The Story of the Greeks

Page: 6

Almost at the same time that Cadmus founded Thebes, an Egyptian called Dan´a-us came to Greece, and settled a colony on the same spot where that of Inachus had once been. The new Argos rose on the same place as the old; and the country around it, called Ar´go-lis, was separated from Bœotia and Attica only by a long narrow strip of land, which was known as the Isthmus of Cor´-inth.

Danaus not only showed the Pelasgians all the useful arts which Cadmus and Cecrops had taught, but also helped them to build ships like that in which he had come to Greece. He also founded religious festivals or games in honor of the harvest goddess, De-me´ter. The women were invited to these games, and they only were allowed to bear torches in the public processions, where they sang hymns in honor of the goddess.

The descendants of Danaus long ruled over the land; and one member of his family, Per´seus, built the town ofThe Lion Gate, Mycenæ. The Lion Gate, Mycenæ.

This same people built tombs for some of the ancient kings, and many treasure and store houses. These buildings, buried under earth and rubbish, were uncovered a few years ago. In the tombs were found swords, spears, and remains of ancient armor, gold ornaments, ancient pieces of pottery, human bones, and, strangest of all, thin masks[Pg 19] of pure gold, which covered the faces of some of the dead.

Thus you see, the Pelasgians little by little joined the new colonies which came to take possession of the land, and founded little states or countries of their own, each governed by its own king, and obeying its own laws.


The Greeks used to tell their children that Deu-ca´li-on, the leader of the Thes-sa´li-ans, was a descendant of the gods, for each part of the country claimed that its first great man was the son of a god. It was under the reign of Deucalion that another flood took place. This was even more terrible than that of Ogyges; and all the people of the neighborhood fled in haste to the high mountains north of Thes´sa-ly, where they were kindly received by Deucalion.

When all danger was over, and the waters began to recede, they followed their leader down into the plains again. This soon gave rise to a wonderful story, which you will often hear. It was said that Deucalion and his wife Pyr´rha were the only people left alive after the flood. When the waters had all gone, they went down the mountain, and found that the temple at Del´phi, where they worshiped their gods, was still standing unharmed. They entered, and, kneeling before the altar, prayed for help.