Excerpt from The History of Greece From Its Commencement to the Close of the Independence of the Greek Nation, Vol. 1 of 4
I should not have complied with the request of my publisher, who has done so much for the study of antiquity, to write a short history of Greece, if I had not been convinced that a new history would be of some use to those who are interested in the subject. The circumstances of the case and the scope of my own abilities precluded that criticism of the nicest minutiae of research, for which Grote and Duncker are remarkable, as well as the harmony and charm of the narrative of Curtius. On the other hand, it seemed to me to be both possible and profitable to do more than has hitherto been done in the way of, firstly, treating the most important facts in a comparatively narrow compass, and secondly, bringing into clear relief what may be regarded as proved and what as hypothesis. This is what I have endeavoured to accomplish.
The historian himself must decide what facts are important. What he has to do is to draw a picture of the past. I have inserted many passages in the text at a late stage, and have run my pen through many which were composed at the outset. On the whole, it is evident that in a historical narrative neither the general coherence of the whole nor the characteristic element in the details can be neglected.
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