House Ascendant: Odysseus & His Family in the Early Thirteenth Century BC.


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With this view they are said to have once consulted the Delphian oracle, which gave them an unfavourable answer as regards Arcadia generally, telling them that there were many acorn-eating men there, but appeared to encourage them to try their strength against Tegea, foretelling that they would dance there and measure out the plain with a rope.

Taking this in a favourable sense they advanced against Tegea, but were utterly defeated, and many of them were taken prisoners and compelled to work in the fields, wearing the very chains which, with undue confidence, they had carried with them from Sparta for the purpose of securing their expected captives.

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Both Herodotus and Pausanias mention having seen these chains in the temple of Athena. In his history i. They were directed to bring back to Sparta the bones of Orestes, the son of Agamemnon, whose resting-place was enigmatically described. The consequence was that the Spartans soon proved the stronger, compelling the Tegeans to become their allies for nearly two centuries, to which they were less averse than the rest of the Arcadians, owing to their liking for an oligarchic form of government. For centuries after the loss of Greek liberty Tegea continued to be a place of importance.

Strabo, writing in the first century A. There is now little to mark its site, save the scanty ruins of its famous temple and its theatre. Nicholas, where many fragments of Doric columns of marble had long been lying exposed to view. The inner columns were Ionic and Corinthian. The workmanship, so far as any specimens of it exist, fully justifies the admiration expressed by Pausanias.

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Thirteen or fourteen miles north of Tegea, on a somewhat lower level of the same great central plain, stood the city of Mantinea, long a rival to Tegea, and possessing more of a commercial character, with a consequent leaning to the democratic form of government. On the former occasion a striking proof was given of the value of Spartan discipline.

Though taken by surprise when he found the enemy drawn up and ready for the conflict, Agis succeeded in gaining such a victory as went far to restore the prestige of his country, which had been tarnished by recent events in the Peloponnesian war. The west arm of the Theatre shows to the left, and the foreground is occupied by the remains of the Thersilion or Town Hall. The river Helisson sparkles in the distance, which is closed by the mountains of Arcadia. Mantinea again incurred the hostility of Sparta and experienced its military skill. The river Ophis so called from its circuitous windings farther north , which at that time ran through the city, was diverted from its course by the Spartan general Agesipolis, and so dammed up that its waters overflowed the brick-built walls, which soon gave way, compelling the inhabitants to surrender.

The community was then dissolved into the five villages of which it had been composed, a high-handed act on the part of Sparta, which was characteristic of its policy when it thought its ascendency to be in danger. One of the first results of the great Theban victory achieved by Epaminondas at Leuctra B. But though the Mantineans were at first in sympathy with the policy of that great soldier and statesman in seeking to create an Arcadian federation for the defence of the country against Spartan aggression, the rise of a new capital at Megalopolis excited their jealousy, and it was partly owing to their defection that Epaminondas had to undertake his last campaign in the Peloponnesus.

It was in a great battle fought in the immediate vicinity of Mantinea that he met his death. Never was there a more striking proof of the influence that may be exerted by a master-mind upon an army, than when Epaminondas was suddenly struck down while fighting with heroic energy at the head of his men. He was carried out of the field with a lance sticking in his breast; and a rising-ground is still pointed out Scopas from which he is said to have watched the close of the battle.

He named two men to succeed him in the command of the forces; but, on learning that they had both fallen, he advised that peace should be concluded with the enemy. Having ascertained that his shield was safe, he ordered the javelin to be extracted, and as the blood rushed out he breathed his last.

He was buried on the spot, and a monument was erected over his grave, of which no trace has yet been found. He was not only a consummate general, whose name will always be associated with the irresistible phalanx which anticipated that of Macedonia, [2] but was in every respect a great man—the greatest of the Greeks, according to Cicero.

Distinguished in music and philosophy, he was also a good speaker, and if he had had more opportunities for the practice of eloquence, he would probably have been found a match for the greatest orators of his day. As soon as their crimes became known they were banished; and then it was that Athens received them, stained with blood.

He with the forces of Sparta and all Greece besides, was ten years in taking a single city; while I, with the single force of Thebes and on the single day of Leuctra, have crushed the power of the Agamemnonian Sparta. It was said of him by one who had been in early life a companion of Socrates that he had never known any one who understood so much and spoke so little; and when he was reduced in rank, even after the great battle which deprived Sparta of its military supremacy, he did not disdain to serve his country for a time in a comparatively humble position.

Very few remains of the ancient city of Mantinea are to be seen, but the lower courses of the encircling walls, measuring more than two and a half miles in circumference, are plainly visible, with eight different gates and more than towers, separated by intervals of fully 80 feet, while the course of the Ophis can also be traced, which served apparently as a moat, with its two arms running round the city.

In three marble slabs were discovered in the floor of a Byzantine church within the walls, with reliefs representing the musical contest between Marsyas and Apollo, which have been identified with those mentioned by Pausanias as adorning a pedestal supporting images of Latona and her children, by Praxiteles.

Tegea and Mantinea and another ancient city in the neighbourhood Pallantion are commemorated in the city of Tripoliza or Tripolis, the threefold city , which was founded by the Turks about two hundred years ago. The east ramp of the Theatre is in the foreground to the left, from which we see remains of the proscenium and colonnade. Beyond are a few drums of columns, probably belonging to the Thersilion or Town Hall. The river Helisson shows in the distance. Tripoliza is the only large town in Arcadia, having a population of more than 10,, with a thriving trade.

It is also the seat of a bishopric, and contains one of the handsomest modern churches in Greece, built of marble, with a lofty tower recently added. The elevation of the city, like that of the plain generally, is fully feet above the sea. He saw that Arcadia would never be secure against Spartan invasion until means could be found to unite its forces. The jealousy between Tegea and Mantinea rendered it impossible for either of these cities to be chosen as the capital, and another site was found by the banks of the Helisson, a tributary of the Alpheus.

No fewer than forty small townships were merged in the new city, which was founded immediately after the battle of Leuctra. Several refused to join, and the inhabitants of one of them, called Trapezus, a very old settlement, rather than give up their independence, preferred to be put to the sword, those who escaped emigrating to their daughter-city of the same name, on the southern shore of the Black Sea.

Author’s Note

The name Megalopolis was not unsuitable, considering that the walls of the city were more than five and a half miles in circumference, and that the territory attached to it extended twenty-four miles on the north. Like most of the Greek cities, Megalopolis did not realise till too late what the gradual advance of the Macedonian power was to mean for Greece. In B. Seventeen years later the city was delivered out of the hands of its Peloponnesian enemies by Antipater, the lieutenant of Alexander the Great; but it had to submit, like Argos and Athens, to the remodelling of its constitution, in order that its new master might put some of his own partisans into power to form an oligarchy.

A hundred years later it fell into the hands of the Spartans under Cleomenes, who took it by a stratagem and levelled it to the ground. Among its citizens at the beginning of the second century B. To the modern traveller Megalopolis still presents features of interest. Its wide and open landscape embraces fertile plains and wooded hills and refreshing streams, which present a pleasing contrast to the dreary stretch of country on the eastern side of Arcadia.

Another ruin of great interest is the Thersilium , a hall covering an area of 35, square yards, in which the Arcadian assembly held their meetings and carried on their fierce debates. It is connected with the theatre by a portico, which was at one time mistaken for a stage, but is now regarded as of an earlier date and built for a different purpose.

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If Dr. Many old coins and vases have been picked up on the site of the ancient city by the inhabitants of the modern village of Sinanou, a little way to the south-east, and are preserved in their houses. Large fragments of marble are also to be seen scattered about. The castle is only approachable by a narrow passage, and even the town, now reduced to a population of about , can only be reached from one side of the mountain, standing as it does in a corner between the summit crowned with the fortress and the neighbouring hill of St.

Elias, [3] on which may be seen two Greek churches of Byzantine-Frankish architecture.

House Ascendant : Odysseus & His Family in the 13th Century BC

A giant plane-tree stands in the space opposite the church door, and supports the bells of the church. It is built on the two sides of a mountain stream embroidered with trees; and in the main street, beside the village fountain, there is a wide-spreading plane-tree, under which the people gather for a friendly talk, giving the place a most genial aspect. From the top of an adjoining hill a magnificent view can be obtained, extending to Erymanthus on the north and even including a glimpse of some of the Ionian Islands, under a favourable evening light.

It conducts to a scene of the most impressive solitude, at an elevation of nearly feet, commanding a magnificent view both of land and sea, including Mt. Ithome and the great Messenian plain. The ruin is acknowledged by general consent to be the finest in the Peloponnesus, though for centuries it was known only to the shepherds in the neighbourhood.

Designed by Ictinus, one of the architects of the Parthenon, the structure has weathered the storms of more than twenty-three centuries. Of the thirty-eight Doric columns which surrounded the temple only three are now wanting, and their architraves are almost intact. On it are represented the battle between the Greeks and the Amazons, and the fight between the Lapiths and the Centaurs. The design is admirable, but the execution is so poor as to suggest that the work was done by local sculptors. This is accounted for by the fact that it was built over an older shrine, which, from the nature of the rocky ledge on which it stood, could not be extended any farther east and west.

The old entrance, however, was still preserved, and the image of the god still faced to the east. Pausanias tells us of a bronze statue of Apollo, twelve feet high, which was removed from the temple to Megalopolis and set up in the market-place, but it has long since disappeared. The same writer conjectures that the temple was erected in honour of Apollo Epicourios for having averted from Phigalia the plague with which Athens was visited during the Peloponnesian War. But it is considered more likely to have been a general tribute to the god on account of the health-giving breezes which play over the spot, and which no doubt made it a favourite resort for the invalids of the district.

According to the ancient traveller just mentioned, the civilisation of Arcadia dates from the time of Arcas, who introduced cereal crops and taught his subjects to spin wool and weave cloth. Here, as elsewhere in Greece, it is no uncommon thing to see women spinning thread and herding sheep or goats at the same time, while indoors you may find them busy at the loom weaving cloth for family use, following the good example set of old both by Helen and Penelope. The men seem to be much fonder of taking their ease than the other sex, and show more vanity in their dress.

The Albanian costume, which is the uniform worn by the eight battalions of Riflemen, called Evzoni, who guard the frontier, is much affected by those who can afford it in the country towns. Its most conspicuous features are the fustanella kilt, made of a white linen of incredible length when stretched out to its full extent, the embroidered vest, and the red shoes with turned-up toes. The shepherds wear a sheepskin cloak without any pretensions to elegance, but they trim their hair with great care, ringlets frequently hanging over their brow.

They wear a broad leathern belt with innumerable receptacles, and one of the first things they will show to a stranger who is curious to know what they carry about with them is a small hand-mirror. They often amuse themselves and their flocks by playing on the pipe, which they can make in a few minutes from a bamboo cut in the field or plucked out of the roofing of their hut. The Castle covers the summit of a free-standing mass of rock, rising up into the air almost like the central tower of a great English Cathedral above a gorge with precipitous red cliffs.

To the right of the Castle lies the modern town. F OR centuries Sparta was the first military power in Greece. This position it owed partly to the Dorian vigour of its inhabitants, and partly to the strict discipline introduced by Lycurgus at a time when the other Greek states had not yet awakened to the importance of that military drill which was to contribute so largely to their influence.

House Ascendant: Odysseus & His Family in the Early Thirteenth Century BC. House Ascendant: Odysseus & His Family in the Early Thirteenth Century BC.
House Ascendant: Odysseus & His Family in the Early Thirteenth Century BC. House Ascendant: Odysseus & His Family in the Early Thirteenth Century BC.
House Ascendant: Odysseus & His Family in the Early Thirteenth Century BC. House Ascendant: Odysseus & His Family in the Early Thirteenth Century BC.
House Ascendant: Odysseus & His Family in the Early Thirteenth Century BC. House Ascendant: Odysseus & His Family in the Early Thirteenth Century BC.
House Ascendant: Odysseus & His Family in the Early Thirteenth Century BC. House Ascendant: Odysseus & His Family in the Early Thirteenth Century BC.
House Ascendant: Odysseus & His Family in the Early Thirteenth Century BC. House Ascendant: Odysseus & His Family in the Early Thirteenth Century BC.
House Ascendant: Odysseus & His Family in the Early Thirteenth Century BC. House Ascendant: Odysseus & His Family in the Early Thirteenth Century BC.
House Ascendant: Odysseus & His Family in the Early Thirteenth Century BC. House Ascendant: Odysseus & His Family in the Early Thirteenth Century BC.
House Ascendant: Odysseus & His Family in the Early Thirteenth Century BC. House Ascendant: Odysseus & His Family in the Early Thirteenth Century BC.

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