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.

I. To vindicate the memory of the Athenian people, without disguising the errors of Athenian institutions; - and, in narrating alike the triumphs and the reverses - the grandeur and the decay - of the most eminent of ancient states, to record the causes of her imperishable influence on mankind, not alone in political change or the fortunes of fluctuating war, but in the arts, the letters, and the social habits, which are equal elements in the history of a people; - this is the object that I set before me; - not unreconciled to the toil of years, if, serving to divest of some party errors, and to diffuse through a wider circle such knowledge as is yet bequeathed to us of a time and land, fertile in august examples and in solemn warnings - consecrated by undying names and memorable deeds.

II. In that part of earth termed by the Greeks Hellas, and by the Romans Graecia [2], a small tract of land known by the name of Attica, extends into the Aegaean Sea - the southeast peninsula of Greece. In its greatest length it is about sixty, in its greatest breadth about twenty-four, geographical miles. In shape it is a rude triangle, - on two sides flows the sea - on the third, the mountain range of Parnes and Cithaeron divides the Attic from the Boeotian territory. It is intersected by frequent but not lofty hills, and, compared with the rest of Greece, its soil, though propitious to the growth of the olive, is not fertile or abundant. In spite of painful and elaborate culture, the traces of which are yet visible, it never produced a sufficiency of corn to supply its population; and this, the comparative sterility of the land, may be ranked among the causes which conduced to the greatness of the people. The principal mountains of Attica are, the Cape of Sunium, Hymettus, renowned for its honey, and Pentelicus for its marble; the principal streams which water the valleys are the capricious and uncertain rivulets of Cephisus and Ilissus [3], - streams breaking into lesser brooks, deliciously pure and clear. The air is serene - the climate healthful - the seasons temperate. Along the hills yet breathe the wild thyme, and the odorous plants which, everywhere prodigal in Greece, are more especially fragrant in that lucid sky; - and still the atmosphere colours with peculiar and various taints the marble of the existent temples and the face of the mountain landscapes.

III. I reject at once all attempt to penetrate an unfathomable obscurity for an idle object. I do not pause to inquire whether, after the destruction of Babel, Javan was the first settler in Attica, nor is it reserved for my labours to decide the solemn controversy whether Ogyges was the contemporary of Jacob or of Moses. Neither shall I suffer myself to be seduced into any lengthened consideration of those disputes, so curious and so inconclusive, relative to the origin of the Pelasgi (according to Herodotus the earliest inhabitants of Attica), which have vainly agitated the learned. It may amuse the antiquary to weigh gravely the several doubts as to the derivation of their name from Pelasgus or from Peleg - to connect the scattered fragments of tradition - and to interpret either into history or mythology the language of fabulous genealogies. But our subtlest hypotheses can erect only a fabric of doubt, which, while it is tempting to assault, it is useless to defend. All that it seems to me necessary to say of the Pelasgi is as follows: - They are the earliest race which appear to have exercised a dominant power in Greece. Their kings can be traced by tradition to a time long prior to the recorded genealogy of any other tribe, and Inachus, the father of the Pelasgian Phoroneus, is but another name for the remotest era to which Grecian chronology can ascend [4]. Whether the Pelasgi were anciently a foreign or a Grecian tribe, has been a subject of constant and celebrated discussion. Herodotus, speaking of some settlements held to be Pelaigic, and existing in his time, terms their language "barbarous;" but Mueller, nor with argument insufficient, considers that the expression of the historian would apply only to a peculiar dialect; and the hypothesis is sustained by another passage in Herodotus, in which he applies to certain Ionian dialects the same term as that with which he stigmatizes the language of the Pelasgic settlements. In corroboration of Mueller's opinion we may also observe, that the "barbarous-tongued" is an epithet applied by Homer to the Carians, and is rightly construed by the ancient critics as denoting a dialect mingled and unpolished, certainly not foreign. Nor when the Agamemnon of Sophocles upbraids Teucer with "his barbarous tongue," [6] would any scholar suppose that Teucer is upbraided with not speaking Greek; he is upbraided with speaking Greek inelegantly and rudely. It is clear that they who continued with the least adulteration a language in its earliest form, would seem to utter a strange and unfamiliar jargon to ears accustomed to its more modern construction. And, no doubt, could we meet with a tribe retaining the English of the thirteenth century, the language of our ancestors would be to most of us unintelligible, and seem to many of us foreign. But, however the phrase of Herodotus be interpreted, it would still be exceedingly doubtful whether the settlements he refers to were really and originally Pelasgic, and still more doubtful whether, if Pelasgia they had continued unalloyed and uncorrupted their ancestral language. I do not, therefore, attach any importance to the expression of Herodotus. I incline, on the contrary, to believe, with the more eminent of English scholars, that the language of the Pelasgi contained at least the elements of that which we acknowledge as the Greek; - and from many arguments I select the following:

1st. Because, in the states which we know to have been peopled by the Pelasgi (as Arcadia and Attica), and whence the population were not expelled by new tribes, the language appears no less Greek than that of those states from which the Pelasgi were the earliest driven. Had they spoken a totally different tongue from later settlers, I conceive that some unequivocal vestiges of the difference would have been visible even to the historical times.

2dly. Because the Hellenes are described as few at first - their progress is slow - they subdue, but they do not extirpate; in such conquests - the conquests of the few settled among the many - the language of the many continues to the last; that of the few would influence, enrich, or corrupt, but never destroy it.

3dly. Because, whatever of the Grecian language pervades the Latin [7], we can only ascribe to the Pelasgic colonizers of Italy. In this, all ancient writers, Greek and Latin, are agreed. The few words transmitted to us as Pelasgic betray the Grecian features, and the Lamina Borgiana (now in the Borgian collection of Naples, and discovered in 1783) has an inscription relative to the Siculi or Sicani, a people expelled from their Italian settlements before any received date of the Trojan war, of which the character is Pelasgic - the language Greek.

IV. Of the moral state of the Pelasgi our accounts are imperfect and contradictory. They were not a petty horde, but a vast race, doubtless divided, like every migratory people, into numerous tribes, differing in rank, in civilization [8], and in many peculiarities of character. The Pelasgi in one country might appear as herdsmen or as savages; in another, in the same age, they might appear collected into cities and cultivating the arts. The history of the East informs us with what astonishing rapidity a wandering tribe, once settled, grew into fame and power; the camp of to-day - the city of to-morrow - and the "dwellers in the wilderness setting up the towers and the palaces thereof." [9] Thus, while in Greece this mysterious people are often represented as the aboriginal race, receiving from Phoenician and Egyptian settlers the primitive blessings of social life, in Italy we behold them the improvers in agriculture [10] and first teachers of letters. [11]

Even so early as the traditional appearance of Cecrops among the savages of Attica, the Pelasgians in Arcadia had probably advanced from the pastoral to the civil life; and this, indeed, is the date assigned by Pausanias to the foundation of that ancestral Lycosura, in whose rude remains (by the living fountain and the waving oaks of the modern Diaphorte) the antiquary yet traces the fortifications of "the first city which the sun beheld." [12] It is in their buildings that the Pelasgi have left the most indisputable record of their name. Their handwriting is yet upon their walls! A restless and various people - overrunning the whole of Greece, found northward in Dacia, Illyria, and the country of the Getae, colonizing the coasts of Ionia, and long the master-race of the fairest lands of Italy, - they have passed away amid the revolutions of the elder earth, their ancestry and their descendants alike unknown; - yet not indeed the last, if my conclusions are rightly drawn: if the primitive population of Greece - themselves Greek - founding the language, and kindred with the blood, of the later and more illustrious Hellenes - they still made the great bulk of the people in the various states, and through their most dazzling age: Enslaved in Laconia - but free in Athens - it was their posterity that fought the Mede at Marathon and Plataea, - whom Miltiades led, - for whom Solon legislated, - for whom Plato thought, - whom Demosthenes harangued. Not less in Italy than in Greece the parents of an imperishable tongue, and, in part, the progenitors of a glorious race, we may still find the dim track of their existence wherever the classic civilization flourished, - the classic genius breathed. If in the Latin, if in the Grecian tongue, are yet the indelible traces of the language of the Pelasgi, the literature of the ancient, almost of the modern world, is their true descendant!

V. Despite a vague belief (referred to by Plato) of a remote and perished era of civilization, the most popular tradition asserts the Pelasgic inhabitants of Attica to have been sunk into the deepest ignorance of the elements of social life, when, either from Sais, an Egyptian city, as is commonly supposed, or from Sais a province in Upper Egypt, an Egyptian characterized to posterity by the name of Cecrops is said to have passed into Attica with a band of adventurous emigrants.

The tradition of this Egyptian immigration into Attica was long implicitly received. Recently the bold skepticism of German scholars - always erudite - if sometimes rash - has sufficed to convince us of the danger we incur in drawing historical conclusions from times to which no historical researches can ascend. The proofs upon which rest the reputed arrival of Egyptian colonizers, under Cecrops, in Attica, have been shown to be slender - the authorities for the assertion to be comparatively modern - the arguments against the probability of such an immigration in such an age, to be at least plausible and important. Not satisfied, however, with reducing to the uncertainty of conjecture what incautiously had been acknowledged as fact, the assailants of the Egyptian origin of Cecrops presume too much upon their victory, when they demand us to accept as a counter fact, what can be, after all, but a counter conjecture. To me, impartially weighing the arguments and assertions on either side, the popular tradition of Cecrops and his colony appears one that can neither be tacitly accepted as history, nor contemptuously dismissed as invention. It would be, however, a frivolous dispute, whether Cecrops were Egyptian or Attican, since no erudition can ascertain that Cecrops ever existed, were it not connected with a controversy of some philosophical importance, viz., whether the early civilizers of Greece were foreigners or Greeks, and whether the Egyptians more especially assisted to instruct the ancestors of a race that have become the teachers and models of the world, in the elements of religion, of polity, and the arts.

Without entering into vain and futile reasonings, derived from the scattered passages of some early writers, from the ambiguous silence of others - and, above all, from the dreams of etymological analogy or mythological fable, I believe the earliest civilizers of Greece to have been foreign settlers; deducing my belief from the observations of common sense rather than from obscure and unsatisfactory research. I believe it,

First - Because, what is more probable than that at very early periods the more advanced nations of the East obtained communication with the Grecian continent and isles? What more probable than that the maritime and roving Phoenicians entered the seas of Greece, and were tempted by the plains, which promised abundance, and the mountains, which afforded a fastness? Possessed of a superior civilization to the hordes they found, they would meet rather with veneration than resistance, and thus a settlement would be obtained by an inconsiderable number, more in right of intelligence than of conquest.

But, though this may be conceded with respect to the Phoenicians, it is asserted that the Egyptians at least were not a maritime or colonizing people: and we are gravely assured, that in those distant times no Egyptian vessel had entered the Grecian seas. But of the remotest ages of Egyptian civilization we know but little. On their earliest monuments (now their books!) we find depicted naval as well as military battles, in which the vessels are evidently those employed at sea. According to their own traditions, they colonized in a remote age. They themselves laid claim to Danaus: and the mythus of the expedition of Osiris is not improbably construed into a figurative representation of the spread of Egyptian civilization by the means of colonies. Besides, Egypt was subjected to more than one revolution, by which a large portion of her population was expelled the land, and scattered over the neighbouring regions [13]. And even granting that Egyptians fitted out no maritime expedition - they could easily have transplanted themselves in Phoenician vessels, or Grecian rafts - from Asia into Greece. Nor can we forget that Egypt [14] for a time was the habitation, and Thebes the dominion, of the Phoenicians, and that hence, perhaps, the origin of the dispute whether certain of the first foreign civilizers of Greece were Phoenicians or Egyptians: The settlers might come from Egypt, and be by extraction Phoenicians: or Egyptian emigrators might well have accompanied the Phoenician. [15]

2dly. By the evidence of all history, savage tribes appear to owe their first enlightenment to foreigners: to be civilized, they conquer or are conquered - visit or are visited. For a fact which contains so striking a mystery, I do not attempt to account. I find in the history of every other part of the world, that it is by the colonizer or the conqueror that a tribe neither colonizing nor conquering is redeemed from a savage state, and I do not reject so probable an hypothesis for Greece.

3dly. I look to the various arguments of a local or special nature, by which these general probabilities may be supported, and I find them unusually strong: I cast my eyes on the map of Greece, and I see that it is almost invariably on the eastern side that these eastern colonies are said to have been founded: I turn to chronology, and I find the revolutions in the East coincide in point of accredited date with the traditional immigrations into Greece: I look to the history of the Greeks, and I find the Greeks themselves (a people above all others vain of aboriginal descent, and contemptuous of foreign races) agreed in according a general belief to the accounts of their obligations to foreign settlers; and therefore (without additional but doubtful arguments from any imaginary traces of Eastern, Egyptian, Phoenician rites and fables in the religion or the legends of Greece in her remoter age) I see sufficient ground for inclining to the less modern, but mere popular belief, which ascribes a foreign extraction to the early civilizers of Greece: nor am I convinced by the reasonings of those who exclude the Egyptians from the list of these primitive benefactors.

It being conceded that no hypothesis is more probable than that the earliest civilizers of Greece were foreign, and might be Egyptian, I do not recognise sufficient authority for rejecting the Attic traditions claiming Egyptian civilizers for the Attic soil, in arguments, whether grounded upon the fact that such traditions, unreferred to by the more ancient, were collected by the more modern, of Grecian writers - or upon plausible surmises as to the habits of the Egyptians in that early age. Whether Cecrops were the first - whether he were even one - of these civilizers, is a dispute unworthy of philosophical inquirers [16]. But as to the time of Cecrops are referred, both by those who contend for his Egyptian, and those who assert his Attic origin, certain advances from barbarism, and certain innovations in custom, which would have been natural to a foreigner, and almost miraculous in a native, I doubt whether it would not be our wiser and more cautious policy to leave undisturbed a long accredited conjecture, rather than to subscribe to arguments which, however startling and ingenious, not only substitute no unanswerable hypothesis, but conduce to no important result. [17]

VI. If Cecrops were really the leader of an Egyptian colony, it is more than probable that he obtained the possession of Attica by other means than those of force. To savage and barbarous tribes, the first appearance of men, whose mechanical inventions, whose superior knowledge of the arts of life - nay, whose exterior advantages of garb and mien [18] indicate intellectual eminence, till then neither known nor imagined, presents a something preternatural and divine. The imagination of the wild inhabitants is seduced, their superstitions aroused, and they yield to a teacher - not succumb to an invader. It was probably thus, then, that Cecrops with his colonists would have occupied the Attic plain - conciliated rather than subdued the inhabitants, and united in himself the twofold authority exercised by primeval chiefs - the dignity of the legislator, and the sanctity of the priest. It is evident that none of the foreign settlers brought with them a numerous band. The traditions speak of them with gratitude as civilizers, not with hatred as conquerors. And they did not leave any traces in the establishment of their language: - a proof of the paucity of their numbers, and the gentle nature of their influence - the Phoenician Cadmus, the Egyptian Cecrops, the Phrygian Pelops, introduced no separate and alien tongue. Assisting to civilize the Greeks, they then became Greeks; their posterity merged and lost amid the native population.

VII. Perhaps, in all countries, the first step to social improvement is in the institution of marriage, and the second is the formation of cities. As Menes in Egypt, as Fohi in China, so Cecrops at Athens is said first to have reduced into sacred limits the irregular intercourse of the sexes [19], and reclaimed his barbarous subjects from a wandering and unprovidential life, subsisting on the spontaneous produce of no abundant soil. High above the plain, and fronting the sea, which, about three miles distant on that side, sweeps into a bay peculiarly adapted for the maritime enterprises of an earlier age, we still behold a cragged and nearly perpendicular rock. In length its superficies is about eight hundred, in breadth about four hundred, feet [20]. Below, on either side, flow the immortal streams of the Ilissus and Cephisus. From its summit you may survey, here, the mountains of Hymettus, Pentelicus, and, far away, "the silver-bearing Laurium;" below, the wide plain of Attica, broken by rocky hills - there, the islands of Salamis and Aegina, with the opposite shores of Argolis, rising above the waters of the Saronic Bay. On this rock the supposed Egyptian is said to have built a fortress, and founded a city [21]; the fortress was in later times styled the Acropolis, and the place itself, when the buildings of Athens spread far and wide beneath its base, was still designated polis, or the CITY. By degrees we are told that he extended, from this impregnable castle and its adjacent plain, the limit of his realm, until it included the whole of Attica, and perhaps Boeotia [22]. It is also related that he established eleven other towns or hamlets, and divided his people into twelve tribes, to each of which one of the towns was apportioned - a fortress against foreign invasion, and a court of justice in civil disputes.

If we may trust to the glimmering light which, resting for a moment, uncertain and confused, upon the reign of Cecrops, is swallowed up in all the darkness of fable during those of his reputed successors, - it is to this apocryphal personage that we must refer the elements both of agriculture and law. He is said to have instructed the Athenians to till the land, and to watch the produce of the seasons; to have imported from Egypt the olive-tree, for which the Attic soil was afterward so celebrated, and even to have navigated to Sicily and to Africa for supplies of corn. That such advances from a primitive and savage state were not made in a single generation, is sufficiently clear. With more probability, Cecrops is reputed to have imposed upon the ignorance of his subjects and the license of his followers the curb of impartial law, and to have founded a tribunal of justice (doubtless the sole one for all disputes), in which after times imagined to trace the origin of the solemn Areopagus.

VIII. Passing from these doubtful speculations on the detailed improvements effected by Cecrops in the social life of the Attic people, I shall enter now into some examination of two subjects far more important. The first is the religion of the Athenians in common with the rest of Greece; and the second the origin of the institution of slavery.

The origin of religion in all countries is an inquiry of the deepest interest and of the vaguest result. For, the desire of the pious to trace throughout all creeds the principles of the one they themselves profess - the vanity of the learned to display a various and recondite erudition - the passion of the ingenious to harmonize conflicting traditions - and the ambition of every speculator to say something new upon an ancient but inexhaustible subject, so far from enlightening, only perplex our conjectures. Scarcely is the theory of to-day established, than the theory of to-morrow is invented to oppose it. With one the religion of the Greeks is but a type of the mysteries of the Jews, the event of the deluge, and the preservation of the ark; with another it is as entirely an incorporation of the metaphysical solemnities of the Egyptian; - now it is the crafty device of priests, now the wise invention of sages. It is not too much to say, that after the profoundest labours and the most plausible conjectures of modern times, we remain yet more uncertain and confused than we were before. It is the dark boast of every pagan mythology, as one of the eldest of the pagan deities, that "none among mortals hath lifted up its veil!"

After, then, some brief and preliminary remarks, tending to such hypotheses as appear to me most probable and simple, I shall hasten from unprofitable researches into the Unknown, to useful deductions from what is given to our survey - in a word, from the origin of the Grecian religion to its influence and its effects; the first is the province of the antiquary and the speculator; the last of the historian and the practical philosopher.

IX. When Herodotus informs us that Egypt imparted to Greece the names of almost all her deities, and that his researches convinced him that they were of barbarous origin, he exempts from the list of the Egyptian deities, Neptune, the Dioscuri, Juno, Vesta, Themis, the Graces, and the Nereids [23]. From Africa, according to Herodotus, came Neptune, from the Pelasgi the rest of the deities disclaimed by Egypt. According to the same authority, the Pelasgi learned not their deities, but the names of their deities (and those at a later period), from the Egyptians [24]. But the Pelasgi were the first known inhabitants of Greece - the first known inhabitants of Greece had therefore their especial deities, before any communication with Egypt. For the rest we must accept the account of the simple and credulous Herodotus with considerable caution and reserve. Nothing is more natural - perhaps more certain - than that every tribe [25], even of utter savages, will invent some deities of their own; and as these deities will as naturally be taken from external objects, common to all mankind, such as the sun or the moon, the waters or the earth, and honoured with attributes formed from passions and impressions no less universal; - so the deities of every tribe will have something kindred to each other, though the tribes themselves may never have come into contact or communication.

The mythology of the early Greeks may perhaps be derived from the following principal sources: - First, the worship of natural objects; - and of divinities so formed, the most unequivocally national will obviously be those most associated with their mode of life and the influences of their climate. When the savage first intrusts the seed to the bosom of the earth - when, through a strange and unaccountable process, he beholds what he buried in one season spring forth the harvest of the next - the EARTH itself, the mysterious garner, the benign, but sometimes the capricious reproducer of the treasures committed to its charge - becomes the object of the wonder, the hope, and the fear, which are the natural origin of adoration and prayer. Again, when he discovers the influence of the heaven upon the growth of his labour - when, taught by experience, he acknowledges its power to blast or to mellow - then, by the same process of ideas, the HEAVEN also assumes the character of divinity, and becomes a new agent, whose wrath is to be propitiated, whose favour is to be won. What common sense thus suggests to us, our researches confirm, and we find accordingly that the Earth and the Heaven are the earliest deities of the agricultural Pelasgi. As the Nile to the fields of the Egyptian - earth and heaven to the culture of the Greek. The effects of the SUN upon human labour and human enjoyment are so sensible to the simplest understanding, that we cannot wonder to find that glorious luminary among the most popular deities of ancient nations. Why search through the East to account for its worship in Greece? More easy to suppose that the inhabitants of a land, whom the sun so especially favoured - saw and blessed it, for it was good, than, amid innumerable contradictions and extravagant assumptions, to decide upon that remoter shore, whence was transplanted a deity, whose effects were so benignant, whose worship was so natural, to the Greeks. And in the more plain belief we are also borne out by the more sound inductions of learning. For it is noticeable that neither the moon nor the stars - favourite divinities with those who enjoyed the serene nights, or inhabited the broad plains of the East - were (though probably admitted among the Pelasgic deities) honoured with that intense and reverent worship which attended them in Asia and in Egypt. To the Pelasgi, not yet arrived at the intellectual stage of philosophical contemplation, the most sensible objects of influence would be the most earnestly adored. What the stars were to the East, their own beautiful Aurora, awaking them to the delight of their genial and temperate climate, was to the early Greeks.

Of deities, thus created from external objects, some will rise out (if I may use the expression) of natural accident and local circumstance. An earthquake will connect a deity with the earth - an inundation with the river or the sea. The Grecian soil bears the marks of maritime revolution; many of the tribes were settled along the coast, and perhaps had already adventured their rafts upon the main. A deity of the sea (without any necessary revelation from Africa) is, therefore, among the earliest of the Grecian gods. The attributes of each deity will be formed from the pursuits and occupations of the worshippers - sanguinary with the warlike - gentle with the peaceful. The pastoral Pelasgi of Arcadia honoured the pastoral Pan for ages before he was received by their Pelasgic brotherhood of Attica. And the agricultural Demeter or Ceres will be recognised among many tribes of the agricultural Pelasgi, which no Egyptian is reputed, even by tradition [26], to have visited.

The origin of prayer is in the sense of dependance, and in the instinct of self-preservation or self-interest. The first objects of prayer to the infant man will be those on which by his localities he believes himself to be most dependant for whatever blessing his mode of life inclines him the most to covet, or from which may come whatever peril his instinct will teach him the most to deprecate and fear. It is this obvious truth which destroys all the erudite systems that would refer the different creeds of the heathen to some single origin. Till the earth be the same in each region - till the same circumstances surround every tribe - different impressions, in nations yet unconverted and uncivilized, produce different deities. Nature suggests a God, and man invests him with attributes. Nature and man, the same as a whole, vary in details; the one does not everywhere suggest the same notions - the other cannot everywhere imagine the same attributes. As with other tribes, so with the Pelasgi or primitive Greeks, their early gods were the creatures of their own early impressions.

As one source of religion was in external objects, so another is to be found in internal sensations and emotions. The passions are so powerful in their effects upon individuals and nations, that we can be little surprised to find those effects attributed to the instigation and influence of a supernatural being. Love is individualized and personified in nearly all mythologies; and LOVE therefore ranks among the earliest of the Grecian gods. Fear or terror, whose influence is often so strange, sudden, and unaccountable - seizing even the bravest - spreading through numbers with all the speed of an electric sympathy - and deciding in a moment the destiny of an army or the ruin of a tribe - is another of those passions, easily supposed the afflatus of some preternatural power, and easily, therefore, susceptible of personification. And the pride of men, more especially if habitually courageous and warlike, will gladly yield to the credulities which shelter a degrading and unwonted infirmity beneath the agency of a superior being. TERROR, therefore, received a shape and found an altar probably as early at least as the heroic age. According to Plutarch, Theseus sacrificed to Terror previous to his battle with the Amazons; - an idle tale, it is true, but proving, perhaps, the antiquity of a tradition. As society advanced from barbarism arose more intellectual creations - as cities were built, and as in the constant flux and reflux of martial tribes cities were overthrown, the elements of the social state grew into personification, to which influence was attributed and reverence paid. Thus were fixed into divinity and shape, ORDER, PEACE, JUSTICE, and the stern and gloomy ORCOS [27], witness of the oath, avenger of the perjury.

This, the second source of religion, though more subtle and refined in its creations, had still its origin in the same human causes as the first, viz., anticipation of good and apprehension of evil. Of deities so created, many, however, were the inventions of poets - (poetic metaphor is a fruitful mother of mythological fable) - many also were the graceful refinements of a subsequent age. But some (and nearly all those I have enumerated) may be traced to the earliest period to which such researches can ascend. It is obvious that the eldest would be connected with the passions - the more modern with the intellect.

It seems to me apparent that almost simultaneously with deities of these two classes would arise the greater and more influential class of personal divinities which gradually expanded into the heroic dynasty of Olympus. The associations which one tribe, or one generation, united with the heaven, the earth, or the sun, another might obviously connect, or confuse, with a spirit or genius inhabiting or influencing the element or physical object which excited their anxiety or awe: And, this creation effected - so what one tribe or generation might ascribe to the single personification of a passion, a faculty, or a moral and social principle, another would just as naturally refer to a personal and more complex deity: - that which in one instance would form the very nature of a superior being, in the other would form only an attribute - swell the power and amplify the character of a Jupiter, a Mars, a Venus, or a Pan. It is in the nature of man, that personal divinities once created and adored, should present more vivid and forcible images to his fancy than abstract personifications of physical objects and moral impressions. Thus, deities of this class would gradually rise into pre-eminence and popularity above those more vague and incorporeal - and (though I guard myself from absolutely solving in this manner the enigma of ancient theogonies) the family of Jupiter could scarcely fail to possess themselves of the shadowy thrones of the ancestral Earth and the primeval Heaven.

A third source of the Grecian, as of all mythologies, was in the worship of men who had actually existed, or been supposed to exist. For in this respect errors might creep into the calendar of heroes, as they did into the calendar of saints (the hero-worship of the moderns), which has canonized many names to which it is impossible to find the owners. This was probably the latest, but perhaps in after- times the most influential and popular addition to the aboriginal faith. The worship of dead men once established, it was natural to a people so habituated to incorporate and familiarize religious impressions - to imagine that even their primary gods, first formed from natural impressions (and, still more, those deities they had borrowed from stranger creeds) - should have walked the earth. And thus among the multitude in the philosophical ages, even the loftiest of the Olympian dwellers were vaguely supposed to have known humanity; - their immortality but the apotheosis of the benefactor or the hero.

X. The Pelasgi, then, had their native or aboriginal deities (differing in number and in attributes with each different tribe), and with them rests the foundation of the Greek mythology. They required no Egyptian wisdom to lead them to believe in superior powers. Nature was their primeval teacher. But as intercourse was opened with the East from the opposite Asia - with the North from the neighbouring Thrace, new deities were transplanted and old deities received additional attributes and distinctions, according as the fancy of the stranger found them assimilate to the divinities he had been accustomed to adore. It seems to me, that in Saturn we may trace the popular Phoenician deity - in the Thracian Mars, the fierce war-god of the North. But we can scarcely be too cautious how far we allow ourselves to be influenced by resemblance, however strong, between a Grecian and an alien deity. Such a resemblance may not only be formed by comparatively modern innovations, but may either be resolved to that general likeness which one polytheism will ever bear towards another, or arise from the adoption of new attributes and strange traditions; - so that the deity itself may be homesprung and indigenous, while bewildering the inquirer with considerable similitude to other gods, from whose believers the native worship merely received an epithet, a ceremony, a symbol, or a fable. And this necessity of caution is peculiarly borne out by the contradictions which each scholar enamoured of a system gives to the labours of the speculator who preceded him. What one research would discover to be Egyptian, another asserts to be Phoenician; a third brings from the North; a fourth from the Hebrews; and a fifth, with yet wilder imagination, from the far and then unpenetrated caves and woods of India. Accept common sense as our guide, and the contradictions are less irreconcilable - the mystery less obscure. In a deity essentially Greek, a Phoenician colonist may discover something familiar, and claim an ancestral god. He imparts to the native deity some Phoenician features - an Egyptian or an Asiatic succeeds him - discovers a similar likeness - introduces similar innovations. The lively Greek receives - amalgamates - appropriates all: but the aboriginal deity is not the less Greek. Each speculator may be equally right in establishing a partial resemblance, precisely because all speculators are wrong in asserting a perfect identity.

It follows as a corollary from the above reasonings, that the religion of Greece was much less uniform than is popularly imagined; 1st, because each separate state or canton had its own peculiar deity; 2dly, because, in the foreign communication of new gods, each stranger would especially import the deity that at home he had more especially adored. Hence to every state its tutelary god - the founder of its greatness, the guardian of its renown. Even in the petty and limited territory of Attica, each tribe, independent of the public worship, had its peculiar deities, honoured by peculiar rites.

The deity said to be introduced by Cecrops is Neith, or more properly Naith [28] - the goddess of Sais, in whom we are told to recognise the Athene, or Minerva of the Greeks. I pass over as palpably absurd any analogy of names by which the letters that compose the word Keith are inverted to the word Athene. The identity of the two goddesses must rest upon far stronger proof. But, in order to obtain this proof, we must know with some precision the nature and attributes of the divinity of Sais - a problem which no learning appears to me satisfactorily to have solved. It would be a strong, and, I think, a convincing argument, that Athene is of foreign origin, could we be certain that her attributes, so eminently intellectual, so thoroughly out of harmony with the barbarism of the early Greeks, were accorded to her at the commencement of her worship. But the remotest traditions (such as her contest with Neptune for the possession of the soil), if we take the more simple interpretation, seem to prove her to have been originally an agricultural deity, the creation of which would have been natural enough to the agricultural Pelasgi; - while her supposed invention of some of the simplest and most elementary arts are sufficiently congenial to the notions of an unpolished and infant era of society. Nor at a long subsequent period is there much resemblance between the formal and elderly goddess of Daedalian sculpture and the glorious and august Glaucopis of Homer - the maiden of celestial beauty as of unrivalled wisdom. I grant that the variety of her attributes renders it more than probable that Athene was greatly indebted, perhaps to the "Divine Intelligence," personified in the Egyptian Naith - perhaps also, as Herodotus asserts, to the warlike deity of Libya - nor less, it may be, to the Onca of the Phoenicians [29], from whom in learning certain of the arts, the Greeks might simultaneously learn the name and worship of the Phoenician deity, presiding over such inventions. Still an aboriginal deity was probably the nucleus, round which gradually gathered various and motley attributes. And certain it is, that as soon as the whole creation rose into distinct life, the stately and virgin goddess towers, aloof and alone, the most national, the most majestic of the Grecian deities - rising above all comparison with those who may have assisted to decorate and robe her, embodying in a single form the very genius, multiform, yet individual as it was, of the Grecian people - and becoming among all the deities of the heathen heaven what the Athens she protected became upon the earth.

XI. It may be said of the Greeks, that there never was a people who so completely nationalized all that they borrowed from a foreign source. And whatever, whether in a remoter or more recent age, it might have appropriated from the creed of Isis and Osiris, one cause alone would have sufficed to efface from the Grecian the peculiar character of the Egyptian mythology.

The religion of Egypt, as a science, was symbolical - it denoted elementary principles of philosophy; its gods were enigmas. It has been asserted (on very insufficient data) that in the earliest ages of the world, one god, of whom the sun was either the emblem or the actual object of worship, was adored universally throughout the East, and that polytheism was created by personifying the properties and attributes of the single deity: "there being one God," says Aristotle, finely, "called by many names, from the various effects which his various power produces." [30] But I am far from believing that a symbolical religion is ever the earliest author of polytheism; for a symbolical religion belongs to a later period of civilization, when some men are set apart in indolence to cultivate their imagination, in order to beguile or to instruct the reason of the rest. Priests are the first philosophers - a symbolical religion the first philosophy. But faith precedes philosophy. I doubt not, therefore, that polytheism existed in the East before that age when the priests of Chaldea and of Egypt invested it with a sublimer character by summoning to the aid of invention a wild and speculative wisdom - by representing under corporeal tokens the revolutions of the earth, the seasons, and the stars, and creating new (or more probably adapting old and sensual) superstitions, as the grosser and more external types of a philosophical creed [31]. But a symbolical worship - the creation of a separate and established order of priests - never is, and never can be, the religion professed, loved, and guarded by a people. The multitude demand something positive and real for their belief - they cannot worship a delusion - their reverence would be benumbed on the instant if they could be made to comprehend that the god to whom they sacrificed was no actual power able to effect evil and good, but the type of a particular season of the year, or an unwholesome principle in the air. Hence, in the Egyptian religion, there was one creed for the vulgar and another for the priests. Again, to invent and to perpetuate a symbolical religion (which is, in fact, an hereditary school of metaphysics) requires men set apart for the purpose, whose leisure tempts them to invention, whose interest prompts them to imposture. A symbolical religion is a proof of a certain refinement in civilization - the refinement of sages in the midst of a subservient people; and it absorbs to itself those meditative and imaginative minds which, did it not exist, would be devoted to philosophy. Now, even allowing full belief to the legends which bring the Egyptian colonists into Greece, it is probable that few among them were acquainted with the secrets of the symbolical mythology they introduced. Nor, if they were so, is it likely that they would have communicated to a strange and a barbarous population the profound and latent mysteries shrouded from the great majority of Egyptians themselves. Thus, whatever the Egyptian colonizers might have imported of a typical religion, the abstruser meaning would become, either at once or gradually, lost. Nor can we - until the recent age of sophists and refiners - clearly ascertain any period in which did not exist the indelible distinction between the Grecian and Egyptian mythology: viz. - that the first was actual, real, corporeal, household; the second vague, shadowy, and symbolical. This might not have been the case had there been established in the Grecian, as in the Egyptian cities, distinct and separate colleges of priests, having in their own hands the sole care of the religion, and forming a privileged and exclusive body of the state. But among the Greeks (and this should be constantly borne in mind) there never was, at any known historical period, a distinct caste of priests [32]. We may perceive, indeed, that the early colonizers commenced with approaches to that principle, but it was not prosecuted farther. There were sacred families in Athens from which certain priesthoods were to be filled - but even these personages were not otherwise distinguished; they performed all the usual offices of a citizen, and were not united together by any exclusiveness of privilege or spirit of party. Among the Egyptian adventurers there were probably none fitted by previous education for the sacred office; and the chief who had obtained the dominion might entertain no irresistible affection for a caste which in his own land he had seen dictating to the monarch and interfering with the government. [33]

Thus, among the early Greeks, we find the chiefs themselves were contented to offer the sacrifice and utter the prayer; and though there were indeed appointed and special priests, they held no imperious or commanding authority. The Areopagus at Athens had the care of religion, but the Areopagites were not priests. This absence of a priestly caste had considerable effect upon the flexile and familiar nature of the Grecian creed, because there were none professionally interested in guarding the purity of the religion, in preserving to what it had borrowed, symbolical allusions, and in forbidding the admixture of new gods and heterogeneous creeds. The more popular a religion, the more it seeks corporeal representations, and avoids the dim and frigid shadows of a metaphysical belief. [34]

The romantic fables connected with the Grecian mythology were, some home-sprung, some relating to native heroes, and incorporating native legends, but they were also, in great measure, literal interpretations of symbolical types and of metaphorical expressions, or erroneous perversions of words in other tongues. The craving desire to account for natural phenomena, common to mankind - the wish to appropriate to native heroes the wild tales of mariners and strangers natural to a vain and a curious people - the additions which every legend would receive in its progress from tribe to tribe - and the constant embellishments the most homely inventions would obtain from the competition of rival poets, rapidly served to swell and enrich these primary treasures of Grecian lore - to deduce a history from an allegory - to establish a creed in a romance. Thus the early mythology of Greece is to be properly considered in its simple and outward interpretations. The Greeks, as yet in their social infancy, regarded the legends of their faith as a child reads a fairy tale, credulous of all that is supernatural in the agency - unconscious of all that may be philosophical in the moral.

It is true, indeed, that dim associations of a religion, sabaean and elementary, such as that of the Pelasgi (but not therefore foreign and philosophical), with a religion physical and popular, are, here and there, to be faintly traced among the eldest of the Grecian authors. We may see that in Jupiter they represented the ether, and in Apollo, and sometimes even in Hercules, the sun. But these authors, while, perhaps unconsciously, they hinted at the symbolical, fixed, by the vitality and nature of their descriptions, the actual images of the gods and, reversing the order of things, Homer created Jupiter! [35]

But most of the subtle and typical interpretations of the Grecian mythology known to us at present were derived from the philosophy of a later age. The explanations of religious fables - such, for instance, as the chaining of Saturn by Jupiter, and the rape of Proserpine by Pluto, in which Saturn is made to signify the revolution of the seasons, chained to the courses of the stars, to prevent too immoderate a speed, and the rape of Proserpine is refined into an allegory that denotes the seeds of corn that the sovereign principle of the earth receives and sepulchres [36]; - the moral or physical explanation of legends like these was, I say, the work of the few, reduced to system either from foreign communication or acute invention. For a symbolical religion, created by the priests of one age, is reinstated or remodelled after its corruption by the philosophers of another.

XII. We may here pause a moment to inquire whence the Greeks derived the most lovely and fascinating of their mythological creations - those lesser and more terrestrial beings - the spirits of the mountain, the waters, and the grove.

Throughout the East, from the remotest era, we find that mountains were nature's temples. The sanctity of high places is constantly recorded in the scriptural writings. The Chaldaean, the Egyptian, and the Persian, equally believed that on the summit of mountains they approached themselves nearer to the oracles of heaven. But the fountain, the cavern, and the grove, were no less holy than the mountain-top in the eyes of the first religionists of the East. Streams and fountains were dedicated to the Sun, and their exhalations were supposed to inspire with prophecy, and to breathe of the god. The gloom of caverns, naturally the brooding-place of awe, was deemed a fitting scene for diviner revelations - it inspired unearthly contemplation and mystic revery. Zoroaster is supposed by Porphyry (well versed in all Pagan lore, though frequently misunderstanding its proper character) to have first inculcated the worship of caverns [37]; and there the early priests held a temple, and primeval philosophy its retreat [38]. Groves, especially those in high places, or in the neighbourhood of exhaling streams, were also appropriate to worship, and conducive to the dreams of an excited and credulous imagination; and Pekah, the son of Remaliah, burnt incense, not only on the hills, but "under every green tree." [39]

These places, then - the mountain, the forest, the stream, and the cavern, were equally objects of sanctity and awe among the ancient nations.

But we need not necessarily suppose that a superstition so universal was borrowed, and not conceived, by the early Greeks. The same causes which had made them worship the earth and the sea, extended their faith to the rivers and the mountains, which in a spirit of natural and simple poetry they called "the children" of those elementary deities. The very soil of Greece, broken up and diversified by so many inequalities, stamped with volcanic features, profuse in streams and mephitic fountains, contributed to render the feeling of local divinity prevalent and intense. Each petty canton had its own Nile, whose influence upon fertility and culture was sufficient to become worthy to propitiate, and therefore to personify. Had Greece been united under one monarchy, and characterized by one common monotony of soil, a single river, a single mountain, alone might have been deemed divine. It was the number of its tribes - it was the variety of its natural features, which produced the affluence and prodigality of its mythological creations. Nor can we omit from the causes of the teeming, vivid, and universal superstition of Greece, the accidents of earthquake and inundation, to which the land appears early and often to have been exposed. To the activity and caprice of nature - to the frequent operation of causes, unrecognised, unforeseen, unguessed, the Greeks owed much of their disposition to recur to mysterious and superior agencies - and that wonderful poetry of faith which delighted to associate the visible with the unseen. The peculiar character not only of a people, but of its earlier poets - not only of its soil, but of its air and heaven, colours the superstition it creates: and most of the terrestrial demons which the gloomier North clothed with terror and endowed with malice, took from the benignant genius and the enchanting climes of Greece the gentlest offices and the fairest forms; - yet even in Greece itself not universal in their character, but rather the faithful reflections of the character of each class of worshippers: thus the graces [40], whose "eyes" in the minstrelsey of Hesiod "distilled care-beguiling love," in Lacedaemon were the nymphs of discipline and war!

In quitting this subject, be one remark permitted in digression: the local causes which contributed to superstition might conduct in after times to science. If the Nature that was so constantly in strange and fitful action, drove the Greeks in their social infancy to seek agents for the action and vents for their awe, so, as they advanced to maturer intellect, it was in Nature herself that they sought the causes of effects that appeared at first preternatural. And, in either stage, their curiosity and interest aroused by the phenomena around them - the credulous inventions of ignorance gave way to the eager explanations of philosophy. Often, in the superstition of one age, lies the germe that ripens into the inquiry of the next.

XIII. Pass we now to some examination of the general articles of faith among the Greeks; their sacrifices and rites of worship.

In all the more celebrated nations of the ancient world, we find established those twin elements of belief by which religion harmonizes and directs the social relations of life, viz., a faith in a future state, and in the providence of superior powers, who, surveying as judges the affairs of earth, punish the wicked and reward the good [41]. It has been plausibly conjectured that the fables of Elysium, the slow Cocytus, and the gloomy Hades, were either invented or allegorized from the names of Egyptian places. Diodorus assures us that by the vast catacombs of Egypt, the dismal mansions of the dead - were the temple and stream, both called Cocytus, the foul canal of Acheron, and the Elysian plains [42]; and, according to the same equivocal authority, the body of the dead was wafted across the waters by a pilot, termed Charon in the Egyptian tongue. But, previous to the embarcation, appointed judges on the margin of the Acheron listened to whatever accusations were preferred by the living against the deceased, and if convinced of his misdeeds, deprived him of the rites of sepulture. Hence it was supposed that Orpheus transplanted into Greece the fable of the infernal regions. But there is good reason to look on this tale with distrust, and to believe that the doctrine of a future state was known to the Greeks without any tuition from Egypt; - while it is certain that the main moral of the Egyptian ceremony, viz., the judgment of the dead, was not familiar to the early doctrine of the Greeks. They did not believe that the good were rewarded and the bad punished in that dreary future, which they imbodied in their notions of the kingdom of the shades. [43]

XIV. Less in the Grecian deities than in the customs in their honour, may we perceive certain traces of oriental superstition. We recognise the usages of the elder creeds in the chosen sites of their temples - the habitual ceremonies of their worship. It was to the east that the supplicator turned his face, and he was sprinkled, as a necessary purification, with the holy water often alluded to by sacred writers as well as profane - a typical rite entailed from Paganism on the greater proportion of existing Christendom. Nor was any oblation duly prepared until it was mingled with salt - that homely and immemorial offering, ordained not only by the priests of the heathen idols, but also prescribed by Moses to the covenant of the Hebrew God. [44]

XV. We now come to those sacred festivals in celebration of religious mysteries, which inspire modern times with so earnest an interest. Perhaps no subject connected with the religion of the ancients has been cultivated with more laborious erudition, attended with more barren result. And with equal truth and wit, the acute and searching Lobeck has compared the schools of Warburton and St. Croix to the Sabines, who possessed the faculty of dreaming what they wished. According to an ancient and still popular account, the dark enigmas of Eleusis were borrowed from Egypt; - the drama of the Anaglyph [45]. But, in answer to this theory, we must observe, that even if really, at their commencement, the strange and solemn rites which they are asserted to have been - mystical ceremonies grow so naturally out of the connexion between the awful and the unknown - were found so generally among the savages of the ancient world - howsoever dispersed - and still so frequently meet the traveller on shores to which it is indeed a wild speculation to assert that the oriental wisdom ever wandered, that it is more likely that they were the offspring of the native ignorance [46], than the sublime importation of a symbolical philosophy utterly ungenial to the tribes to which it was communicated, and the times to which the institution is referred. And though I would assign to the Eleusinian Mysteries a much earlier date than Lobeck is inclined to affix [47], I search in vain for a more probable supposition of the causes of their origin than that which he suggests, and which I now place before the reader. We have seen that each Grecian state had its peculiar and favourite deities, propitiated by varying ceremonies. The early Greeks imagined that their gods might be won from them by the more earnest prayers and the more splendid offerings of their neighbours; the Homeric heroes found their claim for divine protection on the number of the offerings they have rendered to the deity they implore. And how far the jealous desire to retain to themselves the favour of tutelary gods was entertained by the Greeks, may be illustrated by the instances specially alluding to the low and whispered voice in which prayers were addressed to the superior powers, lest the enemy should hear the address, and vie with interested emulation for the celestial favour. The Eleusinians, in frequent hostilities with their neighbours, the Athenians, might very reasonably therefore exclude the latter from the ceremonies instituted in honour of their guardian divinities, Demeter and Persephone (i. e., Ceres and Proserpine). And we may here add, that secrecy once established, the rites might at a very early period obtain, and perhaps deserve, an enigmatic and mystic character. But when, after a signal defeat of the Eleusinians, the two states were incorporated, the union was confirmed by a joint participation in the ceremony [48] to which a political cause would thus give a more formal and solemn dignity. This account of the origin of the Eleusinian Mysteries is not indeed capable of demonstration, but it seems to me at least the most probable in itself, and the most conformable to the habits of the Greeks, as to those of all early nations.

Certain it is that for a long time the celebration of the Eleusinian ceremonies was confined to these two neighbouring states, until, as various causes contributed to unite the whole of Greece in a common religion and a common name, admission was granted all Greeks of all ranks, male and female, - provided they had committed no inexpiable offence, performed the previous ceremonies required, and were introduced by an Athenian citizen.

With the growing flame and splendour of Athens, this institution rose into celebrity and magnificence, until it appears to have become the most impressive spectacle of the heathen world. It is evident that a people so imitative would reject no innovations or additions that could increase the interest or the solemnity of exhibition; and still less such as might come (through whatsoever channel) from that antique and imposing Egypt, which excited so much of their veneration and wonder. Nor do I think it possible to account for the great similarity attested by Herodotus and others, between the mysteries of Isis and those of Ceres, as well as for the resemblance in less celebrated ceremonies between the rites of Egypt and of Greece, without granting at once, that mediately, or even immediately, the superstitious of the former exercised great influence upon, and imparted many features to, those of the latter. But the age in which this religious communication principally commenced has been a matter of graver dispute than the question merits. A few solitary and scattered travellers and strangers may probably have given rise to it at a very remote period; but, upon the whole, it appears to me that, with certain modifications, we must agree with Lobeck, and the more rational schools of inquiry, that it was principally in the interval between the Homeric age and the Persian war that mysticism passed into religion - that superstition assumed the attributes of a science - and that lustrations, auguries, orgies, obtained method and system from the exuberant genius of poetical fanaticism.

That in these august mysteries, doctrines contrary to the popular religion were propounded, is a theory that has, I think, been thoroughly overturned. The exhibition of ancient statues, relics, and symbols, concealed from daily adoration (as in the Catholic festivals of this day), probably, made a main duty of the Hierophant. But in a ceremony in honour of Ceres, the blessings of agriculture, and its connexion with civilization, were also very naturally dramatized. The visit of the goddess to the Infernal Regions might form an imposing part of the spectacle: spectral images - alternations of light and darkness - all the apparitions and effects that are said to have imparted so much awe to the mysteries, may well have harmonized with, not contravened, the popular belief. And there is no reason to suppose that the explanations given by the priests did more than account for mythological stories, agreeably to the spirit and form of the received mythology, or deduce moral maxims from the representation, as hackneyed, as simple, and as ancient, as the generality of moral aphorisms are. But, as the intellectual progress of the audience advanced, philosophers, skeptical of the popular religion, delighted to draw from such imposing representations a thousand theories and morals utterly unknown to the vulgar; and the fancies and refinements of later schoolmen have thus been mistaken for the notions of an early age and a promiscuous multitude. The single fact (so often insisted upon), that all Greeks were admissible, is sufficient alone to prove that no secrets incompatible with the common faith, or very important in themselves, could either have been propounded by the priests or received by the audience. And it may be further observed, in corroboration of so self-evident a truth, that it was held an impiety to the popular faith to reject the initiation of the mysteries - and that some of the very writers, most superstitious with respect to the one, attach the most solemnity to the ceremonies of the other.

XVI. Sanchoniathon wrote a work, now lost, on the worship of the serpent. This most ancient superstition, found invariably in Egypt and the East, is also to be traced through many of the legends and many of the ceremonies of the Greeks. The serpent was a frequent emblem of various gods - it was often kept about the temples - it was introduced in the mysteries - it was everywhere considered sacred. Singular enough, by the way, that while with us the symbol of the evil spirit, the serpent was generally in the East considered a benefactor. In India, the serpent with a thousand heads; in Egypt, the serpent crowned with the lotos-leaf, is a benign and paternal deity. It was not uncommon for fable to assert that the first civilizers of earth were half man, half serpent. Thus was Fohi of China [49] represented, and thus Cecrops of Athens.

XVII. But the most remarkable feature of the superstition of Greece was her sacred oracles. And these again bring our inquiries back to Egypt. Herodotus informs us that the oracle of Dodona was by far the most ancient in Greece [50], and he then proceeds to inform us of its origin, which he traces to Thebes in Egypt. But here we are beset by contradictions: Herodotus, on the authority of the Egyptian priests, ascribes the origin of the Dodona and Lybian oracles to two priestesses of the Theban Jupiter - stolen by Phoenician pirates - one of whom, sold into Greece, established at Dodona an oracle similar to that which she had served at Thebes. But in previous passages Herodotus informs us, 1st, that in Egypt, no priestesses served the temples of any deity, male or female; and 2dly, that when the Egyptians imparted to the Pelasgi the names of their divinities, the Pelasgi consulted the oracle of Dodona on the propriety of adopting them; so that that oracle existed before even the first and fundamental revelations of Egyptian religion. It seems to me, therefore, a supposition that demands less hardy assumption, and is equally conformable with the universal superstitions of mankind (since similar attempts at divination are to be found among so many nations similarly barbarous) to believe that the oracle arose from the impressions of the Pelasgi [51] and the natural phenomena of the spot; though at a subsequent period the manner of the divination was very probably imitated from that adopted by the Theban oracle. And in examining the place it indeed seems as if Nature herself had been the Egyptian priestess! Through a mighty grove of oaks there ran a stream, whose waters supplied a fountain that might well appear, to ignorant wonder, endowed with preternatural properties. At a certain hour of noon it was dry, and at midnight full. Such springs have usually been deemed oracular, not only in the East, but in almost every section of the globe.

At first, by the murmuring of waters, and afterward by noises among the trees, the sacred impostors interpreted the voice of the god. It is an old truth, that mystery is always imposing and often convenient. To plain questions were given dark answers, which might admit of interpretation according to the event. The importance attached to the oracle, the respect paid to the priest, and the presents heaped on the altar, indicated to craft and ambition a profitable profession. And that profession became doubly alluring to its members, because it proffered to the priests an authority in serving the oracles which they could not obtain in the general religion of the people. Oracles increased then, at first slowly, and afterward rapidly, until they grew so numerous that the single district of Boeotia contained no less than twenty-five. The oracle of Dodona long, however, maintained its pre-eminence over the rest, and was only at last eclipsed by that of Delphi [52], where strong and intoxicating exhalations from a neighbouring stream were supposed to confer prophetic phrensy. Experience augmented the sagacity of the oracles, and the priests, no doubt, intimately acquainted with all the affairs of the states around, and viewing the living contests of action with the coolness of spectators, were often enabled to give shrewd and sensible admonitions, - so that the forethought of wisdom passed for the prescience of divinity. Hence the greater part of their predictions were eminently successful; and when the reverse occurred, the fault was laid on the blind misconstruction of the human applicant. Thus no great design was executed, no city founded, no colony planted, no war undertaken, without the advice of an oracle. In the famine, the pestilence, and the battle, the divine voice was the assuager of terror and the inspirer of hope. All the instincts of our frailer nature, ever yearning for some support that is not of the world, were enlisted in behalf of a superstition which proffered solutions to doubt, and remedies to distress.

Besides this general cause for the influence of oracles, there was another cause calculated to give to the oracles of Greece a marked and popular pre-eminence over those in Egypt. A country divided into several small, free, and warlike states, would be more frequently in want of the divine advice, than one united under a single monarchy, or submitted to the rigid austerity of castes and priestcraft; and in which the inhabitants felt for political affairs all the languid indifference habitual to the subjects of a despotic government. Half a century might pass in Egypt without any political event that would send anxious thousands to the oracle; but in the wonderful ferment, activity, and restlessness of the numerous Grecian towns, every month, every week, there was some project or some feud for which the advice of a divinity was desired. Hence it was chiefly to a political cause that the immortal oracle of Delphi owed its pre-eminent importance. The Dorian worshippers of Apollo (long attached to that oracle, then comparatively obscure), passing from its neighbourhood and befriended by its predictions, obtained the mastership of the Peloponnesus; - their success was the triumph of the oracle. The Dorian Sparta (long the most powerful of the Grecian states), inviolably faithful to the Delphian god, upheld his authority, and spread the fame of his decrees. But in the more polished and enlightened times, the reputation of the oracle gradually decayed; it shone the brightest before and during the Persian war; - the appropriate light of an age of chivalry fading slowly as philosophy arose!

XVIII. But the practice of divination did not limit itself to these more solemn sources - its enthusiasm was contagious - its assistance was ever at hand [53]. Enthusiasm operated on the humblest individuals. One person imagined himself possessed by a spirit actually passing into his soul - another merely inspired by the divine breath - a third was cast into supernatural ecstasies, in which he beheld the shadow of events, or the visions of a god - a threefold species of divine possession, which we may still find recognised by the fanatics of a graver faith! Nor did this suffice: a world of omens surrounded every man. There were not only signs and warnings in the winds, the earthquake, the eclipse of the sun or moon, the meteor, or the thunderbolt - but dreams also were reduced to a science [54]; the entrails of victims were auguries of evil or of good; the flights of birds, the motions of serpents, the clustering of bees, had their mystic and boding interpretations. Even hasty words, an accident, a fall on the earth, a sneeze (for which we still invoke the ancient blessing), every singular or unwonted event, might become portentous, and were often rendered lucky or unlucky according to the dexterity or disposition of the person to whom they occurred.

And although in later times much of this more frivolous superstition passed away - although Theophrastus speaks of such lesser omens with the same witty disdain as that with which the Spectator ridicules our fears at the upsetting of a salt-cellar, or the appearance of a winding-sheet in a candle, - yet, in the more interesting period of Greece, these popular credulities were not disdained by the nobler or wiser few, and to the last they retained that influence upon the mass which they lost with individuals. And it is only by constantly remembering this universal atmosphere of religion, that we can imbue ourselves with a correct understanding of the character of the Greeks in their most Grecian age. Their faith was with them ever - in sorrow or in joy - at the funeral or the feast - in their uprisings and their downsittings - abroad and at home - at the hearth and in the market-place - in the camp or at the altar. Morning and night all the greater tribes of the elder world offered their supplications on high: and Plato has touchingly insisted on this sacred uniformity of custom, when he tells us that at the rising of the moon and at the dawning of the sun, you may behold Greeks and barbarians - all the nations of the earth - bowing in homage to the gods.

XIX. To sum up, the above remarks conduce to these principal conclusions; First, that the Grecian mythology cannot be moulded into any of the capricious and fantastic systems of erudite ingenuity: as a whole, no mythology can be considered more strikingly original, not only because its foundations appear indigenous, and based upon the character and impressions of the people - not only because at no one period, from the earliest even to the latest date, whatever occasional resemblances may exist, can any identify be established between its most popular and essential creations, and those of any other faith; but because, even all that it borrowed it rapidly remodelled and naturalized, growing yet more individual from its very complexity, yet more original from the plagiarisms which it embraced; Secondly, that it differed in many details in the different states, but under the development of a general intercourse, assisted by a common language, the plastic and tolerant genius of the people harmonized all discords - until (catholic in its fundamental principles) her religion united the whole of Greece in indissoluble bonds of faith and poetry - of daily customs and venerable traditions; Thirdly, that the influence of other creeds, though by no means unimportant in amplifying the character, and adding to the list of the primitive deities, appears far more evident in the ceremonies and usages than the personal creations of the faith. We may be reasonably skeptical as to what Herodotus heard of the origin of rites or gods from Egyptian priests; but there is no reason to disbelieve the testimony of his experience, when he asserts, that the forms and solemnities of one worship closely resemble those of another; the imitation of a foreign ceremony is perfectly compatible with the aboriginal invention of a national god. For the rest, I think it might be (and by many scholars appears to me to have been) abundantly shown, that the Phoenician influences upon the early mythology of the Greeks were far greater than the Egyptian, though by degrees, and long after the heroic age, the latter became more eagerly adopted and more superficially apparent.

In quitting this part of our subject, let it be observed, as an additional illustration of the remarkable nationality of the Grecian mythology, that our best light to the manners of the Homeric men, is in the study of the Homeric gods. In Homer we behold the mythology of an era, for analogy to which we search in vain the records of the East - that mythology is inseparably connected with the constitution of limited monarchies, - with the manners of an heroic age: - the power of the sovereign of the aristocracy of heaven is the power of a Grecian king over a Grecian state: - the social life of the gods is the life most coveted by the Grecian heroes; - the uncertain attributes of the deities, rather physical or intellectual than moral - strength and beauty, sagacity mixed with cunning - valour with ferocity - inclination to war, yet faculties for the inventions of peace; such were the attributes most honoured among men, in the progressive, but still uncivilized age which makes the interval so pre-eminently Grecian - between the mythical and historic times. Vain and impotent are all attempts to identify that religion of Achaian warriors with the religion of oriental priests. It was indeed symbolical - but of the character of its believers; typical - but of the restless, yet poetical, daring, yet graceful temperament, which afterward conducted to great achievements and imperishable arts: the coming events of glory cast their shadows before, in fable.

XX. There now opens to us a far more important inquiry than that into the origin and form of the religion of the Greeks; namely, the influences of that religion itself upon their character - their morals - their social and intellectual tendencies.

The more we can approach the Deity to ourselves - the more we can invest him with human attributes - the more we can connect him with the affairs and sympathies of earth, the greater will be his influence upon our conduct - the more fondly we shall contemplate his attributes, the more timidly we shall shrink from his vigilance, the more anxiously we shall strive for his approval. When Epicurus allowed the gods to exist, but imagined them wholly indifferent to the concerns of men, contemplating only their own happiness, and regardless alike of our virtues or our crimes; - with that doctrine he robbed man of the divinity, as effectually as if he had denied his existence. The fear of the gods could not be before the eyes of votaries who believed that the gods were utterly careless of their conduct; and not only the awful control of religion was removed from their passions, but the more beautiful part of its influence, resulting not from terror but from hope, was equally blasted and destroyed: For if the fear of the divine power serves to restrain the less noble natures, so, on the other hand, with such as are more elevated and generous, there is no pleasure like the belief that we are regarded with approbation and love by a Being of ineffable majesty and goodness - who compassionates our misfortunes - who rewards our struggles with ourselves. It is this hope which gives us a pride in our own natures, and which not only restrains us from vice, but inspires us with an emulation to arouse within us all that is great and virtuous, in order the more to deserve his love, and feel the image of divinity reflected upon the soul. It is for this reason that we are not contented to leave the character of a God uncertain and unguessed, shrouded in the darkness of his own infinite power; we clothe him with the attributes of human excellence, carried only to an extent beyond humanity; and cannot conceive a deity not possessed of the qualities - such as justice, wisdom, and benevolence - which are most venerated among mankind. But if we believe that he has passed to earth - that he has borne our shape, that he has known our sorrows - the connexion becomes yet more intimate and close; we feel as if he could comprehend us better, and compassionate more benignly our infirmities and our griefs. The Christ that has walked the earth, and suffered on the cross, can be more readily pictured to our imagination, and is more familiarly before us, than the Dread Eternal One, who hath the heaven for his throne, and the earth only for his footstool [55]. And it is this very humanness of connexion, so to speak, between man and the Saviour, which gives to the Christian religion, rightly embraced, its peculiar sentiment of gentleness and of love.

But somewhat of this connexion, though in a more corrupt degree, marked also the religion of the Greeks; they too believed (at least the multitude) that most of the deities had appeared on earth, and been the actual dispensers of the great benefits of social life. Transferred to heaven, they could more readily understand that those divinities regarded with interest the nations to which they had been made visible, and exercised a permanent influence over the earth, which had been for a while their home.

Retaining the faith that the deities had visited the world, the Greeks did not however implicitly believe the fables which degraded them by our weaknesses and vices. They had, as it were - and this seems not to have been rightly understood by the moderns - two popular mythologies - the first consecrated to poetry, and the second to actual life. If a man were told to imitate the gods, it was by the virtues of justice, temperance, and benevolence [56]; and had he obeyed the mandate by emulating the intrigues of Jupiter, or the homicides of Mars, he would have been told by the more enlightened that those stories were the inventions of the poets; and by the more credulous that gods might be emancipated from laws, but men were bound by them - "Superis sea jura" [57] - their own laws to the gods! It is true, then, that those fables were preserved - were held in popular respect, but the reverence they excited among the Greeks was due to a poetry which flattered their national pride and enchained their taste, and not to the serious doctrines of their religion. Constantly bearing this distinction in mind, we shall gain considerable insight, not only into their religion, but into seeming contradictions in their literary history. They allowed Aristophanes to picture Bacchus as a buffoon, and Hercules as a glutton, in the same age in which they persecuted Socrates for neglect of the sacred mysteries and contempt of the national gods. To that part of their religion which belonged to the poets they permitted the fullest license; but to the graver portion of religion - to the existence of the gods - to a belief in their collective excellence, and providence, and power - to the sanctity of asylums - to the obligation of oaths - they showed the most jealous and inviolable respect. The religion of the Greeks, then, was a great support and sanction to their morals; it inculcated truth, mercy, justice, the virtues most necessary to mankind, and stimulated to them by the rigid and popular belief that excellence was approved and guilt was condemned by the superior powers [58]. And in that beautiful process by which the common sense of mankind rectifies the errors of imagination - those fables which subsequent philosophers rightly deemed dishonourable to the gods, and which the superficial survey of modern historians has deemed necessarily prejudicial to morals - had no unworthy effect upon the estimate taken by the Greeks whether of human actions or of heavenly natures.

XXI. For a considerable period the Greeks did not carry the notion of divine punishment beyond the grave, except in relation to those audacious criminals who had blasphemed or denied the gods; it was by punishments in this world that the guilty were afflicted. And this doctrine, if less sublime than that of eternal condemnation, was, I apprehend, on regarding the principles of human nature, equally effective in restraining crime: for our human and short-sighted minds are often affected by punishments, in proportion as they are human and speedy. A penance in the future world is less fearful and distinct, especially to the young and the passionate, than an unavoidable retribution in this. Man, too fondly or too vainly, hopes, by penitence at the close of life, to redeem the faults of the commencement, and punishment deferred loses more than half its terrors, and nearly all its certainty.

As long as the Greeks were left solely to their mythology, their views of a future state were melancholy and confused. Death was an evil, not a release. Even in their Elysium, their favourite heroes seem to enjoy but a frigid and unenviable immortality. Yet this saddening prospect of the grave rather served to exhilarate life, and stimulate to glory: - "Make the most of existence," say their early poets, "for soon comes the dreary Hades!" And placed beneath a delightful climate, and endowed with a vivacious and cheerful temperament, they yielded readily to the precept. Their religion was eminently glad and joyous; even the stern Spartans lost their austerity in their sacred rites, simple and manly though they were - and the gayer Athenians passed existence in an almost perpetual circle of festivals and holydays.

This uncertainty of posthumous happiness contributed also to the desire of earthly fame. For below at least, their heroes taught them, immortality was not impossible. Bounded by impenetrable shadows to this world, they coveted all that in this world was most to be desired [59]. A short life is acceptable to Achilles, not if it lead to Elysium, but if it be accompanied with glory. By degrees, however, prospects of a future state, nobler and more august, were opened by their philosophers to the hopes of the Greeks. Thales was asserted to be the first Greek who maintained the immortality of the soul, and that sublime doctrine was thus rather established by the philosopher than the priest. [60]

XXII. Besides the direct tenets of religion, the mysteries of the Greeks exercised an influence on their morals, which, though greatly exaggerated by modern speculators, was, upon the whole, beneficial, though not from the reasons that have been assigned. As they grew up into their ripened and mature importance - their ceremonial, rather than their doctrine, served to deepen and diffuse a reverence for religious things. Whatever the licentiousness of other mysteries (especially in Italy), the Eleusinian rites long retained their renown for purity and decorum; they were jealously watched by the Athenian magistracy, and one of the early Athenian laws enacted that the senate should assemble the day after their celebration to inquire into any abuse that might have sullied their sacred character. Nor is it, perhaps, without justice in the later times, that Isocrates lauds their effect on morality, and Cicero their influence on civilization and the knowledge of social principles. The lustrations and purifications, at whatever period their sanctity was generally acknowledged, could scarcely fail of salutary effects. They were supposed to absolve the culprit from former crimes, and restore him, a new man, to the bosom of society. This principle is a great agent of morality, and was felt as such in the earlier era of Christianity: no corrupter is so deadly as despair; to reconcile a criminal with self- esteem is to readmit him, as it were, to virtue.

Even the fundamental error of the religion in point of doctrine, viz., its polytheism, had one redeeming consequence in the toleration which it served to maintain - the grave evils which spring up from the fierce antagonism of religious opinions, were, save in a few solitary and dubious instances, unknown to the Greeks. And this general toleration, assisted yet more by the absence of a separate caste of priests, tended to lead to philosophy through the open and unchallenged portals of religion. Speculations on the gods connected themselves with bold inquiries into nature. Thought let loose in the wide space of creation - no obstacle to its wanderings - no monopoly of its commerce - achieved, after many a wild and fruitless voyage, discoveries unknown to the past - of imperishable importance to the future. The intellectual adventurers of Greece planted the first flag upon the shores of philosophy; for the competition of errors is necessary to the elucidation of truths; and the imagination indicates the soil which the reason is destined to culture and possess.

XXIII. While such was the influence of their religion on the morals and the philosophy of the Greeks, what was its effect upon their national genius?

We must again remember that the Greeks were the only nation among the more intellectual of that day, who stripped their deities of symbolical attributes, and did not aspire to invent for gods shapes differing (save in loftier beauty) from the aspect and form of man. And thus at once was opened to them the realm of sculpture. The people of the East, sometimes indeed depicting their deities in human forms, did not hesitate to change them into monsters, if the addition of another leg or another arm, a dog's head or a serpent's tail, could better express the emblem they represented. They perverted their images into allegorical deformities; and receded from the beautiful in proportion as they indulged their false conceptions of the sublime. Besides, a painter or a sculptor must have a clear idea presented to him, to be long cherished and often revolved, if we desire to call forth all the inspiration of which his genius may be capable; but how could the eastern artist form a clear idea of an image that should represent the sun entering Aries, or the productive principle of nature? Such creations could not fail of becoming stiff or extravagant, deformed or grotesque. But to the Greek, a god was something like the most majestic or the most beautiful of his own species. He studied the human shape for his conceptions of the divine. Intent upon the natural, he ascended to the ideal. [61]

If such the effect of the Grecian religion upon sculpture, similar and equal its influence upon poetry. The earliest verses of the Greeks appear to have been of a religious, though I see no sufficient reason for asserting that they were therefore of a typical and mystic, character. However that be, the narrative succeeding to the sacred poetry materialized all it touched. The shadows of Olympus received the breath of Homer, and the gods grew at once life-like and palpable to men. The traditions which connected the deities with humanity - the genius which divested them of allegory - gave at once to the epic and the tragic poet the supernatural world. The inhabitants of heaven itself became individualized - bore each a separate character - could be rendered distinct, dramatic, as the creatures of daily life. Thus - an advantage which no moderns ever have possessed - with all the ineffable grandeur of deities was combined all the familiar interest of mortals; and the poet, by preserving the characteristics allotted to each god, might make us feel the associations and sympathies of earth, even when he bore us aloft to the unknown Olympus, or plunged below amid the shades of Orcus.

The numerous fables mixed with the Grecian creed, sufficiently venerable, as we have seen, not to be disdained, but not so sacred as to be forbidden, were another advantage to the poet. For the traditions of a nation are its poetry! And if we moderns, in the German forest, or the Scottish highlands, or the green English fields, yet find inspiration in the notions of fiend, and sprite, and fairy, not acknowledged by our religion, not appended as an apocryphal adjunct to our belief, how much more were those fables adapted to poetry, which borrowed not indeed an absolute faith, but a certain shadow, a certain reverence and mystery, from religion! Hence we find that the greatest works of imagination which the Greeks have left us, whether of Homer, of Aeschylus, or of Sophocles, are deeply indebted to their mythological legends. The Grecian poetry, like the Grecian religion, was at once half human, half divine - majestic, vast, august - household, homely, and familiar. If we might borrow an illustration from the philosophy of Democritus, its earthlier dreams and divinations were indeed the impressions of mighty and spectral images inhabiting the air. [62]

XXIV. Of the religion of Greece, of its rites and ceremonies, and of its influence upon the moral and intellectual faculties - this - already, I fear, somewhat too prolixly told - is all that at present I deem it necessary to say. [63]

We have now to consider the origin of slavery in Greece, an inquiry almost equally important to our accurate knowledge of her polity and manners.

XXV. Wherever we look - to whatsoever period of history - conquest, or the settlement of more enlightened colonizers amid a barbarous tribe, seems the origin of slavery - modified according to the spirit of the times, the humanity of the victor, or the policy of the lawgiver. The aboriginals of Greece were probably its earliest slaves [64], - yet the aboriginals might be also its earliest lords. Suppose a certain tribe to overrun a certain country - conquer and possess it: new settlers are almost sure to be less numerous than the inhabitants they subdue; in proportion as they are the less powerful in number are they likely to be the more severe in authority: they will take away the arms of the vanquished - suppress the right of meetings - make stern and terrible examples against insurgents - and, in a word, quell by the moral constraint of law those whom it would be difficult to control merely by, physical force; - the rigidity of the law being in ratio to the deficiency of the force. In times semi-civilized, and even comparatively enlightened, conquerors have little respect for the conquered - an immense and insurmountable distinction is at once made between the natives and their lords. All ancient nations seem to have considered that the right of conquest gave a right to the lands of the conquered country. William dividing England among his Normans is but an imitator of every successful invader of ancient times. The new- comers having gained the land of a subdued people, that people, in order to subsist, must become the serfs of the land [65]. The more formidable warriors are mostly slain, or exiled, or conciliated by some remains of authority and possessions; the multitude remain the labourers of the soil, and slight alterations of law will imperceptibly convert the labourer into the slave. The earliest slaves appear chiefly to have been the agricultural population. If the possession of the government were acquited by colonizers [66], - not so much by the force of arms as by the influence of superior arts - the colonizers would in some instances still establish servitude for the multitude, though not under so harsh a name. The laws they would frame for an uncultured and wretched population, would distinguish between the colonizers and the aboriginals (excepting perhaps only the native chiefs, accustomed arbitrarily to command, though not systematically to enslave the rest). The laws for the aboriginal population would still be an improvement on their previous savage and irregulated state - and generations might pass before they would attain a character of severity, or before they made the final and ineffaceable distinction between the freeman and the slave. The perturbed restlessness and constant migration of tribes in Greece, recorded both by tradition and by history, would consequently tend at a very remote period to the institution and diffusion of slavery and the Pelasgi of one tribe would become the masters of the Pelasgi of another. There is, therefore, no necessity to look out of Greece for the establishment of servitude in that country by conquest and war. But the peaceful colonization of foreign settlers would (as we have seen) lead to it by slower and more gentle degrees. And the piracies of the Phoenicians, which embraced the human species as an article of their market, would be an example, more prevalent and constant than their own, to the piracies of the early Greeks. The custom of servitude, thus commenced, is soon fed by new sources. Prisoners of war are enslaved, or, at the will of the victor, exchanged as an article of commerce. Before the interchange of money, we have numerous instances of the barter of prisoners for food and arms. And as money became the medium of trade, so slaves became a regular article of sale and purchase. Hence the origin of the slave-market. Luxury increasing slaves were purchased not merely for the purposes of labour, but of pleasure. The accomplished musician of the beautiful virgin was an article of taste or a victim of passion. Thus, what it was the tendency of barbarism to originate, it became the tendency of civilization to increase.

Slavery, then, originated first in conquest and war, piracy, or colonization: secondly, in purchase. There were two other and subordinate sources of the institution - the first was crime, the second poverty. If a free citizen committed a heinous offence, he could be degraded into a slave - if he were unable to pay his debts, the creditor could claim his person. Incarceration is merely a remnant and substitute of servitude. The two latter sources failed as nations became more free. But in Attica it was not till the time of Solon, several centuries after the institution of slavery at Athens, that the right of the creditor to the personal services of the debtor was formally abolished.

A view of the moral effects of slavery - of the condition of the slaves at Athens - of the advantages of the system and its evils - of the light in which it was regarded by the ancients themselves, other and more fitting opportunities will present to us.

XXVI. The introduction of an hereditary aristocracy into a particular country, as yet uncivilized, is often simultaneous with that of slavery. A tribe of warriors possess and subdue a territory; - they share its soil with the chief in proportion to their connexion with his person, or their military services and repute - each becomes the lord of lands and slaves - each has privileges above the herd of the conquered population. Suppose again, that the dominion is acquired by colonizers rather than conquerors; the colonizers, superior in civilization to the natives, - and regarded by the latter with reverence and awe, would become at once a privileged and noble order. Hence, from either source, an aristocracy permanent and hereditary [67]. If founded on conquest, in proportion to the number of the victors, is that aristocracy more or less oligarchical. The extreme paucity of force with which the Dorians conquered their neighbours, was one of the main causes why the governments they established were rigidly oligarchical.

XXVII. Proceeding onward, we find that in this aristocracy, are preserved the seeds of liberty and the germe of republicanism. These conquerors, like our feudal barons, being sharers of the profit of the conquest and the glory of the enterprise, by no means allow undivided and absolute authority to their chiefs. Governed by separate laws - distinguished by separate privileges from the subdued community, they are proud of their own freedom, the more it is contrasted with the servitude of the population: they preserve liberty for themselves - they resist the undue assumptions of the king [68] - and keep alive that spirit and knowledge of freedom which in after times (as their numbers increase, and they become a people, distinct still from the aboriginal natives, who continue slaves) are transfused from the nobles to the multitude. In proportion as the new race are warlike will their unconscious spirit be that of republicanism; the connexion between martial and republican tendencies was especially recognised by all ancient writers: and the warlike habits of the Hellenes were the cradle of their political institutions. Thus, in conquest (or sometimes in immigration) we may trace the origin of an aristocracy [69], as of slavery, and thus, by a deeper inquiry, we may find also that the slavery of a population and the freedom of a state have their date, though dim and undeveloped, in the same epoch.

XXVIII. I have thought that the supposed Egyptian colonization of Attica under Cecrops afforded the best occasion to treat of the above matters, not so much in reference to Cecrops himself as to the migration of Eastern and Egyptian adventurers. Of such migrations the dates may be uncertain - of such adventurers the names may be unknown. But it seems to me impossible to deny the fact of foreign settlements in Greece, in her remoter and more barbarous era, though we may dispute as to the precise amount of the influence they exercised, and the exact nature of the rites and customs they established.

A belief in the early connexion between the Egyptians and Athenians, encouraged by the artful vanity of the one, was welcomed by the lively credulity of the other. Many ages after the reputed sway of the mythical Cecrops, it was fondly imagined that traces of their origin from the solemn Egypt [70] were yet visible among the graceful and versatile people, whose character was as various, yet as individualized, as their religion - who, viewed in whatsoever aspect of their intellectual history, may appear constantly differing, yet remain invariably Athenian. Whether clamouring in the Agora - whether loitering in the Academe - whether sacrificing to Hercules in the temple - whether laughing at Hercules on the stage - whether with Miltiades arming against the Mede - whether with Demosthenes declaiming against the Macedonian - still unmistakeable, unexampled, original, and alone - in their strength or their weakness, their wisdom or their foibles their turbulent action, their cultivated repose.