Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/174

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IV. From the Reorganization in 1812 through the Reign of Frederick William III., to 1840.

THIS period was a period of great men in almost every branch of learning, especially in science, of great statesmen and historians, of great warriors and rulers. It was a period in which the intellectual life of Germany developed rapidly, in which the gymnasia were much improved, in which the new science of teaching was created, in which the universities, more especially those of Prussia, stimulated by the standards set up at Berlin, became worthy of a kingdom and the patronage the world has given them.

During the reign of Frederick William III., or from 1812 to 1840, the character of the academy changed very little. Its statutes were modified only when absolutely necessary, although under the influence of the Humboldts and their sympathizers it became, what it was organized to be, an institution for research, and through its publications, for the diffusion of knowledge. In the early decades of the nineteenth century Germany began to take her true place as a leader in scientific, historical and philosophical studies. She sought to make her own what Cousin, the French philosopher, describes as 'the true, the beautiful and the good.' The unity of all branches of learning became apparent. It was in this new era of intellectual life that some of the great undertakings for which the academy has acquired fame were planned and set on foot. Men like Niebuhr, Schleiermacher, Savigny and Boeckh felt the need of an institution which would consider and execute enterprises for the diffusion of knowledge which were far beyond the resources of private individuals. One of these enterprises, and one in which Boeckh was deeply interested, was the gathering, arranging and publication of Greek and Latin inscriptions. Out of the discussions in which Boeckh and many others engaged have come the volumes of Latin inscriptions to which Mommsen gave so many years of his life and which with their vast amount of information will ever remain a monument to his industry, scholarship and rare skill as an editor. The volumes of Greek inscriptions are of scarcely less value than those of the Latin. Another result of the departure from traditional methods has been the edition of the works of Aristotle,