Aunt Charlotte's stories of Greek history for the little ones

Material Information

Aunt Charlotte's stories of Greek history for the little ones
Alternate title:
Aunt Charlotte's Greek history
Running title:
Stories of Greek history
Yonge, Charlotte Mary, 1823-1901
Marcus Ward & Co ( Publisher )
Royal Ulster Works ( Publisher )
Place of Publication:
Marcus Ward & Co.
Royal Ulster Works
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
[2], 347, [5], 16 p., [2] leaf of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 18 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Mythology, Greek -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
History -- Juvenile literature -- Greece ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1876 ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1876
Publishers' catalogues ( rbgenr )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Northern Ireland -- Belfast
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )


General Note:
Added t.p. and frontispiece printed in colors.
General Note:
Publisher's catalogue follows text.
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Charlotte M. Yonge, author of "The heir of Radclyffe," "Stories of English history," "Stories of French history," "Stories of Bible history," &c.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections ( with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
027030677 ( ALEPH )
ALJ0718 ( NOTIS )
01621074 ( OCLC )

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uniform biitj "Stories of Gtreek Jtistory,"

AUNT CHARLOTTE'S Stories of English History for
the Little Ones. In Fifty, easy Chapters, with a Frontispiece in Colors by H.
STACY MARKS, A.R.A.; a Half-page Picture to each Chapter, and an Illuminated
Title-page. New Edition, with Questions. Square Octavo, Cloth Extra, Bevelled
Boards, Gilt Edges. Price 6/-

A UNT CHARLOTTE'S Stories of French History for
the Little Ones. In Forty-eight easy Chapters, with a Frontispiece in Colors
by H. STACY MARKS, A.R.A.; Twelve Full-page Illustrations, and an Illuminated
Title-page. New Edition, with Questions. Sqqre Octavo, Cloth Extra, Bevelled
Boards, Gilt Edges. Price 6/-

A UNT CHARLOTTE'S Stories of Bible History for the
Little Ones. Three Readings and one Picture for each Sunday in the Year,
with an Illuminated Title-page and Frontispiece in Colors. Square Octavo, Cloth
Extra, Bevelled Boards, Gilt Edges. Price 6/-





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.^^ N this little book the attempt has been to trace
SGreek History so as to be intelligible to young
children. In fact, it will generally be found that
classical history is remembered at an earlier age than
modern history, probably because the events are simple,
and there was something childlike in the nature of all
the ancient Greeks. I would begin a child's reading
with the History of England, as that which requires to
be known best; but from this I should think it better
to pass to the History of Greece, and that of Rome
(which is in course of preparation), both because of
their giving some idea of the course of time, and bring-

4 Preface.

ing Scripture history into connection with that of the
world, and because little boys ought not to begin their
classical studies without some idea of their bearing. I
have begun with a few of the Greek myths, which are
absolutely necessary to the understanding of both the
history and of art. As to the names, the ordinary
reading of them has been most frequently adopted, and
the common Latin titles of the gods and goddesses have
been used, because these, by long use, have really come
to be their English names, and English literature at
least will be better understood by calling the king of
Olympus Jupiter, than by becoming familiar with him
first as Zeus.
Jan. 6th, 1876.

---'------ /- if



I.-Olympus II
II.-Light and Dark 18
III.-The Peopling of Greece 26
IV.-The Hero Perseus 35
V.-The Labours of Hercules 42
VI.-The Argonauts. 5I
VII.-The Success of the Argonauts 59
VIII.-The Choice of Paris 68
IX.-The Siege of Troy 76
X.-The Wanderings of Ulysses 84
XI.-The Doom of the Atrides 94
XII.-After the Heroic Age 102
XIII.-Lycurgus and the Laws of Sparta. B.C, 884-668 xo
XIV.-Solon and the Laws of Athens. B.C. 594-546 II8
XV.-Pisistratus and his Sons. B.c. 558-499 126
XVI.-The Battle of Marathon. B.C. 490 134
XVII.-The Expedition of Xerxes. B.C. 480 142
XVIII.-The Battle of Platma. B.C. 479-460 151
XIX.-The Age of Pericles. B.C. 464-429 159

6 Contents.

XX.-The Expedition to Sicily. B.C. 415-413 167
XXI.--The Shore of the Goat's River. B.C. 406-402 174
XXII.-The Retreat of the Ten Thousand. B.C. 402-399 I8I
XXIII.-The Death of Socrates. B.C. 399 189
XXIV.-The Supremacy of Sparta. B.C. 396 r96
SXXV.-The Two Theban Friends. B.C. 387-362 203
XXVI.-Philip of Macedon. B.C. 364 210
XXVII.-The Youth of Alexander. B.C. 356-334 217
XXVIII.-The Expedition to Persia. B.C. 334 224
XXIX.-Alexander's Eastern Conquests. B.C. 331-328 231
XXX.-The End of Alexander. B.C. 328 238
XXXI.-The Last Struggles of Athens. B.C. 334-311. 245
XXXII.-The Four New Kingdoms. B.C. 311-287 252
XXXIII.-Pyrrhus, King of Epirus. B.C. 287 258
XXXIV.-Aratus and the Achaian League. B.C. 267 265
XXXV.-Agis and the Revival of Sparta. B.C. 244-236 272
XXXVI.-Cleomenes and the Fall of Sparta. B.C. 236-222 279
XXXVII.-Philopoemen, the Last of the Greeks. B.C. 236-184 286
XXXVIII.-The Fall of Greece. B.C. 189-146 293
XXXIX.--The Gospel in Greece. B.C. 146-A.D. 60 300
XL.-Under the Roman Empire 308
XLI.-The Frank Conquest. 1201-1446 315
XLII.-The Turkish Conquest. 1453-1670 322
XLIII.-The Venetian Conquest and Loss. 1684-1796 328
XLIV.-The War of Independence. 1815 334
XLV.-The Kingdom of Greece. 1822-1875. 340


Mount Olympus. .
Head of Jupiter 14
Supposed Temple of Jupiter Panhellenius in Egina 19
Head of Pallas 21
Triptolemus .23
Mars and Victory 25
Mount Parnassus 27
The World according to the Greeks 30
Perseus and Andromeda .. 38
Cyclopean Wall 41
Scene in the Arachnaean Mountains near Argos 44
Building the Argo .. 53
Corinth .. 62
Plains of Troy 69
Greek Ships 73
Achilles binding his Armour on Patroclus 78
Sepulchral Mound, known as the Tomb of Ajax 8
Laoc6on 82
Funeral Feast .. 83
Ulysses tied to the Mast 89

8 List of Illustrations.

Port of Ithaca .. 91
Plain of Sparta, with Mount Taygetus 97
Greek Interior .o6
Greek Robe .. 07
Male Costume ... Io8
Ancient Remains at Athens I19
Shores of the Persian Gulf I29
View in the Vicinity of Athens .. 141
Pass of Thermopylae .. 145
Salamis .. 48
Persian Soldier. 152
Tombs at Plataea 153
The Acropolis, Athens.. 162
Propylea, Athens 163
The Academic Grove, Athens -68
Athens 80
Babylon. 182
Greek Armour 188
Socrates 190
Plato 193
View on the Eurotas in Laconia ... 202
Thessalonica 209
Demosthenes 212
Diana of Ephesus ..218
Alexander ... 222
Bacchanals. 223
Alexander the Great 225
Second Temple of Diana at Ephesus 227
Princes of Persia 234
Supposed Walls of Babylon 242


List of Illustrations. 9

Site of Susa, ancient Metropolis of Persia 244
Ruined Temple at Athens 247
Macedonian Soldier 255
Delphi and the Castalian Fount 262
Corinth ........ 267
View looking across Isthmus of Corinth .. 269
Ruins of a Temple at Corinth 271
Temple of Neptune 285
Crowning the Victor in the Isthmian Games. 290
Livadia, the ancient Mideia in Argolis 292
Sappho .295
Lessina, the ancient Eleusis, on the Gulf of Corinth 297
View from Corinth 301
Parthenon and Erectheum 304
Distant View of Parnassus 307
Plains of Philippi 309
Obelisk of Theodosius, Constantinople .. 313
An Amphitheatre 314
Promontory of Actium. 318
Mount Helicon 32
Cathedral of St. Sophia 323
Temple of Minerva, on the Promontory of Sunium 330
Ancyra, Galatia 332
The Acropolis, Restored 337
The Isles of Greece 344
Plain of Marathon 346




AM going to tell you the history of the most
wonderful people who ever lived. But I have
to begin with a good deal that is not true; for
the people who descended from Japhet's son
Javan, and lived in the beautiful islands and peninsulas
called Greece, were not trained in the knowledge of God


12 Stories of Greek History.

like the Israelites, but had to guess for themselves. They
made strange stories, partly from the old beliefs they
brought from the east, partly from their ways of speak-
ing of the powers of nature-sky, sun, moon, stars, and
clouds-as if they were real beings, and so again of
good or bad qualities as beings also, and partly from
old stories about their forefathers. These stories got
mixed up with their belief, and came to be part of their
religion and history; and they wrote beautiful poems
about them, and made such lovely statues in their
honour, that nobody can understand anything about art
or learning who has not learnt these stories. I must
begin with trying to tell you a few of them.
In the first place, the Greeks thought there were
twelve greater gods and goddesses who lived in
Olympus. There is really a mountain called Olympus,
and those who lived far from it thought it went up into
the sky, and that the gods really dwelt on the top of it.
Those who lived near, and knew they did not, thought
they lived in the sky. But the chief of all, the father
of gods and men, was the sky-god-Zeus, as the Greeks
called him, or Jupiter, as he was called in Latin. How-
ever, as all things are born of Time, so the sky or
Jupiter was said to have a father, Time, whose Greek
name was Kronos. His other name was Saturn; and as
Time devours his offspring, so Saturn was said to have
had the bad habit of eating up his children as fast as
they were born, till at last his wife Rhea contrived to
give him a stone in swaddling clothes, and while he was

Olymnp us. 13

biting this hard morsel, Jupiter was saved from him,
and afterwards two other sons, Neptune (Poseidon)
and Pluto (Hades), who became lords of the ocean and
of the world of the spirits of the dead; for on the sea
and on death Time's tooth has no power. However,
Saturn's reign was thought to have been a very peaceful
and happy one. For as people always think of the days
of Paradise, and believe that the days of old were better
than their own times, so the Greeks thought there had
been four ages-the Golden age, the Silver age, the
Brazen age, and the Iron age-and that people had been
getting worse in each of them. Poor old Saturn, after
the Silver age, had had to go into retirement, with only
his own star, the planet Saturn, left to him; and Jupiter
was reigning now, on his throne on Olympus, at the
head of the twelve greater gods and goddesses, and it
was the Iron age down below. His star, the planet
we still call by his name, was much larger and brighter
than Saturn. Jupiter was always thought of by the
Greeks as a majestic-looking man in. his full strength,
with thick hair and beard, and with lightning in his
hand and an eagle by his side. These lightning or
thunderbolts were forged by his crooked son Vulcan
(Hephaestion), the god of fire, the smith and armourer
of Olympus, whose smithies were in the volcanoes (so
called from his name), and whose workmen were the
Cyclops or Round Eyes-giants, each with one eye in
the middle of his forehead. Once, indeed, Jupiter had
needed his bolts, for .the Titans, a horrible race of

14 Stories of Greek History.

monstrous giants, of whom the worst was Briareus, who
had a hundred hands, had tried, by piling up mountains
one upon the other,
to scale heaven and
throw him down; but
when Jupiter was
"hardest pressed, a
dreadful pain in his
head caused him to
bid Vulcan to strike
it with his, hammer.
Then out darted Hea-
venly Wisdom, his
beautiful daughter
Pallas Athene or Min-
Serva, fully armed, with
piercing, shining eyes,
and by her counsels he
cast down the Titans,
and heaped their own
.- mountains, Etna and
HEAD OF JUPITER. Ossa and Pelion, on
them to keep them down; and whenever there was
an earthquake, it was thought to be caused by one
of these giants struggling to get free, though perhaps
there was some remembrance of the tower of Babel in
the story. Pallas, this glorious daughter of Jupiter, was
wise, brave, and strong, and she was also the goddess of
women's works--of all spinning, weaving, and sewing.

OlymYpus. '5

.Jupiter's wife, the queen of heaven or the air, was
Juno -in Greek, Hera -the white-armed, ox-eyed,
stately lady, whose bird was the peacock. Do you
know how the peacock got the eyes in his tail ? They
once belonged to Argus, a shepherd with a hundred
eyes, whom Juno had set to watch a cow named Io,
who was really a lady, much hated by her. Argus
watched till Mercury (Hermes) came and lulled him to
sleep with soft music, and then drove lo away. Juno
was so angry, that she caused all the eyes to be taken
from Argus and put into her peacock's tail.
Mercury has a planet called after him too, a very
small one, so close to the sun that we only see it just
after sunset or before sunrise. I believe Mercury or
Hermes really meant the morning breeze. The story
went that he was born early in the morning in a cave,
and after he had slept a little while in his cradle, he
came forth, and, finding the shell of a tortoise with
some strings of the inwards stretched across it, he at
once began to play on it, and thus formed the first lyre.
He was so swift that he was the messenger of Jupiter,
and he is always represented with wings on his cap and
sandals; but as the wind not only makes music, but
blows things away unawares, so Mercury came to be
viewed not only as the god of fair speech, but as a
terrible thief, and the god of thieves. You see, as long
as these Greek stories are parables, they are grand and
beautiful; but when the beings are looked on as like
men, they are absurd and often horrid. The gods had

16 Stories of Greek History.

another messenger, Iris, the rainbow, who always
carried messages of mercy, a recollection of the bow in
the clouds; but she chiefly belonged to Juno.
All the twelve greater gods had palaces on Olympus,
and met every day in Jupiter's hall to feast on ambrosia,
a sort of food of life which made them immortal.
Their drink was nectar, which was poured into their
golden cups at first by Vulcan, but he stumbled and
hobbled so with his lame leg that they chose instead
the fresh and graceful Hebe, the goddess of youth, till
she was careless, and one day fell down, cup and
nectar and all. The gods thought they must find
another cupbearer, and, looking down, they saw a
beautiful youth named Ganymede watching his flocks
upon Mount Ida. So they sent Jupiter's eagle down to
fly away with him and bring him up to Olympus. They
gave him some ambrosia to make him immortal, and
established him as their cupbearer. Besides this, the
gods were thought to feed on the smoke and smell of
the sacrifices people offered up to them on earth, and
always to help those who offered them most sacrifices
of animals and incense.
The usual names of these twelve were-Jupiter,
Neptune, Juno, Latona, Apollo, Diana, Pallas, Venus,
Vulcan, Mercury, Vesta, and Ceres; but there were
multitudes besides-"gods many and lords many" of
all sorts of different dignities. Every river had its god,
every mountain and wood was full of nymphs, and there
was a great god of all nature called Pan, which in Greek

Olympus. 17

means All. Neptune was only a visitor in Olympus,
though he had a right there. His kingdom was the
sea, which he ruled with his trident, and where he had
a whole world of lesser gods and nymphs, tritons and
sea horses, to attend upon his chariot.
And the quietest and best of all the goddesses was
Vesta, the goddess of the household hearth-of home,
that is to say. There are no stories to be told about
her, but a fire was always kept burning in her honour
in each city, and no one might tend it who was not
good and pure.



THE god and goddess of light were the glorious twin
brother and sister, Phoebus Apollo and Diana or
Artemis. They were born in the isle of Delos, which
was caused to rise out of the sea to save their mother,
Latona, from the horrid serpent, Python, who wanted to
devour her. Gods were born strong and mighty; and
the first thing Apollo did was to slay the serpent at
Delphi with his arrows. Here was a dim remembrance
of the promise that the Seed of the woman should
bruise the serpent's head, and also a thought of the
way Light slays the dragon of darkness with his beams.
Apollo was lord of the day, and Diana queen of the
night. They were as bright and pure as the thought
of man could make them, and always young. The
beams or rays were their arrows, and so Diana was a
huntress, always in the woods with her nymphs; and
she was so modest, that once, when an unfortunate
wanderer, named Actaeon, came on her with her nymphs
by chance when they were bathing in a stream, she
splashed some water in his face and turned him into a

Light and Dark. 19

stag, so that his own dogs gave chase to him and killed
him. I am afraid Apollo and Diana were rather cruel; but
the darting rays of the sun and moon kill sometimes as
well as bless; and so they were 'the senders of all
sharp, sudden strokes. There was a queen called

Niobe, who had six sons and daughters so bright and
fair that she boasted that they were equal to Apollo
and Diana, which made Latona so angry, that she
sent her son and daughter to slay them all with their
darts. The unhappy Niobe, thus punished for her im-
piety, wept a river of tears till she was turned into stone.

20 Stories of Greek History.

The moon belonged to Diana, and was her car; the
sun, in like manner, to Apollo, though he did not drive
the car himself, but Helios, the sun-god, did. The
world was thought to be a flat plate, with Delphi in
the middle, and the ocean all round. In the far east
the lady dawn, Aurora, or E6s, opened the gates with
her rosy fingers, and out came the golden car of the sun,
with glorious white horses driven by Helios, attended by
the Hours strewing dew and flowers. It passed over the
arch of the heavens to the ocean again on the west, and
there Aurora met it again in fair colours, took out -the
horses, and let them feed. Aurora had married a man
named Tithonus. She gave him ambrosia, which
made him, immortal, but she could not keep him from
growing old, so he became smaller and smaller, till
he dwindled into a grasshopper, and at last only his
voice was to be heard chirping at sunrise and sunset.
Helios had an earthly wife too, and a son named
Phaeton, who once begged to be allowed to drive the.
chariot of the sun for just one day. Helios yielded;
but poor Phaiton had no strength nor skill to guide the
horses in the right curve. At one moment they
rushed to the earth and scorched the trees, at another
they flew up to heaven and would have burnt Olympus,
if Jupiter had not cast his thunderbolts at the rash
driver and hurled him down into a river, where he was
drowned. His sisters wept till they were changed into
poplar trees, and their tears hardened into amber

Light and Dark. 21

Mercury gave his lyre to Apollo, who was the true
god of music and poetry, and under him were nine
nymphs-the Muses, daughters of memory-who dwelt
on Mount Parnassus, and were thought to inspire all
noble and heroic song, all poems in praise to or of
the gods or of brave men,
and the graceful music and
dancing at their feasts, also
the knowledge of the stars of. .. ..
earth and heaven.
These three Apollo,
Diana, and Pallas were
the gods of all that was
nobly, purely, and wisely
lovely; but the Greeks also i
believed in powers of ill,
and there was a goddess
of beauty, called Venus
"(Aphrodite). Such beauty
was hers as is the mere
prettiness and charm of
pleasure nothing high or
fine. She was said to have HEAD OF PALLAS.
risen out of the sea, as the sunshine touched the waves,
with her golden hair dripping with the spray; and her
favourite home was in myrtle groves, where she drove
her car, drawn by doves, attended by the three Graces,
and by multitudes of little winged children, called
Loves; but there was generally said to be one special

22 Stories of Greek History.

son of hers, called Love-Cupid in Latin, Eros in
Greek--whose arrows, when tipped with gold, made
people fall in love, and when tipped with lead, made
them hate one another. Her husband was the ugly,
crooked smith, Vulcan-perhaps because pretty orna-
ments come of the hard work of the smith; but she
never behaved well to him, and only coaxed him
when she wanted something that his clever hands
could make.
She was much more fond of amusing herself with
Mars (Ares), the god of war, another of the evil gods,
for he was fierce, cruel, and violent, and where he went
slaughter and blood were sure to follow him and his
horrid daughter Bellona. His star was "the red planet
Mars;" but Venus had the beautiful clear one, which,
according as it is seen either at sunrise or sunset, is
called the morning or evening star. Venus also loved
a beautiful young earthly youth, called Adonis, who
died of a thrust from a wild boar's tusk, while his blood
stained crimson the pretty flower, pheasant's eye, which
is still called Adonis. Venus was so wretched that she
persuaded Jupiter to decree that Adonis should come
back and live for one-half of the year, but he was to go
down to Pluto's underground kingdom the other half.
"This is because plants and flowers are beautiful for one
year, die down, and rise again.
But there is a much prettier story, with something
of the same meaning, about Ceres (Demeter), the grave,
motherly goddess of corn and all the fruits of the earth.4,

Light and Dark. 23

She had one fair daughter, named Proserpine (Perse-
phone), who was playing with her companions near
Mount Etna, gathering flowers in the meadows, when
grim old Pluto pounced upon her and carried her off into
his underground world to be his bride. Poor Ceres
did not know what had become of her darling, and
wandered up and down the world seeking for her, tast-
ing no food or drink, till at last, quite spent, she was
taken in as a poor woman by Celeus, king of Eleusis,
and became nurse to his infant child Triptolemus. All
Eleusis was made rich with corn, while no rain fell and
no crops grew on the rest of the earth; and though first
Iris and then all the gods came to beg Ceres to relent,
she would grant nothing unless she had her daughter
back. So Jupiter sent Mercury to
bring Proserpine home; but she was
only to be allowed to stay on earth on I
condition that she had eaten nothing
while in the under world. Pluto,
knowing this, had made her eat half a
pomegranate, and so she could not stay / I
with her mother; but Ceres's tears
prevailed so far that she was to spend /
the summer above ground and the
winter below. For she really was the
flowers and fruit. Ceres had grown
so fond of little Triptolemus that she
wanted to make him immortal; but, TRIPTOLEMUS.
as she had no ambrosia, this could only be done by

24 Stories of Greek History.

putting him on the fire night after night to burn
away his mortal part. His mother looked in one
night during the operation, and shrieked so that she
prevented it; so all Ceres could do for him was to
give him grains of wheat and a dragon car, with
which he travelled all about the world, teaching men
to sow corn and reap harvests.
Proserpine seems to have been contented in her
underground kingdom, where she ruled with Pluto. It
was supposed to be below the volcanic grounds in
southern Italy, near Lake Avernus. The entrance to
it was guarded by a three-headed dog, named Cerberus,
and the way to it was barred by the River Styx.
Every evening Mercury brought all the spirits of the
people who had died during the day to the shore of the
Styx, and if their funeral rites had been properly per-
formed, and they had a little coin on the tongue to
pay the fare, Charon, the ferryman, took them across;
but if their corpses were in the sea, or on battle-fields,
unburied, the poor shades had to flit about vainly
begging to be ferried over. After they had crossed,
they were judged by three judges, and if they had been
wicked, were sent over the river of fire to be tormented
by the three Furies, Alecto, Megara, and Tisiphone,
who had snakes as scourges and in their hair. If they
had been brave and virtuous, they were allowed to live
among beautiful trees and flowers in the Elysian fields,
where Pluto reigned; but they seem always to have
longed after the life they had lost; and these Greek

Light and Dark. 25,

notions of bliss seem sad besides what we know to be
the truth. Here, too, lived the three Fates, always
spinning the threads of men's lives; Clotho held the
distaff, Lachesis drew out the thread, and Atropos with
her shears cut it off when the man was to die. And,
though Jupiter was mighty, nothing could happen but
by Fate, which was stronger than he.



SOU remember the Titans who rebelled against
Jupiter. There was one who was noble, and
wise, and kind, who did not rebel, and kept his brother
from doing so. His name was Prometheus, which
means Forethought; his brother's was Epimetheus, or
Afterthought; their father was lapetus. When all the
other Titans had been buried under the rocks, Jupiter
bade Prometheus mould men out of the mud, and call
on the winds of heaven to breathe life into them. Then
Prometheus loved the beings he had made, and taught
them to build houses, and tame the animals, and row
and sail on the sea, and study the stars. But Zeus was
afraid they would be too mighty, and would not give
them fire. Then Prometheus climbed the skies, and
brought fire down for them in a hollow reed.
The gods were jealous, and thought it time to stop
this. So Jupiter bade Vulcan mould a woman out of
clay, and Pallas to adorn her with all charms and gifts,
so that she was called Pandora, or All Gifts; and they
gave her a casket, into which they had put all pains, and

The Peopling of Greece. 27

griefs, and woes, and ills, and nothing good in it but
hope; and they sent her down to visit the two Titan
brothers. Prometheus knew that Jupiter hated them,
and he had warned Epimetheus not to take any gift
that came from Olympus; but he was gone from home


when Pandora came; and when Epimetheus saw how
lovely she was, and heard her sweet voice, he was won
over to trust her, and to open the box. Then out flew
all the evils and miseries that were stored in it, and
began to torment poor mankind with war, and sick-


28 Stories of Greek History.

ness, and thirst, and hunger, and nothing good was
left but hope at the bottom of the box. And by-and-
by there came spirits, called Prayers, but they were
lame, coming after evil, because
people are so apt not to begin to
pray till harm has befallen them.
The gods undertook also to
accept sacrifices, claiming a share in
whatever animal man slew. Pro-
-/ metheus guarded his people here
Sb y p u ttin g th e fl e s h o f a b u llo c k
on one side, and the bones and
4 inward parts covered with the fat
on the other, and bidding Jupiter
choose which should be his. The
Sfat looked as if the heap it covered
were the best, and Jupiter chose
that, and was forced to abide by his choice; so that, when-
ever a beast was killed for food, the bones and fat were
burnt on the altar, and man had the flesh. All this
made Jupiter so angry, that, as Prometheus was immortal
and could not be killed, he chained the great, good
Titan to a rock on Mount Caucasus, and sent an eagle
continually to rend his side and tear out his liver as fast
as it grew again; but Prometheus, in all his agony, kept
hope, for he knew that deliverance would come to him;
and, in the meantime, he was still the comforter and
counsellor of all who found their way to him.
Men grew very wicked, owing to the evils in Pan-

The Peopling of Greece. 29

dora's box, and Jupiter resolved to drown them all with
a flood; but Prometheus, knowing it beforehand, told his
mortal son Deucalion to build a ship and store it with
all sorts of food. In it Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha
floated about for nine days till all men had been
drowned, and as the waters went down the ship rested
on Mount Parnassus, and Deucalion and Pyrrha came out
and offered sacrifices to Jupiter. He was appeased,
and sent Mercury down to ask what he should grant
them. Their prayer was that the earth might be filled
again with people, upon which the god bade them walk
up the hill and throw behind them the bones of their
grandmother. Now Earth was 'said to be the mother
of the Titans, so the bones of their grandmother were
the rocks, so as they went they picked up stones and
threw them over their shoulders. All those that
Deucalion threw rose up as men, and all those that
Pyrrha threw became women, and thus the earth was
alive again with human beings. No one can fail to see
what far older histories must have been brought in the
minds of the Greeks, and have been altered into these
tales, which have much beauty in themselves. The
story of the flood seems to have been mixed up with
some small later inundation which only affected Greece.
The proper old name of Greece was Hellas, and the
people whom we call Greeks called themselves Hellenes."
Learned men know that they, like all the people of
Europe, and also the Persians and Hindoos, sprang
"E" and "o" marked thus (e) (6) are pronounced long, as "Helleens."

30 Stories of Greek History.

from one great family of the sons of Japhet, called
Arians. A tribe called Pelasgi came first, and lived in

AaMle ia I tal;11 111n a II t lllllrt tl//e cIl

thH-.---wo ,w m h i r c
B d LYBAo,>


the Hellenes, who were much quicker and cleverer than



Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy; and after them came
the Hel enes, who were much quicker and cleverer than

The Peopling of Greece. 31

the Pelasgi, and became their masters in most of
Greece. So that the people we call Greeks were a
mixture of the two, and they were divided into three
lesser tribes-the /Eolians, Dorians, and Ionians.
Now, having told you that bit of truth, I will go back
to what the Greeks thought. They said that Deucalion
had a son whose name was Hellen, and that he again had
three sons, called /Eolus, Dorus, and Xuthus. iEolus
was the father of the AEolian Greeks, and some in after
times thought that he was the same with the god called
.Eolus, who was thought to live in the Lipari Islands;
and these keep guard over the spirits of the winds-
Boreas, the rough, lively north wind; Auster, the rainy
south wind; Eurus, the bitter east; and Zephyr, the
gentle west. He kept them in a cave, and let one out
according to the way the wind was wanted to blow, or
if there was to be a storm he sent out two at once to
struggle, and fight, and roar together, and lash up
Neptune's world, the sea. The /Eolians did chiefly live
in the islands and at Corinth. One of the sons of
Yolus turned out very badly, and cheated Jupiter.
His name was Sisyphus, and he was punished in
Tartarus-Pluto's world below-by having always to
roll a stone up a mountain so steep that it was sure to
come down upon him again.
Dorus was, of course, the father of the Dorians; and
Xuthus had a son, called I6n, who was the father of
the lonians. But, besides all these, there was a story
of two brothers, named zEgyptus and Danaus, one of

32 Stories of Greek History.

whom settled in Egypt, and the other in Argos. One
had fifty sons and the other fifty daughters, and
/Egyptus decreed that they should all marry; but
Danaus and his daughters hated their cousins, and the
father gave each bride a dagger, with which she stabbed
her bridegroom. Only one had pity, and though the
other forty-nine were not punished here, yet, when they
died and went to Tartarus, they did not escape, but
were obliged to be for ever trying to carry water in
bottomless vessels. The people of Argos called them-
selves Danai, and no doubt some of them came from
One more story, and a very strange one, tells of the
peopling of Greece. A fair lady, named Europa, was
playing in the meadows on the Phoenician coast, when
a great white bull came to her, let his horns be wreathed
with flowers, lay down, and invited her to mount his
back; but no sooner had she done so, than he rose and
trotted down with her to the sea, and swam with her
out of sight. He took her, in fact, to the island of
Crete, where -her son Minos was so good and just a
king, that, when he died, Pluto appointed him and
two others to be judges of the spirits of the dead.
Europe was called after Europa, as the loss of her led
settlers there from Asia. Europa's family grieved for.
her, and her father, mother, and brother went every-
where in search of her. Cadmus was the name of her
brother, and he and his mother went far and wide, till
the mother died, and Cadmus went to Delphi-the

The Peopl ing of Greece. 33

place thought to be the centre of the earth-where
Apollo had slain the serpent Python, and where he had
a temple and cavern in which every question could be
answered. Such places of divination were called oracles,
and Cadmus was here told to cease from seeking his
sister, and to follow a cow till she fell down with fatigue,
and to build a city on that spot. The poor cow went
till she came into Boeotia, and there fell. Cadmus
meant to offer her up, and went to fetch water from a
fountain near, but as he stooped a fierce dragon rushed
on him. He had a hard fight to kill it, but Pallas
shone out in her beauty on him, and bade him sow its
teeth in the ground. He did so, and they sprung up as
warriors, who at once began to fight, and killed one
another, all but five, who made friends, and helped
Cadmus to build the famous city called Thebes. It is
strange, after so wild a story as this, to be told that
Cadmus first taught writing in Greece, and brought the
alphabet of sixteen letters. The Greek alphabet was
really learnt from the Phoenicians, and most likely the
whole is a curious story of some settlement of that
eastern people in Greece. Most likely they brought in
the worship of the wine-god, Bacchus (Dionysos), for
he was called Cadmus's grandson. An orphan at first,
he was brought up by the nymphs and Mercury, and
then -became a great conqueror, going to India, and
Egypt, and everywhere, carrying the vine and teaching
the use of wine. He was attended by an old fat man,
named Silenus, and by creatures, called Fauns and Satyrs,

34 Stories of Greek History.

like men with goats' ears and legs; his crown was of ivy,
and his chariot was drawn by leopards, and he was at
last raised to Olympus. His feasts were called orgies;
he-goats were sacrificed at them, and songs were sung,
after which there was much drinking, and people danced
holding sticks wreathed with vine and ivy leaves. The
women who danced were called Bacchanals. The better
sort of Greeks at first would not adopt these shameful
rites. There were horrid stories of women who refused
them going mad and leaping into the sea, and the
Bacchanals used to fall upon and destroy all who
resisted them.



A HERO means a great and glorious man, and the
Greeks thought they had many such among their
forefathers-nay, that they were sons of gods, and them-
selves, after many trials and troubles, became gods, since
these Greeks of old felt that we are also His offspring."
Here is a story of one of these heroes. His mother
was the daughter of an Argive king, and was named
Danae. He was named Perseus, and had bright eyes
and golden hair like the morning. When he was a
little babe, he and his mother were out at sea, and
were cast on the isle of Seriphos, where a fisherman
named Dictys took care of them. A cruel tyrant
named Polydectes wanted Danae to be his wife, and,
as she would not consent, he shut her up in prison,
saying that she should never come out till her son
Perseus had brought him the head of the Gorgon
Medusa, thinking he must be lost by the way. For
the Gorgons were three terrible sisters, who lived in the
far west beyond the setting sun. Two of them were
immortal, and had dragon's wings and brazen claws and
serpent hair, but their sister Medusa was mortal, and so

36 Stories of Greek History.

beautiful in the face that she had boasted of being fairer
than Pallas. To punish her presumption, her hair was
turned to serpents, and whosoever looked on her face, sad
and lovely as it was, would instantly be turned into stone.
But, for his mother's sake, young Perseus was resolved
to dare this terrible adventure, and his bravery brought
help from the gods. The last night before he was to
set out Pallas came and showed him the images of the
three Gorgons, and bade him not concern himself about
the two he could not kill; but she gave him a mirror
of polished brass, and told him only to look at Medusa's
reflection on it, for he would become a stone if he
beheld her real self. Then Mercury came and gave
Perseus a sword of light that would cleave all on whom
it might fall, lent him his own winged sandals, and told
him to go first to the nymphs of the Graiae, the Gorgons'
sisters, and make them tell him the way.
So the young hero went by land and sea, still west-
wards, to the very borders of the world, where stands
the giant of the west, Atlas, holding up the great vault
of the skies on his broad shoulders. Beyond lay the
dreary land of twilight, on the shores of the great
ocean that goes round the world, and on the rocks on
the shores sat the three old, old nymphs, the Graiae,
who had been born with grey hair, and had but one eye
and one tooth among them, which they passed to one
another in turn. When the first had seen the noble-
looking youth speeding to them, she handed her eye on,
that the next sister might look at him; but Perseus was

The Hero Perseus. 37

too quick-he caught the one eye out of her hand, and
then told the three poor old nymphs that he did not
want to hurt them, but that he must keep their eye till
they had told him the way to Medusa the Gorgon.
They told him the way, and, moreover, they gave
him a mist-cap helmet from Tartarus, which would
make him invisible whenever he put it on, and also a
bag, which he slung on his back; and, thus armed, he
went further to the very bounds of the world, and he
took his mirror in his hand, and looked into it. There
he saw the three Gorgon sisters, their necks covered
with scales like those of snakes (at least those of two),
their teeth like boar's tusks, their hands like brass, and
their wings of gold; but they were all fast asleep, and
Perseus, still looking into his mirror, cleft Medusa's neck
with his all-cutting sword, and put her head into the
bag on his back without ever seeing her face. Her
sisters awoke and darted after him; but he put on his
helmet of mist, and they lost him, while he fled away
on Mercury's swift-winged sandals. As he sped east-
ward, he heard a voice asking whether he had really
killed the Gorgon. It was Atlas, the old heaven-
supporting giant; and when Perseus answered that he
had, Atlas declared that he must see the head to con-
vince him. So Perseus put a hand over his shoulder,
and drew it up by its snaky hair; but no sooner had
Atlas cast his eyes on it than he turned into a mountain,
his white beard and hair becoming the snowy peak, and
his garments the woods and forests. And there he still

38 Stories of Greek History.

stands on the west coast of Africa, and all our modern
map-books are named after him.
But Perseus' adventures were not over. As he flew
on by the Lybian coast he heard a sound of wailing,

and beheld a beautiful maiden chained by her hands
and feet to a rock. He asked what had led her to this
sad plight, and she answered that she was Andromeda,
the daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia, king and

The Hero Perseus. 39

queen of Ethiopia, and that her mother had foolishly
boasted that she was fairer than the Nereids, the fifty
nymphs who are the spirits of the waves. Neptune
was so much displeased that he sent a flood to overflow
the land, and a sea-monster to devour the people and
cattle. In an oasis or isle of fertility in the middle of
the Lybian desert was a temple of Jupiter, there called
Ammon, and the Ethiopians had sent there to ask what
to do. The oracle replied that the evil should cease if
Andromeda were given up to the monster. Cepheus
had been obliged to yield her up because of the outcries
of the people, and here she was waiting to be devoured.
Perseus, of course, was ready. He heard the monster
coming, bade Andromeda close her eyes, and then held
up the Gorgon's head. In an instant her foe had
become a rock, and he cleft the maiden's chains, brought
her back to her father and mother, who gave her to
him in marriage, and made a great feast; but here a
former lover of hers insulted them both so much, that
Perseus was forced to show him the Gorgon's face, and
turn him into stone.
Then Perseus, with Andromeda, took his way to
Seriphos. Indeed it was high time that he should
come back, for Polydectes, thinking that he must long
ago have been turned into a rock at the sight of
Medusa, had tried to take Danae by force to be his
wife, and she had fled into a temple, where no one
dared to touch her, since it was always believed that
the gods punished such as dragged suppliants away

40 Stories of Greek History.

from their temples. So Perseus went to Polydectes,
who was in the midst of a feast, and, telling him that
his bidding was done, held up the head of Medusa, and
of course the king and his whole court turned at once
into stone. Now that the work of the Gorgon's head
was done, Perseus offered it to Pallas, who placed it
upon her shield, or, as it is always called, her aegis; and
he gave back the sword of light, cap of mist, and
winged sandals to Mercury.
After this he returned to Argos, and there, at a game
of quoits, he had the misfortune to throw the quoit the
wrong way, and hit, his grandfather, the king, so as to
kill him. Perseus reigned afterwards, and, like all the
nobler Greek heroes, kept out the worship of Bacchus
and its foul orgies from his dominions; but he after-
wards exchanged kingdoms with another king, and built
the city of Tiryas. He lived happily with Andromeda,
and had a great many children, whose descendants
viewed him as a demi-god, and had shrines to him,
where they offered incense and sacrifice; for they
thought that he and all the family were commemorated
in the stars, and named the groups after them. You
may find them all in the North. Andromeda is a great
square, as if large stars marked the rivets of her chains
on the rock; Perseus, a long curved cluster of bright
stars, as if climbing up to deliver her; her mother
Cassiopeia like a bright W, in which the Greeks traced
a chair, where she sat with her back to the rest to
punish her for her boast. Cepheus is there too, but he

The Hero Perseus. 41

is smaller, and less easy to find. They are all in the
North, round the Great Bear, who was said by the
Greeks to be a poor lady whom Juno had turned into a
bear, and who was almost killed unknowingly by her
own son when out hunting. He is the Little Bear, with
the pole star in his tail, and she is the Great Bear, always
circling round him, and, as the Greeks used to say, never
dipping her muzzle into the ocean, because she is so far
north that she never sets.
This story of Perseus is a very old one, which all
nations have loved to tell, though with different names.
You will be amused to think that the old Cornish way
of telling it is found in "Jack the Giant-Killer," who
had seven-leagued boots and a cap of mist, and delivered
fair ladies from their cruel foes.


lw C


ON E morning Jupiter boasted among the gods in
Olympus that a son would that day be born in the
line of Perseus, who would rule over all the Argives.
Juno was angry and jealous at this, and, as she was the
goddess who presided over the births of children, she
contrived to hinder the birth of the child he intended
till that day was over, and to hasten that of another
grandson of the great Perseus. This child was named
Eurystheus, and, as he had been born on the right
day, Jupiter was forced to let him be king of Argos,
Sparta, and Mycenae and all the Dorian race; while the
boy whom he had meant to be the chief was kept in
subjection, in spite of having wonderful gifts of courage
and strength, and a kind, generous nature, that always
was ready to help the weak and sorrowful.
His name was Alcides, or Hercules, and he was so
strong at ten months old, that, with his own hands, he
strangled two serpents whom Juno sent to devour him
in his cradle. He was bred up by Chiron, the chief of the
Centaurs, a wondrous race of beings, who had horses'

The Labours of Hercules. 43

bodies as far as the forelegs, but where the neck of the
horse would begin had human breasts and shoulders, with
arms and. heads. Most of them were fierce and savage;
but Chiron was very wise and good, and, as Jupiter made
him immortal, he was the teacher of many of the great

Greek heroes. When Hercules was about eighteen,
two maidens appeared to him-one in a simple white
dress, grave, modest, and seemly; the other scarcely
clothed, but tricked out in ornaments, with a flushed
face, and bold, roving eyes. The first told him that she

44 Stories of Greek HIistory.

was Virtue, and that, if he would follow her, she would
lead him through many hard trials, but that he would
be glorious at last, and be blest among the gods. The
other was Vice, and she tried to wile him by a smooth
life among wine-cups and dances and flowers and sports,

all to be enjoyed at once. But the choice of Hercules
was Virtue, and it was well for him, for Jupiter, to make
up for Juno's cheat, had sworn that, if he fulfilled twelve
tasks which Eurystheus should put upon him, he should be
declared worthy of being raised to the gods at his death.

The Labours of Hercules. 45

Eurystheus did not know that in giving these tasks he
was making his cousin fulfil his course; but he was afraid
of such a mighty man, and hoped that one of these would
be the means of getting rid of him. So when he saw
Hercules at Argos, with a club made of a forest tree in
his hand, and clad in the skin of a lion which he had
slain, Eurystheus bade him go and kill a far more
terrible lion, of giant brood, and with a skin that could
not be pierced, which dwelt in the valley of Nemea.
The fight was a terrible one; the lion could not be
wounded, and Hercules was
forced to grapple with it, and
strangle it in his arms. He lost
a finger in the struggle, but at
last the beast died in his grasp,
and he carried it on his back to
Argos, where Eurystheus was so
much frightened at the grim sight -
that he fled away to hide himself,
and commanded Hercules not to bring his monsters
within the gates of the city.
There was a second labour ready for Hercules-
namely, the destroying a serpent with nine heads, called
Hydra, whose lair was the marsh of Lerna. Hercules
went to the battle, and managed to crush one head with
his club, but that moment two sprang up in its place;
moreover, a huge crab came out of the swamp, and
began to pinch his heels. Still he did not lose heart,
but, calling his friend lolaus, he bade him take a fire-

46 Stories of Greek History.

brand and burn the necks as fast as he cut off the heads;
and thus at last they killed the creature, and Hercules
dipped his arrows in its poisonous blood, so that their
least wound became fatal.
Eurystheus said that it had
not been a fair victory, since
SHercules had been helped,
and Juno put the crab into
the skies as the constellation
/- Cancer; while a labour to
patience was next devised
for Hercules-namely, the
chasing of the Arcadian
stag, which was sacred to
Diana, and had golden horns and brazen hoofs.
Hercules hunted it up hill and down dale for a
whole year, and when at last he caught it, he got
into trouble with Apollo and Diana about it, and had
hard work to appease them; but he did so at last;
and for his fourth labour was sent to catch alive a horrid
wild boar on Mount Erymanthus. He followed the
beast through a deep swamp, caught it in a net, and
brought it to Mycenae.
The fifth task was a curious one. Augeas, king of
Elis, had immense herds, and kept his stables and cow-
houses in a frightful state of filth, and Eurystheus,
hoping either to disgust Hercules or kill him by the
unwholesomeness of the work, sent him to clean them.
Hercules, without telling Augeas it was his appointed

The Labours of Hercules. 47

task, offered to do it if he were repaid the tenth of the
herds, and received the promise on oath. Then he dug a
canal, and turned the water of two rivers into the stables,
so as effectually to cleanse them; but when Augeas heard
it was his task, he tried to cheat him of the payment,
and on the other hand Eurystheus said, as he had been
rewarded, it could not count as one of his labours, and
ordered him off to clear the woods near Lake Stym-
phalis of some horrible birds, with brazen beaks and
claws, and ready-made arrows for feathers, which ate
human flesh. To get them to rise out of the forest was his
first difficulty, but Pallas lent him a brazen clapper, which
made them take to their wings; then he shot them with
his poisoned arrows, killed many, and drove the rest away.
King Minos of Crete had once vowed to sacrifice to the
gods whatever should appear from the sea. A beautiful
white bull came, so fine that it tempted him not to keep
his word, and he was punished by the bull going mad,
and doing all sorts of damage in Crete; so that Eurys-
theus thought it would serve as a labour for Hercules
to bring the animal to Mycenae. In due time back
came the hero, with the bull, quite subdued, upon his
shoulders; and, having shown it, he let it loose again to
run about Greece.
He had a harder task in getting the mares of the
Thracian king, Diomedes, which were fed on man's
flesh. He overcame their grooms, and drove the beasts
away; but he was overtaken by Diomedes, and, while
fighting with him and his people, put the mares under

48 Stories of Greek History.

the charge of a friend; but when the battle was over,
and Diomedes killed, he found that they had eaten up
their keeper. However, when he had fed them on the
dead body of their late master, they grew mild and
manageable, and he brought them home.
The next expedition was against the Amazons, a
nation of women warriors, who lived somewhere on the
banks of the Euxine or Black Sea, kept their husbands
in subjection, and seldom brought up a son. The
bravest of all the Amazons was the queen, Hippolyta, to
whom Mars had given a belt as a reward for her valour.
Eurystheus' daughter wanted this belt, and Hercules
was sent to fetch it. He was so hearty, honest, and
good-natured, that he talked over Hippolyta, and she
promised him her girdle; but Juno, to make mischief,
took the form of an Amazon, and persuaded the ladies
that their queen was being deluded and stolen away by
a strange man, so they mounted their horses and
came down to rescue her. He thought she had been
treacherous, and there was a great fight, in which he
killed her, and carried off her girdle.
Far out in the west, near the ocean flowing round
the world, were herds of purple oxen, guarded by a
two-headed dog, and belonging to a giant with three
bodies called Geryon, who lived in the isle of Erythria,
in the outmost ocean. Passing Lybia, Hercules came
to the end of the Mediterranean Sea, Neptune's domain,
and there set up two pillars-namely, Mounts Calpe
and Abyla-on each side of the Straits of Gibraltar.

The Labours of Hercules. 49

The rays of the sun scorched him, and in wrath he shot
at it with his arrows, when Helios, instead of being
angry, admired his boldness, and gave him his golden
cup, wherewith to cross the outer ocean, which he did
safely, although old Oceanus, who was king there, put
up his hoary head, and tried to frighten him by shaking
the bowl. It was large enough to hold all the herd of
oxen, when Hercules had killed dog, herdsman, and
giant, and he returned it safely to Helios when he had
crossed the ocean. The oxen were sacrificed to Juno,
Eurystheus' friend.
Again Eurystheus sent Hercules to the utmost parts
of the earth. This time it was to bring home the golden
apples which grew in the gardens of the Hesperides,
the daughters of old Atlas, who dwelt in the land of
Hesperus the Evening Star, and, together with a
dragon, guarded the golden tree in a beautiful garden.
Hercules made a long journey, apparently round by the
North, and on his way had to wrestle with a dreadful
giant named Antaeus. Though thrown down over and
over again, Antaeus rose up twice as strong every time,
till Hercules found out that he grew in force whenever
he touched his mother earth, and therefore, lifting him
up in those mightiest of arms, the hero squeezed the
breath out of him. By-and-by he came to Mount
Caucasus, where he found the chained Prometheus,
and, aiming an arrow at the eagle, killed the tormentor,
and set the Titan free. In return, Prometheus gave
him much good counsel, and indeed seems to have gone

50 Stories of Greek History.

with him to Atlas, who, according to this story, was still
able to move, in spite of the petrifaction by Hercules'
grandfather. Atlas undertook to go to his daughters,
and get the apples, if Hercules would hold up the skies
for him in the meantime. Hercules agreed, and Atlas
shifted the heavens to his shoulders, went, and presently
returned with three apples of gold, but said he would
take them to Eurystheus, and Hercules must continue
to bear the load of the skies. Prometheus bade Hercules
say he could not hold them without a pad for them to
rest on his head. Atlas took them again to hold while
the pad was put on; and thereupon Hercules picked up
the apples, and left the old giant to his load.
One more labour remained-namely, to bring up the
three-headed watch-dog, Cerberus, from the doors of
Tartarus. Mercury and Pallas both came to attend
him, and led him alive among the shades, who all fled
from him, except Medusa and one brave youth. He
gave them the blood of an ox to drink, and made his
way to Pluto's throne, where he asked leave to take
Cerberus to the upper world with him. Pluto said he
might,-if he could overcome Cerberus without weapons ;
and this he did, struggling with the dog, with no pro-
tection but the lion's skin, and dragging him up to the
light, where the foam that fell from the jaws of one of the
three mouths produced the plant called aconite, or helle-
bore, which is dark and poisonous. After showing the
beast to Eurystheus, Hercules safely returned him to the
under world, and thus completed his twelve great labours.


Y OU remember that Cadmus founded Thebes. One
of his daughters was named Ino. She married a
son of King IEolus, who had been married before, and
had two children, Phryxus and Helle. Ino was a cruel
stepmother, and deceived her husband into thinking
that the oracle at Delphi required him to sacrifice his
son to Jupiter; but as the poor boy stood before the
altar, down from the skies came a ram with a golden
fleece, which took both the children on his back, and
flew away with them over land and sea; but poor Helle
let go in passing the narrow strait between Asia and
Europe, fell into the sea, and was drowned. The strait
was called after her, the Hellespont, or Helle's Sea.
Phryxus came safely to Colchis, on the Black Sea, and
was kindly received by /Eetes, the king of the country.
They sacrificed the golden-woolled ram to Jupiter, and
nailed up its fleece to a tree in the grove of Mars.
Some time after, Pelias, the usurping king of lolcus,
was driving a mule-car through the market-place,
when he saw a fine young man, with hair flowing

52 Stories of Greek History.

on his shoulders, two spears in his hand, and only
one sandal. He was very much afraid, for it had
been foretold to him by an oracle that he would be
slain by the man with one foot bare. And this youth
was really Jason, the son of his brother /Eson, from
whom he had taken the kingdom. Fearing that he
would kill the child, /Eson had sent it away to the cave
of the Centaur Chiron, by whom Jason had been bred
up, and had now come to seek his fortune. He had
lost his shoe in the mud, while kindly carrying an old
woman across a river, little knowing that she was really
the goddess Juno, who had come down in that form to
make trial of the kindness of men, and who was thus
made his friend for ever. Pelias sent for the young
stranger the next day, and asked him what he would do
if he knew who was the man fated to kill him. I
should send him to fetch the Golden Fleece," said
"Then go and fetch it," said Pelias.
Jason thereupon began building a ship, which he
called Argo, and proclaimed the intended expedition
throughout Greece, thus gathering together all the most
famous heroes then living, most of whom had, like him,
been brought up by the great Centaur Chiron. Hercules
was one of them, and another was Theseus, the great
hero of the Ionian city of Athens, whose prowess was
almost equal to that of Hercules. He had caught and
killed the great white bull which Hercules had brought
from Crete and let loose, and he had also destroyed the

The Argonauts. 53

horrid robber Procrustes (the Stretcher), who had kept
two iron bedsteads, one long and one short. He put
tall men into the short bed, and cut them down to fit it,
and short men into the long bed, pulling them out till
they died, until Theseus finished his life on one of his
own beds.



Another deed of Theseus was in Crete. The great
white bull which Minos ought to have sacrificed had
left a horrible offspring, a monster called the Minotaur,
half man and half bull, which ate human flesh, and did
horrible harm, till a clever artificer named Daedalus
made a dwelling for it called the Labyrinth, approached
by so many cross paths, winding in and out in a maze,

54 Stories of Greek History.

that everyone who entered it was sure to lose himself;
and the Minotaur could never get out, but still they fed
him there; and as Athens was subject to Crete, the
people were required to send every year a tribute of
seven youths and seven maidens for the Minotaur to
devour. Theseus offered himself to be one of these,
telling his father that whereas a black sail was always
carried by the ship that bore these victims to their death,
he would, if he succeeded in killing the Minotaur, as he
hoped to do, hoist a white one. when coming home.
When he reached Crete, he won the heart of Minos'
daughter Ariadne, who gave him a skein of thread: by
unwinding this as he went he would leave a clue behind
him, by which he could find his way out of the labyrinth,
after killing the monster. When this was done, by
his great skill and strength, he took ship again, and
Ariadne came with him; but he grew tired of her, and
left her behind in the isle of Naxos, where Bacchus
found her weeping, consoled her, and gave her a starry
crown, which may be seen in the sky on a summer
night. Theseus, meantime, went back to Athens, but
he had forgotten his promise about the white sail, and
his poor old father, seeing the black one, as he sat
watching on the rocks, thought that ill news was coming,
fell down, and was drowned, just as Theseus sailed
safely into port. Theseus was a friend of Hercules,
had been with him on his journey to the land of the
Amazons, and had married one of them named Antiope.
Two more of the Argonauts were Castor and Pollux,

The Argonauts. 55

the twin sons of Leda, queen of Sparta. She had also
two daughters, named Helen and Clytemnestra, and
Helen was growing into the most beautiful woman in
the world. These children, in the fable,. had been
hatched from two huge swans' eggs; Castor and

fi 0 9

Clytemnestra were in one egg, and Pollux and Helen
in the other. Castor and Pollux were the most loving
of brothers, and while Castor was famous for horseman-
ship, Pollux was the best of boxers. They, too, had

56 Stories of Greek History.

been pupils of Chiron; so was Peleus of LEgina, who
had wooed Thetis, one ofthe.fifty Nereids, or sea-
nymphs, though she changed herself into all sorts of
forms when he caught her first-fire, water, a serpent,
and a lioness; but he held her fast through all, and at
last she listened to him, and all the gods and goddesses
had come to the wedding feast. They had one son,
named Achilles, whom Thetis had tried to make
immortal after Ceres' fashion, by putting him on the
fire at night; but, like Triptolemus' mother, Peleus
had cried out and spoilt the spell. Then she took the
boy to the river Styx, and bathed him there, so that he
became invulnerable all over, except in the heel by
which she held him. The child was now in Chiron's
cave, being fed with the marrow of lions and bears, to
make him strong and brave.
One more Argonaut must be mentioned, namely,
the minstrel Orpheus. He was the son of the muse
Calliope, and was looked on as the first of the many
glorious singers of Greece, who taught the noblest and
best lessons. His music, when he played on the lyre,
was so sweet, that all the animals, both fierce and gentle,
came round to hear it; and not only these, but even the
trees and rocks gathered round, entranced by the
All these and more, to the number of fifty, joined
Jason in his enterprise. The Argo, the ship which
bore them, had fifty oars, and in the keel was a piece
of wood from the great oak of Dodona, which could


The Argonauts. 57

speak for the oracles. When all was ready, Jason stood
on the poop, and poured forth a libation from a golden
cup, praying aloud to Jupiter, to the Winds, the Days,
the Nights, and to Fate to grant them a favourable
voyage. Old Chiron came down from his hills to cheer
them, and pray for their return; and as the oars kept
measured time, Orpheus struck his lyre in tune with
their splash in the blue waters.
They had many adventures. After passing the
Hellespont, they found in the Propontis, which we call
the Sea of Marmora, an islet called the Bears' Hill,
inhabited by giants with six arms, whom they slew.
In Mysia a youth named Hylas went ashore to fetch
water, but was caught by the nymphs of the stream
and taken captive. Hercules, hearing his cry, went in
search of him, and, as neither returned, the Argo sailed
without them. No more was heard of Hylas, but
Hercules went back to Argos.
They next visited Phineus, a wise old blind king,
who was tormented by horrid birds called Harpies, with
women's faces. These monsters always came down
when he was going to eat, devoured the food, and spoilt
what they did not eat. The Argonauts having among
them two winged sons of Boreas (the north wind),
hunted these horrible creatures far out into the Medi-
terranean. Phineus then told them that they would
have to pass between some floating rocks called the
Symplegades, which were always enveloped in mist,
were often driven together by the wind, and crushed

I IHWW-^MW 11 lll O 111111 --- -I-1 "*"--"--------- --------~-~----"` -11--- -
58 Stories of Greek History.

whatever was between. He told them to let fly a dove,
and if it went through safely they might follow. They
did so, and the dove came out at the other side, but
with her tail clipped off as the rocks met. However,
on went the Argo, each hero rowing for his life, and
Juno and Pallas helping them; and, after all, they were
but just in time, and lost the ornaments at their stern!
Fate had decreed that, when once a ship passed through
these rocks unhurt, they should become fixed, and thus
theywere no longer dangerous. It does not seem unlikely
that this story might have come from some report of
the dangers of icebergs. Of course there are none in
the Black Sea, but the Greeks, who knew little beyond
their own shores, seem to have fancied that this was
open to the north into the great surrounding ocean, and
the Phcenicians, who were much more adventurous
sailors than they, may have brought home histories of
the perils they met in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Argonauts had one more encounter with Her-
cules' old foes, the birds of Stymphalis, and after this
safely arrived at Colchis, and sailed into the mouth of
the river Phasis, from which it is said the pheasant
takes its name.


IJ HEN Jason arrived at Colchis, he sent to King
".Eetes, and asked of him the Golden Fleece. To
this ARetes replied that he might have it, provided he
could yoke the two brazen-footed bulls with flaming
breath, which had been a present from Vulcan, and
with them plough a piece of land, and sow it with the
dragon's teeth. Pallas had given Eetes half the teeth of
the dragon of Thebes, which had been slain by Cadmus.
The task seemed beyond his reach, till Medea, the
wicked witch, daughter of Eetes, promised to help him,
on condition that he would marry her, and take her to
Greece. When Jason had sworn to do so, Medea gave
him an ointment with which to rub himself, also his shield
and spear. For a whole day afterwards neither sword
nor fire should hurt him, and he would thus be able to
master the bulls. So he found it; he made them draw
the plough, and then he sowed the teeth, which came
up, like those sown by Cadmus, as armed men, who
began to attack him; but, as Medea had bidden him, he
threw a stone among them, and they began to fight


60 Stories of Greek History.

with one another, so that he could easily kill the few
who spared each other.
Still JEetes refused to give him the fleece, and was
about to set fire to the Argo, and kill the crew; but
Medea warned Jason in time, and led him to the spot
where it was nailed against a tree. Orpheus lulled the
guardian dragon to sleep with his lyre, while Jason took
down the fleece; and Medea joined them, carrying in
her arms her little brother, whom she had snatched from
his bed with a cruel purpose, for when her father took
alarm and gave chase, she cut the poor child to pieces,
and strewed his limbs on the stream of the Phasis, so
that, while her father waited to collect them, the Argo
had time to sail away.
It did not return by the same route, but went to the
north, and came
to the isle of the
goddess Circe,
Srwho purified Ja-
son and Medea
from the blood of
the poor boy.
Then they came
to the isle of the Sirens, creatures like fair maidens, who
stood on the shore singing so sweetly that no sailor could
resist the charm; but the. moment any man reached the
shore, they strangled him and sucked his blooat. Warned
by Medea, Orpheus played and sang so grandly as to
drown their fatal song, and the Argo came out into the

The Success of the Argonauts. 61

Mediterranean somewhere near Trinacria, the three-cor-
nered island now called Sicily, where they had to pass
between two lofty cliffs. In a cave under one of these
lived a monster called Scylla, with twelve limbs and six
long necks, with a dog's head to each, ready each to seize
a man out of every ship that passed; but it was safer to
keep on her side than to go to the other cliff, for there a
water-witch named Charybdis lived in a whirlpool, and
was sure to suck the whole ship in, and swallow it up.
However, for her husband Peleus' sake, Thetis and her
sister Nereids came and guided the Argo safely through.
When the crew returned to Iolcus, they had only
been absent four months; and Jason gave the fleece to
his uncle Pelias, and dedicated the Argo to Neptune.
He found his father AEson grown very old, but Medea
undertook to restore him to youth. She went forth by
moonlight, gathered a number of herbs, and then,
putting them in a caldron, she cut old Eson into pieces,
threw them in, and boiled them all night. In the
morning Ason appeared as a lively black-haired young
man, no older than his son. Pelias' daughters came and
begged her to teach them the same spell. She feigned
to do so, but she did not tell them the true herbs, and
thus the poor maidens only slew their father, and did
not bring him to life again. The son of Pelias drove
the treacherous Medea and her husband from Iolcus,
and they went to Corinth, where they lived ten years,
until Jason grew weary of Medea, and put her away, in
order to marry Creusa, the king's daughter. In her

62 Stories of Greek History.

rage, Medea sent the bride the fatal gift of a poisoned
robe, then she killed her own children, and flew away,
in a chariot drawn by winged serpents, to the east,
where she became the mother of a son named Medus,
from whom the nation of Medes was descended. As to
Jason, he had fallen asleep at noon one hot day under the

7- -
"" .---=--=--= -:_- r---Z^_-i-_. ~ --- --
---_ _______------ .~'~- -=---.--- -_--'C

__--__._ -_--___-_ -- --_ _-.-_-__.. ..- -

shade of the Argo, where it was drawn up on the sand
by Neptune's temple, when a bit of wood broke off from
the prow, fell on his head, and killed him.
Of the other Argonauts, Orpheus went to Thessaly,
and there taught and softened the people much by his

The Success of the Argonauls. 63

music. He married a fair maiden named Eurydice,
with whom he lived happily and peacefully, till she was
bitten by a venomous serpent and died. Orpheus was
so wretched that he set forth to try to bring her back
from Tartarus. He went with nothing but his lyre, and
his music was so sweet that Cerberus stood listening,
and let him pass, and all the torments of the Danaids,
Sisyphus and all the rest, ceased while he was playing.
His song even brought tears into Pluto's eyes, and
Proserpine, who guarded the female dead, gave him
leave to take back Eurydice to the light of day, provided
he did not once look back as he led her out of Tartarus.
Orpheus had to walk first, and, as he went up the
long, dark cavern, with Eurydice behind him, he care-
fully obeyed, till, just as he was reaching the upper air,
he unhappily forgot, and turned his head to see whether
she were following. He just saw her stretch out her
hands to him, and then she was drawn back, and
vanished from his sight. The gates were closed, and
he had lost her again. After this he wandered sadly
about, all his songs turned to woe, until at last the
Bacchanal women, in fury at his despising the foul rites
of their god, tore him limb from limb. The Muses
collected his remains, and gave them funeral rites, and
Jupiter placed his lyre in the skies, where you may
know it by one of the brightest of all our stars.
Hercules also made another visit to the realms below.
Admetus, one of the iEolian kings, had obtained from
Apollo that, when the time came for him to die, his life

64 Stories of Greek History.

should be prolonged if anyone would submit to death
in his turn. The call came while Admetus was still
young, and he besought his old father, and then his
mother, to die in his stead; but they would not, and it
was his fair young wife Alcestis who gave her life for
his. Just as she was laid in the tomb, Hercules came
to visit Admetus, and, on hearing what had happened,
he went down to the kingdom of Pluto and brought
her back. Or some say he sat by her tomb, and
wrestled with Death when he came to seize her.
But, strong as he was, Hercules had in time to meet
death himself. He had married a nymph named
Deianira, and was taking her home, when he came to
a river where a Centaur named Nessus lived, and gained
his bread by carrying travellers over on his back.
Hercules paid him the price for carrying Deianira over,
while he himself crossed on foot; but as soon as the river
was between them, the faithless Centaur began to gallop
away with the lady. Hercules sent an arrow after him,
which brought him to the ground, and as he was dying
he prepared his revenge, by telling Deianira that his
blood was enchanted with love for her, and that if ever
she found her husband's affection failing her, she had
only to make him put on a garment anointed with it,
and his heart would return to her: he knew full well
that his blood was full of the poison of the Hydra,
but poor Deianira believed him, and had saved some
of the blood before Hercules came up.
Several years after, Hercules made prisoner a maiden

The Success of the Argonauts. 65

named lole, in Lydia, after gaining a great victory.
Landing in the island of Eubcea, he was going to make
a great sacrifice to Jupiter, and sent home to Deianira
for a festal garment to wear at it. She was afraid he
was falling in love with Iole, and steeped the garment
in the preparation she had made from Nessus' blood.
No sooner did Hercules put it on, than his veins were
filled with agony, which nothing could assuage. He
tried to tear off the robe, but the skin and flesh came
with it, and his blood was poisoned beyond relief. He
sailed home, and when Deianira saw the state .he was
in she hung herself for grief, while he charged Hylas,
his eldest son, to take care of Iole, and marry her as
soon as he grew up. Then, unable to bear the pain
any longer, and knowing that by his twelve tasks he
had earned the prize of endless life, he went to Mount
CEta, crying aloud with the pain, so that the rocks rang
again with the sound. He gave his quiver of arrows to
his friend Philoctetes, charging him to collect his ashes
and bury them, but never to make known the spot; and
then he tore up, with his mighty strength, trees by the
roots enough to form a funeral pile, lay down on it, and
called on his friend to set fire to it; but no one could
bear to do so, till a shepherd consented to thrust in a
torch. Then thunder was heard, a cloud came down,
and he was borne away to Olympus, while Philoctetes
collected and buried the ashes.
His young sons were banished by Eurystheus, and were
taken by his old friend Iolaus to seek shelter in various

66 Stories of Greek History.

cities, but only the Athenians were brave enough to let
them remain. Theseus had been driven away and ban-
ished from Athens; but the citizens sheltered the sons of
the hero, and, when Eurystheus pursued them, a battle
was fought on the isthmus of Corinth, in which the old
enemy of Hercules was killed by Iolaus, with all his sons.
Then the Heraclieds (sons of Hercules) were going to
fight their way back to Argos, but an army met them at
the isthmus, and was going to give them battle, when
Hylas proposed that he should fight with a single
champion chosen on the other side. If he gained, he
was to be restored to the kingdom of Perseus; if not,
there was to be a truce for a hundred years. Hylas
had not the strength of his father; he was slain, and
his brothers had to retreat and bide their time.
Argos came into the power of Agamemnon, who had
married Clytemnestra, the sister of Castor and Pollux,
while his brother Menelaus married the beautiful Helen.
All the Greek heroes had been suitors for Helen, the
fairest woman living, and they all swore to one another
that, choose she whom she might, they would all stand
by him, and punish anyone who might try to steal her
from him. Her choice fell on Menelaus, and soon after
her wedding her brother Castor was slain, and though
Pollux was immortal, he could not bear to live without
his brother, and prayed to share his death; upon which
Jupiter made them both stars, the bright ones called
Gemini, or the Twins, and Menelaus reigned with
Helen at Sparta, as Agamemnon did at Mycenae.

The Success of the Argonauts. 67

These two were sons of Atreus, and were descended
from Tantalus, once a favourite of the gods, who used
to come down and feast with him, until once he took
his son Pelops and dressed him for their meal. Jupiter
found it out, collected the limbs, and restored the boy
to life; but Ceres had been so distracted with grief
about her daughter, that she had eaten one shoulder,
and Jupiter gave him an ivory one instead. Tantalus
was sent to Tartarus, where his punishment was to pine
with hunger and thirst, with a feast before him, where
he neither could touch the food nor the drink, because
there was a rock hung over his head threatening to
crush him. Pelops was a wonderful charioteer, and
won his bride in the chariot race, having bribed the
charioteer of his rival to leave out the linchpins of his
wheels. Afterwards, when the charioteer asked a
reward, Pelops threw him into the sea; and this was the
second crime that brought a doom on the race. Pelops
gave his name to the whole peninsula now called the
Morea, or mulberry-leaf, but which was all through
ancient times known as the Peloponnesus, or Isle of
Pelops. He reigned at Elis, and after his death his
sons Atreus and Thyestes struggled for the rule, but
both were horribly wicked men, and Atreus was said
to have killed two sons of Thyestes, and served them
up to him at a feast. There was, therefore, a heavy
curse on the whole family, both on /Egisthus, son of
Thyestes, and on his cousins Agamemnon and Mene-
laus, the Atridfe, or sons of Atreus.



T HE gods and goddesses were merrily feasting when
Ate, the goddess of strife, desirous of making mis-
chief, threw down among them a golden apple, engraven
with the words, "This apple to the Fair." The three
goddesses, Juno, Pallas, and Venus, each thought it
meant for her-one having the beauty of dignity, the
other the beauty of wisdom, and the third the beauty
of grace and fairness. They would not accept the
award of any of the gods, lest they should not be
impartial; but they declared that no one should decide
between them but Paris, a shepherd, though a king's
son, who was keeping his flocks on Mount Ida.
Each goddess tried to allure him to choose her by
promises. Juno offered him a mighty throne; Pallas
promised to make him the wisest of men; Venus de-
clared that she would give him the fairest woman on
earth for his wife for ten years-she could assure him
of no more. And it was Venus to whom Paris assigned
the golden apple of discord, thus bitterly offending Juno
and Pallas, who became the enemies of his nation.

The Czoice of Paris. 69

His nation was the Trojan, who dwelt on the east
coast of the zEgean Sea, and were of the Pelasgic race.
Their chief city was Troy, with the citadel Ilium, lying
near the banks of the rivers Simois and Scamander,
between the sea shore and the wooded mount of Ida,

in the north-east of the peninsula we call Asia Minor.
The story went that the walls had been built by Neptune
and Apollo, the last of whom had brought the stones to
their place by the music of his lyre; but the king who
_. -=_-_ __......_ -. _-
|-_-----.-_--_ -,-- ..-...-"--_---- --_ -------------------- .... ---

and Apollo, the last of whom had brought the stones to
.. ; ". i .J'" ,, .:- : -

70 Stories of Greek History.

was then reigning had refused to pay them, and had thus
made them also his foes. But within the citadel was an
image of Pallas, three ells long, with a spear in one hand
and a distaff in the other, which was called the Palladium.
It was said to have been given by Jupiter to Ilus, the
first founder of the city; and as long as it was within
the walls, the place could never be taken.
The present king was Priam, and his wife was
Hecuba. They had nineteen children, and lived in a
palace built round a court, with an altar in the middle,
their sons having houses likewise opening into the court.
Paris, who was worthless and pleasure-loving, was the
eldest son; Hector, a very noble person, was the second.
After Paris had given judgment in her favour, Venus
directed him to build a ship, and go to visit the Greek
kings. He was kindly entertained everywhere, and
especially at Sparta; and here it was that Venus fulfilled
her promise, by helping him to steal away Helen, the
fairest of women, while her husband Menelaus was
gone to Crete.
As soon as Menelaus found out how his hospitality
had been misused, he called upon all the Greek heroes
to remember their oath, and help him to recover his
wife, and take vengeance on Paris. Everyone replied
to the call; but the wise Ulysses, grandson of Sisyphus,
and king of the little isle of Ithaca, could not bear to
leave his home, or his fair young wife Penelope, for a
war which he knew would be long and terrible, so he
feigned to be mad, and began furiously ploughing the

The Choice of Paris. 71

sea shore with a yoke of oxen. However, the next
cleverest hero, Palamedes, to prove him, placed his
infant son Telemachus full in the way of the plough,
and when Ulysses turned it aside from the child, they
declared that his madness was only pretended, and he
was forced to go with them.
The Nereid Thetis knew that if her brave and beau-
tiful son Achilles went to Troy, he would die there; so
she dressed him as a maiden, and placed him at the
court of the king of Scyros, where he stayed for love of
one of the king's daughters. But the Greeks had a
man named Calchas, who was an augur-that is, he
could tell what was going to happen by the flight of
birds, by the clouds, and by the inwards of sacrificed
animals. Calchas told the Greeks that Troy would
never be taken unless Achilles went with them. So
Ulysses, guessing where the youth was, disguised him-
self as a merchant, and went with his wares to the palace
of Scyros. All the maidens came forth to look at them,
and while most were busy with the jewels and robes,
one, tall and golden-haired, seemed to care for nothing
but a bright sword, holding it with a strong, firm hand.
Then Ulysses knew he had found Achilles, and told
him of the famous war that was beginning, and the
youth threw off his maiden's garb, put on his armour,
and went eagerly with them; but before he went he
married the fair Deidamia, and left her to wait for him
at Scyros, where she had a son named Pyrrhus.
Indeed the Greeks were whole years gathering their

72 Stories of Greek History.

forces, and when they did all meet at last, with their
ships and men, Agamemnon, king of Mycene, Mene-
laus' brother, took the lead of them all. As they were
sacrificing to Jupiter, a snake glided up a tree, where
there was a sparrow's nest, and ate up all the eight
young ones, and then the mother bird. On seeing this,
Calchas foretold that the war would last nine years, and
after the ninth Troy would be taken.
However, they sailed on, till at Aulis they were stopped
by foul winds for many days, and Calchas told them it
was because of Agamemnon's broken vow. He had
sworn, one year, to sacrifice to Diana the fairest thing
that was born in his house or lands. The fairest thing
that was born was his little daughter Iphigenia; but he
could not bear to sacrifice her, and so had tried offering
his choicest kid. Now Diana sent these winds to
punish him, and the other kings required him to give
up his child. So a message was sent to her mother,
Clytemnestra, to send her, on pretence that she was to
be married to Achilles, and when she came to Aulis she
found that it was only to be offered up. However, she
resigned herself bravely, and was ready to die for her
father and the cause; but just as Agamemnon had his
sword ready, and had covered her face that he might
not see her pleading eyes as he was slaying her, Diana
took pity, darted down in a cloud, and in the place of the
maiden a white hind lay on the altar to be offered.
Iphigenia was really carried off to serve as priestess at
Diana's temple at Tauris, but it was long before it was

The Choice of Paris. 73

known what had become of her, and Clytemnestra never
forgave Agamemnon for what he had intended to do.
At the isle of Tenedos the Greeks had to leave behind
Philoctetes, the friend of Hercules, who had his quiver
of poisoned arrows, because the poor man had a wound
in his heel, which was in such a dreadful state that no
one could bear to come near him. One story was that
he was bitten by a water-snake, another that when he
was just setting off he had been over-persuaded to show
where he had buried the ashes of Hercules. He did
not say one word, but stamped with his foot on the
place, and an arrow fell out at the moment and pierced
his heel. At any rate, he and the arrows were left
behind, while the Greeks reached the coast of Troy.

The augurs had declared that the first man who
touched the shore would be the first to be killed.
Achilles threw his shield before him, and leaped out of
the ship upon that; but Protesilaus leaped without so

74 Stories of Greek History.

doing, and was slain almost instantly by the Trojans.
When his wife Laodamia heard of his death, she
grieved and pined so piteously that his spirit could not
rest, and Mercury gave him leave to come back and
spend three hours with her on earth. He came, but
when she tried to embrace him she found that he was
only thin air, which could not be grasped, and when the
time was over he vanished from her sight. Then
Laodamia made an image of him, and treated it as a
god; and when her father forbade her to do this, she
leaped into the fire,. and thus perished.
The chief of the Greeks were Agamemnon, king of
Mycenae, his brother Menelaus of Sparta, and Achilles
of /Egina, whose men were called Myrmidons, and said
to be descended from ants. His friend, to whom he
was devoted, was called Patroclus. He was the most
perfect warrior in the army, but Diomed the ZEtolian
came near him in daring, and Ajax of Salamis, son of
Telamon, was the biggest and strongest man. His
brother Teucer used to stand behind his shield and
aim arrows at the Trojans. There was another Ajax,
from Locria, called after his father Oileus. The oldest
man in the camp was Nestor, king of Pylos, who had
been among the Argonauts, and had been a friend of
Hercules, and was much looked up to. The wisest
men were Ulysses of Ithaca, and Palamedes, who is
said to have invented the game of chess to amuse the
warriors in the camp; but Ulysses never forgave Pala-
medes for his trick on the shore at Ithaca, and managed

The Choice of Paris. 75

to make him be suspected of secret dealings with the
Trojans, and put to death. Each of these brought a
band of fighting men, and they had their ships, which
were not much more than large boats, drawn up high
and dry on the shore behind the camp. They fought
with swords and spears, which latter were thrown with
the hand. Some had bows and arrows, and the chiefs
generally went to battle in 'a chariot, an open car
drawn by two horses, and driven by some trusty friend,
who held the horses while the chief stood up and
launched spear after spear among the enemy. There
was no notion of mercy to the fallen; prisoners were
seldom made, and if a man was once down, unless his
friends could save him, he was sure to be killed.
During the first eight years of the war we do not
hear much of the Greeks. They seem to .have been
taking and wasting the cities belonging to the Trojans
all round the country. The home of Andromache,
Hector's good and loving wife, was destroyed, and her
parents and brothers killed; and Priam's cousin .Eneas
was also driven in from Mount Ida, with his old father
Anchises, and wife and little son. In the ninth year of
the war the Greeks drew up their forces round the
walls of Troy itself, their last exploit having been the
taking of the city of Chrysae, where they had gained a
great deal of plunder. All captives were then made
slaves, and in the division' of the spoil a maiden named
Briseis was given to Achilles, while Agamemnon took one
called Chryseis, the daughter of Chryses, priest of Apollo.




WE have come to the part of this siege which is told
us in the Iliad, the oldest poem we know, except
the Psalms, and one of the very finest. It begins by
telling how Chryses prayed to Apollo to help him to
get back his daughter, and Apollo sent a plague upon
the Greeks in their camp. Calchas told them it was
because of Chryseis, and they forced Agamemnon to
give her safely back to her father. His pride, however,
was hurt, and he said he must have Briseis in her stead,
and sent and took her from Achilles. In his wrath
Achilles declared he would not fight any more for the
Greeks, and his mother Thetis begged Jupiter to with-
draw his aid from them likewise, that they might feel
the difference.
The Trojans went out to attack them, and when they
were drawn up in battle array, old Priam made Helen
come and sit by him on the battlements over the gate-
way, to tell him who all the chiefs were. It was pro-
posed that, instead of causing the death of numbers
who had nothing to do with the quarrel, Menelaus and

The Siege of Troy. 77

Paris should fight hand-to-hand for Helen; and they
began; but as soon as Venus saw that her favourite
Paris was in danger, she came in a cloud, snatched him
away, and set him down in Helen's chamber, where his
brother Hector found him reclining at his ease, on
coming to upbraid him for keeping out of the battle,
where so many better men than he were dying for his
crime. Very different were Hector's ways. He parted
most tenderly with his wife Andromache, and his little
son Astyanax, who was so young that he clung crying
to his nurse, afraid of his father's tall helmet and horse-
hair crest. Hector took the helmet off before he lifted the
little one in his arms and prayed to the gods for him.
Each day the Trojans gained, though one day Jupiter
forbade any of the gods or goddesses to interfere, and
on another he let them all go down and fight for their
own parties. He was himself impartial; but one day
Juno managed to borrow Venus' girdle, which made her
so charming that nothing could resist her, and she
lulled him to sleep. During that time the Greeks
prevailed again, but this only lasted till Jupiter awoke,
and then the Trojans gained great success. All the
Greek heroes were disabled one after another, and
Hector and his men broke through the rampart they
had made round their camp, and were about to burn
the ships, when Patroclus, grieved at finding all his
friends wounded, came to Achilles with an entreaty that
he might be allowed to send out the Myrmidons, and
try to save the ships. Achilles consented, and dressed

78 Stories of Greek History.

Patroclus in his own armour. Then all gave way before
the fresh Myrmidons led by Patroclus, and the Trojans
A were chased back to their
Walls; but as Hector made a
Sla st s ta n d b e fo re th e g a te s,
Apollo, who loved Troy
because he had built the
walls, caused a sunbeam to
strike on Patroclus and make
him faint, so that Hector
easily struck him down and
killed him. Then there
ACHILLES BNDING HS ARMOUR was a desperate fight over
ON PATROCLUS. his body. The Trojans did
get the armour off it, but the Greeks saved the corpse,
and had almost reached the rampart, when the Trojans
came thicker and more furiously on them, and were
almost bursting in, when Achilles, hearing the noise,
came out, and, standing on the rampart just as he was,
all unarmed, gave a terrible thundering shout, at which
the Trojans were filled with dismay, and fled back in
confusion, while the corpse of Patroclus was borne into
the tent, where Achilles mourned over it, with many
tears and vows of vengeance against Hector.
His mother Thetis came from the sea and wept with
him, and thence she went to Vulcan, from whom she
obtained another beautiful suit of armour, with a won-
drous shield, representing Greek life in every phase of
war or peace; and in this Achilles went forth again to

The Siege of Troy. 79

the battle. He drove the Trojans before his irresistible
might, came up with Hector, chased him round and
round the walls of Troy, and at length came up with
him and slew him. Then, when Patroclus had been
laid on a costly funeral pile, Achilles dragged Hector's
body at the back of his chariot three times round it.
Further, in honour of his friend, he had games of racing
in chariots and on foot, wrestling, boxing, throwing
heavy stones, and splendidly rewarded those who
excelled with metal tripods, weapons, and robes.
But when poor old Priam, grieving that his son's
corpse should lie unburied, thus hindering his shade
from being at rest, came forth at night, in disguise,
to beg it from Achilles, the hero received the old man
most kindly, wept at the thought of his own old father
Peleus, fed and warmed him, and sent home the body
of Hector most honourably.
Here ends the Iliad. It is from other poems that
the rest of the history is taken, and we know that
Achilles performed many more great exploits, until
Paris was aided by Apollo to shoot an arrow into the
heel which alone could be wounded, and thus the hero
died. There was another great fight over his body,
but Ajax and Ulysses rescued it at last; Ajax bore it
to the ships, and Ulysses kept back the Trojans.
Thetis and all the Nereids and all the Muses came to
mourn over him; and when he was burnt in the funeral
pile she bore away his spirit to the white island, while
the Greeks raised a huge mound in his honour. She

80 Stories of Greek History.

promised his armour to the Greek who had done most
to rescue his corpse. The question lay between Ajax
and Ulysses, and Trojan captives being appointed as
judges, gave sentence in favour of Ulysses. Ajax was
so grieved that he had a fit of frenzy, fancied the cattle
were the Greeks who slighted him, killed whole flocks
in his rage, and, when he saw what he had done, fell on
his own sword and died.

Having lost these great champions, the Greeks re-
solved to fetch Achilles' young son Pyrrhus to the
camp, and also to get again those arrows of Hercules
which Philoctetes had with him. Ulysses and Pyrrhus
were accordingly sent to fetch him from his lonely
island. They found him howling with pain, but he
would not hear of coming away with them. So Ulysses
stole his quiver while he was asleep, but when he awoke
and missed it his lamentations so moved young Pyrrhus
that he gave them back; and this so touched the heart
of Philoctetes that he consented to return to the camp.

The Siege of Troy. 81

There Machaon, the physician of the Greeks, healed
his foot, and he soon after shot Paris with one of the
Instead of now giving up Helen, Deiphobus and
Helenus, the two next brothers, quarrelled as to which
should marry her, and when she was given to Deiphobus,
Helenus was so angry that he went out and wandered
in the forests of Mount Ida, where he was made prisoner
by Ulysses, who contrived to find out from him that
Troy could never be taken while it had the Palladium
within it. Accordingly, Ulysses and Diomed set out,
and, climbing over the wall by night, stole the wondrous
image. While the Trojans were dismayed at the loss,
the Greeks seemed to have changed their minds. They
took ship and went away, and all the surviving Trojans,
relieved from their siege, rushed down to the shore,
where all they found was a monstrous wooden horse.
While they were looking at it in wonder, a Greek came
out of the rocks, and told them that his name was Sinon,
and that he had been cruelly left behind by the Greeks,
who had grown weary of the siege and gone home, but
that if the wonderful horse were once taken into Troy it
would serve as another Palladium. The priest of Nep-
tune, Laoc6on, did not believe the story, and declared that
Sinon was a spy; but he was cut short in his remon-
strance by two huge serpents, which glided out of the
sea and devoured him and his two sons. Cassandra,
too, a daughter of Priam, who had the gift of prophecy,
but was fated never to be believed, shrieked with

82 Stories of Greek History.

despair when she saw the Trojans harnessing them-
selves to the horse to drag it into Troy, but nobody
heeded her, and there was a great feast to dedicate it
to Pallas. Helen perhaps
// guessed or knew what it
meant, for at dark she walked
round it, and called the names
of Ulysses, and many other
Greeks, in the voices of Pene-
lope and the other
wives at home.
For indeed the
Sr h o rs e w a s fu ll o f
t", \~;, Greeks; and at
dark Sinon lighted
"" a beacon as a signal
to the rest, who
were only waiting
behind the little
Sisle of Tenedos.
Then he let the
others out of the
horse, and slaugh-
LAOCOON. ter and fire reigned
throughout Troy. Menelaus slew Deiphobus as he
tried to rise from bed, and carried Helen down to his
ship. Poor old Priam tried to put on his armour and
defend Hecuba and his daughters, but Pyrrhus killed
him at the altar in his palace-court; and /Eneas, after

The Siege of Troy. 83

seeing this, and that all was lost, hurried back to his
own house, took his father Anchises on his back, and
his little son Iulus in one hand, his household gods in
the other, and, with his wife Creusa following, tried to
escape from the burning city with his own troop of
warriors. All succeeded except poor Creusa, who was
lost in the throng of terrified fugitives, and was never
found again; but /Eneas found ships on the coast, and
sailed safely away to Italy.
All the rest of the Trojans were killed or made
slaves. Ulysses killed Hector's poor little son, and
Andromache became slave to young Pyrrhus. Cassan-
dra clung to Pallas' statue, and Ajax Oileus, trying to
drag her away, moved the statue itself-such an act of
sacrilege that the Greeks had nearly stoned him on
the spot-and Cassandra was given to Agamemnon.
Polyxena, the youngest sister, was sacrificed on the
tomb of Achilles, and poor old Hecuba went mad with

j i


T HE overthrow of the temples at Troy was heavily
visited on the Greeks by the gods, and the disasters
that befel Ulysses are the subject of another grand
Greek poem called the Odyssey, from his right Greek
name Odysseus. He was the special favourite of Pallas
Athene, but she could not save him from many dangers.
He had twelve ships, with which he set out to return
to Ithaca; but as he was doubling Cape Malea, one of
the rugged points of the Peloponnesus, a great storm
caught him, and drove him nine days westward, till he
came to an island, where he sent three men to explore,
but they did not return, and he found that this was the
land of the lotus-eaters, a people who always lie about
in a dreamy state of repose, and that to taste the food
drives away all remembrance of home and friends. He
was obliged to drag his men away by force, and bind
them to the benches. The lotus bean, or jujube, is
really eaten in Africa, but not with these effects.
Next they came to another island, where there was
a bay with rocks around, with goats leaping on them.

The Wanderings of Ulysses. 85

Here Ulysses left eleven ships, and sailed with one to
explore the little islet opposite. Landing with his men,
he entered an enormous cavern, well stored with bowls
of milk and cream, and with rows of cheeses standing
on the ledges of rock. While the Greeks were regaling
themselves, a noise was heard, and great flocks of sheep
and goats came bleating in. Behind them came a giant,
with a fir tree for a staff, and only one eye in the middle
of his forehead. He was Polyphemus, one of the
Cyclops, sons of Neptune, and workmen of Vulcan.
He asked fiercely who the strangers were, and Ulysses
told him that they were shipwrecked sailors, imploring
him for hospitality in the name of the gods. Polyphe-
mus laughed at this, saying he was stronger than the
gods, and did not care for them; and, dashing two
unhappy Greeks on the floor, he ate them up at once;
after which he closed up the front of the cave with a
monstrous rock, penned up the kids and lambs, and
began to milk his goats, drank up a great quantity of
milk, and fell asleep on the ground. Ulysses thought
of killing him at once, but recollected that the stone at
the mouth of the cave would keep him captive if the
giant's strength did not move it, and abstained. In
the morning the Cyclops let out his flocks, and then
shut the Greeks in with the stone; but he left his staff
behind, and Ulysses hardened the top of this in the fire.
A skin of wine had been brought from the ships, and
when Polyphemus came home in the evening, and had
devoured two more Greeks, Ulysses offered it to him.

86 Stories of Greek History.

It was the first wine he had tasted, and he was in
raptures with it, asking his guest's name as he pledged
him. No-man," replied Ulysses, begging again for
mercy. "This will I grant," said the Cyclops, "in
return for thy gift. No-man shall be the last whom I
devour." He drank up the whole skin of wine, and
went to sleep. Then Ulysses and four of his companions
seized the staff, and forced its sharpened top into the
Cyclops' single eye, so that he awoke blind, and roaring
with pain so loud that all the other Cyclops awoke,
and came calling to know who had hurt him. No-
man," shouted back Polyphemus; and they, thinking it
was only some sudden illness, went back to their caves.
Meanwhile, Ulysses was fastening the remaining Greeks
under the bellies of the sheep and goats, the wool and
hair hanging over them. He himself clung on under
the largest goat, the master of the herd. When morning
came, the bleatings of the herds caused the blind giant
to rouse himself to roll back the stone from the entrance.
He laid his hand on each beast's back, that his guests
might not ride out on them, but he did not feel beneath,
though he kept back Ulysses' goat for a moment
caressing it, and saying, My pretty goat, thou seest
me, but I cannot see thee."
As soon as Ulysses was safe on board ship, and had
thrust out from land, he called back his real name to
the giant, whom he saw sitting on the stone outside his
cave. Polyphemus and the other Cyclops returned by
hurling rocks at the ship, but none touched it, and

The IWanderings of Ulysses. 87

Ulysses reached his fleet safely. This adventure, how-
ever, had made Neptune his bitter foe, and how could
he sail on Neptune's realm ?
However, he next came to the Isle of the Winds,
which floated about in the ocean, and was surrounded
by a brazen wall. Here dwelt iEolus, with his wife
and sons and daughters, and Ulysses stayed with him
a whole month. At the end of it, ZEolus gave Ulysses
enough of each wind, tied up in separate bags, to take
him safely home; but his crew fancied there was treasure
in them, and while he was asleep opened all the bags
at once, and the winds bursting out tossed all the ships,
and then carried them back to the island, where AEolus
declared that Ulysses must be a wretch forsaken of the
gods, and would give him no more.
Six days later the fleet came to another cannibal
island, that of the Laestrygonians, where the crews of
all the ships, except that of the king himself, were
caught and eaten up, and he alone escaped, and, still
proceeding westward, came to another isle, belonging
to Circe, the witch goddess, daughter to Helios. The
comrades of Ulysses, whom he had sent to explore, did
not return, and he was himself landing in search of
them, when Mercury appeared to him, and warned him
that, if he tasted of the bowl she would offer him, he
would, like his friends, be changed by her into a hog,
unless he fortified himself with the plant named moly-
a white-flowered, starry sort of garlic, which Mercury
gave him. Ulysses then made his way through a wood

88 Stories of Greek History.

to the hall where Circe sat, waited on by four nymphs.
She received him courteously, offered him her cup, and
so soon as he had drunk of it she struck him with her
wand, and bade him go grunt with his fellows; but as,
thanks to the moly, he stood unchanged before her, he
drew his sword and made her swear to do him no hurt,
and to restore his companions to their proper form.
They then made friends, and he stayed with her a whole
year. She told him that he was fated not to return
home till he had first visited the borders of the world
of Pluto, and consulted Tiresias, the blind prophet.
She told him what to do, and he went on beyond the
Mediterranean into the outer ocean, to the land of
gloom, where Helios, the sun, does not shine. Here
Ulysses dug a pit, into which he poured water, wine,
and the blood of a great black ram, and there flocked
up to him crowds of shades, eager to drink of it, and to
converse with him. All his own friends were there-
Achilles, Ajax, and, to his surprise, Agamemnon-all
very melancholy, and mourning for the realms of day.
His mother, who had died of grief for his absence, came
and blessed him; and Tiresias warned him of Neptune's
anger, and of his other dangers, ere he should return to
Ithaca. Terror at the ghastly troop overcame him at
last, and he fled and embarked again, saw Circe once
more, and found himself in the sea by which the Argo
had returned. The Sirens' Isle was near, and, to
prevent the perils of their song, Ulysses stopped the
ears of all his crew with wax, and though he left his

The Wanderings of Ulysses. 89

own open, bade them lash him to the mast, and not
heed all his cries and struggles to be loosed. Thus he
was the only person who ever heard the Sirens' song
and lived. Scylla and Charybdis came next, and, being
warned by Pallas, he thought it better to lose six than
all, and so went nearest to the monster, whose six
mouths at once fell on six of the crew, and tore them

The isle of Trinacria was pasture for the 360 cattle
of Helios, and both Tiresias and Circe had warned
Ulysses that they must not be touched. He would
fain have passed it by, but his crew insisted on landing
for the night, making oath not to touch- the herds.
At dawn such a wind arose that they could not put to

90 Stories of Greek History.

sea for a month, and after eating up the stores, and
living on birds and fish, they took some of the oxen
when Ulysses was asleep, vowing to build a temple to
Helios in recompense. They were dismayed at seeing
the hides of the slain beasts creep on the ground, and
at hearing their flesh low as it boiled in the cauldron.
Indeed, Helios had gone to Jupiter, and threatened to
stop his chariot unless he had his revenge; so as soon
as the wretched crew embarked again a storm arose,
the ship was struck by lightning, and Ulysses alone was
saved from the wreck, floating on the mast. He came
back past Scylla and Charybdis, and, clinging to the fig
tree which hung over the latter, avoided being sucked
into the whirlpool, and by-and-by came to land in the
island of the nymph Calypso, who kept him eight years,
but he pined for home all the time, and at last built
a raft on which to return. Neptune was not weary
of persecuting him, and raised another storm, which
shattered the raft, and threw Ulysses on the island of
Scheria. Here the king's fair daughter Nausicaa, going
down to the stream with her maidens to wash their
robes, met the shipwrecked stranger, and took him
home. Her father feasted him hospitably, and sent him
home in a ship, which landed him on the coast of Ithaca
fast asleep, and left him there. He had been absent
twenty years; and Pallas further disguised his aspect,
so that he looked like a beggar, when,, in order to see
how matters stood, he made his way first to the hut of
his trusty old swineherd Eumaeus.

The Wanderings of Ulysses. 91

Nothing could be worse than things were. More than
a hundred powerful young chiefs of the Ionian isles had
taken possession of his palace, and were daily revelling
there, thrusting his son Telemachus aside, and insisting
that Penelope should choose one of them as her husband.
She could only put them off by declaring she could


was making for old Laertes, her father-in-law; while to
prevent its coming to an end she undid by night what-
_--_ -- -z -- ci


ever she wove by day. Telemachus had gone to
seek his father, but came home baffled to Eumaeus'


92 Stories of Greek History.

hut, and there was allowed to recognize Ulysses.
But it was as a beggar, broken-down and foot-sore, that
Ulysses sought his palace, and none knew him there
but his poor old dog Argus, who licked his feet, and died
for joy. The suitors, in their pride, made game of the
poor stranger, but Penelope sent for him, in case he
brought news of her husband. Even to her he told a
feigned story, but she bade the old nurse Euryclea take
care of him, and wash his feet. While doing so, the
old woman knew him by a scar left by the tusk of a
wild boar long ago, and Ulysses could hardly stifle her
cry of joy; but she told him all, and who could be
trusted among the slaves. The plans were fixed.
Telemachus, with much difficulty, persuaded his mother
to try to get rid of the suitors by promising to wed him
only who could bend Ulysses' bow. One after another
tried in vain, and then, amid their sneers, the beggar
took it up, and bent it easily, hit the mark, and then
aimed it against them! They were all at the banquet-
table in the hall. Eumaeus and the other faithful
servants had closed all the doors, and removed all the
arms, and there was a terrible slaughter both of these
oppressors and the servants who had joined with them
against their queen and her son.
After this, Ulysses made himself known to his wife,
and visited his father, who had long retired to his beau-
tiful garden. The kindred of the suitors would have
made war on him, but Pallas pacified them, and the
Odyssey leaves him to spend his old age in Ithaca, and

The Wanderings of Ulysses. 93

die a peaceful death. He was just what the Greeks
thought a thoroughly brave and wise man; for they
had no notion that there was any sin in falsehood and

S, .... ... ..... ... -- -- ,



"YOU remember that Ulysses met Agamemnon among
the other ghosts. The King of Men, as the Iliad
calls him, had vast beacons lighted from isle to isle, and
from cape to cape, to announce that Troy was won, and
that he was on his way home, little knowing what a
welcome was in store for him.
His wife Clytemnestra had never forgiven him for
the loss of Iphigenia, and had listened to his cousin
AEgisthus, who wanted to marry her. She came forth
and received Agamemnon with apparent joy, but his
poor captive Cassandra wailed aloud, and would not
cross the threshold, saying it streamed with blood, and
that this was a house of slaughter. No one listened to
her, and Agamemnon was led to the bath to refresh
himself after his journey. A new embroidered robe
lay ready for him,' but the sleeves were sewn up at the
wrists, and while he could not get his hands free,
IEgisthus fell on him and slew him, and poor Cassan-
dra likewise.
His daughter Electra, fearing that her young brother