This book treats of the Influence of the Greek Mind on Modern Life.
"The vital power of the Greek spirit was indeed not fully disclosed until, after suffering a partial eclipse in the Macedonian age, it emerged in a new quality, as a source of illumination to the Italian masters of the world. Under the plastic touch of conquered Greece, the Latin language was gradually moulded into an apter instrument of literature, while the Roman intellect itself acquired, in some measure, a flexibility not native to it. Through Rome, the Greek influence was transmitted to mediæval Europe in a form which obscured much of its charm, yet also served to extend its empire. In the earlier period of the Renaissance, the scholars of Italy, where the revival had its chief seat, were engrossed with Latin literature; they regarded it as their Italian heritage, restored to them after long deprivation..."
This book presents the history of Erasmus, an European humanist; and his essay against war.
"With Erasmus a new period opens. Two things broadly distinguish him, as a scholar, from the men before and after him. First, he was not only a refined humanist, writing for the fastidious few, and prizing no judgment but theirs; he took the most profitable authors of antiquity,-profitable in a moral as well as a literary sense,-chose out the best things in them,-and sought to make these things widely known,-applying their wisdom or wit to the circumstances of his own day. Secondly, in all his work he had an educational aim,-and this of the largest kind. The evils of his age,-in Church, in State, in the daily lives of men,-seemed to him to have their roots in ignorance,-ignorance of what Christianity meant,-ignorance of what the Bible taught,-ignorance of what the noblest and most gifted minds of the past, whether Christian or pagan, had contributed to the instruction of the human race. Let true knowledge only spread, and under its enlightening and humanizing influence a purer religion and a better morality will gradually prevail. Erasmus was a man of the world; but with his keen intellect, so quickly susceptible to all impressions, he made the mistake, not uncommon for such temperaments, of overrating the rapidity with which intellectual influences permeate the masses of mankind. However, no one was ever more sistently or brilliantly true to an idea than Erasmus was to his; and it is wonderful how much he achieved..."