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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: September 2010
  • First published in: 1885

CHAPTER IV - THE METOPES OF SELINUS

Summary

In the last chapter we have seen how the Phœnician colonies spread like a net-work over the whole Mediterranean Sea, and how the treasures of Oriental art brought by these enterprising traders woke in the rude artists of Hellas a spirit of eager rivalry. But this rivalry was not confined to art; the Greek was never of the temper that loves to sit at home. It was easy to arouse in him a keen curiosity; then, as ever, he desired to hear and to see “some new thing.” With such a coast-line at his command he must have been dull indeed did he not tempt the sea. In Hellas land and water mingle lovingly. Narrow straits, little scattered islands lure on the timid ship from shore to shore. Nor was the Greek mariner ever over-bold. He did not gladly suffer the land out of sight. We find him loitering pleasantly among the Cyclades, stealing across by the island stepping-stones to Asia Minor. At last, taking heart, he pushes his way through the Hellespont into the vast land-locked waters which, in his euphemistic way, he called the Hospitable Sea (Pontus Euxinus). It is not thither we shall follow him as he coasts cautiously along the shore, and brings back with him strange legends of a magician queen and a dragon guarding a golden fleece. We have to watch him turn his prow westward.

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