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they gradually rise to posts demanding less practice
and more thought, until at last they are admitted to
the deliberative body, or council, when their active
duties cease, and they are able to devote themselves /
to Speculative Philosophy or Theoretics. These men I
have now reached the end of life, as far as this world
is concerned. They spend their days in cultured
leisure, and the contemplation of divine things
(OetopLo). The very oldest of them., those who are
most conversant with divine things, are chosen as
priests, so that they may, as it were, live with the
gods, and these be worthily served. Thus gradually,
almost insensibly, they pass from the world of time to
that of eternity ; from the imperfect activity of prac-
tice, whose end is beyond itself, to the perfect energy
of contemplation, which is self-sufficient and the life
of God. In this way Aristotle settles the vexed
question with regard to the compatibility and relative
value of the practical and the contemplative life.


They are necessary complements of each other. Prac-
tice is the realization of what contemplation discovers
in the pure energy of God, revealing itself in the
world. Thus the practical life of man glides gradu-
ally into the contemplative life of God.

Such is the highest view of man's destiny, and the
way thither, that the Greeks ever reached, and it is in
[\ many ways a most attractive and inspiring one. Its
defects are the defects of all that is Greek. They
are two : (1) its ideal is intellectual and sesthetic,
a coordinated, harmonious whole, whereof the indi-
vidual is but a part : not moral or religious a self-
l surrender of the individual to the supreme will ; con-
7 sequently, (2) it does not provide for every human
being, as such, but only for a small, select number,
the fruit of the whole. Its ethics are institutional
not personal, and, indeed, the Greek never arrived at
a distant conception of personality, that being pos-
sible only through the moral consciousness, which is
its core. It seeks to find happiness in a correlation
and balancing of individual selves, not in the inde-
pendent conformity of each self to a supreme self.
Hence it was that, with all its marvellous grasp and
manly prudence, the ideal of Aristotle proved power-
less to restore the moral unity of man, until it was
absorbed in a higher.



(B.C. 338-A.D. 313)




'Tis Greece, but living Greece no more. BYRON.

Most glorious of;all the Undying, many-named, girt round with


Jove, author of Nature, applying to all things the rudder of law
Hail ! Hail ! for it justly rejoices the races whose life is a span
To lift unto Thee their voices the Author and Framer of Man.
For we are Thy sons ; Thou didst give us the symbols of speech at

our birth,

Alone of the things that live, and mortal move upon earth.
Wherefore Thou shalt find me extolling and ever singing Thy

praise ;
Since Thee the great Universe, rolling on its path round the world,

obeys :
Obeys Thee, wherever Thou guidest, and gladly is bound in Thy


So great is the power Thou confidest, with strong, invincible hands,
To Thy mighty, ministering servant, the bolt of the thunder, that


Two-edged, like a sword and fervent, that is living and never dies.
All nature, in fear and dismay, doth quake in the path of its stroke,
What time Thou preparest the way for the one Word Thy lips have

Which blends with lights smaller and greater, which pervadeth and

thrilleth all things,
So great is Thy power and Thy nature in the Universe Highest of

Kings !
On earth, of all deeds that are done, O God ! there is none without


In the holy aether not one, nor one on the face of the sea ;
Save the deeds that evil men, driven by their own blind folly, have

planned ;



But things that have grown uneven are made even again by Thy

And things unseemly grow seemly, the unfriendly are friendly to


For so good and evil supremely Thou hast blended in one by decree.
For all Thy decree is one ever a Word that endureth for aye,
Which mortals, rebellious, endeavor to flee from and shun to obey
Ill-fated, that, worn with proneness for the lordship of goodly things,
Neither hear nor behold, in its Oneness, the law that divinity brings ;
Which men with reason obeying, might attain unto glorious life,
No longer aimlessly straying in the paths of ignoble strife.
There are men with a zeal unblest, that are wearied with following

of fame,

And men, with a baser quest, that are turned to lucre and shame.
There are men, too, that pamper and pleasure the flesh with deli-
cate stings :

All these desire beyond measure to be other than all these things.
Great Jove, all-giver, dark-clouded, great Lord of the thunderbolt's

breath !

Deliver the men that are shrouded in ignorance, dismal as death.
O Father ! dispel from their souls the darkness, and grant them the

Of Reason, Thy stay, when the whole wide world Thou rulest with

That we, being honored, may honor Thy name with the music of


Extolling the deed's of the Donor, unceasing, as rightly beseems
Mankind ; for no worthier trust is awarded to God or to man
Than forever to glory with justice in the law that endures and is


THE distinguishing characteristics of Hellenic ed-
ucation were unity, comprehensiveness, proportion,
and aimfulness. It extended to the whole human
being, striving to bring the various elements of his
nature into complete harmony in view of an end.
This end was the State, in which the individual citi-
zen was expected to find a field for all his activities.
We have seen how, while conservative Sparta clung


to this ideal to the last, and rigorously excluded those
influences which tended to undermine it, Athens,
by freely admitting these, gradually broke down the
fair proportion between bodily and mental education,
in an excessive devotion to the latter, and so came to
make a distinction between the man and the citizen.
The result was an^ epidemic of individualism which
threatened the existence of all that was Hellenic.
Against this destructive power the noblest men in the
nation, an JSschylus, an Aristophanes, a Pericles, a
Socrates, a Xenophon, a Plato, an Aristotle, fought
with all the might of worth and intellect. Some of
them sought once more to remerge the man in the
citizen by means of a despotism and the suppression
of all intellectual pursuits ; others, seeing clearly the
impossibility of this, tried so to define the sphere of
the individual that it should not encroach upon that
of the citizen, but stand in harmonious relation to
it. They did this by placing the sphere of the indi-
vidual above that of the State, and, inasmuch as the
former was a purely intellectual sphere, they found
themselves driven to conclude, and to lay down, that
the contemplative life is the end and consummation of
the practical, that the citizen and the State exist only
for the sake of the individual. They were very far
indeed from seeing all the implications of this con-
clusion : these showed themselves only in the sequel ;
but the fact is, that the principle of the separation
between the man and the citizen, and the assignment
of the place of honor to the former, proved at once
the destroying angel of Hellenism and the animating
spirit of the civilization which took its place. If we


look closely at the schemes of Plato and Aristotle,
we shall see that they try to render innocuous the*'
spirit of individualism by exhausting its activities in
intellectual relations to the divine, offering it heaven,
if it will only consent to relinquish to the political
spirit its earthly claims. They practically said: Man,
in all his relations to his fellow -men here below, is a
citizen; only in relation to God is he an individual.
The history of the last two thousand years is but a
commentary on this text. From the day when the
master-mind of the Greek world credited man's nature
with a divine element having a supreme activity of
its own, European thought and life have been agitated
by three questions, and largely shaped by the answers
given to them : (1) What is the nature of the divine
element in man? (2) In what form or institution
shall that element find expression and realization?
(3) How shall that institution relate itself to the
State? And they have not yet been definitely

Principles that are to move the world are never the
result of mere abstract thought, but always of a crisis
or epoch in human affairs. And so it was in the
present case. The separation between the man and
the citizen was accomplished in fact, before it was
formulated in theory. On the other hand, the theory
received emphasis from the events which accompanied
and followed its promulgation. The battle of Chsero-
nea, which took place sixteen years before Aristotle's
death, by putting an end_f oreveji Jbo_the free civic
life of Greece, removed the very conditions under
which the old ideal could realize itself, and forced


men to seek a sphere of activity, and to form associ-
ations, outside of the State. The State, indeed, still
maintained a semblance of life, and the old education,
with its literature, gymnastics/ and~music still contin-
ued; but the spirit of both was gone. The State was
gradually replaced by the philosophic schools, while
intellectual training tended more and more to concen-
trate itself upon rhetoric, that art which enables the
individual to shine before his fellows, and to gain
wealth or public preferment. From this time on, the
spiritual life of Greece found expression in the pre-
tentious, empty individualism of the rhetoriciajv the
lineal descendant of the sophists, and in the philo-
sophical sects, which embodied the spirit of Socrates,
their opponent.

The founder of the rhetorical schools may be said
to have been Isocrates, who, after being a pupil of
Socrates', turned against the philosophic tendency,
and championed elegant philistinism. The aim of
these schools was to turn out clever men of the world,
thoroughly acquainted with popular opinions and
motives, and capable of expressing themselves glibly,
sententiously, and persuasively on any and every sub-
ject. They usually made no profession of imparting
profound learning or eliciting philosophic thought:
indeed, they despised both; but they did seek to
impart such an amount of ordinary knowledge as to
place their pupils in the chief current of the popular
thought of their time. They thus became the bearers
of practical education among a people who, having
lost their political life without finding any higher,
sought to obtain satisfaction in social intercourse.


For hundreds of years they exerted an enormous in-
fluence, and, indeed, at certain times and places were
formidable rivals of the philosophic schools.

The first man of Greek race who attempted to found
a sect or school outside the State was Pythagoras, and
there can be no doubt that all subsequent schools were
in some degree modelled upon his. It is true that
the Pythagorean school had been broken up and dis-
persed long before the days of Plato and Aristotle
(see p. 54); nevertheless, his followers, scattered
over Greece, had carried with them the ideas and
principles of their master, and now that Athens had
fallen into the condition against which the Pythag-
orean discipline had been a protest, these ideas found
a ready response in the hearts of those men whom the
social life of the time could not satisfy. Hence the
schools of Plato and Aristotle, which had originally
been mere educational institutions, turned, even dur-
ing the lifetime of the latter, into sects (cupeW?,
heresies, as they were called later on), with definite
sets of non-political principles, in accordance with
which their members tried to shape their lives. It
cannot be said that these two schools were in any high
degree successful, and the reasons were that they were
too purely intellectual, that they made no striking
revolt against political life, and that they called for
a type of man not easy to find. But, shortly after
the death of Aristotle, there arose, almost contem-
poraneously, two other schools, which exerted an
influence, deep and wide, for over six hundred years.
These were the Epicurean_anilJhe _toic. Widely as
these differed in respect to means, they sought the


same end, namely, personal independence, and they
sought it by conformity to laws imposed by no human
legislator, but by nature. The former took the law
of the senses, the latter the law of the spirit, for its
guide; and, by a strange contradiction, while the
former championed free will, the latter professed
fatalism. These four schools were the only ones that
ever met with extensive patronage in Athens, and
with the exception of the Academic, they never
diverged far from the principles of their founders.
In the time of Marcus Aurelius, after Athens had
been for ages a mere Eoman university, they were
placed under State patronage, and supported by public
funds, and there is no record to show that this was
discontinued until they were finally closed by the
Emperor Justinian in A.D. 529.

Not long after the death of Aristotle, Athens was
supplanted by Alexandria, as the centre of Greek
influence. Here the rhetorical and philosophic schools
established themselves, and could soon boast a nu-
merous discipleship. This, however, was no longer
exclusively, or even mainly, Greek, but was recruited
from all the -nations of the known world, more espe-
cially those of the East. Phoenicians, Syrians, Jews,
Persians, etc., not to speak of Egyptians, now became
students of Greek philosophy, and members of philo-
sophic sects, whose members not only studied together,
but often, to a large extent, lived together in com-
munities. About the year B.C. 300 were founded the
famous Museum and Library of Alexandria the first
university and the first public library in the world.
Bound these the various sects gathered, to study, to


discuss, and to exchange opinions. Nor was it Greek
thought alone that engaged their attention. The opin-
ions and beliefs of Egypt and the East came in for
a share, and, in the end, for the largest share. Nor
is this wonderful, when we consider the direction
that thought and life were then taking.

We have already seen that, as Greek civic life
lost the conditions of its existence, the thoughtful
portion of the people came more and more to seek for
life-principles in the supersensible world of intellect.
The nature of this world Plato and Aristotle had done
their best to reveal. But the event proved that
neither an ordered host of ideas commanded by the
Good, nor a Supreme Intelligence served by a host of
lower intelligences, could yield the principles which
the life of the time demanded ; and thus we find the
philosophers of Alexandria striving to people their
intelligible world with forms drawn from all the
religions of the East, including Judaism. Thus there
grew up the various forms of Alexandrine philosophy,
compounds of Greek thought and Oriental religion.
On the basis of these again were organized, at the
same time, various forms of social life, all tending
more or less to religious communism. Hence came
the Essenes (see p. 59), the Therapeuts, the Xeopy-
thagoreans, and the Neoplatonists, all of whom, not-
withstanding certain shortcomings, did much to purify
life, and to pave the way for a higher civilization.

In B.C. 146, Greece, and, in B.C. 30, Egypt, fell into
the hands of the Romans and thenceforth formed
provinces of their empire. Athens and Alexandria
were now Roman university -towns, while Rome


became more and more the diffusing centre of Greek
and Oriental influence. It would be impossible, in a
work like the present, to give even a sketch of the
forms which education assumed in these three great
centres, or in the world that revolved round them, in
the six hundred and more years that passed between
the loss of Greek autonomy and the triumph of Chris-
tianity. We shall merely endeavor to give a general
notion of its two chief tendencies, which, as we saw,
were towards rhetoric and philosophy; and we shall
do this in connection with the names of two men,
who may be regarded as respectively typical of the
two tendencies, Quintilian the rhetorician, and Plo-
tinus the philosopher. By doing so we shall pave the
way for the consideration of the Rise of the Christian


Rhetoric is the counterpart of Dialectic. Both have for their
subjects those things which, in a certain way, are matters of com-
mon knowledge, and belong to no definite science. Hence every-
body, in some degree, is gifted with them ; for everybody, to some
extent, tries to examine and sustain an argument, to defend himself,
and to accuse others. ARISTOTLE.

There is a certain political theory which is made up of many
great things. A large and important part of it is artificial elo-
quence, which they call rhetoric. CICERO.

Every duty which tends to preserve human relations and human
society must be assigned a higher place tha^auy that stops short
with knowledge and science. Id.

Zeno, having pressed his fingers together and closed his fist, said
that was like Dialectic; having spread them out and opened his
hand, he said Eloquence was like his palm there. Id.

To act considerately is of more moment than to think wisely. Id.

I pass to the pleasure of oratorical eloquence, the delight of
which one enjoys not at any one moment, but almost every day and
every hour. TACITUS.

Grammar is an experimental knowledge of the usages of lan-
guage as generally current among poets and prose writers. It is
divided into six parts, (1) trained reading with due regard to prosody
[i.e. aspiration, accentuation, quantity, emphasis, metre, etc.], (2) ex-
position according to poetic figures [literary criticism], (3) ready
statement of dialectical peculiarities and allusions [philology, geog-
raphy, history, mythology], (4) discovery of etymologies, (5) accu-
rate account of analogies [accidence and syntax], (6) criticism of
poetical productions, which is the noblest part of the grammatic art
[ethics, politics, strategy, etc.]. DIOXYSIUS THRAX.


Reading is the rendering of poetic or prose productions without
stumbling or hesitancy. It must be done with due regard to
expression, prosody, and pauses. From the expression we learn
the merit of the piece, from the prosody the art of the reader, and
from the pauses the meaning intended to be conveyed. In this way
we read tragedy heroically, comedy conversationally, elegiacs
tlirillingly, epics sustainedly, lyrics musically, and dirges softly
and plaintively. Any reading done without due observance of
these rules degrades the merits of the poets and makes the habits
of readers ridiculous. Id.

Some arts are common, others liberal. . . . The liberal arts,
which some call the logical arts, are astronomy, geometry, music,
philosophy, medicine, grammar, rhetoric. Scholia to Dionysius

It is obvious that man excels the other animals in worth and
speech : Why may we not hold that his worth consists as much in
eloquence as in reason? QUINTILIAN.

The civil man, and he who is truly wise, who does not devote
himself to idle disputes, but to the administration of the common-
wealth (from which^hose folks who are called philosophers have
farthest withdrawn themselves), will be glad to employ every
available oratorical means to reach his ends, having previously
settled in his own mind what ends are honorable. Id.

If we count over all the epochs of life, we shall find its pains far
more numerous than its pleasures. . . . The first, that of baby-
hood, is trying. The baby is hungry ; the nurse sends it to sleep :
it is thirsty; she \vashes it: it wants to go to sleep; she takes a
rattle and makes a noise. When the child has escaped from the
nurse, it is taken hold of by the pedagogue, the physical trainer,
the grammar-master, the music-master, the drawing-master. In
process of time, there are added the arithmetic-master, the geome-
ter, the horse-breaker ; he rises early ; he has no chance for leisure.
He becomes a cadet ; again he has to fear the drill-master, the phys-
ical trainer, the fencing-master, the gymnasiarch. By all these he
is whipt, watched, throttled. He graduates from the cadets at
twenty ; again he dreads and watches captain and general, etc.
TELES the Stoic (B.C. 260).

The palmy period in the history of Rome is the period when she
had no literature. It was only when the Roman nationality began


to break up, and cosmopolitan Greek tendencies to lay hold upon
the people, that a literature began to appear. For this reason,
Roman literature from its very inception is, from absolute necessity,
filled with the Greek spirit, and stands in the most direct opposition
to the national spirit of the people. MOMMSEN.

Quintiliane, vagse moderator summe juventae,
Gloria Romanse, Quintiliane, togse. MARTIAL.

UP to the time when Rome began to decline, the
school education of her youth was meagre in the ex-
treme, consisting of reading, writing, and a little law.
All later education that was more than this was bor-
rowed from the Greeks. It was about the year 200 B.C.,
at the close of the Second Punic War, that their in-
fluence began clearly to show itself. The severe Cato,
who so cordially despised rhetoricians and philoso-
phers, learnt Greek in his old age and wrote, for the
use of his son, a series of manuals on ethics, rhetoric,
medicine, military science, farming, and law. At the
same time Scipio Africanus spent his leisure hours in
practising gymnastics. From this time on, and just
in proportion as Eome lost her national character and
became cosmopolitan, she more and more adopted
Greek manners, Greek religion (or irreligion), and
Greek education. When,JJnallv, in.jB.c. 146, Greece
became a Roman dependency, it was strictly true that
"Captive Greece took captive her rude conqueror."
Thousands of Greek schoolmasters, rhetoricians, phi-
losophers, etc., flocked to Eome, and, though attempts
were made to expel or suppress them, they held their
place, for the simple reason that the education they
offered was a necessity of the time. Borne, the mis-
tress of the world, had either to become cosmopolitan


or perish, and she preferred the former alternative.
She now, for the first time, began to have a literature
and to cultivate her own language. The studies which
she specially affected were (1) grammar, that is, liter-
ature, (2) rhetoric, (3) philosophy, which corresponded
to school, college, and university education. The last,
like music and geometry, was, for the most part, an
elegant accomplishment, rather than a serious study.
The physical sciences found little favor.

So long as Roman education was in the hands
of Greeks, it was conducted in the Greek language,
and the authors read and discussed were Greek. But
the Romans, though willing enough to borrow Greek
culture, were unwilling to remain permanently in in-
tellectual dependence upon a conquered people, which
in many respects they despised. Strong efforts, there-
fore, were made to develop a national literature and a
national education. About the jrear B.C. 100, Lucius
^Elius Prseconinus Stilo, a wjTrtTvy__g,rirl p.onserva.tivp.

Roman knight, opened a private class in Latin gram-
mar and rhetoric for young men of the upper classes,
and from this time on the direct influence of the
Greeks, except in philosophy, declined. Greek, in-
deed, continued to be spoken by all persons making
any pretensions to culture ; but Latin became the lan-
guage of Roman literature. Among the pupils of Stilo
were Varro_and_Cicero, who, along with Julius Caesar,
may be called the parents of the classical Latin lan-
guage, literature, and eloquence. Both Varro and
Caesar wrote works on grammar. A certain Cornificius
(generally known as Auctor ad Herennium) about this
time wrote the first Latin treatise on Rhetoric; but


the great authority on the subject, in practice as well
as theory, was Cicero, who wrote no fewer than seven

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Online LibraryThomas DavidsonAristotle and ancient educational ideals → online text (page 14 of 17)