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456 UNIVERSAL HISTORY--THE ANCIENT WORLD.

doms, Argos, Mycenae, Tiryus, Troezenia, Hermionis, and Epidaurus. By and by Argos became

the leader, and absorbed all the rest. The names of these petty principalities, or rather

of the cities which constituted their nuclei, will readily be recognized as those of the

famous sites from which in our own day the antiquarian Schliemann has exhumed such

priceless treasures illustrative of the history of the ancient Greeks. Argolis contains

the larger portion of those marvelous ruins to which archaeologists have given the name

Cyclopean-a mass of huge halls of unhewn stone, laid without cement, said in legend to

have been the work of the gigantic Cyclops, sons of Heaven and Earth.

Such, then, is a general sketch of the geography, physical and political, of ancient

Greece. It will readily be seen that the country was formed for a multitude of segregated

communities. In no other region of the world are the natural indications so deeply laid

for petty states. The hills and mountains are just of such height and character as to

break up all attempts at political centralization. Such a thing as unity was impossible in

a race so situated. In many parts the people on opposite sides of a range were strangers

for generations together. Local patriotism kindled a torch in every valley, and around its

flame of light and heat were gathered the affections of a clan. Beyond the hill-tops there

was nothing but distrust, aversion, hatred. It thus came to pass that the Greek

communities were individualized to an extent unknown, perhaps impossible, among the great

nations of the plain. In such a situation faction would prevail, politics become a

profession, freedom the rule. The presence of a centralized despotism in ancient Greece

would have been as much of an anomaly as a modern monarchy established among the solitude

and snowcapped summits of the Swiss Alps.

It is not the place in this connection to do more than merely note the fact that in the

broken and multiplex aspect and physical conditions of Greece were also laid the

foundations of the wonderfully inflected mythology and matchless art of the race. The

human mind here found itself under circumstances of such infinite variety that the

interpretation and representation of nature flashed into forms as variable as the caprices

of the kaleidoscope. Further on considering the philosophy, mythology, and art of the

Greeks, there will be necessarily a more amplified statement of these views. For the

present it may suffice to add that in ancient Greece the conditions of beauty, whether in

sky, or earth, or sea, were more abundant and intense than in. any other country. The

faculties and perceptions of the people were thus stimulated into a class of activities-

the history, the poem, the oration, the subtle analysis of thought-in excess of what has

been elsewhere accomplished even to the present time.

The traveler, the poet of today, catches at once the indefinable charm which the bounty of

nature has never withdrawn from the region between Olympus and the sea. Even the morose

Childe Harold feels the warmth of a new inspiration under the cloudless heaven of Greece:

Yet are thy skies as blue, thy crags as wild; Sweet are thy groves and verdant are thy

fields, Thine olive ripe as when Minerva smiled, And still his honeyed wealth Hymettus

yields; There the blithe bee his fragrant fortress builds, The freeborn wanderer of thy

mountain air;

Apollo still thy long, long summer gilds, Still in his beam Mendeli's marbles glare; Art,

glory, freedom fail, but Nature still is fair.