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ferent ways. The trophied pile may seek the sky: the sculptured marble may adorn the fane : the course of time may be traced on the tablet : history may transmit the fleeting incident to her page: columns and scrolls may preserve in lasting characters what otherwise is lost. Or this perpetuity of national recollection may be secured by solemn conventions of men, by sports, by processions, by festivities, by gestures, by cries. The record is thus embodied, rehearsed, depicted in visible and living forms,—Time sounds its intervals through the human voice, and Event delineates its features in the human image. Such was the Olympic foundation! Though the first authentic period of this Solemnity was that of the Course in which Coræbus was the victor, yet it is evident, that while chronology could not venture an earlier computation, the Solemnity itself was remotely antecedent. It is easy to follow it until it is buried in the obscurity of backward ages. We learn, on the fullest evidence, that instead of commencing at 776, before the Advent, it was kept by Iphitus and Lycurgus about 884. Greece, we are informed by Pausanias, being then much torn by intestine divisions and desolated by pestilence, the oracle of Delphi was consulted. The response of the Pythia was, that the Eleans should restore the Olympic Games. The chief of Lacedæmon concurred. However fabulous the machinery, the truth is evident, that religion and government felt the loss of that which had been formerly advantageous to both. It was, therefore, determined to revive it. From this time we must ascend to Hercules, the Theban, the son of Alcmena. There is no reasonable tarrying-place between the two points of time stated. This will certainly carry us beyond the siege of Troy, and well nigh to the Amphictyonic league. To this it is objected, that it is not probable that such an institute either should be suspended, or, being suspended, should have been renewed. Now we know that the religious offices and games of Andania in Messenia had been lost for centuries : and then were re-consecrated by Epaminondas upon the authority of a plate found in a brazen urn. That plate was covered with almost obsolete words, but so far as they could be deciphered


they referred to certain mystic ceremonies.—More formidable objections, however, exist to this ancient date, though we think they may be rebutted. It is, in the first place, contended, that as Homer has, in his catalogue of the ships, introduced the contingent force of Elis,-and as, after the establishment of the Games that country was neutral ground,—the siege of Troy must have been prior to them. We reply, that that neutrality was international, respected only and necessarily the other powers of Greece, and could not excuse it from joining in an expedition against a common foe. Also, we learn from Polybius, that “ when the Arcadians attempted to take Lusion from them, with the lands which lay around Pisa, they were obliged to have recourse to arms, and to change their former way life.” Moreover, the Oracle which forbade them to take part in the disputes around them, permitted them to defend themselves.—Next, it is affirmed that had these Games been known in the days of Homer, he would have noticed them. Now, many memorable characteristics of city and country are omitted in his celebrated Epigraphy. No mention is made of Eleusis, though the barks of Telamon sweep by those awful shores, and her inhabitants must have been enrolled in the bands of Salamis or Athens. Ceres is scarcely intimated to exist, and never to be an object of worship, through all the writings of the bard. She denotes little more than the fruit of the ground. It will not be disputed, however, that the Eleusinian Mysteries were then extant, and flourishing in their greatest pomp. Dodona is described as cold, but not a word is uttered concerning its oracular oaks. — It ought not to be forgotten that, in the times of Homer, these Games were “maimed rites" in comparison with their later magnificence: and that in singing the stern and lofty epic, the muster of compatriot nations, the kindling of lofty passions, the rush of daring deeds, it was easy for him to forget the mimicry of war,—to despise the drill-ground of athletic craft for the realities of the battle-field, -to hurry at once to Tenedos where their navies rode majestically at their anchorage, and to the Dardanian strands until they burn with one refulgent mass of mail, caparison, and weapon ! But all this while the assumption has been undenied, that in the Ho meric poems there is this perfect silence. Yet nothing is more gratuitous. In the ninth book of the Iliad, Ulysses, one of the princes delegated to Achilles, offers him as a reward for his return to his command, twelve compact steeds, adhopogous, -victorious in the equestrian contest, on aeonia Focow açov7o, *-—which by their Aeetness bear off every prize. In the twenty-third book we have the very “order of the course.” All the mighty and warlike are at Troy. Greece is deserted, but the games are transferred to the present scene and abode of her noblest chivalry. Better and apter proof could not be found. The model was in the Olympic festival, and all is arranged and executed and beheld as a familiar sight. And so in the Odyssey, the same acquaintance is displayed. Ulysses, shipwrecked on Phæacia, is entertained by Alcinous with many of these exploits: and the poet, reflecting the feelings of his more refined countrymen, puts into the lips of the Host a disgust of the more perilous encounters, especially excepting the cæstus, in which Sparta, though the most hardy of nations, had never suffered its champions to engage. Had Homer never alluded to these spectacles, what would have been proved ? Virgil speaks of Elis, and of Alpheus, its holy river, without deigning a recollection of the exhibition which had there its chosen spot : and who will deny its notoriety in the reign of Augustus ?t

It is no small confirmation that these Games were known before Homer and the Trojan expedition, that in the Olympian temple, according to Pausanias, there had been eight figures, one of which was destroyed, expressing eight different kinds of contest. In later times, the principal were only five, as their names pentathlon and quinquertium designate. In the deathhonours of Patroclus the number exactly corresponds to the original statues of the shrine. There was the chariot-race, the gauntlet, wrestling, running, the single combat, the discus, archery, and hurling the spear. The two that were laid aside,

# Lin : 124. + Æneid : lib. iii. He does, however, allude to it in his third Georgic: but not in his graver poem.

were the single combat and the bow. The chariot was retained, but was considered rather a splendid ornament, than an elementary subsistence, of the true regulation. The games of Iphitus were, therefore, a compression and emendation of what was ordained of old: capable of receiving, after each revision, that which was suitable to raise and adorn them.

Perhaps the identity of these agonistical rules will be doubted from the difference of the assigned rewards. Rich spoils provoke the Grecian chiefs on the Phrygian shore: a chaplet of leaves adorns the victor in the Olympic strife. The withholdment of this may be readily explained. The tree was sacred from which those leaves were gathered : it grew but on one spot : it shed them only there, and on them who contended there: other guerdons were consequently proposed.

But if other proof were wanting, it might be concluded that Homer knew the very ground on which the candidates of Olympia contended. For Nestor, when directing Antilochus in the tactics of the chariot-race, tells him how to cast his eye forward to some object as his directory and aim:

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the outset and goal of the Olympic race were tombs, as shall shortly have occasion to state. Besides, the most ancient institutions of Sparta, the government of the oldest men, the regovora,—the constant appeal to the regovies,—is evidently alluded to again and again.t

We have not reached their origin yet. We are credulous enough to coincide with them who identify them with Hercules. Probably he established them as the solemn Exequiæ of those who had fallen, on either side, when he conquered Elea. Dispelling the haze of vain tradition which floats around him and exaggerates his proportions,—we are willing to admire him for higher attributes than those of sinewy conformation and brutal

« Ηδε γερουσιν

* Il: xxiii. 331.-" The mark of some hero long since deceased.”

ErTW Bovarunon." -Il: vi. 113.
“ Ispovorov ogrov.”—11: xxii. 119.

courage. The mantle of the sage and the senator may well displace his lion-skin, and a sceptre of wisdom and a crook of mercy may be fashioned from his club.

Polybius, in suggesting topics for a Discourse on Peace, says that the orator may show that when Hercules instituted the Olympic Games, as a recompense after his toils, he sufficiently declared this to be his meaning,—that when he brought mischief on any by making war, he was forced to it by necessity and the commands of others, but that willingly he had never done harm to any person. Diodorus Siculus, in his fifth book,* is disposed to think that the Olympic Regimen was devoted by the hero on his return from the Argonautic voyage. And in an earlier part of the same book he says, “that this which is deservedly the most renowned of all, took its beginning from the best of men.”+ In the sixth Olympic ode of Pindar we find a similar attestation: “When Hercules, brave for every danger, that illustrious branch of the Alcean stock, instituted the rite which overflowing crowds attend in honour of Jupiter,—the noblest ordinance of such festivals,—he was commanded by him to fix his oracle on the highest altar.”+ The voice is, indeed, unanimous in favour of Him as the Founder.

*"Cogitantibus Argonautis in patriam abire, Herculem ferunt hortatum esse ad res magnæ fortunæ obeundas : adegitque ut jurejurando pollicerentur alterum alteri si opus esset auxilio fore. Elegisse autem clarissimum Græciæ locum ad statuenda certamina, concursusque hominum celebrandos : idque certamen maximo deorum Jovi Olympio consecrasse. Cum Argonautæ omnes in fædus communis presidii jurassent, instituendorum cura Herculi demandata, illum elegisse aiunt ad hominum conventus Eleorum regionem juxta Alpheum Aumen. Unde juxta eum loca maximo deorum sacrata Olympia ab eo appellantur. Cum equorum certamen palæstramque instituesset, modo certaminum statuto urbes propinquas ad deorum spectacula excivit. Et gloria, famaque Herculis ex spectatione certaminum Olympicorum vulgata, Græcorum omnium qui clari essent eo concursus fuit.”

+ " Merito igitur omnium hoc ab Hercule institutum certamen habetur præse tamtissimum, quod ab optimo viro principium sumpsit."

Θρασυμαχανος ελθων
Ηρακλεης, σεμνον θαλος Αλκαϊδάν,
Πατρος θεορταν τε κτιση πλειστoμβροτον, ,
Τεθμον το μεγισον αεθλων,
Ζηνος επ' ακροβατω βωμω το αν
Xomongroy Booban xsa sursy."-Lin: 114.


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