Greek History > Athens
ATHENS [Ἀθῆναι, Athenae, modern colloquial Greek Ἁθήνα], the capital of the kingdom of Greece, situated in 23° 44′ E. and 37° 58′ N., towards the southern end of the central and principal plain of Attica. The various theories with regard to the origin of the name are all somewhat unconvincing; it is conceivable that, with the other homonymous Greek towns, such as Athenae Diades in Euboea, Ἀθῆναι may be connected etymologically with ἄνθος, a flower (cf. Firenze, Florence); the patron goddess, Athena, was probably called after the place of her cult.
I. Topography and Antiquities
The Attic plain, τὸ πεδίον, slopes gently towards the coast of the Saronic Gulf on the south-west; on the east it is overlooked by Mount Hymettus (3369 ft.); on the north-east by Pentelicus or Brilessus (3635 ft.) from which, in ancient and modern times, an immense quantity of the finest marble has been quarried; on the north-west by Parnes (4636 ft.), a continuation of the Boeotian Cithaeron, and on the west by Aegaleus (1532 ft.), which descends abruptly to the bay of Salamis. In the centre of the plain extends from north-east to south-west a series of low heights, now known as Turcovuni, culminating towards the south in the sharply pointed Lycabettus (1112 ft.), now called Hagios Georgios from the monastery which crowns its summit. Lycabettus, the most prominent feature in the Athenian landscape, directly overhung the ancient city, but was not included in its walls; its peculiar shape rendered it unsuitable for fortification. The Turcovuni ridge, probably the ancient Anchesmus, separates the valley of the Cephisus on the north-west from that of its confluent, the Ilissus, which skirted the ancient city on the south-west. The Cephisus, rising in Pentelicus, enters the sea at New Phalerum; in summer it dwindles to an insignificant stream, while the Ilissus, descending from Hymettus, is totally dry, probably owing to the destruction of the ancient forests on both mountains, and the consequent denudation of the soil. Separated from Lycabettus by a depression to the south-west, through which flows a brook, now a covered drain (probably to be identified with the Eridanus), stands the remarkable oblong rocky mass of the Acropolis (512 ft.), rising precipitously on all sides except the western; its summit was partially levelled in prehistoric times, and the flat area was subsequently enlarged by further cutting and by means of retaining walls. Close to the Acropolis on the west is the lower rocky eminence of the Areopagus, Ἄρειος πάγος (377 ft.), the seat of the famous council; the name (see also Areopagus) has been connected with Ares, whose temple stood on the northern side of the hill, but is more probably derived from the Ἁραί or Eumenides, whose sanctuary was formed by a cleft in its north-eastern declivity. Farther west of the Acropolis are three elevations; to the north-west the so-called “Hill of the Nymphs” (341 ft.), on which the modern Observatory stands; to the west the Pnyx, the meeting-place of the Athenian democracy (351 ft.), and to the south-west the loftier Museum Hill (482 ft.), still crowned with the remains of the monument of Philópappus. A cavity, a little to the west of the Observatory Hill, is generally supposed to be the ancient Barathron or place of execution. To the south-east of the Acropolis, beyond the narrow valley of the Ilissus, is the hill Ardettus (436 ft.). The distance from the Acropolis to the nearest point of the sea coast at Phalerum is a little over 3 m.
The natural situation of Athens was such as to favour the growth of a powerful community. For the first requisites of a primitive settlement—food supply and defence—it afforded every advantage. The Attic plain, notwithstanding Influence of the geographical position. the lightness of the soil, furnished an adequate supply of cereals; olive and fig groves and vineyards were cultivated from the earliest times in the valley of the Cephisus, and pasturage for sheep and goats was abundant. The surrounding rampart of mountains was broken towards the north-east by an open tract stretching between Hymettus and Pentelicus towards Marathon, and was traversed by the passes of Decelea, Phylé and Daphné on the north and north-west, but the distance between these natural passages and the city was sufficient to obviate the danger of surprise by an invading land force. On the other hand Athens, like Corinth, Megara and Argos, was sufficiently far from the sea to enjoy security against the sudden descent of a hostile fleet. At the same time the relative proximity of three natural harbours, Peiraeus, Zea and Munychia, favoured the development of maritime commerce and of the sea power which formed the basis of Athenian hegemony. The climate is temperate, but liable to sudden changes; the mean temperature is 63°.1 F., the maximum (in July) 99°.01, the minimum (in January) 31°.55. The summer heat is moderated by the sea-breeze or by cool northerly winds from the mountains (especially in July and August). The clear, bracing air, according to ancient writers, fostered the intellectual and aesthetic character of the people and endowed them with mental and physical energy. For the architectural embellishment of the city the finest building material was procurable without difficulty and in abundance; Pentelicus forms a mass of white, transparent, blue-veined marble; another variety, somewhat similar in appearance, but generally of a bluer hue, was obtained from Hymettus. For ordinary purposes grey limestone was furnished by Lycabettus and the adjoining hills; limestone from the promontory of Acté (the co-called “poros” stone), and conglomerate, were also largely employed. For the ceramic art admirable material was at hand in the district north-west of the Acropolis. For sculpture and various architectural purposes white, fine-grained marble was brought from Paros and Naxos. The main drawback to the situation of the city lay in the insufficiency of its water-supply, which was supplemented by an aqueduct constructed in the time of the Peisistratids and by later water-courses dating from the Roman period. A great number of wells were also sunk and rain-water was stored in cisterns.
For the purposes of scientific topography observation of the natural features and outlines is followed by exact investigation of the architectural structures or remnants, a process demanding high technical competence, acute judgment and practical experience, as well as wide and accurate scholarship. The building material and the manner of its employment furnish evidence no less important than the character of the masonry, the design and Sources for Athenian topography. the modes of ornamentation. The testimony afforded by inscriptions is often of decisive importance, especially that of commemorative or votive tablets or of boundary-stones found in situ; the value of this evidence is, on the other hand, sometimes neutralized owing to the former removal of building material already used and its incorporation in later structures. Thus sepulchral inscriptions have been found on the Acropolis, though no burials took place there in ancient times. In the next place comes the evidence derived from the whole range of ancient literature and specially from descriptions of the city or its different localities. The earliest known description of Athens was that of Diodorus, ὁ περιηγτής, who lived in the second half of the 4th century B.C. Among his successors were Polemon of Ilium (beginning of 2nd century B.C.), whose great κοσμική περιήγησις gave a minute account of the votive offerings on the Acropolis and the tombs on the Sacred Way; and Heliodorus (second half of the 2nd century) who wrote fifteen volumes on the monuments of Athens. Of these and other works of the earliest topographers only some fragments remain. In the period between A.D. 143 and 159 Pausanias visited Athens at a time when the monuments of the great age were still in their perfection and the principal embellishments of the Roman period had already been completed. The first thirty chapters of his invaluable Description of Greece (περιήγησις τῆς Ἑλλάδος) are devoted to Athens, its ports and environs. Pausanias makes no claim to exhaustiveness; he selected what was best worth noticing (τὰ ἀξιολογώτατα). His account, drawn up from notes taken in the main from personal observation, possesses an especial importance for topographical research, owing to his method of describing each object in the order in which he saw it during the course of his walks. His accuracy, which has been called in question by some scholars, has been remarkably vindicated by recent excavations at Athens and elsewhere. The list of ancient topographers closes with Pausanias. The literature of succeeding centuries furnishes only isolated references; the more important are found in the scholia on Aristophanes, the lexicons of Hesychius, Photius and others, and the Etymologicum Magnum. The notices of Athens during the earlier middle ages are scanty in the extreme. In 1395 Niccola da Martoni, a pilgrim from the Holy Land, visited Athens and wrote a description of a portion of the city. Of the work of Cyriac of Ancona, written about 1450, only some fragments remain, which are well supplemented by the contemporaneous description of the capable observer known as the “Anonymous of Milan.” Two treatises in Greek by unknown writers belong to the same period. The Dutchman Joannes Meursius (1579–1639) wrote three disquisitions on Athenian topography. The conquest by Venice in 1687 led to the publication of several works in that city, including the descriptions of De la Rue and Fanelli and the maps of Coronelli and others. The systematic study of Athenian topography was begun in the 17th century by French residents at Athens, the consuls Giraud and Chataignier and the Capuchin monks. The visit of the French physician Jacques Spon and the Englishman, Sir George Wheler or Wheeler (1650–1723), fortunately took place before the catastrophe of the Parthenon in 1687; Spon’s Voyage d’Italie, de Dalmatie, de Grèce et du Levant, which contained the first scientific description of the ruins of Athens, appeared in 1678; Wheler’s Journey into Greece, in 1682. A period of British activity in research followed in the 18th century. The monumental work of James Stuart and Nicholas Revett, who spent three years at Athens (1751–1754), marked an epoch in the progress of Athenian topography and is still indispensable to its study, owing to the demolition of ancient buildings which began about the middle of the 18th century. To this period also belong the labours of Richard Pococke and Richard Dalton, Richard Chandler, E. D. Clarke and Edward Dodwell. The great work of W. M. Leake (Topography of Athens and the Demi, 2nd ed., 1841) brought the descriptive literature to an end and inaugurated the period of modern scientific research, in which German archaeologists have played a distinguished part.Recent investigation has thrown a new and unexpected light on the art, the monuments and the topography of the ancient city. Numerous and costly excavations have been carried out by the Greek government and by native and foreign Recent research. scientific societies, while accidental discoveries have been frequently made during the building of the modern town. The museums, enriched by a constant inflow of works of art and inscriptions, have been carefully and scientifically arranged, and afford opportunities for systematic study denied to scholars of the past generation. Improved means of communication have enabled many acute observers to apply the test of scrutiny on the spot to theories and conclusions mainly based on literary evidence; five foreign schools of archaeology, directed by eminent scholars, lend valuable aid to students of all nationalities, and lectures are frequently delivered in the museums and on the more interesting and important sites. The native archaeologists of the present day hold a recognized position in the scientific work; the patriotic sentiment of former times, which prompted their zeal but occasionally warped their judgment, has been merged in devotion to science for its own sake, and the supervision of excavations, as well as the control of the art-collections, is now in highly competent hands. Athens has thus become a centre of learning, a meeting-place for scholars and a basis for research in every part of the Greek world. The attention of many students has naturally been concentrated on the ancient city, the birthplace of European art and literature, and a great development of investigation and discussion in the special domain of Athenian archaeology has given birth to a voluminous literature. Many theories hitherto universally accepted have been called in question or proved to be unsound: the views of Leake, for instance, have been challenged on various points, though many of his conclusions have been justified and confirmed. The supreme importance of a study of Greek antiquities on the spot, long understood by scholars in Europe and in America, has gradually come to be recognized in England, where a close attention to ancient texts, not always adequately supplemented by a course of local study and observation, formerly fostered a peculiarly conservative attitude in regard to the problems of Greek archaeology. Since the foundation of the German Institute in 1874, Athenian topography has to a large extent become a speciality of German scholars, among whom Wilhelm Dörpfeld occupies a pre-eminent position owing to his great architectural attainments and unrivalled local knowledge. Many of his bold and novel theories have provoked strenuous opposition, while others have met with general acceptance, except among scholars of the more conservative type.
Prehistoric Athens.—Numerous traces of the “Mycenaean” epoch have recently been brought to light in Athens and its neighbourhood. Among the monuments of this age discovered in the surrounding districts are the rock-hewn The early citadel. tombs of Spata, accidentally revealed by a landslip in 1877, and domed sepulchre at Menidí, near the ancient Acharnae, excavated by Lolling in 1879. Other “Mycenaean” landmarks have been laid bare at Eleusis, Thoricus, Halae and Aphidna. These structures, however, are of comparatively minor importance in point of dimensions and decoration; they were apparently designed as places of sepulture for local chieftains, whose domains were afterwards incorporated in the Athenian realm by the συνοικισμός (synoecism) attributed to Theseus. The situation of the Acropolis, dominating the surrounding plain and possessing easy communication with the sea, favoured the formation of a relatively powerful state—inferior, however, to Tiryns and Mycenae; the myths of Cecrops, Erechtheus and Theseus bear witness to the might of the princes who ruled in the Athenian citadel, and here we may naturally expect to find traces of massive fortifications resembling in some degree those of the great Argolid cities. Such in fact have been brought to light by the modern excavations on the Acropolis (1885–1889). Remains of primitive polygonal walls which undoubtedly surrounded the entire area have been found at various points a little within the circuit of the existing parapet. The best-preserved portions are at the eastern extremity, at the northern side near the ancient “royal” exit, and at the south-western angle. The course of the walls can be traced with a few interruptions along the southern side. On the northern side are the foundations of a primitive tower and other remains, apparently of dwelling-houses, one of which may have been the πυκινὸς δόμος Ἐρεχθῆος mentioned by Homer (Od. vii. 81). Among the foundations were discovered fragments of “Mycenaean” pottery. The various approaches to the citadel on the northern side—the rock-cut flight of steps north-east of the Erechtheum, the stairs leading to the well Clepsydra, and the intermediate passage supposed to have furnished access to the Persians—are all to be attributed to the primitive epoch. Two pieces of polygonal wall, one beneath the bastion of Nike Apteros, the other in a direct line between the Roman gateway and the door of the Propylaea, are all that remain of the primitive defences of the main entrance.
These early fortifications of the Acropolis, ascribed to the primitive non-hellenic Pelasgi, must be distinguished from the Pelasgicum or Pelargicum, which was in all probability an encircling wall, built round the base of the The Pelasgicum. citadel and furnished with nine gates from which it derived the name of Enneapylon. Such a wall would be required to protect the clusters of dwellings around the Acropolis as well as the springs issuing from the rock, while the gates opening in various directions would give access to the surrounding pastures and gardens. This view, which is that of E. Curtius, alone harmonizes with the statement of Herodotus (vi. 137) that the wall was “around” (περί) the Acropolis, and that of Thucydides (ii. 17) that it was “beneath” (ὑπό) the fortress. Thus it would appear that the citadel had an outer and an inner line of defence in prehistoric times. The space enclosed by the outer wall was left unoccupied after the Persian wars in deference to an oracular response apparently dictated by military considerations, the maintenance of an open zone being desirable for the defence of the citadel. A portion of the outer wall has been recognized in a piece of primitive masonry discovered near the Odeum of Herodes Atticus; other traces will probably come to light when the northern and eastern slopes of the Acropolis have been completely explored. Leake, whom Frazer follows, assumed the Pelasgicum to be a fortified space at the western end of the Acropolis; this view necessitates the assumption that the nine gates were built one within the other, but early antiquity furnishes no instance of such a construction; Dörpfeld believes it to have extended from the grotto of Pan to the sacred precinct of Asclepius. The well-known passage of Lucian (Piscator, 47) cannot be regarded as decisive for any of the theories advanced, as any portion of the old enceinte dismantled by the Persians may have retained the name in later times. The Pelasgic wall enclosed the spring Clepsydra, beneath the north-western corner of the Acropolis, which furnished a water-supply to the defenders of the fortress. The spring, to which a staircase leads down, was once more included in a bastion during the War of Independence by the Greek chief Odysseus.
To the “Pelasgic” era may perhaps be referred (with Curtius and Milchhöfer) the immense double terrace on the north-eastern slope of the Pnyx (395 ft. by 212), the upper portion of which is cut out of the rock, while the lower is The Pnyx. enclosed by a semicircular wall of massive masonry; the theory of these scholars, however, that the whole precinct was a sanctuary of the Pelasgian Zeus cannot be regarded as proved, nor is it easy to abandon the generally received view that this was the scene of the popular assemblies of later times, notwithstanding the apparent unsuitability of the ground and the insufficiency of room for a large multitude. These difficulties are met by the assumption that the semicircular masonry formed the base of a retaining-wall which rose to a considerable height, supporting a theatre-like structure capable of seating many thousand persons. The masonry may be attributed to the 5th century; the chiselling of the immense blocks is not “Cyclopean.” Projecting from the upper platform at the centre of the chord of the semicircular area is a cube of rock, 11 ft. square and 5 ft. high, approached on either side by a flight of steps leading to the top; this block, which Curtius supposes to have been the primitive altar of Zeus Ὕψιστος, may be safely identified with the orators’ bema, ὁ λίθος ἐν τῇ Πυκνί (Aristoph. Pax, 680). Plutarch’s statement that the Thirty Tyrants removed the bema so as to face the land instead of the sea is probably due to a misunderstanding. Other cubes of rock, apparently altars, exist in the neighbourhood. There can be little doubt that the Pnyx was the seat of an ancient cult; the meetings of the Ecclesia were of a religious character and were preceded by a sacrifice to Zeus Ἀγοραῖος; nor is it conceivable that, but for its sacred associations, a site would have been chosen so unsuitable for the purposes of a popular assembly as to need the addition of a costly artificial auditorium.
The Pnyx, the Hill of the Nymphs and the Museum Hill are covered with vestiges of early settlements which extend to a considerable distance towards the south-east in the direction of Phalerum. They consist of chambers of Rock-dwellings and tombs. various sizes, some of which were evidently human habitations, together with cisterns, channels, seats, steps, terraces and quadrangular tombs, all cut in the rock. This neighbourhood was held by Curtius to have been the site of the primeval rock city, κρανάα πόλις (Aristoph. Ach. 75), anterior to the occupation of the Acropolis and afterwards abandoned for the later settlement. It seems inconceivable, however, that any other site should have been preferred by the primitive settlers to the Acropolis, which offered the greatest advantages for defence; the Pnyx, owing to its proximity to the centres of civic life, can never have been deserted, and that portion which lay within the city walls must have been fully occupied when Athens was crowded during the Peloponnesian War. Some of the rock chambers originally intended for tombs were afterwards converted, perhaps under pressure of necessity, into habitations, as in the case of the so-called “Prison of Socrates,” which consists of three chambers horizontally excavated and a small round apartment of the “beehive” type. The remains on the Pnyx and its neighbourhood cannot all be assigned to one epoch, the prehistoric age. The dwellings do not correspond in size or details with the undoubtedly prehistoric abodes on the Acropolis. In view of the ancient law which forbade burial within the city, the tombs within the circuit of the city walls must either be earlier than the time of Themistocles or several centuries later; in the similar rock-tombs on the neighbouring slopes of the Acropolis and Areopagus both Mycenaean and Dipylon pottery have been found. But the numerous vertically excavated tombs outside the walls are of late date and belong for the most part to the Roman period.
The Areopagus is now a bare rock possessing few architectural traces. The legend of its occupation by the Amazons (Aeschylus, Eum. 681 seq.) may be taken as indicating its military importance for an attack on the Acropolis; the The Areopagus. Persians used it as a point d’appui for their assault. The seat of the old oligarchical council and court for homicide was probably on its eastern height. Here were the altar of Athena Areia and two stones, the λίθος Ὕβρεως, on which the accuser, and the λίθος Ἀναιδείας, on which the accused, took their stand. Beneath, at the north-eastern corner, is the cleft which formed the sanctuary of the Σεμναί, or Erinyes. There is no reason for disturbing the associations connected with this spot as the scene of St Paul’s address to the Athenians (E. Gardner, Anc. Athens, p. 505).
Hellenic Period.—While modern research has added considerably to our knowledge of prehistoric Athens, a still greater light has been thrown on the architecture and topography of the city in the earlier historic or “archaic” era, the subsequent age of Athenian greatness, and the period of decadence which set in with the Macedonian conquest; the first extends from the dawn of history to 480–479 B.C., when the city was destroyed by the Persians; the second, or classical, age closes in 322 B.C., when Athens lost its political independence after the Lamian War; the third, or Hellenistic, in 146 B.C., when the state fell under Roman protection. We must here group these important epochs together, as distinguished from the later period of Roman rule, and confine ourselves to a brief notice of their principal monuments and a record of the discoveries by which they have been illustrated in recent years.
The earliest settlement on the Acropolis was doubtless soon increased by groups of dwellings at its base, inhabited by the dependents of the princes who ruled in the stronghold. These habitations would naturally in the first instance The city in the “archaic” era. lie in close proximity to the western approach; after the building of the Pelasgicum they seem to have extended beyond its walls towards the south and south-west—towards the sea and the waters of the Ilissus. The district thus occupied sloped towards the sun and was sheltered by the Acropolis from the prevailing northerly winds. The Thesean synoecism led to the introduction of new cults and the foundation of new shrines partly on the Acropolis, partly in the inhabited district at its base both within and without the wall of the Pelasgicum. Some of the shrines in this region are mentioned by Thucydides in a passage which is of capital importance for the topography of the city at this period (ii. 15). By degrees the inhabited area began to comprise the open ground to the north-west, the nearer portion of the later Ceramicus, or “potters’ field” (afterwards divided by the walls of Themistocles into the Inner and Outer Ceramicus), and eventually extended to the north and east of the citadel, which, by the beginning of the 5th century B.C., had become the centre of a circular or wheel-shaped city, πόλιος τροχοειδέος ἄκρα κάρηνα (Oracle apud Herod, vii. 140). To this enlarged city was applied, probably about the second half of the 6th century, the special designation τὸ ἄστυ, which afterwards distinguished Athens from its port, the Peiraeus; the Acropolis was already ἡ πόλις (Thucyd. ii. 15). The city is supposed to have been surrounded by a wall before the time of Solon, the existence of which may be deduced from Thucydides’ account of the assassination of Hipparchus (vi. 57), but no certain traces of such a wall have been discovered; the materials may have been removed to build the walls of Themistocles.
The centre of commercial and civic life of the older group of communities, as of the greater city of the classical age, was the Agora or market. Here were the various public buildings, which, when the power of the princes on The Agora. the citadel was transferred to the archons, formed the offices of the administrative magistracy. The site of the primitive Agora (ἀρχαία ἀγορά) was probably in the hollow between the Acropolis and the Pnyx, which formed a convenient meeting-place for the dwellers on the north and south sides of the fortress as well as for its inhabitants. In the time of the Peisistratids the Agora was enlarged so as to extend over the Inner Ceramicus on the north-west, apparently reaching the northern declivities of the Areopagus and the Acropolis on the south. After the Persian Wars the northern portion was used for commercial, the southern for political and ceremonial purposes. In the southern were the Orchestra, where the Dionysiac dances took place, and the famous statues of Harmodius and Aristogeiton by Antenor which were carried away by Xerxes; also the Metroum, or temple of the Mother of the Gods, the Bouleuterium, or council-chamber of the Five Hundred, the Prytaneum, the hearth of the combined communities, where the guests of the state dined, the temple of the Dioscuri, and the Tholus, or Skias, a circular stone-domed building in which the Prytaneis were maintained at the public expense; in the northern were the Leocorium, where Hipparchus was slain, the στοὰ βασιλική, the famous στοὰ ποικίλη, where Zeno taught, and other structures. The Agora was commonly described as the “Ceramicus,” and Pausanias gives it this name; of the numerous buildings which he saw here scarcely a trace remains; their position, for the most part, is largely conjectural, and the exact boundaries of the Agora itself are uncertain. What are perhaps the remains of the στοὰ βασιλική, in which the Archon Basileus held his court and the Areopagus Council sat in later times, were brought to light in the winter of 1897–1898, when excavations were carried out on the eastern slope of the “Theseum” hill. Here was found a rectangular structure resembling a temple, but with a side door to the north; it possessed a portico of six columns. The north slope of the Areopagus, where a number of early tombs were found, was also explored, and the limits of the Agora on the south and north-west were approximately ascertained. A portion of the main road leading from the Dipylon to the Agora was discovered.
In 1892 Dörpfeld began a series of excavations in the district between the Acropolis and the Pnyx with the object of determining the situation of the buildings described by Pausanias as existing in the neighbourhood of the The Enneacrunus. Agora, and more especially the position of the Enneacrunus fountain. The Enneacrunus has hitherto been generally identified with the spring Callirrhoe in the bed of the Ilissus, a little to the south-east of the Olympieum; it is apparently, though not explicitly, placed by Thucydides (ii. 15) in proximity to that building, as well as the temple of Dionysus ἐν λίμναις and other shrines, the temples of Zeus Olympius and of Ge and the Pythium, which he mentions as situated mainly to the south of the Acropolis. On the other hand, Pausanias (i. 14. 1), who never deviates without reason from the topographical order of his narrative, mentions the Enneacrunus in the midst of his description of certain buildings which were undoubtedly in the region of the Agora, and unless he is guilty of an unaccountable digression the Enneacrunus which he saw must have lain west of the Acropolis. It is now generally agreed that the Agora of classical times covered the low ground between the hill of the “Theseum,” the Areopagus and the Pnyx; and Pausanias, in the course of his description, appears to have reached its southern end. The excavations revealed a main road of surprisingly narrow dimensions winding up from the Agora to the Acropolis. A little to the south-west of the point where the road turns towards the Propylaea was found a large rock-cut cistern or reservoir which Dörpfeld identifies with the Enneacrunus. The reservoir is supplied by a conduit of 6th-century tiles connected with an early stone aqueduct, the course of which is traceable beneath the Dionysiac theatre and the royal garden in the direction of the Upper Ilissus. These elaborate waterworks were, according to Dörpfeld, constructed by the Peisistratids in order to increase the supply from the ancient spring Callirrhoe; the fountain was furnished with nine jets and henceforth known as Enneacrunus. This identification has been hotly contested by many scholars, and the question must still be regarded as undecided. An interesting confirmation of Dörpfeld’s view is furnished by the map of Guillet and Coronelli, published in 1672, in which the Enneacrunus is depicted as a well with a stream of running water in the neighbourhood of the Pnyx. The fact that spring water is not now found in this locality is by no means fatal to the theory; recent engineering investigations have shown that much of the surface water of the Attic plain has sunk to a lower level. In front of the reservoir is a small open space towards which several roads converge; close by is a triangular enclosure of polygonal masonry, in which were found various relics relating to the worship of Dionysus, a very ancient wine-press (ληνός) and the remains of a small temple. Built over this early precinct, which Dörpfeld identifies with the Dionysium ἐν λίμναις, or Lenaeum, is a basilica-shaped building of the Roman period, apparently sacred to Bacchus; in this was found an inscription containing the rules the society of the Iobacchi. There is an obvious difficulty in assuming that λίμναι, in the sense of “marshes,” existed in this confined area, but stagnant pools may still be seen here in winter. Dörpfeld’s identification of the Dionysium, ἐν λίμναις cannot be regarded as proved; his view that another Pythium and another Olympieum existed in this neighbourhood is still less probable; but the inconclusiveness of these theories does not necessarily invalidate his identification of the Enneacrunus, with regard to the position of which the language of Thucydides is far from clear. Another enclosure, a little to the south, is proved by an inscription to have been a sanctuary of the hitherto unknown hero Amynos, with whose cult those of Asclepius and the hero Dexion were here associated; under the name Dexion, the poet Sophocles is said to have been worshipped after his death. The whole district adjoining the Areopagus was found to have been thickly built over; the small, mean dwelling-houses intersected by narrow, crooked lanes convey a vivid idea of the contrast between the modest private residences and the great public structures of the ancient city.
The age of the Peisistratids (560–511 B.C.) marked an era in the history of Athenian topography. The greatest of their foundations, the temple of Olympian Zeus, will be referred to later. Among the monuments of their The Academy and Lyceum. rule, in addition to the enlarged Agora and the Enneacrunus, were the Academy and perhaps the Lyceum. The original name of the Academy may have been Hecademia, from Hecademus, an early proprietor (but see Academy, Greek). The famous seat of the Platonic philosophy was a gymnasium enlarged as a public park by Cimon; it lay about a mile to the north-west of the Dipylon Gate, with which it was connected by a street bordered with tombs. The Lyceum, where Aristotle taught, was originally a sanctuary of Apollo Lyceius. Like the Academy, it was an enclosure with a gymnasium and garden; it lay to the east of the city beyond the Diocharean Gate.
Little was known of the buildings on the Acropolis in the pre-Persian period before the great excavations of 1885–1888, which rank among the most surprising achievements of modern research. The results of these operations, which were conducted by the Archaeological Society under the direction of Kavvadias and Kawerau, must be summarized with the utmost The Acropolis before the Persian wars. brevity. The great deposits of sculpture and pottery now unearthed, representing all that escaped from the the ravages of the Persians and the burning of the ancient shrines, afford a startling revelation of the development of Greek art in the 7th and 6th centuries. Numbers of statues—among them a series of draped and richly-coloured female figures—masterpieces of painted pottery, only equalled by the Attic vases found in Magna Grecia and Etruria, and numerous bronzes, were among the treasures of art now brought to light. All belong to the “archaic” epoch; only a few remains of the greater age were found, including some fragments of sculptures from the Parthenon and Erechtheum. We are principally concerned, however, with the results which add to our knowledge of the topography and architecture of the Acropolis. The entire area of the summit was now thoroughly explored, the excavations being carried down to the surface of the rock, which on the southern side was found to slope outwards to a depth of about 45 ft. In the lower strata were discovered the remnants of Cyclopean or prehistoric architecture already mentioned. Of later date, perhaps, are the limestone polygonal retaining walls on the west front, which extended on either side of the early entrance. Of these a portion may probably be attributed to the Peisistratids, in whose time the Acropolis once more became the stronghold of a despotism. Its fortifications, though not increased, were apparently strengthened by the Tyrants. To its embellishment they probably contributed the older ornamental entrance, facing south-west, the precursor of the greater structure of Mnesicles (see Propylaea) and the colonnade of the “Hecatompedon,” or earlier temple of Athena, at this time the only large sacred edifice on the citadel. The name was subsequently applied to the cella, or eastern chamber, of the Parthenon, which is exactly 100 ft. long, and also became a popular designation of the temple itself.
The ancient Hecatompedon may in all probability be identified with an early temple, also 100 ft. long, the foundations of which were pointed out in 1885 by Dörpfeld on the ground immediately adjoining the south side of the The old temple of Athena. Erechtheum. On this spot was apparently the primitive sanctuary of Athena, the rich temple (πίων νηός) of Homer (Il. ii. 549), in which the cult of the goddess was associated with that of Erechtheus; the Homeric temple is identified by Furtwängler with the “compact house of Erechtheus” (Od. vii. 81), which, he holds, was not a royal palace, but a place of worship, and traces of it may perhaps be recognized in the fragments of prehistoric masonry enclosed by the existing foundations. The foundations seem to belong to the 7th century, except those of the colonnade, which was possibly added by Peisistratus. According to Dörpfeld, this was the “old temple” of Athena Polias, frequently mentioned in literature and inscriptions, in which was housed the most holy image (ξόανον) of the goddess which fell from heaven; it was burnt, but not completely destroyed, during the Persian War, and some of its external decorations were afterwards built into the north wall of the Acropolis; it was subsequently restored, he thinks, with or without its colonnade—in the former case a portion of the peristyle must have been removed when the Erechtheum was built so as to make room for the porch of the maidens; the building was set on fire in 406 B.C. (Xen. Hell. i. 6. 1), and the conflagration is identical with that mentioned by Demosthenes (In Timocr. xxiv. 155); its “opisthodomos” served as the Athenian treasury in the 5th and 4th centuries; the temple is the ἀρχαῖος νεὼς τῆς Πολιάδος mentioned by Strabo (ix. 16), and it was still standing in the time of Pausanias, who applies to it the same name (i. 27. 3). The conclusion that the foundations are those of an old temple burnt by the Persians has been generally accepted, but other portions of Dörpfeld’s theory—more especially his assumption that the temple was restored after the Persian War—have provoked much controversy. Thus J. G. Frazer maintains the hitherto current theory that the earlier temple of Athena and Erechtheus was on the site of the Erechtheum; that the Erechtheum inherited the name ἀρχαῖος νεώς from its predecessor, and that the “opisthodomos” in which the treasures were kept was the west chamber of the Parthenon; Furtwängler and Milchhöfer hold the strange view that the “opisthodomos” was a separate building at the east end of the Acropolis, while Penrose thinks the building discovered by Dörpfeld was possibly the Cecropeum. E. Curtius and J. W. White, on the other hand, accept Dörpfeld’s identification, but believe that only the western portion of the temple or opisthodomos was rebuilt after the Persian War. Admitting the identification, we may perhaps conclude that the temple was repaired in order to provide a temporary home for the venerated image and other sacred objects; no traces of a restoration exist, but the walls probably remained standing after the Persian conflagration. The removal of the ancient temple was undoubtedly intended when the Erechtheum was built, but superstition and popular feeling may have prevented its demolition and the removal of the ξόανον to the new edifice. The temple consisted of an eastern cella with pronaos; behind this was the opisthodomos, divided into three chambers—possibly treasuries—with a portico at the western end. The peristyle, if we compare the measurements of the stylobate with those of the drums built into the wall of the Acropolis, may be concluded to have consisted of six Doric columns at the ends and twelve at the sides. In one of the pediments was a gigantomachy, of which some fragments have been recovered.
In 1896 excavations with the object of exploring the whole northern and eastern slopes of the Acropolis were begun by Kavvadias. The pathway between the citadel and the Areopagus was found to be so narrow that it is The grottoes of Pan and Apollo. certain the Panathenaic procession cannot have taken this route to the Acropolis. On the north-west rock the caves known as the grottoes of Pan and Apollo were cleared out; these consist of a slight high-arched indentation immediately to the east of the Clepsydra and a double and somewhat deeper cavern a little farther to the east. In the first mentioned are a number of niches in which πίνακες (votive tablets) were placed: some of these, inscribed with dedications to Apollo, have been discovered. The whole locality was the seat of the ancient cult of this deity, afterwards styled “Hypacraeus,” with which was associated the legend of Creüsa and the birth of Ion. The worship of Pan was introduced after the Persian wars, in consequence of an apparition seen by Pheidippides, the Athenian courier, in the mountains of Arcadia. Another cave more to the west was revealed by the demolition of the bastion of Odysseus. To the east a much deeper and hitherto unknown cavern has been revealed, which Kavvadias identifies with the grotto of Pan. Close to it are a series of steps hewn in the rock which connect with those discovered in 1886 within the Acropolis wall. Farther east is an underground passage leading eastward to a cave supposed to be the sanctuary of Aglaurus where the ephebi took the oath; with this passage is connected a secret staircase leading up through a cleft in the rock to the precinct of the Errephori on the Acropolis. It is conceivable that the priestesses employed this exit when descending on their mysterious errand.
In the fifty years between the Persian and the Peloponnesian wars architecture and plastic art attained their highest perfection in Athens. The almost complete destruction of the buildings on the Acropolis and in the lower city, among The classical period: the walls of Themistocles. them many temples and shrines which religious sentiment might otherwise have preserved, facilitated the realization of the magnificent architectural designs of Themistocles, Cimon and Pericles, while the rapid growth of the Athenian empire provided the state with the necessary means for the execution of these sumptuous projects. Of the great monuments of this epoch few traces remain except on the Acropolis. After the departure of the Persians the first necessity was the reconstruction of the defences of the city and the citadel. The walls of the city, now built under the direction of Themistocles, embraced a larger area than the previous circuit, with which they seem to have coincided at the Dipylon Gate on the north-west where the Sacred Way to Eleusis was joined by the principal carriage route to the Peiraeus and the roads to the Academy and Colonus. The other more important gates were the Peiraic and Melitan on the west; the Itonian on the south leading to Phalerum, the Diomean and Diocharean on the east, and the Acharnian on the north. The wall, which was strengthened with numerous towers, enclosed the quarters of Collytus on the north, Melite on the west, Limnae on the south-west and south, and Diomea on the east. The scanty traces which remain have not been systematically excavated except in the neighbourhood of the Dipylon; the discovery of sepulchral tablets built into the masonry illustrates the statement of Thucydides with regard to the employment of such material in the hasty construction of the walls. The circuit has been practically ascertained in its general lines, though not in details; it is given by Thucydides (ii. 13. 7) as 43 stades (about 5½ m.) exclusive of the portion between the points of junction with the long walls extending to the Peiraeus, but the whole circumference cannot have exceeded 37 stades. Possibly Thucydides, who in the passage referred to is dealing with the question of defence, included a portion of the contiguous long walls in his measurement; this explanation derives probability from his underestimate of the length of the long walls.
The design of connecting Athens with the Peiraeus by long parallel walls is ascribed by Plutarch to Themistocles. The “Long Walls” (τὰ μακρὰ τείχη, τὰ σκέλη) consisted of (1) the “North Wall” (τὸ βόρειον τεῖχος), (2) the The “Long Walls”. “Middle” or “South Wall” (τὸ διὰ μέσου τεῖχος, Plato, Gorg. 555 Ε; τὸ νότιον τεῖχος); and (3) the “Phaleric Wall” (τὸ Φαληρικὸν τεῖχος; The north and Phaleric walls were perhaps founded by Cimon, and were completed about 457 B.C. in the early administration of Pericles; the middle wall was built about 445 B.C. The lines of the north and middle walls have been ascertained from the remnants still existing in the 18th century and the scantier traces now visible. The north wall, leaving the city circuit at a point near the modern Observatory, ran from north-east to south-west near the present road to the Peiraeus, until it reached the Peiraeus walls a little to the east of their northernmost bend. The middle wall, beginning south of the Pnyx near the Melitan Gate, gradually approached the northern wall and, following a parallel course at an interval of 550 ft., diverged to the east near the modern New Phalerum and joined the Peiraeus walls on the height of Munychia where they turn inland from the sea. The course of the Phaleric wall has been much disputed. The widely-received view of Curtius that it ran to Cape Kolias (now Old Phalerum) on the east of the Phaleric bay is not accepted by recent topographers. The exigencies of the defensive system planned by Themistocles could only have been satisfied by a juncture of the Phaleric wall with that of the Peiraeus. The existence of any third wall was denied by Leake, according to whose theory the southern parallel wall would be identical with the Phaleric. The language of Thucydides, however, seems decisive with regard to the existence of three walls. The Phaleric wall, branching from the city circuit at some point farther east than the middle or south wall, may have followed the ridge of the Sikelia heights, where some traces of fortifications remain, and then traversed the Phalerum plain till it reached the Peiraeus defences at a point a little to the north-west of their junction with the middle wall. The Phaleric wall, proving indefensible, was abandoned towards the close of the Peloponnesian war; with the other two walls it was completely destroyed after the surrender of the city, and was not rebuilt when they were restored by Conon in 393 B.C. The parallel walls fell into decay, during the Hellenistic period, and according to Strabo (ix. 396) were once more demolished by Sulla.
The great advantages which the Peiraic promontory with its three natural harbours offered for purposes of defence and commerce were first recognized by Themistocles, in whose archonship (493 B.C.) the fortifications of the The Peiraeus. Peiraeus were begun. Before his time the Athenians used as a port the roadstead of Phalerum at the north-eastern corner of Phalerum bay partly sheltered by Cape Kolias. As soon as the building of the city walls had been completed, Themistocles resumed the construction of the Peiraeus defences, which protected the larger harbour of Cantharus on the west and the smaller ports of Zea and Munychia (respectively south-west and south-east of the Munychia heights), terminating in moles at their entrances and enclosing the entire promontory on the land and sea sides except a portion of the south-west shore of the peninsula of Acte. The walls, built of finely compacted blocks, were about 10 ft. in thickness and upwards of 60 ft. in height, and were strengthened by towers. The town was laid out at great expense in straight, broad streets, intersecting each other at right angles, by the architect Hippodamus of Miletus in the time of Pericles. In the centre was the Agora of Hippodamus; on the western margin of the Cantharus harbour extended the emporium, or Digma, the centre of commercial activity, flanked by a series of porticoes; at its northern end, near the entrance to the inner harbour, was another Agora, on the site of the modern market-place, and near it the μακρὰ στοά, the corn depot of the state. This inner and shallower harbour, perhaps the κωφὸς λιμήν, was afterwards excluded from the town precinct by the walls of Conon, which traversing its opening on an embankment (τὸ διὰ μέσου χῶμα) ran round the outer shore of the western promontory of Eëtionea, previously enclosed, with some space to the north-west, by the wider circuit of Themistocles. In the harbours of Zea and Munychia traces may be seen of the remarkable series of galley-slips in which the Athenian fleet was built and repaired. The galley-slips around Zea were roofed by a row of gables supported by stone columns, each gable sheltering two triremes. Among the other noteworthy buildings of the Peiraeus were the arsenal (σκευοθήκη) of Philo and the temples of Zeus Soter, the patron god of the sailors, of the Cnidian Artemis, built by Cimon, and of Artemis Munychia, situated near the fort on the Munychia height; traces of a temple of Asclepius, of two theatres and of a hippodrome remain. The fine marble lion of the classical period which stood at the mouth of the Cantharus harbour gave the Peiraeus its medieval and modern names of Porto Leone and Porto Draco; it was carried away to Venice by Morosini.
In 1870 the Greek Archaeological Society undertook a series of excavations in the Outer Ceramicus, which had already been partially explored by various scholars. The operations, which were carried on at intervals till 1890, The Dipylon and Ceramicus. resulted in the discovery of the Dipylon Gate, the principal entrance of ancient Athens. The Dipylon consists of an outer and an inner gate separated by an oblong courtyard and flanked on either side by towers; the gates were themselves double, being each composed of two apertures intended for the incoming and outgoing traffic. An opening in the city wall a little to the south-west, supposed to have been the Sacred Gate (ἱερὰ πύλη), was in all probability an outlet for the waters of the Eridanus. This stream, which has hitherto been regarded as the eastern branch of the Ilissus rising at Kaesariane, has been identified by Dörpfeld with a brook descending from the south slope of Lycabettus and conducted in an artificial channel to the north-western end of the city, where it made its exit through the walls, eventually joining the Ilissus. The channel was open in Greek times, but was afterwards covered by Roman arches; it appears to have served as the main drain of the city. Between this outlet and the Dipylon were found a boundary-stone, inscribed ὄρος Κεραμεικοῦ, which remains in its place, and the foundations of a large rectangular building, possibly the Pompeium, which may have been a robing-room for the processions which passed this way. On either side of the Dipylon the walls of Themistocles, faced on the outside by a later wall, have been traced for a considerable distance. The excavation of the outlying cemetery revealed the unique “Street of the Tombs” and brought to light a great number of sepulchral monuments, many of which remain in situ. Especially noteworthy are the stelae (reliefs) representing scenes of leave-taking, which, though often of simple workmanship, are characterized by a touching dignity and restraint of feeling. In this neighbourhood were found a great number of tombs containing vases of all periods, which furnish a marvellous record of the development of Attic ceramic art. A considerable portion of the district remains unexplored.
The Acropolis had been dismantled as a fortress after the expulsion of Hippias; its defenders against the Persians found it necessary to erect a wooden barricade at its entrance. The fortifications were again demolished by the The Acropolis of the classical period: its fortifications and area. Persians, after whose departure the existing north wall was erected in the time of Themistocles; many columns, metopes and other fragments from the buildings destroyed by the Persians were built into it, possibly owing to haste, as in the case of the city walls, but more probably with the design of commemorating the great historic catastrophe, as the wall was visible from the Agora. The fine walls of the south and east sides were built by Cimon after the victory of the Eurymedon, 468 B.C.; they extend considerably beyond the old Pelasgic circuit, the intervening space being filled up with earth and the débris of the ruined buildings so as to increase the level space of the summit. On the northern side Cimon completed the wall of Themistocles at both ends and added to its height; the ground behind was levelled up on this side also, the platform of the Acropolis thus receiving its present shape and dimensions. The staircase leading down to the sanctuary of Aglaurus was enclosed in masonry. At the south-western corner, on the right of the approach to the old entrance, a bastion of early masonry was encased in a rectangular projection which formed a base for the temple of Nike. The great engineering works of Cimon provided a suitable area for the magnificent structures of the age of Pericles.
The greater monuments of the classical epoch on the Acropolis are described in separate articles (see Parthenon, Erechtheum, Propylaea). Next in interest to these noble structures is the beautiful little temple of Athena Nike, wrongly designated Nike The monuments on the Acropolis. Apteros (Wingless Victory), standing on the bastion already mentioned; it was begun after 450 B.C. and was probably finished after the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War. The temple, which is entirely of Pentelic marble, is amphiprostyle tetrastyle, with fluted Ionic columns, on a stylobate of three steps; its length is 27 ft., its breadth 18½ ft., and its total height, from the apex of the pediment to the bottom of the steps, 23 ft. The frieze, running round the entire building, represents on its eastern side a number of deities, on its northern and southern sides Greeks fighting with Persians, and on its western side Greeks fighting with Greeks. Before the east front was the altar of Athena Nike. The irregularly shaped precinct around the temple was enclosed by a balustrade about 3 ft. 2 in. in height, decorated on the outside with beautiful reliefs representing a number of winged Victories engaged in the worship of Athena. The elaborate treatment of the drapery enveloping these female figures suggests an approach to the mannerism of later times; this and other indications point to the probability that the balustrade was added in the latter years of the Peloponnesian War. The temple was still standing in 1676; some eight years later it was demolished by the Turks, and its stones built into a bastion; on the removal of the bastion in 1835 the temple was successfully reconstructed by Ross with the employment of little new material. At either corner of the Propylaea entrance were equestrian statues dedicated by the Athenian knights; the bases with inscriptions have lately been recovered. From the inner exit of the Propylaea a passage led towards the east along the north side of the Parthenon; almost directly facing the entrance was the colossal bronze statue of Athena (afterwards called Athena Promachos) by Pheidias, probably set up by Cimon in commemoration of the Persian defeat. The statue, which was 30 ft. high, represented the goddess as fully armed; the gleam of her helmet and spear could be seen by the mariners approaching from Cape Sunium (Pausanias i. 28). On both sides of the passage were numerous statues, among them that of Athena Hygeïa, set up by Pericles to commemorate the recovery of a favourite slave who was injured during the building of the Parthenon, a colossal bronze image of the wooden horse of Troy, and Myron’s group of Marsyas with Athena throwing away her flute. Another statue by Myron, the famous Perseus, stood near the precinct of Artemis Brauronia. In this sacred enclosure, which lay between the south-eastern corner of the Propylaea and the wall of Cimon, no traces of a temple have been found. Adjoining it to the east are the remains of a large rectangular building, which was apparently fronted by a colonnade; this has been identified with the Χαλκοθήκη, a storehouse of bronze implements and arms, which was formerly supposed to lie against the north wall near the Propylaea. Beyond the Parthenon, a little to the north-east, was the great altar of Athena, and near it the statue and altar of Zeus Polieus. With regard to the buildings on the east end of the Acropolis, where the present museums stand, no certainty exists; among the many statues here were those of Xanthippus, the father of Pericles, and of Anacreon. Immediately west of the Erechtheum is the Pandroseum or temenos of Pandrosos, the daughter of Cecrops, the excavation of which has revealed no traces of the temple (ναός) seen here by Pausanias (i. 27). The site of this precinct, in which the sacred olive tree of Athena grew, has been almost certainly fixed by an inscription found in the bastion of Odysseus. At its north-western extremity is a platform of levelled rock which may have supported the altar of Zeus Hypsistus. Farther west, along the north wall of the Acropolis, is the space probably occupied by the abode and playground of the Errephori. Between this precinct and the Propylaea were a number of statues, among them the celebrated heifer of Myron, and perhaps his Erechtheus; the Lemnian Athena of Pheidias, and his effigy of his friend Pericles.
The reconstruction of the city after its demolition by the Persians was not carried out on the lines of a definite plan like that of the Peiraeus. The houses were hastily repaired, and the narrow, crooked streets remained; the influence of Themistocles, The city in the classical period. who aimed at transferring the capital to the Peiraeus, was probably directed against any costly scheme of restoration, except on the Acropolis. The period of Cimon’s administration, however, especially the interval between his victory on the Eurymedon and his ostracism (468–461 B.C.), was marked by great architectural activity in the lower city as well as on the citadel. To his time may be referred many of the buildings around the Agora (probably rebuilt on the former sites) and elsewhere, and the passage, or δρόμος, from the Agora to the Dipylon flanked by long porticos. The Theseum or temple of Theseus, which lay to the east of the Agora near the Acropolis, was built by Cimon: here he deposited the bones of the national hero which he brought from Scyros about 470 B.C. The only building in the city which can with certainty be assigned to the administration of Pericles is the Odeum, beneath the southern declivity of the Acropolis, a structure mainly of wood, said to have been built in imitation of the tent of Xerxes: it was used for musical contests and the rehearsal of plays. Of the various temples in which statues by Pheidias, Alcamenes and other great sculptors are known to have been placed, no traces have yet been discovered; excavation has not been possible in a large portion of the lower city, which has always been inhabited. The only extant structures of the classical period are the Hephaesteum, the Dionysiac theatre, and the choragic monument of Lysicrates. The remains of a small Ionic temple which were standing by the Ilissus in the time of Stuart have disappeared.
The Hephaesteum, the so-called Theseum, is situated on a slight eminence, probably the Colonus Agoraeus, to the west of the Agora. The best preserved Greek temple in the world, it possesses no record of its origin; the The Hephaesteum or Theseum. style of its sculptures and architecture leads to the conclusion that it was built about the same time as the Parthenon; it seems to have been finished by 421 B.C. It has been known as the Theseum since the middle ages, apparently because some of its sculptures represent the exploits of Theseus, but the Theseum was an earlier sanctuary on the east of the Agora (see above). The building has been supposed by Curtius, Wachsmuth and others to be the Heracleum in Melite, but its identification with the temple of Hephaestus and Athena seen in this neighbourhood by Pausanias (i. 14. 6), though not established, may be regarded as practically certain, notwithstanding the difficulty presented by the subjects of the sculptures, which bear no relation to Hephaestus. The temple is a Doric peripteral hexastyle in antis, with 13 columns at the sides; its length is 104 ft., its breadth 45½ ft., its height, to the top of the pediment, 33 ft. The sculptures of the pediments have been completely lost, but their design has been ingeniously reconstructed by Sauer. The frieze of the entablature contains sculptures only in the metopes of the east front and in those of the sides immediately adjoining it; the frontal metopes represent the labours of Heracles, the lateral the exploits of Theseus. As in the Parthenon, there is a sculptured zophoros above the exterior of the cella walls; this, however, extends over the east and west fronts only and the east ends of the sides; the eastern zophoros represents a battle-scene with seated deities on either hand, the western a centauromachia. The temple is entirely of Pentelic marble, except the foundations and lowest step of the stylobate, which are of Peiraic stone, and the zophoros of the cella, which is in Parian marble. The preservation of the temple is due to its conversion into a church in the middle ages.
The Dionysiac theatre, situated beneath the south side of the Acropolis, was partly hollowed out from its declivity. The representation of plays was perhaps transferred to this spot from the early Orchestra in the Agora at the The Dionysiac theatre and Asclepieum. beginning of the 5th century B.C.; it afterwards superseded the Pnyx as the meeting-place of the Ecclesia. The site, which had been accurately determined by Leake, was explored by Strack in 1862, and the researches subsequently undertaken by the Greek Archaeological Society were concluded in 1879. It was not, however, till 1886 that traces of the original circular Greek orchestra were pointed out by Dörpfeld. The arrangements of the stage and orchestra as we now see them belong to Roman times; the cavea or auditorium dates from the administration of the orator Lycurgus (337–323 B.C.), and nothing is left of the theatre in which the plays of Sophocles were acted save a few small remnants of polygonal masonry. These, however, are sufficient to mark out the circuit of the ancient orchestra, on which the subsequently built proscenia encroached. The oldest stage-building was erected in the time of Lycurgus; it consisted of a rectangular hall with square projections (παρασκήνια) on either side; in front of this was built in late Greek or early Roman times a stage with a row of columns which intruded upon the orchestra space; a later and larger stage, dating from the time of Nero, advanced still farther into the orchestra, and this was finally faced (probably in the 3rd century A.D.) by the “bema” of Phaedrus, a platform-wall decorated with earlier reliefs, the slabs of which were cut down to suit their new position. The remains of two temples of Dionysus have been found adjoining the stoa of the theatre, and an altar of the same god adorned with masks and festoons; the smaller and earlier temple probably dates from the 6th century B.C., the larger from the end of the 5th or the beginning of the 4th century.
Immediately west of the theatre of Dionysus is the sacred precinct of Asclepius, which was excavated by the Archaeological Society in 1876–1878. Here were discovered the foundations of the celebrated Asclepieum, together with several inscriptions and a great number of votive reliefs offered by grateful invalids and valetudinarians to the god of healing. Many of the reliefs belong to the best period of Greek art. A Doric colonnade with a double row of columns was found to have extended along the base of the Acropolis for a distance of 54 yds.; behind it in a chamber hewn in the rock is the sacred well mentioned by Pausanias. The colonnade was a place of resort for the patients; a large building close beneath the rock was probably the abode of the priests.
The beautiful choragic monument of Lysicrates, dedicated in the archonship of Euaenetus (335–334 B.C.), is the only survivor of a number of such structures which stood in the “Street of the Tripods” to the east of the Dionysiac The choragic monument of Lysicrates. theatre, bearing the tripods given to the successful choragi at the Dionysiac festival. It owes its preservation to its former inclusion in a Capuchin convent. The monument consists of a small circular temple of Pentelic marble, 21½ ft. in height and 9 ft. in diameter, with six engaged Corinthian columns and a sculptured frieze, standing on a rectangular base of Peiraic stone. The delicately carved convex roof, composed of a single block, was surmounted by the tripod. The spirited reliefs of the frieze represent the punishment of the Tyrrhenian pirates by Dionysus and their transformation into dolphins. Another choragic monument was that of Thrasyllus, which faced a cave in the Acropolis rock above the Dionysiac theatre. A portion of another, that of Nicias, was used to make the late Roman gate of the Acropolis. In one of these monuments was the famous Satyr of Praxiteles.
The Cynosarges, from earliest times a sanctuary of Heracles, later a celebrated gymnasium and the school of Antisthenes the Cynic, has hitherto been generally supposed to have occupied the site of the Monastery of the Asomati The Cynosarges. on the eastern slope of Lycabettus; its situation, however, has been fixed by Dörpfeld at a point a little to the south of the Olympieum, on the left bank of the Ilissus. Here a series of excavations, carried out by the British School in 1896–1897 under the direction of Cecil Smith, revealed the foundations of an extensive Greek building, the outlines of which correspond with those of a gymnasium; it possessed a large bath or cistern, and was flanked on two sides by water-courses. An Ionic capital found here possibly belonged to the palaestra. The identification, however, cannot be regarded as certain in the absence of inscriptions.
With the loss of political liberty the age of creative genius in Athenian architecture came to a close. The era of decadence, of honorary statues and fulsome inscriptions, began. The embellishments which the city received during The Hellenistic period: the Stoa of Attalus. the Hellenistic and Roman periods were no longer the artistic expression of the religious and political life of a great commonwealth; they were the tribute paid to the intellectual renown of Athens by foreign potentates or dilettanti, who desired to add their names to the list of its illustrious citizens and patrons. Among the first of these benefactions was the great gymnasium of Ptolemy, built in the neighbourhood of the Agora about 250 B.C. Successive princes of the dynasty of Pergamum interested themselves in the adornment of the city: Attalus I. set up a number of bronze statues on the Acropolis; Eumenes II. built the long portico west of the Dionysiac theatre, which was excavated and identified in 1877; Attalus II. erected the magnificent Stoa near the Agora, the remains of which were completely laid bare in 1898–1902 and have been identified by an inscription. The Stoa consisted of a series of 21 chambers, probably shops, faced by a double colonnade, the outer columns being of the Doric order, the inner unfluted, with lotus-leaf capitals; it possessed an upper storey fronted with Ionic columns.
The greatest monument, however, of the Hellenistic period is the colossal Olympieum or temple of Olympian Zeus, “unum in terris inchoatum pro magnitudine dei” (Livy xli. 20), the remains of which stand by the Ilissus The Olympieum. to the south-east of the Acropolis. The foundations of a temple were laid on the site—probably that of an ancient sanctuary-by Peisistratus, but the building in its ultimate form was for the greater part constructed under the auspices of Antiochus IV. Epiphanes, king of Syria, by the Roman architect Cossutius in the interval between 174 B.C. and 164 B.C., the date of the death of Antiochus. The work was then suspended and its proposed resumption in the time of Augustus seems not to have been realized; finally, in A.D. 129, the temple was completed and dedicated by Hadrian, who set up a chryselephantine statue of Zeus in the cella. The substructure was excavated in 1883 by F. C. Penrose, who proved the correctness of Dörpfeld’s theory that the building was octostyle; its length was 318 ft., its breadth 132 ft. With the exception of the foundations and two lower steps of the stylobate, it was entirely of Pentelic marble, and possessed 104 Corinthian columns, 56 ft. 7 in. in height, of which 48 stood in triple rows under the pediments and 56 in double rows at the sides; of these, 16 remained standing in 1852, when one was blown down by a storm. Fragments of Doric columns and foundations were discovered, probably intended for the temple begun by Peisistratus, the orientation of which differed slightly from that of the later structure. The peribolos, a large artificial platform supported by a retaining wall of squared Peiraic blocks with buttresses, was excavated in 1898 without important results; it is to be hoped that the stability of the columns has not been affected by the operations.
The Roman Period.—After 146 B.C. Athens and its territory were included in the Roman province of Achaea. Among the earlier buildings of this period is the Horologium of Andronicus of Cyrrhus (the “Tower of the Winds”), The Horologium of Andronicus. still standing near the eastern end of the Roman Agora. The building may belong to the 2nd or 1st century B.C.; it is mentioned by Varro (De re rust. iii. 5. 17), and therefore cannot be of later date than 35 B.C. It is an octagonal marble structure, 42 ft. in height and 26 ft. in diameter; the eight sides, which face the points of the compass, are furnished with a frieze containing inartistic figures in relief representing the winds; below it, on the sides facing the sun, are the lines of a sun-dial. The building was surmounted by a weathercock in the form of a bronze Triton; it contained a water-clock to record the time when the sun was not shining.
The capture and sack of Athens by Sulla (March 1, 86 B.C.) seems to have involved no great injury to its architectural monuments beyond the burning of the Odeum of Pericles; a portion of the city wall was razed, the Monuments of the Roman period. groves of the Academy and Lyceum were cut down, and the Peiraeus, with its magnificent arsenal and other great buildings, burnt to the ground. After this catastrophe the benefactors of Athens were for the most part Romans; the influence of Greek literature and art had begun to affect the conquering race. The New, or Roman, Agora to the north of the Acropolis, perhaps mainly an oil market, was constructed after the year 27 B.C. Its dimensions were practically determined by excavation in 1890–1891. It consisted of a large open rectangular space surrounded by an Ionic colonnade into which opened a number of shops or storehouses. The eastern gate was adorned with four Ionic columns on the outside and two on the inside, the western entrance being the well-known Doric portico of Athena Archegetis with an inscription recording its erection from donations of Julius Caesar and Augustus. The whole conclave may be compared with the enclosed bazaars or khans of Oriental cities which are usually locked at night. The Agrippeum, a covered theatre, derived its name from Vipsanius Agrippa, whose statue was set up, about 27 B.C., beneath the north wing of the Acropolis propylaea, on the high rectangular base still remaining. At the eastern end of the Acropolis a little circular temple of white marble with a peristyle of 9 Ionic columns was dedicated to Rome and Augustus; its foundations were discovered during the excavations of 1885–1888. The conspicuous monument which crowns the Museum Hill was erected as the mausoleum of Antiochus Philopappus of Commagene, grandson of Antiochus Epiphanes, in A.D. 114–116. Excavations carried out in 1898–1899 showed that the structure was nearly square; the only portion remaining is the slightly curved front, with three niches between Corinthian pilasters; in the central niche is the statue of Philopappus.
The emperor Hadrian was the most lavish of all the benefactors of Athens. Besides completing the gigantic Olympieum he enlarged the circuit of the city walls to the east, enclosing the area now covered by the royal Novae Athenae: the buildings of Hadrian. public gardens and the Constitution Square. This was the City of Hadrian (Hadrianapolis) or New Athens (Novae Athenae); a handsome suburb with numerous villas, baths and gardens; some traces remain of its walls, which, like those of Themistocles, were fortified with rectangular towers. An ornamental entrance near the Olympieum, the existing Arch of Hadrian, marked the boundary between the new and the old cities. The arch is surmounted by a triple attic with Corinthian columns; the frieze above the keystone bears, on the north-western side, the inscription αἴδ᾽ εἴσ᾽ Ἀθῆναι, Θησέως ἡ πρὶν πόλις and on the south-eastern, αἴδ᾽ εἴσ᾽ Ἁδριανοῦ καὶ οὐχὶ Θησέως πόλις. One of the principal monuments of Hadrian’s munificence was the sumptuous library, in all probability a vast rectangular enclosure, immediately north of the New Agora, the eastern side of which was explored in 1885–1886. A portion of its western front, adorned with monolith unfluted Corinthian columns, is still standing—the familiar “Stoa of Hadrian”; another well-preserved portion, with six pilasters, runs parallel to the west side of Aeolus Street. The interior consisted of a spacious court surrounded by a colonnade of 100 columns, into which five chambers opened at the eastern end. A portico of four fluted Corinthian columns on the western side formed the entrance to the quadrangle. This cloistered edifice may be identified with the library of Hadrian mentioned by Pausanias; the books were, perhaps, stored in a square building which occupied a portion of the central area. Strikingly similar in design and construction is a large quadrangular building, the foundations of which were discovered by the British School near the presumed Cynosarges; this may perhaps be the Gymnasium of Hadrian, which Pausanias tells us also possessed 100 columns. A Pantheon and temples of Hera and Zeus Panhellenius were likewise built by Hadrian; the aqueduct, which he began, was completed by Antoninus Pius (A.D. 138–161); it was repaired in 1861–1869 and is still in use.
The Stadium, in which the Panathenaic Games were held, was first laid out by the orator Lycurgus about 330 B.C. It was an oblong structure filling a natural depression near the left bank of the Ilissus beneath the eastern declivity The Stadium and Odeum of Herodes Atticus. of the Ardettus hill, the parallel sides and semicircular end, or σφενδόνη around the arena being partially excavated from the adjoining slopes. The immense building, however, which was restored in 1896 and the following years, was that constructed in Pentelic marble about A.D. 143 by Tiberius Claudius Herodes Atticus, a wealthy Roman resident, whose benefactions to the city rivalled those of Hadrian. The seats, rising in tiers, as in a theatre, accommodated about 44,000 spectators; the arena was 670 ft. in length and 109 ft. in breadth. The Odeum, built beneath the south-west slope of the Acropolis after A.D. 161 by Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife Regilla, is comparatively well preserved; it was excavated in 1848 and in 1857–1858. The plan is that of the conventional Roman theatre; the semicircular auditorium, which seated some 5000 persons, is, like that of the Dionysiac theatre, partly hollowed from the rock. The orchestra is paved with marble squares. The façade, in Peiraic stone, displays three storeys of arched windows. The whole building was covered with a cedar roof. The Stadium had been already completed and the Odeum had not yet been built when Pausanias visited Athens; these buildings were the last important additions to the architectural monuments of the ancient city. (J. D. B.)
II. The Modern City
At the conclusion of the Greek War of Independence, Athens was little more than a village of the Turkish type, the poorly built houses clustering on the northern and eastern slopes of the Acropolis. The narrow crooked lanes of this quarter still contrast with the straight, regularly laid-out streets of the modern city, which extends to the north-west, north and east of the ancient citadel. The greater commercial advantages offered by Nauplia, Corinth and Patras were outweighed by the historic claims of Athens in the choice of a capital for the newly founded kingdom, and the seat of government was transferred hither from Nauplia in 1833. The new town was, for the most part, laid out by the German architect Schaubert. It contains several squares and boulevards, a large public garden, and many handsome public and private edifices. A great number of the public institutions owe their origin to the munificence of patriotic Greeks, among whom Andreas Syngros and George Averoff may be especially mentioned. The royal palace, designed by Friedrich von Gärtner (1792–1847), is a tasteless structure; attached to it is a beautiful garden laid out by Queen Amalia, which contains a well-preserved mosaic floor of the Roman period. On the south-east is the newly built palace of the crown prince. The Academy, from designs by Theophil Hansen (1813–1891), is constructed of Pentelic marble in the Ionic style: the colonnades and pediments are richly coloured and gilded, and may perhaps convey some idea of the ancient style of decoration. Close by is the university, with a colonnade adorned with paintings, and the Vallianean library with a handsome Doric portico of Pentelic marble. The observatory, which is connected with the university, stands on the summit of the Hill of the Nymphs; like the Academy, it was erected at the expense of a wealthy Greek, Baron Sina of Vienna. In the public garden is the Zappeion, a large building with a Corinthian portico, intended for the display of Greek industries; here also is a monument to Byron, erected in 1896. The Boulē, or parliament-house, possesses a considerable library. Other public buildings are the Polytechnic Institute, built by contributions from Greeks of Epirus, the theatre, the Arsakeion (a school for girls), the Varvakeion (a gymnasium), the military school (σχολὴ εὐελπίδων), and several hospitals and orphanages. The cathedral, a large, modern structure is devoid of architectural merit, but some of the smaller, ancient, Byzantine churches are singularly interesting and beautiful. Among private residences, the mansion built by Dr Schliemann, the discoverer of Troy, is the most noteworthy; its decorations are in the Pompeian style.
The museums of Athens have steadily grown in importance with the progress of excavation. They are admirably arranged, and the remnants of ancient art which they contain have fortunately escaped injudicious restoration. Museums. The National Museum, founded in 1866, is especially rich in archaic sculptures and in sepulchral and votive reliefs. A copy of the Diadumenos of Polyclitus from Delos, and temple sculptures from Epidaurus and the Argive Heraeum, are among the more notable of its recent acquisitions. It also possesses the famous collection of prehistoric antiquities found by Schliemann at Tiryns and Mycenae, other “Mycenaean” objects discovered at Nauplia and in Attica, as well as the still earlier remains excavated by Tsountas in the Cyclades and by the British School at Phylakopi in Melos; terra-cottas from Tanagra and Asia Minor; bronzes from Olympia, Delphi and elsewhere, and numerous painted vases, among them the unequalled white lekythi from Athens and Eretria. The Epigraphical Museum contains an immense number of inscriptions arranged by H. G. Lolling and A. Wilhelm of the Austrian Institute. The Acropolis Museum (opened 1878) possesses a singularly interesting collection of sculptures belonging to the “archaic” period of Greek art, all found on the Acropolis; here, too, are some fragments of the pedimental statues of the Parthenon and several reliefs from its frieze, as well as the slabs from the balustrade of the temple of Nike. The Polytechnic Institute contains a museum of interesting objects connected with modern Greek life and history. In the Academy is a valuable collection of coins superintended by Svoronos. Of the private collections those of Schliemann and Karapanos are the most interesting: the latter contains works of art and other objects from Dodona. There is a small museum of antiquities at the Peiraeus.
Owing to the numbers and activity of its institutions, both native and foreign, for the prosecution of research and the encouragement of classical studies, Athens has become once more an international seat of learning. The Scientific institutions. Greek Archaeological Society, founded in 1837, numbers some distinguished scholars among its members, and displays great activity in the conduct of excavations. Important researches at Epidaurus, Eleusis, Mycenae, Amyclae and Rhamnus may be numbered among its principal undertakings, in addition to the complete exploration of the Acropolis and a series of investigations in Athens and Attica. The French École d’Athènes, founded in 1846, is under the scientific direction of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-lettres. Among its numerous enterprises have been the extensive and costly excavations at Delos and Delphi, which have yielded such remarkable results. The monuments of the Byzantine epoch have latterly occupied a prominent place in its investigations. The German Archaeological Institute, founded in 1874, has carried out excavations at Thebes, Lesbos, Paros, Athens and elsewhere; it has also been associated in the great researches at Olympia, Pergamum and Troy, and in many other important undertakings. The British School, founded in 1886, has been unable, owing to insufficient endowment, to work on similar lines with the French and German institutions; it has, however, carried out extensive excavations at Megalopolis and in Melos, as well as researches at Abae, in Athens (presumed site of the Cynosarges), in Cyprus, at Naucratis and at Sparta. It has also participated in the exploration of Cnossus and other important sites in Crete. The American School, founded in 1882, is supported by the principal universities of the United States. In addition to researches at Sicyon, Plataea, Eretria and elsewhere, it has undertaken two works of capital importance—the excavation of the Argive Heraeum and of ancient Corinth. An Austrian Archaeological Institute was founded in 1898.
Notwithstanding certain disadvantages inherent in its situation, the trade and manufactures of Athens have considerably increased in recent years. Industrial and commercial activity is mainly centred at the Peiraeus, where Industry and commerce. 8 cloth and cotton mills, 45 cognac distilleries, 14 steam flour mills, 8 soap manufactories, 13 shipbuilding and engineering works, chair manufactories, dye works, chemical works, tanneries and a dynamite factory have been established. The shipbuilding and engineering trades are active and advancing. The export trade is, however, inconsiderable, as the produce of the local industries is mainly absorbed by home consumption. The principal exports are wine, cognac and marble from Pentelicus. As a place of import, the Peiraeus surpasses Patras, Syra and all the other Greek maritime towns, receiving about 53% of all the merchandise brought into Greece. The principal imports are coal, grain, manufactured articles and articles of luxury. The total value of exports in 1904 was £459,565; of imports, £2,459,278. The number of ships entered and cleared in 1905 was 5020 with a tonnage of 5,796,590 tons, of which 416, with a tonnage of 609,822 tons, were British.
The Peiraeus, which had never revived since its destruction by the Romans in 86 B.C., was at the beginning of the 19th century a small fishing village known as Porto Leone. When Athens became the capital in 1833 the ancient name of The Peiraeus. its port was revived, and since that time piers and quays have been constructed, and spacious squares and broad regular streets have been laid out. The town now possesses an exchange, a large theatre, a gymnasium, a naval school, municipal buildings and several hospitals and charitable institutions erected by private munificence. The harbour, in which ships of all nations may be seen, as well as great numbers of the picturesque sailing craft engaged in the coasting trade, is somewhat difficult of access to larger vessels, but has been improved by the construction of new breakwaters and dry docks. The port and the capital are now connected by railway with Corinth and the principal towns of the Morea; the line opening up communication with northern Greece and Thessaly, when its proposed connexion with the Continental railway system has been effected, will greatly enhance the importance of the Peiraeus, already one of the most flourishing commercial towns in the Levant.
The population of Athens has rapidly increased. In 1834 it was below 5000; in 1870 it was 44,510; in 1879, 63,374; in 1889, 107,251; in 1896, 111,486. The Peiraeus, which Population. in 1834 possessed only a few hundred inhabitants, in 1879 possessed 21,618; in 1889, 34,327; in 1896, 43,848. The total population of Athens in 1907 was 167,479 and of Peiraeus 67,982. (J. D. B.)
1. The Prehistoric Period.—The history of primitive Athens is involved in the same obscurity which enshrouds the early development of most of the Greek city-states. The Homeric poems scarcely mention Attica, and the legends, though numerous, are rarely of direct historical value. In the Minoan epoch Athens is proved by the archaeological remains to have been a petty kingdom scarcely more important than many other Attic communities, yet enjoying a more unbroken course of development than the leading states of that period. This accords with the cherished tradition which made the Athenians children of the soil, and free from admixture with conquering tribes. Many legends, however, and the later state organization, point to an immigration of an “Ionian” aristocracy in late Mycenaean days. These Ionian newcomers are almost certainly responsible for the absorption of the numerous independent communities of Attica into a central state of Athens under a powerful monarchy (see Theseus), for the introduction of new cults, and for the division of the people into four tribes whose names—Geleontes, Hopletes, Argadeis and Aegicoreis—recur in several true Ionian towns. This centralization of power (Synoecism), to which many Greek peoples never attained, laid the first foundations of Athenian greatness. But in other respects the new constitution tended to arrest development. When the monarchy was supplanted in the usual Greek fashion by a hereditary nobility—a process accomplished, according to tradition, between about 1000 and 683 B.C.—all power was appropriated by a privileged class of Eupatridae; the Geomori and Demiurgi, who formed the bulk of the community, enjoyed no political rights. It was to their control over the machinery of law that the Eupatridae owed their predominance. The aristocratic council of the Areopagus constituted the chief criminal court, and nominated the magistrates, among whom the chief archon passed judgment in family suits, controlled admission to the genos or clan, and consequently the acquisition of the franchise. This system was further supported by religious prescriptions which the nobles retained as a corporate secret. Assisted no doubt by their judicial control, the Eupatridae also tended to become sole owners of the land, reducing the original freeholders or tenants to the position of serfs. During this period Athens seems to have made little use of her militia, commanded by the polemarch, or of her navy, which was raised in special local divisions known as Naucraries (see Naucrary); hence no military esprit de corps could arise to check the Eupatrid ascendancy. Nor did the commons obtain relief through any commercial or colonial enterprises such as those which alleviated social distress in many other Greek states. The first attack upon the aristocracy proceeded from a young noble named Cylon, who endeavoured to become tyrant about 630 B.C. The people helped to crush this movement; yet discontent must have been rife among them, for in 621 the Eupatrids commissioned Draco, a junior magistrate, to draft and publish a code of criminal law. This was a notable concession, by which the nobles lost that exclusive legal knowledge which had formed one of their main instruments of oppression.
2. The Rise of Athens.—A still greater danger grew out of the widespread financial distress, which was steadily driving many of the agricultural population into slavery and threatened the entire state with ruin. After a protracted war with the neighbouring Megarians had accentuated the crisis the Eupatridae gave to one of their number, the celebrated Solon, free power to remodel the whole state (594). By his economic legislation Solon placed Athenian agriculture once more upon a sound footing, and supplemented this source of wealth by encouraging commercial enterprise, thus laying the foundation of his country’s material prosperity. His constitutional reforms proved less successful, for, although he put into the hands of the people various safeguards against oppression, he could not ensure their use in practice. After a period of disorder and party-feud among the nobles the new constitution was superseded in fact, if not in form, by the autocratic rule of Peisistratus, and his sons Hippias and Hipparchus. The age of despotism, which lasted, with interruptions, from 560 to 510, was a period of great prosperity for Athens. The rulers fostered agriculture, stimulated commerce and industry (notably the famous Attic ceramics), adorned the city with public works and temples, and rendered it a centre of culture. Their vigorous foreign policy first made Athens an Aegean power and secured connexions with numerous mainland powers. Another result of the tyranny was the weakening of the undue influence of the nobles and the creation of a national Athenian spirit in place of the ancient clan-feeling.
The equalization of classes was already far advanced when towards the end of the century a nobleman of the Alcmaeonid family, named Cleisthenes, who had taken the chief part in the final expulsion of the tyrants, acquired ascendancy as leader of the commons. The constitution which he promulgated (508/7) gave expression to the change of political feeling by providing a national basis of franchise and providing a new state organization. By making effective the powers of the Ecclesia (Popular Assembly) the Boulē (Council) and Heliaea, Cleisthenes became the true founder of Athenian democracy.
This revolution was accompanied by a conflict with Sparta and other powers. But a spirit of harmony and energy now breathed within the nation, and in the ensuing wars Athens worsted powerful enemies like Thebes and Chalcis (506). A bolder stroke followed in 500, when a force was sent to support the Ionians in revolt against Persia and took part in the sack of Sardis. After the failure of this expedition the Athenians apparently became absorbed in a prolonged struggle with Aegina. In 493 the imminent prospect of a Persian invasion brought into power men like Themistocles and Miltiades (qq.v.), to whose firmness and insight the Athenians largely owed their triumph in the great campaign of 490 against Persia. After a second political reaction, the prospect of a second Persian war, and the naval superiority of Aegina led to the assumption of a bolder policy. In 483 Themistocles overcame the opposition of Aristides, and passed his famous measure providing for a large increase of the Athenian fleet. In the great invasion of 480–479 the Athenians displayed an unflinching resolution which could not be shaken even by the evacuation and destruction of their native city. Though the traditional account of this war exaggerates the services of Athens as compared with the other champions of Greek independence, there can be no doubt that the ultimate victory was chiefly due to the numbers and efficiency of the Athenian fleet, and to the wise policy of her great statesman Themistocles (see Salamis, Plataea).
3. Imperial Athens.—After the Persian retreat and the reoccupation of their city the Athenians continued the war with unabated vigour. Led by Aristides and Cimon they rendered such prominent service as to receive in return the formal leadership of the Greek allies and the presidency of the newly formed Delian League. The ascendancy acquired in these years eventually raised Athens to the rank of an imperial state. For the moment it tended to impair the good relations which had subsisted between Athens and Sparta since the first days of the Persian peril. But so long as Cimon’s influence prevailed the ideal of “peace at home and the complete humiliation of Persia” was steadily unheld. Similarly the internal policy of Athens continued to be shaped by the conservatives. The only notable innovations since the days of Cleisthenes had been the reduction of the archonship to a routine magistracy appointed partly by lot (487), and the rise of the ten elective strategi (generals) as chief executive officers (see Strategus). But the triumph of the navy in 480 and the great expansion of commerce and industry had definitely shifted the political centre of gravity from the yeoman class of moderate democrats to the more radical party usually stigmatized as the “sailor rabble.” Though Themistocles soon lost his influence, his party eventually found a new leader in Ephialtes and after the failure of Cimon’s foreign policy (see Cimon) triumphed over the conservatives. The year 461 marks the reversal of Athenian policy at home and abroad. By cancelling the political power of the Areopagus and multiplying the functions of the popular law-courts, Ephialtes abolished the last checks upon the sovereignty of the commons. His successor, Pericles, who commonly ranked as the “completer of the democracy,” merely developed the full democracy so as to secure its effectual as well as its theoretical supremacy. The foreign policy of Athens was now directed towards an almost reckless expansion (see Pericles). The unparalleled success of the Athenian arms at this period extended the bounds of empire to their farthest limits. Besides securing her Aegean possessions and her commerce by the defeat of Corinth and Aegina, her last rivals on sea, Athens acquired an extensive dominion in central Greece and for a time quite overshadowed the Spartan land-power. The rapid loss of the new conquests after 447 proved that Athens lacked a sufficient land-army to defend permanently so extensive a frontier. Under the guidance of Pericles the Athenians renounced the unprofitable rivalry with Sparta and Persia, and devoted themselves to the consolidation and judicious extension of their maritime influence.
The years of the supremacy of Pericles (443–429) are on the whole the most glorious in Athenian history. In actual extent of territory the empire had receded somewhat, but in point of security and organization it now stood at its height. The Delian confederacy lay completely under Athenian control, and the points of strategic importance were largely held by cleruchies (q.v.; see also Pericles) and garrisons. Out of a citizen body of over 50,000 freemen, reinforced by mercenaries and slaves, a superb fleet exceeding 300 sail and an army of 30,000 drilled soldiers could be mustered. The city itself, with its fortifications extending to the port of Peiraeus, was impregnable to a land attack. The commerce of Athens extended from Egypt and Colchis to Etruria and Carthage, and her manufactures, which attracted skilled operatives from many lands, found a ready sale all over the Mediterranean. With tolls, and the tribute of the Delian League, a fund of 9700 talents (£2,300,000) was amassed in the treasury.
Yet the material prosperity of Athens under Pericles was less notable than her brilliant attainments in every field of culture. Her development since the Persian wars had been extremely rapid, but did not reach its climax till the latter part of the century. No city ever adorned herself with such an array of temples, public buildings and works of art as the Athens of Pericles and Pheidias. Her achievements in literature are hardly less great. The Attic drama of the period produced many great masterpieces, and the scientific thought of Europe in the departments of logic, ethics, rhetoric and history mainly owes its origin to a new movement of Greek thought which was largely fostered by the patronage of Pericles himself. Besides producing numerous men of genius herself Athens attracted all the great intellects of Greece. The brilliant summary of the historian Thucydides in the famous Funeral Speech of Pericles (delivered in 430), in which the social life, the institutions and the culture of his country are set forth as a model, gives a substantially true picture of Athens in its greatest days.
This brilliant epoch, however, was not without its darker side. The payment for public service which Pericles had introduced may have contributed to raise the general level of culture of the citizens, but it created a dangerous precedent and incurred the censure of notable Greek thinkers. Moreover, all this prosperity was obtained at the expense of the confederates, whom Athens exploited in a somewhat selfish and illiberal manner. In fact it was the cry of “tyrant city” which went furthest to rouse public opinion in Greece against Athens and to bring on the Peloponnesian War which ruined the Athenian empire (431-404). The issue of this conflict was determined less by any intrinsic superiority on the part of her enemies than by the blunders committed by a people unable to carry out a consistent foreign policy on its own initiative, and served since Pericles by none but selfish or short-sighted advisers. It speaks well for the patriotic devotion and discipline of her commons that Athens, weakened by plague and military disasters, should have withstood for so long the blows of her numerous enemies from without, and the damage inflicted by traitors within her walls (see Antiphon, Theramenes).
4. The Fourth Century—After the complete defeat of Athens by land and sea, it was felt that her former services on behalf of Greece and her high culture should exempt her from total ruin. Though stripped of her empire, Athens obtained very tolerable terms from her enemies. The democratic constitution, which had been supplanted for a while by a government of oligarchs, but was restored in 403 after the latter’s misrule had brought about their own downfall (see Critias, Theramenes, Thrasybulus), henceforth stood unchallenged by the Greeks. Indeed the spread of democracy elsewhere increased the prestige of the Athenian administration, which had now reached a high pitch of efficiency. Athenian art and literature in the 4th century declined but slightly from their former standard; philosophy and oratory reached a standard which was never again equalled in antiquity and may still serve as a model. In the wars of the period Athens took a prominent part with a view to upholding the balance of power, joining the Corinthian League in 395, and assisting Thebes against Sparta after 378, Sparta against Thebes after 369. Her generals and admirals, Conon, Iphicrates, Chabrias, Timotheus, distinguished themselves by their military skill, and partially recovered their country’s predominance in the Aegean, which found expression in the temporary renewal of the Delian League. By the middle of the century Athens was again the leading power in Greece. When Philip of Macedon began to grow formidable she seemed called upon once more to champion the liberties of Greece. This ideal, when put forward by the consummate eloquence of Demosthenes and other orators, created great enthusiasm among the Athenians, who at times displayed all their old vigour in opposing Philip, notably in the decisive campaign of 338. But these outbursts of energy were too spasmodic, and popular opinion repeatedly veered back in favour of the peace-party. With her diminished resources Athens could not indeed hope to cope with the great Macedonian king; however much we may sympathize with the generous ambition of the patriots, we must admit that in the light of hard facts their conduct appears quixotic.
5. The Hellenistic Period.—Philip and Alexander, who sincerely admired Athenian culture and courted a zealous co-operation against Persia, treated the conquered city with marked favour. But the people would not resign themselves to playing a secondary part, and watched for every opportunity to revolt. The outbreak headed by Athens after Alexander’s death (323) led to a stubborn conflict with Macedonia. After his victory the regent Antipater punished Athens by the loss of her remaining dependencies, the proscription of her chief patriots, and the disfranchisement of 12,000 citizens. The Macedonian garrison which was henceforth stationed in Attic territory prevented the city from taking a prominent part in the wars of the Diadochi. Cassander placed Athens under the virtual autocracy of Demetrius of Phalerum (317-307), and after the temporary liberation by Demetrius Poliorcetes (306-300), secured his interests through a dictator named Lachares, who lost the place again to Poliorcetes after a siege (295). After a vain attempt to expel the garrison in 287, the Athenians regained their liberty while Macedonia was thrown into confusion by the Celts, and in 279 rendered good service against the invaders of the latter nation with a fleet off Thermopylae. When Antigonus Gonatas threatened to restore Macedonian power in Greece, the Athenians, supported perhaps by the king of Egypt, formed a large defensive coalition; but in the ensuing “Chremonidean War” (266-263) a naval defeat off Andros led to their surrender and the imposition of a Macedonian garrison. The latter was finally withdrawn in 229 by the good offices of Aratus. At this period Athens was altogether overshadowed in material strength by the great Hellenistic monarchies and even by the new republican leagues of Greece; but she could still on occasion display great energy and patriotism. The prestige of her past history had now perhaps attained its zenith. Her democracy was respected by the Macedonian kings; the rulers of Egypt, Syria, and especially of Pergamum, courted her favour by handsome donations of edifices and works of art, to which the citizens replied by unbecoming flattery, even to the extent of creating new tribes named after their benefactors. If Athens lost her supremacy in the fields of science and scholarship to Alexandria, she became more than ever the home of philosophy, while Menander and the other poets of the New Comedy made Athenian life and manners known throughout the civilized world.
6. Relations with the Roman Republic.—In 228 Athens entered into friendly intercourse with Rome, in whose interest she endured the desperate attacks of Philip V. of Macedonia (200-199). In return for help against King Perseus she acquired some new possessions, notably the great mart of Delos, which became an Athenian cleruchy (166). By her treacherous attack upon the frontier-town of Oropus (156) Athens indirectly brought about the conflict between Rome and the Achaean League which resulted in the eventual loss of Greek independence, but remained herself a free town with rights secured by treaty. In spite of the favours displayed by Rome, the more radical section of the people began to chafe at the loss of their international importance. This discontent was skilfully fanned by Mithradates the Great at the outset of his Roman campaigns. His emissary, the philosopher Aristion, induced the people to declare war against Rome and to place him in chief command. The town with its port stood a long siege against Sulla, but was stormed in 86. The conqueror allowed his soldiers to loot, but inflicted no permanent punishment upon the people. This war left Athens poverty-stricken and stripped of her commerce: her only importance now lay in the philosophical schools, which were frequented by many young Romans of note (Cicero, Atticus, Horace, &c.). Greek became fashionable at Rome, and a visit to Athens a sort of pilgrimage for educated Romans (cf. Propertius iv. 21: “Magnum iter ad doctas proficisci cogor Athenas”). In the great civil wars Athens sided with Pompey and held out against Caesar’s lieutenants, but received a free pardon “in consideration of her great dead.” Similarly the triumvirs after Philippi condoned her enthusiasm for the cause of Brutus. Antony repeatedly made Athens his headquarters and granted her several new possessions, including Eretria and Aegina—grants which Octavian subsequently revoked.
7. The Roman Empire.—Under the new settlement Athens remained a free and sovereign city—a boon which she repaid by zealous Caesar-worship, for the favours bestowed upon her tended to pauperize her citizens and to foster their besetting sin of calculating flattery. Hadrian displayed his special fondness for the city by raising new buildings and relieving financial distress. He amended the constitution in some respects, and instituted a new national festival, the Panhellenica. In the period of the Antonines the endowment of professors out of the imperial treasury gave Athens a special status as a university town. Her whole energies seem henceforth devoted to academic pursuits; the military training of her youth was superseded by courses in philosophy and rhetoric; the chief organs of administration, the revived Areopagus and the senior Strategus, became as it were an education office. Save for an incursion by Goths in A.D. 267 and a temporary occupation by Alaric in 395, Athens spent the remaining centuries of the ancient world in quiet prosperity. The rhetorical schools experienced a brilliant revival under Constantine and his successors, when Athens became the alma mater of many notable men, including Julian, Libanius, Basil and Gregory of Nazianzus, and in her professors owned the last representatives of a humane and moralized paganism. The freedom of teaching was first curtailed by Theodosius I.; the edict of Justinian (529), forbidding the study of philosophy, dealt the death-blow to ancient Athens.
The authorities for the history of ancient Athens will mostly be found under Greece: History, and the various biographies. The following books deal with special periods or subjects only:—(1) Early Athens: W. Warde Fowler, The City-State, ch. vi. (London, 1893). (2) The fifth and fourth centuries: the “Constitution of Athens,” ascribed to Xenophon; W. Oncken, Athen und Hellas (Leipzig, 1865); U. v. Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Aus Kydathen (Berlin, 1880); L. Whibley, Political Parties at Athens (Cambridge, 1889); G. Gilbert, Beiträge zur inneren Geschichte Athens (Leipzig, 1877); J. Beloch, Die attische Politik seit Perikles (Leipzig, 1884). (3) The Hellenistic and Roman periods: J. P. Mahaffy, Greek Life and Thought, from 323 to 146 (London, 1887), chs. v., vi., xvii.; A. Holm, Greek History (Eng. trans., London, 1898), iv. chs. vi. and xxiii.; Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Antigonos von Karystos (Berlin, 1881), pp. 178-291; W. Capes, University Life in Ancient Athens (London, 1877); A. Dumont, Essai sur l’Ephébie attique (Paris, 1875). (4) The Latin rule: G. Finlay, History of Greece (Oxford ed., 1877), vol. iv. ch. vi. (5) Constitutional History: The Aristotelian “Constitution of Athens”; U. v. Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Aristoteles und Athen (Berlin and Leipzig, 1893), vol. ii.; G. Gilbert, Greek Constitutional Antiquities (Eng. trans., London, 1895), pp. 95-453; A. H. J. Greenidge, Handbook of Greek Constitutional History (Oxford, 1896), ch. vi.; J. W. Headlam, Election by Lot at Athens (Cambridge, 1891). (6) Finance and statistics: A. Boeckh, The Public Economy of the Athenians (Eng. trans., London, 1828); Ed. Meyer, Forschungen zur alten Geschichte (Halle, 1899), vol. ii. pp. 149-195. (7) Inscriptions: Corpus Inscriptionum Atticarum, with supplements (Berlin, 1873–1895). (8) Coins: B. V. Head, Historia Numorum (Oxford, 1887), pp. 309-328. (M. O. B. C.)
8. Byzantine Period.—The city now sank into the position of a provincial Byzantine town. Already it had been robbed of many of its works of art, among them the Athena Promachos and the Parthenos of Pheidias, for the adornment of Constantinople, and further spoliation took place when the church of St Sophia was built in A.D. 532. The Parthenon, the Erechtheum, the “Theseum” and other temples were converted into Christian churches and were thus preserved throughout the middle ages. The history of Athens for the next four centuries is almost a blank; the city is rarely mentioned by the Byzantine chronicles of this period. The emperor Constantine II. spent some months here in A.D. 662-663. In 869 the see of Athens became an archbishopric. In 995 Attica was ravaged by the Bulgarians under their tsar Samuel, but Athens escaped; after the defeat of Samuel at Bēlasitza (1014) the emperor Basil II., who blinded 15,000 Bulgarian prisoners, came to Athens and celebrated his triumph by a thanksgiving service in the Parthenon (1018). From the Runic description on the marble lion of the Peiraeus it has been inferred that Harold Hardraada and the Norsemen in the service of the Byzantine emperors captured the Peiraeus in 1040, but this conclusion is not accepted by Gregorovius (bk. i. pp. 170-172). Like the rest of Greece, Athens suffered greatly from the rapacity of its Byzantine administrators. The letters of Acominatus, archbishop of Athens, towards the close of the 12th century, bewail the desolate condition of the city in language resembling that of Jeremiah in regard to Jerusalem.
9. Period of Latin Rule: 1204–1458.—After the Latin conquest of Constantinople in 1204, Otho de la Roche was granted the lordship of Athens by Boniface of Montferrat, king of Thessalonica, with the title of Megaskyr (μέγας κύριος = great lord). His nephew and successor, Guy I., obtained the title duke of Athens from Louis IX. of France in 1258. On the death of Guy II., last duke of the house of la Roche, in 1308, the duchy passed to his cousin, Walter of Brienne. He was expelled in 1311 by his Catalonian mercenaries; the mutineers bestowed the duchy “of Athens and Neopatras” on their leader, Roger Deslaur, and, in the following year, on Frederick of Aragon, king of Sicily. The Sicilian kings ruled Athens by viceroys till 1385, when the Florentine Nerio Acciajuoli, lord of Corinth, defeated the Catalonians and seized the city. Nerio, who received the title of duke from the king of Naples, founded a new dynasty. His palace was in the Propylaea; the lofty “Tower of the Franks,” which adjoined the south wing of that building, was possibly built in his time. This interesting historical monument was demolished by the Greek authorities in 1874, notwithstanding the protests of Penrose, Freeman and other scholars. The Acciajuoli dynasty lasted till June 1458, when the Acropolis after a stubborn resistance was taken by the Turks under Omar, the general of the sultan Mahommed II., who had occupied the lower city in 1456. The sultan entered Athens in the following month; he was greatly struck by its ancient monuments and treated its inhabitants with comparative leniency.
10. Period of Turkish Rule: 1458–1833.—After the Turkish conquest Athens disappeared from the eyes of Western civilization. The principal interest of the following centuries lies in the researches of successive travellers, who may be said to have rediscovered the city, and in the fate of its ancient monuments, several of which were still in fair preservation at the beginning of this period. The Parthenon was transformed into a mosque; the existing minaret at its south-western corner was built after 1466. The Propylaea served as the residence of the Turkish commandant and the Erechtheum as his harem. In 1466 the Venetians succeeded in occupying the city, but failed to take the Acropolis. About 1645 a powder magazine in the Propylaea was ignited by lightning and the upper portion of the structure was destroyed. Under Francesco Morosini the Venetians again attacked Athens in September 1687; a shot fired during the bombardment of the Acropolis caused a powder magazine in the Parthenon to explode, and the building was rent asunder. After capturing the Acropolis the Venetians employed material from its ancient edifices in repairing its walls. They withdrew in the following year, when the Turks set fire to the city. The central sculptures of the western pediment of the Parthenon, which Morosini intended to take to Venice, were unskilfully detached by his workmen, and falling to the ground were broken to pieces. Several ancient monuments were sacrificed to provide material for a new wall with which the Turks surrounded the city in 1778.
During the 18th century many works of art, which still remained in situ, fell a prey to foreign collectors. The removal to London in 1812 of most of the remaining sculptures of the Parthenon by Lord Elgin possibly rescued many of them from injury in the period of warfare which followed. In 1821 the Greek insurgents surprised the city, and in 1822 captured the Acropolis. Athens again fell into the hands of the Turks in 1826, who bombarded and took the Acropolis in the following year; the Erechtheum suffered greatly, and the monument of Thrasyllus was destroyed. The Turks remained in possession of the Acropolis till 1833, when Athens was chosen as the capital of the newly established kingdom of Greece; since that date the history of the city forms part of that of modern Greece. (See Greece: History, modern.)
General Bibliography.—W. M. Leake, Topography of Athens and the Demi (2nd ed., London, 1841); C. Wachsmuth, Die Stadt Athen im Alterthum (vol. i., Leipzig, 1874; vol. ii. part i., Leipzig, 1890); E. Burnouf, La Ville et l’acropole d’Athènes aux diverses époques (Paris, 1877); F. C. Penrose, Principles of Athenian Architecture (London, 1888); J. E. Harrison, Mythology and Monuments of Ancient Athens (London, 1890); E. Curtius and A. Milchhöfer, Stadtgeschichte von Athen (Berlin, 1891); H. Hitzig and H. Blümner, Pausanias (text and commentary; vol. i., Berlin, 1896); J. G. Frazer, Pausanias (translation and commentary; 6 vols., London, 1898. The commentary on Pausanias’ description of Athens, contained in vol. ii. with supplementary notes in vol. v., is an invaluable digest of recent researches); H. Omont, Athènes au XVIIe siècle (Paris, 1898, with plans and views of the town and acropolis and drawings of the sculptures of the Parthenon); J. H. Middleton and E. A. Gardner, Plans and Drawings of Athenian Buildings (London, 1900); E. A. Gardner, Ancient Athens (London, 1902); W. Judeich, Topographie von Athen (Munich, 1905; forming vol. iii. part ii. second half, in 3rd edition of I. von Müller’s Handbuch der klass. Altertumswissenschaft). The history of excavations on the Acropolis is summarized in M. L. d’Ooge, Acropolis of Athens (1909); see also A. Bötticher, Die Akropolis von Athen (Berlin, 1888); O. Jahn, Pausaniae descriptio arcis Athenarum (Bonn, 1900); A. Furtwängler, Masterpieces of Greek Sculpture (appendix; London, 1895); A. Milchhöfer, Über die alten Burgheiligtümer in Athen (Kiel, 1899). For the Parthenon, A. Michaelis, Der Parthenon (texts and plates, Leipzig, 1871); L. Magne, Le Parthénon (Paris, 1895); J. Durm, Der Zustand der antiken athenischen Bauwerken (Berlin, 1895); F. C. Penrose in Journal of Royal Institute of British Architects for 1897; N. M. Balanos in Ἐφήμερις τῆς κυβερνήσεως (Athens, August 25, 1898). For the Dionysiac theatre, A. E. Haigh, The Attic Theatre (Oxford, 1889); W. Dörpfeld and E. Reisch, Das griechische Theater (Athens, 1896); Puchstein, Die griechische Bühne (Berlin, 1901). For the “Theseum,” B. Sauer, Das sogenannte Theseion (Leipzig, 1899). For the Peiraeus, E. I. Angelopoulos, Περὶ Πειραιῶς καὶ τῶν λιμένων αὐτοῦ (Athens, 1898). For the Attic Demes, A. Milchhöfer, Untersuchungen über die Demenordnung des Kleisthenes (in transactions of Berlin Academy, Berlin, 1892); Pauly-Wissowa, Realencyclopädie der class. Altertumswissenschaft (supplement, part i., article “Athenai”; Stuttgart, 1903). For the controversies respecting the Agora, the Enneacrunus and the topography of the town in general, see W. Dörpfeld, passim in Athenische Mittheilungen; C. Wachsmuth, “Neue Beiträge zur Topographie von Athen,” in Abhandlungen der sächsischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften (Leipzig, 1897). A. Milchhöfer, “Zur Topographie von Athen,” in Berlin. philol. Wochenschrift (1900), Nos. 9, 11, 12. For the Byzantine and medieval periods, William Miller, Latins in the Levant (London, 1908); F. Gregorovius, Geschichte der Stadt Athen im Mittelalter (2 vols., Stuttgart, 1889). Periodical Literature. Mittheilungen des kais. deutsch. arch. Instituts (Athens, from 1876); Bulletin de correspondance hellénique (Athens, from 1877); Papers of the American School (New York, 1882–1897); Annual of the British School (London, from 1894); Journal of Hellenic Studies (London, from 1880); American Journal of Archaeology (New York, from 1885); Jahrbuch des kais. deutsch. arch. Instituts (Berlin, from 1886). The best maps are those in Die Karten van Attika, published with explanatory text by the German Archaeological Institute (Berlin, 1881). See also Baedeker’s Greece (London, 1895); Murray’s Greece and the Ionian Islands (London, 1900); Guide Joanne, vol. i. Athènes et ses environs (Paris, 1896); Meyer’s Turkei und Griechenländer (5th ed., 1901).
1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 2. pg. 831-845. - Athens (Greece) by James David Bourchier and Maximilian Otto Bismarck Caspari