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Ex tibris
[ C. K. OGDEN 1












THESE Lectures Public Lectures delivered at
Harvard University in April 1904 owe their
origin to a generous gift made to the University
by Mr. Gardiner Martin Lane, of the Class of
i 88 i ; and will remain associated in my memory
with the recollection of infinite kindness re-
ceived during my visit to Cambridge and

The Lectures, here and there slightly ex-
panded, are, in other respects, published almost
in the form in which they were delivered. The
hearers to whom they were originally addressed
comprised not only classical scholars, but also


the general public ; and they are now offered
to a similarly mixed body of readers.

The book may be regarded as forming a
kind of companion volume to Some Aspects of
the Greek Genius (third edition, Macmillan
and Co. 1904). Under various lights I have
attempted to bring out something of the
originality of Greece. The contrast is at the
outset drawn between Greece and two older
civilisations : that of Israel, dominated by a
great religious idea, and that of Phoenicia,
given over to the pursuit of material well-
being (I. and II.). In the subsequent lectures
two features of the Greek intellect come into
special prominence. First, a Love of Know-
ledge, which not only seeks out the facts of
nature and of man's life, but persistently asks
their meaning ; and this belief in the interpreta-
tive power of mind, working on and transmuting
all raw material of knowledge, is shown to


extend beyond the domain of philosophy or
of science, and to give significance to Greek
theories of history and Greek views on educa-
tion (HI.). Secondly, a Critical Faculty stand-
ing in singularly close relation to the Creative
Faculty. Art and inspiration, logic and intui-
tion, elsewhere so often disjoined, enter into
perfect union in the constructive efforts of the
Greek imagination. It is but one eminent
example of that balance of contrasted qualities,
that reconciliation of opposites, which meets us
at every turn in the distinguished personalities
of the Hellenic race, and which is too often
thought of, in a merely negative way, as the
avoidance of excess, rather than as the highest
outcome of an intense and many-sided vitality
(IV.). But the critical instinct, one of the
primary endowments of the Greeks, operates
also apart from the constructive power, and
(chiefly from the time of Aristotle onwards)


tries to penetrate the secret of the literary art.
Here we have no longer the same sureness of
insight ; indeed the lack of it is frequently
startling. Nevertheless there remains a sufficient
body of interesting and even illuminating
Criticism, to enable us to see, through Greek
eyes, some of those literary principles of en-
during value which Greece has bequeathed

(V. and VI.).


October 1904.








Two nations, Greece and Israel, stand out
from all others in the history of the world,
and form a striking contrast as representing
divergent impulses and tendencies of human
nature, different ideals of perfection. In this,
however, they are alike, that each felt itself
to be a peculiar people, marked off from the
surrounding races by distinctions more inefface-
able than those of blood by the possession
of intellectual or religious truths which deter-
mined the bent and meaning of its history.
That history, as it was gradually unfolded,
became to each an unfailing source of inspira-
tion. The records and famous deeds of the

race were invested with ethical significance.



In interpreting them each people gained a
deeper consciousness of its own ideal vocation.
From the heritage of the past they drew fresh
stores of spiritual energy. Exclusive indeed
they both were, intensely national ; between
Greeks and Barbarians, between Israel and the
Heathen there could be no intimacy, no union.
For many centuries the work of the Hellenes
and of Israel went forward at the same time,
but in separate spheres, each nation unconscious
of the other's existence. Had they crossed
one another's path, they would have aroused
mutual hatred and suspicion ; the Jews would
have been barbarians to the Greeks, the Greeks
idolaters to the Jews. Yet this very spirit of
exclusiveness was one of the conditions which
enabled each to nurture and bring to maturity
the life-giving germ which it bore within it.
In process of time each people burst the narrow
limits of its own nationality, and in dying to
itself, lived to mankind. Morientes vivimus
is the epitome of each history. The influence
by which both Jews and Greeks have acted on
all after ages is one which has survived the


outward forms of national existence ; it belongs
to the mysterious forces of the spirit. Through
humiliation and loss of independence they each
entered on a career of world-wide empire, till
at length the principles of Hellenism became
those of civilisation itself, and the religion of
Judaea that of civilised humanity.

The Jews were from the outset conscious of
their separateness, of their peculiar mission.
From the family to the tribe, from the tribe to
the nation, they felt themselves to be destined
for some high purpose, though the idea was
deepened and expanded as their history
advanced. With the Greeks it was otherwise.
In the Homeric age Greeks and Barbarians did
not yet stand sharply opposed ; and, though
during that period and long afterwards many
elements of foreign civilisations were slowly
absorbed, yet in the process of absorption they
were so transmuted that for the Hellenes the
net result was a heightened sense of difference
between themselves and the non- Hellenes.
The first impulse, however, towards national
unity came, as with the Jews, through religion.


The religious life of primitive Greece centred
at Dodona in Epirus, the seat of the oracle of
Zeus, of whose cult we catch a curious glimpse
in the famous invocation of Achilles (//. xvi.
2 3 3). Dodona retained its immemorial sanctity
far into historical times ; but it never formed a
meeting-point for the scattered families of the
Hellenic race. At a very early date the Dodo-
naean cult gave place to the worship of Apollo,
who made his abode on the Eastern coast of
Greece, at Parnassus, with Delphi as his sanc-
tuary. Zeus still remained the supreme god,
and Apollo, the youngest of the Olympians,
became his 'prophet,' his interpreter. The
tribal cults are henceforth merged in a higher
worship. A league of states representing the
common sentiment of the Hellenes is associated
with the Delphic shrine. Apollo here presides
at the Theoxenia the festival celebrating the
friendship of the gods. In reconciling the
local deities he stands as the symbol of Hellenic
fraternity and union. The nobler energies of
the race now obtain a religious consecration.
The Delphic religion was in its highest


intention an effort after spiritual freedom and
enlightenment. In this respect it offers a
remarkable counterpart to Hebrew prophecy.
It asserts the binding claim of the moral law
alike over states and individuals. It deepens
the conception both of guilt and purification.
As the Hebrew prophets were charged with
guarding the spiritual heritage of Israel,
so the Pythian Apollo fostered the ideal of
Hellenic character in religion, morality, and
art. In speaking of Delphic prophecy we
must dismiss the vulgar notion of merely
predicting future events or revealing secrets.
This lower art of soothsaying was, no doubt,
in great demand in Greece at all periods of
her history. Tablets discovered in Epirus in
1 877 l give examples of the questions addressed
by its rude votaries to the oracle of Dodona.
A certain Agis asks about some lost property
mattresses and pillows whether they may
have been stolen by a stranger. 2 Another

1 C. Carapanos, Dodone et ses Ruines.

2 ^Trepwret *A*yt$ At'a Naor [/cat Aiuvav] vjrp rCjv ffTpu/jidruv
K[al T&V TrpocrJ/ce^aAcuwc, TO, d.7rw\oA[ei'] (? aTroAwAec), T) TUV


inquires whether the god advises sheep-farming
as an investment. 1 Even at Delphi some of
the responses recorded are trivial enough. But
the influence of Delphi must not be judged by
such isolated utterances. The ethical and
civilising purpose it served is apparent to every
attentive reader of Greek history and literature.
Apollo's chief office is not to declare the future ;
nor is he concerned with minute ceremonial
observances. He bears a personal message to
the people ; he is the expounder of the divine
will ; it is part of his function to maintain an
ethical ideal and to quicken the national con-
sciousness. The pious inquirer at his shrine
approaches him in the confidence of glad com-
panionship, and holds converse with him as with
a living personality. The mind of the supreme
god is declared not in dark signs through the
voices of nature or through perplexing dreams,
but by human utterance and in rhythmical
speech. Apollo, the 7rpo^>ijrr)<; of Zeus, has
human Trpo^rai of his own. But it is in
accordance with the religion of Delphi to

1 a? tart. O.VTOL irpofiaTftiovri wvaiov KO.I <l><f>t\i/j.ov.


recognise not only a direct guidance from
without, but also an inward revelation, telling
of clear-felt duties and pointing to the god in
the human breast. Apollo, speaking from the
' just- judging ' ] sanctuary, insists on inward
motive, on purity of heart rather than on out-
ward cleansing, on the spirit rather than on the
letter of religion. He prefers the pious offering
to the sumptuous sacrifice ; he maintains the
cause of the weak and the oppressed of
women, slaves, suppliants ; he inculcates the
duty of reverence for oaths. But he was also
the familiar friend and counsellor of the nation.
He took into his keeping the civic life of
Greece. Under Delphic supervision the colonial
system was organised, and missionaries of
Greek culture were settled in every land. The
express sanction of the Delphic oracle was
sought for the founding of colonies, such as
Byzantium, Syracuse, Cyrene. Apollo, more-
over, was invested with all the gracious attributes
of knowledge and artistic skill. He was the
god of science, of art, of poetry ; he presided

1 Find. Pyth. xi. 9.


at the games and festivals. Under his influence
were developed the contrasted ideals that mark
the type of Hellene and of Barbarian the
Hellene with his self-knowledge and self-
control ; his love of ordered freedom ; his belief
in reason and in the supremacy of the spirit
over the senses : the Barbarian glorying in
brute force, with blind impulses carrying him
now towards anarchy, now towards slavery,
unconscious of moral limitations, overstepping
the bounds of law and reverence.

I am speaking of the Delphic worship on
its ideal side, apart from the inherent unrealities
and corruptions in which it was embedded.
Yet, even from this point of view, there are strik-
ing differences as well as resemblances between
Delphic and Jewish prophecy. The Delphic
priestess, seized and subdued by an apparently
divine possession, lifted out of herself in trans-
port, presents a contrast to the Hebrew prophet
whose reason and senses remain undisturbed
under stress of inspiration. The familiar atti-
tude, also, of the Greek towards his god is as
unlike as can be to the distant and awful


communion which the Hebrew prophet holds
with the Almighty. Nor again does the history
of the Hebrew prophets afford any parallel to
the defection of Delphi from the national cause.
Even before the Persian wars Delphi had more
than once yielded to the temptations which
beset an ambitious priesthood. Now, at the
supreme crisis of the nation's history, she could
not rise above timid and temporising counsels.
She was, it must be owned, forced to make
a difficult choice. Her connexions over the
barbarian world were widely extended. The gifts
of the East flowed in on her. Phrygia and
Lydia were among her clients. Her material
interests forbade her to pronounce the clear
word which would have put her at the head
of Greek resistance to the barbarians. And so,
the place, which from the eighth century onward
she had held as the recognised conscience of
Greece, she now forfeited and never wholly
regained. In politics, the championship of
the Panhellenic cause was assumed by Athens ;
and outside the political sphere, it devolved
more and more on poets and philosophers to


perpetuate the Delphic tradition by an effort to
spiritualise the popular creed and reconcile it
with a purer morality. The case of the Hebrew
prophets is one of marked contrast. They
never ceased to be the guardians of an ideal
national sentiment. Not that they merely
reflected prevalent opinion. If in a sense they
were the spokesmen of the nation, they became
so only by combating the will and denouncing
the vices of their fellow-countrymen. Between
prophets and people there was an unending
conflict. We speak of the monotheism of the
Jews ; yet they were ever prone to idolatry,
being recalled from it only by warning and
disasters. We speak of their spiritual faculty ;
yet who more carnal than they? lovers of
pleasure, lovers of ease, lovers of money. Again
and again they were saved from themselves only
by their inspired teachers, by the austere
voice of prophecy.

There were moments when religion stood
opposed as one might think to a larger
patriotism ; and the prophets had to bear
the hard reproach of appearing anti-national.


Jeremiah was cast into prison as a traitor.
Two conflicting tendencies, as Renan has shown,
were at work within Judaism : one, to mix with
other nations and learn the ways of the world ;
the other, to shun all contact with alien civilisa-
tions art, commerce, foreign alliances being
regarded as so many dangers which might
detach the people from their true allegiance.
The first policy that of expansion was the
policy of the kings ; the second, the policy of
the prophets. The attitude of the prophets
towards outside movements and influences was
one of extreme circumspection or distrust. But
the narrower we might be inclined to say the
more illiberal view was, after all, the truly
national one. Once we grant that the peculiar
mission of Israel was to guard the principle of
monotheism, and that any premature attempt at
expansion would have meant absorption into
heathendom, it follows that the pursuit of
secular aims and of a many-sided development
would have been for the nation the abandon-
ment of her high calling.

Delphi in her earlier and better days was


more happily placed in relation to outside
currents of thought Vividly conscious though
she was of the antithesis between Greeks and
Barbarians, no timid fears that Hellenism might
be lost in barbarism checked her forward
energies. Greece must not be kept out of the
general movement of the world. Rather it was
dimly felt that the world was one day to be
hellenised. The idea that is openly expressed
in the fourth century B.C. of a larger Hellenism
resting not on racial but on spiritual affinities
seems to have floated vaguely before the mind
at an earlier date. Delphi was long able to
pursue a policy of progress and expansion with-
out endangering either patriotism or religion.

Here we strike on the fundamental difference
between Hebrews and Greeks the Hebrews
preoccupied, dominated by a single idea, and
that a religious one ; the Greeks moved by the
impulse for manifold culture. Two distinct
individualities stand out in clear relief. To the
Hebrews it was committed to proclaim to man-
kind the one and supreme God, to keep alive
his pure worship, to assert the inexorable moral


law in a corrupt and heathen world. For the
Greeks the paramount end was the perfection
of the whole nature, the unfolding of every
power and capacity, the complete equipment of
the man and of the citizen for secular existence.
The Hebrews had no achievement to show in
the purely secular sphere of thought and con-
duct. They had no art, if we except music
no science, no philosophy, no organised political
life, no civic activity, no public spirit. In
regard to plastic representation, they were pure
iconoclasts ; for idolatry was a danger near and
menacing. The search for causes the inspir-
ing principle of the scientific spirit was for
them either an idle occupation of which man
soon wearies, as in Ecclesiastes, or an encroach-
ment on the rights of God. The discovery of
a reign of law in nature, which to the lonians
of the sixth century B.C. seemed the highest
function of the human intellect, was alien to
the Hebrew mode of thought.

Poetry indeed they had, unique in its kind :
the lyrical utterances of the Psalms, outpourings
of religious emotion unsurpassed, or rather un-


approached, in depth and range of feeling ; that
sublime drama, again, or dramatic lyric, the
Book of Job ; the apocalyptic visions of the
prophets, revealed in words such as those which
Isaiah the son of Amos ' saw.' Yet if we ex-
cept the idyll of the Book of Ruth and the Song
of Solomon a beautiful and human love-song,
which stands in such curious isolation from
the other contents of the volume with which it
is bound up Hebrew poetry is of a different
order from that of our Western civilisation ; it is
poetry lifted into another sphere and made one
with religion. The epic, and the drama in its
strict sense, are wanting. We have not the
laughter as well as the tears of humanity ; no
airy structures of the fancy ; none of the playful
ironies of existence ; no half lights or subtle
undertones ; none of the rich variety of poetry in
its graceful and intermediate forms. The world
which Hebrew poetry reproduces is not a second
world recreated out of the elements of the actual,
though separate from reality a region into


which we are transported by the power of imagin-
ative sympathy. It is the actual world itself.


The two living realities, God and the Soul, are
face to face, engaged in everlasting colloquy.
We overhear voices of pleading and warning, of
pathos and hope, of repentance and forgiveness.
And as with the individual so with the nation.
All the spiritual experiences of the race, as
summed up in an unforgotten past, are ex-
pressed in language instinct with poetic emotion.
In Hebrew poetry there is a pervading sub-
limity which has no precise parallel in any other
literature. To the Greek poet, ' Wonders are
many and nothing is more wonderful than
man ' : yet marvellous as are the achievements
of man's art and skill, his daring courage, his
civic inventiveness, all fall short of the moral
sublimity he attains through suffering, by the
endurance of god-sent calamity, and by an un-
conquerable will. In Hebrew poetry, lyrical and
descriptive, the note of sublimity is of a different
kind. It belongs to the domain of heaven.
Man is in himself ' a thing of nought,' ' even as
a dream when one awaketh ' ; feeble and perish-
able ; vicissitude and decay are stamped on his
terrestrial life. ' The earth shall reel to and fro


like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a
cottage.' At the sight of the majestic order of
the universe, still more in the contemplation of
God's everlasting righteousness, his unsearchable
greatness, there arises a sense of awe-struck
exultation. ' The Lord is King, the earth may
be glad thereof : yea the multitude of the isles
may be glad thereof. Clouds and darkness are
round about him : righteousness and judgment
are the habitation of his seat.' 'The Lord sitteth
above the water-flood : the Lord remaineth a
King for ever.' Essentially sublime, too, are
the descriptions which suggest the omnipotence
of the divine word. ' And God said, Let
there be light : and there was light.' ' For
he spake and it was done : he commanded
and it stood fast.' ' Where wast thou when
I laid the foundations of the earth ? declare,
if thou hast understanding. ... Or who laid
the corner stone thereof, when the morning
stars sang together, and all the sons of God
shouted for joy ? Or who shut up the sea
with doors . . . and said, Hitherto shalt thou
come, but no further ; and here shall thy proud


waves be stayed ? ' He who ' commandeth the
sun and it riseth not, and sealeth up the stars.'
Greek poetry in its more serious forms is
almost as deeply penetrated with theology as
is Hebrew poetry with religion. The Hebrew
poets seldom dare to dwell upon those problems
touching the moral government of the world
which exercised a grave fascination over the
imaginative mind of Greece. Yet at times
some troubled reflections escape their lips, as in
the Psalms, or in shorter outbursts of lyrical
emotion. In one book, ho\vevcr, of the Bible
the cry of humanity utters itself in tones of
reasoned rebellion and with unique audacity.
The Book of Job and the PromctJicns of
Aeschylus may be placed side by side, as the
two protests of the ancient world against divine
oppression the one the protest of monotheism,
the other of polytheism. Let us glance for a
moment at these two poems. They form a
luminous comment on the contrasted spirit of
the two nations.

The character of Zeus in the Prometheus
exhibits every line and colour of tyranny as it


was understood by the Greeks. Zeus is the
' new lord,' l enforcing his will by relentless
ministers, ' ruling by his own laws,' 2 ' keeping
justice in his own hands,' 3 ' a harsh monarch
and irresponsible,' 4 distrustful of his friends, 5
malevolent towards his subjects, ungrateful to
those who had done him service. Even his
friends do not question the judgment of his foes.
His character is thrown into yet darker shade
by the appearance in the play of lo, in whose
history is recorded one of the distinctive marks
of the tyrant a selfish and heartless love.
The two sufferers, lo and Prometheus, meet by
chance on the rocks of Scythia, the one the
victim of the love of Zeus, the other of his hate ;
the one the very emblem of restless movement,
the other of a chained captivity. In various
details, moreover, the old legend is so modified
as to place in strong relief the beneficent effects
of Prometheus' revolt. A single point may be

1 Prom. 96 vtos rayfe, cp. 149, 310, 389, 955.

2 Ib. 403 t'Si'otJ v6/j.ois Kparvvuv.

3 Ib. 187 Trap' eavrif TO SiKaiov i-^uv.

* Ib. 324 rpa-xjus /J.6vapxos ovd' iiirfvBvvos Kpartl, cp. 35.

8 Ib. 224-225.


mentioned. In Hesiod the theft of fire leads
indirectly to all the evils that flesh inherits.
Till then, under the rule of Cronus men were
as gods enjoying all happiness ware 6eol
S' %a)ov. In the train of civilisation came all
manner of woes and sicknesses. It was as it
were the Fall of man. The age of ignorance
was the age of gold. In Aeschylus, by the act
of Prometheus, the human race so far from
forfeiting a state of primitive well-being, rises
for the first time out of a feeble, timorous exist-
ence ; it subdues to its own use the forces of
nature ; ' blind hopes ' are planted in man's
heart the pledge of future progress. Nor did
Prometheus, as some would have it, by an act
of impatient philanthropy forestall the wise
purposes of Zeus. The design of Zeus was to
sweep away the race. Prometheus, therefore,
rescued man not merely from a life of brute
stagnation, but from death itself.

Many critics have maintained that in ranging
ourselves on the side of Prometheus against
Zeus we are interpreting the drama in a modern
sense and in a manner alien to the thought of


Aeschylus. But the character of the benefactor
is drawn in outlines no less firm than that of

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