People formerly studied Greek and Latin customs for their superiority; they thought the Greeks and Latins a faultless race and accordingly reverenced all their works. We, on the other hand, regard the classics as the work of living authors and criticize their faults as we would an author of the present day. Lately classics have been seriously questioned as to their proper weight in mind training. We have no authentic knowledge that the Greeks and Latins were intellectual giants; in fact, if we were dropped down into Greek civilization, we should no doubt look upon their customs as those of a semi - barbaric race.
For convenience the four hundred years that have elapsed since the Renaissance have been divided into four periods. First, we have the French period, included roughly in the sixteenth century; here the classical studies were closely associated with the Protestant movement which was then at its height. The French though the foremost in classical studies, were not the only people interested in the classics of that time. Scaliger and Casanbon were the most noted men of this period. The second period, the older. Dutch school, included in the seventeenth century, had its centre in Holland. The Dutch had no literature of their own, as did the French, but pursued their studies mostly in the Latin language. Liprius and Gronovius, probably the most celebrated men of their age, spent their time in commenting upon and annotating the lines of Latin authors. The English and later Dutch comprise the third period and include the progress that was made in the eighteenth century. Bentley was the most prominent man of his time, although not much of an author. The fourth and last stage may be called the German period, although other countries have made nearly as much progress. It embraces the nineteenth century. Wolf was among the first to urge all to branch out and search for classical knowledge. Boeckh, the founder of the study of inscriptions, was another German who did much for Germany's classical school. Professor Allen closed by reviewing the various branches of classical study.