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that when they are in strange countries, where some of the heavenly phenomena wear a different aspect to what they have been accustomed, they should be in a consternation, and exclaim,
-Odyssey x, Cowper's translation.
Still, we do not expect that they should be such thorough masters of the subject as to know what stars rise and set together for the different quarters of the earth; those which have the same meridian line, the elevation of the poles, the signs which are in the zenith, with all the various phenomena which differ as well in appearance as reality with the variations of the horizon and arctic circle. With some of these matters, unless as philosophical pursuits, they should not burden themselves at all; others they must take for granted without searching into their causes. This must be left to the care of the philosopher; the statesman can have no leisure, or very little, for such pursuits. Those who, through carelessness and ignorance, are not familiar with the globe and the circles traced upon it, some parallel to each other, some at right angles to the former, others, again, in an oblique direction; nor yet with the position of the tropics, equator, and zodiac, (that circle through which the sun travels in his course, and by which we reckon the changes of season and the winds) such persons we caution against the perusal of our work. For if a man is neither properly acquainted with these things, nor with the variations of the horizon and arctic circle, and such similar elements of mathematics, how can he comprehend the matters treated of here? So for one who does not know a right line from a curve, nor yet a circle, nor a plane or spherical surface, nor the seven stars in the firmament composing the Great Bear, and such like, our work is entirely useless, at least for the present. Unless he first acquires such information, he is utterly incompetent to the study of geography. So those who have written the works entitled "On Ports,” and “Voyages Round the World,” have performed their task imperfectly, since they have omitted to supply the requisite information from mathematics and astronomy.
The present undertaking is composed in a lucid style, suitable alike to the statesman and the general reader, after the fashion of my History. By a statesman we do not intend an illiterate person, but one who has gone through the course of a liberal and philosophical education. For a man who has bestowed no attention on virtue or intelligence, nor what constitutes them, must be incompetent either to blame or praise, still less to decide what actions are worthy to be placed on record.
Having already compiled our Historical Memoirs, which, as we conceive, are a valuable addition both to political and moral philosophy, we have now determined to follow it up with the present work, which has been prepared on the same system as the former, and for the same class of readers, but more particularly for those who are in high stations of life. And as our former production contains only the most striking events in the lives of distinguished men, omitting trifling and unimportant incidents; so here it will be proper to dismiss small and doubtful particulars, and merely call attention to great and remarkable transactions, such in fact as are useful, memorable, and entertaining. In the colossal works of the
. sculptor we do not descend into a minute examination of particulars, but look principally for perfection in the general ensemble. This is the only method of criticism applicable to the present work. Its proportions, so to speak, are colossal; it deals in the generalities and main outlines of things, except now and then, when some minor detail can be selected, calculated to be serviceable to the seeker after knowledge, or the man of business.
We now think we have demonstrated that our present undertaking is one that requires great care, and is well worthy of a philosopher.
1 This work in forty-three books, began where the History of Polybius ended, and was probably continued to the battle of Actium.
DIALOGUES OF THE GODS DIALOGUES OF THE DEAD
THE REV. W. LUCAS COLLINS, M.A.
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY THE SAME UPON
LUCIAN, THE ICONOCLAST
LUCIAN, THE ICONOCLAST
BY THE REV. W. LUCAS COLLINS, M.A.
LIFE OF LUCIAN
LUCIAN (Lucianus, or Lycinus, as he sometimes calls himself) was born about A.D. 120, or perhaps a few years later, at Samosata, on the bank of the Euphrates, at that time the capital city of Commagene. What we know of our author's life is chiefly gathered from incidental notices scattered through his numerous writings. Of his youthful days he has given what is probably a truthful account in a piece which he has entitled “The Dream.” This appears to have been written in his successful later years (when men are most disposed to be open and honest about their early antecedents), and recited as a kind of prologue to his public readings of his works, before his fellow-citizens of Samosata. He tells us that his parents, who seem to have been in humble circumstances, held a council of the friends of the family to consult what should be done with their boy. They came to the conclusion that a liberal education was not to be thought of, because of the expense. The next best thing, for a lad who had already no doubt given token of some ability, was to choose some calling which should still be of an intellectual rather than a servile character. This is his own account of what took place in the family council:
"When one proposed one thing and one another, according to their fancies or experience, my father turned to my maternal uncle—he was one of the party, and passed for an excellent carver of Mercuries — It is impossible,' said he, politely, ‘in your presence, to give any other art the preference. So take
1 The figures of Mercury so commonly set up in the streets and at the gates of houses were mere busts without arms, and could not have required any very great amount of art in their production.