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into. Indeed at this remote period it would be a useless waste of time, to attempt it; and I shall hasten to that period in which we have the light of authentic history to guide us in our inquiries into the polity, the arts and learning: the customs and religion of this great people..
By some, the existence of Greece is divided into two distinct portions, viz. the fabulous and the historical æra. Others divide the Grecian history into eight distinct periods. And others divide the political existence of Greece into the three states analogous to the life of man, viz. infancy, manhood, and old age.
· The time of founding the following States cannot be ascertained so fully and satisfactorily as could be wished; but the following statement is the most approved result of the best historical researches.
SICYON, in the Peloponnesus, is considered as the most ancient of all the Grecian States: its king is said to have been Egialeus, and the State to have been founded about 2090 years before the Christian æra. It disappeared before the flourishing age of Athens and Lacedemon.
The kingdom of Argos, another State, in the Peloponnesus, was founded by Inachus, before the present æra about 150 years.
ATHENS is supposed to have been formed into a regular government by Cecrops an Egyptian, who, with a colony of his countrymen, established himself in Attica B. C. 1556. This State continued under a monarchical goverment about 500 years, when Codrus, the last King having sacrificed himself for his country, the Athenians testified their respect to his memory, by abolishing royalty, on the ground that there was none worthy to be the successor of Codrus; they therefore substituted a magistracy, the members of which they called Archons; Draco, notorious for the cruel severity of his laws, was made an Archon 624 years before Christ,
The earliest Grecian adventure, that comes within the reach of record, and forms the first eventful period in the Grecian history, is the ARGONAUTIC EXPEDITION, SO called after Argo, the name of the ship in which the Grecian heroes sailed. The destination of this vessel was to Colchis, a country near the Euxine, or Black Sea. This was a voyage of more importance than any that the Greeks ever made. The history of this expedition is much obscured by fable: the poets assert that its object was to recover a Ram, with a golden fleece, that had been carried away from Greece. This event is said to have taken place about 1225 or 1263 years before Christ. Chiron is reported to have formed the stars into constellations for the assistance of the pilots in this celebrated voyage.
The SIEGE OF TROY, is the second principal event in the Grecian history: it was undertaken by various princes of Greece, under the command of Agamemnon, King of Mycene, on account of Helen, daughter of Leda, and the faithless wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta. She eloped with Paris, the son of Priam, king of Troy, who, in return for the hospitality shown him by the good king, basely seduced his wife, and robbed him of much treasure. After a siege of ten years, Troy, one of the finest towns in all Asia, was taken and destroyed. Chronologists differ as to the date of this celebrated event, some placing it in the year 904 B. C.; the Arundelian marbles say 1209; and others make it 1184 B. C.
This siege furnished Homer with a subject on which to exercise his pre-eminent poetic powers; and the following are the heroes whom he enumerates in his sublime poem the Iliad :
THE GRECIAN HEROES.
Agamemnon; Menelaus; Idomeneus of Crete; Ajax Telemon of Salamine; Ajax Oileus of Locris ; Ulysses of Ithaca ; Nestor of Pylos ; Diomed the Etolian; Patroclus; and Achilles, the most valiant and formidable of them all. On the side of the Trojans were, Hector, eldest son of Priam, a noble warrior and patriot; Eneas, whom Virgil, in a vein of flattery, makes the great ancestor of the Romans; Sarpedon and Glaucus, Lycians; Polydamus; Deiphobus; Paris; Troilus; Memnon of Ethiopia ; and Thalestris the queen of the Amazons..,
The third principal æra, in the history of Greece, is the return of the Heraclidæ into Greece, in the year B. C. 825. By some this event is carried back to 1104.
The descendants of Hercules, named the Heraclidæ, dispossessed of their power, the race of Pelops, after. whom the Peloponnesus was called, and founded the kingdoms of Lacedemon, and of Corinth.
The fourth period, is that in which the celebrated Olympic Games, in honour of Jupiter, were founded by Pelops, B. C. 1807: these games after being neglected for some time, were again revived hy Iphitus 884, or, ac. cording to more general acceptation, B, C. 776, which is by historians considered as the first Olympiad; these games returned every fifth year. In their history the Greeks reckoned by Olympiads, for a long course of years. The Olympic games consisted of chariot and foot races, wrestling, boxing, &c. and were in such high estimation that they were resorted to from every part of Greece, and to gain a prize in them, which was only a chaplet of olive, was the grand object of Grecian ambition.' '
The fifth æra, was the famous battle of Marathon, between the fourth and fifth æra was an interval of 285 years, in which many important events occurred and celebrated characters appeared amongst the various states of Greece. A general change of government from monarchical to republican was effected, in consequence of the abuse of power. Among the great characters who flourished at this period were Solon the Athenian lawgiver, and Lycurgus, who framed the laws of the Spars
tans: Pythagoras, who taught the true solar system called by his name. Thales, and many other philosophers, who by their precepts and example formed the Grecians to wisdom, firmness, and public spirit.
- The famous battle, which distinguished this fifth æra, was fought on the plains of Marathon, near Athens, B. C. 491 years : here the Persians having invaded Greece, with an immense army of three hundred thousand men, under the command of Mardomus, a Persian, were opposed and utterly defeated by an army of ten thousand Athenians, under the command of Miltiades, assisted by Aristides and Themistocles.
The sixth æra, contains a period of sixty years, that is from B. C. 491 to B. C. 431 years, or from the battle of Marathon to the Peloponnesian War. It was during this short period that Greece shone with unparallelled lustre. At this period her historians and poets, her architects, painters, and sculptors, attained to the highest pitch of excellence in their respective departments, so that the remains of the art and literature of this golden age of Greece, as it has been justly called, have furnished the models on which the taste of every subsequent age has been formed. Nor were the Grecians less powerful in arms than in arts, at this highly distinguished period; for by the skill of their generals and the bravery of their troops, the Persians were completely driven out of the country, and compelled to submit to a peace in every respect disgraceful to Persia. But the Greeks were not proof against prosperity, and the threatened ruin, which Their unanimity and determined bravery had averted, was ultimately brought about by the mutual jealousy and ambition of the different states, particularly of Athens and Lacedemon. At length the war of Peloponnesus, between these two státes broke out, which after a sanguinary contest of twenty-six years, in which all the states of Greece engaged on one side or the other, ended in the reduction of the Athenian power, in the year. B. C. 405. - ..
The seventh important æra in Grecian history, is that period or interval of time, which is included between the time of the Peloponnesian War, and the destruction of Thebes by Alexander, viz. from B. C. 405 to B. C. 335, a space of seventy years.
During this epoch, the Lacedemonians, the Thebans, and the Macedonians had successively obtained the ascendancy among the Grecian states; at this period the Greeks were become luxurious, and greatly degenerated from their ancient simplicity, patriotism, and valour: and were able to make but a feeble stand against the energy and talents of Philip of Macedon, and his illustrious son Alexander: though roused to the height of their energy by the eloquence of Demosthenes.
The eighth and last eventful period in the history of this renowned people, embraces the space that intervened between the destruction of Thebes, B. C. 335, and the year B. C. 146, in which the city of Corinth was taken and destroyed by the Roman Consul Mummius. During this period the Macedonians, the Syrians, under Antiochus; Mithridates, the famous king of Pontus; and the Romans, were principal actors upon the theatre of Greece. From this time Greece became a province to the Roman empire, when it fell and was finally over-run by the Saracens and Turks, whose despotic yoke they are now exerting themselves to cast from them.
Having thus taken a general view of the States of Greece from the earliest period of their existence down to their final extinction, I shall now enter on the more immediate object of this work, viz. a circumstantial detail of the political and religious economy of this ancient country. In doing which I shall take my illustrations from the political and religious institutes of the Athenians, the most eminent and most highly cultivated people, among all the states of Greece.
The Athenians were, without doubt, a very ancient nation, and probably the first that ever inhabited the