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opinion, the language of the gods is Greek, by Jove, or near akin to Greek.'
The place of the celestial habitations was a most disputed point among the ancient philosophers. The Stoics held that the gods dwelt in or around the stars. Philodemus, who holds that the gods dwell in the intermundane spaces,' argues strenuously against the Stoic doctrine. He contends that it is unworthy the idea of a god to be bound to matter, and especially to small par'ticles of matter,' such as he evidently supposes the stars to be. Still more does he look on it as beneath the dignity of a god to be carried about through space, in the endless gyrations of the heavenly bodies, to which the Stoics would consign them. It ' is impossible,' he says, 'to suppose that the gods have nothing ' else to do but to go to and fro through endless ways and limit'less spaces, never for a moment stopping to rest.' And he concludes with what was clearly intended as a stroke of humour,
that we must either hold the place of the gods not to be subject to these endless revolutions in space, or we must say ' that happiness consists in being perpetually on the road, 'without ever having time to sit down for a single meal!'
It will be well, however, to contrast with what some may regard as the triflings of a half-sportive discussion a specimen of the serious reasoning, on the same subject, of another Epicurean philosopher, that Phædrus already referred to, whose treatise first appeared in the Herculanensia.' The whole tract is not undeserving of study. It is mainly a defence of the popular religion, which rests on the belief of the personal existence of those gods who were popularly received by the Greeks, against the pantheistic or semi-pantheistic theories, which either identified God with the IIáv (the universe),-and thus, in a certain sense, taught the unity of God,- or which, while admitting a plurality of deities, reduced them to abstract properties or notions, or to symbols of the several elements and powers of nature. The laborious trifling of Phædrus, on these-to us self-evident theories, is a curious justification of St. Paul's halfindignant, half-pitying judgment upon those who, 'professing themselves to be wise, became fools.' We translate from the amended text of Petersen; and, indeed, we have found it necessary to permit ourselves considerable liberty in the rendering of one or two passages, which in the original are still obscure, and probably imperfect :
'In the first place, all the followers of Zeno either, if they retain the doctrine of the existence of God, explain the nature of God in a sense which is not admissible, or, if they give a correct explanation of his nature, say that there is but one God. Granting to them that
VOL. CXVI. NO. CCXXXVI.
the Universe is God, still they are in error, because they do not admit more than one God, accommodating themselves exclusively to the views of their own sect. Let it be understood of them, then, by the public, that they teach that the Universe is the one only God; that they do not admit more gods than this one; and that they do not confess those gods whom the public voice proclaims; whereas we hold that there are, not merely as many gods as the Pan-Hellenic body receives, but even a greater number. Besides, these philosophers do not acknowledge even those gods whom they admit, to be of that form in which they are worshipped by us, in common with all the world. They do not admit any god of human form, but only the Air, the Winds, and the Ether; so that I do not hesitate to pronounce them more censurable than even Diagoras, since he has, at the most, spoken lightly of the gods, but has not directly assailed them, as Aristoxenus has observed, in his "Customs of the "Mantineans," as also in his poetry, when he remarks that "Diagoras had adhered to the truth, introducing nothing like impiety "in any of his verses, but always speaking in them reverently of the "Deity, as is shown, among many passages, by one addressed to "Arianthus of Argos:
""O God, O God, before all mortal works,
Grant us the loftiest mind!"
'And again, to Nicodorus of Mantinea,—
""By God and chance all mortal things are ruled."'
He proceeds to criticise the system in its moral bearings, and especially its implied denial of the action of the gods on the affairs of men.
'It must be evident to every one,' he continues, 'that no man ever abstains, out of fear of the Air, or the Æther, or the Universe, from doing the slightest injustice, much less from those things to which he is incited by the strongest desires, any more than he would regard a heap of sand, or the down on the feather of a thistle, which he clearly perceives to be insensible. It seems to me, therefore, that we may apply to these men what was said by Timocles, in his comedy of "Egypt," respecting the gods of that country:
"For if the wretch, unpunished and secure,
Blasphemes the mighty gods, confessed by all,
'They object that, if men speak of the gods from conceiving them such as their own arrogance has represented them, each man must consider himself at liberty to do ill at his pleasure, whenever he has an opportunity. But, on the other hand, can we suppose that any one will abstain from any of the greatest crimes for fear of the Air? And even granting that it is so, if this is the principal check for repressing injustice, they may be very fairly reproached with transferring to mankind the habits of wild beasts, especially if they dis
regard, as they profess to do, the clamour of the multitude on this account.' (Petersen's Phædrus, pp. 22-4.)
This curious fragment of Phædrus cannot but be regarded as an interesting supplement to the knowledge of that Epicurean philosopher which we already possess through Cicero's treatise 'De Natura Deorum.' It fully bears out, and it illustrates not uninterestingly, that principle as to the popular polytheism of the Greeks which Diogenes attributes to Epicurus. His disciple here even uses it as an argument against the Stoics, and other philosophers whom he confutes, that their system only recognised one, and not many gods.' It would be remarkable, too, that Phædrus should speak of himself and his fellow Epicureans as not merely agreeing with the rest of the Greeks in admitting many gods, but as holding the number of the gods to be greater than was believed by the other Greeks, were it not clear that in this he is alluding to the well-known Epicurean dictum that the gods exceed in number the mortal inhabitants of the earth.
By far the most extensive work, however, among the various relics which have been restored to the world through the papyri, is Philodemus's treatise on Rhetoric,' considerable portions of three books of which, as well as several disconnected fragments, are collected by M. Gros from the different volumes of the original series in which they had appeared. We have already stated that it is not a treatise on Rhetoric in the received sense of the name, but an essay on the question whether the use of rhetoric is laudable and advantageous; on which question the negative is vigorously defended by Philodemus.
It must be said, however, that, in adopting this opinion, Philodemus considers rhetoric, in the very lowest sense of the word, not alone as a purely servile art, tied up by dishonest and unworthy rules, and proposing to itself, not truth, but ostentation, but even as an art, capable of being employed, and habitually employed, for the worst and most corrupt ends. It is true, indeed, that, even on independent grounds, the Epicurean philosophy would lead to the condemnation of one main purpose of the rhetorical art; - viz., the appeals to the passions on which rhetoric often relies for its most effective weapons. Such appeals, and the effects which they are intended to produce, are, of their nature, inconsistent with that enviable ȧrapağıa, the equable maintenance of which constitutes the chief good' of the Epicurean. But in the portions of his argument against rhetoric which have been preserved in the papyri, Philodemus abstracts from this consideration. He dwells almost entirely on the abuses of rhetoric; and, although he admits that certain advantages may be attained by the rhetorician, he contends that
no part of this advantage is in reality to be ascribed to rhetoric; but that, in such a case, all that is good is the work of philosophy, and all the evil by which this good is accompanied is due to rhetoric, which, even in the good which it has effected, has but borrowed for the time the weapons of philosophy.
The treatise, indeed, is mainly directed against the sophists, and is intended to expose their unworthy arts. Perhaps the best idea of the manner in which it deals with the subject will be conveyed by referring the curious reader to the chapter in which Philodemus discusses the well-known rhetorical exercise called by the name of Declamations.' (Gros, pp. 67-8.) The nature of these compositions is already familiar, from the description of Quintilian. The highest praise of a Declamation,' according to the corrupt standard adopted in the school, was that it made the best of a bad cause, the distinction of the successful declaimer being held to be more signal in proportion to the badness of the cause. This it is that Philodemus chiefly condemns.
There is another chapter in which Philodemus discusses the well-known saying of Demosthenes on Action, which may also be read with interest. But the really interesting remains of the school are the purely ethical treatises, as that on Freedom of Speech, on Death, on Domestic Economy, and on Arrogance. The essay on Freedom of Speech' has an amusing section on the persons with whom this plain speaking cannot safely be used, first of whom it ranks women, persons of rank, and old men. On the other hand, we have seldom been so painfully struck by the dark realities of the moral condition of ancient heathendom as in this book On Death.' It comes like a voice from the grave of two thousand years to tell us of those whom St. Paul pityingly describes as the others who have not hope.' There is something positively appalling in the picture which it presents of the human mind calmly accepting the grave as the limit of its destiny, and acquiescing without an effort in the contented consciousness of annihilation. This is the tone of Philodemus throughout the essay. It is not, as we sometimes see in the Epicurean poets, a passing allusion to the sleep of death. Philodemus coolly discusses all the circumstances of death, and calmly puts aside all the terrors which they involve by the single consideration, that, since man, by the enjoyment of life, 'has attained the chief good, he is not to concern himself with what may afterwards befal.' The children, therefore, whom we may leave behind us, are no more to us than they are to 'those who were born under King Phoroneus'!
It is sufficiently plain, that, as subjects of general reading,
there is hardly any device by which even the least fragmentary of these Herculanean relics could well be rendered available. They are, by their very nature and condition, destined exclusively for the scholar. Even for the most enthusiastic and persevering student they present but few of the ordinary attractions of ancient literature; but we are not without hopes that some of our own countrymen may be induced to continue and complete the work commenced by their learned brethren of Germany and France. It is only by the minute and thorough investigation involved in such a process, that these remains can be made to render up their full value for the illustration of the literature, and still more of the philosophy, of the school to which they belong. Nevertheless, in looking back over what we have written as to the results of the Herculanean discovery, we fear we must not reckon on any very high estimate among our readers of the absolute value, reckoned in the sterling coin of literature, of what has hitherto been won by so many years of toil, and by so vast an expenditure of wealth and of industry. Still even the limited success which has attended the operations on the Herculanean papyri, and especially that of Sir Humphry Davy's experiments, affords almost a certainty that if, in the course of the explorations which yet remain to be made under far more favourable circumstances at Pompeii, any similar deposit of papyri should be there discovered, the rolls, being unaffected by air or moisture, will, like the frescos and other perishable remains, be found in a far higher state of preservation than those of the sister city. This hope is far, we are convinced, from being a visionary one. A very large proportion of the site of Pompeii remains still unexplored; nor has the yet unvisited quarter of that city suffered in any degree, whether from the action of fire, or from the injurious effects of the overflow of boiling mud and water which is supposed to have accompanied the eruption by which Herculaneum was buried. It is hard, therefore, to imagine that, when objects so perishable and colours so delicate as those which we see among the Pompeian remains in the Museo Borbonico, have survived without injury the catastrophe which destroyed that city, the good genius of ancient literature has not even yet in store for us, only awaiting the tardy visit of the excavator, more than one of the lost masterpieces of antiquity, and perhaps in a state of preservation which will leave little to be desired.