Page images

are not frequently derived from the Phoenician. That they are so derived in point of fact, Sir William seems to have proved; and therefore that they would be so derived, as a matter of high probability, becomes a question of little importance. We indeed never entertained a doubt of the truth of the historical record, that one of the Phoenician colonies. was established in Lydia; and that the Lydians sent a colony into Italy, which took possession of Umbria and Etruria. The testimony given by a host of Grecian and Roman writers, to this truth, is not to be shaken by the scepticism of Dionysius Halicarnassensis on the subject, ill-supported as it is by his arguments. That, finally, the Osci, Tyrrheni, Pelasgi, and Samnites, were descended from those same Lydians, and consequently retained much of the Phoenician in the Etruscan dialect, which they continued to speak until the Romans gave their laws and their language to the conquered provinces of Italy,' as Sir William contends, we think that we have every reason to conclude. We select a brief instance of the author's general etymological skill:

The city of Colophon was situated between the river Caystrus and Mount Mimas. Strabo reports the Greek traditions concerning its foundation. This place was celebrated for producing a fine and peculiar kind of resin. Now the Hebrew word for this resin is cholbona, and it is so used by Moses. We may then conclude that the name of the thing existed before the name of the place; and that the Phoenicians called the town by the name of the thing for which it was most remarkable. Colophon seems to me to have been a corruption of Cholbona, or Cholbon, or Cholobon.'

The arguments of Sir W. D. on the derivation of the word Tmolus (see pages 45. and 6.) appear equally ingenious with the foregoing, if not in all points equally satisfactory; and the remarks on the word Corycus are to us conclusive: (see p. 47.)

Corycus is a lofty mountain near Teos, and not far from Erythra; it is said to abound with crocusses.

"Ultima Corycio que cadit aura croco."

Choruchim is the Hebrew for these flowers, and from this word, slightly changed by the Greeks, I conceive the mountain to have been named.'

As more particular instances of the author's ingenuity, exerted on his immediate subject, we would refer to his deriva

* Phoenicia Sir William conceives (page 44.) to have been subdued, and in a great measure peopled anew, by the Egyptians; and the Egyptian language, (page 30.) he observes, was originally a diaect of the Hebrew.

REV. Nov. 1810.



tions of Pompeii, of Vesuvius, and of Abella, pages 78 and but his last example we cannot forbear to cite: (page 82.) The following line is ascribed to Virgil:

"Unde locum Graii dixerunt nomine Aornon."

This is probably an interpolation; and therefore I shall say nothing of an absurd etymology which it was unworthy of the Muse of Virgil to record. Aornus, or Avernus, has been evidently once a volcano, and, as it would appear, a very terrible one. The root is unquestionably aor, fire.'

[ocr errors]

We cannot wholly agree with Sir William in his remarks on the word Nyrtia. In the passage of Juvenal (Sat. 10.) in which the word is used, as generally supposed, for the Etruscan Goddess of Fortune, Sir William says, if the author had written Cypra (a false print for Cyprea, we imagine,) the sense would have been as clear. Surely not so clear, nor so proper but if Nyrtia was one of the Lares only, the allusion to her as the peculiar protectress of the Tuscan, her compatriot, will indeed be equally natural.

We must again express our concern at being unable to select more from this dissertation: but we are happy to liberate our censure of the overstrained and ill-applied exercise of conjectural verbal criticism from any appearance of injustice, by recommending to every scholar, who may be so disposed, the minutest etymological pursuits, provided that they be of a nature as worthy as the present; - of a nature which leads to the discovery of the mutual relations and dependencies of antient nations. It would be easy, indeed, to laugh at the Bryantism of some of the derivations, but not so easy to disprove their just


Dissertation the sixth is a very classical and amusing essay, by Mr. Walpole, on the knowlege of the Greek Language, and on the state of the Art of Painting among the Romans, before and about the time of the destruction of Herculaneum.' The former division of this title is that which the author has treated most scientifically on the latter, he confesses himself to be a sciolist: yet he affords some entertaining infor



The more we consider the subject, (says Mr. Walpole, page 85.) the more reason we shall find to be surprised at the great knowledge which the Romans must have obtained, at different periods, of the Greek, and the regard which was paid to compositions in that language. Polybius, Appian, Dio Cassius, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Alian, Josephus, all wrote at Rome in Greek. Polybius was the friend of Scipio Africanus; Ælian was born at Præneste; Josephu wrote in the Court of Vespasian. Cicero does not scruple to tell us Si Nyrtia Tusco favisset," namely, Sejanus.



how much the literature of Greece was studied in his time. Italia tunc (in his youth) plena Græcarum artium ac disciplinarum studiis And in the same oration he attests the universality of that language: Greca in omnibus ferè gentibus leguntur; Latina suis finibus, exiguis sanè, continentur. (Pro Archia.)'

The ensuing remarks, in the other divisions of the subject of this paper, seem also to be worthy of selection :

It does not appear that painting as an art was known in times prior to those of Homer. The word Zwygapo; occurs neither in the Iliad nor the Odyssey. Tga is there used to represent or designate an object; and is never used in the acceptation of painting. The mis takes of those who have given to the art an earlier origin, seem to have arisen from confounding two things essentially different, design and painting. Under the reign of Alexander, the art reached a point of perfection which it seems never to have since attained. The age of the Cæsars is not mentioned by Pliny as having produced any among those paintings which formed part of the finest ornaments of the capital of the world. It has been supposed that many of the paintings at Herculaneum were copies of performances executed by the hands of Grecian artists. It certainly deserves to be noticed, that the information which can be obtained from ancient authors relating to the artists who employed themselves in painting throughout Italy and Rome for many ages, leads us to infer that they were Greek. The names that we meet with from the time of Mummius, when the Romans first became acquainted with the art, to the age of the first Emperors, are Greek: among them are Lala of Cyzicum, Sopolis, Dionysius, Timomachus. Of the few Romans who exercised themselves in painting, Pliny has given us no favourable idea.' (p. 93.)

Mr. Walpole records, from Vitruvius, (p. 95.) in the account of a new style of painting censured by that author, that in these pictures there were many tender stalks, rising from roots with volutes, including in them small figures sitting without any meaning; also flowers springing from stalks having half busts rising out of them; some like human heads; some like those of beasts' but he does not advert to the fact betrayed by these remarks, namely that Vitruvius, in saying that the small figures, &c. had no meaning, seems not to be aware of their Egyptian origin, and of their apparently intended imitation of figures of a similar kind exhibited in the Mysteries. In those ceremonies, they were allusive, as it is highly probable *, to the general doctrine of the renovation of nature from water, of which the lotus-plant was the most common emblem: while by the infants was expressed the restoration of the race of man, and by the chimeras that of the brute creation.

* See our late account of Christie on Etruscan Vases.

[blocks in formation]

In the VIIth dissertation, by Sir Wm. Drummond, the writer brings into a focus most of the scattered information of other authors on a curious subject of antiquarian research, namely the materials on which the antients wrote:- but we think that he has rather hastily decided, from two passages in Plautus, that, when linen books are mentioned by the antients, they mean only tablets of wax, which were prepared by stretching a piece of linen over a board, to which it was made to adhere by some glutinous substance, and then laying the wax over the linen. That this was a mode of preparing the waxen tablets will by no means disprove the existence of volumes properly called linen, nor that this substance was used in them as the sole material on which the author wrote. Indeed, this latter fact seems to us sufficiently established by two other testimonies cited by Sir William himself; to mention no instances in confirmation, which might easily be adduced.

The VIIIth dissertation, containing Paleographical Observations (as they are rather conceitedly called) on the Herculanean MSS., will certainly in some respects be useful to all future examiners of those MSS.: but Mr.Walpole does not mention the specimens of the Papyri in an unrolled state, which, we have heard, were sent over by the court of Naples at the commencement of the business as a present to the Prince of Wales, six in number, and four of them yet unexamined. The two which have been inspected, with great care and chemical skill, (according to the report,) are in so complete a carbonic mass, that it has not yet been positively ascertained what are their contents! Even as to the subjects of the Fac Similes, we are told nothing by Mr. Walpole; except that among them is a MS. on Rhetoric, and that some (unaccented) lines of Homer are quoted in it; and that the works of Epicurus are also among the number. Must he not mean a work of Epicurus? We trust that it will be found to place the summum bonum in mental pleasure; or we do not see how the University of Oxford can contribute to the circulation of the spurious Epicurean dogma,

"Vivas in amore, jocisque !"

Mr. W. gives us a line from the Fragment of the Latin poem mentioned above as the only Latin MS. in the collection; which, he justly observes, has a quaintness and an antithesis not unlike the manner of Lucan:

"Consiliis nox apta ducum; lux aptior armis."

It might be added that the expression in another line, alluding to Cleopatra's design of killing herself, trahiturque libidine mortis, is in Claudian's worst style of bombast. We would gently admonish Mr. Walpole, for whose abilities it is impos

sible not to feel respect, that he betrays in his own style a tendency to the imitation of a very faulty model. When speaking of Bishop Horsley, Mr. W. calls him du tuxovla άνδρα: — Priestley he denominates, τον τε της απισίας σπασανία BopBope; and, delivering his opinion concerning the success of the former in the well-known controversy with the latter, he adds, την νικωσαν έθεντο ψηφον Υπερείδης, quoting Phot. Bib. page 807. Though we by no means discountenance occasional quotations on a classical subject, as will be seen by our own practice, we must deem it indispensable that these quotations should not be wholly uninteresting in themselves, nor destitute of that force and liveliness which they are certainly capable of adding to an argument.

The common account, which attributes the honour ('qualis cunque fuerit) of inventing the accentual marks to Aristophanes of Byzantium about the 145th Olympiad, might perhaps be reconciled with the facts stated by Mr. Walpole relative to Callimachus, who preceded him by some Olympiads, if we recollected how many propagators of an art have been mistaken for its inventors: but, indeed, in the present case, no original authorities having been cited by the principal modern assertors of the claims of Aristophanes*, the matter must rest in the uncertainty which in our conception it every way deserves. The IXth Dissertation, on the MS. of Herculaneum intitled Пεр TWY OεWV, we have already in part examined, but other notes and illustrations occur in it, of which we can only say that they merit a better subject. Sir Wm. Drummond, in our opinion, attaches too much value to Greek metaphysics. Our real knowlege of the properties of mind, as far as that knowlege has been reduced to system, may be said to have begun with Bacon and Descartes: but on this point we shall have better opportunities of speaking. As to the natural philosophy of the Greeks, we confess that neither the water of Thales nor the fire of Heraclitus can interest us. To return to the infancy of science, after its subsequent gigantic growth, is as rational a pursuit in philosophy, as it would be a proof of good taste in theatrical entertainments to revive on our modern stage the mysteries and allegories of old, which were expelled from the drama by Shakspeare.

[ocr errors]

The Xth and last Dissertation is the production of Mr. Walpole; and its contents are, Inscriptions at Herculaneum; at Stabiæ; - Excavations at Pompeii; - Inscription there;

Villoison has indeed published an extract to this effect from a treatise of Arcadius, Περί Ευρέσεως των Προσωδίων, preserved in the Library at Paris.

R 3


« PreviousContinue »