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For some years past it has been the cause of much regret among our own scholars, as well as among those of foreign countries, that there has existed no organ for the discussion and illustration of the knowledge of antiquity. Latterly our scholars have had no public means of communicating with one another, or of becoming acquainted with one another's labours. The great Reviews, for obvious reasons, seldom notice works relating to classical antiquity; and the consequence has been that works of acknowledged merit in this department of literature have rarely received that share of public attention which they deserve, and have sometimes remained unknown to the great body of classical students. The same has been the case, but to a much greater extent, with the productions of continental scholars. Foreign countries have had still fewer opportunities of learning how classical studies were faring with us, and a pretty general belief has arisen on the continent that classical studies here were decaying or nearly extinct. Now although it cannot be denied, that at a recent period of our literary history there was a falling off in classical studies, or perhaps, more correctly speaking, in the production of standard works, yet it is at the same time an indisputable fact, that within the last twelve or fifteen years the study of classical antiquity has been reviving among us, and that its importance in education and in the cultivation of the mind and of taste in general, has been more universally recognised.
Several attempts have been made within the last few years to fill up the existing deficiency in our periodical literature, and to establish a journal devoted to classical antiquity, but various difficulties have from time to time prevented the plan from being carried into effect. These difficulties are now overcome, and owing to the generous support which has been afforded by many distinguished scholars, the first volume of the Classical Museum, containing Parts I. to III. is now presented to the public. It is hoped, that the scholars of this country will continue to lend their assistance in supporting a journal, the want of which must be felt by all who take an interest in classical pursuits.
Owing to the first part of the Classical Museum not appearing until the first of June, Volume I. for 1843, consists of only three parts; but as it is hoped in future to publish one part regularly every quarter, each of the subsequent volumes will consist of four parts.
The subjects which the Classical Museum will embrace are: the Languages, History, Geography, Religion, Literature, Political and Social Institutions, Laws, Arts and Sciences of the ancients; and nothing will be excluded which throws light on any point of antiquity. Papers upon the early history and literature of our own country, and discussions upon Oriental literature, as far as it has any bearing upon or connexion with classical antiquity, will likewise occasionally be inserted in the pages of this Journal. Biblical criticism and all subjects of a religious or theological nature will be excluded.
As to the forms in which these subjects are treated in the Classical Museum, we may classify them as follows,—
1. Original Essays, and occasionally translations of the best Essays of foreign scholars, or condensed abstracts of voluminous and expensive works of importance.
3. Miscellaneous information on subjects of antiquity.
4. Short critical notices of works connected with classical studies which appear in this country, and of the best foreign works of the same kind.
5. Intelligence. Under this head it is proposed to give all the information respecting the Universities and other Literary Institutions in this and other countries, which may be deemed important or interesting to the classical student.