"It is not the purpose of this book to tell any part of the story of Greek history. That lies within the province of the narrative historian. Our object is a more modest one: to group together certain facts and to trace the course of certain ideas which may help to make that story and the men who acted in it more intelligible to modern readers. Greek civilization differs from our own both in its material environment and in its feelings and ideas. Our method will be to deal first with the main features of that environment; next with the political institutions which the Greeks established within it; next with their means of livelihood, that is with their 'economics' or housekeeping; and lastly with the conflict which arose, as it has arisen in many modern civlized communities, between the driving necessities of economic development and the accepted institutions and ideals of national life -- a conflict which broght inward unhappiness and outward disaster upon the foremost Greek community at the very height of her greatness and left its mark upon the mind and writings of the men who laid the foundations of European political thought. We shall thus be approaching Greek civilization from a direction contrary to that often taken by modern writers, approaching it from the side on which its differences from our own are most apparent and from which its unique characteristics are most easily seized." [Introductory note.