TRAVELS IN THESSALY
Larissa. — Olympus. — Tempe. — Magnesia. — Cynocephalæ. — Volo.
Having passed over the Peneus below the influx of the Apidanus, by the ferry of Alif-Aga, as before-mentioned, you enter on a region described by the historians, and chanted by the poets of distant times. The district called Pelasgiotis displays a succession of low cultivated eminences, which confine the course of the waters of
"Enipeus restless, old Apidanus,
On your left the Peneus hastens on to Larissa, between rows of willow and plane. His course winds no longer through gymnasia, and temples, and circuses: still, however, a sovereign, although the sovereign of a desolate land, he enters the offensive quarters of a city in decay which he is eager to forsake, that he may repair to Tempe, the scene of his earliest triumphs. Stripped of its antique splendour, Larissa very early received the benefits of Christian illumination, long before the establishment of its first bishop, who, like its early hero, was named Achilles. Notwithstanding the high privileges of the archiepiscopal and exarchal see of Larissa, the incumbent had for some time been obliged to transfer his residence to Tournovo. The Christians themselves had ceased to be numerous in the town, from the day when the Russian flag
Larissa. — Olympus.
appeared on the coasts of Greece. Defeated at Tchesme, defeated on the Danube, expelled from the Chersonesus Taurica, the Turks discharged their vengeance on the helpless Christinas, murthered the ministers of their religion, destroyed their cathedral dedicated to St. Achilles, the patron of the modern, as his namesake, the son of Thetis, had been of the ancient people of Larissa. But the exarch has lately been restored to his flock, since Veli Pasha, the son of Aly, has "bruised the haughty head of the Janissaries;" substituting regular government instead of the capricious domination of a ferocious but dastardly soldiery, formidable now no longer to any but to the Sultans.
Like all other towns of Turkey, Larissa exhibits a few spacious dwellings, lost in a confused assemblage of huts and hovels. Instead of squares and market-places, you find only void spaces, filled with rubbish and filth, or with stagnating pools; and the bazaars, once so celebrated, every day decline in reputation. Yet no town can he more desirably situated for the promotion of industry, and for the happiness of its inhabitants. Placed under the most favourable climate; the oppressive heats, tempered by the northern breeze from Mount Olympus; skreened from the sea-winds by Ossa and Pelion; environed by gentle hills, abounding in the most valuable vegetable productions; washed by a noble stream susceptible, with a little pains, of navigation for a great part of the year; the capital of Thessaly might speedily become the centre of industry and prosperity to a spacious circle around it. But no! under the capricious rule of ignorance and tyranny no city, no nation, can long maintain its existence.
Nothing can be more erroneous than to assert, as has been done, that Mount Olympus of Thessaly equals the Alps in elevation: the single fact that every year the snow entirely disappears from its highest summits, is enough to disprove that assertion. Of its real height I know what is stated by Plutarch, that Xenagoras estimated it at ten stades and one plethrum, wanting four feet. This would give a height of 960 French toises, equal to 1,028 fathoms, or 6,139 feet English; not nearly one-half of the height of Mont Blanc. This much, however, I can safely say, that when I was on the summit of Pindus, Olympus appeared lower than Mavronoros. Now Pindus itself is only one of the second class of European mountains; Olympus, therefore, and Parnassus, which are but dependants on Pindus, must be ranked in the third class. That this is correct is particularly striking when you pass over the Peneus at Larissa, and proceed northwards to Tournovo and the valley of the Titaresius. There you see none of those
tremendous precipices, none of those bounding falls of water, none of those ungovernable torrents, which characterize the approaches of the Alps.
Heaving mentioned Tournovo, it is necessary to remark that matters there are greatly changed since the time when the sagacious English traveller Edward Brown traversed the country in 1666. Even since 1810, wars, pestilence, and oppression, have brought Tournovo and other places round Larissa nearly to ruin. One circumstance, however, subsists in its pristine state. By their hale robust figures and complexion the Titaresians of the valley are instantly recognised among the livid inhabitants of the feverish plains on the south bank of the Peneus: a remark made by Brown, in his time, when affairs were more favourable.
From Larissa to Tempe the road leads eastward, over a level country, laid out in plantations of cotton, vines, tobacco, and maize. The Peneus, sweeping round northwards from Larissa, is not seen for a space of five miles. Having turned several funerary tumuli, or barrows, you come to the lake Nezero, formerly Nesson. This lake, or rather marsh, is traversed by an elevated stone causey, pierced through with arches; and as the water is only an accumulation of the overflowings of the Peneus, the whole may, in dry seasons, when the river keeps within its banks, be brought into cultivation. On the neighbouring hills are seen a number of farms and villas belonging to the beys or gentry of Larissa. Having passed a hill rising to the north-east, you enter that part of Tempe now called Saratzlar. A little farther on, on the right, and on the ascent of Mount Kissovo (the mountain of Ivy, formerly Ossa) are seen fragments of walls; and opposite to them, on the left bank of the Peneus, are other similar ruins, supposed to belong to Phalanna, as those on the right belong to Mopsius. From these ruins, on to the bridge of Baba, is a distance of a league and a half. The verge between the Peneus and the base of Olympus is very narrow, and about the middle you discover in a hollow the chapel of St. Veneranda, or the most venerable and holy, a title by which the Greeks intended to denote the Holy Spirit. This chapel may have succeeded to the hieron or open temple, where Apollo purified himself after his victory over the unclean serpent Python.
Leaving the heights of Saratzlar you go along the sandy bank of the Peneus, bordered with rose-laurel and agnus-castus, to the spot where Kissovo takes the name of Grammenos. There you are in the narrowest part of the strait, overhung by precipices, frowned with the remains of a fortress,
consisting of double inclosures, framed of dry stone, called by the peasants Oro-castron, or the mountain castle. On the face of the rock is this inscription in Roman capitals — Cassius Longinus Pro Cos. Tempe munivit. This might, indeed, be the Longinus who served with Cæsar in Thessaly against Pompey; but if the reparations of the road down the bank of the Peneus were performed by him, it must have been long after the battle of Pharsalus.
The Oro-castron I am inclined to consider as the representative of Gonnus, a place distant 160 stades, or twenty Roman, equal to eighteen English miles; the distance from Larissa to the bridge of Baba. At that bridge ends the district of Larissa, and begins that of Olympus; of which village, half-a-league from Baba, in a gorge of Mount Olympus, the people now labour the fields of the ancient Cranon. Four miles eastward, on the other side of the Peneus, is Pourla-cato, and a league in the same way to the northward, is Pourla-apano, near which is a lake, Mavri-limni, having on its banks the village Nezero; which has often been confounded with the proper lake of Nesson near Larissa. A league to the northward is Arapchani, chief place of the district of Olympus, inhabited by 700 Christian families, who possess a Greek school founded above seventy years ago by Dionysius bishop of Platamona, the last town belonging to the vale of Tempe, situated on the shore of the Thermaic gulf or bay of Thessalonica. The places of this district, on the way to Thessalonica, are the following. At the distance of two hours from Arapchani is Caria, distant an hour from the sea; an hour northeast Negani, near to a bridge over the Sphetili-sou, or the Mylis: two hours farther Caterin, chief place of a district containing 5,000 inhabitants: seven hours north-east, the bridge of Arapli on the Haliacmon; from which to the Vardar, or Axius, six hours.
The great plain in the centre of Thessaly is separated from the Thermaic Gulf by a range of mountains and hills, extending from Ossa on the north-west, to the extremity of Pelion on the south-east. This country, called Magnesia, is in length eighteen leagues, from the mouth of the Peneus to Cape Sepias, now Cape St. George. From Pelion, the chain of hills turns westward to unite with the steep range of Othrys or Goura, which stretches on to Mount Agrapha, and thence to Pindus. By these successive ranges, the interior plain of Thessaly would, were Tempe to be blocked up, as Xerxes threatened to do, become a spacious inland sea, deep and inclosed on all sides by mountainous shores.
Magnesia and its mountains possessed, according to tradi-
tion, the first inhabitants of Thessaly; and it is on the steep sides of the Magnesian mountains, that the greater number of the most ancient fortifications or inclosures are found. Oro-castron, Mopsius, and Phalanna, are examples of such Cyclopian constructions.
When, however, we descend from the mountains to the Thessalonic shore, ancient geography points out to us but two or three places worthy of notice. At the same time, we read of numerous Pelasgian tribes ranged round the Pagasetic bay and the lake of Boebis, and in the vallies of Pelion. From the sides of Pelion were procured the timbers to construct the famous ship Argos, which, first from the port of Iolcos, introduced men to the new empire of the seas: an event deplored, as poets tell us, in the golden age of society, but an event to which Greece and her poets were indebted for their civilization and skill. Antiquity thus represents the sea-coast only of these countries as inhabited, while the mountainous regions were in their natural state: and had it not been for the incursions of rude strangers, the heights of Kissovo or Ossa would probably have long been visited by the wandering shepherds alone. But since the several revolutions which have overturned Greece, within those heights have been formed settlements not less worthy of notice for the Christian profession, than for the industrious and polished habits of the inhabitants. Among the Christians of the country, this district is styled Agia, the holy: but in the records of government in Constantinople, Jenidgé-Fener. On the north it is bounded by the river Peneus and Tempe; on the west, by the district of Phener or Larissa; by the district of Thaumaco, on Mount Othrys, to the south-west; by that of Volo and Velestina on the south-east; and by the sea on the east. It is subdivided into Kissovo and Dechani, or as it is written Desani..
When you proceed from Larissa eastwards, you pass the Rejani, a stream which falls into the lake or marsh of Nezero, and at the end of an hour come to Capgilar, a village inhabited by thirty industrious Greek families, employed in cultivating a productive tract of land. A league to the south-wesf, and six miles from Larissa, is Sarinichi, a village of forty families, one-fourth Mahometan. Soon afterwards you quit the public road of the caravan for Volo, and enter among the swelling knolls of Magnesia. On the left is Sardilar, a village surrounded by farms, (there called hypostatica,) belonging to the beys or gentlemen of Larissa. From this place, distant a league and-a-half from Capgilar, you arrive in an hour's course eastward at Topouslar, the last hamlet of Jenidgé-Fener. Still advancing through vallies planted with
Alicouli. — Bejani. — Agio.
mulberry-trees, at the end of a league and-a-quarter, you leave on the left Alicouli, a Turkish village, with a teké or convent of dervishes, the richest of all Thessaly, the chief place of the order of Mahometan monks called Bektadgis, a sect whose opinions seem greatly to resemble those of Spinosa, or what is commonly, but absurdly, termed Atheism. The baba or superior of this society, with whom I was well acquainted, whilst he inwardly set a proper value on all the jugglery of his dervishes, over which he presided with all necessary gravity and decorum, had no fault to find with the enormous wealth which their impostures procured for the society. "Constituted as is this world," said he to me one clay, "no man of sense will ever attempt to undeceive ignorant credulity, when ignorance and credulity may be turned to his advantage." Then reasoning on this principle, he compared his convent to a mad-house, in which a number of persons are maintained in ease, idleness, and good cheer, at the expence of other men not in confinement, but still more irrational than those within the walls. The consequence of this system was, that he required absolute submission from his inferiors, and maintained most exemplary propriety of countenance and demeanour, while they were exhibiting their convulsionary gestures and other tricks of quackery, to edify and impose on the deluded mussulmans, and fill the coffers of the convent. In many particulars, these exhibitions recalled to my mind what we read of the extravagant and superstitious practices displayed by the devotees of the celebrated Syrian goddess. The most expert dancers, those dervishes who knocked their breasts the most violently with large stones, who would the longest hold a red-hot iron in their teeth, &c. such were the objects of his kindest caresses: but when he and I were by ourselves, he wanted words to express his contempt and derision of their absurdity. The village, the abode of these fakirs, besides containing 100 well-built houses inhabited by Turks, is encompassed by a number of villas, resorted to by the rich Mahometans of Larissa, who there indulge their indolence and apathy, refreshed by fountains and cool shades, in an atmosphere considered to be the most wholesome of the country.
A quarter of a league south-east from Alicouli, you pass near Bejani, a Greek village, from which flows to the Peneus a river supposed to be the Onochonus, the only stream of Thessaly, according to Herodotus, which was not sufficient to quench the thirst of the army of Xerxes, on his progress through the country. Two miles farther on you enter Agia. This town presenting itself as an Oasis of civilization, in the midst of a desert of barbarism, is inhabited by 800 Christian
families, under the inspection of a bishop. Spacious houses, orchards filled with mulberry and fruit-trees, announce the modern capital of the Magnesians. There, under a delightful climate, in the midst of rich tracts of corn-land, abundantly refreshed by springs and rivulets; there might have lived, as in another Eden, 6,000 persons firmly knit together by the bonds of common religion and common interest. Whilst they were contented with the fruits of the earth and their profits, the people were happy. But the arts appeared among them, and with the arts the thirst of gain. No longer were the silk and the cotton exported to foreign lands in their natural condition: they were spun and dyed in the town. Intercourse was opened with Germany; Greek houses were established in Vienna; and as success attended their enterprises, the Agiotes would be dyers, manufacturers, and merchants. Agriculture was soon neglected; and as the people grew rich in money, they would have dwellings becoming their fortune. From palaces to all other objects of luxury the distance is short, nor did the uncertainty of commercial speculation once enter the heads of the fortunate Agiotes. Failures, sequestrations, law-suits, domestic dissensions, necessarily followed in rapid succession; and the despot of Janina, by the way of arranging matters between the litigants, plundered both parties. The manufactories were deserted; yet no man would return to the plough and the priming-hook. Taxes, services, tolls were imposed by their master: and, in a very little time, the Agiotes came to be no better than the farming lease-holders of their own lands. Notwithstanding its decay, Agia is still one of the most interesting of the Christian towns of Turkey. The river Milolavco, supposed to be the Onchestus mentioned by Polybius, in the account of the battle of Cynoscephalæ, (xviii. 3.) increased by the waters of a thousand springs, fertilises the orchards and gardens of Agia, which extend eastwards to Valti-Revma, an estate of Veli-Pasha, at the distance of a league and-a-half. Two leagues and-a-half toward the northeast is Thanato, another Greek village, belonging to Agia, within four miles of the sea: its territory produces abundance of silk, cotton, corn, and the best wines of the hills of Magnesia. In the same direction, two leagues from Agia, and one from the sea, is Capitcha, and a league north-west from it Selitchani, celebrated for its two monasteries, the object of numerous annual processions of pilgrims. Two miles farther to the north-west is the fountain Hemonia, now called the agiasma or well of St. Nicolas.
The principal place of the region of Kissovo, which comprises tne eastern slopes of Ossa, is Ambelakia, a town of
Spilea. — Mount Ossa. — Dechani, &c.
above 400 Christian families, among whom not more than four or five are now in easy circumstances: for the dye-house and manufactories are no more. Still, however, subsist abundance of refreshing springs of water and a pure air; we must not, therefore, yield unlimited belief to all the embellishments of Ambelakia, introduced by the Jew Bartholdi, in his travels through certain parts of Greece. He speaks of the opulence of the place, of their theatre, and of the enchanting mien of the timid nymphs of the country. Those robust Thessalian dames, loaded with coarse stuffs of their own wool, may be seen, not escaping from the eye of the stranger, but carrying ponderous loads on their shoulders, and subjected to the hardest labours of the field. A league north from the mild settlement of Ambelakia, you come to Spilea, (the caverns) mentioned in the travels of Anacharsis, chap. xxxv., an Albanian village, employed in pastoral occupations; and there begin the rugged slopes of Mount Ossa, the head-quarters of those bands of robbers and plunderers who but too frequently lay Thessaly under contribution. Two leagues north-east from Ambelakia, are Laspochori and a number of villages, of which the people are engaged in the coasting-trade. The only ports on this part of the coast mentioned in history, were Eurymenæ and Rhizus. An hour south, from Laspochori, is Tchaitzi, the port of Ambelakia, and two hours and a-quarter south-east, along the coast, is Caritza. At Conomico, an hour and a-quarter farther on, are found heaps of ruins. The southern portion of the district of Agia contains Dechani, already mentioned, where Veil Pasha has built a villa, adorned with an artificial lake, supplied by the waters of the Onchestus; this excavation has been executed that he may be reminded of the lake of Janina, the delight of his infancy when living with his father Aly, which neither time nor affairs have made him forget. Leaving Dechani, you enter on the famous Dotian plain, that place itself having succeeded to the antique Dotius. In the plain are Dogak-keu, a mile southeast from Dechani; and Kelmeli, an hour east; between these two places runs the Milo-Lavcos, which falls into the lake Boebeis, now called Carlas. The peasants of this country, and those of Mount Pelion, have preserved a sort of fierce courage, which leads them often to engage in the piratical adventures of the people of Trikeri, at the entrance of the gulf of Volo; others, impatient of all restraint, pass over to Asia Minor, where, in the country of Pergamus, they find scope for their industry. The greater number of the people, however, attached to their natal soil, ardently wish for the moderation of a protecting government, which their long endurance
of oppression, equally with the true interest of their rulers, powerfully demands.
The road from Larissa to Volo, which we quitted in turning eastward from Agia, runs south-easterwardly, from Sarinichi before-mentioned, for four miles. At that distance the low-hills and slopes exhibit, at intervals, some naked rocks, of which the form may have given rise to the denomination Cynoscephalæ (dog's heads.) For the space of two leagues these ranges of projecting stones may be traced, together with several knolls, verdant or overrun with brush-wood. This tract of broken uneven ground continues as far as Hadji-Bachi, distant six miles from Agia. Two leagues farther on you have a view of Kiolelan. Toe extreme point of the hollow of Thessaly, in that direction, is at Petra, a Turkish village, distant nine leagues from Larissa.
Such is the western boundary of Magnesia, the theatre of one of those memorable actions by which the ambition of the Romans, aided by the selfishness of the Greeks, gave a mortal blow to the power of Philip of Macedonia, the last support of a country torn in pieces by violent and factious animosities. In beholding this country we can conceive the various operations of T. Q. Flamininus, who, after he, by a stratagem, bad dislodged Philip from the Strait of the Aous, and had himself met with a check on the Atrax, (the river of Micro-Tzigoto,) returned to the field to bring the contest to an end. On the other hand Philip, without waiting till the rains of autumn were gone past, possessed himself of the sloping hills of Magnesia. Flamininus, on the news of Philip's appearance in the country, quitted his quarters in Phocis, drew together his Greek auxiliaries, and moved northward into Thessaly. Both commanders prepared their troops for a decisive engagement, by animating harangues, by able movements in the field, and by judicious choice of ground for encamping and posting their armies. At one time Flamininus seemed ready for offensive operations, at another he affected to retreat. At last, after many stratagems on both sides, the memorable battle of Cynoscephalæ ended in the defeat and route of the Macedonians. Philip vanquished, withdrew to Tempe, where, collecting the wreck of his army, he stipulated for a treaty of peace, capable of still supporting the mighty throne of Alexander: but the Greeks were blinded by personal animosities and partial jealousies, against a just view of their true interests. Such was the result of the battle of Cynoscephalæ, fought in the 3d year of the 145th Olympiad, or the 657th year of Rome, nearly 200 years before the Christian era; and so instructively described for the military man by Polybius, in his 18th book.
Lake Boebeis. — Velestina. — Mount Pelion. — Volo, &c.
To the eastward of this classic ground we find the lake Boebeis, and the valley still called Lamia, where the rich inhabitants of Macrinitza have their villas and farms. Velestina, near that lake, will remind the stranger of Pheræ, the darling abode of Apollo; when exiled from Olympus he tended the sheep of Admetus. Still might the love to wander on the banks and promontories of the lake of Carlas, clothed with rose-laurel, myrtle, and shady groves. In the distance rises up Mount Pelionf, amous for its noble forests, inclosing with its elevated ridges the lake of Carlas, and the bay of Volo. There Thetis proffers every encouragement to the descendants of the Argonauts, to render themselves a blessing instead of a pestilence to the seas.
Volo, considered to be the successor of the antique Pagasæ, is the principal place of that country, comprehending twenty-four villages and towns, wholly inhabited by Greeks. Its trade, once very considerable, is now reduced to the exportation of a few bales of raw silk and some cargoes of corn, usually carried to Spain by the mariners of Hydra.
The territory of Volo comprehends but two-thirds of the internal bay, or Pagasitic gulf, embraced by branches of Pelion. On the south-west lies Armyros, distant four hours, five hours south-east from Velestina, and seven hours northeast from Zeitoun. The town is situated on a river, which falls into that part of the bay of Volo which is named from Armyros. It contains three hundred families, Greek and Turkish. From Armyros the distance is four hours journey to Thaumako, five hours to Valestina, and three and a quarter to Goûra, which now gives its name to the ancient Mount Othrys. The district of Armyros contains twenty villages, situated in the ralley of the Amphryssus, where once flourished Thebes the fabulous, and the towns named Alos, in the vicinity of the plain of Crocius, still retaining the similar names of Crocos and Cocos, of which Platanos is the principal place. Platanos is situated an hour and-a-half south-east from Armyros, an hour up from the sea, and six hours from Volo.
Of Thaumako, on the summit of Othrys, from which the plain of Thessaly appears like an expanse of the sea, I say nothing; and here I terminate my topographical remarks on that quarter of Greece. Deeply, indeed, should I regret the loss of many other observations, did I not know that Mr. Dodwell, whose work is now publishing in London, would complete the description of those parts of the continent of Greece which are not comprehended within the compass of my tours. Thus, without any correspondence, without any understanding with
one another; for I first met with that traveller in Paris; two sons
of France and England will have the satisfaction of accomplishing an enterprize,
new in science, by exhibiting the topography of the classic land of Greece,
as it now appears in its modern state.
Having thus traversed the most interesting portion of Thessaly, it is impossible to retire from such a country without drawing together some general observations on the character of its inhabitants, as they are represented in the writings of antiquity, and as they now present themselves to the European stranger.
The primitive inhabitants of Thessaly are by mythologists represented as a people breathing only war, plunder, and devastation. The Lapithæ and the Centaurs had brought under command the generous coursers of their plains, to accompany and aid them in warlike expeditions. Monicles, whose powerful arm braised the rocks; Pholo, who boasted of having been the host of the great Alcides; Nessus, whom that hero pierced with his arrows; such are the personages to whom are ascribed the Cyclopian structures, still to be found among the mountains, formed at a period anterior to the memorable event which disclosed to human habitation the bason of Thessaly. When the new plains were unfolded before the eyes of men, till then confined to the encompassing mountains, new ideas were suggested; new modes of life were adopted. Jason and Achilles may have retained some share of the qualities of the primitive heroes; but the Thessalians of the plain must have acquired others of a very different nature. Contented with the treasures poured forth by the bountiful hand of nature, they relinquished the labours of the chase; they disdained the pursuits of the soldier and the robber. By attending to the changes thus superinduced in the character of the people, may be understood and reconciled the conflicting testimonies of antiquity relative to the Thessalians. Thamyris, Orpheus, Linus, were the bards of heroic times: but after the revolution in the natural state of the country, Thessaly had no votary of the muses to record her story. We bear, indeed, of Thessalian horsemen and bowmen; but they were the men of the mountains, still valiant and warlike; not of the plains. How otherwise are we to comprehend the description given by Posidonius of the people of Larissa and the banks of the Peneus? Like the chivalrous heroes of Tassoni, in his rape of the Bucket: —
Character of the Thessalians and Magnesians, &c.
"Armed they are wilh swords, the prey of rust,Another writer exhibits the Thessalians as employing their whole time in sport and play; and as more occupied in devising how to live in abundance and joy, than how to live in usefulness and reputation. The people of Pharsalus, above all, are taxed with indolence and licentiousness. The extravagance of the table was carried so far that a Thessalian dish came to denote one of no common magnitude and delicacy. The high reputation of the sorceresses of Thessaly, and the general object of their enchantments, sufficiently indicate the state of public morals and spirit. Hence may we conceive why the people of that country betrayed the sacred cause of Greece; why they proffered their aid to Xerxes, whose oriental splendour and luxury was more congenial to their own pursuits than were the enduring charms of liberty and patriotism.
The spreading cap the head shields from the sun;
Nor dares the wind the puny face assail.
Loaded with food and wine, behind them goes
A train of peaceful beasts; the gentle reed
Soothes, while it occupies their idler hours."
Many a century has now passed away since these facts were recorded in history: still the lapse of ages has introduced no sensible change in the character of the Thessalians. Brave and timid, enterprising and effeminate, active and indolent, they exhibit, as in days of yore, two races of people, different in different situations of the country.
The Thessalian of the gulf of Pagasæ or Volo, still braves the waves and the winds, to seize his unlawful prey in the midst of danger. But if his courage be displayed in that nefarious occupation alone, it is because opportunities of exercising his natural talents and taste, in more commendable pursuits, are denied to him.
The Magnesian, less enterprising but brave, forgetting his antique liberty, devotes his attention to useful labour. If the Magnesian at times enlist under the banner of the marauders of Pindus or Othrys, it is more the consequence of.thoughtlessness than of natural inclination. The people of Ambelakia and Agia display before their neighbours examples of industry and order, the only sources of true prosperity. Yet those men were not born for adventurers. Their progenitors, strangers to the occupations of their posterity, loved pleasure and show and elegance, and unfortunately they loved litigation. Hence is confirmed the saying of Plutarch, that, for the Thessalian, no repose exists but in the tomb.
The mild and gentle temper and manners of the inhabitant
of the banks of the Peneus, in the plain, roay doubtless be, in a great measure, ascribed to the climate in which he vegetates. For the rude barbarian Turks of Asia Minor, transplanted to the environs of Trikala, have deposited their original ferocity, and assumed, with the occupations, the temper and manners of the industrious husbandman. Ignorant of the use of arms, strangers to all controversial disputes, they live and associate with the Christians in harmonious fraternity. From some of these simple Mahometans have I heard these expressions. "Why are we not like out oxen and our sheep, to live without care and without sin! And you Christian, what can you want in our fields; old walls and lettered stones? Of what importance is it to you to know which way our rivers bend their course?" With a smile of pity they heard me talk of the Greeks and Romans of former times; but they regarded me with some respect, when I read to them out of Theophrastus, that in his time, as in the present day, the crops of Thessaly were often destroyed by the worm. But the happiness of the Thessalian is not that of uniformity of occupation. Each season brings round its labours, and each change of labour produces a change of enjoyment. In the time of seed-sowing, mounted on their antique cars, they repair to the prepared field. The spring is introduced by festivals and panegyrés or fairs, which attract for business or for pleasure the inhabitants of the surrounding villages. The heats of summer pass away under the cool shade of their hills and woods. The vintage, the cotton-harvest, are seasons of joy and expectation. The winter, in such a climate, invites the Thessalian to the chace. Thus passes round the year for the Thessalian husbandman; and the general regularity of the climate highly favours the unfolding of the faculties of both body and mind, among a race of men who want only a proper system of government to be happy.
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