The traveller from Athens who desires to visit the Boeotian Orchomenus proceeds thither on the turnpike-road by way of Eleusis, Thebes, and Lebadeia. He leaves Athens by descending the Hermes Street, turning to the right nearly opposite to the Theseum, and passing on the left the magnificent ancient funeral monuments at the Hagia-Trias as well as the Dipylum, and other vast ruins brought to light in the adjoining excavations. He soon passes to his left the Botanical Garden, enters (18 minutes) the vast plantations of olive trees, and sees at a distance of half a mile to his right the hill of Colonos, which has been rendered celebrated by Sophocles, and on which are the sepulchres of Charles Lenormant and Karl Otfried Müller. In the grove he successively passes three arms of the river Kephissus, which are nearly always dry; among the olive trees there are several to which the famous Athenian botanist, Th. von Heldreich, ascribes an age of more than 1,500 years. It is probable that for some distance from its issue from the olive grove (20 minutes) the present road is identical with the ancient sacred road, for we see there the little chapel of St. George, apparently on the site of a temple on the ancient roadside; a number of excavated rock-cut tombs, which border the road, can leave almost no doubt in this respect. But at the foot of the conical hill of Poikilus, at the entrance of the defile (20 minutes), the sacred road appears to have turned to the right, whilst the modern way turns to the left. The defile is bordered on the right by Mount Icarus, on the left by Mount Corydallus (that is, lark, Alauda cristata), which latter is crowned by a tower and ruined walls. On the left, in entering the defile, we see in an excavation foundations of large stones, which mark the famous sepulchre of the Hetaera Pythionike, excavated in 1855 by General Vassoignes. This monument, which is described by Pausanias as the most remarkable and most magnificent of all ancient Greek tombs, was—according to him—erected by the Macedonian Harpalos in honour of Pythionike, with whom he had fallen so deeply in love that he had made her his lawful wife.
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