The ancients had a taste, let us say rather a passion, for the marvellous, which caused them to forget even the sacred duties of gratitude. Observe them, for example, grouping together the lofty deeds of a great number of heroes, whose names they have not even deigned to preserve, and investing the single personage of Hercules with them. The lapse of ages has not rendered us wiser in this respect. In our own time the public delight in blending fable with history. In every career of life, in the pursuit of science especially, they enjoy a pleasure in creating Herculeses.

Franois Jean Dominique Arago
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