Ancient Mysteries Mythology Sea-Kings of Crete

Sea-Kings of Crete

Sea-Kings of Crete
Catalog # SKU3302
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name James Baikie
ISBN 10: 1610336461
ISBN 13: 9781610336468


The Sea-Kings
of Crete

Prehistoric Civilization Of Greece

Large Print

Rev. James Baikie

The object aimed at in the following pages has been to offer to the general reader a plain account of the wonderful investigations which have revolutionized all ideas as to the antiquity and the level of the earliest European culture, and to endeavour to make intelligible the bearing and significance of the results of these investigations. In the hope that the extraordinary resurrection of the first European civilization may appeal to a more extended constituency than that of professed students of ancient origins, the book has been kept as free as possible from technicalities and the discussion of controverted points; and throughout I have endeavoured to write for those who, while from their school days they have loved the noble and romantic story of Ancient Greece, have been denied the opportunity of a more thorough study of it than comes within the limits of an ordinary education.

--New Edition, large 17 point font



The resurrection of the prehistoric age of Greece, and the disclosure of the astonishing standard of civilization which had been attained on the mainland and in the isles of the Aegean at a period at least 2,000 years earlier than that at which Greek history, as hitherto understood, begins, may be reckoned as among the most interesting results of modern research into the relics of the life of past ages. The present generation has witnessed remarkable discoveries in Mesopotamia and in Egypt, but neither Niffur nor Abydos disclosed a world so entirely new and unexpected as that which has been revealed by the work of Schliemann and his successors at Troy, Mycenæ, and Tiryns, and by that of Evans and the other explorers-Italian, British, and American-in Crete.

The Mesopotamian and Egyptian discoveries traced back a little farther streams which had already been followed far up their course; those of Schliemann and Evans revealed the reality of one which, so to speak, had hitherto been believed to flow only through the dreamland of legend. It was obvious that mighty men must have existed before Agamemnon, but what manner of men they were, and in what manner of world they lived, were matters absolutely unknown, and, to all appearance, likely to remain so. An abundant wealth of legend told of great Kings and heroes, of stately palaces, and mighty armies, and powerful fleets, and the whole material of an advanced civilization. But the legends were manifestly largely imaginative-deities and demi-gods, men and fabulous monsters, were mingled in them on the same plane-and it seemed impossible that we should ever get back to the solid ground, if solid ground had ever existed, on which these ancient stories first rested.

For the historian of the middle of the nineteenth century Greek history began with the First Olympiad in 776 B.C. Before that the story of the return of the Herakleids and the Dorian conquest of the men of the Bronze Age might very probably embody, in a fanciful form, a genuine historical fact; the Homeric poems were to be treated with respect, not only on account of their supreme poetical merit, but as possibly representing a credible tradition, though, of course, their pictures of advanced civilization were more or less imaginative projections upon the past of the culture of the writer's own period or periods. Beyond that lay the great waste land of legend, in which gods and godlike heroes moved and enacted their romances among 'Gorgons and Hydras and Chimeras dire.' What proportion of fact, if any, lay in the stories of Minos, the great lawgiver, and his war fleet, and his Labyrinth, with its monstrous occupant; of Theseus and Ariadne and the Minotaur; of Dædalus, the first aeronaut, and his wonderful works of art and science; or of any other of the thousand and one beautiful or tragic romances of ancient Hellas, to attempt to determine this lay utterly beyond the sphere of the serious historian. 'To analyze the fables,' says Grote, 'and to elicit from them any trustworthy particular facts, appears to me a fruitless attempt. The religious recollections, the romantic inventions, and the items of matter of fact, if any such there be, must for ever remain indissolubly amalgamated, as the poet originally blended them, for the amusement or edification of his auditors....

It was one of the agreeable dreams of the Grecian epic that the man who travelled far enough northward beyond the Rhiphæan Mountains would in time reach the delicious country and genial climate of the virtuous Hyperboreans, the votaries and favourites of Apollo, who dwelt in the extreme north, beyond the chilling blasts of Boreas. Now, the hope that we may, by carrying our researches up the stream of time, exhaust the limits of fiction, and land ultimately upon some points of solid truth, appears to me no less illusory than this northward journey in quest of the Hyperborean elysium.' Grote's frankly sceptical attitude represents fairly well the general opinion of the middle of last century.

The myths were beautiful, but their value was not in any sense historical; it arose from the light which they cast upon the workings of the active Greek mind, and the revelation which they gave of the innate poetic faculty which created myths so far excelling those of any other nation.

274 pages - 8½ x 11 softcover
ISBN-10: 1610336461
ISBN-13: 9781610336468

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