The Glory That Was Greece

XVII. APOLLO AND MARSYAS

English Photo Co., Athens

the fourth century some slackening of purpose, some loss of ideals, some tendency in the direction of prettiness and languor.

But we must not yet begin to speak of degeneration. The Hermes of Praxiteles and the “Republic” of Plato are not works of decadence. Some modern historians are rather vulture-like in their scent for decay. They show an unseemly gusto in tracing the causes of decline and fall of states, so that they begin the post-mortem long before the breath is out of their patient. Greece of the fourth century is still very active and vigorous, still improving the old arts and inventing new ones. Fourth-century Athens is far too like twentieth-century England for an Englishman to feel quite comfortable in using the term “degeneration” of her.

In politics, for example, she was beginning to make

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