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REMARKS 00 the OPINIONS entertained by different COMMENTATORS

with respect to the SITUATION of the HELL of Homer.

{From the First Volume of Count STOLBERG's Travels.]

DE it granted that Virgil was were at the lake of Avernus; and

D right in following ancient the narrow fhore was what was tradition, and profiting by the na- ' called the dam of Hercules : that tural gloom of the places, and the leads from the Tyrrhene sea to dismal ideas of the religion of the the Lucrine lake.'' people concerning these places, the “In his treatise on the wander. religio loci, as ho elsewhere terms it: ings of Ulysses, he says, "By the let it be proved, and nothing more ocean, Homer here understands can be proved, that the entrance to the Lucrine lake and that of his hell was at Avernus: it yet ap- 'Avernus.' pears to me, however great the au. Various circumstances are thus thorities may be to the contrary, brought together; and in a certain ihat the opinions of those are un- Tense, it would give me great pleafounded who suppose the hell of sure now to be personally present on Homer to have the same situation. the places where there scenes have There is scarcely any hypothesis passed. How interesting would it which acuteness may not render be, for a passionate admirer and loprobable: as this seems to have ver of Homer, to visit those coun. been rendered. Cluverius himself, tries that have been honoured by a very intelligent reader and com- his boldest Aights! But the most mentator of the ancients, encou- interesting of all things is truth. courages this dreain.

“ By the ocean of Homer, we " Homer,' says he, makes now generally understand the ocean • Ulyffes fail from the country of properly so called. Our learned • Circe, to that of Cimmeria in one Vols bas taught us that Homer, and 6 day; and likewise with a north other poets, who lived long after 'wind. Put these circumstances Homer, by the word oceanus, un

together, and he could only fail derstood the great stream: which, " to these parts. The grove of l'ro. according to their opinion, flowed « ferpine and the gloomy palace of round the earth. Now, in whichPluto, as mentioned by Homer,, ever sense we understand it, we

Thall shall find how impossible it was were over the ruins of nature, the that the poet, in the above passage, frequent earthquakes, and add to could describe the Lucrine lake these the vicinity of all the delights and the lake of Avernus by the of nature contrasted with all her term oceanus.

horrors, these circumstances, taken “ He was unacquainted with the collectively, gave rise to, and food Avernus, for he did not go up the for, the imaginary fables and terrors country; and before Agrippa had of the empire of death : an empire levelled the high shore of this lake, in which, according to the relation on the side next the sea, and had of Homer, the abodes of the blessed united it with the Lucrine lake, it border on the confines of the was not visible from the sea.

damned. “And even if Homer had ascend. ." As an attentive reading of the ed this high dhore, he would have Æneid has long vindicated Virgil been convinced of the small circum- from the absurdity of having placed ference of the lake, and certainly his entire hell in regions well kaowR would not have called it the ocean. upon earth; fo likewife, had the

" That in later ages, though travels of Ulysses been attended to long before the time of Virgil, the in the same spirit, they would not relidence of the dead was fought for have led the reader to discover the in this country, I very well know. shades of death in this place. WithIt was larer ages, that dedicated to out having recourfe to the strange Proserpine her grove, and to Pluto confusion of the lake of Avernus his gloomy palace. Livy tells us with the ocean, this hypothefis is that Hannibal led a part of his army self-destructive. to Avernus, under the pretext of "What reason could Ulysses have facrificing there ; but in reality to to return from the Mhades of hell to make an atiempt upon Puteoli, Circe ? Had he passed the Avernos, and the Roman garrison that it his navigating back to the goddess contained.

was unnecessary. His route led him “I believe it is a very ancient southward to the island of the Si. opinion that Homer led his Ulyffes rens: Why did he fail back to the to this place. The idea was flatter- . north, when he must a second time ing to the Greeks, who inhabited have necessarily failed past the these coasts; and very slight grounds Avernus? Why did Circe tell him, would make it credited by the peo. when he entreated her to send him ple of Comæ, Puteolig Baize, and, back to Ithaca, that he must previParthenope : the present Naples.- outly go another way, a n esos, They were likewise interested in a to the abode of Pluto, Aidaes,; and political view: it made them re- to the terrible Proserpine, Perle. ipected. Beside, offerings no cloubt phoncia; to question the soul of the were brought to their temples; and prophet Tirelias? Ulysses informthe nature of the country favoured ed his companions of this other the prejudice. The inundating, voyage. The intelligence grieved noxious-vapour.exhaling, water of them to the heart; so that they the fea and the rivers, the at that wept and tore their hair. And time fiery Epomeus of the island of why? The danger of the descent lichia, the caverns ex haling sulphur, into hell was the talk only of Ulysthe volcanic traces of the country, fes: but this unknown voyage over where the inhabitants stumbled as it feas which none of them had yet

navigated, was equally terrible to in imagination, he might welcome them all.

this holy horror as the proper ele“ Neither did these clamours in ment for the creation of his holdest the least agree with a voyage to the imagery,' The characteristic marks fhores of Avernus, which lay in of melancholy and gloom predomitheir way: and the second visit to nate through the whole of the Circe was still more absurd. Should eleventh book of the Odyssey, it be answered that Ulysses returned 6 Whether the people of Cimto inter Elpenor, who had broken merium and their city, as described his neck in the palace of the god- by the poetdess, and whom, oppressed by other cares, he had left unburied, his " There in a lonely land and gloomy cells meeting with the soul of Elpenor in The dusky nation of Cimmeria dwells the lower regions will thew the

Thesun ne'er views th'uncomfortable seats,

When radiant he advances, or retreats. · error of this opinion. He entreated

Unhappy race! whom endless night in. Ulysses to remember him, and to

vades, see him buried : ' for I know,' said Clouds the dull air, and wraps them round he, that thou wilt land on the in shades. • Ææan island.'

Pope, Od. b. xi. 15. " Ulysses promises a ready compliance, as a thing easily to be per- whether the dark kingdom of this formed. Had he been excited by benighted people was the creation other cares, which had induced him of Homer, or, which to me is much to leave him unburied the first time, more probable, the picture of more a ceremony that at the utinost early fable, I cannot determine: but would have required only the delay it does not appear to me that this of a few days in order to afford him passage is applicable to the Cimmethis token of his affection, what rii of Italy; who lived under grounds could now induce him to perform The latter, whether they actually such a voyage for his fake? Elpenor buried themselves in subterranean well knew that Ulysses would not caverns or not, were probably so unnecessarily wander over an un. called from the Cimmerii described known sea : but would more will. by Homer. ingly return by a route that he had I Mall again have occasion to already navigated, and afterward speak of the Cimmerii of Italy, and continue a coafting voyage.

of the light under which they have ,* Where then was the hell of been considered by the laft comHomer situated ? In answer to this mentators on the ancients ; parti.. I must refer you to the map of Voss, cularly the Italians. which contains the countries de. "Whoever has a just notion of fcribed by Homer ; and to his own the state of geography among the inquiries concerning ancient geogra. Greeks in much later times than phy. The empire of death may be those of Homer, whoever is famiconcealed in that terrific and dismal liarized with oceanus, in the Promea gloom in which the poet found it, theus of Æschylus, with the Ariamong the records of tradition: or mafpi, and with the daughter of he might have purposely enveloped Phorcus-he, I say, who is but it in the darkness of amazement, flightly acquainted with the ancient and of horror. As sagacious in the Tonic bards, the contemporaries of conduct of his poem as he was rich Homer, will know that they might 1797.


imagine those places, though they be giants: and was it a poet's bu. were but a day's fail beyond the fineis to represent them as cortemon promontory of Circe, that is, a day's men ? fail to which the goddess lent fa- “How sublime was the, fhall I vourable winds, to be the limits of call it poetical fi&ion, or, tradition the earth. Later times have thrown of the island, which was governed by back Cimmerian darknets farther to the prince and lord of the winds, the north. Hence the inhabitants Æolus! Homer took good carey of lutiand, and the Danish itlands, that we might have no trace of any have at length been called the such illand, to leave it floating in Cimbri.

the sea. Both modern and ancient " The fables of the ancients have commentators suppose the largest oí frequently wandered from place to the Lipari islands, near Sicily, to be place: and the motley inultitudes the place. What I have said of the of system-makers have been eager Lättrygoos is equally applicable to to wander in their company, the Cyclops. Homer might well,

6 Great Thade of the greatest of three thousand years ago, with ago poets, out of whose ever youthfui parent probability people an island imagination the Iliad and Odyssey with giants in which only two hunforario blooming, wouldīt thou not, dred years ago Fazello, a valuable from thy real not fabulous Elysium, Sicilian author, was persuaded of look down, and laugh, didst thou the truth of the skeletons of giants three thousand years after the exift. having been found near Trapani, ence of thy Cimmerii, who were in the year 1342 ; and that one thy own offspring, behold a tribe of of them was the giant Eryx, slain learned insects, industrious book by Hercules. worms, point out thy empire of “The cautious poet likewise left bell on the map of Homan? An the fituation of the island of Ogygia, empire which thou, with all the the residence of the goddess Calypcaution of wisdom, haft placed be- so, soundetermined, that some have yond the ken of cold curiosity, in supposed it to be Malta, others Gozo che necromantic darkness of le. near Malta, others again a little cend; whole non-existing phan- island below the bay of Taranto, oms, embodied by thee, are point. and others an island near Albania. ed to as realities, and as the traces the ancient Epirus. of geographical truth!

“ Yet who so determinate and During the whole peregrinations circumstantial as Homer, when he of Ulysses from people to people, we can by that means promote poetical can follow him without difficulty. effect ? Who ro lively, in defcribHow greatly is the poetical truth of ing and producing the scenery, the Odyssey realized by this circum- when he can thus give greater ani. fance! The wonderful phenome- mation and reality to his characters? na of Scylla and Charybdis, which who knows like him to favour poco deterred the companions of the hero tical illufion by light clouds, or by from near inquiry, contribute to the dark, that now conceal, now magpoetical fiction of their being living nify and render objects dreadful, monsters. The Læstrygons, a wild and now glimmer round them; people inhabiting thenorthern shore while they communicate thoie ten. of Sicily, were probably by the con- der trembling lights, which enchant forn poraries of the poet supposed to the curiufity that they excite ?


“Children cry for the rainbow; narrative is not as circumstantially and the childish in understanding barren as a gazette, or as talkative are dissatisfied with the poet, whose as the tales of old women."

INVESTIGATION on the Site of Troy.'


" THE distance from the Greci. Marc Antony removetl his urn and

1 an camp to the fite of Troy, ashes into Ægypt, which were after. has supplied those who contend ward restored with funeral honours against its existence with many plau. by Augustus, when it is probable sible objections. It is, however, that the prefent vault was made, certain that the present village of and the superstructure erected. This Kouin-kaleh is ftuate on a fand. compliment was paid to his manes bank of more than a mile in extent, to gratify the lian citizens, who which will reduce the distance, supó conGdered him as their cutelar. posing it to be an accretion from the The city of Ilium was about two Hellespont, to less than eight Eng- miles distant, near the junction of lith miles from Bounàr-bashi, where the Scamander and Sinoeis, and the Scæan gate once stood. The ad- owed its origin to Alexander and vanced works both of Greeks and Lyfimachus, who repaired the tem. Trojans lessened the intermediate ple of Minerva, and surrounded it foace. If the Grecian camp was with a wall. It is not in;probable between the shore and the junction that when Alexander was enthufi. of the Simoeis and Scamander, then astically investigating the fire of an. known only by the latter name, the cient Troy, that the priests of Mi. United river will answer to all the nerva should attach him, from poli. epithets given to it by Homer. cy, to this spot for the foundation of

“We began our survey of the a city which had likewise luperior plain of Troy. Crossing the Simo. maritime advantages. Menutus, cis over a long wooden bridge near governor of lliun, went out to its embouchure, we passed over an meet Alexander in his Perfic expeextensive level of ploughed fields, dition, and presented him with a and Goulù-fui, a brook which empo golden crown. It was first takeri ties itself into the sea near In-tepe, by Charidemus Orites; and subseor the tomb of Ajax Telamonius. quently besieged by Fimbria, the This tumulus is now irregularly general engaged in the cause of Ma. Ihaped. Near the top is a fmall rius, and levelled with the ground; arched way almost choked up with this injury was afterwards severely earth, which was the entrance into revenged by Sylla. They enjoyed the vault, and over it a broken wall, the patronage of Julius Cæfar. It where was once a small sepulchral excites no wonder, that after so fane, called the Aiantèum. The long possession of it by the Turks, whole seems to be of a much more not a stone should remain, yet some podera date than the death of Ajax. contend against the existence of


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