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the surest resources are from Greeks of other countries. Among the Poets, Lycophron, Callimachus, and Apollonius Rhodius are principally to be esteemed. - The last of these was a native of Egypt; and the other two lived there, and have continual allusions to the antiquities of that country. Homer likewise abounds with a deal of mysterious lore, borrowed from the antient Amonian theology; with which his commentators have been often embarrassed. To these may be added such Greek writers of later date, who were either not born in Hellas, or were not so deeply tinctured with the vanity of that country. Much light may be also obtained from those learned men, by whom the Scholia were written, which are annexed to the works of the Poets abovementioned. Nonnus too, who wrote the Dionysiaca, is not to be neglected. He was a native of Panopolis in Egypt, ' Ex ins llavo's ons AlgunTY geyevnuevos ; and had opportunity of collecting many antient traditions, and fragments of niysterious history, which never were known in Greece. To these may be added Porphyry, Proclus, and Jamblichus, who professedly treat of Egyptian learning. The Isis and Osiris of Plutarch may be admitted with proper circumspection. It may
be said, that the whole is still an enigma: and It must confess that it is: but we receive it more copiously exemplified; and more clearly defined; and it must necessarily be more genuine, by being nearer the fountain head: so that by comparing, and adjusting the various parts, we are more likely to arrive at a solution of the hidden purport. But the great resource of all is to be found among the later antiquaries and historians. Many of these are writers of high rank; particularly Diodorus, Strabo, and Pausanias, on the Gentile part: and of the fathers, Theophilus, Tatianus Athenagoras, Clemens, Origenes, Eusebius, Theodoretus, Syncellus; and the compiler of the Fasti Siculi, otherwise called Chronicon Paschale. Most of these were either of Egypt or Asia. They had a real taste for antiquity; and lived at a time, when some insight could be obtained: for till the Roman Empire was fully established, and every province in a state of tranquillity, little light could be procured from those countries, whence the mythology of Greece was derived. The native Helladiaus were very limited in their knowledge. They had taken in the gross whatever was handed down by tradition; and assumed to themselves every history, which was imported. They moreover held every nation but their own as barbarous; so that their insuperable vanity rendered it impossible for them to make any great advances in historical knowledge. But the writers whom I just now mentioned, either had not these prejudices; or lived at a time when they were greatly subsided. They condescended to quote innumerable authors,'and some of great antiquity; to whom the pride of Greece would never have appealed. I had once much' talk upon this subject with a learned friend, since lost to the world, who could ill brook that Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, should be discarded for Clemens, Origen, or Eusebius; and that Lysias and Demosthenes should give way to Libanius and Aristides. The name of Tzetzes, or Eustathius, he could not bear. To all which I repeatedlymade answer; that it was by no means my intention to set aside any of the writers, he mentioned: Avhose merits, as far as they extended, I held in great veneration. On the contrary, I should have recourse to their assistance, as far as it would carry me: But I must at the Same time take upon me to weigh those merits; and see wherein they consisted; and to what degree they were to be trusted. The Helladiarts- were much to be admired for the smoothness of their periods, and a happy collocation of their terms. They shewed a great propriety of diction; and a beautiful arrangement of their ideas: and the whole was attended with a rhythm, and harmony, no where else to be found. But they were at the same time under violent prejudices: and the subject matter of which they treated, was in general so brief, and limited, that very little could be obtained from it towards the history of other countries, or a knoAvledge of antient times. Even in respect to their own affairs, whatever light had been derived to them, was so perverted, and came through so dim a medium, that it is difficult to make use of it to any determinate and salutary purpose. Yet the beauty of their composition has been attended with wonderful * influence. Many have been so far captivated by this magic, as to give an implicit credence to all that has been transmitted; and to sacrifice their judgment to the pleasures of the fancy.
It may be said, that the writers, to whom I chiefly appeal, are, in great measure, dry and artless, without any grace and ornament to recommend them. They were likewise posterior to the Helladians; consequently farther removed from the times of which they treat. To the first objection I answer, that the most dry and artless historians are, in general, the most authentic. They who colour and embellish, have the least regard for the truth. In respect to priority, it is
See'Theophilus ad Autolycum. 1. 2. p. 357.
a specious claim; but attended with no validity, When a gradual darkness has been overspreading the world, it requires as much time to emerge from the Cloud, as there passed when we were sinking into it: so that they who eome later may enjoy a greater portion of light, than those who preceded them by ages. Besides, it is to be considered, that the writers, to whom I chiefly appeal, lived in parts of the world which gave them great advantages. The whole theology of Greece was derived from the east. We cannot therefore but in reason suppose, that Clemens of Alexandria,' Eusebius of Czesarea, Tatianus of Assyria, Lueianus of Samosata, Cyril of Jerusalem, Porphyry of Syria, Proclus of Lycia, Philo of Biblus, Strabo of Amasa, Pausanias of Cappadocia, Eratosthenes of Cyrene, must know more upon this subject than any native Helladian. The like may be said of Diodorus, Josephus, CedrenUs, Syncellus, Zonaras, Eustathius: and numberless more. These had the archives of antients temples, to which they could apply: and had traditions more genuine than ever reached Greece. And though they were posterior them?
3 See Philo Biblius apud Euseb. P. E. 1. 1. c. 10. p. 32. He Mentions applying to a great number of authors, in Phenicia.