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1. The Great Persian IVar and its Preliminaries. With maps and illustrations. By G. B. Grundy. London:

John Murray, 1901. 2. A Manual of Greek Historical Inscriptions. By E. L.

Hicks and G. F. Hill. New and revised edition. Oxford :

Clarendon Press, 1901. 3. Geschichte des hellenistischen Zeitalters. Vol. I. Die

Grundlegung des Hellenismus. By Julius Kaerst. Leip

zig: B. G. Teubner, 1901. The history of the ancient Greeks counts for so much in Mediterranean civilisation, and therefore in the evolution of all European culture, that labourers are never wanting in its well-worked field. These, however, tend naturally to devote themselves to certain parts of it rather than others, following the unequal distribution of the original authorities, and attracted by the superior interest which certain epochs owe to their greater importance in universal history. We do not herein refer to what is conventionally called the prehistoric period in the civilisation of the Egean lands. Greatly as our knowledge of that has been increased of late, and greatly as in all likelihood it will yet grow, it has not reached, and probably. will never reach, the plane of history. Research into the Mycenæan'and earlier periods remains the province of archæology, working towards its own particular end; and nothing will be gained for a long time to come by any attempt to treat historically the pre-Homeric documents.

For almost every reason the two main phases of the struggle between the Hellenic peoples and the Persian Empire rank among the epochs most attractive to research. There is only one respect, indeed, in which they disappoint students, and that is in the paucity of evidence to be derived from material documents. That these should be lacking is natural enough. Periods of great strain and unrest are not those in which such documents come into existence in greatest number, or are likely to be best preserved for posterity. Great monuments are more freely destroyed than built in time of war; a kind of enthusiasm prevails, which is not very compatible with art; and orderly administration is for the time disturbed. How little

epigraphical evidence we have for the first Persian War, for example, may be seen by a glance at the new edition of that standard teacher's friend, Hicks's Greek Historical Inscriptions.' Half a dozen of its texts, at the most, have direct reference to the great struggle, and no one of these tells us a new fact of importance. Two are epitaphs on heroes of the war; two record Delphic dedications from the spoils; and one contains obscure reference to the disturbances which followed in a liberated Ionian city. The only informing text grouped with these has no bearing on the struggle. This is a Magnesian copy of a letter from the great Darius to one of his satraps, praising him, curiously enough, for certain experiments in agricultural acclimatisation, but rebuking an excess of zeal which had led to encroachment on the lands of a local shrine.

In default of new documents for this particular period, recent students, desirous of innovation, have paid especial attention to topography. Following in the footsteps of Lolling and Busolt, Mr Macan, in editing part of Herodotus, Professor Bury, in preparing a school history of Greece, and Mr Munro, in the Journal of Hellenic Studies, have carried on a discussion as to the compatibility of the Herodotean accounts of the great battles on land and sea with the existing features of the accepted localities. But, though this was not done without autopsy of the principal fields, no new surveys were made; and it was left to Mr G. B. Grundy, now lecturer in classical geography at Oxford, to establish a scientific basis for this sort of criticism, or rather to complete, on the less accessible and more difficult fields, what Lolling had begun upon the field of Marathon. The results of this work, spread, with intermissions, over eight years, are now gathered up

into the volume which stands first in our list.

Here we find surveys of Thermopylæ and Platæa (the latter published in a preliminary form some years ago) as accurate and detailed as those that we already possessed of Marathon and Salamis. The two large coloured maps, on a scale of one-third of an inch to the mile, and contoured at thirty-foot intervals, will be accepted with joy by all scholars, and may be regarded as final statements of the information to be derived from local features at the present day in regard to the events which took place at Thermopylæ and Platæa in 480 and

479 B.C. Mr Grundy's comment upon these features has the fulness and precision which is to be expected from a scholar, well versed in the literary authorities, who has gone over the ground with the minuteness necessary for the theodolite and the plane-table, and with an eye for military exigencies.

That this excellent piece of work is indeed final we are encouraged to hope when we note that in the case of the other two cardinal localities, Marathon and Salamis, the author, after careful examination on the spot, cannot improve on his predecessors in topographical criticism. The precise field of the first battle and the situation of the hostile camps were fixed by Lolling; and the serious questions which still concern the Marathonian episode are not to be resolved by topography. The best explanation of both Persian and Athenian action at that crisis has been re-stated by Mr Munro from Busolt. Collusion between the Persian generals, their Athenian guide, and a certain noble party in the city, supplies a key to all apparent inconsistencies; and with that suggestive surmise the whole matter is best concluded, for certain knowledge is now unattainable. In regard to Salamis, Mr Grundy repeats and supports the criticisms of Professor Goodwin, published nearly twenty years ago. They do not appear to us to amount to very much. The student


believe the strait too narrow for the fleets to have taken up such positions at such times as Herodotus says they did; or he may not. There is no sheer impossibility, and it becomes a question of the general credibility of that ancient historian. The ‘Persæ' of Æschylus, who was present at the battle, may be regarded as better authority than the narrative of Herodotus, who was not; or that poem may reasonably be regarded as of no historical authority whatever. It is a question of subjective temperament and taste.

At Platæa Mr Grundy's task was more hopeful. Herodotus' account of the strategy and tactics there employed is exceptionally full and elaborate, but his local points used not to correspond to known topography. Mr Grundy has now identified the localities of importance with as much certainty as is possible, and secured his laurels of priority without that temptation to re-write the ancient literary authority, to which he succumbs in treating of Arte

Vol. 195.-No. 389.


misium and Thermopylæ. In the latter case, our debt to him, though great, is confined to his emendation of Leake's map, and perhaps his explanation why a certain path up the Asopos gorge, which turns the pass, but was probably covered by a garrison in Heraclea, was never used by invaders of Greece.

We may take it that we are now in possession of all the topographical data that can possibly be obtained for understanding better the course of the first Persian War (for so we prefer to call what was only one part, and that not the most important, of a war not concluded till 330 B.C.); and, in so far as it states these data, Mr Grundy's book may safely be proclaimed final. It is, however, to be hoped that it will prove final in a wider relation. There has been of late a great deal of subjective criticism of the main ancient authority for the first Persian War. This, epitomised in the volume before us, is at last at the disposition of the students for whom the book is intended. But will any impartial reader, not concerned with Herodotus as a subject for the academic examiner (whose interests are often enough distinct from those of the historical researcher), dissent from the impression which the contents of this volume, other than its purely topographical discussions, leave upon us, viz. that the world is after all not much the wiser for the modern subjective treatment of the Father of History,' and would not lose by the diversion of historical criticism to other fields?

The critical treatment of an ancient document like the history of Herodotus, by an acute and well-informed scholar, will always be suggestive and interesting, but at the same time utterly inconclusive unless based on other documents, having authority of the same character as that of the author, i.e. authority as nearly contemporary. Such documents may be literary or material. They may be references by poets, like those to Salamis in the · Persæ of Æschylus, or archæological remains, or facts of topography. But authoritative documents there must be, if subjective criticism is legitimately to go beyond a purely destructive result. To proceed from a conclusion concerning what was not, to a purely subjective reconstruction of history, always involves, to a greater or less degree, reliance on the feminine fallacy that what might well have been is what actually was. This fallacy was rampant in the

work of textual critics of a past generation; and their discredited methods seem to have found some new honour with historical students. We would state the canon for the practical criticism of ancient history thus. The testimony of an ancient authority may be negatived it, on general or particular grounds, that authority can be shown to be of dubious credit; but for positive history it is final, unless modified or contradicted by other ancient documents of equal or superior weight. Whatever transgresses this canon appears to us unpractical, an academic exercise, barren of conviction. Quellenkritik, analysing secondary authorities in order to determine, as far as may be, the character of lost primary authorities and the treatment to which these have been subjected, leads to valuable results. Such have been attained by the German scholars, who, by examining the extant historians of Alexander the Great, have distinguished two main schools of tradition concerning the great Macedonian's career, the official and the opposition. By a similar examination of Herodotus, other scholars, e.g. Mr Macan, have shown that the historian's version of events, in which Athens was concerned, is coloured by certain family influences. But such conclusions in the first phase of the Persian struggle are more precarious than in the second, since there are fewer documents to compare with the main authority. At any rate it serves no useful purpose to pass from a negative statement that all which Herodotus says is not gospel, to a positive counter-gospel concerning the fifth century B.C., based only on the subjective inferences of a scholar writing in the twentieth century A.D.

Among all the pitfalls which beset subjective criticism of antiquity, into none does it seem easier to fall, and from none harder to escape, than the pitfalls of military criticism. Here the academic Kriegspieler runs riot. Amateur strategy is a most fascinating exercise; and it is wonderful, when a subjective plan of an ancient campaign has been conceived, how the consonant facts of the scanty tradition stand forth as essentials, and dissonant statements drop away into outer darkness as unregarded accidents. All fits too aptly, and self-imposed logic grows too imperious, for it to be borne in mind what strange things happen in modern warfare, even where there is a single plan, perfect combination, and professional dis

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