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CHARON 70.04%
In Greek mythology, the son of Erebus and the Styx; the dark and grisly old man in a black sailor's cloak, who ferries the souls of the dead across the river of the lower world for the fare of an obolos. The coin was put into the mouth of the dead for this purpose. (See FUTURE LIFE.)
 
CHARES 53.12%
Chares of Mitylene. A Greek historian, court-marshal of Alexander the Great. He was the author of a comprehensive work, containing at least ten books, upon the life, chiefly the domestic life, of this monarch. This history had the repntation of being trustworthy and interesting. Only a few fragments of it remain.
 
IDYLL 44.91%
A poetic sketch of character, specially in connexion with pastoral life. (See further under BUCOLIC POETRY.)
 
SPES 43.52%
The Roman personification of hope, especially of hope for a good harvest, and (in later times) for the blessing of children. There were several temples to Spes in Rome. She was represented as a youthful figure, moving along lightly in a long robe, which was raised a little in her left hand, while her right bore a bud, either closed or just about to open. In the course of time she came to be usually considered as a goddess of the future, invoked at births and marriages, and on similar occasions.
 
AFRANIUS 43.35%
The chief master of the Fabfula Togata. (See COMEDY.) Flourished B.C. 100. In his pictures of Roman life be took Menander for his model, and with great success. Cicero calls him witty and a master of language. To judge by the number of the titles of his, comedies which have survived (more than forty, with scanty fragments), he was a prolific author; from them we gather that his subjects were mostly taken from family life, His plays kept possession of the stage longer than those of most comic poets, being still acted in Nero's time.
 
PYTHAGORAS 42.14%
The Greek philosopher; born on the island of Samos about 580 B.C., son of Mnesarchus. He is said to have been the first man who called himself a "philosopher," or lover of wisdom. The certain facts about his life are extraordinarily few, since in the course of time his life became obscured by a web of legend and tradition, as is shown by the biographies of the Neoplatonists Iamblichus and Porphyrius. As the story goes, he was a disciple of Pherecydes of Syros, and spent a large part of his earlier life on journeys, during which he studied the civilization and the mystic lore of the East, and especially the wisdom of the Egyptians. When, on his return to Samos, he found his country under the yoke of the tyrant Polycrates, he migrated to Lower Italy, and settled in 529 at Croton, Here, in order to bring about a political and social regeneration of the Lower Italian towns, which had been ruined by the strife of parties, he founded a society, whose members were pledged to a pure and devout life, to the closest friendship with each other, to united action in upholding morals and chastity, as well as order and harmony in the common weal. The aristocratic tendency of this society caused a rising of the popular party in Croton, in which Pythagoras, with 300 of his adherents is supposed to have perished; according to other accounts, he marched with a few followers to Metapontum, where he died soon afterwards (504). Pythagoras has left nothing of his teaching in a written form. The Golden Sayings which bear his name are certainly not genuine, though they may have originated at an early date. They consist of seventy-one maxims written in hexameters, with little to commend them as poetry. It follows then that there is as much uncertainty about the system of Pythagoras as about his life, for it is impossible to ascertain which of the precepts of the Pythagorean school are due to himself, and which are later additions by his disciples, We can only ascribe to him with certainty the doctrine (1) of the transmigration of souls, and (2) of number as the principle of the harmony of the universe and of moral life; and, further, certain religious and moral precepts. The first disciple of Pythagoras who described his philosophical system in writing was Philolaus, either of Croton or Tarentum, a contemporary of Socrates (about 430 B.C.). Of this document, which was written in the Doric dialect, we possess only a few fragments. Archytas of Tarentum was another important follower of this school. He was a friend of Plato, and was distinguished as a general, statesman, and mathematician. He flourished about 400-365, but the fragments which bear his name are not genuine. The same may be said of the writings attributed to Occllus Lucanus and to Timoeus of Locri, Concerning the Nature of the Universe and Concerning theSoul, and of the seven letters of Theano, the supposed wife of Pythagoras, Concerning the Education of Children, Jealousy, The Management of the Household, etc.
 
MORAE 41.57%
The Greek goddesses of Fate: Homer in one passage (Il. xxiv 209] speaks generally of the Moira, that spins the thread of life for men at their birth; in another [ib. 49] of several Moirai, and elsewhere (Od. vii 197] of the Clothes, or Spinners. Their relation to Zeus and other gods is no more clearly defined by Homer than by the other Greeks. At one time Fate is a power with unlimited sway over men and gods, and the will of Fate is searched out and executed by Zeus with the other gods [Il. xix 87; Od. xxii 413]; at another Zeus is called the highest ruler of destinies, or again he and the other gods can change the course of fate (Il. xvi 434], and even men can exceed the limits it imposes [Il. xx 336). In Hesiod they are called in one passage [Theog. 211-7] daughters of Night and sisters of the goddesses of death (Keres), while in another (Theog. 904] they are the daughters of Zeus and Themis and sisters of the Horae, who give good and bad fortunes to mortals at their birth; their names are Clotho (the Spinner), who spins the thread of life, Lachesis (Disposer of Lots), who determines its length, and Atropos (Inevitable), who cuts it off. As exerting power at the time of birth they are connected with Ilithyia, the goddess of birth, who was supposed to stand beside them, and was invoked together with them, these and the Kere's being the powers that decided when life should end. As at birth they determine men's destinies in life, they are also able to predict them. While on the one hand they are regarded as the impartial representatives of the government of the world, they are on the other hand sometimes conceived as cruel and jealous, because they remorselessly thwart the plans and desires of men. In art they appear as maidens of grave aspect. Clotho is usually represented with a spindle; Lachesis with a scroll, or a globe; and Atropos with a pair of scales or shears, or else drawing a lot (as in the cut). The Romans identified the Moirai with their native goddesses of fate, the Parcae. These were also called Fata, and were invoked, at the end of the first week of an infant's life, as Fata Scribunda, the goddesses that wrote down men's destiny in life.
 
BUCOLIC 39.49%
<b>Poetry.</b> From very ancient times it was the habit of the Dorian shepherds in Sicily to practise a national style of song, the inventor of which was supposed to be Daphnis, the hero of shepherds (see DAPHNIS). The subject of their song was partly the fate of this hero, partly the simple experiences of shepherds' life, especially their loves. There was a good deal of the mimic element in these poems, the shepherds contending with each other in alternate verses, particularly at the town and country festivals held in honour of Artemis. Pastoral poems , relating the story of Daphnis' love and of his tragic end, had been written by the Sicilian poet Stesichorus (about 600 B.C.). But it was Theocritus of Syracuse (about 270 B.C.) who developed pastoral poetry into something like an epic style, often with a strong dramatic tinge. This was in the Alexandrian period, when, as in all over-civilized ages, men found pleasure and relief in the contrasts afforded by the simple ways of country life. Theocritus' sketches of rural life, and indeed of the ways of the lower orders in general, are true to nature and exquisitely finished. He called them eidyllia or little pictures. Theocritus was unsurpassed in his own style, which was cultivated after him by Bion and Moschus. The pastoral style was introduced into Latin poetry by Vergil, who, while closely imitating Theocritus, had the tact to perceive that the simple sketches of ancient rural life in Sicily given by his master would not be sufficient to satisfy the taste of his countrymen. Under the mask of shepherds, therefore, he introduced contemporary characters, thus winning attention by the expression of his personal feelings, and by covert allusions to events of the day. Two poems falsely attributed to him, the Moretum ("Salad") and Copa (" Hostess"), are real idylls; true and natural studies from low life. Vergil's allegorical style was revived in later times by Calpurnius in the age of Nero, and Nemesianus at the end of the 3rd century A.D.
 
APOLLONIUS 39.45%
Apollonius of Tyana in Cappadocia, the most celebrated of the Neo-Pythagoreans, lived about the middle of the 1st century A.D.; by a severely ascetic life on the supposed principles of Pythagoras, and by pretended miracles, he obtained such a hold on the multitude that he was worshipped as a god, and set up as a rival to Christ. The account of his life by the elder Philostratus (q.v.) is more romance than history, and offers little to build upon. Having received his philosophical education, and lived in the temple, of Asclepius at Egae till his twentieth year, he divided his patrimony among the poor, and roamed all over the world; he was even said to have reached India and the sources of the Nile. Twice he lived at Rome; first under Nero till the expulsion of the philosophers, and again in Domitian's reign, when he had to answer a charge of conspiring against the emperor. Smuggled out of Rome during his trial, he continued his life as a wandering preacher of morals and worker of marvels for some years longer, and is said to have died at a great age, master of a school at Ephesus. Of his alleged writings, eight-five letters have alone survived.
 
CALCHAS 38.34%
Son of Thestor of Mycenae. Calchas was the celebrated seer who accompanied the Greeks on their expedition against Troy. Homer calls him the best of soothsayers, who knew the past, the present, and the future. Before the fleet started from Aulis, Calchas predicted that the Trojan war would last ten years. His own death (so ran the prophecy) was to occur whenever he met a wiser seer than himself. After the Trojan war he came to the island of Claros, where, in the sacred precincts of Apollo, he fell in with the soothsayer Mopsus, who beat him in a match of guessing riddles. [See MOPSUS (2)]. Calchas died of grief, or, according to another story, took away his own life. A temple was erected to him in Apulia, where the votaries lay down to sleep on sheepskins, and received oracles in their sleep.
 
STATIUS 37.41%
Publius Papinius Statius. A Roman poet, born at Naples about 45 A.D. His father, who afterwards settled in Rome, and was busy there as a teacher, was himself a poet, and the son owed his training to him. Early in life he gained the approval of his contemporaries by his poetic talent, especially in improvisation, and several times won the victory in poetic competitions. Yet he remained all his life dependent on the favour of Domitian and of the great men of Rome, whose goodwill he sought to propitiate by the most servile flatteries. In later life he went back to Naples, where he died about 96. Two epic poems of his are preserved, both dedicated to Domitian, (1) the Thebais in twelve books, published after twelve years' labour in 92, on the struggle of the sons of (Edipus for Thebes, perhaps in imitation of the poem of the same name by Antimachus; and (2) the two first books of an incomplete Arhilleis. We also have his Silvoe, a collection of occasional poems, mostly in hexameters, but partly in lyrical verse. Statius is distinguished among his contemporaries by skill and imagination, but suffers from the tendency of the time to make great display of learning and rhetorical ornament. His poems were much read both in antiquity and in the Middle Ages.
 
ANTIPHILUS 36.57%
A Greek painter born in Egypt in the latter half of the 4th century B.C., a contemporary and rival of Apolles; he probably spent the last part of his life at the court of the first Ptolemy. The ancients praise the lightness and dexterity with which he handled subjects of high art, as well as scenes in daily life. Two of his pictures in the latter kind were especially famous, one of a boy blowing a fire, and another of women dressing wool. From his baving painted a man named Gryllos (- pig) with playful allusions to the sitter's name, caricatures in general came to be called grylloi. [Pliny, H. N., 35. 114, 138].
 
JUVENALIS 36.42%
The great Roman Satirist, born at Aquinum, a town of the Volscians, about 47 A.D. According to the accounts of his life which have come down to us, he was the son, either real or adopted, of a wealthy freedman, and spent the first half of his life in Rome engaged in declamatory exercises, more for pleasure than as a preparation for the Forum or the schools. He continued there until he became a knight. In an inscription of the time of Domitian he is named as duumvir and as a flamen of Vespasian in his native town, and also as tribune of the first Dalmatian cohort. The command of a cohort is also specified in the accounts already mentioned. According to these he was sent into banishment under the pretence of military distinction, because in a satirical composition he had taken the liberty of denouncing the political influence of a favourite comedian of the emperor. As to the place and date of his banishment, the accounts vary between Britain and Egypt; and also between the last years of Domitian (against which theory there are weighty objections) and the reigns of either Trajan or Hadrian. In any case he died after 127 A.D., according to one account, in the eighty-second year of his life, or about 130, the cause being grief at his exile. By others he is made to return to Rome before his death. We possess sixteen satires by him, which the grammarians have divided into five books. In these he delineates with moral indignation and with pitiless scorn the universal corruption of society, particularly in the times of Domitian, painting its vices in all their nakedness and ugliness with the most glaring colours. His composition is often concise to the verge of obscurity, and by its strong rhetorical colouring betrays his earlier studies. In his own day, and afterwards, his satires enjoyed great popularity, and were hold in high repute even in the Middle Ages. Owing to his obscurity he early attracted the attention of learned men of old, and we still possess the remains of their industry in a collection of Scholia. [About the life of the poet nothing certain can be really ascertained except from the hints given in his own writings. The biographies which have come down to us must be used with extreme caution: and it is not at all certain that tie inscription mentioned above refers to him at all.]
 
ANTEIA 35.66%
Wife of Prcetus of Tiryns; by slandering Bellerophon (q.v.), who had rejected her offers of love, she caused her husband to attempt his life.
 
ELYSIUM 34.95%
In Homer Elysium is a beautiful meadow at the western extremity of the earth, on the banks of the river Oceanus. Thither the favoured of Zeus such as Rhadamanthys his son, and his son-in-law Menelaus, are carried without having seen death. They live a life of perfect happiness, there is no snow, nor storm, nor rain, but the cool west wind breathes there for ever. Hesiod speaks of the islands of the blest by the Ocean, where some of the heroes of the fourth generation of men live a life without pain, and where the earth produces her fruits three times in the year. According to Pindar, all who have three times passed blamelessly through life live there in perfect bliss under the sway of Cronus and his assessor Rhadamanthys. Such are Cadmus and Peleus, and Achilles through the intercession of his mother Thetis with Zeus. Like Cronus, the Titans, after their reconciliation with Zeus, dwell on these islands. In later times Elysium with its bliss was localized in the world below, and regarded as the abode of those whom the judges of the dead had pronounced worthy of it. (Cp. HADES, REALM OF.)
 
HADES, REALM OF 33.69%
According to the belief current among the Greeks, the world of the dead, or the spacious abode of Hades, with its wide doors, was in the dark depths of the earth. In the Odyssey, its entrance and outer court are on the western side of the river Oceanus, in the ground sacred to Persephone, with its grove of barren willows and poplars. Here is the abode of the Cimmerians, veiled in darkness and cloud where the sun never shines. The soil of this court, and indeed of the lower world in general, is a meadow of asphodel, an unattractive weed of dreary aspect usually planted on graves. The actual abode of the subterranean powers is Erebos, or the impenetrable darkness. In later times entrances to the lower world were imagined in other places where there were cavernous hollows which looked as if they led into the bowels of the earth. Such places were Hermione and the promontory of Taenarum in the Peloponnese, Heraclea on the Euxine, and Cumae in Italy, where the mythical Cimmerli were also localized. The lower world of Homer is intersected by great rivers, the Styx, the Acheron (river of woe), Cocytus (river of cries), a branch of the Styx, Phlegethon and Pyriphlegethon (rivers of fire). The last two unite and join the waters; of the Acheron. In the post-Homeric legend, these rivers are represented as surrounding the infernal regions, and another river appears with them, that of Lethe, or oblivion. In the waters of Lethe the souls of the dead drink forgetfulness of their earthly existence. The lower world once conceived as separated from the upper by these rivers, the idea of a ferryman arose. This was Charon, the son of Erebos and of Nyx, a gloomy, sullen old man, who takes the souls in his boat across Acheron into the realm of shadows. The souls are brought down from the upper world by Hermes, and pay the ferryman an obolos, which was put for this purpose into the mouths of the dead. Charon has the right to refuse a passage to souls whose bodies have not been duly buried. In Homer it is the spirits themselves who refuse to receive any one to whom funeral honours have not been paid. At the gate lies the dog Cerberus, son of Typhaon and Echidna. He is a terrible monster with three heads, and mane and tail of snakes. He is friendly to the spirits who enter, but if anyone tries to got out he seizes him and holds him fast. The ghosts of the dead were in ancient times conceived as incorporeal images of their former selves, without mind or consciousness. In the Odyssey the seer Tiresias is the only one who has retained his consciousness and judgment, and this as an exceptional gift of Persephone. But they have the power of drinking the blood of animals, and having done so they recover their consciousness and power of speech. The soul therefore is not conceived as entirely annihilated. The ghosts retain the outer form of their body, and follow, but instinctively only, what was their favourite pursuit in life. Orion in Homer is still a hunter, Minos sits in judgment as when alive. Perhaps the punishments inflicted in Homer on Tityus, Tantalus, and Sisyphus (for Ixion, the Danaides, Peirithous, and others belong to a later story) should be regarded in this light. The penalties inflicted on them in the upper world may be merely transferred by Homer to their ghostly existence. For the idea of a sensible punishment is not consistent with that of an unconscious continuance in being. It must be remembered, at the same time, that Homer several times mentions that the Erinyes punish perjurers after death. We are forced then to conclude that the ancient belief is, in this instance, found side by side with the later and generally received idea, that the dead, even without drinking blood, preserved their consciousness and power of speech. Connected with it is the notion that the have the power of influencing men's life on earth in various ways. The most ancient belief knows nothing of future rewards of the righteous, or indeed of any complete separation between the just and the unjust, or of a judgment to make the necessary awards. The judges of the dead are in the later legend Minos, Rhadamanthys, Aecus, and Triptlemus. It was a later age, too, which transferred Elysium and Tartarus to the lower world, Elysium as the abode of the blessed, and Tartarus as that of the damned. In the earlier belief these regions had nothing to do with the realm of Hades (See HADES). The name Tartarus was in later times often applied to the whole of the lower world. The ghosts of those who had lived a life of average merit were imagined as wandering on the asphodel meadow. In general it must be said that the ancient ideas of a future life were always subject to considerable changes, owing to the influence of the doctrines taught in the mysteries, and the representations of poets, philosophers, sculptors, and painters (see POLYGNOTUS). The general tendency was to multiply the terrors of Hades, especially at the gates, and in Tartarus. (For the deities cf the lower world see HADES, PERSEPHONE, and ERINYES.) The Greek beliefs on the subject found their way to Rome through the instrumentality of the poets, especially Vergil. But they did not entirely supplant the national traditions. (See ORCUS, MANIA, MANES, LARES, and LARVAe. )
 
THEOCRITUS 33.56%
The founder and principal representative of Greek bucolic poetry, born about 325 B.C. in Syracuse, or (according to another account) in the island of Cos, pupil of the poet Philetas and friend of the poet Aratus. He lived alternately in Alexandria, at the court of Ptolemy II (Philadelphus), and in Sicily with Hiero, where he was much esteemed for his poetical skill and refinement. He died about 267. Besides a number of epigrams, thirty-two poems, some of considerable length, known as idylls, have come down to us. Some of these are probably spurious. Those that are undoubtedly genuine are of great poetical merit. They include the true bucolic idylls, descriptive of the life of shepherds and herdsmen, and also the genre pictures of every-day life and of the mythical age, together with hymns and eulogistic poems to his princely patrons, an epithalamium in honour of Helen, and some pieces in lyrical form. His poems of ordinary life are especially remarkable for their minutely faithful and dramatic descriptions. Most of his idylls are written in a largely modified epic language, with a skilful admixture of the forms of the Doric dialect spoken in Sicily, which still further enhanced their popular character. Two of the lyrical poems [xxviii, xxix] are composed in the Aeolic dialect.
 
OSIRIS 32.72%
An Egyptian god, who, with his sister and wife Isis (q.v.), enjoyed in Egypt the most general worship of all the gods. He is the male god of the fructification of the land. From him comes every blessing and all life; he gives light and health; he causes the Nile to overflow with its fertilizing waters, and all things to continue in their established order. He is always represented in human shape and with a human head (see cut). His hue, as that of a god who bestows life, is green; his sacred tree is the ever-green tamarisk. The Greeks identified him with Dionysus. Originally he ruled as king over Egypt, where he introduced agriculture, morality, and the worship of the gods, until his brother Typhon (Set) contrived by deceit to shut him up in a chest and put him to death by pouring in molten lead. The murderer cast the chest into the Nile, which carried it into the sea. After long search the mourning Isis found the chest on the coast of Phoenicia, at Byblus, and carefully concealed it. Nevertheless Typhon discovered it in the night, and cut the corpse up into fourteen pieces, which he scattered in all directions. Isis, however, collected them again, and buried them in Phil' or Abydus, in Upper Egypt. When Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis, grew up, he took vengeance upon Typhon when, after a most obstinate struggle, he had defeated him in battle. Although Osiris lived no longer upon the earth, he was ever regarded as the source of life. In the upper world he continues to live and work by the fresh power of his youthful son Horus, and in the lower world, of which he is king, the spirits of those who are found to te just are awakened by him to new life. His hue as ruler of the lower world is black, his robes white, his symbol an eye opened wide as a sign of his restoration to the light of day. Osiris, by his ever-renewed incarnation in the form of the black bull Apis, the symbol of generative power, assures for the Egyptians the endurance of his favour, and the consequent continuance of their life in this world and the next. In this incarnation he is called Osarhapi (Osiris-Apis), the origin of the Greek Serapis (q.v.) or Sarapis. The fortunes of Osiris were celebrated in magnificent annual festivals connected with mourning ceremonies, in which the Egyptians, as is observed by the ancients [e.g. Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride, 32, and 'lian, De Nat. Animalium 10, 46], lamented in Osiris the subsidence of the Nile, the cessation of the cool north wind (whose place was taken for a time by the hot wind Typhon), the decay of vegetation, and the shortening of the length of the day.
 
DEVOTIO 31.07%
A religious ceremony, by virtue of which a general, whose army was in distress, offered up as an atonement to the gods below, and a means of averting their wrath, the army, city, and land of the enemy; or some soldier in the Roman army; or even himself, as was the case with the Decli. The general, standing on a spear and with veiled head, repeated a solemn formula dictated to him by the Pontifex. If the city and land of the enemy were offered, the gods were solemnly invited to burn the land or city (See EVOCATIO). The fate of the devoted person was left in the hands of the gods. If he survived, an image at least seven feet high was buried in the ground and a bloody sacrifice offered over it; he was meanwhile hold incapable in future of performing any other religious rite, either on his own behalf or on that of the state.
 
LUCIAN 31.03%
One of the most interesting of Greek writers, born about 120 A.D. at Samosata, on the Euphrates in Syria. Owing to the poverty of his parents, he was apprenticed to a stonemason; but, thanks to his irresistible eagerness for higher culture, contrived to devote himself to the art of rhetoric. After practising for some time as an advocate, he traversed Greece, Italy, and Southern Gaul in the guise of a sophist, and gained wealth and renown by his public declamations. In his fortieth year he removed to Athens, to devote himself to the study of philosophy, and attached himself closely to the Stoic Demonax. In his old age the state of his finances compelled him once more to travel as a professional orator. At last, when far advanced in years, he was given an important and influential post in the administration of justice in Egypt; this he seems to have retained till death. Under his name we still possess more than eighty works (including three collections of seventy-one shorter dialogues). Twenty of these are, however, either certainly spurious or of doubtful authenticity. They date from every period of his life, the best and cleverest from the time of his sojourn in Athens. They fall into two classes, rhetorical and satirical. Of the latter the majority are in dramatic form, recalling in dialogue and outward dress the Old Comedy, of which Lucian had a thorough knowledge, and to which his genius was closely akin. These writings present an admirable picture of the tendencies and the absurdities of the time. In the field of religion, he directed his mockery (especially in the Dialogues of the Gods) against the tenets of the popular religion, the artificial revival of which was attempted in the time of Hadrian and the Antonines. He further attacked the popular conceptions of life after death in the Dialogues of the Dead. He assails with special bitterness the superstitions which had penetrated from the East, among which he reckons, it is true, Christianity, but without any real knowledge of its nature. In Peregrinus Proteus, he attacks mystical enthusiasm; in Alexander, or the Prophet of Lies, the impostors and oracle-mongers who preyed upon the superstition of the time, which he portrays in a masterly style in his Lover of Lies and his True Stories (Veroe Historiae). Another object of his satiric lance was the current philosophy, in which he had sought relief when sated with rhetoric. He had only found in it, however, a petrified dogmatism, a passion for strife and disputation, with the most absolute contradiction between theoretical teaching and the practice of life. This was true even of the Stoics, and still more of the Cynics, whose meanness and love of pleasure, which they concealed under a pretended absence of personal wants, he is never weary of deriding. Especially instructive for his attitude towards philosophy and his general view of life are the Auction of Philosophers, the Fisherman (with his defence of the latter), and Charon, or the Spectator of the World. All these are works of marked ability. The last named is a brilliant exposition, from his negative point of view, of the vanity of all human existence. He even exposes his own class, the Sophists, for attempting to conceal their miserable poverty of intellect by their bold readiness of tongue, and by their patchwork of fragmentary quotations borrowed from the writers of antiquity. In fact, there is scarcely a side of the literary and social life of the time that he does not attack in its weak points, confining himself, however, for the most part to demonstrating what ought not to be, without showing how the existing evils were to be cured. To sit in judgment on the false culture and want of taste in his contemporaries,he was certainly fitted above all others; for, apart from a wide range of knowledge, he possessed keen observation, and an unusual measure of wit and humour. He had moreover an extraordinary gift of invention, remarkable aptitude for vivid delineation of character, and a singular grace and elegance. In spite of his Syrian origin, his zealous study of the best models gave him a purity of language which for his time is remarkable.
 
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