Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 48.djvu/221
PREHISTORIC ENGINEERING AT LAKE COPAIS.
The final result of all this solicitude for the health of the soldiers, who are the choice youth of the entire nation, is twofold:
First, the steady lowering of the mortality among them is of itself an increase of strength to the army and the country. Thus, during the last five years, on the score of typhoid fever alone, hygiene has saved to France the lives of twelve hundred and sixty-five soldiers. In the seven years from 1880 to 1886 the annual death-rate was 8·43 per thousand. In the seven following years it sank to 6·63, and in 1894 to 6·20 per thousand. Meanwhile, the mortality among people who have not the advantage of living under enforced hygiene remains at eleven per thousand.
Secondly, the compulsory military service, with all its disadvantages, gives the younger generation a strong training in practical hygiene. All able-bodied Frenchmen now learn, during a term of years, the practice of bodily cleanliness and what constitutes the health of habitation. These acquired habits they bring back to civil life.
By JOHN DENISON CHAMPLIN.
HOMER, in his famous catalogue of the Greek and Trojan forces in the second book of the Iliad, enumerates more than twenty towns around Lake Copais which contributed collectively to the Greek fleet eighty ships, in each of which
"Were six score youths, Bœotia's noblest flower."
The district comprising the Copaic basin was at the time of the Trojan war, and probably long anterior even to that, one of the richest and most populous parts of Greece. Its wealth of myth would prove this, even if historic record were wanting. A circle with a radius of twelve or fifteen miles drawn around Copais will include more sites famous in romance and in history than almost any other place of like extent on earth. The Bœotian plain is nearly shut in by mountains the bare mention of whose names calls up a vast panorama of heroic figures, with a shadowy background of demigods and of gods reaching back into cloudland. Prominent above all is double-headed, snow-crowned Parnassus, with Delphi at its feet, its flanks scarred with caves and glens down which still leap the waters of Castaly. South of it, hiding the Corinthian gulf, stretches the range of Helicon, with its lovely valleys and ravines, home of Apollo and the Muses. Still farther south is Cithæron, whose groves echoed the revels of Bacchus and his train, and witnessed the punishment meted to Acteon by the virgin goddess. Under its shadow