Roger Ascham, The Scholemaster:
Athens, by this discipline and good ordering of yougthe, did breede vp, within the circute of that one Citie, within the compas of one hondred yeare, within the memorie of one mans life, so manie notable Capitaines in warre, for worthinesse, wisdome and learning, as be scarse matchable no not in the state of Rome, in the compas of those seauen hondred yeares, whan it florished moste.
And bicause, I will not onelie saie it, but also proue it, the names of them be these. Miltiades, Themistocles, Xantippus, Pericles, Cymon, Alcybiades, Thrasybulus, Conon, Iphicrates, Xenophon, Timotheus, Theopompus, Demetrius, and diuers other mo: of which euerie one, maie iustelie be spoken that worthie praise, which was geuen toScipio Africanus, who, Cicero douteth, whether he were, more noble Capitaine in warre, or more eloquent and wise councelor in peace. And if ye beleue not me, read diligentlie, Aemilius Probus in Latin, and Plutarche in Greke, which two, had no cause either to flatter or lie vpon anie of those which I haue recited.
And beside nobilitie in warre, for excellent and matchles masters in all maner of learninge, in that one Citie, in memorie of one aige, were mo learned men, and that in a maner altogether, than all tyme doth remember, than all place doth affourde, than all other tonges do conteine. And I do not meene of those Authors, which, by iniurie of tyme, by negligence of men, by crueltie of fier and sworde, be lost, but euen of those, which by Goddes grace, are left yet vnto us: of which I thank God, euen my poore studie lacketh not one. As, in Philosophie, Plato, Aristotle, Xenophon, Euclide and Theophrast: In eloquens and Ciuill lawe, Demosthenes, Aeschines, Lycurgus, Dinarchus, Demades, Isocrates, Isaeus, Lysias, Antisthenes, Andocides: In histories, Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon: and which we lacke, to our great losse, Theopompus and Ephorus: In Poetrie Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, and somwhat of Menander, Demosthenes sister sonne.
Now, let Italian, and Latin it self, Spanishe, French, Douch, and Englishe bring forth their lerning, and recite their Authors, Cicero onelie excepted, and one or two moe in Latin, they be all patched cloutes and ragges, in comparison of faire wouen broade clothes. And trewelie, if there be any good in them, it is either lerned, borowed, or stolne, from some one of those worthie wittes of Athens.