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CHAPTER II

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 August 2011

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Summary

The influence obtained over society by these accomplished but dangerous agents of its pleasures and its passions, at last induced the most brilliant and able demagogue of any age or nation to adopt their demoralizing power as a state engine; and Pericles chose the salon of Aspasia as the scene of those corrupting experiments, which preceded the downfal of liberty in Athens, and ended in the entire ruin of Greece.

The character of Pericles was one of those lucky adaptations to cotemporary times and circumstances, which insure success,—not by the highest qualities that ought to command it, but by that peculiar fitness (for evil or for good) which almost always wins it. Of illustrious birth, great wealth, brilliant talents, and refined education, the gifted pupil of Xeno, and ardent disciple of Anaxagoras, was born for the epoch he illustrated. His quick, if not profound, perceptions gleaned a rapid view of the laws of nature from one preceptor, and a contempt of superstition from the other; and he obtained the reputation of a philosopher, from his intimacy with both, though it subjected him to the imputation of being a free thinker. The circumstances of the times gave him an early opportunity of signalizing his intrepid and petulant courage; and, at a moment most favourable to the triumph of sophistry, they also afforded the occasion for exerting that natural eloquence, which adapted its variable character to the passions of each successive audience, to which he addressed it.

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Woman and her Master , pp. 291 - 320
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2010
First published in: 1840

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  • CHAPTER II
  • Sydney Morgan
  • Book: Woman and her Master
  • Online publication: 05 August 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511734403.018
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  • CHAPTER II
  • Sydney Morgan
  • Book: Woman and her Master
  • Online publication: 05 August 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511734403.018
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • CHAPTER II
  • Sydney Morgan
  • Book: Woman and her Master
  • Online publication: 05 August 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511734403.018
Available formats
×