WE will now go back, and briefly notice the condition of Greece just prior to the time of Alexander.

The fifth century before Christ, when Darius Hystaspes hys-tad-pes, Xerxes I., and Artaxerxes Longimanus were reigning in Persia, was a period of remarkable progress in Greece. The historian says: "This was one of the most brilliant periods of Grecian history, whether regard be had to the success of arms or the triumphs of mind. Among other eminent Greeks who flourished about this time, were Cimon [ci'-mon], son of Miltiades [mil-ti'-a-des], distinguished as a commander; Pericles [per'-i-cles], the greatest of Athenian statesmen, under whom Athens at-tained a splendor that made her the wonder and admiration of all Greece; Phidias [phid'-i-as], the celebrated sculptor, and a host of distinguished artists; Simonides [si-mon'-i-des] and Pindar, eminent lyric poets; Eschylus [es'-ky-lus], Sophocles [soph'-o-cles], and Euripides [eu-rip'-i- des], distinguished dramatists; and Herodotus [He-rod'-o-tus], who has received a title due really to Moses,' The Father of History.' . . . . 

It was during the reign of Artaxerxes that Socrates [soc'ra-tes] was gathering the materials for his philosophy, perhaps getting some glimpses, through Jews, or through those who had been instructed by Jews, of that divine wisdom which sometimes glimmers among his thoughts, like pearls in the depths of the sea. Plato, too, began to flourish about this period."

But while Athens was at the height of its glory, the seeds of its ruin were already sown. 

The states of Greece engaged in civil war, and at last Athens was taken by the Spartans, and its glory departed. Although afterward partially restored, Athens never again rose to its former influence and splendor.

''Artaxerxes Memnoii was now on the throne of Persia; and the early part of his reign was signalized by an attempt of his younger brother Cyrus to obtain the scepter. Cyrus was debated and slain near Babylon; and a body of ten thousand Greeks, who assisted him, led to make their retreat along the Tigris, and through the wilds of Armenia until they reached the Black Sea. Of this celebrated repeat, an interesting account, well known to classical scholars, was written by Xenophon zeri-o-phon], the Greek historian, who conducted the expedition."

Finally, about 363 B. C., the Spartans were overcome by the Thebans, under Epaminondas e-pam-i-non-das]; but in 337 B. C. the combined forces of the Thebans and Athenians were overthrown by Philip of Macedon, who thus made himself master of Greece. Philip then began to make preparations for a great war with Persia; but his assassination left the control of his kingdom and-the prosecution of the war to his son Alexander, who was then only twenty years of age.