Our Hellenic Heritage - Vol. 1

Our Hellenic Heritage - Vol. 1

Our Hellenic Heritage - Vol. 1

Our Hellenic Heritage - Vol. 1

Excerpt

The aim of this book is to bring together just so much of the elements of Greek legend and history as should be the possession of everyone born into the civilisation which we call European. This is taken to be, firstly, the substance of the immortal stories of Troy, the Wrath of Achilles, and the Homecoming of Odysseus, together with what help is lent to the enjoyment of these by Greek mythology and Greek archaeology; and, secondly, the Greek story of the Great Deliverance (with its stirring analogies to the great deliverance of our own time), the preservation of the Hellenic polity or city-state, and its ideals of personal freedom and dignity and of constitutional government, against the menace of subjugation by an oriental despotism. A second volume will deal, as part of a common plan, with the art and literature of Greece, which attained their full grandeur in the half century following the Persian Wars. It was then that for a brief time it appeared possible that Hellas might be permanently united into an Hellenic nation under the hegemony of Athens. Athens herself, therefore, will here be the main theme -- her history and constitution, her rise to imperial greatness, her short-lived splendour, and her political overthrow; to be followed by chapters on Greek architecture and sculpture, the Attic drama, the Greek historians, the Greek orators, and the great Greek thinkers. The two volumes together are intended to form a course of Hellenic studies for schools which shall be relatively complete, and may, it is hoped, to some extent make good what is lost through the decline of the first-hand study of Greek.

The considerations which prompt the undertaking of this task are not far to seek. The long debate over Greek . . .

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