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master of those who know," lectured before an admiring concourse
of students from all parts of Hellas. Farther afield, on the banks of
the Cephissus, was the grove of Academus, where the divine Plato
expounded that admirable idealism which, with Aristotelianism,
has controlled the progress of speculative thought for more than
twenty centuries, and enunciated those admirable doctrines which
have become the common heritage of humanity.
But where, in this venerable city—"the eye of Greece, mother of
arts and eloquence"—was the abode of Aspasia, the wife of
Pericles and the inspirer of the noblest minds of the Golden Age of
Grecian civilization? Where was that salon, renowned these four
and twenty centuries as the most brilliant court of culture the world
has ever known, wherein this gifted and accomplished daughter of
Miletus gathered about her the most learned men and women of
her time? Whatever the location, there it was that the wit and talent
of Attica found a congenial trysting-place, and human genius burst
into fairest blossom. There it was that poets, sculptors, painters,
orators, philosophers, statesmen were all equally at home. There
Socrates discoursed on philosophy; there Euripides and Sophocles
read their plays; there Anaxagoras dilated upon the nature and
constitution of the universe; there Phidias, the greatest sculptor of
all time, and Ictinus and Callicrates unfolded their plans for that
supreme creation of architecture, the temple of Athena Parthenos
on the Acropolis. Like Michaelangelo, long centuries afterwards,
who "saw with the eyes and acted by the inspiration" of Vittoria
Colonna, these masters of Greek architecture and sculpture saw
with the eyes and acted by the sublime promptings of Aspasia, who
was the greatest patron and inspirer of men of genius the world has
ever known.
I felt then, as I feel now, that this superb monument to the virgin
goddess of wisdom and art and science was in great measure a
monument to the one who by her quick intelligence, her profound
knowledge, her inspiration, her patronage, her influence, had so