The work, a portion of which is now presented to the reader, has occupied me many years - though often interrupted in its progress, either by more active employment, or by literary undertakings of a character more seductive. These volumes were not only written, but actually in the hands of the publisher before the appearance, and even, I believe, before the announcement of the first volume of Mr. Thirlwall's History of Greece, or I might have declined going over any portion of the ground cultivated by that distinguished scholar [1]. As it is, however, the plan I have pursued differs materially from that of Mr. Thirlwall, and I trust that the soil is sufficiently fertile to yield a harvest to either labourer.

Since it is the letters, yet more than the arms or the institutions of Athens, which have rendered her illustrious, it is my object to combine an elaborate view of her literature with a complete and impartial account of her political transactions. The two volumes now published bring the reader, in the one branch of my subject, to the supreme administration of Pericles; in the other, to a critical analysis of the tragedies of Sophocles. Two additional volumes will, I trust, be sufficient to accomplish my task, and close the records of Athens at that period when, with the accession of Augustus, the annals of the world are merged into the chronicle of the Roman empire. In these latter volumes it is my intention to complete the history of the Athenian drama - to include a survey of the Athenian philosophy - to describe the manners, habits, and social life of the people, and to conclude the whole with such a review of the facts and events narrated as may constitute, perhaps, an unprejudiced and intelligible explanation of the causes of the rise and fall of Athens.

As the history of the Greek republics has been too often corruptly pressed into the service of heated political partisans, may I be pardoned the precaution of observing that, whatever my own political code, as applied to England, I have nowhere sought knowingly to pervert the lessons of a past nor analogous time to fugitive interests and party purposes. Whether led sometimes to censure, or more often to vindicate the Athenian people, I am not conscious of any other desire than that of strict, faithful, impartial justice. Restlessly to seek among the ancient institutions for illustrations (rarely apposite) of the modern, is, indeed, to desert the character of a judge for that of an advocate, and to undertake the task of the historian with the ambition of the pamphleteer. Though designing this work not for colleges and cloisters, but for the general and miscellaneous public, it is nevertheless impossible to pass over in silence some matters which, if apparently trifling in themselves, have acquired dignity, and even interest, from brilliant speculations or celebrated disputes. In the history of Greece (and Athenian history necessarily includes nearly all that is valuable in the annals of the whole Hellenic race) the reader must submit to pass through much that is minute, much that is wearisome, if he desire to arrive at last at definite knowledge and comprehensive views. In order, however, to interrupt as little as possible the recital of events, I have endeavoured to confine to the earlier portion of the work such details of an antiquarian or speculative nature as, while they may afford to the general reader, not, indeed, a minute analysis, but perhaps a sufficient notion of the scholastic inquiries which have engaged the attention of some of the subtlest minds of Germany and England, may also prepare him the better to comprehend the peculiar character and circumstances of the people to whose history he is introduced: and it may be well to warn the more impatient that it is not till the second book (vol. i., p. 181) that disquisition is abandoned for narrative. There yet remain various points on which special comment would be incompatible with connected and popular history, but on which I propose to enlarge in a series of supplementary notes, to be appended to the concluding volume. These notes will also comprise criticisms and specimens of Greek writers not so intimately connected with the progress of Athenian literature as to demand lengthened and elaborate notice in the body of the work. Thus, when it is completed, it is my hope that this book will combine, with a full and complete history of Athens, political and moral, a more ample and comprehensive view of the treasures of the Greek literature than has yet been afforded to the English public. I have ventured on these remarks because I thought it due to the reader, no less than to myself, to explain the plan and outline of a design at present only partially developed.

London, March, 1837.




     I Situation and Soil of Attica. - The Pelasgians its earliest 
          Inhabitants. - Their Race and Language akin to the Grecian. - 
          Their varying Civilization and Architectural Remains. - 
          Cecrops. - Were the earliest Civilizers of Greece foreigners 
          or Greeks? - The Foundation of Athens. - The Improvements 
          attributed to Cecrops. - The Religion of the Greeks cannot 
          be reduced to a simple System. - Its Influence upon their 
          Character and Morals, Arts and Poetry. - The Origin of 
          Slavery and Aristocracy.

    II The unimportant consequences to be deduced from the admission 
          that Cecrops might be Egyptian. - Attic Kings before 
          Theseus. - The Hellenes. - Their Genealogy. - Ionians and 
          Achaeans Pelasgic. - Contrast between Dorians and Ionians. - 
          Amphictyonic League.

   III The Heroic Age. - Theseus. - His legislative Influence upon 
          Athens. - Qualities of the Greek Heroes. - Effect of a 
          Traditional Age upon the Character of a People.

    IV The Successors of Theseus. - The Fate of Codrus. - The 
          Emigration of Nileus. - The Archons. - Draco.

     V A General Survey of Greece and the East previous to the 
          Time of Solon. - The Grecian Colonies. - The Isles. - Brief 
          account of the States on the Continent. - Elis and the 
          Olympic Games.

    VI Return of the Heraclidae. - The Spartan Constitution and 
          Habits. - The first and second Messenian War.

   VII Governments in Greece.

  VIII Brief Survey of Arts, Letters, and Philosophy in Greece, 
          prior to the Legislation of Solon.



     I The Conspiracy of Cylon. - Loss of Salamis. - First Appearance 
          of Solon. - Success against the Megarians in the Struggle for 
          Salamis. - Cirrhaean War. - Epimenides. - Political State of 
          Athens. - Character of Solon. - His Legislation. - General View 
          of the Athenian Constitution.

    II The Departure of Solon from Athens. - The Rise of Pisistratus. 
           - Return of Solon. - His Conduct and Death. - The Second and 
          Third Tyranny of Pisistratus. - Capture of Sigeum. - Colony 
          In the Chersonesus founded by the first Miltiades. - Death of 

   III The Administration of Hippias. - The Conspiracy of Harmodius 
          and Aristogiton. - The Death of Hipparchus. - Cruelties of 
          Hippias. - The young Miltiades sent to the Chersonesus. - The 
          Spartans Combine with the Alcmaeonidae against Hippias. - The 
          fall of the Tyranny. - The Innovations of Clisthenes. - His 
          Expulsion and Restoration. - Embassy to the Satrap of Sardis. 
           - Retrospective View of the Lydian, Medean, and Persian 
          Monarchies. - Result of the Athenian Embassy to Sardis. - 
          Conduct of Cleomenes. - Victory of the Athenians against the 
          Boeotians and Chalcidians. - Hippias arrives at Sparta. - The 
          Speech of Sosicles the Corinthian. - Hippias retires to 

    IV Histiaeus, Tyrant of Miletus, removed to Persia. - The 
          Government of that City deputed to Aristagoras, who invades 
          Naxos with the aid of the Persians. - Ill Success of that 
          Expedition. - Aristagoras resolves upon Revolting from the 
          Persians. - Repairs to Sparta and to Athens. - The Athenians 
          and Eretrians induced to assist the Ionians. - Burning of 
          Sardis. - The Ionian War. - The Fate of Aristagoras. - Naval 
          Battle of Lade. - Fall of Miletus. - Reduction of Ionia. - 
          Miltiades. - His Character. - Mardonius replaces Artaphernes 
          in the Lydian Satrapy. - Hostilities between Aegina and 
          Athens. - Conduct of Cleomenes. - Demaratus deposed. - Death 
          Of Cleomenes. - New Persian Expedition.

     V The Persian Generals enter Europe. - Invasion of Naxos, 
          Carystus, Eretria. - The Athenians Demand the Aid of Sparta. 
           - The Result of their Mission and the Adventure of their 
          Messenger. - The Persians advance to Marathon. - The Plain 
          Described. - Division of Opinion in the Athenian Camp. - The 
          Advice of Miltiades prevails. - The Drear of Hippias. - The 
          Battle of Marathon.