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the early Greeks. The military triumph, the fu-l for things which he does not understand, is to us beral procession, the nuptial ceremony, and the often highly amusing. As an instance of this sort convivial banquet, were alike incomplete, without we may refer to his singular explanation of the the accompanying bard and the melting tones of cause of the overflowing of the Nile. the lyre.
Herodotus was succeeded in the great field of When, however, men began to record their history by Thucydides. To point out all the disthoughts, not so much for the gratification of the tinguishing qualities of this eminent writer would public taste as to convey jostruction and informa- require more time and space than we now have to tion, they naturally sought to express themselves in spare. We must content ourselves with only a the language of their ordinary intercourse. It is few general remarks. The period over which his thus, that, in the history of every people of bril narrative extends is, perhaps, the most important liant genius, prose composition will be of later one in the history of Greece-that of the Peloponorigin than poetry.
nesian war. The style in which his thoughts are Pherecydes, who wrote about the middle of the embodied is such as might be expected from the sixth century before the christian era, is usually stern character of his mind. Close, compact, and considered as the first prose writer, though, as often obscure, the language seems to Jabor under might be expected, there are several other names the weight of the thought which it bears. We that contest this honor with his. He was followed never find a superfluous word, nor a trivial remark. by a class of prose writers down to the period of His mind seems to be absorbed in his great design, the Persian wars, but nearly all of whose works and with the full consciousness of his power, it is have been lost. From the accounts we have re- without affectation he declares that he gives his ceived of them, they seem hardly able to claim the production to the world as an everlasting possesrank of historical compositions, as they were de- sion† He not only narrated the events of the great voted mostly to mythological subjects. The true contest of which he was an eye witness and a parhistorical era did not arise until a comparatively ticipator, with a conciseness and an accuracy truly late day. In fact, Herodotus is the first who can astonishing, but he scanned with the eye of a stateslay elaim to the title of bistorian, and he did not man and a philosopher all the parts of the great write until after the Persian invasion. He has drama that was passing before him, pointed out its been strikingly called the father of history, and his origin, marked its latent springs of action, and work abounds in all those beauties and defects that traced out its remote consequences. The history might naturally be looked for from the circum- of the Peloponnesian war is a great mine, from stances under which it was produced. He tells his which the statesman may continue to draw, in all story in a simple and unaffected narrative, that ages, lessons fraught with deep political wisdom. must ever possess a powerful charm from its very As one instance out of a multitude of the profound simplicity. His passion for the strange and mar- and searching character of his mind when turned vellous never permits him to pause and examine the to the investigation of any important question, we authority, upon which any of the wonderful events may refer to his valuable digression on the origin, that he relates are founded. Like the Moor, he is progress, and terrible effects of faction in the Grefond of enlightening his readers with particular cian states. I There is, of course, always one fact accounts of
to be kept constantly in view when examining the
character and value of the general remarks of this “The Anthropophagi, and men whose heads writer upon points of political philosophy. To him Do grow beneath their shoulders."
Greece was the whole world—with all the forms
and systems existing there, he was intimately acAnd it is enough for him that such stories are com- quainted, and it was the principles upon which these monly reported and generally believed. He does were founded, that he had made the study of his not, however, directly pledge his own authority for life. We must not look then for all that generalsach statements, but gives them to us as he finds ity of application in his remarks, that is found in them. There are some points, indeed, upon which the productions of the writers of the present day on his anthority is probably the best we have. When the science of government. The civilized world he speaks of the situations of towns and rivers, is now in a condition far different from any that and describes the general features of a country, has ever before existed, and the historian of the and the manners and customs of its inhabitants, we present day stands upon a lofty eminence, from have no reason to doubt the accuracy of his state- which he can survey at once the workings of all ments without positive evidence to the contrary : systems of government.
Thus guided by the adfor in almost all such cases he speaks from direct ditional light and experience of two and twenty and personal observation, having himself visited and inspected them. His general remarks upon
* Lib. II, c. 23-28. abstract principles are of but little value, and the
+ Lib. I, c. 22. manner in which he sometimes attempts to account | Lib. III, c. 80-85.
centuries, it were strange indeed if he could not exerted upon every department of nature. And point out more successfully the general tendency from speculations of the same sort, some of his folof given principles, and deduce more certainly their lowers assumed air, and others fire, as the great remote consequences, than one whose political ho- original principle. rizon was bounded, to all practical purposes, by the Thales was succeeded by a line of disciples, foltransactions of a single nation.
lowing, with some variations, the path of their The next and last of the historians, to whom we master, but whose names it is unnecessary to menshall direct our attention, is Xenophon. His cha- tion until we arrive at that of Anaxagoras, the racter was altogether of a different stamp from that preceptor of Pericles and the immediate master of of the great author of whom we have just been Socrates. speaking. It is unnecessary to dwell at any length The doctrines taught by the early philosophers upon the character of his historical writings. They of this school, as, indeed, of all of them, are, acare beautiful and valuable narratives, but contain cording to our modern notions, rather vague and none of that deep ard profound political wisdom indefinite. It seems, however, that the train of that so highly distinguish the great work of Thu- their speculations led them to the admission of cydides. His principal charm consists in that overruling intelligences. sweet and graceful style, in that beautiful simplicity Thales, indeed, said that the whole oniverse was and purity, that procured for him the name of the full of Gods, and his whole system may be conAttic bee.
sidered as rather pantheistical. In this slight sketch of the progress of Greek Anaxagoras differed in many important points literature, we have thought it necessary to follow from the doctrines that had been held by the school only the main current and omit any notice of the to which he belonged. rest. We might, perhaps, have touched very prop. His mind was of a higher order and bis specuerly upon another class of composition entirely lations belonged to a more refined and elevated distinct from either of those we have referred to, class. He taught that there was a supreme intel. but it would have drawn out these remarks to too ligence who ruled the universe with absolute sway. great a length. We mean the Attic comedy and The name of his great disciple and successor, Socsatirical drama. Nearly all, however, of the works rates, marks an era in the history of Philosophy, belonging to this class, and it was a very extensive but we cannot here enter into any lengthened inone, have been lost, except those of Aristophanes. vestigation of the peculiar views of that wonderful
The rise and progress of the Greek philosophy man is also another vast and important field, tempting
“From whose mouth issued forth us by its great interest to enter upon its borders,
Mellifluous streams that watered all the schools." but forbidding, by its extent, anything more than a cursory notice.
He seems not to have laid so much stress upon Philosophy, in the general and indefinite sense the refined speculations as upon the moral and pracof the term, may be said to have had an existence tical parts of the system, and, according to Cicero, amongst the Greeks from the earliest dawn of their he was the first to call philosophy from the heavens poetic legends. Its rise, however, is usually placed and introduce her among the habitations of men. in the sixth century before the christian era, as it He exhibited in the purity of his life, and in the then first began to be cultivated by a separate class calm and peaceful serenity of his death, the fruits of men. How much of their philosophy, or whether of the principles which he taught. any of it was borrowed from other nations, is doubt. Plato was his immediate disciple and successor, ful. It is probable, indeed, that they may have ob- as Aristotle was Plato's. They continued to untained some of their earlier theories from the Egyp- fold and explain the principles of their great mastians and Phænicians, but it certainly could not ter in the public groves of the Academy, as well as seem surprising that a people of so active and im- in elaborate and highly finished treatises, the most aginative a temperament, surrounded by so many of which remain to the present day. The former bold and striking natural objects, should begin of delighted more to revel in the pure and lofty rethemselves to speculate upon the origin and cause gions of imagination, and sometimes lost himself of all things.
in the mazes of his own refined and subtile specuThe oldest school of Greek Philosophy was the lations. The latter, with far more judgment and Ionic, founded by Thales of Miletus. He at- far more success, devoted his gigantic powers to tempted to go back to a primeval state and from the elucidation and unfolding of subjects of much thence deduce in succession the gradual progress more use to his fellow men than metaphysical aband development of the later order of nature. He stractions. supposed that water or some liquid element was The next school that we shall notice is the Elethe origin of everything in the physical world, be-atic, so called from the place at which its doctrines ing led, no doubt, to this conclusion by observing were first taught. It was founded some time after the wide-spread influence which this substance the Ionic by the philosopher Xenophanes. The
doctrines of this school are nearly as vague and frier of Thessaly, and overran nearly all the northobscure as those of the one we have just been no ern part of Greece. The Beotians and Æolians ticing. He began in his speculations where Tha- were expelled in great numbers, and the agitation les ended--with the admission of the existence of which these evects produced, probably gave rise a Supreme Being, and his system, so far as we can to the Dorian migration. judge from a scanty outline, is not very different It was about sixty or seventy years after the from pure Deism. At all events he seems to have Trojan war, that the Dorians moving from the possessed more elevated views of the character North in great numbers, broke into Peloponnesus, and attributes of the Deity than any philosopher of subdued a large portion of the country and permahis age. Aristotle describes, with singular force nently established themselves in several parts. The and simplicity, the leading tenet of this system in principal State which they founded was that of one short sentence, tis tov 'odov 'ovpavov a oblitas To Sparta, in Laconia, which continued ever after to Du sliva Snel to giov, he gazed upon the whole heaven stand at the head of the Dorian confederacy. Of and said that the one being was the Deity. He the history of this important race afier their estabwas followed by Parmenides and the elder Zeno, Jishinent in Peloponnesus for a considerable period, who held the same opinions concerning the Divine but very little is known, nor would it, if known, Being, and the immutability of all things. In some be of any importance in our present design, until of their speculations upon the nature and changes the rise of the Spartan power. And this was, until of matter, they seem to have bordered pretty nearly very lately, universally attributed to the legislation upon some points of Berkeley's theory.
of the great lawgiver, Lycurgus. The third and last school we shall mention is His clains to this honor, however, have been the Italic, founded about the same time with the warmly contested by some late writers, who even Eleatic, or perhaps a few years sooner, by Pytha- go so far as to question the existence of any such goras. The leading feature in the doctrines of person. And their views, though extreme, are this philosopher is very generally known--that of perhaps much nearer the truth than the common the metempsychosis, or transmigration of souls. story that had been so long in vogue. There is It is very nearly allied in many points to the Hin- probably not sufficieni grounds for questioning the doo system of emanation and absorption. He was existence of such a lawgiver, but undoubtedly many devoted to mathematical pursuits, and had some of the laws and regulations that are said to have curious notions about the properties of abstract been originated by him, had existed in Sparta long bombers, by some mystical combination of which before.* the aniverse was formed. Though we presume The agency which he really had in moulding he never pointed out very accurately the precise those peculiar institutions that distinguished Sparta manner in which this singular process took place. from the rest of Greece and the rest of the world,
This meagre, and we fear not very satisfactory, for so many centuries, is very uncertain. sketch of the early schools of Greek philosophy, One point, however, seems well established-must close this part of the subject. There were, that his name marks a new era in the history of his indeed, other schools of great celebrity, as the Stoic, country, from which it dates the rise of its prosperithe Academic, and the Peripatetic, but they belong ly and power. But with all their boasted excelto the history of a later period than the one we are lence, we confess that we have no partiality either treating of.
for the Spartan government, or the Spartan charIn the rapid glance we have thus cast at the rise acter. The one seems to have been as intermedand progress of poetic and historical literature, and dling and tyrannical, as the other was selfish and of the early schools of philosophy amongst the an- dishonorable. cient Greeks, we have endeavored to present a Their form of government, as of all the Greek correct outline of each branch of the subject with States at first, was a monarchy ; but the powers of out attempting to observe any chronological order. the monarchs were absorbed in the preponderance We will now, however. return to the point at which of the nobles, and their magistrales, the ephors. we dropped the political history, and finish what We speak of the Spartan nobles as referring to remains to be said upon that part of the subject as the whole body of the Spartan people proper, not briefly as possible.
including any portion of the subject Laconians and It will be remembered that in speaking of the Helots. For it was in fact only a body of nobility, different situations in which the four leading tribes and that the most exclusive and oppressive the of the Greek nation were originally located, the world ever saw--not excepting even the Venetian Dorians were mentioned as residing in the north- Senate. The great bulk of the people, who inhabern part of Greece. The movement that led to iled the country and lilled the soil, answer very ibeir change of residence took its rise in the ex- nearly in their political character to the Russian treme western part of the country; from which serfs. And the proportion which this class bure the Thessalians, issuing in great numbers, crossed the mountains that now form the western bar- * Thirl., vol. i, c. viii, p. 125.
to its rulers may be inferred from the fact, that in tion of the human mind, and deprive it of every their military enterprises, frequently as many as feeling and affection that renders our nature amiaseven helots attended each Spartan soldier, thus ble and lovely. constituting an army something like those of the The child was torn from its parents at a tender
age and consigned to a stern and cruel master to There was one peculiarity in the Spartan mon- be trained up for the State--his whole life was archy that deserves to be noticed, at least, for its spent in the drudgery and hardship of military desposingularity. They had throughout their whole tism, and all the virtue he was required or expected national existence two separate and distinct royal to possess, was the lowest form of brute courage. families, each furnishing a monarch--so that there He displayed indeed upon the battle-field an obstiwere always two kings on the throne. It would nacy and a fortitude that excites our astonishment, be natural to expect that confusion would arise sometimes our admiration, but when he fell corfrom such a system, and the result shows that they ered with wounds for his country's glory, that unofien experienced its evils and inconvenient effects. feeling country suffered no tear to be shed for his
It has been observed, that the form of govern- fate--his mother, his wife, and his children were ment originally established in the several Greek taught to mourn, only when he had not madly and Siates was, in almost every instance, a monarchy-- rashly sought a bloody grave. Let such as can, confined to one royal line, but requiring an elec- admire laws and institutions that gave indeed a station from the members of the ruling class, to fill bility to the government, but fostered such feelings the throne when left vacant. The fate of these as these. We own, that to us the wildest outmonarchies was also pretty generally the same, at break of the stormy democracy of Athens is far Jeast in a large number of the States. The foun- less revolting than this calm of despotism--despodations of the throne were gradually undermined, lism not of one, but of a hundred—despotism pot and its power usurped, by a small and wealthy class of an individual, but of a class. of land owners, who formed for a while a self-con- Such was Sparta at the beginning, and such she stituted ruling body. This oligarchical form usu- continued throughout the long period of her politially lasted, until blinded by passion and power, its cal existence. We search in vain through the antyranny became 100 odions to be endured, and the nals of this long period for any of those bright commonalty rose and hurled from their seats the names that are endeared to us by all the associahated aristocracy. Then succeeded a stormy de- tions of Grecian art and Grecian genius. We find mocracy, swayed and guided by a class of design- indeed an occasional instance of noble and exalted ing demagogues, whose interest it was always to heroism-and heaven forbid that we should fail to keep the people in a tumult, that their own insidi- render a just tribute to the memory of Leonidas. ous arts might not be discerned. Such a state of But his glory belongs to himself and not to his affairs as this afforded a favorable opportunity for country-her courage was generally as selfish as some master hand to seize the helm and guide the it was wonderful. She managed to be a day too vessel of State--still impelled onward by the blasts late for Marathon, and fought at Salamis only by of popular commotion, but controlled and directed compulsion. in all its movements by one commanding genius. The rise of Athens was much later than that of And when he, who thus gained the ascendancy, Sparta. Situated in a barren and rocky country, united to his great abilities virtue and patriotism, and apparently denied almost every physical adthe condition of the commonwealth was perhaps vantage, she was left to rely alone on the restless really happier and more prosperous than at any other energy and indomitable spirit of her gifted sons. time. Such, in some degree, was Pisistratus, and Her early history is comparatively devoid of intersuch, above all others, was Pericles--a name in- est, if any thing connected with the magic naine separably connected with the brightest age of Athe- of Athens can be. nian genius.
About two hundred and fifty years after the peSuch revolutions as these never occurred in the riod assigned to the legislation of Lycurgus, we unchanging State of Sparta, and such names as find a code of laws prepared by Draco for the gorthese never brightened the dull and monotonousernment of Attica. Of the substance of these annals of her relentless tyranny.
laws, or the changes affected by him in the conIt is a curious problem, and one which we do stitution, not very much is known, except that the not here pretend to solve, by what means the in- penal part of his code was unusually severe. It slitutions attributed to Lycurgus maintained their was the first system of laws in Greece, that had ascendancy so long over the minds of the people. been committed to writing, and was aptly said to Congenial to their feelings, they surely never were. have been written in blood instead of ink. This Laws and institutions such as those that warred severity accorded not with the feelings of the peoagainst every feeling of the human heart, might stifle ple, and was probably one cause that led to their and suppress, but could never eradicate them, might speedy overthrow. Soon after this, the great lawalter, but could never change the whole constilu-'giver Solon appears on the stage. Entrusted with
BY MRS. L. H. SIGOURNEY.
foll powers by his countrymen, he framed a code time to draw them to a close, though we must leave of laws admirably adapted to the genius of the the chequered history of this wonderful people just people. He began by passing an act of relief to at its most interesting point. the persons of debtors who had been reduced into slavery by their creditors under the laws of Draco. He then divided the citizens into four classes, and apportioned the burden of supporting the State, according to the pecuniary ability of the different classes, and according to the participation which
DEATH OF CARDINAL MAZARIN. they had in the management of the government.
He established also a legislative body, styled the council of four hundred, to deliberate on all public affairs, and remodeled the judiciary body known as
“ Two months,” the question'd healer said, the Areopagus. A system of measures that, tried
And turn'd him from the place, even by the acknowledged principles of our own free
While every tint of color fled government, will be found to afford many of the
That dark Italian face,surest safegnards to the liberties of the people, and
Heart-struck was he, whom France obey'd, compared with the other systems of that age, will
Peasant, and prince, and peer, command our most profound admiration.
And with the clank of setters made
Rich music for his ear.
Proud Ann of Austria lowest bent try. Though much younger, he was the cotempo
With subjugated soul, rary of Solon, and connected with him also by ties
And Ludovicus Magnus scarce of relationship.
Withstood his stern control,
While distant nations fear'd the man
Of all his pomp and power. the danger to the free constitution from the daring ambition of his kinsman, and attempted to avert it, Before him pass'd his portion'd line, but failed, perhaps fortunately.
Mancini's haughty race,
etions for the mastery, and he certainly made a And marr'd with perjur'd hand the cross
Beside him strode a spectral form,
That none beside might hear; ishable monuments, and above all, he made the “Make restitution !" But the spoil collection of all the Homeric poems we now have.
From earth and ocean wrung,
By countless chains and wreathed bands, the bistory of Greece, and in the history of the
Around his spirit clung. world—the era of the Persian invasion-the era from which Europe dates her intellectual superi
“ Two months ! two months !" these frightful words ority. We should like to enter upon the history
Could all his peace destroy,
And poison the enamel'd cup of this stirring age—to watch the issue of the
Where sparkled every joy,great contest that is about to take place between a sipall band of freemen and the " victim hordes” of
They met him in the courtly hall, Asia. We should like to follow the glorious and
They silenc'd song and tale, dazzling career upon which Athens is about to
Like the dead fingers on the wall, enter—to sketch the character of some of those
That turn'd Belshazzar pale. master-spirits that had laid upon them the destinies Once in his velvet chair he dream'd, of nations, and were not found wanting in the hour But rocking to and fro, of trial; bat the length to which these desultory His restless form and heaving breast temarks have already extended, warns us that it is Betray'd a rankling woe.