The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them. — Mark Twain

Story of the Greeks - Helene Guerber




The Teachings of Anaxagoras

As Pericles was a very cultivated man, he liked to meet and talk with the philosophers, and to befriend the artists. He was greatly attached to the sculptor Phidias, and he therefore did all in his power to save him from the envy of his fellow-citizens.

Anaxagoras, a philosopher of great renown, was the friend and teacher of Pericles. He, too, won the dislike of the people; and, as they could not accuse him also of stealing, they charged him with publicly teaching that the gods they worshiped were not true gods, and proposed to put him to death for this crime.

Now, Anaxagoras had never heard of the true God, the God whom we worship. He had heard only of Zeus, Athene, and the other gods honored by his people; but he was so wise and so thoughtful that he believed the world could never have been created by such divinities as those.

He observed all he saw very attentively, and shocked the people greatly by saying that the sun was not a god driving in a golden chariot, but a great glowing rock, which, in spite of its seemingly small size, he thought must be about as large as the Peloponnesus.

Of course, this seems very strange to you. But Anaxagoras lived more than two thousand years ago, and since then people have constantly been finding out new things and writing them in books, so it is no wonder that in this matter you are already, perhaps, wiser than he. When you come to study about the sun, you will find that Anaxagoras was partly right, but that, instead of being only as large as the Peloponnesus, the sun is more than a million times larger than the whole earth!

Anaxagoras also tried to explain that the moon was probably very much like the earth, with mountains, plains, and seas. These things, which they could not understand, made the Athenians so angry that they exiled the philosopher, in spite of all Pericles could say.

Anaxagoras went away without making any fuss, and withdrew to a distant city, where he continued his studies as before. Many people regretted his absence, and missed his wise conversation, but none so much as Pericles, who never forgot him, and who gave him money enough to keep him in comfort.

Another great friend of Pericles was a woman called Aspasia. She was so bright that the wisest men of Athens used to go to her house merely for the pleasure of talking to her. All the best-informed people in town used to assemble there; and Cimon and Pericles, Phidias, Anaxagoras, and Socrates were among her chosen friends.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

Early Inhabitants of Greece
The Deluge of Ogyges
Founding of Important Cities
Story of Deucalion
Daedalus and Icarus
The Adventures of Jason
Theseus Visits the Labyrinth
The Terrible Prophecy
The Sphinx's Riddle
Death of Oedipus
The Brothers' Quarrel
The Taking of Thebes
The Childhood of Paris
Muster of the Troops
Sacrifice of Iphigenia
The Wrath of Achilles
Death of Hector and Achilles
The Burning of Troy
Heroic Death of Codrus
The Blind Poet
The Rise of Sparta
The Spartan Training
The Brave Spartan Boy
Public Tables in Sparta
Laws of Lycurgus
The Messenian War
The Music of Tyrtaeus
Aristomenes' Escape
The Olympic Games
Milo of Croton
The Jealous Athlete
The Girls' Games
The Bloody Laws of Draco
The Laws of Solon
The First Plays
The Tyrant Pisistratus
The Tyrant's Insult
Death of the Conspirators
Hippias Driven out of Athens
The Great King
Hippias Visits Darius
Destruction of the Persian Host
Advance of the Second Host
The Battle of Marathon
Miltiades' Disgrace
Aristides the Just
Two Noble Spartan Youths
The Great Army
Preparations for Defense
Leonidas at Thermopylae
Death of Leonidas
The Burning of Athens
Battles of Salamis and Plataea
The Rebuilding of Athens
Death of Pausanias
Cimon Improves Athens
The Earthquake
The Age of Pericles
Teachings of Anaxagoras
Peloponnesian War Begins
Death of Pericles
The Philosopher Socrates
Socrates' Favorite Pupil
Youth of Alcibiades
Greek Colonies in Italy
Alcibiades in Disgrace
Death of Alcibiades
Overthrow of Thirty Tyrants
Accusation of Socrates
Death of Socrates
The Defeat of Cyrus
Retreat of the Ten Thousand
Agesilaus in Asia
A Strange Interview
The Peace of Antalcidas
The Theban Friends
Thebes Free Once More
The Battle of Leuctra
Death of Pelopidas
The Battle of Mantinea
The Tyrant of Syracuse
Damon and Pythias
The Sword of Damocles
Dion and Dionysius
Civil War in Syracuse
Death of Dion
Philip of Macedon
Philip Begins His Conquests
The Orator Demosthenes
Philip Masters Greece
Birth of Alexander
The Steed Bucephalus
Alexander as King
Alexander and Diogenes
Alexander's Beginning
The Gordian Knot
Alexander's Royal Captives
Alexander at Jerusalem
The African Desert
Death of Darius
Defeat of Porus
Return to Babylon
Death of Alexander
Division of the Realm
Death of Demosthenes
Last of the Athenians
The Colossus of Rhodes
The Battle of Ipsus
Demetrius and the Athenians
The Achaean League
Division in Sparta
Death of Agis
War of the Two Leagues
The Last of the Greeks
Greece a Roman Province