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Within the walls is a semicircular chamber with its base to the south, arranged in tiers of stones, in form of a Greek theatre. Eschylus, who wrote before Greek theatres were built of stone,' refers in Agamemnon, 1. 503, to the gods seated on thrones facing the sun; and as these remains are older than any Greek erection, we may have here a reference to this structure, or to some of which this was an example: the models, perhaps, from which the Greek theatres were designed. The building is about 80 ft. square at the base, has been about 60 ft. high, and the entrance to the hall is about 20 ft. from the ground; to which height the building appears to be solid, the floor being at that level. Whatever purpose Silbury Hill served, any one of these conical structures would fulfil.
East of this pyramidal structure are the remains of an early city, not unlike the walls of Tre'r Caeri, on Yr Eifl Mountains, near Snowdon. The defending wall to this pyramid, guarding also the sacred enclosure and the city, is 14 ft. thick and 10 ft. high in its present ruinous condition; has a number of deep recesses like the Pelasgic portals at Norba in Italy, and one like the remarkable one at Phigalia in Greece, and is formed of stones, some of which measure 15 ft. in length, and resembles, in the greatness of its dimensions, the vast Cyclopean wall at Samothrace, illustrated by me in The Builder, from a drawing made by me in that island.
In tumuli near this old city evidences of cremation have been found, apparently showing that the conical erections were not sepulchral, but that cremation went on around them.
There are other widely different, but equally remarkable structures, but I confine myself, in this paper, to the above. In the Island of Minorca alone, although covering a district of thirty miles, and with a range of mountains between, even the extremely remote, and all the intervening remains of this kind, could have almost instantaneous communication with each other, as tested by me; and I believe a careful survey of the district between Stonehenge and Avebury would show that either by
1 See Pausanias, Suidas, and others.
ancient barrows or natural heights communications could be made between these places. Excavations near these structures have, as at Stonehenge and Carnac, in Brittany, produced Roman remains, though it need hardly be said the structures are not Roman. It is, however, clear they were known to the Romans.
One very curious point arises here. In the Island of Minorca, near to the great port, Mahon (so named from a Carthaginian general, Mago), the stone tables are of larger dimensions, more careful workmanship, and apparently, unlike the others, wrought with metal tools, although the conical structures near them are not so important. All the appearances are those of later and more careful construction, and it is near these that the largest quantity of Roman remains have been found. With the politic and conciliatory custom of the Romans in adopting the worship of the respective localities they governed, these later stone tables appear to be identical, as restorations of previously existing, and possibly of then decaying, monuments; in short, on a more magnificent scale, of altars, or deities, or both, as the case may be. In such case they assume the precise condition of the more vast portion of Stonehenge. The smaller circle and the two small trilithons clearly show the nature of the earlier structure, and the Roman occupation of the locality shows the interest the Romans felt in it.
The principle of wrought stone monuments is not British, still less so the mortise and tenon, or it would be found in some of the earlier or later cromlechs, though the latter was evidently known to the constructors of the ancient monuments in the Mediterranean islands just described; and it is highly probable that rude stone structures, long since removed in Spain, Africa, and Gaul, may have suggested this method to the Romans; and it is possible that an ancient race coming to Britain in remote times, may have left rude examples of such constructions in some of the smaller trilithons long since perished. My impression is, that as the Romans consolidated their power by alliance with, and granting freedom to, the nobles of the countries they governed; as they considered the worship of the local deities of other lands meritorious, and no abrogation of nor detraction from
the honours claimed for their own deities of Rome, they could show this in no more comprehensive way than by restoration or augmentation of that temple in Britain which was in the centre of the deceased nobility of the land, and in the vicinity of what was clearly the great wardmote or gathering-place of the British at Avebury. On the other hand there is evidence enough to show, both in the mortise and tenon construction, and in the vastness of the stones (although those of Stonehenge are smaller than the great monoliths in Brittany), that the artificers, or at least designers, of even the later parts may have been of Phoenician origin, or at least of their date, the monuments of the Baleares being Pelasgic of the oldest type. The Pelasgi, although apparently in occupation over the known world long prior to the coming of the Phoenicians, were a people with whom the Phoenicians were in communication, and all the features of Stonehenge and Avebury have analogues in the islands between the African continent and Europe. In any case, that Stonehenge is not a purely British structure is clear. Dr. James Fergusson, who is not fond of attributing great antiquity to any monuments, allows that the remains on the Balearic Islands may be coeval with the period of the Trojan War.
Having repeatedly examined the route of the ancient traffic in tin through Gaul, I feel clear in stating that trilithons seem to follow a line from Africa (where several exist), through Gaul, and then by the Atlantic shore and islands to Britain; a trilithon being found on the coast in Brittany, at St. Nazaire, and one in the Ile D'Ousëssant. They are rare in any case; but examples are to be found on the old route of tin traffic, or near it. A fine trilithon is figured in one of Cambry's plates, in the Department de l'Isère, on the Rhone.
Dr. Fergusson admits the art of the construction (i.e., the design) may have travelled from Africa to Ireland, and thence to Wiltshire; in which, as to the smaller and original structure, I think he is right. I assume that he means that persons having practice in construction of this kind brought such knowledge with them.
The only authors who have written on these remains, except on some isolated examples, are the Count de la
Marmora and Don Juan Ramis. The former states that ill health prevented his examining these monuments, except in a few instances, of which he gives examples. The latter does not even appear to me to have made personal inspections. To these facts I attribute the very incorrect drawings and deficiency in statements respecting them. The only two Englishmen in Majorca (there are no resident English in Minorca) were the British Consul, son of Dr. Mure, the well-known writer on Greek classical history, and Mr. Waring, an engineer, nephew of Mr. Waring the antiquary. The latter, in making excavations, had found some curious Roman remains; but neither gentleman had investigated the ancient remains. I received great kindness from both, and much assistance from Mr. Mure, and in Minorca from several of the wealthy residents, who took an interest in my researches.
With the British Consul at Palma (Mr. Mure) I made a careful inspection of the several islands, even including the small and seldom visited island, Dragonera, as my survey was made in a technical and systematic manner; but as Minorca required a long survey, from the abundance of its remains, it exceeded his power of absence from consular duties.
At Ciudadella, the capital of Minorca, I was politely received, in the Cása de Ayuntamiento, by the Alcalde, Don Gaspar J. Saura, who with great politeness procured me a Minorcan acquainted with the country districts, there being no guides, and the inhabitants of one end of the island seeming to know nothing of the other end, nor of anything in the island, except in their own local districts. I received much attention from some of the leading families Don Francisco Segui, Don Juan Pons Y Soler, and from Mr. Vanreel of Port Mahon, with whom and his agreeable son, some of my examinations were made, and Don Nicholas Salas of Ciudadella.
Many of the remarkable objects I visited were undescribed in any books, Spanish or English.
Classical history gives us little information either on Cyclopean structures generally, or on those in these islands in particular, nor does it inform us much concerning the inhabitants of the Baleares. On the term "Cyclopean", the celebrated German writer, Kruse, informs us
that the word had reference to the circular buildings of the Pelasgi, which terminated in points where there were circular apertures; and hence their name originated from the circular form of their buildings (KÚKλos) and the round opening at the top (y), an eye, which it resembled. Several authors (Cæsar, Virgil, Ovid, Diodorus, and others) speak of the inhabitants as skilful slingers, and hence they are called "Baleares" (from Baxxw, to throw), and the word Baxxew is applied to them. Bochart, however, makes it Punic, but uses the word Baal, not as god or lord, but master: thus, Baal-Jare, a master at throwing. The Greeks called these islands Gymnesiæ, because the inhabitants went naked in summer. This is still so on a large estate managed by Mr. Waring, an English engineer. I was assured that there, in another month, the workmen would be entirely without clothing.
Of the extraordinary remains in Minorca we have absolutely no historic information. The masonry indicates that they are Cyclopean of the oldest type; while that of the Nuraghe of Sardinia, with which many suppose they agree, is often in courses of wrought or well trimmed stone. The grand feature of the Nuraghe is also wanting in the Baleares, viz., the spiral staircase or ramp, which is found also in the "brocks" of Scotland. plan of the grandest structure in Minorca approaches a square at the base, and forms a pyramid, of which there is no example in Sardinia. In this building the angles are rounded, as before described.
There is historic reference to the Nuraghe of Sardinia, and even their builder, Iolaus, is mentioned by Diodorus Siculus; but the antiquity of the remains in Minorca is lost in the mist of ages, or referred to the time of the very oldest of the mythological deities, Saturn.
I find a quotation from Homer, and also from Pindar, which I have not had time to verify, that there was a place in the Balearides supposed to have been the palace of Saturn. I can imagine no place more suitable for this description than what I have called the grand temple.
The works of Iolaus in Sardinia are described in a way to prevent mistake, and they are found to-day as then described, with the domes, or eóλot, beautifully designed. There are some portions of these Nuraghe which appear