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The Middle and New Academies.

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abstract, declaring that it is a purely conventional thing; indeed it was his rhetorical display, alternately in praise of justice and against it, on the occasion of his visit to Rome, that led Cato to have him expelled from the city. Though Plato · had been the representative of an age of faith, a secondary

analysis of all his works, implying an exposition of their conThe dupli- tradictions, ended in scepticism. If we may undertake to delater Aca- termine the precise aim of a philosophy whose representatives demicians. stood in such an attitude of rhetorical duplicity, it may be said

to be the demonstration that there is no criterion of truth in this world. Persuaded thus of the impossibility of philosophy, Carneades was led to recommend his theory of the probable : “that which has been most perfectly analysed and examined, and found to be devoid of improbability, is the most probable idea.” The degeneration of philosophy now became truly complete, the labours of so many great men being degraded to rhetorical and artistic purposes. It was seen by all that Plato had destroyed all trust in the indications of the senses, and substituted for it the Ideal theory. Aristotle had de.

stroyed that, and there was nothing left to the world but The fourth scepticism. A fourth Academy was founded by Philo of LaAcademies. rissa, a fifth by Antiochus of Ascalon. It was reserved for

this teacher to attach the Porch to the Academy, and to merge the doctrines of Plato in those of the Stoics. Such a heterogeneous mixture demonstrates the pass to which speculative philosophy had come, and shows us clearly that her disciples had abandoned her in despair.

So ends the Greek age of Faith. How strikingly does its of Faith. history recall the corresponding period of individual life—the

trusting spirit and the disappointment of youth! We enter on it full of confidence in things and men, never suspecting that the one may disappoint, the other deceive. Our early experiences, if considered at all, afford only matter of surprise that we could ever have been seriously occupied in such folly, or actuated by motives now seeming so inadequate. It never occurs to us that, in our present state, though the pursuits may have changed, they are none the less vain, the objects none the less delusive,

End of the

Greek age

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The second age of Greek philosophy ended in sophism, the third in scepticism. Speculative philosophy strikes at last upon a limit which it cannot overpass. This is its state even in our own times. It reverberates against the wall that confines it, without the least chance of making its way through.

CHAPTER VI.

THE GREEK AGE OF REASON.

RISE OF SCIENCE.

TI

The Greek

THE conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great is a most invasion of Persia.

important event in European history. That adventurer, carrying out the intentions of his father Philip, commenced his attack with apparently very insignificant means, having, it is said, at the most, only thirty-four thousand infantry, four thousand cavalry, and seventy talents in money. The result of his expedition was the ruin of the Persian empire, and also the ruin of Greece. It was not without reason that his memory was cursed in his native country. Her life-blood was drained away by his successes. In view of the splendid fortunes to be made in Asia, Greece ceased to be the place for an enterprising man. To such an extent did military emigration go, that Greek recruits were settled all over the Persian empire; their number was sufficient to injure irreparably the country from which they had parted, but not sufficient to hellenize the dense and antique populations among whom they

had settled. Its ruinous Not only was it thus by the drain of men that the Macedoeffect on Greece.

nian expedition was so dreadfully disastrous to Greece, the political consequences following those successful campaigns added to the baneful result. Alexander could not have more effectually ruined Athens had he treated her as he did Thebes, which he levelled with the ground, massacring six thousand of her citizens, and selling thirty thousand for slaves. The founding of Alexandria was the commercial end of Athens, the

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Alexandria.

finishing stroke to her old colonial system. It might have been well for her had he stopped short in his projects with the downfall of Tyre, destroyed, not from any vindictive reasons, as is sometimes said, but because he discovered that that city was an essential part of the Persian system. It was never his Injury to intention that Athens should derive advantage from the anni- foundingof hilation of her Phoenician competitor; his object was effectually carried out by the building and prosperity of Alexandria.

Though the military celebrity of this great soldier may be diminished by the history of the last hundred years, which shows a uniform result of victory when European armies are brought in contact with Asiatic, even under the most extraordinary disadvantages, there cannot be denied to him a profound sagacity and statesmanship excelled by no other conqueror. Before he became intoxicated with success, and, unfortunately, too habitually intoxicated with wine, there was much that was noble in his character. He had been under the instruction of Scientific

tendency of Aristotle for several years, and, on setting out on his expedi- the Macetion, took with him so many learned men as almost to justify campaigns. the emark applied to it, that it was as much a scientific as a military undertaking. Among those who thus accompanied him was Callisthenes, a relation and pupil of Aristotle, destined for an evil end. Perhaps the assertion that Alexander Origin of furnished to his master nearly £200,000 sterling, and the ence of services of several thousand men, for the purpose of obtaining through and examining the specimens required in the composition of his work on the “History of Animals” may be an exaggeration, but there can be no doubt that in these transactions was the real beginning of that policy which soon led to the institution of the Museum at Alexandria. The importance of this event, though hitherto little understood, admits of no exaggeration, so far as the intellectual progress of Europe is concerned. It gave to the works of Aristotle their wonderful duration; it imparted to them not alone a Grecian celebrity, but led to their translation into Syriac by the Nestorians in the fifth century, and from Syriac by the Arabs into their tongue four hundred

years later. They exercised a living influence over Christians and Mohammedans indifferently, from Spain to Mesopotamia.

the influ

Aristotle

CHAPTER VI.

THE GREEK AGE OF REASON.

RISE OF SCIENCE.

The Greek invasion of Persia.

THE

THE conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great is a most

important event in European history. That adventurer, carrying out the intentions of his father Philip, commenced his attack with apparently very insignificant means, having, it is said, at the most, only thirty-four thousand infantry, four thousand cavalry, and seventy talents in money. The result of his expedition was the ruin of the Persian empire, and also the ruin of Greece. It was not without reason that his memory was cursed in his native country. Her life-blood was drained away by his successes. In view of the splendid fortunes to be made in Asia, Greece ceased to be the place for an enterprising man. To such an extent did military emigration go, that Greek recruits were settled all over the Persian empire; their number was sufficient to injure irreparably the country from which they had parted, but not sufficient to hellenize the dense and antique populations among whom they had settled.

Not only was it thus by the drain of men that the Macedonian expedition was so dreadfully disastrous to Greece, the political consequences following those successful campaigns added to the baneful result. Alexander could not have more effectually ruined Athens had he treated her as he did Thebes, which he levelled with the ground, massacring six thousand of her citizens, and selling thirty thousand for slaves. The founding of Alexandria was the commercial end of Athens, the

Its ruinous effect on Greece.

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