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mournful songs,

sleeping in her arms. Here Ulysses and Diomede enter by night the Trojan camp, through which they quickly spread alarm, the sentinels running together from all sides, crying Stop! stop! kill ! kill! There the Grecian soldiers, after the taking of Troy, appear on the roofs of the houses, and begin to reduce that celebrated city to ashes. At another time coffins are brought, containing the bodies of the chiefs who fell at the siege of Thebes; their funerals are celebrated on the stage, and their widows express their grief in

One of them, named Evadne, is seen on the top of a rock, at the foot of which is erected the funeral pile of Capaneus, her husband. She is habited in her richest ornaments; and, deaf to the entreaties of her father and the cries of her companions, precipitates herself into the devouring flames."

“ The marvellous also adds to the charm of the exhibition. Some god descends in dramatic machinery ; the shade of Polydorus bursts from the bosom of the earth; the ghost of Achilles appears to the assembly of the Greeks, and commands them to sacrifice the daughter of Priam; Helen ascends to the vault of heaven, where she is transformed into a constellation; or Medea traverses the air in a car drawn by dragons."*

Theatrical thunder was produced by causing stones to fall from a great height into a brazen vessel; and machines were constructed which not only served for effecting flights through the air, the descent of deities, or the apparition of ghosts, but by turning on rollers presented to the spectators the inside of a house or tent. We have said, during the festivals the exhibitions were gratuitous, which was virtually, though not literally, the case. An obolus, equal to about three halfpence of our money, was demanded at the doors ; but Pericles, finding probably that the Athenian populace, like that of Rome, required little more than bread and the public shows, caused a decree to be passed, by which it was enacted that the magistrates, before every dramatic performance, should distribute to each of the poorer citizens two oboli; one to pay for his place, and another to assist in the supply of his wants during the festival. This soon

* See the seventieth chapter of Anacharsis, from which these observa tions on the Greek stage bave heen mostly abridged.

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degenerated into an enormous abuse, the revenues of the state being appropriated to the pleasures of the multitude : nor could so popular a misapplication of the public money be subsequently rectified; for when one of the orators proposed to repeal the law of Pericles, the general assembly passed a decree forbidding any further mention of the subject under pain of death.

As the Roman theatre bore a close resemblance to that of the Greeks, from which indeed it was chiefly borrowed, it will require but little notice. In some respects the Romans differed from their prototypes. The profession of an actor was not only declared infamous, but those who practised it were deprived of the rights of citizens ; yet the histrionic art must have been held in high estimation, for the celebrated tragedian, Æsop, after a life of unbounded profusion, left at his death a sum equivalent to 160,000l. ; and other performers were equally prosperous. Such was their influence, too, with the public, that every eminent actor had his party; and their absurd factions engendered so many brawls and riots, not unfrequently terminating in bloodshed, that in the reign of Tiberius the players were banished from Italy altogether. From this blow the regular drama never recovered; but the dancers and buffoons gradually returned to and usurped the stage, of which they thenceforward kept undisputed possession.

Authors, on the other hand, appear to have been very indifferently remunerated; the largest sum ever paid for any dramatic work having been given to Terence for one of his most esteemed comedies, and this did not exceed 501. of our currency. At first the Roman comedy was wholly borrowed from the Greeks, and when they ventured upon original composition, they soon lost in purity of taste more than they gained in originality ; for after the fall of the republic the stage degenerated until it was finally abandoned, as we have just stated, to dancers and buffoons. Their tragedy was of late introduction, and the remains that have come down to our times are too scanty to allow us to pronounce upon their general merit.

After the play amateurs usually performed a farce, termed an Atellane comedy, wherein the actors composed an extemporaneous dialogue, which often degenerated into gross ribaldry. These performers could not be compelled by the

audience to unmask, nor were they, like other actors, de. prived of their civil rights. Between the acts were generally introduced interludes of tumbling, rope-dancing, and pantomimical representations, which, as the public taste declined, eventually superseded the regular drama. It is recorded that the emperor Galba possessed an elephant which walked upon a rope stretched across the theatre ; and there is reason to suppose that similar exhibitions formed part of the amusements.

A singular custom prevailed upon the Roman stage, the occasional division of the same part between two actors, the one reciting while the other accompanied him with appropriate gestures. It is conjectured to have originated from the necessity of sparing some particular performer, rendered hoarse hy reiterated repetitions of favourite passages; hut it does not appear that this anomalous practice was ever extended to dialogue.

The sock or low-heeled shoe of the comedians merely covered the foot ; the high buskin of the tragedians reached to the mid-leg; whence these words were used to denote the different styles of comedy and tragedy. Pantomime actors usually performed barefooted, though on some occasions they wore wooden sandals. Professed dancers used castanets, playing them in unison with the music, as still practised in many parts of the continent. It appears that the chief female dancers were Spaniards of the province of Andalusia, and that their mode of exhibition was then as remarkable as now for its voluptuousness. Hence it has been conjectured that the same fandango and bolero which charms the present audiences of Madrid once delighted the inhabitants of ancient Rome.

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Public Games of the Grecians.
“Digredimur, lentaque fori pugna jus arena."

Juv. 16. 47.

THERE seems to have been something nationally characteristic in the ancient notations of time. The devout Jews, referring all things to the Deity, reckoned from the creation of the world ; the Egyptians, Persians, and other enslaved nations counted by dynasties and the succession of kings; the patriotic Romans commenced their chronology with the foundation of their city and the consular government; the ancient Argives reckoned by the succession of the priestesses of Juno, their patron goddess; but the Greeks, in general a vivacious, pleasure-loving people, began at a very early period to mark their time either by the recurrence of their local festivals, or by the periodical returns of the great national jubilee, when the Olympic games were celebrated, held after the completion of every fourth year. These games, which in the midst of war were not only signals for a general truce, but for a fraternal commingling of the fiercest enemies in the common enjoyment of sports, pastimes, and festivity, must have had a most healing and humanizing effect upon the whole Grecian people ; while they enlivened their chronology with pleasant remembrance of the past, and joyous anticipations of the future. They who reflect how deeply the love of pleasure, more especially of public spectacles, was implanted in the mind of the Greeks, and how much more vivid is the hope of future than even the possession of present enjoyment, will duly appreciate the great political wisdom of instituting these national festivals, and will not lightly estimate the degree of happiness which the anticipation of their recurrence was capable of diffusing throughout the whole of Greece.

Exclusively of the local festivals, some of which we have already briefly noticed, there were public games in different parts of Greece, which, being open to the participation of every inhabitant of the country, might be strictly termed national. Of these the most celebrated were the Olympic, the Pythian, the Nemean, and the Isthmian; the first dedicated to Jupiter, the second to Apollo, the third to Archemorus originally, though renewed in honour of Hercules after the destruction of the Nemean lion; the fourth, which took their name from the Isthmus of Corinth, where they were celebrated, were consecrated to Neptune. These were the four great solemn public festivals of the Greeks, which, by instilling into them at a rude and barbarous era a disinterested love of fame, for the noblest reward was a simple laurel wreath, by inspiring them with a love of the arts, and by imbuing them with the spirit of social life, contributed not less to their aggrandizement over other nations, than to the advancement of civilization among themselves.

According to some writers, the Pythian games, celebrated near the temple of Delphi, were instituted by Apollo himself in commemoration of his victory over the serpent Python; though others maintain that they were first established by the council of the Amphictyons 1263 years before Christ. They were originally held once in nine years, but afterward every fifth year, consisting in their earlier course of a simple musical contention, wherein he who best sang the praises of Apollo obtained the prize, which was a garland of the palm-tree, or of beech-leaves. Hesiod, it is said, was refused admission to these games from his inability to play upon the harp, which was required of all such as entered the lists. The songs called the Pythian modes were divided into five parts, containing a representation of the victory of Apollo over Python in the following order :—the preparation for the fight ; the first attempt ; taking breath and collecting courage; the insulting sarcasms of the god over his vanquished enemy; an imitation of the hisses of the serpent just as he expired under the blows of Apollo. Appropriate dances were introduced, which, combining with vocal and instrumental music in the representation of a story, would bear no very remote resemblance to a modern opera; and suggested doubtless to Thespis, as has been already intimated, the first bint of the drama. The Romans are thought to have introduced these games into their city under the name of Apollinares ludi.

Various reasons are assigned for the first institution of the Nemean games, though most writers concur in ascribing their renewal and enlargement to Hercules. after his

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