Page 0496

496

UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

The great day was the day of the procession. In the morning outside of the city the

throngs gathered. Here the column was formed. At the head of the procession came a band

of flute players and citharists. Then followed the Athenian soldiery-infantry and cavalry.

Behind this division marched all those who had ever been crowned as victors in the public

contests of the country. The next division was composed of priests, leading the animals

presently to be offered in sacrifice. Next followed the old men of Athens, each carrying

some costly gift to be offered to the goddess. Then came the woman's column of the

procession-matrons and maidens chosen for their beauty and reputation. In the midst they

drew in a car the peplos, or embroidered robe, with which the statue of Pallas was to be

clad at the end of the march.

Through the beautiful streets of the city the procession made its way, pausing at the

various shrines and altars, and then ascended the hill to the citadel. Before the temple a

burst of music was sounded from the instruments, and then, in the sublime presence of the

Protector of the city, the votive gifts were laid and the sacrifices offered by the

priests.

If the Greek mind, participating in these great festivals, could have been fathomed, there

would have been revealed a double class of sentiments; the one looking joyfully upon life,

and the other scanning death with apprehension and dread. There were exhibited in the

different parts of the ceremonies the traces of these conflicting feelings, the one class

tending to produce merriment and even _________________________________ 1 No one can

thoughtfully study the life of the Athenians without being constantly reminded of the

Parisians of the last and present centuries. Athens was the Paris of antiquity, and Paris

is the Athens of the modern world. There are to be seen in both peoples the same qualities

of nature-that same excitability of temper, in which are strangely mingled the opposites

of heroism and weakness, of excessive joyousness and deep gloom, of hope and despair.