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OUTLINE OF MR. MACLAREN'S Argument to prove that New Ilium
and the Troy of Homer were the same cityor at least occupied the same ground.”
Few things have seduced men into more unaccountable errors, than an extravagant passion for hypothesis. Though persevering, meditation sometimes brings light out of obscurity; yet when misdirected, or employed upon subjects very plain and obvious in themselves, it rarely fails to generate vain subtleties or useless paradoxes. Thus, though Homer's poems are remarkable for unity of design, and consistency of costume and details, the license of speculation has discovered in them the patch-work production of half a dozen or halfa hundred different bards or critics, living in ages and countries remote from one another. By a singular inversion of retributive justice, the poet himself who has conferred immortality on so many, has had his own earthly existence called in question. The city too, with all the glory she has derived from her misfortunes, has not been able to escape the suspicion of being nothing better than an air-built fabric, though the poet has assigned her a local habitation, and has associated a hundred known objects with her as guaran. tees for her existence. In short, it is impossible to look at the multitude of singular opinions and controversies respecting Homer, without thinking of a maxim, the force of which is often felt, that discussion, though it may lead to truth in the end, is often an erring guide in the outset; and that there are few conclusions so
" A Dissertation on the Topography of the Plain of Troy, including an examination of the opinions of Demetrius, Chevalier, Dr. Clarke, and Major Rennell. By CHARLES MACLAREN. 8vo. pp. 270: illustrated by a Map. Hurst and Robinson, London, 1822. VOL. XXVII.
CI. NI. NO, LIII. A:
secure, that they may not be unsettled by a restless spirit of speculation,
When Chevalier published his hypothesis, scarcely any of the ancient localities were ascertained, and the Plain of Troy presented a tabula rasa for speculation. The tumuli, the rivulets, the hills, nameless and undistinguished, presented themselves ready to be transformed into Homeric monuments at the call of the enterprising theorist. The result has shown that the value of contingent facts can never be known till they are in our possession. Chevalier might very reasonably think that it was of little consequence to ascertain the site of New Ilium, since Strabo rejected its claims to be considered as the Troy of Homer. But we are now aware that the knowledge of this site would have enabled him to distinguish with certainty the true Simois and Scamander, and would thus have saved him from a radical and irremediable error-excusable, perhaps, in him to commit, but which it would be inexcusable in us to adopt, with the additional lights we now possess.
The discovery of New Ilium should have led immediately to that of Strabo's site of Troy, which would have put us in possession of a key to the reasonings of that writer. But adınitting tbat the want of accurate maps might have deprived us of this secondary advantage, there is still a very important use that might have been made of the discovery. Considering how many theories have been contrived, and how many positions have been proposed and rejected as the site of Troy, it is truly astonishing that, till the Essay before us appeared, though ten years have elapsed since Dr. Clarke made kuown the ruins of New Ilium, no one should have thought of trying the accuracy of an opinion which had the suffrages of the greater part of antiquity in its favor ;-namely, that ancient Troy and Ilium Recens might be the same town, or at least occupy the same ground. One would have imagined, that the probability of a conclusion so obvious, so reasonable in itself, and warranted by so many analogous facts, would have occurred as soon as the site was known. If this opinion should turn out ultimately to be accurate, it will be curious to reflect, that bad Strabo's works not come down to us, it is, perhaps, the only opinion which would ever have been entertained. To bring this bypothesis to the test, by trying how far it is capable of explaining the details of the Iliad, is the primary object of Mr. Maclaren's Essay. In giving an outline of his argument we shall avoid as much as possible entering into any of the collateral topics he introduces.
There are two primary questions involved in this inquiry, both of which have been the subject of controversy. First, whether the Plain of the Mendere be the Plain of Troy ;-and secondly, what precise spot in the plain the city occupied. Mr. Maclaren discusses both of these questions with great minuteness of detail.
Plain of Troy. First, as to the geographical position of the
Plain of Troy, he adopts without hesitation the opinion held by all the ancients, and all the moderns, excepı Mr. Bryant, (and Mr. Hobhouse partially,) that the Plain of the Mendere is the Trojan Plain of Homer. He maintains that the Hellespont of Honier was simply the canal of the Dardanelles, and did not include any part of the Ægean sea, as contended by Mr. Bryant; and after replying to the objections grounded on the epithets harus and áreipwv, and showing that the term Hellespont was so restricted by Herodotus, Strabo, Pliny, and Mela, he thus collects into one point the positive evidence supplied by the Iliad, to prove the identity of the Plain alluded to with the Plain of the poet.
1. The Hellespont, at, or within which the ships were stationed (II, XV, 233. XVIII, 150), is described as the boundary of the Thracians, which it continued to be in later times, and is termed ảyappoos, the "rushing,” or “ swiftly-flowing" (Il. II, 845. XII, 30), an epithet singularly descriptive of a strait with a constant current, at the rate of three or four miles an hour, but not applicable to the Ægean sea, which has no tides (Wood's Essay on Homer, p. 320). 2. The sea at which the ships were stationed, was not the open sea, but a wide bay, eủpüs kóros (into which the Scamander fell, II. xviii, 140. xxi, 125), an expression very applicable to the mouth of the Hellespont, which is from three to four miles in breadth. 3. The entry to this bay was north of Tenedos ; for the party of Greeks who left Troy with Nestor and Diomed sailed first to Tenedos, then to Lesbos, from which they crossed to Eubea (Od. III, 157–174). 4. The entry was southward of Imbros; for Neptune, coming from Ægas in Eubosa to Troy, left his chariot in a caveru between Tenedus and Imbros, and went into the Greek camp. 5. The Plain was thus evidently within the Dardanelles, and yet it was near the mouth of the canal, for the ground was not only within view of Mount Ida on the one hand, but of Samothrace on the other, from which two stations Jupiter and Neptune surveyed the combat of the armies (II. VIII, 48. XIII, 10). Now a plain with a level beach, and a river corresponding to Homer's Scamander, with adjunct streams, cannot be found any where farther up the Hellespout than the Plain of the Mendere; and though it were found, it could not, from the position of the highlands of the Chersonese, be within view of Samothrace. Even though we had not the traditionary evidence of the later Greeks to guide us, these circumstances alone should remove every doubt as to the identity of the Plain of the Mendere with the Trojan Plain of Homer.
As the data which the Iliad affords for determining the site of Troy depend chiefly on its position with reference to the rivers, our first step must be to ascertain which of the streams in the plain are the Scamander and Simois of the poet.
The City between the rivers. Homer indicates very clearly that the city lay between the two rivers, which had their sources in
Mount Ida (Il. XII, 19), and joined before they fell into the sea (II. v, 774). For the Greeks were encamped ou the sea-shore, and persons passing from the camp to the city, and vice versa, passed over one of the rivers, and one only. Thus Priam crossed The Scamander both in going to the camp and in returning from it (Il. XXIV, 349. 692). When Hector's friends were carrying him home wounded to the city, they came to the fords of Scainander; and the Trojans in the last battle crossed the fords of the river in their retreat (ll. xiv, 432. XXI, 1). Lastly, when the Greek and Trojan armies were fighting in front of the city, sometimes close to the walls, and sometimes at a short distance from them, the battle is said to "roll back and forward between Simois and Scamander" (Comp. Il. IV, 507. VI, 1-80). It is not once mentioned that individuals or either army crossed the Simois.
The Rivers. The streams in the plain are, S, the Mendere, rising in the summit of Mount Ida, 40 miles long, 300 feet broad, deep in the time of floods, but nearly dry in the heat of summer : M, the Dombrik, a torrent from the western chain of Ida, 13 or 14 iniles long, 60 feet broad when its bed is filled, but nearly dry in summer; it joins the Mendere at B: T, the Kirke-joss, 8 miles long, 15 feet broad and 3 deep, according to Chevalier, rising from 40 springs at Y, and having a perennial current: P, the Kimair, a torrent apparently 8 or 9 miles long, rising in the western chain of Ida, and nearly dry in summer. The plain has the appearance of a dead level; but as the Mendere, like all streams subject to inundation, continually raises the ground on its banks, the middle of the plaiu is in reality rather higher than the sides, and the waters of the Kimair when small, unable to force their way to the Mendere at P, glide along the foot of the eminence R, and join the brook of Kalefat Osmak near H: the waters of both then proceed northward between G and I (as marked by a dotted line) to the Dombrik, M; and all three fall into the bay near C, by a short stream. This is the course of the rivulets in summer; but in winter, when the waters are heavy, the Kimair joins the Mendere at P, the Kalifat Osmak at K, and the Dombrik at B.
There are two opinions with regard to the Scamander. Mr. Wood, Major Rennell, and others, hold it to be the Mendere S; but Chevalier holds it to be the small perennial stream T. It may be safely said that the former opinion has all the evidence in its favor which the case admits of; and that the latter has nothing to recommeod it, except that it accommodates a particular theory.
Scamander. Strabo describes the Scamander as rising in the highest part of Mount Ida, in the same hill with the Granicus and Esepus, and falling into the sea at Sigeum (L. XIII, 602). There is not the shadow of a doubt, therefore, that the Mendere was the Scamander of Strabo, Herodotus, and all the later Greeks ; and this single circumstance ought to be decisive; for we can bring a hundred examples of rivers preserving their ancient names amidst
greater changes than took place here between the ages of Homer and Herodotus. The entire loss of the name would not have been at all unaccountable ; but Chevalier requires us to believe --what is altogether unexampled in history-that the names of two celebrated rivers were transferred from the streams to which they belonged, to two other streams, which had no right to the appellations.
Homer's expressions descriptive of the Scamander can be applied to no stream but the Mendere, without obvious violence to the sense.
1. The Scamander is repeatedly called “the river" (II. II, 860. xxiv, 351), a title justly due to the Mendere, which is the only river in the plain, but which could never be applied to such brooks as the Kirke-joss or Dombrik, when placed by the side of a stream like the Mendere. 2. The expressions applied to the Scamander in the 21st Book," the great river with deep whirlpools, the vortigiuouis Scamander, the wide-flowing impetuous river, which inundated the plain, and bore away men and horses in its floods,” would evidently be worse than ludicrous if applied to any stream but the Mendere, which is large, deep, rapid, and inundates the plain as here described. 3. The religious honors paid to the Mendere, and the epithet “sprung from Jove," bestowed upon it, are not only merited by its superior magnitude, but are happily explained by the fact, that its source is a magnificent cascade issuing out of Gargarus, the summit of Ida-a spot held sacred as the earthly throne of Jove (Il. viii, 47. HII, 276. XXIV, 308). 4. The name of Xanthus, yellow, which the Scamander also bore, is peculiarly applicable to the Mendere, the yellow color of whose waters has repeatedly attracted the notice of modern travellers (Clarke's Trav. 4th Ed. 111, 222. Hobhouse's Trav. 710).'
Ungrateful as the task is to argue against paradoxes, we shall examive very briefly the claims of the Kirke-joss to be considered as the Scamander. 1. The Kirke-joss does not rise in Mount Ida, where the Scamander rose (1l. XII, 18), but at the foot of the hill of Bourvabashi, the site of Chevalier's Troy. If he call this one of the roots of Ida, then Troy could not be placed ou it; for Homer tells us expressly, that Troy was not on the roots of Ida, but in the plain (Il. xx, 216). 2. The term Xanthus does not apply to the Kirke-joss, for Chevalier says that its waters are remarkably limpid. There is nothing in it to account for the distinctive epithet of “sprung from Jove;" and the title of “the river" would be ludicrous when applied to it in a district which contained the Mendere. 3. To bestow the titles of “the great vortiginous river," &c. upon the brook of Kirke-joss, 15 feet wide, and 3 deep, would be so palpably absurd, that Chevalier found it necessary to elude the difficulty by a stratagem. He supposes that the battle where these epithets chiefly occur, was fought below the junction of the rivers, at F, and that the confluent stream had the name of Scamander. His assumption, that the Mendere a