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of occasional foreign settlers from Sidon, Lydia, or Egypt. The Homeric Greeks were well acquainted with almost all the arts of life, though it is not absolutely certain that they could write, and certainly they were not addicted to reading. In war they fought from chariots, like the Egyptians and Assyrians; they were bold seafarers, being accustomed to harry the shores even of Egypt, and they had large commercial dealings with the people of Tyre and Sidon. In the matter of religion they were comparatively free and unrestrained. Their deities, though capricious in character, might be regarded in many ways as "making for righteousness." They protected the stranger and the suppliant; they sanctioned the oath, they frowned on the use of poisoned arrows; marriage and domestic life were guarded by their good-will; they dispensed good and evil fortune, to be accepted with humility and resignation among mortals.

The patriarchal head of each family performed the sacrifices for his household, the king for the state, the ruler of Mycenæ, Agamemnon, for the whole Achæan host encamped before the walls of Troy. At the same time, prophets, like Calchas, possessed considerable influence, due partly to an hereditary gift of second-sight, as in the case of Theoclymenus,[1] partly to acquired professional skill in observing omens, partly to the direct inspiration of the gods. The oracle at Delphi, or, as it is called by Homer, Pytho, was already famous, and religion recognised, in various degrees, all the gods familiar to the later cult of Hellas. In a

  1. Odyssey, xx. 354.