Civilization would have meant for him Cretan civilization: the civilization he knew: that part of the proposition would inhere in his subconsciousness. But in his conscious mind, in his intent and purpose, would inhere a desire to differentiate the Greek culture he wanted to paint, from the Egyptianized culture he knew.
Homer's imagination would have been guided, I take it, by two conditions: what he saw of the life of his semi-barbarous Greek country men; and what he knew of civilization in Egyptianized Crete. He was consciously picturing the life of Greeks; but Greeks in an age traditionally more cultured than his own.
Why, I have them before me here to observe, here in Crete. But Crete is Egyptianized; I want a Greek civilization; culture as it would appear if home-grown among Greeks. I do not mean that he consciously set this plan before himself; but that naturally it would be the course that he, or anyone, would follow.
May not Crete have played a like part in ancient times? I mean, is it not highly probable? May it not have been as Sicily was to be a mainly European country under Egyptian influence, and a seat of Egyptianized culture?
Indeed, I do not know but it was useful as well, and the children kept their playthings in it, or the young ladies their knitting-work and embroidery. Are we not, in this class of our tastes and feelings, becoming rapidly Egyptianized?