The Way of the Greeks

The Way of the Greeks

The Way of the Greeks

The Way of the Greeks

Excerpt

The chief use of a preface is to warn the reader, should he chance to read it, of what he has to expect. In this case he must be told first that the title of the book is not intended as an allusion to popular fiction but refers to the Greek belief that there is a Right Way, or δίκʷ, of doing all things. As most of the following pages are devoted to expour ding the nature of that 'Way', the word has a right to appear in the title.

Secondly, the reader must be warned that the book has two defects: it is sadly informal in style and arrangement, and, as critics will at once note, it 'falls between two stools'. It is neither a formal treatise addressed only to scholars, nor yet a handbook for the wholly ignorant. Both these defects spring from the same cause, an obstinate belief that the ancient Greeks are so interesting that others besides professed scholars must wish to know something of them. The number of popular handbooks proves in fact that such persons exist. But when the reader of such handbooks wishes to carry his studies a little further, he will find it difficult. For most serious works on the subject are equipped with a paraphernalia of notes, references, and quotations which deters any but professed students; and moreover they are often couched in a somewhat terrifying style. With the benevolent intention of making the way easier for such inquirers I have reduced this paraphernalia to a minimum, and have put what I had to say in an informal way. It is to be feared that even so these pages will be perplexing to a reader who knows nothing of the Greeks, but I have tried to produce something which will be intelligible to any one who has a smattering of such knowledge, and which a scholar may condescend . . .

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