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it is mostly of the circular or spiral type. Again, the dominant material of artistic work in Homer is unquestionably metal. The many fashions of cup, tripod, armour, and palaceinterior, all attest this. Especially the use of gold and silver belts and girdles, where another material would be suggested by convenience, is even more decisive proof. And this is exactly what we find at Mycenæ. Of course it may be said, as against this, that metal survives when many other materials perish. But stone, marble, lapidary gems, ivory, even bone, does not perish, while well-baked pottery defies time even in its tints, to say nothing of its form. But the percentage of all these materials put together, except the pottery, as against the metallic remains at Mycenæ, is somewhat as Sir John Falstaff's allowance of bread to his sack, and the pottery is contemptibly poor; that from the tombs, which were each almost a gold mine, being either hand-made or very ancient wheel-made. Again, at Mycenæ, if we except weapons and domestic utensils, gold, at any rate for the purposes of art, seems to supersede and almost drive out all other not only metals but materials.3 As for silver, it rarely appears. No. 478 is a large silver vase, 2 ft. 6 in. deep by i ft. 8 in. diameter, enriched with repoussée work and interwoven spirals. Several silver goblets of curious work and large size were found in the tomb of five. Two vases of silver, one with twelve golden stars, and two broken silver goblets also appear, p. 210. In the supposed oldest tomb outside the agora, as against four golden double-handled cups, several gold rings, gold wire in coils, and a gold signet with an intaglio of mysterious interest, was found a single silver ring. In the tomb of three was a fragment of a silver vase before referred to, but its mouth was of copper thickly plated with gold. In another tomb was found the golden mouthpiece and handle of a silver vase, and some of the gold brooches had silver pins. Two silver mountings of sceptres, gold-plated, appear in Nos. 309–10. We believe that this is all or nearly all the silver-a mere sprinkling —which the Mycenaean tombs disclosed. : The great paucity of ivory is another remarkable feature. We have seen how fully ivory enters into Homeric decorative · Il. xiii. 407, of a shield ; iii. 391, of a bedstead ; Od. viii. 405, of a scabbard ; xix. 56, of a chair.
2 Od. v. 232 ; x. 545. Il. iv. 133 ; xx. 415.
3 We may illustrate the characteristic prevalence of gold at Mycenæ by the contrast in precisely similar articles found lately at Dodona : 'One of the richest sections of these discoveries consists of thin plates of bronze, repoussée, which were laid on as decorations to belts, sheathes, leather helmets, or cuirasses.'—Contemporary Review, November 1878, 848.
work, especially where, as in the case of Menelaus and the Trojan Mydon, who drives with ivory-mounted reins, an Asiatic source may be presumed for the supply. But the Pelopid dynasty was of Asiatic extraction, and Phoenician trade may be presumed the source of Mycenæan wealth. This scanty supply of ivory is unquestionably in favour of a high antiquity. The earliest mention of ivory in the Bible is that of Solomon's ivory throne and traffic with Ophir. Indeed, more than half the passages in the Old Testament which mention ivory are either in the historical records of his reign or in his Epithalamium, Psalm xlv., or in the Song of Songs, his accredited work. It may be supposed that his oriental commerce first introduced it on a large scale, and that previously the supply was as insignificant as it is representatively at Mycenæ ; and that therefore those tombs and the dynasty to which they belong date from a period at least as early as the beginning of his long reign. The absence of iron, save in a few specimens belonging to an historical period, the minute quantity of glass, the total absence of any inscription or trace of writing, plunge us in an antiquity which is higher still.
From geographical position the coasts of the Gulf of Argos would needs be the part of the Greek mainland first open to Phænican commerce, and become the entrepôt for the Greek home-produce which that commerce absorbed. The ornaments show traces of maritime influence not observable elsewhere. A fine gold goblet has the image of a fish in repoussée upon it, very true to nature; a curious form of marine creature, sometimes called a 'sea-pen,' is figured frequently, we are told, on Mycenæan pottery ; one of the smaller trinkets in the women's tomb was taken for a hippocamp or sea-horse, while the cuttlefish pattern ' appears on the ornamental plates in handfuls. This points to the sea as the chief source of Mycenaan wealth, and not improbably royalty, in an Asiatic dynasty, may have carried, as in Solomon's case, the monopoly of traffic with it. Thus Mycenæ became 'rich in gold' (Tolóxpvoos), and alone of cities in Homer's song retains the title. Thus the royal tombs might be expected to be disproportionately rich. Thus 'Agamemnon himself,' to turn to Homer, 'gave ships' to the Arcadians, 4 who had none; and thus his dominion included 'many
1 Mr. Sayce (Contemporary Review, December 1878, p. 75) mentions Ostrich eggs covered with stucco dolphins' as 'found .... at Mykenæ.'
2 II. vii. 180 et al.
3 Troy had been so once, but through the waste of war was so no more. (Il. xviii. 289-90.)
4 Il. ii, 612-4.
islands as well as the whole of Argos,'' with a hegemony further ranging over a wide zone of land and sea. Thus we easily account for his relations with Cyprus. Such a dynasty and hegemony could alone have made possible a transmarine war of considerable duration. And, if the tale of Troy belong to that region of myth to which some would relegate it, what could have inspired a poet with the notion of an universal combination of Greeks for an Asiatic war? Down to the period of Macedonian supremacy there was nothing in Greek history to suggest it. The Persian invasion found Greece divided, so did Roman intervention later. The Dorian armed immigration, the formation of nuclei of opposite ideas at Sparta and Athens, the death-struggle of Messenia, and afterwards of Mycenæ itself, were all antagonistic to the notion of a combination of united Greece. There was everything against it; there was nothing to suggest it, if there was not a root of fact out of which it sprang.
Before we quit the region of Homeric art, some remarks seem proper on its masterpiece, the Shield of Achilles-once the stumbling-stone of critics who sought to defend the substantial antiquity of the Iliad, but now a strong link in the chain of proofs which evince the primitive character of the Homeric Poems. This is due to recent discoveries of the ancient world of art. The very ancient (Mycena, No. 530) signet shows one or two elements of the detail in the effigies of the sun and moon and wave-lines as if representing a stream, seen in its upper margin.3 As regards the style of art indicated by the poet, the beautiful bowls of the Cypriote collection found by General di Cesnola, the great shield of Cervetri, and various specimens of early Assyrian design conspire to show that metal work with figures grouped dates as far back as any period to which our Homer can reasonably be referred, say to the ninth century B.C. A copper bowl from a tomb at Dali (Di Cesnola's Cyprus, p. 79) has for its subject a dance before Isis, with vases on a table before the dancers. It is said to be 'ornamented with designs peculiar to the very archaic pottery found at Idalium and elsewhere, not only in Cyprus, but on the mainland of Greece and Italy.' This, therefore, assigns to the bowl a very high antiquity. Its subject illustrates 'one of the many groups—the last one - introduced in the Homeric shield, and, as showing less of Phænician and more of early Greek character than most others, it has a special interest. It ranges with Homeric art.
conception in representing not myth but fact, and in gathering its groups from the artist's own experience. This is shown in early Egyptian and Assyrian art, in the recent specimens from Mycenæ, and in short all round the circle of primitive design. Mythological subjects come later, when the artist has learned to idealise and reflect. In the Homeric shield there is no myth ; not even a mythical personage, save in the battle-scene where Ares and Athênê appear just as they appear on the field in the Iliad. And we have their attendant ministers, Strife, Uproar, and deadly Fate, blending in the mêlée, precisely as Terror, Fear, and Strife set the battle in array on the eve of the actual conflict between Greeks and Trojans.2 Take the Hesiodic shield, and we find still, it is true, the purely human groups of mirth and peril, labour and repose, the marriage feast and the besieged city. But then there comes in the group of Perseus with the Gorgon's head and other similar impersonations which had sprung into a religious belief since Homer sang. Take the chest of Cypselus, probably dating from some time in the seventh century B.C., and there we find the tale of Troy in Homer and the Cyclics has itself become a myth. With scenes from that tale, including the Odyssey, with one in particular from this very episode of the shield, Thetis bringing the divine weapons to Achilles, or with legends like that of Perseus and the Gorgon, Jason and the Argonauts, its surface is all but completely covered. The only trace of human interest is found in an historic battle-piece, which Pausanias, who describes the chest minutely, records, while criticising the local tradition as to its precise subject (Pausan. V. xviii. 2).
This shield shows traces of the influence of both the principal Homeric shields, that of Achilles and that of Agamemnon, as well as of the forms on the marvellous belt of Herakles referred to above—the last, in the zone of fierce animals which seem to intervene between the human and the mythological subjects. Thus the Homeric shield carries a purely human
1 For some part of the argument introduced here the writer is indebted to Prof. H. Brunn, Kunst bei Homer, p. 18 foll. 2 II. iv. 439-41 :
&poe de toùs pèrApns, tous dè yduuk@TIS 'Adnun,
"Αρεος ανδροφόνοιo κασιγνήτη έτάρη τε. 3 The scutum Herculis, which we call Hesiodic in compliance with a doubtful tradition, is full of interpolations which encrust the original design ; but, for the purpose of the above argument, they leave the idea of that design unclouded.
* Comp. Hesiod, Scut. Herc. 168–77, with Od. xi. 610-2.
for the self-intis comrades, we and Diosc
and creaturely interest. Its scenes are in turn peaceful, festive, litigious, warlike, agricultural, bucolic, choreutic. The poet has caught the artist in the infancy of art, studying in all simplicity the familiar thing before his eyes, and with beautifully unconscious consistency he makes Helen at her loom in Troy reproduce the combats waged around her. The illustration of myth has not emerged upon his mind. In the Hesiodic shield the field is largely charged with adventitious myth. On the chest it is wholly taken up by this latter, save in one last link which keeps the artist from breaking with the actual. Turn to the great historical masterpieces of later art, and myth is everywhere and man, so to speak, nowhere. Take the Phidian throne of Zeus at Olympia, and, save for the introduction of the Olympic games, which the genius loci required, it is a blaze of mythology from pinnacle to footstool. Take the earlier throne of Apollo at Amyclæ, and there, save for the self-interested intrusion of a portrait-panel of the artist himself and his comrades, we pass without human relief from Graces and Hours to Tritons and Dioscuri, thence to Typhöeus, Echidna, and the rest of the mythic host. Take the Parthenon as Pheidias left it; it is a panheroon of Attic myth and legend from end to end. Turn next to the Euripidean shield ascribed to Achilles, and we have a description, perhaps in outline only, not in detail. “On it,' says the poet, ‘were wrought such devices as follow : Perseus with winged sandals holding the decapitated form of the Gorgon ; together with Hermes, messenger of Zeus. The sun appears in the centre, as in Homer, but he appears 'on winged steeds.' The groups of stars, ' Pleiads and Hyads,' are also mentioned as in the Iliad. Here then the later poet holds on by this last link to Homer; but still with a difference, and that difference mythological, while the body of the device is mythological wholly, of which Perseus and Hermes are perhaps intended to be specimens merely. The entire human and social character of the Homeric shield is clean wiped out. On the helmet the poet places ‘sphinxes,'—a monster unknown to Homer, who gives the legend of Edipus in outline, but, significantly, with no mention of the sphinx. On the corslet he adds a * fire-breathing lioness,' probably intending the Chimæra,' which is mentioned in Homer in the legend of Bellerophon as a monster destroyed by him, but nowhere appears on accoutrements in the heroic poet. There could be no clearer testimony alike to the development of myth since Homer's