George W.—A General History of Greece from the Earliest Period to the Death of
Alexander the Great. With a Sketch of the Subsequent History to the Present
of the best of the smaller histories of Greece. The style is unusually
attractive, and the book is well supplied with maps and tables. The volume is
somewhat better adapted to the wants of a general reader than to those of a
special student. Perhaps the most striking peculiarity of the work is the
importance the author attaches to mythology as a key to the characteristics of
early civilization. With the mythology of the Greeks as a guide, he is
confident that he can trace the sources of Grecian culture to the earliest
Aryan civilization. He even goes so far as to believe he can detect the
circumstances which led the Ionians to soften the exclusiveness of ancient
society, and the Dorians to keep it alive. In these theories he follows Curtius
and rejects Grote.
George W.—A History of Greece., 1879.
volumes treat of the history of Greece to the end of the Peloponnesian war. The
author announces his intention to carry the narrative in the third and fourth
volumes down to the revolution that ended in the reign of King Otho.
work has the merit of being written with rare literary skill, but it can hardly
claim to be founded on any such thorough Greek scholarship as that which
characterizes the histories of Grote, Curtius, and Thirlwall. On the contrary,
it follows, for the most part, the investigations of previous laborers in the
same field. The author attaches little importance to traditions, regarding
them generally as solar myths or etymological legends. He therefore indulges in
no confident portrayal of early Greek life.
all the histories of Greece, it is perhaps the one best calculated to interest
the general reader. It is Grecian history made easy through the charm of a
delightful style. Though it lacks the qualities of originality that give to the
works of Curtius and Grote their importance, it has the advantage of a greatly
superior literary workmanship.
Ernst.—The History of Greece. Translated
by A. W. Ward, 1871-74.
author is probably more familiar with the climate, resources, and physical
characteristics of Greece than is any other writer on Grecian history. As an
archieological and historical investigator, he travelled over and examined all
parts of the Greek peninsula. With classicalliterature he isalso very familiar;
and he seems to have a special gift for the work of interpreting it. These
qualifications doubtless go far towards justifying a manner of treating the
subject which in a scholar of less general and special information would have
been very unsatisfactory. Without taking the time and space to indicate his
authorities, the author contents himself with advancing his theories and
indicating his conclusions. As he differs on many points from the high
authority of Grote, it would afford great satisfaction to the careful student
of Greek history to see the reasons for the author's views. This absence of all
references to authorities is the most unsatisfactory feature of the work,
though the explanation is that the volumes were not so much intended for the
use of scholars as for the use of general readers.
his treatment of political questions the author resembles Thirlwall and Mitford
more nearly than he resembles Grote. His sympathies are monarchical, and,
therefore, he attaches far less importance than does Grote to the
characteristics of self-government as an inspiring influence. He also differs
from Grote in regard to the origin and movements of the early Hellenic races.
Former historians have found no connecting thread till after the Dorian
migrations. But Curtius, taking the myths as the foundation, and bringing to
his assistance the results of modern philological research, has built up a
theory which he puts forward with considerable confidence. He even goes so far
as to describe the manner in which, as he believes, the ancestors of the
Ionians separated from the ancestors of the Dorians. The book is in every way
scholarly, and is entitled to careful attention.
C. C.—Greece, Ancient and Modern. Lectures delivered before the Lowell Institute. 2 vols., 1880.
entertaining volumes consist of four courses of lectures, prepared for
audiences of the cultivated people of Boston. The first course was entitled ‘The
Greek Language and Poetry’ the second’, ‘The
Life of Greece’ the third, ‘The Constitutions and Orators of Greece’; and the
fourth, ‘Modern Greece’.
the purposes of a general student who would get an insight into the activities
of Greek life and culture, these volumes are of the first importance. The
lectures not only give the results of an ardent enthusiasm and a thorough
scholarship, but they also present their results with rare literary art. On the
whole, they give to the general reader perhaps the most satisfactory picture of
Greece we vet have. The object of the author was not critical inquiry, but a
popular presentation of the subject.
some points modern scholarship has somewhat changed its position since these
lectures were prepared. For example, on the subject of the unity of Homer the
author did not hesitate to say, " No person of common-sense would ever
suspect while reading the Iliad or Odyssey a want of unity, coherence, or
completeness." But, in spite of an occasional extravagance of this sort,
the au^ thor's judgments are generally trustworthy, and his opinions are
entitled to the highest respect.
George.—History of Greece. 12 vols., 1851-56.
one of the great historical works produced in the course of this century has
received more general or more hearty commendation than has the work of Grote.
It possesses nearly every quality of an historical work of the very highest
order of merit. In extent of learning, in variety of research, in power of
combination, in familiarity with the byways as well as the highways of Grecian
literature, it leaves nothing whatever to be desired. Almost the only regret
one feels in making use of this noble work is that the author never acquired a
mastery of an easy, correct, and graceful English style. His sentences are
often involved and awkward, and sometimes obscure and ungrammatical. This, to
be sure, is a small drawback, when placed in comparison with the great merits
of the work; but it is sufHcient to drive many readers from its pages.
work may with some propriety be called a constitutional history. The author was
a decided Liberal in politics ; and in his work he exerts a manifest effort to
counteract the influence of such historians as.Mitford. One of the obvious
motives of Grote was to display the inspiring influence of political freedom on
the actions of human intelligence. In dealing with Athenian political affairs,
as distinguished from the affairs of other Grecian states, he had the amplest
the chapters of Gibbon, each of this author's chapters is in some sense a
monograph complete in itself. And some of these chapters are among the most
admirable specimens of historical work ever produced. The last volume closes
with the loss of Athenian liberty under Macedonian rule, at the period when the
history of Greece became merged in the history of surrounding nations. For
accounts of the Achaian League, therefore, the student must rely on other
William.—The History of Greece, from the Earliest Accounts to the Death of Philip, King of Macedon. 1888
Grote’s is the great Liberal history of Greece, so this is the great history of
the same country. Before the appearance of Thirlwall, it was the history most
often consulted. In the use of terse and cogent English, Mitford was superior
to his successors. He could praise tyrants and abuse liberty in a manner that
was sure to interest his readers; and even his constant partialities and
frequent exhibitions of anger give favor to his narration. He hated the
popular party of Athens, as he hated the Whigs of England. These
characteristics give spirit to a book which, with all its labor and learning,
is merely a huge party pamphlet. Though it has had much influence in England,
it is no longer of any considerable importance.
William.—A History of Greece, from the Earliest Times to the Roman Conquest.
With Supplementary Chapters on the History of Literature and Art
published in 1854, this is still one of the best summaries in our language of
the ancient history of Greece for the use of schools and colleges. It follows
Grote as an authority, many of its parts being chieRy an abridgment of that
distinguished historian. To the general reader it will, perhaps, be found less
interesting than the work of Cox; but its conclusions are probably quite as
trustworthy, and, on that account, its intrinsic merits are somewhat greater.
The maps and illustrations are good and abundant.
Bishop Connop.—The History of Greece, 1845.
work which, as a whole, is not perhaps to be compared favorably with that of
Grote, but which still has some points of great advantage. It shows learning,
sagacity, and candor; but it falls far short of Grote in that power of
combination and generalization which has made the later work so justly famous.
The English of Thirlwall is superior to that of Grote, although the style of
neither of them is entitled to very high praise.
sympathies are aristocratic rather than democratic—the exact opposite of the
sympathies of Grote. The books, therefore, may well be read at the same time,
in order that convicting views may be compared and weighed. Another difference
between the two works is that while Grote is especially strong on the earlier
history of Greece, Thirlwall is strong on the later history. Perhaps the best
portion of Thirlwall’s book is that which relates to the age beginning with the
period at which Grote ends.
II. HISTORIES OF
S. G. W.—Troy, its Legend, History, and Literature. With a Sketch of the
Topography of the Troad in the Light of Recent Investigation. 1880.
little volume is an attempt to tell the Trojan story in the light of recent
discoveries and explorations. The story is pleasantly narrated, and is perhaps
as near the truth as any other account in our possession. As a preliminary, or
as an accompaniment to the reading of the works of Homer, or of Dr. Schlie-
mann, the volume may be of some value. It must be remembered, however, that it
rests upon no very firm historical basis.
C.O.—The History and Antiquities of the Doric Race.
from the German by Henry Tupnell and Geo. Cornwall Lewis. 2 vols., 1830.
the appearance of this work it was greeted as one of the most scholarly of
modern time. It is still entitled to high praise, though the archaeological
studies of the past twenty-five years have shown that some of the author's
positions are untenable. His theories concerning the early life of the Dorians
are essentially the opposite of those held by Curtius and, probably, by a
majority of modern scholars. The second volume is devoted to the political
institutions of the Dorians, and still retains its great importance. The
characteristics of the Spartan government and society have nowhere been more
satisfactorily presented, unless it be in the recent work of Jannet.
George W.—The Greeks and the Persians. 1876.
design of this little volume is to give a history of that great struggle
between the despotism of the East and the freedom of the West, which came to
an end in the Anal overthrow of the Persians at Plataia and Mykale. The aim of
the author is to show how much of the history and traditions is trustworthy,
rather than how much is to be set aside as untrue. It is a narrative rather
than a critical account, and is a clear exposition, not only of the great
conflict which it is the more especial object of the volume to describe, but
also of the political and military institutions of the Persians and of the
several Grecian states. The author's studies preliminary to his larger work
had admirably fitted him for the preparation of this. The style is clear and
interesting. The maps are admirable.
George W.—The Athenian Empire, 1877.
account of Greek history from the rebuilding of the walls of Athens at the
close of the Persian invasions to the surrender of the city at the end of the
Peloponnesian war. The author shows this period to have been one of struggle
not only between two cities, but also between two contending elements of
society. Opinions favorable to the extension of popular liberty were arrayed
against those desiring to establish the narrow and exclusive power of an
oligarchy. The success of Sparta is attributed in great part to the fact that
the Peloponnesians were powerfully aided by members of the haughty Eupatrids in
Athens. The work is a reproduction, in more popular form, of much of the second
volume of the author's larger history.
New English Version. Edited, with Notes and Essays, Historical, Ethnographical,
and Geographical, by Canon Rawlinson, 1859.
must be considered as by far the most valuable version of the works of ‘The
Father of History’. The writings of the author are illustrated by the editors
from all the most recent sources of information. Copious historical and
ethnographical results are embodied in the illustrative notes. The superior
scholarship in Eastern history of Sir Henry Rawlinson and Sir J. G. Wilkinson
gives great importance to the essays furnished by these gentlemen and published
as an appendix.
history of Herodotus was probably not written until near the end of his life—it
is certain that he had been collecting materials for it during many years.
There was scarcely a city of importance in Greece, Asia Minor, Syria, Persia,
Arabia, or Egypt that he had not visited and studied; and almost every page of
his work contains results of his personal inquiries and observations. He visited
the sites of all the great battles between the Greeks and Persians; followed
the line of Xerxes’s march; went to nearly all of the Greek islands; visited
the tribes on the Black Sea; went to Babylon, Ecbatana, and Susa; made excursions
into Arabia; saw with his own eyes the wonders of Egypt; travelled as far south
as Elephantine, and as far west as Cyrene.
The object of these extensive journeyings was to
procure information for his account of the struggles between the Greeks and
the Persians. It will be seen that he brought to his work certain remarkable
qualifications. His purpose was to sketch, in a manner that would interest as
well as instruct, the long struggle which extended from the time of the first
dispute in Asia Minor between the colonists to the final repulse of the
Persians and the permanent establishment of Grecian authority. The history is
a kind of prose epic, into which the author has wrought, with remarkable skill,
the varied and interesting results of his inquiries and observations. It
abounds in episodes and digressions; but these are given in organic connection
with the other parts in such a way as not seriously to impair the unity of the
whole. The work is woven together in a style so charming as to give at least
plausibility to the story of Lucian that when the author, in his old age,
recited his history at Olympia, the youthful Thucydides was moved to tears, and
the assembled Greeks, in their enthusiasm, gave to the books of the history the
names of the nine muses.
As an authority, the work of Herodotus must be used
with discretion. Care must be taken to discriminate between what came under the
author's own observation and what he relates as having been received from
others. The stories related to him by priests are to be received as of little
or no historical value. But recent researches in the East have tended to
confirm the authority of the author in all matters that came under his
personal observation. Many things laughed at for centuries as impossible are
now found to have been described in strict accordance with truth. As a narrator
of his own observations, he is now seen to have been a model of truthfulness
Whole Works of.
is doubtless entitled to high praise as a writer of simple, clear, and
unaffected style. His numerous histories are to be regarded as remarkable for
their literary qualities, however, rather than for their great historical
merits. His mind was not adapted to the deepest insight into political affairs,
and therefore his work is not for a moment to be compared with that of Thucydides.
The ‘Anabasis’ and the ‘Hellenica’ are the works of greatest importance from an
historical and literary point of view. The ‘Cyropaedia’ is a political romance,
of no historical value whatever. The author’s purpose in this, as in several of
his other works, seems to have been to represent what a state might be, and
ought to be, in contrast with the actual turbulent condition of Athens. It is
evident that he preferred the aristocratical institutions of Sparta to the more
democratic methods of Attica. Even the ‘Cyropsedia’, though of no historical
consequence, is of some importance as showing the political opinions of an
intelligent observer. Throughout his works Xenophon shows that he had no faith
whatever in the extreme tendencies to absolute democracy that prevailed at
History of the Peloponnesian War.
all critics in all ages this has been considered one of the most remarkable
pieces of historical composition ever produced. It is no exaggeration to say
that the author has given us a more exact and a more complete history of a long
and eventful period than we have of any modem period of equal length and
importance. From beginning to end, the work shows the most scrupulous care in
the collection of facts, and the utmost exactness in statements of chronology.
Occasionally the author has a chapter of political and moral observations,
showing the keenest perception and the deepest insight into human nature. He
seldom pauses to make rejections in
the course of his narrative. He relates his facts in the fewest possible words,
without parade of ornament or of personal impression. Some of the events he describes
he himself witnessed, others he became acquainted with through the most
painstaking, and often diiEcult, investigations. But throughout the whole work
there is the moderation and selfrestraint that evinces a great mind and a
lofty purpose. It is said that Macaulay read the work oftener than any other
historical production, and was accustomed to say that though he might
sometimes hope to rival any other work with which he was acquainted, he could
never hope to rival the seventh book of Thucydides.
Lives.—Translated from the Original Greek, with Notes, Historical and Critical,
and a Life of Plutarch, by John Langhorne and William Langhorne.
This writer, one of the most celebrated of
antiquity, lived in the Rrst century of our era. The work that has immortalized
his name, and made him a favorite with wise men and promising youth, is the
lives of forty-six Greeks and Romans. These lives he wrote in pairs, portraying
one Greek and one Roman, and then drawing a comparison between them.
The author has often been criticised for his
peculiarities of style, for some mistakes in antiquities, and for an apparent
partiality for the Greeks. But whatever criticisms of a minor nature may be
made, it is still true that Plutarch's Lives are among the most delightful
sketches ever written. As an ultimate and conclusive authority they cannot be
accepted. But they are able to inspire, to charm, and to instruct. They take
the reader into the heroic stir of Roman and Grecian life. They do more than
that; they raise the Greek and Roman heroes from the dead, and clothe them
again with Rcsh and blood.
William Watkiss.—The Age of Pericles. A History of the Politics and Arts of
Greece, from the Persian to the Peloponnesian War. 1875.
work that endeavors to give a broader view of Greek life and culture than had
before been given by any English author. It aims to represent the Greek mind,
not only in its political, but also in its artistic activity. The nature of the
book may be correctly inferred from the following titles of chapters : ‘Athenian
Democracy as Administered by Pericles; Poetry, Lyric and Dramatic, in the Age
of Themistocles; Painting, Rudimentary and Advanced Music in the Age of
Pericles. To this breadth of method the author has brought thoughtful and
scholarly research, and a judgment usually sound. Unfortunately, the merits of
the book are in some measure counterbalanced by one serious drawback. The
author does not add to the abundance of his good and strong qualities the
graces of a literary artist. In his preface he gives expression to his contempt
for writers only on the lookout for opportunities to be smart, in the first
place, and, in the second, picturesque and this clause, both by its sentiment
and by its awkward method, conveys a correct intimation of the author’s entire
lack of appreciation of a good English style. His modes of expression are so
awkward that the reader often finds his attention put to a severe strain to
understand his meaning. Long sentences sometimes appear to have been
transferred from the German almost without transposing a single word. This very
serious drawback must limit the use of what is, nevertheless, a very useful and
Arthur M.—Rise of the Macedonian Empire. 1878.
rapid but a clear and graphic picture of Macedonian power from its earliest
development to the death of Alexander the Great. The special quality of the
book is to be found in its judicious omission of encumbering details and its
agreeable admixture of narrative and comment. While it is a book of facts, ^it
is also a book of ideas. The most important events are described in such a way
as to convey a clear impression of their peculiar significance and importance.
At the beginning is a short but suggestive chapter on the influence of
geographical peculiarities on the character of Grecian history. It is by far
the best short history of Alexander we have.
Joh. Gust.—-Geschichte des Hellenismus. Erster Theil: Geschichte
Alexanders des Grossen. Zweiter Theil: Geschichte der Diadochen. Dritter
Theil: Geschichte der Epignoten.
first edition of this work was published as early as 1836, and did much to
establish that reputation which the author has now for many years enjoyed. Its
importance was at once universally acknowledged. Though it was the production
of a very young scholar, it was seen to be the best history of the period of
Alexander the Great.
first two volumes describe the growth of Macedonian power up to the time of
the death of Alexander. This is perhaps the most important portion of the work;
but the remaining volumes are not
without value, as they describe a period which, at the hands of most
historians, has received very inadequate treatment. The work, as a whole, may
be regarded as the best history we have of the century following the advent of
General History of.
Beyond question, the writings of Polybius are among
the most important that have come down to us from antiquity. Not many
historical works, either ancient or modern, have more numerous or more striking
excellences. He not only records, with great accuracy and precision, his
impressions of what he describes, but he shows that he had studied the social,
constitutional, and political institutions of the Greeks and Romans with great
care. In his methods there are some striking peculiarities. He wrote with a
manifest contempt for rhetorical graces, evidently striving to impart
instruction rather than entertainment. He shows also an almost entire absence
of imagination; and this peculiarity is the most conspicuous weakness of his
writings. Originally the history consisted of forty books, covering the whole
of the period from B.C. 220 to B.C. 146. It was divided into two parts, the
Rrst having for its object the work of showing how it was that in the short
period of fifty-three years the Romans had succeeded in conquering the greater
part of the world; and the second, the work of describing the important events
between the conquest of Perseus and the fall of Corinth. A considerable part,
however, has been lost, though the portions we still have throw invaluable
light on the second and third Punic wars and on the Achaian League. Much of
Livy's account of the wars with Carthage is but a literal translation from the
Greek. Polybius himself was actively engaged in many of the scenes he
describes. He was seventeen years in Italy, and was with Scipio at the
destruction of Carthage. Though the work of Polybius is quite as important an
authority in Roman as in Grecian history, it is, nevertheless, of the greatest
value in the study of Greek confederations, from the Macedonian supremacy to
the fall of Corinth.
A.—History of Federal Government, from the Foundation of the Achaian League to
the Dissolution of the United States. Vol. I. General Introduction, and History
of Greek Federations. 1863.
the learned author despairs of being able to complete the formidable task
announced in this title, we are left to conjecture. It is only certain that he
has not yet published more than the first volume of the series.
this fragment, however, every student of Grecian history and every student of
political institutions should be grateful. It is devoted to a period subsequent
to those dealt with by Grote; but the events it describes were among the most
important in Grecian history. The relations of the states to one another and
the forms and characteristics of the several confederated governments are
expounded with the author’s well-known powers of insight and generalization.
The American student of the work will find it one of absorbing interest, and
will often be surprised by the striking similarities between certain features
of federal government in Greece and certain features of federal government in
the United States of America.
George.—A History of Greece, from the Conquest by the Romans to the Present
is a new and improved edition of a work on the Byzantine Empire and Greece,
the several volumes of which appeared under separate titles as they were
completed. The edition of 1877 received the careful revisions of the author,
and has been edited by a competent and judicious hand.
is no empty compliment to compare this work with that of the historian of the “Decline
and Fall of the Roman Empire”. While some of the qualifications of Gibbon are
notably absent, others that Gibbon did not possess are conspicuously present.
The author carried on his investigations in the very heart of the country
whose turbulent vicissitudes he describes. Spending a large portion of his
life in his library, immediately beneath the Acropolis, he had the good fortune
not only to complete his great work, but also to subject it to such careful revision as the criticism of recent
scholarship had made necessary.
The most prominent characteristics of the work are
learning, accuracy, and fidelity. In addition, it may be said that the author
is severely critical. He is inclined to desponding views of those about him.
This shows itself not only in the severity of his criticisms of Greek
statesmen, but also in his judgments of English ministers who have had to deal
with Greek affairs. He finds it not difficult to criticise the policy of Lord
John Russell, or even that of Mr. Gladstone. He says of his book that “it has
been its melancholy task to record the errors and the crimes of those who
governed Greece, much oftener than their merits or virtues”.
The last two volumes are devoted to a history of the
Greek Revolution, and of Grecian affairs during the last twenty years. As a
help to those who would become acquainted with the history of the East, these
learned and eloquent volumes have no equals. They are worthy to stand by the
side of those of Grote.
III. HISTORIES OF
CIVILIZATION AND PROGRESS.
Fustel de.—The Ancient City. A Study on the Religion, Laws, and Institutions
of Greece and Rome.
is written by Coulanges is worthy of the student’s most thoughtful attention.
He possesses the rare gift of uniting a very profound and broad scholarship
with a spirited and entertaining literary style. Any one at all interested in
Greek and Roman institutions will be enticed by a glance at the table of contents,
and will not be disappointed when he puts the body of the work to the test of
no other book has the organization of the ancient family been so briefly and
clearly described; and nowhere else have the peculiarities of the Greek and
Roman religious systems been so well presented. It will be a favorite book with
every scholar that possesses it.
William D.—The Problem of the Homeric Poems.
successful attempt to bring within reasonable compass the arguments for and
against the unity of the Homeric poems. The volume is perhaps the most
satisfactory discussion of the subject accessible to the English reader. The
author studied the question from every point of view, and without any
preconceived theory arrived at substantially the same conclusion as that
reached by Grote—viz., that the composite structure of the Iliad is the only
theory that is tenable.
W.E. — Studies on Homer and the Homeric Age.
would suppose, in looking over these volumes, that the distinguished premier
had abandoned the arts of statesmanship for the vocation of a professor of
Greek. From the beginning to the end of these three huge octavos, the author's
familiarity with the most minute details of Greek learning is curiously
obvious. To the historical student the third volume is the only one to be of especial
interest. Of this volume the first chapter, that on the Politics of the Homeric
Age, will amply reward the student's examination. In other respects the work
is chieRy technical.
Goll, Hermann.—Kulturbilder aus
Hellas und Rom.
admirable little volumes were designed to take the reader into the life and
stir of the Greeks and Romans. They are especially adapted to the wants of
college and university students. The plan and scope of the work is well
indicated by the titles of a few of the chapters. " Popular
Education" Professors and Students under the Roman Empire" Travelling
in Antiquity " Physicians" The Police" The Greek and Roman Dress
" The Book Trade;" " The Social Position of Women ;" "
Wine and Beer;" are the titles of some of the chapters. The pages are not
encumbered with references to original authorities, although they everywhere
bear evidence of having been prepared with great care. The several chapters are
to be regarded as descriptive rather than critical, and therefore may be read
with proRt as well as interest by every master of easy German.
E. and W. Koner, W.—The Life of the Greeks and Romans, described from Antique
result of careful and unwearied research in every nook and cranny of ancient
learning. Nowhere else can the student Rnd so many facts in illustration of
Greek and Roman methods and manners. Any one in the least desirous of becoming
acquainted with the ways of antique life will Rnd that this work is as interesting
as it is informing. The illustrations are admirable, and the book is made easy
of use by a good index.
Claudio.—Les Institutions Sociales et le Droit Civil a Sparte.
first edition of this monograph was published in 1873, and was received with
general favor. In preparing the revised form here published, the author took
advantage not only of the reviews and criticisms to which the work had been
subjected, but also of such other studies on the subject as had appeared in France
and Germany. It is now probably the best account we have of the social
institutions of Sparta. It deals, Rrst, with the division into classes, then
with the distribution of lands, the peculiarities of the constitution, the
transformation of the constitution, and, Rnally, with the struggle between the
rich and the poor. The work throughout rests on the basis of original
authorities and of the most advanced modern criticism.
J. P.—A History of Greek Literature.
here find the same excellent characteristics as in the author’s other works.
From beginning to end it has the favor of the open field and of fresh breezes.
It is somewhat more descriptive and less critical than the work of Muller and
Donaldson, doubtless for the reason that it is designed for a less mature
class of scholars. But though the author has written for pupils in the schools,
he compliments the robust scholarship of young England and Ireland by giving
the illustrative quotations exclusively in the original Greek. Mr. Mahaffy, in
common with a large number of modern German scholars, has abandoned the belief
in the unity of Homer. In support of his position on this point he has introduced
as an appendix to his first volume an essay by Professor Sayce, who presents
with great cogency the reasons that have led a very large number of modern
critics to give up the doctrine of unity. The essayist says that “a close
examination of Homer shows that it is a mosaic” and that “in its present form
it cannot be earlier than the seventh century before the Christian era”.
first volume is devoted to the poets; the second, to the writers of prose. It
is furnished with a full index.
J. P.—Social Life in Greece, from Homer to Menander.
very interesting and successful attempt to portray the everyday life of the
Greeks. The author visits them in their homes, in their temples, in their
assemblies, and on their journeys. Every person in the least interested in the
characteristics of ancient life and manners will read the book with profit and
delight. It is as interesting as it is scholarly.
J. P.—Rambles and Studies in GreeceA delightful little
book by one who is no enthusiast about the Greeks, ancient or modern, but who
thinks that while the whole world is
busying itself about the Slavs and Bulgars, the modern Greeks have failed to
receive their due share of attention. The author is a Greek scholar, whose
sympathies run to Greek literature and life rather than to Greek philology. He
rambles into different parts of Hellas, and records with rare literary art the
result of his observations and impressions. While the book has largely to do
with modern life, it never loses the delightful aroma of an antique
and Donaldson.—A History of the Literature of Ancient Greece.
For most students this will be found to be one of
the most complete and satisfactory accounts of Greek literature. It is much
less exhaustive in its treatment of the earliest period, than is the great work
of Colonel Mure; but it has the advantage of covering a much longer period of
time. In matters of literary judgment, moreover, it is probably quite as
trustworthy as the larger work. The concluding chapters are devoted to Greek
literature during the Middle Ages, and the work closes with the taking of Constantinople
by the Turks.
William.—A Critical History of the Language and Literature of Ancient Greece.
This great work of Colonel Mure was the result of a
long, earnest, and thorough study, as well as of a profound admiration of the
noble literature of which it treats. The volumes are addressed principally to
the classical scholar. They occupy ground which had scarcely been trodden by
any English predecessor, and therefore at once on their publication they were
felt to supply a serious want. They are the scholar's history. To the general
reader they will probably be somewhat tiresome, on account of the exceeding
fulness with which each author is treated. The five volumes bring the history
down only to the death of Xenophon. On some points the author's judgments have
not met with general favor from scholars; but these are exceptional cases, and
the great value of the work, as a whole,
has been everywhere acknowledged.
J.—Geschichte der griechischen Plastik.
For more than twenty years this work has been the
highest authority on the plastic arts of Greece. It is the production of a
specialist, and is much more elaborate than the books of Ltibke and
Winckelmann. In matters of Grecian sculpture, therefore, it is to be regarded
as of the greatest importance. The latest edition is much to be preferred, as
it is purged of previous errors, and is fortiRed by references to the results
of recent explorations and discoveries.
Schomann, G. F.—The
Antiquities of Greece
The work of Schomann, of which the fist volume is
now published in translation, is in Germany one of a series of manuals designed
to spread among a wider circle a vivid knowledge of antiquity. The book was
designed for a class of educated readers who have not made a special
investigation into the characteristics of the ancient world. The present
volume, entitled “The State”, is to be followed by a second on “The Greek
States in their Relations with one Another”, and “The Religious System of
Greece”. The work, it will be seen from the title, is chiefly political in its
character; and, as such, it occupies a distinctive place among books on Grecian
antiquities. While Boeckh deals chiefly with financial questions, and Guhl and
Koner with social ones, Schomann discusses with similar insight and
thoroughness the affairs of politics. Nowhere else is there to be found so good
an account of the political assemblies, and of their significance in the life
of the State. The work is written in a scholarly and attractive style, and the
translation is excellent.
F.—Athenian Constitutional History.
valuable as a critical examination of the various authorities on the subject
of which it treats. The most important of these authorities is the great
English history of Grote. With the English historian's positions Schomann often
agrees, but he occasionally appears to be successful in his attempts to
far the most interesting, and probably the most valuable, part of the work is
that in which he discusses the reforms of Solon, Cleisthenes, and Pericles. On
these reforms, like most of the German authorities, he joins issue with Grote.
Schomann argues his cause with great force, and all who are familiar with the
recent researches into the characteristics of primitive society must admit
that, aside from positive evidence, his view seems the more probable. The
translation of the work is unusually good.
John.—The History of Ancient Art.
was doubtless the most skilful and delightful connoisseur of ancient art that
has ever written. It is more than three fourths of a century since the original
of the work was prepared; but these volumes are by no means yet superannuated.
The numerous illustrations are exquisite, and, what is remarkable, are far
better in the translation than in the original. The author’s spirit may be
gathered from his canon of criticism : “Seek not to detect deficiencies and
imperfections until you have learned to recognize and discover beauties”.
TO STUDENTS AND READERS.
1. Perhaps the most interesting work in our language on Grecian
history is Felton’s “Ancient and Modern Greece”. Smith’s “Student’s History”
and Cox’s “General History” are excellent books for a summary of the growth of
Greek civilization and power.
life of Greece is best described by Schomann; the social life by Mahaffy; and
the literary life either by Mahaffy or by Muller and Donaldson. Chapters from
Grote’s History selected according to
need or taste, may be read with great profit. The series of works under the
title of Epochs of Ancient History is worthy of high commendation, especially for the general reader. The volumes,
read in the order of the events they respectively describe, would form one of
the best short courses.
2. Grote should be the basis of study for a longer course. On the
earlier periods the bold theories of Curtius and the profound learning of
Muller should not be neglected. The much disputed Homeric Question is expounded
in Geddes’s Homeric Question, where
the subject, from opposite points of view, is fairly presented. In Mahaffy's Greek Literature is also a valuable paper
on the same theme. Gladstone’s Homer advocates the theory of Homeric unity; and the same author’s Juventus Mundi aims to show the conditions of life in Homeric days. Lloyd’s
Age of Pericles is the best monograph on Greece at its most brilliant
Rise and Fall of Athens is a descriptive work, showing many of the author’s
best characteristics. Holm’s
Geschichte Siciliens im Alterthum is the most important authority on the
condition of Sicily under Greek rule and influence. Schafer’s Demosthenes for one who commands German,
is an invaluable portrayal of Grecian difficulties in the period of decline.
Droysen’s Hellenismus is also of the
first importance. Freeman’s Greek
Federations is a very scholarly and a very interesting portrayal of the
efforts made to bind the several states into a single nationality, and of the
difficulties that beset these efforts. For an American scholar it is one of the
best of books. For the subsequent history of Greece Finlay has no equal, and,
indeed, no rival. The last half of Duncker’s History of Antiquity is a History of Greece of acknowledged
3. Plutarch’s Lives are a wonderful source of
inspiration for bright boys, though somewhat too heroic and exaggerated for
mature scholars. Landor’s
Imaginary Conversations have a delightful favor of antique and refined
scholarship. Especially to be commended is the volume on ‘Pericles and Aspasia’.
As works of reference, Smith’s Classical
Dictionary, and the same author’s Dictionary
of Greek and Roman Antiquities, either in the larger or in the abridged
form, are of supreme value. On social life in Greece, Mahaffy is the most readable
book; but Guhl and Koner’s is the great work of reference. The religion of the
Greeks is well treated in Clarke’s
Ten Great Religions," and best of all in Coulanges’s Ancient City. Cox’s
Mythology of the Arian Nations is the latest and best English authority,
though Bulfinch's Age of Fable" is designed for more popular use. In the for July, 1869, is a valuable discussion of
the relations of the religion of ancient Greece to her mythology. On Grecian
art, Winckelmann and Overbeck are the great authorities; but Muller’s
Ancient Art and its Remains, and Taine’s Art
in Greece, are better adapted to the wants of the general reader. Grecian
landscape has been treated with characteristic force by Ruskin in
vol. 3. of his "Modern Painters. Woltmann and Woermann’s
History of Painting deals with Grecian painting in a most fresh and satisfactory
Dramatic Literature presents an admirable review of the Greek dramatists,
and gives, especially in its account of Aristophanes, some very striking
comments on the comic poets as sources of historic information. Jebb’s Attic
Orators is a scholarly but somewhat technical work. Macaulay’s essay on the
Athenian Orators is in the author’s enthusiastic vein. Brougham’s paper on
Demosthenes is plainly the work of a genius; but it is exceedingly immature and
uncritical, and is a good illustration of Brougham’s habit of talking like an
authority on subjects of which he knew comparatively little. The essay on
Demosthenes in Legare's collected writings is vastly better, and is, perhaps,
the most brilliant and scholarly summary in our language of the great orator’s
work. In Mill’s
Dissertations is to be found a suggestive review of Grote. The physical
characteristics of Greece arc delightfully shown in Mahaffy’s Rambles and in Christopher Coleridge’s
finely illustrated work. Still more minute information may be gained from
Barthelemy’s Anacharsis, a book of imaginary travels in the ripest days of
Greek civilization. The great original authority on the subject is Pausanias,
whose travels and observations were translated into English, and published in
three volumes in London in 1824. Becker’s Charicles is
a dull novel, designed to present the fruits of Greek scholarship in a form
that would least tax the powers of the reader. On all financial matters Boeckh
is not only the great authority, but is a marvel of comprehensive scholarship.
Wachsmuth’s Antiquities of Greece and Hermann’s
Political Antiquities have each been translated into English, and were published
in Oxford in the early part of this century. When they appeared, they were of
the first importance; but at the present time they are somewhat antiquated.
Life among the Alexandrian Greeks is portrayed in a very striking manner by Kingsley in his
novel of ‘Hypatia’. Blackie’s Horae
Hellenicae, published in 1874; Abbott’s
Hellenica, published in 1880; and Newton’s
Art and Archaeology, also published in 1880, are each volumes of
interesting and valuable discussions of subjects on Greek poetry, philosophy,
history, archaeology, art, and religion. Schliemann’s
Troy and its Remains, London and New York, 1875; Mycenae, London
and New York, 1878; and Ilios, London
and New York, 1880, are illustrated octavo volumes, describing the results of
the recent discoveries by the author.