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fully diftinguish, in Homer's works, what is historical, from what is merely fictitious. He defcribes the state of Greece at that time; and informs us, that it was divided into a great many dynafties; that Agamemnon King of Mycena, Sicyon and Corinth, was the most powerful prince of all Greece; that he was appointed to command in chief: he enumerates and names the feveral nations and princes that fided with the Trojans; he gives us an infight into the art of war practifed in that age; difclofes the laws and religion of the Greeks; gives us the character of their leaders; deIcribes the fituation of their country and cities, &c.; all which are purely historical. So that Homer's poems may defervedly be confidered, as the moft antient hiftory of the Greeks; whofe earlier ages are buried in oblivion, for want of fuch a writer to tranfmit their actions to pofterity.

THE number of fhips employed by the Greeks in this expedition, according to Euripides, Lycophron, and Virgil, amounted to 1000; Homer enumerates 1186; but Thucydides raifes the number to 1200. The Bootian fhips, that were the largeft, carried 120 men each; thofe of the Philoctete were the fmalleft, and each manned with 50. Every man, (the commanders excepted), was both a mariner and a foldier; fo that, fuppofing the fleet to have been of 1200 fail, as Thucydides affirms, and the ships to have carried, one with another,.85 men, we fhall find the Greek army to have been 102,000 men frong; no great force, confidering that all the powers of Greece, except the Acarnanes alone, were


engaged in this war. The Greeks, as Thucydides obferves, could have raifed a far more powerful army, but were afraid of being ditreffed for provifions in a foreign country, Against this army the city of Troy held out ten years; but the Trojans, as Homer makes Agamemnon fay, were not the tenth part of the enemies which the Greeks had to contend with; for all Phrygia, Lycia, Myfia, and the greatest part of Alia Minor, fided with the Trojans. Rhefus King of Thrace marched at the head of a confiderable body to their affiftance; and Memnon joined them with 20,000 Affyrians and Ethiopians. Wherefore the Greeks, foreseeing the resistance they were likely to meet with, and how dear it would coft them to carry their point by dint of arms, before they began any hoftilities, fent Menelaus and Ulyffes ambaffadors to Troy, to demand Helen, and the treafures which Paris had carried off with her; hoping that the fame of the vaft preparations which they had made, might frighten the Trojans into a compliance with fo equitable a demand. What anfwer was returned to the ambaffadors, we know not; but it is certain, that they returned with.out Helen, and highly diffatisfied with their reception at Trøy.

HERODOTUS, upon a tradition that prevailed among the priests of Egypt, feems inclined to believe, that Helen was taken from Paris before he could reach Troy. The tradition, as Herodotus, who learned it of the priefts themselves, informs us, amounts to this: Paris, on his return with Helen, was, by ftrefs of weather, driven on the coaft of E 3


Egypt, and forced to put in at Tarichia, on the Canopian mouth of the Nile. Here fome fiaves of Paris's retinue, taking fanctuary in a temple of Hercules, which stood on the fhore, informed against their master; aggravating before the governor of the province, by name Thonis, the injury which he had done to Menelaus. Thonis laid the whole matter before Proteus, at that time King of Egypt; who finding, upon examination, the depofition of the flaves to be true, detained Helen, and the treasures that had been taken with her, in order to restore them to Menelaus; but commanded Paris, after having feverely reprimanded him for his crime, to depart the kingdom within the term of three days, on pain of being treated as an enemy. The Egyptian priests. add, that when the Greeks fent ambaffadors to demand Helen, and her riches,, the Trojans protefted, that they were not in their power, but in the hands of Proteus King of Egypt; which the Greeks looking upon as a mere: fhift to put them off, began the war; but at laft, after taking the town, as Helen no where appeared, and the Trojans persisted in their former proteftations, the Greeks began to believe them, and fent Menelaus into Egypt, where he was kindly entertained by Proteus, and had his wife restored to him, without any injury done to her perfon or goods. These things the Egyptian priests affured Herodotus that they knew for certain, as they had happened in Egypt, and had been handed down to them from thofe who had converfed with Menelaus him felf. Herodotus produces one argument of no fmall weight, to prove the truth

truth of this tradition, viz. that if it had been in King Priam's power to restore Helen, he would certainly have done it, rather than fuffer the unfpeakable calamities, that befel his family, his kingdom, and himself, during the courfe of the war. How great foever his tenderness to Paris might have been, yet it could not be proof against fo many misfortunes. Homer feems not to have been ignorant of the tradition of the Egyptian priefts; for he mentions Paris and Helen's arrival in Egypt; and fays, that Menelaus went thither before he returned home to Sparta; which voyage, it is not likely, he undertook at that time for pleasure. Nevertheless Homer, and with him all the Greek poets, (after whom the Latins copied), except Euripides, fupprefs the circumftance of Helen's not being in Troy, as too favourable to the Trojan caufe. But, whether the Trojans would not, or could not reftore her, the ambaffadors, on their return, highly complained of the treatment they had met with; and, with their complaints, fo incenfed their countrymen, that they refolved, without further delay, to put to fea, and ¡ carry fire and fword into the enemy's country. They fteered to the coaft of Troas; where, on their landing, they met with fo warm a reception, that they began to be fenfible of the difficulty of the enterprize. In the first encounter, they loft Protefilaus, who was flain by Hector, and many others of lefs note. However, they gained ground enough to encamp on. But what most of all retarded their progrefs, was want of provifions, which daily increased; and was owing, partly to their numbers,


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numbers, and partly to the fmallness of their veffels, which, as the building of fhips with decks was not then introduced, could not carry fuch ftores of provifions as were neceffary to fupply the army. Wherefore they were obliged to divide their forces; fending part of them to cultivate the ground in the Thracian Cherfonefus, and part to rove about the feas for the relief of the camp. All writers, whether poets or hiftorians, agree, that the Greeks employed the first eight or nine years in fcouring the feas, pillaging the coafts, and reducing fuch cities and lands as fided with the Trojans. Hence, in the poets, we read of many towns taken, islands plundered, ftrong holds rafed, and numbers of people carried into captivity by Achilies, whom the army could not well have spared, had there been any fervice of importance to be performed before Troy.

Ar laft the feveral small parties, that had been difperfed up and down the neighbouring countries and islands, being joined in one body, and great ftore of provifions brought into the camp, they approached the city, with a design to exert their utmost efforts, and put an end to fo tedious a war. But by this time the Trojans had been reinforced with confiderable bodies, both of mercenaries and allies, infomuch that, when the Greeks first invested the town, Hector attacked them at the head of an army fcarce inferior to theirs in number. The Greeks had not been long before the city, when a plague broke out in their camp, which, Homer fays, was fent by Apollo, because Agamemnon refused to releafe the


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