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GREECE is situated on the northern shore of the Mediterranean, between the Ionian and the 'Ægean
It is a beautiful country of hills and valleys, like Wales, or the Highlands of Scotland. Some of the hills are so high as to be constantly covered with snow. The vales enjoy a mild climate, and are of extreme fertility. Some of them, as Tempe and Arcadia, are spoken of with rapture by the poets of ancient times.
As the country was much divided by hills and seas, it was separated, from an early period, into several states, which were under different governments, and often made war upon each other. The southern peninsula, anciently styled the Peloponnesus, and now the Morea, was divided into Laconia, containing the cele. brated city of Sparta, - Argolis, Arcadia, Elis, and Messenia, each of which was only about the size of a moderate English county. Middle Greece, now Livadia, to the north of the Peloponnesus, and connected with it by the Isthmus of Corinth, on which lay the city of that name, contained Attica, in which was the city of Athens, Megaris, Bæotia, in which was the city of Thebes, Phocis, Locris, Doris, Ætolia, and Acarnania. Northern Greece contained Thessaly, now the district of Jannina; Epirus, now Albania ; and Macedonia, now Filiba Vilajeti ; the last of which became distinctly incorporated with Greece, only in the era of Philip and Alexander, between three and four hundred
before Christ. To the east of Greece Proper lay the numerous islands of the Ægean Sea, with which may be included certain islands lying in the Mediterranean Sea in the same direction, the principal of which were Rhodes, Cyprus, and the Cyclades. To the south lay Cythera, now Cerigo, and Crete, now Candia. To the west, in the Ionian Sea, lay Corcyra, now Corfu ; Cephalonia, Ithaca, and others, now constituting the distinct confederacy of the Ionian Islands, under the protection of Great Britain.
PASSAGES IN GRECIAN HISTORY.
Grecian history commences about eighteen hundred years before Christ.
The thousand years preceding 875, B. C., when Lycurgus gave laws to Sparta, are considered as not strictly historical, inasmuch as the events which distinguish them have been commemorated chiefly by tradition and poetry. Yet, however mingled with fable, the history of this long period is not unworthy of notice, seeing that the Greeks themselves believed in it, and made its incidents and heroes the theme of perpetual allusion in their poetry, and even a part of their religion.
According to the Greek poets, the original inhabitants of the country, denominated Pelasgians, as we have already stated, were a race of savages, who lived in caves, and clothed themselves with the skins of wild beasts. Uranus, an Egyptian prince, landed in the country, and became the father of a family of giants, named Titans, who rebelled against and dethroned him. His son, Saturn, who reigned in his stead, in order to prevent the like fortune from befalling himself, ordered all his own children to be put to death as soon as they were born. But one, named Jupiter, was concealed by the mother, and reared in the island of Crete, from which, in time, he returned, and deposed his father. The Titans, jealous of this new prince, rebelled against him, but were vanquished and expelled from Greece.
Jupiter divided his dominions with his brothers, Neptune and Pluto. The countries which he reserved to himself he governed with great wisdom, holding his court on Mount Olympus, a hill in Thessaly, seven thousand feet in height, and the loftiest in Greece. Any truth which there might be in the story of the Titans and their princes was completely disguised by the poets and by the popular imagination. Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto were looked back to, not as mortals, but as deities; and the top of Mount Olympus was supposed to be the heavenly residence of the gods by whom the affairs of mortals were governed. For ages after the dawn of philosophy, these deified sons of Saturn, and numberless others connected with them, were the objects of the national worship, not only among the Greeks, but also among the Romans.
At an uncertain, but very early date, an Asiatic people, named the Hellenes, migrated into Greece, in some cases expelling the Pelasgi, and in others intermingling with them, so that, in process of time, all the inhabitants of Greece came to be called Hellenes. They were, however, divided into several races, the principal of which were named Dorians, Æolians, and Ionians, and each of these spoke a dialect differing in some respects from those made use of by the others. These dialects were named the Doric, Æolic, and Ionic, in reference to the tribes which used them; and a fourth, which was afterwards formed from the Ionic, was named the Attic, from its being spoken by the inhabitants of Attica.
In the year 1856, B. C., Inachus, a Phænician adventurer, is said to have arrived in Greece, at the head of a small band of his countrymen. Phænicia, a small state on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, was at this time one of the few countries, including Egypt and Assyria, in which some degree of civilization prevailed, while all the rest of the people of the earth remained in their original barbarism, like the Pelasgians before the supposed arrival of Uranus. Navigation for the purposes of commerce, and the art