Imágenes de páginas

less credit to the active and impartial interference of the British government, than to its disinterested consideration for those who confided in its justice and power.

Here then we pause—happy in being enabled, at the close, for the gratification of those ex-official agents who profess to have the interests of the Parganotes so deeply at heart, to lay before them the concluding paragraph of a letter which we have just received from Corfu :

* We perceive, by Sir Charles Monck's speech, that there are 4,000 Parganotes (high-minded Parganotes, but, in truth, very great rogues), actually starving in some of those islands: there never were more than 2790 of these people, and they are almost all here, very fat, well fed, and rich. They own that their property has been disposed of most advantageously; and their ready money, in a country where it is very scarce, enables them to strut and domineer, and to take a very considerable share of the little trade, which the Corfiotes enjoyed, out of their hands; the latter, of course, are discontented, but the Parganotes laugh at every body, and absolutely chuckle at the labours of their zealous advocates in England!

We cannot dismiss the subject, however, without exhibiting one brief specimen of that extraordinary system of delusion with which the public feelings have been abused on this occasion. We quote the moving spectacle entire from the Edinburgh Review - Mark now, how I will raise the waters!' - Launcelot.

• As soon as this notice was given, every family marched solemnly out of its dwelling, without tears or lamentations; and the men, preceded by their priests, and followed by their sons, proceeded to the sepulchres of their fathers, and silently unearthed and collected their remains,—which they placed upon a huge pile of wood which they had previously erected before one of their churches. They then took their arms in their hands, and, setting fire to the pile, stood motionless and silent around it, till the whole was consumed. During this melancholy ceremony, some of Ali's troops, impatiert for possession, approached the gates of the town; upon which a deputation of the citizens was sent to inform our governor, that if a single infidel was admitted before the remains of their ancestors were secured from profanation, and they themselves, with their families, fairly embarked, they would all instantly put to death their wives and children,-and die with their arms in their hands,—and not without a bloody revenge on those who had bought and sold their country. Such a remonstrance, at such a moment, was felt and respected, as it ought by those to whom it was addressed. General Adam succeeded in stopping the march of the Mussulmans. The pile burnt out—and the people embarked in silence;and Free and Christian Parga is now a stronghold of ruftians, renegadoes, and slaves!'-- No. LXIV. p. 293.

Such is the affecting and heart-rending scene, which is represented to have closed what the writer is pleased to call the tragedy of Parga !-with what deep pathos it is expressed ! how appropriate the machinery! how admirable the grouping !-and if one circumstance had not been wanting, the drama would have been quite perfect:-To M. Duval, to the ex-official agents of the Parganotes, and to those who have been concerned in getting up this afflicting catastrophe, the circumstance we allude to may not be considered of much importance—it is simply this: THAT THERE IS NOT ONE WORD OF TRUTH IN IT FROM BEGINNING TO END, AND THAT THE WHOLE IS A FABRICATION. Yes, gentle reader! The families marching out-the priests preceding-the sons following the procession to the sepulchres—the disinterment of the bones—the huge pyre of wood—the firing of it in solemn silence -the troops of Ali

, and the deputation of the citizens—the threat of putting to death their wives and children, and dying with arms in their hands—the success of General Adam in stopping the march of the Mussulmans—the burning out of the pile--and the silent embarkation—ALL, ALL THIS MACHINERY AND EVERY PART OF it, we most positively and unequivocally assert,—and pledge ourselves for the truth of the assertion,—to be an absolute and positive falsehood: and we do not hesitate to appeal, for the truth of our statement, to Major General Sir Frederick Adam, and to Lieut. Colonel Gubbins, who delivered up the place; the latter of whom had been eight months commandant of the garrison and civil governor of the town, and remained in Parga three days after its occupation by the Turkish troops.

Nothing but a determined and premeditated spirit of malevolence could have fabricated a story so utterly destitute of truth. Whether it was wholly imagined, or built on some trifling circumstance, is not material to inquire; but, in either case, it fur nishes a criterion by which we may estimate the value of all the other calunnies which have gone forth on this subject. In the statement now submitted to our readers, we are not aware that we have omitted any part of the case, suppressed any fact, or inisrepresented any circumstance respecting the restoration of a place, which has been so unworthily raised into importance, and so mischievously thrust forward into public notice.

ART. VI.—'Examvixy BiBX109xn. With Observations relating

to the modern Greek Language. By M. Coray. S vols. 8vo.

1819. Paris. IN comparing the languages of Ancient and Modern Greece, we

observe that a very large class of words belonging to the former, is to be found also in the Romaic tongue; and in pursuing our inyestigation, we discover that various terms and phrases which have


been generally considered as of recent introduction, occur in writers who preceded the Christian era, or lived in the centuries immediately following it.' The Byzantines, by continued study of the works of their predecessors, must, without question, have preserved, to a late period, the knowledge and use of many words of the ancient language: they composed in it, we find, with facility and purity; they collected and transcribed manuscripts, and illustrated the productions of the best authors with Scholia and Commentaries. The dispute relating to the comparative merits of -Aristotle and Plato, in which Bessario, Pletho, Gennadius, Theodore Gaza, George of Trebizond, and other Greeks were engaged, is a proof of the popularity of the works of those philosophers in the fifteenth century. Constantinople continued, until its capture by the Turks, to be frequented by the Latins, who were distinguished for their love of literature. The same reputation,' says Æneas Sylvius, which Athens had in the days of ancient Rome, does Constantinople appear to possess in our time.'

But the language, in the course of succession, had sustained various alterations in its syntax, in the termination of nouns, in the loss of tenses and cases, in orthography, and accentuation. Two questions, therefore, arise which offer a subject of curious and not uninteresting inquiry: First-to what circumstances the preservation of the Greek tongue, for so long a period, are to be attributed ? Secondly, what were the causes which led to the corruption of the modern idiom, and of what nature were the changes introduced, either by the ignorance and barbarism of the Greeks themselves, or by their intercourse with other nations? The discussion of these points will, we conceive, throw considerable light on the history and formation of the Romaic tongue.

The Macedonians, by their conquests, carried the language of Greece to the most remote districts of the East. Many cities in Lesser and Upper Asia were founded by them; among which we may mention Synnada in Phrygia, Stratonice in Caria, and Thyatira in Mysia. They built also towns in the vicinity of Sardes; and various parts of Armenia and Mesopotamia were peopled by them. The terms Syro-Macedones and Syro-Hellenes prove the establishment of their language in Syria; and some of the coins of the sovereigns of the Macedonian dynasty in this country bear Phænician and Greek characters. The influence of the Greeks, their commercial activity, and their numbers, contributed to preserve the use of the language throughout the East: it is seen on the coins of Daretas and the Abgari, on those of the Parthian monarchs; it is united with the Samaritan on the money of the Asmonean princes; and it occurs in the inscriptions of Palmyra. Under the reign of some of the kings of Pergamus and Alexan

dria, valuable libraries were formed in those cities; they rivalled one another, says Bentley, in the magnificence and copiousness of them; and the protection afforded to literature by the Ptolemies is without example in the history of the world. In the civil wars which followed the death of Alexander, and in the revolutions of Greece and Asia during the progress of the Roman arms, Alexandria was frequented by men of letters from all parts of Greece; they were liberally entertained by the Ptolemies, from whom many of them received annual pensions ; and in the Museum they were able to prosecute their studies without obstruction. These princes spared no expense in procuring the most valuable copies of the writers of Greece; and the varied erudition which so strongly characterizes the works of some of the poets of the times was in a great measure derived from the valuable library preserved at Bruchion. The sciences of physic, mathematics, astronomy, were cultivated with great ardour by the Greeks of Alexandria ; and to the same school belong the grammarians and glossographi. The Ptolemies themselves were authors; the son of Lagus wrote the life of Alexander; Euergetes II. left twenty-four books of Commentaries. The language of Egypt was not neglected; but the Greek tongue seems to have been predominant: it was used in matters of business and commerce, and it is found in the public monuments of the country, sometimes by itself, sometimes associated with that of Egypt.*

The study of the Greek language formed a necessary part of the education of the children of the Romans. After they had received some instruction from a Greek rhetorician, they were sent to complete their studies at Rhodes, Mitylene, Apollonia (ad mare), and at Athens. Every well-educated Roman was conversant with the Greek language, and wrote in it with facility. On the other hand, Rome was crowded with physicians and artists, who came from the states of Magna Græcia, or the neighbouring continent. Philosophers, sophists, grammarians, received the protection of many of the Emperors, who had themselves been instructed by Greeks. Athenodorus of Tarsus and Apollodorus of Pergamus were two of the preceptors of Augustus; Theodore of Gadara, who wrote on the Dialects, was the tutor of Tiberius; Herodian, the son of Apollonius Dyscolus, was patronized by Marcus Antoninus, and dedicated to him his προσωδία καθολική.

The New Testament, as Jortin observes, being written in Greek, caused Christians to apply themselves to the study of that most copious and beautiful language.' In consequence of the various readings and alterations in the text introduced by the negligence

* See the Rosetta stone, and the Ptolemaic inscriptions in Hamilton's Egyptiaca.


or ignorance of transcribers, a critical examination of the different copies became necessary; and without a considerable acquaintance with pagan literature, the Greek fathers would have been unable to defend themselves against the attacks of their adversaries. Origen, Eusebius, Basil, Chrysostom, Gregory of Nazianzum had diligently perused the authors of ancient Greece, and marks of imitation are frequently discernible in their works; the writings of Plato in particular were familiar to the Greek fathers: the lofty speculations of that philosopher relating to the Deity and to the immortality of the soul had excited their admiration; and many of them had belonged to the Academy before they came into the church of Christ,

In fact, no author of ancient Greece was more studied by the Greeks .who wrote in the decline of the Roman, and in the first periods of the Byzantine empire, than Plato; and Ruhnken has remarked, as a singular proof of it, that many passages in Plutarch, Maximus Tyrius, Synesius, Libanius, may be still corrected after the labours of learned commentators by a reference to his works. The pupils of the different sophists also derived from him many expressions to ornament their ’Horoitar, and Meétat, or Declamations; though it must be confessed that, in their imitations, either from want of judgment in the selection of their words, or from an abuse of Attic phraseology, they frequently exposed themselves to ridicule. The letters of Alciphron are an example of the mode adopted by the sophists in teaching Greek: these epistles were probably composed for the sake of shewing his scholars how the language might be written with purity and facility; hence' his ploughmen and fishermen are made to talk as correctly as Demosthenes and Lysias.' The knowledge of the ancient language enabled the sophists to practise their literary forgeries with some success; and they probably made those additions which are occasionally met with in Greek writers. A great part of the Myriobiblon of Photius did not come from the pen of that patriarch; and Heyne discovered in a cursory reading of Manetho more than fifty insititious verses.

The compilation of Dictionaries and Glossaries, and the collection of different Scholia, and of observations relating to the Dialects, assisted the Greeks of the Roman and Byzantine empires in their study of the ancient authors. Some valuable explanatory works had been written by the Alexandrian critics; and from these, succeeding grammarians drew many of their best remarks. In consequence of the change of the language, it became impossible to understand some parts of the Attic writers without consulting them. The yaworan of Plato,' says Timæus* in his address to * Lexicon, p. 3.


« AnteriorContinuar »