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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 76

The Isles of Greece

The Isles of Greece.

At the dawn of a clear, shining winter morning, under the bright blue sky of ancient Greece, I landed at the Piræus, or harbour of Athens, and ascended the hill over Philerium, whence the Greek fleet of war-galleys commanded by Themistocles sallied forth to attack and destroy the Persian fleet at Salamis. From the eminence where I stood at sunrise a panoramic view of striking and highly classical historic scenery met my emotional gaze. The grand Temple of Minerva, on the massive rocky height of the Acropolis, dominating the once magnificent city of Athens, reflected the sun's brilliant rays; the encircling range of the Hymettus Mountains, the Island of Egina, and distant ruins of Corinth formed an imposing picture, vividly recalling scenes of ancient glory, and still possessing architectural re-mains and natural beauty delightful to look upon. A pleasant walk of four or five miles brought me to the city renowned of old as the seat of learning, art, and civilisation, now beginning again to possess some fine modern buildings and institutions. I spent some time viewing the noble ruins on the Acropolis—the grand columns of the Temple of Jupiter, a few of which still remain, and the page 58 well-preserved Temple of Theseus, together with other monuments of unrivalled Greek art, which have been copied so often in other parts of the world. Mars Hill, where St Paul delivered his brilliant address to the people of Athens, is a great rock standing in a plain near the base of the Acropolis, and remains in much the same condition as when it was used as the Court of the Areopagus. I also made an excursion on horseback to the nearest mountains in order to get a view of the Plains of Marathon and distant Pass of Thermopylae, lint this was rather a risky undertaking, as Greek brigands were then in the habit of capturing lonely travellers and holding them for ransom. I was, however, not molested, and got safely away from Attica to sail by the Plains of Troy, Mount Ida, the Dardanelles, and the Sea of Azoff to