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THE

EDINBURGH MAGAZINE,

AND

LITERARY MISCELLANY.

MARCH 1820.

PHY

WRITERS.

ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE TOPOGRA- zerland. The effect produced on the

OF TROY, WITH A REVIEW spectator here depends in a very slight OF THE OPINIONS OF PRECEDING degree on the absolute importance of

the events connected in his memory

with the scene before him, but almost videt Iliacas ex ordine pugnas, entirely on the depth and force of the Bellaque jam fama totum vulgata per orbem.

impression made on his mind by those

treasures of thought, and fancy, and REMARKABLE events communicate sentiment, in which the genius of the a portion of that interest which they poet or historian has enveloped them. themselves possess to inanimate objects Distinguished writers thus elevate the accidentally associated with them. In least attractive scene into a realm every country there are places which, of wonders,” and bestow a share of from their connection with great a- their own immortality on objects and chievements or illustrious characters, events without any natural worth or have become a sort of consecrated dignity. It is a distinction which beground, to which pilgrims resort une longs to the places celebrated in the der the influence of feelings of na ancient histories of Greece and Rome, tional gratitude, or impelled by the that the interest they excite extends desire to honour virtue and genius, to the whole civilized world. It is without regard to the distinctions of not even necessary that the events age or country. Scenes and objects from which such places derive their possessing no intrinsic beauty or im- importance should be real. The lake portance, thus come to surpass in in- Avernus is as anxiously visited by the terest the most sublime of Nature's curious as the field of Cannæ ; and works. The traveller might pass over the village of Wyoming will probably the fields of Runimede, Bannockburn, attract more travellers in future times or Marathon, without observing a single than the town of Hohenlinden. When feature worthy to engage his thoughts the scene described and the writer for an instant. But the moment the who describes it belong to ancient name is pronounced, a magical influ- periods, a new source of interest is ence is shed over the landscape, created. Time gives a sort of sublirnity fancy peoples every rock, and hillock, to actions and characters, as distance and brook, with imaginary forms, and does to objects, by blending the real the most inconsiderable objects are sure with the imaginary. Comprehending veyed with an intense feeling of in- very imperfectly the manners and terest. Thousands in the remotest circumstances of the ages when the parts of Europe, under the influence illustrious men of antiquity lived, of such feelings, have hurried on to imagination fills up the void of knowview the vestiges of Roman power, ledge, and completes their portraits and the scenes of Roman achievement from a few simple outlines. In doing in Italy, without stopping to contem- this, we divest them of those frailplate the magnificent scenery of Swit- ties and defects which seem to spring

from the different constitution of mo- reasonable bounds, there is do doubt dern society; we magnify their vir- that others, dreading the censures of tues and talents, by ascribing to them this stern philosophy, have affected greater energy; and, in a word, we an indifference and an incredulity embody our own ideas of what is which they did not feel. After risking grand and beautiful in their charac- their lives among robbers, and halfters. These beings, placed as it were savage Turks, and the leopards of on the confines of real and ideal ex- Mount Ida, in exploring the Troad, istence, uniting to the mind's eye the they have ridiculed those as dreamers truth of the one with the beauty of and enthusiasts who expected to find the other, are wonderfully adapted to any considerable resemblance between captivate the imagination. We dwell the poet's topography and the preon their powers and virtues with de- sent face of the country. Others who light; we ascribe a dignity beyond have engaged in topographical renature to their actions; and a sort of searches upon places memorable in sanctity to those scenes which have ancient history, to shield themselves been honoured by their presence from ridicule, have given out that Perhaps the insecurity of which the their object was to elucidate the text mind is conscious when indulging of ancient authors. But if their lasuch sentiments, makes it doubly bours were confined to this object, anxious to seize any circumstance they would terminate within very which may connect these half imagi- narrow limits. Of Homer's poetry it nary beings with the realities of our may be truly said, that all that is own existence. Hence, partly the most valuable in it, its imagery and pleasure we feel in contemplating the sentiment, its pictures of ancient places where great men have lived, manners, and portraits of individual the armour they have worn, the ob- character, may be understood and enjects they have handled or used, and joyed without any knowledge of the in looking at the scenes on which scene of his story. It is much better their eyes have been accustomed daily to acknowledge at once that our obto dwell.

ject in visiting Rome or Athens, TherNo ancient writer certainly has mopylæ, or the Troad, is not to correct been the object of so much of this our notions of geography, but to gracurious idolatry as Homer. Many tify feelings deeply implanted in our cities contended for the honour of his minds, and entwined with our earliest birth; sages and legislators have hon- and strongest associations. It is the oured his works as the most perfect of delight we feel in the pursuit which human productions; and conquerors induces us to engage in it, without stopped in their career of conquest inquiring whether we ought to be deto contemplate those fields and rivers ligħteil or not; and poetry produces to which he has given such an im- too many illusions of all sorts, to renperishable celebrity. At the present der this either singular or ridiculous. day his works are, perhaps, more stu- Since the course of our education and died, and better understood, than in early studies nourish an enthusiasm the days of Virgil or Strabo ; and for the classic authors and classic pethough ages have revolved since then, riods, those pursuits ought not to be the interest felt in every circumstance deemed useless which afford gratificaconnected with them has suffered no tion to so great a number of enlightabatement. Instead of expressing ened men whose minds bave received surprise, therefore, at the numbers this direction. It is the overflowings who have visited and written upon of the enthusiasm excited by their the Troad, we rather wonder that a works which chiefly induce us to spot hallowed by so many sublime as- attach importance to the places visited sociations has been so long neglected. or described by the illåstrious anYet though the researches of some cients,—to the most trifling relics of travellers have revived an interest in their private life, and to every object the subject, we cannot assure our or scene which recalls them strongly selves that it will be lasting. Philo. to our thoughts. We do not think sophy interposing with the question meanly of the Spaniard who travelled of cui bono, denounces such pursuits from his own country to Italy on pur. as useless and puerile. And if enthu- pose to see Livy, and who would not siasm has transported some beyond take a pretty long journey to see such

a man as Shakespeare or Washington, It seems extraordinary that so much though it would be foolish to expect difficulty should be experienced in that this would throw any light on identifying the scene of the Trojan the writings of the one, or the actions war. Homer was scarcely less celeof the other? So long as men admire brated among the ancients as a geogreat actions and illustrious charac- grapher than as a poet. His allusions ters will these feelings endure; and to different countries and towns have so long will the enthusiasm of minds been found to convey such accurate enlightened and warmed by ancient descriptions of their situation, appearlore, brave peril, disease, and floods, ance, and limits, that three or four to visit the hallowed soil of Greece cases are cited by ancient writers of and Rome.

questions respecting a disputed terri

tory being settled by a reference to Yet to the remnants of thy splendour his works. Having been so correct past

in such subordinate points, we should Shall pilgrims pensive, but unwcaried,

expect, at least, equal truth and fidethrong; Long shali the voyager, with the Ionian lity in the description of the leading blast,

natural features of the scene of his Hail the bright clime of battle and of song. great poem ; especially as he was born Long shall thine andals and immortal and lived (according to the most protongue

bable accounts) in the neighbourhood. Fill with thy fame the youth of many a Besides, it is difficult for those who shore ;

have read his works carefully to beBoast of the aged, -lesson of the young,— lieve that his local details and inciWhich sages venerate, and bards adore,

dents are fictitious. There is not As Pallas and the musc unveil their awful only an air of extreme simplicity and lore.

artlessness about him, but the whole

texture and management of his poem Where'er we tread 'tis haunted holy rather induces the belief that he took

ground, No earth of thine is lost in vulgar mould, either from a simple love of truth, or

the facts purely as he found them, But one vast realm of wonder spreads a

because the traditions were too recent round, And all the muse's tale seems truly told,

and distinct to admit of his changing Till the sense aches with gazing to behold

them for poetical effect. The minute The scenes our earliest dreams have dwelt manner in which he marks circumupon.

stances of space and time in cases

where it is neither essential to his plan, We do not mean to enter into the nor contributes to the embellishment question which hus been stirred as to of his poem; and the consistency of the reality of the Trojan war, because his numerous details, a consistency we think nothing but a wanton spirit only discovered by minute and careof scepticism, or a love of paradox, has ful research, and, therefore, certainly raised a doubt upon the subject. Gre undesigned, all shew that the poet did cian history and poetry are so full of not invent incidents and local circumallusions to it, that, perhaps, there is stances to answer his purpose, but no event of a date prior to authentic that his work, when“ stripped of his records established by such a variety poetical embellishments, is a consistof evidence. It is, indeed, the fulness ent narrative of events related accordand variety of this evidence which ing to the order of time and place, has occasioned its reality to be ques- when and where they happened.”. tioned. The vast number of reports His machinery, indeed, throws an air and traditions found in different and of fable over his narrative, but we distant countries respecting the war, have little doubt that in this also he certainly prove that some real and only adhered to the traditions current signal event must have given birth to among those for whom he wrote. them; and their inconsistency with These two circumstances afford, perone another, which has made some haps, the best criteria for judging of regard the whole as fictions, is nothing the time when the poet lived. His more than might be expected, since fabulous machinery shews, most proscarcely any fact relating to those bably, that he did not live among times has come down to us without being disfigured by fables.

* Wood's Essay on Homer, p. 223.

those who were the immediate agents the text of Homer; and the position in the war; and his minute details, de- he assigns to it seems to bave been livered with all the good faith of his- near the present village of Chiblak. tory, shew, on the other hand, that The first modern who bestowed he lived at no great distance of time much pains in endeavouring to clear after them,-perhaps among their up the topography of Troy was Mr children or grandchildren. With Wood in 1750. He easily found the such distinct characters of truth in river Scamander, but he could not his narrative and descriptions, it is find a stream corresponding to the singular that the researches made to Simois till he went twenty miles from ascertain the exact scene of the Iliad the sea, and beyond this he was oblighave been so unsatisfactory. We ed to place his Troy among the hills, think the difficulties that have em- a situation so completely at variance barrassed the subject have arisen with the text of Homer, as to induce partly from the traditions of later a belief, that all attempts to reconcile ages, which have been blended in the poet's descriptions with the existour discussions with the poet's de- ing features of the country were hopescriptions; partly from changes on less. the face of the country, as well as In 1785 M. Chevalier, a Frenchfrom the want of a correct delineation man, not discouraged by the bad sucof its surface ; and partly from errors cess of Mr Wood, examined a part of propagated by rash speculators, who the Troad with great minuteness, and have generalized a few facts without read the result of his researches be attending closely to the text of Ho- fore the Royal Society of Edinburgh mer. We hope to be able to clear in 1791. He imagined that he had up many of these difficulties, and to discovered all the leading places and settle some points of capital import- objects mentioned by Homer, and ance, which will simplify the labour even some remains of Troy itself, of future inquirers, though we have though in Strabo's days it was supscarcely any thing to propose that des posed that every vestige of the town serves the name of a new theory, and had disappeared. His theory was in many particulars shall have only very ingenious, but was supported by to repeat what has been stated before. the most disingenuous means. It was Our readers, however, must bear with combated by Mr Bryant, and by a some details, which we shall endea- writer in the Edinburgh Review who vour to contine within as narrow limits had visited the place. It was supas possible.

ported by Mr Morritt, and illusThe map we have prefixed is copied trated in splendid drawings by Mr from that of Mr Hobhouse, which is Gell; and from a work lately pubmore detailed than the others we have lished, it appears still to have some seen; but it has been corrected in partisans. some particulars by the maps and the Dr Clarke, in the second part of his text of Clarke, Chevalier, Wood, and Travels, hạs bestowed three chapters Foster, in Walpole's Memoirs. It is on the Troad. He ascertained one but very imperfect, as we shall after- point of much importance, the situawards see, but it seems more trust- tion of New Ilium, (the Ilium of Straworthy than any of the others. bo ;) but in other respects his discus

Strabo, who lived about 1200 years sions and remarks have rather tended after Homer, describes the region of to perplex the subject. the Troad at considerable length in Mr Hobhouse, after a very patient his 13th book, chiefly on the autho- examination of the country, and a fall rity of Demetrius of Scepsis, for he and learned discussion of the most appears not to have visited the place material topics connected with it, himself. He informs us that no ves comes to the conclusion, that all the tiges of the town then remained ; hypotheses hitherto advanced are un(Strabo, Edit. Amstelædlami, 170?, satisfactory, and that it is scarcely p. 895;) but he endeavours to fix its possible, by any mode of explanation, situation by reasonings founded on to reconcile the existing features of

the Troad with the poet's topography. See Wood's Essay, p. 215. In verse 486, Bock 2d, he disclaims all immediate * Walpole's Memoirs relating to Europersonal knowledge of the events of the war. pean and Asiatic Turkey, 1817.

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Mr Walpole's Memoirs, published ed on the shore of the Hellespont, at in 1817, contain a few additional de- or near the common mouth of these tails, with a map by Mr L. Foster, rivers, and on the same side with the but they scarcely throw any new light Scamander, for they crossed that river on the subject. Major Rennell also only in going to Troy. Their ships has published observations on the site were drawn up on the sandy shore in of Troy, (not founded on personal ob- several lines, between which were the servation, but we have not seen tents, and latterly the whole were them.

protected by a wall flanked with towGeographical situation of the Plain ers, and a ditch with palisades. Of of Troy.-Among the multitude of the two rivers the Scamander was the topics connected with the Trojan to- most distinguished, and was honoured pography, which have been the sub- as a god. This outline of Homer's ject of controversy, it has been disa topography will enable the reader to puted whether the plain country ly- enter more readily into the investigaing along the south side of the Dar- tions which follow. The details will danelles be the territory alluded to be developed in the course of our disby the poet. And, with reference to cussions. this question, it has been maintained, The modern Troad. The district that the name Hellespont, so often considered as the Troad at present used by Homer, and formerly given consists of a plain of no great extent, to the Dardanelles, was likewise ap- lying along the southern shore of the plied to the northern part of the Egean Hellespont. It is watered by a river sea as far as Lectum. Without en- called the Mendere. This name, it tering at length into this discussion, is said, was first mentioned as that of we may observe, that by Strabo and the river by Lady M. W. Montague ; Pausanias the name of Hellespont was and it has been repeated by many restricted to the narrow canal; and subsequent travellers. Mr Hobhouse that these writers, with all the ancient denies that the river is at present Greeks, we believe, without exception, known in the country by this name; held the country alluded to to be thé but the statement of this intelligent plain of Troy. But Homer seems to traveller would have had greater weight have put this beyond a doubt, by two had he told his what was its modern circumstances. 1. The Hellespont, at name in the plain. The Greek guides, or within which the ships were sta- however, employed by Messrs Hunt tioned, (B. xv. v. 233. B. xviii. v. and Carlyle, called it sometimes Men150,) is described as the boundary of dere and sometimes Scamander, (Walthe Thracians, and is termed ayappoov, pole's Memoirs,) the one evidently the rushing," or“ swiftly flowing," being the common name, and the (B. ii. v. 845, B. xii. v. 30.) an epithet other the name they had learned from șingularly descriptive of a strait which European travellers. It is nearly dry has a constant current, like a river at in summer, but presents a current 300 the rate of three miles an hour, feet broad in winter, and overflows (Wood's Essay, p. 320,) but not appli- the plain to some distance from its cable to the Egean sea, which has no

banks. Its source is a magnificent tides. 2. Neptune observed the bat- cascade in Mount Ida, about forty tles from Samothrace, a station evi- miles up the country, which pours out dently better adapted for surveying its waters during the whole year. this than any other part of the coast; The next stream in importance is the and after going to Egas in Eubea, he Thymbrek or Gheumbrek, lying northreturneừ through the sea, and leaving ward of the Mendere, but much smalhis chariot in a cavern between Imbros ler, and rising also in Mount Ida. It and Tenedos, went into the Greek is apparently about fourteen or fifteen camp. (B. xiii. v. 10—38.) It is not miles in length, and ends in a marsh possible to point out the mouth of the near the mouth of the Mendere. The Hellespont more precisely.

third stream in point of size is the riWe learn from Homer that Troy vulet of Bournabashi, about eight or was situated in a plain below Mount nine miles in length, rising near the Ida, not far from the Hellespont, and village of that name from 40 springs, between the rivers Scamander and running nearly parallel to the VenSimois, which met before they fell in- dere on its southern side, and joining to the sea. The Greeks were encamp- this river about two miles and a half

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