The Age of Pericles: A History of the Politics and Arts of Greece from the Persian to the Peloponnesian War - Vol. 2

By William Watkiss Lloyd | Go to book overview

CHAPTER LII.
THE CHRYSELEPHANTINE STATUES.--THE ATHENE OF THE
PARTHENON.

THAT the mythological beings and narratives of the Greeks have the same relation to earlier Oriental originals--Aryan or however else designated--as the diction of their poetry and common intercourse, is to be inferred with confidence, and may be cheerfully allowed independently of demonstrations, which are apt to be tedious when even conclusive. The question in its due relations deserves all the attention that has been devoted to it hitherto, and even somewhat more, but does not concern us here. To the consideration of Hellenic history in its higher and more instructive aspect, it can scarcely be said to have closer relation than consideration of the squalid habits of cave-dwellers bears to a theory of constitutional government, and for our present purpose may happily be left aside.

Mythology in its progressive refinement and advance in the direction of Hellenism, went of necessity through a parallel process to the commencement of proper Hellenic language; whether the roots of this language in origin may have been rude or refined, suggestive or clumsily obscure, it was their common fate to be subjected in employment, to a continuous play of interests and impulses all tending to adjust them to the only purpose for which they were required,

R 2

-243-

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