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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

William Davis, A Day in Old Athens

 

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The Peiraeus and the Shipping

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ARISTOTLE

THE GREEK OLD TESTAMENT (SEPTUAGINT)

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Page 2

The "Long Walls" down to the Harbor Town

 

    It is some five miles from the city [of Athens] to the Peiraeus, and the most direct route this time lies down the long avenue laid between the Long Walls, and running almost directly southwest.[1] The ground is quite level. If we could catch glimpses beyond the walls, we would see fields, seared brown perhaps by the summer sun, and here and there a bright-kerchiefed woman gleaning among the wheat stubble. The two walls start from Athens close together and run parallel for some distance, then they gradually diverge so as to embrace within their open angle a large part of the circumference of the Peiraeus. This open space is built up with all kinds of shops, factories, and houses, usually of the less aristocratic kind. In fact, all the noxious sights and odors to be found in Athens seem tenfold multiplied as we approach the Peiraeus.

    The straight highroad is swarming with traffic: clumsy wagons are bringing down marble from the mountains; other wains are headed toward Athens with lumber and bales of foreign wares. Countless donkeys laden with panniers are being flogged along. A great deal of the carrying is done by half-naked sweating porters; for, after all, slave-flesh is almost as cheap as beast-flesh. So by degrees the two walls open away from us: before us now expands the humming port town; we catch the sniff of the salt brine, and see the tangle of spars of the multifarious shipping. Right ahead, however, dominating the whole scene, is a craggy height,—the hill of Munychia, crowned with strong fortifications, and with houses rising terrace above terrace upon its slopes. At the very summit glitters in its white marble and color work the temple of Artemis Munychia, the guardian goddess of the port town and its citadel.[2]

 

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