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LECTURE III. GRECIAN SCULPTURE. When we consider the gradual
ravages of time, and the more compendious destruction of war, in
the eastern portion of Europe, and those countries of Asia from
whence the remains of ancient knowledge have been obtained?that the
sites of Babylon and Memphis are scarcely known?that Persepolis,
Alexandria, Elis, Eleusis, Delphos and Athens are discovered by
ruins almost unintelligible, or the remains of their foundations
only?that Rome, the eternal city, the mistress of the world, with
all her lofty towers, magnificent temples, and imperial palaces,
has suffered sevenfold conflagration !! !?that eleven thousand
exquisite works of Greek and Etruscan Vide Pliny. sculpture, which
decorated this metropolis of the world in her meridian splendor,
were so entirely destroyed or overwhelmed by gothic ignorance, or
iconoclastic fury, that in the beginning of the fifteenth century,
a learned and intelligent observer, Poggio Bracciolini, secretary
to Eugenius the Fourth and Nicholas the Fifth, noticed only six
statues among the other remains of former grandeur?when we
recollect the destruction of the Capitoline and Ulpian libraries,
the first and second Alexandrine libraries, one containing 400,000,
the other 1,100,000 volumes, together with the general and
undistinguishing Turkish and northern devastations in every branch
of learning and science, throughout better than one half of the old
continent!?from such a train of reflections, and such a widely
extended scene of ruin, we might be induced to suppose, that all
the nobler monuments of ancient genius and knowledge were lost for
ever. Upon more accurate inquiry, we shall find the fact very
different from the appearance; and, on the contrary, whatever was
most essential for man's good, or his in...
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