The three islands Phoenice, Phila, Iturium - Marseilles first a Phoenician colony - The tariff of fees exacted by the priests of Baal - The arrival of the Ionians - The legend of Protis and Gyptis - Second colony of Ionians - The voyages of Pytheas and Euthymenes - Capture of Marseilles by Trebonius - Position of the Greek city - The Acropolis - Greek inscriptions - The lady who never "jawed" her husband - The tomb of the sailor-boy - Hotel des Negociants - Menu - Entry of the President of the Republic - Entry of Francis I. - The church of S. Vincent - The Cathedral - Notre Dame de la Garde - The abbey of S. Victor - Catacombs - The fable of S. Lazarus.

The traveller approaching Marseilles from the sea observes three islets of bare limestone rock that are apparently a prolongation of that rocky promontory now crowned by the fortress of S. Nicolas, and that act as a natural breakwater against wave and storm from the S.E. They go by the names of Pomegue, Ratonneau, and Chateau d'If. But the classic geographers called the group the Little Stoechades, and named these islets Phoenice, Phila, and Iturium; and these three appellations give us in a compact form the story of ancient Marseilles, founded by the Phoenicians, refounded by the Greeks, and then made a dependency under the Roman empire.

That Marseilles was a Phoenician colony before the Phoceans settled there is shown by the monuments that have been exhumed from the foundations of the modern houses, and are now collected in the museum. There are some curious images of Melkarth and Melita, the Hercules and Venus of these Asiatic traders, known also to us through the Bible as Baal and Ashtaroth. But most curious of all is a long Phoenician table of charges made by the priests of Baal for the various sacrifices and oblations offered by the people. This tariff of charges was found in 1845. It consists of twenty-one lines, and begins: -

"The Temple of Baal. - This is the regulation relative to the dues legally established by Italis-Baal, the suffete, son of Bod-tanith, son of Bod-Milcarth, and by Italis-Baal.

"For an entire ox, the ordinary sacrifice, the priests are to receive ten shekels. At the sacrifice, in addition, three hundred mishekels of flesh.

"Item. For the ordinary sacrifice, of cereals and flour of wheat, also the hide, the entrails, and the feet of the victim. All the rest of the flesh goes to the master of the sacrifice."

So it continues to regulate the fees for a calf, a ram, a bird; also for cakes, and for offerings made by lepers and by common people. The table of fees is extremely curious and is, I believe, unique.

The Phoenician colony at Marseilles was probably in decline when, in B.C. 599, a Greek fleet left the port of Phocaea, one of the twelve Ionian cities of Asia Minor, seeking new homes in the West. The colony was under the command of an adventurer named Protis. Attracted by the Bay of Marseilles, and the basin surrounded by hills that lay in its lap, the Greek colony disembarked.

And now for a legend.

The first measure taken by the new arrivals was to send a deputation to the King of the Segobrigae, a Keltic race occupying what is now called Provence. The king was at Arles, which was his capital; his name was Nannos. By a happy coincidence the embassy arrived on the day upon which Nannos had assembled the warriors of his tribe, for his daughter, Gyptis, to choose a husband among them.

The arrival of the young Greek, Protis, in the midst of this banquet was a veritable coup-de-theatre; he took his place at the board. His natural grace, his easy and polished manners, the nobleness and elegance of his person and features, contrasted strangely with the savagery and coarseness of the Gaulish warriors.

Free to choose whom she would, Gyptis rose from the table, filled a cup, and made the circuit of the board. Every eye was fixed on her; he was to be her choice to whom she offered the bowl. She did not hesitate for a moment, she went to the Greek stranger and extended it to him. Protis put the goblet to his lips, and the alliance was concluded.

The example of Gyptis was followed by some of her maidens. The Gauls agreed to receive the Greeks, and suffer them to colonise the basin of Marseilles.

But the chiefs who had been set aside by the fair Gyptis bore a grudge against the new-comers. The growing prosperity and rapid development of the new settlement aroused their jealousy, which was probably augmented by the defection of some of their wives and daughters. Profiting by the Feast of Flora in May, they presented themselves at the gates of Marseilles in attendance on some waggons laden with green boughs, under which were their arms concealed. But love, that had founded the Ionian colony, was destined to save it. A young Gaulish woman revealed the plot to her Hellenic lover, and the Greeks laid their hands on the arms that were to have been employed against them, turned them against the intrusive Gauls, and massacred them to a man.

But having thus saved themselves from one danger they felt that they had incurred another. They had provoked the deadly animosity of the whole tribe of the Segobrigae. They therefore appealed to their countrymen in Ionia to come to their aid. The appeal met with a ready response, a second fleet of colonists arrived. Marseilles was encompassed with walls on the land side, and thus made secure against the assaults of undisciplined barbarians.

Such is the graceful legend of the origin of Marseilles. It is only so far historical that it gives us in poetic and romantic form the main facts, that the first colony settled at Marseilles without opposition, that after a while it got embroiled with the Gaulish tribes of the neighbourhood, and that a second Ionian colony came to strengthen the first. But this second colony arrived B.C. 542, fifty-seven years after the first, and was due to the taking of Phocaea by the Medes and Persians.

As a Greek mercantile colony Marseilles flourished, and sent forth other colonies, that formed settlements along the Ligurian coast, as a Literal crown from Ampurias and Rhode in Catalonia to the confines of Etruria. Free, rich, protected by the Roman legions, these Greek settlements cultivated the arts and sciences with ardour, as well as carrying on the trade of the Mediterranean.

In the year B.C. 350 two of her most illustrious citizens, Pytheas and Euthymenes, explored the northern and southern Atlantic. Pytheas was charged to make a voyage of discovery towards the north. He coasted Spain, Portugal, Aquitania, Brittany, discovered Great Britain, coasted it, and reached Thule, which some have supposed to be Iceland, but others the Orkney Isles. In a second voyage he penetrated the Baltic by the Cattegat and Sound, and reached the mouths of the Dwina or the Vistula. On his return he composed two works, records of his discoveries, of which precious fragments have been preserved by Pliny and Strabo. Thanks to his labours, Marseilles was the first town whose latitude was determined with some precision.

About the same time, Euthymenes was commissioned to make explorations in the opposite direction. He sailed south-west, traced the western coast of Africa, and penetrated the mouths of the Senegal, whence he brought back gold dust.

Marseilles was taken, B.C. 49, by Trebonius, the lieutenant of Julius Caesar. Two naval battles ruined her fleet; and, but for the clemency of Caesar, the doom of the city would have been sealed. She had enthusiastically taken the part of Pompey, and had resisted Caesar with unusual determination. But he appreciated the importance of the colony and the mercantile energy of her inhabitants, and he did not lay his hand in retribution too severely upon her.

The old Greek city of Massilia occupied the promontory which is still old Marseilles, clustered on the Butte St. Laurent and Butte des Moulins, where was the Acropolis, with the temples of Apollo and Diana, and the Butte des Cannes. The harbour was the natural fiord, which is now the Vieux port; and the modern splendid street Canebiere runs along the site of the old shipbuilding-docks of the Greeks. Here was found a few years ago an ancient galley with keel and ribs of cedar, and coins in her of the date of Julius Caesar. She is now in the museum. To the south of the old port was a marsh; the rectangular canal and the Bassin du Carenage mark the position of this marsh, now built over - a marsh that reached to the base of the limestone hills that rise to the peak now occupied by Notre Dame de la Garde.

The old Greek walls of Massilia ran in a sweep along where is now the Boulevard des Dames, Rue d'Aix, and reached the Vieux port at the Bourse.

Considering the importance of the Greek city, its wealth and splendour, it is surprising to find nowhere in Marseilles any ruins of its ancient founders. But Marseilles has traversed every historic period, in the midst of storm; and after a voyage of three thousand years through history, she has been plundered of every fragment of her ancient treasures. In Rome the Colosseum and the tomb of Augustus were robbed of their materials for the construction of houses; and in Marseilles every stone of her ancient temples and acropolis have been appropriated for baser purposes. She has passed through twenty fires, and as many sieges. Taken, sacked, decimated, she has been rebuilt over and over again, always hurriedly, consequently always with material taken where nearest at hand, without respect for her monuments and historic recollections. The disturbed soil of Marseilles is not even a heap of ruins, for every stone found in the soil has been utilised as material for construction. Nevertheless some traces of the Greek founders remain in the beautiful coins of the colony, and in inscriptions that have been picked out of the walls or foundations of mediaeval houses. The coins, stamped with classic beauty, are well-known to numismatists.

We have space to notice only one or two inscriptions. One is the sign of Athenades, son of Dioscorides, professor of Latin grammar, probably set up two thousand years ago over his door; another is a notice of a young lad, Cleudemos, son of Dionysius, having gained a prize. A curious Greek inscription is found at Carpentras, a colony from Marseilles, that illustrates the manner in which foreign religions got mixed up with those that were proper to the Greeks.

"Blessed be Thebe, daughter of Thelhui, laden with oblations for the God Osiris - she never jawed her husband - she was blameless in the eyes of Osiris, and receives his benediction."

Truly such a wife deserved that her conduct towards her husband should be commemorated through ages upon ages, and we may thank good fortune that it has preserved to us the name of this incomparable lady.

As I am on the subject of Greek inscriptions, I may quote the following touching one, that has been found built into the wall of a house at Aix.

"On the banks, beaten by the waves, a youth appeals to thee, voyager! I, beloved by God, am no more subject to the domination of Death. I passed my life sailing on the sea, myself a sailor, like to the youthful gods, the Amyclaeans, saviours of sailors, free from the yoke of matrimony. Here in my tomb, which I owe to the piety of my masters, I rest sheltered from all maladies, free from toil, from cares, from pains; whereas in life, all these woes fall on our gross envelopes of matter. The dead, on the other hand, are divided into two classes, of which one returns to the earth, whereas the other rises to join the dance with the celestial choirs; and it is to this latter class that I belong, having had the good fortune to range myself under the banners of the Divinity."

Clearly this was the tomb of a young sailor-boy, a native of Aix, who had served in a merchant vessel of Marseilles. There is something graceful and pathetic in the monument.

But enough of the past. Now for the present, and in considering the present let us attend to that which feeds and builds up that gross envelope of matter the young Greek sailor had laid aside.

At Marseilles I put up at the Hotel des Negociants, in the Cours Belzunce. Let me observe that I do not see the fun of going to hotels of the first class. Not only is one's expense doubled, but one is thrown among English and American travellers, and sees nothing whatever of the people in whose country one is travelling. Now, here in this commercial inn, I had for dinner the following dishes, which I am quite sure I should not have had in the Grand Hotel de Noailles, where a dinner is six francs, whereas at my inn I paid just half. I must also observe that the dinners were abundant and excellent, but among the dishes were some that were peculiar to the Provencal cuisine, for instance: -

Bread slices sopped in saffron, with fish, garnished with small crabs, to be chewed up, shell and all.

Artichokes, raw, with oil and vinegar.

Oranges with pepper and salt.

On the table were glass jugs with tar-water, and I observed that over half those present drank their wine diluted with this tar-water.

One day in summer I was at table-d'hote in France when I saw a very fine melon on the table. Said I, in my heart of hearts, "I'll have some of you by-and-by!" But, to my consternation, the melon was taken round with stewed conger eel, and eaten with salt and pepper. I could not summon up courage to try the mixture, and the whole melon was consumed before the next course came on.

I was at Marseilles when M. Carnot, the President of the Republic visited it, April 16th. Great efforts were made to give him a splendid reception. Venetian masts were set up, strings of fairy lamps were suspended between them, and tricolours were hung as banners to the masts, or grouped together in trophies. But alas! No sooner were all preparations made, than a furious gale broke over the coast, the venetian masts swayed in the wind and were upset or thrown out of the perpendicular, the little lamps jingled against each other and were broken, such as were not shivered were filled with rain, the banners were lashed with the broken wires and torn to shreds, and when M. Carnot arrived, in a pouring rain, it was amidst a very wreckage of festival preparations, and he was received by a crowd of umbrellas. Under such circumstances enthusiasm was damped and ejaculations of welcome were muffled. The President occupied an open landau, and drove along the boulevards without umbrella or waterproof, bowing to right and left in a slashing rain. A deputation of flower women presented him with a sodden bouquet, by the hand of a dripping little girl in white that clung to her as a bathing gown. The President insisted on the maid being lifted to him into the carriage, where he hugged and kissed her, whilst the moisture ran out of her garments like a squeezed sponge, and this demonstration provoked some damp cheers.

I bought Henri Rochefort's paper next day, to see what his correspondent had to say about the visit. Some passages from it are too racy not to be quoted.

"Il faisait un temps a ne pas mettre un ministre dehors, lorsque le train presidentiel est arrive en gare, et le defile a la detrempe etait pitieux a voir dans le gargouillement et la transsudation de ce degorgement cataractal. Sadi Carnot avait donne l'ordre de laisser son landau decouvert, afin de recevoir les ovations enthousiastes des parapluies.

"Bref, la Presidence est arrivee a la prefecture trempee comme une soupe a l'oignon et fortement dessalee."

Verily there is no tongue like the French for saying nasty things in a nasty way.

I do not know whether it is fair for one to pass an opinion on a man from a sight of his face overrun with rain-water, and with his nose acting like a shoot from a roof; but certainly the impression produced on me by M. Sadi Carnot was that his features were wooden, and that he was but a very ordinary man - intellectually. I pass this opinion with hesitation. When dried possibly the sparks of genius may be discovered and may flare up; they were all but extinguished in the downpour when I saw him.

That cheerful king, Rene of Anjou and Provence, paid a visit to Marseilles in 1437, and made his royal entry on Sunday, December 15th. He was delighted with the reception accorded him, and in a gush of kindly feeling promised to make Marseilles his headquarters. But he forgot his promise, or circumstances were against his keeping it. He never revisited Marseilles. On January 22, 1516, Francis I. entered the town and was received by children carrying banners and garlands, and troupes of young girls in white, then followed archers, arquebusiers, the consuls, and the clergy bearing the relics of S. Lazarus and S. Victor. A theatre was erected at every street corner, on which were presented to his sight incidents from the life of S. Louis. The procession ended with a battle of oranges and lemons, in which the king gave and received a good many blows on the head with the golden fruit.

At the head of the Allees des Capucins, a fine street planted with trees and with a handsome fountain in the place where the Allees de Meilhan unites with it, is a really fine modern Gothic church with twin west spires of open tracery. They are perhaps too thin, a usual fault with modern work, but otherwise the church is very good and stately. It is as fine within as without, but sorely disfigured by the coloured glass, which is garish. French painted glass is very bad. It is precisely the sort of stuff that was turned out by English glass-painters about thirty years ago, the colours crude and distressing to the eye - windows that our more cultured taste cannot now endure. But the French artists have not advanced, the windows put in to-day are as detestable as those they put in at the beginning of the revival. Unfortunately, every cathedral is crowded through the length and breadth of France with this abominable stuff, that is only tolerable in a modern tasteless church, vulgar in its architecture and insipid in its sculpture, but is painfully out of place in a venerable minster.

The city of Marseilles has been lucky in securing a good architect for the Church of S. Vincent de Paul, but in another architectural venture Marseilles has been unfortunate. She was resolved to have a cathedral, and she gave the designing of it to a man void of taste, who has built a hideous erection on the quay in what he is pleased to call Byzantine style. I am quite sure any Byzantine architect would cheerfully have jumped into the Bosphorus rather than disfigure a city with such a structure as Notre Dame.

The Germans have a saying that the higher a monkey climbs the more he exposes his monkeyishness; and unfortunately this architect has been allowed to climb very high. He was given the peak of Notre Dame de la Garde, that towers over Marseilles, on which to erect a church. The site is exceptionally good, one on which a man of ordinary genius would have done something, could hardly have failed to have done something, that would have been picturesque. But such is the perversity of this unfortunate man's talent that he has erected a structure on the limestone crag, of almost miraculous hideousness. It is also in so-called Byzantine architecture. There is a dish-cover which serves as a dome, and a tower which would be comical if it were not irritating. It resembles the handle of a renaissance knife or fork stuck into a sheath and standing upright with a figure at top. We have made a blunder at South Kensington in setting side by side a depressed dome - the Albert Hall, and the acute pinnacle of the Albert Memorial; but a road runs between them, and it is possible to shut one eye and see one of these two structures apart from the other. But in Notre Dame de la Garde the two are combined in one building, and tease the eye from every point in Marseilles.

I ascended the steep crag to the church and found it full of a devout congregation. The service was the "Salut," and the Host was being elevated to the strains of "The Last Rose of Summer," on the hautbois stop of the organ.

The view from the platform of the church, of Marseilles, the coast, the blue Mediterranean and the islands is beautiful. Below Notre Dame de la Garde, and above the old port, stands the ancient Abbey of S. Victor; this abbey, of which the church alone remains, occupies a site where the successive generations of Massaliots buried their dead from the earliest pagan times, and here the first Christians formed catacombs of which some traces remain under the church, subterranean passages bearing some resemblance to those in the outskirts of Rome. The abbey itself was founded by Cassian, in the fourth century, over these galleries containing the bones of the first Christians, but his monastery was wrecked by the Saracens four hundred years later, and it was rebuilt in the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. What remains of this famous Abbey of S. Victor has rather the appearance of a fortress than a church; the walls and ramparts date from 1350, and were the work of William de Grimoard, who was prior of the monastery before he was elevated to be pope under the title of Urban V. The heavy, clumsy pile is a type of the architecture, at once military and ecclesiastical, that characterises most of the churches along the coast.

Externally the venerable church is devoid of beauty. No attempt at decoration has been made. It seems a shapeless pile of towers and machicolated and battlemented curtains, falling into almost complete ruin. But on passing through the single entrance, one finds oneself in a well-proportioned church of nave and side aisles, a south chapel, and an apse. Each buttress of the apse is battlemented outside and forms a turret, and two strong towers are adapted internally to serve as a transept and a porch.

Marseilles claims to have had as its first apostle Lazarus, whom Christ raised from the dead. The foundation of this myth is that in the fourth century it perhaps had a prelate of the name of Lazarus, though the earliest known bishop was Orestius, A.D. 314. The fact is that the existence of S. Lazarus at Marseilles was unsuspected till the eleventh century. When Cassian founded his abbey he dedicated it to S. Victor. If he had known anything about Lazarus, almost certainly he would have dedicated the church to him; he erected moreover, two other chapels, one to SS. Peter and Paul, the other to the Blessed Virgin and S. John the Baptist. When, in 1010, Benedict IX. enumerates the glories of the abbey restored after the destruction by the Saracens, he does not make the most transient allusion to S. Lazarus. However, Benedict IX., in 1040, does mention the passion of this Lazarus raised from the dead by Christ, as one of the causes why the abbey was venerable. His relics were said to have been transported thence to Athens, to preserve them from the Saracens. We shall learn more about this fable when we come to the Camargue.