Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

the fiery sacrifice, he might seem to see the personification of the Phoenician character arrayed in golden robes, of ardent mien, and yet with a mind disturbed by objects unworthy of steadfast interest or unscrupulous devotion. The faith which the people received and the pontiff celebrated was a rock upon which the richest vessels of its worshippers would have been foundered, though freighted with a truer liberty and a truer humanity. Of those races, in ancient days, “which remained among the graves,” the Phoenicians were one; and the voice of the Prophet is heard once more: —“Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thy iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic, . . . . . and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth.” Thus, then, there are two sides to Phoenician, as to all other history. On one, we find the people growing in energy and in liberty, from year to year, as they caught more of the spirit that walks upon the waters. Their adventures were neither the summer sailings of the random voyager, nor yet the wintry trials which the modern seaman, in his robust vessel, laughs almost utterly to scorn. The Phoenician ships were feebly built and rudely managed, unfit to dare the seas beyond the sight of land, and rather employed in creeping along the shores, as if the earth, as much as the water, had been their element. In spite of such embarrassments, the Phoenicians reached the remotest regions, and returned after long absences to renew their ventures upon the waves. One of their exploits remains recorded by the oldest of all the heathen historians. Neco, the Egyptian king, having resolved, it seems, to order the circumnavigation of his dominions, intrusted the attempt to certain Phoenician men, as the best of any to make the cruise successfully. They accordingly set sail down the Red Sea, hugging the land as they proceeded, and disembarking at seed-time, to sow their grain upon the coast, and wait its ripening, so that it was three years before they returned to Egypt, where they reported they had seen the sun to the north, “on their right hand.” Timid as such an expedition now appears, it was then enough to have brought back a crew of men unfit to be governed by principalities or castes, as if they had been slaves or warriors. The other side of their history relieves us from any wonder that the discoveries and the energies of this half-known people should have wrought no greater changes in the world. It shows, besides, that the character of a commercial was just as different as that of any other sort of nation, in ancient times, from the Christian conceptions we have been taught to form of what it is or might be now. The conquests of the Persians and the adventures of the Greeks put an end to the prosperity of Phoenicia, from which its colonies were already severed, or ready to be severed, by any fate befalling the mother land. Yet, though the civilization of the ancient world was less indebted to the Phoenicians than is often imagined, and though they had been unable to free themselves from a corrupt and a barbarous faith, they were nevertheless the first people, as such, apparent in antiquity.

the king. Hist., XVIII. 4. An Odyssey, and the heathen poem will

instance of the king's being dis- be found to tell the same story : —

placed by the pontiff occurs in Jo- Potvić . . . . . dvip, drarowa elöðs

seph., Cont. Apion., I. 21. Cf. Pas- Tpákros 6s 8) troAAä käx dvěpánot

toret, Hist. Légis., Tom. I. p. 328. ow opyet.—XIV. 288, 289. 20 Ezekiel, XXVIII. 18. Cf. the

21 Which, says Herodotus, “is past my belief.” IV. 42.

[ocr errors][merged small]

“The taste, love, and intuition of the Beautiful stamped the Greeks above all mations.” BULwen Lytton, Athens, I. 112.

“Localism was the only form of political liberty they had ever known.” Industrial History of the Dutch, p. 239.

SECTION I.
THE COUNTRY AND THE PEOPLE.

A LAND of beauty, yet of singular disunion, lay westward of any to which we have here returned. Towering peaks' thrust themselves skyward between broken valleys; or where mountains were distant, the plain was parted by a river or the land ploughed through by waters from the sea. Races of men on the same soil, a few leagues apart, were as completely separated as though they had been inhabitants of different worlds. Each country was divided into various cities and territories, in which its strength was often squandered and its sympathies were unceasingly confined. It seemed as if there had been given to each a separate patriotism, which grew into active rivalry with the other as soon as the sea was crossed or the mountain scaled. The stream

! Almeivā kāpmva. Il., XX. 58. WOL. I. 14

will sometimes pour into many channels the strength that would be more majestically gathered into one; but it needs little love for nature to rejoice that the verdure of one meadow will be borne over a whole land with the caresses of the lighter-flowing currents to which the larger has yielded up its powers. With all its divisions, Greece possessed an unchanging beauty. Its atmosphere, glowing with southern hues, yet not consuming the earth it rather wrapped in haze, was full of visions to the upward eye. Grandeur and repose belonged to the mountains by which the land was raised nearer “the everlasting stars”; softer scenes were crowded in the plains or by the streams; while changefulness and splendor crested the deep and dark-blue waves which leaped and shone and roared upon the steadfast shores. Nor was all this magnificence without generosity. The soil in most places rewarded its cultivators with abundant harvests of fruit and grain; while even from stony ground, where seeds would fall in vain, and from mountain fastnesses, were yielded metals, and those more precious marbles responsive to the thought as to the touch of man. The Greeks lived in a favored land; they proved in antiquity to be a favored race. Their mingled dignity and restlessness were gifts of the nature in which their homes had been ordained ;” and so their

2 “Unrivalled Greece itself, in the conclusion of an oration

- - - - - where every power benign HEschi * Conspired to blow the flower of human (Co. de Corona) by -- - line. kind.” Eyð, Hèv oëv, & yū kai Ate kai dper) Thomson. kai goverus kai Tatēeia, is 8taywó

We have a witness from Greece okopiev kaśā kai ala.kpá, 3e3off

« НазадПродовжити »