|THE SERVICES AND REWARDS OF THE OLD GREEK VOLUNTEER|
RECENTLY ACTING PROFESSOR OF GREEK AT LEHIGH UNIVERSITY AND SOMETIME G. A. R. FELLOW AT BROWN UNIVERSITY
FROM Athens to America; from Marathon, Salamis and Chæronea to Bunker Hill, Gettysburg and Manila Bay, greatness and gratitude have been inseparable terms in national glory. From the earliest history of soldiery down to our day, martial renown and even long lease of national life have been won by those nations only which asked the greatest sacrifice and bestowed the greatest honors and rewards upon their citizen-soldiers.
The prestige of Roman arms has gone up and down the world, but the people of Greece showed a devotion to their warrior braves almost unequalled in the annals of civilization. We are apt to feel that the victories of Greece were those of the brain and not those of the sword, and, in her signal influence on posterity, little Greece doubtless won her greatest triumph in the realm of the intellect; for the chisel of Phidias, the brush of Apelles, the logic of Socrates, the speeches of Demosthenes, the tragedies of Æschylus and the inspired verses of Homer have become the legacy and inspiration of the nations. But the preservation, growth and dissemination of these treasures necessitated a perpetual war.
Greece, fighting for Europe and European civilization, met Asia in the longest defensive warfare known in history, and though all the nations constituting the Greek people were no larger than the state of West Virginia, they fought a winning fight with the countless hordes and uncounted treasure of the Persian Empire. From Agamemnon to Alexander, the conflict was felt to be on at every moment of their national life. The "Iliad" of Homer—call it fable or tradition, as you please—reveals the Greeks, a thousand years before our era, waging the Ten Years' War at Troy. Five centuries later the early historical record finds Miltiades victor at Marathon, where Europe worsted Asia and saved the world for progress. Though too early for reliable history, we may safely say that the five centuries between Troy and Marathon could not have been free from Asiatic transgression. Ten years of preparation but repeat the victory of Marathon in the naval fight at Salamis and Europe drives back Asia, Athens wins the leadership of Greece and, uniting the different states in a league against