Cockerell, Charles Robert
The temples of Jupiter Panhellenius at Aegina and of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae near Phigaleia in Arcadia: to which is add a memoir of the systems of proportion employed in the original design of these structures — London, 1860

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Greece. The reason of this want is obvious. Scarcely had a quarter of a century passed by after the closing
scene of the Persian wars, in which iEgina had played so distinguished a part, when her political existence may
be said to have ceased. The general cultivation of literature, which in other states had followed on the collection
of the Homeric poems by the enlightened tyrant Pisistratus, took root less deeply, or at least flourished less
conspicuously, among the iEginetans, as an essentially commercial and manufacturing people, than among the
inhabitants of Athens, whose pursuits were so much more diversified. The fact is, that her prosperity had fallen
into a sudden and unmerited obscurity. The glories of iEgina, therefore, are for the most part unrecorded alike
by contemporary and by subsequent historians. It should be remembered, too, that the all-engrossing history of
that struggle of the Ionian and Dorian races which is known to us under the name of the Peloponnesian war, has
come down to us only in the narratives of Athenian writers, who were the bitter enemies of vEgina, and who,
therefore, if they had the occasion, had no inclination to expatiate on her merits. As a nation, too, who had
already seen her best days, and was fairly on the decline, JEgina was scarcely of sufficient importance to attract
much notice. The comparative paucity of historical notices relative to JSgina need not, however, diminish the
interest attached to her history, or lessen the important inferences to be drawn from them, when we reflect how
scanty are the records of some of the greatest nations of antiquity, such as Carthage, Phoenicia, the cities of
Etruria, and even Egypt. Their rulers and heroes have nourished and decayed, leaving but a name too often
stained with avarice or blood, unredeemed by prizes gained at the Olympic games, or by contributions to the fine
and useful arts, entitling them, like iEgina, to the gratitude of posterity.

Still, amid the obscurity in which time and prejudice have contrived to veil her history, enough has been
discovered to show that long before the legislation of Solon at Athens, this little island was in possession of laws
and institutions far more liberal and enlightened than those of her rivals and contemporaries, and singularly
calculated to promote her commercial prosperity as a people, and the individual distinction of her citizens. These
circumstances, it may be said without fear of contradiction, made iEgina conspicuous in early times in developing
the genius of the Hellenic race, which subsequently attained its highest perfection under the influence of Athenian
ascendancy, and has permanently secured the admiration of mankind.

It is not, however, intended to dilate on the history of iEgina, or to give more than such a short notice of its
external features and of its character in past ages, as will be necessary to illustrate a work on its antiquities.
The sympathy which an Englishman cannot but feel with iEgina, equally conspicuous in the arts of peace and
war, and in the Olympic games, and the busy mart of Grecian industry, induces us to cite here some of the
more important events of her history, and to give such a brief notice of the external features of the island as may
enable the reader to follow the author through these pages. The circumference of the island, according to Strabo,
is 180 stadia (about 22^- miles). He adds, " The city, which bears the same name as the island itself, is on the
south-west side.* iEgina is surrounded by Attica, Megaris, and the parts of Peloponnesus towards Epidaurus :
it lies about 100 stadia distant from each ; its eastern and western sides are washed by the Cretan and Myrtoan
seas. There are many islands which lie between it and the continent, but towards the open sea, Belbina only.
Its land possesses a deep soil, but strong upon the surface, particularly in the plains : hence it is generally bare
of trees, though tolerably productive of barley. It was originally called iEnone." Pausanias f observes that " the
numerous rocks and shallows by which JSgina is surrounded, rendered it difficult and hazardous of approach ; "
and so much was this the case, that these rocks and shallows were ascribed by the poetic and patriotic feelings of
the natives to the hero iEacus, who devised them as a protection against the assaults of pirates and other
enemies. It may be observed that Colonel Leake, in his " Travels in the Morea," % quotes the extract from
Strabo given above, and adds that the ancient geographer " has described iEgina with his usual elegance of
expression, and with an accuracy for which he is not so often remarkable." He adds, " Like the majority of the
islands of the ^Egean sea, iEgina preserves its ancient name unaltered. § Its western half consists of a stony
plain, well cultivated with corn. The remainder is mountainous, and may be divided into two parts—a very
remarkable hill, now called Oros,|| which occupies all the southern extremity, and the ridge of Panhellenium
on the north-eastern side. Between the latter and the plain there are some narrow cultivated slopes, lying
amidst a cluster of irregular hills." The accuracy of the description given by Strabo and by Leake is sufficiently

* This is scarcely true. The city of iEgina stood near the nwth-v?est of the island ; but it had a south-western aspect, as will be seen
by a reference to the map at the head of this chapter.
t Book ii. ch. 29.
{ Vol. ii. 431 etseqq.

§ In pronunciation, Colonel Leake means ; it is written Eghina.
|| To "Opoj, scil. the mountain.
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