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LIFE AND TRAVELS
FIFTH CENTURY BEFORE CHRIST :
AN IMAGINARY BIOGRAPHY FOUNDED ON FACT,
ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE
HISTORY, MANNERS, RELIGION, LITERATURE, ARTS, AND SOCIAL CONDITION
DAYS OF PERICLES AND NEHEMIAH.
J. TALBOYS WHEELER, F.R.G.S.
AUTHOR OF "THE GEOGRAPHY OF HERODOTUS," ETC.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
The present work is an attempt to give in a popular form a complete survey of the principal nations of the ancient world as they were in the days of Pericles and Nehemiah. With this view, the author has written an imaginary biography of Herodotus, the Greek historian and geographer, who flourished in the fifth century before Christ; and by describing his supposed travels to the most famous cities and countries of antiquity, he has been enabled to review their several histories, narrate their national traditions, describe the appearance of each people, point out their peculiarities and manners, and develope the various religious views and ideas which belong to their several mythologies.
Such a work is peculiarly open to criticism. The author's anxious desire to render it as popular as possible has led him to take such freedoms as may probably be censured by the severer scholar. He has taken Herodotus to Persepolis and Jerusalem, and brought him into contact with Nehemiah, for the sake of connecting the sacred history of the world with the profane. He has been compelled to throw a thick veil over the dark vices of the ancient world that he might fit his book for general perusal. He has been obliged to avoid all criticism and boldly state results which have not as yet received the approval of every scholar. He has even thought it advisable to omit specific references to authorities, as they would involve much critical discussion and bewilder those readers for whom he has more especially written, It is therefore with no little diffidence that he submits the present volumes to the public. He can, however, declare that he has conscientiously laboured to compile such an introduction to the study of ancient history as should both amuse and instruct the general reader, and lead him to the study of that higher class of historical, geographical, and critical works which as yet he may not have had the courage to undertake. In a word, the author has sought to clear ancient history from the dust of the schools, and teach it in shady playgrounds and flowery gardens.
The great work of Herodotus, and the labours of his numerous commentators, have been his chief authority for the historical narratives, the geographical descriptions, and the legends, traditions, and anecdotes scattered throughout the following pages. Besides these, however, the writer has been greatly indebted to the labours of Grote, Thirlwall, Müller, Heeren, Rawlinson, Fergusson, Wachsmuth, Becker, and Jacobs; to the