Page images

dealt Damoxenos one on the head, the had to reside together in a public latter told him to hold up his hand, building, and undergo strict training and then drove his fingers right into in all the details of their business, in Kreugas, beneath the ribs, and pulled which they were assisted by heralds, out his entrails. Kreugas of course trumpeters, stewards, &c. Their office died on the spot, but was crowned as was looked upon as of much dignity victor, on the ground that Damoxenos and importance. had broken his agreement of striking When the great day came, they sat one blow in turn, by striking him with in purple robes in the semicircular end five separate fingers ! But this curious of the race-course-a piece of splendour decision was only one of many in which which the modern Greeks imitate by a boxing competitor was disqualified dressing the judges of the new Olympic for having fought with the intention games in full evening dress and white of maiming his antagonist.

kid gloves. The effect even now with Little need be added about the pan. neatly-clothed candidates is striking kration, which combined boxing and enough; what must it have been when wrestling, and permitted every sort of a row of judges in purple looked on physical violence except biting. In solemnly at a pair of men dressed this contest a mere fall did not end in oil and dust,-i.e. in mudthe affair, as was usual in wrestling, wrestling or rolling upon the ground. but the conflict was always carried on the crowd cheered and shouted as it on the ground, and often ended in one now does. Pausanias mentions a numof the combatants being actually ber of cases where they disqualified choked, or having his fingers and toes competitors for unfairness, and in broken. One man, Arrachion, at the most of them the man's city took up last gasp, broke his adversary's toe, the quarrel, which became quite à and made him give in, at the moment public matter; but at the time the that he was dying of strangulation decision was final, nor do I remember Such contests were not to the credit a case where it was afterwards reeither of the humanity, or of the good versed. They were also obliged to taste of the Greeks, and would not be exact beforehand from each candidate tolerated, even in the lowest of our an oath that he was of pure Hellenic prize rings.

descent, that he had not taken, or I propose now to conclude the would not take, any unfair advantage, present sketch by giving some account and that he had spent ten months in of the general management of the strict training. This last rule I do prize meetings.

not believe. It is absurd in itself, There was no want of excitement and is contradicted by such anecdotes and of circumstance about them. In as that of the sturdy ploughboy quoted the case of the four great ones there above, and still more directly by the was even a public truce proclaimed, remark of Philostratos (Tyuv. 38), who and the competitors were guaranteed ridicules any inquiry into the morals a safe journey to visit them, and to or training of an athlete by the return to their homes. The umpires judges. Its only meaning could have at the Olympic games were chosen ten been to exclude random candidates, if months before at Elis, and seem to the number was excessive, and in late have numbered one for each clan, varying through Greek history from The first case of cheating was said to have two to twelve, but finally fixed at ten.

taken place in the 98th 01. (388 B.C.), when

the Thessalian Eupolos was convicted of They were called both here and at the

bribing the three boxers opposed to him, one other great games 'Ellavodikai, judges of whom had won at the previous meeting. of the Hellenes, thus recognising their Such crimes were commemorated by bronze national character. Three judged the

figures of Zeus (called Zaves at Elis), which

were made out of the fines inflicted, and had pentathlon, three the horse races, and inscriptions warning all athletes of the dangers the rest for the other games. They and the disgrace of cheating.

days some such regulation may have tests, the Greeks contrived, as usual, subsisted, but I do not accept it for the to raise very common things to a great good classical days. There is a case national manifestation of culture which of a boy being rejected for looking too we cannot hope to equal. young and weak, and winning in the For common they were, and very next Olympiad among the men. But human, in the strictest sense. Dryin another case the disqualified com- asdust scholars would have us believe petitor (for unfairness) went mad with that the odes of Pindar give a disappointment. Aristotle notes that complete picture of these games, as it was the rarest possible occurrence if all the booths about the course had for a boy champion to turn out suc- not been filled with idlers, pleasurecessful among the full-grown athletes, mongers, and the scum of Greek society. but Pausanias seems to contradict him, Tumbling, thimble-rigging, and fora fair number of cases being cited tune-telling, along with love-making among the selection which he makes and trading, made Olympia a scene not

There is yet one unpleasant feature unlike the Derby. When the drinkto be noted, which has disappeared ing parties of young men began in the from our sports. Several allusions evening, there may even have been a make it plain that the vanquished, soupçon of Donnybrook Fair about even vanquished boys, were regarded it, but that the committee of manageas fit subjects for jibe and ridicule, ment were probably strict in their and that they sneaked home by lanes discipline. From the Isthmian games and back ways. When the most ideal the successful athletes, with their account which we have of the games training over, retired, as most athletes gives us this information, we cannot do, to the relaxation afforded by city hesitate to accept it as probably a amusements. Che can imagine how prominent feature, which is, moreover, amply Corinth provided for the outthoroughly consistent with the charac burst of literty after the long and ter of the old Greeks as I conceive it.' arduous subjection of physical training.

The general conclusion to which all But all these things are perhaps these details lead us is this, that with justly forgotten, and it is ungrateful all the care and with all the pomp to revive them from oblivion. The expended on Greek athletic meetings, dust and dross of human conflict, the despite the exaggerated fame attained blood and the gall, the pain and the by victors, and the solid rewards both revenge- all this was laid aside like of money and of privileges accorded the athlete's dress, and could not hide them by their grateful country, the the glory of his naked strength and results attained physically seem to his iron endurance. The idleness and have been inferior to those of English vanity of human admiration have athletes. There was moreover an vanished with the motley crowd, and element of brutality in them, which is have left us free to study the deeper very shocking to modern ideas, and not beauty of human vigour with the all the ideal splendour of Pindar's sculptor, and the spiritual secrets of praises, or of Pythagoras' art can raise its hereditary origin with the poet. the Greek pankratiast as an athlete Thus Greek gymnastic, with all its much above the level of a modern defects, perhaps even with its abprize-fighter. But nevertheless by the surdities, has done what has never aid of their monumental statues, their been even the dream of its modern splendid lyric poetry, and the many sister; it stimulated the greatest literary and musical contests which artists and the highest intellects in were combined with gymnastic con society, and through them ennobled · The reader will find some illustrations of

and purified public taste and public it in my Social Greece, p. 96.





THE world has seen many republics, as an impossibility, and existence in ease various in their constitutions as in their and comfort difficult. It is therefore eras of existence and their situations, little to be wondered at that there but it is to be doubted whether it ever sprang up in the breasts of these unbeheld a self-governing community so fortunates an insatiable craving for unique in itself, or so unconventional freedom and a steady hatred of all in its history, as the South African rule. Generation after generation this Republic beyond the Vaal River. feeling grew stronger, till it became an In order to understand its present ingrained and radical part of their position, it is necessary to enter briefly natures, and, as will be seen, is still into the causes which have led to that one of their leading characteristics. position, and to give some short account This strong aversion to control, of the history of its inhabitants, the springing from the circumstances of Dutch Boers.)

a dreary past, has been the leading When, 240 years ago, Dutchmen difficulty with which the English Gofirst took up their abode in the Cape vernment has had to contend since its Colony proper, they were remarkable capture of the Cape a century ago. as individuals of a people second to This feeling has been the secret source none in spirit, daring, and commercial from which has sprung the roving enterprise. These good qualities can, spirit of the Boers, a roving which, however, hardly be said to have been were the real truth spoken, has for its fostered during the first 150 years of object the escape from authority howtheir sojourn in their adopted home. ever light, and from restraint however

The tale of the Dutch rule at the imperceptible. Thus the Dutch hated Cape is but a wearisome repetition of the rule of the Company because it repression and extortion on the part of was tyrannical, and when the English the government, and murmuring and Government became their masters it misery on the part of the governed. accorded well with their natures to The purpose for which the Dutch East hate that too, because it was foreign. India Company originally colonised the They gladly, however, availed themCape was purely a selfish one, and gain selves of the comparative liberty it its sole object. The Cape formed a allowed them to put great tracts of convenient victualing-place for their country between themselves and its Indian vessels, and so long as it control, and as the years rolled on, this answered this purpose, the welfare of sturdy race, cut off by the exigences the colonists was a matter of the most of its position from communication secondary importance. The condition with the outer world, and left to find of these men was indeed wretched within itself all that is brought about They might not buy except from the by the interchange and intercourse of government at a fixed high price, nor nations, developed traits that in time sell except to the government at a became marked characteristics, and fixed low price; they might not trade showed itself to be foremost among till the government had done trading, the peculiar peoples of the world. nor come and go without its express Dotted here and there over the vast permission. On all sides they were extent of the Cape Colony, they formed shackled by rules and regulations themselves into small clans, over which which made the attainment of wealth the head of the family exercised a

1 Pronounced very nearly like “boors.” species of patriarchal rule. They did

not, however, live together, but stretched themselves over large tracts of country, each member of the family occupying a farm from 6,000 to 20,000 acres in extent. Their farming, like that of the patriarchs of old, was, and still is, almost purely pastoral, the richer among them owning many thousand head of cattle.

But this people afford a striking proof of the theory that the possession of huge extents of land does not induce a corresponding love of the soil, but tends rather to foster a wandering and nomadic spirit. Thus these Dutch Boers would on the slightest pretext, such as a season's drought or the increase of population in their neighbourhood, gather their family and herds together and trek away to regions more congenially wild, preferring to face the ills they knew not of rather than those they knew, however slight. Yet these strange men possessed in many cases minds and qualities far superior to what their shrinking hatred of civilization would lead the observer to suppose.

Take the average Dutch Boer as he stands to welcome you to his house, with his Frau and numerous children grouped around him. You see an awkward-looking man, of large stature, and somewhat heavy, obstinate face, which is lit with a broad and kindly smile of greeting. His home, it is true, is not over clean, nor are his habits over nice, but his hospitality is most hearty, and the best he has is at your disposal. You will find him intensely religious, believing his Bible down to the very pictures, and obeying his“ reverend pastor” without scruple; and you will also find him intensely prejudiced against everything modern and civilized. Rising and resting with the sun, a wholesome liver and a small consumer of spirits, his strength is great and his life long. Save an occasional visit to a town to buy ammunition and clothing, he mixes but little with his kind. Nations and powers may rise or fall, he knows it not, and would scarcely deign to give

his attention to anything so far off and so frivolous. The roar of the great world scarcely reaches him in his solitudes, and provided he could still obtain his powder and his coffee, it might, for aught he cares, cease for ever. Thus the Dutch Boer passes a wild and free existence, far removed from the hot life of men, in which the lapse of time is marked by the year when he was called out on such a commando to fight the frontier Kafirs, or by his having treked to a new district, and finally by the date when, getting old, he applied himself to the manufacture of that coffin you see suspended from the rafters. Such was the South African Boer forty years ago, and in the interval he may have modified, but he has not changed.

It will be easily understood that such a mode of life and of thought has not been conducive to the ready acceptance of and obedience to regulations and laws, which, though framed with good intentions and based on great principles, pressed with some severity on the persons interested.

The English rule, besides being the rule of a conquering race, was of too progressive a nature ever to be very popular with the conservative Cape Boers ; still it was tolerated, till a series of untoward events made it so odious to them that many of them decided to risk extinction at the hands of the savage native tribes beyond their borders, rather than remain subjects of the British Government.

The measures which finally induced the Boers to take this step were all connected with the relations which existed between themselves and the various coloured races with whom they had to do. The Boer, though a kindlyhearted man, has never been able to realise the truth of the missionary's motto, “ All men are brothers." He considers that the black man ought to work as well as himself, and what is more, he considers that he ought to work for him. Therefore he was unutterably disgusted when persons calling themselves missionaries--some of

whom, it appears, had no right to the along the banks of the Vaal, where name--came and enticed away the they were in time joined by clans yet Hottentot servants, on whom he mainly more numerous, from the Graaf Reinet depended for labour, and established and Albany divisions, under the leaderthem in communities over which they ship of Carl Landman, Jacobus Uys, ruled as a species of chiefs. The Hot and others. In this extraordinary tentots were naturally but too willing exodus the farmers left their homes to enter societies where they could exist and the homes of their ancestors, and with little or no labour, and where the set forth like blindfolded men to price of admission was nothing more carve new fortunes for themselves, than a harmless form they did not they knew not how or whither. understand, called baptism. Thus in For many years they had, like the a few years the Boer farmers were children of Israel, to contend with almost entirely deprived of Hottentot fierce tribes who gave and took no labour, and the country was spotted mercy; for many years their hand was with settlements of thieves and vaga- to be against every man's, and every bonds. Bad as this was, and heavily man's hand against them. To follow as it pressed on the Boer population, them in all their wanderings would be it was as nothing compared to what but to give a sickening repetition of was to follow-the sudden liberation tales of bloodshed, treachery, and of all the slaves on the 1st December, slaughter; but in order to explain and 1838. The liberation took place in account for the feeling, so much wonthe midst of the wheat harvest, which dered at by modern philanthropists, rotted where it stood. By it, very that exists between the Boers and the many persons were ruined, for the natives, it will be necessary to touch money compensation awarded was on some of the events to which it owes utterly inadequate, amounting, when its origin. everything was deducted, to about Shortly after their emigration the forty pounds for a slave worth from Boers elected one Pieter Retief, a one to six hundred pounds.

man of great energy and decision of These measures then, together with character, to the post of Commandantthe violent condemnation of the General. Having formed alliances conduct of the colonists in the Kafir with most of the powerful chiefs, this war of 1834 by Lord Glenelg, restless spirit determined to cross the the then Secretary of State for the Suathlamba, or Drakensberg MounColonies, irritated the minds of the tains, and, together with the clans of Dutch Boers to such an extent, and Uys and Potgieter, to occupy the terricreated an aversion so deep-rooted to tory known as Port Natal. Leaving the English rule, that many of them therefore the main body of the farmers, determined to quit for ever the land now settled in the territories since of their birth, and seek an untram- known as the Orange Sovereignty and melled home in the vast and bar the Transvaal, Retief and his venturebaric territories that stretched away some followers crossed the great mounto the northward unlimited and un- tains, and after an arduous journey claimed. Upon application being made arrived at the Bay of Natal, where to Lieutenant-Governor Stockenstroom, Durban is now situated, in perfect that official was forced to own that he safety. Here he found a small party of knew of no law to prevent any of his English adventurers, who greeted him Majesty's subjects from quitting his and his people with open arms. This dominions. This settled the question. little community was under the nomiTheir doubts thus resolved, a party of some 200 souls, with Hendrick Pot

1 The Vaal is the upper portion of the

Gariep or Orange River. The Transvaal gieter at their head, treked across

territory lies to the north of it, between the Orange River, and advanced slowly 22° and 27° S. Lat., and 27° and 31° E. Long.

« EelmineJätka »