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THE May 1-9,79.03.
HISTORY OF GREECE.

938
66

CHAPTER I.

Of the earliest state of Greece.

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Brandle

Tottenvi

1. The first notices we have of every country are fabulous and uncertain. Among an unenlightened people every imposmature is likely to take place, for ignorance is the parent of credu.

lity. Nothing, therefore, which the Greeks have transmitted to
us concerning their earliest state can be relied on.

2. Poets were the first who began to record the actions of
their countryinen, and it is a part of their art to strike the im-
agination even at the expense of probability. For this reason,
in the earliest accounts of Greece, we are presented with the
machinations of gods and demi-gods, the adventures of heroes
and giants, the ravages of monsters and dragons, and all the po-
tency of charms and enchantments. Man, plain historical
man, seems to have no share in the picture, and while the reader
wanders through the most delightful scenes the imagination can
offer, he is scarce once presented with the actions of such a be-
ing as himself.

3. It would be vain, therefore, and beside the present purpose, to give a historical air to accounts which were never meant to be transmitted as true. Some writers, indeed, have laboriously undertaken to separate the truth from the fable, and to give us an unbroken narrative from the first dawning of tradition to the display of undoubted history; they have levelled down all mythology to their own apprehensions : every fable is made to look with an air of probability. Instead of a golden fleece, Jason goes in pursuit of a great treasure; instead of destroying a chimera, Bellerophon reclaims a mountain; instead of a hydra, Hercules overcomes a robber.

Circe

nsfer from

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