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MEMBER OF THE LITERARY AND PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY AT LIVERPOOL; AUTHOR OF
LECTURES ON THE ANCIENT REMAINS OF BRITAIN; AND OTHER WORKS.
GLASGOW; AND J. CUMMING, DUBLIN.
The histories of Greece and Rome have been repeatedly presented to the public in a popular form, and more or less condensed, so as to render them suitable for schools or families, by giving the noviciate in history a comprehensive view of the subject he is about to engage in, previously to his entering more deeply into it. Something of a similar kind seemed to be much wanted with respect to the antiquities, the laws, and the religious institutes of these justly celebrated countries; subjects, which are only casually glanced at in these historical compendiums alluded to, but which require to be distinctly treated of, in order to complete the student's historical knowledge.
It must indeed be allowed that the elaborate performance of Archbishop Potter has amply supplied whatever the classical student has occasion for in the course of his reading, but this, from the very copious and minute details into which it enters, is necessarily tedious and prolix, and while it constitutes a standard book of reference, is by no means calculated to give that bird's-eye view of the subject, which the young historian, and the mere English scholar stand in need of.
To supply this defect, as far as the affairs of Greece are concerned, is the Author's object in the ensuing pages, in the accomplishment of which he has availed himself of whatever appeared to him to be of most importance in this valuable work, with reference to the political and legislative departments; but with respect to the origin and the leading characteristics of the Grecian Mythology, he has adopted the plan of the learned Abbé Pluche, who has very judiciously deviated from the beaten track of the followers of Herodotus, Plutarch, and the other Greek historians, and has with better success sought for a key to the religion of the Greeks, in the ancient symbols and ceremonials of Egypt, and in the Hebrew language, of which, both the Egyptian and the Phoenician tongues were, in early times, only dialects; and to which the proper names and epithets used in the mythologies of Greece and Egypt, her great preceptress, are to be referred for a satisfactory explanation." :: In the use of the works he has named, the Author has not confined himself to a literal transcript of the subjects he has selected from them; but used the language of the learned writers, or his own, as he deeined the one of the other most conducive to the end he had in view; nor will the following pages be found entirely destitute of original matter. ". : Having thus given the reader a slight sketch of the nature and design of his undertaking, he confidently submits it to the judgment of the public, of whose candour and liberality he has had repeated proofs.