ART. I. Histoire des premiers Temps de la Grèce, depuis Inachus jusqu'à la Chute des Pisistratides; pour servir d'Introduction à tous les Ouvrages qui ont paru à ce Sujet : avec des Tableaux généalogiques des principales Familles de la Grèce. Par M. Clavier, Juge en la Cour de Justice Criminelle séant à Paris. 2 tom. 8vo. Paris. 1809.

THE THE present state of classical learning in France is, perhaps, scarcely so flourishing as might naturally have been expected. After all that has been said on the question, whether it is under the influence of liberty, or the fostering protection of a munificent despotism, that arts, sciences, and letters, are the most likely to thrive, it would seem that no decisive or universal answer can be given to that question, excepting as to one description of studies, those of political philosophy. To a class of mental pursuits, immediately conversant with the foundations of government, it is impossible that a government which has no other foundatiou than force, should, under any circumstances, be propitious; but, beyond this point, despotism appears to have no direct interest in pushing the principle of exclusion. It is indeed true that almost every species and degree of mental cultivation must, in some measure, tend to promote the growth of a spirit of liberty; but, in most cases, this tendency is only ultimate, and the dangers with which it menaces a despotic ruler, are too remote and contingent to be balanced against the present advantages which he may derive from affording encouragement to the politer studies; partly as such a course of proceeding may conveniently serve, in the first instance at least, to divert a considerable portion of the intelligence of his subjects from political inquiries; partly as it may place him in a popular and engaging point of view; and, above all, as it may surround him with able and willing heralds of his fame. Ancient literature may fairly be included within the scope of this observation. For, though several of the standard classical productions might pass for absolute manuals of republicanism, we need not say

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how many of them breathe a far different language; and the truth is, that by much the greater number of the subjects which ordinarily occupy the attention of the classical scholar, have no positive political aspect whatsoever. Upon this field, therefore, we should have been apt to imagine that the French sçavans, zealous as they have undoubtedly shewn themselves in the cause of knowledge, would have bestowed a considerable share of their labour; but the fact is otherwise. Amidst the many splendid works, of a scientific or descriptive nature, poured forth from time to time by the Parisian press, though there are not a few, particularly in the descriptive department, which the student of the classics must value as furnishing excellent materials for his researches, he will yet find no great proportion that can be considered as directly of a learned


Yet this remark, as even our present number will sufficiently evince, is not without exceptions; and certainly, a very respectable one now lies before us. The classical acquirements of M. Clavier have, it seems, procured for him the patronage of the French court: and, if we are not greatly misinformed, it is to these acquirements that he owes the distinction which has annexed so honourable a title to his name. If such be the fact, however, we cannot but observe that the honour is rather to the merits of M. Clavier, and perhaps to the personal liberality of his imperial master, than to the constitution of that government which it is at present the fashion in France to eulogize as a revival of the reign of Saturn. The citizens of a free state are accustomed to regard high political and judicial situations as the natural prizes of eminent and probably laborious service in those respective lines; nor can they help deeming such dignities to be very inappropriate rewards for achievements of a purely academical character. It may be an auspicious sign for the science or literature of a country, but is undoubtedly an evil omen for its liberties, when the great trusts of office are placed in the hands of mandarins of science, or when the administration of justice is confided to jurisconsults because they are learned in the law of Crete, and familiarly conversant with the precedents of the judgment of Paris and the trial of Mars.

Our present concern, however, is not with the decisions of M. Clavier, but with his history; of which yet we are constrained to observe that, in the qualities of gaiety and liveliness, a considerable portion of it nearly resembles what we might expect to fall from the learned judge in his professional capacity. Let it be noted, at the same time, that this misfortune was unavoidable, or, at least, avoidable no otherwise than by an avoidance of the subject. 'The early times of Greece' present a waste extent of darkness


and perplexity, into which even the art of Homer, unassisted by his invention, could scarcely have infused a particle of spirit or fascination. Through a long, difficult, and intricate navigation, the historian has to steer by the obscure and intermitting light of a few dimly-twinkling authorities, and with no other compass than loose conjecture. In effect, a great part of the volumes before us bears the appearance, rather of a chronological or archæological essay, than of a history. On such a foundation, it would be impossible for us to raise an agreeable or interesting article, even if our pen could boast a far greater share of vivific energy than we can compliment it with possessing. As the best compromise, however, of which the occasion allows, we shall separate our observations into two distinct classes; considering, under the first head, which is addressed to the scholar and the antiquarian, not to the general reader, the more dry and crabbed parts of the subject; and referring the more popular topics to the second, which by these means will become, we will not say more entertaining, but at least less decidedly dull and oppressive. Addressing ourselves, then, in the first instance, to the former task, we here bid adieu, for a short interval, to all our idler, lighter, and fairer readers, intreating them to wind round the base of the rugged ascent which they behold us about to climb, and anticipating a happy restoration to their society in the valley beyond.

So far as we can collect from the preliminary discourse of M. Clavier, the estimate which he has formed of his own work, it would seem that he conceives its principal merit to consist in the scheme which it exhibits of the chronology of the early Greek history, and, as subservient to this end, in the researches on which it largely enters into the origin and course of the more distinguished families who appear in that history. It is apparently with allusion to its uses in this respect, that the book is, somewhat magnificently, announced in the title-page as designed for an introduction to all the existing histories of Greece; and the fact is, that it was originally composed as introductory to the historical sketches in Pausanias, of which author M. Clavier has prepared, and intends to publish, a translation. After all, however, as we are given to understand in the preliminary discourse, the title-page much under-states the value of our author's speculations: Cet essai pourra servir d'introduction à toutes les histoires de la Grèce qui ont paru jusqu'à présent, et j'ose même dire qu'il est indispensable pour ceux qui voudront les lire avec quelque fruit. A blushing, hesitating avowal, which, it must be owned, savours of the characteristic naïveté of the great nation; but, for ourselves, we witness, without any very lively sally of resentment, the self-gratulation with which a man of learning and industry contemplates a

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monument, reared by his own most laborious exertions, to his fame. Nor, indeed, does M. Clavier at all attempt to monopolize the credit of the system which he presents to the world. On the contrary, he declares himself under the deepest obligations to a countryman of his own, with whose reputation at least, if not with his works, every English scholar is familiar, the well-informed and able Freret. The chief ground in truth, on which the chronology of M. Clavier stands, is the principle of genealogical synchronisms; a principle perfectly well known to the ancient chronologers, but which, in modern times, was first revived, as our author assures us, by Freret, and which is, as he thinks, of such importance, that the revival of it may well entitle Freret to the appellation of the father of historic criticism. Considerably more is comprehended under this title than it probably was intended to convey; nor, indeed, is there a doubt that the principle in question had been partially employed by modern chronologers antecedently to the time of Freret; but we notwithstanding admit, that the almost exclusive stress laid on it by that sagacious antiquarian, and the minuteness with which he has followed it out into its practical consequences, in some degree justify the pretensions urged on his behalf by the present writer, and may be considered as constituting him the founder of a new chronological school.

To those who may be unacquainted with the principle of genealogical synchronisms, a single example of the manner in which it is actually applied, will probably afford a clearer insight into its nature than the most precise defiuition. Miltiades, the son of Cypselus, established a sort of sovereignty in the Chersonese, about 560 years before our æra. But this Miltiades was the sixteenth in descent from Ajax Telamon; and allowing, according to the usual computation, three generations to a century, sixteen generations will take about 533 years; whence we shall have the death of Ajax about (560+533) 1093 years before our æra. Therefore we may say that Troy, by this reckoning, was taken about 1090 years before our æra. Again; Agis, king of Sparta, was the twenty-third in descent from Aristodemus, who was one of the Heraclidæ, and died just before the expedition of that family into the Peloponnesus, leaving two sons of a tender age. Now Agis was murdered about 240 years before our æra, and all chronologers agree that the conquest of the Peloponnesus by the Heraclide took place about 80 years after the capture of Troy; twenty-three generations occupy nearly 767 years; from all which premises it follows that the epoch of the capture of Troy was about the year before our æra (240+767 +80=) 1087; in almost exact consonance with the result of the former calculation. This

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