It was reserved for Finlay to depict, with greater knowledge and a juster perception, the lights and shades of Byzantine history.
It is naturally uncertain how far the traditions of David can be utilized; but they illustrate Judaean situations when they depict intrigues with Israelite officials, vassalage under Philistia, and friendly relations with Moab, or when they suggest how enmity between Israel and Ammon could be turned to useful account.
This enormous work was subsidized by the French government; and, though the figures are utterly devoid of artistic merit, they display the species they are intended to depict with sufficient approach to fidelity to ensure recognition in most cases without fear of error, which in the absence of any text is no small praise.2 But Buffon was not content with merely causing to be published this unparalleled set of plates.
In the principal figures of ecclesiastical history he tried to depict the representative tendencies of each age, and also the types of the essential tendencies of human nature generally.
The consequence of the latter was sometimes to subject them to a servitude worse than death, as is seen in the plays of Plautus and Terence, which, as is well known, depict Greek, not Roman, manners.