Excerpt from Hellenic History
The purpose of this volume is to present in brief scope the evolution of Greek civilization - a culture simple in its essential unity, although seemingly complex in its many and wide ramifications. In the conviction that the chief aim of history is to explain the present, the author has centered his attention on those phases of Greek life which have influenced to a marked degree the civilization of today. In the case of the Greeks, perhaps more than of any other people in the world's history, the state was the highest embodiment of social and cultural life. In the free air of the city-state the liberty loving Greek found not alone his inspiration but untrammeled opportunity for expression and development. In the Athenian democracy of Pericles, the city-state reached its logical consummation; for the first time the citizen could give free rein to his individualism. The successful struggle with the placid yet insidious civilization of the Orient gave self-confidence, purpose, and solidarity to Greek life. To embryonic genius the wealth and broadening influence of empire furnished boundless opportunity and inspiration. In coping with the burdens of imperialism, however, this very spirit of individualism proved a serious weakness. Political control passed, though not without long and bitter struggle, first to militaristic Sparta, and then in turn to more efficient masters - Thebes, Macedon, Rome. It is tragedy in its highest form that the Greeks reached a solution of their political problems too late for rescue from foreign domination. And yet it redounds to the glory of Greece, that in spite of political and economic vicissitudes, the artist and the philosopher continued to create products of even greater refinement and broader humanism.
The narrative has been based, therefore, on the story of political evolution. However, the reader will, note many striking omissions, particularly in regard to petty squabbles among politicians and states, and the idealization of military leaders.
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