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much to illustrate the attributes of our common human nature as displayed among Greek philosophers and poets.* Colonel Mure, in short, has studied the Greek writers in the character of an accomplished gentleman, Mr. Grote in that of a professed politician. Few members of either class make so full and practical a use of their studies; but the diversity of the quarter from which each has commenced them is manifest throughout their writings.

Our readers will therefore not be surprised to learn that Colonel Mure's account of Thucydides is by no means one of the most successful portions of his work. Herodotus, of whom he treated in his preceding volume, is far more in his line; for Herodotus, though he wrote in prose, was a great poet. Of the two chief Attic historians, Colonel Mure is far more successful with Xenophon than with Thucydides. In fact, it is no disrespect to say that Thucydides is too much for him. Much may be learned from various portions of Colonel Mure's criticisms; wherever tact and acuteness are enough, he is still the Colonel Mure of the Homeric controversy. But the real greatness of the тημa ès deí, one of the most astonishing of all the productions of the human intellect, can hardly be fully grasped by one who is obliged to regard it primarily from a purely literary point of view.

It is, indeed, a marvellous thought, that Herodotus and Thucydides were contemporary writers, perhaps not so widely removed in age as is commonly the case between father and son. As Colonel Mure himself observes, an interval of centuries would seem to have elapsed between them. The question of their comparative merit can hardly arise; the two are totally different in kind. It would be about as easy to compare an old Greek, a writer of the middle ages, and a writer of our own time. Herodotus is a Greek of the fifth century B. C. His archaic tastes, indeed, make him rather a Greek of a century

* Some of Colonel Mure's remarks drawn from this source are singularly acute and appropriate. Take, for instance, his comments on the excessive, apparently almost pharisaical, denunciations of contemporary vice by the historian Theopompos (vol. v. pp. 514, 515). "His vituperative attacks were chiefly directed against the luxury, sensuality, and social profligacy of the times, and of his more remarkable contemporaries, whose excesses he denounced with a vehemence, and described with a minuteness of detail, to which, even as exemplified in his remains, it would be difficult to find a parallel in any existing work of Greek manners. This very excess of virtuous irritation, and fondness for its display, may perhaps suggest a doubt how far it is to be taken as a manifestation of unmixed horror for the conduct stigmatised. In dealing with one who dealt so severely with others, it may not be uncharitable to surmise, that his zeal may be made up, in part at least, of a certain spirit of negative morality, or even of morbid sympathy with the conduct described; the same which in unconstrained social intercourse, often leads men to converse freely, and in a spirit of levity, on scenes at which they would feel ashamed of being present, and practices in which they are themselves incapable of participating."


earlier. Xenophon is a Greek of the succeeding age; a far less favourable specimen, we need hardly add, than Herodotus. Thucydides belongs to no age or country; he is the historian of our common humanity, the teacher of abstract political wisdom. Herodotus is hardly a political writer at all; his political comments are indeed, when they occur, invariably true and generous; but they are put forth with an amiable simplicity which approaches to the nature of a truism. When he infers from the growth of Athens after the expulsion of her tyrants, that "freedom is a noble thing,"* the comment reads like that of an intelligent child, or like the reflection of an Oriental awakening to the realities of European life. Xenophon writes from the worst inspiration of local and temporary party-spirit. He writes history, not to record facts or to deduce lessons, but, at whatever cost of truth and fairness, to exalt Agesilaos and to vilify the Thebans. But Thucydides, living in an age when the political life of man had barely occupied two centuries, seems to have derived from that brief period the lessons of whole millenniums. From the narrow field which lay before his eyes he could deduce a political teaching applicable to every age, race, and country. There is scarcely a problem of the science of government which the statesman may not find, if not solved, at any rate handled, in the pages of this universal master. The political experience of Thucydides could have exhibited to him only two sets of phenomena-the small city-commonwealth and the vast barbaric monarchy. But we feel that he would have been equally at home under any other state of things. If we could conceive Herodotus or Xenophon suddenly set down in the feudal France or Germany of a past age, in the constitutional England or the federal America of our own time, every thing would doubtless bear in their eyes the air of an insoluble problem. But we can imagine Thucydides at once detecting real analogy through apparent diversity, and recognising phenomena so different from any thing within his own experience as merely fresh exemplifications of the general principles which he had deduced from another state of things. No truth seems, more difficult of acceptance than the doctrine that history is really one whole; that "ancient," "modern," "mediæval," mark convenient halting-places, and nothing more; that man's political nature is essentially the same under every variety of outward circumstances. But no testimony more overwhelmingly confirms its truth than the fact that the political wisdom of all ages was thus forestalled by the citizen of a small republic living twentythree centuries ago.

Neither Herodotus nor Thucydides were men of their own age. * ἡ ἰσηγορίη ὡς ἔστι χρῆμα σπουδαῖον. Herod. v. 78.

The mind of Herodotus evidently lived in past times. The stern truth of chronology tells us that he was contemporary with Perikles, perhaps with Alkibiades. But no one realises the fact while reading his enchanting chronicle. While so engaged, we fully believe him to have been an eye-witness of Marathon and Salamis. We are indeed hardly clear whether he may not have looked on at the return of Peisistratos, or even have been invisibly present in the sleeping-chamber of Kandaules. Nothing connects him with his own age, except a few brief, sparing, sometimes doubtful, references to events later than his main subject. The genial traveller of Halikarnassos loved to gather together, to set in dramatic order, to garnish with an occasional religious or moral sentiment, the antiquities and legends of every age and country except the Greece of the Peloponnesian war. His own age, we may believe, he laboured to forget; a more dignified form of affection for the past than that which displays itself in querulous longings after what is gone, and petulant sarcasms upon what is present. He is the liberal, well-informed antiquary and scholar, who lives out of his own age; not the disappointed politician, who lives in it only to carp at every thing around or beyond him.

In Xenophon, on the other hand, notwithstanding much that is personally attractive and estimable, we see, as a political writer, only the man of a particular time and place in the smallest and most malignant form of that character. Herodotus lived in the past, Thucydides lived for the future; Xenophon reflects only the petty passions of the moment. He writes not like a historian, whether antiquarian or political, but like a petulant journalist who has to decry the troublesome greatness of an opposite party. Yet even his writings may indirectly guide to the same lesson as those of Thucydides. One teaches us that much of our modern wisdom might be reached by a powerful intellect while human thought was yet in its infancy. The other shows that if old Greece could forestall modern political science, it could also forestall the pettiest forms of modern political animosity. Thucydides, without Xenophon, might make us place the ideal Greek historian at a superhuman height above us. Xenophon, without Thucydides, might lead us to degrade him to the level of a very inferior modern pamphleteer. But the two combined unite to teach the same lesson, that man is essentially the same every where; that an old Greek was a being of like passions with a modern Englishman, each being alike capable of exhibiting, under the necessary modifications, the highest and the lowest phases

of our common nature.

In fact, no one can thoroughly appreciate Thucydides who does not make use of Xenophon as a foil. Without comparing

the two, we might be led to suppose that Thucydidean dignity and impartiality was an easy commonplace quality, not entitling its possessor to any particular commendation. When we turn to the Hellenics, we at once see how great were the temptations to a contrary course which surrounded a Greek writing contemporary history. How many opportunities must have occurred, and have been rejected, of colouring, omitting, exaggerating. How easy to have passed by the good or the bad deeds of one or the other party. How hard a task to keep the bitter revengeful spirit of the exile from appearing in every page. Thucydides, after all, was a man. He could not deal with perfect fairness between himself and a bitter personal and political enemy; but what does the utmost that can be made out against him amount to? That he once pronounces a judgment which his own narrative does not bear out: in short that, though he never ceased to be a truthful witness, he had not attained that superhuman height of virtue which enables a man to be a perfectly fair judge in his own cause. Think of this one flaw, and compare it with the moral state of the man who could describe the Theban revolution without mentioning the name of Pelopidas; who, when recording at large the history of his own times, could dilate at impertinent length on the pettiest proceedings of his Spartan hero, and deliberately omit all mention of the deliverance of Messenia, and the foundation of Megalopolis. Thucydides himself was not absolutely perfect; but perhaps no other actor in important events ever related them with so great an amount of impartiality. In Xenophon we have to condemn not merely weakness and passion to an unpardonable degree, but sheer want of common honesty, deliberate violation of the first moral laws of the historian's calling.

But the greatness of Thucydides is, after all, of a somewhat cold and unattractive character. He does not, like many other writers, draw us near to himself personally. What reader of Herodotus does not long for a personal conversation with the genial and delightful old traveller, who had been every where, and seen every thing; who could tell you the founder of every city, and the architect of every temple; who could recite oracles and legends from the beginnings of things to his own day; and who would season all with a simple moral and political commentary, not the less acceptable for being a little commonplace? What would one not give for an opportunity of asking why it was, after all, that the Scythians blinded their slaves, or of finding out, in some unguarded moment, in honour of what deity the Egyptians submitted themselves to the discipline? Xenophon, again, would evidently not have been the less agreeable a companion on account of his unpatriotic heresies and his historical unfairness. If he was a bitter enemy and an unscrupulous partisan,

his very faults arose from carrying into excess the amiable character of a zealous friend. The pupil of Socrates was of necessity unfair to the government by which he was condemned; the follower of Agesilaos could not mete out common justice to those pestilent Thebans by whom all his policy was brought to nought. But Thucydides excites no feelings of the kind. We might have highly esteemed the privilege of sitting at his feet as a lecturer ; but we should hardly have been very desirous of his company in our lighter moments. Genial simplicity, hearty and unconscious humour are, after all, more attractive than the stern perfection of wisdom; a little superstition, and a little party-spirit, if they render a man less admirable, do not always make him less agreeable. Impartiality is a rare and divine quality; but a little human weakness sometimes commends itself more to frail mortals. There is something lofty in the position of a man who records the worst deeds of Athenian and Lacedæmonian alike, as a simple matter of business, without a word of concealment, palliation, or reprobation for either. But we feel quite sure that Herodotus would have told us that the massacre of Platææ and the massacre of Melos were each of them a πρῆγμα οὐχ ὅσιον. We suspect that Xenophon would have been so ashamed of the evil deed of the side on which his own feelings might be enlisted, that he would not have recorded both crimes in his history. But we get a little puzzled as to the moral condition of the man who elaborately dissects the characters of Themistokles and Perikles as intellectual and political subjects, without a word of moral praise or dispraise of either. Our perplexity is increased when we find the historian honestly recording the assassinations in which Antiphon was at least an accomplice, and yet pronouncing this same Antiphon to have been inferior to none of his contemporaries,-Konon and Kallikratidas included, not only in ability but in virtue.* Herodotus would have lifted up his hands in pious horror; Xenophon would either have shirked so disagreeable a subject, or have at least discovered some ingenious sophism in palliation of the offence. Then, again, human nature does crave for something like religion, and does not always kick at a little superstition. We decidedly do not think the worse of Herodotus, Xenophon, Pausanias, and Arrian for believing in oracles, visions, and the whole art and mystery of divination. It is perhaps very admirable, but it is not altogether amiable, in Thucydides to have got so far in advance of his age as to make it tolerably certain that he believed in nothing of the kind, and to leave it by no means clear whether he believed in any gods at all. Finally, we cannot forget, possibly even a contemporary

* àpetý ovdevds űσtepos, Thuc. viii. c. 68. See Dr. Arnold's note on the passage.

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