To trace some of the erroneous tendencies of Roman literary and glyptic art, and to shew how they had their origin in the national character and circumstances of the Romans, is the endeavour of these essays. The prevalent emotions and the ideas of a nation are expressed in its literature and in its art, and these emotions and ideas are some of them peculiar to the national character, while some are produced by the national circumstances. I shall endeavour to shew the original bent of the Roman character, and its modifications as affected by circumstances. But in order to criticize the faults into which Roman art was liable to fall we had better begin by tracing the ideal to which they aspired, and then shew how these aspirations were checked or modified . . .
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