Project Gutenberg's Buried Cities: Pompeii, Olympia, Mycenae, by Jennie Hall

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Title: Buried Cities: Pompeii, Olympia, Mycenae

Author: Jennie Hall

Release Date: August 10, 2004 [EBook #9628]
Last Updated: October 21, 2012

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Juliet Sutherland, David Widger and PG Distributed


titlepage.jpg (28K)




The publishers are grateful to the estate of Miss Jennie Hall and to her many friends for assistance in planning the publication of this book. Especial thanks are due to Miss Nell C. Curtis of the Lincoln School, New York City, for helping to finish Miss Hall’s work of choosing the pictures, and to Miss Irene I. Cleaves of the Francis Parker School, Chicago, who wrote the captions. It was Miss Katharine Taylor, now of the Shady Hill School, Cambridge, who brought these stories to our attention.


Do you like to dig for hidden treasure? Have you ever found Indian arrowheads or Indian pottery? I knew a boy who was digging a cave in a sandy place, and he found an Indian grave. With his own hands he uncovered the bones and skull of some brave warrior. That brown skull was more precious to him than a mint of money. Another boy I knew was making a cave of his own. Suddenly he dug into an older one made years before. He crawled into it with a leaping heart and began to explore. He found an old carpet and a bit of burned candle. They proved that some one had lived there. What kind of a man had he been and what kind of life had he lived—black or white or red, robber or beggar or adventurer? Some of us were walking in the woods one day when we saw a bone sticking out of the ground. Luckily we had a spade, and we set to work digging. Not one moment was the tool idle. First one bone and then another came to light and among them a perfect horse’s skull. We felt as though we had rescued Captain Kidd’s treasure, and we went home draped in bones.

Suppose that instead of finding the bones of a horse we had uncovered a gold-wrapped king. Suppose that instead of a deserted cave that boy had dug into a whole buried city with theaters and mills and shops and beautiful houses. Suppose that instead of picking up an Indian arrowhead you could find old golden vases and crowns and bronze swords lying in the earth. If you could be a digger and a finder and could choose your find, would you choose a marble statue or a buried bakeshop with bread two thousand years old still in the oven or a king’s grave filled with golden gifts? It is of such digging and such finding that this book tells.



1. The Greek Slave and the Little Roman Boy

2. Vesuvius

3. Pompeii Today

Pictures of Pompeii:

A Roman Boy

The City of Naples

Vesuvius in Eruption

Pompeii from an Airplane

Nola Street; the Stabian Gate

In the Street of Tombs

The Amphitheater

The Baths

Temple of Apollo

School of the Gladiators

The Smaller Theater

A Sacrifice

Scene in the Forum


Bath Appliances

Peristyle of the House of the Vettii

Lady Playing a Harp

Kitchen of the House of the Vettii

Kitchen Utensils The House of the Tragic Poet

Mosaic of Watch Dog

The House of Diomede

A Bakery

Section of a Mill

Lucius Cæcilius Jueundus

Bronze Candleholder

The Dancing Faun

Hermes in Repose

The Arch of Nero


1. Two Winners of Crowns

2. How a City Was Lost

Pictures of Olympia

Entrance to Stadion


Boys in Gymnasium

Temple of Zeus

The Labors of Herakles

The Statue of Victory

The Hermes of Praxiteles

The Temple of Hera

Head of an Athlete

A Greek Horseman


1. How a Lost City Was Found

Pictures of Mycenæ

The Circle of Royal Tombs

Doctor and Mrs. Schliemann at Work

The Gate of Lions

Inside the Treasury of Atreus

The Interior of the Palace

Gold Mask

Cow’s Head

The Warrior Vase

Bronze Helmets


Bronze Daggers

Carved Ivory Head

Bronze Brooches

A Cup from Vaphio

Gold Plates

Gold Ornament

Mycenæ in the Distance


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Line Art of Bronze Lamp. Caption: Bronze Lamps.
The bowl held olive oil. A wick came out at the nozzle.
These lamps gave a dim and smoky light.


Ariston, the Greek slave, was busily painting. He stood in a little room with three smooth walls. The fourth side was open upon a court. A little fountain splashed there. Above stretched the brilliant sky of Italy. The August sun shone hotly down. It cut sharp shadows of the columns on the cement floor. This was the master’s room. The artist was painting the walls. Two were already gay with pictures. They showed the mighty deeds of warlike Herakles. Here was Herakles strangling the lion, Herakles killing the hideous hydra, Herakles carrying the wild boar on his shoulders, Herakles training the mad horses. But now the boy was painting the best deed of all—Herakles saving Alcestis from death. He had made the hero big and beautiful. The strong muscles lay smooth in the great body. One hand trailed the club. On the other arm hung the famous lion skin. With that hand the god led Alcestis. He turned his head toward her and smiled. On the ground lay Death, bruised and bleeding. One batlike black wing hung broken. He scowled after the hero and the woman. In the sky above him stood Apollo, the lord of life, looking down. But the picture of the god was only half finished. The figure was sketched in outline. Ariston was rapidly laying on paint with his little brushes. His eyes glowed with Apollo’s own fire. His lips were open, and his breath came through them pantingly.

“O god of beauty, god of Hellas, god of freedom, help me!” he half whispered while his brush worked.

For he had a great plan in his mind. Here he was, a slave in this rich Roman’s house. Yet he was a free-born son of Athens, from a family of painters. Pirates had brought him here to Pompeii, and had sold him as a slave. His artist’s skill had helped him, even in this cruel land. For his master, Tetreius, loved beauty. The Roman had soon found that his young Greek slave was a painter. He had said to his steward:

“Let this boy work at the mill no longer. He shall paint the walls of my private room.”

So he had talked to Ariston about what the pictures should be. The Greek had found that this solemn, frowning Roman was really a kind man. Then hope had sprung up in his breast and had sung of freedom.

“I will do my best to please him,” he had thought. “When all the walls are beautiful, perhaps he will smile at my work. Then I will clasp his knees. I will tell him of my father, of Athens, of how I was stolen. Perhaps he will send me home.”

Now the painting was almost done. As he worked, a thousand pictures were flashing through his mind. He saw his beloved old home in lovely Athens. He felt his father’s hand on his, teaching him to paint. He gazed again at the Parthenon, more beautiful than a dream. Then he saw himself playing on the fishing boat on that terrible holiday. He saw the pirate ship sail swiftly from behind a rocky point and pounce upon them. He saw himself and his friends dragged aboard. He felt the tight rope on his wrists as they bound him and threw him under the deck. He saw himself standing here in the market place of Pompeii. He heard himself sold for a slave. At that thought he threw down his brush and groaned.

But soon he grew calmer. Perhaps the sweet drip of the fountain cooled his hot thoughts. Perhaps the soft touch of the sun soothed his heart. He took up his brushes again and set to work.

“The last figure shall be the most beautiful of all,” he said to himself. “It is my own god, Apollo.”

So he worked tenderly on the face. With a few little strokes he made the mouth smile kindly. He made the blue eyes deep and gentle. He lifted the golden curls with a little breeze from Olympos. The god’s smile cheered him. The beautiful colors filled his mind. He forgot his sorrows. He forgot everything but his picture. Minute by minute it grew under his moving brush. He smiled into the god’s eyes.

Meantime a great noise arose in the house. There were cries of fear. There was running of feet.

“A great cloud!” “Earthquake!” “Fire and hail!” “Smoke from hell!” “The end of the world!” “Run! Run!”

And men and women, all slaves, ran screaming through the house and out of the front door. But the painter only half heard the cries. His ears, his eyes, his thoughts were full of Apollo.

For a little the house was still. Only the fountain and the shadows and the artist’s brush moved there. Then came a great noise as though the sky had split open. The low, sturdy house trembled. Ariston’s brush was shaken and blotted Apollo’s eye. Then there was a clattering on the cement floor as of a million arrows. Ariston ran into the court. From the heavens showered a hail of gray, soft little pebbles like beans. They burned his upturned face. They stung his bare arms. He gave a cry and ran back under the porch roof. Then he heard a shrill call above all the clattering. It came from the far end of the house. Ariston ran back into the private court. There lay Caius, his master’s little sick son. His couch was under the open sky, and the gray hail was pelting down upon him. He was covering his head with his arms and wailing.

“Little master!” called Ariston. “What is it? What has happened to us?” “Oh, take me!” cried the little boy.

“Where are the others?” asked Ariston.

“They ran away,” answered Caius. “They were afraid, Look! O-o-h!”

He pointed to the sky and screamed with terror.

Ariston looked. Behind the city lay a beautiful hill, green with trees. But now from the flat top towered a huge, black cloud. It rose straight like a pine tree and then spread its black branches over the heavens. And from that cloud showered these hot, pelting pebbles of pumice stone.

“It is a volcano,” cried Ariston.

He had seen one spouting fire as he had voyaged on the pirate ship.

“I want my father,” wailed the little boy.

Then Ariston remembered that his master was away from home. He had gone in a ship to Rome to get a great physician for his sick boy. He had left Caius in the charge of his nurse, for the boy’s mother was dead. But now every slave had turned coward and had run away and left the little master to die.

Ariston pulled the couch into one of the rooms. Here the roof kept off the hail of stones.

“Your father is expected home to-day, master Caius,” said the Greek. “He will come. He never breaks his word. We will wait for him here. This strange shower will soon be over.”

So he sat on the edge of the couch, and the little Roman laid his head in his slave’s lap and sobbed. Ariston watched the falling pebbles. They were light and full of little holes. Every now and then black rocks of the size of his head whizzed through the air. Sometimes one fell into the open cistern and the water hissed at its heat. The pebbles lay piled a foot deep all over the courtyard floor. And still they fell thick and fast.

“Will it never stop?” thought Ariston.

Several times the ground swayed under him. It felt like the moving of a ship in a storm. Once there was thunder and a trembling of the house. Ariston was looking at a little bronze statue that stood on a tall, slender column. It tottered to and fro in the earthquake. Then it fell, crashing into the piled-up stones. In a few minutes the falling shower had covered it.

Ariston began to be more afraid. He thought of Death as he had painted him in his picture. He imagined that he saw him hiding behind a column. He thought he heard his cruel laugh. He tried to look up toward the mountain, but the stones pelted him down. He felt terribly alone. Was all the rest of the world dead? Or was every one else in some safe place?

“Come, Caius, we must get away,” he cried. “We shall be buried here.”

He snatched up one of the blankets from the couch. He threw the ends over his shoulders and let a loop hang at his back. He stood the sick boy in this and wound the ends around them both. Caius was tied to his slave’s back. His heavy little head hung on Ariston’s shoulder. Then the Greek tied a pillow over his own head. He snatched up a staff and ran from the house. He looked at his picture as he passed. He thought he saw Death half rise from the ground. But Apollo seemed to smile at his artist.

At the front door Ariston stumbled. He found the street piled deep with the gray, soft pebbles. He had to scramble up on his hands and knees. From the house opposite ran a man. He looked wild with fear. He was clutching a little statue of gold. Ariston called to him, “Which way to the gate?”

But the man did not hear. He rushed madly on. Ariston followed him. It cheered the boy a little to see that somebody else was still alive in the world. But he had a hard task. He could not run. The soft pebbles crunched under his feet and made him stumble. He leaned far forward under his heavy burden. The falling shower scorched his bare arms and legs. Once a heavy stone struck him on his cushioned head, and he fell. But he was up in an instant. He looked around bewildered. His head was ringing. The air was hot and choking. The sun was gone. The shower was blinding. Whose house was this? The door stood open. The court was empty. Where was the city gate? Would he never get out? He did not know this street. Here on the corner was a wine shop with its open sides. But no men stood there drinking. Wine cups were tipped over and broken on the marble counter. Ariston stood in a daze and watched the wine spilling into the street.

Then a crowd came rushing past him. It was evidently a family fleeing for their lives. Their mouths were open as though they were crying. But Ariston could not hear their voices. His ears shook with the roar of the mountain. An old man was hugging a chest. Gold coins were spilling out as he ran. Another man was dragging a fainting woman. A young girl ran ahead of them with white face and streaming hair. Ariston stumbled on after this company. A great black slave came swiftly around a corner and ran into him and knocked him over, but fled on without looking back. As the Greek boy fell forward, the rough little pebbles scoured his face. He lay there moaning. Then he began to forget his troubles. His aching body began to rest. He thought he would sleep. He saw Apollo smiling. Then Caius struggled and cried out. He pulled at the blanket and tried to free himself. This roused Ariston, and he sat up. He felt the hot pebbles again. He heard the mountain roar. He dragged himself to his feet and started on. Suddenly the street led him out into a broad space. Ariston looked around him. All about stretched wide porches with their columns. Temple roofs rose above them. Statues stood high on their pedestals. He was in the forum. The great open square was crowded with hurrying people. Under one of the porches Ariston saw the money changers locking their boxes. From a wide doorway ran several men. They were carrying great bundles of woolen cloth, richly embroidered and dyed with precious purple. Down the great steps of Jupiter’s temple ran a priest. Under his arms he clutched two large platters of gold. Men were running across the forum dragging bags behind them.

Every one seemed trying to save his most precious things. And every one was hurrying to the gate at the far end. Then that was the way out! Ariston picked up his heavy feet and ran. Suddenly the earth swayed under him. He heard horrible thunder. He thought the mountain was falling upon him. He looked behind. He saw the columns of the porch tottering. A man was running out from one of the buildings. But as he ran, the walls crashed down. The gallery above fell cracking. He was buried. Ariston saw it all and cried out in horror. Then he prayed:

“O Lord Poseidon, shaker of the earth, save me! I am a Greek!”

Then he came out of the forum. A steep street sloped down to a gate. A river of people was pouring out there. The air was full of cries. The great noise of the crowd made itself heard even in the noise of the volcano. The streets were full of lost treasures. Men pushed and fell and were trodden upon. But at last Ariston passed through the gateway and was out of the city. He looked about.

“It is no better,” he sobbed to himself.

The air was thicker now. The shower had changed to hot dust as fine as ashes. It blurred his eyes. It stopped his nostrils. It choked his lungs. He tore his chiton from top to bottom and wrapped it about his mouth and nose. He looked back at Caius and pulled the blanket over his head. Behind him a huge cloud was reaching out long black arms from the mountain to catch him. Ahead, the sun was only a red wafer in the shower of ashes. Around him people were running off to hide under rocks or trees or in the country houses. Some were running, running anywhere to get away. Out of one courtyard dashed a chariot. The driver was lashing his horses. He pushed them ahead through the crowd. He knocked people over, but he did not stop to see what harm he had done. Curses flew after him. He drove on down the road.

Ariston remembered when he himself had been dragged up here two years ago from the pirate ship.

“This leads to the sea,” he thought. “I will go there. Perhaps I shall meet my master, Tetreius. He will come by ship. Surely I shall find him. The gods will send him to me. O blessed gods!”

But what a sea! It roared and tossed and boiled. While Ariston looked, a ship was picked up and crushed and swallowed. The sea poured up the steep shore for hundreds of feet. Then it rushed back and left its strange fish gasping on the dry land. Great rocks fell from the sky, and steam rose up as they splashed into the water. The sun was growing fainter. The black cloud was coming on. Soon it would be dark. And then what? Ariston lay down where the last huge wave had cooled the ground. “It is all over, Caius,” he murmured. “I shall never see Athens again.”

For a while there were no more earthquakes. The sea grew a little less wild. Then the half-fainting Ariston heard shouts. He lifted his head. A small boat had come ashore. The rowers had leaped out. They were dragging it up out of reach of the waves.

“How strange!” thought Ariston. “They are not running away. They must be brave. We are all cowards.”

“Wait for me here!” cried a lordly voice to the rowers.

When he heard that voice Ariston struggled to his feet and called.

“Marcus Tetreius! Master!”

He saw the man turn and run toward him. Then the boy toppled over and lay face down in the ashes.

When he came to himself he felt a great shower of water in his face. The burden was gone from his back. He was lying in a row boat, and the boat was falling to the bottom of the sea. Then it was flung up to the skies. Tetreius was shouting orders. The rowers were streaming with sweat and sea water.

In some way or other they all got up on the waiting ship. It always seemed to Ariston as though a wave had thrown him there. Or had Poseidon carried him? At any rate, the great oars of the galley were flying. He could hear every rower groan as he pulled at his oar. The sails, too, were spread. The master himself stood at the helm. His face was one great frown. The boat was flung up and down like a ball. Then fell darkness blacker than night.

“Who can steer without sun or stars?” thought the boy.

Then he remembered the look on his master’s face as he stood at the tiller. Such a look Ariston had painted on Herakles’ face as he strangled the lion.

“He will get us out,” thought the slave.

For an hour the swift ship fought with the waves. The oarsmen were rowing for their lives. The master’s arm was strong, and his heart was not for a minute afraid. The wind was helping. At last they reached calm waters.

“Thanks be to the gods!” cried Tetreius. “We are out of that boiling pot.”

At his words fire shot out of the mountain. It glowed red in the dusty air. It flung great red arms across the sky after the ship. Every man and spar and oar on the vessel seemed burning in its light. Then the fire died, and thick darkness swallowed everything. Ariston’s heart seemed smothered in his breast. He heard the slaves on the rowers’ benches scream with fear. Then he heard their leader crying to them. He heard a whip whiz through the air and strike on bare shoulders. Then there was a crash as though the mountain had clapped its hands. A thicker shower of ashes filled the air. But the rowers were at their oars again. The ship was flying.

So for two hours or more Tetreius and his men fought for safety. Then they came out into fresher air and calmer water. Tetreius left the rudder. “Let the men rest and thank the gods,” he said to his overseer. “We have come up out of the grave.”

When Ariston heard that, he remembered the Death he had left painted on his master’s wall. By that time the picture was surely buried under stones and ashes. The boy covered his face with his ragged chiton and wept. He hardly knew what he was crying for—the slavery, the picture, the buried city, the fear of that horrid night, the sorrows of the people left back there, his father, his dear home in Athens. At last he fell asleep. The night was horrible with dreams—fire, earthquake, strangling ashes, cries, thunder, lightning. But his tired body held him asleep for several hours. Finally he awoke. He was lying on a soft mattress. A warm blanket covered him. Clean air filled his nostrils. The gentle light of dawn lay upon his eyes. A strange face bent over him.

“It is only weariness,” a kind voice was saying. “He needs food and rest more than medicine.”

Then Ariston saw Tetreius, also, bending over him. The slave leaped to his feet. He was ashamed to be caught asleep in his master’s presence. He feared a frown for his laziness.

“My picture is finished, master,” he cried, still half asleep.

“And so is your slavery,” said Tetreius, and his eyes shone.

“It was not a slave who carried my son out of hell on his back. It was a hero.” He turned around and called, “Come hither, my friends.”

Three Roman gentlemen stepped up. They looked kindly upon Ariston.

“This is the lad who saved my son,” said Tetreius. “I call you to witness that he is no longer a slave. Ariston, I send you from my hand a free man.”

He struck his hand lightly on the Greek’s shoulder, as all Roman masters did when they freed a slave. Ariston cried aloud with joy. He sank to his knees weeping. But Tetreius went on.

“This kind physician says that Caius will live. But he needs good air and good nursing. He must go to some one of Aesculapius’ holy places. He shall sleep in the temple and sit in the shady porches, and walk in the sacred groves. The wise priests will give him medicines. The god will send healing dreams. Do you know of any such place, Ariston?”

The Greek thought of the temple and garden of Aesculapius on the sunny side of the Acropolis at home in Athens. But he could not speak. He gazed hungrily into Tetreius’ eyes. The Roman smiled.

“Ariston, this ship is bound for Athens! All my life I have loved her—her statues, her poems, her great deeds. I have wished that my son might learn from her wise men. The volcano has buried my home, Ariston. But my wealth and my friends and my son are aboard this ship. What do you say, my friend? Will you be our guide in Athens?” Ariston leaped up from his knees. A fire of joy burned in his eyes. He stretched his hands to the sky.

“O blessed Herakles,” he cried, “again thou hast conquered Death. Thou didst snatch us from the grave of Pompeii. Give health to this Roman boy. O fairest Athena, shed new beauty upon our violet crowned Athens. For there is coming to visit her the best of men, my master Tetreius.”

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A Marble Table: The lions’ heads were painted yellow.
You can see a table much like this in the garden pictured later.


So a living city was buried in a few hours. Wooded hills and green fields lay covered under great ash heaps. Ever since that terrible eruption Vesuvius has been restless. Sometimes she has been quiet for a hundred years or more and men have almost forgotten that she ever thundered and spouted and buried cities. But all at once she would move again. She would shoot steam and ashes into the sky. At night fire would leap out of her top. A few times she sent out dust and lava and destroyed houses and fields. A man who lived five hundred years after Pompeii was destroyed described Vesuvius as she was in his time. He said:

“This mountain is steep and thick with woods below. Above, it is very craggy and wild. At the top is a deep cave. It seems to reach the bottom of the mountain. If you peep in you can see fire. But this ordinarily keeps in and does not trouble the people. But sometimes the mountain bellows like an ox. Soon after it casts out huge masses of cinders. If these catch a man, he hath no way to save his life. If they fall upon houses, the roofs are crushed by the weight. If the wind blow stiff, the ashes rise out of sight and are carried to far countries. But this bellowing comes only every hundred years or thereabout. And the air around the mountain is pure. None is more healthy. Physicians send thither sick men to get well.”

The ashes that had covered Pompeii changed to rich soil. Green vines and shrubs and trees sprang up and covered it, and flowers made it gay. Therefore people said to themselves:

“After all, she is a good old mountain. There will never be another eruption while we are alive.”

So villages grew up around her feet. Farmers came and built little houses and planted crops and were happy working the fertile soil. They did not dream that they were living above a buried city, that the roots of their vines sucked water from an old Roman house, that buried statues lay gazing up toward them as they worked.

About three hundred years ago came another terrible eruption. Again there were earthquakes. Again the mountain bellowed. Again black clouds turned day into night. Lightning flashed from cloud to cloud. Tempests of hot rain fell. The sea rushed back and forth on the shore. The whole top of the mountain was blown out or sank into the melting pot. Seven rivers of red-hot lava poured down the slopes. They flowed for five miles and fell into the sea. On the way they set fire to forests and covered five little villages. Thousands of people were killed.

Since that time Vesuvius has been very active. Almost every year there have been eruptions with thunder and earthquakes and showers and lava. A few of these have done much damage. [Footnote: In this year, 1922, Vesuvius has been very active for the first time since 1906. It has been causing considerable alarm in Naples. A new cone, 230 feet high, has developed.—Ed.] And even on her calmest days a cloud has always hung above the mountain top. Sometimes it has been thin and white—a cloud of steam. Sometimes it has been black and curling—a cloud of dust.

Vesuvius is a dangerous thing, but very beautiful. It stands tall and pointed and graceful against a lovely sky. Its little cloud waves from it like a plume. At night the mountain is swallowed by the dark. But the red rivers down its slopes glare in the sky. It is beautiful and terrible like a tiger. Thousands of people have loved it. They have climbed it and looked down its crater. It is like looking into the heart of the earth. One of these travelers wrote of his visit in 1793. He said:

“For many days Vesuvius has been in action. I have watched it from Naples. It is wonderfully beautiful and always changing. On one day huge clouds poured out of the top. They hung in the sky far above, white as snow. Suddenly a cloud of smoke rushed out of another mouth. It was as black as ink. The black column rose tall and curling beside the snowy clouds. That was a picture in black and white. But at another time I saw one in bright colors.

“On a certain night there were towers and curls and waves and spires of flames leaping from the top of the mountain. Millions of red-hot stones were shot into the sky. They sailed upward for hundreds of feet, then curved and fell like skyrockets. I looked through my telescope and saw liquid lava boiling and bubbling over the crater’s edge. I could see it splash upon the rocks and glide slowly down the sides of the cone. The whole top of the mountain was red with melted rock. And above it waved the changing flames of red, orange, yellow, blue.

“On another night, as I was getting into bed, I felt an earthquake. I looked out of my window toward Vesuvius. All the top was glowing with red-hot matter. A terrible roaring came from the mountain. In an instant fire shot high into the air. The red column curved and showered the whole cone. In half a minute came another earthquake shock. My doors and windows rattled. Things were shaken from my table to the floor. Then came the thunder of an explosion from the mountain and another shower of fire. After a few seconds there were noises like the trampling of horses’ hoofs. It was, of course, the noise of the shot-out stones falling upon the rocks of the mountainsides eight miles away.

“I decided to ascend the volcano and see the crater from which all these interesting things came. A few friends went with me. For most of the way we traveled on horses. After two or three hours we reached the bottom of the cone of rocks and ashes. From there we had to go on foot. We went over to the river of red-hot lava. We planned to walk up along its edge. But the hot rock was smoking, and the wind blew the smoke into our faces. A thick mist of fine ashes from the crater almost suffocated us. Sulphur fumes blew toward us and choked us. I said,

“‘We must cross the stream of lava. On the other side the wind will not trouble us.’

“‘Cross that melted rock?’ my friends cried out. ‘We should sink into it and be burned alive.’

“But as we stood talking great stones were thrown out of the volcano. They rolled down the mountainside close to us. If they had struck us it would have been death. There was only one way to save ourselves. I covered my face with my hat and rushed across the stream of lava. The melted rock was so thick and heavy that I did not sink in. I only burned my boots and scorched my hands. My friends followed me. On that side we were safe. We climbed for half an hour. Then we came to the head of our red river. It did not flow over the edge of the crater. Many feet down from the top it had torn a hole through the cone. I shall never forget the sight as long as I live. There was a vast arch in the black rock. From this arch rushed a clear torrent of lava. It flowed smoothly like honey. It glowed with all the splendor of the sun. It looked thin like golden water.

“‘I could stir it with a stick,’ said one of my friends.

“‘I doubt it,’ I said. ‘See how slowly it flows. It must be very thick and heavy.’

“To test it we threw pebbles into it. They did not sink, but floated on like corks. We rolled in heavier stones of seventy or eighty pounds. They only made shallow dents in the stream and floated down with the current. A great rock of three hundred pounds lay near. I raised it upon end and let it fall into the lava. Very slowly it sank and disappeared.

“As the stream flowed on it spread out wider over the mountain. Farther down the slope it grew darker and harder. It started from the arch like melted gold. Then it changed to orange, to bright red, to dark red, to brown, as it cooled. At the lower end it was black and hard and broken like cinders.

“We climbed a little higher above the arch. There was a kind of chimney in the rock. Smoke and stream were coming out of it. I went close. The fumes of sulphur choked me. I reached out and picked some lumps of pure sulphur from the edge of the rock. For one moment the smoke ceased. I held my breath and looked down the hole. I saw the glare of red-hot lava flowing beneath. The mountain was a pot, full of boiling rock.”

Another man writes of a visit in 1868, a quieter year.

“At first we climbed gentle slopes through vineyards and fields and villages. Sometimes we came suddenly upon a black line in a green meadow. A few years before it had flowed down red-hot. Further up we reached large stretches of rock. Here wild vines and lupines were growing in patches where the lava had decayed into soil. Then came bare slopes with dark hollow and sharp ridges. We walked on old stiff lava-streams. Sometimes we had to plod through piles of coarse, porous cinders. Sometimes we climbed over tangled, lumpy beds of twisted, shiny rock. Sometimes we looked into dark arched tunnels. Red streams had once flowed out of them. A few times we passed near fresh cracks in the mountain. Here steam puffed out.

“At last we reached a broad, hot piece of ground. Here were smoking holes. The night before I had looked at them with a telescope from the foot of the mountain. I had seen red rivers flowing from them. Now they were empty. Last night’s lava lay on the slope, cooled and black. I was standing on it. My feet grew hot. I had to keep moving. The air I breathed was warm and smelled like that of an iron foundry. I pushed my pole into a crack in the rock. The wood caught fire. I was standing on a thin crust. What was below? I broke out a piece of the hard lava. A red spot glared up at me. Under the crust red-hot lava was still flowing. I knew that it would be several years before it would be perfectly cool.”

So for three centuries people have watched Vesuvius at work. But she is much older than that—thousands of years older—older than any city or country or people in the world. In all that time she has poured out millions of tons of matter—lava, huge glassy boulders, little pebbles of pumice stone, long shining hairs, fine dust or ashes. All these things are different forms of melted rock. Sometimes the steam blows the liquid into fine dust; sometimes it breaks it into little pieces and fills them with bubbles. At another time the steam is not so strong and only pushes the stuff out gently over the crater’s edge. Many different minerals are found in these rocks—iron, copper, lead, mica, zinc, sulphur. Some pieces are beautiful in color—blue, green, red, yellow. Precious stones have sometimes been found—garnets, topaz, quartz, tourmaline, lapis lazuli. But most of the stone is dull black or brown or gray.

All this heavy matter drops close to the mountain. And on calm days the ashes, also, fall near at home. Indeed, the volcano has built up its own mountain. But a heavy wind often carries the fine dust for hundreds of miles. Once it was blown as far as Constantinople and it darkened the sun and frightened people there. Some of the ashes fall into the sea. For years the currents carry them about from shore to shore. At last they settle to the bottom and make clay or sand or mud. The material lies there for thousands of years and is hard packed into a soft fine grained rock, called tufa. The city of Naples to-day is built of such stone that once lay under the sea. An earthquake long ago lifted the ocean bottom and turned it into dry land. Now men live upon it and cut streets in it and grow crops on it.

So for many miles about, Vesuvius has been making earth. Her ashes lie hundreds of feet deep. Men dig wells and still find only material that has been thrown out of the volcano. When this matter grows old and lies under the sun and rain it turns to good soil. The acids of water and air and plants eat into it. Rain wears it away. Plant roots crack the rocks open. The top layer becomes powdered and rotted and mixed with vegetable loam and is fertile soil. So the country all around the volcano is a rich garden. Tomatoes, melons, grapes, olives, figs, cover the land.

But Vesuvius alone has not made all this ground. She is in a nest of volcanoes. They have all been at work like her, spouting ashes and pumice and rocks and lava. Ten miles away is a wide stretch of country where there are more than a dozen old craters. Twenty miles out in the blue bay a volcano stands up out of the water. A hundred miles south is a group of small volcanic islands. They have hot springs. One has a volcano that spouts every five or six minutes. At night it is like a lighthouse for sailors. One of these Islands is only two thousand years old. The men of Pompeii saw it pushed up out of the sea during an earthquake. A little farther south is Mt. Aetna in Sicily. It is a greater mountain than Vesuvius and has done more work than she has done. So all the southern part of Italy seems to be the home of volcanoes and earthquakes.

There are many other such places scattered over the world—Iceland, Mexico, South America, Japan, the Sandwich Islands. Here the same terrible play is going on—thunder, clouds, falling ashes, scalding rain, flowing lava. The earth is being turned inside out, and men are learning what she is made of.

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Bronze lampholder: Five lamps hung from the branches
of this bronze tree. It was twenty inches high.


Years came and went and changed the world. The old gods died, and the new religion of Christ grew strong. The old temples fell into ruins, and new churches were built in their places. Instead of the old Roman in his white toga came merchants in crimson velvet and knights in steel armor and gentlemen in ruffles and modern men in plain clothes.

Among all these changes, Pompeii was almost forgotten. But after a long while people began to be much interested in ancient Italy. They read old Roman books, and learned of her wonderful cities. They began to dig here and there and find beautiful statues and vases and jewels. They read the story of Pompeii in an old Roman book—a whole city suddenly buried just as her people had left her!

“There we should find treasures!” they said. “We should see houses, temples, shops, streets, as they were seventeen hundred years ago. We should find them full of statues and rich things. Perhaps we should find some of the people who lived in ancient days. But where to dig?”

Their question was answered by accident. At that time certain men were making a tunnel to carry spring water from the hills across the country to a little town near Naples. The tunnel happened to pass over buried Pompeii. They dug up some blocks of stone with Latin inscriptions carved on them. After that other people found little ancient relics near the same place.

“This must be where Pompeii lies buried,” the wise men said.

They began to excavate. That was about two hundred years ago. Ever since that time the work has gone on. Sometimes people have been discouraged and have given up. At other times six hundred men have been working busily. Kings have given money. Emperors and princes and queens have visited the excavations. Artists have made pictures of the ruins, and scholars have written books about them. But it is a great task to uncover a whole city that is buried ten or twelve feet deep. The excavation is not yet finished. Perhaps when you are old men and women the work will be completed, and a whole Roman city will be open to your eyes.

But even as it is to-day, that ghost of a city is among the world’s wonders. There is the thick stone wall that goes all about the town. On its wide top the soldiers used to stand to fight in ancient days. Now the stones are fallen; its towers are broken; its gates are open. Yet there the battered little giant stands at its task of protecting the town. Out of its eight gates stretch the paved streets.

Perhaps some day you will cross the ocean to visit this “dead city.” It lies on a slope at the foot of Vesuvius. Behind stands the tall, graceful volcano with its floating feather of steam and smoke. In front lies a little plain, and beyond it a long ridge of steep mountains. Off at the side shines the dark blue sea with island peaks rising out of it. On hillsides and plain are green vineyards and dark forests dotted with white farmhouses.

In some places there are high mounds of dirt outside the city wall. They are made by the ashes that have been dug out by the excavators and piled here. If you climb one of them you will be able to look over the city. You will find it a little place—less than a mile long and half a mile wide inside its ragged wall. And yet many thousand people used to live here. So the houses had to be crowded together. You will see no grassy lawns nor vacant lots nor playgrounds nor parks with pleasant trees. Many narrow streets cross one another and cut the city into solid blocks of buildings. You will be confused because you will see thousands of broken walls standing up, but no roofs. They are gone—crushed by the piling ashes long ago.

At last you will come down and go in at one of the gates through the rough, thick wall, past the empty watch towers. You will tread the very paving stones that men’s feet trampled nineteen hundred years ago as they fled from the volcano. You will climb a steep, narrow street. This is the street the fishermen and sailors used in olden times when they came in from the river or sea, carrying baskets of fish or leading mules loaded with goods from their ships. This is the street where people poured out to the sea on that terrible day of the eruption.

You will pass a ruined temple of Apollo with standing columns and lonely altar and steps that lead to a room that is gone. A little farther on you will come out into a large open paved space. It is the forum. This used to be the busiest place in all Pompeii. At certain hours of the day it was filled with little tables and with merchants calling out and with gentlemen and slaves buying good’s. But now it is empty and very still. Around the sides a few beautiful columns are yet standing with carved marble at the top connecting them. But others lie broken, and most of them are gone entirely. This is all that is left of the porches where men used to walk and talk of business and war and politics and gossip.

At one end of the forum is a high stone platform and wide stone steps leading up to a row of broken columns in front of a fallen wall. This is the ruin of the temple of Jupiter, the great Roman god. Daily, men used to come here to pray before a statue in a dim room. Here, in the ruins, the excavators found the head of that statue—a beautiful marble thing with long curling hair and beard, and calm face. They found, too, a great broken body of marble. And in that large body a smaller statue was partly carved. This was a puzzling thing, but the excavators studied it out at last. They said:

“Old Roman books tell us that sixteen years before the great eruption there had been another earthquake. It had shaken down many buildings and had cracked many walls. But the people loved their city, and when the earthquake was over, they began to rebuild and to make their houses and temples better than ever. We have found many signs of that earthquake. We have found uncarved blocks of marble in the forum. Evidently masons were at work there when the eruption stopped them. We have found rebuilt walls in some of the houses. And here is the temple of Jupiter being used as a marble shop. Probably the early earthquake had shaken down and broken the statue of the god. A sculptor was set to work to carve a new one from the ruin. But suddenly the volcano burst forth, the artist dropped his chisel and mallet, and here we have found his unfinished work—a statue within a statue.”

Behind the roofless porches of the forum are other ruined buildings—where the officers of the city did business, where the citizens met to vote, where tailors spread out their cloth and sold robes and cloaks. One large market building is particularly interesting. You will enter a courtyard with walls all around it and signs of lost porches. Broken partitions show where little stalls used to open upon the court. Other stalls opened upon the street. In some of these the excavators found, buried in the ashes and charred by the fire, figs, chestnuts, plums, grapes, glass dishes of fruit, loaves of bread, and little cakes. Were customers buying the night’s dessert when Vesuvius frightened them away? In a cool corner of the building is a fish market with sloping marble counter. Near it in the middle of the courtyard are the bases of columns arranged in a circle around a deep basin in the floor. In the bottom of this basin the excavators found a thick layer of fish scales. Evidently the masters used to buy their fish from the market in the corner. Then the slaves carried them here to the shaded pool of water and cleaned them and scaled them and washed them. In another corner the excavators found skeletons of sheep. Here was a pen for live animals which a man might buy for his banquet or for a sacrifice to his gods. His slave would lead the sheep away through the crowds. But on that terrible day when the volcano belched, the poor bleating animals were deserted. Their pen held them and the ashes covered them and to-day we can see their skeletons.

The walls around the market are still standing, though the top is broken and the roof is fallen. They are still covered with paintings. If you will look at them you can guess what used to be for sale here. There are game birds and fish and wine jars all pictured here in beautiful colors. There are cupids playing about a flour mill and cupids weaving garlands. There are also pictures of the gods and heroes and the deeds they did. Imagine this painted market full of chattering people, the little shops gay with piles of beautiful fruit and vegetables, the graceful columns and dark porches adding beauty. Imagine these people crying out and running and these columns swaying and falling when Vesuvius bellowed and shook the earth. And yet we can see the very fruits that men were buying and the pictures they were enjoying.

The forum with its markets and shops and offices and temples and statues was the very heart of the city. Many streets led into it. Perhaps you will walk down one of them, between broken walls, past open doorways. After several street corners you will come to a large building with high walls still standing and with tall, arched entrance. This also was one of the gay places in Pompeii, for it was a bathhouse. Every day all the ladies and gentlemen of the town came strolling toward it down the streets. The men went in at the wide doorway. The women turned and entered their own apartments around the corner. And as they walked toward the entrance they passed little shops built into the walls of the bathhouse. At every stall stood the shopkeeper, bowing, smiling, begging, calling. “Perfumes, sweet lady!”

“Rings, rings, beautiful madam, for your beautiful fingers!”

“Oil for your body, sir, after the bath!”

“A taste of sweets, madam, before you enter! Honey cakes of my own making!”

“Don’t forget to buy my dressing for your hair before you go in! You’ll get nothing like it in there.”

So they chattered and called and coaxed. Some of the people bought, and some went laughing by and entered the bathhouse. As the gentlemen went in, a large court opened before them. Here were men bowling or jumping or running or punching the bag or playing ball or taking some other kind of exercise before the bath. Others were resting in the shade of the porches. A poet sat in a cool corner reading his verses to a few listeners. Some men, after their games, were scraping their sweating bodies with the strigil. Others were splashing in the marble swimming tank. Here and there barbers were working over handsome gentlemen—smoothing their faces, perfuming their hair, polishing their nails. There was talk and laughter everywhere. Men were lazily coming and going through a door that led into the baths. There were large rooms with high ceilings and painted walls. In one we can still see the round marble basin. The walls are painted with trees and birds and swimming fish and statues. It was like bathing in a beautiful garden to bathe here. Another room was for the hot bath, with double walls and hot air circulating between to make the whole room warm. The bathhouse was a great building full of comforts. No wonder that all the idle Pompeians came here to bathe, to play, to visit, to tell and hear the news. It was a gay and noisy place. We have a letter that one of those old Romans wrote to a friend. He says:

“I am living near a bath. Sounds are heard on all sides. The men of strong muscle exercise and swing the heavy lead weights. I hear their groans as they strain, and the whistling of their breath. I hear the massagist slapping a lazy fellow who is being rubbed with ointment. A ball player begins to play and counts his throws. Perhaps there is a sudden quarrel, or a thief is caught, or some one is singing in the bath. And the bathers plunge into the swimming tank with loud splashes. Above all the din you hear the calls of the hair puller and the sellers of cakes and sweetmeats and sausages.”

After you leave the baths perhaps you will turn down Stabian Street. It has narrow sidewalks. The broken walls of houses fence it in closely on both sides and cast black shadows across it. It is paved with clean blocks of lava. You will see wheel ruts worn deep in the hard stone. Almost two thousand years old they are, made by the carts of the farmers, perhaps, who brought in vegetables for the market. At the street crossings you will see three or four big stone blocks standing up above the pavement. They are stepping-stones for rainy weather. Evidently floods used to pour down these sloping streets. You can imagine little Roman boys skipping across from block to block and trying to keep their sandals dry.

The street will lead you to the district of good houses where the wealthy men lived. Through open doorways you will get glimpses into the old ruined courtyards. It is hard guessing how the rooms used to look. But when you come to the door of the house of Vettius you will cry out with wonder. There is a lovely garden in the corner of the house. A long passage leads to it straight from the street. Around it runs a paved porch with pretty columns. Here you will walk in the shade and look out at the gay little garden, blooming in the sunshine. In every corner tiny streams of water spurt from little statues of bronze and marble and trickle into cool basins. Marble tables stand among the flowers. You will half expect a slave to bring out old drinking cups and wine bowls and set them here for his master’s pleasure, or tablets and stylus for him to write his letters. Everything is in order and beautiful. It was not quite so when the excavators uncovered this house. The statues were thrown down. The flowers were scorched and dead under the piled-up ashes. But it was easy for the modern excavators to tell from the ground where the flower beds had been and where the gravel paths. Even the lead water pipe that carried the stream to the fountain needed little repairing. So the excavators set up the statues, cleaned the marble tables and benches, planted shrubs and flowers, repaired the porch roof, and we have a garden such as the old Romans loved and such as many houses in Pompeii had.

Several rooms look out upon this garden. One of them is perhaps the most interesting place in all Pompeii. You will walk into it and look around and laugh with delight. The whole wall is painted with pictures, big and little—pictures of columns and roofs, of plants and animals, of men and gods. They are all framed in with wide spaces of beautiful red. And tucked away between them in narrow bands of black are the gayest little scenes in the world. They are worth going all the way across the ocean to see. Psyches—delicate little winged girls like fairies—are picking slender flowers and putting them into tall, graceful baskets. They are so light and so tiny that they seem to be flitting along the wall like bright butterflies. In other panels plump little cupids—winged boys—are playing at being men. They are picking grapes and working a wine press and selling wine. It is big work for tiny creatures, and they must kick up their dimpled legs and puff out their chubby cheeks to do it. They are melting gold and carrying gold dishes and selling jewelry and swinging a blacksmith’s hammer with their fat little arms. They are carrying roses to market on a ragged goat and weaving rose garlands and selling them to an elegant little lady. Everywhere these gay little creatures are skipping about at their play among the beautiful red spaces and large pictures. This was surely a charming dining room in the old days. The guests must have been merry every time their eyes lighted upon the bright wall. And if they looked out at the open side, there smiled the garden with its flowers and statues and splashing fountains and columns.

There lived in this house two men by the name of Vettius. We know this because the excavators found here two seals. In those days men fastened their letters and receipts and bills with wax. While the wax was soft they stamped their names in it with a metal seal. On the stamps that were found in this house were carved Aulus Vettius Restitutus and Aulus Vettius Conviva. Perhaps they were freedmen who once had been slaves of Aulus Vettius. But they must have earned a fortune for themselves, for there were two money chests in the house. And they must have had slaves of their own to take care of their twenty rooms and more. In the tiny kitchen the excavators found a good store of charcoal and the ashes of a little fire on top of the stone stove. And on its three little legs a bronze dish was sitting over the dead fire. A slave must have been cooking his master’s dinner when the volcano frightened him away.

Vettius’ dining room is empty of its wooden tables and couches. But some houses had stone ones built in their gardens for pleasant summer days. These the ashes did not crush, and they are still in place. Columns stood about the tables and vines climbed up them and across to make cool shade. The tables were always long and narrow and built around three sides of a rectangle. Low couches stand along the outside edges. Here guests used to lie propped up on their left elbows with pretty cushions to make them comfortable. In the open space in the middle of the square servants came and went and passed the dishes across the narrow tables. Children used to have little wooden stools and sit in this middle space opposite their elders. But in one old ruined garden dining room you will see a little stone bench for the children, built along the end of the table. It must have been pleasant to have supper there with the sunset coloring the sky, behind old Vesuvius, the cool breeze shaking the leaves of the garden shrubs, and the fountain tinkling, and a bird chirping in a corner, and the shadows beginning to creep under the long porches, and the tiny flames of lamps fluttering in the dusky rooms behind.

After you leave the house of Vettius and walk down the street, you will come to a certain door. In the sidewalk before it you will see “Have” spelled with bits of colored marble. It is the old Latin word for “Welcome.” It is too pleasant an invitation to refuse. Go in through the high doorway and down the narrow passage to the atrium. Every Roman house had this atrium. It is like a large reception hall with many rooms opening off it—bedrooms, dining rooms, sitting rooms. Beautiful hangings instead of doors used to shut these rooms in. The atrium had an opening in the roof where the sun shone in and softly lighted the big room. Here the master used to receive his guests. In the house of Vettius the two money chests were found in the atrium. In this same room in the house of “Welcome,” there was found on the floor a little bronze statue, a dancing faun, one of the gay friends of Dionysus. It is a tiny thing only two feet high, but so pretty that the excavators named the house after it—The House of the Faun. Evidently the old owner loved beautiful things and had money to buy them. Even the floors of some of his rooms are made in mosaic pictures. There are doves at play, and ducks and fish and shells all laid under your feet in bright bits of colored marble. And beyond the pleasant court with its porches and garden is a large sitting room. In the floor of this the excavators found the most wonderful mosaic picture of all, a picture of a battle, with waving spears and prancing horses and fallen men. Two kings are facing each other to fight—Darius, king of Persia, standing in his chariot, and Alexander, king of Greece, riding his war horse. The bits of stone are so small and of such perfect color that the mosaic looks like a beautiful painting. Imagine how the excavators’ hearts leaped when the spades took the gray ashes off this bright picture. It was too precious a thing to leave here in the rain and wind. So the excavators carefully took it up and put it into the museum of Naples where there are other valuable things from Pompeii.

There are many other houses almost as pleasant and beautiful as this House of the Faun. Every one has its atrium and its sunny court and its fountains and statues and its painted walls. But Pompeii was a city of business, too, and had many workshops. There is a dye shop where the excavators found large lead pots and glass bottles still full of dye. There are cleaners’ shops where the slaves used to take their masters’ robes to be cleaned. Here the excavators found vats and white clay for cleaning, and pictures on the wall showing men at work. There are tanneries where leather was made. The rusted tools were found which the men had thrown down so long ago. There is a pottery shop with two ovens for baking the vases. On a certain street corner you will see an old wine shop. It is a little room cut into the corner wall of a great house. Its two sides are open upon the street with broad marble counters. Below the counters are big, deep jars. Their open tops thrust themselves through the slab. You can look into their mouths where the shopkeeper used to dip out the wine. On the walls of the room are marks that show where shelves hung in ancient days to hold cups and glasses. In the outer edge of the sidewalk before the shop are two round holes cut into the stone. Long ago poles were thrust into them to hold an awning that shaded the walk in front of the counters. We can imagine men stopping in this pleasant shade as they passed. The busy slave inside the shop whips out a cup and a graceful, long-handled ladle and dips out the sweet-smelling wine from the wide-mouthed jar. And we can imagine how the cups fell clattering from the men’s hands when Vesuvius thundered. In one shop, indeed, the excavators found an overturned cup on the counter and a wine stain on the marble. But the most interesting shops are the bakeries. There were twenty of them in Pompeii. You will see the ovens in the courtyard. They are big beehives built of stone or brick. The baker made a fire inside and let the walls become hot. Then he raked out the coals and cleaned the floor and put in his bread. The hot walls baked the loaves. In one oven the excavators found a burned loaf eighteen hundred years old. When the earthquake shook his house, did the baker snatch out the rest of the ovenful to feed his hungry family as they groped about for safety in the terrible darkness? In several bakeries you will see, also, the mills. They are great mortar-shaped things standing taller than a man. The heavy stone above turned around upon the stone below. A man poured wheat in at the top. It fell down and was ground between the two stones and dropped out at the bottom as flour. A horse or donkey was hitched to the mill to turn it. Around and around he walked all day. He was blindfolded to prevent his becoming dizzy. You will see on the stone floor in one bakery the path that was made by years of this walking. In the old days this silent empty court must have been an interesting place. The donkey’s hoofs beat lazy time on the stone floor. Now and then a slave lifted up a bag of wheat and poured it into the mill or scooped out the white flour from the trough at the bottom. Another man sifted the flour and the breeze blew the white dust over his bare arms. Some of the ovens were smoking and glowing with fresh fire. Others were shut, with the browning bread inside, and a good smell hung in the air. And out in front was a little shop where the master sold the thin loaves and the fancy little cakes.

In the hundreds of houses and shops of this little town the excavators have found bronze tables and lamps and lamp stands and wine jars and kitchen pots and pans and spoons and glass vases and silver cups and gold hairpins and jewelry and ivory combs and bronze strigils and mirrors and several statues of bronze and marble. But where they had hoped to find thousands of precious things they have found only hundreds. Many pedestals are empty of their statues. Here and there the very paintings have been cut from the walls. Those are the pictures we should most like to see. How beautiful could they have been?

“Evidently men came back soon after the eruption,” say the excavators. “The tops of their ruined houses must have stood up above the ashes. They dug down and rescued their most precious things. We have even found broken places in walls where we think men dug tunnels from one house to another. That is why the temple and market place have so few statues. That is why we find so little jewelry and money and dishes. But we have enough. The city is our treasure.”

One rich find they did make, however. There was a pleasant farmhouse out of town on the slope of Vesuvius. Evidently the man who owned it had a vineyard and an olive grove and grain fields. For there are olive presses and wine presses and a great court full of vats for making wine and a floor for threshing wheat and a mill for grinding flour and a stable and a wide courtyard that must have held many carts. And there are bathrooms and many pleasant rooms besides. In the room with the wine presses was a stone cistern for storing the fresh grape juice. Here the excavators found a treasure and a mystery. In this cistern lay the skeleton of a man. With him were a thousand pieces of gold money, some gold jewelry, and a wonderful dinner set of silver dishes. There are a hundred and three pieces—plates, platters, cups, bowls. And every one has beaten up from it beautiful designs of flowers and people. An artist must have made them, and a rich man must have bought them. How did they come here in this farmhouse? They must have been meant for a nobleman’s table. Had some thief stolen them and hidden here, only to be caught by the volcano? Did some rich lady of the city have this farm for her country place? And had she sent her treasure here to escape when the volcano burst forth? At any rate here it lay for eighteen hundred years. And now it is in a museum in Paris, far from its old owner’s home.

In this buried city we find the houses in which men lived, the pictures they loved, the food they ate, the jewels they wore, the cups they drank from. But what of the people themselves? Were they real men and women? How did they look? Did they all escape? Not all, for many skeletons have been found here and there through the city—in the market place, in the streets, in the houses. And sometimes the excavators have found still stranger, sadder things. Often as a man has been digging in the hard-packed ashes, his spade has struck into a hole. Then he has called the chief excavator.

“Let us see what it is,” the excavator has said, “Perhaps it will be something interesting.”

So they have mixed plaster and poured it into the hole. They have given it a little time to harden and then have dug away the ashes from around it. In that way they have made a plaster cast just the shape of the hole. And several times when they have uncovered their cast they have found it to be the form of a man or woman or child. Perhaps the person had been hurrying through the street and had stumbled and fallen. The gases had choked him, the ashes had slowly covered him. Under the moistening rain and the pressure of all the hundreds of years the ashes had hardened almost to stone. Meantime the body had decayed and had sunk down into a handful of dust. But the hardened ashes still stood firm around the space where the body had been. When this hole was filled with plaster, the cast took just the form of the one who had been buried there so long ago—the folds of his clothes, the ring on his finger, the girl’s knot of hair, the negro slave’s woolly head. So we can really look upon the faces of some of the ancient people of Pompeii. And in another way we can learn the names of many of them.

One of the streets that leads out from the wall is called the “Street of Tombs.” It is the ancient burying ground. You will walk along the paved street between rows of monuments. Some will be like great square altars of marble beautifully carved. Some will be tall platforms with steps leading up. There will be marble benches where you may sit and think of the old Pompeians who were twice buried in their beautiful tombs. And there on the marble monument you will see their names carved in old Latin letters, and kind things that their friends said about them. There are:

Marcus Cerrinius Restitutus; Aulus Veius, who was several times an officer of the city; Mamia, a priestess; Marcus Porcius; Numerius Istacidius and his wife and daughter and others of his family, all in a great tomb standing on a high platform; Titus Terentius Felix, whose wife, Fabia Sabina, built his tomb; Tyche, a slave; Aulus Umbricius Scaurus, whose statue was set up in the market place to do him honor; Gaius Calventius Quietus, who was given a seat of honor at the theater on account of his generosity; Nævoleia Tyche, who had once been a slave, but who had been freed, had married, and grown wealthy and had slaves of her own; Gnæus Vibius Saturninus, whose freedman built his tomb; Marcus Arrius Diomedes, a freedman; Numerius Velasius Gratus, twelve years old; Salvinus, six years old; and many another.

After seeing the tombs and houses and shops you will leave that little city, I think, feeling that the people of ancient times were much like us, that men and mountains have done wonderful things in this old world, that it is good to know how people of other times lived and worked and died.



This statue, now in the Metropolitan Museum, was found at Pompeii. Probably Caius was dressed just like this, and carried such a stick when he played in his father’s courtyard.

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Nowadays men know from history what may happen when Vesuvius wakes. But in 79 A.D., when Pompeii was buried, the mountain had slept for hundreds of years, and no man knew that an eruption might bury a city.

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The roofs are all gone and all the partitions inside the houses show. That is why it all looks so crowded and confused. But if you study it carefully you can see some interesting things. The big open space is the forum. It is about five hundred feet long, running northeast and southwest. South of it is the temple of Apollo. North of it, where you see the bases of columns in a circle, was the market. Next to the market is the place where the gods of the city were worshipped. The broad street beside the forum running southeast is the one down which Ariston fled. Then he turned into the forum, ran out the gate near the lower end into the steep street that runs southwest and ends at a city gate near the sea. NOLA STREET AND THE TEMPLE OF FORTUNE.

You must imagine this temple with an altar in front, a broad flight of steps, and a portico of beautiful columns. You can see the street paved with blocks of lava, the deep wheel ruts, and the stepping stones for rainy weather.

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Pompeii was surrounded by two high walls fifteen feet apart, with earth between. An embankment of earth was piled up inside also. This is one of the eight gates in the wall.

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On the tomb of Nævoleia Tyche was a carving of a ship gliding into port, the sailors furling the sails. Within this tomb is a chamber where funeral urns stand, containing the ashes of Tyche and her husband, and of the slaves they had freed. Pompeians always burned the bodies of the dead.

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Like other Roman towns, Pompeii had an amphitheater. Here twenty thousand people could come and watch the gladiators fight in pairs till one was killed. Then the dead body was dragged off, and another pair appeared and fought. Sometimes the gladiators were prisoners captured in war, like the famous Spartacus; sometimes they were slaves; sometimes criminals condemned to death. Sometimes a man was pitted against a wild beast; sometimes two wild beasts fought each other. The amphitheater had no roof. Vesuvius, with its column of smoke, was in plain view from the seats. There was a great awning to protect the spectators. The lower seats were for officials and distinguished people; for the middle rows there was an admission fee; all the upper seats were free.

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A few large houses had baths of their own, but most people went every day to a great public bath which was a very gay place. This open court which you see, was for games.

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The temple was built on a high foundation. A broad flight of steps led up to it, with an altar at the foot. There was a porch all round it held up by a row of columns. Some of the columns have stood up through all the earthquakes and eruptions of two thousand years. Inside the porch was a small room for the statue of Apollo. In the paved court around this temple were many altars and statues of the gods. This was at one time the most important temple in Pompeii.

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In this large open court the gladiators had their training and practice. In small cells around the court they lived. They were kept under close guard, for they were dangerous men. Sixty-three skeletons were found here, many of them in irons.

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Pompeii had two theaters for plays and music, besides the amphitheater where the gladiators fought. The smaller theater, unlike the others, had a roof. It seated fifteen hundred people. We think perhaps contests in music were held here.

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A boar, a ram, and a bull are to be killed, and a part of the flesh is to be burned on the altar to please the gods.

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On the walls of a room in a house in Pompeii men found this picture, showing how interesting the life of the forum was. At the left is a table where a man has kitchen utensils for sale. But he is dreaming and does not see a customer coming. So his friend is waking him up. Near him is a shoemaker selling sandals to some women.

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Underneath are two ivory toilet boxes. One was probably for perfumed oil.

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These were found hanging in a ring in one of the great public baths. You see a flask for oil, a saucer to pour the oil into, and four scrapers to scrape off the oil and dirt before a plunge.

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With the columns and tables and statues that were found, this court has been built on the site of an old ruined villa. Flowers bloom and the fountain plays in it to-day just as they did over two thousand years ago. There are wall paintings in the shadows at the back. The little boys holding the ducks must look very much like Caius when he was a little boy. When he went to the farm in the hills for a hot summer, he had ducks to play with; here are statues to remind him, in the winter time, of what fun that was.

A garden like this, not generally so large, was laid out inside every important house in Pompeii. The family rooms surrounded it. These rooms received most of their light and air from this garden. Caius was lying on a couch in a garden like this, when the shower of pebbles suddenly began. Ariston was painting the walls of a room that overlooked the garden.

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This is part of a beautiful wall painting in a Pompeian house, the sort of painting that Ariston was making when the volcano burst forth. See how much the little boy looks like his mother, and what beautiful bands they both have in their hair. Chairs like this one have been found in the ruins, and the same design is on many other pieces of furniture.

The Metropolitan Museum owns the complete wall paintings for a Pompeian room. They are put up just as they were in Pompeii. There is even an iron window grating. A beautiful table from Pompeii stands in the center. The room is one of the gayest in the whole museum, with its rich reds and bright yellows, greens, and blues.

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In this house the cook must have been in the kitchen, just ready to go to work when he had to flee. He left the pot on a tripod on a bed of coals, ready for use. You can see an arched opening underneath the fireplace. This was where the cook kept his fuel. The small size of the kitchens shows that the Pompeians were not great gluttons.

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These kettles and frying pans and ladles are made of bronze, an alloy of copper and tin. They look very much like our kitchen furnishings.

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Some rich Pompeian had a pair of beautiful silver cups with graceful handles. The design was made in hammered silver, and showed centaurs talking to cupids that are sitting on their backs. A centaur was half man, half horse.

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From the ruins and from ancient books, men know almost all the rooms of a Pompeian house. So they have pictured this one as it was before the disaster, with its many beautiful wall paintings, its mosaic floors, its tiled roofs. If you can imagine these two halves fitted together, and yourself inside, you can visit one of the most attractive houses in Pompeii. Do you see how the tiled roof slants downward from four sides to a rectangular opening in the highest part of the house? Below this opening was a shallow basin into which the rainwater fell. This basin was in the center of the atrium, the most important room in the house. The walls of this room were painted with scenes from the Trojan war. This is the house which has the mosaic picture of a dog on the floor of the long entrance hall (see next page). On each side of the hall, facing the street, are large rooms for shops, where, doubtless, the owner conducted his business. He was not a “Tragic Poet.” Some people think he was a goldsmith. On each side of the atrium were sleeping rooms. Can you see that the doors are very high with a grating at the top to let in light and air? Windows were few and small, and generally the rooms took light and air from the inside courts rather than from outside. Back of the atrium was a large reception room with bedrooms on each side. And back of this was a large open court, or garden, with a colonnade on three sides and a solid wall at the back. Opening on this garden was a large dining room with beautiful wall paintings, a tiny kitchen, and some sleeping rooms. This house had stairways and second story rooms over the shops. This seems to us a very comfortable homelike house.

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THE HOUSE OF THE TRAGIC POET (as it looks to-day).

Here you see the shallow basin in the floor of the atrium. This basin had two outlets. You can see the round cistern mouth near the pool. There was also an outlet to the street to carry off the overflow. At the back of the garden you can see a shrine to the household gods. At every meal a portion was set aside in little dishes for the gods.

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From the vestibule of the House of the Tragic Poet. It says loudly, “Beware the dog!” Pictures and patterns made of little pieces of polished stone like this are called mosaic. Sometimes American vestibules are tiled in a simple mosaic. Wouldn’t it be fun if they had such exciting pictures as this? A real dog, or two or three, probably was standing inside the door, chained, or held by slaves.

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There was a wine cellar under the colonnade. Here were twenty skeletons; two, children. Near the door were found skeletons of two men. One had a large key, doubtless the key of this door. He wore a gold ring and was carrying a good deal of money. He was probably the master of the house. Evidently the family thought at first that the wine cellar would be a safe place, but when they found that it was not so, the master took one slave and started out to find a way to escape. But they all perished.

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If one of the mills that were found in the bakery were sawed in two, it would look like this. You can see where the baker’s man poured in the wheat, and where the flour dropped down, and the heavy timbers fastened to the upper millstone to turn it by.

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This Lucius was an auctioneer who had set free one of his slaves, Felix. Felix, in gratitude, had this portrait of his master cast in bronze. It stood on a marble pillar in the atrium of the house.

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It is the figure of the Roman God Silenus. He was the son of Pan, and the oldest of the satyrs, who were supposed to be half goat. Can you find the goat’s horns among his curls? He was a rollicking old satyr, very fond of wine, always getting into mischief. The grape design at the base of the little statue, and the snake supporting the candleholder, both are symbols of the sileni.

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In one of the largest and most elegant houses in Pompeii, on the floor of the atrium, or principal room of the house, men found in the ashes this bronze statue of a dancing faun. Doesn’t he look as if he loved to dance, snapping his fingers to keep time? Although this great house contained on the floor of one room the most famous of ancient mosaic pictures, representing Alexander the Great in battle, and although it contains many other fine mosaics, it was named from this statue, the House of the Faun, Casa del Fauno.

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This bronze statue was found in Herculaneum, the city on the other slope of Vesuvius which was buried in liquid mud. This mud has become solid rock, from sixty to one hundred feet deep so that excavation is very difficult, and the city is still for the most part buried.

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The visitors to-day are walking where Caius walked so long ago on the same paving stones. The three stones were set up to keep chariots out of the forum.

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The July sun was blazing over the country of Greece. Dust from the dry plain hung in the air. But what cared the happy travelers for dust or heat? They were on their way to Olympia to see the games. Every road teemed with a chattering crowd of men and boys afoot and on horses. They wound down from the high mountains to the north. They came along the valley from the east and out from among the hills to the south. Up from the sea led the sacred road, the busiest of all. A little caravan of men and horses was trying to hurry ahead through the throng. The master rode in front looking anxiously before him as though he did not see the crowd. After him rode a lad. His eyes were flashing eagerly here and there over the strange throng. A man walked beside the horse and watched the boy smilingly. Behind them came a string of pack horses with slaves to guard the loads of wine and food and tents and blankets for their master’s camp.

“What a strange-looking man, Glaucon!” said the boy. “He has a dark skin.”

The boy’s own skin was fair, and under his hat his hair was golden. As he spoke he pointed to a man on the road who was also riding at the head of a little caravan. His skin was dark. Shining black hair covered his ears. His garment was gay with colored stripes.

“He is a merchant from Egypt,” answered the man. “He will have curious things to sell—vases of glass, beads of amber, carved ivory, and scrolls gay with painted figures. You must see them, Charmides.”

But already the boy had forgotten the Egyptian.

“See the chariot!” he cried.

It was slowly rolling along the stony road. A grave, handsome man stood in it holding the reins. Beside him stood another man with a staff in his hand. Behind the chariot walked two bowmen. After them followed a long line of pack horses led by slaves. “They are the delegates from Athens,” explained Glaucon. “There are, doubtless, rich gifts for Zeus on the horses and perhaps some stone tablets engraved with new laws.”

But the boy was not listening.

“Jugglers! Jugglers!” he cried.

And there they were at the side of the road, showing their tricks and begging for coins. One man was walking on his hands and tossing a ball about with his feet. Another was swallowing a sword.

“Stop, Glaucon!” cried Charmides, “I must see him. He will kill himself.”

“No, my little master,” replied the slave. “You shall see him again at Olympia. See your father. He would be vexed if we waited.”

And there was the master ahead, pushing forward rapidly, looking neither to the right hand nor the left. The boy sighed.

“He is hurrying to see Creon. He forgets me!” he thought.

But immediately his eyes were caught by some new thing, and his face was gay again. So the little company traveled up the sloping road amid interesting sights. For here were people from all the corners of the known world—Greeks from Asia in trailing robes, Arabs in white turbans, black men from Egypt, kings from Sicily, Persians with their curled beards, half civilized men from the north in garments of skin. “See!” said Glaucon at last as they reached a hilltop, “the temple!”

He pointed ahead. There shone the tip of the roof and its gold ornament. Hovering above was a marble statue with spread wings.

“And there is Victory!” whispered Charmides. “She is waiting for Creon. She will never wait for me,” and he sighed.

The crowd broke into a shout when they saw the temple. A company of young men flew by, singing a song. Charmides passed a sick man. The slaves had set down his litter, and he had stretched out his hands toward the temple and was praying. For the sick were sometimes cured by a visit to Olympia. The boy’s father had struck his heels into his horse’s sides and was galloping forward, calling to his followers to hasten.

In a few moments they reached higher land. Then they saw the sacred place spread out before them. There was the wall all around it. Inside it shone a few buildings and a thousand statues. Along one side stretched a row of little marble treasure houses. At the far corner lay the stadion with its rows of stone seats. Nearer and outside the wall was the gymnasium. Even from a distance Charmides could see men running about in the court.

“There are the athletes!” he thought. “Creon is with them.”

Behind all these buildings rose a great hill, dark green with trees. Down from the hill poured a little stream. It met a wide river that wound far through the valley. In the angle of these rivers lay Olympia. The temple and walls and gymnasium were all of stone and looked as though they had been there forever. But in the meadow all around the sacred place was a city of winged tents. There were little shapeless ones of skins lying over sticks. There were round huts woven of rushes. There were sheds of poles with green boughs laid upon them. There were tall tents of gaily striped canvas. Farther off were horses tethered. And everywhere were gaily robed men moving about. Menon, Charmides’ father, looking ahead from the high place, turned to a slave.

“Run on quickly,” he said. “Save a camping place for us there on Mount Kronion, under the trees.”

The man was off. Menon spoke to the other servants. “Push forward and make camp. I will visit the gymnasium. Come, Charmides, we will go to see Creon.”

They rode down the slope toward Olympia. As they passed among the tents they saw friends and exchanged kind greetings.

“Ah, Menon!” called one. “There is good news of Creon. Every one expects great things of him.”

“I have kept room for your camp next my tent, Menon,” said another.

“Here are sights for you, Charmides,” said a kind old man.

Charmides caught a glimpse of gleaming marble among the crowd and guessed that some sculptor was showing his statues for sale. Yonder was a barber’s tent. Gentlemen were sitting in chairs and men were cutting their hair or rubbing their faces smooth with stone. In one place a man was standing on a little platform. A crowd was gathered about him listening, while he read from a scroll in his hands.

But the boy had only a glimpse of these things, for his father was hurrying on. In a moment they crossed a bridge over a river and stopped before a low, wide building. Glaucon helped Charmides off his horse. Menon spoke a few words to the porter at the gate. The man opened the door and led the visitors in. Charmides limped along beside his father, for he was lame. That was what had made him sigh when he had seen Victory hovering over Olympia. She would never give him the olive branch. But now he did not think of that. His heart was beating fast. His eyes were big. For before him lay a great open court baking in the sun. More than a hundred boys were at work there, leaping, wrestling, hurling the disk, throwing spears. During the past months they had been living here, training for the games. The sun had browned their bare bodies. Now their smooth skins were shining with sweat and oil. As they bent and twisted they looked like beautiful statues turned brown and come alive. Among them walked men in long purple robes. They seemed to be giving commands.

“They are the judges,” whispered Glaucon. “They train the boys.”

All around the hot court ran a deep, shady portico. Here boys lay on the tiled floor or on stone benches, resting from their exercise. Near Charmides stood one with his back turned. He was scraping the oil and dust from his body with a strigil. Charmides’ eyes danced with joy at the beauty of the firm, round legs and the muscles moving in the shoulders. Then the athlete turned toward the visitors and Charmides cried out, “Creon!” and ran and threw his arms around him.

Then there was gay talk; Creon asked about the home and mother and sisters in Athens, for he had been here in training for almost ten months. Menon and Charmides had a thousand questions about the games.

“I know I shall win, father,” said Creon softly. “Four nights ago Hermes appeared to me in my sleep and smiled upon me. I awoke suddenly and there was a strange, sweet perfume in the air.”

Tears sprang into his father’s eyes. “Now blessed be the gods!” he cried, “and most blessed Hermes, the god of the gymnasium!”

After a little Menon and Charmides said farewell and went away through the chattering crowd and up under the cool trees on Mount Kronion to their camp. The slaves had cut poles and set them up and thrown a wide linen cover over them. Under it they had put a little table holding lumps of brown cheese, a flat loaf of bread, a basket of figs, a pile of crisp lettuce. Just outside the tent grazed a few goats. A man in a soiled tunic was squatted milking one. Menon’s slave stood waiting and, as his master came up, he took the big red bowl of foaming milk and carried it to the table. The goatherd picked up his long crook and started his flock on, calling, “Milk! Milk to sell!”

Menon was gay now. His worries were over. His camp was pitched in a pleasant place. His son was well and sure of victory.

“Come, little son,” he called to Charmides. “You must be as hungry as a wolf. But first our thanks to the gods.”

A slave had poured a little wine into a flat cup and stood now offering it to his master. Menon took it and held it high, looking up into the blue heavens.

“O gracious Hermes!” he cried aloud, “fulfill thy omen! And to Zeus, the father, and to all the immortals be thanks.”

As he prayed he turned the cup and spilled the wine upon the ground. That was the god’s portion. A slave spread down a rug for his master to lie upon and put cushions under his elbow. Glaucon did the same for Charmides, and the meal began. Menon talked gaily about their journey, the games to-morrow, Creon’s training. But Charmides was silent. At last his father said:

“Well, little wolf, you surely are gulping! Are you so starved?”

“No,” said Charmides with full mouth. “I’m in a hurry. I want to see things.”

His father laughed and leaped to his feet.

“Just like me, lad. Come on!”

Charmides snatched a handful of figs and rolled out of the tent squealing with joy. Menon came after him, laughing, and Glaucon followed to care for them. “The sun is setting,” said Menon. “It will soon be dark, and to-morrow are the games. They will keep us busy when they begin, so you must use your eyes to-day if you want to see the fair.”

He stopped on the hillside and looked down into the sacred place.

“It is wonderful!” he said, half to himself. “The home of glory! I love every stone of it. I have not been here since I myself won the single race. And now my son is to win it. That was when you were a baby, Charmides.”

“I know, father,” whispered the boy with shining eyes. “I have kissed your olive wreath, where it hangs above our altar at home.”

The father put his hand lovingly on the boy’s yellow head.

“By the help of Hermes there soon will be a green one there for you to kiss, lad. The gods are very good to crown our family twice.”

“I wish there were crowns for lame boys to win,” said Charmides. “I would win one!”

He said that fiercely and clenched his fist. His father looked kindly into his eyes and spoke solemnly.

“I think you would, my son. Perhaps there are such crowns.”

They started on thoughtfully and soon were among the crowd. There were a hundred interesting sights. They passed an outdoor oven like a little round hill of stones and clay. The baker was just raking the fire out of the little door on the side. Charmides waited to see him put the loaves into the hot cave. But before it was done a horn blew and called him away to a little table covered with cakes.

“Honey cakes! Almond cakes! Fig cakes!” sang the man. “Come buy!”

There they lay—stars and fish and ships and temples. Charmides picked up one in the shape of a lyre.

“I will take this one,” he said, and solemnly ate it.

“Why are you so solemn, son?” laughed Menon.

The boy did not answer. He only looked up at his father with deep eyes and said nothing. But in a moment he was racing off to see some rope dancers.

“Glaucon,” said the master to the slave, “take care of the boy. Give him a good time. Buy him what he wants. Take him back to camp when he is tired. I have business to do.”

Then he turned to talk with a friend, who had come up, and Glaucon followed his little master.

What a good time the boy had! The rope dancers, the sword swallowers, the Egyptian with his painted scroll, a trained bear that wrestled with a wild-looking man dressed in skins, a cooking tent where whole sheep were roasting and turning over a fire, another where tiny fish were boiling in a great pot of oil and jumping as if alive—he saw them all. He stood under the sculptors’ awning and gazed at the marble people more beautiful than life. And when he came upon Apollo striking his lyre, his heart leaped into his mouth. He stood quiet for a long time gazing at this god of song. Then he walked out of the tent with shining eyes.

At last it grew dark, and torches began to blaze in front of the booths.

“Shall we go home, Charmides?” said Glaucon.

“Oh, no!” cried the boy. “I haven’t seen it all. I am not tired. It is gayer now than ever with the torches. See all those shining flames.”

And he ran to a booth where a hundred little bronze lamps hung, each with its tongue of clear light. It was an imagemaker’s booth. The table stood full of little clay statues of the gods. Charmides took up one. It was a young man leaning against a tree trunk. On his arm he held a baby.

“It is a model of the great marble Hermes in the temple of Hera, my little master,” said the image maker. “Great Praxiteles made that one, poor Philo made this one.”

“It is beautiful,” said Charmides and turned away, holding it tenderly in his hand.

Glaucon waited a moment to pay for the figure. Then he followed Charmides who had walked on. He was standing on the bridge gazing at the water.

“Glaucon,” he said, “I must see that statue of Hermes.”

They stood there talking about the wonderful works of Praxiteles and of many another artist. Glaucon pointed to a little wooden shed lying in the meadow.

“That,” he said, “is the workshop of Phidias. There he made the gold and ivory statue of Zeus that you shall see in Zeus’s temple. That workshop will stay there many a year, I think, for people to love because so great a thing was done there.”

“Is it so wonderful?” asked Charmides.

“When it was finished,” Glaucon answered solemnly, “Phidias stood before it and prayed to Zeus to tell him whether it pleased the god. Great Zeus heard the prayer, and in his joy at the beautiful thing he hurled a blazing thunderbolt and smote the floor before the statue as if to say, 'This image is Zeus himself.’ But I have never seen it, for a slave may not pass the sacred wall.”

Now the full moon had risen, and the world was swimming in silver light. The statue of Victory hung over the sacred place on spread wings. Many another great form on its high pillar seemed standing in the deep sky above the world. The little pool in the pebbly river had stars in the bottom.

“This Kladeos is a savage little river in the spring,” said Glaucon. “It tries to tear away our Olympia or drown it or cover it with sand. You see, men have had to fence it in with stone walls.”

But Charmides was looking at the sacred place and its soft shining statues in the sky.

“Let us walk around the wall,” he said.

So they left the river and passed the gymnasium and the gate. Along this side the wall cast a wide shadow. Here they walked in silence. Here there were no tents, no torches, no noisy people. Everything was quiet in the evening air. The far-off sounds of the fair were a gentle hum. A hundred pictures were floating in Charmides’ mind—Phidias, Zeus, Creon with the strigil, his own little Hermes, the strange people in the fair, the marble Apollo under the sculptor’s tent. In a few moments they turned a corner and came out into the soft moonlight. A little beyond gleamed a broad river, the Alphaeus. Charmides and the slave went over and strolled along its banks. Here they were again in the crowd and among tents. They saw a group of people and went toward them. A man sat on a low knoll a little above the crowd. His hair hung about his shoulders and his long robe lay in glistening folds about his feet. A lyre rested on his knees, and he was striking the strings softly. The sweet notes floated high in the moonlit air. At last he lifted his voice and sang:

When the swan spreadeth out his wings to alight
On the whirling pools of the foaming stream,
He sendeth to thee, Apollo, a note.
When the sweet-voiced minstrel lifteth his lyre
And stretcheth his hand on the singing string,
He sendeth to thee, Apollo, a prayer.
Even so do I now, a worshiping bard,
With my heart lifted up to begin my lay,
Cry aloud to Apollo, the lord of song.

Then he sang of that lordliest of all minstrels, Orpheus—how the trees swung circling about to his music; how the savage beasts lay down at his feet to listen; how the rocks rose up at his bidding and followed him, dancing, to build a town without hands; how he went to the dismal land of the dead to seek his wife and with his clear lyre and sweet voice drew tears from the iron heart of the king of hell and won back his loved Eurydice and lost her again the same hour.

The boy, sitting there in the moonlight, went floating away on the song until he felt himself straying through that fair garden of the dead with singing lyre or riding with Artemis through the sky in her moon chariot.

When the song was ended, Glaucon said, “Come, little master, you have fallen asleep. Let us go home.”

And Charmides rose and went, still clutching his image of Hermes in his hand and still holding the song fast in his heart.

In the morning the whole great camp was awake and moving long before daylight. Every man and boy was in his fairest clothes. On every head was a fresh fillet. Every hand bore some beautiful gift for the gods—a vase, a plate of gold, an embroidered robe, a basket of silver. All were pouring to the open gate in the sacred wall. Here a procession formed. Young men led cattle with gilded horns and swinging garlands, or sheep with clean, combed wool. Stately priests in long chitons paced to the music of flutes. The judges glowed in their purple robes. Then walked the athletes, their eyes burning with excitement. And last came all the visitors with gift-laden hands. The slaves and foreigners crowded at the gate to see the procession pass, for on this first holy day only freedmen and Greeks of pure blood might visit the sacred shrines. When Charmides passed through, his heart leaped. Here was no empty field with a few altars. He had never seen a greater crowd in the busy market place at home in Athens. But here the people were even more beautiful than the Athenians. Their limbs were round and perfect. They stood always gracefully. Their garments hung in delicate folds, for they were people made by great artists—people of marble and of bronze. All the gods of Olympos were there, and athletes of years gone by, wrestling, running, hurling the disc. There were bronze chariots with horses of bronze to draw them and men of bronze to hold the reins. There were heroes of Troy still fighting. And here and there were little altars of marble or stone or earth or ashes with an ancient, holy statue. At every one the procession halted. The priests poured a libation and chanted a prayer. The people sang a hymn. Many left gifts piled about the altar. Before Hermes Charmides left his little clay image of the god. And while the priests prayed aloud, the boy sent up a whispered prayer for his brother.

Once the procession came before a low, narrow temple. It was of sun-dried bricks coated with plaster. Its columns were all different from one another. Some were slender, others thick; some fluted, others plain; and all were brightly painted. Charmides smiled up at his father.

“It is not so beautiful as the Parthenon,” he said.

“No,” his father answered, “but it is very old and very holy. Every generation of man has put a new column here. That is why they are not alike. This is the ancient temple of Hera.”

Then they entered the door. Down the long aisle they walked between small open rooms on either side. Here stood statues gazing out—some of marble, some of gold and ivory. The priests had moved to the front and stood praying before the ancient statues of Zeus and Hera. But suddenly Charmides stopped and would go no farther. For here, in a little room all alone, stood his Hermes with the baby Dionysus. The boy cried out softly with joy and crept toward the lovely thing. He gently touched the golden sandal. He gazed into the kind blue eyes and smiled. The marble was delicately tinted and glowed like warm skin. A frail wreath of golden leaves lay on the curling hair. Charmides looked up at the tiny baby and laughed at its coaxing arms.

“Are you smiling at him?” he whispered to Hermes. “Or are you dreaming of Olympos? Are you carrying him to the nymphs on Mount Nysa?” And then more softly still he said, “Do not forget Creon, blessed god.”

When his father came back he found him still gazing into the quiet face and smiling tenderly with love of the beautiful thing. As Menon led him away, he waved a loving farewell to the god.

The most wonderful time was after the sacrifice to Zeus before the great temple with its deep porches and its marble watchers in the gable. The altar was a huge pile of ashes. For hundreds of years Greeks had sacrificed here. The holy ashes had piled up and piled up until they stood as a hill more than twenty feet high. The people waited around the foot of it, watching. The priests walked up its side. Men led up the sleek cattle to be slain for the feast of the gods. And on the very top a fire leaped toward heaven. Far up in the sky Charmides could half see the beautiful gods leaning down and smiling upon their worshiping people.

Then he turned and walked with the crowd under the temple porch and into the great, dim room. He trembled and grasped his father’s hand in awe. For there in the soft light towered great Zeus. In embroidered robes of dull gold he sat high on his golden throne. His hands held his scepter and his messenger eagle. His great yellow curls almost touched the ceiling. He bent his divine face down, and his deep eyes glowed upon his people. Sweet smoke was curling upward, and the room rang with a hymn.

As Charmides gazed into the solemn face, a strange light quivered about it, and the boy’s heart shook with awe. The words of Homer sprang to his lips:

“Zeus bowed his head. The divine hair streamed back from the kindly brows, and great Olympos quaked.”

After the sacrifices were over there was time to wander again among the statues and to sit on the benches under the cool porches and watch the moving crowd and the glittering sun on the gold ornaments of the temple peaks. Then there was time to see again the strange sights of the fair in the plain. The next morning was noisier and gayer than anything Charmides had ever known. While it was still twilight his father hurried him down the hill and through the gates, on through the sacred enclosure to another gate. And all about them was a hurrying, noisy crowd. They stumbled up some steps and began to wait. As the light grew, Charmides saw all about him men and boys, sitting or standing, and all gaily talking. Below the crowd he saw a long, narrow stretch of ground. He clapped his hands. That was the ground Creon’s feet would run upon! Up and down both sides of the track went long tiers of stone seats. They were packed with people who were there to see Creon win. The seats curved around one narrow end of the course. But across the other end stood a wall with a gate. Menon pointed to a large white board hanging on the wall and said, “See! The list of athletes.”

Here were written names, and among them, “Creon, son of the Olympic winner Menon.” Charmides’ eyes glowed with pride.

Every eye was watching the gate. Soon the purple-clad judges entered. Some of them walked the whole length of the stadion and took their seats opposite the goal posts. Two or three waited at the starting line. There was a blast of a trumpet. Then a herald cried something about games for boys and about only Greeks of pure blood and about the blessing of Hermes of the race course.

Immediately there entered a crowd of boys, while the spectators sent up a rousing cheer. The lads gathered to cast lots for places. At last eight of them stepped out and stood at the starting line. Creon was not among them. A post with a little fluttering flag was between every two. The boys threw off their clothes and stood ready. One of the judges said to them:

“The eyes of the world are upon you. Your cities love an Olympic winner. From Olympos the gods look down upon you. For the glory of your cities, for the joy of your fathers, for your own good name, I exhort you to do your best.”

Then he gave the signal and the runners shot forward. Down the long course they went with twinkling legs. The spectators cheered, called their names, waved their chlamyses and himations. Their friends cried to the gods to help. Down they ran, two far ahead, others stringing out behind. Every runner’s eyes were on the marble goal post with its little statue of Victory. In a moment it was over, and Leotichides had first laid hand upon the post and was winner of the first heat.

Immediately eight other boys took their places at the starting line. Charmides snatched his father’s hand and held it tight, for Creon was one of them. Another signal and they were off, with Creon leading by a pace or two. So it was all the way, and he gave a glad shout as he touched the goal post.

Charmides heard men all about him say:

“A beautiful run!”

“How easily he steps!”

“We shall see him do something in the last heat.”

“Who is he?”

And when the herald announced the name of the winner, the benches buzzed with,

“Creon, Creon, son of Menon the Athenian.”

Four more groups were called and ran. Then the six winners stepped up to the line. This time the goal was the altar at the farther end of the stadion. A wave of excitement ran around the seats. Everybody leaned forward. The signal! Leotichides sprang a long pace ahead. Next came Creon, loping evenly. One boy stumbled and fell behind. The other three were running almost side by side. Menon was muttering between his teeth:

“Hermes, be his aid! Great Zeus look upon him! Herakles give him wind!”

Now they were near the goal, and Leotichides was still leading by a stride. Then Creon threw back his head and stretched out his legs and with ten great leaps he had touched the altar a good pace ahead. He had won the race.

The crowd went wild with shouting. Menon leaped over men’s heads and went running down the course calling for his son. But the guards caught him and forced him back upon the seats. Charmides sat down and wept for joy. And nobody saw him, for everybody was cheering and watching the victor.

One of the judges stepped out and gave a torch to Creon. The boy touched the flame to the pile on the altar. As the fire sprang up, he stretched his hands to the sky and cried,

“O blessed Hermes, Creon will not forget thy help.”

As he turned away the judge gave him a palm in sign of victory. The boy walked back down the course with the palm waving over his shoulder. His body was glistening, his cheeks were flushed, his eyes were burning with joy. He was looking up at the crowd, hoping to see his father and brother. And at every step men reached out a hand to him or called to him, until at last Menon’s own loving arms pulled him up upon the benches. Then there was such a noise that no one heard any one else, but everybody knew that everybody was happy. Men pushed their heads over other men’s shoulders, and boys peeped between their fathers’ legs to see the Olympic winner. And in that circle of faces Menon stood with his arms about Creon, laughing and crying. And Charmides clung to his brother’s hand. But at last Creon whispered to his father:

“I must go and make ready. I am entered for the pentathlon, also.”

Menon cried out in wonder.

“I kept that news for a surprise,” laughed Creon. “Good-by, little one,” he said to Charmides, and pushed through the crowd.

Menon sat down trembling. If his boy should win in the pentathlon also! That would be too great glory. It could not happen. He began to mutter a hundred prayers. Another race was called—the double race, twice around the course. But Menon did not stand to see it. He could think of nothing but his glorious son. After the race was another great shout. Some other boy was carrying a palm. Some other father was proud. Then followed wrestling, bout after bout, and cheering from the crowd. But Menon cared little for it all.

It was now near noon. The sun shone down scorchingly. A wind whirled dust up from the race course into people’s faces.

“My throat needs wetting,” cried a man.

He pulled off a little vase of wine that hung from his girdle and passed it to Menon, saying:

“I should be proud if the father of the victor would drink from my bottle.”

And Menon took it, smiling proudly. Then he himself opened a little cloth bag and drew out figs and nuts.

“Here is something to munch, lad,” he said to Charmides.

Other people, also, were eating and drinking. They walked about to visit their friends or sat down to rest. Menon’s neighbor sank upon his seat with a sigh.

“This is the first time I have sat down since sunrise,” he laughed.

Then the pentathlon was announced. Everyone leaped to his feet again. A group of boys stood ready behind a line. One of the judges was softening the ground with a pick. An umpire made a speech to the lads. Then, at a word, a boy took up the lead jumping weights. He swung his hands back and forth, swaying his graceful body with them. Then a backward jerk! He threw his weights behind him and leaped. The judges quickly measured and called the distance. Then another boy leaped, and another, and another—twenty or more. Last Creon took the weights and toed the line.

“Creon! Creon!” shouted the crowd: “The victor! Creon again!”

He swung and swayed and then sailed through the air.

“By Herakles!” shouted a man near Charmides. “He alights like a sea-gull.”

There went up a great roar from the benches even before the judges called the distance. For any one could see that he had passed the farthest mark. The first of the five games was over and Creon had won it.

Now the judges brought a discus. A boy took it and stepped behind the line. He fitted the lead plate into the crook of his hand. He swung it back and forth, bending his knees and turning his body. Then it flew into the air and down the course. Where it stopped rolling an umpire marked and called the distance.

“I like this game best of all,” said a man behind Charmides. “The whole body is in it. Every movement is graceful. See the curve of the back, the beautiful bend of the legs, the muscles working over the chest! The body moves to and fro as if to music.”

One after another the boys took their turn. But when Creon threw, Charmides cried out in sorrow, and Menon groaned. His disc fell short of the mark. He was third.

“It was gracefully done,” Charmides heard some one say, “but his arms are not so good as his legs. See the arms and chest of that Timon. No one can throw against him.”

After that a judge set up a shield in the middle of the course. Every boy snatched a spear from a pile on the ground and threw at the central boss of the shield. Again Creon was beaten. Phormio of Corinth, son of a famous warrior, won.

Then they paired off for wrestling. Creon and Eudorus of Aegina were together. Each boy poured oil into his hand from a little vase and rubbed the body of his antagonist to limber his muscles. Then he took fine sand from a box and dusted it over his skin for the oiled body might slip out of his arms in the wrestling match. Then, at a signal, the pairs of wrestlers faced each other.

Creon held his hands out ready, bent his knees, thrust forward his head, and stood waiting. Eudorus leaped to and fro around him trying to get a hold. At last he rushed at him. Creon caught him around the waist and hurled him to the ground. Charmides laughed and shouted and clapped his hands. That was one throw. There must be three. Eudorus was up immediately and was circling around and around again. Suddenly Creon leaped low and caught him by the leg and threw him. He had won two bouts out of three and stood victor without a throw.

Soon all the pairs had finished. The eight victors stood forth and cast lots for new partners. Again they wrestled. This time, also, Creon won. Then these four winners paired off and wrestled, and at the end Creon and Timon were left to try it together.

In the first bout the Spartan boy lifted Creon off the ground and threw him, back down. Then the men on the benches began shouting advice.

“Look out for his arms!”

“Don’t let him grapple you!”

“Feint, feint!”

Creon leaped to his feet. He began circling around Timon as Eudorus had circled around him. He dodged out from under Timon’s arms. He wriggled from between his hands. The benches rang with cheers and laughs.

“He is an eel,” cried one man.

Suddenly Creon ducked under Timon’s arms, caught him by his legs and tripped him. The two boys were even.

In the next bout Timon ran at Creon like a wild bull. He caught him around the waist in his strong arms to whirl him to the ground. But with a crook of his leg Creon tripped him and wriggled out of his arms before he fell.

Menon caught up Charmides and threw him to his shoulder laughing and stamping his feet.

“Do you see, lad?” he cried. “He has won two games. Only the race is left, and we know how he can run.”

And how he did run! He threw back his head and leaped out like a deer, skimming over the ground in long strides and leaving his dust to the others. He had the three games out of five and was winner of the pentathlon.

Then there was no holding the crowd. They poured down off the seats and ran to Creon. Some lifted him upon their shoulders and carried him out of the stadion, for this was the end of the games for that day. And those who could not come near Creon and his waving palms crowded around Menon. So they went, shouting, out of the gate and among the statues and on to the river. There they put Creon down, and his father and Charmides led him away to camp.

That was the happiest night of Charmides’ life. He heard his wonderful brother talk for hours of the life in the gymnasium. He heard new tales of Creon’s favorite god, Hermes. He heard of the women’s games that were held once a year at Olympia in honor of Hera. He heard a hundred new names of boys and cities, for there had been, athletes from every corner of Greece in training here. He held the victor’s palms in his own hands. He slept beside this double winner of Olympic crowns. He dreamed that Apollo and Hermes came hand in hand and gazed down at him and Creon as they lay sleeping and dropped a great garland over them both. It was twined of Olympic olive leaves and Apollo’s own laurel.

On the next day there were games for the men, like those the boys had played. On the day after that there were chariot races in a wide place outside the walls. Every night there was still the gay noise of the fair. But instead of going to see it, Charmides stretched himself under the trees on Mount Kronion and gazed up at the moon and dreamed.

Then came the last day, with its great procession again and its sacrifices at every altar. The proud victors walked with their palm leaves in their hands. In the temple of Zeus, under the eyes of the glowing god, the priests put the precious olive crowns upon the winners’ heads. They were made from sacred olive leaves. They were cut with a golden sickle from the very tree that godlike Herakles had brought out of the far north. That wreath it was which should be more dear than a chest of gold to Creon’s family and Creon’s city. That was the crown which poets should sing about. When the priest set the crown upon Creon’s head, Charmides thought he felt a god’s hands upon his own brow. Menon leaned upon a friend’s shoulder and burst into tears.

“I could die happy now,” he said. “I have done enough for Athens in giving her such a glorious son.”

As the three walked back to camp, Menon said:

“Who shall write your chorus of triumph, Creon? Already my messengers have reached Athens, and the dancers are chosen who shall lead you home. But the song is not yet made. It must be a glorious one!”

Then Charmides blushingly whispered,

“May I sing you something, father? Apollo helped me to make it.”

His father smiled down in surprise. “So that is why you have been lying so quiet under the trees these moonlit nights!” he said.

Charmides ran ahead and was sitting thrumming a lyre when his father and Creon came up. He struck a long, ringing chord and raised his clear voice in a dancing song:

When Creon, son of Menon, bore off the Olympic olive,
Mount Kronion shook with shouting of Hellas’ hosts assembled.
They praised his manly beauty, his grace and strength of body.
They praised his eyes’ alertness, the smoothness of his muscles.
They blessed his happy father and wished themselves his brothers.
Sweet rang the glorious praises in ears of Creon’s lovers.
But I, when upward gazing, beheld a sight more wondrous.
The gates of high Olympos were open wide and clanging,
Deserted ev’ry palace, the golden city empty.
And all the gods were gathered above Olympia’s race-course,
They smiled upon my Creon and gifts upon him showered.
From golden Aphrodite dropped half a hundred graces.
Athene made him skillful. Boon Hermes gave him litheness.
Fierce Ares added courage, Queen Hera happy marriage.
Diana’s blessed fingers into his soul shed quiet.
Lord Bacchus gave him friendship and graces of the banquet,
Poseidon luck in travel, and Zeus decreed him victor.
Apollo, smiling, watched him and saw his thousand blessings.
“Enough,” he said, “for Creon. I’ll bless the empty-handed."
He turned to where I trembled, and stepping downward crowned me.
“To thee my gift,” he whispered, “to sing thy brother’s glory.”

“Well done, little poet!” cried Menon.

“A happy man am I. One son is beloved by Hermes, the other by Apollo. Bring wax tablets, Glaucon, and write down the song. I will prepare a messenger to hurry with it to Athens.”

So it happened that a lame boy won a crown. And when Creon stepped ashore at Pirseus, and all Athens stood shouting his name, a chorus of boys came dancing toward him singing his brother’s song. Creon was led home wearing Zeus’ wreath upon his head, and Charmides with Apollo’s crown in his heart. [Illustration: A Coin of Alexander the Great. It shows Zeus sitting on his throne.]


Such was Olympia long ago. Every four years such games took place. Then the plain was crowded and busy and gay. Year after year new statues were set up, new gifts were brought, new buildings were made. Olympia was one of the richest places in the world. Its fame flew to every land. At every festival new people came to see its beauties. It was the meeting place of the world.

But meantime the bad fortune of Greece began. Her cities quarreled and fought among themselves. A king came down from the north and conquered her. After that the Romans sailed over from Italy and conquered her again. Often Roman emperors carried off some of her statues to make Rome beautiful. Shipload after shipload they took. The new country was filled with Greek statues. The old one was left almost empty. Later, after Christ was born, and the Romans and the Greeks had become Christian, the emperor said,

“It is not fitting for Christians to hold a festival in honor of a heathen god.” And he stopped the games. He took away the gold and silver gifts from the treasure houses. He carried away the gold and ivory statues. Where Phidias’ wonderful Zeus went nobody knows. Perhaps the gold was melted to make money. Olympia sat lonely and deserted by her river banks. Summer winds whirled dust under her porches. Rabbits made burrows in Zeus’ altar. Doors rusted off their hinges. Foxes made their dens in Hera’s temple. Men came now and then to melt up a bronze statue for swords or to haul away the stones of her temples for building. The Alpheios kept eating away its banks and cutting under statues and monuments. Many a beautiful thing crumbled and fell into the river and was rolled on down to the sea. Men sometimes found a bronze helmet or a marble head in the bed of the stream.

After a long time people came and lived among the ruins. On an old temple floor they built a little church. Men lived in the temple of Zeus, and women spun and gossiped where the golden statue had sat. In the temple of Hera people set up a wine press. Did they know that the little marble baby in the statue near them was the god of the vineyard and had taught men to make wine? Out of broken statues and columns and temple stones they built a wall around the little town to keep out their enemies. Sometimes when they found a bronze warrior or a marble god they must have made strange stories about it, for they had half forgotten those wonderful old Greeks. But the marble statues they put into a kiln to make lime to plaster their houses. The bronze ones they melted up for tools. Sometimes they found a piece of gold. They thought themselves lucky then and melted it over into money.

But an earthquake shook down the buildings and toppled over the statues. The columns and walls of the grand old temple of Zeus fell in a heap. The marble statues in its pediments dropped to the ground and broke. Victory fell from her high pillar and shattered into a hundred pieces. The roof of Hera’s temple fell in, and Hermes stood uncovered to the sky. Old Kronion rocked and sent a landslide down over the treasure houses. Kladeos rushed out of his course and poured sand over the sacred place.

That earthquake frightened the people away, and they left Olympia alone again. Hermes was still there, but he looked out upon ruins. Victory lay in a heap of fragments. Apollo was there, but broken and buried in earth with the other people of the pediments. Zeus and all the hundreds of heroes and athletes were gone. So it was for a while. Then a new race of people came and built another little town upon the earth-covered ruins. They little guessed what lay below their poor houses. But for some reason this town, also, died and left the ruins alone. Then dusty winds and flooding rivers began to cover up what was left. Kladeos piled up sand fifteen feet deep. Alpheios swung out of its banks and washed away the race-course for chariots. Under the rains and floods the sun-dried bricks of Hera’s walls melted again into clay and covered the floor. Again the earth quaked, and Hermes fell forward on his face, and little was left of the beautiful old Olympia. Grass and flowers crept in from the sides. Seeds blew in and shrubs and trees took the place of columns. Soon the flowers and the animals had Olympia to themselves. A few gray stones thrust up through the soil. So it was for hundreds of years. Greece was conquered by the men of Venice and then by the Turks. But Olympia, in its far corner, was forgotten and untouched except when a Turkish officer or farmer went there to dig a few stones out of the ground. And they knew nothing of the ancient gods and the ancient festival and the old story of the place, for they were foreigners and new people.

But about a hundred years ago Englishmen and Germans and Frenchmen began to visit Greece. They went to see, not her new Turkish houses or her Venetian castles or the strange dress of her new people, but her old ruins and the signs of her old glory. These men had read of Olympia in ancient Greek books and they knew what statues and buildings had once stood there. They wrote back to their friends things like this:

“I saw a piece of a huge column lying on top of the ground. It was seven feet across. It must have belonged to the temple of Zeus.”

“To-day I saw a long, low place in the ground where I think must have been the stadion in ancient days.”

At last, about thirty years ago, Ernst Curtius and several other Germans went there. They were men who had studied Greek history and Greek art and they planned to excavate Olympia.

“We will uncover the sacred enclosure again. Men shall see again the ancient temples and altars, the stadion, the statues.”

Germany had given them money for the work, and at last Greece allowed them to begin. In October they started their digging. Workmen up-rooted shrubs and dug away dirt. Excavators watched every spadeful. They were always measuring, making maps, taking notes. They found a few vases, terra cotta figures, pieces of bronze statues, swords and armor. They cleared off temple floors and were able to make out the plans of the old buildings. They found the empty pedestals of many statues. Yet they were disappointed. Olympia had been a beautiful place, a rich place. They were finding only the hints of these things. The beauty was gone. Of the three thousand statues that had been there should they not find one?

Then they uncovered the fallen statues of the pediments of Zeus’ temple. Thirty or more there were—Apollo, Zeus, heroes, women, centaurs, horses. Arms were gone, heads were broken, legs were lost. The excavators fitted together all the pieces and set the mended statues up side by side as they had been in the gable. They found, too, the carved marble slabs that showed the labors of Herakles. But even these were not the lovely things that people had hoped to see from Olympia. They were rather stiff and ungraceful. They had not been made by the greatest artists. In the temple of Hera one day men were digging in clay. Over all the rest of Olympia was only sand. The excavators wondered for a long time why this one spot should have clay. Where could it have come from? They read their old books over and over. They thought and studied. At last they said:

“The walls of the temple must have been made of sun-dried brick. In the old days they must have been covered with plaster. This and the roof kept them dry. But the plaster cracked off, and the roof fell in, and the rain and the floods turned the bricks back to clay again.”

Then one May morning, when the men were digging in the clay, a workman lifted off his spadeful of dirt, and white marble gleamed out. After that there was careful work, with all the excavators standing about to watch. What would it be? They thought over all the statues that the ancient books said had stood in Hera’s temple. Then were slowly uncovered, a smooth back, a carved shoulder, a curly head. A white statue of a young man lay face down in the gray clay. The legs were gone. The right arm was missing. From his left hung carved drapery. On his left shoulder lay a tiny marble hand.

“It is the Hermes of Praxiteles,” the excavators whispered among themselves.

In his day Praxiteles had been almost as famous as Phidias. The old Greek world had rung with his praises. Modern men had dreamed of what his statues must have been and had longed to see them. How did he shape the head? How did his bodies curve? What expression was on his faces? All these things they had wished to know. But not one of his statues had ever been found. Now here lay one before the very eyes of these excavators. They put out their hands and lovingly touched the polished marble skin. But what would they find when they lifted it?—Perhaps the nose would be gone, the face flattened by the fall, the ears broken, the beautiful marble chipped. They almost feared to lift it. But at last they did so.

When they saw the face, they were struck dumb by its beauty, and I think tears sprang into the eyes of some of them. No such perfect piece of marble had ever been found before. There was not a scratch. The skin still glowed with the polishing that Praxiteles’ own hands had given it. There was even a hint of color on the lips. The soft clay bed had saved the falling statue. Here was a statue that the whole world would love. It would make the name of Olympia famous again. The excavators were proud and happy. That old ruined temple seemed indeed a sacred place to them as they gazed upon perhaps the most beautiful statue in the world.

“Surely we shall find nothing else so perfect,” they said.

Yet they went on with the work. Before long Hermes’ right foot was found imbedded in the clay. Its sandal still shone with the gilding put on two thousand years before. Workmen were tearing down one of the houses of the little town that had been built on the ancient ruins. Every stone in it had some old story. Pieces of fluted columns, carved capitals, broken pedestals, blocks from the temple of Zeus—all were cemented together to make these walls. The workmen pulled and chipped and lifted out piece after piece. The excavators studied each scrap to see whether it was valuable. And at last they found a baby’s body. They carefully broke off the mortar. It was of creamy marble, beautifully carved. They carried it to Hermes. It fitted upon the drapery over his arm. On a rubbish heap outside the temple they had found a little marble head. They put it upon this baby’s shoulders. It was badly broken, but they could see that it belonged there. So after two thousand years Hermes again smiled into the eyes of the baby Dionysus.

Other things were found. The shattered Victory was uncovered. Carefully the excavators fitted the pieces together. But the wide wings could never be made again, and the head was ruined. Even so, the statue is a beautiful thing, with its thin drapery flying in the wind.

After five years the work was finished. Now again hundreds of visitors journey to Olympia every year. They see no gleaming roofs and high-lifted statues and joyful games. They walk among sad ruins. But they can tread the gymnasium floor where Creon and many another victor wrestled. They can enter the gate of the grass-grown stadion. They can see the fallen columns of the temple of Zeus. In the museum they can see the statues of its pediments and, at the end of the long hall, they see Victory stepping toward them. They can wander on the banks of the Kladeos and the Alpheios. They can climb Mount Kronion and see the whole little plain and imagine it gay with tents and moving people.

All these things are interesting to those who like the old Greek life. But most people make the long journey only to see Hermes. In the museum, in a little room all alone, he stands, always calm and lovable, always dreaming of something beautiful, always half smiling at the coaxing baby.



This was not the gate where Charmides entered. This entrance was reserved for the judges, the competitors, and the heralds. Inside there were seats for forty-five thousand people. On one side the hill made a natural slope for seats. But on the other sides a ridge of earth had to be built up. The track was about two hundred yards long. Only the two ends have been excavated. The rest still lies deep under the sand.

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Here Creon and the other boys spent a month in training before the games. The gymnasium had a covered portico as long as the track in the stadion, where the boys could run in bad weather. A Greek boy of to-day is playing on his shepherd’s pipes in the foreground, and they are the same kind of pipes on which the old Greeks played.

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From a vase painting. They are wrestling, jumping with weights, throwing the spear, throwing the discus, while their teachers watch them. One man is saying, “A beautiful boy, truly.”

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When we see a picture of fallen broken columns lying about a field in disorder, we try to learn how the original building looked and to imagine it in all its beauty. This, men believe, is the way the Temple of Zeus looked. The figures in the pediment were all of Parian marble. In the center stands Zeus himself. A chariot race is about to be run, and the contestants stand on either side of Zeus. Zeus gave the victory to Pelops, and Pelops became husband of Hippodameia, and king of Pisa, and founded the Olympic Games. These games were held every fourth year for more than a thousand years.

Note: This and the following plates of the Labors of Herakles and the statue of Victory, were photographed from Curtius and Adler’s “Olympia: Die Ergebnisse der von dem Deutschen Reich Veranstalteten Ausgrabung,” etc. This is one of the most beautiful books ever made for a buried city.

Boys and girls who can reach the Metropolitan Museum Library should not miss it. It is in many volumes, each almost as large as the top of the table, and you do not need to read German to appreciate the plates.

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Under the porches of the Temple of Zeus were twelve pictures in marble, six at each end, showing the Labors of Herakles. Herakles was highly honored at Olympia and, according to one tale, he, instead of Pelops, was the founder of the Olympic Games.

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[Herakles and the Nemean lion.—Metropolitan Museum]

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[Herakles and the hydra.—Metropolitan Museum]

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In the sand, not far from the Temple of Zeus, the explorers found the fragments of this statue. It shows the goddess flying down from heaven to bring victory to the men of Messene and Naupaktos. So the victors must have erected this statue at Olympia in gratitude.

Something like the picture used as the frontispiece, men believe the statue looked originally. It stood upon a base thirty feet high so that the goddess really looked as if she were descending from heaven.

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This shows the ruins of the temple where Charmides saw the statue of Hermes, perhaps the most beautiful statue in the world.

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The Greek artist who made this statue believed that a beautiful body is glorious, as well as a beautiful mind, and a fine spirit. Do you think his statue shows all these things? The original is now at the Metropolitan Museum.

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The artist had great skill who could chisel out of marble such a strong, bold rider, and such a spirited horse.

This picture and the one before it are not pictures of things found at Olympia. They are two of the most beautiful statues of Greek athletes, and we give them to remind you of the sort of people who came to the games at Olympia.

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Thirty years ago a little group of people stood on a hill in Greece. The hilltop was covered with soft soil. The summer sun had dried the grass and flowers, but little bushes grew thick over the ground. In this way the hill was like an ordinary hill, but all around the edge of it ran the broken ring of a great wall. In some places it stood thirty feet above the earth. Here and there it was twenty feet thick. It was built of huge stones. At one place a tower stood up. In another two stone lions stood on guard. It was these ruined walls that interested the people on the hill. One of the men was a Greek. A red fez was on his head. He wore an embroidered jacket and loose white sleeves. A stiff kilted skirt hung to his knees. He was pointing about at the wall and talking in Greek to a lady and gentleman. They were visitors, come to see these ruins of Mycenae.

“Once, long, long ago,” he was saying, “a great city was inside these walls. Giants built the walls. See the huge stones. Only giants could lift them. It was a city of giants. See their great ovens.”

He pointed down the hill at a doorway in the earth. “You cannot see well from here. I will take you down. We can look in. A great dome, built of stone, is buried in the earth. A passage leads into it, but it is filled with dirt. We can look down through the broken top. The room inside is bigger than my whole house. There giants used to bake their bread. Once a wicked Turk came here. He was afraid of nothing. He said, ‘The giants’ treasure lies in this oven. I will have it.’ So he sent men down. But they found only broken pieces of carved marble—no gold.”

While the guide talked, the gentleman was tramping about the walls. He peered into all the dark corners. He thrust a stick into every hole. He rubbed the stones with his hands. At last he turned to his guide.

“You are right,” he said. “There was once a great city inside these walls. Houses were crowded together on this hill where we stand. Men and women walked the streets of a city that is buried under our feet, but they were not giants. They were beautiful women and handsome men.

“It was a famous old city, this Mycenae. Poets sang songs about her. I have read those old songs. They tell of Agamemnon, its king, and his war against Troy. They call him the king of men. They tell of his gold-decked palace and his rich treasures and the thick walls of his city.

“But Agamemnon died, and weak kings sat in his palace. The warriors of Mycenae grew few, and after hundreds of years, when the city was old and weak, her enemies conquered her. They broke her walls, they threw down her houses, they drove out her people. Mycenae became a mass of empty ruins. For two thousand years the dry winds of summer blew dust over her palace floors. The rains of winter and spring washed down mud from her acropolis into her streets and houses. Winged seeds flew into the cracks of her walls and into the corners of her ruined buildings. There they sprouted and grew, and at last flowers and grass covered the ruins. Now only these broken walls remain. You feed your sheep in the city of Agamemnon. Down there on the hillside farmers have planted grain above ancient palaces. But I will uncover this wonderful city. You shall see! You shall see how your ancestors lived.

“Oh! for years I have longed to see this place. When I was a little boy in Germany my father told me the old stories of Troy, and he told me of how great cities were buried. My heart burned to see them. Then, one night, I heard a man recite some of the lines of Homer. I loved the beautiful Greek words. I made him say them over and over. I wept because I was not a Greek. I said to myself, ‘I will see Greece! I will study Greek. I will work hard. I will make a bankful of money. Then I will go to Greece. I will uncover Troy-city and see Priam’s palace. I will uncover Mycenae and see Agamemnon’s grave.’ I have come. I have uncovered Troy. Now I am here. I will come again and bring workmen with me. You shall see wonders.” He walked excitedly around and around the ruins. He told stories of the old city. He asked his wife to recite the old tales of Homer. She half sang the beautiful Greek words. Her husband’s eyes grew wet as he listened.

This man’s name was Dr. Henry Schliemann. He kept his word. He went away but he came again in a few years. He hired men and horse-carts. He rented houses in the little village. Myceae was a busy place again after three thousand years. More than a hundred men were digging on the top of this hill. They wore the fezes and kilts of the modern Greek. Little two-wheeled horse-carts creaked about, loading and dumping.

Some of the men were working about the wall near the stone lions.

“This is the great gate of the city,” said Dr. Schliemann. “Here the king and his warriors used to march through, thousands of years ago. But it is filled up with dirt. We must clear it out. We must get down to the very stones they trod.”

But it was slow work. The men found the earth full of great stone blocks. They had to dig around them carefully, so that Dr. Schliemann might see what they were.

“How did so many great stones come here?” they said among themselves.

Then Dr. Schliemann told them. He pointed to the wall above the gate.

“Once, long, long ago,” he said, “the warriors of Mycenae stood up there. Down here stood an army—the men of Argos, their enemies. The men of Argos battered at the gate. They shot arrows at the men of Mycenae, and the men of Mycenae shot at the Argives, and they threw down great stones upon them. See, here is one of those broken stones, and here, and here. After a long time the people of Mycenae had no food left in their city. Their warriors fainted from hunger. Then the Argives beat down the gate. They rushed into the city and drove out the people. They did not want men ever again to live in Mycenae, so they took crowbars and tried to tear down the wall. A few stones they knocked off. See, here, and here, and here they are, where they fell off the wall. But these great stones are very heavy. This one must weigh a hundred twenty tons,—more than all the people of your village. So the Argives gave up the attempt, and there stand the walls yet. Then the rain washed down the dirt from the hill and covered these great stones, and now we are digging them out again.”

The men worked at the gateway for many weeks. At last all the dirt and the blocks had been cleared away. The tall gateway stood open. A hole was in the stone door-casing at top and bottom. Schliemann put his hand into it.

“See!” he cried. “Here turned the wooden hinge of the gate.”

He pointed to another large hole on the side of the casing. “Here the gatekeeper thrust in the beam to hold the gate shut.”

Just inside the gate he found the little room where the keeper had stayed. He found also two little sentry boxes high up on the wall. Here guards had stood and looked over the country, keeping watch against enemies. From the gate the wall bent around the edge of the hilltop, shutting it in. In two places had been towers for watchmen. Inside this great wall the king’s palace and a few houses had been safe. Outside, other houses had been built. But in time of war all the people had flocked into the fortress. The gate had been shut. The warriors had stood on the wall to defend their city.

But while some of Dr. Schliemann’s men were digging at the gateway and the wall, others were working outside the city. They were making a great hole, a hundred and thirteen feet square. They put the dirt into baskets and carried it to the little carts to be hauled away. And always Dr. Schliemann and his wife worked with them. From morning until dusk every day they were there. It was August, and the sun was hot. The wind blew dust into their faces and made their eyes sore, and yet they were happy. Every day they found some little thing that excited them,—a terra cotta goblet, a broken piece of a bone lyre, a bronze ax, the ashes of an ancient fire.

At first Dr. Schliemann and his wife had fingered over every spadeful of dirt. There might be something precious in it. “Dig carefully, carefully!” Dr. Schliemann had said to the workmen. “Nothing must be broken. Nothing must be lost. I must see everything. Perhaps a bit of a broken vase may tell a wonderful story.”

But during this work of many weeks he had taught his workmen how to dig. Now each man looked over every spadeful of earth himself, as he dug it up. He took out every scrap of stone or wood or pottery or metal and gave it to Schliemann or his wife. So the excavators had only to study these things and to tell the men where to work. When a man struck some new thing with his spade, he called out. Then the excavators ran to that place and dug with their own hands. When anything was found, Dr. Schliemann sent it to the village. There it was kept in a house under guard. At night Dr. Schliemann drew plans of Mycenae. He read again old Greek books about the city. As he read he studied his plans. He wrote and wrote.

“As soon as possible, I must tell the world about what we find,” he said to his wife. “People will love my book, because they love the stories of Homer.”

There had been four months of hard work. A few precious things had been uncovered,—a few of bronze and clay, a few of gold, some carved gravestones. But were these the wonders Schliemann had promised? Was this to be all? They had dug down more than twenty feet. A few more days, and they would probably reach the solid rock. There could be nothing below that. November was rainy and disagreeable. The men had to work in the mud and wet. There was much disappointment on the hilltop.

Then one day a spade grated on gravel. Once before that had happened, and they had found gold below. They called out to Dr. Schliemann. He and his wife came quickly. Fire leaped into Schliemann’s eyes.

“Stop!” he said. “Now I will dig. Spades are too clumsy.”

So he and his wife dropped upon their knees in the mud. They dug with their knives. Carefully, bit by bit, they lifted the dirt. All at once there was a glint of gold.

“Do not touch it!” cried Schliemann, “we must see it all at once. What will it be?”

So they dug on. The men stood about watching. Every now and then they shouted out, when some wonderful thing was uncovered, and Schliemann would stop work and cry,

“Did not I tell you? Is it not worth the work?”

At last they had lifted off all the earth and gravel. There was a great mass of golden things—golden hairpins, and bracelets, and great golden earrings like wreaths of yellow flowers, and necklaces with pictures of warriors embossed in the gold, and brooches in the shape of stags’ heads. There were gold covers for buttons, and every one was molded into some beautiful design of crest or circle or flower or cuttle-fish.

And among them lay the bones of three persons. Across the forehead of one was a diadem of gold, worked into designs of flowers. “See!” cried Schliemann, “these are queens. See their crowns, their scepters.”

For near the hands lay golden scepters, with crystal balls.

And there were golden boxes with covers. Perhaps long ago, one of these queens had kept her jewels in them. There was a golden drinking cup with swimming fish on its sides. There were vases of bronze and silver and gold. There was a pile of gold and amber beads, lying where they had fallen when the string had rotted away from the queenly neck. And scattered all over the bodies and under them were thin flakes of gold in the shapes of flowers, butterflies, grasshoppers, swans, eagles, leaves. It seemed as though a golden tree had shed its leaves into the grave.

“Think! Think! Think!” cried Schliemann. “These delicate lovely things have lain buried here for three thousand years. You have pastured your sheep above them. Once queens wore them and walked the streets we are uncovering.”

The news of the find spread like wildfire over the country. Thousands of people came to visit the buried city. It was the most wonderful treasure that had ever been found. The king of Athens sent soldiers to guard the place. They camped on the acropolis. Their fires blazed there at night. Schliemann telegraphed to the king:

“With great joy I announce to your majesty that I have discovered the tombs which old stories say are the graves of Agamemnon and his followers. I have found in them great treasures in the shape of ancient things in pure gold. These treasures, alone, are enough to fill a great museum. It will be the most wonderful collection in the world. During the centuries to come it will draw visitors from all over the earth to Greece. I am working for the joy of the work, not for money. So I give this treasure, with much happiness, to Greece. May it be the corner stone of great good fortune for her.”

The work went on, and soon they found another grave, even more wonderful. Here lay five people—two of them women, three of them warriors. Golden masks covered the faces of the men. Two wore golden breastplates. The gold clasp of the greave was still around one knee. Near one man lay a golden crown and a sceptre, and a sword belt of gold. There was a heap of stone arrowheads, and a pile of twenty bronze swords and daggers. One had a picture of a lion hunt inlaid in gold. The wooden handles of the swords and daggers were rotted away, but the gold nails that had fastened them lay there, and the gold dust that had gilded them. Near the warriors’ hands were drinking cups of heavy gold. There were seal rings with carved stones. There was the silver mask of an ox head with golden horns, and the golden mask of a lion’s head. And scattered over everything were buttons, and ribbons, and leaves, and flowers of gold.

Schliemann gazed at the swords with burning eyes.

“The heroes of Troy have used these swords,” he said to his wife, “Perhaps Achilles himself has handled them.” He looked long at the golden masks of kingly faces.

“I believe that one of these masks covered the face of Agamemnon. I believe I am kneeling at the side of the king of men,” he said in a hushed voice.

Why were all these things there? Thousands of years before, when their king had died, the people had grieved.

“He is going to the land of the dead,” they had thought. “It is a dull place. We will send gifts with him to cheer his heart. He must have lions to hunt and swords to kill them. He must have cattle to eat. He must have his golden cup for wine.”

So they had put these things into the grave, thinking that the king could take them with him. They even had put in food, for Schliemann found oyster shells buried there. And they had thought that a king, even in the land of the dead, must have servants to work for him. So they had sacrificed slaves, and had sent them with their lord. Schliemann found their bones above the grave. And besides the silver mask of the ox head they had sent real cattle. After the king had been laid in his grave, they had killed oxen before the altar. Part they had burned in the sacred fire for the dead king, and part the people had eaten for the funeral feast. These bones and ashes, too, Schliemann found. For a long, long time the people had not forgotten their dead chiefs. Every year they had sacrificed oxen to them. They had set up gravestones for them, and after a while they had heaped great mounds over their graves.

That was a wonderful old world at Mycenae. The king’s palace sat on a hill. It was not one building, but many—a great hall where the warriors ate, the women’s large room where they worked, two houses of many bedrooms, treasure vaults, a bath, storehouses. Narrow passages led from room to room. Flat roofs of thatch and clay covered all. And there were open courts with porches about the sides. The floors of the court were of tinted concrete. Sometimes they were inlaid with colored stones. The walls of the great hall had a painted frieze running about them. And around the whole palace went a thick stone wall.

One such old palace has been uncovered at Tiryns near Mycenae. To-day a visitor can walk there through the house of an ancient king. The watchman is not there, so the stranger goes through the strong old gateway. He stands in the courtyard, where the young men used to play games. He steps on the very floor they trod. He sees the stone bases of columns about him. The wooden pillars have rotted away, but he imagines them holding a porch roof, and he sees the men resting in the shade. He walks into the great room where the warriors feasted. He sees the hearth in the middle and imagines the fire blazing there. He looks into the bathroom with its sloping stone floor and its holes to drain off the water. He imagines Greek maidens coming to the door with vases of water on their heads. He walks through the long, winding passages and into room after room. “The children of those old days must have had trouble finding their way about in this big palace,” he thinks.

Such was the palace of the king. Below it lay many poorer houses, inside the walls and out. We can imagine men and women walking about this city. We raise the warriors from their graves. They carry their golden cups in their hands. Their rings glisten on their fingers, and their bracelets on their arms. Perhaps, instead of the golden armor, they wear breastplates of bronze of the same shape, but these same swords hang at their sides. We look at their golden masks and see their straight noses and their short beards. We study the carving on their gravestones, and we see their two-wheeled chariots and their prancing horses. We look at the carved gems of their seal rings and see them fighting or killing lions. We look at their embossed drinking cups, and we see them catching the wild bulls in nets. We gaze at the great walls of Mycenae, and wonder what machines they had for lifting such heavy stones. We look at a certain silver vase, and see warriors fighting before this very wall. We see all the beautiful work in gold and silver and gems and ivory, and we think, “Those men of old Mycenae were artists.”



Digging within this circle, Dr. Schliemann found the famous treasure of golden gifts to the dead, which he gave to Greece. In the Museum at Athens you can see these wonderful things. (From a photograph in the Metropolitan Museum.)

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This picture is taken from Dr. Schliemann’s own book on his work.

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The stone over the gateway is immensely strong. But the wall builders were afraid to pile too great a weight upon it. So they left a triangular space above it. You can see how they cut the big stones with slanting ends to do this. This triangle they filled with a thinner stone carved with two lions. The lions’ heads are gone. They were made separately, perhaps of bronze, and stood away from the stone looking out at people approaching the gate.

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No wonder the untaught modern Greeks thought that this was a giants’ oven, where the giants baked their bread. But learned men have shown that it was connected with a tomb, and that in this room the men of Mycenae worshipped their dead. It was very wonderfully made and beautifully ornamented. The big stone over the doorway was nearly thirty feet long, and weighs a hundred and twenty tons. Men came to this beehive tomb in the old days of Mycenae, down a long passage with a high stone wall on either side. The doorway was decorated with many-colored marbles and beautiful bronze plates. The inside was ornamented, too, and there was an altar in there.

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From these ruins and relics, we know much about the art of the Mycenaeans, something about their government, their trade, their religion, their home life, their amusements, and their ways of fighting, though they lived three thousand years ago. If a great modern city should be buried, and men should dig it up three thousand years later, what do you think they will say about us?

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This mask was still on the face of the dead king. The artist tried to make the mask look just as the great king himself had looked, but this was very hard to do.

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The king’s people put into his grave this silver mask of an ox head with golden horns. It was a symbol of the cattle sacrificed for the dead. There is a gold rosette between the eyes. The mouth, muzzle, eyes and ears are gilded. In Homer’s Iliad, which is the story of the Trojan war, Diomede says, “To thee will I sacrifice a yearling heifer, broad at brow, unbroken, that never yet hath man led beneath the yoke. Her will I sacrifice to thee, and gild her horns with gold.”

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This vase was made of clay and baked. Then the artist painted figures on it with colored earth. This was so long ago that men had not learned to draw very well, but we like the vase because the potter made it such a beautiful shape, and because we learn from it how the warriors of early Mycenae dressed. Under their armor they wore short chitons with fringe at the bottom, and long sleeves, and they carried strangely shaped shields and short spears or long lances. Do you think those are knapsacks tied to the lances?

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These may have been worn by King Agamemnon, or by the Trojan warriors. They are now in the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

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Early men made many pictures much like this—a pillar guarded by an animal on each side.

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It would take a very skilfull man to-day, a man who was both goldsmith and artist, to make such daggers as men found at Mycenae. First the blade was made. Then the artist took a separate sheet of bronze for his design. This sheet he enamelled, and on it he inlaid his design. On one of these daggers we see five hunters fighting three lions. Two of the lions are running away. One lion is pouncing upon a hunter, but his friends are coming to help him. If you could turn this dagger over, you would see a lion chasing five gazelles. The artist used pure gold for the bodies of the hunters and the lions; he used electron, an alloy of gold and silver, for the hunters’ shields and their trousers; and he made the men’s hair, the lions’ manes, and the rims of the shields, of some black substance. When the picture was finished on the plate, he set the plate into the blade, and riveted on the handle. On the smaller dagger we see three lions running.

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It shows the kind of helmet used in Mycenae. Do you think the button at the top may have had a socket for a horse hair plume?

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These brooches were like modern safety pins, and were used to fasten the chlamys at the shoulder. The chlamys was a heavy woolen shawl, red or purple.

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Some people say that these cups are the most wonderful things that have been found, made by Mycenaean artists. Some people say that no goldsmiths in the world since then, unless perhaps in Italy in the fifteenth century, have done such lovely work. The goldsmith took a plate of gold and hammered his design into it from the wrong side. Then he riveted the two ends together where the handle was to go, and lined the cup with a smooth gold plate. One cup shows some hunters trying to catch wild bulls with a net. One great bull is caught in the net. One is leaping clear over it. And a third bull is tossing a hunter on his horns. On the other cup the artist shows some bulls quietly grazing in the forest, while another one is being led away to sacrifice.

The Vaphian cups are now in the National museum in Athens. They were found in a “bee-hive” tomb at Vaphio, an ancient site in Greece, not far from Sparta. It is thought that they were not made there, but in Crete.

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At Mycenae were found seven hundred and one large round plates of gold, decorated with cuttlefish, flowers, butterflies, and other designs.

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