AFTER my retirement from the Greek chair at St. Andrews I was appointed by my former colleagues to the Gifford Lectureship in that University for the years 1894, 1895. I chose for my subject the Religion of the Ancient Greeks, and delivered two courses of twelve lectures each, besides several intermediate lectures. In venturing to bring before the public some part of what was then put forth, I have limited myself to the portion of the subject which was most familiar to me, and which at present perhaps receives less attention than it deserves. Recent researches into the culture of prehistoric times have tended rather to obscure the abiding interest of the age of classical literature in Greece. While endeavouring to carry out the intention of the Gifford bequest, I have sought to emphasise the element of religious feeling and reflection which pervades that literature and is a possession which forms part of the inalienable heritage of mankind.
Of late years much has been written on the subject of Greek religion, and in revising my work I have availed myself, as far as I could find opportunity, of the books which have recently appeared. I would mention specially Theodor Gomperz's ‘Griechische Denker,’ vol. i.; Foucart on the ‘Eleusinian Mysteries,’ the writings of Wide, Immerwahr, and Bérard, Farnell's ‘Cults of the Greek States,’ and Frazer's ‘Pausanias.’
In quoting from Plato and Thucydides, I have availed myself of Professor Jowett's translations. And I am specially indebted to the kindness of two other friends—Mr. Peter Giles, of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, who read the work in MS., and Professor Menzies, of St. Andrews, whose criticism and encouragement have been of great assistance to me in revising the proofs.
LONDON: October 5, 1898.