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Classical education in this country that there is, if anything, a tendency in America to over-emphasize the use of archaeological aids to teaching. There can be no such overemphasis if archaeology is utilized in the right way and in the true spirit of enlightened humanism. The use of archaeology in Classical teaching is always subordinate to the psychological aim i.e., it is never regarded as an end in itself but always strictly as a means to that end. Of all the false notions which I have observed in discussions on Classical teaching none of them is so ridiculous as the idea that we, the reforming school, desire to substitute a smattering of archaeology for a more solid kind of Classical training. I do not, of course, refer to the vagaries of exceptional individuals, who may chance to be weakminded and under-instructed enthusiasts. But I speak for the movement toward reform in its saner aspects, as it is promoted by our Classical Associations. We reformers consider that it is a crime as well as a blunder on the part of Classical teachers to neglect the opportunities provided by modern archaeological research for illuminating our subject and bringing it home to the minds and senses of our students. It is all very well to sneer at the kinematograph as something unspeakably degrading to modern society. But I know very well that if I wanted to learn how some action was really carried on I should rather see a kinematograph record than read an account of it by the most vivid of chroniclers. We cannot, I suppose, in our branch of study utilize the kinematograph, though I, for one, should not hesitate to do so were it in any way feasible. But to show our students good photographs of the countries, the buildings, the art, and the antiquities of the ancients; to place at their disposal originals or facsimiles of the coins, of the pottery, and the other art-products of the ancients as they are being unearthed by the modern excavator; to give them a clear vision of the great prehistoric fortresses and palaces of Gnossos, Troy, Tiryns, Mycenae, and Pylos, with the art and architecture of Greece and Rome, as preserved at Olympia, Delphi, Paestum, Pompeii, and, above all, on the Acropolis of Athens and in the Roman Forum; in a word, to familiarize them with the realities of ancient life instead of confining their attention to mere ideas or mere names of things—this is not a council of perfection, but to neglect it is to leave out of our work something of real and vital importance; it is to be guilty of a sin of omission for which no efforts in other directions could wholly atone.
I know we must attend to method, but there is something deeper than method, something more far-reaching. My word to the Classical Association of the Middle West and South is this : Take care of your ideals and the methods will take care of themselves. The Greeks were great because they had great ideals. And we may well leave our critics to themselves.
The Pursuit Of Beauty *
That Hellas speaks to us to-day, and speaks with a loud compelling voice, is a proposition which, I think, may well be taken for granted on this occasion. My endeavour will be to interpret that voice, or rather to ask you specially to attend to one of its tones which is not always listened to or clearly apprehended. Many times indeed do we hear discussions about the influence of Hellas, but too often as though it could be summed up in its attainment of formal beauty.
Precious indeed is the legacy of beauty bequeathed to us by the Greeks. Nor is it less apparent that their nature was finely attuned to the love of beauty in whatever form they found it or created it. In their art and letters they left to the world the choicest examples of pure forms and established for us laws of aesthetic judgment which will endure for ever. But is this only one side of their greatness, or is it a full statement of our indebtedness to them? I would maintain that Hellas had other ideals than those of art, and that her voice speaks to us other lessons than those of sestheticism.
I shall not attempt to define beauty—no definition can really explain to us its meaning.
* Presidential Address to the Classical Association of Ireland, January, 1913.