« 前へ次へ »
writing advanced, among some nations, to simple arbitrary marks, which stood for objects, though without any resemblance or analogy to the objects signified. Of this nature was the method of writing among the Peruvians. They made use of small cords of different colors; and by knots on these, of various sizes, and differently ranged, they contrived signs for giving information, and communicating their thoughts to one another.
6. Of this nature, also, are the written characters which are used to this day throughout the great empire of China. The Chinese have no alphabet of letters, or simple sounds, which compose their words. But every single character : which they use in writing is significant of an idea ; it is a mark that stands for some one thing or object. By consequence, the number of their characters must be immense. It must correspond to the whole number of objects or ideas which they have occasion to express; that is, to the whole number of words which they employ in speech. They are said to have seventy thousand of these characters. To read and write them to perfection, is the study of a whole life ; which subjects learning among them to infinite disadvantage, s and must have greatly retarded the progress of all science.
THE TROJAN WAR. 1. It is generally agreed, that a hereditary enmity had subsisted between the Greeks and Trojans. Paris, the son of Priam, the most beautiful man of his time, having been allured by the fame of Helen, the queen of Sparta, went over into Greece, and visited the Spartan court. Helen is celebrated by the poets as possessing every personal charm in its highest perfection, and as the most perfect beauty of ancient times. Her susceptible heart was too easily captivated by the artful address and polished manners of the perfidious Paris. She listened to his insinuations, and, lost to a sense of honor and duty, she made her escape with him, and took refuge amidst the towers of Troy.
What method of writing succeeded hieroglyphics, and was used by the Peruvians ?-What nation now has no other language than arbi| trary characters ?-How many of these characters are the Chinese
said to have ?—What occasioned the 'Trojan war?
2. The king of Sparta, stung with the treachery of his beauteous queen, whom he adored, and enraged at the base ness and perfidy of the Trojan prince, to whom he had shown all the rights of hospitality, loudly complained of the injury, and appealed to the justice of his countrymen. His brother Agamemnon, the most powerful prince of Greece, seconded his complaints, and used his influence and authority to rouse the resentment of the whole extensive confederation. He succeeded ; for the princes and people of Greece, no less wounded in their pride than stung with a sense of the atrocious villany, determined to extinguish the flames of their resentment in the blood of Priam and his people, who! refused to restore the illustrious fugitive.
3. A powerful army was accordingly sent to wage war with the Trojans; but the enterprise was found to be attended with unforeseen difficulties. The Trojans were a brave and gallant people, of considerable resources, and very great courage. Hector, the son of Priam, equalled only by Achilles, commanded the Trojans, and often disputed the field of victory with invincible bravery and various success; and when, after the death of Hector, the Trojans could no longer keep the field, the city of Troy was defended by lofty towers and impregnable walls.
4. The fortune of Greece prevailed; not however by arms, but by stratagem. The Greeks, worn out by a war of ten years, determined to risk their hopes on one desperate effort, which, if successful, would end the war in victory ; if not, would exterminate all hope of conquest for the present, if not for ever. They made preparations for returning home, embarked in their ships, and set sail ; but they left near the city a wooden horse of vast size, in which was enclosed a band of their bravest heroes. This image, they pretended as an offering to the goddess Minerva, to be placed in the Trojan citadel. To give effect to this stratagem, Sinon wag despatched over to the Trojans, with an artful and fictitious story, pretending he had made his escape from the Greeks. The superstition of the times gave them complete success. The whim struck the Trojans favorabiy. They laid open heir walls, and, by various means, dragged the baneful monster, pregnant with destruction, into the city.
Who commanded the Trojans ?.--How was Troy finally taken?
5. That night was spent in festivity through Troy. Every uard was withdrawn; all threw aside their arms; and, disolved in wine, amusement, pleasure, and repose, gave full ffect to the hazardous enterprise of the hardy Greeks. The eet, in the night time, drew back to the shore ; the men inded and approached the city ; the heroes in the wooden orse sallied forth, killed what few they met, opened the cityates, and the Greeks entered. The night, which was begun a feasting and carousal, ended in conflagration and blood. 'he various parts of this daring plan, liable to great uncer-, inties and embarrassments, were concentrated and made ffectual by the signal of a torch shown from a conspicuous swer by Helen herself, the perfidious beauty who had caused che war. E 6. Never was national vengeance more exemplary, or
uin more complete. The destruction of Troy took place -184 years before the Christian era. This fall of the Troan empire was final. Independence and sovereignty never
eturned to those delightful shores ; nor has that country e ince made any figure in history. It continued to be pos
essed and colonized by the Greeks, while they flourished, nd followed the fortunes and revolutions of the great em
ires. 17. If the charms of Helen proved the destruction of Troy,
'et the Greeks themselves, though they were able to punish - wer seducer, had little reason to boast of their conquest, or flory in their revenge. On their return, their fleets were lispersed, and many of their ships wrecked on dangerous coasts. Some of them wandered through long voyages, and =settled in foreign parts. Some became pirates, and infested
he seas with formidable depredations. A few, and but a ew of them, returned to their homes, where fortunes equally lisastrous followed them. Their absence, for a course of fears, had quite altered the scene of things; as it had opened the way to conspiracies, usurpations, and exterminating revo-lutions. Their vacant thrones had been filled by usurpers ; and their dominions, left defenceless, had fallen a prey t) every rapacious plunderer. The states of Greece, which, at the beginning of the Trojan war, were rising fast to pros
When did the destruction of Troy take place ?-By whom was it Then possessed ?- What effect had the Trojan war upon the prosperity of the Greeks?
perity, power, and happiness, were overwhelnied with ca! lamities, and seemed returning rapidly to savage barbarity.
BATTLE OF THERMOPYLÆ. .
1. THERMOPYLE is a strait or narrow pass of mount Eta between Thessaly and Phocis, but 25 feet broad, which therefore might be defended by a small number of forces, and which was the only way through which the Persian ar-l! my could enter Achaia, and advance to besiege Athens.
This was the place where the Grecian army thought fit to wait for the enemy—the person who commanded it was Le onidas, one of the two kings of Sparta. The whole Grecian forces, joined together, amounted only to 11,200 men, of which number 4,000 only were employed at Thermopylæ to defend the pass. But these soldiers, says Pausanias the historian, were all determined, to a man, either to conquer or die ; and what is there that an army of such resolution is not able to effect !
2. Xerxes, in the mean time, was upon his march; and as he advanced near the straits of Thermopylæ, he was strangely surprised to find that they were prepared to dis 1" pute his passage. He had always flattered himself, that on the first hearing of his arrival, the Grecians would betake themselves to flight ; nor could he ever be persuaded to be! lieve, what Demaratus had told him from the beginning of his project, that at the first pass he came to, he would find his whole army stopped by a handful of men. He sent out a spy to take a view of the enemy. The spy brought him word, that he found the Lacedæmonians out of their en trenchments, and that they were diverting themselves with military exercises, and combing their hair—this was the Spartan manner of preparing themselves for battle. I
3. Xerxes, still entertaining some hopes of their flight, waited four days on purpose to give them time to retreat; and in this interval of time, he used his utmost endeavors to" gain Leonidas, by making him magnificent promises, and
What is Thermopylæ ?-Who commanded the Grecian forces at's this strait ?-How many men had he left with him to defend this atrait ?
assuring him that he would make him master of all Greece, if he would come over to his party. Leonidas rejected his proposal with scorn and indignation. Xerxes, having afterwards wrote to him to deliver up his arms, Leonidas, in a style and spirit truly laconical, answered him in these words, " Come and take them.” Nothing remained but to prepare themselves to engage the Lacedæmonians. Xerxes first commanded his Median forces to march against them, with orders to take them all alive, and bring them all to him. These Medes were not able to stand the charge of the Grecians ; and being shamefully put to flight, they showed, says Herodotus, that Xerxes had a great many men, and but few soldiers. The next that were sent to face the Spartans, were those Persians called the Immortal Band, which consisted of 10,000 men, and were the best troops in the whole army. But these had no better success than the former.
4. Xerxes, out of all hopes of being able to force his way through troops so determined to conquer or die, was extremely perplexed, and could not tell what resolution to take; when an inhabitant of the country came to him, and discovered a secret path to the top of an eminence, which overlooked and commanded the Spartan forces. He quickly despatched a detachment thither; which, marching all night, arrived there at break of day, and possessed themselves of that advantageous spot. The Greeks were soon apprised of this misfortune; and Leonidas, seeing that it was now impossible to repulse the enemy, obliged the rest of the allies to retire, but staid himself with his 300 Lacedæmonians, all resolved to die with their leader; who being told by the oracle, that either Lacedæmon or her king must necessarily perish, determined, without the least difficulty or hesitation, to sacrifice himself for his country.
5. The Spartans lost all hopes either of conquering or escaping, and looked upon Thermopylæ as their burying place. The king exhorting his men to take some nourishment, and telling them that they should sup together with old Pluto, they set up a shout of joy, as if they had been invited to a banquet; and, full of ardor, advanced with their
1. What reply did Leonidas make when Xerxes wrote to him to de- liver up his arms ?-How did Xerxes, with the Persians, succeed in
reaching an eminence that overlooked and commanded the Spartan forces ?-How many of his forces remained to perish with Leonidas?