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THE MONTHLY REVIEW,
For M A Y, 1814.
Art. I. Travels in the Morea, Albania, and other parts of the
Ottoman Empire; comprehending a general Description of thosa Countries; their Productions; the Manners, Customs, and Com .. merce of the Inhabitants : a Comparison between the ancient and: ::
present State of Greece; and an Historical and Geographical · Description of the ancient Epirus. By F. C. Pouqueville, M.D., Member of the Commission of Arts and Sciences, &c. Translated from the French by Anne Plumptre. Illustrated with Ens
gavings. 4to. pp. 482. 21. 2s. Boards. Colburn. 1813. Though the title-page omits the necessary information of the
I date of these travels, we learn from the work itself that they were performed several years before they were communicated to the public; for that the author left France in 1798, in the capacity of a physician belonging to the Commission of Arts and Sciences destined to accompany Bonaparte to Egypt and the East : but that, soon after he landed in Egypt, he lost his health, and was obliged to set out on his return to Italy. Having embarked with other French gentlemen and officers on board a tartan of Leghorn, he had the misfortune to be captured by a Tripoli corsair, and was subsequently landed in the Morea at the port of Navarin, the antient Pylos. War having been by this time declared by the Turks against France in revenge for the invasion of Egypt, he and his companions were treated as prisoners, and marched into the interior of the Morea, and afterward to Constantinople; and the remarks occurring in the course of this involuntary tour form the subject of the first part of the volume. - The second describes the extensive country known by the modern name of Albania, which, in point of limits, nearly corresponds to the antient Epirus : but the observations on this region were not made personally by Dr. P., being the produce of some of his friends and countrymen, who like himself suffered cona finement in Turkey, and who put into his hands the materials collected in the course of their peregrinations.
To fall into the power of the Turks, without any prospect of release, was no very desirable circumstance: but the author was disposed to rejoice at whatever relieved him from the dreado ful image of African slavery, and he felt a sensible pleasure
in treading on classic ground, and in being enabled to contemplate the scenes of the.manorable exploits of antiquity. He begins, accordingly, 10. make a very particular record of his adventures from the time of his being set on shore in the Morea. From the moment of the appearance of the travellers, the Bey of Navarin had.cast an eager eye on their baggage, and appropriated to himself and the members of his council every article in it, with the exception of the books; which, appearing to this barbarian. to be things of no value, were allowed to remain. The profession, of physician, however, soon enabled Dr. P. to
enjoy a sort of latitude scarcely compatible with the designa::tron of prisoner; and, being called to attend families of rank,
he had a good opportunity of exploring various parts of the country. He commences by an account of the town of Navarin, the streets of which are dirty and narrow, but its port is spacious. In its neighbourhood, is the island of Sphacteria, celebrated as the refuge of eight hundred Spartans in the beginning of the Peloponnesian war. The name of the antient Pylos is retained, it seems, to this day, but the place is a village of sixty houses ; and the country around is still arid and sandy, as described by Homer.
From Navarin, the author set out under a strong guard for Tripolizza in Arcadia. He and his companions began their journey by passing Mount Temathia; beholding, at a distance on the right, the sea-port of Coron, built on the site of the antient Colonides, and considered, on account of its harbour and population, as the richest trading town in the Morea. Proceeding towards Arcadia, they entered the plain bordering the Pirnazza, the antient Pamisos, and admired the extent and fertility of the prospect before them. They were now in the month of December, yet the olives were still loaded with fruit, and the leaves of the fig and mulberry trees were only beginning to turn yellow. Vines covered the sides of the surrounding mountains, which consisted of Ithome on the north, and the long range of Taygetus, (or, as it is now called, Pentedaktylon, on the east. This plain was the most fertile part of the antient Messenia, and the scene of very remarkable actions in the long war between its inhabitants and their more powerful neighbours in Laconia. - Dr. P. and his friends were next taken through the town of Andreossa, or Androussa, a place of modern date, beautifully situated at the foot of a mountain. The inhabitants, however, like many in this region, belong to the class of mauvais sujets; in plain English, they are little else than robbers by profession. The Albanian escort treated the natives with very little ceremony, being accustomed to turn them and their furniture out of their houses to make room for their own ac
commodation. Proceeding in a northern direction, the travellers had an opportunity of seeing troops of wild boars, from which their dogs found it necessary to keep a respectful distance. They soon afterward crossed the ample stream of the Pamisos, over a bridge of four arches, and saw at a distance the town of Mauromathi, situated a little to the eastward of the antient Messene. A journey of fourteen or fifteen miles from the Pamisos brought them to the foot of the ridge of Taygetus; and, on ascending the high ground, they perceived, in the looks of the inhabitants, symptoms of health and vigour in a higher degree than that in which those blessings are allotted to their brethren in the plains. The travellers here passed the pleasant village of Leondari, the Peloponnesian Leudra ; near which are the sources of the Eurotas, or Vasilipotamos, as it is called by the modern Greeks. Proceeding to the rich and spacious plain of Tegea, they beheld, at some distance, the sources of the Alpheus, and arrived at last at Tripolizza, where they remained several months.
Arcadia and Achaia. - At Tripolizza, Dr. P. had an opportunity of appearing in the character of a physician, and of travelling through the surrounding district to gratify his literary curiosity. He thus' made an extensive survey of the neighbouring country, and had an ample opportunity of observing the erroneous statements of the geographers of modern Greece. He saw likewise many melancholy vestiges of the ravages of the Albanian soldiers, who were called into the Morea in the war of 1770 to resist the Russians. On the defeat and re-embarkation of the latter, the Albanians still continued to treat the Morea as a hostile country, and did not cease to plunder until they could get little to gratify their cupidity. At that fatal epoch, the towns throughout the province of Faneri (the territory of the antient Megalopolis,) were sacked, and the mountains and vallies of Messenia were strewed with dead bodies. Tripolizza, the present capital of the Morea, and residence of the Pacha, is said to be built from the ruins of Megalopolis, Tegea, Mantinea, and Pallantium, without being on the site of any of those places. It stands in a spacious valley, at the foot of Mount Menelaus, twenty-five miles west of Argos, ten south of Mantinea, and nearly three north of Tegea. In its mosques, are many precious antique columns and inscriptions, introduced into the modern buildings in a very unskilful manner. - Like other towns in the Morea, it rose in insurrection on seeing the Russian flag wave over the country, and three thousand of its inhabitants are said to have been the victims of this rashness. The adjacent plain is so extensive as to contain seventy-two villages, and to present one of the finest prospects in Greece. B 2
Though Though the site of Mantinea is now a marsh, some vestiges of the walls still remain; which seem to have been about eighteen fect in thickness, and to have surrounded an oval space of about a league in circumference. The town appears to have had four principal gates, leading to as many roads in the respective directions of Arcadia, Argos, Tegea, and Megalopolis. The marsh of the present days has been formed by the bed of a stream called Ophis being choaked up; and this stream, after a course of a few miles, is lost in a gulf answering to one of the subterranean caverns of Mount Mänalus. Here, as at the lake of Lerna, much difficulty occurs in ascertaining the depth of water, because the feet sink into the ground on approaching its borders.
The modern town of Patras stands on the site of the antient Aroe, in an amphitheatre at a little distance from the entrance of the Gulf of Lepanto ; and the largest vessels can anchor here under shelter of the mountains of Epirus to the north, and of those of Peloponnesus on the south. Easterly and westerly winds are comparatively little feared in this latitude, and at Patras their force is broken by the direction of the bay. The town contains a number of Jews; who, as usual, make themselves very active in every thing that relates to business. The country around is rich in fruit, particularly in grapes and olive trees. To the north, the prospect is extensive : but, in the south it is circumscribed by a mountain in the immediate neighbourhood. The town, however, is in a state of rapid decay, in consequence of its great insalubrity.- Dr. P. is fond of declamation, and would, on no account, omit the occasion of pouring out (p:53.) a high-sounding eulogium on the heroism of the Christians who fell three centuries ago, at the battle of Lepanto, contending against the Turks. With what cries,' he says, must the shores have resounded before the roar of cannon dealt out death to both parties ! This effusion, though abrupt, is nothing to some that occur in other parts of the book. In one passage, (p. 27.) the reader is startled by a sudden apostrophe to Apollo, King of the Menades, and to the deities of the Eurotas. The appeal to these personages is soon succeeded by a pathetic description of the palpitations of Dr. P's heart when he was searching for the ruins of Mantinea. It is fair, however, to add, that he had made a kind of general salvo for these ebullitions in his preface. If I should be accused,' he says, 'of mingling imagery too liberally with my descriptions, I must entreat the reader to recollect that I was travelling over the classic spots which inspired the great poets of antiquity, and that I wished to paint the manners of the Arcadians in all their genuine simplicity and naiveté.'
one pasto Apo The zeription the suikind
ceeded by a he was search had made a
tu merely of an ass representati
When he chuses to drop his figures, the author is a clear and accurate describer of localities. From Tripolizza, he proceeded in quest of the site of Megalopolis, which was for some time considered to be Leondari, but which is now admitted to be the modern Sinano; and the identity of the latter is established by the remains of the different roads which united at Megalopolis. The ruins of a church and of the stadium are still discernible, but the town is a wretched representative of its predecessor, and consists merely of an assemblage of miserable huts of mud or clay. Caritena, which appears to stand in the situation of the antient Gorthys, is a healthy and comfortable place, the population being between 2000 and 3000, and almost exclusively Greek. All the villages in this district are built on the slope of mountains ; on account of the frequent inundations of the Alpheus, and for protection from the Laliote plunderers, who make frequent incursions hither from Mount Pholoe. It has been asserted that no remains of the celebrated city of Olympia could now be traced : but M. Fauvel, a friend of Dr. Pouqueville, has described with much minuteness (pp. 65,66.)a variety of relics which appear to leave no doubt of the identity of the spot. He fixes it near the conflux of the small river Cladeus and the more copious stream of the Alpheus. In the course of his investigations, he was much delighted on discover. ing that the inhabitants called the neighbouring village Andilalo, or “ Village of the Echo;" a circumstance remarkably connected with the observation of Pausanias, that the Greeks attending the Olympic games were accustomed to listen to an echo which repeated the sound seven times over. Were the surface of the ground dug up, it is probable that many vestiges of Olympia would be found hidden under the sand and earth which have been accumulated by the incessant overflowings of the Alpheus. This river, bringing down soil from the sides of the mountains, with leaves and other vegetable substances, has in the course of ages raised the ground near its banks, and even at à considerable distance from them, to the height of several feet; which operation has been going on ever since the abandoned state of the country caused the neglect of the mounds that, in better days, preserved the adjacent plains from inundation.
Laconia. The author's attention was particularly directed to Maina, the mountain-district in the eastern part of Laconia ; the inhabitants of which have in every age bidden defiance to the invaders of the rest of Greece. So far back as the time of the Romans, they bore the name of Ensubspor Aanovio1, and the Turkish pashas have in vain endeavoured to reduce them to subjection. Their territory consists chiefly of the extensive ridge of mountains known by the general name of Taygetus; their popula