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mythical. * But it is not more necessary to suppose that Aeneas spoke Latin than that Satan spoke English. Troy was undoubtedly a Pelasgic city, and so was the country round it, even to Syria. Karia, however, had lost its Pelasgic speech, or this had become so corrupted as to be unrecognizable.
Νάστης αυ Καρών ηγήσατο βαρβαροφώνων. There is no mention of any one speaking a strange tongue. The heroes converse freely and in the plainest and often most uncomplimentary language, and there is no suggestion of an interpreter. On the other hand, when a language is strange, this is noted ; and it is termed " barbarous," which then meant unintelligible ; for the word “barbarous” would certainly not have been used in that age to designate foreigners or a strange speaking people,f nor does it seem to have been used in this sense till the age of the Persian conquests.
The words όπισθεν κομόωντες, κάρη κομόωντες, έυκνήμιδες are all indicative of the present occupants of the old Achaian area, extending over the whole of Epeiros—the modern Albania. All these wear their hair long behind and retain their national dress, wearing gaiters or kunuides (touslook), of thick woollen cloth. The Greeks, on the other hand, are depicted with cropped hair.
The only difference between the war dress of the Homeric heroes and the present Epeirots consists in the material, defensive armour having fallen into desuetude as useless. The form is, nevertheless, retained.
The Homeric heroes are described as engaging their adversaries in single combat, as in the cases of Menelaus and Paris, Ajax and Hector, Patroclos and Hector, Hector and Achilles ; or, where the combat was not so
* The mythical invasion of Italy by Aeneas is probably identical with the two emigrations of Pelasgi to Italy—the one mythical and the other historical. + Il. B, 867. This is the first occurrence of the word.
# Vide Liddell and Scott, Lexicon, ad vocem Bápßapos. Is Berber, a race in North Africa, anyway connected with this ?
decidedly a duel, the respective chiefs sought each other out, the rank and file not interfering ;-a mode of warfare common to all semi-barbarous nations. The battle of Clontarf is thus described in Bright's “ History of Ireland”:
“ The conduct of the battle, after the two hostile armies met, was similar to that of all engagements between races of that particular period in the annals of civilization. The details consisted in a succession of single combats between captains and chieftains, who singled each other out, while the common soldiers were engaged in indiscriminate slaughter ; and these combats were alone celebrated by the minstrel, and transferred from his song to the page of the Chronicle." The Homeric poems* represent such Chronicles, with the only difference that they were not reduced to writing in Greek, till long after the event : for this is the meaning of “we hear only the report, nor know anything certain."
Philosophical students of Homer, carried away by their admiration of the poem and its virile language, have sought, like Dr. Pangloss, to extract from it far more than was ever intended to be conveyed by it, and to elaborate esoteric and mystic significances from facts plainly stated with semibarbarous simplicity.
THE PELASGI. It now remains to note the resemblance between the descendants of the Pelasgi and the people composing the army before Troy; and as the Homeric Poems describe their dwellings, their dress, their feasts and their customs, a parallel can easily be drawn.
In the first place, the host was composed of various Chieftains bringing contingents from the districts over which they held sway. The denominations of these Chieftains are άναξ– βασιλεύς and σκηπτούχος βασιλεύς-κόιρανος: "Ουκ αγαθών πολυκοιρανίη, εις κόιρανος έστω. (11. β, 204.)
"Αναξ ανδρών is only used for Agamemnon in the sense of
* That the Homeric poems were part of the so-called great solar myth, a mere allegory, is a wild and unsustainable theory, contradicted by history.
Commander-in-Chief, while Baoudeùs is used to signify Lord, σκηπτούχος βασιλεύς-a reigning Lord or Prince, and κoίρανος, a Head. This, too, is consistent with the practice of the Epeirots when they league themselves for combined action, as it was among subsequent nations in a similar state of semi-civilization : as Cassivelaunus in Britain, Galgacus in Caledonia, Vercingetorix in Gaul. . The other βασιλείς before Troy acted as Brigadiers under the supreme command of Agamemnon, as was done latterly in the Albanian League.
For the description of their dwellings, recourse must be had to the Odyssey. The large hall where the feasts were held is denominated uéyapov, —often used for a palace as distinguished from vikos. This answers to the men's apartments in Albania, where all meet, on any festive, official or other occasion. Such was the hall in which Odysseus destroyed the suitors, and that in which Alkinous entertained him on his
It corresponds with the Italian word palazzo,—a casa palazzata being a house of more than one story. In the upper part of the uéyapov were the apartments for females :
Παρθένος α δόση υπερώϊον είσαναβάσα
"Αρης κρατερα και δε οι παραλέξατο λάθρη.-(ΙΙ. β, 514.) where also was the Jádapoç or bedchamber of the lady of the house, as at present in Albania. The outside was surrounded, then as now, by a wall with a gate, called in India a “compound,” a péya rexiov áulñs, sometimes termed épkea or toixos (Od. II, 165 and 343 ; 2, 101).
The dress of the chiefs is formally described in divers places. Agamemnon, unable to sleep, rises and girds on his tunic, xırūv, puts on his sandals, medida, and throws a lion's skin, dépua déovtos, over his shoulder, and grasps a spear (11. K, 22). Menelaus does the same, putting on his brazen helmet otepávny kepalõpu xadkéinv (11. K, 30). Nestor, instead of a skin, puts over his tunic an ample double shaggy scarlet cloal: fixed by a clasp : χλαίναν φοινικόεσσαν διπλήν έκταδίην όυλη δ' επενήνoθε λάχνη (11. K, 134).
Such cloaks are worn now by Albanians, except as to colour; and are made in imitation of sheep-skin, and used also as blankets to sleep under. The cloak was fastened by a clasp or brooch, described by Odysseus to Penelope for identification :
αυτάρ οι περόνη χρυσοία τέτυκτο
a brooch made with twin clasps formed like pipes : the Albanian clasps are silver, and round, like two small shields. The médida are what were formerly used by the highland Scots,-a piece of untanned deer-skin laced over the feet with whangs of the same (the hair being worn inwards), termed curachan ; these are still used by the Albanians. For the byxoc or dópv (11. N, 583) a gun is now substituted. The donis oùv tɛlauwv (11. II, 803), the shield with its sling, is naturally now disused; equally so the Súpně, breast-plate covering the chest and attached by straps and clasps, and sometimes double, that is before and behind.
The ξίφος (Od. , 80; Il. O, 118), hung from the shoulder by a swordbelt or baldrick, was of brass, sometimes double edged άμφηκες, otherwise termed φασγανον and μάχαιρα. The μάχαιρα is used by Albanians stuck in the girdle, ζώνη, , which, except in Homer, is applied to women, Zworno being applied to Lastly came the greaves, kunuis, of bronze, reaching from the knee to the ancle, in two halves fastened with silver clasps : out of war they were of leather.
The bow and arrows, now superseded by firearms, were also used, τόξον and oιστοί or ιοί ; the bow seems to have consisted of two pieces of horn joined in the middle by a thxuç or centre-piece and strung with an ox hide whang νευρά βόεια. The arrows were carried in a quiver, φαρέτρη, which had a cover, mwua. Thus except what have been superseded by the introduction of firearms, the Albanian chiefs use the same arms as the Homeric heroes. Their dress likewise remains the same; the sandals and gaiters are identical ;
the tunic or under garment is the shirt — the
fustanella, which are the tails of it, represent the lower part of the tunic; now (like the highland phillibeg or kilt) a separate piece of dress, the girdle of many folds remains formed of leather, and serves for a pocket. The Albanian jacket is modern; but the short waistcoat is the representative of the dwólwpně, the red cap replaces the defensive helmet, the yatagan or páxalpa replaces the Eipos, still sometimes used but inconvenient for rapid movement. The cloak or capote is the same, and they sleep on rugs and sheets pnyós and livov, or on skins, as Odysseus did on the Phaeacian ship, or as a beggar in his own vestibule on an ådélntov Búen or raw bull's-hide covered with sheep-skins κώεα πόλλ' οίων (Od. Y, 2) under a cloak χλαίνα.
THE WASHING OF FEET AND HANDS. The practice of washing the hands and feet is identical with that practised now in the Albanian mountains : the description in the Odyssey equally applies, both in name and form, to the present day. In Albania it is a matter of hospitality to wash a visitor's feet, and a refusal would be considered a slight. Thus we find Euryclea, Odysseus' old wet nurse, washing his feet, and the handmaids of Kirké bathing and anointing him. In other passages the water is poured over his hands from a golden jug and received into a silver basin, by a "lady in waiting.”
Χερνιβα δ' άμφίπολος προχόω επέχευε φέρουσα
Νίψασθαι.- (Od. 0, 135-137.)
*Η ρα, και αμφίπολον ταμίην ώτρυν' ο γεραιός
Νιψάμενος δε, κυπέλλον εδέξατο ης αλόχοιο.-(ΙΙ. Ω, 301-304.) In the same manner, in Epeiros, a handmaid brings an ewer and a basin, pouring the water from the one into the other, over the hands of the guest, an embroidered towel being on the shoulder to wipe them : the only difference is that they are, alas ! of brass and not of gold and silver.