. But on the other hand, of course, our critics will remind us that any king may be buried with his sceptre at his side, that a dragon' is only a serpent, that the Argolid was rather rife with serpents, being a dry or thirsty region, that one became the symbol, later, of the Epidaurian Æsculapius, that any king of the dynasty, or region, might easily assume it, and that after all the ‘dragon' may turn out to be a fish.

We pass on then to the Homeric belt for shield or sword. As regards the former, no defensive armour was found in any of the tombs. There was an abundance of swords, knives, and arrow-heads, not a few of the latter obsidian; but fire or decay had been fatal to their shafts, as also to the bows probably deposited with them. The 'knife hung close to the sheath of his great sword' on Agamemnon's person ; 3 and the bifurcate sword-belt, (Mycena, No. 369) may have sustained both weapons. But we find a delineation of the shield and its strap on a vase-fragment. It is broad and traverses the chest. The shield-strap of Agamemnon and that of Achilles were of silver,4 the former having, as aforesaid, a three-headed dragon of bronze (as we take the doubtful kúavos to be) coiling along it. The marvellous belt of Herakles, before referred to, is of gold, and will therefore bear comparison with many Mycenæan specimens. The figures upon it, as detailed above, may to a large extent be paralleled, although not from the belts discovered, yet from many other samples of figured 1 Il. xi. 26-8, 38-9.

? Toludyrov "Apyos, II. iv. 171. 3 Il. iii. 272.

4 xi. 39-41; xviii. 480.

end ternithe chest, adr, as sugerelt as

metal surface in different objects, which include the lion in various attitudes of repose or combat with man or bull, and a duel of warriors with a mortal wound.

Further, from this belt of Herakles we may interpret the embroidered girdle of Aphroditê, the figures on which are described by abstract terms, love, desire, caressing blandishment,'but which are doubtless to be understood of concrete forms suggesting those feelings. In the tomb of five were found three shoulder-belts of gold, one of which, No. 354, measured 4 ft. Ii in. long by If in. broad, ornamented with six-leaved rosettes, and with apertures, like keyholes, at one end, as though for some clasp to attach by. No. 369, referred to above, is a suspender, curiously like the termination of a pair of braces in the modern world, as the main strap, which is of a very long oval form and has a long volute ornament of elegant design, parts off at its lower end into two narrower thongs, while its upper end terminates in a ring, probably to run on some other belt across the chest, and the bifurcate lower extremities might sustain a sword, or, as suggested, sword and knife. In fact, we probably have such a belt as Homer calls a 'suspender' (koptp), a term applied to the aforesaid one of Herakles. By such golden slings the sword of Agamemnon was sustained.? Round the loins of the chief corpse in the tomb of five was a golden baldric firmly attached to a two-edged sword, and where the belt met the scabbard was a golden disc. On the armbone was a broad gold ribbon and floral ornament of repoussée work, No. 459, while above the knee was a golden band to attach the greave, besides a golden ornament for the greave, No. 338, which may be perhaps the Homeric TLO PÚplov. But the greave itself, such a prominent piece of the heroic panoply, had perished. It probably, therefore, was not metallic. Homer's greaves are in some remarkable instances of tin.

The sword of the Homeric hero-at least one form of it -is a weapon of considerable length (ãop Tavúnkes), and such is one type—the prevailing one, it should seem-of the Mycenæan, the larger specimens of which, when entire, were probably over three feet long. Another form found at Mycenæ, No. 446, and also represented as slung on the chariot rudely carved on the tombstone, No. 140, is a broad two-edged blade, tapering towards the point; and, as most of the sword-blows in the Iliad are given with edge, not point, this type also may have its illustrative value. 4 The Homeric

1 Il. xiv, 216-7. 2 II. xi. 31. 3 Il. xiv. 385 et al. 4 Cf. páoyavov quonkes.-Il. x. 256,

ged swore on the reporusse tach the et ma

Stuasts, and so styledith gold, near

weapon has the epithet kwnnels,' denoting probably massiveness or prominence of hilt, but appears to have no guard. Where we have all details of equipment so fully given, the negative evidence of no guard being mentioned is strong. A sword breaks in combat (åpbi kavlov) 'round the stem' or

shaft,'? which expression reminds us of that used for a broken spear, and seems an unlikely one, if there had been any guard in the way. Probably, therefore, spear and sword were so far alike. Similarly the Mycenæan swords appear to have no guards. But it is as regards the mounting and equipment that the Homeric weapon receives most illustrations. Of the sword-belt we have already spoken. Twenty of the larger swords in the tomb of five had handles inlaid with gold, and large golden nails were conspicuous in the débris of their mountings. Again we illustrate the weapon of Agamemnon, which had blazing golden nails, a silver scabbard, and golden sling-straps. The hilts of two near one body at the north end were richly crusted with gold, No. 460. We have no golden hilt precisely so styled in Homer, who seems to love metallic contrasts, and makes the hilt, where costly, of silver, the nails or studs of gold. Apollo, however, is gifted with a 'golden sword,'which may probably mean golden-mounted in respect of hilt, etc. The Mycenaan scabbards had perished, being probably wooden, but must once have been hidden with gold plates and discs. An ivory handle, supposed to be that of a dagger, spiralled or marked with concentric circles, is mentioned as found. Another such weapon was found entire, with its handle inlaid with bone or wood. Both illustrate the weapon presented to Odysseus at Alcinoüs' court, in which ivory and circular ornamentation are expressly mentioned.? Again we read of fifteen swords with great golden hilts, further illustrating the epithet kwTÚELS mentioned above.

The large shield is called by Homer άσπις αμφιβρότη,8 as enveloping the man. . A massive jewel, No. 254, once a member of a lady's necklace, from Mycenæ, shows for its device a single combat in which one warrior receives a mortal wound over the upper edge of a large shield. The shield is either moulded in two compartments, or partly cloven-at any rate, deeply indented — through about half its diameter, by a previous heavy blow. The wearer's chin nearly touches its

1 Il. xv. 713.
3 év kavlõ éáyn.-Il. xiii. 162 et al.; cf. xvi. 115.

4 xi. 29–31. 5 Il. i. 219; Od. viii. 403–4.

11. v. 509; xv. 256.' 7 δώσω δε οι άορ παγχάλκεον, ώ έπι κώπη αργυρέη, κόλεον δε νεοπρίστου è égavros åupidedivntai.Od. viii. 403-5.

8 Il. ii. 389 et al.

2 xvi. 338.

« ПретходнаНастави »