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From the epoch of the establishment of the first colonies of Asia and Egypt in Greece, to the time of Thales, that is to say, for more than a thousand years, the Greeks made no progress in the sciences, which the people of the east had communicated to them. The continual intercourse which Greece kept up with Egypt and Phoenicia, one would think, would have contributed to kindle and develop the seeds of knowledge. Yet this commerce, with people fo improved, did not produce the effect naturally to be expected from it. These first feeds were stilled. Let us en. deavour to give a reason for this flowness and inactivity. By examining the state in which Greece was in the ages which at present fix our attention, and by reflecting on the events which happened there at that time, we Thall fee that it was not possible for the Greeks to perfect the first knowledge which they had received from Agia and Egypt.
I think, it is demonstrated by all the lights that history can afford us on the origin and progress of the sciences, that they did not begin to acquire any fort of perfection, but in pretty considerable states i, Greece in the heroic ages, and long afterwards, reckoned alnıost as many kingdoms as cities. We may easily comprehend how weak those fort of states must have been. What inhabitants they had, must have been solely taken up with the care of their own preservation. In such a situation the sciences could hardly make any progress.
Besides, a nation cannot cultivate the sciences, but in proportion to its enjoying tranquillity, which Greece was very far from enjoying the sweets of in the heroic times *, Exposed to the incursions and ravages of strangers, tor. mented with divisions and intestine wars, engaged to carry their arms into distant climes; lastly, exposed to the most fatal revolutions, how could these people give them
See part 1. bock. 3. chap. 2. art 6.
felves up to that repose and study which the arts and sciences require? To prove this, let us give a short but exact picture of the different revolutions with which that part of Europe was then agitated.
We have just seen that they formerly had not in Greece any flourishing states; and of consequence they had no fecurity, no tranquillity in that part of Europe. . These countries then quite open, and without defence, were a prey to the avidity of the neighbouring people, who every instant came to attack and plunder then. In these unhappy times the inhabitants removed themselves, as far as possible, from the sea-coasts for fear of pirates'. They had scarce any more security in the inland parts. The people pillaged, ftript, and mutually drove them from their habitations. Thus they were always obliged to be armed * : they could neither trade, nor even cultivate the earth ó.
The different colonies which came from Asia and Egypt to settle themselves in Greece about the beginning of the ages we are now running over, drew them from the horrors to which they were then a prey. The conductors of these new migrations communicated to the Greeks the sciences which these people had always wanted, or which at least they absolutely neglected to cultivate. They built cities in advantageous places, and at the same time commodious for traffic. They also found out the means of inhabiting the coasts with some security. The sea-ports, becoming rich, were augmented by little and little: the most powerful built walls, and secured themselves from incursions. It was thus that Greece began insensibly to instruct and polith itself.
But the spirit of discord, almost at the same time, seized on the different states, which then formed themselves in each district. Without particularising the number of petty intestine hostilities, the two wars of Thebes, the last of which ended with the ruin of that city, of themselves put
Thucyd. l. 1. n. 7.; Philocor. apul. Strab. 1. 9. p. 109.
Thucyl. 1. 1. n.7. & 8.
all Greece in combustion. The expedition of the Argonauts, which afterwards employed the choice and flower of the nation in a distant country, the league formed a little afterwards for the destruction of Troy, lastly, the revolution which the return of the Heraclidæ caused in Peloponnesus, did not give the Greeks time to breathe. The war of Troy had occasioned the greatest disorders in Greecer; but the revolution which rendered the Heraclidæ masters of Peloponnesus, had still more fatal consequences. This last event replunged Greece nearly into the same state of barbarism, from which the colonies from Asia and Egypt had drawn them.
The reader may call to mind what I have already said in the first book, of the efforts which the descendents of Hercules made to enter into the domain of their ancestors, 80
years after the taking of Troy 9. After various attempts, they made themselves masters of Peloponnesus. The success of their enterprise threw Greece into the greatest trouble and confusion. Almost all the ancient inhabitants were driven from their first settlements. The commotion was general. The bad effects which this event produced were not confined to these calamities. The troops which the descendents of Hercules employed, were for the most part composed of Dorians of Thessaly”. These gross and savage people threw Greece into a state of ignorance and barbarism nearly equal to that into which the Normans threw France about the end of the ninth century. These Dorians exterminated or drove out almost all the inhabitants of Peloponnesus, and of one part of Attica. They destroy. ed most of the ancient cities, and founded new ones; the citizens of which, ignorant of letters, and neglecting the sciences, only applied themselves to agriculture and the military art. Those of the ancient inhabitants who remained in these countries, were reduced to slavery. The others, forced to look for new habitacions, settled themselves in the isles, and on the coasts of Asia Minor. The business of their settlement, and the care of defending themselves against the people of those countries, hindered them for some time of thinking to cultivate letters. Yet they did not entirely negleět them. The fertility of the countries which they inhabited, soon procured them that case and repose so favourable to arts and sciences, that there came from those countries the first authors, who deferved, in every respect, to descend to posterity; authors whose works we cannot at this time too much admire *. It was from these colonies that letters repassed into European Greece, and there began to banish barbarism, which nevertheless supported itself there a long time, and reigned to the age of those celebrated men, whom the Greeks honoured with the name of Sages, that is to say, to the times of Solon and Pififtratus ,
P See infra, book 5. chap. 3.
9 P.45. & 46. Thucyd.1.1. n. 12. ; Paul. 1. 5. c. 3. & 4.
* Homer, Herodotus, ue.
See Lės memoires de l'academie des inscriptions, tom. 7. memoires, p. 331. & 332.
Commerce and Navigation.
N treating of the origin of commerce and navigation
in the first part of this work, it was necessary to re
strain ourselves to general views. An effect of the obscurity which reigns over the history of the ages
which then fixed our attention ; those at present in question will procure us more satisfaction. One may enter into fome details on the state of commerce and navigation among many nations. In the account I am going to give, I shall observe the chronological order and the succession of facts, as much as possible; it is for that reason, I shall first speak of the Egyptians. The maritime enterprifes of Sesostris are the most ancient we have any knowledge of in the times of which we now undertake to give the picture..
Of the Egyptians. I Said in the preceding volume, that the first inhabitants
of Egypt had little inclination for commerce ; I thewed also, that they must have addicted themselves to navigation only very lately. Policy and superstition opposed them a. Sefoftris, who ascended the throne about 1659 years before Christ , filenced these motives, and banished these prejudices. This prince, whose ambition knew no bounds, had proposed the conquest of the universe, But it was difficult for him to undertake so vast a project with