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A Day In Old Athens by William Stearns Davis

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Title: A Day In Old Athens

Author: William Stearns Davis

Release Date: December, 2003 [EBook #4716]
[Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule]
[This file was first posted on March 6, 2002]

Edition: 10

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO 8859-1 (Latin-1)

***

A Day in Old Athens

By William Stearns Davis
Professor of Ancient History in the University of Minnesota

Preface

This little book tries to describe what an intelligent person would
see and hear in ancient Athens, if by some legerdemain he were
translated to the fourth century B.C. and conducted about the city
under competent guidance. Rare happenings have been omitted and
sometimes, to avoid long explanations, PROBABLE matters have been
stated as if they were ascertained facts; but these instances are
few, and it is hoped no reader will be led into serious error.

The year 360 B.C. has been selected for the hypothetical time of
this visit, not because of any special virtue in that date, but
because Athens was then architecturally almost perfect, her civic
and her social life seemed at their best, the democratic constitution
held its vigor, and there were few outward signs of the general
decadence which was to set in after the triumph of Macedon.

I have endeavored to state no facts and to make no allusions, that
will not be fairly obvious to a reader who has merely an elementary
knowledge of Greek annals, such information, for instance, as may be
gained through a good secondary school history of ancient times.
This naturally has led to comments and descriptions which more
advanced students may find superfluous.

The writer has been under a heavy debt to the numerous and excellent
works on Greek "Private Antiquities" and "Public Life" written in
English, French, or German, as well as to the various great Classical
Encyclopdias and Dictionaries, and to many treatises and monographs
upon the topography of Athens and upon the numerous phases of Attic
culture. It is proper to say, however, that the material from
such secondary sources has been merely supplementary to a careful
examination of the ancient Greek writers, with the objects of this
book kept especially in view. A sojourn in modern Athens, also,
has given me an impression of the influence of the Attic landscape
upon the conditions of old Athenian life, an impression that I have
tried to convey in this small volume.

I am deeply grateful to my sister, Mrs. Fannie Davis Gifford, for
helpful criticism of this book while in manuscript; to my wife,
for preparing the drawings from Greek vase-paintings which appear
as illustrations; and to my friend and colleague, Professor Charles
A. Savage, for a kind and careful reading of the proofs. Thanks
also are due to Henry Holt and Company for permission to quote
material from their edition of Von Falke's "Greece and Rome."

W. S. D.

University of Minnesota,
Minneapolis, Minnesota.
May, 1914.

Contents.

Page
Maps, Plans, and Illustrations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xii

Chapter I. The Physical Setting of Athens.

Section
1. The Importance of Athens in Greek History . . . . . . . . . . . 1
2. Why the Social Life of Athens is so Significant . . . . . . . . 1
3. The Small Size and Sterility of Attica . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
4. The Physical Beauty of Attica . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
5. The Mountains of Attica . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
6. The Sunlight in Attica . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
7. The Topography of the City of Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
8. 360 B.C.--The Year of the Visit to Athens . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Chapter II. The First Sights in Athens.

9. The Morning Crowds bound for Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
10. The Gate and the Street Scenes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
11. The Streets and House Fronts of Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
12. The Simplicity of Athenian Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Chapter III. The Agora and its Denizens.

13. The Buildings around the Agora . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
14. The Life in the Agora . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
15. The Booths and Shops in the Agora . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
16. The Flower and the Fish Vendors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
17. The Morning Visitors to the Agora . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
18. The Leisured Class in Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
19. Familiar Types around the Agora . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
20. The Barber Shops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Chapter IV. The Athenian House and its Furnishings.

21. Following an Athenian Gentleman Homeward . . . . . . . . . . . 26
22. The Type and Uses of a Greek House . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
23. The Plan of a Greek House . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
24. Modifications in the Typical Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
25. Rents and House Values . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
26. The Simple yet Elegant Furnishings of an Athenian House . . . . 32

Chapter V. The Women of Athens.

27. How Athenian Marriages are Arranged . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
28. Lack of Sentiment in Marriages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
29. Athenian Marriage Rites . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
30. The Mental Horizon of Athenian Women . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
31. The Honor paid Womanhood in Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
32. The Sphere of Action of Athenian Women . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

Chapter VI. Athenian Costume.

33. The General Nature of Greek Dress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
34. The Masculine Chiton, Himation, and Chlamys . . . . . . . . . . 44
35. The Dress of the Women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
36. Footwear and Head Coverings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
37. The Beauty of the Greek Dress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
38. Greek Toilet Frivolities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

Chapter VII. The Slaves.

39. Slavery an Integral Part of Greek Life . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
40. The Slave Trade in Greece . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
41. The Treatment of Slaves in Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
42. Cruel and Kind Masters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
43. The "City Slaves" of Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

Chapter VIII. The Children.

44. The Desirability of Children in Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
45. The Exposure of Infants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
46. The Celebration of a Birth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
47. Life and Games of Young Children . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
48. Playing in the Streets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
49. The First Stories and Lessons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
50. The Training of Athenian Girls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

Chapter IX. The Schoolboys of Athens.

51. The Athenians Generally Literate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
52. Character Building the Aim of Athenian Education . . . . . . . 63
53. The Schoolboy's Pedagogue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
54. An Athenian School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
55. The School Curriculum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
56. The Study of the Poets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
57. The Greeks do not study Foreign Languages . . . . . . . . . . . 70
58. The Study of "Music" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
59. The Moral Character of Greek Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
60. The Teaching of Gymnastics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
61. The Habits and Ambitions of Schoolboys . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
62. The "Ephebi" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75

Chapter X. The Physicians of Athens.

63. The Beginnings of Greek Medical Science . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
64. Healing Shrines and their Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
65. An Athenian Physician's Office . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
66. The Physician's Oath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
67. The Skill of Greek Physicians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
68. Quacks and Charlatans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82

Chapter XI. The Funerals.

69. An Athenian's Will . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
70. The Preliminaries of a Funeral . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
71. Lamenting the Dead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
72. The Funeral Procession . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
73. The Funeral Pyre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
74. Honors to the Memory of the Dead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
75. The Beautiful Funeral Monuments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89

Chapter XII. Trade, Manufactures, and Banking.

76. The Commercial Importance of Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
77. The Manufacturing Activities of Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
78. The Commerce of Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
79. The Adventurous Merchant Skippers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
80. Athenian Money-changers and Bankers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
81. A Large Banking Establishment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
82. Drawbacks to the Banking Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97
83. The Pottery of Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
84. Athenian Pottery an Expression of the Greek Sense of Beauty . . 99

Chapter XIII. The Armed Forces of Athens.

85. Military Life at Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
86. The Organization of the Athenian Army . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
87. The Hoplites and the Light Troops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
88. The Cavalry and the Peltasts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
89. The Panoply of the Hoplites . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
90. The Weapons of a Hoplite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
91. Infantry Maneuvers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108
92. The Preliminaries of a Greek Battle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
93. Joining the Battle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
94. The Climax and End of the Battle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
95. The Burial Truce and the Trophy after the Battle . . . . . . . 114
96. The Siege of Fortified Towns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
97. The Introduction of New Tactics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115

Chapter XIV. The Peirus and the Shipping.

98. The "Long Walls" down to the Harbor Town . . . . . . . . . . . 117
99. Munychia and the Havens of Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118
100. The Glorious View from the Hill of Munychia . . . . . . . . . . 119
101. The Town of Peirus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
102. The Merchant Shipping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
103. The Three War Harbors and the Ship Houses . . . . . . . . . . . 124
104. The Great Naval Arsenal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
105. An Athenian Trierarch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
106. The Evolution of the Trireme . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
107. The Hull of a Trireme . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
108. The Rowers' Benches of a Trireme . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
109. The Cabins, Rigging, and Ram of a Trireme . . . . . . . . . . . 129
110. The Officers and Crew of a Trireme . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
111. A Trireme at Sea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
112. The Tactics of a Naval Battle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
113. The Naval Strength of Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134

Chapter XV. An Athenian Court Trial.

114. The Frequency of Litigation in Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
115. Prosecutions in Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
116. The Preliminaries to a Trial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
117. The Athenian Jury Courts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138
118. The Juryman's Oath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139
119. Opening The Trial. The Plaintiff's Speech . . . . . . . . . . 140
120. The Defendant's Speech. Demonstrations by the Jury . . . . . . 141
121. The First Verdict . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142
122. The Second and Final Verdict . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
123. The Merits and Defects of the Athenian Courts . . . . . . . . . 144
124. The Usual Punishments in Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
125. The Heavy Penalty of Exile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
126. The Death Penalty of Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145

Chapter XVI. The Ecclesia of Athens.

127. The Rule of Democracy in Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
128. Aristocracy and Wealth. Their Status and Burdens . . . . . . . 147
129. Athenian Society truly Democratic up to a Certain Point . . . . 148
130. The Voting Population of Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
131. Meeting Times of the Ecclesia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150
132. The Pnyx (Assembly Place) at Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
133. The Preliminaries of the Meeting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
134. Debating a Proposition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
135. Voting at the Pnyx . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
136. The Ecclesia as an Educational Instrument . . . . . . . . . . . 156

Chapter XVII. The Afternoon at the Gymnasia

137. The Gymnasia. Places of General Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
138. The Road to the Academy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
139. The Academy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
140. The Social Atmosphere and Human Types at the Academy . . . . . 160
141. Philosophers and Cultivated Men at the Gymnasia . . . . . . . . 161
142. The Beautiful Youths at the Academy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162
143. The Greek Worship of Manly Beauty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
144. The Detestation of Old Age . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
145. The Greeks unite Moral and Physical Beauty . . . . . . . . . . 165
146. The Usual Gymnastic Sports and their Objects . . . . . . . . . 166
147. Professional Athletes: the Pancration . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
148. Leaping Contests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
149. Quoit Hurling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168
150. Casting the Javelin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168
151. Wrestling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
152. Foot Races . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170
153. The Pentathlon: the Honors paid to Great Athletes . . . . . . 172

Chapter XVIII. Athenian Cookery and the Symposium

154. Greek Meal Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174
155. Society desired at Meals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175
156. The Staple Articles of Food . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176
157. Greek Vintages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178
158. Vegetable Dishes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179
159. Meat and Fish Dishes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
160. Inviting Guests to a Dinner Party . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181
161. Preparing for the Dinner: the Sicilian Cook . . . . . . . . . 182
162. The Coming of the Guests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183
163. The Dinner Proper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184
164. Beginning the Symposium . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
165. The Symposiarch and his Duties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186
166. Conversation at the Symposium . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187
167. Games and Entertainments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
168. Going Home from the Feast: Midnight Revelers . . . . . . . . . 189

Chapter XIX. Country Life around Athens.

169. The Importance of his Farm to an Athenian . . . . . . . . . . . 191
170. The Country by the Ilissus: the Greeks and Natural Beauty . . 191
171. Plato's Description of the Walk by the Ilissus . . . . . . . . 193
172. The Athenian Love of Country Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194
173. Some Features of the Attic Country . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195
174. An Attic Farmstead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196
175. Plowing, Reaping, and Threshing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197
176. Grinding at the Mill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199
177. The Olive Orchards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199
178. The Vineyards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201
179. Cattle, Sheep, and Goats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201
180. The Gardens and the Shrine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 202

Chapter XX. The Temples and Gods of Athens.

181. Certain Factors in Athenian Religion . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
182. What constitutes "Piety" in Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205
183. The Average Athenians Idea of the Gods . . . . . . . . . . . . 206
184. Most Greeks without Belief in Immortality . . . . . . . . . . . 207
185. The Multitude of Images of the Gods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209
186. Greek Superstition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210
187. Consulting Omens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210
188. The Great Oracles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211
189. Greek Sacrifices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212
190. The Route to the Acropolis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213
191. The Acropolis of Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214
192. The Use of Color Upon Athenian Architecture and Sculptures . . 216
193. The Chief Buildings on the Acropolis . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217
194. The Parthenon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218
195. A Sacrifice on the Acropolis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219
196. The Interior of the Parthenon and the Great Image of Athena . . 222
197. Greek Prayers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224

Chapter XXI. The Great Festival of Athens.

198. The Frequent Festivals in Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 228
199. The Eleusinia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 228
200. The Holy Procession to Eleusis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229
201. The Mysteries of Eleusis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 230
202. The Greater Dionysia and the Drama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
203. The Theater of Dionysus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 232
204. The Production of a Play . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233
205. The Great Panathenaic Procession . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235
206. The View from the Temple of Wingless Victory . . . . . . . . . 237

Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239

Maps, Plans, and Illustrations.

1. Athenian Acropolis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Frontispiece
Page
2. Sketch Map of Attica . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
3. Sketch Map of Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
4. Peasant going to Market . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
5. At the Street Fountain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
6. A Wayside Herm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
7. A Carpenter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
8. Conjectural Plan for the house of a Wealthy Athenian . . . . . . 29
9. Spinning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
10. The Maternal Slipper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
11. Athenian Funeral Monument . . . . . . . . . . . . . FACING PAGE 88
12. At the Smithy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
13. Hoplite in Armor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
14. The Town of Peirus and the Harbors of Athens . . . . . . . . . 118
15. Fishermen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
16. An Athenian Trireme . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
17. The Race in Armor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171
18. Itinerant Piper with his Dog . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196
19. Women pounding Meal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198
20. Gathering the Olive Harvest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200
21. Rural Sacrifice to a Wooden Statue of Dionysus . . . . . . . . . 202
22. Sketch Map of the Acropolis of Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214
23. Sacrificing a Pig . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221
24. Athena Parthenos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
25. Comic Actors dressed as Ostriches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233
26. Actor in Costume as a Fury . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234

A Day in Old Athens

Chapter I. The Physical Setting of Athens.

1. The Importance of Athens in Greek History.--To three ancient
nations the men of the twentieth century owe an incalculable debt.
To the Jews we owe most of our notions of religion; to the Romans
we owe traditions and examples in law, administration, and the
general management of human affairs which still keep their influence
and value; and finally, to the Greeks we owe nearly all our ideas
as to the fundamentals of art, literature, and philosophy, in
fact, of almost the whole of our intellectual life. These Greeks,
however, our histories promptly teach us, did not form a single
unified nation. They lived in many "city-states" of more or less
importance, and some of the largest of these contributed very little
directly to our civilization. Sparta, for example, has left us
some noble lessons in simple living and devoted patriotism, but
hardly a single great poet, and certainly never a philosopher or
sculptor. When we examine closely, we see that the civilized life
of Greece, during the centuries when she was accomplishing the most,
was peculiarly centered at Athens. Without Athens, Greek history
would lose three quarters of its significance, and modern life and
thought would become infinitely the poorer.

2. Why the Social Life of Athens is so Significant.--Because,
then, the contributions of Athens to our own life are so important,
because they touch (as a Greek would say) upon almost every side
of "the true, the beautiful, and the good," it is obvious that
the outward conditions under which this Athenian genius developed
deserve our respectful attention. For assuredly such personages
as Sophocles, Plato, and Phidias were not isolated creatures, who
developed their genius apart from, or in spite of, the life about
them, but rather were the ripe products of a society, which in its
excellences and weaknesses presents some of the most interesting
pictures and examples in the world. To understand the Athenian
civilization and genius it is not enough to know the outward history
of the times, the wars, the laws, and the lawmakers. We must see
Athens as the average man saw it and lived in it from day to day,
and THEN perhaps we can partially understand how it was that during
the brief but wonderful era of Athenian freedom and prosperity[*],
Athens was able to produce so many men of commanding genius as to
win for her a place in the history of civilization which she can
never lose.

[*]That era may be assumed to begin with the battle of Marathon
(490 B.C.), and it certainly ended in 322 B.C., when Athens passed
decisively under the power of Macedonia; although since the battle
of Chroneia (338 B.C.) she had done little more than keep her
liberty on sufferance.

3. The Small Size and Sterility of Attica.--Attica was a very small
country according to modern notions, and Athens the only large city
therein. The land barely covered some 700 square miles, with 40
square miles more, if one includes the dependent island of Salamis.
It was thus far smaller than the smallest of our American "states"
(Rhode Island = 1250 square miles), and was not so large as many
American counties. It was really a triangle of rocky, hill-scarred
land thrust out into the gean Sea, as if it were a sort of
continuation of the more level district of Botia. Yet small as it
was, the hills inclosing it to the west, the seas pressing it form
the northeast and south, gave it a unity and isolation all its own.
Attica was not an island; but it could be invaded only by sea, or
by forcing the resistance which could be offered at the steep mountain
passes towards Botia or Megara. Attica was thus distinctly separated
from the rest of Greece. Legends told how, when the half-savage
Dorians had forced themselves southward over the mainland, they
had never penetrated into Attica; and the Athenians later prided
themselves upon being no colonists from afar, but upon being
"earth-sprung,"--natives of the soil which they and their twenty-times
grandfathers had held before them.

This triangle of Attica had its peculiar shortcomings and virtues.
It was for the most part stony and unfertile. Only a shallow layer
of good soil covered a part of its hard foundation rock, which
often in turn lay bare on the surface. The Athenian farmer had a
sturdy struggle to win a scanty crop, and about the only products
he could ever raise in abundance for export were olives (which seemed
to thrive on scanty soil and scanty rainfall) and honey, the work
of the mountain bees.

4. The Physical Beauty of Attica.--Yet Attica had advantages which
more than counterbalanced this grudging of fertility. All Greece,
to be sure, was favored by the natural beauty of its atmosphere,
seas, and mountains, but Attica was perhaps the most favored portion
of all, Around her coasts, rocky often and broken by pebbly beaches
and little craggy peninsulas, surged the deep blue gean, the most
glorious expanse of ocean in the world. Far away spread the azure
water[*],--often foam-crested and sometimes alive with the dolphins
leaping at their play,--reaching towards a shimmering sky line
where rose "the isles of Greece," masses of green foliage, or else
of tawny rock, scattered afar, to adapt the words of Homer, "like
shields laid on the face of the glancing deep."

[*]The peculiar blueness of the water near Attica is probably caused
by the clear rocky bottom of the sea, as well as by the intensity
of the sunlight.

Above the sea spread the noble arch of the heavens,--the atmosphere
often dazzlingly bright, and carrying its glamour and sparkle almost
into the hearts of men. The Athenians were proud of the air about
their land. Their poets gladly sung its praises, as, for example,
Euripides[*], when he tells how his fellow countrymen enjoy being--

Ever through air clear shining brightly
As on wings uplifted, pacing lightly.

[*]Medea:829.

5. The Mountains of Attica.--The third great element, besides the
sea and the atmosphere of Athens, was the mountains. One after
another the bold hills reared themselves, cutting short all the
plainlands and making the farmsteads often a matter of slopes and
terraces. Against the radiant heavens these mountains stood out
boldly, clearly; revealing all the little gashes and seams left from
that long-forgotten day when they were flung forth from the bowels
of the earth. None of these mountains was very high: Hymettus,
the greatest, was only about 3500 feet; but rising as they often
did from a close proximity to the sea, and not from a dwarfing
table-land, even the lower hills uplifted themselves with proud
majesty.

These hills were of innumerable tints according to their rocks,
the hue of the neighboring sea, and the hour of the day. In spring
they would be clothed in verdant green, which would vanish before
the summer heats, leaving them rosy brown or gray. But whatever
the fundamental tone, it was always brilliant; for the Athenians
lived in a land where blue sky, blue sea, and the massive rock blent
together into such a galaxy of shifting color, that, in comparison,
the lighting of almost any northern or western landscape would
seem feeble and tame. The Athenians absorbed natural beauty with
their native air.

6. The Sunlight in Athens.--The Athenian loved sunshine, and Helios
the Sun God was gracious to his prayers. In the Athens of to-day
it is reckoned that the year averages 179 days in which the sun is
not concealed by clouds one instant; and 157 days more when the sun
is not hidden more than half an hour[*]. Ancient Athens was surely
not more cloudy. Nevertheless, despite this constant sunshine and
a southern latitude, Athens was stricken relatively seldom with
semitropical heat. The sea was a good friend, bringing tempering
breezes. In the short winter there might be a little frost, a
little snow, and a fair supply of rain. For the rest of the year,
one golden day was wont to succeed another, with the sun and the
sea breeze in ever friendly rivalry.

[*]The reason for these many clear days is probably because when
the moist west and southwest winds come in contact with the dry,
heated air of the Attic plain, they are at once volatilized and
dispersed, not condensed (as in northern lands); therefore the day
resolves itself into brilliant sunshine.

The climate saved the Athenians from being obliged to wage a stern
warfare with nature as did the northern peoples. Their life and
civilization could be one developed essentially "in the open air";
while, on the other hand, the bracing sea breeze saved them from
that enervating lethargy which has ruined so many southern folk.
The scanty soil forced them to struggle hard to win a living; unless
they yielded to the constant beckoning of the ocean, and sought
food, adventure, wealth, and a great empire across the seas.

7. The Topography of the City of Athens.--So much for the land of
Attica in general; but what of the setting of the city of Athens
itself? The city lay in a plain, somewhat in the south central
part of Attica, and about four miles back from the sea. A number
of mountains came together to form an irregular rectangle with the
Saronic Gulf upon the south. To the east of Athens stretched the
long gnarled ridge of Hymettus, the wildest and grayest mountain
in Attica, the home of bees and goatherds, and (if there be faith
in pious legend) of innumerable nymphs and satyrs. To the west
ran the lower, browner mountains, galeos, across which a road (the
"Sacred Way") wound through an easy pass towards Eleusis, the only
sizable town in Attica, outside of Athens and its harbors. To the
rear of the plain rose a noble pyramid, less jagged than Hymettus,
more lordly than galeos; its summits were fretted with a white which
turned to clear rose color under the sunset. This was Pentelicus,
from the veins whereof came the lustrous marble for the master
sculptor. Closer at hand, nearer the center of the plain, rose
a small and very isolated hill,--Lycabettus, whose peaked summit
looked down upon the roofs of Athens. And last, but never least,
about one mile southwest of Lycabettus, upreared a natural monument
of much greater frame,--not a hill, but a colossal rock. Its
shape was that of an irregular oval; it was about 1000 feet long,
500 feet wide, and its level summit stood 350 feet above the plain.
This steep, tawny rock, flung by the Titans, one might dream,
into the midst of the Attic plain, formed one of the most famous
sites in the world, for it was the Acropolis of Athens. Its full
significance, however, must be explained later. From the Acropolis
and a few lesser hills close by, the land sloped gently down towards
the harbors and the Saronic Bay.

These were the great features of the outward setting of Athens. One
might add to them the long belt of dark green olive groves winding
down the westward side of the plain, where the Cephisus (which
along among Attic rivulets did not run dry in summer) ran down to
the sea. There was also a shorter olive belt west of the city,
where the weaker Ilissus crept, before it lost itself amid the
thirsty fields.

Sea, rock, and sky, then, joined together around Athens as around
almost no other city in the world. The landscape itself was adjusted
to the eye with marvelous harmony. The colors and contours formed
one glorious model for the sculptor and the painter, one perpetual
inspiration for the poet. Even if Athens had never been the seat
of a famous race, she would have won fame as being situated in one
of the most beautiful localities in the world. Rightly, therefore, did
its dwellers boast of their city as the "Violet-crowned" (Iostephanos).

8. 360 B.C.--The Year of the Visit to Athens.--This city let us
visit in the days of its greatest outward glory. We may select the
year 360 B.C. At that time Athens had recovered from the ravages
of the Peloponnesian War, while the Macedonian peril had not as
yet become menacing. The great public buildings were nearly all
completed. No signs of material decadence were visible, and if
Athens no longer possessed the wide naval empire of the days of
Pericles, her fleets and her armies were still formidable. The
harbors were full of commerce; the philosophers were teaching their
pupils in the groves and porticoes; the democratic constitution was
entirely intact. With intelligent vision we will enter the city
and look about us.

Chapter II. The First Sights in Athens.

9. The Morning Crowds bound for Athens.--It is very early in the
morning. The sun has just pushed above the long ridge of Hymettus,
sending a slanting red bar of light across the Attic plain, and
touching the opposite slopes of galeos with livid fire. Already,
however, life is stirring outside the city. Long since, little
market boats have rowed across the narrow strait from Salamis,
bringing the island farmer's produce, and other farmers from the
plain and the mountain slopes have started for market. In the
ruddy light the marble temples on the lofty Acropolis rising ahead
of these hurrying rustics are standing out clearly; the spear
and helmet of the great brazen statue of the Athena Promachos are
flashing from the noble citadel, as a kind of day beacon, beckoning
onward toward the city. From the Peirus, the harbor town, a
confused him of mariners lading and unlading vessels is even now
rising, but we cannot turn ourselves thither. Our route is to
follow the farmers bound for market.

The most direct road from the Peirus to Athens is hidden indeed,
for it leads between the towering ramparts of the "Long Walls,"
two mighty barriers which run parallel almost four miles from the
inland city to the harbor, giving a guarded passage in wartime and
making Athens safe against starvation from any land blockade; but
there is an outside road leading also to Athens from the western
farmsteads, and this we can conveniently follow. Upon this route
the crowd which one meets is certainly not aristocratic, but it
is none the less Athenian. Here goes a drover, clad in skins, his
legs wound with woolen bands in lieu of stockings; before him and
his wolf-like dog shambles a flock of black sheep or less manageable
goats, bleating and baaing as they are propelled toward market.
After him there may come an unkempt, long-bearded farmer flogging on
a pack ass or a mule attached to a clumsy cart with solid wheels,
and laden with all kinds of market produce. The roadway, be it
said, is not good, and all carters have their troubles; therefore,
there is a deal of gesticulating and profane invocation of Hermes
and all other gods of traffic; for, early as it is, the market
place is already filling, and every delay promises a loss. There
are still other companions bound toward the city: countrymen
bearing cages of poultry; others engaged in the uncertain calling
of driving pigs; swarthy Oriental sailors, with rings in their
ears, bearing bales of Phnician goods from the Peirus; respectable
country gentlemen, walking gravely in their best white mantles
and striving to avoid the mud and contamination; and perhaps also
a small company of soldiers, just back from foreign service, passes,
clattering shields and spear staves.

10. The Gate and the Street Scenes.--The crowds grow denser
as everybody approaches the frequented "Peirus Gate," for nearly
all of Attica which lies within easy reach of Athens has business
in the Market Place every morning. On passing the gate a fairly
straight way leads through the city to the market, but progress for
the multitude becomes slow. If it is one of the main thoroughfares,
it is now very likely to be almost blocked with people. There are
few late risers at Athens; the Council of Five Hundred[*], the huge
Jury Courts, and the Public Assembly (if it has met to-day[+]) are
appointed to gather at sunrise. The plays in the theater, which,
however, are given only on certain festivals, begin likewise at
sunrise. The philosophers say that "the man who would accomplish
great things must be up while yet it is dark." Athenians, therefore,
are always awake and stirring at an hour when men of later ages and
more cold and foggy climes will be painfully yawning ere getting
out of bed.

[*]The "Boule," the great standing committee of the Athenian people
to aid the magistrates in the government.

[+]In which case, of course, the regular courts and the Council
would hardly meet.

The Market Place attracts the great masses, but by no means all;
hither and thither bevies of sturdy slave girls, carrying graceful
pitchers on their heads, are hurrying towards the fountains which
gush cool water at most of the street corners. Theirs is a highly
necessary task, for few or no houses have their own water supply;
and around each fountain one can see half a dozen by no means
slatternly maidens, splashing and flirting the water one at another,
while they wait their turn with the pitchers, and laugh and exchange
banter with the passing farmers' lads. Many in the street crowds
are rosy-cheeked schoolboys, walking decorously, if they are lads
of good breeding, and blushing modestly when they are greeted
by their fathers' acquaintances. They do not loiter on the way.
Close behind, carrying their writing tablets, follow the faithful
'pedagogues,' the body-servants appointed to conduct them to
school, give them informal instruction, and, if need be, correct
their faults in no painless manner. Besides the water maids
and the schoolboys, from the innumerable house doors now opening
the respective masters are stepping forth--followed by one, two,
or several serving varlets, as many as their wealth affords. All
these join in the crowd entering from the country. "Athenian
democracy" always implies a goodly amount of hustling and pushing.
No wonder the ways are a busy sight!

11. The Streets and House Fronts of Athens.--Progress is slower near
the Market Place because of the extreme narrowness of the streets.
They are only fifteen feet wide or even less,--intolerable alleys
a later age would call them,--and dirty to boot. Sometimes they
are muddy, more often extremely dusty. Worse still, they are
contaminated by great accumulations of filth; for the city is without
an efficient sewer system or regular scavengers. Even as the crowd
elbows along, a house door will frequently open, an ill-favored
slave boy show his head, and with the yell, "Out of the way!" slap
a bucket of dirty water into the street. There are many things to
offend the nose as well as the eyes of men of a later race. It is
fortunate indeed that the Athenians are otherwise a healthy folk,
or they would seem liable to perpetual pestilence; even so, great
plagues have in past years harried the city[*].

[*]The most fearful thereof was the great plague of 430 B.C. (during
the Peloponnesian War), which nearly ruined Athens.

The first entrance to Athens will thus bring to a stranger, full of
the city's fame and expectant of meeting objects of beauty at every
turn, almost instant disappointment. The narrow, dirty, ill-paved
streets are also very crooked. One can readily be lost in a
labyrinth of filthy little lanes the moment one quits the few main
thoroughfares. High over head, to be sure, the red crags of the
Acropolis may be towering, crowned with the red, gold, and white
tinted marble of the temples, but all around seems only monotonous
squalor. The houses seem one continuous series of blank walls;
mostly of one, occasionally of two stories, and with flat roofs.
These walls are usually spread over with some dirty gray or perhaps
yellow stucco. For most houses, the only break in the street walls
are the simple doors, all jealously barred and admitting no glance
within. There are usually no street windows, if the house is only
one story high. If it has two stories, a few narrow slits above
the way may hint that here are the apartments for the slaves or
women. There are no street numbers. There are often no street
names. "So-and-so lives in such-and-such a quarter, near the
Temple of Heracles;" that will enable you to find a householder,
after a few tactful questions from the neighbors; and after all,
Athens is a relatively small city[*] (as great cities are reckoned),
very closely built, and her regular denizens do not feel the need
of a directory.

[*]Every guess at the population of Athens rests on mere conjecture;
yet, using the scanty data which we possess, it seems possible
that THE POPULATION OF ALL ATTICA at the height of its prosperity
was about 200,000 FREE PERSONS (including the METICS--resident
foreigners without citizenship); and a rather smaller number of
slaves--say 150,000 or less. Of this total of some 350,000, probably
something under one half resided in the city of Athens during times
of peace, the rest in the outlying farms and villages. ATHENS MAY
BE IMAGINED AS A CITY OF ABOUT 150,000--possibly a trifle more.
During serious wars there would be of course a general removal into
the city.

So the crowd elbows its way onward: now thinning, now gaining,
but the main stream always working towards the Market Place.

12. The Simplicity of Athenian Life.--It is clear we are entering
a city where nine tenths of what the twentieth century will consider
the "essential conveniences" of life are entirely lacking; where
men are trying to be civilized--or, as the Greeks would say, to lay
hold upon "the true, the beautiful, and the good," without even the
absolute minimum of those things which people of a later age will
believe separate a "civilized man" from a "barbarian." The gulf
between old Athens and, for instance, new Chicago is greater than
is readily supposed[*]. It is easy enough to say that the Athenians
lacked such things as railways, telephones, gas, grapefruit,
and cocktails. All such matters we realize were not known by our
fathers and grandfathers, and we are not yet so removed from THEM
that we cannot transport ourselves in imagination back to the
world of say 1820 A.D.; but the Athenians are far behind even our
grandfathers. When we investigate, we will find conditions like
these--houses absolutely without plumbing, beds without sheets,
rooms as hot or as cold as the outer air, only far more drafty. We
must cross rivers without bridges; we must fasten our clothes (or
rather our "two pieces of cloth") with two pins instead of with
a row of buttons; we must wear sandals without stockings (or go
barefoot); must warm ourselves over a pot of ashes; judge plays or
lawsuits on a cold winter morning sitting in the open air; we must
study poetry with very little aid from books, geography without
real maps, and politics without newspapers; and lastly, "we must
learn how to be civilized without being comfortable!"[+]

[*]See the very significant comment on the physical limitations
of the old Athenian life in Zimmern's "The Greek Commonwealth," p.
209.

[+]Zimmern, ibid.

Or, to reverse the case: we must understand that an Athenian would
have pronounced our boasted "civilization" hopelessly artificial,
and our life so dependent on outward material props and factors
as to be scarcely worth the living. He would declare himself well
able to live happily under conditions where the average American
or Englishman would be cold, semi-starved, and miserable. He would
declare that HIS woe or happiness was retained far more under his own
control than we retain ours, and that we are worthy of contemptuous
pity rather than of admiration, because we have refined our
civilization to such a point that the least accident, e.g. the
suspension of rail traffic for a few days, can reduce a modern city
to acute wretchedness.

Probably neither the twentieth century in its pride, nor the fourth
century B.C. in its contempt, would have all the truth upon its
side.[*] The difference in viewpoint, however, must still stand.
Preminently Athens may be called the "City of the Simple Life."
Bearing this fact in mind, we may follow the multitude and enter
the Marketplace; or, to use the name that stamps it as a peculiarly
Greek institution,--the Agora.

[*]The mere matter of CLIMATE would of course have to come in as
a serious factor. The Athenian would have found his life becoming
infinitely more complex along the material side when he tried
to live like a "kalos-k'agathos"--i.e. a "noble and good man," or
a "gentleman,"--in a land where the thermometer might sink to 15
below zero Fahrenheit (or even lower) from time to time during the
winter.

Chapter III. The Agora and its Denizens.

13. The Buildings around the Agora.--Full market time![*] The great
plaza of the Agora is buzzing with life. The contrast between the
dingy, dirty streets and this magnificent public plaza is startling.
The Athenians manifestly care little for merely private display,
rather they frown upon it; their wealth, patriotism, and best
artistic energy seem all lavished upon their civic establishments
and buildings.

[*]Between nine and twelve A.M.

The Agora is a square of spacious dimensions, planted here and
there with graceful bay trees. Its greatest length runs north and
south. Ignoring for the time the teeming noisy swarms of humanity,
let our eyes be directed merely upon the encircling buildings. The
place is almost completely enclosed by them, although not all are
of equal elegance or pretension. Some are temples of more or less
size, like the temple of the "Paternal Apollo" near the southwestern
angle; or the "Metron," the fane of Cybele "the Great Mother
of the Gods," upon the south. Others are governmental buildings;
somewhat behind the Metron rise the imposing pillars of the Council
House, where the Five Hundred are deliberating on the policy of
Athens; and hard by that is the Tholos, the "Round House," with a
peaked, umbrella-shaped roof, beneath which the sacred public hearth
fire is ever kept burning, and where the presiding Committee of
the Council[*] and certain high officials take their meals, and a
good deal of state business is transacted. The majority of these
buildings upon the Agora, however, are covered promenades, porticoes,
or sto.

[*]This select committee was known technically as the "Prytanes."

The sto are combinations of rain shelters, shops, picture galleries,
and public offices. Turn under the pillars of the "Royal Stoa"
upon the west, and you are among the whispering, nudging, intent
crowd of listeners, pushing against the barriers of a low court.
Long rows of jurors are sitting on their benches; the "King Archon"
is on the president's stand, and some poor wight is being arraigned
on a charge of "Impiety"[*]; while on the walls behind stand graved
and ancient laws of Draco and Solon.

[*]The so-called "King Archon" had special cognizance of most cases
involving religious questions; and his court was in this stoa.

Cross the square, and on the opposite side is one of the most
magnificent of the porticoes, the "Painted Porch" ("Stoa Poikil"),
a long covered walk, a delightful refuge alike from sun and rain.
Almost the entire length of the inner walls (for it has columns
only on the side of the Agora) is covered with vivid frescoes. Here
Polygnotus and other master painters have spread out the whole
legendary story of the capture of Troy and of the defeat of the
Amazons; likewise the more historical tale of the battle of Marathon.
Yet another promenade, the "Stoa of Zeus," is sacred to Zeus, Giver
of Freedom. The walls are not frescoed, but hung with the shields
of valiant Athenian warriors.

In the open spaces of the plaza itself are various alters, e.g. to
the "Twelve Gods," and innumerable statues of local worthies, as
of Harmodius and Aristogeiton, the tyrant-slayers; while across the
center, cutting the Market Place from east to west, runs a line of
stone posts, each surmounted with a rude bearded head of Hermes,
the trader's god; and each with its base plastered many times over
with all kinds of official and private placards and notices.

14. The Life in the Agora.--So much for the physical setting of
the Agora: of far greater interest surely are the people. The
whole square is abounding with noisy activity. If an Athenian has
no actual business to transact, he will at least go to the Agora
to get the morning news. Two turns under the "Painted Porch" will
tell him the last rumor as to the foreign policy of Thebes; whether
it is true that old King Agesilaus has died at Sparta; whether corn
is likely to be high, owning to a failure of crops in the Euxine
(Black Sea) region; whether the "Great King" of Persia is prospering
in his campaign against Egypt. The crowd is mostly clad in white,
though often the cloaks of the humbler visitors are dirty, but there
is a sprinkling of gay colors,--blue, orange, and pink. Everybody
is talking at once in melodious Attic; everybody (since they are
all true children of the south) is gesticulating at once. To the
babel of human voices is added the wheezing whistle of donkeys,
the squealing of pigs, the cackle of poultry. Besides, from many
of the little factories and workshops on or near the Agora a great
din is rising. The clamor is prodigious. Criers are stalking
up and down the square, one bawling out that Andocides has lost a
valuable ring and will pay well to recover it; another the Pheidon
has a desirable horse that he will sell cheap. One must stand
still for some moments and let eye and ear accustom themselves to
such utter confusion.

15. The Booths and Shops in the Agora.--At length out of the chaos
there seems to emerge a certain order. The major part of the square
is covered with little booths of boards and wicker work, very frail
and able to be folded up, probably every night. There are little
lanes winding amid these booths; and each manner of huckster has
its own especial "circle" or section of the market. "Go to the
wine," "to the fish," "to the myrtles" (i.e. the flowers), are
common directions for finding difficult parts of the Agora. Trade
is mostly on a small scale,--the stock of each vendor is distinctly
limited in its range, and Athens is without "department stores." Behind
each low counter, laden with its wares, stands the proprietor, who
keeps up a din from leathern lungs: "Buy my oil!" "Buy charcoal!"
"Buy sausage!" etc., until he is temporarily silenced while dealing
with a customer.

In one "circle" may be found onions and garlic (a favorite food
of the poor); a little further on are the dealers in wine, fruit,
and garden produce. Lentils and peas can be had either raw, or
cooked and ready to eat on the spot. An important center is the
bread market. The huge cylindrical loaves are handed out by shrewd
old women with proverbially long tongues. Whosoever upsets one of
their delicately balanced piles of loaves is certain of an artistic
tongue lashing. Elsewhere there is a pottery market, a clothes
market, and, nearer the edge of the Agora, are "circles," where
objects of real value are sold, like jewelry, chariots, good
furniture. In certain sections, too, may be seen strong-voiced
individuals, with little trays swung by straps before them, pacing
to and fro, and calling out, not foods, but medicines, infallible
cure-alls for every human distemper. Many are the unwary fools
who patronize them.

16. The Flower and the Fish Vendors.--Two circles attract especial
attention, the Myrtles and the Fish. Flowers and foliage, especially
when made up into garlands, are absolutely indispensable to the
average Greek. Has he a great family festival, e.g. the birth
of a son, then every guest should wear a crown of olives; is it a
wedding, then one of flowers.[*] Oak-leaves do the honors for Zeus;
laurel for Apollo; myrtle for Aphrodite (and is not the Love-Goddess
the favorite?). To have a social gathering without garlands, in
short, is impossible. The flower girls of Athens are beautiful,
impudent, and not at all prudish. Around their booths press
bold-tongued youths, and not too discreet sires; and the girls can
call everybody familiarly by name. Very possibly along with the
sale of the garlands they make arrangements (if the banquet is
to be of the less respectable kind) to be present in the evening
themselves, perhaps in the capacity of flute girls.

[*]The Greeks lacked many of our common flowers. Their ordinary
flowers were white violets, narcissus, lilies, crocuses, blue
hyacinths, and roses ("the Flower of Zeus"). The usual garland
was made of myrtle or ivy and then entwined with various flowers.

More reputable, though not less noisy, is the fish market. Athenians
boast themselves of being no hearty "meat eaters" like their Botian
neighbors, but of preferring the more delicate fish. No dinner
party is successful without a seasonable course of fish. The arrival
of a fresh cargo from the harbor is announced by the clanging of
a bell, which is likely to leave all the other booths deserted,
while a crowd elbows around the fishmonger. He above all others
commands the greatest flow of billingsgate, and is especially notorious
for his arrogant treatment of his customers, and for exacting the
uttermost farthing. The "Fish" and the "Myrtles" can be sure of
a brisk trade on days when all the other booth keepers around the
Agora stand idle.

All this trade, of course, cannot find room in the booths of the
open Agora. Many hucksters sit on their haunches on the level
ground with their few wares spread before them. Many more have
little stands between the pillars of the sto; and upon the various
streets that converge on the market there is a fringe of shops,
but these are usually of the more substantial sort. Here are the
barbers' shops, the physicians' offices (if the good leech is more
than an itinerant quack), and all sorts of little factories, such
as smithies, where the cutler's apprentices in the rear of the shop
forge the knives which the proprietor sells over the counter, the
slave repositories, and finally wine establishments of no high
repute, where wine may not merely be bought by the skin (as in the
main Agora), but by the potful to be drunk on the premises.

17. The Morning Visitors to the Agora.--The first tour of inspection
completed, several facts become clear to the visitor. One is the
extraordinarily large proportion of MEN among the moving multitudes.
Except for the bread women and the flower girls, hardly one female
is to be found among the sellers. Among the purchasers there is
not a single reputable lady. No Athenian gentlewoman dreams of
frequenting the Agora. Even a poor man's wife prefers to let her
spouse do the family marketing. As for the "men folk," the average
gentleman will go daily indeed to the Agora, but if he is really
pretentious, it will be merely to gossip and to meet his friends;
a trusted servant will attend to the regular purchasing. Only when
an important dinner party is on hand will the master take pains to
order for himself. If he does purchase in person, he will never
CARRY anything himself. The slaves can attend to that; and only
the slaveless (the poorest of all) must take away their modest
rations of boiled lentils, peas, beans, onions, and garlic, usually
in baskets, though yonder now is a soldier who is bearing off a
measure of boiled peas inside his helmet.

Another thing is striking. The average poor Athenian seems to
have no purse. Or rather he uses the purse provided by nature. At
every booth one can see unkempt buyers solemnly taking their small
change from their mouths.[*] Happy the people that has not learned
the twentieth century wisdom concerning microbes! For most Athenians
seem marvelously healthy.

[*]A wealthier purchaser would, of course, have his own pouch, or
more probably one carried for him by a slave.

Still one other fact is brought home constantly. "Fixed prices"
are absolutely unknown. The slightest transaction involves a war of
bargaining. Wits are matched against wits, and only after a vast
deal of wind do buyer and seller reach a fair compromise. All
this makes retail trade in the Agora an excellent school for public
affairs or litigation.

18. The Leisured Class in Athens.--Evidently Athens, more than
many later-day cities, draws clear lines between the workers and the
"gentlemen of leisure." There is no distinction of dress between
the numerous slaves and the humbler free workers and traders; but
there is obvious distinction between the artisan of bent shoulders
who shambles out of yonder pungent tannery, with his scant garments
girded around him, and the graceful gentleman of easy gestures
and flowing drapery who moves towards the Tholos. There is great
POLITICAL democracy in Athens, but not so much SOCIAL democracy.
"Leisure," i.e. exemption from every kind of sordid, money-getting,
hard work, is counted the true essential for a respectable existence,
and to live on the effort of others and to devote oneself to public
service or to letters and philosophy is the open satisfaction or
the private longing of every Athenian.

A great proportion of these, therefore, who frequent the Agora are
not here on practical business, unless they have official duties
at the government offices.[*] But in no city of any age has the
gracious art of doing nothing been brought to such perfection.
The Athenians are an intensely gregarious people. Everybody knows
everybody else. Says an orator, "It is impossible for a man to
be either a rascal or an honest man in this city without your all
knowing it." Few men walk long alone; if they do keep their own
company, they are frowned on as "misanthropes." The morning visit
to the Agora "to tell or to hear some new thing"[+] will be followed
by equally delightful idling and conversation later in the day at
the Gymnasia, and later still, probably, at the dinner-party. Easy
and unconventional are the personal greetings. A little shaking
out of the mantle, an indescribable flourish with the hands. A
free Greek will despise himself for "bowing," even to the Great
King. To clasp hands implies exchanging a pledge, something for
more than mere salutation.

"Chaire, Aristomenes!"

"Chaire, Cleandros!"

Such is the usual greeting, using an expressive word which can mean
equally well "hail!" and "farewell!"

[*]To serve the state in any official capacity (usually without any
salary attached to the office) would give the highest satisfaction
to any Greek. The desire for participation in public affairs might
be described as a mania.

[+]Acts of the Apostles, 17:21.

19. Familiar Types around the Agora.--These animated, eager-faced
men whose mantles fall in statuesque folds prefer obviously to walk
under the Painted Porch, or the blue roof of heaven, while they
evolve their philosophies, mature their political schemes, or
organize the material for their orations and dramas, rather than to
bend over desks within close offices. Around the Athenian Agora,
a true type of this preference, and busy with this delightful
idleness, half a century earlier could have been seen a droll
figure with "indescribable nose, bald head, round body, eyes rolling
and twinkling with good humor," scantily clad,--an incorrigible
do-nothing, windbag, and hanger-on, a later century might assert,--yet
history has given to him the name of Socrates.

Not all Athenians, of course, make such justifiable use of their
idleness. There are plenty of young men parading around in long
trailing robes, their hair oiled and curled most effeminately,
their fingers glittering with jewels,--"ring-loaded, curly-locked
coxcombs," Aristophanes, the comic poet, has called them,--and
they are here only for silly display. Also there are many of their
elders who have no philosophy or wit to justify their continuous
talking; nevertheless, all considered, it must be admitted that
the Athenian makes a use of their dearly loved "leisure," which
men of a more pragmatic race will do well to consider as the fair
equivalent of much frantic zeal for "business." Athenian "leisure" has
already given the world Pericles, Thucydides, schylus, Sophocles,
Euripides, Socrates, and Plato, not to name such artists as Phidias,
whose profession cannot exempt them from a certain manual occupation.

20. The Barber Shops.--This habit of genteel idleness naturally
develops various peculiar institutions. For example, the barber
shops are almost club rooms. Few Hellenes at this time shave their
beards[*], but to go with unkempt whiskers and with too long hair
is most disgraceful. The barber shops, booths, or little rooms let
into the street walls of the houses, are therefore much frequented.
The good tonsors have all the usual arts. They can dye gray hair
brown or black; they can wave or curl their patrons' locks (and
an artificially curled head is no disgrace to a man). Especially,
they keep a good supply of strong perfumes; for many people will
want a little scent on their hair each morning, even if they wish
no other attention. But it is not an imposition to a barber to
enter his shop, yet never move towards his low stool before the
shining steel mirror. Anybody is welcome to hang around indefinitely,
listening to the proprietor's endless flow of talk. He will pride
himself on knowing every possible bit of news or rumor: Had the
Council resolved on a new fleet-building program? Had the Tyrant
of Syracuse's "four" the best chance in the chariot race in the
next Olympic games? The garrulity of barbers is already proverbial.

[*] Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.) required his soldiers to be
shaved (as giving less grasp for the enemy!), and the habit then
spread generally through the whole Hellenic world.

"How shall I cut your hair, sir?" once asked the court tonsure of
King Archelus of Macedon.

"In silence," came the grim answer.

But the proprietor will not do all the talking. Everybody in the
little room will join. Wits will sharpen against wits; and if the
company is of a grave and respectable sort, the conversation will
grow brisk upon Plato's theory of the "reality of ideas," upon
Euripides's interpretation of the relations of God to man, or upon
the spiritual symbolism of Scopas's bas-reliefs at Halicarnassus.

The barber shops by the Agora then are essential portions of
Athenian social life. Later we shall see them supplemented by the
Gymnasia;--but the Agora has detained us long enough. The din and
crowds are lessening. People are beginning to stream homeward.
It lacks a little of noon according to the "time-staff" (gnomon),
a simple sun dial which stands near one of the porticoes, and we
will now follow some Athenian gentleman towards his dwelling.

Chapter IV. The Athenian House and its Furnishings.

21. Following an Athenian Gentleman Homeward.--Leaving the Agora
and rentering the streets the second impression of the residence
districts becomes more favorable. There are a few bay trees planted
from block to block; and ever and anon the monotonous house walls
recede, giving space to display some temple, like the Fane of
Hephstos[*] near the Market Place, its columns and pediment flashing
not merely with white marble, but with the green, scarlet, and gold
wherewith the Greeks did not hesitate to decorate their statuary.

[*]Wrongly called the "Theseum" in modern Athens.

At street corners and opposite important mansions a Hermes-bust
like those in the plaza rises, and a very few houses have a couple
of pillars at their entrances and some outward suggestion of hidden
elegance.

We observe that almost the entire crowd leaving the Agora goes
on foot. To ride about in a chariot is a sign of undemocratic
presumption; while only women or sick men will consent to be borne
in a litter. We will select a sprucely dressed gentleman who has
just been anointed in a barber's shop and accompany him to his home.
He is neither one of the decidedly rich, otherwise his establishment
would be exceptional, not typical, nor is he of course one of
the hard-working poor. Followed by perhaps two clean and capable
serving lads, he wends his way down several of the narrow lanes that
lie under the northern brow of the Acropolis[*]. Before a plain
solid house door he halts and cries, "Pai! Pai!" ["Boy! Boy!"].
There is a rattle of bolts and bars. A low-visaged foreign-born
porter, whose business it is to show a surly front to all unwelcome
visitors, opens and gives a kind of salaam to his master; while
the porter's huge dog jumps up barking and pawing joyously.

[*]This would be a properly respectable quarter of the city, but
we do not know of any really "aristocratic residence district" in
Athens.

As we enter behind him (carefully advancing with right foot foremost,
for it is bad luck to tread a threshold with the LEFT) we notice
above the lintel some such inscription as "Let no evil enter here!"
or "To the Good Genius," then a few steps through a narrow passage
bring us into the Aula, the central court, the indispensable feature
of every typical Greek house.

22. The Type and use of a Greek House.--All domestic architecture,
later investigators will discover, falls into two great categories--of
the northern house and the southern house. The northern house begins
with a single large room, "the great hall," then lesser rooms are
added to it. It gets its light from windows in the outer walls,
and it is covered by a single steep roof. The southern (Greek and
Oriental) house is a building inclosing a rectangular court. The
rooms, many or few, get their light from this court, while they
are quite shut off from the world outside. All in all, for warm
climates this style of house is far more airy, cool, comfortable
than the other. The wide open court becomes the living room of
the house save in very inclement weather.

Socrates is reported to have uttered what was probably the average
sensible view about a good house.[*] The good house, he thought,
should be cool in summer, and warm in winter, convenient for the
accommodation of the family and its possessions. The central rooms
should therefore be lofty and should open upon the south, yet for
protection in summer there should be good projecting eaves (over
the court) and again the rooms on the northern exposure should be
made lower. All this is mere sense, but really the average male
Athenian does not care a great deal about his dwelling. He spends
surprisingly little money beautifying it. Unless he is sick, he
will probably be at home only for sleeping and eating. The Agora,
the Public Assembly, the Jury Courts, the Gymnasium, the great
religious festivals consume his entire day. "I never spend my time
indoors," says Xenophon's model Athenian, "my wife is well able
to run the household by herself."[+] Such being the case, even
wealthy men have very simple establishments, although it is at length
complained (e.g. by Demosthenes) that people are now building more
luxurious houses, and are not content with the plain yet sufficient
dwellings of the great age of Pericles.[@]

[*]In Xenophon's "Memorabilia," III. 8, 9,10.

[+]Xenophon, "Economics," VII. 3.

[@]Very probably in such outlying Greek cities as Syracuse, Taras
(Tarentum), etc., more elegant houses could be found than any at
this time in Athens.

23. The Plan of a Greek House.--The plan of a Greek house naturally
varies infinitely according to the size of the land plot, the size
of the owner's family, his own taste, and wealth. It will usually
be rectangular, with the narrower side toward the street; but this
is not invariable. In the larger houses there will be two courts
(aul), one behind the other, and each with its own circuit of
dependent chambers. The court first entered will be the Andronitis
(the Court of the Men), and may be even large enough to afford a
considerable promenade for exercise. Around the whole of the open
space run lines of simple columns, and above the opening swings an
awning if the day is very hot. In the very center rises a small
stone alter with a statue of Zeus the Protector (Zeus Herkeos),
where the father of the family will from time to time offer sacrifice,
acting as the priest for the household. Probably already on the
alter there has been laid a fresh garland; if not, the newcomers
from the Agora have now fetched one.

+---------------------+
| |
| GARDEN |
| |
+----+-----------+----+ Conjectural Plan for the House
| Y | D | Y | of A Wealthy Athenian.
| | | |
+--+=+-----=-----+=+--+ A = Alter of Zeus Herkelos.
| | | | B = Alter of Hestia.
|Y = o o o o = Y| C = Entrance Hall.
| | o o | | D = Kitchen.
+--+ GYNAECONITIS +--+ T = Thalmos.
| | o o | | T' = Anti-thalmos.
|Y = o o o o = Y| X = Rooms for the Men.
| | | | Y = Rooms for the Women.
+--+=+-----=-+---+=+--+
| | |B o| |
| T | +---+ T' |
| | ANDRON | |
+----+ +----+
| X | | X |
+--+=+----' '----+=+--+
|X = o o o o = X|
+--+ o A o +--+
|X = o O o = X|
+--+ ANDRONITIS +--+
|X = o o o o = X|
+--+=+-=-+ +-=-+=+--+
| | | | | |
| X | X | C | X | X |
| | | | | |
+----+---+===+---+----+

The Andronitis is the true living room of the house: here the
master will receive his visitors, here the male slaves will work,
and the women also busy themselves (promptly retiring, however,
on the appearance of masculine strangers). The decoration is very
plain: the walls are neatly tinted with some kind of wash; the
floor is of simple plaster, or, in a humbler house, common earth
pounded hard. Under the colonnade at all four sides open the
various chambers, possibly twelve in all. They really are cells
or compartments rather than rooms, small and usually lighted only
by their doors. Some are used for storerooms, some for sleeping
closets for the male slaves and for the grown-up sons of the
house, if there are any. Dark, ill ventilated, and most scantily
furnished, it is no wonder that the average Athenian loves the
Agora better than his chamber.

The front section of the house is now open to us, but it is time
to penetrate farther. Directly behind the open court is a sizable
chamber forming a passage to the inner house. This chamber is the
Andron, the dining hall and probably the most pretentious room in
the house. Here the guests will gather for the dinner party, and
here in one corner smokes the family hearth, once the real fire for
the whole household cooking, but now merely a symbol of the domestic
worship. It is simply a little round alter sacred to Hestia, the
hearth goddess,[*] and on its duly rekindled flame little "meat
offerings and drink offerings" are cast at every meal, humble or
elaborate.

[*]Who corresponds to the Roman goddess Vesta.

In the rear wall of the Andron facing the Andronitis is a solid
door. We are privileged guests indeed if we pass it. Only the
father, sons, or near male kinsmen of the family are allowed to go
inside, for it leads into the Gynconitis, the hall of the women.
To thrust oneself into the Gynconitis of even a fairly intimate
friend is a studied insult at Athens, and sure to be resented by
bodily chastisement, social ostracism, and a ruinous legal prosecution.
The Gynconitis is in short the Athenian's holy of holies. Their
women are forbidden to participate in so much of public life that
their own peculiar world is especially reserved to them. To invade
this world is not bad breeding; it is social sacrilege.

In the present house, the home of a well-to-do family, the Gynconitis
forms a second pillared court with adjacent rooms of substantially
the same size and shape as the Andronitis. One of the rooms in
the very rear is proclaimed by the clatter of pots and pans and
the odor of a frying turbot to be the kitchen; others are obviously
the sleeping closets of the slave women. On the side nearest to
the front of the house, but opening itself upon this inner court,
is at least one bed chamber of superior size. This is the Thalamos,
the great bedroom of the master and mistress, and here are kept all
the most costly furnishings and ornaments in the house. If there
are grown-up unmarried daughters, they have another such bedroom
(anti-thalamos) that is much larger than the cells of the slave
girls. Another special room is set apart for the working of wool,
although this chief occupation of the female part of the household
is likely to be carried on in the open inner court itself, if the
weather is fine. Here, around a little flower bed, slave girls
are probably spinning and embroidering, young children playing or
quarreling, and a tame quail is hopping about and watching for a
crumb. There are in fact a great many people in a relatively small
space; everything is busy, chattering, noisy, and confusing to an
intruding stranger.

24. Modifications in the Typical Plan.--These are the essential
features of an Athenian house. If the establishment is a very
pretentious one, there may be a small garden in the rear carefully
hedged against intruders by a lofty wall.[*] More probably the
small size of the house lot would force simplifications in the
scheme already stated. In a house one degree less costly, the
Gynconitis would be reduced to a mere series of rooms shut off in
the rear. In more simple houses still there would be no interior
section of the house at all. The women of the family would be
provided for by a staircase rising from the main hall to a second
story, and here a number of upper chambers would give the needful
seclusion.[+] Of course as one goes down the social scale, the
houses grow simpler and simpler. Small shops are set into the
street wall at either side of the entrance door, and on entering
one finds himself in a very limited and utterly dingy court with
a few dirty compartments opening thence, which it would be absurd
to dignify by the name of "rooms." Again one ceases to wonder
that the male Athenians are not "home folk" and are glad to leave
their houses to the less fortunate women!

[*]Such a luxury would not be common in city houses; land would be
too valuable.

[+]Houses of more than two stories seem to have been unknown
in Athens. The city lacked the towering rookeries of tenements
(insul) which were characteristic of Rome; sometimes, however, a
house seems to have been shared between several families.

25. Rents and House Values.--Most native Athenians own their houses.
Houses indeed can be rented, usually by the foreign traders and
visitors who swam into the city; and at certain busy seasons one can
hire "lodgings" for a brief sojourn. Rents are not unreasonable,
8% or 8 1/3% of the value of the house being counted a fair annual
return. But the average citizen is also a householder, because
forsooth houses are very cheap. The main cost is probably for
the land. The chief material used in building, sun-dried brick,
is very unsubstantial,[*] and needs frequent repairs, but is
not expensive. Demosthenes the Orator speaks of a "little house"
(doubtless of the kind last described) worth only seven minu [about
$126.00 (1914) or $2,242.80 (2000)], and this is not the absolute
minimum. A very rich banker has had one worth 100 minu [about
$1,800.00 (1914) or $32,040.00 (2000)], and probably this is close
to the maximum. The rent question is not therefore one of the
pressing problems at Athens.

[*]This material was so friable and poor that the Greek burglar
was known as a "Wall-digger." It did not pay him to pick a lock;
it was simpler for him to quarry his way through the wall with a
pickax.

26. The Simple yet Elegant Furnishings of an Athenian Home.--These
houses, even owned by the lordly rich, are surprisingly simple
in their furnishings. The accumulation of heavy furniture, wall
decorations, and bric-a-brac which will characterize the dwellings
of a later age, would be utterly offensive to an Athenian--contradicting
all his ideas of harmony and "moderation." The Athenian house
lacks of course bookcases and framed pictures. It probably too
lacks any genuine closets. Beds, couches, chairs (usually backless),
stools, footstools, and small portable tables,--these alone seem
in evidence. In place of bureaus, dressers and cupboards, there
are huge chests, heavy and carved, in which most of the household
gear can be locked away. In truth, the whole style of Greek
household life expresses that simplicity on which we have already
commented. Oriental carpets are indeed met with, but they are
often used as wall draperies or couch covers rather than upon the
floors. Greek costume (see p. 43) is so simple that there is small
need for elaborate chests of drawers, and a line of pegs upon the
wall cares for most of the family wardrobe.

All this is true; yet what furniture one finds is fashioned with
commendable grace. There is a marked absence of heavy and unhealthful
upholstery; but the simple bed (four posts sustaining a springless
cushion stuffed with feathers or wool) has its woodwork adorned
with carving which is a true mean betwixt the too plain and the
too ornate; and the whole bed is given an elegant effect by the
magnificently embroidered scarlet tapestry which overspreads it.
The lines of the legs of the low wooden tables which are used at
the dinner parties will be a lesson (if we have time to study them)
upon just proportion and the value of subtle curves. Moreover,
the different household vessels, the stone and bronze lamps, the
various table dishes, even the common pottery put to the humblest
uses, all have a beauty, a chaste elegance, a saving touch of deft
ornamentation, which transforms them out of "kitchen ware" into
works of art. Those black water pots covered with red-clay figures
which the serving maids are bearing so carelessly into the scullery
at the screaming summons of the cook will be some day perchance
the pride of a museum, and teach a later age that costly material
and aristocratic uses are not needful to make an article supremely
beautiful.

Of course the well-to-do Athenian is proud to possess certain
"valuables." He will have a few silver cups elegantly chased,
and at least one diner's couch in the andron will be made of rare
imported wood, and be inlaid with gilt or silver. On festival
days the house will be hung with brilliant and elaborately wrought
tapestries which will suddenly emerge from the great chests. Also,
despite frowns and criticisms, the custom is growing of decorating
one's walls with bright-lined frescoes after the manner of the Agora
colonnades. In the course of a few generations the homes of the
wealthier Greeks will come to resemble those of the Romans, such
as a later age has resurrected at Pompeii.

Chapter V. The Women of Athens.

27. How Athenian Marriages are Arranged.--Over this typical Athenian
home reigns the wife of the master. Public opinion frowns upon
celibacy, and there are relatively few unmarried men in Athens.
An Athenian girl is brought up with the distinct expectation of
matrimony.[*] Opportunities for a romance almost never will come
her way; but it is the business of her parents to find her a suitable
husband. If they are kindly people of good breeding, their choice
is not likely to be a very bad one. If they have difficulties,
they can engage a professional "matchmaker," a shrewd old woman
who, for a fee, will hunt out an eligible young man. Marriage is
contracted primarily that there may be legitimate children to keep
up the state and to perpetuate the family. That the girl should
have any will of her own in the matter is almost never thought of.
Very probably she has never seen "Him," save when they both were
marching in a public religious procession, or at some rare family
gathering (a marriage or a funeral) when there were outside guests.
Besides she will be "given away" when only about fifteen, and
probably has formed no intelligent opinion or even prejudices on
the subject.

[*]The vile custom of exposing unwelcome female babies probably
created a certain preponderance of males in Attica, and made it
relatively easy to marry off a desirable young girl.

If a young man (who will marry at about thirty) is independent in
life, the negotiations will be with him directly. If he is still
dependent on the paternal allowance, the two sets of parents will
usually arrange matters themselves, and demand only the formal
consent of the prospective bridegroom. He will probably accept
promptly this bride whom his father has selected; if not, he risks
a stormy encounter with his parents, and will finally capitulate.
He has perhaps never seen "Her," and can only hope things are for
the best; and after all she is so young that his friends tell him
that he can train her to be very useful and obedient if he will only
take pains. The parents, or, failing them, the guardians, adjust
the dowry--the lump sum which the bride will bring with her towards
the new establishment.[*] Many maxims enjoin "marry only your equal
in fortune." The poor man who weds an heiress will not be really
his own master; the dread of losing the big dowry will keep him in
perpetual bondage to her whims.

[*]The dowry was a great protection to the bride. If her husband
divorced her (as by law he might), the dowry must be repaid to her
guardians with 18 per cent. interest.

28. Lack of Sentiment in Marriages.--Sometimes marriages are
arranged in which any sentiment is obviously prohibited. A father
can betroth his daughter by will to some kinsman, who is to take
her over as his bride when he takes over the property. A husband
can bequeath his wife to some friend who is likely to treat her and
the orphan children with kindness. Such affairs occur every day.
Do the Athenian women revolt at these seemingly degrading conditions,
wherein they are handed around like slaves, or even cattle?--According
to the tragic poets they do. Sophocles (in the "Tereus") makes
them lament,

"We women are nothing;--happy indeed is our childhood, for THEN we
are thoughtless; but when we attain maidenhood, lo! we are driven
away from our homes, sold as merchandise, and compelled to marry
and say 'All's well.'"

Euripides is even more bitter in his "Medea":--

Surely of creatures that have life and wit,
We women are of all things wretchedest,
Who first must needs, as buys the highest bidder,
Thus buy a husband, and our body's master.[*/

[*]Way's translation.

29. Athenian Marriage Rites.--However, thus runs public custom.
At about fifteen the girl must leave her mother's fostering care
and enter the house of the stranger. The wedding is, of course,
a great ceremony; and here, if nowhere else, Athenian women can
surely prepare, flutter, and ordain to their heart's content. After
the somewhat stiff and formal betrothal before witnesses (necessary
to give legal effect to the marriage), the actual wedding will
probably take place,--perhaps in a few days, perhaps with a longer
wait till the favorite marriage month Gamelion [January].[*] Then
on a lucky night of the full moon the bride, having, no doubt
tearfully, dedicated to Artemis her childish toys, will be decked
in her finest and will come down, all veiled, into her father's
torchlit aula, swarming now with guests. Here will be at last
that strange master of her fate, the bridegroom and his best man
(paranymphos). Her father will offer sacrifice (probably a lamb),
and after the sacrifice everybody will feast on the flesh of the
victim; and also share a large flat cake of pounded sesame seeds
roasted and mixed with honey. As the evening advances the wedding
car will be outside the door. The mother hands the bride over to
the groom, who leads her to the chariot, and he and the groomsman
sit down, one on either side, while with torches and song the
friends to with the car in jovial procession to the house of the
young husband.

[*]This winter month was sacred to Hera, the marriage guardian.

"Ho, Hymen! Ho, Hymen! Hymenous! Io!"

So rings the refrain of the marriage song; and all the doorways
and street corners are crowded with onlookers to shout fair wishes
and good-natured raillery.

At the groom's house there is a volley of confetti to greet the
happy pair. The bride stops before the threshold to eat a quince.[*]
There is another feast,--possibly riotous fun and hard drinking. At
last the bride is led, still veiled, to the perfumed and flower-hung
marriage chamber. The doors close behind the married pair. Their
friends sing a merry rollicking catch outside, the Epithalamium.
The great day has ended. The Athenian girl has experienced the
chief transition of her life.

[*]The symbol of fertility.

30. The Mental Horizon of Athenian Women.--Despite the suggestions
in the poets, probably the normal Athenian woman is neither degraded
nor miserable. If she is a girl of good ancestry and the usual
bringing up, she has never expected any other conditions than
these. She knows that her parents care for her and have tried to
secure for her a husband who will be her guardian and solace when
they are gone. Xenophon's ideal young husband, Ischomachus, says
he married his wife at the age of fifteen.[*] She had been "trained
to see and to hear as little as possible"; but her mother had taught
her to have a sound control of her appetite and of all kinds of
self-indulgence, to take wool and to make a dress of it, and to
manage the slave maids in their spinning tasks. She was at first
desperately afraid of her husband, and it was some time before he
had "tamed" her sufficiently to discuss their household problems
freely. Then Ischomachus made her join with him in a prayer to
the gods that "he might teach and she might learn all that could
conduce to their joint happiness"; after which they took admirable
counsel together, and her tactful and experienced husband (probably
more than twice her age) trained her into a model housewife.

[*]See Xenophon's "The Economist," VII ff. The more pertinent
passages are quoted in W. S. Davis's "Readings in Ancient History,"
Vol. I, pp. 265-271.

31. The Honor paid Womanhood in Athens.--Obviously from a young
woman with a limited intellectual horizon the Athenian gentleman
can expect no mental companionship; but it is impossible that he
can live in the world as a keenly intelligent being, and not come
to realize the enormous value of the "woman spirit" as
it affects all things good. Hera, Artemis, Aphrodite, above
all Pallas-Athena,--city-warder of Athens,--who are they all
but idealizations of that peculiar genius which wife, mother, and
daughter show forth every day in their homes? An Athenian never
allows his wife to visit the Agora. She cannot indeed go outside
the house without his express permission, and only then attended by
one or two serving maids; public opinion will likewise frown upon
the man who allowed his wife to appear in public too freely[*];
nevertheless there are compensations. Within her home the Athenian
woman is within her kingdom. Her husband will respect her, because
he will respect himself. Brutal and harsh he may possibly be, but
that is because he is also brutal and harsh in his outside dealings.
In extreme cases an outraged wife can sue for divorce before the
archon. And very probably in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred
the Athenian woman is contented with her lot: partly because she
knows of nothing better; partly because she has nothing concrete
whereof to complain.

[*]Hypereides, the orator, says, "The woman who goes out of her
own home ought to be of such an age that when men meet her, the
question is not 'Who is her husband?' but 'Whose mother is she?'"
Pericles, in the great funeral oration put in his mouth by Thucydides,
says that the best women are those who are talked of for good or
ill the very least.

Doubtless it is because an Athenian house is a "little oasis
of domesticity," tenderly guarded from all insult,--a miniature
world whose joys and sorrows are not to be shared by the outer
universe,--that the Athenian treats the private affairs of his
family as something seldom to be shared, even with an intimate
friend. Of individual women we hear and see little in Athens, but
of NOBLE WOMANHOOD a great deal. By a hundred tokens, delightful
vase paintings, noble monuments, poetic myths, tribute is paid to
the self-mastery, the self-forgetfulness, the courage, the gentleness "of
the wives and mothers who have made Athens the beacon of Hellas";
and there is one witness better than all the rest. Along the
"Street of Tombs," by the gate of the city, runs the long row of
stel (funeral monuments), inimitable and chaste memorials to the
beloved dead; and here we meet, many times over, the portrayal of
a sorrow too deep for common lament, the sorrow for the lovely and
gracious figures who have passed into the great Mystery. Along
the Street of the Tombs the wives and mothers of Athens are honored
not less than the wealthy, the warriors, or the statesmen.

32. The Sphere of Action of Athenian Women.--Assuredly the Athenian
house mother cannot match her husband in discussing philosophy or
foreign politics, but she has her own home problems and confronts
them well. A dozen or twenty servants must be kept busy. From
her, all the young children must get their first education, and the
girls probably everything they are taught until they are married.
Even if she does not meet many men, she will strive valiantly to
keep the good opinion of her husband. If she has shapely feet and
hands (whereupon great stress is laid in Hellas), she will do her
utmost to display them to the greatest advantage[*]; and she has,
naturally, plenty of other vanities (see 38). Her husband has
turned over to her the entire management of the household. This
means that if he is an easy-going man, she soon understands his
home business far better than he does himself, and really has him
quite at her mercy. Between caring for her husband's wants, nursing
the sick slaves, acting as arbitress in their inevitable disputes,
keeping a constant watch upon the storeroom, and finally in attending
to the manufacture of nearly all the family clothing, she is not
likely to rust in busy idleness, or sit complaining of her lot. At
the many great public festivals she is always at least an onlooker
and often she marches proudly in the magnificent processions. She
is allowed to attend the tragedies in the theater.[+] Probably,
too, the family will own a country farm, and spend a part of the
year thereon. Here she will be allowed a delightful freedom of
movement, impossible in the closely built city. All in all, then,
she will complain of too much enforced activity rather than of too
much idleness.

[*]The custom of wearing sandals instead of shoes of course aided
the developing of beautiful feet.

[+]Not the comedies--they were too broad for refined women. But
the fact that Athenian ladies seem to have been allowed to attend
the tragedies is a tribute to their intellectual capacities. Only
an acute and intelligent mind can follow schylus, Sophocles, and
Euripides.

Nevertheless our judgment upon the Athenian women is mainly one
of regret. Even if not discontented with their lot, they are not
realizing the full possibilities which Providence has placed within
the reach of womanhood, much less the womanhood of the mothers of
the warriors, poets, orators, and other immortals of Athens. One
great side of civilization which the city of Athens might develop
and realize is left unrealized. THIS CIVILIZATION OF ATHENS IS
TOO MASCULINE; it is therefore one sided, and in so far it does not
realize that ideal "Harmony" which is the average Athenian's boast.

Chapter VI. Athenian Costume.

33. The General Nature of Greek Dress.--In every age the important
kingdom of dress has been reserved for the peculiar sovereignty of
woman. This is true in Athens, though not perhaps to the extent of
later ages. Still an Athenian lady will take an interest in "purple
and fine linen" far exceeding that of her husband, and where is there
a more fitting place than this in which to answer for an Athenian,
the ever important question "wherewithal shall I be clothed"?

Once again the Athenian climate comes in as a factor, this time
in the problem of wardrobe. Two general styles of garment have
divided the allegiance of the world,--the clothes that are PUT ON
and the clothes that are WRAPPED AROUND. The former style, with
its jackets, trousers, and leggings, is not absolutely unknown to
the Athenians,--their old enemies, the Persians, wear these[*];
but such clumsy, inelegant garments are despised and ridiculed as
fit only for the "Barbarians" who use them. They are not merely
absurdly homely; they cannot even be thrown off promptly in an
emergency, leaving the glorious human form free to put forth any
noble effort. The Athenians wear the wrapped style of garments,
which are, in final analysis, one or two large square pieces of cloth
flung skillfully around the body and secured by a few well-placed
pins. This costume is infinitely adjustable; it can be expanded
into flowing draperies or contracted into an easy working dress
by a few artful twitches. It can be nicely adjusted to meet the
inevitable sense of "beauty" bred in the bone of every Athenian.
True, on the cold days of midwinter the wearers will go about
shivering; but cold days are the exception, warm days the rule, in
genial Attica.[+]

[*]The Persians no doubt learned to use this style of garment during
their life on the cold, windy steppes of Upper Asia, before they
won their empire in the more genial south.

[+]The whole civilization of Athens was, of course, based on a
climate in which artificial heat would be very little needed. A
pot of glowing charcoal might be used to remove the chill of a
room in the very coldest weather. Probably an Athenian would have
regarded a climate in which furnace heat was demanded nearly eight
months in the year as wholly unfit for civilized man.

This simplicity of costume has produced certain important results.
There are practically no tailors in Athens, only cloth merchants,
bleachers, and dyers. Again fashions (at least in the cut of the
garments) seldom change. A cloak that was made in the days of
Alcibiades (say 420 B.C.) can be worn with perfect propriety to-day
(360 B.C.) if merely it has escaped without severe use or moth
holes. It may be more usual this year to wear one's garments a
little higher or a little more trailing than formerly; but THAT is
simply a matter for a shifting of the pins or of the girdle.

As a result, the Athenian seldom troubles about his "spring" or
"winter" suit. His simple woolen garments wear a very long time;
and they have often been slowly and laboriously spun and woven by
his wife and her slave girls. Of course even a poor man will try
to have a few changes of raiment,--something solid and coarse for
every day, something of finer wool and gayer color for public and
private festivals. The rich man will have a far larger wardrobe,
and will pride himself on not being frequently seen in the same
dress; yet even his outfit will seem very meager to the dandies of
a later age.

34. the Masculine Chiton, Himation, and Chlamya.--The essential
garments of an Athenian man are only two--the CHITON and the HIMATION.
The chiton may be briefly described as an oblong of woolen cloth
large enough to wrap around the body somewhat closely, from the
neck down to just above the knees. The side left open is fastened
by fibul--elegantly wrought pins perhaps of silver or gold; in the
closed side there is a slit for the arm. There is a girdle, and,
if one wishes, the skirt of the chiton may be pulled up through it,
and allowed to hang down in front, giving the effect of a blouse.
The man of prompt action, the soldier, traveler, worker, is "well
girded,"--his chiton is drawn high, but the deliberate old gentleman
who parades the Agora, discussing poetry or statecraft, has his
chiton falling almost to a trailing length. Only occasionally short
sleeves were added to this very simple garment; they are considered
effeminate, and are not esteemed. If one's arms get cold, one can
protect them by pulling up the skirt, and wrapping the arms in the
blouse thus created.

An Athenian gentleman when he is in the house wears nothing but
his chiton; it is even proper for him to be seen wearing nothing
else upon the streets, but then more usually he will add an outer
cloak,--his HIMATION.

The himation is even simpler than the chiton. It is merely a generous
oblong woolen shawl. There are innumerable ways of arranging it
according to the impulse of the moment; but usually it has to be
worn without pins, and that involves wrapping it rather tightly
around the body, and keeping one of the hands confined to hold the
cloak in place. That is no drawback, however, to a genteel wearer.
It proclaims to the world that HE does not have to work, wearing
his hands for a living; therefore he can keep them politely idle.[*]
The adjustment of the himation is a work of great art. A rich man
will often have a special slave whose business it is to arrange
the hang and the folds before his master moves forth in public;
and woe to the careless fellow if the effect fails to display due
elegance and dignity!

[*]Workingmen often wore no himation, and had a kind of chiton (an
exmis) which was especially arranged to leave them with free use
of their arms.

There is a third garment sometimes worn by Athenians. Young men
who wish to appear very active, and genuine travelers, also wear
a CHLAMYS, a kind of circular mantle or cape which swings jauntily
over their shoulders, and will give good protection in foul weather.

There are almost no other masculine garments. No shirts (unless
the chiton be one), no underwear. In their costume, as in so many
things else, the Athenians exemplify their oft-praised virtue of
simplicity.

35. The Dress of the Women.--The dress of the women is like that
of the men, but differs, of course, in complexity. They also have
a chiton,[*] which is more elaborately made, especially in the
arrangement of the blouse; and probably there is involved a certain
amount of real SEWING[+]; not merely of PINNING.

[*]This robe was sometimes known by the Homeric name of PEPLOS.

[+]Probably with almost all Greek garments the main use of the
needle was in the embroidery merely, or in the darning of holes
and rents. It was by no means an essential in the real manufacture.

Greater care is needed in the adjustment of the "zone" (girdle),
and half sleeves are the rule with women, while full sleeves are
not unknown. A Greek lady again cannot imitate her husband, and
appear in public in her chiton only. A himation, deftly adjusted,
is absolutely indispensable whenever she shows herself outside the
house.

These feminine garments are all, as a rule, more elaborately
embroidered, more adorned with fringes and tassels, than those of
the men. In arranging her dress the Athenian lady is not bound
by the rigid precepts of fashion. Every separate toilette is an
opportunity for a thousand little niceties and coquetries which she
understands exceedingly well. If there is the least excuse for an
expedition outside the house, her ladyship's bevy of serving maids
will have a serious time of it. While their mistress cools herself
with a huge peacock-feather fan, one maid is busy over her hair; a
second holds the round metallic mirror before her; a third stands
ready to extend the jewel box whence she can select finger rings,
earrings, gold armlets, chains for her neck and hair, as well as the
indispensable brooches whereon the stability of the whole costume
depends. When she rises to have her himation draped around her,
the directions she gives reveal her whole bent and character. A
dignified and modest matron will have it folded loosely around her
entire person, covering both arms and hands, and even drawing it
over her head, leaving eyes and nose barely visible. Younger ladies
will draw it close around the body so as to show the fine lines of
their waists and shoulders. And in the summer heat the himation
(for the less prudish) will become a light shawl floating loose
and free over the shoulders, or only a kind of veil drawn so as to
now conceal, now reveal, the face.

Children wear miniature imitations of the dress of their elders.
Boys are taught to toughen their bodies by refraining from thick
garments in cold weather. In hot weather they can frequently be
seen playing about with very little clothing at all!

36. Footwear and Head Coverings.--Upon his feet the Athenian
frequently wears nothing. He goes about his home barefoot; and not
seldom he enjoys the delight of running across the open greensward
with his unsandaled feet pressing the springing ground; but normally
when he walks abroad, he will wear SANDALS, a simple solid pair of
open soles tied to his feet by leather thongs passing between the
toes. For hard country walking and for hunting there is something
like a high leather boot,[*] though doubtless these are counted
uncomfortable for ordinary wear. As for the sandals, simple as
they are, the Attic touch of elegance is often upon them. Upon the
thongs of the sandals there is usually worked a choice pattern, in
some brilliant color or even gilt.

[*]Actors, too, wore a leather boot with high soles to give them
extra height--the COTHURNUS.

The Athenians need head coverings even less than footgear. Most of
them have thick hair; baldness is an uncommon affliction; everybody
is trained to walk under the full glare of Helios with little
discomfort. Of course certain trades require hats, e.g. sailors
who can be almost identified by their rimless felt caps. Genteel
travelers will wear wide-brimmed hats; but the ladies, as a rule,
have no headgear besides their tastefully arranged hair, although
they will partly atone for the lack, by having a maid walk just
behind them with a gorgeously variegated parasol.

37. The Beauty of the Greek Dress.--Greek Costume, then, is
something fully sharing in the national characteristics of harmony,
simplicity, individuality. It is easy to see how admirably this
style of dress is adapted to furnish over ready models and inspiration
for the sculptor.[*] Unconventional in its arrangement, it is
also unconventional in its color. A masculine crowd is not one
unmitigated swarm of black and dark grays or browns, as with the
multitude of a later age. On the contrary, white is counted as
theoretically the most becoming color on any common occasion for
either sex;[+] and on festival days even grave and elderly men
will appear with chitons worked with brilliant embroidery along the
borders, and with splendid himatia of some single clear hue--violet,
red, purple, blue, or yellow. As for the costume of the groom at
a wedding, it is far indeed from the "conventional black" of more
degenerate days. He may well wear a purple-edged white chiton of
fine Milesian wool, a brilliant scarlet himation, sandals with blue
thongs and clasps of gold, and a chaplet of myrtle and violets.
His intended bride is led out to him in even more dazzling array.
Her white sandal-thongs are embroidered with emeralds, rubies, and
pearls. Around her neck is a necklace of gold richly set,--and
she has magnificent golden armlets and pearl eardrops. Her hair
is fragrant with Oriental nard, and is bound by a purple fillet
and a chaplet of roses. Her ungloved fingers shine with jewels
and rings. Her main costume is of a delicate saffron, and over it
all, like a cloud, floats the silvery tissue of the nuptial veil.

[*]"The chiton became the mirror of the body," said the late writer

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