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of acquaintance the several writers possessed with the grace, force, and precision of their model. Before we enter on the work itself it inay
proper observe, that the author, although sub-librarian to the Royal Library, under thé government of the Bourbons, passes unnoticed a circumstance which we should have thought he would have assiduously drawn forth for public observation. A school was a few years since established at Hecatonesi for the education of the Greek youth, which the Turks, either guided by more humane principles, or too indolent to interpose, left undisturbed. General See bastiani, in the course of his military engagements, heard of this establishment, and in the name of his imperial master, ordered that it should be suppressed! Thus were Christians found to be more hostile to the arts than Maho. metans; and those who recollect the audacious pretensions of Napoleon to the patinage of the liberal sciences in the capital of his dominions, will, by this interference for their discouragement on the native soil of genius, know how to appreciate his sincerity. To render the illusion more complete in Paris, in 1815, a year after the introduction of the French at Corfu, an institution was formed called the Ionian Academy, respecting which a prospectus was published, dated in the manner of the time-Corcyra, the first year of the 647th Olympiad. Here a Dr. Mavromati was employed to deliver lectures, and prizes in the iron coin of Lacædemon were to be conferred for the best originals, or translations, in the Romaic language.
M. Hase, in his exordium, adverts to the perfection of the original of the modern Greek, and the mortification every scholar must feel at the ruin in which it must now be contemplated. " He seems to wander," says the author,
among the shattered remains of a splendid edifice, the construction of which once excited the admiration of the world, and he is sensible to all the vexation that results from the view of its present abasement by the operation of time, accelerated by the licentiousness of barbarism." We must all lament the corruption of the most perfect idiom by which human thought was ever exhibited; abounding with that richness of expression, melody of cadence, felicity of arrangement, and facility of inversion, which yield an in. finite variety, and a ready adaptation to all the sentiments of the mind, and all the impulses of the passions. The author explains his plan in these terms : « Si l'on pouvoit suivre pas à pas la dégradation du Grec ancien, CRIT. Rev. VOL. IV. Nov. 1816. 3 R
faire voir à quelle époque précise, à la suite de quelles événemens telle locution, telle tournure nouvelle s'y est introduite; si l'on pouvoit montrer par quelles marches les expressions modernes ont peu-àpeu remplacé celles de l'antiquité ; ces considérations offriroient peut-être la méthode la plus sûre de connoître en detail la grande révolution, qui s'est opérée dans les esprits pendant le moyen âge, et a clangé moins encore la face de la Grèce, que celle du monde entier. Les bornes qui me sont prescrites ne me permettent pas de présenter à vos yeux un tableau si vaste. J'essayerai seulement d'indiquer ici, ce que j'aurai occasion de développer dans la suite; et je me bornerai à vous soumettre quelques reflexions sur la nais. sance, les révolutions et le caractère du Grec moderne, ainsi que sur les avantages que
l'on peu retirer de son étude.” 56 If,” he continues, " it were in the nature of things that any language should be preserved from change during a succession of ages, by excluding all admixture with the exotic materials by which it is surrounded, the Greek would deserve a preference for such an exemption : it would be entitled to the privilege assigned to certain streams, by the fancy of the poets, which pass through the ocean without being impregnated with its bitter ingredients and impurities."
“ Au sein furieux d'Amphitrite étonnée,
Que ne corrompt jamais l'amertume des mers." There were circumstances that led to the hope of the long duration of this language in its pristine purity. At the time of the irruption of the barbarians, when the Latin was combined with the Celtic, the Greek was still preserved, and after Constantine had removed the seat of empire to Thrace, it was spoken at the Byzantine Court, throughout the capital, and by the more polished among the people of the provinces; and if it were not employed in its original simplicity, it had at that period undergone no remarkable variation either in the syntax or general construction. It must be admitted, however, even in those early days, that such was not its comparative purity among the inferior classes of society; and perhaps the more a nation is civilized, the more conspicuous is the difference between the language of the upper and lower orders of the same community. The dialect employed by the latter was what the Greek writers, subsequent to the sixth century, have denominated « κοινη, δημάδης, ασλή ιδιωτικη διαλεκτος.”
* The expression in the work is βαλεκτος instead of διαλεκτος, and we have yentured to make the alteration, because, after consulting Ducange and other Glossaries of the modern Greek, we can find no such term as the former. The mistake we are rather inclined to attribute to the printer, and especially as the familiar abridgment of dia, if carelessly made in the ma buscript, very much resembles the beta here used.
During the crusades, foreign and barbarous nations, breaking down the barriers of the empire, penetrated even to the capital, and so far corrupted the language that voluminous glossaries have become necessary to interpret a great number of words, Arabic, Turkish, Sclavonic, Latin, Italian, &c. which have been blended with the Greek. Notwithstanding these occurrences, the original purity was in some degree for a long period preserved at the court, and was taught in the collegiate institutions; so that the last spark was not finally extinguished until the Ottomans descending on Asia and Europe like an impetuous torrent, the blaze of genius finally expired.
The author in the sequel examines into the present state of the modern Greek.
“L'altération que le Grec vulgaire a subie, porte principalement sur la terminaison de quelques noms, et de quelques verbes, qu'il ne sera pas très-aisé de ramener si tôt à leur état primitif. On aura moins de difficulté à remettre en usage les expressions qui se trouvoient dans le Grec ancien, et qui ont été abandonées depuis; il * sera également facile de bannir de la langue beaucoup de mots étrangers que le contact avec les Musulmans, et les Francs y a introduits."
In Brerewood's Inquiries touching the Diversity of Language, &c. (London, 1622), we have pointed out four principal sources of corruption : the mutilation or the abridgment of particular words--the contraction (or compaction as he calls it) of several terms into a single word the confusion in the orthoepy as to vowels and diphthongs and the errors of accentuation : he adds that “the difference is become so great between the present and the ancient Greeke, that their liturgie which is yet read in the ancient Greeke tongue, namely that of Basil on the Sabbaths, and solemne daies, and that of Chrysostome on common daies, is not understood (or but little of it) by the vulgar people." It should be observed, that the publication from which we have made this extract, is dated about 130 years before the time when the restoration of the modern Greek was attempted.
There is a great deal of interesting information on the modern Greek in the Journey through Albania, by Mr.
Hobhouse, * and with numerous specimens in the appendix from Cantemir, Miletius, Miniati, and others; and his account has this advantage, that the information is brought down to the present time, his excursion being in the years 1809 and 1810. Of the Romaic pronunciation he observes, that “no other rule is required than a strict observance of the accents, the presence or absence of which determines what we call the quantity of the syllable in modern Greek.” To prevent confusion, it should be noticed, that the three accents employed have the same power, and are not, of course, therefore to be distinguished from each other in the recital'either of verse or prose. The use of the aspirate, and of the long vowels, is obsolete.
Mr. Hase concludes with shewing the utility of the acquisition of the modern Greek. It is necessary, he says, to all those who visit the early seats of art and science, and to whom the most perfect knowledge of the ancient language would be of little comparative assistance: it is convenient, as the acquaintance with the modern would greatly facilitate the knowledge of the original: through this channel abundant information on the state of the middle ages, the Crusades, the affairs of the people in the South of Europe, the origin of the Turks and Russians, and of the nations on the banks of the Danube and the shores of the Euxine, is to be obtained.
:) The author further explains the benefit that may be de. rived from the perusal of the Greek Fathers, who, in his opinion, have rivalled in eloquence the most distinguished philosopher and orator of aneient times. He mentions the importance of the works in this language on botany, medieine, chemistry,t music, natural history, and mathematics; and distinguishes some of the most eminent writers in these departments, whose works are little known from the ignorance of the language. The Hellenist, he observes, will by this study be enabled to pursue his idquiries, joto the etymology and syntax of the ancient language, and one principal purpose with modern scholars will be readily accomplished by it--the detection of the errors which the
Vide Crit. Rey. Vol. IV of the Fourth Series p64956530; The body of the Greek Chemists, composed by the monks and other learned persons of Alexandria, and continued at Constářtinople after taking of the city, is in the great-libraries of the Vatican, the-Escuriał, Milan, Venice, and
Paris. The, copy of the latter, Mr, Hobhouse şays, was compiled by Theodore Pelican, a monk of Corfu, in: 1478; and he considers it to be as early a specimen of the Romaic as the translation from Boccacio or the Belisarius
derivative bas occasioned in the records from the original, and the more correct restoration of the text. He concludes with pointing out the utility that will be acquired from the same source in the collation of manuscripts; a laborious department, which so largely contributed in the last cens tury to the advancement of literature.
There are some views of the utility of this branch of study which have escaped the observation of the author; and it has been doubted if it would be beneficial at all to transmute the modern into the ancient Greek, and if it be not advisable to cultivate in preference the improvement of the modern in its present form. The Italian differs more from its original than the Romaic, and yet it is thought that the variation is s amply compensated by the new beauties which it acquired in its subsequent refinement.”. Dr. Johnson considered the existing language to be competent to the purposes of life; and that few ideas need be lost to the modern Greek for the want of proper expressions to convey them. It is admitted, that those will despise the tongue as now spoken, who measure it with the ancient; but perhaps the fair way of considering the value of the Romaic is not by comparing it with the Greek, but by ascertaining its use, in the form in which it now.appears, for the common purpose for which all language. is given. The purity of the Romaic is of less consequence than its utiliry and efficacy. It is justly remarked, that the great fault of the present language is not in the structure or idiom, but in the orthoepy, which involving in one dom, mon sound and that the weak sound of the English et not only three of its vowels, but three of its diphthongs to an unpractised ear the comprehension of the-spoken language is extremely difficult. n In whatever way the improvement of the Romaic may be best conducted, we cannot. avoid observing, that to Mr. Hase and the Court of. Louis the project seems less to belong than to this country, since to us has been assigned the protection of the modern Coreyra and its lonian sisterhood. It has been proposed, that from Corfu should be issued a newspaper in the Romaic language, which may be circulated throughout Greece, and the other Turkish dependen, cies, where three millions of these people reside; and certainly such an expedient would contribute much more to the diffusion and umelioration of the tongue, and of the community; than the learned treatises which, with a splen,