Greek ladies of Smyrna (Dames grecques de Smyrne) - 1801
Colored lithograph from a drawing by J. G. S. Sauveur, engraved by Mixelle.
Ελληνίδες της Σμύρνης - 1801
Χρωματισμένη λιθογραφία από σχέδιο του J. G. S. Sauveur, χάραξη από τον Mixelle.
Village dances at the outskirts of Constantinople (Danses villageoises aux environs de Constantinople) - 1800~
Watercolor and gouache, 56 x 95 cm.
Χοροί χωρικών στα περίχωρα της Κωνσταντινούπολης - 1800~
Ακουαρέλα και gouache, 56 x 95 εκ.
Griffiths, J.: Travels in Europe, Asia Minor, and Arabia. London, Cadell & Davies, 1805.
The dervishes of Pera, Constantinople, 1800~
Another and more considerable establishment of the same kind may be seen at Pera: their ceremonies are peculiar; and, unlike other Mussulmauns, they allow them to be exhibited in public.
In a small mosque, the centre of which is inclosed by an iron grating, these Dervishes perform that dance, or whirling movement, which has been the frequent subject of observation; and on the day when I attended, three of them persevered, with unremitting vehemence, until they absolutely fell down in all the agony of extreme fatigue, and were borne off by their comrades to the interior of their dwelling.
The ceremony began by a number of the brothers seating themselves in a circle; then a dervish, repeating sentences from the Koran, walked round within the circle, and by degrees increasing his steps, at length whirled with a velocity scarcely credible: four others at this time joined the exercise; and all were equally zealous in their endeavors to support this laborious motion as long as their strength permitted it. In rather less than an hour the three had fallen, and the exercise closed. About fifty Turks attended as visitors, who beheld the exertions of the dervishes with the utmost seriousness and solemnity. - I shall have occasion to mention this subject again when treating of Konieh.
The dervishes of Koniah (Iconium), Asia Minor, 1800~
Their public ceremonies continue for more than three hours; but as no human strength could support such exertions without intervals of repose, they are divided into five scenes.
The first commences by all the brethren rendering respectful homage to their Schaik, who is seated near the Mahareb, with the Koran open before him. Four of the elders advance, one after the other, embrace the Superior, and then place themselves, two on his right and two on his left hand. The other dervishes, in a body, form a procession, the arms crossed, and the head bowed down; each as he passes salutes a tablet, upon which is written the name of their founder, Saïd Ahmed Rufayee, a celebrated and pious Mussulmaun, who died in a wood between Bagdad and Bassorah, in the five hundred and seventy-eighth year of the Hegira. They then place their two hands upon their face and upon their beard: falling upon their knees before the Schaik, they kiss his hand respectfully, and retire, with solemn step, to seat themselves upon sheep-skins, ranged in a half circle in the middle of the hall. As soon as this ceremony is completed by all the brethren, they sing the Tekbeer and Fatihha; which are followed by the Schaik’s crying out, La illahy ill’ Allah! which he repeats incessantly; and to which the dervishes reply Allah! balancing their bodies backwards and forwards all the time, and carrying their hands to their face, breast, belly, and knees. This closes the first part of their ceremony.
The second begins by one of the two oldest dervishes, who were placed at the right hand of the Schaik, singing a hymn in honor of the prophet, which is called Hamd-Mahammedee; and, during this performance, the whole assembly, moving their bodies backwards and forwards only, call out Allah! Allah!
About a quarter of an hour afterwards they all rise, and, pressing close to each other, balance themselves to the right and left, then forwards and backwards; the right foot being fixed, and the left opposed to the alternate motions of the body; observing, all of them, great precision and regularity. Whilst they are thus engaged, some cry out Jahallah! others Jah-Hoo! some sigh and groan; others weep; and all appear, with their eyes shut, under violent agitation.
A temporary suspension of this exercise marks the beginning of the third scene, which is accompanied by an Ilahee, or spiritual song, composed generally in Persian by some Schaik who has died in reputed holiness. This is sung by the second of the elder dervishes, placed on the right hand of the Schaik.
The movements are now continued with more violence; and, lest any relaxation should occur, one of the principal dervishes places himself in the center, and animates them by his example. When any visiting dervish is amongst them, this place of honor is given up to him; and, if more than one, they succeed, and endeavour to outvie each other in the duration as well as violence of their efforts. The Mewlewahs are however excepted, as they never perfom any dance but that which is peculiar to their order; turning upon their heel, and always singly.
Another pause is now necessary to recruit the strength of these visionaries; who begin their fourth scene by taking off their turbans, and forming a circle with their arms round one another’s shoulders. In this manner they march round the hall with a slow step, striking the ground occasionally with the right foot, and sometimes jumping altogether. During this time Ilahees are sung by the two elder dervishes, who are placed on the left hand of the Schaik. The cries and howlings of the performers are increased, as well as their movements; and at the moment they appear to be falling down from weakness and fatigue, the Schaik himself rushes in amongst them, and urges, by his example, the whole company to accelerate their efforts. His age, in general, not allowing him to continue long his exertions, he is replaced by the two oldest of the order, who persevere until all the assembly appear in a manner exhausted; and a few minutes repose is indispensible before the fifth scene can be entered upon.
This is by far the most extraordinary, and cannot be witnessed without a degree of horror. The state of inactivity to which the dancers appeared to be reduced is now changed to one of ecstatic phrenzy, which they call Haleth. It is in the fervor of this religious delirium that they make their trials with red-hot iron.
In a recess in the wall, near the seat of the Schaik, cutlasses, and other sharp-pointed instruments, are suspended. Two of the dervishes, as soon as the fifth scene commences, take down eight or ten of these instruments, and, after making them red-hot, present them to the Superior; who, repeating a few prayers, and invoking Schaik Ahmed Rufayee, the founder, blows upon the heated iron, carries them lightly to his mouth, and then delivers them to those who most vehemently demand them. It is at this instant that these fanatics appear transported with enthusiastic joy; they seize the irons, look upon them with expressive tenderness, lick them with their tongues, bite them repeatedly, and at length extinguish them in their mouths! Those who cannot procure any of the red-hot instruments grasp the cutlasses with fury, and wound themselves in the side, arms or legs.
Indian dancers at Muscat, Oman, 1800~
In the evening, Captain Robinson, desirous of giving me some idea of Asiatic manners and amusements, requested that the agent would procure a set of dancing girls, and make the proper arrangements for a Nautch. I confess that I was by no means delighted with this specimen of Indian grace or agility, and very gladly retired after the first hour with a portion even of disgust. A more intimate acquaintance, however, with the Hindû music, and a comprehension of the various streps adapted to it by the dancing girls of India, many of whom are beautiful, have brought me into the long list of Nautch admirers.
Dodwell, Edward: A classical and topographical tour through Greece, during the years 1801, 1805, and 1806. London, Rodwell & Martin, 1819, 2 vol.
Festival of Saint Prospero, Island of Lessina, Dalmatia, 08/05/1801
The convent of Santa Croce, which stands close to the sea, is a picturesque object. St. Prospero, who lived in the fifteenth century, is the tutelar saint of the island; and his festival was celebrated on the 10th. Our captain remained here purposely to partake of the common joy, as he feared that some misfortune would befal him at sea if he quitted the place on the eve of the solemnity. By sun-rise all the ships in the port were decked out with their colours, and a general cannonading commenced both at sea and on shore. The people were dressed in their smartest attire: the men wear the common Dalmatian costume; that of the women is not elegant; their head-dress is a large straw bonnet, tied under the chin with a white handkerchief. They are fond of long and ponderous ear-rings of gold, which hang down upon their shoulders; and their hair is ornamented with roses, and other sweet-scented flowers. In the afternoon we went to the episcopal church, which contains the relics of the saint; whose bones are enclosed in a sumptuous altar, the front of which being removed, the remains were beheld enveloped in rich and splendid robes. The priests chanted solemn hymns, in honour of the saint, accompanied by the organ; the procession then set out from the church, and was conducted, with much splendour, through the town; and, although composed of few attendants compared with those we had seen at Venice, it was regulated with much more decorum than the processions of that city; the ceremony terminated by enclosing the sacred relics, when the cannons fired, and all the bells in the town were set ringing.
The evening of the same day was passed in festivity; we went to a house to see a dance amongst the country people; - the music was a lyre with only three strings, which was played with a bow, like a violin, and produced few, and unharmonious, sounds. The dance consisted of five or six couple, running slowly round the room, the men turning their partners with great violence.
Cattaro, Montenegro, 1801
Three weeks before our arrival at Cattaro they had had some skirmishes with the Turks, and had brought home several of their heads, which were added to the heap before the bishop’s house. The laws of the Czerna-Goriotes, or Montenegrines, are of disproportionate severity: if credit may be given to the accounts I received, their women are treated little better than slaves, and adultery is generally punished with death, and murder only with a fine ; the former crime is sometimes atoned for by the loss of the nose and ears of the offenders; the fine for murder is two or three hundred ducats for the first offence; something more for the second; and the third time the culprit is shot, his house razed, and all his cattle and property confiscated. After a Montenegrine is buried, all the friends and relations of the deceased assemble, and make merry with dancing, singing, and feasting. They are of the Greek church, their language Illyrian, or Sclavonian; but many of them speak Greek.
Separate circles for women and men at carnival in Galaxidi, Roumeli, 1801
We had the good fortune to arrive here at a period of festivity, when we had an opportunity of seeing the Greeks indulge their natural propensity to mirth, that sometimes glimmers through the dark cloud of oppression which hangs over them, and which cannot be entirely overcome by the accumulated tyranny under which they groan. It was the carnival, and every bosom seemed to beat with one sentiment of joy. All the occupations of busy toil were exchanged for those of exhilarating gaiety. It appeared like a transient interval of sun-shine in a gloomy day. They were determined to enjoy the amusement which their religion permitted, and which even their torpid oppressors did not prevent.
It may be easily supposed that in such a country, the masquerade was not brillant, and that there was little variety in the characters; some wore masks, and others had painted faces; they jumped about, shouting and singing, and at last formed into large circles, one consisting of women, the other of men, and danced the Romaika, or national Greek dance, holding each other by a handkerchief at full length, instead of gloves, which are unknown in these countries. The circles were never broken; and the chief beauty of the dance seemed to consist in jumping heavily, first with one leg, then with the other, and striking the ground violently with the feet. They at first danced slowly, and moved round in a walking pace; but the music becoming by degrees more animated, the dancers acquired a proportionate spirit, and finished with a kind of convulsive velocity of motion; when, being quite exhausted, a new party succeeded, and so the entertainment was continued till the end of the day. The Greeks pride themselves upon their good dancing; and they have a proverb, which they apply to all undertakings, and which signifies, dance well, or not at all, η χορευσετε καλα, η αφητε τον χορον.
The music was of the most discordant and unharmonious kind; consisting only of a large drum, and two loud and shrill pipes: but the novelty of the dresses was to us not only lively and curious, but highly interesting.
Είχαμε την τύχη να φτάσουμε εδώ σε γιορταστική περίοδο, οπότε είχαμε την ευκαιρία να δούμε τους Ελληνες να επιδίδονται στην φυσική τους τάση για διασκέδαση. Αυτή καμιά φορά τρεμοφέγγει ανάμεσα στα μαύρα σύννεφα καταδυνάστευσης που κρέμονται πάνω τους και δεν μπορεί να πνιγεί εντελώς από την πολυσχιδή τυραννία κάτω από την οποία στενάζουν. Ηταν Απόκριες και κάθε καρδιά χτυπούσε με αίσθημα χαράς, κάθε βιοποριστική εργασία αντικαταστάθηκε από απασχόληση έντονης διασκέδασης. Εμοιαζε με παροδικό διάλειμμα ηλιοφάνειας σε μια θλιβερή μέρα. Ηταν αποφασισμένοι να απολαύσουν το ξεφάντωμα που επέτρεπε η θρησκεία τους και που δεν εμπόδιζαν οι καταπιεστές τους.
Εύκολα υποθέτει κανείς ότι σε μια τέτοια χώρα οι μεταμφιέσεις δεν ήταν λαμπρές και ότι υπήρχε λίγη ποικιλία χαρακτήρων. Αλλοι φορούσαν μάσκες κι άλλοι είχαν ζωγραφισμένα πρόσωπα. Πηδούσαν εδώ κι εκεί φωνάζοντας και τραγουδώντας, και τελικά σχημάτισαν δύο μεγάλους κύκλους, έναν ανδρών και άλλον γυναικών, και χόρεψαν την Ρωμέικα, τον εθνικό ελληνικό χορό, κρατώντας ο ένας τον άλλον από τις άκρες ενός μαντιλιού, αντί για γάντια που είναι άγνωστα σ' αυτές τις χώρες. Οι κύκλοι δεν έσπαγαν ποτέ και η κύρια ομορφιά του χορού φαινόταν να συνίσταται στο να πηδάει κανείς βαριά πρώτα στο ένα πόδι και μετά στο άλλο και να χτυπάει έντονα το χώμα με το πόδι του. Αρχικά χόρευαν αργά προχωρώντας γύρω με βήμα βαδίσματος, αλλά καθώς η μουσική γινόταν σταδιακά πιο ζωηρή οι χορευτές αποκτούσαν ανάλογο κέφι και τελείωναν με ένα παραλήρημα ταχύτητας. Οταν η κάθε συντροφιά έφτανε στην εξάντληση, την αντικαθιστούσε μια άλλη κι έτσι η διασκέδαση συνεχίστηκε μέχρι το τέλος της ημέρας. Οι Ελληνες περηφανεύονται για τον καλό χορό τους και έχουν μια παροιμία που εφαρμόζουν σε ό,τι καταπιάνονται: "Η χορεύσετε καλά ή αφήτε τον χορόν".
Η μουσική ήταν ό,τι πιο παράφωνο και ??αναρμονικό γίνεται - είχαν μόνο ένα μεγάλο τύμπανο και δύο δυνατούς και διαπεραστικούς αυλούς. Αλλά η πρωτοτυπία των φορεσιών ήταν για μας όχι μόνο ζωντανή και παράξενη, αλλά και ιδιαίτερα ενδιαφέρουσα.
Village feast by Arnauts (Albanians) in Daulia, Boeotia, 10/03/1801
On the 10th of March the Daulians had a feast, in honour of some saint: a Protopapas came from Distomo, and preached in the ruined chapel, which is in the Acropolis. All the villagers were assembled in their gala dresses, and passed the day in singing, dancing, and eating boiled pulse, mixed with dried currants; which called to mind the Athenian Pyanepsia, which originally consisted in nothing more than boiled pulse, as the words πυανα and εψειν, from which it is derived, evince.
The villagers found me drawing the Acropolis as they were dancing their way up to it, and seemed determined that I should partake of the general merriment: they overwhelmed me with kindness; filling my pockets, my hat, and even my portfolio, with their good things!
Easter festival in Athens, 1801
At Easter the Athenians celebrate a festival and a dance near the temple of Theseus: some thousands of people fill the plain which is between the temple and the Areiopagos: Turks, Greeks, Albanians, and Blacks, were collected in one busy mass, and formed a gay and singular mixture of variegated costumes, the brillant colours of which waved like a field of anemonies agitated by the wind. The beautiful lines of Homer descriptive of the dance made by Vulcan on the shield of Achilles, is so perfect a representation of that performed at the Theseion, that I have inserted it at full length from Pope; whose translation, though far from accurate, is sufficiently near the original to give a just idea of this splendid scene: -
“A figur’d dance succeeds; such once was seen
In lofty Gnossus, for the Cretan queen,
Form’d by Daedalean art: a comely band
Of youths and maidens, bounding hand in hand;
The maids in soft simars of linen drest,
The youths all graceful in the glossy vest:
Of those the locks with flow’ry wreaths inroll’d,
Of these the sides adorn’d with swords of gold,
That glitt’ring gay, from silver belts depend.
Now all at once they rise, at once descend,
With well-taught feet; now shape in oblique ways,
Confus’dly regular, the moving maze;
Now forth at once, too swift for sight they spring,
And undistinguish’d blend the flying ring.
So whirls a wheel, in giddy circle tost,
And rapid as it runs, the single spokes are lost.
The gazing multitudes admire around
Two active tumblers in the centre bound:
Now high, now low, their pliant limbs they bend,
And gen’ral songs the sprightly revel end. (Iliad, 18, v., 590, &c.)
Dervishes in the ancient Tower of the Winds, Athens, 1801
To the south-east of the Agora is the octagonal tower of the Eight Winds, the Klepsydra of Adronikos Cyrrhestes, called Horologium by Varro (B. 3, c. 5, De re Rust.), and described by Vitruvius (B. 1, c. 6). It is more attractive by its singularity than its beauty. It was the water-clock, the chronometer, and weather-guide of Athens. It is not noticed by Pausanias. The drawings and measurements of Stuart render any further details on the architecture superfluous. The lintel of the entrance which faces the north-east has been painted red by the Turks, with an inscription on it, informing us, that “there is no God but God, and that Mohamed is his Prophet”. “La, illah, allah Mohamed, u resoul ullah”.
The interior of the tower is covered with a wooden floor which rests upon the lower cornice, several feet above the original pavement. The white marble walls have been wisely white-washed, and ornamented with tablets of wood painted in different colours, and containing passages from the Kourann, in the Arabian character, in which the book was originally composed. The Arabian is consequently the sacred language of the Mohamedans.
Towards the east is the Mihrab, which is a recess in the wall, painted with perpendicular stripes of green and red; its position indicates the direction of the Kaaba, or Oratory at Mecca. Each side of the niche contains a wax candle, before which is placed the imitation of the green flag of Mohamed. The Kourann is deposited within the Mihrab. The imitation of the two-edged sword of Aly is attached to the wall. This celebrated sword was inherited by the Khaliph Aly from the Prophet, who was the original possessor. Twelve small lamps are suspended by a chain, which is attached to the key-stone in the roof of the tower. I also observed sixteen ostrich eggs suspended by a string, which I was assured were antidotal to the dreadful effects of the evil eye!
The tower of the Winds is at present a Semà-Khanés, or chapel for the dance called Semà, which is performed in it every Friday, by an order of dancing Derwisches, called Mulevi, from the name of their institutor, Hazreth Meulana, otherwise called Molla-Hunkear (See D’Ohsson’s excellent and detailed account of the different orders of dancing Derwisches. Molla Hunkear died A. D. 1273). The dance which I saw performed here, was at the same time the most horrid and the most ridiculous ceremony that can be imagined! It is extremely difficult for a spectator who has not been accustomed to such singular sights to remain serious; and it would have been dangerous to laugh at their religious ceremonies. The sacred performance is opened by the Derwisches (The Derwisches, or Fackirs, as the Arabians call them, profess poverty, and answer nearly to the Capuchins of Catholic countries), and as many Turks of all ranks and ages as choose to be of the party: they sit down upon the floor, in a circle, and begin by singing the praises of god and Mohamed, in a slow and solemn manner, repeating very frequently “Ullah hoo Ullah!” at the same time moving their heads and bodies backwards and forwards, thus keeping time with the song. The only instrumental accompaniment consisted of two small drums, or hemispheres of bronze, the mouth covered with a skin. The song and the motion of the dancers by degrees become more animated; on a sudden the company all start up, and sing and dance in a circle, with great violence and velocity! When they are tired, they make way for the two principal performers, who, holding each other by the sash which is tied about the waist, turn round with an incredible rapidity, far exceeding any thing I could have supposed the human frame capable of, and which would greatly surprise our most active dancers or posture masters.
The Sheikh, or chief of the Derwisches, dressed in the sacred colour green, with a large white turban, animates them by his voice; and by the beating of a large tambour, which instrument was also used in ancient festivals, principally in the Bacchanalia, and was called τυμπανον or τυπανον. Mr. Hamilton (Aegyptiaca) says, that according to Herodotus and Euripides, this instrument was introduced by Anacharsis from Cyzicum into Scythia, where it cost him his life. The larger kind was the tympanum majus: Catulus calls the smaller tambour, tympanun leve, and Arnobius tympaniolum.
The Derwisches continue turning, screaming and groaning for a considerable length of time, moving their heads violently backwards, with their long hair floating in the wind. They at length sink as if exhausted with fatigue, and overcome with giddiness, into the arms of the by-standers, when for a few minutes they are apparently deprived of their reason, and filled with the ενθεον, or divine enthusiasm (Cum furit ad Phrygios enthea turba modos, Martial, b. 11, Epig. 84. v. 4). I have been assured however that the force of habit is so great, that this apparent dereliction of the senses is assumed, and not real; which I can easily believe, from a dance of a similar kind which I afterwards saw performed at Rome, by a woman in a show-shop, who turned round with such great velocity for ten minutes together, that the human form was imperceptible to the eye, and appeared like a column turning upon its axis: -
"So whirls a wheel, in giddy circle tost,
And rapid as it runs, the single spokes are lost." (Pope, Homer's Iliad, 18. v. 600)
As a proof that her senses were not at the time in the least disordered, she performed several feats of dexterity during her revolutions, such as balancing swords, threading a needle, and playing on the violin with the greatest facility; and after she had finished turning, she shewed not the least symptom of fatigue or giddiness; but in a few minutes began to turn again, and performed her task several times in the course of the evening. The faintings and groanings of the Derwisches may therefore be fairly considered as mere religious juglings! Tavernier observes, that there are Derwisches who turn in this manner for two hours together without stopping, and that their vanity is gratified in the exercise of an occupation, to which we should give the name of folly!
This curious ceremony bears a strong resemblance to the festivals of the Corybantes, who, in honour of Cybele, danced to the sound of their cymbals till they became delirious; of which dance the description furnished by Apuleius (Capite demisso cervices lubricas intorquentes motibus, crinesque pendulos in circulum rotantes, Metamorph. b. 8) and Strabo (B.10, p. 479), is applicable to that practised by the Derwisches.
Στα νοτιοανατολικά της Αγοράς βρίσκεται ο οκτάγωνος Πύργος των Οκτώ Ανέμων, η Κλεψύδρα του Ανδρόνικου Κυρρήστου, που ονομάζεται ωρολόγιον από τον Varro (Β.3.c.5. DereRust.) και περιγράφεται από τον Βιτρούβιο (Β.1 c.6). Είναι περισσότερο ενδιαφέρον για την πρωτοτυπία του παρά για την ομορφιά του. Ηταν το υδραυλικό ρολόι, το χρονόμετρο και ο μετεωρολογικός σταθμός της Αθήνας. Ο Παυσανίας δεν το παρατήρησε. Τα σχέδια και οι μετρήσεις του Stuart (Ιδε 1/3) κάνουν περιττές περισσότερες λεπτομέρειες για την αρχιτεκτονική του.
Το ανώφλι της εισόδου, που βλέπει στα νοτιοανατολικά βάφτηκε κόκκινο από τους Τούρκους με μια επιγραφή επάνω του που μας πληροφορεί ότι "δεν υπάρχει άλλος θεός από τον θεό" και ότι "ο Μωάμεθ είναι ο προφήτης του": "Λα ιλλά αλλά Μωχάμεντ ου ρεσούλ ηλλά".
Το εσωτερικό του πύργου καλύπτεται με ένα ξύλινο πάτωμα που στηρίζεται στην κατώτερη *κορνίζα, αρκετά πόδια πάνω από το αρχικό πάτωμα. Οι άσπροι μαρμάρινοι τοίχοι είναι ασβεστωμένοι σωστά και στολισμένοι με ξύλινες πινακίδες βαμμένες με διάφορα χρώματα όπου αναγράφονται ρητά του Κορανίου στην αραβική γραφή στην οποία αρχικά γράφτηκε, γι' αυτό τα αραβικά είναι η ιερή γραφή των μουσουλμάνων.
Προς την Ανατολή είναι το "μιχραμπ", που είναι μια εσοχή στον τοίχο βαμμένη με κατακόρυφες λωρίδες πράσινες και κόκκινες. Η θέση του προσδιορίζει την κατεύθυνση της Κάσμπα δηλαδή του*Αναγνωστηρίου στη Μέκκα. Κάθε πλευρά της εσοχής περιέχει ένα κερί και μπροστά του μια απομίμηση της πράσινης σημαίας του Μωάμεθ. Το Κοράνι αποτίθεται μέσα στο "μιχράμπ". Στον τοίχο είναι κρεμασμένη η απομίμηση του δίκοπου σπαθιού του Αλή. Το φημισμένο αυτό σπαθί κληρονόμησε ο χαλίφης Αλή από τον Προφήτη, που ήταν ο αρχικός του κτήτωρ. Δώδεκα φαναράκια αιωρούνται από μια αλυσσίδα που κρέμεται από τον *ακρόλιθο της οροφής του πύργου. Παρατήρησα επίσης δεκαέξι αυγά στρουθοκαμήλου που κρέμονται από έναν σπάγγο, που με βεβαίωσαν ότι είναι αντίδοτο για το κακό μάτι!
Ο Πύργος των Ανέμων είναι σήμερα "σεμά-χανές", δηλαδή παρεκκλήσιο για το χορό που ονομάζεται "σεμά" και εκτελείται κάθε Παρασκευή από ένα μοναστικό τάγμα χορευόντων δερβίσηδων που ονομάζεται Μουλεβί, από το όνομα του ιδρυτού τους, του Χαζρετ Μευλανά, επίσης ονομαζομένου Μολλά-Χουνκεάρ (ίδε την έξοχη και λεπτομερή περιγραφή των διαφόρων ταγμάτων των χορευόντων δερβίσηδων από τον d'Ohsson. O Μολλά-Χουνκεάρ πέθανε το 1273).
Ο χορός που είδα να εκτελείται εδώ ήταν συγχρόνως η πλέον αποκρουστική και η πλέον γελοία τελετή που μπορεί να φανταστεί κανείς! Είναι εξαιρετικά δύσκολο για έναν θεατή που δεν έχει εξοικειωθεί με τέτοια παράξενα θεάματα να κρατήσει τη σοβαρότητά του, ενώ θα ήταν επικίνδυνο να γελάσει σε μια θρησκευτική τους τελετή. Η ιερή παράσταση αρχίζει με τους δερβίσηδες (οι δερβίσηδες, ή φακίρηδες όπως ονομάζονται απ’ τους Αραβες, πιστεύουν στην πενία και αντιστοιχούν κάπως με τους καπουτσίνους των καθολικών χωρών) και όποιους άλλους Τούρκους όλων των τάξεων και των ηλικιών που επιθυμούν να συμμετάσχουν. Κάθονται κάτω σε κύκλο στο πάτωμα και αρχίζουν ψάλλοντας εγκώμια στον Θεό και τον Μωάμεθ σε αργό και επίσημο τόνο, επαναλαμβάνοντας πολύ συχνά "Ουλλά ου Ουλλά" ενώ συγχρόνως κινούν κεφάλι και σώμα εμπρός-πίσω κρατώντας το ρυθμό. Η μόνη οργανική συνοδεία συνίστατο σε δύο μικρά τύμπανα, μπρούντζινα ημισφαίρια με το άνοιγμά τους σκεπασμένο με δέρμα. Το τραγούδι και η κίνηση των χορευτών γίνονται σταδιακά πιο ζωηρά, μέχρι που απότομα όλοι πετάγονται απάνω και αρχίζουν να χορεύουν σε κύκλο με μεγάλη ταχύτητα και βία! Οταν πια κουραστούν αφήνουν τους δύο βασικούς εκτελεστές που, κρατώντας ο ένας τον άλλον από το ζωνάρι που είναι τυλιγμένο στη μέση τους, γυρίζουν με απίστευτη ταχύτητα που ξεπερνά κατά πολύ ο,τιδήποτε θα μπορούσα να φανταστώ ότι ήταν ικανό να κάνει το ανθρώπινο σώμα, και που θα άφηνε κατάπληκτους τους πλέον ενεργητικούς χορευτές μας ή δασκάλους κινήσεων και στάσεων.
Ο σεϊχης, δηλαδή ο αρχηγός των δερβίσηδων, ντυμένος με το ιερό χρώμα πράσινο, φορώντας ένα φαρδύ άσπρο σαρίκι, τους παροτρύνει με τη φωνή του και χτυπώντας ένα μεγάλο ντέφι, όργανο που επίσης χρησιμοποιούσαν στις αρχαίες πανηγύρεις, ιδιαίτερα στα ??* και ονομαζόταν τύμπανον ή τύπανον. Ο κύριος Hamilton λέει στα "Αιγυπτικά" ότι σύμφωνα με τον Ηρόδοτο και τον Ευριπίδη το όργανο αυτό το εισήγαγε ο Ανάχαρσης από την Κύζικο στη Σκυθία, όπου του στοίχισε τη ζωή του. Η μεγαλύτερη παραλλαγή λεγόταν tympanummajus, ενώ ο Κάτουλλος ονομάζει το μικρότερο τύμπανο tympanumleve και ο Αρνόβιος tympaniolum.
Οι δερβίσηδες συνεχίζουν να γυρίζουν, να ουρλιάζουν και να βογγούν για αρκετό διάστημα, ρίχνοντας τα κεφάλια τους πίσω-μπρος, με τα μακριά μαλλιά τους να ανεμίζουν. Τέλος καταρρέουν, σαν εξαντλημένοι από την κούραση και νικημένοι από τη ζαλάδα, στα χέρια των παρευρισκομένων, όπου για λίγα λεπτά δείχνουν να έχουν χάσει τα λογικά τους και να κατέχονται από το ένθεον, δηλαδή τον θείο ενθουσιασμό (CumfuritadPhrygiosentheaturbamodos, Martialb 11. Epig. 84/4). Αλλοι με βεβαίωσαν εντούτοις ότι η δύναμη της συνήθειας είναι τόσο μεγάλη ώστε η εμφανής αυτή απώλεια των αισθήσεων είναι προσποιητή και όχι πραγματική. Αυτό το πιστεύω πρόθυμα, εξαιτίας ενός παρόμοιου χορού που είδα αργότερα στη Ρώμη σε ένα υπαίθριο θέαμα από μια γυναίκα που στριφογύριζε με τέτοια ταχύτητα για δέκα λεπτά συνεχώς, τόσο που η ανθρώπινη μορφή είχε γίνει αδιόρατη στο μάτι και φαινόταν σαν μια στήλη περιστρεφόμενη γύρω από τον άξονά της:
Οπως γυρίζει ένας τροχός με δύναμη σπρωγμένος
τόσο γοργά που οι ακτίνες του δεν φαίνονται. (Ομήρου Ιλιάδα 18/600)
Σαν απόδειξη ότι οι αισθήσεις της δεν είχαν καθόλου διαταραχθεί, εκτελούσε διάφορες επιδείξεις δεξιοτεχνίας καθώς περιστρεφόταν, όπως το να ισορροπεί σπαθιά, να περνάει κλωστή σε μια βελόνα και να παίζει βιολί με τη μεγαλύτερη ευκολία. Οταν σταμάτησε να γυρίζει δεν έδειχνε το παραμικρό σύμπτωμα κόπωσης ή ζαλάδας, αλλά σε λίγα λεπτά άρχισε πάλι να γυρίζει και εξετέλεσε το θέαμα αρκετές φορές το ίδιο βράδυ. Οι λιποθυμίες και τα βογγητά των δερβίσηδων μπορούν λοιπόν να θεωρηθούν σαν απλές θρησκευτικές ταχυδακτυλουργίες. Ο Tavernier παρατηρεί ότι υπάρχουν δερβίσηδες που περιστρέφονται έτσι επί δύο ώρες χωρίς να σταματήσουν, και ότι η ματαιοδοξία τους ικανοποείται με μια ενέργεια που εμείς θα ονομάζαμε τρέλλα.
Η παράξενη αυτή τελετή έχει μεγάλη ομοιότητα με τις γιορτές των Κορυβάντων που, προς τιμή της Κυβέλης χόρευαν στον ήχο κυμβάλων μέχρι παροξυσμού. Οι περιγραφές του χορού αυτού που δίνουν ο Απούλειος (Capite de misso cervices lu bricas in torquentes motibus, crinesquependulosincirculumrotantes. Metamorph. 8) και ο Στράβων (10/473) μπορεί να εφαρμοστεί στον χορό των δερβίσηδων.
The Greek habit of singing and dancing at the same time, 1801
The wonderful effects which ancient music produced upon the sensibility of the Greeks, is supposed to have been caused by the beauty of its harmony; but they may perhaps, with greater probability, be attributed to the natural excitability of the people, rather than to any intrinsic excellence in the music. The whining lyre, and the gingling tamboura, the shrill pipe, and the heavy drum, and even the inharmonious Sclavonian monachord, have the strongest effects upon the quick feelings of the modern Greeks.
A Greek can seldom sing without dancing at the same time; and the rest of the company present can never resist the temptation of joining the party, as if actuated by a natural impulse; and when they all sing together, the din is really horrible; it may be ranked among the petty vexations of travelling in Greece, as well as the songs and music, with which the traveller is complimented, to the great offense of his ears and nerves! For, although at first all this excites laughter, yet when the novelty is over, it becomes insufferable. The traveller is sometimes tormented in this manner by his attendants, from sun-rise to sun-set! When I quitted Athens to make the tour of the Morea, I was accompanied by some Athenians, with whom one indispensable condition of our agreement was, that they should never sing on the journey. I am confident that they regarded my want of taste with feelings of commiseration and contempt, similar to those which Polybius experienced, when he animadverted upon the unmusical character of the Cynethaeans; and one of my intended servants actually gave up his place, from a conviction that he should not be able to adhere to the agreement which I required him to make; and even those who did accompany me, seemed incapable of maintaining their promised silence after the first day.
The types of Greek dances, 1801
The ancient Greeks had a great many different styles of dancing, accommodated to various purposes of a religious, warlike, tragic, comic, lascivious, and satirical kind, and in their numerous modifications and degrees. Many of these dances are still retained in Greece, and probably with little variation from the original models.
The circular, or Romaika, is the national dance, and the most common of all, as it is employed in their religious festivals of the passover, and the carnival. It consists sometimes of men, at other times of women; but on great occasions, of both sexes together, holding each other with a handkerchief, as gloves are not known in Turkey.
The Romaika is generally composed of a great many performers, who dance round a large circle, jumping first with one foot, and then with the other, without any pretensions to grace, to elegance, or activity.
This may possibly have been copied from the dance of the Labyrinth, which Theseus [Plutarch’s Life of Theseus] instituted at Athens, after his prosperous return from Crete, and which, according to Callimachus [Hymn for Delos, v. 310. also see Jul. Pollux, Onomast. b. 4. c. 14. seg. 101], was a circular dance.
Another, which is commonly practised by the Mohamedan Albanians, and is consequently named Arbanitiko, or Arnautiko, perhaps originates from the Spartan Bibasis, mentioned by Julius Pollux. It consists principally in jumping very high, and throwing the body into various warlike attitudes. This performance is confined to men, who dance it either singly, or in any number. It is practised in the mountainous parts of Thessaly and Macedon, the performers being armed with their musket and sword; which may indicate a remnant of the Pyrrhic dance, or the Θρακιον, or the Καρικον, in which they were armed [Jul. Pollux, Onomast. b. 4. c. 14. seg. 100. Xenophon, Exped. Ceri. b. 6. mentions an armed dance of the Ainianenses and Magnesians called Καρπαια. Pliny, Nat. Hist. b. 7. c. 56. says, “Saltationem armatum Curetes docuere, Pyrrhicen Pyrrhus, utramque in Creta”. See also Ammian. Marcellin, b. 16. c. 5. Plutarch, De sera Numen. Vindic. and others]. In the islands of the Archipelago, and particularly in Chios, they have a dance performed by women, which is not inelegant. It consists of two or more females holding each other by a handkerchief at full lenght. While dancing they take it in turns to sing poetry in rhyme. The first stanza being the strophe, they continue turning round in one direction; but, as soon as the antistrophe or second stanza commences, they change their course, and turn the opposite way.
Aeschylus [Eumenid. v. 303] and Lucian [De saltat.] mention a Spartan dance, which was accompanied by singing. But the most curious and interesting of them all is the nuptial dance, which I had an opportunity of seeing at Athens, on the marriage of Albanian Christians. When the bride, who was dressed in the gayest attire, had arrived from the country, and approached the house of the bridegroom, she was encircled by all the principal females of that people, who had assembled before the door, and while they danced around her, welcomed her arrival with a degree of elegance, which not only captivated the imagination, but interested the affections. They sung at the same time the υμεναιοι, or nuptial songs.
Dances of an indecent kind are chiefly practised by sailors, in the idle hours of calm weather, or by depraved mercenaries, for the amusement of the Turks. Their excellence consists in disgusting attitudes and ludicrous contortions, which serve to excite the sluggish apathy, and enliven the sombre seriousness of the Musulman spectators. They will not however bear parallel with the more clear and unambiguous dance of the Russian sailors, which combines all the variations of the Ionici Motus. The sailors' dance is called Μοθων, by Julious Pollux [Onomast. b. 4. c. 14. seg. 101. About other dances practised by the modern Greeks, the letters of Guys may be consulted with advantage]: and the others of a similar tendency were named by the same author, Βαυκισμος, Βακτριασμος, Αποκινος, Αποσεισις, and Κορδαξ.
The Turks [except the Derwisches], have the greatest contempt for dancing; which, as they think, degrades the dignity of man, and is fit only for children and madmen. They are nevertheless very much gratified by seeing others dance, and make fools of themselves for the amusement of the wise. Indeed this exhibition of muscular activity will sometimes cause the rigid monotony of their features to soften into a smile, and sometimes even to proceed so far as the climax of a laugh. This appears to be no small victory obtained over the gravity of those who deem it foolish to laugh at any thing; but very foolish indeed to laugh at nothing! - “Risu inepto nulla res ineptior” [Catullus in Egnat. v. 16].
I had the satisfaction, while at Athens, of seeing the curious and interesting ceremonies attendant on an Albanian marriage. The Νυμφη, or bride, arrived from the country, riding on horseback; the Νυμφαγωγος, or Παροχος, walked before her, and a female, the Νυμφευτρια, on each side: the bride, covered with the Καλυπτρα [The common veil which the Greek women wear is composed of two parts, one of which covers the forehead, and the other the lower part of the face, leaving at liberty only the nose and eyes. The nuptial veil is not of a different kind, and being long and transparent, the person who wears it can see others through it, her own features being concealed, as it is only perspicuous when near the eye. This kind of veil is alluded to by Euripides in his Iphig. in Tauris, v. 372.- Εγω δε λεπτων ομμα δια καλυμματων / Εχουσ'], or veil, was accompanied by a Papas, and a great crowd of Albanians, of both sexes, in gala dresses. The procession entered the gates of Athens with the sound of drums and fifes; and when it reached the bridegroom's house, the happy fair was welcomed by other Albanian women, dancing the Συρτος, and singing the υμεναιοι, or marriage songs.
The nuptial bed, or Κλινη νυμφιδιη, which was brought on horseback from the village, formed a conspicuous feature in the festivity of the procession. When the bride alighted from her horse, her veil [see Jul. Pollox, Onomast. b. 3. c. 3. seg. 37] was taken off; and she was conducted to the presence of her husband. The Γαμος, or nuptial feast, ensued; when all the elderly ladies were affectionately busy in presenting the new-married pair with pomegranates and other fruits, hoping that she might imitate the fertility of those trees, and bless her husband with a numerous progeny. The pomegranate was anciently a mystic fruit, representing plenty and the generative power.
Annual dance on a summit at Ithome, Morea, 1801
The temple of Jupiter Ithomates, which was founded by Polycaon, king of Messenia, seems to have been abandoned, or to have decayed at a very early period, as we find that it was re-established by Glaukos, son of Aipytos, and grandson of Kresphontes. An anniversary festival was held there in honor of the god. The temple, of which there are no remains, is now replaced by the monastery of Saint Elias, as the northern extremity of the hill, upon the edge of a steep precipice. The festival of Jupiter has ceded its oaken crown to the laurel rose, with which the modern Greeks deck their heads in the annual dance which they perform on the summit of Ithome.
An even pavement of a circular form, which appears modern, but which is composed of ancient slabs of stone and marble, forms the theatre for the celebration of this dance, which is attended by the inhabitants of the neighbouring villages, and in which much pomp and ceremony are displayed.
Musical instruments used in Attica, 1801
Musical instruments at present used in Attica.
The lyre is nearly shaped like a mandoline, and about the same size. It has three strings, and is played upon with a bow like a violin. The sound is clear.
The lute is used chiefly in the islands: it is larger than the lyre; has eight strings, and is played upon with a quill. Its form is nearly that of a guitar. Its modern name is Λαγουτον.
The bagpipe is not common; it is called Σκλοτζάμπουνο.
The tamboura has the body about the same shape and size as a mandoline, but its handle is much longer. It has only two wire strings, and is called rebab by the Turcs. It may be the φορμιγξ of Homer.
The monochord is nearly of the same form, but has only one wire string, whence its name. It may be easily conceived that Apollo himself could not draw melody from such an instrument. It is very uncommon. This instrument is mentioned by Ptolemaeus Harmonicor. b. 2. c. 12. p. 157.
A long pipe, which the Turks use in their bands, is called Καραμουσα or ζουρνας. Its sound is remarkably shrill and loud.
Another long pipe is named Ανακαρή, and a smaller one φλογιέρα.
The Athenian shepherds use a small pipe, the Μοναυλος [Which, according to Pliny, Nat. Hist. b. 7. c. 56, was invented by Pan], from which they draw the sweetest sounds.
The shepherds and country people are fond of the pipe of Pan, which has generally twelve reeds, and is called Συριγξ or Συρινγα by the Greeks, and Neïth by the Turks; but according to Pietro della Valle [Viaggi in Turchia, Lettera 2, 1614], it is named Syrinx by the former and Muscàl by the latter. It was anciently formed of seven unequal fistulae [Virgil., Eclog. 2. v. 36], and sometimes of nine, as we see in Theocritus [Idyl. b. 8. v. 18], who calls it εννεαφωνον.
The tambour de basque is particularly used by the dancing derwisches in their religious ceremonies. Its Turkish name is Daïre.
The Turks have the large drum, and another of a small kind, being hemispheres of bronze covered with a skin.
They have also cymbals, but I never saw them used in Greece.
Edward Daniel Clarke
Clarke, Edward Daniel: Travels in various countries of Europe, Asia and Africa. London, 1816.
Entertainments of the Pasha of the Dardanelles, 1801
The festivity of the day ended with a scene of intoxication in the palace of the Pacha of the Dardanelles, who is much addicted to drinking. When commotions arise, or there is reason to fear a visit from the Capudan Pacha, who comes occasionally to levy contribution, he retires to his little villa in the recesses of Mount Ida: here he gives full scope to his love of drinking; having conveyed with him his concubines, musicians, dancers, and gamekeepers; and being also attached to the sports of the field.
Rejoicings at Syros, Cyclades Islands, 22/10/1801
We saw the Delian Isles as we passed with a rapidity known only to the swallows [This is one of the names given to the boats used for navigating the Archipelago.] of the Archipelago, and entered the harbour of Syra in the morning of October the twenty-second. Our faithful Greek servant, who had travelled with us as our interpreter ever since we left Petersburg, burst into tears at the sight of a small chapel constructed upon a rock in the port, which he had himself assisted in building some years before. He described it as the votive offering of a party of young Greeks to their patron Saint: but his feelings experienced a severer trial when we landed; for in the person of an old man, established as a wine-seller upon the quay, he recognised his own father, of whose fortunes and situation he had long been ignorant. The islanders bore a part in the joy of this meeting; and their national hospitality was, in consequence, redoubled. All the young people came to express their congratulations, and a party began the Roméca [The Roméca, the most popular of all the dances of the Modern Greeks, is faithfully and beautifully represented in the Voyage Pittoresque de la Grèce of Count De Choiseul Gouffier, from a drawing by J.B. Hilair, engraved by Martini. See Plate facing p. 68. vol. I, of that work, Paris, 1782. “The passion of the Greeks for dancing , “ (says Mons. De Guys, vol. I. p. 208 Lond. 1781)” is common to both sexes; who neglect every other consideration, when they have an opportunity of indulging that passion”]. Antonio hastened again on board for his balalaika [The antient guitar of Scythia and Tartary. See Part I, of these Travels, Plate facing p. 244. second edit. Broxbourn, 1811, exhibiting its use among the Calmuck tribes], and, joining the festive throng, gave himself up entirely to singing and dancing for the remainder of the day and night. Towards evening we saw him in the midst of a very numerous choir, inviting us to taste of the wine with which his father was making libations to all comers.
A party at Zia, CycladesIslands, 1801
An amusing adventure befel us the next day, in our search for medals. We have before had occasion to allude to the hospitality of the Greeks, to their love of festivity, and to the sort of sensation excited by the arrival of strangers among them; but perhaps the following anecdote may exhibit these their national characteristics in a more striking manner than has been hitherto done. The Consul having sent his mules to the harbour, we went to visit him, as we had promised to do, and despatched messengers about the town in search of medals and gems. Towards the evening, as we were preparing to take leave of our host, a little girl arrived; who said, if we would follow her, she would conduct us to a house where several antiquities would be offered to us for sale. When we got into the street, we were surprised to meet a young lady very splendidly dressed, who offered to us some medals, and said, if we would accompany her, she would take us to a house where the owner kept a collection of such rarities. Presently we met a second female, nearly of the same age, and similarly habited; who addressed the first, laughing, and then literally seized one of us by the arm, bidding her companion secure the other: and in this manner we were hurried into a crowded assembly, where many of the inhabitants had been collected for a regular ball. The dancing instantly began; and being welcomed with loud cheers into the midst of the party, there was no alternative but to give up all thoughts, for the rest of the evening, of returning to our caïque, and contribute to the hilarity of those by whom we had been thus hospitably inveigled. Our conductors proved to be the two daughters of the ’Ιδιοπρόξενος, who thus honourably entertained, after the manner of his forefathers, two private strangers whom he was never likely to see again, and from whom he could reap no possible advantage. Every species of Greek dance was exhibited for the amusement of his guests; from the bounding Μονόχορος or hornpipe, and the Δίχορος or rigadoon [See De Guy’s Letters on Greece, vol. I. p.149. Lond. 1781.], to the more stately measures of the orbicular brawl [See p.431 of this volume.], and the “ threadle-my-needle” of the modern Roméka [See p. 425, Note (2), of this volume.]. The whole night passed in one interrupted scene of the most joyous vivacity. To us it seemed to exhibit a moving picture of other times; for in the dances we actually beheld the choirs of the antient Greeks, as originally they were led around the altars of Delos, or amidst the rocks of Delphi, or by the waters of Helicon, or along the banks of the Eurotas [“Qualis in Eurotae ripis, aut per juga Cynthi / Exercet Diana choros.” - Virg. Aeneid. lib. i. Sedan. 1625.]. When morning dawned, we retired: but we left them still dancing; and we heard their reiterated songs as we descended through the valley towards the shore.
Circular dances at Syra, Cyclades Islands, 1801
If the antient Persians have been characteristically described as the worshippers of fire, the inhabitants of Syra, both antient and modern, may be considered as the worshippers of water. The old fountain, at which the nymphs of the island assembled in the earliest agés, exists in its original state; the same rendezvous as it was formerly, whether of love and gallantry, or of gossiping and tale-telling. It is near to the town, and the most limpid water gushes continually from the solid rock. It is regarded by the inhabitants with a degree of religious veneration; and they preserve a tradition that the pilgrims of old time, in their way to Delos, resorted hither for purification. We visited the spot in search of an Inscription mentioned by Tournefort [Tournef. Voy. du Lev. tom. II. p. 4. Lyon , 1717], but we could not find it: we saw, however, a pleasing procession, formed by the young women of the island, coming with songs, and carrying their pitchers on their heads, from this fountain. Here they are met by their lovers, who relieve them from their burdens, and bear a part in the general chorus. It is also the scene of their dances, and therefore the favourite rendezvous of the youth of both sexes. The Eleusinian women pracised a dance about a well which was called Callichorus, and their dance was also accompanied by songs in honour of Ceres. These “Songs of the Well” are still sung in other parts of Greece as well as in Syra. De Guys mentions them. He says that he has seen the young women in Prince’s Island, assembled in the evening at a public well, suddenly strike up a dance, while others sung in concert to them [Letters on Greece, vol. I, p. 220. Lond. 1781]. The Antient Poets composed verses which were sung by the people while they drew the water, and were expressly denominated “Songs of the Well”. Aristotle, as cited by Winkelmann, says the public wells serve as so many cements to society, uniting the people in bands of friendship by the social intercourse of dancing so frequently together around them [Ibid.]. This may serve to explain the cause of the variety of beautiful lamps, pitchers, and other vessels of terra cotta, which have been found at the bottom of wells in different parts of Greece; as well as to direct the attention of travellers towards the cleansing of dry wells, who are desirous of procuring those valuable antiquities.
Among other antient customs still existing in Syra, the ceremonies of the vintage are particularly conspicuous. Before sun-rise, a number of young women are seen coming towards the town, covered with the branches and leaves of the vine; when they are met or accompanied by their lovers, singing loud songs, and joining in a circular dance. This is evidently the orbicular choir [Εγκύκλιος χορός. See De Guys , vol. I, p. 218, and the authors by him cited] who sung the Dithyrambi, and danced that species of song in praise of Bacchus. Thus do the present inhabitants of these islands exhibit a faithful portraiture of the manners and customs of their progenitors; the ceremonies of antient Greece have not been swept away by the revolutions of the country: even the representations of the theatre, the favourite exhibitions of the Attic drama, are yet beheld, as they existed among the people before they were removed from the scenes of common life to become the ornaments of the Grecian stage.
Dancing around wells in the Antiquity, Athens, 1801
The reasons which induced the author to suspect that the cleansing of an old well would lead to the discovery of valuable antiquities were these: first, the wells of Greece were always the resort of its inhabitants; they were places of conversation, of music, dancing, revelling, and almost every kind of public festivity; secondly, that their remote antiquity is evident from the following extraordinary circumstance.
An armed dance by Greeks at Nauplia, Morea, 11/1801
We had also the satisfaction of seeing that most antient military dance the Pyrrhica, as it had perhaps existed in Greece from the time of its introduction by the Son of Achilles, or by the Corybantes. In fact, it was a Spartan dance, and therefore peculiarly appropriate at a neighbouring Nauplian festival. It consisted of men armed with sabres and shields, who came forward in a kind of broad-sword exercise, exhibiting a variety of martial evolutions to the sound of Turkish flutes. Such amusements and customs are never likely to be discontinued in any country, so long as any portion of the original inhabitants remains: indeed, they often continue to exist when a new race has succeeded to the old inhabitants; being adopted by their successors [All the invasions and conquests to which our island has been liable, during nineteen centuries, have not abolished the rites of the Misletoe; and some of the games of the earliest inhabitants of Great Britain are still practised in the country.].
Clarke, p. 4/4-7
Face-to-face dance in Athens, 11/1801
The accomplishments of the Grecian, as of the Turkish ladies, are few in number: some few among them are able to touch, rather than to play upon, the dulcimer or the guitar; and to dance, but without the slightest degree of elegance or of liveliness. We visited the ball to which we had been invited; and found a large party of the wealthiest matrons of the Greek families, seated in a row, with their daughters standing before them. When the dancing began, we were called upon to assist, and we readily joined in a circle formed by a number of young women holding each other by their hands in the middle of the room. From the figure thus presented, we supposed that something like a cotillion was about to be performed; but the dance, if it may be called by that name, consisted solely in a solemn poising of the body, first upon one foot, then upon the other; the whole choir advancing and retreating by a single step, without moving either to the right or to the left. The gravity with which this was performed, and the pompous attitudes assumed, were so uncommonly ludicrous, that it was impossible to refrain from laughter. In order, however, to apologize for our rudeness, we ventured to propose that the most easy figure of a French or of an English dance might be introduced; which was attempted, but pronounced too fatiguing. At this moment the eyes of the whole company were turned upon the fat figure of a matron, who, rising from the divan on which she had been seated, beckoned to another lady still more corpulent than herself, and, as if to assert the superior skill of her countrywomen in an exercise for which she had been considered famous in her youth, promised to exhibit the utmost graces of an Athenian pas de deux. Immediately several whispers were made in our ears, saying, “Now you will see how the Grecian ladies, who have studied the art, are able to dance”. The two matrons stationed themselves opposite to each other in the centre of the apartment; and the elder, holding a handkerchief at either extremity, began the performance, by slowly elevating her arms, and singing, accompanied by the clapping of hands. It was evidently the dance of the Gipsies, which we had often seen in Russia, particularly in Moscow [See Part. I of these Travels, Chap, IV. , p. 60, 2d edit, Broxb, 1811.); but here it was performed without any of the agility or the animation shewn by the Tzigankies, and had been modified into a mere exhibition of affected postures, consisting of an alternate elevation and depression of the arms and handkerchief, attended now and then with a sudden turn and most indecorous motion of the body, neither of the dancers moving a step from the spot on which she had originally placed herself. In all this there was nothing that could remind us, even by the most distant similitude, of the graceful appearance presented by the female Bacchanals, as they are represented upon the Grecian vases. But as we had seen something more like to those pictured choreae among the islands, there is no reason to conclude that all the antient features of the Grecian dance have been entirely laid aside. One of them is certainly retained in every part of Greece; namely, that characteristic of antient dancing which is connected with the origin of the exercise itself, and of a nature forcibly opposed to all our ideas of decency and refinement. It was probably owing to this circumstance that the Romans held dancing in such low estimation [See the observation of Cicero, as cited in the last Section of Part II of these Travels, Chap. IV, p. 120, Broxb, 1814]. The most discreet females of Modern Greece, practising what they conceive to be the highest accomplishment of the art, deem it to be no degradation of the virtues which they certainly possess, when they exhibit movements and postures of the body expressing, in our eyes the grossest licentiousness. Possibly it may have been from observing such violations of decorum, that some travellers, in their accounts of the country, have calumniated the Grecian women, by imputing to them a general want of chastity. Yet there is no reason to believe that any charge of this nature has been deservedly bestowed: on the contrary, we find that the latest descriptions of the manners of the inhabitants afford a much more favourable representation of their moral character. [“They are assiduous housewives, and tender mothers, suckling their infants themselves; and notwithstanding the boastings of travellers, I must believe them generally chaste “ Hobhouses’s Travels in Turkey, & c. P. 506. Lond. 1813.]
Mirza Abu Taleb Khan
Mirza Abu Taleb Khan: The travels of Mirza Abu Taleb Khan in Asia, Africa, and Europe during the years 1799, 1800, 1801, 1802, and 1803 written by himself in the Persian language. London, 1810, 2 vols.
Fakirs and dervishes in Constantinople, 1802
In one of my peregrinations through the city, I met, at the Mosque of the Emperor Bajazet, with an Afghan of Candahar, who spoke Persian fluently, and said he was a student in the college; and further informed me, that many Mohammedans came yearly to Constantinople, from Candahar, the Punjab, Sinde, and other places of India, to study the sciences in the numerous colleges of this city; - that a little distance from where he resided, there was a monastery of three hundred Indian Fakeers, and that, if I wished it, he would introduce me to them; but, as I concluded they were an assemblage of low, ignorant people, or smokers of opium, I declined his offer.
It may be necessary to explain, that, in Turkey, dervishes are treated with great respect, and the common people are strongly impressed with an idea of their sanctity. There are several sects of them, each of which is distinguished by a peculiar cap. They exhibit a number of slight-of-hand tricks, and pretend to work miracles: they turn round and dance, to the sound of a drum, till they are quite giddy, and will then rush into the fire, or attempt any other mad action. The Turks are partial to the derveishes of their own country, but tolerate those of any other nation.
Professional dancers amusing women in Asia, 1802
The notions which the European women have, that the women of Asia never see a man’s face but their husband’s, and are debarred from all amusement and society, proceed entirely from misinformation: They can keep company with their husband and father’s male relations, and with old neighbours and domestics; and at meals there are always many men and women of this description present; and they can go in their palankeens to the houses of their relations, and of ladies of their own rank, even although the husbands are unacquainted; and also to walk in gardens after strangers are excluded; and they can send for musicians and dancers, to entertain them at their own houses; and they have many other modes of amusement besides these mentioned.
Jones, Edward: Lyric airs. Consisting of specimens of Greek, Albanian, Walachian, Turkish, Arabian, Persian, Chinese, and Moorish national songs and melodies; (being the first selection of the kind ever yet offered to the public:) to which are added, basses for the harp, or piano-forte. Likewise are subjoined, a few explanatory notes on the figures and movements of the modern Greek dances; with a short dissertation on the origin of the ancient Greek music. Most respectfully dedicated to Mrs. Musters, by the editor, Edward Jones, bard to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. London, G. & J. Robinson, 1804.
Preliminary observations on the modern Greek national dances, 1804
The same general figure and step prevail in all. - A spring of male, or female dancers move round in a circle, to a measure which varies occasionally from slow to quick time, without ever attaining any great rapidity. The leader of the dance displays a superior grace and agility to the rest, whom he strives to animate by his example. After a time, the next in succession takes the place of the leader.
Saltaduristico (See the music in page 1.)
The subject of this ballet is a competition in dancing between the several suitors of a lady, who is supposed to have promised her hand to the best performer. Each of these in his turn exhibits his powers in dancing; and the name of Saltaduristico seems to be an allusion to the leaps, or springs, which they perform with great agility in the latter part of the dance.
Κρητικά, the Cretan, or Candiote Dance, called sometimes Διαργιο (See the music in page 4, and 5.)
This dance is supposed to be of great antiquity, and to allude to the story of Theseus and Ariadne. It is usually danced by a string of women led by a man of great agility. The dancers move round in a circle, observing well the musical time, which during the whole of the first movement is slow and serious, turning occasionally to the right, and left, and passing under a handkerchief, which is held by the leader and the first lady. The first change of the figure is as follows: the dancers approach each other as closely as possible, and move round their leader, who having detached himself from the string, vaults and makes his springs in the center; occasionally turning himself towards each of the ladies in succession, and assuming the air and demeanour of an heroical gallant. At length, the leader takes his place at the head of the string of dancers, holding by the handkerchief the first lady, when the original figure is resumed; after which the allegro succeeds, when the dancers move round with more spirit, and spring in concert, inverting the circle at the discretion of the leader, and passing, and repassing under the handkerchief. The string of dancers is sometimes a double one, when much skill is required in the leader of both, to prevent confusion.
Αγιοπανδίτικο, Agio panditico (See the air in page 6.)
Ρωμαίκα, Romaika, or the Greek Dance (See the music in page 8, 9, and 10.)
This seems to have been called the Greek Dance, by way of distinction, because it is in more general use than any other. - The two first dancers hold by a handkerchief, which is occasionaly let go by the second, while the leader performs a variety of graceful evolutions. The leader then winds the string of dancers in a circle around him, which he dexterously unwinds, and displays himself again at the head of the string, waving the handkerchief with an air of triumph.
Γαγλιάρδα, Galliarda. (See the tune in page 11.)
Καραβίνο, Caravino. A Nautical Air. (See the music in page 11.)
Κεφαλωνίτικο, Kephalonitico, or the Cephalonian Dance. (See the music in page 11.)
Αρβανίτικα, or Arnaout. The Albanian Dance. (See the music in page 14 and 15.)
It is danced by Albanians in full armour. The dancers form in a string by interlacing their arms, and moving round seem to pass in review before their leader, who displays occasionally much agility in springing and turning, but no grace; on the contrary, his stile of dancing possesses all that wildness which characterizes the national manners of the Albanians, the movements of his body as well as his gestures being powerfully distorted, while a great noise is produced with his feet, and the attention roused occasionally by loud ejaculations.
Ματράκι, or, The Wallachian Dance (See the music in page 18, &c.)
This dance is less varied, both in its figure and step, than the preceding Greek dances, to which it bears little or no affinity. The movement is slow, and requires much precision. The dancers are joined by the hands, and the most essential part of their duty consists in beating time with their feet, and in turning, as they beat with their left foot, to the right, and, when with the right, to the left. They first beat once, then twice, or double, disengage, and clap hands; after which the movement is more rapid, the dancers beating time thrice, both with their hands and feet.
“Τόσες φιγούρες προτείνει ο χορός, όσα κύματα κυλούν στη θάλασσα όταν ξεσπάει καταιγίδα. Φρύνιχος ο τραγωδός” (As many figures, dancing doth propose, as waves roll on the sea, when tempest toss. Phrynichus, the tragedian). Επιχρωματισμένο χαρακτικό του Thomas Rowlandson από σχέδιο του Luigi Mayer, 17 x 21 εκ.
Λυρικές μελωδίες, που περιλαμβάνουν δείγματα ελληνικών, αλβανικών, βλαχικών, τουρκικών, αραβικών, περσικών, κινεζικών και ??? εθνικών και μελωδιών (η οποία είναι η πρώτη ανθολογία του είδους αυτού που έχει παρουσιαστεί ποτέ στο κοινό). Οπου έχουν προστεθεί μπάσσα για την άρπα ή το πιανοφόρτε. Επίσης παρατίθενται μερικές επεξηγηματικές σημειώσεις για τις φιγούρες και τις κινήσεις των σύγχρονων ελληνικών χορών. Με μία σύντομη πραγματεία περί της προελεύσεως της αρχαίας ελληνικής μουσικής. Αφιερωμένη μετά του μεγαλυτέρου σεβασμού εις την κυρίαν Musters υπό του επιμελητού της εκδόσεως EdwardJones, βάρδου της αυτού βασιλικής υψηλότητος του Πρίγκηπος της Ουαλίας
Προκαταρκτικές παρατηρήσεις εις τους σύγχρονους ελληνικούς χορούς
Εις όλους τους χορούς επικρατεί γενικά το ίδιο βήμα και η ίδια φιγούρα. Αντρες ή γυναίκες κινούνται κυκλικά σχηματίζοντας ένα σπειροειδές σχήμα, με ρυθμό που εναλλάσσεται κατά διαστήματα από αργό σε γρήγορο μέτρο, χωρίς ποτέ να φτάνει σε μεγάλη ταχύτητα. Ο οδηγός του χορού επιδεικνύει υπέρτερη χάρη και ευκινησία σε σύγκριση με τους άλλους, τους οποίους προσπαθεί να παρακινήσει με το παράδειγμά του. Μετά από ένα διάστημα, ο επόμενος στη σειρά παίρνει τη θέση του πρωτοχορευτή.
Το θέμα αυτού του μπαλέτου είναι ο χορευτικός ανταγωνισμός μεταξύ των διαφόρων υποψηφίων μνηστήρων μιας κοπέλλας, που υποτίθεται ότι έχει υποσχεθεί να παντρευτεί τον καλύτερο εκτελεστή. Ο καθένας τους με τη σειρά επιδεικνύει τις ικανότητές του στο χορό. Η ονομασία Σαλταδουρίστικο φαίνεται να είναι αναφορά στα άλματα ή πηδήματα τα οποία εκτελούν με μεγάλη ευκινησία στο τελευταίο μέρος του χορού.
Κρητικά, ο Κρητικός ή χορός Καντιότ, που ενίοτε αποκαλείται Διαργιο
Ο χορός αυτός πιστεύεται ότι κατάγεται από την αρχαιότητα και ότι αναφέρεται εις την ιστορία του Θησέως και της Αριάδνης. Συνήθως χορεύεται από μία σειρά γυναικών οδηγούμενη από έναν ιδιαίτερα ευκίνητο άνδρα. Οι χορευτές κινούνται σε κύκλο, προσέχοντας καλά τον μουσικό ρυθμό - ο οποίος κατά την διάρκεια ολοκλήρου του πρώτου μέρους είναι αργός και σοβαρός - στρεφόμενοι ενίοτε προς τα δεξιά και τα αριστερά, και περνώντας κάτω από ένα μαντίλι που κρατεί ο πρωτοχορευτής και η πρωτοχορεύτρια. Η πρώτη αλλαγή φιγούρας είναι ως ακολούθως: Οι χορευτές πλησιάζουν ο ένας τον άλλον όσο γίνεται πιο κοντά και κινούνται γύρω από τον πρωτοχορευτή, ο οποίος, έχοντας αποσπασθεί από τον κύκλο, κάνει άλματα και αναπηδήσεις στο κέντρο. Κατά διαστήματα γυρίζει προς κάθε μία από τις κοπέλλες με τη σειρά και *** παίρνοντας το ύφος και τις εκφράσεις ενός ηρωικού ιππότη. Στο τέλος, ο πρώτος παίρνει τη θέση του στην αρχή της γραμμής των χορευτών, κρατώντας με το μαντίλι την πρώτη κοπέλλα, οπότε η αρχική φιγούρα επαναλαμβάνεται. Κατόπιν αυτού επακολουθεί το αλέγκρο, οπότε οι χορευτές κινούνται γύρω γύρω με περισσότερο κέφι και αναπηδούν συγχρόνως, αναστρέφοντας τον κύκλο κατά τη διάθεση του πρωτοχορευτοή, περνώντας και ξαναπερνώντας κάτω από το μαντίλι. Η γραμμή των χορευτών είναι καμμιά φορά διπλή, οπότε χρειάζεται ιδιαίτερη επιδεξιότητα από τον πρωτοχορευτή για να αποφύγει την σύγχυση.
Ρωμαίϊκα, ή ο Ελληνικός Χορός
Φαίνεται ότι ονομάζεται Ελληνικός Χορός για διάκριση, εφόσον χρησιμοποιείται ευρύτερα από κάθε άλλον. Οι δύο πρώτοι χορευτές κρατιούνται με ένα μαντίλι, το οποίο ενίοτε αφήνεται από τον δεύτερο, ενώ ο πρωτοχορευτής εκτελεί μια ποικιλία κινήσεων με χάρη. Τότε ο πρωτοχορευτής περιστρέφει την γραμμή των χορευτών σε κύκλο γύρω του, κατόπιν την ξετυλίγει με επιδεξιότητα, και εμφανίζεται ξανά στην αρχή της σειράς ανεμίζοντας το μαντίλι του με θριαμβευτικό ύφος.
Καραβίνο. Ναυτικός σκοπός
Κεφαλονίτικο, ή ο Κεφαλονίτικος Χορός
Αρβανίτικο, ή Αρναούτ. Ο Αλβανικός Χορός
Χορεύεται από Αλβανούς με πλήρη οπλισμό. Οι χορευτές σχηματίζουν μια σειρά πλέκοντας τα χέρια τους και, καθώς κινούνται γύρω, δείχνουν σαν να επιθεωρούνται από τον αρχηγό τους, ο οποίος επιδεικνύει κατά διαστήματα με αναπηδήσεις και στροφές μεγάλη ευκινησία αλλά όχι χάρη. Το ύφος του χορού του τουναντίον έχει όλη την αγριότητα που χαρακτηρίζει τους τρόπους του έθνους των Αλβανών. Οι κινήσεις του σώματός του καθώς και οι χειρονομίες του είναι έντονα παραμορφωμένες, ενώ με τα πόδια του κάνει πολύ θόρυβο και σποραδικά εντείνει την προσοχή με δυνατές κραυγές.
Ματράκι, ή ο Βλάχικος Χορός
Ο χορός αυτός παρουσιάζει λιγότερη ποικιλία σε φιγούρες και σε βήματα σε σύγκριση με τους προηγούμενους ελληνικούς χορούς, με τους οποίους έχει λίγη ή καθόλου συγγένεια. Οι κινήσεις είναι αργές και απαιτούν μεγάλη ακρίβεια. Οι χορευτές κρατούνται από τους καρπούς και η ουσιαστική συμβολή τους συνίσταται εις το να κρατούν χρόνο χτυπώνας με τα πόδια τους και εις το να στρέφονται δεξιά καθώς κτυπούν με το αριστερό πόδι και αριστερά καθώς κτυπούν με το αριστερό. Αρχικά χτυπούν μία φορά, μετά δύο ή διπλά, αποσυνδέονται και κτυπούν τα χέρια τους. Κατόπιν αυτού οι κινήσεις είναι πιο γρήγορες, οι χορευτές κτυπούν χρόνο τρεις φορές με τα χέρια και τα πόδια.
Explanation of the view of Athens - 1805~
Drawing by Simone Pomardi (??), pencil and penn, colored.
Επεξήγησις της απόψεως των Αθηνών - 1805~
Σχέδιο του Simone Pomardi (??) με μολύβι και πέννα, επιχρωματισμένο.