Greece, Ancient and Modern: Lectures Delivered before the Lowell Institute - Vol. 2

Greece, Ancient and Modern: Lectures Delivered before the Lowell Institute - Vol. 2

Read FREE!

Greece, Ancient and Modern: Lectures Delivered before the Lowell Institute - Vol. 2

Greece, Ancient and Modern: Lectures Delivered before the Lowell Institute - Vol. 2

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The subject of the present course of lectures is the Constitutions and the Orators of Greece; but I will take the liberty of prefacing the discussion of it with a few general remarks.

European culture traces its origin mainly to the inhabitants of that comparatively diminutive country. In the remote East sprang up in early times forms of political existence, which, lasting, some a few centuries, and others many centuries, on completing their career, left but little for the instruction of the following ages. On the Indus and the Ganges, far back in the primeval times, civilized communities existed, in which the institution of caste established itself as a permanent organization, more despotic than despotism itself. Philosophy flourished there, as did poetry in all its forms; human life suggested to speculative minds ethical conclusions of large significance; and Divine themes occupied men's thoughts, leading them into mazes which still perplex the world. Egypt unfolded many sciences, and carried some of the arts to a high stage of progress. Her temples, pyramids, and gigantic statues amaze the traveller by the grandeur of their conception and the perfectness of their details. She performed a still greater service by the invention of hieroglyphics, which, including the germ of alphabetic writing, have furnished the means of placing on perpetual record the wisdom of the wise and the fair creations of the inventive mind. In Palestine, among the chosen people, God saw fit to manifest himself in a peculiar manner, through the inspired teachings of his servants, the prophets and leaders of Israel. But it was in Greece that literary taste, ideal art . . .

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