Epochs of Greek and Roman Biography

Epochs of Greek and Roman Biography

Epochs of Greek and Roman Biography

Epochs of Greek and Roman Biography

Excerpt

We have the word of Polybius that a comprehensive view of political history is not to be obtained by isolative study of events or epochs. Doubtless the principle is equally applicable to the ideal exposition of literary history. Nevertheless, decent consideration for the powers of endurance possessed by those genial auditors for whose ears the several chapters composing this book were originally set forth as the spoken word, precluded any attempt to survey completely the history of Greek and Roman biography. Hence it is that this volume is frankly episodic in structure. The reader will see that in most cases the topics chosen have been determined by the problems, or at least by some of them, that have emerged in connection with the subject to which these studies are devoted. Therefore, the author, again invoking the precedent of Polybius, would prefer that his work be judged more by what he says than by what he neglects to say.

It is also true that no small part of the pleasure that has been derived from the pursuit of an inveterate hobby has come from following the history of the biographical purpose among the Greeks and Romans as a phenomenon in the growth of human ideas. A thread of unity, however tenuous, is thus secured. I have sought to sketch through various . . .

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