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Be it remembered, that on this 20th day of June, in the year 1827, and 51st year of American Independence, Wilkins Tannehill hath deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as author, in the words following, to wit: "Sketches of the History of Literature, from the earliest period to the revival of letters in the fifteenth century. Indocti discant ament meminisse periti. By Wilkins Tannehill." In conformity to an act of the Congress of the Uuited States, entitled, "an act for the encouragement of learning, by securing copies of maps, charts, and books, to the proprietors and authors of such copies, during the time therein mentioned;" and also the act, entitled, "an act supplementary to an act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the time therein mentioned, and extending the benefit thereof to designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints."

N. A. M'NAIRY, Clerk

Of the District of West Tennessee.




THE work now presented to the public is one of humble pretensions, and goes forth unprotected by the patronage of rich and powerful booksellers. Prepared during intervals of occasional leisure from the duties of an employment little congenial with literary pursuits, and without any opportunity for consulting extensive libraries, it aspires only to the character of sketches, without pretending to be a complete history. It is an attempt by a "backwoodsman" to condense and comprise within a narrow compass, the most prominent and interesting events, connected with the progress of literary and scientific improvement, from the earliest period through a long succession of ages, and amidst a great variety of circumstances. The author is well aware that, from the nature of things, its deficiencies must appear numerous and obvious to the scholar and man of extensive erudition. Many events, no doubt, have been more slightly noticed, than, from their importance, they deserved to be; and some, perhaps equally interesting, have been entirely overlooked. These remarks are made, not for the purpose of averting the arrows of criticism, to which every man who ventures to publish a book must expect to be exposed; but in order fairly to exhibit the true design of the work, and to point out the class of readers for whom it was specially intended. To those who have no opportunity for extensive reading, and who may wish to take a rapid, genM76087.

eral survey of the past history of literary improvement, this volume may prove a source of valuable and interesting information, not, perhaps, elsewhere to be found, within so narrow a space. As a book of occasional reference, it may be convenient even to the classical scholar, and to the student who aspires to a minute acquaintance with historical details, it may not be without its use, by affording facilities for reviewing and arranging the knowledge acquired by more extensive research. Such as it is, this volume appears before the public a candidate for patronage and favor, in the hope, that all due and reasonable allowances will be made for its defects, and that its merits will be fairly appreciated, although proceeding from an individual unknown to fame, and issued from the press in the remote interior of the western country.



CHAPTER I. Hieroglyphic and Alphabetic writing. Sketch of the Literature

of the Egyptians. Of the Hebrews. Of the Hindoos. Of the Chaldeans. Of the


CHAPTER III. Literature of the Greeks. Stesichorus; Anacreon; Simonides;

Pindar: Eschylus; extracts from the tragedy of Agamemnon. Sophocles; extracts

from the tragedy of Edipus Tyrannus. Euripides; extracts from the tragedy of Iphi-

genia in Aulis.

CHAPTER IV. Literature of the Greeks. Greek comedy-the old, the middle

and the new. Greek comic writers; Eupolis; Cratinus; Aristophanes; Crates; Phere
crates; Anaxandrides; Epicrates; Eubulis; Alexis; Antiphanes; Menander; Phile-
mon. Remarks on pastoral poetry; the pastoral poet, Theocritus; Appolonius Rhodius.

CHAPTER V. Literature of the Greeks. Of the different sects of Greek phi

losophers. The Ionic school; Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Diogenes, Appol-
lionates, Archelaus. Of the Socratic sect; Socrates, Zenophon, Eschines, Simon, Ce-
bes. The Cyrenaic sect; Aristippus, Arete, Hegisias. The Megaric or Eristic sect;
Euclid of Megara, Eubulides, Stilpo. The Eliac sect; Phoedo, Menedemus. The
Academic sect; Plato, Speusippus, Zenocrates, Polemo, Crantor. The Middle acade-
my; Arcesilaus. The New academy; Carneades, Clitomachus, Antiochus. The Peri-
patetic sect; Aristotle, Theophrastus, Strato. The Cynic sect; Antisthenes, Diogenes,
Hipparchia. The Stoic sect; Zeno, Cleanthes; Posidonius.

CHAPTER VI. Literature of the Greeks. Philosophers of the Italic or Pytha-
gorean school; Pythagoras, Empedocles. The Heraclitean sect; Heraclitus, Hippocra-
tes. The Epicurean sect; Epicurus. The Sceptic sect; Pyrrho, Timon, Enesidemus.

CHAPTER VII. Literature or the Greeks. Greek historians: Cadmus of Mil-
etus; Phenecydes; Hecateus; Herodotus; Thucydides; Xenophon; Philistus; Megas-
thenes; Polybius; Diodorus Siculus; Dionysius of Halicarnassus. Greek orators; Pi-
theus; Georgias; Lysias; Isocrates; Eschines; Demosthenes.

CHAPTER VIII. Literature of the Romans. Early history of Rome. Numa,
the successor of Romulus. The Fescinnene verses. Satires. The first dramatic poet,
Livius Andronicus. Ennius; Accius; Nevius; Pacuvius; Plautus; Coecilius; Terence.

CHAPTER IX. Literature of the Romans. Didactic poetry. Lucretius; Ter-

rentius Varro; accession of Augustus to the Roman empire; Virgil; Ovid; Tibullus;

Propertius; Horace; Influence of government upon literature. Lucan; Persius; Juve

nal; Martial, the epigramatist; Silius Italicus; Statius. Decline of dramatic poetry.

Shows of gladiators.

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