do not see in effect, that Homer, greatly posterior to these times, had the least idea of what we call the orders of architecture. I have already made this remark: I shall add, that if it had been known, it would very, probably have been put in practice. Occasions were presented to him more than once in his poems. Homer speaks of temples confecrated to Minerva and to Neptune, and yet he gives no description of them 5. With respect to palaces, what he has said does not give an idea of any order or of any de. sign in architecture i. We should not even dare to affirm, that the columns mentioned in these edifices were of ftone; they were only, according to all appearances, fimple posts *. Lastly, the only eulogy which Homer makes of the palace of Ulysses, consists in saying that it was very high, that the court was defended by a wall and by a hedge. The poet also praises the strength and the folidity of the gates of this palace, giving us to understand, that it was very difficult to force them. He feems to infilt much on this article , which was a very efsential point in the heroic times, on account of the rob. beries which then were very frequent in Greece. These reflections are sufficient, I think, to make us reject the recital of Vitruvius, too modern an author with relation to the ages of which we now speak, for us to believe his simple testimony. It is better to acknowledge our ignorance of the state in which architecture then was in Greece, than to refer to fuch suspected traditions.

b See Iliad. 1.6. V. 297.; Odyff. 1. 6. V. 266. i See Iliad. 1. 6. V. 242. 1. 20. V. 11.; Odyk 1.4. v. 72. be. 1. 7. v. 85.&c.

* I remark at first, that Homer never calls these columns sýnos, a word which properly signifies a column of stones ; but always rioyas, which can only be understood of posts of wood. I Mall observe, in the second place, that they drove pegs into these columns to hang different'utensils upon, and that they there contrived cavities proper to keep different arms in. Odyff. 1. 22. v. 176. &c. 1. 8. v. 66.&c. l. 1. v. 127.6c, l. 19. v. 38.

But, moreover, Homer willing to give us an idea of the largeness of an olivetree which supported the bed of Ulysses,compares it to a column; and it is there to be remarked, that he uses the word xiwy, to design that column. Odyr. 1. 23. V. 191. * Odyfl . 1, 17, V. 264. &c.


[blocks in formation]

HI Istorians are not agreed about the time in which the arc

of working of metals became known in Greece. Some make this discovery ascend to the most early ages, others place it in ages much more recent: these contradictions nevertheless are only in appearance. It is easy, by distinguishing the spirit and the motives of these traditions, to reconcile the recitals which at first appear the most opposite.

I think, that the knowledge of metals, and the art of working them, had originally been brought into Greece by the Titan princes : many facts seem to favour this conjecture. The Greeks, according to some authors, attribute to Sol the son of the Ocean, the discovery of gold k. I have already said, that anciently they called fons of the Ocean, those who from time immemorial had cone by fea into a country. It was by this way, that the Titans had come into Greece: they came out of Egypt', The Egyptians attribute to their ancient sovereigns the discovery of metallurgy m: they had deified them in acknowledgment of that invention, and of many others which these monarchs had imparted to their people n. A prince whose name the Greeks have rendered by that of Elios, and the Romans, by that of Sol, had been, by the confession of almost all historians, the first who had reigned in Egypto. This monarch was also regarded as the most ancient divinity in the country p. Gold was the first metal that men have known 9. Nothing hinders us to believe, that the prince of whom we now speak, had shewn to the Egyptians the manner of working this metal, I even think to find a proof of it in the relation which at all times has been esta. blished between the Sun, the name of an Egyptian mo.

k Gellius apud Plin. 1. 7. sect. 57. p. 414.
} See part 1. book 1. art. 5. m Jbid, book 2. chap. 4.

p Ibid,
. See part 1. book 2. chap. 4.



n Diod.). 1. p. 17.

o Ibid.

harch, and gold. The art of working of metal was brought into Greece by the Titans, and under the auspices of the Sun: these princes came by sea. This was enough to make the Greeks say afterwards, that the discovery of gold had been communicated to them by Sol fon of the Ocean.

We may consider in the same point of view, what they related or the discovery of silver: they said they were indebted for it to Erichthonius". This prince, according to the tradition of the Greeks, was the son of Vulcan. No one is ignorant, that the Egyptians revered Vulcan as one of their most ancient divinities; who was looked upon to have invented fire ', and who among the Greeks was thought to preside at all the operations of metallurgy".

With respect to copper, the first who worked that metal in Greece, were, according to some authors, workmen brought by Saturn and Jupiter.x, We see, lastly, that, from a very ancient tradition, Prometheus passed for having learned the Greeks the art of working in metals y. We know, that this person, so famous in antiquity, was cotem, porary with the Titans. All these facts then seem to declare, that the first knowledge of metallurgy had been brought into Greece by the Titan princes; and it is after this ancient tradition, that the authors have spoken, who made the art of working of metals ascend to the first ages of Greece. .

I have already remarked on many occasions, that the reign of the Titans had been very short, whose fall had drawn along with it, that of the knowledge, which these strangers had imparted to Greece z. There must have new colonies come from Egypt and from Asia to re-establish, or, to speak better, to re-create the arts in that part of Europe. Cadmus ought to be looked upon as the first who renewed in Greece the art of working of metals. This prince dif. covered in Thrace, at the foot of Mount Pargæus, mines of

[ocr errors]

e Diod. 1, 1. p. 17.

r Plin. 1. 7. sect. 57. p. 414.

Apollodor. I. 3. p. 196. u See Odyff. 1. 6. V. 233. & 234. * Strabo, I. 14. p.966. ; Stephan. in voce Addr:105, p. 38. y Æschil. in Prometh. vincto, V.501.64. ? See part 1. book 1. art 5.


[ocr errors]

gold. He had learned the Greeks to dig for them, to draw from thence the metal, and to prepare it a. He also made copper known to them, and the manner of working it b. This sentiment is even supported by the name which in all times they have given to one of the principal alloys wllich enters into the preparation of copper. Calamine or Cadmia, which is of great use to refine that metal, and to augment its weight, had received from Cadmus the name which it bore formerly, and which it retains even at this day ..

We are ignorant by whom, and at what time the art of working silver had been brought into Greece. I should incline also to give Cadmus the lionour of the re-establishment of that part of metallurgy. I ground it upon this, that Herodotus a tells us, that Mount Pangæus, where Cad. mus found mines of gold, contained also mines of silver.

It is therefore with some sort of reason, that this prince has passed, in the writings of most authors, for the first who had fewn to the Greeks the art of working metals; and it is not difficult, as we see, to reconcile the different traditions which have been preserved in Greece about the origin of that discovery. There is nothing contradictory in it. In effect, though the knowledge of the arts had perished with the Titans, there were nevertheless preserved some traces of them. Some writers had collected them, and transmitted to us the history of them. Others have neglected these ancient traditions, or perhaps were ignorant of them. They have therefore attributed to the chiefs of the last colonies who came into Greece, the discovery of many arts of which they were only the restorers.

We do not meet with the same division nor the same diverfity of opinions about the time in which the Greeks knew and learned to work iron. The ancients agree sufficiently to place this discovery under the reign of Minos the First , 1431 years before Christ. This knowledge had passed from Phry.

• Plin. 1. 7. let. 57. p. 414.; Clem. Alex. strom. 1. 1. p. 363. See alfo Herod. 1. 7. n. 6. & 12.

6 Hygin. fab. 274.; Strabo, 1. 14. p. 998.
• In Latin Cadmea. See Plin. l. 34. sect. 2. & 22. L. 7. n. 6.& 12.
• Marm. Oxon. ep. 11.
Ee 2


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

gia into Europe, with the Dactyli, when they quitted the neighbourhood of Mount Ida to come and settle in Crete i Nevertheless it does not appear that the art of working iron had been much extended in Greece. It was originally with the Greeks as with all people of antiquity. They used copper for most of the things for which at present we use iron. At the time of the war of Troy not only arms, but even all tools, and all the instruments of mechanic arts ,' were of copper. Iron was then so esteemed, that in the games which Achilles caused to be celebrated in honour of Patroclus, le proposed as a considerable prize a ball of that metali. Homer speaks always of it with great distinction k.

With regard to tin, it was by commerce with the Phoenicians the Greeks had procured that metal. They made great use of it in the heroic ages. I shall have occasion to speak of it more particularly in the article of commerce and navigation.

It appears, that, at the times which we are now speaking of, the art of working gold, silver, and copper had made a very great progress among the Greeks. We see, by the writings of Homer, that these people knew at that time all the instruments proper for the fabric of these metals ', I reserve the detail of all these practices for the following chapter, where I shall treat of the knowledge the Greeks had in gold work in the ages of the war of Troy.

CHI A P. V. Of designing, graving, chasing, gold work, and



E are ignorant in what time design, and the arts

which have relation to it, took their rise among the

i Ephorus, apud Diod. 1.5. p. 38r. ; Hefiod. apud Plin. l. 7. sect. 57. p. 414. & See infra, book 5. chap. 3. b Iliad. I. 23. V. 118. &c.; Odyff. 1. 3. V. 433. 1. 5. v.

244. illiad. I. 23. v. 826. k Ibid. 1. 7. V. 473. et parfim, "Odyss, 1. 3. V.433.


« ElőzőTovább »