Page images
[blocks in formation]

Over and above the numerals, the words found in Harris's vocabulary and the Indo-European tongues of Europe are numerous and evident. Such, amongst others, are

[blocks in formation]

The numerals are remarkable for appearing in almost their simplest form. This may be seen by comparing yau with unus,

in Latin, or eka in Sanskrit; owwa with πra, septem, and seven ; na with novem and nine (nigun); las with decem and ten (tigun, taihun). Yaulas = 11, and dwelas = 12, correspond with the Evdeкa and Sudeкa of the Greeks, rather than with the e-leven and tw-elve of the Gothic nations. The formation of the multiples of ten is apparently anomalous; der-as = 30, sul-wekht =40, pinz-ost=50, ashp-etah 50, ashp-etah = 60, duw-ed=70. Here, as the last syllable coincides in power with our termination -ty (for-ty, fif-ty, &c.), it is easy to see that the representation is not constant. The sign of ordination is -am. This, and this alone, is added to the cardinal form.

one, yau.

five, pinz.

yawam, first.
pinzam, second, &c.

This -am is the -im in septimus and the -ou in Cdoμoç.

Either from non-development, or from degeneration, the Pushtoo forms in this department are exceedingly uncompli


= ·

Of the letter-changes, the most remarkable are (1), s= k and g; as las dek-a; (2) l = t and d; as las = dεK-a, salor = quatuor, palar = pater.

R. G. L.


Vol. I.

London, 1844. (Taylor and Walton.)

THE want of a work like the present, on the biography, mythology, and literature of Greece and Rome, has long been seriously felt. The facts, not only of a science, but often of a life, lie dispersed in many volumes, which the student may want time or opportunity to consult, even if he knows where to search for them. Even to the more advanced scholar, a convenient and trustworthy book of reference is invaluable. This Dictionary, embracing, in a comparatively small compass, a vast amount of information, and copious references to all the best modern sources, will, we confidently anticipate, prove of the highest utility to all who are interested in the study of antiquity.

A subject so extensive could be satisfactorily treated only by the united exertions of many writers. From the list prefixed to the present volume, it appears that nearly thirty scholars have contributed to its pages. The position of all of them in the classical world affords a sufficient guarantee for the value of their contributions; whilst the acknowledged ability displayed by the editor, Dr. Wm. Smith, in a publication of an analogous character (The Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities), proves him to be eminently fitted for the superintendence of such a work. But there is one feature in this list of names which cannot but give the work an additional value. It would be absurd at this time to undertake such a publication without a copious use of the materials provided by the industry of German philologers, who have so much outstripped the rest of Europe in the ardent prosecution of all researches connected with classical literature. Not only are most of the English contributors well acquainted with German philology, but the list presents the names of several distinguished native alumni, or professors of German universities.

The work embraces a period beginning from the earliest mythological times, and ending with the fall of the Western Empire, in the year 476, and that of the Eastern Empire by the taking of Constantinople by the Turks. In Greek subjects the Greek names are retained. There is an account of the Roman families, which is quite a new feature in a work of this sort; and many of the articles are illustrated with very neat engravings of coins and medals. The lives of Christian writers are given, but with a careful avoidance of all questions of polemical divinity. The most prominent feature, however, is the elaborate way in which the lives of the Greek and Roman authors have been treated. This is a very judicious arrangement, not only because such lives lie more out of the track of students than the ordinary topics of history and mythology, but because it will go very far towards supplying a serious deficiency in this country-a good history of Greek and Roman literature. The accounts which are given of the works of the different ancient authors, and of the literature connected with them, are admirably executed, and cannot but prove of the highest utility. Those appended to the life of Aristotle, by Professor Stahr, of Cicero, by Professor Ramsay, and of Arrian and of Demosthenes, by Dr. Schmitz, deserve to be particularly mentioned. On this head the learned editor will perhaps permit the suggestion that, before the work is completed, he should cause concise accounts to be drawn up of the rise and progress of the various branches of ancient literature. These would form, as it were, connecting links to the different lives, and enable the student to acquire a clear idea of the literary history of antiquity.

It would of course be impossible to enter into any thing like a detailed criticism of the work under notice. It is the composition of a committee of authors, and a minute review of it would require a committee of critics. Many of the lives, however, are so elaborate as to deserve a separate notice, and to a few of these we must confine ourselves.

Skilfully to abridge a life, and to place before the reader all those circumstances, yet those only, which are necessary to enable him to form a just notion of the individual, is a work of no ordinary labour and judgment. Though, to a superficial observer, the results may not appear so striking and significant as those of a regular and detailed biography, yet the process to be gone through by the writer is almost equally laborious,

whilst the demand upon his judgment and discrimination is much greater. Not only must he have a complete view of all the circumstances, but the tact to select those only which are necessary to his purpose. Now this purpose, we apprehend, is to convey a correct notion of character. Unless we form such a notion, the events of a life are but a string of isolated facts, that hang together without meaning or rational coherence. But this once acquired, every thing arranges itself in its proper order; events no longer seem the result of chance, but the necessary consequences of temper and principles; and from the contemplation of their connection, a useful lesson may be drawn for the conduct of life. The very merits of the work before us render it necessary that care and attention should be bestowed on the summaries of character, since it will become the textbook of the young student, and the source whence he will draw his first notions of the great men of ancient times.

One of the most elaborate lives in the Dictionary is that of Cicero, by Professor Ramsay, which seems to have been modelled in a great measure on that of Professor Drumann, in his recently published work, the Geschichte Roms. In all antiquity there is not, perhaps, a character respecting which such opposite notions have been entertained as that of Cicero. Whilst by one class of writers the great Roman orator has been described as a model of wisdom, goodness, and patriotism, by another he has been represented as a vain, cowardly, and selfish wretch, without a single grain of truth or honour. At the head of the former class stands Middleton, whose Life of Cicero, though fairly amenable to the charge of partiality, will be always read with pleasure by those who can appreciate elegant scholarship, a gentlemanly tone of feeling, and the graces of English composition. Scarcely had his work appeared, but it was assailed from various quarters and on different grounds. Tunstall and Markland exerted their critical abilities to disprove the genuineness of certain portions of Cicero's writings from which Middleton had drawn some of his materials; namely, the four orations delivered after his return from exile, and the letters to Brutus. The doubts which they raised were subsequently supported by many eminent scholars, and, among them, by the great sceptic, Wolf. The question remains to this day undecided, though the tendency at present seems to be to restore at least some of those writings. Colley Cibber contro

« PreviousContinue »