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education and advanced views. And in proportion to this infection a decadence of ^"i*"*"^«. § 20.
heroism and patriotism, of virtuosity and morality is always to be deplored. herorsmTndVtriotism.

So it was in Greece which took to the Assyro-Syriac poison; so in Rome imitating
the fashions of Corinth; so with the courts of Europe, when they became the lick-
spittles of Paris or of the pontiff's slipper.

§ 68. Athens, permitting the old virtues to be ridiculed, took the leading part in
shaking the pillars of Hellenic strength and fame. The Attic sneers signalised the
end of Greece.

With the same unconcern which marked his "modern" aesthetics, the Greek
turned his attention away from ethical problems, lest they might annoy or perplex
him. Who would listen to such morose old croakers as Diogenes or Democritos? Who Seorrand'in?he*'opera.
cared for the opera of ^schylos or Sophocles with their exposure of guilt? The ac-
knowledgement of guilt would have forced upon a Greek the recognition of sin, which
recognition,— aesthetics taught,— was to be abhorred. It certainly was not shirked
because of delicacy, but because courage was lacking to face sin, to hate it, and to
fight it. With the same self-complacency and supreme indifference in which the later
Greeks chided the memory of ^schylosand Sophocles, the Greek would look over his disregard for hnman

•' " -^ ' Tights in others.

shoulders at a fellow-man from an adjacent district. To him a stranger was simply Barbarians.
a barbarian; towards a foreigner he did not feel himself under any moral obligation
whatever. Concerning humane feelings the Greek was no more cordial at home than
in his behavior toward a member of another clan.

"The mutual relations of the Greek states or tribes— Hermann observes— rested upon the
idea that a man had no rights outside of his native place. This is reason enough for a condi- stean^ers!*" HermIoti.
tion of constant belligerency of every one against all." Hence it was not necessary in Greece
to go very far in order to be treated as a foreigner. If a stranger took his abode anywhere he
was put upon his good behavior, he was to feel that he was merely tolerated. If he contract-
ed the displeasure of any native he found himself an outlaw. This was an explicit doctrine of
Aristotle even. The duties toward a barbarian, if there were any to be observed, were simply
classified with those to animals. No human sympathy.

The same was the case with the domestics, the slaves. It is in the nature of husbandry ^ ^^' ^^' '^^'

that they be made use of; inasmuch as there are tools required, inanimate or living, and a tool
is the property of him who uses it, and as human service necessarily belongs to a complete
outfit, such human tools are, therefore, the property of the master of the manor.

Hence with all the analytical theorising about the nature of things, and about
the personality, liberty and divine dignity of a Greek, pantheism had invested the
state with power as absolute over the individual citizens, as the master wielded over
his slave. The recognition of personality liad not as yet been extended to the cognition of
humanity.



162



DECLINE OF ETHICS AND ESTHETICS.



n. B. ch. m. § 68.



" There is »methtng
holy over which the ^
state has no power."
Antigone.



Other protests against
the absorption of
individual rights by
the state.

So»BAT«S, EoaiPIDBS,

PaoTAooaAS, Ctbics.



Inhumaneness of
Plato.



Communtstio practices;
Family-life not recog-
nised as the hearth-
atone of state.

(171. Romans )



Children to be glren np
to the state.



Wrong measures to
secure moral progress.



Ethics and prosperity
lie in the sphere of
"essential unity under
personal diversity."

S 6, 113, 159.

Culture in
Homer's time

compared with that of



Periclean age:

external prime ;
internal rottenness.



Judgment of this
period. Poltbios.



Venality of magistrates;
•orruptibility of judges.



Good taste changed to
ottermost ugliness.



In the tragedies of Sophocles Greece surpassed itself, not only as regards its gods ;
and its fate; but by virtue of these tragedies Greece became impressed with a kind of^
premonition. It had a foreboding of a collapse of its own social fabric. Sophocles |
makes Antigone utter the bold declaration, that "there is something holy over which'
the state can exercise no power I"

The meritorious attempts of Socrates and Euripides to defend individual rights
are not to be depreciated. The part which the Greeks took in the improvement of the
race in general, secures their due recognition forever. Even the Cynics in their
quaint way assisted in solving the problem of exempting the individual from the
capricious "reasons of state". A few others, like Protagoras who was banished for
those very reasons of state, stood by the maxim that " man is the measure of all
things". But, after all, these protestants stood alone, comparatively speaking. In
the state of Plato individual rights are not as much as alluded to with one single
word. In all pagan nations it was taken for granted that man existed for the sake
of the state. The state was held to be the center of cohesion in which the indigent
idea of human unity found an approximate realisation. The state was even deemed to
be the Supreme Good.

Tlie state disposes even of the cliildren. Before they have outgrown their tender age,
they are to be delivered at the public institutions for being drilled into citizenship. Provi-
sion ia made to avert their acquaintance with their parents even. Their future occupation
is prescribed by law. Individual property is prohibited ; even the females are possessed in
common.

So much for concentrated power of state, of communism in force. With nature-bound
humanity the center of gravity lies always in the direction of material unity and generalness
under formal diversity.

In matters of ethical elevation nothing can nor should be ever expected of any
state, much less of the political wisdom of the people in classic times. It proves al-
ways a serious blunder in national economy to think, that, with the increase of politi-
cal weight, or with the growth of the wealth of a nation, or with sesthetical re-
finement and advance in the arts, or with the increasing number of law students,
the progress of morality were paramount, and distribution of happiness in equal
measure would go hand in hand. Far from it. Ethics, and the commensurate
spread of prosperity rising from or falling with, it lies in the sphere of "essential ^
unity under personal diversity".

The happy times of Greece were those of Homer, when republican simplicity and fruga-
lity had not yet been corrupted by putting on external distinctions, by luxury and its attend-
ants : snobbishness, envy, sensualism, and effeminacy. In those times chaste manners took
first honors as illustrated by a Telemachos and a Nausikaa.

Compare now the age of happiness and heroism with the Periclean period and its very
transient glory. What had become of the moral condition of Athens despite its refinement,
wisdom and wealth ? Of the domestic contentment and comfort and virtue of Telemachos'
time scarcely a trace is left. In a repulsive manner slavery and "'hetairism" defile the ideal
beauty as exhibited by the circle of Pericles' companions. Vice is cloaked by graceful drapery,
vice of the most unnatural sorts. Connubial relations, the hearth-stone of the state and key-
stone of morality, are more than undermined. The main-stays of the state-edifice are
rapidly decaying with dry rot from basement to pinnacle. Polybios, surviewing the general
situation exclaims : "Not even those of the Greeks who have been entrusted with the manage-
ment of the afPairs of state are able to remain honest ; and no more than one talent may be en-
trusted to them, even if put under the caution of ten countersignatures, of as many seals, and
twice as many witnesses."

Extravagance, lasciviousness and indolence explain the venality of magistrates,
and the corruptibility of judges, always the first and surest omen of either despotism
or the downfall of a state, generally of both. And are not always the lower classes,
instead of being upbraided for the degeneracy, rather to be excused for imitating the
example of "the better classes"? With ethics vanishing, the aesthetics turn to
vulgarity.

The swiftness of the transition, of the change of good tastes into uttermost ugliness is
illustrated,^ by the phy lakes painted upon the common pottery, and upon the costly vases of
Great Greece as well. Nothing can surpass the obscenity of these pictures ; no figure of speech
would answer in describing the impudency and utter abandonment revealed in the drawings
of these bufPoons with their phalloses. One stands amazed at the sight and understands
Mommsen's judgment upon the low, crafty 'groggery business combined with the most
shameless brotheldom of Athens."



II B. Ch. m. § 69. DOWNFALL OF GREECE. 163

§ 69. Greece has received full credit at the hands of historians for the high es- Greece's fast course
teem in which the dignity of man was held, and to what high degree human beauty °^'''^" • '"^"■
was valued; and for the fact that the thought of freedom had first dawned in Greece. Hefienism.
Justly are the Hellenes praised for being one of the most illustrious nations, far above
comparison with the hapless masses under Indian and Persian despotism.

And yet the benefit gained from Greek culture for the cause of humanity is very
questionable. Considering the seriousness of life's duties and the anxieties and
miseries of mankind, in comparison with the laughing and the fun with which the
frolicsome nation skipped the dark problems penetrating into deep secrets below
the surface and extend into realms above the skies: then that nation's world-consci-
ousness must be adjudged as abandoned to unmitigated f rivolousness. It was at any *^'^''^®^'*y-
rate, unbecoming a nation of philosophers; or it was wrong at least that the world
became accustomed to esteem the Hellenes as such. For neither ignoring nor laugh-
ing will dispose of the persistently recurring questions of sin, guilt, and fate; nor as-
suage the mind laboring under the dismal problems. These realities do not die off by Laugh away sin,
being left to take care of themselves. The policy of leaving them unmentioned will g^üt, fate, but '
be of no avail so long as they will not let man alone. Scurrilousness will only give man alone,
them chances to augment forces and to gain area for multiplication and 'for ag-
gravating the predicaments of the race. Ignoring evils does not diminish them;
neither does dare-deviltry frighten them off.

Fate, guilt, and sin never cease to announce their presence. Either one of them or all
of them at once will show up in the mystic circle, the guarded entrance notwithstanding —
will show up even in the sanctuaries. That portentous trio causes the anxiety upon which Sin, giiilt. *ate—
the tragedy hinges in the theatre, in the acts of sacrifices, in oracles, sorceries ; the anxious
suspense ever lurking close beneath the thin cover of taste, education, or culture. Wherever
that trio grows in the darkness, where its monstrosity cannot be seen and the sleeping victim
is not alarmed, there the anxiety rises and knocks at man's inner door. Answering the knock Anxious suspense, the
he finds it to be — our open question, unsolved. In the depth of the soul it sighs from love for § 39, 41, 56, 59, '71, 73.
the victim in his peril,— and is treated like a prisoner in return. Aroused, however, by the
persistency of this strange anxiety, man perceives a whole inner world opening with its won- .
derful relations to a higher world. Man now perceives that both of these worlds remained
shrouded mysteries only because his faculties had been allowed by his own default to become
absorbed in the mere transient appearance as in a dream. Man now recognises, too. that the
interrelations of both worlds are for his sake and that his own self is deeply concerned in
them— and that these relations had sufPered a great deal during his sleep. Man finds both of
these worlds to be as real as the interrelations, in behalf of which the anxiety gave utterance.

If man should prefer to ignore the knocking, and turns in continuance of his sleep and
his dream, the anxiety, growing more anxious tho less pronounced, may retire too. With it
vanishes the revelation— from consciousness, but not out of reality.

This process of reminding the thought, Greece experienced in the same way as Forebodings of
every thoughtful mind experiences it, namely, through facts never to be forgotten, nor disaster,
to be laughed away. It was the fault of the Greek mind that it did not want to sober 1"^^^^"^,^^^'* °'
up and to meditate upon that of which it had been admonished by way of premonitory
presentiments.

All at once CoRiNTH was set on fike at twenty places, under the hilarious sounds of Corinth in
trumpets. Bethink ye now of the irony of fate ! The blaze iLiiUMiNATES the coiiLAPSE OF flames 1

GLEEFUL Greece. The main emporium of European commerce, grown wealthy by the gold
of Asiatic monarchs once sent as offerings to Aphrodite, and by the purchase moneys for
articles of luxury and art bought from its markets— Corinth went down to ruin and ashes.
The black dust of its palaces covered the whole of the devastated Peloponnesus.

Alexander had taken the notion to set himself up as the pioneer missionary of
Greek culture to the barbarous East. The result in that direction had been stagna-
tion and entire cessation of Greek influence. To gain the world over to better life by
conforming oneself to it and adopting its ways, was the wrong method for the great
Macedonian to pursue. Above human error human destiny determined to spread this
influence further west instead of going back to Asia, and there to make it last under q^^^^ influence
a wonderful- preservation up to this day. For, Greek thought and Greek patterns of «signed to the west.
beauty are things not only of the lower realms but pertain to the spiritual sphere of
idealities, and cannot, therefore, be doomed to annihilation. Both of these relative Things
goods have pervaded the civilisation of Europe, which resulted from their blending impenshab^. ^^
with German characteristics and with Christian culture.



164



FOUNDATIONS OF ROMAN GRANDEUR.



II. B. Ch. IV. § 70.



Polar axis.
Benares-Rome.



Similitude and yet
strained relation
between the four
Aryan branches.



Rome. Philipo- Benares.

polls.

Marathon.

Persepolis.

martial



Latins. Persians.

Greeks. Hindoos.



speculative.
Situation of Rome.



Nations of Latin idiom.

NiCBVHB.



Roman
purposeness,
united efforts,
discipline.



Patriarchal elements

MOMMSEN.

1 1 63, 56, GnzoT.)
(g 172 Pop«.)



Nudity in Greece.
Toga emblemafic of
Rome.



Parity of conjugal life
demands strictness of
justice.



Genesis of Roman
jurisprndence.



CH. IV. INDO-OERMANS. OCCIDENTAL: RIGHT WINQ OF WESTERN ARYANS:

2. THE ROMANS.

§ 70. Led on by ideas and events we further trace the line of progress among
the Aryans. It moves westward until it reaches from Benares to Rome. What ren-
dered the characteristics of India and Persia at variance, also distinguishes Hellas
and Rome. Rome represents the other pole of the tension between India and Italy.
Between them Persia and Greece form the inward now neutralised conductors.
Under the strain between Persepolis and Phillipopolis the wires became crossed, as
it were, at Marathon. The Persians on the right wing of the eastern Aryans take a
rest, whilst the Greeks withdraw from the left wing of the western Aryans and give
room to the Romans, their successors in operating at the ethical apparatus. The
Greeks had many traits of character in common with the Persian-Hindoos, whilst in
swift energy and practical sense, for a length of time also in discipline and upright-
ness, the Romans resemble the Persians. Despite the affinities between India and
Hellas the polarities plying between Greece and the East are transmitted to Rome in
order to spread their full force in the West rather than to resume those relations
which Alexander had planned.

NiebuRr has assig'ned to Kome its true position in our science. Besides Japygian and
Etruscan elements we find one specifically Italic. As such are to be counted all the people
who spoke dialects of the Latin idiom ; Umbrians, Marses, Volscians, and Samnites. Those
Italians came into the peninsula from the north. The trail of the Umbric-Sabellian tribe is,
according to Mommsen, still traceable from north-east to south-west across the central crest
of the Apennines.

From the Umbrian, Sabellian, and Oscian tongues the language of Latium arose into
that prominence which nobody dreamt of in those days of small beginnings. It became the
vernacular ofthat set of people which was destined to fix the cardinal principles of jurispru-
dence and of constitutional government. This language and these people were remarkably
well adapted for political supremacy by virtue of their organisatory talents ; altho the first
legislative movements of the Latins were incited by the Greeks.

Rome directed its entire energy to the definite purpose of becoming the leading
town of the adjacent districts and thus became the stronghold of Latium.

Bent upon this single issue its citizens soon made their influence tell. Deter-
mined to obtain the end in view they lost no opportunity and spared no effort to
realise the object of their ambition. With every step forward they exercised purpose-
ness and public-mindedness, and practiced progressiveness and aggressiveness under
the discipline of unity. Clannish pride, based upon strict observation of customs
agreed upon, was the motor nerve of Roman discipline.

Others have verified what Mommsen expounded: "What may be called the patriarchal
element in the primitive organisation of this state has become permanently effective; it con-
sisted above all in the maintenance of the moral and honorable state of matrimony. Man
was compelled to live in monogamy ; and a case of connubial infidelity on the part of a wife
was terribly punished." The difference between Roman and Greek deportment is delineated
in this observation: "Among the Hellenes the gymnastics of nude boys; among the Roman's
chaste enwrapping of the body. The toga thus became emblematic. Rome made the family-
hearth the corner-stone of the state."

On many occasions and among all ranks this principle proved its strength. When a
Lucretia is disgraced, or a Virginia insulted, the citizens arise as one man ; and the national
scorn is hurled upon a libertine regardless of his prominency or his wealth. Chastity is a
power tho jealousy may be its chief motive. And these sentiments remained in force up to
those later times in which a Frenchman, taking liberties with a lady, provoked the outbreak
of the "Sicilian Vesper."

The sacredness of matrimony demanded strict justice. Upon that basis the
talent for legislation and organisation of the state as a household at large became
developed. The ingenuity for adjusting grievances became apparent when those of
whom advantage had been taken called for equity and insisted upon a written enact-
ment of the simple code of laws upon the twelve tablets at about Solon's time ; whilst
the rigidity of national tradition and custom were allowed to remain unwritten for
the time being. Obedience to them was considered more practical than engraving
them upon stone or bronze. It was only in consequence of the increasing and
ever more complicated relations with cliental, confederate and conquered states, that
these costumary laws had to be modified. Negotiations to that effect were rendered



n. B. CH. IV. § 71. ROMAN REVERENCE FOR THE DEITY. 165

consistent and organical by plebiscita and senatorial resolutions, by edicts of
magistrates, consular treaties and imperial constitutions. Once agreed upon, these were
equally binding for everybody, and their authority was never questioned. All judic-
ial instruments reflect Roman sagacity for reasons of domestic economy.

For centuries the Roman senate gave the noblest decisions expressing the national will.
Its wisdom and consistency, its unanimity and patriotism, its courage, integrity and judicious
use of power make the Roman senate the most exemplary assemblage of which history knows.
Its reliability in the dealings with allies or clients was the secret of political successes
throughout a long period of prosperity. Even the Numandians were conciliated by the allow-
ance to use the Punic language on official occasions when the government might have been
justified in insisting upon their Latin.

Besides that "bench of kings" the venerable "college of the Vestal Virgins" de- ??Pg.tns.*°"^ ^**'***
serves honorable mention. Never shall history cease to keep sacred their memory
also. Into their custody the domestic hearth-fire of the state was given, symbolising
the high esteem, in which family life was held by the nation, because of its funda-
mental importance for the state. They alone ranked equal with the august senate.
Many times they may have acted "the power behind the throne", but may not the in-
fluence have been the more beneficial for the unostentatious and benign manner in tj^^ vestai
which it was exerted? Throughout the whole period of their existence as a state-in- ^^^vTi**^'^^? th
stitution, down to the time of Stilicho their integrity stands almost without blemisli. sacredness of
whilst everywhere else female influence in public affairs, with comparatively rare ex- ^d S^iS'pTt u^ii\fe
ceptions, causes Clio to blush. tTtrJ] '' '"'""'"" "

§ 71. Rome soon became conscious of her advantages ; but rely on empty
fame for being respected she would not. It was to be the right that should clothe her
with might. And history could not but give the impartial verdict, that it was the
cause of right which triumphed, when Rome accomplished her greatest feat in pun- „„^cithf * ^ ^'^^
ishing the Punians by exterminating Carthage. ""^ "^' '««^8»- ^^a, m

Great thoughts were not altogether absent in the mercantile city.'Hannibal had a few of
them. But that state was destitute of any discipline whatever, until it was too late to bring
some system into the municipal management. Rich Carthage was lacking in what Rome pos-
sessed, not credit but trust in her treaties. With this lack another was combined. The city of r*t° °^ mercenary

,, ,- ■,., , .,,.,, traits of Carthage. 866.

commercial travellers and without any regard to conjugal life, and consequently without suf-
ficient manliness left to restrain that heat of sexual excess which as a general thing goes to-
gether with cold cruelty, owes it to the Semitic Moloch-cult, that it is branded with the imfamy
of cultivating this combination of carnal lewdness and blood-thirst.

Of the deeper roots of Roman morality and legalism we soon become aware from Religion the
what the Greek Polybios shows: "It seems to me that the main cause of Rome's su- foundation of

. "^ , , . Koman greatness

premacy lies in the high opinions of the Romans in general about their gods. What § 24, 34, 43, 47, 54,
other nations have vituperated as being a fault appears to be the tie which binds their 93,' 96^ 125,' 126^131!
state together. I refer to their reverence for the deity. For in exalting the gods ^^^' ^^'^' \^f J^»
and at the same time conceiving them as so intrinsically interwoven with private
and public life, the Romans excel other peoples in a degree which makes a higher PoLVBior^ "
grade of devoutness impossible".

The system of the Roman deities never received that finish which Hesiod gave
to-Kxreek mythology, or which the Greek accredited to the Romans. Their confederate Religion made
cities adopted gods without finish, if they only could be taken into practicable service the means for
by the state. The Romans never became so enthusiastic about, or so familiar with ^^ ^ ^^^
the gods as the Greeks had been. Fearing the gods made the union firm, and pre- ?eryice^orthet'Ja?e^
served and protected domestic life; much more was not required of them. ^ ^'' *^^' ^^

under these circumstances it was found expedient to utilise the reverential spirit TheSiTS ^m^S **
by promoting polytheism to the rank of the imperial religion. rehgion.

But beneath the ofiicial cult, under cover of public service to the oflScial gods, or
rather the service of the gods to the state, we again perceive the occult preposses-
sions, hidden in the old substratum, manifesting their eruptive force by breaking



Online LibraryA. (Augustus) SchadeThe philosophy of history → online text (page 43 of 106)