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CONTENTS OF NO. XX.
NATIONAL QUARTERLY REVIEW.
Art. 1.-1. Vila Periclis ex ipsis fontibus, maxime Plutarcho, pe.
tita. Utrect, 1835. 2. Disputatio historico-literaria de Pericle ejusque reipublicce
Atheniensium administratione. CLARISSE. Leyde, 1837. 3. The Life of Pericles. By PLUTARCH. 4. History of Greece. By GROTE. Vols. v. vi. 5. Pericles der Olympier, biographische Darstellung. KUFFNER.
Vienna, 1809. 6. The History of the Peloponnesian War. By THUCYDIDES. 7. Economie politique des Athéniens. Par M. BOECKH.
The ancient Greeks were undoubtedly a wonderful people. The more we study their history the more astonishing it seems; indeed, were it less fully attested than it is, it would be difficult to believe that it is not fabulous. Nor need we explain why. A hundred reasons will readily suggest themselves to every intelligent reader. It will be sufficient for our present purpose to remember that there is no intellectual effort, of which the human mind is capable, in which the Greeks did not excel. This is the unanimous estimate of all nations. No one having any pretensions to taste or culture would venture to deny that poetry, philosophy, oratory, statesmanship, history, the drama, and the fine arts attained their highest perfection in Greece. Those who have excelled in these various departments, and whom,
VOL. X. NO. XIX.
greatest tened cofir names. ted minde
for nearly three thousand years, the world has regarded as models for imitation, are so familiar to every cultivated mind that it is almost superfluous to mention their names.
It matters little in what enlightened country it is asked, Where are we to seek the greatest poet, the greatest orator, the greatest reasoner, in short the highest order of human intellect? The Greeks whose works have reached us cannot be forgotten; their fame is more imperishable than any monument ever raised by the hand of man. But there are those, of whose productions we have no specimens, whom we know only by the reports of others that are scarcely less illustrious, or that have less claim on our admiration and gratitude, than the great authors who are an inexhaustible source of instruction and delight to millions; men, for example, like Socrates, Anaxagoras, Pericles, &c.
It is not strange that geniuses of the latter class receive less attention than those of the former, since it is much easier to examine the life and character of those whose works we possess than those of persons whose renown among their contemporaries is all pertaining to them that has reached us. But we turn our attention to them all the more readily on this account; for we hold that it is the duty of a periodical writer, if not indeed of every writer, to entertain his readers rather with what they do not know, or have only a vague knowledge of, than with what is already comparatively familiar to them. And since Greece presents us representative men in every department that has ever exercised the human intellect, what can be more appropriate at the present crisis than to select for discussion the life and character of her greatest statesman ? We do not, indeed, mean to draw any parallel between Pericles and any ruler or public official we know at the present day; we should as soon think of drawing a parallel between Homer and one of our fourth-rate poets, when we did not feel disposed, as we do not now, to mock at the latter and exhibit him to public scorn. What we undertake on the present occasion is, to show what Pericles was, what he did, what means he used to accomplish his objects, and what was the secret of his power. We take up the subject all the more cheerfully because we think it is one which could not be discussed, however imperfectly, without deducing from it some useful lessons.
Pericles belonged to one of the first families in Athens. His father, Xanthippus, defeated the King of Persia's best generals, and was as much esteemed for his integrity as he