Literature, in the broadest sense, comprises the written productions of all nations in all ages. It is the permanent expression of the intellectual power of man, and reflects the popular manners, the political condition, the moral and religious status. In its literary productions, a nation bequeaths to posterity an ever-speaking record of its inner life.
The history of literature traces the progress and development of different phases of thought in written language, and shows their influence in moulding the public taste and morals. It investigates the connection between the literatures of different countries, considers the causes of their growth and their decay, and critically examines the works of individual authors.
This volume is devoted to the literature in the ancient period including that of the Oriental nations, the Greeks, and the Romans. After considering the origin and relationship of languages, the book provides summery of the history of ancient literature as a whole, without national divisions; so that the reader, having followed the progress of letters from age to age and people to people, may be enabled to study more intelligently the separate literatures of the different countries.