Buried Cities, Volume 2
Produced by Juliet Sutherland, David Widger and PG Distributed Proofreaders
BURIED CITIES, VOLUME 2
Author of "Four Old Greeks," Etc. Instructor in History and English in
the Francis W. Parker School, Chicago
With Many Drawings and Photographs From Original Sources
The publishers are grateful to the estate of Miss Jennie Hall and to her
many friends for assistance in planning the publication of this book.
Especial thanks are due to Miss Nell C. Curtis of the Lincoln School,
New York City, for helping to finish Miss Hall's work of choosing the
pictures, and to Miss Irene I. Cleaves of the Francis Parker School,
Chicago, who wrote the captions. It was Miss Katharine Taylor, now of
the Shady Hill School, Cambridge, who brought these stories to our
FOREWORD: TO BOYS AND GIRLS
Do you like to dig for hidden treasure? Have you ever found Indian
arrowheads or Indian pottery? I knew a boy who was digging a cave in
a sandy place, and he found an Indian grave. With his own hands he
uncovered the bones and skull of some brave warrior. That brown skull
was more precious to him than a mint of money. Another boy I knew was
making a cave of his own. Suddenly he dug into an older one made years
before. He crawled into it with a leaping heart and began to explore. He
found an old carpet and a bit of burned candle. They proved that some
one had lived there. What kind of a man had he been and what kind
of life had he lived--black or white or red, robber or beggar or
adventurer? Some of us were walking in the woods one day when we saw a
bone sticking out of the ground. Luckily we had a spade, and we set to
work digging. Not one moment was the tool idle. First one bone and then
another came to light and among them a perfect horse's skull. We felt as
though we had rescued Captain Kidd's treasure, and we went home draped
Suppose that instead of finding the bones of a horse we had uncovered a
gold-wrapped king. Suppose that instead of a deserted cave that boy
had dug into a whole buried city with theaters and mills and shops and
beautiful houses. Suppose that instead of picking up an Indian arrowhead
you could find old golden vases and crowns and bronze swords lying in
the earth. If you could be a digger and a finder and could choose your
find, would you choose a marble statue or a buried bakeshop with bread
two thousand years old still in the oven or a king's grave filled with
golden gifts? It is of such digging and such finding that this book
1. Two Winners of Crowns
2. How a City Was Lost
_Pictures of Olympia_:
Entrance to Stadion
Boys in Gymnasium
Temple of Zeus
The Labors of Herakles
The Statue of Victory
The Hermes of Praxiteles
The Temple of Hera
Head of an Athlete
A Greek Horseman
TWO WINNERS OF CROWNS
The July sun was blazing over the country of Greece. Dust from the dry
plain hung in the air. But what cared the happy travelers for dust or
heat? They were on their way to Olympia to see the games. Every road
teemed with a chattering crowd of men and boys afoot and on horses. They
wound down from the high mountains to the north. They came along the
valley from the east and out from among the hills to the south. Up from
the sea led the sacred road, the busiest of all. A little caravan of men
and horses was trying to hurry ahead through the throng. The master
rode in front looking anxiously before him as though he did not see the
crowd. After him rode a lad. His eyes were flashing eagerly here and
there over the strange throng. A man walked beside the horse and watched
the boy smilingly. Behind them came a string of pack horses with slaves
to guard the loads of wine and food and tents and blankets for their
"What a strange-looking man, Glaucon!" said the boy. "He has a dark
The boy's own skin was fair, and under his hat his hair was golden. As
he spoke he pointed to a man on the road who was also riding at the head
of a little caravan. His skin was dark. Shining black hair covered his
ears. His garment was gay with colored stripes.
"He is a merchant from Egypt," answered the man. "He will have curious
things to sell--vases of glass, beads of amber, carved ivory, and
scrolls gay with painted figures. You must see them, Charmides."
But already the boy had forgotten the Egyptian.
"See the chariot!" he cried.
It was slowly rolling along the stony road. A grave, handsome man stood
in it holding the reins. Beside him stood another man with a staff in
his hand. Behind the chariot walked two bowmen. After them followed a
long line of pack horses led by slaves. "They are the delegates from
Athens," explained Glaucon. "There are, doubtless, rich gifts for Zeus
on the horses and perhaps some stone tablets engraved with new laws."
But the boy was not listening.
"Jugglers! Jugglers!" he cried.
And there they were at the side of the road, showing their tricks and
begging for coins. One man was walking on his hands and tossing a ball
about with his feet. Another was swallowing a sword.
"Stop, Glaucon!" cried Charmides, "I must see him. He will kill
"No, my little master," replied the slave. "You shall see him again at
Olympia. See your father. He would be vexed if we waited."
And there was the master ahead, pushing forward rapidly, looking neither
to the right hand nor the left. The boy sighed.
"He is hurrying to see Creon. He forgets me!" he thought.
But immediately his eyes were caught by some new thing, and his face
was gay again. So the little company traveled up the sloping road amid
interesting sights. For here were people from all the corners of the
known world--Greeks from Asia in trailing robes, Arabs in white turbans,
black men from Egypt, kings from Sicily, Persians with their curled
beards, half civilized men from the north in garments of skin. "See!"
said Glaucon at last as they reached a hilltop, "the temple!"
He pointed ahead. There shone the tip of the roof and its gold ornament.
Hovering above was a marble statue with spread wings.
"And there is Victory!" whispered Charmides. "She is waiting for Creon.
She will never wait for me," and he sighed.
The crowd broke into a shout when they saw the temple. A company of
young men flew by, singing a song. Charmides passed a sick man. The
slaves had set down his litter, and he had stretched out his hands
toward the temple and was praying. For the sick were sometimes cured
by a visit to Olympia. The boy's father had struck his heels into his
horse's sides and was galloping forward, calling to his followers to
In a few moments they reached higher land. Then they saw the sacred
place spread out before them. There was the wall all around it. Inside
it shone a few buildings and a thousand statues. Along one side
stretched a row of little marble treasure houses. At the far corner lay
the stadion with its rows of stone seats. Nearer and outside the wall
was the gymnasium. Even from a distance Charmides could see men running
about in the court.
"There are the athletes!" he thought. "Creon is with them."
Behind all these buildings rose a great hill, dark green with trees.
Down from the hill poured a little stream. It met a wide river that
wound far through the valley. In the angle of these rivers lay Olympia.
The temple and walls and gymnasium were all of stone and looked as
though they had been there forever. But in the meadow all around the
sacred place was a city of winged tents. There were little shapeless
ones of skins lying over sticks. There were round huts woven of rushes.
There were sheds of poles with green boughs laid upon them. There were
tall tents of gaily striped canvas. Farther off were horses tethered.
And everywhere were gaily robed men moving about. Menon, Charmides'
father, looking ahead from the high place, turned to a slave.
"Run on quickly," he said. "Save a camping place for us there on Mount
Kronion, under the trees."
The man was off. Menon spoke to the other servants. "Push forward and
make camp. I will visit the gymnasium. Come, Charmides, we will go to
They rode down the slope toward Olympia. As they passed among the tents
they saw friends and exchanged kind greetings.
"Ah, Menon!" called one. "There is good news of Creon. Every one expects
great things of him."
"I have kept room for your camp next my tent, Menon," said another.
"Here are sights for you, Charmides," said a kind old man.
Charmides caught a glimpse of gleaming marble among the crowd and
guessed that some sculptor was showing his statues for sale. Yonder was
a barber's tent. Gentlemen were sitting in chairs and men were cutting
their hair or rubbing their faces smooth with stone. In one place a
man was standing on a little platform. A crowd was gathered about him
listening, while he read from a scroll in his hands.
But the boy had only a glimpse of these things, for his father was
hurrying on. In a moment they crossed a bridge over a river and stopped
before a low, wide building. Glaucon helped Charmides off his horse.
Menon spoke a few words to the porter at the gate. The man opened the
door and led the visitors in. Charmides limped along beside his father,
for he was lame. That was what had made him sigh when he had seen
Victory hovering over Olympia. She would never give him the olive
branch. But now he did not think of that. His heart was beating fast.
His eyes were big. For before him lay a great open court baking in the
sun. More than a hundred boys were at work there, leaping, wrestling,
hurling the disk, throwing spears. During the past months they had been
living here, training for the games. The sun had browned their bare
bodies. Now their smooth skins were shining with sweat and oil. As they
bent and twisted they looked like beautiful statues turned brown and
come alive. Among them walked men in long purple robes. They seemed to
be giving commands.
"They are the judges," whispered Glaucon. "They train the boys."
All around the hot court ran a deep, shady portico. Here boys lay on
the tiled floor or on stone benches, resting from their exercise. Near
Charmides stood one with his back turned. He was scraping the oil and
dust from his body with a strigil. Charmides' eyes danced with joy
at the beauty of the firm, round legs and the muscles moving in the
shoulders. Then the athlete turned toward the visitors and Charmides
cried out, "Creon!" and ran and threw his arms around him.
Then there was gay talk; Creon asked about the home and mother and
sisters in Athens, for he had been here in training for almost ten
months. Menon and Charmides had a thousand questions about the games.
"I know I shall win, father," said Creon softly. "Four nights ago Hermes
appeared to me in my sleep and smiled upon me. I awoke suddenly and
there was a strange, sweet perfume in the air."
Tears sprang into his father's eyes. "Now blessed be the gods!" he
cried, "and most blessed Hermes, the god of the gymnasium!"
After a little Menon and Charmides said farewell and went away through
the chattering crowd and up under the cool trees on Mount Kronion to
their camp. The slaves had cut poles and set them up and thrown a wide
linen cover over them. Under it they had put a little table holding
lumps of brown cheese, a flat loaf of bread, a basket of figs, a pile
of crisp lettuce. Just outside the tent grazed a few goats. A man in a
soiled tunic was squatted milking one. Menon's slave stood waiting and,
as his master came up, he took the big red bowl of foaming milk and
carried it to the table. The goatherd picked up his long crook and
started his flock on, calling, "Milk! Milk to sell!"
Menon was gay now. His worries were over. His camp was pitched in a
pleasant place. His son was well and sure of victory.
"Come, little son," he called to Charmides. "You must be as hungry as a
wolf. But first our thanks to the gods."
A slave had poured a little wine into a flat cup and stood now offering
it to his master. Menon took it and held it high, looking up into the
"O gracious Hermes!" he cried aloud, "fulfill thy omen! And to Zeus, the
father, and to all the immortals be thanks."
As he prayed he turned the cup and spilled the wine upon the ground.
That was the god's portion. A slave spread down a rug for his master
to lie upon and put cushions under his elbow. Glaucon did the same for
Charmides, and the meal began. Menon talked gaily about their journey,
the games to-morrow, Creon's training. But Charmides was silent. At last
his father said:
"Well, little wolf, you surely are gulping! Are you so starved?"
"No," said Charmides with full mouth. "I'm in a hurry. I want to see
His father laughed and leaped to his feet.
"Just like me, lad. Come on!"
Charmides snatched a handful of figs and rolled out of the tent
squealing with joy. Menon came after him, laughing, and Glaucon followed
to care for them. "The sun is setting," said Menon. "It will soon be
dark, and to-morrow are the games. They will keep us busy when they
begin, so you must use your eyes to-day if you want to see the fair."
He stopped on the hillside and looked down into the sacred place.
"It is wonderful!" he said, half to himself. "The home of glory! I love
every stone of it. I have not been here since I myself won the single
race. And now my son is to win it. That was when you were a baby,
"I know, father," whispered the boy with shining eyes. "I have kissed
your olive wreath, where it hangs above our altar at home."
The father put his hand lovingly on the boy's yellow head.
"By the help of Hermes there soon will be a green one there for you to
kiss, lad. The gods are very good to crown our family twice."
"I wish there were crowns for lame boys to win," said Charmides. "I
would win one!"
He said that fiercely and clenched his fist. His father looked kindly
into his eyes and spoke solemnly.
"I think you would, my son. Perhaps there are such crowns."
They started on thoughtfully and soon were among the crowd. There were
a hundred interesting sights. They passed an outdoor oven like a little
round hill of stones and clay. The baker was just raking the fire out of
the little door on the side. Charmides waited to see him put the loaves
into the hot cave. But before it was done a horn blew and called him
away to a little table covered with cakes.
"Honey cakes! Almond cakes! Fig cakes!" sang the man. "Come buy!"
There they lay--stars and fish and ships and temples. Charmides picked
up one in the shape of a lyre.
"I will take this one," he said, and solemnly ate it.
"Why are you so solemn, son?" laughed Menon.
The boy did not answer. He only looked up at his father with deep eyes
and said nothing. But in a moment he was racing off to see some rope
"Glaucon," said the master to the slave, "take care of the boy. Give him
a good time. Buy him what he wants. Take him back to camp when he is
tired. I have business to do."
Then he turned to talk with a friend, who had come up, and Glaucon
followed his little master.
What a good time the boy had! The rope dancers, the sword swallowers,
the Egyptian with his painted scroll, a trained bear that wrestled with
a wild-looking man dressed in skins, a cooking tent where whole sheep
were roasting and turning over a fire, another where tiny fish were
boiling in a great pot of oil and jumping as if alive--he saw them all.
He stood under the sculptors' awning and gazed at the marble people more
beautiful than life. And when he came upon Apollo striking his lyre, his
heart leaped into his mouth. He stood quiet for a long time gazing at
this god of song. Then he walked out of the tent with shining eyes.
At last it grew dark, and torches began to blaze in front of the booths.
"Shall we go home, Charmides?" said Glaucon.
"Oh, no!" cried the boy. "I haven't seen it all. I am not tired. It is
gayer now than ever with the torches. See all those shining flames."
And he ran to a booth where a hundred little bronze lamps hung, each
with its tongue of clear light. It was an imagemaker's booth. The table
stood full of little clay statues of the gods. Charmides took up one. It
was a young man leaning against a tree trunk. On his arm he held a baby.
"It is a model of the great marble Hermes in the temple of Hera, my
little master," said the image maker. "Great Praxiteles made that one,
poor Philo made this one."
"It is beautiful," said Charmides and turned away, holding it tenderly
in his hand.
Glaucon waited a moment to pay for the figure. Then he followed
Charmides who had walked on. He was standing on the bridge gazing at the
"Glaucon," he said, "I must see that statue of Hermes."
They stood there talking about the wonderful works of Praxiteles and of
many another artist. Glaucon pointed to a little wooden shed lying in
"That," he said, "is the workshop of Phidias. There he made the gold and
ivory statue of Zeus that you shall see in Zeus's temple. That workshop
will stay there many a year, I think, for people to love because so
great a thing was done there."
"Is it so wonderful?" asked Charmides.
"When it was finished," Glaucon answered solemnly, "Phidias stood before
it and prayed to Zeus to tell him whether it pleased the god. Great Zeus
heard the prayer, and in his joy at the beautiful thing he hurled a
blazing thunderbolt and smote the floor before the statue as if to say,
'This image is Zeus himself.' But I have never seen it, for a slave may
not pass the sacred wall."
Now the full moon had risen, and the world was swimming in silver light.
The statue of Victory hung over the sacred place on spread wings. Many
another great form on its high pillar seemed standing in the deep sky
above the world. The little pool in the pebbly river had stars in the
"This Kladeos is a savage little river in the spring," said Glaucon. "It
tries to tear away our Olympia or drown it or cover it with sand. You
see, men have had to fence it in with stone walls."
But Charmides was looking at the sacred place and its soft shining
statues in the sky.
"Let us walk around the wall," he said.
So they left the river and passed the gymnasium and the gate. Along this
side the wall cast a wide shadow. Here they walked in silence. Here
there were no tents, no torches, no noisy people. Everything was quiet
in the evening air. The far-off sounds of the fair were a gentle hum. A
hundred pictures were floating in Charmides' mind--Phidias, Zeus, Creon
with the strigil, his own little Hermes, the strange people in the fair,
the marble Apollo under the sculptor's tent. In a few moments they
turned a corner and came out into the soft moonlight. A little beyond
gleamed a broad river, the Alphaeus. Charmides and the slave went over
and strolled along its banks. Here they were again in the crowd and
among tents. They saw a group of people and went toward them. A man
sat on a low knoll a little above the crowd. His hair hung about his
shoulders and his long robe lay in glistening folds about his feet. A
lyre rested on his knees, and he was striking the strings softly. The
sweet notes floated high in the moonlit air. At last he lifted his voice
When the swan spreadeth out his wings to alight
On the whirling pools of the foaming stream,
He sendeth to thee, Apollo, a note.
When the sweet-voiced minstrel lifteth his lyre
And stretcheth his hand on the singing string,
He sendeth to thee, Apollo, a prayer.
Even so do I now, a worshiping bard,
With my heart lifted up to begin my lay,
Cry aloud to Apollo, the lord of song.
Then he sang of that lordliest of all minstrels, Orpheus--how the trees
swung circling about to his music; how the savage beasts lay down at his
feet to listen; how the rocks rose up at his bidding and followed him,
dancing, to build a town without hands; how he went to the dismal land
of the dead to seek his wife and with his clear lyre and sweet voice
drew tears from the iron heart of the king of hell and won back his
loved Eurydice and lost her again the same hour.
The boy, sitting there in the moonlight, went floating away on the song
until he felt himself straying through that fair garden of the dead with
singing lyre or riding with Artemis through the sky in her moon chariot.
When the song was ended, Glaucon said, "Come, little master, you have
fallen asleep. Let us go home."
And Charmides rose and went, still clutching his image of Hermes in his
hand and still holding the song fast in his heart.
In the morning the whole great camp was awake and moving long before
daylight. Every man and boy was in his fairest clothes. On every head
was a fresh fillet. Every hand bore some beautiful gift for the gods--a
vase, a plate of gold, an embroidered robe, a basket of silver. All were
pouring to the open gate in the sacred wall. Here a procession formed.
Young men led cattle with gilded horns and swinging garlands, or sheep
with clean, combed wool. Stately priests in long chitons paced to the
music of flutes. The judges glowed in their purple robes. Then walked
the athletes, their eyes burning with excitement. And last came all the
visitors with gift-laden hands. The slaves and foreigners crowded at
the gate to see the procession pass, for on this first holy day only
freedmen and Greeks of pure blood might visit the sacred shrines. When
Charmides passed through, his heart leaped. Here was no empty field with
a few altars. He had never seen a greater crowd in the busy market place
at home in Athens. But here the people were even more beautiful than
the Athenians. Their limbs were round and perfect. They stood always
gracefully. Their garments hung in delicate folds, for they were people
made by great artists--people of marble and of bronze. All the gods of
Olympos were there, and athletes of years gone by, wrestling, running,
hurling the disc. There were bronze chariots with horses of bronze to
draw them and men of bronze to hold the reins. There were heroes of Troy
still fighting. And here and there were little altars of marble or
stone or earth or ashes with an ancient, holy statue. At every one the
procession halted. The priests poured a libation and chanted a prayer.
The people sang a hymn. Many left gifts piled about the altar. Before
Hermes Charmides left his little clay image of the god. And while
the priests prayed aloud, the boy sent up a whispered prayer for his
Once the procession came before a low, narrow temple. It was of
sun-dried bricks coated with plaster. Its columns were all different
from one another. Some were slender, others thick; some fluted, others
plain; and all were brightly painted. Charmides smiled up at his father.
"It is not so beautiful as the Parthenon," he said.
"No," his father answered, "but it is very old and very holy. Every
generation of man has put a new column here. That is why they are not
alike. This is the ancient temple of Hera."
Then they entered the door. Down the long aisle they walked between
small open rooms on either side. Here stood statues gazing out--some of
marble, some of gold and ivory. The priests had moved to the front and
stood praying before the ancient statues of Zeus and Hera. But suddenly
Charmides stopped and would go no farther. For here, in a little room
all alone, stood his Hermes with the baby Dionysus. The boy cried out
softly with joy and crept toward the lovely thing. He gently touched the
golden sandal. He gazed into the kind blue eyes and smiled. The marble
was delicately tinted and glowed like warm skin. A frail wreath of
golden leaves lay on the curling hair. Charmides looked up at the tiny
baby and laughed at its coaxing arms.
"Are you smiling at him?" he whispered to Hermes. "Or are you dreaming
of Olympos? Are you carrying him to the nymphs on Mount Nysa?" And then
more softly still he said, "Do not forget Creon, blessed god."
When his father came back he found him still gazing into the quiet face
and smiling tenderly with love of the beautiful thing. As Menon led him
away, he waved a loving farewell to the god.
The most wonderful time was after the sacrifice to Zeus before the great
temple with its deep porches and its marble watchers in the gable.
The altar was a huge pile of ashes. For hundreds of years Greeks had
sacrificed here. The holy ashes had piled up and piled up until they
stood as a hill more than twenty feet high. The people waited around the
foot of it, watching. The priests walked up its side. Men led up the
sleek cattle to be slain for the feast of the gods. And on the very top
a fire leaped toward heaven. Far up in the sky Charmides could half
see the beautiful gods leaning down and smiling upon their worshiping
Then he turned and walked with the crowd under the temple porch and into
the great, dim room. He trembled and grasped his father's hand in awe.
For there in the soft light towered great Zeus. In embroidered robes of
dull gold he sat high on his golden throne. His hands held his scepter
and his messenger eagle. His great yellow curls almost touched the
ceiling. He bent his divine face down, and his deep eyes glowed upon his
people. Sweet smoke was curling upward, and the room rang with a hymn.
As Charmides gazed into the solemn face, a strange light quivered about
it, and the boy's heart shook with awe. The words of Homer sprank to his
"Zeus bowed his head. The divine hair streamed back from the kindly
brows, and great Olympos quaked."
After the sacrifices were over there was time to wander again among the
statues and to sit on the benches under the cool porches and watch the
moving crowd and the glittering sun on the gold ornaments of the temple
peaks. Then there was time to see again the strange sights of the fair
in the plain. The next morning was noisier and gayer than anything
Charmides had ever known. While it was still twilight his father hurried
him down the hill and through the gates, on through the sacred enclosure
to another gate. And all about them was a hurrying, noisy crowd. They
stumbled up some steps and began to wait. As the light grew, Charmides
saw all about him men and boys, sitting or standing, and all gaily
talking. Below the crowd he saw a long, narrow stretch of ground. He
clapped his hands. That was the ground Creon's feet would run upon! Up
and down both sides of the track went long tiers of stone seats. They
were packed with people who were there to see Creon win. The seats
curved around one narrow end of the course. But across the other end
stood a wall with a gate. Menon pointed to a large white board hanging
on the wall and said, "See! The list of athletes."
Here were written names, and among them, "Creon, son of the Olympic
winner Menon." Charmides' eyes glowed with pride.
Every eye was watching the gate. Soon the purple-clad judges entered.
Some of them walked the whole length of the stadion and took their seats
opposite the goal posts. Two or three waited at the starting line. There
was a blast of a trumpet. Then a herald cried something about games
for boys and about only Greeks of pure blood and about the blessing of
Hermes of the race course.
Immediately there entered a crowd of boys, while the spectators sent
up a rousing cheer. The lads gathered to cast lots for places. At last
eight of them stepped out and stood at the starting line. Creon was not
among them. A post with a little fluttering flag was between every two.
The boys threw off their clothes and stood ready. One of the judges said
"The eyes of the world are upon you. Your cities love an Olympic winner.
From Olympos the gods look down upon you. For the glory of your cities,
for the joy of your fathers, for your own good name, I exhort you to do
Then he gave the signal and the runners shot forward. Down the long
course they went with twinkling legs. The spectators cheered, called
their names, waved their chlamyses and himations. Their friends cried
to the gods to help. Down they ran, two far ahead, others stringing out
behind. Every runner's eyes were on the marble goal post with its little
statue of Victory. In a moment it was over, and Leotichides had first
laid hand upon the post and was winner of the first heat.
Immediately eight other boys took their places at the starting line.
Charmides snatched his father's hand and held it tight, for Creon was
one of them. Another signal and they were off, with Creon leading by
a pace or two. So it was all the way, and he gave a glad shout as he
touched the goal post.
Charmides heard men all about him say:
"A beautiful run!"
"How easily he steps!"
"We shall see him do something in the last heat."
"Who is he?"
And when the herald announced the name of the winner, the benches buzzed
"Creon, Creon, son of Menon the Athenian."
Four more groups were called and ran. Then the six winners stepped up
to the line. This time the goal was the altar at the farther end of the
stadion. A wave of excitement ran around the seats. Everybody leaned
forward. The signal! Leotichides sprang a long pace ahead. Next came
Creon, loping evenly. One boy stumbled and fell behind. The other three
were running almost side by side. Menon was muttering between his teeth:
"Hermes, be his aid! Great Zeus look upon him! Herakles give him wind!"
Now they were near the goal, and Leotichides was still leading by a
stride. Then Creon threw back his head and stretched out his legs and
with ten great leaps he had touched the altar a good pace ahead. He had
won the race.
The crowd went wild with shouting. Menon leaped over men's heads and
went running down the course calling for his son. But the guards caught
him and forced him back upon the seats. Charmides sat down and wept for
joy. And nobody saw him, for everybody was cheering and watching the
One of the judges stepped out and gave a torch to Creon. The boy touched
the flame to the pile on the altar. As the fire sprang up, he stretched
his hands to the sky and cried,
"O blessed Hermes, Creon will not forget thy help."
As he turned away the judge gave him a palm in sign of victory. The boy
walked back down the course with the palm waving over his shoulder. His
body was glistening, his cheeks were flushed, his eyes were burning
with joy. He was looking up at the crowd, hoping to see his father and
brother. And at every step men reached out a hand to him or called
to him, until at last Menon's own loving arms pulled him up upon the
benches. Then there was such a noise that no one heard any one else, but
everybody knew that everybody was happy. Men pushed their heads over
other men's shoulders, and boys peeped between their fathers' legs to
see the Olympic winner. And in that circle of faces Menon stood with
his arms about Creon, laughing and crying. And Charmides clung to his
brother's hand. But at last Creon whispered to his father:
"I must go and make ready. I am entered for the pentathlon, also."
Menon cried out in wonder.
"I kept that news for a surprise," laughed Creon. "Good-by, little one,"
he said to Charmides, and pushed through the crowd.
Menon sat down trembling. If his boy should win in the pentathlon also!
That would be too great glory. It could not happen. He began to mutter a
hundred prayers. Another race was called--the double race, twice around
the course. But Menon did not stand to see it. He could think of nothing
but his glorious son. After the race was another great shout. Some other
boy was carrying a palm. Some other father was proud. Then followed
wrestling, bout after bout, and cheering from the crowd. But Menon cared
little for it all.
It was now near noon. The sun shone down scorchingly. A wind whirled
dust up from the race course into people's faces.
"My throat needs wetting," cried a man.
He pulled off a little vase of wine that hung from his girdle and passed
it to Menon, saying:
"I should be proud if the father of the victor would drink from my
And Menon took it, smiling proudly. Then he himself opened a little
cloth bag and drew out figs and nuts.
"Here is something to munch, lad," he said to Charmides.
Other people, also, were eating and drinking. They walked about to visit
their friends or sat down to rest. Menon's neighbor sank upon his seat
with a sigh.
"This is the first time I have sat down since sunrise," he laughed.
Then the pentathlon was announced. Everyone leaped to his feet again. A
group of boys stood ready behind a line. One of the judges was softening
the ground with a pick. An umpire made a speech to the lads. Then, at a
word, a boy took up the lead jumping weights. He swung his hands back
and forth, swaying his graceful body with them. Then a backward jerk! He
threw his weights behind him and leaped. The judges quickly measured
and called the distance. Then another boy leaped, and another, and
another--twenty or more. Last Creon took the weights and toed the line.
"Creon! Creon!" shouted the crowd: "The victor! Creon again!"
He swung and swayed and then sailed through the air.
"By Herakles!" shouted a man near Charmides. "He alights like a
There went up a great roar from the benches even before the judges
called the distance. For any one could see that he had passed the
farthest mark. The first of the five games was over and Creon had won
Now the judges brought a discus. A boy took it and stepped behind the
line. He fitted the lead plate into the crook of his hand. He swung it
back and forth, bending his knees and turning his body. Then it flew
into the air and down the course. Where it stopped rolling an umpire
marked and called the distance.
"I like this game best of all," said a man behind Charmides. "The whole
body is in it. Every movement is graceful. See the curve of the back,
the beautiful bend of the legs, the muscles working over the chest! The
body moves to and fro as if to music."
One after another the boys took their turn. But when Creon threw,
Charmides cried out in sorrow, and Menon groaned. His disc fell short of
the mark. He was third.
"It was gracefully done," Charmides heard some one say, "but his arms
are not so good as his legs. See the arms and chest of that Timon. No
one can throw against him."
After that a judge set up a shield in the middle of the course. Every
boy snatched a spear from a pile on the ground and threw at the central
boss of the shield. Again Creon was beaten. Phormio of Corinth, son of a
famous warrior, won.
Then they paired off for wrestling. Creon and Eudorus of Aegina were
together. Each boy poured oil into his hand from a little vase and
rubbed the body of his antagonist to limber his muscles. Then he took
fine sand from a box and dusted it over his skin for the oiled body
might slip out of his arms in the wrestling match. Then, at a signal,
the pairs of wrestlers faced each other.
Creon held his hands out ready, bent his knees, thrust forward his head,
and stood waiting. Eudorus leaped to and fro around him trying to get a
hold. At last he rushed at him. Creon caught him around the waist and
hurled him to the ground. Charmides laughed and shouted and clapped
his hands. That was one throw. There must be three. Eudorus was up
immediately and was circling around and around again. Suddenly Creon
leaped low and caught him by the leg and threw him. He had won two bouts
out of three and stood victor without a throw.
Soon all the pairs had finished. The eight victors stood forth and cast
lots for new partners. Again they wrestled. This time, also, Creon won.
Then these four winners paired off and wrestled, and at the end Creon
and Timon were left to try it together.
In the first bout the Spartan boy lifted Creon off the ground and threw
him, back down. Then the men on the benches began shouting advice.
"Look out for his arms!"
"Don't let him grapple you!"
Creon leaped to his feet. He began circling around Timon as Eudorus had
circled around him. He dodged out from under Timon's arms. He wriggled
from between his hands. The benches rang with cheers and laughs.
"He is an eel," cried one man.
Suddenly Creon ducked under Timon's arms, caught him by his legs and
tripped him. The two boys were even.
In the next bout Timon ran at Creon like a wild bull. He caught him
around the waist in his strong arms to whirl him to the ground. But with
a crook of his leg Creon tripped him and wriggled out of his arms before
Menon caught up Charmides and threw him to his shoulder laughing and
stamping his feet.
"Do you see, lad?" he cried. "He has won two games. Only the race is
left, and we know how he can run."
And how he did run! He threw back his head and leaped out like a deer,
skimming over the ground in long strides and leaving his dust to the
others. He had the three games out of five and was winner of the
Then there was no holding the crowd. They poured down off the seats and
ran to Creon. Some lifted him upon their shoulders and carried him out
of the stadion, for this was the end of the games for that day. And
those who could not come near Creon and his waving palms crowded around
Menon. So they went, shouting, out of the gate and among the statues and
on to the river. There they put Creon down, and his father and Charmides
led him away to camp.
That was the happiest night of Charmides' life. He heard his wonderful
brother talk for hours of the life in the gymnasium. He heard new tales
of Creon's favorite god, Hermes. He heard of the women's games that were
held once a year at Olympia in honor of Hera. He heard a hundred new
names of boys and cities, for there had been, athletes from every corner
of Greece in training here. He held the victor's palms in his own hands.
He slept beside this double winner of Olympic crowns. He dreamed that
Apollo and Hermes came hand in hand and gazed down at him and Creon as
they lay sleeping and dropped a great garland over them both. It was
twined of Olympic olive leaves and Apollo's own laurel.
On the next day there were games for the men, like those the boys had
played. On the day after that there were chariot races in a wide place
outside the walls. Every night there was still the gay noise of the
fair. But instead of going to see it, Charmides stretched himself under
the trees on Mount Kronion and gazed up at the moon and dreamed.
Then came the last day, with its great procession again and its
sacrifices at every altar. The proud victors walked with their palm
leaves in their hands. In the temple of Zeus, under the eyes of the
glowing god, the priests put the precious olive crowns upon the winners'
heads. They were made from sacred olive leaves. They were cut with a
golden sickle from the very tree that godlike Herakles had brought out
of the far north. That wreath it was which should be more dear than a
chest of gold to Creon's family and Creon's city. That was the crown
which poets should sing about. When the priest set the crown upon
Creon's head, Charmides thought he felt a god's hands upon his own brow.
Menon leaned upon a friend's shoulder and burst into tears.
"I could die happy now," he said. "I have done enough for Athens in
giving her such a glorious son."
As the three walked back to camp, Menon said:
"Who shall write your chorus of triumph, Creon? Already my messengers
have reached Athens, and the dancers are chosen who shall lead you home.
But the song is not yet made. It must be a glorious one!"
Then Charmides blushingly whispered,
"May I sing you something, father? Apollo helped me to make it."
His father smiled down in surprise. "So that is why you have been lying
so quiet under the trees these moonlit nights!" he said.
Charmides ran ahead and was sitting thrumming a lyre when his father
and Creon came up. He struck a long, ringing chord and raised his clear
voice in a dancing song:
When Creon, son of Menon, bore off the Olympic olive,
Mount Kronion shook with shouting of Hellas' hosts assembled.
They praised his manly beauty, his grace and strength of body.
They praised his eyes' alertness, the smoothness of his muscles.
They blessed his happy father and wished themselves his brothers.
Sweet rang the glorious praises in ears of Creon's lovers.
But I, when upward gazing, beheld a sight more wondrous.
The gates of high Olympos were open wide and clanging,
Deserted ev'ry palace, the golden city empty.
And all the gods were gathered above Olympia's race-course,
They smiled upon my Creon and gifts upon him showered.
From golden Aphrodite dropped half a hundred graces.
Athene made him skillful. Boon Hermes gave him litheness.
Fierce Ares added courage, Queen Hera happy marriage.
Diana's blessed fingers into his soul shed quiet.
Lord Bacchus gave him friendship and graces of the banquet,
Poseidon luck in travel, and Zeus decreed him victor.
Apollo, smiling, watched him and saw his thousand blessings.
"Enough," he said, "for Creon. I'll bless the empty-handed."
He turned to where I trembled, and stepping downward crowned me.
"To thee my gift," he whispered, "to sing thy brother's glory."
"Well done, little poet!" cried Menon.
"A happy man am I. One son is beloved by Hermes, the other by Apollo.
Bring wax tablets, Glaucon, and write down the song. I will prepare a
messenger to hurry with it to Athens."
So it happened that a lame boy won a crown. And when Creon stepped
ashore at Pirseus, and all Athens stood shouting his name, a chorus of
boys came dancing toward him singing his brother's song. Creon was led
home wearing Zeus' wreath upon his head, and Charmides with Apollo's
crown in his heart. [Illustration: _A Coin of Alexander the Great_. It
shows Zeus sitting on his throne.]
HOW A CITY WAS LOST
Such was Olympia long ago. Every four years such games took place. Then
the plain was crowded and busy and gay. Year after year new statues were
set up, new gifts were brought, new buildings were made. Olympia was
one of the richest places in the world. Its fame flew to every land. At
every festival new people came to see its beauties. It was the meeting
place of the world.
But meantime the bad fortune of Greece began. Her cities quarreled and
fought among themselves. A king came down from the north and conquered
her. After that the Romans sailed over from Italy and conquered her
again. Often Roman emperors carried off some of her statues to make Rome
beautiful. Shipload after shipload they took. The new country was filled
with Greek statues. The old one was left almost empty. Later, after
Christ was born, and the Romans and the Greeks had become Christian, the
"It is not fitting for Christians to hold a festival in honor of a
heathen god." And he stopped the games. He took away the gold and silver
gifts from the treasure houses. He carried away the gold and ivory
statues. Where Phidias' wonderful Zeus went nobody knows. Perhaps the
gold was melted to make money. Olympia sat lonely and deserted by her
river banks. Summer winds whirled dust under her porches. Rabbits made
burrows in Zeus' altar. Doors rusted off their hinges. Foxes made their
dens in Hera's temple. Men came now and then to melt up a bronze statue
for swords or to haul away the stones of her temples for building.
The Alpheios kept eating away its banks and cutting under statues and
monuments. Many a beautiful thing crumbled and fell into the river and
was rolled on down to the sea. Men sometimes found a bronze helmet or a
marble head in the bed of the stream.
After a long time people came and lived among the ruins. On an old
temple floor they built a little church. Men lived in the temple of
Zeus, and women spun and gossiped where the golden statue had sat. In
the temple of Hera people set up a wine press. Did they know that the
little marble baby in the statue near them was the god of the vineyard
and had taught men to make wine? Out of broken statues and columns and
temple stones they built a wall around the little town to keep out their
enemies. Sometimes when they found a bronze warrior or a marble god they
must have made strange stories about it, for they had half forgotten
those wonderful old Greeks. But the marble statues they put into a kiln
to make lime to plaster their houses. The bronze ones they melted up for
tools. Sometimes they found a piece of gold. They thought themselves
lucky then and melted it over into money.
But an earthquake shook down the buildings and toppled over the statues.
The columns and walls of the grand old temple of Zeus fell in a heap.
The marble statues in its pediments dropped to the ground and broke.
Victory fell from her high pillar and shattered into a hundred pieces.
The roof of Hera's temple fell in, and Hermes stood uncovered to the
sky. Old Kronion rocked and sent a landslide down over the treasure
houses. Kladeos rushed out of his course and poured sand over the sacred
That earthquake frightened the people away, and they left Olympia alone
again. Hermes was still there, but he looked out upon ruins. Victory lay
in a heap of fragments. Apollo was there, but broken and buried in earth
with the other people of the pediments. Zeus and all the hundreds of
heroes and athletes were gone. So it was for a while. Then a new race of
people came and built another little town upon the earth-covered ruins.
They little guessed what lay below their poor houses. But for some
reason this town, also, died and left the ruins alone. Then dusty winds
and flooding rivers began to cover up what was left. Kladeos piled up
sand fifteen feet deep. Alpheios swung out of its banks and washed away
the race-course for chariots. Under the rains and floods the sun-dried
bricks of Hera's walls melted again into clay and covered the floor.
Again the earth quaked, and Hermes fell forward on his face, and little
was left of the beautiful old Olympia. Grass and flowers crept in from
the sides. Seeds blew in and shrubs and trees took the place of columns.
Soon the flowers and the animals had Olympia to themselves. A few gray
stones thrust up through the soil. So it was for hundreds of years.
Greece was conquered by the men of Venice and then by the Turks. But
Olympia, in its far corner, was forgotten and untouched except when a
Turkish officer or farmer went there to dig a few stones out of the
ground. And they knew nothing of the ancient gods and the ancient
festival and the old story of the place, for they were foreigners and
But about a hundred years ago Englishmen and Germans and Frenchmen began
to visit Greece. They went to see, not her new Turkish houses or her
Venetian castles or the strange dress of her new people, but her old
ruins and the signs of her old glory. These men had read of Olympia in
ancient Greek books and they knew what statues and buildings had once
stood there. They wrote back to their friends things like this:
"I saw a piece of a huge column lying on top of the ground. It was seven
feet across. It must have belonged to the temple of Zeus."
"To-day I saw a long, low place in the ground where I think must have
been the stadion in ancient days."
At last, about thirty years ago, Ernst Curtius and several other Germans
went there. They were men who had studied Greek history and Greek art
and they planned to excavate Olympia.
"We will uncover the sacred enclosure again. Men shall see again the
ancient temples and altars, the stadion, the statues."
Germany had given them money for the work, and at last Greece allowed
them to begin. In October they started their digging. Workmen up-rooted
shrubs and dug away dirt. Excavators watched every spadeful. They were
always measuring, making maps, taking notes. They found a few vases,
terra cotta figures, pieces of bronze statues, swords and armor. They
cleared off temple floors and were able to make out the plans of the old
buildings. They found the empty pedestals of many statues. Yet they were
disappointed. Olympia had been a beautiful place, a rich place. They
were finding only the hints of these things. The beauty was gone. Of the
three thousand statues that had been there should they not find one?
Then they uncovered the fallen statues of the pediments of Zeus' temple.
Thirty or more there were--Apollo, Zeus, heroes, women, centaurs,
horses. Arms were gone, heads were broken, legs were lost. The
excavators fitted together all the pieces and set the mended statues up
side by side as they had been in the gable. They found, too, the carved
marble slabs that showed the labors of Herakles. But even these were not
the lovely things that people had hoped to see from Olympia. They were
rather stiff and ungraceful. They had not been made by the greatest
artists. In the temple of Hera one day men were digging in clay. Over
all the rest of Olympia was only sand. The excavators wondered for a
long time why this one spot should have clay. Where could it have come
from? They read their old books over and over. They thought and studied.
At last they said:
"The walls of the temple must have been made of sun-dried brick. In the
old days they must have been covered with plaster. This and the roof
kept them dry. But the plaster cracked off, and the roof fell in, and
the rain and the floods turned the bricks back to clay again."
Then one May morning, when the men were digging in the clay, a workman
lifted off his spadeful of dirt, and white marble gleamed out. After
that there was careful work, with all the excavators standing about to
watch. What would it be? They thought over all the statues that the
ancient books said had stood in Hera's temple. Then were slowly
uncovered, a smooth back, a carved shoulder, a curly head. A white
statue of a young man lay face down in the gray clay. The legs were
gone. The right arm was missing. From his left hung carved drapery. On
his left shoulder lay a tiny marble hand.
"It is the Hermes of Praxiteles," the excavators whispered among
In his day Praxiteles had been almost as famous as Phidias. The old
Greek world had rung with his praises. Modern men had dreamed of what
his statues must have been and had longed to see them. How did he shape
the head? How did his bodies curve? What expression was on his faces?
All these things they had wished to know. But not one of his statues
had ever been found. Now here lay one before the very eyes of these
excavators. They put out their hands and lovingly touched the polished
marble skin. But what would they find when they lifted it?--Perhaps the
nose would be gone, the face flattened by the fall, the ears broken, the
beautiful marble chipped. They almost feared to lift it. But at last
they did so.
When they saw the face, they were struck dumb by its beauty, and I think
tears sprang into the eyes of some of them. No such perfect piece of
marble had ever been found before. There was not a scratch. The skin
still glowed with the polishing that Praxiteles' own hands had given it.
There was even a hint of color on the lips. The soft clay bed had saved
the falling statue. Here was a statue that the whole world would love.
It would make the name of Olympia famous again. The excavators were
proud and happy. That old ruined temple seemed indeed a sacred place to
them as they gazed upon perhaps the most beautiful statue in the world.
"Surely we shall find nothing else so perfect," they said.
Yet they went on with the work. Before long Hermes' right foot was found
imbedded in the clay. Its sandal still shone with the gilding put on two
thousand years before. Workmen were tearing down one of the houses of
the little town that had been built on the ancient ruins. Every stone in
it had some old story. Pieces of fluted columns, carved capitals, broken
pedestals, blocks from the temple of Zeus--all were cemented together to
make these walls. The workmen pulled and chipped and lifted out piece
after piece. The excavators studied each scrap to see whether it was
valuable. And at last they found a baby's body. They carefully broke off
the mortar. It was of creamy marble, beautifully carved. They carried it
to Hermes. It fitted upon the drapery over his arm. On a rubbish heap
outside the temple they had found a little marble head. They put it upon
this baby's shoulders. It was badly broken, but they could see that it
belonged there. So after two thousand years Hermes again smiled into the
eyes of the baby Dionysus.
Other things were found. The shattered Victory was uncovered. Carefully
the excavators fitted the pieces together. But the wide wings could
never be made again, and the head was ruined. Even so, the statue is a
beautiful thing, with its thin drapery flying in the wind.
After five years the work was finished. Now again hundreds of visitors
journey to Olympia every year. They see no gleaming roofs and
high-lifted statues and joyful games. They walk among sad ruins. But
they can tread the gymnasium floor where Creon and many another victor
wrestled. They can enter the gate of the grass-grown stadion. They can
see the fallen columns of the temple of Zeus. In the museum they can see
the statues of its pediments and, at the end of the long hall, they
see Victory stepping toward them. They can wander on the banks of the
Kladeos and the Alpheios. They can climb Mount Kronion and see the whole
little plain and imagine it gay with tents and moving people.
All these things are interesting to those who like the old Greek life.
But most people make the long journey only to see Hermes. In the museum,
in a little room all alone, he stands, always calm and lovable, always
dreaming of something beautiful, always half smiling at the coaxing
PICTURES OF OLYMPIA
ENTRANCE TO STADION.
This was not the gate where Charmides entered. This entrance was
reserved for the judges, the competitors, and the heralds. Inside there
were seats for forty-five thousand people. On one side the hill made a
natural slope for seats. But on the other sides a ridge of earth had to
be built up. The track was about two hundred yards long. Only the two
ends have been excavated. The rest still lies deep under the sand.
Here Creon and the other boys spent a month in training before the
games. The gymnasium had a covered portico as long as the track in the
stadion, where the boys could run in bad weather. A Greek boy of to-day
is playing on his shepherd's pipes in the foreground, and they are the
same kind of pipes on which the old Greeks played.
BOYS IN GYMNASIUM.
From a vase painting. They are wrestling, jumping with weights, throwing
the spear, throwing the discus, while their teachers watch them. One man
is saying, "A beautiful boy, truly."
THE TEMPLE OF ZEUS.
When we see a picture of fallen broken columns lying about a field
in disorder, we try to learn how the original building looked and to
imagine it in all its beauty. This, men believe, is the way the Temple
of Zeus looked. The figures in the pediment were all of Parian marble.
In the center stands Zeus himself. A chariot race is about to be run,
and the contestants stand on either side of Zeus. Zeus gave the victory
to Pelops, and Pelops became husband of Hippodameia, and king of Pisa,
and founded the Olympic Games. These games were held every fourth year
for more than a thousand years.
Note: This and the following plates of the Labors of Herakles and the
statue of Victory, were photographed from Curtius and Adler's
"Olympia: Die Ergebnisse der von dem Deutschen Reich Veranstalteten
Ausgrabung," etc. This is one of the most beautiful books ever made
for a buried city.
Boys and girls who can reach the Metropolitan Museum Library should not
miss it. It is in many volumes, each almost as large as the top of the
table, and you do not need to read German to appreciate the plates.
THE LABORS OF HERAKLES.
Under the porches of the Temple of Zeus were twelve pictures in marble,
six at each end, showing the Labors of Herakles. Herakles was highly
honored at Olympia and, according to one tale, he, instead of Pelops,
was the founder of the Olympic Games.
[Illustration: Herakles and the Nemean lion.--_Metropolitan Museum_]
[Illustration: Herakles and the hydra.--_Metropolitan Museum_]
THE STATUE OF VICTORY.
In the sand, not far from the Temple of Zeus, the explorers found the
fragments of this statue. It shows the goddess flying down from heaven
to bring victory to the men of Messene and Naupaktos. So the victors
must have erected this statue at Olympia in gratitude.
Something like the picture used as the frontispiece, men believe the
statue looked originally. It stood upon a base thirty feet high so that
the goddess really looked as if she were descending from heaven.
THE TEMPLE OF HERA.
This shows the ruins of the temple where Charmides saw the statue of
Hermes, perhaps the most beautiful statue in the world.
HEAD OF AN ATHLETE.
The Greek artist who made this statue believed that a beautiful body is
glorious, as well as a beautiful mind, and a fine spirit. Do you
think his statue shows all these things? The original is now at the
A GREEK HORSEMAN.
The artist had great skill who could chisel out of marble such a strong,
bold rider, and such a spirited horse.
This picture and the one before it are not pictures of things found at
Olympia. They are two of the most beautiful statues of Greek athletes, and we
give them to remind you of the sort of people who came to the games at
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