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AGNES M. CLERKE
AB HOMERO OMNE PRINCIPIUM
GREEN, AND CO.
AND NEW YORK: 15 EAST 16th STREET
All rights reserved
HOMERIC archæology has, within the last few years, finally left the groove of purely academic discussion to advance along the new route laid down for it by practical methods of investigation. The results are full of present interest, and of future promise. They already imply a reconstruction of the Hellenic past; they vitalise the Homeric world, bringing it into definite relations with what went before, and with what came after, and transforming it from a poetical creation into an historical reality. Excavations and explorations in Greece, Egypt, and Asia Minor, have thus entirely changed the aspect of the perennial Homeric problem, and afford reasonable hope of providing it with a satisfactory solution.
These remarkable, and promptly-gathered fruits of an experimental system of inquiry deserve the attention, not of scholars alone, but of every educated person; nevertheless, their value has as yet been
realised by a very limited class. The following chapters may then, it is hoped, usefully serve to illustrate some of them for the benefit of the general reading public, while making no pretension to discuss, formally or exhaustively, the wide subject of Homeric antiquities. For the proper discharge of that task, indeed, qualifications would be needed to which the writer lays no claim. The object of the present little work will be attained if it contribute to stir a wider interest in the topics it discusses; above all, should it in any degree help to promote a non-erudite study of the noble poetical monuments it is concerned with. Greek enough to read the Iliad and Odyssey in the original can be learned with comparative ease; and what trouble there may be in its acquisition meets an ample reward in mental profit and enjoyment of a high order. These ancient epics have a unique freshness about them; they are still open founts of animating pleasure for all who choose to apply to them; one cannot, then, but regret that so few have intellectual energy to do so.
The author's best thanks are due to Messrs. Macmillan, and to Messrs. Hodder and Stoughton, for their courteous permission to reprint the chapters entitled 'Homeric Astronomy,' Homer's Magic Herbs,' and 'The Dog in Homer,' originally published in the pages of Nature, Macmillan's Magazine, and the British Quarterly Review respectively.