« ElőzőTovább »
vague and general impression we must rest content. The statue of the goddess herself was probably made of wood plated with gold, and many precious offerings may have been attached to such an idol as personal ornaments. There was in the temple a priestess of high rank, the Kosmeteira, whom we must suppose to have been a kind of Mistress of the Robes to Artemis; and, as we know from the Salutaris inscription, fines were devoted to the adornment of the goddess. From what we read of the great wealth of the temple and the magnificent luxury of the Ephesian people, we may be sure that gold was lavishly used in the ornaments not only of the goddess herself, but of the stately dwelling-place in which she was enshrined. We have a proof of this in the fragment of moulding described by Mr. Wood, p. 245, in which a narrow fillet of gold inserted between two astragali still remained. This discovery confirms the truth of Pliny's statement that at Cyzicus was a temple in which in every joint of the masonry there was a narrow thread (filum) of gold. That gilding was used in the decoration of the Erechtheum we know from an Attic inscription.
This external splendour, which suggested to the worshippers how great were the treasures within, ultimately drew down upon the Artemision the hand of the spoiler. About the year A-D. 262, when the Goths ravaged Asia Minor, they burnt and plundered the famous shrine which Artemis herself was said to have defended from the Cimmerians, which Crosus and Xerxes had spared, which Alexander had treated with special honour, and which all-conquering Rome had associated with the worship of her own emperors. With its destruction by the Goths the Artemision disappears from history. But what became of the enormous mass of marble which we know to have been employed in its structure, and which the Goths had no motive for destroying? After the roof was burnt successive earthquakes probably threw down the columns, and the ruins must have been piled up in enormous masses, as the ruins of the temple at Branchidæ are to this day. Then came a new set of spoilers quarrying out building materials for the great Byzantine edifices, of which the remains still exist at Ephesus. We know from Mr. Wood's discoveries that inscribed blocks from the walls of the cella were used in repairing the proscenium of the Great Theatre, and fragments of the temple may still be seen in the piers of the aqueduct, which was certainly built in the Byzantine times.
As soon as Christianity got a permanent ascendency at Ephesus, the destruction of the sculptures with the sledge
hammer and the limekiln would be carried on continuously as a labour of love; and as soon as the site was sufficiently cleared of ruins to admit of a church being built on it, this was done, by following, as we have shown, the lines of the cella walls. This church in its turn was destroyed by the barbarous invaders of Christian Ephesus. At length when the mighty mass of ruins of the temple had been reduced to the scanty remnants found by Mr. Wood, the Cayster and its tributaries, which once, Aowing in well-embanked channels skirted the sacred precinct of Diana, covered up the wreck of the temple with a thick mantle of alluvial deposit. Here, as at Olympia, the ancient river god has done good service to archæology by concealing what the spoiler has spared till a fitting time for its resurrection.
And now we take our leave of Mr. Wood and his discoveries, commending his book, and above all his plan of Ephesus, to the study of all future travellers. If, transporting ourselves in thought to the jagged ridge of Peion, we look down on the ancient city with the key to its topography which we have now obtained, what a host of historical associations crowd upon our memories! In that harbour at our feet, now a reedy swamp, rode the victorious triremes of Lysander; in that agora hard by Agesilaus exposed the white effeminate bodies of his Persian captives to the scornful gaze of his hardy, much-enduring veterans. In that theatre, now so silent, once resounded the shouts of the tumultuous multitude who condemned St. Paul, and half a century later the acclamations of the popular assembly who rewarded the piety of Salutaris with the highest honours the city could bestow. And now let us pass out of the theatre and follow the solemn procession on its return from the assembly to the temple; and, passing through the Coressian Gate along the paved road, lined on each side with the tombs of Ephesian dignitaries, we approach that sacred precinct where the Amazons dwelt in the pre-historic age, where the army of Alexander, fresh from its first victory over the Persians, marched in battle-array past the Temple of the great goddess of Asia, and where from time immemorial fugitives sought shelter in the hospitable sanctuary of Artemis.
When we think how much history has gained by the exploration, partial and inadequate as it has been, of the ruins of Ephesus; when we review the marvellous discoveries which have recently taken place in Cyprus and the Troad, and which are actually now going on at Olympia and Mycenæ, we feel bound to ask the question, why, in a generation distinguished beyond all previous generations for historical research, for wealth, leisure, and facilities for travelling, so little has been done for the investigation of the sites of ancient cities? The explorers of Greece and Turkey half a century ago had neither steam to convey them to distant coasts, nor the practical knowledge of archæology which we now possess to guide their researches, nor photographers to record their discoveries, nor an electric telegraph wherewith to maintain communication with a distant base of operations. We, with all these appliances, and with boundless wealth at the command of individuals, if not of governments, grudge to these great enterprises the money which is daily wasted on trivial and ignoble objects. Why has England no Schliemanns ?
Art. IX.-1. Lorenzo de' Medici il Magnifico. Von ALFRED
VON REUMONT. Zwei Bände. Leipzig: 1874. 2. Lorenzo the Magnificent. By ALFRED DE REUMONT.
Translated from the German by ROBERT HARRISON.
2 vols. 8vo. London: 1876. THIS This work is the composition of a German writer, the fruit
of a study of the annals and archives of Italy rivalling in love and devotion that of Gregorovius, who was two years ago presented with the freedom of the city of Rome in the Capitol. It is, however, to Florence more than Rome that Herr von Reumont has chiefly devoted himself, and the present volumes are dedicated to the late Marchese Gino Capponi, whose history of his native city we reviewed last April, and under whose roof the present work was in great part composed.
The scrupulousness and industry with which Herr von Reumont has fulfilled his task are beyond all praise. A new biography of the great man whom he has chosen for his subject has long been wanted. It is now eighty years since Roscoe published his biography of Lorenzo the Magnificent—a work which gained the favour of the reading public immediately on its appearance, has been translated into every language in Europe, and still holds its ground. It was a strange freak of destiny which brought it about that a Liverpool banker should have composed a work distinguished by elegance of taste requiring access to peculiar sources of information, and thus have become the medium of making known to the polite world of Europe the most distinguished chief of the Renaissance period, and should have succeeded in portraying the character of a country and an epoch from which so much of the culture of modern Europe is derived. Our admiration of the way in which Roscoe fulfilled his task is increased when we consider the difficulties under which the work was composed--the deficiencies of libraries and documents and the commotions and distractions of a life of business, with which he had to contend. Libraries and archives were of course far more inaccessible in those days than they are now.
Mr. Roscoe never, we believe, had the advantage of visiting Italy, and was obliged to trust to amateurs and volunteers for assistance in making researches among the libraries of Florence. That he performed his task as well as he did is among the most extraordinary feats of historical genius, which conducted him in a spirit of divination as it were always in the track of the material necessary to his work. Before the appearance of his life the dull Latin biographies of Valori and Fabroni were the only ones devoted to the story of Lorenzo, and these were only accessible to scholars; and Roscoe was also restricted chiefly to printed matter for his sources of information. Since his day, however, a nass of fresh documents, both printed and in manuscript, have accumulated respecting the family of the Medici and of Lorenzo, and it was well that these should receive a careful investigation, and that the details of the life of Lorenzo should be filled up by their aid; and this service Herr von Reumont has carefully performed. These two closely printed volumes contain an immense amount of information which will be quite new to the students of Roscoe ; and Herr von Reumont shows himself to be a thorough master of the history of the age and the country with which he deals in all its innermost details. It is to be regretted, however, that he has not imitated Roscoe in ease and elegance of style; for the reading of these volumes is extremely puzzling and laborious; it requires often so severe a tension of the mind to get at the meaning of their crabbed and involved sentences, that frequently when we have mastered the sense of a phrase, it requires another as great an effort to remember what it has to do with the context.
An English translation of the work from the pen of the accomplished Librarian of the London Library has just appeared which does him great credit, but unfortunately this translation did not reach us until we had completed this article.
One of the most interesting chapters of this work is that in which the writer has drawn a picture of the wealth and artistic variety of life as it existed in Florence in the days of the subject of his narrative. What Athens was to Greece that was Florence to mediæval Italy and the Italy of the Renaissance—the centre of all spiritual and artistic life. And not less remarkable was
the astonishing success with which they cultivated all the finest manufactures of the time and the highest branches of com
The banking businesses of the leading citizens of Florence, who had their comptoirs and their branch offices scattered all over the known world, were conducted on a colossal scale; and it was in this way chiefly that the Medici first acquired that immense fortune which formed the basis of their power, but which, when the heads of the family ceased to direct their affairs themselves, and had to confide them to agents, on account of their preoccupation with political affairs, fell into disorder and eventual bankruptcy.
Florence, we learn, had at this time two hundred and seventy warehouses in the woollen trade, which exported their goods to Rome and the Romagna, to Naples and Sicily, to Constantinople and Pera, to Adrianople, Broussa, and all Turkey. It possessed eighty-three splendid establishments in silk commerce, exporting stuffs of gold and silver, satin, brocade, damask, taffetas, &c., to Rome and Naples, to Catalonia and all Spain, to Turkey and Barbary. The chief fairs to which these wares were sent were those of Genoa, Romagna, Ferrara, Mantua, all Italy, Lyons, Avignon, Montpelier, Antwerp, and London. There were three and twenty banks of the first rank; retail shops of silk and woollen goods were in abundance; workshops also of artists in marble and in inlaid work; goldsmiths and jewellers formed a trade in themselves ; while shops of apothecaries, grocers, butchers, and provision warehouses were in numbers such as it was said no other town could boast. As an example of the magnitude of the foreign commerce of Florence it may be mentioned that the Florentine trading colony settled at Lyons counted no less than thirty houses; among which were establishments belonging to the Albizzi, the Guadagni, the Panciatichi, the Bartolini, the Strozzi, Gondi, Manetti, Antinori, Dei, and others.
The great wealth derived from all these sources was employed by the citizens in embellishing both the public and private life of the city. The great artists of Florence were not alone occupied in adorning the churches and public edifices with all the finest resources of architecture, painting, sculpture, and carving, but private dwellings also were made beautiful with all the devices of their exquisite labour. Busts of marble and terracotta were dispersed along walls hung thick with family portraits from the easels of Benozzo Gozzoli, Francia, and Perugino. Carved furniture and inlaid furniture were dispersed about the rooms, and the fine porcelain ware and quaint majolica of the table were rivalled by the artistic designs