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Rambles and Studies in Greece   By:

Rambles and Studies in Greece by J. P. Mahaffy

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[Cover image]

RAMBLES IN GREECE

[Illustration: The Acropolis, Athens]

RAMBLES AND STUDIES

IN

GREECE

BY J. P. MAHAFFY KNIGHT OF THE ORDER OF THE SAVIOUR; AUTHOR OF "SOCIAL LIFE IN GREECE;" "A HISTORY OF GREEK LITERATURE;" "GREEK LIFE AND THOUGHT FROM THE DEATH OF ALEXANDER;" "THE GREEK WORLD UNDER ROMAN SWAY," ETC.

ILLUSTRATED

PHILADELPHIA HENRY T. COATES & CO. 1900

HUNC LIBRUM Edmundo Wyatt Edgell OB INSIGNEM INTER CASTRA ITINERA OTIA NEGOTIA LITTERARUM AMOREM OLIM DEDICATUM NUNC CARISSIMI AMICI MEMORIAE CONSECRAT AUCTOR

PREFACE.

Few men there are who having once visited Greece do not contrive to visit it again. And yet when the returned traveller meets the ordinary friend who asks him where he has been, the next remark is generally, "Dear me! have you not been there before? How is it you are so fond of going to Greece?" There are even people who imagine a trip to America far more interesting, and who at all events look upon a trip to Spain as the same kind of thing southern climate, bad food, dirty inns, and general discomfort, odious to bear, though pleasant to describe afterward in a comfortable English home.

This is a very ignorant way of looking at the matter, for excepting Southern Italy, there is no country which can compare with Greece in beauty and interest to the intelligent traveller. It is not a land for creature comforts, though the climate is splendid, and though the hotels in Athens are as good as those in most European towns. It is not a land for society, though the society at Athens is excellent, and far easier of access than that of most European capitals. But if a man is fond of the large effects of natural scenery, he will find in the Southern Alps and fiords of Greece a variety and a richness of color which no other part of Europe affords. If he is fond of the details of natural scenery, flowers, shrubs, and trees, he will find the wild flowers and flowering trees of Greece more varied than anything he has yet seen. If he desires to study national character, and peculiar manners and customs, he will find in the hardy mountaineers of Greece one of the most unreformed societies, hardly yet affected by the great tide of sameness which is invading all Europe in dress, fabrics, and usages. And yet, in spite of the folly still talked in England about brigands, he will find that without troops, or police, or patrols, or any of those melancholy safeguards which are now so obtrusive in England and Ireland, life and property are as secure as they ever were in our most civilized homes. Let him not know a word of history, or of art, and he will yet be rewarded by all this natural enjoyment; perhaps also, if he be a politician, he may study the unsatisfactory results of a constitution made to order, and of a system of free education planted in a nation of no political training, but of high intelligence.

Need I add that as to Cicero the whole land was one vast shrine of hallowed memories quocunque incedis, historia est so to the man of culture this splendor of associations has only increased with the lapse of time and the greater appreciation of human perfection. Even were such a land dead to all further change, and a mere record in its ruins of the past, I know not that any man of reflection could satisfy himself with contemplating it. Were he to revisit the Parthenon, as it stands, every year of his life, it would always be fresh, it would always be astonishing. But Greece is a growing country, both in its youth and in its age... Continue reading book >>




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