equally manifested in the spirit in which they have treated the heroes of thought and heroes of action, who lived during what we term the Middle Ages, and whom it was so long the fashion to sneer at or neglect.
The name of the victor of Arbela has led to these reflections; for, although the rapidity and extent of Alexander's conquests have through all ages challenged admiration and amazement, the grandeur of genius which he displayed in his schemes of commerce, civilization, and of comprehensive union and unity among nations, has, until lately, been comparatively unhonoured. This long continued depreciation was of early date. The ancient rhetoricians,—a class of babblers, a school for lies and scandal, as Niebuhr justly termed them,—chose, among the stock themes for their common-places, the character and exploits of Alexander. They had their followers in every age; and, until a very recent period, all who wished to "point a moral or adorn a tale," about unreasoning ambition, extravagant pride, and the formidable frenzies of free will when leagued with free power, have never failed to blazon forth the so-called madman of Macedonia as one of the most glaring examples. Without doubt, many of these writers adopted with implicit credence traditional ideas; and supposed, with uninquiring