Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Aug. 17, 1906)
j . jUw r.
R ' 'Vlt,
pi ; &
I' .'! i-
v? ".' '
k -. :mitu .
faUN'ttlllB . . . ' .-
-? 'S .Ii
u . i r.: .-!
-' i..l .iT'Tl'
; Mil '
h1 'i i1 1.
i M fi
. 4. i
. ;t m .
tm .Wile! "
Pi? I 'Ml ' '
if' ,!: ' ' IS
has recently been restored at a cost of more
than a million dollars. The race course Is six
hundred and seventy feet long and a little more
than, a hundred feet in width, and the seats aro
of Pcitfolic marble. Notwithstanding its great
capacity it can not contain the crowds that
assemble to witness the athletic games, renewed
there- in 1896 by the International Athletic asso
ciation. Our country has the distinction of hay
ing led in the contest of 1896' and again in the
PrtTifhHf liGifi nt Athens last April. Our repre
sentatives won eleven prizes each time and I '
found that these victories had very favorably im
pressed the people of Athens.
The stadfiitn is not the-only splendid monu-.-ment
to the public spirit of the modern' Greeks. '
The academy of science and the library are mag
nificent buildings, each costing more than the
restoration of the stadium. They illustrate the
best in Grecian architecture, reproducing the
Corinthian, the Doric, and the Ionic. They are-'
oY Pentellc marble and would be worthy of a '
place in any city of the world. The library con
tains several hundred thousand volumes and has
all, the modern equipment. Athens has a popu
lation of but little more than a hundred thousand,
and.it is doubtful whether there is another city
of its size that can boast of as large an expendi
ture of private capital in public buildings. The
mountain which has supplied Athens with marble
for twenty-five hundred years is only a few miles
from the city and its quarries are still unex
hausted. Modern Athens is very attractive; its
streets are paved and clean; its business houses
are large and well built; its government build
ings are substantial, and its private residences
give evidence of taste. We were there in the
season of flowers and we saw them blooming in
Numerous statues adorn the streets and
parks, the most noted being the statue of Byron,
erected in memory of his .unselfish devotion to
The soldiers and policemen have adopted
the costume of the ancient Greeks, but other
wise the people dress like the people of northern
As one approaches Athens for the first time1,
his eye is sure to search for the "temple-crowned"
Acropolisthe hill which art and religion- com
bined to make immortal. It rises from the plain
much as Chapultepec rises from the plain of
Mexico. It is about five hundr-ed feet high and
at the top two hundred yards in length. It must
have been surpassingly beautiful when the Par
thenon was completed, that great treasury which,
has not only supplied the art galleries of the
world with, marvels of beauty in stone, but has
. given law to the architects from that day to this.
Pericles, who deserves the credit for the con
. structlon. of the Parthenon, can be pardoned for
exulting in his work.
Today, the Acropolis is a picture of desola
tion, but the few columns that remain bear wit
ness to its departed glory. Lord Elgin carried
away at one time two hundred and fifty feet of
the sculptured frieze, and scarcely any of its
columns, capitals, cornice and pediment would
have remained but for the size and weight of
the masses of marble. The pillage that for nearly
twenty denturies has been robbing Greece of her
priceless works of art can be understood when
it is Stated that one Roman conqueror celebrated
his victory by exhibiting in his triumphant pro
cession two hundred and fifty wagon loads of
Greek pictures and statues, and that these wagons
were followed by three thousand men each bear
ing some trophy taken from the cities of Greece.
And yet, in spite of the grand larceny which
has been perpetrated against this unfortunate
land, the museum at Athens contains enough of
the beautiful in marble and bronze to make any
nation conspicuous in the realm of art Within
two years some notable additions have been
jnade to the collection; a life-sized bronze statue
has been unearthed and a marble figure half
buried in the sands of the sea, has been rescued
xuo uuior is perfect m t&e portions protected
by the sand but was disintegrating where it came
into contact with the waves.
The readers of those articles aro too well
informed in regard to the discoveries of Dr
Schliomann to make it necessary to refer to his
work in detail. One room of the museum con
tains the ornaments which he gathered from five
tombs, and they are sufficient to show the ex
tended use made of this metal in the arts. They
consist of ear rings finger rings, bracelets, neck
laces, head ornaments, vases, cups, coins, etc. A
pair of cups which attract special attention bear
in relief the figures of bullsthe animals being
equal in form to the best breeds of today: On
one cup they are being led to the sacrifice; and
on the other they aro bound at the altar.
Besides original statues of renown and the
casts of those which have been removed, there
are many specimens of ancient "pottery by which
one can trace the rise in artistic taste and skill.
Some of the earliest statues in stone and clay
bear a, striking resemblance to those of Egypt.
Second only in interest to the Acropolis is
Mars' Hill a rocky summit two-thirds of the
height of the Acropolis. Here the ancient court
of the Areopagus, composed of the most eminent
of the Athenians, held its sessions. Here under
the dome of the sky tle most important cases
were tried and life and death hung upon the
.decree t pi tko court. Here, also, Paul's great
speech,' to the "men of Athens" was delivered,
. his text being found in the altar erected to "the
Only a little distance from Mar's Hill is the
stone piatrorm irom wnich the orators of Greece
addressed the people. A level, Shelf-like space
was formed near the top of the hill where a few
thousand could congregate, and here the citi
zens listened while the greatest of all the public
speakers poured forth, his eloquence. It was
worth a trip to Athens to view this spot where :
Demosthenes delivered the oration on the Crown
and the philippics which, have been the pattern
set before the student for twehty-two hundred
years. In the marshalling of facts, in the group
ing of arguments, in the use of invective and in
the arranging of climaxes he is still the teacher.
Someone has drawn a distinction between Cicero
and Demosthenes, saying that when the former
spoke the people said: "How well Cicero
speaks," while, when Demosthenes spoke, they
said: "Let us 'go against Phillip!" Demosthenes'
style was more convincing than ornate; his pur
pose was to arouse, not merely to please, and
from the accounts that have come down to us
his delivery was suited to his language. He, in
fact, gave. to action the highest place among the
requisites of effective speech. We recalled this
saying of Demosthenes when we listened to the
excited tones and watched the. gesticulations of
the boatmen who thronged about our ship in the
harbor-of Piraeus. The physician who came
aboard to examine the passengers gave us even
a better Illustration of "action," although his
gestures were more forcible than graceful, pos
sibly because he addressed himself to the cap
tain of the ship instead of to the multitude.
On the shore of the Aegean, sea, between
Athens and the harbor, at a place where De
mosthenes may have tested his voice against the.
tumult of the waves, I gathered some pebbles.
I can not prove that they are the identical ones
uSed by him to overcome the impediment in his
speech but they are at least a reminder of the
toilsome struggle through which he passed be
fore his name was known to fame."
It was a -disappointment to find so little to
mark the site of the academy where Socrates
and Plato met their disciples. These philoso
phers have made such an 'impression upon the
thought of the world that I had hoped to find
some spot clearly identified as the place where
they taught. An old house stands now on a tree
less tract over Which they are said to have
walked in their daily discussions but it is a
niodern one. A gate admits to the grounds al
though no, wall incloses them. It is much easier
to picture Demosthenes speaking from the ros
trum which still remains than to image Socrates
propounding here his questions and elaborating
the method of reasoning to which his name has
There is an old cemetery within the limits
of the present city where recent excavation has
brought to light numerous tombs ornamented
with sculpture. Some of the groups of statuary
and urns have been left where they were found
while others have boon given a place in the
museum These are additional proof of the num-
1)Jr,ihose wll handed the chisel in the days
of Phidias. J
No spot is identified with Herodotus th
Father of History, or with Thucidfdes who, with
EfJd0t?.8' ha? KCen the instctor of later ihwta
clers Except the remains of the theaters there
h3 nothing to recall the tragedies of Euripides
Eschylus and Sophocles or the comedies of Aristo-
S?lS,?If!in,? n,PTlaCe !S poInted out as 'he Bite
of the studio of Parasius or Zuexis, though the
cssons which they taught the world have not
been forgotten. While the guide does not pre
tend to know the house in which Homer lived or
where he wrote his deathless songs, the traveler
wlm passes through the Hellespont can see the
Plains of ilWatea Troy, and during his stay in
WOIiTJME'G, NUMBER 3
Greece his memory runs over the heroes of thd
Illiad and the Odessy.
There are no physical evidences of the life
work of Lycurgus and Solon, yet the laws which
they promulgated are the heritage of mankind
Salamis remains, and if the naval battle which
Themistocles won had had no other effect than
to furnish -Pericles with a theme for his great
funeral orations, it would still have been worthy
of remembrance.. The battlefield of Marathon
whh3h gave Miltiades a place among the world's
generals is unchanged.. It is about twenty-five
miles from Athens, and the story,- told in marble,
of the Greek who carried the news of the victory
to Athens and died from exhaustion amid the
shouts of his countrymen has led to the incor
poration of a twenty-five mile race in the athletic
games when they are held at Athens. In 1896
the race was won by a Greek (much to the satis
faction of the audience), who made the run from
Marathon to the city in two hours and forty-fivo
The pass at Thermopylae Is aiso to be seen
and the heroism of the three hundred Spartans
who, under the leadership of Leonidas, offered up
their "lives there for their country continues to
be an inspiration. They failed -to stay the on
ward march of Xerxes, but-who can measure the
value of their example?
Corinth, now as of old, guarjds the entrance
to the Pelloponesus but notwithstanding the canal
which at this point connects the Aegean sea with
the Gulf of Corinth, the city has only a small
Corinth brings to memory the part Greece
played in the spread of Christianity. It was not
enough that this country led the world in state
craft and oratory, in poetry and history, in phil
osophy and literature, in 'art and in athletics,
she was also one of the first mission fields of the
apostles. It was to the Corinthians that Paid
wrote the Epistles in Which love is given the first
place among the virtues, and it was Greece that
gave her name to- one of the great branches of
the Christian church.
A democrat may be pardondd for cherishing
a high regard for. the land that coined the word,
democracy. v The derivation of the word from
demos, the people, and kratein", to rule makes
, it an appropriate one to , desbribe a government
based upon popular- will. And as governments
more and more recognize the citizen as the sov
ereign and the people as the source of all po
litical power, the world's debt to Greece will he
more and more fully appreciated. She not only
gave to language a word accurately expressing
the idea of self-government, but she proved by
experience the wisdom of trusting the people with
the management of all public affairs.
The republican convention for the First Ne
braska district renominated Representative E. M.
Pollard in face of the charge that, although Mr.
Pollard who succeeded to .a vacancy was not
elected until July 18, 1905, he drew $1,900 cover
ing the period from March 4, until July 18, or
pay for more than four months of 'time before
he had been elected. Mr. Pollard admits the
charge but pleads that others before him have
been guilty of the same offense.
Precedent is not a good defense for wrong
doing. But already the v republican politicians
are appealing to the voters of the First Nebraska
district to "stand by Roosevelt" by re-electing E.
M. Pollard to the lower house of congress.
It would not be difficult to find in Mr. Roose
velt's speeches, bitter condemnation of such prac
tices as that in which Pollard engaged.
It is more than likely there will be many re
publicans in the First Nebraska district, who will
be inclined to resent the claim that it is neces
sary to re-elect to office a man who proved false
to the public trust in order to "stand by" the
president who insists that he favors a "square
deal." - -
r LET. CONGRESS DO IT
David M. Perry says that refusal to revise
the tariff is inviting radical action at the polls.
He thinks that the tariff should be removed
from politics and that this revision should he
entrusted to a commission whose business it will
be to make the necessary changes.
, What about congress doing the work? That
is its business and It would be much more sat
isfactory to have the work entrusted to men who
depend upon the people for ' their commissions
rather than to a board chosen largely with the
view of "letting well enough alone."
p 4 1;
Powered by Open ONI