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CLARKSVILLE—CLASSICS

enthusiasm. He desired to find some one who had himself witnessed the capture of the negroes in Africa; and a friend having met by chance a man-of-war’s-man who had done so, Clarkson, though ignorant of the name and address of the sailor, set out in search of him, and actually discovered him. His last tour was undertaken in order to form anti-slavery committees in all the principal towns. At length, in the autumn of 1794, his health gave way, and he was obliged to cease active work. He now occupied his time in writing a History of the Abolition of the Slave Trade, which appeared in 1808. The bill for the abolition of the trade became law in 1807; but it was still necessary to secure the assent of the other powers to its principle. To obtain this was, under pressure of the public opinion created by Clarkson and his friends, one of the main objects of British diplomacy at the Congress of Vienna, and in February 1815 the trade was condemned by the powers. The question of concerting practical measures for its abolition was raised at the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1818, but without result. On this occasion Clarkson personally presented an address to the emperor Alexander I., who communicated it to the sovereigns of Austria and Prussia. In 1823 the Anti-Slavery Society was formed, and Clarkson was one of its vice-presidents. He was for some time blind from cataract; but several years before his death on the 26th of September 1846, his sight was restored.

Besides the works already mentioned, he published the Portraiture of Quakerism (1806), Memoirs of William Penn (1813), Researches, Antediluvian, Patriarchal and Historical (1836), intended as a history of the interference of Providence for man’s spiritual good, and Strictures on several of the remarks concerning himself made in the Life of Wilberforce, in which his claim as originator of the anti-slavery movement is denied.

See the lives by Thomas Elmes (1876) and Thomas Taylor (1839).


CLARKSVILLE, a city and the county-seat of Montgomery county, Tennessee, U.S.A., situated in the N. part of the state, about 50 m. N.W. of Nashville, on the Cumberland river, at the mouth of the Red river. Pop. (1890) 7924; (1900) 9431, of whom 5094 were negroes; (1910 census) 8548. It is served by the Louisville & Nashville, and the Illinois Central railways, and by passenger and freight steamboat lines on the Cumberland river. The city hall, and the public library are among the principal public buildings, and the city is the seat of the Tennessee Odd Fellows’ home, and of the South-Western Presbyterian University, founded in 1875. Clarksville lies in the centre of the dark tobacco belt—commonly known as the “Black Patch”—and is an important tobacco market, with an annual trade in that staple of about $4,000,000, most of the product being exported to France, Italy, Austria and Spain. The city is situated in a region well adapted for the growing of wheat, Indian corn, and vegetables, and for the raising of live-stock; and Clarksville is a shipping point for the lumber—chiefly oak, poplar and birch—and the iron-ore of the surrounding country, a branch of the Louisville & Nashville railway extending into the iron district. The city’s principal manufactures are flour and grist mill products, chewing and smoking tobacco and snuff, furniture, lumber, iron, and pearl buttons. The value of the factory product in 1905 was $2,210,112, being 32% greater than in 1900. The municipality owns its water-works. Clarksville was first settled as early as 1780, was named in honour of General George Rogers Clark, and was chartered as a city in 1850.

CLASSICS. The term “classic” is derived from the Latin epithet classicus, found in a passage of Aulus Gellius (xix. 8. 15), where a “scriptor ‘classicus’” is contrasted with a “scriptor proletarius.” The metaphor is taken from the division of the Roman people into classes by Servius Tullius, those in the first class being called classici, all the rest infra classem, and those in the last proletarii.[1] The epithet “classic” is accordingly applied (1) generally to an author of the first rank, and (2) more particularly to a Greek or Roman author of that character. Similarly, “the classics” is a synonym for the choicest products of the literature of ancient Greece and Rome. It is to this sense of the word that the following article is devoted in two main divisions: (A) the general history of classical (i.e. Greek and Latin) scholarship, and (B) its place in higher education.

(A) General History of the Study of the Classics

We may consider this subject in four principal periods:—(i.) the Alexandrian, c. 300–1 B.C.; (ii.) the Roman, A.D. c. 1–530; (iii.) the Middle Ages, c. 530–1350; and (iv.) the Modern Age, c. 1350 to the present day.

(i.) The Alexandrian Age.—The study of the Greek classics begins with the school of Alexandria. Under the rule of Ptolemy Philadelphus (285–247 B.C.), learning found a home in the Alexandrian Museum and in the great Alexandrian Library. The first four librarians were Zenodotus, Eratosthenes, Aristophanes of Byzantium, and Aristarchus. Zenodotus produced before 274 the first scientific edition of the Iliad and Odyssey, an edition in which spurious lines were marked, at the beginning, with a short horizontal dash called an obelus (—). He also drew up select lists of epic and lyric poets. Soon afterwards a classified catalogue of dramatists, epic and lyric poets, legislators, philosophers, historians, orators and rhetoricians, and miscellaneous writers, with a brief biography of each, was produced by the scholar and poet Callimachus (fl. 260). Among the pupils of Callimachus was Eratosthenes who, in 234, succeeded Zenodotus as librarian. Apart from his special interest in the history of the Old Attic comedy, he was a man of vast and varied learning; the founder of astronomical geography and of scientific chronology; and the first to assume the name of φιλόλογος. The greatest philologist of antiquity was, however, his successor, Aristophanes of Byzantium (195), who reduced accentuation and punctuation to a definite system, and used a variety of critical symbols in his recension of the Iliad and Odyssey. He also edited Hesiod and Pindar, Euripides and Aristophanes, besides composing brief introductions to the several plays, parts of which are still extant. Lastly, he established a scientific system of lexicography and drew up lists of the “best authors.” Two critical editions of the Iliad and Odyssey were produced by his successor, Aristarchus, who was librarian until 146 B.C. and was the founder of scientific scholarship. His distinguished pupil, Dionysius Thrax (born c. 166 B.C.), drew up a Greek grammar which continued in use for more than thirteen centuries. The most industrious of the successors of Aristarchus was Didymus (c. 65 B.C.-A.D. 10), who, in his work on the Homeric poems, aimed at restoring the lost recensions of Aristarchus. He also composed commentaries on the lyric and comic poets and on Thucydides and Demosthenes; part of his commentary on this last author was first published in 1904. He was a teacher in Alexandria (and perhaps also in Rome); and his death, about A.D. 10, marks the close of the Alexandrian age. He is the industrious compiler who gathered up the remnants of the learning of his predecessors and transmitted them to posterity. The poets of that age, including Callimachus and Theocritus, were subsequently expounded by Theon, who flourished under Tiberius, and has been well described as “the Didymus of the Alexandrian poets.”

The Alexandrian canon of the Greek classics, which probably had its origin in the lists drawn up by Callimachus, Aristophanes of Byzantium and Aristarchus, included the following authors:—

Epic poets (5): Homer, Hesiod, Peisander, Panyasis, Antimachus.

Iambic poets (3): Simonides of Amorgos, Archilochus, Hipponax.

Tragic poets (5): Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Ion, Achaeus.

Comic poets, Old (7): Epicharmus, Cratinus, Eupolis, Aristophanes, Pherecrates, Crates, Plato. Middle (2): Antiphanes, Alexis. New (5): Menander, Philippides, Diphilus, Philemon, Apollodorus.

Elegiac poets (4): Callinus, Mimnermus, Philetas, Callimachus.

Lyric poets (9): Alcman, Alcaeus, Sappho, Stesichorus, Pindar, Bacchylides, Ibycus, Anacreon, Simonides of Ceos.

Orators (10): Demosthenes, Lysias, Hypereides, Isocrates, Aeschines, Lycurgus, Isaeus, Antiphon, Ándocides, Deinarchus.

Historians (10): Thucydides, Herodotus, Xenophon, Philistius, Theopompus, Ephorus, Anaximenes, Callisthenes, Hellanicus, Polybius.


  1. The above derivation is in accordance with English usage. In the New English Dictionary the earliest example of the word “classical” is the phrase “classical and canonical,” found in the Europae Speculum of Sir Edwin Sandys (1599), and, as applied to a writer, it is explained as meaning “of the first rank or authority.” This exactly corresponds with the meaning of classicus in the above passage of Gellius. On the other hand, the French word classique (in Littré’s view) primarily means “used in class.”