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HISTORY OF GREECE,
FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES TO THE ROMAN CONQUEST.
WITH SUPPLEMENTARY CHAPTERS ON THE HISTORY OF
LITERATURE AND ART.
BY WILLIAM SMITH, LL.D.,
COX'S SCHOOL HISTORY OF GREECE.
ROME. 75 cents.
PUBLISIED BY HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK.
OF Any of the above booke sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the United States, on receipt
of the price.
In the Clerk's Office for the Southern District of New York.
56 1883 Edu.co
No history is so full of instruction as that of Greece, and there is none whose lessons have been more uniformly perverted. Gillies treated it as an exposition of the “incurable evils inherent in every form of republican policy," and dedicated his work to the King. Mitford wrote from a point of view so purely English, that, with all his learning and industry, he was never able to understand the distinction between a republican and a demagogue. We have all been taught that the condemnation of Miltiades was a flagrant instance of republican in. gratitude ; that the Athenian democracy was fickle, and cowardly, and mean ; and that the happy days of Greece were those transient
which followed the concentration of power in the hands of an oligarchy or a tyrant.
Now, if there be any value in history, it must consist in the truthful record of man's tendency to grow wiser and better, or more ignorant and more wicked, under particular forms of government, and in certain modes of existence. If “every form of republican policy” be tainted by incurable evils, it is very important that we should know it, and prepare ourselves in time for the inevitable development of them. If the experience of other nations has brought any thing to light which can be apo
plied to our own case, it is our duty to study it carefully, and do our best to turn it to account. The past has a claim upon us for just and conscientious appreciation. It is as wicked as it is vain to attempt to sever the ties which bind us to the old world and make the civilization of elder days an important element in our own. And as every vice sooner or later brings its own chastisement, the people which shuts its eyes wilfully to the teachings of history, will sooner or later find that, even in its hardest struggles, it has been treading a path in which almost all the dangers had been revealed long before.
If we would read these lessons aright, we must come to the study of the past with candid and fearless minds ; ready to accept whatever it really tells us ; and earnest only in searching out the true meaning of its revelations. This alone can make the study of history fruitful, and bring out that earnestness, sincerity, candour, and toleration, which are as essential to the healthy development of nations as of individuals.
It is all the more to be regretted that Grecian history has been so sadly distorted, as it necessarily lies at the basis of our historical studies. Greek civilization is the first of the civilizations of the old world with which we still have an active and enduring sympathy. The elder empires of Asia are subjects of deep interest to the professed scholar; Egypt is full of strange revelations of character and power; but Greece is the only country which still continues to exercise a direct and healthy influence upon the development of the mind in every department of thought and taste. Every now and then, it is true, we are startled by the apparition of some new Homer, or De mosthenes, or Phidias : but long before their generation has passed away, the world is glad to fall back again upon the old
When Canova began his reform in sculpture, he went back to the antique with the simplicity and devotion of a child; and the result was the modern school, the most brilliant since