Philology is Not Enough

Henry Wright, Preface to Maxime Collignon’s A Manual of Greek Archaeology 

“MODERN culture owes to the civilisation of the ancient Greeks a profound debt, which is at once direct and indirect. The direct debt has arisen principally from the place long held by Greek studies in our system of education. The indirect debt, which is more subtle and less easily recognised, is that of many forces, inspirations, and models, in art, literature, and science, that have been transmitted to us from a remote past, through various peoples and through diverse civilisations. In our schools, and to a certain extent still in our colleges and universities, we understand by Greek studies almost exclusively the study of the language and literature of the ancient Hellenes. But the Hellenic spirit and it is this only that gives life to these studies has revealed itself in a novel and distinctly different manner, and with equal if not with greater vividness, delicacy, and force, in the manifold remains of Greek art, from the rudest specimens of the potter’s industry, up to the glorious monuments due to the genius of the sculptor and architect in the service of religion. Greek studies, then, that leave out of view the art of the ancient Greeks, are one-sided, fragmentary, and essentially defective.”

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