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Religions and Governments of each were created and constituted with the sole view of maintaining this state of things.
In the third civilization, it is true, we meet for the first time new words of grave import-we hear of Republics and Democracies. But, on close inspection, we discover that they had no reference to any Government in which the masses had any share : they were but new names for the only Government ever known in the world--a Government directed not merely by the intellect of the few, but one in which the interests of the many were unrecognized and disregarded.
It was not till the fourth civilization appeared that a new principle was born, a new doctrine was taught, and a new element introduced into the world-destined inevitably, in process of time, to change entirely the face of things, and to verify the words of St. Paul: “Old things are passed away ; behold, all things are become new."
This, however, shall be considered under its appropriate head. Meantime, the rise and growth of two great communities will be concisely reviewed as illustrative of the character of the third civilization.
The first occupation of the peninsula afterwards known as Greece, was by barbarous tribes—the Pelasgians from Asia. Emigrants from Egypt and Phoenicia followed with the germs of civilization. Then came the Hellenic tribes from Caucasus about 1700 B.C., who seized on the country, which was named after one of them, Greece. The Caucasians are said to be the first white men who entered Europe. More Egyptians and Phoenicians followed ; amongst whom were Cecrops, who founded Athens 1643 B.C., and Cadmus, who is supposed to have brought the alphabet of Phænicia into Greece. During this period, Agriculture and the Arts made advances ; Laws and Institutions were established; and a Religion modelled on those of Egypt and Phænicia was founded. Then succeeded the “Heroic Age,” from 1500 to 1200 B.C., signalized by the fabulous exploits of Hercules, Theseus, and Jason, the foundation of the Olympian Games, the establishment of the Amphictyonic Council (a Congress of the Confederacy), and ending with the Trojan War. Next followed the
Middle Age,” when for two centuries constant wars prevailed, throwing back the progress of the country.
To this succeeded the rise of that famous civilization which is still the wonder of the world. About 900 B.C. the marvellous poems of Homer appeared ; and about this time, too, manners began to grow milder, religion more esteemed. Lycurgus appeared in 898
B.C. in Sparta, and established some wise principles of legislation.
The renown of Greece, however, is chiefly identified with Athens, the capital of Attica. The earliest Government of this famous city was Monarchical. After a period of some 500 years came the Aristocratic regime, divided into three periods : in the first period the Archons (magistrates) being elected for life, in the second for ten years, and in the third for one year. This lasted some 562 years.
It was near the close of this period, in the year 593 B.C., that Solon, who was then sole Archon, made a Constitution, which, considering the epoch, is a marvellous production. By this Constitution, Sovereign Power was vested in an assembly of citizens, classified according to income.
As a check upon this body, he created a Senate, with which he associated in political power the Areopagus, or Supreme Court. This remarkable structure skilfully blended the Democratic and Aristocratic elements, but ignored the Monarchical-an omission which led to its ruin. Solon also repealed the cruel laws of Draco, and substituted a milder code. All these beneficent institutions were overthrown in ten years by Pisistratus, and Solon died of patriotic grief.
For the fifty years following, Pisistratus first, and afterwards his sons, exercised dictatorial power. Then began the Democratic epoch, or what was called the Republic, which existed for 364 years.
The Athenian Republic, which all the other republics in Greece resembled, was somewhat singular in its organization. The inhabitants were divided into
* The first hospital for wounded soldiers in the world was founded at Athens by Pisistratus. Louis the XIV. founded the first in France, over 2000 years later—the Hôpital des Invalides at Paris.
three classes —the citizens, the freedmen, and the slaves. The citizens only had the franchise. Their vote elected the nine Archons, or executive magistrates, made the laws, and decided on peace and
This looks like the Universal Suffrage of our days; but when we compare the number entitled to vote with those not so privileged, it will be seen how far it was from a Democracy as now understood. At no time in Athens were there more than 20,000 citizens or voters to some 350,000 non-voters. The latter were mostly slaves, and were occupied in the avocations now followed by our middle and lower classes. These slaves were all of the same colour and race as their masters. Thus it was the Minority who governed. “Athens," says De Tocqueville, “ with her universal suffrage, was after all merely an aristocratic republic, in which all the nobles had an equal right to the government." *
Soon after the so-called Republic had been instituted, the wars against the Persians began, and lasted some forty years. Happily the Greeks came forth victorious from this conflict, else the dawning civilization of Europe would have been submerged in Asiatic barbarism.
The culmination of Athenian glory and power was reached on the close of these hostilities. Then appeared that wonderful galaxy of great men whose fame has never been eclipsed-to select only a fewSocrates, Plato, Aristotle, in Philosophy; Herodotus, the father of History, followed by Xenophon and Thucydides; Æschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes, in the Drama ; Phidias and Apelles, in the Arts; Hippocrates, the father of Medicine.
* See vol. ii. p. 73.
The three greatest intellects of Greece, and whose influence over succeeding ages was permanent, were Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. A single word of these profound thinkers, who lived in an epoch no less than 400 years before Christ.
Socrates was the author of the first code of Morals that appeared in Europe. In this he admirably defined the different virtues. He declared the practice of good was the only means to happiness; proved by new arguments the existence of a God, and the immortality of the soul; denounced the frivolous philosophy of his time, chiefly aiming at the Sophists; and laid down that the true study of mankind
His boldness alarmed the Gover and he was condemned to death, on the charge of attacking the Established Religion, and promulgating New Divinities. His escape from prison was planned by his friends ; but he declared that the laws should not be disobeyed,” and drank the poison whilst discoursing calmly on the soul. †
His disciple, Plato, whether alarmed at the fate of his master, or from the constitution of his mind, gave himself up to abstract speculations. He was the father of Metaphysics; and sought to prove that man was the mere product of “ideas.” He declared in one of his discourses that “reason was the true principle of man's nature, although in the present existence there is mingled with it a foreign element-matter, which, by obstructing its development, becomes the cause of man's falling short of perfection.” His most famous
Confucius, who died in China, 479 B.C., just before the birth of Socrates, is regarded by some as the first writer on Morals.
“ Virtue,” said Socrates, “was the intelligent performance of duties, whose scope man may arrive at by a study both of his own nature, and of the laws of an all-wise Creator discoverable in the system of the Universe. In this pursuit happiness is inseparable from virtue.'