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476 UNIVERSAL HISTORY.--THE ANCIENT WORLD.

other by Demosthenes, whose fiery impetuosity and rapidity of utterance were the marvel of

his age.

It has been disputed whether oratory is properly a division of literature. Be that as it

may, certain it is that the orator, being by profession a man of affairs, is more

intimately involved with the current of public life, and is therefore more properly a part

of the secular history of his country than is the man of letters. It thus becomes proper

to consider the orator and his work in connection with the civil and military affairs of

the state rather than in a sketch of the national literature. This method will here be

followed, and the account of Pericles, Aeschines, Demosthenes, and the other great

exemplars of Greek oratory, will be reserved for a future chapter where their relations to

the state will suggest appropriate notices of their lives and influence.

Passing, then, to the consideration of the Art of the Hellenes we find materials of the

profoundest interest. Long before the struggles of the Heroic Age awaked the conscious

powers of the Greeks there had been in Hellas an epoch of art. A people had lived there

who built structures as imperishable as those of Nineveh and Memphis. Of this sort may be

mentioned the ancient reservoirs at Orchomenus In Boeotia, the so-called Cyclopean walls

of Tiryns, and the massive ruins which have recently been uncovered by Schliemann at

Mycenae. All of these are prehistoric and all exhibit unmistakable proof of the

architectural skill of some primitive people who dwelt in Hellas before the age of the

Hellenes. The citadel of Agamemnon and the Gate of Lions at Mycenae seem to establish the

fact of an organized community, swayed by arbitrary authority, primitive but skillful, at

a period long anterior to that in which the Greeks began the record of their own career as

a people. There is thus in Greek art a mythical period corresponding to the age of fable

and tradition. While the Hellenes were still in the shadows of legend and myth, monuments

were reared in Argolis and Boeotia, whose presence was an enigma to the Greeks themselves,

and the interpretation of which has been the puzzle of antiquarians.

The ruins of Mycenae are primitive in structure. They are massive and peculiar. In the

building of what is thought to have been the treasure-house of the king of the people,

much artistic skill is displayed. In the center of solid masonry of hewn stone is a

conical vault, the arch being produced by the narrowing of successive layers. The stones

were formerly lined with plates of bronze, as were also the ornaments on the outside of

the vault. The plates were hammered, and were held to their place on the face of the stone

with rivets. Within this treasure-house Schliemann discovered vessels and utensils of

gold, evidently belonging to a royal period in the history of some primitive race.

After this epoch most ancient in the art of Hellas several centuries passed with no

development. It was an age of shadows, perhaps of decline. Not until the times just

preceding the Persian wars was there the dawn of the true day of the art of the Greeks. Of

the sixth century B. C. only a single temple has been preserved; but of the following

hundred years the great columnar edifices of Selinus, Agrigentum, and Paestum remain as

immortal monuments of the age.

The nucleus of the Greek temple was the cella, where stood the statue of the deity. In the

earliest times the statue was set in a grove; the thought of protection from the elements

suggested the erection of a covering. The temple may thus be regarded as the house of the

statue rather than the house of the god. At first the structure was no more than four

walls inclosing a cell, with a roof to shelter the image. Then came elaboration. Columns

were erected, first in front, and then on all four sides, and on the tops of these were

placed the entablature. With the growth of artistic design the original idea of the temple

was in a measure obscured. In the great structures of the classic age only faint

reminiscences of the primeval edifice were preserved.

The origin of columns can never perhaps be ascertained. Long before Greece was Greece, the

columnar structure had been employed in Egypt and in parts of the East. In the migration

of the Hellenes